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Thursday, December 23, 2010

20 Amazing Facts about Christmas

Posted by Praditya Briyandi On 9:53 AM 1 comment

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas here at Venere.com! Take a peek at our list of fun facts about how the most important holiday of the year is a celebrated around the world!
Did you know that?
XMAS


In Greek, X means Christ; that is where the word “Xmas” comes from!
Christmas World Records

The world’s largest Christmas present was the Statue of Liberty. The French gave it to the US in 1886. It is 46.5 meters high and weights 225 tons!
“Green” Christmas

It can take up to 15 years to grow an average-sized tree of 6-7 feet or as little as 4 years, but the average growing time is 7!
Christmas Songs

Bing Crosby ‘s ‘White Christmas’ was released in 1942 and is considered to be the best-selling Christmas song of all time!
Christmas Statistics
1 in 10 – The number of the presents received that will be broken by the New Year
7 in 10 – The number of dogs that get Christmas gifts from their owners
33 – The average amount spent per person on last-minute purchases
25 – The percentage time spent in queues when Christmas shopping
832 – The number of homes Santa visits every second to deliver all his presents
5340 – Average number of times Visa Cards are used every minute during Christmas time
2010 Average Budget for Christmas Presents

USA: 520 € – UK: 474 € – GERMANY: 270 € – ITALY: 325 € – FRANCE: 366 € – SPAIN: 383 € – NETHERLANDS: 206 €
Traditional Christmas Sweets
FRANCE: Buche de Noel (a Génoise or other sponge cake, baked in a large Swiss roll pan)
USA: Pumpkin Cake (with cinnamon and ginger, frosted with cream cheese frosting)
SPAIN: Nougat (made with sugar or honey, roasted nuts)
HUNGARY: Beigli (roll of sweet yeast bread with a dense, rich, bittersweet filling)
ITALY: Panettone (is a type of sweet bread loaf originally from Milan)
SWEDEN: Pepparkakor (heart-star and goat-shaped gingerbread biscuit)
UK: Christmas Pudding (steamed pudding, with dried fruit and nuts, usually made with suet)
PORTUGAL: Pain Perdu (French toast made with bread and eggs, milk, sugar and cinnamon)
GERMANY: Lebkuchen (large cookies made of honey)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

10 Unamiliar Countries

Posted by Praditya Briyandi On 1:37 PM No comments

Spanyol, Brasil, Italia dan negara-negara lainnya dikenal di seluruh dunia karena keberadaan mereka, budaya dan sejarah. Tapi, mungkin anda tidak mengenal negara-negara di bawah ini. Seluruh negara tersebut sangat asing di telinga anda. Bahkan saya sendiri baru pertama kali mendengarnya. Inilah 10 daftar negara yang asing tersebut :
10. Vanuatu
90% rumah tangga di Vanuatu makan ikan dan 80% tinggal di pedesaan, desa-desa terpencil dengan kebun mereka sendiri yang hasilkan bahan pangan. Scuba diving merupakan atraksi wisata yang sangat populer di sini. Tsunami bukanlah hal yang langka di Vanuatu, dan gempa bumi memiliki efek negatif pada kondisi ekonomi negara-negara tersebut.
9. Nauru
Nauru, sebuah bekas koloni kekaisaran Jerman, juga dikenal sebagai Pulau Pleasant Pasifik Selatan. Orang-orang Nauru mengumpulkan air hujan selama musim hujan antara bulan November dan Februari karena mereka sangat terbatas dalam air tawar. Olahraga paling populer di negara ini adalah sepak bola ala  Australia. Mereka sudah memiliki liga sepak bola dengan tujuh tim yang berpartisipasi.
8. Tuvalu
Tuvalu adalah sebuah monarki konstitusional dengan Ratu Elizabeth II sebagai kepala negara. Mereka tidak memiliki kekuatan militer reguler. Jadi mereka tidak banyak menghabiskan uang untuk urusan pertahanan. Tuvalu adalah negara terkecil peringkat keempat di dunia. Penduduk pertama negara ini adalah orang-orang Polinesia.
7. Comoros
Komoro adalah negara kepulauan Afrika di Samudera Hindia yang terletak di antara Mozambik dan Madagaskar. Pulau ini merupakan koloni Perancis tua,. Hari ini ada sekitar 300 000 orang Comorians tinggal di Perancis. 98% dari populasi di Comors adalah Muslim.
6. Guernsey
Guernsey berada di bawah tanggung jawab Britania Raya tetapi mereka tidak dihitung sebagai bagian dari Inggris, serta Uni Eropa. Guernsey terletak di Selat Inggris di pantai Normandia. Mereka memiliki otonomi penuh atas urusan internal. Sekarang ini mereka sedang mendiskusikan untuk kemerdekaan total dari Kerajaan Inggris.
5. Isle of Man
Isle of Man juga dikenal sebagai Mann, sebuah pemerintahan sendiri dari  British Crown Dependency, terletak di laut Irlandia antara pulau Britania Raya dan Irlandia. Mereka bukan merupakan bagian dari Uni Eropa. Penghasilan negara ini berbasis pada perbankan luar negeri dan pariwisata. Pulau ini telah dihuni sejak sebelum 6500 SM.
4. Tokelau
Tokelau adalah wilayah yang tidak memiliki pemerintah sendiri. Nama Tokelau berasal dari kata Polinesia yang berarti "angin utara". Pulau ini memiliki perekonomian terkecil dari negara mana pun di dunia yang membuat mereka hampir sepenuhnya tergantung pada subsidi dari Selandia Baru. 96% dari populasi adalah orang Kristen dan 57% di antaranya adalah perempuan.
3. Cook Islands
Cook Islands memiliki demokrasi parlementer pemerintahan sendiri. Dengan lebih dari 90.000 wisatawan setiap tahun, pariwisata adalah penopang utama ekonomi mereka dengan potensi lepas pantai, laut, mutiara dan ekspor buah. Cook Island yang dinamai oleh navigator Inggris Kapten James Cook ketika ia sampai di pulau tersebut pada 1773.
2. Pitcairn Islands
Kepulauan Pitcairn secara resmi bernama Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie dan Oeno Islands, terjepit dari empat pulau vulkanik. Sebelumnya ia bagian dari koloni Inggris, yang merupakan bagian dari Pasifik. Bahasa penduduknya campuran bahasa Inggris dan Tahiti. Dalam beberapa tahun terakhir gereja telah ditutup karena hanya delapan orang yang mengunjungi secara teratur. Hanya ada satu Café dan Bar di pulau itu, dan toko pemerintah menjual alkohol dan rokok. Ada hukum-hukum moral yang ketat yang melarang menari, merokok dan minum alkohol. (Jika pemerintah menjual alkohol dan rokok lalu mengapa ada hukum yang tegas yang melarang merokok dan minum alkohol? Apakah mereka menjualnya ke negara lain?)
1. Nagorno-Karabakh
Nagorno-Karabakh adalah republik merdeka yang terletak di antara Armenia dan Azerbaijan. Di negara ini banyak terdapat penambang dari bekas Uni Soviet karena selama 1991-1994 Perang Nagorno-Karabakh. Mereka masih tidak diakui oleh negara lain, termasuk Armenia. 95% dari populasi adalah Armenia, dan sisanya adalah orang-orang Yunani dan Kurdi. Pariwisata mereka pada dasarnya diarahkan untuk Armenia yang tinggal di negara-negara Barat.

I DO NOT LIKE SELFISH PERSON!

Posted by Praditya Briyandi On 12:49 PM No comments

Many a times we come across people who are hard to forget. Well, not always because they are helpful or bequeath us with some wonderful experiences, but sometimes because they give us unforgettable awful experiences with their utterly bad behavior and selfish characteristics.

Though, we hardly expect everybody to be good and helpful to us, we don’t even expect that people use us for their benefits and behave in a manner to make us feel low or worthless. We don’t expect that people should help us in return for everything we do for them, but we do expect that people would at least notice and weigh our efforts made to help them and not just take our efforts as granted.

Despite this, we still come across people who are mean, arrogant, egotistical and selfish. Encounters with such people leave us feeling hurtful and used to a great extent. Moreover, if one is a sensitive person with a soft heart, then such associations might give them hard-to-forget, distressing experiences. One or two such experiences would surely leave us flabbergasted and we would wish to stay away from such people in the future.

Though it is not easy to recognize a selfish person immediately, they possess some particular traits and some peculiar characteristics. We can keep ourselves off-hook if we know their baiting traits.

·        All selfish people display a very uncaring attitude and a strong “Me first” trait.

A very peculiar and common trait which all selfish and conceited people possess is that they always put themselves and their needs on the forefront. They only give heed to their priorities, their goals and in the process would not think of anyone else, not even about those who might be really needy than them.

When it comes to getting their needs met and their work done, they would turn a deaf ear to the necessities of others. Such selfish people do not believe in the “Live and Let Live“ philosophy, constantly putting their own needs and desires first, they just live for themselves.

A selfish person would view others only as a means to get what they want. They have a have tunnel vision which starts from and leads to themselves and their personal needs alone.

·        Another trait which selfish and conceited people show is being manipulative, scheming and plotting most of the times.

This trait arises from the fact that selfish people are driven by the fear of loss of control. They therefore become very manipulative and scheming. They tend to control everything by maligning someone’s reputation or by misrepresenting things.

Selfish people have a great inherent desire to control situations and people and are unwilling to reach compromises with others. To get their own way they would down cast others and debase anybody’s reputation.

·        Another conspicuous trait which all conceited and selfish people display is of being calculative and accumulators.

Oscar Wilde, the Irish writer, poet and prominent aesthete, has expressed this demeaning selfish trait in such beautiful words, “There are many things that we would throw away if we were not afraid that others might pick them up.”

This selfish characteristic gives people a grave tendency to hold and hoard things to themselves.

It becomes difficult for such people to part with even simple things like their time and efforts, leave aside important things like money. They would hoard all the resources to themselves and would not share it with anyone even if those resources would go wasted and depleted.

They would never think of sacrificing anything for anybody and in case they do it some time they would expect a lot in return. Insecurity might be the reason behind this base characteristic the selfish people display. They feel it is their right to receive from others but never feel obliged to return anything.  Selfish people behave in this manner because they don’t know how to balance giving with taking.


·        Low self esteem is another characteristic displayed by selfish people that gives them a negative outlook towards life and making them contemptuous of others in general.

This negative trait towards everything makes them bad team players as they always try to pull down others with their remarks, actions or suggestions.

They find it hard to motivate and inspire people because they themselves lack motivation and the drive to look ahead in life. This characteristic makes them unpopular in a team and a misfit at group tasks.

·        A selfish person is highly self centered and self obsessed.
This trait makes them see or hear no one else. They become bad listeners and give little or no consideration to what others have to say. They are inconsiderate and have little or no room for compassion. They would cut off conversations and bring the focus on themselves.
It becomes their earnest desire to be seen and heard more than anyone else making them oblivious to the opinions, suggestions and advices of others. All the conversations they indulge in pertain and turn back to themselves.
Looking at the traits and characteristics selfish people possess, one thing becomes obvious that selfish people do not need your contempt. You surely have to keep yourself shielded from their negativist traits but you don’t need to run from them.
All of us are selfish to some extent, but when the traits and characteristics go beyond control they make us selfish down to the core. Selfish people are ridiculed and downcast by the society in general.
A big non-selfish and selfless trait would be to understand such people and help them out of their selfishness and greedy attitude by accepting their presence, although cautiously.  
Of course be careful not to fall in the trap of their cagey attitude, but by not ignoring them and remaining unfazed and unaffected by their damaging, detrimental and calculating behavior, you might help a selfish person understand the value of selflessness. You never know, how greatly your selfless approach can help a selfish person reform into a kind, loving and unassuming soul.

The thought is so rightly put forth by James Allen, the philosophical writer, “The selfishness must be discovered and understood before it can be removed. It is powerless to remove itself, neither will it pass away of itself. Darkness ceases only when light is introduced; So ignorance can only be dispersed by Knowledge; Selfishness by Love.”

North Korea Keeps the World Guessing

Posted by Praditya Briyandi On 7:50 AM No comments

WASHINGTON — With North Korea reeling from economic and succession crises, American and South Korean officials early this year secretly began gaming out what would happen if the North, led by one of the world’s most brutal family dynasties, collapsed.
Over an official lunch in late February, a top South Korean diplomat confidently told the American ambassador, Kathleen Stephens, that the fall would come “two to three years” after the death of Kim Jong-il, the country’s ailing leader, Ms. Stephens later cabled Washington. A new, younger generation of Chinese leaders “would be comfortable with a reunited Korea controlled by Seoul and anchored to the United States in a benign alliance,” the diplomat, Chun Yung-woo, predicted.
But if Seoul was destined to control the entire Korean Peninsula for the first time since the end of World War II, China — the powerful ally that keeps the North alive with food and fuel — would have to be placated. So South Korea was already planning to assure Chinese companies that they would have ample commercial opportunities in the mineral-rich northern part of the peninsula.
As for the United States, the cable said, “China would clearly ‘not welcome’ any U.S. military presence north of the DMZ,” the heavily mined demarcation line that now divides the two Koreas.
This trove of cables ends in February, just before North Korea began a series of military actions that has thrown some of Asia’s most prosperous countries into crisis. A month after the lunch, the North is believed to have launched a torpedo attack on the Cheonan, a South Korean warship, that killed 46 sailors.
Three weeks ago it revealed the existence of a uranium enrichment plant, potentially giving it a new pathway to make nuclear bomb material. And last week it shelled a South Korean island, killing two civilians and two marines and injuring many more.
None of that was predicted in the dozens of State Department cables about North Korea obtained by WikiLeaks, and in fact even China, the North’s closest ally, has often been startlingly wrong, the cables show. But the documents help explain why some South Korean and American officials suspect that the military outbursts may be the last snarls of a dying dictatorship.
They also show that talk of the North’s collapse may be rooted more in hope than in any real strategy: similar predictions were made in 1994 when the country’s founder, Kim Il-sung, suddenly died, leaving his son to run the most isolated country in Asia. And a Chinese expert warned, according to an American diplomat, that Washington was deceiving itself once again if it believed that “North Korea would implode after Kim Jong-il’s death.”
The cables about North Korea — some emanating from Seoul, some from Beijing, many based on interviews with government officials, and others with scholars, defectors and other experts — are long on educated guesses and short on facts, illustrating why their subject is known as the Black Hole of Asia. Because they are State Department documents, not intelligence reports, they do not include the most secret American assessments, or the American military’s plans in case North Korea disintegrates or lashes out.
They contain loose talk and confident predictions of the end of the dynasty that has ruled North Korea for 65 years. Those discussions were fueled by a rash of previously undisclosed defections of ranking North Korean diplomats, who secretly sought refuge in the South.
But they were also influenced by a remarkable period of turmoil inside North Korea, including an economic crisis set off by the government’s failed effort to revalue the currency and sketchy intelligence suggesting that the North’s military might not abide the rise of Mr. Kim’s son Kim Jong-un, who was recently made a four-star general despite having no military experience.
The cables reveal that in private, the Chinese, long seen as North Korea’s last protectors against the West, occasionally provide the Obama administration with colorful assessments of the state of play in North Korea. Chinese officials themselves sometimes even laugh about the frustrations of dealing with North Korean paranoia. In April 2009, just before a North Korean nuclear test, He Yafei, the Chinese vice foreign minister, told American officials at a lunch that the country wanted direct talks with the United States and to get them was acting like a "spoiled child" to get the attention of the "adult."
When James B. Steinberg, the deputy secretary of state, sat down in September 2009 with one of China’s most powerful officials, Dai Bingguo, state councilor for foreign affairs, Mr. Dai joked that in a recent visit to North Korea he “did not dare” to be too candid with the ailing and mercurial North Korean leader. But the Chinese official reported that although Kim Jong-il had apparently suffered a stroke and had obviously lost weight, he still had a “sharp mind” and retained his reputation among Chinese officials as “quite a good drinker.” (Mr. Kim apparently assured Mr. Dai during a two-hour conversation in Pyongyang, the capital, that his infirmities had not forced him to give up alcohol.)
But reliable intelligence about Mr. Kim’s drinking habits, it turns out, does not extend to his nuclear program, about which even the Chinese seem to be in the dark.

One More Game Device (but This One’s Tiny)

Posted by Praditya Briyandi On 7:44 AM No comments

With Microsoft’s Xbox 360, Nintendo’s Wii and Sony’s PlayStation 3 duking it out for dominance of the video game console market, can there possibly be any room for yet another machine?
Steve Perlman, a well-known Silicon Valley inventor and entrepreneur, thinks there is. His strategy is to make a game system without game discs.
His OnLive game service works by keeping all of its games in the cloud. Consumers can stream the games to their PCs after installing a browser plug-in. Starting in December, users will be able to stream games to their televisions using a $99 box not much bigger than a cigarette package that taps a high-speed Internet connection, the company said two weeks ago.

Top 10 Must-Have Apps for the iPhone, and Some Runners-Up

Posted by Praditya Briyandi On 7:35 AM No comments

I’m always surprised when I come across people who have yet to fill their iPhone with apps. The most often cited excuse? Not enough time to sift through 300,000 apps to find the good ones.
The Hipstamatic iPhone app, showing the “Lucifer” viewfinder.

10 Favorite iPhone Apps

Posted by Praditya Briyandi On 7:30 AM 2 comments

* Dragon Dictation (free). Speak to type. In general, excellent accuracy. After the transcription appears, one tap slaps the text into an outgoing e-mail message, text message, Twitter or Facebook update. Or just copies it to the clipboard. Not as good as dictating directly into any box where you can type, as on Android phones. But much faster than typing with your finger. My review is here.
* Ocarina ($1). People complain about their kids becoming addicted to their gadgets. But on long rides, I’m delighted that my son and daughter spent hours practicing this bona fide wind instrument. Blow into the microphone, learn the fingerings of the four “holes” on the glass screen … beautiful music. It was one of the first apps I reviewed.
* Google Mobile (free). Speak to search Google’s maps. Now with Google Goggles built in: Point the phone’s camera at a book, DVD, wine bottle, logo, painting, landmark or bit of text, and the hyper-intelligent app recognizes it and displays information about it from the Web.
Bonus suggestion: Google Voice. Hot off the presses! This app finally surfaced on the app store after a year and a half in limbo, as Apple mysteriously refused to approve it. But it’s here, it’s sweet, it offers free text messages, cheap international calls, free transcripts of your voicemails, and a raft of other useful features. I reviewed it just this week after its release.
* LED Light (free). The LED “flash” on the iPhone 4 is incredibly powerful; you could practically light up a runway with it. It’s fantastic for reading menus and show programs in dim light, for inspecting plumbing and car parts in narrow spaces, and for removing splinters. Unfortunately, turning it on involves opening the Camera app, switching to video and turning on the video light. Right? Not anymore. Just open this app to activate the LED instantly — bright and easy.
* FlightTrack Pro ($10). Incredible. Shows every detail of every flight: gate, time delayed, airline phone number, where the flight is on the map, and more. Knows more — and knows it sooner — than the actual airlines do. Better yet: the Pro version auto-syncs with Tripit.com. You book a flight online; you forward the receipt to plans@tripit.com; and Tripit puts the flight details into FlightTrack Pro wirelessly and automatically. You never do any data entry at all. I reviewed it last year.
* FakeCalls. When you tap this icon on your Home screen (it’s disguised and labeled only FC), in about ten seconds, your phone rings. It’s a fake call from — anyone you’ve selected in advance. (I have mine set to Barack Obama, but that’s just me.)
The simulation of the iPhone’s traditional incoming-call screen is perfect — ring tone, contact info, Mute and Hold buttons, the works. Ideal for extricating yourself from difficult situations, like meetings or bad dates.
* Line2 (free). Gives your iPhone a second phone line with its own number — one that makes or receives calls over Wi-Fi when you’re in a hot spot (no AT&T minutes!), or over AT&T when you’re not. Unlimited texting, unlimited calling, $10 a month. I’ve reviewed it several times, most recently in September.
* Twitter (free). Most free Twitter apps are a bit on the baffling side. This one is the official app from Twitter, Inc., and it’s simple and clean.
* SoundHound (free). Beats Shazam at its own game. Hold this app up to a song that’s playing on the radio, or even hum or sing the song, and the app miraculously identifies the song and offers you lyrics. It’s faster than Shazam too.
* Bump (free). If you and another iPhone owner both have this app, you just bump your phones together to exchange business cards. Sadly, it’s gotten a lot more complex as it’s matured, to the extent that a buddy and I could barely figure out how to store the received “card.” But although there are many similar apps, this is the one most people are most likely to have already, making bumping extra convenient.
What else is on my iPhone? Red Laser. Glee. Kayak. FlightBoard. OnTime. The New York Times, of course. Skype. Kindle reader, B&N eReader. Dictionary. Facebook. WeDoodle. TEDPlayer. Mint.com. FingerFoos. Scrabble. Remote (for Keynote). SpawnHD. FourSquare. Pandora. MobileMe apps (FindiPhone, iDisk, Gallery). Yelp. Flickr. And about 65,000 little games and fun apps deposited by my kids on car trips.
Happy apping!

A Facebook Founder Begins a Social Network Focused on Charities

Posted by Praditya Briyandi On 7:21 AM No comments

Chris Hughes, one of the founders of Facebookchief digital organizer for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, knows a thing or two about building online communities. and the
Now he is applying his expertise to a new venture called Jumo, which aims to connect people with nonprofits and charitable organizations.
The site, which is being unveiled on Tuesday, aims to “do what Yelp did for restaurants,” Mr. Hughes said, indexing charities “to help people find and evaluate them.”
Individual charities, projects like building a school in rural Africa and broad issues like gay rights will all have dedicated pages on Jumo.
Relevant news articles, Twitter posts and YouTube videos will be added to the pages, and users can add their own feedback and comments. Users can also find their Facebook friends and follow their adopted projects and issues on the site.
The idea is to take the principles that helped Mr. Hughes organize a network of volunteers into a successful political force and apply them to a much broader universe of causes and issues.
Mr. Hughes is not the first entrepreneur to venture into this territory. Causes, a Facebook application, and the Web site Global Giving are among the many existing ways to find and support charities online.
But Mr. Hughes said Jumo would not be primarily about soliciting donations. Instead, he said, the site would first try to deepen ties between its users and their favorite causes.
“The more connected that individual is to an issue they care about, the higher probability there is they will stay involved over a longer period of time,” Mr. Hughes said.
To start, the Jumo site was seeded with more than 3,000 issues and groups. But “anyone with a social mission can create a page,” said Mr. Hughes, who thinks Jumo could become a simple way for smaller charities to establish a social media presence.
Jumo will allow only organizations that have been certified as tax exempt to solicit donations, as a way to discourage fraud.
Jumo is itself a nonprofit, and will rely on payments from users and sponsorships from organizations that want better promotion on the Web site.
One challenge for Jumo will be figuring out how willing are Internet users to share details about their donations, which they can choose to display on their Jumo profile pages, said Susan Etlinger, an analyst at the Altimeter Group, a consulting firm. “The same dynamics of other social networks may not transfer to this activity,” she said.
But Chris Bishko, director of investments at Omidyar Network, a philanthropic investment firm that contributed to the $3.5 million in grants that Jumo raised before its release, said that it was not such a long shot.
“One thing we’ve learned with Internet companies is that if you can lower the barrier and lower friction, then activity follows where it didn’t exist before,” he said. As an example, he pointed to the flood of donations via text message that followed the earthquake in Haiti last January: “We saw what people were willing to do.”
Another issue for Jumo is social network burnout. Will people who are spending time on Facebook and elsewhere be willing to add another site to their lineup?
Mr. Hughes said Jumo was not intended to compete with Facebook.
Instead, he predicts that Facebook will become a ubiquitous backbone for the social Web, and that people will also use niche sites focused on specific interests and communities. Jumo will send out e-mails and updates tailored to its users to help them stay engaged, he said.
It is not yet clear how much the Internet and social media can help push people to move beyond just “following” and “liking” things, but a social network like Jumo could be a crucial first step, said Steve MacLaughlin, director of Internet solutions at BlackBaud, a global provider of technology and services to nonprofits.
“It’s still not clear whether or not followers translate to volunteers and donors,” said Mr. MacLaughlin. “But people that are more engaged with nonprofits are most likely to become a donor or support them in another way.”
The financial impact could be tremendous, he said. Of the $300 billion that was donated to charities and nonprofits in 2009, only 6 percent was submitted online.

U.S. School Graduation Rate Is Rising

Posted by Praditya Briyandi On 7:16 AM No comments

The nation’s high school graduation rate, which declined in the latter part of the 20th century, may have hit bottom and begun to rise, according to a report to be issued Tuesday by a nonprofit group founded by former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell.
“The United States is turning a corner in meeting the high school dropout epidemic,” General Powell and his wife, Alma J. Powell, wrote in a letter introducing the report.
The report cites two statistics. The national graduation rate increased to 75 percent in 2008, from 72 percent in 2001. And the number of high schools that researchers call dropout factories — based on a formula that compares a school’s 12th-grade enrollment with its 9th-grade enrollment three years earlier — declined to about 1,750 in 2008, from about 2,000 such schools in 2002.
But the report notes that progress in some states and school districts had not been matched in others. Tennessee and New York made “breakthrough gains,” sharply raising their graduation rates from 2002 to 2008, the report says. In Arizona, Utah and Nevada, graduation rates dropped significantly.
The 88-page report, “Building a Grad Nation,” was published by America’s Promise Alliance, along with two other groups. “I like this report because it shows that progress is possible against all odds,” said Marguerite W. Kondracke, the alliance’s president.
Daniel Losen, a former Harvard lecturer who researches graduation issues, said the report “might be a bit on the rosy side.” He added, “We might be beginning to turn a corner, but we’re not coming out of it yet.”
The report cites school districts that have made progress, as well as some where the crisis has worsened.
In 2005, researchers at Johns Hopkins University identified Richmond High School in Indiana as a dropout factory. But from 2006 to 2009, teachers, community leaders and professors joined in an effort to help students stay in school, raising the graduation rate to 80 percent from 53 percent, the report says.
In Las Vegas, however, dropouts soared during the building boom of the last decade because many young people quit high school for jobs in construction and landscaping. Today, many dropouts there are unemployed.

Besar UFO Inggris Itu 20 Kali Lapangan Bola

Posted by Praditya Briyandi On 7:05 AM No comments

Badan Arsip Inggris kembali membuka ribuan file tentang penampakan benda misterius di langit alias unidentified flying object (UFO), Kamis 5 Agustus 2010.

Salah satunya adalah penampakan pesawat raksasa misterius yang besarnya '20 kali lapangan bola' di atas Bandara Manchester, Inggris, Januari 1995.

Pemilik iPad Lebih Pelit dari iPhone

Posted by Praditya Briyandi On 7:00 AM No comments

iPad, tablet PC buatan Apple tak bisa dipungkiri merupakan perangkat yang hebat. Namun, apakah alat itu sebenarnya bermanfaat? Data yang dirilis lembaga riset Nielsen menunjukkan banyak pemilik tak bisa membayangkan apa yang bisa dikerjakan dengan alat itu.

Dari survei terhadap pemilik iPad dan perangkat lain yang terhubung ke internet terungkap bahwa 32 persen pemilik iPad tidak pernah men-download aplikasi apapun. Sebanyak lima persen pengguna lainnya hanya men-download aplikasi gratisan.

Mau iPad 2 jutaan?

Posted by Praditya Briyandi On 6:57 AM No comments

Dua operator raksasa di Inggris, yakni Orange dan T-Mobile, mengumumkan tarif baru untuk produk bundel iPad sebagai upaya mereka untuk menarik pelanggan dengan memangkas biaya di muka.

Baik Orange maupun T-Mobile menawarkan Apple iPad 3G Wi-Fi 16GB dengan banderol harga 199 poundsterling, atau setara Rp2,7 juta, per unit pada pelanggan lamanya.

Harga ini memang terdengar cukup murah. Tapi, sebetulnya pelanggan juga akan dipungut 25 poundsterling, setara Rp350 ribu, per bulan selama dua tahun ke depan.

Terjerat Hukum Gara-gara Gaduh Saat Bercinta

Posted by Praditya Briyandi On 6:55 AM No comments

- Rumah adalah wilayah pribadi sang penghuni. Tak ada yang bisa mencampuri aktivitas penghuni di dalamnya. Namun, menjadi lain jika aktivitas di dalam rumah itu mengganggu kehidupan orang lain di sekitarnya, termasuk aktivitas seksual.

Seperi dikutip dari laman Telegraph, pasangan suami istri Stefanie Mueller, 24, dan Lucas Zetsch, 25, harus berurusan dengan pengadilan gara-gara dituduh berisik saat berhubungan seksual di kediamannya di pinggiran kota Lichtenberg, Jerman.

Sidang kasus itu digelar menyusul pengaduan sekitar 10 tetangga mereka pada pertengahan tahun lalu. Dalam aduannya, para tetangga mengaku terganggu dengan suara berisik yang tercipta setiap malam dari rumah pasangan tersebut.

"Kami tidak membuat suara gaduh," kata Mueller dalam sidang yang berlangsung di Berlin, awal pekan ini. "Kami hanya melakukan hubungan seksual secara normal, tidak berlebihan," Zetsch menambahkan.

Namun, hakim langsung menimpali, "Mungkin bukan Anda yang berisik, tapi kasur Anda. Berdasar keterangan saksi, selalu ada suara-suara menggedor dan berdecit setiap pukul 11 malam sampai 1 pagi dari rumah Anda."

Hakim mengenakan pasal antipolusi suara dengan sanksi denda sebesar £86 atau sekitar Rp1,25 juta. Namun, pasangan itu menolak membayarnya.

Kasus serupa juga pernah menimpa pasangan Steve dan Caroline Cartwright di Pengadilan Newcastle, Inggris. Atas sejumlah aduan tetangga, keduanya mendapat hukuman untuk melemahkan desahan saat bercinta. Mereka dilarang berteriak, dan mengeluarkan suara mengganggu saat berhubungan intim.

5500 orang kusetubuhi!

Posted by Praditya Briyandi On 6:53 AM No comments

Sarah Moore dan Geoff Daniels bukan pelacur. Mereka adalah pasangan kekasih saling mencintai yang kebetulan berprofesi sebagai pasangan pengganti bagi mereka yang memiliki masalah seksual.

Seperti dikutip dari laman The Sun, sebagai pasangan pengganti, Sarah dan Geoff bertugas membantu pasangan orang lain mengatasi masalah seksual di tempat tidur, termasuk mengatasi gugup saat 'malam pertama'.

Klien mereka umumnya adalah pasangan menikah. Artinya istri atau suami orang lain. Tak hanya melayani jasa di seputar Inggris, mereka juga melayani sejumlah klien dari berbagai negara seperti Amerika Serikat, Prancis, dan Australia.

Selama 19 tahun menjalani profesi itu, Sarah telah bersetubuh dengan 3.323 pria, 52 di antaranya perjaka. Sedangkan Geoff sudah meniduri 2.162 wanita, 49 di antaranya perawan.

Mereka menawarkan sejumlah jasa pelatihan untuk memperbaiki kehidupan seks sejumlah pasangan yang bermasalah. Mereka mengombinasikan konseling dengan sejumlah praktik seksual seperti terapi pijat seksual, metode relaksasi, hingga gaya bercinta Tantra.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Lirik Lagu Indonesia Raya versi Blogger Malaysia

Posted by Praditya Briyandi On 11:10 AM 4 comments

Indonesial National Anthem

Indonesial tanah Cairku
Tanah tumpah muntahku
Disanalah aku merangkak hina
Jadi kubur

Indonesial negara miskin ku
Bangsa Busuk dan Tanah Miskinku
Marilah kita semua tidur
Indonesial negara miskinku

Mati lah tanahku
Modar lah negriku
Bangsaku Rakyatku semuanya
Miskin lah jiwanya
Tidurlah badannya
Untuk Indonesial Miskin

Indonesial Miskin
Mampous Modar
Datang kerja Malaysia
Tapi TKI Jadi perampok
Rompak Malaysia bawa wang ke Indon

Indonesial Pendatang Haram
Miskin lah Miskin lah
Datang Haram ke Malaysia
Tiada paspor
Bila kena tangkap dan hantar balik
Kata nya malaysia jahat

Indonesial Negara Perampok
Indonesial Menghantar perampok maling
pekerja TKI Indonesial
hantaq pi Malaysia

Indonesial Maling
Merampok lagu Malaysia
Mengatakan itu lagu mereka

Indonesial Tanah yang hina
Tanah gersang yang miskin
Di sanalah aku miskin Untuk slama-lamanya
Indonesial Tanah puaka
Puaka Hantu Kita semuanya
Negara luas hasil bumi banyak tapi miskin
Datang minta sedekah di Malaysia
Marilah kita mendoa Indonesial brengset

Gersang lah Tanahnya mundurlah jiwanya
Bangsanya Rakyatnya semuanya
Tidurlah hatinya Mimpilah budinya
Untuk Indonesial Miskin

Indonesial Tanah yang kotor Tanah kita yang Malang
Disanalah aku tidur selamanya bermimpi sampai mati
Indonesial! Tanah Malang Tanah yang aku sendiri benci
Marilah kita berjanji Indonesial miskin

Mati lah Rakyatnya Modar lah putranya
Negara Miskin Tentera Coma pakai Basikal
Miskinlah Negrinya Mundur lah Negara nya
Untuk Indonesial kurap

Perbandingan Kekuatan Militer Indonesia vs Malaysia (Part 2)

Posted by Praditya Briyandi On 11:04 AM No comments

Militer Malaysia
Air force personnel 12,500 [28th of 49]
Armed forces growth -13 [85th of 132]
Definition: Military > Armed forces growth
Source: Energy Information Administration, US Department of Energy
Armed forces personnel 96,000 [42nd of 166]
Definition: Military > Armed forces personnel
Source: calculated on the basis of data on armed forces from IISS (International Institute for Strategic Studies). 2001. The Military Balance 2001-2002. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Army personnel 85,000 [27th of 49]
Definition: Military > Army personnel
Source: IISS (International Institute for Strategic Studies). 2001. The Military Balance 2001-2002. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Branches
Malaysian Armed Forces (Angkatan Tentera Malaysia, ATM): Malaysian Army (Tentera Darat Malaysia), Royal Malaysian Navy (Tentera Laut Diraja Malaysia, TLDM), Royal Malaysian Air Force (Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia, TUDM)
Definition: Military > Branches
Source: Energy Information Administration, US Department of Energy
Conscription
No conscription (AI).
Definition: Military > Conscription
Source: All CIA World Factbooks 18 December 2003 to 18 December 2008
Conventional arms imports $277,000,000.00 [20th of 85]
Definition: Military > Conventional arms imports
Source: Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva, Switzerland, 1997. Data collected from the nations concerned, unless otherwise indicated. Acronyms: Amnesty International (AI); European Council of Conscripts Organizations (ECCO); Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC); International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHFHR); National Interreligious Service Board for Conscientious Objectors (NISBCO); Service, Peace and Justice in Latin America (SERPAJ); War Resisters International (WRI); World Council of Churches (WCC)
% of GDP: 1.9 % --> expenditure > % of GDP 1.9 % Time 
series [43rd of 145]
Definition: Military > expenditure > % of GDP
Source: SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute). 2005. SIPRI Arms Transfers. Database. February. Stockholm.
Expenditures 2.03 % of GDP Time 
series [35th of 87]
Definition: Military > Expenditures
Source: World Development Indicators database
Dollar figure: $1,690,000,000.00 --> Expenditures > Dollar figure $1,690,000,000.00 Time 
series [4th of 111]
Definition: Military > Expenditures > Dollar figure
Source: All CIA World Factbooks 18 December 2003 to 18 December 2008
Availability > Females: 6,280,826 --> Manpower > Availability > Females 6,280,826 Time 
series [43rd of 162]
Definition: Military > Manpower > Availability > Females
Source: All CIA World Factbooks 18 December 2003 to 18 December 2008
Availability > Males age 15-49: 6,067,160 --> Manpower > Availability > Males age 15-49 6,067,160 [47th of 175]
Definition: Military > Manpower > Availability > Males age 15-49
Source: All CIA World Factbooks 18 December 2003 to 18 December 2008
Military age: 21 years of age --> Manpower > Military age 21 years of age Time 
series
Definition: Military > Manpower > Military age
Source: CIA World Factbook, 28 July 2005
Reaching military age annually > Males: 260,725 --> Manpower > Reaching military age annually > Males 260,725 Time 
series [45th of 226]
Definition: Military > Manpower > Reaching military age annually > Males
Source: All CIA World Factbooks 18 December 2003 to 18 December 2008
Navy personnel 12,500 [26th of 49]
Definition: Military > Navy personnel
Source: All CIA World Factbooks 18 December 2003 to 18 December 2008
personnel 135,000 Time 
series [45th of 170]
Definition: Military > personnel
Source: Energy Information Administration, US Department of Energy
% of total labor force: 1.23 % --> personnel > % of total labor force 1.23 % Time 
series [64th of 168]
Definition: Military > personnel > % of total labor force
Source: World Development Indicators database
Service age and obligation
18 years of age for voluntary military service
Definition: Military > Service age and obligation
Source: World Development Indicators database
US military exports $75,953.00 thousand [11th of 109]
Definition: Military > US military exports
Source: All CIA World Factbooks 18 December 2003 to 18 December 2008
Weapon holdings 1,108,000 [64th of 137]
Definition: Military > Weapon holdings
Source: Study by David Lochhead and James Morrell; available from the Center for International Policy

Perbandingan Kekuatan Militer Indonesia vs Malaysia (Part 1)

Posted by Praditya Briyandi On 10:59 AM 1 comment

Ketegangan antara Indonesia dan Malaysia mulai terlihat tatkala kapal perang Malaysia berkali-kali memasuki perairan Indonesia terutama diwilayah Ambalat.

Pemerintahpun sudah merespon pelanggaran ini dengan jalan mengirimkan nota diplomatik berkal-kali, yang sudah tentu hasilnya tidak pernah ditanggapi serius oleh Pihak Malaysia. Wacana perangpun mulai bergulir, bagaimana dengan kekuatan militer kedua negara ?

Berikut data-data kekuatan militer antara Indonesia dan malaysia yang dikutip dari situs http://www.nationmaster.com

Militer Indonesia:

Air force personnel 21,000
[19th of 49]
Armed forces growth 7
[63rd of 132]
Definition: Military > Armed forces growth
Source: Energy Information Administration, US Department of Energy
Armed forces personnel 297,000
[16th of 166]
Definition: Military > Armed forces personnel
Source: calculated on the basis of data on armed forces from IISS (International Institute for Strategic Studies). 2001. The Military Balance 2001-2002. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Army personnel 220,000
[11th of 49]
Definition: Military > Army personnel
Source: IISS (International Institute for Strategic Studies). 2001. The Military Balance 2001-2002. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Branches
Indonesian Armed Forces (Tentara Nasional Indonesia, TNI): Army (TNI-Angkatan Darat (TNI-AD)), Navy (TNI-Angkatan Laut (TNI-AL); includes marines, naval air arm), Air Force (TNI-Angkatan Udara (TNI-AU)), National Air Defense Command (Kommando Pertahanan Udara Nasional (Kohanudnas))
Definition: Military > Branches
Source: Energy Information Administration, US Department of Energy
Conscription
Selective conscription (FWCC).
Definition: Military > Conscription
Source: All CIA World Factbooks 18 December 2003 to 18 December 2008
Conventional arms exports $50,000,000.00
[22nd of 40]
Definition: Military > Conventional arms exports
Source: Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva, Switzerland, 1997. Data collected from the nations concerned, unless otherwise indicated. Acronyms: Amnesty International (AI); European Council of Conscripts Organizations (ECCO); Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC); International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHFHR); National Interreligious Service Board for Conscientious Objectors (NISBCO); Service, Peace and Justice in Latin America (SERPAJ); War Resisters International (WRI); World Council of Churches (WCC)
Conventional arms imports $85,000,000.00
[38th of 85]
Definition: Military > Conventional arms imports
Source: SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute). 2005. SIPRI Arms Transfers. Database. February. Stockholm.
% of GDP: 0.94 % --> expenditure > % of GDP 0.94 % Time 
series [95th of 145]
Definition: Military > expenditure > % of GDP
Source: SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute). 2005. SIPRI Arms Transfers. Database. February. Stockholm.
Dollar figure: $1,300,000,000.00 --> Expenditures > Dollar figure $1,300,000,000.00 Time 
series [17th of 111]
Definition: Military > Expenditures > Dollar figure
Source: World Development Indicators database
Availability > Males age 15-49: 65,665,700 --> Manpower > Availability > Males age 15-49 65,665,700
[4th of 175]
Definition: Military > Manpower > Availability > Males age 15-49
Source: All CIA World Factbooks 18 December 2003 to 18 December 2008
Military age: 18 years of age --> Manpower > Military age 18 years of age Time 
series
Definition: Military > Manpower > Military age
Source: CIA World Factbook, 28 July 2005
Reaching military age annually > Males: 2,181,303 --> Manpower > Reaching military age annually > Males 2,181,303 Time 
series [4th of 226]
Definition: Military > Manpower > Reaching military age annually > Males
Source: All CIA World Factbooks 18 December 2003 to 18 December 2008
Navy personnel 43,000
[12th of 49]
Definition: Military > Navy personnel
Source: All CIA World Factbooks 18 December 2003 to 18 December 2008
personnel 582,000 Time 
series [12th of 170]
Definition: Military > personnel
Source: Energy Information Administration, US Department of Energy
% of total labor force: 0.54 % --> personnel > % of total labor force 0.54 % Time 
series [118th of 168]
Definition: Military > personnel > % of total labor force
Source: World Development Indicators database
Service age and obligation
18 years of age for selective compulsory and voluntary military service; 2-year conscript service obligation, with reserve obligation to age 45 (officers); Indonesian citizens only
Definition: Military > Service age and obligation
Source: World Development Indicators database
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier > National examples > Description
The Field of Honour is a memorial to unknown soldiers. There is also the Tomb of the Unknown (Dutch) Sailor in Kembang Kuning war cemetery in Surabaya.
Definition: Military > Tomb of the Unknown Soldier > National examples > Description
Source: All CIA World Factbooks 18 December 2003 to 18 December 2008
US military exports $9,964.00 thousand
[19th of 109]
Definition: Military > US military exports
Source: Wikipedia: Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Weapon holdings 1,166,000
[62nd of 137]
Definition: Military > Weapon holdings
Source: Study by David Lochhead and James Morrell; available from the Center for International Policy
untuk melanjutkan keterangan militer Malaysia klik di sini

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