Saturday, August 28, 2010

Truancies from primary schools increase


More primary school children missed lessons without permission this year than last 
because of family holidays taken during term time.

Primary school pupils in England are missing more lessons without their teachers' permission than a year ago, figures published today show.
Just over 24,200 pupils in primary schools skipped classes without permission on a typical day in the spring term of this year, an analysis of figures from the Department for Education reveals. This compares to almost 21,900 pupils in the spring term of last year.
The government calculates authorised and unauthorised school absence rates by the number of half-days missed.

Some 0.74% of half days were missed within the spring term of this year without teachers' permission, compared to 0.67% of half days in the spring term of last year.
However, unauthorised absence rates among pupils in secondary schools has fallen. This spring term, 44,977 pupils missed classes without permission on an average day, compared to 46,139 last spring term. Some 1.56% of half days were missed without permission this year, compared to 1.59% last spring term.

This equates to almost 69,000 primary and secondary pupils in England missing classes without permission each day.
An increasing number of children are missing lessons because of family holidays taken during term time, the statistics show. Children missed around 1.4 million school days this spring due to holidays – a quarter of these days were not approved by teachers.

Overall absence fell to 5.92% of half days for the spring term, from 6.18% in the spring term of last year. This equates to 364,349 pupils off on a typical day this spring term, compared to 381,534 last spring term.
The schools minister, Nick Gibb, said the level of absenteeism in schools was "still too high". "It's crucial that children are not missing out on valuable lessons that could leave them vulnerable to falling behind. We are putting in place a series of measures to raise standards of behaviour, to put headteachers and teachers back in control of the classroom, and to ensure classrooms are safe and calm places where children can learn."
Writer: Jessica Shepherd - Source:

No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

Newsy: Video Shows Trapped Miners' Lives Underground

More than two weeks passed since a Chilean mine shaft collapsed, trapping 33 workers—and Chilean officials are saying it could take up to four months before they’re rescued.
Food and supplies are being sent through a small tube to the miners. Also, with a video camera sent through the same tube — miners shot a 45 minute tape, showing what life is like 700 meters underground. 
Sky News has the footage.
“One by one, they send personal messages to their loved ones. (FLASH) It’s hard to believe, but in spite of the hellish prospect of living like this ‘til Christmas, the men tell the camera they are not down hearted. ‘We know its going to be a while, says this man.”
Rescuers sent down questionnaires to record the conditions of all the workers—as well as telephone lines and microphones so they can communicate with their families.
CNN reports some miners are stepping up themselves to leadership positions: “There are three guys fulfilling that role right now. One guy was the shift leader. He was the boss of the miners anyway. There’s another man down there who has some nursing experience. So he’s been chosen to carry out written, psychological evaluations of all the miners. He is also, we’re told, carrying out basic medical tests on the miners. And there’s a third man, Mario Gomez, a 63-year-old, the most veteran miner down there—he’s been a miner since he was 12. And he’s emerged as kind of the natural spiritual leader of these men.
And a writer for Time examines the mental health implications of being trapped in a 500 square feet space without light for months: “Even when rescue does occur, the men could be dealing with the emotional blowback of their experiences for a long time … Still, if there's one good thing about PTSD, it's the post- part of it. Once the men see the sun again, the immediate crisis will be over and their healing can at last begin.”
A Bloomberg reporter notes the mining company -- San Esteban Primera – could have done more to prevent a collapse like this one: “One of the criticisms of the mining minister yesterday was this mine site really didn’t have an alternative exit for these workers. So, that’s why they’re contemplating this very unusual escape of just booring straight through the ground and literally lifting them out. 
And a blogger for the Economist writes its not just the company at fault – higher officials need to do more to ensure the safety of miners, he says: “The staffing and budgets of government enforcement agencies have failed to keep pace with the rapid expansion of the mining industry over the past 20 years. Such an investment could have saved the present government a million-dollar rescue operation and the trapped miners some long, dark weeks.”
We’ll leave you with more footage from the collapsed mineshaft from ITN—with workers singing the national anthem of Chile.
Writers: Maurico Bush and Steven Hsiek.

No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

Newsy: No Glasses Required - 3D TV Race Begins

Two television manufacturing juggernauts unveiled plans to release 3D televisions that don’t require glasses. But will this new technology catch on?
“Toshiba plans to come out with 3D TV's just like everyone else, except these TV’s will not require the pricey and silly active shutter glasses. The company created what they are calling an internal imaging system that sends out light rays at different angles and this allows your brain to process a 3D image.”(CNET)
The race is officially on for manufacturers. After Toshiba made it’s announcement – the very next day - Sony announced it too - was working on 3D TV’s that don’t require glasses. 
We are monitoring reaction to the news from CNET, Yomiuri, PC Pro, and Digital Spy
Japanese website Yomiuri first reported Toshiba’s plans and says that the launch should be right before Christmas: “Toshiba plans to introduce three models, including one with a 21-inch screen, and will sell them for several hundred thousand yen [or several thousand US dollars] … adding the TVs' release likely will coincide with the year-end shopping season.”
3D TVs that don’t require glasses have been around since 2008 but there was a catch. The viewer had to remain seated directly in the center of the room or the effect would be lost. A 3D cameraman for Sky News says if Toshiba backs up its promise, it could change everything – including the news: “There’s a truth to a 3D image that we will never get from 2D… especially if you look at news photography. When we photograph war in 2D, it’s interpretation; … it’s a filter. Once you present the same images in 3D there’s a very visceral response to it, very truthful and honest.” (PC Pro)
Innovation abound – but will consumers jump on board? So far, 3D TV sales have remained relatively flat as consumers are still catching up to HD TVs. According to a new study quoted in Digital Spy – that won’t change soon, at least not in Britain: “Only 2% of British consumers are planning to purchase a 3D-ready television set in the next 12 months … UK consumers were more interested in purchasing high definition television sets, 7% of whom are planning to do so in the next 12 months."
But what about you? Will you jump on the 3D bandwagon? Tell us what you think in our comments section.
Writer: Charles McKeague

No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Howard Webb: I should have shown de Jong a red card

England's World Cup final referee, Howard Webb, said he did not have a good view of the incident and was not prepared to take a guess.

Referee Howard Webb admits for the first time that had he had a better view of the incident where the Dutch midfielder Nigel de Jong kicked Spain's Xabi Alonso in the chest he would have reached for a red card rather than yellow. "Having seen it again from my armchair, I would red-card him," the 39-year-old Yorkshire official said.

"The trouble in the actual game was that I had a poor view of that particular incident. I was looking through the back of Alonso and though I could see the foot was high, I could not be certain of the extent of the contact. It wasn't that I didn't want to send anyone off because it was a World Cup final, though I was mindful of the fact that the game was the pinnacle of the players' careers as well as of mine. I just wasn't prepared to take a guess 25 minutes into the game."

Webb ended up being booed by spectators inside the stadium as he went up for his medal at the end of the game. "Sometimes the reaction of a crowd can be unjust. You learn not to let that bother you," he said. "It would be great to get a round of applause now and then, but you have to accept that sometimes the job makes you unpopular. You become hardened to criticism but in terms of messages of support, from people within Fifa, from Premier League managers, other countries and people back home, I was delighted with the reaction.

It would have been a difficult game for anyone to control, and together with my team of assistants I flew back to England with a sense of satisfaction at a job well done. As a culmination of 20 years' work the game had not quite been the festival of football I was hoping for.
"I was feeling a bit despondent, after issuing so many cards, but the support I received immediately after the game and in the weeks and months since has been overwhelming. I have even had positive comments from Holland. The three of us were mentally and physically drained after extra-time, we were all knackered in the referee's room, to be honest, but immediately we were boosted by people getting in touch.
"Even now, what happened in South Africa is still sinking in. The profile of the World Cup final is just huge. I thought the Champions League final was big, and it was, but between getting the World Cup appointment and the morning of the game I received 1,200 messages via text or email. My BlackBerry bill must have been enormous because I replied to them all."
Webb insists he has not been losing sleep over decisions he made in the World Cup final, and believes he did a reasonable job in difficult circumstances, but he admits he sat down to watch the game all over again shortly after coming home. "I left it four or five days," he explained. "I would have liked to watch the replay with Darren and Mike, but they live in different parts of the country and had holidays to fit in so it wasn't possible. So I invited another Premier League referee, a colleague who doesn't live too far away, to come and sit through it with we. We watched the whole thing, from beginning to end, and though it ain't perfect, we decided there is not that much we should have done differently.
"Speaking for myself, there are just a couple of things I would change. I gave a goal-kick instead of a corner late in the game. I was having trouble keeping the Spain wall back at a Holland free-kick. They kept encroaching so I went and stood at the side of the wall to restrain them with my physical presence. That meant I lost my head-on view of the free-kick being taken, so I didn't see it deflect off the man at the other end of the wall, Cesc Fábregas, I think it was. The TV replay shows clearly it should have been a corner so that was a mistake. It was shortly before the goal as well, but Holland had the ball in between, the one thing did not lead directly to the other. The second thing was the De Jong incident."

De Jong's caution was already the fifth of a game not yet half an hour old. So much for the World Cup final as a showpiece. "Not many of them have been great games, have they?" Webb said. "You never want to become the talking point, you always hope the game will flow and you can take a back seat, but it didn't happen that way. I started off with two solid cautions, just over 20 minutes in I'd shown four yellow cards, and it didn't seem to be having any effect in calming the game down. I tried talking to the players but I only got a sort of preoccupied response.
"There was too much at stake for both sides perhaps, neither had won a World Cup before and their only desire was to win the game. I was in contact with my assistants and I recall saying: 'It's not turning out as we expected'. They replied I had no choice but to keep on doing my job. I'm satisfied I did that, looking back now I have no real regrets. That's what refereeing is like. You need confidence to do your job with courage."
Writer: Paul Wilson - Source:

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ebonics or Black English


Ebonics (Also called Black English, Black English Vernacular, Black Vernacular English or African American Vernacular English) is a nonstandard form of American English characteristically spoken by African Americans in the United States.
It is a term originally intended to refer to the language of all people descended from Black African slaves, particularly in West Africa, the Caribbean, and North America. Over time, and especially since 1996, it has been used more often to refer to African American Vernacular English (distinctively nonstandard Black United States English), asserting the independence of this from (standard) English.

What is claimed to be the initial mention of "Ebonics" was made by the psychologist Robert Williams in a discussion with linguist Ernie Smith (as well as other language scholars and researchers) that took place in a conference on "Cognitive and Language Development of the Black Child", held in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1973. In 1975, the term appeared within the title and text of a book edited and co-written by Williams, Ebonics: The True Language of Black Folks. Williams there explains it:
A two-year-old term created by a group of black scholars, Ebonics may be defined as "the linguistic and paralinguistic features which on a concentric continuum represent the communicative competence of the West African, Caribbean, and United States slave descendant of African origin. It includes the various idioms, patois, argots, idiolects, and social dialects of black people" especially those who have adapted to colonial circumstances. Ebonics derives its form from ebony (black) and phonics (sound, the study of sound) and refers to the study of the language of black people in all its cultural uniqueness.
Other writers have since emphasized how the term represents a view of the language of Black people as African rather than European. The term was not obviously popular even among those who agreed with the reason for coining it: it is little used even within Williams's Ebonics book, in which "Black English" is the far more common name.

John Baugh has stated that the term Ebonics is used in four ways by its Afrocentric proponents. It may: be "an international construct, including the linguistic consequences of the African slave trade";refer to the languages of the African diaspora as a whole;or it may refer to what is normally regarded as a variety of English: eitherit "is the equivalent of black English and is considered to be a dialect of English" (and thus merely an alternative term for AAVE), or it "is the antonym of black English and is considered to be a language other than English" (and thus a rejection of the notion of "African American VernacularEnglish" but nevertheless a term for what others term AAVE, viewed as an independent language and not a mere ethnolect).

No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

Newsy: DEA to Hire Ebonics Translators

The Drug Enforcemnt Agency's plan to hire nine translators to interpret conversations between African American drug dealers is causing controversy, as many don't consider Ebonics a language.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency is recruiting nine translators — in Ebonics. 
That revelation is reigniting the debate over whether the DEA is unfairly targeting African-Americans, and whether Ebonics is a legitimate dialect of its own.
The DEA says the translators will help decipher wiretapped communication between African-American drug suspects. For some in the media, the very idea is laughable. Fox News’ Bret Baier quotes an anonymous DEA official: “The official added there is nothing racial about it, describing rapper Eminem as ‘one of the best speakers of Ebonics there ever was.’ No word whether Eminem has actually applied for any of these openings.”
But on BV Blackspin, Boyce Watkins says this isn’t a joke. And Ebonics isn’t the official language of black people: “The first thought that came to mind was whether the agency is presuming that drug dealers speak a dialect of English that matches that of the rest of urban black America? ... most of my urban friends don't understand drug dealers either. ... the DEA would be better off hiring a former drug dealer.”
San Francisco’s KPIX-TV says the revelation should remind its viewers of the firestorm of criticism Oakland, California’s school board faced in 1996, when it tried to mandate some instruction in Ebonics, which ended up sparking a nationwide debate over whether Ebonics should be sanctioned as a legitimate dialect.
REPORTER: “... many linguists have concluded Ebonics actually is its own language variety with its own set of rules. ... Alim, who has written books on black language and hip hop culture says there’s a rich irony in the fact that teachers were not able to use Ebonics, but now police are.”
H. SAMY ALIM: “So rather than legitimizing African-American language in schools in order to help students learn, we legitimize it in the streets in order to imprison them.”
A reporter for Memphis Fox affiliate WHBQ-TV spoke with a University of Memphis professor who says the specific hiring of Ebonics experts raises a troubling question: “The very fact the agency at the forefront of the country’s war on drugs should ask for aid in this fashion should send up at least one immediate red flag.”
DR. LARRY MOORE: “We’ve entered in this country in which people with degrees have a total lack of common sense. If they don’t have some undercover agent, maybe black inner-city, that can’t speak inner-city hip-hop language. For them to advertise is very scary. It means, how are you busting people right now?”
But the non-profit, Blog Critics says the recruitment of Ebonics experts ISN’T a bad thing. An article on the organization’s website makes a historical comparison: “This situation is not unlike that of Native American code talkers ... who especially distinguished themselves in the South Pacific during World War II. Major Howard Connor, 5th Marine Division signal officer, went so far as to declare, ‘Were it not for the Navajos, the Marines would have never taken Iwo Jima.’”
So is the DEA recruitment of Ebonics experts offensive, practical or a little bit of both? 
Writer: Christinga Hartman

No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Aliens 'may be thinking machines' according to Seti astronomer


A senior Seti astronomer has argued that aliens 'may be thinking machines' rather than 'biological life-forms'.
Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at Seti - the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, reasoned that the hunt should focus on 'sentient machines' rather than biological life-forms. 
Shostak believes that the odds of finding alien AI is far greater than the traditional hunt for extraterrestrial life. 
The hunt for aliens has so far followed many standard rules of biochemistry, based on the belief that we may discover 'living' beings. 
Shostak, writing in Acta Astronautica, argued that while evolution can take a large amount of time to produce beings capable of inter-planetary communication, technology could advance fast enough to move beyond the species that created it. 
'If you look at the timescales for the development of technology, at some point you invent radio and then you go on the air and then we have a chance of finding you,' he told BBC News. 
'But within a few hundred years of inventing radio - at least if we're any example - you invent thinking machines; we're probably going to do that in this century. 
'So you've invented your successors and only for a few hundred years are you... a 'biological' intelligence.'
If you want to know more, click here.

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Newsy: Moon is Shrinking

A recent study of the moon’s crust reveals the moon may have experienced some shrinking in the recent past.
Have you noticed anything different about the moon lately? A recent study reveals the moon is shrinking! If you haven’t noticed anything, well, that’s probably because it’s been a slow process. 
“Researchers finding evidence by studying cracks in the moon’s crust. They say this is the result of the moon cooling down since it formed hundreds and millions years ago ...But don’t worry, it’s only lost about a 100 yards from its diameter, in ALL THAT TIME!” (Fox News)
National Geographic reports the cracks are younger than what scientists originally thought -- a BILLION years younger. The website features a statement by geophysicist Pat McGovern with the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas, who says: "Heat is what drives the overall evolution of a planet, and the moon is thought to have lost most of [its heat] long ago. But the idea that you have very young faulting going on is very exciting, because it's somewhat unexpected."
Steve Snyder, a scientist with The Franklin Institute, tells MSNBC the shrinkage’s impact on the earth won’t be physical, although it certainly is emotional for astro-geeks: “You'll have a lot of excited scientists and hopefully a lot of future scientists as well. It means that the moon has for us really means the moon has a lot of mysteries to be solved and new surprises for us. Otherwise it's not something you're going to be able to see, not something that's going to affect the tides.”
The study’s co-author, Thomas Watters, tells the shrinking and contracting of the moon shows it is not a dead geological object, as scientists originally thought. It may also explain one particular lunar phenomenon: “...the contraction might have triggered some of the moonquakes recorded by seismometers placed on the moon in the 1970s by NASA astronauts, he said.”
The moon’s shrinking process will continue to slow down and eventually it will come to a complete stop. AOL News features a statement by Watters, who stresses that the moon’s shrinkage should not be a cause for alarm: “The moon is not shrinking away. There's no fear that if you don't get out there and see the moon today, in the next cycle, it won't be there."
Share your thoughts on this story in our comments section and be sure to share this story on Facebook, Twitter and Digg.
WRITER: Harumendhah Helmy

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Newsy: Miners Could be Trapped Until Christmas

After nearly three weeks of searching, rescuers found 33 men trapped in a collapsed Chile mine. Now officials say it may take four months to get them out.
“A camera lowered deep into the mine shaft, nearly 2,300 feet revealed just darkness at first... and then this: a face. After a desperate 17 day-long search, rescuer workers rejoiced.” (CBS)
A miracle in a Chilean mine. Thirty-three miners trapped 2,300 feet underground for nearly three weeks... are all O.K..
Rescue workers were finally able to drill a hole through solid rock. They lowered a probe into the darkness and when they pulled it out — a note was attached. A reporter for NBC’s Today Show has the details: “With great delight Chilean President Sebastion Pinera raised the miners’ hopeful words in the air: ‘All 33 of us are fine in the shelter’. One miner wrote in great detail of their living conditions explaining how they dug a channel to reach underground water and how they’ve used vehicles for light.”
The emergency shelter within the mine only had enough supplies to last 48 hours, so after 17 days of searching, rescuers were about to give up hope. Fox News’ Steve Harrigan explains how hard it was to reach the miners and what’s next in the rescue effort.
Steve Harrigan: “Now it did take eight tries to try and find that shelter with a drill bit, apparently there are some complaints about this company that the maps were out of date. What’s next is going to have to be a larger hole being drilled, about 27 inches in diameter. This could take up to four months.”
The company that runs the mine has come under fire since the collapse. The Chilean newspaper The Santiago Times reports before rescuers found the trapped miners, the Chilean government was already chipping away at the faulty mining system: “San Esteban, has been criticized over the past several weeks, as has... the national mining regulatory body, after it was reported the mine had been closed in the past over safety concerns. Piñera fired top officials from (the regulatory body) following the collapse and has called for a restructuring of the organization.”
Now all efforts are focused on making sure the miners stay physically — and mentally — healthy. Rescuers will be able to lower emergency supplies to the trapped men. But The Guardian interviewed a U.S. mining expert who says the stress of being trapped underground is the real concern. He explained... "There is a psychological pattern there that we've looked at; however, they've established communication with the guys; there are people who can talk them through that."
Though the real rescue may not come until Christmas, for now in Chile — celebrations.
WRITTEN BY: Mallory Perryman

No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Newsy: Van Gogh Painting Worth $50 Million Vanishes

“Oh no not again. Flower power. The Mahmoud Kalil Museum of Art in Cairo camera’s and alarm system were out of order.” (Euronews)
A multi-million dollar Van Gogh - vanished. But front-page headlines throughout the Middle East indicated that the painting was recovered – and Real Estate Radio USA thought so too: “The beautiful painting by Vincent Van Gogh ‘Poppy Flowers’ has been finally recovered on Saturday. This work of art is worth over 50 million dollars. ... The thieves were caught red handed trying to leave Cairo.”
Euronews has the latest report of what really happened with the suspected thieves: “The Egyptian state news agency says security had tracked down an Italian couple who was spotted visiting a museum and then leaving in a hurry but they turned out to be empty handed.”
Now, the search is back on. This is the second time the painting has been stolen. An independent Egyptian Publication, Al-Masry Al-Youm, reports the museum lacked operational efficiency: “… [The] Public Prosecutor … toured the museum grounds Sunday and issued a harsh assessment of the security set-up, calling it ‘a facade.’ Only seven of the 43 security cameras were operational, ‘and even those seven were not functioning perfectly,’
‘Each painting in the museum has an alarm. Not a single alarm for any painting is working.’"
And according to Bloomberg, another disaster at the museum the very next day: "A crowd of news photographers and cameramen attempting to take pictures of the prosecutor today stumbled over a statue of Cupid, which shattered on the marble floor of the entrance courtyard, raising cries of despair from museum staff.”
Security was so lax that the suspects were able to stand on a couch and simply cut out the painting. But what do you do with a Van Gogh? The reports the market for stolen art is a significant portion of the illicit global economy… roughly 4 to 6 billion a year. 
What do you think? Mastermind thieves? Or was it just too easy?

No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Music: "Handlebars" by The Flobots

I can ride my bike with no handlebars
No handlebars
No handlebars

I can ride my bike with no handlebars
No handlebars
No handlebars

Look at me, look at me
hands in the air like it's good to be
and I'm a famous rapper
even when the paths're all crookedy
I can show you how to do-si-do
I can show you how to scratch a record
I can take apart the remote control
And I can almost put it back together
I can tie a knot in a cherry stem
I can tell you about Leif Ericson
I know all the words to "De Colores"
And "I'm Proud to be an American"
Me and my friend saw a platypus
Me and my friend made a comic book
And guess how long it took
I can do anything that I want cuz, look:

I can keep rhythm with no metronome
No metronome
No metronome

I can see your face on the telephone
On the telephone
On the telephone

Look at me
Look at me
Just called to say that it's good to be
In such a small world
All curled up with a book to read
I can make money open up a thrift store
I can make a living off a magazine
I can design an engine sixty four
Miles to a gallon of gasoline
I can make new antibiotics
I can make computers survive aquatic conditions
I know how to run a business
And I can make you wanna buy a product
Movers shakers and producers
Me and my friends understand the future
I see the strings that control the systems
I can do anything with no assistance
I can lead a nation with a microphone
With a microphone
With a microphone
I can split the atoms of a molecule
Of a molecule
Of a molecule

Look at me
Look at me
Driving and I won't stop
And it feels so good to be
Alive and on top
My reach is global
My tower secure
My cause is noble
My power is pure
I can hand out a million vaccinations
Or let'em all die in exasperation
Have'em all healed of their lacerations
Have'em all killed by assassination
I can make anybody go to prison
Just because I don't like'em and
I can do anything with no permission
I have it all under my command
I can guide a missile by satellite
By satellite
By satellite
and I can hit a target through a telescope
Through a telescope
Through a telescope
and I can end the planet in a holocaust
In a holocaust
In a holocaust
In a holocaust
In a holocaust
In a holocaust

I can ride my bike with no handlebars
No handle bars
No handlebars

I can ride my bike with no handlebars
No handlebars
No handlebars

No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

Newsy: Facebook Places: Critics Weigh In

Facebook is hawking its latest add on, a location-based app called “Places.” It lets users post their location like a status update.
“You can now say, ‘I’m here’ and you know, if people want to join you, they can. It’s a great way to let your friends know in kind of a lightweight way if they want to come and meet you.” (Facebook)
Facebook is hawking its latest add on – a location-based app called “Places.” It lets users post their location like a status update – and connect to nearby friends. Despite plenty of competing apps like Gowalla and Foursquare already on the market – Computerworld says Places still has potential: “Facebook offers one clear advantage over the competition: Critical mass. With more than 500 million users around the world, chances are your friends are on Facebook, and they're not on competing location-based services.”
A tech reporter for CNBC also notes Facebook’s size – saying it could be a blessing or a curse: “It means everyone, including all 500 million of Facebook’s users, had better start thinking about the implications of a future where friends, businesses and others can pinpoint your location.”
According to a tech expert on Tampa Bay’s WTVT – businesses already have big plans for Places users: “You’re in the supermarket and you pass by the barbecue sauce. It might flash up on your phone: Buy this barbecue sauce and you get $1 off, like an instant coupon because they know you happen to be standing in the barbecue sauce aisle.”
But a writer for Business Insider is more worried about annoying cousins than barbecue coupons clogging up his news feed: “No offense to certain distant relatives or distant in-laws, but we don't really care or need to know if you're at the grocery store in California. And frankly, sometimes we don't want you to know where we are.”
Finally, on ZDNet, a writer says some of Places’ features could become problems when it comes to your privacy: “…guests at a party at my home could turn my home address into a public ‘place’ on Facebook….I also didn’t like the idea of letting my friends ‘tag’ me at their locations. …Yes, I have to give my permission first and yes, I can also ‘untag’ myself - but who wants to be a party pooper like that?”
Places is a free add-on available for iPhones, iPod Touches and Androids. So do you plan to use Places?

No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Europa Press News Agency's Translation Mistake

Europa Press News Agency has distributed a piece of news to Spanish newspapers, radio stations and televisions containing a gross translation mistake in one of their headlines which has sparked Spanish F1 fans rage as as we can see at
Niki Lauda : "No hay nada que hacer con Alonso, no es como Michael Schumacher"

What the Austrian former driver had actually said, as published in was:
Question: So is Fernando Alonso following in Michael Schumacher's footsteps and taking a tight grip on Ferrari?
Niki Lauda: What they did in Hockenheim was against all rules. Either the rules are changed or everybody observes them. What they've done is wrong and they got an immediate punishment - and they will get a pasting from the FIA World Motor Sport Council, that is for sure. And that has nothing to do with Alonso. He's no Schumacher." 

The correct translation should have been:
Pregunta: ¿Fernando Alonso sigue los pasos de Michael Schumacher y está apretándole las tuercas a Ferrari?
Niki Lauda: Lo que hicieron en Hockenheim incumple todas las reglas. O cambian el reglamento o lo cumple todo el mundo. Lo que han hecho está mal y recibieron un castigo inmediatamente, y recibirán una tunda del Consejo Mundial de Automovilismo de la FIA, seguro. Y Alonso no tiene nada que ver con esto. Él no es como Schumacher."
Europa Press reporters do not know that "to have to do with" does not mean "no hay nada que hacer", but "no tener nada que ver".
So, you can see what a bad translation can lead to...

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Newsy: Scots Develop Biofuel from Whiskey

Scottish researchers have tapped into the UK’s $6.2 billion whiskey industry to produce a new biofuel that will power a car.
Scottish researchers have found a way to develop butanol for a biofuel using resources the country has in abundance - waste from whiskey production. The fuel will give cars 30% more output power then ethanol biofuel and unlike its ethanol counterpart, will be usable in ordinary cars.
We’re analyzing coverage from euronews, Cnet, Time, The BBC and Sky News.
Euronews explains the process: “Researchers have found a formula using the waste products from distilling Scotland’s famous tipple, namely the ‘pot ale’ or liquid from the copper stills, and draff, which is the spent grains. Put together they produce an alcohol called butanol which can drive a vehicle, much like ethanol.”
Cnet reports the new process is based on a method used to create explosives in World War I and on research started 100 years ago: “Some start-ups and researchers have highlighted the amusing correlation between drinkable alcohol and experimental biofuels ... explaining on a more serious note that early experiments in alcohol-based biofuels had been curtailed by the onset of Prohibition legislation.”
A writer for Time points out this could do well economically for Scotland: “It could be a financial windfall for the Scottish, who count whisky as a major industry. Plus, since the fuel needs only the byproducts from the whisky-production process, that would mean more (and cheaper) booze. Sounds like a win all around.”
The director of World Wildlife Fund Scotland tells the BBC he applauds the research, saying it’s a big boost for the environment.
Dr. Richard Dixon: "Last year the whisky industry published plans to help lower its impacts and it is clear that this scheme could assist them in doing just that. Since the whisky industry relies on Scotland's clean environment for its main ingredients it would be great if the industry could help Scotland reduce its emissions from road transport."
The head researcher Professor Martin Tangney tells Sky News he hopes commercial availability isn’t too far off.
Professor Martin Tangney: “With Scottish Enterprise support, we’ve, for the last two years, developed this to a pre-industrial stage now. And the next phase of development will be for the big industries to come and bring this to the market which I hope will happen in years and not decades.”
So what do you think? Is whiskey fuel a viable resource, and would you trust it in your car?
Writer: Kelly Chase

No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Newsy: One in Five Teens Suffer from Hearing Loss

Researchers haven't identified an exact cause for the increase in hearing loss, but many say that the growing number of iPods and ear buds are to blame.
“The volume is turned way up for kids today, but they’re hearing less. There’s been a pretty significant increase over this time period in hearing loss in American adolescents." (CBS)
Researchers haven’t identified an exact cause for the increase in hearing loss – but many say that the rapid adoption of iPods and ear buds are to blame. A new study suggests one in five adolescents suffers from hearing loss, and the problem might be more common in boys.
But CTV and Channel One News highlight a problem in mentality – some teens just don’t really care.
Nick: “I already know that it’s sort of messing up my hearing. ... I don’t really care. I like my music loud.”
"Its so loud, they put it all the way to the max."
“All the way up every time … All the older folks will say don’t listen to that because that’s going to ruin your ears. But I’m young now so I mean like I guess I’ll worry about that 30 years from now.”
Parents have been urging kids to turn down the music – but now they have at least some proof. One parent tells KTVT in Dallas that the study isn’t shocking based on teen tech habits: “I’m not surprised entirely, I have to say because they’re constantly connected to iPods, computers, and we’re constantly on them to turn them down.”
CBS explains - how when earbuds are used, sound waves travel deeper into the ear. A report show exactly what happens inside the ear when exposed to unsafe volume levels: “Sound waves travel through the ear canal to the inner ear. There, tiny hair cells convert the sound to never impulses that travel to hearing centers in the brain. Excessive noise can damage those cells and cause permanent hearing loss."
An article in Time looks at another side of hearing loss – saying when teens lose their hearing they are actually losing a lot more: “Difficulty in hearing among youngsters has been linked to slower language development, poorer performance in school and lower self-esteem. … even slight hearing loss in elementary and high school students can result in progressively lower scores on communication tests and greater anxiety.”
Researchers say 85 decibels of noise could be damaging - and when iPods are played full volume, decibel levels reach over 100

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