US special forces help in hunt for warlord Kony


Post 2.708

US special forces help in hunt for warlord Kony

Associated PressBy DAVID RISING | Associated Press – 8 hrs agohttp://news.yahoo.com/us-special-forces-help-hunt-warlord-kony-214521359.htmlThis July 31, 2006 file photo shows Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, during a meeting with a delegation of 160 officials and lawmakers from northern Uganda and representatives of

This July 31, 2006 file photo shows Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, during a meeting with a delegation of 160 officials and lawmakers from northern Uganda and representatives of non-governmental organizations in Congo near the Sudan border. An activist group based in Southern California is getting worldwide attention for a video that documents wartime atrocities in Africa. The film released Monday, March 7, 2012 is part of an effort called KONY 2012. It targets the Lord’s Resistance Army and its leader, Joseph Kony, a bush fighter wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. (AP Photo, File)

OBO, Central African Republic (AP) — Deep in the jungle, this small, remote Central African village is farther from the coast than any point on the continent. It’s also where three international armies have zeroed in on Joseph Kony, one of the world’s most wanted warlords.

U.S. Army special forces Captain Gregory, 29, from Texas, center, who would only give his first name in accordance with special forces security guidelines, speaks with troops from the Central African

U.S. Army special forces Captain Gregory, 29, from Texas, center, who would only give his first name in accordance with special forces security guidelines, speaks with troops from the Central African Republic and Uganda, in Obo, Central African Republic, Sunday, April 29, 2012, where they are searching for infamous warlord Joseph Kony. Obo was the first place in the Central African Republic that Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) attacked in 2008 and today it’s one of four forward operating locations where U.S. special forces have paired up with local troops and Ugandan soldiers to seek out Kony and hope he will stand trial at the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity after his forces cut a wide and bloody swath across several central African nations. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

Obo was the first place in the Central African Republic that Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army attacked in 2008; today, it’s one of four forward operating locations where U.S. special forces have paired up with local troops and Ugandan soldiers to seek out Kony, who is believed likely to be hiding out in the rugged terrain northwest of the town. For seven years he has been wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity after his forces cut a wide and bloody swath across several central African nations with rapes, abductions and killings.

This photo taken Friday, April 27, 2012, shows an aerial view over northern Uganda. Some locals in Gulu in northern Uganda have other concerns that complicate the military mission of forces now huntin

This photo taken Friday, April 27, 2012, shows an aerial view over northern Uganda. Some locals in Gulu in northern Uganda have other concerns that complicate the military mission of forces now hunting for Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) leader Joseph Kony, such as the fear of reprisal attacks if they are thought to be helping the authorities find him, or concerns that troops hunting him will not be able to distinguish between the regular LRA fighters and their abducted children. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

Part of the LRA’s success in eluding government forces has been its ability to slip back and forth over the porous borders of the Central African Republic, South Sudan and Congo. But since late last year, U.S. forces have been providing intelligence, looking at patterns of movement, and setting up better communications to link the countries’ forces together so that they can better track the guerrilla force.

Sent by President Barack Obama at the end of 2011, the 100 U.S. soldiers are split up about 15 to 30 per base, bringing in American technology and experience to assist local forces.

A soldier from the Central African Republic looks out over the dense forest as he stands guard at a building used for joint meetings between them and U.S. Army special forces, in Obo, Central African

A soldier from the Central African Republic looks out over the dense forest as he stands guard at a building used for joint meetings between them and U.S. Army special forces, in Obo, Central African Republic, Sunday, April 29, 2012. Obo was the first place in the Central African Republic that Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) attacked in 2008 and today it’s one of four forward operating locations where U.S. special forces have paired up with local troops and Ugandan soldiers to seek out Kony. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

Exact details on specific improvements that the American forces have brought to the table, however, are classified, to avoid giving Kony the ability to take countermeasures.

“We don’t necessarily go and track into the bush but what we do is we incorporate our experiences with the partner nation’s experiences to come up with the right solution to go out and hopefully solve this LRA problem,” said Gregory, a 29-year-old captain from Texas, who would only give his first name in accordance with security guidelines.

In this photo taken Friday, April 27, 2012, Adye Sunday, 25, right, who was abducted when she was 13 by Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) leader Joseph Kony and forced to be one of his dozens of "wives" an

In this photo taken Friday, April 27, 2012, Adye Sunday, 25, right, who was abducted when she was 13 by Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) leader Joseph Kony and forced to be one of his dozens of “wives” and says he’s also the father of her two children, one of whom Betty, 3, stands at left, prepares food to sell at a center set up to help those who have left or fled the LRA, in Gulu, Uganda. Adye Sunday isn’t sure about the calls to kill or capture LRA leader Joseph Kony, who inspires conflicted thoughts among some people in northern Uganda, despite more than 3,000 children being abducted by the LRA since 2008, according to the U.N. and Human Rights Watch. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

The U.S. troops also receive reports from local hunters and others that they help analyze together with surveillance information.

“It’s very easy to blame everything on the LRA but there are other players in the region — there are poachers, there are bandits, and we have to sift that to filter what is LRA,” he said.

Central African Republic soldiers largely conduct security operations in and around the town, while Ugandan soldiers, who have been in the country since 2010, conduct longer-range patrols looking for Kony and his men.

In this photo of  Thursday April 19, 2012 Ugandan soldiers hunting for fugitive warlord Joseph Kony deep in the Central African Republic jungle patrol the area. For Ugandan soldiers tasked with catchi

In this photo of Thursday April 19, 2012 Ugandan soldiers hunting for fugitive warlord Joseph Kony deep in the Central African Republic jungle patrol the area. For Ugandan soldiers tasked with catching Joseph Kony, the real threat is not the elusive Central Africa warlord and his brutal gang. Encounters between Ugandan troops and Lord’s Resistance Army rebels are so rare that the Kony hunters worry about other things when they walk the jungle: armed poachers, wild beasts, honey bees, and even a widely-ranging fly that torments their ears during day. (AP Photo/Rodney Muhumuza)

Since January, they have killed seven LRA fighters in the area and captured one, while rescuing 15 people abducted by the group including five children, said their local commander, Col. Joseph Balikuddembe.

There has been no contact with the LRA since March, however, according to Ugandan Army spokesman Col. Felix Kulayigye, who said the LRA now is in survival mode. The LRA is thought to today number only around 150 to 300 die-hard fighters.

“They’re hiding,” he said. “They are not capable of doing.”

In this photo of  Thursday April 19, 2012 Ugandan soldiers hunting for Joseph Kony walk through the jungle near River Vovodo, Central African Republic . For Ugandan soldiers tasked with catching Josep

In this photo of Thursday April 19, 2012 Ugandan soldiers hunting for Joseph Kony walk through the jungle near River Vovodo, Central African Republic . For Ugandan soldiers tasked with catching Joseph Kony, the real threat is not the elusive Central Africa warlord and his brutal gang. Encounters between Ugandan troops and Lord’s Resistance Army rebels are so rare that the Kony hunters worry about other things when they walk the jungle: armed poachers, wild beasts, honey bees, and even a widely-ranging fly that torments their ears during day. (AP Photo/Rodney Muhumuza)

But with Kony still around, there are wide ranging-fears that the LRA will be able to rebuild.

“There’s periods of time when the LRA will lie low when the military pressure is too high or where there’s a threat that they don’t understand such as the American intervention,” said Matthew Brubacher, a political affairs officer with the U.N.’s mission in Congo, who was also an International Criminal Court investigator on the Kony case for five years.

“But then after a while after they figure it out, if they have the opportunity they’ll try to come back, so it’s just a matter of time they’ll try to come back. Kony always said ‘if I have only 10 men, I can always rebuild the force.”

In this photo of  Wednesday April 18, 2012 Ugandan troops load supplies to be sent to squads hunting for rebel leader Joseph Kony deep in the Central African Republic jungle. For Ugandan soldiers task

In this photo of Wednesday April 18, 2012 Ugandan troops load supplies to be sent to squads hunting for rebel leader Joseph Kony deep in the Central African Republic jungle. For Ugandan soldiers tasked with catching Joseph Kony, the real threat is not the elusive Central Africa warlord and his brutal gang. Encounters between Ugandan troops and Lords Resistance Army rebels are so rare that the Kony hunters worry about other things when they walk the jungle: armed poachers, wild beasts, honey bees, and even a widely-ranging fly that torments their ears during day. (AP Photo/Rodney Muhumuza

A Ugandan soldier, who is tracking down Lord's Resistance Army fugitive leaders, walks at a forest near river Chinko

A Ugandan soldier, who is tracking down Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) fugitive leaders, walks at a forest bordering Central African Republic (CAR), South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo, near river Chinko April 19, 2012. The Ugandan “hunting squad” pushes through the thick jungle of central Africa in search of the fugitive warlord Joseph Kony. The 58-man special operations group, codenamed 77-kilo, is at the forefront of a reinvigorated international drive to close the net on the sadistic Kony and the remnants of his depleted LRA rebel group. Picture taken April 19, 2012. REUTERS/Justin Dralaze (CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC – Tags: CIVIL UNREST CRIME LAW POLITICS MILITARY)

Right now, expectations are high of the Americans serving in Obo and Djema in the Central African Republic, as well as those in Dungu in Congo and Nzara in South Sudan.

“For all the communities, the U.S. bases in Obo and Djema means one, Kony will be arrested, and two, there will be a lot of money for programs, humanitarian programs,” said Sabine Jiekak of the Italian humanitarian aid agency Coopi.

Passersby walk under a projection that is part of the non-profit organization Invisible Children's "Kony 2012" viral video campaign, in New York

Passersby walk under a projection that is part of the non-profit organization Invisible Children’s “Kony 2012” viral video campaign, in New York April 20, 2012.    REUTERS/Keith Bedford

Central African Republic Deputy Defense Minister Jean Francis Bozize said it’s been difficult for the poor country’s small military to deal with Kony in the southeast as well as several other militant groups in the north.

An African Union mission expected to begin later this year should help expedite the cross-border pursuit of the LRA.

In the meantime, Bozize said the American forces could make a big difference.

“The involvement of U.S. forces with their assistance in providing information and intelligence will allow for all forces to operate from the same base-level of intelligence … (giving) better coordination with better results,” he told reporters in the capital, Bangui.

Residents watch the premiere of "Kony 2012" in Lira district

Residents watch the premiere of “Kony 2012”, a 30-minute YouTube film created by the nonprofit group Invisible Children, in Lira district located 376 km (234 miles) north of Uganda’s capital Kampala March 13, 2012. REUTERS/James Akena

But the military mission is not a simple one.

How do you find small groups of seasoned fighters hidden deep in the jungle, who have eluded authorities for decades? How do you prevent brutal reprisal attacks on civilians? How can you bring together several countries’ troops to cooperate on cross-border pursuits?

The LRA usually attacks late at night, then melts back away into the jungle. Seasoned bush fighters, they employ many techniques to elude pursuit — walking along rocks or along streams to avoid leaving tracks, for example, and sometimes even marching backward to fool trackers.

LRA leader Kony poses with daughter and son at peace negotiations in Ri-Kwangba

Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) leader Joseph Kony at peace negotiations between the LRA and Ugandan religious and cultural leaders in Ri-Kwangba, southern Sudan, November 30, 2008. REUTERS/Africa24 Media

Kony has reportedly stopped using radios and satellite phones for communications, instead relying on an elaborate system involving runners and multiple rendezvous points.

Key to his capture is good information from local residents — which they will only give when they can be sure of their own safety, according to American commanders.

“The population have to believe that they are secure and once they believe they are secure from the LRA, you start to deny the LRA the opportunity to attack villages to get people, to get food, to get medicine,” Gen. Carter Ham, the head of U.S. Africa Command, told reporters in Stuttgart.

FILE - In this Nov. 12, 2006 file photo the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, Joseph Kony, left, and his deputy Vincent Otti sit inside a tent at Ri-Kwamba in Southern Sudan. A video by the advoca

FILE – In this Nov. 12, 2006 file photo the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, Joseph Kony, left, and his deputy Vincent Otti sit inside a tent at Ri-Kwamba in Southern Sudan. A video by the advocacy group Invisible Children about the atrocities carried out by jungle militia leader Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army is rocketing into viral video territory and is racking up millions of page views seemingly by the hour. (AP Photo/Stuart Price, File, Pool)

That may take some time in Obo, a town of some 15,000 where around 3,500 people have sought refuge to escape LRA violence in the area.

Rural farmers and others stick to within 5 kilometers (3 miles) of the village for safety — originally the area that Central African Republic soldiers were able to patrol but now more a rule of thumb followed by the locals.

They’ve started recently to venture out farther, emboldened by the presence of the Ugandans and Americans to help the government forces, but are too nervous to stray too wide from the safety of the village.

Residents watch the premiere of "Kony 2012" in Lira district

Residents watch the premiere of “Kony 2012”, a 30-minute YouTube film created by the nonprofit group Invisible Children, in Lira district located 376 km (234 miles) north of Uganda’s capital Kampala March 13, 2012. Lira was one of the areas that was ravaged by 20 years of the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) rebellion. Picture taken March 13, 2012. REUTERS/James Akena (UGANDA – Tags: CONFLICT CRIME LAW POLITICS)

“They’re still scared, they’re still wary because Joseph Kony is still out there,” said Mayor Joseph Kpioyssrani, looking at the jungle behind him.

Kony’s LRA sprung up in 1986 as a rebel movement among the Acholi people in northern Uganda to fight against the Kampala government, but has for decades been leading its violent campaign without any clear political ideology.

Emmanuel Daba, 33, was one of 76 people abducted in the first LRA raid on Obo in 2008 and forced to fight for the guerrillas for two years before managing to escape.

Jason Russell, co-founder of non-profit Invisible Children and director of "Kony 2012" viral video campaign, poses in New York

Jason Russell, co-founder of non-profit Invisible Children and director of “Kony 2012” viral video campaign, poses in New York, March 9, 2012. The director of a viral video that calls for the arrest of Joseph Kony, the fugitive rebel leader of Lord’s Resistance Army militia group in Uganda, agreed on Friday with skeptics who have called the film oversimplified, saying it was deliberately made that way. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES – Tags: ENTERTAINMENT MEDIA POLITICS PORTRAIT)

“We were trained to kill — forced to kill — otherwise we’d be killed ourselves,” he said outside the tiny radio station where he now works broadcasting messages to try and encourage others with the LRA to defect or escape. “I still have dreams — nightmares.”

This year, the U.S. Defense Department is committing $35 million to efforts to find and fight Kony.

Since 2008, the U.S. State Department has sent some $50 million in funds to support the Ugandan military’s logistics and non-lethal operations against the LRA, including contracting two transport helicopters to ferry troops and supplies. Another $500 million has been given over that time for the broader northern Uganda recovery effort in the aftermath of Kony’s presence there.

In Stuttgart, Ham keeps a “Kony 2012” poster hanging on his office door.

Though he isn’t committing to the goal of the viral YouTube campaign to see Kony neutralized by the end of the year, he does define success as either capturing or killing the LRA leader eventually.

“I’m confident that the mission will be successful, but I can’t give you a timeline when that’s going to occur…” Ham said. “It is one of those organizations that if you remove the senior leader and the small number of those who surround him, I believe this is one of those organizations that will not be able to regenerate.”

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15 Serious Games Aiming to Change the World


Post 2.706

15 Serious Games Aiming to Change the World

http://www.onlineuniversities.com/blog/2012/04/15-serious-games-aiming-to-change-the-world/

By

Using games for purposes other than entertainment is nothing new. There are war games, educational games, throne games. But a new class of games has sprung up in recent years, designed to create awareness and raise support for a variety of global issues. Such serious games seek to harness the power of competition and/or novelty to attract players and get the word out for a good cause. Here are 15 games you can play and be a better person for it.

  1. Catalysts for Change: On April 3, 2012, Catalysts for Change went live online for 48 hours. The goal of the game is to inspire people from all over the globe to come together and share ideas about easing the poverty that over 1 billion people live in. The game involves playing cards with words like “momentum” or “adaptation” on them to spark possible poverty solution ideas. When players build on your card (idea), you earn points.
  2. Spent: Designed by Urban Ministries of Durham, a faith-based provider of food and shelter for North Carolinians in need, Spent asks players to consider what life would be like as a homeless person. The game puts you in the shoes of someone who has lost their life savings, and has you choose one of three low-paying jobs to see for yourself how quickly your money runs out.
  3. World Without Oil: If you’ve ever wondered what life would look like without crude oil, this game was for you. With the tagline “play it before you live it,” WWO simulated the first eight months of a world oil crisis. The game ended on June 1, 2007, after 1,500 players had sent in fictional “personal accounts” of their life during the crisis, which were viewed by 110,000 people. Players also worked together to develop solutions that still provide insight into potential real-life answers for the future.
  4. 3rd World Farmer: This game was originally created by students at the IT-University in Copenhagen in 2005. The player is put in control of an African farm and must struggle to keep family, crops, and livestock alive while conflict and a lack of resources work against them. The designers’ hope is that people will play and realize how precarious survival is for many in Africa, and then do what they can to improve the lives of poor people there.
  5. Free Rice: The United Nations World Food Program operates this game, which seeks to educate the public while addressing the problem of world hunger by offering rice to hungry people free of charge. Players simply go to the website, pick a subject like world capitals or English grammar, and then start answering questions. For each correct answer, the program donates 10 grains of rice to someone in need.
  6. September 12th: A Toy World: The rules are simple: you can choose to shoot rockets at terrorists, or not. But be warned, missing civilians is virtually impossible. The purpose of this newsgame is to visually prove that the U.S. War on Terror is destined to failure, as every civilian killed results in dozens of terrorists created. It has been shown all over the world as a teaching tool against violence.
  7. Citizen Science: Back to the Future meets the EPA in this game, where players travel back in time to investigate what led to the local lake’s pollution and what they can do to prevent it in the future. Developed by the National Science Foundation in partnership with the University of Wisconsin, the game is meant to illustrate the social factors that contribute to environmental harm.
  8. Garbage Dreams: Cairo’s Zaballeen people may have the answer to the world’s trash problem. They recycle 80% of their trash (Zaballeen means “garbage people” in Arabic). Now you can test your mettle and see if you too can be as enterprising as they are. You have one goat, one factory, and 8 months to build a recycling system for the city. Can you make it happen?
  9. WeTopia: Such big names as Mattel, Clorox, and DeGeneres have lent their support to this game that’s like Farmville for a cause. Players build communities and accumulate “Joy” as a form of currency, which they can then donate in-game to real-life causes. When those causes reach 100% joy, the game’s developer donates real cash to the organization that was earned through player purchases and advertising revenue.
  10. Sweatshop: Sweatshop takes things one step further by incorporating humor, albeit black, into its message. The game begins by showing you a factory floor filled with crying or injured children who make high-end sneakers. Then it guides you through a series of choices you must make as the factory manager. As you decide whether to give your workers a safe working environment or focus on your bottom line, hopefully you will begin to wonder what kind of conditions the clothes you’re wearing came from.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. A Closed World: Game designers in Singapore created this game because of the shortage of content concerning LGBT issues. Here you lead a gay character through a forest filled with “demons” who try to stop you and force their beliefs on you. You must use your words and logic to navigate your way to find your beloved.
  2. On the Ground Reporter: Darfur: The first in the “On the Ground Reporter” series, this game brings players face to face with the shocking footage of hostilities in Darfur. The in-game objective is to find the truth and the story, but the overall goal is to expose people to the harsh realities of conflicts like that that just ended in Darfur.
  3. Fate of the World: The whole world is in your hands. This award-winning game forces you to deal with crises like natural disasters and a growing global population. By playing through the different scenarios, players get a sense of the real challenges the world could face in the next few generations. It is based on the research of an Oxford professor and was made with the help of a veteran game producer.
  4. Elude: The team behind “A Closed World” also produced this game that wants to change some of the public’s views about depression. The highs and lows of the illness are illustrated as your “mood” rises to the sky and falls to the depths of the earth. The game is only won when the player uses passion to reach happiness at the tree tops.
  5. Karma Tycoon: JPMorgan Chase Foundation was the unlikely backer of this game, where players try to move their “karmameter” to 100%. They do this by helping people through homeless shelters, youth centers, and other community help centers. A grant from Chase Bank starts the game off, but players must budget their money and earn more grants to help more people and solve more problems as the game progresses. So kids learn social and fiscal responsibility while playing

8 Reasons Final Exams Might Be All Wrong


Post 2.705

8 Reasons Final Exams Might Be All Wrong

http://www.bachelorsdegreeonline.com/blog/2012/8-reasons-final-exams-might-be-all-wrong/

April 29, 2012

Pretty much anything involving tests will rile up controversy in the education sector, particularly those of the standardized variety. But finals dredge up their own share of criticisms, and for reasons other than “not wanting to take them.” While they remain fully ingrained in the fabric of high schools and colleges, many have noted a trend away from the traditional setup thanks to these valid complaints. What this ultimately means for students and teachers alike is up to time, of course, although the likely scenario will see more of a shift in its structure rather than complete elimination.

  1. Final papers seem to be far more popular anyways

    So popular, in fact, that Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences consider finals the exceptions rather than the rules these days. In fact, any professor wanting to hold one has to submit a form asking for permission! Most just find the final paper a sufficient rubric for measuring students’ knowledge retention. Adding an exam on top of that just exhausts everyone involved with needless redundancy.

  2. Students who barely show up to class can still pass

    Not all classrooms allow for this unfortunate phenomenon, of course, but the ones that do understandably frustrate students who show up every day and wind up receiving the exact same scores. Final exams who pull their content almost exclusively from textbooks pose the highest risk of rewarding the veritable Punxsutawney Phils on campus, so it isn’t their existence so much as their particular structure which causes problems in this instance. The easiest solution for professors hoping to reward pupils involves adding attendance to part of their grade, and throwing in final questions only covered in lectures and activities.

  3. They aren’t the best gauge of skills

    Probably the biggest complaint launched against final exams involves how they just don’t accurately capture how well students understand the material. Comprehensive tests in particular earn this criticism because topics covered earlier in the semester have already begun fading. A trend at Northern Arizona University saw professors edging more towards testing more throughout the course rather than placing much of the weight on midterms and finals. Practitioners claim this practice serves as a far better tool for truly understanding where students’ unique strengths and weaknesses sit.

  4. Exhaustion

    Both educators and their students find the final examination process – whether studying for or grading – mentally and physically taxing. This especially holds a negative influence over those actually taking the tests themselves, as the exhaustion may very well compromise their scores. Even the most competent, intelligent student flubs a few questions when his and/or her brain focuses more on its desire to rest. Hence the popularity of easing the weight off stressful midterms and finals and spreading the grades out a little thinner across the semester.

  1. Awesome alternatives to tests exist

    Berkeley does a fine job of listing creative projects its professors have used in lieu of offering final exams. When designed right, they still challenge students to cobble together the knowledge gleaned over the entire course of a semester with the same – if not more – accuracy than the typical test. Not every topic necessarily lends itself to a written analysis, so replacing the traditional format has its advantages in labs, public speaking and drama courses, and plenty more.

  2. Teaching vs. Teaching to the exam

    It’s the very same criticism often levied onto standardized tests – teachers (especially those who recycle their finals from semester to semester) often feel tethered to the material. A more organic education experience would hinge more on the syllabus than the analyses, though it makes perfect sense why educators roll with such a time-cutting measure. However, critics of the concept think this strategy curtails classroom discussions that veer off into different, but educationally viable, ideas.

  3. Good students are already going to do well; Bad students are already going to do poorly

    Some schools in Canada have already dismantled their final exam and midterm policies because they see these tests as extraneous. As teacher Cherra-Lynne Olthof points out, by the end of the semester students already possess a pretty clear idea where their grades are headed. To some extent, this might also prove indicative of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Students who already know they’re headed for crummy grades might intentionally perform terribly on their finals, even if they have a chance to redeem themselves through them.

  4. Many consider the content rather “arbitrary”

    “Why do we have to memorize this? We’ll never use it in the real world…” plagues ever so many (if not all) educators at some point in their career. Sometimes, though, the complaints regarding rote learning do come supported by genuinely good points and not just plain whining. Conducting final exams on subjects with little to no bearing on future careers seems pointless to many education professionals, who feel as if stress should lay more with valuable life and job skills, which DO need testing.

10 Reasons the Government Should Not Regulate the Internet


Post 2.704

10 Reasons the Government Should Not Regulate the Internet

http://www.internetservice.net/2012/10-reasons-the-government-should-not-regulate-the-internet/

In the light of recent controversies regarding bills like the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act (PROTECT IP Act), Americans are having more discussions about the implications of a government-controlled internet. A reality in many parts of the world, regulated and heavily censored internet activity seems to be more of a possibility than ever for the United States as well. Here are ten of the reasons why governments should not regulate the internet.

  1. To Protect the First Amendment – One of the most cherished rights granted to Americans, the right to free speech and freedom of the press, is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution. Regulating and censoring online content would be in direct opposition of the Amendment.
  2. Encouraging Entrepreneurial Activity – An open internet also encourages another beloved aspect of the American Dream: the ability to create our own fortunes. The web allows entrepreneurs to fill any one of an endless array of niches, which stimulates economic activity.
  3. Facilitating Innovation – The internet as Americans know it today provides a variety of platforms for exploring emerging technology and even improving upon it, keeping the nation in the race of innovation and development of new areas.
  4. Complications of Regulating Legitimate Sites Under Sweeping Legislation – Broadly worded legislation could make it difficult to regulate legitimate sites, causing them to become lost in the shuffle of “objectionable” sites and depriving users of their potentially valuable information.
  5. Maintaining Citizens’ Right to Privacy – In our post-9/11 world, the concept of a citizen’s right to privacy has changed significantly. The Patriot Act and other similar bills have already increased the amount of surveillance the public endures; regulating the internet would be another step on a very slippery slope.
  6. “Offensive” is Arbitrary – The freedom of religion and the ability to make our own choices are key parts of the American cultural identity; what one person considers offensive may not be questionable in the least to another. In the event of a regulated internet, who would make the final call on web content and its level of offensiveness?
  7. Protecting Educational Value of the Web – While there are certainly dangers lurking in the darker corners of the internet, the vast stores of knowledge that can be accessed outweigh them greatly. Changing the functionality of the web could quite possibly make it more difficult to access educational material in an attempt to censor more controversial content.
  8. Preventing the Increase of Government Spending – The creation of a regulated internet would require an enormous amount of manpower in surveillance alone. Paired with the amount of money that would have to be spent on creating filters and sifting through the almost infinite amount of information available would be staggering.
  9. It Could Fan the Flames of Civil Unrest – The outrage of Egyptian people at their government’s disabling of the internet during a period of political upheaval should serve as a very strong example of why the government should not interfere with the web. An already-disillusioned populace can very quickly become mutinous when their ability to interact with the outside world is taken away.
  10. Savvy Hackers Will Defeat the System Anyway – If groups like Anonymous have proved anything, it’s that a keen mind and a determination to access information will inevitably lead to a back-door solution. Hackers would still be able to override the system to see the same content they do now; however, an already miserably overpopulated prison system would be immensely burdened by the influx of “criminals.”

These are only a few of the reasons why the government should not attempt to censor or filter the internet; like the proverbial iceberg, the bulk of the argument lies beneath the surface of what the average citizen sees.

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10 Buddhist Maxims For Business


Post 2.703

10 Buddhist Maxims For Business

by Staff Writer http://www.businessinsurance.org/10-buddhist-maxims-for-business/

Buddhism is an ancient philosophical system that follows the teachings of the Buddha. The system — a meditative, esoteric practice that often functions as a religious system — has an estimated 350 and 500 million practitioners and believers worldwide. Buddhism emphasizes the cultivation of mindfulness and values a spiritually minimalistic worldview, eschewing dependence and worldly attachment.

With the popularization of incorporating many multi-cultural and cross-philosophical practices in the business world, it’s no surprise that some elements of Buddhism can be relevant to corporate managers, entrepreneurs, and indeed most people who share some portion of their lives with the marketplace. Buddhist business practices and maxims can be beneficial to the decision-making process in the workplace, but you don’t have to be a guru in order to take away something meaningful from Buddha’s teachings. In fact, you don’t have to be religious, spiritual, New Age, or even seeking — these aphorisms are simply a way to rethink and reframe your qualitative skill set, and to maybe find a little zen at the office. Meditate on these ten Buddhist maxims for business, and you may achieve workplace nirvana in no time.

  1. “Too cold, too hot, too late” can always be the excuses to those who do not want to work. They let their chance pass by.This short aphorism is a reminder of two things: 1) opportunity favors the hard worker, and 2) those with a lackluster work ethic are always going to find an excuse. Whether you have a stellar commitment to productivity, or you’re just looking for a reminder that your hard work matters personally, this is a good maxim to remember. If you have a good work ethic and a great attitude, very little will stand in your way. And if you’re the type who always has an excuse, you can bet that opportunities will pass you by.
  2. None can live without toil, and a craft that provides your needs is a blessing indeed. But if you toil without rest, fatigue and weariness will overtake you, and you will denied the joy that comes from labour’s end.This maxim, from the Dhammavadaka, is perfect for those in business, and a good reminder you can send to your favorite workaholic. It is true that life would not be so full without work, and it’s always nice to read an ancient passage reminding you to be grateful for your work, and to get sufficient rest. One of the values of practicing Buddhism is a focus on centering and balance, and this passage tells you that it’s OK to enjoy the fruits of your labor. It is also of great importance, reminds the sutra, to not overtire yourself. The rat race may be necessary, but it’s not the only way.
  3. Develop the mind of equilibrium. You will always be getting praise and blame, but do not let either affect the poise of the mind: follow the calmness, the absence of pride.The Buddhist practice of mindfulness can be a key to good business, reducing supply costs and increasing your potential to work with compassion. This saying, from the Sutta Nipata, instructs the mind and heart to be balanced, objective, and mindful of the fog of pride. Mindfulness has benefits that span many occupations and fields, and indeed most people will benefit from adhering to the words of this sutra. Remember to be calm, and not to obsess too much about positive or negative feedback. If you do a job long enough, you are bound to have great moments of achievement, as well as great moments of failure. These are both times to learn from, and keeping the mind rightly situated can be of the utmost value — especially at work.
  4. The Eightfold PathBuddhistBusiness.com is a web portal to showcase Buddhist businesses, and also offers the first seminar examining the Eightfold Path and its relation to business. The Eightfold Path is the fourth of Buddha’s Four Noble Truths (this isn’t weird — think of the Ten Commandments), and a key component of behavioral practices that are crucial to Buddhist life. While you may not be looking for a new faith system, these eight signposts could prove helpful for your business dealings.
    1. Prajña Ditthi — seeing reality unfiltered, and as it actually exists
    2. Prajña Sankappa — the purifying wisdom and intention of harmlessness
    3. Sila Vaca — saying the truth, practicing non-harm in your speech patterns
    4. Sila Kammanta — non-harmful action (this applies to self and others)
    5. Sila Ajiva — commitment to a non-harming life
    6. Samadhi Vayama — seeking the mindful discipline to improve oneself constantly and over time
    7. Samadhi Sati — awareness of reality and freedom from temptations, cravings, and distractions
    8. Samadhi Samadhi — proper concentration and meditation.
  5. Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.This is an attributed quote from the Buddha, who — like Jesus and Socrates — never wrote anything down. When you’re in business, it’s always nice to know that your work, which can be such a big part of your own world — really matters to the outside world. Take a deep breath and remember for a moment that every action you take, in business and in life, is part of a larger journey of self-discovery. These words from the Buddha can be exhilarating and helpful to reinvigorate the waning worker, as well as an indication that what you choose to put your entire self into really does matter.
  6. The most valuable service is one rendered to our fellow humans.This phrase is found, along with more than 50 others, in Wat Phra Singh, a large Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai, Thailand. In the temple, you can view an illustrious statue called the Phra Buddha Sihing. If you take a walk around the temple, you can find Buddhist aphorisms on signs nailed to trees that line the temple grounds. This adage tells you that your work is valuable only inasmuch as it helps other people.

    What do you do for a living? Does it involve helping others? Directly or indirectly? Taking a reverent and honorable approach to your work, and finding out precisely how it produces value — to yourself and to the marketplace, but primarily to other individuals — is an important step on the way to performing your work with mindfulness. Simply being aware that your work has an audience, sells a service or product that improves lives, or involves working with the general public on some level can turn a sour mood into a grateful one — as you should maintain that what you are doing with your life is adding value to the human experience.

  7. Every individual has a responsibility to help guide our global family in the right direction. Good wishes are not sufficient; we must become actively engaged.This quote, from The Path to Tranquility are the words of His Holiness the Dalai Lama himself. The passage is a reminder to stay calm, and that every person shoulders the weight of responsibility to do good. And it is our good actions, not our good intentions, that accomplish the most — on and off the job.
  8. Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.Living in the present is of utmost importance, and it can definitely help you in your work. Do you ever have a day that you just can’t quit thinking about the fight you had with your partner, or whether or not you left the oven on? These days happen to everyone, and with a deep breath and a mindful moment, you can incorporate this saying from the Buddha into your work day — and gladly turn to concentrate on the moment. One point of having work is being pointed and busy, and it is indeed one of the blessings that productive value-making brings. And that’s why it’s profitable to you and your business to concentrate your mind on the present. Unless you’re about to burn your house down (the oven!), you can be sure that the task at hand is probably the most important thing you have scheduled, and that your mind is putting off accomplishing the task. Just a few moments of clarity and calm, and recalling this saying of the Buddha, might help you to refocus and increase your productivity.
  9. You can only lose what you cling to.This short maxim, also purportedly by the Buddha, is a gentle reminder to embrace change. Change is everywhere — constant, eternal — and in the information age, this is especially true. The Buddha wishes to communicate here that nothing is permanent, and that adaptation and flexible fluidity is paramount to happiness and avoiding disappointment and suffering. Concentrating on detachment — from dogmas, old rules, and other tired modes of thought and action — will help keep your business and your work product strong, as it is generally positive to embrace the change that you cannot otherwise escape. Roll with it. Go with the flow. Keep calm, and carry on.
  10. A jug fills drop by drop.This classic saying from the Buddha means that things happen step by step, and that methodological piecemeal work is often superior to big splashes. When you concentrate on the small things, the big things fall into place — and this is often true for the business world. Take heart, workers, and know that your small efforts can amount to great success. Namaste.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge anniversary


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Duke and Duchess of Cambridge anniversary

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England’s Prince William and Catherine Middleton wed on April 29, 2011. Here are some of our favorite highlights from their first year of wedded bliss

Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrive for the British Premiere of "African Cats" at the BFI Southbank in London

Britain’s Prince William and Catherine Duchess of Cambridge arrive for the British Premiere of “African Cats” at the BFI Southbank in London April 25, 2012.   REUTERS/Luke MacGregor   (BRITAIN – Tags: ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY ROYALS)

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Britain’s Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, kiss as they stand on the balcony at Buckingham Palace with other members of the Royal Family, after their wedding in Westminster Abbey, in central London in this April 29, 2011 file photograph. Kissing as a romantic sense of expression is believed to have begun in India, where an epic poem called the Mahabharata – believed to have been written about 1000 BCE – included history’s first recognizable descriptions of romantic kissing.    REUTERS/Darren Staples/Files  (BRITAIN  – Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY)

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive under an umbrella for the UK Premiere of 'African Cats', in aid of 'Tusk Trust', at the BFI Southbank  in central London, Wednesday, April 25, 2012. (AP Photo/

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive under an umbrella for the UK Premiere of ‘African Cats’, in aid of ‘Tusk Trust’, at the BFI Southbank in central London, Wednesday, April 25, 2012. (AP Photo/Joel Ryan)

 Photos:  Kate Middleton: Ravishing in Red

Kate Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, at a fundraising gala evening in aid of the Child Bereavement Charity, one of Prince William’s charities at St James’s Palace.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

It’s Prince William and Kate Middleton’s first overseas trip as a married couple and everywhere they go, the prince and his bride have been greeted by fanfare. They joined sailors for a prayer service Sunday morning and visited a shelter for troubled youth. Once again, the crowd was infatuated with Kate’s spectacular fashion, as she chose to wear a series of stunning dresses, including those by Canadian-born designer Erdem, which ABC News contributor Katie Nicholl called “very fashion forward.”

The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Visit A Unicef Facility In Denmark

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK – NOVEMBER 2:  Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge taste a high energy paste used to treat severe malnutrition during a visit to the UNICEF Emergency Supply Centre on November 2, 2011 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge visited the centre to view efforts to distribute emergency food and medical supplies to eastern Africa where severe food shortages are affecting more than 13 million people. (Photo by Phil Noble – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Visit A Unicef Facility In Denmark

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK – NOVEMBER 02:  Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge visit the UNICEF Global Supply Centre on November 2, 2011 in Copenhagen, Denmark. The visit is to help maintain the spotlight on the ongoing humanitarian crisis in East Africa, which has left hundreds of thousands of children severely malnourished and at risk of starving to death unless they receive urgent help. The huge supply centre sources supplies packs and distributes the food, water, vaccines and emergency medical kits for children around the globe.  (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

FILE — Britain’s Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, and his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge arrive at a charity event for Absolute Return for Kids, ARK, in London, June, 9, 2011 file photo. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, file)

Zara Phillips Marries Mike Tindall In Edinburgh

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND – JULY 30:  Prince Harry, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge depart after the Royal wedding of Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall at Canongate Kirk on July 30, 2011 in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Queen’s granddaughter Zara Phillips will marry England rugby player Mike Tindall today at Canongate Kirk. Many royals are expected to attend including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.  (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

CULVER CITY, CA – JULY 10:  Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attend the Mission Serve: Hiring Our Heroes event on July 10, 2011 in Culver City, California. The newly married Royal Couple are on the final day of their first joint overseas tour to the USA. They arrived on Friday after spending 9 days in Canada. The couple started off their tour of North America by joining millions of Canadians in taking part in Canada Day celebrations which mark Canada’s 144th Birthday. (Photo by Splash News – Pool/Getty Images)

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Prince William and Kate Middleton continued their 11-day North American tour in Prince Edward Island, Canada, the fourth day of the tour. Shown here is the royal couple arriving in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island on July 3, 2011. Earlier that day, the royal couple was greeted by a fan who wished Kate well in starting a family. Kate, 29, who has not spoken publicly about having children, was overheard saying, “Yes, I hope to.”

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

U.S. President Barack Obama (L) and first lady Michelle Obama (R) talk to Britain’s Prince William (2nd L) and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge at Buckingham Palace, in London May 24, 2011.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Britain’s Prince William dances with Vanessa Boateng (C) as his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (R) looks on during a reception at Centrepoint’s Camberwell Foyer in London December 21, 2011. The national charity, Centrepoint, provides housing and support to improve the lives of homeless young people aged 16 to 25. REUTERS/Ben Stansall/POOL

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Britain’s Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, watch some bull riding while wearing western clothing and cowboy hats in Calgary, Alberta July 7, 2011. The Prince and his wife are on a royal tour of Canada from June 30 to July 8. REUTERS/Phil Noble

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Britain’s Prince William and his wife Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, react after the prince took a shot with a hockey stick and missed during a visit to the Somba K’e Civic Plaza in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories July 5, 2011. Prince William and his wife Catherine are on a royal tour of Canada from June 30 to July 8. REUTERS/Phil Noble

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge smiles as her husband Britain’s Prince William comments on her artistic skills during a visit to the Inner City Arts campus in Los Angeles July 10, 2011. Prince William and his wife Catherine are on a royal visit to California from July 8 to July 10. REUTERS/John Stillwell/Pool

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Catherine, sported matching cable-knit, school-style sweaters for a walk in Holyrood Park on August 1st, 2011, in Scotland.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Visit The Royal Marsden Hospital

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – SEPTEMBER 29: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge meets patient Ellis Andrews, during a visit with Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge to open the new Oak Centre for Children and Young People at The Royal Marsden Hospital on September 29, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth – WPA Pool /Getty Images)

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 19: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry attend The Sun Military Awards at Imperial War Museum on December 19, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Arthur Edwards – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

War Horse - UK Premiere

LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 08: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attend the UK premiere of War Horse at Odeon Leicester Square on January 8, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Tim Whitby/Getty Images)

Britain's Prince William, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge smile as they travel to Buckingham Palace after their wedding in Westminster Abbey in London

Britain’s Prince William, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge smile as they travel to Buckingham Palace in the 1902 State Landau, along the Procession Route, after their wedding in Westminster Abbey, in central London April 29, 2011. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach