Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Slow Books Movement

An interesting idea is a powerful thing, but you can't eat it. You really have to give it away to make it worth anything, and even then you can't eat it. So what if you're good at having interesting ideas? You can go arounds giving talk at conferences. If the idea is incomprehensible enough, maybe you can even get tenure and a salary out of it. But what if it's an easy idea, one that resonates with a lot of people? Then your best option for making a living off the idea for a while is to write a best-selling book.

 Clay Johnson has an interesting idea, and I encountered his talk at this month's Tools of Change for Publishing Conference. I can even explain it for you, but of course Johnson does it much more entertainingly, and the TOC talk is on the web. In short, Johnson's thesis is that the things that are right and wrong with out information diets are the same things that are right and wrong with our food diets.

Humans are evolved to prefer fat and sugar over the things that are good for us because these foods were scarce in the environment we evolved in. Fat and sugar aren't scarce anymore, and the result is that we eat too much of them and are not as healthy as we could be. Worse, the economic structure of our society has created incentives for corporations to create huge complex systems that efficiently feed us sweet fatty food at a low cost. It's what we want. Fast Food.

Thus the "slow food movement". Slow food is the opposite of fast food. Inefficiently and locally produced with few of the benefits of technology or high fructose corn syrup from Iowa. Cooked from raw ingredients, crafted by a grandmother in a small kitchen. High in fiber, vitamins, protein and minerals. Low in antibiotics and fossil fuel byproducts. I exaggerate, but I'm smelling a frozen pie in the oven, and my zeal for slowness is tempered by my desire... to finish writing before it cools!

We suffer similarly from our "information diets". People want information that confirms what they already believe. Who wants to be intellectually challenged, really? We want sweet stories that entertain us, make our lives seem justified, and feed the emotions we most want to feel. And so we get information products designed to give us what we want, not what's good for us. Our news is designed and selected for search engine optimization rather than human wisdom maximization. It's Fox News and MSNBC, not Walter Cronkite and the New York Times.

Johnson's idea and his presentation of it are so tasty, so delectable, so comforting, that once you absorb it you become suspicious that it's self-referential. Are we liking the idea because it's confirming a bias we already have? Is it a "Fast Idea"? Aaaaack!

Luckily there's a book, The Information Diet, published by O'ReillyThe book's cover looks like a cereal box, the kind that's supposed to be good for you. The book is thin and lean, and has little of the fat or sugar of Johnson's presentation. It has footnotes and ScienceDirect URLs in all their unshortened bleakness. There are no pictures. It's the ideal souvenir from a Clay Johnson talk. It grounds Johnsons talk in tight argument and factual background. It's a "Slow Book" for a "Fast Idea".

And this leads Johnson to a concept that he calls "Infoveganism" in the book, but more appealingly, "Slow Information" in his talk.
A healthy Information diet always starts locally-and your political information should be no different. The goings-on of your state representatives and city and county governments, along with your school boards, and other local government offices are the best, healthiest forms of content for political news, and should be consumed over the national or global news.
Really. The main problem I have with Johnson's book is its "veganism". It's a sermon that, as much as I might agree with it, is not going to change my behavior.

It's my view that economic and social incentives are what ultimately determine the behavior of organisms, not information, whether slow or fast. If we want a better information diet, we need to alter the economics of information availability. That's why a society with libraries can be better that a society with only bookstores, Harry Potter notwithstanding. It's also why I'm developing If authors and publishers are rewarded for the value that people have received from books rather than for the catchiness of the cover art or the placement in the bookstore, we'll have better books to read. The books will last longer, and they'll connect people in richer ways. They'll be "slow books" because the economic model will have a long view.

I think I'll skip the whipped cream on my apple pie!
Article any source

Greece battered by recession, debt and now unseasonal snowstorms

Rupert Neate in Athens, Tuesday 28 February 2012 19.43 GMT

Meanwhile, a coalition of Greek businessmen implores global financial and political leaders to support the country with the slogan: 'All we are saying is give Greece a chance'

Snowstorms in Athens

A couple seek shelter during a heavy snowfall on the mountain of Penteli in northern Athens. Photograph: Thanassis Stavrakis/AP

Greece is being battered by a perfect economic storm of recession and debt – and now an unseasonal snowstorm has arrived to add to the country's problems.

As Standard & Poor downgraded Greece's credit rating to "selective default" – the first time an advanced country has been in default since Germany after the second world war – heavy snow and gales closed the main rail line between Athens and Thessaloniki, ships and ferries stayed in port and schools closed.

A coalition of Greek businessmen has invoked the memory of John Lennon and Yoko Ono's famous "bed-in", with a campaign imploring global business and political leaders to support the country as its politicians voted through another round of drastic pay cuts. "All we are saying", says the campaign, "is give Greece a chance".

The campaign is backed by several of Greece's biggest companies, including Aegean airlines, Hellenic Petroleum, Piraeus Bank and a dozen other Greek companies.

It is aiming to win back support from the eurozone to "ensure that the sacrifices made by every Greek under the toughest austerity package in modern history do not go in vain".

The Greece is Changing campaign was launched online as the Greek cabinet met to approve swingeing private sector pay cuts and prepared to vote on Tuesday night on a fresh round of public spending cuts to meet tough demands set by the European Union. The Greek government must vote through more than 80 fresh austerity and reform measures over the next few weeks to secure ongoing support to prevent the country's economy from collapsing.

The launch of the campaign comes a day after Germany approved Greece's second €130bn (£110bn) emergency bailout and the S&P default ruling. Greece is expected to remain in selective default until its debt swap offer as part of a €206bn closes on 12 March.

Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman warned that Greece is "very close to running out of alternatives" to being forced to leave the eurozone.

The new business lobby group warned that "careless rhetoric" about the country could have a "catastrophic effect" on the country's future.

"As we enter our fifth year of recession we want to rebalance the agenda [and] inject some more facts into a debate sometimes overrun by fiction," the lobby group said as it launched its internet campaign. "[Greeks] have already made sacrifices and are ready to do more and just need a chance to change Greece.

The campaign group said Greece has already made good progress in reducing its vast public spending budget. It said more than 85,000 public sector jobs have been axed since 2009, wages have been cut by 30%, pensions reduced by 10% and are due to fall by a further 4% since year.

VAT has been increased on all goods and services, with taxes on fuel, cigarettes and alcohol increased by 33%.

The minimum wage has been cut by 22%, and by 32% for those under 25. Official unemployment stands at 21%, up from 8% in 2010. The real rate of unemployment is likely to be far higher, because only people that have previously been employed are able to claim benefit.

The businessmen implored Europeans to "see through the stereotypes and realise that there is another Greece which believes in modernity, in the stability that being part of Europe brings, that is fighting a battle for change that can be won".

Greek police, firefighters and harbour police staged a rally in Athens on Tuesday night and the country's two biggest unions have called for a demonstration on Wednesday.

Greece battered by recession, debt and now unseasonal snowstorms | Business | The Guardian

Any source

Pour some sugar on me

Sugar has been creeping higher lately, as seen on the daily futures chart. 

Here's the weekly view which shows the longer swings going back to 2006. 

Note the larger uptrends and ensuing deep retracements that have happened from the 2007 base, near 10 cents, on. 

Of course, the latest move is more of a slow edge higher off the recent price shelf of 23-24 cents. Sugar will have to clear the 30 cent level and the recent highs near 32 cents before any major move is evident on the weekly charts.

Here's the daily chart of SGG, the sugar ETN. I'll be watching for a pullback on lighter volume in the days ahead. Since I'm not active in the futures market, I'll consider a long position in SGG. 

Cautionary note: volume is very light in many of these single commodity ETNs. That may lead me to consider other, more liquid, trade opportunities instead.  

For those who'd like to read more about sugar from a futures trader's point of view, please see Peter Brandt's recent blog posts. He is an experienced trader and knows far more about the long-term price action, as well as building a trade via back month futures contracts.

Disclosure: no position in SB_F or SGG at the time of writing, may initiate long or short positions any time after. Educational post, not a recommendation for readers to buy/sell any security.Any source

Happy St David’s Day/Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus

Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing today enjoy the day, I’ve got my daffodils, welsh cakes and a pint of Brains for later

Hat Tip to Welsh Icons for an excellent video of Wales

Any source

The Death of the Honduran Institute of Anthropology and History

Virgilio Paredes, Director of the Instituto Hondureño de Antropología e Historia (IHAH), and Áfrico Madrid, Interior Minister, appear to have sown the seeds that will ultimately reduce the IHAH to inconsequence and put the national patrimony of Honduras at risk.

Under Honduran law, all archaeological and historical sites and objects are the property of the people of Honduras, with the Instituto Hondureño de Antropología e Historia the guardian of this patrimony. IHAH is charged with conducting and regulating research on this national patrimony, with managing both the movable property and sites, and with disseminating knowledge of the patrimony to the people who are its ultimate owners.

A special office, the Fiscalia de Etnias, currently occupied by Jany del Cid, prosecutes violations of the law concerning national patrimony.

But the state government of Honduras has never footed the actual bill for the protection, management, or interpretation and public dissemination of the national patrimony. In 2012, the resources in the national government budget for IHAH (page A45 of the linked PDF of La Gaceta) looks like this:

42, 471,458

Income from Operations (admissions)




Transfers from the Central Government


Transfers of Capital from the Central Government



That's a total budget of $3.4 million dollars. $1.1 million is allocated by Congress.

But the larger portion, $2.2 million, is in income from visits to the national archaeological and historic parks and museums that IHAH maintains.

Less than a third of the budget is provided by the central government, and about two thirds of its budget is provided by income from visits to the parks and museums.

Where does the Institute spend its money? Here's the budget projections for 2012 (all amounts in lempiras):




Services (phone, lights, water, etc.)








Books, Magazines, and Gifts


Intangible Assets


Construction and Improvements

The central government's budget contribution does not even cover the payroll of IHAH for a year.

It is only through the income from admission to archaeological and historical parks and museums that it can perform all of its services, which include:

  • maintaining the National Historical Archives
  • maintaining archaeological parks open to the public
  • educating the public about national patrimony and its protection
  • fostering local and national histories
  • protecting archaeological sites from looting and destruction
  • research when construction threatens an archaeological site
  • enter into international agreements to protect the national patrimony

Now, in an open meeting in the town of Copán Ruinas, Helmy Giocoman, Mayor of Copan Ruinas, and Áfrico Madrid, Minister of the Interior, decided that the law governing IHAH would be changed to give municipalities a say in whether archaeological pieces can be loaned to foreign museums or not.

They also agreed to fire Salvador Varela, the local representative of IHAH, for failure to adequately communicate with the local authorities.

The Instituto Hondureño de Antropología e Historia reportedly participated in this dismantling of its mission.

And it agreed that a percentage of the income from the park will be transferred to the local government. The agreement left the amount to be negotiated later. Copan Mayor Giocoman hopes it will be 50 percent of the income. There is nothing to suggest he will not get his way, as he has already in these unprecedented steps effectively appropriated control of a national patrimony for the economic benefit of a particular municipality.

The agreement was signed by Madrid as representative of the government, Giocoman, representing the town, and Rosa Maria Lopez, an IHAH lawyer.

Virgilio Paredes, the director of IHAH, was not present.Any source

Quinn pitches tax cuts to spur economy

By Ashley Griffin 

As Gov. Pat Quinn presented his take on the status of the state today, lawmakers and business leaders said they were listening specifically for the governor’s plan to grow Illinois’ economy.

Quinn gave them the Illinois Jobs Agenda for 2012, which includes three-targeted tax cuts for the state’s working families, employers and veterans.

“We owe it to the next generation to continue our progress of the past three years,” Quinn said in his speech. “To create jobs and grow our economy, we must continue to invest in Illinois and help everyday people.”

The plan aims to permanently abolish the natural gas utility tax in Illinois; establish a child tax credit for parents, which would provide a $100 direct tax credit for the average family of four; and create a tax credit for companies that hire unemployed veterans.

The governor’s budget office estimates that abolishing the natural gas utility tax will provide $164 million in savings for families, the child tax credit will provide $130 million in savings for parents raising children and the tax credit to hire veterans will provide $5 million to $10 million in savings for employers. The total cost would be about $300 million. Quinn’s budget spokesperson, Kelly Kraft, said the governor would lay out how he plans to pay for the agenda when he delivers his budget address later this month.

“The governor and the General Assembly have been good in the past couple of sessions in giving us the kind of tools we need, but we have to be able to put more disposable income into the hands of our working families, and we have to put our veterans back to work. They’re good incentives that will help both business and families and create jobs,” said Warren Ribley, director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

But some lawmakers are skeptical of the plan.

“We don’t have any money. All these sound good, but we can't afford them,” said House Minority Leader Tom Cross. “That’s what is disturbing … the failure to acknowledge the gravity of the situation.”

“He imposes a 67 percent tax increase, extracting one week’s pay out of every family and business, and yet he turns around and tries to pretend to provide some sort of relief without having any meaningful reform,” said Sen. Bill Brady, a Republican from Bloomington. “I am sure I can support all of them because they are needed, but he’s not hitting the core of what we need to hit, and that is eliminating the deficit and the debt in order to bring jobs back to Illinois,”

Members of the business community supported some of Quinn’s ideas. “He touched on some new areas that we were surprised by, most particularly the idea of reducing the cost of doing business in Illinois by repealing the utility tax. … That should be a real job benefit to a lot of companies that are heavy users of natural gas,” said Doug Whitley, president of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. “All in all, the Illinois Chamber was very pleased.”

However, some said they did not hear everything they were hoping for. “Certainly he set a tone that was positive. Talking about jobs is always a good thing,” said Todd Maisch, vice president of government affairs for the state Chamber of Commerce. He said he was disappointed that Quinn did not bring up reforms to the way the state judicial system handles medical malpractice suits, something that has long been on the wish list of many business organizations.

Maisch added that that some of the reforms Quinn counted as victories still need work. “I would say probably the most troubling was the notion that workers comp and unemployment insurance are reforms that are done. We have not scratched the surface. Those need to get back on the agenda and in a hurry.”Any source

Quinn proposes new spending in upbeat State of the State address

By Jamey Dunn

 Gov. Pat Quinn focused on the positive as he gave his State of the State address today.

He highlighted recently passed legislation such as education reform and the Illinois Dream Act.

He touched on some of his favorite stories of Illinois success, such as job growth at a Chicago Ford plant and the state’s large volume of agriculture exports.

“We have invested in our state, making it a better place to do business. And we have invested in the people of Illinois, helping our working families and improving education. The results are in from major export growth and the largest public works construction program in state history to solid gains in education. We’re back on course. Illinois is moving forward,” Quinn said in his speech.

“I felt like I was listening to the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes, and he was walking down the street saying, ‘Boy, my clothes are beautiful,’”  said Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno.  “And the rest of the state — the citizens — are saying, ‘He’s naked!’ It’s like he totally doesn’t get it that the focus here needs to be on the problem we all agree is out there.”

But Senate President John Cullerton said Tuesday that the state has made progress in the last few years, and Quinn should celebrate it in his speech.  “I commend the governor for highlighting the many accomplishments that we have made over the last few years,” Cullerton said in a written statement released today.

“I think he did the right thing by stating the real positives that we have here in Illinois, and we have many positives,” said Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka.  “But we also have a big tab right now that we have to pay.”

Quinn pitched several initiatives, but the response from lawmakers and other Illinois officials was “show me the money” that will pay for new programs.

“I’m sure they’re all excellent proposals. … It all boils down to revenue, money, balanced budget. Where is that going to come from?” said Sen. John Sullivan, a Rushville Democrat. “We want to work with the governor. If he has some ideas on how we can come up with that revenue, we’re willing to take a look at it, but you know it’s just going to be extremely difficult in this situation.”

Palatine Republican Sen. Matt Murphy said: “He spent a significant amount of time in his speech talking about new spending. It’s just detached from reality.”

Quinn proposed a series of tax cuts that he said would help to spur economic growth and create new jobs. He said he wants to make "major investments" in classroom resources, such as new technology, early education and the Monetary Assistance Program. Both preschool funding and MAP grants have been cut in recent years. He said he wants to make investments in the state’s water systems, such as new water mains and sewage treatment plants. Quinn solidified the goals of doubling Illinois exports by 2014 and having 60 percent of residents holding a certificate of post high school education by 2025.

Quinn’s budget office estimates that the tax cut plan would cost about $300 million. The budget office did not supply cost estimates for other parts of Quinn’s plan. “Today, our focus is on the vision for our state. …The governor looks forward to working with legislators on these investments, as well as investments in college scholarships, early childhood education, affordable housing, clean water for communities, and 21st century schools that will continue moving Illinois forward,” Kelly Kraft, Quinn’s budget spokesperson, said in a written statement.

Republicans gave a figure of $500 million as a ballpark cost of all the proposals Quinn made. They complained that Quinn did not address the state’s growing backlog of unpaid bills, which a recent report says would reach $35 billion in five years if no action were taken. “He didn’t refer to the backlog at all, really. It’s there. I see it everyday,” Topinka said. “You certainly don’t solve this problem by creating new programs, even though they do generate a lot of feel-goods. … If I had a calculator in my hand, it would have blown up. There’s no way to pay for all these things.”

Quinn has proposed borrowing to pay down the backlog, and Cullerton said Tuesday that he would support a bipartisan borrowing plan. But Murphy said, “The borrowing is dead on arrival.”

Warren Ribley, director of the Department of Economic Opportunity said Quinn’s proposals would help spur job growth. “I think the goal of having 60 percent of our population with an accredited degree by 2025 will certainly provide a strong foundation for growing jobs and moving the economy forward. … We have to continue to invest in infrastructure. I work with business every single day, and the two things that they tell me that we need are strong investments in your infrastructure and strong investments in your education. So it’s very consistent with what I hear.”

Rilbey said that today’s speech was an “opportunity to lay out a vision,” and Quinn would address how he proposes to pay for his proposals when he presents his budget later this month. Cullerton said he was willing to wait for the budget address to get the details on spending. “As he advances new initiatives to create jobs and improve the economy, I look forward to hearing how we can fund these important priorities within a balanced budget,” Cullerton said in a prepared statement.

However, Republicans were less patient. “He’s had three years,” House Minority Leader Tom Cross said. “And these issues just get worse and worse and worse.”

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle said they were pleased that Quinn called for Medicaid and pension reform this year. “Fixing the pension problem will not be easy, but we have no choice,” Quinn said. “I was encouraged to hear him about pension reform and Medicaid reform. I hope he will show the courage he talked about in tackling those issues in the coming weeks,” Murphy said. “They are the two 800-pound gorillas that are sitting in two different corners of the room that we have to address,” said Sullivan. “It’s not going to be an easy task. Is the will here to do it? I don’t know.”Any source

Mie-29-febr-2012 : Nuestro Blog de Meteorología Práctica cumple 4 años On Line!!!...

  •   En la jornada de hoy, nuestro Blog de Meteorología Práctica cumple 4 años On Line.
  •   Lo hemos puesto controlado con Contador de Visitantes a partir del 29 de Febrero de 2008 ...
  •   A las 18 hs del 29 de Febrero de 2012, el Total de Visitantes en los 4 años, asciende a 331.324.
  •   En los últimos 2 meses (Enero y Febrero 2012), el total ha sido de 24.293 visitantes.
  •   En las últimas semanas, los Visitantes provienen principalmente de:
  •    - Argentina (55 %)
  •    - México (13%)
  •    - España ( 7%)
  •    - Colombia (4%)
  •    - EE.UU.  (4%)
  •    - Venezuela (3%)
  •    - Chile (2%)
  •    - Venezuela (2%)
  •    - Perú (1%)
Any source

Must-read pro-life news-stories, Wed 1 Feb

Top stories:

Act now to get government to block advertising by commercial abortion centres
The two bodies which draft the advertising code of practice have made changes to allow “commercial post-conception advice services” - in reality, abortion clinics which earn income from performing abortions - to advertise on television and radio, in print and elsewhere. Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's communications manager, said that the advertising industry's "supposed 'watchdog' is acting as the abortion industry's poodle." [SPUC, 21 January] The change will come into effect on 30 April. The government should use its powers to stop such advertising SPUC's question-and-answer briefing will give you the information you need to help make this happen.

US study used to claim that abortion is 14 times safer than giving birth
A new US study is being used to claim that abortion is 14 times safer than giving birth. The researchers drew on data from the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute. Anthony Ozimic of SPUC told the Huffington Post: "Whatever the merits or otherwise of this study and its authors’ conclusions, the fact remains that the Republic of Ireland, where abortion is banned, has one of the world’s best records on maternal health, better than the US or the UK where abortion is available easily. The key to saving pregnant women's lives, whether in the developed or developing world, are improvements in primary healthcare and specialist pregnancy care. Abortion neither treats conditions nor cures illness." [Huffington Post, 24 January]

'Three-parent' embryo technique "unethical and macabre" says SPUC
SPUC has described as "macabre and unethical" a so-called 'three-parent' embryo technique which is due to receive £5.8 million of funding. SPUC was responding to the announcement by the Wellcome Trust that embryo research into mitochondrial disease will start at its new centre at Newcastle University. At the same time the government has launched a public consultation on whether to pass legislation to allow the 'three-parent' embryo technique to be used for medical treatment. [SPUC, 19 January]

Claim of rise in illegal abortions globally is dubious, says SPUC
A claim published in The Lancet medical journal that so-called 'unsafe' - usually illegal - abortions worldwide have risen by 5% is "dubious", says SPUC. The claim was made in a report by researchers from the Guttmacher Institute and the World Health Organsation (WHO). John Smeaton, SPUC director, commented: "The WHO routinely makes unsubstantiated claims about so-called 'unsafe' or illegal abortion. WHO is one of the world’s major pro-abortion bodies. The Guttmacher Institute is the research arm of the worldwide pro-abortion lobby. The report is pro-abortion propaganda, and should be dismissed as such." [SPUC, 19 January]

Midwives defend right to conscientious objection in Scottish court
Two midwives from Southern General Hospital in Glasgow are challenging the Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board over their right not to be involved in abortions in the hospital’s labour ward. SPUC is supporting the midwives' stance and is underwriting their legal costs. The case follows a lengthy grievance procedure that has failed to resolve the matter. [SPUC, 17 January]

Other stories:

  • Baby-saving pro-life counsellors are under threat, so let's focus on defending them from all quarters [John Smeaton, 27 January]
  • Skin cells turned directly into brain cells, claim US scientists [BBC, 31 January]
  • Four patients die thirsty or starving every day in UK hospitals, suggest new stats [Mail, 22 January]
Sexual ethics
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Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacyAny source

Inversione dei poli o semplici fenomeni secolari?

Terremoti in Siberia:
un rapporto parla dei primi segnali di una prossima inversione dei poli.
Un bilancio preoccupante preparato da Viktor Seleznyov , direttore dell'Istituto di Geofisica dela Siberia dell'Accademia russa di scienze (BS ASR), rivela che il terremoto di magnitudo 6,8 che ha colpito la Repubblica di Touva in Siberia orientale annuncia un disastro per le prossime settimane. Nuovi terremoti sono attesi, ma il peggio, secondo il suo rapporto, è che questi attuali sismi che colpiscono la lontana Siberia, sarebbero un test di inversione dei poli sul nostro pianeta, ovvero i primi segnali.
Sia lui che altri scienziati della BS ASR sono in allerta da 2 settimane dopo le misteriose esplosioni del 9 e 12 febbraio scorso, che assomigliano a quelle di Kemerovo, il famoso evento di Tunguska del 30 giugno 1908 che rimane la più grande esplosione dei tempi moderni tra l'altro non ancora spiegata.
Un rapporto dice che il legame tra queste misteriose esplosioni e l'aumento dei terremoti in Siberia, è dovuto allo spostamento rapido del polo magnetico che ha raddoppiato durante questi ultimi 50 anni.
Dal 1990 è stato rilevato un'accelerazione verso nord-nordovest dell'Oceano Artico, raggiunge più di 55 km all'anno.
L'impatto più immediato sulla Terra è stata vista quest'inverno, la corrente a getto ( Jet Stream ) è stata messa K.O.
L'inverno in America del nord è stato il più secco e caldo mai registrato, l'Europa ha subito freddi record con numerose vittime.
Secondo Viktor Seleznyov il pianeta sarebbe attualmente in una fase di indebolimento del campo magnetico.
Alcuni scienziati affermano questo, che però mi sembra un tantino eccessivo e catastrofico. Assistiamo a dei fenomeni che corrispondono spesso e volentieri ai normali cicli decennali e secolari della Terra, anche se spesso abbiamo la tendenza a dimenticarlo e a proclamare le catastrofi. Any source

Apple for You?

Apple is set to eclipse Microsoft and Cisco after hitting a market capitalization of over 500 billion yesterday. While Microsoft reached this number back in 1999, they have been unable to sustain it and now trades at a market cap of 266 billion. At its current market valuation, Apple is now worth more than the country of Poland or, Microsoft and Google combined! Not surprisingly, the market is going crazy for Apple and stock prices are rising.

Unlike Microsoft, I believe Apple will be able to sustain its valuation to reach even greater heights. The electronic juggernaut still has much room for growth through its core businesses - Macs, iPhone and the iPad. Their product lines have been doing extremely well even in the face of aggressive competition, and has been gaining market share rapidly. Not to forget, Apple is intending to launching Apple TV late this year and with it comes even more opportunities. Steve Jobs may no longer be at the helm but the demand for Apple products still remains insatiable. With its brilliant engineers, reputable brand name, consistent stream of amazing products debuting every year, coupled with a loyal customer base - Apple might just take over the world. Where Apple is going, I know I want to be there. What say you?

Rui Shan Chin
Any source

Growing Your Small Business in 2012- Grow Your Business - STOCK OR SELL

We have another blog entry from Carol Ritter of CarolTalks in her Growing Your Business series.  Enjoy!

loyees were feverishly stocking the shelves with beautiful merchandise.  Because it was a new store, I needed some advice to find what I was looking for.  So I walked up to counter and noticed three sales representatives reading what looked like directions on building a display.  I waited a few seconds and one of the gals looked up and shouted “Jake, come here I want you to meet Mr. Smith”.  I was standing right there.  For a moment I thought maybe I’m invisible.  I said, “excuse me” and  she said, “yes?”  “Can you tell me where you might have the coffee ?”  She replied, in an unfriendly way, “Over there.”  Have you ever felt invisible in a store, a restaurant or a business?  If so, do you want to shop there again?  The critical question is; shall we STOCK or shall we SELL?  Is there a stocking deadline which supersedes a sale or building your reputation with a new or returning customer? 

And then there was the day when I was in a store and there was a  woman feverishly folding sweaters.   I was clearly invisible and when I made the mistake of saying excuse me, she sharply stated that I had to wait till all the sweaters were folded.  REALLY!

TO STOCK....some may say my boss wants it done today, or maybe there is a big sale tomorrow and the store needs to be ready by a certain time. 

TO SELL...what becomes the most important piece of your business?  Is it the bottom line, is it building your reputation, or is it dreaming of the day the community needs you more than you need them.

Here’s a tip for stocking, do it when no one is in the store, the minute customers arrive, stocking stops and customer service begins.  Finish the stocking and folding later.

Here’s a tip for service, every single person you meet and every single person you have never met is a potential customer/buyer, treat them like you can’t live without them, cuz you can’t!

If in your business, stocking and folding becomes more important than selling you may want to consider another career.  The merchandise can wait, your new customer can’t.

So, You decide for your business;  should we STOCK, SELL, or FOLD, that’s the magic question?

Carol is an accomplished professional speaker, coach and educational consultant specializing in remarkable leadership, outrageous fundraising, million dollar marketing, and building organizational alliances throughout the country.  Carol’s innovative strategies provide leadership with bullet proof ideas for recruiting MORE MEMBERS, MORE MONEY AND BETTER LEADERS.

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Tabla de los Tres Reyes desde Sanchese (Lescun), 23 feb

Enrique Lardiés y Julio Benedé en el tramo karstico, incierto y helado, que nos separaba de la vista de nuestro objetivo, la Tabla de los Tres Reyes

Tabla de los Tres Reyes desde Sanchese (Lescún)

23 febrero 2012

Miguel Ángel Campos, Enrique Lardiés, Julio Benedé, Champi y Jorge García-Dihinx

Tras la larga vuelta por Oza y Anzotiello del día anterior con Julio y Champi, aprovechamos estos días de vacaciones y de buen tiempo para hacer una salida “más corta” (o eso pensábamos).
A la fiesta se unen Miguel Ángel y Enrique, que suben desde Huesca. Tras desayunar en Canfranc cruzamos el túnel del Somport y nos vamos a Lescun, aprovechando que estos días allí hay nieve desde el fondo de los valles.
Bajando hacia Oloron, tomamos el desvío al Circo de Lescun y nos elevamos por las curvas de la carretera. Atravesamos las calles del pueblo y vamos siguiendo siempre los carteles que indican hacia Sanchese. Dejamos los coches en el parking, a unos 1.050m.

Salimos sobre las 10 AM. Desde el parking tenemos 2 km de pista para foquear con los esquís y llegar al llamado Plateau de Sanchese, donde termina el valle de Anaye en un embudo muy vertical. Increíblemente subimos con los esquís puestos por este empinado estrechamiento tras el cual entramos en un suave hayedo por el fondo del valle.
Por fin, a unos 1.450m, salimos fuera del bosque y recorremos el suave Valle de Anaye, en dirección al WSW. A nuestra derecha tenemos las laderas sur del Pic d’Anie. A nuestra izda, las laderas norte del Billare. Dos grandes palas para hacer con esquís, preferentemente en invierno la sur del Anie y en primavera la norte del Billare. Pero nuestro objetivo está más lejos y seguimos recorriendo el fondo del valle.

Llegamos a lo que parecía un collado al fondo del valle, a 1.800m, pero que no es otra cosa sino la continuación del mismo valle, que allí arriba se allana, en las inmediaciones de las fuentes manantiales de Marmitou. Allí nos desviamos para coger agua, pero la nieve lo tapa todo. Tendremos que “fabricar” agua mezclándola con la nieve. Ese valle suspendido, casi llano y con abetos es precioso. Está como perdido.
Por él seguimos, en dirección SW, girando un poco más al sur para buscar el collado de Ourtets, a 2.180m. Allí el viento ha dejado heladas todas las convexidades. Este collado es muy amplio y difuso, algo perdedor, de zona karstica. Lo recorremos con esquís, sin ganar apenas altura, yendo al SE.
En esa zona tan dismórfica, en un momento dado, no sabemos realmente ni dónde estamos en el mapa ni a dónde vamos, pues un resalte de unos 50m, impide ver al sur la Mesa de los Tres Reyes. Cerca estaba, pero no la podíamos ver. Es un punto delicado porque tienes que seguir al sur sin saber muy bien qué habrá al otro lado del resalte helado.
Guiados un poco por la intuición, dejamos los esquís y remontamos con crampones la loma helada. Esa loma no nos dejaba ver nuestro objetivo, que tan cerca está ya.
Los últimos 100m de desnivel al cuello entre el Pico de los tres Reyes y la Table están con hielo-cristal, donde apenas entran las puntas de los crampones. El viento del norte sigue azotándonos en estos collados. La sensación térmica es muy baja. Capas de ropa a tope y todos para arriba, que ya son las 2:30 de la tarde. En la cima volvemos a contemplar todo el Pirineo francés, tan blanco… (hasta París?).

Luego descendemos con sumo cuidado, utilizando en algún tramo incluso 2 piolets. No estaba el hielo para tonterías.
Volvemos a las tablas y, a eso de las 15:40 horas iniciamos la vuelta esquiando. Con cuidado en los tramos helados del Coll de Ourtets. Luego el valle de Anaye es suave y la nieve polvo que todavía conserva nos permite disfrutar de una bajada excelente y fácil. En un plis-plas recorremos varios kilómetros del Valle de Anaye para entrar de nuevo en el hayedo que nos llevará al embudo o corte que cae al Plateau de Sanchese. En la parte más empinadas debemos quitar esquís y bajar un tramo a pie por la senda de verano. Luego volveremos a ponerlos para esquiar los últimos metros al Plateau.
Uff, son ya las 16:45 horas… Toca volver a poner pieles para recorrer de vuelta los 2 km que nos faltan, por pista innivada, hasta el coche, al que llegamos a las 17:10 horas.

Bueno… No está mal, otra excursión de más de 7 horas con pocas paradas… Y eso que ésta iba a ser una salida “corta”.
Sobre esta ruta: La parte inicial por pista y el abrupto embudo de acceso al hayedo del Valle de Anaye hacen que esta vía a la Tabla de los 3 Reyes sea menos frecuentada que la clásica desde Linza o la de Lescún por Ansabere y el coll de Ecoueste (o Puerto de Ansabere). Sin embargo, este valle de Anaye ofrece una original ruta, larga pero muy bella, que además era desconocida para nosotros.
Cuánto por descubrir en el Pirineo francés…
Mañana tenemos comida familiar y nos vendrá bien un día de descanso.
Aunque por la tarde algo saldrá. Ya veremos…
Jorge García-Dihinx

Ahí van algunas fotos del día

 Mapa 1:25.000 con el recorrido, del IGN francés

 Miguel Ángel Campos, en la pista que lleva del parking al plateau de Sanchese

 En el llano de Sanchese. Al fondo la pala y embudo que debemos pasar para acceder al valle colgado de Anaye

 Subiendo por el estrechamiento, con esquís puestos

 Los hayedos de la parte inferior del valle de Anaye

 Miguel Ángel, en un claro del hayedo

 Por el largo y suave valle de Anaye

 En la parte alta, otro vallecito suspendido, mágico
En la foto, Julio y Enrique se desvían a por agua al manantial de Marmitu. Al fondo, escondido a la dcha, el coll de Ourtets

 Tramos karsticos, helados, en el amplio y difuso coll de Ourtets

 Hielo cristal para Miguel Angel y Champi

 Miguel Ángel sobre el hielo cirstal

 Enrique Lardiés, frente a la última pala al cuello entre la Table y el Pico de los Tres Reyes

 Julio Benedé y Champi, practicando la técnica de las tres puntas. Puntera de un pie y el otro pie completamente clavando todas las puntas

Fuerte viento llegando al cuello de la Table, con hielo-cristal

En el cuello, con el Pico de los Tres Reyes detrás (que es La Mesa de los Tres Reyes propiamente dicha y que no subiríamos desde esta vertiente, tan afilada)

Foto en la Table: Enrique, Julio, Champi, Miguel Ángel y yo.

 Vistas hacia el Este, con todoel Pirineo francés blanco...

 Champi, destrepando con dos piolets

Volvemos por fin a por los esquís para iniciar el descenso

 Tras el delicado tramo helado del coll de Ourtets, Enrique empieza a gozar con el polvo

 Miguel Ángel Campos, en su salsa

 Julio lidera el grupo en estos tramos suaves de nieve polvo

Amplio y suave el valle de Anaye

Julio Benedé, bajando de nuevo al hayedo

 Descalzamos para el tramo vertical que baja al plateau de Sanchese

 foqueo final por la pista, de vuelta al coche

Y colorín colorado, esta ruta se ha terminado

La próxima: "Un Puiarcol con la puesta del sol"

Nos vemos mañana jueves con la meteo del fin de semana:
Parece que seguirá anticiclónica quizás hasta el domingo al mediodía.

Luego quizás patrón de norte, frío, ventoso y con nevadas importantes, del 5 al 7 de marzo.
A confirmar mañana jueves por la tarde-noche
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