Why Steel Buildings Aren’t Safe From Thieves}

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Why Steel Buildings Aren’t Safe From Thieves



While you might not realize it, steel buildings and metal buildings have become a thiefs dream for reasons that you might not expect. These buildings may be tough on the weather and pests, but they just cant hold up to thieves that realize the fortunes that lay in the frames. By stripping construction sites and new homes, these thieves have been able to make money for themselves as the price for aluminum and copper continues to rise. Is there anything that you can do to protect your construction site?

First of all, you need to realize that a home that isnt finished is still the responsibility of the contractor to protect and that means you. By showing your customers that you value their home, you will earn their trust as well as repeat business from referrals or from the clients themselves. You want to treat their home as you would want your own home to be treated or even better. With this attitude in mind, here are the ways that you can protect their investment.

Security workers You can hire security detail to monitor the construction site when you will not be there. These security details arent necessarily expensive and need only be used during the evenings when other security measures will not work. You will want to thoroughly investigate each of the security guards that you hire with a full background check and check any references they might offer. These guards can either sit in their car to watch the site or they can drive by at regular intervals, depending on your personal preference and needs. As the house is built up, these security details can be minimize as other security measures can be used.

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Alarm systems Each construction site should have some sort of theft deterrent system that either sounds a loud alarm or silently alerts the police to a possible theft. A combination of the two types of alarms can be an effective way to head off thieves. You may want to choose a silent alarm for the beginning of the criminal act so that police have time to respond, and then have the louder alarm go off for neighbors to respond more immediately.

Surveillance cameras By installing security cameras, you can create an invisible method of catching thieves that want to steel from metal buildings and steel buildings. These cameras will not be able to work in darker lighting, but they can be affective for days that you might not be at the site holidays, rain days, etc. Be sure to check the quality of the film to be sure that you can discern the identity of the thieves that are caught on tape.

Fences Many constructions sites have opted to put up high fences to keep thieves from taking the copper and metal scraps from the site. These are physical deterrents that can be combined with any of the other methods as well.

When you have a construction site that will someday be the home for a family, doesnt it make sense that you take the time to protect their investment and their future?

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Why Steel Buildings Aren’t Safe From Thieves }

Simulations show planet orbiting Proxima Centauri could have liquid water

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

In findings published Tuesday in Astronomy and Astrophysics, a team of scientists led by Ian Boutle at the University of Exeter have created successful simulations of two possible atmospheres of Proxima B, an exoplanet orbiting Proxima Centauri, one a simple atmosphere of nitrogen tinged with carbon dioxide and another an Earth-like mix of gases. They found it possible that liquid water, a prerequisite for life as we know it, might exist on parts of the planet.

The University of Exeter’s lead exoplanet modeller, Dr. Nathan Mayne, in remarks to Wired, said, “If, and it is a huge if, the composition of the atmosphere was Earth-like then we showed the planet could indeed support temperatures which would allow liquid water on the surface”. In another statement, he emphasized researchers could also “exploit this to hopefully improve our understanding of how our own climate has and will evolve”.

Proxima B is believed roughly Earth-sized and in its solar system’s habitable zone, meaning it would have similar gravity to Earth and at least the possibility of liquid water. The exoplanet was discovered in August 2016 about 4.2 light years from Earth. Last year, NASA put out a statement expressing doubt that the planet could have an atmosphere in the sense that most of us understand it: “Considering the host star’s age and the planet’s proximity to its host star, the scientists expect that Proxima B is subjected to torrents of X-ray and extreme ultraviolet radiation from superflares occurring roughly every two hours.”

Co-author Dr. James Manners said, “One of the main features that distinguishes this planet from Earth is that the light from its star is mostly in the near infra-red[…] These frequencies of light interact much more strongly with water vapour and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which affects the climate that emerges in our model.”

This new model allowed scientists to evaluate the effects of Proxima B’s possible orbits and likely exposure to radiation and solar flares from its red dwarf sun on two types of atmospheres. The specifics of Proxima B’s orbit are not yet established. It might rotate around its axis quickly the way Earth does or it might be tidally locked to its sun, with one side of the planet always lit and the other always dark. It might have a near-circular orbit or an elliptical one. All these variations would have different effects on the flow of any gases over its surface. The models described in this paper review two possible orbits: one tidally locked and one modeled after Mercury’s, with a slow-rotating three days per year.

The team used the Met Office Unified Model to produce the simulations.

Apple unveils iPhone 4, iOS 4 at Worldwide Developers Conference 2010

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Yesterday, at this year’s Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), company CEO Steve Jobs unveiled iPhone 4, along with the new iOS 4 operating system for Apple mobile devices.

The announcement was long-awaited but not a very big surprise. In April, the technology blog Gizmodo obtained a prototype of the new phone and published details of it online. While introducing iPhone 4, at the annual conference, Jobs started by hinting at the incident, saying, “Stop me if you’ve already seen this.”

The new iPhone was praised by Jobs as “the biggest leap we’ve taken since the original iPhone.” It is only 9.3 millimetres (0.37 inches) thick, making it “the thinnest smartphone on the planet”, a 24 percent reduction from Apple’s previous model, the iPhone 3GS. Structure-wise, iPhone 4 has a new stainless steel frame, which acts as an antenna, supposedly boosting its signal reception abilities and possibly reducing the amount of dropped calls. It also has a new screen, dubbed a “retina display,” which displays images at 326 pixels per inch. During the keynote, Jobs demoed the device’s new internal gyroscope as well. Even though it now uses Apple’s faster A4 processor (first used in its iPad tablet), iPhone 4 has a claimed seven hours of 3G talk time, up two hours from the 3GS.

In addition to its design features, Jobs showed off iPhone 4’s new video calling abilities. This feature is called FaceTime, and connects with other iPhone 4s via Wi-Fi. The phone has two cameras: one on the front for video chats, and one on the back for taking pictures and other videos. The rear camera has a resolution of five megapixels, is capable of recording high-definition video, and has an LED flash.

The iPhone 4 will use Apple’s latest mobile operating system, iOS 4. Formerly “iPhone OS,” iOS 4 was first introduced by Apple in April, and includes multitasking capabilities. Jobs called the new software “the most advanced mobile operating system in the world.” iOS will support Apple’s new mobile advertising service, iAd, which goes live on July 1.

iPhone 4 will be available on June 24 in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Japan. It comes in two colors—black and white—and two storage capacities. The 16GB version is priced at US$199 and the 32GB version at US$299. The iPhone 3GS’s price will be reduced to US$99, and the iPhone 3G will be discontinued. iOS will be available as a free software update to users of compatible older Apple devices (including the 3GS) on June 21. In the U.S., iPhone 4 will only be available on AT&T‘s cellular network, despite calls for Apple to let the iPhone be used on other carriers, such as Verizon.

Competition-wise, the BlackBerry mobile device is still the most popular smartphone right now. Apple is also facing some serious competition from web giant Google’s Android operating system, as well as Palm‘s webOS. Earlier this year, Android phones managed to outsell iPhones. iPhone users, however, account for over half of those surfing the Internet on a mobile browser in the U.S. Jobs also noted that over five billion iOS applications, commonly called “apps,” have been purchased from Apple’s App Store. The App Store currently has around 225,000 different apps for sale.

How Important Is Having A Mobile/Responsive Website?}

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Submitted by: SkyeLine Studio

In short, important. Back in April 2015, Google announced that websites that weren’t responsive, based on a device’s screen size, would be penalized in search results. In May of this year, the changes in the algorithm were completed. If your site wasn’t mobile or responsive, mobile users would have a tough time a) finding your site, and b) using it without having to scroll side to side or zoom in to read the text. This is critical if you have a business-to-consumer website like a restaurant, entertainment venue, hair salon or coffee shop, since a significant portion of that website traffic is on mobile devices.

There are a few ways websites can meet these requirements. Having a responsive site means that, no matter what screen size a user has, the website will fit comfortably within that screen. Phones, tablets and large desktops will see all the content on your site without having to zoom in to read content or view menus. In responsive design, as the screen size gets smaller fonts get larger and photos are shuffled so they appear in an easy to read column. Some websites have a separate mobile version of their site, but this is less common than just having one single responsive website.

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So, what does the algorithm do, and how does it affect you? Basically, if you have a mobile or responsive site already, you don’t need to worry. However, if you have a website that isn’t responsive to a user’s screen size, your site likely wont show up on the first page of relevant search results, even with good search engine optimization (SEO).

To test your site, go to https://search.google.com/search-console/mobile-friendly and see how Google rates your mobile responsiveness. If it rates poorly, it will say it’s not mobile friendly and give a list of reasons, such as links being too close together or the text being too small, making a user zoom in. It will also show how the screen looks on a mobile phone.

Unfortunately, there is no workaround for the algorithm. Your website must either be updated make it responsive, or you must have a separate mobile site created. A separate mobile site may save time and money on the front end, but going forward it requires more effort to keep both versions updated with the same content. Plus, anytime a new browser update is released, you must make sure both sites can accommodate it. Having a separate mobile site also can’t guarantee the users are being sent to the correct site for the device they are using. If you send the mobile link to a desktop user, it wouldn’t look as clean as it should.

SkyeLine Studio is a full-service website design company located in Connecticut. We build sites with responsive design so that they are mobile friendly and optimized for every screen size. We specialize in content management systems utilizing WordPress so that clients may update their site on their own if they wish, providing the ultimate in digital freedom and flexibility. Were a one-stop-shop and make the web design process easy, offering photography services, logo design, writing, SEO, marketing strategy and more. For more information or to get a quote, go to www.skyeline.com/website-design/.

About the Author: Skyeline Studio LLC is a fastest growing marketing company that focus on building a strategic foundation for leveraging your competitive ranking and securing the highest ROI for each unique client in their respective business sector. Since 2003 we have worked on technology which includes website development, graphic design, branding, writing & editing. Our platform is also diversified to law, medicine, food and beverage, interior design, media, manufacturing, luxury goods & services. For more info visit our portal





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Michael Jackson doctor charged with involuntary manslaughter

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Dr. Conrad Murray has been charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection to the death of Michael Jackson, who Murray was doctor to. Dr. Murray was with the singer when he died on June 25 last year.

The doctor is alleged to have acted “unlawfully and without malice“. The prosecution’s complaint said that when Dr. Murray gave Michael Jackson a powerful sedative to attempt to assist Jackson with his sleeping, he acted “without the caution and circumspection required”. During rehearsals for a series of return concerts planned in London, England last year, the entertainer had employed the doctor to be his personal physician for the spring. If convicted of the charges, Dr. Murray could be imprisoned for up to four years.

According to Ed Chernoff, Dr. Murray’s lawyer, he will not plead guilty. Speaking on Monday, before the charge was filed, Chernoff stated: “We’ll make bail, we’ll plead not guilty and we’ll fight like hell.” The coroner’s office in Los Angeles, California, US reported that the death of Michael Jackson was a homicide, with the cause being an overdose of sedatives.

New Zealand local loop unbundled

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The New Zealand government has announced that the Telecommunications Amendment Bill, which will make Telecom unbundle the ‘local loop’, has passed in parliament only six months after it was introduced. The bill was passed under urgency on the last sitting day of the year.

The bill was opposed by two members of parliament from the ACT party and supported by 119 votes. The ACT party voted against the bill to prevent a split of the company into three divisions: retail, business and network.

Unbundling the local loop means that Telecom, New Zealand’s telecommunications monopoly company, will open its lines to competitors and provide “naked DSL”, which some say will lead to equal and fair competition in the Internet sector. The decision to unbundle the local loop occurred earlier this year when a mole leaked the proposal and the government had to make the announcement earlier than planned.

The bill will also enable minister of communications Cunliffe and the Commerce Commission the powers to split Telecom into the three divisions, after public consultation. The Telecommunications Commissioner will also have more power to implement the changes and monitor the implementation.

The bill will ensure that consumers do not have to purchase a phone account when signing up for an Internet account; before the bill was passed, a NZ$10 fee was added to the bill if the phone account was not with the Internet service provider.

The Honourable David Cunliffe, minister of communications, said that “We now have a clear, firm mandate from the people of New Zealand. Kiwis are demanding fast, ‘all you can eat’ broadband, which this legislation is designed to deliver.”

Hon Cunliffe said that history has been made with the new bill as it will bring New Zealanders faster and better broadband. “What some people said couldn’t be done is being done. What some people said wouldn’t work is being given the opportunity to work with an overwhelming majority. The bill equips New Zealand for the new digital age— an age where the smart use of technology will determine our continued prosperity as a country and make economic transformation a reality.”

Ukraine opposition candidate Yushchenko is suffering from a Dioxin intoxication, doctors say

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Saturday, December 11, 2004

VIENNA – Doctors from the Rudolfinerhaus clinic in Vienna say “there is no doubt” Ukrainian opposition leader Victor Yushchenko was poisoned with Dioxin.

Yushchenko’s body had about 1,000 times more than the normal concentration of the toxin. It is unknown if there were any other poisons in his system.

Although it has not yet been proven that the poisoning was deliberate, doctors suspect it was. “We suspect a cause triggered by a third party,” said Michael Zimpfer, head doctor at the Rudolfinerhaus clinic. He suggested the poison may have been administered orally, through food or drink.

Today’s announcements are a follow-up of an earlier press conference, where Dr. Korpan that there were three hypotheses under consideration, one of them involving dioxin. He did not reveal what the other two hypotheses were. Dr. Michael Zimpfer, director of the Rudolfinerhaus clinic emphasized that time there was no proof yet to specify the substance causing the illness.

Yushchenko left Kiev on Friday (2004-10-12) for further examination in Vienna. When Yushchenko fell ill on October 6th, Ukrainian doctors had initially diagnosed food poisoning, leading to speculation that he had been poisoned deliberately. The illness has disfigured Yushchenko’s body and face which doctors say could take up to two years to heal.

He fell seriously ill on the September 6th, during his presidential campaign. Yushchenko was taken to the Rudolfinerhaus clinic of Vienna, where he stayed for four days under Dr. Korpan’s care. He was diagnosed with “acute pancreatitis, accompanied by interstitial edematous changes.” These symptoms were said to be due to “a serious viral infection and chemical substances which are not normally found in food products” as his campaign officials put it. In laymans terms, he developed an infection in the pancreas and got a bad skin condition that disfigured his face with cysts and lesions. The skin condition has similarities with the chloracne associated with dioxin posioning according to a British toxicologist John Henry.

Leather Sofas And Points You Should Know About}

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Leather Sofas And Points You Should Know About


Adeline McComas

We are fast approaching what many consider one of the most romantic day’s the year, St. Romance. However, a nagging question plagues my spirit. Why reserve romance after only one operating day? This year, in lieu of booking that brief getaway or dinner reservation for two, focus marketing on creating the perfect romantic escape right in your own home.

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The most important element for Thai door is that as much as there is attention to create and details, there one more impeccable focus on quality. Durability is a mark of a truly luxurious design. Other than that, price-wise, you will unquestionably be delighted that Thai door is insatiably desirable and inside your are more than a prowl for amazing door, Thai designs are definitely the ones for your business.

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G20 protests: Inside a labour march

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Wikinews accredited reporter Killing Vector traveled to the G-20 2009 summit protests in London with a group of protesters. This is his personal account.

Friday, April 3, 2009

London – “Protest”, says Ross Saunders, “is basically theatre”.

It’s seven a.m. and I’m on a mini-bus heading east on the M4 motorway from Cardiff toward London. I’m riding with seventeen members of the Cardiff Socialist Party, of which Saunders is branch secretary for the Cardiff West branch; they’re going to participate in a march that’s part of the protests against the G-20 meeting.

Before we boarded the minibus Saunders made a speech outlining the reasons for the march. He said they were “fighting for jobs for young people, fighting for free education, fighting for our share of the wealth, which we create.” His anger is directed at the government’s response to the economic downturn: “Now that the recession is underway, they’ve been trying to shoulder more of the burden onto the people, and onto the young people…they’re expecting us to pay for it.” He compared the protest to the Jarrow March and to the miners’ strikes which were hugely influential in the history of the British labour movement. The people assembled, though, aren’t miners or industrial workers — they’re university students or recent graduates, and the march they’re going to participate in is the Youth Fight For Jobs.

The Socialist Party was formerly part of the Labour Party, which has ruled the United Kingdom since 1997 and remains a member of the Socialist International. On the bus, Saunders and some of his cohorts — they occasionally, especially the older members, address each other as “comrade” — explains their view on how the split with Labour came about. As the Third Way became the dominant voice in the Labour Party, culminating with the replacement of Neil Kinnock with Tony Blair as party leader, the Socialist cadre became increasingly disaffected. “There used to be democratic structures, political meetings” within the party, they say. The branch meetings still exist but “now, they passed a resolution calling for renationalisation of the railways, and they [the party leadership] just ignored it.” They claim that the disaffection with New Labour has caused the party to lose “half its membership” and that people are seeking alternatives. Since the economic crisis began, Cardiff West’s membership has doubled, to 25 members, and the RMT has organized itself as a political movement running candidates in the 2009 EU Parliament election. The right-wing British National Party or BNP is making gains as well, though.

Talk on the bus is mostly political and the news of yesterday’s violence at the G-20 demonstrations, where a bank was stormed by protesters and 87 were arrested, is thick in the air. One member comments on the invasion of a RBS building in which phone lines were cut and furniture was destroyed: “It’s not very constructive but it does make you smile.” Another, reading about developments at the conference which have set France and Germany opposing the UK and the United States, says sardonically, “we’re going to stop all the squabbles — they’re going to unite against us. That’s what happens.” She recounts how, in her native Sweden during the Second World War, a national unity government was formed among all major parties, and Swedish communists were interned in camps, while Nazi-leaning parties were left unmolested.

In London around 11am the march assembles on Camberwell Green. About 250 people are here, from many parts of Britain; I meet marchers from Newcastle, Manchester, Leicester, and especially organized-labor stronghold Sheffield. The sky is grey but the atmosphere is convivial; five members of London’s Metropolitan Police are present, and they’re all smiling. Most marchers are young, some as young as high school age, but a few are older; some teachers, including members of the Lewisham and Sheffield chapters of the National Union of Teachers, are carrying banners in support of their students.

Gordon Brown’s a Tory/He wears a Tory hat/And when he saw our uni fees/He said ‘I’ll double that!’

Stewards hand out sheets of paper with the words to call-and-response chants on them. Some are youth-oriented and education-oriented, like the jaunty “Gordon Brown‘s a Tory/He wears a Tory hat/And when he saw our uni fees/He said ‘I’ll double that!'” (sung to the tune of the Lonnie Donegan song “My Old Man’s a Dustman“); but many are standbys of organized labour, including the infamous “workers of the world, unite!“. It also outlines the goals of the protest, as “demands”: “The right to a decent job for all, with a living wage of at least £8 and hour. No to cheap labour apprenticeships! for all apprenticeships to pay at least the minimum wage, with a job guaranteed at the end. No to university fees. support the campaign to defeat fees.” Another steward with a megaphone and a bright red t-shirt talks the assembled protesters through the basics of call-and-response chanting.

Finally the march gets underway, traveling through the London boroughs of Camberwell and Southwark. Along the route of the march more police follow along, escorting and guiding the march and watching it carefully, while a police van with flashing lights clears the route in front of it. On the surface the atmosphere is enthusiastic, but everyone freezes for a second as a siren is heard behind them; it turns out to be a passing ambulance.

Crossing Southwark Bridge, the march enters the City of London, the comparably small but dense area containing London’s financial and economic heart. Although one recipient of the protesters’ anger is the Bank of England, the march does not stop in the City, only passing through the streets by the London Exchange. Tourists on buses and businessmen in pinstripe suits record snippets of the march on their mobile phones as it passes them; as it goes past a branch of HSBC the employees gather at the glass store front and watch nervously. The time in the City is brief; rather than continue into the very centre of London the march turns east and, passing the Tower of London, proceeds into the poor, largely immigrant neighbourhoods of the Tower Hamlets.

The sun has come out, and the spirits of the protesters have remained high. But few people, only occasional faces at windows in the blocks of apartments, are here to see the march and it is in Wapping High Street that I hear my first complaint from the marchers. Peter, a steward, complains that the police have taken the march off its original route and onto back streets where “there’s nobody to protest to”. I ask how he feels about the possibility of violence, noting the incidents the day before, and he replies that it was “justified aggression”. “We don’t condone it but people have only got certain limitations.”

There’s nobody to protest to!

A policeman I ask is very polite but noncommittal about the change in route. “The students are getting the message out”, he says, so there’s no problem. “Everyone’s very well behaved” in his assessment and the atmosphere is “very positive”. Another protestor, a sign-carrying university student from Sheffield, half-heartedly returns the compliment: today, she says, “the police have been surprisingly unridiculous.”

The march pauses just before it enters Cable Street. Here, in 1936, was the site of the Battle of Cable Street, and the march leader, addressing the protesters through her megaphone, marks the moment. She draws a parallel between the British Union of Fascists of the 1930s and the much smaller BNP today, and as the protesters follow the East London street their chant becomes “The BNP tell racist lies/We fight back and organise!”

In Victoria Park — “The People’s Park” as it was sometimes known — the march stops for lunch. The trade unions of East London have organized and paid for a lunch of hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries and tea, and, picnic-style, the marchers enjoy their meals as organized labor veterans give brief speeches about industrial actions from a small raised platform.

A demonstration is always a means to and end.

During the rally I have the opportunity to speak with Neil Cafferky, a Galway-born Londoner and the London organizer of the Youth Fight For Jobs march. I ask him first about why, despite being surrounded by red banners and quotes from Karl Marx, I haven’t once heard the word “communism” used all day. He explains that, while he considers himself a Marxist and a Trotskyist, the word communism has negative connotations that would “act as a barrier” to getting people involved: the Socialist Party wants to avoid the discussion of its position on the USSR and disassociate itself from Stalinism. What the Socialists favor, he says, is “democratic planned production” with “the working class, the youths brought into the heart of decision making.”

On the subject of the police’s re-routing of the march, he says the new route is actually the synthesis of two proposals. Originally the march was to have gone from Camberwell Green to the Houses of Parliament, then across the sites of the 2012 Olympics and finally to the ExCel Centre. The police, meanwhile, wanted there to be no march at all.

The Metropolitan Police had argued that, with only 650 trained traffic officers on the force and most of those providing security at the ExCel Centre itself, there simply wasn’t the manpower available to close main streets, so a route along back streets was necessary if the march was to go ahead at all. Cafferky is sceptical of the police explanation. “It’s all very well having concern for health and safety,” he responds. “Our concern is using planning to block protest.”

He accuses the police and the government of having used legal, bureaucratic and even violent means to block protests. Talking about marches having to defend themselves, he says “if the police set out with the intention of assaulting marches then violence is unavoidable.” He says the police have been known to insert “provocateurs” into marches, which have to be isolated. He also asserts the right of marches to defend themselves when attacked, although this “must be done in a disciplined manner”.

He says he wasn’t present at yesterday’s demonstrations and so can’t comment on the accusations of violence against police. But, he says, there is often provocative behavior on both sides. Rather than reject violence outright, Cafferky argues that there needs to be “clear political understanding of the role of violence” and calls it “counter-productive”.

Demonstration overall, though, he says, is always a useful tool, although “a demonstration is always a means to an end” rather than an end in itself. He mentions other ongoing industrial actions such as the occupation of the Visteon plant in Enfield; 200 fired workers at the factory have been occupying the plant since April 1, and states the solidarity between the youth marchers and the industrial workers.

I also speak briefly with members of the International Bolshevik Tendency, a small group of left-wing activists who have brought some signs to the rally. The Bolsheviks say that, like the Socialists, they’re Trotskyists, but have differences with them on the idea of organization; the International Bolshevik Tendency believes that control of the party representing the working class should be less democratic and instead be in the hands of a team of experts in history and politics. Relations between the two groups are “chilly”, says one.

At 2:30 the march resumes. Rather than proceeding to the ExCel Centre itself, though, it makes its way to a station of London’s Docklands Light Railway; on the way, several of East London’s school-aged youths join the march, and on reaching Canning Town the group is some 300 strong. Proceeding on foot through the borough, the Youth Fight For Jobs reaches the protest site outside the G-20 meeting.

It’s impossible to legally get too close to the conference itself. Police are guarding every approach, and have formed a double cordon between the protest area and the route that motorcades take into and out of the conference venue. Most are un-armed, in the tradition of London police; only a few even carry truncheons. Closer to the building, though, a few machine gun-armed riot police are present, standing out sharply in their black uniforms against the high-visibility yellow vests of the Metropolitan Police. The G-20 conference itself, which started a few hours before the march began, is already winding down, and about a thousand protesters are present.

I see three large groups: the Youth Fight For Jobs avoids going into the center of the protest area, instead staying in their own group at the admonition of the stewards and listening to a series of guest speakers who tell them about current industrial actions and the organization of the Youth Fight’s upcoming rally at UCL. A second group carries the Ogaden National Liberation Front‘s flag and is campaigning for recognition of an autonomous homeland in eastern Ethiopia. Others protesting the Ethiopian government make up the third group; waving old Ethiopian flags, including the Lion of Judah standard of emperor Haile Selassie, they demand that foreign aid to Ethiopia be tied to democratization in that country: “No recovery without democracy”.

A set of abandoned signs tied to bollards indicate that the CND has been here, but has already gone home; they were demanding the abandonment of nuclear weapons. But apart from a handful of individuals with handmade, cardboard signs I see no groups addressing the G-20 meeting itself, other than the Youth Fight For Jobs’ slogans concerning the bailout. But when a motorcade passes, catcalls and jeers are heard.

It’s now 5pm and, after four hours of driving, five hours marching and one hour at the G-20, Cardiff’s Socialists are returning home. I board the bus with them and, navigating slowly through the snarled London traffic, we listen to BBC Radio 4. The news is reporting on the closure of the G-20 conference; while they take time out to mention that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper delayed the traditional group photograph of the G-20’s world leaders because “he was on the loo“, no mention is made of today’s protests. Those listening in the bus are disappointed by the lack of coverage.

Most people on the return trip are tired. Many sleep. Others read the latest issue of The Socialist, the Socialist Party’s newspaper. Mia quietly sings “The Internationale” in Swedish.

Due to the traffic, the journey back to Cardiff will be even longer than the journey to London. Over the objections of a few of its members, the South Welsh participants in the Youth Fight For Jobs stop at a McDonald’s before returning to the M4 and home.

Computer professionals celebrate 10th birthday of A.L.I.C.E.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2005


More than 50 programmers, scientists, students, hobbyists and fans of the A.L.I.C.E. chat robot gathered in Guildford, U.K. on Friday to celebrate the tenth birthday of the award winning A.I. On hand was the founder the Loebner Prize, an annual Turing Test, designed to pick out the world’s most human computer according to an experiment laid out by the famous British mathematician Alan Turing more then 50 years ago. Along with A.L.I.C.E.’s chief programmer Dr. Richard S. Wallace, two other Loebner prize winners, Robby Garner and this year’s winner, Rollo Carpenter, also gave presentations, as did other finalists.

The University of Surrey venue was chosen, according to Dr. Wallace, not only because it was outside the U.S. (A.L.I.C.E.’s birthday fell on the Thanksgiving Day weekend holiday there, so he expected few people would attend a conference in America), but also because of its recently erected statue of Alan Turing, who posed the famous A. I. experiment which inspired much of the work on bots like A.L.I.C.E. University of Surrey Digital World Research Centre organizers Lynn and David Hamill were pleased to host the event because it encourages multi-disciplinary interaction, and because of the Centre’s interest in interaction between humans and computers.

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Dr. Wallace gave a keynote address outlining the history of A.L.I.C.E. and AIML. Many people commented on the fact the he seemed to have moved around a lot in the last ten years, having lived in New York, Pennsylvania, San Francisco, Maine, Amsterdam and Philadelphia, while working on the Alicebot project. The A.L.I.C.E. and AIML software is popular among chat robot enthusiats primarily because of its distribution under the GNU free software license. One of Dr. Wallace’s PowerPoint slides asked the question, “How do you make money from free software?” His answer: memberships, subscriptions, books, directories, syndicated ads, consulting, teaching, and something called the Superbot.

Rollo Carpenter gave a fascinating presentation on his learning bot Jabberwacky, reading from several sample conversations wherein the bot seemed amazingly humanlike. Unlike the free A.L.I.C.E. software, Carpenter uses a proprietary learning approach so that the bot actually mimics the personality of each individual chatter. The more people who chat with Jabberwacky, the better it becomes at this kind of mimicry.

In another interesting presentation, Dr. Hamill related present-day research on chat robots to earlier work on dialog analysis in telephone conversations. Phone calls have many similarities to the one-on-one chats that bots encounter on the web and in IM. Dr. Hamill also related our social expectations of bots to social class structure and how servants were expected to behave in Victorian England. He cited the famous Microsoft paperclip as the most egregius example of a bot that violated all the rules of a good servant’s behavior.

Bots have advanced a long way since philanthropist Hugh Loebner launched his controversial contest 15 years ago. His Turing Test contest, which offers an award of $100,000 for the first program to pass an “audio-visual” version of the game, also awards a bronze medal and $2000 every year for the “most human computer” according to a panel of judges. Huma Shah of the University of Westminster presented examples of bots used by large corporations to help sell furniture, provide the latest information about automotive products, and help customers open bank accounts. Several companies in the U.S. and Europe offer customized bot personalities for corporate web sites.

Even though Turing’s Test remains controversial, this group of enthusiastic developers seems determined to carry on the tradition and try to develop more and more human like chat bots. Hugh Loebner is dedicated to carry on his contest for the rest of his life, in spite of his critics. He hopes that a large enough constituency of winners will exist to keep the competition going well beyond his own lifetime. Dr. Wallace says, “Nobody has gotten rich from chat robots yet, but that doesn’t stop people from trying. There is such a thing as ‘bot fever’. For some people who meet a bot for the first time, it can pass the Turing Test for them, and they get very excited.”