Category Archives: Internet

FIFA vows referee system overhaul – International Football

JOHANNESBURG – From disallowed goals due to phantom penalties (Slovenia-USA) to clear offsides being missed (Argentina-Mexico) to a ball clearing the goal line and not being ruled a score (Germany-England), one of the enduring memories of this World Cup will be refereeing blunders.

The mistakes have been so humiliating, the cries from players, coaches and fans so loud and the global replays so persistent, Read the rest of this entry

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via 2600Hertz

11 Things That (Inexplicably) Continue To Exist

Todays Technological Society

As technology advances, it can be a bit sad to say goodbye to some of the old things.  But there comes a time and place when you have to accept that your powdered wig is no longer cutting it.  Here’s 11 “things” that are refusing to go quietly into the night.  Oh, and I don’t have things like “world hunger” and “child slavery” on here, though certainly those things should not exist, either.

11) Beepers

Yes, you can still buy these dinosaurs.  Just ask Dennis Duffy (Liz Lemon’s on-again/off-again boyfriend on 30 Rock).  “Technology is cyclical” the so-called Beeper King tells a bemused Liz Lemon.  Umm, good luck with that buddy.  Th Barksdale crew tried using these things in the first season of The Wire, as well.  I personally never understood how the hell beepers worked, despite seeing them in countless movies over the years.  Somebody calls your beeper, which lets you know to go to the nearest phonebooth or whatever and call that person back?  That sounds practical.

10) Phone/Calling Cards

You know something is outdated and useless when Michael Scott is hawking them in the cold open of The Office.   I guess people use these things to make international calls or something, but really?  Phone cards?  I can’t imagine anyone walking into a one of those shady little conveince stores that still sells phone cards, handing the guy behind the counter money, and saying “One phone card, please.”  Come to think of it, they’re like the the Pogs of the communication world.

9) The United States Senate

I don’t want to go into a rant here, but the Senate is something that doesn’t make a lot of sense.  Originally put in place due to the small states bitching about lack of representation, we now have a situation where living in a smaller state like Wyoming gives you a hell of a lot more power to affect U.S. policy than someone living in California.  Think about this: the senators from the twenty-six smallest states, which represent about 18 percent of the total population of the U.S. have th ability to stop laws from happening.  And yet this is supposedly a government of, by, and for the people.  What it essentially means is that your opinions matter less if you live in a larger state.  Will this ever change, though?  Of course not, because in order to get it changed, those aforementioned senators from the smaller states would have to agree to it, and why would they want to give up power?

8) Phone Booths/Pay Phones

Unless you’re Clark Kent and you’re looking to change into your Superman suit, phone booths and pay phones are probably having zero impact on your life.  Yet I still see them on street corners every now and then.  Why?  I’m not even sure if these things are functioning anymore; maybe the phone companies want to keep them around as relics of a simpler time.


I guess no one bothered to tell the founder of this outdated website about Facebook.  How else could you explain its continued existence.  What would the chain of events be that leads someone to use this site?  Say you really want to find one of your old high school buddies.  You check Facebook, no dice.  You ask all of your old acquaintances for contact information, yet none of them can help you.  What do you do now?  It’s easy, just sign up for  I’ll just pay them a small monthly fee, and hope and pray that my buddy is on here.

6) VHS

I was at the store the other day and I saw some guy (a young guy too, he was probably like 21!) buying 15 blank VHS tapes.  Just a baffling experience.  I said to him “I didn’t know they still made these” which must have offended him.  But really, when was the last time you watched anything on VHS?  Occasionally during my job as a substitute teacher a teacher will leave behind an old VHS tape of something, and I’m always stunned by how inefficient they are, in particular the rewind/fast forward function.  And then there was the “tracking” button, which never, ever worked for me, yet supposedly existed to control the amount of static on the television, or something like that.  Bad times.

5) Pocket Calculators

Certainly there’s still a need for specialized calculators, if only for use in your Advanced Algebra and Trigonometry class or to play some pretty decent games (anyone remember that football game that used to come on graphing calculators?).  But why anyone would plot down money on a regular, pocket-sized calculator is beyond me.  Most phones have decent calculators, and if you don’t want to use that then why not use a computer?

4) Floppy Disks

Like phone booths, floppy disks are another relic from a simpler time.  As late as sophomore year of high school, I can, somewhat embarrassingly, using a floppy disk.  I remember the looks of scorn as I tried to save my paper onto it.  Then some snarky bastard says to me “You know you can just use a flash drive, right?”  That was kind of the death knell for floppys for me.  Yet they still sell these things right alongside flashdrives!

3) Home Phones

Every time I see my friend Lauren, we have the same basic conversation about home phones.  She is a staunch supporter of them, for some reason.  She says she likes to talk to her friend’s parents and stuff.  At any rate, I don’t see many people from my generation setting up a home phone in their apartment/house.  It’s just impractical.  On my phone at home, I don’t even answer the home phone most of the time: ninety percent of the calls are from telemarketers.  I doubt home phones will completely disapear for a while, as nostaligia will keep them going for years, but the industry is on the decline.

2) Phone Books

Compare the amount of time it takes to look up the listing for a business or company in a phone book with the amount of time it takes to just type in the name of the business into Google and that should give you a sense of how useless these giant yellow books are in today’s world.  Yeah, you could make a case that people without computers or internet access could use them, but that seems unlikely.  I wish we could calculate the amount of trees that have been destroyed to put these books, which mainly get thrown up, left in corners next to unused pay-phones, or ripped in half by musclemen in impressive feats of strength.

1) The Electoral College

Like the U.S. Senate, hundreds of thousands of words have been written about the idiocy of the Electoral College.  I actually took a college class on the United States electoral system, and I wrote my final paper on why the system should be replaced with a more representative system of selecting a President.  It’s clear that something is wrong when a man can be elected president despite having garnered less votes than his opponent, which happened in 1876, 1888, and most memorably, during the 2000 election where George Bush essentially stole the win from Al Gore.  Imagine you’re back in high school, and you’re running for class president.  You make some speeches, hang some flyers up around school, and then there’s a vote.  The person who receives the most votes wins the election.  Completely logical, right?  It doesn’t even seem possible for there to be an alternative to that.  The electoral college casts logic aside though.  If you wanted to hold a class election and adhere to the tenets of the electoral college, each homeroom would be allotted a certain number of votes based on their size.  If a canidate wins even just 1 more vote than his or her opponent, they get all the votes for that classroom.  Absurd right?  Well, that’s how the president of the United States, arguably the most powerful leader in the entire world, gets chosen.

via 11 Things That (Inexplicably) Continue To Exist « Maps of the Problematic.

Will Face the Nation Factcheck Guest’s Healthcare Lies?

Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR)

Action Alert

Will Face the Nation Factcheck Guest’s Healthcare Lies?
CBS’s Schieffer owes audience the truth


CBS‘s Face the Nation (3/28/10) covered the passage of healthcare reform by inviting Democratic National Committee chair Tim Kaine and two Republican critics on the program–one of whom spread misinformation that went unchallenged by host Bob Schieffer.

What’s notable about this is that CBS has since posted on its website a debunking of the two claims made by the guest, conservative Republican Rep. Michelle Bachmann from Minnesota.

At the very beginning of the interview, Bachmann explained her opposition to the new healthcare law: “Now we have the federal government, Bob, taking over ownership or control of 51 percent of the American economy. This is stunning. Prior to September of 2008, 100 percent of the private economy was private.”

Schieffer’s response was to point out that some of what she appeared to be talking about–the TARP bailouts–began under the Bush administration. A more important point to make, though, is that Bachmann’s claim doesn’t make sense. Government spending as a share of the country’s gross domestic product is nowhere near Bachmann’s claim. What she was apparently trying to say is thatgovernment bailouts of various industries are the same as “taking over ownership” of about a third of the economy, and that the new healthcare law amounts to a similar takeover of 18 percent of the economy–which adds up to over half of the economy. Since the government is not in fact “taking over” healthcare or the financial industry, the analogy makes no sense.

Another bit of evidence against the healthcare law that Bachmann offered was this: “The New EnglandJournal of Medicine released a survey the week that President Obama signed Obamacare stating that over 30 percent of American physicians would leave the profession if the government took over healthcare.”

The Journal neither conducted nor released any such study. A private physicians search firm posted a press release claiming this finding on the NEJM CareerCenter website, part of an employment newsletter published by the same company that publishes the Journal.

So much of the national debate over healthcare reform was marred by these types of wild exaggerations, many of which were not factchecked by journalists. It was encouraging, then, to seeCBS publish a piece on its website by CBS associate news producer David Riedel (3/29/10) headlined “Bachmann Offers Big Numbers, Little Proof.” Making that information available to a Web audience is important. But if CBS believes Bachmann’s rhetoric was misleading, they should say so in the same place they gave her to make these claims. Correcting the record only on the Web–as ABC‘s George Stephanopoulos did when Rudolph Giuliani made inaccurate claims about 9/11 on Good Morning America (Extra!3/10)–does a disservice to your TV audience.

In an interview last year with Jon Friedman (Marketwatch5/15/09), Face the Nation host Schieffer expressed no tolerance for those who would mislead his TV audience: “When I asked him how he feels when subjects lie to him on the air or try to mislead the audience, he got right to the point. ‘I want to jump across the table and choke them,’ he said.”

If he meant that, then he should tell his audience the truth.

Encourage CBS‘s Face the Nation to share its Web debunking of Rep. Michelle Bachmann’s rhetoric on its upcoming April 4 broadcast.

CBS Face the Nation
(202) 457-4481

Please post copies of your letters or comments below for the world to witness.  Thanks

Three Key Lessons From Obama’s China Visit

By TONY KARON – Sat Nov 21, 1:05 pm ET
President Obama’s trip to China yielded precious little Chinese cooperation on the Administration’s key concerns, ranging from currency issues to Iran. That’s a sign of the shifting balance of power between two countries that have been locked in an uneasy embrace for more than three decades. “I underlined to President Obama that given our differences in national conditions, it is only normal that our two sides may disagree on some issues,” said China’s President Hu Jintao. “What is important is to respect and accommodate each other’s core interests and major concerns.”
China’s concerns, of course, have dramatically expanded in recent years, as was emphasized by Beijing’s anxiety over the implication for its own dollar-denominated wealth of U.S. budget deficits. At the same time, Beijing is in no hurry to play the “other” global superpower rule vacated by the Soviet Union two decades ago. (See pictures of Obama visiting Asia.)
Herewith, three key lessons to draw from the visit:

1. China’s Star Has Risen and America’s Has Ebbed, But the U.S. is ‘Too Big to Fail’
As the Washington Post noted, when Bill Clinton visited Beijing a decade ago, the U.S. owed more money toSpain than it did to China. President Obama’s America owes China some $800 billion and counting. China’s economy is humming again, while America’s is likely to remain sluggish for years. The sharp economic downturn, and the failure of the U.S. to impose its will in two very costly ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, have shrunk America’s global leverage. Today, far less powerful countries than China routinely decline to follow Washington’s lead. An ironic dividend of capitalism’s Cold War triumph has been the emergence of new power centers in the world economy – Brazil, Russia, India and, of course, China.
Given its economic health and growing influence, Beijing is not simply able to rebuff U.S. demands; it is making its own demands of the U.S., in whose economy much of China’s own wealth is tied up. For example, U.S. officials traveling with President Obama faced detailed questions about how the U.S. planned to pay for health-care reform, with China increasingly alarmed at the ballooning deficit and the gloomy economic outlook. The best thing going for the U.S. in its economic relationship with Beijing – which holds $800 billion in U.S. debt and some $2 trillion in dollar-denominated assets – is that for China, the American economy is simply “too big to fail”.
While the U.S. currently needs Chinese help on a raft of economic and geopolitical issues, Beijing is less dependent on U.S. help, although it balks at any hint out of Washington of protectionist trade policies. While some in Washington will criticize Obama for being too deferential and allowing the Chinese to stage-manage the visit to avoid any domestic discomfort, it is the shift in the real balance of power that has forced the U.S. to change its approach to China.


2. China Doesn’t Want to Run the World, But It Has Interests That Differ from America’s
Russia may be engaged in a geopolitical chess game with the U.S. aimed at recovering from the demise of itsgreat power status, but China is different. It pushes back against U.S. initiatives only when those are deemed inimical to its national interests. Iran is a good example. Beijing’s heavy investment in and reliance on Iran’s energy sector make it extremely averse to serious sanctions or strategies that create political turmoil in Tehran. While insisting on compliance with the non-proliferation regime, Beijing does not believe Iran represents an imminent nuclear weapons threat. And its response to North Korea going nuclear suggests that a nuclear armed Iran is something it could live with.
Obama went to China arguing that its emergence as a major power gives it greater responsibility, as a partner to the U.S., in helping run the world and tackle such global challenges as climate change and Iran. Indeed, there was a collective shudder in Europe’s corridors of power at the idea of global leadership being concentrated in a “G2” partnership between Washington and Beijing. They needn’t have worried. China’s response to Obama could be read as: “Running the world is your gig, we’re focused on running our own country, and ensuring security in our immediate neighborhood. We want harmonious relations with you, but don’t expect us to do anything that we deem harmful to our national interests.” That means no serioussanctions against Iran, regardless of what deals are struck between Washington and Moscow, because China’s national interests require growing Iran’s energy exports. (Read “For His Asia Trip, Obama Has a United Brain Trust”)


3. Personal Chemistry Can’t Change the World
The personal trust between President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was indispensable in fostering the climate for a rapid, peaceful end to the Cold War. Presidents Clinton, Bush and now Obama have all tried to cultivate personal relationships with their Chinese counterparts in the hope of smoothing a tricky relationship. But the usefulness of personal chemistry in dealing with China has strict limits, for a simple reason: While the President of the United States is, in George W. Bush’s words, “the decider,” his Chinese counterpart is not. He’s not a figurehead, but executive power in Beijing is the preserve of a collective leadership in the form of the nine-man standing committee of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party – in which Hu is obviously the key player. Some observers say this is why the Chinese try to avoid informal one-on-one meetings with their U.S. counterparts, preferring more formal exchanges of talking points cleared with the Politburo. The problem of dealing with opaque foreign leadership structures is a recurring one for the Administration. Obama met with Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev last week to discuss sanctions against Iran, but nothing will happen unless Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is on board. And the Iranians themselves are even more complicated since the traditional balance of power between the government and the clerical leadership has been shaken up by the post-election turmoil. President Obama’s personal charm and charisma may be a national asset when dealing with many countries, but, through no fault of his own, China is not necessarily one of them.

See five things the U.S. and China agree on.


See pictures of the making of modern China.


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Thousands of emails compromised by scammers

If you access your email online, you may want to read this notification.

Do you have an email account with AOL, Hotmail, Gmail, or Yahoo? If so, now might be a good time to change your password. This past weekend, thousands of Hotmail usernames and passwords were leaked onto a website. Similar information from other email websites soon followed.

Microsoft has confirmed the leak and said that it’s likely the result of a massive phishing scheme, a malicious scam that seek to gain a user’s account information. Scammers send an email pretending to be a bank, eBay, PayPal, or email provider and ask people to “update or confirm your account settings.” When someone clicks the link and enters his or her log-in information, the scammers gain access to the account.

Microsoft has provided tips on how to avoid phishing attacks. Read it for future reference. In the meantime, you may want to change your password immediately, just to be on the safe side. It’s better to be paranoid than to deal with the headaches and security risks if your account was compromised.

Meet Joe The Reporter


Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher, left, greets an unidentified man as he arrives to tape a report in Israel for Pajamas TV. The former McCain mascot has begun his reporting career by taking a rather anti-reporter stance on the conservative Web site. (By Anja Niedringhaus — Associated Press)
  Enlarge Photo    


WashingtonPost: Tuesday, January 13, 2009; Page A13 

Samuel Wurzelbacher, best known as Joe the Plumber, is reporting from Israel these days as part of his new gig for a conservative Web site, Pajamas TV (

Wurzelbacher did a stand-up next to a large pile of rockets fired from Gaza into Israel and offered this interesting take on what journalists, such as himself, should do.

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