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Just received a Very Inspiring Blogger Award!

very-inspiring-awardJust received a Very Inspiring Blogger Award, thanks to The Hunt FOR Truth.

This is a wonderful thing. Sometimes I get discouraged with the site. Recognition like this makes me realize that it’s not all in vain… » Read full story in EP NEWS!


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Ethics in the Digital Age

Ethics class

Ethics class (Photo credit: aditza121)

Copyright © Adam Wood, 2013

Whenever a new technology arrives, laws are created to prevent abuses and to ensure fair play among users. The effect of new inventions on society is sort of like the old Wild West. Freewheeling technology users do just about anything they can, and change comes fast. Consumers spend much time and energy mastering their new toys, while companies are mostly concerned with innovation and growth. Ethical issues might be raised but the laws to enforce them come later. This is because new technologies raise novel, complicated questions that require careful consideration.

Think of the automobile. Licensing wasn’t always mandatory in the US and, in the beginning, drivers made their own license plates out of ceramics. These days, practically every country demands certain skills and, of course, paying a government fee to obtain a driver’s license and vehicle plate.

Vonage V-Portal retreiving IP Address

Vonage V-Portal retreiving IP Address (Photo credit: K. Todd Storch)

Other examples can be found with computers and the internet. New laws are being written right now to protect intellectual property, from trending pop tunes to the latest software coding. And recently, the idea of willing your email or social media accounts to another person before your natural death is gaining popularity. Google’s Digital Will allows grieving relatives to remove a loved one’s internet account after they’ve passed, provided the accounts have been willed to them. In the past, some have sued internet-based companies to ensure that a deceased person’s account goes offline.

Human relationships can pose additional ethical dilemmas in the digital age. Imagine two lovers who plan to spend their lives together. But the man deceives and suddenly leaves the woman. He seems happy to be free while the woman is devastated. She asks him to stop emailing her and leave her alone so she can move on. He finds a new partner while she remains single. Despite this, he continues to visit her blog and she sees his IP address through her blog stats. The man knows she can see his IP address, so could his behavior could be taken as a type of attention seeking and possibly emotional abuse?

This might seem to be pushing it. But let’s consider the problem another way. Let’s say the man doesn’t visit the woman’s blog. Instead, he drives to her home every few days and, each time, leaves a signed note in her mailbox saying “I was here.”

Image via Tumblr

How would this be viewed by the law? Would the man be guilty of stalking? If so, the woman could pursue a restraining order to keep him at a psychologically safe distance.

The previous example of the IP address showing up after the man visits her blog isn’t too different. It has a similar psychological effect. But what legal recourse would the woman have to prevent the man from digitally ‘dropping by’ and reactivating the harmful emotions triggered by his lying and abandoning her?

Until laws are drawn up for these subtler forms of emotional abuse, unethical internet users will probably continue to satisfy their own needs at the expense of others who have no legal recourse to stop them.


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The new digital divide

Image via Tumblr

The Rich See a Different Internet Than the Poor – Ninety-nine percent of us live on the wrong side of a one-way mirror (scientificamerican.com)

Most developed cities have internet or WiFi in their public libraries, but there are limits to what you can do with a library connection.

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Going Against the Grain: The Case for Online Education

Online courses allow learning to take place sy...

Online courses allow learning to take place synchronously or asynchronously (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Special to Earthpages.org

Our economy depends on education. Doesn’t matter if the education comes from an online school or a magnet program, the country needs educated youth to continue innovating and making progress. We’re used to thinking of this as a fact of life, an undeniable truth. And in the face of overwhelming challenges, we’ve responded by demanding even more from our schools. Society is asking for more equipped graduates and lots of them, all the while schools are seeing their budgets be slashed. President Obama is currently calling for 1 million additional STEM graduates while governors all over the country lament their need to gut higher education. Naturally, a lot of traditional colleges and universities are struggling under the pressure.

Fortunately, our education system is transforming too. Online college programs represent a chance for schools to catch up with the economy today’s graduates will need to face.

Already, online students make up nearly one-third of all college enrollment in the United States, according to an online education survey by Babson Survey Research Group and the College Board. That’s an even more dramatic figure when you consider how quickly it happened: the number of students taking at least one online course has nearly quadrupled since 2002, reaching 6.1 million in 2010. Nearly two-thirds of the chief academic officers interviewed in the survey described online education as “critical” to their institutions’ long-term strategy.

The reasons aren’t hard to guess. When the Internet transforms an industry, it’s usually by offering a combination of specialization and convenience. Online retailers can sell you products that don’t appear on store shelves anywhere in town, and deliver them right to your doorstep. Social networking became an industry in large part thanks to the way the Internet lets people find each other and stay in touch. Online college classes can give part-time students more freedom to manage their schedules or give opportunities to someone who cannot reach the campus.

Unlike most other industries, finding ways to make education more accessible isn’t just a matter of convenience. The Bureau of Labor Statistics points out that your level of education is linked to both your likelihood of having a job and the income you can expect to earn should you land one. The flexibility that online programs can offer fits nicely with a labor force whose workers are likely to change jobs an average of seven times throughout their careers.

Online programs aren’t just working their way into traditional institutions. The word “webinar” is barely twenty years old, but it’s become a simple way for businesses to acquaint their employees with expert instruction. Websites like Skillshare democratize the education process even further by giving anyone a platform to lead a course in whatever subject the market needs. These hyper-specialized options can’t offer graduates the same status as accredited online college classes, but they are a clear sign that the Internet is still finding new innovations to bring to the field.

And the field could use some innovation. The OECD’s education database shows that the number of Americans enrolled in higher education grew by close to seven million over the last decade. Over the same period, households’ expenses on education almost doubled, as state cutbacks led colleges to raise tuition and the outsourcing of low-skilled jobs put more emphasis on specialized training. Americans today have $1 trillion in student loan debt, which is more than credit card debt, and the price of education is still rising.

Taking an online class will not necessarily guarantee a lower tuition rate, but educators in the Babson survey overwhelmingly believed that online courses offered students more flexibility and a better chance to work at their own pace. Those tools can help them hold down a job while earning their degree.

Flexibility can help the universities, too. Those seven million new college students in the OECD report represent a nearly 10% jump in enrollment. For universities to admit more students, they need more housing, classrooms and facilities to accommodate them. However, since about 4.5 million of those new students are enrolled in classes online, universities can save on construction while still providing an education.

Online education has been around nearly as long as the Internet itself. But only recently has ‘online college’ ceased to be synonymous with ‘bad education’. The University of Phoenix, a network of for-profit colleges, began offering online courses in 1989 and is now being held more accountable for what happens to its graduates, this is driving up quality.

What’s really changed in the last decade, and why online classes have begun to blossom, is that the traditional institutions took notice. Prestigious schools, like UC Berkeley, are now offering online resources, many for free. It is a way to ensure people can still learn, even if they cannot make it into a classroom. This should be the future of education, something that utilizes technology to revolutionize society. Online classes have the ability to ensure anyone with Internet access can have a college level education, and an open education system is truly a revolutionary idea.


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Boundaries, the web and global culture

Tim Berners-Lee: The World Wide Web - Opportunity, Challenge, Responsibility - Photo credit: Anna Lena Schiller via Flickr

By Michael Clark

I got the idea for Earthpages back in 1999. Since then I’ve had some very meaningful online interactions. Most of my experience with other people on the web has been good but, every now and then things deteriorated.

After losing a few contacts (sometimes through my choice, sometimes theirs), I decided to write up some some tips for a better online interactive experience. Although originally posted about a decade ago, I’ve updated what still applies today and deleted the rest.

First, a word about boundaries. Psychologically speaking, boundaries are those lines we draw between appropriate and inappropriate relating. They can apply to direct personal encounters or to the more abstract relationships that many of us have through online communities.

The norm for appropriate boundaries usually differs among individuals, just as it does among cultures. So the following guidelines should be viewed in light of your personal preferences and global experience.

Give the benefit of the doubt

Don’t jump to conclusions. If a message seems questionable or pushes your buttons, read it again a few days later and let the big picture come into focus.

Should we assume that people always have good reasons for doing things? I don’t think so. But it still pays off to give the benefit of the doubt. So don’t act on hasty, ill-informed opinions.

Wait your turn

If someone doesn’t reply to your message there’s probably a reason. To hound them with repeated messages is rude and could develop into a kind of unsavory stalking.

A pretty obvious rule of thumb is to wait your turn. If you’ve sent a message, wait until your correspondent replies before messaging them again. This gives them time to process your information.

There are exceptions to this. For instance, we might have forgotten, corrected or updated something and want to add a quick ‘p.s.’ That’s okay, providing the follow-up is brief and necessary.

Alternately, something urgent might demand another person’s attention, in which case you might be right in pestering them.

Don’t make a career out of pushing buttons or playing mind games

Misunderstandings are inevitable. But if we set out to test, irk or outdo another, we’re just being facetious and not making anything better. By the same token, this doesn’t mean we should squelch good natured playfulness. But, like everything else, play with sensitivity and care. And if your well intentioned humor doesn’t work, then think again.

Remember… the internet isn’t necessarily secure

Today this is well-known. But there was a time when people looked at me as if I’d just landed from Mars when suggesting that some stranger could be reading their private messages.

Every now and then I’ve received e-mails where people get carried away and forget they’re potentially talking to the whole world after clicking ‘send.’ Also remember that your e-pal might forward your juicy material to others without your knowing it.

Not good.

The Entrance to the World Wide Web (HDR)

The Entrance to the World Wide Web (HDR) by jmtosses via Flickr

Say what you mean and mean what you say

This sounds like a line from a James Bond or Austin Powers flick. But it’s a good motto. It’s about being honest and actively speaking your mind.

This can be tricky because we usually want to meet others halfway, and opinions are, by definition, limited. So sometimes we might hold back for a while to see if we can find common ground.

But even anonymous internet users should try to clearly say what they think, not play head games or, perhaps, vent anger that they don’t have the courage to openly and effectively express. And it goes without saying that real name users should try to do the same.

Find a common language

Nobody likes a fake or phony. Not even fakes and phonies! But if your new correspondent is using the Queen’s English, you might want to think twice before falling into your usual slang. Then again, you might think it’s more appropriate to stick to your usual dialect. I suppose it depends on how much one identifies with one’s personal style. But I, myself, always try to find a middle ground.

Learn from mistakes

If you happen to cross some line and offend another person by mistake, reflect long and hard as to why it happened. Provided it was just a mistake, don’t shoulder all the blame. It usually takes two to tango and playing the role of scapegoat or martyr doesn’t help anybody. But don’t run away from your share of personal responsibility either. Only young children, immature adults, adults in denial, sociopaths and fanatics don’t acknowledge their fair share of responsibility.

Instead of playing the blame game, avoid or possibly redirect the situation that brought about the misunderstanding in the first place. And if another person repeatedly crosses your line and doesn’t show any signs of remorse nor change for the better, then you might think about politely withdrawing.

Hint don’t insinuate

I know I said “say what you mean and mean what you say.” But sometimes it really is better to hint instead of saying things outright. Everybody does this consciously or subconsciously. Instead of insinuating, however, it’s better to hint.

To hint is to allude to sensitive issues with an indirect or roundabout kind of well-intentioned honesty. Insinuation, on the other hand, is a dark art where nasty ideas are thrown out like poison darts.

If we try to be positive while hinting at things, others usually catch the good vibe and reply in kind. And if they don’t, well, at least we tried.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you

Rough day? Stressed out? Don’t use that as an excuse to treat others in ways that you, yourself, wouldn’t like to be treated.

Christian believer or not, this New Testament guideline really sums it all up. In fact, many world religions advocate a similar philosophy, called The Golden Rule.

Most people don’t like being insulted, lied to, cheated or manipulated—unless, of course, they’re negative attention seekers. Negative attention seeking is when someone, for whatever neurotic reasons, is just itching to get into a spat.  It’s an unhealthy approach to life and should be avoided or, if possible, redirected to a more congenial approach.

Recognize when to let go

Everybody needs space from time to time. Some of my most stimulating contacts rotate on an informal, undetermined schedule. Months, even years, might pass before a contact and I reconnect. If someone we like starts to tone things down, instead of neurotically clinging to them, it’s time to back off and possibly let it go (at least for a while).

Like the sun behind clouds, your e-pal will come out again when the time is right. And if not, chalk it up to experience. There’s over 2 billion internet users out there, so don’t get stuck on one person. Move on and remember… a web is always better than a single thread.

Earthpages does not render medical, legal, financial, counseling or other professional services. Those in need of expert assistance are advised to consult an appropriate licensed professional. See Terms of Use.


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Freeware and Freebies

Free Software Foundation by Kenn Wilson

Free Software Foundation by Kenn Wilson

Everyone likes free stuff, including the folks at Earthpages.

We just updated this list of freeware and freebies with a new gif animator (check it out in action above with the banner).

Earthpages.org is not affiliated with any these companies, organizations or projects.

Disclaimer: The software and online content listed in this post may be incompatible with your hardware and/or software. By clicking on the links below you agree that Earthpages.org | Earthpages.ca is not liable for any damages which may be incurred from visiting these links or downloading these programs.

Media Players

  • VideoLAN – VLC media player Ever wanted to capture a still image from a video? Most free media players won’t do it. After searching the web and reading all sorts of complicated do’s and don’ts, I stumbled upon this free program, which does it effortlessly. VLC also formats DVD playback in a variety of screen ratios, which can be nice. And, it plays FLAC audio files.

Video Editing

  • Bink Video (RAD Video Tools) Converts digital video files into different formats. Especially useful if your digital camera writes Quicktime .MOV files. Bink/RAD will convert them into .AVI files, which Windows Movie Maker can import!

Video Search

  • Blinkx Not really freeware because there’s nothing to download. But it’s free and a good alternative to YouTube and Google video searches.

Image Editing

  • PhotoFiltre One of my favorite free photo editors with plug-ins, highlighting and “fade last effect” feature, much like Photoshop version 4. PF doesn’t handle multiple layers like the GIMP but it’s light and tasteful. Don’t confuse this with PhotoFiltre Studio, which is not freeware.
  • PhotoScape This is a fantastic program with some great filters, fun photo stuff and useful text effects. I use this to rotate/level photos as I find it’s faster, easier and does a better job than anything else I’ve tried.
  • The GIMP GIMP stands for “GNU Image Manipulation Program.” The GIMP just keeps getting better and better; features include text, drop shadow, bevels, layers, color replacement and lots of fine filters.
  • Gimphelp.org Some cool filters for the Gimp. While Photoshop 8bf filters may still be the industry standard, I find that using freeware opens me up to different graphics and artistic approaches that I’d otherwise never try. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to install these filters. Just read the instructions and enjoy!
  • Virtual Photographer This is a great program for enhancing photos, compatible with the GIMP and other commercial software.
  • Picasa IMHO the strongest thing about this photo editor is the excellent color, lightness and contrast fixing. And it’s very user friendly. Photo rotation is a bit blurry. I use PhotoScape for that.
  • Photo Pos Pro Visually nice to look at, has some good effects and handles layers.
  • Photobie I don’t use this one too much but it has some good filters and is under steady development. Like anything else, software preference is a pretty personal thing. Definitely worth a try.
  • LightBox Solid performer. Free version touches up pics nicely with minimum of effort.
  • UnFREEz Creates animated gifs almost effortlessly, preserves transparency, and does a much better job (in terms of image quality) than MS gif animator.
  • Easy Thumbnails This easily creates good, sharp thumbnails.
  • Vector Magic Not free but you can evaluate for free with saving disabled.
  • Inkscape Good for making banners, working with fonts and converting bitmap to vector graphics.

AntiVirus, Junk and Spyware Removal

  • AntiVir A nice antivirus program from Germany with frequent free updates.
  • AdAware A ‘too good to be true’ program for detecting and cleaning invasive ads and malware that can slow down your computer. With free updates and lots of options.
  • Advanced SystemCare This was recommended by a visitor and it seems very powerful. But some may find it too aggressive and Gizmo’s Freeware says some have reported errors after using. I’ve tested this out and so far have had no probs with WinXP. It gets stuff CCleaner doesn’t, and vice versa.
  • CCleaner Fantastic program for cleaning junk files from your hard drive with frequent updates. Also useful for fixing registry integrity and blocking unwanted Windows startup programs. Use with extreme caution and don’t even think about going past the default settings unless you know what you’re doing!
  • Glary Utilities Recommended by a visitor; still testing…
  • Malwarebytes This is handy if by chance the other stuff listed here can’t help you.
  • Panda Cloud Antivirus Antivirus is available in cloud format, so say goodbye to those irritating virus definition updates.
  • Revo Uninstaller Recommended by a visitor: still testing…

FTP

  • FileZilla FTP freeware. This is another “too good to be true” program with frequent updates. It just seems to be getting better and better.

Making Web Pages

  • Free Gifs and Animations This is where we got our “New”  GIF.
  • KomPozer Apparently some techies didn’t like the fact that the buggy but very promising Nvu went into stasis. So they continued where Nvu left off. Great job! From my preliminary test it seems this might be the best totally free WYSIWYG editor around.
  • Amaya A free WYSIWYG html editor. It’s a good, straightforward product that would probably fit the needs of basic to intermediate users. Also has some cool special characters.
  • Evrsoft First Page is a free WYSIWYG editor (with a 5 sec. nag screen). It has advanced features but, as others have said, the last version I tested was a touch slow and, on my computer, a bit buggy. Still, I’ve used it with great results. (And it might have been updated since I wrote this particular entry in May 2008).

Making Music / Audio Production

  • Kristal Audio Engine This is a great program for sound recording in a multi-track format. It’s like a software version of the old Fostex and Tascam cassette recorders. Handles up to 16 audio tracks with effects, copy/cut and paste, bouncing and room for expansion. Although Kristal has been criticized for tracks not being in sync, spending a bit of time at the friendly user forum solved the issue for me.

Music Listening

  • iTunes You don’t have to purchase media with this software. iTunes comes with fantastic, free streaming radio and a 10-band equalizer and preamp with great presets. Travel the world through talk and music!
  • Winamp Music and video player with a 10-band equalizer and preamp to make music come alive. It includes free Shoutcast TV and Radio–i.e. streaming video and radio with password-protect content filtering.
  • Live 365.com No download streaming radio portal. Impressive selection of genres.
  • RadioTime Provides links to many streaming radio stations.
  • AudioGrabber Handles WAV and MP3 formats. Audiophiles will probably know that WAV files sound better but are huge. MP3′s are “sonically acceptable” and take up less space for iPods, etc. There are several free grabbers out there but I find this one sounds bigger and fatter than the others I’ve tested. Some audiophiles may like that, others may not.
  • Xrecode This is great for converting to FLAC (a “lossless” format that sounds just as good as WAV with about 45% smaller file size) and many other formats, including MP3.

Create RSS Feeds

  • FeedSpring Indie web publishers can use this to generate their own RSS feeds.

Get News with RSS

  • RSS Reader Get news stories from all over the web. This is a super program. But a while back I tested a beta version requiring net framework 2.0 and wasn’t impressed. About a third of my RSS feeds didn’t work. So I reverted to version 1.0.88.0 with net framework 1.1 and everything works great.

Bandwidth Monitoring

  • FreeMeter Since I’m a regular web cam user, I wanted to know which web cam software is most efficient. Enter FreeMeter.

Scanning, File Conversion, PDF

  • Bullzip This easily converts Windows documents to pdf. Lots of options. Fantastic.
  • Scan2PDF – scan documents to PDF format Scan anything and convert to .pdf (for Acrobat Reader). Also open image files from your hard drive and convert to .pdf. I found that it works best if in “options” you enable the scanner interface to be seen. That way you can adjust the resolution and get really good results.
  • Open Office I tested out the word processor on this suite in 2008 and found it satisfactory, although the English thesaurus was weak, and downloading/installing more dictionaries was a hassle. It was also a bit slow to load and felt heavier on my machine than commercial products. Open Office easily converts to pdf, however, and supports a wide number of languages. And I believe there’s a more recent version.
  • Primo PDF Primo converts Windows documents to pdf.

Multitasking

  • Always on Top I use this with WinXP to keep an application window visible while working with other applications. Examples could be keeping MS Word or maybe a Google chat contact visible while surfing or blogging. This program is very light and works great.


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Pope encourages joining digital “network of relationships”

Pope Benedict XVI prays in front of the image ...

Pope Benedict XVI prays in front of the image of Our Lady of Fatima in central Portugal, May 12, 2010 Image by Catholic Church (England and Wales), credit M.Mazur/www.thepapalvis via Flickr

Special to Earthpages.org

The Pope has invited young people “to make good use of their presence in the digital world”.

In a message for “45th World Communications Day” posted on Holy See website on January 24, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI said: “The web is contributing to the development of new and more complex intellectual and spiritual horizons, new forms of shared awareness”. He urged his followers “to join the network of relationships which the digital era has made possible”, adding that “this network is an integral part of human life.”

But the Pope also pointed out: “It is important always to remember that virtual contact cannot and must not take the place of direct human contact with people at every level of our lives……Direct human relations always remain fundamental for the transmission of the faith!”

The Pope listed the limits of digital communication as: “the one-sidedness of the interaction, the tendency to communicate only some parts of one’s interior world, the risk of constructing a false image of oneself, which can become a form of self-indulgence”. He listed dangers of entering cyberspace as: enclosing oneself in a sort of parallel existence, or excessive exposure to the virtual world.

Meanwhile, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, suggested other Hindus to realize the Self. He argued that digital networks were just tools, and the broader goal being self-realization, it really did not matter which tools one used.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, blamed Pope for indulging too much into materialism and consumerism in his promotion of “digital world”, “cyberspace”, etc.

Ancient Hindu scripture Katha Upanishad points out that when wise realize the Self, they go beyond sorrow. Self is supreme and those who meditate on Self are freed from the cycle of birth and death. When one realizes Self, there is nothing else to be known, quotes Rajan Zed.


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Beliefnet agrees to post protesting Hindus’ viewpoint alongside “The Love Guru” promotion

             Hindu Leader Rajan Zed

Special to Earthpages.org

On the protest of Hindu groups, Beliefnet, the largest spiritual website, has agreed to post an article explaining their viewpoint about the upcoming Hollywood movie “The Love Guru” alongside promotional material of movie, which Hindus say lampoons their religion.

Advancing the movement launched by acclaimed Hindu leader Rajan Zed, Hindu groups had earlier asked Beliefnet to stop promoting “The Love Guru”, which they say “hurts the Hindu and spiritual community”.

Michael Kress, Managing Editor of Beliefnet, in a communiqué to Bhavna Shinde, who represents Hindu Janjagruti Samiti and Sanatan Society for Scientific Spirituality, said, “We hope that by featuring this opinion alongside others, our readers can be better informed about the issues you are raising and decide for themselves what to believe and how to act in this case.” 

Shinde in a communiqué to Beliefnet had earlier said, “…we are appalled that a well-respected spiritual website like Beliefnet is openly promoting this movie that hurts the Hindu and spiritual community, contradicting Beliefnet’s published mission statement…”

“Protesting the denigrating content of ‘The Love Guru’ and Beliefnet’s promoting it”, Shinde further said, “…we urge Beliefnet to stop promoting ‘The Love Guru’ movie, till Paramount has made necessary changes to the movie, so that it will not hurt the feelings of the worldwide spiritual and Hindu community. This will also ensure continued respect from the Hindu and spiritual for Beliefnet as a truly spiritual website, in accordance with its mission statement.” 

Beliefnet lists its mission as ” to help people like you find, and walk, a spiritual path that will bring comfort, hope, clarity, strength, and happiness”. “Our only agenda is to help you meet your spiritual goals”, its website says.

Talking about the Beliefnet and Paramount partnership on ‘The Love Guru’ movie, the Beliefnet website said, “The features on this page were created as part of a collaboration between Beliefnet and Paramount Pictures. Beliefnet editors and Paramount officials jointly determined the design and content of this page,” and also states, “Beliefnet and Paramount explore the movie ‘The Love Guru’”. It also includes trailer of the movie. “Ask the Love Guru a Question” was at number four on the Most Emailed Articles list of Beliefnet website.

Launched in 1999, Beliefnet is part of the Fox Entertainment Group, which is a division of News Corporation. Steven Waldman is the President and Editor-in-Chief. Stated to be the largest online community for spirituality and inspiration, Beliefnet claims about three million unique visitors each month and a daily email newsletter readership of nearly 11 million subscribers. It has partnership with Time magazine, ABC News, etc.

Meanwhile, Hindu groups supporting Zed’s concerns about the movie have also been approaching film distributors associations, exhibitors groups, regulatory bodies, government ministries, theater owners, etc., in various parts of the world urging them not to distribute/screen “The Love Guru” till its presenter Paramount Pictures makes necessary changes to it.

In these communiqués, these groups said, “…stop distributing or screening the movie till Paramount has made necessary changes to the movie, so that it will not hurt the feelings of the worldwide spiritual and Hindu community.” 

“…If the trailer is an indicator of the content of the movie…then we feel that this movie is most likely to hurt the sentiments of seekers from various spiritual paths…it will hurt the religious sentiments of millions of Hindus worldwide, who hold the ‘Guru-disciple’ relationship as sacred…we are supporting Rajan Zed’s protest against the denigration…Poking fun is one thing, but if it creates a sense of belittling other’s faith, then it is wrong,” communiqués stressed.

Meanwhile, furthering the drive pioneered by Indo-American leader Rajan Zed, various organizations and leaders have been coming out expressing concern about the possibility of “The Love Guru” hurting the sentiments of Hindus worldwide and urging filmmakers to be more responsible when handling faith related subjects. Zed has been saying that from the information available about the movie, it appears to be lampooning Hinduism and Hindus and using Hindu terms frivolously. Various Hindu, Catholic, Presbyterian, Jewish, Native American, Methodist, Buddhist, youth, film, spiritual/religious, music, yoga, civil rights, etc., leaders have already issued statements in support of this cause espoused by Rajan Zed.

G. Kendrick Macdowell, Vice President of the National Association of Theatre Owners, largest exhibition trade organization in the world, replying to above-mentioned request of halting distribution/screening of the movie wrote, “I am sympathetic to your concern as I have been to the ashrams in India and know a little bit about the guru-disciple relationship. I have not seen the trailer or the movie, but I can guess that it satirizes ‘gurus on the make’. I doubt I would find it funny. Nevertheless, we are not in a position to take action you recommend …we are a trade association, and we cannot interfere with the decisions of our members regarding what movies or trailers to play…”

Ilona Cheshire, Press Officer of prestigious British Film Institute (BFI), wrote in her reply, “Please rest assured that the BFI will not be screening this title nor will be involved with a possible release of it.” J.L. Green, Chief Assistant (Policy) to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), replying the communiqué, said, “The BBFC is sympathetic to your concerns…”

Primitivo Rodriguez-Gordillo, President of Spain based Sociedad de Empresarios de Cine de España (SECIES), informed that the letter sent by Hindu groups was distributed among their members and “we hope their act conveniently”.

A prominent Jewish Rabbi, Elizabeth W. Beyer of Nevada (USA), has called for boycott of  “The Love Guru” because it “…lampoons Hinduism, mocks Ashram life and Hindu philosophy…” and asking “who laughs at religious practices”.

Paramount Pictures, through its Senior Vice President National Publicity, Jessica Rovins, has earlier stated, “It is our full intention to screen the film for Rajan Zed and other Hindu leaders in the U.S. once we have a finished print.”                

It may be recalled here that advance screenings of Mel Gibson’s 2004 movie “The Passion of the Christ” were held for clergy and others.

“The Love Guru”; a comedy starring Mike Myers (of Austin Powers fame, who is also the co-writer and co-producer), Jessica Alba, Justin Timberlake, Ben Kingsley; and directed by Marco Schnabel; is set to release on June 20 next. In it Myers, an American, raised in an ashram in India, moves back to US as Guru Pitka to seek fame and fortune in the world of self-help and spirituality. 

Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion followers. Moksha (liberation) is the ultimate goal of Hinduism.

Paramount Pictures Corporation is a global producer and distributor of filmed entertainment.

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The Best Live News Feeds!

We’ve just added the BEST Live News feeds! These will always be available from the “News” tab at the top of this page. We plan to add even more soon. Enjoy!

Above links variously provided by Yahoo News! , Google News and Moreover Technologies. We encourage you to go to those sites and search using your own custom categories!

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