Friday, November 13, 2009

Pattie Maes: Unveiling game-changing wearable tech

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Do as we say, not as we do

The Republicans have been making a big stink about the health care bill paying for abortions. But Politico has found that the insurance plan that the Republican National Committee offers to its employees pays for elective abortions. Their health insurance company, Cigna, says that the RNC has the option of not covering abortions, but has covered them since at least 1991

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New Beatles album from a parallel universe where they never broke up


The Beatles

"Everyday Chemistry"  

On Sept. 9, 2009 I experienced something that I still am having trouble believing happened to me. 

I came into the possession of a cassette tape containing a Beatles album that was never released.

I don't expect you to believe what happened to me, I sure wouldn't, but that's why I grabbed the tape as proof that my experience was real.

The Story of the Tape

If you want to download the album use the links to the left or grab the zip file!


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The Festering Fraud behind Food Safety Reform Nicole Johnson

"The general public must recognize that only after the demystification of U.S. agriculture will family farmers, labor, and consumers see beyond corporate agribusiness' manipulations to the point where they will recognize that both their mutual interests and the future of agriculture can be best decided through a system that not only practices political democracy, but economic democracy as well.
-- Ingolf Voegler


Readers of the New York Times were recently treated to a rarely glimpsed view of how the globally-sourced industrial food complex assembles the raw ingredients of the omnipresent hamburger. In his startling expose entitled "E. Coli Path Shows Flaws in Ground Beef Inspection," Michael Moss provides a window from which to witness well-hidden meat industry practices that most people, judging from some six hundred comments left on the New York Times website within 24 hours of the article's publication, find thoroughly repulsive.[1]

Moss's article tracing the processing history of the E. coli-contaminated hamburger consumed by Stephanie Smith, which left her body ravaged and permanently disabled, has much to commend it. While detailing how Cargill shaves costs by scraping together its "American Chef's Selection Angus Beef Patties" from trimmings and mash-like products sold to it by no less than four suppliers, Moss uncovers how the company failed to follow its own safety plans without facing any interference from the USDA until some one got very, very sick.

However, the article leaves out critical information from its analysis that would help us understand why so much is wrong with the meat inspection process today. Filling in these gaps is important if we want to take the correct measures to improve the safety of our meat supply. Furthermore, if we don't gain a fuller understanding of how and why the meat industry's inspection process became an essentially unregulated, privatized affair, we are likely to repeat the same mistake and allow Congress to pass food "safety" legislation that will serve to make the world a safer place for the cartels controlling the global produce trade but do nothing at all for the safety of our food supply.

The vested interests behind the creation of the 2009 Food Safety Enhancement Act and its Senate companion bill S. 510, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, are the same vested interests who were behind the earlier deregulation of the meat and poultry inspection process. They aim to minimize the regulatory obstacles faced by transnational corporations engaged in international trade, which is increasingly becoming the movement of goods from one subsidiary affiliate to another subsidiary affiliate. And they're using the issue of food safety to con us into consenting to their wishes.

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What Chinese Currency Manipulation Looks Like

By Eric Lotke

As President Obama packs for China, I thought I'd draw him a picture of how China is manipulating its currency.

Source: Federal Reserve: Yuan, Broad dollar index.

The dollar stays flat against the Chinese Yuan, even as it loses value against other major currencies. The dollar is down to $1.50 per Euro, compared to $1.27 at this time last year (sorry to folks daydreaming about summer in Italy). But the dollar is unchanged against the Yuan (unless one considers 6.836 to 6.827 a drop).
Everyone knows this is happening. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner even used the word "manipulating" with the Senate Finance Committee mere hours before it voted to recommend his confirmation.

The dollar exchange with China "
defies the laws of monetary physics." During this U.S.-led global recession, dollars aren't worth as much as they once were. The natural physics of exchange makes U.S. goods relatively less expensive for others to buy, but makes foreign goods more expensive for Americans to buy. In a free market for currency, that would help bring accounts back into balance.

But China doesn't obey those laws.
China's deliberate policy of pegging the Yuan to the dollar makes American imports of Chinese goods artificially cheap and gives American companies opening factories in China an artificial subsidy. That's good for China but bad for America, and helps explain our soaring trade imbalance with China. An extraordinary 83 percent of America's non-oil trade deficit is with China. During the downturn, our trade deficit with other countries has been shrinking — but not with China.
The wheels of change are starting to turn. The Obama administration stood up to China when it imposed tariffs on Chinese tires and pipes dumped in the U.S. markets. The chattering class called it a trade war, but it's not. It's just applying the same rules of free trade that other countries respect, and that China agreed to when it entered the G-20 and was granted permanent normal trade relations with the US. Obama just blew the whistle.

The G-20 summit in Pittsburgh in September concluded with a
joint statement to seek "more balanced growth as part of the global economic reconstruction." The entire G-20 signed on — including China — but China's name was in bold in the quest for "balance," and everyone knew it.
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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Job opportunity of the week

Grateful Dead Archivist

Institution: University of California, Santa Cruz
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
  • Admin - Libraries
Posted: 11/06/2009
Application Due: Open Until Filled
Type: Full Time
Salary: $52,860 to $68,892 USD Per Year

Grateful Dead Archivist

The University Library of the University of California, Santa Cruz, seeks an enterprising, creative, and service-oriented archivist to join the staff of Special Collections & Archives (SC&A) as Archivist for the Grateful Dead Archive. This is a potential career status position. The Archivist will be part of a dynamic, collegial, and highly motivated department dedicated to building, preserving, promoting, and providing maximum access both physically and virtually to one of the Library's most exciting and unique collections, The Grateful Dead Archive (GDA). The UCSC University Library utilizes innovative approaches to allow the discovery, use, management, and sharing of information in support of research, teaching, and learning.

Under the general direction of the Head of Special Collections and Archives, the GDA Archivist will provide managerial and curatorial oversight of the Grateful Dead Archive, plan for and oversee the physical and digital processing of Archives related material, and promote the GDA to the public and facilitate its use by scholars, fans, and students.

MINIMUM Qualifications:
* Master's degree from an ALA-accredited program or equivalent accredited graduate archives management program.
* Significant, demonstrated experience working with books, manuscripts, photographs, recordings, or other material in a special collections & archives environment.
* Knowledge of the access tools for special collections and archival material and the standards and procedures for their preservation and conservation.
* Demonstrated experience developing processing plans and creating finding aids in accordance with national standards.
* Knowledge of and ability to maintain awareness of developments in archival processing, digital information technologies, and their uses in special collections and archives.
* Expert knowledge in the history and scholarship of contemporary popular music, or American vernacular culture, preferably the history and influence of the Grateful Dead.
* Excellent analytical, organizational, and time management skills.
* Demonstrated oral, written and interpersonal communication skills sufficient to promote and present the archive to multiple audiences.
* Prior experience directing the work of others.

Strongly Preferred Qualifications:
* Demonstrated experience working in public services in an academic environment.
* Demonstrated experience working on outreach and other donor related activities.
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Flesh of Your Flesh

Should you eat meat?

by Elizabeth Kolbert

This year, Americans will consume some thirty-five million cows, a hundred and fifteen million pigs, and nine billion birds.Americans love animals. Forty-six million families in the United States own at least one dog, and thirty-eight million keep cats. Thirteen million maintain freshwater aquariums in which swim a total of more than a hundred and seventy million fish. Collectively, these creatures cost Americans some forty billion dollars annually. (Seventeen billion goes to food and another twelve billion to veterinary bills.) Despite the recession, pet-related expenditures this year are expected to increase five per cent over 2008, in part owing to outlays on luxury items like avian manicures and canine bath spritz. "We have so many customers who say they'd eat macaroni and cheese before they'd cut back on their dogs," a Colorado pet-store owner recently told the Denver Post. In a survey released this past August, more than half of all dog, cat, and bird owners reported having bought presents for their animals during the previous twelve months, often for no special occasion, just out of love. (Fish enthusiasts may bring home fewer gifts, but they spend more on each one, with the average fish gift coming to thirty-seven dollars.) A majority of owners report that one of the reasons they enjoy keeping pets is that they consider them part of the family.

Americans also love to eat animals. This year, they will cook roughly twenty-seven billion pounds of beef, sliced from some thirty-five million cows. Additionally, they will consume roughly twenty-three billion pounds of pork, or the bodies of more than a hundred and fifteen million pigs, and thirty-eight billion pounds of poultry, some nine billion birds. Most of these creatures have been raised under conditions that are, as Americans know—or, at least, by this point have no excuse not to know—barbaric. Broiler chickens, also known, depending on size, as fryers or roasters, typically spend their lives in windowless sheds, packed in with upward of thirty thousand other birds and generations of accumulated waste. The ammonia fumes thrown off by their rotting excrement lead to breast blisters, leg sores, and respiratory disease. Bred to produce the maximum amount of meat in the minimum amount of time, fryers often become so top-heavy that they can't support their own weight. At slaughtering time, they are shackled by their feet, hung from a conveyor belt, and dipped into an electrified bath known as "the stunner."

For pigs, conditions are little better. Shortly after birth, piglets have their tails chopped off; this discourages the bored and frustrated animals from gnawing one another's rumps. Male piglets also have their testicles removed, a procedure performed without anesthetic. Before being butchered, hogs are typically incapacitated with a tonglike instrument designed to induce cardiac arrest. Sometimes their muscles contract so violently that they end up not just dead but with a broken back.

How is it that Americans, so solicitous of the animals they keep as pets, are so indifferent toward the ones they cook for dinner? The answer cannot lie in the beasts themselves. Pigs, after all, are quite companionable, and dogs are said to be delicious.

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Fw: Obama And Afghanistan

----- Original Message -----
To: dare2b
Sent: Wednesday, November 11, 2009 9:21 PM
Subject: Obama And Afghanistan

Afghanistan, Afghanistan, what's a President to do? All his options are bad ones. Raise the troop levels and give the Taliban a run for it's money? For what? To support a corrupt aristocracy? Bad idea.  So should he keep the troop levels the same? That just places the soldiers already there in harm's way, and for no good purpose whatsoever. So should Obama withdraw? Then after the Taliban win, Al Qaeda will be free set up shop and plot. You can be sure that Obama will be blamed for anything they do, and called a coward for running away from a fight. The people taunting Obama will be the same crowd currently faulting him for supporting a nation that won't lift a finger to help itself.


It's clear why the Republicans sent up Mr. Three Time Loser and Lipstick Queen into that Dog-of-a-Fight in 2008. The winner gets to drown cleaning up various Bush-era quagmires, while everyone else stands aside and watches the funny President wave his arms and pitch pails of water over the side.


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Friday, November 6, 2009

On Location: Mexico City — Gangster chic

In this major piece of reporting from Global Post, we visit the "Museum of Narcotics" and see how drug lords in Mexico spend their money. Did you know you could get a Versace revolver? Coming next, Gucci waterboards and Faberge land mines.
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