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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday Morning News and Views, Part I

Happy Easter to those of Eastern Orthodox faiths!

The technology hotbed of Palo Alto, California, recently hosted a 12-hour bonanza for software developers, artists, and families called a "Super Happy Block Party Hackathon." It was a marathon for coders to make new software in a short amount of time. It also featured food trucks, music and home-made robots.  

World wide there is a growing fear of another tech bubble bursting, as large amounts are being paid for untested tech companies with no asset and little revenue. The fear is that with Facebook at its forefront, tech companies are being over valued and that sooner or later the market will correct, perhaps suddenly and with devastating consequences. 

Facebook has over one billion users world wide, and a data base to rival Google gleaned from users who agree to sharing their private information and use habits when they sign the fine print based agreement as they open their account. Facebook is slow in it compatibility with international cell phones, the most used technology outside the US, where PC's and tablets still dominate Internet use.

Congress returns from its spring break this coming week. The Senate will vote on the Buffett Rule, raising taxes on millionaire investors. The House may wrestle again with the highway bill.  The distraction of presidential primaries will no longer deflect public attention from the body. 

Tomorrow is the opening day of the trial against Anders Behring Breivik, who is charged with acts of terror for massacring 77 people in attacks last year in Norway.

Anti-immigration parties across Europe are gaining strength, in a backlash against Muslim, Turkish and Asian immigrants who came to work during financially better times, and of course as a repercussion in the "war on terrorism."

North Korea celebrates the centenary of the birth of its founder Kim Il Sung today. But the celebrations that have been overshadowed by the failure of the rocket launched on Friday that was supposed to highlight North Korea's technological achievements. The launch was suppose to be the start of a grand tribute to the deceased dictator of the "hermit kingdom."

The frail cease fire in Syria is being threatened by reports of violence in Homs and other areas. Meanwhile, the UN Security Council unanimously on Saturday to send unarmed observers to the country. 

 A new exhibition of the work of the late war photographer Tim Hetherington opened recently in Washington, DC, at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. The photos and video installation were taken by Hetherington when he was embedded with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan between 2007 and 2008. Herrington was on of two journalist who earned an Academy award for the documentary "Restrepo" about a the soldiers at forward observation base in Afghanistan (available on Netflix).

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