Futurist Educator

29 June 2007

Is Time Travel Even Possible?

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Organize Your Cable Mess with Labels

Did you ever accidentally unplug your computer instead of the printer, because you couldn't tell one plug from the other in your power strip, and lost all the unsaved work? With computers, printers, phones, gaming systems, sound systems, network hubs and all the other electronic devices we use at home, under your desk is a natural place for cable clutter to build up. Here's how to tackle that cord jungle growing under your desk!

Putting labels on cables will make it easy to distinguish them from one another. This might not seem important, but it comes in very useful when you have to troubleshoot devices or test ports for connectivity. If you label your cables during installation, it will make your life much easier later on. It also helps when you label the cables that you are not using, especially with chargers, to figure out what cable belongs to what gadget.

First, you need to keep track of the cables you'll be identifying. Power cords are a good place to begin with. USB cables, including those used by the input devices (e.g. keyboard and mouse) and external peripherals (e.g. hard drives, cameras or media players), are also good to label. When moving cables in and out of a USB hub, you may not be able to keep track of which cable goes where unless they have labels indicating which device they connect to. Marking Ethernet cables is also a great idea especially if you're hosting a LAN party. Labeling those network cables before makes the gaming setup easier. For example, you can label them with the name of the computer or the player, and eliminate the process of tracing the cables back to the computer by hand each time the situation changes during a tournament.

Now that you've seen the cable labeling, the possibilities are endless. You can even label the cable jungle behind your entertainment system. If you're not sure which cable goes into which jack, you can label the cables one at a time. If you're a musician in a band, you can keep track of which cables belong to which person as well as where each cable goes. You can also use this in the kitchen. If you have a power strip that has no available outlets left, labeling the power cords makes unplugging appliances a whole lot easier. Now you'll know what you're unplugging if you temporarily have to use a blender or toast machine.

If you have a lot of cables to label, then consider getting one of those label printers to save yourself some time and effort. Label printers can put crisp clear texts on your cables, making it both legible and durable at the same time. You don't want labels to come off and get all mixed up again. With printed labels on cables, you won’t need to panic about wrong ones getting disconnected anymore!

Advertisement: The Dymo® Label Buddy is a compact, handheld, and affordable labeling system at just $7.99! The device uses no batteries and works with "turn and click" mechanism to create distinctive embossed adhesive labels for all your cables and gadgets. This initial investment will save you time and effort in the long-term.

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28 June 2007

Being a Good Parent

Too many times I have seen parents who think that because they have brought children into the world, that fact alone is enough to claim that they should have the respect of those children. Respect is something that needs to be earned. If you expect, as a parent, to have the respect of your children, then you have to earn it from them just as you have to earn it in life from others.

Frequently, having children becomes the thing to do as a natural course of events in life. We start as part of a family, we grow up, mature, develop relationships, and define our own family, with children becoming a part of that cycle.

Some people feel that having children is a way to leave something behind when they are no longer here, a way of propagating their genes, their essence, their existence with a mark. If having kids is your personal mark, then its also the responsibility of parents to make sure that the mark they do leave behind is a good one. Because that mark will always reflect who they have been parented by. It is the personal responsibility of parents to be parents and not transfer the responsibility onto someone else such as the school, or some other person or institution. Children should grow up well because of their parents, rather than in spite of their parents.

Children deserve to be accepted for who they are. They should not have to prove anything to anyone for existing. They should not be expected to do anything or to have to be anything other than what they are - unique human beings that are mold-able by the forces they are subjected to. The initial forces they are in contact with are the parents, and it's the parents who have the responsibility of instilling the first concepts of personality from which all other perceptions will be affected by: Is the world a trust-able place or not? How the parents conduct themselves in the beginning of their child's life will determine this primary perception that will influence everything the child feels, thinks and does for the rest of his or her life. The responsibility is clear. It lies with the parents and no one else. To deny this is to deny your personal responsibility as a parent and to put the very emotional health of your child at risk.

I come back to this primary perception again and again and will continue to do so in the future, because it is this concept that all other perceptions will be an outgrowth of. Is the world a trust-able place or not? If in the first few days of life the child perceives that the world he inhabits is a safe place, one that is nurturing, supportive, giving and loving, then the child will feel trust. He will respond to his/her environment in kind, and his growth will reflect this. If not, his lack of growth will also reflect this. Everything he does and feels will be focused through that mistrust. He will have difficulty feeling comfortable with others or with himself. He will have problems forming intimate relationships. He will cling to one or both of the parents because his view of his world will be that it is a threatening place, and one where he needs to defend and protect himself from at all costs. If he doesn't then the world will reject him. His feelings of his own worthiness will take the form of worthlessness. All this from that one perception of the world, all affected solely by the way his parents relate to him in the initial stage of his life.

Too often I have seen instances where the TV becomes the baby-sitter for children whose parents complain they have no time. They both work, they have two jobs. If it's not one thing it's another, but the bottom line is the parents don't have the time to spend with their children for whatever excuse they may make, it still results in the same effect: children growing up without the proper supervision. When the children begin school, parents feel relieved because now the kids are away from the home and in some magical process where they will transform into social human beings by the process of being in contact with others.

When parents have stress and pressures, too often they expect the children to understand, even though young children do not have the perceptual capability to comprehend stresses parents are experiencing. Often those stresses are so compounded that ultimately the parents may take it out on the children in the form of abuse, emotional neglect or some other harmful way that adds to accumulated mistrust the child already may have about the world he inhabits.

No one is expecting parents to be perfect. We all have problems. But if you transmit to your children that they are loved, accepted and wanted in whatever way you can, and give them the supervision, guidance and discipline when they truly need it, then their growth will reflect it.

But if things do not go well with your children, no matter what age they are, nothing you do in life will ever feel right. Joy, satisfaction, happiness will always be a glass half full and the reasons that things didn't go right with your children will haunt you over and over again, even as you assert, "I did the best I could."

This post was written by Jon Percepto from Eclectic Commons. If you are interested in contributing to the thinking process and become a guest writer on The Thinking Blog, find out more information here and be my guest!

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27 June 2007

Microsoft is Not Making a Difference?

Microsoft is running a new ad campaign called I'm Making a Difference and there is something tricky about it. It promises to share "a portion" of the ad revenue from MSN messenger installations that will help support fighting AIDS or feeding the hungry through inserting a code in the user name, and start chatting. It just feels like they are trying to buy new users. Here's why:

Firstly, it is a psychological game. Yes, it plays you by inferring if you do not use this, you don't have a heart. Never mind that some people prefer to donate dollars rather than cents, or some people prefer to use what they feel to be better clients. "But Microsoft is trying to help!" Then why don't they just donate? Well, actually, they do, but it is all tax write offs, or coupons or some other things. It doesn't cost them anything. Not even here. However, in this case they have tied the 'donation' to you using their services, making you 'responsible' for it. If you don't use their services (because, lets say you feel other services are superior), they will make the donation anyway. I mean, it is a tax write off.

Secondly, it gives you a false sense you are doing something big. Honestly, since when is chatting with friends doing anything more than maintaining said friendship? Think about it for a second; who gets what here? You get maintained friendship (assuming your friends fall for this too), which you can already get without Microsoft's services. The charity you pick allegedly (we will give Microsoft the benefit of the doubt here) gets the money they would get anyway (again, it is a tax write off, and Microsoft likes to look good). Microsoft gets more users, and, presumably, more money from more users using. So if you don't use Microsoft's services, truthfully, only Microsoft loses out. Thus, only Microsoft gains here.

Thirdly, it challenges you to "put your money where your mouth is." This is a straw man argument and a non sequitur (for those who are lost by those terms, "straw man argument" means it appears to be a solid argument, but has no merit, and "non sequitur" means literally in Latin 'it does not follow' or, the sequence isn't correct). Chatting by Microsoft's services does not prove or disprove you are a nice or mean person, have or don't have a heart. Sadly, it does not mean you are doing anything more than falling for Microsoft's cheap marketing trick.

Honestly, Americans are truly making a difference, where it matters, without resorting to chatting.

So why not use Microsoft's chat? Well, a company that resorts to marketing gimmicks like this to try to win the hearts (and fingers) of people who otherwise aren't interested, obviously has something in mind other than competing fairly against their competition. If Microsoft wanted to get it's new services out, making them desirable to the users is a much better option. Instead they resort to marketing tricks to make you feel guilty that you aren't using their services.

Guilt is bad and should not be used as a way to compete.

OK, so maybe the argument isn't flawless, and maybe there is a lot left to be desired with it, but seeing a company attempting to play a guilt trip on otherwise smart people really torques me the wrong way. It did when I first saw the ads, and it does again over a month later when I again see the ads are still running.

This post was written by Justin Swatsenbarg from Tech and other things. If you are interested in contributing to the thinking process and become a guest writer on The Thinking Blog, find out more information here and be my guest!

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26 June 2007

Free Internet Is Under Threat

When we log onto the Internet, we take a lot for granted. We assume we'll be able to access any Web site we want, whenever we want, at the fastest speed, whether it's a corporate or mom-and-pop site. We assume that we can use any service we like — watching online video, listening to podcasts, sending instant messages — anytime we choose. Network Neutrality — or "Net Neutrality" for short — is the guiding principle that preserves the free and open Internet.
Net neutrality, which is part of the telecommunications bill working its way through the U.S. Congress, is not a simple subject. In the first place, there are different definitions of the term. In addition, consumers and companies will take both sides of the argument, depending on whether they are receiving or sending content - and that role can change from hour to hour.

But it boils down to this:

If you are "for" net neutrality - as are Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and eBay - you believe that the Internet is a public resource that should be used to convey data "neutrally." In other words, a bit is a bit, whether it is part of someone's e-mail, an Internet voice conversation or a pirated movie, and whether it travels by slow-speed dial-up phone lines or ultra-fast fiber-optic lines.

If you are "against" neutrality, like Cisco, AT&T, Verizon - you believe that companies should be able to offer more, faster or special content and services over the Internet to some customers for a higher price, much like cable TV operators do. (Either that or you think the government should not legislate on it, letting the marketplace decide how to price, send and prioritize packets.)

The consequences of a world without Net Neutrality would be devastating. Innovation would be stifled, competition limited, and access to information restricted. Consumer choice and the free market would be sacrificed to the interests of a few corporate executives.

On the Internet, consumers are in ultimate control — deciding between content, applications and services available anywhere, no matter who owns the network. There's no middleman. But without Net Neutrality, the Internet will look more like cable TV. Network owners will decide which channels, content and applications are available; consumers will have to choose from their menu.

The free and open Internet brings with it the revolutionary possibility that any Internet site could have the reach of a TV or radio station. The loss of Net Neutrality would end this unparalleled opportunity for freedom of expression.

The Internet has always been driven by innovation. Web sites and services succeeded or failed on their own merit. Without Net Neutrality, decisions now made collectively by millions of users will be made in corporate boardrooms. The choice we face now is whether we can choose the content and services we want, or whether the broadband barons will choose for us.

Here is the video that explains it all:


Or from the words of the inventor of the Internet, founder of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), and one of the leading voices of Net Neutrality:

"When I invented the Web, I didn't have to ask anyone's permission. Now, hundreds of millions of people are using it freely. I am worried that that is going end" - Sir Tim Berners Lee.

And this is my tribute:

They took the code for your new technology.
Rewrote the laws with no Net Neutrality,
and now we understand it's no longer free.

Inspired by the lyrics of "Video Killed the Radio Star" with apologies to The Buggles.

What can I do to help?

  1. Sign the SavetheInternet.com petition.
  2. Call your members of Congress today and demand that Net Neutrality be protected.
  3. Encourage groups you're part of to sign the "Internet Freedom Declaration of 2007"
  4. In your own words, tell the FCC why you need a free and open Internet.
  5. Show your support for Internet freedom on your Web site or blog.
  6. Tell your friends about this crucial message before it's too late. Only 20 days left!

This post was written by Michael Beck from Digital Nomads. Information via STI and IHT. If you are interested in contributing to the thinking process and become a guest writer on The Thinking Blog, find out more information here and be my guest!

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25 June 2007

What Kind of Thinker Are You?

For many years, people used IQ tests to try and determine someone’s intelligence. However, some researchers believe that IQ tests do not take into account the fact that different people might think in different ways, and have different strengths and weaknesses. Many psychologists now believe that what we call intelligence can be subdivided into different categories, all of which can all be measured independently. Different kinds of thinking are needed to solve different problems.

Here is an interesting quiz that seems quite relevant to this blog and its readers. What Kind of Thinker Are You? The quiz is short and fun, with an extremely detailed report in the end. You will be given a choice of two boxes, each of which contains a pair of words that describe a person's character. There are 18 sets of word pairs Like all personality tests, the results are not necessarily accurate but it only takes a few minutes to find out what kind of thinker you are – a bold visionary, cautious analyzer, charming extrovert or a warm people-person?

Special thanks to Jeane Michelle Culp for sending the link to me in MyBlogLog via private message (all other messages with links that are not sent in private will be deleted immediate without being clicked). The rest of the post shows my result. CAUTION: It's really long!


Ilker Yoldas, you are a Motivational Visionary: Ideas and options are what you're always creating and doing.

Graphic Result


Description of the 4 Quadrants: Most people have some combination of all four styles, but with varying degrees of preference. One style will have a higher numerical score than the others, though two or more styles can have closely matching scores. The following paragraphs give a brief summary of each primary communication style:

Left-brain Abstract (Analytic) thrive on careful analysis of all pertinent factors before making any decisions. Their thinking style is naturally systematic and detail-oriented, characterized by the pursuit of logic, predictability and discipline. They tend to stick to the rules and stay within the confines of their orderly world. When presenting information to this style, one should present a logically sequenced, rational explanation of the information and provide enough details and facts (historical or technical) to support one's argument.

Right-brain Abstract (Synthetic) are visionary thinkers who look at the big picture and try to understand how things relate to each other. They are creative people who consider many options and abstract concepts when absorbing or presenting information and when making decisions. When presenting information to this style, one should provide the big picture first before getting to more specific points, include optional choices, and limit the amount of details.

Left-brain Concrete (Conclusive) are action-oriented people who thrive on challenge. They focus on goals, meet deadlines, and demand immediate action. They typically avoid getting bogged down in details and want to go directly to the bottom line. They prefer short and easy action-items or conclusions. They are decisive people who want to get things done quickly and efficiently. When presenting information to this style, one should be concise, concrete, and sequential, sticking to the point and avoiding abstract ideas.

Right-brain Concrete (Interactive) thrive on interacting with people and being the center of attention. They inspire others with their charm and warm personality. They can read other people very easily and use their intuitive skills to adapt effortlessly to changing situations. They are excellent at exciting and persuading others to follow their suggestions. When presenting information to this style, one should use a friendly, personal, conversational approach, use anecdotes, testimonials and other stories, and make them the center of attention.


Your Communication Style:

A Natural People Person. When you are walking down a corridor or a street, you like to greet or stop to speak to someone. People just love to talk with you about anything. That's because the positive energy that you give off during conversations develops an instant bond with everyone.

You love to interact with people. It doesn't matter how many people there are or at what level you're communicating; you do it effortlessly. Conversation has been extremely natural to you your whole life.

You have a wonderful sense of humor. When people are with you, they smile and laugh a lot. Whether it's telling a joke you heard before or sharing a spontaneous ad lib, you're naturally funny and entertaining. Your humor and ways of communicating are constantly creating situations that relax and motivate other people.

Strategic Creativity. Unless people know you very well, they won't realize that you are quite capable of creating strategic plans, following intellectual pursuits and developing new, abstract theories about how things integrate or function. You're able to look at the whole picture, break them into discrete, unusual parts, and synthesize these into unique wholes or strategic plans. You thoroughly enjoy discovering creative options when thinking through difficult problems and challenging ideas.

Motivating and Leading Others. When it comes to dealing with people and problems, you use a combination of intuitive and rational thoughts very successfully. Your positive, personal and intelligent ways of relating to people make them want to follow you during times of confusion and stress. It's when the situations are dynamic and need optional thinking and/or in-the-moment organization that you're able to step forward, take command and lead others towards successful outcomes. This is when your style of leadership becomes most effective.

Even if you're not knowledgeable about a subject area under discussion, you come across as smooth and intelligent. It doesn't matter to you what conversations others are having or what topics they're discussing, you can join in without missing a beat. That's because you intuitively know how to listen to the underlying messages being delivered and how to successfully respond to people intellectually with just a few facts.

How You Learn. Besides reading and studying, conversations and dialogues provide you with an enjoyable opportunity to learn. It's during this repartee that you're able to ask any type of question: logical, analogical or just odd ones to serve your curiosity. One of the best ways for you to learn and to be motivated is to belong to a study group, particularly one that has members who are focused on the objectives and deadlines. The process of these groups can provide you with the focus and further detail to study and learn effectively.
Speaking in front of Groups

Speeches and presentations to small or large groups come naturally to you. You can either be prepared or wing it when making a speech. The latter, with a few notes jotted on a piece of scrap paper, is your preferred way to present. Also, you'll use theatrical intonations and gestures, personalized comments and anecdotes with humor, integrating them around facts, logic and important points. When you have finished, people leave your presentations feeling that you have presented a solid case, you have touched them personally and you have spoken to each one of them intellectually.

Your Leadership Qualities. As a leader, you're a powerful combination of intellectual insightfulness, future predictions and personal charm. The former allows you to plan and think things through intuitively and logically. The latter allows you to be empathetic and personal in your expression of motivation and planned action. The two of these combined give you the positive power that people trust and follow.


Communication Tips

People who have a predominantly Left-brain Abstractthinking style thrive on careful analysis of all pertinent factors before making any decisions. Their style is naturally systematic and detail-oriented, characterized by the pursuit of logic, predictability and discipline. They may appear distant and aloof at times, as they prefer to listen rather than talk. They tend to stick to the rules and stay within the confines of their orderly world.

When communicating with a Left-brain Abstract person, you are likely to experience the following characteristics:

* You might find their passion for logical analysis to be ponderous or overly pedantic at times, but if you keep an open mind, their conclusions could be beneficial to you.
* In situations where you must collaborate on a project or a plan, their tendency to stick to the rules can be limiting to your own creative visions. Present your optional ideas as logical alternatives worthy of consideration.
* They may appear distant and aloof at times, as they prefer to listen rather than talk. Don't take this personally or assume they're arrogant. Remember that they're absorbing and processing information before they render an opinion.
* They can be a valuable source of background or historical information, which you sometimes tend to overlook while you aim for the "big picture." Nevertheless, expect them to provide more details than you might care for.

People who have a predominantly Right-brain Concrete thinking style thrive on interacting with people and being the center of attention. They inspire others with their charm and warm personality. They can read other people very easily and use their intuitive skills to adapt effortlessly to changing situations. They are excellent at exciting and persuading others to follow their suggestions. They often speak without spending too much time thinking about what to say.

When communicating with a Right-brain Concrete person, you are likely to experience the following characteristics:

* At times, you might find their ebullient need to be the center of attention to be overpowering or annoying.
* Like therapists, they can sometimes encourage you to open up and confide with them about personal problems or concerns you have. You're usually okay with this, as long as they don't pry too deeply or push their solutions too strongly.
* As much as you think before you speak, they think by speaking. They are excellent at exciting and persuading others to follow their suggestions.
* Even if they don't take logic or factual data into account, they may come up with innovative or imaginative ideas that are worthy of your consideration.
* Since you both like to come up with ideas, the verbal interaction can be both personally rewarding and productive. They may not share your visionary creativity, but they often have an intuitive sense of what is most suited for you.
* They can sometimes seem manipulative in getting their way. While you might find their personal charm and charisma irresistible, don't allow yourself to be swayed in a direction that you know is not right for you.

People who have a predominantly Left-brain Concrete thinking style are action-oriented and thrive on challenge. As movers of people and organizations, they enforce rules, focus on goals, meet deadlines, and demand immediate action. They typically avoid getting bogged down in details and want to go directly to the bottom line. They prefer short and easy action-items or conclusions. They are decisive people who want to get things done quickly and efficiently.

When communicating with a Left-brain Concrete person, you are likely to experience the following characteristics:

* You might find their style at times overbearing or in some cases, even intimidating. As a result, you're likely to interact with them only as much as absolutely necessary.
* When it comes to solving problems, they view feelings or abstract concepts as intrusions that prevent them from reaching a firm conclusion. You'd be better off not allowing your feelings to become too much of an issue.
* On the other hand, your feelings about certain situations are paramount to your comfort level, so don't be afraid to let them know how important that is to you.
* There might be times that you will feel they are pushing too hard to get you to make a final decision. On the other hand, you might be struggling with all the options you're considering and could benefit from their decisive nature.
* Don't be offended by their direct talk if it seems abrupt ? they are goal-oriented people who know how to get things done.

When communicating with another Left-brain Concrete, you are likely to experience the following characteristics:

* Like you, they tend to be visionary thinkers who look at the big picture and try to understand how things relate to each other.
* They value creative, inspirational options as much as you do. They can usually provide interesting alternatives that would be worth your while to consider. At times, however, you might become a bit irritated with their tendency to go off on tangents when you're trying to focus on a particular issue of concern.
* With the tendency you both have to procrastinate while exploring your options, one of you will need to refocus your energies on making a decision when the need to accomplish something arises.
* You are both open-minded and feelings-oriented. Together, you are likely to create a relaxed, low-key atmosphere based on trust and good rapport.
* Remember to be patient with their quiet, reflective nature; just like you, they may be thinking of other options that are more suitable for you or for themselves.
* Ultimately, you both need to feel comfortable with how your decisions fit into your world.


Stresses

Using the Analyzer style can create stress for you. Yes, you can use it for short periods of time as a learning or production tool. But, the longer you use it, the more stressed you become. Your energy-focus, which accesses this particular process, may be blocked sometimes. It's as if you have a blind spot in this part of your repertoire. You just don't like to have to use it as a primary tool. The following is what may create stress for you if used for more than short time periods:

* Constantly asking the question, "Why?" and thoroughly examining the answers
* Always being skeptical about your facts, thinking or learning processes before undertaking or doing something
* Reaching a conclusion only based on thinking logically
* Using only factual assumptions to reach detailed, action-oriented steps
* Not expressing your opinions until they demonstrate an impeccable rationale

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24 June 2007

Message From Your Friend

Alright. I felt the need to write this post because I noticed that some of you are still using Internet Explorer (IE) to browse my blog. Yes, you there - the one who is reading this now! Did you know you are one of the 27% of those who visited this blog in the past month with evil software? For your information, my blog is not only optimized to run better and faster on Mozilla Firefox, but it is also the case for other sites around the net as well.

Wait. Let me guess. You will say "I'm at work and we only have IE" but that is no excuse. You can get Firefox Portable in one of your thumb-drives (I'm sure you have at least one) and use it anywhere without installing it on your work computer! Why take the risk when you can use open source software with its code made available to the general public, making sure that there are no spyware inside, and promote the freedom of information?I LOVE FIREFOX

Always Use Protection

Better yet, go open source for the rest of your applications as well and stay safe all the time!

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23 June 2007

Children See, Children Do

Every move you make! An Australian children's rights organization produced this thought provoking public service announcement. The video contains very impacting images of children imitating their parents as they express aggressive behavior. It is easy to think that kids are not paying much attention but they are more than we believe. This also supports my thoughts on the previous post. When boys grow up in an environment where everyone is top free then they don't sexualize women's breasts.


Hat tip: Saboma

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22 June 2007

Show Your Support For Topless Women

How come I didn't think about it before? In my previous post, Support Topless Women (SFW), I brought to your attention that some states in the US allow women to be topless and feed their babies in public without getting arrested. This seems strange when men can walk around topless, legally, while certainly their breasts do not serve for breastfeeding. I think women must have equal rights as men and given the choice whether or not they want to use this right.

It is a little known fact that during the 80s, there were a series of arrests made for breastfeeding in public, so much so that there is a lawyer who has devoted her career to making sure that breastfeeding women can get justice in court. Like I said before, we can change the law, but the cultural half of the equation is much more challenging to change.

Nudity shouldn't be outlawed, especially on a gender discriminatory basis as it is when it comes to women's breasts. However, this idea will only be accepted when the sexual stigma can be separated from the true nature of female mammary glands. More information can be found at the Wikipedia page of this movement, TopFreedom (NSFW). That is the reason why I have created this series of banners to raise awareness among the Internet users.

Do you support topless women?


Chicklet (80x15)

Equal Rights for Topless Women
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Equal Rights for Topless Women
<a href="http://www.thethinkingblog.com/2007/06/show-your-support-for-topless-women.html"><img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_Di1HzTLtBlM/RnsJCJhmr3I/AAAAAAAABQo/CwBOFxMpSJY/s400/button.gif" alt="Equal Rights for Topless Women" /></a>



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Ribbon (164x164)

Equal Rights for Topless Women
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PLACE THIS CODE RIGHT AFTER <BODY> IN YOUR TEMPLATE

Don't have a blog? Start one today! Check out the ToplessNYC blog dedicated to this movement. Other supporters: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, and counting.. the louder we are, the more we will be heard!

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21 June 2007

Weirdest Named Places on Earth

Welcome to Fucking, Austria. Please be safe and first go to Wedding, Germany! If you thought that was awkward, then wait till you read what's coming up. All places have historical origins, but there are places with names that are weird, funny and not appealing to its English meaning. Regardless the words have no etymological connection to the meaning in English. There are so many of them, it's strange that a "Worst Named Place" contest doesn't exist.

Among the places that top the list of places with weird English words, there are kind words like:

Nice in Provence-Alpes-Cote-d'Azure, Kissing in Germany, Cool in California, Beclean in Romania, Good in West Virginia-USA, Smile in Kentucky and one of the most common word for a town, Paradise in United States (California, Michigan, Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, Texas, Utah, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Washington) and also in England, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Since earth has a balance of good and evil; if a place is named Paradise the opposite can also be found. Yes, Hell is also on Earth, with three places named as Hell. One in Grand Cayman, one in Michigan and another in Norway. Looks like good wins this time!

Few places are named with nasty words such that you feel dirty after reading them, let alone living there:

Bitche, Pussy, and Die in France (also Condom in Gers-France), Fake in Nigeria, Horneytown in North Carolina, Fucking and Kicking in Austria, Intercourse in Pennsylvania, Cockburn in Australia, Cockup in England (also Cockermouth in England), Bangkok in Thailand, Dick in Mozambique, Toad Suck in Arkansas, Dildo in Newfoundland, Muff in Ireland, Titty Hill in England, Kinki in Japan, Thong in England, Hookersville in West Virginia, Sexmoan in the Philippines, Tittmoning in Germany, Assawoman in Virginia, Middelfart in Denmark, Rectum in Netherlands, Shitterton in England, Shit in Iran, Rottenegg and Worm in Germany. Then there are four places called Moron in Sweden, Mongolia, Argentina, and Cuba. How about we finish with Climax in Saskatchewan province, Canada? or:

- Climax, North Carolina
- Climax, Colorado
- Climax, Georgia
- Climax, Kansas
- Climax, Michigan
- Climax, Minnesota
- Climax Township, Michigan
- Climax Springs, Missouri

Other names might simply mislead unfamiliar people in places called:

America in Netherlands (spelled Amerika in Dutch), La France in South Carolina, Canada in Kentucky and California in Pennsylvania. Not forgotten are heavenly body names like Mars and Moon Township in Pennsylvania and Mercury in Nevada.

Here is the best part of it all. How lucky is it to be named after a famous super hero; Batman! He who we know is in Gotham city, is also named for a real city in Turkey. There is even a Batman River!

This post was written by Elmer Aquino from Kabayan Junction. If you are interested in contributing to the thinking process and become a guest writer on The Thinking Blog, find out more information here and be my guest!

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19 June 2007

Google, Where Are My Readers?

While I was checking my stats today, I noticed that something was wrong with my Feedburner count. It was halved in one day and I thought there is no way this could have really happened. Investigating it further, I found that all the subscribers via "Google Reader" suddenly gone missing! I'm not sure if this is something to do with Google or with Feedburner since I haven't been following the news. Anyone else in the same situation or can you explain what's going on?


BEFORE




AFTER

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To Bargain or Not To Bargain

Tips from an American English teacher living in Turkey. I had an interesting discussion in my Business-English class last week. The topic for the night was business negotiations. As a warm-up, I asked my students when it is and isn’t appropriate to bargain in Turkish culture. As a foreigner from a country where not much bargaining happens, I thought it may prove to be interesting. The discussion lasted an hour and certainly caused me to think.

The following list is what emerged.

Things you DON’T bargain for:
  • Doctor’s visits
  • Name-brand clothing stores (e.g. Levis or Mango)
  • Cigarettes
  • Luxury goods
  • Bus and Plane Tickets
  • Books at the bookstore
  • Movie tickets
  • Pharmacy
  • Large grocery stores (or Walmart type stores)

Things you DO bargain for:Bargaining in the Market
  • Furniture
  • Taxi rides
  • Shoes
  • Clothes (depending on the store)
  • Fruits and Vegetables at the bazaar
  • Cosmetics
  • Cars
  • Houses
  • Classes (most bargained for the price of the English course they were taking)

We role-played the sale of a pair of women’s shoes at a high-end shop (9-West,) which was very interesting. The greatest piece of leverage I noticed was that people can almost always get a lower price if they offer to pay cash for goods received, i.e. not using a credit card, and not requiring a receipt. This allows the merchant to make a cash sale, not paying sales tax or credit card fees. This strategy works best by bargaining to the lowest possible price, and then asking “what if I pay cash?”

I was surprised to hear that some people bargain in every possible setting and even haggle over pennies when buying things like spinach or parsley from the bazaar (farmer’s market). The reason this made me think is that I realized I come from a culture where virtually no bargaining happens. We only see this age-old method of selling and buying practiced when negotiating major sales like a house or car. It made me wonder; what do you bargain for? Would any Americans add anything to my list of things we bargain for in the States (which includes only houses and cars)?

This post was written by Jake Olson from a Foreign Perspective. Jake writes many times a week about life in Turkey from “a Foreign Perspective.” If you are interested in contributing to the thinking process and become a guest writer on The Thinking Blog, find out more information here and be my guest!

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17 June 2007

Blog Tip: Self-Promotion vs Content Ratio

I was studying Accounting today and noticed that there are so many ratios to keep in mind. One thing that struck me was how come we don't have these ratios for blogs. Perhaps one of the most vital ratio a blogger should do an assessment on is the self-promotion vs content ratio (i.e. posts that don't add much value divided by posts with real merits). How many of your published posts ask for a vote, fave..etc?

SSPC Ratio. Just to be clear on what I mean by self-promotion, or if the term is right - shameless self-promotion (SSP). SSP is when you publish a post that only provides value for yourself (i.e. your blog, its ranks...etc) and not much for the reader. In my opinion, that includes return favors or exchanges like in the "Fave My Blog and I Fave Yours" post. However, SSP is not content promotion (i.e. pitching your post to an A-list blogger). In fact, Copyblogger notes that content promotion is a virtuous necessity.

Self-Assessment. So I did some calculations and my ratio turns out to be 0.039 (from 8/204) which means about 4% of my posts are for self-promotion. Yes, that includes my Keep Your Readers Thinking widget but I guess my SSPC ratio is OK. I noticed that choosing the posts that DO provide value from those that DON'T is a little bit tricky because some posts did have original content along with a "vote for me plz" somewhere in it. So I counted those as half (1/2) shameless self-promotion posts.

Comparison. Now the percentage I found for my blog doesn't really mean much on its own so I wanted to compare it with other bloggers. Immediately a few bloggers came to my mind who has been doing a lot of self-promotion lately. However, thinking it over, I didn't want to drop names and numbers here because some people might not agree so on and so forth. Feel free to drop yours off, but if you are going to, please be honest. I'm not interested to see "Hehee I has 0% SSPC" comments!

My advice: If you are going to do self-promotion, you must have content to back it up!

Now the big question is: What should be the standards, intervals or critical values a legitimate blogger should seek in their own SSPC ratio?

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How Supermassive Black Holes Merge

What happens when two compact objects with millions of times the mass of our sun collide? Two small galaxies come together, merge their stars, and you get a bigger galaxy. Galaxies get bigger and bigger through galactic mergers. Though, astronomers have always wondered: what happens with the two supermassive black holes (SMBHs) found at the center of many galaxies?
An international team of physicists have developed a computer simulation designed to answer this very question. The following is the result of their simulation.



Gas Inflows and the Formation of Nuclear Disks in Galaxy Mergers


It turns out, the interaction depends a lot on the amount of hot gas surrounding each black hole. As they start to interact, this gas exerts a frictional force on the black holes, slowing down their spin rate. Once they get within the width of our solar system, they should start emitting gravitational waves, which continues to extract energy from the system. This causes them to continue coming together, and eventually merge.



When galaxies collide, the SMBHs at their centers merge into a single black hole of staggering size


The simulation is good news for scientists searching for gravitational waves. A gravitational wave is a fluctuation in the curvature of spacetime which propagates as a wave, traveling outward from a moving object or system of objects. If the mergers are energetic enough, they'll generate gravitational waves detectable across space.



High-resolution scientific visualizations created at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA)


Although gravitational waves has not yet been directly detected, it has been indirectly shown to exist. This was the basis for the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physics, awarded for measurements of the Hulse-Taylor binary system (more information about this study can be found on Wikipedia).



Two colossal black holes that appear to be orbiting each other 100 times closer than any previously seen from NASA telescope


This post was written by Srikanth from Science-Core. Images collected by Ilker Yoldas from these sources: 1, 2, 3 and 4. If you are interested in contributing to the thinking process and become a guest writer on The Thinking Blog, find out more information here and be my guest!

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15 June 2007

Bart Gains a Little Bit of Weight

The Simpsons is one of my favorite animated shows of all time. It is a satirical parody of the "Middle American" lifestyle epitomized by its title family, set in the fictional town of Springfield, and lampoons many aspects of the human condition, as well as American culture, and society as a whole. Here is a scene from one of the recent couch gags, a running visual joke in the opening credits. Can you guess what this video made me think?


I'm looking forward to a great debate!

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Improve PR with Viral-Icons and Youtube

Every now and then bloggers participate in certain "internet games" to improve their Google PageRank and attract new readers to their blog. These games are often easy to participate because they usually involve a simple copy/paste routine. Last time I participated in the Technorati Favorites Exchange and honestly it was fun to discover new blogs to read through this scheme. Now check out these new link building programs of Viralinks and Viraltags going round the net.

VIRALINKS


———copy and paste the Viralink and instructions below this line———

Below is a matrix of 120 stars, I have already added a link to my blog onto one of the stars, all you need to do is copy and paste the grid into your blog and add your own link to one of the other spare stars, and tell others to do the same!

Viralink

********************
********************
**
******************


When I receive a ping back once you have added the Viralink to your site I will add your link to this grid, and each person who copies the grid from here will also link to your site!

Rules
No Porn Sites
Only 1 link per person (i.e don't hog the viralink!)
Please don't tamper with other peoples url's
Enjoy!

———copy and paste the Viralink and instructions above this line———

VIRALTAGS


———copy and paste the ViralTags and instructions below this line———

Instructions:

1.) Copy and paste the matrix of “ViralTags” below courtesy of Founders Cafe (to support Jimmy’s quest of launching his own Internet Startup with a shoestring budget, please consider subscribing to his Full RSS Feed to see his triumphs and struggles in real time).

2.) Substitute the Host Tag and one of the “Viral Tags” in the matrix with your anchor text of choice with your blog’s URL. Please keep anchor text to a max of 3 words to keep the matrix size manageable.

3.) When you get a ping back from someone that has your link in one of their “Viral Tags”, practice good karma by copying his/her Host Tag’s anchor text (automatically the associated link will also be copied) and paste it over one of your “Viral Tags” below.

4.) Encourage and invite your readers to do the same and soon this can grow virally.

Host Tag: Affordable Graphic Design


International City Travel | Asian Celebrity News | One Million Shirts | Tech at Hand | Rich Minx | Internet Marketing Austria | Ageless Beauty | Web 2.0 Tutorials | Technology Music Life | infokarir jobs | Manila Mom | Link Love | Blogging Money Secret | Internet Startup Blog | Web Design Blog | Daily Life Technology | Make Money Blogging | Steve’s Tech Blog | Agloco Internet Marketing | Daily Bulls Investing | Tech Gadgets Stocks | Affiliate Program | Computer Seventy-Five | Learn about e-Learning | Tech Hack Ramblings | Jack Book | Screen Writer Guy | Overseas Filipino Worker | Foodtime | Startup Entrepreneur Money | FanaticSpace - ViralTags | Jehzlau Concepts | Earn Money Online | Really Smart Guy | Earn Income Online | Day Mind Xpression | Entrepreneurship Internet Web | Make Money Blogging | Create a Blog | Pie Hole | start a blog | Make Money Blogging | Marketing Made Simple | Tech Startups Web2.0 | Music Videos | Maryannaville | Build Rankings Fast | Mrs Sparrow | Hot Buzz | Weight Loss | Really Funny Jokes | Best of Blogs | Heroin Addiction Codependence | Internet Marketing German | German - USA | Domain Development Blogs | Sundhed og Helbred | Giving Link Love | Business Blog Web | Photoshop Tutorials | Anitokid Chronikos | Klapkids Chronikos | esofthub’s web finds| Everything iPod | Jason’s Random Thoughts | Fun Web Development | Monetize Your Blog | Yung Silent Whisper | Stratz’s Blog | My Journey | Profitable Productive Blogging | Germany - USA | Social Media Munching | Blogging for Money | Wealth Blog | Life’s Daily | Gadgets & Technology | Make Money Home | Anything Goes! | The Broken Bow | Nessa-Mumblings | AGLOCO HOURS | Fanatic Space | Cheezmizan with Chuva | Catepol | Wolly’s Weblog | Profitable Productive Blogging | Cat on my Head | Bloggointestinale | 2012 Movies | iMod | Lorad Zarcon | Instruzioni | Sid05 Weblog | Bayle | Random Access Life | Mario’s Weblog | Acchiappasogni | Dietro e a Casa | Make Money Online | Anchor Text | Alex 2000 | My Life | Personal Finance | Hanneng.net Tech Blog | Business Twins | Pixie Tail | Gold Rushing’s Blog | Trade CDs | Business Chats | Paid to Blog | Investing Women Online | First Time Dad | Manifesto Television | Kev-walkabout | Mariuca's Perfume Gallery | Accountancy Basnav | Yummy Silicon Chips | West Virginia | Working at Home Mom | Pro Audio Matrix | Make Money Online | JLS Cisco Networking | Humor Jokes | Mik3 | Web2.0 Founder Interviews | Political Social Media | Making Money Online | GoldyWorld Fun | Static Thinkbox | Mariuca | Investing Women Online | Make Money Kassper | Make Money Blog | A Great Pleasure | Henkou | Affordable Graphic Design | Chew on That | Good Jokes | Motiveless Crime | Time Clock Software | SEO Blog | Nihal Anything Everything | Web Comic Artist | Justice Investmets | Terrible Horrible Evil | Russian Jokes Videos | Personal Development Blog | laketrees | snapshots of life | Google4Google | rienzie blog personal | TheTechThing | Great Crafting Blog | Weblog Stuff | only the best | Syaf The Geek | Blogging Blog Writer | This is miracle | Diet | Wildheart's Works | Visit Egypt Online | Extra Income Online | Tote Bag Confesses | MUSIC@MISYA | Life's Happenings | Thoughts to blogs | Marketing for begginers | Maine Mamas | Apple iPhone community | watch tHe skies | Blogging Money |

Important: Once I get a ping back from you (I promise to do the best I can), I will add your anchor text and the associated link you designate as “Host Tag” here, replacing one of the “ViralTags” from the matrix above. As more and more bloggers copy and paste this matrix, the more backlinks you will have with your anchor text. If everybody who copy and paste from your blog does the same, pretty soon this will spread and go viral. So, the sooner you participate, the more links with anchor text you will receive.

———Copy and paste the ViralTags and instructions above this line———


The only problem I see with these games is that I feel indifferent when it comes to clicking a star or a tag. Most of the time it is just random when I want to explore the participating blogs and websites. Maybe it's because I'm more of a graphic person. That is the reason why I'm introducing.. VIRAL-ICONS!

The idea is simple and follows suit with the previous viral schemes but instead it is done with favicons. When an ALT tag is used to describe your image with an alternative text, this can help to improve your page relevance. In other words, if ALT attribute contains keywords that are specific to your page's topic, it will help your keyword density.

Moreover, when optimizing a site/web page for Google, remember that this attribute is taken into great consideration by Googlebot when spidering and indexing your pages. Thus, the ALT tag of an hyperlinked image tag has the same importance of a text link.


VIRAL-ICONS


———Copy and paste the VIRAL-ICONS and instructions below this line———

Instructions:

Important Update - Please read here!

1.) Copy and paste the matrix of “Viral Icons” below courtesy of Ilker Yoldas from The Thinking Blog. (to support Ilker’s quest of launching his own Internet Startup with a student budget, please consider subscribing to the Full RSS Feed and enjoy interesting posts in the meantime. "Knowledge grows when shared!").

2.) Upload your non-animated favicon (GIF image of size 16x16 pixels) to ImageShack, a similar free image hosting server or to your own server provided by your hosting service if you have one.

3.) Substitute the Host Icon and one of the “Viral Icons” in the matrix with your ALT text of choice and your blog’s URL. Maximum of 3 specific keywords for the ALT text are best for it to be effective.

Here is an example: Example Viral-Icon Code

4.) When you get a ping back from someone that has your icon in one of their “Viral Icons”, practice good karma by copying his/her Host Icon’s code (automatically the associated ALT tag will also be copied) and paste it over one of your “Viral Icons” below.

5.) Invite your readers to do the same and soon this can grow virally.

Host Icon: Affordable Graphic Design


VIRAL-ICONS


Affordable Graphic Design asian celebrity Internet Business Ideas MF (stealing cameos from the Web) Make Money Online Make Money Blog The Broken Bow The AnitoKid Music Technology Life Technology for Humans Mommy's Getaway and Chat Learning Without Limits Blog Branding & Money Making KLAPKiDS Daniel Shin Heroin Codependency Daily Brain Training AGLOCO Internet Marketing Complete Help Blogger Nostalgia Manila blogging blog writer MSM Shill Feedget adsense Blogging traffic tips Manifesto TV Television copywrighter blog writer First Time Dad Domestic Reviews Life Artist, Portraits, Art MLM Business, Rich Personal Finance Blog MMMiii Sarah Cada Yummy Silicon Chips Kabayan Junction Mountain-2 Angel Blush SEO Pagerank Alexa A Great Pleasure Mindtrick Travel Philippines Entrepreneurs and Freelancers Web 2.0 news and tutorials West Virginia Baby! the biggest loser NEPAL AND TIBET ART DZI BEADS NEPAL SHOP snapshots of life Pro Audio Matrix Learn About e-Learning Biggest Italian Jackass Resource Simple Life The Greatest Guide ManilaMom LibertyRoots.org Add your link Kev-walkabout rienzie blog personal Make Money Online w/ Court paid to blog Global Tips and Tricks Siyete Dreamer Big Money Thoughts to blogs Lucky Every Day Wely, Student, Life, Geek mommy bytes YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE


Rules: No Porn Sites, Only 1 icon per person (i.e. don't hog the ViralIcons!), and please don't tamper with other people's ALT tags, URLs or favicons.


Important: Once I get a ping back from you (I promise to do the best I can), I will add your favicon and the associated code you designate as “Host Icon” here, replacing one of the “Viral Icons” from the matrix above. Feel free to drop a comment here with your blog URL, ALT tags and favicon URL (we don't mind if it is the same all over the blogosphere).


Optional: Display the “Viral Icons” badge on your sidebar and promote your blog. As more and more bloggers copy and paste the “Viral Icons” from the matrix above, the more backlinks you will have with your ALT text, and in turn the more promotion your blog with get. The sooner you participate, the more link love you will receive!



Promote Your Site


———Copy and paste the VIRAL-ICONS and instructions above this line———



If you don't have an attractive favicon for your blog already, have one done for you at just $20! In order to ensure your icon will have enduring and "timeless" appeal, employ a professional graphic designer. This initial investment will save you money in the long-term.

Why do bloggers need a favicon? Having a favicon is yet another way to establish your identity and make it easier for people to remember your site among a pile of places. These icons are everywhere (bookmarks, tabs, URL) and are often used on other sites for blogrolls. The favicon is such a simple piece of promotion, you really should have no excuse for not implementing it straight away. Think about all the extra exposure you can get.

You can see examples of my work in this post about favicons, or the ones I made for free as part of my review contest (more favicons on the previous winners in round 2, round 3, and round 4).




Finally, I would like to share the following video of how to get top Google ranking through uploading videos to Youtube:


Branding is extremely important when marketing a new product. Check out these promotional products such as stress balls and custom coolers here today!

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