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21 June 2008

On Clouds, the Sun and the Moon

The main value proposition of cloud computing is better economics, that it's cheaper to rent hardware, software platforms and applications (via a per-usage or subscription model) than it is to buy, build and maintain them in the corporate data center. But if we expect that cloud computing is here to stay –- and not just a passing fad –- it must be feasible for the cloud providers themselves. So how do they do it?

They do it by leverage economies of scale. Put simply, the idea is that one very large organization can more efficiently build and operate its infrastructure than many small firms can on their own. To better understand this, let's break down some of the financial advantages leveraged in cloud computing:

Specialization: Specialization is also known as division of labor, a term coined by the father of modern economics, Adam Smith. A company for whom running a large-scale data center is a core part of its business will do so much more cost-effectively than a company for whom it's merely one aspect. The former will hire the best experts in the world, and will have the management attention required to continuously innovate, optimize and improve operations. And the overhead costs associated with doing so will spread thinly across massive usage. Case in point: Since it needed to use hundreds of thousands of servers, it was worthwhile for Google to build its own, homegrown devices to fit its exact power supply and fault-tolerance needs.

Although in software, anyone can build anything with enough people, time and money (as my old boss used to say, "It's all ones and zeros"), it makes no sense for individual companies to develop capabilities such as dynamic provisioning, linear scalability and in-memory data partitioning when they're readily available from off-the-shelf products.

Purchasing Power: Large organizations buy in bulk, which they can leverage to negotiate lower prices. So presumably the cloud provider can acquire lower-costing servers and networks, operating systems and virtualization software. Furthermore, they can negotiate better interest rates, insurance premiums and other contracts.

Utilization: This is perhaps the most important one and what I like to call the Kindergarten Principle, or "sharing is good." In computing, tremendous savings can be achieved by having multiple companies share the same IT infrastructure.

Experts estimate average data center utilization rates range from 15 percent to 20 percent. If you include the processing, memory and storage capacity available on company-owned laptops and desktops as well, utilization rates may be as low as 5 percent. That's a lot of waste. Imagine if this were the case in the hospitality industry. In most cases, a hotel with even 50 percent average occupancy rates would quickly go out of business.

So why is this happening with corporate IT?

Application loads are volatile; they experience peaks and troughs based on time of day, day of the week or month, seasons and so on. To avoid hitting the "scalability wall," companies need to overprovision. So if a company expects a certain daily peak volume (for example, the opening of the trading day for an e-trading application), it will provision enough hardware so that utilization rates at the peak reach no more than 70 percent (leaving some room for unexpected loads – hey, Steve Jobs may announce the next iPhone today). But at other times utilization rates could go as low as 10 percent, with the average somewhere in between.

So the difference between peak loads and average loads drives overprovisioning and a high rate of unused computing capacity. But if we aggregate the activities of several companies, we will not face such volatility in application loads. Let's see why.

Follow the Sun: In many cases, peaks and troughs in application volumes can largely be attributed to the time of day. Human-facing applications are active during daytime and face very low activity during the night. When New York experiences the opening bell trading spike, London is in the midday lull and Tokyo is going to bed. Same goes for e-commerce sites, social networking sites, gaming sites and others, though these types of applications might experience peaks after business hours as well.

If companies around the globe and in different industries share the same resources on the cloud, higher utilization rates will be achieved by the cloud provider, lowering its costs – savings that it can turn around and pass on to its customers. This model of shared resources even addresses the need to overprovision for unexpected peaks, as it is unlikely that all the cloud users, in all geographical regions and all industries will face peaks at the same time. This is similar to the notion of a bank not having all of the cash reserves necessary to handle the cash commitments to all customers at the same time (is there an equivalent to a bank run in cloud computing?).

Follow the Moon: And with so much focus on energy costs, data center power consumption and cooling (not to mention the environment), there's also a cloud computing approach known as Follow the Moon. It posits that a cloud provider with physical data centers in several different geographical locations can run the applications that are active from the day side of the world in centers on the night side of the world, taking advantage of lower power and cooling costs.

Cloud computing, therefore, is an economically feasible strategy. Over time, the cost savings will be too compelling for all but the very largest companies to ignore.

Geva Perry is the chief marketing officer of GigaSpaces

If this story interests you then you should definitely check out our upcoming conference, Structure 08.

GigaOM 6/21/08 8:05 PM Geva Perry Cloud Computing Infrastructure BoxCloud economies of scale Geva Perry GigaSpaces

Minority Group Fires Back At Police Chief

The chairman of a local minority group fires back at the police chief after accusations that the groups are not doing enough to help quell violence in Pittsburgh.

Food Stamps Buy Less, and Families Are Hit Hard

The prices of staples have risen sharply, but an increase in food stamp allocations will not take effect until October.

NYT > Home Page 6/21/08 7:45 PM By LESLIE KAUFMAN Food Stamps Food Prices (Fares, Fees and Rates)

GOONJ PROJECT: Textile Recycling Initiative in New Delhi

GOONJ recycling initiative, GOONJ recycling New Delhi, GOONJ recycling India, recycling materials, recycling initiatives India, recycling initiatives New Delhi, Anshu Gupta India, Anshu Gupta New Delhi, GOONJ Project New Delhi, GOONJ Project India, Global Oneness Project, goonj.jpg

Turning one person's waste into another person's resource, the magnificent GOONJ project is setting a truly sustainable mindset in the heart of the Indian capital New Delhi. Taking the idea of recycling would be waste to a whole new level, the GOONJ project has become well established as a distribution network able to reach the poorest areas of India.


INHABITAT 6/21/08 5:07 AM Kate Andrews Recycled Materials Recycling initiatives Waste reduction social responsibility Comments

Abigail’s Teen Diary: For All Her BFFs

Fictional vlog series have been done before, as have stories about teen girls trapped in older men's bodies — but that doesn't keep Abigail's X-Rated Teen Diary from racking up millions of views and almost 1,500 Bebo fans.

Originally developed for HBO's failed This Just In, Abigail is the daily vlog of a young girl dealing with, in her own words, "boyz, school, my 'rents, & living w/ Bloombergers Syndrome. Thats this genetic thing that effex your DNNA so it makes me look a little older than I really am." By "a little older," she means she looks like star/creator Hayden Black, who, if the online video thing doesn't work out, could look into part-time work as a Ricky Gervais impersonator. Not that that's likely to happen — Black's comic abilities are second only to his promotional skills and marketing savvy, as Kara Swisher recently covered as part of her Boomtown series.

The concept wouldn't work without a strong performance at its core, but that's fine, because Black's commitment to portraying a 13-year-old is absolute and hilarious. Without much of a central narrative tying things together, installments feel a little disjointed and viewing rarely feels compulsory. What really works about the series is the choice in Abigail's age — rather than winking at the character's not-so-innocent appearance, the show keeps focused on the truth of the character, whose naivety and good spirit is really quite charming. You get the feeling that if you were in junior high, you'd wanna be Abigail's BFF. Even if you could never share clothes.

NewTeeVee Combo Feed 6/21/08 1:30 PM

20 June 2008

Disturbing the Peace: Part 3

Quick Links
Welcome to Kanji Curiosity | The Basics | Glossary

When you feel uneasy, where do you sense it in your body? Perhaps you feel "butterflies" deep in your belly. Maybe you become lightheaded. You could even get cold feet!

Two Japanese expressions about uneasiness make use of a kanji we've seen for two weeks running:

(SŌ, sawa(gu): clamor, noise, disturbance; to make a fuss)

Both expressions locate uneasiness in the chest:

心騒ぎ (kokoro sawagi: uneasiness)     heart + disturbance

One could see this expression as referring to a disturbance in the heart. Or given the many meanings of , one could interpret 心騒ぎ as noise in the heart! Not an ear-splitting noise, of course. Rather, it might be like the irritating static when a radio station isn't coming in clearly.

胸騒ぎ (munasawagi: uneasiness)     chest + disturbance

The chest and the heart go hand in hand, you might say. So 胸騒ぎ essentially has the same meaning and breakdown as 心騒ぎ. In fact, the two breakdowns might be identical, in that can mean "heart" or "feelings," just as can.

A Guide to the Mind and Body …

Sample Sentence with 胸騒ぎ


The Thing About Noise

For more unsettled feelings, we can look to the following compound:

物騒 (bussō: unsettled, troubled, dangerous)
     thing + disturbance

Sample Sentence with 物騒

In some words, seems to mean both "disturbance" and "noise." Take 物騒 and add okurigana:

物騒がしい (monosawagashii: noisy, boisterous; turbulent)
     thing + noise

Now the yomi has completely changed (from on-on to kun-kun), and there's more of an emphasis on noise. Still, the last meaning, "turbulent," indicates a feeling of inquietude.

Thoughts on Inquietude …

These two kanji, and , combine in two more words:
(more̷ ;) Blog 6/20/08 10:31 AM Eve Kushner Kanji Curiosity Comments

NAACP Spends Half of Jena 6 Money on NAACP

Yobachi's got all the facts at The Jena Six Blog. The NAACP has finally released a report on their Jena 6 activities and fundraising. As a member, I'm disgusted. Color of Change raised $200,000, mostly from individual donors, and gave 90% of the funds to the lawyers representing the Jena 6 families and to the families themselves. That's quite a contrast.

I'm an NAACP member and I'm offended by the NAACP's inefficiency and also by their taking advantage of one of the biggest civil rights events in recent memory to fill their own coffers. That doesn't represent my values, nor do I think that most members would be impressed by their sad performance.

Here's a snippet from the report with Yobachi's notes in bold and brackets.

Contributions received by the NAACP in response to the Jena Campaign include:

Internet Contributions: $ 8,782.00
Mail Contributions: $11,112.00
Total: $19,894.00 Mail contributions of $11,112.00 include a $10,000.00 donation from celebrity musician David Bowie.[So more than half their donation money came from one rich individual. Sorry, but that's not very effective fund raising by the old guard there]

Expenses related to support to the LaSalle Parrish Branch (travel, meetings and web cast) associated with the September 20, 2007 march and streaming video of the town hall meeting total:

$10,283.00 [I don't recall that site, which I viewed a few times back in the summer and fall of last year, notifying donors that there money would go towards support of branches and for meetings. The industry standard for over head is about 35% and many think that's too high.]

Excess of revenue over expense $ 9,611.00

The NAACP will provide a check in the amount of $10,000.00 in pro rata shares, to
the attorneys providing legal services to the Jena defendants. [So they took in 19,894 and spent 10,283 on themselves. That's 52% overhead. Even if you give the NAACP credit for the $389 they added to the pot, that's still 50% overhead]
Knowing that many young men and women of color outside Jena face discrimination in the criminal justice system, the NAACP has declared a State Of Emergency to call attention to the problem of unequal justice nationwide. We welcome the support and assistance of all likeminded individuals and organizations seeking systematic change and broad based solutions to racial injustice.

The NAACP and its members thank you for your continuing support and dedication to justice.
Jack and Jill Politics 6/20/08 1:29 PM (Jill Tubman) NAACP Jena 6 Color of Change The Jena Six

Security versus freedom

How to maintain a fair balance between national and individual security and traditional freedoms and human rights is an important political issue in Britain. We have been forced to accept increasing intrusion into our private lives by government agencies. Some fear we are living in a world similar to that depicted in George Orwell's "1984." The development of closed circuit television (CCTV) has led to a huge increase in the number of security cameras on highways, buses and trains, as well as in public places. The use of CCTV may have reduced crime rates and increased convictions.

Read the full story

Starkist Tuna to be Sold to a Korean Company

It was announced today that Dongwon Industries, a huge Korean fishery concern, will buy Starkist Tuna, division of Del Monte Food Company, for $300 million. It was revealed that Del Monte was losing money on Starkist because of the rapidly rising cost of skipjack tuna.

No word yet if Dongwon will only sell tuna of 30 months old or younger or if they will sell "lower quality" tuna that Americans don't eat into the Korean market.

Sorry Charlie.

The Marmot's Hole 6/20/08 2:15 AM WangKon936 Korean Economy Comments

19 June 2008

Food shortages worsen amid Argentine farm strike

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Food shortages at Buenos Aires grocery stores deepened on Thursday as farmers kept up a protest over soy export taxes that has sparked a political crisis for President Cristina Fernandez.
Reuters: International News 6/19/08 6:00 PM worldNews

UN classifies rape a 'war tactic'

The UN Security Council votes unanimously in favour of a resolution classifying rape as a weapon of war.
BBC News 6/19/08 8:53 PM Americas

t r u t h o u t | Congress Poised to Grant Telcoms Spying Immunity

After months of negotiations behind closed doors, a supposed compromise has been reached on an extremely controversial spying bill. Front Page 6/19/08 10:35 PM

Cops now charging for gas used to catch you

Filed under: ,

The high cost of fueling up is affecting just about everyone at the pump. But it's also costing us at the grocery store, the airport, and, beginning July 1, it could bump up the cost of your speeding tickets, too. When a north Atlanta suburb spent 60% of its police fuel budget in only five months, it was faced with cutting back on patrols, raising taxes for all, or passing the cost on to speeders. The final decision was a no-brainer for the city of 7,700, and beginning in July, all speeders will be slapped with an additional $12 fuel charge. The added charge will raise ticket revenues up to $26,000 or more, and the costs will only be passed on to those who break traffic laws and not every citizen. The Atlanta city council has unanimously passed a similar proposal to include a $10 - $15 fine for ticketed motorists, and many more cities are sure to follow suit in short order. Yet another reason to get a really good radar detector. Thanks for the tip, Brad!

[Source: AOL Money, Photo by Malingering | CC 2.0]


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Autoblog 6/19/08 10:36 PM Chris Shunk fuel prices fuel surcharge FuelPrices FuelSurcharge police Comments

18 June 2008

daily bREAD

Pool Crashing[Dipping] in the UK Becomes Latest Google Earth Prank

The latest craze for teenagers with no place to go except Facebook is "dipping," or gatecrashing someone else's swimming pool. According to the Daily Mail (commenter djheath's favorite publication, if I recall correctly) putative trespassers select their swimming pool using Google Earth, and then notify their mates using social networking sites. The would-be revellers often turn up in fancy dress, and are advised to bring a bike (for a swift getaway). Owners only discover their pool has been dipped when they find a bunch of beer cans floating on the surface the next morning. [Daily Mail

Gizmodo 6/18/08 6:30 AM AddyDugdale Dipping Google Earth Pranks Teens Uk

17 June 2008

[Japan] Number of reported child abuse cases tops 40,000

The number of child abuse cases reported to consultation centers across the nation has topped 40,000 for the first time, a government survey has found.
Japan National News 6/17/08 4:31 AM

The decay of gratitude

[Francis] Flynn asserts that immediately after one person performs a favor for another, the recipient of the favor places more value on the favor than does the favor-doer.  However, as time passes, the value of the favor decreases in the recipient's eyes, whereas for the favor-doer, it actually increases.  Although there are several potential reasons for this discrepancy, one possibility is that, as time goes by, the memory of the favor-doing event gets distorted, and since people have the desire to see themselves in the best possible light, receivers may think they didn't need all that much help at the time, while givers may think they really went out of their way for the receiver.

That is from Robert B. Cialdini's fascinating Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Persuasive.  Cialdini's earlier Influence remains one of my favorite social science books.  Here is a link to Flynn's paper and related work.

Marginal Revolution 6/17/08 7:01 AM Tyler Cowen Education

Tim Russert's interview with Minister Louis Farrakhan

[Editor's Note: In a much talked about interview, the Honorable Louis Farrakhan appeared April 13, 1997 on NBC television's "Meet the Press." He was interviewed by Tim Russert and David Broder. The following text is excerpted from the interview.] Tim Russert: Once a week. On the back page is The Muslim Program, "What the Muslims Want." And if I can go through a few of these--let me put one on the screen and get your reaction. The first is in terms of territory, and you'll see, "Since we cannot get along with them in peace and equality, we believe our contributions to this land and the suffering forced upon us by white America justifies our demand for complete separation in a state or territory of our own." Is that your view in 1997, a separate state for Black Americans? Minister Louis Farrakhan: First, the program starts with number one. That is number four. The first part of that program is that we want freedom, a full and complete freedom. The second is, we want justice. We want equal justice under the law, and we want justice applied equally to all, regardless of race or class or color. And the third is that we want equality. We want equal membership in society with the best in civilized society. If we can get that within the political, economic, social system of America, there's no need for point number four. But if we cannot get along in peace after giving America 400 years of our service and sweat and labor, then, of course, separation would be the solution to our race problem.

African-American News 6/17/08 7:33 AM

Help Rotarians Eradicate Polio

psa_him3_polio.jpgIn 1988, polio paralyzed 350,000 children in 125 countries. Twenty years later, there are fewer than 1500 cases of polio around the world, and just four countries remain endemic (Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan). How did this happen? In 1988, United Nations agencies like UNICEF and the World Health Program teamed up with the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a number of private philanthropies to form the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.

The initiative has obviously been hugely successful, but it has not yet put itself out of business. So, to help give global polio eradication one final push, Rotary International (one of the founding partners of the initiative) today announced a new $100,000 campaign. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are matching the campaign dollar for dollar.

$200 million may be all it takes to one and for all give polio the boot. Why not pitch in?

UN Dispatch 6/17/08 3:18 PM Mark Leon Goldberg World Health

UK: Audit Estimates Public Cost of a Single Drug Addict at $1.5 Million

Audit Estimates Public Cost of a Single Drug Addict at $1.5 Million
June 16, 2008

A report from accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers estimated that each drug addict in the U.K. costs taxpayers £800,000 -- about $1.569 million -- over his or her lifetime, the BBC reported June 14.

The estimate included the cost of crime, healthcare under Great Britain's National Health Service, and other considerations; however, researchers said that the estimate was probably on the conservative side.

The report said that the cost to society could be reduced to under £70,000 (about $137,000) if people with addiction problems received treatment prior to age 21.

Researchers said that "the creation of drug-free prisons is an expensive option and was not considered to be practical in the current resource climate," that drug testing was ineffective to measure or counter drug use, and that options like supervised injection centers for opiate-addicted offenders should be considered.

Promising New Service Tackles e-waste in Mumbai

e-waste recycling Mumbai, e-waste disposal India, Eco Reco Bombay, Eco Reco India, electronics recycling India, electronics recycling initiatives India, e-waste environmental issues, toxic e-waste, e-waste pollution, burning electronics, toxic chemicals e-waste, ewaste6.jpg

Half a million tons of e-waste is generated annually in India and is a serious threat to people's health and the environment. The flourishing Indian IT sector contributes a large part of it. The disposal of this waste is a big problem and the waste leaves a huge carbon footprint. E-waste in India is dismantled and recycled manually in a hazardous, unorganized and unsafe manner. However, a new service launched in Mumbai could soon change the face of e-waste recycling and disposal in India.


INHABITAT 6/17/08 4:38 PM Mahesh Basantani Recycling initiatives Comments

Women Trade Sex for Food

As inflation continues to soar, increasing numbers of women turn to sex industry to survive.
By Nonthando Bhebhe in Harare
Everything seems to be crumbling in Portia Ruredzo's world. Unable to afford food and rent, she says she has been left with little choice but to turn tricks to feed her two children.
The young single mother of two can barely make ends meet on her paltry monthly salary, which is now equivalent to ten loaves of bread on the black market, where most Zimbabweans get... 6/17/08 2:09 PM

[One Point of View] Boycott Durban II

Boycott Durban II
At the 2001 UN Conference against Racism in Durban, anti-colonialism bared its anti-Semitic face. Democracies should stay away from a repeat performance next year in Geneva. By Pascal Bruckner

In September 2001 the South African city of Durban played host to the third United Nations World Conference against Racism, which was aimed at achieving recognition for crimes related to slavery and colonialism. The event's organisers hoped that the whole of mankind would use this ceremonious occasion to face up to its history and chronicle events with equanimity. 6/17/08 2:18 PM

VIDEO: Child Labor in Mexico, Beyond


The World Day Against Child Labour raised awareness of the plight of child laborers around the world -- most of whom are impoverished and have no chance for a formal education.

National Geographic News 6/12/08 8:00 PM video_in_the_news


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