By Mark Lee on 30 June 2009 in Bloomberg News - http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=afznMNIlt0XQ
Image above: Chinese using computers to access the internet. From http://chinadigitaltimes.net/china/censorship/
[Editor's Note: Only computers using Microsoft Windows operating system are targeted. Macintosh OSX and Linux systems are not currently affected by Green Dam Youth Escort software.]
China postponed tomorrow’s deadline for personal-computer makers to include a state-backed anti- pornography software on new PCs after U.S. officials and business groups urged it to scrap the rule.
The government is delaying mandatory installation of the Green Dam Youth Escort software after PC makers demanded more time, the Beijing-based Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said in a statement on its Web site today.
Business groups representing U.S. technology companies including Hewlett-Packard Co., Dell Inc. and Microsoft Corp. told Premier Wen Jiabao last week that Green Dam may undermine computer security. The software, which the Chinese government said is designed to block pornographic sites, also limits access to political content, tightening censorship of the world’s biggest Web market by users, university researchers said.
“The worry is it could compromise the user experience, if it really does create an unstable system, and raise concerns about security,” Bryan Ma, vice-president at research company IDC in Singapore, said before the announcement. “There will be a few hiccups along the way as PC vendors struggle to adjust their logistics and production processes.”
The ministry is soliciting opinions to improve the pre- installation plan, and didn’t say if it had set a new deadline. The ministry will keep providing a free version of the software and install it in PCs in schools and Internet cafes.
‘Barrier to Trade’
The Information Technology Industry Council, whose members include Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Microsoft, was among 22 industry groups in North America, Europe and Japan that signed a letter to Wen urging the government to review the software requirement, citing concerns on freedom of information and computer performance.
China should revoke its mandate for the software, which poses a “possible barrier to trade,” U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said June 24. Kirk and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said in a joint letter to Chinese officials last week the software adoption may violate World Trade Organization rules.
The Green Dam program blocks anti-government Web sites, in addition to pornographic material, and will impair computer performance by making machines more prone to security breaches, according to a June 11 report by researchers at the University of Michigan.
Largest Web Market
Government control of the Internet will be increased through the implementation of Green Dam, a “substandard product” developed by companies with little experience in such software, according to a June 12 report by OpenNet Initiative, which includes researchers at the University of Cambridge, University of Oxford and University of Toronto.
The industry ministry said in its statement today that the software is for the public good and doesn’t infringe on trade, technology or privacy issues and complies with WTO regulations. The program doesn’t obstruct the free flow of information, it said.
China, which passed the U.S. last year as the world’s biggest Internet market, had 316 million Web users at the end of March, the state-owned Xinhua News Agency reported in April, citing Xi Guohua, vice minister of industry and information technology.
Lenovo Group Ltd. and Acer Inc. are among vendors which have agreed to ship the software. Palo Alto, California-based Hewlett-Packard and Dell, the world’s two biggest PC makers, have said they are reviewing the requirement.
“We’ll continue to advise customers worldwide about widely available Web-filtering software that has been thoroughly tested and we know performs well on Dell computers,” Round Rock, Texas-based Dell said in an e-mailed statement today.
Hewlett-Packard said in an e-mail it is working with the ITI trade group “to seek additional information, clarify open questions and monitor developments on this matter.”
By Ashaman on 27 June 2009 in the Daily Kos
Human history is best thought of in Ages. An Age is somewhat tied to the prevailing technology of the day, but also defined by how that technology is used, where our attention is focused. We started with the Stone Age, where our first pieces of technology were stone blades.
We then followed with a series of ages named after the best metal we could produce, Copper, Bronze, Iron, Steel. The early part of the 20th century is often considered the Industrial Age, and the late 20th century marked the beginning of the Information Age, based on computer technology.
But I can see the future, and the Information Age just ended. When historians look back at the beginning of the 21st century, they'll draw a line and say: "Here lies the beginning of the Climate Age." But 'climate' isn't a technology, you can't name an age after it! Ok, fine, give me a better name then. I'm serious.
Industry will rework itself as well. Heavy industry will capture not only polluting gasses, but waste heat from their processes. The materials we use today, concrete and steel, will either be reformed to take less energy to create, or replaced with new materials entirely. Agriculture will completely change, and this is where it starts to get ugly. There will be stronger movements for organic processes and local food, so the nature of the crops planted, and the methods for tending those crops, will adjust.
It will become too hot to grow wheat or corn anywhere in the United States, so the breadbasket of North America will move into Canada, where the glaciers left all those big rocks behind. Invasive species of plant and insect will migrate to brand new regions, and farmers will constantly be worried about the newest unexpected threat.
SUBHEAD: Kokee Advisory Council meeting on Thursday, July 2, 2009 at County Council Chambers at 5:30 pm.
By Pumehana on June 26 2009 for Save Kokee -
Image above: Sign at entrance to Kanaloahuluhulu Meadow in Kokee. From http://www.hawaiiweb.com/kauai/html/sites/kokee_lodge.html
If you can't attend a meeting, please send in a testimony to www.kokeeadvisory.org. Even if it is only one line that states your feelings. mahalo. E`O People of Kaua`i! Koke`e and Waimea Canyon State Parks needs you to listen to your hearts and speak your mind! The next Koke`e Advisory Council meeting will be held on Thursday, July 2, 2009 at the Kaua`i County Council Chambers at 5:30 pm. It is time to give public testimony AGAIN because the DLNR’s final version of the Master Plan does not reflect the majority consensus of the people (see below). This meeting is very important-- the Koke`e Advisory Council needs to hear from the community as the Council is our voice. If you are unable to attend, please let the Koke`e Advisory Council members know your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information is at their website at www.KokeeAdvisory.org.
When the DLNR starts paving and infringing on the natural landscape, we can never go back to the simple beauty of these beloved places. The Final Master Plan for Koke`e and Waimea Canyon State Parks, entitled the Enhanced Park Facilities Development Plan,” as proposed by DLNR and its consultant, R. M. Towill, includes in its vision and stated objectives: Objectives: “Creating a destination” that “enhances the wildland experience”; “Enhancing park identity” through signage; “Optimizing” recreational opportunities;
“Focusing development at lookouts and along the roadway corridor between Pu`u ka Pele and Kanaloahuluhulu Meadow”; “Constructing a visitors center”; “Developing ‘satellite’ interpretive facilities at lookouts and trail hubs”; “Developing tours around themes”; “Expanding concession and management leases”; “Developing the lodge area as a ‘main street’.. with new [and separate] Park HQ, Lodge and Education Center buildings... served by storefront parking”; “Establishing a revenue enhancement program including entry fee and improved concession facilities at lookouts and [at] Kanaloahuluhulu [meadow];” Achieving “sustainable operations with 35% of park revenues.” Some of the specific plans include:
(Referred to in plan as “Revenue Generation Center”) Overall, probable demolition of all existing buildings at the meadow and replacement; Development of a “lodge complex” with additional short-term rentals “to meet existing demand” (-- also suggests new short-term rental rooms may be incorporated into existing park buildings at the meadow); Development of the lodge area as a “main street” layout Removal of the historic park headquarters building at the entrance to the meadow and development of new park headquarters located closer to the lodge; Development of a new “Park Visitor Service Center” at the meadow area, along with a new or renovated lodge and museum (part of the main street complex), and “improved” parking; Development of interpretive program for new Visitor Service Center; Realignment of road entrance to direct cars to the commercial area, lodge and museum; The current lodge manager’s house (“Ranger Station”) to be used by Division of State Parks staff.
Lookout “provides the setting for visitor amenities”; Development of new, permanent Visitor Information and Concession building at the lookout viewpoint, to include: o Souvenir and snack concession o interpretive displays o information center o restrooms Development of new, “highly developed” parking lot and bus staging area below existing parking lot using “robust” materials to “signal to the visitor the character of the experience they are entering.”
Redesign lookout (to take “full advantage of the sweeping views along the cliff face”) and lookout guardrails (currently underway); Develop gateway feature with signage; Expand parking lot (currently underway) Interpretive program Note that in the 2004 master plan, the road from the meadow to Kalalau lookout was to be widened to accommodate full-size tour buses. This language has been removed from the 2009 version of the master plan, but the widening of the road to 20’ is currently underway.
Lower Elevation Lookouts:
The plan provides for transfer of Waimea Canyon Road (and portions of Koke`e Road) from Department of Transportation to Division of State Parks from Koke`e down to Waimea town, to permit collection of a fee as well as development of lookouts. Division of State Parks will assume responsibility for maintaining the entire length of the roadway. Nine (9) sites are identified between mile marker 1.1 and 6.4 along Waimea Canyon Road as “promising” for development. Development of these new lower elevation lookouts (from Waimea town up to mile 6.4) are to feature “typical” amenities such as restrooms, ADA accessible pathways, turnout, interpretive signage, etc.
Informational and interpretive signage throughout the trail system to orient and educate hikers, including ‘satellite’ interpretive facilities at trail hubs; New facilities at Water Tank and Kaluapuhi trailheads with parking lots with capacity for 45 and 50 cars, respectively, directional signage and toilets. Suggests that “elevated canopy trails in the forest” be considered.
Entry Fee Station:
Considered “essential component” of master plan;
Additional stated purpose (added in 2009 master plan): the fee station will “remind visitors they are entering sacred ground”; Located at the 6.9 mile mark at the junction of Koke`e Road (from Kekaha) and Waimea Canyon Road (from Waimea); Fee station is positioned between one incoming and two exiting travel lanes; Additional development on and within the roadway to accommodate the fee station: o One lane exiting downhill; o A raised median with crash barriers to accommodate station; o Entry Fee Station of a minimum of 100 sf (10’ x 10’); o Two incoming lanes heading uphill, one with card-activated gate for residents and park staff; o Development of an additional 550 sf building at roadside; o Parking lot with a minimum of 4 parking spaces at roadside, including ADA van-accessible space and adequate distance for vehicles backing out; o Staffed by one uniformed DSP staff; o Hours TBD, daylight hours Master Plan executive summary shows that the revenue generated by Koke`e currently exceeds its operating expenses without additional fees; Fee collected at Koke`e entry fee station will go to DLNR for statewide purposes;
For State Parks to collect a fee, the Department of Transportation (currently maintaining the road) must transfer Waimea Canyon Road to the Division of State Parks. o Transfer of the road is a prerequisite to park entry fee station and entry fee program as DOT does not permit DSP to collect a fee on a state road. o Division of State Parks must then take over maintenance and control of the road from Waimea town all the way up the mountain.
Answer: You should at least get a camel, but with this situation you won't even get an ungulate.
By George Mobus on 17 June 2009 in Question Everything http://questioneverything.typepad.com/
Image above: Arabian camel from http://bsnyderblog.blogspot.com/2009/02/do-you-need-integration-patterns-you.html
Today the Obama administration unveils its 'plan' for regulating the financial industry. This looks like the classical closing of the barn door after the horse is out. They are assuming that the economy, and hence the financial basis of that economy, will recover and we will be once again on the borrow-so-we-can-consume track to Nowheresville.
Then, once the economy is running again, these regulations will kick in and all will be rosy thereafter.
Perhaps I should smoke what they are smoking in the White house so that I could stop worrying about outcomes and reality. The proposed regulations look a lot (to me anyway) like what we call a kluge in engineering.
You throw together a bunch of reactive solutions to a set of problems in the hope that they will somehow all work together to keep the 'device' working. Complex systems have all these little pesky variables that need to be 'controlled', so you look at each one individually, figure out how to apply some local 'fix', and then go on to the next problem.
The system that was already in place was a huge kluge. So many different agencies with different authorities and different jurisdictions (except that many overlapped in ways making it hard to know who should do what and to whom!)
Now the proposal is to 'patch it up'. Fix it incrementally. Once again I wonder when wisdom will prevail in these decisions. I have been writing for nearly two years about the need for a more naturalistic approach to governance, one based on hierarchical management with strategic, coordination (tactical and logistical), and operations controls suitably designed and placed, and I still think that is the only feasible way to approach these problems.
Instead we limp along trying desperately to make an already proven failed system work.
And it is even the wrong system! I have also been writing about the idiocy of our current approach to financial management, banking, liquidity markets, and the like.
So now, what I see is that we are going to try to make a bad system work better at being bad for mankind's long-term good! I need a drink!