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Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Florida
Home country: USA
Current location: McKinney, TX
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 24,792

About Me

Small business owner, former professor and university administrator... former expat (lived in UAE for 10 years).

Journal Archives

Soros issues stark warning on euro crisis

George Soros, the billionaire investor and chairman of Soros Fund Management, says the euro-zone debt crisis is "more dangerous" than the global downturn of 2008.
Tomorrow's exclusives tonight:

His comments yesterday came as the leaders of the bloc's two biggest economies met to try to calm the turmoil now entering a third year. Mr Soros said the euro zone faced a period of "draconian austerity" as a result of cost-cutting measures.

"We have a more dangerous situation now than in 2008," Mr Soros was quoted as saying in Bangalore, India. "The crisis in Europe is more serious than the crash of 2008."

Any collapse of European banks would have global consequences, said Mr Soros... http://www.thenational.ae/business/banking/soros-issues-stark-warning-on-euro-crisis

Habshan-Fujairah oil pipeline 'will be ready within six months' (UAE)

An oil export pipeline from Habshan in Abu Dhabi to Fujairah that will bypass the strategic Strait of Hormuz will be ready by the middle of 2012, the UAE Minister for Energy Mohammad Bin Dha'en Al Hameli said yesterday... The commissioning of the pipeline will be a game changer in crude oil transportation as it will give Abu Dhabi direct access to the Indian Ocean for its oil exports and the option of bypassing the critical Strait of Hormuz. Abu Dhabi would get access to an open sea — that's the strategic advantage the new pipeline provides... http://gulfnews.com/business/oil-gas/habshan-fujairah-oil-pipeline-will-be-ready-within-six-months-1.963780

This is an important deadline to pay attention to vis a vis the Iran situation.

The Death of Intellectual Property

One of the things that's clear given the current progress of new technologies is that the 19th century notions of copyright, patent and intellectual property are fast becoming obsolete... de facto.

Recent legal approaches have tended to just defend the system as it was (de jure) and ignore the fact that there has been a significant paradigm shift.

Is intellectual property still a viable concept here in the 21st century? Do legal efforts like SOPA ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_Online_Piracy_Act ) actually help, or harm the whole process?

Here is just one current take on the current state of affairs:

..Irrespective of moral and economic dimensions, the deathblow to copyright will likely come from the Internet itself. Due to the nature of the Internet, and anonymizing technologies in particular, the practicality of attempting to enforce a pre-internet copyright regime through the Internet is a road that we as a society should not go down.

Canada has experience with laws that engender widespread violation: Consider prohibition in the 1920s. A law violated so brazenly is more than meaningless — it undermines the effectiveness of the legal system generally.

Over time, the Internet will increasingly expose constraints on text, pictures, and videos for what they are — arbitrary and outmoded. In the meantime, it makes sense for Canada not to pass copyright laws that are more restrictive and invasive... http://questioncopyright.org/the_case_for_the_death_of_copyright

I would also add to what the author says above and say that the lack of privacy on the net also adds to the practical death of intellectual property. Think about it for a moment... Who actually owns someone's Tweet? The author? The article (or tweet) they were responding too? Twitter itself?

So, the question is in this day and age... whither copyright? Patents?

Yemen 'could be another Somalia'

Yemen will need almost $500 million in aid to avert a humanitarian crisis on the scale of the starvation and drought that ravaged the Horn of Africa this year, aid agencies warned yesterday.

Representatives from United Nations agencies said about seven million people in Yemen are in need of food, of whom three million are already in dire need, and 60 per cent of the country's 12 million children were malnourished.

"While there have been significant political developments in Yemen, humanitarian needs are expected to deteriorate still further over the next 12 months," said Jens Toyberg-Frandzen, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen. He said the country's nutrition figures were comparable to those of Somalia... http://www.thenational.ae/featured-content/home/middle-headlines/yemen-could-be-another-somalia

Here is the list of Senators who voted against the Defense Authorization

and who are the only ones who apparently still believe in the Bill of Rights. It's a short, bi-partisan list:

Sen. Thomas Coburn (R, OK)
Sen. Thomas Harkin (D, IA)
Sen. Mike Lee (R, UT)
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D, OR)
Sen. Rand Paul (R, KY)
Sen. Bernard Sanders (I, VT)
Sen. Ron Wyden (D, OR)


Wounded Veterans of Iraq: the True Legacy of War

Thank God for the advancement of medicine. One of the clear results that can be seen from the Iraq war is that the trauma treatment received by the wounded far exceeds the capabilities of the past. While America mourns the 4,400+ dead soldiers from the Iraq war, it important to think about the 30,000 soldiers who were wounded during the conflict. The sad reality, however, hits home when you realize a large percentage of that 30,000 would have been the deceased of past wars. While the critical care the military gives has saved lives, many veterans are coming home in numbers far sicker and more debilitated than from previous wars.

Here is just one veteran's story:

Davis suffered wounds to his stomach, chest, shoulders and hips. Someone rolled him up in a blanket to staunch the bleeding.
Davis was taken to an air base where medics worked on him, then to a hospital in Germany where he had three surgeries. He was then flown to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, where he underwent more surgery and began a long battle for recovery, which he continues to fight today, five years later, in Gautier.
Davis, now 29, is classified as 90 percent disabled. He’s applied for jobs, but had no luck. He said he gets the strong feeling employers don’t want to hire him because of his disabilities. He’s trying to get his classification upped to 100 percent.
Davis still has physical problems -- pain, intestinal problems, a shoulder that doesn’t allow him to do much lifting.
But he said his biggest problem is the nightmares, lack of sleep and short-term memory loss for which doctors can’t seem to find the right medication. He’s dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD is a common malady among returning soldiers...

Read more: http://www.sunherald.com/2011/12/03/3611588/legacy-of-war-wounded-warriors.html#ixzz1ga9L45x7

And that's just the physical toll. The psychological toll among the million+ soldiers who served in Iraq has been reported to be nearly 30% by some estimates. http://usliberals.about.com/od/homelandsecurit1/a/IraqNumbers.htm

While America may be leaving Iraq. In this holiday season, we need to remember that the war is a gift that keeps on giving. The war isn't over. Just ask the veterans who are suffering the most.

Life possible on 'large parts' of Mars: study

Australian scientists who modelled conditions on Mars to examine how much of the red planet was habitable said on Monday that "large regions" could sustain terrestrial life.

Charley Lineweaver's team, from the Australian National University, compared models of temperature and pressure conditions on Earth with those on Mars to estimate how much of the distant planet was liveable for Earth-like organisms.

While just one per cent of Earth's volume - from core to upper atmosphere - was occupied by life, Linewaver said their world-first modelling showed three per cent of Mars was habitable, though most of it was underground.

"What we tried to do, simply, was take almost all of the information we could and put it together and say 'is the big picture consistent with there being life on Mars?'," the astrobiologist told AFP. "And the simple answer is yes... There are large regions of Mars that are compatible with terrestrial life." ... http://gulfnews.com/news/world/australia/life-possible-on-large-parts-of-mars-study-1.949189

Stating the Obvious: If Newt is the (R) Nominee, Obama Will Win in a Landslide

If that is the match-up, it will most likely boil down to a likability and trust referendum on Obama's first 4 years. Newt, of course is the perfect foil for that and reminds people exactly what the problem is (Congress).

If you disagree, please explain...

Big danger from a declining rupee for India

ndia may face its worst financial crisis in decades if it fails to stem a slide in the rupee, leaving the central bank with a difficult choice over how to make the best use of its limited reserves to maintain the confidence of foreign investors.

Unlike most of its Asian peers, India routinely runs large current account and fiscal deficits. That means it must attract sufficient foreign money, namely dollars, to close the gap, and a weaker home currency makes that costlier. What makes the current situation so worrisome is that India is grappling with big internal and external economic threats simultaneously: Growth is slowing. Inflation remains high. Political paralysis has stymied domestic overhauls... http://www.deccanherald.com/content/210954/big-danger-declining-rupee-india.html

The Rupee is getting close to implosion. While everyone was worried China would be the 500 lb. domino to fall, it could well be the health of the Indian economy that holds the world out of a greater depression.

The End of 'Bright Futures' in Florida and the Big Lie

First of all, Bright Futures is a scholarship program for Florida's state colleges and universities based on merit and performance in High School. This was 'supposed' to be funded largely from lottery funds. However, now this program is under threat:

|In a recent presentation to trustees, University of Florida President Bernie Machen dropped a bombshell about the Bright Futures scholarship program.

“As Bright Futures goes away — and it looks like it is going to go away — and the individual assumes more of the cost, there may be more of an incentive to go through faster,” he said.

Machen was making a point about possibly creating multiple tracks for UF students, such as a “Sun Pass” option to graduate faster, as students pay a greater share of their tuition costs.

But the idea that Bright Futures is going away is sure to raise concerns from current UF undergraduates, 68 percent of whom receive the scholarships..."

The big lie is told by one of Republican legislators in the article:

"State Sen. Steve Oelrich, R-Cross Creek, said he didn't expect the program to go away in the next five years, but his answer was different if the question was asked about a longer period.

'If you're talking about 20 years, probably yes,' said Oelrich, chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee. 'It's just a program that we can't sustain.' "... http://www.gainesville.com/article/20111210/ARTICLES/111219989?tc=cr

What is destroying the program is the devastating cuts that continue unabated to education (and everything else) in the state. The radical Governor, Rick Scott, and the ultra-right legislature completely dominated by the Republican party continues an endless push to lower taxes at the expense of services. The program was/is completely sustainable if the Legislature had maintained proper revenue levels.

So yeah, Florida will soon be a state with no bright future at all.

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