Hidden Nook

"Because in Cyberspace, no one can hear you scream."

Friday, January 27, 2006

Google Responds To The China Issue

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(Previously posted on Blogger Delights, Published on Blogger News)

Google over on their Official Blog Site gave an explanation as why they had to launch a local search engine in China.

(Official Google Blog) Google users in China today struggle with a service that, to be blunt, isn't very good. Google.com appears to be down around 10% of the time. Even when users can reach it, the website is slow, and sometimes produces results that when clicked on, stall out the user's browser. Our Google News service is never available; Google Images is accessible only half the time. At Google we work hard to create a great experience for our users, and the level of service we've been able to provide in China is not something we're proud of.

This problem could only be resolved by creating a local presence, and this week we did so, by launching Google.cn, our website for the People's Republic of China. In order to do so, we have agreed to remove certain sensitive information from our search results. We know that many people are upset about this decision, and frankly, we understand their point of view. This wasn't an easy choice, but in the end, we believe the course of action we've chosen will prove to be the right one.

Although I was not too thrilled about Google's decision to violate their own mission statement "Don't be evil," (something they humbly admit to later on in the article) their explanation as why they allowed their search engine to be filtered does clear up some issues regarding why they choose to play "internet nanny" (at least on a minor scale).

Some well respecting bloggers have decided to remove Google Ad Sense from their sites until they begin to provide "unfiltered searches" towards the Communist regime. Although they are entitled to their opinion, I will not be joining the bandwagon as Google is not as powerful as a government (despite the myths) and Congress is already addressing the issue as I type.

To be fair, Google has put a little disclaimer at the bottom of their Chinese site, explaining that results are filtered, although I think they should place that near the top IN RED to alert their current and future users.

I am glad that they are not placing Blogger, Gmail and (hopefully) even Orkut within the Red Dragon's grasp, as that would make me abandon Google forever.

Only time will tell whether Google searches will be liberated from governmental intrusion (both foreign and domestic). Until then, I hope we all learn from this sad situation and I pray it is a wake up call to Americans that our liberties are privileges indeed, as our brethren around the world can only view life through a filtered lens.

By Darnell Clayton • 4:55 PM • Email Post • •


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The End Of One Blog Age...

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...And the beginning of a new.

Editor's note: (if you've been tagged, scroll down towards bottom--the intro is boring) After careful consideration, I decided to pull back dramatically on this weblog due to inability to maintain several blogs at once.

In order to blog on other personal interests, Hidden Nook will remain idle, (except for short seasons) although I will continue to read weblogs on a daily basis.

For those interested, you can find me over at Colony Worlds, Inside Orkut and Blogger Delights (not to mention the blog novel I am about to begin on Sol Worlds).

I'll probably return here in the future, but before I forget, I must finish the work assigned to me--via The Black Kettle that is.

Update: Make that Colony Worlds, Inside Orkut and Google Your Business.

Not to mention Sol Worlds via Writely.com and my audio site, Darnell via Audio Blogger.


I was tagged earlier, but never took the time to respond, so I am making up for it in this post.

Five Weird Things About Me:

  1. I don't like cats although my favorite (current) pet is one.
  2. I don't enjoy sleeping and wish I didn't have to (as there are more productive things in life.
  3. I started blogging before I knew what blogging was (I'm serious).
  4. I would travel a thousand miles overseas in a heart beat but would loathe traveling to the grocery store.
  5. I am a little nervous about heights, although I love to fly and jumping out of an airplane is something I would want to do.

There you have it. Ain't I weird? ;)

Weblogs I am tagging:

Sigh, the never ending life of a blogger. ;)

By Darnell Clayton • 12:59 PM • Email Post • •


Friday, January 20, 2006

A New Low For The UN

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Despite showing actual leadership regarding the Darfur situation, the United Nations apparently forgot that woman's suffrage is just as important as international politics.

(Reuters) The United Nations, under pressure from Pakistani diplomats, barred an interview with a rape victim from Pakistan while the country's prime minister was at U.N. headquarters, her sponsors said on Friday. [...]

Mai, a 33-year old peasant woman was gang-raped in 2002 on orders of a local council for an offense committed by her brother and forced to walk home nearly naked before a jeering crowd. She prosecuted her attackers and became a women's rights leader.

UN sources claimed that Mai's appearance would "detract attention from the prime minister's visit" who was unaware of the situation. If the United Nations is unable to take a little flack from its own members, then when will it ever take center stage for world leadership? END

By Darnell Clayton • 10:56 PM • Email Post • •


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Israel Develops Pilotless Chopper

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Israel, long known for developing unmanned vehicles as well as the feared "death sharks" has launched its newest ally defending its right to exist-pilotless helicopters.

(Isracast) Although pilotless helicopters have been in development for the last several years in the U.S. and around the world, the craft developed by the Israeli company Steadicopter is the cheapest, simplest and most versatile of its kind.

The craft has a unique guidance system which includes a gyroscopes, a GPS, and other items unmentioned by the Israeli company. But what stands out most is this crafts many uses not only in the military sector, but also in the private as well.

(Isracast) The craft can come in a variety of configurations that can fit military and security applications such as: mine detection, stealth scouting, border patrol and police surveillance, as well as civilian applications such as high voltage line inspection, media coverage and agriculture purposes.

The helicopter is very small, weighing only 17 pounds and measuring less than 60 inches in length. The helicopter can be controlled by a laptop but only has an air time of 90 minutes.

This new device should prove to be very effective in monitoring the Israeli border. Not to mention a potentially useful tool for reconicence for Amerians in Iraq.

By Darnell Clayton • 2:12 PM • Email Post • •


$60,000 Anyone?

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The FBI has recently increased a reward for the arrest of a polygamy leader charged by a grand jury of sexual conduct with a minor.

(Salt Lake Tribune) Special Agent Deborah McCarley of the agency's Phoenix office said officials hope the enhanced reward will encourage someone to reveal the whereabouts of Warren Jeffs, president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), who dropped out of sight about two years ago. She described the amount as significant for a local fugitive who is not on the FBI's national Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.

This man apparently arranged the marriage of a 28 year old man (who was already married) and a 16 year old girl. If convicted he could face up to two years in prison (if not more) as well as wrath "in the life to come" as polygamy was something the apostle Paul discouraged in leadership.

The LDS church currently doesn't recognize polygamy, and hopefully they will catch this man and "throw the book at him." END

By Darnell Clayton • 1:40 PM • Email Post • •


Narnia Sequel In The Works

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After the success of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, it appears as if a second film is currently in the works.

(Christian Post) According to Variety.com, Cary Granat, CEO of LWW co-producers Walden Media, reported that the script for Prince Caspian is already, "underway, with plans to tap a director within a few weeks."

"We're planning on starting production by the fourth quarter of next year," Granat told Variety.

Andrew Adamson chose to film Prince Caspian in order to film the four kids (in the previous film) before they have grown up. A second sequel may potentially top the initial release, although Adamson is not content on directing a sequel--he seems bent on making all seven.

(Christian Post) While Adamson's involvement in Prince Caspian is not confirmed, NarniaWeb has reported that Douglas Gresham--C.S. Lewis' stepson and consultant to LWW- will be on board for the Narnia sequel, although his exact role in the film is unclear.

It would come to no surprise if Adamson ends up directing the sequel as has done a superb with the previous film. It may be wise for the Narnia team to keep him on board, unless of course Spielburg inquires about directing the sequel.

By Darnell Clayton • 1:27 PM • Email Post • •


Monday, January 16, 2006

Video Tribute Towards Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Here is a video clip of one of the greatest men of the 20th century.

The video is about 70 seconds long, but is worth watching. If one is unable to view this video in Firefox, simply click on the media source and it will bring you towards the site. END

By Darnell Clayton • 3:04 PM • Email Post • •


Porn For Kids?

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(Hat Tip: World Magazine Blog)

Apparently a teacher in a Cleveland Ohio suburb failed to realize that assigning pornography as a "research assignment" would enrage some parents.

(Forbes.com) A high school research assignment on Internet pornography was canceled after parents in this Cleveland suburb complained. [...]

The assignment asked students to research pornography on the Internet and list eight facts about pornography. Students also were asked to write their personal views of pornography and any experience they had with it.

After receiving many calls Superintendent Jeff Lampert decided that dropping the assignment was in the best interest of the students. It is surprising that a teacher would suggest kids watching these videos, especially since many of the students were between 14 and 15 years of age. END

By Darnell Clayton • 1:24 PM • Email Post • •


Thursday, January 12, 2006

Is President Bush Interfering In Israeli Elections?

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(Published on Blogger News)

Several Israeli officials are showing their disapproval of the Presidents "interference" on what they see as strictly kosher politics.

(Jerusalem Newswire) [A]ccording to a number of reports in the Israeli media Thursday, US President George W. Bush has decided to do what he can to try and ensure that Olmert, standing in for an incapacitated Ariel Sharon, is elected to be full-time prime minister when Israelis go to the polls on March 28.

Reports Thursday said that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has invited Olmert to visit Washington DC, probably sometime next month.

President Bush has not come out with direct vocal support for Olmert, although he is probably the only candidate supporting the road map (Editor's note: what's left of it).

Olmert has stressed that he will continue to work with America to realize a Palestinian state, an issue his political rivals probably oppose. Kadima (meaning "forward" in Hebrew) will probably win landslide elections to the dismay of some evangelicals and orthodox Jews.

Acting Prime Minister Olmert is currently leading the government after Sharon's unfortunate stroke (Editor's note: hopefully he will recover fully).

Those accusing Bush of playing favorites should realize that the President can associate himself with any potential leader, and it is ultimately up to the people to select the new Prime Minister.

By Darnell Clayton • 11:58 PM • Email Post • •


Monday, January 09, 2006

Google Searching For Buddha?

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It appears as if the search giant Google will be assisting Buddha Films in a hunt to find the human face that best reflects the face of Buddha.

(The Buddhist Channel) In an exclusive interview with Business Standard, the chairman of Buddha Films, BK Modi, who is now based in Beverly Hills, said preliminary discussion were on with Google for the global talent hunt.

He said a lot of people across the globe had shown interest in playing the role of the Buddha, but not one matched the image of the Buddha.

Buddha Films was approached by a leading Japanese actor who they apparently turned down because they did not "match up." Although Google has indexed a vast (yet unknown) portion of the web, they do not yet possess the technology to index general faces.

But if Google can assemble the images for Buddha Films, their is one corporation who can sift the faces in order to find the face of Buddha.

(Riya) We are a group of determined face recognition and text recognition researchers and engineers who believe it is time for a new type of photo search that uses technology to look inside and automatically tag photos. We hope this will revolutionize how people "see" the world. (Source*)

Riya may be of interest to Buddha films as their technology would enable the Hollywood company sift through the millions of images, reducing the time and effort needed in the search. There is no news whether or not Riya has been contacted by Buddha Films, but if not it probably would be in Riya's interest to contact them.

By Darnell Clayton • 9:21 PM • Email Post • •


Saturday, January 07, 2006

Are Hindus And Muslims Outbreeding Christians?

[Expand Full Post] [Media Source*]

The general "Christian" population is growing at a faster rate compared to the worlds general population (1.3 percent verses 1.2 percent respectively) and makes up one third of the worlds population, with 2.14 billion adherents.

Despite their colossal size, they may be losing out towards their nearest competitors--the Muslims and the Hindus.

(The Christian Post) Although the overall number of Muslims and Hindus--1.31 billion Muslims in 2005 and 870 million Hindus--are less than Christians, the Islam population has grown at a rate of 1.9 percent per year and the Hindu population has grown at a rate of 1.5 percent per year.

The Christian population has seen a major decrease throughout Europe, which may be one of the reasons why it appears the faith of Christ is encountering a "speed bump." However according to the article Christianity has seen large increases elsewhere, especially in Africa and Asia where the growth rate is 2.6 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively.

(The Christian Post) Out of all Christian groups, charismatic independent churches are growing the fastest, at 2.4 percent per year.

Dr. Brierley, Executive Director of Christian Research, noted that charismatic black churches in the United Kingdom have also seen rapid growth.

Although more analysis will probably be conducted as to the reason of this "slow down," a simple look will probably reveal why churches seem to be increasing in one area of the world and dying in another. Although raising kids after ones faith may be key factor towards keeping the growth rate up, evangelism is probably the main reason why some churches thrive while others die.

By Darnell Clayton • 2:28 PM • Email Post • •


Israel Develops First Laser Diamond Cutter

[Expand Full Post] [Media Source*]

(Isracast) The Israeli company Sarin, developer and manufacturer of precision diamond and gemstone production technology, has recently started shipping a new system for cutting diamonds using green laser.

The new system, called Quazer, is based on proprietary technology and features a number of important breakthroughs in the sawing, cutting and shaping of diamonds.

This technology apparently has advantages over the previous methods of cutting diamonds, such as the ability to cut the ever so damage-prone "tension stones." Although Israel is not the diamond capital of the world, this technology may establish the little Jewish state as a major player in that industry. END

By Darnell Clayton • 2:07 PM • Email Post • •


Another Blog, Another Day

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Editor's note: Posting has been rather light over at this site, as this author has been busy renovating this weblog (as you can see), launching two other blog sites off of the ground (Inside Orkut and Blogger Delights) as well as starting a third site (Colony Worlds).

Why all the weblogs? Because this author has various interests that can not be contained on one site, and it seemed necessary to "specialize" those interests in order to capitalize on them.

For those interested, four more contributors are needed for two other blogs (Inside Orkut and Colony Worlds) but until then this author will hold down the fort. ;)

By Darnell Clayton • 11:32 AM • Email Post • •


Monday, January 02, 2006

Is Mars Really Worth It?

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(Published on Blogger News)

Before any space lovers accuse this line of thought as solar heresy, let us consider the following scenario's as possible. Martian dust is revealed to be non-fatal towards human flesh and engineers have developed ways to keep the red particles from damaging any machines. Vast water resources are located underneath the Martian ground and science has developed a way to make the red soil fertile for plants.

NASA, as well as international space agencies have devised ways to reduce the amount of time to terra form a world from an extreme 10,000 years towards within a lifetime of fifty years. Last but not least, education has enlightened humanity the need to breed amongst the stars and has encouraged world governments to provide international space agencies with all of the funding they will ever need to accomplish their mission of resettling Mars.

But even if all of these were probable in the near future, Mars is missing a key ingredient to make it a worthy home for terrestian life. That key ingredient missing from the red planet can be summed up in one word--resources.

Now some may consider this logic trivial or silly, but unless Mars has something to offer the solar system (or more specifically, Earth) then it will not be worth the trillions of dollars necessary to turn this barren wasteland into an Eden. Similar to the California gold rush, valuable resources on Mars would stimulate a desire to travel towards the red planet, which in turn would stimulate businesses and corporations to promote an economy upon its surface.

The Moon is a perfect example of this. Until recently, their was little desire to travel back towards the lunar surface, as humanity had already established their presence by landing on the white world in 1969. Despite Presidential direction from the Commander in Chief (i.e. Bush), NASA was still searching for a logical reason to revisit Earth's nearest neighbor.

They were that is until Hubble spotted an element called helium-3 upon the moons surface, an element some researches herald as the perfect non-polluting fuel. Some scientists have analyzed that there is enough of this on the moons surface to power the world for thousands of years, which has caught the attention of fuel hungry nations, such as China.

What Mars lacks is a similar resource that would attract the necessary attention to not only conquer the world environmentally, but also enable a worldwide economy to develop. After all, people are going to need to earn an income while surviving the fierce habitat, especially if Mars is to be home to millions of colonists, let alone billions of future residents.

Once a colony is established on the red planet, it will need to contribute something back towards planet Earth, something other than a few scientific curiosities. If the Martian globe is unable to provide any "fruit" back towards those who invested colonizing the world, then its greatest hope is to become a tourist destination hosting miles of desert for the eye to see.

Sources: Science @ NASA, Space.com, Aerospace Scholars NASA

Hyperlink: Red Chasm (Mars)

By Darnell Clayton • 9:21 PM • Email Post • •


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