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February 25, 2012

Free Amazon Kindle

ENTERTAINMENT/TECHNOLOGY - You can buy an Amazon Kindle gadget for reading eBooks for $109 or one of the more expensive versions like the Kindle DX (for $379).

However its not really WORTH that much.

When you consider you can read eBooks on a tablet like a BlackBerry PlayBook for $199, an iPad 2 for $519 or an HTC JetStream LTE tablet for $799 then what you realize is that the Amazon Kindle is a cheap piece of obsolete junk.

Same goes with the Kobo eBook reader and other eReading gadgets. They're all obsolete as tablet prices keep dropping and more tablets hit the market.

Which brings me to the topic at hand... If Amazon and other publishing companies really want to push their eBook readers they're going to have to resort to the same tactics used by the cellphone companies:

Start giving away free Kindles on some kind of contract basis. They will make more money off the book sales from people downloading and paying for eBooks...

Although to be realistic eventually (maybe 10 years from now) tablets will also be free and being sold on a contract basis, with the goal of selling eBooks, music, movies, games and internet service. For now the early adopters of this technology will have to pay.

Right now you can get a free Notepad computer just by signing up for Rogers Mobile Internet.

Or you can get $300 off a HTC JetStream LTE tablet (normally $799) by signing up for a 3 year contract for Rogers wireless internet.

So you see its already happening. Just give them time and before you know it eReaders and tablets will be free and they will be selling wireless internet, music and games to a hooked and addicted populace.

February 23, 2012

"Waterworld" planet discovered likely has life on it

TECHNOLOGY - Scientists have discovered a new planet called GJ1214b first noticed in 2009, but has recently been dubbed "Kevin" after Kevin Costner (because of the film "Waterworld") since the planet was recently found to be mostly made of water.

And water as we all know is the source of all life.

Most planets are rocky, gaseous or icy and uninhabitable. Earth is one of very few planets which is covered mostly by water. In the case of Earth it is 72% covered by water (including 3% fresh water). Plus the poles is covered in ice.

However unlike Earth the planet "Kevin" is 6.5 times bigger than our planet (2.7 times bigger in diameter) and circles a small star about 42 light-years away. Depending on its composition its mass and gravity could be 4 to 6 times greater than our own.

Thus if life did exist there it would likely be short and squat, but very strong.

The planet is also partially steamy, so between the high gravity and steam any creatures living there would have to be extremophiles which can live in very hot temperatures.



Astronomers determined that GJ1214b is watery / steamy using the Wide Field Camera 3 aboard the Hubble Space Telescope which can measure a range of infrared wavelengths and can be used to estimate the planet’s composition. GJ1214b's atmosphere is at least half water and most of the water is on the planet’s surface in the same way the Earth has most of its water on the surface. The key difference is that GJ1214b's atmosphere is hotter and steamier.

The interior is unknown, but likely molten rock.

America's Obesity Epidemic

HEALTH - In 1985 less than 9% of adult Americans were obese.

By 2010 that number has risen to 33.8% of adult Americans. You can see a slideshow map of the USA at http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/trends.html which will show you how obesity in the USA has gone from 1 in 11 adults in to 1 in 3.

The silly thing is that many Americans blame genetic or health problems for their sudden weight gain. They blame diabetes or genetic conditions like Factor V Leiden.

Factor V Leiden usually effects Caucasians under the age of 45. It only effects people whose parents both had the gene, and even then only effects 1 out or 12 people who inherit the "double gene". Only 1% of the Caucasian population in the USA has the "double gene" and only 0.083% of the population is effected by it. Only 1 in 1200 people.

The end result is only approximately 167,000 people who are effected by "double gene" for Factor V Leiden.

Note: Since it is genetic there is no "cure", but there is treatment for Factor V Leiden:

Treatment of a patient with Factor V Leiden requires anticoagulation and cardiovascular exercise. This is accomplished by several different medications: 1) heparin, 2) warfarin and 3) low-molecular-weight heparins. These medications are generally used for 3-6 months. Patients under treatment should do cardiovascular exercise twice per day for approx. 30 minutes each time.

The use of long-term (over the limit of 6 months) anticoagulation has an approximately 3% risk per year of having a hemorrhage and thus patients should routinely go off the medication for 2 months at a time, but continue cardiovascular exercise treatment during that time period. The accepted method of treatment is 4 months on anticoagulation medication and 2 months on a non-sugar based placebo, repeated continuously in combination with daily cardiovascular exercise.

Ahem.

So Factor V Leiden does not explain America's obesity problem because its #1. extremely rare and #2. treatable using medication and exercise. That and other illnesses does not explain the almost 100 million Americans (children and adults) who are obese.

Diabetes is another scapegoat, but the problem is that it is "Type 2 Diabetes" that most obese people have. Type 2 Diabetes is caused by being overweight, not the other way around.

So what about the rest of the world that isn't suffering from such shockingly high rates? What are they doing so differently?

#1. The rest of the world gets more exercise. The average American exercises less than 19 minutes per day. That is the AVERAGE. Which means healthy Americans are exercising an hour or more per day.

#2. The rest of the world eats less sugar, carbohydrates and fat in their food. The average American consumes 3,790 calories per day (2002 statistic). The healthy level is 1800 to 2000 calories per day. Remember that 3,790 is the average. This means some Americans are consuming a lot more than 4,000 calories.

So America's obesity is really an issue of LIFESTYLE. They are overeating and barely exercising.

Compare this to 150 years ago when most Americans were farmers, worked outside most of the day, got lots of exercise, ate a decent meal and didn't pig out.

Today the average American spends 8.5 hours per day in front of either a computer screen or a TV screen. Assuming they spend another 8 hours sleeping, another 4 hours eating, bathing and doing household chores, 1 hour in traffic going to and from work or school, what are they doing for the other 2.5 hours?

Well since Americans only spend 19 minutes exercising I guess whatever they are doing must be more important than their health.



February 21, 2012

Dominique Strauss-Kahn questioned in connection with prostitution ring

By Suzanne MacNevin - February 2012.

POLITICS - Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is being questioned today by French police in connection with a prostitution ring in the northern French city of Lille.

Strauss-Kahn hasn't officially been arrested yet, but he can be held for up to 48 hours and may then be arrested. The French police are investigating if he was benefitting from misappropriated company funds that were used by French executives under the guise of corporate expense accounts to fund sex parties with prostitutes and drugs.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn was once seen as a strong contender for France’s 2012 presidential election, but his political ambitions came to an abrupt end last May after he was accused of sexually assaulting a New York hotel maid. The charges in 2011 were later withdrawn despite damning DNA evidence and numerous other victimized women who have come forward saying they were sexually assaulted by Dominique Strauss-Kahn. See also: Strauss-Kahn freed despite damning evidence

Strauss-Kahn quit his International Monetary Fund job after the sex assault case, but the new allegations against him have a paper trail of money which connect a prostitution ring with wealthy executive clients of Lille’s luxury Carlton hotel. Police also believe Strauss-Kahn was involved with similar sex parties in Paris and Washington.

8 people, including 2 Lille businessmen directly connected to Strauss-Kahn and a police commissioner, have already been arrested in the case. One company has already fired an executive suspected of using company funds to hire sex workers using the executive account.

Hiring prostitutes is not illegal in France, but Strauss-Kahn and other executives risks being charged with defrauding money from companies if the practice of bribing business associates with sex doesn't fly with the French authorities.

There are LIMITS to what executive accounts can be used for.

Strauss-Kahn’s lawyer Henri Leclerc denies his client knew that the women at the sex parties he attended were prostitutes. (Although seriously, if you're paying to get into these sex parties, aren't you going to assume the women are being paid to be there?)

A separate case wherein Strauss-Kahn is accused of attempting to rape Tristane Banon, the Parisian writer, was thrown out in 2011 due to a shortage of evidence (rape and attempted rape cases are very difficult to prove).

Thoughts? For an old man Dominique Strauss-Kahn sure gets around a lot and must be popping pills at his age. His lack of respect for women is clearly evident by the sheer number of women and police accusing him of sexual misconduct.

February 20, 2012

Coal is the true Greenhouse Gas Killer

ENVIRONMENT - Alberta's tar pits (aka the oil sands) isn't likely to make much difference as far as global warming and climate change is concerned, says Andrew Weaver, one of the world’s top climate change scientists.

Weaver has calculated that emissions from from burning coal to make electricity is the real threat to the planet's ecosystem.

“I was surprised by the results of our analysis,” says Andrew Weaver, a University of Victoria climate change specialist, who has been a lead author on two reports from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Weaver and colleague Neil Stewart analyzed how burning all global stocks of coal, oil and natural gas would affect temperatures. Their analysis includes unconventional gas, such as undersea methane hydrates and shale gas produced by fracking, as well as unconventional sources including the Canadian tar sands.

Weaver and Stewart found that if all the hydrocarbons in the tar sands were mined and consumed, the carbon dioxide released would raise global temperatures by about 0.36 Celsius.

When only commercially viable tar sands deposits are considered, the temperature increase is only 0.03 Celsius. So the Canadian tar sands is just a drop in the proverbial bucket (although it is still an ecological hazard for the petrochemicals being spilled into the water supply and giving cancer to residents who drink the local water, to say nothing of the damage caused to plants and animals in the region).

In contrast, burning all the globe’s vast coal deposits would create a 15 Celsius increase in temperature. Burning all the abundant natural gas would warm the planet by 3.1 degrees.

Governments around the world have agreed to try to keep global warming to two degrees, although little action is currently be done to stop the changes.

“The conventional and unconventional oil is not the problem with global warming,” says Weaver. “The problem is coal and unconventional natural gas.”

The increased dependence on coal for the purpose of making electricity is what governments should really worry about.

Burning all the oil in the world would raise temperatures by 0.9 Celsius.

The end message is that countries need to start shutting down coal burners and switch to nuclear, solar, wind and geothermal energy.

It is estimated it would only take 5 large geothermal facilities to produce all the energy Canada needs, but the Canadian government is refusing to even build 1 geothermal facility despite the success of Canadian geothermal companies operating overseas.

North Korea threatens to attack South Korea

POLITICS - The hermit republic of North Korea is threatening to attack South Korea, worried about live fire military drills its South Korean neighbours are doing in a disputed region of the sea near the border between the two enemies.

Earlier today South Korea has begun live-fire military drills from front-line islands, ignoring North Korea's threat to attack. The drills today are in an area near the Koreas' disputed sea border. It is the same region that was the target of a North Korean artillery attack in 2010 that killed four South Koreans.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff say residents on those islands were asked to go to underground shelters before the drills started.

No North Korean action has been reported, but they have raised their alert level.

Yesterday a North Korean officer in Pyongyang warned that North Koreans are always ready to “dedicate their blood to defend their inviolable territory.”

Meanwhile in the USA...

President Obama and the Obama Administration is looking for an excuse to have a war overseas. (Because every president needs a war to ensure their 2nd term.) A war with North Korea would solve that need.

But North Korea isn't the first country in their sights. Iran is also on the list.

Tehran, the capitol of Iran, has put finishing touches on the installation of thousands of new-generation centrifuges in their underground nuclear facility. These are machines that can produce enriched uranium faster and more efficiently than the old centrifuges.

Iran is expanding its uranium enrichment at a fortified underground bunker in the village of Fordo in an effort to see how quickly it can make nuclear warheads, senior American diplomats say on condition of anonymity.

The senior diplomats say that Iran would have little reason to prepare the better centrifuges unless it planned to operate them.

The new centrifuges at Fordo appears to reflect Iran’s determination to forge ahead with nuclear weapons activity despite international sanctions and the latest threats from Israel. Israel is very worried that any nuclear weapons could be used against the Jewish state, and the USA, an ally of Israel, is likewise concerned.

The new centrifuges are already are enriching to 20% — a level that can be boosted quickly to weapons-grade quality.

Iran’s much older enrichment site in the city of Natanz is producing uranium at 3.4%, a level used to power reactors. While that could be turned into weapons-grade uranium it would take longer to turn low grade Uranium into weapons grade, whereas high grade Uranium would take less time.

The CIA believes that Iran already has a small supply of weapons grade material, but has yet to test its nuclear weapon capabilities because such a test would be an announcement to the world that Iran is ready for nuclear war with Israel (which Iran has been denying for years). The CIA believe that Iran has been enriching uranium to 90% or more levels.

International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors are scheduled to visit Tehran next Sunday. Iran has been stonewalling outsiders concerning its nuclear weapons program for 3 years. Iranian officials deny they have nuclear weapons or any intention to use them and claim that the USA and Israel are just creating bogus intelligence in an attempt to start a war and complete an oil pipeline that would traverse through Iraq and Afghanistan to the border of China via the Wakhjir Pass.

February 16, 2012

Greece's economic bailout a failure

POLITICS - We predicted it a long time ago. The bailout of Greece's economy would only fail because they're not fixing the real problem: Lack of manufacturing.

We're not alone in our predictions.

Many European countries have strong doubts over whether a second massive bailout can actually save Greece. A second bailout which even now politicians in Athens are rushing to meet tough conditions to qualify for the €130 billion ($170 billion) 2nd bailout.

But that 2nd bailout money isn't going to save Greece and we're going to explain why.

Greece's problem isn't an issue of money. Its a problem of work. Not enough Greeks have work and unemployment in the country is sky high.

Even if Greece gets the 2nd batch of bailout money, how is that extra money supposed to help the average Greek? The bailout money will go towards paying for government employees already on the payroll. It isn't going to help the unemployed whatsoever.

For the last 2 years politicians have been wrangling and borrowing money to help Greece save their government from bankruptcy and defaulting on their loans.

Greece got the Eurozone to agree on the first €110 billion rescue for Greece in May 2010. But what did they do with that money? Spent it all on government workers already employed by the government. Teachers, police officers, the military, etc.

Several politicians in Germany, the Netherlands and Finland have grown tired of Greece repeatedly missing budget targets and failing to implement promised cuts, reforms and sales of state assets. Which frankly who can blame them? State assets help the government and selling off state assets to foreign investors is only going to reduce the government's control over their own economy and put that control in the hands of greedy overseas investors.

Such measures would only serve to harm Greece's economy over the longer term for a short term payoff.

Other countries have been forced in the past to do the same thing and their countries are now economic wreaks because of it. Any smart politician who truly loves his country sees what has happened in other countries which have sold off state assets and now know the true price of such backwards thinking.

Meanwhile Greece is in a steep recession, with its economy shrinking 7% in the final quarter of 2011 from a year earlier. Some economists believe it may even be a depression, the problem is that there is no technical definition for a depression and how to define one. The closest approximation is when the situation is so bad that people start selling everything they can at cut rate prices (deflation of commodities).

Other politicians are saying that the Eurozone should just let Greece default on their loans and that the Eurozone is strong enough to take the hit. But that isn't going to solve Greece's problems either. It will just reduce the pressure on paying the interest for its loans.

Since Greece is responsible for only 2% of Europe's economic output its believed the effects of a default would be minor. Some naysayers think it could effect global financial markets and might encourage other countries to also default on their loans.

The problem is how Europe / Greece is trying to solve their problems. Throwing money at the problem isn't going to make it go away.

#1. Greece needs to lower income taxes on manufacturing jobs. Make it more appealing for manufacturers to build things in Greece.

#2. Greece needs to lower corporate taxes on manufacturers and raise taxes on services.

#3. Greece needs to lower taxes (or completely remove taxes) on farmers. Basically anyone who is producing an actual "product" instead of a service needs a break.

#4. Greece needs to cut executive payouts by half until the economy recovers. Politicians and executives working for government owned institutions need to take a huge temporary pay cut. If they don't like it they can quit.

#5. Greece needs to increase income taxes on the rich and decrease the amount the wealthy get back for deductions.

Too much taxes on the poor and manufacturing hampers an economy. Using the above model and other measures to increase manufacturing jobs in Greece the problem of Greece's economy can be solved. The increases on taxes for the wealthy will counterbalance the budget changes.

Once the economy is back on the right footing then incremental changes can be made in an effort to pay off Greece's debts.

The problem therefore in the meantime is Greece's creditors, who want their money back and are insisting on changes that would ultimately bankrupt Greece down the road. Greece's leaders are wise to resist such calls to sell of government assets.

Given time Greece's economic reform will lead to recovery (especially if more drastic steps are taken to encourage manufacturing jobs), but creditors need to be patient.

February 15, 2012

2012 NDP candidates all look boring and unelectable

CANADA - No offense to the NDP... but their roster of candidates to replace Jack Layton (we will miss you Jack!). The charismatic leader who died in August 2011 has big shoes to fill.

And frankly these 7 candidates just aren't up to snuff.

Niki Ashton is so young it hurts the eyes.

Nathan Cullen looks like an accountant. The only thing he has in common with Jack Layton is being bald.

Paul Dewar looks like Michael Ignatieff (and we know what a flop he was).

Thomas Mulcair is a lawyer with a beard.

Peggy Nash is an environmental activist who reminds me of Hillary Clinton.

Martin Singh is a pharmacist (with an even bigger beard).

Brian Topp has a widows peak and is an executive on multiple committees. He looks uninspiring.

In my mind the only real solution is for the NDP and Liberals to join forces into a single "left of middle" party.

None of these candidates look inspiring or charismatic. It is possible to try and forge ahead with a non charismatic leader (like Stephan Dion, what a mistake that was), but we already know the Conservatives will just rip a non charismatic leader to pieces like they did Dion.

The NDP needs a strong leader. None of this people look to be ready or capable of doing the job. Stephen Harper will just rip them apart.

Key witness in police corruption can`t remember details

CANADA - A Canadian man, Larry Vacon, 51, testified yesterday that he can`t remember where a group of corrupt drug squad police officers took him on Jan. 30th 1997.

“I said they took me back to my house and stuff, but I can’t say for sure,” Vacon said.

Larry Vacon was expected to testify that he was not immediately taken to the police station, and that instead drug squad officers took him to his apartment where they raided his place looking for cash and drugs. When they arrived police officers were wreaking the place looking for cash.

Vacon was supposed to say the officers threatened to destroy his apartment worse than it already was if he didn’t tell them where he hid his everything, the jury was told.

But instead Larry Vacon now claims he doesn`t remember what he talked about and doesn`t remember where the conversation took place.

According to previous reports the police had searched his apartment before 4 PM, when the search warrant allowed them to enter, making their presence there illegal.

Police records show Vacon was booked into 11 Division police station at 3:03 PM, so if they were at his apartment before booking him into the station then it was long before the search warrant was available to be used.

See also Five Dirty Cops on trial, Biggest Police Corruption trial in Toronto history.

Miched, 53, John Schertzer, 54, Ned Maodus, 48, Steven Correia, 44, Raymond Pollard, 47 — former Central Field Command drug squad officers — collectively face 29 charges, laid in January 2004, including attempt to obstruct justice, perjury, assault and extortion.

Now we the public isn't stupid. Nor is the judge. It is pretty obvious Larry Vacon was intimidated into conveniently forgetting where he was taken and what was done 5 years ago. Intimidation tactics on the witnesses just smacks of more police corruption.

Presumably they can't scare all the witnesses however. Certainly not in a trial this big.

CRTC is asking people to complain more about telemarketers

CANADA - Almost 10 million Canadian residential phone numbers (landline, cellular and fax) are now blocked to Canadian telemarketers (but still reachable by telemarketers operating overseas or in the USA).

However even if you register your number you may still receive calls from people trying to sell you stuff. The problem is people aren't complaining to the CRTC enough.

Since many calls now come from overseas (especially India) having your number on the Do Not Call List doesn't do much...

And the CRTC doesn't bother to investigate complaints unless at least 1 person complains PER DAY about calls from specific numbers.

And a lot of the calls are coming from overseas using fake numbers or multiple rotating fake numbers it makes it very difficult for the CRTC to block incoming telemarketers from overseas.

6 out of 10 people who get in touch with the CRTC complain about abuses of the do-not-call (DNC) rules. Half a million complaints have been filed since the list was set up in fall 2008, but very little action has been taken because telemarketers know the gaps in the rules... and they have a very good idea of how to avoid detection by staying under that 1 complaints per day limit.

Here is a suggestion to CRTC... LOWER THE LIMIT!

Make it 10 complaints per month. And if that isn't good enough, 5 per month. Just keeping lowering the limit until it reaches an optimal level where CRTC staff can do their job and Canadians can feel like the government is actually working for them instead.

About 10% of CRTC complaints are about organizations that are exempt from the telemarketing rules. They include:

• Canadian registered charities

• Political parties and candidates in federal, provincial and municipal elections

• General circulation newspapers calling to sell subscriptions

• Calls to a consumer who has an existing business relationship with an organization (having bought a product in the last 18 months or asked a telemarketer about a product in the last six months)

• Calls to a consumer who has given express consent to be called

• Calls to business consumers

But here is the thing...

Some people don't want to be called at all. Maybe they don't want a newspaper subscription or to donate to charity. Some people just want to be left alone.

If a newspaper or charity is calling several times per week to harass a person it is still harassment and it should still be punished.

A New Look for 2012

If you are a frequent visitor to Lilith News you will have noticed some immediate changes to our layout.

Left is now right, the background is now grey instead of white
We've added a lot more social media tools and we're here for the long fight
Let us know what you think, because we think its out of sight!

Sincerely,
The Lilith News Staff

February 8, 2012

Does wealth trickle down?

POLITICS - The concept that wealth trickles down is a complete sham.

Yes, technically, money flows in all directions of commerce. But tax cuts for the rich doesn't = the middle class and the poor making more money from "money trickling down" from the wealthy.

In fact its quite the opposite. The rich just get richer.

And the poor get poorer and the middle class becomes poorer too.

The best way to boost the economy is to have low (or almost no) taxes on the poor, have moderate taxes on the middle class and high taxes on the rich. This creates a balanced economy and ensures economic prosperity.

Any politician who tells you "Wealth trickles down." is lying through their teeth and lining the pockets of their rich friends (who no doubt paid for the politicians election campaign).

February 7, 2012

By 2020 the American Car Industry will be a shadow of its former self

CARS - China is mass producing cars and they're getting very good at copying other car manufacturers. Imagine being able to buy a Ford Mustang... it looks like a Mustang, it drives like a Mustang, heck it is a Mustang in every way that matters. But it is made in China.

And its place of manufacturing isn't the only thing that would be different. It would also cost less than a third of what a Mustang currently costs.

Now ask yourself, what car do you think average Americans would buy when given the option between the American Mustang and the Chinese Mustang which is exactly the same but only a percentage of the price?

The answer is obvious. National pride can't compete with that kind of low prices.

And this isn't just a matter of Ford's growing manufacturing operations in China. Every major manufacturer is now building in China because they've realize that their competitors are doing the same thing and they have to stay competitive.

In 2011 all of Europe's car manufacturers made 1.7 million cars. China beat that easily with 3 million cars. The silly thing is that China is just getting started, by 2020 China will be producing an estimated 10 million cars per year (that is roughly 20% of all new cars that are sold annually currently) and their build quality keeps improving because they're copying the best designs from Europe, Japan and the USA.

So what it really adds up to is by 2020 you will be able to buy a car designed by German, Italian and Japanese engineers and built in China... and it will cost a percentage of a new car currently costs.

The end result will be American car manufacturers (and European manufacturers too) won't be able to compete. Even the big name supercar manufacturers like Ferrari, Aston Martin, Lamborghini will be thinking about moving their manufacturing to China because they have to stay competitive with their prices.

It isn't going to happen all at once either. It will happen in stages. Jumps. Economic jitters. The occasional recession. Government bailouts with money borrowed ironically from China.

Eventually China will realize they don't have to bailout the USA's debts and the USA will have to finally reconsider their economic model.

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