Technology trumps censorship!

I’m amused to see that an unforeseen technology is able to bypass Chinese censorship of the Internet. The Sydney Morning Herald reports: Amazon’s Kindle 3G e-reader is being snapped up on China’s grey market as it has an extra special advantage for customers – it automatically leaps the so-called “Great Firewall” of state web censorship. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter, which are blocked by the Beijing authorities, can be accessed without interference by the Kindle’s internet browsing function, the South China Morning Post has reported. Amazon says it is not able to ship the Kindle to mainland China or

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Twenty dying technologies

Bloomberg has published a very interesting article, examining twenty everyday technologies that are on their way to the scrapheap of history. I found their selection very thought-provoking, particularly because it includes many staple items in our everyday lives. For example: Dying Technology: Credit cards One billion credit cards in American wallets are landfill-bound. “We have reviewed more than 100 companies that are developing payment schemes that would eliminate cards altogether,” says phone and card industry consultant Richard Crone, of Crone Consulting in San Carlos, Calif. Indeed, credit-card companies such as Visa and Mastercard might lose out on swipe fees if

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Musical fun and games

I laughed out loud when Roberta posted links to these videos on her blog this morning. I’ve been smiling all day at the memory, and watched them more than once for renewed giggles. I couldn’t resist linking them here as well. There are many more videos of this group on Paul Edison Swift’s channel on YouTube. Click over to that channel for some very entertaining performances. Thanks, Roberta! Peter

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The wealthiest sportsman in history?

We’re used to hearing about the millions of dollars earned by sportsmen like Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant, Peyton Manning or Roger Federer. However, a report in the Daily Mail indicates that a charioteer in Ancient Rome makes them all look like pikers by comparison. The highest paid sportsman of all time was a slave-turned-chariot racer from Ancient Rome who earned a staggering £9.42 billion [about US $15.13 billion], researchers have revealed. Experts found details of Gaius Appuleius Diocles who was plucked from humble beginnings as a slave to become the a champion charioteer in second century Rome. The immensely strong

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A spammer bites the dust

I’m delighted to hear that one of the worst e-mail spammers in the world, a Russian by the name of Igor A. Gusev, is now under investigation by the police in that country. He appears to have fled the country, and they’re looking for him. What surprised me is the sheer volume of spam he (or his operation) was putting out. According to the Consumerist, worldwide spam e-mails have dropped by a staggering one-fifth since his operations were targeted. There are apparently 200 billion (yes, that’s B for Billion!) spam e-mails generated every day. This one man, and his operation,

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This makes me want to hang Big Brother!

I’m seething with anger at a news report from Pennsylvania. It seems a mother had her child taken away from her, three days after birth, because the hospital tested her blood for opiates and it returned a positive result. The hospital didn’t bother to investigate further; they simply informed Pennsylvania’s Children and Youth Services (CYS), which came to her house and seized the child. (Apparently that State’s laws allow both the blood testing and the seizure of so-called ‘at-risk’ children.) The problem in this case is that the mother wasn’t using opiates at all. She’d eaten a poppy-seed bagel shortly

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A very important book

I’ve begun reading a new book by Ian Morris: ‘Why the West Rules–for Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future‘. My initial reaction is that this is one of those books that breaks new ground in analyzing the past and how it relates to the present and future. Examples of books that did likewise (at least, in my opinion) would include Jared Diamond’s ‘Guns, Germs And Steel: The Fates Of Human Societies‘, Paul Kennedy’s ‘The Rise And Fall Of The Great Powers‘, David Landes’ ‘The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich

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