Monthly Archives: February 2014

Inkshares wants to create a hybrid of traditional book publisher and crowdfunded digital platform


A different way to do the project…

Gigaom

As with so many other media and publishing-related businesses, the book industry has been massively disrupted by the internet, to the point where an increasing number of authors have found success by avoiding the traditional publishing system altogether. But is the old-fashioned publisher model totally without value? The founders of Inkshares don’t think so — which is why they are trying to create a kind of hybrid platform that combines the benefits of crowdfunding with some of the services that traditional publishers have offered in the past.

Independent success stories like young-adult author Amanda Hocking — who wrote and sold her stories on Amazon’s Kindle platform and wound up becoming a multimillionaire in the process — are definitely inspiring, says Inkshares co-founder Adam Gomolin, but to some extent they are “unicorns,” in the sense that not every author is going to be able to duplicate their success.

Gomolin’s co-founder Larry…

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Pawns of the Pentecostalists? Global Homophobia on the rise


Well articulated Annie…I hope you don’t mind me doing a reblog of this one…

Active Voice

AP Kenya Gay and Out (Photo: Ben Curtis, AP)

I finally got around to watching Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainana’s Hard Talk interview with Stephen Sackur of the BBC  just a few days ago. The interview was instigated by Binyavanga’s hugely hyped ‘coming out’ a few weeks earlier. In response to the recent  wave of homophobic legislation in Nigeria and Uganda Wainana released a short story titled I Am a Homosexual, Mum. In the BBC interview Binyavanga was on form as usual and made a lot of sense but Sackur took me by surprise when he seemed to reject out of hand the Kenyan writer’s assertion that the Pentecostal movement with its fire and brimstone preachers were very much to blame for the recent escalation in homophobia on the African continent.

This sounded perfectly plausible to me, especially since I’ve heard local gay activists say the same thing in the context of Jamaica, that American Pentecostalist…

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WATCH: Inspiring video from Stonewall ‘thanking’ MPs and MSPs


A good news story

Hynd's Blog

stonewall
To often when I write about LGBTI rights I write about the negative violations of these rights.

Today of all days it would be too easy to write another article condemning another set back for the global struggle for equality.

Instead I wanted to write about a good news story. This good news story comes from my home country, the UK.

From 29 March 2014 same sex couples will be able to marry in England and Wales. This represents one of the final few steps in the marathon to fight for equal rights in the UK.

This makes me proud to have been born in the UK and to call this part of ‘my culture’.

And, just as I too often talk about LGBTI rights in the negative I am aware the same can too often be true when I write about politicians.

It is because of this that I wanted…

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19F – The Night Venezuela Finally Imploded


The Night Venezuela Finally Imploded

Caracas Chronicles

Penned-in protesters in Altamira, awaiting their fate. Penned-in protesters in Altamira, awaiting their fate.

Tonight, Venezuela is seeing a spasm of violence that’s unlike anything the country has experienced since 1989. Information is fragmented, since an almost complete media black-out is in place, but you don’t need the media to hear your neighbor’s screams.

Caracas, Valencia, Merida and San Cristobal in particular have become virtual war zones: National Guard units and National Police have been shooting tear gas canisters and buckshot sometimes directly at protesters, sometimes into residential buildings and, raiding any place they think student protesters may be hiding. Alongside them, the government backed colectivos (basically paramilitary gangs on motorbikes, a tropical basij) shoot at people with live ammo.

But of course, this is no war zone: in a war zone you have two sides shooting at each other. Tonight one side is doing all the shooting, the other side is doing all the being shot at.

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Colin Robinson of the Coalition Advocating for the Inclusion of Sexual Orientation.


I hope you don’t mind me re-blogging this very important piece…

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The Danger of Indifference: Some Thoughts for the Week


indifference

Petchary's Blog

“I came to a conclusion that the peril threatening human kind today is indifference, even more than hatred.”

This article (with video and audio) about holocaust survivor, writer, poet and human rights activist Elie Wiesel, comes from WBUR, Boston’s NPR news station. You can read and hear more at http://www.wbur.org/2014/02/10/elie-wiesel-visionariesI feel compelled to post it here, because I feel that this apathy, this “I don’t care,” is becoming a growing global affliction. It is certainly present in Jamaica, in so many ways, so many situations. Indifference to suffering and injustice and pain. And there is also the violence: “Haven’t we learned anything?” asks the Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

Another Peace Prize winner Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said “Hate is too great a burden to bear.” Yes, hatred is a burden. But, as Mr. Wiesel notes, it takes a lot of energy to hate. Indifference is easy…

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Major Highlights of Proposed Constitutional Changes


important

tobagopolicyforum

 

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The Trinidad and Tobago Constitution Reform Commission released its report dated December 27, 2013 into the public domain.   Launched on March 2, 2013, the Commission held 17 public consultations including two in Tobago.  Citizens also had the option of submitting their comments online.    The report included several recommendations which are currently being discussed by the cabinet.   Further consultations will be held in February now that the report has released.  

Elected Executive Senate & House of Representatives Committee System

One significant recommendation is an elected Senate.    According to the report, all cabinet ministers will be members of a Senate that is elected by proportional representation using the Hare model.  Given this, the recommendations stated that the elected executive senate will increase in numbers to 41 mirroring the current House of Representatives.    The House of Representatives will be equal in power to the Senate; however, the House of Representatives will comprise…

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Costa Rica’s chocolate comeback, The journey of cocoa, from bean to bar.


Cocoa

Navigating the Commodity Markets with Freight and Spreads

Although cocoa is one of the world’s smallest soft commodity markets, it has global implications on cocoa importers and exporters, food and candy producers, and the retail industry. Historically, from 1960 to 2014, Cocoa has reached an all time high of $5,368/MT in July of 1977  or about $20,635/MT in 2014 money.

Credit: tradingeconomics

Risks

Weather risk plays an important role for every agricultural commodities. Observations on the cocoa field and weather stations ?

Because Cocoa has no substitutes it has a very inelastic supply. Price patterns in the 70’s suggest that if trend is higher, prices can show no caps during many years.

coffee inelastic supply

The International Cocoa Organization provides grinding, production, demand, ending stocks statistics    http://www.icco.org/

Regression model for cocoa ending stock/grind ratio suggests that most price volatility will arise at low ES/Grind ratio level.

cocoa price ending stock grind ratio

Credit: An Analysis of the Ending Stocks to Use Ratio in Forecasting Cocoa Prices by Brian W. Meinken…

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Historian Lennox Honychurch Points to the Caribbean’s Resistance to Regional Integration


regional integration

Repeating Islands

lennox%20honeychurch

Caribbean historian Dominican Dr. Lennox Honychurch is pointing out the inequity between appointed senators and elected members of parliament and the problem this could pose for legislatures in the Eastern Caribbean. He also expressed doubt that the Caribbean will ever “come together” because of individualism, in spite of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) push towards an agenda focusing on regional integration.

“For the most parts, except for these things like votes of no confidence and changing the constitutions in certain respects, the nominated members have the same power in parliament as the nominated members. Now this may not be considered to be fair,” Dr. Honeychurch said. He argued that elected members have the stress of dealing with constituencies while nominated members do not and still have the same powers as elected members.

Dr. Honeychurch, a guest on WINN FM’s Voices programme on Wednesday commended the provision in the St. Kitts Nevis constitution that…

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