Archive for December 22nd, 2012

December 22, 2012

Bandwidth Cap

A bandwidth cap, also known as a bit cap, limits the transfer of a specified amount of data over a period of time. Internet service providers commonly apply a cap when a channel intended to be shared by many users becomes overloaded, or may be overloaded, by a few users. Implementation of a bandwidth cap is sometimes termed a Fair Access Policy or Usage-based billing. In many situations, each user of a network is expected to use high speed transmission for only a short time, for example to download a megabyte web page in less than a second.

When use is continuous, as it might be in the case of file sharing, Internet radio or streaming video, a few users who use the connection at high rates for hours at a time may seriously impair the service of others. The concept is more relevant in cable internet where both the core network and the access network are shared, than in DSL where the core network is shared but the access network is not. It is most relevant in wireless internet, particularly satellite internet, where both the core network and the access network are shared and total network bandwidth is relatively narrow.

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December 22, 2012

Female Genital Mutilation

Female genital mutilation (FGM), also known as female circumcision, is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as ‘all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.’ FGM is typically carried out on girls from a few days old to puberty. It may take place in a hospital, but is usually performed, without anaesthesia, by a traditional circumciser using a knife, razor, or scissors.

According to the WHO, it is practiced in 28 countries in western, eastern, and north-eastern Africa, in parts of the Middle East, and within some immigrant communities in Europe, North America, and Australasia. The WHO estimates that 100–140 million women and girls around the world have experienced the procedure, including 92 million in Africa. The practice is carried out by some communities who believe it reduces a woman’s libido.

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December 22, 2012

Circumcision Controversies

foreskin man

Male circumcision has often been, and remains, the subject of controversy on a number of grounds—including religious, ethical, sexual, and health related. The Ancient Greeks and Romans valued the foreskin and were opposed to circumcision – an opposition inherited by the canon and secular legal systems of the Christian West that lasted at least through to the Middle Ages. Traditional Judaism and Islam have advocated male circumcision as a religious obligation.

The ethics of circumcision are sometimes controversial. From the mid-19th century, there has been advocacy in some Anglophone countries on medical grounds, such as the prevention of masturbation and ‘reflex neurosis.’ Modern proponents argue that circumcision reduces the risks of a range of infections and diseases as well as conferring sexual benefits. In contrast, opponents, particularly of infant circumcision, often question its effectiveness in preventing disease, and object to subjecting newborn boys, without their consent, to a procedure they consider to have debatable benefits, significant risks, and a potentially negative impact on general health and later sexual enjoyment.

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December 22, 2012

The d’Aulaires

Ingri (1904 – 1980) and Edgar (1898 – 1986) Parin d’Aulaire [doe-lair] were married writers and illustrators of children’s books in the 20th century.

Using their research and travel experiences as inspiration, the husband and wife team produced 27 picture books for children. They also wrote and illustrated introductory books of Greek and Norse mythology.

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