Dish Selflessly Charges $$$ To Bring People The Broadband That Was Once Proposed As A Low Cost Public Service To Sell People On Digital TV

Since CNET would not let me comment, I guess I had to publish it here.  Their post: 

Dish reportedly readying nationwide satellite broadband

Dish Network is reportedly preparing to roll out a nationwide satellite-based broadband service this fall, ramping up competition with cable companies....The satellite, which was launched last month, can support download speeds of 15 megabits per second and can handle about 2 million new Internet customers, the sources told Bloomberg. However, speeds may be limited to 5 megabits per second to accommodate more customers.
Pricing estimates for the new service were not revealed, though it's expected to be more expensive than cable or DSL. The service will likely be aimed at customers in rural areas where wired connections are prohibitively expensive and cellular alternatives are unavailable.
Dish is expected to bundle the new Internet service with TV programming packages, increasing its competition with cable companies such as Comcast and Time Warner, which also offer bundled broadband and TV programming.

Read more

This post of mine is a must read on this subject.  Digital TV was designed to be bi-directional and to be capable of carrying broadband to rural areas -- everywhere -- cheaply.  In addition to all the media it now supports.  If Dish claims not to know this, they are being disingenuous; if they truly do not, incompetent. Either way profiting greatly from the ignorance of the people, or from a short-lived shortfall in providers.  Perhaps TPTB are in cahoots again, and the heralded Cheap Broadband For All was merely the sugar to get Amurrcans to swallow Digital TV:  did I mention it is inherently bi-directional?  Also much is lost in the way of locating intrusive or invasive signals, or data leakage from one's system, by triangulation, since there is no triangulation.  No onscreen ghosts to tell you how far away the spooks are, or where another node has been installed unbeknownst.  "But here, here's Amurrcan Idol." To paraphrase Saint Bill of the Hicks, "Go back to sleep, America". In front of the set, like you always do when your wife works late and you eat a pint of your favorite ice cream, the room lit only by the screen....

Be seeing you.

In Prison, Would-be Snitches Pay $$$ For Info: ALARMING IMPLICATIONS

Riley says: "Thank you for not snitching."
"Almost one out of every eight federal prisoners have had their sentences reduced for cooperation" notes the Southern District of Florida Blog.  "That's a huge number."  And yes, the graph on how that "breaks down" is interesting:


But once you get over the fact that it is overwhelmingly the upper-class criminals who are snitches, put that together with the fact that often they have no useable information.  They do, however, have money, and as the rather uncharacteristically interesting article originally posted in USA Today reports it, more and more often they make use of that money to buy their freedom.  They purchase -- for exorbitant sums -- snitch-worthy information from certain brokers into whose questionable ethics it is not within the scope of that article, nor this, to look.

They are not required to be too detailed about how they come by the information.  It appears as though verification may not be a requirement for reduction of sentence.  Which brings me to what I find is really interesting.

The felons with money are in prison for white collar crimes.  They have no information, and are purchasing it.  They are purchasing it, it appears from Mr. Heath's report, from people 'on the inside' with street connections.  Conclusions: 

• they are snitching on crimes with which they are unfamiliar;

• they are snitching on crimes for which snitching is less common;

• they are snitching on crimes for which information is available;

• they are snitching on blue-collar crimes.
From Mr. Heath's report, emphasis mine:

In early 2008, an Atlanta jail inmate facing mortgage fraud charges approached FBI agents with information about a drug trafficker who was dealing in tractor-trailer loads of marijuana and cocaine. Leon Lumsden was by then practiced at trying to use information to win a deal. At his sentencing hearing that July, so many federal agents showed up on his behalf that the judge gave him an even bigger sentence reduction than prosecutors had sought.

Read more

Your thoughts and opinions are why I blog; please feel free to add them below.

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Tufts Quietly Publishes Results Of GM Trials On Adults, Children In US, China, Many Without Consent

Click to enlarge... for a readable copy, visit the source links below.

Researchers at Tufts have some explaining to do, perhaps more here than hereafter -- though with precedents like those set by Baxter and their  
felonious company (also see this and this), it could very well be that only the Chinese accomplices to this crime will be punished.  

From EX-SKF:

The Chinese government says it has compensated the parents of the children with 80,000 yuan (US$12,800) each.

The director of Tufts University's Carotenoids and Health Laboratory is Chinese. Dr. Guangwen Tang has published her paper titled " Golden Rice is an effective source of vitamin A" in June 2009 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

What is "Golden Rice"? It's one of the projects supported by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Which multinational corporation is behind "Golden Rice"? Syngenta, of Switzerland.

Who's behind the clinical studies by this director of Carotenoids and Health Laboratory at Tufts University? The US government.

After Greenpeace busted the study in China, the Tuft University researcher continued the study using the US children. She is still at it, now using adults.

First, from China Daily (12/7/2012; emphasis is mine):
Parents of students in GM rice test win payout

by Qiu Quanlin

Parents whose children unknowingly took part in a study involving genetically modified rice in Hunan province have received compensation but said they are more worried about their youngsters' health.

Each of 25 families, whose children were fed 60 grams of the GM food "golden rice" in the study, received 80,000 yuan ($12,800) on Friday from local government authorities.

The study, which covered some 80 children then aged between 6 and 8, was conducted in a primary school in Jiangkou township, Hengnan county, in 2008.

"Compared with the compensation, I have more concerns over possible health hazards to my child," said Xie Xiaohua, whose 11-year-old daughter, Liao Ke, was included in the study.

The girl developed dizziness and fever shortly after the test, Xie said.

"We were not told before the test by relevant authorities that it was genetically modified rice. We were only asked to sign names and we thought it was a nutrition program," Xie told China Daily.

Investigations by health authorities show the research team told parents about the experiment but did not say GM rice would be used.

Xie said local authorities have not announced the names of the 25 children.

Authorities in Hengnan county have promised to take full responsibility if children suffer health problems as a result of the test.

Another mother, who gave her name only as Luo, told the Beijing News the local government will soon arrange for all children involved in the study to have medical checks.

"I signed the compensation agreement with the government on Dec 1. I would rather not have received the money. So far, I don't know how dangerous the "golden rice" will be to my child's health," said Luo, whose daughter was fed the GM food.

Three officials who approved and conducted the controversial test have been sacked, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday.

The officials are Yin Shi'an, from the center: Wang Yin, from the Zhejiang Academy of Medical Sciences: and Hu Yuming, from the Hunan Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

US-based Tufts University, which jointly organized the study, is aware of the announcement made by the Chinese health authorities.

"While we respect China's review process which led to the statement, it would be inappropriate to make further comments at this time as investigations are currently under way in the United States," Andrea Grossman, assistant director of public relations at the Massachusetts-based institution, was quoted as saying by Xinhua News Agency.

Grossman said the university launched a full review in August to determine if proper study procedures were followed. This was after becoming aware of questions about the "golden rice" study, raised after the test was disclosed by environmental group Greenpeace.

"We have also been cooperating with Chinese investigators engaged in their own review. We will continue to cooperate with China's authorities on this matter," Grossman said.

According to the Chinese statement, Guangwen Tang, director of the Carotenoids and Health Laboratory of Tufts University, cooked the GM rice in the United States and brought it to China on May 29, 2008, without declaring it to the Chinese authorities.

Four days later, Tang and other research participants re-cooked the rice, mixed it with ordinary rice and served it for the children's lunch.

The central government introduced a regulation in 2001 to ensure the safety of GM food, with strict provisions for research, testing, production and marketing such products, according to Xinhua.

The regulation states that those conducting GM agricultural experiments should have certain qualifications, and form a panel to oversee the safety of the experiments.

Contact the writer at

A non-profit organization in Wales in the UK called GM-Free Cymru alleges that this Golden Rice is an untested, unapproved GM variety. Further (emphasis is mine),
Project NCT 00680212. Vitamin A Equivalence of Plant Carotenoids in Children. We infer that the earlier trial with children was inconclusive, causing the managers of the Golden Rice Project to engineer so-called "improvements" in later varieties of Golden Rice -- and to press on with another round of trials using children. 24 children of 6-8 years of age at the Center Primary School in Hengyang in Hunan province were to be used as guinea pigs. Zhejiang Academy of Medical Sciences, Hang Zhou, China was initially shown as a project sponsor. However, when Greenpeace alerted the Chinese authorities to the fact that Golden Rice is an unauthorised GM variety, they refused to sanction the experiments (12) and pulled out of the project. Undeterred, the Tufts University team has now decided to press ahead. On 6th February 2009 the US Clinical Trials web site posted news that the trial will now be conducted in the USA, not China. The study is currently recruiting participants; 24 children with and without Vitamin A deficiency will be fed on Golden Rice for an unspecified number of days. Again, the source of funding is unspecified.

These experiments raise major ethical issues. Very young children suffering from varying degrees of Vitamin A deficiency have been fed on an unauthorised and untested GM variety. According to the Nuremberg Code, which underpins modern medical ethics, there are three principles which have been breached (13). First, children under the age of ten do not have the legal capacity to give informed consent prior to being used in these experiments. Second, it has in no case been demonstrated by Tufts University or the other participants that the results desired could not be obtained by other means of study. And third, the studies were not preceded by animal experiments which might have shown up hazards for the trial subjects. There has been a cavalier disregard for the safety of the vulnerable persons used in these tests, driven by the ideological conviction that Golden Rice is "just another rice." It is most definitely NOT just another rice, as indicated in a number of studies (14). And it is not just the genetic manipulation of the plant that causes concern, since studies have shown that in certain circumstances high doses of Vitamin A can in themselves be very damaging when fed to patients / normal consumers who are not suffering from Vitamin A deficiency. (15)

It is clear that there is more than a little sensitivity in the research community about the three Golden Rice feeding experiments. The lead researcher, Dr Guangwen Tang, refuses to respond to Email messages, and when a journalist reached her by telephone she refused point-blank to answer any questions about the research. It was only after persistent questioning of key Golden Rice promoters that the same journalist obtained an admission from Syngenta that there had been no animal feeding studies.
After checking the government link on clinical trials above, the test of Golden Rice on young children in the US by Tufts University was completed in January 2009. According to the government page:
  • 72 children, aged 6 to 8, with or without adequate Vitamin A nutrition
  • Duration of the study, 21 days

It was a Phase 2 study, but GM-Free Cymru says Syngenta has admitted that there has been no animal studies. So they basically used children as lab animals.

I wonder what the incentive was for the parents of these 72 children to agree to have their children subjected to a GMO test. I wonder they knew what the test was about.

Ms. Guangwen Tang is currently recruiting participants in her Phase 1 study of "Bioavailability of Golden Rice Carotenoids in Humans":
  • A well-nourished population will be fed hydroponically grown Golden Rice
  • 15 adults, aged between 40 and 70 years

But the government data is as of April 2012. This clinical trial may have also been over.

Indeed.  Here is that page, detailing that Phase 1 study of "Bioavailability of Golden Rice Carotenoids in Humans." Fifteen adults, and
click to enlarge
 even though the closing date was in August, no results provided, or link thereto, or any inkling thereof.  

But it is already December... and indeed, in the wonderful labyrinthine recessess of the NCBI database, a clue:

Lo and behold!  Golden Rice is an effective source of vitamin A!  That would, of course, hinge on the definition of 'effective.' Doubtful there is an effective effective enough to merit the sort of treatment that, quite against their wills and the will of their usually less protective Mother State, certain Chinese children were made to undergo.

There may be redress, even now. I, for one, am willing to offer what little I have towards this end, as, I am sure, are many of us.

 From one of the many figures meant to accompany that research piece we find this gem:

Experimental ethical framework 
for the Golden Rice human study. 

A three-tiered standard is used to justify the overall methodology in modern times, to progressively less compassionate stakeholders. 

The first standard or ethical protocol (upper class) is behind the actions of the sponsors of the study and the institution(s) facilitating the undertaking. 

The second standard or ethical protocol (middle class) forms the basis for the actions of the students and researchers who supported ongoing experimentation upon unsuspecting children and adults in China as well as in the United States. Each one of these individuals, considered intellectually fit by the larger society, tacitly condoned these actions, despite ethical considerations easily judged as questionable by even those the age of the unsuspecting children that became their guinea pigs. They had the chance to withdraw support, at the very least, if not blow the whistle on the whole affair, during every day on which the poison was unwittingly ingested. They did not. They were being paid but little for this. No pay should suffice.
click to enlarge;
when visiting link be sure to open in new window,
and click on header for source;  see  below for more details.

The third standard or ethical protocol (lower class) belongs to those paid even less, the janitors and common wage slaves, the security guards and undergrad part-time workers, the paralegals and assistant teachers, any of whom may have at one time or another, here or in China, become aware of what was going on. If such existed, either they chose not to rock the boat, or, having been brave enough to speak out perhaps, they lost their job as a result: no word has come to light. 

We encourage any such to come forward, anonymously if need be; see instructions here.



Of  inestimable benefit to the Curious and Diligent, the links at:
(if you care about this topic do not fail to click this)

Source for Tufts student paper:

Guangwen Tang, Ph.D., curriculum vitae:  

Clinical Trials, completed:

The published materials, meant to accompany
the Tufts work, available at  click on the header to retrieve the original study. 

And of course you should already be following EX-SKF, online and on Twitter.   (As well as me.)
Be seeing you.


Could Be Used Bring Web To 98% of Americans

details below

Originally published 2/12/11 at 3:10 pm.

DTV is and always has been able to transmit as well as receive.  Doesn't that make you feel safer? Relevant in light of A Human Right's ongoing inspiring attempts to buy the now-shelved largest satellite ever made in order to provide all people of Earth with basic internet access -- for free.  (See Group plans to beam free Internet across the globe from space over at Raw Story). 

The 2003 whitepaper below discusses the then only theoretical switch from analog to digital television, proposes a Nationwide Alert System (in case of terrorism, of course) -- and reveals some very interesting things along the way, such as [emphasis mine]:

• The system is “addressable” so that public safety agencies can pinpoint to whom the data is sent... they can send targeted, encrypted information to certain authorized individuals.....
• new digital technologies to create and deploy a platform that will enable two-way and point-to-point communications. This system can be leveraged to support a national homeland security alert system....
• digital broadcast streams may be compressed—which creates the opportunity to use that spectrum for other purposes....

Read more here: PDF  (let me know in comments if you need a plaintext link.)

Hmmm. I'm sure those other purposes are good ones. Certainly that targeting won't be used except in emergencies, hmm? And that two-way thing - with consent. of course.

All upwellings of bitter sarcasm notwithstandsing, recent events no doubt underscore how important it is not to leave control of this crucial resource up to the individual governments. Egypt has taught us that they will not hesitate to do whatever they need to do to keep themselves alive.  

Be not surprised if, after you read this, last year's sudden switchover to digital and Obama's recent promise to provide Americans -- 98% of them -- with internet access (albeit 4G - still 2way) seems different -- somehow...

Although a patent may be granted for a technology that is not yet available, and although this patent was rejected, still this news appeared relevant:

Verizon patent application for TV snooping tech rejected
It would serve ads based on viewer actions 
in front of their sets

By Jaikumar Vijayan
December 7, 2012 04:32 PM ET
emphasis courtesy of a female faust

Computerworld - The U.S. Patent Office has delivered a "non-final" rejection of a Verizon patent application for a controversial technology that would serve targeted ads to TV viewers based on what they're doing or saying in front of their sets.


The technology is ostensibly designed for integration with set-top boxes and would be capable of determining whether a TV viewer is using a mobile device like a phone, laptop or tablet. In some cases, the set-top box could be configured to communicate with the device to see whether a viewer was using it to "browse the Web, draft an email, review a document, read an e-book, etc." It could also get a sample of the content on the device.

The capabilities don't stop there. The technology would also be capable of serving up ads based on one or more physical attributes such as a person's size, build, skin color, hair length, facial features, voice tone and accent. And it could spot pets or objects in front of the TV, such as a bag of chips or a can of beer to serve up related ads.

Read more

Be seeing you.

Breaking: Discovery Makes Nuclear Energy Obsolete

click to enlarge or view at Wikipedia.

 Well, that ought to have been the title.  Instead, the article "Making Steam Without Boiling Water, Thanks To Nanoparticles" described the newly discovered properties of nanoscale carbon or gold coated silica dioxide and then, when describing the implications, mumbled something-or-other about making tea in the arctic, or something. Here's the quote:

It is possible to create steam within seconds by focusing sunlight on nanoparticles mixed into water, according to new research.

That observation, reported Monday by scientists at Rice University in Texas, suggests myriad applications in places that lack electricity or burnable fuels. A sun-powered boiler could desalinate sea water, distill alcohol, sterilize medical equipment and perform other useful tasks.

Read more  

Now, the article knows you will be skeptical,as well you should be, Gentle reader:  however, the explanation, such as it is, pans out.   Add this fine, fine dust to water, focus sunlight on it, and, even if the water is chilled, and without heating the water appreciably, SHAZAM!  Steam forms almost instantaneously.  80% efficiency (compare to tops around 17% for solar). Cheap to make, the nanoparticles, essentially a catalyst, may be used again and again.  Really?  Really.

Solar, Efficiency by Manufacturer.  Source.
So unless I have lost my mind, that means that if you do this in an enclosed container -- let's call it a reactor -- well, you could turn some turbines, no?  Steam -- making steam -- isn't that what nuclear reactors do? So now we can replace the horribly expensive, nasty, dangerous, evil nuclear fuel with a substance that, though I am sure it has it's downside (what happens if it gets out -- into the water supply -- or in -- into our bodies?) I cannot imagine it is anywhere near as stupidly insane (or is that insanely stupid) as nuclear fuel.

In the apparatus designed by the Rice team, steam forms in a vessel of water long before the water becomes warm to the touch. It is, in effect, possible to turn a container of water into steam before it gets hot enough to boil.

Read more  

Of this rather obvious implication, not a peep from either from David Brown (the author of the Washington Times article), nor any other source that has come to my attention to date.  As if sharing an in-joke, however, he does mention "as James Watt and other 18th-century inventors showed, if you can generate steam easily, you can create an industrial revolution." Funny.  Funnier that the next sentence refers to the research's sponsorship -- Bill and Melinda Gates -- "in the hope it might prove useful to developing countries.."

I have reproduced the article via screenshot, below.  Click to enlarge.


Be seeing you.

A Better Comment Platform Should Be Possible

Was looking into migrating to Disqus for a comment platform.  In doing so, I came across a page at the venerable Stack Overflow, which asked people to "share their experiences with the various commenting systems -- specifically, Disqus, Echo, Intense Debate, and Facebook Comments." It seemed to get bogged down around Facebook.

This post was originally my comment; it is by no means comprehensive. Just a few points.  


Having contemplated the wonderful pitter-patter of keyboards that, all-too-often, does not warm this blog from underneath, I decided renovation might be just the thing. Disqus has an overall style that definitely appeals to me. According to the brief overview I quickly search-engined for myself,  Disqus has problems with privacy and anonymity, just like (it should by now go without saying) Facebook.  The question, for me, is: exactly how close is the resemblance. 

And the real question is, how dissimilar can any data-mining, profile-generating, social-network-enabling corporate entity be from such creeping Evil. Breaches of privacy cannot be easily explained by accident, by exceptional circumstances, especially if they recur.  They are soon exposed for what they are: evidence of the sort of underlying motivations best met with corresponding breaches of trust.

I remain as yet unconvinced and undecided.

In case anyone in interested, these are the Disqus issues that my very brief search uncovered, with relelevant links, loosely seperated into general, pro, and con:
  • the accidental public disclosure of private information such as email address, photo, or real name, when signing up or signing in;
  • the forcing of users to enable 3d party cookies;
  • difficulty or impossibility of integration with exclusive HTTPS.

There is the "Real names and identities greatly reduces the number of trolls and anonymous cowards in comments" myth. This is simply not true.  In fact, comments are enhanced by the confidence that anonymity gives (see above).

Trolls and spammers are easily exterminated by lack of attention, viz., low survival rates on forums with high user interactions (at least such has been my experience).

Which brings me to my soapbox:

Facebook is not there to serve the internet citizen, the so called end-user (you, or me). The service Facebook provides is not, as it would like us to believe, the facilitation of social networks (Douglas Rushkoff is more eloquent than I here; listen to the whole talk here).

Facebook is and always has NOT been the social networking tool of choice in the intelligent final analysis. Neither does it encourage anonymity, nor does it make the editing (much less removal) of one's online presence (comments, photos, website and email addresses) a process easy either to comprehend, or implement. Of course not.

Facebook's real end users are not people but corporations to which it proffers its true product. Common web surfers, more specifically, profile and demographic datapoints generated by their online activities, are what is sold, not to whom.

It is of vital importance to humanity today to preserve and nurture internet anonymity. 

This drives the ingenuity that powered the Tech revolution in the first place.

Actually, it is not strictly speaking my soapbox; I pirated it from Eben Moglen, and a speech he gave. It is Possibly The Most Important Thing You Need To Undertstand So Far In The New Millenium.  

Here is an introduction (via Boing Boing):

Last week saw the latest installment of David Isenberg's Freedom to Connect conference in Washington, DC. One of the keynotes came from Eben Moglen, formerly chief counsel of the Free Software Foundation, now the principle agitator behind the Software Freedom Law Center. Eben's keynote is one of the most provocative, intelligent, outrageous and outraged pieces of technology criticism I've heard. It's a 45 minute lecture with a 45 minute Q&A. I ripped the audio and listened to it while walking around town today and kept having to stop and take out my headphones and think for a while.

And here, a video of that talk (via one female Faust):

Be seeing you.