Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Music: Classical (West): Beethoven's Fifth Piano Concerto "Emperor"

One of m+ favourite pieces of music, above all hip-hop and standard pop, above most classical works ... this is a giant gem beyond price ....

Hat Tip to Lucas Freire

— reposted here with comment by Musikos, refWrite Backpage music columnist

general editor, refWrite Backpage

refWrite's YouTube channel; select the playlist for our Music collection ... for your listening pleasure.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sports: Car racing (NASCAR): Daytona speedway will host the action today, if the weather holds after yesterday's reschueduling

I know fans who woud eat their shirts — or yours — just to be in attendance at this major event of the professional racing season at Daytona, Florida.  To some "racing" means car racing, h+ turbo automotive h+style racing.  News of today's goings-on will flood us during the event, unless the rain doesn't cooperate again today.  I've been trying to find out how long the NASCAR Daytona 500 typically lasts, in order to estimate how long that dang rain has hold off.  It's going to become harder and harder to reschedule successfully, as other events in the sport and in the sports culture and wider culture will be backing up onto the possible new dates.

The video below presents one of the more tragic racing disasters — as it affected racing's key female star.  I present it here for its news-value and for its conveyance of the feel of a major racing event.

The text below is by sports journo Cindy Boren, and it gives a taste of what the racing pros and their support teams went thru yesterday, many of them struggling for focus and maintenance of their readiness — both key emotional (psychological) factors in professional racing.  What an edge, rather edginess, must have prevailed for most.

— Sportikos, refWrite Backpage sports columnist

general editor, refWrite Backpage 

Posted at 02:56 PM ET, 02/26/2012

Daytona 500 postponed until Monday, averting collision with Oscars, NBA All-Star Game (updated)

Updated at 5:13 p.m.
Rain began to fall again and NASCAR officials made the unprecedented decision to move the Daytona 500 to noon Monday at Daytona International Speedway.
Forecasts call for worst weather Monday, however.
Updated at 5:04 p.m.
The rain reportedly has stopped and the track is being dried as NASCAR tries to start the Daytona 500.
Original post
Rain continues to fall in Florida, delaying the start of the Daytona 500 and placing the race on a collision course with the Oscars and the NBA All-Star Game, if only lthe weather will break.
The Academy Awards will start at 8:30 p.m. EST (ABC), with the All-Star Game beginning at 7:30 (TNT) — a head-to-head matchup that already was on tap.

The auto race was scheduled to start around 1:30, but rain has fallen steadily all day. Officials say it would take about 2 1/2 hours to dry the track once the rain stops and, with the track lighted, there could be night-time racing.
NASCAR officials plan to wait as long as possible to push the race to Monday — when the forecast remains dire — with Fox committed to showing the race tonight, if it comes off.
If it does happen, call it the the NBAytonOsctargame or something like that. In the meantime, go to Twitter, where Danica Patrick’s delayed Sprint Cup debut and the Oscars are trending with #replacewordinmovietitlewithdanica. (“TallaDanica Nights.”)
H/T Steve Sweeney

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Music: CountryMusicUSA: Carrie Underwood on how he'd cheat if he coud get away with it

GAC's Top 50 Videos of the 2000s

GAC email newsletter (Feb25,2k12)
—reposted here by Musikos and Country Gal

Just like we always like to do, GAC asked fans to help decide which videos should make one of our special countdowns!  And once again, you came through in a big way.  Thanks to everyone who voted for GAC’s Top 50 Videos of the 2000s earlier this year.  And, a huge thanks to our amazing host, Neal McCoy, for making sure the trip through the countdown was a good time for all!  Congratulations to Carrie Underwood who topped the countdown with her smash hit video “Before He Cheats.”  You can check out the complete list below and be sure to leave us a comment and tells what you think!

GAC’s Top 50 Videos of the 2000s
  1. Carrie Underwood — “Before He Cheats”
  2. Alan Jackson — “Where Were You”
  3. Taylor Swift — “You Belong With Me”
  4. Trace Adkins — “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk”
  5. Lady Antebellum — “Need You Now”
  6. Blake Shelton — “Hillbilly Bone”
  7. Toby Keith — “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (The Angry American)”
  8. Carrie Underwood — “Jesus Take The Wheel”
  9. Brooks & Dunn — “Believe”
  10. Keith Urban — “Days Go By”
  11. Reba McEntire/Kelly Clarkson — “Because Of You”
  12. Taylor Swift — “Our Song”
  13. Blake Shelton — “Some Beach”
  14. George Strait — “Troubador”
  15. Lee Ann Womack — “I Hope You Dance”
  16. Gary Allan — “Man Of Me”
  17. Miranda Lambert — “Kerosene”
  18. Tim McGraw — “Live Like You Were Dying”
  19. Shania Twain — “Gonna Getcha Good”
  20. Brad Paisley — “I’m Gonna Miss Her”
  21. Chris Young — “Getting You Home”
  22. Trace Adkins — “You’re Gonna Miss This”
  23. Gary Allan — “Right Where I Need To Be”
  24. Carrie Underwood — “Last Name”
  25. Keith Urban — “You’ll Think Of Me”
  26. Alan Jackson — “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere”
  27. Taylor Swift — “Tim McGraw”
  28. Brad Paisley/Dolly Parton — “When I Get Where I’m Going”
  29. Sugarland — “All I Want to Do”
  30. Luke Bryan — “Do I”
  31. Josh Turner — “Long Black Train”
  32. Kellie Pickler — “Red High Heels”
  33. Blake Shelton — “The More I Drink”
  34. Keith Urban — “Raining on Sunday”
  35. Toby Keith — “As Good As I Once Was”
  36. Kenny Chesney — “Don’t Blink”
  37. Rascal Flatts — “What Hurts the Most”
  38. Brad Paisley — “Celebrity”
  39. Martina McBride — “This One’s For the Girls”
  40. Jason Aldean — “Amarillo”
  41. Gretchen Wilson — “Redneck Woman”
  42. Sara Evans — “Born to Fly”
  43. Zac Brown Band — “Chicken Fried”
  44. Blake Shelton — “Austin”
  45. Taylor Swift — “Love Story”
  46. Carrie Underwood — “Cowboy Casanova”
  47. Kenny Chesney — “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem”
  48. Rodney Atkins — “If You’re Going Through Hell”
  49. Faith Hill — “The Way You Love Me”
  50. Toby Keith — “I Wanna Talk About Me”
If you’re a fan of Top 10, Top 20 or Top 50 lists then here are a few you need to check out…

Sports: Digi-reports & views: Facebook gets Dr Hockey's tidbits out to NHL fans

Ron Kuipers' hockey  

Woo hoo! Did you hear what Modano tweeted? I think it's a great move, myself, albeit a slight risk in that they are banking on this year being an anomaly, and that he will return to being a near ppg player or thereabouts. The short term makes it palatable. The Oilers will only get better imo if they keep their real NHL players, and stop trading them for magic beans at the deadline. The Oilers would have either lost him as a UFA for nothing, or gotten not much more than nothing at the trade deadline. So keeping him is good asset management. Before the kids arrived, Hemsky was the only reason to watch this team most nights. Classy move.

Copper & Blue

Friday, February 24, 2012

Music: OpenCountry: One of the greats of country music sings about the motives of sacrifice

Keith Urban sings the theme song of Act of Valor, the much-anticipated new movie about USA Navy Seals.  Titled simply "For You," the song explores the experience of committing oneself to sacrifice — for someone else, the other, perhaps the beloved -- I do this for you.

— Musikos, refWrite Backpage music critic and reviewer

general editor, refWrite Backpage

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sports: Hockey NHL: WashDC's Caps (2) crumble before victorious Ottawa's Sens (5)

What a disgrace — Washington DC's Capitals hockey team came north to the Canadian capital city of Ottawa and lost with only 2 scoring shots against 5 for Canada's Senators.  Yes, suddenly the National Hockey League's ordinary game becomes a contest between the overall hockey prowess of the countries' general sports values.  That's not the way either team or the NHL plans it.  The matter is just too much overpowered by the sport and, at the same t+m, the weit of metaphors that sweep fans up into a kind of nationalism.  After all, it's the NHL teams from the two countries' capitals, with names like "Capitals" and "Senators" (which coud confuse Americans becawz so many of them don't even know theirs is not the only country that has an elected office of Senator ... well, actually in Canada, Senators (the political kind) are not elected but appointed (how regressive can you be?), while Senators (the hockey kind) are mostly bawt and sold with weird Get-off-the-Team-Now cards available, at least to some players who're discontented with where they've ended up.  Now, Ottawa is not a very hospitable town, cold, and rather empty on the weekends.  Much of the workweek's populace live across the river in Hull, Quebec, and some of them want a separate French-speaking country but do l+k Gringo and Anglo dollars that speak English.  I mean Caps vs Senators sets a whole nationalistic lingo and metaphory in motion with decades of political overt+m suddenly made volatile in the fevered imaginations of fans in the icey North above the tree-line and the DEW-line.  Okay, okay, I'm stretching it a bit.May I quote a sociologist of sport? Writing about hockey in Canada, Alan Bairner in his Sport, Nationalism, and Globalization: European and North American Perspectives (2001) reminds us,

Time and again, the cry goes up — hockey is Canada's game or, as the legend on countless T shirts woud have it, 'Canada is Hockey.'  This is not to ignore the fact that it is played in numerous other countries. But implicit is the widely held belief that Canada and the Canadians have a special affinity with the game that is matched in no other country.  For many years, it was also felt that the Canadians were undoubtedly the best hockey players in the world.  By the 1960s, however, it had become apparent that the Russians as well as other Europeans and even Americans coud also play a bit.  The result was a period of national soul searching.  Victory [by Canada] in a challenge series against the Soviet Union in 1972 provided temporary relief.  ... (page 134).
All of which pertains at least obliquely to the headline of Katie Carrera's article in Washington Post's online feature Post Sports which focusses on the absence of the Cap's Russian star Alex Ovechkin.

Sportikos, refWrite Backpage sports columnist
Wapo Post Sports (Feb22,2k12)
— Article intro reposted here with refWrite comment by Sportikos
general editor, refWrite Backpage


Capitals vs. Senators: 

Without Ovechkin, 

Washington drops third consecutive game, 

with 5-2 loss in Ottawa

OTTAWA — To watch the Washington Capitals in recent days is to wonder when things went wrong for a team that five months ago was often mentioned as a can’t-miss candidate to make a long run in the postseason. Wednesday night, the Ottawa Senators became the latest opponent to benefit from facing the disjointed shell of a team the Capitals have become.
Washington fell, 5-2, to the Senators at Scotiabank Place in another game that featured a team hopelessly stuck in the quicksand of its own bad habits. Star winger Alex Ovechkin sat out with a lower-body injury but his absence had little impact on the outcome. The Capitals demonstrated little spark en route to another demoralizing defeat and didn’t offer much resistance until the contest was out of hand — both goals came after they trailed 4-0.
More On This Story

The Capitals (29-26-5, 63 points) had another opportunity to pull even with Florida atop the Southeast Division, as well as Toronto and Winnipeg in a tie for eighth in the Eastern Conference. Instead, they remain lodged in 10th in the East, having lost three straight and seven of their past 10.
“We’ve got to find a way to win games,” said Mathieu Perreault, who recorded one of Washington’s two goals. “Right now we’re out of the playoffs. We gotta find a way to get points no matter how we play. If we have a bad night, we have to find ways to tie games and do right things because right now it’s pretty awful.”
Considering the way they are limping toward Monday afternoon’s NHL trade deadline, it’s tough not to wonder whether General Manager George McPhee and team brass will opt to make more significant and numerous changes than it might have otherwise.
Read the full article in WaPo's Post Sports ....

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tech: Google-Apple War: The googlemeister cawt tracking the Big A

One often doesn't feel there's h+ enuff regard for the customers and clients of the big companies, like Apple and Google, that make possible personal computing (especially blogging).  I don't like criticizing either company as I'm still amazed at the tech marvels I have come to enjoy in my old age.  And the matter at issue between the two competitors is probably settled — thanks to Congresswoman Mack.  Still, there's a long-term war going on.  To me, it seems that Apple just wants to corner the technical market, whereas Google seems to want to do so for the sake of some power-agenda bent on influencing the culture more than it lets on.  Hope that's not the case, but let the buyer beware of the supplier!

Google caught 

tracking Apple users

Google is on the defensive after The Wall Street Journal revealed the company has been tracking Apple Safari users in violation of the Web browser's privacy settings.
Google says the tracking was inadvertent and the problem has been fixed.
But Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.), who was already scrutinizing Google over planned changes to its privacy policy, said she plans to bring company officials back to Washington for more questioning.
"Even if unintentional, as the company claims, these types of incidents continue to create consumer concerns about how their personal information is used and shared," Bono Mack said. "Companies need to be open about what they’re collecting and how that information is used."

The Hill tech blog 'Hillicon Valley' (Feb17,2k12)
- Reposted here with refWrite comment by Technowlb

general editor, refWrite Backpage

Consumer Watchdog, a frequent Google critic, accused the company of lying and urged the Federal Trade Commission to take "immediate action" to crack down on the "unfair and deceptive trade practices." [By the way, in Canada the best place to go online is probably CBC's Marketplace which styles itself "Canada's Consumer Watchdog" — but don't expect much critique from it regarding the govt-financed media which is the taxpayer-financed media like the CBC itself. — Technowlb]
Rachel Whetstone, Google's vice president of communications and public policy, said the Journal story  "mischaracterizes what happened and why."
Unlike other Web browsers, Apple Safari's default settings prohibit sites from saving small files called cookies, which can be used to track users.
One exception to this rule is that Safari allows some cookies that enable users to engage in social media content on other sites. For example, the exception allows users to click Facebook's "Like" button when they are on news sites.
Google installed a temporary cookie to allow users to interact with the company's "+1" button on sites and ads. But this feature caused Safari to accept other tracking files from Google's ad network.
As a result, Safari users saw ads tailored to their browsing history, a violation of their privacy settings.
"We didn’t anticipate that this would happen, and we have now started removing these advertising cookies from Safari browsers," Whetstone said.  "It’s important to stress that, just as on other browsers, these advertising cookies do not collect personal information."
An Apple official told the newspaper that the company is "working to put a stop" to Google's tracking of Safari users.
Safari is the default browser on iPhones and iPads.  
"Users of Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome were not affected," Whetstone said. Those browsers' default privacy settings already allow tracking cookies.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Music: Rap & Opera: NPR asks Why do people hate them?

It's a good question, if you've got any inclination toward sociology or psychology.  But we don't need the sciences to raise it:  just look around you.  You may want to mull over the subject of this inquiry — and you can post it on our Comments thingy, if you want to, as one can also ask Why do people hate commenting on blog-entries?  There is such a simple thing as taste and t+m, as you're probably aware as you pawz to listen to the slow-cadenced aria sung by opera-star Maria Callas (sounds like she's feeling the pinch of the tapeworm she swallowed to control her weit, huh?) and then follow that listening with a sample of TurboRap by Ceza's Holocaust (sorry, the subtitles only appear in German).

— Aficionado, refWrite Backpage music reviewer
general editor, refWrite Backpage

Read more ... vid samples ... click t+mstamp below ....

Music: CountryMusic USA: 17-yr-old Scotty McCreery still tops the Top 20 for song "The trouble with girls"

They say his voice, now baritone but with considerable range upward, is amazing.  And, of course, his song-wr+ting swarms around the themes of late-teenage.  But to an aging-onlooker/listener, the first telltale s+n of potential greatness is his first-off durability on the charts — until you hear him.  Without a video, you can't help imagining a dude at least 10 years older.  Oh yeah, hear him sing while he plays basketball for his local h+school.  See him hoop assist that last-second shot of a recent game for Garner H+ School!  8-)

— Sportikos, refWrite Backpage sports columnist

general editor, refWrite backpage

Scotty McCreery official webs+t (Feb18,2k12)

On the charts this week, Scotty McCreery holds on to No. 1 for yet another week with “The Trouble With Girls.” Lauren Alaina’s“Georgia Peaches” debuts on the countdown all the way at No. 2 and the latest videos from Gloriana and Dierks Bentley also make the countdown for the first time this week.
This Week’s Chart:
1. Scotty McCreery – “The Trouble With Girls”
2. Lauren Alaina – “Georgia Peaches”
3. Alan Jackson – “So You Don’t Have To Love Me Anymore”
4. Kellie Pickler – “Tough”
5. Luke Bryan – “I Don’t Want This Night To End”
6. Taylor Swift – “Ours”
7. Chris Young – “You”
8. Keith Urban – “You Gonna Fly”
9. Katie Armiger – “Scream”
10. Casey James – “Let’s Don’t Call It A Night”
11. Miranda Lambert – “Baggage Claim”
12. Jake Owen – “Alone With You”
13. Toby Keith – “Red Solo Cup”
14. Sara Evans – “My Heart Can’t Tell You No”
15. Lee Brice – “Woman Like You”
16. Reba McEntire – “Somebody’s Chelsea”
17. Gloriana – “(Kissed You) Good Night”
18. Dierks Bentley – “Home”
19. Jason Aldean – “Tattoos On This Town”
20. Zac Brown Band – “Keep Me In Mind”
GAC’s Top 20 Country Countdown premieres every Friday night at 9/8c with re-airs throughout the weekend. Click here for a complete schedule.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Technics: CIA webs+t: Hacked! by Anonymous, Agency struggles to recover

refWrite comment:  The InformationWeek niche-blog for security-info in the digital realms of the Internet is trying to keep those concerned (laity) and IT specialists (professionals) uptodate on the acts of the hactivists (as they're called) who seek to disrupt the institutions that provide and/or protect certain databases and communcations vital to the USA's political and strategic well-being.  However, the system does require security, so that delicate info doesn't leak from its banks of data to individuals wishing to harm our system (I don't want to paint a roseate picture of the moral achievements of the system as a whole, or of its security taskforce personnel, tho I do count most of them on the s+d of the good angels).  Nevertheless, for whatever reasons, strong forces of reaction to USA Security as a functioning concept and mandate, and of a reaction to its diplomacy with other nations (as is the case of the Wikileaks info-leaks/flood), have congealed into action groups with grudges and technical skills in a cyber-lethal combination.  One such action group is Anonymous;  Anonymous is famous.  And now the m+ty deeds sung around its campfires include a direct, purposeful assault on the Central Intelligence Agency's webs+t open to the public (while CIA's intranet s+ts seem not to have been penetrated).  Anonymous must be regarding this CIA public webs+t as merely a propaganda instrument to impress, persuade, and perhaps confuse especially the American public.  That proposition seems inherently an implication of its action.

Anonymous: 10 Facts About The Hacktivist Group

Anonymous: 10 facts about the hacktivist group
Matthew J. Schwartz's multiple-pager on Anonymous

In response to an apparently non-Anonymous attack, one that targetted an Alabama state-police database for the purpose of data-theft and then dumped some of the info garnered to the media, replied to their critics like DataBreaches.net saying: 
"Yeah but we arent gonna post that shit! [names of sex offenders plus limited info on the victims and the crimes, while vehicle info and license plate digits were released].  We are exposing the flaw [in the Alabama cyber-security system] not the names of the innocent!" 
So the vigilantes in this case protect the child abusers and rapists, while gathering their cloaks about them after spewing out venom on the (cyber-security) system as such.  After all, it is flawed.  They thus parade their own expertise, while trying to heap the public's disdain on the agencies and officials who work in this field on behalf of Alabama's state government and the law-abiding public.  They are thus, at best, to be classed as vigilantes.  Anonymous, however, doesn't even rise to this dubious standard.
— Technowlb

InformationWeek (Feb13,2k12) 

CIA Website Hacked, 

Struggles To Recover

Anonymous and other hacktivists also left their marks on the U.S. Census Bureau, Interpol, and Mexico, as well as law enforcement websites in Alabama and Texas.

An Anonymous-related Twitter channel claimed Friday that the group had successfully taken down the CIA's public-facing website.
The CIA website reportedly remained inaccessible several hours after the attack, then appeared to be offline intermittently for the rest of the weekend, as well as on Monday, in the face of what appeared to be a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. Anonymous had previously been making a habit of targeting the FBI on Fridays.

More Security Insights

White Papers

More >>


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More >>
The CIA has acknowledged that it's been having website issues, but hasn't publicly commented on the cause. Interestingly, it's not clear if Anonymous was indeed responsible. "We'd remind media that if we report a hack or ddos attack, it doesn't necessarily mean we did it...FYI," according to a tweet from YourAnonNews, which is a reliable source of information about Anonymous activities.
Saturday, hackers announced via Pastebin--with a shout-out to Anonymous and AntiSec — that they'd hacked the U.S. Census Bureau, and they listed the names of stolen database tables. The same day, the website of Interpol was also knocked offline, although the attack wasn't the work of Anonymous. Instead, via a Pastebin post, a group known as Black Tuesday (tagline: "We'r revolution of your mind!) claimed credit.
"We'r not Anonymous! Stop calling us a part of them:[ Yeap, we support their ideas, but we have own ideas at all!" according to a Twitter post made by the group.
Regardless, members of Anonymous have been busy. As part of the Anonymous anti-law enforcement effort AntiSec, the group released Friday what it said were 730 MB of emails plus a database of information from Mexico's Chamber of Mines, aka "Camimex." In a Pastebin post, "AnonMex" said the attack was in retaliation for mining syndicates working in parts of Mexico without consulting with the indigenous population.
Last week, pro-Anonymous hackers CabinCr3w and w0rmer hit the Texas Department of Public Safety, and detailed what they'd stolen, which included contact information for training centers. The hackers also released what it said were two Excel spreadsheets allegedly stolen in the attack. While one appeared to contain non-sensitive training center contact information, the other appeared to be a dummy file used to disguise a known piece of spyware called "BadSRC."
The same two hackers last week also launched an attack against the Alabama Department of Public Safety, and released seven spreadsheets containing information on sex offenders as well as victims, as well as a database of vehicle information for offenders.
Much of that information, however, was redacted. "Inspection of the spreadsheets indicates that no names were dumped [exposed], but it might be possible to recognize particular cases of child sexual abuse or rape by the dates of the arrests and the description of the crime and victim's age if a case had been reported in the media or occurred in a small town," said Databreaches.net. "Similarly, while offenders' names were not included in the data dump, their vehicle information and license plate number were. It's not clear whether the hackers also acquired other files or databases that would enable identification of what appear to be unique IDs."
In another attack, CabinCr3w and w0rmer, as well as another hacker known as Kahuna, hacked into a website for the Mobile, Ala. police department, to protest "recent racist legislation," according to the Pastebay post announcing the attack. "Because of your police being lazy when it comes to data security, we have acquired the following information of over 46,000 citizens of the state of Alabama," said the attackers.
The stolen data included people's full legal names, social security numbers, birth dates, and criminal records. B u t the hackers involved told Databreaches.net that they'd purposefully chosen to release only a redacted subset of the data they'd obtained, and then deleted all of the data.
Hacks of Comodo and DigiNotar exposed weakness in the Secure Sockets Layer protocol. The new Dark Reading supplement shows you what's being done to fix it. (Free registration required.)
— Comment and all materials + bolding and colour-coding posted by Technowlb, refWrite Backpage technics columnist.  Cross-posted to refBlogger Insertgeneral editor, refWrite Backpage