|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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Wednesday, August 04, 2004
24HOURDOTCOM: "Our mission is to build a dotcom in 24 hours. We will then sell the company on eBay and get rich... " This was at the Wizards of OS conference in Berlin, as "a performance art/business project. The mission is to create a dotcom business from scratch in 24 hours. That means designing and programming a complete and useful web application, recruiting people, doing marketing, creating investment programs and much more. After 24 hours, the complete business will be sold on an eBay auction, and everyone involved will be rich!" Pretty funny - and they got $2026 on ebay. 6:03:45 PM
Polio's last days: "Fifteen years ago, more than 1,000 children a day, in 125 countries across five continents, were being paralysed by polio. In 1989, when the WHO eradication programme was set up, more than 350,000 people a year were developing polio. By last year, there were just 700 cases.
By end of this year, health experts believe they could have eradicated polio from every country around the globe. A massive, last push in the international vaccination campaign should mean that the remaining six nations classified as having endemic polio - Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Niger, Afghanistan and Egypt - are declared free of the disease by next year. .. The success of the eradication programme is solely due to this 6p-a-time vaccine, which has been available in the West for 30 years, saving billions from death and disability. ..
The WHO-led eradication programme is now facing a $200m shortfall as it enters the most critical phase ..
Yesterday saw the end of a door-to-door initiative to immunise four million children in the Nigerian state of Kano in five days. Health workers administered a couple of drops of the vaccine into the mouths of every child under five. Samples were subjected to independent analysis to convince sceptics that it was safe, and health officials worked to persuade the Muslim clerics to their side. The initiative was given a boost when Ibrahim Shekaru, the Kano state Governor, administered the vaccine in the village of Takai at the start of the resumed immunisation initiative this week.
But last August, polio immunisation in the Islamic state was suddenly halted after a coalition of radical Muslim clerics and local politicians claimed that the vaccines were part of a Western plot to sterilise African girls and spread HIV/Aids. The effects were immediate and disastrous. Cases of polio in Nigeria increased from 50 to more than 250 within a year. At the beginning of last year, polio was endemic to two nations in sub-Saharan Africa; by this year, the Nigerian crisis was linked to re-infection in 10 more countries, including Chad, Ghana and Togo. The conspiracy theories about the vaccine spread to other Islamic states - Pakistan and Afghanistan. ..
In January, the WHO called an emergency meeting in Geneva. Already faced with a $100m shortfall, officials felt they had no option but to commit an extra $100m to ensure 74 million children in Africa received a dose of OPV by the end of the year. If all goes well, the world could be declared to be rid of polio by 2008.." 5:35:44 PM
Virtual Machine Shootout:
Concise overview of the VMware workstation and MS Virtual PC products, with a performance comparison. VMware averages around 10% worse than hardware, VPC 20% worse. 5:17:56 PM
Quantum crypto network debuts:
"Quantum cryptography has the potential to guarantee perfectly secure communications, but until now all of the prototype systems have been point-to-point links rather than networks that share connections. BBN Technologies, Harvard University and Boston University researchers have built a six-node quantum cryptography network that operates continuously " 4:54:12 PM
Sadr army owns city's streets: "In recent months, [al Sadr's] Mahdi Army has consolidated its control over Sadr City - a poor sprawl of 2.5 million on Baghdad's northeastern edge - maintained control over large portions of Najaf, forced a US-backed government council in the southern city of Amara to resign, and rearmed in anticipation of further confrontation with the US. "We're in charge here,'' says Sheikh Amar Saadi, a preacher in Sadr City and senior Mahdi Army commander. "Our mission is to clear Iraq of evil, and that's not just about defeating the Americans." ..
Sadr officials say the group is making the first tentative steps towards becoming a political force like Hezbollah in Lebanon. US patrols rarely venture here and the local police tend to take orders from Sadr's men rather than the other way around. Every afternoon, large queues of supplicants form outside Sadr's main office to ask for help with medical bills, schooling, and jobs. ..
By running a wildly popular anti-vice campaign in cooperation with local police, Sadr's men - and not the US-installed interim government - have taken up the mantle of chief guarantors of public order in Sadr City. Mahdi Army members have killed alleged drug dealers and kidnappers, and handed more over to the police. Local cops confirm their cooperation. "They're doing a lot of our work for us,'' says one.
Mahdi Army is the most potent social and political movement in Sadr City. The area holds about 10 percent of Iraq's electorate - a powerful bloc in a country divided between the Kurds and competing Shiite and Sunni factions. .. The thickly muscled and calm Hisham is typical of many of the army's lower ranking leaders whose commitment to the cause was hardened by their time as political prisoners under the old regime. Now, he says, he's driven by a desire to make sure Sadr City is never subject to an outside power again, one of the reasons he's so opposed to the US presence here. Despite a day job as a security guard elsewhere in Baghdad, he spends six nights a week on the streets of Sadr City with his friends. "We don't hate American people, we just hate the policies of the US government, which wants to control Iraq," he says. "We're dealing with the criminals here, people's safety. The Americans have done nothing.""
The situation is similar in Najaf. ""What he says is right ... the militia is protecting Najaf," says Aamer Harez Ali, a barber sniping away with his sheers. Still, he admits, if more young men had work they would be less likely to enlist in the Mahdi Army. "We need jobs," he says." 4:38:22 PM
Who votes: " The more wealthy you are, the more likely you are to vote. " From the 2000 election, Household Income - (Percentage that Voted):
- Less than $5,000 - (34%)
- $5,000 - $9,999 - (41%)
- $10,000 - $14,999 - (44%)
- $10,000 - $14,999 - (44%)
- $15,000 - $24,999 - (51%)
- $25,000 - $34,999 - (58%)
- $35,000 - $49,999 - (62%)
- $50,000 - $74,999 - (69%)
- $75,000 and over - (74%)
Microsoft to implement SPF checking:
"The company is strongly urging e-mail providers and Internet service providers to publish, by mid-September, Sender Policy Framework records that identify their e-mail servers in the domain name system. Microsoft will begin matching the source of inbound e-mail to the Internet Protocol addresses of e-mail servers listed in that sending domain’s SPF record by October 1. Messages that fail the check will not be rejected but will be further scrutinized and filtered, says Craig Spiezle, director of Microsoft’s Safety Technology and Strategy Group." However, a comment says that MS has not yet published SPF records themselves for any of their domains. 12:00:38 PM
LeapFrog donating 20,000 books to Afghan women to learn basic health lessons in own languages: "Twenty-thousand interactive women's health books, built with the LeapPad learning system technology of LeapFrog Enterprises, are en route to Afghanistan to help teach basic health care lessons .. The recipients are Afghan women, 80 percent of whom are illiterate .. They will also begin to learn to read using the device, just as many children have.
The popular technology-based learning device has been tailored for speakers of Dari and Pashto, the primary languages of Afghanistan. They will be able to use it to learn about personal health subjects including diet, childhood immunization, pregnancy, breastfeeding, sanitation and water boiling, treating injuries and burns, and disease prevention. The [DHS] department, LeapFrog and several consultants for the company, including Dr. Najiba Zamani of Hayward, who had practiced medicine in an Afghan refugee camp, took 12 months to develop the material. The result: 350 items of recorded information on 19 personal health subjects that carefully take into account a host of cultural and religious considerations.
For example, reproduction is a culturally and religiously sensitive topic in the country. The solution: a page of text and a page of pictures with the analogy of growing carrots. Growing them too close together produces skinny and not-well- formed carrots that do not look good to eat, but if you space the carrots, they're plump and appetizing -- the lesson being it's better to space children rather than having them in rapid succession. " US DHS provided $1.2m for content development and translation. 11:22:05 AM
9/11 panel dismayed by Bush's reaction, Director needs real clout, members say
: ""I know that Secretary (of Defense Donald) Rumsfeld is going to oppose [giving the new chief budget authority]," Kerrey said. "And if they [the Department of Defense] wins one more time, then next time there's a dustup and there's a failure, don't call the director of Central Intelligence up here. Kick the crap out of (the defense department) because they're the one with the statutory authority over the budget." " DoD controls about 80% of all intelligence spending today. 10:15:57 AM
Juan Cole describes how Kerry might be able to substitute a UN command international force for US troops in 2005. 12:17:16 AM
Iraq on verge of implode
: Fisk predicts a complete meltdown, reports that no one expects elections to take place in January due to deteriorating security. 12:15:11 AM