2010-10-16

Jessica Cutler (The Washingtonienne) Sex Scandal

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SEO: Make Money Fast!

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7 Things You Need to Know About SEO

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Xah Lee, 2010-10-21

SEO is quite amazing. I am a web app programing expert, but also consider myself a expert of SEO (what do i know!). I've read almost all Google has to say about seo. (over hundreds of articles, videos, in the past 5 years) But seo is actually mostly not about tech or web dev. It's more like 60% being knowledge of online markting, and 40% knowledge of how to use ready-made online tools (such as WordPress, Blogger, Google Analytics, twitter, facebook, and some HTML/CSS and some Javascript.) Yesterday, i thought why not add #seo tag in my twitter. Wham, immediately i got 3 retreats and followers, all from people who's profile claims to be kings and knights of seo. And my blog got 10 more subscribers.

I always wondered how those twitters who got 10k followers. Their articles are often drivels. “10 Tips You Must know!”, “5 ways to make your life easier!”, “8 tricks to get more readers”. The type of articles you see in girl's mag such as Cosmopolitan, or gossip mags. The whole “SEO” shebang often are questionable. And i do know, in my study earlier this year (See: Popular Money Making Websites), it's a HUGE business, with thousands or perhaps tens of thousands businesses in the SEO market. And apparantly, many average Joe are making a living writing blogs. (so-called professional bloggers) At first, you find it questionable of their claims about how much they make. But lookig into it seriously, clearly quite a few of them make a average living out of it, and some are famous in making over 100k/year just by writing mundane non-academic articles. (such as how to make friends, celebrity gossip, how to take good photos. You can read about them in Wikipedia articles on blogging, youtube, etc.)

In a word, the “SEO” is usually just about marketing. To illustrate, their ultimate quest, is about how to make a no-content website sell. “Make Money Fast!”, would be a good descriptive slogan.

Thinking about this, it does make some sense. If you look at magazines or newspapers, in many mags, there's a section of ads. There's always lots of ads. Lots of it is about making money quick. And their ads often look odd or questionable. This seems to be the norm. Millions of small businesses trying to make money seems to be the norm, and probably been so for hundreds or perhaps thousands of years.

Looking at this more positively, this trend is inevitable. Remember Batman? They've got watches that can talk to Robin, and in some science fiction, even video, and can also function as a camera for spies. Today, every $20 cellphone has all that, but also connecting to internet. Every laptop has a builtin microphone and camera. And then there's iPod amazon, iPad amazon, iPhone, Kindle amazon. Printed newspapers is becoming a historical artifact. And personally, i haven't bought a printed book since 2002. From a futurism perspective, all things going digital is a inevitability. Not in a flip-a-switch way, but gradually. And marketing, business, making money, flowed with tech progress to the web. Thus, “SEO” is simply a new name, for the whole sector of Marketing and advertising of our time. And what's “marketing”? That's the vein of capitalism, the blood of our prosperous USA!

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How to Add a Comment System to Your Website

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How to Add a Comment System to Website

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Xah Lee, 2010-10-16

Installed Disqus last week. disqus.com

It's a javascript snippet. Place on your website, then people can leave comments. The comments are saved in their server. You pretty don't have to manage it. All you have to do is to place the javascript code on each page. Nice.

Here's some of the pages that's got comment already.

XahLee.org has been static html for 10 years. But with comment, my experience is that it may increase traffic 10 fold.

A Little History on Website Comments and Technology

Comment started in late 1990s. By early 2000s, blog became popular, and comment follows. Many mainstream news websites such as CNN, Time mag, started to let users add comments in all their articles. Though, it is considered experimental. Some organization embraced it, some still take a watch and see stance. Some show comments on the same page, while others show comments in a separate page, still others, make a selected few comments on the article page.

By now, almost all websites have comments.

I never wanted comments. Because, when you look at the comments, some perhaps 95% of it is useless drivel, factually incorrect info, or uninformed opinion. However, from business point of view, it is good. It seems that people like it. People want to be able to input their opinions. For example, if you read a article and thought it's biased bullshit, you probably want to say it. Also, comments increase your site traffic significantly, perhaps 10 fold or 100 fold. Because, when people leave comment, others may not agree and left a reply. So, users came back to the site, sometimes to argue, sometimes to see what others say, or otherwise just to keep informed on any developments. When good comments hits the article, the article author may correct his article, or add input from useful comments, and that almost always happens when there are a lot comments, because nobody can write a article that's 100% perfect, correct, or non-biased.

But still, i didn't see much of the positive points. Mostly what i see is the 95% drivel. The content on XahLee.org is mostly academic articles and tutorials on math and programing. I kinda considered it more like writing a book. And it is a pure hobby, a love of sorts. And i am kinda haughty. My thoughts were, if i let reader comment, then wouldn't it rather distract my readers? Because, my site's pages with very informative article, expositions, essays, would be infested with a whole bunch of random, pot-shot, thoughts. I took the old fashioned approach. That when people want to comment, if they are serious, they could easily write a email to me, then if i find it interested, i edit my article with credit to the person. However, this approach is inefficient. I realized that, there's lots emails i have to go thru, to reply to, with this one-to-one email exchanges. It easily takes a a few hours a week, and often i just didn't have time. Also, 99% who otherwise would comment with valuable info will not bother with the trouble to actually fire up their email to write it. It needs to be spontaneous and painless.

In the beginning, comment system is built into the website. To have comment, basically you write code in CGI, PHP, Perl, as part of your website system. Then in mid 2000s, web content management system (CMS) became popular. So, instead of coding your own, you simply add a module. But in late 2000s, a even newer tech, the web 2.0, became popular. It's all javascript based. Instead of using a particular CMS and modules, there are a lot javascript “widget” based modules that you can just plug in into your website.

In early 2010, i started to monetize my website. And thought about adding comments. But the problem was that i haven't looked into how i can do that on the tech aspect. So, in the beginning i simply tried to manually mirror any new articles to Blogger, and put a link to the blogger version from my website. So that, those who want to comment can follow the link to Blogger and post there. But this is not a good solution, because it's a extra link, comments doesn't show in the same domain. This is not what people want. Alternative solution is to switch my entire site of 4k static html pages into PHP, or a CMS system such as WordPress. I've been wanting to look into WordPres but never got around to it. But then i discovered Disqus, and it works really well.

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2010-10-15

Is Philosophy Useful?

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Is Philosophy Useful?

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Xah Lee, 2010-10-15

hi Mark Tarver,

Here's my own take on doubts about usefulness of philosophy. This is also a subject on my mind for perhaps 10 years. Thanks for the opportunity here to write it out for the first time.

To me, questioning usefulness of philosophy is questioning thinking itself.

Typically, people think philosophy is not useful because when they think of philosophy they think of things like “does god exist”, “what's beauty”, “where do we came from”, “do we have free will”, “purpose of life”, “what's good and what's evil”, etc.

These kinda subjects are what most people think of when hearing “philosophy”. However, that's not what philosophy is about. Thus, the common thought of “philosophy being not practical” is due to wrong characterization of philosophy.

As i mentioned previously, philosophy is thinking. (See: What's Philosophy and Paul Graham.) And here's a Wikipedia quote on Philosophy:

Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language.[1][2] It is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational argument.[3]

Note the second sentence.

Philosophy, is the root of all knowledge. As i mentioned before, it's the origin of all what today we call sciences.

Let's give a concrete example about how philosophy is thinking.

For example, among us programers, we often ask questions like “which language is best”, “which language is most elegant”. We discuss these every day. We argue about it. Some say Scheme, some say Common Lisp is most practical. Some say Haskell is most beautiful. After some discussion, our reasons and thoughts necessarily expand on the meaning of “beauty”, “elegance”, “practical”, or other contexts of each person's opinions and experiences. For example, Scheme Lispers will say they really like Scheme because it is so small a language and most powerful, and perhaps the power/(lang size) ratio is largest. Perl programer may disagree, and counter that Perl allows the shortest number of chars for a source code, therefore the small here is better than Scheme's smallness in lang spec, while perl has much more libs than Scheme, therefore the Power/(actual source code) is maximized, thus more beautiful than Scheme. Common Lispers might counter, saying that yeah perl allows “golfing” but it's line noise, hard to read, not maintainable, while Common Lisp, has huge libraries, huge lang spec, huge number of practical industrial implementations, that once you become familiar with the lang, it has most power for given task with respect to programer. Perhaps, emacs share similar philosophy on this.

So, here, we have several different takes, and as you can see. What's a name to describe these collection of thoughts? Philosophy! We started from a practical, everyday question, that all of us seek the answer, and eager to debate about it, we ends up with schools of thoughts, what's best described by the word “philosophy”.

After few generations of this debate, the thoughts and debates are organized into “school of thoughts”, so we have categorization of thoughts on the meaning of elegance, practicality, beauty, of languages. And, when someone wanted to create a new lang, as happens today all over, he can look at this more organized philosophy of computer languages, and benefit fruitfully, in his thinking about what's is “beauty” and “practicality” in a computer language for him, a direction of lang design. (i'll mention here that Paul Graham's philosophy on this, about the best language, is a language best for “hackers”. (See: Paul Graham's Infatuation with the Concept of Hacker.))

That's the humble root of all things philosophy: thinking. When the fruits of thinking have amassed into a body of literature, it's called philosophy. Thus we have philosophy of math, philosophy of language, philosophy of science, philosophy of education, for examples. With such established and organized thoughts, it directs our future activities and thoughts. It directly gives us directions for the future.

In general, what's in our brain today, on society, on sciences, on relationships, on sex, on politics, your mindset, your behavior of every minute, are shaped by the accumulated thinking (philosophy!) of the past. For example, in US, your thoughts on free speech, on justice, on politics, etiquette, child rearing, on dating, on personal hygiene habits, came from your education and family, which traces all the way back to the ancient philosophers from the Greeks (e.g. Aristotle, Plato.). While, Asian people, their thinking, manners, behavior, are overall distinctly different from Westerners, because thru generations they came from accumulated thoughts of Asia, tracing back to the ancient Asian philosophers. (e.g. Confucius, Laozi, Buddha.)

To ask “whether philosophy is useful” is like asking whether accumulated thinking of all humanity before us are useful.

Though, one might ask, then why is that when people hear the word “philosophy” they think of things in metaphysics, esthetics, theology, epistemology, ethics? The type of questions that seem useless and never have any answer? I haven't thought of this in detail. I wish to give a simple, logical reason. Basically, i think it is because when the thinking and questioning developed certain effective methods on particular type of questions, they got new names such as all the branches of sciences, including mathematics, logic, psychology, linguistics, political science, music, arts, law, cosmology. So, what's left that are not given new names are the kinda questions we associate with the word philosophy.

So, for example, if in 20 years, symbolic logic and theories in formal languages have advanced so far that we are able to classify all our computer langs such as lisp, perl, OCaml, C, in some precise way with formal (symbolic) definition on “practicality”, “beauty”, “power”, then, our “philosophy of computer languages” will cease to be such, instead, it'd be a new name, new science, where we use systematic methods to pursuit the question of “best language”, instead of the lose words and written thoughts. But still, as human animals, we will probably still debate and discuss the beauty of languages in traditional way of words and opinions, just as we like poetry, so there is our philosophy again — eternally connected with something seemingly useless and impractical.

Mark Tarver: Is Philosophy Useful

Note: Mark Tarver is the creator of Qi (programming language). See also: Qi Language Logo. The following is Tarver's original post.

On Oct 14, 4:13 am, Mark Tarver <dr.mtar...@ukonline.co.uk> wrote:

More interesting than PG is this idea that philosophy is a waste of time. My mind was fired up to consider this proposition and to return ot it. Why do people believe it? I think there are three reasons in order of ascending subtlety.

1. It is not practical.

The first is that this is a form of knowledge from which you cannot 'do anything practical'. That is, you cannot fix your car, get a better house or make money from it. Of course philosophy mainly never promised those things and I do not see why everything should be weighed in those terms. I think that this mind set is more common now than when I was young, simply because people pay for their education and expect value for money. i.e. the prospect of more money in return. Philosophers historically often showed great disregard for this mind set.

2. It goes nowhere.

The second is that 'philosophy never gets anywhere'. 'Philosophers just argue round and round'. I would deny this one. What is true is that philosophers sometimes end by saying that a certain proposition cannot be known to be true (eg. 'God exists'), but this is a form of (meta)knowledge in itself. Aristotle says that we should not expect more in certainty from a subject than it is capable of delivering. As Socrates pointed out, knowing what it is one does not know is a wisdom in itself. But philosophy does deliver results that are not just metaknowledge; Russell's destroyed Frege's Axiom V in the Grundgesetze in a single letter written in 1903.

3. It is an attenuated husk left over from the evolution of other subjects.

This is a position sometimes held by people who have done a little reading. The word 'philosophy' splits into two parts 'lover of' (philo) and 'knowledge' or 'wisdom' (sophia). The word is indicative of the ancient roots of the discipline back to a time when human knowledge was far less differentiated than it is now. It lingers in the title of Ph.D. which is dished out in many subjects.

The story is that once everything was philosophy, but that gradually all the other sciences seperated out from it, leaving only a husk of subjects too dull or intractable for others to bother with and this is what philosophy is. This is probably encouraged by reading the effluent of many academic philosophers who are simply cranking out stuff to a quota.

I believe that this is wrong. One can see it in different terms. We might say, that just like our planet, scholarship and human knowledge was once highly liquid, molten you might say, without clear boundaries. As civilisation progressed, the knowledge hardened and floating plates of hardened thinking were created and people made livelihoods by living on those plates as physicists, mathematicians, economists etc. But the boiling magma still exists underneath and in times of conceptual revolution, when old ideas are overturned, it comes boiling up.

Thus you will find in Relativity theory, ideas about space and position which were anticipated by Leibnitz in his contests with Newton 200 years before. In mathematics we found in the C20 that we are not rooted on a rock but floating on this awesome primordial lake. This brilliant, awesome display of light and mental force that bursts out in times of a revolution of ideas is philosophy.

Mark

Original thread is here: Source.

selling site xahlee.org seo

Am thinking of selling my website xahlee.org. It's ranked by alexa http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/xahlee.org# at 74.5k in world, or 40.2k in US.

Anyone in the SEO business of buying/selling sites? Or, please tell a friend. I need advice. I need to know, how much is my domain name worth. Or, how much is the whole site worth (domain name + site content). If i sell the whole site, can i sell it while still keep copyright of the content? (i.e. simply selling domain name plus non-exclusive license for the content.)

If you are interested in buying, please let me know too.

# yearly income based on daily revenue 
#    daily           year
print 10 * 365  #   3.650 * 10^3
print 20 * 365  #   7.300 * 10^3
print 40 * 365  #  14.600 * 10^3
print 50 * 365  #  18.250 * 10^3
print 100 * 365 #  36.500 * 10^3

Here's some data from Google Analytics for the past 30 days:

275,790 Visits
244,491 Absolute Unique Visitors
518,093 Pageviews
1.88 Average Pageviews
00:01:14 Time on Site
72.76% Bounce Rate
85.50% New Visits

Currently, one guy is offering me 16k. By my own estimates, the site is sellable for at least 32k.

Following are estimates from various sites. The estimate goes from 8k to 400k. Their data is not reliable.

*** http://www.websiteoutlook.com/www.xahlee.org
Daily Pageview 14764 
Daily: $46.53 
worth: 33.967 * 10^3 
factor: 2

*** http://www.websiteaccountant.com/www.xahlee.org

Daily: $48 
worth: 36.480 * 10^3
factor: 2.08219178082

*** http://www.markosweb.com/www/xahlee.org/
worth: 394.468 * 10^3

*** http://pagestat.com/www.xahlee.org
worth: 126.927 * 10^3
daily: $118
factor: 2.94699326678

*** http://www.realwebsiteworth.com/xahlee.org
Worth:$8,550.72
Daily Ads Revenue:$19.41
Daily Visits:5,829
Daily Pageviews:8,452 (1.45 per visitor)

babble of the twits

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Babble of the Twits

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babble of the twits

my twitter babble today:

  • havent watched TV 4 10 yrs now. I guess thats 10 yrs annv. by accidental click landed on cwtv.com god i miss all the beautiful chicks in it.
  • when will there be a day when we can tweet a full 3k words essay? just imgn ebybdy twts 1k words eby hr instead of haiku. fk twt.
  • how bout this... has anyone started a buzz trend to write a essay by twit? like, one sentence per twit per 10 secs. this could be big.
  • #in #lite #of #tweeter #syntax #how #about #making #everyword #a #hash? #could #that #be #the #latest #seo #technique?

Facebook twit today

  • havent watched TV 4 10 yrs now. I guess thats 10 yrs annv. by accidental click landed on cwtv.com god i miss all the beautiful chicks in it.
  • y'know? all the women are beeeeeeautiful. But too, every guy, is ssssoooo handsome, arnt they? even aged men, even handicapped, are soo good looking and good in every way that women want to be with, no? n not just all good guys, all personalities, in these tv dramas, are soo tasty.
  • like, what r some examples? i recall there's felicity, there's sex in the city, there's ...idunno but i know there's a lot tv shows. n, in 1980s and 1990s, i've seen soap operas, usually shown in the afternoon. i guess the primary target is house wives. Every character, the good guys, the bad guys, are tasty!
  • n of course every chick. For older women, am not sure it tickles guy's mind, but am sure they are what other mid aged women wants to be. pearls on their neck and jewelries n all.
  • oh, and not just every male, female, or crippled or non-cripple. But also different races. Blacks, hispanics, asian, all soo beeautiful.
  • but then, i've thought about this. Turns out, it's all rather fake. Reflects nothing in real life. the tv shows show all races, all personalities, all ages, all character types, even cripples or deafs & dumb, however there's this certain gloss painted over them to make them shine.
  • in real life, how to look at diff people? just walk down to a local food store. Then, you'll see the real characters in real life. You see all sexes, all ages, all personalities, and they r all not beautiful! at all. You don't want to get near them.
  • when in late 1980s, i used to watch Beverly Hills, 90210,. Now, they have The O.C., Gossip Girl, Dawson's Creek, One Tree Hill... see here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teen_drama
  • ok, heading over to have a peak first hit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecKgaaB6Zpk , what a idiot show! fucking idiot guy, idiot chick, idiotic drama, filled with whachamacall it american lame political social shit
  • the other thing is that, when watching american TV, it's filled with american politics... what's the word here... the sentimentality of ameran cultural politically correct shit. like when a guy is about to fuck the girl, the guy will be like hesitating, let the girl think about it, or withdraw to claim that we shouldn't cause we r drunk. Fucking SHIT. Same with the chick, like, all pussy caring "oh but i want it". Fuck.
  • then, every fucking TV show will inject a rape scene. Every, and it'll just fucking have to bring up the issue of rape into the viewrs. Why, cause we americans ('cexpt me) LOVE it! We need to hear, think, touch, rape! I can't live without the concept in our minds every minute of it.
  • no i don't mean rape scene like actual raping, not necessarily. But in various ways it'll bring it up, mention it, date rape, ethics of dating, whatnot FUCK.
  • O, here it is. First result when u search 90210 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzDpQCRZ8dQ 〈Beverly Hills, 90210 - Rape〉 worked into the title right there.
  • ok, let's checkout some latest vampire thing. search 〈The Vampire Diaries〉 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olDWd-CnxO8 (ok, in this one, notice how the guy fights? there's forces fighting. Human animals, always fighting. Is there a tv drama or movie that doesn't have factions & enemies?) ok, this one is boring to me.
  • fetid.here's 〈Nikita〉. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dot-ZanYCec
  • y'know sometimes on tv you have these donation channel sometimes, where they show mal nurished black african kids skin on bone? No no, btw, am not sympathic to them, at all. (right here i offended good men) But i wish just for joke that these scenes be flashed in the middle of some TV drama. Like, right when a cool guy & hot chick are doing their pre-sex talk. or, girls kissing girls.
  • flash! flash! Flash it!
  • here's one from gossip girl http://xahlee.blogspot.com/2010/07/whatever-you-like-gossip-girl.html
  • ok, that's it for lil tv survey today. its, like, my tongue, ventures far into the sea, into every cranny of earth, to taste the air, to feel the movements, the trends, the minds, of all other human animals surrounding me. Then, i have a inkling, of what are human animals.
  • edit appendage above: what we are.

2010-10-09 A comment by me on http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=2693.

hum... was wondering if lang log has blogged bout reddit, if so, i haven't reddit. (just did a search thru the search box here, didn't seem to find it.)

a quick google found me:

  • “i reddit everything.”
  • “how do i reddit?”
  • “i.reddit.com”
  • “I Reddit on Facebook, ya Digg?”
  • “i reddit too - good job.”
  • “Where Have I Reddit Before?!”
  • “i reddit already.”
  • “ I reddit again and again.”
  • “I Reddit online last night”
  • “I am a Digger before I Reddit”
  • “Been giggling about this since I reddit: http://www.reddit.com/...”
  • “But I reddit'ed something for the first time the other day and it spiked traffic so hard that ...”
  • “ I reddit this, stumbled, ...”
  • “Also, I reddit most of the time when i'm bored”

few meanings are apparent: i've read it; i've submitted to reddit.com; i've read it on reddit; i am doing something on reddit.

am thinking, tweeted might be twitted or twittered. Need a google fight here.

so... these days i might have stumbled upon a article, reddit, tweeted/twitted/twittered it, buzzed, get slashdotted, im'd, or skyped.

...though, i have a feeling that none of these would stick for good. Personally, i really find “read” to be a problem, and am at a lost how i should fix it with my brazen english-rectification style. “Readed” looks good in form but sounds awful — too much like “re-did”. While “red” is worse a solution, cause of the homograph and homophone, besides carrying on the illogicality.

my other personal problem is “women”...


Some interesting highlights of Wikipedia Twitter reading. Quote:

San Antonio-based market research firm Pear Analytics analyzed 2,000 tweets (originating from the US and in English) over a 2-week period in August 2009 from 11:00a to 5:00p (CST) and separated them into six categories:[40]

  • Pointless babble — 41%
  • Conversational — 38%
  • Pass-along value — 9%
  • Self-promotion — 6%
  • Spam — 4%
  • News — 4%[40]

In August 2010, South Korea tried to block Twitter due to the North Korean government opening a Twitter account.[117] The North Korean Twitter account created on August 12, @uriminzok, loosely translated to mean "our people" in Korean, acquired over 4,500 followers in less than one week. On August 19, 2010, South Korea's state-run Communications Standards Commission banned the Twitter account for broadcasting "illegal information."[118] According to BBC US and Canada, experts claim that North Korea has invested in "information technology for more than 20 years" with knowledge of how to use social networking sites to their power[119] This appears to be "nothing new" for North Korea as the reclusive country has always published propaganda in its press, usually against South Korea, calling them "warmongers."[119] With only 36 tweets, the Twitter account was able to accumulate almost 9,000 followers. To date, the South Korean Commission has banned 65 sites, including this Twitter account.[118]

Twitter is ranked as one of the 10 most visited websites worldwide by Alexa's web traffic analysis.[42

Twitter is mainly used by older adults who might not have used other social sites before Twitter, says Jeremiah Owyang, an industry analyst studying social media. "Adults are just catching up to what teens have been doing for years," he said.[49] According to comScore only 11% of Twitter's users are aged 12 to 17.[49] comScore attributes this to Twitter's "early adopter period" when the social network first gained popularity in business settings and news outlets attracting primarily older users. However, comScore as of late, has stated that Twitter has begun to "filter more into the mainstream", and "along with it came a culture of celebrity as Shaq, Britney Spears and Ashton Kutcher joined the ranks of the Twitterati."[50]

According to a study by Sysomos in June 2009, women make up a slightly larger Twitter demographic than men — 53% over 47%. It also stated that 5% of users accounted for 75% of all activity, and that New York has the most Twitter users.[51]

According to Quancast, 27 million people in the US used Twitter as of 09/03/2009. 63% of Twitter users are less than 35 years old, 60% of Twitter users are Caucasian, but a higher than average (compared to other Internet properties) are African American (16%) and Hispanic (11%); 58% of Twitter users have a total household income of at least $60K.[52]

The Industry Standard has remarked that Twitter's long-term viability is limited by a lack of revenue.[56] Twitter board member Todd Chaffee forecast that the company could profit from e-commerce, noting that users may want to buy items directly from Twitter since it already provides product recommendations and promotions.[57]

The Twitter Web interface uses the Ruby on Rails framework,[61] deployed on a performance enhanced Ruby Enterprise Edition implementation of Ruby.[62]

From the spring of 2007 until 2008 the messages were handled by a Ruby persistent queue server called Starling,[63] but since 2009 implementation has been gradually replaced with software written in Scala.[64] The service's application programming interface (API) allows other web services and applications to integrate with Twitter.[65][66]

On January 5, 2009, 33 high-profile Twitter accounts were compromised after a Twitter administrator's password was guessed by a dictionary attack.[86] Falsified tweets — including sexually explicit and drug-related messages — were sent from these accounts.[87]

Twitter launched the beta version of their "Verified Accounts" service on June 11, 2009, allowing famous or notable people to announce their Twitter account name. The home pages of these accounts display a badge indicating their status.[88]

In May 2010, a bug was discovered by İnci Sözlük users that allowed Twitter users to force others to follow them without the other user's knowledge. For example, comedian Conan O'Brien's account which had been set to follow only one person was changed to receive nearly 200 malicious subscriptions.[89]

In response to Twitter's security breaches, the Federal Trade Commission brought charges against the service which were settled on June 24, 2010. This was the first time the FTC had taken action against a social network for security lapses. The settlement requires Twitter to take a number of steps to secure users' private information including maintenance of a "comprehensive information security program" to be independently audited biannually.[90]

"MouseOver" exploit

On 21 September 2010, an XSS Worm became active on Twitter. When an account user held the mouse cursor over blacked out parts of a tweet, the worm within the script would automatically open links and re-post itself on the reader's account.[91] The exploit was then re-used to post pop-up ads and links to pornographic sites.

The origin is unclear but Pearce Delphin (known on Twitter as @zzap) and a Scandinavian developer, Magnus Holm, both claim to have modified the exploit of a user, possibly Masato Kinugawa, who was using it to create coloured Tweets.[92] Kinugawa, a Japanese developer, reported the XSS vulnerability to Twitter on August 14. Later, when he found it was exploitable again, he created the account 'RainbowTwtr' and used it to post coloured messages.[92]

Delphin says he exposed the security flaw by tweeting a JavaScript function for "onMouseOver",[92] and Holm later created and posted the XSS Worm that automatically re-tweeted itself.[91]

Accounts affected by the virus included Sarah Brown, wife of former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Security firm Sophos reported the virus was spread by people doing it for "fun and games", but noted it could be exploited by cybercriminals.[93] Twitter issued a statement on their status blog at 13:50 UTC that "The exploit is fully patched".[91][94] Twitter representative Carolyn Penner has expressed that they will not be pressing charges over this incident.[95]

2010-10-14

the Inanities of Java

This month, my Java tutorial become quite popular. Here's the most popular pages, with number of page views in the past 30 days.

The “static” Keyword In Java5.803k
Java Tutorial: “this” Keyword5.589k
Interface in Java4.627k
Java Tutorial: The “extend” Keyword4.402k
Java's Access Specifiers2.935k
Java Tutorial: Arrays2.673k
Java Tutorial: Defining a Function2.596k
The “abstract” Keyword In Java2.316k
Xah's Java Tutorial2.168k

There are several links to them from stackoverflow.com.

Java is the most inane language. I did Java for half a year in a day job in 2000. At the time, i was not really sure what i was doing. (this is a typical situation when coding in a day job on someone else's project.) Then, in 2005 i studied Java in some detail, and wrote my tutorial. However, i actually don't code Java, am not good at it, and will never code anything in Java. (am rather sad that Google choose it as its main lang. (but, it's still much better than C or C++.))

Also, of all big software companies, i HATE Sun Microsystems with passion. It is the company with the most despicable marketing fuck, and loves to create random meaningless jargons and abuse established terms. For detail on the jargon part, see:

Of all the 2 thousand tech tutorials and essays i wrote about computing in the past 10 years, i consider the “What are OOP's Jargons and Complexities” piece to be among the top 5 most significant. Am proud of it.

What Motivate us?

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What Motivate us?

Xah Lee, 2010-10-14

There's a very attractive video that discusses the psychology of motivation. I got a whiff of it from no less than Google's CEO Eric Schmidt's twitter tweet.

〈RSA Animate - Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us〉

LOL. Is this bullshit? Certainly, it's at least not completely bullshit.

I've seen similar reports, earliest from 1987.

〈STUDIES FIND REWARD OFTEN NO MOTIVATOR: Creativity and intrinsic interest diminish if task is done for gain〉 (1987-01-19) By Alfie Kohn. Boston Globe.

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If you use Emacs, the article is bundled right with emacs as part of FSF propaganda, at: 〔Emacs/etc/MOTIVATION〕. (Full article pasted the end of this page.)

Now, who's behind this video? He's Daniel H. Pink. Quote:

Daniel H. Pink is an American writer. He is the author of four books focused on the changing world of work: New York Times best-seller A Whole New Mind; Free Agent Nation; the first American business book in manga, The Adventures of Johnny Bunko, and Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Pink's articles on business and technology have appeared in The New York Times, Harvard Business Review, Fast Company and Wired. Pink also speaks to corporations, associations, universities, and education conferences about such topics as the shift from the Information age—with its premium on logical, linear, computer-like abilities—to what he calls "the Conceptual age," where "right-brain" qualities like empathy, inventiveness, and meaning predominate.

Pink worked previously as Vice President Al Gore’s chief speechwriter from 1995–97, and before that as an aide to Secretary of Labor Robert Reich.[1]

Daniel Pink received a BA from Northwestern University and a JD from Yale Law School, although he has never practiced law.

So, he's a info-age hipster. Like, twitter, buzz, facebook, are to change humanity. He goes around the globe and peddles his books, to his own interest. His ideas, are not a solid rock of mathematics, nor the type of material to be included in text books of psychology or social science or economics by academecians and scholars. His, is more catered for the pop crowd. Though, from his video, it indicates that he's a excellent orator. Listen to him, and you'll be sold.

Forerunner of similar pop nature includes:

So, what's wrong with his idea? Certainly, monetary reward degrade creativity, right? All the scientists have confirmed it? That might be right, but keep in mind that the whole issue of this human behavior thing is rather very complex. For example, he solicits Linux, Apache, Wikipedia, and shouts about how well-paid people are contributing for no monetary reward in return, as a confirmation of his ideas. You'll have to LOL at this. How about this: people use Linux, Apache, Wikipedia, because they are free? And people “contribute” to wikipedia because they are school kids and are goddamn bored and jobless? For the case of Apache and Linux, it's because these are poor computer science students who are trying to put something on their resume and be accepted as peers? He also said these people are well paid. More likely the vast majority of contributors are unemployed.

You see, my writings are superbly creative. There's nothing can stop me, except one thing. You donate a large sum of money to me (use the button at the bottom).

So, before you try to apply this “money kills creativity” idea to your company or whatnot, better think about the whole context.

STUDIES FIND REWARD OFTEN NO MOTIVATOR

Creativity and intrinsic interest diminish if task is done for gain

By Alfie Kohn Special to the Boston Globe [reprinted with permission of the author from the Monday 19 January 1987 Boston Globe]

Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium provided this notice is preserved.

In the laboratory, rats get Rice Krispies. In the classroom the top students get A's, and in the factory or office the best workers get raises. It's an article of faith for most of us that rewards promote better performance.

But a growing body of research suggests that this law is not nearly as ironclad as was once thought. Psychologists have been finding that rewards can lower performance levels, especially when the performance involves creativity.

A related series of studies shows that intrinsic interest in a task - the sense that something is worth doing for its own sake - typically declines when someone is rewarded for doing it.

If a reward - money, awards, praise, or winning a contest - comes to be seen as the reason one is engaging in an activity, that activity will be viewed as less enjoyable in its own right.

With the exception of some behaviorists who doubt the very existence of intrinsic motivation, these conclusions are now widely accepted among psychologists. Taken together, they suggest we may unwittingly be squelching interest and discouraging innovation among workers, students and artists.

The recognition that rewards can have counter-productive effects is based on a variety of studies, which have come up with such findings as these: Young children who are rewarded for drawing are less likely to draw on their own that are children who draw just for the fun of it. Teenagers offered rewards for playing word games enjoy the games less and do not do as well as those who play with no rewards. Employees who are praised for meeting a manager's expectations suffer a drop in motivation.

Much of the research on creativity and motivation has been performed by Theresa Amabile, associate professor of psychology at Brandeis University. In a paper published early last year on her most recent study, she reported on experiments involving elementary school and college students. Both groups were asked to make "silly" collages. The young children were also asked to invent stories.

The least-creative projects, as rated by several teachers, were done by those students who had contracted for rewards. "It may be that commissioned work will, in general, be less creative than work that is done out of pure interest," Amabile said.

In 1985, Amabile asked 72 creative writers at Brandeis and at Boston University to write poetry. Some students then were given a list of extrinsic (external) reasons for writing, such as impressing teachers, making money and getting into graduate school, and were asked to think about their own writing with respect to these reasons. Others were given a list of intrinsic reasons: the enjoyment of playing with words, satisfaction from self-expression, and so forth. A third group was not given any list. All were then asked to do more writing.

The results were clear. Students given the extrinsic reasons not only wrote less creatively than the others, as judged by 12 independent poets, but the quality of their work dropped significantly. Rewards, Amabile says, have this destructive effect primarily with creative tasks, including higher-level problem-solving. "The more complex the activity, the more it's hurt by extrinsic reward," she said.

But other research shows that artists are by no means the only ones affected.

In one study, girls in the fifth and sixth grades tutored younger children much less effectively if they were promised free movie tickets for teaching well. The study, by James Gabarino, now president of Chicago's Erikson Institute for Advanced Studies in Child Development, showed that tutors working for the reward took longer to communicate ideas, got frustrated more easily, and did a poorer job in the end than those who were not rewarded.

Such findings call into question the widespread belief that money is an effective and even necessary way to motivate people. They also challenge the behaviorist assumption that any activity is more likely to occur if it is rewarded. Amabile says her research "definitely refutes the notion that creativity can be operantly conditioned."

But Kenneth McGraw, associate professor of psychology at the University of Mississippi, cautions that this does not mean behaviorism itself has been invalidated. "The basic principles of reinforcement and rewards certainly work, but in a restricted context" - restricted, that is, to tasks that are not especially interesting.

Researchers offer several explanations for their surprising findings about rewards and performance.

First, rewards encourage people to focus narrowly on a task, to do it as quickly as possible and to take few risks. "If they feel that 'this is something I have to get through to get the prize,' they're going to be less creative," Amabile said.

Second, people come to see themselves as being controlled by the reward. They feel less autonomous, and this may interfere with performance. "To the extent one's experience of being self-determined is limited," said Richard Ryan, associate psychology professor at the University of Rochester, "one's creativity will be reduced as well."

Finally, extrinsic rewards can erode intrinsic interest. People who see themselves as working for money, approval or competitive success find their tasks less pleasurable, and therefore do not do them as well.

The last explanation reflects 15 years of work by Ryan's mentor at the University of Rochester, Edward Deci. In 1971, Deci showed that "money may work to buy off one's intrinsic motivation for an activity" on a long-term basis. Ten years later, Deci and his colleagues demonstrated that trying to best others has the same effect. Students who competed to solve a puzzle quickly were less likely than those who were not competing to keep working at it once the experiment was over.

Control plays role

There is general agreement, however, that not all rewards have the same effect. Offering a flat fee for participating in an experiment - similar to an hourly wage in the workplace - usually does not reduce intrinsic motivation. It is only when the rewards are based on performing a given task or doing a good job at it - analogous to piece-rate payment and bonuses, respectively - that the problem develops.

The key, then, lies in how a reward is experienced. If we come to view ourselves as working to get something, we will no longer find that activity worth doing in its own right.

There is an old joke that nicely illustrates the principle. An elderly man, harassed by the taunts of neighborhood children, finally devises a scheme. He offered to pay each child a dollar if they would all return Tuesday and yell their insults again. They did so eagerly and received the money, but he told them he could only pay 25 cents on Wednesday. When they returned, insulted him again and collected their quarters, he informed them that Thursday's rate would be just a penny. "Forget it," they said - and never taunted him again.

Means to and end

In a 1982 study, Stanford psychologist Mark L. Lepper showed that any task, no matter how enjoyable it once seemed, would be devalued if it were presented as a means rather than an end. He told a group of preschoolers they could not engage in one activity they liked until they first took part in another. Although they had enjoyed both activities equally, the children came to dislike the task that was a prerequisite for the other.

It should not be surprising that when verbal feedback is experienced as controlling, the effect on motivation can be similar to that of payment. In a study of corporate employees, Ryan found that those who were told, "Good, you're doing as you /should/" were "significantly less intrinsically motivated than those who received feedback informationally."

There's a difference, Ryan says, between saying, "I'm giving you this reward because I recognize the value of your work" and "You're getting this reward because you've lived up to my standards."

A different but related set of problems exists in the case of creativity. Artists must make a living, of course, but Amabile emphasizes that "the negative impact on creativity of working for rewards can be minimized" by playing down the significance of these rewards and trying not to use them in a controlling way. Creative work, the research suggests, cannot be forced, but only allowed to happen.

/Alfie Kohn, a Cambridge, MA writer, is the author of "No Contest: The Case Against Competition," recently published by Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, MA. ISBN 0-395-39387-6. /

  • 《No Contest: The Case Against Competition》 By Alfie Kohn. amazon
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Emacs File/Character Encoding/Decoding FAQ

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Emacs File/Character Encoding/Decoding FAQ

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This page is a tutorial on file and character encoding/decoding in emacs. If you are not familiar with what's encoding/decoding, see: UNICODE Basics: What's Character Encoding, UTF-8, and All That?.

In a buffer, how to find out what encoding system was used to decode the file?

Check the value of the variable “buffer-file-coding-system”. You do that by typing 【Alt+x describe-variable】, then “buffer-file-coding-system”.

How to find out what's the current coding system used for opening and saving files?

Type 【Alt+x describe-coding-system】.

How to set a encoding system for a buffer?

Call “set-buffer-file-coding-system”, then type the encoding system you want. Type Tab to see a list of possible values.

How to permanently choose a encoding system in emacs for opening and saving?

Choose the menu “Options‣Mule (Multilingual Environment)‣Set Language Environment”. After that, be sure to pull the menu “Options‣Save Options” to save the setting in your emacs init file.

What encoding systems emacs support?

You can find out by calling “list-coding-systems”.

Is there a way to declare a file with a particular character encoding?

Yes. In the first line of your file, put -*- coding: utf-8 -*-. That way, each time emacs open the file, emacs will presume that the file is encoded in utf-8. The line can start with a comment character(s) of your language, such as “#”, “//”. This method is also adopted by Python.

(info "(emacs) File Variables")

Where can one read more about unicode in emacs?

(info "(emacs) International")

To learn more about Unicode, see Unicode Related Tutorials and Essays, or Wikipedia.

Emacs and Unicode Tips

xub Unicode Browser mode for Emacs

Best Fonts for Unicode

How to Quickly Switch Fonts in Emacs

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2010-10-13

CSS multi-column Layout?

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CSS multi-column Layout?

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Sometimes you want your text to flow into multiple columns, as in newspaper.

One way is to hard-code your paragraphs into HTML Table, where each “<td>” cell is a columns. It is a pain because when you add or delete paragraphs, you have to manually shift the text among your “<td>” tags. There are some javascript solution for auto column flow but it is very complex.

A proposed solution is in CSS3 “Multi-column layout”. See http://www.w3.org/TR/css3-multicol/. However, this is not widely supported as of 2010-10. FireFox and Safari have experimental support, but with a different css attribute.

Multi-column Basics

Here's the basic code:

div.columtext {column-count: 2}
  • For FireFox, use “-moz-column-count”.
  • For Safari, use “-webkit-column-count”.

Test Page

Multi-Columns Test Page

most popular sites

myspace.com, used to be #1 trafficked site, is now at 30. lol. http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/myspace.com.

In early 2000s, the top 5 are amazon, ebay, and google or yahoo or apple or msn. Amazon is now 15. Ebay is 21. Yahoo is 4. Am quite surprised how yahoo hasn't fallen. Its services, sites, are among the worst with really annoying ads. (except flickr, which yahoo bought)

Baidu.com, the search engine for Chinese, is at 6. qq.com, a chinese portal, is at 10. taobao.com, a online shopping site for chinese, is at 13. Sina.com.cn, another chinese portal, at 16. While google china is at 18.

Now let's look at porn. I vaguely recall, the top first porn was youporn.com, at 69, about 2007 when i first learned about it (while doing this traffic check!). But now, xvideos.com, is at 54. pornhub.com at 60. Youporn is at 73.

See: http://www.alexa.com/topsites. Let the wheel of fortune spin!

CSS Text Wrapping Tutorial

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CSS Text Wrapping Tutorial

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This article explains how to control the text wrapping in HTML/CSS.

CSS2 provides the several ways to control text wrapping. The wrapping attribute is “white-space”. How the line wraps depends on its value. The default value for “p” and “div” tags is “normal”.

white-space:normal

<p style="white-space:normal">...</p>
  • Repeated spaces shrink into a single one.
  • Newline chars are equivalent to space. (no wrap)
  • Text longer than the element's width value are wrapped.

This is the normal behavior of the paragraph tag “<p>”.

Note that white spaces are any of space, tab, and newline characters. You can always use “<br>” tag to force a line break in display.

white-space:pre

<p style="white-space:pre">...</p>

With “white-space: pre”, the behavior is the same as the “<pre>” tag.

  • White spaces are shown as they are. (they do not shrink into one)
  • Any newline chars will force a wrap.
  • The element's “width” attribute has no effect on the line wrapping.

“pre” is best used for showing computer program code, or poetry of short lines.

white-space:pre-wrap

<p style="white-space:pre-wrap; width:60ex">...</p>

With “white-space:pre-wrap”, it's like mix of “pre”, and “normal”.

  • Repeated spaces are shrinked into just one space.
  • Newline char will force a wrap.
  • Very long lines will be automatically wrapped too, by the element's width.

This is very useful for computer code, even better than “pre”, because if you have a lone line comment, it'll be wrapped in the display, but when user copies the code, there will not be extra newline. For example:

# Here is a very long comment. long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long 
print 5

white-space:pre-line

This is just like “pre-wrap”, except that repeated spaces are shrinked into just one space.

white-space:nowrap

<p style="white-space:nowrap; width:60ex">...</p>
  • Repeated spaces shrink into a single one.
  • Newline chars are equivalent to space. (no wrap)
  • The element's “width” attribute has no effect.
  • All text becomes one single very long line, even longer than window width.
  • No wrap whatsoever.
  • The only wrap is by “br”.

Using “width”, “<br>”, “NO-BREAK SPACE”

A common way to control wrap for paragraphs is simply to use the “width”. Like this:

<p style="width:60ex">...</p>

That will limit the width to 60 “ex” unit. A “ex” unit is basically the height of the lowercase letter “x”. (note that this does not guarantee that your paragraph will have 60 characters per line, but usually slightly more. Exactly how many characters per line with “width:60ex” depends on the font used.)

You can always force a line break by using “<br>”.

To prevent a line wrap at positions you do not want to happen, use the unicode character named NO-BREAK SPACE “ ”. Its decimal value is 160, hex is A0. The html entity is “&nbsp;”.

Can You Talk About Religion, Politics, with Friends?

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Can You Talk About Religion, Politics, with Friends?

Xah Lee, 2010-10-12

Writing on politics, religion, any sensitive topic, especially fervently, quickly alienate friends, associates. For example, if you wrote in your blog strongly about your opinion on abortion, god, pro/anti USA/China issues, then your friends or acquaintances suddenly found out “O shit this guy insults my God; this guy don't value babies; this guy's anti-freedom”, then, in their minds they put a question mark on you, or simply stop any connection they might have with you.

Avoiding religion, politics, is the number one principle in friend-making and persuasion books. For examples, these 2 well-known books:

Even among close friends, a casual chat on political issues can quickly and unexpectedly get bad and hurt relationship. (a year ago went into a slight argument with my friend professor Richard Palais, about Dalai Lama. I was telling him excitedly about what i found out about what Li Ao said on Tibet issues. I thought he'd totally find it interesting, at least. (after all, his wife is Chinese and he is active in both Taiwan and China's math communities and visit both countries for lectures and conferences every few years, and even speak Chinese well). But turns out he outright considered my findings to be propaganda, and this conversation became a sore point. (both of us are very argumentative, even on math, math software.))

So what to do? Must we simply never discuss political topics among friends? There seems to be something wrong with this state of affair. In some logical sense, if you can't share controversial issues with friends, then they are not really friends. But this way of thinking is not practical. If you really practice such mindset, you probably will not have many friends, at all. And, here, the question borders on the meaning of “friend”. Even “close friend” is hard to define, and in life, different periods of your life, different walks of life, the concept of “friend” is too varied and far apart. It would make better sense to use terms like “business partner”, “childhood acquaintance”, “co-worker”, “wife/husband”, “sworn pals”, “confidant”, “bed mate”, “lover”, “party buddy” ...etc. Even these relations may change from year to year.

Personally, i have lots of opinions, and, tend to speak out especially on issues that's controversial, because in my mind these are the very issues worth speaking out about, but add to it is the fact that my style is offensive and confrontational.

Thinking about this... One exception, is actually to be a politician, or activist, or related activities, such as a social critic, philosopher. That way, people already know you, or are very prepared, before they'll be offended by your opinions. And in some sense, it's your job, livelihood, with various degrees of professionalism, and friends won't take it personal. Or, put more cynically, your friends would be those who already agree with your views.

mm... good thinking Xah. I always wondered how to deal with this issue. This is a good solution. I hope i'm considered in this critics or philosopher camp, or, should paint myself in that camp. ☺

What do you think?

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2010-10-12

To What Degree USA Allow Free Speech?

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To What Degree USA Allow Free Speech?

Xah Lee, 2010-10-12

Recently, was debating on the nobel peace prize winning Liu Xiaobo, human rights, China and USA. (See: Liu Xiaobo, Dalai Lama, Falun Gong, Nobel Peace Prize, Liu Xiaobo, NED, CIA, USA Support.)

Here's a comment i made on Language Log but has been axed.

Who Went to Jail in US for Speech?

Someone wrote:

but in USA we don't put people in jail... (as China do for Liu Xiaobo's speeches)

People go to jail in US too, even recently. Just 10 years ago, anal sex, oral sex, can put you in jail. In porn industry, several are in jail right now, after unsuccessful legal defense against obscenity charges (all actor/actress are over 18 and voluntary). (See: Robert Black and Obscenity Charges.) 20 years ago, any porn showing fisting are likely to land you in jail. (See: What Is Obscenity?.) Comic artists, 20 years ago, goes to jail, for comics that today might be called soft erotica, or the type of stuff you see in Mad magazine. (See: Reading Notes on Scott McCloud's 《Understanding Comics》.) Am not sure if some states still can put you in jail for anal sex.

Then there's pedophile craze in 1980s? tens people went to jail, and later considered wrongly. (See: The Last Taboo: Sexual Desire for Pre-Pubescent Children.) There are legal defense non-profit orgs that rose up on comics artist freedom (Comic Book Legal Defense Fund), pedophile craze victum (National Center for Reason and Justice), porn freedom, and as we know lots gay rights orgs these days etc. (stories about gays going to jail, and well known incidents (e.g. riots), are quite numerous i think) Speaking against god, you might just end up in jail (not just like that, but people will find a way for you to go to jail). Though, much of all these are getting better, due to the web & comm advance in the past 15 years.

Google was celebrating John Lennon few days ago. Lennon, in mid 1900s, was persecuted to be deported for his peace activism and communism tendencies. This was before my time, but well-known as i learned. Am sure one can easily find lots cases who went to jail or otherwise made to shut up in the anti-communism era in US. In vietnam war era, did not many went to jail? In the drug era, many peaceful but pro-psychedelics went to jail. ( Timothy Leary , Grace Slick ( White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane) ...) Comedians, utter “cocksucker” then Jail! (Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, et al.)

Your Ideology vs My Ideology

Sure, US is freerer than china on i guess most subjects with respect to public speech. But then, this is a issue of degree. You don't want kettle calling pot black. It's also a issue of different ideology, culture. In country A, speaking X is ok, but you can't speak Y, and vice versa for country B. The X and Y are democracy and communism, atheism vs Christian God. If you were born & bred pure in country A, you might not see it. But for mixed blood/nation persons, you see both sides. One gave birth to you, the other fed you.

Democarcy = Freedom?

Also, as has been said among intellectuals, if you survey history, that democratic countries may actually fair worse than autocrat countries, with respect to citizen's happiness, freedom, as per the citizens. So, the terms “democracy” is just a label really, what really goes on depends on a lot on the legal system (if exist at all), culture, and even climate. (first read about this somewhere on: 〈Selected Death Tolls for Wars, Massacres and Atrocities Before the 20th Century〉 (2005), by Matthew White, at: http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstat0.htm)

Is Chinese in China Happy?

Although i haven't set foot it china, but being chinese, i have read native chinese in china's blogs, email, see their twitter, made friends etc. I know how they feel more than say from western mainstream news. I can't say i know enough to speak a summary on the whole chinese population, but from what i seen, chinese people are not unhappy, and a lot especially the younger ones, are very nationalistic, pro-china, even militantly. I think maybe 3 years ago Time mag has a special report on China too, and i remember it indicated this too clearly in one of the article.

Liu Xiaobo, NED, CIA, USA Support

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Liu Xiaobo, NED, CIA, USA Support

Xah Lee, 2010-10-12

It's widely reported on the web that Liu Xiaobo received funding from National Endowment for Democracy (NED). This is acknowledged on the NED site:

  • 〈The National Endowment for Democracy Extends Its Warmest Congratulations to Grantee Liu Xiaobo on Receiving the Nobel Peace Prize〉 (2010-10-08) At: ned.org

Quote:

Among his many contributions to the advance of democratic ideas and values in China have been his work as editor of Democratic China magazine (English via GoogleTranslate) for several years until his arrest in 2008, and serving two terms as President of the Independent Chinese PEN Center, from 2003 to 2007. NED is pleased to have been able to provide grant support to both organizations for their activities supporting free inquiry and freedom of expression over the years.

How Much?

How much? The article didn't say, but from online info the figure may be over 1M USD, perhaps from 2004 to 2007. It's very time consuming to gather correct info on the web, but on this site: Source, there's this info:

All the links's content are gone as of 2010-10-12, but they are currently available at the archive.org:

http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.ned.org/grants/04programs/grants-asia04.html
http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.ned.org/grants/04programs/grants-asia04.html
http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.ned.org/grants/05programs/grants-asia05.html
http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.ned.org/grants/06programs/grants-asia06.html
http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.ned.org/grants/07programs/grants-asia07.html (not available)

(be sure to save the document on your computer because it might get removed)

Looking at these doc is quite scary. Usually they have a big section China, listing lots of money to all sort of organizations that seems to be politically disruptive for Chinese goverment, e.g. Tibet, Uyghur, and all with names like “freedom”, “human rights”, “democracy”....

Who is NED?

NED is National Endowment for Democracy. Here's a quote:

The National Endowment for Democracy, or NED, is a U.S. non-profit organization that was founded in 1983 to promote US-friendly democracy by providing cash grants funded primarily through an annual allocation from the U.S. Congress.[1] Although administered as a private organization, its funding comes almost entirely from a governmental appropriation by Congress and it was created by an act of Congress. In addition to its grants program, NED also supports and houses the Journal of Democracy, the World Movement for Democracy, the International Forum for Democratic Studies, the Reagan-Fascell Fellowship Program, the Network of Democracy Research Institutes, and the Center for International Media Assistance. It has been accused by both right-wing and left-wing personalities of interference in foreign regimes, and of being set up to legally continue the CIA's prohibited activities of support to selected political parties abroad.[2]

So, it takes US tax payer's money, and give to other countries, for spreading US ideology. Note the last sentence. The source “[2]” is from the book 《Killing Hope》 by William Blum. amazon. Wikipedia has a article on it Killing Hope, quote:

Killing Hope: U.S. Military and C.I.A. Interventions since World War II is a history book on covert CIA operations and U.S. military interventions during the second half of the 20th century, written by former State Department employee William Blum. The book takes a strongly critical view of American foreign policy.

The book covers various US foreign policy ventures from just after World War II onward. Its basic premise is that the Soviet Union occupied the Warsaw Pact states only to better defend its territory[citation needed] and the American Cold War-era activities abroad were done with imperialist motives.

Noam Chomsky called it "Far and away the best book on the topic." [1] Former CIA officer John Stockwell called it "The single most useful summary of CIA history." [2]

Note that Noam Chomsky is a very well-known linguist, and famous as a major critic on US foreign policies.

And who is the author William Blum? Quote:

William Blum (born 1933) is an American author, historian, and critic of United States foreign policy. He studied accounting in college. Later he had a low-level computer-related position at the United States Department of State in the mid-1960s. Initially an anti-communist with dreams of becoming a foreign service officer, he said he became disillusioned by the Vietnam War.[1]

There are quite a lot critcism of NED. Depending your point of view, NED is throwing money all over enemy country's to fuck them up, meddle with their elections, support the criminals, stage coups. China, Iran, Central America, eastern and western Europe, russian areas and states, ... all over the map. Here's few selected quotes:

NED says it does not directly fund any political party, as this is forbidden by law. However, it has been accused of providing funding to opposition candidates in elections in countries other than the USA. According to NED, it intervenes in elections by funding election observation and civic education on voting, such as student "get-out-the-vote" campaigns.[6]

Critics such as Pat Buchanan accuse the NED of fomenting revolution and regularly interfering in the affairs of other countries, especially dictatorships and undemocratic regimes.[7]

Other critics say that the NED only supports candidates with strong ties to the military. William Blum accuses NED of being part of a U.S. government funding strategy to undermine left-wing leaders and "pervert elections". Others are also critical of U.S. corporate investment in foreign countries, and criticize the NED for not supporting candidates who oppose free trade and the investing rights of US companies. For example, Bill Berkowitz of Working for Change claims, "The NED functions as a full-service infrastructure building clearinghouse. It provides money, technical support, supplies, training programs, media know-how, public relations assistance and state-of-the-art equipment to select political groups, civic organizations, labor unions, dissident movements, student groups, book publishers, newspapers, and other media. Its aim is to destabilize progressive movements, particularly those with a socialist or democratic socialist bent."[8]

Dalai Lama

Note that CIA has also send 1.7M USD to Dalai Lama, also a Nobel Peace Prize winner. See: Li Ao on Tibet and Dalai Lama.

There are lots of youtube vids on this.

CIA in Tibet - Escape of The Dalai Lama - part 1

2010-10-11

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Liu Xiaobo, Dalai Lama, Falun Gong, Nobel Peace Prize

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Liu Xiaobo, Dalai Lama, Falun Gong, Nobel Peace Prize

Xah Lee, 2010-10-11

Recently, the Language Log has a article on Liu Xiaobo, who recently won Nobel Peace Prize. (Language Log is a popular blog by several linguists, usually focus on language and usage myths from mainstream media.)

The piece is quite offensive, even worse than standard journalistic ethics as compared to mainstream US media. Basically, spreading anti-China propaganda, with factually incorrect info, biased implications and hints.

I made comments on the blog giving reasons why i find it offensive. This page is expanded version of my reasons.

I don't know Liu Xiaobo till now. I was born and grew up in Taiwan till 14. (but my parents were born in china) I've never set foot on china. On taiwan/china issue, i tend to support china. I don't know much about politics in China; don't think i ever read one piece of news on China politics in past 20 years... except in recent years have paid some attention to politics of Taiwan (my birth country), due to president Chen Shui-bian' corruption incident.

One of my favorite writer, is Li Ao, a well known free speech proponent, writer, historian, who's been a political prisoner for 7 or so years by Taiwan's KMT party, in 1960s to 1970s.

My Reasons Against Liu Xiaobo

I read up on Liu Xiaobo for perhaps just half a day recently. I'm against supporting him for several reasons:

  • US politics and propaganda against China. (Dalai Lama, Falun Gong, and now Liu Xiaobo)
  • Liu Xiaobo's “Charter 08” manifesto, to me seems downright treason. (can be likened to someone in US creating a communism-based manifesto against the US Constitution, against the Christian God.)
  • Liu's Chapter 08 manifesto's central theme goes alone the lines of “universal human rights”, which i do not believe. And to me, that simply seem to be a tactic of demagogy.
  • Several essays Liu Xiaobo has written attacking my most revered writer Li Ao.

I have written many essays documenting my sentiments and findings in the past few years.

If you do spend time to read the following links, try to earnestly look into the opposite side of the coin, else there'd be no point.

General Info

(Between english and chinese Wikipedia versions, i ordered them so that the one with more info comes first. Usually the info quality and quantity difference is large on some chinese subjects. In general, the english version is far better on general chinese related topics (such as history, food, culture, language, etc.) , due to perhaps 1k fold more readers. But on political topics, especially local ones, such as Taiwan or China politics or politicians, often the Chinese version are more informative, because mostly only native Chinese read them, with daily intimate familiarity from newspapers, TV, neighbors, etc, and English version often contains scarce info or article doesn't exist, and just Western point of view based from scarce Western mainstream media articles.)

On US Propaganda

The theme is pretty clear here. In US media and Western media, typically, China is depicted as the evil lord, its citizens live in a suppressive hell, that its citizens want freedom, but the Chinese communists put them in jail, torture them, gun them down. US orgs, such as CIA, send money to support politically disruptive causes and leaders, in the name of supporting US's political ideology the “democracy” and “human rights”, including guerrilla warfare training and weapons. Give public “human rights” awards to these leaders. (but as Li Ao said in one of his lecture, that while he was in jail for 7 or so years for fighting democracy against the KMT, the US didn't support him, because US needed Taiwan's KMT party to fight communists during the cold war era.)

Criticisms On “Human Rights”

For criticisms of “universal human rights”, i guess the topic is old. But Wikipedia provides some starting points if you are not already familiar with this

(i don't necessarily agree with the above in particulars... but am just citing well-established philosophies against the universal “human rights” concept) Here's some selected quotes from different parts of Wikipedia:

Philosophers who have criticized the concept of human rights include Jeremy Bentham, Edmund Burke, Friedrich Nietzsche and Karl Marx[citation needed]. A recent critique has been advanced by Charles Blattberg in his essay "The Ironic Tragedy of Human Rights." Blattberg argues that rights talk, being abstract, demotivates people from upholding the values that rights are meant to assert.[87] In his book After Virtue, Alasdair MacIntyre claimed the concept that all human beings have certain rights simply by virtue of being human was illogical, stated "the best reason for asserting so bluntly that there are no such rights is indeed of precisely the same type as the best reason which we possess for asserting that there are no witches and the best reason which we possess for asserting that there are no unicorns: every attempt to give good reasons for believing there are such rights has failed."[88]

The concept of inalienable rights was criticized by Jeremy Bentham and Edmund Burke as groundless. Bentham and Burke, writing in the eighteenth century, claimed that rights arise from the actions of government, or evolve from tradition, and that neither of these can provide anything inalienable. (See Bentham's "Critique of the Doctrine of Inalienable, Natural Rights", and Burke's "Reflections on the Revolution in France"). Presaging the shift in thinking in the 19th century, Bentham famously dismissed the idea of natural rights as "nonsense on stilts". By way of contrast to the views of Burke and Bentham, the leading American revolutionary scholar James Wilson condemned Burke's view as "tyranny."[41]

Master-slave morality is a central theme of Friedrich Nietzsche's works, in particular the first essay of On the Genealogy of Morality. Nietzsche argued that there were two fundamental types of morality: 'Master morality' and 'slave morality'. Master morality weighs actions on a scale of good or bad consequences unlike slave morality which weighs actions on a scale of good or evil intentions.

Corruption of Nobel Peace Prize

Nobel prize, especially Peace, is very controversial, and this is a well-established fact. It is often criticized as politically motivated. In many cases, the laureates are considered war mongers by many.

Liu Xiaobo's Attack on Li Ao

To find Liu's articles attacking Li Ao, just web search on: “李敖,刘晓波”. (Google search: 李敖,刘晓波.) Here's some of his essay titles:

  • 劉曉波:話說李敖——精明的驕狂
  • 刘晓波:李敖在北大如何摸老虎屁股?
  • 刘晓波文选:话说李敖之二紧跟暴君毛泽东

Why Do I Not Support the “Human Right” Concept?

What right? Right with respect to what? Who gave you the right? God? I don't believe in a god, and in particular, i don't believe The Gods from Abrahamic religions (Islamism, Juadaism, and Christianity with its tens of factions).

When a animal, say, cat, eats a sheep, play with it before kill, does the sheep has a right? Are you gonna do justice for the sheep? When a wasp, lay eggs in spider's paralyzed body, so her offsprings can eat the spider alive from the inside, does the spider get rights? When the US, wrote universal human rights in its constitution, while importing blacks as slaves, where is the right? When George W Bush, made hundred thousands of Iraq civilians dead, where is the right?

All human animals are born “equal”? How so? Is a natural retard equal to your ability to work? Does he have equal chances? Does he really have equal opportunity? Should he deserve equal earning as you? Do you, give half of your income to those homeless or lazybums you see everyday on street corners?

I believe food is good, pleasure is good, pain and suffering is no good, and i believe in my good and bad to be about the same as other human animals. I believe that if i punch you in the face, you gonna punch back. We want prosperity, and this prosperity can come thru rational, responsible, dealings, same with conflicts.

If George Bush is to kill few hundred thousands of people, or when US Americans eradicated the native Americans out the face of this earth, i prefer the the reason given to be “because i like it, i am the king now”, than with believing in human rights, or manifest destiny.

The “human right”, is a moral fiction concocted out of ether much like religion. As a piece of untruth, it spreads woe and disaster, in a indirect way but with far-reaching consequences.

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