Wednesday, March 18, 2009
CALGARY - A crowd of roughly 400 noisy protestors gathered outside the Telus Convention Centre in downtown Calgary on Tuesday to demonstrate against a noon address by former U.S. president George W. Bush.
Blowing whistles and chanting "war criminal," demonstrators carried signs and shouted "shame on you" at people attending the event at a cost of $400 each.
At the protest pinnacle, four people were arrested. One man tried to enter the convention centre and was turned back by police. After a second person was arrested, two more protesters were taken into custody. One kicked the side of a police van.
Another was taken to the ground in the middle of Centre Street as a crowd gathered around shouting for police to let him go.
Police viewed the protest as largely peaceful and say they didn't push demonstrators out from in front of the convention centre door as they worried that would cause more chaos.
Duty inspector Rob Williams also said they didn't contemplate closing down that part of the Stephen Avenue to only those with tickets to Bush's speech.
Protester Orest Slepokura from Strathmore had a sign comparing disgraced U.S. financier Bernie Madoff to George W. Bush.
"Of the two, I would say that Bernie Madoff comes off almost saintly by comparison."
The Obama administration signalled today that it was ready to repudiate the prohibition and "war on drugs" approach of previous presidents, and steer policy towards prevention and "harm reduction" strategies favoured by Europe.
David Johnson, an assistant secretary of state, said the new administration would embrace policies supporting federally funded needle exchanges. The aim, he said, was to establish a policy based on public health needs. "This will result in a policy that is broader and stronger than the one we had in the past," Johnson said on the sidelines of a UN drug strategy conference in Vienna.
His words come days after the nomination of the Seattle police chief, Gil Kerlikowske, to the post of director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the nation's drug czar. Kerlikowske has built a reputation in Seattle for pursuing drug policies based on harm reduction. The state has an established needle exchange programme, has legalised marijuana for medicinal purposes and has made marijuana among the lowest priorities for law enforcement.
In a further sign of a new approach in Washington, congressional committee hearings last week heard lawmakers argue for a shift in national drug policy, largely in response to the rising drug-related violence seeping into the US from Mexico.
Those hearings followed a report by the former presidents of Mexico, Colombia and Brazil, which dubbed the war on drugs a "complete failure". Ernesto Zedillo, César Gaviria and Henrique Cardoso, all conservative politicians, blamed the US emphasis on criminalisation for the continuing toll caused by drug trafficking, and called for an approach based on public health, including the legalisation of marijuana.
By Jennifer Saba
NEW YORK More than half of the top 30 newspaper Web sites gained double-digit percentages of visitors in February, according to new data from Nielsen Online.
The number of unique visitors grew 36% year-over-year to 8.4 million at the Los Angeles Times.
USAToday.com said in a release that its 25% increase of readers in February was due to the Tech section of the site and popular stories. Visitors to the Tech section rose 100% to 1.9 million, according to USA Today. It also cites its coverage of the economic stimulus package, the Octuplet mom and Rihanna for drawing in readers.
The number of uniques at the Orlando Sentinel spiked 57% to 1.5 million. At the N.Y. Daily News, the number of visitors increased 38% to 4.9 million.
For those keeping track of the Web sites of the Seattle Times and its former sister the Seattle Post-Intelligencer: The number of uniques at the P-I fell 19% to 1.8 million users. The Seattle Times lost 25% of its visitors year-over-year with a total of 1.5 million uniques in February.
Kansas.com, the web site of The Wichita Eagle, made an appearance on the list in February with 2.7 million uniques.
Below is the latest list of top 30 newspaper Web sites based on U.S. panels and ranked by unique users for February. The percent change compares February 2009 to February 2008. Also keep in mind there are several reasons why traffic fluctuates, including news events.
For January's top 30 list, go here.
NYTimes.com -- 20,126,000 -- 6%
USATODAY.com -- 13,430,000 -- 27%
washingtonpost.com -- 9,240,000 -- (-12%)
LA Times -- 8,421,000 -- 36%
Wall Street Journal Online -- 6,842,000 -- 13%
Boston.com -- 5,659,000 -- 15%
New York Post -- 5,121,000 -- 23%
N.Y. Daily News Online Edition -- 4,924,000 -- 38%
Chicago Tribune -- 4,016,000 -- 22%
Politico -- 3,726,000 -- 29%
Atlanta Journal-Constitution -- 3,536,000 -- 20%
SFGate.com/San Francisco Chronicle -- -- 3,321,000 -- (-25%)
The Houston Chronicle -- 3,117,000 -- 17%
Newsday -- 3,110,000 -- (-20%)
Kansas.com -- 2,782,000 -- N/A
Star Tribune -- 2,442,000 -- 16%
International Herald Tribune -- 2,372,000 -- (-9%)
The Washington Times -- 2,349,000 -- 39%
Village Voice Media -- 2,226,000 -- (-11%)
Chicago Sun-Times -- 2,183,000 -- (-1%)
DallasNews.com - The Dallas Morning News -- 2,082,000 -- 2%
Seattle Post-Intelligencer -- 1,839,000 -- (-19%)
MercuryNews.com -- 1,679,000 -- 34%
Azcentral.com -- 1,576,000 -- (-41%)
The San Diego Union-Tribune -- 1,569,000 -- (-1%)
Orlando Sentinel -- 1,533,000 -- 57%
The Seattle Times -- 1,532,000 -- (-25%)
NJ.com -- 1,508,000 -- 24%
Detroit Free Press -- 1,500,000 -- 12%
The Sacramento Bee -- 1,489,000 -- 13%
The Obama administration will support a United Nations declaration affirming that sexual orientation and gender identity are included in international human rights protections, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday evening.
According to officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because Congress was still being notified, the Obama administration had reviewed the reasons why the Bush administration opposed the declaration, and decided to notify the French sponsors that the United States would support it.
One official said that the United States was concerned about "violence and human rights abuses against gay, lesbian, transsexual and bisexual individuals" and was also "troubled by the criminalization of sexual orientation in many countries."
The United States did not join more than 60 countries that signed the historic declaration in December, putting the country in the company of gay rights opponents such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Uganda, and the Vatican. The Bush administration rejected the non-binding declaration on technical legal grounds concerning federal and state jurisdiction over gay rights.
by Andy in Printing Technology
We have scoured the web for the most unusual, random and downright fascinating printing-related articles out there. We start with a playful look at the more frivolous side of ink innovation and swiftly move on to some industry advances that could make a real difference to the environment. Next, we explore how printing is being applied to microelectronics and finish off with a look at a printing application that could change the lives of millions of people in the most dramatic of ways. Who said printing's boring?
1. Edible Ink
Not a lot of people know this, but if you take a photograph down to the bakery section of your local supermarket, they'll print it onto a birthday cake for you. They don't use traditional printer ink because it's poisonous, not unlike some of the other artificial additives and flavourings found in a supermarket birthday cake. They use edible ink, which is non-toxic, but definitely does not count towards your 5-a-day!
The Californian company Kopykake have created edible ink cartridges (the ink's edible, not the cartridge) that can be used in your home Canon or Epson printer. For the non-paper eaters amongst us, they also sell edible Frosting Sheets to print onto. Kopykake's edible ink cartridges will not clog your printer heads and what's more, they're certified as Kosher.
2. DNA Ink
Great writers never really die; they live on forever in their work. Mr Yoshida, President of Tokyo's Ko-sin Printing, has taken this idea to the next level. He has created a new type of ink that contains the author's genetic footprint, providing an altogether less disturbing alternative to penning a love letter in one's own blood. DNA is extracted painlessly from a human (or animal) hair or nail, and then mixed with ordinary ink to create DNA-enriched ink: the ultimate in vanity press.
The DNA doesn't alter the ink's appearance, but through scientific analysis it's possible to extract genetic information from any material printed in this way. DNA-enriched ink has already been used to add a personal touch to several self-published autobiographies. Perhaps in the future, this technology could be used to authenticate genuine works of art, or even store the genetic makeup of endangered species in books and leaflets, so that one day they can be resurrected, post extinction, a la Jurassic Park. Or perhaps, that's a little too far-fetched!
3. Disappearing Ink
The Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) created the PC, inkjet printing, Ethernet networking and the mouse, only to have these creations 'stolen' by other companies. PARC has now developed a new product, 'disappearing ink', which it believes will prove just as revolutionary. Let's hope they can take all of the credit this time.
Disappearing ink is something of a misnomer: there's actually no ink involved in the process. Instead, paper is coated with photosensitive chemicals that darken when exposed to UV light produced by a special printer. Whatever is printed onto the page fades away after 24 hours. If the paper needs to be re-used more quickly, the printer can erase the paper's image instantly. This photosensitive paper can be used an infinite number of times, so long as it doesn't become crumpled or torn, saving energy, money and the environment in the process.
4. Eco Ink
The Big Print, a printing company in Seattle, have become one of the first to trial a new eco friendly type of ink that, unlike traditional petroleum-based inks, is both renewable and biodegradable. This 'eco ink' is made from ethyl lactate, which is derived from corn, a renewable resource that is available in abundance in the USA.
The large format printing industry creates massive amounts of waste. The Big Print alone produce 1 million square feet of material each year. The use of eco friendly ink is a huge step towards making the industry more sustainable and environmentally friendly. The Big Print, which currently uses the corn-based ink in 10% of their printed output, maintains that its use does not affect print quality. Despite it being more expensive at present, they are investing in new machinery so that they can use even more of the ink in the near future.
Californian company, Nanosolar, make solar cells: devices that convert sunlight directly into electricity. They are currently building the world's largest solar cell factory in San Jose, which covers an area of 140,000 square feet. They have created an ingenious type of ink that makes it possible to print the CIGS (copper indium gallium selenide) semiconductor of a high-performance solar cell, making mass production quicker and easier.
The nanoink contains the CIGS semiconductor material, which consists of four elements in exactly the right atomic ratios. The mix of nanoparticles in the ink locks in these ratios so that they are correct, wherever the ink is deposited. Rolls of semi-conductors can be printed at a time onto a metal foil substrate.
6. Silver Nanoparticle Ink
A research team at the University of Illinois have developed a new type of silver-based ink, made from silver nanoparticles, which can be used to create microelectrodes that carry signals between circuit elements. These unique printed microelectrodes can be stretched and bent repeatedly with little change in their electrical properties. The university team has managed to print silver microelectrodes with minimum widths of just 2 microns.
To produce printed features, the team uses a highly concentrated silver ink that's forced out through a tapered cylindrical nozzle attached to a micropositioning stage. The ink's bonded by being heated to a temperature of 150°C, low enough for flexible, organic substrates to be used. Because the process uses minimal contact pressure, it can bond silver features onto extremely delicate devices.
7. Gold 'Fountain Pen' Ink
A Swiss-US research team has devised a method, known as the 'fountain pen', for depositing gold nanoparticle ink stripes as thin as 5 microns. The stripes are solidified by illumination with an argon laser. Fascinatingly, the stripes' elctrical properties can be customised by changing the laser's power and scanning speed, providing an exciting new way of creating miniature resistors and conductive tracks for flexible electronics. At present, inkjet printing can create stripes no thinner than 50 microns.
The 'fountain pen' is a pulled glass pipette that's placed 2 microns above a glass substrate. The ink inside contains gold particles (2-4 nm in diameter) in toluene, a clear, water-insoluble liquid. The laser is beamed from underneath the substrate, directly below the pipette, onto the newly printed structure.
8. Bio Ink
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania have used a type of inkjet printer to simultaneously grow different tissues from the stem cells of mice. The inkjet device shoots various 'bio ink' patterns of growth factor proteins onto stem cells. By using different print heads and patterns, the stem cells can be directed to become different types of tissues.
The team has already managed to grow muscle and bone in the same dish, the first time more than one type of tissue has been grown from a single population of stem cells. They are now investigating 'bio ink' patterns that will grow other tissues found in the human body.
The researchers hope that this technology can one-day be used to repair various tissues at the same time. This will be of particular benefit to those who suffer from joint problems and other conditions that damage cartilage, bone, muscle and fat simultaneously.
|by Erin Rosa|
While the nation's economy flounders, business is booming for The GEO Group Inc., a private prison firm that is paid millions by the U.S. government to detain undocumented immigrants and other federal inmates. In the last year and a half, GEO announced plans to add a total of at least 3,925 new beds to immigration lockups in five locations. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency and the U.S. Marshals Service, which hire the company, will fill the beds with inmates awaiting court and deportation proceedings.
"The great Oz as spoken! Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain! I am the great and powerful Wizard of Oz!"
In refreshing contrast to the impenetrable writings of economists, the classic fairytale The Wizard of Oz has delighted young and old for over a century. It was first published by L. Frank Baum as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in 1900. In 1939, it was made into a hit Hollywood movie starring Judy Garland, and later it was made into the popular stage play The Wiz. Few of the millions who have enjoyed this charming tale have suspected that its imagery was drawn from that most obscure and tedious of subjects, banking and finance. Fewer still have suspected that the real-life folk heroes who inspired its plot may have had the answer to the financial crisis facing the country today!
The economic allusions in Baum's tale were first observed in 1964 by a schoolteacher named Henry Littlefield, who called the story "a parable on Populism," referring to the People's Party movement challenging the banking monopoly in the late nineteenth century. Other analysts later picked up the theme. Economist Hugh Rockoff, writing in the Journal of Political Economy in 1990, called the story a "monetary allegory." Professor Tim Ziaukas, writing in 1998, stated:
"The Wizard of Oz" . . . was written at a time when American society was consumed by the debate over the "financial question," that is, the creation and circulation of money. . . . The characters of "The Wizard of Oz" represented those deeply involved in the debate: the Scarecrow as the farmers, the Tin Woodman as the industrial workers, the Lion as silver advocate William Jennings Bryan and Dorothy as the archetypal American girl.
The Germans established the national fairytale tradition with Grimm's Fairy Tales, a collection of popular folklore gathered by the Brothers Grimm specifically to reflect German populist traditions and national values. Baum's tale did the same thing for the American populist (or people's) tradition. The Wizard of Oz has been called "the first truly American fairytale." It was all about people power, manifesting your dreams, finding what you wanted in your own backyard. According to Littlefield, the march of Dorothy and her friends to the Emerald City to petition the Wizard of Oz for help was patterned after the 1894 march from Ohio to Washington of an "Industrial Army" led by Jacob Coxey, urging Congress to return to the Greenback system initiated by Abraham Lincoln. The march of Coxey's Army on Washington began a long tradition of people taking to the streets in peaceful protest when there seemed no other way to voice their appeals. As Lawrence Goodwin, author of The Populist Moment, described the nineteenth century movement to change the money system:
[T]here was once a time in history when people acted. . . . [F]armers were trapped in debt. They were the most oppressed of Americans, they experimented with cooperative purchasing and marketing, they tried to find their own way out of the strangle hold of debt to merchants, but none of this could work if they couldn't get capital. So they had to turn to politics, and they had to organize themselves into a party. . . . [T]he populists didn't just organize a political party, they made a movement. They had picnics and parties and newsletters and classes and courses, and they taught themselves, and they taught each other, and they became a group of people with a sense of purpose, a group of people with courage, a group of people with dignity.
Like the Populists, Dorothy and her troop discovered that they had the power to solve their own problems and achieve their own dreams. The Scarecrow in search of a brain, the Tin Man in search of a heart, the Lion in search of courage actually had what they wanted all along. When the Wizard's false magic proved powerless, the Wicked Witch was vanquished by a defenseless young girl and her little dog. When the Wizard disappeared in his hot air balloon, the unlettered Scarecrow took over as leader of Oz.
The Wizard of Oz came to embody the American dream and the American national spirit. In the United States, the land of abundance, all you had to do was to realize your potential and manifest it. That was one of the tale's morals, but it also contained a darker one, a message for which its imagery has become a familiar metaphor: that there are invisible puppeteers pulling the strings of the puppets we see on the stage, in a show that is largely illusion.
Jon Stewart made the case.
Now we're demanding action.
"You knew what the banks were doing, and yet were touting it for months and months. The entire network was." — Jon Stewart
These now-legendary words were a wake-up call. We're asking you to wake up.
Americans need CNBC to do strong, watchdog journalism – asking tough questions to Wall Street, debunking lies, and reporting the truth. Instead, CNBC has done PR for Wall Street. You've been so obsessed with getting "access" to failed CEOs that you willfully passed on misinformation to the public for years, helping to get us into the economic crisis we face today.
You screwed up badly. Don't apologize – fix it!
CNBC should publicly declare that its new overriding mission will be responsible journalism that holds Wall Street accountable. As a down payment, we ask you to hire some new economic voices – people who have a track record of being right about the economic crisis and holding Wall Street executives' feet to the fire.
Please show us that you hear our voices loud and clear.
Clay Shirky has a brilliant essay that thinks the unthinkable. "The people committed to saving newspapers," he writes, "[demand] to know 'If the old model is broken, what will work in its place?' To which the answer is: Nothing. Nothing will work. There is no general model for newspapers to replace the one the internet just broke."
Be careful: That's not to say there's no model for The New York Times. We're not going to lose the news that everyone wants. Americans will not be deprived of Gallup poll numbers or Stupid Politician Tricks or write-ups of the Obama administration's financial regulation plans. Quite the opposite: The trend is to have more of that news from more different sources than at any other point in human history. Rather, we're going to lose the news that few people want. There's no obvious model for the Baltimore Sun. We're losing the reporting that's subsidized by the audience that comes for the national news coverage but does not result in stories that large audiences are actually interested in reading. The local stories and targeted investigations. The stuff that wasn't read but really mattered.
The news business, we all agree, is an inefficient enterprise. But it has benevolent inefficiencies. Not every story in the paper maximizes readership and thus advertising revenue. The low-readership stories, however, aren't misfires. They're aimed at a different audience: Empowered elites. They make the political system aware of problems, or they alert the political system to the fact that other people are aware of problems. A story uncovering Medicare payment fraud, for instance, is not an effort to capture the largest possible readership but to force the relevant regulators to act. The intended audience is about four dozen people, and the hundreds of thousands of subscribers who don't really care about that article but nevertheless see it are the leverage forcing the four dozen to act.
As the business becomes more streamlined, however, it is jettisoning these inefficiencies. If you have to sell the news -- rather than sell a local advertising monopoly -- you can't put resources into stories that don't perform. And so you won't. The Politico is a good model for congressional coverage but a bad model for investigative content. The response to that problem by many is that we must save newspapers. But on this, I agree with Shirky. We can't save newspapers. Not as currently constructed. And nor should that even be the goal.
"Society doesn't need newspapers," writes Shirky. "What we need is journalism. For a century, the imperatives to strengthen journalism and to strengthen newspapers have been so tightly wound as to be indistinguishable. That's been a fine accident to have, but when that accident stops, as it is stopping before our eyes, we're going to need lots of other ways to strengthen journalism instead. When we shift our attention from 'save newspapers' to 'save society', the imperative changes from 'preserve the current institutions' to 'do whatever works.' And what works today isn't the same as what used to work."
This isn't going over well in some circles.
Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page said, "People feel uncommonly saddened, miffed and burned.
"I don't think he understands the implications of not coming to the club in the first year. It's not your ordinary state dinner. I think it would be helpful for him and his relations with the Washington establishment to come to the club."
Beyond bruised feelings among the pundit class, Obama's snub is a revealing cultural moment.
Gridiron has for decades been an inner sanctum of Washington's political press corps. The club's mostly aging members were considered highly prestigious because they said so -- and because they had the ability to summon the capital's political elite to a spring frolic of skits and songs.
But if a young and glamorous president decides he can afford to blow off an august and tradition-bound institution, one has to at least entertain the possibility that this institution may not be quite as august as its members assumed.
Yes, and what a tragedy that would be.
Never heard of him? Well, you need to hear all about him.
This numbnut has actually written a bill that would essentially give full "personhood" to any fertilized egg. This misguided fool, in his zeal to outlaw abortion, has actually crafted a law that will have more negative unintended consequences than anything proposed in many years, if it's taken seriously at all by his fellow representatives in North Dakota. Check out the beginning of this piece of crap:
A BILL for an Act to provide for equality and rights to all human beings at every stage of biological development; to create and enact two new sections to chapter 12.1-17, relating to the crimes of dismemberment and torture; to amend and reenact subsection 3 of section 12.1-20-03, section 12.1-20-11, subsection 2 of section 12.1-20-17, and section 12.1-27.2-04.1 of the North Dakota Century Code, relating to penalties for crimes against born alive children; to
provide legislative intent; and to provide a penalty.
Do you get that, folks? First off, check out the "every stage of biological development" phrase. Talk about draconian. That gives full human rights to every single fertilized egg. Think that's funny and sad? Well, it's not. What it means is simple; an overzealous cop or prosecutor can throw a woman in jail for taking a "morning after" pill. It could technically make the birth control pill illegal., since most birth control pills essentially cause a miscarriage. It could actually create a situation in which a woman is tried for manslaughter for a miscarriage, especially if she didn't realize she was pregnant, and didn't take her prenatal vitamins. And how would you like to be involved in a fender bender with a woman at some point, and have some woman make a claim in court that she was two weeks pregnant, and produces a blastocyst to prove you guilty of wrongful death?
Not only that, but what does that do to stem cell research? Hell; who's responsible if an attempt at in vitro fertilization doesn't take?
What the hell is wrong with these people?
Well, consider the source.
First of all, he's a man. That should automatically disqualify him from writing reproduction legislation. Second of all, he's a proud member of the Roman Catholic Church, and has – are you ready? – TEN kids. And look at him; he LOOKS like a prig who would try to tell women to stay pregnant against their will, even though he probably doesn't understand how babies are made, anyway.
I know it looks like I'm making light of this, but I'm not. This is a very dangerous precedent that could take hold in a country where half the goddamn judges are right wing hacks. We have to fight this sort of thing, and fight it hard!
And by the way, this bill has already passed the North Dakota House 51-41, and is now being considered in the Senate. Time for action on this should have been weeks ago.