Wednesday, October 31, 2012

New James Bond film gets five-star Vatican blessing

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - If anyone thinks the Vatican newspaper is still a staid broadsheet that publishes only religious news and harsh papal edicts, consider this: On Tuesday it ran not one but five articles about the new James Bond film.

"Skyfall" gets a rave review in l'Osservatore Romano, which calls it one of the best of the 23 James Bond films made over the past 50 years.

In the main article, titled "007 License to Cry," the newspaper says the latest incarnation of the world's most famous spy is a rather good one because it makes him less of a clich?, and "more human, capable of being moved and of crying: in a word, more real".

A second article compares the different actors who have played James Bond, from the original Sean Connery to the current Daniel Craig.

In an interview with the newspaper, Craig says he feels "very different" from the actors who have preceded him in playing Bond but does concede that Connery is "a point of reference".

Another article explains why author Ian Fleming chose the name James Bond for his hero (Fleming wanted an ordinary sounding name), and the fifth article analyses the various soundtracks composed for the 23 films.

The Bond splash shows just how much the newspaper has changed.

Since taking it over in 2007, editor-in-chief Gian Maria Vian has slowly transformed it from a newspaper critics said could compete with sleeping pills to one that follows current events, trends and show business as well as Church business.

Pope Benedict gave Vian a mandate to rejuvenate the 151-year-old mouthpiece of the Holy See when he appointed him.

Other changes have included more articles by women, more international cover, a reader-friendly layout and typeface.

The newspaper has come a long way from the time its austere nature led some to call it the "Catholic Pravda," a reference to the communist party organ in the former Soviet Union.

It's a safe bet that when the second James Bond film, "From Russia with Love," came out in 1963, the Catholic Church either ignored it or, more likely, condemned it as it did Federico Fellini's classic "La Dolce Vita" in 1960.

But James Bond has changed with the times and so has the Vatican newspaper.

Its influence is disproportionate to its tiny print circulation of just 15,000, which is smaller than that of some American university dailies.

An editorial reflecting the Vatican's position on something quickly reverberates around the world when it is picked up by the mainstream media.

It gets tens of thousands of hits on its internet site each day, which it publishes in seven languages, and recently it started publishing a monthly edition written exclusively by women.

Speaking of women, the newspaper also praises the character "M", the female head of MI6 in the latest Bond film.

It says "M," played by Judi Dench, shows the "the fragility of a woman who hides behind the cold mask of the boss of the powerful MI6, rendering her less distant and more appealing".

(Reporting By Philip Pullella, editing by Paul Casciato)


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Monday, October 29, 2012

Woman set on fire during C-section loses suit against doctor: report


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Friday, October 26, 2012

Green careers in accounting | Arbitrage Magazine | Business News ...

Earning your CGA designation can push you towards an environmentally friendly career

First published in?jobpostings magazine
careers. education. ideas. all of it.

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Let?s talk about sustainability?both for your career and the environment. Earning your certified general accountant (CGA) designation can do plenty for your career?s sustainability; it?ll arm you with in-demand financial skills suited for any industry. But, if you play your cards correctly, earning your CGA designation can push you towards an environmentally friendly career, too.?How, you ask? By using your accounting superpowers for good?and working in green industries.

That?s what Helene Reolen, a student in the CGA program did. After earning her designation, she became an accounting consultant for?Down-to-Earth Solar Power Inc., an organization outfitting houses and buildings with renewable energy sources. (Via solar energy. Duh.)

?My position is giving me a real insight into Ontario?s renewable energy industry,? says Reolen. ?Especially how the regulatory authority, the Ontario Power Authority interfaces with the various players in the industry.?

And it?s quite an industry: It?s reputedly worth $82 billion worldwide. Solar panel prices and, accordingly, the price of solar power, is decreasing, meaning it?s becoming more affordable for average people. And Ontario?s Green Energy Act?criticized as it may be?intends to shift much of the province?s energy to solar power. For Reolen, it means being involved in a growing energy industry while keeping her conscience clean.

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?It was a very proud day for me when I got hired in the green industry,? she adds. ?I strongly believe it?s the right footprint for the long-term and a pragmatic model for my children to emulate. I believe the position will help me develop as a greener, more responsible individual. Not only professionally, but also socially and personally.?

Reolen?s not alone. Another CGA, Patrick Kirby, is using his accounting designation to work with?The Canadian Wind Energy Assocation, a not-for-profit which aims to advance the wind power industry. That, too, is profitable: In Canada, wind power production capacity increased 31 per cent last year. Our wind energy capacity is now ranked sixth globally. And in 2013, there are new wind energy developments in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, B.C., P.E.I., and Nova Scotia.

?The industry is developing very dynamically in Canada right now,? he says. ?But it?s very hard to plan into the future because there is so much uncertainty politically and economically.?

Fair enough. Yet with a CGA designation, it?s also possible to work in other green industries?take the case of Jane Yan, a distribution cost analyst with Ecolab. They provide green sanitation products, which cover water treatment, vehicle care, pest elimination and more.

?The whole management?s goal, which is also part of my goal, is to control the waste water, chemical disposal and energy cost. I work with people at different levels?. to make sure that commitment is fully met.?

Yet for Yan, a green career wouldn?t be possible without earning her CGA designation. ?The CGA program has been a great help to my career,? she adds. ?A lot of great opportunities are hidden behind [closed] doors.?The CGA definitely gave me the key to that.?

It?s a statement Reolen echoes. ?Thanks to the CGA program, I have developed a wider network of professionals who share similar interests,? she says. ?It?s gratifying to interact with such a great peer group.?

Learn more about the?CGA designation here.

Jobpostings Magazine is Canada?s largest, career lifestyle magazine (and website) for students looking for?entry level?jobs. So if you?re looking for your next?student job?on the path to your career, check them out!


Liked this article? Hated it? Comment below and share your opinions with other ARB readers!


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Ugh, Verizon Plastered Its Logo on the Samsung Galaxy Note II Home Button

This is awful. Utterly, completely, corporate suit wearing, slicked back hair smelling, awful. Verizon stamped its logo on top of the new Samsung Galaxy Note II. Do you see it? Yes. That's right, the Verizon logo is on the freaking phone's home button. Covering it. Are you kidding me. More »


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Why Bill Gates is right to be excited about online education ...


Bill Gates recently predicted that the web will be the place to learn in the near future. It will be "better than any single university" he stated, believing "place-based" learning will be less important going forward (Techonomy Conference). In Africa alone, 48% of learners rely on cellphones, 36% on shared computing resources and 74% on ICT for classroom teaching to improve the quality of education (eLearning Africa 2012 Report). And with rapid advances in technology and more and more people with access to the internet, it's not surprising that the need for eLearning is on the rise.

N(e)W Learning

Although eLearning is a fundamentally new way of learning, no one could have anticipated its exponential growth. The rate of enrolment for this mode of learning far exceeds that for its traditional counterpart. The flexibility and convenience of being able to study anywhere, anytime has transformed the way people choose to learn.

In the early days eLearning was approached merely as an attempt to transfer the classroom experience to the online world. In the interim, however, it has evolved into a medium all of its own.

Gone are the days of sitting behind a computer screen staring at 14 hours of streaming video until you're bleary-eyed and brain-dead. Present-day eLearning is all about the b(y)te-sized chunks of relevant information that collectively form the integrated and holistic knowledge base that is the only pathway to true, practical wisdom. It is no longer the stagnant absorption of masses of (often irrelevant) information, but a complex and stimulating learning experience.

Tech savvy learners know the difference between valuable information and waffling printer fodder, demanding short, powerful messages that are easy to digest.

It is a revolution in the transfer of content without sacrificing context. While it is not immune to the usual challenges of delivery, it is still a self-paced system for getting core concepts, disciplines and learning areas across to students.

The concept that "understanding learning styles is one of the keys to successful behaviour management [and] if you can appeal to the learning styles of all of the pupils in your classroom then you have a much greater chance of engaging all your students in their learning" ( is widely gaining acceptance amongst pedagogues of all types. eLearning, more than any other medium, enables both learners and educators to embrace this truth. This is because the formats available are virtually limitless.

eLearning is most effective when it is a form of people-centred learning. That is where many organisations get it wrong. They think it is just about making content available online, but forget that learning is a directed experience.

To some extent, eLearning is harder work than traditional classroom-based learning. This is why employers are increasingly acknowledging the value of students who have obtained their qualifications through distance-based institutions ? they see it as evidence of determination, self-reliance and the ability to think laterally. The classroom provides guidance whilst eLearning forces the learner to look beyond what is on the screen and find application.

Certification of learning will always be its most important aspect if the learner aims to convince others that s/he truly has the knowledge and competence required. All knowledge on the Internet may be free or reasonably cheap, but it is not necessarily always valuable or even accurate. Course accreditation is therefore vitally important and potential students should pay careful attention to establish if the eLearning programme is accredited, like those qualifications offered by Regenesys Business School. For employers, credibility is non-negotiable. It is important that a structured learning process creates a cognitive learning experience that enables the end-user to practise the competency or skill in question.

The eLearning revolution recognises the changing world in which we live. It has been a long time since humanity emerged from the dark ages, where information was an exclusive commodity reserved for the rich to further entrench their power over the impoverished. The modern world has vast repositories of information accessible to absolutely everyone. In this day and age, it is not s/he who merely has knowledge who has the power; it is s/he who knows how to use that information who has it.

The reality is that the world is changing so fast that traditional information-transfer methods have become hopelessly inadequate. If these media were our sole option, information would become obsolete before it even reached the learner. And the most important change agent needed for ICT enhanced learning and training is the Government (eLearning Africa 2012 Report).

Every day there is innovation in every field. However, discipline-based knowledge and inflexive and reflexive knowledge is still paramount for organisational and pedagogic success. "Learning how to learn" (as study guru, Tony Buzan puts it), learning how to find information and learning how to use it remain fundamental skills.

We have to become good at learning because it is increasingly aligned to how well we are able to perform. When you join a large company, you typically spend 100-200 hours learning their way of doing things. Those of us who are able to hit the ground running will have an incalculable advantage over those who are slow on the uptake. And no eLearning graduate makes it to graduation without having mastered this invaluable skill.

About the Author

Mr Riaan Steenberg
Director: Chief Operating Officer
Regenesys Business School

Riaan Steenberg is the Chief Operating Officer and a Director of Regenesys Business School in which capacity he takes responsibility for strategy, operations and growth, together with the rest of the executive team.

About Regenesys Business School

Regenesys Business School is one of the leading schools of management and leadership development located in the heart of Sandton business district, Johannesburg, South Africa. Regenesys offers a range of training and consulting solutions, including academic qualifications, skills programmes and customised training solutions available via contact or eLearning modes.

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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At least 10 pets perish in house fire | | Chesapeake

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) - Fire crews were able to save one cat from a house full of animals during a two-alarm fire Wednesday morning in Chesapeake.

Capt. Scott Saunders with the Chesapeake Fire Department said the first alarm went out at 8:49 a.m.? for a fire in the 2200 block of Ardmore Avenue. When crews arrived on scene five minutes later, firefighters found heavy smoke showing from a two-story home and a second alarm went out at 8:57 a.m.

The fire was controlled at 9:15 a.m., however, Saunders said numerous animals were found dead, including three dogs, four cats, multiple ferrets, two birds and one iguana.

"When you come to these house fires, it's hard enough that the people lose their property, but to lose a pet which is part of their family... it's hard on them and it's just something that we don't? like to see," Saunders said.

Crews were able to rescue and resuscitate one cat.

Two adults and one child reside at the home, but were not there at the time of the fire, Saunders said. No other injuries were reported.

A cause for the fire has not yet been released.


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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

British Composer Thomas Ad?s Takes New York ... - Travel + Leisure



One of the most highly anticipated events of the New York cultural season?The Tempest?by British composer Thomas Ad?s?blows onto the stage of the Metropolitan Opera this week.??The work, based on the Shakespeare play about betrayal, retribution, and the redeeming power of love, had its premiere in 2004 at London?s Royal Opera House and garnered for the 32-year-old Ad?s critical acclaim and popular success. Since then, the contemporary work has made a strong bid for a place in the operatic repertoire, and after productions in Germany and the American premiere by the Santa Fe Opera,?The Tempest?arrives in New York, in a staging by Robert Lepage.

The director has moved the opera to the 18th century and conjures on Prospero?s island (and the Met?s stage) a reimagined?and dazzling?La Scala, the opera house in Milan, as a background for the plot.??Magical? Yes, and a production that is operatic in every sense.??The compelling baritone Simon Keenlyside, who originated the role of Prospero, leads a superb cast of American and British singers, and Ad?s himself conducts (performances run through November 17).?

The Tempest?is one of seven new productions at the Met this season that range from Baroque opera?Giulio Cesare, Handel?s music drama about Julius Caesar and Cleopatra?to works by the two giants of the 19th century: Richard Wagner (Parsifal) and Giuseppe Verdi (Rigoletto), whose 200th?anniversaries will be celebrated far and wide in 2013.??First up and opening in January: Verdi?s?Rigoletto, a timeless tale of greed, lust, power, and murder, originally set in 16th-century Mantua?placed afresh by director Michael Mayer in an alluring and lurid setting: Las Vegas in 1960.


mmpng?Mario R. Mercado is arts editor at Travel + Leisure.


Photo courtesy of Ken Howard / Courtesy of Metropolitan Opera


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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Who won presidential debate? Both Obama and Romney, maybe.

In a presidential debate largely lacking the combativeness of last week's town hall, President Obama and Mitt Romney both seemed achieve their goals in Monday's foreign policy faceoff.

By Howard LaFranchi,?Staff writer / October 23, 2012

President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney laugh at the conclusion of the the third presidential debate at Lynn University Monday in Boca Raton, Fla.

Michael Reynolds/AP


President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney each used Monday night?s third and final debate to try to close the deal with a divided American electorate.

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In a debate without any glaring gaffes and largely held in a more congenial tone than the combative encounter of last week, both men seemed to accomplish what they may have set out to do: Mr. Romney to come across as an acceptable commander-in-chief, Mr. Obama to portray a successful presidency while planting seeds of doubt about a challenger who recently has had the momentum. ???

While the debate?s theme was ostensibly foreign policy, both candidates time and again brought their answers back to the domestic economy, jobs, and who would do the better job of building an America for the 21st century.

?After a decade of war, I think we all recognize we have to do some nation-building at home,? Obama said more than once.

?I certainly don?t want to go back to the policies of the last four years,? Romney retorted. ?It hasn?t worked.

Within that common goal of steering the discussion to the economy, each candidate seemed to have a particular agenda for the evening. The president seemed intent on portraying his challenger as someone ?all over the map,? who lacks the kind of resolve required of the commander-in-chief. ?You keep trying to airbrush history,? Obama told Romney at one point. ?Your strategy [on Libya] has been all over the map,? he said at another point.

Romney, on the other hand, seemed to have stepped onto the debate stage at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., determined to debunk the image of him ? drawn from his own words, in some cases, as well as portrayals from the Obama camp ? as a militarist itching to strike adversaries like Iran with a big stick.

?We can?t kill ourselves out of this mess,? Romney said, in explaining to moderator Bob Schieffer what he means when he says US foreign policy in the Middle East is ?unraveling.?

Using the word ?peace? so many times it became clear he was making a point, Romney even spoke positively of the United Nations and the need to work in cooperation with it.

Romney also appeared to take a lesson from the Karl Rove playbook ? where rule No. 1 is, attack your opponents' strengths ? when he acted to preempt what he figured would be Obama?s touting of the death of Osama bin Laden.

?We?re going to have to do more than killing bad guys,? Romney said in describing what he described as the Middle East?s backward slide under Obama?s foreign policy.

In one of Obama?s best moments, he explained why it was important to take out Mr. bin Laden. Noting that at one point in the past Romney said he would ?not move heaven and earth? to get the Al Qaeda chief, Obama said, ?It was worth moving heaven and earth to get bin Laden? because it sent a message to the world, including terrorists who would target America, and it provided the families of 9/11 victims with closure.

He then told the story, comforter-in-chief style, of a young woman, her father having perished in the World Trade Center attack, who told him what it meant to her that the perpetrator of the crime had been served justice.

Surprisingly, the debate did not continue the who-did-what-when on the Benghazi consulate attack that figured so prominently in the last debate. Indeed, on many issues ? the Afghanistan war, getting tough on China and its trade policies, stopping Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, strengthening bonds with Israel ? the two candidates seemed to agree more than to disagree.

On Syria, Romney tried to make the case that he would address the ?tragedy? there without ?having our military involved.? But after Romney described what he would do ? like work closely with allies in the region and help develop a coherent armed opposition ? Obama retorted: ?He doesn?t have different ideas because we?re doing what we should be doing.????

Both men spoke of the importance of American leadership, and the role that soft-power goals like empowering women play in ultimately delivering the safer and more prosperous world that is in America?s interests. ??

Polls show that both nationally and in key battleground states, Americans place foreign policy well down on their list of priorities for this presidential election. As a result, it is likely that many voters watched the debate more to judge each candidate on broad qualities like leadership and vision than to score them on policy specifics of Syria or Pakistan.?


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Records detail Mass. firm linked to meningitis

BOSTON (AP) ? A congressional committee on Monday sought a decade's worth of records from a company at the center of a deadly meningitis outbreak as new state documents detailed problems an outside firm hired to do an assessment found there in 2006.

The state documents, obtained by The Associated Press under a public records request, say investigators in 2006 found inadequate contamination control and no written standard operating procedures for using equipment, among other problems, at the New England Compounding Center. The problems were corrected that year, and a state inspection in May 2011 as the company prepared to update its facilities found no such issues.

The outbreak of meningitis, an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord, has sickened nearly 300 people, including 23 who died, in more than a dozen states. Each victim had received a steroid shot, mostly for back pain. Federal health officials matched the shots produced by the company to the outbreak after finding a deadly fungus in more than 50 unopened vials there but have not said how the shots were contaminated.

In a letter sent Monday to a lawyer for NECC, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce seeks nearly 10 years of documents about safety and quality issues at the company. It indicates that as far back as 2002 and 2003 officials from the Food and Drug Administration and the state conducted joint probes of the company after receiving a report about a steroid shot. Those probes preceded a 2004 joint investigation of the center by FDA and the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy.

In January 2006, based on several complaints, the company signed with state regulators a consent agreement in which it agreed to a full inspection of its drug compounding practices by investigators.

The company's encounters with regulators have been reported since the outbreak began, but state pharmacy board documents released Monday offer a new level of detail. They show the inspection by Illinois-based Pharmaceutical Systems Inc. found "significant gaps" in procedures and a lack of required documentation at the NECC facility in Framingham, just west of Boston.

In a letter to pharmacist Barry Cadden, who co-founded NECC in 1998, PSI said it was "the opinion of the auditors that your operation needs to be upgraded and enhanced to be in substantial compliance" with federal pharmacy regulations.

"The auditors observed some of the compounding activities and although the technicians appeared to be performing the operation adequately, without a written procedure to follow it is not known if the activity is repeatable and reliable; and as noted throughout the report much of the documentation for the activities that is performed is inadequate," wrote Mick Moriva, vice president of quality operations for PSI.

The report found insufficient documentation that proper sterilization procedures had been followed.

Inspectors who looked at the company's non-sterile compounding procedures found potential contamination problems ranging from uncovered and unlabeled containers to a large hole in a ceiling panel above a workbench. The exteriors of some equipment were visibly dirty with buildups of residue.

In April 2006, George Cayer, then-president of the state pharmacy board charged with regulating the compounding industry, sent a follow-up letter to Cadden praising the company's progress in responding to the inspection.

"As you are aware, PSI states that NECC has made significant improvements over the past months and demonstrated the ability to be compliant with state and federal regulations. The Board commends NECC on the progress to date," Cayer wrote.

As part of the consent agreement, the company was placed on probation for one year, but the probation was stayed as part of the agreement, and no fines or other punitive action were ordered.

But the letter from the congressional committee indicates that the company got a warning letter from the FDA in December 2006.

Among the issues cited was NECC's manipulation of a sterile injectable product that led the FDA to be "especially concerned about potential microbial contamination."

The committee said NECC's actions "call into question whether the NECC was operating as a traditional compounding pharmacy or on a commercial scale as a drug manufacturer."

Compounding pharmacies, regulated primarily by states, specialize in customizing doses for patients who have allergies to ingredients in FDA-approved drugs or who might need smaller dosages than what's available commercially. But some pharmacies have pushed into full-scale manufacturing.

Committee members say they want to know "how long NECC has been operating in this manner and why, six years after the FDA's warning letter and 10 years after an inspection relating to methylprednisolone acetate produced and distributed by the NECC, the company was able to continue to do so."

In its letter, the committee also said Cadden had declined to speak to it, although he was not invoking his rights under the Fifth Amendment. Criminal investigators have raided the company, but no one has been charged with a crime.

NECC spokesman Andrew Paven said he hadn't seen the committee's letter but the company continues to cooperate with the ongoing investigation.

"NECC worked cooperatively with the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy to resolve to the Board's satisfaction any issues brought to the company's attention," he said by email.


Associated Press writers Steve LeBlanc and Jay Lindsay contributed to this report.


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Friday, October 19, 2012

Do You Have Skin Issues? : Ideas For Women Health and Fitness Blog

After a certain age women expect and many hope for a clear complexion. However many times women still suffer from acne breakouts and other skin irritations long after teen years. What can women do about occasional break outs that cause distress and embarrassment? Here are a few quick tips.

First, look at what you are eating and what part of your hormonal cycle you are in. Studies are not definitive regarding diet and skin care but most women will attest to the fact that their skin breakouts can be directly related to their menstrual cycle, too much greasy foods, or too much sweets. Take a good look at what you are eating and when your period should arrive to decide if there is a relationship to your skin breakouts.

Second, look at what you have been drinking. Many times dehydration or lack of enough water consumption can directly affect the way your skin looks and feels. Hydration plays a big part in getting rid of bacteria and particles that cause breakouts.

Lastly, take care with the products you use. It may be that you are using the wrong product and using less may improve your skin.

Check with your doctor if your skin doesn?t improve over the course of a few days. Many adult acne conditions may be helped by prescribed medications.

What do you think? Click here to leave a comment: Comments (0)

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Wi-Fi Ruler (for Android)

Wi-Fi Ruler is a free little app that allows you to perform "driveby" Wi-Fi.? You can configure the app to automatically connect to a specific wi-fi network as you walk by. The app also allows you to skip connecting to open access points that are actually paywalls?wireless networks you have to pay to use Internet access.

With this app, users can set connection priorities and differentiate between multiple wireless networks. While connectivity is a little flaky? and it's hard to garner how useful the app is, it does provide a way to organize wireless networks on your Android, especially if you connect to lots of networks on-the-go.

How It Works
After installing and opening the app, I immediately saw a list of wireless networks in my proximity. There are three menu choices at the top of the screen: "Live," "Remembered," and "Rules."

"Live" is the default view and lists all of the wireless networks nearby. From the list, I see my own home wireless network's SSID listed. Tapping on it, the app correctly reports the security level as WPA2-PSK as well as the MAC address. Also with a tap, I can enter the password in for my network and apply one of the many pre-configured rules.

There are rules named "caf?," "closed," driveby," "home," "neighbor," and more. Apparently, the rules are tailored for the type of connection, i.e: for an access point you want to automatically connect to when you are near it, you could apply the "driveby" rule.

I set "home" as the rule for my home wireless router's SSID. Once a rule is applied and password entered for a secured network, you can either save the configuration or go ahead and connect to the network.

The rules are a bit silly. For instance, there's a rule named "dead" with a note that the rule is for "Tis access point is broken." If that's the case, you probably can't connect anyway, so why the rule?

The app connected my Android?and then disconnected twice, for some reason? until finally, I had a strong steady connection. I sometimes find that when you place software between the OS and its wireless network adapter, you add a layer of complexity and possible problems to connecting to wireless networks.?

Once connected, Wi-Fi Ruler also displays the IP address the access point or router is giving to the Android device.

Other Capabilities
The app also shows the status of other wireless networks nearby. For example, I can see the SSIDs of the myriad Wi-Fi networks belonging to the hotels near my apartment. The app displays each network's signal strength and encryption level. If you see an open network you can set the rule for it as "driveby," so your device will connect whenever you pass by.

Clicking on the "Remembered" menu option, will list all of the SSIDs you've connected to, associated a rule with, and saved.

Under the "Rules" option, you can see the purpose of the rule, its priority level, and if its set to "Attempt to connect" or "Forget after 24 hours." For example, the "caf?" rule is set to a medium priority (as indicated by a slide bar with the slide set mid-way), is enabled for "attempt to connect" whenever you are at that caf?, and has comment , "This caf? told me their password."

You can edit comments and the priority level as well as behavior of the rule: "attempt to connect" or "remember." You cannot edit the name of the rule but you can create new rules.

There are a few configuration options to customize the entire app. You can tell it to automatically add open access points and notify when connected. You can also set in how many seconds the app is to scan for new networks or to only scan when connected.

There's a paid version available for Wi-Fi Ruler for $1.99. The paid version allows for more customization such as starting the app when the phone is booted, minimize it at boot, or run the app as a service.

In practice the app works OK. I didn't have a nearby paywalled wireless network nearby, but the "home" rule did automatically connect to my home network as I specified when I went up the stairs in building and my Android could detect the signal.? However, my phone again, initially dropped the connection a few times, something that never happens when I just manually connect to the same router through the Android OS.

It's difficult to state the exact benefit Wi-Fi Ruler plays in getting you connected or blocking your Android from connecting to specific wirless networks. At very least, it a free app that can be used to managed the wireless networks you connect to in a fairly quickly way and in a way that's easy to identify the network, for that it earns 2.5 stars as a networking utility.

More Networking and Communication Software Reviews:
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Charges of cronyism in Hungary farmland contracts

Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban arrives for an EU summit in Brussels on Friday, Oct. 19, 2012. European leaders have taken a step towards the creation of a single supervisor for banks in countries that use the euro but details over when it will be up and running have yet to be ironed out. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban arrives for an EU summit in Brussels on Friday, Oct. 19, 2012. European leaders have taken a step towards the creation of a single supervisor for banks in countries that use the euro but details over when it will be up and running have yet to be ironed out. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

(AP) ? Gergely Bocsodi's family has been farming in this central Hungarian village for six generations but he fears there may not be a seventh, as the region is caught up in a once-in-20-years land grab.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his conservative Fidesz party are being accused of broken campaign promises, cronyism and shady deals in which friends, relatives and political supporters have snapped up valuable long-term agriculture leases on state lands, cutting out many small local farmers.

"There is huge anger and emotion," Bocsodi said. "It is not easing."

Ahead of the 2010 election, the right-wing Fidesz party had promised farmers and young families access to state lands, one of the vows that helped them win in a landslide.

In Kajaszo, however, there were no locals among the winners of the land lease tenders. Instead, all the available state land around the village went to two groups, including a company linked to the mayor of Felcsut, Orban's hometown.

Fidesz won a two-thirds majority in 2010, amid a recession and deep resentment over eight years of Socialist Party mismanagement. Orban has since reshaped the country with a new, strongly conservative constitution, allowing him to concentrate power and exert greater political control over a wide range of institutions, from the media to the central bank.

Yet discontent with the government is rapidly growing, as austerity measures announced with ever-increasing frequency and lowered growth projections have called into question his government's unusual economic policies.

Charges of cronyism have been leveled against virtually all Hungarian governments, but the land lease scandal seems to be snowballing.

Bocsodi and his parents grow sunflowers, corn, wheat, and other crops on 50 hectares (124 acres) they own in this small village on the edge of the M7 highway, which connects the capital of Budapest to Lake Balaton, Hungary's prime summer resort.

They had been hoping to lease another 70 hectares of state farmland in the area ? enough to allow 28-year-old Gergely to strike out on his own.

"Around here, not a single local farmer was able to secure any land," Bocsodi said as he took a break from tilling with his tractor, preparing to plant autumn wheat.

Since the leases are for 20 years and there is no more land available around Kajaszo, 38 kilometers (24 miles) southeast of Budapest, Bocsodi's future is uncertain.

"I don't understand why the contracts are so long," Bocsodi said. "I would like to stay here. My life is here."

About 20 people staged a symbolic occupation Wednesday of one of plots leased to outsiders. After a tractor turned over a strip of soil, the protesters planted wheat in the fresh grooves and set up signs saying "Territory taken over by the farmers of Kajaszo."

"The situation is similar everywhere," said Maria Tamasi, an advocate for small farmers who took part in the protest. "Other farmers can't obtain lands in their villages, either, and if they see that a few farmers have the courage to do this, they will, too."

One of the most vocal critics of the government's land-lease policy is Jozsef Angyan, a Fidesz parliamentary deputy who resigned as state secretary at the Agriculture Ministry this year. He has compiled detailed reports on the land-lease contracts in three counties, including Fejer county where both Kajaszo and Felcsut are located.

According to Angyan, 59 percent of the state land leased recently in Fejer county, including the biggest and most valuable plots, have gone to just two groups.

Angyan does not speak to the foreign press, perhaps weary of being branded a traitor, as some government critics have been.

"For the time being, I want to continue the struggle among my own," Angyan told The Associated Press when approached in parliament.

But last month at a farmers' meeting in Kajaszo, the 60-year-old agricultural engineer did not mince words.

"Don't be mad at me. I was conned, too," Angyan said. "It's a scandal that the locals did not get even an ounce of land."

His successor at the Agriculture Ministry, Gyula Budai, has rejected criticism of the tenders and promised that reviews beginning in 2013, a year after the first leases were awarded, would weed out any irregularities.

"I myself, as government commissioner, as well as the ministry, reviewed the Kajaszo land tenders and no legal problems surfaced," Budai said.

Opposition parties have repeatedly drawn attention to the issue.

"We would have liked to see transparency in these land-lease tenders and have the evaluation criteria be made public for everyone," said Rebeka Szabo, a lawmaker with Politics Can Be Different, a small opposition party.

According to the head of National Land Management Organization, which organized the tender process, the complaints are being made by sore losers.

"We've granted leases to 21,000 hectares (52,000 acres)," said Robert Sebestyen after a ceremony in the village of Gomba where local farmers did get some plots. "Some people who did not win are unsatisfied."

Despite his disappointment, Bocsodi still hopes that one of the Kajaszo leases, which may have not met all the requirements, will be voided.

"I trust that part of the land will be tendered again and we will get a new chance to compete," Bocsodi said. "This is where I would like to make a living."

Associated Press


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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Happy Hour Projects: $50 Mikarose Giveaway!

I recently had the opportunity to?try a lovely dress from Mikarose. ?Mikarose offers stylish dresses, skirts and tops with a modest cut.

Ever since I went to work for a company that lets me wear jeans every day, my wardrobe has gradually gotten lighter and lighter when it comes to clothes I can wear for special occasions. ?I have a few dresses that are perfect for a date night on the town... but for family events like baby showers and weddings, or parties with co-workers there, I want to look nice AND feel?comfortable?about what I'm wearing.

I got the Sophie dress, and it fits the bill on both counts! ?I love the chiffon and the ruffles - really feminine without being over-the-top. ?It's high quality and a great, true-to-size fit.

I love this dress, and I think you will love Mikarose too - so I'm happy to tell you that Mikarose is giving away a $50 gift certificate so that you can try one of their skirts, tops, or dresses too!

Rafflecopter will walk you through the ways to enter below. ?The giveaway ?is open to U.S. and Canadian readers and ends at 12:01 EST on 10/25. ?Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Note: I was sent a free dress from Mikarose so that I could offer you my honest opinion about it for the purpose of this review.


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TSX rises as Celtic deal spurs rise in oil shares

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index notched its highest close in more than a month on Wednesday, as a takeover deal for Celtic Exploration Ltd drove its shares higher and spurred gains in other oil and gas companies.

The index followed advances in global stocks, as hopes grew that Spain will ask for a bailout next month, alleviating the euro zone debt crisis, and as data that groundbreaking on U.S. homes surged in September helped soothe ongoing worries about the global economic growth.

Exxon Mobil Corp agreed to buy Celtic Exploration for C$2.6 billion ($2.64 billion). Celtic's shares surged 45.09 percent, to C$26.29 and were the most influential index mover.

"Certainly the Celtic news is pretty important, and then you just have a decent tone in the rest of the global markets to help along a little bit," said Levente Mady, senior portfolio manager at PI Financial Corp.

Energy stocks - about 25 percent of the index - were up 1.43 percent. Suncor Energy climbed 1.33 percent to finish at C$33.60, while natural gas producer, Encana Corp , rose 2.43 percent to C$22.78.

"There's some excitement around, again, the idea that a major acquisition is occurring with a beloved Canadian name like Celtic this morning. I think that gets the whole space excited," said Mike Newton, associate director and portfolio manager at Macquarie Private Wealth Inc.

Banks shares also gained, rounding out the top five most influential stocks on the index. The financial group, which make up nearly a third of the index's weight, rose 0.36 percent. Royal Bank of Canada was up 0.57 percent at C$58.19, while Bank of Nova Scotia rose 0.43 percent to end at C$54.31.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index <.gsptse> rose 53.54 points, or 0.43 percent, to 12,461.24. It was the highest close since September 14, when it finished at 12,499.47. Seven of the index's 10 main groups advanced.

Offsetting some of the gains was a 1.24 percent retreat in Canadian National Railway , which finished at C$87.67. The overall industrials group was down 0.41 percent.

In corporate news, Harry Winston Diamond Corp shares jumped 3.67 percent, to end at C$13.83, after the company said it was looking to sell its watch and jewelry business to concentrate on mining.

Penn West Petroleum , one of Canada's biggest conventional oil and gas producers, closed 1.39 percent higher at C$13.85, after the company said it would sell some non-core assets for up to C$1.3 billion ($1.32 billion) to repay a portion of its debt.

Potash finished the day up 0.05 percent at C$41.12, recouping a nearly 2.7 percent loss earlier in the session after the world's biggest fertilizer producer said full-year earnings will be below the low end of its previous forecast range due to delays in new contracts with buyers in China and India.

"I know the CEO was publicly stating not more than a month ago that he expected the two- to three-year outlook to be very good, but notably absent was any short-term commentary. So I think the clues were there," said Newton.

The overall materials group, of which Potash is a member, climbed 0.55 percent.

Ivanplats Ltd , an Africa-focused miner, rose 6.3 percent after an initial public offering pegged the value of the company at more than C$2.5 billion ($2.55 billion).

Ivanplats, backed by one of the mining sector's most well-known and colorful financiers - Robert Friedland, announced a long-awaited plan to list in Toronto last month.

(Editing by Leslie Adler)


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Disgraced NYPD chief surfaces at perjury trial

FILE - In this June 4, 2009 file photo, former New York City police Commissioner Bernard Kerik stands outside the Federal Court in Washington. Kerik began testifying Monday, Oct. 15, 2012 at a perjury trial in the Bronx. The 57-year-old Kerik began testifying in the case of two brothers accused of lying about renovations done on Kerik's apartment while he was a New York city official. He's expected to return to the witness stand on Wednesday. The same investigation resulted in Kerik pleading guilty to corruption charges that landed him in a Maryland prison to serve a four-year term. He's been temporarily transferred to a lower Manhattan lockup so he can appear at the trial. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

FILE - In this June 4, 2009 file photo, former New York City police Commissioner Bernard Kerik stands outside the Federal Court in Washington. Kerik began testifying Monday, Oct. 15, 2012 at a perjury trial in the Bronx. The 57-year-old Kerik began testifying in the case of two brothers accused of lying about renovations done on Kerik's apartment while he was a New York city official. He's expected to return to the witness stand on Wednesday. The same investigation resulted in Kerik pleading guilty to corruption charges that landed him in a Maryland prison to serve a four-year term. He's been temporarily transferred to a lower Manhattan lockup so he can appear at the trial. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

(AP) ? Federal inmate No. 84888-054 has saluted victims of the Sept. 11 terror attacks on his blog. He's used it to lend his opposition to an Islamic center near ground zero, and to honor his father this past Father's Day.

The behind-bars blogging by convicted former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik is a bit of a mystery: Federal prisoners don't have Internet access, except for limited email correspondence that's apparently allowing someone to post for him.

In recent days, Kerik has had a more direct line of communication with the outside world ? only this time, it's against his will, under oath and on a sore subject.

Prosecutors in the Bronx are forcing the one-time protege of former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to testify as a government witness at the perjury trial of two contractor brothers who once remodeled his apartment. The same investigation resulted in Kerik pleading guilty in 2009 to tax fraud and lying about accepting $165,000 in free renovations.

"Fair to say you're not happy to be here?" a prosecutor asked Kerik on Monday.

"Yes, sir," responded Kerik.

Kerik, 57, who's serving time at Maryland prison, has been temporarily transferred to a lower Manhattan lockup while appearing at the Bronx trial. He was expected to resume testifying on Wednesday.

On Monday, Kerik surfaced publicly for the first time since he surrendered for a four-year prison term in 2010. He looked much thinner than in his glory days as he was escorted in a prison jumpsuit and shackles into the courthouse ? his head still clean-shaven but his signature mustache gone. He later was allowed to switch into a coat and tie for the trial.

It was latest indignity for Kerik, whose downfall began in 2004, within days after the then-Bush White House nominated him to head the Department of Homeland Security. At the time, he was billed as a no-nonsense patriot who, as leader of the nation's largest police department, helped restore order following 9/11.

But the nomination was greeted with a rash of news reports about stock-option windfalls, the shady apartment renovations and sexual liaisons with the publisher of his memoir at an apartment near ground zero that had been set aside for rescue workers.

His decision to withdraw his name for consideration for the cabinet post and his later indictment in 2007 embarrassed Giuliani, then a prospective presidential candidate.

Kerik returned to court this week to mostly face mundane questions about built-in cabinets, a rotunda with a marble entryway and other expensive renovations done to his Bronx apartment in 1999 ? work prosecutors say was done by builders who sought his help winning city contracts.

He claimed ignorance about who covered the cost. He also got testy when asked by prosecutors when pressed by prosecutors if he had done anything wrong ? "No, I didn't do anything wrong" ? and teary when asked on cross-examination if he thought his guilty plea would get on with his life.

"Yes, ma'am," he said without elaboration.

Another entry from Kerik's blog offers further insight to his mindset.

"There are times when I am filled with bitterness and anger at the system ? and at myself ? for being here," it reads. "I am constantly trying to make sense of it all, to seek out and find what good can come of this."

Associated Press


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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Career advice : CJR

Two accidents, two verbs:

In New Jersey, ?The car careened down the street and smashed into several parked cars before coming to a stop.?

In Florida, ?A Ford Explorer careered out of control, hitting the pedestrian on the sidewalk before smashing into a utility pole.?

If you?ve never heard ?career? used that way, you?re probably young.

?Career? as a verb traces to 1594, The Oxford English Dictionary says, meaning ?To take a short gallop, to ?pass a career?; to charge (at a tournament); to turn this way and that in running (said of a horse).? In 1830, it took on the meaning ?to move swiftly over? something, such as a street.

For many people, the verb ?careen? evokes the image of a vehicle swerving from side to side, out of control, often at high speed. Indeed, ?careen? is a sailing term to mean ?to heel over,? usually involving a vessel turning completely on its side. But many writers also use it to mean simply ?out of control,? regardless of whether there?s any side-to-side movement. That?s what gets some people?s knickers in a twist, because, they argue, a car hurtling down a road would have to be on two wheels to truly ?careen.? If it?s just racing, it ?careers.?

The OED says the use of ?careen? to mean ?To rush headlong, to hurtle, esp. with an unsteady motion? first appeared in 1923, and is chiefly an American usage. The British, it seems, still ?career? with abandon.

?Since the early 20th century,? Bryan A. Garner writes in his Modern American Usage, American English ?has tried to make careen do the job of career, as by saying that a car careened down the street.? It?s succeeding, apparently because so many Americans don?t want that kind of career: Stylebooks that used to advise writers to use ?career? now are mute.

Of the major style guides, only The Chicago Manual of Style still mentions it: ?The word career?s career as a verb meaning ?to go full speed? may be about over. Its duties have been assumed by careen (?to tip to one side while moving?), even though nothing in that verb?s definition denotes high speed. Still, careful writers recognize the distinction.?

Garner?s has a good explanation why that is so: ?It?s understandable why most people aren?t comfortable with this verbal usage of career. The word derived from a Latin term for road orpath, and later denoted a racetrack, but today people think of it as only a noun: the path of a life?s work.? Garner?s lists ?careen in the sense ?to move swervingly or lurchingly?? at Stage 4 of the five-stage Language-Change Index, the equivalent of a traffic warning. Still, Garner?s says, ?the most careful writers reserve career for this use.?

They?re probably also the ones who don?t get into accidents.


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Dolphins can remain alert for up to 15 days at a time with no sign of fatigue

ScienceDaily (Oct. 17, 2012) ? Dolphins sleep with only one half of their brains at a time, and according to new research published Oct. 17 in the open access journal PLOS ONE, this trait allows them to stay constantly alert for at least 15 days in a row. Brian Branstetter from the National Marine Mammal Foundation and colleagues found that dolphins can use echolocation with near-perfect accuracy continuously for up to 15 days, identifying targets and monitoring their environment.

The researchers studied 2 dolphins, one male and one female, and found that they were capable of this task with no signs of fatigue for 5 days. The female dolphin performed additional tasks for a 15-day period. How much longer they could have continued was not studied.

Sleeping with only one half of the brain at a time, or unihemispheric sleep, was believed to have evolved in dolphins to enable them to breathe at the surface of water even when half-asleep. This new research suggests that the need to remain vigilant may also have played a role in the evolution of this sleeping behavior.

"These majestic beasts are true unwavering sentinels of the sea. The demands of ocean life on air breathing dolphins have led to incredible capabilities, one of which is the ability to continuously, perhaps indefinitely, maintain vigilant behavior through echolocation" says Branstetter.

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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Public Library of Science.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

Journal Reference:

  1. Branstetter BK, Finneran JJ, Fletcher EA, Weisman BC, Ridgway SH. Dolphins Can Maintain Vigilant Behavior through Echolocation for 15 Days without Interruption or Cognitive Impairment. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (10): e47478 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0047478

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.


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CDC says another 19 people diagnosed with meningitis in U.S. outbreak


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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Presidential Debate: What Would You Ask The Candidates?

'I know that they can't fix the economy in four years ... but I want somebody who can improve us as a country,' one student says.
By Gil Kaufman

Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama
Photo: Getty Images


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EB Delivers its Tough VoIP Tactical Communication Systems to the ...

EB, Elektrobit Corporation (OMX: EBC1V), today announced an agreement to deliver their tactical communication systems to the Finnish Defence Force?s Army. This agreement is a continuation of the pilot series delivery of EB?s Tough VoIP systems in 2009, after which the Finnish Army commenced extensive field trials on the system. The deliveries will be the first phase of the Finnish Army?s long-term procurement program supporting the new network-centric defense model which enhances the ability for joint operations. The EB Tough VoIP communication systems will be utilized by the field and mechanized artillery as well as the Multiple Rocket Launchers Systems (MRLS).

?As procurement this order is special because it?s rarely possible to test the products beforehand so extensively in real operating conditions as we have been able to do in this case,? said procurement engineer Hannu Pohjola from the Finnish Army Materiel Command Headquarters.

Included in the agreement is the pilot delivery of the new generation EB Tough VoIP Field Phones to the Finnish Defence Forces. The new phones bring the broadband IP data connectivity and voice services to the field utilizing conventional field wires.

?The delivery is an important achievement in our goal to be the preferred partner in the area of tactical communications for the Finnish Defence Forces,? said Mikko Viitaniemi, senior product manager responsible for EB Tough VoIP product family. ?It also proves that our products are developed to meet the stringent defense sector requirements.?

Actively looking for system integrator and distributor partners for its defense products, EB will showcase the system together with its Tactical Wireless IP Network products at MILCOM 2012 conference in Orlando, Florida, October 29th ? November 1st, at stand 223.

Source : EB Elektrobit Corporation / Ruderfinn

Published on ASDNews: Oct 16, 2012


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Sustainability, Vol. 4, Pages 2650-2660: Influence of Arabic and Chinese Rammed Earth Techniques in the Himalayan Region

Sustainability 2012, 4(10), 2650-2660; doi:10.3390/su4102650 (doi registration under processing)


Integral Engineering Design, Tollbridge Studios, Bath, UK

Received: 14 August 2012; in revised form: 24 September 2012 / Accepted: 8 October 2012 / Published: 15 October 2012

Abstract: This paper discusses different rammed earth construction technique in Asia. Rammed earth construction techniques from China, Indian, Nepal and Bhutan are examined. It is shown that these techniques are demonstrably different from each other, and argued that the techniques may have developed independently. Case study structures are discussed and it is shown that with care it is possible to chart the development of both techniques both chronologically and geographically.

Keywords: rammed earth; formwork; rammer; Asia; Bhutan; Ladakh; Mustang, Hakka

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Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Jaquin, P. Influence of Arabic and Chinese Rammed Earth Techniques in the Himalayan Region. Sustainability 2012, 4, 2650-2660.

AMA Style

Jaquin P. Influence of Arabic and Chinese Rammed Earth Techniques in the Himalayan Region. Sustainability. 2012; 4(10):2650-2660.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Jaquin, Paul. 2012. "Influence of Arabic and Chinese Rammed Earth Techniques in the Himalayan Region." Sustainability 4, no. 10: 2650-2660.


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