Saturday, November 03, 2007

Word up

Open Table

Average Meal in London now the Most Expensive in the World

Well, this is hardly a surprise: London has been awarded the honor of being the most expensive city in the world for dining out.

According to a recent article in the Guardian, a typical three-course meal and a glass of wine now costs an average of $79 per person in the British capital. Ouch!

Paris takes second place with $72. Tokyo averages $71 while New York comes in at a comparatively cheap $39.

The data is based upon the ubiquitous Zagat Guide. The most recent London edition has just been published and the 2.9% increase in the average cost of a meal from last year's edition has concerned local foodies. As for myself, London just keeps dropping lower and lower on my list of places to visit. I'd rather just hang out in New York where the food is half the cost. And, of course, much tastier!

World Meal

  • The goal of this activity is to experientially heighten awareness about the overabundance of food in Western society, particularly in comparison with how much the majority of the world eats.
  • Cook a World Meal and share it with a group of people.
  • A World Meal is the average meal for the average person on the planet. It consists of a limited amount of rice and beans.
  • Herbs and spices are optional; as is anything you can forage from the local natural environment.
  • Encourage the group to, in turn, to cook a World Meal for a different group of people and thereby spread experiential awareness of how much we overconsume in Western society.
  • Continue cooking World Meals for groups of people at least until you've activated a critical mass of awareness for a snowball effect.

(Source: Clive Offley, Food - The Facts, New Internationalist, Issue 225, November, 1991)

Friday, November 02, 2007

Open Water

Reporting in the

Friday, November 2, 2007
MySpace Joins Google Alliance to Counter Facebook

Published: November 2, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 1 — MySpace and Bebo, two of the world’s largest social networking sites, on Thursday joined a Google-led alliance that is promoting a common set of standards for software developers to write programs for social networks.
“OpenSocial is going to be become the de facto standard for developers right out of the gate,” said Chris DeWolfe, chief executive of MySpace, in a press conference at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. “It will have access to 200 million users, making it way bigger than any other platform out there.”

The open standards could create a boom of innovation around social networks as applications reach more users than ever and encourage developers to create more Internet tools.

Water ... worth more than gold and necessary for survival above all other resources on earth.

And yet, over one billion men, women, and children (more than four times the population of the United States and Canada combined) do not have safe water to drink and therefore cannot live a healthy life.

Who are these people?

They are the innocent children and desperate families living in overcrowded urban ghettos, in refugee encampments, and in towns and villages too numerous to count in rural areas of developing countries.

Here, less than 50% of the population have access to safe drinking water and only 25% have access to sanitary systems.

They are unfortunate victims of drought and ever-changing environmental conditions. When drought occurs, their countryside is transformed into an arid wasteland where every living thing seems to cry out for lack of water.

These precious people do not have enough water to grow and harvest food, enough water to keep their livestock alive, enough clean water to protect themselves and their children from hunger and disease.

They do not have enough water to survive

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Microsoft Windows SteadyState shakey at best....

Running a number of common access PCs means having to lock them down tight! When I learned that Microsoft had entered the 'access management' arena I was excited. Alas, my excitement was short lived.

Turns out that in its most "secure" state the SteadyState PC will still let the users shoot themselves and the PC in the foot. My question is why didn't Microsoft go the full mile and lock the system completely? I would have thought that Microsoft would have learned again the lesson of their OSs failures. Start with everything locked and then allow users only what you want them to access.

At what expense?

An NPR segment this morning related concerns about Internet Privacy and the need for a "No-Track" list. Such concern is admirable. Then the question crossed my mind, "At what expense?"

I am not speaking here of the relative cost of personal Internet Privacy.

What 'real world' (my choice of words) ... what 'real world' issues are being pushed aside in favor of concerns about Internet Privacy? What slight percentage of the Family of Man can afford to be concerned about Internet Privacy?

Hungry families also face tough choices
between food and basic necessities:
• 41% of households had to choose between paying
for food and paying for utilities and heating fuel
• 32% had to choose between paying for food and
paying for medicine or medical care
• 18% had to choose between paying for food and
paying for rent or mortgage
This is certainly only one example. It is not "exciting". It doesn't have political "sex" appeal. So this and other issue stand in the shadow of Internet Privacy? At what expense?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Cat Stevens Yusuf Islam Father and Son 2007

Just another FaceBook in the crowd (2)

The Saint, my wife of some twenty-fourish years, is a Scrabble addict. Very early in the morning and very late at night she is found staring bleary eyed at an assortment of consonants and not enough vowels. She plays against the computer because ... well, it is just more convenient. (I am not even sure of the program she plays - I could find out if I took the time.) One thing is clear - the price per game per play has fallen to the point where the author should consider paying her to play the game. My point is that she has gotten much more than her initial capital outlay for the game AND she doesn't have to pay for it again and again and again.

Out of curiosity I am now going to open another Firefox tab, enter some cryptic Google criteria and see if... Aha! Just as I thought... Internet Scrabble Club ... I registered my user name, password and my e-mail address. Downloaded the java interface and BINGO! Er, uh, I mean... SCRABBLE!

Now wait just a tile-sorting minute... I am not advocating the ISC. Not even if I were to get a triple word score for "apostate" or some such... My point is that we don't need contrived SocialSewingCircles or Walled-Gardens when the Internet is the greater "social network". Marshall McLuhan and Pogo were/are right: "We have met the message and it is us."

It is only when self-serving bottom-line profit-margin hyphenated-a$$holes attempt to extract their pound of flesh that we end up "needing" social communities. In part it is our own failings. We want to belong. We want to belong to something other than the greater population. So Monied interests pander to our desires, our wants and our fears. All the while putting advertisements in front of our eye-balls.

And while I am on a rant&roll ... how about those purveyors of "Love"? Purveying and preying on the most vulnerable, those "lookin' fer love [in all the wrong places]." Preying on the most basic, deep seated, human need/desire... to be loved. Offering the man or woman of your dreams... s/he is just a click away. Just enter all your vital statistics, all your private information, all your deepest secrets...and Oh yeah, your credit card number and we will fix you right up. "Step right up, ...

Step right up
step right up
step right up
Everyone's a winner, bargains galore
That's right, you too can be the proud owner
Of the quality goes in before the name goes on
One-tenth of a dollar

It is as if the world was too big, the universe too vast, the Internet too ... too something-or-other... we need to be members of some smaller order, some familiar covenant, some little comfort zone. We want to belong and the only way we can make that distinction for ourselves is with a small lapel pin label: FaceBookMySpaceEtAl. When in fact we are all engaged in the greatest social network known to mankind: The Internet.

. . .