Thursday, September 27, 2007

A Call to End Environmental Abuse

There is much debate these days regarding the infallibility of man-made climate change. Real or not, its significant enough to have heads of states, from countries known to be top contributors to earth's pollution, come together and discuss goals and scenarios regarding climate change (see Climate Change Talks). Political grandstanding? Perhaps.

Here's the thing though - there may be debate as to whether man's pollution absolutely causes global warming, but there's no debate that we can do something to end environmental abuse.

It starts with very simple questions.
In the first place, do we really want to live in a dirty environment?
Do we want the smell of industrial smoke choking our lungs day in and day out?
Do we want our children drinking and swimming in contaminated water?
Do we really want to take part in the extinction of entire species of wildlife?
Do we even care?

Its not easy to recognize the problem when you're living it up in a posh community. Nevertheless, there are people being inflicted with deadly disease brought about by environmental abuse. Death is sure to follow man-induced calamities such as mudslides and deliberate forest fires. Toxic wastes seep into lives of whole populations from Calcutta to California. These things do happen whether we acknowledge them squarely or simply ignore them, lounging about in the backyard soaking in the sun.

Enjoy your tan while you can. Maybe you haven't heard that there's a large hole in the ozone layer that wasn't there before the industrial revolution.

The degradation of the environment is global and you've got no one else to blame than the dominant species in the planet. And no it's not the bugs. Insects aren't largely responsible for denuded rainforests nor oceanic oil spills.

Modern man is left in charge of the planet. Go ask any corporate person and they will tell you, when a business is on a decline, the manager better shape up or ship out. That's us.

We don't need country leaders to talk behind our backs about what's next on the environment agenda. Earth management is about prioritizing the sustainability of the planet. We are all tasked to be stewards of the world.

Do we reuse, reduce and recycle?
Do we patronize alternative eco-friendly businesses instead of "brand" bigwigs?
Do we plant trees?
And why are we yet so dependent on fossil-fuel based cars when we can already switch to clean electric technology?
Do we even bother to read-up on developing and practicing environmental sustainability?

Do we even care?

Like a child's building blocks, it is so much easier to topple this beautiful planet to decay than it is to rebuild what has been destroyed. The challenge is for us to end environmental abuse and adopt an eco-friendly lifestyle. And the challenge starts now.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

"Bionic Woman" Rewired on NBC

"She comes with her own webcam.. built-in."
JAMIE SOMMERS RETURNS TO THE small screen, this time with more bells and whistles (presumably) than her 70's incarnation as the "Bionic Woman". English actress Michelle Ryan will play the lead role for the remake vaunted as "the biggest television event of the year".

The NBC network seems to have radically upgraded the concept of the post-millenium Bionic Woman. No more Office of Scientific Intelligence (OSI), no more Oscar Goldman, no more bionic German Shepherd, in fact only the name Jamie Sommers seems to link the then and now. The Daily Mail quoted producers as saying that this is a "re-imagination" of the 1976 cult classic.

Lindsay Wagner played the original Jamie Sommers in "The Bionic Woman" for which she won an Emmy in 1977. It was a spin-off of the original bionic-themed show "The Six Million Dollar Man". Back then, Jamie Sommers was a professional tennis player who suffers a skydiving accident. Her old flame Steve Austin, played by Lee Majors, who happens to be wired to $6M worth (give or take) of bionic technology, pushes his secretive OSI employer to save Jamie's life. The bionic duo had since been running, albeit in familiar slow-motion style, in parallel adventures across American TV sets.

58 episodes and 3 made-for-TV reunion movies later, NBC revives the franchise in what is perceived to be a bid to stave-off its slipping network ranking. This time around, Jamie Sommers leads a troubled life as a college dropout-slash-barkeeper and caretaker to her teenage sister Becca Sommers (played by Lucy Hale). While that doesn't paint a pretty picture, she suffers a life-threatening car accident. Jamie's life is saved through bionics and now she has to repay the bill by defeating an earlier bionic experiment gone awry.

Now, I admit that's the ugliest blurb I've ever written. So just watch the preview video at No more slow-motion here. This seems to be a hotter, blurier, darker, action-packed "Bionic Woman" from the producers that gave you the critically-acclaimed remake of "Battlestar Galactica".

"Bionic Woman" premieres, September 26 primetime on NBC.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

XO Laptop - The Limited Introductory Offer

"Green with envy? Give 1 to get 1."
THE ONE LAPTOP PER CHILD (OLPC) group which aims to jumpstart the quality of education in developing nations by providing low-cost technology tools such as the XO laptop, has announced that they will be offering the XO laptop on a "Give One Get One" basis.

Dubbed G1G1, the program starts on November 12 and will run for a limited period only. Presumably, Give 1 Get 1 will be offered only within territories of developed nations particularly the USA.

OLPC Founder and Chairman Nicholas Negroponte emphasized in a keynote speech delivered at Harvard last August that the OLPC is an "education project, not a laptop project.

The XO laptop has a kid-friendly design and leverages open source software. It is about the size of a textbook, has a wi-fi mesh network, a 7.5-inch TFT screen switchable to full-color mode and reflective "outdoor" mode. It is also probably the most energy efficient laptop in existence, so much so that you can hand-power the machine via cranks, pedal or pull-cord chargers. OLPC is backed by technology giants such as AMD, Red Hat, Google, Nortel and Intel.

Despite being touted as the "$100" laptop, whole donations for the XO are actually priced at $200 which includes shipping and handling (to the beneficiaries' country). OLPC of course accepts any contributions, large or small, which will go to grassroots learning initiatives in least developed nations. For the G1G1 program, which will run for 2 weeks starting November 12, the cost of participation is at $399.

Learn more about the One Laptop Per Child project and the G1G1 program at

Friday, September 21, 2007

What Me Splog?!?

Got Splog?
IN A RATHER LAUGHABLE TURN of events, Blogger's anti-spam technology recently (not to mention mistakenly) identified Daily Dotventures as a splog.

A few days ago I noticed that I was prompted for word verification whenever I made a post to my blog. And here I was thinking all along that I was simply experiencing improved security measures, what with the previous Blogger trojan spam storms.

Out of curiosity, I clicked on that small orange circle "thingy" with a question mark in the middle. I was expecting to see a message heralding the remarkable Blogger security standards but to my bewilderment, I was led to a page stating that my blog was identified by Bloggers' spam prevention measures to be a spam blog.

It was like downing a half-gallon of espresso at 2AM!

Personally, I think that word verification or "CAPTCHA" features should be made mandatory across all current social platforms especially blogs. Today's Web - 2.0 and beyond - is all about interactivity and user contribution. So why not implement a challenge-response mechanism to ensure that the contributor is indeed human and not a program? He or she should've been typing away at a computer for several minutes already; why would it be such a bother to exert a couple of more keystrokes?

Security and laziness do not mingle in the same circle of friends. You don't want word verification? You might as well send your email address to spam central.

Unfortunately, Blogger thinks word verification should be the exception and not the rule. So despite my unwillingness, I requested for "unlocking" of my account since I do not want to be identified as a splogger. Thus, I received the following in my email this morning:

Your blog has been reviewed, verified, and cleared for regular use so that
it will no longer appear as potential spam. If you sign out of Blogger and
sign back in again, you should be able to post as normal. Thanks for your
patience, and we apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.

The Blogger Team
Well, obviously them spambots are posting "as normal" evidenced by the proliferation of spam blogs within the Blogger community. That there is the greater inconvenience.

To the Blogger Team, apology accepted but really, you won't have to apologize and look like schmucks if only the measure was in place prior and not after the act.

There must be a reason you guys call it spam "PREVENTION". Right?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Stumped At What To Blog? Take Out Your Blogscope

UPDATE: The Blogscope project is over. According to the notice on their website their products/services are now commercially used by Sysomos.

You've had your morning coffee
, you've fed your pet goldfish, you've scanned today's headlines but still you can't decide on what to blog on. Look a bit farther off your immediate horizon but not with a telescope - use Blogscope. (Preview version) is a prototype research tool developed by the fine people at the Computer Science Department of the University of Toronto (wave to the audience and take a bow fellas!). You can use it to analyze and visualize trends in the blogosphere. Currently they are tracking over 12 million blogs and are offering a couple of widgets useful to bloggers young and old alike.

Summary Cloud

Below this site, you will see a live example of Blogscope's Summary Cloud which automatically collects keywords from your blog and displays it in what is more popularly referred to as a "tag cloud". Blogscope's summary cloud widget however does not require tags at all. Instead it crawls your site (fast, very fast!) and posts significant keywords which in turn links to blogscope's search results for that keyword along with its corresponding popularity curve and related terms.

Popularity Curve

The Popularity Curve can visualize to you how often the keyword was used within the blogging community over time. Red graph bars indicate "information bursts" which means something significant happened during that period related to the keyword. Clicking on the bars will give you a listing of blog entries specific to the keyword.

For example if you clicked on the red area at the Blogscope site to find out why there was a spike for blogging sometime during the end of August, you'd see that some nutcase repeatedly created a post over and over again - clearly a splog attack. It was also around this time that the Blogger trojan-spam was discovered.

Comparison Curve

The Comparison Curve is similar to the Popularity Curve except that, well... it compares trends between two keywords. Note below that the graph for the keyword "blogging" is above the graph for "sex". This means that blogging is more popular than sex and.. good lord, what is the world coming to?!

Information provided at Blogscope is limited to within 30 results (blog posts) for each keyword queried. Furthermore, states that this public preview of their technology is just the tip of the iceberg for what Blogscope can provide for the blogging community.

If you want you can also check out their Demo screencast, because I sure didn't. It was loading too slow so I passed. Let me know if you guys think its Oscar material or just another home movie.

So the next time you need a push in the right direction on what's hot and what's not in the blogosphere, send your mouse a-clickin' over at

Summary Cloud


Monday, September 17, 2007

The 59th Primetime Emmy Awards - "Sopranos" and "30 Rock" Win

It was Television's biggest night but ever bigger for "The Sopranos" as the cast and crew took a few coveted Emmys in what seemed to be a night of tribute for the 10-year run of the recently concluded drama series. Ryan Seacrest hosted the 2007 Emmy Awards which were held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, Sunday night, September 16.

HBO, the home network for "The Sopranos", led over the ABC and NBC TV networks with a total of 21 honors since the Creative Arts Emmys last September 8.

This year's Emmys is also touted to be a first being an eco-friendly carbon-neutral airing of the awards show. The distinction comes as part of the "Green with Emmy" campaign aimed at reducing the carbon footprint the Primetime Emmy Awards have to the global climate. Coincidentally (or not), controversial environmental champion former VP Al Gore was present to receive an award for "Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Television". Mr. Gore along with co-awardee Joel Hyatt began the Current TV cable television network, which airs produced mostly by viewers themselves.

Compared to the results of the Daily Dotventures' Choose "Your Own Emmys!" poll, only the Sopranos win echoed the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards selections. This supports what I've long suspected - that bloggers and web users don't watch television anymore. :)

So here are the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' 59th Primetime Emmy top winners:
  • Drama: "The Sopranos," HBO.
  • Comedy: "30 Rock," NBC.
  • Actor, Comedy Series: Ricky Gervais, "Extras," HBO.
  • Actor, Drama Series: James Spader, "Boston Legal," ABC.
  • Actress, Drama Series: Sally Field, "Brothers & Sisters," ABC.
  • Actress, Comedy Series: America Ferrera, "Ugly Betty," ABC.
Click here for more information on the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards.

Congratulations to the winners! 'Til the next Emmys.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Choose "Your Own Emmys!" Winners

Last month we ran a poll for the "Daily Dotventures" community's own Emmy picks. Its a couple (of hundreds) short of an impressive turnout but there were interesting choices there. See the official tally below.

Ahem, and the winners are...

For Best Comedy Series, its a tie between "The Office" and "Two and a Half Men" with 3 votes a piece. Last year's winner was "The Office". Will it pull a two-in-a row win or will 2-1/2 men manage an upset this year?

For Best Actor in a Comedy Series, its Steve Carell with 4 votes. Tony Shalhoub, last year's winner for "Monk", comes in second.

For Best Actress in a Comedy Series, its yet another tie for Tina Fey in "30 Rock" and Mary Louise Parker in "Weeds". Emmy winner for 2006 Julia Louis-Dreyfuss in "The New Adventures of Old Christine" didn't get a nod from our voters unfortunately.

For Best Drama Series, "The Sopranos" led the polls overwhelmingly. Recent news have hinted that they would most likely be taking home the Emmy prize this year. In 2006, it was "24" that received the Emmy for Best Drama Series.

For Best Actor in a Drama Series, enigmatic James Gandolfini seems to be a runaway favorite. Lets see what "24" lead actor Kiefer Sutherland, winner in last years Best Drama Actor category, will have to say about that.

For Best Actress in a Drama Series, its going to be a close race between last year's awardee Mariska Hargitay of "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit" and Kyra Sedgwick for "The Closer".

Will the Choose "Your Own Emmys!" selections be the real winners on Sunday? Ryan Seacrest hosts the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards and its happening in just a few hours.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

World's Most Polluted Places for 2007 Listed

The Blacksmith Institute recently released its 2007 list of the Top 10 World's Most Polluted Places. The unranked list referenced several localities in China, Russia and India as well as some former Soviet Republics, Peru and Zambia.

The severity of pollution indicated in these areas involve environmental contamination due to chemical, mining, energy and heavy-metal industries. Notable among those listed is Chernobyl in the Ukraine which is still suffering from the 1986 catastrophic meltdown of its nuclear power plant.

The Blacksmith Institute report also highlights the impact of environmental pollution to health. Some 12 million people in these identified communities are said to be at risk for cancers, birth defects, sterility and poisoning among others.

Here is the list dubbed as the "Killer Communities" for 2007:
  • Sumgayit, AZERBAIJAN
  • Linfen, CHINA
  • Tianying, CHINA
  • Sukinda, INDIA
  • Vapi, INDIA
  • La Oroya, PERU
  • Dzerzhinsk, RUSSIA
  • Norilsk, RUSSIA
  • Chernobyl, UKRAINE
  • Kabwe, ZAMBIA
Eight years in the running, the Blacksmith Institute have been supporting local champions that address pollution-related issues in developing nations. In 2003, the Blacksmith Institute came out with the Polluted Places Initiative which focuses on seeking solutions for severely polluted sites. The top 10 World's Most Polluted Places list began in 2006. The list is selected by a panel of environment and health experts comprising the Technical Advisory Board (TAB).

To date, 24 projects have been successfully completed in 9 countries through the US-based institute's various programs. More on The Blacksmith Institute at their official website at

Dotventures Goes Daily

For some time now, I've been considering changing this blog's name and sub-domain from Dotventures to some other identification.

For several reasons, the first being that there's a registered domain for it as I've discovered from trying to search for this blog through the popular search engines. For the record, this blog has no connection whatsoever to said domain, and they to this blog. So there.

Besides, the semantics are different as they refer to DotVentures meaning something like "online business opportunity" while my take on the term Dotventures is, as my byline says, "adventures and misadventures in a dot-com world."

Second, as is, the term is less descriptive than I would prefer it to be. It needs something more. Something complementing, something familiar and welcoming - a sense of being "always there".

After much contemplation, what used to be known (most of the times) as Dotventures Blog now becomes "Daily Dotventures". I think that rolls off the tongue quite well, don't you?

Not much of a change you say. Wait, there's more!

With the name change comes a reformatting of this blogs emphasis on general news items and broaden it up a bit to include site reviews and blogger profiles. These would be sites referenced from StumbleUpon or Technorati for example or from one of the blog directories like BlogCatalog, GetBlogs Blog Directory or MyBlogLog. Perhaps, even a link sent my way from folks in the neighborhood (hint, hint).

That is just for starters, as I trip along the cyberfrontier we will be serving up some more stuff.

Daily Dotventures stays on the same web address - It seems that sploggers have a penchant for snatching up deleted blogger/blog*spot addresses to perpetrate their evil spam blogging schemes. So if you're thinking of deleting your blog - don't. Just pass it on to someone else.

This would now be a great time to subscribe to the Daily Dotventures feed.

Enjoy you're daily dotventures everyone!

Thursday, September 13, 2007 Earmarks $10M for Eco-Transport Solutions

In support of technologies aimed at solving global warming, - the philantrophic arm of Google - issued a $10 million request for investment proposals (RFP) with particular focus in the areas of Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs), Electric Vehicles (EVs), and Vehicle-to-Grid Solutions (V2G).

This news comes amidst new rounds of oil rate hikes and the OPECs intentions to raise global oil supply. Further serving as a backdrop is a seemingly growing discussion which purports man-made global warming as a mere hoax.

Bannered under Google's RechargeIT program, the RFP seeks to invest amounts ranging from $500,000 to $2,000,000. The funds are earmarked for corporations and similar for-profit enterprises worldwide whose initiatives have the capacity to fast track global commercialization of eco-transport solutions. The blog said, "This is a global challenge, and it will take all of us to solve it."
While $10 million is a fraction of the total investment needed to transform our transportation sector, we hope this RFP will help catalyze a broader response. We need the automakers to bring these cars to market, but plug-in vehicles also need an entire ecosystem of companies to flourish. (from
On a personal note, global warming or not, this initiative I believe is long overdue. Technology is about finding a better way and our centuries-old dependence on fossil-fuel based transportation should already be transplanted by cleaner more efficient technologies.

Proposals need to be on the desk of the RechargeIT group no later than October 22, 2007. Details of the's RFP here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Fourth Indiana Jones Movie Announced

Young Emmy award winning actor Shia LaBeouf, who will be playing Indiana Jones' son in the movie, announced at Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards the official title for the fourth sequel of the swashbuckling film franchise.

The eagerly anticipated installment to the blockbuster series will be called "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull".

With Executive Producer George Lucas (alongside Kathleen Kennedy) and Steven Spielberg directing, the two famous filmmakers collaborate once more to tell the adventurous tale of one of Holywood's iconic characters. Harrison Ford, now in his senior years at 65, returns to don that old fedora hat for the role that probably made archeology a sexy career option when the first "Indy" film "Raiders of the Lost Ark" came out in 1981.

In 1984, the prequel "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" was released which featured Kate Capshaw (now Mrs. Steven Spielberg) opposite Harrison Ford.

The third Indy movie, released in 1989 as "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade", was probably the most memorable of the first three films as Sir Sean Connery played Henry Jones Sr., father to Indy Junior.

Eighteen years after father and son Joneses rode off into the sunset with friends, we find Indiana Jones in yet another action-packed escapade, this time as the father to his son which will be played by Shia LaBeouf (that's Sha-ya Luh-Buff).

Flop or fly, I will not miss this movie event for anything. "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" opens May 22nd in 2008.

Visit for more of IJ-4.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Creating a "Topics List" - Setting Up Bloggers' Labels Page Element

Our friend Roberto of The Silver People Chronicle asks: "Could you share with me how you got your "topics list" to look like that on your sidebar"?

Yes I can!

This site's "Topics List" is nothing more than Bloggers' Labels feature listed via "Page Elements" using the new Blogger templates. Labeling posts is the way to go with blogs nowadays as it is easier to organize your posts and helps in tracking and site optimization. So be sure to add and update your posts' labels regularly.

If you're using the classic template, you're going to have to do a bit more reading and contend with manually creating the links. You can start with this resource for details.

For those using the new templates, do the following:
  1. Log in to your Blogger account.
  2. Go to Layout (or Template), then Page Elements.
  3. Click on "Add a Page Element". A window will open giving you choices.
  4. Click on "Add to Blog" for the Labels Page Element.
  5. At Configure Labels, you can change the title to anything you want.
  6. You can also choose to sort your list alphabetically or by frequency of posts.
  7. After "Save Changes" the new page element will show up on your Edit Layout (Add and Arrange Page Elements) screen, with the title that you entered.
  8. Click and drag the element to your preferred position on your layout.
  9. Click "Save".
  10. Head over to my site and post a thank you comment. :)
That's it. You should have a fully functional topics list on your blog so that your audience can easily get to the topics that interest them.

One more tip. Use the labels as "Sections" for your blogs. Copy the URL (link address) of the label for your section (i.e. News, Site Updates, Sponsored Posts, etc.) and use that for a separate links list page element dedicated for your site's sections.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Venice Film Fest Climax: Cate Blanchett, Brad Pitt Wins

The 64th Venice International Film Festival came to another glitzy conclusion, September 8, with the film worlds' top honors awarded to some familiar illustrious names.

The envelope is open, the names are out, and the winners are:
  • Volpi Coppa for Best Actress - Cate Blanchett in "I'm Not There", a Bob Dylan biopic by Director Todd Haynes
  • Volpi Coppa for Best Actor - Brad Pitt in "The Assasination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" by Director Andrew Dominik
  • Golden Lion for Best Film - Ang Lee for "Se, Jie (Lust, Caution)"
  • Silver Lion for Best Direction - Brian De Palma for "Redacted"
Complete film festival winners at the Venice Film Festival official website.

A hearty congratulations to the winners. 'Til the next Mostra Internazionale D'Arte Cinematografica La Biennale di Venezia.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

HSM Star Hudgens Says Sorry for Strip Shots

Disney's "High School Musical" franchise was rocked by scandalous photos of their young leading lady, Vanessa Hudgens, which spread over the Internet last week.

The 18 year old actress-singer who is romantically linked to HSM co-star Zac Efron, apologized to her fans for "the situation" and expressed regret for producing said nude images. She also thanked the outpouring of support from family and friends.

Ms. Hudgens' official MySpace erupted with comments from supportive fans since the incident. Her reprisal of her role in an anticipated "High School Musical 3" is now in question.

Kids these days, eh. Young, passionate, carefree in glitzy, glamorous Hollywood.

Who can blame them?

The Web Divided: US Feds Dismiss Net Nuetrality

"Net neutrality" is the principle that all Internet sites should be equally accessible to any Web user. (AP)
The US Justice Department issued a statement to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last September 6 that it cautions against regulations enforcing Net Neutrality and that it should allow Internet providers leeway to charge differently for "priority" traffic.

The statement was made based on the presumption that Network Neutrality would prevent additional investments and further development of providers' networks.

From what I gather in the reports the Justice Department is taking a hands-off stance on the issue. Something like, "let ISPs charge what they want - if the market avails the service then its settled, if not then so be it."

The move is seen by Neutrality advocates like to be one step closer to empowering Internet providers to become "gatekeepers" of the Web. For Internet pioneers like Sir Tim Berners-Lee, they have always envisioned an open Internet model.

In other parts of the world, like China and certain countries in the Middle East, Internet censorship is being practiced. Will a similar scenario exist for a two-tiered Internet?

In a way it is similar to free TV and Cable at the ISP level. Are you then willing to pay more to access particular web content which you would have otherwise been able to access in the first place?

Are we living in a one-web-world no more?

Friday, September 7, 2007

Facebook Releases Searchable Public Profiles

Are you a Facebook user?

The fast-rising social networking site started to implement a non-member search of Facebook member profiles last Wednesday, September 5. Currently, the public search will yield the Facebook member's full name and photo, but according to the Facebook blog posted by Philip Fung, "you have complete control of your public search listing".

Furthermore, Facebook will be allowing these public listings to be available on search engines such as Google and Yahoo. The move, while bold and presumably calculated to further leverage the position of Facebook on the Web, is being questioned by privacy advocates. Recent statistics show that Facebook has gained 1% of total Web traffic with a membership of nearly 40 million worldwide. Facebook users are being notified to adjust their respective account's privacy settings.

For Facebook users, what do you think of this feature? How will Facebook's public profile search feature affect its members in the long run? We'll have to wait and see.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Pavarotti Sings Final Note

Luciano Pavarotti, world acclaimed tenor and recording artist bowed a final farewell to opera fans worldwide sans an encore as he passed away earlier today in his hometown of Modena, Italy. He was 71.

The opera maestro was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2006. His international farewell tour was canceled due to this medical condition. Concerns for his health resurfaced on entertainment headlines last month when he was rushed to the hospital with a fever.

While renown for his full voice and ability to hit incredibly high notes, Pavarotti is also credited for bringing opera out of the sole realm of classical purists and within the reach of the "pop" audience. He performed alongside such pop icons as U2's Bono, Sting, Mariah Carey, Ricky Martin, Sheryl Crow and the Spice Girls. One of Pavarotti's pet projects, Pavarotti and Friends, gives proceeds to various charity work.

He is also part of the legendary "The Three Tenors" with Jose Carerras and Placido Domingo. The trio's brand of classical music made an impact to millions of people around the globe. This also brought millions in profits from recording sales and concert tours which again brought the ire of "high society" snobs.

As of writing the official Luciano Pavarotti website simply shows the beloved tenor's picture with his characteristic perfect smile and an epitaph which quoted Pavarotti - "I think a life in music is a life beautifully spent and this is what I have devoted my life to."

Tim Burton Awarded Lifetime Achievement at Venice Film Fest

Eccentric American film director Tim Burton of "Edward Scissorhands", "Batman" and "The Nightmare Before Christmas" fame, received the 2007 Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 64th Venice Film Festival. Wednesday, September 5 was dubbed "Tim Burton Day" honoring the infamous director whose work is markedly gothic and unconventional.

Burton's Academy Award nominated "The Nightmare Before Christmas", directed by Henry Selick and considered a landmark film for bringing stop-motion animation back in fashion on the big screen, was shown at the Venice Film Festival remastered in 3D Stereoscopic Digital format - a festival first for the oldest international film event in the world. Disney Digital 3D is set to re-release the 2006 remaster of "Nightmare" by mid-October 2007.

Renowned "Pirates of the Carribean" star Johnny Depp, a long-time collaborator of Burton, presented the Golden Lion to Tim Burton who is currently filming "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" which also features Depp.

The Venice Film Festival celebrates 75 years since it started in 1932. Legendary Italian filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci, known for "Little Buddha" and "Last Tango in Paris", will be receiving the 75th anniversary Golden Lion on September 8 during the closing ceremonies of the illustrious film festival.

Hybrid Embryos Ok'd for Stem Cell Research in UK

The British Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) approved in principle the use of human-animal hybrids in stem cell research. The controversial decision came September 5, 2007 with mixed reactions polarized between scientists and ethics advocates.

Stem cells have been touted to be the next frontier in medical research as these basic of cells in organisms can be cultured and transformed to produce specialized tissue cells. Already, adult stem cell research has found therapeutic applications in the treatment of leukemia and related bone/blood cancers. Applications for embryonic stem cell research remains elusive however due to a lack of good viable human embryos for experimentation.

Human-animal embryo hybrids are made from combining human cells and animal eggs. From these hybrid embryo's scientists aim to extract stem cells to further their research into medical use. The recent HFEA decision requires a stringent application and monitoring process and also provides for the unconditional destruction of the used embryo in 14 days.

Religious groups and other ethics groups, have opposed embryonic stem cell research because, for one thing, the practice requires human embryos to be destroyed. Others are concerned that creating human-animal hybrids crosses the line of what is morally or ethically acceptable.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Panama Canal Expansion Underway

Courtesy of
The government of the Republic of Panama begins an unprecedented expansion of the historic Panama Canal this year as former US President Jimmy Carter attended groundbreaking ceremonies last September 3 at the village of Paraiso. Panama President Martin Torrijos led some 30,000 Panamanians in celebrating the event, which parallels in importance with the Canal's opening on January of 1914.

President Carter is known for signing the Panama Canal Treaty opposite Martin Torrijos' father Gen. Omar Torrijos back in September 7, 1977. The pact effectively turned over control of the Canal to the Panamanians on December 31, 1999.

The 77 kilometer (48 mile) Panama Canal lies at the Isthmus of Panama and is probably the most significant maritime shortcut connecting the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. The famous waterway plays a strategic role in international shipping with an average passage of 14,000 ships transporting some 200 million tons of cargo each year.

With changes in maritime technology allowing larger ships able to hold more cargo, the capacity of the Panama Canal is fast reaching its maximum. A national referendum in October 2006 paved the way for the Panama Canal Expansion Project.

The "Third Set of Locks" mega-project is estimated at $5.2 billion, a hefty bill for the aging shipping route. It is expected to double the capacity of the Canal and is scheduled for completion by 2014 as Panama Canal celebrates a century of serving the international maritime industry.

Thanks to our Panamanian friend Roberto at The Silver People Chronicle. Your earlier comment reminded me to do this story.

Images courtesy of

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Bosnia Overtakes Philippines / Hungary in Kissing Contest

Almost seven thousand Bosnians, Croatians, Serbians, Albanians, Macedonians and Slovenians (try saying that 3 times fast!) took to the streets of Tuzla Town north of Sarajevo last September 1, for 10-seconds of lip-locking placing them on the Guiness Book of World Records for the most number of people kissing simultaneously.

The official count - 6,980 people got their mojos running as they broke the running streaks of former kiss capitals Hungary and the Philippines.

The raunchy record previously went back and forth to the Philippines and Hungary as they bested each other for the ticklish title since 2004 when the Philippines captured the record with 5,327 kiss-crazy couples smooching for the "Lovapalooza" Valentines event. Hungary proved they could tie tongues as they got the official recognition in 2005 with 5,875 pairs pecking at each other.

Filipinos came back February this year with 6,124 smackers in what would be a short-lived distinction as Hungarians jotted 6,613 kissers last June. Another Budapest claim came late August with 7,451 couples but the number was not officially recognized.

Despite Bosnia's celebration over the record, Muslim conservatives derided the demonstration saying it was disrespectful of Islamic tradition. However, Tuzla Mayor Jasmin Imamovic declared in this report, that they would rather emphasize love, not hatred.

Monday, September 3, 2007

What Time Is It?

As the time-honored adage goes, "time flies when you're having fun." Especially when you're browsing blog after blog of humourous, sometimes laughable, oftentimes insightful posts from bloggers around the world.

Good thing our friends at offered this widget of a timepiece you can add to your site. (See top right sidebar) It's a customizable text display clock that can remind your guests what time it is and thereby they won't have to miss their yoga class on account of your addicting post on making money from adsense (or similar scenarios like that).

Note however that it is currently set for Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) or Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) which is basically the starting point of world time. To know what time it is in your particular time zone just add or subtract your respective time zone's integer offset. For example, Manila Time is +8 GMT so I simply add 8 to the GMT time indicated on the time widget and... Oh 5h!+*@!! I've got to go pick up my kid at school!

See you folks again. Just click at the time to get your own time widget.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Regarding Technorati...

Nearly a month after setting up Dotventures at Blogger, I finally came around to signing up at Technorati. What is Technorati? Below is a snippet from their About us page:
Technorati is the recognized authority on what's happening on the World Live Web, right now. The Live Web is the dynamic and always-updating portion of the Web. We search, surface, and organize blogs and the other forms of independent, user-generated content (photos, videos, voting, etc.) increasingly referred to as “citizen media.”
One of the first articles I've done on Dotventures touched on Technorati's tracking of the so-called blogosphere which they also refer to as the "World Live Web". Back then the number of blogs on the Web was at around 70 million. As I write this, Technorati counts 101.6 million blogs in existence. That's an increase of more than 30 million in a few months time. And Technorati is at the frontline of documenting the Great Blog Boom.

Check out my Technorati Profile.

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