Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Frenchman offers himself on 'Amazon' with a creative CV

These days it can be hard to find a job, so a Parisian decided to come up with a brand new idea for offering his services. A mock Amazon.com web page offering himself for bids, which is now going viral online. 

Philippe Dubost is looking for a job, based on his skills as a web product manager. Its a difficult market these days, with so much unemployment. However, what better way for a web product manager to find a position than to offer himself as a, well, web product? 

Potential employers are urged to visit his "Amazon-like" web page and bid for his services. He originally put a price of $999,999, but has now struck it out, urging potential employers to make their own offers, and also urging "buyers" to "order soon", as there is "only one left in stock".

The page is very well laid out, and includes his photo, and full details of skills and experience and even personal information about languages spoken, height etc. He even added his best marathon time, and as a fun "frequently bought together" option he added running shoes (which are sold on Amazon) and also airline tickets.

Adding Dubost to your "cart" will give you a form to contact him, and to show his willingness to travel, he mentions under "shipping" that “This item is available for shipping anywhere in the world!”

Dubost told The Independent, "I wanted to do something fun. Résumés are not fun. They're not fun to write, not fun to read."

"I thought it would be fun to build a small web product that would feel a little bit like a game you could interact with, like those baby toys where every button you push makes a different noise."

It seems his efforts were worthwhile, as after the online CV went viral, he received offers of various job opportunities from around 100 employers.

"So many awesome companies, projects, entrepreneurs, I'm starting to feel like a spoilt kid with too many toys," he added. "And yes, among those there are indeed a few opportunities that match what I'm looking for and that I'm going to pursue."

Unemployment continues to rise in France where the number of jobless has increased for the 19th consecutive month, affecting at least 3 million people in the country.

To the source: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/342242

'Pussy Riot - A Punk Prayer' wins award at Sundance Film Festival

After Pussy Riot, the all-female punk band, became a household name for their controversial act in Russia's main cathedral, a documentary was made, which has now won an award. 


The documentary "Pussy Riot - A Punk Prayer" has won the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award in America. The film was a Russian and British co-production and was directed by Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin. 

The documentary was screened at the Sundance Film Festival, competing against 11 other titles. The members of the feminist punk group were arrested after they stormed the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow on February 2012 and performed their profanity-laden ‘punk prayer,’ which can be viewed in the video above.

They were sentence to two years each in a medium-security prison for hooliganism motivated by religious hatred. One of the women was released on probation after successfully appealing her conviction.

The Pussy Riot members insist that they never intended to offend anyone's religious sensibilities.

One of the film's creators, Maxim Pozdorovkin, told the Hollywood Reporter, “I think that one of the things that interested us is why those 40 seconds – what they did when they went into the cathedral – why it became such a perfect storm of everything.”

“We often talk about how this possibly could be one of the most controversial and the most resonant pieces of performance art in history. The trial was important because it really brought together all these elements: Russia not having a punk culture, not having a performance-art culture, the resurgence of religious fundamentalism in Russia, the political situation, and all these things kind of came together in the story. In a way, once it was a sentencing and an outcome, that story was done – but, you know, future stories are made to be told,” he added.

Founded by Robert Redford in 1978, the Sundance Film Festival is held annually to celebrate independent movie making by film makers around the world.

To be source: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/342272


Saturday, 26 January 2013

Yoko Ono & 'Artists Against Fracking' visit Pennsylvania

Yoko Ono and her son, Sean Lennon, started a petition against fracking in New York. They were then invited to visit communities in Pennsylvania to see the actual impacts and effects of fracking, up close and personal.


Together with their friend Susan Sarandon, and honored by being joined by Mahatma Ghandi's grandson, Arun Ghandi, they headed off to Pennsylvania to find out for themselves the effects of this controversial method of gas extraction. They also invited members of the press to travel along with them.

They drove into the quaint town of Montrose, PA, only to be upset by the sight of a gas pad of four drills, with a hissing pressure release. There was a giant compressor station under construction, a drilling rig which reached to the sky, and a whole load of huge trucks, full of sand and toxic chemicals running around on narrow dirt roads. Not so quaint after all.

However, the sight of the beautiful landscape being ruined was not all, as the group then met the residents, whose homes and lives have been forever changed because of fracking. Among the people they met were Vera Scroggins, Craig Stevens, Rebecca Roter, Frank Finan, Ray Kemble and the Manning family.

The video above includes an interview with Tammy Manning about the pollution of their well and ground water. None of these residents can drink water from their own wells any more, even though they are on their own properties, due to the poisoning of the fracking process. They cannot use their well water to drink, to wash dishes, to bathe, do laundry or to cook food. In effect, these families have to buy water every day, despite the fact that they have their own wells, on their own properties, that used to supply them with fresh healthy water.

As Manning says in the video, they have to run the water to prevent methane gas from building up and possibly causing an explosion. When they do this, they have to ensure that their windows are open, as the gas could then poison them. It is a dreadful situation, and there is apparently no way to reverse this.
Sean Lennon  Yoko Ono  and Arun Ghandi visit with families impacted by dirty fracking operations in ...
Artists against Fracking
Sean Lennon, Yoko Ono, and Arun Ghandi visit with families impacted by dirty fracking operations in PA.
"Our water was bubbling in our well. It looked like a full running boil in our well," said Tammy Manning, 45. "We don't want to have to leave," she added. "We just bought the house. But if we've no water what can we do."

Naturally, when their water went bad, their property values declined, making it difficult to even sell and move to a healthier place to raise their families. "I don't think we can sell it with no water. We're stuck," said Manning.

What makes it worse is that the gas companies are accusing these defenseless people of lying. However, the Artists against Fracking group saw the brown smelly water in the homes they visited, and even took samples away with them. 
 
Yoko Ono  Sean Lennon and Susan Sarandon hold water from Ray Kemble s kitchen sink.
Artists against Fracking
Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon and Susan Sarandon hold water from Ray Kemble's kitchen sink.
During their visit to Pennsylvania, the Guardian reports that the group was somewhat attacked by filmmaker, Phelim McAleer, in Dimock, who is pro-fracking. McAleer apparently approached the group's bus with a cameraman.

McAleer apparently then loudly accused Ono, Lennon and Sarandon of acting in the interests of the "1%" in their opposition to the practice. The Irish filmmaker then apparently lost his trilby hat in the mud when he heckled the activists and got heckled back.

McAleer was also in the news recently after accusing Matt Damon, star of the new film, Promised Land which deals with the subject of fracking, of being a "liar." Apparently a panel discussion about the movie featured Damon and Damon said that the movie wasn’t political.

“I don’t want to call Matt Damon a liar but he’s a liar, really,” McAleer said. “It’s a deeply political movie and it’s deeply disingenuous for Matt Damon to say otherwise. … Matt Damon isn’t telling the truth.”

In the latest incident in Pennsylvania, McAleer shouted at them and cited EPA studies, that the group says are incorrect, saying that the drinking water in Dimock was safe.

Yoko Ono sincerely hopes that Governor Cuomo will make the same tour as they did before making any decisions on whether to allow fracking in New York. While its too late for Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, Ono is hoping that Governor Corbett of Pennsylvania will visit the same families and homes as the group did, to stop the industry from spreading further in that beautiful state.

Ono and Artists against Fracking are also urging President Obama to take a trip to Pennsylvania and to set aside any notion he may have of depending on fracking instead of true clean energy. Ono says that industry documents prove that these wells crack and leak, more and more over time. This cannot be prevented and once it occurs, cannot be fixed, thousands of feet below ground.

Anyone who wishes to prevent this same awful situation happening in New York can sign the petition here, and learn more about the dangers of fracking here.

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/342080


--
Video: Actor Mark Ruffalo talks against fracking in New York:

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Massive sewer explosion destroys road in China

One advantage of being under constant surveillance by CCTV cameras is the amazing array of videos that are produced for the media. In this one, a sewer explodes massively, but luckily with no injuries.



It happened in downtown Beihai in the Guangxi Zhuang region of southern China. As we can see on the video, a sewer explosion tore through an 80-meter section of road, shaking the surrounding area, but fortunately caused no injuries.

Apparently the underground sewer tunnel contains natural gas pipelines and high-voltage cables. Initial investigations into the explosion showed that waste pipelines and a cable junction in the sewer were completely destroyed.

However, natural gas pipelines were apparently undamaged. The local gas company shut down the gas supply in the areas around the accident site, just in case.

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/342013

Japanese Finance Minister tells elderly people 'Hurry up and die'

According to the Finance Minister of Japan, the elderly should be allowed to end their lives in peace, without any artificial medical support.

Taro Aso, well known for his harsh way of speaking, told the National Council on Social Security Reforms that the government pays for the meaningless enforced prolongation of lives of those whose days are numbered.
 
He says that the social security system is being crippled by the support of people over 60 years old, which already constitutes approximately a quarter of the Japanese population.
 
Taro Aso, himself 72 years old, said, “Heaven forbid if you are forced to live on when you want to die.”
 
“You cannot sleep well when you think it’s all paid for by the government.” He revealed that he has already left written instructions for his relatives that he does not want his life prolonged by any artificial methods when his end is near.
 
“I don’t need that kind of care. I will die quickly,” Aso said.
 
Referring to the "tube people", as he calls them, in a terminal condition and unable to feed themselves, the minister suggested that they “hurry up and die,” rather than burden the state with end-of-life medical care.
 
Japan's population currently numbers 128 million, with almost a quarter older than 60, and it is forecast that within the next 50 years, the number of pensioners will reach 40% of the population.
 
Already having a notorious reputation to being contrary to what is politically correct, his remarks have caused a scandal in the country, but he retains the right to speak his mind: "I said what I personally believe, not what the end-of-life medical care system should be," he told reporters. "It is important that you be able spend the final days of your life peacefully."
 
Meanwhile eWallstreeter is referring to Japan as being the country that sold more adult than baby diapers for the first time in 2012.

Aso comes from a blue-blooded Japanese family, is married to the daughter of another former premier and is the grandson of Shigeru Yoshida, one of Japan’s most influential prime ministers. Yoshida reportedly helped rebuild the country from the devastation of World War II.

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/341866

Some Belgian communes ban showball fights

In what could be called a spoil-sport move with all the snow around these days, two different communes in the Flanders region of Belgium have banned snowball fights.

Not only is the activity banned, but police are enforcing the ban and there are fines to be paid. If you should throw a snowball in either Wingene or Lichtervelde in western Flanders, you could have to cough up 100 Euros. 
 
The mayors of the two communes were quoted as saying that snowball fights put both children's and adults' health at risk and they even compared it to throwing stones. Some local news outlets are theorizing that the fines may be used to bolster the budget for regional authorities.
 
It does seem to be a pity, as the region is famous for snowballs. The Flemish city of Leuven apparently once boasted the title of the "snowball capital" of the world when one of the largest snowball fights in history happened there. Apparently in October 2009, around 5,700 Belgian students decided to break the world record for a snowball fight, and this required that 120 tons of snow had to be brought into the city's central square.
 
In the meantime, flights have been grounded and schools forced to close temporarily due to the heavy snowfall, so good luck with that ban!
 
Now one could understand if the snowballs looked like the one below ...
Enormous snowball made in South Park in a snow-covered Oxford in February 2007.
Kamyar Adl
Enormous snowball made in South Park in a snow-covered Oxford in February 2007.

Freshlyground — Refreshing music hailing from South Africa

Their music is dubbed Afro-pop or Afro-fusion, it is original and incredibly enjoyable to listen to. The style combines certain elements of traditional South African music with blues, jazz and a spoonful of indie rock.



Freshlyground was formed in Cape Town in 2002 and members hail from South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe and are a "Rainbow Nation" mix.

Lead vocalist is Zolani Mahola. She has a marvelous and extremely versatile singing voice, and listening to a range of the band's music, one can really appreciate the quirkiness and great humor in her performances. Other members include Simon Attwell, who is a flautist and plays the mbira (also known as a thumb piano), saxophone and harmonica.

The drummer is Peter Cohen and on lead guitar (steel-string acoustic guitar) we have Julio "Gugs" Sigauque. Bassist and backing vocalist is Josh Hawks. On the keyboard, and also a backing vocalist and percussionist, is Seredeal "Shaggy" Scheepers. Kyla-Rose Smith is a violinist and also a backing vocalist.

Freshlyground has received a couple of awards too. In 2005 the band was nominated for three South African Music Awards for their 2004 album, Nomvula. The writer particularly loves the track "I'd Like" from this album:


Listening to this album and comparing it to the latest album, "Take me to the Dance", featured in the video at the top of this article, will give a strong idea of the versatility of these artists.

Although they did not win that year, in 2008 the Recording Industry of South Africa awarded the band the coveted Best Duo or Group SAMA. That same year, their 2008 album, "Ma'Cheri" won the prestigious Album of the Year SAMA along with the Best Adult Contemporary Album: English, and Best Engineer.

Freshlyground became the first South African musical act to receive honors at the 2006 MTV Europe Music Awards in Copenhagen. In 2008, the Channel O Music Video Awards gave the band the "Best Africa, Southern" award for their single "Pot Belly" which can be enjoyed in the video below:



The band co-starred in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and most people will surely remember the song by Colombian pop star Shakira and Freshlyground, titled "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)". The song was based on "Zangalewa" (view from 7:31), a popular Makossa African soldiers' song by Golden Sounds. "Zangalewa" was a hit single in Colombia in 1987. Shakira and Freshlyground performed "Waka Waka" at the pre-tournament kick-off concert in Soweto on 10 June 2010. 

The latest album, "Take me to the Dance" is getting mixed reviews on YouTube. While some comment that the music is too commercial, others respond with comments like "I'm enjoying the experimentation, a velvet darkness nodding to the world's lust for darker electronic." Another says, "Its awesome, You Guys Rock!!!" Experimentation is always good, and their varied style will then possibly attract even more followers.

Their music can be bought from their store, previewed on Soundcloud and more videos can be seen on their YouTube channel. South African residents can buy the latest album at CNA, Musica, Look & Listen, Top CD, Music Moods, Super CD and selected Pick n Pay stores nationwide.
Freshlyground from Cape Town  South Africa


Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Bolshoi Theater artistic director in shocking acid attack

Sergei Filin, artistic director for the famous Bolshoi Theater in Moscow was attacked by an unknown assailant on Friday, who threw acid into his face. Filin is suffering from severe burns and may lose his eye sight.

Filin was attacked at around midnight on Friday as he left his car outside his home in central Moscow. After throwing sulfuric acid into his face, the masked assailant then fled the scene.
 
Filin, a 42-year-old former dancer, now artistic director of the Bolshoi Theater, suffered third-degree burns to his face and eyes. He is being treated at a hospital in Moscow where doctors are hoping to save his eyesight.
 
According to a hospital spokesperson, Filin is “in a satisfactory condition, in our burns center, not intensive care.”
 
36th Moscow city hospital chief physician Alexander Mitichkin told Interfax that "Sergei Filin has had a surgery. Today is the first post-surgery day, and he cannot use his eyes although he can see. He will stay blindfolded for a while." He said that Filin's eyesight would be evaluated only two weeks later.
 
"Sergei Filin is receiving initial therapy. As a rule, sutures are removed on the sixth or seventh day but it is premature to speak about his eyesight," he said.
 
Filin will reportedly need plastic surgery and his hair may fall out as it was also affected by the acid. Once his condition improves, the theater's supervisory board has decided to sent Filin to a foreign clinic for treatment, possibly in Germany or Israel, as these are the best options.
 
According to Ekaterina Novikova, a spokesperson for the Bolshoi Theater, Filin will need at least six months to completely recover from the incident and that his position will remain vacant during this time, as any replacement must first be approved by Filin.
 
Novikova told Channel One that Filin has received threats from anonymous callers in the past. She said that “We never imagined that a war for roles – not for real estate or for oil – could reach this level of crime.”

Anatoly Iksanov, the Bolshoi general director believes the attack was linked to Filin's work at the theatre, saying “He is a man of principle and never compromised.”
 
“If he believed that this or that dancer was not ready or was unable to perform this or that part, he would turn them down.”
 
According to Filin's mother, the threats began on December 31 and that his Facebook page and email account hacked shortly before the attack. She said that on Friday, someone slashed his car tires. She further said that someone has been calling Filin repeatedly, but keeping silent when he answered the phone.
 
Filin himself said, "This is linked to my work – someone doesn't like that I'm successfully leading the Bolshoi Theater."
 

 
The Bolshoi Theater  taken after the latest renovation work in 2011.
Alexey Vikhrov
The Bolshoi Theater, taken after the latest renovation work in 2011.
Police are convinced that Filin's professional activity is the primary reason for the attack and security forces and investigating, saying that the assailant, if convicted, could face up to eight years in jail for inflicting willful damage to health.

Filin, a former Bolshoi ballet star himself, was appointed to the position of artistic director in March 2011 and there was reportedly fierce rivalry for the position.
 
When the Bolshoi Theater reopened in October 2011 after a six-year reconstruction project, the opening was apparently surrounded by scandals. It was also delayed several times due to construction problems.
 
There was also a huge row over the sacking of a ballet superstar Nikolay Tsiskaridze from the theater. He apparently said that he had not expected such poor results from six years of repair work, costing over $1 billion. He reportedly criticized the acoustics, and the makeup and rehearsal rooms.
 
Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky expressed his indignation at the attack but when visiting him at the hospital on Saturday, he was amazed at how well Filin was handling the situation. "Much to my astonishment, we spoke about artistic plans and current ballet management instead of problems and Sergei's condition. Sergei's courage amazed me," he told Interfax.
 
"I would never have thought that artistic differences may take such forms. I wholeheartedly sympathize with Sergei and his family. This is a terrible crime," he said. 

Saying that the country was doing its best to help Filin recover, he said, "[Vice-Premier Olga] Golodets personally controls the case," Medinsky said.
 
The Australian is reporting that police have arrested a suspect in the attack. Grainy CCTV footage had shown the attacker fleeing the scene across a snow-covered car park.

Elderly Japanese people told to 'Hurry up and die' by Finance Minister

According to the Finance Minister of Japan, the elderly should be allowed to end their lives in peace, without any artificial medical support.

Taro Aso, well known for his harsh way of speaking, told the National Council on Social Security Reforms that the government pays for the meaningless enforced prolongation of lives of those whose days are numbered.
 
He says that the social security system is being crippled by the support of people over 60 years old, which already constitutes approximately a quarter of the Japanese population.
 
Taro Aso, himself 72 years old, said, “Heaven forbid if you are forced to live on when you want to die.”
 
“You cannot sleep well when you think it’s all paid for by the government.” He revealed that he has already left written instructions for his relatives that he does not want his life prolonged by any artificial methods when his end is near. “I don’t need that kind of care. I will die quickly,” Aso said.
 
Referring to the "tube people", as he calls them, in a terminal condition and unable to feed themselves, the minister suggested that they “hurry up and die,” rather than burden the state with end-of-life medical care.
 
Japan's population currently numbers 128 million, with almost a quarter older than 60, and it is forecast that within the next 50 years, the number of pensioners will reach 40% of the population.
 
Already having a notorious reputation to being contrary to what is politically correct, his remarks have caused a scandal in the country, but he retains the right to speak his mind:
 
"I said what I personally believe, not what the end-of-life medical care system should be," he told reporters. "It is important that you be able spend the final days of your life peacefully."
 
Meanwhile eWallstreeter is referring to Japan as being the country that sold more adult than baby diapers for the first time in 2012.
 
Aso comes from a blue-blooded Japanese family, is married to the daughter of another former premier and is the grandson of Shigeru Yoshida, one of Japan’s most influential prime ministers. Yoshida reportedly helped rebuild the country from the devastation of World War II.

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/341866

Finance Minister tells Elderly Japanese people tl.d'Hurry up and die'


Snowball fights banned in some Belgian communities

In what could be called a spoil-sport move with all the snow around these days, two different communes in the Flanders region of Belgium have banned snowball fights.

Not only is the activity banned, but police are enforcing the ban and there are fines to be paid. If you should throw a snowball in either Wingene or Lichtervelde in western Flanders, you could have to cough up 100 Euros.
 
The mayors of the two communes were quoted as saying that snowball fights put both children's and adults' health at risk and they even compared it to throwing stones.
 
Some local news outlets are theorizing that the fines may be used to bolster the budget for regional authorities. 
 
It does seem to be a pity, as the region is famous for snowballs. The Flemish city of Leuven apparently once boasted the title of the "snowball capital" of the world when one of the largest snowball fights in history happened there. Apparently in October 2009, around 5,700 Belgian students decided to break the world record for a snowball fight, and this required that 120 tons of snow had to be brought into the city's central square.
 
In the meantime, flights have been grounded and schools forced to close temporarily due to the heavy snowfall, so good luck with that ban!
 
Now one could understand if the snowballs looked like the one below ...
Enormous snowball made in South Park in a snow-covered Oxford in February 2007.
Kamyar Adl
Enormous snowball made in South Park in a snow-covered Oxford in February 2007.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Vandana Shiva at Hawaii State Capitol GMO Labeling Rally (video)

Edited from the livestream of the event held at the Hawaii State Capitol on January 16, the video contains Dr Vandana's Shiva's speech on GMOs and the future of farming.




On the opening day of the 2013 Hawaii State Legislature, Dr. Shiva, the renowned anti-GMO activist from India visited Hawaii.

Dr. Shiva addressed the GMO labeling rally, which was the end point of a march which started three miles away at the University of Hawaii. The march drew hundreds of demonstrators from Oahu and the neighboring islands.

Her rousing speech refers to Monsanto and Big Pesticide, basically five big corporations trying to take over the food supply of the world and attempting to patent life itself. She points out that there are thousands of species of each type of crop in the seed banks, which Monsanto wants to destroy, for sheer greed and profit.

Dr. Shiva's speech includes a reference to Europe and the awful economic situation in Greece, Spain and Italy. But she brings note to the fact that when she was in Italy recently, she noticed that as people became unemployed, so the gardens sprung up everywhere and young people started growing their own food. She says growing this food is the future, not GMOs.

To quote Dr. Shiva, "The only thing that Monsanto can bring us is a suicide economy. For the farmers who have committed suicide, for our children whose future is being robbed, for the planet where we commit a planetary collective suicide, in terms of wiping out our future."

"We will create Earth democracy. Our legislators will have to take instructions from the Earth, from the children, from the future."

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/341554

January 18 is Internet Freedom Day - Celebrate and Share!

On January 18, 2012, the Internet came alive with protests against the draconian Internet censorship measures, SOPA and PIPA. The date has now been dubbed "Internet Freedom Day" and on Friday everyone can join in to celebrate.

Last year, when SOPA and PIPA were introduced in Congress, it looked like widespread Internet censorship would surely follow and Internet users everywhere were concerned.

However, there was a major movement on January 18, when Internet users worldwide starting fighting back. The cause was taken up just before that date by pro-freedom groups, both large and small, and hundreds of thousands of people joined in. Major websites like Google, reddit, Tumblr, Mozilla and Wikipedia joined the cause too.

When January 18 rolled round, over 100 thousand websites blacked themselves out in protest, including really major sites like Wired Magazine, Wikipedia and Wordpress. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets, tens of millions of people participated on the Internet with millions of e-mails and calls to Congress.
English version of Wikipedia During the Jan 18th 2012 blackout.
Within 48 hours of this major protest, the SOPA bill was shelved, with sister bill PIPA being disposed of very soon after.In 2013, Thunderclap is celebrating this victory and wants to remind Internet users worldwide that the fight still continues. To do this, January 18 has been declared Internet Freedom Day. Anyone wishing to get involved can support this day and spread the word here.

The organizer of this campaign is Fight for the Future, who are "dedicated to protecting and expanding the Internet's transformative power in our lives by creating civic campaigns that are engaging for millions of people. Alongside Internet users everywhere we beat back attempts to limit our basic rights and freedoms, and empower people to demand technology (and policy) that serves their interests. Activating the Internet for the public good can only lead to a more vibrant and awesome world."

The group is also involved in the Internet Defense League, as reported on Digital Journal last year.

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/341580

Thursday, 17 January 2013

US programmer outsourced own work to China, played on Internet

A rather ingenious programmer, working for a critical infrastructure company in the US, outsourced his work to a Chinese contractor for a fraction of his salary. He then sat and played on Facebook, ebay and reddit and watched cat videos all day.


The unnamed programmer, dubbed "Bob" by the media, was earning a six-figure salary. He handed over his login information to a Chinese firm, giving them full access to do his work, then sat back and played, including watching cat videos, participating on Facebook and reddit.

His cover got blown by an audit, which revealed an active virtual private network (VPN) between "Bob's" workstation and the firm in Shenyang, China. Company executives, suspecting a breach in their security system, then requested an audit from Operations Verizon. 

Andrew Valentine, a spokesman for Verizon, said, "Evidence even suggested he had the same scam going across multiple companies in the area,” adding that “he earned several hundred thousand dollars a year, and only had to pay the Chinese consulting firm about $50,000 annually."

According to Verizon, the employee had sent his security credentials via Fedex to the Chinese firm, giving them access to log on with his username during working hours. 
Verizon also uncovered hundreds of PDF files and invoices exchanged between "Bob" and the contractor in Shenyang.

Valentine said that, "Authentication was no problem. He physically FedExed his RSA [security] token to China so that the third-party contractor could log-in under his credentials during the workday. It would appear that he was working an average nine-to-five work day.” 

Apparently the contractor in Shenyan had been working for "Bob" for several months and even had access to classified files of the “critical infrastructure company.” All this just begs the question, what did "Bob" actually do all day? The company had a look at his Internet browsing history, which revealed that he spent hours surfing reddit, updating Facebook and generally surfing the Web for cat videos.  

CNN has posted a typical working day in the life of "Bob": 
9:00 a.m. - Get to work, surf reddit, watch cat videos 
11:30 a.m. - Lunch 1:00 p.m. - ebay  
2:00 p.m or so - Facebook and LinkedIn
4:30 p.m. - Send end-of-day e-mail update to management 
5:00 p.m. - Go home 
The funny thing is, official performance figures for the company show that "Bob" was the most productive developer in the building. He was also described as “inoffensive, quiet” and talented, and is apparently fluent in several different programing languages. All sounds good, except, of course, he wasn't actually doing the work.

After the story broke in the media, there was a mixture of reactions, with some praising "Bob" for his ingenuity, and others, mainly in China, being more critical of his actions. 

Users of the Chinese Twitter-style social network Weibo, were particularly upset with one commenter writing, “Learn English and let’s find work in US. Why do we have to do the dirty work for such a cheap price in China?"

While "Bob's" real identity is still unknown, it has rather unsurprisingly been reported that he no longer works for the company, and it is pretty certain that the Chinese company has been fired too.

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/341518

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Pentametron: Seeking iambic writings to retweet as poetry

You might not know this, but if your latest tweet was written in iambic pentameter, it might just get picked up by Pentametron, a Twitter bot turning random posts into poetry.

Without even realizing it it, users often write their tweets in iambic pentameter.
 
Enthusiast Ranjit Bhatnagar has created Pentametron, the online robot to re-tweet these as rhyming couplets. If your public tweets fit into the ten-syllable, alternating-stress meter which was commonly used by Shakespeare, it can quite possibly end up on Pentametron's website as poetry, without you ever knowing it.
 
The rhymed tweets first appear on Pentametron's public Twitter account. Then they also appear on the Pentametron website. Here we have a perfect example. The tweets are picked up on Twitter and appear on Pentametron's Twitter feed as follows:
Pentametron  creating poetry from your tweets.
Twitter Pentametron
And here is how the poetic couplets appear on Pentametron's website:
Pentametron - making poetry from your tweets.
Pentametron
Gawker is reporting that the robot uses only plain text, and removes all emoticons and smileys. Then the robot checks the pronunciation of each word with the CMU Pronouncing Dictionary. Basically, if the tweet is in iambic pentameter, Pentametron retweets it; if not, it moves on.
 
Bhatnagar told Gawker that he is always looking for ways to brighten up his life. "I always find some new funny or accidentally profound thing there to enjoy," he said. "It's fascinating to me that … one of the most popular sites just moves words around… One of the goals of Pentametron is to show how weird and interesting this giant flood of language is," he added.
 
And fascinating it is. The writer wonders how many of you readers are immediately trying to tweet in iambic pentameter, and checking to see the results! The latest couplet came out just perfectly:
Untitled
Twitter Pentametron

Russia rejoins the Space Race with planned unmanned flights to the Moon

According to the Russian space agency, Russia's next unmanned mission to the Moon will launch in 2015, with a total of three lunar exploration missions planned over the next five years.



Marking Russia's return to the Moon after a 40-year hiatus, this launch will be the first since the last lunar mission was completed in 1973 during the Soviet era. The missions are to be launched from the Cosmodrome Vostochny, currently under construction in Russia's Far East region.

The first space launch will be lunar mission ‘Luna-Glob-1’ (Lunar sphere), according to Roscosmos head Vladimir Popovkin, who said, “There is every reason to believe that Cosmodrome Vostochny will be operational as scheduled in 2015,” adding that these moon missions will be launched using Soyuz-2 rocket boosters.

Initially the plan was for the Moon exploration program to be launched from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in 2013 and 2014. However, the crash of the ‘Phobos-Grunt’ module in November 2011 forced a revision of both the program’s timetable and the modules’ technical designs.

Revisions include loading the ‘Luna-Glob-1’ module with only 20 kilograms of scientific equipment instead of the previously planned 34 kilograms. To enable this, the 1.2-ton module has been stripped of its drilling device. Its main task now will be testing a new surface landing platform. 

The second launch to the Moon of the orbital scientific module ‘Luna-Glob-2’ is planned for 2016, followed in 2017 by the 3-ton Russian-Indian module ‘Luna-Resurs’ (Lunar resource), which will carry advanced scientific equipment.

Six landing sites have been chosen by Russian scientists for future missions to the Moon, equally distributed between the Moon's north and south poles. The discovery of water ice in those regions sparked scientific interest in the polar areas, which could theoretically be used to produce fuel for future spaceflights and the exploration of the Solar System.

The Voice of Russia reports that the country is planning to create a device that would be able to deliver people to the Moon by 2020. Russian expert in cosmonautics and academician, Alexander Zheleznyakov, said, “However, this doesn’t mean that Russia is planning to send people to the Moon already in 2020.”

“It is only planning to create a device, that would be able to deliver people to the Moon, by 2020.”

“The flight itself will take place after 2020,” he continued. “Until now, the only thing which is already certain about this project is who will finance the creation and the construction of the spaceship. It is not yet certain what type of rocket will take this ship to space. I hope that this will be known when engineers finish working on the creation of the ship.” 

Last month, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev approved a plan to spend 2.1 trillion roubles ($70 billion) on space industry development in the period 2013-2020, including projects to explore the Moon and Mars.

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/341379

Monday, 14 January 2013

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Robert Burns: Lost manuscripts by Scottish poet found

Seven lost manuscripts and letters belonging to the famous Scottish poet have been uncovered by a Robert Burns expert. It is believed that these will throw new light on the poet's work.

The documents belonging to Robert Burns, Scotland's favorite son, and the author of Auld Lang Syne, were found by Chris Rollie. Rollie is a Burns expert, based in Dalry in Dumfries and Galloway, who was reportedly tipped off by a woman about the private collection.

Rollie received the chance telephone call from the woman, asking him to see if six volumes of Burns' work, passed down by her family, were of any value.

According to Rollie, "I realized very quickly that the material I was looking at was original and felt that some of it might be unpublished." 

Among these manuscripts are letters between Burns, the pioneer of the Romantic Movement, and his closest friends, including Robert Muir. They include three handwritten manuscripts by Burns including the songs "Phillis the Fair" and a draft of "Ode to a Woodlark." There were also three letters to the author himself.

A further tender letter was from his famous lover, Clarinda McLehose, addressed to his physician, Dr William Maxwell. Apparently the letter asked for details of how the poet died and was dated October 31, 1796, just over three months after Burns' death. During his life, Burns had referred to Clarinda in his work as "mistress of my soul" and "Queen of Poetesses."

While some of the material has been published before, these original copies had been lost for 200 years, until Rollie found the exciting cache. Rollie was quoted as saying "I feel very privileged to have discovered these manuscripts." 

Rollie presented these findings at the University of Glasgow Burns Conference on January 12. The co-director of the university's Centre for Robert Burns Studies, Professor Gerry Carruthers, said, "The finding of the Clarinda letter in full is very timely as we move towards a new edition of Burns's correspondence, and the other new manuscript findings of letters will also help."

"It is very exciting that such lost manuscript material continues to emerge in the 21st century," he added. The manuscripts have now reportedly been sold to a collector.

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/341224

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Aaron Swartz, computer activist & reddit co-owner has committed suicide

26-year-old computer activist, co-owner of reddit and co-author of the widely-used RSS 1.0 specification, Aaron H. Swartz, committed suicide in New York City on Friday.


This is according to a comment by Michael Wolf, Swartz's uncle, to The Tech.

Confirmation was received from Swartz's attorney, Elliot R. Peters by email: “The tragic and heartbreaking information you received is, regrettably, true.”

At the age of 14, Swartz co-authored the now widely-used RSS 1.0 specification. 

26-year-old Swartz is famous for allegedly downloading documents from the JSTOR online journal archive with the intent to distribute them and was indicted in July 2011. Swartz reportedly pleaded not guilty to this and was released on US$100,000 unsecured bail.  If charged he would have faced a potential prison term of 35 years and a fine up to US$1 million.

After this, he moved to Brooklyn, New York, where he obtained employment with the Avaaz Foundation, which is a non-profit “global web movement to bring people-powered politics to decision-making everywhere.” 

Swartz is one of three co-owners of the popular social news site reddit, and also completed a fellowship at Harvard’s Ethics Center Lab on Institutional Corruption.
In 2010, Swartz founded DemandProgress.org, which "works to win progressive policy changes for ordinary people through organizing, and grassroots lobbying. In particular, we tend to focus on issues of civil liberties, civil rights, and government reform." The group was active recently with a campaign against the Internet censorship bills SOPA/PIPA, and now has over a million members.

Swartz also developed the website theinfo.org which provides free access to public records. He has also been widely cited for his landmark analysis of Wikipedia, Who Writes Wikipedia? Swartz further worked with web inventor, Tim Berners-Lee, at MIT, where he helped develop and popularize standards for sharing data on the Web. 

CNET reports that a friend of Swartz, Cory Doctorow, said today that Swartz had battled depression for several years. 

"To the world: we have all lost someone today who had more work to do, and who made the world a better place when he did it," Doctorow wrote.

Read more: http://digitaljournal.com/article/341136

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Ancient tombs found in the city of Luxor in Egypt

Italian archaeologists have discovered tombs in the ancient city of Luxor which are believed to be at least 3,000 years old. The interesting find includes human remains and well-preserved canopic jars.

According to Egypt's Minister of State for Antiquities, Mohammed Ibrahim, this discovery was made beneath the mortuary temple of King Amenhotep II.
 
"It's a very important discovery that highlights the importance of King Amenhotep II's temple years after the pharaoh's death," Ibrahim said, stating that King Amenhotep II also had a tomb in the Valley of the Kings housing a collection of royal mummies, that was discovered in 1882.
 
This temple is situated on the northern side of the Serapaeum on the west bank of the Nile and belongs to the seventh Pharaoh of the 18th dynasty, reigning from 1427 to 1401 BC. Ibrahim says that the remains of human bones, as well as wooden sarcophagi have been unearthed inside the tombs.
 
 Mansour Barek, head of Luxor Antiquities, explained that they have also found 12 very well preserved mud, brick and sandstone canopic jars, used to preserve the lungs, stomach, liver and intestines of the deceased. As pictured on the right, these artifacts are decorated with images of the four sons of the god Horus, and are believed to be vital in helping the soul of the deceased find its way to heaven.
 
The four sons of Horus are "Imsety, with a human head to protect the liver; Hapi, with a baboon head for the lungs; Duamutef, with a jackal head for the stomach; and Qebehsenuef, with a falcon head for the Intestines," according to Ahram online.

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/341018