RSF publishes report on online harassment of journalists

first_img News News March 13, 2018 Find out more READ THE REPORTon online harassmentThe perpetrators may be ordinary “haters” (individuals or communities of individuals hiding behind their screens) or “troll armies” of online mercenaries created by authoritarian regimes. In both cases the goal is the same, to silence journalists whose reporting annoys, often using exceptionally abusive methods.For months, RSF documented these new online attacks and analyzed the modus operandi of the press freedom predators, who have been able to exploit the latest technologies to extend their oppressive reach.“Online harassment is a phenomenon that is spreading throughout the world and now constitutes one of the gravest threats to press freedom,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “We have discovered that information wars are not just waged between countries at the international level. Journalism’s predators also deploy troll armies to hunt down and harass all those who investigate and report the facts honestly. These despots let their mercenaries train their guns on journalists on the virtual terrain as others do in actual war zones.”What RSF’s report reveals:●    It is hard to establish a direct link between governments and online conspiracies against journalists. RSF has investigated and documented cases of online harassment of journalists in 32 countries, shedding light on hate campaigns orchestrated by authoritarian or oppressive regimes in such countries as China, India, Turkey, Vietnam, Iran and Algeria.●    RSF has analysed the modus operandi of the press freedom predators, who orchestrate their online attacks against journalists in three stages: Disinformation : journalistic content on social networks is drowned in a flood of fake news and pro-government content;Amplification : the impact of pro-government content is artificially enhanced by commentators who are paid by the government to post messages on social networks or by bots, computer programmes that automatically generate posts;Intimidation : journalists are personally targeted, insulted and threatened, in order to discredit them and reduce them to silence.● These aggressive cyberharassment campaigns are also waged by communities of individuals or political groups in supposedly democratic countries such as Mexico, and even in countries that are ranked at the top of the World Press Freedom Index such as Sweden and Finland.●The consequences are often dramatic: many of the cyberharassment victims RSF spoke to said they had ended up censoring themselves in response to the torrents of online abuse, the scale of which they had never imagined possible●Women journalists are affected the most by cyberharassment. Two thirds of women journalists have been the victims of harassment and, in 25% of the cases, the harassment occurred online.●In India, for instance, freelance journalist Rana Ayyub is attacked online by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trolls, called Yoddhas, who target her because of her investigative reporting on Modi’s rise to power. “I’ve been called Jihadi Jane, Islamo fascist [and] ISIS sex slave,” she said. “My face has been superimposed on a naked body and my mother’s photograph has been taken from my Instagram account and photoshopped in the most objectionable manner possible.”●Mexican investigative journalists such as Alberto Escorcia are also targeted by trolls. He was threatened after shedding light on how “dormant” online accounts are used to influence election campaigns, as in Mexico’s recent elections for president, deputies, senators and governors.●In the Philippines, Maria Ressa was attacked by trolls while the news website she edits, Rappler, was the target of judicial harassment. Philippine journalists who, like her, cover the government in a critical manner have been constantly targeted since Rodrigo Duterte’s election as president in 2016.●In France, two men were given six-month suspended prison sentences and fined 2,000 euros at the start of July for threatening radio reporter Nadia Daam online. A third man, who had threatened her after the trial, was then also given a six-month suspended prison sentence.●Companies such as Devumi that specialize in selling fake social media accounts have a direct responsibility in the amplification of these online threats. Large-scale harassment of journalists has never been so easy and so inexpensive.●In response to these findings, RSF has formulated 25 recommendations for governments, the international community, online platforms, media outlets and advertisers with the aim of addressing these new digital threats. RSF’s report also includes a tutorial entitled “Journalists – how to deal with troll armies” that reminds journalists about the digital security practices they should adopt.Read the report June 5, 2018 Find out more Organisation RSF urges Indian authorities to protect woman journalist Related documents rsf_report_on_online_harassment.pdfPDF – 6.35 MB April 27, 2018 Find out more In a report published today, entitled “Online harassment of journalists: the trolls attack”, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) voices concern about the scale of a new threat to press freedom, the mass harassment of journalists online. July 25, 2018 – Updated on August 1, 2018 RSF publishes report on online harassment of journalistscenter_img Help by sharing this information Online freedoms WomenInternet News Trial spotlights need to prosecute trolls who threaten journalists Philippine government brings two new complaints against Rappler to go further Online freedoms WomenInternet News RSF_en last_img read more

Color, Commencement-style

first_imgHarvard’s Commencement Day, May 27, included myriad sights, sounds, and experiences beyond the main stage. Here are some samples.Early risersMembers of Autumn River Brass, the five-piece band that serenaded Dunster House with classical music at 6 a.m., didn’t take the complaints of disturbed sleepers to heart. When someone complained from a window about being awakened, the group simply played on. “We didn’t mind; that’s the point,” laughed trumpet player Fred Sienkiewicz. Later, the group escorted seniors into the Old Yard with a selection of Dixieland songs. By 7:30 a.m. the ensemble was done and ready for rest. “We’re musicians,” said trumpet player Yaure Muniz. “We’re headed back to bed.”Lots of loveFor eight years, Joe Fabiano has kept watch at Mather House as a security guard. On Thursday, he kept watch at a gate to Harvard Yard, as he has also done for eight years, and welcomed his flock of students to the Morning Exercises. Moving a white barrier aside, Fabiano smiled and waved as the procession of students and faculty, led by a bagpiper, filed by. Students waved back and offered a happy “Hi, Joe,” to him. Many stopped for hugs. Fabiano encouraged their procession. “Let’s hear it for Mather,” he hollered, along with “Good luck!” He replaced the gate after the last senior was through and remarked softly, “I love these kids.”Radcliffe reminiscencesTwo Radcliffe alumnae dressed in black with top hats and black and red batons warmly directed traffic through the Old Yard, in their duties as official marshals for the day. Pausing briefly to reflect on their own time at Harvard, Vaughan Castellanos Barton and Rosemary Bonanno, both from the Radcliffe Class of 1955, laughed as they recalled some of the changes that have taken place at the Cambridge institution since they graduated 55 years ago. One of the biggest updates: male/female fraternizing. “We weren’t allowed in Lamont Library,” recalled Bonanno, “because it would be too distracting to the young men there.”Fond memoriesSenior Anthony Pino of Leverett House posed for photos and received a bear hug from his aunt next to the statue of John Harvard in front of University Hall. The tall economics concentrator, who intends to work for a venture capital firm before entering Harvard Business School, said he “could not feel more fortunate” about his undergraduate years. At Harvard, he said, “You get lots of new ideas, new ways of thinking about things, and a whole lot of fun, and people that you love, and that’s great.” One “memory” for Pino was jumping off the Weeks Memorial Footbridge. “I may or may not have done that,” said a coy Pino, who may or may not have been wearing just his underwear when he (possibly) took the plunge.Pied piperAlasdair Halliday ’82, senior associate director of University Planned Giving — clad in a MacBeth clan dress kilt — was outfitted for his other role at today’s Commencement ceremony: official bagpiper for his Harvard College class. Asked to return for his 25th reunion and provide some songs, he so pleased classmates with his work that they have invited him back every year since. Halliday, a songwriter and jazz pianist who once played bagpipes for Ella Fitzgerald, serenaded his class with tunes such as “Scotland the Brave” and “Amazing Grace.”Taking direction For most Harvard Commencements, you’ll find Frederick H. Abernathy perched on a low platform near Johnston Gate, directing traffic made up of the alumni, faculty, honorands, students, and visitors who crowd into Harvard Yard for the traditional Morning Exercises. (He is Gordon McKay Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Abbott and James Lawrence Research Professor of Engineering.) This time, Abernathy kept up a patter of prescriptions. He warned speed-walking honorands, for instance, to slow down. (Meryl Streep, at the head of that line, took direction well.) At one point, Abernathy also gently admonished the reuniting Class of 1985 to get off the sidewalks and out of the way of the forming procession. “When you come to College, you’re told to stay off the lawn,” he said in his trademark radio-pipes voice. “Well, you’re not in College now. Please get on the lawn.”Good without directionsLining up in the Academic Procession does not always come with exact directions. At the last minute, a few members of Harvard’s corps of 36 chaplains were looking for a place to go. “Let it be noted,” said Humanist Chaplain Greg Epstein, M.T.S. ’07, author of the bestselling “Good Without God” (2009), “the chaplains don’t know where to stand.”In the front row George Barner ’29 had a front-row seat at Commencement’s Afternoon Exercises— and it might as well have been the seat of honor. Barner is the lone survivor of Commencement 81 years ago, and he represented the Harvard class that goes furthest back in time. When Barner arrived on campus, as a transfer student from Grinnell College in Iowa, Charles Lindbergh had recently piloted the Spirit of St. Louis to Paris. In those days, the Harvard House system was still a daydream. “We lived wherever we could live,” said Barner, 101, and a retired lawyer living in Kennebunk, Maine. He bunked in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house on Boylston Street, and briefly at a near-empty dorm at the Harvard Business School — an institution then less than 20 years old. Barner’s happiest memories are of theater, especially the annual musicals put on by Pi Eta, a long-vanished competitor to Hasty Pudding. His last production, in the spring of 1929, was “Wrong Again.” Barner wrote the book, and Harold Adamson wrote the lyrics. (Adamson, later a contract songwriter at MGM, wrote the classic “It’s a Wonderful World,” as well as the theme song for TV’s “I Love Lucy.”) As for his alma mater, “Harvard changes every year,” said Barner. “For the better, I think.”Mer-yl Stre-ep!During Commencement morning’s procession, members of the Class of 2010 lined the walkway into Tercentenary Theatre, applauding as University officials and honorary degree candidates marched amid the sea of chairs. The applause grew notably louder as one honorand passed, in a red gown befitting her honorary doctor of arts degree. One student shouted, apparently in surprise, as the film icon passed just inches away: Mer-yl Stre-ep!Harvard President Drew Faust, in presenting Streep the degree, said the Academy Award-winning actress “richly merits this academy’s award.”Dudley Co-op, right behind you!And the last shall be first, or rather, the first last. Bringing up the rear of the undergraduate procession in the Yard were students from the Dudley Co-operative Society. Rather than living in the dorms, students in the co-op inhabit houses nearby, sharing household chores, cooking, and cleaning.Elyssa Jakim, a visual and environmental studies concentrator, said being last in line had its benefits. Though the co-op students would be the last to enter the theater, they were the first to greet University officials and honorary degree recipients.Another student said the events felt like a circus, because she had never seen so many men in top hats before.Giving until it … feels goodThe Senior Gift co-chairs, Alterrell Mills, Mary Cox, and Diana Robles, had record-breaking news during Class Day ceremonies. The Class of 2010 broke the record for participation in the senior gift, smashing the old mark by 6 percentage points, to 80.2 percent, with Lowell House leading the way, at 93.1 percent.The next day, during Commencement’s Afternoon Exercises, Harvard Treasurer James Rothenberg hailed other classes that reached their fundraising marks, including the Class of 1975, which set a record for its 35th anniversary, raising $31 million in gifts.The year that split the centuryEsther Walder Klionsky, a member of the Radcliffe Class of 1950, was enjoying her time in the Yard at Commencement’s Afternoon Exercises. Reflecting on her 60th reunion, Klionsky termed it “wonderful, just wonderful,” adding that her class graduated in what people then called “the year that split the century.”Family and friendsChristopher Holmes, a new Ph.D. in Earth and planetary sciences, said that his future — as with so many graduates — will lead away from Cambridge. Holmes, whose dissertation was on air pollution and the spread of mercury, will head for the University of California, Irvine, on a postdoctoral fellowship in the fall after a summer spent finishing work here.Holmes enjoyed the day and commented that U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter’s speech on constitutional interpretation by judges was a refreshing change from the usual advice-laden address. But the best part of the day, Holmes said, was who he got to spend it with.“It was fantastic to have family here,” he said.last_img read more

International slow-pitch softball this weekend

first_imgEnjoy some great international softball action this weekend at Siam Polo Park.The Pacific-Wide International U.S. Military Softball tournament will be held at the Siam Polo Park in East Pattaya from May 25-27. There will be 13 military and civilian teams of more than 200 players from China, Japan, Korea and Thailand who will compete in slow-pitch softball.  Games will be played from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. each of the 3 days.This is the first of two International tournaments to be played this year at the Siam Polo Park.  The second tournament will run November 16-18.  Everyone is welcome to come out and watch the games.  There will be a wide variety of western food and drinks available for purchase at the venue.For directions to the venue, visit: read more

Young riders star at national equestrian championships

first_imgThai Polo & Equestrian Club in East Pattaya recently played host to the annual King’s Cup Thailand Equestrian Championships 2016, held from September 15-18.The four King’s Cup trophy winners, Rawischa Vechakorn, Jaruporn Sompichart, Areenata Cahwathanon and Patcha Sawatkijthanrong (standing rear) pose with officials and dignitaries at the conclusion of the King’s Cup Thailand Equestrian Championships 2016, held at Thai Polo & Equestrian Club in Pattaya, Sept. 18.The event drew young riders and horse enthusiasts from all parts of the country and also included a quality field of international competitors.  Prizes were on offer in five distinct tests of horsemanship: Dressage, Jumping, Eventing and Endurance plus a separate category for ponies.Former Pattaya mayor Ittipol Khunplume was on hand to present Kings Cup trophies to the winners on Sept. 18.  Successful in the four main disciplines were Rawischa Vechakorn (Dressage), Jaru­porn Sompichart (Jumping), Areenata Cahwathanon (Eventing) and Patcha Sawatkijthanrong (Endurance).Opened in 2003, Thai Polo & Equestrian Club Pattaya has established Thailand as an international centre for polo, dressage, show jumping, and major equestrian events.  The club covers 800 acres and includes a full range of world-class equestrian facilities.The 2016 championships showcased a wide variety of horse handling skills.last_img read more

Harden, Young post triple-doubles; Rockets top Hawks 122-115

first_imgLoading…Sponsored ContentBest Car Manufacturers In The WorldWhat Happens When You Eat Eggs Every Single Day?5 Of The World’s Most Unique Theme ParksWhich Country Is The Most Romantic In The World? Spurs 129, Celtics 114Boston (AP) — DeMar DeRozan scored 30 points to lead San Antonio past Boston.The Spurs scored 22 of the first 25 points and held on through a slightly more competitive — and controversial — second half.Kemba Walker returned after missing three games with the flu and was ejected with back-to-back technical fouls when he argued a non-call in the third quarter. A full bottle or cup was thrown from the stands, landing in front of the San Antonio bench; no one was hit. The game was delayed briefly while the court was cleaned.The hubbub — Celtics coach Brad Stevens also was given a T — slowed a Boston rally that cut what had been a 22-point deficit to 76-69.Lonnie Walker IV added 19 points for the Spurs. Gordon Hayward scored 18 points and Jaylen Brown had 16 for Boston. The Celtics have lost two in a row for just the third time this season. Bucks 107, Warriors 98San Francisco (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 30 points and 12 rebounds while leading four Milwaukee starters in double figures, and the NBA-best Bucks held off Golden State.Khris Middleton added 21 points, seven rebounds and six assists for Milwaukee.Alec Burks scored 19 points and Glenn Robinson III and Damion Lee added 15 points apiece for the cold-shooting Warriors, who lost their sixth straight game and third in a row at home. Willie Cauley-Stein contributed 10 points and 11 rebounds.Draymond Green was back for Golden State after sitting out Monday with a sprained right ankle and had five points on 1-for-7 shooting, eight rebounds and eight assists. Heat 122, Pacers 108Indianapolis (AP) — Tyler Herro had 19 points, Duncan Robinson scored 11 of his 17 points in a decisive third quarter and seven Miami players scored in double figures in a win over Indiana.Bam Adebayo and Derrick Jones each scored 18 points, Goran Dragic and Kendrick Nunn added 15 each and Jimmy Butler pitched in 14 for Miami.The Pacers (23-15) were led by Domantas Sabonis, who finished with 27 points and 14 rebounds for his 30th double-double of the season. Jazz 128, Knicks 104Salt Lake City (AP) — Emmanuel Mudiay scored a season-high 20 points against his former team, and Rudy Gobert added 16 points and 16 rebounds to power Utah past short-handed New York.Mudiay, who played for the Knicks last season before signing with the Jazz in the summer, made 8 of 12 shots and added four assists.Bojan Bogdanovic also scored 20 points and Donovan Mitchell had 16 in limited minutes for Utah, which has won seven straight and 12 of 13.Frank Ntilikina had 16 points in 19 minutes and Bobby Portis added 13 points and 13 rebounds for New York. Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) shoots as Atlanta Hawks center Alex Len defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, in Atlanta. Houston won 122-115. (AP Photo/John Amis)Atlanta (AP) — James Harden scored 41 points, including 22 in the first quarter, to lead the Houston Rockets over Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks 122-115 on Wednesday night. Nuggets 107, Mavericks 106Dallas (AP) — Nikola Jokic scored 26 of his 33 points in the second half, including the winning basket with 7.9 seconds left, and Denver pulled out a win over Dallas.Jokic backed down Dorian Finney-Smith on the right side of the lane and got a favorable bounce on his left-handed layup.On the Mavericks’ final possession, Finney-Smith’s pass from the baseline to Tim Hardaway Jr. was off the mark.Luka Doncic led Dallas with 27 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds. The Mavericks played their fifth straight game without Kristaps Porzingis (right knee soreness).The Nuggets were missing two starters. Will Barton, second on the team in rebounding, missed the game for personal reasons. Paul Millsap sat out with a bruised left knee.center_img Young had 42 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. He and Harden are the first players to post 40-point triple-doubles in the same game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.The Hawks pulled within three late in the fourth quarter, the last time at 118-115 on two free throws by Alex Len. Harden sank four free throws in the final 10.4 seconds.Clint Capela had 22 points and 22 rebounds, and Ben McLemore had 18 points in Houston’s third straight win. Harden had 10 assists and 10 rebounds for his second straight triple-double. Magic 123, Wizards 89Orlando, Fla. (AP) — Nikola Vucevic scored 29 points, Evan Fournier added 19, and Orlando beat Washington.Admiral Schofield scored 18 points, and Troy Brown, Jr. had 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Wizards.Orlando took control with a 23-5 run to close the second quarter for a 69-52 lead. The advantage ballooned to 29 points in the early stages of the third quarter.A rash of injuries left the Wizards with only nine players available. Pelicans 123, Bulls 108New Orleans (AP) — Brandon Ingram had 29 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds, and New Orleans dealt Chicago its fifth straight loss.JJ Redick hit six 3-pointers on his way to 24 points, while rookie Jaxson Hayes had 14 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks to help the Pelicans win for the seventh time in 10 games.Zach LaVine scored 32 for the Bulls, who are in the midst of their longest losing streak this season. Thaddeus Young scored 18 in his return to the city where he was born. Raptors 112, Hornets 110, OTCharlotte, N.C. (AP) — Serge Ibaka made two free throws with 5.1 seconds left in overtime and finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds as banged-up Toronto edged Charlotte.Terence Davis also had 23 points and 11 boards, OG Anunoby added 19 points and Kyle Lowry had 15 points and nine assists while having to play 43 minutes due to injuries. Patrick McCaw added 13 points and 11 assists as the Raptors avoided taking losses on back-to-back nights for the first time since Dec. 26-27, 2017.Terry Rozier led the Hornets with 27 points, but his 3-pointer at the buzzer in overtime fell short. Miles Bridges added 26 points and nine rebounds and P.J. Washington had 12 points and 12 rebounds.last_img read more

Women’s Basketball Adds Washington Transfer Collier

first_imgCollier is from Kansas City, Mo., and lettered three seasons for Truman High School in Independence, Mo. and one season at Blue Valley North High School in Overland Park, Kan. She was a three-time all-conference, all-district and all-state selection at Truman, including being named Missouri Class 5 First Team All-State as a junior. Collier was a two-time finalist for the prestigious DiRenna Award presented annually to the Kansas City Metro Area Player of the Year. She scored more than 1,200 points in three seasons at Truman behind shooting 49.0 percent from the field. Collier recorded double-figure points in 53 consecutive contests and scored more than 20 points in 20-plus games. She scored 30 or more points on three occasions. As a sophomore, Collier led the Patriots in scoring (15.8) and assists (4.4) and helped her team qualify for the state playoffs. She followed that season with 22.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.3 steals and 2.5 assists per game as a junior. Collier was named The Examiner’s Player of the Year twice in her prep career. Print Friendly Version Collier, a 5-6 guard, played in 25 games with 14 starts for the Huskies in 2017-18. She averaged 6.6 points, 2.1 assists, 1.5 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game and earned Pac 12 All-Freshman Team honorable mention honors. Collier suffered a wrist injury in early January that limited her playing time for the next month before she was shut down for the season in mid-February. Prior to the injury, Collier was the team’s fourth-leading scorer at 8.4 points per game. She scored 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting in her first collegiate game against Idaho State and scored double figures in five games, including a career-high 18 points against Idaho.  DES MOINES, Iowa –  The Drake University women’s basketball team has added Washington transfer Kierra Collier to the program, head coach Jennie Baranczyk announced today. Collier will sit out the 2018-19 season and have three seasons of eligibility starting with the 2019-20 season.last_img read more

Gang used credit card scam to steal €2,500 from Evolve Menswear

first_imgThree men who were part of a gang which used a sophisticated device to dupe a credit card machine helped steal more than €2,500 from a Co Donegal clothing store.The trio appeared at Letterkenny District Court where they faced various charges relating to the swindle. The court heard how the men were part of a group of men who arrived at the leading Evolve Menswear store in Letterkenny in July, 2018.CCTV footage showed the men picking a range of items from around the store including jeans, shirts and underwear.They then handed all the clothing to another man who paid for the clothing haul using a credit card.However, Detective Garda John Murphy told the court how the man, who is still wanted by Gardai, used a device to over-ride the normal credit card system.Instead of requiring a pin number for the card, the card reader allowed the man to simply sign for the goods.The three men who were charged with theft from Evolve Menswear in Letterkenny. Pic by Northwest Newspix.Some of the gang returned the following day and signed for further items or clothing but staff became suspicious.It was soon realised the shop had been defrauded and a full-scale search for the men was launched.Garda information led officers to Creeslough but the men had already fled but following further CCTV footage they were apprehended in Letterkenny.The court was told the men had arrived up from Dublin and had spent two days in Donegal.Although the vast majority of the clothing was recovered the shop was still at a loss of more than €2,550 as the tags and labels had been taken off them.A number of other credit cards were also seized when the gang were apprehended.Solicitors Patsy Galagher and Frank Dorrian representing the men said the unidentified man seen in CCTV footage encouraging them to pick clothing was the instigator.He said the men foolishly agreed but must have known that something was not right.All three men charged with the thefts are German nationals, the court was told.Kwabena Owusu Kyei of 28 Gardiner Street, Dublin was charged with stealing €1,250 worth of clothing from Evolve Menswear on July 12th, 2018.Chukwuma Uzoezie of 55 Mountjoy Square, Dublin was charged with stealing €1,307 of clothing on July 11th and €1,250 on July 12th at Evolve Menswear.The third man Alpha Fadiga with an address at Convoy, Co Donegal was charged with stealing €1,250 of clothing from the same store on July 12th.Passing sentence Judge Paul Kelly said these were very serious theft charges committed by a group who had clearly found a sophisticated operation to carry them out with.He fined Uzoezie €100 and ordered him to pay €400 to the proprietors of Evolve by way of compensation.Kyei and Fadiga both had their cases adjourned until September 19 for the preparation of community service and probation reports and to allow them to come up with compensation for the clothing store.Garda Inspector Sean Grant applied to have the clothing given to the local branch of St Vincent De Paul.Gang used credit card scam to steal €2,500 from Evolve Menswear was last modified: May 18th, 2019 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:courtcredit carddonegalevolve mensweargangletterkennyscamtheftlast_img read more

Poison Comets Brought Life to Earth

first_imgYou don’t drink formaldehyde; you stick dead things in it.  Why on earth would some evolutionists claim that “Poison could have set the stage for the origins of life?”  That’s exactly a headline on Science Daily and PhysOrg, with Live Science chiming in that the poisonous chemical has been “linked” to the origin of life on earth.     The story begins with speculation that formaldehyde may have made up some of the “fabric” of the early bodies of the solar system – asteroids and comets.  The only observational evidence in the story is that formaldehyde is found in interstellar space by its spectrum, and that researchers at the Carnegie Institution were able to create one organic solid similar to one in a certain kind of meteorite starting with it.  This mineral was also similar to material found in Comet Wild-2, samples of which were analyzed by the Stardust spacecraft.     From there, the researchers leapt to the idea that the carbon in the formaldehyde that made up these minerals got to earth.  George Cody at Carnegie was excited about this wild idea.  “We may owe our existence on this planet to interstellar formaldehyde,” he said.  “And what’s ironic about it is that formaldehyde is poisonous to life on Earth.”  So even though it’s a long conceptual leap from formaldehyde to comets to carbon on earth to life, Cody felt he had done his fellow carbon units a favor: “Establishing the likely origin of the principal source of organic carbon in primitive solar system bodies is extremely satisfying.” Update 04/06/2011: Ker Than wrote an independent article about this for National Geographic News, entitled, “Space Poison Helped Start Life on Earth?  Formaldehyde on asteroids may have delivered planet’s carbon.”  His article showcased a dead frog preserved in formalin (dissolved formaldehyde), and explained that formaldehyde is poisonous because it interferes with many metabolic reactions.  Like the other reporters, though, he offered no critique of Cody’s theory.     Meanwhile, at University of Oxford, Don Fraser has been divining clays as possible maternity wards for incipient life.  PhysOrg reprinted a press release from the university with a cast of characters including Darwin, Huxley, Pasteur, Oparin, Miller, ISIS and NIMROD to see if clays could have solved the problem of getting one-handed molecules together.  Scenes shift from warm little ponds to labs with spark-discharge tubes, primeval soup kitchens to hospitals with thalidomide babies, all with the climax of taking “our understanding of the origin of life a step further.”     ISIS is a neutron source near Oxford, and NIMROD is an instrument for analyzing clays.  The Oxford team believes they are “We are thus building an increasingly detailed picture of the steps that lead to the origin of life.”     Paul Davies lacks the confidence of these teams.  Denyse O’Leary at Uncommon Descent found a video on YouTube of the famous astrobiologist and author acknowledging that evolutionists have no idea how life began. It is tragic to watch smart people deceive themselves and to become fools while professing to be wise.  ISIS, NIMROD – the techniques of divination change, but somehow the stories stay the same.  Ironically, the room in which Davies was speaking was decorated with Christmas trees – symbol of another story in which life was brought to earth not by poison, but by a Person.(Visited 11 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Negative Friction and Positive Friction

first_img Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Now In the past, I have written about what I believe to be the two strategies for business that are pulling in opposite directions. The first strategy I call super-transactional, as it seeks to eliminate friction, making it easier for customers to transact (think, Uber, AirB2B, etc.). The second strategy we might call super-relational, leveraging trust, personal care, and some form of customization.There are two categories of friction when it comes to clients and customers, negative friction and positive friction. It is a mistake to confuse them or apply one to the other.Negative FrictionFriction is the idea that you are difficult to do business with, that you make it difficult to transact, that more is required than should be necessary, and that the experience isn’t good. The worse your experience, the less likely you are to continue to buy from companies that create enough friction to drive you to seek other options.I’ve been writing about the difference between transactional and complex sales, describing the complex as low frequency-high significance decisions, and transactional as high frequency-low significance. When you buy something repeatedly with little importance and no real risk, removing the friction creates a better experience and preference to buy from you.Technology has enabled the reduction—or in some cases, the elimination—of friction (The number of physical books in my library and on my Kindle attests to this fact). Because the model is effective, many in business have conflated all friction to the negative, believing they should eliminate friction. This decision ignores the value of positive friction.No more pushy sales tactics. The Lost Art of Closing shows you how to proactively lead your customer and close your sales. Positive FrictionIn a super-relational, strategic relationship where human beings need to work closely to solve problems and generate results together, friction is positive. Meetings are friction, which is why much is written about the amount of time wasted in poor meetings. Perhaps it because of the Digital Age in which we find ourselves, little is written about how face-to-face meetings and a physical presence creates positive friction, the deepening of relationships and the engendering of trust.Conversations to understand what clients need, especially the conversations that include multiple stakeholders with different or competing perspectives, are another form of friction. The friction created by competing perspectives and working through to some reasonable consensus is the benefit of that friction.Would it be easier to send a survey to see how you are doing? Would an email accomplish the same goal without interrupting your busy client? While these choices might end a bit of friction, the positive friction that comes from a phone call is that it proves caring and high touch. The lower friction suggests transaction.It is a mistake to try to reduce friction when it is positive, just as it is a mistake not to remove it when it is negative.last_img read more


first_imgHot favourites to spice up the season. A designer’s sit downFashion, food and design, a headier melange does not exist. And this winsome combination is the brainchild of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver who is celebrating the 10th anniversary of his restaurant Fifteen. The British gourmand’s Better Food Foundation, a charity,Hot favourites to spice up the season.A designer’s sit downFashion, food and design, a headier melange does not exist. And this winsome combination is the brainchild of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver who is celebrating the 10th anniversary of his restaurant Fifteen. The British gourmand’s Better Food Foundation, a charity which trains disenfranchised young people to become chefs, received a donation of twenty iconic ANT chairs from the Danish furniture brand Republic of Fritz Hansen. These were distributed among creative talents such as Alexander Mc Queen’s creative director Sarah Burton, artist Tracey Emin and Paul Smith who were given the carte blanche to stamp their seal of food-inspired design on these seats. Oliver too has worked his magic on a classic EGG chair and footstool, also donated by Fritz Hansen, besides designing an ANT chair in collaboration with renowned photographer David Loftus. Six of these seats will be a part of a lottery which will be held in October while the rest are to be auctioned online. All proceeds from the sale will go to the Better Food Foundation. So if you want to donate to a good cause or grab one of the chairs visit Puttin’ on the RitzThe Ritz Carlton Hotel company recently announced the opening of its 80th hotel across the globe; its ninth in Europe and its first luxury resort in the the Austrian capital. The Ritz-Carlton, Vienna, is composed of four historic palaces that date back to the 19th century and is located on Vienna’s Schubertring Boulevard. The resort features 202 guestrooms, including 43 suites and the Dstrikt restaurant, offering authentic Austrian cuisine from the kitchen of Chef Wini Brugge. The luxury hotel group plans to double its properties in Europe by 2015 and the Vienna opening is part of this strategy. Vienna’s historic pedigree and status as the leading destination for international congresses and conventions make this just the first of many new sights.Accessories: GoldfingerCelebrating 50 years of James Bond at the movies, cuticle care company OPI has launched a special edition nail polish containing real 18-carat gold leaf. Just a few specks will add a dramatic shine to any Bond girl’s digits. The Man With the Golden Gun paint launches in October, in time to shake the bottle, stir the brush and paint Ms. Moneypenny’s magical manicure in Skyfall.Gadget: Aural fixationUK-based Hart Audio has come out with speakers for the super rich. Cast in 18-carat gold, the ultra high-end boomboxes weigh approximately 50 kg and come bolted to an adjustable chrome stand. A three-driver design also enables the D&W aural pleasure to output richer sound for golden moments. Only one pair will be manufactured, while sterling silver and phosphor bronze versions are available in larger numbers.Fashion: No kiddingGiorgio Armani has opened its first Armani Junior showroom in India at DLF Emporio in the capital with designer Suneet Varma as its franchise partner. The 2,000 sq ft store will retail collections as varied as the lives of the children for whom it is designed. The stylish clothes and accessories will cater to boys and girls in the age group of 0-16 years. From basic pieces-shirts, sweatshirts and jeans-to more fashionable items-jackets, dresses and skirts, the label hopes to meet the suiting up demands for school, leisure time, sports, and formal occasions. The brand favours natural fabrics and offers a contemporary look.Jewellery: Bringing Gatsby backLegendary jeweller Faberge’s latest collection evokes the decadence of the 20s and the glamour of the lavish parties celebrated in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby. The range includes pieces such as the dramatic Imperial necklace which has layers of precious Akoya pearls and fine white diamonds and is finished with an aristocratic crest from which hangs an exuberant pearl tassel. Another design which is reminiscent of Gatsby-esque heroines is the Collier Pur, a modern interpretation of the popular lariat necklace.Perfume: Scent of a womanNina Ricci has always endorsed the idea of effortless, classic femininity. When the label was established in 1932, Nina herself had the goal of simply creating very pretty, wearable clothes. The latest addition to the house’s line of luxury fragrances takes its name from one of its fashion collections launched in the 1960s, and has the sole purpose of embodying love in a bottle. Everlasting declaration of love just got the right scent this wedding season.Watch: Fly sky highOne of the most enduring partnerships in the watch industry is the eight-year collaboration between Breitling aviation-themed watches and qualified pilot John Travolta. This year, Breitling marks the 60th anniversary of its flagship flight piece Navitimer, the world’s oldest mechanical chronograph still in production, with a limited edition of 500 individually numbered pieces of its Navitimer Blue Sky, one of which now sits wrapped around Travolta’s wrist. “The watch does everything an aviation watch should do,” says the star. Considering that he holds 11 pilot licenses and five planes, we can safely assume he knows what he’s talking about.CalendaradvertisementadvertisementDates that mean something.Tod’s presents the India inspired photographs of Maimouna Guerresi, one of Europe’s leading photographers, at the Italian Cultural Centre in New Delhi.Spooky Goings On is a fun event held in Beaumaris Castle in Wales. The palace comes alive on Halloween with ghouls, ghosts and haunting tricks and games for the family.The Venice Architecture Biennale 2012 will showcase the work of major protagonists of contemporary architecture. The theme for this year’s fair is ‘Common Ground’.Here comes the brideThe three most expensive wedding gowns of all time.$12 Million-The most expensive wedding gown in history was created by Martin Katz Jewellers and Renee Strauss, a bridal couture designer and owner of a successful bridal salon in Beverly Hills. The magnificent dress featured 150 carats worth of diamonds woven throughout the dress. The diamond wedding gown was made to celebrate the spectacular bridal show at The Ritz-Carlton on Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles.$8.5 Million-The world’s second most expensive wedding dress was created by Japanese designer Yumi Katsura. The sparkling wedding dress featured 1000 pearls and a rare 5-carat white gold diamond.$1.5 Million-The Peacock wedding dress was fashioned out of 2,009 pieces of peacock feathers. The expensive wedding dress was unveiled in 2009 at the wedding expo held in Nanjing, capital of east Chinas Jiangsu Province. The peacock wedding dress took eight craftsmen two months to finish by hand.TalkStay up to date with the latest.Berry gets the bootAn unhealthy obsession with shoes is a common affliction in the glitzy corridors of Hollywood but Halle Berry, who once turned up at a red carpet event in flip flops, is not one of them. So, the news of her collaboration with German footwear brand Deichmann came as a surprise to many. The Oscar-winning stunner is designing a range named Fifth Avenue by Halle Berry for the label, and was recently in Berlin shooting for its advertising campaign. Unfortunately for the 46-year-old, online commentators have not taken kindly to the footwear, with dowdy being a common adjective used to describe her creations.Water babyAcclaimed Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid and American art dealer Kenny Schachter go a long way. He commissioned her to design the three-wheeled Z-Car in 2005 and now the Pritzker prize winning designer is creating the Z-Boat, an all black, 7.5-metre-long fibreglass vessel, for her loyal client. The knighted designer will create 12 boats and four prototypes which will be ready to hit the waves in early 2013. French manufacturers Shoreteam have been roped in to bring Hadid’s half-a-million dollar handiwork to life.Riding high and lowWith a unique, hand polished metal paint finish and explosive power, the only thing low about Harley-Davidson’s 2013 offering, the CVO Breakout, is its silhouette. This shiny declaration of independence has a lowered, raked front end, a chopped fender that enhances its long, slammed custom look, and a powerful, wide-standing wheel and set of forks that guarantee a solid stance on the road. Besides the perfect storm of engineering and style you’ll only find that this machine will spoil you with a wide choice of fun accessories.Wow welliesMatthew Williamson’s signature peacock feather print is all over his latest offering: rain boots deigned in collaboration with the footwear brand Havaianas. Though the label is better know for its bright flip flops, Williamson wanted to design a range of Wellington boots, as an ode to his English roots.Haute bagThe world of fashion thrives on the audacious and now a paper bag is pushing it to a whole new level of cheeky. When German designer Jil Sander sent her models down the runway with lunch bags made of paper, it was seen as a quirky statement in hard times. But now the label is retailing the Vasari bag for a cool $ 290 (16,000) and it has reportedly sold out. Here is one paper bag that will not hit the recycle bin anytime soon.Talking shopFrom a small 19th century raincoat shop to a well established global leader in fashion, Burberry has had a long and rewarding journey. The British brand commemorates its rise with a flagship store in Regent Street, London. The label integrated its physical and digital worlds to showcase its rich heritage through best-in-class craftsmanship and design. Innovative technology delivers digital experiences that bring all facets of the brand to life, using the tall indoor 6.9m high/ 38m2 laser phosphor display screen and over 420 speakers. The brand also introduced the Orchard bag this fall. The must-have accessory is inspired by vintage luggage and the British countryside.Indian by designSotheby’s in London recently held India Fantastique, an exhibit to celebrate 25 years of the creativity of the country’s couturier duo Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla. Their partnership has dressed actors and delivered costumes for numerous Bollywood films and created exuberant, maximalist interiors as well. Bravo!Zero calorie cartoonsWalt Disney may not have realised this, but the iconic characters created by him were a tad on the overweight side. Luxury retailers Barneys stepped in to give Minnie, Mickey, Goofy and Daisy, a makeover and they have emerged supermodel-skinny after the preening. session.The spice cellar: For sake’s sakeadvertisementAkiko TomodaIs it just a drink or a full on tradition? Undoubtedly, the Japanese take their drinking seriously; especially when it comes to sake, a tradition perfected by centuries of devotion across the length and breadth of the country.Devoted traditionMade from two basic components-water and rice-this traditional Japanese rice wine has been enthusiastically brewed in regions with abundant spring water and excellent rice. Take Nada in Hyogo prefecture, for example, one of the best sake-producing regions since the Edo period, the town is blessed with miya-mizu-divine quality water, top notch local rice, and a convenient location for transportation by sea. As the characteristics of local water and rice have strong ties with the regions climate and food culture, sake also attains unique regional characteristics that complement best with local dishes and delicacies. In Hokkaido, sake is prepared with extremely cold water which gives it a distinctively fragrant character that is best accompanied by local fresh seafood.But these are just the obvious parameters. Excellent ingredients demand excellent toji, the master brewer, to direct and manage the complex brewing processes, where rice undergoes a series of microbial fermentation. These skillful masters continue to find a way to brew more perfect sake, and some even play Mozart to uplift and relax the bacteria during the fermentation process.Cool and sakeliciousJustifiably, there are equally innovative ways to enjoy sake, from traditional “chilled, to room temperature or warm” to fashionable “cool sake style”: try sake on the rocks or a glass of sparkling sake with cheese.Having seafood for dinner? Try the more exotic green tea and sake cocktail: fill a rock glass with ice and pour equal parts of sake and green tea and stir gently (use genshu or undiluted sake for the recipe if possible). Half a teaspoon of powdered green tea further deepens the flavour. It cleanses the aftertaste and even works as a wonderful digestive.To chill with “Samurai Rock”, pour in sake over a generous amount of ice in a rock glass and twist lime to bring out the sweetness of the sake. It is just perfect to wash your palate after rich dishes like tempura.Sake can be mixed into creamy concoction as well. Unconvinced? Fill half a glass with nigorizake (unfiltered sake) and milk and stir gently; top up the concoction with ice. Add soda water or a twist of lemon if you like. Reminiscent of a yogurt drink or makgeolli (Korean rice wine) it pairs beautifully with spicy dishes. Nothing beats summer heat like a glass of delicious sake in “cool sake style”!The author is a sake sommelier.last_img read more