Monthly Archives: February 2013

GOP Official: Obama To Indoctrinate Kids Into ‘Pro-Homosexuality’ Groupthink Like Hitler Did


The United States ranks 17 out of 40 in education, according to a recent global study by Pearson, an education firm. Other studies rank U.S. students at 25 out of 34 in math and science, while another ranks U.S. students in first place — in self esteem.

So it should come as no surprise that the battle over the future lies in state and local school boards, and leading the charge into ignorance and stupidity is the faith-based GOP.

Take, for example, Elois Zeanah, President of the Alabama Federation of Republican Women, Board Member of the Republican Women of Tuscaloosa County, and a former Mayor and City Council Member from Thousand Oaks, California.

At last week’s meeting of the Wetumka, Alabama Tea Party, Zeanah attacked President Barack Obama, comparing him to Hitler, and painting a — false — dystopian image of the future, if “Common Core,” a standardized education policy, is allowed to be adopted and fully implemented.

Note that Common Core was introduced in 2009 by the National Governors Association Center — not the Obama administration — but why should facts (like the correct title of George Orwell’s classic, 1984,) matter?

“Social conservative commentators have leveled harsh attacks against Common Core and now are working to convince lawmakers in the forty-five states which have adopted the standards to blocks its implementation,” writes Brian Tashman of Right Wing Watch today:

During a speech at the Wetumpka Tea Party, Elois Zeanah of the Alabama Federation of Republican Women compared the adoption of Common Core to the indoctrination of children in Nazi Germany, with President Obama teaching children and imposing an “anti-Christian, anti-capitalism, anti-America…pro-homosexuality, illegal immigration, unions, environmentalism, gun control, feminism and social justice” curriculum.

“They are going to force us to pay to indoctrinate our own kids,” Zeanah warned, “this is not a novel like ‘1994’ [sic], it’s Common Core.”



10 Considerations in Building a Global Data Center Strategy

Published on February 20th, 2013
Written by: Julius Neudorfer

It would be imprudent to oversimplify all the tangible and intangible elements that need to be fully understood and evaluated when creating a global data center initiative. Yet here are ten considerations to evaluate when building your global data center strategy. This is the forth article in a series on Creating Data Center Strategies with Global Scale.

1) Site Selection and Risk Factors – Knowing Where to Build
Once you have selected a general geographic area, it takes a very experienced team to fully evaluate the suit-ability of a foreign location to build a new data center. Identifying risk factors, both the obvious ones, such as known seismic or flood zones, or the less obvious ones, such as adjacencies to “invisible” but potential hazards, such as airports and their related flight paths, must be an essential part of the final decision.

2) Geopolitical Ownership Considerations
Beyond the basic factors related to physical and logistical resources, the political stability of the country and region should be considered. In some cases the nationality or type of organization of the owner or tenant may make it a target for local political factions.

Insurance costs and even the ability to get coverage may be impacted by building a data center in potential lucrative and growing markets, but which may have a higher risk profile, than a nearby country that has viable communications bandwidth into the target market.

However, be aware that in some volatile or politically restrictive countries, internet traffic is filtered, blocked and or monitored.

3) Global Risk Issues
Given the recent and more frequent catastrophic weather related events affecting even highly developed areas, we all need to review and perhaps re-evaluate our basic assumptions. While there is still some contention about how much Global Warming impacts the world, it is no longer a matter of “if”. Planning based on 100 Year Flood Zones may no longer be considered ultra conservative. The evaluation of any potential data center or other critical infrastructure site is not a cut and dried exercise. Geographic diversity for replicated or back-up sites is no longer an option, it is a necessity.

4) Extended Operation and Autonomy During a Crisis
Regarding availability and continuous operation, how much fuel should be stored locally (i.e. 24 hours, 3 days a week)? During a small localized utility failure 24 hours of fuel may be previously considered adequate, but given more recent events 3-7 days offers a better safety margin. During an extended widespread crisis, the relied upon expectations of daily refueling may prove to be difficult, if not impossible to achieve (case in point, Hurricane Katrina, and “Super Storm” Sandy). In some cases, so much of the general infrastructure was dam¬aged that even fuel availability and delivery to back-up generators became a severe problem (both for data centers, and their employees, limiting their ability to get to work). In the end, you will typically pay more for the co-lo with the greatest levels of redundancy, resources and better SLAs, but would be imprudent to assume that nothing will ever happen to impact the operation of your own data center because you are in a “safe” area. Storing more fuel may be a small overall price to pay for the extended autonomy and could be the difference between being operational or shut down during a major crisis.

Also understand that these same problems would potentially impact your communications providers, so investigate their capabilities for extended operations during a crisis. It is useless if your data center is operational, but your have no viable communications network during a major event.

5) Availability and Cost of Power and Water
Of course picking a site location that is physically secure and has reliable access to power, water and communications is an important first step. Since energy is the most significant operating cost of a data center, focus your attention on the cost of power and its long term impact. Energy costs are highly location dependent and are based on local or purchased power generation costs (related to fuel types or sustainable sources such as, hydro, wind or solar), as well as any state and local taxes (or tax incentives). In the United States rates vary but are generally low compared to some foreign markets. Internationally energy costs are higher and can vary widely. It is important to check local rates and look for utility and energy incentives. Some countries are offering tax and other incentives to build data centers. Another factor is location and long term overall market demand for constrained resources such as power and water, which can ultimately limit the data center capacity.

If the site is relatively remote and needs to be newly developed, be sure to factor in the cost of bring¬ing in new high voltage utility services, which can be expensive and require long lead times to have planned, approved and constructed.

Site selection can also directly impact the facility’s energy efficiency. The relative energy efficiency of the data center facility infrastructure is measured as “Power Usage Effectiveness” “PUE”), as well as the IT equipment use of power vs its computing performance. One of the largest uses of energy is cooling and is location dependent, since it is related to the ambient temperature and humidity conditions. With the rising acceptance of the use of outside air for “free cooling”, picking a location with a moderate climate can offer the opportunity to save a significant amount of energy cost over the long term, as well a lower initial capital investment by the reduced need for mechanical based cooling systems. For more details see part 3 of this series.

Fiji Water’s David Gilmour Takes Aim At New Start Up

20130219-221525.jpgDavid Gilmour (David Yellen For Forbes)It’s a $20 million view overlooking Central Park from a 42nd-floor apartment in the Trump International building. But after 18 years David Gilmour is willing to give it up. Movers have crated the Ming dynasty furniture and sculpture and the Thai and Burmese Buddhas. Having logged 7 million air and sea miles to found nearly a dozen companies–a stereo maker, resorts, a gold mine, bottled water–he knows when it’s time to pack up and go.

Now 81, Gilmour insists he’s been trying to retire for more than four decades. When at the helm of Southern Pacific Resorts, he bet a friend a case of Chateau Lafite he’d hang it up by age 40. He lost; opportunities kept coming. “None of my startups were really based on a game of searching for something to do,” says Gilmour, who now splits his time among New York, L.A., Europe, Palm Beach and his private Fijian island, Wakaya. “I’ve never said, ‘I’ve got nothing on my plate.’ The plate has always come to me.”

His latest dish is Wakaya Perfection, a ginger powder made from roots grown on his 2,220-acre island in Fiji, once owned by Gilmour’s hotel chain. While careful to avoid any over-the-top medicinal claims, Gilmour says he puts the powder on lots of his food, dissolves it in drinks, bathes in it and rubs it on his face and sore muscles. You’re half-tempted to believe that’s why he looks 20 years younger than he is.

But the real secret seems to lie in being an entrepreneurial repeat offender. “David loves the thrill,” says fellow Canadian and centimillionaire Peter Munk, 85, chairman of Barrick Gold. “Running businesses, you’re continuously exposed to new problems to solve and to new people who, at their worst, are stimulating and at their best you learn an awful lot from. How else can you get that in your 80s?” Says Gilmour: “I get the vision and passion for the next project. It must see the light of day. That’s really it.”

It started early, in wanderlust. His successful financier father and opera singer mother offered to send him to Europe over eight summers during high school and college but with a catch: You get $10 a day but have to travel alone. “I could observe what cars people drove, how they dressed and behaved,” Gilmour recalls. “Suddenly you just catch the mood of what people may want that they don’t yet know they want.”

After college he sold pots and pans door-to-door, offering to cook meals for families to show off his wares. Next, he worked at Dansk Design, importing the modern Scandinavian home furnishings he’d fallen in love with on his travels. That’s when he met Munk, a young electrical engineer who chatted up Gilmour’s date at a Toronto restaurant–and launched a friendship and various partnerships that have spanned 55 years.

In 1958 they started Clairtone, which made hi-fi systems that looked more like furniture than stereos. Munk, a Hungarian immigrant, built the electronic guts, while Gilmour designed the handsome wood exteriors. Soon their $500 Clairtone systems were in the living rooms of the Beatles, Frank Sinatra and Hugh Hefner. After taking Clairtone public in 1962, they partnered with the Canadian government, which, in a well-intentioned but fatal move to create jobs, moved manufacturing to Nova Scotia. Five years later Clairtone was shuttered.

Broke but not broken, Munk and Gilmour cofounded South Pacific Hotels in 1969, riding an updraft in international air travel. They found investors, bought plots and opened resorts–using cash flow to buy more land. By the time they sold out for roughly $150 million in 1980, they’d amassed 56 properties.

Gilmour and Munk plowed their winnings into a mine in northern Ontario that became Barrick Gold. It was 1979, and gold prices, fanned by inflation, more than doubled. While Munk worked the numbers, Gilmour persuaded small independent miners to sell. Today, with a market cap of $32.5 billion, Barrick is the world’s largest gold miner–and Gilmour’s biggest moneymaker. It also seems to be the one he cares least about. “When it came to building mass upon mass, it was a big yawn,” he says. “That’s why I went off and did my own things.”

Like Fiji Water. The idea hit him on a golf course in Fiji after he watched a player pull out a bottle of Evian. “I thought, ‘My God, they’ve come 10,000 miles to the middle of the most pristine environment and they’re drinking water from a heavily industrialized continent.’?” Gilmour researched local aquifers, invested a few million dollars, started drilling and launched the company in 1996. Soon he was waist-deep in every detail of the company. He recruited the executives, designed the bottles and went on sales calls: “I rode in distributors’ trucks, Schweppes and Coca-Cola trucks,” Gilmour recalls with a laugh. “I would have my knees under my chin in a mini car training a salesperson.”

Loath to spend big on advertising, Gilmour tried product placement. He used his Hollywood connections to get his water onto movie sets. Before long the distinctively square bottles found their way into films like The Thomas Crown Affair .

Within five years Fiji was the top imported water in the U.S., selling 7 million cases a year. Success brought loud criticism that the company was denying locals a key natural resource and committing environmental depredation by shipping bottled water halfway across the globe. Gilmour counters that he made the best water in the world more available–and brought in much-needed resources to fund hospitals and schools, as well as jump-start Fiji tourism. In 2004 he sold the company to billionaires Stewart and Lynda Resnick for an undisclosed sum, reportedly around $50 million.

Gilmour discovered that Wakaya ginger grew well in the fertile volcanic soil near his house. He remembered how his mother wouldn’t sing without first sipping ginger tea, then researched its potential to fight nausea, muscle pain, indigestion and skin aging. And out of “retirement” he came.

Wakaya Perfection, his powdered ginger, is on sale online–at caviar prices (a 0.6-ounce square jar costs $24). Gilmour says his marketing strategy, launching next year, will make the brand a household name. How? He isn’t saying. “No one can promote like David,” says Munk. “You listen to him about his ginger from Wakaya, you’d think ginger didn’t exist before.”

This, he says, will be his last startup. “That’s my legacy. After that I’ll powder myself and be poured all over the island.” We’ll see about that.

(Follow me on Twitter at @StevenBertoni)

Also on Forbes:

see photosBloomberg via Getty Images
Click for full photo gallery: The Ten Best Serial Entrepreneurs You’ve Never Heard Of

A Statement Rocks Rome, Then Sends Shockwaves Around the World


Published: February 11, 2013

VATICAN CITY — The decision, delivered in Latin and in unemotional tones by Pope Benedict XVI to a gathering of cardinals on Monday, came “like a bolt out of the blue,” one of the participants said, and it soon ricocheted around the world.


During what was supposed to be a routine meeting to discuss the canonization of three potential saints, Benedict read a statement that said, in part, that after examining his conscience “before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise” of leading the world’s one billion Roman Catholics. He was resigning on Feb. 28, he said, becoming the first pope to do so in six centuries.

“In today’s world,” Benedict said in his announcement, “subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of St. Peter and proclaim the gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.”

Within minutes, #Pontifexit was trending on Twitter. Later, during an evening thunderstorm, a lightning bolt struck the dome of St. Peter’s, though the meaning, if any, was not immediately clear.

In recent months, Benedict, 85, had been showing signs of age. He often seemed tired and even appeared to doze off during Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, after being taken to the altar of Saint Peter’s on a wheeled platform. But few expected the pope to resign so suddenly, even though he had said in the past that he would consider the option.

“The pope took us by surprise,” said the Vaticanspokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, expounding on one of the most dramatic moments in centuries of Vatican history. He appeared at a hastily called news conference on Monday, where he sat alone at a table, with an unopened bottle of mineral water and a dog-eared copy of a Canon Law guide before him.

Father Lombardi said the pope did not display strong emotions as he made his announcement, but spoke with “great dignity, great concentration and great understanding of the significance of the moment.”

In a statement, President Obama recalled meeting with Benedict in 2009. “I have appreciated our work together over these last four years,” the president said. “The church plays a critical role in the United States and the world, and I wish the best to those who will soon gather to choose His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.”

Prime Minister Mario Monti of Italy called Benedict’s decision “immense and unexpected.”

More than a few observers were struck that such a traditionalist as Benedict would make such an unconventional exit. “A departure that is paradoxically modern for a pope who was so conservative,” said Christian Terras, the founder and executive editor of Golias, a religious review near Lyon, France, that has been critical of the Catholic Church.

Some said that Benedict’s decision to step down was one of the most dramatic acts in the history of the papacy. “This decision has been the only great reform of Benedict, and at the same time it is a revolutionary step for the Catholic Church,” said Marco Politi, a Vatican expert and author of a book on Benedict’s papacy. While in past centuries, popes had stepped down over political struggles, Mr. Politi said, “this is a clear decision and a free decision made by the pope that will set an example also for the future, setting a limit for the pontificate.”

Benedict’s 89-year-old brother, the Rev. Georg Ratzinger, said that the pope’s weakening health had led him to step down. “His age was taking its toll,” Father Ratzinger told the German news agency dpa on Monday, adding that he had been aware of his brother’s plan for several months.

Starry, Starry, Starry Night

BY Thierry Cohen

What would New York or Shanghai look like with a full sky of brilliant stars? Thierry Cohen, a French photographer, thinks he can show us by blending city scenes — shot and altered to eliminate lights and other distractions — and the night skies from less populated locations that fall on the same latitudes. The result is what city dwellers might see in the absence of light pollution. So Paris gets the stars of northern Montana, New York those of the Nevada desert. As Cohen, whose work will be exhibited at the Danziger Gallery in New York in March, sees it, the loss of the starry skies, accelerated by worldwide population growth in cities, has created an urbanite who “forgets and no longer understands nature.” He adds, “To show him stars is to help him dream again.”

Julie Bosman

Los Angeles
New York1
New York2
Hong Kong
San Francisco
São Paulo


Draft UN climate report shows 20 years of overestimated global warming, skeptics warn

global warming ar5 model b (1)


A preliminary draft of a report by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was leaked to the public this month, and climate skeptics say it contains fresh evidence of 20 years of overstated global warming.

The report — which is not scheduled for publication until 2014 — was leaked by someone involved in the IPCC’s review process, and is available for download online. Bloggers combing through the report discovered a chart comparing the four temperature models the group has published since 1990. Each has overstated the rise in temperature that Earth actually experienced.
“Temperatures have not risen nearly as much as almost all of the climate models predicted,” Roy Spencer, a climatologist at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, told
“Their predictions have largely failed, four times in a row… what that means is that it’s time for them to re-evaluate,” Spencer said.
The IPCC graph shows that the midpoints of the various models predicted that the world would warm by between about 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit and 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit between 1990 and 2012. Actual warming was much less than that: 0.28 F, according the data the IPCC cites.
‘It is evidence that CO2 is not nearly as strong a climate driver as the IPCC has been assuming.’
– Roy Spencer, a climatologist at the University of Alabama at Huntsville
But that doesn’t mean the IPCC models are wrong, others argue.
“It’s important to keep in mind that there are natural short-term variations in global temperature that happen right alongside human-induced warming,” Aaron Huertas, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, told
“For instance, it would have been impossible for the IPCC to predict if a volcanic eruption might temporarily cool the Earth, as the Mount Pinatubo eruption did in 1991.”
The IPCC’s climate report draft also notes that “the model projections … do not fully account for natural variability.”
Other types of natural anomalies include solar variability and weather patterns such as the El Niño southern oscillation.
Scientists include a “margin of error” in their models to account for unpredictable variations like volcanoes and weather patterns. Yet one of the IPCC’s models missed the actual warming trend entirely — in other words, the actual temperatures were outside its “margin of error.” In the other three models, the actual warming trend fell within the very lower bounds of what they predicted would happen.
At least that’s what the IPCC’s chart shows. One scientist who recently published a study that found that the IPCC predictions were very accurate argues that it is likely wrong.
“The IPCC graph you refer to is just a draft version which still has a number of problems that will be ironed out,” Potsdam University physics professor Stefan Rahmstorf told
Skeptics such as Spencer also say that the chart does not mean that global warming is a hoax.
“The IPCC’s claim is that they are 90 percent sure that humans have ‘contributed to’ the observed warming. Hell, even I would agree with that innocuous statement.”
But he says it does indicate that greenhouse gases are having less of an affect on climate than the IPCC thought.
“It is evidence that CO2 is not nearly as strong a climate driver as the IPCC has been assuming. This is the possibility they do not allow to be considered, because it would end all of their policy-changing goals,” he said.
Huertas said that the criticisms “are an attempt to obscure the bigger picture.”
“Climate change is happening, it is due to human activities, and the emissions choices we make today will have the largest influence on the extent of future climate change.”

Read more: