Sunday, January 30, 2011
Friday, January 28, 2011
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Monday, January 24, 2011
Sunday, January 23, 2011
With effect from January 1, 2011, the IMF has determined that the four currencies that meet the selection criterion for inclusion in the SDR valuation basket will be assigned the following weights based on their roles in international trade and finance:
U.S. dollar 41.9 percent (compared with 44 percent at the 2005 review)
Euro 37.4 percent (compared with 34 percent at the 2005 review)
Pound sterling 11.3 percent (compared with 11 percent at the 2005 review)
Japanese yen 9.4 percent (compared with 11 percent at the 2005 review)
Saturday, January 22, 2011
When we defend the future of reference work in libraries, we say that ready reference is no longer needed, but research (“real”) reference will remain important. Ready reference has been replaced by Internet search engines that provide fast access to factual data that used to be hidden in volumes of indexed books. But digging up material relevant to a subject is a specialized skill that requires human intervention. So reference is safe. Or so we say.
In a February 2010, article draft by Evan D. Brown titled Copyright on the Semantic Web: Divergence of Author and Work, Evan gives the following example of the semantic web:
Perhaps one can best understand the Semantic Web by looking at particular instances of the technology at work. Take for example the free service calledZemanta. This service offers a Firefox plugin that assists bloggers in gathering content to assemble into posts. As the blog author writes, Zemanta “reads” the content and in real time suggests images to embed, links to insert, and lists of related articles to include. It does this automatically, looking to a number of sources of data such as Wikipedia and Flickr that are encoded in a way to make the data contained within them “broadcast” their meaning and relevance to Zemanta. The technology relegates the drudgery of finding related content to the machines, freeing up the creative attention of the blogger to focus on content.
This is automated research-style reference. As more of our dusty tomes are digitized, services like Zemanta will be able to find and offer increasingly obscure yet relevant and fully cited information. I call this the death of reference as we know it. The days when reference librarians are primarily the golden retrievers of information are numbered. The future of the library reference desk is one of consulting. The primary duties of librarians will revolve around verifying the quality of the results generated by services like Zemanta and teaching our customers how to verify information themselves.
The Tunisian revolution seems to bring an endless daily dose of surprises. Yesterday, the Tunisian Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi, announced the formation of an interim unity government. The transitional government will include members of the opposition but also figures of the old regime. Some key portfolios remain in the hands of ministers who served under ousted President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, including Foreign Affairs, the Interior, Defense and Finance. But perhaps the biggest surprise, especially for netizens, was the announcement of Slim Amamou, blogger, activist and Global Voices contributor, as Secretary of State for Sports and Youth Affairs.
“ Je suis secrétaire d'état a la Jeunesse et aux sports :)
In an interview with French Radio, Slim explained that he was approached hours before the new government was announced and that his choice was a natural decision for someone who wants to participate in the building of his country, adding that “it will take Tunisia a least 10 years for a stable democracy to establish itself.”
As soon as the appointment of Slim was made public, reactions on Twitter started pouring in. Along side warm congratulations, reactions were mixed. Some wanted Slim out of the government, others were prepared to grant him the benefit of the doubt.
When South Korea's Daewoo Logistics tried to buy 1.3 million hectares, or one-third, of Madagascar's farmland in 2008, violent protests erupted and the government was toppled. South Korea still has at least a million hectares in long- term leases elsewhere and China 2.1 million ha, mainly in Southeast Asia.
Some of the leases are for 99 years at a one dollar a hectare, but local people "are not eligible for the deals being promoted in countries where millions of people remain dependent on food aid", said Howard Buffett, a U.S. farmer and philanthropist whose father is Warren Buffett, the well- known billionaire investor.
Howard Buffet reports being offered land deals where African governments promise to provide 70 percent of the financing, all utilities, and a 98-year lease requiring no payments for four years.
But, facing a defiant Congress and a public that's skittish about trying terror detainees in civilian courts, Obama's plan stalled. Several months into office, Obama accepted the use of military tribunals for some suspects. Two years later, it appears the administration has accepted the use of Guantánamo.
Critics have argued that shutting Guantánamo is necessary to restore respect for the rule of law, as the facility has been used to imprison suspects indefinitely without due process, casting a dark shadow over America's outspoken advocacy for human rights.
The number in each column indicates the relative intensity of different rights abuses in that country (see the key below). These have been totalled to give a score in the right-hand column; the countries are ranked from the worst abuser down.
(For the rest of the list follow the link at the bottom of the screen)
EJE=Extrajudicial executions, DIS=Disappearances, T/IT=Torture/inhuman treatment, DIC=Deaths in custody,POC=Prisoners of conscience, UFT=Unfair trials, DWC=Detention without charge or trial, EXE=Executions (death penalty), SOD=Sentence of death, AOG=Abuses by armed opposition groups
(BY % THRIVING)