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Weibo: China's Style Of Tweeting

Sina Weibo literally means “Sina microblogging” in the Chinese language. More commonly called Weibo, it claims 90% of the market share and includes more than 140 million users. Weibo is the most popular microblogging site in China.

Weibo is very similar to Twitter. Some call it a hybrid between Twitter and Facebook. You can share your intimate information with 140 Chinese characters. Some Weibo sites have photos and videos.

Weibo was launched in August of 2009 by the SINA Corporation (NASDAQ:SINA). SINA is an online media company and MVAS provider in the People’s Republic of China and for the global Chinese communities.

By August of 2010, there were 466 mainstream news agencies and 41 government departments that used Weibo.

China’s Weibo has become as popular as Twitter and Facebook has in the United States. Weibo claims 56.5% of the market share of active users, competing with Tencent and Baidu. Weibo has 5,000 companies and 2,700 media organizations that have climbed aboard.

To give an example how rapidly social media has spread around the world, Weibo had reached 40 million users in a little more than a year. No other media can even come close to this powerful stream of social networking.

To those who argue that China has not yet won the battle over censorship, social media has begun to break down those gigantic barriers hidden behind the Great Wall. The high-speed train crash in Wenzhou (Zhejiang province) in July proved that the censhorship bastion can be shattered into a million pieces.

Social media has even created an impact on the Communist Party in China, and has adequately affected the media. Citizen journalism has become quite a competitor to traditional jornalism because of the speed and the sheer volume of netizens on any given day. Since the train crash occurred, 26 million posts have been made about it!

We have finally reached golden the age of microblogging, the magnifying glass that has effectively eroded Chinese censorship.

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Protecting Children Or Spy Bill?

The Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011 (H.R. 1981) will require ISP companies to store internet data for up to a year. The proposition is that the act would protect children from pornographers. The House panel has already approved the bill.

The ISP snooping bill will give access to your emails, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, IP addresses, and who knows what else is on the list.

Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) sponsored H.R. 1981.

Opponents believe that the law would permit the U.S. government to further become a police state. This is another move by Congress to initiate an extension of power on Americans’ right to privacy.

Retrieving public data isn’t necessarily a recent advancement. For years the government has obtained information from your social security card, your phone bill, drivers license, etc. There have been tools in place for some time now.

Laws were enacted when George W. Bush was in office to obstruct terrorism, only now they’re saying it’s to protect the community from child pornography. The truth is — the Patriot Act was going to die this year if nothing was done about it, and now government has just extended the same policy. U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren voted against the measure.

Whatever the case may be, Big Brother has been listening more than you think.

You would expect the military to gather intelligence when there is a real threat to the nation. Is spying on innocent citizens helpful or healthy for the nation? Who’s going to pay for all of the manpower and equipment? The debt ceiling nation?

Wired Magazine gave us clues about expenses in 2007:

Despite its ease of use, the new technology is proving more expensive than a traditional wiretap. Telecoms charge the government an average of $2,200 for a 30-day CALEA wiretap, while a traditional intercept costs only $250, according to the Justice Department inspector general. A federal wiretap order in 2006 cost taxpayers $67,000 on average, according to the most recent U.S. Court wiretap report.

Photo Credit:

Image: SOMMAI / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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The Scientist That Sparked The Electronic Revolution

Arguably, John Bardeen changed the world more than any other scientist in the latter part of the 20th century. Bardeen and a few of his very bright friends came up with the invention that sparked the electronic revolution, and their invention would propel the computer age further along than any of them could ever have imagined.

How come you’ve never heard of the great John Bardeen? This is a phenomenon within itself. It may be because John Bardeen was an unassuming person, and the media outlets may have overlooked his magnificent contributions to the science community, probably due to his unselfish character.

True Genius: The Life and Science of John Bardeen was the title of a book written about John Bardeen. The one remark that said it all — Bardeen deserves more public recognition than he received during his life.

Before the transistor, vacuum tubes had widely been used in electronics. They were big, bulky, short lived, and burned out too often. In 1945, AT&T saw the need to replace the vacuum tube with a more viable option. AT&T set out to pull a team together to solve the problem. AT&T asked William Shockley to start a research department.

On December 16, 1947, a critical experiment was going to be carried out by two great scientific minds — John Bardeen and his friend Walter Brattain. William Shockley, the man who the two had been working with at Bell Labs, would get credit as well, even though he played a limited role in the discovery. In fact, Shockley wasn’t even present when Bardeen and Brattain became aware of their victory. However, Shockley demanded that his role should receive public recognition.

Bardeen got very angry over Shockley’s undeserving credit, especially when the September edition of a magazine came out, with the prominent figure of Shockley on the front cover.

From November 17 to December 23 of 1947, the Brattain and Bardeen team would conduct experiments to discover why Shockley’s previous attempts had failed. William Shockley could not get his amplifier to work, of which he had used silicon in the process. The team would switch from silicon to germanium. The spark of genius was about to change the world.

On December 23, 1947, Bardeen and Brattain without Shockley, successfully invented a point-contact transistor that amplified. The first working solid state amplifier had come to fruition. The transistor is one the greatest inventions of the 20th century.

What can we say about the importance of the transistor? The transistor is virtually in every electronic device on the market. For more than sixty years, the transistor has transformed the world of electronics. The transistor has been called “the fundamental building block of the information age”.

In 1956, John Bardeen shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with William Bradford Shockley, Jr. and Walter Houser Brattain. In 1972, Bardeen shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with Leon Neil Cooper and John Robert Schrieffer. Bardeen even became the first person to win two Nobel Prizes in the same field! The first Nobel was for inventing the transistor. The second Nobel was for developing a theory of the mechanism underlying superconductivity.

On December 14, 2006, the American Physical Society honored Bardeen, Shockley, and Brattain by presenting a plaque to Bell Labs.

John Bardeen belongs to a group of elite scientists of the modern age. In 1972, John Bardeen accomplished a feat that no other physicist had done previously, not even Albert Einstein — he won his second Nobel Prize in physics.

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Eliminate Fear With Surgery

Certain stimulus can produce fear even in the bravest of people. In a circumstance where one might experience what is known as fear conditioning, the stimulus would produce a response within the body. This expression of fear would trigger a number of physical and emotional reactions. Such as: heart rate, breathing, muscle response, sweating, etc.

Could it be possible that there is a portion of the brain that is responsible for this emotion that we label as fear? What if scientists were able to locate that part of the brain specifically? What if surgeons could remove that section of the brain successfully, without causing any damage to the remaining part of the brain? This would effectively remove the fear that most of us experience.

Researchers have discovered that one particular patient (they refer to her as SM) doesn’t respond to fear like a normal human being would. It almost seems impossible doesn’t it?

The amygdala is an almond shaped part of the brain that is thought to produce the experience of fear in an average person. The patient called SM, a female, has bilateral amygdala damage. She is approximately 44 years old.

Her other emotions are completely normal. She has the normal facilities that an average adult would possess, such as IQ, memory, language, and perception. However, SM is severely impaired in relation to fear conditioning, recognition, facial expressions, and a sense of immediate danger. She doesn’t react to fear.

Justin S. Feinstein, Ralph Adolphs, Antonio Damasio, and Daniel Tranel performed a scientific investigation. The group tried three varied experiments that were designed to induce fear in the patient. The results of the study are very interesting, to say the least.

On the three tests that were exhibited, SM showed little to no fear on all occasions. But the study does state that it would be a false claim to say that SM is emotionless or unable to experience emotion.

The part of the human brain that we call the amygdala may be the sole unique component that provides the human species with a very important mechanism — fear. If you could eradicate all the phobias in your life, would you possibly consider it?

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Multitasking At The Mall

[Uploaded Jan 14, 2011]
It’s probably not a very good idea to text and walk at the same time. Especially if there are security cameras nearby to record your fall. A woman fell into a fountain while walking and texting in the Berkshire Mall, located in a suburb near Reading, Pennsylvania. The incident went viral on YouTube a short time later.

Fountain Lady discussed the mishap with ABC journalist George Stephanopoulos. Her lawyer said that she should at least get an apology because the YouTube video had embarrassed the woman.

It turned out that the fountain-faller (Cathy Cruz Marrero) was a Berkshire Mall employee herself. According to SFGate, Fountain Lady “was charged in late 2009 with running up bills of more than $5,000 on a coworker’s credit account at Target and Zales.”

The security guard who posted the video was fired at some point later.