Archive for the ‘et cetera’ Category

Bioluminescent Creatures and Dinoflagellate Locales

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Not long before Curious Expeditions came to Eastern Europe to search for the wondrous and macabre, we had the opportunity to travel through Puerto Rico. It was a magical trip filled with rain forests, the gigantic SETI radio telescope in Aricebo, and the landing port of Ponce de Leon. However, one experience shines above the rest. On the island of Vieques, in a dense mangrove swamp is one of the most magical places we has ever had the pleasure to visit.

We had come on a moonless night and the stars shone down as perfect pinpoints. It was a cool summer night when we slipped into the warm, dark water. (Actually I less a€oeslippeda€A and more fell face first out of my kayak into the salty bay.) As we glided into the water, our faces were suddenly bathed in an eerie, otherworldly green. Brilliant plumes of translucent green swirled all about our limbs making us glow. The light wasna€™t coming from above, but was radiating from all around us. From the water itself.

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Transperancy International : Increase Revenue Transparency

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a€oeThe tragic paradox, that many resource-rich countries remain poor, stems from a lack of data on oil and gas revenues and how they are managed. Companies must do more to increase transparency,a€A said Huguette Labelle, Chair of TI.

[Transperancy International]

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Posted: May 6th, 2008
at 8:11pm by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: myninjaplease,green,not ninja-worthy,business,politricks,primary sources,et cetera

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Kidnapped in Gaza

More than most journos, the BBCa€™s Alan Johnston has had his close-up with the imbalance between Israeli fortunes and those of the Palestinians.

But the reporter, who refused to cover Gaza from the comfy confines of Tel Aviv or Jerusalem or, worse still, rely on Al Jazeera footage, was also the subject of a real-life drama few TV thrillers could match.

One day in March 2007, Johnston was snatched from his car by a shadowy band of kidnappers belonging to the Army of Islam and was kept in a three-month captivity that had the world on the edge of its seat.

Johnstona€™s appearance in Toronto Wednesday, April 30, at a gathering hosted by Canadian Journalists for Free Expression was his thank-you to supporters here who joined others around the planet to press for his safe release.

a€oeIt was one of the most moving things I have ever known,a€A says a gracious Johnston on the phone from London, where he now works in the relatively safe environs of Bush House, home of BBC World Service radio. a€oeSo many people stood up for me. It was extraordinary.a€A

But nowhere was the support more generous than in Gaza itself, where not only Palestinian journalists but also the citizenry turned out day after day to demand the release of the only Western journalist who had told their story while living among them.

As well as a kidnap drama, Johnstona€™s story is about the limits of knowing in a place as complicated as Gaza, even for someone who lives there 24/7. And in a perverse irony, the only Western journalist in the Palestinian enclave had to follow the most significant development in the Palestinian struggle since the death of Yasser Arafat with the rest of us on BBC World Service radio.

Wea€™re talking about that night in June of last year when Hamas pulled off a military putsch that sent Fatah packing from Gaza. Lying in his bedroom jail, Johnston tried to follow events, listening to the fiercest bombardment hea€™d heard in a place where a nighttime symphony of small-arms fire is as normal as the sound of crickets.

It was the Hamas takeover that inevitably set the stage for Johnstona€™s release.

a€oeHamas delivered the knockout blow, and the first thing they said was that they would free me,a€A Johnston recalls. But was he a step closer to freedom or to death?

Soon after Hamas announced its intentions, his kidnappers decked him out in an explosives-filled suicide jacket and paraded him before TV cameras as a warning of what would happen if Hamas or anyone else tried to spring him. a€oeI was worried that in any rescue I might not make it,a€A Johnston recalls.

But Hamas did prevail, and its prize was having its Gaza chief bring a freed Johnston before a relieved press corps, a public relations victory that allowed the organization to show that Fatah lawlessness was history and the Palestinian territory was under new management.

Although his three-year stint reporting in Gaza ended with a bang, Johnston had otherwise been in sync with his neighbours.

a€oeLiving a Gazan experience, I was there for every Israeli raid and I was under every Israeli sonic boom, just like the Gazans,a€A Johnston says.

BBC listeners will remember Johnstona€™s distinctive voice a€" higher-pitched than the standard broadcast bass a€" and his on-the-ground reporting of what passes for ordinary life there.

a€oeI tried to cover the conflict in a way that people can relate to,a€A he says. a€oeGaza is more than a conflict. There are people studying, starting careers, opening shops, getting married and having kids. Theya€™re making their way in an extraordinary setting.a€A

Perhaps ita€™s because he has this unique vantage point that he offers as much equivocation as journalistic certainty. He admits, for example, that there was much that eluded him about Gazan politics, even after breathing its air for so long.

a€oeI always found it quite hard to understand the factions within Hamas,a€A which, like any political outfit, is filled with hard-liners and moderates, the former now in the ascendancy.

Then there are those rockets fired regularly from northern Gaza into southern Israel. Is that the work of Hamas? I ask him.

a€oeIt often wasna€™t directly Hamas,a€A he says. a€oeIt was more likely Islamic Jihad or occasionally and somewhat ironically the Al Aqsa Brigades, which are aligned with Fataha€A a€" Israela€™s supposed partners in peace.

a€oeIta€™s important to say the rocket fire is feeble and usually does little damage,a€A Johnston says, a€oethough ita€™s meant to kill, especially when it involves the bombardment of urban areas. But to focus only on the rocket fire is not useful in understanding the desperate need to find a political solution to a problem.a€A

As Johnston points out, a€oeEighty per cent of the residents of Gaza are refugees who are embittered by the loss of Jaffa,a€A the Arab settlement thata€™s now an artsy suburb of Tel Aviv, an hour up the Mediterranean coast.

As well as posing a political challenge, Gaza poses a moral one. a€oeOne people has a state, one does not,a€A Johnston says. a€oeOne people is occupied, the other is not.a€A

Parachute journalists shy away from that part of the story. Johnston couldna€™t, because he lived it. via

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Posted: May 6th, 2008
at 11:24am by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: hood status,apple,politricks,fo' real?,9th dan,et cetera

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Artropolis : MNP Edition : Gallery Directory

Welcome to Artropolis! Of the MNP splendor that is.

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As a tribute to the galleries, the artists, and the exhibitors that represented themselves at this year’s Artropolis- myninjaplease would like to unite some of the ninja artists that were seen at this year’s event, as well as the galleries/individuals that currently represent them in one nonadhesive (can art be cohesive?) community that hopefully will see each other’s progress at next years Art Chicago and Next.

Artropolis showcased 780 galleries, dealers and artists from 242 cities and 28 countries exhibiting at five concurrent shows.

Myninjaplease, that is a sensory overload even for the non-blinkers….with that in mind we want to help to diminish some of the micro - "symbiotic sensitivity," or rather, showcase a new league of like-minded ninjas. But I am no expert and definitly know far less about art, the more and more that appears….

In the next few months you will see 67 artists from 37 galleries :

Douglas Dawson

Richard Norton Gallery

Adler & Conkright Fine Art

Landfall Press

Carl Solway Gallery

Worthington Gallery

R.S. Johnson Fine Art

Nohra Haime Gallery

Russell Bowman Fine Art

Max Lang Gallery

Roebling Hall Art Gallery

William Siegal

Thomas Rehbein Gallerie

Tony Wight Gallery

Shultz Contemporary

Jerald Melberg Gallery

Maya Polsky Gallery

Country Club Gallery

Bravin Lee programs

Darren Knight Gallery

Lisa Boyle Gallery

LLND

Galerie of Marseille

Allegoric

Kinkead Contemporary

Galerie Gabriel Rolt

GalerAAa Marta Cervera

Galerie Kolb

Galeriat 20

Ingalls & Associates

Madder 139

Edward Day Gallery

Pippy Houldsworth

Packer Gallery

Swarm Studios

Stux Gallery

Kavi Gupta Gallery

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Thank you artists, and bravo galleries! Until Artropolis 2009!

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Posted: May 2nd, 2008
at 8:00am by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: myninjaplease,art,web,contemporary,et cetera

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Overseas Chinese rally in support of Beijing Olympics, against Western media’s biased coverage

Many Chinese expatriates and students in the United States, Japan and Europe rallied on Saturday to express their support to the upcoming Beijing Olympics, and their anger at some Western media’s biased coverage of the recent Lhasa riots.

Thousands of Chinese Americans and overseas Chinese rallied outside the Cable News Network (CNN)’s studios in downtown Los Angeles to protest anti-Chinese remarks by Jack Cafferty, one of the network’s commentators.

The protestors crowded the sidewalks, holding placards which read: "No Racial Discrimination," "CNN, Don’t Fool Americans," "No Media distortion" and "True Apology from CNN."

Singing patriotic Chinese songs and shouting "CNN Liar, Cafferty Fire," the protestors demanded a true and sincere apology from the CNN and Cafferty, as well as his dismissal from his post.

On April 9, as the Olympic torch relay was underway in San Francisco, Cafferty said in a CNN program that goods from China were "junk," and "I think they’re basically the same bunch of goons and thugs they’ve been for the last 50 years," apparently referring to the Chinese people.

Over 300 Chinese Americans and Chinese nationals gathered near the U.S. Capitol to protest against some U.S. media’s and politicians’ biased remarks about the Lhasa riots on March 14, which killed 18 civilians and one police officer.

The peaceful demonstration in the Upper Senate Park, which lies across the street from the U.S. Capitol Building, attracted Chinese Americans and overseas Chinese of all ages and of various professions.

"American media, you can muzzle our voices, but cannot smother the truth!" reads one banner.

The demonstrators are also infuriated by some members of the U.S. Congress, who support the Dalai clique for their own political purposes.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Chinese students in Japan signed their names on three flags to extend their support for the Beijing Olympic Games.

The campaign, initiated by the Chinese Students in Japan Friendship Association, plans to collect over 10,000 signatures of Chinese students and scholars in Japan.

At the opening ceremony of the campaign held in the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, the Chinese students set up banners promoting Olympic spirits and the Beijing Olympics slogans such as "One World, One Dream."

The flags will then be presented to the Organizing Committee of the Beijing Olympic Games.

Nearly 10,000 Chinese expatriates and students held a peaceful demonstration in downtown Paris to express their support for the Beijing Olympics and their anger at a few French media’s distorted reports about the Lhasa riots.

The rally, starting from midday at the Place de la Republique square, was the biggest ever staged by overseas Chinese in France in nearly 20 years, organizers said.

The demonstrators, dressed in red T-shirts with the slogan "Olympic Games is a bridge, not a wall," waved both Chinese and French national flags and chanted patriotic songs.

They also protested against the stance of a few French media which have provided misleading information on the Olympic torch relay and the Lhasa riots.

In London, over 3,000 Chinese expatriates and students staged a silence demonstration at a square opposite the British Parliament building, in protest of distorted reports by some Western media including British Broadcast Corporation (BBC) on the Tibet riots.

"Today, we are here to oppose media distortion and media fabrication in the recent events. We are here in a quest for objectivity, fairness and justice," a demonstration coordinator read out a statement.

"As we heard, we saw, we say the BBC on some of the recent events has misled the British public and the rest of the world by providing intensive untruthful reports and biased coverage."

The rally was mobilized via the Internet and received enthusiastic responses from all parts of Britain.

Over 2,000 Chinese studying or working in Manchester and neighboring cities in central Britain held a silence demonstration against media distortion in front of the BBC office building.

In an open letter to the BBC, the protestors said the BBC adopted "double-standards" and failed to provide credible and independent coverage of the Olympic torch relay and the Lhasa riots.

Meanwhile, thousands of Chinese expatriates and students from all across Germany staged a peaceful demonstration in Berlin to protest against the biased news coverage of the Lhasa riots and voice their support for the Beijing Olympics.

Nearly 3,000 people participated in the march, beginning from Berlin’s famed downtown Friedrichstrasse railway station to the Potsdamer Platz, a landmark square for the capital city.

During the rally, the protesters held banners such as "Tibet was, is and will be a part of China" and "Boycotting Olympics = New Berlin Wall," and sang patriotic songs.

Moreover, some 1,500 Chinese expatriates and students staged a peaceful demonstration in Vienna to show their support for the Olympics and their anger at the "pro-Tibet independence" activists’ attacks of the Olympic torch relay.

The demonstration, titled "Overseas Chinese in Vienna Supporting Beijing Olympics Demonstration," was organized by 25 Chinese groups in Austria and local Chinese-language media organizations. [englishpeople]

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Posted: April 21st, 2008
at 5:42pm by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: myninjaplease,crime,web,not ninja-worthy,games,business,weaponry,real life news,et cetera

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Keynote Speakers : Tim Robbins

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A renowned actor, director and writer, Robbins used his keynote address at the National Association of Broadcasters conference on April 14 to speak out about the "dangerous lack of diversity of opinion" that characterizes the state of broadcasting today.

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Posted: April 16th, 2008
at 11:00am by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: myninjaplease,mnp is for the children,keynote speakers,et cetera

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London torch flame-out a bad sign for Beijing

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LONDONAA a€" It wasn’t fast, high or strong a€" in fact, it barely moved and couldn’t be seen at all. The daylong slapstick stumble of the Olympic flame could not have been the sort of image that Beijing’s leaders had in mind when they planned the longest torch relay in the event’s 72-year history.

The torch crossed London Sunday, constantly surrounded by a dozen burly Chinese guards in blue jumpsuits, who were themselves surrounded by a special torch-protection squad of London Metropolitan Police officers wearing bright yellow vests, then an angry circle of Tibetan-rights protesters wearing the bright colours of their flag, themselves surrounded by an outer phalanx of frustrated pro-China demonstrators, all of them circled with more police. One protester tried to grab the torch away from the carrier. Others used fire extinguishers to try to douse it.

For those brave souls who withstood the unseasonably snowy weather to catch a glimpse of the Olympic symbol and its celebrity carriers, disappointment was the inevitable result: What was visible was a dense and riotous sociology of policing and political protest, without a flame in sight. In Beijing, the disappointment must have been even greater.

What the world saw throughout the day, and is almost certain to see in cities such as Paris today and San Francisco on Wednesday and New Delhi next week, was not a display of a proud and resurgent China greeting the world, but instead a show of the sort of colourful and clashing opinion that is strictly forbidden within China. Indeed, TV screens in China Sunday showed only the daylong relay’s opening moments, which were conducted, for security reasons, in a completely empty stadium.

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The moment the torch left the stadium, carried by British Olympic rowing champion Steve Redgrave, it was assaulted by hundreds of protesters. At one point, as the torch neared St. Paul’s Cathedral, it was suddenly given an unplanned detour onto a double-decker bus so it could cover several kilometres without protesters. Even that didn’t work, as an activist immediately threw himself in front of the bus.

Chinese Ambassador Fu Ying, who had planned to carry the torch outside the British Museum, was forced to run along a police-lined side street in Soho’s Chinatown, with most spectators kept far from the scene.

Worst of all for Beijing, the torch-carriers and local politicians themselves seemed to enjoy the spirit of protest; many, despite agreeing to participate, told reporters that they sided with the protesters.

Mr. Redgrave, the only torch-carrier to appear on Chinese state TV, told the BBC that the phalanx of protesters gave him a feeling of patriotic pride: a€oeIt’s our nature of being very open in this country, and the protesters got their chance to make their point as it was passing, and as an athlete I’m pleased that this is happening.a€A

At 10 Downing Street, Prime Minister Gordon Brown welcomed the torch, after some debate within his government, but made a public show of declining to touch it.

Some of the Tibet protesters, most of whom said they were calling for a Quebec-like status for the Chinese province rather than independence, engaged in scuffles with the police, and there were more than 30 arrests. Protesters chanted a€oestop the killing,a€A a reference to reports that at least 100 Tibetans have died in the past month during an uprising in China over Tibet, which has been part of the Chinese state for almost 50 years.

The torch relay was supposed to draw public attention away from this repressive image of China and replace it with a populist image of a country that is open to the world a€" a moment that had been welcomed not only by Chinese officials, but also by people of Chinese descent in Britain and North America.

Among the crowds of counter-demonstrators, there were ordinary citizens who said they had simply wanted to express their pride in being Chinese at a historic moment, and felt dumbfounded and disappointed to see the moment overtaken by weighty matters of state. Some said they were equally disappointed by the protesters and by the Chinese government, which has done little to defuse the disputes over human rights and Tibet’s status.

That frustration appeared likely to continue; Chinese government officials in Tibet declared yesterday that they will continue to make plans to route the Olympic torch through Tibet, despite high-level calls from world leaders to route it around the embattled province.

Zhang Qingli, the head of the Chinese Communist Party in Tibet, told Chinese TV yesterday that a€oechallenges lie ahead, as the Dalai clique is plotting new sabotage activities a€¦ all relevant departments must take every effort to prepare for the torch relay and prevent any possible mishap.a€A

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[theglobeandmail]

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Posted: April 7th, 2008
at 1:44am by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: web,games,politricks,et cetera

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Rainydayz Remixes

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Posted: April 4th, 2008
at 9:00am by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: music,design,et cetera

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Sightseeing With The Enemy

My goal was to be in Myanmar when the regime fell. I was backpacking around Southeast Asia and had concocted a plan to legally enter the country from northern Thailand on a tourist visa. Tensions were rising, and I was ready to begin my prestigious career as a foreign correspondent by covering the clashes between monk protestors and government troops, and hopefully the impending collapse of the corrupt military junta that had ruled the country for decades.

Thousands of monks were protesting in the streets, defying the fascist government on a grand scale not seen since similar protests occurred in 1988. Revolution seemed imminent, though there was also a chance that the government would react like it did during the last period of upheaval and massacre nonviolent protestors. The country was on the edge.

The plan to infiltrate Myanmar was not motivated solely by professional aspirations. There were personal reasons, as well. I fancied myself as someone with revolutionary ideals, someone who wanted to witness history firsthand instead of reading about it. The events in Myanmar exemplified the reasons I wanted to be a journalist: to shed light on the injustices of the world and those rebelling against them. While most kids my aged wished they could go back in time to see their team win the Super Bowl or to hear their favorite banda€™s last concert, I wished I could join the revelers in Berlin as the Wall came down, or in Spain when Franco died. An entire nation of long-suffering people was literally about to be handed freedom in one moment. I couldna€™t think of a more worthy experience.

I assumed Ia€™d be one of the only aspiring writers there, and simply being there would give me a leg up on the competition. Unfortunately the perfect plan met an early demise when my visa application was denied. Nonetheless, I would soon cross the Thai/Myanmar border, but only for an hour, and I would accomplish nothing besides once again getting caught up in a travelera€™s moral quandary with no clear-cut solution.

My visa application was denied while most of the world was waiting with bated breath. I was quite off put. My name no longer had any chance of soon appearing in boldface, my face as an exquisitely detailed cartoon in the Wall Street Journal. To make matters worse, the military junta ruling Burma had cracked down harshly on dissidents and the revolution no longer seemed remotely forthcoming. I tried to cloud my disappointment by settling into the routine hedonistic delights of the Southeast Asia backpacker trail, focusing on Scandinavian twentysomethings and Chang beer instead of politics and career breaks.

Had I been a braver man, with any semblance of an idea of what I was doing, or of moderate resources, or even a touch of experience, I might have tried to sneak into the country or finagle my way into a visa, but I didna€™t. I didna€™t even attempt to do so. Instead, the only time I set foot in Burma and came into contact with the regime was on a border run in northern Thailand.

Relations between Burma and Thailand have long been somewhat hostile, though they have improved of late. The border region, however, is a hotbed of conflict. It has long been associated with violence, narcotics trafficking, human trafficking and gem smuggling, not to mention the Burmese rebel groups that the Thai government, while not condoning, allows to operate in Thai territory. Refugee camps overpopulated with those escaping the atrocities perpetrated by the Burmese government dot the border as well.

Crossing into Burma from the Thai border is forbidden. The only legal way to enter Burma is to fly. The only exception, however, is a loophole that allows those coming from Thailand on a border run to purchase a one-day visa. [Sightseeing With The Enemy in full]

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Posted: April 4th, 2008
at 8:00am by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: myninjaplease,crime,web,home,politricks,weaponry,real life news,et cetera

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