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Archive for February, 2010

2010 » February

[Chile] A Hill is a Transitional Accommodation to Stress

February 28, 2010 by  

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I spent just about the entire weekend just about entirely offline – something I hope to keep up as February slides into March, days lengthen, and skinny jeans and boots give way to summer dresses and sandals. So it came as quite a shock to turn the internet switch to on and discover that Chile was struck by a 8.8-magnitude earthquake. Scrolling through the photos at Boston.com’s Big Picture it is almost impossible to believe that the death count is still under 1,000. Surely that number will rise over the next few days and weeks. Fortunately all of my friends in Chile are OK and, as would be expected, the digerati among them are using their blogs and Twitter accounts to publish news and coordinate relief efforts. On Twitter the tag “#buscapersonas” (“look for people”) is a real-time stream of Chileans using Twitter to search for their missing family and friends. It is hard to sort through all the re-tweets and I’m not sure if it’s the most effective method of sharing information about missing people, but most certainly there will eventually be a graduate student thesis to help determine exactly that. The most useful Twitter…

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Mushroom Sauce

February 28, 2010 by  

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Earth Day is April 22nd this year. Like a lot of people, I’m always there  in spirit but short of personal recycling and rages against tamper proof, meaning impossible to open, plastic packaging I really don’t pay much attention to the details. But for the past few months, I’ve been looking at ways to provide sustainable and renewable energy for electronic devices. This led me to this year’s CEA’s Greener Gadget conference. The one product that captured my attention was EcoCradle™ from Ecovative Design. It’s a packing product aimed at replacing Styrofoam which is trademarked by Dow Chemical. The non-trademark name of the plastic is polystyrene and it’s strong, flexible and has a gazillion uses. It’s also made from petroleum and other alleged toxic non-renewable materials and will outlast cockroaches in its ability to defy any attempts to destroy it. Ecocradle, on the other hand, is made from what Eben Bayer, Ecovative Design’s CEO, calls “nature’s packaging.” The husks for most grains like corn, buckwheat, rice and several others are used as the main ingredient of theproduct. The glue that makes it possible to turn this into an environmentally friendly packing material is made from…

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Salesmanship 101

February 28, 2010 by  

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Opportunities” seems to be the mother of all words during this recession.

While our savings are slowly and gradually evaporating, so many consultants, middle men (and women), advisers, gurus and counsels of all sorts are abusing the usage of the word and so many in the services industries are trying to make a buck on commissions, fees, and dream “peddling.”

Realtors are knocking down the few remaining doors they have left to have you grasp the opportunity to buy the house of your dreams. “Come on – now it’s the time to buy before prices go up again..”

Financial advisers offer you “an investment opportunity that allows more diversification plus a guaranteed a 5% annual return regardless of what happens to the market!” – the trick is that this is such a good deal that it can only be explained in a face to face meeting – no marketing brochures, no links, no available written information on it.

I am not picking on these professions. Not all realtors or financial people are the same. But some are getting so desperate because the


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Democrats: Harness the Rhetoric of the Tea Baggers for States’ Rights If You Want to Pass Health Care Reform

February 28, 2010 by  

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The prediction of 2010 is that states will become much more integral to governance, management and rebuilding the economy. Go figure! Who would have thought that the rhetoric of the Tea Party loonies would be laden with gems? Those spin doctors have always been better than ours. So why not hijack “their” rhetoric, strip away the absurdities, create new “hybrid” state and federal programs, and make it the new Democratic message? Borrow from their spin doctors and use it for good! We can do this because we need good solid social programs that retrain the work force. We need jobs. We need affordable health care. We need local finance — like community banking. We need incentives for companies that retool workers for the new economy. We need to give control back to the people who can reclaim their dignity through their day-to-day lives. And we all know that the system is broken at the national level just watch the squabbling going on in Congress. We also know that disproportionate monies are extracted from the large voting states leaving them bereft with broken roads, broken schools and broken dreams. Why should senators from minuscule states in Podunk determine the future for…

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Sunshine is great

February 28, 2010 by  

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I just wanted to stop in and say what a wonderful thing sunshine is. I managed to bask briefly under the sun’s rays on an impromptu trip to San Diego last weekend, and I wanted to share it with you. After months of cold and wet, I honestly felt like someone was pouring joy and energy into my soul. I know a photograph won’t have quite the same effect, but look at these bright colours and tell me they don’t make you feel just a little better? Mission Beach, San Diego, California Oh, and why am I sharing this with you? Because someone brought the following quote to my attention when I was away.
“Happiness is only real when shared”


Thyagaraja in Thailand

February 27, 2010 by  

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It was a deeply moving experience for many as Indian expatriates came together to organise the first-ever Thyagaraja Aradhana in Bangkok… Perhaps it’s the spirit of Thyagaraja Swami that “looks East” now after having set exotic regions of the world awash in Carnatica.
Celebrating a rich heritage:Pantula Rama (centre), violinist Mutnuri Srinivasa Narasimha Murty and Vankayala Venkata Ramana Murty (extreme left).
The new year for India in ‘Suvarnabhumi’, as the Thais call their green and pleasant land, began on an auspicious note with the first-ever Thyagaraja Aradhana in Thailand. As any observer of or participant in the Carnatic world knows, the 20 {+t} {+h} century tradition of the Thyagaraja Aradhana at Thiruvaiyaru in Tamil Nadu on ‘Bahula Panchami’, celebrating the 18 {+t} {+h} century saint-composer’s memory through his music, is an event like no other. Moreover, it has become the expression of the Carnatic community’s cultural confidence in a new country and a celebration of its rich musical heritage wherever the Carnatic diaspora settles, even — especially? — in otherwise remote places on the planet like Cleveland in the US. Not surprisingly therefore, a Thyagaraja Aradhana was organised


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March of the Innocents

February 27, 2010 by  

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The times around the New Year in Ecuador are marked by so many parades, festivals and celebrations.  Pase del Niño, El Año Viejo and Carnaval all seem to come one after another.  There’s one more party that ought to be added to that list, one which many visitors to Cuenca will miss if they aren’t in the right place at the right time. Fortunately for me, I happened to stumble upon it the first year I was here, having no idea what I had found.  One January evening, intending only to meet my friends after dinner, I walked down the Bajada del Padron from my old apartment downtown, towards the river Tomebamba.  And there, across the wide expanse of Avenida Solano, were countless teenagers all dressed up like the denizens of hell.  Hmm.  Demons and ghosts, horns and pitchforks, and everyone dressed in black.  Among them, floats rolled along, as big and ornate as those you would see for the Pase del Niño.  But instead of the homages to the baby Jesus that are famously paraded at Christmas, these were garish and infernal, like a Macy’s Halloween Day parade. Only later did I find out that I had witnessed the…

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Digital Signatures Can Save Ya a TON of $$$: #ARX #ebooks

February 27, 2010 by  

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Arx_logo A well known journalist friend of mine recently tweeted that he had to go out and buy a fax machine because a new client expected invoices via fax. At first I thought he was joking, either that or was working with a small company in the third world or the U.S. government. But no, they expected fax. How is this possible in 2010 you ask? What a productivity waste for both sides.The only time I ever use a fax machine is for contracts and yet even then, a digital signature is now valid. Digital signatures capture signatures without the expenses of paper while leveraging a degree of security, reliability and simplicity that is unmatched by other signing technologies. Integrating digital signatures in your business workflow helps to secure, automate and expedite business processes, reducing operational costs and increasing the efficiency of internal operations. Onto the dark ages. The other scenario is paper-based documents and signatures, which can cost an organization over $600,000 annually in printing, scanning, archiving, routing and lost document replacement costs. By enabling a fully automated workflow, digital signatures can reduce expenses and time allocation that paper-based signatures require. A few more interesting stats: *The average signing


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