Thursday, January 25, 2007

Get This Book


link

A monster of desire at the heart of a nation
Frances Wilson
Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 14/01/2007



Frances Wilson reviews London in the 19th Century by Jerry White

According to Dr Johnson, "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford." For those who can't afford all the life London has to offer, there is Jerry White's encyclopaedic new book instead (at £20, the cost of five Tube tickets) – I guarantee you will never tire of this. London in the 19th Century, like White's previous London in the 20th Century, is as rich as a fruit cake, as layered as an onion, and as complex as the capital itself.

The social history of London in the 19th century can be summarised as "the story of the search for order", and the heart of White's concern with city life is the struggle for authority between the powers and the people: "Just how – and how far – Londoners were brought to heal must be a central strand in any history of London in the 19th century." As such, one fifth of London in the 19th Century is given to the growth of law and order; how the arranged marriage of Church and state evangelised the Georgian mob and spawned a haven of happy homes and hearths.

advertisementBut the story of 19th century London is also the story of the birth of speed, and not only because of the velocity with which a great old city was to become the greatest new city the world had ever seen. It was during this time that daily life itself picked up pace and began to steam ahead. The century oversaw the construction of the main arteries of the metropolis, the railway lines that now shoot out from all sides like tentacles, the roads that spiral from the city's centre into a new suburbia, the sewers and tubes rumbling beneath, the sanitisation of the river and the birth of the embankment.

These arteries belonged to an increasingly Herculean body – and, like all bodies, this one harboured and hid a less civilised life within, which continually threatened to take over. "London," as White puts it, "was a monster of desire." Tales of crime and prostitution in Victorian England are wheeled out to entertain us on a regular basis, and it is to White's credit that when he arrives at that wearisome point where a mention of Jack the Ripper is required, he leaves aside the usual speculation to commemorate instead only the names of the five women who were slain.

At one point mid-century, the police believed that up to 8,000 women were working the streets, while the evangelists put the figure at nearer 80,000. Aas to the demand which produced the industry, "Here London was unique in every way. It was the greatest and richest gathering of men on earth and for much of their daily lives they were without women's company." Hundreds and thousands of men came to London for work, be it in the banks or the fish markets; sailors landed in the port from all over the globe, the railways and steamboats disgorged migrants by the day.

A micro-history of the city is contained in many of her most characterful streets: the New Road, now Oxford Street, down which condemned men would travel to meet their maker at Tyburn; Wentworth Street, the "Jew's market"; Lombard Street, "the golden heart which kept world trade in circulation"; New Cut, the "mercanatile Pandemonium" of South London; Fleet Street, "the street of ink"; Granby Street, "one of the most notorious patches of vice in London"; Flower and Dean Streets, "associated in most people's minds with vice, immorality, and crime in their most hideous shapes"; and Bow Street, "the office celebrated all over the United Kingdom, and it may be said the whole world, for its execution of the police".

It was the best of times and the worst of times. A period of stunning progress, the century saw the construction of most of our museums, galleries, churches, hospitals, schools, theatres, and parks. But there were also staggering failures. White relates a history not of rags to riches but of riches to more riches, during which the rags stayed in roughly the same state. The great stain on the age was its failure to find a solution to the problem of poverty. "Here lay the roots of incivility and brutality and stunted opportunity, persisting among a minority of Londoners, that daily undermined the rhetoric of progress."

Jerry White is to London as Boswell is to Johnson; the strength of this book lies not only in his infectious admiration for his subject but in his combination of modesty with unerring authority. London in the 19th Century should sit on your shelf alongside Debrett's, the Oxford dictionary, and your complete set of Dickens.

[This looks like an excellent item.]

Information appearing on telegraph.co.uk is the copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited and must not be reproduced in any medium without licence. For the full copyright statement see Copyright

Useability


link
Alertbox
Jakob's column on Web usability
10 Best Intranets of 2007 (Jan. 15)
This year's winners emphasized an editorial approach to news on the homepage. They also took a pragmatic approach to many hyped "Web 2.0" techniques. While page design is getting more standardized, there's no agreement on CMS or technology platforms for good intranet design.

Lancet Blog


link
US cancer deaths have fallen for the second year in a row, according to a report released Jan 17 by the American Cancer Society.

According to the report, from 2003 to 2004, the most recent years for which mortality data were available, the total number of people dying from cancer in the USA fell 3014, from 556 902 to 553 888.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Technical analysis video


link
Monday, January 22, 2007

Technical analysis video of individual stock trading ideas for Tuesday January 23, 2007 including; Apogee Enterprises, Inc. (Public, NASDAQ:APOG), Sapient Corporation (Public, NASDAQ:SAPE), Dynamic Materials Corporation (Public, NASDAQ:BOOM) and Express Scripts, Inc. (Public, NASDAQ:ESRX) Trend analysis for daytraders and swingtraders of stocks and options. Trading stocks involves risk; this information should not be viewed as trading recommendations.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Austrians pay a premium for native English speakers


By Katie Binns
Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 19/01/2007


Here in Austria nobody bats an eyelid when they see I have a degree from a redbrick university that has a good reputation at home and abroad. Nor do they care that I studied languages. Nor does translating my CV and adapting it to the local style seem necessary. If I want prospective employers to look at me twice I reveal my greatest talent – that my mother tongue is English.

Being an English native speaker in Vienna offers job opportunities and a chance to earn money that is quite unbelievable. The education system is one sector where native speakers have an automatic advantage. Austrians love the idea of learning English from a native speaker. Indeed the native speaker is valued and revered above qualified Austrian language teachers to the extent that individuals are happy to pay between 40 and 60 euros at private institutes for the so-called "privilege" of one hour's conversation with someone from somewhere in the English-speaking world.

Language assistant positions in Austria's state schools carry much less responsibility and work than a qualified teacher position yet are paid nearly as well.

So finding English teaching jobs without qualifications is easy. But there are other opportunities, too. Certain university positions such as those assisting academics and editing academic publications come with a nice job title and a pay package, courtesy of the native speaker status.

Similar opportunities exist through various diplomatic missions, the United Nations office or other international organisations based here (such as the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe) if you are a native speaker of English. One acquaintance openly admitted that the largest contributing factor to her getting her current job (at a NGO) was the fact that she was a native English speaker.


The United Nations office in Vienna, where many English speakers work whether or not they can use another language
Another acquaintance who works for the Permanent Mission of Japan to the UN told me being a native speaker was a requirement for her position and that this is the case for many jobs where she works, and in other international organisations in Vienna. The main reason for this is that the language used for meetings and documents is English, so they hire native speakers to take care of these. Other languages are not a requirement, apparently, although of course they always come in "quite handy". So my four years at school and another four years at university dedicated to language learning in all its forms are, in the end, considered to be "quite handy". Great.

It seems the native speaker status is the standard to aspire to. However, this all flies in the face of recent research and the comments by Malcolm Grant, provost of University College London, that European students have better English. I dare not tell this to people here for fear of damaging their preconceptions - and affecting the bank balance of my fellow native speakers in Vienna.

Demand for English language learning is stronger than ever, but why are the least able to teach still held in such high esteem? Why does this demand for untrained native speaker teachers of English persist? Why are natives considered somehow better for dealing with the organisation of documents and meetings in English? It is especially mystifying as the reasons why these people, particularly these teachers, should not be employed are many.

Surely from a moral point of view, educational institutions should be under an obligation to ensure that students are not exposed to unqualified teachers? The requirement in many of these centres of learning that applicants "must like children" is more disconcerting than reassuring.

advertisementAnd there are also practical and pedagogical reasons why untrained native speakers should not be employed to teach. They are often more costly than trained local teachers and are likely to have little, if any, commitment to the institution where they are employed, as many are only in Vienna short term. Many of these untrained teachers are monolingual. Being monolingual is still seen by some as an advantage - the idea is that such teachers can only use English in the classroom and that this will eventually have learners spouting language similar to the Queen's. However, promoting language teachers on the grounds that they can speak just the one language is surely ridiculous. In what other profession would a lack of relevant knowledge and experience be considered an advantage?

Being monolingual is clearly a great disadvantage: teachers are not able to speak the language of their students and therefore are unable to clear up any misunderstandings that may arise. They also do not have the experience of learning a second language and consequently are unable to empathise with their students. They lack personal experience of bilingualism, although their students will be at least bilingual, with many in Vienna living in multilingual and multicultural environments.

Being monolingual often means they are likely to be monocultural. It is not always the case but I have noticed that many of these monocultural beings hang out in the Irish/British pubs and other expat organisations and make sweeping generalisations about their own culture as well as the culture in which they are living.

Maybe one reason why untrained native speakers remain in such demand is the general conviction that they speak some form of Standard English and are thus appropriate linguistic models for their students and colleagues. This is just an idealised norm that Austrians have signed up to and which native speakers, glorying in their regional variety of English, play along with.

I find the situation rather mind-boggling. At present I have been asked to recommend someone who can "sit and play games for an hour" with five youngsters for 40 euros. The person in question wants a native speaker ("a student or teenager who likes children"). Nice work if you can get it. It's more than I earned as a teenager for my Saturday job; an eight-hour day hopping, jumping and skipping after customers who couldn't decide between American maple and beech.

Who am I to question the system? Rather than shatter the dreams of the Austrians and the chance of making a living for my fellow native speakers, I find it best to keep schtum and remain forever bemused.



Information appearing on telegraph.co.uk is the copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited and must not be reproduced in any medium without licence. For the full copyright statement see Copyright

Thursday, January 18, 2007

BRB's Public Records Blog

BRB's Public Records Blog: "Two Bills Introduced to Help Prevent Identity Theft
Ted Stevens (R-AK) introduced the Protecting Consumer Phone Records Act. It would require telephone companies to have a customer's written consent before selling personal information rather than requiring customers to opt-out. It would apply to wireline, wireless and VoIP carriers. All phone companies would be prohibited from selling personal information . . ."

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Copycats


link


Catching the lovebug...Why beauty is infectious

By Roger Highfield, Science Editor
Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 17/01/2007


The first evidence that beauty is infectious is published today by scientists who have shown that when women see a rival smiling at a man, he becomes more attractive as a result.

The rules of attraction
The research, published in a prestigious scientific journal, gives objective credence to a common practice among American men of asking a female friend to be their “lady wingman”, or even hiring a beautiful woman to flirt with them in a bar, party or club to make them appear more attractive to others. . . .

Friday, January 12, 2007

Thursday, January 11, 2007

N-TEN Connect: > More folksonomy vs. taxonomy: "> More folksonomy vs. taxonomy
I got a couple of thoughful and smart responses to my last post on the topic. Marnie and Laura had lots of good things to say. I suppose I should clarfiy a little bit....
I think that we haven't addressed scope or audience in this conversation so far. When I apporach the topic of txonomy vs. folksonomy, I'm thinking about me (as average user) looking for information within a closed system - generally a nonprofit "

Monday, January 08, 2007

HighTouch : Weblog: "I‘m thinking we need to embrace chaos from the get-go, and trust that what comes out the other end will be meaningful."

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Are ProShares Ultra ETFs Used As Hedging Devices By Money Managers? - SeekingAlpha: "Are ProShares Ultra ETFs Used As Hedging Devices By Money Managers?

Posted on Dec 18th, 2006 with stocks: DDM, DXD, QID, QLD, SDS, SSO

Brett Steenbarger submits: The ProShares Ultra ETFs enable traders and investors to leverage the movements of the major equity indices. For each 1% that an index moves, these ETFs will move 2%. This provides ETF traders with a degree of leverage normally associated with the trading of futures. Note that a pattern daytrader who qualifies for 4x leverage can reach 8x with the Ultra ETFs.

A unique feature of the Ultra ETFs is that they include separate trading instruments for long and short market exposure. By buying an inverse [short] ETF, a trader makes 2% when the underlying index falls by 1%. The non-inverse [long] Ultra ETF, of course, would rise 2% if the market rises by 1%.

Here are the symbols for the three most liquid Ultra ETFs:
NASDAQ 100: (QLD) [2x long]; (QID) [2x short]
S&P 500: (SSO) [2x long]; (SDS) [2x short]
Dow 30: (DDM) [2x long]; (DXD_ [2x short]

My initial idea was to compare volumes for the long vs. short Ultra ETFs to see if they functioned like call volume and put volume among options. In other words,..."

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

SFGate: Daily Dish : Macpherson Drops Klum Lawsuit

"Macpherson Drops Klum Lawsuit


Elle Macpherson has dropped plans to file a lawsuit against German beauty Heidi Klum, after being inspired by a meeting with Buddhist spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

Macpherson accused fellow supermodel Heidi Klum of stealing her nickname, after the German catwalk queen called herself 'The Body' in a television commercial.
Australian Macpherson has used the moniker since it was used to describe her in a Time magazine cover story in 1986...."