Archive for category News
Dutch government to probe export of milk formula to China
The Dutch government is investigating a shortage of certain brands of baby formula, as well as potentially illegal exports of the products to China.
However, the Dutch Economic Affairs ministry said there was no national shortage in the country.
Tainted milk scandals in China have created distrust of local brands, with families willing to pay a premium for foreign brands.
Hong Kong, Australia and the UK have set limits on the sale of baby formula.
Let the Chinese have it!
Put Western babies back on the breast where they belong!
Windows 8 to be redesigned by Microsoft as PC sales plummet
Biggest expectation is that update will revive start button familiar to users for 17 years before removal from Windows 8
When Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer first revealed his software for the touchscreen world in February 2012, he said he was “betting the company” on it.
But just six months after the official release, Microsoft – which relies on Windows licences for about half its profits – is getting ready to make compromises to key aspects of the software. It comes after its leap into the tablet computing future was described as “confusing” (or worse) by new users and has been blamed for plummeting sales of PCs, which had their sharpest drop on record in the first three months of this year, down 14%.
The biggest expectation is that the update to Windows 8, codenamed Blue and due within a few weeks, will revive the start button that had been familiar to users for 17 years but which was removed from the new version.
If correct, it will be a U-turn as momentous in its way as Coca-Cola’s abandonment of “New Coke” in 1985 just three months after its launch following consumer protests.
Tami Reller, promoted to head Microsoft’s Windows division after Ballmer ejected former chief Steve Sinofsky in November, announced on an internal Microsoft blog on Monday that Blue will be “an opportunity for us to respond to the customer feedback that we’ve been closely listening to” since the October launch.
“Are there things that we can do to improve the experience? Absolutely,” Reller told the Associated Press. “There is a learning curve [to Windows 8] and we can work to address that.”
The principal challenge for experienced users of Windows is the total absence of a Start button, familiar since 1995 as the place with all their programs and shortcuts stored in a huge list. Windows 8 instead introduces a layer of giant “tiles” over the traditional desktop.
But users find that perplexing – so much so that one of the bestselling apps on Windows 8 has been Stardock, which lets the user add the start button back in, and ModernMix, which lets tile apps run on the old desktop. That will have given Reller pause – along with the fact that sales of Windows PCs have shrunk for the past four quarters, declining sharply year-on-year by 11.4% between January-March to about 74m.
The blame for that was put squarely at Sinofsky’s door by Bob O’Donnell of the research company IDC: “At this point, unfortunately, it seems clear that the Windows 8 launch not only failed to provide a positive boost to the PC market, but appears to have slowed the market,” he said.
MicroSoft finally admits it screwed up!
I haven’t touched a MicroSoft product since XP, as far as I can see all the innovations since then have been utter CRAP!
While MicroSoft need products for the tablets and smartphones with touch screen technology, there is still a world that uses PCs and if they can’t keep a decent platform for them, they will continue to lose market share.
I will never consider this ‘Blue’ thing either.
I went to buy a new PC, it was loaded with Windows 8, I asked for it to be converted to XP and was told it couldn’t be done. I didn’t buy the PC. I went next door and bought an older secondhand (newer than the one I’ve got) and refurbished it and installed XP.
XP is the ONLY MicroSoft product that I, and I am sure many others, have any confidence in!
Gas industry loses fight to keep fracking pollution case secret
A judge ruled today in favor of journalists seeking access to information about a fracking pollution court case.
Judge Debbie O’Dell-Seneca reversed an order by a Washington County court sealing the record in a case in which a Pennsylvania family sued several gas companies over property damage and health impacts related to air and water pollution from nearby natural gas operations.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Observer-Reporter had intervened in the case to unseal the records, while gas companies unsuccessfully fought to keep the records out of the public eye.
Earthjustice, the non-profit environmental law firm, submitted an amicus brief supporting the newspapers on behalf of Philadelphia Physicians for Social Responsibility, Physicians, Scientists, and Engineers for Healthy Energy, Dr. Bernard D. Goldstein, Dr. Walter Tsou, Dr. Jerome A. Paulson, Dr. William Rom, Dr. Sandra Steingraber, Dr. Simona Perry, Dr. Robert Oswald, Dr. Michelle Bamberger, Kathryn Vennie, and Earthworks. The doctors, scientists, and advocates argued in favor of greater transparency about natural gas operations and their health effects.
The following is a statement from Earthjustice attorney Matthew Gerhart:
“This case pitted the natural gas industry’s insistence on secrecy against the historic commitment of the courts to public access to judicial proceedings. The court’s ruling reaffirms the importance of public access to the courts. This is a victory for everyone who believes that we need more information about the environmental and health consequences of fracking.”
Somehow, I never imagined that this, of all my blogs, would get an award. In fact I was surprised that it has even been noticed by other than Americans, Chinese and Israelis who seem to get the brunt of my wrath. I also suspect that Obama has it on his drone-list.
Yes, there it is, proof that more than two people read my rhetoric.
North Melbourne Mum is the one responsible for bestowing this honour, another ex-pat.
Now the rules of accepting the Very Inspiring Blogger Award are:
- Display the award logo on your blog. √
- Link back to the person who nominated you. √
- State 7 things about yourself. √
- Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award and link to them. ¤
- Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements.
Seven things about me…
1. I am not the village idiot, I have another claim to fame. Locally I am known as the velho caduco (Portuguese for a grouchy old man).
2. I love coffee, I consider it to be the quintessential essence of life.
3. I am a virgin, yes, at 60+ years old with 12 kids. In Portuguese the word for Virgo and virgin is the same, virgem, so I am technically a virgin.
4. I am a cat person. The neighbourhood cats know it and follow me around the praça (park) as though I was the Pied Piper.
5. I loathe politicians. I have yet to meet one that could lie straight in bed. They’re a bunch of supercilious wankers who have nobodies’ interest in their minds other than feathering their own nests. I consider the perfect oxymoron to be “an honest politician.”
6. I failed English at high school, I am, in fact, a high school dropout. I began to understand my language when I was 50+/- and it has since become my hobby and passion. I believe I could now teach my old English teacher a thing or two.
7. I am a beerivore, I love my beer. I don’t drink heavily, but a daily pint doesn’t go astray, I enjoy that time of day called beer o’clock. Which, of course, doesn’t do my gout any good; neither does my love for BBQ.
8. Damn, I never could count. I love life. I believe that life is to be lived and there are so many on this planet that have forgotten how to live. Their lives are full of stress, which is the biggest killer of man. Hunter S. Thompson was right with his famous “Champagne and chocolate…” quote.
Now, continuing the awards… In truth, I don’t nominate blogs for awards. I used to, but I have found more recently that many don’t respond in kind. So I stopped. It’s not that I am being churlish, but I fail to see the point of devoting time, when it is not appreciated; one list of eight of my nominees, not one participated.
So, I invite you to participate, dear reader, take the award and I hope you have more luck with your nominees than I have had.
I could of course, simply nominate my other seven blogs, and write myself a note advising myself that I have been nominated over a wonderful cup of Brazilian coffee. That would solve half the problem.
However, I am going to share the award over my other blogs, because they are all a part of my whole.
I will also visit each of the previously awarded blogs.
Conservation group warns
Environmental Investigation Agency says ads fuel surge in ivory demand that is killing African elephants at record rates
Google is helping to fuel a dramatic surge in ivory demand in Asia that is killing African elephants at record levels, a conservation group claimed on Tuesday.
The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) said there are some 10,000 ads on Google Japan’s shopping site that promote the sale of ivory.
About 80% of the ads are for “hanko,” small wooden stamps widely used in Japan to affix signature seals to official documents. The rest are carvings and other small objects.
Hanko are used for everything from renting a house to opening a bank account. The stamps are legal and typically inlaid with ivory lettering.
The EIA said Japan’s hanko sales are a “major demand driver for elephant ivory (and) have contributed to the wide-scale resumption of elephant poaching across Africa.”
Google said in an emailed response: “Ads for products obtained from endangered or threatened species are not allowed on Google. As soon as we detect ads that violate our advertising policies, we remove them.”
The EIA said it had written a letter to Google chief executive, Larry Page, on 22 February, urging the company to remove the ads because they violate Google’s own policies. It said Google had not responded to the letter or taken down the advertisements.
“While elephants are being mass slaughtered across Africa to produce ivory trinkets, it is shocking to discover that Google, with the massive resources it has at its disposal, is failing to enforce its own policies designed to help protect endangered elephants,” said Allan Thorton, the US-based president of the EIA.
Gold and silver were good.
Then came money…
Then came the Federal Reserve and stuffed it up.
Then we had credit cards.
Now we have bitcoins.
Bitcoin virtual currency can now be used to pay for pizza
Pizza can now be bought using the bitcoin virtual currency.
The Pizza for Coins service has been set up by two programmers as a way to boost use of the digital cash.
The service acts as a middleman and converts bitcoins into US dollars that are used to pay for food. It charges a small fee to do the currency exchange.
Paying via bitcoins can also delay an order, warn the site owners, saying the conversion can mean pizza takes up to 80 minutes to be delivered.
While orders for pizza are placed on the Pizza for Coins site, once payment is made they are funnelled to the website of Domino’s pizza to be made and delivered. Links to other pizza companies, such as Pizza Hut and Papa John, would be added soon, said programmers Matt Burkinshaw and Riley Alexander in an explanatory note on the site.
The site, which only works with US addresses, currently offers a limited range of pizzas and toppings. A medium pizza with two toppings costs about 0.71 bitcoins (£12).
Paying via the digital currency also adds a 0.09 bitcoin (£1.50) premium to the price of a pizza to convert the digital money to real dollars. The service’s owners said this conversion charge might change as exchange rates for bitcoins had fluctuated widely. If the service proved successful, charges would be reduced, said its creators.
Bitcoins first appeared in 2009 and are closely linked to the global network of computers that supports the currency and its users. Many people generate or “mine” the coins by participating in that network and a growing number of web stores and online firms accept bitcoins as payment.
They have become a very widely used alternative payments system and one bitcoin is currently worth about £17 ($26).
by Jon Rappoport
February 9, 2013
Slashing through the bland authoritative front the media have presented, people want to know more about the Sandy Hook massacre. But the elite networks have no intention of answering the most obvious questions.
Why? Because the follow-up agenda of gun control is all important, and the official Sandy Hook scenario must stand, in order to forward that agenda.
Any return to the scene of the crime will:
divert media coverage from its all-out push to make guns into taboo objects of scorn, ridicule, fear, and hatred;
focus attention on reasons for the massacre that have nothing to do with guns;
engender deep distrust of the Sandy Hook police investigation and therefore, by association, throw into doubt the notion that law-enforcement personnel should be the only people carrying guns in America.
Here are 10 things the media doesn’t want to know about and has no intention of investigating. These are only the basics, amid a wider sea of unanswered questions:
Read them on John Rapport’s Blog
[Groan] I almost skipped this one… almost. As with any “serious” post I make, first let me back up what I will say and then say my piece. If you disagree with what I say I think there is a nice blog about bunny rabbits a couple posts below mine – read that instead.
Why I have an opinion? Well, for starters I am a KEYBOARD WARRIOR. I am a Vet. I have watched tons of war movies thereby making me an expert on the subject. And I watched Xena Warrior Princess, the TV Show, religiously growing up so I am pretty sure that clearly shows I am highly qualified to speak on this topic, so there.
Women should not be on the forefront of the battlefield. It is NOT that women are less courageous as a whole then men, cannot handle as much pain as men, or have less of a sense of duty or honor. These are not the reasons. Hell, while in the military I met tons of women soldiers that I would have trusted more with a weapon than some of the morons I worked with. That being said, does that mean they should be on the battlefront fighting in wars? No, it does not, and here is why.