Saturday, May 29, 2010

Friday, May 28, 2010

Senators Propose...

I wanted to write a scathing diatribe about the revocation of personal rights and freedoms.  I wanted to talk about the knee-jerk reactions of closing-the-barn-door politicians.  I wanted to rail against the addled If-you-disagree-with-this-you-must-be-a-terrorist-too mind set.  I wanted to escape the fear and paranoia perspectives of my fellow country men and women.

Instead I guess I will just keep my mouth shut and take careful notes about my neighbors, and the other members of the congregation, and doings at the Rotary Club, not to mention the Chamber of Commerce...oh and that curious fellow that runs the QuickieMart.  Can't be too careful you know. 

Citing the Times Square bombing suspect, who used a prepaid cell phone, two Senators have proposed legislation that would end anonymous use of prepaid mobile phone service. 

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A case of Big Iron-ic

Scientists devise algorithm to detect sarcasm
A computer algorithm capable of identifying sarcasm in written text has 
been developed by Israeli researchers. The novel formula could pave the 
way for more sophisticated communication between humans and computers. 

Devised by computer scientists at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, 
the algorithm has been programmed to recognise sarcasm in lengthy texts 
by analysing patterns of phrases and punctuation often used to indicate 
irony. In tests on 66,000 product reviews posted on the Amazon shopping 
website, the algorithm had an impressive 77 per cent success rate in 
picking out sarcastic comments - arguably higher than some humans. 

The researchers 'trained' the algorithm to recognise sarcasm by teaching 
it nearly 5,500 sentences from Amazon reviews that volunteers had marked 
as either sarcastic or non-sarcastic. From this list of phrases, the 
algorithm was taught to recognise patterns of words commonly used by 
writers to show that they do not mean to be taken literally. 

The algorithm was tested on tens of thousands of other Amazon reviews 
which had also been tagged for sarcasm, or otherwise, by human readers. 
It produced accurate answers in 77% of cases.

Full story: Daily Telegraph
Published: May 19, 2010

Reposted from UNU-Merit newsletter...

UNU-MERIT is a joint research and training centre of United Nations University (UNU) andMaastricht University, The Netherlands.

The joint Institute was created on 1 January 2006 following the integration of the former UNU-Institute for New Technologies (INTECH) in Maastricht , and the Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology, MERIT, at Maastricht University .

UNU-MERIT provides insights into the social, political and economic factors that drive technological change and innovation. The Centre's research and training programmes address a broad range of policy questions relating to the national and international governance of science, technology and innovation, with a particular focus on the creation, diffusion and access to knowledge.

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Zappa Statue

Frank Zappa statue to go near Highlandtown library

frank zappa statueSo the Public Art Committee finally found a home forthat Frank Zappa statue: Outside the Southeast Anchor Library, a branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Highlandtown.

The bust of Zappa (who was born in Baltimore) will go up sometime next year, according to committee chair Anne Perkins.

"We think this is a great place for it -- a terrific neighborhood" Perkins said. "I think it will be the focal point for a lot of really fun festivals." 

Here's a link to the full story.

At first, I was a little surprised at the site they chose. Highlandtown might get a decent amount of foot traffic, but probably not as much as the other sites they were considering -- such as Fells Point.

And besides the Creative Alliance, Highlandtown really isn't known for its arts and entertainment..  

Then I spoke with Zappa's widow, Gail, who cleared things up for me ...

Gail said Zappa would have liked the location, because his mother, Rose Marie, was a librarian. Gail actually lobbied to have the bust placed near a city library.

"I'm thrilled," she said. "That's where he went to school, in the library. The library was a really important place for him in his teen years."

I asked her if Zappa would have even wanted a bust of himself anywhere, let alone in Baltimore, and she laughed.

"It's the ultimate bust, isn't it?," she said. "It's a beautiful, beautiful bust. I couldn't be more pleased with the outcome. It's stunning. It really represents Frank's character beautifully."

(Pictured is a Zappa statue in Lithuania, similar to the Baltimore statue. AP photo.)

(Fine Print: If you would rather not receive my blathering
 and such please let me know and I will remove you from my list.)

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WOW! Just freakin' WOW!

New Method of Pressure on Journalists

Russia: Taking Children as a New Method of Pressure on Journalists


By Gregory Asmolov
Children of Galina Dmitrieva, an oppositionary journalist and activist, were taken by Russian police after she published an investigation about Russian car manufacturer Avtovaz [EN], Anatoliy Baranov reported[RUS]. After instant blog-campaign her children were returned. Blogger Marina Litvinovich suggests [RUS] this method was used before against at least one oppositionary journalist.
This is reprehensible!  Regardless of the influence, good or bad, on the adult journalist what does trauma like this to do children?  

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lessons on Life

10:30 AM Tuesday May 25, 2010 
by Adi Ignatius 

A couple of weeks ago, my remarkable brother in law, John Tarbell, died in New York City.

John [didn't have] time to finish his most important project: a comprehensive guide to how to live a good life. It was something he spent years working on for an audience of one: his only child, a daughter, now 15


1. Seek out a mentor — possibly someone who was involved in your hiring process. Learn what to expect two or three years ahead and prepare for it.

2. Assume the behavior and habits of the people at the next level, and you will demonstrate that you can get there.

3. Whatever you do, be sure your involvement and actions' ethics and results will look honorable and wise if they appear in the right hand column of the Wall Street Journal's front page. They just might.

4. ''Try to find out what you're good at, and have a passion for, and get someone to pay you for doing it'' — advice I was given early on, and it has always proved to be the path for success and, just as importantly, happiness.

5. The first job is rarely anything but a start. Do the best you can, try to work with people you like and admire, and hope for the best. In your lifetime, you may change jobs, if not your career path, many times.

6. Avoid bosses who promise promotions and advancement but who take credit for your work. They won't fulfill their promises to you.

7. Save for a rainy day and always be able to support yourself. You can lose everything in a flash, and scenarios of financial adversity do present themselves in life, even to the best prepared.

8. Avoid speculative ventures. If making money were easy, everyone would be wealthy. If someone can't answer all your questions and ''what ifs,'' there's something wrong.

Adi Ignatius is the Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Business Review Group.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

gapingvoid cartoon #91 - 'Thank You' May 25, 2010

Iran: Student activist started hunger strike

By Hamid Tehrani

Majid Tavakoli, Iranian student actvist, started his hunegr strike in prison in Tehran. Sight writes [fa] “Tavakoli is not only a name. He is a legned. He started his hunger strike but the world does not pay attention.”

Hundreds of Iranian men have dressed as women in Hijab to support Majid Tavakoli, a student activist who was arrested on December 7, and express solidarity with women. Iranian authorities claim Mr. Tavakoli was dressed as a woman to escape after delivering a speech in Tehran on Student Day.

However, human rights activists in Iran have published a report from an eyewitness saying: “All the pictures published by the state media are false and a clear use of immoral means against student and civil activists in Iran.”

Hundreds of Iranian men are now dressed as women in their FaceBook profiles. Here is a YouTube video in support of Majid that has collected some of these photos (begins after 42 seconds).

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Zappos Values

Zappos Values as reported by Harvard Business Review

We eventually came up with our final list of 10 core values, which we still use today:

  1. Deliver WOW Through Service
  2. Embrace and Drive Change
  3. Create Fun and A Little Weirdness
  4. Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
  5. Pursue Growth and Learning
  6. Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
  7. Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
  8. Do More With Less
  9. Be Passionate and Determined
  10. Be Humble

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Before the Deployment

by Jehanne Dubrow

He kisses me before he goes. While I, 
still dozing, half-asleep, laugh and rub my face 

against the sueded surface of the sheets, 
thinking it’s him I touch, his skin beneath 

my hands, my body curving in to meet 
his body there. I never hear him leave. 

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Chrome Extension Of The Day (CEOTD): Frame Two Pages

Frame Two Pages - Once you click at the extension's icon, the current tab will be merged with the previous one (on the left) into a frameset with two columns (frames) or rows (options offer 3 buttons: rows/columns/ad_hoc). They'll be ordered in the same way as the tabs (left, right).

In other words, your physical screen will be split into two areas.

If the current window only has one tab, you'll be asked about the URL of the left frame.

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