It’s a Blogger’s World

The recent outrage over Malu Fernandez’s articles in two publications found a convenient yet very effective medium of expression in cyberspace: the blog and forums. The former is even more effective as it enables the writer to put his or her thoughts without the restrictions commonly associated with forums where other people have a degree of claim to the same space. Also the fact that blogs are dispersed all across the internet that the fact that a lot of people blogging about a common topic not only puts a great deal of significance in the medium but also becomes at the very least a good indicator of public opinion.

Just Me

I’ve been blogging for at least 3 years now starting with Yahoo 360. Early this year I moved here because I’ve found the blogging functionalities of 360 insufficient. Now however, I’m thinking of moving elsewhere again, (maybe Blogspot,) because of two main reasons: the technical limitations of wordpress.com like the restriction of javascript and iframe from posts, and the non-tolerance for ads even if the blog owner wishes to include them.

I won’t argue such restrictions here though, (they say beggars can’t be choosers.) So I looked at several posts and found this and this. The former confirms the wordpress.com restriction on ads while the latter links NodBlog as a free wordpress blog hosting service. When I get the time from my busy schedule though, I think I’m moving this elsewhere again. With the way things are going however, I’ll be lucky if I can pull that one out before the year ends.

Finally just for the heck of it, you might want to click on the graphic below to find out how much your blog’s worth:

My blog is worth $7,903.56.
How much is your blog worth?

So after 6 months, this spot’s still pretty much cheap!

Elsewhere

To interested bloggers anyway, here are some useful entries about blogging from elsewhere:

  • How do you find Time to Blog? – definitely worth a look if you’re one who’s anything like me. With time management an issue for the busy bee, this one’s definitely worth a look.
  • 7 Points to Consider When Blogging for Money and How to Find Advertisers for your Website? – Taking off from where I left off earlier, here are stuff for the bloggers serious in cashing on the time and effort on maintaining their blog. No one’s saying it’s gonna be easy though.
  • Copyright Law: 12 Do’s and Don’ts – A pretty important read if you’d ask me. One thing that’s going to get a blogger in trouble are copyright issues so it’s better to read up including the exchange of comments there. Dunno how much U.S. copyright laws should affect foreign violations though so it’s still best to consult a lawyer versed on such pertinent laws.
  • 43 Web Design Mistakes You Should Avoid – Pretty much a lump of all mistakes the web designer has encountered from cyberspace in one place or another. The post and the ensuing comments include SEO and usability tips that should benefit the web designer’s while.
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A Closer Look at Intellectual Property Rights

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) can oftentimes be seen in discussions among several spheres of knowledge and domestic and international bodies. In the aftermath of the 1997 Asian Fiscal Crisis for instance, free trade agreements (FTAs) and economic partnership agreements (EPAs) have been characterized by the tight implementation of intellectual properties along with easier market access as alternatives to multilateral agreements with WTO according to Professor Walden Bello’s, “Globalization in Retreat,” which was posted at the Inquirer at the start of the year.

While it is understandable for research firms and large industries and corporations to safeguard intellectual assets because of the cost associated with the necessary research and development to cultivate such assets, a question is posed as to whether lesser developed countries (LDCs) can cope with their more developed counterparts.

In its report entitled, “Least Developed Countries Report 2007*,” which was released last month, the United Nations Press Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) insists selective adaptation should be given in favor LDCs to help in their aim for economic development and poverty reduction.

*In PDF Format

The said report points several flaws of a pertinent imposed IPR agreement of the WTO. To quote UNCTAD’s official press release for the said report:

…it is unrealistic on current trends to expect that most such countries will achieve “a sound and viable technological base” by 2013, the deadline now set for their compliance with international standards as required by the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

In principle, LDCs can benefit from extended grace periods before they must comply with all terms of TRIPS. They have until 2013 — and until 2016 for certain parts of the agreement applying to pharmaceuticals… But the report shows that in practice a growing number of free trade agreements, bilateral investment treaties, and other international trade pacts… override these special conditions. They restrict the use of flexibilities and exceptions and actually impose more stringent requirements on LDCs than those required of other developing countries or even of non-LDC WTO members. These so-called TRIPS-Plus requirements exceed standard WTO commitments on intellectual property. More stringent requirements also are imposed in the process of accession by LDCs to the WTO…

Obtaining technology is critical for LDCs… the report contends: A “one size fits all” model, such as the TRIPS Agreement, does not hold much promise of increased innovation, whether within LDCs or through the transfer of technology to such countries.

Because of the importance of technology in the development of LDCs, it is pointed out further that in the history of the development of industrialists in both North America, Europe and the emerging industrial powerhouses in Asia, “creative technological imitation was critical” and possible because of “weak or non-existent intellectual property protection.” At the core of the report’s recommendations is the proposal not to subject the transition period for LDC’s to a specific deadline but when the goal of having “a sound and viable technological base” as mentioned in the TRIPS Preamble.

Finally a case study on the manufacturing sector of Bangladesh is presented-that’s 155 firms in the agro-processing, textiles and garments, and pharmaceuticals to evaluate “the impact of intellectual property rights (IPRs) on innovation in an LDC.”

Speaking of pharmaceuticals, here is a Guardian Unlimited article placing attention on present-day pharmaceutical intellectual property issues and how it prevents developing countries from having access to cheap medicines according to Oxfam. It was written November last year when the world commemorated the fifth year of the Doha declaration. Among those mentioned to be involved in fight for patents involved Pfizer vs. the Philippines and Novartis vs. India-the latter surprisingly from the leading producer of inexpensive drugs.

Cows and Cars Re-engineering vs. Global Warming

 

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Just one of the things I had to endure in a yuppie’s life this past week. After two dry months of what supposedly should have started the rainy season, (June and July,) it just won’t stop raining these days. After concerns of the dams’ water levels going critical, we now get urban flashfloods for almost the entire month of August so far. The previous years might have gotten people to get used to rains and floods from storms this time of the year but back then, the typhoon visits were somewhat staggered compared to the continuous run of storms now.

Whether the change in climate has to do with the global warming issue or not, I hope to have a ceasefire from the rains soon. I sure could use a rain-free week, (or weekend at least.)  Anyway here’s a couple of global warming tidbits:

Cow Modifications

One nice thing about the attention and concern given to global warming is that it had scientists looking for a lot of ways to curb harmful emissions to the atmosphere even from those from where we least expect.

For instance, in the Christian Science Monitor report, “How better-fed cows could cool the planet“, cows are put in focus as they along with other “ruminant livestock – including… goats, and buffaloes – produce about 80 million metric tons of methane a year, accounting for about 28 percent of man-made methane emissions annually.” The article simply puts it:

When cows digest, they burp methane gas, a powerful greenhouse agent. Scientists are working to try to reduce that.

And proceeds to detail how scientists are looking at changing the grasses and livestocks these cows eat to playing around with their digestive mechanisms. Other important points and interesting facts from the said report include:

  • According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, pound for pound methane is about 21 times more effective at warming Earth’s atmosphere than carbon dioxide is.
  • According to researchers from the Japanese National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Tsukuba “the production of one kilogram of beef (2.2 pounds) results in the emission of greenhouse gases with a warming potential equivalent to 80 pounds of carbon dioxide. In other words: Serving steak to your family is the greenhouse-gas equivalent of driving 155 miles.”

Car Modifications

Fuel consuming transportation is one obvious aspect of Global Warming that has scientists’ and researchers’ attention for a good reason.

Late last June, a The Economist article came out featuring Thailand’s long shelved plan of coming up with environmental friendly car which are affordable and have low exhaust emissions and fuel consumption. Back in 2004, the Thaksin administration had the plan of the eco-car’s large-scale production in its priority but it was only last June 15 that the Board of Investment (BoI) “finalised a range of incentives for the production of such vehicles, and the government has also approved a large cut in excise taxes.”

On Social Scents

Just before I went home yesterday, my officemate shared a link to a blog entry ranting about a certain Malu Fernandez. Her article from People Asia Magazine has earned the ire of a lot of filipinos because of how Malu wrote about having to spend a flight with overseas filipino workers (OFW’s.)

Much has been commented already so I’ll leave the ad hominems in that entry and the interested reader to go through each of them. As for me I don’t find it very surprising to find such bigotry in the magazine. I may have been vocal going against bigotry in varying degrees and different forms and political incorrectness in different forums elsewhere but I still have to admit that these still remain a big chunk of the taint in the filipino’s psyche.

Far more than still finding people looking down on other people belonging society’s lower strata, I still find common filipinos good natured and hospitable to expatriates yet downright rude to his or her fellow countrymen. I still find common filipinos equating terrorists with moslems without the same lot thinking twice about how much their Spanish conquerors used Christianity to terrorize a nation well off without them in the first place.

Far more than reading about people who judge other people by their scents, we still find present day Philippine society pegging the norm of beauty on the features of the white woman just as previous generations have looked up to the Spaniards and Americans as masters for more than three centuries all in all. To add more to the insult, we now find a growing number of middle and upper class parents discouraging their children from speaking Filipino as society, (and just recently, the government,) deems one who speaks fluent English more “educated” than one who speaks fluent Filipino. Nevermind if more prestigious Asian universities, at least compared to those bannering the Philippine academe, in countries where speaking English doesn’t necessarily put you at an advantage against those who can’t, have shown that human language doesn’t imply academic excellence and critical thinking. The average Filipino just won’t see himself as someone greater than any other race.

The list could go on to add up and depress and sadden the nationalist. The fact remains: bigotry in all its forms have found its way into the fabrics of the filipino culture so much that it has become a distinctive flaw of the national identity. Read a lot of the same people who expressed disdain and outrage over the read using a form of the same political incorrectness or atrocity in one way or the other. How these makes them any different from the thing they were going against, I guess only they themselves can tell.

What is it with a lot of fellow filipinos that makes it hard for them to respect differences of other religions, ethnic groups, ideologies and races, I guess I’ll never know. If only these same people knew how easier life has become when I learned when to keep my mouth shut a long time ago then maybe, just maybe, they could actually contribute a whole lot to society from lesser quarrels, disagreements, clashes, hatred or wars to maybe even the absence of such.

Sounds as far-fetched as Utopia? Maybe because it is.

How Nerd Are You II

It might be a little OC on my part but I needed to know how much a new laptop and inkjet printer would affect my Nerd score a long time ago. Instinctively it should go up but by how much, I just found the time to find out yesterday.

It was 34 previously but after a few minutes and mouse clicks:

I am nerdier than 45% of all people. Are you a nerd? Click here to find out!

45 and nearer to the median and good enough for me. Guess I’ve been living a pretty normal (or balanced) life or I’m just good at subconsciously denying the fact that my line of work’s one for the geeks.

Blogs of the Day: Biosingularity and The Leaky Brain

It’s been a while since I’ve featured Blog of the Day so I guess it’s about time I featured some spots elsewhere from the blogsphere.

The first would be Biosingularity as it featured a health tidbit regarding the benefits of green tea in the fight against the Big C. Sure it might sound like one of those overused marketing lines by health drinks apart from forwarded email fodder involving the relative rarity of the condition among cultures with green tea traditionally included in their diets, (i.e. Japanese and Chinese,) and a lot of other such medical research and studies:

Concentrated chemicals derived from green tea dramatically boosted production of a group of key detoxification enzymes in people with low levels of these beneficial proteins, according to researchers at Arizona Cancer Center.

These findings, published in the August issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, suggest that a green tea concentrate might help some people strengthen their metabolic defense against toxins capable of causing cancer.

Another plus for the consumption of green tea.

The next would be abarclay12’s The Leaky Brain as it features a whole range of hilarious blog posts such as those compiled in her Team of The Week entries. In the Aug 10 Team of The Week for instance she features someone from Santa Fe at number 3:

Oh you’re gonna love this guy. His name is Bryan Connelly, and he was convicted of forgery charges in Texas. But we don’t care about that. We love Bryan because he wrote the judge at his trial a letter asking him TO KILL the prosecutor. Then, when the judge wouldn’t agree to kill the prosecutor, our friend Bryan wrote his defense attorney a letter asking him TO KILL the judge. How great is that??! In a very eloquent letter to his lawyer, Bryan wrote, “If you decide not to kill [the judge] for me, I will kill him myself, after I kill you.” This guy is for real, and I am in love with him.

In the July 27 serving, she features someone from Virginia at number 4:

This is the greatest story ever. The guy in the picture is Russell Tavares. Some dude called him a “nerd” over the internet, and Russ got in his car and drove 1300 miles from Virgina to Texas to confront John Anderson, his name-caller. The greatest part of the story is that every time he crossed a state border, he took a picture of the “Welcome to [State’s Name]” to prove he was on his way. When he got to Texas, he burnt Anderson’s trailer down. Some nerds are hardcore.

As with all other blogs I’ve featured, these ones should keep me reading through their vast archives for a while.

The Risk Called Office Printers

Yup the title’s right. If the BBC article towards the end of the previous month’s to be believed:

The humble office laser printer can damage lungs in much the same way as smoke particles from cigarettes.

Read more on the said finding of a group of scientists from The Queensland University of Technology.

[08/18/07 Update] – For a good laugh, here’s abarclay12’s take on the printer risk thingie. Included there is an interesting tech article linking HP’s official statement on PC World which went:

HP is currently reviewing the Queensland University of Technology research on particle emission characteristics of office printers. Vigorous tests under standardized operating conditions are an integral part of HP’s research and development and its strict quality control procedures.

What’s with PR these days? More to the point I just don’t get what the second sentence is doing there. Strict quality control procedures and research and development should include health risks among important prerogatives and the fact that they did consider reviewing the study just shows that this is one thing they failed to consider.

I think I should talk to my boss for me to get placed a little farther away from the office laser printer. My proximity from the culprit right now’s somewhere around a meter or 2.