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Sun, Aug 31st - 8:32PM

New Orleans evacuated as gas prices expected to rise to $6/gallon

New Orleans evacuated as gas prices expected to rise to $6/gallon

With a historic evacuation of 1.9 million people from the Louisiana coast complete, gun-toting police and National Guardsmen are standing watch as rain has started to fall on New Orleans. The powers that be are extremely worried Hurricane Gustav would be another Katrina.

Police threatened to arrest if necessary, forcing thousands of American onto buses and warned that anyone who remained behind would not be rescued. Looters will go directly to jail – no exceptions.

The storm was set to crash ashore midday Monday with frightful force, testing the three years of planning and rebuilding that followed Katrina's devastating blow to the Gulf Coast.

Painfully aware of the failings that led to that horrific suffering and more than 1,600 deaths, this time officials moved beyond merely insisting tourists and residents leave south Louisiana.

Meanwhile the evacuation and shut down of oil rigs and oil refineries along the Gulf of Mexico has caused economists to speculate that gas prices, if the worst happens, could skyrocket to as much as $6 or $7 US per gallon. Due to a shortage of oil in the United States and a lack of backup oil refineries the price of gasoline within the USA is expected to rise dramatically.

America's oil and gasoline stockpiles have been notoriously low since George W. Bush came to power in January 2001 and started selling off stockpiles. (The US government normally maintains oil and gas stockpiles in the event of an emergency or prolonged war, but because of America's rapidly increasing oil shortage the Bush Administration decided to sell the stockpiles because they deemed the War on Terrorism to be an important enough emergency.)

New Orleans appears to be the Achilles heel of the US economy. Whenever the Louisiana coast gets hit by a hurricane the American economy seems to go for a nose dive. Combined with the subprime mortgage crisis in 2007 and the current American recession things are not looking very positive.

At least this time the powers that be are taking hurricanes seriously. Hurricane Katrina in 2005 cost the Bush Administration a chunk of its already low popularity.
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Fri, Aug 29th - 2:31PM

John McCain chooses a female vice-presidential running mate

John McCain chooses a female vice-presidential running mate

When bidding for the White House it always helps to have the cards stacked in your favour. While Barack Obama turned down Hillary Clinton as his running mate, John McCain has wisely chosen a female in hopes of luring more women voters upset about Hillary Clinton's failed presidential bid.

John McCain announced his choice of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, a diehard conservative, as his vice-presidential running mate today in a startling selection on the eve of the Republican National Convention. McCain made his selection only six days after his Democratic rival Barack Obama named Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware as his running mate.

McCain said he made his pick after looking for a political partner “who can best help me shake up Washington and make it start working again for the people who are counting on us.”

McCain said that Palin was “exactly who I need. She’s exactly who this country needs to help us fight the same old Washington politics of me first and country second.”

Palin, whose name wasn’t even on the short list of prospects so heavily discussed publicly in recent weeks, thus became the first woman named to a spot on a Republican ticket.

Obama picked an older running mate, and a man whom he said at the outset was qualified to be president.

McCain chose Palin a generation younger than he is, and a governor less than two years, and made no such claim about her readiness to sit in the Oval Office.

Unlike Biden, who attacked McCain's record in his debut last week, Palin was indirect in her initial attempts to elevate McCain over Obama. Palin made an immediate play for support from Democratic women, mentioning that she followed in the footsteps of Geraldine Ferraro, who was the Democratic vice-presidential running mate in 1984.

She also referred favourably to Senator Hillary Clinton, who drew 18 million votes in her unsuccessful run against Obama for the Democratic nomination.

A self-styled hockey mom and political reformer, Palin was also mayor of Wasilla, Alaska (population 6,500) before she became governor of Alaska.

NAME - Sarah Heath Palin

AGE-BIRTH DATE-LOCATION — 44; born Feb. 11, 1964; Sandpoint, Idaho.

EXPERIENCE: Alaska governor since December 2006; unsuccessful run for Republican nomination for lieutenant governor in 2002; chairwoman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, 2003-2004; served two terms as Wasilla mayor and two terms on city council.

EDUCATION: Graduated University of Idaho, 1987, journalism.

FAMILY: Husband, Todd; five children.

BUSINESS: Worked as sports reporter for two Anchorage television stations; owned with her husband a snowmobile, watercraft, ATV business from 1994-97. Husband is a North Slope oilfield worker. She has extensive ties within the oil industry.


Fall Movie Reviews

The Legacy of the George W. Bush Administration

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Fri, Aug 29th - 3:59AM

Pissed off about high gasoline prices?

Why does gasoline cost so much?

Pissed off about high gasoline prices? Wait until you read this...

Oil prices have dropped approx. 20% since last month, but why is gasoline prices still so high? They're dropped a little, but not by the 20% it should have.

It all kind of stinks of... price fixing. Which is illegal.

Back in July, the U.S. House and Senate held almost 30 different hearings on the role oil speculators bumping up the price of oil.

Here in Canada, Canadian lawmakers have held their own two-day hearing into the cost of gasoline. Much smaller in scope, but important because they narrowed the focus to the price at the pump and how it was radically different from what was happening in the oil market on a regular basis.

When oil prices go up, so does gasoline prices, right? And when they go down, gas prices go down too, right? Wrong. Frequently it seems as thought gas prices just stay high as the various gas companies play a shell game (yes, that was a pun) to come up with excuses to keep the prices high.

"I've been following Hurricane Gustav," says Jeff Rubin, chief economist at CIBC World Markets, when asked about the parliamentary committee hearing. Rubin didn't deny that speculators are playing some role in the price of oil, but the point he was making was that the oil industry loves to keep the prices high, and almost any event in the media can be used as a scapegoat to boost prices. Problems in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Nigeria, the Gulf Coast of the United States, Alaska or in Alberta or Newfoundland Canada can all be used as an excuse to boost oil prices. Competition from China, India and Europe can also be blamed, the weak American dollar, etc, etc.

Its all one big blame game for why the prices of gasoline and oil are so high. Depending on what is happening in the news, even if it isn't hurting oil supplies, can dramatically effect, bolster or maintain high oil prices. The problem lately it would seem is that oil speculators seem to have had a drought of credible news topics.

"It's not about the Bank of Canada, the House of Commons or the Finance Ministry. Instead of playing the blame game, I would redirect our energy towards lessening our dependence on oil," says Jeff Rubin.

Canada, a major oil producing country, isn't likely to do much about it. We're making huge profits off of the oil industry right now. High oil prices? So much the better. We can roll in the profits.

Sure, it will hurt the prices of commodities and inflation will skyrocket, but who cares? Might as well enjoy it as it lasts.

And that's the mantra the oil industry in general is going for. Keep the oil prices high as long as possible to get as much profit out of it as we possibly can.

Sure, as Jeff Rubin suggests, people can cut back on their oil and gasoline usage. Drive less, drive smarter (hypermiling for example) or buy a hybrid car. Its going to be many years before hydrogen cars are available anyway for mass market production.

The rapid rise of oil prices and market speculation is undeniable. In the 20 years prior to 2003 there was plenty of spare oil capacity, and nations who were members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries could influence the price occasionally by simply turning the tap on and off. OPEC's power to control the oil prices kept risk-averse speculators out of the market for many years. (Earlier this year OPEC predicted oil prices might reach $170 US/barrel.)

In 2000 the United States ended its regulation of energy markets, letting speculators trade in oil futures without much oversight from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. In 2003 there were about 50 financial institutions trading oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Today that number is closer to 400. In 2007 billions of dollars flooded the commodities markets after the sub-prime mortgage meltdown, turning oil into an asset class and making oil and gold prices skyrocket due to over investment.

Every investor suddenly jumped off the mortgage and banking bandwagon and jumped on the oil and gold bandwagon (gold prices are less effected by geo-politics thankfully). Nothing else could explain a barrel of oil jumping from $70 (U.S.) to $147 and back down to $115 within a year.

U.S. legislators are looking at putting up speed bumps that would reduce the influence speculators have on commodity prices, including limits on the number of oil contracts an investor can hold, and stricter disclosure requirements. If it wasn't for the oil speculators the price of oil would likely be closer to $80 a barrel today.

There's also the Peak Oil Theory that global oil production has reached or will soon reach its maximum and slowly decline as oil resources become more scarce in years to come. That theory has a lot of investors thinking positively about the future of high oil prices...

And lawmakers and regular citizens looking at a future of skyrocketing energy costs and high gas prices. 
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Fri, Aug 29th - 3:03AM

Obama the Promise of Change and the American Dream

Obama the Promise of Change

On August 28th 1963 the Reverend Martin Luther King gave a memorable speech to a crowd of multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-faith people who crowded into a football stadium to hear him speak.

Why did they go? Because they wanted to witness history in the making, to be part of something bigger than one person, to see a man with shared values stand up for what they believe in: The American Dream.

Exactly 45 years later, Barack Obama accepted the Democratic nomination for the presidency of the United States and made his own speech to an overcrowded stadium of 85,000+ Americans. Why are they they there? To witness history in the making once more.

Obama's theme? The American Promise.

"America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this."

"This moment – this election – is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive. Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third. And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look just like the last eight."

"On November 4th, we must stand up and say: Eight is enough."

Some of the people in the crowd are old enough that they were at both speeches and can draw parallels between the two. But where Rev. Martin Luther King dwelled on racism frequently, Barack Obama describes himself as post-racial and doesn't constantly remind people of the colour of his skin.

Obama's key points is that he is a man of change, of promise, and most importantly, he's not like Bush. If anything he's the anti-Bush. No more shooting first, asking questions later. No more preemptive strikes and wars without evidence or legitimate reason. If the United States goes to war with Iran, it will be because Iran's leadership has become violent and needs to be removed. Not because the White House trumps up threats with phony documents about WMD.

Did Bush lie to the American people? Yes, but its a bit like asking permission to do something after you've already done it. Its too late now. Bush will be gone 4 months anyway. Americans have paid the price and will continue to pay the price for not paying more attention to what their leaders are doing. American troops and finances will be bogged down in Iraq for years if not decades.

Obama's opponent John McCain meanwhile has been trying to distance himself from the fact that he's basically a carbon copy of George W. Bush, but without the Bush family wealth and aloofness to back him up. Does America really want to make the same mistake a third time?

In the words of George W. Bush himself: "There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. A fooled man can't get fooled again."

Or can they?
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Thu, Aug 28th - 12:32PM

Blog Headlines

Quebec artists call Stephen Harper a censorship NAZI

Oil prices break $120 again

Bikini Waxing for Kids?

Driving downtown is for suckers

Mutant Oil Sands Fish something out of the Simpsons

Model medical exams won't prevent anorexia deaths

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Mon, Aug 25th - 6:14PM

Canadian News 2008

Cop-killer in Ontario
Canadian Fashion & Chic
Building a Wind Turbine Factory in Ontario
Military Suicides in Canada
Living in Capitalist Times
Commodification of Ontario's Students
Funding Ontario's Schools
Education as a Commodity in North America
The Erosion of Public Schools in Ontario
Canada's Worker Shortages
Lose Weight Canada, Get Lower Taxes
Canadian Obesity Statistics
No more coddling the obese
Censoring Sex, Homosexuality & Violence in Canadian Films
The Canadian Dollar & Exports
Inuit Birthing Practices
Smoking Bans working in Toronto
The War on Plastic Bags
Privatization in Canada: Education, Electricity, Two-Tier Healthcare and Water Safety
CBC Going Down Hill
Canada's Booming Native Population
Dollar Fifty/Litre Gasoline
Loonie Expected to Soar in 2008
Ontario's Untapped Oil Reserves

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Fri, Aug 22nd - 11:45AM

American Politics

Interested in American politics?

Why not join the following webrings:

The American Politics & Freedom Ring

The Politics & Issues Webring

The Business & Politics Webring

United States Business & Politics

The Business & Politics Webring

The Military & Politics Webring

Or visit some of the following sites:

American Economy Collapsing - US Economics - The Politics eZine

The American dollar is becoming worthless, and unlike a normal recession the US economy is still growing in GDP. In 2007 the American Gross Domestic Product ...

The Top 100 Terrorist Targets in the United States

"Let us all take a moment to remember the 3000 people who died in the World Trade Center on September 11th. And let us all remember that it will likely ...

Disaster Capitalism in the United States The Politics eZine

Friedman was a Nobel Prize winning economist who believed that the idea of a free market in a capitalist society would initially help us achieve absolute ...

Hundred Dollar Oil - $100/Barrel Oil - The Politics eZine

23 Jan 2006 ... McCain told the media that the U.S. must "get on a track to energy independence ... Meanwhile crude oil inventories in the United States, ...

Two Hundred Dollar Oil - $200/Barrel Oil - The Politics eZine

21 Jun 2008 ... Another terrorist attack on the United States for example would ... So its not that the oil industry is misleading us with faulty numbers. ...

The Legacy of George W. Bush

Obesity now costs the American taxpayer $400 US per year. ... In the year 2003, the United States had a record number of deaths from drive-by-killings, ...

NAFTA II - Expanding the North American Free Trade Agreement to ...

22 Jan 2007 ... These are not arguments to ignore the United States. .... This agreement was an expansion of the earlier Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement of ...

Afghanistan - A Tale of Two Countries: North and South - The Politics eZine

In 1979 as part of its Cold War strategy the United States under the leadership of ... US-led forces remain in control of most of Northern Afghanistan and ...

Iraq: Weapons of Mass Destructionand Civil War - The Politics eZine

During the Iran-Iraq War the United States provided Iraqi forces with chemical ... Meanwhile the United States sold chemical weapons to Iran, playing both ...

Iran: Nuclear Threat or Hype? - The Politics eZine

Meanwhile the United States sold chemical weapons to Iran, playing both sides for ... The United States daily accuses of Iran of hiding a nuclear weapons ...

Osama bin Laden's Greatest Threat

The real threat of bin Laden is his ability to unite extremists in a common goal of the economic and social destruction of the United States ...

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Wed, Aug 20th - 11:25AM

Headlines: Mutand Fish and Pollution

Mutant Oil Sands Fish something out of the Simpsons

Air pollution so bad you can't see the Olympics happening

Canadian deaths linked to bad air to hit 800,000 by 2031

Hybrids selling out faster than automakers can make them

Hydrogen car still years from mass production

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Sat, Aug 16th - 12:59PM

Anorexia Poll

Question #1: Does rape scenes and anorexic female models really make you want to go out and buy expensive fashion items?

Question #2: Do you think fashion models should have routine medical exams and think those medical exams would be effective?

Question #3: Do you think teenagers should be allowed to quit high school to pursue a career as a fashion model?

Question #4: Do you think Pro Ana websites are acceptable reading material for your children?

Question #5: Do you really think the fashion industry cares about their fashion models or do they only care about making a fast buck?

Please use the comment section to answer.

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Thu, Aug 14th - 5:14PM

Preteen fashion bloggers?

Preteen fashion bloggers?

As if we don't have enough lolitas in Hollywood now we also have to deal with lolita fashion bloggers...

12-year-old Tavi Gevinson posts fashion-inspired photos of herself on her blog "Style Rookie". She's part of a young generation of fashion bloggers who display pictures of their outfits for all the world to see.

"Lately I've been really interested in fashion, and I like to make binders and slide shows of `high-fashion' modelling and designs."

To many of us she's in a world where she doesn't belong. Privacy and predators are just two of the major reasons why we should be concerned, but also because the fashion industry's problems with anorexia, bulimia, drugs and self-abuse are well-documented and its not something children should be exposing themselves to at a young age.

The exposure concerns advocates like Parry Aftab, a lawyer who runs the online protection site "Parents have no idea what their kids are doing online," Aftab says. "Most parents have no idea what a blog is."

Concerns about Internet safety for children have been fueled by such tragedies as the 2006 suicide of 13-year-old Megan Meier in Missouri. She hanged herself after receiving nasty online comments from a MySpace friend that turned out to be the fake creation of two acquaintances and a neighbour.

Although the United States federal government requires extra protection for Internet users who are younger than 13, not every website follows the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.

Some young bloggers are taking their own steps to protect their privacy such as cropping their faces and keeping their identity a secret. Doing so is a safety necessity for the young bloggers because it's a chance to keep track of their obsession, with input from friends or other fashion fans.

Tavi's blog "Style Rookie" went from a non-issue to a problem when in late July, New York magazine's fashion blog questioned Tavi's age, dissecting her precocious fashion sense and sophisticated taste in music. The resulting comments ranged from suspicious to nasty, with one reader claiming, "Anyone who actually believes she is [really] 12 is an absolute idoit (sic)."

The Gevinsons were asleep at their vacation house in Michigan when Tavi checked her email and found the post.

The next night, "She woke up, and again woke us up, and said – and this is really heartbreaking – `I just woke up crying and I don't even know why I'm crying.'... She slept in the bed with us that night to get back to sleep," Gevinson says.

Such negative responses are another reason children should be hesitant about blogging. Children are very impressionable and the nasty responses they receive can be a major blow to their psyche.

But Gevinson thinks kids like Tavi are stronger than parents believe. "I have a lot of confidence in her and in most kids, if not all kids, that they can figure it out if they have good guidance and caring people working with them," he says.

Tavi, after taking a short break in the wake of the attention, has returned to blogging with her father's blessing.

"I'd much rather have her decide to stop if she's going to stop than to tell her to stop," Gevinson says. "She'll grow out of it – maybe, maybe not."

In other news:

Stephen Harper muses about forcing an election

Canadian deaths linked to bad air to hit 800,000 by 2031

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Sun, Aug 10th - 6:08PM

Lilith News Headlines

Democratic Convention: Hillary still the top contender for the Vice-Presidential Nomination

Thousands evacuated as huge propane explosion rocks Toronto

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Sat, Aug 9th - 10:23AM

Lilith News Headlines

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Fri, Aug 8th - 11:52AM

Lilith News Headlines

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Thu, Aug 7th - 10:50AM

Note about WebRing Experiment
We'd like to point out that during the WebRing experiment we broke several monthly records in terms of visitors to the Lilith Gallery Network. March, the first month of our experiment, set an all time record of 244,558 visitors.

We are expecting September 2008 to break March's record.

For the time being we are maintaining our spending levels on WebRing to see what happens in September.

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Wed, Aug 6th - 8:05PM

Our Webring Experiment: July + Conclusions
Five months ago on March 8th we (the Lilith Gallery Network) began an experiment to determine the value of advertising on WebRing.

Now in August we have completed our experiment and you can now see our March results, our April results, our May results, our June results and our July results (below).

Our experiment was fairly simple. Spend $6 more each month on promoting 12 of our webrings (we were previously spending roughly $10/month during the December/07 to February/08 period, so this boost brought it to approx. $16). The webrings in question have plenty of our own sites in them, along with the sites of friends and people with similar interests. Feel free to join a few of them:

The Cyberculture Webring
The Fashion, Models & Art Webring
The Gothic Webring
The Incredible Art, Culture & Music Webring
The Politics & Issues Webring
The Ultimate Poetry & Art Webring
The Visual Artists Webring
The Great Sex and Romance Ring
The Movies & Television Webring
The Women's Webring
True North, Strong & Free
The United Feminists Webring
The Art History Webring
The Pagan Art & Gothic Fashion Webring
The 2008 United States Election Campaign
The Anti-Censorship & Free Speech Webring
The Business & Politics Webring
The America Webring
The Civil Rights Webring
The Blogs & eZines Webring
The Journalism & News Webring
The Artists & Writers Webring

Getting more visitors to our site would not be easy. Our experiment was being conducted during the worst time of the year for internet surfing. Most people are outside enjoying the weather and website visitor statistics in June for example are usually half of what they are in December (see last years results below). We've termed this the Summer Internet Blahs.

Unique visitors: 192701Number of visits: 225590 Pages: 394588Hits: 3177108Bandwidth: 79.67 GB Unique visitors: 110354Number of visits: 131007 Pages: 294505Hits: 2038891Bandwidth: 48.97 GB Unique visitors: 95501Number of visits: 115992 Pages: 336645Hits: 2075599Bandwidth: 43.64 GB Unique visitors: 121334Number of visits: 146802 Pages: 452666Hits: 2803938Bandwidth: 60.92 GB Unique visitors: 104317Number of visits: 126503 Pages: 406583Hits: 3815949Bandwidth: 75.32 GB Unique visitors: 89279Number of visits: 105790 Pages: 346695Hits: 3263214Bandwidth: 60.67 GB Unique visitors: 128495Number of visits: 148210 Pages: 504788Hits: 4127349Bandwidth: 79.02 GB Unique visitors: 131446Number of visits: 153354 Pages: 541560Hits: 4605653Bandwidth: 88.09 GB Unique visitors: 145285Number of visits: 172341 Pages: 628051Hits: 5349192Bandwidth: 103.71 GB Unique visitors: 162862Number of visits: 196985 Pages: 713607Hits: 6329105Bandwidth: 129.11 GB Unique visitors: 174395Number of visits: 210172 Pages: 765774Hits: 6611816Bandwidth: 132.46 GB Unique visitors: 229498Number of visits: 273752 Pages: 1125615Hits: 9019392Bandwidth: 188.00 GB  


Despite the SIBs however, our website managed to maintain and even grow in popularity between January and July (as shown by the unique visitors column below).

MonthUnique visitorsNumber of visitsPagesHitsBandwidth
Jan 20081938712332689645737746195162.16 GB
Feb 200821048725414110341578450589176.87 GB
Mar 2008244558294853125267410223899225.68 GB
Apr 200823454428732012227309805778215.28 GB
May 200820934925291711644918622925188.69 GB
Jun 200821699826078412065478577835190.59 GB
Jul 200823012027464710939509193743195.20 GB

These numbers are not directly related to WebRing however, but to provide some background info to our overall performance.

What is important is how many clicks we actually get from WebRing.

February 5275.
March 5840.
April 7192.
May 7049.
June 6517.

July? 6835

So our visitors from WebRing definitely went up... and based on our math we get roughly 4 to 5 visitors for every penny we spend on WebRing. Pretty inexpensive compared to Google advertising.

We also received another 700 visitors from our WebRing blog during July.

We also had a theory that our WebRing boosts how many visitors we get from Google by increasing the Google PageRank, but the statistics for that are inconclusive and we have since tossed that theory out the window.

Now its important to note that WebRing is our only source of paid advertising. Everything else we get is word of mouth.

Thus what is really interesting to us the amount of visitors we received last year (when we were spending considerably less on WebRing) compared to now. Our January stats are practically identical, but the stats that follow are nearly double the previous year (and we will note that our 2006 stats are practically identical to 2007).

Month/06      Unique visitors              Month/07      Unique visitors             Month/08      Unique visitors
Jan 2006      152047                         Jan 2007      192701                          Jan 2008      193871
Feb 2006     143546                         Feb 2007     110354                          Feb 2008     210487
Mar 2006    146436                          Mar 2007     95501                           Mar 2008     244558
Apr 2006     119210                         Apr 2007     121334                          Apr 2008     234544
May 2006    121158                         May 2007    104317                          May 2008    209349
Jun 2006      107664                         Jun 2007      89279                            Jun 2008      216998
Jul 2006       102126                         Jul 2007      128495                           Jul 2008       223962
Aug 2006     129330                         Aug 2007    131446
Sep 2006     144425                         Sep 2007     145285             
Oct 2006     187960                         Oct 2007     162862             
Nov 2006     207401                        Nov 2007    174395             
Dec 2006     171026                         Dec 2007     229498             

So what has changed? Is our website spontaneously becoming popular through word of mouth just because we're so good at what we do (and are presumably getting better at it)? Or has promoting ourselves on WebRing really made that much of a difference?

We'd like to think both.

To the limits of our experiment we believe it is highly valuable to promote your website on WebRing, but we add a caveat to that: WebRing will only do part of the work. For this to really work your website must be QUALITY, the kind of website that will gain word-of-mouth after people browsing WebRing take notice of it.

WebRing is a great tool for promoting a quality website, but if your website is crap... then you really can't expect it to perform miracles.

The onus is on the website designer to make a website people will appreciate, enjoy and even explore (you will note that the average visitor to our website stays for approx. 5 separate pages).

If your idea of a website is baby photos and a couple of photos of your dog molesting the cat, then you probably belong on Facebook or MySpace, where that kind of thing belongs and only your friends (because seriously who else is going to enjoy looking at Junior drooling?) can see.

For a fashion or jewelry designer, an artist, a journalist, a musician, a writer or even an economist making predictions then WebRing is certainly the place to promote yourself. We've noticed that there's a lot of groups on Facebook/etc that promote such things... but nobody is actually clicking on the material and going to the websites in question.

With WebRing it is different. People do actually visit the sites and browse. The kind of people who just plain enjoy surfing it seems.

The biggest flaw with WebRing is all the abandoned webrings filled with crappy sites that have raped the auto-checker system. The staff at WebRing assures us that this problem is going to be fixed in the near future (and we've even been helping them out).

But that flaw can be worked around by simply joining large webrings with ringmanagers that do a good job of actually managing their rings. If the ringmanager is paying attention they visit each site to make certain its family friendly, that it isn't full of stupid moving GIFs, broken images, noisy midi files or too much freaking advertising, (webring manager pet peeves) and that the site in question is at least a passing grade in website design.

It is those well-organized and moderated webrings that are the ones that people actually surf, and at the same time present opportunities to promote your quality website.

So yes, its worth it to promote your website on WebRing provided you pick your webrings carefully and you put some effort into making your website so you will gain the benefits of word of mouth.

This experiment and conclusions was conducted and written by the Lilith Gallery Network.

Comment (2)

Tue, Aug 5th - 1:41PM

New Lilith Blog
The Lilith eZine has a new blog, and its called Lilith News. It will still have all the stuff you've come to expect from Lilith eZine's blog here on WebRing (indeed we will continue to post new blurbs about our new articles here regularly), but all of the general news and commentary we post will be on our new blog.

So if you're a fan of our news commentary, please bookmark Lilith News or add it to your blogroll.

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Mon, Aug 4th - 1:07PM

Do Not Call Registry coming September 30th

Canada's National Do-Not-Call Registry is expected to be up and running by September 30th 2008, according to an announcement last week by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission. The registry is in response to the millions of Canadians complaining to the CRTC about telemarketers.

Canadians will be able to register for the do-not-call list online or by phone, and companies that ignore the registry will be fined $15,000 per incident. (About freaking time!)

The CRTC also recently confirmed that Canadians can use third-party websites to opt out of telemarketing calls from organizations that are exempt under the law (ie. political parties, registered charities).

The national DNC contains a wide range of exemptions that will require Canadians to individually opt out from hundreds of organizations if they want to completely stop the unwanted calls. But in return for the exemption, these groups are required to maintain internal do-not-call lists (polling companies are exempt from the national DNC and the individual opt-out approach).

Anti-telemarketing crusader Michael Geist created, a website that enables Canadians to opt out of many exempted organizations at no cost with a few easy clicks of the mouse. Visitors to the site are asked to enter their phone number and to indicate their calling preferences for nearly 150 organizations.

The problem is that Geist's website, and others like it, have deluged those organizations with millions of opt out requests, and said organizations are now scrambling, saying that the opt out system is unreasonable and that they won't be able to do business if everyone opts out.

The Canadian Marketing Association and the Canadian Bankers Association sent letters to the CRTC complaining about the iOptOut service and seeking support for their position that requests generated from the site were invalid.

The CRTC responded to the letters with an unequivocal rejection of the complaints, providing a clear indication that failure to honour the opt-out requests could lead to significant penalties (thus even political groups and charities would face $15,000 fines if caught ignoring their own internal lists).

But here's the rub... how do you know they're ignoring their own lists when they are internal? How do you prove it?

The CRTC are sending out the message that the DNC registry will be enforced and that opt out procedures for charities and likewise must be respected.

But here's my prediction... the telemarketing industry in Canada is going to die, that or it will have to go underground and start operating illegally, either within Canada or operating from across the US-Canada border.

Canadians have made it clear they don't want unsolicited phone calls. In my mind it should be illegal and considered a breach of privacy.

Thus the Do-Not-Call registry is a step in the right direction... the complete destruction of the telemarketing industry... but will it be destroyed? Or will it just go underground and start operating illegally, trying to skirt CRTC rules by using hidden caller IDs, refusing to let people talk to their manager or just plain hanging up when Canadians demand to speak to a manager.

My response when I pick up the phone and get a telemarketer?

"Go get a real job!"

Advertising in America

Dealing with Telemarketers and their Economics

Telephone Marketing And SPAM Should Be ILLEGAL!

Comment (4)

Sun, Aug 3rd - 10:18PM

The Lilith eZine Sunday Edition
The Lilith eZine Sunday Edition

Letter from the Editor

The world of art is so much more than Europe and the United States, although sometimes it certainly feels that way if you live in the USA and so rarely see anything that is not made in America. If you open an art history textbook in any high school in the United States the book likely starts with Egyptian, Greek & Roman art, various stages of European art and eventually ends with American movements. Its a very narrow view on the history of art.

Is it the art historians that are to blame? Not so, says our resident art historian Charles Moffat. He blames the publishing industry for turning down more comprehensive books in favour of smaller, more Americentric books. The school boards who choose books too are likewise to blame. They figure students won't appreciate books with a more comprehensive view of African, Asian, Russian and (mon dieu!) South American art... and lest we forget Arabic, Indian, Australia and New Zealand... oh and that place north of the USA... Canada.

So lets say we were to go looking for a book that is comprehensive, what would you choose? Charles Moffat recommends a book called "The Visual Arts: A History" by Hugh Honour and John Fleming. The book was 1st published in 1984, but since then has had multiple updates and editions. The huge 960 page textbook had its 6th edition released in 2002 and is due for a 7th edition sometime in the near future.

Glancing through the book its quick to understand why Moffat recommends the book. It has everything from prehistoric art, Islamic art, Asian art and goes all the way up to contemporary art the late 1990s. It also has a lot of information on printmaking, photography, sculpture and architecture too. Almost nothing is left out or ignored. Moffat does point out the book is missing one large aspect of 20th century art however, and that is fantasy illustrations and paintings (fantasy art he says isn't taken seriously by some art historians and publishers).

For this he recommends a book called "Fantasy of the 20th Century: An Illustrated History" by Randy Broecker.

There is a dozen or so other books Moffat recommends, but his point is clear. Art history books, if they are to be accurate, should also be comprehensive. The same goes with websites; Art history websites should endeavour be more comprehensive. Below we've added some new pages on Estonian and Turkish artists.

Suzanne MacNevin
Editor of the Lilith eZine

The Art History Archive

Turkish Artists

Estonian Artists

The Canada eZine

Cop Killer in Ontario

The Fashion eZine

Cuteocracy: The Apotheosis of Cute

The Politics eZine

The Tiananmen Square Massacre

Comment (3)

Sun, Aug 3rd - 2:14PM

Hamlet 2
I've been invited to a free screening of Hamlet 2, which opens August 22nd.

If only I had been invited to see a free screening of the Dark Knight, or the new Indiana Jones movie... that would have been welcome. A free screening of the newest James Bond film would be nice too.

Not that I'm complaining. Free screenings are nice, but comedies based loosely on Shakespearean plays aren't really my thing.

Here's a list of movies I'd like to see:

The Spirit
Punisher: War Zone
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The Pink Panther 2
Star Trek
Terminator Salvation
Transformers 2
The Frog Princess (aka The Princess and the Frog)
Astro Boy
Samantha Darko (the sequel to Donnie Darko)
The Little Fockers
Fraggle Rock

Comment (2)

Sat, Aug 2nd - 12:41AM

Name the Artist: Win $20
For many months now I've been searching for the name of an artist I saw years ago. He paints mustangs and broncos (like the ones on the top of the image shown below), and uses an expressionistic style similar to Japanese paintings (lower left), but he also uses bright vibrant colours like Franz Marc (lower right).

After failing to find any information on the artist online I've also gone three times to reference libraries researching equine art and trying to find the name of the artist.

Nobody seems to know the name of the artist, although some people claim to remember seeing the artworks I speak of. One of his most famous paintings is of two horses racing across the plains and one of the horses trying to bite the other. Some equine art fans remember seeing such paintings before, as do some people who are into horses and gambling, but no one seems to know the name and I have yet to find a copy (digital or otherwise) of one of his horse paintings.

He is famous however, and I have seen him in American art history books in the past, but can't seem to find him now. I've even dubbed this problem the Bermuda Triangle of Horse Paintings.

The whole process of searching has frustrated me to the point that I am now offering a reward: $20 to the first person to name the artist and provide a sample image of their work (you can post your names and links to images in the comments section of this blog).

The $20 will be paid via PayPal, so please include your email address with your posting.

Comment (0)

Fri, Aug 1st - 2:14AM

Greyhound passenger stabs stranger to death and beheads him
Today a passenger on a Greyhound bus near Winnipeg, Manitoba in Canada stabbed a fellow sleeping passenger to death with what witnesses described as a Rambo-style army knife. The man then sliced off the dead man's head with the knife, and chased fellow passengers off the bus with the knife in one hand and the decapitated head in the other.

The bus driver (with the help of a trucker who stopped wondering what was wrong) managed to close the bus door and barricade the crazed man inside with all of the other passengers safely off the bus.

Statistically, Canada's crime rate is dropping, so this sort of thing is quite rare. Indeed the murder rate in Canada is the lowest in North America. Its not just Canada's gun laws either. Canada has long had a history of less crime than the Americans to the south.

The last time a crazed killer struck in Canada was two years ago in 2006. Kimveer Gill, the gothic self-proclaimed "angel of death" went on a shooting rampage in Montreal, injuring 19 people, but thankfully killed only one person. It could have been a lot worse.

In Kimveer Gill's case it was a clear case of suicide by cop.

But what about "Mr Headhunter" on the Greyhound bus?

The man he killed was a complete stranger who had fallen asleep listening to a mp3 player. Maybe he didn't like the man's music and just lost it?

Or did he just figure "what the heck" and go berserk? Sanity if often described as saying NO to that voice in your head that says "You know, you could kill that guy right now if you felt like it..."

But why bring a huge "Rambo" knife on the bus in the first place? That shows intent, not deciding something at the last moment and spontaneously killing a stranger.

He brought the knife, he picked a seat near the back, chose his target (a young white man in his 20s who was sleeping and posed no threat), and even took it a step farther to chop the man's head off.

Clearly crazy people can pop up anywhere. In this case I am very curious to find out whether the man had prior mental illness, a history of violence, was he recently fired from work... or did he just decide "Hey, I feel like making the news tonight... lets kill complete strangers."

I don't believe people just spontaneously go wacko. I believe in cause and effect. There has to be something that caused this man to carefully plan out this murder. He wanted to do something gruesome, and he wanted to get caught.

Which makes him not so different from Kimveer Gill, who wanted to die in a "hail of bullets". Kimveer Gill had a history of being a loner, hated society and hated authority figures like police and teachers.

"Mr Headhunter" is presumably quite similar.

Comment (0)

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