Saturday, 18 August 2012

NAS responds to Atos audit - Vital disability benefit assessments must be fair and fit for purpose

National Autistic Society Logo

NAS responds to Atos audit



Vital disability benefit assessments must be fair and fit for purpose

Following the news that auditors have uncovered weaknesses in the Atos system, Mark Lever, Chief Executive of The National Autistic Society, said:

"From day one, there have been significant concerns with the way the Work Capability Assessment works for people with autism.

"Recent documentaries exposing the failings of the system have done nothing to reassure some of our most vulnerable members of society.

"WCA has not only wasted money but caused untold distress for many thousands of legitimately disabled people.

"The Government must listen to the watchdog’s criticisms and act on them ensuring that they learn from the shortcomings of the WCA when introducing PIP.

"PIP needs to be a genuine strategy to improve the current system and not simply an attempt to save money. When the right support is not in place, people with autism often go on to develop more significant health problems costing the Government far more in the long-term. 

"The Government must ensure the way they outsource these vital disability benefit assessments is fair and fit for purpose, otherwise they risk failing thousands of those most in need."


Friday, 17 August 2012

Garry Kasparov has just been arrested outside the Moscow courthouse where the Pussy Riot trial is taking place

Like This Page · 49 minutes ago 

[Editors] Garry Kasparov has just been arrested outside the Moscow courthouse where the Pussy Riot trial is taking place. He was not there to protest, simply to attend, and the police cornered him and dragged him into the police van. This photo shows the police assaulting him inside the van. We hope he is all right and we will provide updates when we have them. (Photo by Olaf Koens here: status/236423940975779840/ photo/1)

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Shropshire Star - HMRC issues list of ‘tax dodgers’ Thursday 16th August 2012, 12:10AM BST.

Shropshire Star


HMRC issues list of ‘tax dodgers’

Thursday 16th August 2012, 12:10AM BST.

David Gauke says HMRC will 'relentlessly' pursue the alleged tax-dodgers
David Gauke says HMRC will 'relentlessly' pursue the alleged tax-dodgers

A most-wanted list of 20 alleged tax-dodgers has been issued, who are accused of fleeing the UK while owing the UK Government millions of pounds.

Names and pictures were published by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for the first time as investigators appealed for the public’s help to find them.

The list includes Hussain Chohan, 44, who was convicted at Birmingham Crown Court for his role in a £200 million fraud, part of which involved importing 2.25 tonnes of tobacco worth £750,000 in duty.

Chohan, believed to be in Dubai, was given 11 years for smuggling and fraud offences and for failing to appear in court. He is also subject to a £33 million confiscation order.

Another person on the list is Wayne Joseph Hardy, 49, believed to be in South Africa. He was convicted at Ipswich Crown Court for manufacturing tobacco products and not paying duty and was given a three-year sentence in October 2011. The estimated cost to the taxpayer was £1.9 million.

Nasser Ahmed, 40, believed to be in Pakistan or Dubai, was sentenced to six years at Bristol Crown Court in 2005 for his part in VAT fraud worth around £156 million. He fled before verdicts were given and was convicted and sentenced in his absence.

Gordon Arthur, 60, believed to be in the United States, is suspected of illegally importing cigarettes and alcohol and failing to pay around £15 million in duty. He fled in 2000 and a warrant was issued for his arrest at Maidstone Crown Court in 2002.

Zafar Baidar Chisthi, 33, now believed to be in Pakistan, is wanted over another VAT fraud worth £150 million. He fled while on bail and was jailed for 11 years in his absence at Kingston Crown Court for conspiracy to defraud the public purse.

They are among 20 people whose pictures and details will be posted on HMRC’s Flickr page at at 9am on Thursday.

Exchequer Secretary David Gauke said: “These criminals have collectively cost the taxpayer over £765 million and HMRC will pursue them relentlessly. We hope that publishing their pictures in this way will enable members of the public to contribute to the effort to catch them.”


FULL WIKILEAKS STATEMENT re apparent U.K. siege of Ecuadorian Embassy: "Statement on UK threat to storm Ecuadorian embassy and arrest Julian Assange Thursday 16th August, 3:00am UTC


Occupy Auckland · 5,791 like this.
about a minute ago ·  
  • FULL WIKILEAKS STATEMENT re apparent U.K. siege of Ecuadorian Embassy: 

    "Statement on UK threat to storm Ecuadorian embassy and arrest Julian Assange
    Thursday 16th August, 3:00am UTC

    In a communication this morning to the government of Ecuador, the UK threatened to forcefully enter the Ecuadorian embassy in London and arrest Julian Assange.

    The UK claims the power to do so under the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987.

    This claim is without basis.

    By midnight, two hours prior to the time of this announcement, the embassy had been surrounded by police, in a menacing show of force.

    Any transgression against the sanctity of the embassy is a unilateral and shameful act, and a violation of the Vienna Convention, which protects embassies worldwide.

    This threat is designed to preempt Ecuador’s imminent decision on whether it will grant Julian Assange political asylum, and to bully Ecuador into a decision that is agreeable to the United Kingdom and its allies.

    WikiLeaks condemns in the strongest possible terms the UK’s resort to intimidation.

    A threat of this nature is a hostile and extreme act, which is not proportionate to the circumstances, and an unprecedented assault on the rights of asylum seekers worldwide.

    We draw attention to the fact that the United Nations General Assembly has unanimously declared in Resolution 2312 (1967) that

    "the grant of asylum. . . is a peaceful and humanitarian act and that, as such, it cannot be regarded as unfriendly by any other State."

    Pursuant to this resolution, a decision to grant asylum cannot be construed by another State as an unfriendly act. Neither can there be diplomatic consequences for granting asylum.

    We remind the public that these extraordinary actions are being taken to detain a man who has not been charged with any crime in any country.

    WikiLeaks joins the Government of Ecuador in urging the UK to resolve this situation according to peaceful norms of conduct.

    We further urge the UK government to show restraint, and to consider the dire ramifications of any violation of the elementary norms of international law.

    We ask that the UK respect Ecuador’s sovereign right to deliver a decision of its own making on Julian Assange’s asylum bid.

    Noting that Ecuador has called for emergency summits of OAS and UNASUR in response to this development, WikiLeaks asks those bodies to support Ecuador’s rights in this matter, and to oppose any attempts to coerce a decision.

    We note with interest that this development coincides with the UK Secretary of State William Hague’s assumption of executive responsibilities during the vacation of the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister.

    Mr Hague’s department, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has overseen the negotiations to date with Ecuador in the matter of Mr Assange’s asylum bid.

    If Mr Hague has, as would be expected, approved this decision, WikiLeaks calls for his immediate resignation.

    Australian Documentary on Julian Assange’s situation:

    Friends of WikiLeaks Support Network:

    Justice for Assange:"

    Sex, Lies and Julian Assange
    <strong>Monday 23rd July 2012 </strong> <strong>When Julian Assange arrived in Sweden in August 2010 he was greeted like a conquering hero.
     Like ·  ·  · Storify

Clarification of the misconceptions about Muslims' slaughter-letter of Myanmar ambassador-


Clarification of the misconceptions about Muslims' slaughter-letter of Myanmar ambassador-

"Dear Dr. T.A. Rahmani,
I would like to provide you the following information:-

On what happened:
On 28 May this year, a Rakhine Buddhist girl was raped and killed by three men near one of the villages in Kyaukpyu district of Rakhine State, which is bordering Bangladesh.

Through the investigation conducted by Kyaukpyu district police force, three persons, all Muslims, were exposed to be the perpetrators. They were put under protective custody in Kyaukpyu Jail on the morning of 30 May for fear of revenge from relatives of the deceased girl.

Relatives of the deceased girl and fellow villagers, about 100, went to the police station on the afternoon of 30 May and asked the police station to bring to them the three suspects. The police officers, who are Buddhists, did not allow them to enter the station compound and rejected their claim by saying that action would be taken against the three suspects in accordance with the law. This testifies to respect for law and the rule of law in the country. Unsatisfied with the response from the police officers, the relatives and fellow villagers attempted to enter the police station which compelled the police officers to fire five shots to disperse them.

On 3 June in a town called Taunggup, a group of about 300 Rakhine Buddhists attacked 10 Muslim passengers on a bus travelling to Yangon. All 10 were killed on the spot. The news on killing of 10 Muslims spread to the immediate neighbourhood and Muslims and Rakhine Buddhists in the neighbourhood attacked each other. This communal violence spread quickly to other parts of Maungtaw and then to Buthidaung, Sittway and Yathedaung townships in the Rakhine State where Rakhine Buddhists and Muslims have been living since long. The situation went out of control.

Local authorities and police were unable to control the situation due to lack of man power and facilities. Curfew was imposed by the State Government on 8 June 2012 in the areas where clashes took place. However, clashes continued and even spread out and therefore, State of Emergency was declared in Rakhine State by the Union Government on 10 June. The Defence Services was called in to control the situation and to restore peace and law and order in the state. The situation is now back to normal completely.

During the unfortunate incident, both Rakhine Buddhists and Muslims, 79 persons in total, were killed and many injured. It is totally untrue that hundreds or thousands have been killed and that those killed were Muslims. The deaths were caused by either group to each other, not by others. Houses and property worth millions of dollars were destroyed. Thousands of victims have become homeless. Both Rakhine Buddhists and Muslims suffered as a result of the lawlessness of a few.

On what the government has done and been doing:
The government formed on 6 June 2012 an Investigation Committee headed by the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs to investigate all aspects of the unfortunate incident and submit a report to the President.
Action will be taken in accordance with the law against all those, without any exception, who have committed crimes or agitated others to do so. 30 Rakhine Buddhist suspects have already been detained so far.

Relief camps, 72 in total, have been set up separately for Rakhine Buddhists and Muslims. Basic needs of food, clothing and medicines of the victims have been met by the government.

In coordination with the government, UN agencies in the country, including UNHCR, UNFPA, WFP and UNOCHA, and INGOs have also been providing humanitarian assistance to the victims.

Lt. Gen. Thein Htay, Union Minister for Border Affairs and for Myanmar Industrial Development, accompanied by Mr. Vijay Nambiar, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General, officials from UN agencies in Yangon led by Resident Representatives of UN agencies in Myanmar Mr. Ashok Nigam, 15 Muslim leaders from Yangon and departmental officials, visited Rakhine State recently, during which arrangements made by the government for rehabilitation and long-term aids for livelihood for the victims and for the security and the rule of law in the region have been explained to the victims. Cash, foodstuff, school uniforms, exercise books and stationary worth hundreds of thousands of dollars have been given to victims of both groups.

The Speaker of the Lower House of Myanmar Parliament accompanied by MPs representing political parties also travelled to Rakhine State. Together with the Chief Minister of Rakhine State and his cabinet members they visited the relief camps in the state and observed relief, resettlement and rehabilitation measures for the victims. The MPs donated Kyats 12.93 million, their daily allowance for three days, Union Solidarity and Development Party Kyats 20 million and the State Assembly members Kyats 2 million, for the victims.

Comment of the Embassy:
The Embassy of Myanmar sincerely hopes that you be well aware that violent clashes take place sometimes not only between different religions but even between different sects of the same religion. Whenever such ugly things happen, not only those who start but also who have nothing to do with such things suffer. The Embassy firmly believes that regardless of what religion one professes, all must live together peacefully based on respect for each other and laws of the country in which we reside. The recent clashes between Rakhine Buddhists and Muslims in the Rakhine State of our country are very unfortunate and the Embassy feels very sorry for all the victims without any reservation.

In Myanmar, Muslims are not only in Rakhine State but also elsewhere as those who profess other religions in the country. Buddhist pagodas and monasteries, Christian churches, Islamic mosques and Hindu temples exist side by side in many cities/towns/localities of the country. This can happen because of the deeply rooted religious tolerance in the country.

Fake photos or false information have been spread with an ill intention to agitate Muslims around the world by attempting to create the impression that Muslims are being discriminated or killed in Myanmar and that such acts are state sponsored. Such are unsubstantiated accusations. Please do not be misled by them.

I would like to request you to kindly share this information with your colleagues.

I wish you and your colleagues all the best.

With warm regards

Zin Yaw

Flushed with pride Aug 15th 2012, 15:55 by The Economist online - On August 14th his charitable institution, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, announced the gold-, silver- and bronze-medal winners in its Reinvent The Toilet Challenge


Flushed with pride

Aug 15th 2012, 15:55 by The Economist online



“IF Thomas Crapper were around today, he would find our toilets quite familiar,” says Bill Gates, referring to the Victorian manufacturer of sanitary ware whose name has become attached to one of the body’s most fundamental functions. “They haven’t seen many advances apart from handles and paper toilet rolls.” In fact, with the exception of S-traps to contain odours, flush toilets have changed little since Sir John Harrington installed one in Richmond Palace for Queen Elizabeth I.

Mr Gates considers it time for a change. On August 14th his charitable institution, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, announced the gold-, silver- and bronze-medal winners in its Reinvent The Toilet Challenge, which aims to bring safe, affordable and “sustainable” loos to the 40% of the world’s population who lack access to basic sanitation, thus preventing many of the 1.5m childhood deaths from diarrhoea that now occur each year.

The Challenge is nothing if not ambitious. It seeks a toilet that costs less than five cents per user per day to operate, that requires neither a supply of clean water nor sewerage infrastructure to take the waste away, and that will generate energy and recover salts, water and other nutrients. Remarkably, despite the challenge being little more than a year old, the award winners claim to be on track to achieve all of these goals.

In third place is a toilet designed by researchers at the University of Toronto. This treats urine and faeces separately, using a material freely available in many of the world’s poorest regions: sand. Urine is filtered through sand, and the resulting liquor is exposed to ultraviolet light to sterilise it. Faeces are dried slowly within the toilet before being fed into a smouldering sand-filled reactor. The system can sanitise the waste of ten people in two hours, leaving only sand and fresh(ish) water behind.

The runner-up, from Loughborough University in Britain, brings chemical-engineering principles to bear. A tank feeds mixed urine and faeces through a rig that heats it to 200°C under high pressure, killing pathogens. Returning the superheated mixture suddenly to atmospheric pressure causes it to separate into its liquid and gaseous components. The gas is used to heat the feed tank. The liquid is fed into a digester that produces enough methane to power the entire system—and some to spare.

The winning toilet, however, is smarter still. It has been developed by Michael Hoffman of the California Institute of Technology, and has earned him the $100,000 first prize. Dr Hoffman’s toilet uses solar panels to power an electrochemical system that produces two things. One is hydrogen. The other is a compound which oxidises the salts in urine to generate chlorine. This creates a mildly disinfecting solution that can be used to flush the toilet. The hydrogen is suitable for cooking or for powering a fuel cell to produce electricity. The solid residue from the process can be employed as fertiliser.

The Gates Foundation will now pay for prototypes to be tested in the field, probably of all three winners and possibly of some other ideas, and Mr Gates hopes that the foundation’s reinvented toilets will start being deployed for real in as little as two years. They will thus be able to contribute to achieving what is the most off-track of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, to halve by 2015 the proportion of people without sustainable access to basic sanitation. As the chairman of the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation, the Prince of Orange, observes, “politicians and leaders worldwide don’t like to be associated with toilets, even state-of-the-art toilets. This sanitation stigma distorts international and national development agendas.”

Dr Hoffman agrees that sanitation is insufficiently sexy. He says the technology behind his winning solar-powered toilet had been sitting on the shelf since he demonstrated it to NASA, America’s space agency, in the early 1990s, for use on the International Space Station. “It is,” as he puts it, “hard to get a scientific grant for treating faeces.”

Even the Gates Foundation itself, which hands out around $3 billion each year, has so far devoted just $6.5m to its Reinventing The Toilet Challenge. But that will change as the project goes from conception to delivery. The foundation now intends to spend up to $80m a year on sanitation, an investment that the World Health Organisation estimates will produce a return of 900% in the form of social and economic benefits coming from increased productivity and reduced health care costs.

Tools for Activists The tools on this page provide practical advice for community activists working to protect rivers and stop destructive river-engineering projects.

Tools for Activists

The tools on this page provide practical advice for community activists working to protect rivers and stop destructive river-engineering projects.

The Basics

If you're just getting started, a good place to do so isDams, Rivers and Rights: An Action Guide for Communities Affected by Dams. This guide provides general information about dams and their impacts, shares lessons and ideas from the growing international anti-dam movement, and gives concrete ideas on how to challenge dams. (Available in English, Spanish, French and Hindi.)

Maps can be a valuable campaign tool. To learn how to get started in mapping, read Making Maps that Make A Difference: A Citizens' Guide to Making and Using Maps for Advocacy Work.

How do dams alter rivers? For a look at basic dam impacts, check out, where you can explore the components of healthy rivers and what happens when a dam is built. Check out the latest research on reservoir emissions and a Google Earth 3-D tour to understand how dams can worsen the impacts of climate change.

Learn how Thai groups do community based research on fisheries to protect their resources when dams are proposed.

Regional guides

Proposing a Better Way

If you want to propose alternative planning processes: our Citizens’ Guide to the WCDsummarizes key findings of the World Commission on Dams' final report, and describes how community groups can use the report to improve water and energy planning. Our Protecting Rivers and Rights activist briefing kit provides concrete examples of where and how the WCD principles have been applied, and what happened when they were ignored. 

If you want to propose better solutions to meeting water and energy needs:

If you are working to decommission a dam:

If the aluminum industry is the primary motivator for a dam: Foiling the Aluminum Industry: A Toolkit for Communities, Activists, Consumers and Workers. This toolkit provides a variety of information fundamental to understanding the aluminum industry. Includes case studies, practical suggestions on tactics that may be useful for activists, and consumer tips on reducing the impacts of aluminum products.

If you are looking for pro bono lawyers to assist you in a court case involving dams or mining:Environmental Defenders Law Center Pro Bono Program. This group enlists top American and European lawyers and law firms to provide pro bono assistance to protect the human rights of individuals and communities in developing countries who are fighting against harm to their environment.

Information for Grantseekers:

If you are seeking funds to support a particular campaign or program, Global Greengrants Fund has a compilation of resources for grantseekers. If you interested in launching a new project, check out Earth Island Institute's Project Support Program.

Didn't find what you were looking for? Visit our publications page for our complete library.

Belo Monte Dam Suspended by Brazilian Appeals Court By: International Rivers, Amazon Watch, and AIDA Date: Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Belo Monte Dam Suspended by Brazilian Appeals Court

International Rivers, Amazon Watch, and AIDA
Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Project was illegally authorized by Congress without prior consultations with indigenous tribes, judges say

Altamira, Brazil: A high-level court yesterday suspended construction of the controversial Belo Monte Dam project on the Amazon’s Xingu River, citing overwhelming evidence that indigenous people had not been properly consulted prior to government approval of the project.

A group of judges from Brazil's Regional Federal Tribunal (TRF1) upheld an earlier decision that declared the Brazilian Congress’s authorization of the project in 2005 to be illegal. The decision concludes that the Brazilian Constitution and ILO Convention 169, to which Brazil is party, require that Congress can only authorize the use of water resources for hydroelectric projects after an independent assessment of environmental impacts and subsequent consultations with affected indigenous peoples. 

The ruling means that Brazilian Congress will have to correct its previous error by organizing consultations on the project’s impacts with affected indigenous peoples of the Xingu River, especially the Juruna, Arara and Xikrin tribes. Their opinions should be considered in a Congressional decision on whether to authorize Belo Monte, and in the meantime the project consortium has been ordered to suspend construction. Project consortium Norte Energia, S.A, led by the parastatal energy company Eletrobras, faces a daily fine of R$500,000, or about US$250,000, if it does not comply with the suspension. The dam consortium is expected to appeal the decision in the Brazilian Supreme Court.

“The court’s decision highlights the urgent need for the Brazilian government and Congress to respect the federal constitution and international agreements on prior consultations with indigenous peoples regarding projects that put their livelihoods and territories at risk. Human rights and environmental protection cannot be subordinated to narrow business interests” stated Federal Judge Souza Prudente, who authored the ruling.

“This latest court ruling vindicates what indigenous people, human rights activists and the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office have been demanding all along. We hope that President Dilma’s Attorney General and the head judge of the federal court (TRF1) will not try to subvert this important decision, as they have done in similar situations in the past,” said Brent Millikan of International Rivers, based in Brasilia.

“This decision reinforces the request made by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in April 2011 to suspend the project due to lack of consultations with indigenous communities. We hope that Norte Energia and the government comply with this decision and respect the rights of indigenous communities,” said Joelson Cavalcante of the Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA), an organization giving legal support to affected communities.

The Brazilian Congress authorized construction of Belo Monte seven years ago without an environmental impact assessment (EIA). A subsequent study – produced by state-owned energy company Eletrobras and three of Brazil’s largest construction companies (Camargo Correa, Andrade Gutierrez, and Odebrecht) – was widely criticized for underestimating socio-environmental impacts, especially on indigenous peoples and other traditional communities living downstream from the huge dam that would divert 80% of the Xingu’s natural flow. The EIA was approved by Brazil’s federal environmental agency (IBAMA) in February 2010 under intense political pressure and over the objections of the agency's own technical staff.

With dam construction racing ahead since June 2011, many of Belo Monte’s forewarned social and environmental consequences are proving real. As a result, indigenous people have become more vocal in their opposition to Belo Monte.

During the United Nations' Rio+20 conference in June, indigenous leaders launched a 21-dayoccupation of the dam site, protesting against the growing impacts of the project and broken promises by dam-builders. Two weeks later, indigenous communities detained three Norte Energia engineers on tribal lands. Both protests demanded suspension of the project due to non-compliance of mitigation requirementes. Last month, the Federal Public Prosecutors’ Office filed a lawsuit calling for suspension of the Belo Monte installation license, given widespread non-compliance with conditions of the project’s environmental licenses. Given this contentious and convoluted history, the long overdue process of consultations with indigenous peoples on Belo Monte is not likely to produce a positive verdict on Belo Monte, from the point of view of indigenous peoples.

Similar conflicts over violations of indigenous rights by dam projects are emerging elsewhere in the Brazilian Amazon. Last week, in another landmark decision led by Judge Souza Prudente, a group of judges from the TRF1 ordered the immediate suspension of one of five large dams planned for the Teles Pires River – a major tributary of the Tapajos River – noting a lack of prior and informed consultations with the Kayabi, Apiakás and Munduruku indigenous peoples affected by the project.

According to Souza Prudente, "the aggression against indigenous peoples in the case of the Teles Pires Dam has been even more violent than in Belo Monte. A political decision to proceed with the construction of five large dams along the Teles Pires River was made by the Ministry of Mines and Energy with no effective analysis of impacts on the livelihoods and territories of indigenous peoples. The Sete Quedas rapids on the Teles Pires River are considered sacred by indigenous peoples and are vital for the reproduction of fish that are a staple of their diets. Yet none of this was taken into account in the basin inventory and environmental impact studies. Moreover, the government and Congress simply ignored their obligations to ensure prior and informed consultations with indigenous peoples, as determined by the Federal Constitution and ILO Convention 169." 

Late yesterday, the President of the TRF1 announced his intention to overturn the decision of Souza Prudente and other federal judges regarding the Teles Pires hydroproject, marking a growing crisis within Brazil’s judiciary system over the Dilma Rousseff administration’s ambitious dam-building plans in the Amazon.

Media contacts: 

The next Big Resource- Big Data! - Posted by Tom Whitford - Steve Mills, Senior Vice President and Group Executive, explains why Big Data is the next big commodity, and why you should be prepared for it’s arrival.



August 10th, 2012 
4:07 am

Steve Mills, Senior Vice President and Group Executive, explains why Big Data is the next big commodity, and why you should be prepared for it’s arrival.

 Frustration with “information overload” is one of the facts of life these days. For many people, the deluge of information they’re confronted with every day at work, on TV, on the Internet, and, increasingly, on mobile phones and tablet PCs too often seems like a burden that has to be overcome rather than a benefit.

It doesn’t have to be so. At IBM, we believe the super-abundance of information, often called “Big Data,” should be thought of as nothing less than a tremendous new natural resource. In fact, information is becoming the petroleum of the 21st century. But we need a new generation of analytics technology and expertise to help us make the most of it.

What exactly is Big Data? It’s a product of the Internet combined with all the new ways that are emerging to gather, discover and make sense of data. For years, business people collected information in relational databases—made up of tabular columns and rows. Then came the Internet and search engines that help us find just the nuggets of information we want on millions of Web pages. Now, add to that all the data that can be collected from the Internet of Things—tens of millions of sensors that gather everything from the vital signs of babies in ICUs to the currents at the bottom of the ocean to location data gathered from millions of smartphones.

The promise of Big Data is truly mind-boggling. If we can harvest insights from all of those sources of information, rather than being overwhelmed by data, we have the capacity to understand with greater precision than ever before how our world actually works. By applying analysis to data, we can see once-hidden patterns unfolding before our eyes so we can make better decisions about everything from personal financial planning to a company’s strategic direction. We can accurately predict what will happen if we make one decision rather than another. And we can meld together streams of information coming from many different sources, and, often in real time, decide how best to respond to sudden changes.

The era of Big Data has arrived. The implications are huge. So are the technical and organizational challenges. But, in partnership with our clients, we hope to deliver on the immense potential of Big Data for making businesses, the global economy and society work better.

To read more about IBMs Big Data Solutions, click here.

Otherwise, think you know Big Data? Take IBMs Big Data Challenge here.

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Zettabyte From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Multiples of bytes
SI decimal prefixesBinary
IEC binary prefixes
kilobyte (kB) 103 210 kibibyte (KiB) 210
megabyte (MB) 106 220 mebibyte (MiB) 220
gigabyte (GB) 109 230 gibibyte (GiB) 230
terabyte (TB) 1012 240 tebibyte (TiB) 240
petabyte (PB) 1015 250 pebibyte (PiB) 250
exabyte (EB) 1018 260 exbibyte (EiB) 260
zettabyte (ZB) 1021 270 zebibyte (ZiB) 270
yottabyte (YB) 1024 280 yobibyte (YiB) 280
See also: Multiples of bits · Orders of magnitude of data

A zettabyte (symbol ZB, derived from the SI prefix zetta-) is a unit of information orcomputer storage equal to one sextillion (one long scale trilliardbytes.[1][2][3][4][5]

As of April 2012, no storage system has achieved one zettabyte of information. The combined space of all computer hard drives in the world was estimated at approximately 160 exabytes in 2006.[6] This has increased rapidly however, as Seagate reported selling 330 exabytes worth of hard drives during the 2011 Fiscal Year.[7] As of 2009, the entire World Wide Web was estimated to contain close to 500 exabytes.[8] This is a half zettabyte.

  • 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes = 10007 bytes = 1021 bytes

The term "zebibyte" (ZiB), using a binary prefix, is used for the corresponding power of 1024.

[edit]Comparisons for scale

A zettabyte is equal to 1 billion terabytes.

  • The world’s technological capacity to receive information through one-way broadcast networks was 0.432 zettabytes of (optimally compressed) information in 1986, 0.715 in 1993, 1.2 in 2000, and 1.9 (optimally compressed) zettabytes in 2007 (this is the informational equivalent to every person on earth receiving 174 newspapers per day).[9][10]
  • Mark Liberman calculated the storage requirements for all human speech ever spoken at 42 zettabytes if digitized as 16 kHz 16-bit audio. This was done in response to a popular expression that states "all words ever spoken by human beings" could be stored in approximately 5 exabytes of data (see exabyte for details). Liberman did "freely confess that maybe the authors [of the exabyte estimate] were thinking about text."[12]
  • Research from the University of Southern California reports that in 2007, humankind successfully sent 1.9 zettabytes of information through broadcast technology such as televisions and GPS.[13]


  1. ^ Tom Burton (2008-01-31). "Zettabyte flood predicted for 2015".
  2. ^ Lucas Mearian (2007-03-06). "A zettabyte by 2010: Corporate data grows fiftyfold in three years"Computerworld.
  3. ^ Lucas Mearian (2008-03-11). "Study: Digital universe and its impact bigger than we thought"Computerworld.
  4. ^ "Internet Traffic to Reach a Zettabyte by 2015, Says Study". 2008-01-31.
  5. ^ Bret Swanson & George Gilder (2008-01-29). "The Impact of Video and Rich Media on the Internet – A ‘zettabyte’ by 2015?"Discovery Institute.
  6. ^ John F. Gantz (March 2007). "An IDC White Paper: The Expanding Digital Universe" (PDF). EMC.
  7. ^ Douglas Perry (2011-07-22). "The Average HDD is Now 590 GB in Capacity"Tom's Hardware.
  8. ^ Richard Wray (2009-05-18). "Internet data heads for 500bn gigabytes"The Guardian.
  9. ^ Martin Hilbert and Priscila López (2011-02-10). "The World’s Technological Capacity to Store, Communicate, and Compute Information".University of Vermont. Vol. 332 no. 6025 pp. 60-65
  10. ^ Martin Hilbert (2011-06-11). "World_info_capacity_animation"Youtube.
  11. ^ "IDC Predicts 2012 Will Be the Year of Mobile and Cloud Platform Wars as IT Vendors Vie for Leadership While the Industry Redefines Itself"IDC. 2011-12-01.
  12. ^ Mark Liberman (2003-11-03). "Zettascale Linguistics"University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved 2012-07-31.
  13. ^ Suzanne Wu (2011-02-10). "How Much Information Is There in the World?"University of Southern California.
  14. ^ Roger E. Bohn & James E. Short (January 2010). "How Much Information? 2009 Report on American Consumers"University of California, San Diego.

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Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Evidence shows three-star general ordered Bradley’s unlawful, brutal treatment By the Bradley Manning Support Network. August 13, 2012

Evidence shows three-star general ordered Bradley’s unlawful, brutal treatment

Supporters of Bradley Manning engaged in civil disobedience at the Quantico Marine Base gate, March 2011

By the Bradley Manning Support Network. August 13, 2012

David Coombs, civilian legal counsel for accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower PFC Bradley Manning, has published the Article 13 motion that in July he said would “shock the conscience of the court.”

This document not only reveals new details about Bradley’s brutal conditions at the Quantico Marine Brig in Virginia, but also the shocking revelation that a three-star General, far removed from the brig, ordered this illegal treatment. Two different brig commanders then carried out these unlawful orders in clear violation of Article 13 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) which prohibits pre-trial confinement conditions “any more rigorous” than the minimum needed to ensure the accused appears for court hearings. Mr. Coombs will argue this motion for dismissal of all charges, based on these military law violations at a critical October 1-5 pre-trial hearing at Fort Meade, Maryland.

Mr. Coombs has detailed how these newly uncovered emails “reveal that everyone at Quantico was complicit in the unlawful pretrial punishment, from senior officers to enlisted soldier.” Continuing the pattern of abusing Bradley Manning’s right to due process, the prosecution withheld these emails for six full months. They were finally turned over to the defense only hours before Mr. Coombs planned to file the court motion regarding this issue. Bradley was forced to remain in solitary confinement for more than 23 hours per day, with 20 minutes of exercise during which time his hands and feet were shackled with metal restraints. Military officials uniformly declared that he had been placed on this special “prevention of injury” watch for his own good-despite nine straight months of Brig psychiatrists’ evaluations that declared the treatment unjustified.

“These emails now make all previous assertions by Quantico and Pentagon officials that they were simply following procedures to keep Bradley Manning safe patently ridiculous,” noted attorney Kevin Zeese, of the Bradley Manning Support Network.

Twenty-nine-year military veteran US Army Colonel Ann Wright (ret.) declares:

“The revelation that a Lieutenant General would order the mistreatment of a fellow soldier in violation of the UCMJ leaves me aghast.  This general, and those who obeyed his orders to mistreat whistle-blower Bradley Manning while he was held in pre-trial confinement, must be held accountable. If not, the entire military justice system fails all members of the military.”

Jeff Paterson, of the Bradley Manning Support Network, notes, “It would take a military judge of extraordinary character to do the right thing under military law and toss this case. For the first time, however, there is real hope that justice may be served, and the charges against Bradley dismissed.”

With the financial support of nearly 13,000 supporters, the Bradley Manning Support Network continues to be responsible for 100% of PFC Bradley Manning’s substantial legal defense expenses.

Mr. Coombs will argue this issue at Fort Meade October 1-5. Additionally, Bradley will appear in court before then on August 27-31 for the next scheduled pre-trial hearing.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

SilenceSilenceSilenceSilence - L'AMORE E FORTE COME LA MORTE Amore e pianto, vivono accanto



L'AMORE E FORTE COME LA MORTE Amore e pianto, vivono accanto



The old pond has no walls;
a frog just jumps in;
do you say there is an echo?



Silence is one of the primary conditions for our well-being and growth yet we have been so desensitized by the restlessness of alienating systems that we no longer appreciate the wisdom and depth behind silence.

He who yearns for inner clarity should observe periods of quietude and learn to listen to the subtle motions inside his body: the Breath.

It is only in silence that the Voice of the soul, the Word can be perceived, so once we make an habit of being quiet and of yielding to the natural rhythm of our breath, we actually begin to hear the true Sound, the perfection of Life and all its celestial music. That heavenly sound is the Sound which animates the entire Creation and which fills it with peace, mercy and tender energy.

~Aida Toure’



Haiku source



L'AMORE E FORTE COME LA MORTE Amore e pianto, vivono accanto

short intro … a place for me to share some of me with anyone in world who may share my interests and meet similar people with same interests, tired of american ruled sites oppressing others with their arrogant sense of exceptionalism. am italian woman who made the mistake of coming to the great land of the free … let me tell you things are not better here than where you are, so do not come unless life is threatened where you are. you will be judged and not accepted for being different, the best thing you can do if stuck in this prison state is hide in nature with the rational animals that inhabit USA, or take your chances on mob mentality.

Reblogging note by me (-: I enjoy your thinking - look forward to talking with you - @harlechnnorfolk (-:


Solar Warden - The Secret Space Program Posted: 12/07/2012 00:00


Darren Perks

UFO Investigative Researcher and Media Contributor


Solar Warden - The Secret Space Program

Posted: 12/07/2012 00:00

Since approximately 1980, a secret space fleet code named 'Solar Warden' has been in operation unknown to the public...

Is this nonsense, is it a conspiracy or is it simply so sensitive that it will cause uproar around the world?

These are my own words after conducting research into the secret program. Whilst conducting an FOI (freedom of information) request with the DoD (department of defence) in 2010, I had a very unexpected response by email from them which read:

"About an hour ago I spoke to a NASA rep who confirmed this was their
program and that it was terminated by the President. He also informed me that it was not a joint program with the DoD. The NASA rep informed me that you should be directed to the Johnson Space Center FOIA Manager.

I have ran your request through one of our space-related directorates and I'm waiting on one other division with the Command to respond back to me. I will contact you once I have a response from the other division. Did NASA refer you to us?"

The program not only operates classified under the US Government but also under the United Nations authority. So you might be wondering, how do I know this information?

Well there are a few people and many others that have tried hard to find out the truth, and have succeeded by leaked information or simply asking questions and have government departments slip up and give away information freely, just like what happened when Darren Perks asked the DoD. One notable contributor is Gary Mckinnon.

When Gary McKinnon hacked into U.S. Space Command computers several years ago and learned of the existence of "non-terrestrial officers" and "fleet-to-fleet transfers" and a secret program called "Solar Warden", he was charged by the Bush Justice Department with having committed "the biggest military computer hack of all time", and stood to face prison time of up to 70 years after extradition from UK. But trying earnest McKinnon in open court would involve his testifying to the above classified facts, and his attorney would be able to subpoena government officers to testify under oath about the Navy's Space Fleet. To date the extradition of McKinnon to the U.S. has gone nowhere.

McKinnon also found out about the ships or craft within Solar Warden. It is said that there are approx eight cigar-shaped motherships (each longer than two football fields end-to-end) and 43 small "scout ships. The Solar Warden Space Fleet operates under the US Naval Network and Space Operations Command (NNSOC) [formerly Naval Space Command]. There are approximately 300 personnel involved at that facility, with the figure rising.

Solar Warden is said to be made up from U.S. aerospace Black Projects contractors, but with some contributions of parts and systems by Canada. United Kingdom, Italy, Austria, Russia, and Australia. It is also said that the program is tested and operated from secret military bases such as Area 51 in Nevada, USA.

So should we just write this off as utter nonsense?

No we shouldn't and as time goes on the truth will slowly come out. Many people around the world are now witnessing craft moving around in the skies and sub space that completely defy gravity. Whether they are part of the Solar Warden secret program, military experimental aircraft or not, thousands of people know what they see.

Read about my investigation work here:

In my view Solar Warden is very real and a very strong possibility.

So no, I don't think we should rule it out as complete nonsense.

Yes, it's a conspiracy because of all the hype and controversy surrounding the facts and information about the program.

Sensitive is an understatement. This program would change the world and our views on space exploration and travel, so no wonder that it would be kept a big 'secret'.

We should all keep it in the back of our minds... for now at least!

Follow Darren Perks on Twitter:

Call To Action: Stop The Feds From Silencing Robert Platshorn By Steve Elliott ~alapoet - in News Friday, July 27, 2012 at 10:57 am

By Steve Elliott ~alapoet~ in News
Friday, July 27, 2012 at 10:57 am

The Silver Tour
Robert Platshorn spreads the truth about cannabis through The Silver Tour. Now the federal government has moved to silence him

Here's What You Can Do To Fight Back Against The Feds Who Would Trample On Robert Platshorn's Rights For Spreading The Truth About Marijuana

It's time to push back and expose the bureaucrats that are now moving behind the scenes to silence cannabis activists like The Silver Tour's Robert Platshorn all over the country. They are acting as a secret army, in anticipation of the upcoming spate of pro cannabis ballot initiatives. There are serious First Amendment rights at stake, not to mention their intent to kill the tremendous public momentum for ending cannabis prohibition. 

"We must shine a light on these bureaucrats and expose their actions," Platshorn told Toke of the Town Friday morning from his home in Florida. "There is nothing that frightens them more than jerking them out of the shadows that hides them from public scrutiny while they do their dirty work."

"The first time I noticed something odd was the announcement in The Modesto Bee that Bryan [Epis] was given an extremely odd sentence reduction -- if he agreed not to speak in public to promote legalization," Platshorn told us. (Oddly, the link to the newspaper story -- from just two days ago -- is now dead.)

"Although we had strong claims, I understand and concur in Bryan's decision to accept the government's offer ... in order to get back to his family as soon as possible," Epis' attorney, John Balazs, said Monday. "At the same time, it seems un-American for the government to insist ... that Bryan give up his First Amendment right to advocate for the reform of our country's marijuana laws." 

The Silver Tour

Platshorn thought this just a bizarre incident, until his parole officer, Scott Kirsche phoned and rescinded Platshorn's permission to travel to Chicago to speak at the national meeting of The American Bar Association, with this chilling caveat:

"I am ordered by my superiors [Reginald Michael and Frank Smith] to inform you that your permission to travel to Chicago is rescinded and you cannot travel to promote the legalization of marijuana without the permission of the U.S. Parole Commission in Washington D.C. You must request their permission directly."

"Last night, I began getting messages indicating that activists in several key states with ballot initiatives were being pressured to modify their messages or curb their public activities," Platshorn told Toke of the Town. "No one could pinpoint the original source of these pressures."

As for the forced cancellation of his appearance at the A.B.A. convention, Platshorn told us, "I can't begin to quantify the loss to the movement, The Silver Tour, to our TV show, Should Grandma Smoke Pot? and the financial lose of much-needed book sales that buy my groceries.

"I had planned a really powerful presentation that I believe would have raised millions of dollars for Grandma and a tremendous upswell of support from the nearly 400,000 influential members of that organization," Platshorn said.

What can be done?

Here is a good start.

"This man has remained in the shadows, but exerts tremendous power over thousands of people like me," Platshorn said. "The man who is ultimately in charge of my fate in this matter and all other parole matters, is Isaac Fulwood Jr., the Commissioner of the U.S. Parole Commission in D.C. 

Call to Action: Thousands, Not Dozens Are Needed

In order of effectiveness, phone calls, letters and emails are needed to Fulwood with copies to the press expressing outrage at the actions of his subordinates trampling on Robert Platshorn's First Amendment rights and denying Platshorn the opportunity to address the A.B.A. and speak at legitimate political rallies to promote sensible changes to our draconian cannabis laws.

Correspondence to the U.S. Parole Commission may be sent to:
U.S. Parole Commission   
90 K Street, N.E., Third Floor
Washington, D.C. 20530

By Email
Media Contact:

By Phone
(202) 346-7000

If you can't reach Fulwood at The U.S. Parole Commission after several tries, try him at the University of the District of Columbia. Presently, Commissioner Fulwood is an Adjunct Professor at the University, where he teaches Law Enforcement subjects, Community Policing, and Ethics in Law Enforcement.

"Please get the word out and take action," Platshorn said. "More than the fate of one activist is riding on this. Dozens of letters or calls will only be annoying. Hundreds of calls will get his attention and thousands of calls and letters will bring change."


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