Sunday, April 17, 2011

[cs402] Professional Issues. Discussed. Wave 2: Week 2 Thursday.

First of all, I agree with all the comment posts that was made by others previously.



A scant amount of money cannot scratch the itch of a growing problem. Starting with testbeds and deployment testing in small cities will prove that the system will likely to work in larger scales. Small progressive deployment and testing of the new system, with useful feedback of the end users, white-hat hackers, academia, the industry will help save money. Firmware of the hardware can be upgraded remotely to reduce testbed costs.

With the deployment of IPv6, the vast IP address space allows anonymity on which IP addresses the power grid servers are using, IP scanners are useless in IPv6, for sure. If a power grid server get hacked, just change its IP address to avoid the same hack at least for a while! If IPv6 is not going to be used in the power grid, it would be my major disappointment to see that happening.

Just like every other country in the world, the people are torn between indecision, doubts, apathy, ignorance and inaction on their own critical issues, the United States is no exception.

As the United States government is having severe ongoing budget cuts on education and researches, we need to compromise. I contend that the new power grid should allow some rooms for software flexibility so that the power utility companies can upgrade and standardize their systems later. To relieve this problem, the best is not to deploy the latest and unproven technology that may yield trouble later on. Often the most advanced technologies are the hardest to deploy. We need to get at least something out there to relieve the problem and hardware should be sufficiently upgradable to take in encryption and new architectures. The day the new solution is not deployed, the old power grid will be the same old power grid. We know that we all wanted to get a gold medal in a sport competition, you would rather to have a bronze than to get nothing at all, and that applies to the situation of the United States power grid.

The timing is critical. Do it now before the last straw of resource and money is gone!


Sincerely,
Patrick Yau

Monday, April 04, 2011

[cs402] Professional Issues. Discussed. Wave 1: Week 1 Tuesday.

Limitation

The following responses are referring to http://wsucpts.blogspot.com/

1. The blog http://wsucpts.blogspot.com/ does not accept more than 4096 characters in each comment.
Error from BlogSpot: “Your HTML cannot be accepted: Must be at most 4,096 characters.”

2. Support of text formatting is bad. I don't want to use HTML code.

3. I cannot edit my commentary posts after they are out and published.

4. I wanted to delete one of my comments and it delete the one that I don't want to delete!! Thus, a serious bug detected. (I saved my work in some other places rather than type straight onto the box; however, the less savvy ones will lose their comments.)

5. Alternatives: The platform used (blogger) for this kind of lengthy discussion on blogspot is bad. I suggest to use phpBB if possible. I can even host phpBB for you!


My discussion (7227+ characters) has now moved to:
http://dungslake.theforwardway.com/2011/04/cs402-professional-issues-discussed.html


Here I will be the first. Though it does not cover every aspect, here is my first dose of heavy input. It may need tons of follow ups for appropriate refinements. It is unexpected to have something like this happening for more work at the end of the semester. If we know this earlier during the semester it may help.

Identify the primary and secondary problems raised in the scenario.
Primary: The US power grid is old and has weak security - A gentle curse at the beginning which has become a havoc over the years.
Secondary: Inefficient delivery of energy through old power grid systems, incompatibilities between systems (new, old and different ones cannot communicate with each other without some intensive team-coding/testing), capacitors that are supposed to last in the power grid system for 40 years are allowed to be remained in the system for potential cost saving.

Stakeholders and their perspectives
1. Power industry: Profitability and reputation
2. The government and law makers: Are the laws and monitoring agencies are doing their work? Are policies are in place? Are contingency plans and backup power supply are in place to response to disaster/black outs? Are public education on these issues are enough. Environmental concerns, economical factors.
3. The public: The safety of the public. Is the food safe if a nuclear plant has some problems? Will the environment contaminated (air quality, spent fuel of coal/nuclear materials)? The affordability of their power bills. Is the power grid safe (electromagnetic waves are killing the bees?)? Are there any blackouts that will affect their productivity and safety?

What outside resources (people, literature/references, and technologies) could be engaged in developing viable approaches?
The academia: R&D, testing, prototyping
The power industry: R&D, testing, prototyping, large scale deployment
Technologies employed in new equipment: encryption on all data, mechanisms that detects DOS attack, playback attack, and contingency plans for dealing with these attacks.

Efficiency: smart grid can save energy by delivery power efficiently, and can reduce the number of blackouts.
Policies: background check of employees. Energy companies’ Internet and critical computers are strictly and solely for controlling the power plants and may send readings and communications out to the Internet, but not for personal use, for surfing Internet nor emails. The firewall of these critical computers should reflect this policy. A separate Internet line can be purchased for computers that are for employee’s emails and Internet browsing.

Identify related contemporary issues.
I have identified developing new technologies to reduce safety issues are not much of the concern of the energy companies. R&D money goes towards the question of how to get more powerful plants, rather than setting up for safety policies, and investing in emergency shutdown and recusing technologies.

Nuclear:
Here is my condolence to the nuclear disaster in Japan. The Fukushima plant is now 40 years old. Previous issues were covered up over the years. Underestimate/downplay of the severity of the accidents is the norm. They have been forging readings and data to ignore problems over many years. They have failed to upgrade the plants to meet better safety standards. They have failed to move the spent nuclear fuel to a safer remote place for storage. If it is not the others condemning these behaviors, these people probably will not stop their greed until "radiation are frying everyone's guts with mutated-dead-and-born-again-radio-toxic fishes" like a new Chernobyl.

Mining:
That is not it! Coal mines are deeper and deeper because of new technologies, and miners trapped in the mines more than often across the world. Developing new technologies to reduce safety issues are not much of the concern of the mining companies. R&D money goes towards the question of how to dig deeper rather than emergency and recusing tech.

Oil companies:
Look at BP and the gulf of Mexico oil disaster last year. Without revising the policies and laws thoroughly, another company are allowed to drill. It is way too soon. And we will be failed to acknowledge and act on this problem until another oil spill will occur. This spill won't be the last. We can try this ten times, or hundred times with "this dice that apparently has ones on all sides" and see who will be realizing this problem later, MUCH LATER. However, every time when this dice is thrown, humanity will creep into the graveyard one more step, and eventually bury itself alive.

http://www.sodahead.com/united-states/bp-back-in-the-gulf-should-they-be-allowed-to-drill-in-the-gulf-of-mexico-again/question-1648501/?uuid=274cad4dbc354f45922fb22cbf27fc75&page=2#comments

Hemp and grass could be used to absorb spilled oil and they are biodegradable - availability is very good and removal of petroleum-soaked grass to a ground facility for further processing is easy compare to other various chemical methods (I saw a video demonstrating this and it works). Instead, they used chemicals that are also harmful when applied to the environment alone. Moreover, BP's employees are not even trained enough to use oil containment system properly. Very sad.

Let's take a deep long look at the power industry, and see if some of these energy companies such as TEPCO are powered by and driven by greed and mismanagement. See if they are on our side or exploiting us and the environment alive.

Researches on Rescue Robots:
During the first week of Japan nuclear disaster, at the beginning human were to do all the most important operation for the controlling, recusing, and inspection of the plant. Firefighting robots were deployed after a few days of manned fire engine were deployed. I consider this deployment and disaster response was extremely slow, especially for this developed nation - Japan.
Japan is publicized by the use the robots and gadgets. Yet there are only a handful of types of robots are deployed in this nuclear disaster.


As with all ethics issues, it is hard to define a right or wrong answers.
Opinion in the making: Should BP drill again?
http://www.sodahead.com/united-states/bp-back-in-the-gulf-should-they-be-allowed-to-drill-in-the-gulf-of-mexico-again/question-1648501/?uuid=274cad4dbc354f45922fb22cbf27fc75&page=2#comments

Further readings
http://robotland.blogspot.com/2011/03/nuclear-disaster-robot-disaster-2011.html
http://robotland.blogspot.com/2011/03/disaster-robots-needed.html
http://robotland.blogspot.com/2011/03/fire-fighting-robots-for-fukushida.html

The IEEE spectrum has been covering smart grid, smart cars, renewable energy and new technologies. I have been following the free online magazine for at least two years. I have been thinking it is impossible for my school to count my knowledge and understanding into these issues into my grades. I have to point out that most of the knowledge lists above are not attained through the Computer Science degree. These issues are important and we are not even need to learn as much as we need in order to graduate. You know the power of tunnel vision for graduation can be amazing; we can ignore all that around us, if we really wanted to.

My opinion about this CS curriculum is that having a class (cs402) that is so intensively brings up ethics issues can be too much to handle and to think about all at once.  If these are bought up earlier in the degree and being bought up often in other classes that will allow students to think progressively and prompt a better understanding of technology ethics issues.

Cheers,
Patrick

Monday, March 28, 2011

Done with Amway Business Opportunity

I haven't been to any Amway meeting the last four weeks, because after a 3-month evaluations and online/offline research, and also asking upline Amway IBOs, I have concluded that Amway:
  1. is a waste of time on extra meetings.
    1. They expect me to show up 3 times a week. Which I will swear won't.
    2. Some uplines advised downlines to sell their property in the 1990s for "investing" the business.
    3. The uplines tell you buying Amway is investing in your business. However; in fact, there is no investment on return (ROI) whenever you buy Amway products as an IBO.
  2. is a waste of money on overpriced products
    1. price to quality ratio is not competitive enough (when compare to non-Amway counterparts) so that I will be in favor of Amway products.
      READ: http://dungslake.theforwardway.com/2011/02/argument-against-amway-business.html
    2. price is too high, even IBO's price is considered (Amway Indepentent Business Owner)
      1. $300 a month to Amway + more food    vs.   $180 includes all groceries and cleaning products
    3. Thus, these products are a hard sell to customers
  3. targeting their customers/ perspective "business partners" to the wrong audience. Most college students  are not rich at all to waste money in Amway.
    1. For college students who wants to complete the degree, the timing for studying is tight. The problem will aggravate if the student also work part-time.
    2. The younger generation doesn't know about Amway much as compared to older generations, and Amway people are exploiting this piece of fact.
  4. is full of people don't know business and economics and tried to bullshit me.
    1. You don't want to be with people who are not well trained in economics and business and claim that they are marketing experts.
      1. The upline that I had, did not answer and resolve the problems that I have found in Amway!
    2. prospect of IBOs is pathetically bad.
      1. It is essentially a pyramid scheme but it is modified in such a way that there are people slowly and constantly leaving Amway and going up the Amway pyramid.
      2. [Estimated Platinum] IBO’s gross income [is] range from $35,500 to 41,000 per year (Jeez. Even worst than my Computer Science Degree starting salary at $50K). Source: http://www.suite101.com/content/how-much-money-does-an-amway-platinum-ibo-make-a199784
      3. Usually it takes 2 to 5 years to get to Platinum, but to get to Platinum you have to work a lot to get there (they labor you cheaply).
    3. indirectly controls the way I do purchasing
      1. Although purchasing is completely voluntary, purchasing or selling to customers is of course required to earn PVs and compensation from Amway. For a starting IBO, $300 a month to earn 150PV (point value) for $67 from Amway. However, the products themselves are overpriced. So, I have to pick products that have high PV so that I can fill up the 150PV quota more quickly. Resulting in over-consuming and time-consuming purchases. After the first three purchases, the $50 bonus will be gone, so $67 from Amway each month will be $17 a month for a new IBO.
        source: I am an Amway IBO as of Mar 2011.
      2. Shipping is expensive: Shipping is additional $30 for IBOs, but free for customer orders that are more than $99.
        source: I am an Amway IBO as of Mar 2011.
    4. may ruin your friendships, if they know what Amway is and you are making/encouraging them to join.
      1. I am smart enough that I have NOT dragged anyone into this business before I evaluate this once unfamiliar business myself carefully. The effectiveness of Amway business opportunity is pessimistic most of the time for most of the people.
      2. This is what I come up with: Whenever you "feel" that you are so special, a special sucker will born inside of you. And Amway will be the hook of that sucker.
    5. - two of my parents' friends were in Amway in Hong Kong
      1. They didn't make much money as good as a part-time job, and so they quit.
      2. I have a bunch of friends, they were older than me, they tried, and they also quit.
      3. Remember, if you ask your upline who make $100K this year in Amway, they can surely show you the only few diamonds out of a thousand participants in an Amway conference, the number is pathetically small: again, out of the conference, there is only a few out of more than a few thousands who are diamond in reality.
    6. do not think about why there are so many failures within themselves, and they failed to improve.
      1. Even the top level IBOs quit. Only 4000 IBOs reached diamond level across the world last year.
      2. Upline has failed to address my concern.
    7. is unethical for the society as a whole.
      1. A big business like Amway is around for so long because it is just allowed to exist as a legitimate business because the law cannot rule out Amway. It is unethical when the Amway business opportunity is target to everyone, and most people who joined are not doing good with Amway.
      To cancel:

      1. Email bcr@amway.com
      2. Include your Name, IBO number, phone, address, cancellation request and request for refund in the email.

      After you quit:
      1. You can buy some of the Amway products in Amazon and eBay so that you don't have to be an IBO to enjoy near the IBO cost.
      2. With more research, you can surely find competitive products that are cheaper than Amway products.
      3. You will save time and money because you are back in the open market, instead of using Amway products all the time.
      4. If you want high quality products, when you are in a open market, you need to know how to choose and get educated. You have the right to choose the best products in the open market that suit your best financial situation and needs.
        I here by warning people and my friends, although anyone may consider this is solely my opinion.

        Thursday, February 24, 2011

        Arguments Against the Amway Business

        (Commenting and being anonymous cannot prove anything. I take all the Anon comments as INVALID.)

        I am considering buying my last batch of Amway products that I will buy. It is too expensive without the new IBO bonus.
        and then I will wait for a couple of months doing and buy nothing.


        Personally, I think 5 hour energy is working better than XS. XS works only for 1 to 2 hours. 5-hour energy are more concentrated and thus delivers more value. A few very little sip (total of less than one fourth of the bottle) of 5-hour energy works for 1 to 2 hours for me.
        and my downline has tried to sell artistry and the girls said that Artistry is bad, and they already know. The girls says that Artistry made up does not last and only good on the stage...
        The entire glister line is not ADA approved. The Glister oral rinse. I tried it, it is cheaper than what is out there, however, I use it before I sleep, I feel weird taste when I wake up next morning. That means, the oral rinse does not work too well.
        Nutrilite, you can buy it in Amazon if you really need it. There is no need to be an IBO to get like IBO price.

        Amway has been a distraction so far.
        Amway business - it is like you are doing the business, but it is not a real business, because it is hardly profitable for all IBOs.
        Amway business - it is like you are going to the swimming pool, but the swimming pool don't have enough water in it for you to swim in.

        The problem of Amway products in general, either they are not up to par on quality, or they will be more expensive. Then 500000 products are down to a handful of them are sellable. Then a handful of them is not enough to make money. yea, 500,000 that is not high PV though.
        that will down to a handful few.

        I believe that I can find a substitute that work as good and cheaper. If there is no replacement, I can buy from ebay and amazon.

        Upline: don't you think that is also the case with apple laptops?
        me: Hype based products. Do you think macbook is good? I don't think so. No seperate backspace and delete, touchpad is hard to use, apple being sued for things that really don't work. Apple care is good though.

        Upline: i don't but it's my product
        i would love it and i can see why people would love it. don't you think you would feel the same? don't you think you have a lot more ownership of it than a product you buy from a normal store?

        me: In Amway, I cannot control how I price the product, then it is not MY product. I would love to feel the ownership, but what you think that are yours are not really yours. You don't have full control. You go with the drift. The patents are not yours, and the products are not yours.
        it is pretty much the same as you buy things from Costco and sell it at a higher price.
        Except Amway is lack of choice.

        Upline: structure is not there right?

        me:
        I will start a new business of my own later down the road, and that I can make sure that my service can really sell. Amway 9.2 billion vs. Walmart 178 billion - then you know the business model is going to a wrong direction - if you think Amway is successful. Structure may not be required for a successful business.

        Upline:
        you forgot about the 25%, 4%, 6% delay gratification? you already have 5 downlines. it can only grow more. you only have to follow the upline and he'll work for you
        don't you think it's worth it to try and meet the upline half way. he's willing to do anything to help you succeed

        me:
        I actually talk about the 25,4,6 with someone just a moment ago. I believe that the upline people are genuine (because they are victims as well.), but the flaw of the scheme too big. Since I know the turn over rate for new IBO is high. they should realize the problem exists.

        upline sponsor: don't you think that there's a reason why the people who go platnium and above are the strongest believers
        don't you think they all had to go through a doubtful phrase? how many poeple do you see at the gym that have abs??
        how many people you think wants abs? don't you think they all do??

        me: you are assuming the Amway formula is 100% working.
        Since, the downline is at disadvantage, and the upline get a lot better for their situation because they get more profit than the downline.
        Amway - a system that make 4000 diamonds happy, exploit the rest of the a million IBOs underneath.
        Since it is hard to convince people to buy Amway products, retail is sparse.
        you will not make any commission and bonus if you don't get more than 100PV.
        if you get 100PV, you will get paid $3, $5 in the check?
        If a product is very very very good, and most of the customers don't realize the benefit of added cost. Then it is an uncompetitive product.
        Since it is Amway, their price should be consumer friendly. or it will be a hardsell. Conclusion: Amway products are not for priced properly the mass.

        upline sponsor: I am not assuming. don't you think that it is 100%, that's why so many can become diamonds
        there have never been a record of an IBO. who goes hard 5 nights a week for 2 years. and do not become anything. do you ever see anyone quiting? and did that??

        me: Diamonds quit, Rubies weep.

        upline sponsor: yes, but they did not quit becuase the business didn't work right?

        me: there were.
        A recent lawsuit brought against Amway by a group of its top level distributors claimed the Amway is an illegal pyramid, that its products are too highly priced to be retailed and that less than 4% of it products are ever purchased by retail customers. All others are purchased only by the distributors, who are on the pyramid chain.
        That is just one of the TLD groups that complains. Now it comes to: is it moral to support a company like that. Even you are at the top, the IBOAI board don't work well for you. I don't even trust the US justice system.

        Politians lobbies all the time. Law changes because of the politians. and politians are controlled/affiliated with companies. Court rulings are base on the laws.
        Law does not stop Amway and that does not mean Amway is working great. BBB is all about how a business resolve complains. That is it. Are the customers/IBOs are happy for the resolution, we don't know. Amway gets an AAA at BBB is not the prove of a great business.

        The truth is in the tax returns of the IBO victims and Amway/Quixtar may soon be forced to make those public. If that truth is out, Amway is game over.
        All good MLM members are taught to stay away from negative people. Ignore the naysayers. They’re just losers who wanted a get-rich-quick scheme and didn’t work hard and are generally lazy. They want to steal your dreams. It’s all a grand scheme to convince Amway members that they should not listen to logic and reason. After all, they have to pretend Amway is a good business or they couldn’t sell it to others, right?


        ----
        So my another upline thinks that they can earn PVs and BVs by going to bestbuy. They bought the JVC GZ-MS110 camcorder for $240 a month ago. Even right now, there is a $40 gap. There is no way the PV/BV will earn them back the $40 gap in the Amway check.


        Axiom by the geeks: Bestbuy is always a ripoff. These sodomized ripoff dreams never end if you stick with Bestbuy.


        $159
        http://www.amazon.com/JVC-GZ-MS110-Everio-Memory-Camcorder/dp/B003AFQEMA


        $199
        http://www.bestbuy.com/site/JVC+-+Everio+Digital+Camcorder+with+2.7%22+Color+LCD+Monitor+-+Black/9731174.p;jsessionid=F01A6BB4A36E102FE0D06045C9C77056.bbolsp-app02-07?id=1218162687660&skuId=9731174&st=JVC+GZ-MS110&cp=1&lp=1


        $99 DADA!! Newegg.com - Recertified: JVC Everio GZ-MS110 Black 39X Optical Zoom Camcorder
        http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16830145184&Tpk=GZMS110BUS

        New not refurb $110
        http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/671779-REG/JVC_GZMS110BUS_GZ_MS110_Everio_S_Flash.html


        $240 Bestbuy vs. $110 bhphoto


        My upline was having a very bad judgement here. PV does not get them much money. There is a $130 gap there. Consider my upline is at 2500PV level, she is definitely losing money by buying from Bestbuy through her Amway IBOship.



        ----
        [1] IBO Perfect water Tip Test (showing some IBOs are deceptive scamming people all around)
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQynGvjGUz0&feature=related

        [2] Multilevel marketing or 'pyramid?' Sales people find it hard to earn much
        By Jayne O'Donnell, USA TODAYUpdated 2/10/2011
        http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/retail/2011-02-07-multilevelmarketing03_CV_N.htm

        [3] GNC Maximum Greens™ Ultra Mega® Green without Iron as pointed out from [2]  ($39.99)
        http://www.gnc.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2882887

        Tuesday, February 22, 2011

        A discussion about soy compare to other protein sources

        In response to: http://searchwarp.com/swa20340.htm#245139 (“Dark Side Of Soy Bean”)

        Google, "Amazon deforestation surging due to oil, soy prices" (a news article) saying that Amazon deforestation is because of illegal farming of soy, and the soy is fed to the cattle. Cattle farming is the cause of illegal farming of soy and thus result in deforestation in Amazon.

        Soy is NOT infant formula. Soy does not lower testosterone levels, quantity and quality of sperm and sex drive. Phytoestrogens level is not enough to affect males fertility. (Mitchell JH, Cawood E, Kinniburgh D, Provan A, Collins AR, Irvine DS (June 2001). "Effect of a phytoestrogen food supplement on reproductive health in normal males".)


        Also, personally, I have been regularly visiting a Buddhist temple who have men eating soy on daily basis for decades. They have no problem as they have kids.

        I agree with that American food in general are over-processed. And in fact, if you object GM soy alone, you should object GM food in general. GM corps are hard to avoid: Soybeans, corn, cotton, Alfalfa, Hawaiian papaya, tomatoes, rapeseed, sugar cane, squash, later in 2012 there will be GM rice. Beef are often fed with GM soy, injected growth hormone for milk.

        In the UK, most pork, milk and dairy products are produced from animals that have been fed on genetically modified (GM) crops. These products are not labelled. indicates that small amounts of GM DNA end up in the animal tissues and milk of GM-fed pigs and other animals. Also, GM pork will eventually arrive.

        In 2003, scientists at the University of Illinois were conducting an experiment that involved inserting cow genes into female pigs in order to increase their milk production. They also inserted a synthetic gene to make milk digestion easier for the piglets. The experimental pigs were supposed to be destroyed, as instructed by the FDA. However, 386 offspring of the experimental pigs were sold to livestock brokers, who sold them to slaughterhouses. They were processed and sent to grocery stores as pork chops, sausage, and bacon

        Genetically Modified Foods: Are They a Risk to Human/Animal Health? Arpad Pusztai (An ActionBioscience original article) shows that some chicken are GM-fed.

        Beef, pork, and chicken are GM fed. Soy is mostly GM in US 93% and worldwide 77%[1]. Then, you have to wager which protein source is less harmful. Since consuming beef, pork, and chicken will put you up higher on the food chain than just consuming soy (they are fed GM crops anyway), soy would be a better choice.


        [1] USA:Cultivation of GM Plants in 2009, Maize, soybean, cotton: 88 percent genetically modified GMO Compass. Retrieved July 25, 2010. http://www.gmo-compass.org/eng/agri_biotechnology/gmo_planting/506.usa_cultivation_gm_plants_2009.html

        A downside to eating high on the food chain By DP OPINION

        "A recent United Nations report revealed that meat production contributes greatly to global warming – 18 percent of the total effects, more than from all cars everywhere. Eating high on the food chain takes five, 10, or 20 times the land, water and energy resources that plant foods take. The toll from soil erosion and groundwater depletion has stretched the environment to the breaking point.

        There’s no way the entire world could eat the standard American meat-centered diet. We would do much better if we ate a more vegetarian diet, lower on the food chain."

        So what is wrong by eating higher up on the food chain? Pyramid of poison.

        Gale's Science of Everyday Things:Food Webs

        ""pyramid of poison" and the ecological pyramid, whereby energy, which is beneficial, passes between trophic levels. The higher the trophic level, the smaller the amounts of energy that the organism extracts from its food—but the higher the amount of toxic content. By the time the toxins have passed on to a few more levels in the food web, they might be appearing in concentrations as great as 10,000 times their original amount."