Adonis Diaries

Archive for October 18th, 2009

Websites to cost users by 2010; (October 18, 2009)


            The search for an economic model to generate profit is driving many web developers to charging users for information gathering. It seems that publicity is no longer generating enough resources for the printed media. In 1998, 48% of the US readers got their information from papers versus 13% on the web. Ten years later, 37 % use the web versus 34% paper journals and dailies. 

            The successes of iTunes Stores and Amazon is for selling digital music on the Web are encouraging movie and written press businesses to testing paying diffusion modes.  Two years ago, selling music records on the web amounted to 20% of the music market. In 2008, 1.4 billion records were sold on the web; by 2010 this mode of selling will far surpassing the physical CD sales. Last FM, Yes FM, and Spotify are revolutionizing the market and making “streaming” the preferred option for consumers; the paying option does not contain advertisement.  Virgin Media is offering a new legal telecharging “for the price of two CDs you may have access to the entire music catalogue.”

            Daniel Ek, founder of Spotify proclaimed that “the consumer doesn’t give a damn of owning or telecharging CD; what he wants is to be able to have access.”  The networks for sharing files via Torrent and eMule, the “streaming”, or direct telecharging sites such as Rapidshare and Megaupload have doubled business for the second year in a raw.

            Browsing cultural, editorials, and special investigative pieces in dailies will no longer be free. The New York Times got on the web in 2005 and charged its subscribers; it backed off two years later and is now reconsidering payment. Google is receiving advertising benefits through Adsense and Adwords to Google News; the information associations are charging Google to benefit from the labor of other journalists without their consent.  Google is studying a formula and it presented it to Newspapers Association of America that would allow dailies to charge its Google’s users for articles read.

            Louis Gordon Crovitz, co-founder of Journalism Online stated: “The future is for mix models of free and charged. Authors of numerical books will receive their dues.”  Rupert Murdoch, mogul of News Corporation which include Wall Street Journal, Times, and the Sun is leading the charge on account that “an industry that offer its product for free cannibalizes its capacity for producing good journalism.”

            The Economist is going to charge micro payments within 6 months; basically there will be two kinds of payments: Essential formula at half price of the Premiere formula where users can read the journals the night before publication.

            Paramount, Lions Gate, and Metro-Goldwyn-Myer are uniting to launch on the Epix market high definition movies in streaming mode. YouTube is negociating similar deals with the studios of Hollywood.

Hezbollah to desist spreading myths: Encore; (October 16, 2009)


            In a previous post I discussed the two myths: dress codes, and the mixing of State and religious responsibilities. I also stated the reasons for selected Hezbollah for my topic. There are three reasons: first, I need to have a specific target in order to minimize tendencies for generalization; second, Hezbollah is the most powerful movement in Lebanon in number, organization, military training, and in readiness and thus, this important social and political force can either spread havoc or strengthen the independence of Lebanon depending on close dialogue and communication among the Lebanese political parties; and third, because I have a high respect for this organization that saved Lebanon twice from becoming a total non-entity within the last decade. Yes, with Hezbollah I feel that Lebanon is no longer just a State recognized by the UN but has acquired the status of a Nation; a tiny Nation but with the potential of agreeing that we are one people under the law and against all contingencies.

            There is this boring and unsettling tendency at Hezbollah’s leadership to start their speeches with a long litany of the “honored” descendents of the Prophet Muhammad.  I understand that most diseases are inherited but I have not stumbled on studies characterizing intelligence, learning, and wisdom attributed to inherited genes.  Actually, research have demonstrated that offspring of highly intelligent men to be born mostly idiots. 

            The Prophet Muhammad did not die suddenly; he felt terribly sick for eight days and realized that he is to die soon.  The Prophet was fully conscious many times and he said the Morning Prayer before he died in the arms for his beloved and young wife Aicha. If the prophet wanted a close relative to inherit the title of Imam he would have done so; he still had two daughters and two son-in-laws and many close relatives who were Moslems. (Muhammad had four daughters, all married, and two sons; two of the married daughters died before him and his two sons died in infancy before reaching the age of 4).

            Maybe it is time for Hezbollah to desist forcing on people untruths of super great offspring generated by the Prophet. Yes, we must be inclined to pray even more forcefully for them because the odds are that they suffered immensely by the high expectations impelled upon them by ignorant and lazy-minded followers. Maybe it is time to expect the next Mahdi to be born from the common people instead of some “noble” creed.


            My fourth worry is this trend of re-writing history to please cultural propaganda of a nascent Islamic regional power such as Iran.  Chiaa have lived in northern Palestine, Lebanon, and northern Syria many centuries before the Turkish Safafid Empire ruled Iran in the 17th century and decided to adopt the Chiaa sect as the Kingdom religion.  The Chiaa had to flee the Arabic Sunni Caliphate Empire for two centuries and suffered frequent persecutions during the Ottoman Empire.

            The Chiaa took roots in India and in the Maghreb in North Africa. From the Maghreb they converged to Egypt and ruled during the Fatimid Dynasty for over a century and enjoyed many converts in Palestine, Lebanon, and Syria when Baghdad’s central power was very weak; the city of Aleppo and its district was a major focal point for the Ismaellia Chiaa. The Chiaa also converged from India to Herrat (west Afghanistan) and to Uzbekistan and Tajikistan before spreading to East Iran and the eastern shores of the Arabic Peninsula.  Consequently, the Chiaa in the Near East are its inhabitants and form an intrinsic part of the fabric of this region: they adopted the same customs and tradition.

            If for political exigencies Hezbollah needs to select leaders who attended religious schools in Qom of Iran, then it does not follow that this short–term need should be the trend.  Hezbollah has no advantage to alienate the main religious center in Al Najaf and then Koufa simply because its members are Near Eastern and not Persians.  It will pay in the medium-term for Hezbollah to re-write the history of the Chiaa in Lebanon and changing their tradition for a far away civilization and taking official sides for this Iranian Ayatollah or that, or this Iraqi Ayatollah or that.  Hezbollah is a resistance movement against any invader to Lebanon because it is Lebanese people and not a branch or an extension or a mercenary force to any regional power. Changing culture and history of the Chiaa in Lebanon can be as dangerous a trend as fomenting civil war.




October 2009

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