Wednesday, June 11, 2008

25 Radical Network Research Projects We Should Know

T-ray-based computers, the truth about Googling and
finding terrorists on the Internet
By Network World Staff and IDG News Service , Network
World , 04/16/2008

From Network World:

This story appeared on Network World at

While universities don't tend to shout as loudly about
their latest tech innovations as do Google, Cisco and
other big vendors, their results are no less
impressive in what they could mean for faster, more
secure and more useful networking. Here's a roundup,
in no particular order, of some of the most amazing
and colorful projects in the works.

1. Exploiting T-rays

Who needs electricity to run superfast computers when
there's terahertz radiation, or T-rays? University of
Utah engineers have reached deep into the
electromagnetic spectrum to find this new way to build
circuits for computers that would run a thousand times
faster than today's gigahertz-speed computers. The
development involves creation of waveguides to send
and manipulate T-rays, also known as far-infrared

"We have taken a first step to making circuits that
can harness or guide terahertz radiation," says Ajay
Nahata, study leader and associate professor of
electrical and computer engineering, in a statement.
"Eventually – in a minimum of 10 years – this will
allow the development of superfast circuits, computers
and communications."

2. Hybrids: Computers, not cars

A multi-university research team funded by the
Department of Defense is working to combine computer
memory functions typically performed by magnetic
components and computer logic operations typically
handled by semiconductor components into a hybrid
material. The benefit would be faster and more compact
machines that chow down less power and are less
expensive to build.

"In this approach, the coupling between magnetic and
non-magnetic components would occur via a magnetic
field or flow of electron spin, which is the
fundamental property of an electron and is responsible
for most magnetic phenomena," says Giovanni Vignale ,
a University of Missouri physics professor in the
College of Arts and Science, in a statement. "The
hybrid devices that we target would allow seamless
integration of memory and logical function, high-speed
optical communication and switching, and new sensor

The Department of Defense awarded a $6.5 million grant
to the University of Iowa for the project. In addition
to the Iowa and Missouri schools, also working on the
project are researchers from New York University,
University of California at Berkeley and the
University of Pittsburgh.

3. Getting to bottom of Web searches

Web search might seem like a complex issue, but it
really boils down to three basic kinds of searches:
informational, navigational and transactional (related
to buying something).

That's the word from researchers at Penn State
University's College of Information Sciences and
Technology and Australia's Queensland University of
Technology who looked at more than 1.5 million queries
from hundreds of thousands of search engines users.

The bulk of searches (80%) proved to be informational,
with the other 20% split between navigational and
transactional. The researchers used an algorithm that
they say classified searches with a 74% accuracy rate.

"Other results have classified comparatively much
smaller sets of queries, usually manually," said Jim
Jansen, assistant professor in Penn State's College of
Information Sciences and Technology, in a statement .
"This research aimed to classify queries

The researchers' work is outlined in a paper titled
"Determining the informational, navigational and
transactional intent of Web queries" that will appear
in the May issue of Information Processing &

4. Mapping the whole Internet

Israeli researchers have created a topographical map
of the Internet by enlisting more than 5,600
volunteers across 97 countries who agreed to download
a program that tracks how Internet nodes interact with
each other.

The result is "the most complete picture of the
Internet available today," Bar Ilan University
researcher Shai Carmi told the MIT Technology Review.

"A better understanding of the Internet's structure is
vital for integration of voice, data and video
streams, point-to-point and point-to-many distribution
of information, and assembling and searching all of
the world's information," Carmi and fellow researchers
state in a new report published in the Proceedings of
the National Academy of Sciences. "It may reveal
evolutionary processes that control the growth of the

Carmi's research uses a program called the DIMES
agent, which is downloaded onto volunteers' computers
and performs Internet measurements such as traceroute
and ping. The project's Web site promises that, along
with providing a "good feeling," using the DIMES agent
will provide maps to users showing how the Internet
looks from their homes. Users of the program chat
about their findings at this forum.

Another project that tracks Internet traffic growth is
called the Minnesota Internet Traffic Studies (MINTS)

5. The Fluid Project

A handful of universities, including the University of
Toronto and the University of California, Berkeley, is
working to build a software architecture and reusable
components that can make Web applications easier to
develop and use. The Fluid Project's work focuses on
user-centered design practices. Vendors such as
Mozilla Foundation, IBM and Sun are also taking part.

The latest news out of the project is that a grant has
been awarded to the Adaptive Technology Resource
Centre at the University of Toronto from the Mozilla
Foundation to promote DHTML accessibility and the
adoption of ARIA (the W3C Web Accessibility
Initiative's Accessible Rich Internet Applications

6. Attila: one radio on many wireless networks

Today's wireless networks are in a rut: Most radios
that form the networks can only work on one frequency
band of the spectrum. If that band is glutted, glitchy
or jammed, the radios are useless.

Enter Attila the Radio, invented by two researchers at
Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, N.J. The
concept is simple: Attila parcels out a stream of data
packets over any and all available wireless spectrum
at the same time. The packets could stream, for
example, over a Wi-Fi mesh, Verizon's Code Division
Multiple Access (CDMA) cell network, rival AT&T's
Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM)
airwaves, and over a WiMAX link.

Current prototypes use several radios, one for each of
the networks being used, but the goal is a single
radio. The future of Attila the radio lies now with
Attila the company, formally known as Atilla
Technologies, which was founded in 2005 by two Stevens
Institute of Technology researchers.

7. Sniffing out insider threats

Researchers are developing technology they say will
use data mining and social networking techniques to
spot and stop insider security threats and industrial

Air Force Institute of Technology researchers have
developed software that can spot insider threats using
an extended version of automated document indexing
known as Probabilistic Latent Semantic Indexing
(PLSI). This technology can discern employees'
interests from e-mail and create a social network
graph showing their various interactions, researchers

The technology could help any organization sniff out
insider threats by analyzing e-mail activity or find
individuals among potentially tens of thousands of
employees with latent interests in sensitive topics.
The same technology might also be used to spot
individuals who feel alienated within the organization
as well as unraveling any worrying changes in their
social network interactions. The researchers explain
that individuals who have shown an interest in a
sensitive topic but who have never communicated to
others within the organization on this subject are
often the most likely to be an insider threat.

The software can reveal those people either with a
secret interest in that topic or who may feel
alienated from the organization and so communicate
their interest in it only to those outside the
organization, researchers said. Another important
signal of alienation or a potential problem is a shift
in the connections between an individual and others
within the organization. If an individual suddenly
stops communicating or socializing with others with
whom they have previously had frequent contact, then
the technology could alert investigators to such

The research team tested their approach on the
archived body of messages from the liquidated Enron
company e-mail system.

8. All about Twitter

University of Maryland students have written a paper
called "Why We Twitter: Understanding Microblogging
Usage and Communities" examining why people Twitter.
Also known as microblogging, Twittering is a new form
of communication in which users can describe their
current status in short posts distributed by instant
messages, mobile phones, e-mail or the Web," according
to the paper's abstract.

The authors, Akshay Java, Xiaodan Song, Tim Finin and
Belle Tseng, say the paper "presents our observations
of the microblogging phenomena by studying the
topological and geographical properties of Twitter's
social network." They concluded that figuring out why
individuals microblog is elusive, but that by
analyzing an aggregate of data across a community can
provide insight into why a group of people microblog.

9. Spotting phishers

Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University have
developed an online game designed to teach Internet
users about the dangers of phishing.

Featuring a cartoon fish named Phil, the game, called
Anti-Phishing Phil, has been tested in CMU's Privacy
and Security Laboratory. Officials with the lab say
users who spent 15 minutes playing the interactive,
online game were better able to discern fraudulent Web
sites than those who simply read tutorials about the

The game focuses on teaching Internet users how to
tell the URL of a fraudulent site from a legitimate
one, officials say. It offers tips such as examining
URLs for misspellings of popular sites, dissecting a
Web address to understand where it's pointing to, and
using Google to validate a URL against search results.
More here.

10. RFID and the heart

Telemedicine researchers have been awarded a $400,000
grant to work on integrating RFID technology with
cardiac sensor networks used to monitor patients'

The Rochester Institute of Technology says its work
will make cardiac sensor networks more secure,
reducing the chances of identity theft or other abuse.
The work could also make the healthcare process work
more efficiently by supporting RFID tags on medicine
bottles, the school says.

"Telemedicine technology can greatly increase the
quality of medical care while also decreasing
healthcare costs," said Fei Hu, assistant professor of
computer engineering at RIT, in a statement. "Through
this project we hope to increase the integration of
RFID into existing cardiac sensor networks, ensure the
overall security of the system and promote the
implementation of the technology in nursing homes and
adult care facilities across the country."

11. Analyzing the "Dark Web"

Computer scientists at a University of Arizona lab
have created a project called Dark Web that is
designed to track and analyze the moves of terrorists
and extremists using the Internet to spread
propaganda, recruit members and plan attacks (click
here to read our feature on cyberwar).

The project, which is funded by the National Science
Foundation and other federal agencies, is led by
Hsinchun Chen at the Artificial Intelligence Lab in
Tucson. Dark Web's specialty is tracking massive
amounts of information scattered across thousands of
Web sites and in e-mail and other online programs.
Spidering, link analysis, multimedia analysis and
other techniques are used, according to the NSF.

A method dubbed Writeprint is used to strip away the
anonymity of terrorists online by analyzing language,
semantic and other features of content and comparing
it with other content posted across the Internet.
Authors can be identified and new information
published by the authors can be flagged as it is
posted and spread. One recent study by the Dark Web
team identified stories and videos used to train
terrorists in building improvised explosive devices.

Not that the terrorists are unaware they're being

"They can put booby-traps in their Web forums," Chen
said in a statement, "and the spider can bring back
viruses to our machines."

12. Really, really fast wireless

Scientists at the Georgia Electronic Design Center
(GEDC) at the Georgia Institute of Technology have
designed a system that can transfer data at 5Gbps at a
range of 5 meters.

Joy Laskar, the GEDC's director, says many of the
products designed for the 60GHz band initially will be
marketed to consumers for home use, because businesses
are more likely to take wait-and-see attitudes with
new technology that hasn't yet proved reliable. Even
so, he says he can imagine several business
applications for multigigabit networks, especially in
the field of large-scale data transfer. "Imagine that
you have a portable device that's essentially an
evolved iPod that has hundreds of gigs of storage," he
says. "One scenario would be to have several kiosks
around an office that could wirelessly send
information to your device."

Separately, a team of engineers at Georgia Tech
Research Institute (GTRI) is taking a new approach to
phased-array antennas that the developers say could
enable an ultra-wideband device to do the job of five
regular antennas.

The Fragmented Aperture Antenna has already
demonstrated a 33-to-1 bandwidth, blowing by the
10-to-1 ratio of conventional systems. Researchers say
a 100-to-1 ratio might not be far off for use in radar
and communications environments.

13. Real bandwidth management

University of California at San Diego computer
scientists say they have developed a TCP-based
bandwidth management system that works across global

The "flow proportional share" algorithm created by
Barath Raghavan and his teammates is designed to
enable a group of rate limiters to work together,
providing better availability of network applications,
including Web sites.

"With our system, an organization with mirrored Web
sites or other services across the globe could
dynamically shift its bandwidth allocations between
sites based on demand. You can't do that now, and this
lack of control is a significant drawback to today's
cloud-based computing approaches," said Raghavan, a
Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Computer Science
and Engineering at UCSD's Jacobs School of

The work is described in a paper called "Cloud Control
with Distributed Rate Limiting".

14. Doing away with digital clutter

MIT researchers have come up with a way to measure
visual clutter, a breakthrough that could help
everyone from fighter pilots to Web site designers.

The scientists published a paper in the Journal of
Vision that explains their work. The impetus for the
work was that "we lack a clear understanding of what
clutter is, what features, attributes and factors are
relevant, why it presents a problem and how to
identify it," says Ruth Rosenholtz, principal research
scientist at MIT's Department of Brain and Cognitive

Another issue is that clutter is perceived differently
by different people, so coming up with a universal
measure of what's hard or easy to pick out in a
display is challenging. The model devised takes into
account such factors as color, data and contrast.
The researchers tested their model on people looking
at a map, trying to find an arrow saying "You are
here," for example.
Rosenholtz plans to offer the MIT team's visual
clutter tool to designers as part of a continuing
study. You can test out the level of clutter in a
display yourself by going here .

15. Finding pictures of needles in haystacks

Penn State researchers have developed software they
say tags images upon uploading to Yahoo's Flickr or
other photo systems but also automatically updates
those tags based on how people interact with the

This could greatly improve searching for images, the
researchers say.

"Tagging itself is challenging as it involves
converting an image's pixels to descriptive words,"
said James Wang, lead researcher and associate
professor of information sciences and technology, in a
statement. "But what is novel with the 'Tagging over
Time' or T/T technology is that the system adapts as
people's preferences for images and words change."

In recent tests the system was shown to correctly
annotate four of every 10 images. It still needs work,
but is an improvement over an earlier Penn
State-developed system dubbed Automatic Linguistic
Indexing of Pictures-Real Time that analyzed pixel
content to suggest tags. The new software, which
relies on machine-learning, is described in more
detail in a paper called "Tagging Over Time:
Real-world Image Annotation by Lightweight
Meta-learning." The researchers say accuracy of the
new system can grow from 40% to 60% as it learns from
user behavior.

16. Videoconferencing made for Dr. Phil

While videoconferencing has proven its worth for
corporate meetings and distance learning, researchers
say the technology could also play a big role in
mediating disputes between coworkers, neighbors and
family members.

Researchers from the University of Bath in the United
Kingdom interviewed a dozen conciliators to determine
their views on what it would be like to use video
technology in their jobs. The researchers say video
holds the promise of being useful because it can
better translate the emotional state of the parties
involved and reduces possible intimidation when
parties are in the same room.

"Most of the conciliation to sort out disputes between
employees is done by phone because for the
conciliator, who may have as many as 70 or 80 cases to
deal with at once, it can be difficult, costly and
slow to arrange to see people in person," said
Department of Computer Science Director of Studies
Leon Watts in a statement. "In situations of high
conflict, it can be hard to get to the real issues, to
judge what people really care about, on the phone. So
using a video link, in which the conciliator can in
addition see each of the disputing parties, is a step
forward: it gives them new options for appreciating
parties' depth of concern about different issues."

The increased availability of broadband services and
improved video quality combine to make widespread
videoconferencing feasible, the researchers said. The
researchers plan to work with a conciliation training
organization to spread the word on videoconferencing.

17. Vocal Joystick

University of Washington researchers have developed
software designed to let those who can't work a
handheld mouse use their voice instead to navigate the

"There are many people who have perfect use of their
voice who don't have use of their hands and arms,"
said Jeffrey Bilmes, an associate professor of
electrical engineering, in a statement. "There are
several reasons why Vocal Joystick might be a better
approach, or at least a viable alternative, to
brain-computer interfaces."

The Vocal Joystick detects sounds 100 times a second,
relying on vowel sounds to move in one direction or
another and moving faster or slower depending on voice
volume. "K" and "ch" sounds are used for mouse clicks
and releases. Some wonder why speech recognition
technology might not be better, but the University of
Washington researchers say it would be too slow since
it would rely on drawn-out, discrete commands. ( Watch
a video of how Vocal Joystick works here.)

The tool can be used for Web browsing, as well as for
playing video games and even drawing on a screen.

18. Measuring boredom

The National Science Foundation is funding research
that could enable computers to respond to your levels
of frustration or boredom. In other words, we're
talking about "mind reading" technology.

Tufts University researchers are exploiting
near-infrared spectroscopy technology that uses light
to pick up on your emotional cues by monitoring brain
blood flow.

Of course, for now you need to wear a funky headband
to make it work (the headband "uses laser diodes to
send near-infrared light through the forehead at a
relatively shallow depth — only two to three
centimeters — to interact with the brain's frontal
lobe," according to Tufts.)

19. Better computer building blocks

A University of Maryland researcher has come up with a
method that he says could one day be used by companies
to build nanoscale computer and cell phone components
faster and less expensively.

Ray Phaneuf , associate professor of materials science
and engineering at the A. James Clark School of
Engineering, compares his idea to self-assembly
processes in nature such as crystallization.

Phaneuf has built a photolithography- and
etching-based template that nature can use to assemble
atoms into predefined patterns for creating things
such as laptop semiconductors, wearable device sensors
and cell phone components. His work has focused on
silicon, typically used for computer components, and
gallium arsenide, which is common in cell phone parts.

"While we understand how to make working nanoscale
devices, making things out of a countable number of
atoms takes a long time," Phaneuf said in a statement
. "Industry needs to be able to mass-produce them on a
practical time scale." Such devices could even be used
some day in building the "qubits" that serve as the
basis of advanced quantum computing machines, Phaneuf

Phaneuf's work focuses on silicon and gallium arsenide
components. Silicon is the prevalent material for
components in computers while gallium arsenide is used
more often in cell phones.

20. Good Samaritans

Dartmouth researchers say they were surprised to find
that Good Samaritans – those people who update the
online Wikipedia encyclopedia when just passing by –
are actually as reliable as regular, registered users
of the site.

The researchers examined the quality of Wikipedia
content based on how long it persisted before being
changed or corrected. Wikipedia's archive of edits and
user reputation allowed for the research to be done.

"This finding was both novel and unexpected," said
Denise Anthony, associate professor of sociology, in a
statement. "In traditional laboratory studies of
collective goods, we don't include Good Samaritans,
those people who just happen to pass by and
contribute, because those carefully designed studies
don't allow for outside actors. It took a real-life
situation for us to recognize and appreciate the
contributions of Good Samaritans to Web content."

Sean Smith, associate professor of computer science,
added: "Wikipedia is a great example of how
open-source contributions work for the greater good."

The researchers' findings are presented in a paper
called "The Quality of Open Source Production: Zealots
and Good Samaritans in the Case of Wikipedia."

21. Honeybees and the Internet

Honeybee intelligence can be used to improve the speed
and efficiency of Internet servers by up to 25%,
according to Georgia Institute of Technology

Honeybees somehow manage to efficiently collect a lot
of nectar with limited resources and no central
command. Such swarm intelligence of these amazingly
organized bees can also be used to improve the
efficiency of Internet servers faced with similar
challenges, researchers said. A bee dance-inspired
communications system developed by Georgia Tech helps
Internet servers that would normally be devoted solely
to one task move between tasks as needed, reducing the
chances that a Web site could be overwhelmed with
requests and lock out potential users and customers.

Compared with the way server banks are commonly run,
the honeybee method typically improves service by 4%
to 25% in tests based on real Internet traffic,
researchers said. Internet servers typically have a
set number of servers devoted to a certain Web site or
client. When users access a Web site, the servers
provide computing power until all the requests to
access and use the site have been fulfilled. Sometimes
there are a lot of requests to access a site -- for
instance, a clothing company's retail site after a
particularly effective television ad during a popular
sporting event -- and sometimes there are very few.
Predicting demand for Web sites, including whether a
user will access a video clip or initiate a purchase,
is extremely difficult in a fickle Internet landscape,
and servers are frequently overloaded and later become
completely inactive at random.

Bees tackle their resource allocation problem (such as
a limited number of bees and unpredictable demand on
their time and desired location) with a seamless
system driven by "dances." Here's how it works: The
scout bees leave the hive in search of nectar. Once
they've found a promising spot, they return to the
hive "dance floor" and perform a dance. The direction
of the dance tells the waiting forager bees which
direction to fly, the number of waggle turns conveys
the distance to the flower patch; and the length
conveys the sweetness of the nectar. The bee/Internet
research was published in the Bioinspiration and
Biomimetics journal.

22. Pushing 100Gbps copper networks

Penn State engineers are trying to push relatively
short Category-7 copper cables to support digital data
speeds up to 100Gbps.
The idea would be to enable copper cables within a
room or building, perhaps being used to interconnect
servers, to handle data rates typically reserved for
fiber-optic links. The trick has been coming up with a
transmitter/receiver that uses error correcting and
equalizing methods to can cancel interference better
than traditional systems.

"A rate of 100 gigabit over 70 meters is definitely
possible, and we are working on extending that to 100
meters, or about 328 feet," said Ali Enteshari,
graduate student in electrical engineering, in a
statement. "However, the design of a 100 gigabit modem
might not be physically realizable at this time as it
is technology limited. We are providing a roadmap to
design a high-speed modem for 100 gigabits."

Mohsen Kavehrad , a professor of electrical
engineering at Penn State, says his team is working
with NEXANS, the company that makes the cable. "These
are the current, new generation of Ethernet cables,"
he says.

23. Drivers wielding cell phones

We've seen or heard about drivers on cell phones
causing accidents. But research from the University of
Utah also shows that such drivers are also responsible
for slowing traffic flows.

Those talking on cell phones tend to drive more slowly
on freeways, pass slowgoing vehicles less frequently
and generally take longer to get from one point to
another, the researchers found. This can cost society
in terms of lost productivity, fuel costs and more,
the researchers concluded.

"At the end of the day, the average person's commute
is longer because of that person who is on the cell
phone right in front of them," said University of Utah
psychology Professor Dave Strayer, leader of the
research team, in a statement. "That SOB on the cell
phone is slowing you down and making you late."

The research is based on a PatrolSim driving

Meanwhile, don't feel so smug about how safety
conscious you are by using a hands-free cell phone in
the car: Carnegie Mellon University researchers say
you're still likely to be distracted.

The researchers used brain imaging to show that even
just listening to a cell phone while driving cuts by
more than a third your attention to driving. Subjects
inside an MRI brain scanner were tested on a driving
simulator and were found to weave, similar to if they
were under the influence of alcohol. The study
(featuring cool colorful brain images) showed lessened
activity in the brain's parietal lobe, which is called
upon for spatial sense and navigation, and occipital
lobe, which handles visual information.

24. Open source on bug patrol

An open source tool is being readied for release this
year that its creators say could dramatically speed
software development and improve software quality.

Computer scientists from the National Institute of
Standards and Technology and the University of Texas
at Arlington credit the use of "combinatorial testing"
for their breakthrough.

The trick is being able to quickly test interactions
of up to six variables. The work stemmed from research
into what really causes bugs in software. The
researchers found that it is more often caused by
problematic interactions between a few variables
rather than a bunch even if a program, such as an
e-commerce application, features hundreds of

Findings of this latest software debugging research
are described in several presentations, one by NIST
researchers and another by University of Texas

Developers interested in getting your hands on code
should contact NIST's Raghu Kacker.

25. Geeks and glasses

Who knew? People who wear glasses are not
stereotypical geeks or nerds. At least according to a
study released by Australian vision researchers.

The scientists claim this is the first time a study
looked into personality and nearsightedness or myopia.
Participants were analyzed using a state-of-the-art
measure of the five major personality factors
(openness, conscientiousness, extroversion,
agreeableness and neuroticism), administered by
psychologists from the University of Melbourne.

Researchers concluded: "The long-held view that myopic
persons are introverted and conscientious may reflect
intelligence-related stereotypes rather than real
correlations. Furthermore, the predictive
characteristic of intellect, subsumed in openness,
appeared to be representative of a previously reported
link between IQ and myopia rather than personality and

"We have literally busted the myth that people who
wear glasses are introverted or have particular
personality characteristics. They are more likely to
be agreeable and open, rather than closed and
introverted," said Paul Baird of the University of
Melbourne's Centre for Eye Research Australia in a

For past network research roundups, see:
15 bleeding-edge network research projects you should
know about

10 cutting-edge network research projects you should
know about

For more on network research, read our Alpha Doggs

All contents copyright 1995-2008 Network World, Inc.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Glass of Milk


One day, a poor boy who was selling goods from door to door to pay his way through school, found he had only one thin dime left, and he was hungry.

He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door.

Instead of a meal he asked for a drink of water! . She thought he looked hungry so brought him a large glass of milk. He drank it so slowly, and then asked, How much do I owe you?'

You don't owe me anything,' she replied. 'Mother has taught us never to accept pay for a kindness.'

He said ... 'Then I thank you from my heart.'

As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in God and man was strong also. He had been ready to give up and quit.

Many year's later that same young woman became critically ill. The local doctors were baffled. They finally sent her to the big city, where they called in specialists to study her rare disease.

Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for the consultation. When he heard the name of the town she came from, a strange light filled his eyes.

Immediately he rose and went down the hall of the hospital to her room.

Dressed in his doctor's gown he went in to see her. He recognized her at once.

He went back to the consultation room determined to do his best to save her life. From that day he gave special attention to her case.

After a long struggle, the battle was won.

Dr. Kelly requested the business office to pass the final bill to him for approval. He looked at it, then wrote something on the edge, and the bill was sent to her room. She feared to open it, for she was sure it would take the rest of her life to pay for it all. Finally she looked, and something caught her attention on the side of the bill. She read these words ...

'Paid in full with one glass of milk'

(Signed) Dr. Howard Kelly.

Tears of joy flooded her eyes as her happy heart prayed: 'Thank You,
God, that Your love has spread broad through human hearts and hands.'

There's a saying which goes something like this: Bread cast on the water comes back to you. The good deed you do today may benefit you or someone you love at the least expected time. If you never see the deed again at least you will have made the world a better place - And, after all, isn't that what life is all about?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Hanta virus

A stock clerk was sent to clean up a storeroom in Maui , Hawaii .

When he got back, he was complaining that the storeroom was really filthy and that he had noticed dried mouse or rat droppings in some areas.
A couple of days later, he started to feel like he was coming down with a stomach flu, complained of sore joints and headaches, and began to vomit.

He went to bed and never really got up again. Within two days he was severely ill and weak. His blood sugar count was down to 66, and his face and eyeballs were yellow. He was rushed to the emergency at Pali-Momi, where he was diagnosed to be suffering from massive organ failure. He died sh ortly before midnight.
No one would have made the connection between his job and his death,had it not been for a doctor who specifically asked if he had been in a warehouse or exposed to dried rat or mouse droppings at any time. They said there is a virus (much like the Hanta virus) that lives in dried rat and mouse droppings.

Once dried, these droppings are like dust and can easily be breathed in or ingested if a person does not wear protective gear or fails to wash face and hands thoroughly
An autopsy was performed on the clerk to verify the doctor's suspicions.

This is why it is extremely important to ALWAYS carefully rinse off the tops of canned sodas or foods, and to wipe off pasta packaging, cereal boxes, and so on.

Almost everything you buy in a supermarket was stored in a warehouse at one time or another, and stores themselves often have rodents.

Most of us remember to wash vegetables and fruits but never think of boxes and cans.

The ugly truth is, even the most modern, upper-class, super store has rats and mice. And their warehouse most assuredly does!

Whenever you buy any canned soft drink, please make sure that you wash the top with running water and soap or, if that is not available, drink with a straw.

The investigation of soda cans by the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta discovered that the tops of soda cans can be encrusted with dried rat's urine, which is so toxic it can be lethal. Canned drinks and other foodstuffs are stored in warehouses and containers that are usually infected with Rodents, and then they get transported to retail outlets without being properly cleaned.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Three Things in Life

Three Things
Three things in life that, once gone, never come back -




Three things in life that may never be lost -




Three things in life that are most valuable -




Three things in life that are never certain -




Three things that make a man/woman -

Hard work



Three things in life that can destroy a man/woman -




Three things in life that, once lost, hard to build-up -




Three things in life that never fail -

True Love





Something to Read:

When there is nothing left but God, that is when you find out that God is all you need.


God bless all my friends in whatever it is that You know they may be needing this day! And may their life be full of your peace, prosperity and power as he/she seeks to have a closer relationship with you. Amen.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Ad Congress Speech by John Gokongwei , Jr.

John Gokongwei , Jr.
Ad Congress Speech
Nov 21, 2007

Before I begin, I want to say please bear with me, an 81-year-old man who just flew in from San Francisco 36 hours ago and is still suffering from jet lag. However, I hope I will be able to say what you want to hear.

Ladies and gentlemen, good evening. Thank you very much for having me here tonight to open the Ad Congress. I know how important this event is for our marketing and advertising colleagues. My people get very excited and go into a panic, every other year, at this time.

I would like to talk about my life, entrepreneurship, and globalization. I would like to talk about how we can become a great nation.

You may wonder how one is connected to the other, but I promise that, as there is truth in advertising, the connection will come.

Let me begin with a story I have told many times. My own.

I was born to a rich Chinese-Filipino family. I spent my childhood in Cebu where my father owned a chain of movie houses, including the first air-conditioned one outside Manila . I was the eldest of six children and lived in a big house in Cebu 's Forbes Park .

A chauffeur drove me to school everyday as I went to San Carlos University , then and still one of the country's top schools. I topped my classes and had many friends. I would bring them to watch movies for free at my father's movie houses.

When I was 13, my father died suddenly of complications due to typhoid. Everything I enjoyed vanished instantly. My father's empire was built on credit. When he died, we lost everything-our big house, our cars, our business-to the banks.

I felt angry at the world for taking away my father, and for taking away all that I enjoyed before. When the free movies disappeared, I also lost half my friends. On the day I had to walk two miles to school for the very first time, I cried to my mother, a widow at 32. But she said: "You should feel lucky. Some people have no shoes to walk to school. What can you do? Your father died with 10 centavos in his pocket."

So, what can I do? I worked.

My mother sent my siblings to China where living standards were lower. She and I stayed in Cebu to work, and we sent them money regularly. My mother sold her jewelry. When that ran out, we sold roasted peanuts in the backyard of our much-smaller home. When that wasn't enough, I opened a small stall in a palengke. I chose one among several palengkes a few miles outside the city because there were fewer goods available for the people there. I woke up at five o'clock every morning for the long bicycle ride to the palengke with my basket of goods.

There, I set up a table about three feet by two feet in size. I laid out my goods-soap, candles, and thread-and kept selling until everything was bought. Why these goods? Because these were hard times and this was a poor village, so people wanted and needed the basics-soap to keep them clean, candles to light the night, and thread to sew their clothes.

I was surrounded by other vendors, all of them much older. Many of them could be my grandparents. And they knew the ways of the palengke far more than a boy of 15, especially one who had never worked before.

But being young had its advantages. I did not tire as easily, and I moved more quickly. I was also more aggressive. After each day, I would make about 20 pesos in profit! There was enough to feed my siblings and still enough to pour back into the business. The pesos I made in the palengke were the pesos that went into building the business I have today.

After this experience, I told myself, "If I can compete with people so much older than me, if I can support my whole family at 15, I can do anything!"

Looking back, I wonder, what would have happened if my father had not left my family with nothing? Would I have become the man I am? Who knows?

The important thing to know is that life will always deal us a few bad cards. But we have to play those cards the best we can. And WE can play to win!

This was one lesson I picked up when I was a teenager. It has been my guiding principle ever since. And I have had 66 years to practice self-determination. When I wanted something, the best person to depend on was myself.

And so I continued to work. In 1943, I expanded and began trading goods between Cebu and Manila . From Cebu , I would transport tires on a small boat called a batel. After traveling for five days to Lucena, I would load them into a truck for the six- hour trip to Manila . I would end up sitting on top of my goods so they would not be stolen! In Manila , I would then purchase other goods from the earnings I made from the tires, to sell in Cebu .

Then, when WWII ended, I saw the opportunity for trading goods in post-war Philippines . I was 20 years old. With my brother Henry, I put up Amasia Trading which imported onions, flour, used clothing, old newspapers and magazines, and fruits from the United States . In 1948, my mother and I got my siblings back from China . I also converted a two-story building in Cebu to se rv e as our home, office, and warehouse all at the same time. The whole family began helping out with the business.

In 1957, at age 31, I spotted an opportunity in corn-starch manufacturing. But I was going to compete with Ludo and Luym, the richest group in Cebu and the biggest cornstarch manufacturers. I borrowed money to finance the project. The first bank I approached made me wait for two hours, only to refuse my loan. The second one, China Bank, approved a P500,000-peso clean loan for me. Years later, the banker who extended that loan, Dr. Albino Sycip said that he saw something special in me. Today, I still wonder what that was, but I still thank Dr. Sycip to this day.

Upon launching our first product, Panda corn starch, a price war ensued. After the smoke cleared, Universal Corn Products was still left standing. It is the foundation upon which JG Summit Holdings now stands.

Interestingly, the price war also forced the closure of a third cornstarch company, and one of their chemists was Lucio Tan, who always kids me that I caused him to lose his job. I always reply that if it were not for me, he will not be one of the richest men in the Philippines today.

When my business grew, and it was time for me to bring in more people- my family, the professionals, the consultants, more employees- I knew that I had to be there to teach them what I knew. When dad died at age 34, he did not leave a succession plan. From that, I learned that one must teach people to take over a business at any time. The values of hard work that I learned from my father, I taught to my children. They started doing jobs here and there even when they were still in high school. Six years ago, I announced my retirement and handed the reins to my youngest brother James and only son Lance. But my children tease me because I still go to the office every day and make myself useful. I just hired my first Executive Assistant and moved into a bigger and nicer office.

Building a business to the size of JG Summit was not easy. Many challenges were thrown my way. I could have walked away from them, keeping the business small, but safe. Instead, I chose to fight. But this did not mean I won each time.

By 1976, at age 50, we had built significant businesses in food products anchored by a branded coffee called Blend 45, and agro- industrial products under the Robina Farms brand. That year, I faced one of my biggest challenges, and lost. And my loss was highly publicized, too. But I still believe that this was one of my defining moments.

In that decade, not many business opportunities were available due to the political and economic environment. Many Filipinos were already sending their money out of the country. As a Filipino, I felt that our money must be invested here. I decided to purchase shares in San Miguel, then one of the Philippines ' biggest corporations. By 1976, I had acquired enough shares to sit on its board.

The media called me an upstart. "Who is Gokongwei and why is he doing all those terrible things to San Miguel?" ran one headline of the day. In another article, I was described as a pygmy going up against the powers-that- be. The San Miguel board of directors itself even aid for an ad in all the country's top newspapers telling the public why I should not be on the board. On the day of reckoning, shareholders quickly filled up the auditorium to witness the battle. My brother James and I had prepared for many hours for this debate. We were ne rv ous and excited at the same time.

In the end, I did not get the board seat because of the Supreme Court Ruling. But I was able to prove to others-and to myself-that I was willing to put up a fight. I succeeded because I overcame my fear, and tried. I believe this battle helped define who I am today. In a twist to this story, I was invited to sit on the board of Anscor and San Miguel Hong Kong 5 years later. Lose some, win some.

Since then, I've become known as a serious player in the business world, but the challenges haven't stopped coming.

Let me tell you about the three most recent challenges. In all three, conventional wisdom bet against us. See, we set up businesses against market Goliaths in very high-capital industries: airline, telecoms, and beverage.

Challenge No. 1: In 1996, we decided to start an airline. At the time, the dominant airline in the country was PAL, and if you wanted to travel cheaply, you did not fly. You went by sea or by land.

However, my son Lance and I had a vision for Cebu Pacific: We wanted every Filipino to fly.

Inspired by the low-cost carrier models in the United States , we believed that an airline based on the no-frills concept would work here. No hot meals. No newspaper. Mono-class seating. Operating with a single aircraft type. Faster turn around time. It all worked, thus enabling Cebu Pacific to pass on savings to the consumer.

How did we do this? By sticking to our philosophy of "low cost, great value."

And we stick to that philosophy to this day. Cebu Pacific offers incentives. Customers can avail themselves of a tiered pricing scheme, with promotional seats for as low a P1. The earlier you book, the cheaper your ticket.

Cebu Pacific also made it convenient for passengers by making online booking available. This year, 1.25 million flights will be booked through our website. This reduced our distribution costs dramatically.

Low cost. Great value.

When we started 11 years ago, Cebu Pacific flew only 360,000 passengers, with 24 daily flights to 3 destinations. This year, we expect to fly more than five million passengers, with over 120 daily flights to 20 local destinations and 12 Asian cities. Today, we are the largest in terms of domestic flights, routes and destinations.

We also have the youngest fleet in the region after acquiring new Airbus 319s and 320s. In January, new ATR planes will arrive. These are smaller planes that can land on smaller air strips like those in Palawan and Caticlan. Now you don't have to take a two-hour ride by mini-bus to get to the beach.

Largely because of Cebu Pacific, the average Filipino can now afford to fly. In 2005, 1 out of 12 Filipinos flew within a year. In 2012, by continuing to offer low fares, we hope to reduce that ratio to 1 out of 6. We want to see more and more Filipinos see their country and the world!

Challenge No. 2: In 2003, we established Digitel Mobile Philippines, Inc. and developed a brand for the mobile phone business called Sun Cellular. Prior to the launch of the brand, we were actually involved in a transaction to purchase PLDT shares of the majority shareholder.

The question in everyone's mind was how we could measure up to the two telecom giants. They were entrenched and we were late by eight years! PLDT held the landline monopoly for quite a while, and was first in the mobile phone industry. Globe was a younger company, but it launched digital mobile technology here.

But being a late player had its advantages. We could now build our platform from a broader perspective. We worked with more advanced technologies and intelligent systems not available ten years ago. We chose our suppliers based on the most cost-efficient hardware and software. Being a Johnny-come- lately allowed us to create and launch more innovative products, more quickly.

All these provided us with the opportunity to give the consumers a choice that would rock their world. The concept was simple. We would offer Filipinos to call and text as much as they want for a fixed monthly fee. For P250 a month, they could get in touch with anyone within the Sun network at any time. This means great savings of as much as 2/3 of their regular phone bill! Suddenly, we gained traction. Within one year of its introduction, Sun hit one million customers.

Once again, the paradigm shifts - this time in the telecom industry. Sun's 24/7 Call and Text unlimited changed the landscape of mobile- phone usage.

Today, we have over 4 million subscribers and 2000 cell sites around the archipelago. In a country where 97% of the market is pre-paid, we believe we have hit on the right strategy.

Sun Cellular is a Johnny-come- lately, but it's doing all right. It is a third player, but a significant one, in an industry where Cassandras believed a third player would perish. And as we have done in the realm of air travel, so have we done in the telecom world: We have changed the marketplace.

In the end, it is all about making life better for the consumer by giving them choices.

Challenge No. 3: In 2004, we launched C2, the green tea drink that would change the face of the local beverage industry -- then, a playground of cola companies. Iced tea was just a sugary brown drink se rv ed bottomless in restaurants. For many years, hardly was there any significant product innovation in the beverage business.

Admittedly, we had little experience in this area. Universal Robina Corporation is the leader in snack foods but our only background in beverage was instant coffee. Moreover, we would be entering the playground of huge multinationals. We decided to play anyway.

It all began when I was in China in 2003 and noticed the immense popularity of bottled iced tea. I thought that this product would have huge potential here. We knew that the Philippines was not a traditional tea-drinking country since more familiar to consumers were colas in returnable glass bottles. But precisely, this made the market ready for a different kind of beverage. One that refreshes yet gives the health benefits of green tea. We positioned it as a "spa" in a bottle. A drink that cools and cleans.thus, C2 was born.

C2 immediately caught on with consumers. When we launched C2 in 2004, we sold 100,000 bottles in the first month. Three years later, Filipinos drink around 30 million bottles of C2 per month. Indeed, C2 is in a good place.

With Cebu Pacific, Sun Cellular, and C2, the JG Summit team took control of its destiny. And we did so in industries where old giants had set the rules of the game. It's not that we did not fear the giants. We knew we could have been crushed at the word go. So we just made sure we came prepared with great products and great strategies. We ended up changing the rules of the game instead.

There goes the principle of self-determination, again. I tell you, it works for individuals as it does for companies. And as I firmly believe, it works for nations.

I have always wondered, like many of us, why we Filipinos have not lived up to our potential. We have proven we can. Manny Pacquiao and Efren Bata Reyes in sports. Lea Salonga and the UP Madrigal Singers in performing arts. Monique Lhuillier and Rafe Totenco in fashion. And these are just the names made famous by the media. There are many more who may not be celebrities but who have gained respect on the world stage.

But to be a truly great nation, we must also excel as entrepreneurs before the world. We must create Filipino brands for the global market place.

If we want to be philosophical, we can say that, with a world-class brand, we create pride for our nation. If we want to be practical, we can say that, with brands that succeed in the world, we create more jobs for our people, right here.

Then, we are able to take part in what's really important-giving our people a big opportunity to raise their standards of living, giving them a real chance to improve their lives.

We can do it. Our neighbors have done it. So can we. In the last 54 years, Korea worked hard to rebuild itself after a world war and a civil war destroyed it. From an agricultural economy in 1945, it shifted to light industry, consumer products, and heavy industry in the '80s. At the turn of the 21st century, the Korean government focused on making Korea the world's leading IT nation. It did this by grabbing market share in key sectors like semiconductors, robotics, and biotechnology.

Today, one remarkable Korean brand has made it to the list of Top 100 Global Brands: Samsung. Less then a decade ago, Samsung meant nothing to consumers. By focusing on quality, design, and innovation, Samsung improved its products and its image. Today, it has surpassed the Japanese brand Sony. Now another Korean brand, LG Collins, is following in the footsteps of Samsung. It has also broken into the Top 100 Global Brands list.

What about China ? Who would have thought that only 30 years after opening itself up to a market economy, China would become the world's fourth largest economy? Goods made in China are still thought of as cheap. Yet many brands around the world outsource their manufacturing to this country. China 's own brands-like Lenovo, Haier, Chery QQ, and Huawei-are fast gaining ground as well. I have no doubt they will be the next big electronics, technology and car brands in the world.

Lee Kwan Yu's book "From Third World to First" captures Singapore 's aspiration to join the First World . According to the book, Singapore was a trading post that the British developed as a nodal point in its maritime empire. The racial riots there made its officials determined to build a "multiracial society that would give equality to all citizens, regardless of race, language or religion."

When Singapore was asked to leave the Malaysian Federation of States in 1965, Lee Kwan Yew developed strategies that he executed with single-mindedness despite their being unpopular. He and his cabinet started to build a nation by establishing the basics: building infrastructure, establishing an army, WEEDING OUT CORRUPTION,providin g mass housing, building a financial center. Forty short years after, Singapore has been transformed into the richest South East Asian country today, with a per capita income of US$32,000.

These days, Singapore is transforming itself once more. This time it wants to be the creative hub in Asia , maybe even the world. More and more, it is attracting the best minds from all over the world in filmmaking, biotechnology, media, and finance. Meantime, Singaporeans have also created world-class brands: Banyan Tree in the hospitality industry, Singapore Airlines in the Airline industry and Singapore Telecoms in the telco industry.

I often wonder: Why can't the Philippines , or a Filipino, do this?

Fifty years after independence, we have yet to create a truly global brand. We cannot say the Philippines is too small because it has 86 million people. Switzerland , with 9 million people, created Nestle. Sweden , also with 9 million people, created Ericsson. Finland , even smaller with five million people, created Nokia. All three are major global brands, among others.

Yes, our country is well-known for its labor, as we continue to export people around the world. And after India , we are grabbing a bigger chunk of the pie in the call-center and business-process- outsourcing industries. But by and large, the Philippines has no big industrial base, and Filipinos do not create world-class products.

We should not be afraid to try-even if we are laughed at. Japan , laughed at for its cars, produced Toyota . Korea , for its electronics, produced Samsung. Meanwhile, the Philippines ' biggest companies 50 years ago-majority of which are multinational corporations such as Coca- Cola, Procter and Gamble, and Unilever Philippines , for example-are still the biggest companies today. There are very few big, local challengers.

But already, hats off to Filipino entrepreneurs making strides to globalize their brands.

Goldilocks has had much success in the Unites States and Canada , where half of its customers are non-Filipinos. Coffee-chain Figaro may be a small player in the coffee world today, but it is making the leap to the big time. Two Filipinas, Bea Valdez and Tina Ocampo, are now selling their Philippine-made jewelry and bags all over the world. Their labels are now at Barney's and Bergdorf's in the U.S. and in many other high-end shops in Asia , Europe , and the Middle East .

When we started our own foray outside the Philippines 30 years ago, it wasn't a walk in the park. We set up a small factory in Hong Kong to manufacture Jack and Jill potato chips there. Today, we are all over Asia . We have the number-one-potato- chips brand in Malaysia and Singapore . We are the leading biscuit manufacturer in Thailand , and a significant player in the candy market in Indonesia . Our Aces cereal brand is a market leader in many parts of China . C2 is now doing very well in Vietnam , selling over 3 million bottles a month there, after only 6 months in the market. Soon, we will launch C2 in other South East Asian markets.

I am 81 today. But I do not forget the little boy that I was in the palengke in Cebu . I still believe in family. I still want to make good. I still don't mind going up against those older and better than me. I still believe hard work will not fail me. And I still believe in people willing to think the same way.

Through the years, the market place has expanded: between cities, between countries, between continents. I want to urge you all here to think bigger. Why se rv e 86 million when you can sell to four billion Asians? And that's just to start you off. Because there is still the world beyond Asia . When you go back to your offices, think of ways to sell and market your products and se rv ices to the world. Create world-class brands.

You can if you really tried. I did. As a boy, I sold peanuts from my backyard. Today, I sell snacks to the world.

I want to see other Filipinos do the same.

Thank you and good evening once again.

*** Hope you also love this. A very inspiring message worth reading again and again. That's why I needed to include this here. God bless us all!