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Showing posts from May, 2015

Texas shows itself as still being the wild west

As if the USA didn't have enough problems due to the ready availability of arms, now the Texan legislature has just passed a law allowing for the carrying of handguns openly on the streets of Texas.   Plain mad!

"Texas lawmakers approved carrying handguns openly on the streets of the nation’s second most populous state on Friday, sending the bill to the Republican governor, Greg Abbott, who is expected to sign it and reverse a ban dating to the post-civil war era.

Gun owners would still have to get a license to carry a handgun in a visible holster.

The state – known for its wild west, cowboy history and some of the nation’s most relaxed gun laws – has allowed concealed handguns for 20 years. Concealed handgun license holders are even allowed to skip the metal detectors at the state Capitol, as state troopers providing security assume they’re armed.

But Texas was one of only six states with an outright ban on so-called open carry, and advocates have fought to be allowed to keep th…

Climate change is already killing people....and it will only get worse

The usual climate change deniers may scoff and ridicule the now vast number of scientists and experts who unequivocally state that climate change is upon us and that we must all do something about it.      The people of India, who are now suffering hitherto unknown levels of heat, with many dying from the effects of the heat, are another example of what is happening in our world.

In February, President Obama said that the media "absolutely" overstates the risk of terrorism, while many more lives are claimed by climate change and epidemics. Mike Huckabee shot back, telling Fox News, "I assure you that a beheading is much worse than a sunburn."

Perhaps the GOP climate denier and presidential contender should take a trip to India, where a heat wave has claimed the lives of more than 1,800 people, making it the deadliest in over three decades.

While climate deniers may disagree, the increase in extreme weather events around the world — and the deaths they cause — is linke…

Wozniak warns on the "internet of things"

Two people founded what is now known as Apple.     Steve Jobs, one of them, had a high profile until his untimely death a while back.    His co-founder, Steve Wozniak, has never been in spotlight as Jobs was.   

Speaking in Sydney on the "internet of things" Wozniak issued a sober and timely warning....

"Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has warned the burgeoning industry springing up around the so-called "internet of things" is already showing signs of being a bubble.

Mr Wozniak said he was excited about the industry sector, which aims to commercialise the explosion of internet-connected devices and appliances, but said he was worried the hopes and plans of founders could outstrip technological capacity.

The internet of things could comprise appliances such as a fridge that reminds its owner to pick up milk via their smartphones as they pass a supermarket, or a self-governing airconditioning system that tracks online weather forecasts and modifies its own settings.


Farewell to a useless "peace envoy" (aka Tony Blair)

Tony Blair is gone as the so-called Middle East "peace envoy".   The appointment was a joke in the first place - the resulting "work" done by him useless.    Robert Fisk, writing in The Independent, puts the whole Blair "thing" into context.

"Tony Blair’s time as Middle East envoy representing the US, Russia, the UN and the EU has finally come to an end. Eight years after he took up the role, Blair tendered his resignation and left one question: how come a war criminal ever became a “peace envoy” in the first place?

The people of the Middle East – and much of the world – have been asking this question ever since Blair was appointed the Quartet’s man in Jerusalem, solemnly and hopelessly tasked to bring “peace” between Israelis and Palestinians. Was his new mission supposed to wash the blood from his hands after the catastrophe of the Bush-Blair invasion of Iraq and the hundreds of thousands of innocents who died as a result?

For Arabs – and for Britons…

Cities unprotected from cyber attack

Technology is intruding into everything - some of it valuable and useful, others not so - but our cities function much dependant on computer operated systems    Water, traffic lights, lighting in general, power generation, etc. etc.   That immediately makes them more than vulnerable to a cyber attack.    It seems though, that authorities, certainly in American cities, are doing little to protect their infrastructure and citizens from the calamity of a cyber attack on systems.

"Last year, Cesar Cerrudo, an Argentine security researcher, began pointing out critical vulnerabilities in America’s so-called smart cities, where wireless sensors control a growing portion of city infrastructure from traffic lights to water and waste management systems.

One year later, Mr. Cerrudo discovered that little had been done to patch those basic vulnerabilities, even as cities around the world poured billions of dollars into bringing more of their basic infrastructure online. Without renewed focus o…

The horrible outcome of FIFA's decision to award Qatar the World Cup

This piece, from The Independent, speaks for itself......

"The 2022 Qatar World Cup in particular, which never has and never will make any sense in footballing terms, has already been a disaster.

As the Washington Post points out, the human rights record of the small Gulf state, where many labourers are held against their will, working long hours in searing heat, is appalling.

An investigation by international law firm DLA Piper showed that 964 construction workers from Bangladesh, India and Nepal had died in the country in 2012 and 2013.

A separate report by the International Trade Union Commission estimated that 4,000 workers could have died before the tournament kicks off in seven years’ time.

If it’s found that the greed and duplicity of Fifa officials has led to the awarding of the World Cup to Qatar, then forget all the millions of lost dollars, surely that is the most unforgivable thing they’ve done."

FIFA: A first-class response

Whilst the world appears somewhat agog at the arrest of many FIFA officials - and the head, Sepp Blatter, goes into hiding, as he well might! - another dimension to FIFA and its games......

 Protesters are creating ads to speak out against deadly work conditions
"Activists are creating "anti-logos" to shame corporate sponsors of the 2022 FIifa World Cup Qatar

People are getting creative and speaking out against brands such as Visa, Coke, McDonald's and Sony with the hopes that they will withdraw sponsorship from the event.

More than 1,400 migrant workers have died building the infrastructure for the World Cup due to extreme weather and unsafe working conditions.

On Wednesday, US Justice Department officials arrested nine Fifa officials in Switzerland and raided their head office in suspicion of money laundering and criminal mismanagement.

The artists have begun compiling their work at the viral blog".

The repercussions of type-casting....or worse - prejudice!

Wherever prejudice, discrimination or scapegoating occurs - and even more so if there is nudge-nudge, wink-wink by politicians with respect to a particular group in society, religious or not - there are bound to be repercussions.    And not "happy" ones either.   Take Frances' Muslim community as one such example.....

"More than 10 years after France passed its first anti-veil law restricting young girls from wearing veils in public schools, the head coverings of observant Muslim women, from colorful silk scarves to black chadors, have become one of the most potent flash points in the nation’s tense relations with its vibrant and growing Muslim population.

Mainstream politicians continue to push for new measures to deny veiled women access to jobs, educational institutions and community life. They often say they are doing so for the benefit of public order or in the name of laïcité, the French term for the separation of church and state.

But critics say these efforts, …