Kalou ‘made an offer by West Ham’

first_imgWest Ham have offered Salomon Kalou a move to Upton Park, according to the Daily Express.Kalou’s Chelsea contract expires in the summer and Hammers boss Sam Allardyce is believed to be keen to sign him.Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish wants to snatch Pavel Pogrebnyak from Fulham, the Daily Mirror say.The Russian striker has been a massive hit at Craven Cottage since joining Fulham on a deal until the end of the season.But it is claimed that McLeish is planning a summer bid for him and has already spoken to representatives of the 28-year-old, who will be available on a free transfer in May.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img

Drew’s 22 subdues Dons, Huskies stay perfect

first_imgWhat has been a dream start to the season for Fortuna boys basketball continued Thursday night as the Huskies overcame a clear height disadvantage to take down the Amador Valley Dons, a Division-I team out of Pleasanton, 65-53 in the second round of the Windsor Holiday Classic.The win — perhaps the most impressive of the season for the still undefeated Huskies — moves Fortuna to 13-0 on the year.“I thought we ran our offense well tonight, we got to our spots and got some good shots,” Fortuna …last_img

How Kevon Looney’s return will impact the Warriors’ rotation

first_imgORLANDO — Warriors center Kevon Looney could play as soon as Monday in Atlanta as he nears his return from a neuropathic condition that has sidelined him most of the season.Looney is the Warriors’ most experienced center and was the opening day starter. While his return will be a welcome addition to a team lacking in institutional knowledge, it will also change a front court rotation that is the deepest of any positional unit on the team.Willie Cauley-Stein started the last 16 games at …last_img

China Suffers 30 Years of Misguided Malthusian Idea

first_imgChina has had a “one-child policy” for 30 years this week.  This policy has caused untold grief for many families desiring children, and has resulted in unexpected demographic problems – such as aging of the population, not enough brides for young men, and enormous numbers of abortions.  Two articles in Science this week explored the convoluted reasoning that resulted in history’s biggest social experiment, and asked, what are the prospects for abolishing the policy, or at least relaxing it?  After all, this regrettable “case of ideology trumping science” sprang out of “a wave of neo-Malthusianism” that captivated government officials in the days of Chairman Mao – a view of population demographics that had influenced Darwin (01/15/2009) – but has largely been discredited today (12/09/2009 bullet 3, 12/12/2008, 06/05/2007, 03/17/2003).  Unfortunately, the inertia of the policy has only added to the horrific consequences.    Dutch reporter Mara Hvistendahl wrote a detailed historical account of China’s one-child policy in Science,1 and added a short article about some of the personalities that influenced it.2  Her main article dove right in with a list of the consequences:Elementary schools converted into nursing homes.  Lonely only children coddled by parents and grandparents.  A generation in which men seriously outnumber women.  China’s one-child policy may have slowed population growth in the world’s most populous country.  But it has also produced a rapidly aging population, a shrinking labor force, and a skewed sex ratio at birth, perils that many demographers say could threaten China’s economy and social fabric.    As the most spectacular demographic experiment in history, the one-child policy is unprecedented in its scope and extremity.As with many social experiments, the policy began with seemingly good intentions.  Chinese leaders were led to believe they faced a monumental population explosion and food shortage unless the birth rate were reduced.  It began in Mao’s reign with public persuasion, trying to nudge families to marry later and have fewer children, but by the time of Mao’s successor Deng Xiaoping, it became a mandate.  “One child per family” soon led to horrors like birth police dragging weeping pregnant women to the abortion clinic:To implement the policy, the government beefed up its birth planning infrastructure, adding thousands of workers and launching propaganda campaigns.  Enforcement was flawed from the beginning: The central government assigned stringent birth quotas to local governments but left them to shoulder a portion of the costs.  Some local officials intent on meeting targets forced pregnant women to abort and sterilized men against their will.  Others issued offending parents outrageous fines to recover program costs.    The drive sparked a backlash, fueling discontent among peasants.  It also led to a rash of female infanticide among Chinese hoping to make their sole child a boy—a prelude to sex-selective abortions that later became widespread.The Chinese government patched but did not abandon the policy in the face of these consequences, leading to “a clunky policy that is comparable in complexity to the U.S. tax code.”  When ultrasound machines became available later, many couples desiring sons used them to selectively abort female fetuses, leading to the skewed sex ratio that has left many Chinese men out of the marriage market.  In addition, the pension population has risen as the labor force has dwindled.    It makes no sense.  While it succeeded in drastically curtailing the birth rate, it’s bad science and it’s terrible social policy.  How on earth did the Chinese government get led down this path?    Hvistendahl indicted Malthus in the justification for the one-child policy, but it wasn’t just Chairman Mao that was mesmerized by Malthus in the 1970s – it was the western world, too:He [Mao] wasn’t alone in worrying about population growth.  In Western countries, too, public health breakthroughs and falling mortality rates had led to a fear of overpopulation, sparking a wave of neo-Malthusianism that culminated in the controversial 1972 report The Limits to Growth by the Club of Rome, an international group of scientists.  Doomsday projections found their way to China.  “Developed countries spread Club of Rome thinking to the developing world,” says Liang Zhongtang, an economist at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences who participated in deliberations over the one-child policy.    In China, neo-Malthusianism resonated with a government intent on boosting economic growth.  The aim was to manipulate population dynamics under the planned economy.Problem: Mao had already decimated the population through his ideologically-caused famines during the Cultural Revolution.  Solution: he could blame the famine on overpopulation.  “Poor central planning had helped cause food shortages,” she euphemized, “but now attention focused on population as the culprit, and Chairman Mao Zedong, who had once encouraged large families, shifted course.”  By deflecting criticisms of the famine to a new culprit (too many mouths to feed), he simultaneously found a new way to manipulate the populace under his Marxist “planned economy”.     In her second, shorter article,2 Hvistendahl told the story of how Song Jian, a prot�g� of American defector Qian Xuesen (see 12/10/2009) who had become Mao’s trusted science advisor, was entranced by a Dutch game theorist.  At a meeting in the Netherlands, “over beers at a pub,” Geert Jan Olsder used questionable statistics based on game theory to convince Jian that China needed to drastically cut its birth rate to avoid catastrophe.  Jian, a military scientist who wasn’t even a demographer, took Olsder’s equations back to China enthusiastically.  He came up with calculations that “dazzled policymakers, making the policy appear to be good science.”  It wasn’t.  Jian Song made ““wild projections of a population explosion” based on “unreliable data”; nevertheless, his appearance of scientific credibility “wowed Chinese leaders” and propelled them toward measures to “avert catastrophe”.  As a result, the “policymakers responded with an extreme plan” to combat the mythical threat: restrict all couples to one child per family, and maintain it for 20 to 40 years.  That was 30 years ago – September 25, 1980.    Now that we know this, why not just abolish the policy?  After all, it was never intended to last forever, and the unforeseen consequences are now obvious in hindsight.  Unfortunately, Hvistendahl explains with frustrating candor, the inertia is too great.  Reformers are attempting to raise awareness and argue that it’s time to abolish the policy, or at least relax it in certain areas, but are finding that the policy has become sacrosanct to many bureaucrats.  “As of 2005, the family-planning bureaucracy had swollen to 509,000 employees, along with 6 million workers who help with implementation,” she stated.  “Those stakeholders are ‘risk-averse,’ says Wang [Feng, a UC Irvine demographer].  ‘They pay no cost for doing nothing.”  The Chinese culture also tends to value stability and continuity.  The reform advocates sound like heretics.    Another consequence of a whole generation raised on the one-child experience has surprised advocates of reform.  They are finding that people have become emotionally consigned to the idea of having only one child.  It’s all they have ever known.  All their friends have only one child.  In a test city that relaxed the policy, researchers found that many women did not intend to have a second child, even when it was permitted.  So in spite of negative demographic consequences facing China’s elderly, bachelors, work force, and the sustainability of its population – all based on flawed math and science and ideology – a majority of the couples in a province who were given, once again, the opportunity to have families with siblings, responded, with no disagreement from the bloated bureaucracy, “one child is best.”1.  Mara Hvistendahl, “Demography: Has China Outgrown The One-Child Policy?” Science, 17 September 2010: Vol. 329. no. 5998, pp. 1458 – 1461, DOI: 10.1126/science.329.5998.1458.2.  Mara Hvistendahl, “Of Population Projections and Projectiles,” Science, 17 September 2010: Vol. 329. no. 5998, p. 1460, DOI: 10.1126/science.329.5998.1460.Chairman Mao was one of the most evil men the world has ever seen.  The influence his beliefs and actions had on hundreds of millions of people yearning to breathe free is beyond appalling.  And this story is not the worst of the nightmares traceable to that evil, evil dictator.  When his policies led to a famine that killed tens of millions of Chinese (because he trusted the science charlatan Lysenko), he didn’t accept responsibility for any of it.  Hvistendahl says, “attention focused on population as the culprit, and Chairman Mao Zedong, who had once encouraged large families, shifted course.”  The people would now suffer for his mistake with the “most spectacular demographic experiment in history,” the one-child policy adopted by his successor.  Mao died in luxury, accompanied with wine, women and song, as his victims starved and rotted in hard labor camps.  He never took any responsibility for murdering 77 million of his own people (11/30/2005), but paraded his big-brother visage throughout the country, forcing his subjects to adore him like a god.    He was no god; he was a devil.  Mao justified his political horrors with “scientific” ideology.  He venerated Lenin, Stalin, and Darwin, building a political apparatus – and guiding the most populous nation on the planet – around their views.  Darwin, in turn, was strongly influenced by the know-nothing Thomas Malthus, a preacher of sorts dabbling in a subject he did not understand.  It resulted in Darwin’s vision of a secular world uncared for by God, a world of natural selection, a cruel world of struggle and hunger and death, pitiless in its indifference to the suffering of the individual.  Too bad Malthus was not good at math and economics.  Who told him population grows exponentially but food supply grows linearly?  Nobody.  Malthus made it up!  Who told Olsder that game theory proved China would have a population catastrophe?  Nobody.  He made it up!  These big liars and their willing dupes have the blood of millions on their hands.    This story is a lesson not just to China watchers but to the whole world.  The consequences of flawed ideas can be far-reaching, emotionally wrenching, and cruel.  They can be matters (literally) of life and death.  The true stories that could be told by Chinese couples deprived of their natural rights to life, liberty and family are too horrible to contemplate.  Can you hear their cries?  Can you see their tears?  The conclusion piles insanity on cruelty: political inertia, propaganda and indoctrination have made this horrendous demographic experiment very difficult to stop.    If China’s people had been given the liberty to enjoy their natural rights endowed by their Creator, it’s likely there never would have been the feared population bomb.  (It didn’t happen in Europe and America, despite the Club of Rome and Paul Ehrlich.)  People with freedom to explore their potential, especially those taught to value work and improve their lives and society, become wealthier (wealth generation, remember, is not a zero-sum game; the scientific findings of Faraday and Morse, for instance, created millions of new jobs).  Free people develop technology and science and better medicine.  Free people don’t have to depend on lots of children for their future, hoping that a few infants might survive the perils of childhood diseases to assist them in old age.  If anything, in Europe and America, the problem is that birth rates are too low.  It’s the repressed poor in third world dictatorships that tend to have high birth rates.    Yesterday was Constitution Day in America (see US Constitution Initiative website and the National Archives Charters of Freedom).  If China, desiring to modernize in the 1970s, had followed the example of the American Constitution, with its foundation of individual liberties granted by God, its people could have avoided so much heartbreak and terror.  Unless we learn the hard lessons of this story, we are doomed to see even worse horrors from any big government bent on an agenda trusting the bad ideas of Darwin and Malthus.  Never assume that past dictatorships have exhausted the horrors in the Darwin Pandora’s box.  A new documentary, What Hath Darwin Wrought, has just come out.  Watch the trailer, and spread the message, before a world government picks up where China left off.(Visited 748 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Let’s Get [Thankful for the] Physical

first_img(Visited 22 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Wonders of the human body continue to pour forth from scientific research, providing more reasons to give thanks.Cartilage sensor:  Football players should give thanks that their cartilage can sense forceful injury.  “We live with the same cartilage—the tissue that connects our joints—for a lifetime,” Medical Xpress says.  “And since we can’t readily make new cartilage cells, we had better figure out how to keep what we have healthy.”  Researchers at Duke were pleasantly surprised.  “The most exciting thing about this study was that it shows that cells in your cartilage, which people don’t think of as a typical sensory cell, have multiple sensory systems,” one said. Another commented, “These cells are very complex in their ability to sense their mechanical environment.”  Physical activity is actually good for cartilage, the article says.  Use it or lose it.Fallopian one-way tube:  How do female fallopian tubes know which direction to send the egg?  Scientists know that cilia beat inside the walls of the tube, creating a unidirectional flow.  But how do those cells arrange in the right direction to begin with?  When the tissues grow in the embryo, there is no preferred direction, Japanese researchers found, according to Medical Xpress.  Over time, a preferred orientation arises, thanks to a protein named Celsr1.  The process amazed one of the researchers:The research fellow Dongbo Shi, the first author of this article, said: “It was a hard job for me to line up the cellist’s chairs on stage in the right direction before a classic concert, even though there are less than ten chairs. It is very surprising that our organs consist of millions of cells and these cells are aligned accurately and efficiently. I hope to uncover the intriguing mechanisms of how cells are properly lined up”.Bone self-repair:  Babies can do a trick adults would like to learn: how to self-repair their bones.  Nature says, “Infant bone fractures heal without any medical intervention, thanks to muscle contractions and tissue growth that together move the bone fragments back into place.”Tick off the old clock:  “Human existence is basically circadian,” a piece on PhysOrg begins. “Most of us wake in the morning, sleep in the evening, and eat in between. Body temperature, metabolism, and hormone levels all fluctuate throughout the day, and it is increasingly clear that disruption of those cycles can lead to metabolic disease.” But how does our circadian clock work?  Research at the University of Pennsylvania shows a new role for proteins called enhancers. Along with corresponding transcription factors, the enhancers allow different cycles to switch on and off independently of other cycles, so that you don’t fall asleep which eating a Thanksgiving meal.Why skin color?  It can be a racy subject, but Ann Gibbons wants to shed light on why human skin varies from light to dark.  In Science Magazine, she explores various hypotheses, mainly those of anthropologist Nina Jablonski, who thinks skin faces a tradeoff between UV protection and Vitamin D absorption.  “Although skin color is a poor way to classify humans, Jablonski says it does have real implications for health.”  Trying to place the adaptive tradeoff in an evolutionary context, though, is fraught with emotion and storytelling, as Jablonski learned in 2000:In that paper, Jablonski proposed an evolutionary scenario for dark skin: Like chimpanzees, our ancient ancestors in Africa originally had fair skin covered with hair. When they lost body hair in order to keep cool through sweating, perhaps about 1.5 million years ago, their naked skin became darker to protect it from folate-destroying UV light.This idea is still controversial. “It’s a valid theory and it’s intriguing, but it’s obscure to the folate community,” says Robert Berry, a pediatric epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. “There’s virtually no evidence to prove it or disprove it.” …Jablonksi is spreading an evolutionary perspective that many still haven’t quite absorbed, says Harvard University immunologist Barry Bloom. “The message that people still don’t understand that just knocks your socks off is that we were all born white on the planet and then we all became black,” he says. Then “some of us got to Europe where being black wasn’t a great advantage, and we became white again.”Maybe it’s best to leave the evolution out of it and just recognize that people have the genetic ability to adapt to the amount of sunlight they normally live in.  Obviously, dark- and light-skinned people are doing fine in all kinds of environments.  They also have the wisdom to wear clothes, make sunscreen, and take Vitamin D supplements.  Too much speculating could foment old fights about racial geopolitics.A little help from our friends:  What’s your first emotional reaction to the words “bacteria” and “virus”?  Actually, our lives probably depend more on these passengers than we like to think.  Science Magazine says that the body’s bacteria may keep our brains healthy.  Even more surprising, in another piece by Science Magazine‘s writer Elisabeth Pennisi, “viruses help keep our gut healthy.”  How many knew that the gut biota we have become accustomed to treating with respect includes viruses?  Noroviruses, for instance, have a bad rap for causing diarrhea on cruise ships.  Experiments on mice, though, show that infected mice were better able to recover from disease and antibiotics.  It will be “hugely controversial” to consider noroviruses as beneficial (New Scientist recommends still washing your hands), but your digestion of a Thanksgiving meal might just depend on all your tiny helpers.A gene for long life?  Medical Xpress tells about a “favorable variant” in the CETP gene that confers on its carriers a higher probability of living past 90 or even 100, partly by raising the level of good cholesterol (HDL).  The carriers not only live longer; they live healthier, too.  Can you get this “longevity gene”?  No, but some day you may be able to buy a longevity pill.  “Drug companies have already begun working on CETP inhibitors, with the hope of mimicking the process by which the gene raises HDL.”Designed selection:  Try to design a hoop that can let basketballs in but keep ping pong balls out.  That’s what the nuclear pore complex does, researchers at University College London found.  Science Daily says that because of this ability, the filter keeps “unwelcome visitors” from invading the cell nucleus.  How does it work?  The pore has strands outside that look like spaghetti.  The strands trap unwanted small invaders.  “Larger molecules, like messenger RNA, can only pass when accompanied by chaperone molecules. These chaperones, called nuclear transport receptors, have the property of lubricating the strands and relaxing the barrier, letting the larger molecules through.”  How fast does this work?  Oh, a leisurely several thousand times per second.Make like a bat:  Philosopher Thomas Nagel famously asked, “What is it like to be a bat?” (see ENV).  Well, ask a blind person.  Science Magazine says that people have the ability to learn to echolocate a bit like a bat, using “batlike sonar.”  This should be a fun experiment for the kids at home.  Maybe they should wear a helmet, like Daniel Kish, a blind boy who uses echolocation to ride his bike.  Emily Underwood says that “the entire body, neck, and head are key to ‘seeing’ with sound—an insight that could assist blind people learning the skill.”  The skill is much more highly developed in bats and dolphins, of course.Smell that turkey aroma:  At Thanksgiving, think about what PNAS says: “The mammalian olfactory system is capable of detecting and discriminating a vast and diverse array of small organic molecules or odorants. Complex blends of these chemicals are finally perceived as a unified odor object—for example, a rose contains dozens of active compounds.”  The sense of smell is so complex, it is one of the final senses to submit to detailed understanding.  One thing we know; the smell of Mom’s cooking can create pleasant memories that last a lifetime.There are more wonders going on inside us than we can imagine.  The more the detail, the more incredible to think they are the result of blind, unguided natural processes.  We hope you will be thankful for your equipment this season, and treat it with care.last_img read more

FirstRand secures foothold in Nigeria

first_img29 November 2012South African banking group FirstRand says it aims to become a major player in Nigeria after its subsidiary, Rand Merchant Bank, secured an investment banking licence from the Central Bank of Nigeria.FirstRand CEO Sizwe Nxasana said in a statement on Monday that FirstRand sought to build a presence in high-growth African markets with attractive long-term prospects.“This move is consistent with our strategy, as we often enter a new market through the appropriate operating franchise, in this case RMB, and the rest of the banking group may then follow,” Nxasana said in a statement.“Nigeria currently offers strong growth prospects, particularly with regards to corporate and investment banking,” he added.RMB has been operating from a representative office in Nigeria since January 2010, and chief executive Alan Pullinger said the licence – which required an initial capital investment of US$100-million from the company – would “allow us to significantly scale up our in‐country offering”.“Nigeria as a country and the west African region as a whole are experiencing significant growth,” Pullinger noted.This is FirstRand’s second recent foray into west Africa. The group is currently finalising the acquisition of Merchant Bank Ghana for almost R750-million, and according to Business Day would be keen to link up its planned retail and investment banking operations in both countries.For now, RMB Nigeria’s Lagos office “will provide corporate advisory services, equity capital markets, infrastructure and project finance, resource finance, structured trade and commodity finance, and fixed income, currency and commodity services to large local, regional and international corporates already operating in or entering Nigeria and the broader west African economies”.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

DDGS exports to Mexico creating new market opportunities

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Selling 50 metric tons of U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) may seem minor, but Javier Chávez, U.S. Grains Council (USGC) Mexico marketing specialist, views these small sales to cattle and dairy producers in southeastern Mexico as the start of another big opportunity for U.S. feed grains.DDGS is a well-known and frequently-used feed source in northern Mexico but does not benefit from the same recognition in the southeastern region of the country. Instead, both cattle and dairy operations rely on grazing pasture to feed the region’s estimated seven million cattle.Chávez explained this substantial market is largely undeveloped due to a lack of knowledge of superior feeding practices and inefficient distribution of feed ingredients. There, available forage provides inadequate nutrition, resulting in poor body condition scores, insufficient daily weight increases, late pregnancies and very large calving intervals.USGC identified the need in this area for higher-quality feed and an opportunity to create demand for U.S. DDGS. The Council started conducting DDGS feeding trials in 2015, in coordination with consultants, for calves, heifers and dairy cattle in the Mexican state of Chiapas. The combination of the good taste, superior nutritional value and high digestibility of U.S. DDGS resulted in increased milk production, better body condition scores and improved fertility. For example, heifers fed U.S. DDGS could be bred to give birth at around two years of age, compared to the regional norm of three or four years.“The improved fertility means one more calf and one more lactation in the life of a cow, which means a lot of extra money for the producer,” Chávez said. “Supplementing with DDGS means a tremendous savings of time and an increase in the profitability of the ranch.”The Council presented the DDGS feeding trial results in a series of on-farm presentations. However, Chávez said he realized the Council needed to expand its work to suppliers because DDGS were not used in the region previously, and producers did not have existing relationships to make purchases following positive trial results.“The main problem we had was that we presented the result, and producers were happy and convinced that they can be more efficient through supplementation with DDGS,” Chávez said. “Now, we are developing both ends of the market — end-users and suppliers.”As a result, this year’s presentations now include a DDGS distributor. Doing so at the most recent presentation in Chiapas resulted in 50 metric tons of sales on the day of and following the presentation. That small success is one the Council believes will continue to expand following additional DDGS feeding trials underway in Yucatan, Tabasco and Veracruz.This win-win scenario for U.S. farmers and Mexican producers is built on a strong trading relationship that benefits from advantageous trade policy and robust market development. The trading preferences in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have incentivized the integration of logistics on both sides of the border, and the Council’s work in Mexico over the past 30 years has helped expand the use of U.S. grain products throughout the country.“NAFTA helped us have U.S. DDGS available and accessible in this area,” Chávez said. “Without the trade agreement, it would be harder, and more expensive, to get U.S. DDGS to this market with fewer suppliers willing to sell it.”last_img read more

Read-Only Facebook Coming to Your Company?

first_imgIT + Project Management: A Love Affair Related Posts 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now Tags:#enterprise#news#Products Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo…center_img klint finley IT managers using Palo Alto Networks firewalls are now able to switch Facebook into a “read-only” mode, thanks to an update released today. There is no relationship between Palo Alto Networks and Facebook – the changes are all within the customer’s network. Previously, managers using Palo Alto Networks firewalls have had the option to block all Facebook apps (but not individual apps) as well as Facebook’s e-mail and chat features. The update adds the ability to disable posting, making Facebook effectively read-only.Palo Alto Networks firewalls enable granular control over 1,000 applications cataloged in the company’s Applipedia – regardless of port, protocol, or evasive strategy (so the company says). The firewalls connect to Active Directory or other LDAP based directory to assign permissions by group or by individual user. All of the application detection and user permissions take place on dedicated firewall devices to avoid bogging down servers with analytical duties.Turning read-write applications into read-only applications may seem antithetical to the read/write philosophy, but we think solutions like this will help enterprises adopt social media and break out of a binary world where they can either offer full access to Facebook or other web applications or no access at all.Brave New EnterpriseManagers could, for instance, grant full Facebook access to its social media team, partial access to a customer service team, and read-only access to its competitive research team. Access can also be assigned by time of day, so permissions could be relaxed during lunch or after business hours.Social media is being put to use in many enterprises; Ford, for example, is spending 25% of its marketing budget on social media. Social media reputation tracking is a hot topic in marketing, too. Yet, according to a Robert Half Technology report published in October, 54% of CIOs surveyed say they block social media websites completely.Chris King, director of product marketing at Palo Alto Networks, says “IT departments are stuck in an old world. In the old world, if an application has a business use, then it’s safe and you allow it. If it doesn’t have a business use, then it’s a threat and you block it. That black and white world is gone. Facebook has business uses, but it also poses threats.” King hopes that Palo Alto Networks can bring IT departments into a new world, where the benefits of Facebook can be embraced and the threats mitigated. The company says its product can help prevent data leaks, improve worker productivity, and reduce the threat of malware spread through social networks like Facebook. King also suggests allowing some use of Facebook in the workplace could improve morale. One idea he mentions, though he’s quick to point out the product isn’t currently being used by the military, is limiting soldiers read-only access to social media sites in the weeks before a deployment. This would keep sensitive information from being leaked, but allow soldiers to view pictures and status updates from home.Plugging the Proxy HolesAnother problem the company hopes to solve is the use of proxies to bypass firewalls and browsing restrictions. An increasing number of users are routing their Web traffic through public proxies or proxies on their home computers. King says, referring to the Robert Half report, that although 54% of enterprises are trying to ban Facebook, 94% of the companies whose network traffic Palo Alto Networks analyzed had employees actively using Facebook. We wrote about the company’s research in this area last year.Palo Alto Networks firewalls use their own AppID technology to identify applications based on an analysis of a number of parameters including application protocol detection and decryption, application protocol decoding, application signatures, and heuristics. This enables the firewalls to block applications regardless of what port the application is using. The firewalls can also identify many individual proxies, such as Ultrasurf and TOR.The End of Whack-a-Mole?All of this control sounds great for companies. However, if the technology works the way its supposed to, couldn’t it also be used by governments, such as China and Australia, which restrict access to the web? Could it also be used by ISPs to restrict their customers activities? If evasive technologies can’t stay one step ahead of control technologies it’s good news for enterprises, but bad news for freedom of speech. Still, it’s hard to believe that any company or country can win the game of whack-a-mole that’s afoot. Short of creating a whitelist of sites that employees (or citizens) can visit, there will always be holes in the firewall. But Palo Alto Networks’ technology offering is far more interesting than that tedious game, and its success isn’t riding on it. They just need to offer a better way for enterprises to manage the dizzying array of Internet applications and bring useful tools into the work place. And they seem to be succeeding thus far. Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of…last_img read more

BlackBerry Maker RIM Partners with 7Digital for PlayBook Music Store

first_imgThe music will be provided in MP3 format at 320 kbps quality, the company says.7digital’s service isn’t being used behind-the-scenes to power RIM’s own music store creation, but is a partnership where 7digital’s own music store will come pre-installed on PlayBook devices. There will be an icon branded “7digital” that ships on the PlayBook tablet, we’re told.Music RecommendationsAnother interesting tidbit from today’s news: in addition to being able to search for tracks, albums and artists and listening to song previews, PlayBook users will also be offered music recommendations. 7digital’s recommendation technology will power this feature designed to go head-to-head with iTunes’ Genius recommendations.What About Video?This is an important partnership for RIM, as it brings a complete music catalog to its tablet computer – 13 million tracks, which is the same number of songs on iTunes, according to Apple’s website. However, this is a partnership for a tablet computer, where listening to music comes secondary to watching video and reading books, we would imagine. Today’s news only focuses on the music, though, and not 7digital’s other content, like audiobooks and video. We’ve asked for additional details on when (or if) this non-music content would also be provided to PlayBook users and will update when we hear back.Update: 7digital will only say that there are no books or video offerings announced in this current relationship. No word on whether that will change in the future.Also, in case you’re wondering what the 7digital store looks like on the PlayBook, here’s a screenshot: The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology sarah perez Tags:#BlackBerry#mobile#news#NYT#Sponsors#web Related Posts RIM, maker of BlackBerry smartphones and the forthcoming PlayBook tablet, has today announced a partnership with 7digital, a digital media and music store. The new store will offer over 13 million MP3 tracks from Warner Music Group, Universal, EMI and Sony and it will come pre-installed on the PlayBook as an application.7digital, a London-based digital media delivery company, offers music, videos and audiobooks to international customers on its online download store at 7digital.com. On the PlayBook, it will offer its music priced in a user’s local currency. Initially, 7digital’s music store will only be available to users in the U.S. and Canada, but will roll out to other international users over the course of 2011.(Note: Update below & new screenshot) What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaceslast_img read more