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K D.

6 Level 6 Contributor
  • 225 Reviews
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Experience: Society, News, Hobbies & Interests

Member since January 2011

  • Reviews

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About Me

Well travelled grumpy old man

How I Can Help

International Market Research

225 Reviews by K

4/27/11
Coalition War Fatalities in Iraq and Afghanistan

This website monitors all reported coalition fatalities in these two war zones.

Beyond 'defence budgets' and 'military expenditure' the real costs of war are measured in soldier's blood and the sadness of their families.

It is of course worth noting that this website does not cover the many wounded and maimed.

Nor does it count fatalities from Afghan security forces or deaths in the Afghan civilian population. These figures will inevitably be considerably higher than those for the coalition forces.

Politicians should be made to ponder these numbers at length before making rash decisions on military interventions.

http://icasualties.org/
4/27/11
BEWARE! This looks like a Chinese rip-off site.

1) They started spamming SJ comments with badly written English messages. Dumb, eh?
2) Their trading logos (Mastercard, Visa, EMS, DHL, TNT etc.) do not click through to official sites.
3) No contact address / details
4) Who's online – 100 guests and 23 members – permanently online?

My bet is that if you order you will either get nothing or receive very cheap and inferior copies of Swarovski products.

For genuine Swarovski jewelry check out the official website.

http://www.swarovski.com
4/26/11
Lego Digital Designer – design and build with Lego bricks on your computer.

Like Lego? For architects, engineers and kids young and old who love Lego, you can now work out designs on your computer.

Obviously, once you've perfected your design, they hope you'll click over to the Lego shop and buy the bricks to manufacture your creation.

Or, you can just have fun designing things…

Enjoy!

http://ldd.lego.com/
4/26/11
News from the Mexican front line in America's drug wars, often submitted anonymously.

Mainstream press in Mexico now tries to tone down coverage of the drug war to avoid alarming the population. This blog has taken up the mantle of reporting unpalatable news.

Drug cartels have also used the blog to issue threats. Some of the pictures are very graphic and are not for the faint-hearted.

Written in Spanish, the onsite translations into English and other languages are somewhat clumsy, but the horrendous stories and pictures are clear enough. This is real life and death in the towns and cities of Mexico shattered by drugs related corruption and violence.

A grim reminder of the daily toll of the drugs business – violence now so commonplace that it barely makes the news outside of Mexico.

Since the Mexican President declared 'War on Drugs' in December 2006 more than 36,000 Mexicans have been killed (including 66 reporters). To put this figure into perspective, total US fatalities in both Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001 to April 2011 are around 6,000.

That's a real war, just south of America's international border – and it doesn't seem to be getting any better…

(I'd advise ignoring the adverts for 'Hot Latina Girls' and 'Dating Sites.')

http://www.blogdelnarco.com/

Interesting
4/20/11
Discount Airfares Hotels and Package Holidays

This hasn't been reviewed for a while. Click through to the country of your choice. You can sign up and Travelzoo will email you a weekly top 20 special deals for that location. They cover North America, UK, France, Germany, Spain, China Australia and Japan.

It might be long haul tickets, weekend breaks, hotel overnights or ocean cruises. Whatever, the prices are usually pretty good.

Worth a look.

http://www.travelzoo.com.
4/20/11
Fraternal Order of Eagles – People Helping People

I came across these people when searching for 'Friends of the Earth'!
I'd never heard of them but they seem like nice folk… I'd be interested if anyone has heard different?

Founded in Seattle in 1898. 1. 1 million members world wide split into male and female groups or 'aeries'. Main activity seems to be US based.

They describe themselves as 'an international non-profit organization uniting fraternally in the spirit of liberty, truth, justice, and equality, to make human life more desirable by lessening its ills and promoting peace, prosperity, gladness and hope.'

They claim 7 past US Presidents as members, and donate more than $100 million a year to local charities. 100% of monies raised are given out in grants. That IS impressive. And $100 million for good causes is big bucks.

4 stars?

http://www.foe.com
Buylouisvuittonoutletstore.com
4/20/11
Chinese Fake Goods Pirates Beware!

Why am I reviewing this site? Because the idiots who run it sent spamming messages onto the Site Jabber review comments. How dumb can you get? So, they asked for it…

For your information, this is what they pasted up:

"Louis Vuitton Outlet always leading the avant-garde of fashion without compromising traditional craftsmanship of luxury leather goods, Buy Louis Vuitton is also active in the world. Louis Vuitton as one of the most famous brand in the world. You must trust its quality and service.So hurry up to the Louis Vuitton Outlet Store.
Welcome to http://www.buylouisvuittonoutletstore.com or email me:*******@yahoo.cn"

Wow – surely look 100% realistic and legitimate, doesn't it? Well, it might - if you are blind, deranged and with an IQ nearer 50 than 100. If you fall into that category, you need protection from pirates like these.

If you buy online from these jokers you will, in all probability, just lose your money. They may also steal your credit or debit card details and sell them on to other fraudsters.

On the other hand, if you are slightly luckier they may actually send you some fake Louis Vuitton goods. You will almost certainly be unhappy with the quality as they will be very cheap, poor quality rip-off tat, freely available in the street markets of Asia for very, very low prices.

I wouldn't touch them with a 20ft barge pole. Buying a $10 bag in a Bangkok or Hong Kong market for cash is one thing. Sending very obvious pirates your credit card details and money online is a whole league higher in stupidity. Please don't do it!

Meanwhile, if anyone wants more information on their website:

IP address - 208.155.209.162
Domain Name: buylouisvuittonoutletstore.com
PunnyCode: buylouisvuittonoutletstore.com
Creation Date: 2011-03-31 22:42:10
Updated Date: 2011-03-31 23:14:57
Expiration Date: 2012-03-31 22:42:10

Registrant:
Organization: zhang san
Name: zhang san
Address: pu tian shi ru
City: pu tian shi
Province/State: Fujian
Country: CN
Postal Code: 351100

Administrative Contact:
Name: zhang san
Organization: zhang san
Address: pu tian shi ru
City: pu tian shi
Province/State: Fujian
Country: pu tian shi
Postal Code: 351100
Phone Number: 86--6661111
Fax: 86--6661111
Email: *******@hotmail.com

Technical Contact:
Name: zhang san
Organization: zhang san
Address: pu tian shi ru
City: pu tian shi
Province/State: Fujian
Country: pu tian shi
Postal Code: 351100
Phone Number: 86--6661111
Fax: 86--6661111
Email: *******@hotmail.com

Billing Contact:
Name: zhang san
Organization: zhang san
Address: pu tian shi ru
City: pu tian shi
Province/State: Fujian
Country: pu tian shi
Postal Code: 351100
Phone Number: 86--6661111
Fax: 86--6661111
Email: *******@hotmail.com
4/20/11
Canadian Based Global News Stories – Alternative News Sources

Interesting site – some stories look like Wikileaks – embarrassing revelations of stuff governments or big business would prefer to keep hushed up and the public are pleased to have exposed.

Other stories are more National Enquirer / Worldwide Conspiracy Theory stuff – amusing at best, but not very convincing.

Global Research seems to have originated from an anti-big business, anti-globalisation position but now carries a whole raft of news stories.

Spinning through the stories on offer, there are quite a few that I am interested in – some from clearly biased sources with particular bees in their bonnets, others thoughtful and well reasoned analysis that could easily have justified publication in heavyweight mainstream press.

The website is cluttered, but the archive is pretty good. A lot of the stuff is pretty fringe – but keeping an eye on articles from fringe groups is often a worthwhile exercise. And just because they are fringe doesn't mean that they are always wrong… Read with a sceptical eye, but you might find some gems.

http://www.globalresearch.ca

3 stars
4/19/11
Noble Defender of Freedom of Information or Anti-social Anarchist?

Check out the website www.wikileaks.info and decide for yourself.

Looking down at the stories they have exposed, for the most part I think they've done a good job. Far too much of government, politics and business is over-secret, over-classified and when exposed by whistle blowers is proven to have more than a taint of corruption involved. With a few exceptions, Wikileaks has been a good thing.

I agree that there must still be, possibly unfortunately, some real secrets in today's world – and not everything should be 100% accessible to the world's press. In the age of the internet this is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve.

The old adage 'If you want to keep a secret, don't tell anyone' is not always realistic.

It's a difficult call – but I accept that people, especially those in the military, who reveal state secrets should be open to being prosecuted in the courts. (That does not mean that the state can torture them or hold them in inhuman conditions vis-à-vis Bradley Manning)

I don't however agree that a self-interested military court should have the ultimate say – surely it is a basic human right in a civil society that any accused can ultimately appeal to the highest court in the land?

Meanwhile, from my point of view, I give Wikileaks 3 stars.

www.wikileaks.info
4/19/11
Argos - UK's Largest Catalogue Merchant

Argos is the largest general goods retailer in the UK it has over 750 stores around the country. It sells goods as a catalogue merchant if you go to the store you enter a catalogue number on a slip of paper, check it's available, then wait for the item to be brought to you from the warehouse.

They also have a pretty good online store where you can buy and have stuff delivered to your home (usually extra charge) or just order for pick up at your nearest store. They have customer reviews online and they keep both positive and negative comments so you get a fair idea of what you are buying.
Argos has been in the UK since 1973 and is one of the main discount retailers. It sell branded goods, own brand goods from cheap and cheerful to mid range / good quality. Their twice a year telephone directory sized catalogues must use up half of Scandinavia's forest land to produce.

I use the website to check prices against other suppliers. Sometimes it is surprisingly competitive, and if you know what you are after it is often the best place to go.

In the last year I've bought a camera, a barbecue and some self assembly furniture from them. Very efficient, good prices and I am quite happy.

I'm not sure I'd buy their cheaper own brand electronics stuff but then 'ye pays yer money and takes yer chance' If you want a fancy radio for half the price of another main brand it might not be as good. Caveat emptor let the buyer beware.

www.Argos.co.uk

Generally good.
4/19/11
Minty Geek Electronics Assembly Kits – Basic Electronics for Young Geeks!

If you want to drag the kids away from the TV, these might be worth a look! For budding electronics engineers and kids of all ages who just like to fiddle, making things…

As a kid did you ever build a radio? Maybe a simple light circuit with pressure pad switches? Minty Geeks have put together a series of clever electronics kits to build a variety of projects, each neatly designed and packaged in a standard mint size tin – hence the name.

From cookie jar alarm, egg timer, lie detector to electronic dice, games and lots of other ideas for your delectation and delight. Spare components and boards are easily available.

http://mintygeek.com
4/18/11
Digital Camera + Photography Review & Technique Site

Photo Radar - Good reviews, interesting articles, photography tips, techniques, lessons, member pictures, discussion forums, featured galleries, picture uploads etc., etc.

http://www.photoradar.com/

Cool.
4/18/11
Climate change, Science, Nature, Weather and Technology – Science Blog of the Year.

Anthony Watts is a former meteorologist (25 years on air) who now runs a weather technology and content business. His blog was awarded 'Best Science Blog of the Year (2011)' and has gained many other prestigious awards.

Lots of thought provoking articles, debunking of dubious statistics, latest research and alarming facts and figures.

If you are interested in science and especially in climate change – take a look.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/
4/18/11
Women in Black. For Justice. Against War.

I saw a line of a dozen middle-aged women, all dressed in black, standing silently in a town centre, information placards strung around their necks, as part of a moving vigil against the war in Afghanistan. Somehow it made a more powerful impact than the usual chanting rent-a-crowd demonstrations that are a more familiar backdrop to weekends in the city.

I looked online to find out a bit more.

"Women in Black… is a world-wide network of women committed to peace with justice and actively opposed to injustice, war, militarism and other forms of violence. As women experiencing these things in different ways in different regions of the world, we support each other's movements. An important focus is challenging the militarist policies of our own governments. We are not an organisation, but a means of communicating and a formula for action."

The group has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. It won the UN Millennium Peace Prize.

There are now WiB groups around the world – USA, Australia, Europe, Middle East, Asia – all campaigning against violence. The international website www.womeninblack.org will link to your national or regional group.

"A feminist perspective… Women in Black groups do not have an agreed constitution - our perspective is clear from our actions and words. We have a feminist understanding that male violence against women in domestic life and in war are related. Women experience a continuum of gendered violence, generated and sustained in masculine cultures.

Women in Black attempt to resist all forms of violence. WiB includes women of many ethnic and national backgrounds, co-operating across these (and other) differences in the interests of justice and peace. We also recognise that when people are oppressed as an ethnic or national group they may need to organize resistance in that name. We work for a world where difference does not mean inequality, oppression or exclusion."

From my own perspective, I don't necessarily agree with each and every stance they take. Sadly, I don't think that the world can yet live without a military option.

Certain interventions and wars have definitely saved civilian lives and helped remove oppressive regimes. Sadly, others have just added to the world's problems.

However, if groups like WiB help make populations and politicians think more carefully and consider long term implications, task limitation and exit strategies before making the choice of armed intervention then that has to be a good thing.

As recent and past history shows – it is much easier to start a war than finish it, and for all the brave words from politicians and pontificating journalists at the start – it is the civilian and military casualties who will face a lifetime of pain and suffering at the end.

Good group. Worthy cause.
4/18/11
Drone Wars UK: Technical, moral and ethical issues of military use of drones.

Western military loves them. Pakistani and Afghan populations are now convinced that they are killing more innocent civilians than militants. Worldwide there is now a lively debate on the moral, ethical, legal and political issues surrounding the use of armed drones and robots on the battlefield.

This website tracks published official documents both and press articles for and against the use of drones.

The author of the site appears to be very dubious about the use and benefit of the technology, but for or against, there is a lot of information available on this site.

They focus on British use of drones, but also cover information coming out from all over the world. A good source if you are interested in the debate on the implications of using and developing this modern military technology.

http://dronewarsuk.wordpress.com/
4/15/11
UK Wildlife Project – Reintroducing Ospreys

Interested in birds or just fancy a walk in some beautiful country? This website covers the reintroduction of Ospreys to Rutland Water in England. History of the project, pictures and live webcam feeds.

http://www.ospreys.org.uk/

It gives details of activities at Rutland Water, offers visits for schools and tells you how to volunteer to help the conservation programme.

Ospreys hadn't bred in England for 150 years. Thanks to this project, there is now an established and successful breeding colony.

Rutland Water is roughly halfway between Peterborough and Leicester. Rutland is the smallest county in England and boasts that it has no McDonalds, no KFC and no Burger King!

On the other hand, there are lots of great traditional foodie pubs and restaurants:
See: http://www.guardian.co.uk/enjoy-england/rutland-foodie-trail if you fancy a trip.
4/15/11
How eco-friendly are your skiing, mountain and outdoor activities?

Interesting site focussing on the ecological debate over wilderness and mountain tourism.

http://www.mountain-riders.org

Download an eco-guide to mountain gear:

http://www.mountain-riders.org/_EcoGuideMateriel/index.php?lg=en

If you are into skiing, climbing, walking, etc., – worth a look.
4/15/11
Calvin College Liberal Arts Collection of German Propaganda Posters

Calvin College
3201 Burton Street, S. E.
Grand Rapids, MI, 49546-4301
USA

According to 'US News', Calvin rates as one of the best National Liberal Arts Colleges in the USA. I can't really comment on that, but they do have an interesting collection of propaganda posters in their library.

If you are interested in German history, the collection of Nazi propaganda posters is fascinating:

http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/posters2.htm

They also have links to other collections.

The posters are part of a larger Calvin German history collection covering fascism and the Nazis, and post war East Germany.

http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/

Good history source.
Ehic.org.uk
4/15/11
FREE EU Health Card for UK Citizens

Don't be conned by sites that charge you for an EU reciprocal health card. This site, run under the NHS umbrella will send you your card for FREE. The EU health card entitles UK citizens to access basic health care in most of Europe.

You may still want to top up with private travel insurance - try the Post Office - they are surprisingly competitive and can issue insurance online or over the counter.

https://www.ehic.org.uk/Internet/home.do
4/14/11
The World of Music, Arts and Dance

The first WOMAD festival ran in the UK in 1982. Supported by Peter Gabriel (ex Genesis), the aim was to bring together the best musicians, artists and performers from all around the world. It was an idea that worked beautifully, and now WOMAD festivals take place all over the world, mixing western 'pop', rock and folk music with ethnic, traditional and cutting edge material from a huge range of performers and a huge range of cultures.

In the UK the 3 day WOMAD festival takes place every year at the end of July at Charlton Park in Wiltshire in 2011 it will have 9 stages, a world food fair, global arts and craft, a steam fair, camp grounds, kids events, health and well-being
Lots of fun for all the family. Lots of good music from all around the world.

Around the world WOMAD have run over 160 festivals in 27 countries.

In 2011 they have already run festivals in Abu Dhabi, New Zealand, Australia, Gran Canary, and Sicily. Still to come are Spain, and England.

Who's hot in Mali? What gets your feet tapping from Cuba? Listen to new artists from USA, Japan, New Zealand, UK

If you can't make a festival, see the list of artists on the website then check them out on YouTube some great new sounds. Enjoy!

http://womad.org

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