Originally published at Customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

Could it be?
Do blind people actually experience most of the same sensations as sighted people?
The implications are quite far-reaching if this is indeed true.
It could mean that blind people are actually…normal.
Case study contradicts theory of optical pathway delay


Updated: 1:21 p.m. CT Nov 28, 2006


Déjà vu is commonly described as the feeling of having seen something
before. In fact, some scientists have long thought that one type of the
phenomenon occurs when the image of a scene through one eye arrives at the
brain before the image from the other eye.

But researchers have now found a blind man who experiences déjà vu through
smell, hearing and touch.

The man had déjà vu when undoing a jacket zipper while hearing a particular
piece of music, and also while hearing a snatch of conversation while
holding a plate in the school dining hall.

The discovery is reported in the December issue of the journal Brain and

“It is the first time this has been reported in scientific literature,”
said Akira O’Connor of the University of Leeds. “It?s useful because it
provides a concrete case study which contradicts the theory of optical
pathway delay. Eventually we would like to talk to more blind people,
though there?s no reason to believe this man?s experiences are abnormal or
different to those of others.”

O’Connor said déjà vu is such a convincing sensation that it feels almost
inexplicable to the person who has it.

“And because it feels so subjective, psychology, in striving for
objectivity, has tended to shy away from it,” he said. “But psychologists
have gone some way to illuminating things like the ‘tip of my tongue’
sensation when you can?t think of a particular word. We just wanted to get
to the same sort of understanding for déjà vu.”

O’Connor and his colleague Chris Moulin also study déjà vu through
hypnosis. They believe the experience is caused when an area of the brain
that deals with familiarity gets disrupted.

In one experiment they do, students are asked to remember words, then
hypnotized to make them forget. When shown the same word again, they
describe feeling as if they’ve seen it before. About half of test subjects
say the sensation is similar to déjà vu, and about half of those say it is
definitely déjà vu.

“It would be really neat to do some neuro-imaging on people during genuine
spontaneous déjà vu experiences,” O’Conner said, “but it?s very difficult
to get them to have them on demand.”

Originally published at Customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

By David Lieberman


NEW YORK ? CNBC is ubiquitous on the TV screens of active stock traders,
but has been virtually invisible on their PCs, the screen that often
matters most to those angling to stay on top of the market.

The channel hopes to fix that hole in its news portfolio beginning today by
launching cnbc.com as a video-intensive business news and data site.

?It’s a one-click service,? says CNBC President Mark Hoffman. ?You can get
text, analysis, video, charts and tools all in one place. It’s not opening
three, four or five windows on your desktop. It will be fully integrated.?

CNBC’s parent, General Electric’s NBC Universal, is eager to establish
itself as a digital media power as it grapples with uncertain TV network
economics, layoffs and an exodus of top executives. Beefing up CNBC’s brand
also could help it fend off a potential tenacious competitor next year if
Fox News launches its much-anticipated business news channel.

CNBC was free to assume its own Internet identity and chart its own course
after the expiration last June of a five-year deal with Microsoft’s MSN
portal. The 2001 deal, which followed the collapse of the NBCi Internet
portal, kept CNBC content on the sidelines there.

Hoffman says he’s confident CNBC’s mostly ad-supported site can catch up
financial news sites led by Yahoo Finance and be profitable by the end of 2007.

?You cannot underestimate our ability to drive our (TV) viewers to the
Web,? he says. ?And Web users are quick to go where they want. That’s why
you see a YouTube pop up and six months later, after nobody’s heard of it,
it becomes a top website.?

He hopes to attract users by serving up lots of clips from the CNBC network
as well as material produced specifically for the site by the unified newsroom.

For example, a person researching a company or market can call up a page
with data, text and links to a day’s worth of videos that mention the
subject. CNBC also will produce a Web-only news feature, called Market in a
Minute, that will run live at the top and bottom of each trading hour and
be available on demand.

The site also will offer a $9.95-a-month service that gives subscribers
access to six months of video clips, as well as ad-free live feeds of
CNBC’s programming for the USA, Europe or Asia.

The site’s stock ticker ? which can be detached to stay on the screen while
you do other work ? will include personalized alerts when companies you
follow are mentioned on air, or an executive from one is scheduled to appear.

?They say that with Web 2.0, every bit of information is out there, and Web
3.0 is bringing it together when you need it and where you need it,? says
CNBC.com Vice President Meredith Stark. ?In some ways, we think we’re
getting there.?

Originally published at Customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

I got a message from the DA’s office this afternoon, letting me know that the two trials I was supposed to be tesstifying at this week have been continued until 22 January.
I didn’t get this information until I made it a point to contact the DA’s office again to try to see what has been going on since I was never served.
It’s amazing to me how they can get away with doing their job like that.
If I were that incompetent, I’d have been fired long ago, and rightfully so.
Oh well, at least I have someone’s personal office number, so I know where to direct my hounding.

+++THE DAILY STAR (Lebanon) 13 Dec.’06:”Jordan carefully measures its
democratic openings”, By Rana, Sabbagh-Gargour former Chief Editor of The
Jordan Times
For the sixth time this year, Human Rights Watch is questioning Jordan’s
commitment to abolishing provisions in its penal code used solely to silence
opposition figures. In November, Adnan Abu Odeh, a former head of the Royal
Court, was investigated for allegedly insulting the king and inciting
sectarian strife during televised remarks. By voicing the widely held
sentiment among Jordanians of Palestinian origin – half the country’s
population of 5.6 million – that they are excluded from full political life,
the 73-year-old politician born in the West Bank city of Nablus touched a
nerve. Charges against him were dropped quickly to minimize domestic
polarization and preempt growing Western criticism over Jordan’s teetering
experiment with the rule of law.
…Since taking over in 1999, King Abdullah II has shown more consistency on
economic than political change, handpicking liberals and technocrats to
implement market-oriented reforms while sticking to mostly center-right
prime ministers to ensure that political opening is on a slower track.
As with most Arab states, Jordan replicates the pattern of episodically
opening up and closing down political reform…A “security package” of laws
was passed by Parliament this summer at the prodding of the palace and the
powerful intelligence apparatus, including anti-terror legislation that
raised concerns about violations of free speech and civil liberties. Other
laws nationalized the issuance of fatwas and banned preachers from
delivering sermons without prior approval. Such laws are seen as essential
to curb religious fanaticism – fed by endemic corruption, poverty,
unemployment, and discontent over the government’s pro-US policies – among
Jordan’s young and disillusioned population, but they also could backfire.
…. Over 700 hand-picked Jordanians representing all walks of life were
invited by the palace to a closed-door meeting to forge a consensus on
priorities for the next two years, including local and regional challenges.
The carefully worded “All for Jordan” document that emerged was laced with
constructive ambiguity to appease the diverse needs of an entrenched
bureaucracy, a conservative tribal Parliament, powerful current and former
officials struggling to maintain influence, a Westernized elite unhappy over
the slow pace of reform, an influential Islamist-led opposition and
Palestinian refugees still smarting over the 1994 peace treaty with Israel.
And so for now Jordan will keep the current one-person, one-vote electoral
law, which favors the majority East Bank rural areas over densely populated
cities with a majority Palestinian Jordanian population. …
There is also increasing official talk in favor of postponing general
parliamentary elections set for summer 2007, for up to two years, due to
regional turbulence. Such a move would be motivated by fear that the
influential Islamic Action Front might win a majority in Parliament.
Jordan’s Islamists have long opposed the decision to sever links with the
West Bank on the grounds that the territory is part of an Islamic waqf, or
endowment, and no one has the right to give it up. They might use an
election victory to forge closer links with Hamas and to push for setting up
an Islamic state combining Jordan and whatever is left of the Palestinian
Jordan and other Arab regimes are toeing an increasingly difficult line,
apprehensive about their own restive publics, occasional Western pressure
for reform, and most of all the prospect of losing power. … Jordan cannot
postpone forever the issue of the political rights of second- and
third-generation citizens of Palestinian origin. But for the present,
political survival is the name of the game, especially when Jordanian
leaders see election results in Iraq, Palestine, and Lebanon as having
produced more turmoil than consensus.

Reuters – 13 December, 2006

Kuwait signed an agreement to share certain types of classified intelligence
with Nato yesterday, the first such accord between the Western military
organisation and a Gulf state.

Nato already has similar pacts with partners in eastern Europe and Middle
East states and is looking to extend them to the Gulf, which it sees as a
strategically key region in the fight against terrorism.

“This is a security pact to maintain confidentiality in the exchange of
information between Nato and Kuwait,” Shaikh Thamer Ali Al Sabah, acting
director of pro-Western Kuwait’s National Security Agency, told reporters.

“It’s basically for exchange of security information and maintaining its
confidentiality,” he said. The pact gives Kuwait access to classified Nato
information on security, defence and counterterrorism, he added.

The agreement was signed on the sidelines of a conference of Gulf Arab
states and Nato.

Austin TX

Monday, December 11, 2006

By Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas A Texas lawmaker wants to give more hunters a chance to shoot
live animals — even if those hunters can’t see very well.

A bill has been filed for the 2007 legislative session that would permit
legally blind hunters to use laser sights, or lighted pointing instruments.

The lawmaker says visually impaired people are allowed to shoot now with the
aid of a sighted person, a requirement that would continue if the sights
were legalized.

Under existing law, the use of laser sights, spotlights and headlights is
strictly prohibited in all Texas hunting. The practice can have the effect
of making animals stand still as the light shines on them. Hunters using
sights under the proposed legislation would have to carry proof that they
are legally blind.

I have to start getting ready for work in about a half-hour, because I have
to be to work at 06:00 this morning.
Yes, it puts me off by 15:00, but that’s a very early start for the day.
It’s supposed to be in the 70’s today, which is odd for December.
It’ll probably be like this for Christmas Day too.
Oh well, at least it means I don’t need to run the heat.
L-J-ers, I’m surry I haven’t updated in a while, but the crosspost plugin
isn’t functioning correctly, and so far, there hasn’t been a fix.
You might want to add the Customerservant.com RSS feed to your feed readers,
if you’re using one.
The feed address is http://customerservant.com/feed/.
If you’re not using an RSS reader, I recommend that you do, because it will
give you a place to organize all the blogs/journals you read, and if you use
a web-based reader like Bloglines, Newsgator, or MyYahoo, you can access it
from anywhere.
I hope you’re all doing well.
A good week to all.

Originally published at Customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

I actually get to come into work tomorrow at 07:30 instead of 06:00.
That’s so great.
I’m writing this post using Firefox, and things seem to be loading/working a whole lot faster.
We’ll see how the app handles all the windows I need to keep open throughout the day, and if it handles it all well, I just might switch.
I like being able to browse via tabs, and I’m not going to pay the $200 it will take to upgrade my Jaws license just so I can use IE7’s new tabbed browsing feature.
Now, the only thing I need to figure out is how to close a tab.
If I can do that, then I can use Firefox to read all the blogs I normally do.

Originally published at Customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

I normally try to stay away from making new year’s resolutions, because I usually end up not fulfilling them.
Nonetheless, I thought this would be a good time to look back on how far Customerservant.com has come over the last year, and where I would like it to go in the coming year.

The year didn’t get off to a good start as far as the blog was concerned, due to a major upgrading disaster.
Lesson learned: never try to do major blog platform upgrades while you have the flu.
I was honored to host the New Blog Showcase for 7 May of 2006, and would like to do that again in 2007.
It gave me the opportunity to spread the word about new blogs, as well as find some new ones to add to the blogroll.
I participated in this year’s CSS Reboot in the spring, and hope to do so again in 2007, this time with a little more theme work.
As far as site statistics go, I’ve doubled my traffic from last year’s numbers, and I’m grateful for everyone who stops by.
I’ve also been able to bring in a little advertising, and I hope to fine-tune that in 2007.
I’ve also met a lot of interesting bloggers, at least as far as online is concerned.
For 2007, I’d like to look into coming up with a Customerservant.com logo as well, and I’d like to include more images within posts.
I’d also like to offer a sincere thanks to my readers.
Without you guys, I’d just be talking to myself.
Come to think of it, maybe this blog reflection stuff isn’t such a bad idea after all.
This post is part of Problogger’s latest group writing project.
He’s still taking submissions, and there are some cool prizes being offered, plus links, so consider participating.

Originally published at Customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

I’ve spent the last several hours implementing some new features for the site, namely the ability to display current mood, reading, music, location, ETC.
It’s been rather frustrating.
I’ve spent most of my time tinkering with the code that effects the display, not the code that allows for the information to be entered in.
My sleep schedule’s all screwed up, thanks to my work hours being like they are.
I’ll probably go to bed for a little while later on, but I don’t want it to be an all-day thing, because I want to be able to sleep later tonight.