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Archive for February 18th, 2010

On Google Digital Book Gouging

Posted by feww on February 18, 2010

What people say about Google digital book monopoly intentions, as the case goes to NY court

Google is about to face objectors in a New York court over its plans to create the world’s biggest digital books monopoly

A single judge, Denny Chin, is about hold a hearing concerning the arguments for and against a contentious deal between the Internet Goliath,  Google (dubbed the Internet leading mafia family), and US authors and publishers, some 26 interested parties.

The intelligent consensus is that the deal would provide the search Goliath with a monopoly over online books sales [and the “right” to screw the authors.]

Here’s what people say:

“I’m afraid an awful lot of writers have not really informed themselves. You know, we tend to be sort of busy doing our writing and sort of feeling that if we belong to a group like Authors Guild or something, that they’ll look after it and sort of see to it that our rights aren’t infringed to the point where we can’t make a living any longer.” Noted author and GBS objector Ursula Le Guin in her extended interview with the PBS NewsHour Art Beat Blog.

“I do think all the books in the world should be digitised but I think it is completely wrong to give one huge company control of that huge database and this is a very very important matter.”John Simpson of Consumer Watchdog

“This de facto exclusive licence will provide Google with an enormous advantage over its search competitors.” —Open Book Alliance

“Content that can be discovered by only one search engine offers that search engine some protection from competition.  This outcome has not been achieved by a technological advance in search or by operation of normal market forces; rather, it is the direct product of scanning millions of books without the copyright holders’ consent.”  —The Justice Department

“Google already processes about two-thirds of the search requests in the United States, an advantage that led the company to rake in $79 billion in revenue during the past five years — mostly from short ads posted alongside search results and other Web content. ” —The Associated Press.

Google says their motto is “Do No Evil!” yet most of their immoral earnings come from predatory advertising, and their corporate practice is suppression of information!

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Posted in consumer watchdog, DOJ, Google censorship, National Assets, Open Book Alliance | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Italian Town Buried by Mud Avalanche

Posted by feww on February 18, 2010

2,300 people evacuated as an avalanche of mud and rocks buries scenic Italian town

Some 2,300 residents of small town of Maierato in the Calabria region, southern Italy were evacuated, as an “apocalyptic” landslide triggered by heavy rainfall brought down an entire hillside burying the town under an avalanche of mud and rocks. There was no report of deaths or injuries, Xinhua said.

The entire region has been severely affected by flash floods and landslides. Many small towns close to Cosenza, located at the confluence of the Busento and the Crathis rivers,  have also been evacuated recently due to the floods.

More than 100 smaller landslides in Calabria, all of which were apparently caused by heavy rains, have since been reported, sources say.

A deadly landslide in the Sicilian city of Messina killed about 40 people and left up to a 1,000 others homeless in October 2009.

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Posted in Busento, Calabria, Italy mudslide, Maierato, Tyrrhenian coast | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Powerful Quake Strikes Vladivostok Region

Posted by feww on February 18, 2010

Earthquake measuring up to 7.0Mw strikes near China-Russia-North Korea border area

A powerful quake measuring up to magnitude 7.0 Struck  near China-Russia-North Korea border region (42.7ºN131.1ºE) on Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 01:13UTC, at a depth of about 590 km.

The quake was felt as far east as the eastern coast of Honshu, east of Tokyo, Japan’s Meteorological Agency (JMA) reported.

The event was the 12th earthquake measuring between 7.0 and 7.8 to strike the region since 1900, and the fourth such event since 1990, according to USGS earthquake data.

The quake epicenter appears to be located in sparsely populated Chinese territory. It too deep to cause any tsunami, or major damage to the nearest major cities of Vladivostok, Russia,  and Chongjin, North Korea. As of posting, there was no report of injuries as a result of this event.

Earthquake Location (USGS/EHP)

Political Map of China. Click images to enlarge.

Population Exposure:  Estimated Population Exposed to Earthquake Shaking (PDF)

Earthquake Details:

  • Magnitude as reported by USGS/EHP: 6.9 [Fire Earth estimate of the maximum magnitude: 7.0]
  • Date-Time: Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 01:13:18 UTC
  • Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 10:13:18 AM at epicenter
  • Location:  JMA (42.7ºN131.1ºE); USGS (42.581°N, 130.537°E)
  • Depth:  JMA (590km);  USGS (573.8 km or 356.6 miles)
  • Distances:
    • 90 km (55 miles) ESE of Yanji, Jilin, China
    • 100 km (60 miles) NNE of Chongjin, North Korea
    • 1110 km (690 miles) NW of TOKYO, Japan
    • 1215 km (760 miles) ENE of BEIJING, Beijing, China
  • Location Uncertainty: horizontal +/- 4.4 km (2.7 miles); depth +/- 6.7 km (4.2 miles)
  • Source: JMA; USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
  • USGS Event ID: us2010swaf

Seismic Hazard Map (USGS/EHP)

Click image to enlarge.

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Posted in Chongjin, earthquake, large earthquakes, North Korea, North Korea quake | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Obesity: Weight in YOUR Kidney

Posted by feww on February 18, 2010

Health Information – Public Release: Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions

Obesity—mild or severe—raises kidney stone risk

Obesity in general nearly doubles the risk of developing kidney stones, but the degree of obesity doesn’t appear to increase or decrease the risk one way or the other, a new study from Johns Hopkins shows.

A 6×8mm Kidney Stone. Credit: Robert R. Wal

“The common thinking was that as weight rises, kidney stone risk rises as well, but our study refutes that,” says study leader Brian R. Matlaga, assistant professor of urology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of stone diseases and ambulatory care at Hopkins’ James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute. “Whether someone is mildly obese or morbidly obese, the risk for getting kidney stones is the same.”

The findings are published in the February Journal of Urology.

Over the last decade, several epidemiological studies have shown a strong connection between obesity and kidney stone disease. However, as obesity continues to rise worldwide, Matlaga and his colleagues wondered whether different subcategories of obesity, ranging from mildly to morbidly obese, presented different risks.

To answer the question, the researchers used a national insurance claims database to identify 95,598 people who had completed a “health risk assessment” form with information about their body mass index (BMI), a measure of body fat calculated by dividing weight by height, and a general indicator of underweight, healthy weight, or overweight. The database, which spanned over a five-year period from 2002 to 2006, also had encoded information indicating whether these individuals had been diagnosed with kidney stone disease.

Using a definition of obesity as having a BMI greater than 30 kg/m2 (which, in English measurements, corresponds to a 5 foot tall person who weighs 153 pounds, or a 6 foot tall person who weighs 221 pounds), the researchers calculated the incidence of kidney stones in people who were non-obese and in those who were obese. Among the non-obese individuals, 2.6 percent were diagnosed during the study period with kidney stones, compared to 4.9 percent of the obese individuals. When the investigators arranged those in the obese group by their BMIs, ranging from above 30 kg/m2 to more than 50 kg/m2, they found that the increased risk remained constant, regardless of how heavy the individuals were.

Matlaga says that he and his colleagues aren’t sure why obese people are more at risk for kidney stones, though metabolic or endocrine factors unique to obesity are likely reasons, along with dietary factors such as a high-salt diet. The researchers plan to study these potential risk factors in subsequent studies.


Other researchers who participated in this study include Michelle J. Semins, M.D., Andrew D. Shore, Ph.D., Martin A. Makary, M.D., M.P.H., Thomas Magnuson, M.D., and Roger Johns, M.D., M.P.H., all of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

For more information, go to:

Contact: Christen Brownlee
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions

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Posted in hyperuricosuria, Kidney, kidney stones, morbidly obese, Urology | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Cyclone GELANE (TC 16S) UPDATE 1 (Feb 18)

Posted by feww on February 18, 2010

TC GELANE Strengthens to a Category 2B Hurricane on  FEWW New Hurricane Scale

With sustained winds of about 170 km/hr, Cyclone GELANE (TC 16S) is now a Category 2B Hurricane on  FEWW New Hurricane Scale. Fire-Earth forecasts the cyclone to reach Category 4A strength, possibly stronger, within the next 36 hours.

Cyclone GELANE.
IR satellite images (NHC Enhancement). 4km resolution. Source: UW-CIMSS.  Click images to enlarge.

Tropical Cyclone GELANE (TC 16S) Details

  • Date/Time: 18 February 2010 –  00:01 UTC
  • Position:  Near 14.3ºS, 61.6ºE
  • Sustained Movement: 150  degrees
  • Forward speed:  11 km/hr ( 6 kt)
  • The Cyclone has been tracking  SOUTH-SOUTHWEST over the past 6 hours.

Current Wind Distribution:

  • Maximum Sustained winds:  170km/hr (92 kt)
  • Maximum Gusts:  ~ 205 km/hr (~ 110 kt)
  • GELANE is currently a Cat. 2B Hurricane on FEWW New Hurricane Scale

Wave Height and Location:

  • Maximum significant wave height: ~ 8m (24 ft)
  • Location: TC GELANE was located about 970 km (~ 525 NM) NE of Réunion island.
  • Sources: CIMSS, JTWC and Others

See also: UW- CIMSS Cyclone Portal

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Posted in cyclone, Cyclone GELANE, storm, TC 16S, tropical cyclone | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »