Friday, July 31, 2009

Alerta Amarila por LLuvias

El AEMET a Activado la ALERTA AMARILLA por Lluvia , en La Provincia de Ourense, y por definición, en nuestra Comarca. La Alerta estará en vigor desde las 05:00 del sabado, 1-08-2009 a 17:00 del sábado, 1-08-2009, esta en cuanto a "Precipitación acumulada en una hora : 15 mm".
Y en cuanto a "Precipitación acumulada en 12 horas : 40 mm", comenzará desde las 07:00 del sabado, 1-08-2009 a 17:00 del sábado, 1-08-2009.
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Ignition Timing for Semantic Web Library Automation Engines

Last weekend, I had a chance to learn how to drive a 1915 Model-T Ford. It's not hard, but a Model-T driver needs to know a bit more about his engine and drivetrain than the driver of a modern automobile. There is a clutch pedal that puts the engine into low gear when you press it- high gear is when the pedal is up and neutral is somewhere in between. The brake is sort of a stop gear, and you need to make sure the clutch is in neutral before you step on the brake. The third pedal is reverse.

There are a lot more engine controls than on a modern car. In addition to the throttle and a choke, there is another lever that controls the ignition timing. A modern Model-T driver doesn't have to worry much about the timing once the engine has started, because modern fuel has much higher octane than fuel had in 1915. I would not have understood this except that I recently got a new car whose manual says you should use only premium fuel, and so I did some wikipedia research to find out what octane had to do with automobile engines. But I could have lived blissfully in ignorance. Believe it or not, I have opened the hood of my new car only once since I got it in December.

It occurs to me that in many ways, the library automation industry is still in the Model-T era, particularly in regards to the relationship of the technology to its managers. Libraries still need to keep a few code mechanics on staff, and the librarians who use library automation to deliver services still need to know a lot more about their data engines than I know about my automobile engine. The industry as a whole is trying to evaluate changes roughly analogous to the automobile industry switching to diesel engines.

I've been reading Martha Yee's paper entitled "Can Bibliographic Data Be Put Directly Onto the Semantic Web?" and Karen Coyle's commentary on this paper. I greatly admire Martha Yee's courage to say, essentially, "I don't understand this as well as I need to, here are some questions I would really appreciate help with". When I worked at Bell Labs, I noticed that the people who asked questions like that were the people who had won or would later win Nobel prizes. Karen has done a great job with Martha's queries, but also expresses a fair amount of uncertainty.

I was going to launch into a few posts to help fill in some gaps, but I find that I have difficulty knowing which things are important to explain. Somehow I don't think that Model-T drivers really needed to know about the relationship between octane and ignition timing, for example. But I think that people running trucking companies need to know some of the differences between Diesel engines and internal combustion engines as they built their trucking fleets, just as community leaders like Martha Yee and Karen Coyle probably need to know the important differences between RDF tuple-stores and relational databases. But the more I think about it, the less I'm sure about which of the differences are the important ones for people looking to apply them in libraries.

Another article I've been reading has been Greg Boutin's article "Linked Data, a Brand with Big Problems and no Brand Management", which suggests that the technical community that is pushing RDF Linked Data has not been doing a good job of articulating the benefits of RDF and Linked Data principles in a way that potential customers can understand clearly and consistently.

Engineers tend to have a different sort of knowledge gap. I have a very good friend who designs the advanced fuel injectors. He is able to do this because he has specialized so that he knows everything there is to know about fuel injectors. He doesn't need to know anything about radial tires or airbag inflators or headlamps. But to make his business work, he needs to be able to articulate to potential customers the benefits of his injectors in the context of the entire engine and engine application. Whether the technology Linked Data or fuel injectors, that can be really difficult.

My first guess was that it would be most useful for librarians to understand how indexing and searching are almost the same thing, and that indexing done quite differently in RDF tuple-stores and in relational databases. But on second thought, that's more like telling the trucking company that diesel engines don't need spark plugs. It's good to know, but the higher-level fact that diesels burn less fuel is a lot more relevant? Isn't it more important to know that an RDF tuple-store trades off performance for flexibility? How do you ask the right questions to ask, when you don't know where to start? We find ourselves working across many disciplines each of which are more and more specialized, and we need more communications magic to make everything work together.

I'll try to do some gap-filling next week.
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Paul Kasriel on Bernanke, bank lending

Currently sinking my teeth into this new article from Northern Trust economist Paul Kasriel, entitled, "I Have Come Neither to Praise Nor to Bury Bernanke".

Kasriel begins with the question of whether Ben Bernanke might be re-nominated for a second term as Fed chairman, but moves on to discuss the current state of bank reserves and bank lending. Here's an excerpt:

"No one is indispensable. There are plenty of well-qualified candidates to replace Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. So, the Republic will survive whether or not Ben Bernanke is re-nominated as Fed chairman. But let us be objective in assessing the job he has done as chairman. In my opinion, Anna Schwartz was
not objective in her July 26 NYT op-ed piece arguing for the dumping of Bernanke.

Ms. Schwartz asserts that Bernanke should not be re-nominated because of his sins of commission as well as his sins of omission. It is not clear to me to what Bernanke sin of commission Ms. Schwartz is referring.

She alludes to the flooding of the financial system with Fed credit, which drove down the overnight cost of funds in the interbank market to almost zero. But was that a policy sin? Did not Ms. Schwartz co-author with Milton Friedman, a Nobel economics prize winner, a tome (
A Monetary History of the United States, 1867 to 1960) of which one of the key conclusions was that the Federal Reserve was too timid in creating credit in the early 1930s?"

Now, I'm no economist or student of banking, and some of the charts and explanations in this article (and other Northern Trust econ. commentaries) may seem daunting at first glance, but Kasriel does a great job of laying out the details in a very understandable way.

Be sure to give this piece a look, especially if you're not already familiar with Paul's work; in my humble opinion, he's an economist worth reading.
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「明天的明天」將會更精彩!《漫畫》


漫畫名:明天的明天(日曜日に生まれた子供)
漫畫家:紺野キタ
集 數:一集未完
譯 者:泱泱小妮子
※原文版2009年2月~‧幻冬舍於2009年7月起授權長鴻中文化※


《明天的明天》其實在設定上和羅川真里茂的《家有天才寶貝》有些相似,兩者都是以單親家庭為劇情發展架構,同樣的在母親亡故後,為體恤忙碌於工作崗位上的父親,小學生兄長擔負起照顧小弟妹的責任,但他仍是孩子,對於喪母之痛仍未平復,卻必需打起精神來照顧年幼的弟妹。而兩相比較,我會偏愛紺野キタ多很多,因為她的劇情口味沒那麼重,但整個感情卻都有釋放出來,閱讀起來,相當地舒服宜人。


「今天的故事結束了,明天再繼續說。」
「嘻嘻嘻嘻,你在學媽媽。」
「學媽媽?」
「不過只學一半。」
「因為媽媽她不會那麼說,媽媽不會說灰故娘或是拇指姑娘的故事在『從此公主跟王子過著快樂的生活。』之後就『結束了』。」
「她都會說,明天的明天更精彩。」
【截錄自第一單元劇末】

劇情一開始,藤澤家媽媽似乎才剛過世,唸小一的女兒在與唸小五的兄長小憩片刻之時、在和父親歡笑言談之間,讀者可清晰感受到她仍記得母親在世模樣,即使兄妹倆半夢半醒之中遙見母親的身影,小兄長在向同學述說失去母親後內心裡頭那個可以收集難過心情的箱子並不存在,而終究不免傷心落淚,但感覺並不悲苦,像這樣懷念起故人可以展現如此清涼透心的沉穩風範,還真的頗讓人覺得不可思議地美妙。

雖然有很感傷的劇情,但也有很詼諧逗趣的喜劇情境,裡頭有著紺野式特有的細膩空想本質,是種帶了些微真實色彩的童話氛圍,在隱約之間,可以感受到兩者相互融合且又相互交錯的綺麗感,相當特別。主角除了藤澤一家三口與不時前來串門子的里佳子姑姑外,還有初搬至隔壁的原田一家人,奇妙的是,藤澤杳與原田佐保有著如同雙胞胎的長相,這也是故事中特別有意思的劇情設定。

劇情非常地平凡生活化,但還真是給它好看的不得了XDDD!越來越喜愛紺野的漫畫嘍,嗯,沒錯,我應該會買《明天的明天》來收藏!(微笑用力點點頭)
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與邪惡交手!--林肯律師《小說》


小說名:林肯律師(The Lincoln Lawyer)
小說家:麥可‧康納利(Michael Connelly)
譯 者:楊惠君
※原文版2008年‧於2009年7月授權聯經中文化※


啊啊啊啊--康納利大叔小說怎麼會這麼好看呢(熱愛冷硬派犯罪小說的細胞正在小花朵朵開)XDDD?!看得我心癢癢的,不管了,再見不著二手書蹤影,我就直接買新書=_=*!!今年唯一計劃:把康納利中文版權小說全給搞定!


關於《林肯律師》,我不太想去探討道德與犯罪之間灰色地帶是如何又如何的老生常談話題,而且就文章中看來,康納利大叔也不是特別關注於這塊領域,否則他就不會借著主角之口,提出「我所辯護的人大多算不上什麼邪惡,他們有罪,沒錯,但他們並不邪惡。你懂我的意思嗎?這兩者是不同的。聽他們說話,再聽這些歌曲,就知道他們為什麼會做這種選擇。大夥兒都只是想混口飯吃,都很認命,有些人從一開始就一無所有。不過邪惡是另一回事。」如此的見解,這也是我喜歡康納利大叔的原因,他的書裡頭有太多的堅持,也有太多的妥協,更有協商的空間,而非正義懍然探討那條邊際線何以模糊不清、這社會究竟出了什麼問題等等之類。老實說,個人覺得那一部份還是交給科普作者處理就夠了,推理小說一直在鑽研那死胡同,反而會讓我消化不良。

何以說到要探討道德與犯罪之間灰色地帶?原因在主角的職業上。他是辯護律師。是代表罪犯的辯護律師。

執業了十五年之後,現在我把法律看得非常簡單。法律是一部巨大、生鏽的機器,不停地吞噬著人、生命和金錢,而我不過是個技工罷了。我早已成了箇中高手,懂得怎麼鑽進機器裡,把問題處理好,從中攫取所需。法律已經沒有什麼值得我珍惜的地方。法學院教我們當事人進行主義、體系的監督制衡、追求真相的美德,這些概念早就像古文明雕像的臉孔一樣腐蝕了。法律的內涵不是真相,而是協商、減輕罪名、操弄。我處理的不是有罪和清白,因為每個人都是有罪的,不可能百分之百清白。……社會上有不少人把我當成魔鬼,不過他們都錯了,我只是個油腔滑調的天使。我才是真正的馬路聖徒,兩邊都有人需要我。

康納利大叔血淋淋的透露律師本質,貪得無饜、厚顏無齒、慣性隱匿、舌燦蓮花……,是的,主角是真小人一個,但越往下看,益發覺得這傢伙小人行徑囂張到某個程度,反而不討人厭。到了中場時也才瞭解,主角麥可海勒根本認為,要遇上身陷於司法裡頭的清白之人是極為稀有,而他就用這種反正水都黑了、不差我一人的心態到處撈錢,幫助犯罪者減輕刑責、與警察作對、給檢察官難堪,直到他栽了跟斗,發覺事情出了差錯,並開始試圖彌補自己犯下的大錯。

這本小說厚歸厚,但閱讀速度飛快~,主要是康納利大叔的組織能力很讚,而且放煙幕彈的功力也很不錯,再加上譯者的筆風相當老練,整部書簡直可以用輕快來形容!雖然最後無罪開釋的那一小段劇情突然讓人感覺有些乏力(我本來期待律師跟兇手會槓得天昏地暗,出現一整個慘烈到不行的局面啊啊啊啊--XDDD←嗜血的傢伙),不過整體來說,還是看得很高興!

最後來個題外話,那個……封面怎麼回事啊?!這本書最失敗的地方就是封面設計,出版社難道不覺得電腦合成圖合得很詭異嗎(忍不住發發牢騷)?話又說回來,我這回下的標題還真是給它爛得一蹋糊塗。Orz


【書背文案】(嗚哇,嗯嘿,我改過書背文案,聯經寫的文案有小小小雷啊啊啊囧rz)

《林肯律師》是麥可康納利在法律驚悚小說領域的初試啼聲之作,與「鮑許系列」同樣精彩,也讓讀者大呼過癮。

《紐約時報》暢銷作家麥可康納利交出生平第一部法律驚悚小說--
故事極具煸動力,
劇情描述一位在林肯城市房車後座運籌帷幄、操盤執業的辯護律師,
自從入行擔任律師以來,
就一直擔心即使有個清白的人站在他面前,
他也看不出來,
然而,他不知道他應該當心的是邪惡。
如今,專替犯罪者、應召女郎、毒販打官司的他,
卻因為身上僅存的一絲絲正直與邪惡之心,可能就此賠上性命……。
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下町人情物語--月光橋初戀銀座《漫畫》


漫畫名:月光橋初戀銀座(月光橋はつこい銀座)
漫畫家:石出電(イシデ電)
集 數:單行本
譯 者:A!KumA
※原文版2009年2月.幻冬舍於2009年7月授權長鴻中文化※


超級陌生的漫畫家,作品也沒幾本,但劇情完成度之高,還請到志村貴子幫忙完成番外篇,耶、這是怎麼回事啊?!Q口Q


雖然有個很男性化的名字,不過按照內容看起來……,石出電應該是女性漫畫家才是,主要是故事內容有著相當細膩的溫柔情感。

一般來說,個人不是很喜歡看以兒童為主角的作品--親子題材是個例外--,總覺得被現實考量束縛住的成年人要畫起兒童那份天然呆模樣,終究會有些失真,石出電在這部份卻處理得相當不賴。

在石出電的筆下,兒童小天地裡頭是個萬花筒大世界,停不了的歡樂,令人發噱的念頭,天真的童言童語,甚至還有不時飄然而過卻連自己都抓不住重點的焦慮感,小鬼頭的世界是如此地豐富精采、滋味百般。而成年人可以為他人折腰、即使不開心仍會努力的舉動,在孩子眼中看來是再遜不過的了,但就是那份難以形容的謙卑、得以卸下孩子心防,讓孩子看見守住家是因為親情的牽絆、是因為自我勇於承擔責任,當孩子能明白某些道理時,他便會知道年歲增長並不全然都是壞事,而得以順利走出困難的成長過渡期。

因為是單行本,劇情介紹就跳過吧。

光看書名,一時之間還真讓人提不起勁來,結果完全不是想像中那回事(我承認我一看到銀座兩字就想歪了),劇情實在是有夠平凡清淡▔▽▔,但個人卻覺得是本頗為出色、有份古樸懷舊氛圍的日常生活漫!
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Thursday, July 30, 2009

We're Listening

Here at Google, user feedback helps us improve our products. While we love to hear praise on what's working well, the honest direct feedback on what's not working is just as valuable and motivating. We'd like to share a couple of stories about recent product changes that were shaped greatly based on the feedback you have provided in the Google Mobile Help Forum. Hopefully, you'll continue to raise your voice and help us build better and more useful products.


iGoogle for Android and iPhone

In January, the high-end version of iGoogle for Android was discontinued because we felt it was too slow, and users were, instead, redirected to the standard Mobile iGoogle site. At the time, we thought you'd welcome the improvements to speed and stability. We humbly found out that we were wrong. One thread in the user forum received over 350 replies and almost 18,000 page views! Here's what some folks had to say:

"Its not just that the standard mobile verision of iGoogle is weak, its vastly inferior to the optimized version for iPhone..." - mccarrabba


"The mobile version is not good enough. Why should I have to suffer because other mobile devices offer crappy browsers? This is a horribly short-sighted decision." - tewha

Well, we heard you loud and clear. Our team read each of the forum posts, and listened to why the standard version did not meet your needs. Last month, we brought back iGoogle for Android and iPhone and made it better than ever. The new version is faster and easier to use, and there's support for tabs and more of your favorite gadgets. We also now support the in-line display of articles for feed-based gadgets, so you can read article summaries without leaving the page.

We're glad that so many of you voiced your ideas. iGoogle is back and better, and it seems like folks are pretty stoked:

"Personally, I could have cried. And I mean that in a good way. OMG-about time!! I'm leaving on vacation and was for sure I was going to have to take my laptop. Tabs actually work! My gadgets work! Its back! Hip Hip Hooray!" - ktigger2



Google Maps for mobile
Soon after we launched Google Maps for mobile 3.0 and Google Latitude on four platforms (Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and Symbian S60), we received some helpful feedback on where improvements could be made and problems fixed.

Keeping in mind the input of many faithful Help Forum posters, we released two updated versions for Windows Mobile and Symbian S60 users in April (version 3.0.1) and July (version 3.2). These versions added new features, like Layers, and included some fixes and new ways to use Maps for mobile that were among the most requested by you. For example, the My Maps feature request received over 2,000 votes on our Mobile Product Ideas page. We also used specific Help Forum conversations to tweak behavior, such as the backlight timeout on Symbian phones, and to fix issues, like copy and paste for Windows Mobile phones.

In June, we also updated Maps in Android Market to Maps 3.1, introducing popular feature requests like Transit directions and Google Search by voice. We've received lots of positive feedback about pushing out these features:

"Not only is this an awesome update, but what an awesome way to distribute!" - matt

In addition to the iGoogle and Maps for mobile updates, your feedback also led to the development of other exciting new features -- for example, labels for Gmail and direct YouTube uploads on Android. Your ideas and requests help us to drive and prioritize new products and features, so please post your thoughts on the Help Forum. As you continue to show us what you care about, we'll continue to listen as we work on our mobile products.




Chris Nguyen & Gabe Garcia, Google Mobile Consumer OperationsAny source

NFL Commissioner Press Conference on Michael Vick - full text



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The Michael Vick issue has drawn a variety of views and opinions like mine above, but only one person has the ability to determine his football future and that's NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. A press conference was held Monday in New York where Commissioner Goodell presented his decision regarding the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback, but we've only seen bits-and-pieces of text. Here's the full press conference transcript, courtesy of NFLMedia.com



NFL COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL


Press Conference – Michael Vick Conditional Reinstatement

July 27, 2009


NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell: Good afternoon. As all of you are aware, I’ve made my decision regarding Michael Vick and I would be happy totake your questions. But before we do, I would just like to make a couple of points which I hope will be helpful inputting it into context.

First, and most importantly, we all want to recognize that the conduct that Michael engaged in was not only horrific, but it was cruel. And we all certainly recognize that and I believe after meeting with Michael that he recognizes that also. We engaged in a very thorough process. It was very carefully done and very thoroughly done. Multiple members of our staff were engaged as well as me. We went through his court records. We went through evaluations. We went through decisions. We know all the terms of his parole. We went through every detail, including about a four-and-a-half hour meeting with Michael last Wednesday here in the New York area. So we take this as a very serious matter. We’re dealing with a young man’s life. Our process was similarly reflective of the seriousness of that.

As you know, he can sign now with an NFL team. He can practice without delay with an NFL team. He may play in the final two preseason games of this preseason. And once the regular season starts, he can practice if the team so chooses. And I will decide within the first six weeks of the regular season when and whether he will be reinstated to play from there.

He has been very open and fully cooperative as well as his advisers and his counselors. I will say that one of the most important things that we talked about is that nobody gets through life alone. That you always have to have a mentor. That you always have to have somebody who will give you guidance and support at critical moments. Michael needs that right now and I have asked Tony Dungy to play a more formal role on my behalf but also on Michael’s behalf to serve as a mentor to Michael to help him and guide him through some very difficult decisions he’s going to have to make going forward. I do not expect he will be his only mentor,but Tony will be a big part in determining who else will serve as advisers to him. But I know Tony and Michael, who I spoke to earlier today on a conference call, both take it very seriously and are committed to making sure that they work closely together to make better decisions going forward.

I do believe that this transitional approach that we have outlined for Michael is the best thing for him, that it has the best opportunities to lead to success for a young man who has his life ahead of him. Whether he makes it on the field in the NFL is something that will be determined on the field. But he has some big decisions off the field to make in the way he conducts himself. I think he is at a point right now where he is prepared to make those decisions and hopefully conduct himself in a more positive way. I have said repeatedly,and many times before, that playing in the NFL is a privilege, we are held to a higher standard and it is not a right to be an NFL player. I think Michael clearly understands that is his responsibility and I think it is his opportunity now to earn that privilege back again. And that is up to Michael.

But one final point before I take your questions. As I’ve said many times before, I am very proud of NFL players. They do incredible things and exceed the standards that we set for them. And they do that both on and off the field. And I am proud of the things they do off the field. Obviously when you are dealing with 2,000 young men, you are going to have mistakes, bad judgments, and people are going to do things that you are not proud of. Obviously this is one case. But I hope something positive can come out of something that has been a very tragic circumstance and hopefully people will understand that the individual here has the right to earn that opportunity back again. He will be held accountable for that. He will be held accountable for his life management plan that he submitted to me, the things he says he is going to do, and I will make sure that he does that in responsible fashion, as will Tony.

Have any teams expressed an interest in signing him yet?

That’s not something that I would get involved with. I work for all 32 teams. As far as what team signs him, that’s an individual club decision and they’ll have to make that individually with him and negotiate.

On Michael lying:

He was not candid with me. In fact, prior to starting the hearing we spent a few minutes together and it was the first thing he raised with me. That he was disappointed in himself. That he was direct in the fact that he lied about his involvement in dog fighting. And I accept his apology. I understand. I don’t like being lied to like anybody else. But this is something that we have to move forward from. Michael understands that I am judging him on his activities going forward, on the words that he said to me, and on the conduct that hopefully will support the words he expressed to me personally.

What needs to happen in the next 12weeks for him to be reinstated?

A number of things. First he would have to sign a contract with a team. He will have to begin the process of getting re-acclimated into that community and that team. He’ll obviously want to relocate his family. He’s been very clear about that. He will have to get a support system around him. He will continue to go through the programs of his parole and also the programs that the NFL has designed for him. He will work very closely with Tony and me if necessary to make sure that we are providing the support necessary and the guidance. But he has a very difficult transition ahead and we want to support him in that and give him that opportunity. But he recognizes he has to earn that and his actions will have to support that.

Should Vick not sign with any team during the preseason, will the parameters of this reinstatement change? Have you looked into or discussed that possibility, if he doesn’t have the opportunity with a team during preseason?

Well that’s not something I can control. Of course individual clubs and Michael and his team will have to make that decision who he signs with ultimately. I don’t expect I would modify the terms of what I call the transition plan in any marginal way, but I’ll leave that option open if necessary – but I don’t see that as being something that I would engage in.

PETA has said that they had wanted you to have him undergo a psychiatric evaluation to show that he is truly remorseful and that if not they would consider protesting any team that would sign him. Did you have him undergo any evaluations?

Yes, in fact we worked with animal rights activist groups and we are clear: we worked with their medical professionals about the aspects of our evaluations. Michael fully cooperated with all of those tests. Those tests did not indicate there was any reason he couldn’t make a transition forward, but they also recognized that counseling and other aspects of support will be important for him going forward.


You mentioned there’d be an NFL component to his program as well, things he would have to adhere to. Could you elaborate on what that means beyond obviously the probationary things you have asked him to do legally?


Well the primary one is the role of (former Indianapolis Colts Head Coach) Tony Dungy. I believe that Tony is a very successful individual, he is somebody that I respect his judgment, I think he is wise and will give good counsel. I think he is committed to helping Michael asa young man – not as a football player. He’ll try to do what he can to help him reestablish his life and help him move forward. That’s the first thing that has to happen here. All of the conditions which we have outlined in the letter – which we will be happy to provide you with – we will hold Michael accountable for. He will be responsible for fulfilling those,and they will be part of my judgment about how long the period of time is before I’ll allow him to play in regular season games.

Did you feel a sense of urgency to make the decision quickly? Obviously it’s only been a week since he completed his federal term. How much of a relief – I don’t know if relief is the right word – but how much of a relief will it be for you tohave made this decision quickly?

Relief is not a word I would use here. I believe that it was my responsibility to make a thoughtful, clear decision, and to do it on a very timely basis. I am not here to punish anybody; we’re here to extend player’s careers rather than limit player’s careers. That is important for us to do as long as they recognize the standards by which we are going to hold them accountable and everybody in the NFL. I believe Michael understands that. I believe he deserves the opportunity to earn his way back onto the field – but he will have to earn it. It is up to him now, and we will support him the way we have outlined in my decision. I believe that I had the responsibility to make a decision as quickly as possible, one that was fair, and I hope this one is seen as fair – although I fully recognize that some people won’t agree with it.

About how many people played a role? Obviously this is your decision and your name is attached to it, but I know NFL security, probably owners and coaches, players past and present probably played some role in you formulating your final policy.

Well I believe very much in getting a variety of opinions to get a broad perspective. I reached out to a variety of leaders of our country, our society. I’ve talked to a number of current and former players, I’ve talked to a number of current and former coaches, I’ve talked to former and current executives – but I am very cautious about competitive issues here. I would not involve someone that would be involved potentially in Michael’s interest as a football player. I was interested in Michael as an individual and what we could do to help reestablish his life and get him involved in a positive way regardless of if he played football. I do believe very much in getting perspectives, and I believe that has served me very well in making decisions. As you pointed out, ultimately, at the end of the day, I had to go into a room and make a decision. I reached out to a number of people, including DeMaurice Smith (head of the NFL Players Union), former players, and coaches and I believe I had all the perspectives I needed to make this decision.

Did you talk with any of the sponsors of the NFL, any companies and what their reaction would be? Was there anything you would bounce off of them?

I didn’t – I can’t specifically recall contacting people in that context. From time to time I may have spoken to a CEO about how to make decisions like this and what are the important factors even though the circumstances, I presume, would be wildly different. But I never thought about it in the context of the commercial success of the NFL. That’s never been a factor for me from day one. The intent here was to do the right thing with a young man’s life and for the game of football and the NFL, and that’s what I tried to do.

CRIS CHEEK: PART: SHORT LIFE HOUSING

cris cheek's Part: Short Life Housing is a curiously peripatetic selection of texts. Excessively so. The subsubtitle of the book tells us these texts are "poems performing thematic extraction." So the work walks and extracts through a process of distillation and reconstitution, circumambulating geographical spaces, poetic practices, and genres as they intersect with the active performance of recording, transcription and editing across three decades. Many of the poems have been revised and edited several times and in some cases the interval between one revision of a poem and the next is more than a decade.

Much of the work is grounded in the transcription of recorded utterances. From the preface:

Many of these pieces were initially spoken into a voice recorder. Often during one walk and sometimes a sequence of walks that went onto tape until it felt like time for another beginning.

I am reminded of Wordsworth — or more specifically Antin. Text as the reconfigured residual traces of a walking and talking. But what separates cheek's practice from both Wordsworth and Antin is his commitment to an ongoing reworking of his texts. For cheek no one piece appears to be closed in any way. The poems are not a Wordsworthian struggle to reimagine or construct the contours of an evening walk. Nor are they characterized by the directionality that characterizes David Antin's wonderful straight-from-the-Athenian-Academy talk poems (viz. recorded talk followed by heavily revised transcription = talk poem). In Wordsworth and Antin we see an underlying structure — orality and/or lived experience somehow precede the poem as text and are somehow prior to the poem as print object. cheek's work seems fluid and open to contingency in a way markedly different from Antin — somehow an extension of Antin's project.

Wordsworth travelling: "This is the spot." Or Susan Howe: "Historical imagination gathers in the missing." For cheek both are the case. Each poem as an event articulated through and constitutive of an overdetermined complex of other events.

Transcription as poetic practice. The first section of the book, "mud (and fluff)" is dedicated to Allen Fisher and includes an epigraph by Margaret Thatcher: "It is not enough to delve deeply / into the surface of things." There is no alternative. The poem "and fluff":

Crazy memory
Punches its way to me

[...]

Under snow
Bound lovers
Coding flow

Skimming through the interdisciplinary transcription number of Interval(le)s edited by Jot Cotner and Andy Fitch — a wonderfully curated and overwhelming constellation of writers and artists — I was surprised not to see cris cheek's name among the ninety or so contributors. I was just as shocked by the inclusion of other names, figures I don't typically associate with transcription (i.e. Zach Finch, Ammiel Alcalay, Richard Price). Here Cotner and Fitch seem to be working toward theorizing transcription in a way that widens the scope of the practice. Their introduction to the feature is itself a transcribed talk between the two editors that begins with a question:

J: Did you even bring a swimsuit Andy?

The feature is in excess of a thousand pages. The task of editing the work must have been grueling. To wade through the muck with or without trunks.

In an interview filmed sometime in the 1970s, no more than a year or two before his murder, Pasolini said, "I wish to do things with editing." When I first heard the statement it struck me. To do things with editing. Ronald Johnson's erasure of Paradise Lost came to mind — as did Antin's talks. Other things also came to mind: i.e. the bits of found Appalachian speech in so many of Jonathan Williams poems, the excavated fragments of fossilized language in Caroline Bergvall's work, Thomas Malory playing the role of author as collator, Plato's transcriptions of Socrates, Niedecker's redaction of Thomas Jefferson's life, the centrality of textual assemblage for Paul Metcalf in imagining a critical fiction, or the demoralizing return to transcription that signals the failure of Flaubert's copy clerks Bouvard and Pecuchet.

Intervalles. In Cotner and Fitch's Socratic-dialog-as-intro Fitch wonders what Eileen Myles' contribution to the feature might look like and says:

She writes in Chelsea Girls that a sloppy look always seems good to her, and I consider transcription inherently sloppy. I mean the meticulous itself gets messy — as soon as it becomes obsessional.

cheek's poems are messy — muddied by contingency and the material fragments of history and historical necessity that gather themselves in the missing. Bergvall remarks in her blurb for the book that cheek is "inhabited by Dicken's dark maze of industrial streets as by mind-altering years of activist art lodgings, smoggy thoughtful wanderings or the eerie shock of the thatcheritic city. That's at least two hundred years of grim and energy you'll find distilled in the celluar lines and in splashes of this great volume."

And it is this which I find most useful in the work: the unrelenting attention in the work to the determining conditions of its own production. commenting on the range of technologies that came together to make the work possible cheek notes in the preface:

Machinic interventions forcing amendments to a text have been those that interlinked considerations of spatiality and typography. Much of this writing maps an intricate conversation of anomolies between those writing technologies utilized in the process of the production of the writings and those reproduction technologies used for their further circulation. This conversation, whose elements are sometimes separated by several decades of technological modification, not only impacts the content of the practice in evidence, but also serves as a kind of parallel to the always changing domestic and public circumstances which frames it.

Attending to his own locatedness in the making of this edition, cheek closes this passage by noting that "the original texts have been changed to bring them into alignment with North American usage." Spellings have been Americanized so that a work like "Canning Town Chronicles" — first assembled through walks, talks and composition in what was "an industrial area on the edge of London during the reign of Queen Victoria" — carries ideologically charged fractals of its further editing and revision in North America. Or as cheek writes in the poem "Part: Short Life Housing":

Stitching market intertwines top sequit
Into stress, dredges the law
Breaks
Down points where system
Claps
Instant replay

But for cheek technological, economic and ideological determinations don't appear to shut down the possibility of agency:

Draws its strength and resilience
Around itself throughout negotiations
Undermining the details with the straights inform
Belief pulls off road

Exeunt: Antin: "and schwitters was like a little rag picker going through the mess and / producing these elegant little works."
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Top economist Werner’s message to No. 10 Downing Street

Professor Richard Werner, Chair of International Banking at Southampton University supports the e-petition to Prime Minister Gordon Brown (to access it click here) that relies on neither taxing citizens, nor raising more government debt, to fund a new fast broadband infrastructure for the UK.

Werner says: ‘Infrastructure investments by the government, funded through money creation either by the government or the central bank, in areas that clearly enhance productivity are a good way to kick-start productive credit creation and expand the money supply in a non-inflationary way, especially at a time when it is stagnating’.

He explains: ‘The theory of productive credit creation indicates that the creation of new purchasing power ('money creation') for the purpose of implementing productive activities, i.e. investments leading to the creation of new goods, services and productivity-enhancing infrastructure etc., will be non-inflationary.

The 1970s have shown the dangers of unproductive credit creation in the form of consumptive credit creation (expanding purchasing power not linked to new investments and expansion of productive capacity, but mainly consumption).

The current financial crisis has shown once again the dangers of unproductive credit creation in the form of speculative credit creation (expanding purchasing power primarily for use in financial transactions). This can be identified by whether transactions are part of GDP or not (financial transactions are not), as expounded in the disaggregated quantity equation (Werner, New Paradigm in Macroeconomics, Palgrave Macmillan, 2005).

What is needed for sustainable and stable economic growth is to link money creation to productive activities. These can be undertaken both by the private sector and the government’.Any source

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Michael Vick - The "Anti-Vick" team list



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After much discussion, polling, and commenting, Michael Vick's back in the NFL. As I mention in my video created two day ago, he has to wait six games (which I called a suspension but as it turns out, it's not). Rather than blast another post about Vick's return, I took a look at the results of my poll (still a small majority favored Vick's return to the NFL this season, including me), and waited for more information. During that time, several NFL teams openly expressed their lack of desire to have the double-threat quarterback join them, but it took my friend Mike Florio of ProFootballtalk.com (the "TMZ.com" of the NFL) to make an "anti-Vick" team list. He updates the list periodically; here's what it looks like as of this writing, and Mike has notes explaining if the teams made their views known before or after Vick was invited back to the NFL by Commissioner Roger Goodell:

Atlanta Falcons
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Pre-reinstatement)
Detroit Lions (Pre-reinstatement)
New York Jets (Pre-reinstatement and last week)
New York Giants (Recently)
San Francisco 49ers (Pre-reinstatement and post-reinstatement)
St. Louis Rams (Pre-reinstatement, and possibly post-reinstatement)
Dallas Cowboys (Pre-reinstatement and recently)
Washington Redskins (Pre-reinstatement and recently)
Houston Texans (Pre-reinstatement)
Indianapolis Colts (Pre-reinstatement)
Seattle Seahawks (Pre-reinstatement)
Buffalo Bills (Post-reinstatement)
Cincinnati Bengals (Post-reinstatement)
Miami Dolphins (Post-reinstatement)
Kansas City Chiefs (Pre-reinstatement and post-reinstatement)
Philadelphia Eagles (Post-reinstatement)

Here are the teams that to my knowledge have not made a statement (if you have new information, please let me know:


Oakland Raiders
Cleveland Browns
Houston Texans
Chicago Bears
Minnesota Vikings (Didn't say "no," but did not say "yes either)
St. Louis Rams

No statement from the Raiders

Now before you scream "The Raiders have said they will pass on Vick", no they didn't say that, a San Francisco Examiner columnist speculated they would do that, and it showed up in Google News. Offically, the Silver and Black have said nothing. Moreover, it's in the Raiders history to give a player like Vick a chance and if he's still able to run as he did two years ago, could give a defense fits in a kind of "Wildcat" formation with running backs Michael Bush and Darren McFadden.

Coach Tony Dungy is Vick's NFL-appointed mentor

Tony Dungy, the legendary Super Bowl-winning former coach of the Indianapolis Colts, is Vick's NFL-appointed mentor. Commissioner Goodell himself asked Dungy to help in this role and he could not have made a better choice. Dungy has taken his time to counsel men in prison and many players and former players look to him for advice. Based on what Dungy wrote, Vick may not be in a hurry to play football In his blog, Dungy explained:

I believe it (allowing Vick to return to the NFL) was the right call and I am glad that Michael is going to get a chance to re-start his football career. But, more than that, I’m happy with the position Michael has taken. I’ve met with him twice and spoken with him on the phone a few other times and I believe he is really focused on putting his life back together. Sure, he would love to play football in the NFL again, but I think he has other priorities. He has missed his family and looks to get those relationships going again, especially with his three children. I think he realizes not only how important they are to him, but also how important he is to their development. He has missed 18 months of that development and he wants his whole family together again.


With that, look for Vick to keep a low public profile and catch up with his family. Football's there but what we all forget is he's been away from society for two long years. He's got a lot of catching up to do. Heck, he's not even on Twitter!

Paul Tudor Jones: "Trader" documentary

 

Watch legendary hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones in the 1987 documentary, Trader.

See especially PTJ's comments on the importance of focusing on risk management in trading and investing (near the 32 minute mark). Classic stuff.

Related articles and posts:

1. Paul Tudor Jones on trading macro - Finance Trends.

2. Steve Cohen opens up to Paul Tudor Jones
- Finance Trends.

3. Sebastian Mallaby interview: future of hedge funds
- Finance Trends.Any source

Marc Faber on McAlvany podcast

Marc Faber recently appeared on the McAlvany podcast to discuss bubbles, US monetary policy, and the state of the US and world economy.

If you think the financial crisis is about over, think again; Faber says we're in for an additional government-fueled bubble which will bring further repercussions for the economy.

There's a great deal more to hear in this interview with Marc; be sure to listen to his truly big picture view on the rebalancing of global power and coming geopolitical tensions.

Here's the link to that interview. Hat tip to Marc Faber News blog.
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Google Books Settlement Agreement Panel at New York Public Library

I've been following the Google Book Search Settlement Agreement very closely, because I think that whatever happens with it will have a large effect on the information industry. In particular, the Book Rights Registry that it would create could implement some extremely useful machinery, and whether we like it or we don't like it, anything we do that touches books would have make room for it.

Yesterday, I attended a panel discussion of the Google Book Search Settlement Agreement at the New York Public Library. It used to be that I never took notes on anything, but I've found that taking notes on Twitter can be a lot of fun. The panel was hosted by NYPL Director David Ferriero, who earlier in the day was announced as President Obama's choice to be "Archivist of the United States", whatever that means. For the most part, the panel represented the particpants in the Settlement agreement. David Drummond, Google's Senior VP for Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer, represented google- he was the leader of the team that negotiated the agreement for Google. Representing the publishers was Richard Sarnoff, Co-Chairman, Bertelsmann Inc. and the President of the Association of American Publishers when they negotiated the deal with Google. There were two representatives of the authors- Jim Gleick, the well known science writer and author of Chaos: Making a New Science. Somehow the NYPL managed to also get the ghostwriter of The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World on the same panel, Peter Petre. For its neutral voice, the panel had Jonathan Band, a lawyer and author of "A Guide for the Perplexed: Libraries & the Google Library Project Settlement" and "A Guide for the Perplexed Part II: The Amended Google-Michigan Agreement" explanations of the settlement agreement commissioned by a number of library organizations.

For most of the time, the panel answered questions from the audience, which I find to usually be the most useful part of a panel; there was no boring round-robin of opening statements. I should note first what I did NOT hear. If all you know about the settlement agreement is what you have read in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, or if you mostly pay attention to blog posts and Twitter feeds, you would get the distinct impression that the settlement agreement was in deep trouble. You would think that the Justice Department was about to throw the antitrust book at Google (the paper version, and it's a big book), that libraries were rushing to end their agreements and that Europe was threatening to speak only French. The panel, for the most part, seemed unconcerned with these scenarios, and the audience was polite, interested and in no way virulent.

The panel opened with a summary of the agreement by David Drummond. He thought it not surprising that, given the size and scope of the agreement, some people are wishing that parts of settlement had been written differently. He added that it was a lengthy effort to get to an agreement- three years. David Ferriero injected that "libraries wish they had been brought into the discussion earlier than 2 years into the lawsuit", but it seemed that no hard feelings remain there.

In response to a question about the adequacy of one free-access terminal per library building, Jim Gleick noted that every computer in the word would become effectively a terminal with increased access to books. In his own work, he has become a heavy user of Google Book Search, and 90% of what his usage would fall within the 20% of books that Google would be showing consumers for free.

Peter Petre then launched into an explanation of the Book Rights Registry, stating that it would have as its primary mission to increase access to Google Books through additional licensing agreements.

Jonathan Band mentioned the concerns from various library groups that the institutional subscription pricing of Google Book Search would be exorbitant. Determining what that price would be is "where the rubber meets the road". Richard Sarnoff's response to this was that the settlement agreement is "organic", i.e. many important aspects are not fixed in stone. For example, if the New York Public Library found that there were lines out the door to use the one free terminal in the building, that provision could be adjusted. "If one terminal is not enough, how many do you want?" While a report of this drew snickers on Twitter, the response from the real audience was quite positive. There seems to be a genuine willingness from the publishers to respond to community concerns, though there was a recurring theme that it was hard to predict the future of a product that does not exist yet.

In response to a question about how the concerns of libraries would be represented in the agreement, Petre said that the one of the first item on the agenda of the Book Rights Registry, once it is constituted, would be the creation of advisory committees for libraries and for the public. Band noted that the library associations want to see strong continuing jurisdiction over the settlement agreement by the court.

A lengthy, discursive question from Columbia University's Kenneth Crews about whether the settlement agreement would reshape the future of the digital information sparked an amusing set of responses. Petre said, very briefly "Yes", while Drummond emphatically said "No." Drummond thought it a great stretch to think the settlement agreement will set the terms for everything in the digital future, because its scope is quite narrow, and only applies to in-copyright, out-of-print books. Evidently Google has other things (video, to name one) to worry about. Gleick added that the settlement only affects books already published. The future is unaffected. Sarnoff characterized the agreement as being only about "horses out of the barn". From the point of view of the publishers, the settlement is a recognition by the publishers that access to copyrighted content will expand; it tries to do this without having all the value leak out of the book publishing industry.

In response to a question about orphan works, Band answered that the only alternative to the settlement agreement is legislation. There is no reason to assume that legislation would be any better for anyone except lobbyists. He says that from the perspective of being a lobbyist.

A discussion of who gets what money followed. Band pointed out, with more than a hint of irony, that lawyers get more money than anybody. "As it should be." My mind must have been wandering, because that comment woke me up! A quick look at section 5.5 of the settlement agreement puts the plaintiffs attorneys fees at $30 million out of a total settlement of about $120 million. Not a bad day's work, even if it took 3 years.

A question from a publisher concerned international rights. Sarnoff pointed out that there was no mechanism in the settlement to extend benefits outside US, nor was such a thing possible under the law. Google would have to make agreements country by country to be able to make available in other countries what the US will have.

What gives teeth to the public's interest in Google Books? Jim Gleick quipped "I'll bet David Drummond is glad he wasn't the one to have to explain Amazon's 1984 fiasco with the Kindle." He went on to say that the public was right to be concerned about issues like privacy, but that the settlement agreement was not the place to address those concerns. Band added that the consideration given the public interest under the settlement agreement is likely to be much better than what it would get in the absence of a settlement agreement. As for libraries, Drummond said that Google will set the price for institutional subscriptions according to settlement "principles", and that partners such as University of Michigan can use their agreements to "hold Google's feet to the fire".

Following in the discussion of the accountability of Google and of the Book Rights Registry, Petre wanted to highlight that for the first time there is a procedure set out to resolve disputes between authors and publishers. This is "truly historic."

Returning to the subject of orphan works, Drummond characterized the settlement as "family reunification for orphan works". Google thinks this will, in the end, be a very small percentage of the total. In response to a later question, he estimated that it would end up being 10% of all the works subject to the agreement. With roughly 20 Million total works, this leaves 2 million orphans. Sarnoff pointed out that unlike photographs, books have embedded metadata which makes them pretty easy to track down and take out of orphan status. Gleick suggested that money tends to make orphans disappear- there's no such problem as orphan works in music industry because of the rights registration organizations BMI and ASCAP.

James Grimmelman asked the best question of the night. "Suppose I started an organization with a purpose to digitize books and let you know about it. Would you settle a copyright lawsuit with me on the same terms as you've given Google?" "For you, sure", quipped Sarnoff. He then answered affirmatively with cautious qualifications. "We'd be inclined to negotiate something similar" with another capable party that was able to provide the sorts of assurances that Google has given. An agreement would certainly be easier the second time around. A subsequent discussion about "inserts" revealed that Google had initially been unaware of the complications of the book licensing environment and that the education process led to considerable delay in reaching an agreement.

With hardly a question about privacy or censorship from the audience, the panel addressed the issue directly. This gave David Drummond the chance to tout the fact that he was the subject of a criminal warrant in Italy and wave the flag for Google's brave stance to deliver YouTube in authoritarian countries. Jim Gleick pointed out that if Google removes something from Google Books, it would be required by the agreement to notify the Book Rights Registry and to provide it with the digital copy. This would act as a safeguard against censorship. Peter Murray asked me if the library would get a copy- the answer is that the fully participating library that provided the book would have the copy, and of course they also would still have the book.

All in all, there was no "news" from the panel, so I expect you'll not read much about it. But there's an editorial in the New York Times today that bravely comes out in favor of copyrights, against monopoly, and in favor of respecting privacy. I feel so much better.
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A PROPOS DE L'OPERATION 'DANSER POUR LE CLIMAT"

reponse de Claire HENRION sur le blog à propos d'une proposition de se joindre à une operation 'danser pour le climat' à OSTENDE
Sujet : Re: Réf. : Appel aux figurants : Venez danser pour le climat à OSTENDE
bonjour H....,

Tu trouveras peut être ma réaction un peu vive, mais ça me fait
toujours de la peine de voir des amis ou des proches tomber dans des
pièges . Du moins il me semble bien que c'en est un.Pour soigner le climat il n'y a qu'une chose à faire : faire cesser HAARP et les chemtrails. Tout le reste n'est que manipulation médiatique et le CO2 de nos activités civiles, fussent-elles polluantes, n'est vraiment pas l'agent de l'effet de serre. La Terre se refroidit, nonobstant les effets réchauffants artificiels dus aux manips secret défense. Participer à un tel mouvement c'est faire le pain blanc du Pouvoir.Ou alors il faut y aller pour affirmer un autre discours ... qu'on se le dise !
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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Illusion of Internet Identity

You've certainly heard of Arthur C. Clarke's Third Law, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic", which says more about magic and our perceptions of the world than it does about technology. When technology does something that is not natural to us, we of course perceive it to be supernatural. But what happens when technology approximates something so natural to us that we don't even perceive that there's anything remarkable? Then we attribute powers to the technology that just don't exist. Just as we can perceive emotions in a stuffed teddy bear, it is only with difficulty that we avoid anthropomorphizing technologies. Do you have a cute name for your car? Do you refer to your GPS as "Lola"? If you have not done so, try the web version of ELIZA, and see if you can avoid thinking of ELIZA as a real person. It's very hard for us to understand how complicated the act of carrying on a real conversation really is- we do it all the time. Even a profoundly retarded technology will be imbued with magic if its function is sufficiently mundane.

I've been reading a paper by Patrick Hayes and Harry Halpin and a presentation by Pat Hayes, both with the unfortunate title "In Defense of Ambiguity". The paper provides a wonderful review of the theory of identity. I've been living very happily, doing productive work in the world of identifiers without ever knowing that identity needed to have a theory behind it. In retrospect, I've managed to do this by staying away from the difficult bits.

After reading Hayes and Halpin, I've come to realize what a miracle human communication is. The fact that I can meet someone with whom I share no languages and that we can exchange our own names and establish names for things may seem simple, but it's something that machines cannot do. For example, I may gesture at myself and say "Eric" to establish my identity. If I then gesture at a banana and say "banana", it's very likely that my counterpart will understand that I have not established an identity for the banana, but rather I have given a name for the kind of fruit. This is possible because people have brains that are similarly wired- our brains are wired to recognize individual people but not individual bananas (though sometimes our knowledge models diverge). Our computers on the other hand, have no fruit wiring, or individual person wiring, so establishment of identity is very hard for them.

The difficulty of teaching computers to identify things has not stopped us from using them to build elaborate identity systems. Hayes and Halpin observe that internet identity can only be established by description, and description is inherently ambiguous. Attempts to make real-world-object identifiers global or to add description actually make the situation worse, by increasing ambiguity. In our daily lives, ambiguity in our communications is mostly not a problem. When I say the word "rose" a listener will almost never be confused between the flower and the verb. I can say "rows of rosebushes" and only rarely will people hear "rose of rosebushes". Our brains are so good at using context to resolve ambiguity that we don't realize how hard it is for computers to do the same thing.

That the situation becomes worse with added description was a bit hard for me to absorb, because at first it seems that the better you define something, the less ambiguous your statements about it become. But it's not true for computers. Suppose my internet identity description added a physical description of me- for example the fact that I have blonde hair. That might help to identify me under certain circumstances, but then when my hair turns gray, it makes my identification more tenuous. You could say that I had blonde hair on a particular date, but then you'd need to add a physical model for hair color to your internet identity system. In actual fact, the added description might help a human to identify me, but it hurts a computer's efferts to establish my identity.

The Hayes and Halpin paper was written in the context of the "http-range" semantic web controversy that I touched upon in my post on the semantics of redirection. They argued that the http protocol is not the right place to put establishments of identity, and that the description model is better suited to do that. As I understand it, the Hayes-Halpin view did not prevail with the W3C TAG; "ambiguity" was not a great concept for people to rally around, I guess.

The internet identity systems I've worked with revolved around identifying things in libraries- books, serials, and articles. For the most part, these sorts of objects do not usually present deep identification quandaries, and so I've not noticed my ignorance of identity theory. For example, most people imagine that computers use ISBNs to identify books (or as I imagined in my last post, that computers use ISBNs to identify items in bookstores). Most often this illusion does not get us into any trouble, just as the illusion that teddy bears have feelings is mostly harmless. Computers are wired to deal with records in data files, and they use ISBNs (with frequent success) to identify and match records in data files, that's all. The rest is just software trickery.

It's interesting to note that the ISBN was not developed by the library community. It was developed by a statistics professor named Gordon Foster for the British Publishers Association. Librarians lived without identifier systems for many years and were content with the library equivalents of an address or locator system. It's as if librarians have intuitively known something that the architects of the semantic web have only recently struggled with- that we can aspire to build description systems and access systems, but building a system that can provide identity is more difficult than it looks like to a human.
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Diversity: Staying in the Front Seat

Are diversity initiatives taking a back seat in the face of the past year's financial turmoil--especially at financial institutions?

Banks, insurance companies, investment managers and other financial institutions made important, noticeable advances on the diversity front in the past decade. You could see that in many circles. More and more women and people of color began to populate trading desks and entry-level corporate-finance programs. More became fluent in exotic derivatives, valuation models, and optimal asset allocation. And more began to take lead roles in deals in corporate or municipal finance.

They became interested in venture capital and private equity. Those who started out years ago progressed to vice president, branch manager, and senior research analyst. Some had started their own brokerages or funds.

In business schools across the country, blacks and Latinos plotted careers as bankers, as traders, as financial consultants, as financial engineers, and M&A advisers. Many could envision the day they would become heads of trading desks, managing directors, sector heads, or top-ranking researchers or salespersons.

Watching mentors and prominent examples, they grew confident in a finance career path. They wanted to be the next generation of CFO's, deal-doers, star analysts, creators of new financial products, or prominent fund mangers. They watched as African-Americans led Merrill Lynch and American Express. African-Americans had become top bankers at Morgan Stanley and Bank of America. Women had become CFO's at Lehman Brothers and Citigroup and "All-American" equity-research analysts.

But have all the progress and sense of urgency slowed down?

Financial institutions last year found themselves with backs against walls, fighting for their lives--scrambling to avert loan and trading losses, reduce and rationalize staff, cut expenses, boost capital, and respond to regulators and the general public. Many understandably worried about panic among depositors and runs on their banks.

Did diversity and the special passion to ensure all aspects of financial services were inclusive and reflected all faces of the general population get pushed to the bottom of corporate agenda?

Most institutions will contend that throughout it all diversity remained high in importance. But keeping it there was a daunting challenge. Last summer, Lehman Brothers, a Wall Street firm that had made admirable progress on the diversity front the last decade, was hustling to maintain its existence. Reducing its balance sheet, shifting top management, confronting a frightened public, avoiding comparisons to Bear Stearns and injecting more capital were an all-consuming preoccupation. Diversity initiatives were likely shoved aside.

Lehman wasn't alone. In a severe crisis, firms' diversity council meetings with senior management are postponed. Diversity follow-up programs, initiatives and scorecards draw less attention. Firmwide enthusiasm and celebration of inclusiveness dwindle. A culture that had been one where minorities finally felt happy and felt belonged turns fierce, mean and Darwinian. Funding for diversity-pipeline programs (SEO, Inroads, Toigo, and Consortium) gets cut or rationalized away. Recruiting budgets are sliced, and recruiting itself becomes erratic or inconsistent.

As the crisis last year ballooned, financial institutions swiftly reduced staff. Those in under-represented groups suffered from "LIFO" staff reduction: last hired, first eliminated--especially at entry-level positions. Just like that, a half-generation of progress was at risk of being dismantled. The next generation of top minority deal-doers, senior analysts, senior vice presidents and managing directors got tripped up right at the starting gate.

Worse, there was the risk that those who followed might get discouraged. They could get disenchanted if they saw few women and minorities ahead of them and could ask themselves, "Why?" or "Why bother?"

The best firms kept the passion in good times and bad. As the world of finance pondered bailouts, new capital, and trading losses, the best firms--faced with the same--reaffirmed their commitment. It wasn't easy, but they did.

They are the ones, who while fighting for existence, still managed to keep diversity high on the agenda, convened diversity-council meetings, and ensured there was a significant pipeline of diverse talent headed their way. And they did so eagerly--while distracted, anxious, and burdened. They had a long-term perspective on inclusiveness.

Top business schools had an important role, too, in helping to keep diversity on the agenda. They reminded corporate recruiters they don't need to go far to find diverse talent. Talent is in their backyards. They made sure the next generation of talent was well-prepared, ready to contribute. And they helped convinced under-represented groups a career in finance is still worth the effort.

Fortunately markets have stabilized and anxieties eased, but the challenge remains. It took decades to get the spirit of inclusion near the top of the agenda. It took just a few months for it to slip and take a back seat. It will take everybody to get it back to where it needs to be and make sure it stays there.

Tracy WilliamsAny source

Nuova versione di iGoogle: nuovo look e funzionalità

Ciao a tutti! E' con molto piacere che annunciamo che da oggi è disponibile la nuova versione di iGoogle, caratterizzata da gadget espandibili a schermo intero, la possibilità di chattare con gli amici direttamente dalla propria homepage personalizzata e una nuova interfaccia grafica.

Grazie ad iGoogle, fino ad oggi avete potuto personalizzare la vostra homepage scegliendo tra molti temi e gadget per avere sempre tutto ciò che vi serve (o vi diverte) sulla pagina principale di Google: sport, intrattenimento, notizie, meteo e molto altro. Da oggi, potete fare molto di più, grazie ai nuovi gadget a tutta pagina. Espandendo i vostri gadget preferiti potrete guardare video ad alta definizione, leggere interi articoli o consultare la vostra casella Gmail direttamente dalla vostra pagina iGoogle.



In più, Google Talk è da oggi disponibile all'interno della vostra pagina personalizzata, così da permettervi di chattare direttamente dalla vostra homepage. La nuova versione di iGoogle include anche nuovi interessanti contenuti, grazie ai gadget sviluppati in collaborazione con i partner. Qualche esempio?
  • Con il gadget di Repubblica.it potrete consultare la prima pagina del quotidiano direttamente dalla vostra homepage, leggere gli articoli e guardare video sulle ultime notizie.
  • Con il gadget Oroscopo sarete invece sempre aggiornati sul vostro oroscopo del giorno o scoprire tutte le informazioni fondamentali sul vostro segno zodiacale.
Per scoprire tutte le funzioni della nuova versione di iGoogle, vi invitiamo a fare un tour del prodotto, o più semplicemente, a provarlo!

Speriamo che una homepage organizzata con gadget più interattivi e ricchi di contenuto vi sia utile. Come sempre, non esitate a mandarci le vostre opinioni.

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The Iterative Web App: Links Got Shorter and Smarter


On April 7th, we announced a new version of Gmail for mobile for iPhone and Android-powered devices. Among the improvements was a complete redesign of the web application's underlying code which allows us to more rapidly develop and release new features that users have been asking for, as explained in our
first post. We'd like to introduce The Iterative Webapp, a series where we will continue to release features for Gmail for mobile. Today: Smart Links.


We all know that on a mobile device, screen space is scarce, so it's not very helpful when I get an email with a long link such as this Google Maps link:



Not only is the link taking up an unnecessarily large amount of space, but it's not easy to find the address that's hidden in the middle of the link. To solve this problem, we now shorten the link and automatically convert raw links into named links, which we call "Smart Links". So instead of seeing that long link to Google Maps, you're going to see the link renamed to the actual address:



Clicking on it still takes you to the same Google Maps page, but now the link is much shorter and the important information is more visible!

Here's a list of links we currently support:
  • Google Maps address queries
  • Google Maps directional queries (with one destination)
  • Google Sites webpages
  • YouTube videos
We're planning to roll out support for more link types, such as Google Docs, so watch for those in your emails. Please note that Smart Links work only in plaintext emails right now.

To try out Gmail for mobile, visit gmail.com in your mobile browser. This version of Gmail for mobile supports iPhone/iPod touch OS 2.2.1 or above, as well as all Android-powered devices, and is available for US English only. To make it easy to access your Gmail account, try creating a home screen link.

One more tip: Label management got easier for Android-powered devices with a physical keyboard. In the "Label as..." menu on the floaty bar, there is now a text box above the list of labels. You can type the name of a label you wish to select into the box rather than clicking on it. As you type, the list filters to show only labels that match what you've typed. We also added more keyboard shortcuts to bring it closer to the Gmail experience on your computer.


by Casey Ho, Software Engineer, Google MobileAny source

ACSEIPICA - ASSEMBLEE GENERALE 2009

- Elle aura lieu cette année à Leymarie,


dans l’Aveyron entre Decazeville et Figeac (Lot)


le week end du 26-27 septembre.


- Qu’on se le dise ! Retenez d’ores et déjà cette date dans votre agenda.


Elle s'adresse bien sûr aux adhérents (seuls les membres peuvent prendre part aux votes), mais si vous voulez venir ce peut être l'occasion de le devenir si vous ne l'êtes pas encore.


Je peux proposer un hébergement sommaire –style refuge- sur place pour une dizaine de personnes. Les premiers à réserver seront les premiers servis !

Je vous envoie la liste des gîtes, hôtels, campings proches ainsi que des moyens d'accès sur simple demande de votre part à acseipica.association@gmail.com.

Pour les membres : un autre courrier avec le programme détaillé, un plan et un bon pour pouvoir - au cas où vous ne pourriez pas venir- vous sera adressé début septembre.

Au plaisir de se retrouver pour faire le point sur cette première année d’activité et de s’organiser ensemble pour la suite.

Bien cordialement

Claire HENRION

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Problems fixed and improvements made in last post

My last post has been substantially revised and improved. I think now it's pretty complete and well done.Any source

Monday, July 27, 2009

OCDE:Monaco signe avec Luxembourg après la Belgique. Par Didier REMER

"Son altesse le Prince Albert II souhaite que la principauté soit exemplaire"




La principauté de Monaco tient ses engagements. Aprés avoir signé avec la Belgique un accord de non double imposition selon les standards de l'OCDE, la principauté vient de signer un accord avec le Luxembourg. Le rocher est donc en bonne voie pour obtenir les douze accords de conventions relatifs aux critères de l'article 26 de l'OCDE. Elle devrait normalement sortir de la liste grise de L'OCDE et éviter le volet sanctions promis aux récalcitrants lors du prochain G20 de Pittsburgh aux Etats-Unis. S.A.S le Prince Albert II de Monaco peut se prévaloir d'être à présent en pointe sur les questions éthiques financières internationales, je précise par ailleurs l'excellent travail de son altesse qui s'est lancé dans la création d'une fondation dédiée à une autre cause, toute aussi noble, le sauvetage de notre planète! Plaçant ainsi Monaco toujours plus haut dans le club des états responsables sur les questions éthiques.


"J'ai décidé de créer une Fondation dédiée à la protection de l'environnement et au développement durable (...). Il s'agit d'un défi planétaire commun qui demande des actions urgentes et concrètes, en réponse à trois grands enjeux environnementaux : le changement climatique, la biodiversité et l'eau."
S.A.S. le Prince Albert II de Monaco


Vous pouvez consulter le site de la fondation de son altesse ici:
http://www.fpa2.mc




Avec Luxembourg, communiqué du gouvernement...





Signature d'une convention entre le Grand-Duché de Luxembourg et la Principauté de Monaco 27-07-2009

Les ministres des Finances du Luxembourg et de Monaco, Luc Frieden et Franck Biancheri, ont signé aujourd’hui, 27 juillet 2009, une convention visant à éviter les doubles impositions et à prévenir la fraude fiscale en matière d’impôts sur le revenu et la fortune. La convention correspond entièrement à la convention-modèle de l'OCDE en matière de coopération fiscale internationale et prévoit notamment l'échange d'informations sur demande et dans des cas individuels entre les administrations fiscales des deux pays.
Dans une entrevue qui a suivi la signature de la convention, les deux ministres ont abordé les principaux dossiers européens et internationaux concernant la situation économique et financière, ainsi que les relations politiques et économiques entre les deux pays.

Et quelques jours avant...

Communiqué du Ministère d'état monégasque:
Monaco signe un accord de transparence fiscale avec la Belgique

15/07/2009-La Principauté de Monaco et la Belgique ont signé, ce mercredi 15 juillet 2009, un accord permettant l’échange d’informations fiscales entre les deux Etats. Cet Accord permet d’échanger des renseignements fiscaux au cas par cas et sur demande « concrètes et fondées », l’accord n’autorisant pas la « pêche générale aux informations », un point auquel la Principauté de Monaco tient tout particulièrement. La Belgique est le premier Etat avec lequel la Principauté de Monaco a conclu un tel accord. La Principauté rappelle qu’en avril 2009, à Londres, le G20 avait mis sur la « liste grise » une vingtaine de places bancaires, dont Monaco, liste dont les pays en question ne pourraient être retirés que s’ils signent douze conventions de transparence fiscale conformes aux normes de l’OCDE. Des négociations avec d’autres Etats sont actuellement en cours, ce qui permettra ainsi à la Principauté de tenir ses engagements d'ici la fin de l'année 2009. CONTACT :Département des Relations Extérieures Direction de la Coopération Internationale (+377 98 44 88)



Source OCDE: GVT Luxembourgeois, Monaco Gouvernement.
Tous droits réservés
Photographie: Tous droits réservés













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Un món diferent. Efectes del Canvi climàtic (VIDEO)



SINOPSIS.

El canvi climàtic és un fet real del que se n’estan estudiant els possibles efectes a les nostres vides quotidianes i a les de les generacions futures. L’escalfament global del planeta avança més ràpid del que es pensava i, a menys que s'adoptin mesures urgents, provocarà la desaparició del 30% de les espècies animals i vegetals, milions de persones es veuran privades d'aigua i proliferaran les sequeres, incendis i inundacions.

Pràcticament la totalitat de les regions europees, especialment la zona del Mediterrani, es veuran afectades pel canvi climàtic, amb un possible augment de les riuades i les inundacions al litoral, una erosió més gran, el retrocés de les glaceres i la neu, la pèrdua d'espècies animals i de biodiversitat, i una disminució dels recursos hídrics. Com afectaran tots aquests canvis a casa nostra?

Aquest documental, que culmina la tasca iniciada l’any 2007 per l’exposició itinerant “Un Món Diferent, efectes del canvi climàtic a casa nostra”, és un recurs educatiu de sensibilització ambiental sobre la problemàtica del canvi climàtic, que es presenta de forma clara, simple i propera, recollint estudis realitzats a les nostres terres, exemplificant els seus efectes en la vida quotidiana i en els espais coneguts, amb intervencions de persones expertes i concretant mesures simples, efectives i reals per a la reducció de les emissions de CO2 i per a l’adaptació davant els futurs canvis.

ENLLAÇ AL VIDEO.



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