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Showing posts from November, 2010

While Buddhism Meets Our Spiritual Needs

I must just be having one of those days, but something about turning religion on its head and saying that it meets their spiritual needs sounds to me akin to saying that food does, or drink does, or drugs do, or exercise does - and it is both open and frank and at the same time so person-centered that it realigns the relationship with the divine.
Ah, third eye opens - all is clear now - must get back to work.  From
Three of the 14 members of Japan's kabaddi team at the Asian Games are reportedly monks, while five others have graduated from a Zen Buddhist institute."Training in kabaddi makes our bodies stronger and healthier, while Buddhism meets our spiritual needs," the Beijing Daily quoted Japan's team leader Kokei Ito as saying.Read more at

Readability Of Coloured Text

Good for designers - originally from one of the points raised in 100-things-you-should-know-about-people 100 Things From
Colour Text Legibility Experiment with readability of coloured text over a coloured background. Move the sliders to see the effect of colour changes. The ‘seems good’ tick should tell you that the text is legible. Use the sliders or the colour picker to see the legibility of a text colour over a background colour. For the sliders, thanks to Erik Arvidsson Read more at

My Article On Leeds Linked By Guardian Newspaper

My article is entitled 'The Best Of Leeds: Poverty And Grandeur' and that is the name of the Guardian's article, more or less.
I owe the title to a to-and-fro with my wife Tamara, who suggested a variation on that title after she edited my draft. {She edits my articles and I edit hers - it's how we work.}
So if there is any credit due for the title that the Guardian liked enough to copy, then the credit is due to Tamara and much as to me. Amplify’d from Leeds today: Poverty and grandeur, Leeds arts debate and news hub eventA round-up of today's news and views with help from the city's best websites and blogsThe Best Of Leeds: Poverty And Grandeur, is a post by David Bennett over at the Quillcards blog.Read more at

To Serif Or Not To Serif

From Which Are More Legible: Serif or Sans Serif Typefaces?In an effort to get at the truth, I reviewed over 50 empirical studies in typography and found a definitive answer.What initially seemed a neat dichotomous question of serif versus sans serif has resulted in a body of research consisting of weak claims and counter-claims, and study after study with findings of “no difference”. Is it the case that more than one hundred years of research has been marred by repeated methodological flaws, or are serifs simply a typographical “red herring”?

Why We Do The Things We Do

There is no other motivation other than to have the relationships we want.
From Why We Do The Things We DoThe point of doing the things we do is to be in the relationships with other people that we want. This applies to obvious things like drinking alcohol and to not so obvious things like whether we become entrepreneurs or work in an office or become a sales rep or a travel agent or a travel guide.There is no other motivation. Money is not a motivation: It is a route to setting up a scenario where we can have the relationships we want to have.The only failure is to do nothing. Even here, there may be a scenario we are chasing – the down and out – the dissolute – the hobo – that we may find by doing nothing.

47 Mind-Blowing Psychology-Proven Facts

This is too long, too good, and too excellent for me to snap anything other than the intro paragraphs.
I humbly suggest that you read it - it's well worth it - from 47 Mind-Blowing Psychology-Proven Facts You Should Know About Yourself100 things you should know if you are going to design an effective and persuasive website, web application or software application.
Or maybe just 100 things that everyone should know about humans!a series called 100 Things You Should Know about People. As in: 100 things you should know if you are going to design an effective and persuasive website, web application or software application.

Or maybe just 100 things that everyone should know about humans!

In late October Russian Investigators Seized...

Spammers and phoney pharmacies - from A great deal out there The flow of spam is disrupted, brieflyAN OMINOUS message remains on the home-page of Spamit, once one of the world’s prolific sources of junk e-mail: “Le roi est mort! Vive le roi!”. In late October Russian investigators seized computer equipment from the apartment of Igor Gusev, who has repeatedly denied being the man behind Spamit. His whereabouts is unknown.Spamit’s business model, by contrast, is well understood. Its closure coincided with a steep drop in global e-mail volumes. But outfits of this kind do not themselves clog in boxes. They build legal-seeming sites to take orders and credit-card information. In Spamit’s case these were mostly “Canadian” online pharmacies which in fact shipped bogus Viagra and other popular pills from China or India.The spam itself comes from “affiliates”—groups of criminal freelancers who are paid a high commission on every sale they generate. They send the spam from “…

Bayer And Bees: Hero Or Villain

Read this and you would think Bayer was the hero coming to rescue bees from varroa mites.

But read this article I pieced together a little while ago and you will see Bayer may be the cause of colony collapse disorder, not its saviour. From
Bayer CropScience To Study Colony Collapse DisorderWINCHESTER, United Kingdom -- Bayer CropScience recently acquired a product to control of varroa mites (Varroa destructor) from Exosect Ltd., Winchester, United Kingdom. The acquisition allows Bayer CropScience to study and produce bee health solutions and to commercialize new bee health products worldwide, according to the company.The product is based on the innovative Entostat technology, a food grade powder refined from a natural wax which is sustainably harvested from a particular species of palm tree, combined with the miticidal active ingredient thymol, according to …

Deeply Offensive

What a crap thing to say - that a marriage will only last seven years. I don't care who he is - that he is a bishop is irrelevant to me - but why make hurtful comments?
From A Church of England bishop has apologised for saying he believes Prince William and Kate Middleton's marriage would only last for seven years. Skip related contentThe Rt Rev Pete Broadbent, Bishop of Willesden, admitted his comments, posted on Facebook, were "deeply offensive".He said he has passed on his "sincere regrets" to the Prince of Wales and the newly-engaged couple for any "distress" he has caused.The offending comments contained reference to the Royal Family as "philanderers".He also described the media furore surrounding the wedding as "nauseating tosh", likening the Prince and his fiancee to "shallow celebrities".On the day of the royal wedding announcement the bishop also made derogatory comments on Twitter.His post …

The Best Of Leeds Architecture

From the back-to-back houses of the workers to the grand arcades - From The Best Of Leeds: Poverty And Grandeur See more at

Government Gives Environment Minister 100 Million Reasons To Sell Forests

Oh the poetry and the rewards of the ‘planned sequential sales of the forestry estate’ From Treasury gives Defra £100 million ‘bonus’ THE Treasury has awarded Defra a £100 million ‘bonus’ for agreeing to an early settlement on its spending cuts during the Comprehensive Spending Review, it emerged this week. Caroline Spelman, the Defra Secretary, said the bonus was a ‘very important feature of our settlement’ when she agreed to cut £661 million from her £3 billion budget over the next four years.  Under the deal the Treasury will allow Defra to retain all proceeds from the sale of capital assets, such as national forestry and properties that form part of the departmental estate, up to the value of £100 million.Mrs Spelman added:  “It will be perfectly possible for us to use the proceeds from sales of our assets towards increasing capital spend on flood defences for example.”Over the course of the next four years Defra anticipates recovering between £30 and 40 m…

Tory Peer Quits Over Recession Gaffe

Now here's an interesting question: Did he have to fall on his sword because he didn't paint a dark enough picture to satisfy the coalition government's contention that things are so bad they have to sack all the menials?  From
Tory peer quits over recession gaffeA Conservative peer has resigned as David Cameron's enterprise advisor after claiming that most Britons have "never had it so good". Skip related contentIn a newspaper interview, Lord Young of Graffham said the Bank of England's decision to cut base rates to a record low of 0.5 per cent since March 2009 had left many home-owners up to £600 a month better off.He told the Daily Telegraph the swingeing Government cuts announced last month would only take state spending back to the levels of 2007, when people were not "short of money".Lord Young wrote to the Prime Minister to "apologise profoundly" for his "inaccurate and insensitive" comments, saying:…

Working Out The Price

The principle is simple: take a product that is ubiquitous and market-aware and price sensitive in the countries in which you want to sell. Find out what it sells for and use that as your price converter.
And the products he suggests using?
Big Macs from McDonalds - and for higher value items he suggests iPods. From
How would you determine the price of a product or service for multiple countries?You could go through each country and work out a value.You choose a base currency and do real time conversions.You could use comparable item counting.Product Counting - (Finding a product similar to your own and using its price in each country to set your own.) The problem is that the product has to be the same in each country, and it doesn't account for import costs.So how do burgers help? Well, let's start with an example:

Caroline Spelman Speaks With Forked Tongue On Forest Sell-Off

With a hat-tip to Horticulture Week  for pointing out this article.
I have just read the article in the Guardian by Environment Minister Caroline Spelman. Please read the article in which she says - No we are not selling off the forests and yes we are selling them off but there will be safeguards blah blah blah From
Setting the record straight on the sale of England's woodlandsThe idea of England's woods being sold off piece by piece to developers is enough to chill anyone's heart. It would certainly chill mine. Thankfully, it is not going to happen.This is no fire sale by a cash-strapped state. We think it's much better to give individuals, businesses, charities and local authorities the chance of a much bigger role in protecting their natural environment – and, frankly, those who live closest are most likely to protect it.Putting m…

Even The Telegraph Worries About Caroline Spelman And Our National Parks

The Telegraph newspaper - bastion of Tory thinking - [well written though] asks what is it with Caroline Spelman, the Environment Secretary, who speaks up for the environment in the international arena and wants to sell of our forests and defang the guardians of our National Parks in England.
I ask the same. What is it with Caroline Spelman?  And I answer - my intuition tells me she is a died-in-the-woold tory who wants to return England to its feudal roots; begin a new round of the Enclosure Acts by stealth, and pave the way for the government to sell the best bits to her chums' chums.
Oh the polarisation of English politics heralds a new reinvigorated day for satire. Bring it on and - Out With The Tories. From Does conservation stop at home? The Environment Secretary seems intent on weakening our national parks and stifling criticism, says Geoffrey Lean. What is it with Caroline Spelman, the new(ish) Environment Secretary? She seems enthusiastic abo…

Tarnished Earth - The Tar Sands Of Alberta Are Weeping

In pedestrianised Briggate in the center of Leeds there is an exhibition by the Co-op 'working with Greenpeace' featuring about two dozen huge photographs by Jiri Rezac of the wonderful endless lakes and forests of Northern Alberta and the encroaching ruin of it by the extraction of oil from tar sands.

The Co-op thinks its a catastrophe in the making.
Who would have thought it about those nice Canadians.

It involves running pipes for miles deep into the forest, stripping off the forest and the peat (the 'overburden' as that is called) and then pumping hot water into the tar sands to liquify the oil and then pipe it away.

It involves ruining an area the size of Switzerland and then spreading the toxic waste water wherever that eventually finds a home.

And it's on tribal lands that are treaty-bound to be left alone.

They are taking 1.3 million barrels a day out of the tar sands and there are 170billion barrels of oil in the tar sands still to be extracted - second l…

Come Out Fighting In The Big Tweet-Off

Two great contenders, one hour and one hotly debated topic - after the first twenty minutes of the contestants slugging it out, it’s your turn to join the debate – start your tweets with either B (for blue corner) or R (for red corner), state your oppinion and don’t forget the #bigtweetoff hashtag We are living in a Twitter bubble……well, I think so, but my good friend Adam Vincenzini thinks otherwise, which is why we’re putting on our gloves, and coming out fighting.Here are the details: Let’s get ready to rumble! It’s a #CommsChat co-organiser special!Over in the blue (comms) corner is Adam Vincenzini, who lives his life through Twitter. In true fighting spirit, Adam has even pledged to change his blog, The Comms Corner, blue for this week only.In the red corner is Emily Cagle, comms consultant, blogger, and gadget-obsessed Apple fan. Emily loves Twitter, but she’s not afraid to put it in its place.Two great contenders, one hour and one hotly debated topic.Want to be part of the The …

6.88 Billion People | How many Cameras

From Think About ThisOct 30 (commentary)--As of yesterday, there were an estimated 6.88 billion people on the planet. Here are some other estimates to compare that with:
1.7 billion imaging sensors sold this year (~one for every four people)250 million smartphones with 5mp+ sensors sold next year (~one for every 30 people)100 million compact cameras sold this year (~one for every 70 people)12 million DSLRs sold this year (~one for every 575 people)Read more at

American voters voted green

from Voters Support Clean Energy and Climate SolutionsYesterday, American voters made plain their anger over the economy and their frustration with the party in power. But they often did something else: they supported clean energy where they could.California voters defeated an oil industry attempt to undermine the state’s climate law, and most members of Congress who helped pass clean energy and climate legislation in 2009 kept their seats.The vote in California was particularly significant. This was the first time climate solutions were put to a public referendum. And despite the millions of dollars that fossil fuel companies poured into the race, Californians made it clear they want to build a cleaner energy future.In his new book, A Force for Nature, NRDC Founder John Adams tells the story of when Newt Gingrich’s 104th Congress overplayed its hand. The Republican leadership loaded the 1996 budget with dozens of anti-environmental riders and told President Clin…

Portrait Photo

Mine -  If you use Stumbleupon and like these photos - follow the link and please 'stumble'. Amplify’d from See more at

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman Says

Just keeping an eye on what Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman is saying about forests because it seems she - as part of the coalition government - both loves the environment and wants to sell off the national forests: From Spelman hails global biodiversity plan CAROLINE Spelman, the Defra Secretary, has hailed an historic agreement to protect the world’s most threatened animals and plants.  The Nagoya Protocol, adopted by nearly 200 nations in Japan last week, aims to halve the loss of natural habitats over the next ten years.Mrs Spelman was in Nagoya to finalise the agreement. “These have been long and hard negotiations, but we have successfully achieved a new global plan to help protect our natural environment,” she said.She added: “We have also secured an agreement to link climate change, global poverty and biodiversity together in protecting the world’s forests, which is essential if we are to achieve our aims in these areas.”Key elements from the Nago…

Just keeping an eye on what Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman is saying about forests

Just keeping an eye on what Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman is saying about forests because it seems she - as part of the coalition government - both loves the environment and wants to sell off the national forests.  from Businesses may benefit from sale of forest estate The Coalition Government has confirmed that publicly owned forestry land will be sold to interested businesses and organisations, despite protests. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Defra) announced that it intends to fundamentally reform the public forestry estate, with private owners and civil society partners taking over a large portion of the Forestry Commission’s land.
Confirmation of privatisation rumours came when Environment Secretary of State Caroline Spelman sent a letter to MPs on Friday.
"We are committed to shifting the balance of power from 'Big Government’ to 'Big Society’ by giving individuals, businesses, civil society organisations …

Things About Bees

The author of the article in the Telegraph is Dr Reese Halter - a conservation biologist at California Lutheran University and author of 'The Incomparable Honey Bee and the Economics of Pollination'

At the end of her article she states " is tragic that hundreds of billions of honey bees are dying worldwide due to CCD, which many scientists blame on a group of pesticides called neonictinoids..."
Importantly, she has no problem from her expert position in suggesting that neonicotinoids are the cause of CCD (colony collapse disorder).  You may recall the NY Times article in July

that reported on the work of the team that came to the conclusion that the cause of CCD was the combined effect of the varroa mite and a virus.

Everything looked promising until it was revealed that the lead investigator of the team was paid by BAYER Crop Science - a leading manufacturer of neonicotonids. …

England Best-Loved Forests And Woodlands May Be Sold To Large Landowners, housing developers and international

"Tonight, conservationists and opposition parties as well as landowners warned that the land sale would be a costly disaster unless stringent safeguards were put in place." - MY COMMENT >> I wouldn't trust 'stringent safeguards' however strigent, as far as I could throw them. Once the land is in private hands it is gone, gone, gone.
As for any idea that the poor innocent government that must do this right for the benefit of all - this is the Tory government that is carrying on the tradition started centuries ago with the Enclosure Acts of throwing people off the land. Amplify’d from Bluebells in Heartwood forest, Hertfordshire. Photograph: Felix ClayMany of England's best-loved forests and woodlands may be sold to large landowners, housing developers and international power companies in what could be the UK's greatest change of land ownership since the second world war. Caroline Spelman, the environment secretary, is expected to…