Sunday 25 April 2010

and God bless Jeremiah ...

(Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, take me to heaven for Jesus' sake.)
Up, Down.

Facebook Not!Facebook Not!be reminded, be aware (or be square) that Facebook is bad juju!

don't believe me? ok, try deleting your account then (or, since you may have a considerable 'investment' and so be unwilling, create an account, add a few bits of flotsam and jetsam, and then try deleting it), this should be a fundamental feature of any social network don't you think? the ability to opt out? but it is just about impossible! (eh?) deactivating is relatively easy, except that all your 'content' stays there, waiting for your return like, say, an invisible dog at the hearthside, or like Peer Gynt's troll child, whatever ...

and for the record, this is not news, I posted Jennifer Stoddardt's warning today because I like to see the odd bureaucrat doing her job once in a while, but I was briefly in Facebook a few years ago, heard and heeded the warnings in 2008, and got out, 'permanentemente' (I hope).


If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. What do we do now that we have to go far, quickly? (Al Gore, 2008)

Michelangelo Buonarroti JeremiahJeremiah 5:21 - Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not.

Avatar, Neytiri, Zoe SaldanaAvatar, Neytiri, Zoe SaldanaAvatar, Neytiri, Zoe SaldanaAvatar, Neytiri, Zoe Saldanait might be a good idea to get into the proper mood with a quick round of 'Jeremiah Was A Bullfrog' in sign-language, and then with some real talent :-)   a-and a couple of cartoons, Ava Tar Sands (for the uninitiated, 'Eywa' is the guiding force and deity of the planet Pandora and the Na'vi in the movie Avatar. The Na'vi believe that Eywa acts to keep the ecosystem of Pandora in perfect equilibrium.) and 1,194,600 Elephants in the Room,

If I were the king of the world,
I'll tell you what I'd do.
I'd throw away the cars and the bars and the wars,
And make sweet love to you.

but having given us words like 'Jeremiad,' (being a doleful complaint or a complaining tirade or a lugubrious effusion; sometimes the OED is poetic eh? just try saying 'lugubrious effusion' out loud :-) it is not joy that the biblical Jeremiah is known for, and this (dare I say the word 'negative' O holy mavens of correctitude?) aspect is emphasized in Michelangelo Buonarroti's Sistine Chapel ceiling (Jeremiah/Hieremias is in the lower left corner of the panorama shots):
Michelangelo Buonarroti Sistine Chapel CeilingMichelangelo Buonarroti Sistine Chapel CeilingMichelangelo Buonarroti JeremiahMichelangelo Buonarroti JeremiahMichelangelo Buonarroti Jeremiah

his Chapter 5 could be referring directly to our mismanagement of the environment, to our destroying of 'creation' as it were: Jeremiah 5:25 - Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you.

and then, towards the end (the end of the whole shebang that is), there's this: Revelations 11:18 - And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.

maybe Bob is quoting this 'angry nations' in Solid Rock do you think? but this line knocks my socks off,

"and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth."

maybe I don't advocate violence, but when that line was pointed out to me the first time, read out loud actually, though it was not in a church - I don't think there is a Minister or Pastor or Priest anywhere in this country with the balls to preach on this verse - well, even though I would very probably be going down with the rest, I felt that Kundalini snake creepin' up my spine, got that old Chakra Number Zero lit right up bright! Wowzers!

here are some particularly egregious lies from the New York Times a few days ago: For Earth Day, 7 New Rules to Live By, which I will deal with one by one (or so), can a thing be simultaneously egregious and subtle I wonder?

or maybe not every point ... maybe just start with number 3. “Let them eat organic” is not a global option, no? then what about Cuba and their peak oil experiment? watch this video for a taste (so to speak) The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil, the video is hosted at LiveVideo and was a bit slow to load for me, so I paused it for five minutes before starting and that worked ok, about an hour, maybe I also need to say that those Commie Pinko Cubans have allowed some of their scurrilous socialist ideology to slip into the video, my advice on that is just let it go by (this is my patented Aikido defence against ideology :-)

one friend of mine even said to me, "waidaminit, those tyrannical and damned dictatorial Cubans disappear people don'cha know?" well, and what did the k-k-Canadians try to do with Maher Arar? and Abousfian Abdelrazik? and even Robert Dziekanski? and how many were disappeared that we never heard of? whatever!

in any event, if there was a major die-off of Cubans during the Special Period in the early 90s and they have been trying to keep it all hid - it will show up as an echo blip in the demographic statistics after a short while, but I think Cuba solved and survived their sudden dearth of oil rather well, graciously in fact, that's what I think, and it flat-out makes a lie of wazizname's point #3, the Whole Earth Catolog pundit, wazizname? ahh who cares what his name is?


and the rest of his points don't wash either but I will leave that to you to think about

Frnkfurt airport, mid-April 2010and more of similar subtle misdirection from Jeff Rubin in the Globe, again, I'll leave you to figgure out why, for myself, the sight of all those airliners sitting on runways was another Kundalini thrill, and the thought of airline companies going bankrupt!? poor things ... they 'lost' about 2 billion, all I can say is - better for the planet if it was 10 or 20 billion, better for the planet if they had all gone immediately bankrupt and ceased activities entirely

I have already seen lots of the kind of silliness in the NYT list, James Lovelock when he became a nuclear booster, James Hansen ditto, Gwynne Dyer more of the same, and a reluctant embrace of geo-engineering as well, the point is that even if they could possibly be deployed either in time or safely (which they cannot) nuclear and geo-engineering would only perpetuate the nonsense around growth and waste and abuse, enormous band aids is what they are, and since there are safe effective means at hand which can be deployed in a heartbeat there is no reason except the greed and arrogance and stupidity of the governments and industries that put this shit forward

Gwynne Dyer is onto the 7. We are as gods and have to get good at it. wavelength too, or bandwagon as the case may be, (below), people reach rubbish conclusions such as this, if it were Geometry they would know that there are only 180 degrees in a triangle and would retrace their steps, being that it is the great unknown, well ... 'nuff said.

Kerri CanepotatoeI honour the memory of Kerri Canepotato, such a strong and courageous young woman, a teenager who walked 60 kilometres in the cold and dark, and died trying to help her friends, God bless her.

Hey, I'm depraved on account'a I'm deprived! from West Side Story, complete lyrics can be found here.

It ain't just a question of misunderstood,
Deep down inside him, he's no good!

one thing that does work in Toronto is the Public Library system, I found a copy of Pierre Coupey's Bring forth the cowards and copied the title poem, reading these poems for the first time since 1964 I was surprised at how much was still familiar after more than 40 years, and also at how things get distorted in memory, the phrase, "my father's hatred of waste" I had remembered as my mother's :-)

Sudanno boobage this week, but somewhere in the same general area of the cortex are stored the eyes of young girls in jeopardy, look at the girl on the left closely
Altamira Anima
what is that little patch on her forehead? what are those eyes saying? the teddy bear came from UNICEF apparently

eyes of youtheyes of youthI have posted images like this before, I see them and they stick like Alzheimer's plaque, like some'a that sticky BPA tar in my brain, here and here and here.   ... so ... I was thinking to end this as I began it, with a prayer, my sisters taught me that particular one when I was a boy - but it's dried up and the dust has blown away and I am not sure the lesson was ever a blessing, I heard a man recently saying to me "God cares," and I choked hard on it, stopped me cold.

Sometimes there is something delicious in oblivion. (Morris Friedell)

"Oranges and lemons," say the Bells of St. Clement's.
"You owe me five farthings," say the Bells of St. Martin's.
"When will you pay me?" say the Bells of Old Bailey.
"When I grow rich," say the Bells of Shoreditch.
"When will that be?" say the Bells of Stepney.
"I do not know," say the Great Bells of Bow.

Here comes a candle to light you to bed.
Here comes a chopper to chop off your head.
Chip chop chip chop - the last man's dead.

Malvados, Deus $9.99
Comics from the 10s
God $9.99
The world is so crazy Ary.
Walk quickly, the trolls are attacking me!

Postscript: there is a thread that was reinforced for me this week, the story starts about a year ago, seeing an old friend I hadn't talked to in years and getting into the climate change 'thang,' a major turn off in the 'movement' for him is that so many of the pundits and 'spokespersons' seem really to be saying, "It's all about ME!" he was talking about Al Gore and David Suzuki and the Greenpeace activists at Albian Hills and the Parliament Buildings &etc. and I didn't agree but still, I found some truth in it ... so, I was out with my son to see Elizabeth May and Gwynne Dyer speaking on Tuesday night in Toronto, the ghost of Mahatma Ghandi was duly invoked (I wondered what Gwynne Dyer might look like clad only in a loin cloth :-), and then Elizabeth May upstaged him, not so out-of-control as she was during the Munk Debates but a similar sort of behavior ... examples of people who do not seem to indulge in this kind of thing? Lester Brown? Mishka Lysack? Tim Flannery? ... not trying to be mean, just trying to get it sorted out ok?

let's end with a laugh eh? this made me laugh, two headlines from Ambiente Brasil; on the 23rd, "Cocô de baleia ajuda a sequestrar carbono no mar" / Whale shit helps to sequester carbon in the ocean, and the next day, "Acordo propõe legalizar a caça às baleias" / Treaty proposes legalizing the hunting of whales, except being not very fluent I confused 'cocô' & 'caça' and was, for a moment, imagining some bureaucratic committee writing up laws to legalize whale shit :-) in one day! man! they really jumped on that issue eh?

and then there's Cochabamba,

be well.

1. For Earth Day, 7 New Rules to Live By, John Tierney, April 19 2010.
2. A glimpse into our future, Jeff Rubin, April 21 2010.
3. Bring forth the cowards, Pierre Coupey, 1964.
4. Facebook users risk blackmail, privacy czar warns, Jacquie McNish & Omar El Akkad, April 23 2010.
5. How Sticky Is Membership on Facebook? Just Try Breaking Free, Naria Aspan, February 11 2008.
6. Cochabamba: Mining protests overshadow climate summit, Claudia Lopez Pardo, April 21 2010.

For Earth Day, 7 New Rules to Live By, John Tierney, April 19 2010.

On the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, is the middle-aged green movement ready to be revived by some iconoclastic young Turqs?

No, that’s not a misspelling. The word is derived from Turquoise, which is Stewart Brand’s term for a new breed of environmentalist combining traditional green with a shade of blue, as in blue-sky open-minded thinking. A Turq, he hopes, will be an environmentalist guided by science, not nostalgia or technophobia.

Ordinarily I’d be skeptical of either the word or the concept catching on, but I believe in never ignoring any trend spotted by Mr. Brand, especially on this topic. He was the one, after all, who helped inspire Earth Day by putting the first picture of the planet on the cover of his “Whole Earth Catalog” in 1968.

Now he has another book, “Whole Earth Discipline,” in which he urges greens to “question convenient fables.” In that spirit, let me offer a few suggestions gleaned from the four decades since Earth Day. Here are seven lessons for Turqs of all ages:

1. It’s the climate, stupid. The orators at the first Earth Day didn’t deliver speeches on global warming. That was partly because there weren’t yet good climate models predicting warming in the 21st century and partly because the orators weren’t sure civilization would survive that long anyway.

They figured that the “overpopulated” world was about to be decimated by famine, the exhaustion of fossil fuels, global shortages of vital minerals, pollution, pesticides, cancer epidemics, nuclear-reactor meltdowns, and assorted technological disasters. Who had time to worry about a distant danger from a natural substance like carbon dioxide?

Well, the expected apocalypses never occurred, and it’s the unexpected problem of greenhouse gases that concerns scientists today. Greens say they’ve shifted their priorities, too, but by how much?

2. You can never not do just one thing. Environmentalists of the 1970s liked to justify their resistance to new technologies by warning that you could never do just one thing. It was a nice mantra and also quite accurate. New technologies do indeed come with unexpected side effects.

But resisting new technology produces its own unpleasant surprises. The “No Nukes” movement effectively led to more reliance on electricity generated by coal plants spewing carbon. The opposition to “industrial agriculture” led to the lower-yield farms that require more acreage, leaving less woodland to protect wildlife and absorb carbon.

3. “Let them eat organic” is not a global option. For affluent humans in industrialized countries, organic food is pretty much a harmless luxury. Although there’s no convincing evidence that the food is any healthier or more nutritious than other food, if that label makes you feel healthier and more virtuous, then you can justify the extra cost.

But most people in the world are not affluent, and their food budgets are limited. If they’re convinced by green marketers that they need to choose higher-priced organic produce, they and their children are liable to end up eating fewer fruits and vegetables — and sometimes nothing at all, as occurred when Zambia rejected emergency food for starving citizens because the grain had been genetically engineered.

In “Denialism,” a book about the spread of unscientific beliefs, Michael Specter criticizes the “organic fetish” as a “pernicious kind of denialism” being exported to poor countries.

“Total reliance on organic farming would force African countries to devote twice as much land per crop as we do in the United States,” he writes. “An organic universe sounds delightful, but it could consign millions of people in Africa and throughout much of Asia to malnutrition and death.”

4. Frankenfood, like Frankenstein, is fiction. The imagined horrors of “frankenfoods” have kept genetically engineered foods out of Europe and poor countries whose farmers want to export food to Europe. Americans, meanwhile, have been fearlessly growing and eating them for more than a decade — and the scare stories seem more unreal than ever.

Last week, the National Academy of Sciences reported that genetically engineered foods had helped consumers, farmers and the environment by lowering costs, reducing the use of pesticide and herbicide, and encouraging tillage techniques that reduce soil erosion and water pollution.

“I daresay the environmental movement has done more harm with its opposition to genetic engineering than with any other thing we’ve been wrong about,” Mr. Brand writes in “Whole Earth Discipline.” “We’ve starved people, hindered science, hurt the natural environment, and denied our own practitioners a crucial tool.”

5. “Green” energy hasn’t done much for greenery — or anything else. Since the first Earth Day, wind and solar energy have been fashionable by a variety of names: alternative, appropriate, renewable, sustainable. But today, despite decades of subsidies and mandates, it provides less than 1 percent of the electrical power in the world, and people still shun it once they discover how much it costs and how much land it requires.

6. “New Nukes” is the new “No Nukes.” In the 1980s, Gwyneth Cravens joined the greens who successfully prevented the Shoreham nuclear reactor from opening on Long Island. Then, after learning about global warming, she discovered that the reactor would have prevented the annual emission of three million tons of carbon dioxide. She wrote a book on the nuclear industry titled, “Power to Save the World.”

Mr. Brand has also renounced his opposition to nuclear power and now promotes it as green energy because of its low-carbon emissions and its small footprint on the landscape. He wants to see the development of small modular reactors, and he quotes a warning from the climate scientist James Hansen, “One of the greatest dangers the world faces is the possibility that a vocal minority of antinuclear activists could prevent phase-out of coal emissions.”

Some groups, like the Natural Resources Defense Council, are still resisting nuclear power, just as groups like Greenpeace are fighting genetically engineered crops. But if Mr. Brand is right, maybe some greens will rediscover the enthusiasm for technology expressed in his famous line at the start of “The Whole Earth Catalog:” “We are as gods and might as well get good at it.”

Technological progress, not nostalgia or asceticism, is the only reliable way for greens’ visions of “sustainability” to be sustained. Wilderness and wildlife can be preserved only if the world’s farmers have the best tools to feed everyone on the least amount of land. Solar power will be widely adopted only if there are breakthroughs that make it more efficient.

Greenhouse gases will keep accumulating unless engineers build economical sources of low-carbon energy or develop techniques for sequestering carbon. And if those advances aren’t enough to stop global warming, we’ll want new tools for directly engineering the climate. Given the seriousness of the danger, Mr. Brand supports climate-engineering research, and he has updated his famous line from four decades ago. The update makes a good concluding lesson for Turqs:

7. We are as gods and have to get good at it.

A glimpse into our future, Jeff Rubin, April 21 2010.

Like millions of others, I was supposed to be flying over European skies last Saturday night—in my case to do a couple of days of media in Lisbon around the launch of the Portuguese edition of my book, “Porque É Que o Seu Mundo Vai Ficar Muito Mais Pequeno.”

Of course, I never got to Portugal. Most airports in Western Europe were closed due to the ash fallout from the still-exploding Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland. The much smaller world that I envisioned would come with triple-digit oil prices was coming a lot sooner than even I expected.

The airlines have a little more at stake than I have with my Portuguese book sales. They’re losing some $250-million a day from tens of thousands of cancelled flights over the course of the past few days. And the volcanologists suggest the eruptions could continue for several months. If that happens, European-based airlines won’t have to worry about triple-digit oil prices. Most will have already gone bankrupt from what volcanic ash alone will have done to air travel.

While airlines are on the front lines, just think of all the other ways the volcano has short-circuited the global economy. Consider the millions of meetings that never happened, the millions of business transactions that didn’t get made, the millions of missed hotel and car reservations. And think of the thousands of airline passengers who took global travel for granted only to find themselves stranded in European airports.

Naturally there are always exceptions. British comic John Cleese reportedly paid a $5,000 cab fare to get from Oslo to Brussels to circumvent the no-fly zone and make a gig. Those of us of lesser means stayed put; I, for example, am now writing a blog post in Toronto when I should be on a book tour in some sunny café in Lisbon.

But it’s not just people who aren’t able to get around. A good chunk of the global food supply chain also relies on air transport to ensure worldwide distribution. Think of all the havoc caused by broken supply chains in our interconnected global economy. From fresh pineapple from Ghana to fresh flowers from Kenya, Northern Europe’s already beginning to notice the disruption from the loss of air freight. The Freight Transport Association in the UK recently warned that British supermarkets could soon start running out of imported fruit and vegetables if the air embargo continues much longer.

Of course, the wind could change or the volcano could suddenly stop belching and all could quickly return to normal. But while it lasts, take careful note. It may well be a dress rehearsal for what lies ahead. What volcanic ash is doing today, triple-digit oil prices will do tomorrow.

Bring forth the cowards, Pierre Coupey, 1964.

[apologies that I obviously messed this up - I will have to go back to the library to see where I went wrong and fix it 12-06-28]

)and as I step forward with you (

mind & belly mortared with muck
eyes 6c noses redshot, our
        with fear
                our breath

in        spasms

We listen rallied
in the park like
spastic statues
mobilized) to hear

                        the proclamation
        megaphones in every ear
the military muzak of the Genera's
high commands in double time —
        the State is hereby under
                Martial Law — (our ranks

a regiment of ears
drilled in the park by the monstrous
megaphones, But
our bodies stilled
                        by )the news
                                too fast
                                too late
                        the third
                        & last (the
muzak mushroomed all around
our statues masonry on the ground)

Facebook users risk blackmail, privacy czar warns, Jacquie McNish & Omar El Akkad, April 23 2010.

Changes to social-networking site allow developers to keep stores of information about its members indefinitely

The world’s most popular social network has made it easier for its users to become the victims of “blackmail” by watering down its protections of personal information, Canada’s top privacy official says.

Facebook executives this week unveiled a series of changes to the site, which now boasts about 400-million users. One of the changes allows third-party developers who design games and other Facebook applications to store user data indefinitely. Previously, developers were required to delete the data after 24 hours.

“I’m very concerned about these changes. More than half a million developers will have access to this data,” Jennifer Stoddardt, Canada’s Privacy Commissioner, said in an interview in her Ottawa office. “The information will be stored indefinitely and it opens the possibility that a lot of people can be blackmailed from all corners of the world.”

More than just about any government official in the world, Ms. Stoddardt’s hard-line stand on protecting consumers’ privacy has forced Facebook to fundamentally alter the way it treats personal information, even though Canada’s Privacy Commissioner has substantially weaker enforcement powers than many of her global counterparts. After she concluded a 14-month investigation of Facebook last year, the website committed to installing better safeguards by a deadline this summer, including allowing its users to block makers of such popular applications as the game Farmville from culling private information and photos.

“They certainly seem to be moving in the opposite direction,” Ms. Stoddardt said. She said the regulatorwas surprised by the announcement and it does not intend to take any steps until after the deadline expires at the end of July for the social media giant to reform its privacy practices.

Facebook representatives told The Globe and Mail in an e-mail that privacy concerns “are always at the forefront of any new product development.”

“During the course of launching any products, including those at f8 [Facebook’s developer conference this week], we always consult with a variety of privacy bodies.”

Company representatives added that they had previously agreed to launch a new model for users to give permission to applications developers to use their information, and that the company had followed through on that promise this week.

Ms. Stoddardt said the company's apparent about-face is the latest in a series of aggressive innovations by “bright young geeks” at Internet companies such as Facebook and Google, who are so enthralled with technology that they are not focusing on basic privacy rights that other brick-and-mortar companies respect. As these Web giants seek to profit from their extensive stores of demographic data, they are finding themselves increasingly at odds with privacy regulators.

“Making unlimited wealth is not a reason for doing away with privacy. The rest of the world’s citizens are not comfortable with this,” Ms. Stoddardt said.

She added that her counterparts in other countries are disheartened by the Internet industry’s apparent indifference to privacy concerns and she expects that “an enforcement action” will be taken in the near future against one of the Web’s larger players.

She said it is likely that a European regulator will initiate enforcement proceedings because, unlike Canada, most European countries give their regulators the authority to order changes.

“This is a global issue and I expect we will see a global solution.”

The commission’s pioneering Facebook investigation was triggered by a complaint from an Ottawa privacy rights group, which alleged that the site was not properly informing users about their right to restrict access to their data. Although the commission's powers are limp by global standards, Ms. Stoddardt said she decided after some “sleepless nights” that her office “could not duck” the privacy issues posed by Facebook.

How Sticky Is Membership on Facebook? Just Try Breaking Free, Naria Aspan, February 11 2008.

Are you a member of You may have a lifetime contract.

Some users have discovered that it is nearly impossible to remove themselves entirely from Facebook, setting off a fresh round of concern over the popular social network’s use of personal data.

While the Web site offers users the option to deactivate their accounts, Facebook servers keep copies of the information in those accounts indefinitely. Indeed, many users who have contacted Facebook to request that their accounts be deleted have not succeeded in erasing their records from the network.

“It’s like the Hotel California,” said Nipon Das, 34, a director at a biotechnology consulting firm in Manhattan, who tried unsuccessfully to delete his account this fall. “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.”

It took Mr. Das about two months and several e-mail exchanges with Facebook’s customer service representatives to erase most of his information from the site, which finally occurred after he sent an e-mail threatening legal action. But even after that, a reporter was able to find Mr. Das’s empty profile on Facebook and successfully sent him an e-mail message through the network.

In response to difficulties faced by ex-Facebook members, a cottage industry of unofficial help pages devoted to escaping Facebook has sprung up online — both outside and inside the network.

“I thought it was kind of strange that they save your information without telling you in a really clear way,” said Magnus Wallin, a 26-year-old patent examiner in Stockholm who founded a Facebook group, “How to permanently delete your facebook account.” The group has almost 4,300 members and is steadily growing.

The technological hurdles set by Facebook have a business rationale: they allow ex-Facebookers who choose to return the ability to resurrect their accounts effortlessly. According to an e-mail message from Amy Sezak, a spokeswoman for Facebook, “Deactivated accounts mean that a user can reactivate at any time and their information will be available again just as they left it.”

But it also means that disenchanted users cannot disappear from the site without leaving footprints. Facebook’s terms of use state that “you may remove your user content from the site at any time,” but also that “you acknowledge that the company may retain archived copies of your user content.”

Its privacy policy says that after someone deactivates an account, “removed information may persist in backup copies for a reasonable period of time.”

Facebook’s Web site does not inform departing users that they must delete information from their account in order to close it fully — meaning that they may unwittingly leave anything from e-mail addresses to credit card numbers sitting on Facebook servers.

Only people who contact Facebook’s customer service department are informed that they must painstakingly delete, line by line, all of the profile information, “wall” messages and group memberships they may have created within Facebook.

“Users can also have their account completely removed by deleting all of the data associated with their account and then deactivating it,” Ms. Sezak said in her message. “Users can then write to Facebook to request their account be deleted and their e-mail will be completely erased from the database.”

But even users who try to delete every piece of information they have ever written, sent or received via the network have found their efforts to permanently leave stymied. Other social networking sites like MySpace and Friendster, as well as online dating sites like, may require departing users to confirm their wishes several times — but in the end they offer a delete option.

“Most sites, even online dating sites, will give you an option to wipe your slate clean,” Mr. Das said.

Mr. Das, who joined Facebook on a whim after receiving invitations from friends, tried to leave after realizing that most of his co-workers were also on the site. “I work in a small office,” he said. “The last thing I want is people going on there and checking out my private life.”

“I did not want to be on it after junior associates at work whom I have to manage saw my stuff,” he added.

Facebook’s quiet archiving of information from deactivated accounts has increased concerns about the network’s potential abuse of private data, especially in the wake of its fumbled Beacon advertising feature.

That application, which tracks and publishes the items bought by Facebook members on outside Web sites, was introduced in November without a transparent, one-step opt-out feature. After a public backlash, including more than 50,000 Facebook users’ signatures on a protest petition, Facebook executives apologized and allowed such an opt-out option on the program.

Tensions remain between making a profit and alienating Facebook’s users, who the company says total about 64 million worldwide (MySpace has an estimated 110 million monthly active users).

The network is still trying to find a way to monetize its popularity, mostly by allowing marketers access to its wealth of demographic and behavioral information. The retention of old accounts on Facebook’s servers seems like another effort to hold onto — and provide its ad partners with — as much demographic information as possible.

“The thing they offer advertisers is that they can connect to groups of people. I can see why they wouldn’t want to throw away anyone’s information, but there’s a conflict with privacy,” said Alan Burlison, 46, a British software engineer who succeeded in deleting his account only after he complained in the British press, to the country’s Information Commissioner’s Office and to the TRUSTe organization, an online privacy network that has certified Facebook.

Mr. Burlison’s complaint spurred the Information Commissioner’s Office, a privacy watchdog organization, to investigate Facebook’s data-protection practices, the BBC reported last month. In response, Facebook issued a statement saying that its policy was in “full compliance with U.K. data protection law.”

A spokeswoman for TRUSTe, which is based in San Francisco, said its account deletion process was “inconvenient,” but that Facebook was “being responsive to us and they currently meet our requirements.”

“I kept getting the same answer and really felt that I was being given the runaround,” Mr. Burlison said of Facebook’s customer service representatives. “It was quite obvious that no amount of prodding from me on a personal level was going to make a difference.”

Only after he sent a link to the video of his interview with Britain’s Channel 4 News to the customer service representatives — and Facebook executives — was his account finally deleted.

Steven Mansour, 28, a Canadian online community developer, spent two weeks in July trying to fully delete his account from Facebook. He later wrote a blog entry — including e-mail messages, diagrams and many exclamations of frustration — in a post entitled “2504 Steps to closing your Facebook account” (

Mr. Mansour, who said he is “really skeptical of social networking sites,” decided to leave after a few months on Facebook. “I was getting tired of always getting alerts and e-mails,” he said. “I found it very invasive.”

“It’s part of a much bigger picture of social networking sites on the Internet harvesting private data, whether for marketing or for more sinister purposes,” he said. His post, which wound up on the link-aggregator, has been viewed more than 87,000 times, Mr. Mansour said, adding that the traffic was so high it crashed his server.

And his post became the touchstone for Mr. Wallin, who was inspired to create his group, “How to permanently delete your Facebook account,” after joining, leaving and then rejoining Facebook, only to find that all of his information from his first account was still available.

“I wanted the information to be available inside Facebook for all the users who wanted to leave, and quite a few people have found it just by using internal search,” said Mr. Wallin. Facebook has never contacted Mr. Wallin about the group.

Mr. Wallin said he has heard through members that some people have successfully used his steps to leave Facebook. But he is not yet ready to leave himself.

“I don’t want to leave yet; I actually find it really convenient,” he said. “But someday when I want to leave, I want it to be simple.”

Cochabamba: Mining protests overshadow climate summit, Claudia Lopez Pardo, April 21 2010.

Participants, many from environmental and social groups, hope the summit's conclusions will be taken into account at the next UN talks in Mexico in December.

Bolivian President Evo Morales launched the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth on Tuesday, welcoming over 10,000 people from 135 countries and dozens of social organizations to what he declared to be an alternative to the United Nations climate talks.

In a moving multicultural ceremony in a stadium outside Cochabamba, amautas — indigenous cultural leaders — performed an official ceremony opening offering a gift to mother earth "Pachamama".

A written goal of the conference is "to save the planet," and Morales, who opposed the U.S.-backed Copenhagen Accord during the last international climate conference, was clear about where he'd like to start.
"We can not have equilibrium in this world with the current inequality and destruction of Mother Earth," Morales told the crowd. "Capitalism is what is causing this problem and it needs to end."
For three days, Cochabamba, a city of fewer than a million people, will hold 17 conference workshops where topics such as structural causes of climate change, harmony with nature, adapting to climate change, indigenous peoples, the dangers of the carbon market, climate justice and others will be discussed.

The participants, many from environmental and social groups, hope the summit's conclusions will be taken into account at the next UN talks in Mexico in December, though its unclear whether world leaders will even acknowledge the proposals.

The Rebel Workshop

Off the official summit campus, visitors can find Workshop No. 18 and another set of concerns. Workshop No. 18 is a self-declared rebel workshop.

Morales' government doesn't want to hear the demands of the social organizations there because they are exposing environmental problems caused by extractive activities like mining, new projects hydroelectric dams and water legislation within Bolivia, participants said. Mining is likely to expand and cross paths with the global push for sustainability because Bolivia holds huge deposits of lithium, used in manufacturing lithium-ion batteries used in electric cars. At the same time, Bolivia faces a danger of water shortages as its glaciers melt.
"The social and environmental issues that we are raising must be addressed by government,"
Secretary of Extractive Industries of the Confederation of indigenous Aymara Rafael Quispe said.
The Regional Federation of Peasant Workers of the Altiplano Sud (FRUTCAS) is one of the participating organizations at workshop No. 18. It is a grassroots organization of community members from Nor Lipez province of the department of Potosi who are in the midst of a conflict that has upended the operations of a huge Japanese trading company.

The protest is against the San Cristobal mine, which is owned by Sumitomo Corporation. It has been in operation for more than three years in the Andean region near the Salar de Uyuni in the town of Avaroa, but for the past week and a half, it has been largely shut down by the protesters.

With blockades, marches and office take-overs of the San Cristobal mine, the communities are demanding that the silver and lead mine replenish the water expended by the extraction processes of an open pit mine and that it be taxed. Six hundred liters of water every second are extracted by the mine.

They are also demanding the completion of projects that were promised by the mining companies when they began operations, such as electrification and improved road infrastructure, with emphasis on water issues.

So far, the Morales government has not taken action against the protest. The situation remains tense, and organizations at Workshop No. 18 are in solidarity with those who are mobilized.

So with an emphasis on indigenous culture, a sharing of information, and participants that range from indigenous to students, academics, government representatives from around the world, the conference and its satellites are under way. There is expectation and an excited willingness to move forward in the heated debates that are sure to come.

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