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Mon, Jun 30th - 11:12PM

Is Iran a Nuclear Threat or just a whole lot of hype?

If the United States goes to war against Iran, will it be because they really do have nuclear weapons and want to use them?

Or will it just be a lot of hype, the result of nationalistic sabre rattling on
Iran's part?

It is difficult to say.

Iran's Ayatolla (who has the real power) says Iran's nuclear program is peaceful and for electricity only. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad however seems to keep musing about the idea of bombing Israel with nuclear missiles.

Iran has even gone so far as to purchase missile materials and missile building information from China back in 2006.

If such a war did come to pass it would give America approx. another $6 trillion in debt, and since
Iran is larger than Iraq and Afghanistan put together it would not be a very easy war to win.

Heck, we can't even win those wars. Oh sure, we can bomb the hell out of them in the beginning, replace their leaders and all that, but the ground war and the public relations war is far from over. It will take another 10 or 20 years for Iraq and Afghanistan to make some progress. Do we really want to add
Iran to our list of obligations?

Comment (1)

Mon, Jun 30th - 7:55AM

Oil Prices spike to $143.67

TODAY - Oil prices for light, sweet crude for August delivery rose $3.46 to $143.67 (a new record) a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

On Friday, crude futures spiked to $142.99 a barrel in New York before closing at $140.21.

Oil prices are up 44% compared to January 1st 2008 and have roughly doubled compared to this time last year.

See more on the history of oil prices in 2008 at Hundred Dollar Oil. See predictions for where oil prices will go at Two Hundred Dollar Oil.

Comment (1)

Sun, Jun 29th - 5:46PM

The Lilith eZine Sunday Edition

The Lilith eZine Sunday Edition

Letter from the Editor

Abortion is my topic of discussion today and I am going to start off with some statistics:

73% of American women who have abortions are living below the poverty level (earning $9,570 or less per year).

60% of
American women who have abortions already have 1 or more children.

66% of American women who have abortions are not married.

33% of all
American women who have abortions are between the age of 20 and 24 and are the largest percentage by age bracket.

52% of American women will have an abortion during their lifetime.

More Abortion Statistics.

From these statistics it appears that there is a very sizable percentage of young American women who already have kids, are single mothers, are not married and aren't making very much money. Its really not surprising that they choose to have an abortion. If I was working two jobs, making very little money and already had one child to worry about the last thing I would want is to double the problem.

When you're in that situation it doesn't really feel like you have much of a choice. Abortion suddenly became more like a need rather than a choice.

For years the anti-abortionists have been pushing this idea that the stereotypical women who have abortions are "corporate risers" who have sex with the boss to get a promotion, backstab their co-workers, get pregnant and dump the fetus in the nearest available abortion clinic all for the sake of capitalist greed.

And while I admit the United States is very capitalistic, the statistics show that this is simply not true. Instead the women who have abortions are much more likely to be making minimum wage, is already a single mother, may be trying to work their way through university or college, and simply doesn't have the finances to raise 2 or 3 kids by themselves when they have enough trouble with the 1 or 2 they already have.

Why is suddenly a topic for discussion?

John McCain, the Republican Candidate for the 2008 Presidential Election wants to overturn Roe v. Wade, but keep abortion legal for incest & rape exceptions and when the mother's life is in danger. He also wants to prosecute abortion doctors and says he would nominate supreme court justices based on their experience and shared values with respect to abortion.

Could you imagine if abortion suddenly became illegal and the only way you could get an abortion is if you went across the border to Canada or Mexico or pretended that someone had raped you? False rape allegations would skyrocket and cross border shopping and sneaky terrorists would be the least of the border guards' worries. Young pregnant women would be lined up at the border needing abortions.

That or we'd go back to the old fashioned way... illegal abortions in secretive clinics.

And lest we forget the protests. If 52% of American women will have abortions during their lifetime, what about the % who still believes in the right to have an abortion even if they don't need one themselves?

I've been ignoring the male equation in this issue, but think about all the problems that would cause as well. Extra children being born to unwed mothers... shotgun weddings, family strife, homelessness, paying child/spousal support, broken families. Men won't be liking this change much either (despite the fact that 77% of all anti-abortionist leaders are men).

Politicians generally like to stay away from the abortion issue. Its too controversial for many people and they don't want to deal with it. John McCain has been pretty blunt what his intentions are, and for once I don't think this politician is lying.

Suzanne MacNevin
Editor of the Lilith eZine

The Art History Archive

Lucian Freud

The Automotive eZine


The Feminist eZine

Open Letter to Anti-Abortionists

The Politics eZine

OPEC Predicts $170 Oil

The Art History Archive, Feminist eZine and Lilith eZine are subsidiaries of the Lilith Gallery Network.

To REMOVE yourself from this mailing list simply reply with the word REMOVE in the subject line. Remember to use the same email address you subscribed with.


Comment (1)

Sun, Jun 29th - 9:43AM

Robert Mugabe declares victory in sham election

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was on Sunday declared winner of a widely condemned election which African observers said was scarred by violence and intimidation. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said Mugabe had won Friday's vote, in which he was the only candidate.

84 year old Mugabe has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980, was due to be sworn in shortly in a ceremony at State House, officials said.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who withdrew from last Friday's election a week ago, saying nearly 90 of his supporters had been killed by government-backed militias, dismissed the inauguration as meaningless. Tsvangirai had previously won an election back in March, but Mugabe's supporters refused to admit defeat and bullied their way into recounts and a second election. Blatant intimidation and murder of Tsvangirai's supporters has since caused Tsvangirai to go into hiding and flee for his life.

With the opposition powerless to stop widespread corruption and violence and Mugabe unwilling to even talk about releasing his ironfisted controll over Zimbabwe the only solution remaining is foreign intervention.

Part of the problem is that Zimbabwe's HIV/AIDS epidemic is out of control and had reached 24.6% of the population by 2001. It could be as high as 30 or 40% by now. With an overall population of 12.3 million people that is a lot of people infected and a military intervention will have to be concerned with how to deal with so many AIDS patients.

In the meantime the economy in Zimbabwe has slipped badly. The unemployment rate was 80% in 2005 and the per capita GDP was $200. Back in 2003 the Zimbabwe dollar 82% of an American dollar but the exchange rate has since plummeted to 30,000 per one American dollar (which is to say Zimbabwean money is now worth less than toilet paper).

Their oil imports are relatively low so it would be comparably easy to set up a trade blockade with the country to prevent oil and gasoline products from going in (which would eventually cripple Zimbabwe's military power). Zimbabwe's military is already crippled by AIDS, poor funding and are basically pro-Mugabe street thugs drunk on power.

Its difficult to tell everything that is going on within Zimbabwe as very few reporters are allowed into the country and the reports coming out suggest that violence and rape is a regular occurrence. In a country that had such a large percentage of AIDS it does raise the question of whether the Zimbabwe army is accidentally or deliberately spreading AIDS amongst the populace.

Or is it the reverse? Could they be trying to exterminate AIDS through violence? Robert Mugabe's intentions are not clear.

It is becoming ridiculously obvious that a military intervention is needed and the only question is what countries will be willing to step up to the plate to prevent a complete catastrophe.

The United States is already mired down in two wars in the Iraq and Afghanistan, and the possibility of a third war with Iran is still possible. We won't be expecting any help from the USA, but other countries like Canada and members of the European Union could certainly help if someone would simply take the initiative.

Comment (1)

Sat, Jun 28th - 7:56PM

Linkfarming Vs Excellent Content Vs Graphics/Video

Today WebRing mentioned on their Blog how linkfarming is being used to boost a website's ranking on search engines and how Google has recently changed their rules for how ranking is boosted so that linkfarms will basically be ignored.

I'd argue however that linkfarming isn't a very effective tool in the first place. Good quality content will always come first. Make a website with excellent content and other people will link to it anyway and the next thing you know you'll have plenty of visitors.

If you have really good graphics, videos, etc. on your site is another way to draw in people to your site.
If you are trying to sell a product however it will only go so far as the product is a good one.

For example lets say your website sells cheap, crappy widgets. You could spend a fortune on website design and incredible mindblowing graphics, but if the widgets are crappy and its obvious that they're crap your website and your widgets are doomed to fail.

The fact that search engines don't rate or rank videos/graphics very well isn't going to help you.

Lets take YouTube as an example... there's an interesting phenomenon wherein people put a scantily clad female figure in the middle of the video for 1 second (or less) just so that the image people see as the thumbnail for that video is a scantily clad female. The result? Completely crappy videos will get hundreds of thousands of hits (sometimes millions) even though there is only a 1 second clip of scantily clad ass, bosom or whatever.

So having a really good video isn't going to help your website either unless you're lame and stick scantily clad females in the video.

Sex sells and we all know it (which is one more reason why I firmly believe radio is going to die in the next 20 to 40 years because there's no visual imagery).

Here's a question though: If you're not going to write good content, why are you bothering to write anything at all? Doesn't it seem like a complete waste of time telling the world that your dog's name is Furball and your favourite colour is puke green? Seriously WTF do you need your own server for? The majority of people out there need a website like Facebook and nothing more than that. Who else but your friends are going to look at your silly dog photos in his puke green hemp sweater that you knitted him?

If you're going to write something worthwhile you're going to want to write it properly the first time and make it the best damn website on that particular topic you can. Make it better than the stupid wikipedia page (which as we all know is full of crap) and other websites will probably be linking to yours.

Also, and this is something we've paid close attention to at the Lilith eZine, don't crowd your website with tonnes of advertising. Stick a little bit on the right or left side, maybe some at the bottom and that is it. DO NOT CROWD THE PAGE WITH 90% ADVERTISING! Its just really annoying...

Yes, we realize that people are just learning the full potential of the internet as a moneymaking and advertising tool, but when push comes to shove you're better off spending your time making great content and letting word-of-mouth do its job.

For us? We spend $16/month advertising the Lilith Gallery Network on WebRing. That is it. Less than $200/year, and yet our network is incredibly popular. Everything else is word of mouth.

While you're at it please use proper spelling and grammar. MS Word does have spellcheck and grammar check, just use it already people. Other people will take your website more seriously as a result. People could cut back on the cussing and swearing too and get much better results as well.

Comment (7)

Sat, Jun 28th - 9:03AM

Men and Abortion

 I've always wondered why men are allowed to decide laws that primarily effect women, especially with regards to abortion.

Think about it. Traditionally 90% or more of lawmakers and politicians have been men, and yet it is these same men who pass laws regarding abortion.

Even now women are still a pathetic minority in politics.

Sweden 47.3%.
Rwanda 45.3%.
Costa Rica 38.6%.
Cuba 36%.
Netherlands 34.2%.
Canada has 21%.
Britain 18.5%.
United States 16.3%.
Italy 16.1%.
France 13.9%.
Japan 11.1%.
Russia 8%.

But here is the thing. What RIGHT do men have to decide the rights and freedoms of women? None. So why are men passing laws on the bodies of women and how they reproduce? In theory such a law should be decided by a committee of accidentally pregnant women.

52% of all pregnancies in the United States are accidental. Its not like we have a shortage of such women.

Open Letter to Anti-Abortionists

Abortion: It's every Woman's Right to Choose

A Woman's Choice - The Right to Privacy and the Right to Choose

Criminalizing Women

Female Rights In Retreat: Abortion, Rape and the American Way

Comment (1)

Fri, Jun 27th - 12:14PM

Pheromones and Babies

There are a number of theories of how a child's sex is determined while it is growing in the womb.

An old husbandry theory states that male babies are produced during a certain period of ovulation while female babies are produced during a different period of ovulation.

Another theory is that it is determined by hormones in the woman's system during specific points of the pregnancy.

Well, I'd like to present a new theory I came up with.

What if pheromones were involved and cause some kind of hormonal shift?

For example, lets say you had 40 female test rats. You place 20 in a set of cages together (test subjects A), and the other 20 in separate cages adjacent to male rats (test subjects B). The B rats would be exposed constantly to male pheromones from the male rats and the A rats would be exposed only to female hormones from each other. Both A and B female rats are then artificially inseminated.

We already know that pheromones from the opposite sex can cause hormonal changes, but if my theory is correct then test subjects A should produce a majority of male babies while test subjects B should produce a majority of female babies. (My reasoning is that the pheromones and hormonal shift will create an opposing effect of what there is a shortage of, in order to permit survival of the species.)

Because rats gestate so quickly and produce multiple young they also make ideal test subjects for this particular kind of test. Humans would not make practical test subjects because you would have to virtually quarantine them from male pheromones for 9-10 months.

Pheromones for Dummies? - The Sex eZine

Mating Habits of the Alpha Male - The Sex eZine

Sex Trivia - Interesting Sexual Facts about both Animals and Humans

Humans Vs. Rats - Men Vs. Moose

Comment (0)

Thu, Jun 26th - 4:03PM

Oil Prices hit $140.05

Today oil prices hit a record $140.05, but according to OPEC prices are destined to hit $170. Meanwhile the CIBC bank is predicting $200 oil by 2010.

OPEC Predicts $170 Oil

Hundred Dollar Oil

Two Hundred Dollar Oil

Oil Shortages in America

The History of Oil Prices

Comment (1)

Thu, Jun 26th - 9:44AM

Open Letter to Anti-Abortionists

Open Letter to Anti-Abortionists


73% of women who have abortions are living below the poverty level (earning $9,570 or less per year).


Comment (3)

Thu, Jun 26th - 7:42AM

Gambling, Horse Racing and the Mafia

Gambling, Horse Racing and the Mafia

A 39 to 1 shot won a race at Belmont recently, beating out the "sure thing" horse known as Big Brown. Big Brown was in the lead when suddenly the jockey pulled up around the last corner. He was going to win, there was no doubt about it, but the jockey suddenly pulled back on the reins and Big Brown slowed so much that he ended up coming in dead last.

The winner was a practically nameless horse that was a 39 to 1 shot.

Since then controversy has exploded over why the horse (and jockey) failed to win. Questions about anabolic steroid use, the jockey, the trainer are all circling in the media, but none of them seem to have clued in to one thing they've all forgotten.

The jockey claims that Big Brown suddenly refused to run, but I say that is bullshit. The jockey lost the race on purpose, and was likely paid or coerced to do so.

That's where the mafia comes in. The mafia has always had a hand in the horse races. Rigged races are the wrenches that tosses the whole betting system into chaos.

What it means, in theory, is that the 39 to 1 shot wasn't really a 39 to 1 shot after all. That nameless horse was the real "sure thing" in a race that was fixed from the beginning.

Now I should mention that I worked for the racetrack for 6 years as a summer job. I've seen a tonne of sulky races in my time. I've seen crashes too, where the jockey ends up pinned under the sulky (the little cart the horse pulls behind them). But I've never even heard of a 39 to 1 shot winning a race against a horse that everyone was expecting to win.

And what about all the other horses in the race? The ones that had 5 to 1 or 10 to 1 odds? What happened to them? Apparently they threw the race too.

Mind you I should clear something up here. The difference between the lead horse and the last horse is only a matter of seconds. There is a lot of room for error, the horse having a cold, the horse stumbling, etc.

The matter is not closed. Big Brown's trainer, Rick Dutrow, is set to go before a Congressional hearing today to examine "safety concerns" within the horseracing industry. Shit, even the politicians are getting involved now.

A statement by the Congressional subcommittee said recent deaths “point to a persistent and widespread problem, raising significant questions about the sport and its governance.”

The committee will also hear from Richard Shapiro, the chairman of the California Horse Racing Board; Arthur Hancock III, the owner of Stone Farm outside Lexington, Ky.; Jess Jackson, the owner of Stonestreet Stables; Randy Moss, the ESPN analyst; Alan Marzelli, president of the Jockey Club; and trainer Jack Van Berg.

What they're trying to prove is whether Big Brown's failure was due to injury, steroids or something else. Nobody is using the word mafia yet and I think this is all a smokescreen of a controversy. Somehow proving that Big Brown has a crack in one hoof is not proof that the jockey still lost the race deliberately.

It does make me wonder however, from a gambling perspective, if that race was rigged how many of the other races are rigged too? And since the serious money is only made when a longshot wins the race, doesn't that mean that any rigged races would be ones where the longshot wins?

Check out the funny picture from the website below. Doesn't the guy with the cigar even look like he's in the mafia?

It is just a picture, but whatever. In my 6 years of working for the racetrack I've seen guys like that make their bets. Sometimes they're a lot older. Sometimes they send their girlfriends to make the bets for them.

The really funny thing is when they whisper their bets. That means they know (or think they know) something that nobody else does.

Interesting thing is that sometimes they do know and come back to cash a ticket worth thousands of dollars. No way to prove they rigged the race, but I think thats all part of the horse racing culture. There is practically guaranteed to be some mafia on the racetrack property on any big race day. Probably quite a few of them.

The fact that the mafia regularly owns the horses and can coerce/pay the jockeys off is totally a moot issue. What it means for the real gamblers is that those longshots in the big races suddenly look a lot more favourable.

Incidentally, if you like mafia/horseracing movies, a really funny one is "A Fine Mess" starring Ted Danson, Howie Mandel and Paul Sorvino as the mafia boss. It is old (1986), but it has the look and feel of a Chevy Chase or John Candy movie. Plot synopsis: Two friends (an actor and a chef) discover a plot to fix a horse race and capitalize on it. However they also have to deal with the two men who fixed it who are trying to silence them, and there's also the mob boss whom the two mafia guys work for who planned the rigged race, whose wife just happens to be having an affair with the actor (played by Ted Danson)... loads of mayhem and fun.

Comment (1)

Tue, Jun 24th - 4:54PM

Lucian Freud


Lucian Freud

Biography by Charles Moffat.

Lucian Michael Freud was born December 8th 1922 in Berlin, Germany, son of Jewish architect Ernst Ludwig Freud and Lucie née Brasch and the grandson of famed psychoanalist Sigmund Freud.

Freud's family moved to Britain in 1933 during the rise of Nazism, where Lucian attended Dartington Hall school in Totnes, Devon, and later Bryanston School. He later gained British citizenship in 1939.

Lucian Freud believes in painting the same person multiple times with similar compositions so he can understand them more mentally and physically. Lucian Freud's portraits usually depict the sitter, sometimes laying naked on a sofa, the floor or on a bed. He would also use animals as props such as in "Girl with a White Dog" and "Naked Man with Rat".

During May 2000 to December 2001 Lucian Freud painted "Queen Elizabeth II" and received significant criticism of his portrayal in the British media. The Sun newspaper described the portrait as "a travesty".


Comment (1)

Tue, Jun 24th - 9:48AM

Black Feminism and the American Presidency

Here's an idea that I find particularly interesting.

You know all the fuss about Barack Obama Vs Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party nomination? Well John McCain, the Republican candidate has a wild card that he could very easily pull out of his pocket:

Condoleezza Rice for Vice President.

Imagine it if you will. Barack Obama (possibly with Hillary Clinton running for Vice President) Vs John McCain with Condoleezza Rice running for Vice President.

Talk about loading the ballot.

But the thing is the presidency and vice presidency isn't supposed to be about whether you're black, white, male or female. It is about finding the best person who is right for America and right for the future of the United States.

But as history has shown with 43 white male presidents race and sex do make a big difference in the minds of voters, even if the person they're voting for is a complete idiot (George W. Bush was certainly no exception to that rule and appears to deliberately downplay his intelligence to the point that you're left questioning whether he is truly an idiot or just pretending to be one?).

Anyway. Just imagine it.
Condoleezza Rice for Vice President. Would it dramatically change how people would vote? Or would it just prove that John McCain is another puppet of the oil industry just like everyone else who works for the Bush Administration?

I think it would be the latter, but I still think it would be an interesting wild card if John McCain thinks he doesn't stand a chance against Barack Obama (& Hillary Clinton if she is chosen for the vice presidential nomination).

See Also: Decades before Condoleezza

Women of Power: From Ku-Baba to Virgin-Queen Elizabeth I to Indira Gandhi

Black Feminism:

  • Suggested Readings for Black Feminists
  • 21st century black warrior wimmins chant. By Hattie Gossett
  • is it true what they say about colored pussy? By Hattie Gossett
  • Biography of Feminist Poet Hattie Gossett
  • Jamaica's First Female Prime Minister
  • Double Jeopardy: Black and Female
  • Black Women in Poverty
  • White Male Privilege
  • A Black Feminist Statement
  • Defining Black Feminist Thought
  • Black Beauty and White Beauty
  • Slavery is a Woman
  • Women for a Better Canada
  • Modern Women's Magazines
  • The Ten Worst Countries for Women

  • Comment (2)

    Mon, Jun 23rd - 8:51AM

    Patrick Nagel

    Patrick Nagel
    The Art History Archive - Contemporary Art




    Patrick Nagel: Playboy Art Icon - 1945 - 1984

    Patrick Nagel was born in Dayton, Ohio, but was brought up in the Los Angeles area, where he spent most of his life. He studied art at Chouinard Art Institute, and in 1969 received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from California State University at Fullerton.

    Nagel first put his talents to work as a freelance artist; then in 1971, he joined ABC-TV where he produced television graphics for promotion and news broadcasts. After a year, he returned to freelance assignments, accepting commissions from major corporations and magazines, including IBM, ITT, United Artists, MGM, Universal Studios, Playboy, Architectural Digest, Rolling Stone, Oui, and Harpers. The bulk of his work he would end doing for Playboy Magazine.


    Comment (1)

    Sun, Jun 22nd - 1:57PM

    The Lilith eZine Sunday Edition

    The Lilith eZine Sunday Edition

    Letter from the Editor and Assistant Editor

    The Summer Solstice came and went, but did any of you bother to celebrate it? Or even notice it? Not that it matters. I have a more interesting topic to talk about:

    Marriage, Divorce and Sex

    Call them the Bermuda Triangle of relationships if you want to. So many marriages die due to lack of sex and/or communication. Many of them are doomed from the start because the people getting married don't really understand what they are getting into. To explain properly I will need to split this topic into two sections:

    Sex Before Marriage (1):
    If you're in this camp you believe that your physical and sexual wants have to be met before marrying a person. You know that sex is an important part of a healthy relationship and you want to be sexually compatible with your potential spouse. Marriage for you isn't about having sex, its about the loving relationship you have and the desire to start making babies. This camp has the potential for pregnancy, STDs and the sex may get dull after awhile (which could lead to adultery and divorce).

    Sex After Marriage (2): If you're in this camp you believe that love must come first and that your sexual desires will have to wait until you have the ring on your finger. When you do start having sex you will probably be disappointed with your partner's ability, your own lack of experience and/or regret not trying this sooner (possibly with someone else). This camp has the potential for divorce and adultery, but at least when the female in the relationship does get pregnant it will probably be intentional.

    Pregnancy and Babies: Nothing throws a wrench into a relationship like a baby, especially if it wasn't planned. The responsibilities, a lifetime commitment and eventually the prospect of kicking them out of the house/putting them through college can be a lot of stress on any parent. Marriage, as an institution, was designed specifically to protect women from being burdened with all of these responsibilities by themselves (and possibly burdening their parents). Most religions are in the sex after marriage precisely for this reason, so that women in society won't be burdened and impoverished by men with loose morals.

    For feminists this is a tricky matter because many feminists won't even agree on which camp is best. Camp 1 means the woman is sexually liberated and free to do whatever she pleases but she has to be very cautious about who she is sleeping with and confident enough in her use of protection and her ability to raise the child alone in the event the male has a fear of commitment. Camp 2 means the woman will be sexually inexperienced and repressed, but at least she won't be left holding the baby if the man decides he's not up for this kind of responsibility and financial commitment. (This is why deadbeat dads rank so high on many a woman's list of complete scumbags.)

    For men the risks are significantly less and that is one of the reasons men aren't cautious about sex the way women are. Men have a tendency to forget that the sexual act is really about making babies and that there is a financial responsibility attached to it. That financial responsible is virtually guaranteed by laws these days with very rare exceptions. Centuries ago some cultures had much harsher penalties for getting a woman pregnant than merely docking your weekly pay. Marriage at sword point for example was likely more common than we think.

    Divorce as a concept has been around a lot longer than most people think and the earliest recordings of divorces date back to ancient Mesopotamia. The Romans for example believe that "matrimonia debent esse libera" ("marriages ought to be free") and that either spouse could get a divorce at will simply by renouncing it. Emperor Constantine however began placing restrictions on divorces during the 6th century and the Holy Roman Catholic church followed suit, making significant efforts to get rid of divorce entirely in order to make men more happy (mistresses were relatively common during such circumstances). Eventually the church made marriage a sacrament and that only annulments (essentially a tax on divorces) could free people from their marital bonds.

    Not all men were happy however. King Henry the Eighth, to six wives he was wedded: One died, one survived, two divorced, two beheaded. Britain's modern very high marriage and divorce rate can be traced back to his desire for a divorce and the creation of the Church of England and the separation of that church from the Holy Roman Catholic church.

    For our modern society divorce is basically now the sacrament, because without it women would be virtual slaves in their own homes. Feminists unfortunately get the blame for this however despite the laws being in the books for centuries (largely thanks to King Henry the VIII), with many disgruntled ex-husbands blaming feminism and their uppity ex-wives for their financial commitment for raising the kids involved (although they might not complain so much if they had custody more often and had to deal with the stresses of actually raising those kids).

    Shared or dual-custody is pretty much the norm these days, unless one of the parents is an alcoholic, abusive, a drug abuser, has a mental disorder or any number of other reasons that would give child services a reason to remove the child from their care.

    After reading all of this do you still want to have unprotected sex to a person's you're not married to? If so, try watching this video:

    Suzanne MacNevin & Charles Moffat
    Editor and Assistant-Editor of the Lilith eZine

    PS. Exam season is over and Suzy is now on vacation, which means you can be expecting the Sunday Edition to be back on its weekly schedule every Sunday. 

    The Automotive eZine

    Ride Sharing and Avoiding Gridlock

    The Canada eZine

    Building a Wind Turbine Factory in Ontario

    The Entertainment eZine

    Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition Review

    The Environmental eZine

    Green Burials

    The Gothic eZine

    Toronto Goth Reviews of Clubs, Shops and More

    The Politics eZine

    Afghanistan: A Tale of Two Countries

    Iraq: Weapons of Mass Destruction and Civil War

    Oil Shortages in America

    Two Hundred Dollar Oil?

    Comment (1)

    Sat, Jun 21st - 4:16PM

    $200/Barrel Oil


    $200/Barrel Oil

    According to oil industry insiders it is only a matter of years before gasoline prices reach $15 US per gallon. People are complaining right now about $4/gallon gas, but that is barely the beginning. Some analysts are expecting the price of a barrel of oil to skyrocket to $400 per barrel by 2012. Many are suggesting it will reach $200 within the next year alone.

    Why? Contributing factors, including the possibility of nuclear war with Iran in the Middle East. Just the threat of nuclear war will be enough to shoot prices straight up.

    There are also conspiracy theorists who believe the oil industry is deliberately inflating prices worldwide in order to gouge consumers. A combination of market tension, greed and economic dependence practically guarantees that prices will continue to skyrocket.


    Comment (1)

    Fri, Jun 20th - 9:10PM

    Iraq's Oil Exports and Economy

    Iraq's Oil Exports and Economy

    Iraq's oil dominated economy is now booming largely due to American investment and the building of oil pipelines for transporting oil to Europe and Asia. Iraq's GDP grew 5% to $102.3 billion in 2007 and oil exports are growing due to demand in India and China. Record high oil prices in 2008 are expected to boost Iraq's GDP by approx. 20% in 2008.

    84% of Iraq's exports is oil and 46.8% of their exports goes to the United States. Italy, Spain and Canada are Iraq's next biggest trading partners. Iraq's electricity grid is fueled by burning oil (renewable energy accounts for less than 1.6% of Iraq's electricity usage). Iraq's government is currently operating on $6.1 billion annual budget deficit and is borrowing from Chinese banks to make up the shortfall. A proposed oil pipeline from Iraq, through Iran and Afghanistan to China will do much to increase Iraq's oil exports in the coming decade.


    Iraq's State of Civil War

    The biggest change in Iraq is the civil war that has broken out between moderate Sunni and conservative Shi'ite Muslims with both sides attacking the other side with suicide bombers, car bombs, grenades, rocket launchers and highly planned attacks on civilians. The goal? Control of Iraq's religious and political future. Read more...

    Comment (1)

    Fri, Jun 20th - 2:21PM

    Afghanistan: A Tale of Two Countries

    Afghanistan: A Tale of Two Countries

    Afghanistan has two governments currently in operation: The government of Hamid Karzai in the north, and the Taliban still operating in the south. Despite 6 years of war the Taliban still cling to power, they still collect taxes, the residents still pay the Taliban for their electricity bills and Taliban-hired police still walk the streets.


    Comment (1)

    Fri, Jun 20th - 10:38AM

    Carbon Taxes

    The would-be Canadian prime minister Stephane Dion is staking the next Canadian election on carbon taxes.

    The tax will not effect gasoline or diesel fuels, but it will effect home heating oil, propane and coal. Home owners who heat their homes with oil or propane can expect to pay an extra $250 / year. Businesses and industries that use coal energy and other fossil fuels would be the hardest hit and the tax will be in the thousands or hundreds of thousands depending on how much fossil fuels they use.

    To offset the new tax Stephane Dion will give roughly a $1500 tax cut to lower and middle income earners. So if you're in those brackets you will get an extra $1250.

    Coupled with this is tax cuts and tax incentives for small businesses and a 1% lower corporate tax that will soften the blow on corporations.

    So should Canada start taxing carbon?

    The problem with this idea however is I think its phrased the wrong way. The real question should be "Why aren't we already taxing carbon?" or "Do you think its fair that polluters can pollute as much as they want and don't pay a price?"

    The current prime minister, Stephen Harper, practically works for the Alberta oil industry. He would never even discuss bringing in a carbon tax, or setting heavy limits on carbon production (which is what the NDP and BLOC are proposing). He is thus vehemently opposed to such changes.

    Now admittedly the NDP and BLOC do have a point. Maybe we should have absolute limits on carbon usage. But how would you regulate it? How would we determine which companies are allowed to burn carbon and how much?

    The Liberal/Stephane Dion proposal follows the idea of taxing the product. The sale of coal and other fossil fuels would go up $40 per tonne (which isn't a lot technically, but for major corporations it will make them start thinking greener = cheaper).

    Coal is really the center piece of this problem. According to Environment Canada coal accounts for roughly 34% of the greenhouse gas emissions in Canada, and is the direct result of factories that use coal for energy and coal-electricity plants. We could in theory simply tax coal by itself, but that would be unfairly targeting a single industry when other fossil fuels do their share as well.

    Now I should mention that some other countries are already taxing carbon and Barack Obama in the USA is already discussing the possibility of a carbon tax as well. If a carbon tax becomes law in the USA what will happen in Canada? Well, we will probably get a carbon tax eventually anyway.

    What will a carbon tax do for the environment however? Will it even make a dent in global warming and climate change?

    Yes, but it will be a small dent. The whole point is that it will be a step in the right direction. The end goal is to stop using coal and other fossil fuels all together and switch to renewable energy, hydrogen cars and nuclear sometime between now and 2030.

    Governments know we need to do it. The only disagreement they are having is the timing. Stephen Harper believes we should wait and procrastinate. Do it later. Follow the status quo. A do nothing approach.

    Stephane Dion wants to start making changes now, even if they are only small changes like carbon taxes.

    Ask yourself:
    Do you think its fair that polluters can pollute as much as they want and don't pay a price?

    The Canada eZine - News, Entertainment and Politics for Canadians

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    Comment (1)

    Thu, Jun 19th - 3:29PM

    United States removes Chinese company from Iran Sanctions Blacklist

    Today the Chinese company "China Great Wall Industry Corporation" (owned by the Chinese government) was removed from an United States sanction blacklist.

    Why is this important? Let me explain.

    The company was added to the blacklist on June 13th, 2006 "for providing material support to Iran's missile program". In other words the Chinese government was giving Iran materials and information for making missiles, possibly missiles that could carry nuclear payloads. The Chinese company was added to the blacklist in an effort to pressure China into not giving Iran any more materials or information.

    Washington can freeze the assets of proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and their supporters and isolate them from the US financial and commercial systems, according to an order signed by President George W. Bush three years ago.

    The US Treasury Department said it had so far blacklisted 34 entities and 11 individuals tied to Iranian proliferation activity.

    Removing the company from the blacklist means that it can once again reroute funds through US territory (and allied territory) and resume trading materials and info with the Iranian government without fear of reprisal. It basically gives a green light to the Chinese government to give Iran whatever they want.

    The silly thing is... why is China helping Iran? After all, isn't the United States building a huge pipeline across the middle east, from Iraq, through Iran and Afghanistan, and that pipeline will hook up with an existing pipeline the Chinese have already built on the Afghanistan-Chinese border?

    The whole thing sounds fishy.

    The US National debt is $9.4 trillion (source US Debt Clock) and most of that debt has been borrowed from Chinese banks.

    The United States is bogged down in two middle eastern wars and is already planning to attack Iran.

    The Trans-Arabia Oil Pipeline to China won't be completed until Iran is subdued and Chinese/American companies can begin building the Iranian section of the pipeline. The primary goal? To secure cheap oil for China's 1.3 billion population and booming economy.

    If the United States gets hit by a nuclear missile from Iran in the next year or so it will instantly remind me of a similar instance that happened 7 years ago when George W. Bush cut funding to airport security measures, a move which allowed terrorists to sneak box cutting knives onto planes 10 months later on September 11th 2001.

    Draw your own conclusions.

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    Comment (1)

    Thu, Jun 19th - 9:13AM

    Building a wind turbine factory

    First North American Wind Turbine Factory

    A German maker of offshore wind turbines is targeting southern Ontario as the location for its first North American manufacturing plant, a venture that would create thousands of local jobs and inject hundreds of millions of dollars into the province's struggling economy.


    Comment (1)

    Wed, Jun 18th - 6:33PM

    The Future of Condos

    The Future of Condos


    Comment (5)

    Wed, Jun 18th - 2:29PM

    Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition Review


    Heard about the new 4th edition D&D game? Released earlier this month the D&D game has gone through some radical changes... and I don't recommend it. Indeed, the new 4th edition version is a complete rip off, an abomination and a complete waste of money.

    Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition Review

    Comment (2)

    Tue, Jun 17th - 1:06PM

    New Record Oil Price

    The new high price for oil is $139.89 US per barrel, set yesterday. Learn more at:

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

    Comment (1)

    Tue, Jun 17th - 12:33PM

    Abortion, the Bible and Nuns killing Babies?

    The Bible says nothing directly about abortion. Instead Christian scholars have argued back and forth about specific passages for hundreds of years that could be interpreted as support things that aren't even mentioned in the Bible.

    For example Leviticus 17:11 could be said to support abortion, because it supports the idea that life doesn't exist without blood.

    Leviticus 17:11: "For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life." (New International Version)

    When blood enters the embryo on the 18th day after conception and the heart begins to beat, it becomes alive. (You could also argue it isn't really alive until months later when the brain finally develops and begins functioning.)

    I think using the Bible to justify ANYTHING not directly mentioned however is just a silly idea. The Bible says murder is a big no-no, got no problem with that. Stem cell research? The Bible doesn't mention a thing about the topic.

    What I do know however is that many years ago, ye even during the 20th century before abortion was even legalized many abortions were actually conducted by nuns.

    Strange as it may sound, but it is true. Nuns frequently made themselves available as both midwives and abortionists.

    An even stranger thing however is the snuffing of living babies. Women sometimes gave birth to bastard children and the nuns would snuff the life out of the baby with a pillow. The suffocated baby would be declared a "still-birth" even though it was born as healthy as can be.

    Now THAT is definitely murder. Regardless of whether you are Pro-Life or Pro-Choice, I think we can all agree that suffocating babies is definitely murder.

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    Comment (1)

    Mon, Jun 16th - 4:28PM

    Health Topics

    Canadian Healthcare

    Lose Weight Canada, Get Lower Taxes

    Canadian Obesity Statistics

    Smoking Bans working in Toronto


    Two Tier Healthcare

    Toronto's Breastfeeding Policy

    Privatized Healthcare in Canada

    Obesity in Canada

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    i'm fat and lovin' it

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    Bony Fashion Models Banned

    Eating Disorders

    Body Image

    Anorexia Vs Obesity in North America

    Carre Otis

    Fashion Models & Standardized Sizes

    Fashion Waifs Disappearing

    The Beauty Myth

    Obesity in Canada

    One Woman's Struggle to Shed the Fat

    Thinspiration Sickspiration

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    Tips on Healthy Eating Out

    Detox Diets: A Guide to Detoxing Your Body

    Diet Duds and Flops

    Drugs & Medication

    Ontario's Mary Jane

    Viagra Destroys Sex Drive

    Exercise & Fitness

    The Ultimate Guide to the Perfect Abdomen

    Calories: Food Vs. Exercise

    Dance, Fitness & Health

    Sport in a Masculine World

    Lose Weight by Working

    Suzy's Guide to Weightlifting for Women

    You throw like a girl!

    Marcus Schenkenberg's Workout

    Yoga and Exercise Fashion

    Shock Absorbing Sports Bras

    Women's Fitness

    General Info & Opinion

    Smoking Bans working in Toronto

    Health News of 2007

    Smokeless Cigarettes

    Godless Obsolete Doctors

    Meditative Silence

    Sex Rights in Africa

    How America Aids and Abets AIDS/HIV Worldwide

    Homo Erectus Extinctus?

    Olympics Profits & Profiteerism in China

    Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery

    Breast Implants for Dummies

    Under the Knife

    Silicon Goes The Way Of The Dodo

    Safe Water

    Canadian Water & E-coli

    Walkerton's E-coli Massacre

    Sleep & Sexuality

    Siesta Fever

    Viagra Destroys Sex Drive

    Women's Health & Baby Care

    A Woman's Choice

    Women's Fitness

    The History of Breastfeeding

    Criminalizing Women's Bodies

    The New Pill

    Sex Discrimination against Female Patients

    Breastfeeding Babies on Cue

    Breastfeeding in Public

    Birth Control Vs. Overpopulation

    How America Aids and Abets AIDS/HIV Worldwide

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    Comment (1)

    Sun, Jun 15th - 6:59PM

    Tobacco and Smoking Habits

    I personally can't stand the smell of tobacco. Cigarettes, cigars, it doesn't matter. They all stink. Marijuana smells too, but nowhere near as bad as tobacco.

    I won't even consider dating a smoker. I've kissed one girl who was a smoker before and the idea of kissing another ashtray like her mouth just doesn't appeal to me. I'm very picky about dental hygiene and kissing. Kissing anyone who tastes bad or has bad teeth.... bleech!

    Now admittedly maybe I do have a sensitive nose, and taste buds for that matter. But so what?

    If you totally ignore the health problems such as lung cancer, breast cancer, liver cancer and all the other kinds of cancer that smoking causes the stench alone is reason enough for me to not want to be around people who smoke. It really is no surprise it smells bad either. The human nose is a miracle of evolution and can recognize harmful smells as things that smell bad. It is no wonder that cigarette smokes smells so awful either. A single puff pumps a plethora of carcinogenic toxins into your system.

    Imagine for a moment if we made hamburgers made of toxic chemicals that were obviously harmful to the body. Would you eat it? Fuck no. You'd take one whiff of the thing and look for something tastier and actually smells good.

    The only reason, the absolutely only reason to smoke is the nicotine in it. And the silly thing is there are plenty of other nicotine products on the market these days, ranging from Tim Hortons coffee (they add nicotine to the coffee to make it more addictive) to nicotine gum, nicotine patches and now they even have smokeless cigarettes that uses a nicotine mist.

    So why the fuck are people still smoking regular cigarettes when they could buy smokeless cigarettes or some other nicotine product instead?

    I think its simply: They don't even realize they have other options. Ignore the fact that they're addicted to the action of lighting a cigarette and puffing on it. They simply don't know that they could easily replace their regular cigarettes with smokeless ones.

    And here's the funny tidbit, because there are no laws against smokeless cigarettes people can use them at work, in a school, a hospital, etc. Its the same as nicotine gum or the patch. Nobody cares where you use them.

    Mind you, you will raise some eyebrows the first time you start puffing a smokeless cigarette in a public place. People will ask, "Hey, what do you think you're doing?" and you'll have to explain what it is.

    But once you do you'll get a ball rolling. People will go "Hey, really? That's weird. How come I've never heard of this?"

    Well now you have. Tell a friend and spread the word. Lets get rid of the stench.

    Cigarettes Get A Technological Facelift - Smokeless Cigarettes

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    Comment (1)

    Sat, Jun 14th - 9:21AM

    390 Taliban freed from prison in stunning attack

    Yesterday Taliban militants led a a stunning multi-pronged attack with rockets, suicide bombers, and an explosives-filled truck blew open the Kandahar prison where NATO detainees are held.

    With hundreds of inmates having escaped — one estimate was as high as 1,100, including almost 400 pro-Taliban militants — the Canadian military was trying to assess the damage.

    Every Saturday, the Kandahar military compound is home to a weekly bazaar where local merchants set up shop in an area half the size of a football field.

    As the adult men hawk carpets, jewelry, clothes, and DVDs, the children tug on soldiers’ sleeves to lure them into their parents’ stalls.

    But this week loudspeakers at Kandahar Airfield blared out a terse message that declared this week’s bazaar is cancelled.

    A Canadian soldier muttered that the brazen assault on Sarposa would be a monumental public-relations coup for the Taliban. He said it’s not only families of the escaped insurgents who will be grateful, but also of the common criminals who fled to freedom.

    Just months ago, the Canadian government resumed prisoner transfers after suspending them because of documented detainee abuse by Afghan officials.

    Inmates at Sarposa described having been whipped, choked, and electrocuted in separate detention facilities run by Afghanistan’s feared intelligence police.

    The police chief of Kandahar province, Sayed Agha Saqib, said 390 Taliban prisoners were among 870 inmates who fled the prison during the attack late Friday.

    NATO’s International Security Assistance Force estimates the number of escapees at 1,100, said spokesman Brig. Gen. Carlos Branco.

    He conceded that the assault was a success.

    “We admit it,” Branco said. “Their guys did the job properly in that sense."

    The complex attack included a truck bombing at the main gate, a suicide bomber who struck a back wall and rockets fired from inside the prison courtyard, setting off a series of explosions that rattled Kandahar, the country’s second-biggest city.

    More than 30 nearby shops were damaged.

    The rockets demolished an upper prison floor, said Mohammad Qasim Hashimzai, a deputy minister at the Justice Ministry. Nine police were killed in the attack, said Interior Ministry spokesman Zemeri Bashary.

    There were no indications that the militants received help from the inside, but as a precaution the prison’s chief official, Abdul Qabir, was placed under investigation for possible involvement, Hashimzai said.

    The Taliban said 30 insurgents on motorbikes and two suicide bombers attacked the prison.

    Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi told The Associated Press that militants had been planning the assault for the last two months ``to release our Taliban friends.”

    “Today we succeeded,” he said. The escaped prisoners “are safe in town and they are going to their homes.”

    One of the militants who escaped, Abdul Nafai, called an Associated Press reporter and claimed the insurgents had minibuses waiting outside the prison during the attack and that dozens of militants fled in the vehicles.

    Other witnesses and officials said the militants fled on foot into pomegranate and grape groves behind the prison.

    Branco doesn’t think the addition of the 400 escaped Taliban fighters will tilt the military balance.

    “OK, they got some more fighters, more shooters,” Branco said. ``(But) These guys who escaped from the prison are not going to change the operational tempo and they do not provide the Taliban with operational initiative.” But it does change the public relations for the Taliban.

    While the outlying areas have been home to frequent firefights, Kandahar city had been considered a relative haven.

    The attack raised another question for NATO: With Sarposa now in partial ruins, what will Canada and other countries do with the insurgents they capture?

    The Politics eZine


    Comment (1)

    Fri, Jun 13th - 10:50AM

    Friday the 13th not so bad

    Dutch statisticians have established that Friday 13th, a date regarded in many countries as inauspicious, is actually safer than an average Friday.

    A study published on Thursday by the Dutch Centre for Insurance Statistics (CVS) showed that fewer accidents and reports of fire and theft occur when the 13th of the month falls on a Friday than on other Fridays.

    "I find it hard to believe that it is because people are preventatively more careful or just stay home, but statistically speaking, driving is a little bit safer on Friday 13th," CVS statistician Alex Hoen told the Verzekerd insurance magazine.

    In the last two years, Dutch insurers received reports of an average 7,800 traffic accidents each Friday, the CVS study said. But the average figure when the 13th fell on a Friday was just 7,500.

    There were also fewer incidents of fire and theft, although the average value of losses on Fridays 13th was slightly higher.

    Comment (1)

    Thu, Jun 12th - 9:45PM

    75 per cent of Canadians use Internet regularly

    Almost all 16- and 17-year-olds in Canada have used the Internet either for doing school work, sending text messages, playing video games or listening to music, according to a study released today.

    Statistics Canada said it included this age group for the first time in its Internet use survey and these teens accounted for part of the overall increase in online use in 2007.

    "They're younger, but at the same time they're experienced users," said Statistics Canadian official Larry McKeown.

    Overall, 73 per cent of Canadians aged 16 and older, or 19.2 million people, used the Internet mostly for e-mail and browsing. That's compared with 68 per cent in 2005, when the last survey was conducted.

    Most of Canada's Internet users were in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario.

    The survey found that 97 per cent of 16 and 17-year olds have used the Internet. McKeown said 70 per cent of that age group has used the Internet for five or more years.

    "Internet use is really a hallmark for an information society," said McKeown, of Statistic Canada's science, innovation and electronic information division.

    "Is this group of people, is this community, is this country ready to compete in an information society? So Internet use is an important hallmark of that, an indicator of what I might call digital literacy."

    McKeown said Statistics Canada decided to include 16 and 17-year-olds because most other countries do so and this will allow more accurate international comparisons on Internet use.

    "Secondly, there's so much interest in what younger Canadians are doing on the Internet," said McKeown, the division's chief of information society section.

    Statistics Canada's study found most 16 and 17-year-olds – 94 per cent – were using the Internet for school work, 90 per cent used it to send instant text messages, 73 per cent to play games and 83 per cent to obtain or save music while 40 per cent uploaded photos and contributed to online discussions.

    The agency said the survey showed that the digital divide, or gap in the rate of Internet use, still existed among certain groups of Canadians on the basis of income, education and age.

    The survey also showed that people living in urban areas remained more likely to have used the Internet than those from smaller towns and rural areas.

    Analyst Carmi Levy said Canada is moving toward an information-based society.

    "The Internet is becoming a larger reality for more Canadians," said Levy, senior vice-president of strategic consulting at AR Communications Inc. in Toronto.

    "That trend has been building for much of the last decade and it shows no signs of slowing down."

    Levy said those who aren't using the Internet are going to get left behind.

    "What is the impact on someone who is literally not plugged in to the Internet? There are some very serious social implications."

    However, a note of caution was sounded for tech-savvy young people.

    Matthew Johnson of the Ottawa-based Media Awareness Network said young people need to be taught Internet literacy skills.

    "We're still finding that while the adoption is almost complete among young people, almost 100 per cent, a lot of essential skills around safety, around privacy, critical thinking are still are lacking in many young people," Johnson said.

    He noted that some students don't recognize advertising when it's part of video game created by a company and don't seem concerned about it.

    Teacher Michael Zwaagstra, who's also a research associate at the Winnipeg-based think-tank Frontier Centre for Public Policy,said young people have to understand the value of the information they are getting from the Internet.

    "They need to be able to interpret it properly. It is concerning when the Internet becomes the only source of information," Zwaagstra said, adding students need to take the time to read books and go to the library.

    The survey also found that 92 per cent of Canadians were using the Internet for e-mail in 2007, compared with 91 per cent in 2005.

    Seventy-six per cent of Canadians used the Internet for general browsing for fun or leisure.

    Statistics Canada also found that 70 per cent of Canadians were using the Internet to research family history or parenting.

    In addition, 70 per cent used the Internet to obtain weather or road conditions last year, compared with 67 per cent in 2005; 66 per cent used it for travel information or to make travel arrangements (compared with 63 per cent two years ago).

    And 63 per cent of Canadians used it for electronic banking or paying bills, compared with 61 per cent two years ago.

    Comment (3)

    Tue, Jun 10th - 6:57AM

    Solar Power and the Future
    The Solar Powered Myth - The Environmental eZine
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    Comment (1)

    Mon, Jun 9th - 6:32AM

    Fighting Back against High Gas Prices

     Imagine paying $5.40 per gallon of gasoline? Seem farfetched? It is what Canadians are currently paying at a rate of $1.35 per litre (there is roughly 4 litres in a gallon).

    So are Canadians fed up with paying high gas prices? SUV sales are dropping and smaller car sales are soaring. Consumers are so fed up that they're finally adjusting their behaviour...?

    In the past, we complained but did nothing, preferring instead to condemn those evil oil companies and demand that the government keep gas prices artificially low.

    This time it's different. The long-term trend toward high prices is clear.

    Imagine test driving a vehicle that, in a variety of driving scenarios, uses considerably less gasoline than conventional cars. When booting around the city, it almost uses no gas at all. Instead, it relies mostly on electricity from the grid. Just plug into a wall socket overnight and you're ready to go in the morning.

    Interested? You should be – it could be the kind of car sitting in your driveway 10 years, even five years, from now. It's called a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, or PHEV.

    In this case it is a 2004 Toyota Prius that had been retrofitted with a lithium-ion battery pack and a charging outlet on the back bumper. Unlike a regular Prius, which has a smaller nickel-metal hydride battery that's recharged by the engine and by capturing braking energy, this Prius uses electricity from the grid to displace gasoline use.

    Concord-based Hymotion did the retrofit, using batteries from Boston-area company A123 Systems, which is now Hymotion's parent company. It's the same battery technology being considered by General Motors for its Volt electric car, which is scheduled for commercial release in 2010, and a plug-in hybrid version of its Saturn Vue SUV.

    For drives within the city, each trip ranging from 10 to 20 kilometres, the fuel economy is about two litres per 100 kilometres.

    "Downtown, these types of vehicles can make huge improvements," says Ricardo Bazzarella, founder of Hymotion. He says more people than ever are stopping him on the road and asking questions about the car. "People want to know more because gas prices have gotten so high and they're looking for alternatives."

    Smog is another issue. On Friday, the Ontario Medical Association announced that smog is responsible for an estimated 9,500 premature deaths in the province each year. Imagine if we all drove an emission-free electric car in downtown Toronto?

    Hymotion/A123 is selling its plug-in retrofit kit for $10,000 (U.S.), aimed mostly at Prius drivers who need to replace their battery pack or are looking to push the fuel economy of their cars to the limit. The market is there. Toyota announced last month that Prius sales had surpassed one million since going on sale in the late 1990s.

    Within the next few years, however, it's expected the major car manufacturers will have a number of their own plug-in models available for sale at prices affordable to the average driver.

    Ric Fulop, an A123 co-founder and vice-president of business development, said they're not for people who generally drive more than 50 kilometres each day, at least not until the battery range improves – and they are improving. "But plug-in hybrids are very good for most commuters."

    There are a few caveats. Like any vehicle, driving behaviour can dramatically affect performance. Aggressive drivers kick the car into gas mode more often, so get worse fuel economy. Same goes if you drive longer distances and on the highway. Efficiency also improves the more a person drives the vehicle, because they become more familiar with fuel-saving driving techniques. It should also be said that fuel economy, like most vehicles, is generally not as good in colder weather when you're cranking the heater and using defrost more often.

    If you drive mostly in the city and rarely take the car on long highway drives, this type of vehicle is for you. If your commute every day, you'll still get decent mileage. But so will a typical subcompact car that's cheaper to purchase. It really depends on your needs.

    The Automotive eZine - The Lilith eZine Automotive Section

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    Toyota Camry Hybrid 2007
    Saturn Aura Hybrid 2007
    Lexus GS Hybrid 2007
    Honda Accord Hybrid 2007
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    Comment (1)

    Sat, Jun 7th - 8:47AM

    Oil Prices jump to $139.12

    Oil prices made their biggest-ever jump yesterday after a senior Israeli politician raised the spectre of an attack on Iran and the American dollar fell against the euro.

    The fire fuelling oil yesterday produced a second straight day of strong gains on energy markets, adding to suspicions that commodities might be caught in a speculative bubble.

    The cost of light, sweet crude for July delivery soared $10.75 (U.S.) a barrel, or almost 8.4 per cent, to $138.54 after earlier hitting $139.12 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The futures contract had already jumped 5.5 per cent on Thursday, guaranteeing more long faces on drivers at the gas pump.

    Even as uncertainties abound about the fundamentals of the oil market, geopolitical tensions in the Middle East regained centre stage yesterday.

    Israel's transportation minister, Shaul Mofaz, said an attack on Iran's nuclear sites looked "unavoidable."

    Iran is the second-largest oil producer within the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, and any interruptions in the country's exports could well push prices higher levels.

    The weak United States dollar has also helped oil prices take their latest jump. The U.S. currency fell 1.4 per cent against the euro this week and 0.5 per cent versus the yen.

    Investors also reacted yesterday to a large Wall Street bank predicting oil prices will spike to $150 a barrel in the next month because of strong demand from Asia.

    Morgan Stanley said "an unprecedented share" of Middle East oil exports are headed to Asia.

    Some analysts also said that the threat of a strike by Chevron's workers in Nigeria could lead to "considerable" shutdowns of production there. A similar, week-long strike by Exxon Mobil workers last April reduced Nigerian output by 800,000 barrels a day, or nearly a third of the country's exports.

    A strike could also delay the start of Chevron’s Agbami project, the country's largest offshore venture. Beginning June 15, the project is scheduled to produce 250,000 barrels a day that may be at risk.

    With so many problems affecting supply and ever growing global demand it is no wonder prices are skyrocketing. We predict prices to beat $145 in the next two weeks and we predict $150 by July 4th.

    Learn more at Hundred Dollar Oil.

    Comment (1)

    Thu, Jun 5th - 8:07PM

    Artist Provocateur

    TORO Magazine: An interview with Charles Moffat.

    How nice of them to interview me. Can't say I'm complaining.

    Comment (2)

    Wed, Jun 4th - 7:55PM

    Our WebRing Experiment: May

    Our WebRing Experiment
    On March 8th we began a little experiment to determine the value of advertising on WebRing. Click here to see the original post. You can also see our March results and our April results.

    We decided to boost our spending on WebRing by $6/month, to see if there was any noticeable jump in visitors to the Lilith Gallery Network.

    There was a jump in statistics, but now that summer is practically upon us we see a shift. The stats are going down a bit.

    MonthUnique visitorsNumber of visitsPagesHitsBandwidth
    Jan 20081938712332689645737746195162.16 GB
    Feb 200821048725414110341578450589176.87 GB
    Mar 2008244558294853125267410223899225.68 GB
    Apr 200823454428732012227309805778215.28 GB
    May 200820934925291711644918622925188.69 GB

    We attribute this decrease to the Summer Internet Blahs during which time many people (including people who regularly surf the internet) go outside more often. No one to our knowledge has managed to accurately quantify just what % of people suddenly go outside more often starting in April. Based on our statistics we're going to guess its about 5% in April and 10 to 15% in May. (Based on the previous years data we could guess June will be over 20% and July and August in the range of 30 to 40%.)

    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. In February we received 5275 clicks from WebRing. In March we received 5840 (about a 10% increase).  In April we received 7192, which was a huge jump despite our estimated 5% SIB factor.

    As for May? 12,116.

    Our hits from WebRing skyrocketed in May and we believe it is because WebRing mentioned our blog in their newsletter, which 5067 of the hits came from. That means all hits coming from our blog need to be ignored. (We should note the LGN only receives about 300 to 400 hits during a regular month from our this blog.)

    So the real number is 7049, which sounds a lot more accurate when compared to April's stats.

    But what about our theory that promoting on WebRing also boosts our Google Ranking and boosts hits from Google and other search engines?

    Well during February we received:

    - Google97347
    - Google (Images)74072
    - Yahoo11009
    - MSN3553
    - AOL1684
    - Ask Jeeves1079
    - AltaVista798
    - Dogpile337
    - Other search engines226
    - Netscape221

    March results:

    - Google122550
    - Google (Images)81227
    - Yahoo11244
    - MSN4680
    - AOL1844
    - Ask Jeeves1181
    - AltaVista756
    - Other search engines496
    - Dogpile367
    - Netscape259

    April's Results:

    - Google129358
    - Google (Images)78581
    - Yahoo10975
    - MSN3930
    - AOL1879
    - Ask Jeeves1279
    - AltaVista742
    - Dogpile398
    - Other search engines235
    - Netscape213

    And the new results for May:

    - Google9541296426
    - Google (Images)73031109459
    - Yahoo1131418442
    - MSN36744370
    - AOL14921698
    - Ask Jeeves11091149
    - AltaVista732732
    - Dogpile362362
    - Other search engines245260
    - Netscape196200

    So there was definitely a decrease in May for search results, but again we believe that is due to the Summer Internet Blahs.

    As we've announced previously we are extending this experiment to August at which point we will decide based on the success of our experiment whether to dramatically increase our spending in September. September to December is the "bumper crop" season for internet surfers.

    IMPORTANT POINT: We'd like to point out exactly how we've increased our spending for this experiment. We increased the amount we spend on featuring our webrings (which in turn these webrings are loaded with lots of our websites as well as numerous other sites belonging to other people, so technically other people in those webrings are also benefiting from our well spent cash). Every webring we feature costs us a mere 50 cents per month (pretty reasonable when you think about it).

    The following is a list of the WebRings we have featured (sometimes in multiple categories):

    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

    Part of our experiment will also be to determine which webrings are the most worthwhile to promote. Since WebRing keeps traffic stats on each ring (including statistics on which of our sites are getting hits and how many hits) we will be able to determine which rings are the most popular and which of our sites are getting the most attention.

    We're not so much worried about the attention other members of our webrings get. More attention for them means more attention overall for the webring, which in turn comes back to help all of us. The result is a bit like scratching everyone's back and get yours scratched too.

    There are other ways to draw attention to a website on webring however. One way is to feature your website in a webring that is very popular and is already featured itself. You get the benefit of being listed twice in the same ring (one as a member and again as a featured website), plus the popularity and the fact the ring itself is featured means more people are visiting that webring from the WebRing directory and from other sites in the ring itself.

    Your other option is to just have it in five or more webrings (preferably popular ones). It automatically boosts your listing in search engines like Google (although arguably not as much as featuring it in 5+ webrings).

    Note to Self: Create a tally of all the hits we received from WebRing in 2007, summarize it in a 12 month chart and compare it to how much we spent on WebRing during each month.

    Comment (1)

    Wed, Jun 4th - 7:05AM

    Obama and Clinton

    We've been deliberately mum on the Democratic nomination primaries. Call it a media blackout if you will, but we've been avoiding that topic for months.

    Now that the winner (Barack Obama) has been declared, and now that Hillary Clinton has conceded defeat and said she's open to the vice-presidential post we can finally end that media blackout.

    And its about time. The nomination process went on for far too long. Obama and Clinton were so evenly matched it was difficult to determine a winner until the very end.

    Obama has yet to declare whether he will accept Hillary Clinton as his running mate, but frankly he'd be foolish not to. No one else has her level of experience, popularity and drawing power. Plus if he refuses there is the possibility it will cause a rift within the Democratic party that might cause people to abstain from the vote (or worse, vote for John McCain).

    But we'd like to point out that abstaining from the vote is by itself as good as voting for the opposition.

    While we are at it we'd like to talk about racism within the political parties. BOTH the Democratic and Republican parties have their share of racists (more so in the Republican party), and while this does tarnish the parties' reputations from time to time, its just a fact of reality just like sexism is always going to play a part. Racism and sexism may never be eradicated, but it will serve as a constant reminder of our need to improve our society.

    Americans have spoken that they want change. Well an Obama/Clinton nomination would certainly help to make such changes. That paints a rosier picture of the future.

    The Politics eZine - The Lilith eZine

    Comment (3)

    Sun, Jun 1st - 12:06PM

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