Daily Archives: January 9, 2018

Watch “Great wall symbol of China building during Ming Dynasty” on YouTube


Today’s Holiday:Black Nazarene Fiesta


Today’s Holiday:
Black Nazarene Fiesta
The Fiesta of Quiapo District is the largest festival in Manila, Philippines. It is held each year in honor of the Quiapo District’s patron saint, the Black Nazarene, a life-sized statue of Jesus carved from blackwood, whose shrine is located in Quiapo’s baroque church. The traditional nine-day fiesta and features nightly cultural events, band concerts, and fireworks. On the last day of the festival, January 9, there is a procession of barefoot men pulling a carriage that holds the 200-year-old statue on the way to Calvary. More…: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Today’s Birthday:Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (1875)


Today’s Birthday:
Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (1875)

Born into immense wealth as a member of the Vanderbilt family, Whitney studied sculpture in the US and Europe. In addition to producing her own notable artwork, which included a Titanic memorial, Whitney became an influential patron and collector. After attempting to donate her vast art collection to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and being turned away, Whitney founded her own museum—today one of the foremost museums of modern American art. What family dispute made headlines in 1934? More…: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

This Day in History:Edith Thompson and Frederick Bywaters Executed for Murder (1923)


This Day in History:
Edith Thompson and Frederick Bywaters Executed for Murder (1923)

Frederick Bywaters was convicted of murder after admitting to the brutal stabbing of Percy Thompson, the husband of his lover Edith Thompson. In an extremely controversial decision, Edith was also convicted of her husband’s murder, even though Bywaters himself claimed that Edith had had nothing to do with it. Public sympathy for Edith could not prevent her execution, which was carried out at the same time as her former lover’s. Who had witnessed the murder and fingered Bywaters as the culprit? More…: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Quote of the Day:Lucy Maud Montgomery


Quote of the Day:
Lucy Maud Montgomery

I’d rather look ridiculous when everybody else does than plain and sensible all by myself. More…: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Article of the Day:The Great Wall of China


Article of the Day:
The Great Wall of China


The Great Wall of China is the world’s longest man-made structure, stretching approximately 1,500 miles (2,400 km) along China’s northern and northwestern borders. Erected to prevent invasions by northern nomads, it is an amalgamation of many walls built in ancient times and connected by later empires. Averaging a height of 25 feet (7.6 m) and a width of 15 to 30 feet (4.6–9.1 m) at its base, the wall is fortified by watchtowers placed at regular intervals. Can the Great Wall be seen from space? More…: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Idiom of the Day:locker-room humor


Idiom of the Day:
locker-room humor

Especially crude, vulgar, or bawdy humor. Watch the video…: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Word of the Day:didactics


Word of the Day:
didactics

Definition: (noun) The activities of educating or instructing; activities that impart knowledge or skill.
Synonyms: education, instruction, pedagogy, teaching
Usage: After reading several books on anthropology, education, and didactics, Alexey Alexandrovitch drew up a plan of education.: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

De pe la Breaza Făgăraşului:  Bună dimineața! 


De pe la Breaza Făgăraşului : Bună dimineața!

Chanoyu: The Japanese Art of Tea | Asian Art Museum


http://education.asianart.org/explore-resources/background-information/chanoyu-japanese-art-tea

Chanoyu: The Japanese Art of Tea | Asian Art Museum

Tea Host Shozo Sato Prepares Tea

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Tea host Shozo Sato prepares tea during February. In the winter months a sunken hearth is used.

Tea Host Shozo Sato Prepares Tea Tea Bowl with the Poetic Name Summer Festival Music

The Japanese phrase Chanoyu, translated literally as “hot water for tea,” refers to the tradition of preparing and serving powdered green tea in a highly stylized manner. The art of Chanoyu, also called “tea gathering” by practitioners, combines elements encompassing fine and applied arts, architecture, landscape design, and etiquette. Through Chanoyu, sharing a bowl of tea becomes an act evoking self awareness, generosity towards others, and a reverence for nature.

The tradition of serving powdered green tea was introduced to Japan from China in the twelfth century. Japanese Buddhist priests who traveled to China to study religious scriptures returned to their homeland having acquired new customs. The priest Eisai (1141–1215 CE), of the Rinzai Zen Buddhist sect, is credited with bringing to Japan the practice of drinking tea in its powdered form. Powdered green tea became an important feature of the Zen monastic tradition and was used as an aid for staying alert during long periods of meditation. From its origins in Zen ceremonies, the cultural practice known as Chanoyu emerged in its secular form during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. A succession of tea masters was instrumental in this development: the Zen priest Murata Shuko (1422–1502 CE), who was responsible for formalizing the tradition in accordance with Zen ideals; Takeno Jo-o (1503–1555 CE), who refined the art; and Sen Rikyu (1521–1591 CE), who established the form of Chanoyu as it is known today.

The guiding principles of Chanoyu as expressed by Sen Rikyu are:

  • Harmony (Wa): harmony between guests, hosts, nature, and setting
  • Respect (Kei): sincerity toward another, regardless of rank or status
  • Purity (Sei): to spiritually cleanse oneself—to be of pure heart and mind
  • Tranquility (Jaku): inner peace that results from obtaining the first three principles; this inner peace allows one to truly share

In addition to these principles, the essence of Chanoyu is embodied in the concept of ichi-go ichi-e (literally, “one time, one meeting”; pronounced eecheego eechee-eh). This is the awareness that each tea gathering is a once in a lifetime event, never to occur again. For this reason, the sharing of a bowl of tea should be conducted with humble nature and the utmost sincerity.

A tea gathering may be held any time throughout the year. The type of gathering depends upon the season and time of day. If the tea gathering is in honor of a special occasion, this is reflected in the combination of elements that characterize the event. There are two types of tea used in Chanoyu: thin tea (usucha) and thick tea (koicha). In a tea gathering with thin tea, each guest is served an individual bowl of tea. In a tea gathering with thick tea, the more formal of the two types of gatherings, a single bowl of tea is prepared to be served to all guests—each guest taking sips of tea from the bowl.

This sharing of a single bowl of tea represents the unity of hearts and minds among the participants. In Chanoyu, there are many symbols of respect. Particularly important is the manner in which a tea bowl is presented and received. The host determines which side of the bowl is most beautiful. This side is referred to as the “front” of the bowl. As a bowl is presented to a participant, the front always faces the recipient. Similarly, when tea is consumed by a guest, the bowl is rotated so that its most beautiful side is facing the host, and so that the guest avoids drinking from its front. This practice reflects the spirit and principles of a tea gathering. Chanoyu is a secular tradition passed down over the centuries in tea schools. Its origins in Zen Buddhism, however, imbued its practice with a spiritual character. A form of both art and meditation, Chanoyu inspires participants to transcend the ordinary and discover the meaning hidden within objects, fellowships, and nature.

Samurai: Real and Imagined School Tour

Explore the life of the Japanese samurai. Students can try on a samurai helmet, view a tearoom, and participate in a simulated tea gathering.

Tuesday–Thursday, 9:45 AM and 12:15 PM
Program lasts about 80 minutes
Maximum 35 students

Samurai: Sword and Brush

Students explore works of art from medieval Japan and make their own work of art in a hands-on brushpainting workshop. 

Tuesday–Thursday, 9:45 AM and 12:15 PM
Program lasts about 100 minutes
For groups of 40-60 students (two classes) only
Full through March 2018
Offered through May 24, 2018

Content Standards (California):History/Social Science: 7.5. Students analyze the geographic, political, economic, religious, and social structures of the civilizations of Medieval Japan. 
 

Small study suggests ibuprofen alters testosterone metabolism – Ars Technica


https://www.google.com/amp/s/arstechnica.com/science/2018/01/small-study-suggests-ibuprofen-alters-testosterone-metabolism/%3famp=1#ampshare=https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/01/small-study-suggests-ibuprofen-alters-testosterone-metabolism/

Ars Technica

Small study suggests ibuprofen alters testosterone metabolism

Wikimedia Commons

A new study is hinting that a common over-the-counter painkiller, ibuprofen, may be linked to a male reproductive disorder. While the study uses a pretty small sample of male subjects, it’s backed up by a set of consistent experiments from isolated cells, and earlier studies had hinted there might be something strange here.

The good news is that the problems required multiple weeks of constant ibuprofen use, so there’s no indication that handling the odd muscle ache or hangover with ibuprofen will cause problems. The bad news is that ibuprofen is one of a large class of related drugs that includes aspirin, and the likelihood that other drugs will have similar effects is high.

https://securepubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/ads?iu=%2F3379%2Fars.dart%2Fscience&adk=1942030102&sz=300×250&output=html&impl=ifr&scp=partner%3Damp%26ctx_template%3Damp-article%26ctx_page_slug%3D%26cnt_tags%3Danti-inflammatories%2CBiology%2Cibuprofen%2Cmedicine%2Cpain%2520killers%2Ctestosterone&ifi=1&adf=3059717256&nhd=1&adx=16&ady=2157&oid=2&adsid=NT&jar=2018-01-09-17&gdfp_req=1&sfv=1-0-14&u_sd=1.5&is_amp=3&amp_v=1513979839742&d_imp=1&c=358759009353&dt=1515517791986&biw=360&bih=559&u_aw=360&u_ah=640&u_cd=32&u_w=360&u_h=640&u_tz=-480&u_his=1&isw=360&ish=559&vis=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Farstechnica.com%2Fscience%2F2018%2F01%2Fsmall-study-suggests-ibuprofen-alters-testosterone-metabolism%2F&top=www.google.com&loc=https%3A%2F%2Farstechnica-com.cdn.ampproject.org%2Fv%2Fs%2Farstechnica.com%2Fscience%2F2018%2F01%2Fsmall-study-suggests-ibuprofen-alters-testosterone-metabolism%2F%3Famp%3D1%26amp_js_v%3D0.1%26usqp%3Dmq331AQECAEYAQ%253D%253D%23origin%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fwww.google.com%26cid%3D1%26prerenderSize%3D1%26visibilityState%3Dprerender%26paddingTop%3D0%26history%3D1%26p2r%3D0%26horizontalScrolling%3D0%26csi%3D1%26storage%3D1%26viewerUrl%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fwww.google.com%252Famp%252Fs%252Farstechnica.com%252Fscience%252F2018%252F01%252Fsmall-study-suggests-ibuprofen-alters-testosterone-metabolism%252F%25253famp%253D1%26cap%3Dswipe%252CnavigateTo%252Cfragment%252Ccid%252CreplaceUrl&ref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F&dtd=428&__amp_source_origin=https%3A%2F%2Farstechnica.com

NSAIDs

Ibuprofen belongs to a group of drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, or NSAIDs. This group includes aspirin, and it generally works by blocking the production of hormone-like signaling molecules called prostaglandins, thereby cutting down on pain and inflammation.

Aspirin was known to cause stomach problems but was thought to be otherwise safe. Still, the stomach issues were enough to induce pharmaceutical companies to design more specific NSAIDs like Vioxx and Celebrex. These ultimately revealed an underlying risk of heart complications that turned out to be common among NSAIDs, including aspirin.

Meanwhile, other studies were turning up a set of unrelated issues with the reproductive system. Epidemiological studies have shown that NSAID exposure during pregnancy was associated with reduced testosterone and congenital malformations; another study showed a drop in a testosterone metabolite among men who were taking ibuprofen regularly.

To take these hints beyond correlational studies, a large international team set up a small clinical trial. How small? There are more authors on the paper—19 of them—than the 14 male subjects in the experimental group. The experimental group received ibuprofen twice a day for a total of six weeks and was tested for hormone levels at two and six weeks.

Over that time, there were no significant changes in the testosterone levels found in the blood of the subjects. But there were indications that something was off. Tissue in the male brain senses the level of testosterone and, if it’s too low, produces luteinizing hormone, which stimulates the testes to make more. In the men receiving ibuprofen, levels of luteinizing hormone were up, and the ratio of testosterone to luteinizing hormone dropped. The effect was apparent at two weeks and became more pronounced after six weeks of ibuprofen use.

This suggests that the body compensated for reduced levels of testosterone by revving the entire system up.

Compensation

Clinically, this condition is called “compensated hypogonadism”—”hypogonadism” because the body probably isn’t producing testosterone at the appropriate rate, and “compensated” because other hormones have kicked in and gotten testosterone levels to increase. And, while testosterone levels are normal during compensated hypogonadism, it’s not a good condition to have. The condition has been associated with an increased probability of reproductive, cognitive, and physical problems, as well as general mortality.

On its own, a study this small would be little more than a call to do more detailed studies. But the authors have done a thorough job of following up on their results. They obtained testes tissue samples from organ donors and prostate cancer patients, and they’ve tested how these respond to ibuprofen; the researchers did the same with testicular cell lines. The samples showed that applying ibuprofen triggered a dose-dependent drop in the production of testosterone within 48 hours. (In culture, there are no cells to produce luteinizing hormone to compensate.) The researchers found that a number of genes involved in steroid synthesis were affected by ibuprofen.

This study also looked at a couple of other hormones produced by the testes and found that they, too, were reduced by ibuprofen. One thing that seems unscathed was the production of sperm, as genes involved in that process appeared unaffected within the timeframe examined by the researchers. (Longer term, lower testosterone would affect this, too.) A few other groups of genes involved in different testicular processes were also unaffected. This suggests that any effect of NSAIDs is specific to certain processes, rather than generally suppressing activity in the cells of the testes.

Again, it’s important to emphasize this was a really small study that required two weeks of constant ibuprofen use before there was any indication that something was out of the ordinary. The consistency of the results, however, as well as the earlier epidemiological results, suggest that there might really be an issue here. And the problem is not likely to be ibuprofen-specific, as most NSAIDs work through similar mechanisms.

PNAS, 2017. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1715035115 (About DOIs). View article comments

Will Aria Appear on the Pretty Little Liars Spin-Off? Lucy Hale Weighs In – Today’s News: Our Take | TV Guide


https://www.google.com/amp/www.tvguide.com/amp/news/lucy-hale-pretty-little-liars-spin-off/#ampshare=http://www.tvguide.com/news/lucy-hale-pretty-little-liars-spin-off/

TV Guide


Today’s News


Lucy Hale Talks Pretty Little Liars Spin-Off and Where Aria Is Now

https://tvguide.cbsi.com/remote.html?1513979839742

Lucy Hale on Whether Aria Will Appear in the Pretty Little Liars Spin-Off

Pretty Little Liars may be in the rearview, but the new spin-off, The Perfectionists, is still on the way.

Freeform has been keeping the details about the spin-off fairly under wraps, but we do know that it will star Sasha Pieterse and Janel Parrishreprising their PLL roles as Allison DiLaurentis and Mona Vanderwaall, respectively. The question on everyone’s lips, though, is how many other characters from Pretty Little Liars will be making appearances on the new show.

TV Guide asked Lucy Haleabout the possibility of an Aria cameo when the new drama premieres, and while we’re keeping our fingers crossed, it doesn’t sound like guest starring on The Perfectionists is on her to do list.

“I don’t think I will be in the spin-off,” Hale told TV Guide. “I will definitely be supporting and watching. I think they’re actually going to film in Vancouver, so I might go like stalk the set a little bit.”

Check out more TCA coverage here

Hale is currently filming her new CW show, Life Sentence, in Vancouver, which would make stalking the set incredibly easy. And at least now we know that if we spot Lucy Hale on The Perfectionists set, she’s probably just palling around with her friends.

If Hale ever changes her mind and appears on The Perfectionists, she does have a few hopes for where the series would find Aria and Ezra (Ian Harding).”What is Aria up to? You know, probably traveling the world with Ezra. I want to believe that they’re still being tormented,” Hale jokes.

And while Hale currently has no intention on appearing on the PLL spin-off, she has nothing but great things to say about the project and its stars. “I keep in touch with [creator] Marlene King and Sasha and Janel, who are going to be in the spin-off,” Hale says, “I’m thrilled for them. I think that they didn’t always necessarily get their moments on the show, and I love both of their characters so much, so I’m very excited and happy that they’re going to get to shine and do their thing.”

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One In 3 Americans Has A Blood Sugar Problem: Here’s What You Need To Know


https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.mindbodygreen.com/articles/one-in-3-americans-has-a-blood-sugar-problems-heres-what-you-need-to-know#ampshare=https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/one-in-3-americans-has-a-blood-sugar-problems-heres-what-you-need-to-know


One In 3 Americans Has A Blood Sugar Problem: Here’s What You Need To Know

Photo: Cloud Studio

Cancer, heart disease, and diabetes are ubiquitous, and yet there is something that one in three American adults suffer from—many without even knowing it. Pre-diabetes affects approximately 84 million Americans, and only 10 percent are aware. Chances are you or someone you know is struggling with this condition.

The tricky thing about pre-diabetes is that it can develop silently. Those affected can feel fine or normal according their own personal standard. The bad news is that people with pre-diabetes may already be suffering its effects, including long-term damage to the heart and circulatory system.

So how do you know if you are pre-diabetic? Because of the widespread nature of the condition, the American Diabetes Association, the American Medical Association, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed a quiz to help diagnose pre-diabetes. The quiz only takes a minute, so be sure to take it today and make others aware as well.

The good news is that if you begin to focus on making healthy food choices—like losing weight and becoming more active—you may delay a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes for many years and learn to balance your blood sugar naturally. There are so many educational programs to help best manage pre-diabetes, many of which are part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), which encourages education through interactive group classes, coaching, and community support. If you have a blood sugar issue, take a deep breath because there’s a lot you can do. Here are five great places to start.

1. Lose excess weight.

If you’re overweight, set a goal to lose at least 5 percent of your body weight. Why 5 percent? Studies consistently show that a 5 percent weight loss is all it takes to make significant changes to how you look, how you feel and how your body functions. Dropping 5 to 7 percent of body weight for individuals with pre-diabetes has been clinically proven by the CDC to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by nearly 60 percent.

2. Move that body!

Photo: Studio Firma

If you’re looking to turn your health around, it’s imperative that you build up to 150 minutes of exercise per week. Find what type of movement is fun for you and get after it. Build up to the recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week, making it part of your day-to-day lifestyle. Need some inspiration? Here’s how to make your workout way more fun.

3. Resist seasonal sluggishness.

Winter is in full swing and with that can come with warm comfort foods and a lot of socializing indoors around the dinner table or in front of the television. Saying “no” can be a challenge, because you may have to manage feelings of discomfort, but it sends the message that you and your health are a priority. With a little willpower and planning ahead, you can create an awesome winter wellness routine.

4. Take a hard look at your stress levels.

When we’re stressed, cortisol is released in our body. And if our bodies have too much cortisol, our metabolism slows down, which causes weight gain. When we’re on edge or overwhelmed we’re also more susceptible to cravings or stress eating. The solution? Manage your stress levels by structuring your days ahead of time as best you can, scheduling fun and relaxation into your week, and learning to adapt when things don’t go quite as you planned.

5. Lean on your loved ones.

Make sure you have the support you need from friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers. Whether it’s just someone who will listen or take a workout class with you, having support is key for long-term success. Create a plan for what type of support is most beneficial to you, and reach out to your community. You wont regret it!

Still not sure if you have a blood sugar problem? Here are 15 signs you do—plus exactly what to do about it.



Cămaşa de forţă informaţională | Europa | DW | 08.01.2018


http://m.dw.com/ro/c%C4%83ma%C5%9Fa-de-for%C5%A3%C4%83-informa%C5%A3ional%C4%83/a-42066234?maca=ro-Facebook-sharing

LANGUAGE

EUROPA

Cămaşa de forţă informaţională

Mai există libertate de opinie şi exprimare în vest? Cât de rău stăm cu îngrădirea acestor libertăţi în Germania? Rău. Au sfârşit prin a înţelege evidenţa mulţi, după ce twitter a blocat contul revistei satirice Titanic.

Karikatur Die gute Presse von 1847 (Gemeinfrei)

Presa bună şi cea rea, foarfeca din cap, progresism şi reacţiunea într-o caricatură din 1847

Asistăm la atacuri de o anvergură fără precedent asupra temeiului democraţiei. Asupra  libertăţii de opinie şi de exprimare. Nu există pentru o democraţie libertăţi mai importante decât acestea. Iar ambele sunt ucise de cenzură. Nicio democraţie liberală care se respectă nu poate tolera cenzura.

Or, la fel ca independenţa justiţiei în România, ambele libertăţi au ajuns, mai nou, în vest, în pericol mortal după introducerea unei foarfeci draconice în reţelele de socializare. Speriate de intrarea în vigoare a unei noi legi germane, menite să combată prin amenzi exorbitante ceea ce legiuitorul afirmă a fi difuzarea de ”fake-news” şi de mesaje discriminatorii, de pildă ale urii xenofobe, reţele ca facebook şi twitter au început să se supună, să taie şi să suprime.

Noua normă e intitulată ”Legea impunerii în reţea” şi le cere concernelor să acţioneze în interval de 24 de ore. Ca atare, se închid conturi, inclusiv preventiv, în baza unor judecăţi la fel de sumare ca ale NKVD-ului stalinist în procesele înscenate ale anilor 30 ai veacului trecut, chiar dacă neînsoţite de pedepsele fizice cumplite implicate de verdictele bolşevice din epocă.

Or, faptul că, şiret, parcimonios şi conştient de interdicţia constituţională a cenzurii, legiuitorul n-a creat o instituţie de stat, care să se ocupe oficial de cenzurarea conţinuturilor postărilor în reţele, nu ameliorează decât aparent, nu însă şi în fond situaţia, în ciuda pretenţiilor partizanilor legii.

Pentru că, aşa cum a fost articulată la iniţiativa unui ministru al justiţiei social-democrat, reglementarea, adoptată anul trecut de majoritatea guvernamentală germană, forţează reţelele să judece ele însele conţinuturi.

Şi să le elimine ori să le blocheze la rigoare, prin investiţii proprii, deşi nu dispun de competenţa şi autoritatea legală şi juridică necesară evaluării şi eliminării opiniilor cenzurate. Care, în mod evident, într-o democraţie respectabilă, nu pot fi sancţionate ori, la nevoie, pedepsite, când încalcă realmente legea, de pildă cea osândind negaţionismul Holocaustului, decât după procese în regulă.

Nu e nevoie de eforturi supraomeneşti să se înţeleagă că, spre a scăpa de sancţiuni, reţelele fac exces de zel şi tind să suprime ori să blocheze şi preventiv.

Extrem de grav e, în context, că partidele coaliţiei conduse de Angela Merkel şi-au asumat şi adoptat această lege liberticidă după modificări doar sumare şi superficiale. Au votat-o în Bundestag în deplină cunoştinţă de cauză, în pofida numeroaselor avertismente şi intervenţii critice de bun simţ şi în ciuda tuturor obiecţiilor judicioase ale multor experţi, inclusiv şi nu în ultimul rând, liberali ori ecologişti.

Aşa s-a ajuns ca, la 2 ianuarie, în ajunul comemorării băii de sânge de la Charlie Hebdo, twitter să comită enormitatea de a se gudura pe lângă mişcările teroriste şi totalitare de pretutindeni, închizând contul revistei satririce Titanic. Pentru că revista îşi permisese s-o parodieze pe Beatrix von Storch, vicepreşedinta Alternativei pentru Germania. Indignată că în noaptea de revelion poliţia din Köln a transmis mesaje în varii limbi, printre care şi în arabă, femeia îşi vărsase pe twitter furia pe „o ţară în care poliţia crede că poate calma astfel hoardele barbare, musulmane, violând în grup”. Prompt, i se închisese contul şi fusese denunţată de câteva sute de ori sub învinuirea că instigă la ură.

În reacţie, revista satirică germană se prefăcuse că i-ar transmite postările. Twitter nu s-a arătat amuzat. Şi mai puţin amuzaţi ar trebui să fie utilizatorii. Căci mulţi trăiesc în bula reţelelor şi au încetat să se mai informeze dintr-o presă mainstream în care de mult nu mai au încredere. Pare clar că mai ales aceşti oameni sunt ţinta noii legi.

Or, aici se ascunde esenţa catastrofală a hotărârii cenzurării reţelelor. Speriate de Brexit, de alegerea lui Trump şi de ascensiunea politică vertiginoasă a populismelor în Europa, precum şi de mefienţa într-o presă favorabilă establishmentului, elita berlineză s-a hotărât să adopte măsuri destinate mai degrabă autoapărarii politice decât combaterii urii. Ură care ar trebui, într-adevăr, contracarată. Dar nu prin cenzură, ci prin educaţie, informaţie, analiză şi lege.

Deşi just criticate de celelalte partide din Bundestag pentru o măsură care, eludând acest imperativ, aruncă în aer însăşi baza libertăţilor democratice, formaţiunile marii coaliţii creştin-social-democrate se arată peste măsură de înfricoşate de propria lor incompetenţă retorică şi doctrinară şi, prin urmare, de aparenta lor incapacitate de a contracara eficient propaganda populistă. 

Că încearcă să reziste scandalizării generale fără să abroge oneroasa şi înrobitoarea lege e lesne de explicat. E mai simplu să-ţi aperi ceea ce reprezintă, de facto, un monopol asupra puterii şi, deci, perpetuarea la cârmă prin interdicţii plasându-ţi adversarii în dezavantaj politic şi informaţional, decât să confrunţi opoziţia cu viziera deschisă.

Gravitatea situaţiei e amplificată, se înţelege, de flancarea legii cu pricina de foarfeca venind la pachet cu ideologia corectitudinii politice, precum şi de neajunsurile unor reţele vulnerabile oricum, prin algoritmi, alcătuire şi interese comerciale ori politice, la alte pericole liberticide. De pildă la propaganda extremistă, kremlinofilă.

Ori, nu mai puţin terifiant, în opinia mea, la încercuirea, de către reţele, a utilizatorilor în bule create de propriile lor preferinţe, de share-uri şi like-uri. În interiorul lor li se servesc, ca hrănirea deţinutului rămas inconştient în cămaşă de forţă, informaţii preselectate, croite pe calapodul opţiunilor şi mentalităţii lor.

E o alimentaţie informaţională de natură să le eternizeze tembelizarea. Dacă dezastruoasa situaţie actuală nu se va vedea grabnic şi radical remediată, consecinţele ei îmi par relativ lesne de ghicit.  

MAI MULT PE ACEEAŞI TEMĂ


Experimentul Facebook şi mediile sârbe 03.11.2017

Facebook User Logo Symbolbild

Facebook testează în șase țări o nouă funcţie. Articolele de presă vor fi mai puţin vizibile pentru useri. Este libertatea presei în pericol?


Fake News şi alegerile parlamentare din Germania: mult zgomot pentru (mai) nimic? 12.09.2017

10 Jahre Hashtag

Teama faţă de răspândirea ştirilor false (fake news) în faza fierbinte a campaniei pentru alegerile legislative a fost uriaşă. Dar o simplă privire asupra fenomenului demonstrează că situaţia nu este deloc alarmantă.


Dezbatere spinoasă despre “legea Facebook” 19.05.2017

Symbolbild Facebook - Datenschutz & Gewalt & Hass & Fake News

Înainte de încheierea actualei legislaturi, în Germania ar urma să intre în vigoare o lege care să combată ştirile false şi incitarea la ură în mediul online. Propunerea nu este lipsită de controverse.

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France 24 :  Apple faces probe by Paris prosecutors over ‘planned obsolescence’ of devices


Apple faces probe by Paris prosecutors over ‘planned obsolescence’ of devices

Paris prosecutors have launched a probe of US tech giant Apple over suspected “planned obsolescence” in some of its iPhone models, a judicial source told AFP on Monday.

http://www.france24.com/en/20180108-apple-faces-probe-paris-prosecutors-over-planned-obsolescence-devices

It comes after a complaint by the association Stop Planned Obsolescence (HOP or Halte a l’Obsolescence Programmee) that followed Apple’sadmission last month that it intentionally slowed down older models of its iPhones over time.

The investigation was opened on Friday and is being led by anti-trust and consumer protection specialists in the French economy ministry.

When contacted by AFP, Apple France gave no comment on the matter.

Planned obsolescence is a widely criticised commercial practice in which manufacturers build in the expiry of their products so that consumers will be forced to replace them.

It is decried by consumer groups as being unethical and is suspected of being particularly prevalent in the electronics industry, which produces mountains of unrecyclable waste each year

To tackle the problem, France passed landmark legislation in 2015 known as “Hamon’s law” which made the practice illegal and in theory obliged retailers to say whether replacement parts were available.

The law, named after former Socialist minister Benoit Hamon, stipulates that a company found to be deliberately shortening the life of its products can be fined up to five percent of its annual sales while executives can face up to two years in jail.

‘Wide-scale tax evasion’

Last month Apple confirmed what critics had suspected for years: that it intentionally slows performance of older iPhones as their batteries weaken with age.

The company said this was to extend the performance of the phone, which uses less power when running at slower speeds, and was to prevent unexpected shutdowns due to a low battery charge.

It denied incorporating planned obsolescence.

However in late December the company issued an apology for slowing older models and said it would discount replacement batteries for some handsets.

“We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize,” Apple said in a message to customers on its website on December 28.

“We’ve always wanted our customers to be able to use their iPhones as long as possible. We’re proud that Apple products are known for their durability, and for holding their value longer than our competitors’ devices.”

Critics have accused Apple of nudging iPhone users to upgrade to newer models by letting them think it was the handsets that needed replacing, rather than just the battery.

HOP believes Apple could be liable for a fine in line with the value of all of its iPhone sales in France since Hamon’s law came into force on August 17, 2015.

The California-based group also faces a class-action suit in the United States.

In another headache for Apple in France, the company announced last week that it has filed a lawsuit against the Attac activist group after about 100 of its supporters occupied the tech giant’s flagship store in Paris last month, protesting alleged “wide-scale tax evasion” by the firm.

French prosecutors have also launched a probe into Japanese printer maker Epson for alleged planned obsolescence in its products.

(AFP)

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