Here it Comes – CISPA – We Need Action – Fast!

I received the following message from AVAAZ:-

“Dear friends,
Right now, the US is poised to pass a new law that would permit US agents to spy on almost everything we do online. But we can stop them before the final vote.

Companies that we trust with our personal information, like Microsoft and Facebook, are key supporters of this bill that lets corporations share all user activity and content with US government agents without needing a warrant in the name of cyber-security — nullifying privacy guarantees for almost everyone around the world, no matter where we live and surf online.

If enough of us speak out, we can stop companies that profit from our business from supporting cyber-spying. Sign the petition to these key net corporations now:

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) would allow companies doing business in the US to collect exact records of all of our online activities and hand them over to the US government, without ever notifying us that we are being watched. No warrant, no legal cause and no due process required. To make matters worse, the bill provides the government and corporations with blanket immunity to protect them from being sued for violation of privacy and other illegal actions.

The bill’s supporters claim that consumer information will be protected, but the reality is that huge loopholes would make everything we do online fair game — and nowadays, from banking to shopping, our private information is all stored on the Internet.

CISPA is being moved forward in Congress and will be voted upon in days. Let’s raise a massive outcry to stop corporations from giving the US a blank check to monitor our every move. This year, we helped stop SOPA, PIPA and ACTA — all dire threats to the Internet. Now, let’s block CISPA and end the US government attack on our Internet.

WIth hope and determination,
Dalia, Allison, Emma, Ricken, Rewan, Andrew, Wen-Hua, and the rest of the Avaaz team

More information:

Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act

CISPA: The internet finds a new enemy (Global Post)

CISPA protests begin amid key changes to legislation (Los Angeles Times),0,5314596.story

Cybersecurity Bill FAQ: The Disturbing Privacy Dangers in CISPA and How To Stop It (Electronic Frontier Foundation)

New CISPA Draft Narrows Cybersecurity Language as Protests Loom (Mashable)”

White House questions CISPA cybersecurity bill

CISPA Author Rogers: China’s Cyber ‘Predators’ Must Be Stopped

Even worse than SOPA: New CISPA cybersecurity bill will censor the Web

CISPA Monitoring Bill: Changes Proposed, but Unlikely to Pacify Critics

Please find somewhere to make your voice heard!

Google Ratings

One of the more frequent items that turn up in the comments is a recommendation to “improve your search engine ratings”, which I find rather funny, as I have no use for such things at all. Consequently, such comments get labelled as “Spam”, and duly find their way to the waste bin.

Its not that I am not concerned about ratings at all – far from it!

One day, when I had some time to spare, out of idle curiosity I searched for one of my own posts using Google. I had only just written it and posted it on the blog, and was very surprised to see that Google already had it indexed and available – but somewhere down on Page three. I had to hunt for it, which was a bit disappointing.

I decided to experiment a bit, to see if I could make it appear higher in the list, and found that it certainly is possible to do this. With a bit of further refinement, I was even able to get top rating – ie. No 1, on Page 1, and I have never looked back!

How is this possible?

Simple – ask the right question!

This is the entry for the last post, for example:-

Well I’ll be Fracked! « Symphony
6 minutes ago – Well I’ll be Fracked! Filed under: Energy — trythisoneforsize @ 5:23 pm. Many of you may have seen the “Gasland” documentary, which seeks …

and this was No 1 out of 5,470,000 results, and it took 0.13 seconds.

And what was the search term that I entered into Google?

“well i’ll be fracked symphony”

You may ask why Google found a list of 5,470,00 possible matches, when there was only 1 item that was correct. This is because of the way the search engine works. It searches not only for the full combination of data entered, but also for subsets of it, down to individual words. But as you can see, it is highly advisable to get your answer close to the top of the list, as the number of pages for such a response would be enormous!

It is true that the author can make things easier for his viewers by doing certain things with the original product, but the viewers can certainly help themselves by refining their personal search technique.

Have a go yourself. You might be very pleasantly surprised.

For this post, I am down to number three on the first page, but this is in competition with Lotus, a company which has been around for years, produces a program called Symphony, and occupies the first two slots. I am very happy with that result!

Well I’ll be Fracked!

Many of you may have seen the “Gasland” documentary, which seeks to suppress fracking completely, but some of you may not know that “Gasland” has been debunked – and successfully in my opinion – for the dangerous water they have in those parts is in fact a natural occurrence that had been known about for a long time.

“Debunking GasLand”

“Did you know the people in Dimock had methane in their water 30, 40 years ago before drilling ever occurred? Yes I saw the well logs of some of the residents. The methane is a pre-existing condition.” And this from a public health practitioner who added a comment to the post.

With Gasland out of the way, you may think we can go full speed ahead, grab a hard hat and frack everything in sight, but I would not advise that course of action just yet. Apart from the risk of earthquakes, there are other matters of considerable import that seem to have a more solid grounding in scientific fact.

“Fracking: green groups denounce report approving further exploration”

“But green groups and local anti-fracking groups angrily denounced the report. Former Friends of the Earth director Tony Juniper said this morning that it cast “grave doubt” on the government’s commitment to cutting greenhouse gas emissions. A study by Cornell University last year predicted its impact on climate change would be worse than coal.”

I think we can dispose of “government commitments” by treating them with the contempt they deserve – don’t you?
Especially after they vetoed the European Commission proposal to label oil produced from tar sands as highly polluting.
What, didn’t know about that? Go to
“EU bows to oil lobby pressure”

That leaves us with the Cornell University study to consider.

The pointer to this came from “Shale gas ‘worse than coal’ for climate”, at

The document itself is as follows:-
Methane and the greenhouse-gas footprint of natural gas from shale formations
Robert W. Howarth, Renee Santoro and Anthony Ingraffea
Climatic Change, 2011, Volume 106, Number 4, Pages 679-690
and it can be downloaded (PDF) or viewed (HTML). The third option, the summary, I reproduce below:-

“We evaluate the greenhouse gas footprint of natural gas obtained by high-volume hydraulic fracturing from shale formations, focusing on methane emissions. Natural gas is composed largely of methane, and 3.6% to 7.9% of the methane from shale-gas production escapes to the atmosphere in venting and leaks over the life-time of a well. These methane emissions are at least 30% more than and perhaps more than twice as great as those from conventional gas. The higher emissions from shale gas occur at the time wells are hydraulically fractured—as methane escapes from flow-back return fluids—and during drill out following the fracturing. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, with a global warming potential that is far greater than that of carbon dioxide, particularly over the time horizon of the first few decades following emission. Methane contributes substantially to the greenhouse gas footprint of shale gas on shorter time scales, dominating it on a 20-year time horizon. The footprint for shale gas is greater than that for conventional gas or oil when viewed on any time horizon, but particularly so over 20 years. Compared to coal, the footprint of shale gas is at least 20% greater and perhaps more than twice as great on the 20-year horizon and is comparable when compared over 100 years.”

Now, let the great debate begin.

To frack, or not to frack – that is the question!