Links

Amazon Gold Box Deals - Monday, April 21, 2014


Lots of deals, not just books. See Today's Amazon Deals



04/21/2014 11:07 am Link ID: 04212014-140


Environment

Obama Delays Keystone Pipeline . . Again


Once again, President Obama has thrown a bone to the extremists in his base, by delaying the Keystone pipeline again. There is no valid reason to stop this. The oil is still coming into the US by rail and truck, which is far more dangerous that any pipeline. And energy independence used to be an important goal for the United States.


President Obama may understand how ridiculous his position is, and he does this anyway, to placate the idiot celebrities who oppose the pipeline, or, the President may be as ignorant as the rest of the extreme environmentalists.


FOXNEWS: Obama says No to Keystone Pipeline
THINKPROGRESS: Keystone delayed until after elections in November
USATODAY: Keystone Pipeline delayed - again
ABCNews: US Delays Review of Contentious Keystone Pipeline
Obama Running Out of Reasons to Reject Keystone XL

04/18/2014 5:22 pm Link ID: 04182014-137


News

News Summary - April 18, 2014


A 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit Mexico today.

A large 7.5 earthquake struck Mexico, near Acapulco. There are no reports of injuries or damage at this time. Mexico City felt the quake for about 30 seconds.


The quake occurred at 9:27 am local time (Central Time), (10:278 ET).


In 1985 there was a magnitude 8.1 earthquake that killed 6,000 people


FOXNEWS: Earthquake hits near Acapulco, Mexico.
CNN: 7.5 magnitude earthquake strikes southern Mexico
ABCNews: Earthquake shakes Mexican Capital
NBCNews: 7.5 Earthquake strikes Mexico
USGD Maps and Summary

Arrest Warrant for Korean Ferry Boat Captain --- Vice-Principal of School, who had been rescued from Ferry, found hanged

An arrest warrant was issued for the captain of the ferry boat that sank near South Korea. 28 people are confirmed dead and nearly 270 are missing. Most of the missing are high school students.


Investigators say that the captain was not at the wheel when the boat capsized. Another man rescued from the ship was a high school vice-principal who was later found hung from a tree. It is presumed that he took his own life.


CNN: South Korea Ship Sinking
FOXNEWS: Arrest warrant sought for ferry captain; rescued school official found hanged.
ABCNews: Vice-Principal saved from Korean ferry found hanged
Disgraced captain left bridge in the ferry that sank
NBCNews: 30 minute evacuation delay trapped dozens
Arrest warrant sought for captain of doomed South Korean ferry

12 Dead, 4 Missing in Mt. Everest Avalanche

CNN: Avalanche kills 12 in single deadliest accident on Mount Everest
FOXNEWS: Avalanche sweeps Everest

04/18/2014 11:15 am Link ID: 04182014-136


Tech

Will Robots Take Our Jobs?


What if technology has become a substitute for labor, rather than its complement?

Automation has created as many jobs as it has eliminated, so far. But there is a growing concern that robots and computers will take away more jobs than they replace. Certainly, the new jobs involved in managing automation are better paying than many of the jobs being replaced, but they also require more skill.


Clerical work was taken over by computers some time ago. Many paper-handlers have had to learn new jobs. But this has also created new jobs in tech support and programming. The bean-counters use Excel instead of ledger paper. They have become proficient in several software apps. People have learned new skills to keep themselves valuable.


Assembly line work used to be considered tedious and de-humanizing. But then it started to pay well, especially in the automotive industry. It was ripe for take over by robots and it has displaced workers. Robots are even doing jobs in the military. And this is expected to increase. The goal is to replace infantry troops with robots. And how will that change warfare? Is there even a reason to have soldiers (robots) shooting at each other, or is cyberwar where we are going. Why shoot at an armed robot when I can mess with its software and make it harmless?


The possibilities are beyond the technology. The social, political and economic issues are just starting to be discovered.


Humans have five core competencies as far as the world of work is concerned:

* Moving things with large muscles.

* Finely manipulating things with small muscles.

* Using our hands, mouths, brains, eyes, and ears to ensure that ongoing processes and procedures happen the way that they are supposed to.

* Engaging in social reciprocity and negotiation to keep us all pulling in the same direction.

* Thinking up new things – activities that produce outcomes that are necessary, convenient, or luxurious – for us to do.


Machines have largely taken over the first two skills. And I don't ever think machines will replace the fifth item. Creativity and new ideas don't exist in machines, at least none that I have ever seen. In spite of their speed of calculation, they are really not smart, not in the sense that a creative person is smart.


Societies adapt to disruptive changes. Sometimes, like our present, the changes are happening very fast the the societal norms are playing catch-up. But we have started to anticipate rapid change. I don't see robots taking over and leaving us to starve. We will adapt and not let that happen. The key word is "ADAPT", something a machine can't do without human intervention. ~~ Linda Quinn ~~

04/16/2014 10:48 am Link ID: 04162014-135


Tech

Windows XP Iconic Photo


Everyone knows this picture. But did you know it is a real place? Read the story behind it.


Windows XP
You've seen this photo a million times -- now learn the story behind it.

04/12/2014 9:35 am Link ID: 04122014-134


News

Food Labeling Tricks


I think most of us are aware of these tricks, but here is a detailed article. It's a good read. Seven Food Labeling Tricks Exposed

04/12/2014 9:23 am Link ID: 04122014-133


News

News Summary - April 9, 2014


Stabbing Incident at a Pittsburg Area High School. At Least 20 Injured

We used to think our kids were safe at school, but that has been changing in recent years. Today there was mass stabbing. The details are not clear yet, but it''s hard to imagine stabbing 20 people before being stopped.


Mass stabbings are rare. Unlike a gun, it's hard to hurt so many people with a knife. Apparently some of the victims are in critical condition. Information is still sketchy since this event is still unfolding. No word on the perpetrator, or the victims, except CNN is reporting that ages of the injured range from 14 to 60. We will update as needed.


WTAE-Pittsburgh Action News - Several Students stabbed at Frankliln Regional High School in Murraysville
CBS-PITTSBURGH - Multiple Students Reported Stabbed
CNN - At Least 20 Students Injured in a Stabbing Incident at Pennsylvania High School
At Least 20 Injured After Stabbing

04/09/2014 9:11 am Link ID: 04092014-132


Politics

More on the 77 Cents Myth


The 77 cents story is so old that I am amazed that anyone takes it seriously. I have heard pundits and reports talk about women making less for the same work. There is NO statistic that bears that out. The only way the 77 cents stat works is with all women vs. all men. And that includes so many variables to make it meaningless.

WSJ: The '77 Cents on the Dollar' Myth About Women's Pay
TRIB LIVE: The equal pay ruse: Deceptive stats

04/08/2014 12:44 pm Link ID: 04082014-127


Politics

Obama's Gender Pay Initiative


Who Decides My Salary?

President Obama wants to require businesses to hand over data on pay, broken down by race and gender, to the Labor Department.


Obama Issues Executive Orders

Are there any limits to what this administration wants to control? Salary information has always been guarded in private business. It is thought of as a trade secret. Businesses don't want to share this information with other companies because it would be too easy to poach workers.


The President is unveiling this as part of his Gender Pay Disparity program. He is trying to convince the American public that the system is rigged against them and they are victims. Victims need to be rescued, and that's where the Administration's largess comes to save us all.


Salary is a private contract between and employer and employee. Having marketable skills will give a person leverage in the negotiations. Hard work and accomplishment give an employee advantages during salary negotiation. But now, why work hard, why try? If my employer has to send salary information to the government, broken down by race and gender, the all that counts are the raw numbers. This reporting won't show who is a hard worker and who isn't up to speed. There are many factors that create a "good fit" in the workplace. None of this will show up in a report that shows groups and pay amounts. All that employers will care about in setting salaries is what will keep them out of trouble with the Labor Department.


But who is going to fight this? Probably no one.



04/08/2014 11:50 am Link ID: 04082014-126


World

News Summary - April 8, 2014


Violence and Unrest in Ukraine


Ukraine sees demonstations with pro-Russian and Pro-Ukranian citizens. Tensions are strong. There was a fistfight in the Parliament. There are fears of further conflict.


FOXNEWS: Fistfights in Ukraine Parliament
FOXNEWS: Pro-Russian Demonstrators Loot Ukraine Buildings
REUTERS: Pro-Moscow Protesters Declare Republic; Keiv Fears Invasion
BBC: Ukraine Tries To Retake Buildings
CNN: Russia Warns of Civil War if Ukraine Uses Force


04/08/2014 9:51 am Link ID: 04082014-125


Environment

Trying to Find Common Sense on Energy Policy


The world is in an advanced state of technology that has brought a very high standard of living to most people. This requires energy and windmills and solar panels won&apso;t cut it. Read Debunking a Few Commonly Held Fracking Myths

04/07/2014 9:07 am Link ID: 04072014-124


News

News Summary - April 6, 2014


Oklahoma Earthquake

Seems like earthquakes have been in the news lately.

YAHOO: Oklahoma?

Were there two quakes?

DAILY MAIL: Two Oklahoma earthquakes in a day.

Maylasia Flight 370

China and Australia have heard sounds that might be the ping from the black boxes.

SKY NEWS: Three acoustic signals detected CNN: Searchers race to try to trace sounds detected in ocean

Also in the CNN article: Maylasia government reveals a different flight pattern, around Indonesia. The question is why this information is being announced so late. Are they holding back information? Are they re-analyzing existing data and getting different information?




04/06/2014 9:09 am Link ID: 04062014-123


News

News Summary - April 5, 2014


Possible Malaysia 370 Clue Reported

Chinese Ship has detected pings in the Indian Ocean.
Chinese ship detects 'pulse signal' in search for missing Malaysia Airlines jet, report says
China Ship Hears 'Signal'

Fort Hood shooting updates

Army may never learn motive of Fort Hood rampage
No clear security fixes for Fort Hood violence
Fort Hood commander: 'Escalating argument' preceded deadly shooting

March Jobs Report

Take a look at the charts that show that the jobs numbers are largely meaningless when looking at long term trends.

The Only Jobs Report Post You Need to Read

Japan Orders Military Strike if North Korea Launches Missles

Japan to intercept any North Korea missile deemed a threat

04/05/2014 11:03 am Link ID: 04052014-122


Tech

News Summary - April 4, 2014


Jobs Report is Mixed

The first Friday of each month is when the jobs report for the previous month is released. Today's job report shows that 192,000 jobs were created. But the unemployment rate remained the same at 6.7%.


When counting the long-term unemployed, the unemployment rate is closer to 12.7%, analysts say. And many of these new jobs are low paying jobs that pay around $14.00 an hour. The economy is growing very slowing which is not enough to pull the economy out of the doldrums.


Some analysts blame the bad weather for some of the stagnant results.

Bloomberg on Jobs
Is the Great Recession Really Over?
Reasons to Worry About the March Jobs Report
Don't Try Calling This Jobs Market Report Normal

Bad Weather in the Midwest

The bad winter to 2013-2014 is spilling over into the spring of 2014. Texas and Missouri were hard hit. Strong Storms, tornadoes barrel through central U.S.
Rain and Hail Pummel Several States
States Face Weather Concerns

Photographer Killed and Journalists Injured in Afganistan

The two women were in their car when a man walked up to the car and yelled \"Allahu Akbar\", and fired his AK-47 into the car. AP Photographer Killed.

Fort Hood Shooter had Mental Problems

Fort Hood Gunman Had Unstable Mental Condition.

04/04/2014 3:02 pm Link ID: 04042014-121


Tech

5 Year Old Finds Security Hole in XBox


A little five year old boy was able to bypass a parental control password on his XBox. His Dad had set a password to keep him out of the more violent adult games. But he was able to bypass it quickly. He entered an invalid password, then he entered all spaces, and the XBox let him in.


These kids are growing up with technology and when they are old enough to start companies, the future will be awesome. In the mean time, security holes like this are often found because kids are playing around with the equipment. An adult hacker is trying too hard to find an opening. A kid can just stumble into a security hole. No adult had found this flaw.


Read the article. This kid is not unique. These are the people we will be competing with in twenty years.



04/04/2014 12:09 pm Link ID: 04042014-120


News

A Revolution in Money?


You go to the grocery store, and when you look for the checkout counter there is none. There’s no place to pay for your groceries because you already did.


We really don't use cash very much anymore. Most transactions are sets of bookkeeping entries. And we have seen experiments in non-government money, like Bitcoin, or promotional amounts. An article in the New York Times today talks about how likely this will be.


The idea of money without government backing seems strange, but governments haven&apos:t always been the best caretakers of currency. The book The Downfall of Money: Germany’s Hyperinflation and the Destruction of the Middle Class is an excellent description of a government messing with its currency for short term problem solving.


Another book, When Money Dies: The Nightmare of Deficit Spending, Devaluation, and Hyperinflation in Weimar Germanytells the same story. The parallels with the Weimar Republic in Germany, after World War One, with our modern economic policies, are frightening.



04/02/2014 2:35 pm Link ID: 04022014-119


Tech

Amazon Fire TV


Amazon has releases it's waited for TV box. It's called Amazon Fire TV and it only costs $99.00.


It has access to Amazon Streaming Video, Netflix, Hulu Plus and more.


It has voice activation and can include a game console. If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can watch your Prime Video on your TV.


Take a look at Amazon Fire TV

04/02/2014 12:43 pm Link ID: 04022014-118


News

News Summary - April 2, 2014


Huge Earthquake in Chile

There was an 8.2 earthquake off the coast of Chile last night (April 1, 2014). That is a very large earthquake. There are reports of 5 deaths, mostly from collapsing walls. A tsunami warning was confined to the coasts of Chile and Peru.

You can read more at:
Reuters - Chili Earthquake
CNN
BBC
U.S. Geological Survey

Mudslide in Washington State

Death Toll Hits 29 in Washington Mudslide

Malaysia Flight 370

MH370 Passengers 'Cleared' of Hijack Role, Malaysia Police Say
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 investigation "may go on and on and on" without answer
Malaysian Police: Jet Mystery May Never Be Solved

04/02/2014 10:59 am Link ID: 04022014-117


Entertainment

Amazon To Launch a Video Box


On April 2, 2014, Amazon will be making an announcement. It is expected to be a Video box that will allow you to your computer content on your television.


It will compete with Apple TV, Roku and Google Chromecast. Google Chromecast is only $35.00. I bought a Chromecast and I can watch Netflix and Hulu Plus, as well as view my Google Chrome browser output. Streaming video on my Chrome browser can be played on Chromecast, but not Amazon streaming video.


I watch a lot of Amazon video. They have a great service that doesn't get the attention is deserves. They have recent TV shows, many the day after they air on network. And Amazon's library includes many recent movies. If you signup for Amazon Prime you will get most of these features for free. The Amazon box will surely offer Amazon streaming video. The question is, what will it cost? There isn't any price information yet, but it will surely be competitive with the other devices on the market.


Links:

Amazon Launching Video Box Next Week

Amazon Set Top Box Event

Amazon Media Event

04/01/2014 1:00 am Link ID: 04012014-116


News

Diet Sodas Linked with Heart Disease, Well, Sort Of


"If you torture the data long enough, it will confess."

That old conundrum of correlation vs. causation is back again. CNBC had an article that was picked up by several local news outlets, Diet Drinks Linked with Heart Disease, Death. Except, when you read the article, that's not really what it's saying.


The findings, being presented at a meeting of the American College of Cardiology, don't suggest that the drinks themselves are killers. But women who toss back too many diet sodas may be trying to make up for unhealthy habits, experts say.


Oh, so there is a CORRELATION between Diet Drinks and other unhealthy habits. Maybe there is also a correlation between unhealthy habits and the television shows people watch, or the kind of cars they drive.


The women who drank the most drinks were also more likely to smoke, to be overweight, to have diabetes and to have high blood pressure.


Wow, are they saying that the diet drinks caused the smoking, the weight, and/or diabetes?


The news media loves a sensational headline. But in this story the facts to back it up are laughable at best. Statistics are an abused science.



03/31/2014 1:00 am Link ID: 03312014-115


Tech

Convergence of Apps and Ebooks


There is a convergence coming between ebooks, mobile apps and video. I should add newspapers and magazines as well. With the introduction of the Amazon Fire, ebooks can start to resemble apps. There will be color, animation and maybe even interactivity.

I love my Kindle. It's great for reading text. The e-ink is fantastic. But if I am reading something with graphics and color, I will use the Kindle app on my iPad or iPhone or my desktop. These devices handle color graphics just fine.

But the Kindle Fire will take e-reading to another level. It will have apps available. These will be Android based in the app store. But the Fire will be able to do justice to well designed HTML5 apps.

The Amazon Silk, the browser that will ship with the Fire, supports Webkit. That will enable apps with rich graphics and designs. But Amazon has already announced KF8, the new html and css based spec that Kindle ebooks will use for new books that are rich in graphics. The line between a book and an app will start to blur. The Kindle Fire will have comic books available to read. These wouldn't work well at all on the original Kindle.


03/28/2014 9:37 pm Link ID: 03282014-29


Entertainment

Looking for Entertainment


An interesting article recently, Scarcity is a Sh***y Business Model reinforces the ideas I have had written about - that there is a shortage of good content. At a time when there are more ways to get content than ever before, we still have only the same few sources of content. When I want to relax and watch something, I have TV, including cable, and the latest Hollywood movies. But video content is really lacking. There are a lot of talented amateurs on YouTube, but these are short and sometimes hard to find with the mountains of submissions. The market for longer products, the length of a TV show, for example, or of serialized content, is very real but not being exploited.

There is no shortage of books to read. My Kindle is has a huge library I may never finish reading.

UPDATE: Hulu Plans to Produce Original Shows . Like HBO and Showtime and other cable channels, they are expanding into original content.

The amateur producer doesn\'t have the budget of the big name producers, but I would rather have more content and less gloss. I am convinced there is a huge pool of talent out there that isn\'t being tapped. Companies like Apple, with iTunes, and Amazon should be as proactive with TV and film submissions as Amazon is with seeking independent writers.

03/27/2014 11:41 am Link ID: 03272014-59


Entertainment

Changes in the Publishing World


Amazon has been re-defining the idea of a "book" by introducing the "single" and offering "serials". This is based on the idea that an electronic book can be any length. In the past, it was not cost-effective to print a shorter book. Those would be sold to magazines as short-stories.


There are novellas and shorter novels available at the Kindle store. We have all read books that were too long, that seemed to have been stretched out to meet the acceptable length for a published book. A book can now be the optimal length to tell the story.

E-books have created a market for reading material and new authors that wouldn\'t be read if the old hard-copy publishing world still prevailed.


Original music is being developed for online streaming and downloads. And the app market for mobile devices is open to any one with talent and ideas. With opportunites for writing talent being expanded thanks to digital books, I am waiting for great content to watch on my tablet devices. I wish I had more to choose from than season 2 of a sit-com.



03/27/2014 11:16 am Link ID: 03272014-27


Tech

Will tablets replace the desktop?


The short answer is - Not right away. The desktop has more memory, and the ability to add unlimited external storage. (Of course, the cloud is making internal storage less necessary).

But there is also the advantage of a large, ergonomic keyboard, and a large monitor that stands at eye level in front of me.

The tablet isn't close to that. But it may change when younger generations grow up with tablets and touch screens. The keyboard may seem archaic to them. And the idea of sitting at a desk with a large screen in front of you may look like something their Grandparents did.

We don't know the effect of these technology changes. Those of us who are older have adapted the technology to the way we are used to working. But young children today are getting used to newer devices and they will likely change work to conform to their devices, not the other way around.

Too bad we can't peek into the future.

03/22/2014 2:05 pm Link ID: 03222014-31


Tech

More Girls Should Be Entering Tech Careers


There was an article this morning on Why Girls Don't Want Careers in Tech. As a women in tech for many years I was curious to see their explanation. I am aware that men outnumber women in tech careers. And it seems to correlate with the larger reality of fewer women in science fields. But why?

The article says that women want more creative jobs and they see tech as mechanical and non-creative. Of course, that is not true. I find software design and development to be very creative. Web design, with CSS3 and HTML5 is highly creative. But it that isn't the image that tech presents. There is a public image of a computer programmer that is young, male and nerdy. As a woman, I have often had to fight that stereotype when apply for jobs. People see a woman and the word "tech" doesn't come to mind. I don't "look" like a techie.

We need to get the word out that tech is fun and very creative. And we need to change the image of the tech-guy as a propeller head. Women are good at communication and talking to users about what they want is an important skill.

03/22/2014 8:21 am Link ID: 03222014-12


Tech

Amazon Fire and the Tablet Market


Tablets devices are the future. Smartphones have been the rage when there wasn't anything else. But tablets are far better for most any app than a smartphone. As tablets become more commonplace, smartphones may go back to being phones.

In addition to making phone calls, I use my iPhone to check the weather, run some numbers in the calculator, and, of course, take pictures. The smartphone is useful for it size when the situation is not good for carrying a large tablet. When I am out shopping, I can use my iPhone to check prices at other locations, and I can get a map to that other store location. This is a convenience, but it I am at my desk, out at a coffee shop, or any where else where carrying a tablet isn't a problem, then the large screen and browser of the tablet is a much better experience. I think of my iPhone as a convenience for when I am out and about. I can pull it out of my pocket or purse quickly.

But the screen is too small for reading text with more than a few lines. And the design of web pages is distorted for most viewing. And it goes without saying that any entry of text is a pain.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my iPhone. But now I love my iPad more. I can make and get calls and text messages on my iPhone, but just about everything else is better on a tablet.



03/19/2014 8:11 pm Link ID: 03192014-17


National

Snow in 49 States!


And the one without snow isn't Hawaii!!


If you still aren't convinced that this is one of the worst winters in the United States, read this USAToday article



03/14/2014 4:31 pm Link ID: 03142014-91


World

Kremlin Under Cyber Attack


The Kremlin website hit by hackers. In the modern world, international incidents include weapons that can cause damage without blood shed. With political, economic and other government systems kept electronically, cyber-attacks can bring down, or at least damage, the systems that are important to a country. It can be done without an army. A country with good hackers can attack a powerful country with some success.

The Central Banking system has apparently also been attacked. Being able to mess with a countries economic and banking system has always been a goal in warfare, but now it is easier.

03/14/2014 1:00 am Link ID: 03142014-107


Environment

Green Energy Fallacies


The predictions of the last several decades, of dooom and gloom because we are not good guardians of mother earth, have all failed to come true. Let's list a few:


What happened to Nuclear Winter?


In the 1970's and even into the 1980's, there were dire predictions that pollution in the air would block out the sun and bring record cold. Growing seasons would be terribly shortened and food would become scarce. As the cold continued, energy consumption would skyrocket, and since fossils fuels were running out, they told us, we were doomed to freeze to death in the dark.


Now, of course, this same airbourne polution is heating the earth. It is trapping the earth's heat and we are heating up. The scary story continues that the polar ice caps will melt and flood all the coastlines.


What about the longer growing seasons that will result from more heat? And warmer nighttime temperatures? Oh, they never mention that. It is all doom and gloom all the time. No matter what the situation, we are all doomed.


What do the environmentalists gain from all this scary talk? Well, it reduces the drive toward innovation and modernity. It allows governmental bodies to control areas of private life that were unimaginable just a short time ago. They are the pied pipers that we need to follow.




02/10/2014 5:27 pm Link ID: 02102014-84




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