Update (February 11, 2017) - '..ethical standards..' ('.. Dr. Bates appeared to distance himself from some of what he wrote in the blog post..') (no replies)        
Update February 11, 2017: 'In an interview on Monday with E&E News, Dr. Bates appeared to distance himself from some of what he wrote in the blog post, and from the way his criticisms were portrayed in the Mail on Sunday article.

“The issue here is not an issue of tampering with data,” he said, “but rather really of timing of a release of a paper that had not properly disclosed everything it was.”

Climate Home, a nonprofit site based in London that offers news and analysis, also weighed in on one of the central contentions of Mr. Rose’s article, that the publication of the NOAA paper had "duped” policy makers into adopting the Paris accord. The site contacted representatives to the talks from 10 countries; none said that the paper had any influence.'

- Henry Fountain, No Data Manipulation in 2015 Climate Study, Researchers Say, February 7, 2016

Update February 09, 2017: 'Dr Bates’ main complaint is that Dr Karl and his co-authors did not follow strict procedures required for NOAA’s ‘operational’ data. It is not yet clear whether Dr Karl should have subjected his research data to the same procedures. Dr Karl, who retired from NOAA in August 2016, has not yet had the opportunity to respond fully to Dr Bates’ allegations.'

- LSE: More fake news in ‘The Mail on Sunday’, February 5, 2017 (Wikipedia Bans Daily Mail As 'Unreliable' Source, February 08, 2017))

'..a failure to observe proper ethical standards..'

'Dr John Bates’s disclosures about the manipulation of data behind the ‘Pausebuster’ paper is the biggest scientific scandal since ‘Climategate’ in 2009 when, as this paper reported, thousands of leaked emails revealed scientists were trying to block access to data, and using a ‘trick’ to conceal embarrassing flaws in their claims about global warming.

Both scandals suggest a lack of transparency and, according to Dr Bates, a failure to observe proper ethical standards.

Because of NOAA ’s failure to ‘archive’ data used in the paper, its results can never be verified.

Like Climategate, this scandal is likely to reverberate around the world, and reignite some of science’s most hotly contested debates.'

- Exposed: How world leaders were duped into investing billions over manipulated global warming data, February 4, 2017

'Whatever takes its place, said Dr Bates, ‘there needs to be a fundamental change to the way NOAA deals with data so that people can check and validate scientific results. I’m hoping that this will be a wake-up call to the climate science community – a signal that we have to put in place processes to make sure this kind of crap doesn’t happen again.


Dr Bates said: ‘How ironic it is that there is now this idea that Trump is going to trash climate data, when key decisions were earlier taken by someone whose responsibility it was to maintain its integrity – and failed.’ '

'Dr Bates retired from NOAA at the end of last year after a 40-year career in meteorology and climate science. As recently as 2014, the Obama administration awarded him a special gold medal for his work in setting new, supposedly binding standards ‘to produce and preserve climate data records’.


Less than two years earlier, a blockbuster report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which drew on the work of hundreds of scientists around the world, had found ‘a much smaller increasing trend over the past 15 years 1998-2012 than over the past 30 to 60 years’. Explaining the pause became a key issue for climate science. It was seized on by global warming sceptics, because the level of CO2 in the atmosphere had continued to rise.


In the weeks after the Pausebuster paper was published, Dr Bates conducted a one-man investigation into this. His findings were extraordinary. Not only had Mr Karl and his colleagues failed to follow any of the formal procedures required to approve and archive their data, they had used a ‘highly experimental early run’ of a programme that tried to combine two previously separate sets of records.


Dr Bates revealed that the failure to archive and make available fully documented data not only violated NOAA rules, but also those set down by Science. Before he retired last year, he continued to raise the issue internally. Then came the final bombshell. Dr Bates said: ‘I learned that the computer used to process the software had suffered a complete failure.’

The reason for the failure is unknown, but it means the Pausebuster paper can never be replicated or verified by other scientists.


Whatever takes its place, said Dr Bates, ‘there needs to be a fundamental change to the way NOAA deals with data so that people can check and validate scientific results. I’m hoping that this will be a wake-up call to the climate science community – a signal that we have to put in place processes to make sure this kind of crap doesn’t happen again.

Dr Bates said: ‘How ironic it is that there is now this idea that Trump is going to trash climate data, when key decisions were earlier taken by someone whose responsibility it was to maintain its integrity – and failed.’

NOAA not only failed, but it effectively mounted a cover-up when challenged over its data. After the paper was published, the US House of Representatives Science Committee launched an inquiry into its Pausebuster claims. NOAA refused to comply with subpoenas demanding internal emails from the committee chairman, the Texas Republican Lamar Smith, and falsely claimed that no one had raised concerns about the paper internally.'

- Exposed: How world leaders were duped into investing billions over manipulated global warming data, February 4, 2017

Context '..conduct more meetings on ethics .. Respectful discussion of different points of view should be encouraged.' - John Bates

Climategate: Follow the Money - By Bret Stephens

Those Who Control the Past Control the Future, Climate Data Edition, February 5, 2017

'..Earth is warming more rapidly than previously thought was correct..'

'Trees are the best known ‘technology’ to cool our planet'

Focus Fusion - '..So, production reactors by 2020 or so.'

(Earth Defence - Earth Shield) - Faraday - Tesla - 'The Accelerating Winds of Venus.' (Electric Universe - Solar Climate Change)

(The Electric Universe - Earth Defence - Earth Shield) - Electric Fossils and Thundercrabs

(The Electric Universe) - '..weather systems .. an electric “wind” surrounds and often precedes an electric arc.'

(Thymology - Haptopraxeology) - '..entrepreneurship .. actions he will carry out and estimates the future effect of those actions..'

'...The peer review process is broken...' - '...don't have the "situational awareness"...'

On the Mail on Sunday article on Karl et al., 2015, February 5, 2017

          '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


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..'

          Besplatna Bunny Hop kapa        
Za ovo ti ne treba proxy, ulogiraj se na Stardoll i klikni na link ispod:
Klikni na jaje sa lijeve strane i odvest će te na Uksršnju SD kampanju a kapa će ti biti u apartmanu :)

          Chris Brisson's 37 Days To Clean Credit        
My site could be banned at any moment.

37 Days To Clean Credit

Yes, I know this sounds crazy ...but
the reason I say is simple:


You can see for yourself here:
Before you go there, you should know this
information is pure gold to the credit repair

Heck, they make millions doing what you
can for free.

People like you and me deserve this information.
And if the credit repair industry wants to ban
my site, that PROVES that these secrets are the
real deal. (Why else would they want to keep
this information from us?)

Anyway - here's the site that everyone's talking
about. It's not joke. People call me the "good guy"
and *them* the bad guys.

Talk soon,

Chris Brisson

P.S. I really *did* get an email from a credit
repair expert telling me they are going to ban
my site because they don't want the info being
leaked out to folks like us. If you want to see
what all the fuss is about, I'd go to the site
now. It might not be there tomorrow.

Here it is again:

          Caffeine linked to leaky bladder in men        
The amount of caffeine that's typically found in two cups of coffee may contribute to a man's incontinence, according to a new study.
          Resistance at Standing Rock: Dispatches from the Front Lines        


  • 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.

              Toilet Ek Prem Katha: Karan Johar And Alia Bhatt Has A Funny Invite For You All        

    Toilet Ek Prem Katha is being promoted by Alia Bhatt and Karan Johar, and it’s funny to the point.  Toilet Ek Prem Katha is certainly turning out to be one of the most awaited Bollywood films of this year. Based on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Clean India Campaign, the film is being promoted with all

    The post Toilet Ek Prem Katha: Karan Johar And Alia Bhatt Has A Funny Invite For You All appeared first on RapidLeaks.

              13 Female Celebrities Who Showed Off Their Baby Bump In All Its Glory        

    These 13 Female Celebrities Beautifully Showed Off Their Baby Bump In Photoshoots, Performances, and Video Shoots. Being a celebrity is never easy, I mean, yes it does come with loads of money and gift and comfortable life, however, there are certain things that any celebrity would die to do alone and in the comfort of

    The post 13 Female Celebrities Who Showed Off Their Baby Bump In All Its Glory appeared first on RapidLeaks.

              7 Regionally Flavoured Songs From Bollywood That Have Done Justice To Their Origin        

    These are the best songs from Mainstream Bollywood with some regional flavours. India, the land of more than 1 Billion people, who speak more than a hundred languages. This specific information means that there are more than hundred ways in which you say a thing. Along with this, every single nook and corner of this

    The post 7 Regionally Flavoured Songs From Bollywood That Have Done Justice To Their Origin appeared first on RapidLeaks.

              Jennifer Lawrence’s Mother! Is Going To Be The Best Scary Movie Of This Year        

    Mother! trailer is here and there’s so much more to this film than what can one even think of. Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem starer mother! Trailer starts of with small snippets from the entire movie and that is enough to get up shit scared of it. Lawrence and Bardem are a couple who live

    The post Jennifer Lawrence’s Mother! Is Going To Be The Best Scary Movie Of This Year appeared first on RapidLeaks.

              10 Songs Of Kishore Kumar That Will Always Be Evergreen        

    Kishore Kumar, one of the most favorite singers of every Bollywood music lover ever. The legendary singer dominated Bollywood music industry for more than 15 years with his versatile yet matchless singing and even today he continues to rule the hearts of millions. He was and still is one of the most celebrated, loved, multilingual,

    The post 10 Songs Of Kishore Kumar That Will Always Be Evergreen appeared first on RapidLeaks.

              5 Times Sunil Grover Won Our Hearts With His Impeccable Performances!        

    Sunil Grover, one of the most amazing entertainers of recent times has finally stepped into 41st year of his life. The actor, entertainer, and stand-up comedian, has finally turned 40 today and his journey has been nothing short than an inspiring story. He may have stardom at his feet right now but this stardom doesn’t

    The post 5 Times Sunil Grover Won Our Hearts With His Impeccable Performances! appeared first on RapidLeaks.

              10 Sonu Nigam Songs That Prove He Will Always Be The Favourite Of Every 90’s Kid!        

    Sonu Nigam Songs That Will Take You To The Universe Of Romance. Sonu Nigam, by far one of the most versatile singers of Bollywood. The Indian singer has a lot more talent than just rendering music notes in his soulful voice, he is also a musician, composer, music producer, recordist, music programmer, live performer, and

    The post 10 Sonu Nigam Songs That Prove He Will Always Be The Favourite Of Every 90’s Kid! appeared first on RapidLeaks.

              â€˜Shubh Mangal Saavdhan’ Trailer: Ayushmann Khurrana’s Struggle With Erectile Dysfunction Is Hilariously Amusing For Others!        

    ‘Shubh Mangal Saavdhan’ trailer is finally out and we are in shock after watching it. There have been many funny concepts in Bollywood but picking up a topic where a man is struggling with erectile dysfunctionality is the first. So, the movie features Ayushmann Khurrana and Bhumi Pednekar in lead roles and from Shubh Mangal

    The post ‘Shubh Mangal Saavdhan’ Trailer: Ayushmann Khurrana’s Struggle With Erectile Dysfunction Is Hilariously Amusing For Others! appeared first on RapidLeaks.

              12 Horror Movies That You Cannot Watch Alone!        

    Horror movies are fun but not for the faint hearted but some literally binge watch them. I have many friends who always tell me that they have watched a horror movie which they thought would be really scary but it turns out, it was not enough frightening. In fact, there are times when we plan

    The post 12 Horror Movies That You Cannot Watch Alone! appeared first on RapidLeaks.

              11 Quotes By JK Rowling That Will Leave You Magically Inspired        

    While JK Rowling is mostly recognized as the writer behind everyone’s beloved fantasy fiction series ‘Harry Potter’, the author’s achievements go far beyond wizards and muggles. JK Rowling’ success story from being a jobless and penniless to becoming the first Billionaire writer in the world, itself isn’t anything less than a fairy tale, however, behind

    The post 11 Quotes By JK Rowling That Will Leave You Magically Inspired appeared first on RapidLeaks.

              Chelsea Manning talks prison, living as trans and dating in 'Vogue' - USA TODAY        


    Chelsea Manning talks prison, living as trans and dating in 'Vogue'
    After spending a shortened sentence of seven years in prison, Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst imprisoned for providing government secrets to Wikileaks, is out and talking to Vogue in the glossy magazine's September issue.
    Chelsea Manning shows off her swimsuit bod for VogueMilitary Times
    Chelsea Manning Changed the Course of History. Now She's Focusing on HerselfVogue.com
    Chelsea Manning Is A Glowing Beauty In New Vogue ProfileHuffPost
    New York Post -kfor.com -PerezHilton.com -PEOPLE.com
    all 40 news articles »

              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
              [Article] A New Way to Reduce Multifamily Air Leakage        
    While tight exterior envelopes have become standard for single-family homes, they have been slow to reach the multifamily sector. Multifamily buildings have many of the same leakage paths as houses, as well as additional paths hidden in walls or other cavities that are difficult to seal with conventional methods. Researchers at the Western Cooling Efficiency Center (WCEC) at the University of California at Davis recently developed an aerosol sealant to seal leaks in building walls, floors, and ceilings. The process can bemore effective and convenient than conventional methods for sealing envelopes, because it requires less time and effort, and it ...
              [Article] The Evolution of Smart Home Performance and Its Benefits to the Grid        
    As the number of residential demand-response programs and the use of smart home technologies has grown over the last several years, an important opportunity has emerged in home performance to increase residential energy savings. Namely, the opportunity to use smart home technologies to target leaky, inefficient homes that cannot hold a constant temperature during a period of several hours once an air conditioner, for example, is turned up or off during a demand response event called as part of a utility program.
              Westinghouse Signs Eight Additional U.S. Nuclear Fuel Contracts; Continues Leak-Free Leadership        

    Westinghouse Electric Company today announced it has booked nearly $500M worth of additional nuclear fuel contracts with eight utility customers in its Americas region within the past year. Also, all Westinghouse nuclear fuel loaded into U.S. pressurized water reactors (PWRs) and boiling water reactors (BWRs) has been operating at a 100-percent leak-free status since May 2014.

    (PRWeb October 01, 2014)

    Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/10/prweb12215192.htm

              Americans already feeling effects of climate change, says report        
    A leaked report says evidence that humans are responsible for climate change is strong – but it remains to be seen how the Trump White House will react
              A yellow jacket and some strange weather        
    Jewellery charity shopped
    I had a busy week last week. I volunteered on Monday as usual and on Tuesday I was at the Guild House. They had had a pamper evening previously and raised a good amount of money; some of which was from goods from the charity shop, but what a mess was left behind...

    I left  the Guild House with three items; I had sworn I wasn't going to buy anymore stuff with my holidays not far off, but I can't resist a bargain. I bought a lovely bright yellow jacket (above); a summer dressing gown which I'll take and leave at the caravan and a pair of summer trousers. That's it now; I need to tighten my purse strings...

    Wednesday's outfit

    All the jewellery is charity shopped except watch; Christmas present, and earrings; present from OH bought on a trip to Oxford.

    Everything charity shopped except slip on shoes - Primarni. 

     I was invigilating all day on Wednesday in the large gym of the university where I used to work. Two two hour exams and you have be there 30 minutes before the exam start time to get the room ready. There's a lot walking involved in invigilating; you spend most of the time on your feet. Patrolling  the aisles to make sure there's no funny business going on; fetching more exam scripts for those who write a lot (!), escorting students to the loo. I probably clock up miles but as I have to turn my phone off I'll never know how many... It rained heavily for most of the day and by the afternoon the roof of the gym began to leak - luckily not on any students' heads!

    I stayed at the campus for lunch and met a few of my ex colleagues which was nice. I invigilated again on Thursday morning and I'm doing two days next week as well.

    Friday's outfit

    On Friday I did the school run, went to the hairdressers, and organised a cake for OH's birthday which was also on Friday. We went out in the evening with two of my three brothers (Julian is on tour at the moment) to Corby to a Portuguese restaurant to celebrate. We had a really enjoyable evening.

    Everything is charity shopped but I can't remember where...I think the kimono is from the Red Cross; the trousers are from F&F and the white top is by Next; all in their second summer of wear. The weather was wet and dull on Friday all day. Where the heck has the summer gone?

    All jewellery charity shopped and the boots are daughter donated. As it got chillier toward the evening on Friday I took these thin cotton trousers off and replaced them with jeans - and socks!

    On Saturday I went to see my son. Luckily the weather had improved and the drive there was great but coming back we had torrential rain and hailstones!

    Everything is charity shopped; the yellow jacket is from M&S and I got it at the Guild House last Tuesday. Jeans; can't remember and the spotted top was charity shopped last summer, but again I can't remember where...

    White lace slip-ons; Primarni. All jewellery charity shopped.

    I forgot to say in my last post that I received an email from someone at T.M. Lewin (who are a firm of shirt makers). They had seen that I'd acknowledged wearing their shirt on one of my blog posts and wanted to know if I would add a link to their company. I declined on the grounds this is my personal blog and I'm not giving anyone free advertising! They also mentioned something about wedding dresses; oh dear, they certainly asked the wrong person!

    On Monday it was back to  volunteer at the Red Cross. I was so proud of myself - I left with one headscarf priced £1.50.! What a beautiful day it turned out to be. Hot and sunny. The first truly hot sunny day I've experienced this year.

    Everything charity shopped except the red shoes - PJ Shoes in Kemspton.

    Kimono from New Look and jeans are from Monsoon; both 1.99 at the Red Cross last year. The jeans are a purpley blue and they match the purple flower in the kimono perfectly. The floral top underneath the kimono is from a charity shop in Donegal and cost 50 cents.

    All jewellery charity shopped.

    I believe the rest of this week is going to be very pleasant so I'm planning to walk every day for the next few days, as I didn't get any walking done last week. I always miss walking when I don't do it for a while.

    I know it is definitely summer now because the swifts have arrived; screaming high up in the sky over the street where I live. To me that is the sound of summer.

              Donegal is calling me...        
    Saturday was such a beautiful day. Warm, sunny but there was a chilly breeze at times. Spring is most definitely here with warmer weather forecast for this week.

    OH and I had a rummage in Rushden and we also visited Emmaeus in Carlton on Saturday. Emmaeus is a charity for homeless people and is international in its scope. At Emmaeus they do furniture; household goods, electrical items, antiques and vintage items, bikes, garden equipment, clothes, shoes, bags. jewellery, craft materials, toys, books, DVDs, CDs and LPs. I bought a bangle and a ring, a small terrarium for plants, 2 succulent plants and a cafetiere for my daughter who's been after a small one for ages. I spent 6.50 in total.

    This is how I started out. I soon discarded the scarf and gloves - too warm!

    Everything except the handbag is charity shopped. Trousers from Monsoon; felted wool jacket by Paraphase; bought in the Donkey Sanctuary Charity shop in Ballyboffey in Donegal. Apart from the lovely embroidery on the jacket; it has golden bugle beads up near the neckline. It cost 10 euros, but I love this jacket and need to wear it more often. Boots from Red Cross shop winter 2015; for 1.99.

    I was getting a bit of practice in with my selfie stick. I'm off to Donegal on the 4th April for two weeks and OH won't be out for the first 8 days I'm there, so I'll have to take my own OOTD photos!

    The floral top is from the Red Cross 1.00 rail and the cardigan was bought in Barnardo's in Golders Green for 1.99.

    Both scarves charity shopped; watch, necklace, ring and bangles charity shopped. Earrings; a present from my friend Natalie in Cambridge. See my nice, clean, shiny kitchen? 4.5 hours it took me on Friday; my arms were aching on Saturday.

    In Rushden I bought a grey dress by East for 4.00 in the Salvation Army. I may not get any wear out of it now but it will be useful for next autumn and winter. East clothing is very expensive so I had to snap it up. I also bought a small wool picnic/lap blanket for 1.00; this will be taken to the caravan as it can be very chilly in the evenings. I also bought a lovely velvet patterned top in Cancer Research for 3.00. All in all a good day's rummaging. OH did well, too.

    I got up early on Sunday and walked 6.8 miles. With Wednesday's 6.7 miles my total for this week was 13.5 miles - 6.5 miles short of my target of 20 miles.

    Sunday afternoon was tea at the Swan Hotel in Bedford courtesy of my wonderful daughter. It was delicious and I was so stuffed at the end of it.

    This is the African print skirt I bought at the 3:16 charity shop last week for 3.50. The top is by Cotton Traders and the jacket is by Country Casuals; both charity shopped at he Red Cross for 1.99.

    Headscarf and all jewellery charity shopped. Boots; Christmas 2016 present from daughter.

    On Monday there was no Red Cross volunteering. The manager had rung me on Friday to say there was a flood in the shop from a leak upstairs and that the shop would be closed until Wednesday. It felt really strange not going into the shop but I had errands to run in town so walked past the shop anyway. There were buckets everywhere catching the drips! There was also what looked like a 1970s maxi dress on the model in the window! I decided to go back on Wednesday and see if it was my size.

     I had plans to go for a walk in the afternoon but the weather was so horrible I didn't bother. Cold and windy and grey...

    On Tuesday I was at the Food Bank and in the afternoon I walked 8.25 miles. It was a good day; sunny and warm but with a cold breeze and eventually the clouds got darker and it rained a little.

    Everything charity shopped except the loafers bought on sale at Tesco's outlet shop about 3 years ago.

    Earrings; a present from my friend Natalie. All other jewellery charity shopped.

    On Wednesday afternoon I went back to the Red Cross; wouldn't you flipping know it they had sold the dress from the window! I bought a brown patterned tunic and a Planet summer jacket in bright orange as a consolation prize; both 1.99 each. In the morning I walked with the group from Great Denham; we walked 7 miles and it was a a very pleasant walk. As we finished back in Great Denham I had a quick browse in Barnardo's and bought a white linen shift dress and a pair of navy blue leather loafers - both 99p each.

    It was such a gorgeous day on Thursday! It registered 21.5 degrees centigrade on my car barometer.  It felt like a summer's day so I dug a summer dress out of the chest where I store my summer clothes. I bought this dress which is by Studio from a 1.00/99p sale rail somewhere at the end of last summer when it was too late wear it, so this is its first outing.

    The jacket was one of the first things I bought at the Guildhouse when I started there; it's linen and made by an Italian company. I paid 3.50 for it. I wore tights and a long slip underneath the dress and the boots were a Christmas 2016 present from my daughter.

    Headscarf, bangles, necklace and watch all charity shopped. Earrings are from Jamaica and are made of copper in the shape of steel pans...present from OH.

    On Friday I went on a bus walk with the Ramblers from Kempston via Wootton and Bromham. We walked 8.75 miles culminating with tea and cake at Bromham Mill. The best way to finish any walk I think!  The weather was fine. By the time I got home I had to go straight to collect the grandchildren from school so stayed in my walking gear. My walking total this week was 24 miles over 3 walks.

    On Saturday I went to see my son and wore this:

    Everything is charity shopped except the loafers which were bought from the Tesco outlet sale about three years ago.

    Necklace was a present from my youngest Grandson's dad some years ago. All other jewellery charity shopped.

    I shall spend Sunday packing for Ireland; I've had the car checked, got my euros and the ferry's been booked for ages. I shall be taking a break from blogging and when I get back my lovely cousin, Linda is coming to stay with me. It will be her first visit to England and guess what she wants to do? She wants to come charity shopping! That can be arranged with no difficulty...

    I hope you all have a lovely Easter and if you don't celebrate Easter that you at least get a nice break. Take care everyone and see you on the other side!

              How I found my brother - Part 1        

    I said I would tell you about how we found our brother and here it is - true to my word. How my brother found us (Part 2) will follow soon.

    One Friday evening in February 2013, my OH and I were on our way to Kettering to meet up with my brothers. We were stopping at the eldest brother's to pick him up and then go on to the the youngest brother's for a drink and a catch up. My mum and eldest brother had moved to Kettering from London in 1999, and my youngest brother moved to Kettering in 2006. My mum died in 2009 and my dad died, aged only 47, in 1980.

    When we got to the eldest brother's house he told me that someone had come to the door earlier in the day; spoken to him and had left him a card. He said the person - a man - said that he used to work with my mum. This immediately rang alarm bells because I knew my mum had for most of her working life, worked predominantly with women.

    When I read the card (I still have it), I literally went weak at the knees and had to sit down, but I knew at once that what it said was inescapably true. On 13th February, 1953; thirteen months before I was born in March 1954, and before my mum married my dad; my mum gave birth to a baby boy whom she called 'Julian Jerome Flynn' - (her maiden name was Flynn). She gave birth to Julian in St. Pelagia's Home for Penitent Girls (I kid you not) which was  in Highgate, North London. It's since been demolished and is now a gated development.

    All three of us were very close to our mum. We all loved her deeply. She was our rock, we knew she loved us unconditionally and she was always there for us. She was great fun to be with; we loved her company and spending time with her. Yet, none of us knew about this other brother. On that night I could only feel shock at the not knowing as we set off to the younger brother's house.
    Image result for St Pelagias Home for Penitent Girls image
     St. Pelagia's Home

    St Pelagia's Home
    St Joseph's Maternity Home
    34 Highgate West Hill, N6 6NJ
    Medical dates:

    Medical character:
    1889 - 1972

    St Pelagia's Home for Destitute Girls at No. 25 Bickerton Road in Upper Holloway was founded in 1889 by the Roman Catholic order of the Sisters Servants of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.It provided  accommodation for unmarried mothers and their first-born babies, who were allowed to enter the Home when the child was a fortnight old.
    The girls were admitted free of charge on condition that they contributed to the earning power of the Home by working in its laundry.
    The Home later occupied the neighouring house at No. 27 Bickerton Road.

    In 1934 it moved to West Hill Place, a large house on Highgate West Hill, where it re-opened in 1936 after the Convent of Sacred Hearts had been built adjoining the original mansion.

    In March 1948 Mayfield, an adjoining 2-storey Victorian house, was bought and equipped as an antenatal and maternity home.  It had 18 beds and was named St Joseph's Maternity Home.

    The Labour Ward was on the first floor, while the ground floor contained 6 antenatal beds, and 12 postnatal beds in 3- or 5-bedded wards, with 12 cots for the babies.  An isolation room was added later.

    The patients, who stayed for an average of 12 weeks,  were cared for by three nurses.

    The LCC paid a guinea (21 shillings - £1.05) a weeks to the Home for expectant mothers and 25 shillings (£1.25) for mothers and babies (this was later increased to £2 10s (£2.50) a week).

    In 1954 the Homes had 70 beds for mothers and their babies.  Both properties had extensive gardens of 2 acres, but the buildings were in much need of repair, with damaged ceilings in St Joseph's and a leaking flat roof.

    The Homes closed in 1972.

    Present status (February 2009)
    The Homes and the convent were demolished in 1970.  Their site now contains Hill Court and the West Hill Park estate.

    Source: Google (for both photos)

    This is an article about St. Pelagia's from the Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/10932969/Convent-that-forced-young-mothers-to-give-up-their-babies.html

    It is certainly worth reading although I don't believe my mum was forced to give Julian up by the nuns, but it would have been extremely difficult to have kept him. One, it would have got back to her parents in Ireland and the shame of having an unmarried daughter with a child could have led to ostracism by their community. Secondly,  in England there wasn't much in the way of good affordable childcare in the 1950s and mum would have to have worked to support herself and her child. There was a lot of stigma and shame attached to being an unmarried mother at that time.

    When we got to the youngest brother's house I told him get himself a glass of wine and sit down as we had some news for him! We spent the rest of the night on the computer trying to find out more information. The one thing we did know was that our dad wasn't Julian's dad. 

    I rang Ireland and spoke to two of our surviving aunts - my mother's sister's - they were totally unaware of Julian. One of the aunt's told me they had only been made aware of my existence (and my mum's marriage) when my mum turned up in Ireland with me aged 11 months! I was left  with my grandparent's and my aunt's, who were only young teenagers at the time, for about 3 months whilst she returned to England and work - of which more later.

    Our searches on the computer kept taking us to an agent who represented Brian May (of Queen) and eventually brought us to a picture of someone called 'Julian Littman. This person looked exactly like one of our first cousins; the eldest son of my mum's older and closest sister, Aunty Betty.  Unfortunately, this aunt had died in the late 1980s.

    The card that had been left had telephone contact numbers on it and we agreed that in the morning I would call the numbers. I didn't sleep a wink that night and got up really early to search on my own computer for any information. This is what I found:

    Looking for Trusted Water Damage Restoration Professional in Michigan – Call (313) 447-0244 appeared first on Improvisation.

              Facebook accused of targeting vulnerable teens with predatory ads [updated]        

    The Australian has obtained confidential internal documents from Facebook that supposedly show how it’s possible for the company to take advantage of teenagers’ insecurities to benefit advertisers. The leaked document was written by two Australian Facebook execs and included how monitoring users’ posts, comments and interactions could help figure out when people felt “defeated”, “overwhelmed”, “stressed”, “anxious”, “stupid”, “nervous”, “silly”, “useless” and a “failure”. Information about users’ mood could therefore be added to the data that Facebook sells advertisers. Currently Facebook provides ad buyers with user’s personal information including relationship status, location, age, and how often and in what manner people use the social…

    This story continues at The Next Web

    Or just read more coverage about: Facebook
              A birthday break        
    How do you celebrate a major birthday in my position? Ten years ago, and ten years before that, it was through travel to special new parts of the world. Somehow that didn’t seem so appropriate this year – not that there aren’t still many countries I would really love to go to, but travel is now a normal part of my life so it wouldn’t have marked this birthday out as special.

    I thought about gathering my local friends together for a big dinner in Dakar, but ruled that out quickly as it would have meant telling them why, thus making me the centre of attention for the evening, which I would hate. I thought too about a few days’ luxury in a top hotel somewhere like Venice, but really that would be more enjoyable as part of a couple.

    Then I remembered what I had read about an eco-lodge called the Collines de Niassam in Senegal, some 150km down the coast from Dakar near the villages of Palmarin. I’d been to Palmarin before, and loved the area. Just getting there involves an hour or more of driving across bare, open salt flats, with little to see except bare earth, water, sky and birds. It’s a bleak yet majestic landscape. The lodge offers a little bit of luxury amongst this bleakness, but in a development that blends in with the landscape rather than shutting it out.

    So I booked myself for a couple of nights into one of their four wooden huts built on stilts above a lagoon. There are activities on offer, and I went on an evening drive in a horse and cart to watch hyenas gather before their evening hunt, but otherwise I just relaxed. A colleague had brought me an English Sunday newspaper the week before, which I had saved, but I spent a lot of time just sitting in a deck chair gazing at the lagoon – at the herons, gulls, avocets and pelicans that were a constant presence outside my room. I also went walking in the bush – yes, more birds, but also the physical pleasure of just walking, knowing I was in a reserve and so would not encounter demands for presents from snivelling children, nor their parents trying to sell me necklaces or poor quality carvings. In fact I didn’t see anyone during either of my two long (2-3 hour) walks, just hornbills, bee-eaters, kingfishers, parrots and francolins. On the drive to the hyenas I also saw flamingos and jackals.

    The food was great too. Set meals with no choice whatsoever, but I was perfectly happy with dishes such as pumpkin and prawn soup and grouper fillet flambéed in tamarind sauce. I didn’t drink much but their Cape Verdean rum cocktails were also pretty good!

              The Silk Road        

    Aside from my close encounter with a golden eagle, my ten days in Kyrgyzstan involved a lot of walking in the mountains and a lot of layers of clothing as I tried to keep warm at night. The tour mostly involved sleeping in yurts set up on bleak hillsides or in remote valleys. Yurts have been used by the indigenous nomads for many centuries, and the thick layers of felt that cover them do keep out the worst of the cold, but with my relatively skinny frame I needed to wear all the clothes I had packed at the same time to stay warm in the evenings before I burrowed under the layers of blankets they provided for us.

    We experienced other aspects of local culture too, from the food (warming meals with lots of meat and fat) and drink (a mildly fermented mare’s milk which tasted of sheep’s cheese), to the famous horsemanship skills. The latter included leaning from their saddles and picking a small (golf-ball-sized) object off the ground as they galloped past – not always successfully but this skill comes from a game using a decapitated goat which, to be fair, is rather larger than a golf ball. Horses are an integral part of the life of the nomads in Kyrgyzstan and on our walks we came across several young boys on horseback driving flocks of sheep and goats around the mountain-sides.

    We also saw the ancient (restored) caravanserai of Tash Rabat, an atmospheric stone building in the middle of a remote valley – our first introduction to the Silk Route.

    From Kyrgyzstan we travelled to Uzbekistan, only next-door but so very different. We went from green mountains to dry, flat desert, and from moveable felt yurts to solid ancient monuments.

    The name Samarkand evoked for me the same kind of exotic image as Zanzibar and Timbuktu; an almost mythical place.  & it didn't disappoint.  Mosques, mausoleums and madrassas, all magnificently restored with their dazzling blue tiles, competed for my attention with the stories of the famous men who had passed through here: Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Tamerlane...  the Shah -e- Zindar (street of the dead) was especially impressive, full of intricately tiled mausoleums still being visited by pilgrims.

    After Samarkand we visited Bokhara - more mosques and madrassas, but somehow on a smaller, more human scale.  This was a very relaxed place where I felt I could just wander about, or stop in one of its many cafes for a green tea, or even sit on a bench and read my book.  I was working my way through Hopkirk's "The Great Game" - to learn more about the history of the region - and this was brought to life in Bokhara when I visited the 'bug pit' where British officers Connolly and Stoddard were held by the khan for many months before being executed in the square outside the Ark.

    There were some good shopping opportunities here too, with the old madrassas and market domes filled with stalls selling ceramics, carpets, miniature paintings, silk scarves and wonderful embroidered jackets that would unfortunately be totally unsuitable for the hot climate of Dakar.

    In Bokhara I said goodbye to the rest of the group, and continued further west.  A long day's drive through the Kyzyl Kum desert, crossing the great Oxus River, took me to Khiva.  Although the wall is older, most of the buildings within the old city here date on the from the 19th century, but the effect is of somewhere much more ancient.  My hotel was actually in one of the old (or not so old) madrassas, with a wonderful minaret forming a part of it - see photo.

    An interesting practice here was to build tombs on the sloping sides of the city wall.  This meant that the body could not be buried in the ground but had to be laid in the tomb itself, and I was quite surprised when looking into one crumbling old tomb, as I climbed up the wall, to see what appeared very much to be a human thigh-bone, amongst other fragments of broken bone!

    As with the other Silk Road cities, I was surprised to see virtually no other Western tourists.  I was told that this was because most prefer to avoid the August heat and that their numbers would rise in September.  There were plenty of local tourists though, and strangely I was as much of an attraction for them as the monuments, many wanting to be photographed with me.  Then on my final day in the country - in a museum in Tashkent - I was even interviewed for Uzbekistan television, asked my views on Tashkent ceramics (on which I'm a great expert, as you can imagine) and the local way of serving green tea.

    If you're interested, the latter involves only filling the bowl half-full, so when the guest asks for more the host gets the pleasure of serving them a second time.

              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.

              Wake Forest Baptist First to Offer New Treatment for Bowel Control        
    Wake Forest Baptist is the first in the state – and the 4th in the United States – to offer women a new, non-surgical treatment for accidental bowel leakage.
              Catching Up And Good-bye February.        
    February is always the bleakest month on the farm.  Combine that with frozen ground, snow, warmer temps and rain and the mud is deep.  The dregs.  Slogging through.  Looking forward to a new month, a taste of spring, and my VERY favorite – longer days! This has also been my quiet time.  Hibernating.  I’ve devoted
              Craaaaazy Girl        
    "Crazy Girl" by the Eli Young Band is adorable. Just throwing that out there. (It's a country song, don't listen to it dad!)

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    On Saturday I broke down my 20 gallon freshwater aquarium and moved it to our apartment. That . . . was fun. Yeah. Just about seven whole hours of fun. Whee! (Tips for moving aquariums may follow in the future, but right off: 5 gallon Home Depot buckets with lids are awesome, don't use styrofoam because they leak all over your trunk and your jeans and are super hard to carry, move as much of your cycled water as possible, at least 50%, and once you're all done setting it up test your water again because the new water will not be the same pH. Oh, and if you are a crazy girl like me and decide to change the substrate at the same time, wash it ahead of time and leave some of your old gravel in a nylon hose in the new tank so that your bacteria from the old gravel keep the aquarium's chemistry levels from bouncing all over and getting new tank syndrome. It seems to be working so far!)

    We also purchased six ghost shrimp and two mystery snails, and they are adorable. My corycat is SO much happier with the new sand substrate instead of harsh gravel, and my killifish is killing me with his possibly being sick but then being perfectly fine and MAKE UP YOUR MIND ALREADY, DAMMIT. Oh, and if he is sick then I can't treat him with my malachite green because apparently it is bad for invertebrates and snails. AWESOMENESS.

    I am totally obsessed with my tank again, yay! I want more tanks, including a super awesomely expensive saltwater, not yay!

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    The private school I work at as the computer teacher/after-school teacher has their graduation tomorrow, and a field day on Wednesday where the staff and parents play the kids in a softball game and have a bbq! Should be fun!

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    I . . . have run out of things to talk about. My brain is going a mile a minute about tanks and aquarium plants and getting gourami and how I want angels but need a taller tank but I've had angels before but they've died after a year or so and waaaaaaah. If only money wasn't an issue! (Sob!)

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Oh yeah! Kauai! I go to Kauai on the 22nd until the 2nd, with Andra! Yaaaay!
              WikiLeaks’ Assange appeals UK extradition ruling        
    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will on Tuesday start his appeal against a British court ruling that he can be extradited to Sweden to face allegations of rape. The 40-year-old Australian will take his legal battle to the High Court in London for a two-day hearing, in the hope of reversing the Febr...
              White House dragging its feet on wiretapping rules        
    Citing the need to protect intellectual property and consumer information like the emails that were leaked in this week’s massive Epsilon hack, the Senate Judiciary Committee called a hearing Wednesday to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. Committee member Sen. Sheldon Whitehous...
              WikiLeaks’ Assange to appeal extradition in July        
    LONDON — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will fight a British judge’s decision to extradite him to Sweden over allegations of sexual assault in a two-day hearing in July, it was announced on Wednesday. The hearing at the High Court in London will take place on July 12-13, the court said. Assa...
              Nov 2012 Daring Cooks' Challenge Brining & Roasting        

    Hello this Audax from Audax Artifex and I'm honoured to be your host this month. I have decided to concentrate on a couple of important cooking techniques that every good cook should have up his or her sleeve. The first technique is brining – which uses a brine (at its simplest, a combination of salt and water usually with some sugar) to infuse flavour and moisture into poultry, red- & white-meat, fish, seafood and most types of nuts and seeds. Brining guarantees moist succulent roast chickens and turkeys, fried steaks, steamed trout, BBQed prawns (shrimps), grilled seafood and toasted nuts and seeds. Brining is simple and only needs a few simple ingredients and really adds an extra dimension to your cooking. I will be providing a couple of different recipes and guidelines on how to brine which can be used with a whole array of meats, poultry, seafood, nuts and seeds.

    Then for the second technique (once you have brined your chosen cut of meat) I want you to roast (or BBQ) it. Again I will be giving you guidelines and rules on how to roast your cut of meat. The roasting guidelines can be used for meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds. For our non-meat eating cooks I want you to use the roasting guidelines to roast a selection of vegetables and/or nuts or seeds to perfection.

    HOW IT WORKS (from http://www.cooksillustrated.com/images/document/howto/ND01_ISBriningbasics.pdf)

    Soaking in brine improves the taste and the moistness of all fowl (chicken, turkey, goose, duck and guinea fowl), also it works on lean red- and lean white-meats, fish, most seafood and most nuts and seeds. It is simple, cheap and effective and will ensure that your Christmas roast will be the tastiest you have ever made. All you do is brine your cut of meat and then proceed as normal, you will find that the roast is juicy and the skin has a lovely colour. The recipe for all-purpose brine is simple - for each cup (240 ml) of water use 1 tablespoon (18 gm) of table salt this makes a 8% brine solution which can be used for most foods. (This is equivalent to 1 cup of table salt for each gallon (4 litres) of water.)

    Brining works in accordance with two principles, called diffusion and osmosis, these two principles like to keep things in equilibrium (or in stable balance). When brining a fowl for example, there is a greater concentration of salt and sugar outside of the fowl (in the brine) than inside the fowl (in the cells that make up its flesh). The law of diffusion states that the salt and sugar will naturally flow from the area of greater concentration (the brine) to lesser concentration (the cells). There is also a greater concentration of water, so to speak, outside of the fowl than inside. Here, too, the water will naturally flow from the area of greater concentration (the brine) to lesser concentration (the cells). When water moves in this fashion, the process is called osmosis. Once inside the cells, the salt and, to a lesser extent, the sugar causes the cell proteins to unravel, or denature. As the individual proteins unravel, they become more likely to interact with one another. This interaction results in the formation of a sticky matrix that captures and holds moisture. Once exposed to heat, the matrix gels and forms a barrier that keeps much of the water from leaking out as the meat cooks. Thus you have a roast that is both better seasoned and much more moist than when you started.


    Brining does have one negative effect on poultry: Adding moisture to the skin as well as the flesh which can prevent the skin from crisping when cooked. This can be overcome by air-drying, a technique used in many Chinese recipes for roast duck and chicken. Letting brined chicken and turkey dry uncovered in the refrigerator allows surface moisture to evaporate, making the skin visibly more dry and taut and therefore promoting crispness when cooked. Although this step is optional, if crisp skin is a goal, it’s worth the extra time. For best results, air-dry whole brined birds overnight. Brined chicken parts can be air-dried for several hours. Transfer the brined bird to a heavy-duty cooling rack set over a rimmed baking sheet, pat the bird dry with paper towels, and refrigerate. The rack lifts the bird off the baking sheet, allowing air to circulate freely under the bird. If you are not air-drying your fowl it is best to pat dry the skin with paper towels before roasting in a hot oven.

    Surprisingly, brining has one large positive effect on fish fillets, a quick brine (only 10 mins) greatly improves the appearance of cooked fillets, because the brine reduces the unsightly white layer of albumin that coagulates on the surface during cooking, I highly recommend brining fish fillets when presentation is paramount. 

    Lean cuts of meat with mild flavour tend to benefit most from flavour brining also most nuts and seeds can be brined with good affect. These include:

    Chicken: whole, butterflied, or pieces
    Cornish Hens: whole or butterflied
    Turkey: whole, butterflied, or pieces
    Pork: chops, loin, tenderloin, fresh ham
    Seafood: salmon, trout, shrimp
    Beef: use lean pieces of beef
    Nuts and Seeds: Most nuts and seeds are suitable i.e. pumpkin, peanuts, sesame, almonds etc.  

    Fatty meats such as duck, beef, and lamb do not benefit as much from brining (but still can be brined)—they're naturally moist and flavourful. They also tend to be cooked to lower internal temperatures and thus don't lose as much of their natural moisture.

    Kosher salt (called rock salt outside North America) and table salt are the most common salts used in brining.

    Sea salt can be used for flavour brining, but it tends to be quite expensive. If you have a cheap supply available, go for it; otherwise, stick to kosher salt or table salt.
    Some people say that kosher salt tastes "cleaner" than table salt because it does not contain the anti-caking agents added to table salt. Some people prefer non-iodized table salt over iodized table salt, believing that potassium iodide creates an off-taste. However, these flavour differences melt away when salt is diluted in large quantities of water in a brine. In an article about salt in the September/October 2002 issue of Cook's Illustrated magazine, taste testers felt that "all nine salts tasted pretty much the same" when dissolved in spring water and chicken stock, whether it was 36¢/pound iodized table salt, 66¢/pound kosher salt, or $36/pound Fleur de Sel de Camargue sea salt from France.

    Table salt and kosher salt do not have the same saltiness in a flavour brine when measured by volume—but they do when measured by weight.

    Table salt weighs about 10 ounces (285 grams) per cup, while kosher salt weighs 5-8 ounces (140-225 grams) per cup, depending on the brand. If using kosher salt in a brine, you must use more than a cup to achieve the same salt flavour you would get from a cup of table salt.

    The chart below shows equivalent amounts of table salt and the two most popular brands of kosher salt.


    Morton Kosher Salt weighs about 7.7 ounces (220 grams) per cup, making it three-fourths as strong as table salt. Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt weighs about 5 ounces (140 grams) per cup, making it half as strong as table salt.
    What if you're using something other than Morton Kosher or Diamond Crystal Kosher salt? Regardless of the type of salt—sea salt, pickling salt, and any other brand of kosher salt—just measure 10 ounces (285 grams) of it on a kitchen scale and you will have the equivalent of 1 cup of table salt.

    The length of time meat soaks in a flavour brine depends on the type of meat and its size, as well as the amount of salt used in the brine—the saltier the brine mixture, the shorter the soaking time. Here are common brining times found in recipes:


    It is possible to end up with meat that's too salty for your taste, so you may want to brine on the low end of the time range to see how it turns out. You can always brine longer next time, but there's no way to salvage a piece of meat that's been brined too long.

    When we roast brined cuts of meat (or whole birds) the procedure firstly is to brown the skin in a hot oven then to lower the temperature so we reduce the moisture loss in the roasted food. It is important to rest (loosely covered in foil) your roast so that the moisture can redistribute itself in the meat, it greatly adds to the final tenderness of the cooked product.


    For other roasting times for red meat, fish, seafood, nuts and seeds see the additional information at the end of the challenge write-up.

    Recipe Source:  The brine and roast chicken used are traditional recipes used in my family for many generations. The roast vegetable recipe is from my own family cookbook.   

    Blog-checking lines:  Audax of Audax Artifax was our November 2012 Daring Cooks’ host.  Audax has brought us into the world of brining and roasting, where we brined meat and vegetables and roasted them afterwards for a delicious meal!

    Posting Date:  November 14th, 2012

    Download the printable .pdf file HERE

    Note:  Important Information – brining must be done in the refrigerator the salt water will not stop the growth of germs and bacteria. Also brine cannot be reused always discard it after first use.  Make sure that the brine goes into the cavity of large chickens and turkeys when brining.  

    Mandatory Items: If you eat meat you must brine a meat (or seafood) cut and then roast (or BBQ) it. For non-meat eaters please brine some nuts or seeds then roast them or just roast a load of vegetables. I have included an extensive listing of poultry, seafood, nut etc. recipes in the additional information section at the end of the challenge feel free to use any of these recipes. Of course you can use your own favourite recipe if you wish.

    Variations allowed:  Any meat/seafood (or nuts/seeds) can be used for brining. And any vegetable can be used by non-meat eaters. 

    Preparation time:  Generally brining takes from ½ hour to 2 days. Roasting can take up to 2 hours for most pieces of meat, for large poultry 6-7 hours.

    Equipment required:
    non-reactive container for the brine
    roasting pans or trays

    Challenge Recipes
    I have included one all-purpose brine recipe, a roast chicken recipe and a roast vegetable recipe.

    Recipe One – All-Purpose Brine:

    Makes 4 cups of brine enough for about one pound (½ kg) of meat

    This is the brine to use for most cuts of meat and poultry that will be roasted.

    4 cups (1 litre) of cold water (see note 1)
    ¼ cup (70 gm) table salt or  ½ cup (70 gm) Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt
    optional 2 tablespoons (30 ml) (30 gm/1 oz) sugar (see note 2)
    optional 3-4 peppercorns, a few springs of herbs, a garlic clove or two, a knob of ginger etc. (see note 3)

    1. Heat 1 cup of water to boiling point add the salt and stir until all the salt has totally dissolved.
    2. Place in a non-reactive container (glass, plastic, stainless steel, zip-lock bags etc). Add the remaining water and stir. Make sure that all the salt has dissolved. Wait until the brine has reached room temperature.
    3. Add your cut of meat make sure that the meat is completely submerged (that is totally covered in the salty water) if need be you can weigh down the cut of meat with a clean plate (etc). If using plastic bags make sure that the meat is totally covered in brine and make sure that is bag is locked securely.
    4. Cover the container with plastic wrap to prevent odours contaminating the flavour brine or the brine leaking.
    5. Place the container into the refrigerator for the soaking time suggested by the guidelines above.
    6. If desired you can air-dry your poultry (usually over night) in the refrigerator if you wish to have crispy skin on your bird. It is best to pat dry your brined item (inside and out) with paper towels before cooking.
    7. Cook the brined item as directed by the roasting guidelines above.

    1. You can replace all or some of the water with a combination of wine, cider, beer, tea, coffee, fruit juice, most sauces (tomato, soya, BBQ, chilli etc), chicken stock, beef stock or fish stock. Be careful with acidic liquids like wine, cider, fruit juices which can turn your meat to mush if brined too long.
    2. A little sugar can help overcome the saltiness of the brine and helps to give a nice sheen to your piece of meat when roasted. You can use up to ¼ cup of sugar (use the lesser amount (2 tablespoons) for high temperature roasting since the brine can burn at high heats if you use too much sugar). You can use brown sugar or honey or other sweeteners if you wish.
    3. Any combination of spices and herbs can be used to flavour the brine. Garlic powder, onion powder and ginger powder are excellent to use for brining.


    Recipe Two – Roast Brined Chicken
    Serves four to six people

    1 whole chicken (organic is best) about 2 kg (4 ½ pounds)
    Enough brine (see recipe above) to cover the chicken in a large non-reactive container


    1. Brine the whole chicken in the flavoured brine in the refrigerator overnight about 6 hours can be overnight. (Make sure that every part of the chicken is covered in the brine you can weigh the bird down with a clean plate so it is completely submerged.
    2. Discard the brine and dry the skin and inside of the bird with paper towels.
    3. If you desire crispy skin then leave the bird on a rack for several hours or overnight in the refrigerator so the skin can dry.
    4. Preheat oven to moderately hot 220°C/425°F/gas 7.
    5. Roast for 15 minutes.
    6. Reduce oven to moderate 180°C/350°F/gas 4 and roast for a further 12-15 minutes per 450 grams/pound, You can check for done-ness the internal temperature should be 165°F/84°C, or the juices should run clear when you pierce the bird between the leg and thigh.  
    7. Rest for approximately 30 minutes covered loosely in foil.


    Recipe Three – Roast Vegetables
    Serves six people

    For best results use the largest shallow heavy-weight roasting pan you have and make sure that the vegetable are well spaced out in the pan and only form one layer, use two trays if necessary. A very hot oven 475°F/240°C/gas mark 9 is the key to roasting vegetables. Only toss the vegetables once or twice during cooking. For lighter-weight vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli or cut corn add it to the pan 15 minutes later, so it doesn't get too brown. Greens like kale and mustard greens are done in only 15 minutes. Root vegetables should be cut into cubes of about one-inch (2½ cm). You can add a small amount of apricot fruit spread or honey in the last 10 minutes to enhance the caramelising process. Fresh basil, rosemary and thyme are best when used fresh. Curry, paprika and turmeric are also great. Grated ginger or crushed garlic can also be added.  

    1 small butternut squash (pumpkin), cubed
    2 red bell peppers (capsicums), seeded and sliced
    1 orange sweet potato, peeled and cubed OR 3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced lengthways
    3 Yukon Gold (or any baking) potatoes, cubed
    1 red onion, quartered
    optional 1 fat clove of garlic, crushed
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
    2 tablespoon olive oil
    1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar or 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    Salt and pepper to taste

    1. Preheat oven to very hot 475°F/240°C/gas mark 9.
    2. In a large bowl, combine the squash, red bell peppers, sweet potato, red onion and Yukon Gold potatoes and the optional garlic if using.
    3. In a small bowl, stir together thyme, rosemary, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Toss with vegetables until they are coated. Spread evenly on a large roasting pan.
    4. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven, stirring one or twice, or until vegetables are cooked through and browned. If using a smaller tray the vegetables will take about 50-60 minutes.

    Roast Vegetables

    Brined and BBQed “seven-bone” steak (notice the shape of the bone in the steak)

    Brined and BBQed “wagyu” steak

    Brined and Roasted Peppered Ribeye Roast

    Additional Information:  Include links to videos or information that can be of assistance to members.
    Kosher salt versus table salt http://bbq.about.com/od/spicesseasonings/a/aa102007a.htm
    Everything you wanted to know about brining http://www.amazingribs.com/recipes/rubs_pastes_marinades_and_brines/zen_of_brines.html
    Brining Nuts and Seeds http://www.jwright44.com/recipes/BrinedNuts.htm
    How to brine pumpkin seeds http://www.ehow.com/how_8144233_brine-pumpkin-seeds.html
    How a quick brine improves the appearance of fish fillets http://www.cooksillustrated.com/howto/detail.asp?docid=36992
    Dry brining thick steaks (a great article) http://steamykitchen.com/163-how-to-turn-cheap-choice-steaks-into-gucci-prime-steaks.html
    Brining turkey a primer http://bbq.about.com/od/turkey/ss/aa110808a.htm
    Roast chicken ten ways http://culinaryarts.about.com/od/chickenturkeymore/tp/roastchixtenways.htm
    Cooking a turkey (many articles) http://culinaryarts.about.com/od/chickenturkeymore/tp/Cooking-A-Turkey.htm
    To roast a turkey http://culinaryarts.about.com/od/chickenturkeymore/r/Roast-Turkey-Recipe.htm
    Roasting guidelines for red meat roasts http://www.donaldrussell.com/game-technique?ms=tab5 Jamie Oliver's Roast Potato, parsnips and carrot recipe http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/vegetarian-recipes/roast-potatoes-parsnips-carrots 
    Jamie Oliver's Perfect Roast Potato recipe http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/vegetarian-recipes/perfect-roast-potatoes
    Delia Smith's Roast Potato recipe http://www.deliaonline.com/how-to-cook/fruit-and-vegetables/how-to-roast-potatoes.html
    How to brine fish http://www.ehow.com/how_5963061_brine-fish-before-cooking.html
    Vegetable Roasting Guide http://www.eatingwell.com/healthy_cooking/healthy_cooking_101/shopping_cooking_guides/vegetable_roasting_guide
    How to cook a steak to perfection http://howto.yellow.co.nz/food-drink/cooking-and-baking/how-to-cook-steak/
    How to cook a steak (using American cuts of meat) http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-cook-the-perfect-steak/

    The Daring Kitchen and its members in no way suggest we are medical professionals and therefore are NOT responsible for any error in reporting of “alternate baking/cooking”.  If you have issues with digesting gluten, then it is YOUR responsibility to research the ingredient before using it.  If you have allergies, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are lactose intolerant, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are vegetarian or vegan, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. The responsibility is YOURS regardless of what health issue you’re dealing with. Please consult your physician with any questions before using an ingredient you are not familiar with.  Thank you! :)
              December 2011 Daring Cooks' Challenge - Steamed Buns        
    December 2011 Daring Cooks' Challenge - Yum Char Steam buns and baked buns

    This month's challenge was a beauty - steam buns and baked  - something that I love having at yum char (dim sum) so I was looking forward to the results. And WOW what stunning results I have to say the steamed and baked bun dough are perfection itself. The steamed/baked bun dough is extra soft, moist and so delicate I LOVED them. And the marinade for the pork is so delicious. Our hostess Sara has done a marvellous job on this challenge. Thank you so much Sara for all the work you did on this challenge.       

    Recipe Source: I looked at quite a few blogs and various websites as well as referring to various cook books. Through trial and error my recipes are a slight variation. My recipe for marinade using maltose was based on Blue Apocalypse's recipe. My char sui bao filling variations was based on quite a few various sites I visited, one of those was Chinatown Connection which I used the dough recipe for the steamed buns.

    Blog-checking lines: Our Daring Cooks’ December 2011 hostess is Sara from Belly Rumbles! Sara chose awesome Char Sui Bao as our challenge, where we made the buns, Char Sui, and filling from scratch – delicious!

    Click here for a PDF of the recipes.
    Savoury chicken tofu bao steam buns

    This is one of the easiest and most delicious challenges so far for me, I never would of tried this so another fabulous recipe to add to my regular rotation. Thank you so much Sara for the recipes.

    Well what can I say except …. perfection … The steam bun recipe is perfect every stage of the process was effortless. The dough was a dream to work with, the kneaded dough (about 8 minutes) expanded three times in an hour, it looked so smooth and shiny and it felt so soft, slightly tacky and elastic. The dough rolled out without flour using a rolling pin. I used 1½ tablespoons of filling for each 55 gram (2 ounce) dough round that was about 7 cm (2-3/4 inch) diameter and about 5 mm (1/5 inch) thick.  Sealing of the filled dough ball was easy just press the two edges together and gather the edges and twist together to seal the bun. The balls expand dramatically in the streamer so leave a lot of space between the uncooked buns. And the taste was spot-on a delicious contrast of the salty, spicy, sweet, sour, bitter and savoury filling with the super soft and moist bun. These steamed buns were even better (better shaped with a much better tasting filling also the bun bread was much softer with a lovely moistness) than the ones in my favourite yum cha (dim sum) restaurant, these home-made buns cost about 15 cents each to make as compared to $1.50 in the restaurant. The buns were super soft and the filling was spicy and moist, and the ratio of dough to filling was exactly right. Everything was perfect I really love this recipe. I even loved the shape of the steamed buns so round and smooth.

    I located some bun flour in the Asian shop but I decided I didn't want to use chlorinated (bleached) flour so I used a finely milled "OO" Italian bread flour that was naturally very white. In Australia it is almost impossible to find bleached flour except in Asian shops.  

    Since my oven is still out I had to the do the steamed bun recipe (which is what I wanted anyway), for the filling I used chopped chicken leg meat (leftovers from the night before) and home-made overnight marinated (hoisin, rice wine and chilli mushroom soya sauce) savoury tofu as the protein source then I added shallots, fresh chillies, chilli powder, Kepas Manis- (Sweet soya Sauce), home made tomato sauce, rice wine, soya sauce, fish sauce, hoisin, sugar, fresh lime juice, smoked paprika, lots of Szechuan pepper, ginger, garlic, sesame oil and some shredded lime leaves super yum yum. I thickened the filling with corn flour until it was almost a paste. I really liked how the filling gleamed with vibrant colours and on tasting the filling it was packed with a punchy flavour profile real yummy.

    I made a half batch (10 buns) perfect for 4 people, total cost about $1.50.

    The finished bun had the perfect ratio of dough to filling, also I got an even layer of bread covering the filling (I was very pleased about the look of the interior) also notice the perfect bread texture of the bun layer so soft and moist

    The 55 gram (2 ounce) dough balls waiting to be rolled out and filled

    Savoury chicken tofu filling gleaming with unctuous deliciousness

    The 1½ tablespoon of filling in the centre of the round waiting to be formed into a bun

    The un-steamed buns

    The finished steam buns notice how much they expand in the streamer and the fabulous shape they have

    Close-up of the steamed bun

    Hints and tips
    1. Knead the dough until its pliable about 8-10 minutes and let the dough raise until it has doubled (or more) in volume.
    2. The buns expand a lot when steamed so leave a lot of room I did a batch of three and they expanded even more than the ones in the photo! since they had room to really grow. Remember to use parchment paper for the bases of the buns this makes removing the buns very easy.
    3. I used plain "OO" flour (11.5% protein) which is a finely milled flour which produces very soft textured pastries and breads.
    4. I left out the sugar in the dough since the filling had the correct balance of hot/spicy/sweet/sour and umami (savoury).
    5. The filling should be at room temperature (or fridge temperature) since a hot filling will cook the dough.
    6. Seal the edges well or the filling will leak out while steaming.
    7. Make the filling very flavoursome so a little goes a long way.
    8. One thing I did notice was that after about 8 minutes the buns had expanded to maximum size with a beautiful smooth surface but after 12 minutes of steaming the buns had got a little smaller with a slightly roughen surface. So next time I will steam them for about 9 minutes.
    9. Follow the rolling out instructions as provided they really do work. That is leave the centre of the dough round a little thicker than the edges so when the roll expands the top will not tear open.

    Cantonese Hot Dog Buns

    At last my oven is working again!

    I thought I would do baked hot dog buns, I charred-grilled good quality organic hot dogs using the challenge recipe for the marinade. When making the buns I added extra caramelised onions, tomato sauce and mustard along with the central hot dog. The baked bun recipe provides enough dough for six buns. I really love how the hot dog and its relishes are all contained in the bun. The sweetness of the buns contrasts well with the salty/savoury filling. These are really delicious, an interesting version of the traditional open hot dog bun. My tasters were delighted with this concept. And they taste great cold also, I think I will add these to my picnic food rotation from now on.

    I have posted this photo to yeastspotting .

              Oct 2011 Daring Bakers Challenge - Povitica        
    A tale of two povitica loaves

    This month's challenge was to make povitica (a type of nut roll.

    Blog-checking lines: The Daring Baker’s October 2011 challenge was Povitica, hosted by Jenni of The Gingered Whisk. Povitica is a traditional Eastern European Dessert Bread that is as lovely to look at as it is to eat!

    This is my first time ever making this sort of recipe so I had absolutely no idea what to expect from the recipe. Well after doing some interesting internet research and ringing a pastry chef mate of mine whose mum is from Croatia and another friend's mum who is from Poland. I have some (little) understanding of the process and what to expect.

    When comparing my notes with the information from my friends and their mums I found that povitica (or nut rolls) seems to be made by two slightly different methods that lead to two very dissimilar results; it seems that the “Northern European“ version (my name) is dense and moist like a firm bread-and-butter pudding, while the “Southern European” version is a well risen roll slightly less dense than the Northern version.

    One major difference between the two versions is an hour of rising time before the final baking. Our challenge recipe only has ¼ hour of rising time before the final baking like a lot of Northern recipes while a typical Southern recipe has an hour of rising time before the final bake.

    During my internet research I found that there are other differences; the Northern version uses a soft dough that is rolled out fairly thickly while the filling has a firmish consistency, while the Southern version uses a firmer dough that is rolled out very thinly while its filling has a consistency of thick honey. Since I was making two loaves (½ batch) anyway I thought I would do one loaf using the challenge instructions (which are very Northern) and do the other loaf using the Southern method. For both versions you make the dough layer as thin as possible.

    A (Northern) povitica is meant to be dense and moist, it is important not to let the shaped roll rise too much before baking (in our challenge recipe you only let it rest for 15 minutes) in the other version you let the unbaked roll rise until doubled in volume then bake it.

    I found that if you refrigerate the loaf until cold, it will slice thinly and cleanly, remember to serve it at room temperature. Also let the povitica rest for a few hours (a day is better) before cutting it this will help it set better so it can be sliced cleanly.

    The biggest tip - If you find the dough is too springy let it rest.

    Uhmmm, I don't know why but every stage of this recipe was an uphill battle.I used “00” soft flour (finely milled white flour 8% protein) for the recipe since I had it to hand and I thought it would make the stretching of the dough easier since “lower gluten” means “easier handling”.

    For the nut filling I used about 300 grams (10½ ounces) walnuts and 250 grams (9 ounces) of mixed nuts, also I added 4 tablespoons of cocoa powder I wanted a chocolate hit from the Povitica. I used ¾ cup of white sugar and ¼ cup of dark brown sugar in the filling. And I used an unsalted “European” styled butter 87% fat since it had to used.

    Dough – Firstly the size of the dough is amazing when you stretch it out, you will need to do it on a large table with a floured tablecloth. I found that the dough was very very hard to stretch it wanted to go back to its original shape that is every time I rolled it or stretched it out it would spring right back. From experience I know what to do in this situation I let the partially stretched out dough rest for about 15 minutes covered in plastic so the gluten strands in the dough would relax so making stretching a lot easier so after resting the dough I then proceeded to make a very thin layer of it … that is … after a lot of time doing guarded stretching and gentle man-handling … finally … I could see magazine print through the dough but this process took about 45 minutes. I think the problem was that I added too much flour while forming the dough, next time I will just have the dough a little tacky which will make it easier to stretch out. Also I will add ½ teaspoon lemon juice (for a ¼ batch) next time since the acidity helps to tenderise the dough so making it easier to stretch out. The second dough was a lot easier to roll out since by this time it had a lot more resting than the first dough it only took 15 minutes to roll out to phyllo (filo) sheet thinness. Looking back I should of added about 3 tablespoons of milk to get the correct consistency.

    Filling - Firstly the filling seems like a huge amount but you need it all for the ½ batch its volume is almost 1 litres almost 4 cups. I found that the filling was much too stiff to spread out (I was using very dry nuts that could of been the problem?) on the thin dough layer without tearing it I had to add 4 tablespoons of warm milk and micro-wave to get it to the right consistency (like very thick honey). It is best to place tablespoon dollops of the filling evenly over the dough then spread these dollops evenly across the thin dough. After 20 minutes! of careful and methodical spreading the nut filling it was done. Of course the second version was a breeze to spread again I think resting time really helps the nut filling with spreading it over the thin dough sheet.I trimmed the edges and placed it into the baking pan such that the roll was coiled on itself I egg washed just after forming the unbaked loaf and once again just before baking.

    I had given away for the long weekend my baking pans to a friend so I used my high loaf tin.I let one loaf rest for 15 mins then I baked it and the other loaf I let rise until doubled in volume then I bake it both were baked the same way (same temperatures and times). I'm sure that there is nothing wrong with the recipe I think I didn't let the dough rest enough for the first version and I added too much flour at the start.I have to say after all the troubles they both looked good, the loaf using the challenge instructions expanded about x2, the other version expanded about x2½ both had great colour and the crust dough layer for both was very thin so thin you could see the nut filling through it. And the colour was great so brown and shiny. Since the final baked loaf rises so much take this into account when you are shaping the loaf into the baking pan. I had a little trouble getting it out of the pan, so I recommend using parchment paper or butter and flour your baking pan well.

    The dough starting to be mixed notice the foamy yeast mixture

    How to tell if your dough is kneaded enough if you poke an indentation into the dough it should spring back I realise now that I should of added more liquid it should be tacky Photobucket

    The huge amount of nut filling I used my food processor to make it this is the first time I used the machine since I bought it two years LOL LOL ago in this instance I thought it was worth the effort to clean the machine after the task

    Stretching the dough to size … a pain to do in every sense of the word

    The baked Northern povitica

    The southern povitica

    If you want to do the recipe over two days I would do the nut filling and the challenge recipe up to step 7. that is make the dough and let it rise overnight in the refrigerator. Then the next day return the dough to room temperature (a couple of hours) and make the povitica as per the recipe. This sort of recipe freezes very well, freeze the baked loaf and thaw in the fridge overnight loosely covered in paper towels then cover in plastic wrap this stop the povitica from becoming soggy from condensation.

    The verdict – the challenge (Northern) povitica is a really delicious nut roll with a very dramatic interior appearance, the texture of it is very similar to bread-and-butter pudding, very moist and 'firm-ish” to the tooth. While the “Southern” had great height it was a lot lighter in texture than the challenge recipe version still good. But I liked the challenge version much more the interior looked better and tasted better also. Overall I was very pleased though it was a frustrating process for the first version, though the second version was a breeze.

    Comparison of the two loaves – on the left is the challenge version (which I call Northern) and on the right is the Southern version. As you can see very different looking results.

    Tips and hints (some of these are from the other bakers' experiences with this recipe I will add extra tips and hints during the month when others have posted their results)
    1. It is very important to get the correct consistency for the dough and the nut filling if you do the process is a breeze. Remember when it comes to making bread -- recipes are guidelines, since flour absorbs moisture from the air so it is not unusual to add extra liquid or flour to get the correct consistency for the dough (in our case it should be slightly sticky) and depending on how old the nuts are and how the nuts are ground (this is highly variable for each baker) determines how the nuts absorb the liquid so again look at the consistency and adjust the liquid for the nut filling you want it to be like thick honey. I think this is the real lesson of this challenge, don't be afraid to adjust the liquid amounts to suit what you find in front of you in the mixing bowl!
    2. Use plain (all purpose) flour. Use the flour sparingly when you mix the initial dough, it should be sticky don't be afraid to add liquid to get the correct consistency if you used too much flour. When you start mixing the dough it looks like that there isn't enough flour avoid adding any extra at this stage. It is best to mix the dough up (reserving some of the flour) and really give it a good working over it will be sticky (slap it down on the counter a few times and use a scraper to scoop it off the counter and knead it hard) it will be become less sticky while you knead it, that way you will use the least amount of flour.
    3. Let the dough rise then punch it down and let it rest until it's pliable, if it is too springy let it rest longer.
    4. Always check if your nuts are fresh and are not bitter tasting, ground nuts in a packet easily can be a year old. Fresh nuts give the best result leading to a lovely moist filling. Grind or process the nuts very finely if the nut pieces are too large they will break and tear the dough layer when you roll it up.
    5. The consistency of the nut filling is like thick honey don't be afraid to add some liquid to get the correct consistency, micro-waving really helps make it spreadable.
    6. The amount of time you let the roll rise just before baking leads to different results for the final baked povitica.
    7. Roll up the povitica fairly tightly (using the floured sheet as your guide) so the final baked loaf will not fall apart and the layers will have a good pattern with no voids between the layers.
    8. To check if the loaf is ready lightly knock the top of the roll it should sound hollow, or insert a skewer (or small thin knife) into the loaf for a slow count of three it should come out dryish and feel warmish if the skewer is wet or feels cool bake for a longer time don't over-bake since the filling will dry out making the final loaf dry so making the layers fall apart when the roll is cut into slices.
    9. Leave the roll in the tin until it has cooled this helps firm it up so the roll will not collapse when you take it out of the pan recall the loaf weighs over 1 kg (2 lbs).
    10. Let the roll rest for a few hours (better for a day) until completely cooled and set before cutting, if you refrigerate the loaf it will cut thinly and cleanly without crumbs, remember to serve the slices at room temperature. Makes great toast or even better French toast yum yum.
    11. The loaf gets better and better the longer it matures in the refrigerator.

    A few more tips and hints from Wolf who has made povitica every Christmas for many years, I put these here so they can be found easily by the forum members
    A. Don't spread the filling right to the edges of the dough. You want to stay within at least 1/2 inch of the sides. This way, you can seal the filling inside and won't have leakage.
    B. I use a stoneware bread pan to bake mine in. The one in the photo had the ends tucked underneath to the center, so it presented a smooth top. It was also rolled to the center from BOTH ends. That's how I got 4 distinct swirls. (See her exquisite povitica here)
    C. Definitely cool the loaf in whatever you bake it in, until you can handle it with your bare hands, before turning it out onto a cooling rack to finish cooling. It slices cleaner when completely cooled or refrigerated.
    D. Roll the dough tighter than you think you need to. Yes, some filling will squeeze out the ends, but you'll get a neater swirl in the center, less voids and gaps and it'll stay together better, as well as make it a nicer sliced bread for toasting or even french toast- which is awesome with this type of bread.
    E. It will freeze well, especially if well wrapped- I've done one upwards of a month before. It does ship very well- I ship one loaf to my parents every Christmas and one to my In Laws, my recipe makes 3 full sized loaves and will last upwards of a week on the counter at room temp. - if it lasts that long in your house }:P

    Wolf graciously included instructions to obtain her exquisite swirl patterned povitica for the method.

    I have drawn some diagrams of the method

    The stretched out dough layer covered with filling

    Then roll each long edge to the center thus forming two swirls

    Then take each end and fold them towards the middle of the roll (the brown line is where the ends finish up when folded) thus forming a double height roll

    Then turn the loaf over and place into the pan so the seam ends are at the bottom of the pan which means the top is smooth and has no cut seams or edges

    Txfarmer a very experienced and superb baker posted some great tips also
    1) At first glance, since we need to stretch the dough to very thin, it seems to make sense not to knead the dough too much. Kneading == strong gluten == too elastic == hard to roll out/stretch. However, what we really need is a dough that can be stretched out WITHOUT BREAKING, that actually requires the dough to have strong gluten. I make breads a lot, from my past experience, I think the solution here is to have a wet (as wet as one can handle) dough that's kneaded fairly thoroughly. Wet doughs are more extensible, despite being kneaded very well. I kept the dough so wet that it was sticking to the mixer bowl at the end of kneading, however, a large transparent strong "windowpane" can be stretched out, which is the indication of strong gluten.
    2) With the right dough, stretching out was easy, < 10mins of work. The dough was tough enough not to break, yet wet enough to be stretched out. I made quarter-size (i.e. one loaf), but the dough was stretched out to cover almost all of my coffee table. The tip of using a sheet underneath was very good. I used a plastic table cloth (lightly floured). In fact the dough was stretched so large that the filling was barely enough to cover it. 3) I proofed the dough longer than the formula suggests to get more volume, and the loaf less dense. I understand the authentic version is quite dense, but my family tends to like lighter fluffier loaves when it comes to sweet breads. 4) Since the dough was kneaded well, the final loaf had very good volume. Rose well above the rim in my 8.5X4.5inch pan. Poviticas for morning tea
    I needed to make a treat for nibbles at a morning tea. So I decided to make two poviticas – one povitica filled with tea infused figs and almonds and the other filled with coffee infused dates, cocoa and hazelnuts. I wanted a strong contrast in the flavours between the two loaves. The tea/fig/almond filling was a lovely 'camel' colour its flavour was like caramelised fig on the palate each element was present I really liked how the tea melded with the fig and the almond this povitica was additively GOOD with tea. The other loaf had a very strong coffee/date base flavour while the cocoa and hazelnut added a lovely lingering after taste the winner for me. I was very very pleased with the filling flavours and how they tasted with tea or coffee. (Apart from the coffee infused date povitica looking like a baked chicken LOL LOL.) Those loaves were moist, very dense and incredible rich, perfect (when thinly sliced) with a cuppa. Feeds a lot of people! There were like very moist, ultra dense fruit cakes I thought hence the reason for very thin slices to be served with your choice of tea or coffee. Not recommended for children too much caffeine!

    For this attempt I was careful about adding the flour and made sure that the finished dough was a little sticky, this time I found it a lot easier to stretch though the consistency wasn't exactly right I felt and I need to better understand how do to the spreading out of the filling and I haven't still mastered how the amount of filling as compared to the amount of stretched out dough needs to be in ratio, and also how to form a good pattern of swirls needs some thought so a lot of little things to practice for me over the next few weeks.

    I will give this recipe another go since I want to perfect the process (making pretty interior patterns and getting the texture right) since these loaves would be a great Christmas present.

    Tea infused figs with almonds

    Coffee infused dates with hazelnuts (the finished loaf looks a little like a roasted chicken LOL)

    Tea infused figs with almonds
    375 grams (13 ounces) finely chopped dried figs
    ¾ cup of very very strong tea (I used 4 teabags of Earl Grey tea)
    ¾ cup of vanilla sugar
    1 cup (120 grams) (4¼ ounces) ground almonds
    2 large egg
    ½ cup clotting cream (66% butter fat)
    Method – combine all the ingredients (except eggs and cream) in a small saucepan bring to boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Beat eggs and pour slowly into mixture, stirring constantly and simmer gently 5 minutes more. This mixture scorches easily, so heat must not be too high. Cool mixture add clotting cream. Place filling into a container and let rest overnight before using.

    Coffee infused dates with hazelnuts
    375 grams (13 ounces) of finely chopped dried dates
    ¼ cup (55 gm) (2 oz) unsalted butter, fried until nut brown
    ¾ cup of very very strong coffee (I used 1½ tablespoons of instant coffee)
    ½ cup of dark brown sugar
    ¼ cup of cocoa powder
    1 cup (120 grams) (4¼ ounces) ground hazelnuts
    2 large egg
    ¼ cup clotting cream (66% butter fat)
    Method – combine all the ingredients (expect eggs and cream) in a small saucepan bring to boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Beat eggs and pour slowly into mixture, stirring constantly and simmer gently 5 minutes more. This mixture scorches easily, so heat must not be too high. Cool mixture add clotting cream. Place filling into a container and let rest overnight before using.
              Sep 2011 DB challenge - Croissants        

    I have placed the first croissants into yeastspotting http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

    Blog-checking lines: The Daring Bakers go retro this month! Thanks to one of our very talented non-blogging members, Sarah, the Daring Bakers were challenged to make Croissants using a recipe from the Queen of French Cooking, none other than Julia Child!

    Recipe Source: Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume Two. Julia Child and Simone Beck.

    See here for a PDF of the recipe (it has 57 steps LOL LOL)

    Wow this month's challenge was so interesting making croissants, croissant pastry is intriguing it is a mixture of "puff pastry" and "yeast bread dough", technically croissant pastry is a laminated dough, that is you basically make a yeast bread dough and then you make a butter puff pastry with it, using four turns and folds. Very interesting.

    We were very lucky to have a wonderful member txfarmer she had experimented with croissant over a two month period and her postings in the "The Fresh Loaf" web site were invaluable well worth a look see these links link one, link two and link three.

    1457 layered sourdough croissants

    Croissants making is all about technique and practice practice and more practice.

    I have made croissants a large number of times so I thought I would push myself on this challenge. I wanted to try some new techniques and methods. So I did sourdough croissants using a HUGE amount of butter using six turns in as little time as possible.

    Luckily Sydney Australia is having perfect weather for making laminated dough cold cold and more cold. So I could do two turns (almost three!) every 45 mins (chilling the dough in the freezer between turns). The final proof took a long time.

    I had some very active sourdough dough on the rise ready to be shaped when the challenge was announced so I used that to make my croissant dough (sorry I didn't use the challenge recipe for this attempt). I used 500 grams of AP (plain) flour (Australian plain flour is about 10% protein) in the final pastry dough and a 500 gram butter-block (since I had to use up the butter today). Using a high ratio of flour to butter makes it much easier to make the laminations in the pastry. Since I have made laminated doughs before and I was using sourdough (which gives good structural strength to the crumb with plenty of tenderness) I did six 'letter' folds (which produces 728 layers of butter and 729 layers of dough or 1457 different layers in total!) and double egg-washed the croissants. Using sourdough makes for a very tender dough (much softer than normal bread dough). I had to chill the dough after each two turns for 45 mins.

    The croissants increase in volume about 3½ times. They smell fabulous when baking.

    A very long process, but well worth it.

    I was very pleased with these 'quick' croissants since the sourdough really helped tenderise the dough and the many turns seemed to work out fine and the HUGE amount of butter stayed in the rolls when baked so overall a very good result.

    My list of characteristics of a good croissant
    1. good layering of the butter and dough
    2. the exterior crust is deeply coloured all over, the crust should be shiny thin and crisp with a slight crackle (the crust should almost shatter) when bitten into
    3. the interior colour is even (slightly yellow or creamy white it depends on the colour of your butter) with an open crumb (lots of holes), the interior dough should be moist and soft with a 'pull' when your tear it apart, and the
    4. butter flavour should be strong but not overpowering.

    A Sunday article in “le Figaro magazine” referred to the nine pillars of pleasure (volupté) for appreciating a croissant. The author of the article asked two well-known Parisian pâtissiers, Pierre Hermé and Laurent Duchêne to “analyze what makes the heart of the croissant beat”

    The nine pillars of volupté (pleasure) from "le Figaro magazine" are:
    1. The layers (le feuilletage) – look for the layers, lots of space, not flat and smooth; crusty exterior, soft inside
    2. The soft interior (la mie) – is light and agreeably honeycombed. When you eat it, it should have crumbs. When you tear off the cornered end, the soft interior should resist a bit. It should not be doughy.
    3. What you hear (à l’oreille) – Ideally you should hear the crunch of the crust. It should crackle the whole while you are biting into it. As Pierre Hermé says: “you should hear the croissant suffer!” («On doit entendre la souffrance du croissant!»)
    4. What you taste (en bouche) – You should taste the amount of butter rather than the sugar. However, the subtle taste of salt is the crowning point of a good croissant.
    5. What makes a bad croissant (et un mauvais croissant?) – Look to see if the bottom of the croissant is whitish; it was not cooked long enough or was poorly baked. Is the croissant flat in appearance and doesn’t seem to breathe or is it oozing butter?
    6. The smell (l’odeur) – This can be a giveaway, if the croissant smells of yeast or the metal baking sheet. It should give off an agreeable smell of creamy butter.
    7. Shelf life (sa durée de vie) – The croissant has a very short shelf life: five or six hours; outside of this, it becomes stale. Don’t eat the croissant too hot, it loses its taste, its heart, it fades.
    8. The ingredients (les ingredients) – The choice of butter is first and foremost. Pierre Hermé uses Viron flour, fleur de sel de Guérande, butter from the Viette (Charente) region, course sugar and of course water. But, mineral water.
    9. The season (la saison) – Does the croissant have a season? From the end of October to the beginning of November (this is for the Northern Hemisphere) is not a good time to buy a croissant. At this point the wheat harvests are blended (the old with the newly harvested). The dough is more difficult to control.

    When ordering, ask for the croissant made with butter (croissant au buerre). And although winter might be the croissants’ most popular season, they are available all year round.

    The sourdough croissant dough has increased three times in volume, it is full of flavour and bubbles

    The sour dough punched down

    The butter block - I shape the butter block as perfectly as possible

    Locking-in the butter into the dough

    Use rubber bands on your rolling pin to get thin even layers in your laminated doughs

    After the first turn and fold (notice after the 1st turn & fold the dough is the same size as the butter block)

    Trimming the final croissant dough after six turns and fold - keeping the dough neat and even is essential

    Unbaked croissants

    Baked croissants

    Close up of the laminations in the overlapping sections

    Tips and hints
    1. One “letter” (also called a 'simple') fold (i.e folding the dough like a letter taking the top 2/3 of the way down and then taking the bottom 2/3 of the way up to form a rectangle), produces 2 layers of fat encased by 3 layers of dough, so two letter folds produces 6 layers of fat and 7 layers of dough, three letter folds produces 26 layers of fat and 27 layers of dough, four letter folds (typical of croissants) produces 80 layers of fat and 81 layers of dough (this type of pastry dough can increase in volume about three times when baked), five letter folds produces 242 layers of fat and 243 layers of dough and six letter folds (typical of puff pastry which can expand eight times in volume when baked) produces 728 layers of butter and 729 layers of dough that is 1457 different layers in total! (this type of pastry dough can increase in volume about eight times when baked)
    2. About the type of flour (low or high gluten) to use – I have checked a lot of websites and my extensive collection of cookery books and there seems to be two camps; the high gluten camp that uses bread flour (high gluten 13%+ protein), and the low(er) gluten camp that uses some (or all!) cake flour (low gluten about 8% protein). Oddly French recipes seem to about 3/4 bread and 1/4 cake on which flour to use. High gluten strengthens the structure of the bread but also toughens the crumb and can be hard to roll out, while low gluten gives a tender crumb but with compromised strength. In the end it is a juggling act between tenderness versus strength. Low gluten flour gives a light open textured crumb but there is a tendency for the croissant structure to collapse, while high gluten flour gives a tighter crumb more like normal bread but the croissant structure is much firmer. My 10% protein sour dough produced a light open crumb with good volume increase I think this was due to the chemical/baking effects of the sour dough and not so much about the amount of protein in the flour. I think a lot of the bread flour recipes are really for machines and not the home baker.
    3. Sour dough takes a very long time to proof as compared to normal bread.
    4. Here are the major pitfalls for this recipe; warm butter, warm dough, the butter and dough aren't the same consistency which encourages the butter to run out or crack in the laminated layers, untrimmed laminations, uneven final sheeting (the layers of alternating dough and butter should be even).
    5. Make paper cut-outs (templates) of the rolled-out dough shapes, the butter-block and the croissants the templates really makes rolling out the dough so much faster and easier.
    6. I like to add ½ teaspoon of fresh lemon (or lime) juice per three of cups flour, the acid helps to tenderise the dough's gluten, also the juice intensifies the taste of the butter I feel. Be careful too much lemon juice will result in a dough that is too soft therefore hindering oven spring (the amount the dough springs up in the first few minutes of baking).
    7. Use a “French” rolling pin if possible (French rolling pins have no handles and are the same width over the length of the pin they look like a large dowel length) or a very long traditionally shaped rolling pin.
    8. Try to use the best quality butter you can afford for your croissants. “European” butter styles have a lower water content (<10%) than normal supermarket brands (about 16%) also top quality brands of butter are more pliable (than low cost butters) when cold. That is low-water/ high-fat content butters make for the highest quality croissants. In France you can buy 'dry' butter (i.e. extra low water content and extra high fat content butter) especially made to be used in croissant making. I used a Belgian butter called Lurpak $16/kg. I was surprised how easy the dough was to layer with the butter block. After each turn and fold I let the dough rest in the refrigerator for about 1½ hours. I have found Aldi's unsalted butter about $6/kg works fine. You can buy butter sheets (butter spread out in thin sheets wrapped in plastic) these make the layering of the dough and butter a lot easier, but they are hard to find try good foodie shops and suppliers to major hotels and restaurants.
    9. Most recipes use 45% butter to flour weight I find for the home cook using a lot more butter makes the rolling and turning much easier, increase the butter to about 55-65% flour weight. I did 100% butter to flour weight since I needed to use the butter up and I wanted to experiment what would happen. No leakage at all since I proved the rolls for a long time!
    10. To use unsalted or salted butter? I like using unsalted butters since they have a higher fat content than salted butter and I feel that unsalted butter tastes better. But I think it is a matter of personal preference.
    11. The butter block has to be made cold and kept cold. You want pliability, NOT softness.
    12. The optimal temperature for the butter is 60°F (15½°C) at this temperature it will be pliable and not break into pieces when rolled out.
    13. Make sure that the butter block and the dough have the same consistency especially for the first 2 turns, leave the cold dough out on the counter until the butter is the same consistency as the dough. A dough that is softer than the butter will be forced to the sides by the firmer butter; a dough that is too firm will force the butter out the sides.
    14. After four turns the dough is beautiful and silky.
    15. Remember to let the dough warm up a little (a few minutes) if it has been in the fridge for a long time (over 2 hours) recall you want the butter and the dough to be the same consistency when you roll out the laminated dough.
    16. Laminating takes a little practice. Mainly, using the rolling pin as evenly as possible for the turns, keeping the dough rectangle so that the laminations are tight and even, and finally trimming the ends.
    17. When rolling out the dough. Always roll in a square or rectangular shape regardless of the final shape. Roll in one direction. Begin with your pin on the edge closest to you and roll toward the far end; do not roll sideways. Do not press down when rolling or the layers may stick together and the recipe will not rise properly. Decrease the pressure as you roll toward the edges to avoid flattening them and compressing the layers. Evenness of rolling is essential so there is even rising. The upper part tends to lengthen faster than the bottom, so turn the dough over occasionally to keep the seams and edges even. Make sure you place the dough so when you resume rolling you do so over the previous rolls and in the same direction. Be neat. Don’t roll it side-ways. Always roll it length-wise. Use as little flour as possible when rolling out the dough so that the dough doesn’t get too tough. Roll it thinly and evenly so that the layers are even when baked. The straighter your rolled dough, the more uniform your puff pastry.
    18. Make sure the corners are at a 90-degree angle. This is so the layers are lined up properly for the greatest puff during baking.
    19. Rolling to 1/8-inch thick is good for most pastries. For tartlets, roll to 1/16-inch thick, and for larger pastries, such as the Gateau St.-Honore, 3/16-inch thick.
    20. Unless you are a professional puff pastry maker and have a home sheeter (a machine that rolls out pastry sheets – a dream of mine) then limit the number of turns for croissants to a maximum of four. For the normal home baker (three or) four turns will produce the maximum lift, further turns will result in smaller and denser croissants. I did six turns since I was using sourdough and I have been making laminated doughs for a long time and can make a good dough with even thin layers that are aligned very closely to 90° to the dough edges. Usually I do four turns but since this is a challenge I thought I would do six to experiment.
    21. If some butter escapes you can add a very thin layer of flour to the butter and proceed as normal.
    22. You can place thick rubber bands on the edges of the rolling pin the bands make rolling out even thickness dough's much easier. Or you can use flat thin bars of metal laid out on the table as your rolling guide for your rolling pin.
    23. Trim the parts that do not expose laminations (like the long edges of the dough.) You do not want 'dead' areas in the laminated dough these dead areas will not rise and bake correctly, so be neat and keep straight edges on your dough when rolling it out. DO NOT put the trimmings in the dough
    24. Always brush off the excess flour after turning and folding, this unincorporated flour can cause toughness in your final baked croissants.
    25. Get the dough out and back into the fridge as soon as possible between lamination steps.
    26. Proving the shaped croissants takes much longer than normal bread...2 to 2.5 hours (even longer if using sour dough) until they are fully puffed-up and jiggle when they are done. It is this final proofing that produces large light puffy croissants and stop the butter from running out of the rolls.
    27. The melting point of butter is very low (90°F/32°C) and it has a spreading consistency at room temperature. So if the ambient room temperature is well above 77°F/25°C proof your unbaked croissants in the fridge (this will take about 8-10 hours).
    28. Egg washing immediately after forming the croissants keeps them moist! Egg wash again just before baking. This double egg washing produces a lovely deep shine on your croissants.
    29. Remember to egg wash the tops of the laminated dough (not the edges that have the laminations) in the shaped croissant, since the egg wash will stop the croissant laminations from rising correctly.
    30. Remember the croissants will increase in volume about three times so arrange the unbaked rolls on your baking sheet with plenty of space between them.
    31. Rotate your baking sheets half way through the bake.
    32. Add a little steam (an ice cube or two in a shallow pan in the oven with the croissants is fine) when starting to bake the croissants this moisture produces thin crisp crusts.
    33. The oven temperature is very hot (475°F/240°C/gas mark 9) for this recipe I baked mine for 15 mins and the colour on the croissants was perfect. Remember to preheat the oven for about 20 mins at the correct baking temperature, this long preheating ensures marvellous oven spring and a deep colour on the croissants.
    34. The colour of the croissant should be brown all over even where the pastry overlaps.
    35. If after 15 mins in the very hot oven you need more colour reduce the temperature to moderately hot (400°F/200°C/gas mark 6) and bake until you get the colour you want.
    36. To see some WONDERFUL croissants (with loads of tips and hints) see these links from Txfarmer's postings in The Fresh Loaf website. http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/24534/double-chocolate-croissant-sourdough-starter-can-bread-be-mysteries-and-sexy http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/22677/poolish-croissant-pursuit-perfection http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/23342/croissant-sourdough-starter-txfarmer-vs-tx-summer

    Butter Croissants
    I did another batch using the new updated challenge recipe, I used plain (AP) flour (10% protein), I double egg-washed the rolls and I made sure that I proofed them until soft and wobbly (about 4 hours since it was cold here). The interior crumb was a marvellous honeycomb.

    A nice honeycomb pattern

    A crisp shiny crust yum yum

    Comparison of the crumb from my first batch (sourdough croissants) and this batch, the final proofing is very important to get a light airy interior in your croissants.

    Pain Au Chocolat Noir
    The shiny lacquered crusts of the pain au chocolat noir

    I made up some dark chocolate dough (by replacing 4 tablespoons of flour with dark Dutch processed cocoa powder in the challenge recipe) to make pain au chocolat noir, I used dark chocolate chips in the rolls to give an extra chocolate hit. This shape for the rolls minimizes waste and also you can place some extra chocolate along the entire width of the pastry. These where a smash hit with my guests also I really like these a lot not too sweet with a great mouth feel, the best ones so far (it is hard to beat chocolate).

    The layered chocolate and butter layers in the croissant dough, this is after three turns and folds

    Loads of pain au chocolat noir

    Interior shot of the chocolate crumb and dark chocolate filling

    A small stack of pain au chocolat noir

    Cherry Ripe Croissant Bread Pudding
    I love how it looks like a lava explosion rippling with chocolate yum yum!

    I love the flavour of cherry ripe (that is a combination of cherry, coconut and chocolate) so I thought I would make a bread pudding from the 'leftover' chocolate croissants I had from yesterday. (To be honest they weren't leftover I stashed them away (LOL LOL) so I could make a bread pudding from them today.) This dessert is rich, decadent with a lusciousness that boarders on the sublime, and it looks so tempting and inviting. The topping is oozing with dark chocolate goodness while the interior is soft melt-in-your-mouth coconut egg yolk custard which is full of hidden ruby red treasures of cherries. Too good to share really this amount feeds 12 people with ice cream.

    Bread pudding is basically ripped stale buttered and jammed bread that is baked in an egg/milk/cream custard usually along with soaked dried fruit like raisins etc.

    So for this decadent croissant bread pudding I used this recipe

    The unbaked cherry ripe croissant bread pudding (this had soaked overnight)

    The baked croissant pudding

    Cherry Ripe Croissant Bread Pudding
    For each two medium-sized chocolate croissants ripped into 1 inch (2½ cm) inches pieces use; one cup of custard liquid (¼ cup coconut cream, ½ cup cream and ¼ cup milk) whisked with 2 egg yolks, and the filling ingredients of ¼ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup dried cherries soaked overnight in rum or cherry brandy or orange juice, ¼ cup dark chocolate chips. Line a baking dish with the ripped croissant pieces, add the custard liquid and the other ingredients stir gently. Cover with plastic and place a light weight on top and let soak for at least one hour (or overnight is better). Preheat an oven to moderate 180°C/350°F/gas 4, remove the plastic from the pudding add some more chocolate chips (do not add soaked fruit they will burn) and place the baking dish into a larger baking pan place enough boiling water to reach about half way up the pudding dish and bake for an hour. The centre should be slightly wobbly. Let cool to warm (about 45 minutes) and serve with vanilla ice cream. Marvellous warm but better at room temperature the next day.

    So oozy with deliciousness

    What to do with the left over trimmings of the croissant dough?

    After so many batches of croissants I have lots of trimmings, (a lot of long trimmings and short trimmings) so I thought I would share what I make these them. Scrolls are always good to make with the long lengths of trimmings, Danish pastries and pain au chocolat are great when you have a lot of shot trimmings just roll out and fill as normal.

    Scrolls made with the long lengths of trimmings - on the left the filling is soaked raisins and the other is filled with stewed apple pieces

    Danish pastry

    Crumb of the pain au chocolat roll
              Frontier Talk and the Industrial Revolution vs. Agrarian movement        
    So what was the original american frontier? It was considered the area between urbanized areas and wilderness. Many regard the original American frontier as a place where true freedom existed as westernization occured across this county, and those living in it had to be resourceful and promoted a spirit of self-reliance.

    This blog "New American Frontier" is named for this because these freedoms and openness are now somewhat limited- but we must strive to still keep a spirit of independence and self-reliance alive. We are told that we cannot take care of ourselves outside of consumerism and our governments ( both federal and state ).

    There is no reason we still cannot be self-reliant and live with less crap in our lives. I read an article recently about consumerism right before the stock market crash in the late 20's. Basically, most people lived an agrarian lifestyle where they met nearly all of their own needs by their land. During the 1830's and up to the 1920's people still produced most of what they needed themselves. The 1920's was a huge time for advertising success in business, and people starting buying. They never stopped. Today, consumerism is at an all time high, and so is our national debt. Most people don't have any sort of savings. Retirement for most in my generation (30 years old) looks bleak. Social Security isn't going to be there either. That's one reason I wanted to purchase my own land and attempt to live on it, good or bad.

    In 2003, people now spend 75% more on their mortgages than they did 30 years ago in the 70's based on the same income and what it would buy. The state and local governments want to strap us with more fees to build something than what it costs to build with our own hands and labor, or they want to fine us. This is really a tax. The greed of government knows no bounds.

    America's real problems today are core problems that will never be fixed overnight. We need people to spend less, and tell their kids that they can't have everything at wal-mart. I think that people need to re-evaluate themselves, their spending, and where it will lead. The agrarian lifestyle starts to look pretty good as gas prices, food and cost of living is increasing by the day- especially oil.

    We have pretty much parked our 1996 diesel suburban at this point except for towing (3/4 ton). We're now driving my 1/2 ton pickup extra cab and squeezing the kids to it instead for $4.00 per gallon gas and 19 mpg vs. 15 mpg at 5.10 per gallon here in California.
              Bright Lights, Big Post        
    Warning: This post is long. I won't apologize for it, but I don't expect you to read it. If you want, you could divide it up to before race day and after, though I think you'll miss the theme if you do. I don't even have it in the headline.
    Enjoy. I guess.

    My life feels like it began after I had kids.
    This is a cliche turned on its head (you see what I did there?) because it's not meant to be a caption for "The Family Circus." My life feels that way because of the way it seems to be rushing by without me getting so much as a glimpse of it. Time flies when you're having fun. It flies even more when you're too busy to have it.
    When Jayden was born six years ago, I began to notice that whole chunks out of the year just seemed to vanish. I distinctly remember three things. Finishing the 14ers, the first time I played online poker for money and Jayden's birth. The rest, even when Kate told me she was pregnant, is a smear. And then life seemed to get smooshed into globs of seasons without any kind of a calendar to mark it. It was hot, then cold, only we were inside most of the time, changing diapers and collapsing into bed. Vacations were the same every year, a trip to Kansas to see Kate's grandmother and my parents. We'd put the tree up at Christmas. Then we would take it down.
    The girls were born a couple years later, and I'll be damned if I can recall much of anything in that first year. I remember being tired.
    Time, by then, was indistinguishable. Songs I loved felt like they were released just weeks ago, and someone had to tell me it was a couple years ago. Metallica's "Death Magnetic," my favorite recent album, came out in 2008. That's a high school career ago.
    My high school career, those four years in high school, still feel like 20 to me. I can tell you what albums came out then and what I was doing every month in my life. I can point out the grocery store that let us buy beer and the other that almost had us arrested. I know all the movies.
    I was busy then, too, almost as busy as I am now. But I marked my life with moments. There were so many moments. There were moments in my life that I'll remember forever.
    I love my kids dearly, but when you're a parent, at least in the first six years I've done it, I've found myself so bent on surviving them, and life, and all the crap that comes in between, that it's easy to forget to have moments.
    There are a ton of milestones, but most of them are your kids', not your own, other than their births. And if you don't have anything to write down anything significant on the calendar, how do you know when it's time to turn the page?
    Which is the longest lede you'll ever read from me, in perhaps the longest blog post I'll ever write.
    Other than a few times in my life, say, Jayden's first day of Kindergarten or my first marathon, I had run out of moments. The #wpbt started to feel that way as well. Even those special trips sort of blurred together. And then I decided to run the Vegas Half Marathon.
    Well, we did.
    That's kind of the point.
    • • • 
    It's hard to explain what the #wpbt is to people, and so I treat it like Fight Club. You know the first rule of Fight Club, right? I followed it.
    My life is so different back home. I don't drink much, play poker much or even stay up past 10 p.m. much. When I had a 40th birthday surprise party, I didn't get drunk, to the crushing disappointment of one of my best friends.
    I also find it hard to explain to people why running has taken over my life. I hated it for so many years. I always thought it was because I had to shave my mountain climbing down to a nub after the kids were born, and I needed something to keep me motivated to stay active. But I've thought about this trip a lot the last few days, and I've come to two conclusions why both things mean a lot to me.
    The first is the milestones.
    The second is the people.
    • • •
    Sure, the roads were snowpacked Thursday morning, even icy in spots, but the thought of my plane being cancelled never occurred to me until I heard it announced over the loudspeaker in the small airport in Fort Collins.
    Running's taught me more than anything else how to deal with adversity. Climbing laid the groundwork, but when you're running, adversity is only a few steps behind. Cramps, side stitches, unplanned trips to the bathroom, hunger, thirst, cold, heat, dogs, wild animals, your balance, your sense of direction, nausea, black ice, injuries, 5 a.m. wake-ups, bad food, your GPS, a leaky Gatorade bottle, other runners and even your very breath (really, especially that) all conspire to screw you over, probably when you least expect it.
    Whatever running hasn't taught me how to handle, being a parent takes care of the rest, like dealing with puke and poop or a bad night's sleep.
    So I can handle just about any situation, and I was handling it. I was handling it like a motherfucker as I shuffled back to my car, until I heard the message that another flight wouldn't be available until Friday evening.
    I was going to miss half the fun after not being at #wpbt last year.
    I was instantly, totally crushed.
    I said so on Twitter.
    Then I started getting tweets back.
    I had to pull over my car to read and respond to all of them.
    They were offers to get me on another one-way flight using their miles.
    I can think on my feet when I'm a reporter, a runner or a climber, but in the rest of my life, I'm a planner. 
    It took me a moment to gather my thoughts.
    I didn't know how I'd get home, and I wasn't sure if I'd get a refund from this flight, and if I didn't, I'd have to suck it up and go Friday night. My head was swimming. Did I have time to get to Denver's airport? Could I still make it that Thursday night? Was it worth it? How much more money would it cost me?
    A small voice whispered to me. This is like the race you are about to run.
    I was home maybe five minutes. I called the airline and (woot!) and got a refund. I was packed, my bag was in the car, and I was ready to go.
    April's offer was the best. With her 25,000 miles, she could get me off the ground at 3 p.m. 
    Book it! I Tweeted, as I was on my way to the airport, in the car, with Christmas music blasting through the speakers. 
    She did. 
    First Class.
    For $75.
    It wasn't lost on me that this reminded me of two other times when people did something completely selfless and unexpected that required a sacrifice, and both those other times involved the same sense of community I got from climbing and get now from running. Once was just after the time a decade ago when I got trapped in a rock avalanche and barely escaped with my life. I was beaten up, bloodied and a bit broken, and I had a long way to go. Eight miles. A quarter-mile into the hike, someone offered me his hiking poles. I turned them down at first, until my Dad chased the guy down after I stumbled down the trail a couple times. I could not have made it without them. We returned them a week later.
    The second was during my first marathon, and I was at mile 20 when I got hit by severe cramps. People gave me their bananas, pretzels and drinks. I made it across.
    In both cases, these were adventures that people planned far in advance, and they brought that food and drink (and the poles) in case something bad happened to them. Instead, they risked their own well being to give them to me.
    April took time out of her day and gave me a shitload of airline miles just so I could get there Thursday night and have dinner with some bloggers.
    I bought her meal that night.
    • • •
    By now you're wondering why I decided to run the race. Or, most likely, you no longer care and have moved on to Angry Birds. I don't blame you.
    Still with me? Wow.
    A couple years ago (oh man, I'm REALLY trying your patience now, aren't I, I mean, how much exposition can one blog have), John, aka Bad Blood, wrote me, wondering how he could run a 10K in 48 minutes. It was for a bet. Rob, aka Gordon, aka um, G-Rob, was losing a bunch of weight, and Blood bet him some pounds against his time. 
    I knew Blood a bit, mostly because we both liked music that scared most people, but I was happy to help because, well, I love talking about running, probably way too much. So I put him on a plan, taught him how to run speed work and tempo runs, and he crushed the race. It was really fun. So when he wanted to do a half marathon, I helped him with that, too, and it turned out to be really, really fun. He got hooked on the running, and I got hooked on the help. We stayed in touch throughout the years.
    When Rock and Roll sent me an e-mail stating that the race would be held that night, I registered, not knowing, or caring, how it would work with #wpbt. I had a feeling John would want to do it too. He did.
    Only he had a surprise. Others were interested too.
    They were only interested at first. Brad, aka Otis, seemed especially nervous about it. I knew Brad a bit, too, as I had met him during a trip two years ago, while Steel Panther blasted in the background, and he was kind of a legend among the #wpbt, and he was a pretty darn good writer and was really supportive of my own writing, which, of course, meant a lot because I tend to write long, rambling sentences with a lot of commas.
    So, OK. I wrote him an email, explaining that a half marathon really, truly, honestly wasn't as hard as it sounded. At least the training wasn't. You didn't have to run all day, every day, while whipping yourself like a monk. Really, for what you get out of the race, it's a pretty good deal.
    John just told Brad to pull his head out of his ass and sign up.
    I'm not sure what worked more.
    G-Rob, fresh off losing 100 pounds, which would leave me weighing about as much as my 6-year-old, and Doc signed up as well. We had a group.
    I volunteered to help right away just like I helped John. Part of me likes being the guru. But mostly I do it because I remembered when I first started running, and so many great runners, people who were destroying me in races, turning in times I never thought I'd run, helped me. They waited for me on group runs, talked to me about different ways to run and introduced me to the concept of runs having a purpose, not just strapping on shoes and getting out there. I remembered that, and I thought it was time to pay them back by (sigh, I hate this expression) paying it forward to others.
    The e-mails among our group started back in the summer. They didn't stop until it was time for the race. They meant far more than I thought they would when they started.
    • • •
    No, I'm not breaking this into parts. Deal with it.
    • • •
    As excited as I was for the race, I felt conflicted when I got there Thursday night. I was eating with Astin, Heather, April, Dawn, Ryan and later Michelle.
    (By the way, I liked how we sort of ditched the nicknames for the most part this year and called each other by our real names. I occasionally referred to them if I needed them or wanted them, aka Bad Blood is such a badass name that it fit before we headed out to the race. But for the most part people went by their actual names. It was time).
    The food was fantastic, but I chose not to drink, and I worried about eating too much greasy or fried pickings. It was like that most of the weekend. Vegas is usually the one place I don't have to be on guard all the time, and yet I had to be. I focused on eating rice, pasta, breads, pancakes and fruit and not drinking, in addition to drinking a lot of water.
    The race doesn't happen until you hit the starting line, but really, it begins a few days before, when you load your body with carbs, try not to eat anything that will screw with your stomach on race day and try to get rest. You also probably shouldn't drink a lot.
    What helped was not only were my running partners following the same program, but many of the rest of us bloggers were too. This time seemed far mellower than any other. I even saw AlCan'tHang sober a few times. I preferred it that way. We're all older now, and it's nice to act like it a little bit. There were no wheelchair stories, and as disappointing as that was, acting like adults does mean sacrificing a little fun.
    So Thursday and Friday were fun, but they involved poker (with Jordan and Carol, mostly, which was awesome). Then Otis came to town Friday afternoon. You all know the story by now. I'll let him tell the bulk of it. But his father died suddenly earlier that week.
    I'd already written him off for the most part, though a part of me, selfishly, really wanted him there. We all did.
    Otis/Brad had really embraced running, and I got as much joy out of coaching him than anyone I've ever helped. He was thankful, of course, but more than that, I could see what it did for him spiritually. I told him for weeks as he got on the program that running really would become enjoyable, and one day, after those many weeks, I got an email from him, explaining how he'd finally had that day. Running, the outdoors and mountain climbing are much more to me than a way to exercise, and finally Brad felt that way too.
    I hoped he was going to go, but our group let him make that decision.
    He sent us an email that he was coming when I was on my way to the airport.
    We spent Friday night, after an appearance at the mellow blogger mixed game, at the Monte Carlo poker room. It's a run-down place, close to the opposite of the Aria poker room.
    It was exactly what we needed.
    John arrived late that night.
    It was good to have our group together.
    • • •
    You won't find many details of the nights here. I"m not afraid to share them, of course, as they were fairly tame, especially by Vegas standards, but this post is long enough, and there were some special times that don't need to make the Internet. We had a wonderful pasta dinner Saturday, the night before the race, picked by Brad, where we reflected on our training and the guys surprised me by buying me dinner. I was so touched I forgot to say no.
    The place was located next to the Palms, and we played a wild game (one of several that weekend, and those wild games meant me picking my spots while they splashed around a lot of chips), and I'll just say two words: Jose Canseco (the guy's kinda a whiner at the table).
    That Saturday was especially mellow: We picked up our number for the race, played the tournament and cheered Brad's min-cash before we went to the runner's Expo that night and then dinner.
    We got in fairly late but slept until 10 a.m. Sunday. After a pancake breakfast, we decided the best thing to do was play a little poker to take our mind off what we were facing.
    I'd never run a night race before, especially not something as ardrous as a half. I grabbed a large Gatorade to drink over the afternoon with Brad. At the last second, he picked up a couple black pens.
    When I sat at the poker table, I instantly pulled off two huge bluffs and was betting like a maniac. In other words, I was playing exactly like I usually DON'T play. What was going on? I didn't even realize what I was doing until someone whispered, "I'm gonna get this wild guy." I laughed to myself and snapped out of it.
    I'm an aggressive runner, and just a few hours before the race, I was ready to tear it up. I was in running mode.
    I switched that off for the moment and settled into my usual careful play, and soon enough, I looked over at Bad Blood, and he nodded at me. I smiled and my mind began to travel down a darkening tunnel. I love it when my brain does that on its own and I don't have to force it. It usually means I'm going to have a good race. Pain, nausea and weariness can't penetrate that zone.
    We got up to go to our rooms. It was time to get ready.
    • • •
    Before the race almost makes racing worth it on its own. The anticipation is incredible if you let it be that way. If you don't let the nerves and doubts take over. Your stomach rumbles, your tapered legs tingle and your lips snarl.
    I told the guys during our incredible dinner the night before that I go over in my head what Kansas' coach Bill Self said to his troops the night before the Final Four, when we eventually went on to win the title in 2008. It sounds cheesy, but when you're going through something like a long race, cheesy works. In this case it's a pretty simple statement, not a Gipper cheer.
    "You can't hope good things happen tonight," he said. "You expect them to."
    There are always things in a race you can't train for. Maybe there's stomach problems, weather, injuries, other runners and the crappy unknown, like a small piece of broken pavement that's just big enough to trip you. But what I've found, and really love, about running is if you do the training, it pays off in a race. It really rewards you with the time you put into it. Many sports aren't necessarily like that. Football and baseball rely too much on the circumstances. Even mountain climbing, my first love, isn't that way because the weather and the altitude play such huge roles in whether you make your goal or not.
    So if you do the training, it's foolish to hope good things happen during a race. You should expect them to.
    You may want to skip this next part. It's a race report and will include my thoughts on my time during the run. You may find this the most interesting part of the blog. But I doubt it.
    • • • 
    Brad and I were silent as we got dressed for the race, which I took as a good sign. It meant he was sure of what he was wearing, carrying and using for the race. That's the first step to keeping your nerves under control.
    I was most worried about Brad. G-Rob seemed to be as self-assured about the race as he is about everything else in his life, including his hair. He wasn't cocky by any stretch, but he seemed to know he would run relatively slow but also that he would finish. Bad Blood looked sharp and was going to run well and fast, and I knew he knew how to focus (in fact, there was an outside chance he would beat me, I thought). Doc was exactly like G-Rob and had already run a half earlier that year.
    But I not only expected Brad to be emotional before the race, I thought he might push it a little hard and let the moment overtake him. I was hoping he'd run an even, fun race where he didn't have to walk. Running an even race is harder than it sounds. I've rarely done it.
    I had concerns about myself, too, namely whether my bitchy hamstring would hold up. I expected it to hurt. I just didn't want it to prevent me from running. I didn't know if the crowds would hold me back a bit. And I really wanted to PR, but a lot has to go right. We'd been up late every night even if we got a good night's sleep.
    The bloggers wished us well, and OhCaptain took over photo, which was sweet, but I was already in a zone. I allowed one smile for Iggy, who shouted my old blogger name as we left. 
    After the promised shuttles didn't deliver, we started walking to the starting line. I tried to look out for my runners as best I could, but I failed miserably as a coach in this spot. We were rushed, as were 25,000 other runners, it seemed, and so it was crowded, and I would like to blame the race officials for that, and I can and will, but ultimately it's up to you to get to the race in enough time. I barely got us there before the start, and Blood didn't even get to check his bag. 
    All this robbed us somewhat of the electricity before a big race. It was still there, but a good portion of it went to worry and concern of us reaching the starting line. It's the one thing I still regret about the way things went.
    I had planned a small speech for them for days, but I also had to pee, bad, and I saw some bushes to the side. It would be my only chance among the crowds. I pulled in my runners and said to them to not start too fast, have fun and remind themselves how thankful they should be before the start of the race to be there. Then I gave them a hug. It was too fast of a goodbye.
    I dashed off to the bushes, hoping an officer wouldn't see me. 
    I was now on my own. 
    I entered corral 2 and was immediately thankful for it. Even the runners corral 3 were bunched together like cattle in the pens, but they let us spread out, and there weren't very many runners. I knew right away that I wouldn't get trapped behind a crowd, and that thought relaxed me.
    I'll admit that I was annoyed at first when Mike McCready from Pearl Jam began to play our national anthem. I use the song as a final way to get focused before what's facing me. It helps remind ME how lucky I am to be at the line. But I shook off the irritation after the first few notes. I mean, look at where I was. I was in VEGAS, about to run the strip at NIGHT, and the guitarist from PEARL JAM, one of my favorite bands, was there, tearing it up. If I have one flaw, it's that sometimes, I forget to have fun. I told myself this, above all other things, would be really, really fun.
    So when I crossed the line, and my chip beeped, and I was off, I held back that first mile, running at a conservative pace of 7:45. It would be the only mile that I didn't run by feel. I held back and held back, almost to frustration, because that's when I have my best races, when I let my body ease into it. 
    I was pleasantly surprised at how amazing it was, even better than I thought, to run the strip. Seeing the lights of Vegas in the middle of the strip makes you realize how overwhelming, and, yeah, beautiful in an obnoxious way, it all is. And the PEOPLE. There were so many people watching us and cheering for us like we were athletes, like we mattered. I've never had half that many spectators. Many people called for my Colorado shirt, and I loved it.
    Iron Maiden wrote about the loneliness of the long distance runner because it IS lonely. You are there, in your head, with your doubts and your courage. Sometimes a little cheer goes a long way to quieting those fears, even from people you don't know.
    And yet, a lot of people I DO know who where there.
    I was silently thrilled, even flabbergasted, at how the #wpbt embraced the race. Not only did they volunteer to talk to us about it (which is dangerous since I might keep you for a while), they seemed generally interested in what we had to say. A good chunk of the group showed up for it, and though I didn't see them, I looked for them as the miles got tougher, and knowing they were probably out there helped in ways I can't explain. I love running, but I also know it's not a spectator sport. I would imagine watching a bunch of runners stream by is probably about as exciting as watching someone play live poker without the hole cards. But they showed up, shook our hands after, and Pauly even told me he had fun being out there. I wonder what he was on. I may want it next year. Drizz packed us beers! Beers!
    Anyway, once I got to mile two and saw the Bellagio on my left, I threw off the shackles and decided to let my body tell me what I could run. I was looking for a pace that was just beyond comfortably hard. A half marathon is a long way, so I couldn't run completely balls out, like I do many times in a 5K, and yet it's still a race. I settled on a pace that left me breathing hard, but not gasping, and that got my legs moving, not straining. It would hurt, bad, to trip, but the motions felt relaxed yet quick. It's probably the same pace I would use if I were dashing away from a pack of zombies.
    I looked at my watch. That pace was 7:15 per mile.
    That's over 8 miles an hour if you're scoring at home.
    Shit. Really?
    I knew I'd run faster. The elevation in Vegas isn't sea level, but it's not 5,000 feet, either. And it's the flattest course I'll run, so I knew I wouldn't bonk on a hill. Still. It was a little scary to see that pace. I have run races too fast at first, and by the end, you're so miserable, you want to burn your shoes. My 10K split was the second-fastest 10K I've ever run. Even in this year, by far the greatest I've had running, I ran two 10Ks that weren't as fast.
    Fuck it, I thought. I know I can finish. I know I can run below 1:45 (I ran 1:40 a month ago in Denver, which was a PR). I know that if I get back to mile 10, I"ll have the Vegas lights to lead me home.
    I took a deep breath. And then I ran.
    • • • 
    By mile 7 and 8, as we darted through the darker areas of downtown Vegas, both in lighting and in humanity, I felt tired, and my chest tightened a bit, but I felt all right, mostly thanks to the incredible, 40-degree weather most of the night. The pace, regardless, was torrid for me and would put me close to a crash. I resolved to do what I could to avoid it. I ripped open a Powerbar gel and gulped it down and hoped for an aid station to take away the taste. I took a salt pill. I did find a station, got pissed when they didn't seem to have any sports drink and tried to focus on the next step. I needed that dark tunnel in my mind back. Arch Enemy came over the iPod. That's what I needed. "Battery low," it chirped at me. Oh please don't give out, I said to it.
    I got caught up in a group as we swerved the corners, and I fought for space with some dude who refused to move over an inch so I wouldn't have to hop the curb. He gashed my wrist with an elbow and got an elbow in the ribs in return. I can be a polite runner, but if someone tries to cut me off, it's Braveheart time. I would never shove a runner - that's like ramming a car on the highway - but I will throw elbows. He got the message and backed off. 
    It turns out I ran a 6:59 mile at this point. It would be my fastest. Things got harder after that. I managed to stay around 7:20 or so, which makes me happy, but probably the toughest thing about a half marathon is also the most obvious: You have to keep running, hard, after you've put on some serious miles. Even at mile 11, when I had the strip back and the bright lights, I knew I was fading. I also knew at this point that I had a shot at 1:37 and didn't want to blow it, and even a pace of, say, 8:30, an aggressive pace for two-thirds of the runners out there, would blow it. I was straining, and my legs felt like a stuffed animal being pulled in a fight between a brother and sister. The only good news was my hamstring wasn't bothering me any longer, which probably was because I was too tired to care.
    I apologize I didn't see the bloggers cheering on the sideline. I was trying so hard not to see anything but the lights and the finish line. I was hurting by that point, just trying to hard to seal away 1:37 and knowing I could crash at any moment. I was floating around a 7:35-7:40 pace and was afraid I could not hold even that much longer.
    And then I saw the finish line.
    I stepped across.
    I didn't celebrate when I finished. I bent over and slowly walked over to grab a foil wrap. I grabbed a water and a drink and tried to breathe. Everyone around me was dead, too, barely able to walk or breathe. It felt good to me to be with them. We WORKED. We nodded at each other or patted each other's shoulder on the way to the exit out of the chute. We'd worked against, and with, each other most of the way. I spent a little time at the trash can, with a coin flip's chance of puking, and then the nausea went away and then I felt a tap on my back. He was the guy I fought at the corner. 
    Good run, he said. You too, I said.
    I waited, far too long, for Blood but knew I'd missed him, and then later Otis and the others. I looked for the bloggers. I finally shivered so hard someone came over and asked me if I needed a doctor, and so I went inside Mandalay to warm up and catch the shuttle. I waited inside there, too, for a long time, but I finally rode the bus home.
    I pressed my nose against the glass when I saw an In and Out Burger.
    • • • 
    I made it up to my room without seeing anyone, which was the plan since I needed to decompress, stretch and become myself again. After touching base via my phone with Blood and Brad, knowing the others wouldn't be far behind, I stripped off my sticky clothes and took a shower. The warm water felt like heaven. 
    I was just about to leave the room, texting my running friends back home anxious to hear my time, when I heard the door open and Brad came through.
    We hugged each other, unabashedly, and then Brad talked like one of my kids for 10 minutes straight. I knew exactly what he was feeling, but it was so rewarding to see it from someone else and know that I helped him get there. It's that crack-like, addicting feeling of accomplishment. Ultimately it's why we run. It was an emotional run for him, as I thought, but it also seemed to be a great, fun experience too.
    And he ran the whole way.
    I came back down and got warm greetings from Blood, who crushed the race, and many other bloggers, which felt great. I was almost embarrassed at how much everyone cared. 
    We had to eat in the food court, and plans didn't exactly go like we had hoped, but they never do. We ate, played some table games (I broke my Pai Gow cherry; that game is fun) and then, finally, had a private poker game at the Monte Carlo. 
    Brad called it an epilogue in an email to us. As usual, he found a great word for it. Though I like to think of that game, the race, really the whole weekend, as something else.
    I think, for once, I've got an even better word than Brad for it.
    I'm calling it a moment.


              Weight Inward into Lightness: A Reading of Canoe Repair        
    Flore Chevaillier

    “Canoe Repair” takes place at a transitional time for the main character. Zanes moves from New York City to a New Hampshire town and has to adapt to a new life and a new job, running a Laundromat, as well as to his son’s new hang-gliding activity and his wife’s new TV job. Thus, “Canoe Repair” occurs at a moment when rural and urban worlds are put in “connection and disconnection at the same time” (“Midcourse Corrections” 50). While we learn more about Zanes’ occupations, we also read a portrait of the town’s life. We discover a picture of America and its smell of “coffee richly dripping and poppy-seed-blue corn muffins” (69). We read Zanes’ discussions with “Seemyon Stitching … a spring immigrant from Byelorussia and a trained marathon runner” (62), and find out about the “president’s eight o’clock message to the nation” they listen to when “no one among the machine-users seemed to be waiting for the president’s speech” (72). The story deals with the movements of people from the town who use the Laundromat and the movements of the canoe on the lake, as well as the hang-gliding and the weather.

    One might describe the events in these terms. But the story is also a reflection on time and on strange, everyday moments in one’s life. “Canoe Repair” presents a section of a man’s life, also a canoe’s, since its repair is at the center of the story’s multiple directions, its focus on space and movement. The story is a space where different tensions meet. It shows the strain between two worlds, two generations, between different experiences of time and perception, and between two voices telling the story. “Betweenness” is central in McElroy’s writing. In “Canoe Repair,” “ ‘Betweenness’ is… the crumbling edge of the interface of worlds, selves, and situations” (Saltzman 100). Betweenness is also at stake when we consider “Midcourse Corrections,” an unusual autobiographical interview/essay ended by “Canoe Repair.”

    “Is a canoe too beautiful to be funny unless somebody falls out of it?” asks Joseph McElroy in “Midcourse Corrections” - “falls out, tipping it over? Put two people in it facing forward. What’s the stern paddler see? What’s the bow paddler feel? - for the stern paddler?”(42).

    These questions about canoe uses are put into practice in McElroy’s short story, independent but part of the essay, as he explains. “Some of the material in ‘Midcourse Corrections’ could be said to turn into ‘Canoe Repair’… I wanted to use ‘Canoe Repair’ to fulfill ‘Midcourse Corrections,’ that peculiar interview memoir … that should turn into fiction at the end.” Personal correspondence with the author, June 16, 2001.

    “Corrections” is itself an experiment in literary form that in many ways epitomizes the body of McElroy’s writing. “With its inserted interviews, its odd proportions, and its highly colored perspectives of me,” McElroy writes in a letter, “[‘Corrections’] is a hybrid fiction, I suppose. A daydream posing as a document.” (cited in Tabbi 156)

    The thematic and structural research of this “hybrid fiction” turns into practical experience in “Canoe Repair.” The author’s reflections upon space, motion, and perception connect to the movement of the boat on water because the “canoe becomes an occasion to think.” Personal correspondence with the author, February 6, 2003. We can approach the story from different angles due to the openness of its particular structure linking it to the essay, of which it is also the unusual closing part. Nevertheless, it would be unfair to consider the story strictly as a conclusion to “Midcourse Corrections;” it has its own structure, dynamics, and meaning. It is a complex and intense story because of the multiple tensions we can feel in its narration.

    To understand “Canoe Repair,” we have to focus on the transient aspect of Zanes’ life and its relation to tensions that appear both thematically and structurally. The text is literally at the end of the “Midcourse Corrections” but metaphorically “in between.” It connects to “Midcourse Corrections” but is autonomous. Moreover, it plays strangely with the reader’s expectations. It is organized around a double voice that disturbs the reader’s traditional way of reading. The reading, because of structural devices that put us “in between,” becomes the experience of the transition moment Zanes goes through, his shift from one world to another, his perception of the world.

    Zanes’ visions can sometimes be confusing. Hence, some aspects of the story can be destabilizing to the reader. The story starts with a family scene: Zanes and his son are watching the river. A strange canoe used by a black man and a blond woman catches their attention. Zanes’ neighbor calls him afterward to fix the canoe for the blond woman’s son; the canoe captures Zanes’ attention throughout the rest of the story. Parallel to Zanes’ work on the canoe, we learn about his arguments with his son regarding the latter’s hang-gliding practice. We also get to know more about the life that goes on at the Laundromat where Zanes meets with Seemyon Stytchin and a group of young punks that disturb the community. Zanes starts a friendship with Lung, a member of this group. However, this summary contradicts the story’s original presentation of Zanes’ world because it reassembles what is purposefully fragmented in “Canoe Repair.” We only achieve this vision of the story retrospectively because it is not told linearly.

    Our expectations as readers are challenged, as David Porush notes when associating the technique of “de-automatization” provoked by the unsettling language of McElroy’s novel Plus. Plus ’ main character Imp Plus is a brain detached from its body and put in orbit to communicate with earth during a scientific experiment. When relearning ways to communicate, Imp Plus uses language unusually. Therefore, the reader is forced to see words in a different way. Imp Plus presents a new use of words that questions the systems we automatically refer to when using language. In “Canoe Repair,” the challenge to our automatisms lies in the distortions that affect the structure of the story. The compact paragraphs of “Canoe Repair” are juxtaposed without transitions. When turning to a dialogue, McElroy does not use rules of quotation to let the reader know that the viewpoint is changing. Tabbi claims that for McElroy “the mental text … does not precede the work at all but exists instead in the work, where the reader might imaginatively participate in the compositional or self-creative effort that went into the life/work’s composition” (158). The activity of the reader is thus part of the structure of the short story. Disjunction calls up the reader’s activity of representation. It asks us to create a coherent image of the narrative, a coherent text. Omitting the relation between two events leaves room for the reader to fill in the blanks. This crafted incompleteness creates the structure of “Canoe Repair.” Facts have more than one logical order; the reader coordinates elements by analyzing fragments.

    Thus, the reader organizes the very space of the text. We shift, for example, from “When he took his canoe out, Zanes also thought,” to “The ideas knew how to get away sometimes” in the next paragraph (59). Reading “Zanes also thought,” the reader does not expect the sentence to stop at this point. S/he expects a complement to the verb “thought.” Therefore, reading “Canoe Repair” can be somewhat frustrating; the author even ironically refers to our unsatisfied expectation when we lack a transition between the two sentences. That is why, as Wolfgang Iser notes in The Implied Reader, we have to use imagination to compensate for the gaps. The context created by the sentence: “When he took his canoe out, Zanes also thought,” is destroyed so that the reader steps back and reflects upon the narrative as a work of art. “The artwork itself is represented as an artwork” (McHale 30). The reader finds metafictional allusions that suggest a fiction conscious of its fictionality, which makes the reader understand the story at another level of representation. These metafictional moments create a disjunction in addition to the fragmenting of the plot itself.

    Each blank invites interpretation and coordination. Do the gaps become the theme of the narrative? When analyzing Modern texts such as Ulysses, Iser engages the issue of semantic richness and incoherence of gaps, moments of inconsistency, disruption, or omission. He sees reading as a process the reader undergoes to synthesize fragmented elements; the reader creates meaning.

    The unconnected allusions and the abrupt alternation of stylistic devices disclose a large number of gaps … [that give] rise to the stimulating quality of the text. On the one hand, the density of allusions and the continual segmentation of style involve an incessant changing of perspectives, which seems to go out of control whenever the reader tries to pin them down; on the other hand, the gaps resulting from the cuts and abbreviations tempt the reader to fill them in. (Iser 213)

    The structural breaks in “Canoe Repair” might be less extreme than those in Ulysses but, similarly, the gaps and omissions become part of the story’s theme, possibly denying thematic synthesis itself. Zanes’ fragmented thinking and his way of experiencing life are present in the style the author uses. The medium is often the message. The construction of sentences that might make us insecure reminds us that reading “Canoe Repair” is a special experience that enables us to coordinate elements of the story and thus penetrate Zanes’ mind and his somewhat eccentric thinking. The reader, by grasping multiplicity, references, and rambling elements, maps out what is happening in Zanes’ mind. The way things get originally connected structurally mirrors Zanes’ experience of the world that also reaches for unusual connections.

    How do we find our bearings reading “Canoe Repair?” The narration resists linear order. It seems laminated into different sequences of the character’s life. Flashes are exposed with neither explanation nor transition. Joseph McElroy “never hid the gaps” (“Neural Neighborhoods” 204). Chronology is not respected; events follow a pattern of shifts from one subject to another, from one point of view to another, and everything seems important and unimportant at the same time. There is sometimes no link between consecutive sentences: “Was it my time device operating again?” and “A canoe is what makes you do” (77). Here, gaps interfere with our sense of the evolution of the story and the progression in the character’s life, if there is one. These gaps are caused mostly by the double narration of the story, and they are even more challenging to the reader. When we shift from, “Was it my time device operating again?” to “A canoe is what makes you do” (77), we shift from an “I” to an omniscient narrator. Zanes’ own perspective on his life is balanced by the omniscient narrator. To understand Zanes’ life, we need to be inside him and outside him. We need to know the world exterior to Zanes’ subjectivity to understand his reactions, hence the role of the omniscient voice.

    The embedded structure of the story told by two narrators juxtaposes two sources of information. This construction enables the insertion of one perspective within another and it leads us to see Zanes’ life as an accumulation of fragments. Different perspectives provide distinct information about and approaches to the same life. Can the story be seen as a dialogue between these two poles? Unlike traditional narrations where the reader faces a set of events exposed in a linear way, “Canoe Repair” makes the reader feel the duality of life.

    McElroy constructs a dynamic that can be paralleled with the theme of the double, often present in gothic stories. In these stories, the narrator and the character are the same person, although it is usually not clearly stated in the text. In “Canoe Repair,” there is, to some extent, a renewal of the theme of the double since our character has a double voice. The schizophrenic tensions represented by the strange vision of the double in the gothic stories appear in “Canoe Repair” in a somewhat different way. The strain between two voices can be understood as the representation of power over the development of the story.

    First, the omniscient exterior narrator controls the story. Progressively, “I” becomes dominant. At the end, rapid shifts of viewpoint break up the story. The evolution of each viewpoint implicitly lets us gather details about the context of each narrator’s intervention. The constant shift form “I” to “he” changes the reader’s relation to the narrator because it implies a nonlinear way to gather information. Each narrator puts the reader into a frame of mind that influences interpretation. The shifting of frames makes the reader’s activity intense. When we change frames, we have to change our interpretation. How to base our understanding of the story on a specific context when the latter is always denatured?

    The two narrators fragment the story, and they produce a repetitive pattern. Each of the narrators gives us details on the same moments of Zanes’ life. The double narration is thus based on the repetition of similar life sequences. The double narration allows repetition to penetrate the narrative. It is thanks to repetition that the reader can make sense of the story’s disconnected elements. The gaps that we apparently cannot coordinate - such as “Is there somebody over there? Zanes said. Probably, his son said” and “All but one of the machines were in use that evening”(72) - are so large that the only way the reader can assemble the fragments of the story is by focusing on the repetitive patterns that connect these partial perspectives. We constantly come across the same moments: the observation of the canoe, meetings between Zanes’ wife and the producer of her cooking show, scenes with Lung, discussions with Seemyon, and so on. The plot offers not so much progress as recurrence, duplication, and reiteration.

    In our mind, those terms are usually connected to something monotonous. Yet in “Canoe Repair,” the iteration of words, ideas, and/or themes does not result in a redundant effect on reading. The first reference to “sunset” (56) is echoed by “[o]ne of them materialized at sunset” and “at sunset a window beamed” (57). Through repetition, meaning emerges. Repetition is not used to stop the progression of the plot: the elements of Zanes’ life are never told twice in exactly the same terms. The accumulation of repetitions creates an unusual meaning, a meaning understood through indirect means. Zanes refers to his own time: “my time device” (58), “another time” (61) as opposed to “my wife’s cookbook, my time machine” (69). Zanes’ experience of life does not rely on a chronological structure. When we accept repetition, we understand that time does not need to be seen as a linear progression.

    Repetition lets us understand how Zanes organizes his life. The first and last moments of the story present similar scenes. “It was sunset and the boy was angry and wanted to be somewhere else” (56). Zanes and his son are outside watching the canoe for the first time. The first words of the story put the reader in the middle of a situation. The first character we meet is not Zanes but his son referred to as a “boy.” He could be anybody. In that sense, the story can be considered a statement about any family life, its structure, its implicit rules, and its repetitive patterns. The reference to “somewhere else” also puzzles the reader at the beginning of a story; we do not even know where the character is. At the end, we have circled back: “Above me, I felt the presence of my son at his window. If I didn’t take down the screens, it would soon be summer again” (78).

    The end is paradoxical since it does not explain the story but at the same time concludes it through indirect means. The story ends on “again,” which alludes to an opening, a repetition of what we have read, maybe an allusion to the beginning if we think of the circularity of the repetitive pattern of the narration. On the other hand, the allusion to the coming summer ends with a period. Spring will soon be finished. We note here again the parallel between the first scene and the last one since the story opens on the ending of something, of a day. We are at a time when Zanes makes a pause in his life. His work on the canoe is what “makes [him] do” (77). His crafting the canoe changes aspects of his life, his relationship with his family and his community. The end of spring makes a kind of conclusion to the story but, at the same time, it opens the story toward a new time period. The conclusion and the opening lead us to different interpretations. We face some conflicting perception of time and closure. Depending on the type of time framework one has in mind, things can be open or closed; that is where the tension originates. The last and first scenes teach us to pay attention to how things are repeated in variation in the story. Both scenes point to a double direction. By examining this process, one understands that repetition is used to let one access Zanes’ subjective knowledge.

    In the two scenes, the son and the father are both watching another place, an outsider place. They disagree on the hang-gliding activity. But this tension gets somewhat resolved at the end when they both look again in the same direction. An open conversation about this issue never appears in the story. Tensions are solved indirectly: “Is the leak like worry, no more than worry?” (75). The boat becomes the center of our attention; it is a place where Zanes’ concerns are to be projected and fixed too. The leak of the boat is associated with Zanes’ life: “When you left your job last year you were taking what you had and making it flow into a new system rather than holding onto what had been used. It would have leaked away if you had not made it move into a new system” (63). The canoe becomes a system of reference we share with Zanes to understand his life. The changes he goes through are projected into the repairing of the canoe, and thanks to the details of the crafting we understand the adjustments of his own life.

    Connection is hidden where we cannot see it at first sight, where we do not expect it. For instance, a paragraph describing Zanes canoeing ends, “A wind was coming up, and I heard a breathing sound of paddling” (65). The next paragraph begins, “He treaded water and in his mind smelled fish scales. A wind came up. Zanes felt a wash against his dome” (65). The wind coming up appears twice, but the repetition is not identical because it lets us collect different details about Zanes canoeing. The first time, the wind relates to sound, while the second time it is linked to smell and then touch because of the sensation of “wash.” The different senses are connected to the same moment of Zanes’ life, and we gather this general image as well as its fragmented aspect thanks to repetition. Zanes’ sense of the world is not constructed upon a close frontier between things. Wind and breath become one; canoe and lake become one. To Zanes, “the beautiful canoe could loosen in your mind” (73). The different parts of his life (his relationship to Lung, his son, his wife, the canoe, the neighbor) are permeable. They communicate in an unusual way because they get to influence one another without ever being purposely or directly connected. The apparently rambling progression of the content of the story mirrors Zanes’ vision of life. As a result, the nonlinearity guides us.

    The relationship between “Canoe Repair” and “Midcourse Corrections” emphasizes the reflections on moments of “repair” or “correction” in one’s life. The two works present pauses at a transitional time. The reading of “Canoe Repair” is the reading of images and themes mapped out in a paradigm linking scattered elements from the story, “Midcourse Corrections,” and the reader’s world. McElroy’s variation on themes common to both “Midcourse Corrections” and “Canoe Repair” is close to Andy Warhol’s technique in a series such as Marilyn. Like the painter, the author chooses a theme and modulates it. This project changes the narrative framework and our reaction to it. We can consider “Midcourse Corrections” and “Canoe Repair” to be doublings on a similar project: both pieces give different perspectives on the same thing, the way “Canoe Repair” also gives partial perspectives on the same plot. When reading “Canoe Repair,” the reader may have “Midcourse Corrections” in mind. Both pieces are meant to add to each other.

    In that sense, McElroy “repeat[s] something now to make you remember something then and set[s] you up for something later” (Kawin 34). The reiterations linking the two pieces can be understood as emphases on moments that create echoes in the reader’s network of references. In “Midcourse Corrections,” McElroy writes that his essay is written to “interrupt, interleave, break diverse kinds of documents” (10). “Canoe Repair” can be read as the application of such a project to fiction. The gaps are motivated by a wish to mix disconnected “documents.” Tabbi notes that the interviews “are like a fiction” (160). In that sense, the frontiers between the essay and fiction are blurred because of their connections. Tabbi also claims, “McElroy locates his compositional self in the space between plural subjectivities” (160). The double narration of the story pluralizes Zanes’ subjectivity in a parallel way.

    Structurally, the two pieces are surprisingly close. “Midcourse Corrections” is a combination of three interviews interrupted by the author’s reflections, “INSERTS,” and ” workpoints.” The short story and the autobiographical essay display a structure that accepts gaps and emphasizes echoes that connect the two texts. The substance of the canoe’s texture is mirrored by other parts of the essay:

    INSERT: hinge turning: remember those trick hinged pieces of wood that were really constructed with curiously attached canvas strips?

    An essay like that. An interview. A sentence fly-by that manufactures its own canvas in the space it also generates out of a music its thought spun off. (“Corrections” 20)

    The crafting activity of canoe repair is paralleled by the composition of writing. The texts’ themes and images branch into one another. As McElroy expresses it, the “mixed metaphor of [his] work extends a fluid trial. Like a mixed metabolism and through the pulmonary winding also unfolding and exfoliation of the sentence’s plot it holds exchanges even between incompatibles” (“Corrections” 15). A paradigm of images is used to progressively construct the original way Zanes conceives his world. We understand how in the story, incompatibles such as “weight” and “lightness” can correlate. In the canoe, “the noble forcing of the ribs into this oval narrow form turned the weight inward into lightness” (67). In one’s life “corrections” and “repair” bring “weight” and “lightness” in contact. Traditional oppositions are reconciled in “Canoe Repair.”

    The Laundromat is a place where clothes are washed, but it also becomes a place to meet, a place where life is concentrated. In addition, when Zanes thinks “rowing looks like work” (58), we see how things can serve different purposes. For Zanes, things do not have a unique meaning. Commonly, a Laundromat is used for washing. The rowing activity is meant to move a boat. However, experience changes the use of things. Zanes gives them a power to influence the world indirectly. His time influences the “real time;” his vision of space dialogues with the “real space.”

    The reader adapts, concentrating on the unsettling aspects of Zanes’ representation of the world, and it participates in the creation of a simultaneous immobility and movement as when “the canoe [is] moving but … [is] still” (56). The apparent contradiction of this statement is illustrated by the structure of the story, which is partly why we may wonder if the canoe or the landscape is moving. Referring to a similar moment of immobility and movement in Hind’s Kidnap, Tony Tanner explains that “we are all familiar with such optic illusion pictures which can be read in more than one way, often as focus shifts so that figure and ground seem to change places” (219). This optic effect is rendered by the way the story is told. The process of perception alters the representation of time and space: “[t]he lake was part of the canoe” (58).

    When reading the description of the canoe, we have an example of a moment when “the eye following the line of something creates motion.” Personal correspondence with the author, June 16, 2001.

    Its grand lines flared to a beam so wide it seemed low and was. Which end was which? Ribs curved with a beautiful singleness up to the gunwales, and, out of the bent tension in which they seemed to grip and bow the ribs, as you ran your eyes over it and felt it the canoe developed a force of tightness and actual lift, as if the noble forcing of the ribs into this oval narrow form turned the weight inward into lightness. (67)

    The passage describes the canoe precisely and technically - “ribs,” “gunwales.” We are so close to the ribs of the boat that we get an impression of immensity. The sentences saturated with commas and information prevent us from picturing a full image of the canoe. Each small detail gets enlarged so that each part seems to expand itself infinitely. The movements are underlined: “flared,” “curved,” “bent,” “grip,” “bow,” “lift,” “turned.” The canoe is still but its description creates motion.

    This passage can be seen as a micro-structural template for the way the story evolves. The story is the combination of different lines gathered into a unique moment. Indeed, there is a network of words that refer to either abstract images or other words linked to the movement of the boat in the story. The circuitry of words and their relation to other words is as important as what the words refer to. The formal fragmentation and disconnection lets us experience literally what happens in Zanes’ mind. The narrator explains Zanes has a “restless mind” (60) but never explicitly explains what it means. He never gives a full description of the way Zanes orders his thoughts. We access the definition of Zanes’ “restless mind” through the organization of the story. The tensions inviting for “repair” in Zanes’ life are present at any level of the text without ever being clearly expressed. The slow paths of the narration, its fragmentation, and its echoes are images of the canoe which itself reflects the tensions at stake in Zanes’ life.

    These descriptions let us experience a different sense of space but also reveal the story’s sensual approach to the world. Zanes’ readjustments orient and transform his vision. Things are examined, and their perception is detailed when Zanes describes his wife swimming, for instance: “He imagined her, and he knew her words had reached some reservoir in his brain, where she was swimming at night, the luminous things like tiny muscular wakes lit up her thighs and the curve of her back” (60). The “luminous things like tiny muscular wakes” are observed with attention, and remind us of a vision of a sculpted body where forms and relief are emphasized. Narration zooms in on details of surfaces, and the intense observation of body parts and of the canoe makes a paradigm of sensual representations. The story pays attention to the concrete surface of things: the canoe looks like a “deer swimming” (56). Things and people are described minutely, and the scale used is so close that the images of the story appear as details of a painting. The details Zanes’ vision focuses on remind us of the indirectness of his actions. Zanes pays attention to things in their details and cannot always see the overall framework of these things. Similarly, he cannot perceive the outcomes of all his actions.

    McElroy refers to “’[a]ttention’ [as] a rather cold word [he] use[s] to suggest that the ways in which we embrace the world and embrace other people can be more precise and clear than we think sometimes” (Anything 248). Zanes’ attention to the canoe and to his breath, for instance, as he feels the “air filling the space of [his] chest to be measured by another time” (60), is his way to “embrace the world.” His attention to the world indirectly penetrates his relationships. Zanes’ precise description of the exterior world lets us access his interior world. We understand, when paying attention to the depiction of his environment, why “the lake [is] part of the canoe” (58). People’s lives are permeable, their energies travel into one another. Zanes’ activities involuntarily connect to other areas of his life. The clearer vision of life that appears when Zanes repairs the canoe gets transferred in mysterious ways to the other parts of his life. Different aspects of Zanes’ life influence one another, although it is not clear to him or us how they connect.

    The flashes and fragments emphasized in the sequences of the story are used to represent the world: “it is the very abundance of perspectives that conveys abundance of the world under observation” (Iser 226). The canoe is personified by Zanes’ interest in it: “A body was what it was” (73). Zanes’ observations change our perception of the canoe. It is compared to a lover, an animal, and a body: “he almost loved the canoe” (67), “[t]he canoe attracted others to it, they were in its future” (75), and “[a] canoe is what makes you do” (77). Intensity changes the character’s visions of the world.

    This intensity also affects the way time is represented in the story. Perception is altered. Likewise, time is distorted. McElroy refers to “the arranging of things in space, the motion of things and persons in space. Time dissolved into spatial relations.” Personal correspondence with the author, June 16, 2001. When Zanes asks, “what if space was time?” (72), his question could be considered as a comment on the devices used by the author. In “Canoe Repair,” time is peculiar since it is fragmented and does not follow a plain progression. McElroy writes in “Midcourse Corrections” that his writing is to be understood as “modifications of language editing the rhetoric of what’s inside and not disclaiming faith that the words really rendered things and motions outside - and outside, somehow, consciousness” (13). The subjective experience of Zanes’ time is spatialized in the story. “Outside” and “consciousness,” connected in “Midcourse Corrections,” become the pivot of “Canoe Repair.”

    The story covers approximately seven months (“One bright mid-September afternoon” [65] to “summer soon” [77]), but the vision we have is the vision of an infinite time without bearings or perhaps a very short time so dense that the notion of its temporality is not valid. The sentences are constructed in order to convey the circuits and canals of Zanes’ stream of consciousness and even his perception process sometimes. Time is altered by perception and becomes spatialized in the story. We think about the witty reference to the Times and the “two Timeses for the price of one” (“Corrections” 19) that could ironically summarize the treatment of time in the short story where subjective time is juxtaposed to seasonal time. When reading “Canoe Repair,” we face two experiences of time: one that is subjective and distorted by experience, and the other that is universal and related to the seasons referred to in the story. The original structure of the story, its fragmentation, and connections to “Midcourse Corrections,” is a means for the author to present a subjective system of perception.

    When allowing the defamiliarizing elements of the story to change our reading, we penetrate a new experience of the world, of perception, and of time. For example, the image of the canoe passing is a recurrent pattern in the short story: “It came out of a cove as quiet as a deer swimming” (56), “[t]he canoe’s animal flanks and low length absorbed the two paddlers” (57), “[t]he lake was part of the canoe” (58), “[t]reading water, my hand upon the overturned canoe” (65), and so on. These allusions create a network of references to the symbolical meaning of the slow movement characteristic of an infinite moment. The personal experience of Zanes’ time transforms the time of the story: “But he wondered what the long bark canoe felt like. Its length and strong delicacy. Its secret speed. Its time” (64). The canoe has its particular pace, its own time. Reading “Canoe Repair” is experiencing canoe(ing) time.

    Works Cited

    Culler, Jonathan. On Deconstruction. Theory and Criticism after Structuralism. London: Routledge, 1983.

    Kawin, Bruce. Telling it Again and Again. Repetition in Literature and Film. Ithaca and London: Cornell UP, 1972

    Iser, Wolfgang. The Implied Reader. Patterns of Communication in Prose Fiction from Bunyan to Beckett. Baltimore and London: John Hopkins UP, 1974.

    McHale, Brian. Postmodernist Fiction. London: Routledge, 1996.

    McElroy, Joseph. “Canoe Repair.” The Review of Contemporary Fiction 10. 1. (Spring 1990): 56-79.

    _____ “Midcourse Corrections.” The Review of Contemporary Fiction 10. 1. (Spring 1990): 9-56.

    _____ “Neural Neighborhoods and Other Concrete Abstracts.” Tri Quarterly 34 (Fall 1975): 201-17.

    LeClair, Tom and Larry McCaffery. Anything Can Happen: Interviews with Contemporary American Novelists. Urbana: University of Illinois P,1983.

    Porush, David. The Soft Machine: Cybernetic Fiction. New York: Methuen, 1985.

    Saltzman, Arthur. The Novel in the Balance. Columbia: U of South Carolina, 1993.

    Tabbi, Joseph. Postmodern Sublime. Technology and American Writing from Mailer to Cyberpunk. Ithaca and London: Cornell UP, 1995.

    Tanner, Tonny. Scenes of Nature, Signs of Men. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge UP, 1987.


              Happy ROLL TIDE Eve!        
    So many strong takes
    Tomorrow, we get to see those college football playoff semifinal games that we've been yearning over for quite some time and we'll get to that at the end.  But first, we need to talk about Michigan FINALLY doing the right thing and committing to a BRAH.  Yes, he is going to crush it in Ann Arbor.  Thinking otherwise is just stupid.  But let's think about the broader scope here for a minute because if this site is one thing, we are TRANSCENDENTALLY VISCERAL.  The Big Ten is about a year away from not being everyone's bitch anymore.  That is a straight up FACT, jack.

    The days of loser low-ceiling programs like Nebraska and Wisconsin with their safe, wanker coaches being at the top are just about over.  In two years, The Four Horseman are going to ride at the top again with only Jerry Kill flipping and twitching at their heels.  Urb is going to keep rocking.  Dantonio has his formula down.  Jimmy BRAH has already invigorated life into a dead program and will have them in the playoff mix soon enough even if he has to kill everyone and he will do that.  And James Franklin is quietly cranking things up to 11 in the rape showers at PSU.  These four programs are closing in on making the Big 14 the Big 4.  And, this probably sounds weird coming from my ELITE fingers, that is a good thing.

    The big bowls start up today and you can use this post as an open forum for New Year's Day if you want (unless Ape has another kid on the way that he wants to talk about tomorrow LULZ) but I wanted to throw out some ideas and thoughts that I've had through the 2014 bowl season thus far:

    *I say it every year but people whining about there being too many bowl games should sop up the blood leaking from their giant gash.  Assholes that think this way are actually arguing for less football.  Move back to Iran.  No one is forcing you to watch it.

    *I have already told the missus that should the RedHawks ever get the invite to the Popeye's Bahamas Bowl (MAC tie-in), we are so there.  There isn't a better bowl destination outside of the old BCS bowls than that, bruh.  She agreed.  Now we've just got to get bowl eligible!

    *Watching the Pinstripe Bowl, which continues to be a MASSIVE success by the way, that first half was the worst football I have ever seen.  EVER.  BC's two minute drill was three runs up the middle at the 50 yard line.  And every time that they showed James Franklin, I just couldn't help but think "this guy is a dirtbag...he has sleazeball written all over him".  Anyone else think the same thing?  Dude can coach OBVZ but I'm sensing some shade there.

    *Tough Sun Bowl loss for Duke and GSaul.  It really has to suck to get beat by ASU coach Patton Oswalt.  What a loser Todd Graham is.  Of course he's a Todd.  Maybe Burke will stop by and tell us what the local yokels think of him but, to me, Graham is a loser with that weird headset of his.

    *Everyone see that Texas A&M assistant straight up punch the WV player in the back of the head?  Good because that's the last time that that black guy will ever see a football field again.

    *This is going to sound odd but I think that Bert Bielema has a monster brewing down at Arkansas.  You've got to give a lot of the credit to Bert's groomed stubble which is far cooler than Dut's version.  Usually, when we talk about Dut's beard, it's about his lady friend.  Count it.

    *RIP Everett Golson: Starting QB.  It all went to shit faster than Joe Paterno's legacy!

    *BOB STOOPS IS SUCH A LOSER!  PRESEASON TOP 5 MAYBE THEY MEANT 5 LOSSES, BRUH!  DREW KNOWS NOTHING!  Jesus Christ, who goes from beating Alabama to getting obliterated by commenter Jeff in less than a year?  Dabo Swinney has embarrassed Lester, Urb, and Bobby Poops the past three bowl games.  That's impressive. 

    *Any truth to these rumors that Broxton Milner could go to Duke?  That will truly test GSaul's allegiance.

    OK, let's finish this by predicting the semifinals.  In the first, I've got to keep rolling with the Noles.  They always find a way and the Ducks are a pussy team with a shitty coach.  Give me FSU 31-30.  In the nightcap, as a hater this one scares me, but I just can't shake the idea of Saban and Kirby Smart having a month to prepare for Cardale Jones.  I don't see him playing half as well as he did in Indy and he will need to to pull the upset.  Another legitimate concern for Ohio is that they are lining up against athletes that aren't even remotely comparable to who they played against all year.  It could take a while to get used to that and by then it could be too late.  I'm not all that comfortable with the Vegas number but I am pretty sure that Phyllis From Mulga will go to bed happy tomorrow night.  Let's say ROLL TIDE 31-17.

    Stop back by on Friday for Semifinal fall-out as well as the start of our NFL playoffs contest that we do every year.  Everyone be safe tonight and only drive if you're really drunk.  As for me, I will be sitting at home, carrying the flag OBVZ, drinking by myself while the women fall asleep at 9, and making jokes to the dog about how hilarious Dick Clark was after his stroke.  You know, good times.  ROLL TIDE!
              What the hell are we doing?        
    The conversation about asylum seekers is getting more and more emotional on both sides, as the bodies are piling up. I am not much of a psychologist, but I suspect that part of what is making people scream so loudly is that it's getting quite clear that the old "nobody there is in real need of help anyway" and, on the other side, "we gotta help everyone who needs help" are not working anymore: there are obviously lots of people really in need of help, and we just as obviously cannot help them all. All that can be discussed at this point is numbers, which kind of takes all fun away from an ideological debate, and pisses off both sides.

    But yes, lots of people are trying to get to the EU and apply for asylum. And no, for the most part we cannot help them where they are. In the places overrun by ISIS, for example, "helping them where they are" would, I am afraid, involve a summary execution of all the members of ISIS, which is rather expensive, and likely to produce a lot of innocent victims if done by carpet bombing.

    I am looking at all this, and I am wondering: what the fuck are we doing? I don't even mean that we are taking too many, or too few: how are we going about it, and who gets selected?

    Seriously, this makes no sense at all: we (Europe) build fences and do everything we can in order not to let asylum seekers into the EU. Then after some of them do get into the EU, we have to take the applications from all of those, and in the first country they arrive to (I can see how Italy and Greece might be a bit pissed off by this system, and we would be too if the eastern neighbor suddenly started producing refugees). Then the applications are considered, hopefully to the best of the officials' ability, and their ability is not all that good: it's hard to say who is a criminal, it's hard to say who is a terrorist, it's sometimes even hard to say who is who and who is from where. But then, after an application has been approved, we are not gonna kick the person out no matter what kind of criminal he or she has turned out to be.

    What is the sense of all of this? We are actively selecting the people who can get to Europe in something that doesn't deserve to be called a boat, and can afford to pay the smugglers. I totally think that both young men, and people who have money can be just as worthy of asylum as for example poor old women, but is there any point in actively selecting them, and in the process encouraging lots of people to a) risk their lives while crossing the seas on god-knows-what, and b) give their money to the people who provide that unseaworthy transportation?

    Can't we, like, decide on how many we can take, handle the applications elsewhere, and then let the winners of that lottery arrive on a proper ferry with proper papers, while turning the users of Oh-Shit-The-Raft-Is-Leaking Sea Transportation away on arrival? People are not dumb (well, most aren't), and if rafting over the Mediterranean is not occasionally rewarded with a residence permit they are likely to stop doing it.

    And please, can we send the seriously criminal ones back? On the Oh-Shit-The-Raft-Is-Leaking Sea Transportation, if needed. Yeah, the transportation might take a downward direction, quite literally. Yeah, they might be subjected to inhumane treatment there. They will probably have to take a number and stand in line for that along with half of the population, many of whom we have turned away to begin with, but anyway... Tough shit. They could've thought about it before robbing or raping somebody. No matter how many or how few refugees we decide to take, all the refugee places should be reserved for regular people trying to resettle and live a normal life, not for somebody wanted for terrorism in Iraq or armed robbery in Finland.

    We can fight about the numbers later, but can we put some sense in the procedure first, and fast?

              Blog: Black Friday 2014 Ad Leak Timeline         

    Blog: Black Friday 2014 Ad Leak Timeline



              What Makes a Great Definition        
    Too often we see bad definitions, a convoluted mess carefully crafted to make a theorem true. A student asked me though what makes for a great definition in theoretical computer science. The right definition can start a research area, where a bad definition can take research down the wrong path.

    Some goals of a definition:
    • A great definition should capture some phenomenon, like computation (Turing machines), efficient computation (P), efficient quantum computation (BQP). Cryptography has produced some of the best (and worst) definitions to capture security concerns.
    • A great definition should be simple. Defining computability by a Turing machine--good. Definition computability by by the 1334 page ISO/IEC 14882:2011 C++ standard--not so good.
    • A great definition should be robust. Small changes in the definition should have little, or better, no change in what fulfills the definition. That is what makes the P v NP problem so nice since both P and NP are robust to various different models of computing. Talking about the problems solvable by a 27-state Turing machine--not robust at all.
    • A great definition should be logically consistent. Defining a set as any definable collection doesn't work.
    • A great definition should be easy to apply. It should be easy to check that something fulfills the definition, ideally in a simply constructive way.
    A great definition drives theorems not the other way around.

    Sometimes you discover that a definition does not properly capture a phenomenon--then you should either change or discard your definition, or change your understanding of the phenomenon.

    Let's go through an interesting example. In 1984, Goldwasser, Micali and Rackoff defined $k$-bits of knowledge interactive proof systems. Did they have good definitions?
    • The definition of interactive proof systems hits all the right points above and created a new area of complexity that we still study today. 
    • Their notion of zero-(bits of) knowledge interactive proofs hits nearly the right points. Running one zero-knowledge protocol followed by another using the GMR definition might not keep zero-knowledge but there is an easy fix for that. Zero-knowledge proof systems would end up transforming cryptography. 
    • Their notion of k-bit knowledge didn't work at all. Not really robust and a protocol that output the factors of a number half the time leaked only 1-bit of knowledge by the GMR definition. They smartly dropped the k-bit definition in the journal version.
    Two great definitions trump one bad one and GMR rightly received, along with Babai-Moran who gave an alternative equivalent definition of interactive proofs, the first Godel Prize.

              Hacker drohen HBO mit weiteren „Game of Thrones“-Leaks        
    Der US-Sender HBO ärgert sich mal wieder über eine Vorab-Veröffentlichung von „Game of Thrones“. Hacker haben geheime Daten ins Netz gestellt, und sie haben offenbar noch einiges in petto.
              Novelty Lost - Thoughts on Culture Shock        
    We've been here just over three months now, and it seems the novelty has worn us for us and for Korea. Culture shock is setting in for almost all of the foreigners I've talked with, and the folks in our school seem less interested in us everyday.

    Most people think that culture shock comes immediately upon arriving in a new culture. The name makes such a mistake understandable. Culture weary might be a better title for this experience.

    I had a bad case of culture shock my first year living in Korea (my first time outside of North America). From about 3 - 6 months, I mostly hated everything, and I plotted daily how I could and would go home. I was unhappy in general, and especially disliked anything and everyone Korean. It also manifested as resentment toward my girlfriend, distance from my friends and apathy for my hobbies. I look around at the teachers who arrived here at the end of August, and I see tired, weary looks that remind me of how hard that period was for me.

    Culture shock is an incredibly valuable experience. It is hard growth at its essence. If you take the metaphor of a person as a tree, getting through culture shock is expanding the breadth of your trunk - imperceptible and inglorious at the time, but it yields stability and opens new possibilities for height in the future.

    It comes when the fascination, the newness, of a foreign culture wears off and the fascination of you wears off for those around you. When that happens you are left with the day-to-day experience of living in a culture that doesn't understand you and doesn't support the image you have constructed of yourself over the course of your life. Without the cultural backdrop on which you have defined yourself, and which supports the notion of you that your ego maintains, you have to develop some other concept of self, one that doesn't depend on the perceptions of you that have been relatively constant in your home culture.

    This is why I came back to Korea. This is the good stuff.

    But when I get home after work, it feels like my heart has been leaking happiness and self-confidence all day.

    This too shall pass.
              Dishwasher has stopped close to the end of completion of all        
    Question : Dishwasher has stopped close to the end of completion of all wash & rinse cycles, but water is left standing in bottom of tub. No leaks, but it will not respond to any commands. The circuit breaker... <br /><br /> Answer : If you're certain that there is power getting to the dishwasher, remove the kick panel below the dishwasher and look for the 3" x 3" sheet metal box with the wire connections in it. Turn the circuit...
              Apple iOS Exploits Published By Wikileaks Already Fixed        

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

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

              Suspect iPhone 7 Leak Could Actually be True        

    Whenever Apple develops a new product, there’s usually various leaks and theories about the company’s future direction. This is especially when case when the latest iPhone is upon us and creates a media frenzy. Often, the leaked designs are innovative renders which are simply not possible to produce on a mass scale. Recently, a leaked image claimed to […]

    The post Suspect iPhone 7 Leak Could Actually be True appeared first on eTeknix.

              Durham County Has an Eviction Crisis. Can a New Diversion Program Help?        
    In 2015–16, one eviction case was filed for every twenty-eight county residents Laticia Singleton is standing in her living room, directing her nephew and two oldest sons as they pack and move the contents of the apartment: sneakers, a laundry basket brimming with clothes, a leaky air-conditioner. In less than an hour, they're supposed to be out.…
              Britain's anti-Christian brave new world        
    AD2000 REPORT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    With acknowledgement to Catholic News Agency.

              THE ART OF THE (TRUMP AND PUTIN) DEALSay you’re Vladimir Putin,...        


    Say you’re Vladimir Putin, and you did a deal with Trump last year. Whether there was such a deal is being investigated. But if you are Putin and you did do a deal, what might Trump have agreed to do for you? 

    1. Repudiate NATO. NATO is the biggest thorn in your side – the alliance that both humiliates you and stymies your ambitions. Trump seemed intent to deliver on this during his recent European trip by bullying members about payments and seemingly not reaffirming Article 5 of the pact, which states that any attack on one NATO ally is an attack on all. (He’s backtracked on this since then, under pressure from Congress.)

    2. Antagonize Europe, especially Angela Merkel. She’s the strongest leader in the West other than Trump, and you’d love to drive a wedge between the United States and Germany. Your larger goal is for Europe to no longer depend on the United States, so you can increase your influence in Europe. Trump has almost delivered on this, too. Merkel is already saying Europe can no longer depend on America.

    3. Take the United States out of the Paris accord on the environment. This will anger America’s other allies around the world and produce a wave of anti-Americanism – all to your advantage. You’d also love for the whole Paris accord to unravel because you want the world to remain dependent on fossil fuels. Russia is the world’s second-largest exporter of oil after Saudi Arabia, and biggest exporter of natural gas. And the oil and gas industry contributes about half the revenues to your domestic budget. And, hey, there’s also all those Arctic ports that are opening up now that the earth is warming. Trump has delivered on this. 

    4. Embark on a new era of protectionism. Or at least anti-trade rhetoric. This will threaten the West’s economic interdependence and loosen America’s economic grip on the rest of the world. Trump is on the way to delivering on this one.

    5. End the economic sanctions on Russia, imposed by the United States in 2014. Oil production on land is falling so you want to tap the vast petroleum and gas reserves offshore in the Arctic. In 2011, you and ExxonMobil’s Rex Tillerson, signed a $500 billion deal to do this. But the sanctions stopped it cold. Trump has promised to lift them, but he hasn’t delivered on this yet, because he has got to cope with all the suspicions in America about his deal with you. Once it dies down, he’ll end the sanctions. In the meantime, he’ll give you back the two compounds that were seized by the Obama administration when the U.S. intelligence discovered you’d interfered in the election.

    And what might you have agreed to do for Trump in return? 

    Two things: First, you’d help him win the presidency, by hacking into Democratic Party servers, leaking the results, sending millions of fake news stories about Hillary to targeted voters, and tapping into voter lists. 

    Second, after he was elected, you’d shut up about your help so Trump wouldn’t be impeached and convicted of treason.

    In other words, if you did a deal, you both still have every incentive to fulfill your side of it. That’s the art of the deal.

              The Real Leaky Problem        
    The arrest of Reality Leigh Winner, a 25-year-old federal contractor from Atlanta, Georgia, for...
              115611 Multi-Push SLW Set Electronic Flushing And Pressure Testing Unit        
    115611  Multi-Push SLW Set  Electronic Flushing And Pressure Testing Unit

    115611 Multi-Push SLW Set Electronic Flushing And Pressure Testing Unit

    Only one device for flushing with water or a water/air mixture, disinfection, cleaning, preservation of pipe systems, for pressure and leak testing of pipe systems and vessels with compressed air or water, e.g. drinking water installations, radiators or area heating systems, as a pneumatic pump for controlled filling of all types of vessels with compressed air, e.g. for pumping up expansion vessels or tyres and for operating pneumatic tools. REMS Multi-Push SLW Set. Same as REMS Multi-Push SL Set, Art. No. 115610, additionally with hydro-pneumatic water pump and 1 ½" high pressure hose, 1.5 m long, with ½" hose screw fittings, fastenings for input and output, for pressure testing of pipe systems and vessels with water. Electronic flushing and pressure testing with oil-free compressor. Flushes with water or a air/water mixture, disinfection, cleaning, preservation of pipe systems. 8 Bar / 116 psi compressed air for filling all types of vessels controlled by pneumatic pump. Pressure test with compressed air p ≤ 0,4 MPa/4 bar/58 psi Pressure test with water p ≤ 1,8 MPa/18 bar/261 psi Includes: 2 x 1" Suction/pressure hoses with fabric inlay 1.5m long + 1" hose screw fitting, 1 x Compressed air hose 8mm, 1.5m long +quick coupling DN 5 and ½" screw fitting, Connecting hose compressor/water connections, 0.6m long + quick coupling Dn 7.2 and 1" screw fitting, 1" double nipple for blowing out water remains. Mobile tubular steel frame 230V

              1156X1 Multi-Push SL Set Electronic Flushing And Pressure Testing Unit        
    1156X1 Multi-Push SL Set Electronic Flushing And Pressure Testing Unit

    1156X1 Multi-Push SL Set Electronic Flushing And Pressure Testing Unit

    With more than 10 programmes for flushing and pressure testing of drinking water or heating systems, using compressed air or water. Pressure and leak testing with compressed air, leak testing of drinking water installations with compressed air. Compressed air pump for controlled filling of all typs of vessel with compressed air ≤0.8MPa/8bar/116 psi with automatic switch off on reaching pre-set air.  Includes: REMS multi push SL Person circuit breaker PRCD 2 x suction/ pressure hoses 1" 1.5m with 1" hose screw fittings 1 x pneumatic hose 8mm 1.5m with DN5 quick coupling Seals for inputs and outputs Mobile tubular steel frame Supplied without feeder unit for additives Starter set includes: V-jet TW disinfection unit for drinking water installations 2 x 1L bottles peroxi colour - dosing solution V-jet H cleaning & preservation unit for heating systems 2 x 1L bottles CleanH cleaner for heating systems 2 x 1L bottles of NoCor corrosion protection

              1156X2 Multi-Push SLW Set Electronic Flushing And Pressure Testing Unit        
    1156X2  Multi-Push SLW Set  Electronic Flushing And Pressure Testing Unit

    1156X2 Multi-Push SLW Set Electronic Flushing And Pressure Testing Unit

    Only one device for flushing with water or a water/air mixture, disinfection, cleaning, preservation of pipe systems, for pressure and leak testing of pipe systems and vessels with compressed air or water, e.g. drinking water installations, radiators or area heating systems, as a pneumatic pump for controlled filling of all types of vessels with compressed air, e.g. for pumping up expansion vessels or tyres and for operating pneumatic tools. REMS Multi-Push SLW Set. Same as REMS Multi-Push SL Set, Art. No. 115610, additionally with hydro-pneumatic water pump and 1 ½" high pressure hose, 1.5 m long, with ½" hose screw fittings, fastenings for input and output, for pressure testing of pipe systems and vessels with water. 8 Bar / 116 psi compressed air for filling all types of vessels controlled by pneumatic pump. Pressure test with compressed air p ≤ 0,4 MPa/4 bar/58 psi Pressure test with water p ≤ 1,8 MPa/18 bar/261 psi Includes: 2 x 1" Suction/pressure hoses with fabric inlay 1.5m long + 1" hose screw fitting, 1 x Compressed air hose 8mm, 1.5m long +quick coupling DN 5 and ½" screw fitting, Connecting hose compressor/water connections, 0.6m long + quick coupling Dn 7.2 and 1" screw fitting, 1" double nipple for blowing out water remains. Mobile tubular steel frame 230V

              7010 Coupling        
    7010 Coupling

    7010 Coupling

    48 hours delivery Used for connecting water mains pipes and any water supply pipes in infrastructure, agriculture and horticulture. Mechanical compression fittings tested to withstand working pressures of up to 16 bar.  Hand tight only WRAS approved Captive O Ring seal provides lifetime protection against leaks Available for 2-3 days delivery

              7040 Equal Tee        
    7040 Equal Tee

    7040 Equal Tee

    48 hours delivery Used for connecting water mains pipes and any water supply pipes in infrastructure, agriculture and horticulture. Can withstand working pressures of up to 16 bar Hand tight only WRAS approved Captive O Ring seal provides lifetime protection against leaks

              7050 90° Elbow        
    7050 90° Elbow

    7050 90° Elbow

    48 hours delivery Used for connecting water mains pipes and any water supply pipes in infrastructure, agriculture and horticulture. Tested to withstand working pressure of up to 16 bar Hand tight only WRAS approved Captive O Ring seal provides lifetime protection against leaks

              7110 Reducing Coupling        
    7110 Reducing Coupling

    7110 Reducing Coupling

    48 hours delivery Used for connecting water mains pipes and any water supply pipes in infrastructure, agriculture and horticulture. Tested to withstand working pressures of up to 16 bar Hand tight only WRAS approved Captive O Ring seal provides lifetime protection against leaks

              ART25PRS DZR Brass Double Regulating Valve Fixed Orifice (M Press Fit Ends)        
    ART25PRS DZR Brass Double Regulating Valve Fixed Orifice (M Press Fit Ends)

    ART25PRS DZR Brass Double Regulating Valve Fixed Orifice (M Press Fit Ends)

    DZR Brass body, EPDM O-Rings, Pre-press leak detection, max pressure 16bar, working temperature -10°c - +120°c.

              Belimo 2 Port Zone Valve & 230v Actuator Powered Open / Powered Close        
    Belimo 2 Port Zone Valve & 230v Actuator Powered Open / Powered Close

    Belimo 2 Port Zone Valve & 230v Actuator Powered Open / Powered Close

    • Housing nickel-plated, hot-pressed brass• Valve disk stainless steel• Seal PTFE / EPDM O-ring• Temperature of medium max. 100 °C• Leakage rate A-AB air bubble-tight EN 12266

              Belimo 3 Port Valve & 230v Actuator Powered Open / Powered Close        
    Belimo 3 Port Valve & 230v Actuator Powered Open / Powered Close

    Belimo 3 Port Valve & 230v Actuator Powered Open / Powered Close

    • Housing nickel-plated, hot-pressed brass• Valve disk stainless steel• Seal PTFE / EPDM O-ring• Characterizing disk TEFZEL• Temperature of medium max. 100 °C• Characteristic A-AB equal percentage• Characteristic B-AB linear, 70% of kvs• Leakage rate A-AB air bubble-tight• Leakage rate B-AB 1...2% of kvs• Design mixing valve

               The Honest to Goodness Truth on Replacement Window Review Blog        
    Abby Windows is happy to announce our acquisition of Affordable Windows (affordable-window.com). Be confident, with this new acquisition you’ll however get the identical high quality solutions for replacement windows, As well as replacement doors, siding and also other home enhancement services.

    I can tell you all we've been a 64 yr outdated window specialty company, and with sixty four many years and four generations of Qualified sector understanding each in sales and installation, I am able to tell you Alside will be the best window to deal with. the only real time you'll ever have a difficulty with an alside window is whether it is installed improperly. Yes this takes place all the time. the very first issues is allowing for a carpenter to install a window they're not qualified I'm sure all of them Feel They can be, I'm not argue all you, That is coming from 64 yrs of working experience.

    We are Fortunate we did not have tile back again splash in the kitchen, they destroyed the trim around the window and needed to replace it, leaving gaps amongst the trim and also the back splash. They damaged the wall plus the paint above the window also.

    With the acquisition of Affordable Windows, you’ll be Functioning with a Milwaukee home advancement company that is

    These men from alside crack me up. They may be posting listed here to make theirselves look good and make folks Imagine their windows are good. They're not prime of the road plus they acquire them in bulk from a cheeply made window maker and provide them. I have had all sorts of challenges with mine plus they even came out and replaced them 3 periods.

    Alside casement windows are pure and easy JUNK... All six primary installed windows had manufacturing defects from day a single. All six casements had been replaced less than warranty. The replacement casement windows had been NO superior.

    As well as, we’re the market leaders when it concerns parts and labor warranties, so you're Quality Replacement Windows able to rest assured you’ll by no means be omitted during the cold. With Abby Windows your home is from the arms of dependable industry experts.

    00. My windows are the wrong sizes they measure Improper and had to reorder.Now they leak and also have condensation among the double window. I'll report them on the BBB.

    so please quit. Next new homes built with builder grade windows and that is particularly what Replacement Windows Boston They're, These are designed to search quite until eventually the builder will get paid. these windows are certainly not built to preform nor were being the meant to. Cease blaming alside Window Glass Replacement Cost for terrible windows, the builder stiffed you not alside and carpenters, make sure you halt wanting to Engage in window installer and action back and allow a full time window crew to perform The work. FULL TIME not someone that framed the wall a

    Is anyone aware of a category-motion lawsuit from Alside or maybe the involvement on the Composite Replacement Windows legal professional typical? This is Crank Out Windows a publicly traded company and should be held to higher standards. I do think it is time to get these systemic difficulties to the subsequent degree. Can anyone give me some additonal info (i.e. Provides a social Web page been established on Facebook to have more involvement?)
              Mold concern after water leak        
    [0] Question by Harley6 on 07/29/16 11:14 AM Replies: 0 Views: 623
    Tags: Plumbing, Mold, Insurance
    Last Post by Harley6 on 07/29/16 11:14 AM
              Must-see: Two of the four new Timberwolves uniforms have been revealed        
    It’s the moment a lot of you have been waiting for (and, yes, the moment some of you could not possibly care less about): The new Timberwolves uniforms, made by Nike, are here. The team released two of the four primary designs Thursday morning. The “Icon” edition is the darker one, while the “Association” edition is the lighter one. And yes, the Fitbit logo is on it, as promised. If you followed the leaks of the jerseys that trickled out in recent days, the designs shouldn’t be a surprise. They look pretty much exactly like what Karl-Anthony Towns was wearing in a leaked video game image. There will be two more primary uniforms released in the coming months, as the NBA is going to four total uniforms — with no home or away designation — in this reboot with Nike. It’s interesting to note that the new jerseys won’t be available for purchase until Sept. 29. Also, if you are one for reading a lot into a small detail, it should be noted that Andrew Wiggins’ jersey is included in both the video and still images released by the team. I’m not sure they would do that if he was under consideration to be traded for Kyrie Irving … though I suppose it would look even more conspicuous if he was left out. You can get more details on the jerseys and the history right here. Here’s a look at the full Icon look, including shorts. I have to say — and I’m not just saying this because Glen Taylor owns both the Star Tribune and the Timberwolves — I really like the new look. Plenty of you probably agree. Maybe just as many of you disagree. Let’s hash it out in the comments.
              Gizmon lens filter for Ricoh WG cameras        
    Gizmon launched a new ball lens filter “GIZMON x ZENJIX Soratama 55 for WG” for Ricoh WG cameras. Here are some sample photos taken with the filter: The filter is available for sale at Amazon Japan. Via DC.watch
              Recipe for the Perfect Bath Experience        

    Megan Wahlberg

    In many cultures around the world and throughout history, bathing has been a ritualistic act. A bath cleanses impurities and calms the spirit. Immersing oneself in water can feel exhilarating beyond belief. In the twenty-first century, we have the technology to make our bathing experiences transcendent every time. Here is my recipe to a bath that makes you feel rejuvenated, happy and healthy. 1. Squeaky Clean Utilities Toto, the manufacturer and not the cute little dog, makes quality baths with hygienic features built into every part of their valves and plumbing. The anti-return valve for instance keeps bath oils and impurities from building bacteria up in the jets. There is nothing so upsetting as spotting a ring of dirt on the inside of a jet, or feeling nervous that the basin isn’t completely clean. The Nova bath model from Jacuzzi uses the same technology. This company can produce whirlpool baths that also maintain a clean and healthy system. 2. Soothing Massage A lot of people love jets, but I personally find them noisy and irritating. When a jet blows full blast on part of my skin, the area will become red and itchy. Does anybody else have this problem? Toto engineers created an air bath option for their customers. These smaller, quieter jets distribute air bubbles throughout the bath evenly, resulting in a much more relaxing spa. The Guinevere Soaker is shown on the manufacturer’s website having these features installed. It has a safety bar on the inside to help users get in and out with ease. Jacuzzi offers the subtle air jet experience as well. The Mio bath tub is a popular choice because it can produce both the invigorating whirlpool effect or the more calming bubbling soak. One works for morning to get you ready for work and the other for night to help put you to bed. 3. Beautiful Surroundings Jacuzzi makes this lovely free standing bath tub with claw feet that I’ve always wanted. I had a friend in New York who had a studio loft apartment and she had to share a public toilet with everyone on her floor. In her studio, between the kitchen and the ladder up to her loft she had a free standing tub. It was so adorable! At parties she would fill in up with ice and beer. 4. Comfort How can you float away when the rim of the tub is jammed in the back of your neck? The Tara whirlpool bathtub has that extra room for extra comfort as well as contoured back rests. This is that tub in which your only worry is falling asleep and getting a mouthful of bath water. The door makes it easy and safe to enter and exit the tub. The Finestra whirlpool is guaranteed never to leak for as long as you own it. Rest easy knowing this bath is also safe for bath salts and oils. 5. “You” Time Designate a special segment of time for bathing. Don’t allow pending obligations to weigh on your brain. Ask the kids to play a game together. The perfect bath is never complete without the sensation of letting go of the filth rinsing off your skin, the worries, the dissatisfaction, or the exhaustion. Let it wash away and go right down the drain. So these are the ingredients for blissful bathing. Don’t forget the occasional candles and glass of Merlot for extra alone time luxury. The mind needs meditation, and a bath every now and again gives us time to quiet our thoughts and remember how to relax.

    Read full version: Recipe for the Perfect Bath Experience
    The post Recipe for the Perfect Bath Experience appeared first on HomeThangs.com.

              JailbreakMe 3.0 iPad 2 Jailbreak Now Available, Leaked        
    Everyone has been waiting for the iPad 2 jailbreak for a long time, and all we could know was the devs are working on the jailbreak iPad 2 exploit and it will be released ‘soon’, but time frame was given. Well, to our rejoice, JailbreakMe 3.0 has been leaked. You can now download Jailbreak 3.0 […]
              The Scintilla Project: Day Two        
    The prompt: When did you realise you were a grown up? What did this mean for you? Shock to the system? Mourning of halcyon younger days? Or the embracing of the knowledge that you can do all the cool stuff adults do: drink wine, go on parent-free vacations, eat chocolate without reprimand? 

    The short of it--I'm not grown yet. I'm thirty-eight, and if the powers that be wouldn't spare me this earthly existence in the throes of past years' miseries, that Bitch--capitalized with all due reverence-- had better let me live long enough to make sense of it all.

    The long of it--depending when asked, I'll dig deep into my mental crates and offer you a tale or twelve of victory and some defeat, starring me, in what sometimes looks a lot like a -- neck roll, eye roll, pursed-lips-- grown ass woman, but one can never be too certain.

    Was it my wedding day? I was eighteen years and a whole fourteen long summer days old. Mayhaps...

    It could have been the twenty eight hours of grueling anything-but-natural, natural childbirth. Or, the time spent thereafter in NICU deciphering medical jargon whilst my painfully engorged breasts leak and my child lay cyanotic. Maybe it was when I finally got to bring him home...or, last December when he left home.   

    Maybe, it came in the subtle silence of the formative years, his and mine and ours, when we were three. Or was it amidst the storm when I fled, or when he fled, or when I fled again? No umbrella, no coat.
    Perhaps, I clenched the moment like a baton? Twenty-four and relaying back and forth between two lives, two loves: the one that felt right and the one that was right. Then again, I just knew I felt a certain tinge of something when I committed...recommitted, to the latter. Sacrifice, take one for the "team", isn't that what grown-ups do?

    Did I lay my claim to adulthood at 26; one last push and bellow, the birth of child number two. Or is it in my admirable resistance to push back when she pushes my buttons; vitriol spewing from pink, angry, pubescent rage-filled lips?  

    The moments when it all falls apart are as relevant on the journey as when it all comes together. Maybe it's all of these things collectively, and maybe it's none at all. Growing... grown...I just want to hold on long enough to make sense of it all. 

              Der Franziskus Effekt: Reform        
    Teil 2 einer kleinen Reihe Das zweite Element, das ich unter dem Begriff des Franziskus Effektes sehe, ist die Reform, das Lieblingsthema unsere Medien, wenn es um den Papst geht. Damit wird meist die Kurienreform gemeint, Kardinäle, Vatileaks, Bürokratie, Vatikanbank … Weiterlesen
              Encryption Chip Fights Off Side-Channel Attacks        
    Taiwanese hardware designers say that the cloud based services are vulnerable to data leakage threat due to side-channel attacks. The side-channel attacks steal cryptographic keys used by cloud servers leaving the servers under great threat. Researchers at Taiwanese National Chiao Tung University (NCTU) have developed a chip that resists side-channel attacks. According to Chen-Yi Lee, […]
              Dickens miałby już 200 lat!        

    W tym miesiącu, dokładniej 7 lutego upłynęła 200 rocznica narodzin jednego z najwybitniejszych brytyjskich pisarzy – Karola Dickensa. Z tej okazji przygotowaliśmy specjalne lekcje, które pomogą Państwu przybliżyć uczniom jego życie i twórczość.

      Dickens and his public

      Dickens and his public Worksheet

      The world Charles Dickens

      The world of Charles Dickens Worksheet


    Polecana literatura:

    Charles Dickens
    Paul Shipton
    David Copperfield
    Charles Dickens
    Bleak House
    Charles Dickens
    Nicholas Nickleby
    Charles Dickens
    Oliver Twist
    Charles Dickens


              Standing Rock lawsuit update        
    SUBHEAD: Army Corps of Engineers sent back to analyze the environmental justice of the Dakota Access pipeline.

    By Yessenia Funes on 3 August 2017 for Yes Magazine -

    Image above: More than 380 tribes around the world came forward to stand with the water protectors. Photo by Vlad Tchompalov.From original article.

    On July 27, 2016, the Standing Rock Sioux filed a lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers for authorizing the construction of the 1,172-mile Dakota Access pipeline. Just over a year later, the project has been completed and carries crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields to an export terminal in Illinois. The case is still pending, and continues to be the tribe’s last hope to protect its water and land.

    The lawsuit alleged that authorization of the pipeline violated the Clean Water Act, Rivers and Harbors Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to adequately conduct an efficient environmental assessment and skipping an environmental impact statement (EIS) altogether.

    “If history is to repeat itself, it doesn’t look good for us,” says Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Dave Archambault II. “But that doesn’t mean we don’t have hope.”

    The lawsuit has now been joined by the Cheyenne River Sioux and the Yankton and Oglala Sioux tribes, but at its heart, the case remains the same since its initial filing, said lead attorney Jan Hasselman, who represents the Standing Rock Sioux on behalf of nonprofit environmental law firm Earthjustice.

    He’s been arguing that the $3.8 billion energy project ignores treaty rights and needs further environmental review. The goal is that U.S. District Court Judge James E. Boasberg will rule in favor of an EIS and pause pipeline operations indefinitely, and, ultimately, stop them completely.

    In December, pipeline opponents almost secured the EIS under former President Barack Obama when the Army Corps of Engineers announced it would prepare the statement and not permit the pipeline to cross beneath the Lake Oahe crossing on the Missouri River, an area of cultural, religious, and spiritual significance to the tribe.

    It was a near victory. With the EIS secured, the court shelved the lawsuit, but there was more bubbling beneath the surface. Dakota Access launched a counter lawsuit once the Obama administration requested the EIS, and Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration loomed on the horizon. The lawyers, the tribe, and even the court knew the situation could change drastically.

    “The court was pretty explicit that this could be undone,” Hasselman said. And it was.

    Trump rescinded the EIS and issued the final easement across Lake Oahe in February. Immediately, the attorneys amended their initial complaint to include the final easement. Things moved along quickly from there, Hasselman explained. For the first time, the tribe had something concrete to contest, not something they were asking the courts to prevent.

    “We were finally able to put those environmental review issues and treaty issues up front and center,” Hasselman said. Until then, the case was essentially in “pause mode.”

    Then in June, Judge Boasberg found that the Corps had not sufficiently considered the pipeline’s environmental effects or environmental justice impacts when issuing its permit, and remanded the case back to the EIS process to reconsider its analysis. This is the first time Earthjustice is aware of such an environmental justice ruling.

    Boasberg’s recent decision offers DAPL’s opponents hope, but a favorable outcome is anything but assured. A pipeline has never before been stopped with a lawsuit, Hasselman said. “The legal and regulatory infrastructure is badly broken.

    You just don’t have the big overarching federal permits for a crude oil pipeline that you have in a lot of other contexts.” Unlike natural gas pipelines, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regulates a pipeline’s terms and conditions of transport, but not its actual construction and operation.

    Earthjustice didn’t take up the case because it believed the court held the answer but, rather, because it recognized the political power such a case could build. To that end, it has surpassed expectations.

    “What I had in mind was substantially more modest than what happened,” Hasselman said. He had hoped that 50 people would show up to court and they’d end up on the evening news. He wasn’t expecting the iconic fight for indigenous sovereignty that Standing Rock has become.

    The Dakota Access pipeline is now a matter of global interest. More than 380 tribes around the world—from New Zealand’s Māori to the Ecuadorian Amazon’s Kichwa—came forward to stand with the water protectors. “That’s a very significant time in history: when the tribes come together collectively and unite and say, Enough is enough,” Archambault said.

    The tribe’s effort became a movement with the support of spirit and prayer camps outside the reservation—including the Sacred Stone and Oceti Sakowin camps—and a 1,500-mile run to Washington, D.C., in which about 30 Native American youth delivered a petition with more than 140,000 signatures to the Army Corps headquarters demanding it halt the pipeline’s construction.

    Although this attention hasn’t influenced the lawsuit, Hasselman said, it legitimized the movement. Once the world set its eyes on Standing Rock, it could no longer ignore that the historic violent treatment of indigenous people isn’t a thing of the past—it continues today.

    Now? Hasselman thinks they have a shot. “We have an uphill struggle in persuading the court to shut down the pipeline while the remand process is underway, and we have an uphill struggle persuading the Army Corps to do a legitimate and appropriate analysis on remand, but we’re all working 24/7 to make that happen,” he said.

    Judge Boasberg is set to decide in September whether to pause pipeline operations while the Corps continues its review, and court proceedings are ongoing as both parties make their arguments. Until then, the tribe will see its challengers in court.

    See also:
    Ea O Ka Aina: DAPL battle not over 6/15/17
    Ea O Ka Aina: Defense contractors fought NoDAPL 5/27/17
    Ea O Ka Aina: Tribes divest DAPL Bankers 2/13/17
    Ea O Ka Aina: Veterans defending NoDAPL 2/11/17
    Ea O Ka Aina: Army Corps okays DAPL Easement  2/8/17
    Ea O Ka Aina: Trump orders go on DAPL EIS 2/3/17
    Ea O Ka Aina: Water Protectors pipeline resistance 2/1/17 
    Ea O Ka Aina: Force a full EIS on DAPL 1/27/17
    Ea O Ka Aina: Missile launcher at Standing Rock 1/19/17
    Ea O Ka Aina: Lockdown at Trans-Pecos Pipeline 1/10/17
    Ea O Ka Aina: Standing Rock has changed us 12/9/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: As Standing Rock celebrates... 12/5/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Army Corps denies easement 12/4/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: My Whole Heart is With You 12/2/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: The Loving Containment of Courage 12/1/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: The Beginning is Near 12/1/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Feds to shutdown NoDAPL Camp 11/25/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL people are going to die 11/23/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Hundreds of vets to join NoDAPL 11/22/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Obama must support Standing Rock 11/21/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Trump's pro oil stance vs NoDaPL 11/15/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Kauai NoDAPL Demonstration 11/12/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Obama to Betray Standing Rock 11/12/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Trump impact on Standing Rock 11/12/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Ann Wright on Standing Rock 11/8/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Turning Point at Standing Rock 11/6/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Jackson Browne vs DAPL owner 11/5/16
    Democracy Now: Boycott of DAPL Owner's Music Festival
    Ea O Ka Aina: World responds to NoDAPL protests 11/5/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL victory that was missed 11/5/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: DAPL hid discovery of Sioux artifacts 11/5/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Dakota Access Pipeline will leak 11/5/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Route of the Dakota Access Pipeline 11/4/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Sanders calls for stopping DAPL 11/4/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Obama hints at DAPL rerouting 11/3/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: New military attack on NODAPL 11/3/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: How to Support NoDAPL 11/3/16
    Unicorn Riot: Tweets from NoDAPL 11/2/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Standing Rock & the Ballot Box 10/31/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL reclaim new frontline 10/24/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: How far will North Dakota go? 10/23/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Amy Goodman "riot" charge dropped 10/17/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Amy Goodwin to face "Riot Charge" 10/16/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Shutdown of all tar sand pipelines 10/11/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Why Standing Rock is test for Oabama 10/8/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Why we are Singing for Water 10/8/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Labor's Dakota Access Pipeline Crisis 10/3/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Standing Firm for Standing Rock 10/3/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Contact bankers behind DAPL 9/29/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL demo at Enbridge Inc 9/29/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Militarized Police raid NoDAPL 9/28/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Stop funding of Dakota Access Pipeline 9/27/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: UN experts to US, "Stop DAPL Now!" 9/27/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: No DAPL solidarity grows 9/21/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: This is how we should be living 9/16/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: 'Natural Capital' replacing 'Nature' 9/14/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: The Big Difference at Standing Rock 9/13/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Jill Stein joins Standing Rock Sioux 9/10/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Pipeline temporarily halted 9/6/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Native Americans attacked with dogs 9/5/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Mni Wiconi! Water is Life! 9/3/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Sioux can stop the Pipeline 8/28/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Officials cut water to Sioux 8/23/16


              Fukushima hot particle update        
    SUBHEAD: New study of hot particles shows full radiation risks from Fukushima meltdowns are not recorded.

    By Arne Gundersen on 27 July 2017 for Fairwinds Associates -

    Image above: Scientist gathers particle sample along curb in Japan for radioactive analysis. Photo by Mikeo Kawasaki. From (http://audioslides.elsevier.com/viewersmall.aspx?doi=10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.07.091&source=0).

    Today, the scientific journal Science of the Total Environment (STOTEN) published a peer-reviewed article entitled: Radioactively-hot particles detected in dusts and soils from Northern Japan by combination of gamma spectrometry, autoradiography, and SEM/EDS analysis and implications in radiation risk assessment.

    Co-authored by Dr. Marco Kaltofen, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), and Arnie Gundersen, Fairewinds Energy Education, the article details the analysis of radioactively hot particles collected in Japan following the Fukushima Dai-ichi meltdowns.                          


    • Radioactive particles from Fukushima are tracked via dusts, soils, and sediments.
    • Radioactive dust impacts are tracked in both Japan and the United States/Canada.
    • Atypically-radioactive particles from reactor cores are identified in house dusts.
    • Scanning electron microscopy with X-ray analysis is used for forensic examinations.

    Based on 415 samples of radioactive dust from Japan, the USA, and Canada, the study identified a statistically meaningful number of samples that were considerably more radioactive than current radiation models anticipated. If ingested, these more radioactive particles increase the risk of suffering a future health problem.

    “Measuring radioactive dust exposures can be like sitting by a fireplace,” Dr. Kaltofen said. “Near the fire you get a little warm, but once in a while the fire throws off a spark that can actually burn you.”
    The same level of risk exists in Japan. While most people have an average level of risk, a few people get an extra spark from a hot particle.

    According to Dr. Kaltofen, “The average radiation exposures we found in Japan matched-up nicely with other researchers.  We weren’t trying to see just somebody’s theoretical average result.  We looked at how people actually encounter radioactive dust in their real lives.

    Combining microanalytical methods with traditional health physics models,” he added, “we found that some people were breathing or ingesting enough radioactive dust to have a real increase in their risk of suffering a future health problem.

    This was especially true of children and younger people, who inhale or ingest proportionately more dust than adults.”

    Fairewinds’ book Fukushima Dai-ichi: The Truth and the Way Forward was published in Japan by Shueisha Publishing, just prior to the one-year commemoration of the tsunami and meltdowns. “Our book,”

    Mr. Gundersen said, “which is a step-by-step factual account of the reactor meltdowns, was a best seller in Japan and enabled us to build amazing relations with people actually living in Japan, who are the source of the samples we analyzed.

    We measured things like house dusts, air filters, and even car floor mats.  Collecting such accurate data shows the importance of citizen science, crowd sourcing, and the necessity of open, public domain data for accurate scientific analysis.”

    Fairewinds Energy Education founder Maggie Gundersen said, “We are very thankful to the scientists and citizen scientists in Japan, who sought our assistance in collecting and analyzing this data. We will continue to support ongoing scientific projects examining how people in Japan and throughout the world experience radioactive dust in their daily lives."

    The complete peer reviewed report and project audio description by Dr. Kaltofen are available here at the Science of the Total Environment website.  

    Interactive data and the supporting materials are available here at the Fairewinds Energy Education website.

    Also see slide presentation by Dr. Marco Kaltofen (http://audioslides.elsevier.com/viewersmall.aspx?doi=10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.07.091&source=0

    Video above: Arne Gundersen about hot particles. Tokyo soil samples would be considered nuclear waste in the USA. From (https://vimeo.com/38995781).

    See also:
    Ea O Ka Aina: E-Fukushima bosses on trial 6/25/17
    Ea O Ka Aina: Tepco plan to dump tainted water 7/14/17
    Ea O Ka Aina: Stop Fukushima as Olympic venue 5/10/17
    Ea O Ka Aina: Continuing Fukushima danger 4/14/17
    Ea O Ka Aina: Continuing Fukushima danger 4/14/17
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima worse than ever 2/5/17
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima radiation on West Coast 1/13/17
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima cleanup cost to double 12/9/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Tokyo damaged by nuclear pellet rain 9/24/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Nuclear Power and Climate Failure 8/24/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: High radioactivity in Tokyo 8/22/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Nuclear Blinders 8/18/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima and Chernobyl 5/29/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima radiation damages Japan 4/14/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima's Nuclear Nightmare 3/13/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fifth Fukushima Anniversary 3/11/16
    Green Road Jounral: Balls filled with Uranium, Plutonium 2/19/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima impacts are ongoing 11/8/15
    Ea O Ka Aina: Petroleum and Nuclear Coverups 10/21/15
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Radiation Contamination 10/13/15
    Ea O Ka Aina: Radioactive floods damage Japan 9/22/15
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fir trees damaged by Fukushima 8/30/15
    Ea O Ka Aina: Japan restarts a nuclear plant 8/11/15
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima disaster will continue 7/21/15
    Ea O Ka Aina: Too many fish in the sea? 6/22/15
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima prefecture uninhabitable 6/6/15
    Ea O Ka Aina: In case you've forgotten Fukushima 5/27/15
    Ea O Ka Aina: Radiation damages top predator bird 4/24/15
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukshima die-offs occurring 4/17/15
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Impact Update 4/13/15
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima - the end of atomic power 3/13/15
    Ea O Ka Aina: Where is the Fukushima Data? 2/21/15
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fuku-Undo 2/4/15
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima MOX fuel crossed Pacific 2/4/15
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima worst human disaster 1/26/15
    Ea O Ka Aina: Japan to kill Pacific Ocean 1/23/15
    Ea O Ka Aina: Japan's Environmental Catastrophe 8/25/14
    ENE News: Nuclear fuel found 15 miles from Tokyo 8/10/14
    Ea O Ka Aina: Earthday TPP Fukushima RIMPAC 4/22/14
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Daiichi hot particles 5/30/14
    Ea O Ka Aina: Japanese radiation denial 5/12/14
    Ea O Ka Aina: Entomb Fukushima Daiichi now 4/6/14
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Disaster 3 Years Old 4/3/14
    Ea O Ka Aina: Tsunami, Fukushima and Kauai 3/9/14
    Ea O Ka Aina: Japanese contamination 2/16/14
    Ea O Ka Aina: Bill for Fukushima monitoring 2/9/14
    Ea O Ka Aina: Tepco under reporting of radiation 2/9/14
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Fallout in Alaska 1/25/14
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima engineer against nukes 1/17/14
    Ea O Ka Aina: California to monitor ocean radiation 1/14/14
    Ea O Ka Aina: Demystifying Fukushima Reactor #3 1/1/14
    Ea O Ka Aina: US & Japan know criticality brewing 12/29/13
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Forever 12/17/13
    Ea O Ka Aina: Brief radiation spike on Kauai 12/27/13
    Ea O Ka Aina: USS Ronald Reagan & Fukushima 12/15/13
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Pacific Impact 12/11/13
    Ea O Ka Aina: Berkeley and Fukushima health risks 12/10/13
    Ea O Ka Aina: Madness engulfs Japan 12/4/13
    Ea O Ka Aina: Edo Japan and Fukushima Recovery 11/30/13
    Ea O Ka Aina: Reaction to Fukushima is Fascism 11/30/13
    Ea O Ka Aina: Radioisotopes in the Northern Pacific 11/22/13
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima cleanup in critical phase 11/18/13
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima fuel removal to start 11/14/13
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima, What me worry? 11/13/13
    Ea O Ka Aina: Remove other Fukushina fuel 10/29/13
    Ea O Ka Aina: End to Japanese Nuclear Power? 10/3/13
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima & Poisoned Fish 10/3/13
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fuel Danger at Fukushima 9/27/13
    Ea O Ka Aina: Reactor #4 Spent Fuel Pool 9/16/13
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima is Not Going Away 9/9/13
    Ea O Ka Aina: X-Men like Ice Wall for Fukushima 9/3/13
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima House of Horrors 8/21/13
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Apocalypse 8/21/13
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Radioactive Dust 8/20/13
    Ea O Ka Aina: Cocooning Fukushima Daiichi 8/16/13
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima radiation coverup 8/12/13
    Ea O Ka Aina: Leakage at Fukushima an emergency 8/5/13
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima burns on and on 7/26/13
    Ea O Ka Aina: What the Fukashima? 7/24/13
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Spiking 7/15/13
    Ea O Ka Aina: G20 Agenda Item #1 - Fix Fukushima 7/7/13
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima and hypothyroid in Hawaii 4/9/13
    Ea O Ka Aina: Japan to release radioactive water 2/8/13
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima as Roshoman 1/14/13
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushia Radiation Report 10/24/12
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Fallout 9/14/12
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Unit 4 Danger 7/22/12
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima denial & extinction ethics 5/14/12
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima worse than Chernobyl 4/24/12
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima dangers continue 4/22/12
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima children condemned 3/8/12
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima fights chain reaction 2/7/12
    Ea O Ka Aina: Tepco faking Fukushima fix 12/24/11
    Ea O Ka Aina: The Non Battle for Fukushima 11/10/11
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Debris nears Midway 10/14/11
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Radiation Danger 7/10/11
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Abandoned 9/28/11
    Ea O Ka Aina: Deadly Radiation at Fukushima 8/3/11
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima poisons Japanese food 7/25/11
    Ea O Ka Aina: Black Rain in Japan 7/22/11
    Ea O Ka Aina: UK PR downplays Fukushima 7/1/11
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima #2 & #3 meltdown 5/17/11
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima sustained chain reaction 5/3/11
    Ea O Ka Aina: Ocean Radioactivity in Fukushima 4/16/11
    Ea O Ka Aina: Japan raises nuclear disaster level 4/12/11
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima No Go Zone Expanding 4/11/11
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima to be Decommissioned 4/8/11
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Poisons Fish 4/6/11
    Ea O Ka Aina: Learning from Fukushima 4/4/11
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Leak goes Unplugged 4/3/11
    Ea O Ka Aina: Stick a fork in it - It's done! 4/2/11
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima reactors reach criticality 3/31/11
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Non-Containment 3/30/11
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Meltdown 3/29/11
    Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Water Blessing & Curse 3/28/11 


              Maui conservation effort working        
    SUBHEAD: Large landscape scale reforestation at Auwahi on Haleakala is proof.

    By Jan TenBruggencate on 21 July 2017 for Raising Islands-

    Image above: Southern flank of southwest Maui where Auwahi reforestation project is turning Haleakela green. From original article. Click to enlarge.

    When Art Medeiros fenced some Maui pasture that had a smattering of native dryland forest plants on it, most folks figured he was engaged in a pipe dream.

    He hoped that by excluding deer and cattle, and with a little loving care and some outplanting, something approaching a healthy native dryland forest could result.

    Medeiros was right. The image above is the proof. The three dark green patches are areas fenced to keep grazing animals out and then planted with dryland natives. The 10-acre center square was fenced and planted 20 years ago, the bottom 23 acres 12 years ago, and the 23-acre shape at the right eight years ago.

    Medeiros worked with the landowners, `Ulupalakua Ranch’s Erdman family, along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, to form the Auwahi Forest Restoration Project. You can learn more about it at this website.

    What they found is that landscape-scale conservation efforts work.

    It is a remarkable example, but certainly not the only example in Hawaii.
    • When the Territory of Hawai`i removed feral cattle from the Koke`e grasslands on Kaua`i, those rolling acres of pasture were able to convert back to forest that is now Koke`e State Park.

    • When George Munro on Lana`i fenced hundreds of acres at Kanepu`u a century ago to keep out deer and mouflon sheep, he protected a native forest that survives today.

    • When Lida and David Burney took the analysis of ancient pollen samples at Makawehi on Kaua`i  and planted those plants into a nearby former cane field, they restored something long gone from that landscape. 
    Medeiros a few decades ago saw a few botanical gems in a severely degraded landscape. When he proposed trying to restore it, he got a lot of pushback. It was a dead forest standing, he was told - Degraded landscapes were inevitably going to further decline.

    He didn’t give up.

    “The question was whether we could rebuild this system, or was this (an example of) the end of all natural systems?”

    At Auwahi, there were priceless old endemic trees, but they were not reproducing and had not reproduced for decades. The native species covered only 3 percent of the landscape.

    Why care? Native dryland forest is some of the rarest treasure in the Hawaiian realm. It has been displaced by development, agriculture, pasture and constant pressure from non-native predators on the natural landscape, like cattle, deer, goats, sheep, pigs and rats.

    Medeiros and his team fenced out the cattle and deer at Auwahi, starting with the 10-acre square they now call A-1. With the help of teams of community volunteers, teachers, canoe clubs and many others, they began planting out native species—more than 125,000 seedlings to date.
    The result: Native species cover in some areas is now 82 percent.

    “Near two-thirds of native tree species at Auwahi are now producing seedlings naturally, a sign of a healthy functioning ecosystem, including some species that had not done so in centuries,” Medeiros said.

    And on a dry slope of Haleakala, where much of the landscape is brown and yellow, here it is deep green. Not only an indication that the plants are back, but that the landscape is functioning as a watershed.

    Medeiros gives special credit to the landowners, Pardee and Sumner Erdman and their family, for their dedication to conservation, and their willingness to convert pasture to native forest—without compensation.

    “`Ulupalakua Ranch has...served largely as a silent and enthusiastic partner. In all my years in conservation, I have never seen another for-profit group act in this way,” he said.

    Donors to the project over the years included the Frost Family Foundation, Maui County Department of Water Supply, Hawai`i Community Foundation, Hawai`i Tourism Authority, Maui County Office of Economic Development and the Edward J Anderson Foundation.

              Judo the Anti-Choice Thugs: Pledge a Picket        
    Want an easy way to make freakazoid heads explode? Plus support an outrageously courageous woman providing unique health services to women in dangerous territory?

    Then pledge a picket!

    Dr. Susan Wicklund, whose 2008 book This Common Secret, detailed her life as an abortion provider, has just opened a clinic in Livingston, Montana. Even before it opened on February 2nd, the clinic was being picketed by opponents of abortion rights. In the mail below, Wicklund's co-author, Montana writer Alan Kesselheim, explains how you can turn their protests peacefully against them. (I've pledged $1 per picketer. That puts me in a slightly weird position: Do I hope lots show up so the clinic gets plenty of cash, or few show up so that I can save mine?)

    If you want to pledge, e mail Martha_Kauffman@msn.com.

    (Details after the jump.)
    Dear Friends of Dr. Susan Wicklund:

    As most of you know, Susan Wicklund has been hard at work trying to open a women's reproductive health clinic in the Bozeman/Livingston area. It has not been easy. It has taken several years. Deals have fallen through because word leaked out and landowners were intimidated by violent threats. Other potential arrangements have collapsed due to financial difficulties, political controversy, or simple logistics.

    Despite the setbacks, Sue has persevered. On Monday, February 2nd, precisely sixteen years after she opened her Bozeman clinic, back in 1993, Mountain Country Women's Clinic again opens its doors, this time in downtown Livingston. It is a moment of triumph and satisfaction, achieved with the support of many people. It is also a moment of tension. Not only has Susan incurred significant personal debt in a very uncertain economy, but the usual voices of dissent are echoing in letters to the editor and in anti-choice picketers appearing on Main Street in Livingston, protesting the existence of Sue's legal services. Even before the doors opened, protesters walked the sidewalks outside. Also, even before the doors opened, women were calling Sue to make appointments.

    The need for a compassionate, professional, and thorough women's clinic is as great as ever. Unfortunately, the strident voices against choice rise up as expected. The difference between 1993 and 2009 is that Sue Wicklund has friends. All of you on this mailing list, and many more friends and neighbors, support her cause. Many have volunteered in the past. Some have written letters of support. Others wish they knew how to help.

    I propose to begin a Pledge-A-Picketer Campaign in support of Mountain Country Women's Clinic. The concept is simple, and it mirrors the grassroots style of the Obama campaign, during which many small contributions created a huge impact. Each of us signs on to donate, say, $1/picketer to Susan's clinic. If, over the period of a week, 17 picketers parade on Main Street, we each send a check for $17. It isn't much, but if $17 gets multiplied by 50 people, it comes to $850. If 100 people send in checks, we raise $1,700.


    Many of us wish to help Mountain Country Women's Clinic. We wish we could confront the picketers face to face. Unfortunately, that sort of public disturbance is precisely what the anti-choice forces would love to foster. However, by turning their efforts against them we can help Mountain Country Women's Clinic serve patients, and deflate the energy of the protesters.

    Susan Wicklund has agreed to keep track of picketers during her first week of operation. At that point we will contact all of you again with the numbers, and an address to send the check to. Even if you can only pledge .25/picketer, the cumulative impact of our efforts will still be significant. Also, I urge you to forward this message to any of your friends who might help support Sue's new clinic. If they would like to participate, they should contact Martha_Kauffman@msn.com and ask to be added to the list.

    With Sincere Thanks, and In Solidarity,

    Alan Kesselheim Co-Author of This Common Secret

    I LOVE THIS! Go ahead, assholes: every day you picket that legal and necessary abortion clinic puts more money in the pockets of abortionists. Keep protesting. Bring all your friends and family, drag in strangers.

    Make. My. Day.

    Cross-posted at They Gave Us A Republic.

              Parking Like a Jerk-Face - What to do?        
    Driving a car can't always be a pleasurable experience.  I know, it's a shock to have to admit it but it's true.  Most of the time though, the things that take away from would-be great car moments are out of our control.  Construction, congestion and bad drivers ruin what would otherwise be an amazing afternoon cruise or pleasant commute to work.  There is also one other frustrating aspect of driving, parking lots.  And the only thing worse than not being able to find a space is discovering that someone else took two.   

    Parking is one of the many necessary evils of using a vehicle.  Most people can't take their car into the office with them, so you gotta leave it somewhere when you're not using it.  Most of the time, the only problem with having to park somewhere is not being able to find a space.  This can cause a prominent build up of rage within the poor driver who has to constantly circle the lot looking for a free space so they can continue with their day.

    This rage becomes compounded to critical levels when that already frustrated driver comes across a vehicle that has been carelessly strewn across two or more spaces.  This car is usually a German sports sedan such as a BMW (see below) or Audi.  Unfortunately, this results in stereotypes being established about the owners of such cars.  No longer are these vehicles seen as the chariots of individuals who appreciate well balanced handling, sleek styling and efficient power.  Instead they become cocks.  Inconsiderate jerks who are too self obsessed to even take notice that perhaps their actions are actually affecting others.  Then again, they may be fully aware and don't care... or even enjoy it.  Those are a special kind of scum.

    Here are some things I found on the internet relating to the issue of bad parking.  They shed some light on how to deal with the offending party:  

    1. Inform the Jerk-Face that they are being a Jerk-Face

    Have you ever walked past a bad park job that filled you with an overpowering urge to chew out the person who committed the offending effort (or lack thereof)?  Since we all don't have the time or physical where-with-all to hang around for the purpose of an educational confrontation, youparklikeanasshole.com will let you take the coward's way out.  Just print off the form and leave it under the perpetrator's windshield wiper parking ticket style.  You get to speak your mind and avoid a potentially life threatening situation.  Satisfying?  You bet!

    Alternatively, you can visit iparklikeanass.com.  Pretty much the same idea as the previous site.  Bad parking theme?  Check!  Ass related URL?  Double check!  (One for each cheek)

    2. Take pity on their lack of skills... or have a good laugh.

    Of course, maybe these people that are parking like jerks aren't jerks at all.  Maybe they're just lacking in skills.  Deep down they want to be able to get their car between the lines, parallel park and judge the distance between their car and a neighboring vehicle.  They just don't have the capability to do it.

    Case in point - here's a short compilation of bad parking.

    If you loved that, here's a longer video with even more carnage and shame.  

    3.  Completely lose your $#!@

    And when all else fails, you can always do like this P.O.'d fellow did and torch the offending vehicle.  Props for this guy for doing what he believed to be the right thing.  After all, this jerk was parking on a children's playground!  Then again, he did light a car on fire in a children's playground.  I'd say this one evens out in the wash.

    For those of you wondering, yes, this did take place in Russia.  And unless you've been living under a rock, Russia is well known for its automotive hijinks.  And if you have been making your abode beneath a geological formation, just punch Russian drivers into the search field on YouTube and I'm sure you'll find countless examples (I am assuming that since you are reading this blog, you will have access to the internet at your rock house... unless a friend printed this off for you).     

    On that toasty note, I'll have my leave.  But before you go, if you know of any awesome bad parking examples that you've come across on the internet, feel free to post some links in the comment section or on the Official Automophiliac Facebook Page.  I look forward to seeing what you come up with!


              Trump's 'Drug-Infested Den' Remark In Transcript Angers New Hampshire        
    New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu is taking umbrage at President Trump's apparent characterization of his state as "a drug-infested den." And not surprisingly, he isn't the only one who's angry. The remark was contained in a transcript published Thursday of a telephone conversation between Trump and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. Discussing the flow of drugs on the southern U.S. border in a conversation from the Oval Office on Jan. 27, Trump told his Mexican counterpart: "We have a massive drug problem where kids are becoming addicted to drugs because the drugs are being sold for less money than candy." "I won New Hampshire because New Hampshire is a drug-infested den," Trump reportedly said. (Note: While Trump won the New Hampshire Republican primary, he lost the state in the general election). As NPR's Danielle Kurtzleben noted : "The Trump administration is, for now, being reticent about the leaked transcripts. National Security Council spokesperson Michael Anton told NPR that
              10 Questions on the Conflict in Syria        
    A potential military strike by Western powers on Syria now appears to be a fait accompli and is being touted as long overdue. Given the spiralling humanitarian disaster that has overtaken the country during the last two years of conflict, continued inaction appears to be an untenable reality. The death toll is now well over 100,000 (although the proportion of civilians to combatants is unclear). There are 2 million refugees, half of whom are children, and over 4 million more internally displaced persons (IDPs), amounting to a quarter of the country's overall population. Yet, it was the apparent chemical weapons attack in the suburbs around Damascus known as Ghouta last week that has served as the impetus for international military intervention into the conflict. Amidst the rhetoric and war rehearsals, clarity on what is really happening seems to be cast aside in the media, in favor of faux-spontaneous leaks, retired generals, and trumpeters of past wars. Here are ten questions to try to set the record straight.

    1. Were chemical weapons used in Syria?

    When the initial attack unfolded last Wednesday, August 21 in the suburbs in Damascus known as Ghouta (near the town/suburb of Jobar), news quickly spread to local, regional and international media. Claims were made of hundreds of deaths, with some activists claiming the death toll was 1,300. Moreover, the Government of Syria immediately denied responsibility and has continued to do so. However, the attack did unfold amidst a series of army strikes on Jobar, which is a rebel-held area, and has been for quite some time. The Government conversely claimed to find chemical weapons supplies in tunnels in the same area, and it is alleged that some Hezbollah fighters were also exposed to chemical toxins.

    A week on, it appears incontrovertible that chemical weapons were used, not just from YouTube videos but also from visits by independent journalists, and of course by a report by Médecins Sans Frontières that has documented at least 355 deaths from local hospitals. It is likely that the chemical agent used was a neurotoxin or nerve gas, most likely sarin gas. What is still not clear, is how they were delivered (i.e. in what form and carried on what type of weapon) and from where.

    It should also be kept in mind that this was not the first attack that has been alleged. There have been numerous claims by rebels, and counter-claims by the government on the use of chemical weapons in the conflict. Here's a map of those events. In fact, this is precisely why the team of UN inspectors had arrived in the country, the day before this latest incident (and massacre) took place. In fact, what is interesting is that their investigation of other sites has now been put on the back-burner due to the latest developments.

    2. Do we know who actually used the chemical weapons? 

    The United States, United Kingdom, and France have all stated they are certain that the Government of Syria has undertaken the attack last week. On the U.S. side, at the forefront of the rhetoric has been Vice President Biden - who has said there is 'no doubt' - and Secretary of State John Kerry, who made an evocative plea for action several days ago. Of course, the next speech is the most important, and it would be one made by President Barack Obama. In light of this certainty, it would be difficult to question the attribution of blame. A leak from the US government also claims to have intercepted a murky call between commanders in the Syrian army that supposedly is evidence of culpability on the Syrian side.

    There is tremendous reason to doubt U.S. claims. Firstly, it should not be forgotten that then Secretary of State Colin Powell presented ironclad evidence to the United Nations Security Council of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) that Saddam Hussein possessed, a finding that was later proven to be utterly false, but which was the basis of a war that continues until today. Secondly, the U.S. claimed that there was incontrovertible proof that the Government of Syria was responsible for earlier chemical attacks this year, but that finding has been contested, and some experts apportioned blame to the rebels fighting the government. And finally, in this case, no evidence has been presented, as of yet to make such a determination, at least not conclusively.

    Does that mean the Assad and his regime are not responsible? No. It is very likely given the ongoing military operations in the same area that the Syrian government launched such an attack. Yet, more evidence needs to be presented to make a definitive conclusion. The other scenarios that could be possible are:

    - Extremists groups like Jubhat al-Nusra, who have previously seized advanced weaponry and possibly chemical weapons from Syrian army bases and positions, were attempting to use them on Syrian soldiers (or conversely to cast blame on the Syrian army);

    - The Government of Syria inadvertently hit a stockpile of sarin gas releasing the toxins (although unclear if this would lead to the effects that we've seen); or

    - Rogue elements within the chain of command used chemical weapons intentionally or inadvertently.

    Russia, Iran and China have of course cast doubt on western claims but that is to be expected.

    3. What would be the basis or justification for US intervention?

    The U.S. intervention would likely be on the basis of Obama's previously stated red line on Syria, which would be the mass use/movement of chemical weapons. It is not in fact about humanitarian intervention and the Responsibility to Protect framework, developed in the 1990s to prevent genocide and mass civilian deaths. If it was, then the humanitarian case for intervention has been present for some time, and other massacres by the Syrian regime, such as in Houla in 2012, would have provided sufficient pretext. Obviously, the U.S. and other Western powers, and regional countries, have their own interests at play that are much more geopolitical in nature, but the justification or casus belli being offered is around the issue of chemical weapons, and chemical weapons alone.

    4. Will anybody else be involved in the military strikes besides the US and will this affect whether they are 'legal'?

    Given Russian and Chinese opposition, and a likely veto of any resolution by the United Nations Security Council supporting such a military strike on Syria - especially in light of the intervention in Libya, which Russia regretted supporting - a 'coalition of the willing' will need to be developed. This coalition would be broader than the Iraq War in 2003, and would be similar to the coalition carrying out the strikes against Serb positions vis-a-vis Kosovo in 1999. While the U.S., U.K. and France will likely lead an effort, Turkey would also be critical as a staging ground (as it borders Syria from the North), and thus there will be an attempt to launch such an attack under the auspices of NATO. Despite its reluctance, Jordan, given its reliance on the U.S. and Saudi Arabia politically and economically, will have no choice but to support . The two other neighbours of Syria, Iraq and Lebanon are squarely against any military strike. And of course, the other neighbor - Israel - would sit this one out but would provide intelligence to the U.S. and other parties on Syrian positions, given that it has already undertaken a number of air strikes on Syria in the past two years.

    Further afield, it is likely the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) will support military intervention, with Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates possibly sending fighter jets to participate in a strike to give it regional cover and credibility. Finally, while many groups within the Arab and Muslim world, and the 'left' of the West, will oppose military intervention, many others will support it, because of the spiralling humanitarian situation in Syria.

    Technically speaking if the military intervention is not sanctioned by the United Nations Security Council, and there is no imminent threat that the U.S. and other parties can point to towards its own territory or its assets, it would be illegal under international law. However, that has not stopped NATO or other countries (i.e. Russia in Georgia) form undertaking military action in the past. And before the Iraq War, some scholars claimed that while such an attack would be illegal it would be legitimate, and demonstrated retroactively to be legal. Given the state of world affairs, 'legality' is likely not a determining factor for a strike on Syria.

    5. Are we seeing a repeat of Iraq in 2003? 

    No. The situation today with Syria is different than it was in 2003 in Iraq, for many reasons, despite some passing similarities. In Iraq, the U.S. claimed that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction while in Syria, we already know Bashar al-Assad possesses chemical weapons, and the question is whether he used them (small aside, it was released this week that thirty years ago, the U.S. obstructed a UN investigation when it knew Saddam Hussein had used chemical weapons). In Iraq, the U.S. alleged that Saddam Hussein had links with Al Qaeda (and related groups), while in Syria, Bashar al Assad is widely acknowledged to be fighting Al Qaeda (and related groups) in addition to the 'Free Syrian Army' (and in addition to crushing peaceful demonstrators). In Iraq, there was no active state of conflict that was leading to a spiralling humanitarian catastrophe (and the potential use of WMDs), while in Syria there is not just a violent conflict, but also WMDs have been used by somebody (even if the culprit is not yet clear).

    What should be noted, however, is that both Iraq in 2003 and Syria in 2013, are in complex environments, and any removal of government or sustained military intervention would have dramatic unforeseen consequences. It seems like the media debate in the U.S. is also similarly anaemic (but slightly better) this time around.

    6. What is the real motivation for the United States and other powers?

    As with all things in this world when it comes to international relations, the primary interest is not humanitarian but geopolitical. This is not absolute, however, and it could be argued that Turkey has been insisting on humanitarian intervention from an early stage. However, the regimes (not peoples) in the Gulf, most notably Saudi Arabia, are exclusively concerned with dislodging Syria from the Iranian orbit, and severing connections between Syria and Hezbollah. Humanitarian concerns are a by-product. And for the United States, something similar is at play. As noted above, if this was about humanitarian concerns, action would have been taken long before 100,000 deaths had occurred.

    For the U.S. it has been looking for regime change in Syria for a while. However, these strikes if they occur, will be about sending a message and asserting America's position in the Middle East, given the red line that Obama drew. Ultimately, it may tip the scales in the rebels favour or improve the U.S.'s negotiating position vis-a-vis Iran. The chemical weapons attack in a morbid way, opened a door of opportunity for Western powers (with GCC support) to do something limited without a full-scale intervention.

    7. Will military intervention solve the Syrian conflict?

    No. Military intervention no matter how small or how big will not solve the Syrian conflict. In fact, it could very much exacerbate the situation on the ground even further (if that can be imagined). What is being reported currently is that the U.S. and allies will undertake a series of 'surgical strikes', a euphemism for a large-scale assault on key military and strategic installations, such as army positions, air bases, radar installations, communications infrastructure, supply routes, and, where appropriate, power stations (among other targets). More than anything this will be intended to send a message to the regime and weaken its capabilities. Yet, it would not be a fatal blow. And it would not necessarily tip the scales in favor of the rebels. It may in fact mobilize certain parties to support the regime, if there are civilian casualties from the intervention.

    The solution to the Syrian situation has to be political, if it is going to lead to stability or peace. Yet, if the military intervention escalated and led to the removal of the Syrian regime, that would still not be the end of the conflict. After the Soviets were booted out of Afghanistan, the country devolved into a civil war for five years until the rise of the Taliban in 1996. Somalia has only recently stabilised (somewhat), more than 20 years after the assassination of its leader, President Siad Barre. And neighboring Lebanon, took 15 years of conflict (1975-1990) to reach an end, which was brought about by ironically Syrian military intervention (which committed its own crimes), that produced a - audible gasp - political settlement.

    8. What could potentially go wrong?

    Everything. The potential for disaster following military intervention in any country is great (see Black Hawk Down, Iraq, Afghanistan and the list goes on). Yet, in Syria it could be apocalyptic. Here is a list of what that could entail:

    - Chemical weapons are used by Syria against its neighbors such as Jordan and Turkey, or U.S. military positions in those countries;
    - U.S. planes/helicopters are shot down leading to an escalation of U.S. involvement requiring boots on the ground;
    - Syria sends a volley of missiles into Tel Aviv and other places in Israel, leading to a regional war;
    - Proxy forces of Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah, launch a sustained campaign against Israel/U.S. interests, including attacks embassies within Lebanon/Palestine/Israel but also in other countries, in the short and medium-term;
    - Al Qaeda forces in the region, while opposing the Assad regime, oppose U.S. intervention especially if there are masses of civilian casualties, and use it as a pretext for attacks in places such as Yemen;
    - Russia objects to the U.S. strike, and mobilizes warships to the Mediterranean, leading to a standoff with Europe and the U.S.;
    - Negotiations with Iran, still in embryonic stages are suspended irrevocably;
    - Six party talks with North Korea are suspended by Russia, China, and North Korea irrevocably;
    - The Syrian regime goes all out in its conflict and begins to bomb with even more abandon civilian areas controlled by rebels, leading to thousands of casualties, and counter-massacres by enraged rebel fighters;
    - The Syrian regime is removed by force from power by the intervention, leading to a power vacuum sinking the country further into civil war for over a decade of even more violent strife and a possible Al Qaeda style government;
    - Tensions rise in the Middle East, especially in places of sectarian division (i.e. Lebanon, Yemen, Bahrain, Eastern Province in Saudi Arabia, and Iraq) leading to civil strife and attacks on governments, and counter-attacks on populations; and
    - World War 3.

    9. What could potentially go right?

    It may seem that what is written above is slightly alarmist and that's true. Many things can go wrong (most of which, to be honest, are hard to predict as they will be unforeseen consequences or as Donald Rumsfeld, ironically calls them, unknown unknowns). However, the U.S.-led strikes could be quite effective. Firstly, if they are limited in scope, they can be completed in one day, reducing the risk for a military entanglement and civilian casualties. Secondly, if they are from the air, there is limited risk for casualties on the side of the intervening forces. Thirdly, an attack that is forceful and hits Syrian military positions, will send a message to Assad that there is a limit to what he can do, which thus far has not been the case, and may entice him to reach a political settlement. Fourthly, it is unlikely that the Syrian regime would retaliate, for a short strike on positions, against Israel, knowing that they cannot afford to fight a war on so many fronts (and thus far they have yet to retaliate to any Israel air strike). Finally, the systematic destruction of Assad's air capabilities could be instrumental in limiting civilian casualties by the regime in the future.

    All of this is one possibility of what could occur.

    10. Let's cut to the chase - should I support or not support military intervention?

    There is no clearcut answer. Ultimately, military intervention should not be supported as a solution to the Syrian conflict. It is not, and whether we like it or not, a political solution/settlement is the only way the current situation moves towards peace and stability. The U.S. is negotiating with the Taliban. The Vietnamese negotiated with the U.S. The Lebanese negotiated with each other. The Dayton Accords to end the Bosnian War were signed with Slobodan Milosevic. It may not be easy, it may be unlikely, and it will not work perfectly, but political discussions involving all parties is the only way to find a real solution.

    That being said, if a case is made with overwhelming evidence by independent parties (not U.S. conjecture) that chemical weapons were used by the Syrian regime, then military intervention on a limited scale, and for a period of 1-2 days only, should be undertaken, ideally with UN support - and if not with broad support of half of the members, i.e. 90, of the UN General Assembly to demonstrate legitimacy - against military targets only, which will both send a message about the use of these weapons and damage the capabilities of Assad.

    What is clear is that whatever happens, there are no clear answers with regards to the conflict in Syria.

              How to Read a Home Window Label        
    This is the beginning of our series called Energy-Efficient Windows 101 made possible by Marvin Windows and Doors.  For this first article, I want to talk about the various acronyms you might see on a home window label, or in window specification materials, so you’ll know more about what you’re reading.  When evaluating energy-efficient window options, Marvin suggests that you understand the basics of the following words and acronyms: AL – the Air Leakage rating […]
              An Essay From A Guest        

    I gotta be honest with you and admit upfront that something unexpected came up today so I won’t be able to write as long of a blog post as I would have liked to.  Obviously, “something came up” can be interpreted as either writer’s block, me going back to my lazy ways, me getting an opportunity to play free golf and taking it, etc.  Regardless of what I tell you the real reason is, I know that you will all most likely think the truth is one of those aforementioned excuses, so I might as well not even try to explain myself and just move on (also, I’m not saying the real reason isn’t one of the aforementioned excuses).

    Having said that, Nut Up or Shut Up Week is still rolling on.  Since I promised you five blog posts in five days and since I never go back on my promises (except for the times that I do), I’ve got no choice but to deliver a blog post today come hell or high water.

    (By the way, hell and high water seem like two drastically different things. Don’t get me wrong – floods can be devastating, but the phrase “high water” doesn’t necessarily mean a flood.  All “high water” really means is that a couple of roads are closed throughout the town and that bag of Doritos you left in your basement might be a little soggy now cause some water is leaking in.  It sucks, sure, but really it only marginally sucks when compared to eternal damnation, so maybe the phrase should be changed to “come hell or apocalypse”, “come hell or the plague”, “come hell or famine”, or any of the other countless alternatives that are better than “come hell or high water.”)

    Anyway, because I guaranteed a blog post today and because I can’t really carve a huge block of time out of my day today like I typically do when I write these things, I’m going to turn today’s post over to a guest blogger. And by “guest blogger”, I mean that I’m going to copy and paste an essay that was written by Kosta Koufos using my computer when he and I were teammates at Ohio State and that I’ve had saved on my computer for all these years.

    Kosta, you might remember, was at Ohio State for one year before he went to the NBA and bounced around a few teams until landing with the Denver Nuggets (who he now plays for).  During his one year at OSU (my sophomore year), he was asked to write an essay that compared Johnny Cash’s version of “Hurt” to the original version by Nine Inch Nails for one of his classes, and for whatever reason he used my computer to do so.  After he finished writing the essay, I obviously saved it and planned on using it in my book somehow, but in the end there wasn’t any real purpose for it or natural place to put it so I left it out of the book (plus it’s not terrible enough to be really all that funny or entertaining).

    Since I’ve saved it for so long and have never done anything with it (and since I never got to make fun of Kosta on the blog because he left for the NBA before I started my blog), I figured I’d finally publish it.  So if you have ever found yourself wondering what a McDonald’s All-American has to say about the two most popular versions of “Hurt”, today is your lucky day.  I should mention that I opened the document, hit CTRL + A to copy every last word he wrote, and then opened this blog post and hit CTRL + V to paste it all, so please don’t accuse me of cutting stuff out or changing words around or anything like that.  Also, I swear that every bit of this was really written by Kosta when he was a freshman at OSU.  I had nothing to do with it other than copying it onto this blog (you’ll soon see that I couldn’t have written it because it’s not bad enough – had I written it as Kosta, I admittedly would have gone over the top and tried to make him look really stupid).  Anyway, here it is:


    Kosta Koufos


    Music Comparison

    After Listening to the song Hurt from both artists Johnny Cash, and the group Nine Inch Nails, it caught my attention in an awkward way. Both songs had the same lyrics, but sung in a different type of tone. I felt that the songs had more differences than similarities which made it very easy for me to make many judgments about the music pieces. The music had a common message and was very moving in a negative way. After listening and thinking about both music pieces, I came to realization that even though the song had the same lyrics, there was a distinct difference between the two.

    The first artist I listened too was Johnny Cash. As the song first starts out, you hear a guitar that seems to have a mellow dramatic sound. Then after the guitar plays, Johnny Cashes voice comes in with a very quite but strong passionate voice. As I listened to this song, it became very evident to me that it was about pain and sorrow in life. The main reason why I said the song was about pain and sorrow in life, was the fact that there were many statements used that used the word “death” in it. If I were to summarize this song I would say that it was about having everything in life, and all of a sudden you have nothing, but still you have to stay strong.

    When the song leaded to the chorus the beat became faster, and Johnny Cash’s voice still maintained his mellow voice throughout the whole song. As I listened to this, I kept thinking of wars and destruction, and the death that came with a price from the wars. I also had a religious image with Jesus being persecuted, and the life struggled he faced to get his message around about God. From listening to Johnny Cash’s version of Hurt I concluded that Nine Inch Nail’s version was much different.

    Even though both songs were very slow and very dramatic, the beginning of both songs was different. Johnny Cash’s version had more of an up tempo beat, while NIN version was extremely depressing. The first ten seconds of the song, all you heard was wind. As I was listening to this I had goose bumps, because it was a very chilling and eerie noise. The NIN version had the same attributes as the other version, for instance there was a guitar played, it had a very slow rhythm and depressing tone, and had a strong transition chorus.

    The main difference between the two songs is that with NIN, the singer was over powered by the background. It was very hard to depict what the singer was saying, which made the song more depressing than Johnny Cash’s version. If I had to choose between the two songs, I would have to lean more towards Johnny Cash. The reason for this is that his voice was more demanding and very easy to understand. With NIN, I had to listen to the song several times.

    Don’t forget I’m planning on doing a mailbag post on Friday and the length of the post depends exclusively on how many emails I get.  While I’d really appreciate it if nobody sent me an email for the mailbag so that I wouldn’t have to write anything, I think it would be better for everyone involved if the exact opposite of this happened, so get to it.

    Also, after asking for some more examples of activities/hobbies/things that make people look like douches if they aren’t very good at them but conversely make them look like grade A badasses if they are good at them, the Trillion Man March stepped to the plate.  Here are a handful of my favorite additions to the list that you all sent in:

    Astronauts (From Shelby)

    “A kid at space camp is ripe for a beating.  But an astronaut - well - he's on the moon.  (Or at least he was before Obama defunded NASA.)”

    Farmers (Also from Shelby)

    “My aunt has a veggie garden in the back of her house.  She likes to grow zucchinis.  Her tomatoes are actually pretty good; but when she starts going off about how her veggie garden is doing - well....

    On the other hand, we all depend on real farmers.” 

    Facial Hair (From Chris)

    “If you aren't very manly and can't grow a real beard then keep your facial hair clean shaven and stop looking like such a dirt ball, unless of course you are a dirt ball and that's just how you roll. People trying to grow a beard who clearly cannot just look like a 9th grade guy trying to impress the new slut in school because he got pubes on his face before anyone else. On the contrary, having an impressive beard can be one of the most badass additions to a man's look.”

    Wrapping a Chipotle Burrito (From Griffith)

    “I had a very poorly wrapped burrito today at Chiptole.  All my chicken, rice, and corn proceeded to fall out almost immediately after I picked up the burrito.  On the contrary, when I receive a well-wrapped burrito, it's the greatest thing of all time.  That's where my connection to your post comes in, when someone wraps the burrito (not trying to be racist but it's usually somebody white) and it's done poorly, the whole Chipotle experience is almost ruined.  On the other hand, when someone (again not trying to be racist but it's usually one of the Mexican employees) wraps the burrito really well, that's what makes Chipotle so awesome and I have the utmost respect for that employee.  The 2.7 second super-wrap.  Few things rival it.”

    Personally, I think a sloppy Chipotle burrito still beats the hell out of most anything else so it’s not exactly terrible to me and probably doesn’t qualify for my list, but I included Griffith’s submission on here because I wanted to reward thinking outside the box (plus, obviously not everyone is exactly like me and some of you might have your day ruined when you get a poorly wrapped burrito, so it might qualify for your list).

    Also, I loved Griffith’s disclaimer that he’s not trying to be racist, as though anybody in their right mind would think he’s racist for suggesting that Mexicans are better at wrapping burritos than whites.  Remember, Griffith – 1) it’s impossible to be racist against whites (regardless of your own race), and 2) it’s not racist if it’s a compliment.

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

    Mark Titus

    Club Trillion Founder

              Deux titres inédits de Nirvana ont leaké sur le web        

    Une session studio avec des titres inédits du groupe légendaire Nirvana se balade sur la toile. Selon Alternative Nation, un fan s’est offert la bande originale de leur session au Pachyderm Studio sur eBay. Et il s’avère que celle-ci, baptisée « The Pachyderm Sessions« , contient 7 chansons. Ces morceaux, parmi lesquels on retrouve 2 versions de « Dumb » (dont une […]

    Cet article Deux titres inédits de Nirvana ont leaké sur le web est apparu en premier sur Elise (news).

              The Mysterious Case of Elisa Lam        

    The Mysterious Case of Elisa Lam

    There are mysteries that are so eerie and strange that they boggle the mind for days on end. The case of Elisa Lam is one of them. In February 2013, this 21-year-old student from Vancouver, Canada, was found dead inside the Cecil Hotel’s rooftop water tank in Los Angeles. The L.A. County Department of Coroner ruled the death “accidental due to drowning” and said no traces of drugs or alcohol were found during the autopsy. However, there is much more to the story than what is implied by police reports. The first piece of evidence that needs to be considered is an elevator surveillance tape that recorded Elisa’s behavior only a few moments before she lost her life.
    The four-minute video posted on YouTube shows Elisa pressing all of the elevator buttons and waiting for it to move. Seeing that the elevator doors are not closing, starts behaving extremely bizarrely. Here’s the video.
    Right after the events of the video, Elisa apparently gained access to the rooftop of the hotel, climbed to its water tank and, somehow, ended up drowning in it. Her body was found two weeks after her death, after hotel guests complained about the water’s taste and color. Incredible.
    At first, Elisa enters the elevator and apparently presses all of its buttons. She then waits for something to happen but, for some reason, the elevator door doesn’t shut. She starts to look around, as if she is expecting (or hiding from) someone. At 1:57, her arms and hands start moving in a very strange matter (almost not human) as she appears to be talking to someone, something … or nothing at all. She then walks away. The elevator door then shuts and appears to start working again.
    Seeing the surveillance footage, most people would conclude that she was under the influence of drugs. However, Elisa did not have a history of drug use and her autopsy concluded that no drugs were involved. When one looks at the context and the circumstances of this death, things become even more mysterious.

    Cecil Hotel’s Dark History

    Built in the 1920s to cater to “businessmen to come into town and spend a night or two”, Cecil Hotel was quickly upstaged by more glamorous hotels. Located near the infamous Skid Row area, the hotel began renting rooms on a long-term basis for cheap prices, a policy that attracted a shiftier crowd. The hotel’s reputation quickly went from “shifty” to “morbid” when it became notorious for numerous suicides and murders, as well as lodging famous serial killers.
    “Part of its sordid history, involves two serial killers,  Richard Ramirez and Jack Unterweger.
    Now on death row, Ramirez, labeled “the Nightstalker”, was living at the Cecil Hotel in 1985, in a top floor room.  He was charged 14 dollars a night.  In a building filled with transients, he remained unnoticed as he stalked and killed his 13 female victims. Richard Schave, said “He was dumping his bloody clothes in the Dumpster, at the end of his evening and returned via the back entrance.”
    Jack Unterweger, was a journalist covering crime in Los Angeles for an Austrian magazine in 1991.  “We believe he was living at the Cecil Hotel in homage to Ramirez,” Schave said.
    He is blamed with killing three prostitutes in Los Angeles, while being a guest at the Cecil.
    In the 50’s and 60’s the Cecil was known as a place that people would go to jump out of one of the hotel’s windows to commit suicide.
    Helen Gurnee, in her 50s, leaped from a seventh floor window, landing on the Cecil Hotel marquee, on October 22, 1954.
    Julia Moore jumped from her eighth floor room window, on February 11, 1962.
    Pauline Otton, 27, jumped from a ninth floor window after an argument with her estranged husband, on October 12, 1962.  Otton landed on George Gianinni, 65, who was walking on the side walk, 90 feet below. Both were killed instantly.
    There was also a murder of one of the residents.  “Pigeon Goldie” Osgood, a retired telephone operator, known for protecting and feeding pigeons in a nearby park, was found dead in his ransacked room on June 4, 1964.  He had been stabbed, strangled, and raped.  The crime still remains unsolved.”
    Elisa Lam’s case is yet another sordid addition to the hotel’s history and can lead us to ask: “What the hell is wrong with that place”?

    The Movie “Dark Water”

    The story of Elisa Lam is eerily similar to the 2005 horror movie Dark Water. Dahlia, the main protagonist of the movie moves into an apartment building with her young daughter Cecilia. Both of these names are relevant. Black Dahlia is the nickname given to Elizabeth Short, a woman who was the victim of a gruesome murder in 1947 – one that appeared to be particularly ritualistic. The case was never solved. According to LA Observed, it is rumored that Black Dahlia was at Cecil Hotel right before she lost her life.
    “The Black Dahlia, Elizabeth Short, is alleged in at least one book to have hung out at the Cecil and drank at the bar next door before she disappeared in 1947, though cultural historians Kim Cooper and Richard Schave of Esotouric say that’s just rumor.”
    - LA Observed, Serial Killer Central
    In the movie, the daughter’s name, Cecilia, is, obviously, quite similar to the name Cecil Hotel.
    After moving into her apartment, Dahlia notices dark water leaking from the ceiling in her bathroom. She ultimately discovers that a young girl named Natasha Rimsky drowned in the building’s rooftop water tank, which caused the water to turn black. The owner of the apartment building knew about this fact but refused to take action. Elisa Lam’s body was  in the water tank for over two weeks, causing hotel guests to complain about foul tasting “black water”.
    The ending of the movie is also eerily relevant: The apartment buildings elevator malfunctions and the ghost of Cecilia’s mother braids her hair. Is Elisa Lam’s death one of those ritualistic murders that are synchronistically mirrored in a Hollywood movie?

    Another Strange Coincidence

    Shortly after the discovery of Elisa Lam’s body, a deadly outbreak of tuberculosis occurred in Skid Row, near Cecil Hotel. You probably won’t believe the name of the test kit used in these kinds of situations: LAM-ELISA. That is hardcore synchronicity.

    No Foul Play?

    LA authorities ruled in June 2013 that Elisa Lam’s death was accidental and that she was “probably bi-polar”. That being said, some questions remain unanswered. How did Elisa, who was obviously not in her right mind, end up in the hotel’s water tank, an area that is difficult to access? Here’s a news report describing the water tank area.
     As the reporter states in the video, the rooftop area is protected by an alarm system and the water tank is difficult to reach. How did Elisa reach that area? Also, how did she close the water tank lid?
    As is usually the case for strange deaths, authorities have been incredibly secretive and non-transparent during this investigation. What truly happened here? Why are there so many strange coincidences? Why was Elisa Lam acting so strange in the elevator? Was there a ritualistic aspect to this death? Why is the Cecil Hotel a hotbed for these kinds of stories? Is there some paranormal stuff going on there involving dark entities? The mystery appears to be whole and authorities do not seem to be wanting to probe further. Maybe I should cite here the slogan that appears on Dark Water movie posters : “Some mysteries are not meant to be solved”.
    Read more at http://vigilantcitizen.com/vigilantreport/mysterious-case-elisa-lam/#FZs5Pi7g3Eb2zD3o.99
              Top Ten Risks Of Cockroach Infestation At Your Workplace        
    Do you want to get rid of cockroaches? Yes, than follow the top ten steps which include cleaning cooking appliances, reducing condensation, cleaning sinks properly, fixing water leaks, etc. By taking these steps into consideration, you can have more chances of preventing or reducing the problem of cockroaches at your workplace.
              Dampak Buruk Wifi Gratis        
    Kafe, kampus, dan berbagai tempat publik kini sudah banyak yang dilengkapi dengan fasilitas WiFi. Menyenangkan memang bisa berinternet di tempat umum, terlebih gratis. Namun di sisi lain ada sejumlah ancaman yang menaungi.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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



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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

              Madison Stellar II Waterproof Jacket        

    As you can see – you didn't miss the photo above? – the Madison Stellar II commuter jacket is black. It's also available in red or hi-vis yellow if you think black makes you invisible. I don't think it does. Visibility is about contrast; the worst colour for a cycling jacket would be dull grey, the colour of concrete, old tarmac or a British sky. Black is quite visible in good light. And at night, the Stellar II shines as brightly in headlights as its name suggests by virtue of its copious reflective panels.

    What is nice about a black jacket is that you can wear it with normal clothes, without looking too bikey. That's how I prefer to dress for utility cycling, so if I walk into an office or pub, I don't look like an escapee from a cycling club run. I know hi-vis vests have their fans but I'll put my faith in a jacket with reflectives, front and rear lights you could see from space and the odd bike reflector.

    Talking of visibility, the Stellar II is about as shiny as what is probably the best-selling UK commuter jacket, Altura's Night Vision. The standard Altura is the same price and has similar features, to the extent that I think you'd be equally happy with either jacket.

    The Stellar II is windproof and waterproof, with fully taped seams. I wore it in sleet, heavy rain, and persistent drizzle. I also went mountain biking and sprayed muddy water all over it for a couple of hours. My shoulders got slightly damp in the worst conditions – probably sweat rather than leakage – but I was never less than comfortable.

    You do get a bit hot if you ride hard. While the M:Tec 5000 fabric is breathable, this is designed as a commuter jacket so it's bulkier and heavier than the kind of lightweight shell that you could stuff in a jersey pocket. There are pit zips and a vent across the back so it's not boil-in-the-bag hot, but it's better suited to steady or stop-start riding than silly commuter racing.

    The collar is fleecy and can be cinched tighter, so it's nice and snug in the cold. The cuffs are elasticated and Velcro-fastened and there's a drawcord for the hem. Draughts do not get in. The cut is suitable for cycling, being long enough in the arms and back, yet is fairly relaxed. You'll easily get this on over ordinary clothes if you choose your normal size, and you may be able to go down a size if you're borderline and want a closer cut – I'm a smallish medium and the small was a good fit without being restrictive.

    There are two pockets: a zipped and baffled rear pocket, big enough for an OS map, and a small chest pocket suitable for a phone. Inside the jacket there's a mesh and thin polyester liner. This catches and disperses sweat well enough and enables you to wear it over short sleeves without it feeling clammy. There's a solidly stitched peg loop to hang it up. The jacket is machine washable at 30 degrees.

    The reflective panels run over the shoulders, arms, front zips, and down the back. It's hard to miss the jacket from any angle if you shine a light at it.

    Is it the ultimate commuter jacket it claims to be? Not quite – I'd pay the extra £30 for the Altura Night Vision Evo. Yet the Stellar II is certainly a good commuter jacket. Where bulk isn't critical, you could use it for other kinds of cycling too.

    It's available in red, yellow or black, in sizes S to XXL in both men's and women's versions.


    A highly reflective commuter jacket that will cope well with year-round UK weather.

    road.cc test report

    Make and model: Madison Stellar II Waterproof Jacket

    Size tested: Black

    Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

    Madison say: Light, breathable and waterproof, yet stylishly reflective, the Stellar is the ultimate commuter's jacket. With a technical cut for unbeatable fit, and hi-viz reflective panels for added security, this is a cool reflective jacket perfect for low light conditions or night-time rides.

    I say: Not particularly light, but it is a good commuter jacket.

    Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

    It's made from M:Tec 5000 waterproof and breathable fabric. There's a liner.

    Rate the product for quality of construction:
    Rate the product for performance:
    Rate the product for durability:
    Rate the product for weight, if applicable:

    It's not heavy for a commuter jacket, but it's not exactly light either. You won't stash this in a jersey pocket. You'll need a fairly large saddlebag like a Carradice Barley, small backpack, or pannier.

    Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
    Rate the product for value:

    Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

    It's an effective commuter jacket. Keeps you warm and dry and not too hot.

    Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

    Weather resistance. Reflectivity.

    Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

    Nothing really.

    Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

    Would you consider buying the product? If I didn't have about a dozen bike jackets, yes

    Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, for commuting

    Overall rating: 8/10

    About the tester

    Age: 42  Height: 1.78m  Weight: 65kg

    I usually ride: Ridgeback Solo World fixed wheel  My best bike is: Planet X Pro Carbon Track (with front brake)

    I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

    I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,


    Product Type: 
    Road.cc rating: 
    Road.cc verdict: 

    A highly reflective commuter jacket that will cope well with year-round UK weather.

              Losing, Then Gaining It At the Little 2014        
      After my dismal performance at RUTS, I was hoping for the Little to go a little better.  I saw my doctor on Tuesday after RUTS and talked to her about a few things; mainly how much walking could I do and if a support belt would help.  She told me I could walk as much as I wanted and a support belt may help.  So I bought a cheap one that would lift my expanding belly up some, hopefully up off of my bladder.  I was hoping I could complete one loop without having to stop midways at the little (one loop is 2.95 miles) but it was reassuring that the loop was like a figure 8, so that if I needed to stop, I could.
      Although I hadn't been training, I had a secret mileage goal.  I always have some sort of goal at my races, whether time or distance, and this one was no different.  I shared my goal with one of my mentors via email.  His response was,
    “i wish you luck.
    the exercise is good for you and the young one....
    maybe as little more regular activity would help!”
    That last line really ticked me off, which was probably his goal in the first place, but it wasn't like I had been sitting around eating bon bons.  I had been working in the yard a lot for the past month putting out over 80 bags of mulch and clearing a fence line.  (Why I feel so compelled to get the yard right before the baby comes is beyond me, but it is what it is).  So there I was, fired up and heading to Ohio.
      I stopped at Crack and ate dinner and also ordered 2 side salads for during the race before heading to Shane’s house.  I was looking forward to seeing everyone, and especially looking forward to watching my friend Amber go for her first 50 miler.  Stu, Brad, and Scott (all vol state alumni) were already there and getting stuff set up.  I settled in helping anyway I could.  We headed out with the wheelbarrow marking the course.  I was surprised how much I remembered of the course, but there were a few sticky spots that I didn't remember, but Scott cleared us up on it.  Shane and Karen arrived and he checked the course markings and we were good to go for tomorrow.  I retired to the bus for some much needed sleep.
      I quickly found out that I don’t maneuver as well 5.5 months pregnant in the back of the bus, let alone sleep well.  I am a belly sleeper and I quickly found out that sleeping on my sides in the bus was very uncomfortable.  I had to keep turning sides throughout the night because my hips were going straight thru my mattress.  It got quite chilly that night also, so when I had to pee, I wouldn't let myself get up because it was too cold.  Not to mention when I finally got up, I had a hard time getting my shoes.  Literally reaching for my shoes in the floor board was hard.  I practically fell out of the bus when I climbed out, accidentally hitting Amber’s vehicle with the door (sorry again Amber!).  It was pretty comical if I wasn't so tired, but oh well, get up and do your best.
      I got my number from Stu and got everything together.  I already put most of my stuff out last night at my table.  I also told Amber that I had way more stuff than you should ever need for a race.  I didn't want her to pick up any bad habits since I had brought so much stuff.  The main thing my doctor cautioned me on was not to get overheated and not to get dehydrated.  Also, to keep food in me for the baby.  So I came prepared mainly for those guidelines.

      It wasn’t long and Stu started the race and we were off.  I tried jogging a little and felt fine.  I caught up to Karen Riddle, who is doing vol state this year, and we chatted about that race.  It wasn’t long before we went through the halfway point and I stopped and used the port o potty before heading out again.  That was a tiny bit discouraging, but I quickly headed back out and soon was coming in from the first lap.  It took me 48 minutes.  I was super happy about that.  I headed back out again still jogging a little but about a third of the way I realized I didn't have the fitness to keep jogging and switched to walking.  I was okay with that though.  I knew I hadn't been training and I knew going in that I would be walking the majority of the race.  No big deal.  I also decided that I would try to get 3 laps in before I sat down to rest my legs.  I was a little concerned about swelling and knew that if I was going to be walking and on my feet that long, then I probably should get off of them for a few minutes.  Plus, it was a great motivator to get done with laps.  Second lap only took 49 minutes.  I was still feeling great when I came into the AS but my stomach had started to grumble a little.  So I grabbed one of the side salads out of the cooler and put dressing on it and headed back out.  The first section is shorter, so I figured I could eat while I walked along and then dump it when I passed thru.  I chuckled to myself wondering at how many other races you see someone walking along on the course carrying a salad and happily munching along.  I knew I couldn't afford the time to sit and eat it and with my stomach growling so loud, I needed something in it.  It worked…not to mention, I was just happy to be there.  No one was competing against me and I surely wasn't competing against anyone.  It took me 55 minutes to finish my third lap.  I walked all of it, so I knew this would be closer to my pace that I needed to stay on top of my goal. 
      Since this was my third lap, I did sit down and prop my feet up.  I figured I had done almost 9 miles, so I gave myself 8 minutes of rest.  Then I got up and headed back out.  With that rest break added in, my fourth lap took me 62 minutes.  The fifth lap, I was able to get my time back to where it should be without the rest break and stopping to grab a handful of trail mix.  Fifth lap was 54 minutes with the thought of grilled cheese sandwiches propelling me onward.  I was excited to head out on the sixth lap because it was getting close to lunch and my belly was letting me know it again.  I had been thinking about grilled cheese for over an hour now and I finished the sixth lap in 57 minutes. 
      I had brought my camp stove and quickly got it going and dug out my bread and butter for my sandwiches.  When I grabbed the cheese out though, it had water all in the package, and not just plain water but one of the ranch dressing cups had leaked into the cooler so everything was a milky white.  I drained out the water and pulled chunks of cheese apart to try to get some cheese for my sandwich.  About that time, Amber came through and I asked her if she wanted a sandwich and she agreed.  I sent her out on the loop with thoughts of grilled cheese upon her return.  I quickly got her sandwich finished and then worked to get enough cheese pulled apart to make mine.  I hoped they would be edible.  Apparently they were, Amber and I both ate ours, but I wanted one more.  At that time, Shane came in and I showed him the cheese debacle and he offered some cheese in the house.  He said his mom was in there working on some and asked if I could help her.  So I headed in to see what I could do.  Shane had a Panini maker and neither one of quite knew how to work it and it was taking so long, I eventually headed outside with a plate full of bread and cheese and restarted my stove and got sandwiches made.  I didn't mind helping out for the return of some cheese, but I knew I was losing some time trying to get the sandwiches cooked.  We eventually got a loaf of sandwiches made for the runners and I ate one more and then headed back out.  I am not sure what time I started back out, but my 7th lap shows me taking 2 hours and 4 minutes to complete.  So I was an hour behind where I wanted to be, but I did get my belly full, other runners got their bellies full, and I was still moving.  I have to say, at this point, I was feeling pretty good about things.  Although it was getting hotter and I was having a love/hate relationship with the field of dreams.  I loved the field because it meant you were at the end of your lap.  Yeah another lap completed!  But there was about zero shade cover and it was just hot out there.  I had brought an umbrella for that specific section, but for some reason I never remembered to get it out.  Baby brain I guess?  I was happy that the support belt did seem to help.  After my short stint volunteering, I had forgotten to put it on.  I did actually notice a difference and was glad to get back to the AS and put it back on.  So it was nice to know that it was money well spent.  I wish I would've had it at RUTS.

      The seventh lap took me 63 minutes.  I was starting to slow down some and starting to look forward to the ninth lap where I could sit and take a load off.  I was also worrying that I was beginning to dehydrate.  I wasn’t peeing as much.  Don’t get me wrong, I still had to go pee, but not as much flow coming out.  I thought a couple of times about asking Shane to use the indoor bathroom so I could check my pee’s color since the port o pot was useless for that, but that idea didn't sit well with me.  At this race, I kind of pride myself on being self-sufficient.  So even using the indoor plumbing didn't jive with me.  At least I worked for my cheese.  J   I came in from lap 8 completing 23.66 miles and finished lap 8 in 63 minutes.   The thought of getting closer to sitting down for a break, propelled me a little faster to get lap 9 done.  I finished in 58 minutes and I promptly took my sitting rest break.  I took about 20 minutes sitting and eating cantaloupe, which I also offered to anyone that came through.  I wished I hadn't of ate all of my strawberries on the drive up to the race.  I already had doubled my efforts from RUTS but I knew I was having a harder time moving forward.  I gave the rest of the cantaloupe to Stu and headed out on my 10th lap.  I didn't think I could keep going to get 50 miles in.  That would be 8 laps to go, counting the lap I was starting.  It was already after 3:30 in the afternoon.  Without any rest breaks at all, that would have me finishing at 12:30. Plus, I knew I wanted to stop to see Amber finish her 50 miler.  I was having difficulty working out the time in my head to do that.   Then the thought of sleeping in the bus just about had me in tears.  I was caving.  Mentally, I was giving in and I was bringing home all of the reasons to stop.  Not even my friend’s goad in his email could fire me up to continue.  Somewhere along the 10th lap I decided to chuck 50 miles and go for 50K.  I came in from the 10th lap in 82 minutes, with sitting rest break before start of lap.

      I had 29.5 miles in with one more lap to go to complete 50K.  I headed out trying to keep moving forward.  I felt that I was still moving well but that I was starting to trip here and there.  When I came to the muddy areas, which were way less than last year thankfully, I made sure to take my time.  No reason to be stupid and fall on Plaxico.  I was a little discouraged even though I hadn't been training and I had tripled my RUTS mileage.  By the time I reached the field of dreams I was getting kind of teary eyed because even though I was disappointed I didn't reach some secret goal I had set, I looked back over the past year since I finished the 100 miler last year here.  I quit vol state after one day.  Then battled a severe UTI that took three rounds of antibiotics and almost 4 months to clear up.  I had a miscarriage and the surgery for it.  I was pregnant again.  I know the UTI and miscarriage has given me additional mental anxieties for when I run that I will have to overcome, but I also knew that at 5.5 months pregnant I was pretty happy to be back out there even attempting the race.  I had just finished putting some perspective on my year and my race when Chris S. came up from behind me and spooked me.  I didn't even hear him come up on me I was so lost in my thoughts, but I was glad to see him out there.  It reminded me that I am not finished yet, I just may have to adjust my goals for now.  I happily headed in for my slowest 50K ever.  Finishing the 11thand last lap in 65 minutes for 32.53 miles at 5:59pm.  (Secretly thrilled that I got it under 12 hours.)  lol  I didn't wear a watch, so I had no idea all day how long I was taking or what time it was until I finished my laps.

      I got to see Amber finish her 50 miler in spectacular fashion.  I regret not hanging out much after the race as I normally would do but I was tired, hungry, and ready for a nice shower.  Amber headed to Taco Bell for us and I got us checked into a room.  I was glad I stopped when I did because I was getting dehydrated and I was not getting as many calories in at the end of the day with the heat.  Not to mention, I was getting too hot out there.  No race is worth compromising Plaxico’s well-being, even though the little bugger must have enjoyed the walking cause when we laid down for bed, he kicked me like crazy.  He must have been bummed that he didn't get his first 50 miler.  Next time, Plaxico, next time.
    One lap left

    Two of my favorite people
    Bagged her buckle!

              Car stalls when I hit the brakes?        
    my car is a 1993 Pontiac Grand prix. If I keep my foot on the brake and try to start the car the engine will start but almost as soon as I take my foot off the brake the car will stall when I put it into gear. Its not something that happens all the time. My car has ABS and when I realize my foot from the brake their will be like a plastic sound coming from the booster but it will only happen if I start the car with my foot on the brake and when I take my foot off the brake it will make that plastic sound. The ABS will also make that sound if the system is activated. The engine has 179K miles on it but it has new gaskets in the upper intake all new vacuum lines and I also replaced the plugs with Platinum plugs. the car had this problem before I changed anything. I maintain the car like a new car so even with 179k the car still looks new even up close it also runs and drives great but the only problem I have is with it stalling sometimes. the booster holds vacuum and my brakes are responsive and they don't fade or anything. I don't have any ABS lights or check engine lights I checked all my fuses and they are good the ABS system it self works fine as I test it every now and then if I am driving on a wet road. the engine can pull 20 pounds of vacuum at idle and almost 32 at speed.
    Car stalls when I hit the brakes?
    the brake booster is one cause but the transmission is another. the torque converter is a lock up type and if this is your problem then the control solenoid or the circuit to that is at fault.
    Car stalls when I hit the brakes?
    the brake booster leaking or bad
    You say your booster makes a plastic sound but I don't know what a plastic sound sounds like. When you start your car with your foot on the brake, if the booster is OK the pedal should sink towards the floor slightly. If it doesn't, the booster has a leaky diaphragm which just might be what's causing your problem..
    If it's not your booster that has gone bad, try checking your throttle body's idle. When you place a car in drive it places a bit more of a load on the engine. If your idle is too low, this may be too much for the engine and it will cuase it to stall. It's a simple fix. Just need a screwdriver. Hope this helps.
  • ie
  • spanish name for boy

  •           AMD's quad-core Opteron        

    In a telling sign of just how much the microprocessor industry has changed in the past few years, the GHz race has given way to the current round of n-core races, where n equals some even number of cores. Of course, the dual-core race and its successor, the quad-core race, aren't quite as straightforward as the older clockspeed races, given the complexities inherent in brining new multicore designs to market. It's also the case that the labels "dual-core," "quad-core," and so on are open to some interpretation (I go back and forth on this issue here): do all the cores have to be on a single die, or can they just inhabit the same package?

    The answer to this last question pretty much dictates who wins each leg of the n-core race, with the AMD multicores all sitting on a single die and the Intel multicores debuting with package-level integration before moving to die-level integration. This pattern held for the dual-core race, and it looks like it's going to hold for the quad-core race, as well.

    This past month, Intel stated in a conference call that they'd be bringing the first quad-core parts to market in 4Q06. The quad-core Kentsfield consists of two Core 2 Duo E6700 chips sandwiched together into a single package. This move will bring Intel into the four-cores-per-socket realm well ahead of AMD's planned introduction of the quad-core Opteron. (More on this latter chip in a moment.) Newly leaked roadmaps have Kentsfield debuting at 2.66GHz for $999. That's the same price as the current Core 2 Duo Extreme X6800 part.

    These four-core Kentsfield parts will go head-to-head with AMD's 4x4 systems. I think these two very different system architectures are going to offer a very interesting and stark choice for system builders. With four cores sitting on a single 1066MHz FSB, Kentsfield is going to have much lower per-core memory and FSB bandwidth than the comparable 4x4 system. For its part, the 4x4's two-socket design offers much higher per-core bandwidth that should give it a significant edge in bandwidth-intensive applications.

    Complicating this picture is the fact that Kentsfield's individual cores will outperform the individual Athlon 64 FX cores by a significant margin. So the Kentsfield systems will have more total CPU horsepower than the 4x4 competition, but the CPU will be sipping code and data through a relatively thin straw. (See this post for more on these kinds of bandwidth issues in quad-core systems.)

    My prediction is that when these two types of four-core systems are benchmarked against each other, the results are going to vary with application type to a much higher degree than reviewers have so far been accustomed to. This being the case, I think synthetic and toy benchmarks are going to be increasingly pointless as review tools. It's one thing to use synthetic benchmarks to get CPU horserace numbers for two systems that are very similar, but when you move out of the realm of oranges vs. oranges and into the realm of oranges vs. grapefruit, it becomes less of a horserace and more of a question of which tool best fits the specific types of jobs that you want to do. In this context, real-world application performance is the only thing worth looking at.

    AMD's quad-core Opteron


    Just yesterday, AMD revealed that they won't move to four cores per socket until much later than Intel, in mid-2007. Even then the quad-core parts will start out at the top of the server-oriented Opteron line before trickling down into the desktop space.

    The quad-core Opteron, which just taped out, will arrive later than Kentsfield because it's a more advanced, more integrated design puts four cores on the same piece of silicon. This "later than Intel, but more highly integrated" approach served AMD extremely well in the dual-core race, but I don't think the tactic is going to pay off to quite the same extent in the quad-core realm.

    Intel's first dual-core part was two Prescotts stuck into a single package, but Prescott was a dog. In contrast, two Woodcrests in a single multi-chip module (MCM) format (i.e. the Clovertown Xeons) will offer a ton of horsepower, despite the low level of integration. While I won't make any detailed predictions about the quad-core server horserace, I think it's safe to say that we won't see a quad-core repeat of the kind of blow-out that happened when the dual-core Opterons went up against the MCM-based dual-core Xeons.

              Digital Literature : From Text to Hypertext and Beyond        
    a thesis by Raine Koskimaa Today we are living in an increasingly digitalized culture – so much so that it soon may become as ubiquitous as electricity. When that happens, it will be as trivial to speak of digital-whatever, as is at present to speak of electrical culture. The pace and mode of digitalization varies from one cultural sphere to another. All cultural phenomena have their own traditions, conventions, and ways to evolve. There is always friction – cultural habits seldom change over-night, even though technological development may be drastic at certain times. Cultural phenomena are also diverse and heterogeneous and the change may proceed at different speed in different aspects of the phenomenon. This is very much the situation of literature at the moment. In book printing the digital presses have been a part of every day business for some time already. Through word processors a vast majority of literature is written and stored in digital format. We can say that since the 80’s digital processing has been an inseparable part of book production, even though the end product has been, and still mainly is, a printed book. The computer revolution and accompanying software development have given birth to a whole new field of digital texts, which are not bound to the book as a medium. These texts can be read from computer screen, or increasingly, from different reading devices, so called e-books. Digital textuality opens an infinite field to expand literary expression. The difference between print and digital texts can be put simply: print text is static, digital text is dynamic. Digital textuality can be used in many ways in literature. So far the most common way has been to treat digital textuality as an alternative medium for literature – the literature stays the same even though it is published as digital text; it could be published in print as well. There are certain advantages in digital format as such, eg. digital files can be transferred quickly from one place to another, digital texts can be easily updated etc. There is, however, literature which uses digital textuality much more effectively. They integrate aspects of digital dynamics as part of their signifying structure and widen the range of literary expression. Typically this literature cannot be published in print at all. The rise of the so called new media in the wake of digitalization has caused strong media panics, which have had a take on the ponderings about the future of literature too. In most generic forms the questions have been: will book disappear?, will reading die?, will literature vanish? Naturally, there are no simple answers to these questions and answering them is even harder because several different (even though closely interrelated) topics are usually confused. It seems as a safe guess that book as we know it will loose ground to digital texts. This will not, however, be as drastic a change as it may sound to some – literature is not bound to book format. Literature has survived changes from orality to papyrus scrolls; to pergaments; to codex book; there is no reason to believe it would not survive the change for the machines. Literature is inevitably dependent, to some extent, on its medium, but this does not mean that the evolution of literature would be simply following changes in its material basis. The medium sets its limitations, but inside those limits literature has been continuously changing and evolving. The change from print text to digital text doesn’t automatically cause any changes in literature. On the other hand, there seems to be a line of evolution inside literature which tends towards digital textuality without any outside pressure, as a natural next step. Also, digital textuality has caused an opposite evolution, literature which is pointedly committed to the materiality of print book. So, if we take a look at literature today, we can see that there are several things going on simultaneously: traditional print literature is still going strong (according to many indicators, stronger than ever), there is parallel publishing (the same text in print and digital formats), there is literature published in digital format because of technical reasons, there is such ”natively” digital literature which isn't possible in print, and there is literature published as handmade artists' books. Digitalization touches the whole field of literature, directly or indirectly, more or less strongly. Still, this is just the beginning, and the transitory nature of the present situation has resulted in spectacular prophesies and speculations regarding the future of literature. Speculations are important, naturally, as there is no future without visions, but we need also to stop for a while now and then and reflect. And first observations probably are: there is very little of original digital literature existing yet; the old conventions, formed during the five centuries of print literature, direct our expectations of digital literature; the boundaries between literature and non-literature are becoming diffuse. In this study, I have chosen ”hypertext” as the central concept. If we define hypertext as interconnected bits of language (I am stretching Ted Nelson’s original definition quite a lot, but still maintaining its spirit, I believe) we can understand why Nelson sees hypertext ”as the most general form of writing”. There is no inherent connotation to digital in hypertext (the first hypertext system was based on microfilms), but it is the computerized, digital framework – allowing the easy manipulation of both texts and their connections - which gives the most out of it. In addition to the ”simple” hypertexts, there is a whole range of digital texts much more complex and more ”clever”, which cannot be reduced to hypertext, even though they too are based on hypertextuality. Such digital texts as MUDs (Multi User Domains – text based virtual realities) are clearly hypertextual – there are pieces of text describing different environments usually called ”rooms” and the user may wander from room to room as in any hypertext. At the same time, however, there are several other functions available for the user, she may talk with other users, write her own rooms, program objects performing special tasks, or, solve problems and collect game points. Hypertextuality and hypertext theory do not help us much (if at all) in understanding this kind of textual functionality. For that we need cybertext theory. Cybertextuality is – as Espen Aarseth has defined it – a perspective on all texts, a perspective which takes into account and foregrounds the functionality of all texts. From the cybertextual point of view all texts are machines which perform certain functions and which have to be used in a certain way. Also, the reader may be required to perform some functions in order to be able to read the texts, or, she may be allowed to act as an active participant inside the textual world. Cybertextuality, then, is not only about digital texts, but because digital form allows much more freedom to textual functionality, there is much more need for cybertext theory in the field of digital texts than in print text[1]. So, keeping in mind cybertextuality is a perspective on all texts, we can use the term cybertext in a more limited sense to refer to functional digital texts – this means that all digital texts are not necessary cybertexts (plain text files like in the Project Gutenberg archives, or, e-texts in pdf format are no more functional than average print texts). Now we can better define the scope of this study. The theoretical framework is a combination of cybertext theory and more traditional theory of literature. The focus is on hypertext fiction, even though several other text types - digital and non-digital, literary and non literary, fiction and poetry – are also discussed. To deepen the understanding of hypertext fiction and its reading, quite of lot of attention is paid to the evolutionary line of print fiction which seems to be a major influence in the background. That aspect explains the first part of the subtitle, ”From text to hypertext”, with an emphasis on the transitory phase we are witnessing. On the other hand, the approach is open to the latent aspects of the hypertexts discussed, which already refer to the wider cybertextual properties – because of that the ”and Beyond”. In the main title, ”Digital Literature”, literature is used in a narrow (”literary”) sense. The method is inductive in that through scrutinizing individual, concrete exmples, a more general understanding of the field is sought after. Through not trying to include all the possible digital text types in this study I aim to be more analytic than descriptive. This work should be seen as a collection of independent papers – some of them are previously published, some are still waiting for a proper forum. Most of them have started as seminar papers. I have used the opportunity to make some corrections and changes to the articles previously published (mainly to reduce redundancy, or, to add materials cut out from the publications) – thus, the chapters of this study are not identical with published versions. This study is in its fullest form as a web based electronic text – however, if you are reading this study in print format you are not missing anything substantial. The web text includes additional linking, which makes it easier to follow some ”sub-plots” inside the work – themes that reoccur in different contexts. Also, in web version, many of the works discussed are directly linked to the text, and thus, only a click away. In the first chapter of this study I will give a description of the various traditions behind digital literature, of characteristic properties of digital literature, and, the basics of cybertext theory. I consider various hypertext studies belonging as a part to the broader category of cybertext theory. The second chapter, ”Hyperhistory, Cybertheory: From Memex to ergodic literature”, is an overview of cybertext theory, circling around Aarseth’s theory of cybertext and ergodic literature. Various other approaches are discussed, and integrated to the theoretical framework. For understanding cybertext theory, a historical glance to the development of hypertext systems (and ideologies behind them) is necessary. The integration of hyper- and cybertheories is still very much in progress – hopefully this chapter contributes to that integration. In the third chapter ”Replacement and Displacement. At the limits of print fiction”, several novels and stories are scrutinized from the cybertextual perspective. The aim of the chapter is to show the various ways in which print fiction has anticipated hypertextual practices. The fourth chapter, ”Ontolepsis: from violation to central device” focusses on the narrative device which I have dubbed ontolepsis. Ontolepsis covers different kinds of ”leaks” between separate ontological levels (inside fictional universe). Metalepsis, the crossing of levels of embedded narration, is one type of ontolepses, and certainly so far the most studied one. There is a rather lengthy discussion of fictional ontology, and its relation to narrative levels, because these are essential topics in understanding the phenomenon of ontolepsis in all its forms. A science fiction novel, Philip K. Dick’s Ubik, is used as an example, because its multilayered ontology serves perfectly in illustrating the multifarious nature of ontolepsis. In fiction, ontolepses have been seen as violations of certain conventions – the latter part of the chapter discusses how in hypertext fiction ontolepsis has become a central narrative device. In the fifth chapter, ”Visual structuring of hypertext narratives”, three hypertexts, Michael Joyce’s Afternoon, Stuart Moulthrop’s Victory Garden, and Shelley Jackson’s Patchwork Girl, are analyzed stressing their navigation interfaces and use of ”spatial signification”. Narratological questions are also foregrounded. Chapters six and seven, ”Reading Victory Garden – Competing Interpretations and Loose Ends” and ”In Search of Califia” form a pair. They are rather lengthy analyses, or, interpretations, of Stuart Moulthrop’s Victory Garden, and M. D. Coverley’s Califia. In the end of Califia chapter, the question of interpreting hypertexts is discussed. Two forms of interpretative practice, hermeneutics and poetics, seem to have their own roles in regard to hypertexts. The next chapter, ”Negotiating new reading conventions” focusses on reading. In this chapter I’ll look at how traditional reading conventions, on the one hand, still inform hypertext reading, and on the other hand, how hypertexts themselves teach new reading habits, and how new reading formations are negotiated. The final chapter, ”Hypertext Fiction in the Twilight Zone” is a kind of summary. It suggest that fiction based on ”pure” hypertext may be closing its end, and at the same time, looks at the cybertextual means which have appeared to fertilize the field anew. In the horizon there are computer games, virtual realities and other massively programmed forms towering, but also a possibility for a new literature. [1] Which is not to say that there were no use for cybertext theory in the field of print texts – first, there is an amount of experimental or avant garde print texts which take full advantage of functionality potential print book offers; and secondly, there is still much to do to understand the way how literature (even in the most traditional form) works as a technology (see Sukenick (1972) ”The New Tradition”, in In Form: Digressions on the Act of Fiction. Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press) – cybertext theory should prove quite fruitful in that field of study. more visit http://users.jyu.fi/~koskimaa/thesis/thesis.shtml

              Panama Papers firm says it was the victim of a hack        
    That gigantic Panama Papers leak revealing the sometimes shady tax haven dealings of the wealthy? If you ask the law firm the data came from, it's no leak at all... it's the fallout from an attack. Mossack Fonseca co-founder Ramon Fonseca tells Reuters that this "is a hack," not the action of of a rogue insider. His company even has a theory behind the hack that it's investigating, but he won't say what that is -- he'll only say that the firm has filed a complaint, and that there's a "government institution" looking into it.

    Via: BBC

    Source: Reuters

              Huge data leak reveals the hidden wealth of the rich and famous        
    In one of the biggest data leaks ever (even larger than the NSA wires leak in 2013), Panama-based legal firm Mossack Fonseca has seen 2.6 terabytes of its private data leaked to journalists. Shared with German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung, it was then spread to a wider network of journalists globally -- 370 reporters from 100 media organizations have looked into the leak for a year. The research has already unearthed that 12 national leaders, including monarchs, presidents and prime ministers, have been using offshore tax havens, including a $2 billion paper trail that leads to Russia's Vladimir Putin. Meanwhile, FIFA's attempts to clean itself up faces fresh criticism after the leak appears to connect executives being investigated to members of the ethics committee itself.

    Source: The Guardian, Reddit

              Be Careful What You Wish For...        
    is a lesson that I got a good reminder in recently.  Earlier this week, southern Indiana had it's first somewhat vicious spring thunderstorm.  At school later that day, I jokingly said that it wouldn't bother me if a few shingles got ripped off our roof so that I could get it replaced.  My siding is beige, and my shutters and garage door are now black, but the roof is a brownish-red.  I'm not in love with it by any long shot of imagination, especially now that the shutters and garage door are finished.

    I was getting ready for bed the night that I made that joke and looked up at the ceiling in the kitchen.  Right next to the light fixture was a wet spot.  Well crap.  Then in my infinite wisdom, I got a chair and lightly poked the spot to see if it was wet, or if I had just missed that discolored spot for over a year (not likely).  Next thing I knew, the discolored spot looked like this...

    Fantastic!  You'd think one of these days I'd learn to stop messing with things.  So I had to call the roofer the next morning, and he very kindly accepted my 8 am phone call and came out the next day to check out the roof.  It turns out the rubber boots around the bottom of the attic vents had dry-rotted completely off, which was the cause of the leak.  There's also a couple of strips of edging that need to be put up, so that will be done next week.  It wasn't as urgent as the rubber boots. 

    It was a bit of a scare thinking that some of the tax return money that was going to go into the beach vacation fund might have had to be used to pay the insurance deductible for a new roof...although I won't lie...I already had the new shingles picked out in my head.

              Amateur swinger sex. First sex with two men.        
    I have very frank and trust-based relations with my husband. We never hid our sexual fantasies and desires from each other. On the contrary as soon as I think other desire I always tell my husband about it. I love him as he always understands me and wants me to get a lot of pleasure. We’re very similar with him – we both like sex very much.
    When I just met my husband we had sex at the first date.
    We told each other about our sexual fantasies. I told him I wanted sex with several men. And it’s possible not only with two. I wanted ten men. Ten guys with huge cocks who fuck me in all holes. A lot of sperm. I wanted them to come on my face, in my mouth, on my ass, belly, legs. I wanted to be in their sperm all over. I wanted them to shoot at me with their sperm for a long.   
    I wanted three cocks in me at once – in mouth, in ass, in pussy. Three strong huge cocks filling my body. Also I wanted to be in doggy-style position and them to be in line to my ass. They fuck my butt in turn. They don’t touch my pussy, all fuck only butt. And my cunt is wet and leaking at that time. Such anal orgy. 10 big cocks fuck my butt.
    For sure my husband liked very much my fantasies. We often imagined during sex how it would be. My husband fucked me and said how he imagined that 10 boys or 20 or 30 were fucking me… Such dirty fantasies made us horny very much.
    We often used dildo during our sex. I sat over my husband’s cock and fucked my ass with a dildo. My husband slapped my butt and said:
    -         Faster, bitch, jump over my cock, whore, and fuck your ass stronger.
    It made me madly horny, I was going mad because of it. I jumped faster over my husband’s cock and fucked hard my ass with dildo.           
    But not always the fantasies become a reality. I had to decide to overstep the bounds to become a real hotwife and slut. We started to think how to invite one man to fuck with us. And once we made up our mind. My husband created a profile at dating site and we wrote that couple wanted vicious sex with a man. We added to the profile my very hot naked pictures. My pussy, ass and my naked body were visible.  
    At the first day I had a lot of messages from different men. Many of them were afraid to show their pictures. But I had to see the picture of a man. So, we chose only those men who had sent several their pictures. We called on the phone with one guy. His name was Thomas, 44 years old, married, two children. Despite having the family he wanted vicious sex and new feelings. That’s why he was looking for a couple to have a nice fucking. He wanted very much to fuck a wife in the presence of her husband. He wanted the husband to see how a stranger fucked his wife. He wanted to come in the mouth of other man’s wife, fuck her in ass. And he was very close to the moment of his dream coming true.
    And we were close to our sexual fantasy realisation – group sex. Two guys would fuck me very soon. And I’d enjoy two cocks in all my holes. I waited that for several days and thought about it all the time.
    To know what happened next and how was the first group swing sex, read further in my blog of vicious hotwife.   

    Kiss all my fans hotwife Gina Monelli

              32TB of Windows 10 beta builds, driver source code leaked        
    Seeing "Windows 10 source code leaked!" headlines or tweets? Not so fast - while there was a leak, it wasn't anything particularly interesting. The only truly interesting bit is this, as explained by Ars' Peter Bright: The leak is also described as containing a source code package named the "Shared Source Kit." This is a package of source code for things like the USB, storage, and Wi-Fi stacks, and the Plug-and-Play system. It isn't the core operating system code (part of which leaked in 2004) but rather contains those parts of the driver stack that third parties have to interact most intimately with. Microsoft routinely gives access to the source code of a wide variety of parts of Windows to academic institutions, certain enterprise customers, and, of course, hardware makers - which is what the above mentioned source code package refers to. While interesting, it seems unlikely this leak is of any significance to anyone.
              Mark Steyn: “There are three kinds of leak…”        
    Mark Steyn writes:What we are witnessing is a slow-motion coup against a duly elected government by people determined to use whatever they have to hand – national-security leaks by the permanent bureaucracy, money-no-object fishing expeditions by hopelessly conflicted prosecutors, domestic surveillance of political opponents by Obama officials, and indifference to most of the preceding by […]

    Kathy Shaidle's NEW book, Confessions of a Failed Slut, is available HERE.


    Related Stories

    Feed Ads by FeedBlitz
    powered byad choices

              Google’s Current Debacle Shows There’s Still Work To Do Re: Gender Equality In The Tech World        
    Google recently fired an employee who leaked a memo challenging the company's diversity policies, sparking new conversations about gender equality.
              President Barack Obama 2013 Inauguration Speech        
    2013 Presidential Inauguration Day - Preparati...
    2013 Presidential Inauguration Day - Preparation - Capitol Building (Photo credit: Glyn Lowe Photoworks)

    Today President Barack Obama gave what will be known as a historic speech as far as LGBT Americans are concerned. It was the first time the word gay was used in an inaugural speech and it was used to speak about the need for equality. I was happy that my daughter was there in D.C. to hear her President speak so positively about her family. It was an amazing speech that drew on the fact that it was given on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and made comparison to the civil rights struggles, women's rights and rights for gay Americans. It will be exciting to see how this sets up the State of the Union address and this coming session of Congress. While I believe the President will not do the work for us, he may be willing to be a more active advocate for us. But, I do believe that this President likes to see the American people involved in the process. He wants to see us use our voices and do everything we can to be heard and help to move our elected officials to take action. We must continue to lead this fight. However, the President is clearly in our corner.

    Watch the President's speech. Full transcript follows the video

    The remarks of President Obama, as released by The White House and prepared for delivery: 
    Vice President Biden, Mr. Chief Justice, Members of the United States Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens: 
    Each time we gather to inaugurate a president, we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution. We affirm the promise of our democracy. We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional — what makes us American — is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago: 
    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." 
    Today we continue a never-ending journey, to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a Republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed. 
    For more than two hundred years, we have. 
    Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together. 
    Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce; schools and colleges to train our workers. 
    Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play. 
    Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life's worst hazards and misfortune. 
    Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society's ills can be cured through government alone. Our celebration of initiative and enterprise; our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, are constants in our character. 
    But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action. For the American people can no more meet the demands of today's world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias. No single person can train all the math and science teachers we'll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people. 
    This generation of Americans has been tested by crises that steeled our resolve and proved our resilience. A decade of war is now ending. An economic recovery has begun. America's possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention. My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it — so long as we seize it together. 
    For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it. We believe that America's prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class. We know that America thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work; when the wages of honest labor liberate families from the brink of hardship. We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own. 
    We understand that outworn programs are inadequate to the needs of our time. We must harness new ideas and technology to remake our government, revamp our tax code, reform our schools, and empower our citizens with the skills they need to work harder, learn more, and reach higher. But while the means will change, our purpose endures: a nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American. That is what this moment requires. That is what will give real meaning to our creed. 
    We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty, and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn. We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other — through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security — these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.
    We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries — we must claim its promise. That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure — our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That's what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared. 
    We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war. Our brave men and women in uniform, tempered by the flames of battle, are unmatched in skill and courage. Our citizens, seared by the memory of those we have lost, know too well the price that is paid for liberty. The knowledge of their sacrifice will keep us forever vigilant against those who would do us harm. But we are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war, who turned sworn enemies into the surest of friends, and we must carry those lessons into this time as well. 
    We will defend our people and uphold our values through strength of arms and rule of law. We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully — not because we are naïve about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear. America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe; and we will renew those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad, for no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation. We will support democracy from Asia to Africa; from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom. And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice — not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity; human dignity and justice. 
    We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths — that all of us are created equal — is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth. 
    It is now our generation's task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law — for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm. 
    That is our generation's task — to make these words, these rights, these values — of Life, and Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness — real for every American. Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life; it does not mean we will all define liberty in exactly the same way, or follow the same precise path to happiness. Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time — but it does require us to act in our time. 
    For now decisions are upon us, and we cannot afford delay. We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate. We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect. We must act, knowing that today's victories will be only partial, and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years, and forty years, and four hundred years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall. 
    My fellow Americans, the oath I have sworn before you today, like the one recited by others who serve in this Capitol, was an oath to God and country, not party or faction — and we must faithfully execute that pledge during the duration of our service. But the words I spoke today are not so different from the oath that is taken each time a soldier signs up for duty, or an immigrant realizes her dream. My oath is not so different from the pledge we all make to the flag that waves above and that fills our hearts with pride. 
    They are the words of citizens, and they represent our greatest hope. 
    You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country's course. 
    You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time — not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals. 
    Let each of us now embrace, with solemn duty and awesome joy, what is our lasting birthright. With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history, and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom. 
    Thank you, God Bless you, and may He forever bless these United States of America.

    Enhanced by Zemanta

              Fathers and Sons        
    Tony Hiss, The View from Alger’s Window: A Son’s Memoir (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1999), 241 pp., $24, hardcover.

    The View from Alger’s Window is a fascinating book. Even if the father and son who share the stage in this memoir were completely anonymous, it would still be an absorbing story. Probably for most readers, however, and surely for almost all Monthly Review subscribers, the father’s name will reverberate with what Jack Gelber’s Nation review describes as a Nixon-manipulated “story of well-timed leaks, stage-managed press conferences, masterful misleading language.” But as the author himself says, a major objective of his work is to “transform Alger Hiss from a case to a person.” This he has certainly done … | more…

              Jeff Goldblum in weird Japanese Robot Trailer        
    But can it stream liveleak?
              Why Windows UI Matters: Part 2        
    This post comes into 2 parts:
    1. Typography
    2. Colors and Tiles (this one)
    Following my first post about Typography in Windows 8, I would like in this post to talk more about colors and the tile concept in Windows Phone and Windows 8.x.

    If you create a new account on your Windows 8.x, you will get the following start screen (on a 27")

    First remark, it looks empty. We know the problem for a long time: this was designed for smaller form factors - Windows Phone but unfortunately we got it as-is on desktop.

    Second remark, we also start to get a glimpse of the color problem with the Metro/Tile concept: It looks flashy.

    Back in 2012, when Windows 8 UI was revealed, one of the first joke we quickly got on social networks was a comparison with an AOL screenshot from 1996:

    And when you see this kind of comparisons immediately popping up all around, It should ring the bell...

    But let's just zoom in the Windows 8 tiles area:

    If you are a developer, designer or working on colorization, you will immediately see that some colors have been pushed close to the range #FF0000 or #00FF00 or #0000FF. Visually, colors on this screen are attacking us


    I have put this image into the "Image Color Summarizer" by Martin Krzywinski:

    RGB (Win8)

    Value (Win8)

    Saturation (Win8)

    Hue (Win8)

    If we pay more attention to the hue and saturation:
    • For the hue: We are getting several spikes over the whole range. Red, Green, Blue, Pink are popping up.
    • For the saturation: We are getting mostly high values, meaning that the image is highly saturated.
    This is the immediate feeling we have when looking at this image. This is confirmed by some naive analysis. On Windows 8, dominant colors are coming from the tiles.

    If we perform this kind of analysis with the front-page of an iPad, we will get completely different results: most notably, we won't get these spikes because it depends on the wallpaper image, so usually, we don't put a #FF0000 image on the background:

    iPad "Start" Screen

    On the iPad screenshot, we can see that icons are colorful, but they are not attacking us, because on the iPad the dominant color is coming from the background. The image is more desaturated than saturated, and we can effectively confirm that spikes don't spawn everywhere in the hue range:

    Saturation (iPad)

    Hue (iPad)

    Again, I'm not an expert in design and UI interface, but I don't feel that vibrant hue/saturation fits well for a welcome/main desktop screen. I don't believe also that this is the only way to provide a flat design interface. Or is it because of its flatness that they need to over-exaggerate colors to make it less "emotionally flat"?

    The use of different hues in the same image with lots of saturated colors could work for a one-time-visit website/logo... but for our welcome OS screen that we are visiting several times a day...it is nothing less than highly repulsive (hence one reason I have setup to boot directly on desktop and have never been using a single Metro app for 2 years). Checking a bit more about saturated color in design guidelines, I found one article "When to Use Saturated Colors?" by Curtis Newbold, and he recommends using saturated colors when:
    • You need to attract attention: We don't need our start/welcome screem to attract our attention. No, thanks. We are using it mainly for working.
    • You want to create an exciting atmosphere: don't think this is good either...
    • You want to simplify emotional response: I believe that the emotional response so far for the start screen has not been good
    Too many saturated colors next to each other can cause eye fatigue [...]
    Probably we should insist more that we don't want our welcome/start screen to look like a shiny-marketing-website?


    But, this is not all about colors... Tiles are actually accentuating the problem. Instead of having colorful small icons, we get monochromatic big rectangles that are covering several hundred of pixels on our screen. We can't escape from the space they cover!

    The background is completely hidden. We can't customize this. On our good old desktop (or hey, an iPad "Start" screen looks like our good old Windows Desktop with organized icons no?), we can put a wallpaper, and can have icons on top of it, but icons will not hide the wallpaper. On Windows 8 Start Screen, you really don't have the choice.

    In Windows Phone 8.1, they are trying to get around this problem by allowing to put a background image in the tiles...not sure it is working better. Here, a screen shot of a Windows Phone 8.1, WP8 with a background Android, and finally, a screen shot from an Android device:

    Windows Phone 8.1
    Windows Phone 8.1 + Android bg
    Maybe for a phone, the Metro UI concept could make sense for some people. While, at the beginning, I found it  attractive and "distinctive", I felt quickly bored by the overall theming. Lots of tiles are using the main background color, so we have lots of applications that are a bit more difficult to distinct with others (only by the monochromatic white icon). We could choose to place icons based on their colors, but I'm usually placing icons based on their placement relative to my fingers. I'm also not particularly convinced by the horizontal/vertical black lines as it looks like less smoother than a clean continuous background.

    I was not supposed to talk about next Windows UI, but let's be clear, when I saw some screenshots at Microsoft Build last year about making the tiles integrated on a new Franksteinesk Start Menu, I was frankly not really happy about the idea :

    Windows 9 Tech Preview Leak (Source: WinFuture.de)

    I don't know if you are like me about this, but I would really love our main Windows OS playground going back to some fundamentals:
    • Just get rid of the Metro UI, tiles, colors... as they don't match with the overall UI of all other parts of the OS and applications we are using
    • Better leverage on the desktop area. May be with virtual desktops, it could make more sense (at some point, it will look like an iPad!... oh boy, who could believe this?)
    • Add more power to the Taskbar. Just one example: sub-folders/apps group (this is not new, I know!)
    There are also a bunch of old Windows UI discrepancies floating all around that would deserve a separate post. Hope I will have enough motivation to write it, but I need to go back coding, enough blabla about UI design!
              Why Windows UI Matters: Part 1        
    This post comes into 2 parts:
    1. Typography (this one)
    2. Colors and Tiles
    You have probably seen some leaks of screenshots of the next Windows and while this could be - or not - the technical preview that is going to be released later this month for enterprise preview, I have been a bit shocked by the poorness of the UI visuals. Lots of commentators are saying that Microsoft is usually tweaking the OS UI few months before releasing to the public, fine, but I hope this technical preview will unveil a better sneak peak of next Windows UI. If it does not, that's really an unfortunate move, because all these images are already generating misunderstanding.

    We are lots around waiting and watching for the next Windows. We are not just waiting for the desktop to come back, we are waiting for something that will make us happy and excited! I'm not a UI designer, I'm just a developer using Windows, but I love good visuals and I'm concerned by the OS UI that accompanies me all along more than 12 hours per day!

    I won't comment more on the next Windows OS, but I would like to take the opportunity to share some of the unpleasant things I'm feeling about for the past years with the Windows Metro UI era.


    I remember reading the old document of the Windows Phone design philosophy when it came out (I have found just one around) and the first two major pillars of the Metro philosophy were :
    1) Clean, light, open, and fast: It is visually distinctive, contains ample white space, reduces clutter and elevates typography as a key design element
    2) Content, not chrome:
    It accentuates focus on the content that the user cares most about, making the product simple and approachable for everyone
    That's the original seed and... original sin.

    First, considering that a UI OS is like a transit area, a metro or an airport. I barely spend a whole day in a metro/airport and I don't think I would love to. While this design philosophy can be successful for some applications (like news, because this is one place where the content is more important than the chrome), it is questionable to apply it everywhere.

    Do you typography?

    Let's take one of my favorite example: The settings of Windows Phone and this apply to some extend to the settings of Windows 8.x. Here are the screenshots of all the settings that are scrollable on a windows developer phone I have:

    It is composed of 7 different screens (!), 48 individual plain text entries just for the front settings! I have just added the second screen for applications, but some sub-screen-settings are suffering the same syndrome...

    I have found this UI to be one of the most unpleasant settings area I have been using for the past years over the three major mobile OS. Every time I have to use this area, I'm struggling to scroll down, scroll up, blinking my eyes to find - and miss the entry I'm looking for. It was even worse with Windows Phone 8, as it didn't have an accessible notification/simplified control center from the home screen, so everyday, I had to deep dive into these settings to find the flight mode (2nd screen, first line!)

    This is where typography is abused. It has only content, and absolutely no chrome. Where are the:
    • categories?
    • icons?
    • colors?

    Let's just have a look at the Windows 8.1 version.

    Not surprising whenever I have to change settings on my PC, I'm still going to the good old control panel. While it is lacking flat designs and refreshed icons, it is still much easier to access all your settings ( and you have much more there), than going around the new Windows 8.1 Metro settings.

    Apart for the categories, we feel cold about colors and icons. Why banning them so hard?

    Let's just have a look on the settings on my Android device:

    Settings on an Android

    Visually, it is a bit more pleasant, even if I'm not a fan of the toggle buttons (not really a flat design), but overall, it is functionally a lot more usable. My grandpa with its weak sight is much more able to handle these settings than the one from Windows.

    Perceptually, psychologically, without being an expert, I believe this is wrong. Many people, probably starting by myself, are not comfortable with  pure text, language, reading...etc. My kids that are not yet able to read would not be able to navigate in these settings (even if they should not have to!).

    Our brain have different ways of deciphering information, based on text, form, colors, spacial placement, sound. Some people can perfectly handle all this text, some can't. Leveraging only on typography, on a single axis of chrome, is making some people confused about this.

    This division of content and chrome is hurting more than it sounds, drying the chrome is drying the content! It is essential that the substance and form come together.

    For the next part, let's talk about colors and tiles!

    Stay tuned!
              A new managed .NET/C# Direct3D 11 API generated from DirectX SDK headers        
    I have been quite busy since the end of august, personally because I'm proud to announce the birth of my daughter! (and his older brother, is somewhat, asking a lot more attention since ;) ) and also, working hard on an exciting new project based on .NET and Direct3D.

    What is it? Yet Another Triangle App? Nope, this is in fact an entirely new .NET API for Direct3D11, DXGI, D3DCompiler that is fully managed without using any mixed assemblies C++/CLI but having similar performance than a true C++/CLI API (like SlimDX). But the main characteristics and most exciting thing about this new wrapper is that the whole code marshal/interop is fully generated from the DirectX SDK headers, including the MSDN documentation.

    The current key features and benefits of this approach are:

    • API is generated from DirectX SDK headers : the mapping is able to perform "complex transformation", extracting all relevant information like enumerations, structures, interfaces, functions, macro definitions, guids from the C++ source headers. For example, the mapping process is able to generated properties for interfaces or inner group interface like the one you have in SlimDX : meaning that instead of having a "device.IASetInputLayout" you are able to write "device.InputAssembler.InputLayout = ...".
    • Full support of Direct3D 11, DXGI 1.0/1.1, D3DCompiler API : Due to the whole auto-generated process, the actual coverage is 100%. Although, I have limited the generated code to those library but that could be extended to others API quite easily (like XAudio2, Direct2D, DirectWrite... etc.).
    • Pure managed .NET API : assemblies are compiled with AnyCpu target. You can run your code on a x64 or a x86 machine with the same assemblies. 
    • API Extensibility The generated code is in C#, all the types are marked "partial" and are easily extensible to provide new helpers method. The code generator is able to hide some methods/types internally in order to use them in helper methods and to hide them from the public api.
    • C++/CLI Speed : the framework is using a genuine way to avoid any C++/CLI while still achieving comparable performance.
    • Separate assemblies : a core assembly containing common classes and an assembly for each subgroup API (Direct3D, DXGI, D3DCompiler)
    • Lightweight assemblies : generated assemblies are lightweight, 300Ko in total, 70Ko compressed in an archive (similar assemblies in C++/CLI would be closer to 1Mo, one for each architecture, and depend from MSVCRT10)
    • API naming convention very close to SlimDX API (To make it 100% equals would just require to specify the correct mapping names while generating the code)
    • Raw DirectX object life management : No overhead of ObjectTable or RCW mechanism, the API is using direct native management with classic COM method "Release". Currently, instead of calling Dispose, you should call Release (and call AddRef if you are duplicating references, like in C++). I might evaluate how to safely integrate Dispose method call. 
    • Easily obfuscatable : Due to the fact the framework is not using any mixed assemblies
    • DirectX SDK Documentation integrated in the .NET xml comments : The whole API is also generated with the MSDN documentation. Meaning that you have exactly the same documentation for DirectX and for this API (this is working even for method parameters, remarks, enum items...etc.). Reference to other types inside the documentation are correctly linked to the .NET API. 
    • Prototype for a partial support of the Effects11 API in full managed .NET.
    If you have been working with SlimDX, some of the features here could sound familiar and you may wonder why another .DirectX NET API while there is a great project like SlimDX? Before going further in the detail of this wrapper and how things are working in the background, I'm going to explain why this wrapper could be interesting.

    I'm also currently not in the position to release it for the reason that I don't want to compete with SlimDX. I want to see if SlimDX Team would be interested to work together with this system, a kind of joint-venture. There are still lots of things to do, improving the mapping, making it more reliable (the whole code here has been written in a urge since one month...) but I strongly believe that this could be a good starting point to SlimDX 2, but I might be wrong... also, SlimDX could think about another road map... So this is a message to the SlimDX Team : Promit, Josh, Mike, I would be glad to hear some comments from you about this wrapper (and if you want, I could send you the generated API so that you could look at it and test it!)

    [Updated 30 November 2010]
    This wrapper is now available from SharpDX. Check this post.

    This post is going to be quite long, so if you are not interested by all the internals, you could jump to the sample code at the end.

    An attempt to a SlimDX next gen

    First of all, is it related to 4k or 64k intros? (an usual question here, mostly question for myself :D) Well, while I'm still working to make things smaller, even in .NET, I would like to work on a demo based on .NET (but with lots of procedurally generated textures and music).  I have been evaluating both XNA and SlimDX, and in September, I have even been working on a XNA like API other SlimDX / Direct3D 11 that was working great, simplifiying a lot the code, while still having benefits to use new D3D11 API (Geometry shaders, Compute Shaders...etc.). I will talk later about this "Demo" layer API.

    As a demo maker for tiny executable, even in .NET, I found that working with SlimDX was not the best option : even stripping the code, recompiling the SlimDX to keep only DirectX11/DXGI&co, I had a roughly 1Mo dll (one for each architecture) + a dependency to MSVRT10 which is a bit annoying. Even if I would like to work on a demo (with less size constraint), I didn't want to have a 100Ko exe and a 1Mo compressed of external dlls...

    Also, I read some of Josh's thoughts about SlimDX 2 : I was convinced about the need for separated assemblies and simplified life object management. But was not convinced by the need to use "interfaces" for the new API and not really happy about still having some platform specific mixed-assemblies in order to support correctly 32/64 bit architecture (with a simple delay loading).

    What is supposed to address SlimDX 2 over SlimDX?
    • Making object life management closer to the real thing (no Dispose but raw Release instead) 
    • Multiple assemblies
    • Working on the API more with C# than in C++/CLI
    • Support automatic platform architecture switching (running transparently an executable on a x86 and x64 machine without recompiling anything).
    Recall that I was slightly working around August on parsing the SDK headers based on Boost::Wave V2.0. My concern was that I have developed a SlimDX like interface in C++ for Ergon demo, but I found the process to be very laborious, although very straightforward, while staying in the same language as DirectX... Thinking more about it, and because I wanted to do more work in 3D and C# (damn it, this language is SOOO cool and powerful compared to C++)... I found that It would be a great opportunity to see if it's not possible to extract enough information from the SDK headers in order to generate a Direct3D 11 .NET/C# API.

    And everything has been surprisingly very fast : extraction of all the code information from the SDK C++ headers file was in fact quite easy to code, in few days... and generating the code was quite easy (I have to admit that I have a strong experience in this kind of process, and did similar work, around ten years ago, in Java, delivering an innovative Java/COM bridge layer for the company I was working at that time, much safer than Sun Java/COM layer that was buggy and much more powerfull, supporting early binding, inheritance, documentation... etc).

    In fact, with this generating process, I have been able to address almost all the issue that were expected to  be solved in SlimDX 2, and moreover, It's going a bit further because the process is automated and It's supporting the platform x86/x64 without requiring any mixed assemblies.

    In the following sections, I'm going to deeply explain the architecture, features, internals and mapping rules used to generate this new .Net wrapper (which has currently the "SharpDX" code name).


    In order to generate Managed .NET API for DirectX from the SDK headers, the process is composed of 3 main steps:
    1. Convert from the DirectX SDK C++ Headers to an intermediate format called "XIDL" which is a mix of XML and "IDL". This first part is responsible to reverse engineering the headers, extract back all existing and useful information (more on the following section), and produce a kind of IDL (Intermediate Definition Language). In fact, If I had access to the IDL used internally at Microsoft, It wouldn't have been necessary to write this whole part, but sadly, the DirectX 11 IDL is not available, although you can clearly verify from the D3D11.h that this file is generated from an IDL. This module is also responsible to access MSDN website and crawl the needed documentation, and associate it with all the languages elements (structures, structures fields, enums, enum items, interfaces, interfaces methods, method parameters...etc.). Once a documentation has been retrieved, It's stored on the disk and is not retrieved next time the conversion process is re-runned.
    2. Convert from the XIDL file to several C# files. This part is responsible to perform from a set of mapping rules a translation of C++ definition to C# definition. The mapping is as complex as identifying which include would map to assembly/namespace, which type could be moved to an assembly/namespace, how to rename the types,functions, fields, parameters, how to add missing information from the XIDL file...etc. The current mapping rules are express in less then 600 lines of C# code... There is also a trick here not described in the picture. This process is also generating a small interop assembly which is only used at compile time, dynamically generated at runtime and responsible for filling the gap between what is possible in C# and what you can do in C++/CLI (there are lots of small usefull IL bytecode instructions generated in C++/CLI that are not accessible from C#, this assembly is here for that....more on this in the Convert to XIDL section).
    3. Integrate the generated files in several Visual Studio projects and a global solution. Each project is generating an assembly. It is where you can add custom code that could not be generated (like Vector3 math functions, or general framework objects like a ComObject). The generated code is also fully marked with "partial" class, one of the cool things of C# : you can have multiple files contributing to the same class declaration... making things easy to have generated code on the side of custom hand made code. 

    Revert DirectX IDL from headers

    Unfortunately, I have not found a workable C preprocessor written in .NET, and this part has been a bit laborious to make it work. The good thing is that I have found Boost Wave 2.0 in C++. The bad thing is that this library, written in a heavy boost-STL-templatizer philosophy was really hard to manage to work under a C++/CLI DLL. Well, the principle was to embed Boost Wave in a managed DLL, in order to use it from C#... after several attempts, I was not able to build it with C++/CLI .NET 4.0. So I ended up in a small dll COM wrapper around BoostWave, and a thin wrapper in .NET calling this dll. Compiling Boost-Wave was also sometimes a nightmare : I tried to implement my own provider of stream for Wave... but dealing with a linker error that was freezing VS2010 for 5s to display the error (several Ko of a single template cascaded error)... I have found somewhere on the Wave release that It was in fact not supported... but wow, templates are supposed to make life easier... but the way It is used gives a really bad feeling... (and I'm not a beginner in C++ template...)

    Anyway, after succeeding to wrap BoostWave API, I had a bunch of tokens to process. I started to wrote a handwritten C/C++ parser, which is targeted to read well-formed DirectX headers and nothing else. It was quite tricky sometimes, the code is far from being failsafe, but I succeed to parse correctly most of the DirectX headers. During the mapping to C#, I was able to find a couple of errors in the parser that were easy to fix.

    In the end, this parser is able to extract from the headers:
    • Enumerations, Structures, Interfaces, Functions, Typedefs
    • Macros definitions
    • GUIDs
    • Include dependency
    The whole data is stored in a C# model that is marshaled in XML using WCF (DataMember, DataContract), which make the code really easy to write, not much intrusive and you can serialize and deserialize to XML. For example, a CppType is defined like this:

    using System.Runtime.Serialization;
    using System.Text;

    namespace SharpDX.Tools.XIDL
    public class CppType : CppElement
    public string Type { get; set;}
    public string Specifier { get; set; }
    public bool Const { get; set; }
    [DataMember(Order = 3)]
    public bool IsArray { get; set; }
    public string ArrayDimension { get; set; }

    The model is really lightweight, no fancy methods and easy to navigate in.

    The process is also responsible to get documentation for each C++ items (enumerations, structures, interfaces, functions). The documentation is requested to MSDN while generating all the types. That was also a bit tricky to parse, but in the end, the class is very small (less than 200 lines of C# code). Downloaded documentation is stored on the disk and is used for later re-generation of the parsing.

    The generated XML model is taking around 1.7Mo for DXGI, D3D11, D3DX11, D3DCompiler includes and looks like this:

              <Description>A device-child interface accesses data used by a device.Description>
              <Remarks i:nil="true" />
                  <Description>Get a pointer to the device that created this interface.Description>
                  <Remarks>Any returned interfaces will have their reference count incremented by one, so be sure to call ::release() on the returned pointer(s) before they are freed or else you will have a memory leak.Remarks>
                    <Name i:nil="true" />
                    <Description>voidReturns nothing.Description>
                    <Remarks i:nil="true" />
                    <ArrayDimension i:nil="true" />
                      <Description>Address of a pointer to a device (see {{ID3D11Device}}).Description>
                      <Remarks i:nil="true" />
                      <ArrayDimension i:nil="true" />

    One of the most important thing in the DirectX headers that are required to develop a reliable code generator is the presence of C+ windows specific attributes : all the methods are prefix by macros __out __in __out_opt , __out_buffer... etc. All those attributes are similar to C# attributes and are explaining how to interpret the parameter. If you take the previous code, there is a method GetDevice that is returning a ID3D11Device through a [out] parameter. The [Out] parameter is extremely important here, as we know exactly how to use it. Same thing when you have a pointer which is in fact a buffer : with the attributes, you know that this is an array of elements behind the pointer...

    Although, I have discovered that some functions/methods sometimes are lacking some attributes.... but hopefully, the next process (the mapping from XIDL to C#) is able to add missing information like this.

    As I said, the current implementation is far from being failsafe and would probably require more testing on other headers files. At least, the process is correctly working on a subset of the DirectX headers.

    Generate C# from IDL

    This part of the process has been a lot more time consuming. I started with enums, which were quite straightforward to manage. Structures were asking a bit more work, as there is some need for some custom marshalling for some structures that cannot marshal easily... Then interfaces methods were the most difficult part, correctly handling all parameters case was not easy...

    The process of generating the C# code is done in 3 steps:
    1. Reading XIDL model and prepare the model for mapping: remove types, add information to some methods. 
    2. Generate a C# model with the XIDL model and a set of mapping rules
    3. Generate C# files from the C# model. I have used T4 "Text Template Transformation Toolkit" engine as a text templatizer, which is part of VS2010 and is really easy to use, integrated in VS2010 with a third party syntax highlighting plugin. 
    This step is also responsible to generate an interop assembly which is emiting directly some .NET IL bytecodes through the System.Reflection.Emit. This interop assembly is the trick to avoid the usage of a C++/CLI mixed assembly

    Preamble) How to avoid the usage of C++/CLI in C#

    If you look at some generated C++/CLI code with Reflector, you will see that most of the code is in fact a pure IL bytecode, even when there is a call to a native function or native methods...

    The trick here is that there are a couple of IL instructions that are used internally by C# but not exposed to the language.

    1) The instruction "calli"

    This instruction is responsible to call directly an unmanaged function, without going through the pinvoke/interop  layer (in fact, pinvoke is calling in the end "calli", but is performing a much more complex marshaling of the parameters, structures...)

    What I need was a way to call an umanaged function/methods without going through the pinvoke layer, and "calli" is exactly here for this. Now, suppose that we could generate a small assembly at compile time and at runtime that would be responsible for handling those calli function, we would not have to use anymore C++/CLI for this.

    For example, suppose that I want to call a C++ method of an interface which takes an integer as a parameter, something like :
    interface IDevice : IUnknown {
    void Draw(int count);
    I only need a function in C# that is able to directly call this method, without going the pinvoke layer, with a pointer to the C++ IDevice object and the offset of the method in the vtbl (offset will be expressed in bytes, for a x86 architecture here) :
    class Interop {
    public static unsafe void CalliVoid(void* thisObject, int vtblOffset, int arg0);

    // A call to IDevice
    void* ptrToIDevice = ...;

    // A Call to the method Draw, number 3 in the vtbl order (starting at 0 to 2 for IUnknown methods)
    Interop.CalliVoid(ptrToIDevice, /* 3 * sizeof(void* in x86) */ 3 * 4 , /* count */4 );

    The IL bytecode content of this method for a x64 architecture would be typically in C++/CLI like this:
    .method public hidebysig static void CalliVoid(void* arg0, int32 arg1, int32 arg2) cil managed
    .maxstack 4
    L_0000: ldarg.0 // Load (0) this arg (1st parameter for native method)
    L_0001: ldarg.2 // Load (1) count arg
    L_0002: ldarg.1 // Offset in vtbl
    L_0003: conv.i // Convert to native int
    L_0004: dup //
    L_0005: add // Offset = offset * 2 (only for x64 architecture)
    L_0006: ldarg.0 //
    L_0007: ldind.i // Load vtbl poointer
    L_0008: add // pVtbl = pVtbl + offset
    L_0009: ldind.i // load function from the vtbl fointer
    L_000a: calli method unmanaged stdcall void *(void*, int32)
    L_000f: ret

    This kind of code will be automatically inlined by the JIT (which is, from SCCLI/Rotor sourcecode, inlining functions that are taking less than 25 bytes of bytecode).

    If you look at a C++/CLI assembly, you will see lots of "calli" instructions.

    So in the end, how this trick is used? Because the generator knows all the methods from all the interfaces, it is able to generate a set of all possible calling conventions to unmanaged object. In fact, the XIDLToCSharp generator is responsible to generate an assembly containing all the interop methods (around 66 methods using Calli) :
    public class Interop
    private Interop();
    public static unsafe float CalliFloat(void* arg0, int arg1, void* arg2);
    public static unsafe int CalliInt(void* arg0, int arg1);
    public static unsafe int CalliInt(void* arg0, int arg1, int arg2);
    public static unsafe int CalliInt(void* arg0, int arg1, void* arg2);
    public static unsafe int CalliInt(void* arg0, int arg1, long arg2);
    public static unsafe int CalliInt(void* arg0, int arg1, int arg2, int arg3);
    public static unsafe int CalliInt(void* arg0, int arg1, long arg2, int arg3);
    public static unsafe int CalliInt(void* arg0, int arg1, void* arg2, int arg3);
    public static unsafe int CalliInt(void* arg0, int arg1, void* arg2, void* arg3);
    public static unsafe int CalliInt(void* arg0, int arg1, int arg2, void* arg3);
    public static unsafe int CalliInt(void* arg0, int arg1, IntPtr arg2, void* arg3);
    public static unsafe int CalliInt(void* arg0, int arg1, IntPtr arg2, int arg3);
    public static unsafe int CalliInt(void* arg0, int arg1, int arg2, void* arg3, int arg4);
    public static unsafe int CalliInt(void* arg0, int arg1, int arg2, void* arg3, void* arg4);
    public static unsafe int CalliInt(void* arg0, int arg1, void* arg2, int arg3, void* arg4);
    public static unsafe int CalliInt(void* arg0, int arg1, int arg2, int arg3, void* arg4);
    public static unsafe int CalliInt(void* arg0, int arg1, void* arg2, void* arg3, void* arg4);
    public static unsafe int CalliInt(void* arg0, int arg1, IntPtr arg2, void* arg3, void* arg4);
    public static unsafe int CalliInt(void* arg0, int arg1, void* arg2, void* arg3, int arg4);
    public static unsafe int CalliInt(void* arg0, int arg1, int arg2, int arg3, void* arg4, void* arg5);
    public static unsafe int CalliInt(void* arg0, int arg1, void* arg2, void* arg3, int arg4, int arg5);
    // ...[stripping Calli x methods here]...
    public static unsafe void CalliVoid(void* arg0, int arg1, int arg2, void* arg3, void* arg4, int arg5, int arg6, void* arg7);
    public static unsafe void CalliVoid(void* arg0, int arg1, void* arg2, float arg3, float arg4, float arg5, float arg6, void* arg7);
    public static unsafe void CalliVoid(void* arg0, int arg1, int arg2, void* arg3, void* arg4, int arg5, int arg6, void* arg7, void* arg8);
    public static unsafe void CalliVoid(void* arg0, int arg1, void* arg2, int arg3, int arg4, int arg5, int arg6, void* arg7, int arg8, void* arg9);
    public static unsafe void* Read<T>(void* pSrc, ref T data) where T: struct;
    public static unsafe void* Read<T>(void* pSrc, T[] data, int offset, int count) where T: struct;
    public static unsafe void* Write<T>(void* pDest, ref T data) where T: struct;
    public static unsafe void* Write<T>(void* pDest, T[] data, int offset, int count) where T: struct;
    public static void memcpy(void* pDest, void* pSrc, int Count);

    This assembly is used at compile time but is not distributed at runtime. Instead, this assembly is dynamically generated at runtime in order to support difference in bytecode between x86 and x64 (in the calli example, we need to multiply by 2 the offset into the vtbl table, because the sizeof of a pointer in x64 is 8 bytes).

    2) The instruction "sizeof" for generic

    Although the Calli is the real trick that makes it possible to have a managed way to call unmanaged method without using pinvoke, I have found a couple of other IL bytecode that is necessary to have the same features than in C++/CLI.

    The other one is sizeof for generic. In C#, we know that there is a sizeof, but while trying to replicate the DataStream class from SlimDX in pure C#, I was not able to write this kind code :
    public class DataStream
    // Unmarshal a struct from a memory location
    public T Read<T>() where T: struct {
    T myStruct = default(T);
    memcpy(&mystruct, &m_buffer, sizeof(T));
    return myStruct;

    In fact, under C#, the sizeof is not working for a generic, even if you specify that the generic is a struct. Because C# cannot constraint the struct to contains only blittable fields (I mean, It could, but It doesn't try to do it), they don't allow to take the size of a generic struct... that was annoying, but because with pure IL instruction, It's working well and I was already generating the Interop assembly, I was free to add whatever methods with custom bytecode to fill the gap...

    In the end, the interop code to read a generic struct from a memory location looks like this :
    // This method is reading a T struct from pSrc and returning the address : pSrc + sizeof(T)
    .method public hidebysig static void* Read<valuetype .ctor T>(void* pSrc, !!T& data) cil managed
    .maxstack 3
    .locals init (
    [0] int32 num,
    [1] !!T* pinned localPtr)
    L_0000: ldarg.1
    L_0001: stloc.1
    L_0002: ldloc.1
    L_0003: ldarg.0
    L_0004: sizeof !!T
    L_000a: conv.i4
    L_000b: stloc.0
    L_000c: ldloc.0
    L_000d: unaligned 1 // Mandatory for x64 architecture
    L_0010: nop
    L_0011: nop
    L_0012: nop
    L_0013: cpblk // Memcpy
    L_0015: ldloc.0
    L_0016: conv.i
    L_0017: ldarg.0
    L_0018: add
    L_0019: ret

    3) The instruction "cpblk", memcpy in IL

    In the previous function, you can see the use of "cpblk" bytecode instruction. In fact, when you are looking at a C++/CLI method using a memcpy, It will not use the memcpy from the C CRT but directly the IL instruction performing the same task. This IL instruction is faster than using anykind of interop, so I made it available to C# through the Interop assembly

    I) Prepare XIDL model for mapping

    So the 1st step in the XIDLToCSharp process is to prepare the XIDL model to be more mapping friendly. This step is essentially responsible to:
    • Add missing C++ attributes (In, InOut, Buffer) information to some method's parameter
    • Replace the type of some method parameters : for example in DirectX, there are lots of parameter that are taking a flags, which is in fact an already declared enum... but for some unknown reason, they are declaring the method with an "int" instead of using the enum...
    • Remove some types. For example,  the D3D_PRIMITIVE_TOPOLOGY is holding a bunch of D3D11 and D3D10 enum, duplicating D3D_PRIMITIVE enums... So I'm removing them.
    • Add some tag directly on the XIDL model in order to ease the next mapping process : those tags are for example used for tagging the C# visibility of the method, or forcing a method to not be interpreted  as a "property")
    // Read the XIDL model
    CppIncludeGroup group = CppIncludeGroup.Read("directx_idl.xml");

    group.Modify<CppParameter>("^D3DX11.*?::pDefines", Modifiers.ParameterAttribute(CppAttribute.In | CppAttribute.Buffer | CppAttribute.Optional));

    // Modify device Flags for D3D11CreateDevice to use D3D11_CREATE_DEVICE_FLAG
    group.Modify<CppParameter>("^D3D11CreateDevice.*?::Flags$", Modifiers.Type("D3D11_CREATE_DEVICE_FLAG"));

    // ppFactory on CreateDXGIFactory.* should be Attribute.Out
    group.Modify<CppParameter>("^CreateDXGIFactory.*?::ppFactory$", Modifiers.ParameterAttribute(CppAttribute.Out));

    // pDefines is an array of Macro (and not just In)
    group.Modify<CppParameter>("^D3DCompile::pDefines", Modifiers.ParameterAttribute(CppAttribute.In | CppAttribute.Buffer | CppAttribute.Optional));
    group.Modify<CppParameter>("^D3DPreprocess::pDefines", Modifiers.ParameterAttribute(CppAttribute.In | CppAttribute.Buffer | CppAttribute.Optional));

    // SwapChain description is mandatory In and not optional
    group.Modify<CppParameter>("^D3D11CreateDeviceAndSwapChain::pSwapChainDesc", Modifiers.ParameterAttribute(CppAttribute.In));

    // Remove all enums ending with _FORCE_DWORD, FORCE_UINT
    group.Modify<CppEnumItem>("^.*_FORCE_DWORD$", Modifiers.Remove);
    group.Modify<CppEnumItem>("^.*_FORCE_UINT$", Modifiers.Remove);

    You can see that the pre-mapping (and the mapping) is using intensively regular expression for matching names, which is a very convenient way to perform some kind of XPATH request with Regex expressions.

    II) Generate C# model from XIDL and mapping rules

    This process is taking the pre-process XIDL and is generating a C# model (a subset of the C# model in memory), adding mapping information and preparing things to make it easier to use it from the T4 templatizer engine.

    In order to generate the C# model from DirectX, the generator needs a couple of mapping rules.

    1) Mapping an include to an assembly / namespace

    This rules is defining a default dispatching of types to assembly / namespace. It will associate source headers include (the name of the .h, without the extension).
    // Namespace mapping 

    // Map dxgi include to assembly SharpDX.DXGI, namespace SharpDX.DXGI
    gen.MapIncludeToNamespace("dxgi", "SharpDX.DXGI");
    gen.MapIncludeToNamespace("dxgiformat", "SharpDX.DXGI");
    gen.MapIncludeToNamespace("dxgitype", "SharpDX.DXGI");

    // Map D3DCommon include to assembly SharpDX, namespace SharpDX.Direct3D
    gen.MapIncludeToNamespace("d3dcommon", "SharpDX.Direct3D", "SharpDX");

    gen.MapIncludeToNamespace("d3d11", "SharpDX.Direct3D11");
    gen.MapIncludeToNamespace("d3dx11", "SharpDX.Direct3D11");
    gen.MapIncludeToNamespace("d3dx11core", "SharpDX.Direct3D11");
    gen.MapIncludeToNamespace("d3dx11tex", "SharpDX.Direct3D11");
    gen.MapIncludeToNamespace("d3dx11async", "SharpDX.Direct3D11");
    gen.MapIncludeToNamespace("d3d11shader", "SharpDX.D3DCompiler");
    gen.MapIncludeToNamespace("d3dcompiler", "SharpDX.D3DCompiler");

    2) Mapping a particular type to an assembly / namespace

    It is also necessary to override the default include to assembly/namespace dispatching for some particular types. This rules is doing this.
    gen.MapTypeToNamespace("^D3D_PRIMITIVE$", "SharpDX.D3DCompiler");
    gen.MapTypeToNamespace("^D3D_CBUFFER_TYPE$", "SharpDX.D3DCompiler");
    gen.MapTypeToNamespace("^D3D_RESOURCE_RETURN_TYPE$", "SharpDX.D3DCompiler");
    gen.MapTypeToNamespace("^D3D_SHADER_CBUFFER_FLAGS$", "SharpDX.D3DCompiler");
    gen.MapTypeToNamespace("^D3D_SHADER_INPUT_TYPE$", "SharpDX.D3DCompiler");
    gen.MapTypeToNamespace("^D3D_SHADER_VARIABLE_CLASS$", "SharpDX.D3DCompiler");
    gen.MapTypeToNamespace("^D3D_SHADER_VARIABLE_FLAG$S", "SharpDX.D3DCompiler");
    gen.MapTypeToNamespace("^D3D_SHADER_VARIABLE_TYPE$", "SharpDX.D3DCompiler");
    gen.MapTypeToNamespace("^D3D_TESSELLATOR_DOMAIN$", "SharpDX.D3DCompiler");
    gen.MapTypeToNamespace("^D3D_TESSELLATOR_PARTITIONING$", "SharpDX.D3DCompiler");
    gen.MapTypeToNamespace("^D3D_TESSELLATOR_OUTPUT_PRIMITIVE$", "SharpDX.D3DCompiler");
    gen.MapTypeToNamespace("^D3D_SHADER_INPUT_FLAGS$", "SharpDX.D3DCompiler");
    gen.MapTypeToNamespace("^D3D_NAME$", "SharpDX.D3DCompiler");
    gen.MapTypeToNamespace("^D3D_REGISTER_COMPONENT_TYPE$", "SharpDX.D3DCompiler");

    The previous code is instructing the generator to move some D3D types to the SharpDX.D3DCompiler namespace (and assembly). Those types are in fact more related to Shader reflection and are associated with the D3DCompiler assembly (I took the same design choice from SlimDX, although we could think about another mapping).

    3) Mapping a C++ type to a custom C# type

    It is sometimes necessary to map a C++ type to a non generated C# type. For example, there is the C++ "RECT" structure which is not stritcly equivalent to the System.Drawing.Rectangle (the RECT struct is using the Left,Top,Right,Bottom fields instead of Left,Top,Width,Height for System.Drawing.Rectangle). This mapping is able to define a custom mapping. The SharpDX.Rectangle is not generated by the generator but is defined in the SharpDX assembly project (last part).
    var rectType = new CSharpStruct();
    rectType.Name = "SharpDX.Rectangle";
    rectType.SizeOf = 4*4;
    gen.MapCppTypeToCSharpType("RECT", rectType); //"SharpDX.Rectangle", 4 * 4, false, true);

    4) Mapping a C++ name to a C# name
    The renaming rules are quite rich. The XIDLToCSharp provides a default renaming mechanism that respect the CamelCase convention, but there are some exceptions that need to be addressed. For example:
    // Rename DXGI_MODE_ROTATION to DisplayModeRotation
    gen.RenameType(@"^DXGI_MODE_SCALING$", "DisplayModeScaling");
    gen.RenameType(@"^DXGI_MODE_SCANLINE_ORDER$", "DisplayModeScanlineOrder");

    // Use regular expression to take the part of some names...
    gen.RenameType(@"^D3D_SVC_(.*)", "$1");
    gen.RenameType(@"^D3D_SVF_(.*)", "$1");
    gen.RenameType(@"^D3D_SVT_(.*)", "$1");
    gen.RenameType(@"^D3D_SIF_(.*)", "$1");
    gen.RenameType(@"^D3D_SIT_(.*)", "$1");
    gen.RenameType(@"^D3D_CT_(.*)", "$1");

    For structures and enums that are using the "_" underscore to separate name subpart, you can let XIDLToCSharp rename correctly each subpart, while still being able to specify how a subpart can be rename:
    // Expand sub part between underscore
    gen.RenameTypePart("^DESC$", "Description");
    gen.RenameTypePart("^CBUFFER$", "ConstantBuffer");
    gen.RenameTypePart("^TBUFFER$", "TextureBuffer");
    gen.RenameTypePart("^BUFFEREX$", "ExtendedBuffer");
    gen.RenameTypePart("^FUNC$", "Function");
    gen.RenameTypePart("^FLAG$", "Flags");
    gen.RenameTypePart("^SRV$", "ShaderResourceView");
    gen.RenameTypePart("^DSV$", "DepthStencilView");
    gen.RenameTypePart("^RTV$", "RenderTargetView");
    gen.RenameTypePart("^UAV$", "UnorderedAccessView");
    gen.RenameTypePart("^TEXTURE1D$", "Texture1D");
    gen.RenameTypePart("^TEXTURE2D$", "Texture2D");
    gen.RenameTypePart("^TEXTURE3D$", "Texture3D");

    With this rules, for example with a struct named as "BLABLA_DESC", the DESC part will be expand to "Description", resulting in the C# name "BlablaDescription".

    5) Change Field type mapping in C#

    Again, there are lots of enums in DirectX that are not used in the structures. For example, if you take the D3D11_BUFFER_DESC, all enums are declared as int instead of using their respective enums.

    This mapping rules is responsible to change the destination type for a field:
    gen.ChangeStructFieldTypeToNative("D3D11_BUFFER_DESC", "BindFlags", "D3D11_BIND_FLAG");
    gen.ChangeStructFieldTypeToNative("D3D11_BUFFER_DESC", "CPUAccessFlags", "D3D11_CPU_ACCESS_FLAG");
    gen.ChangeStructFieldTypeToNative("D3D11_BUFFER_DESC", "MiscFlags", "D3D11_RESOURCE_MISC_FLAG");

    6) Generate enums from C++ macros, improving enums

    Again, DirectX SDK is not consistent with enums. Sometimes there are some enums that are in fact defined with some macro definition, which makes intellisense experience inexistent...

    XIDLToCSharp is able to create an enum from a set of macros definitions
    // Create enums from macro definitions
    // Create the D3DCOMPILE_SHADER_FLAGS C++ type from the D3DCOMPILE_.* macros
    gen.CreateEnumFromMacros(@"^D3DCOMPILE_[^E][^F].*", "D3DCOMPILE_SHADER_FLAGS");
    gen.CreateEnumFromMacros(@"^D3DCOMPILE_EFFECT_.*", "D3DCOMPILE_EFFECT_FLAGS");
    gen.CreateEnumFromMacros(@"^D3D_DISASM_.*", "D3DCOMPILE_DISASM_FLAGS");

    There are also some tiny things to adjust to existing enums, like adding a "None=0" enum item for some flags.

    7) Move interface methods to inner interfaces in C#

    If you have been using Direct3D 11, you have notice that all methods for each stages are prefix with the stage abbreviation, making for example the ID3D11DeviceContext interface quite ugly to use, ending in some code like this:

    SlimDX did something really nice : they have created for each pipeline stage (IA for InputAssembler, VS for VertexShader) a property accessor to an interface that is exposing the method of this stage, resulting in an improved readability and a much better intellisense experience.
    deviceContext.InputAssembler.InputLayout = inputlayout; 

    In the XIDL2CSharp, there is a rules to handle such a case, and is simple as writing this:
    // Map all IA* methods to the internal interface InputAssemblerStage with the acessor property InputAssembler, using the method name $1 (extract from the regexp)
    gen.MoveMethodsToInnerInterface("ID3D11DeviceContext::IA(.*)", "InputAssemblerStage", "InputAssembler", "$1");
    gen.MoveMethodsToInnerInterface("ID3D11DeviceContext::VS(.*)", "VertexShaderStage", "VertexShader", "$1");
    gen.MoveMethodsToInnerInterface("ID3D11DeviceContext::PS(.*)", "PixelShaderStage", "PixelShader", "$1");
    gen.MoveMethodsToInnerInterface("ID3D11DeviceContext::GS(.*)", "GeometryShaderStage", "GeometryShader", "$1");
    gen.MoveMethodsToInnerInterface("ID3D11DeviceContext::SO(.*)", "StreamOutputStage", "StreamOutput", "$1");
    gen.MoveMethodsToInnerInterface("ID3D11DeviceContext::DS(.*)", "DomainShaderStage", "DomainShader", "$1");
    gen.MoveMethodsToInnerInterface("ID3D11DeviceContext::HS(.*)", "HullShaderStage", "HullShader", "$1");
    gen.MoveMethodsToInnerInterface("ID3D11DeviceContext::RS(.*)", "RasterizerStage", "Rasterizer", "$1");
    gen.MoveMethodsToInnerInterface("ID3D11DeviceContext::OM(.*)", "OutputMergerStage", "OutputMerger", "$1");
    gen.MoveMethodsToInnerInterface("ID3D11DeviceContext::CS(.*)", "ComputeShaderStage", "ComputeShader", "$1");

    8) Dispatch method to function group

    DirectX C++ functions are mapped to a set of function group and an associated DLL. For example, it is possible to specify that all D3D11.* methods will map to a class D3D11 containing all the associated methods.
    // Function group
    var d3dCommonFunctionGroup = gen.CreateFunctionGroup("SharpDX", "SharpDX.Direct3D", "D3DCommon");
    var dxgiFunctionGroup = gen.CreateFunctionGroup("SharpDX.DXGI", "SharpDX.DXGI", "DXGI");
    var d3dFunctionGroup = gen.CreateFunctionGroup("SharpDX.D3DCompiler", "SharpDX.D3DCompiler", "D3D");
    var d3d11FunctionGroup = gen.CreateFunctionGroup("SharpDX.Direct3D11", "SharpDX.Direct3D11", "D3D11");
    var d3dx11FunctionGroup = gen.CreateFunctionGroup("SharpDX.Direct3D11", "SharpDX.Direct3D11", "D3DX11");

    // Map All D3D11 functions to D3D11 Function Group
    gen.MapFunctionToFunctionGroup(@"^D3D11.*", "d3d11.dll", d3d11FunctionGroup);

    // Map All D3DX11 functions to D3DX11 Function Group
    gen.MapFunctionToFunctionGroup(@"^D3DX11.*", group.Find<cppmacrodefinition>("D3DX11_DLL_A").FirstOrDefault().StripStringValue, d3dx11FunctionGroup);

    // Map All D3D11 functions to D3D11 Function Group
    string d3dCompilerDll =
    gen.MapFunctionToFunctionGroup(@"^D3DCreateBlob$", d3dCompilerDll, d3dCommonFunctionGroup);

    If a DLL has a versionned name (like for D3DXX_xx.dll or D3DCompiler_xx.dll), we are directly retreiving the dll name from a macro!

    Generate C# code from C# model and adding custom classes

    Once an internal C# model is built, we are calling the T4 text template toolkit engine for each group of types : Enumerations, Structures, Interfaces, Functions. Those classes are then integrated in several VS project, with some custom code added and some non generated core classes.

    The generated C# interop code

    Meaning that for each assembly, each namespace, there will be an Enumerations.cs, Structures.cs, Interfaces.cs and Functions.cs files generated.

    For each types, there is a custom mapping done:
    • For enums, the mapping is straightforward, resulting in an almost one-to-one mapping
    • For structures, the mapping is quite straightforward, resulting in an almost one-to-one mapping for most of the types. Although there are a couple of case where the mapping need to generate some marshalling code, essentially when there is a bool in the struct, or when there is a string pointer, or a fixed array of struct inside a struct.
    For example, one of the most complex mapping for a structure is generated like this:

    /// <summary> 
    /// Describes the blend state.
    /// </summary>
    /// <remarks>
    /// These are the default values for blend state.StateDefault ValueAlphaToCoverageEnableFALSEIndependentBlendEnableFALSERenderTarget[0].BlendEnableFALSERenderTarget[0].SrcBlendD3D11_BLEND_ONERenderTarget[0].DestBlendD3D11_BLEND_ZERORenderTarget[0].BlendOpD3D11_BLEND_OP_ADDRenderTarget[0].SrcBlendAlphaD3D11_BLEND_ONERenderTarget[0].DestBlendAlphaD3D11_BLEND_ZERORenderTarget[0].BlendOpAlphaD3D11_BLEND_OP_ADDRenderTarget[0].RenderTargetWriteMaskD3D11_COLOR_WRITE_ENABLE_ALL Note that D3D11_BLEND_DESC is identical to {{D3D10_BLEND_DESC1}}.If the driver type is set to <see cref="SharpDX.Direct3D.DriverType.Hardware"/>, the feature level is set to less than or equal to <see cref="SharpDX.Direct3D.FeatureLevel.Level_9_3"/>, and the pixel formatofthe render target is set to <see cref="SharpDX.DXGI.Format.R8G8B8A8_UNorm_SRgb"/>, DXGI_FORMAT_B8G8R8A8_UNORM_SRGB, or DXGI_FORMAT_B8G8R8X8_UNORM_SRGB, the display device performs the blend in standard RGB (sRGB) space and not in linear space. However, if the feature level is set to greater thanD3D_FEATURE_LEVEL_9_3, the display device performs the blend in linear space.
    /// </remarks>
    /// <unmanaged>D3D11_BLEND_DESC</unmanaged>
    public partial struct BlendDescription {

    /// <summary>
    /// Determines whether or not to use alpha-to-coverage as a multisampling technique when setting a pixel to a rendertarget.
    /// </summary>
    /// <unmanaged>BOOL AlphaToCoverageEnable</unmanaged>
    public bool AlphaToCoverageEnable {
    get {
    return (_AlphaToCoverageEnable!=0)?true:false;
    set {
    _AlphaToCoverageEnable = value?1:0;
    internal int _AlphaToCoverageEnable;

    /// <summary>
    /// Set to TRUE to enable independent blending in simultaneous render targets. If set to FALSE, only the RenderTarget[0] members are used. RenderTarget[1..7] are ignored.
    /// </summary>
    /// <unmanaged>BOOL IndependentBlendEnable</unmanaged>
    public bool IndependentBlendEnable {
    get {
    return (_IndependentBlendEnable!=0)?true:false;
    set {
    _IndependentBlendEnable = value?1:0;
    internal int _IndependentBlendEnable;

    /// <summary>
    /// An array of render-target-blend descriptions (see <see cref="SharpDX.Direct3D11.RenderTargetBlendDescription"/>); these correspond to the eight rendertargets that can be set to the output-merger stage at one time.
    /// </summary>
    /// <unmanaged>D3D11_RENDER_TARGET_BLEND_DESC RenderTarget[8]</unmanaged>
    public SharpDX.Direct3D11.RenderTargetBlendDescription[] RenderTarget {
    get {
    if (_RenderTarget == null) {
    _RenderTarget = new SharpDX.Direct3D11.RenderTargetBlendDescription[8];
    return _RenderTarget;
    internal SharpDX.Direct3D11.RenderTargetBlendDescription[] _RenderTarget;

    // Internal native struct used for marshalling
    [StructLayout(LayoutKind.Sequential, Pack = 0 )]
    internal unsafe partial struct __Native {
    public int _AlphaToCoverageEnable;
    public int _IndependentBlendEnable;
    public SharpDX.Direct3D11.RenderTargetBlendDescription RenderTarget;
    SharpDX.Direct3D11.RenderTargetBlendDescription __RenderTarget1;
    SharpDX.Direct3D11.RenderTargetBlendDescription __RenderTarget2;
    SharpDX.Direct3D11.RenderTargetBlendDescription __RenderTarget3;
    SharpDX.Direct3D11.RenderTargetBlendDescription __RenderTarget4;
    SharpDX.Direct3D11.RenderTargetBlendDescription __RenderTarget5;
    SharpDX.Direct3D11.RenderTargetBlendDescription __RenderTarget6;
    SharpDX.Direct3D11.RenderTargetBlendDescription __RenderTarget7;
    // Method to free native struct
    internal unsafe void __MarshalFree()

    // Method to marshal from native to managed struct
    internal unsafe void __MarshalFrom(ref __Native @ref)
    this._AlphaToCoverageEnable = @ref._AlphaToCoverageEnable;
    this._IndependentBlendEnable = @ref._IndependentBlendEnable;
    fixed (void* __to = &this.RenderTarget[0]) fixed (void* __from = &@ref.RenderTarget) SharpDX.Utilities.CopyMemory((IntPtr) __to, (IntPtr) __from, 8*sizeof ( SharpDX.Direct3D11.RenderTargetBlendDescription));
    // Method to marshal from managed struct tot native
    internal unsafe void __MarshalTo(ref __Native @ref)
    @ref._AlphaToCoverageEnable = this._AlphaToCoverageEnable;
    @ref._IndependentBlendEnable = this._IndependentBlendEnable;
    fixed (void* __to = &@ref.RenderTarget) fixed (void* __from = &this.RenderTarget[0]) SharpDX.Utilities.CopyMemory((IntPtr) __to, (IntPtr) __from, 8*sizeof ( SharpDX.Direct3D11.RenderTargetBlendDescription));


    • For Interfaces the mapping is quite complex, because it is necessary to handle lost of different cases:
      • Optionnal structure in input
      • Optionnal parameters
      • Output an array of interface
      • Perform some custom marshaling (for example, with the previous BlendDescription structure)
      • Generating properties for methods that are property elligible
      • ...etc.
    For example, the method using the BlendDescription is like this:
    /// <summary> 
    /// Create a blend-state object that encapsules blend state for the output-merger stage.
    /// </summary>
    /// <remarks>
    /// An application can create up to 4096 unique blend-state objects. For each object created, the runtime checks to see if a previous object has the same state. If such a previous object exists, the runtime will return a pointer to previous instance instead of creating a duplicate object.
    /// </remarks>
    /// <param name="blendStateDescRef">Pointer to a blend-state description (see <see cref="SharpDX.Direct3D11.BlendDescription"/>).</param>
    /// <param name="blendStateRef">Address of a pointer to the blend-state object created (see <see cref="SharpDX.Direct3D11.BlendState"/>).</param>
    /// <returns>This method returns E_OUTOFMEMORY if there is insufficient memory to create the blend-state object. See {{Direct3D 11 Return Codes}} for other possible return values.</returns>
    /// <unmanaged>HRESULT CreateBlendState([In] const D3D11_BLEND_DESC* pBlendStateDesc,[Out, Optional] ID3D11BlendState** ppBlendState)</unmanaged>
    public SharpDX.Result CreateBlendState(ref SharpDX.Direct3D11.BlendDescription blendStateDescRef, out SharpDX.Direct3D11.BlendState blendStateRef){
    unsafe {
    SharpDX.Direct3D11.BlendDescription.__Native blendStateDescRef_ = new SharpDX.Direct3D11.BlendDescription.__Native();
    blendStateDescRef.__MarshalTo(ref blendStateDescRef_);
    IntPtr blendStateRef_ = IntPtr.Zero;
    SharpDX.Result __result__;
    __result__= (SharpDX.Result)SharpDX.Interop.CalliInt(_nativePointer, 20 * 4, &blendStateDescRef_, &blendStateRef_); 
              Advent Blue 4: Longing for Light        
    No matter how much I can learn and practice in the dark, I long for Light to shine. Many Advents ago I went to a gathering of other in ministries of spiritual formation in the bleak midwinter. I carried with me some of the dark Advent blues concerning the direction of my ministry and its […]
              Leaked: Dianne Feinstein Wanted To Be ‘Surrogate’ For Hillary on Benghazi        
    'Reiterated offer to help'
              Tarantino v. Gawker Media, LLC        

    Threat Type: 


    Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

    Gawker Media, LLC; Gawker Media Group, Inc; Gawker Entertainment, LLC; Doe 1 aka AnonFiles.com; Does 2 through 10

    Type of Party: 






    Type of Party: 

    Media Company

    Location of Party: 

    • California


    Dismissed (total)




    • California

    Location of Party: 

    • New York
    • Delaware
    • Cayman Islands

    Verdict or Settlement Amount: 


    Source of Law: 

    • United States

    Legal Counsel: 

    Jean-Paul Jassy; Robert Penchina; Thomas Curley; Kevin L. Vick (for the Gawker defendants)

    Court Name: 

    United States District Court for the Central District of California, Western Division

    Court Type: 

    Tarantino, a multiple Oscar winning and nominated writer and director, is the writer and owner of a screenplay entitled The Hateful Eight. The script was leaked by unknown persons. On January 22, 2014, the website Gawker.com published an article about the leak... read full description

    Case Number: 


    Relevant Documents: 

    Publication Medium: 


    Tarantino, a multiple Oscar winning and nominated writer and director, is the writer and owner of a screenplay entitled The Hateful Eight. The script was leaked by unknown persons. On January 22, 2014, the website Gawker.com published an article about the leak and Tarantino's reaction, and solicited readers to provide Gawker with a copy of the script. The following day, Gawker.com carried an article on its website with a hyperlink to a website where the document appeared.

    Tarantino filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against Gawker Media, LLC, Gawker Media Group, Inc., and Gawker Entertainment, LLC (collectively, "Gawker") and Does 1-10, asserting the following claims:

    1. Copyright Infringement [17 U.S.C. § 101 et. Seq.] (against Does 1-10)
    2. Contributory Copyright Infringement [17 U.S.C. § 101 et. Seq.] (against defendants Gawker and Does 2-10)

    The complaint alleges that Doe 1, also named as "AnonFiles.com," provided a full copy of the screenplay for download, which copy was either uploaded by Gawker or uploaded by another Doe defendant with Gawker's encouragement, and that other Does committed direct infringement by accessing the copy. The complaint further alleges that Doe 1 failed to respond timely or effectively to a DMCA takedown notice. The contributory infringement claim against Gawker is based on Gawker's providing a link to AnonFiles.com.

    Gawker filed for a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. Gawker argued that contributory infringement could not exist in the absence of direct infringement, and that merely accessing the script by clicking on the link provided by Gawker was not copyright infringement. Moreover, Gawker asserted merely encouraging others to read - but not copy, distribute, or otherwise use - the script on another site was not encouragement of copyright infringement. Finally, Gawker argued that publishing links to extant copies of Tarantino's work in the context of a news report was a non-infringing fair use pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 107. 

    Tarantino, in his opposition to Gawker's motion, argued that the complaint's allegations that third parties accessed the screenplay via Gawker's link were sufficient to support a claim of direct infringement to support a claim of contributory infringement against Gawker. Because the screenplay was provided by Doe 1 in PDF format, Tarantino argued, it could not be viewed unless a complete infringing copy was downloaded to the user's computer. Tarantino further argued that Gawker's fair use argument was premature as asserting an affirmative defense, but went on to argue that Gawker's use was not fair because: (1) the primary purpose of the infringing use was commercial, not news reporting; (2) the use was not transformative; (3) the screenplay was unpublished; (4) the screenplay was a creative work, (5) the entire screenplay was made available; and (6) the disclosure of the screenplay undermined the market for the work.

    In a subsequent reply brief, Gawker argued (among other things) that the format in which the screenplay was provided was neither relevant nor pleaded in the complaint, and that any allegations that Gawker was responsible for Doe 1's posting of the screenplay were purely speculative.

    On April 22, 2014, the court granted Gawker's motion to dismiss, holding that Tarantino had failed to allege a claim of contributory infringement against Gawker because "nowhere in ... the Complaint does Plaintiff allege a single act of direct infringement committed by any member of the general public that would support Plaintiff's claim for contributory infringement. Instead, Plaintiff merely speculates that some direct infringement must have taken place." The court did not address Gawker's fair use arguments, finding that the "arguments, albeit persuasive and potentially dispositive, are premature." The court nevertheless granted Tarantino leave to amend the complaint to attempt to amend the defects in the claim against Gawker.

    Tarantino filed a First Amended Complaint on May 1, 2014, dropping the Doe defendants and asserting claims solely against Gawker Media, LLC, for direct and contributory copyright infringement. The new complaint added allegations that Gawker itself downloaded an illegal copy of the screenplay and disseminated portions of the screenplay to others. On May 7, 2014, before Gawker was due to respond, Tarantino voluntarily dismissed the new complaint without prejudice, ending the case.

    Subject Area: 

    • Copyright

              United States v. Brown        

    Threat Type: 

    Criminal Charge

    Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

    Barrett Brown

    Type of Party: 




    Type of Party: 




    Location of Party: 

    • United States



    Location of Party: 

    • Texas


    • Texas

    Source of Law: 

    • United States

    Verdict or Settlement Amount: 


    Legal Counsel: 

    Douglas A Morris (Federal Public Defender - Dallas); Ahmed Ghappour (University of Texas Law School), Charles D. Swift (Swift & McDonald, PC), Marlo P Cadeddu (Law Office of Marlo P Cadeddu)

    Court Name: 

    United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas: Dallas Division

    Court Type: 

    The U.S. government filed three indictments, consisting of seventeen charges, against Barrett Brown, an independent journalist. The charges arose out of Brown's online publication of a link to data obtained by hacktivist collective Anonymous and his alleged subsequent conduct. Anonymous hacked Stratfor,... read full description

    Case Number: 

    3:12-cr-00317-L; 3:12-CR-413-L; 3:13-CR-030-L

    Relevant Documents: 

    Content Type: 

    • Text

    Publication Medium: 

    Social Network

    The U.S. government filed three indictments, consisting of seventeen charges, against Barrett Brown, an independent journalist. The charges arose out of Brown's online publication of a link to data obtained by hacktivist collective Anonymous and his alleged subsequent conduct.

    Anonymous hacked Stratfor, a global intelligence firm, in December 2011, obtaining millions of e-mails, some of which included credit card and personal identity data. WikiLeaks published a large collection of these emails in February 2012, and Brown linked to a zip file of the leaked data on his IRC (Internet Relay Chat) channel, #ProjectPM. In response to these events, in March and September 2012, the FBI raided Brown and his mother's residences. Brown responded with YouTube videos, including one entitled "Why I'm Going to Destory FBI Agent [RS]," and similar commentary on Twitter. 

    The federal government filed a complaint against Brown in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas on September 12, 2012. According to the docket, the complaint alleged that Brown "knowingly counseled, commanded, and induced other individuals to make restricted personal information about a Special Agent (SA) of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) publically available with the intent to threaten, intimidate, and incite the commission of a crime of violence against that SA, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2 and 119." (The full text of this complaint is not available.) The first indictment included counts related to Brown's responses to the FBI raids on his social media accounts (on Twitter and YouTube), which the government alleged to be threatening the FBI Agent and exposing private information. Specifically, the three counts were: Internet threats under 18 U.S.C. § 875(c); conspiracy to make publically available restricted personal information of an employee of the United States under 18 U.S.C. § 371; and retaliation against a federal law enforcement officer under 18 U.S.C. §§ 115(a)(1)(B) and (b)(4). Brown pled not guilty to all three counts on November 15, 2012. 

    The government filed a second indictment, case number 3:12-cr-00413-B, on December 4, 2012, arising out of the hyperlink to the leaked Stratfor data that Brown posted on his IRC channel. The government asserted that sharing this link constituted a transfer the credit card account information contained therein; accordingly, Brown was charged with: traffic in stolen authentication features under 18 U.S.C. §§ 1028(a)(2), (b)(1)(B), and (c)(3)(A); access device fraud under 18 U.S.C. §§ 1029(a)(3) and (c)(1)(A)(i); and ten counts of aggravated identity theft under 18 U.S.C. § 1028A(a)(1). On December 17, 2012, Brown made a plea of not guilty to all of these charges. This second indictment was replaced by a superseding indictment on July 2, 2013, which made no substantive changes to the charges. 

    During the 2012 FBI raids, Brown denied the presence of any laptops at his or his mother's residences, though two were later found. For this, he was charged with obstruction of justice in a third indictment on January 23, 2013 (case number 3:13-cr-00030-B). The indictment included two counts: concealment of evidence under 18 U.S.C. § 1519; and corruptly concealing evidence under 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(1). According to the case docket, Brown entered a not guilty plea on January 30, 2013. 

    On January 30, 2013, the court held a hearing to determine Brown's competency to stand trial in his criminal cases, focusing on his mental health. In an order filed February 4, 2013, the court declared Brown competent to stand trial in all three pending cases.

    On August 7, 2013, in the course of opposing a motion by Brown for a continuance of his trial date, the government asserted that Brown had repeatedly solicited "the services of the media or media-types to discuss his cases," and thereby demonstrated an "intent to continue to manipulate the public through press and social media comments, in defiance of the admonishment by the United States Magistrate Judge." Asserting that such "extrajudicial commentary" would undermine a fair trial, the government asked the court "to instruct the parties to refrain from making "any statement to members of any television, radio, newspaper, magazine, internet (including, but not limited to, bloggers), or other media organization about this case, other than matters of public record."

    Brown opposed the government's request for a gag order in pleadings filed on August 9 and September 4, 2013, arguing that the government had not established a need for a gag order or that less restrictive measures were not available to responf to pretrial publicity. The defense pointed out that since appointment of counsel on his behalf, Brown had made no statements to the press, his counsel had made no statements except with respect to matters in the public record, and any statements made by associates of Brown could not be attributed to Brown himself. The defense further argued that cases supporting gag orders required evidence of statements by the defendant, and not merely a claim that the defense had condoned or attempted to coordinate media coverage. The defense also objected to the government's attempt to rely, as a basis for a gag order, on Brown's own journalistic work product unrelated to the pending charges against him. 

    On September 4, 2013, the court entered an "Agreed Order Re: Extrajudicial Statements" signed by the judge and by counsel for Brown and the government. The order prohibits Brown and all attorneys for the government and the defense from making

    any statement to members of any television, radio, newspaper, magazine, internet (including, but not limited to, bloggers), or other media organization about this case, other than matters of public record, that could interfere witha fair trial or otherwise prejudice Defendant, the Government, or the administration of justice, except that counsel for the Defendant may consult with Mr. Kevin Gallagher regarding the finances needed for Mr. Barrett Brown's defense.

    The parties are further prohibited by the order from avoiding its effect through indirect, but deliberate, means. The order states that Brown is permitted continue to make statements and publish on topics not related to the counts on which he was indicted.

    Two trials are set in the case. The first trial, relating to the threats allegedly made by Brown, is set to begin on April 28, 2014. The second trial, relating to the charges regarding hyperlinking to stolen data and obstruction of justice, was set to begin on May 19, 2014; however, on March 5, 2014, the Department of Justice voluntarily moved to dismiss the hyperlinking charges.  It is not clear whether this will affect the schedule of the second trial.

    Subject Area: 

    • Linking
    • Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

              A sixties feminist regrets        
    Before I leave behind Karley Sciortino, I'd like to make one final point. Sometimes societies forget the reasons why traditional moral rules exist. Why, for instance, did traditional societies frown upon young, unmarried people being promiscuous? Was it simply because the elders of these societies were "hung up"?

    The lesson to be learnt from recent decades is that when promiscuity is accepted, the young women of a society experience a situation of "abundance" - no shortage of offers - and that large numbers will then spend their 20s trying to hook up with the "hottest" men available to them. But this damages the ability of these women to pair bond with just one man. Karley Sciortino calls this being jaded:
    Now, being jaded doesn’t simply mean that you’re “over it.” It’s more that you’ve become sick and tired after overindulging in something. And I’m pretty sure that my current state is the result of binge-eating on sex and relationships for the past 15 years. Some of the telltale signs include: Being around cheery, optimistic people makes me nauseous...I often swipe through Tinder in front of my friends, sighing unnecessarily loudly and saying things like, “See, this is what I have to choose from!”...When I see engagement notifications on Facebook, I think, She must have settled. (Or, if I’m in a particularly bad mood: She just ruined her life.)

    It’s gotten to the point where I’ve pretty much convinced myself that my options are either to be single forever or eventually be like, “Eh, you’ll do.”...But even if you know you’re jaded, that doesn’t mean you have the power to control it.

    Young adults have an instinct to save themselves for the person they will ultimately commit to, but they also have an instinct to want to experience sexual pleasure and variety. The question then becomes: what is the highest good? Is it a lifelong, loving marriage in which two people successfully bond together? Or is it the pleasure of sexual variety?

    What Karley is reminding us is that sexual variety loses its lustre over time and that it undermines the opportunity to experience love with a person of the opposite sex. Traditional societies chose the higher path.

    Which brings me to the remarkable Daily Mail column by sixties feminist Jeannette Kupferman. She was one of those young women who initially embraced the feminist sexual revolution but who now wonders about its effect on relationships between the sexes:
    It makes me wonder what happened to the Brave New World we’d envisaged for our daughters and granddaughters. A world of unlimited possibilities, choices and equality for girls to become or do anything?

    A world I — like many women — fought for in the Sixties.

    Has feminism made life worse, not better, for today’s generation of girls?

    Certainly, women have never existed in such a bleak emotional landscape.

    Note the orthodox liberalism here. She wanted unlimited choices for girls to become or do anything. But she didn't think through what this would logically lead to. If the important thing is not the quality of what you choose, but the fact that you can choose to do or to be anything, then the older moral rules will be thought to limit the individual and his choices. Those who transgress these rules will then be admired as cutting edge and liberated.

    She now thinks it has all gone too far. She reminisces about what life was like before the sexual revolution, finding many positives. She writes,
    I feel so sad for young girls who will never receive a beautiful love letter or go on a romantic date with no strings attached.

    And she wishes the following for her recently born granddaughter:
    ...I want her to feel euphoria because of the rare richness and uniqueness of life, and because of pride in her own innate womanhood — not be sozzled with booze or worse, ending up destroying body and soul in some demeaning, meaningless sexual encounter.

    And yet it was she, and her liberal values, which pushed society along this path. It has been pointed out many times that there is no stop button built into the liberal ideal. You can't push liberalism so far and then say "this is good, but we shouldn't take it any further". It is going to keep logically unravelling, to ever more radical and socially dissolving outcomes.
              My Weekly Meal Plan        
    Last week was full of weeding, cleaning up the yard, getting the water turned on, fixing any leaks, a funeral, a scout camp, some homemaking and lots of sunshine and a snowstorm in between.

    Ryan worked really hard in the yard and got it ready to get our wall finished and to put some gravel down by the driveway. We hope to put cement one day but for now gravel should help with the mud and weeds. I spent some time weeding my flower/herb bed and Matt got the sprinklers turned on and any broken pipes fixed. There wasn't too much to fix mainly just a dripper to one of our apple trees that Ryan had stepped on and broke when he was tilling the garden.

    I was able to preserve some lemons this weekend! I follow a recipe from the Lacto-Fermenting course that is part of Traditional Cooking School. It was super easy and I'm excited to see how they turn out. They need to set for about a month then they will be ready to use. The cool thing is that they keep this way for a really long time. A great way to use up the abundance of lemons that I had!

    My cousin Mike passed away last week after a very long fight with Huntington's Disease. It was a beautiful service.

     It was so nice to see and visit with so many loved ones. This is me with my Sisters, my dear cousin and he beautiful daughters.

    Me with my Sisters and more cousins! I only wish I had been able to stay longer and catch up a bit more with the many wonderful people I just don't see often enough.

    My Weekly Meal Plan

    Lentil Soup


    Hawaiian Haystacks 

    Nachos Supreme My Way

    Artichoke Tomato Alfredo


    Mongolian BBQ

              Snowden not a whistleblower, risked US national security: White House        

    Washington: Edward Snowden, a former CIA contractor who leaked classified government documents is not a whistleblower, but someone who risked national security and American lives, the White House said, dimming his hopes of a presidential pardon from Barack Obama before he demits office.

    "There actually is a specific process that is well-established and well-protected that allows whistleblowers to raise concerns that they have, particularly when it relates to confidential or classified information, to do so in a way that protects the national security secrets of the US. That is not what Snowden did," Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.

    "Edward Snowden is not a whistleblower," Earnest said.

    "His conduct put American lives at risk and it risked American national security. That is why the policy of the Obama administration is that Snowden should return to the US and face the very serious charges that he is facing," he told reporters yesterday.

    Snowden, 33, is accused of violating the Espionage Act and theft of government property for leaking sensitive data to the media about National Security Agency's internet and phone surveillance.

    He faces at least 30 years in jail in the US, and has been living in exile at an undisclosed location in Russia since June 2013. His residency permit expires next year.

    Earnest maintained the long-held position of the US government that Snowden will be "afforded the rights that are due to every American citizen in our criminal justice system."

    "But we believe that he should return to the United States and face those charges," he said, adding that there is no communication between Snowden and the US president.

    "I'm not aware of any conversations or any communications between Snowden and the president," he said.

    Snowden, on the other hand, argues that though he leaked secret data, the information have benefited the public as they led to a improvement in privacy protection laws.

    Snowden has asked Obama for clemency in an interview with a UK newspaper, saying: "If not for these disclosures, if not for these revelations, we would be worse off."

    "Yes, there are laws on the books that say one thing. But that is perhaps why the pardon power exists - for the exceptions, for the things that may seem unlawful in letters on a page but when we look at them morally, when we look at them ethically, when we look at the results, it seems these were necessary things," he said.

    Snowden not a whistleblower, risked US national security: White House
    News Source: 
    Facebook Instant Article: 

              North Korea still a suspect in Sony attack despite denial        

    Washington: North Korea is a principal suspect in the cyber attack on Sony Pictures, a US national security source told Reuters on Thursday, while a North Korean diplomat denied Pyongyang was behind the crippling hack.

    The US government`s investigation into the Nov. 24 attack is being led by the FBI`s Los Angeles Field Office and the Hollywood studio is cooperating, a law enforcement source said.

    The national security official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said North Korea is not the only suspect and it was too soon to definitively know who is behind the attack that exposed a trove of internal data and shut down the computer systems at the entertainment arm of Sony Corp .

    North Korea had vehemently denounced the Sony film "The Interview," a comedy movie about a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, scheduled for release on Dec. 25.

    A former top US government expert on North Korea said that circumstantial evidence suggesting its involvement in the Sony attack included the fact that the North Koreans had been "very vocal about their unhappiness" about the film.

    A New York-based North Korean diplomat, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Voice of America broadcast network on Wednesday that linking North Korea to the hacking of Sony Pictures` computers was "another fabrication targeting the country.

    "My country publicly declared that it would follow international norms banning hacking and piracy," the diplomat said.

    The denial from North Korea regarding the Sony hacking came despite sources telling Reuters that cyber investigators had found connections to North Korea in the form of hacking tools similar to those used by that country in previous attacks on South Korea.

    Despite the swirling controversy, Sony said the film`s release remains on schedule, although on Thursday it cancelled a Los Angeles press day for next week citing "some scheduling conflicts." A press day in New York is still possible.

    "The Interview" stars James Franco and Seth Rogen as American journalists who are recruited by the CIA to kill Kim after the authoritarian leader grants them an interview.

    In June, the Pyongyang government denounced the film as "undisguised sponsoring of terrorism, as well as an act of war" in a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

    Rogen, who co-wrote and co-directed the film, told Rolling Stone magazine in an interview conducted in June that they did get called in for a meeting with Sony`s North American CEO.

    "Any time a movie causes a country to threaten nuclear retaliation, the higher-ups wanna get in a room with you," Rogen said in the interview published in this week`s Rolling Stone.

    Sony has struggled to get all of its systems back up since its network was breached. Studio executives told staff in a memo on Tuesday that they still did not know the "full scope of information that the hackers might have or release."

    The hackers, who have identified themselves as GOP or Guardians of Peace, leaked more Sony data on Wednesday that included personal log-ins and credentials, the website CSO Online reported.

    "In short, the IT data leaked is everything needed to manage the day-to-day operations at Sony," CSO said.

    But the studio did manage to make one of its biggest announcements of the year in England on Thursday - the new Bond movie, "SPECTRE," starring Daniel Craig as 007 once again.

    It was a reminder of Sony`s might in the movie world. The Bond franchise had its most lucrative film in the series to date with "Skyfall," which brought in $1.1 billion worldwide.

    News Source: 
    Home Title: 

    North Korea still a suspect in Sony attack despite denial

    Image Caption: 

              The Garbage Collector does not call the Dispose() method!        
    If you have ever wondered if the Garbage Collector calls the Dispose method on objects that implement the IDisposable interface, the answer is no.

    It calls the Finalize method, which does nothing by default. If you have any unmanaged or additional resources that you want freed or released after the lifetime of an object, you must call the properly overriden Dispose method. I won't get in details on the Dispose pattern or anything like that, not on this post. Maybe on the future...

    Anyway, this caught my attention because we had lots of objects that used unmanaged resources and they were not being freed, causing some memory leaks. The Dispose method was correctly implemented on these objects but the only thing is that it wasn't being called at all!

    So my suggestion is that you always use try-catch-finally blocks or using blocks when dealing with disposable objects, specially when they use unmanaged resources. Make sure that you always call the Dispose method.

    Simple example of a Foo class that uses some unmanaged resources inside of an using block, assuming that the Dispose method effectively frees any resources that the object uses:

    using(var disposableFoo = new Foo())
    // Use your disposable foo



    Catheter Research Inc. (CRI) specializes in catheters and tubing, and has expanded as a developer and manufacturer of medical devices. Our goal is to provide the most cost-effective product development combined with quality OEM medical device manufacturing. ISO 13485:2003.

    With complete solutions for design, development, and manufacturing processes within the medical devices industry, CRI is a leading medical product developer and manufacturer of medical devices.  CRI provides its customers with unbeatable service, excellent quality control and regulatory compliance. Located in Indianapolis, Indiana, CRI is a top Midwest medical device manufacturer and employs 100+ people. In 2008, CRI began the process to become an employee-owned business with a 30% ESOP acquisition. In December 2010, CRI became 100% employee owned company.

    Customer Focus
    CRI has a dedicated staff focused on being the internal advocates for all of our customers to ensure a high level of satisfaction. The customer service staff follows up on all customer requests for timely action and responses. All customer feedback and questions are entered into a tracking database within hours of receipt. The system includes a follow up loop and closure after the feedback is addressed. The feedback is categorized and trended for improvements and preventive measures to be put in place if needed. CRI has an annual goal of 98% on time delivery, and has met this goal consistently.

    Project Management

    CRI has an excellent track record with project management. Each new customer is assigned a dedicated project manager, to ensure effective and timely communication. This includes operating to a plan and schedule, with reporting on deliverables and budget attainment. Project Management is used for new design, design changes and manufacturing transfer programs.

    • Device Review
    • Document Review
    • Manufacturing Transfer
    • Inventory Transfer
    • Inventory Control
    • Project Cost Estimates
    • Budget & Delivery Tracking

    Quality Tools and Regulatory Excellence

    CRI has developed and implemented a state of the art Quality Management System, combining both simplicity and regulatory compliance. This system includes a Quality Manual consisting of only 3 pages, which is the road map for all of our employees to follow, to stay on track within the system. You will find this roadmap hanging in all areas, as a quick reference to procedural guidance. The document numbering system is designed to allow for quick retrieval and reference to quality procedures, manufacturing and inspection procedures, work instructions and forms. All new hires at all levels receive FDA QSR (GMP) and ISO13485:2003 training within their first week, ensuring critical requirements are understood. This training is repeated quarterly to re-emphasize critical objectives.
    • Fully integrated ERP system
    • Risk management
    • Fully compliant calibration and preventive maintenance system
      • Includes all fixtures and tooling
      • Equipment
      • Gages
      • Scales
      • Dispensing apparatus
    • Six Sigma and lean methodologies
    • Statistical sampling techniques - AQL, C=0, etc.
    • Process capability measurement - Cpk, Ppk, etc.
    • Process validations (IQ/OQ/PQ)
    • Sterilization Validations (ETO / Gamma)
    • Cost containment
    • Design control & documentation
    • Process yield / defect analysis
    • Process control (SPC)
    • Project Management
    • Formal corrective / preventive action
    • Material traceability systems
    • Precision measuring gages
      • Microscopes
      • Micrometers (digital / laser)
      • Pin gages, block gages
      • Calipers
      • Profile projector
      • Instron tensile and compression tester
      • Tubing burst test systems - high pressure
      • Pouch burst testers
      • Leak testing equipment
      • Other various precision gages
    Engineering and Design

    CRI’s engineering department offers an extensive and diverse background in all phases of engineering design and development.  We specialize in medical device disposables, from concept stage through final Medical Packaging and distribution, with 80% of our business being contract manufacturing of Medical Disposables and other devices. We focus on design for manufacturability, with emphasis on creating repeatable, controlled processes and high functioning devices for our customers.  Our internal areas of expertise include:

    • Ultrasonic welding
    • RF welding
    • Plasma treatment
    • Pad printing
    • Heat forming
    • Balloon bonding
    • Insert molding
    • UV / CA & solvent bonding techniques
    • Swaging
    • Medical Packaging
    • Sterilization validations
    • Tooling for high volume throughput
    Supply Chain Management

    CRI's supply chain management is designed to manage and control the most difficult piece for anyone's business. Controlling quality, delivery and responsiveness at the supplier level is not only critical, but is becoming the primary focus for all regulatory bodies, including FDA and ISO13485:2003. Our innovative process provides for excellence to meet not only the regulatory requirements, but to ensure customer's needs are met consistently. This includes a comprehensive feedback system for suppliers and partnering with suppliers for combined excellence and rewards.
    • Focus on economic order quantities based on price, delivery and storage costs.
    • Minimal obsolescence with excellent communication to customers.
    • Change management agreements including multiple department approvals at critical suppliers.
    • Utilizing MRP system for ensuring on time deliveries to meet customers due dates.
    Fulfilment and Distribution 

    • Negotiated tariffs with multiple freight companies
    • Goal is 100% fill rate with 98% on time delivery
    • Annual re-negotiation process with freight companies to keep costs down
    • 99.9% accuracy in shipping and customer documentation
    • 99.9% damage free shipments 
    CRI has implemented an extrusion and tubing line for flexible PVC, single lumen, medical Tubing; with a focus on quality and short lead-times.
    CRI is committed to the highest quality medical tubing and strong customer service.  We have invested in state-of-the-art extrusion and tubing manufacturing equipment to insure a “robust” extrusion process and we have a highly skilled and dedicated extrusion team.
    Let CRI assist you with the production of plastic tubing and extrusion that will meet your exact requirements and exceed your expectations.
    Our capabilities include:

    • Quality System compliance to: FDA QSR 21 CFR Part 820 and ISO 13485, 2003
    • Flexible Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) Extrusion
    • Medical Tubing 
    • Gas Sampling Lines
    • High Volume Extrusion
    • Diameter Ranges: .040 ID and .750 OD
    • Installation Qualifications (IQ)
    • Operational Qualifications (OQ)
    • Performance Qualifications (PQ)
    • Reeled (coil) Tubing
    • Cut-to-Length
    • Precision Tolerances
    • Short Lead-times
    • Closed-looped Measurement System
    • In-process & Final Inspection
    • Statistical Process Control (SPC)
     Manufacturing and Transfers

    CRI takes a team approach to transferring manufacturing lines into our facility. We assign a dedicated Program Manager at the start, to ensure all deliverables are documented and tracked. We focus on improving process and product during the transfer, resulting in lower costs and improved quality. CRI also minimizes the effort for our customers, making transfers seamless and smooth.
    • Class 8 cleanroom facility
      • 1920 square feet
      • ISO certified
    • Controlled environment
      • all production working areas
    • Lean manufacturing
      • maximizing customer value while minimizing waste
      • resulting in lower and controlled costs
        • Evaluate all aspects of process
        • Eliminate non-value added steps
        • Minimize process steps
        • Less human efforts, less space, less cue times, less waste, less inventory
        • Single piece flow
        • Reduces errors and improves visualization of process
        • Reduces errors and improves visualization of process
    • Visual manufacturing
      • Organized work centers and processes
      • Indicators at all stages of process for status
    • Fully integrated MRP system
      • Utilizing M2M software for all aspects of business
      • Bar coding
      • Automated manufacturing processes and cost analysis by product
    • Document Control
      • Our document control process includes all regulatory requirements for this critical area of our Quality Management System. This includes lock out of documents pending changes, to ensure implementations are compliant and that errors are prevented. The final stage of document control includes training and effectiveness measurement.
        • Fully implemented change control system for all documents for a fully compliant Quality Management System
        • Device Master Records (DMR)
        • Device History Records (DHR) for all lots manufactured
        • Document control process tracked for quick change turn around
        • Standards library always kept up-to-date

              Do You Suffer From “LBL”? #sponsored        

    Disclosure:  This article is sponsored by Poise in exchange for sharing my honest opinion and thoughts. First off sorry if this is too much information, but I admit to suffering from LBL.  What is “LBL” you may be thinking?  Light Bladder Leakage.  Yes after birthing three children I have some issues down there.  I think […]

    The post Do You Suffer From “LBL”? #sponsored appeared first on Mom and More.

              Media finds hot new angle for sounding global warming alarm in Trump era        
    The "leak" that wasn't very leaky
              Comment on Roundhouse Project: Library/Lounge, Part 1! by Beret Hagen        
    Out of the bleak and into the chic!! Wow! I love the blast of colors and the "heft", as you put it, of the industrial pieces. Larknest again proves that money and volume aren't needed to completely transform a room. Just vision...
              New Washington Budget Proposes Cuts to State Health Care        

    In a new proposal that will slash the state budget by $1.65 billion, Washington Governor Chris Gregoire announces that, because finances are so bleak, severe cuts will have to be made in spending.

    Latest News: 
    Insurance and Money: 

              Straftäter orientieren sich an Böll-Stiftung, "Inquisition" bei Google – News vom 10. August 2017        
    1. Der FAZ-Journalist "Don Alphonso" (Rainer Meyer) berichtet auf Twitter mehrere interessante Dinge.

    Zunächst mal ist der Wikipedia-Artikel über ihn in einem sogenannten "Edit War" festgefahren. Ich kenne das von dem Wikipedia-Artikel über mich: Das radikalfeministische Lager möchte seine Gegner so schlecht darstellen wie möglich, andere Wikpedianer versuchen, den Neutral Point of View zu schützen. In der Regel setzen sich bei so etwas die Feministinnen durch, weil sie so hartnäckig und so widerwärtig auftreten, dass anderen Leuten irgendwann schlicht die Lust vergeht, sich mit solchen Leuten noch länger abzugeben. Also lässt man sie sich austoben. Von Wikimedia dürften die Ideologen ohnehin Rückendeckung genießen; Einhalt geboten wurde ihnen von Wikimedia auch, als es gegen mich ging, nie. Erwartungsgemäß enthält Meyer auf eine offizielle Presseanfrage zu diesem Treiben auch keine Antwort. Angesichts dieses moralischen Verfalls der Wikipedia tweetet er: "Ganz langsam fange ich an zu verstehen, was WikiMANNia antreibt."

    Des weiteren belegt Meyer, dass sich auch Autonome bei ihren Straftaten auf Feindbilder beziehen, die von der Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung verbreitet werden – hier auf die berüchtigte Schrift Hinrich Rosenbrocks, in der dargelegt wird, wie man die Männerrechtsbewegung am besten bekämpfen könne. Meyers Kommentar: "Sage also keiner, man habe nichts gewusst."

    Und schließlich berichtet Rainer Meyer auf Twitter: "Heinrich Alpin hat aber auch schon 2015 geholfen, Arne Hoffmann zu denunzieren. So wichtig war er dem."

    Spannende Anschlussfrage: Wer steckt hinter "Heinrich Alpin"? Da ich ein recht gutmütiges Kerlchen bin, ist die Zahl der Antimaskulisten außer Andreas Kemper, die mich persönlich auf dem Kieker haben, überschaubar. Martin Rosowski, Vorsitzender des Bundesforums Männer, verleumdet mich in seinen Mails zwar schon mal als "Frauenfeind", dürfte aber Besseres zu tun haben, als bei Schwarzen Listen mitzumischen. Auch Thomas Gesterkamp müsste eigentlich anderweitig ausgelastet sein. Jörg Rupp hat sich lautstark von den Grünen verabschiedet, weil sie ihm viel zu rechts waren; er macht jetzt sein eigenes Ding. Bleibt eigentlich nur Hinrich Rosenbrock, der seit Jahren in der Versenkung verschwunden ist.

    Diese Logik setzt natürlich die Annahme voraus, dass es sich bei "Heinrich Alpin" um jemanden handelt, den ich namentlich kenne. Es kann aber natürlich auch jemand Unbekanntes sein, den zum Beispiel Andreas Kemper gegen mich aufgehetzt hat. Auf Kempers Facebookseite etwa zieht sein Klüngel über "Elendsgestalten wie Arne Hoffmann" her. Hass steckt an. Genau dieser Reproduktion von Hass hätte ja der grüne Pranger gedient. Wie gesagt: Auch Straftäter orientieren sich an Produkten aus dem Hause Böll.

    2. Das Bundesforum Männer klagt über Reaktionen, nachdem man sich dort gegen die Jungenbeschneidung positioniert hatte:

    In einzelnen Reaktionen auf das Positionspapier wird diesem allerdings vorgeworfen, es handle sich dabei "um ein massiv ausgrenzendes Papier, das darauf zielt, jüdisches und muslimisches Leben in Deutschland unmöglich zu machen." Gegen diesen Vorwurf verwahrt sich das Bundesforum Männer und weist ihn entschieden zurück!

    Uuuh, karma is a bitch! Aus eigener Erfahrung weiß ich: Abstreiten hat in solchen Fällen noch nie geholfen. Immerhin seht ihr jetzt vielleicht, wie man sich fühlt, wenn man in eine anrüchige Ecke gestellt wird. Aber ihr habt in euren Reihen ja Leute, die sich mit üblen Unterstellungen auskennen; vieleicht beratet ihr euch mit denen.

    3. In einem "Zeit"-Artikel setzt Alice Schwarzer ihre Scharmützel mit Genderforscherinnen fort. Der Beitrag trägt die Überschrift "Der Rufmord".

    4. Die Ruhrbarone legen eine deutsche Übersetzung von James Damores "Google Manifest" mit einigen Ergänzungen vor: "Was wirklich im Manifest steht". Dabei kommt der Autor auch über die flächendeckend verzerrende Darstellung in den deutschsprachigen Leitmedien zu sprechen:

    In den Berichten darüber liest man sehr wenig über die Inhalte des Dokuments, dafür umso mehr Empörung. Der Standard nennt das Dokument "sexistisch", während er keinen einzigen Inhalt des Dokuments zitiert, nur Einschätzungen Dritter. Die Süddeutsche fasst in einem Artikel völlig falsch und grotesk verzerrt die Inhalte so zusammen, dass der Autor als absolutes Monster dasteht. Bei t3n titelt man "Diversität — nein Danke". Wenig überraschend stellt VICE’s Motherboard die Stimmen in den Vordergrund, die sich über den Sexismus des Autors aufregten und Tweets mit ihrer Interpretation des Dokuments und sehr vielen wütenden Emoji schrieben. Auch die deutsche Twittersphäre synchronisiert sich mit dem Medientenor.

    Einer meiner Leser, der Einblick in die deutschen Presseagenturen hat, ließ mir zu meinem letzten Blogbeitrag, in dem ich dasselbe Problem angesprochen habe, wesentliche Informationen zukommen. Ihnen zufolge waren die meisten Medien schlicht einem Kurztext der Deutschen Presse-Agentur gefolgt, der die Überschrift "Google feuert Mitarbeiter nach sexistischem 'Manifest'" getragen hatte. Später am Tag (um 16.12 Uhr) schickte die dpa eine "Berichtigung" mit veränderter Überschrift "Google feuert Mitarbeiter nach umstrittenem 'Manifest' gegen Frauen" heraus. Diese neue Meldung war ein wenig differenzierter und erwähnt etwa, dass James Damore von Teilen der Google-Belegschaft auch Zuspruch erhalten hatte.

    Mein Leser schreibt mir hierzu:

    Mir ist nicht bekannt, welche internen Überlegungen zur Änderung der Überschrift führten. Meistens geht so etwas zurück auf Kritik von Kunden oder von anderen Redakteuren, denen das schief oder fragwürdig erscheint. Der Kollege aus dem Ressort Netzwelt, der diesen Text geschrieben hat, ist hochgeschätzt und sehr kundig. Sein Schwerpunkt sind Tech-Themen, Computer, Software, Telekommunikation etc.

    Die neue Überschrift mit dem Dreh "gegen Frauen" ist immer noch problematisch. Das eigentliche Problem aber, nicht nur bei Themen mit Bezug zur Geschlechterdebatte, liegt darin, dass die Medien mit ihren bis zur Magersüchtigkeit abgespeckten Redaktionen nur noch wenige Themen selbst bearbeiten und sich ansonsten auf die Nachrichtenagenturen verlassen. Und der Google-Fall ist ein typisches Thema aus der zweiten Reihe, wo nur noch wenige gut ausgestattete Redaktionen selbst einen Mitarbeiter einsetzen. Und so steht dann in allen Zeitungen das Gleiche - einschließlich der Überschrift.

    Dabei bleibt der Kontrast zwischen deutschen und englischsprachigen Medien scharf. Bei der "Süddeutschen Zeitung" etwa greift Nina Bovensiepen ganz tief in die Klischeekiste:

    Das antifeministische Manifest des Google-Mitarbeiters ist rückständig und dumm. Zustimmung bekommt er nur deshalb, weil er die Ängste vieler weißer Männer vor den Veränderungen im Arbeitsumfeld ausspricht.

    Deutschlandfunk Kultur hat einen Sinologen (Chinakundler), Tilman Spengler, zu James Damore befragt, wobei Spenglers Einschätzung die Überschrift des Artikels wurde: "Ich hätte den Kerl schon aus Gründen der Dummheit gefeuert".

    Spiegel-Online sprach auch gestern noch von einem "sexistischen Schreiben". Selbstverständlich wurde die Kommentarfunktion unter dem Artikel abgestellt.

    Christian Schmidt hat heute Morgen etwas genauer betrachtet, mit welchen Methoden deutsche Leitmedien den Inhalt von James Damores Memo verzerrt wiedergeben, und veranschaulicht das anhand der "Süddeutschen Zeitung". Unter anderem wurde in der allgemeinen Berichterstattung eine Grafik in Damores Memo verschwiegen, die auf einen Blick deutlich gemacht hätte, was seine tatsächliche Position ist. Christian Schmidt kommentiert:

    Ich finde es unglaublich, dass eine solche Grafik, die ganz deutlich macht, dass [Damore] nicht von absoluten Unterschieden ausgeht, herausgenommen worden ist. Natürlich: Mit dieser Grafik wäre ein Entstellen seiner Meinung noch schwieriger gewesen. Viel Text wird vielleicht nicht gelesen, aber eine solche Grafik fällt sofort ins Auge.

    Es ist erschreckend, wie verzerrt die Darstellung in den Medien ist. Die meisten der Journalisten scheinen nur Artikel über das Manifest gelesen zu haben. Sie lesen noch nicht einmal eine leicht zugängliche Primärquelle oder recherchieren etwas, warum jemand so etwas schreiben könnte und ob das in der Wissenschaft vertreten wird.

    In englischsprachigen Beiträgen ist das Niveau deutlich höher. Ein kenntnisloses Aufgeplustere, um sich als den großen Antisexisten zu inszenieren, gibt es dort in zahlreichen Beiträgen nicht.

    Daily Signal etwa berichtet, dass Frauen in Führungspositionen Google wegen des Rauswurfs Intoleranz vorwerfen.

    In der kanadischen Globe and Mail stellt die Neurowissenschaftlerin Debra Soh klar: "No, the Google manifesto isn’t sexist or anti-diversity. It’s science".

    (Vermutlich hätte der Chinakundler Tilman Spengler die Neurowissenschaftlerin Debra Soh auch "aus Gründen der Dummheit gefeuert", wenn sie über ihr Fachgebiet und damit den Inhalt dieses Manifestes spricht. Warum müssen deutsche Intellektuelle eigentlich immer wieder bei Themen, bei denen sie sich überhaupt nicht auskennen, Andersdenkende großspurig zu Idioten erklären, nur um billigen Applaus beim politisch korrekten Publikum zu ernten?)

    In der auflagenstarken Zeitschrift USA Today erläutert die liberale Feministin Cathy Young, warum James Damore einen legitimen Standpunkt vertritt:

    The Google memo mostly avoids such overgeneralizations. It repeatedly acknowledges that sex differences are a matter of tendencies, not absolutes, and do not predict anything about any specific person. Far from embracing traditional sex roles, it suggests that working to change inflexible male roles and expectations and free more men to choose lower-paying, lower-status occupations could help narrow the gender gap in the tech sector. Damore urges Google to "treat people as individuals, not as just another member of their group."

    (...) Some of the memo's suggestions — for instance, to uncouple diversity initiatives from empathy and moralism — are excellent and validated by the reactions to the memo itself. One Twitter user wrote that Damore was "committing violence" by writing it, and that "people feared for their safety" as a result.

    Could the memo contribute to negative stereotypes of women in tech workplaces? Perhaps. But the overreaction, including Damore’s firing, is likely to do far more harm. It will make anyone who questions the "diversity" party line — who believes, for instance, that unequal numbers may not automatically prove discrimination — feel that he or she is in a hostile environment. And it will lend credence to complaints in the modern workplace that men are the beleaguered sex.

    Die Washington Post merkt an:

    The tech site Mashable assailed anyone who defended Damore as being part of the "alt-right." The problem, chiefly, is that many critics claimed Damore said things he did not and painted the things he did say in the worst possible light.

    It is, for example, true that Damore said women suffered from "neuroticism" more than men, but he made clear he was using the psychological, scientific terminology for suffering higher anxiety and having a lower stress tolerance in job and life situations. He did not mean it as a pejoratively as the left painted it. In fact, he did not pull his statements out of thin air or make them up. Damore based his statements on sociological and psychological studies that are accepted by the scientific community, of which he is a part.

    Macht dieser Artikel jetzt die "Washington Post" auch zu einem Teil der "neuen Rechten"?

    Der National Review wirft Google "Inquisition" vor:

    [Damore] argued — and Google quickly confirmed — that nonconforming political and social ideas are ruthlessly suppressed and punished within the firm, that those holding conservative (or simply non-left) views are subjected to a hostile work environment, and that the predominance of conforming views creates a problem of confirmation bias.

    (...) Google is attempting, in its Orwellian way, to redefine "diversity" as "homogeneity," to redefine the respect for genuine human differences as the demand for absolute conformity, to redefine openness as closure and tolerance as prohibition. Its bias problems are not limited to its personnel practices: Conservative outlets and publications are routinely excluded or marginalized by services such as YouTube and Google News, just as conservative voices frequently are silenced on Twitter and Facebook.

    Wenn ein Konzern, der international so mächtig ist wie Google, das politische Denken beeinflussen möchte, ist das ein brisantes Thema – außer für die deutschen Medien. Die sehen nur das Problem "zu viele weiße Männer".

    "Breitbart" läßt einen ehemaligen Google-Mitarbeiter zu Wort kommen, der behauptet, Google würde sogar Suchergebnisse politisch manipulieren. Sollte man diese Behauptung komplett ignorieren, weil die Quelle "Breitbart" ist? Ist man ein Nazi, wenn man eine "Breitbart"-Meldung aufgreift?

    Für die "New York Times" jedenfalls, rechtsradikaler Tendenzen eher unverdächtig, stellt "Breitbart" eine relevante, verlinkenswerte Quelle dar. Die Zeitung berichtet:

    Few Google employees came out publicly in defense of [James Damore], but some surreptitiously showed their support by leaking screenshots from internal Google posts of employees saying they planned to create blacklists of people who did not support the company’s diversity efforts. The screenshots appeared on Breitbart News, which has championed Mr. Damore’s memo.

    "Despite what the public response seems to have been, I’ve gotten many personal messages from fellow Googlers expressing their gratitude for bringing up those very important issues which they agree with but would never have the courage to say or defend because of our shaming culture and the possibility of getting fired," Mr. Damore wrote in an addendum to his original memo. "This needs to change."

    Auszüge eines Interviews des Totalitarismus-Kritikers Professor Jordan Peterson mit James Damore stehen hier online.

    Amerikanische Leitmedien im Vergleich mit deutschen Leitmedien: Bei diesem Thema sind sie wie Tag und Nacht. In den USA wird die Debatte längst differenziert geführt. Hierzulande ist Damore eben ein Idiot, über den man Kaffee gießen sollte, und der Leser solcher Beiträge hat die Klappe zu halten. Was "Sexismus" ist, bestimmt die neue Priesterschaft zwischen Spiegel-Online und Süddeutscher Zeitung.

    5. Nach einem Urteil des Europäischen Gerichtshofs dürfen homosexuelle Männer jetzt Blut spenden – nach einem Jahr Enthaltsamkeit.

    Der Deutschen Aidshilfe geht die neue Richtlinie nicht weit genug. "Eine HIV-Infektion kann man heute sechs Wochen nach dem letzten Risiko sicher ausschließen", sagte Vorstandsmitglied Björn Beck. Eine Frist von einem Jahr schließe hingegen die meisten schwulen und bisexuellen Männer weiterhin unnötig von der Blutspende aus.

    Wie man das Jahr Enthaltsamkeit überprüfen möchte, bleibt ohnehin offen.

    6. Auf "Broadly" beklagt sich die Feministin Yasmina Banaszczuk über Sexismus gegen Frauen auf Demonstrationen. Sie erwähnt, dass entgegen des Klischees in den sogenannten "Schwarzen Blocks" auch viele Frauen mitmarschieren und fühlt sich dadurch diskriminiert, dass sich Polizeigewalt in erster Linie gegen Männer richtet:

    Kleinere Frauen würden zuerst aus der Gruppe gezogen, um die Reihen zu destabilisieren. Danach werde noch härter gegen die verbliebenen Demonstranten vorgegangen. (...) Katja sagt, dass die Polizei Frauen eher als gesprächsbereit und weniger bedrohlich wahrnehme. "Das geht so weit, dass eine Frau bei einer Blockade mal recht offensiv im Weg war und sie dann den Typen neben ihr mitnehmen wollten. Der hatte sich keinen Zentimeter bewegt, war aber halt groß und vergleichsweise laut." Auch Anna hat ähnliche Erfahrungen gemacht: "Bei Straßenblockaden wurde ich durchgelassen, weil ich eine Frau bin. 'Geh mal durch, Kleine. Hier wird's gleich hässlich.'" Was auf den ersten Blick wie eine angenehme Sonderbehandlung klingt, ist letztlich einfach nur Diskriminierung. (...) Am Ende bleibt das Ohnmachtsgefühl, das viele Frauen auch aus ihren Sexismuserfahrungen im Alltag kennen.

    7. In einem australischen Café müssen Männer 18 Prozenz mehr zahlen als Frauen – "und das hat gute Gründe" meint Tasnim Rödder im feministisch geprägten Magazin ze.tt. Denn Männer verdienten im Durchschnitt deutlich mehr als Frauen. Bei einer Umfrage unter dem Artikel entscheidet sich die Mehrzahl der Leser jedoch für folgende Antwortmöglichkeit: "Ich unterstütze die Hausordnung nicht, weil Männer sowieso öfter an die Kasse gebeten werden."

    8. Das ebenfalls feministisch geprägte Magazin "Salon" titelt: Dang — looks like those women-only “Wonder Woman” screenings were illegal. Untertitel: "Turns out that when men whined about being banned from the screenings, they had a legal point." Wer hätte das gedacht? Wobei für "Salon" weiterhin gilt: Wenn Männer gegen Diskriminierung protestieren, dann wird das Wort "whine" verwendet – zu deutsch: heulen, quengeln, winseln, jammern. Echte Kerle sind das nicht. So transportieren auch Feministinnen uralte Geschlechterklischees.

    9. Das linksliberale Magazin "The Atlantic" beleuchtet, wie Männer zur neuen Minderheit an Universitäten geworden sind. An manchen Hochschulen machen sie inzwischen nur noch ein Sechstel der Studentenschaft aus.

    10. Ein Video der Zeichentrickreihe "Die Simpsons" verarscht feministische Social Justice Warriors.

    11. Und noch einmal die Post. In meinem letzten Genderama-Beitrag hatte ich einen FAZ-Artikel über ein Urteil des Düsseldorfer Verwaltungsgerichts zitiert. Dazu schreibt mir ein Leser:

    "'Die Frauenförderung hat zwar Verfassungsrang, doch sie steht nicht über allem anderen', sagte [Richter] Müller in der mündlichen Verhandlung. Vielmehr gelte es, die beiden widerstreitenden Interessen von Verfassungsrang – die Gleichberechtigung und das Prinzip der Bestenauslese – miteinander in Einklang zu bringen. Durch den Erlass des Ministeriums würden jedoch schlechtere Frauen besseren männlichen Bewerbern vorgezogen."

    Wenn die FAZ den Richter hier richtig zitiert, dann finde ich bedenklich, dass er behauptet, die Frauenförderung habe Verfassungsrang. Im Grundgesetz ist von Frauenförderung nirgends die Rede, vielmehr von der im nächsten Satz genannten Gleichberechtigung. Bezeichnend, dass die inzwischen mit Frauenförderung einfach gleichgesetzt wird. Eine im Wortsinn verstandene GleichBERECHTIGUNG wiederum steht keineswegs im Widerstreit zum Prinzip der Bestenauslese, sondern beide ergeben sich auseinander: Gleichberechtigung herrscht, wenn der Zugang zu öffentlichen Ämtern nur nach Eignung vergeben wird, und es kann nur dann von einer Bestenauslese gesprochen werden, wenn alle die Chance haben, ihre Eignung zu beweisen. Hier wird wie so oft das Wort GleichBERECHTIGUNG im Sinne von GleichSTELLUNG verwendet und der letzteren damit durch die Hintertür Verfassungsrang verliehen. Bedenklich, wie gesagt, obwohl das Urteil insgesamt erfreulich sein mag.

    12. Da ich nicht von jedem von euch/Ihnen die Mailadresse für ein persönliches Dankeschön habe, auf diese Weise: Ganz herzlichen Dank für die Spenden der letzten Tage! Ich freue mich sehr darüber. Einige von euch sind offenbar gerade durch die aktuellen Genderama-Beiträge dazu motiviert worden. Ein Leser aus Österreich begründet seinen Dauerauftrag auch explizit mit "der Berichterstattung über den Vorfall bei Google":

    Ich hoffe, daß ich damit einen Beitrag leisten kann, damit Sie diese für mich sehr wichtige Arbeit, die ein Gegengewicht zur sehr einseitigen Berichterstattung in den sogenannten Qualitätsmedien darstellt, auch weiter fortsetzen können.

              Google attackiert die Meinungsfreiheit, deutsche Medien üben den Gleichschritt – News zum 9. August 2017        
    1. Der "Economist" berichtet über die Entlassung James Damores bei Google, nachdem Damore in einem Memo Kritik an seinem Arbeitgeber geäußert hatte:

    "This isn’t a question of legality or policy. This is a question of virtue-signalling," says the boss of a prominent tech startup, reflecting the view of many in the Valley.

    Einer meiner Leser schreibt mir zu diesem Fall:

    Der Google-Mitarbeiter der sich kritisch zur Diversity-Politik seines Arbeitgebers äußerte, hat es soeben in die Nachrichten geschafft (N24, 8.8.17, ca. 11:30 Uhr):

    Der Bericht hatte sinngemäß den Tenor, dass ein Google-Mitarbeiter gefeuert worden sei, weil er Frauen (aufgrund ihrer Biologie) generell ungeeignet für technische Berufe halte. Was für eine krasse Verkürzung und Falschdarstellung! Das macht mich echt fassungslos. Nicht mal eine Nachrichtensendung erfüllt noch meine Mindeststandards für eine halbwegs ehrliche Berichterstattung. Was mich vor allem ärgert ist, dass nach einer solch falschen Berichterstattung niemand, nicht einmal pure, nackte Opportunisten, eine Lehre aus der Geschichte ziehen könn(t)en. Selbst wenn sie wollten.

    Ein normaler Zuschauer wird sich denken, dass der Mensch wohl zu Recht entlassen wurde. Denn: Jemanden allein aufgrund seines Geschlechts im Vorfeld für ungeeignet zu erklären, wäre zweifelsohne und unbestritten sexistisch. Welcher heute noch ernst zu nehmende Mensch würde das Gegenteil behaupten? Dieselben Leute aber, die nach dieser Nachrichtenmeldung dann zur Tagesordnung übergehen, gucken später dann vermutlich sehr verduzt, wenn sie ihren Job verlieren, weil sie in irgendeinem Kontext die Biologie als einen möglichen Faktor für eine unterschiedliche Gewichtung bei der Berufswahl als Argument anführen.

    Ich hoffe inständig, dass sich die Entscheidung, Damore zu feuern, noch als Rohrkrepierer erweisen wird.

    Bemerkenswert ist, dass die deutschsprachigen Leitmedien fast durchgehend schon in ihren Schlagzeilen die feministische Perspektive als Tatsache ausgeben. Nur einige Beispiele von mehreren Dutzend Artikeln: "Google entlässt Mitarbeiter wegen sexistischem Text" titelt die "Zeit", "Google feuert Mitarbeiter wegen sexistischen Manifests" Österreichs "Presse", von einem "sexistischen Pamphlet" spricht Spiegel-Online, und "Google feuert Mitarbeiter nach sexistischem Manifest" titelt die "Frankfurter Allgemeine". Sogar der Wortlaut dieser Schlagzeilen ist weitgehend derselbe.

    Ich weiß es nicht, warum in unseren Medien immer noch eine derart unstillbare Sehnsucht danach herrscht, im Gleichschritt zu marschieren. Die angelsächsischen Medien haben allen Grund, sich bis heute über den "German goosestep" lustig zu machen. Ich habe KEINEN deutschsprachigen Artikel gefunden, in dem Google dafür kritisiert wurde, eine bestimmte Ideologie durchzusetzen, indem der Konzern unbotmäßige Untergebene schlicht entfernte. Das ist im angelsächsischen Sprachraum anders. Sicher, auch dort überschlagen sich die Leitmedien mit Falschdarstellungen. Im Gegensatz zu Deutschland geben dort aber zahlreiche Magazine Widerworte und verteidigen in ihren Artikeln die Meinungsfreiheit.

    Ein paar Beispiele. Das Magazin Quilette schreibt über James Damores Essay:

    This essay may not get everything 100% right, but it is certainly not a rant. And it stands in sharp contrast to most of the comments, which are little more than snarky modern slurs. The arrogance of most of the comments reflects exactly the type of smug self-appointed superiority that has led to widespread resentment of the left among reasonable people. To the extent that such views correspond to those at Google, they vindicate the essayist’s claims about the authoritarian and repressive atmosphere there. Even the response by Google’s new VP in charge of diversity simply ignores all of the author’s arguments, and vacuously affirms Google’s commitment to diversity. The essay is vastly more thoughtful, linked to the science, and well-reasoned than nearly all of the comments. If I had one recommendation, it would be this: That, before commenting on these issues, Google executives read two books: John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty and Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind."

    Das sind auch zwei Bücher, die man in deutschen Redaktionsstuben großflächig verteilen sollte.

    Das linksliberale Magazin "The Atlantic" stellt klar, dass Damores Manifest keineswegs "anti-diversity" sei:

    Its author, who was later fired, began, "I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don’t endorse using stereotypes. When addressing the gap in representation in the population, we need to look at population level differences in distributions. If we can’t have an honest discussion about this, then we can never truly solve the problem."

    The balance of his memo argues that he is not against pursuing greater gender diversity at Google; he says it is against the current means Google is using to pursue that end and the way the company conceives of tradeoffs between the good of diversity and other goods.

    (...) The author specifically objects to using what his memo calls discriminatory means to achieve greater gender diversity, then adds that he has concrete suggestions for changes at Google that would “increase women’s representation in tech and without resorting to discrimination.” In his telling, this could be achieved by making software engineering “more people-oriented with pair programming and more collaboration” and changes that would “allow those exhibiting cooperative behavior to thrive,” as well as offering more opportunities for employees to work part time.

    Whether one regards those suggestions as brilliant, rooted in pernicious gender stereotypes, or anywhere in between, they are clearly and explicitly suggestions to increase diversity in a manner the author regards as having a stronger chance of actually working than some of the tactics that he is critiquing.

    Was davon kommt bei den selbsterklärten Bannerträgern des deutschen Qualitätsjournalismus an? "Sexistisches Manifest".

    Das Magazin Quartz kommentiert:

    By getting fired, Damore proved his own point — that many of Silicon Valley’s leaders remain unwilling to engage with socio-political views different from their own.

    Der "National Review" titelt "Lena Dunham and Google Demonstrate Why Our Free Speech Culture Is Slipping Away" und berichtet wie folgt:

    An anonymous employee penned a multi-page memo addressing why there are fewer women than men in key fields in the tech industry. In the memo, he noted that Google values gender and racial diversity but has created an "ideological echo chamber where some ideas are too sacred to be honestly discussed." This means that Google responds to gender imbalances with "extreme and authoritarian" measures. At the extreme, it views all gender disparities as "due to oppression." Its authoritarian response is to "discriminate to correct this oppression." The writer than explores at length cultural and biological differences between men and women and then proposes some measures to increase female representation in the field without resorting to discrimination.

    (...) The primary victims of this new culture of groupthink are social conservatives and other dissenters from identity politics. In field after field and company after company, conservatives understand that the price of their employment is silence. Double standards abound, and companies intentionally try to keep work environments "safe" from disagreement. Radical sexual and racial politics are given free rein. Disagree — and lose your job. It takes a person of rare constitution and moral courage to speak up. And that’s precisely how the far Left likes it.

    In einem weiteren Artikel stellt auch der "National Review" klar, dass es sich NICHT um einen frauenfeindlichen Text handelte:

    The author (...) states repeatedly that he believes in diversity, and there’s no reason to doubt his self-description as a classical liberal. His exclamation-point-free memo is hardly a rant. He expresses the hope that "open and honest discussion with those who disagree can highlight our blind spots and help us grow."

    How naïve. The witless and inflamed reaction to his document instead underlines his point about "a politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence."

    It is one thing to disagree with the memo; it is another thing to believe the views therein should be forbidden. Former Google engineer Yonatan Zunger says that if it were up to him, the author would be summarily fired and escorted from the building immediately by security (you can’t take a chance with such a danger). Entrepreneur Elissa Shevinsky believes that the memo could run afoul of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act — i.e., it might be illegal. Google’s diversity officer, Danielle Brown, didn’t quite go that far. She offered a pro forma assurance that different views are welcome at Google. Nevertheless, she stipulated that the opinions of the author are "incorrect" and added, ominously, that any discussion needs to be in accord with "our Code of Conduct, policies, and anti-discrimination laws." Her case would have been much stronger if she had actually rebutted any of the author’s statements about sex differences — assuming that she could.

    A line in the memo about women being more prone to anxiety has drawn particular ire — as if the author made this up. As the publication Stanford Medicine notes, "Women are twice as likely as men to experience clinical depression in their lifetimes; likewise for post-traumatic stress disorder." An article in the journal Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews likewise says that "female-biased conditions include depression, anxiety disorder, and anorexia nervosa." This doesn’t mean that men are superior, just that they are different and more prone to other problems — among them, alcohol- and drug-dependency, schizophrenia, dyslexia, autism, Tourette syndrome, and attention-deficit disorder. It’s not bias against men, or in favor of women, to note these tendencies.

    Für die deutschen Leitmedien ist das schon längst viel zu differenziert und kompliziert. "Sexistisches Manifest" muss genügen. Es will sich ja auch keiner in irgendwelche Nesseln setzen. Wer weiß schon, wann der grüne Pranger wieder online geht.

    Der "Daily Wire" spricht von Firmenfaschismus :

    James Damore, the author of the memo, told Bloomberg he had indeed been fired on grounds of "perpetuating gender stereotypes." Which is weird, since gender stereotypes are the basis for Google’s "diversity policy," which suggests that more women must be hired in order to enrich the workplace. If men and women are identical, no such diversity policy would be necessary or praiseworthy.

    All of this proves that Damore was absolutely right that Google has a blindered view of politics that hinders their capacity to engage in business. Google has been accused in the past of biasing search results toward the Left, and they’ve long been accused of promoting political leftism as opposed to a free and open diversity of thought.

    CNBC berichtet in einem Artikel darüber, warum die Entlassung James Damores illegal sein könnte, folgendes:

    In a reply to the initial outcry over his memo, the engineer added to his memo: "Despite what the public response seems to have been, I've gotten many personal messages from fellow Googlers expressing their gratitude for bringing up these very important issues which they agree with but would never have the courage to say or defend because of our shaming culture and the possibility of being fired." The law protects that kind of "concerted activity."

    Second, the engineer's memo largely is a statement of his political views as they apply to workplace policies. The memo is styled as a lament to "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber." California law prohibits employers from threatening to fire employees to get them to adopt or refrain from adopting a particular political course of action.

    (...) Third, the engineer complained in parts of his memo about company policies that he believes violate employment discrimination laws. Those policies include support programs limited by race or gender and promotional and hiring scoring policies that consider race and gender. It is unlawful for an employer to discipline an employee for challenging conduct that the employee reasonably believed to be discriminatory, even when a court later determines the conduct was not actually prohibited by the discrimination laws. In other words, the engineer doesn't have to be right that some of Google's diversity initiatives are unlawful, only that he reasonably believes that they are.

    Diskriminierung von Männern? In den meisten deutschen Leitmedien selbst heute noch nicht der Rede wert.

    Der "Federalist" sieht James Damores als Opfer eines politisch korrekten Mobs und kommentiert:

    One of the problems with this kerfuffle was that the vast majority of the histrionic reactions on social media and elsewhere have misrepresented not only what the memo says but also its purpose. The memo was neither a screed nor anti-diversity. It was the kind of unvarnished, dispassionate, and meticulous case that I imagine many engineers offer. It’s difficult to believe anyone who read through it with an open mind could interpret the author’s notions as an attempt to consolidate the patriarchy or to make life less diverse in his field.

    The other, bigger problem is that the reaction to it demonstrates that the author is completely right about the lack of ideological diversity and its consequences.

    The unnamed engineer’s contentions about the bias at Google is a near-perfect summation of the dangers manifest in all close-minded institutions, including most of the news media and many universities. He points out that conflating "freedom from offense with psychological safety" shames people into silence. Further, he argues that these monocultures foster unhealthy environments where people can no longer honestly debate important topics. Finally, and most destructively, he says these bubbles then promote "extreme and authoritarian elements."

    "Breitbart", aus Sicht deutscher Leitmedien und einem befreundeten Grünen unter den Genderama-Lesern eine Website, die auf keinen Fall zitiert oder verlinkt werden darf, wenn der Verlinkende nichts als rechtsextrem beschimpft werden möchte, hat sogar eine eigene Interviewserie "Die Rebellen von Google" begonnen, in der Google-Mitarbeiter berichten, wie in diesem Konzern Hexenjagden und Intoleranz regieren. Lesen Sie NICHT, ich wiederhole, lesen Sie NICHT das soeben verlinkte Interview. Sie fangen an, plötzlich unkontrolliert "Heil Hitler!" zu schreien, sobald Sie das tun. Klatschen Sie lieber brav mit, wenn Google einen Mitarbeiter "wegen Sexismus" entlässt.

    (Hadmut Danisch hat mit der Verlinkung des "Breitbart"-Beitrags übrigens gerade dasselbe Problem, wie ich bei der Recherche zu dieser Debatte sehe. Man macht es nicht gerne, aber der leitmediale Einheitsbrei bringt einen derart zur Verzweiflung ...)

    Falls Sie in den nächsten Tagen irgendwo in den deutschen Medien einen Artikel finden, der ähnlich wie die zitierten angelsächsischen Medien aus dem Gleichschritt ausbricht und pro Meinungsfreiheit argumentiert, freue ich mich über den Link. Ich rechne nicht damit. Stattdessen bekommen wir etwa von Angela Gruber Spiegel-Online folgendes serviert:

    Es wäre wünschenswert gewesen, dass ein solches Schreiben ohne Reaktionen im Google-Intranet versandet. Einfach, weil niemand über solche Thesen diskutieren will.

    Autoritäres und freiheitliches Denken prallen hier frontal aufeinander. Und wieder einmal ist die Kluft zwischen Redaktionsmeinung und Leserkommentaren unter dem Artikel riesig. Unter vergleichbaren Artikeln sieht es nicht anders aus.

    Dezidierte Technik-Magazine ticken übrigens ähnlich, was die journalistische Gesprächsbereitschaft mit Menschen anderer Meinung betrifft. So erklärt Jessica Tomala bei "Giga":

    Ich bin zwar keine Programmiererin, sondern Redakteurin, aber würde ich mit James Damore, dem Verfasser des zehnseitigen internen Manifests bei Google, zusammenarbeiten: Ich hätte meinen morgendlichen Kaffeebecher wohl einfach über seinem Kopf ausgeleert.

    Damit hätte sie es James Damore einmal so richtig gezeigt. Von wegen, Frauen wären neurotisch. Ha!

    Ach ja: Was macht eigentlich Deutschlands Linke, wenn ein marktbeherrschender Konzern Arbeitnehmer feuert, weil diese Arbeitnehmer missliebige Ansichten äußern und Diskriminierung beklagen? Auch von dort höre ich gerade nicht sehr viel.

    Julian Assange immerhin hat James Damore inzwischen einen Job bei Wikileaks angeboten. Eingeleitet wurde dieses Angebot von einem klaren Statement Assanges: "Censorship is for losers".

    2. Leider ist der deutsche Hang zum Gleichschritt nicht einmal das einzige gravierende Problem in unseren Medien. Um ein weiteres Problem zu beleuchten, legen Hanna Herbst und Nora Kolhoff im Magazin "Vice" einen geradezu maskulistischen Text vor: "Versaute Klassenfahrt" und "Sex-Lehrerin": Wie Medien über Missbrauch durch Frauen reden.

    3. In der Printausgabe der "Frankfurter Allgemeinen" von morgen findet sich auf Seite 8 der Artikel "Die Grenzen der Frauenförderung" von Reiner Burger. Der Untertitel des ausführlichen Beitrags, der leider nicht online steht, lautet "Die nordrhein-westfälische Polizei darf Männer im Bewerbungsverfahren nicht benachteiligen".

    Der Artikel handelt von einem Gerichtsurteil, nach dem drei junge Frauen vor dem Verwaltungsgericht Düsseldorf geklagt hatten, wegen ihrer geringen Größe nicht als Polizistinnen eingestellt worden zu sein. In dem Artikel heißt es:

    Die 2. Kammer des Gerichts nutzte die Gelegenheit allerdings, um sich grundsätzlich mit der Sache auseinanderzusetzen und um zum wiederholten Mal die Grenzen der Frauenförderung aufzuzeigen. Ganz allgemein gebe es "einen Trend", die Frauenförderung über alles andere zu stellen, monierte der Vorsitzende Richter Andreas Müller.

    Der Hintergrund: Um bei der nordrheinwestfälischen Polizei eingestellt zu werden, müssen Frauen mindestens 1,63 Meter und Männer mindestens 1,68 Meter groß sein. An Männer wird ein strengerer Maßstab angelegt, damit sich das Verhältnis der Polizeibeamten zugnsten der Frauen verschiebt.

    Die zwischen 1,63 und 1,68 Meter großen Männer werden also im Namen der Frauenförderung systematisch aussortiert, ohne dass sie im Bewerbungsverfahren zeigen können, ob sie nicht doch objektiv besser geeignet sind als andere Bewerber. Diese Regelung ist nach Auffassung des Gerichts verfassungswidrig. Nach dem im Grundgesetz verankerten Prinzip der Bestenauslese dürfe der Zugang zum Beamtenverhältnis nur von Eignung, Befähigung und fachlicher Leistung abhängig gemacht werden. "Die Frauenförderung hat zwar Verfassungsrang, doch sie steht nicht über allem anderen", sagte Müller in der mündlichen Verhandlung. Vielmehr gelte es, die beiden widerstreitenden Interessen von Verfassungsrang – die Gleichberechtigung und das Prinzip der Bestenauslese – miteinander in Einklang zu bringen. Durch den Erlass des Ministeriums würden jedoch schlechtere Frauen besseren männlichen Bewerbern vorgezogen.

    Das allerdings war das Ziel der rot-grünen Landesregierung unter Hannelore Kraft gewesen. Frauen bekamen im Aufstiegswettbewerb einen Bonus gewährt. Das OVG allerdings hatte in dieser regelung einen Verstoß gegen das Grundgesetz gesehen. (Genderama berichtete.) Dieser Auffassung schloss sich jetzt das Verwaltungsgericht Düsseldorf bei seinem aktuellen Urteil an. In der "Frankfurter Allgemeinen" heißt es hierzu:

    Damit ist die Entscheidung des Düsseldorfer Verwaltungsgerichts zwar im Kern ein Männerschutz-Urteil. Wird es rechtskräftig (...), werden aber drei Frauen als Erste von ihm profitieren. Denn hätte das Land Nordrhein-Westfalen eine rechtskonforme Mindestgrößenregelung gehabt, dann hätten die jeweils knapp unter 1,63 Meter großen Klägerinnen wohl nie eine Chance bekommen, am Bewerbungsverfahren der Polizei teilzunehmen.

    Putzig ist mal wieder, was deutsche Medien aus dem Urteil machen: Gericht kippt Mindestgröße für Polizistinnen. Der Artikel unter der Schlagzeile, natürlich die "Brigitte", erweckt den Eindruck, es sei die Diskriminierung von Frauen unterbunden worden. Noch irrer ist die Darstellung des Sachverhalts beim SWR. Dort heißt es:

    Die Mindestgröße für Polizistinnen in Nordrhein-Westfalen ist verfassungswidrig. Die Richter am Verwaltungsgericht in Düsseldorf gaben einer Klägerin aus Oberhausen recht. Sie hatte sich bei der Polizei beworben und war nicht zum Auswahlverfahren zugelassen worden, weil sie anderthalb Zentimeter kleiner als die erforderlichen 1,63 Meter ist. Die Düsseldorfer Richter entschieden, die Körpergröße habe wenig mit der Eignung von Polizeianwärterinnen zu tun. Sie verwiesen unter anderem auf die Bundespolizei, die auch ohne eine Mindestgröße auskomme. Die Bewerberin müsse jetzt zum Auswahlverfahren zugelassen werden.

    Immerhin gelingt es auch der "Zeit" den Fall korrekt darzustellen und u erklären, dass es um eine Diskriminierung von Männern geht. Irreführend ist hier nur die Überschrift: "Polizei muss kleine Frau als Bewerberin akzeptieren."

    4. Ebenfalls in der Printausgabe der "Frankfurter Allgemeinen" von morgen findet sich ein Beitrag von Rainer Meyer ("Don Alphonso"), betitelt mit "Das Vermächtnis der schwarzen Liste". Der Artikel bezieht sich auf den grünen Online-Pranger und stellt dazu zunächst einmal Andreas Kemper vor, dem Beitrag zufolge ein "54 Jahre alter Aktivist und Soziologiedoktorand aus Münster, der seit mehr als zehn Jahren im Internet einen erbitterten, privaten Kleinkrieg gegen Männerrechtler und Gegner der Genderideologie führt."

    Hey, Kemper hat einen neuen Abschnitt für den Wikipedia-Eintrag über sich, sogar aus einem anerkannten Leitmedium. Ich hoffe, er freut sich ein bisschen.

    Der FAZ-Artikel führt aus, was die meisten Genderama-Leser ohnehin schon über den grünen Pranger wissen. In einer Passage erfährt man folgendes:

    Wer bei diesem Portal wen beschuldigte, war nicht offensichtlich. Zwar basiert Agent*In auf jener Wikimedia-Software, auf der auch die deutsche Wikipedia aufgebaut ist, wo Kemper und andere Aktivisten teils offen, teils anonym ihren Feldzug für ihre Vorstellungen von Sozial- und Geschlechterpolitik führen. Während aber bei Wikipedia die Versionsgeschichte, die Diskussionen und die Autoren gesehen und recherchiert werden können, ist Agent*In um diese Funktionen beraubt. (...) Auf die Frage, wie viel Geld die hauptsächlich durch Steuergeld finanzierte Böll-Stiftung für Agent*In ausgibt, verweigerte von Bargen die Auskunft.

    Diese intransparente Konstruktion und ihre erkennbare Ausrichtung, die zur Rufschädigung von Biologen, Journalisten, Bloggern und vielen weiteren genannten Gruppen beitragen sollte, zogen in den Medien von rechts bis links viel Kritik auf sich.

    Bekanntlich nutzte das Versteckspiel wenig:

    Erste Tarn- und Klarnamen, darunter der von Andreas Kemper, konnten durch eine simple Suchabfrage eruiert werden. Offensichtlich hatten die Böll-Techniker die Tücken der Wikisoftware unterschätzt. Erst nach der Darstellung des Lecks bei FAZ.net wurde die Lücke geschlossen. Mit reiner Spielerei an den URLs der Beiträge war es nicht nur möglich, die Veränderungen der Beiträge aufzurufen. Die Versionsgeschichte des Projekts vom 15. Dezember 2015 bis zu den letzten Änderungen stand offen im Netz. Über 7000 Seiten konnten erfasst und minutengenau erfasst werden. Obendrein zeigte sich nicht nur jede Änderung, sondern auch jeder Name der Autorenschaft. Ein kleines Team hatte Agent*In gepflegt, ergänzt und juristisch weniger angreifbar gemacht. Personen, deren Namen genannt wurden, konnten zudem ihre "Akten" herunterladen und erkennen, was einem umfassenden Redigat im Frühjahr 2017 zum Opfer gefallen war. Kemper hatte Anfang 2016 den größten Teil der Beiträge angelegt, und teilweise Formulierungen verwendet, die datenschutz- und persönlichkeitsrechtlich problematisch waren.

    Wiewohl die Verantwortlichen für dieses Projekt mit einer baldigen Rückkehr drohten, wird das von Sicherheitsexperten bezweifelt:

    Auch Bereiche, die mit Passwörtern gesichert waren, stellten kein großes Hindernis dar, zumal Benutzernamen tagelang bekannt waren. Ob sich weitere Zuträger finden, die bei einem derartig unsicheren Projekt mitwirken wollen, ist fraglich: Die fast durchweg negative Resonanz zeigt, wie kritisch das Anlegen von schwarzen Listen mit "Feinden" durch eine mit Steuergeld finanzierte Parteienstiftung gesehen wird. Nur radikalfeministische Websites, linke Aktivisten und Genderforscher stellten sich vorbehaltlos hinter das Projekt.

    5. Die Schwarzen Listen wiederum haben grundsätzliche Fragen zur "Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung" ausgelöst. Was ist das eigentlich für ein Verein? Handelt es sich wirklich um eine Stiftung? Warum gibt es innerhalb dieses ohnehin schon feministischen Vereins noch einmal ein eigenes feministisches Institut? Warum spielen Männer dort nur eine Rolle, solange sie Frauen dienen? Und wieso werden Menschen, die für die Rechte von Jungen und Männern eintreten, dort als Feinde behandelt, mit denen es keinen Dialog geben kann? Das Blog Man in the Middle hat seine Rechercheergebnisse über die Böll-Stiftung zusammengetragen und gelangt zu dem Urteil: Faktisch handelt es sich um ein Matriarchat.

    6. Die Brigitte versucht, den Leuten endlich einzubläuen, dass der Feminismus nicht männerfeindlich ist.

    7. Vor ein paar Monaten noch haben sich etliche Feministinnen vor Lachen auf dem Boden gekugelt, als sie hörten, dass tatsächlich Männer gegen Filmvorführungen nur für Frauen wegen Diskriminierung klagten. Die verantwortliche Kinokette hatte den Spott online angeheizt und zusätzliche Veranstaltungen dieser Art angesetzt. Inzwischen hat sie im Rahmen gerichtlicher Vergleichsverhandlungen ihr Fehlverhalten eingestanden:

    In a settlement offer July 18, Missy Reynolds, director of real estate and development for the Drafthouse, called that decree a 2tongue in cheek moniker" and said the theater wouldn’t actually have denied men admission if any had purchased tickets.

    The theater admitted it made two mistakes: underestimating the hubbub the screenings would create and advertising them as women-only. "Respondent did not realize that advertising a ‘women’s-only’ screening was a violation of discrimination laws," the movie theater’s offer to the city says.

    (...) City records indicate one of the men with a complaint pending offered to settle in exchange for the theater changing its discrimination policies and publicly apologizing on Facebook. The other complainant asked the Drafthouse to pay him $8,892 — roughly three times the estimated value of tickets and concessions for the women-only screenings.

    The Drafthouse responded to both with the counteroffer saying it would update its company discrimination policies using "Wonder Woman" as a case study, share letters describing the men’s points of view with employees and send each man a "Wonder Woman" DVD.

    An agreement has not yet been reached and negotiations are ongoing.

    8. Die US-Marines ließen durchgehend männliche Einheiten gegen gemischtgeschlechtliche Einheiten antreten und gelangten zu einem Ergebnis, dass die deutschen Leitmedien wohl als zutiefst sexistisch bezeichnen würden:

    Overall, the report says, all-male teams and crews outperformed mixed-gender ones on 93 out of 134 tasks evaluated. All-male teams were universally faster "in each tactical movement."

    Wenn das US-Militär sich an Google orientieren würde, hätte man dort die Verantwortlichen für diesen Bericht längst entlassen. Nachdem man sie mit Kaffee begossen hätte natürlich. Das Magazin Quartz hingegen stellt dreist in Frage, dass das Ideal der Gleichstellung tatsächlich Menschenleben wert ist:

    Risking the lives of a military unit in combat to provide career opportunities or accommodate the personal desires or interests of an individual, or group of individuals, is more than bad military judgment. It is morally wrong.

              Viera Connect        
    So it seems the 2011 range of Panasonic TV's and Blue Ray players come with "Viera Connect", a new, improved but sadly incompatible upgrade to VieraCast! We are therefore now out in the cold with our "legacy" hardware.

    All may not be lost, however. One assumes that the code will not be compatible with our units for chipset/hardware purposes (especially 3D games!), but if the code is delivered in a similar way to VieraCast, it may be possible to extract some useful information from them. i.e. we probably won't be able to run it natively, but we may for example be able to tap into sports channel streams (NBA etc?) by analyzing the new TV's via proxy as we have already done here.

    It may also be that the code for the new TV's is similar if not exactly the same, and the publication of the development SDK (presumably not to the general public, but it may leak?) will give more of an insight into what we may be able to add to our sets.

    If anyone has access to a 2011 unit with Viera Connect (I don't!), it'd be useful if you could have a play via a proxy - see if you can figure out where it downloads initial code from (instead of vieracast.eu etc), what the code looks like, etc. etc. Any comments appreciated.

    Sorry I've not been around much recently - I am still here and the blog isn't totally dead, I've just been very busy and haven't had anything useful to add :D
              BBM for Android and iOS puts hold on BlackBerry        

    With the news of BBM for android and iOS spreading like a fire overnight, BlackBerry puts on hold for the most awaited launch. No one knows from where the leak of the app started and people didn't realize its not the real app. BBM stated that it made the things difficult hence they have to put stay for a while.With over 1 million users installing the leaked app in such a short time, Blackberry could not keep up and has put it all on “pause.”

    Here is the statement from Blackberry:
    Prior to launching BBM for Android, an unreleased version of the BBM for Android app was posted online. The interest and enthusiasm we have seen already – more than 1.1 million active users in the first 8 hours without even launching the official Android app – is incredible. Consequently, this unreleased version caused issues, which we have attempted to address throughout the day.
    Our teams continue to work around the clock to bring BBM to Android and iPhone, but only when it’s ready and we know it will live up to your expectations of BBM. We are pausing the global roll-out of BBM for Android and iPhone. Customers who have already downloaded BBM for iPhone will be able to continue to use BBM. The unreleased Android app will be disabled, and customers who downloaded it should visit www