Author Neil Gaiman Defends Children’s Literature From Adult ‘Snobbery’

52-year-old British author Neil Gaiman has spoken out against ‘snobbish’ adult judgements being placed upon children’s literature.

The author, who delivered the second annual Reading Agency lecture in central London this week, chose to use this time, at least in part, to speak out against what he feels is a damaging trend in modern literary criticism.

“I don’t think there is such a thing as a bad book for children,” began the author, addressing a crowd that included many leading figures from the arts and entertainment world, as well asseveral representatives from educational institutions.

“Every now and again it becomes fashionable among some adults to point at a subset of children’s books, a genre, perhaps, or an author, and to declare them bad books, books that children should be stopped from reading,”

“I’ve seen it happen over and over; Enid Blyton was declared a bad author, so was (‘Goosebumps’ author) RL Stine, so were dozens of others. Comics have been decried as fostering illiteracy”.

“It’s tosh, it’s snobbery and it’s foolishness”, he continued.

Mr Gaiman, who’s works include children’s books (Odd & The Frost Giants), comic books (Sandman, 1602) and prize winning novels (The Graveyard Book, Coraline, American Gods), has seen his works adapted into popular films (Stardust, Coraline), and has written for several TV shows (Babylon 5, Dr. Who, Neverwhere). He is generally considered to be one of the most prolific and celebrated authors of his generation, so it is likely that his criticisms will carry some weight.

Gaiman continued, saying that, “There are no bad authors for children, that children like and want to read and seek out, because every child is different. They can find the stories they need to, and they bring themselves to stories”.

“A hackneyed, worn-out idea isn’t hackneyed and worn out to them. This is the first time the child has encountered it. Do not discourage children from reading because you feel they are reading the wrong thing. Fiction you do not like is the gateway drug to other books you may prefer. And not everyone has the same taste as you.

He continued with a warning to parents, teachers and even older siblings, when he said that,

“Well-meaning adults can easily destroy a child’s love of reading: stop them reading what they enjoy, or give them worthy-but-dull books that you like, the 21st Century equivalents of Victorian ‘improving’ literature. You’ll wind up with a generation convinced that reading is uncool and worse, unpleasant.”

Gaiman’s own book, ‘Neverwhere’ was recently removed from a High School reading list in New Mexico after a parent complained that it was inappropriate.

Gaiman’s response to this was wry and well-considered, as he told a BBC reporter, “I tend to take books of mine being challenged and occasionally being banned – and very occasionally being burned – as a kind of badge of honour. You know you are doing something right.”

Mr. Gaiman’s concerns were echoed by a number of the lecture’s attendees.

you can find the original article here

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What you need to consider before buying a Motorola earpiece

For most people, clarity of sound when using their radios is very important. Only through clear sound will you be able to receive and understand the message being conveyed. For proper sound, you might consider using a good set of earpiece. Motorola radio earpiece is the ear piece to go for. This earpiece has been made using the latest technology to ensure you enjoy top quality sound. Additionally, the huge popularity of the gadget is more than enough proof of its reliability and exceptional performance.

How to choose the ideal earpiece

There are numerous brands of earpiece flooding the market. This makes it hard trying to choose the best earpiece. However, it is very much possible settling for the best. This is possible only if you put a few factors into consideration. Some of the things to note include:

• Cost. You certainly do not expect to spend a lot on this gadget. As much as you do not want to spend much, it is important that you consider the price. Ensure that you go for something that has a reasonable price. This will ensure that you get what you are looking for plus full value for your money.

• Quality. Price will certainly dictate quality. Quality earpieces produce clear sound. Additionally, quality means that the earpieces are durable and can endure any type of conditions.

• Brand name. The brand name on the earpiece is also very important. Therefore, ensure that you only go for a gadget that has been manufactured by an experienced company.

• Reviews. You might want to seek the opinion of people who have used the brand that you want to go for. This will ensure that you get an overview of the product you want to purchase.

motorola earpiece

Motorola radio earpiece will definitely meet and surpass the requirements of any customer. Why you need to choose Motorola radio earpiece

By choosing the earpiece from technology giants Motorola, you are assured of leaping numerous benefits. Additionally, the fact that the earpiece is widely used is more than enough proof of its reliability. The gadget has also undergone testing and has been proven fit for use. Some of the motorola are:

• Affordable. This gadget is offered at a very pocket friendly price. This is meant to ensure that anyone despite class or status can afford to receive the best sound from their radios

• Quality. This is a high quality gadget that gives an outstanding performance. The sound produced is of high quality and crystal clear. This does not pose a threat to the well being of your ears. This makes the earpiece very reliable.

• Durability. The material used in manufacturing the earpiece will ensure that it serves you for long. Additionally, the earpiece is able to withstand any condition without wearing out.

• Widely used. The wide use of this radio earpiece is more than enough assurance that you are purchasing a high quality product.

• Ideal for privacy. At times you might require taking a message discreetly. The Motorola radio earpiece will ensure that you receive the message in a clear manner.

• Striking features. The 3.5 mm jack makes it possible for you to use the earpiece with different gadgets. The earpiece is also built to enhance comfort while using it. It is compatible with: DP2400, DP3400, GP340 and CP040.

Where to purchase the earpiece

With the rise in counterfeit products, it is surely a hard task finding original products. Therefore, ensure you exercise a lot of caution when shopping for the gadget. This is a move bent at ensuring you do not make a purchase that you will later regret. Beware of con artists who are out there to make a kill out of your hard earned cash. Ensure you only purchase this gadget from a trusted dealer. Additionally, the earpiece is available in various online stores. Also, ensure you purchase from a reputable online store. This will ensure that you only purchase an original product that will diligently serve you.

Conclusion

It is time you received messages with a lot of clarity. This is only possible if you choose the appropriate set of earpiece. If you were wondering the ideal type of earpiece to go for, you now know better. Motorola 2 way radio earpiece is surely the choice to make.

Amnesty International Creates Anti Spying Program

Amnesty International has announced the creation of a program that can detect the types of spying software frequently employed by governments to monitor activists and dissidents.

The Human rights organization, which partnered with three like-minded groups to develop the program, declared that the new system was very much needed, as standard anti-virus programs frequently miss spying software.

According to Amnesty, many governments employ such spying software to monitor their targets. Some of these programs can hijack webcams, or even listen in to conversation via compromised microphones. The spying programs leave little trace of themselves on the computer and, as a result, are notoriously difficult to uncover.

Marek marczynski, Amnesty’s Head of Military, Security and Police, is quoted on the organization’s website as saying, “Governments are increasingly using dangerous and sophisticated technology that allows them to read activists and journalists’ private emails and remotely turn on their computer’s camera or microphone to secretly record their activities. They use the technology in a cowardly attempt to prevent abuses from being exposed,”

This new program, named ‘Detekt’, is capable of spotting even remote traces of such harmful software and warning the computer’s owner about it. Developed by four separate Human rights groups, Amnesty, The Electronic Frontier Foundation, Privacy International and Digitale Gesellschaft, Detekt is available completely free of charge.

According to Tanya O’Carroll, who works as a technology adviser at Amnesty, spying software has been discovered on the computers of activists in Tibet, Germany, Bahrain, Syria, Ethiopia, North Korea and Vietnam, amongst others. In fact, the world’s governments spend an estimated £3bn a year on spyware products.

In a worrying trend, such software is becoming increasingly popular with democratically elected governments, “Its easier to name the countries that are not using these spying tools than those that are” O’Carroll told BBC News.

Spread via email attachments, hacked websites, sites designed to distribute malware, or even false internal messaging software, unwanted spyware is a major challenge facing every Internet user today. According to Detekt’s makers, the major difference between general malware and government spyware is that illegal software is generally aimed at proliferating itself, whereas government spyware is principally interested in hiding itself and quietly gathering sensitive information.

Detekt was created by German security researcher Claudio Guarnieri, who asserts that a great many governments around the world are employing spyware to track and monitor people of interest to them. It has even been alleged that computer security firms have even agreed to ignore government spyware from time to time. Guarnieri told BBC News that,

“The real problem is nobody really asked the public whether that’s acceptable and some countries are legitimizing their use without considering the consequences and inherent issues.”

Amnesty International is presently looking for help to keep the program current, and also to expand it.

To find out more about Amnesty, or to make a donation, visit their official website at http://www.amnesty.org/

How To Wear Radio Earpiece

Radio earpieces look really cool. They are generally used for surveillance but some enthusiasts also wear them just for fun. Secret agents and spies in the movies have made these accessories really cool to wear.

Putting on a radio earpiece is not a tough job. To puton an earpiece, first of all you need to take that earpiece and microphone clip in your hand. The microphone is to be put where you are most comfortable with it. It can be put on your hands, specifically on your wrist. You must have seen Spies or Secret Service agents in movies lifting their wrists talk. This is where they are speaking into the mouthpiece on their wrists.

If you’re not comfortable with the mouthpiece on the wrist, you can also put it on the tie or on the shirt, on your chest. Once you have clipped on the mouthpiece, it is time to put on the radio. Take the wire dangling from the mouthpiece and put it inside your shirt. Take this wire out from the top of the shirt. This way the dangling wires will be completely hidden. Take the earpiece and put it on your ears. Make sure, that it fits tightly and would not fall off when you start to walk. You can put it on either ear. If you are wearing the mouthpiece on the wrist, you will find it comfortable to put the earpiece on the same side ear.

Once you are comfortable with the mouthpiece and the earpiece, it is the turn of the end which goes into the radio. Take this dangling wire connecting that end with earpiece and mouthpiece and put it inside your shirt. Take out the wire from the bottom of the shirt. Put it in the radio and clip the radio in its place on your pants. Once you have that these wires inside your shirt completely, you need to tuck in your shirt inside your pants so that none of the wires are visible.

Once everything is fixed, switch on the said radio and test the settings. If everything is working as it should be then you have put on the radio earpiece correctly.

Wait, you are not done yet!

Once you have tucked in your shirt inside your pants and put on your jacket, you need to test the comfort level of this piece by walking around a few paces up and down. If you’re comfortable with the earpiece and the mouthpiece and are able to talk on radio, then you are set for the job. If any of the wires are the earpiece or the mouthpiece is making you uncomfortable, you need to reset your wires.

The real advantage of a concealed earpiece is that others wouldn’t notice when you are talking on a concealed earpiece. If you’re uncomfortable wearing these or with the wires,you lose the advantage of a hidden radio earpiece. Therefore it is very important to check the complete settings by walking around.

Congratulations, you have successfully put on a radio earpiece. Now, enjoy talking like a secret service agent.

Children’s Letters To Santa Have Their Own Sorting Office

With December in full swing and ‘the big day’ now less than a week away, you’ll be heartened to know that a) today’s tech-savvy, smartphone wielding children still write letters to Father Christmas in the traditional manner b) that real people actually read them and c) that the children can expect a genuine reply to their letters.

The sorting office, which deals exclusively with children’s letters to Santa, is located in Belfast and is listed on the official Royal Mail address finder as being staffed by 10,000 elves, 1,000 reindeer and about 100 snowmen. The areas industry is listed as including “sleigh pulling, toy making and list checking (twice)”.

According to The Telegraph’s Sarah Rainey, around 250,000 letters, addressed to ‘reindeerland’, pass through this highly specialised sorting office every year. Morag Turnbull, who works as the Operations Manager at the Royal Mail in Edinburgh, told The Telegraph that, “The effort the children go to in writing them is wonderful (…) They cut out pictures of toys, draw pictures for Santa, attach stickers, feathers and all sorts of inventive touches. We start getting them as early as August, and we reply to as many as we can before Christmas – but it’s a mad, mad job.”

The letters usually have to be examined by hand, as the Royal Mail sorting machines struggle with kid handwriting, coloured craft paper and glitter. In addition, occasional parcels of food (for Santa and Rudolph, you understand), can (and frequently do), crash the system.

Perhaps the nicest part of this particular story, however, is just what the kids are asking for. In addition to predicable demands for iPads, new bikes and Disney memorabilia, many British children are apparently very selfless in nature.

A small boy named Noah, for example, sent Santa a drawing for his troubles, before asking for new work shoes for his mother and some Lego for his brother, his own request (a DVD player) was listed last of all. Many kids also ask for presents for their pets or their teddy bears and even more request something nice for their brothers and sisters as well as themselves.

A particularly moving letter came from a girl named Casey, who asked Santa Claus to name a star in honour of her granddad, who apparently died in January this year. “Can you give him a big hug and a kiss from me?” She wrote, “I don’t get to see him anymore, but this way I will be able to see him in the sky every night.”

So, the next time you find yourself suffering a bout of the ‘holiday blues’, fretting over January’s credit card bill or getting exasperated by just how busy December can be, take a deep breath and think about that little sorting office in Belfast, a place where the magic of Christmas is still very much in evidence. Think on that and smile.

Thank you for reading, have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Earplugs crank down the noise while still allowing you to hear

What’s your favorite feature of this earpiece? Personally, I like the design job – It is cooler than an Inuit’s underpants!

Awhile back, I reviewed the Bean Quiet Sound Amplifier from Etymotic. The Beans are basically hearing aids that amplify sounds so you can hear better.

The difference with the Beans is that you don’t need to consult a doctor.

Etymotic is all about helping people hear better and keep their hearing, so when it offered its Music Pro Earplugs ($299 at etymotic.com), I wanted to try them out.

The Music Pros are the opposite of the Beans. They help your hearing by reducing loud sounds while letting you hear normal volumes.

How does that work? Good question.

The Music Pros look exactly like the Beans. They’re self-contained, use tiny hearing-aid batteries and fit inside your ear.

If you fit them correctly, they don’t show unless you turn your head. The Music Pros have tiny microphones that listen to what you are hearing and process the sound before it gets to your ears.

Each earpiece runs on a tiny No. 10 battery that will last a few weeks if you turn the earplugs off when not in use.

There is no power switch — you turn the earplugs off by unsnapping the battery doors and removing the batteries. It’s easier than it sounds.

There are two modes, and you change modes with a tiny switch on each earpiece.

In 9dB mode, quiet sounds are amplified by 6dB, while 9dB protection is used when the outside noise gets louder.

In 15dB mode, natural sounds come though at their normal levels, but the Music Pros provide 15dB of protection when noise exceeds safe levels.

The Music Pros come with seven different types of tips to accommodate different ear canal shapes.

I was easily able to find one that worked well (I like the spongy ones), and they’re easy to change out.

I didn’t see any live music during my testing week, but I did simulate the concert experience with over-the-ear headphones cranked up really loud.

The Music Pros did what they said they’d do — they let me hear sounds at a normal volume and definitely kept really loud sounds from getting to my ears.

They’re magical, but for $299 for the pair, I’d expected them to impress.

I’m not entirely sure what the target market is for these — people who work regularly at concert venues, maybe, or people in construction jobs.

I suppose if you wear earplugs as part of your daily life, you’d want to take a look at these.

Pros: Easy to use, nice choice of ear tips, good hearing protection

Cons: Expensive

Bottom line: If I had a job in which my hearing were stressed regularly, I’d probably invest in these.

Etymotic MC3 headset + earphones

I’ve been listening to Etymotic earphones for at least a decade. Its MC3 headset + earphones is a worthy member of a great line of audio products.

The MC3 ($79 at etymotic.com) has a lot going for it, but most important it’s comfortable and sounds really good.

Etymotic includes four types of tips, so chances are good that you’ll find one that fits your ears.

Whenever I get a new pair of earphones to try out, I like to see which tips will fit best without any music playing. I just sit and think about how they feel inside my ears for a few minutes.

The MC3s offer great noise isolation if you get the right fit. And they’re not heavy on the bass, which I like.

The three-button remote also worked well with my iPhone, both for clear calls and controlling music playback and volume.

Etymotic has a custom-fit earmold option that lets users get molds made of their ears at an audiologist’s for a custom set of earpieces. Prices vary depending on the audiologist, but Etymotic has a list of audiologists it works with, and according to some online who’ve reviewed the process, the cost is around $100, which is a bargain and worth checking out.

Overall I like MC3s. They’re inexpensive, have a good sound for my ear, fit comfortably and have a microphone so I can use them with my phone.

Pros: Inexpensive, options for a custom fit, nice highs and midtones. Very clear and comfortable.

Cons: Not heavy on bass notes.

Bottom line: A solid choice if you’re not all about the bass.

http://www.dallasnews.com/business/technology/headlines/20141004-earplugs-crank-down-the-noise-while-still-letting-you-hear.ece

City faces decision on radio infrastructure

Wow. The new Two way Radio is out of this world. I mean it is just so gorgeous and so highly developed. I pity individuals who grew up without the Radio.

The City of Edmond faces a decision about whether to replace or upgrade public safety radio infrastructure to the tune of about $6 million, said Matt Stillwell, director of Public Safety Communications and Emergency Management.

Edmond purchased a 7-channel Motorola MHz SmartNet radio system in 1998. Seven years ago, the system interfaced with a different Motorola system operated by the state, Stillwell said.

“Our technology is going to be 20 years old in four short years,” Stillwell said. “… Think of your cell systems and how they have changed since the 1990s. The same dynamics affect radio systems.”

Changes in technology, governance and an aging infrastructure will inform what system changes the city should choose within seven years, Stillwell said.

The city maintains ownership of its seven channels and the state added 10 more channels to local sites, Stillwell said. All local governments use this system, but not everybody has paid for its maintenance. Only six municipalities help pay for the system.

“The citizens of Edmond are paying for a system of any (yearly) infrastructure maintenance, while other users of the same sites are not,” Stillwell said.

The City of Edmond joined the state’s system in 2007. A lot of other communities join the system through grant dollars, he said. The upgrade was paid for by state dollars and cost the city nothing, he said.

Questions are unanswered as to how many radios for police, fire and emergency management would be impacted by a new system, Stillwell told The Edmond Sun.

“We won’t have to replace all of the hand-held radios that are out in the field,” Stillwell said. “Most of the radios we have been purchasing for the last five years are digital capable and P-25 capable.”

The P-25 is a radio standard that all of the public safety radio vendors use, Stillwell added.

Directors of city departments recently identified $143.6 million worth of unfunded city projects they say the city needs. The Edmond City Council heard presentations about these needs, such as the public safety radio infrastructure, at a public workshop. (For coverage of other capital improvement projects discussed by the city, look at http://www.edmondsun.com.)

A funding source to pay for these infrastructure improvements is in the first phases of discussion, said Larry Stevens, city manager. There are concerns that the 2000 Capital Improvement 3/4-cent sales tax will not provide adequate funding for major capital projects, Stevens said.

The city welcomes public input by Edmond residents and future recommendations by the Capital Projects and Financing Task Force, Stevens added.

Either Edmond will partner with the state to upgrade with the latest digital technology, or pursue an independent digital upgrade without the cushion of state funding, Stillwell explained.

“The bottom line is we have to move away from that analogue. End-of-life issues are coming up with our technology,” Stillwell said. – See more at: http://www.edmondsun.com/local/x1760083917/City-faces-decision-on-radio-infrastructure#sthash.bqDBsfhK.dpuf