Talk explores facts of Christmas Star

first_imgRather than exploring what the Church says the Christmas Star was, astrophysicist Grant J. Matthews took a look at what science believes it to be in his presentation, “What and When was the Christmas Star: An Astrophysics Prospective.” The presentation took place in the digital visualization theatre (DVT) in the Jordan Hall of Science Sunday. Matthews described the Christmas star as a question pondered by theologians, priests and even physicists for centuries. “The question is which star was the one that heralded the arrival of the Christ child?” Matthews said. Scientists can now attempt to answer this question with the help of the DVT, Matthews said. This computer and theatre has access to all of NASA’s satellites and databases. This access allows scientists at Notre Dame to view every star that has ever existed. “This is not your grandma’s planetarium,” Matthews said. When an event happens in the sky, physicists ask three questions to figure out what that event was, Matthew said. They ask when and where it occurred, what the characteristics were and if anyone else saw it. Using these questions, along with modern technology, has helped narrow down what astrological event the three kings may have seen. Matthews explained how historians and theologians think the Christmas star may have appeared in the spring. The gospel of Matthew says shepherds watching their sheep also saw the star, Matthews said, and shepherds traditionally only watched their flocks at night in the spring when lambs are born. The Christmas Star is also called the morning star, which means it was in the east. “This meant that the star moved, and then reappeared, because the Magi saw the star twice,” Matthews said. “The star could be one of three things: a comet, a nova or a super nova.” Most people agree the star was not a nova or a comet because these were seen as a bad omen in ancient times. Matthews said he believes the star was a planetary alignment. “The Magi were Zoroastrian priests and astrology was extremely important to them,” Matthews said. “They would pay close attention to the location of the planets and what it means.” Through his research, Matthews said he thinks the planets aligned sometime during 4 to 8 B.C.. He said he thinks the specific date of this alignment was April 17, 6 B.C., because the sun, Jupiter, the moon and Saturn all aligned in the constellation Aries, while Venus and Mars aligned nearby. “The Magi would have recognized the alignment in Aries as a sign that a powerful leader would be born,” Matthews said. “Jupiter and the moon represent a powerful leader that will die at a certain time.” Matthews finished up the presentation with a showing of the film “Season of Light,” which explains different Christmas traditions and where they began, along with what the Christmas Star may have been.last_img read more

Daily Dirt: Hickory Nut Falls Trail Finally Open; Blue Ridge Parkway Section Back Open; Bell Helmets Funds Bike Trails; and More!

first_imgHickory Nut Falls Trail Now Open at Chimney Rock State ParkAfter being closed more than a year due to a massive rockslide, Hickory Nut Falls trail at Chimney Rock State Park, N.C., has reopened. State contractors and N.C. State Parks with the support of Chimney Rock Management cleared 300 metric tons of rock and other materials that crashed down and demolished a wooden walking bridge and covered part of the trail. The observation area at the base of the falls remains closed for repairs but guests are able to hike to the end of the trail to view the 404-foot falls (one of the highest waterfalls of its kind east of the Mississippi River).The Hickory Nut Falls Trail began as a Jeep trail, installed in 1963 to access the 404-foot waterfall at its end. Today, the ¾-mile trail boasts hardwood forests of oak, hickory, maple, beech, poplar, locust and basswood that harbor abundant plant life, which includes rare and endangered wildflowers as well as old favorites like Jack-in-the-pulpit and Solomon’s-seal. The 404-foot waterfall feeds from Fall Creek, which winds through the Hickory Nut Gorge. The trail and its falls were prominently featured in the 1992 blockbuster hit, The Last of the Mohicans, starring Daniel Day Lewis and Madeline Stowe, and have long been a favorite visiting spot for Park guests.Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park is a developing international outdoor attraction located 25 miles southeast of Asheville on Highway 64/74A in Chimney Rock, N.C. It has been recognized as one of the Southeast’s most iconic and popular travel destinations for more than 100 years. The Park’s 535-million-year-old monolith called Chimney Rock offers guests 75-mile panoramic views of Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure. Visit Chimney Rock’s website at chimneyrockpark.com.Blue Ridge Parkway Motor Road Open North of Asheville From Milepost 376 to Milepost 355Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent Mark Woods announced that a section of the Blue Ridge Parkway from Milepost 376 at Ox Creek Road to Milepost 355 (near the entrance to Mt. Mitchell State Park) is open for travel.   The popular stretch of motor road was closed for stabilization work on a failed slope north of Tanbark Ridge Tunnel at Milepost 374, the site of last summer’s well-known “crack.”The Craggy Gardens Picnic Area and Visitor Center, at Milepost 364, which had been closed during this repair project, will open May 9, 2014, along with the majority of other Parkway facilities reopening for the season on that date.  The full schedule of 2014 seasonal openings and visitor services along the Blue Ridge Parkway is available at www.nps.gov/blri.The Blue Ridge Parkway, linking the Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks, is dedicated to enhancing the scenic and recreational qualities of the corridor — conserving its significant natural and cultural resources and promoting public enjoyment and appreciation of the central and southern Appalachian Mountains. Learn more about the Parkway at www.nps.gov/blri.Oskar Blues Adds Farm to Brevard HoldingsOskar Blues Brewery recently purchased a 145-acre farm about eight miles from its Brevard brewery — a location that will be part farm, part event space and part haven for mountain bikers. Colorado-based Oskar Blues opened its Brevard brewery two years ago as its East Coast beer-making operation.Oskar-Blues-Brewing-Logo-e1352728344722-300x197The farm, formerly known as Shoal Falls Farm, has been dubbed the Oskar Blues REEB Ranch, a reference to REEB Bicycles, the company’s line of hand-made mountain bikes (“reeb” is beer spelled backwards). It will likely be home to a bike park, as well as to Bike Farm, a mountain biking concierge service owned by Cashion Smith and Eva Surls. The two offers tours of local biking trails — recognized recently as some of the best mountain biking trails in the U.S.The farm may also be home to cattle that are fed spent grain from Oskar Blues’ brewing operation. The company has a similar operation in Colorado, called the Hops and Heifers Farm. Cows and pigs populate the farm, which also has acreage devoted to growing fresh hops.Bell Helmets Donating $100,000 to Build Bike TrailsEast Coast voting is live for the Bell Helmets $100,000  giveaway to build three Dream Trail Projects, chosen by popular vote from its website.Blue Ridge bikers will want to vote for Tennessee, Virginia or Georgia to beat out western New York! Visit the site to explore the projects and vote for your area.Sherpa Adventure Gear to Fund Children of Sherpas Killed in AvalancheSherpa Adventure Gear—through its Paldorje Education Fund—is directing donations to the education of children of the16 Sherpa guides killed by an avalanche on Mt Everest. All donations received by May 31, 2014 will be dedicated to the schooling of the ‘children of Everest.’ Tax-deductible donations can be sent to:Paldorje Education Fund – Children of Everest, c/o Sherpa Adventure Gear, 7857 South 180th Street, Kent, Washington 98032 USASherpa Adventure Gear CEO Tashi Sherpa was in Nepal at the time of the avalanche.In addition to donations, Sherpa Adventure Gear is setting aside 10 percent of May sales at its Kathmandu retail store toward this cause.  Sales in May from Sherpa Adventure Gear’s products at Alpine Ascents International’s gear shop in Seattle will also benefit the program.World Cycling Alliance a Reality?Representatives of the European Cyclists’ Federation are now supporting an initiative to create a World Cycling Alliance (WCA) — a worldwide network of non-governmental organizations that will advocate for cycling before international institutions such as the United Nations, the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development, and the World Bank.WCA will promote and support the worldwide exchange of knowledge, expertise and co-operation of cycling associations and organizations. “The World Cycling Alliance fills a gap in the promotion of cycling at the highest institutional level,” said ECF President Manfred Neun.ECF has been participating in top international forums such as the UN’s Transport, Health and Environment Pan-European Program, UN-Habitat’s World Urban Forum events and the International Transport Forum, linked to the OECD.All ECF members, which include organizations from India, Russia, Taiwan, Canada, Thailand and Australia, will be founding members of the Alliance. WCA will be governed by a Steering Board, which in its final form will comprise the elected president of the ECF and members from different continents. The first Steering Board will be presented in Velo-city Global 2014 in Adelaide, Australia, where the WCA network will be officially launched on May 30.Blue Ridge Outdoors Launches Top Adventure Schools BracketClick here to cast your vote for your favorite outdoor-adventure school in the region.last_img read more

Half-time: Fulham 0 Stoke 1

first_imgPeter Crouch’s first goal of the season gave Stoke the lead in the Capital One Cup third-round clash at Craven Cottage.The former QPR striker exchanged passes with Peter Odemwingie before firing into the bottom corner from just inside the box on 32 minutes.Fulham boss Kit Symons made six changes from the side beaten at Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend, with on-loan Cardiff City goalkeeper Joe Lewis and summer signing Sakari Mattila making their full debuts.With defenders Ryan Fredericks and Middlesbrough loanee James Husband both cup-tied, Tim Ream moved to left-back with Dan Burn replacing him at centre-half, while there were also starts for Alex Kacaniklic, Lasse Vigen Christensen and Cauley Woodrow.Kacaniklic forced Stoke keeper Shay Given into a save from an acute angle early on but the Whites have so far struggled to create chances.Fulham: Lewis, Richards, Stearman, Burn, Ream, Christensen, Mattila, Kacaniklic, Pringle, McCormack, Woodrow.Subs: Lonergan, Kavanagh, Evans, Hyndman, Bodurov, Tunnicliffe, Dembele.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

St. Bernard’s, Del Norte to host state championship games

first_img“First of all, what an outstanding opportunity for our players and their families to … Friday night lights on the North Coast will shine longer this year than they ever have before.For the first time in Humboldt-Del Norte League history, a team will host state championship football game.Two, in fact.St. Bernard’s and Del Norte both claimed victories in their respective NorCal region state championship games Friday night, and will both host state title games Saturday night, Dec. 14.last_img

Accretion: The Missing Link in Planetary Evolution

first_imgEvery school child has seen artwork of planets evolving from a disk of dust and gas around a star like our sun, but there’s a missing link in the story.  How did the dust particles stick together?Once a clump of material is massive enough, it can attract more material by its own gravity.  The moon, for instance, pulls meteors in.  They stay there and don’t bounce off, except in the unusual case of a high-speed glancing blow.  From the well-understood law of gravity, a planetary body needs to be about 1-10 km in diameter to grow by accretion.  From there, this “planetesimal,” according to theory, would experience runaway growth as long as there is material around to feed it.  Getting the body to this size is the problem.  Smaller bodies do not have sufficient gravity to pull in neighboring material.  A disk around a star, however, starts out with dust and ice grains much smaller, even microscopic in size.  It is estimated that the original dust particles in the primordial solar nebula were a tenth of a micrometer in diameter, too small to see.  How could these grow into planetesimals a mile across?This problem is not new.  Planetary evolutionists have wrestled with it repeatedly.  In the February issue of Icarus,1 Sin-iti Sirono of Nagoya University, Japan, tries to identify the requirements for colliding particles to stick together rather than bounce or smash each other apart.  He certainly respects the problem; in his introduction, he asks with a Japanese accent, “There is a immense gap of 13 orders of magnitude between the grain size and the size of a planet.  How planets are formed across this gap?”  Behold the missing link of planetary evolution.Accretion is a complex problem with many variables.  Think of firing a bullet at a rock.  A small bullet might form a crater, catastrophically disrupt the rock, or merge with the rock, if the rock is porous and able to absorb the blow.  What physical laws govern the outcome?  Sirono, after a great deal of modeling and computation, arrives at three constraints:The target must have low compressive strength relative to shear strength and tensile strength.Impact velocity must be 0.4% the speed of sound of the medium.The bodies must be made of materials that allow the “restoration of damage” effect.  This is an automatic “repair” mechanism that occurs if a ruptured material can rebound such that interatomic forces can partially heal the breach, as if little magnets in the pieces pull them back together.It should be evident with a little thought that other variables can also be important.  To visualize this, imagine two astronauts, Chuck and Tom, having a snowball fight in the cargo bay of a space shuttle.  Let’s say they both have good timing and aim; they always make their snowballs collide in the space between them.  Since gravity is not a factor in the weightlessness of space, what factors would make the snowballs stick together (accrete) instead of bouncing off each other or fragmenting into smithereens?  Here are a few of the variables:Temperature.  Soft, wet snowballs are more likely to stick than hard, icy ones.Density.  Low-density snowballs are more likely to stick than packed ones.  The compressive strength of snowballs can vary by a factor of 1000, Sirono says: “As the density of an aggregate goes lower, the strength becomes lower and vice versa.  For example, the strength range due to density variations is more than three orders of magnitude for a bed of snow.”  So if our astronauts tightly pack their snowballs, they well be less likely to stick, but also more subject to disruption.Relative size.  A small snowball might stick more readily to a large one, than would two of equal size.  Sirono’s simulations suggest that the threshold ratio for optimum chance of sticking is 3/10 or lower.Glancing angle.  A small impactor is more likely to stick to a target in a direct bulls-eye hit rather than a glancing blow.Differentiation.  Let’s say Chuck and Tom throw rocks coated with snow.  They might accrete if the relative velocity is low and the snow coating absorbs some of the energy.Glue.  If our astronauts have access to some kind of adhesive with which to saturate their weapons, the snowballs might glue themselves together.  Sirono thinks interstellar organic molecules might just do the trick.  He cites earlier work that suggests organics might comprise a significant fraction of the material (silicate:ice:organic mass ratio of 1:1:1.6), and that the organics might form a viscoelastic fluid between the particles.  “It may be possible that the organic materials play a role of glue which connects grains and fragments,” he suggests.If our astronauts perfect the art of getting their snowballs to stick together, new problems arise as the wad of snowballs grows.  Earlier models often assumed that the properties of an accreting mass scaled uniformly upward, but Sirono reminds us that the aggregate of particles is subject to new forms of catastrophic rupture.  Sirono explains,There are voids and cracks inside a large aggregate that significantly lowers the strength of an aggregate.  Tensile stress concentrates in regions around the cracks, and fracturing starts from contacts between such grains.  An aggregate will be broken by much smaller stresses than those expected by direct extrapolation from interaction forces between grains.So until the aggregate is large enough for gravity to compress and homogenize the insides, it is even more subject to disruption than were the original starting grains.  Even if a lucky aggregate forms, all Tom needs to do is lob a high-speed ice ball at it and it could splinter into small fragments again.  Better luck next time.It seems, therefore, that many special conditions are required to keep the hopeful aggregate growing up to a size where gravitational accretion can take over.  Sirono does not estimate how likely this is to occur in a real stellar nebula.  He just points out that any accretion needs to obey the laws of physics.1Sin-iti Sirono, “Conditions for collisional growth of a grain aggregate,” Icarus Volume 167, Issue 2, February 2004, Pages 431-452, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2003.09.018.Observation 1: planets around a star, with a little dust.  Observation 2: a lot of dust around a star, with no planets.  What are appropriate conclusions based on this data?There are two possibilities.  One is that the second star is a young star with a dust disk that is on the way to becoming a new solar system, and the first is an old star with mature planets.  But there’s another possibility.  Maybe the first star has widely spaced, mature planets with stable orbits and few collisions, and the second star started out with mature planets in erratic orbits, which since collided and ground each other to dust.  The conclusion you reach has a lot to say about your world view and your respect for observation.While no one can rule out all possibility of dust and ice grains sticking together, the probability seems rather low.  Sirono invokes several ad hoc conditions to increase the odds.  Maybe if they are as soft as silly putty and infused with some sort of organic glue, with the right angle of attack, slow enough collision speed and the right temperature, they just might stick instead of bouncing off each other.  But the organic glue cannot get too warm, because Sirono says, “It has been found that the shear modulus of the organics decreases by five orders of magnitude as temperature increases from 200 to 300 K.”  This means the glue loses its elasticity real fast as the temperature rises: “The consequence of decrease in elasticity by a factor of 10 is severe fragmentation,” he says.  For particles in the warmer parts of the nebula, this seems to be a problem, yet we observe Mercury in our solar system baking in the heat of the sun, and gas giants bigger than Jupiter in even closer orbits around other stars.  Also, even if the conditions are lucky enough for the particles to start sticking to each other, they become even more subject to disruption as the aggregate grows.Perhaps Sinoro’s constraints don’t seem too outlandish, and one can envision scenarios in which all the right conditions might be met.  It could be argued that out of uncounted myriads of particles, some might reach the threshold of runaway gravitational accretion.  All it takes is a few to get a planetary system, right?  (Actually, our solar system is filled with many thousands of gravitationally accreting bodies, like asteroids, Kuiper Belt objects, comets, and small moons, in addition to the planets and larger moons.  Some of them appear to have been busted apart by collisions.)Regardless, the fact remains that no one has observed grains accrete into a planetesimal, but astronomers have abundantly observed the opposite: bodies fragmenting into smaller bodies and dust.  Small bodies show abundant evidence of cratering and erosion, even the recently-photographed comet Wild-2 (see 01/02/2004), a fact that surprised scientists because this was supposed to be a pristine object from the quiet deep freeze of the outer solar system.  We observe ongoing processes of fragmentation, catastrophic collision, erosion to dust and de-evolution, but accretion exists only in the minds of theorists.  Which principle is more in accord with the second law of thermodynamics?One would think that scientists would err on the side of conservatism, and not make claims beyond the evidence.  But the disruption view implies starting conditions that are philosophically repugnant to a naturalist: if the planets were already there, they must have been created.  So strong is the urge to have a universe that evolves upward from a bang to galaxies to planets to life, that philosophical naturalists will sneak glue and fudge and whatever else is needed to fill in the gaps.  You can believe that the dust around Vega is a young solar system in the making, but be sure your model particles obey the laws of physics.  After all, a naturalist should respect the laws of nature, by definition.  Better yet, perform realistic lab experiments.  We’ll wait till you get particles that stick before worrying you with all the other problems, such as the Kuiper capers (10/05/2003), small moon mysteries (09/29/2003), turbulent stress in planetesimals and in scientist minds (09/22/2003), the rarity of sunlike solar systems (07/21/2003), declining popularity of the planetesimal hypothesis (06/03/2003), migration woes (05/16/2003), the war of the worlds (04/17/2003), the tweak Olympics (11/22/2002), etc., and so forth, and so on.(Visited 41 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Darwinian Phylogenetic Tools Are Mathematically Flawed

first_imgMany evolutionists use software tools to construct evolutionary trees from genetic data.  Two mathematicians have just reported in Science1 that several popular “tree-building” algorithms can give misleading results:Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) algorithms play a critical role in the Bayesian approach to phylogenetic inference.  We present a theoretical analysis of the rate of convergence of many of the widely used Markov chains.  For N characters generated from a uniform mixture of two trees, we prove that the Markov chains take an exponentially long (in N) number of iterations to converge to the posterior distribution.  Nevertheless, the likelihood plots for sample runs of the Markov chains deceivingly suggest that the chains converge rapidly to a unique tree.  Our results rely on novel mathematical understanding of the log-likelihood function on the space of phylogenetic trees.  The practical implications of our work are that Bayesian MCMC methods can be misleading when the data are generated from a mixture of trees.  Thus, in cases of data containing potentially conflicting phylogenetic signals, phylogenetic reconstruction should be performed separately on each signal.   (Emphasis added in all quotes.)Will this workaround cure all problems, though?  Only for small data sets – maybe.  The more data, the more impossible the task becomes:For small trees one can hope to overcome the slow convergence by using multiple starting states.  However, mixtures coming from large trees may contain multiple species subsets where one tree has T1 as an induced subtree and the other has T2.  If there are k such subsets, then about 15k random starting points will be needed.  Thus if there are 10 disagreement subsets, then 1510 random starting points will be needed in order to sample from the posterior distribution.That’s over 576 billion.  Most tree-building programs try to take shortcuts around the computational hurdles, but these mathematicians are not sure that the heuristic algorithms used are successful in avoiding assumptions that could bias the results.  Their paper has proven one way the results can be misleading.  Are there others?In our setting, BMCMC [Bayesian Markov-Chain Monte Carlo] methods fail in a clearly demonstrable manner.  We expect that there is a more general class of mixtures where BMCMC methods fail in more subtle ways.  These subtle failures may occur for many real-world examples where the Markov chains quickly converge to some distribution other than the desired posterior distribution.  Users of BMCMC methods should ideally avoid mixture distributions that are known to produce degenerate behavior in various phylogenetic settings.  A good practice is to decompose the data into nonconflicting signals and perform phylogenetic reconstruction separately on each signal.  Our work highlights important unresolved questions: how to verify homogeneity of genomic data and what phylogenetic methods can efficiently deal with mixtures.Thus, they leave some potential gaping loopholes unexplored.1Mossel and Vigoda, “Phylogenetic MCMC Algorithms Are Misleading on Mixtures of Trees,” Science, Vol 309, Issue 5744, 2207-2209, 30 September 2005, [DOI: 10.1126/science.1115493].What this seems to say is that the method might work on closely-related organisms, like species of snails, but the more you mix different types of organisms into a tree of common ancestry, the more the results of these popular methods will give misleading results.  Even with the closely-related trees, though, how can one be sure that the answers might “fail in more subtle ways”?  And how do we know that once the smaller trees are assembled, the algorithms won’t mislead horrendously in the final mix?    Most creationists would probably not have qualms about trees of closely-related “kinds” of animals, like cats for one, or dogs for another.  It is the Darwinian assumption that everything is phylogenetically related – cats, pine trees, bacteria, sharks, petunias, turtles, mushrooms, senators – that causes the controversies.    Evolutionists often showcase the printouts from these programs in their scientific papers to lend an air of computational legitimacy to their theories (see the fallacy of statistics).  Well, we warned you that evolutionists are bad at math (08/19/2005, 07/25/2002).  The only illustration in Darwin’s Origin of Species was a phylogenetic tree.  Since then, tree-building has become a favorite pastime around the Darwin Temple gamerooms (10/22/2001, 06/13/2003).  Impressive as the charts look to the uninformed, they hawk symbolism over substance.  This fits Hawkins Theory of Scientific Progress (right sidebar).    After reading this article, and the links to previous ones, how do you feel about that NSF Tree of Life project costing $12 million in tax dollars? (10/30/2002).  If you want a better Tree of Life, try God’s (search) – it’s free, it’s honest, and you don’t have to play Monte Carlo to find it.(Visited 12 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Obama, Cybersecurity And The Return Of CISPA

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… adam popescu A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Tags:#CISPA#privacy#security Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostingcenter_img Related Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market The more things change the more they stay the same.With the strike of his pen Tuesday, President Obama signed an executive order aimed at bolstering the nation’s cyber defenses and improving security. Later that night, in his State of the Union address, the President preached about the need to protect the country from online threats and the value of the private and public sector coming together to face protect the nation’s critical infrastructure. In his speech, he urged Congress to get to work to make this happen.“Now, Congress must act as well, by passing legislation to give our government a greater capacity to secure our networks and deter attacks,” Obama said.Emboldened by the chief executive’s rhetoric, on Wednesday members of the House of Representatives reintroduced CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act), the highly controversial legislation that saw heavy opposition and online protest last year for its failure to protect the very privacy rights that the President’s current executive order claims to protect. The measure, which passed the House last year but failed in the Senate, amends the National Security Act of 1947 to add provisions concerning cyber threat intelligence sharing. That means CISPA offers legal protection for sharing personal data (such as private email correspondence) between the government and private companies – all without a warrant. Here’s the updated version of CISPA, introduced by Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.).If enacted, this would give Federal agencies a blank check to search our private data. Our once “unalienable rights” as Americans are starting to look more and more alienated. Backing the bill are a host of major trade groups as well as tech giants like AT&T, Facebook, IBM, Intel, Oracle, Symantec and Verizon. Why do these companies support it? One of those supporters, Facebook, said the law would not make the company share any more of its own data than is required. Others have explained their support by saying that sharing major data about cyber attacks would help protect all companies.  Backlash And Measured ResponsesIn the wake of this news, there’s been a major backlash online. Privacy advocate groups such as the ACLU, and the Center for Democracy and Technology, are all up in arms. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is asking people to contact their representatives to oppose the bill. The Internet nonprofit Fight For The Future has set up the protest website CISPAisBack.com as a resource to petition the bill, and provides info on CISPA and even phone numbers of representatives and a script to use when calling.There’s no denying that America is vulnerable online. In 2012, the number of attacks reported to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security grew by 52%, according to Homeland Security’s Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team. But while something significant must be done, our privacy should not be sacrificed in the process.Marc Rotenberg, the executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center,  calls CISPA a “civil liberties minefield.” Instead, he’s in favor of “the approach set out in the executive order: Transparent, collaborative, and under the direction of a civilian agency.”Michelle Richardson, legislative counsel at the ACLU, adds that the main danger of CISPA is that it makes companies exempt from all the privacy laws currently on the books. And in so doing, creates tremendous uncertainty when it comes to our personal data.“The idea of ‘information sharing’ isn’t necessarily offensive in and of itself, but the question is what info will be shared, who can it be shared with and what can be done with it?” Richardson asked.Richardson agrees with Rotenberg that such programs should remain in civilian hands, and future privacy protections must include sharing restrictions. Richardson doesn’t think CISPA meets those requirements, and hopes that as it moves along the legislative process, it will incorporate some of the amendments made to last year’s failed Senate bill. “The Senate bill is not perfect, but it’s a better alternative privacy-wise and hopefully the House will consider incorporating some of those protections.”But whether or not the new bill will incorporate those earlier changes is still a big question mark. “No one knows what will be in the final bill voted on by the Senate,” said Michael Hussey, the chief executive and founder of the personal search engine site PeekYou.Who Will Really Win And Lose?While Hussey and most Web companies and individuals want improvements, they are only seeking specific regulations to what kind of information can be shared, and regs geared to protecting people’s privacy. Hussey thinks major companies, like Facebook and IBM, are supporting the bill because that could keep them on top, and competitors out of or pushed down within the marketplace.“In this case, the largest players all stand to gain from open-ended legislation towards this end, likely at the expense of competitors and consumers,” Hussey emphasized.This is the first chapter in Book Two of the CISPA saga. There are many more to go through as the proposal begins its long route through Congress. If you are concerned about online privacy, it would be a good idea to monitor the progress of the bill, and make your concerns known to your Congressional representative.Image courtesy of Shutterstock.last_img read more

Lara Dutta takes lessons from Jade Barrymore for Hollywood debut

first_imgLara DuttaThe distance from Mumbai to New York, for ex-Femina Miss India-turned Miss Universe Lara Dutta, 24, is getting shorter.Dutta, who has one flat in Bandra, another in NY, is busy straddling nations. Not for a peace-keeping mission – or for sporting alliances with Derek Jeter or Tiger Woods -,Lara DuttaThe distance from Mumbai to New York, for ex-Femina Miss India-turned Miss Universe Lara Dutta, 24, is getting shorter.Dutta, who has one flat in Bandra, another in NY, is busy straddling nations. Not for a peace-keeping mission – or for sporting alliances with Derek Jeter or Tiger Woods – but to make an impressionable dent in Hollywood. To make her debut more legitimate, Dutta is now taking acting lessons from Jade Barrymore, Charlie’s Angels star Drew Barrymore’s mom.Dutta has a few films lined up in Los Angeles. But her beau in Mumbai, model Kelly Dorji, will just not say what yet.last_img read more

SportingPulse Website Changes

first_imgThese new changes are a mix of front-end and back-end changes, meaning some will be visible to all site users, while others will be noticeable only to website editors – and SportingPulse hopes they are positively embraced by our community of grassroots sport users.Please click on the following attachment or the following link for more information. http://blog.sportingpulse.com/2011/02/more-website-changes-go-live.html Related Filesmore_website_changes_go_live_-pdflast_img

10 months agoBurnley goalkeeper Nick Pope: Great to be back

first_imgBurnley goalkeeper Nick Pope: Great to be backby Chris Beattie10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveBurnley goalkeeper Nick Pope is back in action after recovering from shoulder surgery.Pope played in his first match since dislocating his shoulder in July after turning out for the club’s under-23s on Monday.The 26-year-old played the full 90 minutes of an away clash against Sheffield United, which the Clarets won 3-1.Pope made his England debut in early June and was part of the Three Lions squad for the World Cup in Russia.He said: “It was great to be back, it’s been a long injury spell for myself but to get back and play a real game and 90 minutes was great.“I try to help out where I can, I remember playing those sorts of games when I was their age.“So, it was good to be one of the experienced ones there today, I think that’s part of the experience and part of my job to step down and help the younger lads out.” About the authorChris BeattieShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more