Will Facebook Succeed in China?

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If the rumors are true, Facebook is planning to enter China’s social-media market through a partnership with the local search giant Baidu.

Facebook will face strong local competition and the same regulatory and political pressures that defeated other Western internet giants like Google, Yahoo, eBay, Amazon and Twitter, according to industry experts.

China already has “social-media properties providing value in a very fragmented social media landscape, so I’m just not sure what compelling value Facebook can provide in a meaningful way,” said Sam Flemming, founder and chairman of CIC. “To become literally the Facebook of China is not going to be easy in a market that’s already very social.”

In addition, Facebook may have waited too long, warned James Lee, a global media analyst at CLSA. “When you have a hyper-competitive space, you need to be there on day one.”

China’s appeal is understandable. The country is home to the world’s largest internet market and it has a vibrant social-media scene, with successful social-media sites such as RenRen, Kaixin001, Qzone and 51.com, Tencent’s QQ instant-messenger platform and Sina’s red-hot microblogging service Weibo.
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Chinese media analysts also question whether Facebook has picked the best suitor in Baidu.

“There is a natural relationship between search and social,” said T.R. Harrington, founder and CEO of Shanghai-based Darwin Marketing and a search-marketing specialist. But Baidu is not necessarily the best choice for Facebook to enter the Chinese market. “It would make a lot more sense to work with someone like Sina’s Weibo [or] Tencent,” established companies that understand China’s social-media market.

Keith Richards’ Famous Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

I was very excited to be invited backstage at several Rolling Stones’ Concerts over the years…The interesting thing about these backstage events is that the Stones conduct them “before” the concert.
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Everyone is relaxed and excited by the anticipation of the show, the atmosphere is electric and the Stones oblige their fans by joining them for a virtual buffet feast…all of the band’s favorite dishes are there including Keith Richards’ favorite…shepherd’s pie.

Here is the recipe…

3 pounds potatoes, “Tumbling Diced”

1 tablespoon butter

Salt and pepper to taste

2 pounds ground beef

2 large onions, chopped

2 large carrots, grated

1 12-ounce can beef stock

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Place potatoes in large saucepan; cover with water. Bring to boil, reduce heat, simmer until tender. Drain. Using electric mixer or whisk, mash potatoes and butter. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat large skillet. Add beef and onions. Season with salt and pepper. Add carrots and stock. Mix in cornstarch, cook 10 minutes. Pour meat mixture into pie dish and top with mashed potatoes. Place under broiler until potatoes begin to turn brown.

St. Ann’s Feast, Hoboken, New Jersey

When I was a kid this feast was the highlight of my summer.

This year’s annual St. Ann’s Italian Festival is slated for July 21 through 26th. It is a large event every year in terms of turnout largely due to tradition and the quality of its musical acts.

The Hoboken St. Ann’s Festival is located at 7th and Jefferson in Hoboken which is the location of the beautiful St. Ann’s Church. For more information on the festival go to: http://www.st-annchurch.com/default.asp?contentID=35
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…and my favorite treat of the feast…zeppoles!
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Wish us luck, we also have tickets for the drawing held Tuesday night!

Nasa Myth #1; NASA is extraordinarily expensive

As I watch the US Space program as we knew it slowly come to an end I look at the budget cuts and the consequences that come from the cuts and ask why NASA? Especially when the US is in need of job creation. Probably the only government spending that really does create jobs is NASA.

At the height of the Apollo program, NASA consumed more than 4 percent of the federal budget. In the 1960s, that was a lot of money. Today, it’s a rounding error. NASA’s budget for fiscal year 2011 is roughly $18.5 billion — 0.5 percent of a $3.7 trillion federal budget. In 2010, Americans spent about as much on pet food.
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And those who complain that it is a waste to spend money in space forget that NASA creates jobs. According to the agency, it employs roughly 19,000 civil servants and 40,000 contractors in and around its 10 centers.

In the San Francisco area alone, the agency says it created 5,300 jobs and $877 million worth of economic activity in 2009. Ohio, a state hard-hit by the Great Recession that is home to NASA’s Plum Brook Research Station and Glenn Research Center, can’t afford to lose nearly 7,000 jobs threatened by NASA cuts.

Even more people have space-related jobs outside the agency. According to the Colorado Space Coalition, for example, more than 163,000 Coloradans work in the space industry. Though some build rockets for NASA, none show up in the agency’s job data.