Monday, March 30, 2009

of worms and websites

f you've been listening to the news this weekend, you've probably heard of the Conficker worm - an internet virus that has apparently infiltrated the bowels of thousands of Windows computers and is just lurking there, waiting for its next assignment. That could come as early as April 1st.

60 Minutes did a segment on it last night. Lesley Stahl didn't seem to have a clue about what its next move might be. The NY Times bits blog claims a bit more knowledge:

"Given the sophisticated nature of the worm, the question remains: What is the purpose of Conficker, which could possibly become the world’s most powerful parallel computer on April 1? That is when the worm will generate 50,000 domain names and systematically try to communicate with each one. The authors then only need to register one of the domain names in order to take control of the millions of zombie computers that have been created."

The Symantec article on Conficker tries to sound like they have the situation well in hand - of course: "If you’re worried about the Conficker worm striking on April 1st, don’t be." Of course, the spiel after that is to use their software to purify your computer.

Here's PC World's "Protecting Against the Rampant Conficker Worm."

(It's times like this I'm really glad I have a Mac, she whispers, trying not to sound gloatish.)

On another topic, find out how your website rates marketing-wise by putting it through its paces at WebsiteGrader.com. I did for my various blogs and website. I can tell you right now, yours won't have any trouble rating better than mine! It's obvious I'm fairly baffled by the process. Every single site I checked is missing meta descriptions and meta keywords. What are they, and how/where does one attach them?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

earth hour - 60 minutes for lights ON!

Sometime today - in the evening when it's dark, I guess - we're encouraged to celebrate Earth Hour by dousing all the lights. This from the great environmental establishment to get us to contemplate, in the dark, how we must reduce our carbon footprint.

I like the National Post's quasi rebellious editorial stance (clicked on front-page link headlined "Earth Hour is a joke" - I like it):

"Once you’ve had enough of sitting in the dark, think about what it means that you can go back to that switch on the wall and put the lights back on. Electric light, now regarded as a banality, was in fact a breakthrough technology that expanded our great-grandparents’ universes radically: It transformed the productivity of businesses and workers, enabled round-the-clock transportation, made the night less terrifying in both imaginative and practical respects, and — let Canadians never forget it — allowed humans to settle the realm of short winter days without being required to basically hibernate.

To renounce that — and all that it represents — even symbolically, is to renounce ourselves."


But even more, I like Joel Johannson's idea of turning on the lights during earth hour in defiance of all the killing that's happening in abortion mills (read mostly public hospitals) throughout Canada:

"My one hour of all-lights-on action represents for me the eleven or twelve pure, innocent, helpless babies being savagely “aborted” on just that hour, on “Earth Hour”, in Canada. (275 will be “aborted” that whole 24-hour day, including the “Earth Hour” of cult darkness.) All will be aborted at taxpayer expense against my conscientious objections, mostly in public hospitals, largely for utterly no reason except convenience and cosmetics and birth control for idiots who have, given the choice, chosen to shirk the highest and most sacred responsibility given to humans, and who as a result will choose to engage in the most disgusting, most egregious act ever thought of by humans.

I call it “human hour”.


Way to go Joel! We're with you!!

Friday, March 27, 2009

frivolous friday

Thursday, March 26, 2009

building



The Wark / Dumais House - one of Langley's heritage homes
(love that doily trim!)

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Thursday Challenge

Next week: DELICATE (Glass, Lace, Jewelry, Plants, Breakable Things,...)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

one-world currency?

**Updates**

China calls for new global currency

Geitner 'open' to China proposal while "President Obama flatly rejected the notion of a new global currency at last night's press conference."

So now Geitner and Bernanke reject new global currency idea.

Related: Meltdown 101: Will China global currency idea fly?

EU president Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek describes President Obama's plan to push U.S. out of recession with $2 trillion as "the road to hell."

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Joel Rosenberg (author of the just-released Inside the Revolution) reports that talk of a one-world currency is echoing around the globe:
  • Iran - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: "...last week called for a single currency for 400 million Muslims in the Middle East."
  • Libya - "Muammar Ghadafi, recently elected leader of the African Union of states, is calling for a single currency for all of Africa and has persuaded 200 tribal leaders to call him the 'King of kings.'"

Rosenberg goes on to say: "These are curious developments given that scholars of Bible prophecy have long noted that according to the Scriptures, in the 'last days' the world will see the emergence of an entirely new international financial architecture, complete with a single global currency created and mandated by the leaders of Europe. ....

Cynics and skeptics have long dismissed such talk as the province of “religious nuts” and “prophecy buffs.” But the discussion has suddenly blown past the realm of Bible scholars and is now the discussion of major world leaders. It’s too soon to say where this will all lead, but these are certainly developments worth watching."

Read all of RUSSIA TO PROPOSE NEW GLOBAL COMMON CURRENCY And the Kremlin is not alone.

mistrial for googling

When you're a juror, Googling to do research on the case you're hearing, or twittering, updating Facebook, your blog can lead to a mistrial according to a March 23rd National Post article "Google Mistrials' derail courts."

A couple of tidbits from the piece:

"We are so hooked on this instantaneous communication, we can't seem to drop it even for a short period of time in order to discharge a civic duty."

"He (Alan Young - law school prof) believes jurors go against judges' instructions more often than the legal community would like to think, at least partly due to modern society's addiction to constant communication and information consumption."


And this telling little paragraph:
"The law is not about truth-finding. It's about, ‘Can we convict this guy based on the rules of evidence?' " he said. "That's something that really has to be stressed over and over again" (bold mine).


I'm thinking rather than endangering all future court cases by maintaining the status quo, we'd be better off updating the judiciary to fit with our technology - oh yeah, and making the process less about semantics and more about convicting on the basis of truth (a novel concept indeed and - in Canada at least - one that may well net one the conviction of contempt of court.)

Monday, March 23, 2009

chameleon tendencies and other aspects of online life


Jennifer Lowther (Vancouverite and on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and other social networking sites) quoted in a National Post article:

"I have definitely found that my online life is now bleeding into my personal life.... People I have never met follow me on Twitter and they know me, and they expect me to know who they are."


Managing multi online profiles ("The average Canadian has seven online profiles, according to Microsoft Canada research") can be tricky. Living online has its drawbacks. The article points out several:

no secrets: "You can meet a girl or a boy and before you've had your first or second date, you know who they have been with, who was their last boyfriend or girlfriend - it makes for interesting conversations."

a type of curfew: "If I don't upload a photo on Flickr, or update Twitter for two days, people send out a rescue party," Krug (Kris - Vancouver photographer and member of multi social sites) said. "I don't want my digital life to be the entirety of my identity."

dossiers: "It's also leading to a 24/7 surveillance that would make spies look like mere slouches. We are assembling the kind of dossiers that most intelligence agencies would kill for and we are doing it without them lifting a finger .... I'm not suggesting this is going to be some massive Big Brother conspiracy, but it requires a little bit of thought - how much of our lives are we revealing and how much do we want to reveal?"- Rob Cottingham - Social Signal

Read all of "Twitter, Facebook beget the 'social chameleon' and self-surveillance."

My feelings on the subject:

Why I don’t twitter

What are you doing?
What am I doing?
Who needs to know

I’m currently contemplating
another trip to the fridge
and all that coffee
has sent me to the bathroom
gazillion times?

I don’t care
that you heard from your big-name agent
are over-the-top excited
and just posted to your blog

Tweet tweet
Scratch that trip to the fridge
I’m going outside
where it’s spring
and I can listen to the birds
twitter back and forth

What a return flight
First dibs on this tree
I’ve found true love!
Tweet tweet

© 2009 by Violet Nesdoly

Friday, March 20, 2009

frivolous friday

Thursday, March 19, 2009

time


Vehicle with attitude

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Thursday Challenge

Next week: BUILDING (House, Hut, Tent, Skyscraper, Green House,...)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

life-changing stories wednesday - A Changed Heart

A fellow member of The Word Guild posts the story of how he left a life of homosexuality and is now making summer wedding plans. Alan Yoshioka describes himself on the About Me page of his blog:

"My name is Alan Yoshioka, and I live in Toronto, Canada.

I've been there, done that, bought quite an extensive collection of gay T-shirts, thank you very much – and discovered there's nothing as satisfying as living in Christ."


Read "A Changed Heart" and rejoice in God's faithfulness!

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

organized - cluttered



Pigeons on White Rock Pier

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Two 4 Tuesday photo challenge


Sunday, March 15, 2009

my weekend

It's the end of another weekend and I feel sad. I love weekends. But there's no getting around the fact that time moves on and since last week was pretty much a write-off for getting stuff done (the Brier was on - three games a day Monday to Thursday, finals Friday, Saturday and today - amazing curling!) I must psych myself up to get down to business first thing tomorrow morning.

Today was our pastor's 50th birthday. In church this a.m. they showed a little retrospective video with shots of him throughout the years - very cute. Then he sat down at the piano and led us in a singalong of some of the songs that have characterized his time here.

Our church has had some close brushes with full-fledged revival (e.g. 300 attending 5:00 a.m. prayer meetings for a while). Of course music is always a part in these "moves of God." We all sang William Booth's "Send the Fire" (YouTube below; one of the songs I remember from when we began attending). What a rouser - and it fits right in with my 'fire' quote from this morning - only this is good fire.

Then several of the pastors came up with his birthday gift. It was a sports jacket made by one of the ladies of the church out of the bright orange upholstery fabric salvaged from the old pews (taken out and replaced with theatre seating last year). Wouldn't you know, this is the Sunday I neglected to bring my camera or I'd have a photo.

After church we went for our usual walk, got drenched in the rain, stopped for lunch at Choo-Choos and watched as the rain turned to snow. Fortunately by the time we were ready to walk home the serious snowing had stopped.

The electricity went out for a while this afternoon, but it came on again after about an hour and a half -- in time for us to watch most of the Brier final which was a lopsided affair with Alberta easily winning over Manitoba.

But, as I said, the weekend is almost over. So, V, repeat 100 times: I will work hard next week. I will work hard next week. I will work hard next week....

(If you decide to listen to the YouTube, turn off the music player by clicking on the II, top right sidebar).


Send the Fire
( Zach Cherian and the Praise Team - I think it's John Hagee's church)



SEND THE FIRE
by William Booth

O God of burning, cleansing flame, Send the fire
Your blood - bought gift today we claim, Send the fire today

God of Elijah, hear our cry, Send the fire
And make us fit to live or die, send the fire today

To burn up every trace of sin, to bring the light and glory in
The revolution now begins, Send the fire today

It's fire we want, for fire we plead, Send the fire
The fire will meet our every need, Send the fire today

Give us strength to always do what's right,
And grace to conquer in the fight
for power to walk this world in white, Send the fire today

Look down and see this waiting host
And send the promised Holy Ghost
We need another Pentecost, Send the fire today

sunday quote - anger


"A little too much anger, too often or at the wrong time, can destroy more than you would ever imagine. Above all, mind what you say. 'Behold how much wood is kindled by how small a fire, and the tongue is a fire' --that's the truth. When my father was old he told me that very thing in a letter he sent me. Which, as it happens, I burned. I dropped it right in the stove. This surprised me a good deal more at the time than it does in retrospect."


-from Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

Friday, March 13, 2009

frivolous friday



Thursday, March 12, 2009

broken



Fissure
(Englishman River Falls Park - Vancouver Island, BC)

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Thursday Challenge

Next Week: TIME (Hourglass, Clock, Calendar, Wristwatch, Hurrying,...)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

the book biz

A couple of interesting articles from on the book business, the future of publishers and writers.

  • About the book business in an article on Slate:
"Forget all the myths about the book business: the parties, the poring over manuscripts, and passionate arguments. The book business is a distribution business, pure and simple. It's about getting the words and ideas of a writer into the hands of a reader.

...Few readers buy books based upon reviews anymore. Listen to Farrar Straus and Giroux's editor in chief, Eric Chinski: "Reviews don't have the same impact that they used to. The one thing that really horrifies me and that seems to have happened within the last few years is that you can get a first novel on the cover of the New York Times Book Review, a long review in The New Yorker, a big profile somewhere, and it still doesn't translate into sales."

What does translate into sales? A direct connection to the reader. That comes from publicity or word of mouth."
Read all of the The Kindle Revolution

  • Branding
On the contentious subject of branding, if you read the interview with popular agent Wendy Lawton a few days ago, you'll know where she stands.



Jill Priluck at Slate takes a slightly different view.

"Brands are often the elephant in the room no one wants to confront. Some authors consider it unwise to be branded as, er, brands; it's a signpost for low-brow, mass-market sensibility.

...In today's fickle marketplace, the Internet—with blogs, videos, Twitter, and other promotional tools like Amazon's Author Stores—is the modern-day equivalent to hand-selling. Thomas Friedman even posted a chapter of Hot, Flat and Crowded on LinkedIn and asked members to weigh in. (Disclosure: I was part of Friedman's publishing team.) In a way, authors are empowered in this new model, provided they can leverage their networks into living, breathing communities who have a stake in—and benefit from—an author's ballooning platform.

But it comes with a price. When authors are beholden to a brand, they ally themselves, almost like actors and athletes, with agendas and meanings that are well beyond their control. In their desire to fulfill the dictates of a brand, authors can compromise their integrity as writers, especially if they cubbyhole themselves."
Read all of Advertisements for Yourself - Can and should book authors become brands?

In the area of branding, I'm more amused onlooker than anything. Long ago I blew my branding potential by branching out into all kinds of genres -- kids, poetry, writing how-to, book reviews, articles for adults and this all-over-the-place blog. Now I love my mercurial life far too much to limit myself to one particular genre. And so I'm content to remain an unlabelable and unknown writer -- which would probably have been my fate in any case.

old-new



Spring sunshine

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Two 4 Tuesday photo challenge.

Rate the photos. Help choose the weekly winner.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

sunday quote - Why?


Why must I weep when others sing?
'To test the deeps of suffering.'
Why must I work while others rest?
'To spend my strength at God's request.'
Why must I lose while others gain?
'To understand defeat's sharp pain.'
Why must this lot of life be mine
When that which fairer seems is thine?
'Because God knows what plans for me
will blossom in eternity.'

from Streams in the Desert by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman

Saturday, March 07, 2009

book review: Something Out of Nothing: Marie Curie and Radium by Carla Killough McClafferty

Title: Something Out of Nothing: Marie Curie and Radium
Author: Carla Killough McClafferty
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1st edition (March 21, 2006), Hardcover, 144 pages
Suggested age: 9-12 years
Genre: Biography
ISBN-10: 0374380368
ISBN-13: 978-0374380366


Juvenile biographies like Something Out of Nothing: Marie Curie and Radium by Carla Killough McClafferty are why I love non-fiction. This book not only brings Marie Curie to life but adds lots of details from a time in history when radioactivity was a new and unexplored phenomenon.

McClafferty tells Marie Curie’s story chronologically, starting with an incident from her childhood in Poland. Though at 10 she was the youngest person in the class, “Marie was usually chosen to answer the inspector’s questions because of her incredible memory. Everyone knew she could recite a poem by heart after reading it twice.”

We follow Marie as she completes school, works as a private tutor for a wealthy family and finally at the age of 24 travels to Paris to study at the Sorbonne. There she meets Pierre Curie, falls in love and opts for a life in Paris devoted to Pierre, later a family, and science.

The story of radium’s discovery is as captivating as any fiction. We cheer for the Curies as they overcome lack of funds, poor lab space and health problems. Especially admirable is their refusal to take out a patent on this new element, which soon fetched huge amounts of money and could have made them rich. When asked why there were no patents, Marie replied, “Radium is an element. It belongs to all people.”

The section which tells of the world’s initial reaction to radium is particularly mesmerizing. We read with horror-filled fascination about medicines laced with radium, rooms where people gathered to drink tea and breathe irradiated air, and factories where workers sharpened the points of paint brushes with their mouths in order to paint the tiny numbers and dials on watches with radium paint.

McClafferty has done a wonderful job of bringing Marie Curie to life by including quotes from letters, journals, and newspaper clippings in the text. Something Out of Nothing is illustrated with lots of photos of the Curies as well as historical items like pictures of products and labels.

The hardback volume is printed on heavy paper. With its black-and-white photo illustrations, the book is an object of beauty on its own.

The story is well-documented with a back section of source notes, chapter footnotes, a selected bibliography, a list of recommended websites and an index. McClafferty, who graduated from the Baptist School of Radiologic Technology, has previously written a book about X-rays and appears to have a good grasp of the scientific aspect of the subject. Yet she writes simply enough for kids to understand. Something Out of Nothing is rated at a 9 to 12-year-old reading level but older kids and adults will enjoy it too. Highly recommended.

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Interesting links:

Friday, March 06, 2009

frivolous friday - chicken edition

On Thursday Vancouver City Council came one step closer to allowing Vancouverites to keep chickens in their back yards - issues like smell, noise, feces disposal, avian flu, predator threats (rats, raccoons and coyotes) to the contrary notwithstanding.

I couldn't pass up the opportunity to celebrate this momentous stupidity by running some old chicken jokes. Here's a list with a political flavor, updated from when I first ran it in November of 2004.

WHY DID THE CHICKEN CROSS THE ROAD?

SARAH PALIN: Before it got to the other side, I shot the chicken, cleaned and dressed it, and had chicken burgers for lunch.

BARACK OBAMA: The chicken crossed the road because it was time for a change! The chicken wanted change!

JOHN MC CAIN: My friends, that chicken crossed the road because he recognized the need to engage in cooperation and dialogue with all the chickens on the other side of the road.

HILLARY CLINTON: When I was First Lady, I personally helped that little chicken to cross the road. This experience makes me uniquely qualified to ensure right from Day One! That every chicken in this country gets the chance it deserves to cross the road. But then, this really isn't about me.

JOHN KERRY: Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road I am now against it!

GEORGE W. BUSH: We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road or not. The chicken is either against us or for us. There is no middle ground here.

COLIN POWELL: Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road.

HANS BLIX: We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been allowed to have access to the other side of the road.

RALPH NADER: The chicken's habitat on the other side of the road had been polluted by unchecked industrial greed. The chicken did not reach the unspoiled habitat on the other side of the road because it was crushed by the wheels of a gas-guzzling SUV.

PAT BUCHANAN: To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American

RUSH LIMBAUGH: I don't know why the chicken crossed the road, but I'll bet it was getting a government grant to cross the road, and I'll bet that somebody out there is already forming a support group to help chickens with crossing-the-road syndrome. Can you believe this? How much more of this can real Americans take? Chickens crossing the road paid for by their tax dollars. And when I say tax dollars, I'm talking about your money, money the government took from you to build a road for chickens to cross.

MARTHA STEWART: No one called me to warn me which way that chicken was going I had a standing order at the Farmer's Market to sell my eggs when the price dropped to a certain level. No little bird gave me any insider information.

DR. SEUSS: Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I've not been told.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY: To die in the rain. Alone.

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.: I envision a world where all chickens will be free to cross roads without having their motives called into question.

GRANDPA: In my day, we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.

BARBARA WALTERS: Isn't that interesting? In a few moments, we will be listening to the chicken tell, for the first time, the heartwarming story of how it experienced a serious case of molting, and went on to accomplish its life long dream of crossing the road.

JOHN LENNON: Imagine all the chickens in the world crossing roads together, in peace.

ARISTOTLE: It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.

KARL MARX: It was an historic inevitability.

CAPTAIN KIRK: To boldly go where no chicken has ever gone before.

SIGMUND FREUD: The fact that you are at all concerned that the chicken crossed the road reveals your underlying sexual insecurity.

BILL GATES: I have just witnessed eChicken2004, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your checkbook, - and internet explorer is an integral part of eChicken.

ALBERT EINSTEIN: Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?

BILL CLINTON: I did not cross the road with THAT chicken. What is your definition of chicken?

AL GORE: I invented the chicken!

COLONEL SANDERS: Did I miss one?

Thursday, March 05, 2009

window or door




But I do have a license

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Thursday Challenge

Next Week: BROKEN (Smashed, Worn Out, In Need of Repair, Ripped, Torn,...)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

writing news

1. Deadline extended:

The 2009 Utmost Christian Writers Poetry Contest deadline has been extended to March 7th. This means you must get your prize-winning poems in the mail on or before March 7th.

The number of entries is down and this is an excellent year to enter this rich contest! Open to Christian writers worldwide. Details here.




2. Spring Wordshop in Calgary, Alberta - April 17-18

In store:
Keynote speaker Lisa Samson (two-time Christy Award winner!)

Workshops including:More info. If you're in the Calgary area - plan to attend!!




3. Write! Canada in Guelph, Ontario - June 18-20

For information and to register go to the Write Canada site.
  • Workshops (Includng a workshop by moi - A3 "Writing for the Children's & Young Adult Christian Market"- so I'll be there)

big - small



The window washers

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There is a new photo meme site on the block. Two 4 Tuesday has a double challenge. This week's challenge is Big-Small. You can post a photo that contains both elements, two photos with one element each, or one photo that focuses on one of the elements.

See additional rules. Everyone is welcome to join in!

Monday, March 02, 2009

SLATE editor recommends the Bible

In a short interview about his new book Good Book: The Bizarre, Hilarious, Disturbing, Marvelous, and Inspiring Things I Learned When I Read Every Single Word of the Bible, David Plotz, editor of Slate responds to Publisher's Weekly questions...

RBL: Do you have a favorite book or part of the Bible?

David Plotz: My favorite parts tend to be where you have heroes who are skeptical, questioning and doubtful. But my favorite story of all is the book of Ruth. It is so beautiful and moving, like a Jane Austen novel or a Patsy Cline song.

RBL:You mention that you've become a “full-on Bible thumper.” What do you mean by that?

DP: Every page, every chapter has something that is culturally significant that has come down to us. So going through life without knowing this book is like wearing a veil. Also, there are millions of Americans who believe in the Bible literally—that every single word is true. For you to fully engage in discussion about the issues that they and you care about, you have to do the duty of understanding why they hold the beliefs they do.

RBL: Do you think that the Bible should be taught in public schools?

Read his answer and the rest of the interview here.

Apparently the book began as a blog.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

sunday quote


On His own side of the covenant, God declares himself to be Providence, the Great Good Giver....

On our side of the covenant, God asks merely that we obey. This isn't considered payment for his gifts; nothing from a finite creature could match the Infinite Creator's bounty. Obedience, rather, is free and willing, evidence that we acknowledge God to be God, wise and good, choosing ever the best for his children... Obedience, then, is worship. Obedience is the action and the expression of our love for him. It is how we love him.

- Walter Wangerin Jr. from Mourning Into Dancing

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