Stop! PayPal Holdings Inc (PYPL) Stock Is Not a Bargain!   
InvestorPlace Stock Market News Stock Advice amp Trading Tips The success of PayPal Holdings Inc NASDAQ PYPL spawned the investing careers of Peter Thiel and Elon Musk neither of whom need an introduction as the head of Founders Fund and Tesla Inc 160 NASDAQ
          A Survival Guide to Conference Travel   
Travis Nielsen is the founder and CEO of Azurigen Management and Consulting Solutions Inc. A STEM project management firm that specializes in linking conservation based science to business and government. He is a published scientist specializing in Marine Biology with 10 years experience in STEM, and 10 years of experience in management and leadership. He […]
          Looking Backward   

MANKATO, Minn.—After watching President Bush speak for only a couple of hours on the 2004 stump, it's easy to see the main tenets of his re-election campaign: My opponent is un-American, or at least less American than me and you. My opponent, much like Al Gore, doesn't know who he is. My opponent is a tax-hiking, big-government liberal. Worse, he wants to ask other countries for permission for America to defend itself against its enemies. Last, and most important, my wife is better than his wife.

What you don't hear from President Bush's stump speech, or from his surrogates, is what he plans to do were he given another four years as president. The problem is particularly glaring on matters of foreign policy. There are glimmers of a domestic agenda in the president's two campaign events Wednesday: He wants to reform America's high schools, increase math and science education, and increase the use of the Internet in schools. He wants more ethanol subsidies. He wants to make health care more available and affordable. He wants less regulation. He likes community colleges. He wants workers to be able to acquire flex time and comp time in lieu of overtime pay.

Bush also gives his audiences a rehash of the greatest hits from his 2000 campaign mantras. He likes tort reform and dislikes "frivolous lawsuits." (A favorite line of Bush crowds: "You cannot be pro-patient and pro-doctor and pro-trial lawyer at the same time. You have to choose. My opponent made his choice, and he put him on the ticket.") He wants private Social Security accounts for younger workers. He likes marriage and the family, which always gets him a big cheer, because what it really means is he's against gay marriage. He's for a "culture of life," "judges who faithfully interpret the law instead of legislating from the bench," and a "culture of responsibility." Not to mention the responsibility society and the ownership society. He's still against the soft bigotry of low expectations. And of course, he wants everyone to love their neighbor just like you'd like to be loved yourself.

Bush doesn't talk much about the future. He talks about the past. The biggest portions of Bush's speech are spent mounting a vigorous defense of his presidency. When Bush's campaign foundered in New Hampshire four years ago, he retooled his strategy in response to John McCain and began billing himself as a "reformer with results." He's not using that slogan yet, but the rhetoric is similar. "It's not enough to advocate reform," he says. "You have to be able to get it done." The closing section of his speech ends with the mantra, "Results matter." On education, health care, the economy, farms, and security, Bush concludes by saying, "Results matter." Of his Medicare prescription drug benefit, Bush says, "Leaders in both political parties had promised prescription drug coverage for years. We got the job done."

Bush spends the longest amount of time defending his policies after Sept. 11. He takes credit for the creation of the Homeland Security Department (one of those things that Bush voted against before he voted for it), and he takes pride in the Patriot Act. Afghanistan has gone from being the "home base of al-Qaida" to being a "rising democracy." Pakistan, once a "safe transit point for terrorists," is now an ally. Saudi Arabia, he says, "is taking the fight to al-Qaida." Libya has given up its quest for weapons of mass destruction.

Most of all, Bush defends the war in Iraq. He repeats the litany of reasons for going to war: Saddam was defying the will of the United Nations, he harbored terrorists, he funded suicide bombers, he used weapons of mass destruction against his own people. "In other words, we saw a threat," Bush says. "Members of the United States Congress from both political parties, including my opponent, looked at the intelligence and came to the same conclusion."

What Bush doesn't acknowledge is what went wrong: The WMD were never found. We weren't welcomed as liberators. Oil revenues haven't paid for the war. It wasn't a cakewalk. What went wrong? Why? Given four more years, what does Bush plan to do about it? He hasn't told us yet, other than suggesting "more of the same."

"Every incumbent who asks for your vote has got to answer one central question, and that's 'Why?'" Bush says. "Why should the American people give me the high privilege of serving as your president for four more years?" The answer Bush gives to that question is his record. He says he deserves re-election because of what he has already done. At Wednesday's first event, in Davenport, Iowa, U.S. Rep. Jim Nussle embodies this attitude when he introduces Bush to the crowd. "There is no one I would have wanted to be at the helm of this country these last four years than you," Nussle says.

Bush and Nussle are asking the wrong question. The real question an incumbent faces is, what now? What's next? So far, Bush isn't telling. A president's record matters, but the reason it matters is because it has predictive value. Bush's defenders say he is a transformational figure, that he's willing to take on big problems and challenges. Wouldn't you like to know what Bush believes those big problems and challenges would be in foreign policy over the next four years? Are there gathering threats that, like Iraq, he thinks need to be tackled "before they materialize"? The president says that is the lesson of Sept. 11, that the nation must confront its security problems pre-emptively. Where else does he plan to apply that lesson? Does he plan to tell us?

After the 2002 midterm elections, when Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill objected to another round of tax cuts for the rich, Vice President Cheney told O'Neill to discard his worries. We won the midterm elections, Cheney said. "This is our due." As much as liberals dislike President Bush's record over the past four years, it's the prospect of another four years that terrifies them. What they want to know—what keeps them awake at night—is what President Bush hasn't answered yet: What are you going to do next? This time, what will be your due?

          Twitter jumps after co-founder says company must ponder its options   
Shares of Twitter soared on Wednesday after a company co-founder said in an interview that the social network must ponder options such as a takeover, even though he believes the company is in a 'strong position.'
          Twitter shares jump after co-founder says company must ponder sale   
Shares of Twitter jumped on Wednesday after co-founder Ev Williams said the social network must ponder options such as a takeover.
          Fulton County and Sister Love Observe National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Fri Feb 7   

Friday, February 7 is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.  There are a number of events taking place in and around Atlanta, including an event at Greenbriar Mall Friday afternoon.

As part of WCLK's Fulton Focus program we were joined by Fulton County Health Department Official Veronica Hartwell, and Dazon Dixon Diallo, founder of Sister Love.  Sister Love was founded in Atlanta in 1989 and is a volunteer group of women interested in educating Atlanta, and especially communities of women, about AIDS prevention, self-help and safer sex techniques.

          A Grad Scheme & A Marketing Internship...   

Hi all.

There's a raft of new opportunities for you lot out there at the moment. Karmarama and What Now are both looking for talented graduates.

So, without further ado, here's more about both:

1) Karmarama

We're on the lookout for four bright, bold and ambitious people who will make good things happen in our Account Management Department.

If you show us that you’ve got some fire in your belly and some stories to tell, we’ll invite you on to our Kadet Scheme, where you’ll compete for a job in Account Management. We will be taking on 4 Karma Kadets for 2 months over the summer, with one of our Kadets bagging a full time role at the end of the internship.

You could be graduating this summer, or you might have got your experience from somewhere else – either way we’d like to hear from you.

Applications are open now, and the closing date for entries is 4th March 2013

All the details are at our Facebook page. You can follow us on Twitter at @karmakadets and our current Kadets @karmakadetkatie @karmakadetalex for further updates on the scheme!

2) What Now?!

What Now?! is an innovative new product that aggregates the best local information so travellers can use their smart mobile devices to discover interesting things nearby when they arrive in a new place – all without paying for data roaming.  We were a finalist at the London Startup Weekend last year and are busy helping bring the product to life. Tony, the founder, comes from a background of working in various advertising agencies and marketing client-side, before leaving to study for an MBA and, ultimately, set up What Now?!.  

What Now?! aims to launch in London and Barcelona in the early summer period.  We are currently looking for a marketing intern who can help with the following:

  • Manage social media activities – including Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and Google Plus
  • Develop strong links with the travel blogging community (like/dislike, make suitable and valuable comments, make suggestions, engage people)
  • Co-ordinate our overall launch marketing activities
  • Monitor and report on progress and key findings
  • Promote blog content
  • Collaborate with our fast-paced, entrepreneurial and fun team

The ideal candidate:

  • Is not just familiar with, but also active social media sites and has a strong online presence. In particular, the ideal candidate would be very familiar with Twitter and its partner platforms (HootSuite, TweetDeck etc.)
  • Possesses excellent written communication skills, so they can make the right judgements on what to post without damaging the brand. Our social tone of voice is important
  • Has top-notch social skills - and a sense of humour!
  • Is a self-starter with the ability to work independently and make judgement calls
  • Has a passion for travel, culture and all things Social Media

Working in a startup is an incredible learning experience and you would be exposed to a huge amount of diverse business and marketing experiences.  The internship length is flexible depending on the right candidate and there will be a small salary to cover expenses

The internship will be a great opportunity for the right candidate – and, even if your passion is to work in an advertising agency and not take up a full time role with us afterwards, it would look great on your CV.  If this sounds interesting to you, then please email a CV and covering letter to tonys at

Good luck, all.
          The Real Secret of Cambodia’s Mythic Warrior: Archaeological Insight   
By Kent Davis
Originally posted at

…like a good Indiana Jones movie, the real story of this lost treasure began with a flash of archaeological insight in a remote Asian jungle half a world away….

Koh Ker, Cambodia – Protests from the Kingdom of Cambodia recently halted the multi-million dollar Sotheby’s sale of an ancient stone statue with the support of the United States government. When the Cambodians sought help bringing the thousand-year-old Khmer statue back to their country the New York Times ran a detailed article entitled “Mythic Warrior Is Captive in Global Art Conflict.”

10th century Cambodian sculpture previously scheduled for a multi-million dollar Sotheby’s sale.
Their investigation reveals that the legal and moral issues surrounding the ownership and sale of ancient art are quite complex. In this case, one generous art collector may actually provide a positive solution. But like a good Indiana Jones movie, the real story of this lost treasure began with a flash of archaeological insight in a remote Asian jungle half a world away.

Mystery of the Missing Men of Koh Ker

One thousand years ago, the Khmer Empire ruled most of what is now Southeast Asia from its capital in Angkor. During their heyday, the architecturally and artistically sophisticated Khmer people created some of humanity’s most extraordinary stone temples and statues. Apart from a few stone inscriptions, however, no written records of the civilization survived. Out of necessity, archaeologists have had no alternative but to piece the story of the Khmer people together, clue by clue and stone by stone.

Rising above 30 meters in height, Koh Ker’s central temple-mountain of Prasat Thom was built 100 years before Angkor Wat. Photo: Khmersearch, Panoramio.
Early in the 10th century (for reasons that are still unclear), King Jayavarman IV and his son Harsavarman II relocated the empire’s capital from Angkor to an isolated plateau 100 km to the northeast. There they built the city of Koh Ker, a huge new complex of temples and shrines, where they established their throne for a brief 16 year period (928-944 AD). Like all great Khmer cities, Koh Ker was ultimately abandoned and swallowed up by the jungle. The rediscovery of the Khmer civilization by Westerners didn’t begin until French explorers arrived in the second half of the 19th century.

In 2007, stone conservator Simon Warrack was working with the German Apsara Conservation Project (GACP), a scientific organization that had been doing critical restoration on Angkor Wat temple for more than a decade. In May, Warrack took a side trip to the Koh Ker site (Google Map link) to consider future conservation needs there.

At Koh Ker, Warrack noticed two distinctive pedestal platforms in the first enclosure of Prasat Chen. There, by the west gopura (an entry structure), he saw the feet where two statues had clearly been broken off. But the gods that once stood there were nowhere to be found. The mystery sparked his imagination.

The two Koh Ker pedestals as Warrack found them at Prasat Chen in May 2007. The pedestal circled in red shows a fabric section still attached in the center.
Virtually Connecting Ancient Dots…and Stones

From my own research cataloging the devata of Angkor I can attest that field work is generally hot, uncomfortable and distracting. Almost all of my discoveries happen at my desk in Florida examining photos taken weeks or years before at remote locations. Warrack continued his search in similar fashion.

The Norton Simon dvarapala featured in “Adoration and Glory”, p. 149
He pondered the distinctive bases and began searching for photos in books and research archives. Finally, he found a possible solution. In “Adoration and Glory – The Golden Age of Khmer Art” by Emma Bunker and Douglas Latchford one image stood out. It showed a figure identified as a dvarapala (guardian) at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena California. That statue was missing its feet, but many are. The key to solving this puzzle was the unique tail at the bottom of its clothing element. After scanning images and digitally combining them Warrack confirmed the close match between the two fragments.

Warrack’s 2007 digital superimposition of the base and body of the Koh Ker statue.
Warrack immediately wrote a short paper to seek opinions from others in the field of Khmer studies. He forwarded copies to friends and associates as well as to key authorities including the APSARA Authority, which manages the Angkor region’s heritage assets; the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts in Phnom Penh; and the École française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO), a French organization dedicated to Asian studies that has been active in conservation efforts at Angkor since 1907. I met Simon in 2007 shortly after his find and the photos above come from the original article he shared with me.

Everyone who saw his image realized the importance of this observation. Determining the original location of displaced objects can be a huge help in interpreting their meaning and significance within the context of an ancient civilization. The record shows that the Norton Simon piece was acquired legitimately and is on public display for educational, artistic and cultural appreciation. But not all art ends up this way. Much of it disappears into private collections, out of view.

Such was the case of the complimentary statue that stood face to face with this one more than a thousand years ago at the Khmer capital of Koh Ker.

Sotheby's twin Khmer warrior. Note the unbroken base of the fabric tail.
The Long Lost Twin Reappears

In the summer of 2010, a “noble European lady” contacted Sotheby’s to discuss the sale of a “spectacular tenth-century Cambodian sculpture, 160 centimeters in height and exceptionally well carved.” Word got out quickly to the worlds of art and archaeology. When pictures began to circulate it was instantaneously clear that this was the long-lost companion to the statue Warrack had connected to the Norton Simon Museum three years earlier.

Meanwhile, in New York, the matching sculpture was estimated to sell for millions of dollars. According to the owner’s records, she legally acquired the piece in 1975 from the now-defunct London art dealer Spink & Son. The Norton Simon Museum also acquired their piece that year. Some evidence suggests that both statues left Cambodia in the late 1960s, but exactly when and how that happened, and who arranged it, is unknown.

Paraphrasing Sotheby’s Senior Vice President Jane A. Levine, the New York Times article stated “Ms. Levine countered that the statue could have been removed any time in its thousand-year history, and said the word ‘stolen’ was often ‘used loosely.’ ” Meanwhile, Christie’s auction house acquired Spinks in 1993 and claims that the 1975 records of the statue’s origin are “no longer available.”

Regardless of the lack of facts, the ownership of both statues seems quite legal under international laws. Which brings us to a question at the heart of this matter.

Who Should Own Historical Art?

An idealistic answer is “humanity” but even this dream can have unexpected consequences as we’ll discover below. My personal goal would be for historical assets to be accessible to everyone who wants to respect them, preserve them, appreciate them and learn from them. But this philosophy wouldn’t get me through the front door at most of the world’s public institutions holding these assets (let alone to private collections).

Most of us are fortunate enough to live in a free society. We can buy, sell and own personal property within the law. The laws protecting heritage assets have evolved considerably over the past few decades, and they continue to do so. But the fact remains that countless artifacts were legally acquired by collectors (“noble ladies” included) as well as public museums since the beginning of time. Isn’t it their right to display, use and sell their property as they see fit?

Let’s consider some difficult questions raised by recent news:

The taller Buddha of Bamiyan before and after destruction. Photo: Wikipedia.
1. Can a government or private entity decide to demolish old structures? This happens every day in every city around the world. Sometimes historical societies rally to save a site. Sometimes they can’t, as seen in the shocking annihilation of the Buddhas of Bamiyan. Was that government right? Were those people right? And who are you to judge? Do you live there?

In Sarasota Florida some local groups rallied to have this mural erased from a shop.
2. Can a government or private entity destroy something offensive or blasphemous to their values or religion? How far does freedom of expression go? This Yale article discusses the destruction of Buddha images in the Maldives. But it also mentions things like Henry VIII’s systematic destruction of all the monasteries in England, Wales and Ireland. Near my home in Sarasota Florida a debate has run for months about erasing a mural that may promote gangs. Acts of artistic control and destruction happen all the time.

Sunken treasure found by Odyssey Marine 1700 feet deep in the Atlantic Ociean.
3. Can a private group use its own funds to recover or preserve historical objects that were clearly abandoned by the original owners hundreds or even thousands of years earlier? In other words, does everything actually belong to some hypothetical “rightful owner”? And who owned these things before them? Odyssey Marine Exploration in Tampa Florida just got a harsh lesson in how arbitrarily this question can be answered. Odyssey spent years working to locate and salvage a ship in international waters off the coast of Portugal. It lay, unknown and untouched for two centuries in 1700 feet of water. US courts just ruled against Odyssey and returned all the artifacts to Spain.

Ironically, that silver and gold was mined in Peru by peasants working under slave-like conditions. Peru, of course, came under Spanish control in the 16th century when conquistadors brutally subjugated the Inca civilization in their quest for territory, power and treasure. But to the US courts, 200 years of ownership was enough to confiscate assets for an “original” owner…but not 400 years. Peru’s claim to the artifacts was ignored.

On the other side of the gold coin, salvage operations generally destroy much of the archaeological evidence that exists on a wreck site. I took an archaeological research diver workshop at a Florida galleon site, and I’ve also had the privilege of discussing this topic with the father of underwater archaeology, George Bass. I am quite opposed to the wholesale destruction of history to recover precious metals on land or at sea.

But in this case, Odyssey Marine consistently gathers a lot of archaeological data from their sites. And is it reasonable to ask when and how carefully archaeologists would be excavating this particular site more than half a kilometer deep? It seems we can all learn much from Odyssey’s digital photos, detailed site maps and the thousands of objects recovered. More than we would have known if the site was never found. Now the responsibility falls to Spain to educate and inspire us with their recovered objects. The world watches.

The “Angel of Beng Mealea” - March 5, 2006 and February 12, 2007.
4. Do poor people have the right to take abandoned objects from public places just to survive? I wrote about my own painful experience with this at Beng Mealea in this article “Death of an Angel.”

There are countless examples. There will be countless more. Each situation is different. Right and wrong are not always clear. And certainly never appear the same to opposing parties in a disagreement.

Back in 2008 I bought a used car legally. But what if the original owner (or the factory, or the country where it was built) tried to reclaim it because “I parked it too long” or “I wasn’t taking care of it” or “they want to study it” or “it belongs in the original place”? I can’t say I’d be too happy.

But there are solutions to these issues…as there are to most human conflicts: communication, empathy and diplomacy. Fortunately, a combination of these factors may lead to a resolution to the quandary of the Sotheby’s statue sale.

Collectors Who Share

Cultural sensitivity about who historical objects should belong to is a fairly new concept. As noted above people have the right to own private property. This has been going on for a long time. Humans are an acquisitive species by nature.

It’s worth noting that some of the most successful “acquirers” (Rockefeller, Carnegie, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates come to mind) have also proven themselves as some of our most generous givers. And some art collectors have proven themselves in this way, too. After a lifetime of actively hunting, obsessively gathering and painstakingly preserving the rare objects they crave…many end up donating their collections to public institutions.

In the world of Khmer art, Douglas Latchford, co-author of “Adoration and Glory” with art historian Emmy Bunker, is one example. He began collecting Khmer artifacts 56 years ago (1956). Over the years he and his friends have shared financial gifts with the National Museum of Cambodia. More significantly, he is the museum’s biggest contributor of artifacts (read more about Douglas Latchford on KI-Media).

Now another collector may assist with a solution to the thorny situation of the Koh Ker statue at Sotheby’s.

Dr. István Zelnik, founder of the Gold Museum in Budapest, Hungary.
During the 1970s, Dr. István Zelnik served as a Hungarian diplomat in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Like many passionate collectors he invested his money in rare books, antiques and works of art. Motivated by a love of art and curiosity about the objects he found, he became an increasingly sought after consulting expert for museums and archaeologists around the world. In 2011 his dreams culminated with his greatest achievement: founding the Zelnik István Southeast Asian Gold Museum in Budapest Hungary.

In a statement to the New York Times Dr. Zelnik expressed the possibility that he may purchase the statue for donation to the people of Cambodia. A generous, diplomatic and expedient solution in our complex world. The owner would be compensated for her private property, huge amounts of time and money would not be wasted on legal litigation, and the people who respect and admire the art of the Khmer people could once again see this expression of creativity in the land where it was born.

I wish him success and encourage him along with Mr. Latchford and other collectors to continue sharing the objects of their passion with the world.

The two mythic Cambodian warriors as they one faced each other at Koh Ker. Below, Simon Warrack asks if they can one day be reunited?
Could Two Ancient Brothers Meet Again?

To conclude this article I contacted Simon Warrack to ask his current ideas about the ownership of historic art. Here’s what he had to say:
“The concept of “ownership” may be the wrong place to start when considering important objects. It is the value and significance of an object that should be thought of first, rather than who it belongs to.

”The questions should really be about the object itself, not who it belongs to. Where is the object best valued? Where is it best appreciated? Where is it best understood? Where is it best conserved?

“Who an object belongs to should be secondary. As one of my colleagues observed ‘Objects are not important because they are in museums. They are in museums because they are important.’ The object itself is the important factor, not the museum that possesses it.

“After finding the empty pedestals seven years ago actually seeing both Koh Ker statues is remarkable. The possibility now exists that, one day, they may be reunited.

“Today, I called HE Hab Touch to ask his opinion on this matter. He is optimistic but noted that at this early stage no decisions or agreements are in place. However, Cambodia is ready and there are at least two suitable, secure locations where the pieces could be located for public appreciation. In the National Museum, of course, but plans are also being made for a museum at Preah Vihear, the same province where Koh Ker is located. There, the museum will become a gateway to the World Heritage Site and these figures could, once again, provide a wonderful center piece to welcome visitors from around the world.”
Simon closed by mentioning a concept from the book, Who Owns Antiquity by James Cuno. Cuno observes that national museums in wealthy nations host “encyclopedic” collections of objects from around the world, while national museums in less wealthy countries host indigenous local art relating to their own history.

He suggests that the global exchange of art would be a good direction to head in. Just as it is good for a child in Pasadena to experience the art of Cambodia, wouldn’t it also be wonderful for a child of Cambodia to see pieces of American history? Or the creations of Greece, Rome, Egypt, Mexico, etc.?

With communication, empathy and diplomacy we can all grow and learn.

          Art Exhibition Celebrates Drawings By The Founder Of Modern Neuroscience   
What Einstein did for physics, a Spaniard named Santiago Ramón y Cajal did for neuroscience more than a century ago. Back in the 1890s, Cajal produced a series of drawings of brain cells that would radically change scientists' understanding of the brain. And Cajal's drawings aren't just important to science. They are considered so striking that the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis has organized a traveling exhibition of Cajal's work called The Beautiful Brain . "Cahal was the founder of modern neuroscience," says Larry Swanson , a brain scientist at the University of Southern California who wrote an essay for the book that accompanies the exhibit. "Before Cajal it was just completely different," Swanson says. "Most of the neuroscientists in the mid-19th century thought the nervous system was organized almost like a fishing net." They saw the brain and nervous system as a single, continuous web, not a collection of separate cells. But Cajal reached a different conclusion. "Cajal looked
          Can Joe Sitt survive a retail apocalypse?   
From the June issue: It took Joe Sitt less than 30 minutes to agree to pay Aby Rosen $132 million for a trio of buildings at 516-520 Fifth Avenue in 2011. It was a rapid-fire deal even for the Thor Equities CEO — who one friend described as New York real estate’s version of the Tasmanian Devil. “He’s really fast, and I love fast people who can be decisive in the moment,” Rosen, co-founder of […]
          Spy vs Spy: Stuck in the Funhouse   

Funhouses are only fun when you can leave them. When the distorting mirror images become your new, day-to-day reality construct, then it's not so much fun anymore. 

I dreaded the 2016 Election because I had a very strong feeling that no matter who won we'd be plunged into a dystopian paradigm in which major power blocs would erupt into all-out warfare. And I sensed that neither Trump nor Clinton possessed the political skills or the communicative powers to keep the carnage fully out of our view. Or our path.

And I was right.

Trump's only been in office for a little over two months and I'm exhausted already. I'm certainly not alone in this. It all feels like a TV sitcom in its seventh season, well after the writers ran out of story ideas. The shark has been good and jumped. And the ratings (the approval ratings, in this case) are plunging too.

What is truly demoralizing though is the utter transparency of the secret war playing out, the seemingly endless spy vs spy thrust and counter-thrust, and the obvious deceptions. Even more so is the Animal Farm-like metamorphosis of the Democratic Party into a full-blown, funhouse mirror of McCarthy-era Republicans, but with Glenn Beck-worthy conspiracy theories thrown in for good measure.

I don't know about you but all of a sudden the world seems especially cold, hard, gray, harsh. Masks are coming off, velvet gloves tossed into wastebins. It doesn't seem to matter who wins the scorpion fight, you're still stuck with a scorpion.  

We can't call out the play-by-play because it's largely being acted out behind closed doors. But we can look at the collateral damage and make certain speculations. There's no doubt that it would all be just as bad-- probably worse-- if Hillary won. Even so, this all feels especially grating.

You've probably seen this story:
Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on Friday apologized to the owner of a Washington pizzeria that became the subject of a conspiracy theory about human trafficking last year. 
Pizza shop Comet Ping Pong was thrust into the spotlight last year after a gunman allegedly fired a shot inside the restaurant. The suspect said he was investigating the unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton and her campaign chairman, John Podesta, were operating a child sex trafficking ring out of the restaurant. 
The theory, which became known as Pizzagate, had circulated among far-right conspiracy theory websites and social media accounts. 
“In our commentary about what had become known as Pizzagate, I made comments about Mr. Alefantis that in hindsight I regret, and for which I apologize to him,” Jones, who runs Infowars, said in a video. James Alefantis is the owner of Comet Ping Pong. 
Jones said his website relied on reporters who are no longer employed by Infowars and that video reports about Pizzagate were removed from the website. He also invited Alefantis onto the show to discuss the incident.
It was preceded by this story:
According to McClatchy News, the FBI’s Russian-influence probe agents are exploring whether far-right news operations, including the pro-Donald Trump sites Breitbart News and Infowars, “took any actions to assist Russia’s operatives.”  Trump’s ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn and his son, a member of the Trump transition team, were among those who boosted the so-called “PizzaGate” pedophile conspiracy theory.
I doubt this will quell the fervor among the Pizzagaters on sites like 4chan and Voat. Given the suspicion many on the fringes regard Jones with it may in fact give the flagging movement a fresh jolt. Jones' apology may also have to do with the drive to purge YouTube of "extremist" content and the controversy over the use of advertising on videos corporate clients find objectionable. A World without Sin, as our Gordon might put it. 

Washington Post headline, pre-election.

So much for theories that the FBI was ready to make mass arrests of prominent Washington figures related to Pizzagate.  Has any "mass arrest" Internet story ever panned out?  

Maybe it has:
Donald Trump became president on Jan. 20. And in one short month, there were more than 1,500 arrests for sex crimes ranging from trafficking to pedophilia.  
Big deal? You bet. In all of 2014, there were fewer than 400 sex trafficking-related arrests, according to FBI crime statistics. Liz Crokin at has put together a great piece on the push by the Trump administration to crack down on sex crimes. And she notes that while "this should be one of the biggest stories in the national news... the mainstream media has barely, if at all, covered any of these mass pedophile arrests. This begs the question – why?
This may have nothing to do with Trump-- in fact, it's likely it doesn't-- since these kinds of actions are planned out months in advance. The arrests continue, in case you were wondering, with major busts going down on a near-weekly basis. Someone's cleaning house. 

For what it's worth, I always reckoned that Pizzagate was in fact cover/distraction for a more hidden struggle, one that would take place under the radar*. As I noted back in November:

No one is saying as much but this very much feels connected to a deeper, more covert war. 
Why would I say such a thing? Because at the same time the Pizzagate story went dark we've seen major strikes taken against international pedophilia, which actually is a global conspiracy, with its own networks, secret codes and moles within established centers of power such as schools, police departments and governments.  
With such combustible accusations-- and such potential for a scandal that could quickly spread out of control (ie., involve political figures you're not trying to destroy)-- you'd naturally expect the action to go dark and the fall guys to be placed pretty far down the foodchain. (Remember that a prior investigation bagged one of the most powerful people in Washington at one time, former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert).†


It may be sheer coincidence, but James Alefantis' former partner suffered a major heart attack this week
Media Matters for America founder David Brock was rushed to a hospital on Tuesday after suffering a heart attack. 
According to a press release from MMA, the founder of the liberal media watchdog and analysis website was rushed to the hospital early Tuesday afternoon and received treatment.
Sure, it may be coincidence. But I couldn't help but remember this story, published soon after the election
Dems to David Brock: Stop Helping, You Are Killing Us 
Democrats know they need someone to lead them out of the wilderness. But, they say, that someone is not David Brock.

As David Brock attempts to position himself as a leader in rebuilding ademoralized Democratic Party in the age of Trump, many leading Democratic organizers and operatives are wishing the man would simply disappear.
"Disappear." Huh. 
Many in the party—Clinton loyalists, Obama veterans, and Bernie supporters alike—talk about the man not as a sought-after ally in the fight against Trumpism, but as a nuisance and a hanger-on, overseeing a colossal waste of cash. And former employees say that he has hurt the cause.
It's worth remembering that Andrew Breitbart died of a heart attack at the age of 43. A year before he'd posted a cryptic tweet that some have since linked to the Pizzagate imbroglio.  Just before his death he hyped some revelation about Barack Obama's past. 

A coroner in the office handling Breitbart's body subsequently died of arsenic poisoning. The day Breitbart's autopsy results were revealed, in fact.


We also saw James Comey revive Russiagate, which had been flatlining after Vault 7. Any illusions among Trump fans that the FBI was secretly on their side were ground into powder, between this revelation and the Pizzagate conspiracy investigations. 

One can't help but wonder if the New Praetorians (I've noticed that the Praetorian meme has been picked up by more prominent commentators, but you heard it here first) are losing their last shred of patience with Donald Trump's shenanigans and are planning imminent regime change: 
WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI is investigating whether Donald Trump’s associates coordinated with Russian officials in an effort to sway the 2016 presidential election, Director James Comey said Monday in an extraordinary public confirmation of a probe the president has refused to acknowledge, dismissed as fake news and blamed on Democrats. 
In a bruising five-hour session, the FBI director also knocked down Trump’s claim that his predecessor had wiretapped his New York skyscraper, an assertion that has distracted White House officials and frustrated fellow Republicans who acknowledge they’ve seen no evidence to support it.
How surreal is the world in which you know live in? So much so that mainstream political site The Hill is comparing the action in Washington to a Stanley Kubrick film, one which has become notorious for the conspiracy theories that have been projected onto it (and is well familiar to Synchronauts):
On the 40th anniversary of the publication of The Shining, Stephen King must be wondering if Washington is working on its own sequel. For the last couple months, Washington has been on edge, like we are all trapped in Overlook Hotel with every day bringing a new “jump scare,” often preceded by a telltale tweet. Indeed, a Twitter whistle has replaced suspenseful music to put the entire city on the edge of their seats. 
In this Shining sequel, however, people are sharply divided on who is the deranged ax-wielding villain in this lodge, the president or the press. Ironically, with the recent disclosure that some of the Trump campaign may indeed have been subject to surveillance, the president is looking more like Danny Torrence, a character dismissed for constantly muttering “redrum, redrum” until someone finally looked in a mirror at the reverse image to see the true message.
Yeah, I'm not really feeling that metaphor there, but whatever. It's been that kind of year.

Now the Internet is burning up with theories that disgraced National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has "turned" and is going to testify against the Trump Administration, or at least figures attached to it. 

It's hard to imagine a three-star general can be stupid enough to be guilty of things Flynn's been accused of but that may speak to a culture of impunity in Washington, in which your misdeeds are only punished if you get on the wrong side of the wrong people.


One wonders if the secret war has spread outside Washington. Car service giant Uber seems to be having a major run of rotten luck lately: 
Uber Technologies Inc. is suspending its self-driving car program after one of its autonomous vehicles was involved in a high-impact crash in Tempe, Arizona, the latest incident for a company reeling from multiple crises. 
In a photo posted on Twitter, one of Uber’s Volvo self-driving SUVs is pictured on its side next to another car with dents and smashed windows. An Uber spokeswoman confirmed the incident, and the veracity of the photo, and added that the ride-hailing company is suspending its autonomous tests in Arizona until it completes its investigation and pausing its Pittsburgh operations.

The incident also comes as Uber, and Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick, are currently under scrutiny because of a series of scandals. The ride-hailing company has been accused of operating a sexist workplace. This month, the New York Times reported that Uber used a tool called Greyball to help drivers evade government regulators and enforcement officials. Kalanick said he needed "leadership help" after Bloomberg published a video showing him arguing with an Uber driver.
So who did Kalanick piss off? 

Coincidentally- there's that word again- the crash comes soon after Wikileaks revealed that CIA hackers had the ability to override the computer systems in automobiles. From Mashable:

WikiLeaks has published a trove of files it says are linked to the CIA's hacking operations — which apparently includes efforts to hack into cars.  
The first in a series called "Vault 7," "Year Zero" supposedly comprises 8,761 documents and files from an isolated, high-security network situated inside the CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virginia.  
"Year Zero" details the CIA's malware arsenal and "zero day" exploits against Apple iPhones, Google's Android operating system, Microsoft Windows and even Samsung TVs.  
 According to a document from 2014, the CIA was also looking at infecting the vehicle control systems used by modern cars and trucks. 
Oh, that's reassuring. Speaking of control systems, apparently pimps are controlling prostitutes with RFID chips:
It turns out this 20-something woman was being pimped out by her boyfriend, forced to sell herself for sex and hand him the money. 
 “It was a small glass capsule with a little almost like a circuit board inside of it,” he said. “It's an RFID chip. It's used to tag cats and dogs. And someone had tagged her like an animal, like she was somebody's pet that they owned.” 
This is human trafficking. It’s a marginal issue here in the U.S. for most of us. Part of that is because the average person isn’t sure what human trafficking – or modern day slavery – actually means.
Technology is our friend, right? And now this: 
Turkish Hackers Threaten To Wipe Millions Of iPhones; Demand Ransom From Apple 
Today, courtesy of CIO, we learn that a group of hackers referring to themselves as the "Turkish Crime Family", has been in direct contact with Apple and is demanding a $150,000 ransom by April 7th or they will proceed to wipe as many as 600 million apple devices for which they allegedly have passwords. 
The group said via email that it has had a database of about 519 million iCloud credentials for some time, but did not attempt to sell it until now. The interest for such accounts on the black market has been low due to security measures Apple has put in place in recent years, it said.

Since announcing its plan to wipe devices associated with iCloud accounts, the group claimed that other hackers have stepped forward and shared additional account credentials with them, putting the current number it holds at over 627 million.

According to the hackers, over 220 million of these credentials have been verified to work and provide access to iCloud accounts that don't have security measures like two-factor authentication turned on.
Of course, if credible, with an ask of just $150k, this is the most modest group of hackers we've ever come across.
Given the war that's erupted between the increasingly aggressive Turkish government and the EU, money may clearly not be the object here. Turkish PM Erdogan is clearly set on reconstructing the old Ottoman Empire and shivving Apple might just be part of the march.

Besides, Turkey is taking that recent coup attempt-- which is almost universally blamed on the CIA-- very personally.

Speaking of the EU, we've seen stories that Trump advisor Steve Bannon wants to dissolve the union. Which may be why Trump-adversary John McCain announced his unalloyed support for it- and the "New World Order" (his words, not mine):
The world "cries out for American and European leadership" through the EU and Nato, US senator John McCain said on Friday (24 March). 
In a "new world order under enormous strain" and in "the titanic struggle with forces of radicalism … we can't stand by and lament, we've got to be involved," said McCain, a former Republican presidential candidate who is now chairman of the armed services committee in the US Senate. 
Speaking at the Brussels Forum, a conference organised by the German Marshall Fund, a transatlantic think tank, he said that the EU and the US needed to develop "more cooperation, more connectivity". 
"I trust the EU," he said, defending an opposite view from that of US president Donald Trump, who said in January that the UK "was so smart in getting out" of the EU and that Nato was "obsolete". 
He said that the EU was "one of the most important alliances" for the US and that the EU and Nato were "the best two sums in history", which have maintained peace for the last 70 years. "We need to rely on Nato and have a Nato that adjusts to new challenges," he said.
Would McCain speak this way to a domestic audience? Of course not. Or maybe he would- I can't tell which way is up anymore. But either way it's good to know where he really stands.

Like McCain, China continues to sound a similar note of support for globalization, on which its very economic survival so desperately depends:
Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli told a gathering of Asian leaders that the world must commit to multilateral free trade under the World Trade Organization and needs to reform global economic governance. 
“The river of globalization and free trade will always move forward with unstoppable momentum to the vast ocean of the global economy,” Zhang said. China will remain a strong force in the world economy and for peace and stability, he said, adding that countries must respect one another’s core interests and refrain from undermining regional stability. 
I suppose this is why China is off the target list for our new Cold (?) Warriors.

I've resisted posting on all this because it's all so depressing. I've actually written a few pieces on this chicanery that I ended up roundfiling. But I suppose I just wanted to go on the record about all this skullduggery, for posterity's sake.

UPDATE: Sex trafficking arrests and trials continue to proliferate. Most recent bust, an international ring in Minnesota. There is way too much activity going down in too short a time for this to be spontaneous.

* Which is exactly why I refrained from commenting on it here for the most part, instead noting that it had become a kind of memetic virus in much the same way that the Franklin/Boy's Town scandal had in the 90s. (Note that prior to the election-- and Pizzagate-- Trump nemesis the Washington Post was all over the issue of sex trafficking in the nation's capital). 

† The ongoing legal and police actions coinciding with the moves to shut down the Pizzagate fringes on the Web seem like the exact kind of action one would expect if there were a serious operation at work. Shutting down the Internet chatter makes perfect sense in this context because it can only complicate cases made by prosecutors. 
          Blue Mountain CC Names Osa Esene as New Head Basketball Coach   

Blue Mountain Community College has hired Osadonor “Osa” Esene as its new head men’s basketball coach, beginning July 1. Esene replaces Gavin Burt, who resigned in April for personal reasons. Esene is the founder and owner of Ball Out PDX, LLC, an AAU youth basketball organization in the Portland Metro area, and for the past

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          Helen Gahagan Douglas: She Who Must Be Waylaid   
“Helen Gahagan Douglas … had not the slightest interest in politics until the late 1930s. Her conversion was as dramatic as a first-act curtain in the theater.”
  Eleanor Roosevelt

Congresswoman Helen Gahagan Douglas, a former movie star and opera singer, was a principled beacon of liberal light following the death of FDR.
She had once played She Who Must Be Obeyed, and when she ran for Senate in California, Congressman Richard Nixon regarded her as She Who Must Be Waylaid.
Helen Gahagan Douglas
“While sitting in a Viennese coffeehouse with an English music critic who was a friend of several colleagues, the two discussed her new contract,” wrote Sally Denton in The Pink Lady: The Many Lives of Helen Gahagan Douglas. “Suddenly, the man leaned in conspiratorially and whispered, ‘Of course, Miss Gahagan, you are pure Aryan?’
“Helen felt sick to her stomach as the man attempted to recruit her to the Nazi cause. ‘Aryans such as we,’ he told her, ‘(have) a duty to defend the superior race against Jews.’ At first she couldn’t speak. Until that moment the perspective of Jews in the world was a purely abstract notion. Now, as the Englishman spouted the familiar rantings of Hitler and Goebbels while asking her to enlist the support of fellow Nazi sympathizers in America, she felt forever changed. Her ‘Irish blood at the boiling point,’ she tore up the contract and left for home.”
It didn’t help the English critic’s case that her husband, the film actor Melvyn Douglas, was a Jew.
But it was the Dust Bowl that really blew Helen Gahagan Douglas into politics.
Once upon a time, specifically in California during the Dust Bowl 1930s, those much-despised “illegal aliens” were American citizens who’d fled West.
“Confined to filthy camps, thousands of starving families were ‘herded about like animals,’ living without toilet or showers, while local officials and growers fought to keep the federal government from supplying the migrants with food and medical supplies, fearing that they would form permanent communities, join unions and, most significant, interfere with the cheap Mexican laborers they were shuttling across the border and paying slave wages,” wrote Denton.
 “Importing labor was far cheaper than establishing schools and health-care clinics for American migrant workers, so the growers used every method possible, including force, to get the migrants to move on.
“Helen and Melvyn had attended dinner parties at which the subject of the ‘Okies’ was raised and they were frequently appalled at the lack of compassion shown by many of their peers. They ‘listened with astonishment to people making comfortable statements about how the situation was exaggerated or that the migrants should stop being so lazy and dirty.’”
Guided by Eleanor Roosevelt, she became more involved in politics even as she became less involved in her marriage. After Melvyn started a serious affair with a co-star, they separated, but would never divorce.
“I suppose it is commonplace that most long-time couples divide areas of emotional response, even as they share responsibilities and material goods,” Melvyn said years later. “Certainly our friends, the Roosevelts, had done something like that.”
Rising in politics, Helen had few illusions about it. “I was raised in a household of dominating men, and I learned early that men guard their authority over women jealously,” Helen said. “As for politics, they sincerely believe public life to be a male bailiwick. They reason that men have been running the country for the past two hundred years and are meant to do so for centuries to come. In short, men would never share power with women willingly. If we wanted it, we would have to take it.”
Fighting a conservative tide to keep the liberal Henry Wallace vice president in 1944, Douglas gave an eloquent speech at the Democratic National Convention.
“The Democratic party is the true conservative party,” she said. “We have conserved hope and ambition in the hearts of our people. We are the conservative party. We have conserved the skills of their hands. We have husbanded our natural resources. We have saved millions of homes and farms from foreclosure and conserved the family stake in democracy.
“We have rescued banks and trust companies, insured crops and people's savings. We have built schools. We have checked the flooding rivers and turned them into power.
“We have begun a program to free men and women from the constant nagging fear of unemployment, sickness, accident—and the dread of insecure old age. We have turned a once isolated, flood-ravished, poverty-stricken valley, the home of four and a half million people, into what is now a productive, happy place to live—the Tennessee River Valley. We have replanted the forest, re-fertilized the soil. Ours is the conservative party.
“We have guarded children, protected them by labor laws, planned school-lunch programs, provided clinics. Ours is the conservative party. Ours is the party that has created laws which have given dignity and protection to the working men and women of this country. Ours is the party that has made the individual aware of the need for his participation in a true democracy. We are the conservative party.
“We have conserved the people's faith in a people's government—democracy.”
Elected to Congress in 1944, Douglas was often compared to her glamorous right-wing counterpart there, Clare Booth Luce, the playwright and wife of Time Inc. founder Henry Luce.
“Driving cross-country with her secretary Evie Chavoor, and a friend, Jarmila Marton, having decided to make the move to Washington by automobile, the women tuned the radio to a morning news broadcast,” Denton wrote. “They listened with amusement to the announcement that Helen had defeated Luce as one of the 10 best-dressed women in public life.
“The rookie congresswoman had broken a cap on her front tooth, leaving a gap and stump when she opened her mouth to smile. Evie ‘turned around and looked at Helen, and there she was in the back seat with her terrible sloppy pants on … huddled in a blanket, her hair all streaming down.’ The women howled with laughter, wishing a photographer could see her in such a state.”
Douglas understood, though, that the trivial focus on women’s looks was a means of undermining their power. “Congresswomen’s ideas should rate above their clothes and looks,” she said. “Why this emphasis on the sexes anyway, in a serious thing like government?”
“I never felt I left the stage,” Douglas said, and her clipped, powerful, theatrically trained voice was a great asset in politics.
But there was nothing phony about her, nothing fake. She was a proponent of what philosophers call “virtue ethics,” giving a fair summary of it in this quote: “Character isn’t inherited. One builds it daily by the way one thinks and acts, thought by thought, action by action. If one lets fear or hate or anger take possession of the mind, they become self-forged chains.”
The liberal and idealistic Douglas was waylaid by the rising, conniving and unprincipled Nixon, sounding an ugly theme that has echoed in American politics right into the 21stcentury.
Nixon’s dirty tactics — among them smearing Douglas as a Communist and sponsoring calls to ask voters if they were aware that her movie star husband was “a Jew” — earned him the apt, lifelong nickname Tricky Dick. But Douglas was also hampered by her own lofty idealism and California’s Chinatown-like civic corruption. And the times were against her, the 1950 election coinciding with both the rise of McCarthyism and the height of the Korean war.
“There was the United States fighting communism and I was the person who said we should limit the power of the military and try to disarm the world and get along with Russia,” Douglas said.
“The worst moment, a sight I couldn’t shake, was when children picked up rocks and threw them at my car, at me. I knew that in order to survive I would have to accept the rocks and the Nixon campaign, shrug them off and move on. I wondered if I would be able to do it.”
She was, finding herself exhausted but strangely calm after Nixon’s huge victory. “I was so pleased that I had escaped the terrible burden of hating Richard Nixon that I was almost elated,” she said.
Nixon, in later years, at least feigned regret over his behavior in the campaign. “Years later, asked by British publisher David Astor to explain his campaign tactics, Nixon reportedly ‘cast down his eyes with a look of modest contrition’ and explained, ‘I want you to remember that I was a very young man,’” wrote Anthony Summers in The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon. “In 1950, (Nixon) was 37 and a veteran of four years in the House of Representatives.”
Douglas summed it up simply: “There’s not much to say about the 1950 campaign, except that a man ran for Senate who wanted to get there, and didn’t care how he did it.”
After Nixon revealed his true character to the world in Watergate, and was driven from office in shame, Douglas had the last laugh. But she didn’t laugh. She mourned.
“If the national security is involved, anything goes,” she said in 1973. “There are no rules. There are people so lacking in roots about what is proper and improper that they don’t know there’s anything wrong in breaking into the headquarters of the opposition party.”
After Nixon’s resignation, a bumper sticker started appearing on vehicles throughout California: “Don’t Blame Me, I Voted for Helen Gahagan Douglas.”
Her secretary Nan Stevens said, “People rather expected that she would be gloating over Richard Nixon finally being found out, but she was only said. She thought it terrible for the country and for America’s reputation abroad. I know that makes her sound almost too good to be true, but she was good. I’m not saying Helen didn’t have feet of clay. But you had to look awfully hard to find her tiny clay feet.”
Douglas and her husband often led separate lives. She had an affair with, among others, Lyndon Baines Johnson, but became estranged from with him during his presidency over her support for disarmament and opposition to the escalating Vietnam War.
But Douglas and Melvyn were always good friends, and he made an impassioned radio speech for her during her doomed Senate campaign. “It is easier — as a matter of fact it is the easiest thing in the world — to call people of good will dirty names, to call them Communists,” he said.

Melvyn was at her side when she died of cancer in 1980, and he wrote, “She was entranced always by the light. In every house we ever occupied, she wanted the windows to be wider. She always thought no room could have too many windows … She was always saying, ‘Look at the light! Isn’t it beautiful? Shewas the light. And she was beautiful.’”

          Lung and stomach cancer associations with groundwater radon in North Carolina, USA   
Background: The risk of indoor air radon for lung cancer is well studied, but the risks of groundwater radon for both lung and stomach cancer are much less studied, and with mixed results.Methods: Geomasked and geocoded stomach and lung cancer cases in North Carolina from 1999 to 2009 were obtained from the North Carolina Central Cancer Registry. Models for the association with groundwater radon and multiple confounders were implemented at two scales: (i) an ecological model estimating cancer incidence rates at the census tract level; and (ii) a case-only logistic model estimating the odds that individual cancer cases are members of local cancer clusters.Results: For the lung cancer incidence rate model, groundwater radon is associated with an incidence rate ratio of 1.03 [95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.01, 1.06] for every 100 Bq/l increase in census tract averaged concentration. For the cluster membership models, groundwater radon exposure results in an odds ratio for lung cancer of 1.13 (95% CI = 1.04, 1.23) and for stomach cancer of 1.24 (95% CI = 1.03, 1.49), which means groundwater radon, after controlling for multiple confounders and spatial auto-correlation, increases the odds that lung and stomach cancer cases are members of their respective cancer clusters.Conclusion: Our study provides epidemiological evidence of a positive association between groundwater radon exposure and lung cancer incidence rates. The cluster membership model results find groundwater radon increases the odds that both lung and stomach cancer cases occur within their respective cancer clusters. The results corroborate previous biokinetic and mortality studies that groundwater radon is associated with increased risk for lung and stomach cancer.

          Pre-adult famine exposure and subsequent colorectal cancer risk in women   
Background: Nutritional deprivation during growth and development may contribute to colorectal cancer (CRC) risk in later life.Methods: We studied 7906 women who were aged 0–21 years during the 1944–45 Dutch famine, who enrolled in the Prospect-EPIC study between 1993 and 1997. We used Cox proportional hazard analyses to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for colorectal (proximal, distal and rectal) cancer risk across self-reported famine exposure and exposure-age categories, while adjusting for potential confounders.Results: During a median of 17.3 years of follow-up, 245 CRC cases occurred. Moderately and severely famine-exposed women showed a respective 24% and 44% higher CRC risk compared with women who reported no exposure [HRmoderate 1.24 (95% CI: 0.93–1.64); HRsevere 1.44 (1.03–2.03); Ptrend 0.027]. This relation attenuated when adjusted for potential confounders [adjusted HRmoderate 1.15 (0.87–1.53); HRsevere 1.35 (0.96–1.90); Ptrend 0.091]. Stratified results suggested that severe famine exposure between 10 and 17 years of age was particularly related to CRC risk[adjusted HRmoderate 1.39 (0.91–2.11); HRsevere 1.76 (1.10–2.83); Ptrend 0.019; Pinteraction(famine*10–17yrs) 0.096]. Overall, we found no differences in famine effects across CRC subsites, but age-at-exposure stratified results suggested an increased risk for proximal CRC in those aged 10–17 years during exposure to the famine [adjusted HRmoderate 2.14 (1.06–4.32), HRsevere 2.96 (1.35–6.46); Ptrend 0.005]. Overall and within age-at-exposure categories, tests for subsite specific heterogeneity in famine effects were not significant.Conclusions: Our findings suggest that severe exposure to a short period of caloric restriction in pre-adult women may relate to CRC risk decades later.

          Optimal timing of antiretroviral treatment initiation in HIV-positive children and adolescents: a multiregional analysis from Southern Africa, West Africa and Europe   
Background: There is limited knowledge about the optimal timing of antiretroviral treatment initiation in older children and adolescents.Methods: A total of 20 576 antiretroviral treatment (ART)-naïve patients, aged 1-16 years at enrolment, from 19 cohorts in Europe, Southern Africa and West Africa, were included. We compared mortality and growth outcomes for different ART initiation criteria, aligned with previous and recent World Health Organization criteria, for 5 years of follow-up, adjusting for all measured baseline and time-dependent confounders using the g-formula.Results: Median (1st;3rd percentile) CD4 count at baseline was 676 cells/mm3 (394; 1037) (children aged ≥ 1 and < 5 years), 373 (172; 630) (≥ 5 and < 10 years) and 238 (88; 425) (≥ 10 and < 16 years). There was a general trend towards lower mortality and better growth with earlier treatment initiation. In children < 10 years old at enrolment, by 5 years of follow-up there was lower mortality and a higher mean height-for-age z-score with immediate ART initiation versus delaying until CD4 count < 350 cells/mm3 (or CD4% < 15% or weight-for-age z-score < -2) with absolute differences in mortality and height-for-age z-score of 0.3% (95% confidence interval: 0.1%; 0.6%) and -0.08 (-0.09; -0.06) (≥ 1 and < 5 years), and 0.3% (0.04%; 0.5%) and -0.07 (-0.08; -0.05) (≥ 5 and < 10 years). In those aged > 10 years at enrolment we did not find any difference in mortality or growth with immediate ART initiation, with estimated differences of -0.1% (-0.2%; 0.6%) and -0.03 (-0.05; 0.00), respectively. Growth differences in children aged < 10 years persisted for treatment thresholds using higher CD4 values. Regular follow-up led to better height and mortality outcomes.Conclusions: Immediate ART is associated with lower mortality and better growth for up to 5 years in children < 10 years old. Our results on adolescents were inconclusive.

          Comment on Financial Case Study: Ryan O’Connor, SEO Consultant and One Tribe Apparel Co-Founder by Tiffany   
Hi Ryan, you do have an interesting story of how you've been creating your lifestyle! You sound confident and focused. Thanks for sharing your story!
          Cohort Profile: The Saguenay Youth Study (SYS)   
The Saguenay Youth Study (SYS) is a two-generational study of adolescents and their parents (n = 1029 adolescents and 962 parents) aimed at investigating the aetiology, early stages and trans-generational trajectories of common cardiometabolic and brain diseases. The ultimate goal of this study is to identify effective means for increasing healthy life expectancy. The cohort was recruited from the genetic founder population of the Saguenay Lac St Jean region of Quebec, Canada. The participants underwent extensive (15-h) phenotyping, including an hour-long recording of beat-by-beat blood pressure, magnetic resonance imaging of the brain and abdomen, and serum lipidomic profiling with LC-ESI-MS. All participants have been genome-wide genotyped (with ∼ 8 M imputed single nucleotide polymorphisms) and a subset of them (144 adolescents and their 288 parents) has been genome-wide epityped (whole blood DNA, Infinium HumanMethylation450K BeadChip). These assessments are complemented by a detailed evaluation of each participant in a number of domains, including cognition, mental health and substance use, diet, physical activity and sleep, and family environment. The data collection took place during 2003–12 in adolescents (full) and their parents (partial), and during 2012–15 in parents (full). All data are available upon request.

          Smartphone Smarts During Trade-In   
The typical cellphone user upgrades every 18 months. Trade-in programs like those recently announced by Apple and Walmart could spark even quicker stampedes for the latest-and-greatest models – with turned-in phones still full of personal data. “Most people consider a smartphone a communications device,” notes Adam Levin, former New Jersey Director of Consumer Affairs and founder of Identity Theft 911, a provider of identity management and breach-response services for businesses. “What many people don’t realize is that it’s a data …
          Shorts Battle Over Linn   

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Linn Energy has become a news story without much news, courtesy of TheStreet founder Jim Cramer and the very aggressive short war being engaged by Barron's magazine and a research firm looking to make a name for itself.

So the battle over Linn is pitched, but let's take a look, not as an analyst but as a trader should -- trying less to find a winner in the numbers and rhetoric, but instead understanding the trading psyche that encircles this beleaguered name.

First, understand that Linn uses the Master Limited Partnership structure in a very unique way and some could argue it abuses this structure, both in the tax advantages it gains and the distributions it looks to pass along to its shareholders. I won't opine on whether turning an energy company into a registered MLP is a fair or unfair organizational trick, but I will say that it can make proper valuation of this name difficult for the retail investor -- there is no other energy company quite like Linn. >>Also see: Coal Is First Casualty of Energy Abundance>> The retail shareholder is what the stock action has been all about. Linn is not an institutional name -- its holders are mostly all retail punters, easily frightened and sensitive to "bear raid" activity. With almost 5% short interest in the stock, there is a good financial reason for certain funds to very much want to see those shares go down....

Click to view a price quote on LINE.

Click to research the Energy industry.

          Download Free Dude, Where's My country? Ebook PDF Free   

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          Keri Meyers Top 10 Vendor List   
Whether you are just starting out or you are a seasoned photographer, finding the right vendors for your business is incredible. I couldn't tell you how much money I have wasted on software and products trying to find what was right for me. So I reached out to professional newborn photographer and co-founder of, Keri Meyers, and asked her about her favorite go-to vendors!
          Jennifer Cherry Foster Founder of Catalyst Media Factory   
As a startup or small business owner, it’s easy to forget about telling your story. You’re often busy focusing on the product, the day to day operations, the team you’re building — and everything else on your plate. Media matters and there’s no one more...
          October 3rd with guest Stephen Hill author of Something Unseen   
Located in the Charlotte, NC area Stephen is the founder of Piedmont Paranormal Investigations. With a strong background in industrial/commercial electricity he specializes in electronic voice phenomena and is working on paranormal cinematography. He has examined hundreds of EVP captures from all across the country and abroad for people who have contacted him wanting help. […]
          September 19th with guest Dina Palazini   
G&D is joined by Dina Palazini, founder of Beyond the Veil Paranormal and The Haunted on Animal Planet. – We are also joined by guest ghost hosts Becky Ray and Laura Moon! Download G&D 09-19-10
          October 25th with guest Jeanne Mackin – Author of “The Sweet By and By”   
G&D 10-25-09 The strange-but-true history of Maggie Fox, 19th-century founder of the American Spiritualist movement, haunts a 20th-century journalist in this double-barreled tale of love and loss. Mackin (Dreams of Empire; Queen’s War; etc.) skips between Fox’s story and that of middle-aged magazine writer Helen West, who takes on an assignment to write an essay […]
          September 7th with Brian Wilson Sr. Carolyn Griffiths and Janice Oberding   
G&D 09-07-08 Brian Wilson Sr. From Children of the Grave. Carolyn Griffiths the founder of Nevada Paranormal Research Group (NPRG) a local Las Vegas group & co-creator/manager of the Paracon 2008. Janice Oberding is author and paranormal research investigator, Janice Oberding has been actively involved in paranormal investigation and research for over 30 years.
          August 24th Christopher Balzano and Chris Sepulveda   
G&D 08-24-08 Christopher Balzano is the founder and director of Massachusetts Paranormal Crossroads, an online collection of legends and ghost stories from Massachusetts and the surrounding states. He has been investigating the paranormal for more than ten years and has been writing about those experiences for the past five. Chris Sepulveda is a member of […]
          August 10th with EVPs from Harold Berryman   
G&D 08-10-08 Harold Berryman founder of Haunt Analyst (Ghost Hunters of Georgia)We talked about Ghost Hunting Down South and played some of his best EVPs.
          May 11th with Keith Age and Greg Myers   
G&D 05-11-08 Keith Age has over 30 years of experience in paranormal research. He is the Founder and President of the Louisville Ghost Hunters Society which was formed in 1996. He was the host of Spooked on the Sci-Fi Channel. At present Keith Age is anticipating the Sci-Fi Channel’s airing of the ongoing epic reality […]
          March 30th with Paranormal investigator Jeffrey Stewart and Bigfoot Hunter James Snell   
G&D 03-03-08 G&D talk with Jeffery Stewart who in 2004 founded the Paranormal Investigators of New England and James Snell, part of our Bigfoot Response Team for Searching for Bigfoot Inc. He is also the Director and founder of Granite State Paranormal.
          TBN: Trouble in Paradise   
As advocates of the “prosperity gospel,” TBN founders Paul and Janice Crouch teach that the more you give to God, the more you get.
          Retail Sales Consultant (30 hours) - Thomas Cook Group - Broughton   
175 years ago, our founder Thomas Cook began this company with a vision to ‘broaden the mind of others and break down the partition walls of prejudice.'
From Thomas Cook Group - Fri, 23 Jun 2017 17:12:07 GMT - View all Broughton jobs
           How Privatization Could Spell the End of Democracy   
Between Trump and tech, never before have so many powerful people been so intent on transforming government into a business.

It’s a hot day in New York City. You’re thirsty, but your water bottle is empty. So you walk into a store and place your bottle in a machine. You activate the machine with an app on your phone, and it fills your bottle with tap water. Now you are no longer thirsty.

This is the future envisioned by the founders of a startup called Reefill. If the premise sounds oddly familiar, that’s because it is: Reefill has reinvented the water fountain as a Bluetooth-enabled subscription service. Customers pay $1.99 a month for the privilege of using its machines, located at participating businesses around Manhattan.

Predictably, the company has already come in for its fair share of ridicule. In Slate, Henry Grabar called it “tap water in a suit”. But while Reefill is a particularly cartoonish example, its basic business model is a popular one within tech. The playbook is simple: take a public service and build a private, app-powered version of it.

he most obvious examples are Uber and Lyft, which aspire not merely to eliminate the taxi industry, but to replace public transportation. They’re slowly succeeding: municipalities around America are now subsidizing ride-hailing fares instead of running public buses. And earlier this year, Lyft began offering a fixed-route, flat-rate service called Lyft Shuttle in Chicago and San Francisco – an aggressive bid to poach more riders from public transit.

These companies wouldn’t have customers if better public alternatives existed. It can be hard to find a water fountain in Manhattan, and public transit in American cities ranges from mediocre to nonexistent. But solving these problems by ceding them to the private sector ensures that public services will continue to deteriorate until they disappear.

Decades of defunding and outsourcing have already pushed public services to the brink. Now, fortified with piles of investor cash and the smartphone, tech companies are trying to finish them off.

Proponents of privatization believe this is a good thing. For years, they have advanced the argument that business will always perform a given task better than government, whether it’s running buses or schools, supplying healthcare or housing. The public sector is sclerotic, wasteful and undisciplined by the profit motive. The private sector is dynamic, innovative and, above all, efficient.

This belief has become common sense in political life. It is widely shared by the country’s elite, and has guided much policymaking over the past several decades. But like most of our governing myths, it collapses on closer inspection.

No word is invoked more frequently or more fervently by apostles of privatization than efficiency. Yet this is a strange basis on which to build their case, given the fact that public services are often more efficient than private ones. Take healthcare. The United States has one of the least efficient systems on the planet: we spend more money on healthcare than anyone else, and in return we receive some of the worst health outcomes in the west. Not coincidentally, we also have the most privatized healthcare system in the advanced world. By contrast, the UK spends a fraction of what we do and achieves far better results. It also happens to provision healthcare as a public service. Somehow, the absence of the profit motive has not produced an epidemic of inefficiency in British healthcare. Meanwhile, we pay nearly $10,000 per capita and a staggering 17% of our GDP to achieve a life expectancy somewhere between that of Costa Rica and Cuba.

A profit-driven system doesn’t mean we get more for our money – it means someone gets to make more money off of us. The healthcare industry posts record profits and rewards its chief executives with the highest salaries in the country. It takes a peculiar frame of mind to see this arrangement as anything resembling efficient.

Attacking public services on the grounds of efficiency isn’t just incorrect, however – it’s beside the point. Decades of neoliberalism have corroded our capacity to think in non-economic terms. We’ve been taught that all fields of human life should be organized as markets, and that government should be run like a business. This ideology has found its perverse culmination in the figure of Donald Trump, a celebrity billionaire with no prior political experience who catapulted himself into the White House by invoking his expertise as an businessman. The premise of Trump’s campaign was that America didn’t need a president – it needed a CEO.

Nowhere is the neoliberal faith embodied by Trump more deeply felt than in Silicon Valley. Tech entrepreneurs work tirelessly to turn more of our lives into markets and devote enormous resources towards “disrupting” government by privatizing its functions. Perhaps this is why, despite Silicon Valley’s veneer of liberal cosmopolitanism, it has a certain affinity for the president. On Monday, Trump met with top executives from Apple, Amazon, Google and other major tech firms to explore how to “unleash the creativity of the private sector to provide citizen services”, in the words of Jared Kushner. Between Trump and tech, never before have so many powerful people been so intent on transforming government into a business.

But government isn’t a business; it’s a different kind of machine. At its worst, it can be repressive and corrupt and autocratic. At its best, it can be an invaluable tool for developing and sustaining a democratic society. Among other things, this includes ensuring that everyone receives the resources they need to exercise the freedoms on which democracy depends. When we privatize public services, we don’t just risk replacing them with less efficient alternatives – we risk damaging democracy itself.

If this seems like a stretch, that’s because pundits and politicians have spent decades defining the idea of democracy downwards. It has come to mean little more than holding elections every few years. But this is the absolute minimum of democracy’s meaning. Its Greek root translates to “rule of the people” – not rule by certain people, such as the rich (plutocracy) or the priests (theocracy), but by all people. Democracy describes a way of organizing society in which the whole of the people determine how society should be organized.

What does this have to do with buses or schools or hospitals or houses? In a democracy, everyone gets to participate in the decisions that affect their lives. But that’s impossible if people don’t have access to the goods they need to survive – if they’re hungry or homeless or sick. And the reality is that when goods are rationed by the market, fewer people have access to them. Markets are places of winners and losers. You don’t get what you need – you get what you can afford.

By contrast, public services offer a more equitable way to satisfy basic needs. By taking things off the market, government can democratize access to the resources that people rely on to lead reasonably dignified lives. Those resources can be offered cheap or free, funded by progressive taxation. They can also be managed by publicly accountable institutions led by elected officials, or subject to more direct mechanisms of popular control.

These ideas are considered wildly radical in American politics. Yet other places around the world have implemented them with great success. When Oxfam surveyed more than 100 countries, they discovered that public services significantly reduce economic inequality. They shrink the distance between rich and poor by lowering the cost of living. They empower working people by making their survival less dependent on their bosses and landlords and creditors. Perhaps most importantly, they entitle citizens to a share of society’s wealth and a say over how it’s used.

But where will the money come from? This is the perennial question, posed whenever someone suggests raising the welfare state above a whisper. Fortunately, it has a simple answer. The United States is the richest country in the history of the world. It is so rich, in fact, that its richest people can afford to pour billions of dollars into a company such as Uber, which loses billions of dollars each year, in the hopes of getting just a little bit richer. In the face of such extravagance, diverting a modest portion of the prosperity we produce in common toward services that benefit everyone shouldn’t be controversial. It’s a small price to pay for making democracy mean more than a hollow slogan, or a sick joke.




Related Stories

          Wally Boag feted at Golden Horseshoe event   

It's a lonely business, being the devoted fan of a theme park show that closed 22 years ago.

Or so I thought until last Saturday's Golden Horseshoe Revue Dinner Show and Celebration, presented by the grand folks of Ape Pen Publishing and The Magic Makers.

The evening grew out of the friendship of Ape Pen's founder, Caroline Thie, and the children of GHS star Wally Boag. They felt it was time for a tribute to the people and traditions of Frontierland's Golden Horseshoe ... and they created something as much fun and as touching as the show itself.

(L to R) Carlene Thie of Ape Pen Publishing, Wally Boag and Carlene's daughter, Rachel.
Photo by Denise Preskitt of

Plans for the event were changing right up to the last minute, so I didn't know what to expect when I arrived at the Anaheim Sheraton – maybe a few dozen former Disneylanders; and indeed, I spotted some familiar faces. But mainly there were 300+ people I'd never seen before. They had come from all over America out of affection for the Original Golden Horseshoe Revue.

There's something about Disney events and anniversaries that you have to experience, like finding a connection with your past. I first learned this in 1980 at Disneyland's 25th Anniversary, surrounded by thousands of people like me who simply wouldn't have thought of missing the party. You can strike up a conversation with anybody, because you're all living with the same passion for one crazy corner of the world.

The folks at Disneyland Entertainment sent over the Dapper Dans to warm up the crowd with tunes we all heard growing up. Then the show started with a video tribute to Horseshoe History – a collection of vintage clips punctuated by bursts of applause as each beloved performer appeared on screen. Of course, the loudest ovations were inspired by the first sightings of Wally Boag, Fulton Burley and Betty Taylor at work.

The Golden Horseshoe Girls kick up their heels one more time.
Photo by Denise Preskitt of

Then the Golden Horseshoe girls... and I mean THE Golden Horseshoe Girls: Deedee Bozikis, Arlene Dragon, Janice Gilmore and Georgeen Whitney... took the stage in costume, singing and dancing 'Welcome to the Golden Horseshoe' just as they did when I worked there back in the '80s. Apparently dancers never age.

The current headliners of the Horseshoe stage – Billy Hill & the Hillbillies – were represented by emcee (and fan favorite) John Eaden and Kirk Wall's outrageous Elvis medley. It's nice to know that Frontierland's comic tradition is in such silly, capable hands.

At my table I was delighted to be reunited with Jim Adams, Wally's long-standing sub and co-star. We swapped stories of the old days of working with Fulton and the Band. Jim had to laugh while watching video of he and Wally rehearsing for a 1980 TV Special, because he had no memory of doing it.

Jim Adams introduces Wally the clown to his namesake.
Photo by Denise Preskitt of

Memories came flooding back quickly, though, when Jim took the stage with GHS mascot Claude Dog and his puppet pals. One adorable clown had trouble remembering his own name... until Jim revealed it was 'Wally'; he'd been named years ago in tribute to the evening's guest of honor.

Disney Legends Bob Gurr and Charles Boyer reminisced about Wally and the Horseshoe and Imagineering Ambassador Marty Sklar took us back even further to before the park's opening in '55, when Wally was hired under a 2 week contract.

Wally's son, Lawrence, shared stories of his youth and being raised by his mischievous dad. His sister, Heather, gave us a taste of what it was like to have all of Disneyland as a playground and second home. It was touching to watch Wally taking it all in, his lovely wife Ellen proudly at his side.

Wally & his dining companion listen in as Lawrence Boag reflects on his
rather unique childhood. Photo by Ron Schneider

Congratulations were read from Disney Legend Art Linkletter. Then author Gene Sands, who has been collaborating with Wally on his autobiography, announced that their book, "The Clown Prince of Disneyland," would see release by Fall, 2008.

As part of the personal tributes, Jim Adams told the crowd he'd been a star struck kid when – on a break from his Disney job – he knocked on Wally's dressing room door in a pair of monkey feet and asked to meet his hero. He said that Wally opening that door and taking him in was a blessing he'd always remember. “I wanted to BE Wally Boag.”

Dana Daniels, star of the 'Golden Horseshoe Talent Show', brought the house down with his comedy magic, ably upstaged by his partner – Luigi, the Psychic Parrot. Dana told the story of his first visit to Wally's room... also on a break from work, but wearing clown shoes. “I ALSO wanted to be Wally Boag!”

 Dana Daniels and Luigi wowed the crowd with their psychic routine.
Photo by Denise Preskitt of

Folks who work in themed entertainment may not make the big bucks, and we may toil in relative obscurity – known only as the characters we portray – but we make up for it in volume... the sheer numbers of people whose lives we touch on a daily basis.

The people who were there that night… and millions around the world… have had a Disney day brightened by seeing Wally perform. But for Jim and Dana and Dick Hardwick and myself, Wally Boag was an inspiration.

So by the time it was my turn to speak, the only thing I could open with was, “Stop me if you've heard this before... “

 Ron Schneider at last month's Golden Horseshoe tribute event.
Photo by Denise Preskitt of

I chose to reminisce about my days as a fan of the Horseshoe, when I would run to the GHS reservations podium, hoping that Wally, Fulton & Betty would be performing that day. I spoke on behalf of all of us who had wanted to 'be Wally Boag', thanking him for his kindness and generosity; and for giving each of us a start in our lives as performers:

“Some of us are here tonight... All of us are here in spirit. And we are so grateful to have been a part of this legacy, and proud of what we brought to this wonderful show created by Walt and Wally.

But it must be said that when it came to Disneyland's Golden Horseshoe – nobody could touch Betty Taylor. And nobody could touch Fulton Burley. And no one can touch Wally Boag.”

 The crowd shows its appreciation for the one, the only Wally Boag !
Photo by Denise Preskitt of

I said it Saturday night and I'll say it all my days: “Wally, thank you for my life.”

Speaking of Mr. Schneider's life ... Ron's hard at work on his memoirs, "Themes, Dreams & Schemes: 40 Years Behind a Nametag." Which should show up in a bookstore near you in late 2008 / early 2009.

          Investing in the Research Process: Nursing Health Services Research Unit - University of Toronto Site   
Linda O'Brien-Pallas, RN, PhD, FCAHS is a Professor in the Faculties of Nursing and Medicine at the University of Toronto and Director, Co-Founder and Co-Principal Investigator of the Nursing Health Services Research Unit (University of Toronto site). Dr. O'Brien-Pallas is acknowledged globally for her pioneering and innovative research in health human resources modelling, quality of work life for nurses and nursing workload measurement. The rigour of her research has been praised by respected researchers at international conferences, and her expertise is sought by governments and stakeholders at all levels in Canada and throughout the world. She is frequently called upon by the World Health Organization and the International Council of Nurses to provide high-level consultation on matters including midwifery and health human resources planning. Dr. O'Brien-Pallas has provided leadership to many boards and committees and is a co-founder of the Dorothy M. Wylie Nursing Leadership Institute, which received the 2003 Ted Freedman Award for Innovation in Education. She has received numerous awards for her research and innovative contributions to nursing, including the Canadian Nurses Association's prestigious Jeanne Mance Award in 2006.
          Key Politics   
Some time ago an ignition key was born. A silver key with no remote nor batteries to slow it down, even the key ring found itself an orphan.

The key fit perfectly in many situations, small cars, big cars, fast cars, slow cars. The key was responsible for igniting 2 cycle and 4 cycle motors and grew to ignite the economy. Sometimes keys lost their ways, however technology advancements made it possible to clone another.


Uniting what would become a political passion play, keys are blamed for melting ice-burgs and raising sea levels, and most important, winning elections.

John Coleman, founder of the Weather Channel, stated Global Warming is “the greatest scam in history …and nothing more than a political platform”.

Pros/cons alike there are just too many keys that open back doors of beach homes, private jets, eight car garages, and SUV caravans.

The Global Warming pitch has stalled.

Keys rejoice.
          American Innocence   
The origins of oil production in the United States can be traced back to Titusville, Pennsylvania 1859. John D. Rockefeller turned oil into a “Standard” household name.

The origins of oil production in the Middle East can be traced back to Persia in 1908. King Ibn Saud, founder of modern Saudi Arabia was somewhat understated in his quest for oil.

Early Saudi oil production was similar to hosting a dinner party... foreign dignitaries came hungry and the Middle East was quick to learn how to entertain.

One Ford assembly plant and industrial revolution later, America's appetite for oil increased dramatically. World War I and II would prove to be the "coming out" parties for oil as a strategic tool - however it would take a Baby Boom to define oil as a real means to enjoy life.

The term "oil crisis" was founded in 1973 - members of OPEC announced, as a result of the Yom Kippur War, they would no longer ship oil to nations who had supported Israel in its conflict with Syria and Egypt.

Gas lines formed – American’s demanded answers!

Then, like a passing thunderstorm, the lines stopped and oil shined upon us once again.

The 1979 (or second) oil crisis began in the wake of the Iranian Revolution and the Ayatollah Khomeini taking control. The Ayatollah's immediate interest wasn’t oil, so he shut it down and unwittingly started a widespread panic among Saudi Arabia and other OPEC nations. The immediate concern was Iran's stability and willingness as an oil partner. As Mid East oil production stalled - prices rose and shortages, either planned or accidential, were on the horizon.

Gas lines formed and once again American’s demanded answers!

Then, as before, the lines stopped and oil was everywhere.

Today, April fools day, Congress met with top executives of the country’s five biggest oil companies and pressed them to explain why they should continue to get billions of dollars in tax breaks when they made $123 billion last year and motorists are paying record gasoline prices at the pump.

Tomorrow we shall demand answers!

American innocence is applauded, the era of cheep oil is over.
          In Conversation with Bill Barrable   
Bill Barrable is the recipient of the University of Toronto Department of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation Society of Graduates Leadership Award for 2010. For 15 years, Bill was chief executive officer (CEO) of British Columbia Transplant where he implemented several innovative approaches to transplant services including activity-based alternative payment plans for physicians and the world's first online digital signature organ registry. In other roles, he was founding chair of the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, former entrepreneur-in-residence at Simon Frazer University, recipient of Canada's Top 40 under 40 and co-founder of a venture capital fund for British Columbia's biotechnology sector. Bill recently became CEO of the Rick Hansen Institute, a Vancouver-based organization committed to minimizing disability and maximizing quality of life for those with spinal cord injuries. HQ's Ken Tremblay recently had a chance to chat with Bill about challenges and opportunities, both in work and in life.
          Thirty-One Gifts & Girls Take Flight - PediaCast 356   
Today we consider Girls Take Flight, a partnership between Thirty-One Gifts and Nationwide Children’s. The goal of the program is to raise awareness—and funding—in support of behavioral and mental health challenges specific to girls and young women. Cindy Monroe, Founder and President of Thirty-One Gifts, joins me to talk about the program. Dr Nancy Cunningham also stops by to shed light on the problems girls face… and what’s being done to help these kids reach their full potential. We hope you can join us!
          Diddy Is No Longer Facing Felony Charges in UCLA Coach Assault, But Case Isn't Over Yet   
Good news for Diddy. The Bad Boy Records founder will reportedly not be charged with a felony following his arrest for assaulting a UCLA football coach. Continue reading…

Genre: Sweet Through Hot Romance
This sweet through hot collection of love stories includes contemporary, period, and historical romance, otherworldly romance, and romance with a touch of magic by eight Award-winning and Bestselling Authors.

Beltane Lion by Cindy Spencer Pape
Rhodri of Llyan has returned from the Crusades a cursed man. On the way home to Wales, a friend is injured. Rhodri seeks help from Selene, whose gift for healing is uncanny. Selene’s magic can cure wounds, but she isn’t sure she can break the curse or heal Rhodri’s heart?

Operation Man Hunt by Marianne Stephens
Chris Carlisle needs a man and Tony Davis becomes her goal. He learns the hidden reason for her enticing attempts to capture his attention. Both can’t deny the mutual, lusty attraction. Will true love follow?

Desire’s Dilemma by Jean Hart Stewart
Feeling long neglected by her new guardian, Lady Valanna’s resentment quickly turns to attraction when she finally meets the war-wounded Marcus, Marquis of Tendale. Once a British spy who barely survived interrogation at the hands of the enemy, Marcus believes his wounds forever stand in the way of his long-held love for Valanna. Valanna disagrees, emphatically. Will they ever reconcile their differences and find happiness?

Werecat Love by Janice Seagraves
Morgan Brookhaven isn’t expecting romance when she accompanies her friend for a week of skiing, but when she meets Jared all bets are off. Ski instructor Jared Catterick has secrets that he doesn’t mind sharing with a special lady, and he hopes Morgan is the one.

Riviera Rendezvous by Gemma Juliana
Amalie flees when she runs into danger on the cruise ship she calls home, but soon realizes she can’t afford a ticket to fly home. Xandros is more than the shipping agent everybody thinks he is, and he’s had his sights on Amalie for months. So when she suddenly becomes a stranded damsel in distress, he is quick to suggest a solution.

Something Moor by Denyse Bridger 
An unexpected trip to Ireland takes Caragh McCarthy back to her ancestral home, and the past collides with the present when car trouble strands her on the moors of Country Tyrone. When Kelan O’Shea comes to her rescue, a 300 year old injustice might yet be set right, and a promised future can be fulfilled.

I’ll Be Seeing You by Paris Brandon
Jack Howland, part of an elite group of special OSS agents, can’t resist the pull of the moon or widowed USO hostess, Lulu Lane. Separated after a night of passion, their paths cross again after the war, but will Jack’s dangerous secret send her screaming into the night, or back into his arms?
Capri Nights by Cara Marsi

A San Francisco sous chef discovers she might have bitten off more than she can chew when a scrumptious Italian man stirs up a recipe for romance on the delicious Isle of Capri.

Cindy Spencer Pape firmly believes in happily-ever-after and brings that to her writing. Multiple award-winning author of the best-selling Gaslight Chronicles, she has released almost sixty novels and stories, which blend fantasy, adventure, science fiction, suspense, history and romance. She lives in southeast Michigan and when not hard at work writing she can be found restoring her 1870 house, dressing up for steampunk parties and Renaissance fairs, or with her nose buried in a book.
TwitterFacebook ✯ Website

Marianne Stephens writes romance and nonfiction. She has self-pubbed/published books with Naughty Literati and Romance Books '4' Us. 
Naughty LiteratiRomance Book 4 UsMarianne Stephens

Jean Hart Stewart Love California, even though I’m a transplant. Love writing and all it entails, crazy characters demanding to be let loose on the page, long hours of research, every bit of it. I raised two children and spent about twenty years in real estate before I summoned the courage to quit and do what I always wanted to do, WRITE! While he was alive my husband was my first-stop editor and biggest fan. Now that my children are accustomed to my writing sexy novels they’re equally supportive. 
I’m currently finishing my 21st book, tentatively named Double Love and have four books coming out this year. I think I’m blessed as well as lucky. Do write me with any questions. I love to hear from readers!

Janice Seagraves grew up with a deep love of science fiction and adventure stories. Always the consummate artist, she traded in her paint brush for a desktop to write breathless life-affirming novels that celebrate enduring love.

Gemma Juliana loves playing matchmaker to her characters, and takes great joy in creating love stories where two hearts end up beating as one. She has traveled the world, and adds the extra spice of international settings to her stories. Gemma lives with her true love in a cozy Texas cottage along with their teen son and a crafty dog who rules them all. Her muse is nourished with the finest creativity fuels–chocolate and coffee. Gemma loves hearing from readers around the world. Stop by her website to sign up for her newsletter and see what she’s written, what’s coming soon, and to receive special offers.
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As an award-winning, best-selling author, Denysé Bridger writes about a multitude of things, always with a touch of romance, passion, and fantasy. Her heroes tend to be alpha men who are willing to do whatever it takes to win the heroine’s heart and trust, while her heroines are strong,
emotionally courageous women who put their hearts on the line for the men they love. Passionate, honorable characters drive Denysé’s stories, in whatever genre you find them in.
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A member of Romance Writers of America, and published since 2009, Paris Brandon writes contemporary, paranormal, erotic and historical romance, throwing in a little mystery and suspense for good measure. When not dreaming up stories featuring heroes who aren’t intimidated by strong heroines, she loves rummaging around antique stores for vintage clothes and jewelry. She lives in the mid-west with her husband of many years, and is currently enjoying all of the period dramas on Netflix, and wondering where she can find a hat that makes her look as stylish as Miss Phryne Fisher.

An award-winning and eclectic author, Cara Marsi is published in romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance. She loves a good love story, and believes that everyone deserves a second chance at love. Sexy, sweet, thrilling, or magical, Cara’s stories are first and foremost about the love. Treat yourself today, with a taste of romance. When not traveling or dreaming of traveling, Cara and her husband live on the East Coast of the United States in a house ruled by two spoiled cats who compete for attention.

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Genre: Hot to Sweet Romance

Follow Your Cowboy Heart by Janice Seagraves
Max struggles daily to hide his psychic gift with animals. Being a hired hand at a local dairy probably wasn't his best idea, but his mom needs the money he brings in. And there's the dairy owner's sexy daughter he can't stop thinking about. Will he ever have anything other than himself to offer her?

Cowboys Only by Nicole Morgan
After running off an adorable brunette, Terry realizes he may have just run off the very woman he never knew he was looking for.

The Shadows in Our Past by Denyse Bridger
Enroute home to Gold Ridge, Colorado after their honeymoon, David and Hannah Logan are attacked by a pair of bandits who plunge them back into a past they shared, but never truly came to terms with together... It’s been almost a year since the nightmare of violence and assault tore Hannah from David’s side and left him bereft and angry. When she returned to him, determined to rebuild what they’d lost, the light of love had come with her. Now, a new torment threatens to destroy everything, and Hannah’s biggest enemy might just be David himself…

Love, Texas Style by Gemma Juliana
Amy Waterstone must return to the family ranch in Glen Creek, Texas because her father had a serious accident. Then she learns her father compromised the ranch by taking a loan he can’t repay from Chase Storm, the cowboy next door. He’s the one man she never wants to see again. Chase has waited seven years for Amy to come home, and for a chance to redeem himself in her eyes. They’re both older, but are they any wiser?

Bear Country by Michele Zurlo
Tasked with scattering the ashes of her beloved aunt at the source of the Big Bear River high in the mountains, Mallory must swallow her pride and ask Gavin, a laconic, sexy ranch hand, to guide her.

Whiskey’s Sweet Revenge by Krista Ames
A cocky cowboy. A petite woman vet. A beautiful horse. Garrett doesn’t need a woman in his life. Miranda doesn’t like cocky cowboys. When a horse goes missing, will they learn to work together or kill each other in the process?

Pleasuring Pandora by Tina Donahue
This luscious cowboy’s been on her radar for years, but he’s never noticed her. A speeding ticket changes everything, leading to a sultry weekend and no-holds-barred romance—Texas style.

Janice Seagraves grew up with a deep love of science fiction and adventure stories. Always the consummate artist, she traded in her paint brush for a desktop to write breathless life-affirming novels that celebrate enduring love.
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Nicole Morgan is a USA Today and International best-selling author who has written romance in various genres of romance. She is a proud member of Writerspace, a Romance Books ‘4’ Us Gold Author, as well as being a Sweet and Sexy Diva. Additionally, you will find Nicole writing under the names of Taylor Brooks and Nicki Day. 
When she isn't busy writing, Nicole also mentors authors, offers administrative services and is the founder of Romance Collections. Find out more about Nicole and her books by visiting her website, or any of her social networks.
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As an award-winning, best-selling author, Denysé Bridger writes about a multitude of things, always with a touch of romance, passion, and fantasy. Her heroes tend to be alpha men who are willing to do whatever it takes to win the heroine’s heart and trust, while her heroines are strong, 
emotionally courageous women who put their hearts on the line for the men they love. Passionate, honorable characters drive Denysé’s stories, in whatever genre you find them in.
Mobile Friendly website ✯ Twitter ✯ Facebook ✯ Blog ✯ Website

Gemma Juliana loves playing matchmaker to her characters, and takes great joy in creating love stories where two hearts end up beating as one. She has traveled the world, and adds the extra spice of international settings to her stories. Gemma lives with her true love in a cozy Texas cottage along with their teen son and a crafty dog who rules them all. Her muse is nourished with the finest creativity fuels–chocolate and coffee. Gemma loves hearing from readers around the
world. Stop by her website to sign up for her newsletter and see what she’s written, what’s coming soon, and to receive special offers.
Twitter ✯ Facebook ✯ Website

I’m Michele Zurlo, author of the Doms of the FBI and the SAFE Security series and many other stories. I write contemporary and paranormal, BDSM and mainstream—whatever it takes to give my characters the happy endings they deserve. I’m not half as interesting as my characters. My childhood dreams tended to stretch no further than the next book in my to-be-read pile, and I aspired to be a librarian so I could read all day. I ended up teaching middle school, so that fulfilled part of my dream. Some words of wisdom from an inspiring lady had me tapping out stories on my first laptop, so in the evenings, romantic tales flow from my fingertips. I’m pretty impulsive when it comes to big decisions, especially when it’s something I’ve never done before. Writing is just one in a long line of impulsive decisions that turned out to showcase my great instincts. 

Krista Ames was born and raised in Indiana. She now resides in Northern Michigan with the love of her life and their 4 children. 
She is a full time stay-at-home mom and pursues her writing career when she's not chasing kids, cooking or doing laundry.
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Tina Donahue is an Amazon and international bestselling novelist in erotic, paranormal, contemporary and historical romance for traditional publishers and indie. Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, Romantic Times and numerous online sites have praised her work. She's won Readers' Choice Awards, RWA awards - Holt Medallion and NEC, and won a Book of the Year award. She’s featured in the Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market. Before penning romances, she worked in Story Direction for a Hollywood production company.


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          GAS’ FAST ATTITUDE   


GAS’ founder has always been a sports enthusiast. Like in competitions, life is a constant race. If you run to shoot a basket, to score a goal or to be the first to cross the finish line, there is no time to lose: in every second there’s a bit of the future. It’s an attitude that belongs to GAS, starting from the choice of its name. The acronym for Grotto Abbigliamento Sportivo (Grotto Sportswear) was also the nickname of the young Claudio Grotto that, since then, was rushing back and forth with his Simca from Germany to take the orders and deliver the freshly sewn jeans. In the spare time he used to go to assist to races, competitions and matches and, with his first earnings, he sustained the most disparate sports. From niche sports, often defined as minor, like women’s cycling, hockey, beach soccer, golf, bobsleigh and many more, up to the highest level of the rugby national team and the Yugoslavian national basketball team with which, irony of fate, in 1997 he won the European tournament beating the Italian team at the final match and he did not know whether to celebrate or go into hiding.

In the same years GAS approached the two-wheeled world. In 1996 it wins the Paris Dakar race with Edi Orioli, the following year he celebrates the 125cc World Championship with the Aprilia team and a young Valentino Rossi. Since 1998 it the becomes one of the main sponsors of the Repsol Honda team for the MotoGP World Championship. The affinity with this sport are really strong. The two wheels and denim combination, inseparable since the era of iconic “rebels”. Marlon Brando, James Dean, Steve McQueen are the everlasting style-icons for all denim addicts. Its one of the most popular sports among GAS’ consumers, young people, in age and spirt, and above all it’s a world with which GAS and its founder share most of their fundamental values. The same ones that were crucial in overcoming difficulties and achieving the successes that have been a feature of the brand’s history: passion, determination, ability to challenge your own limits to give the best of yourself and a pinch of (lucid) folly.



Jeanswear is a way of being even more than a choice of look


The first GAS collection was born more than 30 years ago, in 1984. What was the starting point of this new brand? Why a denim brand?


I grew up admiring the disruptive style of American movie stars like Marlon Brando, James Dean... In my twenties the swinging London of the Beatles and the Stones was a sort of promise land. Those were the years of the youth counter-culture and from London we started to hear the echo of a new lifestyle and a free and casual look that reflected it. In those days the Italian market lacked a range of clothing that could “dress” the changing world. This is why I started from my family’s haberdashery’s shop to sell the symbol of that epochal change: jeans. Soon after that I felt the need of producing something original and unique that reflected my taste and my vision.I started from the basement of my house but very soon my little workshop started to gradually evolve into a proper company. In 1984 my dream became true with the launch of the first collection with my brand that still today has its DNA in denim, the cornerstone that the collections revolve around.


What do you remember about the first GAS collection?


GAS was started as a menswear brand that, then and now, revolves around denim. The women’s line was born right after in a very natural and spontaneous way. In 1984 Italy was just coming out of the controversial 70s and the economy was booming. Young people were breathing wealth and hope. The “paninari” movement was exploding and, beyond the consumerism and the disengagement that don’t belong to our brand’s attitude, the style was strongly influenced by that phenomenon. Colourful down jackets and sweatshirts, big prints, denim jackets with faux fur collars and straight, over-cuffed jeans were essential, almost a uniform.


How was the double rainbow logo born?


One day I was in Cape Town, South Africa, and after a storm, right where the Indian and the Atlantic Ocean meet, two rainbows crossing over each other appeared through the sunlight. This natural phenomenon with its immense energy was the inspiration to associate to our brand the symbol that still today reflects the basic values of the brand and its collections: essentiality, sensuality, positivity, freshness and authenticity.


GAS at the beginning was an artisan brand. Now the brand is global. What is your vision and what is remaining of its original spirit?


The brand is maintaining an artisan flavour thanks to the accuracy in the making of our products. This goes hand-in-hand with our global vision. Our craftsmanship sits on the values of our product values. The know-how, the accuracy in every detail, the quality of the materials and the manufacturing, the balance of quality and style, function and style go together with our natural vocation for innovation. This urge finds its expression thanks to our artisanal room. A place where all new production processes are tried out “in vitro”. Concerning our international vision, despite the fact that it was born in a small town in the North-East of Italy, the project for GAS has always been that of making it a global brand. Since the first years of my adventure as an entrepreneur, I got some important contacts in Germany where I had worked when I was very young. Every week I took the car to hand over the jeans just packed in the laboratory under the house and gather new orders. Since then I never living out of a carry-on bag, chasing every inspiration and opportunity that moved. This experience took me gradually to the establishment of commercial subsidiaries and to the signature of distribution agreements at a global level.


How does your vision of fashion has changed over these three decades?


Style and trends have changed over these years and our collections evolved with them. Nevertheless, my vision is still the same of the early history: offer quality products that meet the needs of intelligent, aware, international and cosmopolitan consumers. Clothes that have a contemporary flavor but go beyond current fashions to express the wearer’s individuality on every occasion.


One last question, you are the founder and the chairman of a big company. How do you manage to reconcile work and private life?


I could say I work all the time or that I have never worked in my whole life. Mine is not a profession, it’s a passion. Also, there isn’t any effort that the satisfaction of having created an international company where my daughters have set their career cannot compensate. Then, when the pressure becomes too strong and the risk is that of lose the contact with my roots, I wear my trekking shoes and my backpack and at the first light of the day, I climb the mountains that surround my house.


          LOGO STORY   


The GAS brand was born in 1984 as an acronym of Grotto Abbigliamento Sportivo (the Italian caption for Grotto sportswear). It’s a sort of statement of purpose of its founder that chooses it especially for the energy and the dynamism that the word recalls.

Some years later it will be matched to the double rainbow logo, inspired by a personal experience of Claudio Grotto, the Company’s Founder and Chairman.

In Cape Town, South Africa, where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic, a storm is followed by the appearance in the sky of two rainbows crossing over each other through the sunlight. The vision of this natural phenomenon with its immense energy gives life to the symbol that still today reflects the basic values of the brand and its collections: essentiality, sensuality, positivity, freshness and authenticity.

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It's a pity you don't hae a donate button! I'd certainly donate to this outstanding blog! I guess for now i'll settle for bookmarking and adding yojr RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to new udates and will talk about this site with my Facebook group. Talk soon!
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“Custom” features …  I feel this is perhaps the point founders get the worst advice of all. Especially from VCs, B2C folks, and folks that have never sold bigger deals and into the enterprise. One-off customization per se is bad. This is SaaS, not a services business. But Being paid a lot to build something […]

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          Trump targets Amazon after Washington Post reports on fake Time covers   
President Donald Trump targeted Inc. and the Washington Post in a tweet Wednesday morning. Owned by Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos, the Post reported Tuesday that Trump golf courses displayed fake Time magazine covers featuring Trump, which seemed to trigger the president's latest "FAKE NEWS" tweet. "The #AmazonWashingtonPost, sometimes referred to as the guardian of Amazon not paying internet taxes (which they should) is FAKE NEWS!" Trump tweeted. It's not clear whether Trump was…

          Investigating Gender Bias in the BCAs   
Back in march 2012, I posted an article about Sexism in Comics, in which I polled my local bookshops. What I discovered was that even if you focus exclusively on “indie” publishers, the industry is still heavily dominated by male creators. The indie collection in Blackwells Oxford consisted of 16% female creators, and the collection in Waterstones Oxford just 9%. Similar results came in from other people who polled their local shops. Interestingly though, when I dragged out my pile of self-published comics from conventions over the last few years, I found that it consisted of 49% female creators!

This seemed to suggest something sober, but still hopeful. Only 20 or so years ago, a woman working in the comics industry was a genuine rarity, but since then a small but significant percentage of female creators has appeared on our bookshelves, meaning that it’s now easily possible to list a more than a few well-known female creators. This is a great achievement, but unfortunately it can create the illusion that indie comics have reached a greater state of gender parity than they really have.

Moving on to the topic at hand, my only experience with comic awards in the UK in the past has been the Eagle Awards, and despite Freakangels winning twice, I found it to be an alienating experience. The awards for the most part went out to a stream of US creators, franchise titles, and larger US publishers. In 2012, out of a massive total of 145 nominations across 29 categories, I counted only 7 female creators, and the only woman who won an award was up for best editor. Not one female artist or writer awarded, and 29 awards handed out.

A few weeks ago I attended the new British Comic Awards as Kate Brown’s +1 (she’d been nominated for Best Children’s Book), and in the interest of full disclosure, I'll document how I felt whilst watching them here:

Initially, my reaction was something along the lines of "finally, a PROPER award!". There were only a few categories, and all the nominations were for British books and creators. They were all from a range of genres and publishers and not one of them came from a franchise - it was all original or adapted material. The committee choosing the nominees consisted of 2 women and 5 men, already above the bookshop averages I noted earlier, and the judges were 1/3rd women, even higher still.

The best book went to Nelson, an anthology that I looked at closely whilst doing my earlier article. It contains 53 creators, 14 of whom are women, which is a better male/female ratio than either bookshop shelf I polled! It’s an extremely deserving book, and I felt like the whole industry was getting a prize.

Most significantly, of 5 nominees for Emerging Talent, two were women, and Joceline Fenton, someone whose self-published work I’ve long admired, took the prize. She did so by merit, but I also felt that the 40% female make-up of a category all about the future was representative of the change in comics that I, amongst many other creators, have been waiting for.

After the initial buzz there was time to discuss and reflect. I realised that there were a few potential flaws in the setup, including some repeat nominations and a panel that included creators nominating other creators. But I (and others I talked to) felt that those were ultimately minor niggles in what was one of the most positive moments for UK comics in many, many years.

However, since the award, by far the biggest press that the BCAs have received has been for not having decent female representation.

I know that there are many ways in which gender discrimination can occur, and it’s often hard to spot when they’re at work unless you’re on the lookout. So I decided to put aside my initial feelings, and do a proper investigation of the awards.

Gender representation in the BCAs was brought into focus by the Forbidden Planet article, Thoughts from Thought Bubble, featuring an interview with Philippa Rice, and became most visible when Laura Sneddon posted the article “Where were all the women at theBritish Comic Awards?”  on New Statesman. Laura’s article sums the story up nicely and is worth a read. It contains a lot of commentary from the people involved, along with official statements from some of the organisers, and links to parts of a key discussion that occurred on twitter between Philippa and a few of the committee members.

Looking at gender balance and feminist issues in comics is extremely important, and by carrying out this investigation I hope to continue the conversation and add a new voice. After making myself familiar with the background material, the central discussion issues seem to be the following:

  1. Out of 17 nominees, only 3 were women.
  2.  This ratio doesn’t represent the levels of diversity in the comic industry at large, or the Thought Bubble show floor.
  3. Karrie Fransman, Mary Talbot and Simone Lia and many other deserving women were not nominated.
  4. The committee and the judges were in the majority, male/white/English/straight/non-disabled.
  5. The committee that chose the nominees contained creators who worked in Nelson, which won an award.
  6. Philippa’s criticisms of the awards were silenced by male members of the committee. 

I went about investigating these criticisms one by one and here’s what I found:

1 - Out of 17 nominees, only 3 were women.

On first glance, this seems like a poor ratio of male to female creators, and looking at it outside the context of the award ceremony, I can understand why it intuitively made some commentators annoyed. However, the investigation I did in my Sexism in Comics article puts this in a different light.

3 female creators may not seem like much, but with only 14 other nominees, that’s still 18% female representation, which is actually higher than the Indie sections of the bookshop shelves that I polled.
Looking at the nominees further, I realised that WoodrowPhoenix was included on the list because he is one of the editors of Nelson (Rob Davis, the other editor, was also nominated for Don Quixote), which as an anthology features 26% female creators. Given this, Woodrow should really be treated as one “hybrid-nominee” who is proportionally gendered, and when you run the maths with that in mind, the female percentage goes up to 19%. Furthermore, when you poll the winners, you get even better numbers: 25% female (with Nelson represented by our “hybrid-nominee”).

So far the awards seem not only representative when it comes to gender, but actually a little progressive. They’re a huge step forward from the Eagles, and at least a small step forward from Indie comics in general.

2 - This ratio doesn’t represent the diversity visible on the Thought Bubble show floor. 

A count of the Thought Bubble guest-list shows that 17% of the guest-list is female, meaning that the percentage of female nominees in the BCAs was actually higher than the percentage of female guests at Thought Bubble.

However, when I used the exhibitor list instead of the guest list, I counted 28% female exhibitors (please note this was a very difficult quantity to measure given the number of pseudonyms and collectives involved, as with any other statistic in this article, I'd welcome outside corroboration). This is an interesting result, because I observed a similar thing when compared my own collection of published and self-published material, and when I looked into the distribution of female nominees in the BCAs I found the same thing again.

In the Emerging Talent category, 40% (2 out of 5) of nominees were women, and the winner was a woman. This means that the awards not only have a representative ratio overall, but they also celebrate a rising female percentage when considering talent of the future.

3 - Karrie Fransman, Mary Talbot and Simone Lia were not nominated

Now here’s where it gets tricky, because it gets personal. So far, statistics have been enough, but this criticism is based on the individual merits of these particular creators.

Personally, I think these creators are deserving of awards, and I could also extend this with more qualifying female creators that weren’t nominated. Sarah Burgess and Sally Jane Thompson were two that I thought of whilst watching the awards themselves.

However, an award can, in the end, only pay homage to a limited number of creators. This means there will ALWAYS be unrepresented creators, both male and female. There’s a lot of talent in the UK industry, despite how small it is, which means that there are bound to be disenfranchised people who believe that good material has been passed over (for example, I read an article on CBR that was annoyed at how the deserving material in 2000AD and The Beano was passed over).

The best that anyaward committee can do is offer an informed opinion, tempered by consensus and discussion. This means that no matter the award, no matter the industry, there will always be people who disagree with that opinion. The important question when it comes to gender representation should be not who but how many. So far, examining the BCAs has shown that they have a male/female ratio that is both realistic and forward looking.

4 - The committee and the judges were in the majority, white/male/English/straight/non-disabled.

The committee consisted of 29% women, and the judging panel was 1/3rd women. This is not just representative of the industry as it stands, but significantly better.

Regarding the other elements of this criticism, the organiser Adam Cadwell had the following comment to give:
“we had one Scottish person on the Committee, Vicky Stonebridge, and one gay man amongst the Judges, Stephen L Holland”.
EDIT: And Dan Berry points out on twitter that he's Welsh.

I’d also like to point out that it’s perfectly possible for someone to be disabled without that fact being physically obvious, or subject to public knowledge.

I want to be clear about this: diversity, minority representation and gender representation are massively important factors and should never be swept under the carpet or left un-discussed. However, given the limited number of judges and committee members, the elements of diversity that they already display, along with the male/white/straight/non-disabled majority in the industry itself, it seems not only unfair, but inaccurate to accuse the awards of prejudice in these respects.

5 - The committee that chose the nominees contained creators who worked in Nelson.

This is a tricky one! As a creator I know that it’s nearly impossible to completely untangle the work I create from the work I like and the people I want to promote and work alongside. Dan Berry seems to share this feeling, because he states that it’s one of the reasons he stepped down. However, this would only be a gender issue if it had turned out that the BCAs really did under-represent the proportion of female creators in the industry, which, given what I’ve discovered so far, I don’t believe they have.

In order to make one last effort to confirm the lack of gender bias in the awards, I contacted Adam Cadwell, the founder and organiser of the awards, and he agreed to send me the “long list” from which they chose the nominees. Knowing how sensitive something like this list is, I offered not to publish individual names from the list, only statistics, but I can confirm that it was EXHAUSTIVE!

 A quick poll of names in the list revealed 24% female creators.  That’s 5% higher than the list of nominees, and higher in general than I’ve come to expect from lists of comic creators. Before coming to any conclusions, I gave a lot of consideration to that 5% drop, and there are two reasons that I haven’t been able to rule it as evidence of gender bias.

The first is statistical and a bit technical. In a pool of 17 people, changing the gender of just one nominee changes the percentages by 5.88%. In any selection process that involves one primary criteria (in this case merit) that governs the outcome of a secondary criteria (in this case gender), there’s a random element to the distribution of the secondary criteria. To use an analogy, if you roll 60 dice, 30 of which are black and 30 of which are red, and then pick only the dice showing a 6, you’ll find that with repeated rolls, on average half of the dice showing sixes will be black and half of them will be red. However, in each individual result, there’ll be variations. You wouldn’t be surprised to roll 11 sixes, of which 5 were black and 6 were red. But then, 6 red and 5 black would be equally unsurprising. The same thing is happening with the award with equally limited numbers. Whilst 4 female nominees would have put the female percentage at 24% (exactly the same as the long-list), it’s not surprising or suspicious to see 3, nor would it have been surprising or suspicious to see 5. However, had there been 0-1 or 7-17, there might have been more reason to suspect bias, either positive or negative.
Secondly, a lot of the female names I counted were obviously listed for Emerging Talent, meaning that the long-list also exhibited the same bias towards a larger female percentage amongst younger creators and self-publishers.

In all, I can’t find any compelling evidence for gender bias here, so the issue seems to be about filling the committee with creators rather than the gender or sexism of those creators.

This now becomes a problem I can’t really tackle with statistics. Having a panel that includes creators nominating other creators may be easy to criticise as a system, but it has its merits as well as its weaknesses. The Eagles have shown us what can happen when it’s the consumers who choose, and there’s no-one better qualified to judge a good comic than an experienced creator. Even a critic may overlook elements of storytelling and qualities in construction that a switched-on creator would identify.

Sure, creators have biases, but so do journalists, editors, curators and publishers, and I can’t imagine who to turn to for an informed critical opinion outside of those specialisms. The UK industry is small enough that there will always be personal tensions in place, no matter who is on the committee and who is nominated.

There is also a major flaw to the arguments that call for changes to the rules governing the makeup of the committee: there already are anti-bias rules in place. You can read the details in this official blog entry published prior to the awards going public.

Adam Cadwell also has the following to say regarding the exception that allowed Nelson to be nominated:
"Regarding Nelson, it was a tricky one to choose. Both myself and fellow committee member Dan Berry both had chapters in the book. None of our own work was eligible for nomination of course but we all agreed that because we each only contributed 1/54th of the book, it was unfair to the other 52 artists and the impressive work they did on it to disallow the whole book. There has been some finger pointing about this which we perhaps should have expected but I believe it would have won regardless of our involvement because it's such a unique project and an engrossing story."

6 - Philippa’s objections were silenced by male members of the committee.

So far, the criticisms levelled at the awards haven’t held up well to close scrutiny, which means that all the furore boils down to this final issue: a debate that occurred on twitter. Here’s a transcript of the debate.

The way the conversation was characterised by Laura Sneddon in her article was: 
“The whole discussion ended in Rice apologising profusely for offering her opinion when asked in an interview, with many onlookers absolutely livid at how she had been effectively silenced.”
Philippa's apology reads:
“Yeah I'm sorry if you feel I've accused you of stuff, there's no need to get defensive”.
After which she didn’t engage in the conversation any further. Adam’s contribution to the conversation can be summed up with this tweet:
"I'd much rather people raise questions than assume or accuse. Please ask away, there's an email, twitter and an open blog.” 
Given that Adam’s tweets are neither silencing nor aggressive, the only part of the conversation I can find that might be considered as such is Matt Sheret’s (a member of the BCAs committee) response to Philippa’s apology:
“That's a very manipulative way of phrasing that. Adam's pored a year of his life into this, and was around all weekend for you to take this to in person. So was I. So was Dan.”
I can see how this might read as a man telling a woman she shouldn’t have spoken in public. It’s important to note though that this comment came after Philippa’s apology, which reads to me as an “I’m sorry you feel that way” rather than an “I’m sorry for saying what I did”.

However, I've broken this all down into parts, and named each person involved not to offer my own interpretation (no-one but the involved parties know what they really meant to do and say), but to demonstrate that nothing is straight forward when you’re dealing with the nuances of two human beings interacting – regardless of gender. This wasn’t just a woman and a man talking, it was Philippa Rice and Matt Sherett, two complex people, and crucially, friends.

And that’s what this whole gender issue seems to boil down to. An unfortunate public exchange between friends with different opinions who are extremely invested in their work and care very deeply about what it is that they do. Both Philippa and Matt have since stepped away from the debate and Philippa’s original interview is still publicly accessible.

Far from being silenced, the issue Philippa raised has not only been discussed, it has become the most visible coverage the BCAs have received.

And discussion is all for the good - if I didn’t think it was, I wouldn’t have written this! But I’m alarmed at how personal it has become. Opinions have become entrenched, facts are being lost in the face of personal accusations, and there have even been suggestions about threatening or aggressive messages exchanged in private, which are impossible to investigate or comment on

What makes this hardest is that I admire and respect everyone involved. Laura, Adam, Philippa and Matt are all real assets to British comics, which in general has been one of the most freindly and welcoming communities I've ever entered into. It upsets me to see them and the industry set at odds. I think it’s time to give all the individuals involved a break, focus on the facts and figures, and reach our own conclusions. Please take mine with a pinch of salt, question and cross-analyse my statistics, and debate my conclusions.

For what it’s worth though, I feel that the BCAs are one of the great recent achievements of British Comics, and I hope they continue and maintain a reputation as not only the premier award in the UK, but an award that any reader around the world can come to for quality and inspiration. I feel that it’s good that gender representation is being discussed, but unfortunate that the opening exchanges weren’t more carefully investigated and considered.

I hope that issues of gender continue to be discussed level-headedly, and that everyone involved can find it within themselves to keep an open mind.

Here’s to British comic creators of all genders. You rock!Please be kind to each other, and give each other the benefit of the doubt. We're all in this together.
          Re: Burundi gays grapple with HIV   
“I know so many married men in this town who sleep with gay men on the side...”

Local perceptions of homosexuality mean the distribution of lubricants and condoms has to be cloak-and-dagger, with many secretly homosexual men making calls and asking for the items to be despatched in plain envelopes to offices or residences, by people not associated with ARDHO.

"We never ask people for their ethnicity or religion before we give them medication or other HIV support, so why should we ask people about their sexuality?" ANSS founder Jeanne Gapiya, a prominent national HIV activist, told IRIN/PlusNews.

"The problem is that this is a hidden community, and the society is in denial about their existence."

In their latest national strategic plan, the National AIDS Control Council, CNLS, has included MSM in the list of people vulnerable to HIV.

"We realise that they are a marginalised group; we have started to invite them for meetings through their NGO, but the difficulty is we don't know who most of them are or how to reach them," Jean Rirangira, the interim executive secretary of CNLS, told IRIN/PlusNews.

Kanuma commented: "It's not just a problem for gay men; it's a problem for the whole society. I know so many married ['straight'] men in this town [the Burundian capital, Bujumbura] who sleep with gay men on the side. People would be surprised," he said.

"Silence is also what is killing us," he added. "I had a friend who had an STI for about one year - he was self-medicating until he eventually went to ANSS and got a proper diagnosis, and then he got better much quicker."

Kanuma has been writing newspaper articles and making guest appearances on private radio stations to raise awareness about MSM and HIV. "During every radio show I allow people to call in with questions and give out ARDHO's email address," he said. "We have more than 150 emails and so many calls, which shows that more information is still needed."

ARDHO is creating brochures detailing all the means of transmitting HIV, including male-male sex, for distribution in mainstream health centres; ANSS plans to send a doctor outside of Burundi for special training in the health issues of MSM to provide them with better healthcare.

HIV prevalence in Burundi has been declining since the late 1990s, but many surveillance sites have recently indicated an upward trend; in May, officials announced that HIV infection had risen from 3.5 percent in 2002 to 4.2 percent in 2008.

Although progress is slow, ARDHO and its partners are unwilling to push the government too hard, preferring to negotiate from a public health platform before demanding for equality under the law. "We need to tread carefully so we don't make the situation worse for gays in Burundi," Kanuma said.

From Mamba website
          A Decade Ago, Apple's iPhone Transformed the World   
In the two years leading up to June 29, 2007, when Apple’s iPhone went on sale, company co-founder Steve Jobs and a select team were hard at work secretly designing what would become a global game changer.  The initiative even had a code name, "Project Purple." By all accounts, the project was pained.  Inside a secure room, a collection of super smart techies, ate, slept, worked way beyond the typical eight hour day, fought and, at times overthought, the...
          Thoughts on Going Nowhere   
Kath Connolly ’89, is an educator who lives and makes in Providence, RI.  She was a founder of New Urban Arts and Card Carrying Liberal, an activist greeting card company.  She still reads news in print.  There are so many of us Going Nowhere.  When Providence was fondly known as The Armpit of New England …

Read More

          Listen To ActiveRain On-The-Go - ActiveRain's New Podcast   
As David wrote about last week, We recently launched our new podcast series, ActiveRain Insights for Success. In setting out to do a podcast series, we realized that we have access to some of the smartest people in the real estate industry. Between ActiveRain's decadelong history with community and Ben Kinney's decadelong history with selling and innovating in the real estate space, we've made friends with some really amazing people. Smart, driven, energetic, funny and hard working don't even begin to describe some of the guests we have already interviewed.......and we are just getting started! Already, we have interviewed: Chris Smith: Love Chris! I consider him one of the foremost hustlers in our industry (I use that term with total endearment). Chris knows how to market! As co-founder of Curyator, Chris helps 1000's of agents have a better business......and he almost got both of us to cry! Dusty Baker: The guy just gets social media! And he's using it to build a really successful real estate business in one of the toughest markets in the country, Santa Barbara CA. And he's only 27! Sherry Chris: Real Estate Powerhouse! Sherry is the CEO of Better Homes and Garden Real Estate LLC and one of the most well connected and hardest working people in real estate. A true innovator, Sherry never disappoints when sharing her experience with the industry. Jay Papasan: Author extrodaniare! Jay has co-authored, with Gary Keller, some of the most successful books about real estate of all time. His most recent book, The One Thing has become a Wall Street Journal #1 best seller and is a guide to acheiving truly remarkable things in your life by focusing on the one thing, that if you do it, will make everything else in your life easier (I'm paraphrasing) Seth Price: Marketing Genius! Chief Instigator for Placester (love that title!), Seth is leading a massive expansion of a great company, the fourth time he's been part of a team building a multi-million dollar company. (and unfortunately for you all, it's a podcast so you can't see that he is likely the best dressed people in real estate). Chad Hyams: The Voice of Reason! And our good friend from the IMSD days, Chad is currently the Director of Growth and Productivity for the Southeast region of Keller Williams. He spends his days pouring his soul into making real estate agents have more successful lives and businesses. Podcast Format In each podcast, we ask (mostly the same) ten questions of each guest. Since we try to keep them under 30 minutes, and I have a big mouth and sometimes like to use it, we don't always get all ten questions in with each guest. Often, something they say will lead me to ask another question and we head down a completely different path than was planned. After getting the first 10 or so interviews under our belt, we decided to do something a little bit different when we interview a real estate agent. Moving forward, agents will be asked the same set of four questions, very specific to the business of real estate, so that you guys can get specific insights into the business habits of some very successful agents. Many More To Come: We have already more interviews in the hopper with Tom Ferry, Grier Allen and Debbie Reynolds (Lots of ActiveRainers will make an appearance!). Each week we will release another podcast interview. We'd love if you would subscribe to the podcast, which you can do from the main podcast page, or while listening to any of the individual podcasts. Or you can subscribe below. And if you pick up something great from one of our guests, we'd love if you would share the podcast with your friends and peers in the industry!SUBSCRIBE Bob StewartActiveRain Make sure you check out the ActiveRain Facebook Page --- Keep Up In the Rain!
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          Here's why a former Netflix exec can't wait to see the original content Facebook produces   
Netflix co-founder Mitch Lowe discusses Facebook's dive into original content.
          Here's why Apple's push into TV could hurt Netflix   
Gene Munster, Loup Venture founder, discusses Apple's move into programming and the possible competition for Netflix.
          On Leadership   

My world has been rocked again by a profound experience, the Willow Creek Leadership Summit . Beyond a short movie with a Bono interview (What! He couldn’t fly to Chicago for the afternoon?) and taped interview with Tony Blair, the in-person guests were top-to-bottom... top-notch.

Seriously, my head hurts a day later. My heart is broken in new places, and within hours of leaving, I was called on for a new, significant short-term leadership opportunity. Bill Hybels was spot-on: "God wants to do great things in our day."

A few more quotes:
“I don’t think anybody’s coming to church today looking for a mild dose of God.”
- Bill Hybels

“The trouble with organized religion is not the religion. It’s the organization.”
- Gary Hamel, Management Innovation Lab (MLab)

NYC’s Redeemer Presbyterian pastor Tim Keller taught the parable of the prodigal son, with some surprising conclusions: “There are two ways around God, rebellion (the younger brother) and religion (the older brother).”

Jessica Jackley, co-founded, the online microfinance website doing $100,000 per day in small business loans around the world. She described how both her mission and organization prosper from the creativity of staff and volunteers. “Co-creation requires less control, a flat structure (not much hierarchy) and open information (lots of idea sharing).”

“Against all odds, God shines the brightest.”
- Harvey Carey, pastor of Citadel of Faith Covenant Church , inner city Detroit

Harried pastors and leaders, busy adjusting to tight economic conditions, were encouraged by Dave Gibbons, pastor of Newsong Church, Irvine, CA, to put people first. “The best programming is life on life.”

“When you look at Africa, I want you to paint a new picture. See us as consumers, markets, financial partners, a place of opportunity.”
-Andrew Rugasira, founder of Good African Coffee

“What’s your cause? Does it move you to tears? Can it?”
- Wess Stafford, Compassion International

“Leadership is no longer ordering others. Today it is persuading others, influencing them toward common goals.”
- David Gergen, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, advisor to four U.S. presidents

“Focus on the bright spots. Replicate what’s working.”
- Chip and Dan Heath, authors

“It’s hard. There’s always resistance to the journey of equality.”
- Bono

Tony Blair’s charge to church, business and NGO leaders: “Leadership is a blessing. It is a gift to others. It is worthwhile. It is your duty.”
          Why This Woman Launched a Waterless Medi-Pedi Nail Spa   
Letisha Royster, the founder of the Waterless Medi-Pedi & Nail Spa,For many of us, a trip to the nail salon means soaking your hands or…
          Thank your abortion provider day - March 10   

Men, it's a key week to take a stand on the issue of abortion on demand.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009 has been declared "National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers" by Planned Parenthood. Here's a sample letter from Planned Parenthood Illinois.

Read the horrifying words of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger here. We must bring light to this persistant, convenient evil.

Americans United for Life wonders, "are there Hallmark cards for this?"

Frank Pavone of Priests for Life is one man standing up. See their latest commercial here.

Yeah, I'm pro-choice. If you love a woman, choose to get married. Choose to have sex. And if you're fortunate to become pregnant, choose to have a baby. Choose life!

(photo at top is actual hand of an aborted child, courtesy

          Good Extensions & Female Entrepreneurship is a Sassy Secret   
Sassy SecretSassy Secret CEO & Founder, Tate Arnonee, talks about her product, advice for other entrepreneurs,…
          How Groundwork is Diversifying the Entrepreneurial Landscape   
GroundworkJason Towns, the founder of Groundwork, tells BE how he got involved in the investment…
          This Tech Company Wants You To Support Black Businesses   
SpendefyBE spoke with the founders of Spendefy about how their platform creates awareness and exposure…
          Should Mamas Let Their Babies Grow Up to Be Journalism Majors?   

According to a recent news report, Kevin Li is an accomplished high school student who thinks the leadership and management experience he got from editing his school paper is more important for his future career than the fact that he aced his AP biology exam. Despite that (or perhaps because of it), he says his parents might not pay for college if he majors in journalism

As a journalism professor and former science writer, I'd love 10 minutes with Kevin and his parents. If they're like the students and parents that my colleagues and I talk to regularly, I'm pretty sure I know their reasons for being skeptical about the value of a journalism degree. It's not exactly a secret that traditional journalism jobs are vanishing. Despite some recent softening of demand, however, enrollments in journalism programs have gone up - mystifying even industry leaders such as Court TV Founder Steve Brill. According to a report from the Asian American Journalists Association convention last August, Brill said the increase in J-school enrollments meant: "[P]eople are just behaving stupidly." 

Brill's problem is that he is thinking of journalism study as vocational training, but a journalism major is really an interdisciplinary liberal arts major that uses theory and practice to equip students with knowledge and skills applicable to a variety of careers. The curriculum guidelines for journalism and mass communications programs accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications draw upon political theory, ethics, history, rhetoric, literature, art and design, mathematics, English, sociology and -- increasingly -- computer science. 

Further, the guidelines require that two-thirds of an undergraduate journalism major's credits should come from outside of major. Just over half the credits must be in liberal arts subjects such as history, math, science or modern languages. That ratio is typical of a liberal arts major. Contrast that to the requirements of a pre-professional, such as accounting or nursing, for which it's not unusual for nearly half the student's credits to be within the major.

Because journalism is a liberal arts major, it shouldn't be surprising that many journalism majors never end up in a newsroom.  After all, not all English majors become teachers. Like other liberal arts majors, journalism graduates pursue a range of careers and programs in graduate study, such as law, education, business and public relations. Regardless of where they end up professionally, I agree with multimedia journalism professor Mindy McAdams that there are certain things that we should expect a modern journalism major to know: how to communicate clearly and effectively in word and image, how to check facts, how to dig through public records and how to conduct interviews.  

It's become common for journalism programs to require or encourage students to pursue at least a minor in another field or often a second major. International study is also encouraged. We've long recognized that while it's important to know how to tell a story, craft an argument, understand the fundamentals or press law, it's even better to practice authoritative journalism within a particular knowledge domain. That's why I would tell Mr. Li not to be so dismissive of that great AP bio score -- we desperately need good science writers. A July 2009 survey by the Pew Center for People and the Press found that scientists consistently fault the quality of science journalism. 

That said, there are a lot of things that good journalism programs can do to help students who do aspire to journalism careers. Many of our programs require that students do professional internships, which in turn require active involvement in campus news organizations. As Li pointed out in the Chillicotte Gazette article, his high school journalism experience taught him "how to be a good leader and manage people." 

We're constantly updating our own skills and talking about how to do our jobs better. (Poynter, JMC Educator, Nieman) And we are working hand-in-glove with industry professionals, including our former students, to produce the innovations that will ensure that the fundamental civic mission of the profession will be sustained, even as the methods of newsgathering and delivery change.

Different programs approach that challenge in different ways -- some are stressing entrepreneurship, others are launching hyperlocal and investigative reporting ventures with local news organizations and still others are collaborations with middle school and secondary educators to promote civic engagement and media literacy.

The bottom lime, I say to Kevin and his parents, is that a journalism major can be a path to many careers. For some, that that might path might lead to a traditional newsroom -- or the opportunity to invent what comes next.



BlogHer Contributing Editor||

          CCPM Is Implementing Critical Chain Project Management Hard   
Since Eli Goldratt’s book Critical Chain was published in 1997, there has been more and more interest in the Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) method. The project management world seems to be ready for new ways of looking at old problems. The logic of the approach, coupled with some of the more publicized successes, have spread interest rapidly. And there have been some impressive successes, in many different kinds of projects.

For example:
* A large semiconductor manufacturer completed construction of a new plant in 13 months (compared to their benchmark of 29 months) while meeting spec and staying within 4% of the conventional budget.
* A small software developer applied CCPM to two crucial projects that were hopelessly behind schedule. To the astonishment of everyone, they delivered both projects on time.
* A large telecommunications company applied the approach and realized remarkable reductions in product development times. The company now has hundreds of project managers using the Critical Chain method.

Such reports clearly tell only a small part of the story. How did they do it? What were the critical factors in their successes? How can we duplicate those successes in our own companies? You may already know this, but a CCPM implementation is not much to fear. Think of it this way: “CCPM is a disciplined approach to managing the work we already do.”

The reality is, that the work of your firm does not change. CCPM is simply addition and subtraction.

You’re adding some new behaviors:
* Planning with different task estimates
* A slightly different approach to planning your projects (moving the buffer)
* Focusing execution effort on buffer penetration, instead of the telephone

You’re stopping others:
* Multi-tasking *
* Planning without considering resource capacity

It seems more daunting than it really is. The risk of failure is very low. Even if you do a little or partial implementation, you get results.

The most significant thing in these implementations is not the technology, but managing the change; dealing with changing behavior in the face of an uncertain (in the minds of your team, anyway) outcome.

The technology is well understood, you can use a simple tool to get moving and later implement a more robust software solution.

The culture change for your business is moving to one where managers quickly respond to problems that may occur. It’s primarily a leadership challenge, rather than a technical one. So if you feel you have a handle on this, you can implement quite easily. If not, that’s the biggest battle you’ll fight.
For his entire career Mark Woeppel has been challenging the status quo in organizations, helping to make changes that matter. He is founder and president of Pinnacle Strategies, a consulting firm delivering Critical Chain CCPM implementation and training. He is the author of "Projects in Less Time: A Synopsis of Critical Chain".
          Critical Chain Project Management Reduces Project Lead Time   
In spite of the fact that project task durations are often conservatively estimated to begin with, the presence of certain behaviors can cause them to increase even more. Critical Chain Project Management and project scheduling eliminates these behaviors and reduces project lead times.

Four behaviors make project durations longer than necessary.

Deliberate Padding

Once the people doing the work have conservatively estimated their tasks, the estimates are then passed through several layers of management where they are increased even more. Because managers feel they must protect their own performance, in many organizations task estimates are not treated as “estimates,” they are treated as “commitments.” People don’t want to be late on commitments, thus, they “pad” their estimates of how long a given task will take.

Student Syndrome

“Student syndrome” is a term that pertains to the psychology of procrastinating, something students are particularly prone to do. The analogy is to students who are going to take a test. When do they study for it? The night before! Why? Because they have much more important things to do! Often in projects, people start too late, using their safety time to work on other things, thinking they still have enough time to complete the task on time. After they begin the task, they run into problems, causing it to take even longer than the original padded estimate. The student syndrome causes longer durations because some of the time needed to complete a task is lost when it’s started too late or even when it’s started “just in time.” Then, Murphy causes the task to take even longer.

This “Murphy” is really two things: common cause process variation and special cause process variation. The two types of variation are not differentiated in the text, but in the implementation, must be treated differently. Common cause variation can be predicted and managed using the CCPM approach. Special cause variation must be treated separately in a risk analysis process.

Bad Multitasking

Multitasking occurs when an individual is working on more than one task at the same time. There are two kinds of multitasking: good and bad. Good multitasking is moving two or more tasks along together smoothly, such as catching up on customer calls while heading to a meeting. On the other hand, bad multitasking is anything but smooth. It’s the dropping of work on one task before it is finished in order to start another, only to stop and begin yet another task or go back to a previous task. All too often, people aren’t able to complete a task without getting pulled off onto something else, so “task time” grows each time a change is necessary. Goldratt wants you to see that the majority of task completion time is not used for the actual work, but is waiting or queue time. Tasks ready to be worked on cannot be worked on because there is no available resource. If the estimates are too long, during execution the actual time will grow even longer! No wonder projects consistently finish late and over budget. Parkinson’s Law Parkinson’s Law states the amount of work rises to fill the time available to complete it. In projects, it means that early task completions are never reported. Resources will continue to work on “improving” their task or will simply find something else to do until the due date of that task. In any case, the result to the project is that only the late finishes are recognized, so the only way a project timeline moves is out. These two behaviors, student syndrome and multi-tasking, have the same root cause - the lack of clear priorities. Student syndrome occurs when you believe the real due date is distant relative to the amount of time needed to complete the task, while bad multitasking is caused by not recognizing the real priority of tasks until they become late relative to the “need by” date. Why Do Projects Take So Long?

1. We add too much time to the original plan. We allow x amount of time, so it takes x amount of time.
2. Our resources multi-task, adding unnecessary work (additional setups) to the project
3. The Student Syndrome causes us to waste whatever buffer we did have, adding more time to our already generous estimates. 4. Parkinson’s Law blocks us from taking advantage of any favorable variation (tasks finishing early) the project experiences.

Implications for Management

Critical chain seeks to reduce / eliminate these behaviors, and therefore they are not planned for in the project. We can overcome deliberate padding, student syndrome, bad multitasking and Parkinson’s Law through better management and communication. By eliminating these behaviors from our projects, the time to finish the project is reduced.

After removing the safety time from these tasks, the critical path is shortened significantly. These are the reasons that projects managed using the critical chain method consistently finish in less time than projects that do not use this approach.
For his entire career Mark Woeppel has been challenging the status quo in organizations, helping to make changes that matter. He is founder and president of Pinnacle Strategies, a consulting firm delivering Critical Chain CCPM implementation and training. He is the author of "Projects in Less Time: A Synopsis of Critical Chain".
          Jerry Garcia's Wolf Guitar Is Auctioned For A Record Breaking Price   
Jerry Garcia's Wolf Guitar

On May 31st an event auction was hosted by Brooklyn Bowl for Jerry Garcia’s Wolf guitar. The auction was done by Guernsey's Auctions.

Garcia playing Wolf
This guitar, which was first used by Garcia in 1973 at a New York City show, sold to Brian Halligan, the cofounder and CEO of the marketing software company HubSpot for $1.6 million plus a $300,000 premium, bring the total winning bid to $1.9 million.

Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead
Halligan, cowrote the book along with David Meerman Scott, “Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead: What Every Business Can Learn from the Most Iconic Band in History.”

The recipient of the money is the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The Wolf Guitar

The bid was then matched by another anonymous donor, making the total gift an amazing $3.5 million. This is the most money generated from a guitar auction.

Joe Russo's Almost Dead

The event also featured drummer Joe Russo leading an all-star cast, which included his own Grateful Dead tribute band known as Almost Dead.

Doug Irwin
Wolf was the first guitar that luthier Doug Irwin designed for Garcia.

The Wolf Decal
Its body was mad of curly maple and purple heart wood. Garcia found a sticker of a cartoon wolf and placed it below the bridge.

Through the years Garcia had several modifications performed on the instrument. The last time Jerry used the guitar was in February of 1993. He passed away 2 years later. He can be seen playing it in the Grateful Dead Movie.

The Wolf guitar in original form
The Wolf guitar was created as a result of Garcia visiting a San Francisco music store. While there he came across a very unusual guitar and inquired about it. He was told it was built by a guy named Doug Irwin. Garcia came back a few days later to buy that guitar.

Irwin tells the story that he was in the back of the store putting pickups on that particular guitar. Irwin says a couple of guys from the store came to the back room and told him that Jerry Garcia wants to buy your guitar. He thought they were joking.

Wolf with 2nd pickup arrangement
The guys came back a couple of times to get him and Irwin finally brought the guitar to the front of the store. Jerry told him that he liked the way the neck felt and he asked him to make another guitar. This Irwin built guitar came to be called The Wolf. Doug Irwin would go on to build four guitars for Garcia.

Irwin had just started building guitars at Alembic. This was a company run by Ron Wickersham, an electronics and sound expert that previously worked for Ampex, Rick Turner, a luthier and guitarist, and Bob Matthews, a recording engineer. The company started in a rehearsal room for the Grateful Dead, so there was an immediate connection between Alembic and the band.

As the story goes, Doug Irwin was recently hired by the Alembic company and was building electric guitars for them and he also built some for himself.

Eagle Guitar
The first one that Jerry Garcia purchased was known as The Eagle. This was the guitar that Jerry found when he came from the music store that where Irwin was employed. This guitar had humbucking pickups. At the time Garcia preferred the sound of his Stratocaster with single coil pickups.

Garcia asked him to build him another guitar. Irwin took a cue from this and created The Wolf, which he sold to Jerry Garcia in 1972 for $850. Garcia played this guitar for more than 20 years. Garcia asked Irwin to optimize Wolf with three single coil Stratocaster pickups.

As stated, this guitar was made of purple heart wood and curly maple. The fret board was ebony with 24 frets; longer than Fenders, which at the time only had 22 frets. The first version had a peacock inlay made of abalone, but in subsequent years Irwin changed this to an eagle.

A blood-thirsty cartoon sticker of a wolf adorned the body. This gave the guitar its name.

Garcia and the Wolf Guitar
In later years the middle and bridge single coil pickups were swapped out for humbuckers. This was an easy change because Irwin configured the pickups on a metal plate.

In fact it was Irwin who created both plates for the guitar. The pickup selector is the five position strat type.

Wolf Guitar Controls
The Wolf guitar features a master volume control and a tone control for the middle and front pickups. Two mini switches on the guitar are pickup coil switches, to choose between humbucking and single coil. There are two ¼” phone jacks. One goes to the amp and the other goes to Jerry’s effects loop.

There is also a mini switch to toggle the effects loop on or off. The electronics are accessible from a plate on the guitars back side and they are shielded. The tuning machines are Schaller’s and made of chromed nickel as is the bridge.

Wolf was the first guitar Irwin built that had the D shaped headstock that he used on other guitars he made as his trademark.

Both Wolf Headstock designs

On the headstock was the inlay of a peacock done in mother-of-pearl. While at a concert the guitar fell about 15 feet off of the stage and this caused a small crack in the head stock.

Doug Irwin took this as an opportunity to replace the head stock with ebony veneer and a mother-of-pearl inlay of an eagle, which by now had become Doug Irwin’s signature.

Garcia with Wolf Guitar
Jerry Garcia used the three single coil pickup plate up until 1978 when he had the single coil neck pickup and twin Dimarzio Dual Sound humbuckers for the middle and bridge position.

Click on the links below the pictures for their sources. Click on the links in the text for further information.

©UniqueGuitar Publications (text only)

          Who is Mel Bay?   
Dodd's Music was in the white building

I started taking guitar lessons when I was 13 years old; first at the YMCA in a group setting and then at Dodd’s Music Store, in Covington, Kentucky.

One of the acts on WLW radio

My teacher at Dodd's was an old guy named George Olinger. George made a living playing guitar in Country groups around town as well as being a staff guitarist on WLW radio, back in the days when the station played live music.

George taught me the basic chord patterns mainly from the books he had me purchase, which seemed to all be written by one man; Mel Bay.

Tommy Flint
Last week I learned that a fairly well-known guitarist named Tommy Flint had passed away. It seems that Mr. Flint was not only an excellent finger-style guitarist, in the style of Chet Atkins, but also an author of guitar instruction books that were published by Mel Bay.

This got me to wondering, who was Mel Bay?

Mel 1928 with National Triolian

Mel grew up in a small Missouri town in the Ozark Mountains. He bought his first guitar at the age of 13 from a Sears and Roebuck catalog. Within months of acquiring the guitar, he was playing in front of people. Mel Bay never had a guitar teacher.  He watched other guitar player perform and memorized their fingering on the fretboard.

That is the way I learned to play guitar.  I stood in front of bands and watched the lead guitar player and copied his fingerings. I am certain many of you reading this article honed your skills in much the same manner.

Bay was not satisfied to just learn the guitar. No sir. He went on to learn fingerings on the tenor banjo, mandolin, ukulele and Hawaiian slide guitar. This was all back in the 1920's when he was still a young man.

D'Angelico with "Melbourne Bay"
engraved on the pickguard
Mel Bay became hooked on playing in front of audiences and decided to make a career out of being a professional musician. So he moved to St. Louis in 1933 and joined numerous local and traveling bands. He also was hired by several radio stations as a staff guitarist.

He put together The Mel Bay Trio, which consisted of him, a bass player and a drummer. And this became his steady gig for the next 25 years. His career was briefly interrupted by a stint in the US Army during WWII.

His custom D'Angelico New Yorker
As a working musician he had extra time and was able to teach guitar to others. In fact Mel Bay taught as many as 100 students a week. During those years he found out there was not a lot of instructional material available at the time.

He determined some of the material availabe was flawed. It only offered students chord patterns; not the ability to learn notes on the guitar.

So Mel began writing his own instruction books. These books became the basis for the Mel Bay Publication House.

Mel Bay's 1st Book
After getting out of the Army, he published his first instruction book in 1947 and called it The Orchestral Chord System for Guitar. This book was the first of many to be published it under his own business; Mel Bay Publishing Incorporated. Amazingly this the book is still in print, but now it is titled The Rhythm Guitar Chord System. This book has been used by countless students to learn how to play guitar.

Mel Bay's 2nd Book

By 1948 another book was published called Modern Guitar Method. Through the years Modern Guitar Method has sold more than 20 million copies in its original version.

Mel teaching guitar to
high school students

By the mid 1950’s Elvis Presley's career was the talk of the nation, and this caused the guitar to experience a surge in popularity. During these years Mel Bay traveled around the country talking to guitar teachers and their students about his publications with the goal of selling them as texts.

In doing this he came to know most every guitar teacher in the United States on a first name basis. Guitar Player Magazine dubbed him as The George Washington of Guitar.

Mel Bay playing a mandolin

Since first publishing guitar instruction books, his company has branched off into publishing method books for violin, banjo, mandolin, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, harmonica, folk instruments, and accordion. His books for guitar include methods for differing styles, including folk, jazz, classical, rock, blues and jazz.

Mel Bay Book by Tommy Flint
Getting back to Tommy Flint, who I mentioned early on; Mr. Flint was the author of Mel Bay’s books on Finger Style guitar, Chet Atkins style picking, as well as Bluegrass Guitar and Christmas Songs for Fingerstyle Guitar.  In all, Tommy Flint wrote over 40 books for Mel Bay Publishing

Mel Bay received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Guitar Foundation of America from the Retail Print Music Dealers Association and he also received the Owen Miller Award from the American Federation of Musicians.

Bay received a Certificate of Merit from the St. Louis Music Educators Association, as well as a resolution from the Missouri House of Representatives honoring his achievements. He ever was sent a letter of commendation from President Bill Clinton, and was honored by St. Louis mayor Freeman Bosley Jr. Making October 25, 1996 “Mel Bay Day” for citizens of that fair city.

Mel's D'Angelico New Yorker 
I often wondered about the image of a D’Angelico guitar on the cover of the Mel Bay instruction book that I purchased so many years ago. A similar guitar image also shows up on the cover of other Mel Bay guitar instruction books. It seem that Mel used to sell D’Angelico guitars and kept a half a dozen D'Angelico guitars at his home that were for sale to perspective students.

One of Mel's personal guitars was a New Yorker model with a cutaway and a slightly thinner neck custom made for him.

Mel Bay

Mel Bay kept playing guitar every day until his death at age 84 in 1997.

From St. Louis WOF Inductees
On June 30 of 2011, the city of St. Louis, Missouri honored him one more time by inducting him into the St. Louis Walk of Fame. There is also a Mel Bay Jazz Festival held annually in DeSoto, Missouri; the town where he grew up. The music center at the town’s high school is named in his honor.

Ode To Mel Bay

A song was written by Michael “Supe” Granda of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils called “Ode to Mel Bay”. It is featured on the album by Tommy Emmanuel and Chet Atkins called The Day Finger Pickers Took Over the World. It sort of makes fun of Mel’s instruction books.

Mel Bay Books
Today Mel Bay Publications offers hundreds of books for a variety of instruments that were written by many different authors including Mel’s son, William Bay, who is a very proficient guitarist as well as an author and runs Mel Bay Publications.

The links under the pictures will take you to the source. The links in the text will take you to more interesting information.


          Electro-Harmonix Effects Pedals; A Brief History   
Electro-Harmonix original logo
For electric guitarists it is not enough to have your instrument sound like a guitar; We leave that to the jazz players, the classical players, and the folkies. Electric players want to make their instrument growl, wail, and and scream.

Guitar George

We are not like “Guitar George, he knows all the chords. Mind he’s strictly rhythm he doesn’t want to make them cry or sing.” The majority of us want to express ourselves and be heard.

Maestro Fuzztone
Aside from a loud, over driven amplifier, effects pedals are necessary tools for most guitarists and bass players. The granddaddy of them all was the Maestro Fuzztone. This was the original pedal used on the Rolling Stone’s hit song, Satisfaction, and it started a whole industry.

One of the original and most prominent manufacturers of guitar and bass effects pedal is Electro-Harmonix. This company emerged on the scene in New York City back in 1968.

Mike Matthews in 1979

Back in 1967 Mike Matthews, the companies owner and founder was a rhythm and blues piano player and had a day time sales job. His friend, Bill Berko, was an audio repairman who had just constructed a circuit for a guitar fuzz pedal.

'67 Axis and Foxey Lady fuzz pedals

Under the advice of Matthews, Berko hired a company to construct these pedals under a deal with the Guild Guitar Company and the device was given the name of the Axis fuzz pedal. It was also sold under the name Foxey Lady.

All parties made a little money off the deal, and eventually Berko and Matthews parted ways.

Mike Matthews 1967
However Mike Matthews was smitten with the idea of creating guitar effects. As I've mentioned, at the time Matthews was a salesman for IBM and he next teamed up with an IBM colleague who was an electrical engineer by the name of Bob Myer.

In 1969 they worked together to create a distortion free sustain device. Some fuzz tones of that era produced a buzz saw like effect that produced some sustain, while others like the Maestro box, just added gain to distort the guitars signal. Guitarists at that time wanted the ability for notes to be played and held, just like those played by horn players.

Original LPB-1
What Myer and Matthews came up with was a small device the Linear Power Booster, and called it the LPB-1. This pedal boosted the signal and made the guitar stand out. It did not sit on the floor, but was made to be plugged directly into the amplifier input.

Vintage LPB-1 interior

The price for this unit was about $20 USD, and it was an instant hit. The original units were hand wired with no circuit board.

1969-70 version Big Muff Pi (π)
The next effect that Matthews and Bob Myer created was the a fuzz tone that added a low end heavy sustain to any guitar sound. They gave it the name of The Big Muff Pi. It mixed harmonic distortion, sustain, and fuzz sounds together to make even a small amplifier sound huge. Plus it distorted at any volume. Both devices were instant hits and were put to use by well known artists.

'75 Big Muff Pi (π) interior
The original version of the Big Muff Pi was pretty much hand-made on perforated electronic boards with the wiring and parts hand-soldiered. But by 1970 these devices were updated to etched PCB boards.

Double Muff and Little Muff
The Big Muff was such a hit that subsequent versions emerged in later years, such as the Metal Muff, which had a higher gain threshold, and the Double Muff, which was two Big Muffs wired in series that offered overdrive through a single circuit, or through a cascaded version.

The Little Big Muff was a smaller version of the unit and had a slight variation in the circuit. The NYC Big Muff came with a tone bypass switch that allowed the user to bypass the tone control and another switch the adjusted the frequencies of 3 filters embedded in the circuit.

EH Bass and Treble boost

There were several other devices made by Electro-Harmonix in the late 1960's and early 1970's that included a Treble Booster, called the Screaming Bird and a Bass Booster called the Mole, that were made in a similar format to the LPB-1; These small boxes had an input on one end to accept the guitar cable and a plug on the opposite side that went into the amplifier. These units originally sold for around $20 USD.

EH Slap Back Echo

The company also produced the Slap-Back Echo box that produced a slap-back effect and came with a filter switch to shape the tone.

1975 EH Small Stone Phaser
One of the more popular effects the company produced at this time was the Small Stone Phase Shifter. It was a 4 stage phasing circuit, design by David Cockerell. This device had one large knob to adjust the rate of phasing and a slider switch labeled “Color” that engaged an additional stage of feedback for a more pronounced sound. Think of the Doobie Brothers song “Listen to the Music”.

EH Band Stone Phase Shifter

The Bad Stone Phase Shifter was an upgraded circuit that added a Feedback control and a Manual Shift control to filter the sweet spot.

'77 EH Octave Multiplexer

Electro-Harmonix came out with an octave box called the Octave Multiplexer which produced the clean signal and a filtered signal an octave below.

EH Elecric Mistress Flanger

The Electric Mistress Flanger Chorus Pedal came out in the mid 1970’s and was one of the first multi-effects devices.

Mid 70's EH Attack Equalizer

The Electro-Harmonix Attack Equalizer pedal was a combination of a parametric EQ to produce desired equalization and a pre-amplifier to boost the guitars signal.

1981 EH Graphic Fuzz

The Electro-Harmonix Graphic Fuzz was not only a fuzztone/distortion unit, but it added a six band graphic eq control section.

1980 EH Full Double Tracking Effect
The Full Double Tracking Effect, split the guitars signal. One signal was given a slight delay that was adjustable, while the other was the original guitar signal. It came with a switch that allowed the delay to be 50 ms or 100 ms. The knob adjusted the mix of the original and filtered signals.

'77 EH Triggered Y Filter

The Triggered Y Filter was sort of a phaser unit that allowed the frequency range to be adjusted to Lo or Hi and the amplitude/depth of the filter sweep.

Late '70's EH Echoflanger

The Echo Flanger produced a modulated Echo and a flanging effect, similar to what record producer did when they would press their finger or thumb on recording tape to cause the one of the tracks to be slightly delayed.

1978 EH Memory Man

The Electro-Harmonix Memory Man, was introduced in 1978 and produced analog delay and echo using “bucket brigage” integrated circuits and incorporated a chorus effect. So the user could choose echo or chorus

EH Deluxe Memory Man

Several models of this effect including a stereo version and the Deluxe Memory Man that added a chorus/vibrato feature to the echo.

EH Small Clone Chorus

The Small Clone chorus, introduced by EHX around 1981 remains a very popular chorus pedal. it was also produced in two different smaller versions known as the Neo Clone and the Nano Clone.

EH Holy Grail Reverb

Electro-Harmonix issued a very popular reverb pedal called The Holy Grail.  This pedal came in several different formats including The Holy Grail Plus and the Cathedral. The Holy Stain was a multi-effects pedal that offered two different types of reverb.

EH Wigger 

Tremolo was one of the very earliest guitar effects and Electro-Harmonix offered a solid-state tremolo/vibrato pedal called the Stereo Pulsar and a tube based model called the Wiggler.

1972 Mike Matthews Freedom Amp
In 1972 the company came out with The Mike Matthews Freedom Amp. This DC powered amp put out around 25 watts RMS into a 10” speaker and was wired point-to-point. The controls included Volume, Tone, and Bite. The housing was rugged and built to be carried around. It was possibly the first battery powered amplifier.

Interior of Freedom Amp with battery clips

The only drawback was that it took 40 D cell batteries to power the thing.  It was also available as a bass model or as a public address amplifier which came with built in reverb.

'90's EH Freedom Amp
An updated 1990's version of this amplifier was later produced with a lower wattage but in an all wood cabinet. This version came with a wall adapter and a rechargeable battery.

By 1982 Electro-Harmonix was facing a multiplicity of problems. First there was a labour union dispute. And about the same time the company filed for bankruptcy protection. Two years later, in 1984 Electro-Harmonix was in deeper financial problems and Mike Matthew decided to shift his attention away from the little effects boxes to a new venture.

Mike Matthews

He launched a new company that he called the New Sensor Corporation, which was based in the Soviet Union. Matthew saw the need for vacuum tubes, which were no longer being manufactured in the United States and in short supply, but were plentiful in the USSR.

Sovtek Tubes
Matthews put together factories in three Russian cities to produce Sovtek tubes and eventually became one of the largest suppliers of vacuum tubes in the world. To this day they still offer a variety of the most popular tubes used in modern amplifiers.

Sovtek Mig 50 amplifier
At the time the company went on to produce several tube amplifiers under the Sovtek brand name that included the Mig 50, the Sovtek Mig 60, and the Sovtek Mig 100, were all named after Russian fighter jets.

These amps were based on popular circuits and can still be found on the web at bargain prices.

New Sensor EH Russian made Big Muff Pi

In 1990 Electro-Harmonix resumed the building effect pedals. Some of these were made in Russia through 2009.

EH 2006 Nano Pedals

In 2006 the smaller and more standardized "micro" and "nano" effect lines using surface-mount circuit components were introduced.

The circuit board manufacturing was outsourced, but the final assembly of the pedals was done in New York.

Vintage EH Micro Synthesizer

When synthesizers came into vogue, EH offered the Micro Synthesizer for guitar or bass and the HOG effects unit; Harmonic Octave Generator.

An original EH POG

The POG or Polyphonic Octave Generator was released in 2005 and an enhanced version called the POG 2 came out in 2009. These units allowed your instrument to produce notes 2 octaves up and one octave below the guitars signal.

EH 22 Caliber Amplifier

Two of the more interesting and modern Electro-Harmonix creations may look like effects pedals, but are actually amplifiers housed in pedal sized effects box. The EHX 22 Caliber was a 22 watt solid-state amplifer capable of driving an 8 or 16 ohm speaker cabinet.

EH 44 Magnum Amplifier

It was discontinued and replaced by the EHX 44 Magnum, which could pump 44 solid-state watts into an 8 or 16 ohm speaker cabinet. These are small enough to pack into your guitar case. It is important to note, these units must be connected to a speaker load to work.

Electro-Harmonix C9

For 2016 and 2017 Electro-Harmonix has developed some amazing pedals that can coax organ or piano sounds from your guitar without the need for special pickups.

Electro-Harmonix B9

The C9 and B9 Organ Machines replicate the sounds of several different types of organs, from Hammond organs to church organs, to combo organs.

Electro-Harmonix Key 9

The Key 9 Electric Piano Machine produces a number of electric piano sounds. Combine any of these with the Lester G Deluxe Rotary Speaker emulator or the Lester K Rotary Speaker emulator and as a guitarist you now have all the tools of a keyboard player without the weight of hauling a B-3 and a Leslie cabinet.

Electro-Harmonix Mel 9

The Mel 9 Tape Replay Machine produces sounds from your guitar that were only possible with a Mellotron.

A few of the Electro-Harmonix effects

Electro-Harmonix now offers a line up that is far too numerous to mention every product. And these include not just guitar effects, but bass effects, drum effects and vocal effects.  And they have also updated versions of their original effects that sell at a much lower price than the vintage models.

As a reminder, the sources for the pictures can be found by clicking on the links below them and the links in the text will take you to further interesting facts.
©UniqueGuitar Publishing (text only)

          Elvis' Guitars   
Elvis, That's The Way It Is
I watched a show on Turner Classic Movies last night called Elvis, That’s The Way It Is, which went behind the scenes to show Elvis and his band rehearsing for a 1970 Las Vegas show that was attended by a bevy of celebrities.

Elvis with Gretsch Country Gentleman
During the show Elvis played two guitars; A Gretsch Country Gentleman guitar and a 1956 Gibson J-200N, which was updated  in the 1960’s with a custom pickguard.  In taking a look at Elvis' history I am surprised at how many guitars the man owned.

Early Elvis with Martin D-28
Early in his career, you can tell he was always looking for a better and perhaps louder instrument. To Elvis guitars were mainly used as props. That voice was what was important. There is no question Elvis was gifted with a unique and beautiful voice. Watching him in action on this movie, I can attest that Elvis was a plausible rhythm guitarist that knew enough chords to accompany himself on many of his songs.

Elvis Tossing a Martin guitar
Though he was fortunate enough to own and play some wonderful instruments, Elvis was not at all kind to his guitars. He dropped his beautiful Gibson J-200 on the floor several times during this production. His close friends confirm that he would occasionally toss a guitar to them during a concert which they would fail to catch.
Broken Martin D-35

His style of strumming was very rough. Perhaps this was due to the lack of adequate amplification during his early days of fame that he played so aggressively that he damaged the top of his guitars. His huge belt buckles attributed to a bad case of “buckle rash” on the back of a number of his instruments.

As I already related, we see Elvis changed guitars quite often and no doubt the damage that he inflicted accounts for some of this reason.

1946 Kay Guitar

Elvis received a Kay guitar in 1946 for his 11th birthday that his parents bought for either $7.00 or $12.50 from a hardware store in Tupelo, Mississippi. Accounts tell us he wanted a bicycle, but instead received a guitar. And his fans are grateful. This Kay instrument may have been the guitar that he took to Sun Records to make his first recording. There are several stories about the history of this guitar.

One states that Elvis gave the guitar to his friend, Red West when he (Elvis), enrolled in Jones County College. Then Red gave it to his friend, Ronnie Williams, who bequeathed it to his brother William. The other story states that Elvis traded the Kay guitar at the O.K. Houck Piano Company in Memphis when he purchased a Martin guitar. This story goes on to say upon selling Elvis the Martin guitar the store promptly threw the Kay instrument in the trash. Whichever story is correct the guitar still exists, and is held together by tape and has no strings. It was offered for auction in 2002, but due to the lack of provenance to document it, failed to attract bidders.

Elvis with Martin 000-18

In 1954 Elvis purchased a 1936 Martin 000-18 from the O.K. Houck Piano Company in Memphis, Tennessee. This guitar was purchased for $5 down and $10 a month which cost $79.50 in 1954. Included with the purchase was a set of “autogram” Metallic letters that spelled E-L-V-I-S. Presley put these on the body of the guitar.

Recording King Guitar
That same year, 1954, Elvis acquired a Recording King guitar. This instrument was a brand sold at the Montgomery Ward store in Memphis. I have found no record of him ever using this instrument. He eventually gave it away to a famous harness horse racer named Delvin G. Miller in 1964. It has a note from Elvis to Miller inside the guitars body. It presently resides in a private collection.

Elvis' 1942 Martin D-18

Elvis apparently was not happy with the sound of the Martin 000-18 that he had purchased from the O.K. Houck Piano Company and in November of 1954 he traded it for a 1942 Martin D-18, which was a larger bodied instrument. He immediately put the same metallic lettering on this guitars body to spell out his name.

1955 Martin D-28
Within a few months Elvis traded his D-18 in for a 1954-55 D-28. That guitar would have cost $210 new. An employee that worked at the O.K. Houck Piano Company named Marcus Van Story, made a hand-tooled leather cover for this guitar at Elvis' request. Elvis had seen Hank Snow with his Martin Dreadnought which had a similar cover and Presley wanted one just like it.

1956 Gibson J-200
In 1956 Elvis acquired his first Gibson J-200, which like his previous instruments was purchased from the O.K. Houck Piano Company. Scotty Moore, the guitarist In his band, had just signed a deal that year to endorse Gibson guitars and figured Elvis would appreciate a free guitar. So Scotty had the store order the J-200. However Colonel Tom Parker would not let Elvis endorse any products. Subsequently Elvis was billed for the guitar.

He was supposed to visit the store in person to pick it up, but was unable to get out of other commitments, so Moore picked it up for him.

1956 J-200 with cover

The Gibson J-200 became one of Elvis’ favorite guitars. And it still is a gorgeous instrument. Within a year, Elvis had a hand-tooled leather cover made for it by Charles Underwood. (This was not the high-end leather manufacturer of the same name.)

Isana Guitar

It was 1958 when Elvis was drafted into the United States Army. While stationed in Germany his friend Lamar Fike, purchased a German guitar for Elvis called an Isana. This was a jazz style archtop instrument with soundholes that resembled the letter “S”. Elvis may of owned a couple of these guitars. One had a floating pickup, but was constructed in a way to be played without amplification.

Elvis used these guitars during his military service and when he was discharged gave them away to some local men he had befriended.

The modified Gibson J-200
Upon leaving the service in 1960 his 1956 Gibson J-200 was sent away to Gibson Guitars to be repaired and refurbished, so Elvis ordered a new 1960 Gibson J-200 from the same music store to use for a recording session.  Scotty Moore asked the folks at Gibson guitars to modify the 1956 J-200 by engraving his name in mother-of-pearl inlaid letters that were surrounded by two stars. Scotty left it up to Gibson to modify the pick guard to "something that Elvis might like". The Gibson craftsmen did a great job and it remained as one of Elvis' favorite guitars.

Elvis used his newer 1960 Gibson J-200 for the next eight years including on the 1968 Elvis Comeback Special.

Elvis with borrowed Hagstrom Viking

In 1968 for this same show Elvis borrowed a 1968 Hagstrom Viking electric guitar from session player Al Casey. During the taping the shows producer asked if any of the musicians had a flashy looking instrument that Elvis could use. Al Casey had this guitar in his cars trunk.

The background of the scene was red with silhouettes of guitar players and Elvis was dressed in all black with a red bandanna and was holding this bright red Hagstrom Viking. It was a very striking combination.

And though Elvis did not own the guitar, it became a great prop. By the way, Al Casey was one of the top California session players of the 1960's and '70's.

1968 Black Gibson J-200

In 1963 Elvis was given a black Gibson J-200 during a recording session in Nashville. He used this guitar on stage during Las Vegas shows throughout the 1970’s. Elvis had a decal put on the guitars top that was for Kenpo karate, to honor his friend Ed Parker, the founder of Kenpo karate.

With Scotty Moore's Super 400 CES

During the Elvis Comeback Special, Elvis borrowed Scotty Moore’s 1963 Gibson Super 400. This guitar had a Florentine cutaway, twin humbucking pickups and gold-plated hardware. During this scene in the special, Elvis played the Super 400, while Moore played Elvis’ 1960 J-200.

'64 Gretsch Country Gentleman

Elvis also owned and played a 1964 Gretsch Country Gentleman guitar that was quite similar to the one that George Harrison played. This guitar had a dark walnut finish on its flamed maple veneer top. It also came with double flip-up mutes which worked by turning two knurled knobs on opposite sides of the lower body.

'64 Gretsch pickups
This guitar was unusual in that the two pickups were mismatched. The neck pickup was a Super’Tron II with blade pole magnets while the neck pickup was a Filter’Tron pickup with 12 pole pieces. The tuning machines were Grover kidney style buttons instead of the stepped buttons usually found on this model. Though the hardware on this guitar was once gold-plated, including the Bigsby tailpiece, it has since faded and tarnished.

1969 Gibson Ebony Dove
Elvis owned a 1969 Gibson Ebony Dove, sometimes known as the Black Dove. He used it on stage from 1971 to 1973. This was a customized guitar.  When Gibson received the request for the guitar it specified that Elvis’ name was to be inlaid on the rosewood fretboard in mother-of-pearl lettering.

Close up of inlay 

The inlay work was done by Gruhn Guitars , since Gibson Guitars was in a time of transition and had no craftsman that could accomplish fancy inlay work at the time of the order.

1969 Ebony Dove
The glossy black body featured a three-ply black/white/black pickguard with no dove inlay. It was just a solid black pickguard. The headstock had a single crown inlay, Twin mother-of-pearl inlaid "doves" faced each other on opposite sides of the rosewood bridge unit. One the lower section of the body Elvis had placed a Kenpo karate decal.

Elvis dropped this guitar during a 1972 show and had it repaired.

A year later he handed to an audience member that had been looking at the guitar and told him, “Hold on to that. Hopefully it’ll be valuable some day.” Mike Harris, the audience member and guitars owner, put the guitar on eBay in 2008 and rejected a bid of $85,000.

Elvis with Guild F-50
In 1977 Elvis began playing a 1974 sunburst Guild F-50. This was a beautiful jumbo instrument in the style of the Guild F-50-12, their top of the line 12 string guitar. The top was made of solid spruce. The sides were a 3 ply laminate of mahogany/maple/mahogany and the back was select maple laminate with an arch. Guild used this style of back on several of their models. It eliminated the need for back bracing. The adornments on this guitar were deluxe. The top and back of the body was double bound as was the neck.

Elvis tossing the Guild 
The rosette was inlaid with mother-of-pearl. The block position markers were also mother-of-pearl. The headstock was bound and the Guild was inlaid on top and the “G” logo was inlaid beneath of it. Elvis used this guitar in concerts during 1976 and tossed it to Charlie Hodge like it was a baseball.

Elvis - Martin D-35

In 1976 Elvis purchased a Martin D-35 of that same year and utilized from 1976 until February of 1977 when he damaged it during a performance. Part of the lower end of the guitars top cracked and split off. It could have been a simple repair.

Broken D-35

Instead Elvis gave this guitar to an audience member who had camped out in a lawn chair to see The King.

The guitar sold it at auction in Guernsey’s of NYC for $20,000 in 2002.

Elvis with 1975 D-28

Elvis’ last guitar was Martin D-28 that he used for his last 56 concerts including his final show on June 26, 1977. Ironically this is the same model of Martin guitar that he used when he started his career back in 1955. Less than a month later Elvis had left the building for good. He passed away on August 16th, of 1977. The Martin D-28 remains on display at Graceland.

Guitars on display at Graceland

Elvis owned many other guitars, some he was intrigued by, while other he collected or was given.

Elvis starred in 31 movies and played. or used at least 28 different guitars in these movies that were property of the movie company and he was given some of these guitars.

Please click on the links under the pictures for sources and additional information. Also click on links in the text for additional information. 

©UniqueGuitar Publishing (text only)

          At Trump's D.C. Hotel, A U.S.-Turkey Relations Conference Stirs Up Ethics Questions   
This spring, the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., will host a three-day event co-hosted by a business group. That's not unusual. But here's what is: The group's chair founded the company that paid President Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, for lobbying work that may have benefited the Turkish government. This mashup of money involving Turks, Flynn and Trump has concerned ethics experts who worry about a "pay to play" atmosphere in Washington. Here are the basics: What: The 36th Annual Conference on U.S.-Turkey Relations is scheduled for May 21-23. Where: At the Trump hotel, just blocks from the White House. It had been held in recent years at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Washington. Who: The Turkey-U.S. Business Council , known as TAIK, and the American Turkish Council are the sponsors. The former group is chaired by a Turkish-American businessman, Ekim Alptekin, who has ties to the Turkish government . More about who: Alptekin also is the founder of
          Voices of Women with Host Kris Steinnes: Celeste Mergens, founder of Days for Girls International   
GuestCeleste Mergens will discuss her passion for sustainable global empowerment of women and girls through her distribution of feminine hygiene kits around the world in 6 continents, and how it has changed their lives.
          Voices of Women with Host Kris Steinnes: Kelley McNelis Senegar founder of Women For One   
GuestKelly McNelis Senegor is the Founder of Women For One, a global movement of authenticity and inspiration which has reached more than 7 million people in over fifty countries in only its third year of existence. Kelly founded Women For One so that women throughout the world can have a place to create authentic dialogue and be inspired to take action in their lives. Kelly believes that we all have an inner voice guiding our intentions and manifestations, and she speaks entirely from that place ...
          CFDA Best Dressed 2017   
Monday night saw the annual Council of Fashion Designers of America awards, AKA the second best fashion red carpet in America – second to the Met Gala. As usual the style set was out in force, many championing American designers for the awards ceremony. I have to admit, while I do love a princess gown on the red carpet, when it’s a fashion event or awards ceremony I love to see envelope-pushing, edgy looks rather than a gorgeous gown. For this reason, my top five looks are all slightly cooler and more effortless. Here are my favourite looks:

Diane Kruger in Monse
I adore Monse and give a little whoop of excitement when I see the fledgling label worn on the red carpet. Designers Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia cut their teeth at Oscar de la Renta and are joint Creative Directors at the eponymous American brand as well as their own label. I love the unexpected electric blue velvet with a gold paint splatter effect. Their bold and feminine perspective looks so refreshing on the red carpet.

Hailey Baldwin in Cushnie et Ochs and Brother Vellies
Cushnie et Ochs is another brand I love seeing on the red carpet, their minimal, sexy dresses are often overlooked I feel. I love how Hailey has offset the clean lines of the dress with pretty, frou-frou accessories from Bother Vellies – definitely a label to keep your eye on.

Janelle Monae in Christian Sirano
You can always rely on Ms Monae to dress for the occasion, crowd and dress code. While we witnessed plenty of flouncy gowns which don’t quite seem right for the CFDAs, Janelle knocks it out of the pack once again with an edgy, monochrome look.

Brit Marling in Sies Marjan
Straight from the AW17 runway to the CFDA red carpet in top to toe dusky pink, Brit Marling is a millennial dream. I love the relaxed, undone vibe which still looks appropriate for the fashion awards.

Martha Hunt in Milly
This is the closest I will get to liking a traditional red carpet dress at any fashion awards. The slightly awkward cut outs and subtle asymmetric hemline adds a much needed edge to a classic va-va-voom red carpet number.

And of course, the actual winners are…

Womenswear Designer of the Year – Raf Simons for Calvin Klein
Menswear Designer of the Year – Raf Simons for Calvin Klein
Accessory Designer of the Year – Stuart Vevers for Coach
Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent – Laura Kim and Fernando Garcio for Monse
Swarovski Award for Positive Change – Kenneth Cole
Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award – Rick Owens
Founder’s Award – Pat McGrath
International Award – Demna Gvasalia for Vetements and Balenciaga
Board of Directors’ Tribute – Cecile Richards, Gloria Steinem and Janelle Monae
Fashion Icon Award – Franca Sozzani

          Voices of Women with Host Kris Steinnes: Blessing the Hands that Feed Us - Vicki Robin talks about her new work on food and transforming our food systems based on her new book.   
GuestVicki Robin is an American writer and advocate of "simple living," who is best known for her best-selling book, co-authored with Joe Dominguez, Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence. Vicki's new book is "Blessing the Hands that Feed Us." Robin was one of the original founders of Sustainable Seattle. She also stars in the feature documentary film about the Dalai Lama, entitled Dalai Lama Renaissance.
          Voices of Women with Host Kris Steinnes: "Women On Air" Host Susan Lachmann.   
GuestSusan Lachmann, Founder of Sound Learning, also Host and Producer of Women On Air shares stories of her personal journey in recognizing, supporting and using authentic voice.
          Voices of Women with Host Kris Steinnes: Red Goddess Rising, A Travel Memoir of Egypt with Halle Eavelyn   
GuestHalle Eavelyn, co-founder of Spirit Quest Tours, is a spiritual tour leader and author. She just released her spiritual travel memoir, Red Goddess Rising, which recounts the story of the unexpected experiences in Egypt that awakened her sleeping soul, and the trips she's been co-leading up the Nile ever since. Halle will talk about her experiences in Egypt, what's different since the revolution, and tell some of her fascinating travel stories.
          Voices of Women with Host Kris Steinnes: Leadership vs. Management: Do You Leap out of Bed Every Morning to Go to Work? Kris welcomes Faye Fitzgerald the founder and developer of an educational training system called Training in Power   
GuestHow many of us are truly driven, passionate, and present when we get up in the morning and go to work? As corporate and economic structures fail in their eons-old approach to management, leadership is in a paradigm shift like never before. It will be "A Compassionate Leader" who brings us to our unique potential and leads us to true self destiny as future leaders...the new cry is to become a leader of leaders rather than a leader of followers.
          The challenges of aging   

The event has had three expert researchers in the field, among which are responsible for two of the Project Zero FGCSIC Aging grants: CSIC researcher at the Institute of Medical Chemistry Ana María Martínez Gil, Professor of Valladolid University Robert Homer, and the founder of the Institute of Government and Public Policy of the Autonomous University of Barcelona, ​​Joan Subirats.

Their interventions have been conducted by the director of the Social Action Department of Obra Social "la Caixa", Josep Olle, who presented the institution whose act has helped fund the Aging Project Zero to a million euros. Olle said that "one of the greatest challenges facing our society is the growing aging population, which is a success in our society, and an opportunity to propose new strategies to help improve the welfare of the elderly and their participation and full integration into society. " To do this, Ollé believes that "it is important to promote scientific research that fosters autonomy, personal development, health and quality of life."

The five projects implemented promote science excellence, unique and remarkable. Two of these thematic studies addressing psychosocial and three delve into specific aspects of the technology field. Some include, for example, game development and the use of home automation with the objective of promoting quality and healthy aging.

Project Zero on Aging

Worthplay. Video for positive aging: This research project led by Jose Angel Blat of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra is to analyze the design, development and evaluation of a prototype online games for seniors. It aims to create quality games that contribute to active aging, and improve the physical and psychosocial. During 2012, the project has developed an ethnography of the games with about 170 seniors, with different levels of digital literacy, and followed a code of ethics established by the international consortium project.

Brain Computer Systems Application Interface (BCI) to cognitive training and automation control to prevent the effects of aging: Researcher Biomedical Engineering Group (GIB), University of Valladolid Roberto Hornero proposes the use of BCI systems (Brain Computer Interface ). This system translates the user's intentions in control commands, such as cognitive training tool that can help prevent the effects of aging. It also aims to develop an application that allows assisted BCI control home automation and electronic devices present in a home. They have begun to perform tasks aimed at developing cognitive training tool using a BCI system based on sensorimotor rhythms.

Pensions and education: combined effects on inter and intra redistribution: The aim of this project, led by researcher at the University of Barcelona Conception Patxot is to analyze resource movements that occur between the different age groups and determine the role of businessmen, politicians and institutions in the development of social policies that benefit the elderly and children. The analysis focuses on the pension system and education. The study of the evolution of asset resources directed from the elderly and children, reveals a change from the results observed in 2000, when there was the first analysis. In that year he gave a clear dominance of public over private transfers in the case of older dependents, while in the case of children the exact opposite happened. Currently it is contrasting the validity result and if it is due solely to the reduction in the number of students.

Active aging, citizenship and participation: an assessment of the aspirations, needs and strategies associated with the autonomy and empowerment of old and new generations of older people in Spain: Researcher at the Autonomous University of Barcelona Joan Subirats leading this initiative to strengthen the involvement of older people in the process of development and implementation of public policies to promote active aging. To do this, takes into account the heterogeneity and diversity of this group, since the incorporation of significant practical about it and the use of information and communication technologies. During 2012 the project has been implemented and have been covering the planned stages, otherwise normal in every process of research.


Biomaterials to modulate inflammation caused by macular degeneration associated with age (BIODMAE) CSIC researcher Institute of Ceramics and Glass Chinarro Eva Martin proposes to develop a new class of hybrid biomaterials able to counter some of the processes that contribute to aging eye tissue. Thanks to alleviate them succeed macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss among older people for which, currently, there is no cure or way to prevent this type of degeneration.

Picture by Luis García [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

          Voices of Women with Host Kris Steinnes: Kathe Schaaf presenting "The Alchemy of Women's Spiritual Leadership."   
GuestThe energy of the 'Sacred Feminine' is rising globally among women from many diverse spiritual perspectives. Women are engaged in potent conversations at the intersection of feminism and faith which may be giving rise to a new paradigm of women's leadership. As one of the founders of Women of Spirit and Faith, Kathe Schaaf has been following this thread of conversation around the world.
          Shedding light on Psoriatic Arthritis and Psoriasis   

Approximately 70% of cases of skin involvement APs precedes the onset of symptoms. Because of its association with psoriasis since it precedes the occurrence of the APs, in most cases the key query is Dermatology for early detection. Therefore, early diagnosis of PsA and prompt referral to Rheumatology is a major challenge in the management of these patients, since there is evidence that early management can slow the progression of joint damage and the number of affected joints. Hence the importance of a multidisciplinary management between the two specialties.

With this intention had been held in Madrid on 1 and 2 February, the International Symposium "Shedding light on Psoriatic Arthritis and Psoriasis" scientific interest declared by the Spanish Society of Rheumatology (SER), Grappa (Group for Research and Assessment of 'm Psoriasis Psoriatic Arthritis) and the Spanish Association of Dermatology and Venereology (AEDV) with the support of the biomedical company Pfizer. Intended for rheumatologists and dermatologists, the meeting brought together the most renowned international experts in order to put the focus of attention of both specialists on the APs and highlight the key role of the rheumatologist, dermatologist collaboration for better management of this disease.

And is that the whole approach is still very widespread in Spain, something that would not only improve medical care to those affected, but it would optimize available resources. "This will achieve a saving in diagnostic tests, better use of treatment resources and greater patient satisfaction, and lay the foundation for a common language that will address cross-cutting research projects," said Dr. Lluís Puig, coordinator Psoriasis Group of AEDV, director of the Dermatology Department of the Hospital Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Barcelona and member of the Scientific Committee of the symposium.

An important practical aspect in this regard is the organization of interdisciplinary units. Although there are some units with excellent interaction between the two specialties in our country today it is certain that this joint approach is not widespread.

"One of the objectives of this meeting has been laying the groundwork to prepare guidelines interdisciplinary joint management of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, from a discussion based on the results presented at this meeting," said Dr. Puig.
A successful experience

On these results spoke Dr. Jordi Gratacós, Rheumatology Service Parc Taulí Hospital de Sabadell, founder of Gresser (Group for the Study of spondyloarthritis the Spanish Society of Rheumatology) and member of the Scientific Committee of the symposium, who participated with the paper "The experience at the Hospital de Sabadell Taulí Parc" on multidisciplinary units for patients with PsA.

"This is a pioneering experience in our country, because although collaboration between rheumatologist and dermatologist has been done in many hospitals, it is a volunteer collaboration of sympathy and / or proximity. Unlike this from the Department of Dermatology and Rheumatology, University Hospital of Sabadell Taulí Parc (with doctors and Gratacós as responsible Luelmo respective project) has created a multidisciplinary unit with the aim of improving the management of psoriatic disease high degree of complexity. To do this, we designed a strategy to sensitize both services the existence of this new tool for the management of psoriasis, consensuamos bypass criteria, we established a set visitation schedule (once a month) and, finally, create a unit accredited teaching around this project, "he said.

Today, with over 3 years of experience have shown the efficiency of the unit from the point of view of care and training (already created two similar units in other hospitals with peers who have attended one of our courses accredited) "The bottom line is that it is an efficient unit and exportable to other hospitals and clinical situations of our country," said Dr. Gratacós.
Genetic studies of diagnostic and prognostic

PHC is a very heterogeneous disease clinically (patients have many clinical differences among themselves), which poses challenges in interpreting genetic studies, measure disease activity, make a prognosis or treatment.

Therefore, the meeting also discussed the latest results from genome studies, taking into account the different clinical symptoms or phenotypes (psoriasis vulgaris, psoriatic arthritis with enthesitis, spondylitis, etc..), Which provides information about genes and predominantly inflammatory pathways in each of the clinical phenotypes of these diseases. This is important to understand the differences in level of pathophysiological mechanisms and may be useful for optimizing the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment.

"Biomarkers for the diagnosis and prognosis report about those genetic data, epidemiological or biological that can help identify patients with psoriasis will develop PsA, and the severity of the APs. The goal is to prevent or treat the disease early and more personalized, "said Dr. Juan Cañete, Arthritis Unit of Rheumatology at Hospital Clínic of Barcelona and member of the Scientific Committee of the symposium.

Dr. Cañete made a presentation on "common pathophysiological pathways of the skin and joints," in which he talked about biological therapies directed at specific targets, which stressed that "the effectiveness of these therapies both diseases shows that TNFalpha , and probably also the cytokines IL-17/IL-23 pathway are shared. However there are also differences in the response to anti-T cell therapies between psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, suggesting that psoriasis have a higher autoimmune component psoriatic arthritis. "

Among the various anti-TNF biologic therapies currently available for this condition, there are differences in the mechanism of action, half-life, the safety profile and immunogenicity, which must be taken into account for an appropriate and individualized management of both the psoriasis as psoriatic arthritis.

Finally, Dr. Puig, who acted as moderator at the table "Therapeutic approach: optimization criteria, objectives and results" of psoriasis and PsA, emphasized common production mechanisms of the disease, early diagnosis elements of rheumatological manifestations of psoriasis and optimization approach based therapeutics whole problem of the patient, taking into account the different domains (skin disease, nail, axial and peripheral arthritis, enthesitis, dactylitis, psychological effects and other comorbidities) of disease.

Image By Arnavaz at fr.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

          Colorectal cancer is one of the most common tumors   

-In first line in combination with FOLFOX.
-In second line in combination with FOLFIRI in patients receiving first-line treatment with fluoropyrimidine-based chemotherapy (excluding irinotecan).

 It has also revised the indication stating that panitumumab monotherapy is indicated for the treatment of mCRC patients with KRAS wild-type (wild-type) monotherapy after failure of chemotherapy regimens containing fluoropyrimidine, oxaliplatin and irinotecan.

Colorectal cancer is one of the most common tumors. According to the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM), in Western countries is second in incidence (number of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants / year), behind lung cancer in men and breast cancer in women. Colorectal cancer accounts for approximately 10-15% of all cancers. In Spain there are a total of 21,000 patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.

Globally the annual incidence is about 1.2 million cases of colorectal cancer. This tumor accounts for over 630,000 deaths each year, so that is the third leading cause of cancer death in Western countries. The peak incidence is described in Japan, North America, parts of Europe, New Zealand and Australia, and the frequency is low in Africa and Southeast Asia.

"Metastatic colorectal cancer has a devastating impact on the lives of patients and families affected by this disease," said Professor Eduardo Diaz-Rubio, Chief of Medical Oncology at the Hospital San Carlos and founder of TTD (Group Gastrointestinal Cancer Treatment). Vectibix ® is a new option for these patients in an area where we have a limited number of targeted agents that have proven effective when used with chemotherapy "

"The extension of therapeutic indications panitumumab represents a promising advance for patients facing an aggressive disease with limited therapeutic options," said Roland Wandeler, CEO of Amgen. "It represents an important milestone for Amgen and underscores our commitment to develop drugs that make a real difference in the lives of patients."

Data from studies
Data from studies 20050203 (PRIME) and 20050181 (181) showed that the addition of panitumumab to FOLFOX or FOLFIRI chemotherapy improved progression free survival (PFS) compared to chemotherapy alone in the case of patients with KRAS mCRC. In addition, the overall response rate (ORR) achieved with panitumumab plus chemotherapy was superior to that obtained with chemotherapy alone.

Although numerical level was higher, the improvement in median overall survival (OS) did not reach statistical significance in the group treated with panitumumab in either of these two trials. Trials Amgen PRIME and 181 were the first phase 3 trials that prospectively analyzed the effect of an inhibitor of growth factor receptor (EGFR) as a function of KRAS status in patients with mCRC.

Adverse effects PRIME trial and 181 are some already known toxicities associated with EGFR therapy, such as rash, diarrhea and hypomagnesemia. The incidence of infusion-related reactions of grade 3/4 was approximately 1% in the treatment groups of the two trials. In patients with tumors with KRAS mutations, the results were worse in patients treated with panitumumab plus FOLFOX compared with those receiving the latter drug in isolation. The use of panitumumab should be limited to patients in whom there is a confirmed KRAS status (wild-type).


    Jemal. Global Cancer Statistics. CA Cancer J Clin 2011; 61:69-90

     Douillard, JE et al. Randomized, Phase 3 Study (PRIME) of Panitumumab with FOLFOX4 versus FOLFOX4 Alone as First-Line Treatment in Patients With Previously Untreated Metastatic Colorectal Cancer. J Clin Oncol 28. 2010.

     Peeters, M et al. Randomized Phase III Study of Panitumumab With Fluorouracil, Leucovorin, and Irinotecan (FOLFIRI) Compared With FOLFIRI Alone As Second-Line Treatment in Patients With Metastatic Colorectal Cancer. J Clin Oncol 28, 2010.

Image By Public domainPublic domainfalsefalse This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Indolences at the English Wikipedia project. This applies worldwide.In case this is not legally possible:Indolences grants anyone the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.  [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

          Chillin': Ice Cube, Cavs still waiting on Billups' decision   
BIG3 Basketball League founder Ice Cube, right, mouths out "Thank You" to the crowd who applauds him as he is announced during a timeout in the the first half of Game 3 of the league's debut, Sunday, June 25, 2017, at the Barclays Center in New York. less BIG3 Basketball League founder Ice Cube, right, mouths out "Thank You" to the crowd who applauds him as he is announced during a timeout in the the first half of Game 3 of the league's debut, Sunday, June 25, ... more FILE - In this March 19, 2014 photo, Detroit Pistons guard Chauncey Billups watches from the sideline during an NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets in Denver.
           Zara founder Amancio Ortega relaxes in St Tropez    
The notoriously private businessman, 80, who is worth £65 billion, still goes into work and puts in nine hours most days  at Inditex - the parent company of brands such as Zara, Pull & Bear and Massimo Dutti.
           Lauren Bush Lauren celebrates her birthday at the beach    
The FEED founder took to Instagram Stories to share her 'birthday highlights' along with some adorable pictures of her day at the beach with her husband David and her one-and-a-half-year-old son James.
           The Hardihood founders made healthy cakes in their kitchen    
Daisy Kristiansen, 31, and Leah Garwood-Gowers, 28, from London, gave up sugar and started making their own healthy takes on cakes when they were uninspired by what was on the shelves.
           The £9million chocolate empire born out of holiday horror    
Upmarket chocolate brand Montezuma's founder, Helen Pattinson, 46, reveals her £9million chocolate empire was born out of holiday horror in South America.
           Founder of Showpo Jane Lu on moment she'd made it    
Jane Lu, of Showpo, is the CEO of a business which turns over $30 million a year. She recently opened up about the moment she thought she'd made it. 'Sales just kept doubling,' she admitted.
          CostTree Founder and CEO Selected As Expert Panelist At 2016 Uniform Guidance Training in Los Angeles, California   

CostTree, LLC Founder and CEO, Nicolie Lettini, MBA, was selected as a guest speaker on the panel for the Los Angeles 2016 Uniform Guidance Training: Promising Practices. In the 2nd year, the Uniform Guidance (2 CFR 200) has developed several promising practices while also creating questions surrounding indirect cost negotiations and management.

(PRWeb September 15, 2016)

Read the full story at

          CostTree, LLC Founder and CEO, Nicolie Lettini, Invited To Join Speaking Panel At 2016 Uniform Guidance Training in Denver, Colorado   

CostTree, LLC Founder and CEO, Nicolie Lettini, MBA, has been selected to speak on a guest panel at the 2016 Uniform Guidance Training: Promising Practices, in Denver, Colorado.

(PRWeb September 15, 2016)

Read the full story at

          From Founder’s Garage to $150+ Million in Savings, Sacramento-Based CostTree Celebrates Strong First Two Years; Wide Open Road Ahead   

Just two years after launching CostTree out of her Sacramento garage, Nicolie Lettini has turned a necessary but manual and tedious chore of the accounting world into a cost recovery machine, enabling over 70 cities, counties and nonprofits to save more than $150 million.

(PRWeb May 10, 2016)

Read the full story at

          Comment on God Talk and Americans’ Belief in Inalienable Rights by John Schmeeckle   
Phil Beaver, your posts contain a number of interesting ideas worthy of discussion. I'll try to keep this selective response more or less within the parameters of the topic of James Rogers' article. You wrote, 'I think "God Talk" is a private pursuit with no standing in the discovery of civic justice. “Civic” refers to persons who collaborate for comprehensive safety and security more than for other institutional or ideological causes.' That is a common view these days, but it does not fit the prevailing view of the Founders and of the society that they lived in. For example, "God talk" was a prominent part of the Declaration of Independence. As every colonial lawyer at the time knew, the English jurisprudence in which they were trained was grounded on the Law of Nature, which in turn included the theological suppositions of a transcendent, omnipotent, omniscient and benevolent divine being commonly referred to as "God." The Founders understood "unalienable rights" in terms of the moral duties of piety and benevolence. At the time, atheism was considered scandalous, and deism only slightly less so. The Founders considered it of utmost importance to promote the development of virtue in the children of the community. In their wisdom, they decided that organized religion, not government, should play a dominant role in doing this, although compulsory prayer in public schools is one example of universally practiced government support of the promotion of virtue. Your emphasis on "comprehensive safety and security" would seem to be more restricted than the Constitution's phrase, "promote the general welfare," and I'm inclined to wonder why you choose not to use the Constitution's phrase. What do you think of the following quote citing examples of what the government should do to promote the general welfare? "Wisdom, and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffused generally among the body of the people, being necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties; and as these depend on spreading the opportunities and advantages of education in the various parts of the country, and among the different orders of the people, it shall be the duty of legislatures and magistrates, in all future periods of this commonwealth, to cherish the interests of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries of them; especially the university at Cambridge, public schools and grammar schools in the towns; to encourage private societies and public institutions, rewards and immunities, for the promotion of agriculture, arts, sciences, commerce, trades, manufactures, and a natural history of the country; to countenance and inculcate the principles of humanity and general benevolence, public and private charity, industry and frugality, honesty and punctuality in their dealings; sincerity, good humor, and all social affections, and generous sentiments among the people."
          How artificial intelligence is taking on ransomware   
Twice in the space of six weeks, the world has faced major attacks of ransomware — malicious software that locks up photos and other files stored on your computer, then demands money to release them. Despite those risks, many people just aren’t good at updating security software. In the early days, identifying malicious programs such as viruses involved matching their code against a database of known malware. [...] a program that starts encrypting files without showing a progress bar on the screen could be flagged for surreptitious activity, said Fabian Wosar, chief technology officer at New Zealand security company Emsisoft. An even better approach identifies malware using observable characteristics usually associated with malicious intent — for instance, by quarantining a program disguised with a PDF icon to hide its true nature. For that, security researchers turn to machine learning, a form of artificial intelligence. The security system analyzes samples of good and bad software and figures out what combination of factors is likely to be present in malware. On the flip side, malware writers can obtain these security tools and tweak their code to see if they can evade detection. Some websites already offer to test software against leading security systems. Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder and chief technology officer at Irvine vendor CrowdStrike, said that even if a particular system offers 99 percent protection, “it’s just a math problem of how many times you have to deviate your attack to get that 1 percent.” Though Cylance plans to release a consumer version in July, it says it’ll be a tough sell — at least until someone gets attacked personally or knows a friend or family member who has.
          Business News Roundup, June 28   
Facebook said Tuesday that it has deleted about 66,000 posts a week in the last two months as the social media giant cracks down on what it deems to be hate speech. The company said in a blog post that deleting posts can “feel like censorship,” but that it is working on explaining its process better and improving its enforcement of hate speech guidelines. Facebook defines hate speech as attacks on people based on their race, sexual orientation and other “protected characteristics.” Facebook plans to hire an additional 3,000 people in the next year to review posts. Home prices rose at a healthy clip in April, though the increase slowed a bit from the previous two months. Home prices are rising roughly twice as fast as average wages, a dynamic that may eventually stifle sales. Bidding wars among buyers competing for a limited supply of available homes are driving up costs. Low mortgage rates are also encouraging more Americans to buy homes. The Conference Board, a business research group, said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index rose to 118.9 this month from 117.6 in May. More consumers described current business conditions as good and jobs as plentiful. Market observers are watching for signals about when the central bank will start scaling back its $67 billion in monthly bond purchases, a program designed to increase inflation and growth. Two groups of offshore funds that invested in Bernard Madoff’s fraudulent securities firm agreed to pay a combined $370 million to resolve lawsuits by the court-appointed trustee raising cash for victims. Lagoon Investment and related funds will hand over about $240 million, while Thema Fund and its affiliates will pay about $130 million, trustee Irving Picard said in a statement Tuesday. Lagoon, which is based in the British Virgin Islands, and Thema, with headquarters in Bermuda, were among many feeder funds that directed cash to Madoff’s investment-advisory business, often without their customers’ knowledge. The deals with Lagoon and Thema were struck just one day after the estates of Madoff’s dead sons, Andrew and Mark, agreed to pay a total of more than $23 million to settle similar lawsuits. Martin Shkreli’s criminal fraud trial jury hasn’t been selected yet and already the brash pharmaceutical executive is trying to get the case thrown out of court and lashing out at reporters. Once in court, Shkreli’s lawyer Benjamin Brafman asked to start the trial over because news reports cited negative opinions prospective jurors had expressed about his client. More than a dozen people were dismissed from jury service Monday, including a woman who called Shkreli “an evil man,” and another who said she knew he’d been labeled “the most hated man in America.” Brafman also asked U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto in Brooklyn to dismiss the entire pool of jurors, saying they were tarnished by the bad publicity and asked to restart the trial in a few weeks. By requesting a mistrial, Brafman is free to raise the issue of a tainted jury on appeal, should Shkreli be convicted. Shkreli, the 34-year-old founder of Retrophin and Turing Pharmaceuticals, is accused of defrauding investors in two hedge funds and using $11 million of Retrophin assets to pay them off.
          Pro flag football league founder: There's 'tremendous' potential for women to play   
Two months after a woman earned a college scholarship, the AFFL says 'everything is on the table'
          Dr. Maya Angelou Receives 6 Millionth Complaint Free Bracelet - UrbanMecca   
UrbanMeccaDr. Maya Angelou Receives 6 Millionth Complaint Free BraceletUrbanMeccaWill Bowen, Founder of A Complaint Free World, presented Dr. Maya Angelou with the 6 millionth Complaint Free purple bracelet on September 10, 2009. ...
          Congressman Don Beyer to Introduce Groundbreaking Congressional Election Reform Bill, "The Fair Representation Act"   


June 26, 2017


David Daley, Senior Communications Fellow, at

Austin Plier, Communications Manager, at


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congressman Don Beyer (VA-08) today announced his introduction of The Fair Representation Act, groundbreaking legislation that would reform Congressional elections, defeat gerrymandering, combat political polarization, and most importantly, give voters real voice and choice when electing their representatives.

Under the Fair Representation Act, all U.S. House members will be elected by ranked-choice voting in new, larger multi-winner districts. This system would replace today’s map of safe red and blue seats that lock voters into uncompetitive districts, and elect members of Congress with little incentive to work together and solve problems.

"Polarization and partisanship, both among voters and in the Congress, have reached dangerous and scary heights," said Rep. Beyer. "The Fair Representation Act is the bold reform America needs to be sure every vote matters, to defeat the gerrymander, and ensure the House of Representatives remains the people's House."

“The Fair Representation Act is the most comprehensive approach to improving congressional elections in American history,” said Rob Richie, the executive director of FairVote. “It creates an impartial, national standard that gets at the core of FairVote’s mission: Giving voters greater choice, a stronger voice, and a representative democracy that works for all Americans.”

This legislation directly addresses the most crucial problem in our democracy: A system fundamentally broken by a dangerous new era of fierce partisan divisions. Upwards of 85 percent of Americans live in districts increasingly skewed toward one party. Too many votes simply don’t matter. The current system rewards partisans, destroys electoral accountability, and discourages innovation or crossing party lines.

The Fair Representation Act gives voters of all political stripes the power to elect House members who reflect their views and will work effectively with others. It increases voter choice and provides a fair reflection of voter preferences -- the majority elects the most seats  but everyone earns their fair share, including urban Republicans, rural Democrats and innovative thinkers of all kinds. Independents and third-party candidates could run without being spoilers.

Here’s how it works: Smaller states with five or fewer members will elect all representatives from one statewide, at-large district. States with more than six will draw multi-winner districts of three to five representatives each. Congress will remain the same size, but districts will be larger.

They will be elected through ranked-choice voting, an increasingly common electoral method used in many American cities, whereby voters rank candidates in order of choice, ensuring that as many voters as possible help elect a candidate they support. Under ranked-choice voting, if no candidate reaches the threshold needed to win, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. When a voter’s top choice loses, their vote instantly goes to their second choice. The process repeats until all seats are elected.

Using this approach, four in five voters would elect someone they support. The number of voters in position to swing a seat would immediately triple -- from less than 15 percent in 2016, to just under half.

The districts themselves will be drawn by state-created, independent commissions made up of ordinary citizens. These larger districts would be nearly impossible to gerrymander for political advantage – and would force politicians to seek out voters with different perspectives and remain accountable to them.

“Under the Fair Representation Act, every voter will live in a district that matters, and be able to cast a vote that makes a difference. We’ll open elections to more voices, wider debate and greater diversity. And fairer elections, in turn, will discourage deep polarization,” said Richie.

Cynthia Terrell, founder of Representation2020, added that “No single reform would create more opportunities for women and people of color from across the spectrum to compete in fair elections. It is central to our vision of how we achieve parity for women in congressional elections.”

The Act will transform our broken politics and, once again, create a government designed of, by, and for the people. House leadership will reliably shift with whichever party’s candidates won more votes in the election and members will be rewarded for working cooperatively with others.

“The Fair Representation Act is effective, constitutional and grounded in American traditions of remodeling our system to ensure every vote counts and all our voices are heard,” said Richie. “It is the transformative change we need to make democracy work for all Americans.” To learn more about the Fair Representation Act, read FairVote’s Monopoly Politics report, and explore resources associated with the proposed legislation.



FairVote is a nonpartisan champion of electoral reforms that give voters greater choice, a stronger voice, and a representative democracy that works for all Americans. Since its founding in 1992, FairVote has advocated for this comprehensive reform vision, and applauds the introduction of the Fair Representation Act as a monumental step forward for election reform.

          FairVote Partners with Civinomics to Release RCV App   


FOR INFORMATION, CONTACT:  Michelle C. Whittaker (301) 270-4616 or

FairVote is pleased to partner with Civinomics to launch a new tool for understanding electoral politics and voter inclinations in multi-seat contests across the United States. Our ranked choice voting (RCV) application allows users to rank candidates in order of choice. With the large Republican presidential field dominating attention around which of the 17 candidates will be included in the first presidential debate, the need for comprehensive polling tools to understand voter preferences is essential. FairVote and Civinomics are launching the RCV tool for two important contests: the Republican presidential candidate field and the Democratic presidential candidate field.

Civinomics and FairVote share a strong desire to give communities the best possible forms of government -- and that begins with how we conduct elections. “A ranked choice poll,” Rob Richie, Executive Director of FairVote notes, “provides clarity about which of the top candidates has the broadest support.” Manu Koenig, Founder & CEO of Civinomics believes that it is important for voters “to have all the voting tools possible to determine the best outcome for their group, community or government.”

App Features

The app allows users to rank candidates and cast a ballot for the particular contest. Once the ballot is submitted, users can view the results of a contest. 

One of the unique features of the tool is the interactive results display that allows users to view RCV counts round-by-round and eliminate candidates to see how how the departure of that candidate impacts others still in the contest.

screen shot 2015 08 03 at 8 17 08 pm


How Ranked Choice Voting Works

Ranked choice voting (RCV) ensures that the voice of voters is heard. Current voting methods and too often political polling data only considers a voter’s first choice. Using RCV, voters rank as many candidates as they want in order of preference. After adding up all the first choices, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. Voters whose first choice candidate is eliminated have their vote added to the total for their second choice. This process continues until two candidates remain, the candidate a majority of the active votes wins.

When voters are able to rank candidates, they have the freedom to choose the candidates that truly represent them. This maximizes the power of voters and choice among candidates, and upholds a  fundamental principle of representative democracy that is of, for, and by the people.

More to Come

We are encouraging civic organizations, political pollsters, journalists, and policymakers to try our new app. FairVote is showcasing the app this week at the annual convention of the National Conference of State Legislatures and next month at the annual convention of the American Political Science Association. Later this month, an "all-party" presidential contest will be released that includes Republican, Democratic, and independent candidates/parties; in addition to a version of the app for the general public that allows any registered user to create their own contests.


For more information on this tool, please contact  Michelle Whittaker, Director of Communications at (301) 270-4616

FairVote is a nonpartisan non-profit organizations that seeks to makes democracy fair, functional, and representative by developing the analysis and educational tools necessary for reform advocates to win and sustain improvements to American elections.

Civimonics is social and civic engagement site. Their mission is to strengthen the democratic process by making it easier for people to get involved and implement solutions that improve their communities.


          The Reformer: Special Edition, FairVote's Reforms Featured in Washington Post and New York Times   

We'll be back next month with more detailed news from FairVote, but as summer comes to a close we wanted to share two
high-profile commentaries on our core reform proposals.

First, Katrina vanden Heuvel had a widely syndicated commentary published in the Washington Post, where she makes a powerful case for advancing our fair representation plan and builds upon her recent piece on the National Popular Vote plan. Vanden Heuvel extends the logic of her previous analysis to showcase how House elections can be reformed using multi-seat districts and a fair representation alternative, highlighting our interactive flash map (which shows such plans for every state in the country with more than one House district). Take a look -- and please sign this petition to ask your House Member to support a bill to make this change.

Second, Executive Director Rob Richie had a letter published in the New York Times, making the case for a right to vote in the Constitution. The letter dovetailed nicely with new advances for our Promote Our Vote resolutions and our new website, which highlights various efforts to secure a constitutional right to vote.

We've attached both pieces in full below. You also might enjoy Richie's Gainesville Sun commentary on how Florida could resolve its redistricting lawsuit with the 2014 elections, as well as John Burbank's piece on proportional representation, and Larry Bradley's commentary about Instant Runoff Voting. There are also several new pieces on FairVote's blog.


New York Times. August 17, 2014. By Robert Richie.

Trying to ensure the fundamental right to vote 

To the Editor:

Your Aug. 12 editorial “Where Voting Is Now Easier,” about the divergent directions states are taking on the accessibility of voting, underscores an unsettling reality: Our 50 states and more than 10,000 local jurisdictions structure and administer elections that are all separate and unequal. Our nation is long overdue for an explicit right to vote in the Constitution.

In 1787, our founders were not ready to establish that right. Over time, the right to vote has advanced largely as a state right. Federal constitutional changes have expanded suffrage, but they have never established it as a fundamental right of American citizenship. Until we join most states and other nations in enshrining the right to vote in our Constitution, some states and localities will infringe on voting rights, whether by design or as a byproduct of running democracy on the cheap.

Congress is entertaining H.J. Res. 44 to put a right to vote in the Constitution, a measure backed by a growing number of local governments. Let’s end the voting wars and accept voting as the fundamental democratic right that it is.

Washington Post. August 19, 2014. By Katrina vanden Heuvel.

We need a fairer system for choosing House members

In the original conception of our Constitution, the House of Representatives was to be the branch of government that best reflected the will of the people. House members cannot serve without being elected — vacancies are not filled by appointees — and they must face the voters every two years. Notably, the House holds pride of place as the first branch of government to be described in the Constitution. The framers move directly from “We the People” to the House, underlining the notion that, for our Constitution (and our government) to function, representatives must be accountable to the people.

Unfortunately, as we near the 2014 midterm elections, the reality of House races today clashes with that goal.

Let’s start with the connection between votes and seats. In 2012, we faced a major choice between the major parties and a mandate on President Obama’s first term. In the presidential race, Obama defeated Mitt Romney in the national popular vote by almost three percentage points, and Republicans suffered the worst performance in Senate elections by any major party in a half-century.

In House races, Democratic nominees overcame incumbent advantages for Republicans and won the national popular vote by more than 1.1 million votes. By those numbers, Americans painted the Capitol royal blue. Shockingly, though, Republicans won 54 percent of the House seats,establishing for themselves a 33-seat majority. And looking ahead, analysts estimate that Democrats may need as much as 55 percent of the popular vote in November to secure a majority.

Such a disconnect between voters and those who are installed as their congressional leaders goes far beyond any distortion we’ve seen in the Electoral College in presidential elections. It’s absolutely unacceptable in House elections, and it deserves far more debate than it has received.

The most-discussed culprit for the abysmal nature of House elections is gerrymandering. Every decade, states redraw congressional districts. Given the sophistication of today’s technology, the growing partisan divide among voters and the relatively low-profile nature of the process, those in charge of mapping have the means, motive and opportunity to use redistricting to help their friends and hurt their enemies. Republicans in states such as Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia did just that. Barack Obama carried all those states in 2008, but today, Republicans hold a 68-31 edge in those states’ House seats.

But while gerrymandering matters, we must think more broadly. The core problem turns out to be districting, not redistricting. Congress’s 1967 law that mandates use of single-member districts for House elections has institutionalized the practice of shoehorning voters into boxes that restrict choices and distort representation. That is, districts are drawn in ways that lead to results predetermined by the powers that be. But today, there’s a growing call, from members of Congress including James Clyburn (D-S.C.) to institutions such as The Washington Post editorial board, to consider allowing voters to define their own representation in multi-seat district elections.

FairVote has created just such a fair-representation plan that Congress has full authority to establish. Every state would keep its same number of seats, but districts would be combined into larger districts drawn by independent commissions. Of critical importance: In each new “superdistrict,” like-minded voters could elect candidates of choice in proportion to their share of the vote. To illustrate: In this “open-ticket system,” a voter would cast a vote for one candidate. This vote counts for the candidate and, if that candidate is associated with a political party, also for that party. Seats are then allocated to parties in proportion to their share of the vote using a proportional-representation formula — like that used by Democrats to allocate convention delegates in their presidential primaries. Each party’s share of seats is filled by its candidates who won the most votes. An independent wins by exceeding the minimum share of votes necessary to win. (Watch FairVote’s excellent video for a primer on the system.)

In Massachusetts, for example, more than a third of the state’s voters consistently vote Republican, but the GOP has not won a House seat there in two decades. Yet by consolidating Massachusetts’s nine districts into three districts of three seats each, and by using a fair-representation system, that significant bloc of Republican votes would consistently win three — rather than zero — of Massachusetts’s nine seats, a direct translation of the voters’ will. Similarly, Democrats could end Republican monopolies and exaggerated majorities in states such as Kansas, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Texas.

Although novel, fair representation has the potential to draw a strong coalition of support. Women, for example, are deeply underrepresented in House elections, with more than four in five seats still held by men, and women win about 10 percent more seats in multi-seat state-legislative and city-council elections than they do in congressional districts. Other supporters would be those in favor of 50-state parties, as we would engender two-party competition in every corner of the nation. Third parties would be able to field viable candidates, not mere spoilers, and our ideological polarization would be lessened with a new mix of representatives that better reflects the diversity of our thoughts and interests.

How we can move such a bold plan forward? To start, Democrats who are crafting a redistricting reform package should enable commissions to create such plans. State leaders should petition Congress for an exemption from the 1967 mandate. Maryland state Sen. Jamie Raskin (D) has proposed that two states that have done partisan gerrymanders — one for Democrats and one for Republicans — could even enter into an interstate compact in which they agree to utilize a fair-representation plan together.

We may have an opportunity this year. In July, Florida’s congressional gerrymander was tossed out by a state judge on the grounds that two districts did not comply with the state’s Fair District constitutional amendments, which had been approved by voters in 2010. A FairVote proposal has shown how, in a fair-representation system, the five Florida districts affected by the ruling could be combined into a single district, its representatives chosen by the open-ticket rule. It would make every voter count, provide fairer partisan representation and uphold the Voting Rights Act.

People are thinking creatively about how to re-energize American democracy. It is not acceptable to sit on our hands as we watch the value of a vote get more and more skewed. It’s time to launch a drive for a fair-representation system for Congress so that the House of “We the People” can finally live up to its name.





          Goodbye Homeschool Burnout, Hello Summer!   
Today I want to talk about homeschool burnout (a HUGE subject on my hear these days), and embracing the summer break! Before we get started, here are a few announcements: My friend and colleague, Andrea Thorpe, is the founder of African American Homeschool Moms and is hosting the first African American Homeschool Moms Conference 2015! […]
          Brelby's Allegiance to THE PLEDGE Yields Magical Results   
Brelby Theatre's Production of Megan O'Connor's The Pledge

Megan O'Connor's The Pledge is a startlingly clever new play that opened last Friday at Historic Downtown Glendale's Brelby Theatre Company.

This review is going to sound weird, but there's no getting around it. The play is about illusionism - sleight of hand, "misdirection," beguilement - good old fashioned magic. As such, its secrets can't be told. More precisely, its truths can't be revealed without - literally - spoiling the whole thing. Thus - the weird review.

Directed by Brelby co-founder Brian Maticic, the production unfolds in two crisp acts that blaze through time and space and entirely upend their own premise, leaving the witness dizzy and somewhere between sobs and incredulous shock.

Jen Gantwerker in Megan O'Connor's The Pledge

At the center of the excellent production is Jen Gantwerker as Natty, a "magician's wife" and pastry chef. Gantwerker is wicked smart, enormously talented, and plays the hell out of her sharply written, complicated role.

Clayton Caufman's David is both frustrating and endearing. An emerging magician, David is all over the map psychologically and seems emotionally at once conflicted and detached.

During an impressive magical card trick, Caufman asks for a volunteer from the audience. The play suddenly becomes a traditional magic show. At the performance this writer attended, a tall, striking woman stepped out of the house and onto the stage. It was hard to believe she wasn't rehearsed, so poised was she. I learned at intermission that she's Shandi Ilyse, a theatre artist who has performed on Brelby's stage. You won't get to see her in The Pledge, but the trick is great fun and that moment will be informed by whomever is that "actor" who goes there with Caufman's David.

Alex Tuchi, always interesting and unpredictable, playfully and sometimes angrily renders a rather labyrinthine barista. Willa Eigo and Jessie Tully play characters I can't actually talk about without giving away magician's secrets. The same goes for James Beneze's character or characters - you have to see the show to decide what it is he's doing, and even then - good luck. What I can tell you is that Eigo, Tully and Beneze are talented, strong and entertaining. Katelyn Landaal makes her stage debut in a bit part that puts the whole thing in perspective - if there is such a thing in a work as disorienting as is The Pledge.

Brian Maticic's nimble staging is unselfconscious, clean and economic. There's nothing sloppy or superfluous about any moment in the production. The set, lights, costumes, hair/makeup, sound and even the building's constantly humming fans/air conditioning all feel concomitant - even we, sitting in the audience, have a feeling we were part of the design.

I expect we'll hear more from Megan O'Connor and her most impressive first full-length play. Huge respect and gratitude go to Brelby for their commitment to their artists and to original, new work.

If you're smart, you'll get your tickets asap, because The Pledge runs only through July 1. Tickets and information can be obtained at


Brelby Logo

Mission Statement

The mission of the Brelby Theatre Company is to foster an environment for artists to imagine and grow freely, create quality intimate theatre, and inspire our community.

Company Vision

Through the production of professional quality shows, and the operation of high quality classes and workshops, the Brelby Theatre Company will work to become the epicenter of theatre in the West Valley arts community, and a valuable member of the arts in Arizona. Brelby Theatre Company strives to provide directors, writers, designers and actors with a safe environment to enhance their creative abilities and explore their talents, through the creation of live theatre. Through all of this the Brelby Theatre company aims to be recognized around the state and the southwest as an example of a thriving arts and entertainment organization.

Company Values

As theatre is a collaborative art, we are looking for individuals who are not only well-rounded, but interested in learning about new aspects of the art form. Our company members will each be expected to take roles in various facets of each season.

          1070 Approaches Opening at Herberger Theater   


"1070", a new play by James Garcia, premieres at the Herberger Theater Center on June 23 with performances running through July 9th. Tickets are $15 - $25 and are on sale now at

In this full-length drama, Dulce Avila and her family faces life after the passage of the passage of Arizona's Senate Bill 1070.

"Ultimately, immigration is about the people it affects, and regrettably that's often when folks start arguing over the topic," said Garcia. "The play explores the consequences the law had on one family, as well as the wider community, including what happened in political and economic circles. I think most people today agree that SB 1070 put Arizona on the map for all the wrong reasons, and we're still recovering from the black eye it left on our state's reputation."

Anna Flores, "Dulce Avila"

The play stars Anna Flores, currently a student at Arizona State University, and a graduate of Carl Hayden High School in Phoenix. Flores began performing at Carl Hayden when she was 16.

"I'm so grateful to be a part of this production," said Flores, "not only because I think it's a great part and a great play, but because as Dulce Avila, my character, I find myself experiencing on stage many of the same experiences my own family and friends have gone through. The sad thing is that it seems to be happening all over again."

The play will be staged over three weekends at the Herberger Theater Center, 222 E. Monroe in Phoenix. It opens in the KAX Theater June 23 to July 2. Then for the final weekend, July 8-10, "1070" will move to the larger Stage West venue in the Herberger to accommodate what Garcia predicts will be larger audiences, including some of the people registered to attend the annual National Council de La Raza (NCLR) convention in Phoenix.

Garcia said more than four thousand people are expected to register for the convention. NCLR, which was founded in Phoenix in 1969, is the nation's largest Latino advocacy organization.

After SB 1070 passed, NCLR, now based in Washington, D.C., led a national economic boycott against Arizona. NCLR President Janet Murguia has said the organization agreed to return to Arizona because of the progress the state has made countering the damaging effects of SB 1070.

"I think it says a lot that NCLR is willing to bring its convention to Arizona, even though we know things are far from perfect," said Garcia. "For one thing, there's the new wave of attacks aimed at immigrants by Trump. It remind us that immigration is a national and even global issue that's unresolved. Sadly, there are literally millions of immigrants and their families who are living in fear thanks of Trump's cruel and bigoted agenda. One of the things I hope this play does is speak not only to the extraordinary pain and damage that laws like 1070 wreake, but that good people in Arizona and around the country, many with very different backgrounds, have been willing over the years to fight back."

Dates & Times: June 23 - July 9, 2017, Friday and Saturday night performances at7:30 p.m., and Sunday afternoon matinee, 2 p.m. The show is two hours and 15 minutes long.

Tickets are $15 to $25, and $5 off for students and seniors 65 and up. All NCLR convention registrants receive the discounted student/senior rate.

To buy tickets:

Opening Night Dinner Reception: June 23 at 5:30 pm, Arizona Latino Arts Cultural Center, 147 E. Adams, Phoenix. The package is $40 which includes wine or beer and tickets to the show. Catering provided by Chef Lorenzo Santillan.

Location: Herberger Theater Center, 222 E. Monroe St., Phoenix, AZ 85004 (KAX Theater, June 23-July 2 and Stage West theater July 8-10, 2017)

Presented by: New Carpa Theater Co. ( and Sociedad Activa ( in association with the Herberger Theater Center.

About New Carpa Theater Co.

New Carpa Theater Co. was founded in 2002. The nonprofit troupe presents new works by established and emerging Latino and multicultural artists. James E. Garcia is the founder and producing artistic director of New Carpa and the author of more than 30 plays. He has an MFA in Creative Writing/Playwriting from Arizona State University.

James E. Garcia Biography

James is a journalist, playwright and a Valley-based media and communications consultant. He is the director of communications and strategic public policy for the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the owner of Creative Vistas Media. As a journalist, he has worked as a reporter, columnist, foreign correspondent and television and radio commentator. He was the founding editor of Latino Perspectives Magazine in Phoenix; the first Latino Affairs correspondent for KJZZ, the Valley's National Public Radio affiliate; and the first Latino editor of major alternative news weekly in the U.S., the San Antonio Current. Mr. Garcia also has taught ethnic studies, Latino politics and creative and journalistic writing courses at Arizona State University. An accomplished playwright and theater producer, James is the founder and producing artistic director of New Carpa Theater Co., which stages Latino and multicultural works. He is an actor, director and author of more than 30 plays. His upcoming play, "1070", premieres in June 2017 at the Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix. His most recent works include "Land of a Thousand Dances" (about the 60s East L.A. rock band, Cannibal and the Headhunters), "Mallecho" (a modern adaptation of Hamlet by William Shakespeare set in Texas politics), and "American Dreamer: The Life and Times of Raul H. Castro" (Arizona's only ever Hispanic governor). His media and communications consulting clients have included Chispa Arizona, Mesa Public Schools, the Smithsonian Institution, One Arizona, Promise Arizona, Ohio Against Hate, the Arizona Opera, Gina's Team, the Arizona Latino Arts and Cultural Center, the family of former Arizona Gov. Raul H. Castro, and United Cerebral Palsy of Central Arizona. You can contactJames at or call 623-252-2772.


          New Resources Provide Insight into Defining the Entrepreneur   
Let's face it - being an entrepreneur is easier today than 20 years ago, but way more complicated in the choices you can make. An interesting story from Smart Host founder, Evan Hammer, recently brought new insights into the resources available that can help entrepreneurs find success through all of the clutter.
          Why Location Is Still So Important In A Digitally Connected Age   
At a recent conference hosted by Techstars called FounderCon, 400+ entrepreneurs came together to discuss the theme, "Connect". For me that meant office location, durability and expansion because picking an office location is one of the first big, critical investments for an entrepreneur and the decision should be made with well-analyzed thought.
          An open invitation to share your knowledge with the ICTI community   

On Wednesday night this week we held the official launch of ICT Illawarra (ICTI), an information and communication technology cluster for the Illawarra region in southern New South Wales, Australia. This was an important first milestone for ICTI and we were all quite excited as we were expecting up to 60-70 people to attend the launch - an absolutely fantastic turn out for an event like this in a small city like Wollongong:

The University of Wollongong Vice-Chancellor Gerard Sutton and I (as the president of the ICTI association) gave a brief introduction and then handed over firstly to the Hon. David Campbell (NSW Minister for Transport and Minister for the Illawarra) and then our key note speaker, Bob Hayward from CSC.

Bob is a very experience IT entrepreneur who was recently appointed as Chief Technology & Innovation Officer APJ at CSC. He is also on the AIIA board and is the co-founder of AsiaOnline. Bob’s presentation was received very well - so a big public thank you to him for taking the time to help us with the launch.

I know the audience for this blog spans many geographies, but if you happen to be in Wollongong or know someone in the area, please remember that you would be most welcome to join us at any of our networking meetings in the future - dates for this year are already locked in.

We actually have some ideas for future meetings based the ICTI board’s own experiences with alternative meeting formats, such as BarCamp and Growth Town. So for those of you who live and work outside of the South Coast area, if you have some knowledge, ideas or opportunities you are willing to share we have a group of motivated ICT businesses that would love to meet you.

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          Data Visualization Specialist - Project X - Toronto, ON   
Created by Stephen Hayward, President and Co-founder of Project X, the Data Visualization Specialist role is the first of its kind for the company and the...
From Project X - Tue, 07 Mar 2017 22:58:52 GMT - View all Toronto, ON jobs
          In The Year 2040   
It’s been 23 years since Gary McMullen, co-founder of Muskoka Brewery, stepped away from the brewery he cofounded, and eventually become the first person to ever successfully motorize a floating Muskoka chair and speed around the lakes of Bracebridge and Muskoka, donning an ever-longer beard,...
          Twice the Skepticism: An Interview with the Evil Twins   

The Evil Twin Podcast is a loosely structured show involving twins Brad and Thad exploring, as they put it, the strange underbelly of “belief” in American culture and what it means to identify with various beliefs.

They love to interview guests and have covered topics such as conspiracy theories, sex addiction, and artificial intelligence. Many of their episodes take a look at specific religions. Most recently as of this writing, they have devoted two episodes to exploring Jediism.

Brad and Thad agreed to answer a few questions for the readers of Skeptical Briefs.

Gurmukh Mongia: You say that you’re skeptical even of skepticism. Would you like to expand on that and explain why you think skeptics shouldn’t take themselves too seriously?

Brad: Not taking ourselves too seriously is a big part of our approach and a big part of how we live our lives. If you were to compare and contrast the conversations we’ve had on the podcast, you would see that our tone is similar throughout. Whether we are talking to Rev. Ivan Stang, founder of the Church of the SubGenius, or Dr. Jennifer Bird about the Bible, we give the same amount of respect and the same level of irreverence.

As far as being skeptical of skepticism, it only makes sense if you have an attitude of questioning everything. To us, being skeptical of skepticism means being willing to go anywhere and being brave enough to look under every stone to find answers to the big questions in life.

Thad: Being skeptical even of skepticism means we are open to questioning our own perception of this reality to the point of asking “What is reality?” Skeptics often find themselves in the awkward position of thinking they have to find the answer to a question. The pursuit of truth can be exhausting and burdensome, so at times we need to look at life a little more like children and just play. This attitude helps to keep our minds open and not take shit so seriously.

Mongia: What was your inspiration for starting the podcast? What makes your show different?

Brad: I’d say that our inspiration for starting was a need to hang out and bullshit with each other. As we’ve aged and started families, we’ve found it difficult to justify meaningless hang-out time. Since neither of us are into watching team sports and we would rather be doing something fun than watching others do stuff, we decided a creative project like a podcast would be a fun challenge.

Our show is different because it’s an audio documentary of unique experiences. We’ve had the great privilege of having conversations with many people whose work is inspiring and changing the world, but we’ve also had a number of “mini-adventures.” We’ve been hypnotized, had a psychic reading, visited a Scientology center, attended a UFO convention, eaten Psilocybin mushrooms, and had a séance, to name a few. Plus, we’re twins.

Thad: Ditto.

Mongia: Do you have one or two favorite or most memorable shows? What are they and why?

Brad: I have a couple personal favorites. Many years ago I was introduced to the 1972 Academy Award–winning documentary called “Marjoe.” It’s a documentary about a young man who was forced into the ministry business at the young age of four. He was known throughout the South as a dynamic and energetic preacher. His parents made large sums of money off his work, $3-4 million by the time he was fourteen years old. In the film, you see him, now a twenty-something Atheist, finishing up his last few revivalist events and dealing with “coming out” to the public as a nonbeliever. In “Episode 021: Marjoe,” we interviewed Sarah Kernochan, director of “Marjoe.” This was one of my favorite episodes simply because I love that film.

My other personal favorite is “Episode 023: Mormonism, Part 1.” In this episode, I come out as an ex-Mormon who hasn’t spoken about it, outside of a small sphere of people, for twenty years. In that episode, we interviewed the founder of the Ex-Mormon Foundation, Richard Packham. He’s a man who has been instrumental in creating a strong community for ex-Mormons. He also revealed to us that he assisted a man named Mike Norton to infiltrate Mormon temples and video record the ceremonies. We interviewed Mike Norton (aka NewNameNoah on Youtube) in “Episode 024: Mormonism, Part 2.”

Thad: For me, the two most memorable shows so far have been “Episode 001: Taylor John Williams” and “Episode 017: Psilocybin Mushrooms.” Episode 001 was obviously our premiere episode but was also very personal because our guest was my stepson, who had just been a finalist on Season 7 of The Voice. Episode 017 was a mind blower because preparing for that episode I took a large dose of mushrooms and had an incredibly intense experience.

Mongia: Both you and Thad have experienced deconversion from religion. How have your experiences shaped your views on skepticism and influenced how you run your show?

Brad: For me, deconversion was about accepting obvious truths over heartfelt desire. Unfortunately, our egos make that difficult at times. How can something I’ve believed all my life be wrong? How can something I accepted as truth as a grown adult turn out to be incorrect? How could I have been so wrong? That I is what we try to play with, and as twins we have a special relationship with I. This is why on our logo, there is no I in Evl Twn.

Thad: My experience with religion led me to realize that my belief in God was based on blind faith alone. That blind faith was largely influenced by my upbringing and cultural influences up to that point in my life. As we stepped out of our little sandbox we grew up in, we realized that there was a great big playground full of different kinds of kids with different kinds of toys to play with. As we started to explore the bigger picture, we couldn’t help but to see that each kid was raised to see the world in a different way, to believe in God in a different way too. . . . We couldn’t help but be even more curious about why people believed in the things they did. That curiosity ended up being the greatest contribution to the show. •

The Evil Twin Podcast can be found on iTunes and on the web at It can be found on Facebook at and on Twitter through @EvilTwinPodcast.

          Annapolis College Ministry   
In this episode, Fr. John Parker interviews Fr. Robert Miclean, pastor of Holy Archangels Mission in Annapolis, MD. Fr Robert is the founding pastor of this new mission, and the founder of Annapolis College Ministry, which is an intentional, discipleship-driven, missionary outreach to three Maryland colleges: the US Naval Academy, St John’s College, and Anne Arundel Community College.

          Tony Fadell Talks About Pre-iPhone Touchscreen MacBook Prototype and Moto Rokr   
Many have heard of Tony Fadell since his days as the founder of Nest, which was eventually acquired by Google. He only left Nest last […] Read the original post by Chethan Rao
          Greenpeace - “Smog Perfume” Campaign   

#<hashie::mash> Zhang Lingling,founder of recycling non-profit, "BlueSky4Children" has come up with a unique way of spreading awareness about China’s smog crisis. Smog perfume. She teamed up with a perfume maker friend and together, they recreated the unique smell of China's haze and tested it out on the streets of Shanghai.

          Mission 500 Hits a Grand Slam for Children in Need   
Charity Softball Game Raises Over $55,000 and provides 300 students with backpacks and school supplies to NYC schools   From l to r: Chairman of the Board, Alan Forman and Mission 500’s Founder, George Fletcher
          In Praise of the Intelligence Oversight Process: Our New Anti-Populist Paper    

Years ago, when Lawfare was still in its infancy, the two of us made an entirely serious video (well, maybe not entirely serious) for YouTube about the emergent problem of abusive internet comments. Entitled "Comment or Vote," it proposed a constitutional amendment to deprive of the franchise anyone who left a comment on any website. For some time after we posted it, until it was finally removed, the first comment on the YouTube site read: "You guys are faggots." No, we're not making that up. 

The issue "Comment or Vote" spoofed was not a joke. Lawfare does not take comments, and it's always interesting to watch how offended some readers are by that. It's as though people think they have some inalienable right to participate, including in a website published by someone else. 

The broader issue of which this expectation is only a tiny slice—the populist cult of mass participation—is really not a joke. It is wreaking havoc on our political system. And it is the subject of a Brookings paper we released late last month, entitled, "More Professionalism, Less Populism: How Voting Makes Us Stupid and What to Do About It." The full paper is available below. An interview we did yesterday on the subject with the Brookings podcast, Intersections, is available here:

Most of this paper has little to do with the national security law and policy. But one section is a real exception, which we wanted to highlight here: A key case study of how anti-populist institutions function better than highly participatory ones focuses on the intelligence oversight system. We thought the thematic connections between Lawfare's subject matter and this discussion warranted excerpting it here. So what follows is the paper's introduction, along with the section on the intelligence oversight system:

“Americans—especially, but not exclusively Trump voters—believe crazy, wrong things,” runs a post-election Washington Post headline. The article, by columnist Catherine Rampell, worried about polls showing that more than a third of the public (and about half of Republicans) believe that Barack Obama was born in Kenya and that Hillary Clinton was involved with a satanic pedophilia ring (“Pizzagate”)—among many other things. “To me, they’re terrifying,” Rampell wrote of the public’s misconceptions. “They result in misused resources, violence and harassment, health risks, bad policy, and, ultimately, the deterioration of democracy.”

Political scientists might be excused for emitting an exasperated yawn. The literature on voter ignorance is one of the oldest, best established, and most dismaying in all of political science. Every so often, journalists and commentators dip into it and emerged “terrified.” In recent years, however, a wave of research has shown ignorance and irrationality to be even bigger problems than previously believed, and has cast new doubt on standard remedies. Neither theory nor practice supports the idea that more participation will produce better policy outcomes, or will improve the public’s approbation of government, or is even attainable in an environment dominated by extreme partisans and narrow interest groups.

Such scholarship has not shaken the faith of many commentators and reformers that increasing popular involvement in politics and government is the remedy for the ills of our political culture—the chicken soup of political reforms. Unfortunately, the country and the political-reform community have come to expect far too much from increased political participation. Participation is effective only when supplemented by intermediation, the work done by institutions (such as political parties) and substantive professionals (such as career politicians and experts) to organize, interpret, and buffer popular sentiment. In this essay, we argue that restoring and strengthening political institutions and intermediation belong at the center of a modern political-reform agenda. More specifically, we advance the following contentions:

  • Always empirically questionable at best, the populist-progressive idea that more participation will reliably improve either the products or the popularity of governance has taken a pounding in recent years, to the point where it is basically untenable. The populist model assumes that voters are better informed, more rational, and more engaged than is the case—or ever will be.
  • Even implausibly well-informed and rational voters could not approach the level of knowledge and sophistication needed to make the kinds of decisions that routinely confront the government today. Professional and specialist decisionmaking is essential, and those who demonize it as elitist or anti-democratic can offer no plausible alternative to it.
  • Professional intermediaries make democracy more inclusive and more representative than direct participation can do by itself. In complex policy spaces, properly designed intermediary institutions can act more decisively and responsively on behalf of the public than an army of “the people” could do on its own behalf. Intermediated systems are also less likely to be paralyzed by factional disputes and distorted by special-interest manipulation than are systems designed to maximize voter participation and direct input.
  • Nonetheless, the predominant ethos of the political-reform community remains committed to enhancing individual political participation. This is a costly oversight. Some populist reform ideas are better than others, but, as a class, they have eclipsed a more promising reform target: strengthening intermediating actors such as political professionals and party organizations.

James Madison and the other Founders were right to reject both direct democracy and elite rule. Instead, they insisted on a hybrid of both, believing that the two together would achieve better representation and better governance than either could achieve on its own. We believe that the country can benefit from relearning what they knew.

. . . 

[M]odern anti-institutional populism, with its instinctive suspicion of anything or anyone deemed “elite,” often underestimates and unfairly denigrates how much intermediation has to offer—and how successful it has been.

Here it is worth distinguishing between two types of intermediaries, types that play very different roles in our democratic culture. The first is the political intermediary: people such as elected officials and political party professionals. These people’s job is to make political judgments on behalf of the electorate or to help candidates and politicians frame their—and the public’s—choices. A second type is the substantive intermediary: the technical expert or specialist whose job is actually to know things about the policy space in which the government acts. The lines between these two types are not bright ones; some people play both roles at once. But broadly speaking, the political intermediary stands in for the voter in deciding fundamental policy choices: Should Congress adopt the Affordable Care Act? Should it repeal and replace it? The substantive intermediary, by contrast, frames responsible policy choices and implements them in a fashion consistent with law and technical realities. Neither of these functions is one which voters can perform competently on their own.

To see vividly the successful interaction of voters, political intermediaries, and substantive intermediaries, let’s take a close look at the area in which our system functions at its least populist: intelligence oversight.

The intelligence oversight system has been largely immune to populist reform, but not because the area has lacked for reformist instincts. (It has actually seen a lot of reform over the years.) Rather, the very nature of intelligence makes it resistant to populism. The public has no access to the CIA and the NSA and their day-to-day work. In sharp contrast to the public’s regular interaction with law enforcement officers, members of the public don’t generally interact with intelligence professionals doing their jobs. And the oversight system for all of it is uniquely opaque. Intelligence oversight is technically dense across a number of different dimensions; some of the law at issue is arcane and unusually intricate, and much of the subject matter involves highly technical electronic surveillance taking place on complex computer networks. It also involves material that is nearly always classified at the highest levels. So while the activities of the intelligence community stoke all manner of public passions, the subject is simply not amenable to populist reform. There is just no way to involve the public in decisions that, by their very nature, have to be kept from the public.

The result is that reforms in intelligence oversight have empowered intermediary actors—politicians and experts—to stand in for the public. And these mechanisms have proven remarkably durable and effective.

The intelligence oversight system operates in all three branches of government. Within the executive branch, a series of compliance regimes, inspectors general, and Justice Department officials oversee operations, particularly those involving technical collection at the National Security Agency. Collectively, those actors investigate suggestions of misconduct, rigorously count more mundane compliance failures, and review activity for legal compliance—and they report errors both internally and to the other branches of government. They also build legal compliance into the very design of technical systems; to see certain data, for example, analysts often have to enter into computer systems the facts and analysis that would justify their access to the information they seek. 

In the judiciary, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court both reviews applications for national security surveillance of U.S. persons and, more broadly, reviews the legality of surveillance programs taking place domestically but targeting overseas actors. The FISA structure does not merely put a federal judge between the intelligence community and electronic surveillance targets. It also creates bureaucracies within intelligence agencies that are designed to speak to that federal judge—bureaucracies deeply invested in keeping their agencies within the law and maintaining credibility before the judiciary. Representing the agencies before the court are Justice Department lawyers, who likewise act to keep the agencies in line. The system of judicial intermediaries thus dramatically reinforces and empowers executive-branch intermediaries, who have ongoing reporting obligations to the judicial branch.

The executive and judicial branch intermediaries are, generally speaking, substantive experts. But the intelligence oversight system uses political intermediaries too, particularly in Congress. The congressional intelligence committees review intelligence programs, get briefed on covert actions, and investigate major matters within the intelligence agencies—everything from torture to Russian hacking of the 2016 election. Unlike other congressional committees, they are staffed with intelligence community professionals cleared at the highest levels, and they have access to the most sensitive programs the government runs. The public never sees the vast majority of the work these committees do, but anyone in the intelligence community will tell you that fear of upsetting congressional overseers is a major restraint on intelligence community behavior. Note that the members of these committees are not specialists; they are just regular members of Congress. Their job is to stand in for the members of the public who cannot know what the intelligence community is up to, and to make major political decisions in the public’s stead and on behalf of the rest of the legislature.

Most people who have engaged the congressional intelligence committees agree—notwithstanding the House committee’s recent flap over the behavior of its chairman, Devin Nunes—that they function on average dramatically better than other committees do. The reasons are all related to their intermediary, non-populist nature. The professional nature of the staff reduces partisanship, for example. And the secrecy with which they operate discourages political grandstanding on the part of the members. A hearing of a normal congressional committee, which takes place in public, is a show whose audience is the public. Witnesses are chosen for C-SPAN. Questions are asked because they offer opportunities for theatrics and gotchas. By contrast, most intelligence-committee hearings have no audience beyond the staff and members. They are actually designed to convey information from the executive branch to Congress. They are arguably the only part of Congress for which hearings still consistently serve that role.

While the intelligence oversight process is decidedly intermediary-based and non-populist, it has not proven itself remote from “the people” or incapable of responding to public concerns. To the contrary, it has proven over the years to be highly responsive to public sensibilities. In other words, if the populist anxiety is that relying on intermediaries makes government distant and unrepresentative, the experience of the intelligence oversight process suggests otherwise.

The most recent example of this responsiveness is the system’s response to the Edward Snowden revelations about NSA activity in 2013. The congressional oversight process was critical in helping the community weather the storm, as when the bipartisan intelligence committee leadership spoke up publicly in defense of the legality and propriety of NSA’s programs. But the system also adapted relatively swiftly in response to the revelations and generated serious change. Congress passed the USA Freedom Act, substantially altering one of the key programs that Snowden revealed and generating new transparency with respect to certain categories of NSA and FISA Court activity. It is currently considering reauthorization of a much larger program, and further reforms are certainly on the table as it does so.

These adaptions are only the latest in a long string of legislative updates to FISA and other authorities—major changes to which took place at least in 1994, 2001, 2007, 2008, and 2012. This flurry of loving attention to the statutory scheme over time—legislative attention to make sure the statutory architecture of intelligence remains up-to-date as technology and public attitudes change—stands in sharp contrast to the more general environment of legislative dysfunction. In what should be a sharp challenge to reformers who believe that increasing public participation makes the policy process more responsive to public concerns, the portion of Congress that is least populist is exceptionally capable of actually responding to public concerns.

The long-term success of this oversight system is actually hard to overstate. America is a country, after all, whose popular culture produces movies like “Minority Report” and “Enemy of the State,” and whose civil libertarian culture is predicated on a deep suspicion of intelligence operations and government power generally. It is also a country with a history of genuine intelligence community abuses. Yet, even within the context of this culture, the oversight system allows the intelligence community the political and legal latitude to wield extraordinary powers.

And, amazingly, it does so with relatively high confidence from the population in general. The Pew Research Center has for more than a decade been polling Americans on whether they believe the government has “gone too far restricting civil liberties” or whether they believe the government has “not gone far enough to protect the country.” With the exception of a brief blip around the time of the Snowden revelations, many more Americans believe the latter than the former. Although good data on public attitudes toward the intelligence community over time do not exist, this poll question—asked since 2004—suggests that majorities do not believe the intelligence community is out of control. At a time of rock-bottom confidence in public institutions, it is notable that the intelligence oversight system, a system with hardly a trace of populism in its design, actually works effectively at its core purpose: assuring the public that the intelligence community is doing its job within the law.

The system shows that when intermediation is designed and empowered carefully, it can accomplish in a durable and robust fashion many of the objectives that populist reformers purport to seek.


          Ikea Designers Live in Mars Research Center to Get Ideas   


Ikea is known for designing furniture that people can put together themselves. Recently, a team from the Swedish company spent time inside a Mars research center to get new design ideas.

For three days, five Ikea designers lived inside the Mars Desert Research Station in the U.S. state of Utah. The center is operated by the Mars Society. It simulates a Mars environment for humans taking part in experiments and training.

Real astronauts have spent long periods of time inside the research center to prepare for space flights.

“It’s a crazy, fun experience,” said Ikea Creative Leader Michael Nikolic, who took part in the project. “We’re basically completely isolated for three days to get a taste of what astronauts go through for three years.”

The team spent most of its time inside the Mars habitat – a round, two-story building just eight meters in diameter. The habitat contains a laboratory for doing experiments, as well as separate areas for eating, sleeping and other activities.

The Mars Desert Research Station in Utah simulates a Mars environment for humans taking part in experiments and training. (Ikea) The Mars Desert Research Station in Utah simulates a Mars environment for humans taking part in experiments and training. (Ikea)

The habitat attempts to create an environment similar to conditions astronauts would experience during a real Mars mission. It also prepares future space travelers for living in very small areas with limited supplies.

Some people - including SpaceX founder Elon Musk – have talked about setting up a human colony on Mars in the future.

The Ikea researchers received NASA training before heading to the research center. Their guide during the habitat visit was space architect Constance Adams.

She said the experience was meant to show the team how conditions in space affect the whole design process. For example, air is very limited in space and must be reused for many months, even years. This means all living materials have to be designed with this in mind.

Another consideration is the huge cost of space transportation. Adams said it would currently cost about $2 million to transport just one kilo of mass to the surface of Mars.

This makes it impractical for Ikea to send materials to Mars, unless the cost can greatly be reduced. But the company says by looking to space, it hopes to come up with better design ideas for people on earth.

Marcus Engman is Ikea’s Head of Design.

“My dream outcome would be to solve the biggest problem on earth. I guess it’s the same problem in space - and that is the thing about storage. How could you make storage in a completely new way?”

He said putting the designers in such a different and demanding environment forces them to think much more creatively.

“Then, from out of that, we get solutions that I think will work on earth better than anything.”

The Ikea designers are also working with people from NASA and students from Sweden’s Lund University to create a space-inspired furniture collection to launch in 2019.

And who knows, Ikea might even make it to Mars someday. If so, the company’s popular products could be discovered by new life forms we don’t even yet know about.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Do you think humans will ever live on Mars? Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

furniture – n. chairs, tables, beds, etc., used inside a room

simulate v. make something look or feel like something else

isolatev. separate someone or something from other people or things

habitatn. natural environment where plants or animals live

diameter n. distance through the center of something from one side to the other

architectn. person who designs buildings

impractical adj. not easy to do or use

inspire v. make someone want to do something

          US Court: Offensive Trademarks Are Protected by Free Speech   


The United States Supreme Court ruled Monday that an Asian-American musical group called “The Slants” has the right to trademark its name. The word is offensive to many Asians.

The group’s founder, Simon Tam, tried to trademark the name in 2011. But the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office denied the request. It said the word was a derogatory reference to Asian peoples’ eyes.

But on Monday, the Supreme Court said a federal law that bans offensive trademarks violates free speech rights guaranteed by the First Amendment of the Constitution.

Tam was happy about the ruling. He said: “This journey has always been much bigger than our band -- it’s been about the rights of all marginalized communities to determine what’s best for ourselves.”

The ruling could affect other trademark cases. In 2014, the trademark for the Washington Redskins football team was cancelled after Native Americans complained that the word “redskins” was offensive. A lower court said it would wait to hear an appeal of the decision until the Supreme Court ruled on the musical group’s appeal.

I’m Phil Dierking.

VOA News Writer Smita Nordwall wrote this story. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted her report into Learning English. We also used reporting by the Associated Press. Hai Do was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section, or visit our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

trademark – n. something (such as a word) that identifies a particular company’s product and cannot be used by another company without permission

offensive – adj. causing someone to feel hurt, angry or upset; rude or insulting

derogatory – adj. expressing a low opinion of someone or something; showing a lack of respect for someone or something

refer to – phrasal verb to talk about or write about (someone or something) especially briefly; to mention (someone or something) in speech or in writing

marginalize – v. to put or keep (someone) in a powerless or unimportant position within a society or group

          The Dysfunction Myth   

Democracy is not pretty to look at. It's messy. It was always messy from the very formation of the United States. The Founding Fathers argued about everything but ended up with great compromises like the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
And now we have the Affordable Care Act, a badly needed beginning of healthcare reform almost one hundred years in the making.
Underscoring this historical moment is the myth of American dysfunctionality. Every major accomplishment has been fought tooth and nail and that is when statesmen step up to the plate. Jefferson, Lincoln, Roosevelt, JFK, and LBJ were among the many who moved the ball forward. Too early to say about Obama, but in the case of healthcare reform the statesman this time around is Chief Justice John Roberts.
Chief Justice John Roberts
Roberts confounded everybody. The Liberals thought he was a lost cause, a hopeless partisan in the same league as the most partisan Justice on the Supreme Court, Antonin Scalia. But the Liberals were wrong. When Roberts famously said, “My job is to call balls and strikes and not to pitch or bat,” many Liberals did not really believe him. Since he was appointed by a Republican President, the nefarious George W., it was feared he was bound to be another partisan judge like Scalia, Alito, and Thomas. But something mysterious usually happens on the way to powerful positions. People become more realistic and more importantly, more responsible. It is one thing to be on the outside, throwing rocks; it is another thing to accept a position of great responsibility and have the fate of one's fellow citizens in one's hands.
Conservatives also got Roberts wrong, much like they did Earl Warren. Conservatives thought that Roberts was going to be a “team player” and play for their team regardless of what was in the interest of the Nation. But Roberts surprised the Conservatives too. We may never know what Roberts' personal view of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is, but that does not matter because he correctly understood that his job is to find a way to validate the will of Congress and the President.

America has much to celebrate. Not only has healthcare 
taken a big step forward, but the political system 
has been proven to work as the Founders intended.

Predictably, the right-wing noise machine is going to go into overdrive and badmouth Justice Roberts. They will call him traitor and worse. There will undoubtedly be calls for his impeachment from the Tea Party types and their sycophants. These extreme ideologues claim to be patriots but do not really understand how our country works, how democracy works, or even what the meaning of the Constitution is. Then there will be the inevitable conspiracy theories, casting Roberts as a stooge or an evil genius. There will be much cynicism spread because so many of us cannot believe that honorable men still exist.
America has much to celebrate. Not only has healthcare taken a big step forward, but the political system has been proven to work as the Founders intended. Justice Roberts showed us all that he has a deep understanding of American history, that he understands the great responsibility that comes with being Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, that it is not a trivial job for trivial people. That he, along with the President, does not have the luxury of letting his emotions get the better of him. That he is not part of some ideological “side” which if it doesn't get its way will stamp its feet like a three-year old. No, Roberts showed us that along with Obama, he was one of the few adults in the room and rose to the occasion.
This is the stuff of history! It is not the time to play a sleazy game to get a great headline in the Drudge Report or praise from the professional bloviators. This is America at its finest, when people from different backgrounds, different philosophies come together for the benefit of all of the American people. It is so rare these days that too many people will miss it, which is why it deserves a special mention.
And, to paraphrase the great Mark Twain, “Reports of the death of American democracy are greatly exaggerated.”

Link to C-SPAN for debate archives and more.

          Tapu Te Ranga Marae founder Bruce Stewart dies   
Māori activist and playwright Bruce Stewart, who founded Wellington's Tapu Te Ranga Marae, has died aged 80.
          Talking with Marney Makridakis, author and coach   

Today I talk with, Marney K. Makridakis, the author of Hop, Skip, Jump and founder of the online community You will love hearing her ideas on how to add more play into your life. 

Also, some apps and software I love and a song from the talented Beth Hirch. 
Topics covered: paper by 53, evernote, creative play 

Get all the links under the podcast sections at:

          Talking with Alan Revere   

Today I talk with Alan Revere, the founder and director of Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts

Mr. Revere shares his thoughts and expertise on the craft of metal smithing plus what went into producing his new book, Professional Jewelry Making

If you have the CRAFTCAST app, listen to the bonus file as Alan shares his best advice for making your way into juried shows and competitions. 

Also today I talk about a few of my favorite new craft books and mobile apps.

          Talking with Nikki Hardin   

Today I talk with Nikki Hardin, Founder and Publisher of Skirt! Magazine. She is a writer, editor, and blue Kentucky girl exiled in South Carolina. Listen in on our talk about living the creative life and how she started her magazine.

Also, a fabulous new how-to jewelry making book you will love and a new wordplay interactive website I'm addicted to.

Today's musical guest is Katie Pearl singing, I'll Be Waiting

Plus, make sure and come over to for your FREE invite to our Online Virtual Book Signing Party. We are giving away $100's of dollars of prizes. Our holiday gift to you!

          Ethanol Industry Loses Pioneer   
Biofuels | Energy Industry | Ethanol Fuel

The renewable fuel industry received a jolt in the form of Kathy Bryan’s death. She was the founder of BBI International, a global bio fuels consulting and publishing company. She is considered to be a pioneer for the ethanol-based bio fuel industry. In the early 80s when very few people knew about ethanol as a […]

          Top Stories: Latest On Senate Health Care Bill; Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince   
Good morning, here are our early stories: -- Saudi King Deposes Crown Prince And Names A New Heir, Age 31. -- Here's What We Know About The Senate GOP Health Care Bill. -- Uber Founder Resigns Under Pressure As CEO, Published Report Says. -- Mattel Introduces New Diverse Ken Dolls; Hopes To Reverse Sales Slump. -- Carla Fendi, Former President Of Luxury Fashion Brand, Dies. And here are more early headlines: Tropical Storm Cindy Advances On Louisiana Coast. ( NHC ) Extreme Heat Felt In Various Parts Of The Northern Hemisphere. ( Reuters ) Former DHS Secretary To Testify On Russian Meddling Today. ( PBS ) Trump Son-In-Law, Kushner, Visits Israel On Mideast Peace Effort. ( Time ) Latest On Foiled Brussels Train Station Attack. ( AFP ) Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit
          Stage: Business Development Internship - Dutch Market in Berlijn   
<p><u></u>Ben je op zoek naar een stage bij een motiverende en uitdagende start-up in Berlijn? Lees dan snel verder!</p> <p><u><strong>Your tasks</strong></u></p> <ul> <li>Work closely with our founders and business leaders to drive the operational implementation of our business model</li> <li>Partner acquisition and relationship management as well as negotiation of complex remuneration structures</li> <li>Product interaction and engagement with IT and Business Intelligence teams to implement strategic changes</li> <li>Independently and autonomously conduct an array of diverse research and development tasks</li> <li>Help drive ambitious monthly growth through a combination of account management and sales</li> <li>Depending on your language skills you will start in our UK, France, Netherlands or Germany team</li> </ul> <p><u><strong>What we offer</strong></u></p> <ul> <li>An impactful and challenging opportunity with lots of responsibility – a steep learning curve is guaranteed!</li> <li>Exposure to product development, business management and strategy</li> <li>A paid internship with the opportunity to progress to a full-time position</li> <li>An international, fast-paced and entrepreneurial working environment - no two days will be the same</li> <li>Regular coaching and feedback sessions to help you learn and progress</li> <li>New office in Central Kreuzberg with healthy food and drinks and lots of team parties</li> </ul> <p> </p> <p> </p> ...
          Open Source versus Free Software from a Marketing Perspective   
Via Sandro Grogans comes an interesting interview / discussion from about the use of the phrases “open source” and “free software” and the need to tailor the message to the audience. Bruce Perens (co-founder of the Open Source Initiative) and Shane Coughlan (from FSF Europe): Perens essentially calls the exclusion or downplaying of Richard...
          Interview with Mr. Ahmed Wasfy   
Namaste Founder SubhashMotwani recently interviewed Ahmed Wasfy, General Manager – India for Egypt Air. He shares with us his journey as he worked for Egypt Air, his future plans for Egypt Air and his vision of making it the preferred carrier to Egypt. How long have you been associated with Egypt Air? I joined Egypt…
          Sampha Finds A Kindred Spirit in Curtis Mayfield on “Close But Not Quite”   

On his 1970 song “The Makings of You,” soul singer Curtis Mayfield struggled to convey the depths of his emotion: “The love of all mankind, should reflect some sign of these words I’ve tried to recite/They are close, but not quite.” His insecurity was beautiful; when love truly takes hold, it can render you speechless.

Those words, and Mayfield’s distinctive falsetto find new life on “Close But Not Quite,” the title-track from producer/XL founder Richard Russell’s new collaborative EP for his Everything Is Recorded project. The song features Sampha, another reflective soul singer, whose recent debut Process carried the same air of meditation. Russell was struck by Sampha's falsetto, which bore similarities to Mayfield—but Sampha was largely unfamiliar with the soul legend.“I haven’t listened to too much Curtis Mayfield,” Sampha told the New Yorker. “From what I understand, [he] was quite a gentle soul, in an era where a lot of soul artists were quite macho.” After Russell played “The Makings of You” for Sampha, the two decided to record a song centered around the chorus and melody of the Mayfield cut.

As a result, “Close But Not Quite” is a duet of sorts, as Sampha’s delicate tone and Mayfield’s soaring voice accentuates Russell’s piano-driven instrumental. Amid well-placed strings and light drums, the music encases Sampha, creating a natural synergy between he and Mayfield. Lyrically, the song picks up where Process left off, with Sampha shuffling through his past. “I’m not one to go to church,” the singer admits. “But you made me believe in something more than hurt.” Sampha and Mayfield are kindred spirits, two souls who sound perfectly aligned. Forty-seven years removed from "The Makings of You," Mayfield helps Sampha find his own words.

          London SMX Advanced: SEO Ranking Factors in 2010   

This session looks at on-the-page and off-the-page factors that influence web search, to understand what remains useful, what no longer works, and what new signals are growing in importance. Moderator: Kristjan Mar Hauksson (KH), Director of Internet Marketing, Nordic eMarketing Q&A Moderator: Will Critchlow (WC), Co-Founder & Director, Distilled Speakers: Gary Beal (GB), MD, Vanguard […]

The post London SMX Advanced: SEO Ranking Factors in 2010 appeared first on Attacat Edinburgh.

          The Evidence That Selfie Stick Was Already Used Since 1926   
Hiroshi Ueda, this Japanese man is often mentioned as the first ever founder of SELFIE stick. However, the following old picture will show you that it is in fact not a new invention because it has been used since 90 years ago, long before digital camera or other Smartphone cameras were even found. A picture […]
          Comment on The Life And Times Of A. Lange & Söhne Re-Founder Walter Lange by Made In Germany: The Glory Of Glashütte | Quill & Pad   
[…] With the foundation stone laid for the new Lange manufactory, the founder’s great-grandson, the late Walter Lange, also a watchmaker, ushered Glashütte into a new era. “We didn’t have much at that point,” Walter Lange once reminisced. “We had no watches that we could build and sell; we had no employees, no building, and no machines. All we had was the vision of once again crafting the world’s best watches in Glashütte.” (For more on Walter Lange, see The Life And Times Of A. Lange & Söhne Re-Founder Walter Lange.) […]
          H.R. 1651 National Nurse Act Making Progress in House of Representatives   

H.R. 1651 National Nurse Act of 2017 Moving Forward

H.R. 1651 was introduced on March 21, 2017 by Representatives Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30-D) and Pete King (NY-2-R).

Thank you to these original co sponsors who agreed to be listed in the actual text of the bill at the time of introduction, providing an extra boost of validation as to the importance of this legislation:

Congressman Kevin Cramer (ND-At Large-R)

Congressman Eliot Engel (NY-16-D)

Congressman Gregg Harper (MS-3-R)

Congresswoman Jamie Herrera Beutler (WA-3-R)

Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-7-R)

Congressman David McKinley (WV-1-R)

Congressman Paul Tonko (NY-20-D)

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (IL-9-D)

Congressman Kurt Schrader (OR-5-D)

Congressman Don Young (AK-At Large-R)

In addition we say thank you to the following members who are now co sponsoring H.R. 1651:

Congressman Tony Cardenas (CA-29-D

Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (VA-9-D)

Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-6-D)

Congressman Bobby Rush (IL-1-D)

Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3-D)

The success of the National Nurse Act depends on supporters and key stakeholders including the readers of this newsletter. Several nurses have already had person-to-person visits with their own elected officials to encourage their co sponsorship for H.R.

Pictured: Jean Marie Osborne DNP ANP-C, Margaret O'Donnell DNP ANP-BC FNP FAANP, Rep. Pete King (NY-2-R), Mary Koslap-Petraco DNP PNP-BC CPNP FAANP

Rep. King was very touched when these nurse practitioner leaders thanked him for his support of the National Nurse Act. He told them this was something that we need to do!

Pictured: Rep. Pete King and Melody Butler, BSN, RN

Also stopping by to thank Rep. King last month was Melody Butler, the Executive Director and Founder of Nurses Who Vaccinate, a supporting organization for the National Nurse Act.

Pictured: Mary McKinley MSN, RN, CCRN (Nurse Leader and Wife of Rep. McKinley); Elizabeth Baldwin, PNP,BC (Past President WVNA Toni DiChiacchio, DNP- APRN, BC (Current President WVNA); and Representative David McKinley (WV-1-R)

Congressman McKinley signed on as an original co-sponsor to H.R. 1651. It is great to have his support!

Take Five!! Each of you can make a difference in helping to pass H.R. 1651 National Nurse Act of 2017. Take 5 minutes to call or write to your elected Representative this week.

You can do this very easily by visiting the Take Action link on the National Nurse website. There is a great deal of helpful information to ensure your success. Please urge your elected member of Congress to sign on as a co-sponsor to H.R. 1651. The more calls, letters, and emails the elected officials receive from their own constituents, the more likely they are to join the growing list of co-sponsors.

If you are interested in making a personal appointment at your U.S. Representative’s district office please contact the NNNO Board for handouts and advice.

          Mobley at Maxine's   
Also, Pyro Science at Science After Dark, Goatwhore, Dave Rosen Big Band, Ginsu Wives, Arkansas Travelers vs. San Antonio Missions, Live Cinema from Brent Green and Sam Green, Dick Gregory at Mosaic Templars Cultural Center



6 p.m. Museum of Discovery. Free-$5.

If there's one thing Hollywood does a fine job at teaching us summer after summer, it's that explosions are fun to watch. There are all sorts of them, too — ones that flare up on the sun, manmade nuclear explosions, explosions from boiling liquid's expanding vapor (think: pressure cooker nightmare) and volcanic eruptions. Eucalyptus trees can even up and explode during a bushfire; the oils in the trees are highly flammable, so a spark from a wildfire can wreak serious havoc. The Museum of Discovery is breaking down all things pyrotechnic at this week's "Science After Dark," so you can join in the throngs of buzzed adults wandering around in a museum uttering "whoa" and "what the hell?" There will be Damgoode Pizza, cocktails, wine and Stone's Throw beer for sale, and the museum's staff will probably blow some things up for your amusement and general enlightenment. After you've paid due reverence to fiery explosions (which have, after all, given us bottle rockets, sparklers and Michael Bay movies), you can see the rest of the place; admission gets you into all museum galleries and exhibits.



9 p.m. Maxine's, Hot Springs. Free.

Austin-based Anthony Watkins II, known on stage as Mobley, is big in Mexico. His single "Swoon" went over wildly there. Mobley attributed this in part to the fact that his drummer, Alfredo Rios, is from Monterrey, but to be fair, it's also just super fun listening. The video is a single shot of Mobley's head underwater, the surface level gradually receding over the course of the two minutes and 45 seconds, ending with Mobley's (inaudible) gasps and sputters. "The goal in making 'Swoon,' " he said in an interview with Afropunk Magazine, "was to capture the feelings of anxiety, isolation and suffocation that are, for too many, a part of the experience of being a black person in this country. Like a lot of people, I was stunned by the murder of Eric Garner," who died while police held him in a chokehold in New York in 2014, "but what terrified and spurred me to action was the overwhelming, collective sigh of indifference with which it was greeted by a large portion of the country. In the making of the music and the video, Garner's dying words, 'I can't breathe,' were never far from my mind." Mobley's got pipes for miles and often performs solo, sliding his way around the stage to a self-designed light show and cycling through three or four instruments in the span of a song. It's synth-driven, peppered with countermelodies and electronic accents courtesy of laptops and an Akai drum machine. What to call it? Mobley talked a little about genre in between songs at an Audiotree session. "R&B is kind of a problematic genre label because it's so racialized. It's really amazing what a segregated industry music is, and what the color of the skin of a performer does to the way people hear music. ... Listeners can decide for themselves.I've been places and played ["Tell Me"] and had it called rap, which makes no sense." He's touring as a one-man band in support of his newest EP, "Some Other Country," and his forthcoming full-length album, "Fresh Lies," both of which use the love song as a conceit, "thinking of it as being a metaphorical conversation between myself and America as lovers, as people in a relationship — a dysfunctional relationship," as he told Austin Monthly.



7:10 p.m. Thu.-Fri., 6:10 p.m. Sat. Dickey-Stephens Park. $7-$13.

The baseball season at Dickey-Stephens Park is just past its midway point, and it's been a pivotal one, logistically speaking. For one thing, the park has extended the safety netting — that mesh stuff that protects fans from getting knocked in the head by a stray ball (or that keeps you from nabbing a foul ball in your glove from the bleachers, depending on how you look at it) — to the ends of the dugouts. More notably, though, the Travs broke up with their longtime Major League affiliate, the Los Angeles Angels, and started going steady with the Seattle Mariners — only the Travs' second affiliate change in half a century, and one both teams hope to leverage in developing AA-level players for the big time. In a doubleheader last week (a twin bill to make up for the Father's Day game that got rained out), the Northwest Arkansas Naturals overtook the Travs — the team's fifth consecutive loss. But who knows? Maybe the fireworks show set to blast away at game's end on Friday will inspire, or maybe the six Travelers chosen to represent Little Rock at the Texas League's annual All-Star game (June 27) will pull the team through with a win. On Saturday night, the first 1,000 fans in the gate will score a Travs golf towel.



7 p.m. Ron Robinson Theater. Free.

It's a shame the aisles at the Ron Robinson Theater aren't just a tad wider. Chances are good, after all, that patrons attending the Arkansas Sounds concert there Friday night might be predisposed to use them for a Lindy hop or the jitterbug, or just to sway a little during the slow jams — "Bye Bye Blackbird," for one. Dave Rosen, the trumpeter and bandleader at the helm of the David Rosen Septet and its outsized correlate, the Dave Rosen Big Band, is the son of Rosen Music founder Marty Rosen. The Rosens have been a mainstay of music shops in Little Rock since 1955; as Arkansas Sounds curator John Miller noted before the big band's 2014 concert, "Dave Rosen joined his father at the store in 1972 and continues the Rosen music tradition to this day." The band was a 17-piece for that concert — 18 if you count the moments when Rosen stopped conducting long enough to take a bar or eight on the trumpet. If you've never caught Rosen's trumpet swing, saxophonists Matt Dickson and Dave Williams II or the rest of the band, swing by for this one.



7 p.m. Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. $40.

Whether it's his stubbornness or the strict health food diet he's been on for years, the legendary comedian and activist Dick Gregory has been poking and prodding the establishment since 1961. Gregory's all over YouTube, riffing on everything from "Get Out" to the Bill Cosby scandal to Prince's death. The night Hugh Hefner watched him from the front row at Chicago's black-owned Roberts Show Bar, Gregory was turning out punchlines like, "Last time I was down South I walked into this restaurant and this white waitress came up to me and said, 'We don't serve colored people here.' I said, 'That's all right. I don't eat colored people. Bring me a whole fried chicken.' " White people loved it, which was pretty groundbreaking for that time, as Gregory pointed out in an interview with the Huffington Post in 2013. "Blacks could sing and dance in the white night clubs but weren't allowed to stand flat-footed and talk to white folks, which is what a comic does." Gregory got a job at the Chicago Playboy Club, and he's been pushing buttons (and going to jail for it) ever since. He spoke for two hours in Selma, Ala., as part of the 1963 Freedom Day voter registration drive, marched to the U.S. Capitol in 1978 with Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan to push for the Equal Rights Amendment, and went on a hunger strike in Tehran to try and negotiate hostage releases during the Iran hostage crisis of 1980. The man's a master of speaking truth to power, cracking jokes about utterly serious things and demanding due parity from people in positions of authority, as he famously did by refusing to appear on "The Jack Paar Tonight Show" until he was offered to come and chat in the chair on-air, as was the custom for white comedians. He returns to Little Rock for a show with England (Lonoke County) native and comedian Nate Williams.



8 p.m. Vino's Brewpub. $10.

Now here is a band that knows how to give some accurate signals to its potential audience with its name. I mean, if your catalogue of lyrics includes the phrase "like blood and fire in the sacred chalice of Satan I hail the blood-stained horns, the goat of a thousand young," then you had better not be called Ben Falgoust & the Bourbon Street Revivalists, right? The New Orleans band hardly needs to signal, though — they've been ripping out death metal odes to horned beasts and severed limbs since the late-'90s, and last Friday's release, "Vengeful Ascension," will not depart from that formula. As Loudwire notes, though, the band's latest does experiment with some downtempo segments and drum intros, trying to mimic its live sound by putting its live sound engineer, Jarrett Pritchard, in the producer's chair in lieu of longtime producer Erik Rutan. "The whole idea of a 'Vengeful Ascension,' " frontman Falgoust noted, "is built on being at the bottom, working your way to the top, and realizing along the way that there's other facets to the journey aside from just pure retribution. Within negativity there can exist a positive angle as well." And working one's way up from the bottom, Falgoust told the blog Toilet Ov Hell last year, is actually a pretty American idea. "If you look at it, there are a lot of positive things in Satanism. Satan and the Antichrist is very much the antihero. He was cast from heaven into hell and he has to fight his way back up. ... The funniest thing about it is that Satanism is basically the idea of America. You wanted to be free and you fought this war to be free." Goatwhore is joined by Vancouver's Anciients, Houston's Venomous Maximus and local sludge rockers Sumokem.



8 p.m. Walker Landing, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Free.

As any performer who's attempted to synchronize two pieces of media will attest, the potential for something to go disastrously awry is great, so the result is thrilling to behold. Self-taught animator Brent Green and Academy Award–nominated filmmaker Sam Green (no relation) are taking the pairing of film and live music a half-step further with this performance at Crystal Bridges, in which they, as well as an onstage band — Brendan Canty (Fugazi) on drums and guitar, James Canty (The Nation of Ulysses) on guitar, Becky Foon (Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra) on cello and Kate Ryan on drums and live sound effects — make "live cinema." It's a mash-up of live sounds, narration and music with photos, interview clips and short bits of footage that Sam and Brent created and will string together into cohesive pieces right in front of the audience. The production appeared at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's 2016 New Waves Art Festival, and this time around they're taking it outdoors to the museum's waterside Walker Landing.



9 p.m. Maxine's, Hot Springs. $5.

Here are four examples of times when cueing up Ginsu Wives' "Hospital Vibes" is a terrible idea: if you are alone in the woods late at night; if you are alone and have just watched "Seven," "Saw" or "Silence of the Lambs"; if you have consumed any hallucinogens; if you are on a first date. That record — the band's latest — and its predecessor "Sex Symbol" are simultaneously sexy and terrifying, the kind of stuff I imagine is eternally playing in the hallways of secret underground fetish clubs. Or the basement laboratories of serial killers. Here's the good news, though: It's super fun to hear live. Danceable, even. As far as I can tell, that danceability and some well-earned reverence from the Central Arkansas music community (and, OK, also a penchant for cover art featuring animal heads dissociated from their original bodies) are all that this Friday night bill has in common. Despite Brother Andy's (Andy Warr) claim in a 2010 interview with the Arkansas Times that he is "just trying to write songs and make them sound like 'Master of Puppets' as much as possible," Warr's a chameleon, backed by two guys he's been playing with forever. They're capable of crafting everything from desert ballads ("Coyote Love Song") to sludgy, foreboding anthems ("Mona's Song") to raunchy rockers ("Rot Gut Redemption") and uptempo romps ("Big Ass Blue Piano"). There are lyrical references to smoking ice, riverboat culture and dirty deeds in baptistries, and you can best prepare yourself for all that by checking out the band's video for "Shit to Face," which looks like what might happen if a reality show teamed up Sid and Marty Krofft with the creators of Showbiz Pizza and asked them to make a three-minute music video with $50 and a box of Jell-O.

          Ten Co-Sponsors Join in Support of H.R. 379    

Thank you to the following members of the U.S. House of Representatives for joining the now 95 co sponsors for H.R. 379 The National Nurse Act of 2016. It's exciting to see the progress being made for this bill.

Representative Peter DeFazio (OR-4-D) is now the longest serving House member in Oregon’s history. Rep. DeFazio is committed to reining in the escalating costs of health care and ensuring access to quality health care for all Americans. He is a member of the House Nursing Caucus.

In June 2008, Representative Donna Edwards (MD-4-D) became the first African American woman elected to Congress. Rep. Edwards has enjoyed a diverse career as a nonprofit public interest advocate and in the private sector on NASA’s Spacelab project. In 1994, as co-founder and executive director of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, she led the effort to pass the Violence Against Women Act that was signed into law by President Clinton.

Representative Scott Garrett (NJ-5-R) serves as a senior member of the House Budget Committee. Rep. Garrett believes we need meaningful health care reform that decreases costs, increases accessibility and improves on what is already the best health care system in the world.

In the House of Representatives, Representative Gregg Harper (MS-3-R) serves on the influential House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Mississippi’s senior House Republican also sits on the select Committee on House Administration, a special appointment made by former House Speaker John Boehner.

On April 29th, 2016 upon the urging of her constituents, Representative Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-1-D) signed on as a co sponsor to H.R. 379. Representative Kirkpatrick serves on many health-related caucuses including the Healthcare Innovation Task Force, Youth Drug Prevention Caucus, the Congressional Diabetes Caucus, and the Mental Health Caucus.

The family of Representative Rick Larsen (WA-2-D) has been building a legacy in the Second Congressional District for more than a century. Throughout Representative Larsen’s tenure in Congress he has advocated for health care that fits Northwest Washington’s specific needs, including funding for critical access hospitals, better health services for veterans and Medicare beneficiaries, and health care that fits families’ budgets.

Representative David McKinley (WV-1-R)has represented the First District of West Virginia since January 3, 2011. As one of two professional engineers in Congress, he has a seat on the Committee on Energy and Commerce. Representative McKinley’s wife is a nurse and he is a member of the House Nursing Caucus.

Representative Martha McSally (AZ-2-R) proudly represents the people of Arizona’s Second Congressional District. Prior to serving in Congress, Representative McSally served 26 years in the U.S. Air Force, retiring in 2010 as a full Colonel. She is the first female fighter pilot to fly in combat and first to command a fighter squadron in combat in United States history.

Currently serving his third term in Congress, Representative Patrick Meehan (PA-7-R) serves on the influential House Ways and Means Committee, as well as the Committee on Ethics. Representative Meehan is the husband of a nurse practitioner and is well aware of the need for quality care and access to our health care system.

According to The Lowell Sun, Representative Niki Tsongas (MA-3-D) has convinced constituents of a core common goal: “As long as she is in Congress, the best interests of constituents will always come ahead of party politics. Since 2010, Tsongas has proven she is one of the more independent lawmakers in Massachusetts’ 9-member House delegation. She has shown a willingness to work with Republicans to advance the cause of a stronger economy and military defense system.”

          More Co Sponsors Added for H.R. 379   
Co-Sponor logo

Thank you to the following members of the House of Representatives who recently signed on in support to H.R. 379 The National Nurse Act of 2015.

Representative Don Beyer (VA-1-D)

Representative Don Beyer (VA-1-D) is serving his first term in Congress. He believes that all American families should have access to quality health care and is fighting for improvements in the U.S. healthcare system, especially for the neediest populations. Representative Beyer committee assignments include Science, Space, and Technology, Natural Resources, and the Joint Economic Committee.

Representative Gus Bilirakis (FL-12-R)

Representative Gus Bilirakis (FL-12-R) serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, additionally assigned to the Health Subcommittee. Working in a bipartisan manner, his main priorities include controlling government spending, creating jobs for middle class Americans, finding ways for government to operate smaller and smarter, and lowering taxes. He is also committed to strengthening homeland security, improving education, increasing access to quality health care, protecting veterans’ benefits, and ensuring the long-term viability of Social Security and Medicare.

Representative Tom MacArthur (NJ-3-R)

Earlier this month Representative Tom MacArthur (NJ-3-R) joined the growing list of co sponsors for H.R. 379 The National Nurse Act of 2015. Serving in his first term in Congress, Representative MacArthur serves on a number of committees including the House Armed Services Committee and the House Natural Resources Committee. Last year, he introduced The Excellence in Medicare Act to motivate providers to better serve seniors through performance incentives that would also reduce premiums and copays for seniors. Representative MacArthur and his wife also run In God’s Hands Charitable Foundation in memory of their daughter Gracie. This charity funds a variety of programs from helping wounded veterans to caring for children affected by AIDS in Africa.

Representative Bill Pascrell (NJ-9-D)

Representative Bill Pascrell (NJ-9-D) has built a life of public service upon the principles he learned while growing up on the south side of the Silk City. As the co-Chairman and founder of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, Representative Pascrell has raised the nation’s awareness of the dangers of traumatic brain injury (TBI). He is a nationally recognized leader in Congress on the issue of fire safety, having proudly authored the F.I.R.E. (Firefighter Investment and Response Enhancement) Act, which became law in 2001. Representative Pascrell also serves on the House Nursing Caucus.

Representative Adam Smith (WA-9-D)

The top priorities of Representative Adam Smith (WA-9-D) are to encourage broad-based economic opportunity by ensuring all Americans have access to a high-quality education and job-training opportunities, building a stronger transportation infrastructure, reforming our tax code, and supporting social programs that provide a bridge for struggling families to get back to work. Representative Smith is a long time supporter of the National Nurse Act. He also serves on the House Nursing Caucus.

Representative Rob Wittman (VA-1-R)

Representative Rob Wittman (VA-1-R) serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the Committee on Natural Resources, where he is well-positioned to represent the needs of Virginia's First District. He has quickly earned a reputation for being an advocate for our men and women in uniform and for being a champion of the Chesapeake Bay. Representative Wittman is the Co Chair of the recently formed Commissioned Officers Association Public Health Service (COAPHS) Congressional Public Health Caucus.

          Attacks on Christians By Buddhist Radicals Rising in Sri Lanka; Over 20 Violent Cases Recorded So Far This Year   
Hollywood actor Richard Gere and Apple's co-founder, the late Steve Jobs, may have given Buddhism a "peaceful face" in the West.
          Meg Owens   

​In demand as a performer on historical oboes, Meg Owens has appeared with many of North America's period-instrument ensembles, including American Bach Soloists, Apollo’s Fire, North Carolina Baroque Orchestra, Tafelmusik, and Tempesta di Mare. Owens has made solo appearances with Arcanum, Berkshire Bach, Chatham Baroque, Four Nations, REBEL Baroque Ensemble, and the Sebastian Chamber Players. Owens has been hailed for “technical precision and overall sensitivity” by Tom Marks (, Kansas City’s Online Journal of the Arts), and for “tender expression” by Corinna Fonseca-Wollheim (New York Times).

At home in the Washington, D.C. area, Ms. Owens plays with Opera Lafayette, the Folger Consort, the National Cathedral Baroque Orchestra, the Washington Bach Consort, the Friends of Fasch, and Modern Musick.

On the other end of the performance practice spectrum, Ms. Owens enjoys playing modern and contemporary chamber music for woodwinds, and has premiered a number of new works featuring oboe and English horn. She has recorded for the Naxos, Koch International Classics, and Eclectra labels.

Owens has lectured on and led recreations of dramatic masquerades by the Philidor family of wind players. She studied baroque oboe with Randall Cook and Washington McClain. In addition to her appointment at the Early Music Institute, Ms. Owens teaches modern oboe at George Mason University and is the founder and director of George Mason’s new baroque chamber orchestra.

          Colin Hume   

Colin Hume started his folk career as a singer/guitarist, and has performed his own songs on national radio and at the Royal Albert Hall. He then discovered Folk Dancing. Over the last thirty years he has built up a reputation as a caller of American Squares, Playford-type dances (English Country Dances in 17th century style), and his own “Dances with a Difference”, many of which contain unusual combinations of figures to baffle and/or delight the dancers. His tunes are also different enough to make most bands stop and think. He has published five volumes of “Dances with a Difference”, three with corresponding recordings, two volumes of the American-style “Squares with a Difference” and one “New Dances for Old” of Playford-style dances to existing recorded tunes. His book “Playford with a Difference” contains his own interpretations of a number of country dances published in the 17th and 18th century by John Playford and others, and is unique in giving the original wording plus discussion of the various possible meanings of the descriptions and a justification of how he comes up with his own reconstruction. His versions are now danced on both sides of the Atlantic, and he leads workshops on the subject. He believes that dancing is to be enjoyed and that dancers will enjoy it more if they are taught some dance technique, and he was one of the founders of GUSTO (Grand Union Structured Training Organisation) which was set up to run training courses for EFDSS (English Folk Dance and Song Society). Colin calls at many Folk Festivals and Folk Dance Clubs, and for nine years helped run the “Beginners” sessions at Cecil Sharp House in London every Thursday. He has called at Folk Dance courses in Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark and Canada, and for Dance Weeks in the U.S.A. at Pinewoods in Massachussetts, Mendocino in California, Brasstown in North Carolina and Buffalo Gap in West Virginia, plus a week of Dancing down the Nile in Egypt. For many years he contributed a regular column to the EFDSS magazine “English Dance & Song”, containing his thoughts on many aspects of the Folk Dance world plus dances by himself or others.

          Vera Rubin's Dark Matter is a hoax ! Since 2012 I wait for Stacy Mc Gaugh post me his answer! He prefers to believe in the lucubrations of Vera Rubin and Mordehai Milgrom   

by Yanick Toutain
December 5, 2012



I have been patient since April 14, 2012 that Stacy Mc Gaugh answers me: whether or not he verified the statements of Vera Rubin?
Does Newton's laws prohibit high velocities for the peripheral stars of galaxies?
Did or not he verify that Mordehai Milgrom's lucubrations were useless to explain that the centripetal acceleration was maximum for stars farthest from the center of galaxies?
He never deigned to reply!
As Isaac Newton did not have the right qualifications either, he probably would not have answered either.
Too bad!
Especially since his complement to the discoveries of Tully-Fisher have placed him among the greatest discoverers of facts of recent decades.

Je patiente depuis le 14 avril 2012 que Stacy Mc Gaugh me réponde : est-ce que oui ou non il a vérifié les affirmations de Vera Rubin ?
Est-ce que oui ou non il pense toujours que les lois de Newton interdisent des vitesses élevées pour les étoiles périphériques des galaxies ?
Est-ce que oui ou non il a vérifié que les élucubrations de Mordehai Milgrom étaient inutiles pour expliquer que l'accélération centripète était maximale pour les étoiles les plus éloignées du centre des galaxies ?
Il n'a jamais daigné répondre !
Comme Isaac Newton n'avait pas - lui non plus - les bons diplômes, il ne lui aurait sans doute pas répondu non plus.
C'est dommage !
D'autant plus que son complément aux découvertes de Tully-Fisher l'ont placé parmi les plus grands découvreurs de faits des récentes décennies.


Isaac Newton VS Fritz Zwicky-Vera Rubin (EN) No dark matter 2012 03 30 first video test

          Cowboy Cantor 294ª Emissão: In Hope   
Piotr Potega, fundador, vocalista e compositor principal dos In Hope, nesta semana no Cowboy Cantor. Em destaque o segundo longa duração dos Alemães, Time Machines. Piotr Potega, founder, lead singer and main composer of In Hope, this week at Cowboy Cantor. In the spotlight the second full length of the German band, Time Machines. 1. […]
          Women step into start-up spotlight at ilab UQ   

Women are rising to the start-up challenge, with half the early stage companies in the latest ilab UQ Germinate accelerator program led by female founders.

          “Your margin is my opportunity”   

One of the most famous quotes from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is, “Your margin is my opportunity”. Over the past decade, Amazon have mercilessly targeted industry after industry to cut the margins of the existing companies in order to offer a lower cost alternative to consumers. Whilst Amazon have become better known for applying this […]

“Your margin is my opportunity” was written by Philip Brown on Culttt - Articles on business, technology and the Internet

          Keeping our oceans plastic free   
BINNING a couple of pieces of rubbish every time you visit a waterway or are outside may seem like a minor act but to a group of ocean advocates it can help make a world of difference. Environmentalist and Take 3 co-founder Tim Silverwood and his friend, Adrian Midwood of Ocean Ambassadors took part in […]
          Chicks Sticks – boards by Lola Jade   
Southern Californian woman, Lola Jade is making a difference to the surf industry one board shape at a time. Lola is the founder of Chick Sticks, a board company which shapes and designs surfboards for women. From long boards to short, quivers to fishes, Chick Sticks are more than just catchy names and pretty designs. […]
          Randi Zuckerberg Is Launching a 'Chuck E. Cheese's for the Modern Kid'   
The Zuckerberg Media founder and CEO's latest initiative is an immersive tech and dining experience for families.
          TRADE #6: Send Something To The Space Station!   

Yes, you read the headline correctly. I just traded the Zero G Parabolic Flight to Jeff Manber of NanoRacks LLC for transport of an object to the space station! This has been a process that has taken me over a year to finally make happen, but it is well worth it. The story is amazing... so, here is goes.

As with everything on this project, I've tried to make the coolest move possible in every situation. Just thinking to myself, what would make the documentary of my life that much more interesting. Last spring I saw the work of a famous graffiti artist and thought "I have to trade with him."

I reached out and was super surprised that he responded to my e-mail, but unfortunately he wasn't interested in the Zero G Flight. But he said if I could get his artwork into space, he would trade me something incredible (can't disclose who he is, or what the trade might be just yet).

I knew I had to get his work into orbit and figured if I could find a satellite launch company, this could help me -- maybe the CEO would want to take a Zero G Flight in exchange for slapping some art on the side of a satellite? Problem was, I didn't even know where to begin to look.

I jokingly told my friend Adrian Winn, founder of, "I need a space satellite launch company." To which he replied, "I don't know anyone with a launch company." I told him "just find me one!"

The next day I get a phone call and he says "ah, dude, I'm at this bar downtown and there is a guy here who says he can get you a satellite launch company."

Adrian ends up connecting me to this guy he randomly met who works with Near Earth, LLC - a company that invests exclusively in outer space projects. The Universe is a magical place.

I get on the phone with Ian Fichtenbaum from Near Earth and he says to me, "Satellite launch companies are hard to work with, they have lots of security, and are very conservative. But what if I do you one better?", "um, ok". "What if I get you access to The International Space Station?" "Ah.. that would be amazing." "Great, I've already spoken with Jeff Manber, CEO of NanoRacks, LLC and he loves the project and wants to help. His company is the only company in the world under contract to put payloads on the NASA Manifest to the ISS."

Of course, the ISS is actually the coolest satellite in the sky!

Amazing. I talked to Jeff Manber, who it turns out is an OG. Orbital Gangster that is. At one point Jeff's was part of a company that controlled the MIR Space Station. His current company focuses on sending educational projects to the International Space Station.

So, up for trade is the transportation of something* to the International Space Station. (*pending NASA approval -- this means, you have to work with NASA to make sure what you are sending is allowed.)

So far the specs I am told are that it needs to fit inside a 4" cube. It also should have some sort of educational tie-in as that tends to make NASA happy. But this is pretty awesome. I actually now am getting SOMETHING into outer space and onto the ISS!

As you know, my first trade was my one toy spaceship for THE ORIGINAL SPACE BAR from the COMPUTER Kyle MacDonald used to turn a paper clip into a HOUSE. Talk about an AWESOME GOOD LUCK CHARM!

I had the SPACE BAR for a while, and was offered a few things, but didn't really see anything I thought was perfect.. until tonight.


As I was leaving my apt a few hours ago to get food, I was walking by some garbage bags and ON TOP OF THEM, were 6 books, looked like someone had placed them there perfectly, and 5 of the 6 had SOMETHING TO DO with OUTER SPACE!!
The Star Thrower  
The Search For Life on Mars 
Disturbing The Universe 
The Stargazer's Bible 
An Introduction to Astronomy 8th Ed. 
I thought this was SO cool and coincidental, I took a photo and grabbed the books.
I texted my girlfriend and tweeted saying "The Universe clearly wants to trade with me".

When I got home I told my room mate (Brett Dovman, Founder & CFO of Panel Fly - one of the smartest / funniest people in NYC) half jokingly how the universe wants to trade with me and his immediate straight faced response was "So are you going to do it?"

I was hesitant, and even emailed Kyle asking advice.. before he could respond, I decided that OF COURSE! It couldn't get any better than THE UNIVERSE trading me 5 BOOKS ABOUT THE UNIVERSE for the SPACE BAR.

Brett shot a short flip video of me going outside and placing the SPACEBAR on the GARBAGE BAGS.

I got back in and Kyle had replied saying. "Go for it! I love the angle!", and then followed up with a second email saying "put a picture of the spacebar-on-trashcan on your site....and make a craigslist FREE section posting about the spacebar..people might want that thing!"

The experience was pretty surreal.  What do you think, crazy, coincidence or divine trade? Let me know in the comments section below..

I've been thinking a good deal about intention, manifesting, and communicating with the deeper you that is inside everything.. the same core is everywhere in the Universe... Fred Dodson's wife sent me 3 of his books, and I just finished reading The Reality Creation Technique -- one of the best books I've read in a long time. This experience ties in deeply with what he writes about. 

And just because this is a fun blog, I thought it might be interesting to share the basics of the conversation that followed and some thoughts on it..

The idea of the Universe actively communicating with me inspired a cool conversation with Brett. Honestly, I've been experiencing more and more things like this, or at least, I'm becoming more and more aware of them.

It ended up leading into a really long and amazing discussion with my room mate. I was educating him about multi-verse theory, and the double slit experiment.. which led to an interesting conversational thread. This idea of a universe of probabilities / possibilities that collapses onto one when an observer is present is interesting. 

What other places do we see this phenomenon of a system not being fully 'rendered' so to speak until an observer places their attention on it? How about modern day video games? In a game, the entire world is modeled, it is simply the portion of the world you are currently putting your attention on. Like zooming in most video games, the visual data isn't rendered until it is needed - this is done to save cpu cycles and allow smooth game play. If we were part of a giant computer simulation, ala the matrix, it would seem that the world would be rendered as needed, vs. constantly existing as a single state. 

This led to the logical discussion that even if there is a "higher power" in the Universe, that it may simply be a 13 yr old kid playing Sim Universe 4000000. Our world could literally be the creation of a teenager. But even so, if we are in fact and inside a simulation and were able to escape, pretty soon we'd begin to question our reality again (perhaps more so now that we had the direct experience of escaping a simulation) -- we exist in a state where the only certainly can rest within one self and the knowledge that everything perceived to be without, is an illusion. As I said moments before I stepped out to find the books waiting for me: Love each other. Love yourselves. Realize there is no difference.  (I just found this article online Are You Living In a Simulation which is awesome)

If you are interested in trading me for these at least coincidentally awesome and at most transcendently placed books - please get in touch with me.

          Misplaced Blame   

Today on the 5: Evan Williams, one of the co-founders of Twitter, has apologized for any role the platform had in Trump's election. Too bad it's not Twitter's responsibility.

          Tristram Hunt, The Frock-coated Communist: The Life and Times of the Original Champagne Socialist   

Tristram Hunt, The Frock-coated Communist: The Life and Times of the Original Champagne Socialist

Formats Available:

"Friedrich Engels is one of the most attractive and contradictory figures of the nineteenth century. Born to a prosperous mercantile family in west Germany, he spent his career working in the Manchester cotton industry, riding to the Cheshire hounds, and enjoying the comfortable, middle-class life of a Victorian gentleman. Yet Engels was also the co-founder of international communism - the philosophy which in the 20th century came to control one third of the human race. He was the co-author of The Communist Manifesto, a ruthless party tactician, and the man who sacrificed his best years so Karl Marx could write Das Kapital. Tristram Hunt relishes the diversity and exuberance of Engels's era: how one of the great bon viveurs of Victorian Britain reconciled his raucous personal life with this uncompromising political philosophy." 

          Review: Johnny Foreigner | Mono No Aware   
In the key scene of the 1997 film that takes its name from the quote, Jack Nicholson's Melvin Udall remarks to fellow patients populating the purgatory of his psychiatrist's waiting room, "What if this is as good as it gets?" It is an unsettling and even disorienting idea, that what you have and what you are, your construction of your self, are unlikely to ever again change for the better. But (thankfully, as it makes this painfully protracted metaphor work) Mr. Udall does change, and grow, spurred by renewed self-awareness and a revitalized sense of self. Far from being a condemnation to a static, flat existence, a revelation such as Udall's can be freeing. That weightless feeling of revelation-fueled freedom powers the tremendous new long-player from Birmingham, England guitar-pop titans Johnny Foreigner.

Johnny Foreigner, of course, was at nothing like Udall's dead-end prior to the release of Mono No Aware, its fifth album. Quite to the contrary, we've often referred to the four as England's greatest band, and it has created one of the most enviable catalogs in independent rock music, ever. But -- as co-founder and guitarist Alexei Berrow told Upset Magazine here earlier this year -- the veteran act has had to come to terms with its station within the pop music firmament, and now eschews focusing on negative externals and orients itself toward simply being the best band it can be for a frothing fan base cultivated with great care over the last decade.

Call it real life (births, deaths and near-deaths), call it maturity (marriage, parenthood): whatever "it" is, it has caught up with Johnny Foreigner, but none of it has blunted the legendary band's fire and passion [excised refutation of Neil Young's tired binary]. Indeed, the quartet's new set is invigorated by and celebrates the stuff of life, from Mr. Berrow's opening incantation/confession/deep insidery reference -- the Udall moment, if you will -- "it stings to admit, I can't foresee a day when we buy speedboats from this," to the ensuing recitation of his recent brush with mortality ("literally centimetres away from death," he told Upset) in the instant classic "Undevestator" (which, as we noted here, would seem to present the inverse of "Devestator," the closing number of the band's triumphant fourth LP You Can Do Better) and onward through the collection's 11 songs. Chief songwriter Berrow doubles down on incorporating -- deftly, pellucidly -- autobiography into the music ("'s lucky sadness triggers the songs..."), making the stuff of life part and parcel of the band's capital A Art using a mature lens whose poignancy springs from the album's titular concept.

There is an astonishing amount of detail packed into its briskly paced 35 minutes, yet Mono No Aware succeeds in every direction. There are the blitzkrieging singles and should-be singles that are Johnny Foreigner's stock-in-trade, such as the brilliant rager "If You Can't Be Honest, Be Awesome" and fiery "The X and the O," respectively. Other successes are perhaps more subtle but substantially more exciting. Even 10 years on the band continues to best itself in terms of songcraft, adding progressive flair to a genre which -- let's be honest -- too often gets to coast on the right chords, the correct pedals. The brightly burning centerpiece of the record is the wild, vivid and deconstructed anthem "Our Lifestyles Incandescent," whose verses feature thrilling vocal arrangements structured around the voice of Chicago polymath Nnamdi Ogbonnaya. Indeed, impressive vocal arrangements are a hallmark of the set.

Johnny Foreigner even weaves intricate and beautiful sonic detail into its bangers on Mono No Aware, as in the final, orchestral section of the aforementioned "If You Can't Be Honest" (which touts strings and horns arranged by the great Nick Cox, formerly of Sheffield, England progressive pop luminaries Screaming Maldini and now out under his own shingle as a composer/producer/arranger). Mono No Aware closes with a sublime fade-out, largely along a sustained low D before the chord progression resolves, a terrifically smart echo of the delicate notes of the aforementioned "Mounts Everest." The effect, for the put-it-on-Spotify-and-put-it-on-repeat generation anyway, is of a dream starting over every time the crushing, sparkling ballad "Decants The Atlantic" -- which is among the greatest (and most self-aware) songs in a Johnny Foreigner oeuvre rife with sublime album closers -- slips beneath the proverbial waves and is reborn with "Mounts Everest." It's magical sequencing compounding brilliant songwriting.

Despite having a decade under its collective belt, not to mention four long-players and a dizzying number of singles and EPs, Mono No Aware is completely devoid of complacence, and perhaps this is why Johnny Foreigner could never find itself in Udall's tight spot in the first place (remember Udall, from the first paragraph?). Instead, the record celebrates perseverence and a career staked out largely on the band's own terms (especially when it mattered). The album was released Friday by the venerable Alcopop! Records in the UK and in the U.S. by Philadelphia's Lame-O Records. The domestic LP is pressed to pink media and is available in a limited edition of 300 pieces, which can be purchased right here. UK fans or dedicated fans willing to shell out for jazzy imports have a broader array of purchase options. In addition to a traditional compact disc of vinyl 12", bundles are available which deliver the music alongside your choice of a t-shirt, posters by guitarist Lewes Herriot and Irene Zafra, some sort of movie script dealie, badges, and yet more posters (there are 10 posters relating to songs on the album, and true heads flush with cash can get the 10-poster Royale With Cheese bundle right here). UK vinyl is an edition of 200 blue pieces and 500 orange pieces, and by the time you read these words the blue may have sold out. That's what you get for ignoring our advice Friday morning. Stream Mono No Aware via the Sporkify embed below.

Johnny Foreigner: Bandcamp | Facebook | Internerds

Prior Johnny Foreigner Coverage:
Postscript: Johnny Foreigner's "Stop Talking About Ghosts"Review: Johnny Foreigner | You Can Do BetterReview: Johnny Foreigner | Names EP
Review: Johnny Foreigner | Johnny Foreigner Vs. Everything
Cut The Rope And Jump Off: Johnny Foreigner On Alternate Timelines, Optimism And Everything
Review: Johnny Foreigner | Certain Songs Are Cursed EP
Review: Johnny Foreigner | You Thought You Saw A Shooting Star But Yr Eyes Were Blurred With Tears And That Lighthouse Can Be Pretty Deceiving...
Review: Johnny Foreigner | Grace And The Bigger Picture
Review: Johnny Foreigner | WeLeftYouSleepingAndGoneNow
Review: Johnny Foreigner | Waited Up 'Til It Was Light
Review: Johnny Foreigner | Arcs Across The City EP
That Was The Show That Was: Johnny Foreigner | Bowery Ballroom
          Today' Hotness: Eros And The Eschaton, Ghost Orchard, Landing   
Eros And The Eschaton -- Weight Of Matter (detail)

>> Inspired dream-pop concern Eros And The Eschaton's second LP, due later this summer, is heralded by the surprisingly brash and altogether thrilling preview rocker "Rxx." After a bright, uptempo introduction, the song deftly shifts into a spiky, punky verse featuring an arresting vocal by co-founder Kate Perdoni, whose delivery ranges from delightfully bratty to pensive as she mythologizes a restless life on the road and the band's conception (at the climax she erupts "I started this band from a traffic jam when I was trying to find my way back to Canada!"). Formerly based in North Carolina but now operating out of Colorado Springs, Colo., Ms. Perdoni and partner Adam Hawkins now count among their number drummer Alex Koshak, bassist Ryan Spradlin and keyboard player Mitch Macura. The quintet's forthcoming album Weight Of Matter is said to be strongly influenced by Neil Young & Crazy Horse, but if "Rxx" takes a cue from Mr. Young's wide-ranging career, it would have to be Young's weird, new wave and experimental pop phase (he was a proponent of and sometime collaborator with DEVO, our older readers might recall). Even that feels a stretch, though, and it really makes no difference, as "Rxx" is so potent a single that it needs no RIYLs to prop it up. While the subdued dream-pop of songs like "You Know I Do" and "Don't Look So Sad" from Eros And The Eschaton's early day feels remote here, the big dynamic drumming, anthemic synth lines, spindly guitars and rich feedback in "Rxx" make for a very potent sound that presents exciting opportunities for the band. Bar/None releases Weight Of Matter Aug. 19 on vinyl and CD and pre-orders are being taken for the set right here. The band celebrates the record with two shows at the end of August in Colorado Springs and Denver and also performs in Denver this Saturday; all dates available at press time are listed below. Stream "Rxx" via the Soundcloud embed below. In related news, Weehawken, NJ-based Bar/None this past March celebrated its 30th anniversary, a very notable achievement indeed, and there are retrospective blog posts and a link to a label comp that are definitely worth checking out right here.

06.25 -- Denver, CO -- Westword Music Festival
07.30 -- Denver, CO -- Underground Music Fest
08.05 -- Colorado Springs, CO -- Fine Arts Center
08.26 -- Colorado Springs, CO -- Flux Capacitor (Record Release Show)
08.27 -- Denver, CO -- Larimer Lounge (Record Release Show)

>> Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Ghost Orchard's latest set, Bliss, is a veiled and smothered bedroom dream-pop wonder that has already soundtracked many a late night to devastating and lonely effect. Led by Sam Hall, the project enlarges the scope of similarly bleary solo work of artists like Astrobrite, Atlas Sound and the recently reviewed Flout for an adventure in woozy, driving sound design, not to mention yearning and youthful lo-fi contemplation. Short and sweet songs like "Seperate" and "Sorry" pair distant percussion to textured and tasteful guitar chords for a contemporary take on the "hypnagogic pop" genre which came to the fore with rise of Ariel Pink and other deconstructed songsmiths. Mr. Hall's mid-range vocals serve as another yawning instrument more than a direct lead, but his pleasant tones nonetheless complement the auditory universe he contrives. Loveless-styled instrumental segues bookend "I Saw You Floating," "Sleepover" and "Wisher," and these run into other pieces, adding to the intimate, toy-instrument song-cycle vibe conjured here effectively. While this style of music has been tackled by many, Hall's inoffensive and rounded mid-heavy production and original instrumentation prestidigitate a boyish wonder that circulates through much of Bliss' 13 songs, making the collection an ideal choice for lazy, searching summer evenings. Take this moment to act decisively, however, as Orchid Tapes' recent second pressing of 100 cassettes is likely to disappear as quickly as this piece can be read. Do it: grab Bliss now on tape or as a digital download right here, lest you have to wait for round three. -- Edward Charlton

>> While the name of Connecticut-based drone-rock four Landing has registered on this reviewer's radar in years past -- perhaps due to its prior association with labels as esteemed as K and Geographic North -- its music had eluded our ears until the recent lead-up to its latest album, Third Sight. That collection hit racks earlier this month on CD and green vinyl LP via El Paraiso Records, but indeed the band's legacy stretches back almost two full decades to 1998. Third Sight is a four-song platter of head music characterized by a psychedelic and ambient narcotic lull, one akin to those conjured by legendary hitmakers Spacemen 3, Stars of the Lid and The Warlocks. Landing achieves this through the use of pristine and full production, as well as a distinct, major-key howl. The collection, recorded as part of El Paraiso's Impetus series, aims for the tranquil yet hallucinogenic side of Landing's sound with protracted, ruminative songs and serious pedal work. The lead preview track "Delusion Sound/Third Site" (split into two tunes on Spotify) presents soft, delayed vocals that intertwine within a drift of synthesizer patches and slow-burning feedback. "Facing South" highlights spewing, long-timed drone pedals and bongo-esque percussion to establish a meditative, instrumental trance, while closer "Morning Sun" aims for middle ground between the two, before female vocals pour a little bit of light into the composition. Much of Third Sight comes across as tempered experimentation and improvisational, but the focus with which Landing tackles its craft makes for a compelling album that, we'll speculate, likely sounds massive on vinyl, the manner of consumption this music seems clearly intended for. Order Third Sight here or check out Landing’s impressive and substantial body of work at their Bandcamp page. -- Edward Charlton

          Women Going Global   

Last week I had the opportunity to facilitate a ‘power panel’ of female founders at Business Chicks ‘Movers and Breakers’ conference. It’s easy to look at women like Samantha Wills, Emma Isaacs and Lizzy Abegg – three trailblazing Australian entrepreneurs who have built global businesses from the ground up- and assume it was always in their stars; that they […]

The post Women Going Global appeared first on Margie Warrell.

          Instrumental optometric scope pioneer, SUNY founder dies   
AOA offers condolences to family of Alden Norman Haffner, O.D.
          SAP Buys Concur - Interesting Mix!   

I have used Concur system for several years and had seen it evolve over time. Earlier this quarter, when I saw this announcement about Concur, Uber and AirBnb coming together, I knew that they are aiming big, given Concur’s active partnership with the likes of United, Marriott, IHG and Avis. There is definite meat behind the claim that “Concur has developed an open platform to connect the corporate travel ecosystem, such as airlines, hotels and car rental companies in new and innovative ways”. After all big things like industry disruption happens through convergence of forces and in the software and services industry could mean that either a platform or ecosystem interplay bringing in differentiated experience or results. And that Concur was looking for a buyer was there in the air for a while.

SAP buying Concur is a decent positive decision in my opinion. As someone who travels a lot on business, I can tell you nothing endears this class of users than an enterprise class application working with the smooth and suave ways of working with consumer applications. The number of people waiting for such application could run into huge numbers. The scope and reach of this application does not stop with the current outline that we see but can expand horizontally to cover many more things, with substantial scope for innovation and the ecosystem expansion. The target industry is seeing growth in multiple dimensions - players like Uber expanding internationally and the likes of airbnb seeing manifold increase in transactions routed through Concur,indicates which direction things can move -only up.

Look at the SAP enterprise cloud footprint- Success factors from HR angle, and along with Ariba on the supply side and their huge user base leveraging core budgeting and finance apps- SAP is building a rich portfolio. Plus, there’s a HANA angle to this.

- I think HANA powers the analytics for Concur, or else this can happen soon.

- The HANA approach that’s already pushed heavily with SuccessFactors and Ariba will add the non transactional part of Concur - its safe to expect that ConcurInsights will be an early target to move to HANA completely.

- Concur messaging embracing HANA would be an interesting possibility as well.

- At present, Concur has integration interfaces with various platforms -Netsuite, Salesforce, etc including SAP systems.It can be expected that Concur connectors for HANA Cloud Integration , a predictable path simialr to the standardized connectors for SuccessFactors, already in place, gets repeated.

- Concur has some wannabe solutions that could be replaced by larger Ariba network solution in the spend management space and together could become part of the business network solution for enterprises.

-The Concur App Store is impressive and has an impressive array of partner applications. That early vision of building such a tight ecosystem with big and small payers, am sure got Concur’s founders rich returns today, Its not easy as a small niche player to go and sell to large enterprise and consumer players to be part of an ecosystem driven by them.

- With millions of users, now leveraging Concur’s platform , their data analysis on travel and entertainment provides unique insights - such as ancillary expenses are more than main expenses. The range and depth of insights could be a powerful data set that could become a service and a reference benchmark as well.

- The combined power of 50 million cloud users coupled with API strategies that they can be exploited would mean that the platform can substantially expand and begin to create a new robust ecosystem of its own - much more powerful at one level than the traditional SAP core app user base.

While it’s clear that buying Concur may not add to SAP profits immediately while pushing its topline by 700 million USD ,they key to note is that this is cloud stream based revenue and typically would grow substantially faster and is more sticky and predictable. The range of services that can be extended to make user experience more rich, relevant and engaging is enhanced substantially helping launch and release of new features and functions more effective, helping in the process to earn more returns from the customers. This also expands on the impact of SAP Ariba acquisition as the value of the transaction handles increases to 600 billion annually, a very high number by any standard. This is a major fillip for SAP’s foray into digital business, an agenda being pursued for last several years, starting with Ariba. Let’s look at this form another lens - the enterprise software industry is undergoing such a massive change - the speed of the change and the range of the change in the business models are truly mind boggling.

The tech ecosystem is itself changing fast. The rapid convergence of forces make it more potent and the traditional boundaries and model of operation - centralized system to a more open and partnership based ecosystem makes building digital business systems more attractive commercially and more scalable in its reach. While the traditional challenges of integrating Concur teams and solutions will definitely exist, SAP is now wiser having digested the likes of Ariba in the past. 8+ billion dollars for acquiring a company at 10x projected sales is not small money, by any standards. Concur is also the owner of TripIt, a travel management tool that has widespread use. TripIt has been independently run post the acquisition by Concur, and is said to have grown rapidly ever since. The current SAP users or Concur users may not see any immediate benefit of this acquisition, given the evolved services that Concur and SAP have. SAP has made some bold moves to become a player in the cloud space. The greater opportunity for SAP lay in reimagining the complete ecosystem that it has built over the last 15 + years to help in redefining their positioning as the leading enterprise cloud player. Indeed, this is an interesting journey ahead.

          Hugh Jackman plays P.T. Barnum in 'The Greatest Showman' trailer   
Hugh Jackman plays P.T. Barnum in 'The Greatest Showman' trailer. Hugh Jackman plays Barnum & Bailey Circus founder P.T. Barnum in a first trailer for "The Greatest Showman."
          Everything's An Algorithm   
A recent Wall Street Journal article caught my eye. Scott Morrison writes that Google is using algorithms in their efforts to manage and retain talent.

When you have a really big data analysis hammer, do even your people look like a nail?

Smart people have been talking about something that makes intuitive sense: it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a subject.

That's 3 years of full time effort.

Organizations need people to master their jobs. So it's important to hire good people. But that’s not enough.

Beyond mastery of basic job skills, people also need to practice navigating your organization (and an industry's culture).

In a big or complex company, can take years to log the hours of practice required to master the firm's particular code of etiquette. When you're writing code, you're getting better at writing code. Not politics; that's a separate practice.

If the organization itself has any meaning at all -- retaining people is important.

Some readers seemed to feel that Google's methods were a bit cold. Really?

An algorithm is "a step-by-step procedure for solving a problem or accomplishing some end especially by a computer," per Merriam-Webster.

On Saturday, I went out at 6am for coffee here in Lower Manhattan. Scanning the streets, quiet because of the holiday, I saw a man. Was he crazy looking? Yes. Did he appear motivated to bother me? No. Was there sufficient traffic nearby should my last determination be incorrect? Yes. Should I proceed to my coffee destination? Yes.

It's an algorithm.
We run algorithms in our heads all the time. I ran this one in about a second. ("The heels or the flats?" is a complex operation and may take longer.)
The algorithm is not the problem.

Problems: the wrong variables, assigning incorrect yes/no values -- and possibly most important, but least transparent: when we’re not sufficiently aware of how our algorithms work.

Which leads me to the dreaded "bad fit". The hire we never should have made.

It takes time, and costs money, to bring people into your ecosystem. When someone doesn’t fit, it's rarely pretty. And that costs you more time, and often money.

To hire the right people, you have to know what you want. The Google story caught my eye because we make our best hiring choices by being very clear with our algorithms.

Unless we're self-aware, our constantly running programs may not contain the correct variables. A degree from a particular school may not be a true indicator of success. We might misinterpret a line on a resume. Or we may not interview strategically.

Hiring the right people requires practice.

While interviewing skills are important, the more important work happens before we even talk to a candidate: practice selecting the correct variables.

When we select a particular degree to indicate that candidate can do a job, we may be right. And also dead wrong. It’s not whether he can do the job. It’s whether he will do the job. In your firm, and on your team.

That's an answer to a different question, or questions -- different pieces of the algorithm.

Were there other steps in my coffee algorithm I couldn't see, like whether I thought I could outrun the crazy guy to my neighborhood firehouse if I needed help? (Was I correct?)

The discipline of identifying the correct questions offers the opportunity to practice a kind of self-awareness. Not just a navel gazing exercise, because some unconscious steps in our algorithms (age, gender) might put our firms at risk.

And if you hire well, then you'll have Google's challenge: who to retain, and how to retain them.
Last year, at a panel discussion on talent management, I heard an executive from a global Fortune 500 consumer goods company say that his firm was investing 80% of the firm's training and development resources in 20% of their people -- the "high performers".

This doesn't sound like an investment to me. It sounds like a gamble.

It all boils down to what you want, and whether you want the right things.

(Photo: Jared's "Engraved Invaders", used under Creative Commons license. His beautiful algorithmic artwork on flickr sent me to his profile, which notes that he's a founder of Etsy. (If I had time, I'd be obsessed with Etsy.) Thanks, Jared.)
New Yorkers participated in a shared dream yesterday. In a luminous confluence of talent, compassion, right effort, and what some would call karma, Circle Line and New York Waterway boats were alongside FDNY and NYPD, aiding the crew and passengers of the US Air jet that miraculously landed on the Hudson River.

The water temperature (as I heard on the news) is around 40F; if you're in that water, you lose mobility after a few seconds. By the time I was on my way home, it was clear that all were ok, and I stopped to chat with a local first responder, saying, "It's a miracle that you guys made it there so quickly." Characteristically, he responded that the Circle Line had gotten there first. We then agreed that people are good. (Generally.)

I spent the rest of the evening at a local restaurant with some neighborhood moms, gathered to support JustTell, a young non-profit led by Vivian Farmery. Some of the women's teenagers studied and ate at tables nearby as the group brainstormed about pulling together resources for a fundraiser and local outreach. (It's true, if you want something done, give it to a busy person!) One kid matter-of-factly spoke into his cell phone, "No, it wasn't a terrorist attack."

Before dawn this morning, I prepared for 11 degree (Fahrenheit) temperatures by donning layers (enough to prevent me from raising my arms above my shoulders) and walked over to the Hudson where the plane was tied up along the waterfront. I don't know what I expected to see, really.

I guess I was looking for hope realized.

What I saw was a bunch of news vans and emergency response vehicles, what I heard was a local newsperson rehearsing her pitch about a miracle, and what I felt was -- cold.

Ducking into the World Financial Center dressed for a hike in the Himalayas, I grabbed a double espresso, chatted briefly with an NTSB guy, and walked up to look out across the street at the construction on the World Trade Center site.

Warm and hopeful, and holding news images of people standing on the water outside the aircraft, I walked home. Grateful that lower Manhattan smelled like coffee and discarded Christmas trees, and not like tens of thousands of burning computers.

(OK, I'm feeling all arty and abstracty with my iPhone -- the photo is actually construction at the WTC site, with palm trees from the World Financial Center and my Himalayan silhouette reflected in the window.)
          Business Partnership: Interview with Virayoga's Elena Brower and Lynn Hazan-Devaul   
The most frequently "hit" post on this blog is an article on business partnership.

Precious little information you find out there on partnership relates to what is -- in my opinion -- the most important ingredient of a partnership: the way that the partners manage the interpersonal nature of their business relationship.

Here's an article about an exemplary partnership in my circle, that of Elena Brower and Lynn Hazan-deVaul, owners of NYC yoga studio Virayoga. This article was posted this past spring to a website that serves the Anusara Yoga community in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut -- hence some of the yoga terms! (I'm cross posting here because it has been replaced by fresh content!)

(And on another yoga related update, I got a lovely note from Marsha Nieland of Fusion Studios in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. After flood waters subsided, they offered services to a member of the National Guard there helping in recovery work. They are on their way to rebuilding and reopening their business. You go!)

Here's the article.

(I think we called it "Elemental Truths about Yoga and Business Partnership".)
Anusara yoga teaches Universal Principles of Alignment by linking metaphor with physical action. The principles also provide powerful images for our lives off the mat.

Working relationships are fertile ground for practice -- particularly our close working relationships.

There's no closer working relationship than a business partnership.

Business partnership offers a seemingly simple and elegant support. When you're not feeling strong, someone else will be there with you. You'll have someone to lean on, a complement, shelter from the storm.

"It's like a marriage," says Virayoga's Lynn Hazan-Devaul. And like marriage, partnership is far from simple.

Virayoga has served the tri-state Anusara community since 2002. Its heart is the strong business partnership between Lynn and her partner, Vira's founder Elena Brower.

Consider the elements of this successful business partnership: actually, consider the elements, and the principles.

Space. Open to Grace.
Lynn and Elena joined forces shortly after Elena opened Virayoga's doors.

Lynn had been a devoted yoga student for many years, and a student of Elena's. Months into Vira's new life, Elena was overwhelmed by the behind-the-scenes work required to keep the business running. A friend who knew both women thought that Lynn's financial and management expertise could help. He suggested that the women meet, so that Lynn could take a look at the business.

Over a weekend, Lynn sorted through receipts and bank statements. By Sunday, Elena and Lynn were discussing partnership.

"It's about desire. You know, ask for what you want?" Lynn comments. After leaving a music industry job, she had told friends that she'd like to own a yoga studio one day.

Elena says that she saw Lynn as the perfect person with whom to join forces, “I was awestruck by Lynn’s deft embodiment of both business professionalism and spiritual awareness, for lack of a better phrase.”

And both shared a clear drive to serve. “Service is really the heart of teaching, and particularly of overseeing a studio." says Elena.

Earth. Muscular Energy.
The choice to proceed as partners emerged from that weekend. The women spent several months working together to develop a legal operating agreement that supports the partnership today.

The key to crafting a grounded agreement was honesty. Elena and Lynn each knew, and could clearly state, what she wanted and needed; each was willing to articulate these details and commit them to paper. The individual requirements were used to create their roles, and written into the partnership agreement. For example, the agreement states that part of Lynn's role is to manage and further Elena's career.

The partners also intended for the agreement to balance responsibility between them.

Each listened, and aligned with what was important to the other. The women also came to the partnership with shared values. Most obviously, they wanted to center Virayoga in Anusara Yoga.

Freedom to make this, and other choices was partly possible because Virayoga was neither the primary financial nor social means of support for either partner. "Elena and I both had outside interests, so it was about desire rather than need to form the partnership – we didn't need to do it, we wanted to."

Honesty, shared values, balanced responsibility, and sufficient external support provided stable ground for the business, the partnership, and each partner.

Water. Inner Spiral.
More than a legal agreement allows this partnership to flow. Lynn describes the unconditional respect the women share, “It is a respect for the other's whole being. Even the things that bother us!"

Along with shared values and respect, the women have evolved a conscious process for making decisions together. Not every decision comes with complete and total agreement: sometimes one partner makes the ultimate choice. But when a decision has been made, both partners move ahead in support of the choice.

Respect, balanced responsibility and conscious decisions create the opening for each partner to fully offer her unique gifts.

Fire. Outer Spiral.
Each partner can thus place attention and effort on the work she loves. Elena manages the teachers, crafts the schedule and flyers, seeks substitutes as needed and teaches weekly classes. Lynn takes the lead on all things business, such as where to grow and where to spend.

"We are very clear in our delineation of roles, and we don't try to do each other's jobs," Lynn comments.

Elena adds, “The boundaries of our agreement have opened a great deal of clarity within the partnership, wherein each of us can really do what we do best.”

Air. Organic Energy.
Elena and Lynn's activities outside of Virayoga can make scheduling time together a challenge. Sometimes they don’t talk for a week, yet the partnership continues to work. Lynn says, "We're in a groove."

Partnership has allowed Elena and Lynn to build a solid, stable and highly skilled staff, which permits the business to operate smoothly.

Both partners offer additional kudos to Virayoga’s new manager, Kiriaky Binihaky. “Kiri has essentially taken on the studio as her baby, which has allowed us even more freedom and trust."

Choice, honesty, respect, balance, and love are elements of a partnership through which Elena, Lynn, and Virayoga’s staff manifest their desire to serve, touching the lives of thousands of students and teachers in our community.

The partners report 2008 as their best year ever. Virayoga has expanded, moving into larger space in the same location, and opening a new "Healing Annex" for semi-private classes, workshops and bodywork. The business has flourished; six years of partnership have also deepened the women’s friendship.

Lynn says, “You don't have to love your business partner to have a good partnership. I'm lucky that I do."

(photo of the lovely Virayoga snagged from their website, in hopes of being able to ask for forgiveness instead of permission!)
          Open science: a future shaped by shared experience   
Mapping the human genome showed how the internet can play a vital part in collective scientific research. Now more scientists are collaborating – and inviting amateurs and colleagues from other disciplines to get involved

BioCurious: Joseph Jackson at his community lab in Menlo Park, California. Photograph: Robert Yager for the Observer
On the surface, it looked as if there was nothing in mathematics that Timothy Gowers couldn't achieve. He held a prestigious professorship at Cambridge. He had been a recipient of the Fields Medal, the highest honour in mathematics. He had even acted as a scientific consultant on Hollywood movies. Yet there were a few complex mathematical problems that he had struggled to solve. "In most cases, I just ran out of steam," he explains.

So one day he took one of these – finding a mathematical proof about the properties of multidimensional objects – and put his thoughts on his blog. How would other people go about solving this conundrum? Would somebody else have any useful insights? Would mathematicians, notoriously competitive, be prepared to collaborate? "It was an experiment," he admits. "I thought it would be interesting to try."

He called it the Polymath Project and it rapidly took on a life of its own. Within days, readers, including high-ranking academics, had chipped in vital pieces of information or new ideas. In just a few weeks, the number of contributors had reached more than 40 and a result was on the horizon. Since then, the joint effort has led to several papers published in journals under the collective pseudonym DHJ Polymath. It was an astonishing and unexpected result.

"If you set out to solve a problem, there's no guarantee you will succeed," says Gowers. "But different people have different aptitudes and they know different tricks… it turned out their combined efforts can be much quicker."

This ability to collaborate quickly and transparently online is just one facet of a growing movement in research known as open science.

There are many interpretations of what open science means, with different motivations across different disciplines. Some are driven by the backlash against corporate-funded science, with its profit-driven research agenda. Others are internet radicals who take the "information wants to be free" slogan literally. Others want to make important discoveries more likely to happen. But for all their differences, the ambition remains roughly the same: to try and revolutionise the way research is performed by unlocking it and making it more public.

"What we try to do is get people to organise differently," says Joseph Jackson, the organiser of the Open Science Summit, a meeting of advocates that was held for the first time last summer at the University of California, Berkeley.

Jackson is a young bioscientist who, like many others, has discovered that the technologies used in genetics and molecular biology, once the preserve of only the most well-funded labs, are now cheap enough to allow experimental work to take place in their garages. For many, this means that they can conduct genetic experiments in a new way, adopting the so-called "hacker ethic" – the desire to tinker, deconstruct, rebuild.

The rise of this group is entertainingly documented in a new book by science writer Marcus Wohlsen, Biopunk (Current £18.99), which describes the parallels between today's generation of biological innovators and the rise of computer software pioneers of the 1980s and 1990s. Indeed, Bill Gates has said that if he were a teenager today, he would be working on biotechnology, not computer software.

Spurred on by the new-found ability to work outside the system, these rebel biologists believe that the traditional way of doing science is not the most efficient and could even be holding back important developments.

"Institutions, typically, are the slowest and have the most amount of inertia lagging behind the technology," says Jackson. "We have a lot of things that made sense once, or never made sense, that are clogging up the works."

Those sound like fighting words to a traditional scientist. After all, ask any lab director and they'll tell you the same thing – doing real science is tough. It takes time, energy and money to conduct serious research. Institutes manage vast budgets, operate huge, hi-tech labs and call upon armies of graduate students to sift for evidence in great oceans of data. Real science is a slow, expensive process that has been hewn into shape over centuries of experimentation, false starts and the occasional success.

But open scientists suggest that it doesn't have to be that way. Their arguments are propelled by a number of different factors that are making transparency more viable than ever.

The first and most powerful change has been the use of the web to connect people and collect information. The internet, now an indelible part of our lives, allows like-minded individuals to seek one another out and share vast amounts of raw data. Researchers can lay claim to an idea not by publishing first in a journal (a process that can take many months) but by sharing their work online in an instant.

And while the rapidly decreasing cost of previously expensive technical procedures has opened up new directions for research, there is also increasing pressure for researchers to cut costs and deliver results. The economic crisis left many budgets in tatters and governments around the world are cutting back on investment in science as they try to balance the books. Open science can, sometimes, make the process faster and cheaper, showing what one advocate, Cameron Neylon, calls "an obligation and responsibility to the public purse".

At the same time, moves are afoot to disrupt the closed world of academic journals and make high-level teaching materials available to the public. The Public Library of Science, based in San Francisco, is working to make journals more freely accessible, while the Massachusetts Institute of Technology currently boasts that material for almost 2,000 courses is now available on the web.

"The litmus test of openness is whether you can have access to the data," says Dr Rufus Pollock, a co-founder of the Open Knowledge Foundation, a group that promotes broader access to information and data. "If you have access to the data, then anyone can get it, use it, reuse it and redistribute it… we've always built on the work of others, stood on the shoulders of giants and learned from those who have gone before."

In the seven years since he started the organisation, Pollock, now in his early 30s, has helped build communities and tools around everything from economics data to Shakespeare's sonnets. He says that it is increasingly vital for many scientists to adopt an open approach.

"We have found ourselves in a weird dead end," he says – where publicly funded science does not produce publicly accessible information. That leads to all kinds of problems, not least controversies such as the leaked climate change emails from the University of East Anglia, which led to claims of bias among the research team.

But it's more than just politics at stake – it's also a fundamental right to share knowledge, rather than hide it. The best example of open science in action, he suggests, is the Human Genome Project, which successfully mapped our DNA and then made the data public. In doing so, it outflanked J Craig Venter's proprietary attempt to patent the human genome, opening up the very essence of human life for science, rather than handing our biological information over to corporate interests.

"It was a very large project in one of the most organised and information-rich areas of science, but it faced genuine competition from a closed model," says Dr Pollock. "It is basically an extraordinary example and it could have gone in a very different way."

Unsurprisingly, the rise of open science does not please everyone. Critics have argued that while it benefits those at either end of the scientific chain – the well-established at the top of the academic tree or the outsiders who have nothing to lose – it hurts those in the middle. Most professional scientists rely on the current system for funding and reputation. Others suggest it is throwing out some of the most important elements of science and making deep, long-term research more difficult.

Open science proponents say that they do not want to make the current system a thing of the past, but that it shouldn't be seen as immutable either. In fact, they say, the way most people conceive of science – as a highly specialised academic discipline conducted by white-coated professionals in universities or commercial laboratories – is a very modern construction.

It is only over the last century that scientific disciplines became industrialised and compartmentalised. Some of history's most influential scientists and polymaths – people such as Robert Hooke, Charles Darwin and Benjamin Franklin – started as gentleman scholars and helped pioneer the foundations for modern inquiry at a time when the line between citizen and scientist was blurred.

In attempting to recapture some of this feeling, open scientists say they don't want to throw scientists to the wolves: they just want to help answer questions that, in many cases, are seen as insurmountable. This means breaking down barriers by using the tools at our disposal – whether it's abundant biological data, inexpensive lab equipment or the internet. It might not be the way we think of science, but it is still science.

"Some people are naturally sympathetic to this sort of idea," says Professor Gowers. "Some people, very straightforwardly, said that they didn't like the idea because it undermined the concept of the romantic, lone genius." Even the most dedicated open scientists understand that appeal. "I do plan to keep going at them," he says of collaborative projects. "But I haven't given up on solitary thinking about problems entirely."

In favour of spreading the word

Melanie Swan

"As a society, we don't understand biology yet," says Melanie Swan, a genomics researcher and principle at MS Futures Group in Palo Alto, California. As she sees it, there are all sorts of problems with the way we conduct biological research en masse. Individuals can gain huge amounts of information about their own genetic makeup, yet new drugs and treatments are developed very slowly because, in part, they have to be adapted for general use.

As a non-traditional scientist — she studied French, economics and finance before heading into the world of genes — Swan has decided to take a non-traditional approach. The answer, she suggests, is to push forward with studies where self-elected individuals who have already got their genomic data join in, acting as both subjects and participants. It allows those taking part, including Swan herself, to understand and monitor exactly what is happening, and massively reduces time and cost.

Swan's projects have started small, with a seven-person pilot to explore the effects of vitamin B on the MTHFR gene, which has been linked to cancer and vascular diseases. But she has more than 40 possible studies outlined. "The traditional model is very slow: every different private research organisation builds its own data store of samples and it's painstaking and expensive. It takes years and they don't share it with each other or with the public. How can we move forward in a 2.0 kind of way?"

Joseph Jackson

Describing himself as a "philosopher, entrepreneur and activist", 28-year-old Joseph Jackson is one of the leading figures in a precocious movement of DIY biologists. He's co-founder of BioCurious, a community lab based in the San Francisco Bay area, and organiser of the annual Open Science Summit. But while he envisions a world where amateurs and self-educated scientists co-exist and help one another improve, he understands that there's going to be resistance along the way.

"I think that it's already coming to a head, and that conflict is going to intensify," he explains. "It's going to be a challenge to integrate the effort of amateurs and the professional canon," he explains. "We've seen these conflicts already — whether Wikipedia can be treated as authoritative – but with a carefully chosen set of experiments, we can bridge the gap."

Although there is plenty of pain today, he suggests that in hindsight we may see the breaking down of boundaries between public and academe was inevitable. "It's obvious where the trends are going and I hope we'll look back 20 years from now and say that this was a turning point."

Cameron Neylon

For biophysicist Cameron Neylon, the conversion to open science came when he was working at the University of Southampton. He started publishing his lab notebook online, a radical step, considering most researchers keep their work under lock and key.

"Once you see how the web connects people and makes them more effective, it's a given," he says. "We can make research more efficient by making parts of the process more public."

Neylon recognises this approach isn't for everyone and that it won't have the same sort of impact in every field. But the more pressing issue is trying to work this way in a professional system that is weighted towards secrecy.

"Some people are worried they'll be scooped if they put their research into the open," he points out. "The bottom line is that the reward structures we have don't really reward anything apart from getting a peer-reviewed paper published in a high-ranking journal.

"The sooner we can get to a point where people are rewarded for making more public their ideas, concepts, materials and data, the better off we'll be."
          Dis-intermediation of the university via open courseware -- NYTimes: An Open Mind   
Dis-intermediation of the university via open courseware -- NYTimes: An Open Mind
[Some excerpts from NYtimes – BSA]

Open courseware is a classic example of disruptive technology, which, loosely defined, is an innovation that comes along one day to change a product or service, often standing an industry on its head. Craigslist did this to newspapers by posting classified ads for free. And the music industry got blindsided when iTunes started unbundling songs from albums and selling them for 99 cents apiece.

Some imagine a situation in which the bulk of introductory course materials are online, as videos or interactive environments; students engage with the material when convenient and show up only for smaller seminars. “In an on-demand environment, they’re thinking,

Mr. Schonfeld sees still more potential in “unbundling” the four elements of educating: design of a course, delivery of that course, delivery of credit and delivery of a degree. “Traditionally, they’ve all lived in the same institutional setting.” Must all four continue to live together, or can one or more be outsourced?

Edupunks — the term for high-tech do-it-yourself educators who skirt traditional structures — are piloting wiki-type U’s that stitch together open course material from many institutions and combine it with student-to-student interaction. In September, Neeru Paharia, a doctoral student at Harvard Business School, and four others from the open education field started up Peer 2 Peer University, a tuition-free, nonprofit experiment financed with seed money from the Hewlett and Shuttleworth foundations.

Ms. Paharia doesn’t speak the same language as traditional educators: P2PU “runs” courses. It doesn’t “offer” them. There are currently 16 courses, in subjects as diverse as behavioral economics, music theory, cyberpunk literature and “managing election campaigns” (and all with a Creative Commons license that grants more freedom of use than a standard copyright). Several hundred people are taking classes, Ms. Paharia says.

P2PU’s mission isn’t to develop a model and stick with it. It is to “experiment and iterate,” says Ms. Paharia, the former executive director of Creative Commons. She likes to talk about signals, a concept borrowed from economics. “Having a degree is a signal,” she says. “It’s a signal to employers that you’ve passed a certain bar.” Here’s the radical part: Ms. Paharia doesn’t think degrees are necessary. P2PU is working to come up with alternative signals that indicate to potential employers that an individual is a good thinker and has the skills he or she claims to have — maybe a written report or an online portfolio.

David Wiley, associate professor of instructional psychology and technology at Brigham Young University, is an adviser to P2PU. For the past several years, he has been referring to “the disaggregation of higher education,” the breaking apart of university functions. Dr. Wiley says that models like P2PU address an important component missing from open courseware: human support. That is, when you have a question, whom can you ask? “No one gets all the way through a textbook without a dozen questions,” he says. “Who’s the T.A.? Where’s your study group?”

“If you go to M.I.T. OpenCourseWare, there’s no way to find out who else is studying the same material and ask them for help,” he says. At P2PU, a “course organizer” leads the discussion but “you are working together with others, so when you have a question you can ask any of your peers. The core idea of P2PU is putting people together around these open courses.”

A similar philosophy is employed by Shai Reshef, the founder of several Internet educational businesses. Mr. Reshef has used $1 million of his own money to start theUniversity of the People, which taps open courses that other universities have put online and relies on student interaction to guide learning; students even grade one another’s papers.

The focus is business administration and computer science, chosen because they hold promise for employment. He says he hopes to seek accreditation, and offer degrees.

Mr. Reshef’s plan is to “take anyone, anyone whatsoever,” as long as they can pass an English orientation course and a course in basic computer skills, and have a high school diploma or equivalent. The nonprofit venture has accepted, and enrolled, 380 of 3,000 applicants, and is trying to raise funds through microphilanthropy — “$80 will send one student to UoPeople for a term” — through social networking.

A decade has passed since M.I.T. decided to give much of its course materials to the public in an act of largesse. The M.I.T. OpenCourseWare Initiative helped usher in the “open educational resources” movement, with its ethos of sharing knowledge via free online educational offerings, including podcasts and videos of lectures, syllabuses and downloadable textbooks. The movement has also helped dislodge higher education from its brick-and-mortar moorings.

If the mission of the university is the creation of knowledge (via research) and the dissemination of knowledge (via teaching and publishing), then it stands to reason that giving that knowledge away fits neatly with that mission. And the branding benefits are clear.
The Open University, the distance-learning behemoth based in England, has vastly increased its visibility with open courses, which frequently show up in the Top 5 downloads on Apple’s iTunes U, a portal to institutions’ free courseware as well as marketing material. The Open University’s free offerings have been downloaded more than 16 million times, with 89 percent of those downloads outside the U.K., says Martin Bean, vice chancellor of the university. Some 6,000 students started out with a free online course before registering for a paid online course.

Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative is working with teams of faculty members, researchers on learning and software engineers to develop e-courses designed to improve the educational experience. So far there are 10 complete courses, including logic, statistics, chemistry, biology, economics and French, which cost about $250,000 each to build. Carnegie Mellon is working with community colleges to build four more courses, with the three-year goal of 25 percent more students passing when the class is bolstered by the online instruction.

The intended user is the beginning college student, whom Dr. Smith describes as “someone with limited prior knowledge in a college subject and with little or no experience in successfully directing his or her own learning.”

It works like this: Virtual simulations, labs and tutorials allow for continuous feedback that helps the student along. The student’s progress is tracked step by step, and that information is then used to make improvements to the course. Several studies have shown that students learn a full semester’s worth of material in half the time when the online coursework is added. More students stick with the class, too. “We now have the technology that enables us to go back to what we all know is the best educational experience: personalized, interactive engagement,” Dr. Smith says.

twitter: BillStArnaud
skype: Pocketpro
          Tarnoy tops as African power personnel honoured   
From MTHULISI SIBANDA in Cape Town, (CAJ News) – UNITED Kingdom entrepreneur, Helen Tarnoy, has been honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the African Utility Week Industry Awards held in South Africa.The recognition of the Aldwych International co-founder and Managing Director is an endorsement of her passionate devotion to the continent’s power market for about […]
          The Expendables 3 (2014)   
Categories : Action, Adventure, Thriller Plot Synopsis : Barney augments his side as well as different blood as a inner most battle: to obtain gulp Conrad Stonebanks, the Expendables co-founder as nonetheless as contentious arms trader who is hell abnormal on wiping out Barney as nonetheless as every odd man out one amongst his associates.
          LSST Receives $30 Million   
Via Interactions.Org

LSST Receives $30 Million from Charles Simonyi and Bill Gates

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) Project is pleased to announce receipt of two major gifts: $20M from the Charles Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences and $10M from Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

Under development since 2000, the LSST is a public-private partnership. This gift enables the construction of LSST's three large mirrors; these mirrors take over five years to manufacture. The first stages of production for the two largest mirrors are now beginning at the Mirror Laboratory at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona. Other key elements of the LSST system will also be aided by this commitment.

The LSST exemplifies characteristics Simonyi and Gates have exhibited in their successful lives and careers – innovation, excitement of discovery, cutting edge technology, and a creative energy that pushes the possibilities of human achievement. The LSST leverages advances in large telescope design, imaging detectors, and computing to engage everyone in a journey of cosmic discovery.

Proposed for "first light" in 2014, the 8.4-meter LSST will survey the entire visible sky deeply in multiple colors every week with its three-billion pixel digital camera, probing the mysteries of Dark Matter and Dark Energy, and opening a movie-like window on objects that change or

"This support from Charles Simonyi and Bill Gates will lead to a transformation in the way we study the Universe," said University of California, Davis, Professor and LSST Director J. Anthony Tyson. "By mapping the visible sky deeply and rapidly, the LSST will let everyone
experience a novel view of our Universe and permit exciting new questions in a variety of areas of astronomy and fundamental physics."

The LSST will be constructed on Cerro Pachón, a mountain in northern Chile. Its design of three large mirrors and three refractive lenses in a camera leads to a 10 square degree field-of-view with excellent image quality. The telescope's 3200 Megapixel camera will be the largest digital camera ever constructed. Over ten years of operations, about 2000 deep exposures will be acquired for every part of the sky over 20,000 square degrees. This color "movie" of the Universe will open an entirely new window: the time domain. LSST will produce 30 Terabytes of data per night, yielding a total database of 150 Petabytes. Dedicated data facilities will process the data in real time.

"What a shock it was when Galileo saw in his telescope the phases of Venus, or the moons of Jupiter, the first hints of a dynamic universe" Simonyi said. "Today, by building a special telescope-computer complex, we can study this dynamism in unprecedented detail. LSST will produce a database suitable for answering a wide range of pressing questions: What is dark energy? What is dark matter? How did the Milky Way form? What are the properties of small bodies in the solar system? Are there potentially hazardous asteroids that may impact the earth causing significant damage? What sort of new phenomena have yet to be discovered?"

"LSST is just as imaginative in its technology and approach as it is with its science mission. LSST is truly an internet telescope, which will put terabytes of data each night into the hands of anyone that wants to explore it. Astronomical research with LSST becomes a software issue - writing code and database queries to mine the night sky and recover its secrets. The 8.4 meter LSST telescope and the three gigapixel camera are thus a shared resource for all humanity - the ultimate network peripheral device to explore the universe" Gates said. "It is fun for Charles and me to be a team again supporting this work given all we have done together on software projects."

"The LSST will be the world's most powerful survey telescope. This major gift keeps the project on schedule by enabling the early fabrication of LSST’s large optics and other long-lead components of the LSST system," said Donald Sweeney, LSST Project Manager.

LSST is designed to be a public facility - the database and resulting catalogs will be made available to the community at large with no proprietary restrictions. A sophisticated data management system will provide easy access, enabling simple queries from individual users (both professionals and amateurs), as well as computationally intensive scientific investigations that utilize the entire database. The public will actively share the adventure of discovery of our dynamic Universe.

More information about the LSST including current images, graphics, and
animation can be found at

In 2003, the LSST Corporation was formed as a non-profit 501(c)3 Arizona corporation with headquarters in Tucson, AZ. Membership has since expanded to twenty two members including Brookhaven National Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Columbia University, Google Inc., Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Johns Hopkins University, Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology - Stanford University, Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network, Inc., Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, National Optical Astronomy Observatory, Princeton University, Purdue University, Research Corporation, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, The Pennsylvania State University, The University of Arizona, University of California, Davis, University of California at Irvine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Washington.

          Katama Collaborates with The Surf Lodge on Swimwear Capsule   

Arnaldo Anaya-Lucca photographs Vito Basso in Katama's Surf Lodge house print swim shorts.Katama celebrates summer with a timely collaboration. The brand partners with The Surf Lodge on a special capsule collection. This time around, Katama founder and model, Garrett Neff works behind the scenes. He reunites with photographer Arnaldo Anaya-Lucca, who captures model Vito Basso. The long-haired model is easily a summer vision as he sports Katama’s […]

The post Katama Collaborates with The Surf Lodge on Swimwear Capsule appeared first on The Fashionisto.


          Fire Sale: Washington Post Lost 87% of Value In Ten Years   
The announcement that the Washington Post Co. sold its flagship paper to billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos for $250 million, surprised everyone. And in an era when the Washington Postsells Newsweek for $1 and the Ne
MKUU wa wilaya ya Korogwe Mkoani Tanga,Mhandisi
Robert Gabriel akizungumza wakati makabidhiano ya vyumba vya madarasa vitano na vyoo ishirini na nne,mradi maji na uzio wa shule ya msingi jitengeni iliyopo Mji mdogo wa Mombo uliofanywa na taasisi isiyo ya kisherikali A better World ya Canada ikishirikiana na Vuga development Initiative kulia ni Founder wa A Better World Canada Eric Rajabu na Mkurugenzi wa Taasisi ya A Better Worild Canada
nchini Tanzania,Aizidi Kaoneka 
Founder wa A Better World Canada Eric Rajabu kushoto akizungumza katika halfa hiyo kulia ni Mkurugenzi wa Taasisi ya A Better Worild Canada nchini Tanzania,Aizidi Kaoneka 
Mkurugenzi wa Taasisi ya A Better Worild Canada nchini Tanzania,Aizidi Kaoneka akizungumza katika halfa hiyo 
Mkurugenzi wa Halmashauri ya Korogwe Vijijini,Gorge Nyaronga akizungumza katika halfa hiyo 
MKUU wa wilaya ya Korogwe Mkoani Tanga,Mhandisi
Robert Gabriel kushoto akimpatia zawadi ya kitenge 
Founder wa A Better World Canada Eric Rajabu akimshukuru kwa msaada wa ujenzi wa madarasa na vyoo na uzio 
Founder wa A Better World Canada Eric Rajabu katikati akitazama kitenge chake 
Risala ya shule hiyo ikisomwa 
Sehemu ya vyumba vya madarasa vilivyojengwa
Wanafunzi wa shule ya Msingi Jitengeni wilayani Korogwe wakitumbuiza wakati wa hafla hiyo
MKUU wa wilaya ya Korogwe Mkoani Tanga,Mhandisi Robert Gabriel akizungumza wakati makabidhiano ya vyumba vya madarasa vitano na vyoo ishirini na nne,mradi maji na uzio wa shule ya msingi jitengeni iliyopo Mji mdogo wa Mombo uliofanywa na taasisi isiyo ya kisherikali A better World ya Canada ikishirikiana na Vuga development Initiative
SERIKALI wilayani Korogwe Mkoani Tanga imepania kuhakikisha wanakomesha vitendo vya mimba za utotoni kwa kuwachukulia hatua kali watakaobinika kuhusika na matukio hayo ili kuweza kuondosha hali hiyo kwenye jamii.

Lakini pia imesema watakaohusika kuwa kichocheo cha ndoa hizo zifanyike wakiwemo wazazi kutoka pande zote mbili watafikishwa mahakamani ili sheria zichukue mkondo wake zaidi kwa lengo la kukomesha vitendo vya namna hiyo kwenye jamii.

Hayo yalibainishwa na Mkuu wa wilaya ya Korogwe ,Mhandisi,Robert Gabriel wakati makabidhiano ya vyumba vya madarasa vitano na vyoo ishirini na nne,mradi maji na uzio wa shule ya msingi jitengeni iliyopo Mji mdogo wa Mombo uliofanywa na taasisi isiyo ya kiserikali A better World ya Canada ikishirikiana na Vuga development Initiative
Alisema hatua hiyo ina lengo la kuhakikisha wanakomesha vitendo vinavyofanya na baadhi ya vijana vya kuwa sha wishi wananfunzi wa kike na kuwapatia ujauzito hivyo kupelekea wasichana hao kukatisha masomo yao.

Mkuu huyo wa wilaya alisema hivi sasa lazima wawe wakali na watu wanaocheza na maisha ya watoto ya wanafunzi ambao asilimia kubwa masomo yao yana haribiwa mara tu baada ya kushawishiwa na kupewa ujauzito.

Alisema hatua ya kurubuniwa watoto wa kike kwenye masomo haiwezi kuvumiliwa hasa kipindi hiki ambacho hawatakuwa na nafasi tena ya kujiendeleza katika shule za serikali pindi watakapo jifungua.

Awali akizungumza wakati wa hafla hiyo ,Mkuu wa shuele ya msingi Jitengeni,Mafikiri Twinzi alisema umalizikaji wa madarasa hayo utapunguza kero kwa wanafunzi shuleni hapo ambapo awali walikuwa wakikaa wanafunzi 100 hadi 120 kwenye chumba kimoja.

Alisema shule hiyo iliyo na wanafunzi 816 imekuwa na tatizo la
uchakavu wa madarasa hali iliyopelekea kuwajengea woga wanafunzi wa kuangukiwa na kuta za shule hiyo.

Naye kwa upande wake,Mkurugenzi wa Taasisi ya A Better Worild Canada nchini Tanzania,Aizidi Kaoneka alisema taasisi hiyo lengo lake ni kuisadiana na serikali katika kuboresha huduma za kijamii ikiwemo elimu,afya na maji.

Aidha alisema baada ya kumalizika kwa ujenzi wa madarasa hayo,matundu ya vyoo,uzio pamoja na kuweka mabomba ya maji na sasa mpango uliopo ni kuendelea kuvunja madara manne mengine yaliyochakaa shuleni hapo ili kujenga upya na kutoa fursa kwa wanafunzi kujisomea bila kuwepo kwa vikwazo vya aina yeyote ile.

Habari kwa hisani ya Blog ya Kijamii ya Tanga Raha

          Mao's Great Leap Forward 'killed 45 million in four years'    
Mao Zedong, founder of the People's Republic of China, qualifies as the greatest mass murderer in world history, an expert who had unprecedented access to official Communist Party archives said yesterday.
          More on Computing History   
I am excited about the Vintage Computer Festival, the Sun Founder's Panel and General Magic. Continue reading
          BWW Review: JERSEY BOYS at Starlight Theatre   

"Jersey Boys," performing now through Sunday, July 2 at Starlight Theatre in Swope Park, can only be described as a pure jukebox musical. Pay your money, hit the start button, and enjoy the excellent, right-on performances of the Frankie Valli songbook from some very good actors simulating what it must have been like to enjoy the music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons beginning in 1953 and continuing through most of the 1960s.

The star of this production is Aaron De Jesus as Frankie. His freak falsetto tenor closely approximates the original. Physically, De Jesus resembles Valli. Vocally, he nails the songs. All this is essential because without a great "Valli voice" this puppy will not hunt.

The Four Seasons, for those of you who are too young to have danced to them, were a quartet of Italian street guys from the Newark, New Jersey (suburban New York City) area. The group's founder and oldest member was Tommy DeVito (portrayed here by Matthew Dailey). DeVito is shown here as a more than passable musician whose major contribution was his recognition of Valli's unusual talent. DeVito also had a number of negatives attached to his personality. He had a number of brushes with local law, the Internal Revenue Service, and loan sharks connected to the Jersey chapter of the mob.

"Jersey Boys" presents DeVito mainly as a cartoon character. He speaks with a thick "Jersey/Brooklyn" brogue that one would expect coming out of the mouth of a made man. His place in the world is defined by him seeing himself as being in charge. Frankie Valli joined DeVito in the early 1950s in a number of largely unsuccessful bands with differing band members.

The show diverges from the actual history and compresses the story. Nick Massi (Keith Hines) actually joined DiVito and Valli and in 1958, but is shown here as being a member of the group from the beginning. The following year composer Bob Gaudio (Cory Jeacoma) joined the group. They associated themselves with record producer Bob Crewe and worked as a backup band for other of Crewe's headliners.

The addition of composer and performer Gaudio led to eventual success for the renamed "Four Seasons" mostly with Crewe as lyricist. The group became big time stars, but eventually fell apart. DiVito's gambling debts and his arrogant failure to make filings with the IRS left the group saddled with his high six figure debt. Valli and the group took on DiVito's debt.

DiVito moved to Las Vegas where he continues to live. Today he is 89 years old. Massi got tired of touring and went home. He has since passed away. Gaudio also tired of touring and left the group to pursue music composition and producing, but remained friendly with Valli.

Frankie Valli continues to perform at age 83. Valli's own personal challenges caused by the touring lifestyle are touched upon in the show. He lost his first wife to his prolonged absences, a daughter died of a drug overdose, a journalist girlfriend left because the two seemed always passing between jobs, and making up for DiVito's incurred debt proved a continuing mountain to climb.

The Four Seasons were inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and reunited for the Jersey Boys opening on Broadway in 2005. The show won six Tony awards and played for more than 4600 performances.

"Jersey Boys" offers up super production values with this touring show. Portrayals of Massi and DiVito are a little one dimensional, but the singing, acting, production, and dancing make up for any lack. The supporting cast is excellent.

"Jersey Boys" is a little strange to get used to. It is an excuse for a concert of great music. The music does not advance the story much except in parallel in the documentary. Most of the first act is required for the audience to get used to the style, but the final forty minutes grabs the audience and transports them back to the golden age just prior to the Beatles in the Doo Wop period. The audience ends up loving the performance.

"Jersey Boys" continues at Starlight Theatre through Sunday, July 2. Tickets are available at the box office, online, or by telephone at 816-363-7827.

Photo provided by Starlight Theatre

          Naveen Jain Profile   
If you want to follow someone who success in online bussiness then Naveen Jain is the right person. He was included on Forbes 400 richest in America 2000 with net worth: $2,200 mil and also on Crunchbase Profile. Naveen Jain was born in India 1959, then immigrated to U.S. 1982. With his experience at Microsoft Corporation from June 1989 to March 1996 as a Program Manager, Naveen Jain then Naveen Jain was also inspired by the self-made success of businesspeople such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Through their example, Naveen Jain understood that success is simply not doled out; it must be earned through hard work, persistence, educational commitment, and even a little good luck and timing. Then Naveen Jain try to make his own business kingdom. After he left Microsoft for about 7 years, he starting with founding InfoSpace in March 1996. Then he was founding Intelius in January 2003.

As founder and CEO at Intelius he have a mission to empowers consumers with online information for personal protection and intelligent decisions. Through Intelius, Naveen Jain has helped to open doors for millions of Americans in background and criminal records search. Their customers use Intelius to make choices about people, businesses and assets. Ranked among the top 100 commerce sites on the Internet, Intelius offers products and services ranging from basic people search and list management to comprehensive HR background checks and one of the best identity theft protection products available. Before Intelius he was launched InfoSpace in March 1996 with the vision of delivering real-world information on the Internet - anytime, anywhere and on any device. InfoSpace is Internet content supplier provides horoscopes, stock quotes to AOL, Lycos, other Web sites. They see that content is important in a website especially when people want to find clear information. Their contents are various from entertainment contents to informational and news contents.
          Founders of the Internet #Infographic   
Founders of the Internet
The internet is an incredible, world history altering advance in technology. We think it’s amazing that it was effectively founded by the work of such a small group of individuals. There were many names who made our short list. The final group we selected all passed the test “Would the global internet be substantially reduced without the body of work of this individual?” We hope it provokes some thought!

          Consensus driven    

Recently I told an entrepreneur that we were not in a position to pursue an investment in his company because our partnership didn’t have consensus on the product he was building.

The entrepreneur wondered why we required consensus and doesn’t that just “dumb down” decisions.

I have heard over the years some venture capitalists at other firms recall that their best investments came out of the most controversial debates inside their partnerships. And that the investment only happened because someone slammed the table and forced the decision.

I suppose that model works for some folks but in my mind it’s not a true partnership. Also what does it tell the team inside the firm? One persons view is more important? Or what does it tell the entrepreneur? That the entire firm isn’t behind the mission?

In either case its not really a partnership. At least not in my mind.

And for what it’s worth the best investments at Spark have been times were our entire team was over the moon about the founder, product & mission.

          Fitness Training Expert to be Keynote Speaker at 10th Annual Fitness Education Summit   

Bedros Keuilian, founder and CEO of Fit Body Boot Camp, presents the 10th Fitness Business Summit coming 2016. Alwyn Cosgrove, founder of Results Fitness and Results Fitness University, will be speaking at the event.

(PRWeb February 22, 2016)

Read the full story at

          Work life balance, continued   

I heard a recent TED talk where the speaker said there is no such thing as work life balance. Something is being sacrificed at any given moment. 

It reminded me of the quote I linked to in my blog several years back by Sheryl Sandberg. 

I feel guilty when my son says, ‘Mommy, put down the BlackBerry, talk to me’ and that happens far too much. I think all women feel guilty. I think what’s interesting is I don’t know many men who feel guilty,

Another old gem on the topic is by my friend Jerry Colonna. 

Right now this topic is back in full force on my Twitter feed where some venture capitalists are preaching about the need for entrepreneurs to work hard.

Here’s the thing. 

The vast majority of entrepreneurs already work intensely hard to say the least. They sacrifice so many things. Their families, their physical health and mental health. I was on the board of a company (that ended up failing) where the CEO was doing back to back red eyes while his mother was dying. The whole thing was beyond tragic. (He also has four children and a life partner).

So when a venture capitalist (which holds one of the most privileged jobs on this planet) preaches about hard work, I would like to request they get off their high horse and take a breath. Let’s find out how to support these founders (to whom we owe so much) and give them the help and support they deserve. 

And for fucks sake, let’s show a little respect and empathy. 

Because, lord knows, the world can use a little more of it. 

          Fat Loss Expert to Give Talk at California Fitness Business Summit   

Bedros Keuilian, founder and CEO of Fit Body Boot Camp, presents the 10th Fitness Business Summit coming March 18-20, 2016. Dr. John Berardi, fat loss expert and fitness coach will be giving coaching talks on fat loss and building a business.

(PRWeb January 18, 2016)

Read the full story at

          Products from the heart   

I was listening to a recent podcast, where my friend Nick Bilton interviews Dick Costolo. Dick is a successful serial entrepreneur and previously the CEO at Twitter. I had the pleasure of working with Dick when I served on the Twitter board. 

It’s a fantastic interview and Dick has one interesting story after another about his life experiences (life as an improv comedian in Chicago, the Twitter IPO roadshow and others).

At one point, Dick talks about his respect for Evan Spiegel, the cofounder and CEO at Snap. Dick calls Evan one of the most important product thinkers of our time and cites Snaps invention of the Stories format which launched back in 2013.

Many people didn’t get this format right away. Dick mentions that it took a good 18 months of it to catch on. Other companies might have abandoned this feature much sooner

David Karp who founded Tumblr in 2006 and still runs it to this today has the same product instincts. He imagines something, builds it and then will introduce it to the world. Sometimes he likes and it often he doesn’t.

No A/B tests to create conviction. 

It’s just a product from the heart. 

And that can be a beautiful thing. 

          Exercise Physiology Expert to Speak at California Fitness Business Summit   

Bedros Keuilian, founder and CEO of Fit Body Boot Camp, presents the 10th Fitness Business Summit coming March 18-20, 2016. Dr. Mark Kelly, a fitness industry expert on physiology will be giving coaching talks at the event.

(PRWeb January 04, 2016)

Read the full story at

          Fitness Media Expert to Give Coaching Talks at California Fitness Business Summit   

Bedros Keuilian, founder and CEO of Fit Body Boot Camp, presents the 10th Fitness Business Summit coming March 18-20, 2016. Stephanie Joanne will be giving coaching talks on how to interact with the media and become a fitness celebrity.

(PRWeb December 28, 2015)

Read the full story at

          Former Powerlifting World Record Holder to Present at California Fitness Business Summit   

Bedros Keuilian, founder and CEO of Fit Body Boot Camp, presents the 10th Fitness Business Summit coming March 18-20, 2016. AJ Roberts, former world record holder and top marketing expert, will be giving presentations on marketing and business strategies.

(PRWeb December 21, 2015)

Read the full story at

          Fitness Experts Present Breakout Workshop on Senior Fitness at Annual Educational Summit   

Bedros Keuilian, founder and CEO of Fit Body Boot Camp, presents the 10th Fitness Business Summit coming March 18-20, 2016. Dr. Dan Ritchie and Dr. Cody Sipe, founders of the Functional Aging Institute, will be featured speakers at the event presenting a breakout workshop session.

(PRWeb December 14, 2015)

Read the full story at

          Fitness Industry Education Summit Announces Major Expansion for 2016 Event   

Bedros Keuilian, creator of PTPower and founder of the popular fitness boot camp franchise Fit Body Boot Camp, announces a major expansion to his yearly event, Fitness Business Summit. The summit will focus on many crucial areas of fitness industry education.

(PRWeb November 30, 2015)

Read the full story at

          Fitness Franchise Business Breaks Company Record for New Locations Per Month   

Bedros Keuilian, founder of the popular fitness boot camp franchise Fit Body Boot Camp, is announcing that the company has broken its own record for most new locations in a month by opening 30 locations this October alone.

(PRWeb November 09, 2015)

Read the full story at

          Fitness Business Coach Announces Tenth Coaching Client to Earn Seven Figures   

Bedros Keuilian, fitness industry thought leader and founder of Fit Body Boot Camp, announces that his coaching business has produced ten fitness industry professionals with seven figure incomes.

(PRWeb October 27, 2015)

Read the full story at

          Fitness Business Expert Announces Major Growth for Online Coaching Programs   

Bedros Keuilian, fitness industry thought leader and founder of Fit Body Boot Camp, announces major growth in membership for his two online coaching programs, Fitness Business Ignition and Online Info Ignition.

(PRWeb September 22, 2015)

Read the full story at

          Online Business Expert Offers New Coaching Program at a Reduced Rate   

Bedros Keuilian, founder of Fit Body Boot Camp and online marketing expert in the fitness industry, now offers a reduced rate coaching program with Bedros Live.

(PRWeb September 20, 2015)

Read the full story at

          GENE SIMMONS Honoured By Yad Vashem, The World Center For Holocaust Education, Documentation, Research And Remembrance   
KISS co-founder Gene Simmons has received an honour from Yad Vashem, The World Center for Holocaust Education, Documentation, Research and Remembrance. Westside Today reports: It is the mission of Yad Vashem to keep the memory of the Holocaust and the legacy of its survivors alive. The World Remembrance Center...
          Blowjobs In Heaven   

Before we get started, a quick disclaimer: when we finished recording this, Audacity crashed on me and I had to reconstruct my end by pasting together 420+ audio files, so please overlook any small audio glitches you may hear. This week, we start off with a few different fun topics. First, the newest Blackwater scandal directed at the founder of the company, followed up by more legal shenanigans involving a woman being sued for Twitter comments she made about the response to a rental complaint, a student charged with modding Xboxes for profit, and finally a little more criminal nonsense regarding a recent question posed to me by one of our listeners. After that, a story about the closure of a Creationist theme park leads to an exploration on the nature of perception and reality. Finally, a bittersweet tale of saints and faith. Enjoy!

Opening Music: "Alive WIP v2" by George Carpenter
Closing Music: "Born Under A Bad Sign" performed by The Great Oglee Moglee Blues Band

          NIKKI SIXX - American Idol Producers Want SIXX:A.M. / MÖTLEY CRÜE Bassist To Join Judges Panel For New Season   
TMZ are reporting that, according to their sources, American Idol producers and ABC want Mötley Crüe co-founder/bassist Nikki Sixx to join the judges panel for the upcoming new season of the famed singing competition. If a deal is made, Nikki would join Katy Perry (already confirmed) at the...
          Stewart x Edwin x Blitz - Autumn / Winter 2013   

To complete the latest Blitz x Edwin Europe collection, Edwin have teamed up with Stewart to produce the S.E.B (Stewart, Edwin, Blitz) Motorcycle Jacket, handmade in Italy using the finest horsehide, modelled on 1970’s racing jackets and featuring RiRi zips.

The inner lining is printed with a map of Paris, on which the Parisian duo’s daily route has been drawn out.

Edwin met up with Stewart Founder Carlo Fossi at their italian factory earlier in the year to discuss the production process, the history of the company and how it all began.

Cast: Edwin Europe

Tags: Stewart, Leather, Edwin, Europe, Leathers, Motorcycle, Jacket, Autumn, Winter, 2013, Fall, Italy, Blitz, Motorcycles, Custom, Garage, Paris, RiRi and 1970

          MV Wine Fest: A Bubbly Kick-Off to the Season on Martha's Vineyard   


MV Wine Fest: A Bubbly Kick-Off to the Season on Martha's Vineyard
This is a guest blog post by Marnely Murray, co-founder of the Martha's Vineyard Wine Festival.
You can check out all the great things she's up to on her website, 
Cooking With Books.

Photo: Randi Baird

The MV Wine Fest returns to the island of Martha’s Vineyard on May 11-14, 2017, on its fifth consecutive year as the kick-off event of the season on the island. A four day celebration that takes place in the historical yet contemporary town of Edgartown will focus extensively on featuring wines from the United States as well as wine-producing regions such as Bordeaux, Burgundy, Tuscany, Piedmont, Rioja, and more. 

Photo: Nicole Friedler 

Featuring the talent of local chefs is a main staple of the MV Wine Fest, as wine is created for food and food is created for wine, the organizers John Clift and Marnely Murray are focused on pairing the incredible local talent to some of the best wineries. “As a festival, we want to make the intimate wine dinners the core of our events. Bringing wine makers from around the world to work with our chefs in creating an unforgettable menu that pairs exceptionally well with the wines is our goal”, states Ms. Murray. Being able to sit down at a table, to enjoy wine with the person that actually made said wine is an experience the MV Wine Fest wants to bring to their guests. 

Photo: Nicole Friedler 

In 2017, the wineries that will be presenting at the festival include a distinguished variety, but not limited to: Merriam Vineyards, Rombauer Vineyards, Silver Oak Winery, Duckhorn Vineyards, Trifecta Wines, Flanagan Wines, Chateau d'Esclans, Knightsbridge Winery, Caymus Vineyards, and Landmark Vineyards. Small, intimate dinners will be hosted throughout the weekend where guests will be able to connect with wine makers and winery owners. 

Photo: Randi Baird 

The signature Grand Tasting event takes place on Saturday at the historic Kelley House, near the waterfront in downtown Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard. With sumptuous suites, some with water view balconies overlooking Martha's Vineyard premier sailing and yachting location, The Kelley House is also the ideal location for it. 

Photo: Randi Baird 

Other featured events will include:

“Art of the Cocktail: Locally Crafted,” featuring top Martha’s Vineyard bartenders showcasing New Amsterdam gin and vodka in a friendly competition creating geo-specific island cocktails

 • “Eco-Awareness: Oyster Safari,” (weather permitting) where guests will have a chance to meet and go on an adventure with local oystermen Cottage City Oysters, while learning about sustainability in the New England waters

• "Luminary Farm Dinner," at an exclusive location in Edgartown showcasing the work of Chef Matt O’Neill of The Blue Ox ( pairing a dinner to Rombaeur Vineyards, Silver Oak Wines, and Duckhorn Vineyards 

“Burgers & Bubbles,” a fun outdoor (weather permitting) event at the historical Martha’s Vineyard Museum lawn where guests will sip champagne and taste burgers from three chefs in order to vote for their favorite burgers
“Oysters & Bubbles,” the event that culminates the weekend where attendees can relax while slurping back freshly shucked oysters from Cottage City Oysters while sipping on Chateau d’Esclans wines

Photo: Nicole Friedler 

The MV Wine Fest is an annual event that also has a philanthropic vision, donating 100% of the proceeds of their Silent Auction to the Martha’s Vineyard High School’s Culinary Arts Department. This silent auction takes place during the Grand Tasting on Saturday, May 13th and attendees will have a chance to engage in conversation with some of the culinary arts students present at the auction. 

Be sure to follow MV Wine Fest on 

          How to share care in a living community   
How to share care in a living community

I live in a eco-cohousing community of 40 homes, and over 60 adults. we have smallish separate PassivHaus homes; car sharing; a "Common House" where people cook and eat together; shared community tasks; and organisation and governance by consensus. It's quite large as cohousing goes, and while several values are common, there is also much diversity. Some minority groups find a home here: in our case, including vegans. We try to be inter-generational, though there are more older people than younger. That's partly due to economic factors.

It is a surprisingly complex little society, and any group like this has its own life, its own character, which would take a long time to describe. For Opencare, I'd like to focus just on one of the challenges that I see here: how we engage with our own and each other's well-being. We have at present no special provision for caring for each other: it happens in some ways at some times, informally.

Sharing some non-mainstream values, and a vision that is not yet shared by the majority of people, there seems to be some kind of assumption that we will provide a safe space for "people like us", a haven from the strain of being minorities who are disregarded, or even criticised, elsewhere. This need for a sense of psychological safety does appear in various ways, sometimes surprisingly. This is often hidden in the rest of society. Otherwise, our needs are probably similar to most people's.

We do have methods for dealing with conflict, but the challenge seems to be to get people to engage with them. Recently, a small group of members underwent training in Restorative Circles []. If we all understood and participated in this, it might help deal with issues that have surfaced. Relatedly, several members have developed, to differing degrees, along the path of Nonviolent Communication []. If we all interacted with each other following NVC principles, maybe that would be a highly positive influence on our community culture, and the well-being of all of us. But how does one persuade a diverse group of people with different backgrounds and histories to engage in one practice like NVC? What about other practices, like co-counselling?

This brings me to outlining the challenges that I, personally, see for our cohousing group. How do we collectively approach the issue of mental and spiritual well-being, with little common ground to start with? How can we then grow (in) a culture that effectively supports the well-being of individuals, and of the group as a whole? How can we be sure that an individual will receive the care that they need? Can we rely on informal relationships, or should we organise this in some way? Part of our well-being is the sharing of common purpose: how can we frame and agree our common purposes, from members whose values diverge? Are we fixed with the vision of the founders, or can we (and do we want to) move on?

These are hard questions to answer, but I have the sense that we will need to answer them more and more, if we are to develop the resilience that we will need as mainstream politics and economics unravel. We need now to care for each other's resources of time, energy and good will, and as we age, we will increasingly need to look after our health and strength if we are to achieve what we want to achieve, being a positive transformative influence in the world.


The Challenge: 

The Question: 

How can we share care in a living community?

The Problem: 

There are few common background assumptions, and not all values are shared.

The Solution: 

There is no obvious solution: it is an open question. How do we explore this, and grow a shared resilient caring culture?


          Losing Hope & Gaining Hope   
Losing Hope & Gaining Hope

Mary Ellen Copeland says about hope that – People who experience mental health difficulties can get well, stay well and go on to meet their life dreams and goals.

I had a very happy childhood. I went to a rural all boys National School and was in a small class of 8 boys. My memories of that time are mostly of playing lots of sports and having the craic (Irish word for fun) with my fellow students. There was no bullying whatsoever, indeed bullying was something I didn’t know existed until I went to secondary school. This period in my life was the classic definition of Childhood Innocence.

From my first year in secondary school I was quite successful academically. Even though I was quite happy at school I found the weekends and holidays from school difficult. I would never see my classmates at the weekends or at Christmas, Easter or summer holidays. This was the start of the first time I ever felt feelings of depression. It was before the time of email, or mobile phones or social media. These times were times of complete and utter isolation from my friends. In these dismal days I used to study hard, write melancholic poetry and just postpone my happiness to when I would be finished my Leaving Cert (Irish exams) and be able to escape to a distant University. I did feel the presence of Hope. I felt I could suffer and suffer during those teenage years and that things would be better when I moved on to University. Where did my hope stem from? I was very academic and had dreams of becoming a mathematician or a poet or a political activist. I fantasised about being as prolific and brilliant as Yeats or Da Vinci.

When I was awarded a place in Engineering in Trinity I moved to Dublin. I was unhappy with my Engineering course and after a few weeks stopped attending and instead just led a party life, drinking for the first time. I started to feel very isolated and depressed but I didn’t tell my family or friends the true extent of my feelings.

I recall writing very black poetry at this time and feeling a strong sense of failure.  At that end of term I formally withdrew from the Engineering course and returned to home in Galway.

While I was in Dublin I met Deirdre who was studying the same course as me. From the first meeting we hit it off and developed a very strong platonic relationship. Even though we both would end up being diagnosed with the same bipolar label Deirdre and I never discussed mental health issues. We would go to pubs and gigs together and discuss music, poetry, philosophy and other topics. When I moved back to Galway we corresponded by snail mail, sending each other long handwritten letters and photocopies of poems and inspiring song lyrics. While we didn’t discuss depression or medication Deirdre and I both were able to express to each other how black our lives could feel. I guess you could say we held Hope for each other.

That Christmas my health deteriorated and I acquired glandular fever. After a short hospital stay I returned home to suffer months of crippling fatigue. I have battled with severe fatigue ever since.  I was ill for most of that year and was idle until I won a place in Information Technology in the University in Galway. Even though I was living at home I was very happy to attend this course. I found this University more relaxed and got on very well with my classmates. For some reason I suffered a breakdown during my final term of my degree. I didn’t tell friends or family but had meetings with some of the lecturers to see could I postpone my final exams.

I found my mind was racing and I felt I needed very little sleep. I also used alcohol to help me relax and unwind from the racing thoughts. Since my father was Bipolar my parents recognised these symptoms and persuaded me to see a G.P. to deal with them. After a short meeting with my family G.P. he recognised the classic symptoms of mania and set up an appointment to see a psychiatrist. That psychiatrist whom I saw for 13 years admitted me to hospital.

I suffer from Bipolar 1, meaning I suffer very high highs or mania, and very suicidal lows. When I get my highs medication seems to have very little effect on me. Instead it is a case of spending months in the safe confines of a hospital until the mania subsides. When I have my lows I get very suicidal and on two separate admissions for depression I have had to resort to Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) to treat my severe depression. There is quite a lot of controversy over ECT. I believe that it is a useful treatment of last resort. When a patient is in hospital and has been suicidal and catatonic with depression for many weeks with various medications being tried to no avail then I think ECT should be considered.

In the past 14 years since my first hospital admission I have had perhaps 4 or 5 admissions for mania and 2 or 3 for depression. Thankfully I have managed to avoid admission to hospital for the past 6 years except for six nights in summer last year.

Many of us have lost loved ones to suicide. The loss is devastating. I lost my father and my friend Deirdre to suicide. My father had been diagnosed with Bipolar and suffered from the condition from middle-age. Looking back I can see the times he was manic or high, singing loudly on the half hour drive to school where he taught every day. I vividly remember during my teenage years his first admission to psychiatric hospital my Dad weeping with happiness when he was released home on leave for a few days at Christmas.

Dad snapped one day in school and that was the end of his teaching career. From that point on he had two overdose attempts. He had gone undiagnosed for the physical illness Haemochromatosis for many years and this aggravated his severe arthritis. My father was in severe pain. Unfortunately his Consultant gave him the news that his arthritis was so severe that he wouldn’t be able to have necessary hip or knee replacements. From that point on my father lost all hope and was just biding his time, waiting for an opportunity to carry out his plans. The last time my father left psychiatric hospital for leave before his suicide he had a conversation with his physiatrist with our family present. The psychiatrist was trying to ascertain the risk of self-harm for my father when on home leave. My father said he wouldn’t try an overdose again, not saying he wouldn’t try another method. The psychiatrist said “Maybe it will be third time lucky Liam!” That statement for me sums up how detached some medical professionals can be, maybe it is how they protect themselves. After my father’s suicide things are a blur. It was as if all the happy memories were pulverized. Childhood milestones, holidays, special occasions all faded away. My only remaining image of my father is him with a pained ashen face, his eyes saying I can’t go on. You try to recall happy memories but all you can focus on is the finality of what happened.

When you are feeling bad it is not too difficult to let someone else know this, however when you have lost all hope and a torrent of negative thoughts is leading you to actively plan your demise then the real insidious nature of suicide rears its head and the last thing you will consider doing is letting someone know just how lost you feel.

My friend Deirdre was very successful academically but struggled feeling the engineering course she was doing was cold and soulless. In correspondence back and over we discussed how banal many of the subjects were and did she really want to end up as an engineer instead of something with more soul like a musician or writer. Deirdre took a year out in 3rd year and worked with IBM. She did well with IBM and returned to Trinity to finish her engineering course and did very well graduating with a first class honours degree. After graduating Deirdre and I didn’t stay in contact as much. A bit like my father I remember seeing her visit me when I was in the intensive unit in a psychiatric hospital in Dublin. I could tell she found it very hard to see me so unwell and I felt she must have wondered was there a risk of her becoming so unwell. Even though Deirdre had seen me in hospital she still never would discuss with me her own mental health or her hopes or fears. After many months of being out of contact with Deirdre I tried to get in touch with her. There was no reply to her phone or email address. Thinking she might have changed jobs I did an internet search for her name. To my horror I came across a Memorial website to Deirdre. Phoning her parents they confirmed the tragic news. Her father told me the story of Deirdre’s last days. Deirdre has been suffering low mood and nothing anybody could do seemed to help. Worried for her safely her parents asked her to come home to Wexford to visit them, otherwise they would have to insist on visiting her in Dublin. That weekend they did everything to try to lift her mood, visiting family and friends and going to shops and restaurants. However Deirdre went back to Dublin. That Monday her mother phoned her at lunch time. Deirdre said she was going to lunch with work colleagues. However the truth was Deirdre had taken a huge overdose of medication that morning, months’ worth of medication she has stopped taking. When her boyfriend returned home that evening Deirdre was dead. You can’t do an autopsy into someone’s state of mind. Deidre had a great job, a steady boyfriend and had just bought a new apartment.

Since my teenage years I have had swings from wildly optimistic grandiose hopes to rock bottom loss of all vestiges of hope. Suicidal ideation can prosper in the absence of hope. Luckily during many of the extreme lows I just try and go into hibernation mode, having a strong belief that if I just get through the oncoming weeks and months then things will have to improve.

On one occasion for some reason I lost this faith in the future. This wasn’t any kind of impulsive plan or drunken depression. Instead I gradually began to see the future without me as a part of it. I got rid of all my books, got rid of all my CDs and records. I closed bank accounts, I cancelled mailing lists. I booked an appointment with Free Legal Aid with the intention of creating a will.

I didn’t want to cause trouble so my plans revolved around how I could plan my demise with the minimum of pain or distress for my family and friends. I didn’t want my family to have to discover me or call emergency services. So, as I thought, logically, I should get into a body-bag beside the morgue in the hospital. I would be discovered by somebody used to dealing with corpses and it would be a short move into the morgue.

I find it hard to think back and know how I escaped from these suicidal plans. There is somehow Hope to be found at rock bottom depths of depression. From that lowest point I resolved to get well and stay well and to throw everything at the problem. I took personal responsibility for my mental health difficulties. Instead of just relying on medication to work on its own I added other tools to the mix. I did a long course of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This helped with the crippling anxiety and negative thoughts I suffered from. I began to get a lot more exercise into my life. I walk my dog every day and go to the gym regularly. I did the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) course a few times until it became a regular part of my life and a great tool to help me every day. Supports are very important. I have always had great support from my family and friends. However it can sometimes be very difficult to discuss some of these topics with family and friends and I worry about burning them out by talking about the same old issues over and over. This is why I joined a mutual support mental health group called GROW.

I joined GROW in April 2013. My Cognitive Behavior Therapy nurse had recommended it and felt the structured approach to problem-solving would suit me. I have been a very regular attendee at meetings and have led the meetings a number of times. I also enjoyed attending the weekly coffee meetings and the regional conference. In GROW we believe in providing leadership by taking on even small responsibilities. I have a strong interest in Cinema so I took up the responsibility of organising a weekly cinema outing for GROW members. This was a great success and GROW members from all around the country were able to meet up to enjoy a regular night out. I was thrilled to be asked to present a leadership paper at the National Conference during my first year with GROW. My confidence in my abilities has increased and I gladly took on the role of Group Recorder when the position arose. Because of GROW I gained enough confidence to apply for a volunteering position with Age Action to teach IT to the over 55s.

I was the facilitator of my weekly GROW group for over two years and we hold Hope for each other. Last year I took up the opportunity of attending a creative writing class freely given by Galway writer Rita Ann Higgins primarily for GROW members. Our members got the chance to have their poems and short stories published in a booklet and I enjoyed reciting two of my poems at the GROW National Conference in Galway. During the past few years I have also been involved with Advancing Recovery in Ireland (ARI). Service users like myself have been working with HSE staff, and we have been planning the introduction of Recovery Colleges, Peer Support worker positions and Consumer Panels.

Soon after my initial diagnosis my psychiatrist encouraged me to get involved in mental health advocacy work. It would be 15 years later before I did this and found the benefits of it. Last year I completed 12 weeks of training with 4 hours per week work with the Irish Advocacy Network. I am now in the early stages of serving on one of these Consumer Panels as secretary, representing the views of service users in the Galway mental health area.

I am a co-founder of Cosáin. A wellness centre based in the city. Cosáin supports people with mental health challenges in identifying and pursuing their own pathways to recovery. Cosáin is peer led by people with their own experience of mental health challenges and recovery. We work in groups offering:

- Recovery education

- Recovery through creativity

- Peer support

This month I completed 7 days of training to be a WRAP facilitator. WRAP is a symptom monitoring, crisis planning and self-help mental health recovery programme. It was first developed by Mary Ellen Copeland in the States and was further developed by a group of people who experience mental health difficulties.

I would like to close by reflecting on an element of Recovery we define in GROW. The road to recovery is not always a smooth journey, even lately I have had very anxious thoughts which threaten to cause me to avoid or abandon enjoyable events I had planned to attend. However in GROW we say although “old irrational feelings may return from time to time” in Recovery “they do not change your thinking or behavior”.

To paraphrase Mary Ellen Copeland I feel that I have gotten well, I can stay well and I have confidence that I can go on to meet my life dreams and goals. I have Hope.

Thank you.

The Challenge: 

The Question: 

How can we hold hope for others and ourselves?

The Problem: 

How can we keep mentally well and recover from mental health difficulties

The Solution: 

A mixture of support from our families, our friends and our peers can help us recover.


          How Facebook is like church, according to founder Mark Zuckerberg   
CHICAGO (RNS) Zuckerberg made the analogy last week as he announced the social network's new mission at its first Facebook Communities Summit: "Bring the world closer together."
          Vital Networks: the work of transforming experience into understanding   
Vital Networks: the work of transforming experience into understanding

How can we get better as groups at learning from the experiences we go through? I have been wondering about new approaches to care and this question has been much in my mind since interviewing members of the public during a project about the “word on the street” in Liverpool in 2015. It was a sobering month in which I came to know personally just how disaffected and disenfranchised the public felt about anything changing for the better in England.  In a comment on the Edgeryders community call on improving how we support each others mental and spiritual health, I wondered if “everyone who lives in a distributed area is in some way involved in processing the emotions experienced in that place”. I feel a great potential for technological networks to create rituals and bring people together to process experiences in new ways. Generally, I'm talking about creative networks for coming back to life: networks that invite people into a social experience to care about themselves and other people, to keep hold of their hopes, to understand beyond their own spheres of experience and to find support in being the magician of their own life. This is speculative stuff, I realise, so I’ll anchor my offering to this strand in real examples and share work that I know of and am making.

A frank admission to start: the subject of networks of care is relatively new terrain for me. I’m no expert and there are long histories and contexts that I cannot represent here.  I really welcome feedback, criticism, references and most of all, examples of working networks already in place. There are many excellent examples and the diversity of reports shared on this site - the variety of food sharing initiatives, performance and storytelling circles, maker spaces and innovative support systems - is informing my learning around this subject.

One of the areas that show most clearly the positive effects that community interventions can have are post-conflict efforts. In this post, I want to tell you about the powerful work of theTrust for Indigenous Culture and Health (TICAH) who developed a program with survivors of the Nyayo House Torture Centre and other centres in Kenya. In a follow up piece I will look more at digital systems with a mind to exploring how elements of ritual and and formalised events for expression and listening might be tapped into in new ways to support communities through online means. 

Facilitating Forgiveness: the hardest job there is?

I met Denis Ngala when I was doing some work in Timbavati, South Africa. He is a tall, radiant and infectiously joyful character, utterly grounded and with a sense of spiritual authority having spent most of his twenties studying in a seminary. He told me a lot about the work that he was doing in Kenya with TICAH and the problems that faced victims of torture returning to society after they had been released. 

Details of the intense suffering and the physical and mental abuse that went on in Nairobi’s Nyayo House torture chambers and other places of detention during President Moi’s regime are still emerging decades later. Ngala was working at facilitating meals for torture victims and their perpetrators where they could have honest discussions in an attempt to heal these old wounds. He told me that often the victims and perpetrators of the violence were people who grew up in the same village and had studied at neighbouring schools so he was often bringing together people who had known each other throughout their lives. The kind of emotional resolve and resources needed for either survivor or perpetrator to face the horror of the past and sit down together, share food and listen to each other’s stories is frankly extraordinary. But Ngala describes his methodology when convening these meetings as based on simplicity: “it is rooted in listening to one another and honouring each life story.” His role as the third party, guiding the conversation, ensuring that each person spoke and was listened to has had truly beneficial effects. He tells me that some who have gone through the process visit each other and share their childhood stories or are able to meet at public occasions.

One very illuminating aspect of this work is that the focus goes beyond the individuals directly involved. TICAH has looked to help educate the wider community to understand what had happened and how to support it. This was necessary as without  intervention communities often closed up, and rather than accepting the survivor back into social contact they viewed the returning survivor with unease and distrust, creating a situation in which survivors sometimes found themselves ostracised, left to deal with the experience alone. 

TICAH met this situation with interventions that emphasised embodied communication and the creative body. They invited those effected to walk a labyrinth together in a peace ceremony and organised body map workshops that brought together different survivors to share their stories. The body-mapping workshops use art skills to trace participants’ bodies and then map elements of their life stories onto this body map: visual elements are added that stand for the individual’s aims, what supports them, the traumas they have lived through and their strengths. These visual records are a way of introducing the details of what happened in captivity back into the community to be held by everyone. So the labyrinth walking and the body-mapping make the real lives, bodies and experiences of the victims a public experience and enable the wider community to listen to and appreciate how these survivors managed to live through painful and unbelievably challenging times. 

The Human Element

This is incredible work - through these interventions TICAH help communicate that the process of recovery is not the problem of the victim of torture alone, but is in a very real sense owned by the whole community. One striking aspect is the emphasis on accepting the seriousness of the situation - dealing with the very worst of what humans can do to each other - with vital, dramatic, expressive interactive meetings. The labyrinth walking is profoundly beautiful group ritual and the body mapping opens up the assembled individuals to listen to the challenges that others have lived through, and it does this in a joyful and creative way. Reconciliation over food feels innately right. The activities though almost timeless in their simplicity are unusual and unexpected, and generally unlike anything that any of the participants have done before. The act of doing something new is particularly suited to transforming problems as there are no painful memories attached; it opens up new horizons and is perhaps more likely to lead to a renewed present. 

When I ask Ngala what networked technologies could do to help these efforts he replies that they could help facilitate expression: “In this work there are problems, most of them could be solved through sharing. When survivors are given opportunities to share their stories they heal fast. Networks would provide a good platform for people to share their experiences. Sharing could be done through writing or be spoken. Narrations could be recorded and later could be used to make short clips.” I think of just how possible this is as it is poses a clear and actionable technological problem, but looking at Ngala I wonder whether he realises how key his presence is to the process and the quality of the interaction. What forges the profound shifts in people’s experience is how their expression is received, listened to, validated and responded to. When speaking with Ngala, a man with vast generosity of soul and focused attention, you really do feel stronger. He beams at you and honours your presence in a way that is rare. In conversation with him you feel that your words matter, your life is respected and that miraculous healing is possible. Popular culture tends to talk about purging emotions, as if emotions are toxic material that needs ejecting from your system, but what Ngala’s work shows is that the magic is in the courage to speak honestly and the grace of being heard: that’s when emotions turn into understanding. The human catalysts at TICAH are so much a part of why these reconciliation attempts have been successful and any attempt to extend the work through technology needs to factor this in at the centre. 

Simplicity of invitation, creative expression, embodied shared experience, working and listening to others, ritual time and focus, the unexpected, all these feel like good leads for designing a transformative care network. TICAH’s emphasis on shared humanity and that each person is a human being with a different story encourages survivors and perpetrators alike to stand strong in themselves, to understand the past and live a better day.  I think of post-conflict creative efforts like that creatively depict the subjectivities of Nepali people in the aftermath of the earthquake. There is a courage in projects that present every person, even though they may have lived through horrendous circumstances, as a human being with a unique story and power.

Digital Networks for Creative Care

Strong mutual care is essential not only in places seeking to recover from atrocities, but generally for people working together and sharing space, especially if they are "living on the edge". Change is difficult and every group liable to conflict. E.C. Whitmont writes in The Symbolic Quest that “The seeming inevitability of conflict among the archetypal "powers" can cause us to experience life as a hopeless, senseless impasse. But the conflict can also be discovered to be the expression of a symbolic pattern still to be intuited.” There's a potential that we can reach into the intuitions that come out of difficult experience and grow understanding of group dynamics to create pathways that do not end in violence, abuse and waste. The sad cases of suicide, sabotage, ill health and conflict that we know of in digital tech, startup and hacker cultures show that forging wisdom in this area is important. 

I feel the need for strange networks of care: unusual, compelling networks that don’t attempt to fix anyone but make healing and self-understanding an adventure and help individuals back into the simple joys of communion and creativity. To explore group dynamics and coherence in recent projects I’ve been involved in, I've worked with beans, with dreams (following the method of my mentor Apela Colorado) and with storytelling  Back up in Liverpool we're improvising on Stafford Beer's work on group dynamics in public meetings. Whether it’s VR group therapy where you experience your own body and other people in highly unusual ways or group Skype rituals for reconciliation the whole notion of care networks is wide open for innovation and renewal. As a guiding design point I think the only answer to questions like how can ritual time be held online or how can digital networks provide the intensity of feedback of live interaction is bold creativity. If you have examples of creative online systems to faciliate group communication and support that go beyond a message board or online forum and become something more vital and "live" please share them.  I’ll be at 33C3 if there’s people from the Edgeryders community who want to meet around the theme of hacking strange networks of care. There’s also an option to organise a session: 

Learning in Doing 

There is a huge amount of trauma recovery material and contexts for group psychology that I do not know about. It is challenging terrain. As much as it’s essential to tread carefully, it is also necessary to create. The outpouring of emotional pain, anger and concern after the American election makes clear a need for strong communities of action and bold ways for participating in new stories. As worrying as is the prospect of making mistakes around mental health, the more worrying prospect is not creating networks to meaningfully connect up alienated, isolated or suffering individuals. Local actions, online networks and communities are all growing this November: each network has a different focus. Involving digital technology to reimagine group psychology and care (beyond Facebook) is just one of the potentials to help these evolving networks support themselves. 

Ngala’s experience shows that targeted and bold ventures can reboot the community’s ability to support and that there is the possiblity of even the most horrific of violations healing. The greatest thing that I learnt from Ngala is the scale of his belief. When I ask him what has been the most illuminating discovery about human care through facilitating this work he replies: “The most amazing thing is we are all human who heal despite all the experiences we have met in life”.  His belief is born out by his experience. It is vital not to miss the transformative quality of having one person believe in another. I consider the enormous amount of work and transformation needed in the decades ahead to meet the problems of our time and then I think about three human beings sitting down for a meal in Kenya and have the sense that great tasks are possible if we learn to work together. 

Links on article: with TICAH’s founder Mary Ann Burris with details on body mapping:

Photo: Denis Ngala in South Africa 

The production of this article was supported by Op3n Fellowships - an ongoing program for community contributors during May - November 2016.

The Challenge: 

The Question: 

Can we create networks that encourage individual strength and understanding of group dynamics?

The Problem: 

In precarious times many people live with insufficiently mature support structures

The Solution: 

Bold creative projects that facilitate care through emphasising the humanity, agency and creative life of the individual and the group


          Building tweeting communities for mental health nursing with @WeMHNurses   
Building tweeting communities for mental health nursing with @WeMHNurses

[@Noemi’s note] I was happy to connect with Emma Jones, who is in her words, a third of the We Mental Health Nurses team at WeCommunities, along with Vanessa Garrity and Mark Brown. This story serves as a first encounter with Edgeryders. It also includes written reflections by Vanessa.

WeMHNurses hosts regular mental health themed twitter chats, as part of a network chat calendar, with wildly diverse topics ranging from “The use of digital technology in everyday practice” to “Workplace democracy in mental health”. The core team runs the day to day operations, on a purely voluntary basis, with the WeMHNurses account, also linking into the wider WeCommunities, which covers many different branches of Nursing and Health Care professions and specialism. Topics for chats tend to mostly emerge from topical conversations within the community or where there is, for example a national policy directive or key piece of published journalism relating to mental health. The community also run sponsored chats for national bodies such as the Dept of Health, Care Quality Commission and NHS England. The WeMHNurses team see their role as being about facilitating broader conversation in a democratised digital space, where everyone can have a voice, regardless of positional authority. The team also see their role as being to make national policy more accessible, in terms of the language being used. The community also has a particular focus on discussing the everyday implications of policy on mental health nursing practice.

The chats are generally facilitated by one of the @WeMHNurses team, with guests are often invited to participate in the chat where the person brings specific expertise to the conversation. This is an open process, whereby anyone can contact the team to suggest a chat topic or to ask to host a chat.The team provide support to individuals who want to host a chat from the @WeMHNurses Twitter handle.

Our ethos is very much that “your opinion matters” and we focus on the user point of view, getting people talking to each other and bringing a variety of perspectives to the conversation. We enjoy working with people who have previously been in services or are currently in services because we really value the lived experience perspective. As we are an independent voice, we will also cover topics that might be considered controversial, political or critical, as we believe that these conversations are important in setting the future direction for mental health nursing.

On reflection, we think that the liveliest and most informative chats are often where there is a real mixture of perspectives, including for example, clinicians, people accessing services, managers, leaders, academics, researchers and policy makers. The conversations that we have online are often very powerful for this reason as we can’t think of many examples from our own professional lives, where there has been such a variety of voices in a room to debate a topic in such a level and democratic way. An example of this is a chat that Vanessa and Mark ran with the Health Service Journal, where we discussed the reduction of inpatient mental health beds across the country. This chat was very much brought to life by people sharing their experiences of how this impacted on them personally when they needed to access inpatient care.

The demographics for our chat suggest that we have a largely UK audience. However, because of the global reach of Twitter, we do have some international representation within our community and we love to encourage this because of the dimension that it brings to the conversation

Before we run a chat, we produce some pre chat information on the wecommunities website. This is generally written in a blog style, so it is broadly accessible reading. We are also looking at how we can make our chats even more inclusive, such as by providing audio for people who struggle to read or who have visual impairment. The challenge for us is that we are all volunteers, so we have to find ways of delivering information quickly.

How come this twitter format for talking about mental health? Is there something in the medium that helps learning, or alleviation for individuals?

As with everything there are always pros and cons. Some would say “there’s only so many characters on twitter” and mental health can be a very complex topic to discuss with limited characters, especially when people are talking about personal experience. On the other hand, it can help you be more focused and concise in what you are trying to say.

I suppose using twitter to talk about mental health is quite personal, as is twitter use in general. There are many who find it hugely therapeutic and helpful, either getting involved in chats, communicating/ networking with others or for gaining support. It is a fab place for the sharing of information, including research and it's also a great forum for challenging stigma and moving the mental health agenda forward.

Bios wordcloud
Wordcloud from participants twitter bios in a recent chat - source.

Is there a cutoff number for participants in a chat? Or a number that makes it effective? I’m wondering because you have such high regularity - every week.

There is not a maximum number of people in each chat, it can be anybody using the hashtag. Often people pop into the chat with just one or two tweets, whilst at the same time, we are having a conversation with other people, who participate in the entirety of the chat. When you are facilitating a chat, which is busy, it can be a challenge responding to every single tweet, but we do try to do this and often we find that people branch off and have separate conversations with other participants, within the chat, which goes down a different path to the structured questions of the main chat. Providing they still use the hashtag, we still capture this conversation in the transcript at the end. This is an example of the latest archived chat on a Tuesday evening, counting 133 contributors, 1200 tweets and with a reach of 7,561,098! This was a joint chat with @wenurses and @weldnurses.

With our over 6000 followers, plus the wider network, I suppose it is hard to say how many people we reach constantly. However, analytics for the chat are captured within the wecommunities website. Nick Chinn is the technical person behind this at Wecommunities.

What do you think draws people in? What makes it a community for you? Is it people interacting with each other, learning, figuring out stuff?

I suppose it is all of that. Everyone involved in the chats is interested in that particular area and that shared interest drives the discussions and questions in the chat, which will often support the development of links between people. Often people in the chats might say: ‘this is a good chat’, and ‘why don’t we do one on this other topic area?’ It then keeps expanding, and there are more things that we get involved in. So, in essence, the community is about sharing knowledge and learning, being open to thinking in different ways and developing a support network as well.

What for the future and how can we support your work?

We are very aware that people establish relationships and friendships offline with people who they have connected with on Twitter and that these relationships are often a great source of strength and support for people. Vanessa and Teresa Chinn, Founder of WeCommunities organised an unConference earlier in the year, through crowdfunding, which brought together 300 people from the community into a physical space to get together and to debate and discuss the future direction of social media in health care. We also provided a parallel online agenda throughout the day, so that the twitter community could still very much be part of it, even if they couldn’t physically attend. Vanessa and Mark from WeMHNurses and Mental Elf on Twitter are also in the process of setting up a Digital mental health conference service, which we are launching at #PDDigital16 later in November.

The Challenge: 

The Question: 

How can we support anyone with an interest in mental health to participate in a conversation?

The Problem: 

Delivering relevant information and support to a broad and diverse group and people

The Solution: 

Regular Twitter chats!


          Pandora Interim CEO on Spotify: "We Don't Need to Go Into Hand-to-Hand Combat" - Hollywood Reporter   

Hollywood Reporter

Pandora Interim CEO on Spotify: "We Don't Need to Go Into Hand-to-Hand Combat"
Hollywood Reporter
Two days after Pandora Media founder and CEO Tim Westergren said he will step down amid a management shake-up, interim CEO Naveen Chopra on Wednesday assured investors the online radio pioneer can withstand competition from on-demand music ...

and more »

          The Bottom Line: Zach Mangum, Co-Founder of GroSocial   
The Bottom Line (Air Date: January 20, 2015) – Zach Mangum’s journey from co-founding GroSocial to selling it took, amazingly, only two years. That said, his journey is not over.  Zach sold his company to InfusionSoft in December of 2012 and now leads that company’s social products division.  GroSocial had 30,000 users and nearly one […]
          Hot Off the Press!   
I hope everyone had a great Valentine's day.  I got Cora some of her favorite daffodils and I received a nice Valentine from her: Heart Shaped, pale at first but very red later, thanks to several of the paddles on her rack including her reddish PurpleHeart paddle.
One of Cora's Favorite Paddles: Her PurpleHeart

One of my many pastimes is I enjoy is reading.  Some of my favorite authors include Michael Crichton, Dan Brown.  I also read lots of technical items such as documentation I use in designing and configuring our Holiday Light Show.

However, I probably spend even more time reading erotic stories, especially stories that involved women spanking men.  I've even had two of my own stories published on the Library of Spanking Fiction.  There is a link to the LSF on the right side of this blog.

Well, a few days ago I received an e-Mail from Lucy Appleby announcing her new e-Book, 'Disciplined by His Landlady'.  Ms. Appleby is otherwise known as Flopsybunny on the Library of Spanking Fiction and is one of the founders.  She has written hundreds of stories many of which are oriented toward F/M subject matter which I have spent many enjoyable hours reading.  She asked me if I'd share the release of this book with our readers, so here it is:

and a link if you are like me and like this kind of story:

I've read part of this e-Book and am looking forward to reading more.  Stories about female teachers, female principals, female bosses, have always held an interest for me and a female landlord fits right in to the kinds of things I like.  Oh and I don't want to leave out the main authoritative woman in my life, Cora.  Ms. Appleby's book sounds like it will be very interesting  and I'm looking forward to further reading.

Another recent publication is Scarlett Hill Enterprises, No Nonsense Ladies #59.  I've posted information about SHE in previous posts, especially about NNL #58 in which Cora and I were featured.  I've read a few pages of NNL #59 and it, too has been a fun read.  The publications from SHE really hit my sweet spot (perhaps in more ways than one).

Please note that we don't receive any compensation for our endorsements but I wanted to share the kinds of things I think are relevant to our blog and FLR community.
          Comment on New Year, New Space by Slow Parenting: 4 Creative Activities for Kids   
[…] surroundings as they please. Joanna Goddard —founder of A Cup of Jo, which we also mentioned here— and her two boys have been enjoying these “low-key […]
          Comment on 5 Must-Read books for young entrepreneurs by Matt   
I would add founders at work written by Jessica Livingston
          Women Are Victimized Twice By Police In Rape Cases – America’s Lawyer   

To learn more about this topic, visit AL.Law Via America’s Lawyer: Mike Papantonio talks to Natasha Alexenko, Founder of Natasha’s Justice Project, about the 400,000 untested rape kits across the country. Transcript of the above video: Papantonio: Every year there are about 300,000 sexual assaults committed in America. While this number has fallen by more

The post Women Are Victimized Twice By Police In Rape Cases – America’s Lawyer appeared first on The Ring of Fire Network.

          Experts in First Amendment and Internet Law Urge the Supreme Court of Texas to Rule in Favor of Harrison Barnes   

In a case being held in the Supreme Court of Texas, Harrison Barnes PLC, and its founder, Harrison Barnes, are currently in a court battle involving the First Amendment. The most influential scholar in the United States on the subject, Erwin Chemerinsky, has submitted an amicus brief in support of Harrison Barnes.

(PRWeb February 14, 2014)

Read the full story at

          Europe's Politics of Victimology   

Europe today finds itself trapped in a posture of moral relativism that is undermining its liberal values. An unholy three-cornered alliance between Middle East dictators, radical imams who live in Europe, and Europe's traditional left wing is enabling a politics of victimology. This politics drives a culture that resists integration and adaptation, perpetuates national and religious differences, and aggravates such debilitating social ills as high immigrant crime rates and entrenched unemployment.

As one who once championed the utopian state of multicultural bliss, I think I know what I'm talking about. I was raised on the ideals of the 1960s, in the midst of the Cold War. I saw life through the lens of the countercultural turmoil, adopting both the hippie pose and the political superiority complex of my generation. I and my high school peers believed that the West was imperialistic and racist. We analyzed decaying Western civilization through the texts of Marx and Engels and lionized John Lennon's beautiful but stupid tune about an ideal world without private property: "Imagine no possessions/ I wonder if you can/ No need for greed or hunger/ A brotherhood of man/ Imagine all the people/ Sharing all the world."

It took me only 10 months as a young student in the Soviet Union in 1980-81 to realize what a world without private property looks like, although many years had to pass until the full implications of the central Marxist dogma became clear to me.

That experience was the beginning of a long intellectual journey that has thus far culminated in the reactions to the Mohammed cartoons. Politically, I came of age in the Soviet Union. I returned there in 1990 to spend 11 years as a foreign correspondent. Through close contact with courageous dissidents who were willing to suffer and go to prison for their belief in the ideals of Western democracy, I was cured of my wooly dreams of idealistic collectivism. I had a strong sense of the high price my friends were willing to pay for the very freedoms that we had taken for granted in high school -- but did not grasp as values inherent in our civilization: freedom of speech, religion, assembly, and movement. Justice and equality implies equal opportunity, I learned, not equal outcome.

Now, in Europe's failure to grapple realistically with its dramatically changing demographic picture, I see a new parallel to that Cold War journey. Europe's left is deceiving itself about immigration, integration, and Islamic radicalism today the same way we young hippies deceived ourselves about Marxism and communism 30 years ago. It is a narrative of confrontation and hierarchy that claims that the West exploits, abuses, and marginalizes the Islamic world. Left-wing intellectuals have insisted that the Danes were oppressing and marginalizing Muslim immigrants. This view comports precisely with the late Edward Said's model of Orientalism, which argues that experts on the Orient and the Muslim world have not depicted it as it is but as some dreaded "other," as exactly the opposite of ourselves -- and therefore to be rejected. The West, in this narrative, is democratic, the East is despotic. We are rational, they are irrational.

This kind of thinking gave birth to a distorted approach to immigration in countries like Denmark. Left-wing commentators decided that Denmark was both racist and Islamophobic. Therefore, the chief obstacle to integration was not the immigrants' unwillingness to adapt culturally to their adopted country (there are 200,000 Danish Muslims now); it was the country's inherent racism and anti-Muslim bias.

A cult of victimology arose and was happily exploited by clever radicals among Europe's Muslims, especially certain religious leaders like Imam Ahmad Abu Laban in Denmark and Mullah Krekar in Norway. Mullah Krekar -- a Kurdish founder of Ansar al Islam who this spring was facing an expulsion order from Norway -- called our publication of the cartoons "a declaration of war against our religion, our faith, and our civilization. Our way of thinking is penetrating society and is stronger than theirs. This causes hate in the Western way of thinking; as the losing side, they commit violence."

Inconvenient facts. The role of victim is very convenient because it frees the self-declared victim from any responsibility, while providing a posture of moral superiority. It also obscures certain inconvenient facts that might suggest a different explanation for the lagging integration of some immigrant groups -- such as the relatively high crime rates, the oppression of women, and a tradition of forced marriage.

Dictatorships in the Middle East and radical imams have adopted the jargon of the European left, calling the cartoons racist and Islamophobic. When Westerners criticize their lack of civil liberties and the oppression of women, they say we behave like imperialists. They have adopted the rhetoric and turned it against us.

These events are occurring against the disturbing backdrop of increasingly radicalized Muslims in Europe. Mohammed Atta, the 9/11 ringleader, became a born-again Muslim after he moved to Europe. So did the perpetrators behind the bombings in Madrid and London. The same goes for Mohammed Bouyeri, the young Muslim who slaughtered filmmaker Theo van Gogh in Amsterdam. Europe, not the Middle East, may now be the main breeding ground for Islamic terrorism.

What's wrong with Europe? For one thing, Europe's approach to immigration and integration is rooted in its historic experience with relatively homogeneous cultures. In the United States one's definition of nationality is essentially political; in Europe it is historically cultural. I am a Dane because I look European, speak Danish, descend from centuries of other Scandinavians. But what about the dark, bearded new Danes who speak Arabic at home and poor Danish in the streets? We Europeans must make a profound cultural adjustment to understand that they, too, can be Danes.

Another great impediment to integration is the European welfare state. Because Europe's highly developed, but increasingly unaffordable, safety nets provide such strong unemployment insurance and not enough incentive to work, many new immigrants go straight onto the dole.

While it can be argued that the fast-growing community of about 20 million Muslim immigrants in Europe is the equivalent of America's new Hispanic immigrants, the difference in their productivity and prosperity is staggering. An Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development study in 1999 showed that while immigrants in the United States are almost equal to native-born workers as taxpayers and contributors to American prosperity, in Denmark there is a glaring gap of 41 percent between the contributions of the native-born and of the immigrants. In the United States, a laid-off worker gets an average of 32 percent compensation for his former wages in welfare services; in Denmark the figure is 81 percent. A culture of welfare dependency is rife among immigrants, and taken for granted.

What to do? Obviously, we can never return to the comfortable monocultures of old. A demographic revolution is changing the face, and look, of Europe. In an age of mass migration and the Internet, cheap air fares and cell phones everywhere, cultural pluralism is an irreversible fact, like it or not. A nostalgic longing for cultural purity -- racial purity, religious purity -- easily descends into ethnic cleansing.

Yet multiculturalism that has all too often become mere cultural relativism is an indefensible proposition that often justifies reactionary and oppressive practices. Giving the same weight to the illiberal values of conservative Islam as to the liberal traditions of the European Enlightenment will, in time, destroy the very things that make Europe such a desirable target for migration.

Europe must shed the straitjacket of political correctness, which makes it impossible to criticize minorities for anything -- including violations of laws, traditional mores, and values that are central to the European experience. Two experiences tell the tale for me.

Shortly after the horrific 2002 Moscow musical theater siege by Chechen terrorists that left 130 dead, I met with one of my old dissident friends, Sergei Kovalev. A hero of the human rights movement in the old Soviet Union, Kovalev had long been a defender of the Chechens and a critic of the Russian attacks on Chechnya. But after the theater massacre he refused, as always, to indulge in politically correct drivel about the Chechens' just fight for secession and decolonization. He unhesitatingly denounced the terrorists, and insisted that a nation's right to self-determination did not imply a free ticket to kill and violate basic individual rights. For me, it was a clarifying moment on the dishonesty of identity politics and the sometime tyranny of elevating group rights above those of individuals -- of justifying the killing of innocents in the name of some higher cause.

The other experience was a trip I made in the 1990s, when I was a correspondent based in the United States, to the Brighton Beach neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y. There I wrote a story about the burgeoning, bustling, altogether vibrant Russian immigrant community that had arisen there -- a perfect example of people retaining some of their old cultural identity (drinking samovars of tea, playing hours of chess, and attending church) while quickly taking advantage of America's free and open capitalism to establish an economic foothold. I marveled at America's ability to absorb newcomers. It was another clarifying moment.

An act of inclusion. Equal treatment is the democratic way to overcome traditional barriers of blood and soil for newcomers. To me, that means treating immigrants just as I would any other Danes. And that's what I felt I was doing in publishing the 12 cartoons of Mohammed last year. Those images in no way exceeded the bounds of taste, satire, and humor to which I would subject any other Dane, whether the queen, the head of the church, or the prime minister. By treating a Muslim figure the same way I would a Christian or Jewish icon, I was sending an important message: You are not strangers, you are here to stay, and we accept you as an integrated part of our life. And we will satirize you, too. It was an act of inclusion, not exclusion; an act of respect and recognition.

Alas, some Muslims did not take it that way -- though it required a highly organized campaign, several falsified (and very nasty) cartoons, and several months of overseas travel for the aggrieved imams to stir up an international reaction.

Maybe Europe needs to take a leaf -- or a whole book -- from the American experience. For a new Europe of many cultures that is somehow a single entity to emerge, as it has in the United States, will take effort from both sides -- the native-born and the newly arrived.

For the immigrants, the expectation that they not only learn the host language but also respect their new countries' political and cultural traditions is not too much to demand, and some stringent (maybe too stringent) new laws are being passed to force that. At the same time, Europeans must show a willingness to jettison entrenched notions of blood and soil and accept people from foreign countries and cultures as just what they are, the new Europeans.

          DevOps-/Senior Software Engineer (Berlin, Germany) // Finiata GmbH   

Finiata – previously knows as Blackbill – is one of the best funded ( > 6mn in first 6 months of operations), fastest growing and most dynamic oriented Fintech startups out there right now. A group of experienced Fintech founders (e.g. Kreditech and top tier investors Point9 Capital, Fly Ventures; DN Capital) are building the […]

Check out all open positions at

          Frontend Developer (m/f) in Berlin, Germany // Finiata GmbH   

Finiata – previously knows as Blackbill – is one of the best funded ( > 6mn in first 6 months of operations), fastest growing and most dynamic oriented Fintech startups out there right now. A group of experienced Fintech founders (e.g. Kreditech and top tier investors Point9 Capital, Fly Ventures; DN Capital) are building the […]

Check out all open positions at

          Ruby on Rails Developer (m/f) in Berlin, Germany // Finiata GmbH   

Finiata – previously knows as Blackbill – is one of the best funded ( > 6mn in first 6 months of operations), fastest growing and most dynamic oriented Fintech startups out there right now. A group of experienced Fintech founders (e.g. Kreditech and top tier investors Point9 Capital, Fly Ventures; DN Capital) are building the […]

Check out all open positions at

          "Jump-Start Downtown" Contest Details   
Eau Claire’s Jump Start Downtown contest will be featured on this week’s installment of Spectrum West from Wisconsin Public Radio’s Ideas Network on Thursday, May 18 at 10 a.m. on 88.3 WHWC-FM/ Menomonie-Eau Claire and 88.7 WRFW-FM/ River Falls. The program will also look ahead to performances at The Old Gem Theater in New Richmond and the Phipps Center for the Arts in Hudson, as well as a festival in Sarona. Ray French, business assistance specialist for the City of Eau Claire, joins host Al Ross to provide details of the upcoming Jump-Start Downtown contest which will be offering cash prizes to selected entrepreneurs with plans for starting a new business in downtown Eau Claire. Special correspondent Jim Oliver will share his conversation with Kathy Welch, co-founder and artistic director of The Old Gem Theater in New Richmond. They are presenting Stewart Little , a fantasy children’s play offered to general audiences May 18-19 at 7 p.m., May 20 at 10:30 a.m., May 21 at 2 p.m. and to school audiences through June 9. Ross will welcome John Mundy, spokesperson and member of the Sheldon Theatre Brass Band to the show. This 30-piece resident band of the restored, turn-of-the-century T.B. Sheldon Theatre in Red Wing, Minnesota is an award winning ensemble based on the British brass band tradition. They will be performing marches, overtures, classical, jazz and popular music May 21 at 7 p.m. at the Phipps Center for the Arts in Hudson. The 6th Annual Prairie Fling Festival at the Hunt Hill Audubon Sanctuary in Sarona is taking place on May 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nikki Janisin, executive director of Hunt Hill, joins Ross to talk about the many features of the event, including live music, kids’ activities, artisan booths, local food vendors and participation by...
          We need more great founders   
Cross posted from the Engineering Entrepreneurship blog.

Successors to successful founders rarely do as well, according to two Bain consultants who’ve studied the topic.

The headline in Monday’s WSJ made it clear:
The Company Founder’s Special Sauce
No one leads a firm as effectively as the person who started it.
Dec. 18, 2016 5:03 p.m. ET

‘The Founder,” a new film starring Michael Keaton, tells the story of McDonald’s Corporation founder Ray Kroc as he turns a few small restaurants into a ubiquitous international chain. It’s a tale of founder-driven corporate growth—something that has become too rare today. This breed of entrepreneurial spirit makes for a good story, but it’s also crucial for the economy.

Research we published in July finds that of all newly registered businesses in the U.S., only about one in 500 will reach a size of at least $100 million in revenue. A mere one in 17,000 will attain $500 million in revenue and sustain a decade of profitable growth. Despite their rarity, these successful firms are a bedrock of the U.S. economy.

A study out earlier this year from Bain & Company, where we work, shows that over the past 15 years founder-led companies delivered shareholder returns that are three times higher than those of other S&P 500 companies.

Such performance can sometimes continue long after a founder leaves. We analyzed examples of sustained success at 7,500 companies in 43 countries, visiting many in person, to determine what made them stand out. Great founders imbue their companies with three measurable traits that make up what we dubbed “the founder’s mentality.”
Those three traits: insurgency (i.e. disruptive innovation), obsessive focus on customers, and permeating the vision of the founder throughout the entire organization.

I have not had a chance to read their research, but it rings true. I did my dissertation on Apple, once led by Steve Jobs — perhaps the most unique founder of the 20th century; in America, only Henry Ford, Tom Watson Sr., Hewlett & Packard and maybe Howard Hughes come close.

Jobs was driven to make “insanely great” products, to the point of being a tyrant (slightly more human after he had kids). Since his death five years ago, they’ve had mediocre leadership and nothing they have done has come close (something us shareholders must lament).

One caveat: while I lionize great founders — and aspire to be a good founder once again — there is an important confound. Firms have their best people, best ideas, greatest disruption and greatest impact during their initial growth phases; a second round of growth and disruption (as in the Jobs II era, 1997-2011) is virtually unheard of. Big companies don’t grow as much as small ones, nor is the CEO (of any stripe) able to have the same impact. (And unlike Jobs, most tech founders have their greatest impact in this initial period, not running the stable successful mature company).

Still, nothing I’ve seen this year does as good a job summarizing the great debt society owes to those who roll the dice, take great chances and endure years of high-stress intensity to create a new company. The decline in US startups is troubling not only for economic growth, but for the lost opportunities for employees, customers and complementors as well.
          Understanding Apple's platform strategy: A little theory can help   
Today is the first day of the Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC), Apple’s annual effort to both inform and excite its ecosystem of third-party providers. As with any conference, it’s also a chance to get together with friends, old and new, particularly at parties thrown by companies that want to improve their visibility to the developer attendees.

I remember in 1988 going to my first WWDC in San Jose: our company was so poor that the two cofounders (Neil and I) had to split a single pass to be able to have any presence at all. My last WWDC was in 2003, as my company neared its end, and I went to meet with a former employee who was in town for the conference. The conference is capped at 5,000 developers, but rather than use price to discourage demand (as do most media companies), since 2014 Apple has used a lottery system to allocate seats to registered developers.

Since the early years of the Jobs II era (1997-2011), WWDC has been used to make important product and technology announcements for the broader public. As such, it also gives the business press to take another junket to San Francisco and write their annual (or quarterly) pontifications on the state of Apple, its products, market position, competitive advantage, business model, stock price or anything else.

One article caught my attention on Twitter this morning:
Apple's True Strengths Don't Lie in Innovation
By Christopher Mims
Wall Street Journal, 13 June 2016, p. B.1.
…Apple's normally festive Worldwide Developers Conference begins Monday under something of a pall. The company's first quarterly sales decline in 13 years has many people asking whether it will grow again. They also want to know how Apple, with its healthy supply of cash, could make that happen.

The conventional answer is "create a totally new product line," or its cousin, "unveil something no one has done before." That is, Apple should try to out-innovate its competitors.

That is a terrible idea. It runs counter to Apple's strengths, as well as its growth trajectory.

Here is why: Apple's core strengths are the scale of its ecosystem -- the company says it has more than one billion active devices world-wide -- and the spending power of their owners.
As someone who’s studied the theory of standards wars for two decades — and Apple’s practice of standards wars for three decades, and wrote the most-cited paper on Apple’s iPhone strategy — this seemed somewhere between foolish and idiotic.

But if you dig a little deeper, what the columnist (who seems prone to exaggerating for effect) really is doing is playing a semantic game. The language of "innovation is bad, no innovation is good” would be more accurately summarized as “risky radical innovation is bad, continuous incremental innovation is good.”

The author states
Apple is expert at offering a more polished, more accessible version of products and services that rivals have offered for years. And yet, it reaps over 90% of the smartphone industry's profit, and in 2015 its App Store delivered 75% more revenue to developers than Alphabet Inc.'s Google Play store.
If you look up “innovation” in the Oxford English Dictionary, the very first definition is:
1a. The action of innovating; the introduction of novelties; the alteration of what is established by the introduction of new elements or forms.
In other words, by offering a superior (and unique) version of a now standard product category, Apple is following the dictionary definition of “the introduction of new elements of forms.”

Meanwhile, any MBA who’s had a decent competitive strategy class can tell you that if you have a better product — and consistently superior profits — then you have successfully created some form of sustained competitive advantage that has survived efforts by your rivals to compete away that advantage and those superior margins.

Perhaps this confusion is because the author has an undergraduate neuroscience major but no business degree.

But once we get away from the terminology problems, I did find one paragraph that seemed both factual and prescient:
In any case, I think it will be many years before mobile is toppled as the dominant platform. The PC ruled for nearly 30 years, and we are less than a decade into the age of the iPhone.
I don’t agree with the conclusion that Apple (or Google or Facebook) shouldn’t pursue related diversification. However, I do agree that it must feed and harvest its mobile “cash cow” (as BCG defined it 45 years ago) while continuing to search for new growth opportunities.

As an Apple shareholder, I’m disappointed at the loss in price and market cap over the past year as it lost its growth multiple. But I still think there’s enough of the company’s DNA (even after the loss of its visionary founder) to propel it to new growth as it finds a way to meet needs unmet by its many competitors and imitators.

          More about the Silicon Valley legend   
My friend Shane Greenstein this week wrote a book review of Moore’s Law, a biography of the famous Silicon Valley chemist, entrepreneur, billionaire, philanthropist and visionary. As Shane opened his Wall Street Journal commentary:
Fifty years ago, Gordon Moore formulated his famous “law,” typically summarized as “the number of transistors that can be placed on an integrated circuit will double every two years.” The accumulation of exponential improvements that he foresaw has indeed ushered in perpetual reductions in the cost of computing and the size of computers. And it’s at the core of the information technology revolution.
Even before his famous 1965 paper, Moore was a Silicon Valley pioneer, there when they put the silicon in Silicon Valley. After attending SJSU, Cal and Caltech, in 1956 Moore went to work for (later Nobelist) Bill Shockley, working on the technical challenges of adapting silicon (rather than germanium) to construct reliable semiconductor devices.

The next year, Moore and others of the Traitorous Eight set the pattern for the Valley when they Shockley Semiconductor to found Fairchild Semiconductor — the Valley’s first (unsanctioned) spinoff. In 1968, two of the eight — Moore and Robert Noyce — took Andy Grove to start Intel. (Four years later, fellow Traitor Gene Kleiner joined Tom Perkins to found the Valley’s legendary VC firm)..

Never fired and married to the same woman for 60+ years, Moore was neither a showman nor celebrity like the late Steve Jobs. Arguably, he and his compatriots did more than anyone else to set the pace of Silicon Valley (at least during the five decades when there was still silicon in Silicon Valley).

The authors of this latest biography — “a chemist, a historian and a journalist” — offer the definitive story of the 86-year-old chemist. As Shane concludes:
The authors have material on just about everything in Mr. Moore’s life—his relationships with his wife and children, the Porsche he drove, even his childhood adventures with nitroglycerin. The detail, on occasion, becomes overwhelming.

Yet the book brings an insider’s perspective into the discussion of Moore’s law. What became the law first emerged in 1965, in an article modestly titled “Cramming More Components Onto Integrated Circuits,” published in the journal Electronics. By the authors’ account, nobody paid much attention to it at the time. Why do we know it today? Mr. Moore revisited the idea in 1975, updated it and devoted public speeches to it. Others began to notice its deep foundations at the boundaries of science and production; Carver Mead, a longtime professor at Caltech, was the one who actually coined the term “Moore’s Law.”

Gordon Moore’s forecast was spectacularly right. Yet, as this compelling biography proves, even if he had never hazarded it, he would remain a legend in Silicon Valley.
Alas, it’s hard to deny the passing of this era. Moore is the only one of the Intel founders still alive, and one of only two (with Jay Last) of the Fairchild founders. Despite its continuing microprocessor monopoly, nearly 15 years later Intel stock is still only half its peak level of August 2000. Internet software — not electronics — is where Kleiner Perkins is making its money nowadays.
          Seven Years of Serving and Studying the Legal Needs of Digital Journalism   

We have some important news to share from the Digital Media Law Project. After seven years of providing legal assistance to independent journalism through various methods, the DMLP will soon spin off its most effective initiatives and cease operation as a stand-alone project within the Berkman Center. The upcoming changes will ensure that our work continues in a robust and sustainable fashion, and so, while those of us here are a bit melancholy to see the end of an era, we are hopeful for what comes next.

I wanted to take this opportunity to look back over the history of the DMLP and its accomplishments, and to talk a bit about what the future will hold for our work.

The Beginning

In 2007, a group of scholars and attorneys at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society recognized a growing problem for online speech: namely, that a vast array of bloggers, citizen journalists, and other non-professional writers were publishing information on the Internet without a solid understanding of their rights and responsibilities under the law. Those without legal training or resources were unprepared for challenges such as defamation, privacy, and copyright claims, and often ran into pitfalls when dealing with issues such as corporate formation, contract negotiation, and development of website policies.

While the Berkman Center had been providing legal services to online ventures for several years through the Harvard Law School Cyberlaw Clinic, this growing need among independent publishers was simultaneously too widespread for the Clinic to address through its existing service model and too basic in many specific instances to present a valid case-by-case training opportunity for law students. A different approach was required.

Thus, in May 2007 the Berkman Center launched a new experiment: the "Citizen Media Law Project." The CMLP was an offshoot of the Cyberlaw Clinic, intended to address the lack of legal knowledge among bloggers and citizen journalists through the publication of online informational resources targeted at lay readers. The CMLP's primary resource was a detailed Legal Guide, which provided basic information on a broad array of media law and business law topics that online publishers could expect to encounter. The CMLP's Threats Database tracked legal challenges to online speech, such as lawsuits, police activity, and cease and desist letters, in order to address the lack of publicly available background information and primary source material relating to this type of activity.

The CMLP also engaged in a number of public outreach efforts, including organizing conferences, making speaking appearances, publishing its regular blog, and maintaining an online forum for discussion of legal issues affecting digital speech. These activities had the effect of raising the public profile of the project as an authoritative source of legal information.

The Online Media Legal Network

While these resources were successful and popular, there remained situations where citizen journalists and bloggers required more than just general legal information; rather, they needed the direct assistance of attorneys. Many members of the CMLP's audience were unable to afford counsel to support their legal rights, even if thanks to the CMLP's resources they had an understanding of those rights. Occasionally, CMLP staff members would represent a client directly in connection with narrowly defined legal questions; more commonly, the CMLP would appear as an amicus curiae in cases involving free speech issues. But this was insufficient to meet the needs of the CMLP's constituency.

Again, a broader solution was necessary, and in November 2009 the CMLP expanded its ability to support clients with the launch of its free attorney referral service, the Online Media Legal Network. The launch of the OMLN marked a quantum leap in the breadth and impact of the CMLP's services, placing individual online media clients in contact with skilled media and business attorneys throughout the United States willing to provide legal services on a pro bono or reduced fee basis. The network expanded dramatically as the CMLP promoted the concept of pro bono media law services, eventually reaching the point where the OMLN's member attorneys included hundreds of law firms, individual attorneys, and legal clinics, with members in all fifty states (plus the District of Columbia) and affiliations with international media law networks.

The "Early Warning System"

Throughout the growth of the project, the CMLP was building relationships with a wide array of partners, including the attorneys of the OMLN and their clients, non-profit organizations dedicated to journalism and online freedom, academic affiliates at other universities, and journalists and press organizations experimenting with online media. These individuals and organizations were eager to share their experiences with law in the digital age, and it became apparent that this feedback could provide critical information about breaking legal issues affecting online speech.

The CMLP began to treat these networks as an "early warning system" for legal questions worthy of attention. For example, at the end of 2011, the CMLP's networks alerted the project to issues at the Internal Revenue Service with respect to the agency's withholding of tax exemptions for non-profit journalism. Over the next three months, the CMLP investigated the issue and developed a tailored response in the form of an interactive resource that identified the challenges for journalism at the IRS, demystified the IRS's decision-making process, and provided guidance for meeting the agency's standards. The CMLP's IRS resource was extremely well received, and appears to have had a significant role in breaking up a backlog of applications at the agency.

Through the early warning system approach, the CMLP added greater flexibility to its operations, allowing us to identify new systemic imbalances in the law affecting online speech and to develop responses accordingly. This approach provided the CMLP with the guiding principle for its research, speaking appearances, and interventions in court cases.

Putting the Pieces Together

Over time, the CMLP organized its various efforts into five core initiatives: (1) the Legal Guide; (2) the Threats Database; (3) the Online Media Legal Network; (4) a "Research and Response" system to handle emerging issues; and (5) CMLP publishing through a series of online fora, including this blog. It was now easier to see how the activities of the project could function together to provide a coordinated set of legal resources for the public. When a client needed to speak to an attorney, they could be sent to the OMLN, but when their issues were not ripe enough to need a one-on-one consultation, the Legal Guide could serve their needs. The Threats Database provided attorneys and academics with neutral information about pending cases, but when legal issues became a problematic trend, the Research and Response initiative would develop more targeted responses. The CMLP blog changed in its tone from a forum for general commentary to a source for deeper insight and analysis of breaking issues at the intersection of law, technology and journalism.

It had also become clear that the original concept of the CMLP as serving a class of amateur bloggers and citizen journalists distinct from professional news outlets did not accurately reflect the nature of the online publishing environment. The CMLP had repeatedly encountered and assisted professional journalists who were nevertheless independent of traditional media outlets, either by choice or due to the economic disruption of the journalism industry. The project found that these clients had needs as significant as those of their "citizen" counterparts. The project recognized that distinctions between professional and citizen journalists were less important than analyzing the needs of online media as a whole.

The "Digital Media Law Project"

With this shift of focus, the project was able to respond to a range of important legal issues, including: First Amendment protection for the use of cameras to record the actions of public officials; legal constraints on newsgathering at the 2012 U.S. political conventions and the use of cameras at the 2012 national elections; the abuse of trademark law as a method of suppressing critical speech; the impact of legal regimes governing online intermediaries on data journalism and crowdsourced reporting; the use of digital technology to inform the public about judicial activity; systemic issues in the issuance of media credentials by government and private organizations; and more. Formalizing its new approach, the CMLP removed "Citizen" from its name in 2013, becoming the "Digital Media Law Project."

The Online Media Legal Network had by this time also emerged as an independent source of data for research purposes. By September 2013, the OMLN had placed its 500th client matter with a network attorney. In recognition of that milestone, the Digital Media Law Project conducted a comprehensive survey of its past clients and their legal needs, releasing that information in a report entitled The Legal Needs of Emerging Online Media: The Online Media Legal Network at 500 Referrals. This review of the issues facing a substantial sample of new and innovative online journalism ventures revealed that these clients' legal needs were in many respects not very different from those of traditional media organizations; while there were some distinctions, the primary difference lay in their ability to meet those needs.

The Future

Fundamentally, the Berkman Center is an incubation space that fosters experimentation in the study of the Internet and the development of tools and services that address the online world's many challenges. After seven years at the Berkman Center, the DMLP has grown from an experimental project that addressed the legal needs of an emerging class of bloggers and citizen journalists into a service organization that provides structured legal resources for the entire range of independent online journalism. We are extraordinarily proud of the work the DMLP has done, but now that the experimentation phase of the project is over, we have determined that the best path forward is to identify the most useful elements of the DMLP's operation, and make sure that they have permanent homes.

Some of our services - most notably our Legal Guide and Threats Database, along with our collection of research studies - will remain at the Berkman Center, reintegrated into the Cyberlaw Clinic where they will benefit from the support of law students and serve not only as an important resource for the public but as a tool to train young attorneys about legal issues vital to online communication. While our blog will cease publishing new posts, our archive of blog entries will remain available to the public. The Online Media Legal Network will find a new home outside of the Berkman Center with a non-profit organization that shares the DMLP's commitment to providing legal services to online media (we have a very exciting prospect lined up, but it's a bit early to report). While different aspects of the DMLP's work will continue in different places, we expect that the organizations taking on this work will work closely together to provide a coherent set of resources that address the diverse legal needs of online media.

These transitions will take place over the next few months, and the DMLP itself will wind up operations as an independent project as of September 30. As for those of us who work at the DMLP, we'll be moving on to other projects as well. I myself will be stepping back from my full-time role as the director of the DMLP as of June 30, but will be serving as a consultant to the Berkman Center through the transition period. Andy Sellars, our assistant director, will join the Cyberlaw Clinic as a Clinical Fellow and continue his work on freedom of speech and intellectual property issues in that context, including supervision of the Legal Guide and Threats Database in their new home. We don't know yet who will take custody of our office spider plant, Meiklejohn, but we're sure that the decision will be made by an electorate informed by the free flow of ideas.


It has been our pleasure to serve our constituency of online media projects and independent journalists over the last seven years, and those of us at the DMLP look forward to continuing this work in new ways. I would like to offer our gratitude to all of our colleagues at the Berkman Center (and especially the team at the Cyberlaw Clinic), our partners at other organizations, the volunteer attorneys of the Online Media Legal Network, our roll of contributing bloggers, and all of our donors and foundation supporters.

Most especially, I would like to thank: our founder and first director, David Ardia; our mentors and principal investigators, Phil Malone and Urs Gasser; Cyberlaw Clinic Managing Director Christopher Bavitz; my assistant director, Andy Sellars; and all of the other staff and interns of the CMLP/DMLP throughout the years: Sharo Atmeh, Julie Babayan, Lee Baker, Sam Bayard, Kristin Bergman, Reed Bienvenu, Rebekah Bradway, Arthur Bright, Jillian Button, Lauren Campbell, Tom Casazzone, Tuna Chatterjee, L.T. Ciaccio, Jason Crow, Alexandra Davies, Nicholas DeCoster, Jim Ernstmeyer, Vanessa Fazio, Courtney French, Helen Fu, Kelly Hoffman, Marshall Hogan, Kimberley Isbell, Olivia Jennings, Kyle Junik, Dan Kahn, Ryan Kane, Jane Kleiner, Erika Kweon, Frances Katz, Michael Lambert, Tim Lamoureux, Jason Liss, Matt Lovell, Katie Mapes, Ryan McGrady, Tabitha Messick, Natalie Nicol, Daniel Ostrach, Marc Pennington, Marina Petrova, Rich Quincy, Colin Rhinesmith, Amanda Rice, Caity Ross, David Russcol, Matt C. Sanchez, Alison Schary, Samantha Scheller, Natalie Senst, John Sharkey, Justin Silverman, Brittany Griffin Smith, Aaron Sokoloff, Lina Somait, Jillian Stonecipher, Konstantinos Stylianou, Tom Sullivan, Yixin Tang, Daniel Ungar, Caitlin Vogus, Miriam Weiler, and Stefani Wittenauer.

Addendum: The DMLP by the Numbers

Jeff Hermes has been the Director of the Digital Media Law Project since 2011, and has been proud of every minute.

Subject Area: 

          Google Show Greed Trumps Values Every Day   
Google once promised that is mission was “to organize the world’s information”. Nominally that remains its mission today.

On the 10th anniversary of its IPO, in this morning's WSJ, Rolfe Winkler shows how that all changed:
Just before Google Inc. went public 10 years ago, co-founder Larry Page said he wanted to get the search engine's users "out of Google and to the right place as fast as possible."

Today, Mr. Page's Google often is doing the opposite: Providing as much information as possible to keep users in Google's virtual universe.
At first, leveraging its dominant share in search, Google was content to have people linger longer (ala Yahoo or later Facebook) to sell them to more advertisers. Now they want to monetize that customer hold directly by doing transactions and taking a piece of the action. The dead tree (and online edition) shows the before and after — Google the indexer of the Internet vs. Google the horizontally diversified Internet portal:

In other words, Google once created an ecosystem (including APIs and a two-sided advertising market) and wanted to make its ecosystem partners successful. Now, in its relentless pursuit of growth, it is crowding aside its onetime partners and trying to take more money from its customers.

This is exactly what DEC, Apple, Microsoft, Oracle and countless other tech companies have done over the decades. Joining an ecosystem is a viable startup business until the ecosystem sponsor wants to take that business away. The book Keystone Advantage refers to this as an ecosystem “dominator.” Among tech companies, only IBM seems to be a reliable partner for win-win alliances, in part because its integration services business model allows it to make money with almost any sort of component.

Of course, this was inevitable. Companies like Google want to grow, because it supports the stock price and puts more money into the hands of shareholders, employees and executives. Since Larry Page and Sergey Brin are now worth $32 billion apiece, I’m guessing it’s less about the money and more about the control, the ego, the success of making the world’s most dominant influential company of all time.

As we teach in strategy, there’s only two ways to grow: reach more customers or make more money out of your existing customers. If Google is serving almost everyone on the Internet, it either has to connect more people to the Internet (who will be less profitable than their existing customers) or sell more stuff to those already locked into Google. Obviously (with its $50 billion in cash horde and 60+% gross margins) it’s doing all of these things.

Unfortunately, a dominant vertically integrated (and horizontally diversified) monoculture is bad for the economy, bad for consumers and bad for society. It takes transactions that should be happening in the market and internalizes them into an internal hierarchy. Europe has been trying to nibble at the edges of Google’s efforts at Total World Domination for years, but had little impact. The U.S. seems disinterested, because the GOP believes in free markets and the Democrats receive millions in campaign donations from Google's wealth.

Normally we can count on the curse of success to eventually kick in: big companies either become complacent, bureaucratic or otherwise lose their way (cf. GM, Microsoft). The Google founders seem determined to make sure this doesn’t happen during their lifetime, which could be 30 years (with a normal retirement) or 50 (if they last like Warren Buffett). Since I’m older than both men, I may not live to see the end game — which is a depressing thought.
          Fractalization (and trivialization) of technological innovation   
My friend Frank Piller this morning shared a witty story from last week’s New Yorker. The title and subtitle say it all:
“Let’s, Like, Demolish Laundry”
Silicon Valley is in a bubbly race to wash your clothes better, faster, and cooler. This is not a metaphor. Unless, you know, it is.
The story about IT-enabled laundry delivery services focuses on Washio, a LA-based seed-funded startup. The three founders cruise along confident in the brilliance of their idea until they run across three Bay Area rivals (Laundry Locker, Prim, Rinse) — one incubated by Y Combinator — and eventually five more from NYC and two from Chicago.

Author Jessica Pressler makes only a feeble effort to restrain her sarcasm. In commenting why so many other tech entrepreneurs are addressing the same need:
In reality, when people in a privileged society look deep within themselves to find what is missing, a streamlined clothes-cleaning experience comes up a lot. More often than not, the people who come up with ways of lessening this burden on mankind are dudes, or duos of dudes, who have only recently experienced the crushing realization that their laundry is now their own responsibility, forever. Paradoxically, many of these dudes start companies that make laundry the central focus of their lives.
But even in this segment, “new innovations are dying from the day they are born… There’s a term for this. It’s called the hedonic treadmill.”

Some of it has an anthropologist-visits-the-strange-tribe-of-Silicon-Valley feel. Even though their main office is in Santa Monica, Washio has the same (post-Amazon) disrupting of the physical world that brought us and Uber. Their goal is to be “the Uber of laundry," and their share a common seed stage investor.

But early on, Pressler raises a more fundamental question:
We are living in a time of Great Change, and also a time of Not-So-Great Change. The tidal wave of innovation that has swept out from Silicon Valley, transforming the way we communicate, read, shop, and travel, has carried along with it an epic shit-ton of digital flotsam. Looking around at the newly minted billionaires behind the enjoyable but wholly unnecessary Facebook and WhatsApp, Uber and Nest, the brightest minds of a generation, the high test-scorers and mathematically inclined, have taken the knowledge acquired at our most august institutions and applied themselves to solving increasingly minor First World problems.
Certainly Amazon and Google and Facebook (mostly) allow us to do things we did before, just more quickly and cheaply and conveniently. Yesterday, my sister-in-law could have mailed pictures of her daughter’s graduation to her friends and relatives, but instead she posted them on Facebook and they were instantly available.

Like Pressler, many of these activities seem trivial when I compare this to other “big” innovations, like trying to get mankind back into space or provide enough food and energy to bring 5 billion of the world’s 7 billion people up to developed world living standards. After changing jobs three years ago, life at my new employer reminds me that the life sciences have many important unsolved problems, whether it be preventing deaths from malaria and tuberculosis in sub-Saharan Africa or finding a cure for cancer.

But on another level, Pressler’s article would come as no surprise to my innovation strategy students of the past eight years (whether at KGI, UCI or SJSU). The pattern is straight out of Dealing with Darwin, the grand unified theory of innovation by Geoff Moore (best known for Crossing the Chasm).

One reason I use the book is that it offers a cogent explanation of the role of innovation in mature industries. He subdivides such innovation into two categories, operational excellence (cheaper) and customer intimacy (better). For the latter, he uses the metaphor of “fractalization”, as illustrated by this diagram from Chapter 6:
As Moore explains (p. 111-112)
Figures 1 through 3 represent the early, middle, and late stages of a growth market. ... As the figures indicate, the driving dynamic at this point is a single-minded attempt to acquire new customers and claim market share.

By the time we hit figure 3, however, the market for the basic offering has become saturated. One can no longer grow simply by adding new customers to the category because the bulk of them have already been added. After virtually every home has a phone, every garage a car, every child a personal sound system, what do you do next?

Thus, from the mass-market Model T car, for example, the automotive industry first generated line extensions: a sedan, a station wagon, a truck, a couple, a limousine.

Increasingly fine-grained fractalization can and will continue as long as there are discretionary dollars to spend in the system and the category as a whole has not become obsolete.
We do need to recognize the contributions of the laundry app innovators (even if they go the way of the sock puppet). By moving the realm of innovation from the physical world to the digital world, they are enabling new form of experimentation and innovation — as happened in retail, communications, advertising, journalism and other established industries.

Pressler makes clear that the laundry apps still depend heavily on their contract laundry suppliers who do all the work. But if such apps catch on, it would seem obvious that the laundry market will be rapidly consolidated, with the tiny corner dry cleaners replaced by a handful of regional factories. One would expect (as with Web 1.0 and 2.0) the adoption will be most rapid in Silicon Valley, with the shops in Palo Alto or SoMa served by ecofriendly delivery trucks driving from large plants in Morgan Hill or Livermore.
          Hare Krishna - Iskcon - Racism, Misogyny, homophobia   

Hello everyone, have you heard about the official teachings of the Iskcon Hare Krishna movement being misogynist, racist and homophobic?
I would love to hear and see you attack them on these issues.
The founder guru Prabhupada was openly misogynist, racist and homophobic. Please denounce them.
Here are some links to help your documentation.
This Hare Krishna movement has been around for 50 years and they are trying to fool many people, please help spread the word about their dark side which they try to hide until one has wasted many valuable years of his/her life into this movement.
I was a victim of them and wasted many years before discovering all this racist, sexist and homophobic stuff.

          National Geographic Publishes Anti-Semitic Article on the Illuminati   

National Geographic, now a Murdoch company, has just published an inane article depicting Adam Weishaupt, the founder of the Illuminati, as a closet Jew financed by the Rothschild family—the kind of stuff one usually only encounters on wacky conspiracy-oriented websites. See here:

          F-35 IS A LEMON PIERRE SPREY   
F-35 IS A LEMON PIERRE SPREY Military expert Pierre Sprey, the founder and designer of the F-16 & A-10 Warthog airplanes, Explains why the f-35 will not cut it on the modern battlefield. LINK LINK LINK
          Has Vatopedi bankster Andreas Vgenopoulos been killed? Media report he died this morning at 3:30 am   
Has Vatopedi bankster Andreas Vgenopoulos been killed? Media report he died this morning at 3:30 am Nov 5 2016 Just as WikiLeaks has started to reveal the involvement of Hillary Clinton’s closest team in occult rituals and as her campaign implodes, it has emerged that Andreas Vgenopoulos, founder of Marfin Investment Group (MIG), has died. Bombshell: Hillary Clinton’s Satanic Network […]
          Turf Feeding Systems Has Formed a Team and Launched a Program Focused on Major World Issues- Water, Soil Health and Food Production   

Texas company Turf Feeding Systems focuses on water, soil health and food production every day. Recently, founder Michael Chaplinsky has formed a team of individuals who will work to implement Sustainable Agriculture and Water Efficiency, aimed to combat the important world issues.

(PRWeb September 17, 2014)

Read the full story at

          Erik Prince: NYPD Ready to Make Arrests in Anthony Weiner Case   
Erik Prince: NYPD Ready to Make Arrests in Anthony Weiner Case by JOHN HAYWARD4 Nov 201614,700 Blackwater founder and former Navy SEAL Erik Prince told Breitbart News Daily on SiriusXM that according to one of his “well-placed sources” in the New York Police Department, “The NYPD wanted to do a press conference announcing the warrants and the additional arrests they […]
          Twitter Co-Founder Jack Dorsey Goes (er, His Parents Do)   

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey was celebrating the completion of a new 25 kilowatt solar power system on the rooftop of his parents’ business, MA Tech Services, at around 9am this morning in downtown St. Louis. The new solar system was designed and installed by the local solar energy company Brightenergy. It’s estimated that it will generate […]

Twitter Co-Founder Jack Dorsey Goes (er, His Parents Do) was originally published on Solar Love!.

          Scientists are about to find out how Silicon Valley's LSD habit really affects productivity   


According to Amanda Feilding, the founder and director of the UK-based nonprofit Beckley Foundation, one tenth of a full dose of LSD is enough to make her feel "sparkly."

Feilding has spent decades collaborating with scientists around the world to better understand how psychedelic drugs like LSD, ayahuasca, and magic mushrooms affect the brain. She told Business Insider that she experimented with microdosing, or taking tiny doses of psychedelics, in the 1960s as an attempt to increase her creativity and productivity — what she refers to as "sparkle."

Nearly 60 years later, the practice has emerged as Silicon Valley's favorite illegal drug habit, with engineers, programmers, writers, and artists sharing their stories of microdosing. Many people say the practice improves their concentration or creativity; others, like writer Ayelet Waldman, claim it can treat symptoms of mental illnesses like depression and anxiety.

But no existing study has looked into the science behind microdosing — a gap Feilding and a team of scientists and fundraisers hope to fill with a new study set to start later this year. 

In that upcoming experiment, 20 participants will be studied over the course of four "study days." Each day, the volunteers will get one of four possible doses of LSD — 0, 10, 20, or 50 micrograms — then do a series of tasks, answer questions, and have their brains scanned. Each test is designed to see how the drugs affect people's creative and cognitive abilities. The researchers also hope to learn whether microdosing affects communication within and between brain networks the same way a full dose of psychedelics has been found to do.

"We want to look to see if we see those changes in cerebral circulation and connectivity and hopefully things like the ‘aha!’ moment that comes with creativity as well," Feilding said, adding that they might have initial results as early as the end of the year.

For the study, which will cost £300,000 or roughly $385,000, Feilding will collaborate with London Imperial College psychopharmacologist David Nutt. 

"It’s a study I’ve wanted to do for 30 years," Feilding said. "I'm very interested in that level of [potential] cognitive enhancement which isn’t a full-blown psychedelic state but is a lift in productivity and cognition and amusement or thinking further than one usually does."

What to know about microdosing

Existing research on psychedelics has been promising so far, but is still in early stages. Most studies focus on "trip treatment" — essentially giving someone a "full" dose of psychedelics so that they trip or hallucinate. Patients in these studies have said the experience was overwhelmingly positive; many describe the trip as one of the most important experiences of their lives.

night starry sky milky way galaxy illustration shutterstockPsychedelic microdosing differs from a "trip treatment" in that it involves taking tiny amounts of a psychedelic drug several times over a few days, rather than a single, full dose. Whereas participants were injected with 75 micrograms of LSD in one study, for example, microdosers report taking about 10 micrograms (roughly one-fifth to one-tenth of a standard recreational dose) once every four days.

These levels are intended to be "sub-perceptual," NYU psychiatrist Stephen Ross told Business Insider. In other words , they're too small to cause a trip, but large enough to potential affect thinking and creativity.

Ross and fellow NYU researcher Michael Bogenshutz are involved in a series of LSD trials that are currently in preliminary phases. He refers to microdosing today as almost a fad.

"People are like, ‘Yeah microdosing!’ But in reality there is not a single controlled trial ever on this yet. So whether it’s helpful or hurtful we don’t know," he said.

Another issue with the recent rise in microdosing is that it can be difficult to verify whether the LSD is actually causing the effects that people report and, more importantly, whether the drugs are safe. 

"I do think society would be greatly served by us as a group getting to know more about psychedelics and hopefully working out a regulatory system so people can make use of them in the safest possible way," Fielding said.

The brain during a psychedelic trip

Scientists can't say for sure what goes on in the brain after a full dose of psychedelics is taken, or precisely why it appears to produce such profound, life-altering experiences.

What they do know, Fielding's collaborator David Nutt told Business Insider in January, is that in a psychedelic trip, "the normal hubs which control and regulate brain function become disrupted. There's much greater connectivity — parts of the brain that rarely talk to each other ... talk to each other."

During a psychedelic trip, certain brain circuits are subdued while others get ramped up. The circuit that connects the parahippocampus and the retrosplenial cortex — a network thought to play a role in our sense of self, or ego — appears to be subdued during a trip. And deflating the ego seems to make people feel more connected to the people and environment around them.

"The normal sense of self is broken down and replaced by a sense of reconnection with themselves, others, and the natural world," Robin Carhart-Harris, who conducted the first study that took images of a brain on an LSD trip, said at a conference in 2013.

woman backpacking travel alone mountains hiking

Nutt said the brain might see increased connectivity with lower doses of LSD too, though "to a lesser extent." 

But what really happens with a microdose — or several — remains to be seen.

"There's a lot of hype about a 'revolution' in psychiatry, and I actually think it will radically change psychiatry," Ross said. "But we really have to do a bigger trial and see what the data shows us."

SEE ALSO: Why psychedelics like magic mushrooms kill the ego and fundamentally transform the brain

DON'T MISS: Images show how LSD changes the way parts of the brain communicate

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: What magic mushrooms do to your brain and state of mind

          Avitus Group Announces Merger with Established Alaska HR, Training & Corporate Coaching Company; Partners with The Growth Company to Expand Services to Grow Businesses   

Avitus Group CEO Willie Chrans and The Growth Company founder and President Lynne Curry sign merger agreement May 26, 2017, officially expanding operations in Alaska.

(PRWeb May 26, 2017)

Read the full story at

          Full Stack Web Developer - HTML, JavaScript, Python   
MA-Boston, Cambridge, MA - MIT spin out startup still offering equity, and meaty engineering challenges! Bivium Group is closely partnered with this fantastic MIT spinout. We are working directly with the two Founders and have placed members of the analytics, engineering and mobile team over the years. Great culture filled with very smart people making a massive difference. Due to continued growth and succes
          By: Papa John’s Pizza CEO Joins President Daniels during Presidential Lecture Series - Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation   
[…] Schnatter, founder and CEO of Papa John’s Pizza, will be featured in the Spring 2016 Presidential Lecture Series with Purdue President Mitch Daniels. The president will lead the hourlong discussion with […]
          The Situational Effects of (In)Equality   
Here is an intriguing (40-minute) interview with Richard Wilkinson co-author of the book The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger and co-founder of The Equality Trust. * * * * * * For a sample of related Stiuationist posts, see “The Situational Consequences of Poverty on Brains,” For a sample of related Situationist posts, […]
          Time with the young African entrepreneur network mentor of the week   
Background:  He is a technopreneur and an innovator with background in electrical/electronic engineering and renewable energy. His key interest is in system and designing. He specializes in accelerating the 4th industrial age technologies like Internet of Things, Drones, Augmented /Virtual Reality. He is also the Co-founder/CEO of Kumasi Hive. He is no other person than
          Charity Fashion Live   

This London Fashion Week the public will be able to get involved in one of the most exciting events on the fashion week schedule Charity Fashion Live, when Oxfam and stylist Emma Slade-Edmondson recreate London Fashion Week looks, just moments after they emerge on the catwalk, using only the second-hand clothing they find in Dalston's Oxfam shop on Saturday 19th September. 

You can also get involved on Saturday 19th September  on Twitter at @CharityFashLive and @Oxfamfashion; Instagram at @CharityFashionLive or on the Facebook account CharityFashionLive

The Charity Fashion Live Oxfam Edit event is brought to you by partners Recycle for London and Love Your Clothes, the campaign aimed at helping us get the most out of our clothes. With trends changing season by season, it can be difficult to keep up, particularly if you don’t have a big budget. But with around 1.1 million tonnes of clothing being discarded every year by UK consumers, there is a treasure trove available at a fraction of the price in Oxfam shops. Charity Fashion Live will prove that second hand clothing can be on trend. 

" I love Emma Slade's Charity Fashion Live concept as it encourages us to look at second hand clothes and our own old clothes with a fresh eye. It also makes high end fashion trends accessible and affordable to all. Fast fashion has created a throwaway attitude to clothing and initiatives like this help us re connect with the joys of charity shop discovering, our creativity and the possibility of re styling and transforming our existing clothes " Barley Massey (founder of Fabrications)

Alongside Emma's live event, Other London Oxfam shops will be hosting #FashionSalvage events on the same day. There will be designers and upcycling specialists showing you how to alter, repair and re-style items of pre-loved clothing to turn them into new looks, helping you add a personal touch to your new Oxfam purchases – or to a piece that’s been stuck at the back of your own wardrobe for too long.

Head to Oxfam, Covent Garden between 2 - 4pm for an introduction to second hand textiles in fashion design followed by a crochet workshop hosted by Fashion industry Pioneer and Founder of Fashion Revolution Day-  Orsola de Castro and London designer and queen of crochet Katie Jones.
Location: Oxfam Covent Garden, 23 Drury Ln, London WC2B 5RH 
Time 14:00 – 16:00

Visit the Fabrications up cycling and alterations pop up desk at Oxfam Islington where you’ll be able to add something personal to a garment from Oxfam or perhaps something you’ve brought along with you. Barley will be on hand with embellishments galore and a sewing machine to help you create something unique, to take up a hem, or for some alterations advice!
I will be joined by Tree (Stitchless TV) who will be demoing her explorations into 'Sublimation' heat transfer printing using a household iron - a great way to transform polyester garments!
Location: 29 Islington High Street, Islington, London, N1 9LH 
Time: 14:00-16:00

Visit Oxfam in Westbourne Grove for a consultation with Stylist and Costume designer Illishio Lovejoy. Pop in for advice on putting together a look for attending fashion week or that special event you have coming up.

Location: 254 Westbourne Grove, London W11 2SE 
Time: 14:00- 16:00

PHOTO CREDIT: James Mc Cauley (taken at Love your Clothes 'Fashion Salvage' event, LMB)

          How thoughts create reality   
Albert Einstein said "The world we have created is a product of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking"

I decided to stitch Confucius' wise words "A journey of a 1,000 miles starts with a single step". I am using it as a meditative reminder to help me on my personal path of growth!

This year I am thinking about my thinking and how my thoughts can impact on my actions or non actions! In January, Sarah Corbett, founder of Craftivist Collective hosted a thought provoking new year's resolution 'Craftivist footprint' workshop at Fabrications, which encouraged participants to think about their imprint on the world, what it means to be a global citizen and stitch an intention on a pre prepared foot or shoe print.

Sarah provided all the participants with their own mini tool kit including a desc