Bola Egunjobi

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Michael Jackson: Final Rehearsal Footage

Posted by Bola Egunjobi on July 3, 2009

Click here (http://billboard.blogs.com/michaeljackson/) to see a brief excerpt from the video recording of Michael Jackson’s final rehearsals for the London O2 concert. The excerpt was released by AEG and is available today on the Billboard website.

Michael Jackson - Final Rehearsal

Michael Jackson - Final Rehearsal

AEG’s Randy Phillips calls the video “some of the most compelling footage in the 21st century, because you’re talking about a star whose light shined brighter than any thing else in the universe when it comes to music.”

The entire footage includes the Tuesday and Wednesday night rehearsals just before Michael died. “On Tuesday night he performed and gave me goose bumps”, Randy Phillips has said. “It made me realise, jaded entertainment executive that I am, why I do this in the first place. I was asked if I would do this again and the answer is ‘Hell yes.’ How many times in one’s career are you able to touch greatness?”

The souvenir tickets some fans opt for in lieu of a refund were designed by Michael himself and are printed with a lenticular process that gives them a 3-D look.

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Kenny G – 10,000 Hours – Malcolm Gladwell

Posted by Bola Egunjobi on April 21, 2009

I enjoyed seeing saxophonist Kenny G on the BBC Breakfast News yesterday morning. Indeed the 15 second piece he did from his new album is still ringing in my ears. Kenny G’s music remains as beautiful as ever. He’s got a UK tour coming up this summer.

Kenny G mentioned Malcolm Gladwell‘s Outliers book during the BBC Breakfast News interview. One of the many concepts Gladwell touches upon in this wonderful book is the idea that it takes 10,000 hours to become a master in any field of endeavour. Kenny G reckon’s he has put in over 20,000 hours of saxophone playing so far.

I first heard of Malcolm Gladwell, and the 10,000 hours’ rule, when actor Will Smith was on the BBC Breakfast  News sofa on 15th January. Will commented that he has put in over 10,000 hours of acting.

I researched Malcolm Gladwell extensively as a result of the Will Smith interview, and ended up buying and reading all 3 of his books to-date. I liked the books so much that I got one of my brothers to buy Tipping Point (the first book) and then lent him my copy of Outliers. And I also bought & read Annette Lareau’s “Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race and Family Life” on the strength of the mention in the Outliers’ book, and ended up buying copies of Lareau’s book for my two sisters-in-law.

Every once in a while, you chance upon something really interesting and it takes you on a journey of great intrigue. This has been such a journey for me.

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The Obama Chair

Posted by Bola Egunjobi on March 2, 2009

Check out this assortment of chairs, sporting Obama designs, that I stumbled-upon on the web.


Image credit: anh-minh.com/weblog/archives/design/


Image credit: Blog Like


Image credit: Mondani.com

But nothing can beat the real thing: the chair the President himself sits on when he gets down to business in the Oval Office at the White House:


President Barak Obama in the Oval Office. Image credit: Chicago Tribune  & Getty Images. Picture taken by Mark Wilson, January 22, 2009.

In this picture, the President is sitting in the CONCORDE PRESIDENTIAL office chair made by Global Group. I know the chair very well – my company Chellgrove Office Chairs introduced it to the UK in 2008!

Click here for more information on Chellgrove Office Chairs.
Click here to see more pictures of the President’s Oval Office chair.

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You can have all you want – and more – through Grace

Posted by Bola Egunjobi on February 13, 2008

I kneel before the Father, from whom His whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your heart through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fulness of God.

He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.

——————————————————————-

This is excerpted from the Apostle Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:14-20 of the New International Version of the Holy Bible.

Posted in Christianity | 1 Comment »

What’s wrong with selling Page Rank

Posted by Bola Egunjobi on January 6, 2008

I posted a couple of comments on Matt Cutt’s blog just now. The post I commented upon currently has more than 260 comments debating the issue of selling links that pass page rank. The question is so important amongst webmasters that the debate still continues 2 years after Matt posted the entry on his blog. I took Matt’s and Google’s stance on this matter, and I have chosen to reproduce my two comments here on my own blog so that I won’t lose sight of what I have said on the matter. Click here to see Matt Cutt’s post and the full set of comments it has attracted:

I think I get the main jist of this issue: Google doesn’t have anything against selling links – as long as they are intended to guide human visitors to the linked-to webpage. Rather, Google is against selling Page Rank. Because Google’s intention is for Page Rank to be a measure of the natural/organic popularity of a webpage: webpage A should pass some of its Page Rank to webpage B (through a ‘follow’ link) because the owner of webpage A genuinely believes that information on webpage B is relevant to readers of webpage A.

Since Page Rank is a factor in determining the SERPs position of a webpage, webpage A’s link-’vote’ for webpage B should result in the relevance passed from webpage A to webpage B increasing webpage B’s chances of being found on the SERPs for the linked-in text.

A paid link doesn’t say “I am linking to you because I genuinely believe you are relevant for the linked-in text”. Instead, a paid link says “I am linking to you because you paid me to do so, [potentially] regardless of whether I believe you to be relevant for the linked-in text”. THIS is the reason that paid links are not good for SERPs, and therefore why Google needs paid links to not pass Page Rank: Where paid links pass Page Rank, they dilute the quality of Google’s search engine results.

And what about Google’s paid links – Adwords? The answer is simple and startingly obvious: Adwords do not pass Page Rank, and therefore a webpage cannot influence its SERPs position by buying Adwords links.

I recently described my opinion of Google’s organic results and Adwords to a friend. (This also applies to all other SERPs that display sponsored results):

The organic results are like a popular TV programme or an article in a popular magazine, and the Adwords results are like the advertising sold around the TV programme or magazine article. The TV programme has to be as good as possible, to attract viewers. Some of those viewers will respond to the advertising.

So for Google to function well and serve its shareholders, it has to make the organic search results as relevant as possible to searchers. This includes discouraging the selling of Page Rank because that dilutes the relevance of the organic search results. Some of the searchers will choose to click on the Adwords results.

This same idea exactly applies to webmasters who create pages to sell Adsense: write good articles, encourage visitors to your website, and you may get some clicks on your Adsense ads.

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Top Gear – Richard Hammond v Louis Hamilton

Posted by Bola Egunjobi on December 22, 2007

Okay. The title of this post is not exactly accurate, but it might as well be.

In the first of the two videos below, Top Gear’s Richard Hammond shows how very difficult it is to drive a Formula One car. It is very very hard!

And then in the second video, Formula One’s new-kid-on-the-block Louis Hamilton throws a road car round the Top Gear track. Hamilton’s drive looks like “a walk in the park”; and although the track was wet and possibly oily, Louis came second only to the time set by Nigel Mansell and The Stig. Jeremy Clarkson is keen for Louis to do the drive again in the summer when the track will be dry.

Richard Hammond driving Formula One.

Lewis Hamilton on Top Gear.

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Aviva’s Richard Harvey Starts His Year in Africa

Posted by Bola Egunjobi on December 22, 2007

Richard Harvey, has started a year of charitable projects in Africa after spending 10 years as chief executive of Aviva plc (formed in 2000 from the merger of the CGU and Norwich Union insurance groups).

Involvement in their local church was key to Richard’s and his wife Kay’s decision to go to Africa. Proof that the Christian faith can play an important role in making us more socially responsible.

As the couple travels through central Africa, Kay is teaching in the local schools while Richard builds boreholes in the communities and energy-efficient cooking stoves in the schools.

Richard Harvey is using his corporate network from the developed world to back his projects with technical expertise and resources.

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Add Social Networks Buttons to Your WordPress.com Posts

Posted by Bola Egunjobi on December 21, 2007

There is a great post on how to add a collection of social network buttons to your wordpress.com posts here. I struggled with the process at first, but with the help of another commenter on the post I finally realised where I was going wrong. I have clarified the process on the original post. But as it is quite busy with comments, I thought I would re-list the steps here.

Mamado, author of the original post, created the all important autohotkey (.ahk) file. One of the other commenters on the post is hosting the file, and another commenter helped clarify the slight error in the original instructions. AutoHotKey itself is freeware.

Here now is the step-by-step process to add some social network buttons to your wordpress.com posts!

  1. Download AutoHotKey from http://www.autohotkey.com
  2. Install AutoHotKey on your computer
  3. Extract the “social.ahk” file from its .zip file
  4. Right-click the “social.ahk” file and then click “Compile Script” on the pull-down menu. This will create “social.exe”
  5. Now double (left) click “social.exe” to put it onto your system tray
  6. Find out the complete address of your blog entry. If you have already published the entry, it will be the Permalink address for it.If you haven’t published it, you can manually input the “Post Slug”. So, if you were to create an entry titled “This is a test post”, you would enter “this-is-a-test-post” into the Post Slug box.The rest of the address will be your blog address and the date. So the complete post address might look like this for example: https://egunjobi.wordpress.com/2007/12/21/this-is-a-test-post/
  7. Once you have the complete address, right-click on the AutoHotKey icon in the system tray and choose “Social Signature”
  8. In the first box that pops up, enter the complete address as explained above
  9. In the second box that comes up, enter in the title you want to be used when someone chooses an icon. For example: Bola’s Blog – This is a test post
  10. When you have confirmed the box, the complete code will be in your clipboard
  11. On the Write page of your Post, go to the Code tab. At the bottom of the code, add a couple of blank lines. And then paste in the social code from your clipboard with CTRL+V
  12. Save and publish the post to see the results. The buttons may look all crunched together in the Visual tab; but they’ll be more spread out when you view the published blog
  13. If you want to modify the way it is displayed, such as adding spacing characters like “::”, you can edit the script and add them after the /a tags
  14. That’s it!!

See an example of the results here:

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Dr J Craig Venter – A DNA-Driven World

Posted by Bola Egunjobi on December 21, 2007

I listened with utter fascination and rapt attention as Dr Craig Venter gave this year’s Richard Dimbleby Lecture on the BBC1 on Tuesday 4th December. I made rapid notes as I listened and wanted to publish my summary on the web immediately afterwards to share this amazing view of the future with as many people as possible.  Unfortunately my notes missed some key points and I did not think I would serve this wonderful lecture well by publishing them.

Thankfully, the full text of Dr Venter’s Dimbleby lecture is now widely available on the Internet. The lecture is very long (it took Dr Venter an hour to read it on BBC1), so I have created a long excerpt of some of the key points here. I have also broken my excerpt into sections with sub-headings for bite-sized readability. The sub-headings are mine, but the words in the paragraphs are Dr Venter’s (talking in the first person). 

Introduction: A DNA-Driven World

Dr Venter is considered by many to be a maverick. He had no interest in science until he found himself in the medical corps in Vietnam. Now he would like to make science interesting to every child. He sees the study of genomics as holding the key to solving rising healthcare costs and combating global warming. The answers, he says, lie in man controlling evolution, creating new species of microbes and using existing ones to generate more cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternatives to fossil fuels. 


 

Science is important

“Our planet is in crisis, and we need to mobilize all of our intellectual forces to save it. One solution could lie in building a scientifically literate society in order to survive. “I did not get excited about science until after I was drafted into the military during the Vietnam War and ended up in the medical corps. It was only there in the chaos of war that I learned firsthand that knowledge had real life and death consequences. While I went on to pursue a career in science after serving in Vietnam, I wish that my interest in science had been stimulated much sooner.” 

Making science interesting to children

“To begin the process of change we need to start with our children by teaching them to explore, challenge, and problem solve in an attempt to understand the world around them. Science and engineering need to be national and global priorities if we are to cope with the complexities ahead. What can we do to change this situation? One solution could be new teaching methods aimed at exciting students about discovery.  “At the Venter Institute we have developed a mobile genomics laboratory to bring the science of genomics to 12 and 13 year olds to expose these students to scientific problem solving and the excitement of science. I think this program succeeds because in each lesson plan we convey the wonderment of discovery and problem solving. For example, one lesson involves solving a crime scene investigation using DNA analysis much like is done in a popular TV program CSI. Had I been exposed to science in this real world manner I might have had a much better educational experience and at an earlier stage forged a stronger interest in science.” 

Prevention is more cost-effective than cure

“Perhaps one of our greatest problems is that almost every aspect of our modern society is geared toward only dealing with problems after they have occurred, rather than focusing on prevention. We do not use our intellectual capacity to understand the possibility of preventing wars, or repairing infrastructures before they fail, or preventing diseases. We need to understand that it is far more cost effective, with better life outcomes, to prevent than to cure a problem once it has occurred. “For example, the cost of health care is one of the fastest growing expenses. In 2005 total US health expenditure was a staggering $2 trillion. And it is expected to reach $4 trillion in 2015. That’s 20 percent of GDP. But all this money does not seem to guarantee the highest quality health care.” 

Healthcare

“Preventative medicine is the only way forward that I see for lowering the cost of health care other than the unacceptable approach of denying access. One of the keys to preventative medicine will be an understanding of our genetic risk for future diseases along with a greater understanding of the corresponding environmental influences of disease.  “Just three months ago in September, we published the first complete human genome sequence and now it is available to all on the internet. It was my own genome that was sequenced and published. Our genetic code is not deterministic and will provide us very few yes-no answers. It will, however, provide probabilities concerning outcomes that we will eventually be able to influence. However, by reading my own genome, I have a chance to overcome my genetics by making changes in my diet and exercise. 

“At my institute we are now scaling up to sequence the genomes from 10,000 people. This will provide a massive and powerful database, particularly when linked with clinical records and life outcomes. At that stage, we will have a much clearer view of the genetic basis of humanity. Will governments, businesses and insurance companies pay the smaller amount in advance to prevent disease? Or will we be locked into the current system of treating only what we can see?” 

Climate Change

“But the fundamental problem facing our planet – that of climate change — is one that is far more grave. In fact, unless we tackle this head on, health care could be the least of our worries. 

“The data is irrefutable–carbon dioxide concentrations have been steadily increasing in our atmosphere as a result of human activity since the earliest measurements began. We know that on the order of 4.1 billion tons of carbon are being added to and staying in our atmosphere each year. We know that burning fossil fuels and deforestation are the principal contributors to the increasing carbon dioxide concentrations in our atmosphere. We know that increasing CO2 concentrations has the same effect as the glass walls and roof of a greenhouse. It lets the energy from the sun easily penetrate but limits its escape, hence the term greenhouse gas.  

“The developed world including the United States, England and Europe contribute disproportionately to the environmental carbon, but the developing world is rapidly catching up. As the world population increases from 6.5 billion people to 9 billion over the next 45 years and countries like India and China continue to industrialize, some estimates indicate that we will be adding over 20 billion tons of carbon a year to the atmosphere. 

“Many have argued that we simply need to conserve, to alter and regress our standard of living and block the industrialization of developing countries. In my view this is extremely naive thinking… It is clear to me that we need more approaches and creative solutions. We need new disruptive ideas and technologies to solve these critical global issues. This is where, I believe, biology and genomics, come in.” 

Biology and genomics are all-encompassing

“Utilizing biology we have the ability to address every area of our lives–from medical treatment, to renewable sources of fuels. Plastics, carpets, clothing, medicines, and motor oil – all of these things can be created by biological organisms, and in an environmentally sustainable manner. 

“There are some fields where predicting and counting on exponential change has become reasonable and reliable. We see such exponential change in the world of electronics and in the growth of the human population. Therefore isn’t it possible the same could hold true for changing education, medicine, replacing the petrochemical industry, and saving the environment? Such exponential growth is seen in genomics. Over a short period of time, genome projects which 10 years ago required several years to complete now take only days. Within 5 years it will be commonplace to have your own genome sequenced. 

“Using genomics has also rapidly accelerated the discovery of new species. We are decoding the DNA of the world’s oceans, identifying the microbes that live inside of us, and cataloguing the tens of thousands of microbes and viruses that are in the air we breathe.” 

Synthetic biology

“Above all, I believe the best examples of disruptive technologies that could change our future are in the new fields of synthetic biology, synthetic genomics, and metabolic engineering. Simply put: these areas of research will enable us to create new fuels to replace oil and coal. 

“Imagine scientists in the near future sitting at their computers and designing the chromosome of a new organism, an organism that perhaps could produce fuels biologically, fuels like octane, diesel fuel, jet fuel even hydrogen all from sugar or even sunlight with the carbon coming from carbon dioxide. 

“Imagine that after designing the new chromosome, the computer directed a robot to chemically make the DNA strand encoding all that information, and that once constructed, the new chromosome would be inserted into a bacterial cell where it becomes activated causing the cell to turn into the species that the scientist designed. And now imagine that new species in a bioreactor making millions of copies of itself and each copy is producing a new fuel from only renewable sources. Sounds like science fiction right? Not to me, because I believe this is the future. 

“For the past 15 years at ever faster rates we have been digitizing biology. By that I mean going from the analog world of biology through DNA sequencing into the digital world of the computer. I also refer to this as reading the genetic code. We and others have been working for the past several years on the ability to go from reading the genetic code to learning how to write it. It is now possible to design in the computer and then chemically make in the laboratory, very large DNA molecules. A few months ago we published a scientific study in the journal Science where we described the ability to take a chromosome from one bacterium and place it into a second bacterial cell. The result was astonishing – the new DNA that we added changed the species completely from the original one into the species defined by the added DNA. You could describe this as the ultimate in identity theft. 

“Instead of evolution happening only due to random mutations that survived selective pressure, we can see how by adding chromosomes to or exchanged between species, that thousands of changes could happen in an instant. Now they can happen not just by random chance but by deliberate human design and selection. Human thought and design and specific selection is now replacing Darwinian evolution. 

“One of the most significant and unique features of our research in synthetic genomics is the long history of ethical review. The organisms being designed cannot survive outside of the laboratory and are subject to strict containment.” 

Renewable sources of fuel using microbes

“But we don’t always have to modify bacteria or design new ones. For instance, we have a team at my institute headed by Ken Nealson that has developed microbial fuel cells using naturally occurring bacteria. These organisms can process human and animal waste to produce electricity and or clean water. 

“At my company Synthetic Genomics, we have a major program underway in collaboration with BP to see if we can use naturally occurring microbes to metabolize coal into methane which can then be harvested as natural gas. While not a renewable source of carbon, it could provide as much as a 10 fold improvement over mining and burning coal. We also have organisms that can convert CO2 into methane thereby providing a renewable source of fuel.” 

Conclusion

In closing: It is my hope that we can embrace, not fear, the necessary science to help our planet. I feel it is imperative that we begin to find ways to adapt to climate change, while at the same time working to mitigate it. If we apply ourselves I believe we can find ways to create alternatives to burning oil and coal. These are massive challenges for each and every one of us. For our children’s future and for the future of our species and our planet I hope that we can rise to the challenge.”

 Click here to see Dr Venter's books on Amazon, including 'A Life Decoded'.

Dr Venter’s books on Amazon.  

Interesting question one:
What about faith and our beliefs? 
 
When he says “Teaching science as evidence-based decision making could have a profound impact on the pace of future discoveries and inventions. Simply asking what is the evidence behind any claim is a marked contrast to approaching life only upon a faith-based system.”, is Dr Venter being disdainful of faith-based religion?

  

Interesting question two:
Should man take control of evolution, or would we be playing God?
 
Given Dr Venter’s assertion that we now have the ability to “create” microbes (micro organisms) in the laboratory, do we run the risk of playing God? Dr Venter appears to believe that we do when he says that it is in man’s best interest to now take the lead and influence evolution rather than just let it happen. But Dr Venter sees this more as a necessity for the very survival of our race and our planet, rather than a risk. What are your views?

  

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Posted in Science | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Men Never Listen!!!

Posted by Bola Egunjobi on December 6, 2007

I received this joke from my sister in Nigeria today. One of those jokes that get forwarded from person to person through email. Thanks, Opeyemi, for sending this to me:

Men Never Listen!

A man and his wife receive a letter from their daughter who went to study overseas:

“My beloved parents, I miss you so much. I don’t know when I’m coming home, but it seems not anytime soon. It breaks my heart to think that by the time I get back you’ll be too old. So enclosed you will find a bottle of a potion I have invented. It will make you young, so when I return you’ll be the same age as I left you”.

NOTE: “Please take only one drop”

So they opened the envelope and in it, there is a bottle with a red potion.
The husband looks at the wife and says: “You go first.”

So the wife opens the bottle and takes a drop, thereafter the husband follows. Indeed they did turn 5 years younger.

A year passes and the daughter returns home to find her mother young and beautiful, carrying a baby on her back. The mother proceeds to tell her daughter how the potion worked and made her look young.

The daughter is delighted and asks about her father.
“Your father, my child, got so jealous that I was young and beautiful that he drank the whole bottle.”
“So where is he?”

“Oh, that’s him I have on my back.”

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