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The End of StumbleUpon? Blog Functionality Being Phased Out, Users Headed to Tumblr New Media Services @ForHireMedia.com

http://forhiremedia.com/social/the-end-of-stumbleupon-blog-functionality-being-phased-out/

The End of StumbleUpon? Blog Functionality Being Phased Out, Users Headed to Tumblr

From the page: “Word around StumbleUpon is that the social bookmarking site, powered by its ever-popular and addictive toolbar, will soon do away with their blogging functionality. User profiles will revert to the “thumbnail” view, erasing years of user-tailored blog pages, some of them carefully tweaked using basic HTML. Though StumbleUpon staff members are assuring everyone they’ll have plenty of time to export their blogs, they don’t claim to have a working export feature just yet. Here are some screenshots of the earful StumbleUpon staff are having to deal with over at Get Satisfaction, along with the official statement from their community manager.”

………….
What I have thought one of the two most intelligently designed social network sites has suddenly announced changes that effect one of its chief appeals: a blog.

It’s like a 5 star hotel announcing it’s cutting it’s services to become a 2 star hotel. It’s like a Mercedes Benz thinking it cool to look like a junkyard Studebaker. In removing the ability to post attractively, StumbleUpon now will be a site hardly any different then Digg or Mashable, in my opinion. In addition, it will help inadvertently elevate Tumblr’s brand by causing many Stumblers to move to their posting platform – or Posterous, Categorian, and Google+ as alternatives. StumbleUpon’s better alternative would have been limited HTML code posting, but not its elimination, to maintain its unique differentiation from other alternatives.

I created a site on Tumblr (aliasinkhorn) and Google+ (Alias Inkhorn (thanks to PurpleGem)) and have been, however, slow to adopt them. Current SU news will turn my interests toward them.

It is peculiar to me that SU has made this change, although their new business model must predict increased success and improved bottom-line, because SU makes money on our interests and connections; Stumble, Discover, post, share, and follower. One would think SU, however, would keep Stumblers pleased and loyal to it to continue its popularity and positive WOM.

I’ve never been pleased SU didn’t have an export function – and now necessary for many. I have always thought it was a deliberate omission; it keeps us close to SU. Many of us have devoted hundreds of hours over the years to create our SU sites, And now it appears, maybe unfairly, but appears nonetheless, that SU does not value nor reward our dedication to it.

I will leave my SU site up. It might have value to others over time. But unless I see changes that demonstrate interest in Stumblers, I will be inactive.

I’ve tried to download my site with special software with no success. I will save as much as I can of my site manually before it looks like a bone yard. Each page of posts will be copied and pasted in an Outlook e-mail. I’ve used Outlook (and Gmail) for archiving over the years and it works well. Pages can also be copied and saved in Word. Most of the post format is retained – SU functions will be copied also, of course, but will align vertically to left margin and deleted easily. It’s a time consuming method, but there are a number of posts of value I will work to keep. Perhaps, in the meantime, SU will release an export function. It would be a big ‘thank you’ to us all who have contributed to its past and present success.

It’s been a real ride since early 2008. And it’s been a great pleasure to have met and gotten to be acquainted with or to know so many wonderful and fine people on SU. Going through some very difficult times, the best friends I’ve had were here in Stumbleville. I’ve been blessed and give great thanks to them all.

Aliasinkhorn

Update: Followed foresthippy’s instructions with one little change and successfully downloaded site.

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Power of suggestion affects heart arteries| Reuters

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/16/us-power-suggestion-idUSTRE78F50X20110916

Power of suggestion affects heart arteries
Simply suggesting that a treatment will ease chest pain may not only dampen the pain, but directly alter heart arteries, a small study concludes.

From the page: “Among 30 patients having a procedure to evaluate their chest pain, researchers found that those who were told they were being given an infusion of a pain-relieving drug did, on average, report a decrease in pain.

But the participants also showed a measurable change in their heart arteries: a slight but distinct narrowing of the vessels.

Exactly what the findings mean, and whether they have implications for heart disease patients, is not clear.

None of the chest-pain patients actually had heart disease; they were told about the “drug” (which was actually harmless saline) only after testing had shown no blockages in their heart arteries.

The key point is that the power of suggestion created an objective change in the blood vessels, according to Drs. Karin Meissner and Joram Ronel of Technical University Munich in Germany.

“The major finding was that the coronary vessels reacted so clearly to a mere psychological intervention,” they told Reuters Health in an email.

And the reaction was in a direction opposite to the one researchers had expected to see.

The patients were actually told that the “drug” they were receiving would widen their arteries to relieve their chest pain. Instead, there was a small amount of blood vessel constriction in the group overall.

But that constriction does make biological sense, according to Meissner and Ronel.

In a healthy person who is under stress, the nervous system triggers a widening in the blood vessels so that blood circulation increases to meet the body’s needs. When stress fades, the vessels can narrow again.

“When the heart works less,” Meissner and Ronel explained, “there is less need for blood supply, and the vessels will be less dilated than in a stressful situation. This is how we interpret our data.”

They added, though, that this is the process in a healthy person. The situation may be different in a person with heart disease.

The findings, reported in the American Heart Journal, build on a phenomenon seen in clinical trials studying heart disease. That is, some people receiving placebos (inactive “treatments”) report improvements in symptoms like chest pain.

How much of that reaction is due to psychological or even biological effects is unclear.

To examine whether there might be placebo effects on the heart arteries, Meissner and Ronel’s team looked at 30 patients who underwent coronary angiography to evaluate chest pain symptoms.

During coronary angiography, a thin tube (catheter) is threaded through a blood vessel into the heart, where a special dye is injected. Using X-rays, doctors can then look for blockages in the heart arteries that may be the source of the chest pain.

The 30 patients were included in this study only after the test turned up no blockages. While still on the exam table, they were randomly assigned to either a “verbal suggestion” group or a control group.

In both groups, patients received an injection of saline into the catheter. Those in the verbal-suggestion group were told it was a drug that would widen their heart arteries and boost blood flow to the heart. Patients in the control group were told nothing.

On average, the study found, the verbal-suggestion group reported a dip in their chest pain after the procedure, while showing some blood vessel narrowing. The opposite was true in the control group: slightly more pain and a little more vessel dilation.

The researchers say they suspect the pain reduction was an “indirect effect” of the verbal suggestion, but they cannot know for sure whether or to what degree the blood vessel changes might have contributed to it.

More studies on this question are still needed, according to Meissner and Ronel. If verbal suggestion does have a measurable effect “at the level of the heart” in people with actual heart disease, they said, that would be important to know.”

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Meditation and Prayer: Does It Help Entrepreneurs Succeed?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/22/meditation-does-it-help-e_n_972369.html

Meditation and Prayer: Does It Help Entrepreneurs Succeed?

From the page: “Entrepreneurs behave just like most Americans when it comes to religion — but with one spiritual twist.

They’re significantly more likely to pray several times a day or to meditate, said sociologist Kevin Dougherty, a co-author of the Baylor Religion Survey that was released Tuesday (Sept. 20).

The survey can’t answer whether prayerful, peaceful folks are more likely to take a business risk, or whether the stress of a start-up drives folks to their knees or to the lotus position, Dougherty said.

But either way, 34 percent of entrepreneurs say they frequently look up to the Lord, compared with 27 percent of non-entrepreneurs. Nearly as many (32 percent) say they look inward in meditation, while just 22 percent of non-entrepreneurs say they practice any of the eight forms of meditation — including Christian, Jewish and Buddhist variations — listed on the survey.

Leading the way: Christian meditation, reported by 18 percent of entrepreneurs.

Leah Rampy of McLean, Va., who ran her own company as an executive leadership coach, said her prayers were often that “the spirit would work through me.”

Mindful meditation was cited by 17 percent of entrepreneurs. Wendy Woods, a consultant based in Toronto, shares with her corporate clients how “meditation helps me push away fear and bring in calm and creativity.”

Buddhist meditation worked for Ray Yeh, of Ukiah, Calif., who created and ran a software sales company for 20 years. He found “working 12 hours a day, seven days a week leaves you no time to think, to get in touch with your inner self.” Yeh sold the company in 1999 and now lives in a Buddhist monastery in Northern California.

Psychologist Kenneth Pargament, a scholar in residence at the Institute for Spirituality and Health at the Texas Medical Center in Houston, put it this way:

“Entrepreneurs have a strong sense they can take matters into their own hands. But they also face risk, unpredictability and uncertainty,” he said. “Prayer and meditation can be important resources for people who are trying to achieve a lot and yet still face the reality that there is only so much they can control.”

Questions on entrepreneurs were a part of the survey underwritten by Baylor’s sociology department, the National Study of Religion and Entrepreneurial Behavior and the National Science Foundation.”

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Joan Armatrading – Willow (Live in the Studio)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kl3i1GMuyeU

Joan Armatrading – Willow (Live in the Studio)

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‘Stingray’ Phone Tracker Fuels Constitutional Clash | Asiance Magazine

http://www.asiancemagazine.com/2011/09/22/stingray-phone-tracker-fuels-constitutional-clash-

‘Stingray’ Phone Tracker Fuels Constitutional Clash

From the page: “Stingrays are one of several new technologies used by law enforcement to track people’s locations, often without a search warrant. These techniques are driving a constitutional debate about whether the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, but which was written before the digital age, is keeping pace with the times. On Nov. 8, the Supreme Court will hear arguments over whether or not police need a warrant before secretly installing a GPS device on a suspect’s car and tracking him for an extended period. In both the Senate and House, new bills would require a warrant before tracking a cellphone’s location.

A stingray works by mimicking a cellphone tower, getting a phone to connect to it and measuring signals from the phone. It lets the stingray operator “ping,” or send a signal to, a phone and locate it as long as it is powered on, according to documents reviewed by the Journal. The device has various uses, including helping police locate suspects and aiding search-and-rescue teams in finding people lost in remote areas or buried in rubble after an accident. Experts say lawmakers and the courts haven’t yet settled under what circumstances locating a person or device constitutes a search requiring a warrant. Tracking people when they are home is particularly sensitive because the Fourth Amendment specifies that people have a right to be secure against unreasonable searches in their “houses.”

“The law is uncertain,” says Orin Kerr, a professor at George Washington University Law School and former computer-crime attorney at the Department of Justice. Mr. Kerr, who has argued that warrants should be required for some, but not all, types of location data, says that the legality “should depend on the technology.””

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Mozart motivates sewage treatment microbes – The Local

http://www.thelocal.de/sci-tech/20110921-37705.html

Mozart motivates sewage treatment microbes
Operators of a sewage treatment plant in eastern Germany have saved around 10,000 Euros over the last year – apparently by playing Mozart to their microbes. They are now calling for scientists to come and investigate.

From the page: “Roland Meinusch, manager of the plant in Treuenbrietzen, Brandenburg, said the plant some 70 kilometres southeast of Berlin produced 1,000 cubic metres less sewage sludge than normal last year – and the only thing he had changed was the music.

“We play them Mozart’s Magic Flute, on a half-hour loop,” he told The Local.

The better the microbes work, the more they digest the sewage, producing more clean water and less sludge.

“And the less sludge we produce, the less we have to pay to farmers for them to put it on their fields,” said Meinusch.

“We are a very open company, and often try out new ideas to see if we can reduce costs, by cutting electricity consumption for example.”

He said he was approached by a company making special loudspeakers which had supposedly achieved interesting results at a sewage plant in Austria and wanted to try out their idea at a plant with more advanced technology.

“Last March, we fitted in the speakers and started playing the music to the microbes. They are very sensitive to environmental factors, particularly to temperature, and so at first nothing was really happening and in May we nearly stopped the experiment,” he said.

But after a local newspaper reported about the test, the amount of interest generated was great, that the plant managers decided to continue.

“After a year, we were left with 6,000 cubic metres of sludge, compared with the usual 7,000 cubic metres we produce in a year. That saved us about 10,000 Euros which is quite a lot of money,” Meinusch said.

“Of course as an engineer, I cannot say whether what we achieved was actually due to the music – nothing has been scientifically proven. I would hope to attract someone from a university to come and study it, perhaps a student who needs a subject to investigate for a diploma or doctorate.”

He said the plant and Mundus, the manufacturers of the speakers, decided to continue the experiment. Meinusch also said he had given the firm a share of the savings as a bonus.”

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