Monday, August 28, 2006

FLOATING OFF THE PAGE by Ken Wells, ed 8/28/06

Floating Off the Page: the Best Stories from THE WALL STREET JOURNAL's "MIDDLE COLUMN," Ken Wells, ed. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002. 282 pps., including index of contributors.

Ken Wells collected 67 stories from the Wall Street Journal's Middle Column. If these stories are representative, then the average non-reader of the Journal has truly missed out on a great column. Topics run the gamut from a dispute on just how the Christian scriptures should be translated into Klingon to why camps have to pay up or forgo singing such traditionals as "Happy Birthday" to carrots to the ethics of vegetarianizing your feline or canine pet/companion to street musicians. Definately worth a look-see. Expect to spend some time hooting in laughter while taking in the deeper meaning of it all.

~sapphoq reviews

Saturday, August 19, 2006

SCIENCE AND THE PUBLIC by Paul Kurtz 8/19/06

Skeptical Inquirer: The magazine for science and reason. Vol.30, #5. Sept-Oct 2006.
"Science and the Public" by Paul Kurtz, pp. 13-19

Skeptical Inquirer admittedly is not a magazine for everyone. It is connected with the Center for Inquiry in Buffalo NY [a place I have visited] and part of its' mission is to scientifically investigate claims of the paranormal variety. "Science and the Public" attempts a summation of the past three decades of Skeptical Inquirer. The past thirty years has seen a decrease in public interest in paranormal claims coupled with an increase in interest in complementary and holistic medicines.

An excerpt from page 16 follows:
*Eyewitness subjective testimony uncritically accepted without corroboration is a potential source of deception (in accounts of molestation, reports of apparitions, past-life regression, UFO visitations, etc,).
*Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence.
*The burden of proof rests with the claimant, not the investigators,
*Paranormal reports are like unsinkable rubber ducks; no matter how many times they are submerged, they tend to surface again.
*There is widespread gullibility and will to believe expressed by certain segments of the population, fascinated by mystery and magical thinking and willingness to accept tales of the occult or supernatural.
*In some cases, but surely not all, blatant fraud and chicanery may be observed, even in young children.
*In evaluating evidence, watch out for hidden bias and self-deception pro and con (including your own) to determine if something is a pseudoscience or not.
*There is no easily drawn demarcation line between science and pseudoscience, for one may be dealing with a proto-science. [end of excerpt].

Within the excerpt is a veritable wellspring of wisdom.
Kudos to Paul Kurtz for writing an excellent article.

~sapphoq reviews

Saturday, August 12, 2006


Reporters Without Borders

sapphoq recently visited the Reporters Without Borders website and highly recommends that anyone interested in the issue of censorship do so. The news media in the Untied States does have its' critics who claim that the politics of the media companies paying journalists' salaries are reflected in what gets reported and how. sapphoq is at times one of those critics. How much worse to live in a country where internet access is severely restricted or where reporters are imprisoned [or murdered] for using a government-censored word or photograph!
~sapphoq reviews

Below is an excerpt from Reporters Sans Frontiers ABOUT US english page:
More than a third of the world’s people live in countries where there is no press freedom. Reporters Without Borders works constantly to restore their right to be informed. Fourty-two media professionals lost their lives in 2003 for doing what they were paid to do — keeping us informed. Today, more than 130 journalists around the world are in prison simply for doing their job. In Nepal, Eritrea and China, they can spend years in jail just for using the "wrong" word or photo.
goto for more.

Reporters sans frontières - Handbook for bloggers and cyber-dissidents - Internet-censor world championship speaks about specific countries that are regarded as champions in the business of censoring what their citizens can view on the internet. China is at the top of the list. More can be found at .

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

SAPPHOQ REVIEWS DOWNLOAD.NET 8/9/06 is a nifty site which offers freeware, shareware, and e-newsletters for specialized audiences. Anything found on the site is legal. The shareware is often trial-limited and the user can then purchase it or not. The freeware is free. The e-newsletters are delivered to one's email box and contain clickable links to bring the user to the product of interest. also has a search feature. Highly recommended to the computer geek and novice alike. There is truly something there for everyone.

~sapphoq reviews

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

BLOG RULES by Nancy Flynn

Blog Rules, by Nancy Flynn. New York: Amacom, 2006. 226pages, including index.

Blog Rules is truly a scarey book. The author Nancy Flynn attempts to delineate rules about blogs and employees who blog-- whether they are in-company blogs on company time or personal blogs during personal time. One of the suggested had-better-nots is that employees not disclose any propietary information electronically or otherwise. That makes sense. Another had-better-not is that employees not publish anonymous blogs. That is scarey.

Flynn advises companies to implement policies that require their workers to sign a statement that they will only use their own names on their own personal blogs. The expectation that employees will go along with forfeiting their right to do what they will on their own time should have us screaming in protest. The sound of silence can truly be shattering.

The book is frightening in its own Orwellian way and somewhat repetitive in spots. It may be a good read for human services department personnel. It is a book which should be brought to the attention of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

~sapphoq reviews