Ken Novak's Weblog
Purpose of this blog: to retain annotated bookmarks for my future reference, and to offer others my filter technology and other news. Note that this blog is categorized. Use the category links to find items that match your interests.
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Ken Novak's Weblog


daily link  Friday, August 29, 2003


GOVCOM.ORG: "A Narrative of the Software Project, IssueAtlas.net."  Richard Rogers does interesting work on mapping people and ideas on the internet.  This project is funded by the Soros Open Society Institute with OneWorld.net support.  5:10:56 PM  permalink  

Keyword Density Analyzer: "Keyword density is the ratio of a keyword or keyphrase to the total words (depth) on a page. Keyword density is a critical aspect of search engine optimization. To rank highly, your keyword density must not be too high or too low. A density of 1% to 7% is generally considered good."  I've been told this metric is important in knowledge discovery tools, implemented in many products, and this site allows a place to play with it.  4:57:03 PM  permalink  

Blogs As Instruments For Effective PR:  "Ask me to write music and I will run away.  Give me a band and I will sing now."  From an interesting blog.  3:19:51 PM  permalink  

Inxight Star Tree viewer: Inxight does KM through discovery and categorization.  The Star Tree viewer is their way of representing what's been found.  The free download was recommended to me as a way of sampling the technology.  3:17:01 PM  permalink  


daily link  Thursday, August 28, 2003


If the Webmaster's Busy, Everyone Else Can Pitch In: "Contribute 2, which was designed to relieve Webmasters of the chores of updating text and graphics on Web sites by allowing people with nontechnical jobs to manage a site's content, now comes with a set of tools for adding e-commerce functions. It includes software wizards that simplify the process of adding the standard shopping cart feature to a site, along with Buy Now buttons for online shoppers to click and pay by the PayPal system for online credit card transactions."  30-day trial available at the Macromedia site.  1:37:46 AM  permalink  


daily link  Wednesday, August 27, 2003


Xoops: "XOOPS can be used as a reliable and user-friendly infrastructure for many types of small- to medium-sized content sites. "  XOOPS is an abbreviation of eXtensible Object Oriented Portal System.  Main site has news and discussions.
  5:22:06 PM  permalink  

Plone Opens Up Web Publishing:  eWeek test says "We found Plone, which can be downloaded at http://www.plone.org, to be an excellent system for creating and managing collaborative portals or Web sites or for building corporate intranet pages. It proved to be much more capable and flexible than the competing PHP-Nuke. And Plone --which runs on Linux, Mac OS X and Windows--is quite possibly the most easily deployed server application we've ever seen, open-source or commercial.

However, although Plone is consistently referenced on its site and in its documentation as a content management application, don't expect to use it like a high-end Web content management system such as those from Vignette Corp. and Documentum Inc. For high-level Web site content management implementations, Bricolage is a better open-source alternative. "

  4:58:40 PM  permalink  


daily link  Tuesday, August 26, 2003


Economist.com | Holographic data storage: Review of issues and prospects for products in 2004; several write-once announced at 200-500 GB.  "Theoretical calculations suggest that it will be possible to use holographic techniques to store a terabyte (1,000 gigabytes) of data on a CD-sized disk. Today's DVDs, by comparison, have a storage capacity of less than 20 gigabytes.

Moreover, holographic techniques permit the retrieval of data at speeds not possible with current storage methods. Transfer rates of a billion bits a second (at least 60 times faster than current DVDs) have already been demonstrated in the laboratory. Such fast access times are possible because the laser beams that are central to holographic technology can be moved rapidly, without inertia, unlike the components of a conventional disk drive. .. The challenge is to find the right recording material—a photosensitive substance that is both stable and cheap enough to use commercially. ..

searching a holographic store for a specific set of data is simple. Just as shining the appropriate reference beam produces a replica of the original data beam, so shining the appropriate data beam produces a replica of the reference beam. A beam that carries part of the original data will produce a weaker replica reference beam, making it possible to locate all the files that contain a particular set of data by shining in a beam containing that set and looking at the reference beams that come out. The intensity of each emergent beam indicates the degree to which the data stored in the file producing it match the target. Somebody sifting through a huge database could thus be directed rapidly to the best matches.  With the growing commercial interest in data-mining—which involves sifting through vast amounts of information in order to find useful relationships—this aspect of holographic memory is extremely attractive. "

  2:08:55 PM  permalink  


daily link  Monday, August 25, 2003


Stats on giving: "The richest 5 percent of households (those with an adjusted gross income of $140,000 or more) contribute 40 percent or $61 billion of the $152 billion a year given by individuals. Similarly, the 2 percent of estates valued at $3 million or more made 75 percent or $12 billion of the $16 billion in charitable bequests"  5:14:59 PM  permalink  

Gyandoot: Community-Owned Rural Internet Kiosks: Worldbank report on Indian network of rural single-computer entrepreneurs.  4:29:57 PM  permalink  

Virtual Projects: P2P spaces for Groove, Jabber, Magi ...:  Mostly groove spaces listed, for developers and a few specialized areas.  3:32:51 PM  permalink  

Town agrees to repair shrine, pay victims:  Amusing story of how a local battle was defused.  "by Saturday, at least in Tuz Khurmatu, the situation was relatively calm, said [US Army Capt.] Swenson. He met with religious leaders that evening and arranged what would turn into a marathon negotiation session on Sunday in the sea-foam green ornate office of the town mayor, a Kurd.   Sweating in his fatigues and presiding over the room from the mayor's desk -- the mayor at his left, an outwardly patient Swenson cajoled the men into drafting and signing a document condemning the destruction of the shrine and apologizing for the deaths on Friday. Swenson meant to come out of this meeting with a written agreement and it was going to be honored. ..

"I will never run for city council," said Swenson, gripping the bridge of his nose and squinting his eyes with frustration and fatigue. "When I get home, I am going to have a beer and then fly to Australia for two weeks and not see anyone." When the meeting closed -- more than five hours after it started, with none of the assembled showing any signs of wanting to leave the room as they chatted and embraced and mopped sweat from their brow -- the young tank commander sighed. "Nobody trained us for this," he said."

  3:00:22 PM  permalink  


daily link  Sunday, August 24, 2003


GnoPhone, by linux support services: "Gnophone is an open source internet telephone that allows you to make calls to other GnoPhone users or to an Asterisk PBX Gateway. It supports a fully featured web interface allowing you to participate in various discussion groups. It also supports the full rate GSM codec for great quality that doesn't require very high bandwidth."  10:49:59 PM  permalink  

Digium - A Linux Telephony Company: "Digum offers a growing line up of telephony interface devices for the Linux platform. These devices share innovative design and small form factors, making them ideal for high density solutions. Combined with the Asterisk PBX software, these cards provide an interface to traditional telephony equipment, such as channel banks and provider T1 lines. Asterisk can extend the capabilities of the phone network, by acting as a bridge traditional telephony systems and Voice over IP equipment." These include T1/E1, FXO, and FXS cards for Linux computers.  10:45:17 PM  permalink  

Asterisk - The Open Source Linux PBX: "Asterisk is a complete PBX in software. It runs on Linux and provides all of the features you would expect from a PBX and more. Asterisk does voice over IP in three protocols, and can interoperate with almost all standards-based telephony equipment using relatively inexpensive hardware. Asterisk provides Voicemail services with Directory, Call Conferencing, Interactive Voice Response, Call Queuing. It has support for three-way calling, caller ID services, ADSI, SIP and H.323 (as both client and gateway)."  10:43:18 PM  permalink  

Iraqis Log On to Voice Chat: "Today, in Baghdad's Internet cafés, it's not unusual to see many people sporting headsets and yakking away with someone across the world using IM software from Yahoo, or Microsoft's MSN Messenger program, according to Ala'a Harif, lead system administrator for SCIS. At peak times, the traffic from online voice chatters can almost completely tie up the government-run ISP's limited network bandwidth, says Harif.

While the technology isn't perfect, the economics of voice-over IM make it attractive for users in Iraq. Internet cafes in Baghdad charge around $1 per hour for connect time, versus a going rate of about $1 per minute for long distance telephone service. "

  7:53:36 PM  permalink  

SIPhones: MP3 and Lindows founder sells SIP enabled phones for $129 a pair.  "The technology is also being built more deeply into PCs, as companies begin to add more advanced voice services into applications such as instant messaging. Microsoft's decision to add SIP support into the latest versions of its Windows XP operating system has made it much easier to perform Net calls using a basic PC, although customers still must sign up for another company's services."  Basic info available, with FAQs: "SIPphone users can dial 800 numbers and if they have a calling card which uses an 800 number, they can use that to call long distance numbers. "  11:35:03 AM  permalink  

Dueling Timelines in Iraq (washingtonpost.com): "There aren't enough troops, there aren't enough police and there aren't enough contributions from countries with competent militaries. In Karbala, a city in southern Iraq where occupation has been fairly successful, 1,000 Marines are about to withdraw in favor of 455 Bulgarian troops. But the Bulgarians have no intention of assuming the civil administration functions the Marines have been carrying out, as the Wall Street Journal reported Friday, and a civilian team that was supposed to deploy there hasn't even been named. Given the stakes, and the potential for new problems, this kind of ragged, improvised, resource-poor effort is inexcusable and incomprehensible. "  12:27:07 AM  permalink  


daily link  Saturday, August 23, 2003


'I Should Always Believe Journalists,' He Said, Adding: 'Please Pray for Me.': Tribute to two UN officials killed in Baghdad:  "Sergio and Nadia lived lives of sacrifice and substance. Their deaths both shame and mock the armchair warriors, the television talk-show mudwrestlers, the pontificators, the manipulators and the simplifiers. Their deaths are a reminder that imperium, no matter how benign its intent, is never altruistic, and calls forth its own responses. And their lives are a reminder that it is just possible to do some small good in this rank, sorry, blood-drenched world."  5:26:32 PM  permalink  


daily link  Thursday, August 21, 2003


Exile on Mainstream: Good quick review of Florida 2000 election rigging, as reported by journalist Greg Palast and recorded in the documentary "Counting on Democracy."  11:54:59 PM  permalink  

Dead or alive: Chemical Ali is captured: "Smuggled videos from [1991] show him observing executions - and reveal a spectacular lack of conscience. "Who will say anything?" he tells a group of party officials. "The international community? Fuck them."  9:15:43 PM  permalink  

Unready for Anthrax: Stanford study and reccommendations:  "In any attempted terrorist attack against this country, smallpox and anthrax would be the only two biological agents capable of causing mass casualties. And while the government has invested considerable effort in planning for a potential smallpox attack, no equivalent plan exists for anthrax.

In a recently completed study, we looked into various emergency responses to an airborne anthrax attack and concluded that the United States is woefully unprepared. Two pounds of weapons-grade anthrax dropped on a large American city could result in more than 100,000 deaths.. Not enough people would receive antibiotics quickly enough to prevent symptoms from developing, and those who developed symptoms would overwhelm the medical facilities."  A 4-point plan is proposed.

  7:34:16 AM  permalink  

Olympic wind in China: "The recently-launched wind power project in the county of Zhanbei in Hebei Province is scheduled to be finished in the year of 2008. The construction, involving 1 mln kW of generating capacity and RMB 1.6 bln (USD 193.31 mln) in investment, is aimed at guaranteeing supply for the Olympic Games. "  7:18:56 AM  permalink  


daily link  Wednesday, August 20, 2003


Smartphones "to eclipse handheld computers: "Handheld devices, such as the Palm Pilot and Research in Motion's Blackberry, will suffer an 8.4 per cent drop in sales to 11.35m units this year, according to technology forecaster IDC. In contrast, smartphone shipments from companies such as Nokia, Siemens and Sony Ericsson will jump 260 per cent to 13.1m units in 2003, the strongest year of growth for the technology category."  10:36:26 AM  permalink  

Good thing our PM doesn't have more power: Criticism of anti-semitic comments by Malaysia's Mathahir:  "Perhaps someone should take some time to explain to our dear Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad that a Jew is not necessarily a Zionist by birth, just as all Muslims are not terrorists. While he blows hot in every interview about how collective judgement by the west and the subsequent categorisation of all Muslims as terrorists is wrong, Mahathir proves yet again that he is all talk, and nothing else:

"There only about 13 million Jews worldwide but they want to control the world, not because of their religion but because of their Zionist inclination; and they do it by capturing the most powerful nation, that is, the United States."

.. I shudder that while the west is in control militarily and politically, there are many who are against bigotry towards Muslims and Arabs - and as such, temper the inclination of their own hawks.  In the case of Mahathir, there are no Arabs or Muslims who speak out against such blind hatred and bigotry.  Perhaps then, the neutrals are right, that the status quo of the western might should prevail, so that the likes of Mahathir and his brethren should never be given international power over others."

  8:58:32 AM  permalink  

Saudis flooding into Iraq 'preparing for jihad': "Saad al-Fagui, a UK-based Saudi dissident, said the Saudi authorities were concerned that up to 3,000 Saudi men had gone "missing" in the kingdom in two months, although it was not clear how many had crossed into Iraq. Saudis who have gone to Iraq have established links with sympathetic Iraqis in the northern area, where they have hidden in safe-houses, a Saudi Islamist source said yesterday. Pressure on Islamists in Saudi Arabia has grown since the bombing of an expatriate compound in May killed 35 people. The subsequent arrest of many Islamists has forced some underground while others are trying to flee to Iraq. "If all the avenues are closed and there is a huge gate to Iraq and it's their life wish to fight jihad, they don't have to go far," said Mr al-Fagui. He said he had been told of the 3,000 "disappeared" by a security official inside the kingdom. "Part of this movement of people has been individual, but it is getting more organised now."  8:54:57 AM  permalink  


daily link  Friday, August 15, 2003


Reporters sans frontières - Iraq:  Interesting review of press developments, with a note on cybercafes and satellite dishes:  "one shopkeeper in Baghdad's Karradeh Karej Street, where business is booming for him and dozens of others selling receiver dishes. "Even shoemakers are selling them," said one. They cost between $150 and $220, about the same as the fine you would get in Saddam's time, when they were illegal. If the police found one at the bottom of your garden or hidden in a cardboard box on the roof, it would be immediately seized and if you were caught out a second time, you risked up to a year in prison. When the regime was particularly worried about foreign influences, helicopter patrols would go looking for the dishes. In November 2002, when the threat of a US invasion was growing, the authorities reiterated that they were banned. "  5:47:49 PM  permalink  

The Crossbow MDA300CA Enviromental Data Acquisition Card: "is designed to interace directly with remote sensors like Soil Moisture, Humidity, Temperature, Wind Speed, Wind Direction, and Leaf Wetness. .. for Agricultural applications such as Irrigation Management, Early Frost Warning, Pesticide and Fertilizer Application.

Supports Remote Environmental Sensors including Soil Moisture, Humidity, Temperature, Wind Speed, Wind Direction and more.  Developed at UCLA’s Center for Networked Embedded Sensing."  UCLA Data collection software is available.  Crossbow sensor and software kits available online for under $2000.

  2:03:40 PM  permalink  

BW: The Sensor Revolution: "Sensor networks promise a mammoth extension of the Internet. To date, the Web has been a showcase for the human brain. It specializes in the words, numbers, music, and images that mankind produces. With sensors, the network stretches to the far vaster field of global activity. This means such networks can cover every single thing that moves, grows, makes noise, or heats up. ..

York International (YRK ) Corp., which manages ventilation systems for more than 60,000 customers, plans over the next five years to install hundreds of thousands of networked sensors on its clients' air-conditioning units. These will monitor temperatures and automatically send updates to York's offices. That should lighten the workload for York's 2,000 technicians, boosting productivity by as much as 15%..  Tyco Thermal Controls LLC is turning to wireless sensors to cut down on the cost of laying wires in its pipe-heating systems. Such wiring accounts for two-thirds of the expense of installing monitoring systems. During the next three months, Tyco plans to launch customer tests."

  1:54:37 PM  permalink  

MICA: The Commercialization of Microsensor Motes: Profile of architecture of Crossbow sensors and their networks.   "The first commercial generation of this platform was dubbed the Rene Mote,´and several thousand of these sensors have been deployed at commercial and research institutions worldwide to promote the development and application of wireless sensor networks.  The platform’s development community is based on the open-source model..  Most development work is done in the public domain, and it includes the hardware design and software source code. .. Although there’s no official consortium, the current community includes U.C. Berkeley, U.C. Los Angeles, Intel Research Labs, Robert Bosch Corp., U.S. Air Force Research Labs, Crossbow Technology, and others. ..

MICA developers and U.S. Air Force Research Labs used the new technology to create a wireless sensor network at the 29 Palms Marine base .. An unmanned aircraft dropped about 30 wireless magnetic sensors along a road. The sensors were packaged in a thin layer of foam to protect them from the hard landing on the desert floor. Once safely on the ground, the sensors formed a wireless network and began looking for magnetic anomalies. As a vehicle passed by the sensors, they would detect the vehicle from its magnetic signature. As the vehicle continued along the network, the engineers were able to estimate the vehicle’s speed and direction. The unmanned aircraft returned overhead to collect the data from the network and transmit them to the remote operation command headquarters. The entire development of the application, including the demonstration, took fewer than 60 days."

  1:51:30 PM  permalink  

Cringely rant on IT depts, outsourcing, and India subcontractors: "Now another question: Why are Linux computers gaining in popularity with large organizations while Macs, which are based after all on BSD Unix, aren't? .. Again, it comes down to the IT Department Full Employment Act. Adopting Linux allows organizations to increase their IT efficiency without requiring the IT department to increase ITS efficiency. It takes just as many nerds to support 100 Linux boxes as 100 Windows boxes, yet Linux boxes are cheaper and can support more users. The organization is better off while the IT department is unscathed and unchallenged... 

[T]oday it is probably cheaper for a good-sized company to hire six to 12 smart people, empower them, keep their training current, and have them run the IT organization. A few smart leaders with a good pool of contractors can do a better job with open source support tools than IBM or any other outsourcing vendor can with its proprietary tools. ..

[T]he end game has not the big U.S. companies winning, but their Indian subcontractors. This isn't rocket science, and the Indians are going to quickly see that they can cut out their U.S. employers and go directly to the customers. It won't happen immediately, but eventually every U.S. outsourcing vendor will try to bring the work back in-house for this very reason."

  10:16:55 AM  permalink  


daily link  Thursday, August 14, 2003


Arab news editorial: Will Arabs Miss the Bus, Once Again?: "For 30 years Arab policy on Palestine was based on rejectionism. It produced no benefits for the Palestinians who had to pay, often with their blood, the price of Arab League “heroism.” A new generation of Arab rejectionists now believe that they can play the same game with Iraq. They are mistaken.

Iraq is not Palestine. It is one of the most important Arab countries with immense human and natural resources. Even today, after 30 years of the most vicious tyranny and four wars, Iraq is generally in better shape than some Arab states. Iraq’s many problems, mostly due to a collapsing infrastructure of services, are highlighted because of global media attention. Power brownouts in Baghdad and Basra are massively reported. But few people learn of blackouts in other Arab capitals. Acts of violence in Baghdad make the world headlines because of American presence. But there is no coverage of the bigger violence that affects several Arab countries right now. ..

Rejectionism on Palestine divided and ultimately weakened the Arabs. Rejectionism on Iraq is also dividing the Arabs and could lead to further loss of influence for them. "  7:36:43 PM  permalink  


daily link  Wednesday, August 13, 2003


Spanish Carbon Fund launched : "The first Spanish Carbon Fund is to be launched as a consortium led by CO2 Spain, an environmental investments group, working together with CO2e.com  [part of Cantor Fitzgerald] and international law firm, Baker and McKenzie."  8:50:28 AM  permalink  


daily link  Monday, August 11, 2003


Automakers Drop Suits Over Clean-Air Regulation: "General Motors and DaimlerChrysler are dropping lawsuits against California over a landmark clean-air regulation that requires the production of millions of low-emission cars and trucks over the next decade and a half. The move creates a temporary but momentous environmental truce between the auto industry, which has blocked the zero-emission vehicle mandate that was set in motion in 1990, and California, which wields enormous influence over the global industry.

.. [The auto industry] has also been reassured by recent steps of California regulators. The state amended its requirements in April to emphasize more low-emission and fewer zero-emission cars. In recent weeks, coinciding with negotiations over the suits, the air board expanded its credit system for hybrids to include a wider variety of vehicles"

  9:30:33 PM  permalink  

Iridium service for telementry: "Iridium Short Burst Data (SBD) service is a new data service that enables value-added applications to send and receive short data transactions efficiently over the Iridium network."  Designed for resellers to integrate into internet-based services.  4:41:37 PM  permalink  

Comparison of services from inmarsat and iridium and others.  4:10:44 PM  permalink  

Friedman on liberal clerics in Iraq: "If the West is going to avoid a war of armies with Islam, there has to be a war of ideas within Islam. The progressives have to take on both the religious totalitarians, like Osama bin Laden, and the secular totalitarians who exploit Islam as a cover, like Saddam Hussein. We cannot defeat their extremists, only they can...

Mr. Jamaleddine, age 42, grew up in Iraq, sought exile in Iran after one of Saddam's anti-Shiite crackdowns, tasted the harshness of the Iranian Islamic revolution firsthand, moved to Dubai, and then returned to Iraq as soon as Saddam fell. Here is a brief sampler of what he has been advocating:

"We want a secular constitution. That is the most important point. If we write a secular constitution and separate religion from state, that would be the end of despotism and it would liberate religion as well as the human being. . . . The Islamic religion has been hijacked for 14 centuries by the hands of the state. The state dominated religion, not the other way around. ..

The problem of the Middle East cannot be solved unless all the states in the area become secular. . . . I call for opening the door for Ijtihad [reinterpretation of the Koran in light of changing circumstances]. The Koran is a book to be interpreted [by] each age. .. The neighboring countries are all tyrannical countries and they are wary of a modern, liberal Iraq. . . . That is why they work to foil the U.S. presence. . . . If the U.S. wants to help Iraqis, it must help them the way it helped Germany and Japan, because to help Iraq is really to help 1.3 billion Muslims. Iraq will teach these values to the entire Islamic world. Because Iraq has both Sunnis and Shiites, and it has Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen. . . . If it succeeds here it can succeed elsewhere. But to succeed you also need to satisfy people's basic needs: jobs and electricity. If people are hungry, they will be easily recruited by the extremists. If they are well fed and employed, they will be receptive to good ideas. . . . The failure of this experiment in Iraq would mean success for all despots in the Arab and Islamic world. [That is why] this is a challenge that America must accept and take all the way."

  9:56:15 AM  permalink  


daily link  Saturday, August 09, 2003


Iraqi Trailers Said to Make Hydrogen, Not Biological Arms: "Engineering experts from the Defense Intelligence Agency have come to believe that the most likely use for two mysterious trailers found in Iraq was to produce hydrogen for weather balloons rather than to make biological weapons, government officials say. .. [Recently]  Iraqi officials have repeated the claims of Iraqi scientists that the trailers were used to fill weather balloons [used in artillery practice]..

The State Department's intelligence branch, which was not invited to take part in the initial review, disputed the findings in a memorandum on June 2. The fact that American and British intelligence analysts with direct access to the evidence were disputing the claims included in the C.I.A. white paper was first reported in June, along with the analysts' concern that the evaluation of the mobile units had been marred by a rush to judgment.

But it had not previously been known that a majority of the Defense Intelligence Agency's engineering team had come to disagree with the central finding of the white paper: that the trailers were used for making biological weapons.  .. [A US} official said members of the engineering team had been angry that the agency issued the joint white paper with the C.I.A. before their own work was completed. The official said the question of how that had happened was being examined by the defense agency's inspector general as part of a broader inquiry that began in June.."

  9:11:52 AM  permalink  


daily link  Friday, August 08, 2003


Solar-powered ice-cream carts hit Bangkok streets: "Bangkok ice-cream vendors who currently pedal their carts in the baking sun are hoping to benefit from a locally invented device that will allow them to store energy and drive their carts using solar power. A 50 x 60cm solar cell built into the cart roof will capture solar power in a battery. Pracha Prakoonsuksapan, the managing director of AHT (Asia), a local freezer-manufacturer who has developed what he calls a solar-cell ice-cream cart, told The Nation that once the battery is fully charged, the vendor can switch to a mode that allows the motor to drive the cart. It should be able to store energy for two hours after the sun has disappeared. An initial prototype is expected to carry 150kg of ice cream at 15km per hour."  2:59:33 PM  permalink  

NYT series "on the damaging impact that American, European and Japanese agricultural subsidies and trade barriers have on farmers in developing nations.  The following is an archive of all the editorials from the series."  10:21:29 AM  permalink  

Politics & Science: Great little website from a House investigation.  "The report Politics and Science in the Bush Administration finds numerous instances where the Administration has manipulated the scientific process and distorted or suppressed scientific findings. Beneficiaries include important supporters of the President, including social conservatives and powerful industry groups."   9:52:08 AM  permalink  

Korea road maps: "With the agreement to hold six-sided talks (among North Korea, South Korea, China, Russia, Japan and the United States), an opportunity again exists for resolving the crisis. Provided, that is, that the parties this time have a comprehensive road map ..  The goal would be, in effect, to facilitate the transformation of North Korea into a large economic development zone rather than an assembly line for weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles...

For Beijing, the building blocks with which it can assemble a road map are the following. The first is a U.S. non-aggression assurance to North Korea, co-sponsored by China. The second is South Korean and Japanese economic aid in the form of development project funding. The third comprises nuclear inspections conducted by China and Russia -- in close collaboration with the International Atomic Energy Agency -- to verify the complete dismantling of North Korea's plutonium and uranium-based weapons programs. Each of the above countries is singularly suited to carry out the specified activities based on an assessment of political feasibility and capabilities. For example, it would be politically unfeasible for Japan to participate in nuclear inspections in North Korea, given the intrusive nature of such an activity. Furthermore, the Pyongyang regime would not agree to Japanese inspectors, but would be less objectionable to Chinese or Russian inspectors if the incentives were deemed acceptable...

The basic fact of this current nuclear crisis is that Pyongyang needs assistance for its economic reform while Washington requires strict verification of North Korea's nuclear rollback. Left to these two parties, however, a long-term resolution would be remote and the nuclear crisis will increasingly threaten stability in Northeast Asia. If China were to sponsor a multilaterally agreed road map as discussed above, it would become more difficult for either side to renege on core commitments. The primary benefit of a Chinese road map would be a continuity of political support -- a feature that the ill-fated 1994 U.S.-North Korea Agreed Framework lacked from its inception when the Republicans won control of both the Senate and the House of Representatives. The ensuing Republican effort to undermine the nuclear accord -- combined with North Korea cheating on its obligations -- contributed to the agreement's demise."

Also, a high ranking defector offers his advice, emphasizing the Chinese role, and including acceptance of tens of thousands of defectors from North Korea.

  9:12:58 AM  permalink  

U.S. Troops Hailed in Southern Iraq: "American Troops Aren’t Under Fire in Southern Iraq"  8:21:46 AM  permalink  


daily link  Thursday, August 07, 2003


Diamond necklace exposed Bhutto money-laundering trail: "in 1995 two companies, SGS and Cotecna, took up a contract for customs inspection of goods being imported into Pakistan.   [A Swiss] judge cited letters showing that 6% of the amount paid by the Pakistani government under the inspection contract would be paid as commission to companies registered in the British Virgin Islands. One of these, Bomer Finances Inc, received $8.2m and another, Nassam Overseas Inc, received $3.8m, the judge found.

The beneficial owner of Bomer Finance is Ms Bhutto's husband, Asif Ali Zardari, but in reality she shares the assets with him and has the power of disposition, the judge said.  The beneficial owner of Nassam Overseas is Nasir Hussain, who at the time was Ms Bhutto's brother-in-law, he added.

Evidence of Ms Bhutto's role in Bomer Finance emerged from a visit to London during which she bought a diamond necklace at a Knightsbridge jeweller's.  The £117,000 bill was paid partly in cash and partly with money from Bomer Finance's account. "

  11:06:42 PM  permalink  

Blix on the war: "The former chief United Nations weapons inspector, Hans Blix, yesterday added his voice to the debate on America's postwar administration of Iraq. Dr Blix denounced the US-led war as a violation of international law, and accused the White House of having other reasons to invade besides "the officially pronounced purpose to find and destroy weapons of mass destruction".

"I cannot see that the action, in the way it was justified, was compatible with the UN Charter," Dr Blix said on Swedish radio. "An important element surely was the need to show striking power after the terror attack on September 11, 2001.""

  11:03:56 PM  permalink  


daily link  Wednesday, August 06, 2003


German defmin favours expanded Afghan peacekeeping: "German Lieutenant-General Norbert Van Heyst said that expanding the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which currently numbers about 5,000 soldiers, into the provinces would require up to 10,000 additional troops. Canada, which will provide the bulk of the NATO peacekeeping force, has said the international community was not prepared to deploy thousands of additional troops needed to take ISAF beyond the capital. About two dozen ISAF soldiers have died in hostile and non-hostile incidents since its deployment. "  8:11:55 AM  permalink  

A Khomeini Breaks With His Lineage to Back U.S.: "The grandson of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the strident Iranian cleric who built his Islamic revolution on a platform of attacking all things American, said today that the overthrow of Saddam Hussein would allow long-awaited freedoms to flourish throughout the region, and if they did not, United States intervention would be welcomed by most Iranians.

The grandson, Sayyid Hussein Khomeini, also suggested that any Iraqi Shiites calling for an Islamic theocracy here were misguided, probably financed by Iran and lacked the experience or understanding to know how badly the Iranian revolution had failed. ..

The young Mr. Khomeini apparently holds none of his grandfather's animosity toward the United States, correcting a reporter forming a question about the American occupation of Iraq to note that it should be called a "liberation." ..

Mr. Khomeini indicated that he could be the vanguard of a considerable number of senior Shiite clerics who are opposed to the way the clergy ruling Iran have used religion as a form of oppression and who will move to Iraq's shrine cities once the violence ebbs. But at present he is little known. ..

"Naturally if the Hawza is located in a free country," he said, using the common word for the entire Shiite seminary movement, "that will give space for debate, for free discussions and so of course there will be an exodus from Qum." The holy city of Qum is Iran's leading religious center. "If Qum remains under the same kind of oppressive atmosphere, everyone will come to Najaf," he added, referring to the Iraqi holy city. ..

He noted the incongruities separating the seminary cities on opposite sides of the border. In Qum, he said, most religious scholars oppose mixing politics and religion but toe the line in public because that is what the supreme leader demands.   The senior ayatollahs of Najaf, on the other hand, oppose mixing politics and religion but have been making some political remarks — demanding elections over who will write the constitution, for example — because that is what the Iraqi public expects of them. 

Rather than religious rule, he suggested that Shiites should overcome their historical persecution complex by pushing for a democratic government that respects their rights.

He grinned at the idea that he was following in the footsteps of other famous revolutionary offspring, like the daughters of Stalin and later Castro, who split with their families and sought refuge with the United States.

Mr. Khomeini said he broke with his grandfather in the early days of the revolution over the killing of people with even minor links to the shah's regime, which he did not believe religious law sanctioned. ..

Mr. Khomeini said that some Muslims in Iraq were quick to label the Americans as infidels, and that would probably be the case no matter how much the United States acted for the good of Iraq. "All the countries in the region fear Iraq becoming a free, liberal, democratic state," he said. "

  12:19:20 AM  permalink  

Weapons of Mass Confusion: Gordon in NYT: "Saddam Hussein, the theory holds, ordered the destruction of his weapon stocks well before the war to deprive the United States of a rationale to attack his regime and to hasten the eventual lifting of the United Nations sanctions. But the Iraqi dictator retained the scientists and technical capacity to resume the production of chemical and biological weapons and eventually develop nuclear arms. Mr. Hussein's calculation was that he could restart his weapons programs once the international community lost interest in Iraq and became absorbed with other crises. That would enable him to pursue his dream of making Iraq the dominant power in the Persian Gulf region and make it easier for him to deter enemies at home and abroad."  12:10:46 AM  permalink  


daily link  Tuesday, August 05, 2003


Shaking Up the Neighbors: NYT's Tom Friedman: "Shortly after the 25-member Governing Council was appointed in Iraq, the head of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, questioned the U.S.-appointed Council's legitimacy. "If this Council was elected," complained Mr. Moussa, "it would have gained much power and credibility." I love that quote. I love it, first of all, for its bold, gutsy, shameless, world-class hypocrisy. Mr. Moussa presides over an Arab League in which not one of the 22 member states has a leader elected in a free and fair election. On top of it, before the war, Mr. Moussa did all he could to shield Saddam Hussein from attack, although Saddam had never held a real election in his life. Yet, there was Mr. Moussa questioning the new U.S.-appointed Iraqi Council, which, even in its infant form, is already the most representative government Iraq has ever had. But I also love Mr. Moussa's comment for its unintended revolutionary message: "power and credibility" come from governments that are freely "elected." If only that were the motto of the Arab League. Alas, it is not, but it might be one day.."  11:19:17 PM  permalink  

Solar Technology for the Soldier: "An initial project between the NSC and the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, led to a breakthrough chemical process, known as "cold sintering," that resulted in the formation of Konarka. The cold sintering technology facilitates materials processing at relatively low temperatures, which allows Konarka to create photovoltaic cells without exposing the materials to destructive high temperatures in the manufacturing process, enabling the company to develop flexible cells on lightweight, flexible materials, rather than on glass or silicon. Under the current program, Konarka will supply prototypes of modules and demonstrate their ability to charge batteries and operate military equipment"  8:27:24 PM  permalink  


daily link  Monday, August 04, 2003


Solar Cell Pushes Efficiency Barrier: "Spectrolab, a subsidiary of The Boeing Company has achieved an what they claim is an unprecedented conversion efficiency for a terrestrial concentrator solar cell. Using concentrated sunlight, these photovoltaic (PV) cells can convert 36.9 percent of the sun's energy to electricity,.. "During the last few years, multijunction solar cells have doubled the power output of large commercial satellites.  We believe that further optimization of the improved terrestrial concentrator cells will yield the potential to surpass 40 percent conversion efficiency," said Dr. Nasser Karam, Spectrolab vice president for Advanced Technology. "  The tested cell was .25 square centimeters in size.  It was an improvement over the last generation by being tuned to terrestrial, rather than space, sunlight.  Press release says that several modules are already being tested throughout the world by photovoltaic concentrator system manufacturers. The research was funded by NREL and the Air Force.  8:03:02 PM  permalink  

Revolutionizing Science and Engineering Through Cyberinfrastructure: Executive summary of NSF Blue Ribbon Advisory Panel report.  "The Panel's overarching finding is that a new age has dawned in scientific and engineering research, pushed by continuing progress in computing, information, and communication technology, and pulled by the expanding complexity, scope, and scale of today's challenges. The capacity of this technology has crossed thresholds that now make possible a comprehensive “cyberinfrastructure” on which to build new types of scientific and engineering knowledge environments and organizations and to pursue research in new ways and with increased efficacy."  2:58:06 PM  permalink  

Redwoods go high tech, and High-tech trees take their own temperature:  Berkeley researchers use new wireless motes in forest research:   "For years, Dawson's research on the moisture that giant redwoods absorb from fog has involved the installation of 30 pounds of gear - including data loggers, sensors and wires - onto trees that stand 300 feet tall in the redwood groves of Santa Cruz and Sonoma counties.  Each [new] wireless sensor, or micromote, measures less than three cubic inches and is capable of transmitting radio signals at 50 kilobytes per second. .. "These devices need to run for months on a size C battery, streaming a variety of environmental data out of the trees for data processing," said Culler. ..

The old, industrial-age sensors cost $3,000, while the Mica sensors -- made by Crossbow Technologies of Santa Clara using UC Berkeley technology -- cost about $250 each.  The motes accurately chart temperatures and humidity and show the profound differences between tree tops and branches near the bottom..  Other sensors to be added include one equipped with a tiny probe to measure the interior temperature of the tree and the velocity and quantity of water flowing inside the tree.. "

The redwood grove used in the test are at the UC Botanical Garden in Strawberry Canyon. The researchers plan to expand the wireless network later this year to include redwood groves in Big Basin Redwoods State Park in Santa Cruz County and at a site in Sonoma County. 

Project Leader is "David Culler, a UC Berkeley professor of computer science, and his researchers, along with a team led by UC Berkeley computer scientist Kris Pister, who calls the technology "smart dust."  While Pister's team worked to make the motes smaller and smaller, Culler wrote an operating system for the tiny computers onboard. He called it "tinyOS."  .. Other researchers on the project include Robert Szewczyk and Joe Polastre, UC Berkeley graduate students in electrical engineering and computer sciences, and Wei Hong and David Gay, researchers at the Intel Research Berkeley laboratory. "

Companies: In addition to Crossbow Technologies,  "one San Jose company, Digital Sun, is marketing a sensor system designed for gardeners that monitors temperature and soil moisture and waters the plants when they need it. A Massachusetts company, Sensicast Systems, is also marketing tinyOS sensor systems.   Bosch and Honeywell are also looking into wireless sensor nets.  Wineries are very interested in the possibility of precisely monitoring areas or plants within vineyards, and several are working with Intel on a project. "

  2:49:21 PM  permalink  

Digital (Fill in the Blank) Is on the Horizon: "Since 1999, just before the technology boom collapsed, the percentage of households in the United States with personal computers — which many experts thought was leveling off — has in fact increased to 64 percent from 50 percent. At the same time, the share of households online has risen to 59 percent from 33 percent, and the use of digital cameras has climbed to 17 percent of households from less than 3 percent, according to Odyssey's research. ..

[A new] project, called Mealtime, will run for about four months, beginning the middle of this month. The companies supplying equipment and technology include Whirlpool, Icebox, IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Sears. Besides the networked oven that can also chill food, each household will have a refrigerator linked to the Internet for automated reordering of groceries through Peapod, the online grocer." 

  1:29:33 PM  permalink  


daily link  Sunday, August 03, 2003


In DSpace, Ideas Are Forever: "A number of universities, from the California Institute of Technology to M.I.T., are creating ''institutional repositories'' designed to harness their own intellectual output. M.I.T.'s archive, perhaps the most ambitious, is called DSpace (www.dspace.org). "  9:56:44 PM  permalink  

World Officials Agree to Share Ecology Data: "Officials from more than 30 countries agreed today to expand monitoring of the atmosphere, the oceans and the land and to create a system for sharing the resulting data. At a meeting here organized by the Bush administration, the officials said the goal of the 10-year effort was to fill in big gaps, primarily in developing countries, in the network of instruments recording earth's vital signs. The resulting benefits, like better crop and weather forecasts, are to be shared by rich and poor countries alike.  .. At the meeting here, administration officials said Mr. Bush had committed $25 million as a matching contribution to help developing countries link up to the global network for tracking what Donald L. Evans, the commerce secretary, called "the heartbeat of Mother Earth.""  9:34:34 PM  permalink  

What: Mob Scene. Who: Strangers. Point: None. Young people practice making smartmobs.  "The telephone-wielding crowd was the latest incarnation of something called flash mobs. Called into being on short notice by Web sites and e-mail distribution lists, flash mobs meet at an appointed time, engage in some organized spontaneity for a few minutes, then rapidly disperse. The activities are innocent, if mysterious, and tend to bring together loose groupings of surprisingly conventional looking young adults.

Brimming with such a lack of purpose, the fad has found a home in Berlin and across Germany. On Monday, at 5:05 p.m., mobbers have been called to gather at the washing machine display in a department store in the German city of Dortmund, eat a banana, and leave. But events have also been organized in Rome, Vienna and Zurich. Australia is planning one.

As might be suspected, New York is the acknowledged place where people first used the latest technology to gather and delight in pointlessness. In June, more than 100 people gathered in the rug department of Macy's, claiming to a bewildered clerk that they were looking for a "love rug" for their suburban commune. The concept quickly took on a life of its own, propelled by e-mail, cellphones and the Internet.  ..

On Saturday, a flash mob collected near the American Embassy in Berlin, and far from deriding Iraqi policies or some other momentous topic, they wore silly hats, waved flags and popped Champagne. "Here's to Natasha!" they toasted, before vanishing.  Tobias von Schönebeck, a tour guide, shook his head when he heard about how the phenomenon was traced back to Macy's. "This is just the sort of thing that happens when you forbid New York to smoke."

  9:32:45 PM  permalink  


daily link  Saturday, August 02, 2003


U.S. and North Korea Announce Accord on Wider Atom Talks: "Ten years ago, Hu Jintao, a Chinese Politburo member, traveled to Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, to mark the 40th anniversary of the armistice that ended the Korean War. Last week, Mr. Hu, now president of China, neglected to send an official delegation to Pyongyang to mark the 50th anniversary. In the intervening decade, South Korea became China's sixth-largest foreign investor, and China became South Korea's largest trading partner. Last year, trade between China and South Korea hit $44 billion, almost 100 times as much as the $500 million in trade between China and North Korea. Chinese gifts of food and oil accounted for most of the $500 million."  12:00:56 AM  permalink  


daily link  Friday, August 01, 2003


Are You Ready To Outsource Your Storage?:"In most cases, storage outsourcing reduces labor costs by 25 to 40 percent or more over internal storage management." Internal storage management is estimated at $12-14/GB/month, vs. outsourcing at $7-8.  Labor is estimated at 74% of internal costs, vs 12% for hardware.  10:23:37 PM  permalink  

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