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Defender Gareth McAuley gets early opener for Northern Ireland Kyle Lafferty steals in to score stylish second Roy Carroll then saves Frdi Benjaminsen’s penalty Six points from two Group F games for Michael O’Neill’s men Next games: Greece v Northern Ireland, Faroe Islands v Hungary (Tuesday)

Northern Ireland scored twice inside 21 minutes against the Faroe Islands in UEFA EURO 2016 Group F as the Faroe Islands were kept busy in Belfast.

Defender Gareth McAuley finished at the far post on six minutes after Chris Baird flicked Oliver Norwood’s corner into his path, and Northern Ireland kept up the pace with Kyle Lafferty stealing in front of Faroese goalkeeper Gunnar Nielsen to flick in from Shane Ferguson’s curling ball on 21 minutes. Nielsen then produced a terrific save to keep out a Lafferty header the Norwich City FC striker enjoying the game enough to give the goalkeeper a congratulatory hug aftewards.

Lafferty flashed a header wide not long afterwards, but Ferguson’s tug on Jan Edmundsson at the other end gave the visitors an unexpected chance to reduce the arrears. Captain Frdi Benjaminsen struck his penalty towards the corner, but the 37-year-old Roy Carroll flung himself to the left and pushed the ball against the post. Nielsen did his best to respond in kind, punching a swerving Norwood punt over just before the break.

The only small cloud on the horizon for Michael O’Neill’s side as they reflect on their six Group F points so far is that they failed to score more in the second half. They kept the Faroese penned inside their half, Jamie Ward and Lafferty going close, while Connor McLaughlin was guilty of missing the target from a brilliant position.

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Faroe Islands feel Northern Ireland's force

D1501 Portuguese Cities Canaries Beaches
Abolish your post-Christmas blues with this wonderful sailing around Portugal and the Canaries.

By: Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

D1501 Portuguese Cities & Canaries Beaches – Video

Illuminati Next Bombshell Hits November!
Here is the link that goes with the post: My Website: and Document:…

By: LisaHaven

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Illuminati Next Bombshell Hits November! – Video

Jens Stoltenberg takes up office as NATO Secretary General
Mr. Jens Stoltenberg took up his post as NATO Secretary General on 1 October 2014.


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Jens Stoltenberg takes up office as NATO Secretary General – Video

Countless websites’ search engine rankings were affected by the many major Google algorithm updates of the past few years. Search engine optimization (SEO) priorities have also shifted in this post Panda-Penguin-Hummingbird-Pigeon world. An SEO site audit is an essential way to take stock of how your website performs, especially in regards to its search engine rankings.

“Conducting an SEO audit is key for every business,” says Jeanine Krzyzanowski, director of link building strategy, Teknicks. “In order for your business to succeed, you need a solid foundation. It’s like building a house. Google has become very sophisticated over the past few years and if there is anything wrong with the foundation of your website, you may be at risk of being penalized by Google.”

Most experts say the core principles behind an SEO site audit haven’t changed significantly, but some aspects are more important than they used to be.

“Google still wants great, valuable, useful content,” says Philip DiPatrizio, manager of Internet marketing, LILLY + Associates. “In the past, you may not have needed to worry as much about duplicate content or spammy backlinks. Both weren’t a good idea to begin with, but Google wasn’t as good at catching those signals as it is today. Now, more than ever, it’s vital to look for these things in an audit and correct them immediately.”

[Related: Top 25 DIY Tips for Better SEO]

SEO audits have become more holistic, according to Oleg Korneitchouk, director of digital marketing, SmartSites. “If before audits focused on the technical layout, navigation and backlink profile of the website, they should now include content analysis and social analysis. All these parts should be examined separately and together to draw actionable fixes to improve your SEO.”

While a thorough SEO site audit is usually best left to professionals, those who aren’t steeped in SEO can still perform high-level audits of their websites’ performance, often using free online tools. Here are some top DIY SEO site audit tips and best practices from search and digital marketing experts.

What to Look for in SEO Website Audits

The Basics

If you aren’t too experienced with SEO, you should start your audit with the non-technical stuff, according to Courtney Herda, CEO, Smarter Searches. Ask yourself, “Does each page of the site have a clearly defined focus? Is each page written clearly to explain the who, what, why, when, where and how? Is the navigation clear and purposeful to lead to specific calls to action? Is everything spelled correctly? Does the site make sense?”

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How (and Why) to Perform a DIY SEO Site Audit

Yesterday the Tenth Circuit heard oral arguments in Bonidy v. United States, which is an as-applied challenge to the U.S. Postal Service regulation which completely prohibits firearms on all postal property, including parking lots. Mr. Bonidy lives in Avon, Colorado, and has a concealed carry permit issued pursuant to Colorado law, following a fingerprint-based background check, safety training, and the County Sheriffs determination that he does not pose any threat to himself or others.

The post office does not provide home delivery in Avon, so residents must go to the post office to pick up their mail from a box. The local post office is open 24 hours a day, has counter staff 6 hours a day, and provides no security for patrons.

In the District Court, Judge Richard Matsch upheld the postal ban for the post office lobby (where patrons access their mail boxes), ruling it to be among Hellers sensitive places. He ruled the gun ban unconstitutional as applied to Mr. Bonidy and the parking lot at the Avon Post Office. The case thus came to the 10th Circuit on cross-appeals by the parties. Mr. Bonidy is represented by the Mountain States Legal Foundation. Some of the documents in the case (but not the appellate briefs) are available on the website of Michel and Associates, a southern California firm with a specialty in firearms cases. Like me, Michel and Associates has no role in the case.

Heres my take on some of the issues that the three-judge panel raised at oral argument:

Heller says that nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. A footnote adds: We identify these presumptively lawful regulatory measures only as examples; our list does not purport to be exhaustive.

First question: What should lower courts do with presumptively lawful? Does this mean that any law in the three listed categories (felons/mentally ill, sensitive places, conditions on commercial sale of firearms) must automatically be upheld? After all, as Judge David Ebel pointed out at oral argument, Heller must be construed so as not to cast doubt on the listed laws. Doesnt this mean that all such laws are undoubtedly constitutional?

Lets try applying that interpretation, to see if it makes sense. Say that a regulation requires that when the owner of a retail gun store goes home for the night, the store must have security devices to prevent/deter theft, including that guns must be locked up. This is an easy fit with the Heller dicta, and can speedily be held as lawful.

But suppose that the anti-theft rule is that every gun in the store must be disassembled before the store closes at night. Or that the gun store may only be open for business five hours per week. Or that only persons with a college degree may work in a gun store. All of these would be conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. These laws are manifestly oppressive, extreme, and unreasonable. They should be subject to heightened scrutiny, and with heightened scrutiny applied, should be ruled unconstitutional.

So one way to answer the question about presumptively lawful would be to say that the presumption can be overcome. The more unreasonable, oppressive, or excessive the regulation, the better the argument that the presumption has been overcome. In this argument, it also matters whether the regulation is longstanding. The Postal Service gun ban only dates back to the early 1970s, just a few years before the District of Columbia enacted its 1975 handgun ban and ban on use of firearms for self-defense in the home. The D.C. ordinances were obviously not longstanding by Hellers standards, and s neither is the postal ban.

Now that we know that the presumption of lawfulness can sometimes be rebutted, the next question is what is the scope of sensitive places such as schools or government buildings? We have to take into account that in the single sentence about permissible gun controls, the Supreme Court was providing general guidance, and was not attempting to provide a detailed rule to cover all situations.

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Volokh Conspiracy: Bonidy v. United States: The Second Amendment at the post office

The National Security Agency has a recruiting problem.

Rocked by the Edward Snowden disclosures and facing stiff competition for top talent from high-paying Silicon Valley firms, the nation’s cyber spy agency is looking to recruit a new generation of college hackers and tech experts. And through one new program, the agency is cultivating students as young as eighth grade.

The man the NSA has turned to for help solving its recruiting problem is an avuncular 32-year NSA veteran named Steven LaFountain, who has been tasked with building up a “cyber curriculum” for tech-savvy students at 20 to 25 American universitiesand making sure a steady flow of top minds continues to go to work for the nation’s technical surveillance agency. Officially, its known as the Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations program.

Recently, CNBC sat down with LaFountain in a conference room at NSA’s National Cryptologic Museum, next to the agency’s sprawling headquarters in Ft. Meade, Maryland, to talk about recruiting in the post-Snowden era.

What follows is an edited transcript of that conversation.

CNBC: So explain the impact of the Edward Snowden disclosures on your ability to recruit.

LaFountain: Actually, I don’t think it’s been damaging to our ability to recruit talent, in that many of the students that I talk to, anyway, that I interact with, they’re interested in the tech. They’re not bothered by, let’s say, the politics of things like that. They’re interested in the technology. They want to get into cybersecurity. They want to learn what we do here.

CNBC: How do you prevent yourself from being the guy who recruits the next Edward Snowden?

LaFountain: That’s a good question. We have other processes security process that look into backgrounds and polygraphs and all that, and hopefully that will prevent that. You know, when I’m recruiting, I’m looking for the technical talent. I’m looking for the people that have the right mind-set, that question things. That don’t just say, ‘That’s how it’s supposed to work, so it works that way.’ You’ve got to question: ‘How can I get it to do things it’s not supposed to do?’ That’s really what the whole cybersecurity business is about.

CNBC: Post-Snowden, the analysis was that part of the challenge for the NSA was that this generation of technologically-savvy students shares a different ideology than previous generations of boomers and Gen-Xers. These young folks today are much more libertarian, they’re much more of the information-wants-to-be-free mind-set. Are you finding a different mind-set among the 20-somethings that you’re recruiting now?

Read more from the original source:
Cyber Spy High: Meet the NSA's Hacker Recruiter

Is your company blog genuinely interesting? Ive found that most company blogs arent, and this is often one of the biggest reasons companies fail at launching a content marketing initiative and gaining traction with SEO. Even if you have guest contributors and impressive stock images, your blog may be falling flat.

If your blog doesnt evoke emotion, engagement, and sharing among your readers, all the highest-ranking keywords on the Internet couldnt give it any spunk. Its up to you and your company to revamp your blog and turn it into a resource that people not only want to read, but share which will in turn boost your SEO.

There are several common mistakes that amateur bloggers make, and just because you have a professional-looking blog doesnt mean that youre immune to them. One of the most frequent issues that bloggers have is their style of writing.

Often, complexity gets in the way of a compelling piece, according to CopyBlogger. Think of the type of language you use in your blog posts is it easy to understand? Do readers have a hard time understanding the message youre trying to convey?

Simplicity is the keyto generating a following and capturing the interest of your audience. While you dont need to dumb down your ideas, you should put effort into how you convey them.

One major issue I discussed in “Why Your Company Blog Shouldnt Be About Your Company” is the subject matter of posts. In too many cases, I see company blogs that are all about themselves. While its a good idea to update readers and customers on company news and events, a blog that serves only that purpose is boring and unlikely to be very useful to new potential customers.

Another common problem is being too heavily focused on SEO. Creating posts for the sole purpose of boosting your search engine rankings will only decrease your conversion rate and repel potential customers. Instead, keep the focus on the message of your post as you write, and make your goal to please human readers; not search engine bots. While its good to be mindful of links and keywords throughout your piece, never let them take over your blog posts and cause things to appear awkward or unnatural.

As you look to address the specific problems of your blog, think about more than just page views. Your goal is to transform your blog into a resource that people will want to visit repeatedly, which will help to grow your reputation as an industry authority for insightful, industry-specific news and expert analysis.

Once you identify the key problems with your company blog, you can begin working toward reshaping your blog in such a way that truly attracts readers. Whether youre going to spearhead this evolution or you have an in-house blogger in charge of the revamp, here are some tips to help get started in the right direction.

HubSpot recommendsreaching out to other industry experts to bring new flavor to your blog. Not only will this help you forge connections with influencers in your sector, but it will drive traffic to your page, lend credibility to your content, and expose your brand to new audiences in your industry.

Read more from the original source:
Got a Boring Company Blog? Heres How to Fix It

Most of the time, SEOs are asked to come in after a website has already been built. Often long after, by which point the website may need updating anyway. And then they are expected to pull in visitors and sales to a site which may not be up to the job.

If you are having a new website built, my advice would be to invest in some SEO advice right from the start or alternatively hire a developer who actually gets SEO.

But if thats not an option, this post is a list of the most important SEO / marketing related things you need to consider when creating a website, so your new website will be truly SEO ready.

With HTML and CSS there are just about an infinite number of ways to achieve any result. But that doesnt mean all of the possible solutions are equally good. A well coded site will keep code bloat to a minimum and keep the layout as simple as possible, without using unnecessary code.

You may think it doesnt matter as long as the site looks good for users, but here are a few reasons to keep your code simple and effective:

Unfortunately if you dont already speak HTML, its pretty difficult to know whether your code is bloated or not, but it is worth asking your developer what he will do to minimize it, to find out whether this is something he/she has considered.

Now days blogging is practically a requirement for most businesses and doing it well is crucial. There is really no excuse for not having a blog and if you are having a new website built, it is worth using a CMS that includes an integrated blog.

Ensuring your blog is an integral part of your site is better for user experience and will strengthen your brand. And by integrated I mean:

A common problem I see with sites that use WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get)editors is that every piece of content is styled individually, often with extra bloated bits of code thrown in by the editor. This adds to code bloat (see point one), but also negatively affects the consistency of the site.

Originally posted here:
SEO 101: 9 #SEO Considerations When Building a New Website by @Think_Traffic

Apple has announced that it has designed its new operating system, iOS8, to thwart lawful search warrants. Under Apples old operating system, if an iPhone is protected by a passcode that the government cant bypass, the government has to send the phone to Apple together with a search warrant. Apple will unlock at least some of the contents of the phone pursuant to the warrant. Under the new operating system, however, Apple has devised a way to defeat lawful search warrants. Unlike our competitors, Apples new privacy policy boasts, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data. Warrants will go nowhere, as its not technically feasible for [Apple] to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8. Anyone with any iPhone can download the new warrant-thwarting operating system for free, and it comes automatically with the new iPhone 6.

I find Apples new design very troubling. In this post, Ill explain why Im troubled by Apples new approach coded into iOS8. Ill then turn to some important legal issues raised by Apples announcement, and conclude by thinking ahead to what Congress might do in response.

Lets begin with a really important point: In general, cryptography is an awesome thing. Cryptography protects our data from hackers, trespassers, and all sorts of wrongdoers. Thats hugely important. And under Apples old operating system, cryptography protects iPhones from rogue police officers, too. Thanks to the Supreme Courts recent decision in Riley v. California, the Fourth Amendment requires a warrant to search a cell phone. Apples old operating system effectively enforced the warrant requirement technologically by requiring the government to serve a warrant on Apple to decrypt the phone.

Up to that point, I think its all good. But the design of Apples new operating system does something really different.

If I understand how it works, the only time the new design matters is when the government has a search warrant, signed by a judge, based on a finding of probable cause. Under the old operating system, Apple could execute a lawful warrant and give law enforcement the data on the phone. Under the new operating system, that warrant is a nullity. Its just a nice piece of paper with a judges signature. Because Apple demands a warrant to decrypt a phone when it is capable of doing so, the only time Apples inability to do that makes a difference is when the government has a valid warrant. The policy switch doesnt stop hackers, trespassers, or rogue agents. It only stops lawful investigations with lawful warrants.

Apples design change one it is legally authorized to make, to be clear. Apple cant intentionally obstruct justice in a specific case, but it is generally up to Apple to design its operating system as it pleases. So its lawful on Apples part. But heres the question to consider: How is the public interest served by a policy that only thwarts lawful search warrants?

The civil libertarian tradition of American privacy law, enshrined in the Fourth Amendment, has been to see the warrant protection as the Gold Standard of privacy protections. The government cant invade our private spaces without a showing that the invasion is justified by the expectation that the search will recover evidence. And the government must go to a neutral magistrate and make that case before it conducts the search. When the government cant make the showing to a neutral judge, the thinking runs, the public interest in privacy outweighs the public interest in solving crime. But when the government does make that showing, on the other hand, the public interest in solving crime outweighs the privacy interest. Thats the basic balance of the Fourth Amendment, most recently found in the stirring civil libertarian language in Riley just a few months ago.

Apples new policy seems to thumb its nose at that great tradition. It stops the government from being able to access the phone precisely when it has a lawful warrant signed by a judge. Whats the public interest in that?

One counterargument I have heard is that there are other ways the government can access the data at least some of the time. With the warrant required under Riley, agents could take a stab at guessing the passcode. Perhaps the phones owner used one of the popular passwords; according to one study, the top 10 most often-used passcodes will unlock about 15% of phones. Alternatively, if the phones owner has backed up his files using iCloud, Apple will turn over whatever has been backed up pursuant to a lawful warrant.

These possibilities may somewhat limit the impact of Apples new policy. But I dont see how they answer the key question of whats the public interest in thwarting valid warrants. After all, these options also exist under the old operating system when Apple can comply with a warrant to unlock the phone. And while the alternatives may work in some cases, they wont work in other cases. And that brings us back to how its in the public interest to thwart search warrants in those cases when the alternatives wont work. Id be very interested in the answer to that question from defenders of Apples policy. And Id especially like to hear an answer from Apples General Counsel, Bruce Sewell.

The rest is here:
Volokh Conspiracy: Apples dangerous game

Like my co-blogger Will Baude, I was very interested in the Ninth Circuits recent case, United States v. Dreyer, suppressing evidence as a violation of the Posse Comitatus Act. I think the case is interesting because it demonstrates a view of the exclusionary rule that I havent seen in a while.

First, some history. Back in the the middle of the 20th Century, the federal courts often found ways to impose an exclusionary rule for statutory violations in federal court. For example, in Nardone v. United States, 302 U. S. 379 (1937) (Nardone I) and Nardone v. United States, 308 U.S. 338 (1939) (Nardone II), the Supreme Court adopted an exclusionary rule for violations of the Communications Act. In McNabb v. United States, 318 U.S. 332 (1943), the Court adopted an exclusionary rule for violations of Rule 5 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. The Court had a rather free-form approach to the exclusionary rule at the time, in part because suppression was seen as the judiciarys domain. The federal courts had an inherent power to control evidence in their own cases, so the Court could be creative in fashioning what evidence could come in to deter bad conduct. If the government did something really bad, the federal courts had the power to keep the evidence out to deter violations and maintain the integrity of the courts.

By the 1980s, after Warren Court revolution, the Supreme Court had a different view of the exclusionary rule. The scope of the rule had expanded dramatically when it was incorporated and applied to the states. But as a kind of tradeoff for that expansion, the Court cut back on the free-form approach outside core constitutional violations. The Burger and Rehnquist Courts saw suppression as a doctrine that had to be rooted in deterrence of constitutional violations and not just something that courts didnt like or found offensive.

In his post, Will points out a passage from Sanchez-Llamas v. Oregon to that effect. And I would add the earlier case of United States v. Payner, 447 U.S. 727 (1980), in which investigators had intentionally violated one persons Fourth Amendment rights to get evidence they were holding of the suspects crimes. The Sixth Circuit had suppressed the evidence on the basis of the federal courts supervisory power to punish the blatant abuse even though the suspect did not have Fourth Amendment standing to object to the violation. The Supreme Court reversed, blocking courts from using the supervisory power as an end-run around the limits of Fourth Amendment doctrine.

The new Ninth Circuit case, Dreyer, strikes me as a vestige of the mid-20th century free-form view of the exclusionary rule. The lower courts in the 1960s and 1970s had a few areas where they rejected suppression outside of constitutional law but recognized the hypothetical possibility that they might suppress evidence if the facts were particularly egregious. For example, a bunch of circuits held that the Fourth Amendment does not regulate evidence collection by foreign governments not acting in coordination with the U.S., but that they would suppress evidence if the foreign government conduct shocked the conscience. See, e.g., Birdsell v. United States, 346 F.2d 775, 782 n. 10 (5th Cir. 1965); United States v. Cotroni, 527 F.2d 708, 712 n. 10 (2d Cir. 1975). But see United States v. Mount, 757 F.2d 1315, 1320 (D.C. Cir. 1985) (Bork, J., concurring) (arguing based on Payner that lower courts lack supervisory powers to impose an exclusionary rule for searches by foreign governments). The caselaw was never reviewed in the Supreme Court, however, perhaps because those egregious circumstances were not found and the evidence wasnt actually suppressed.

Violations of the Posse Comitatus Act, the issue in the new decision, provides another example. The history seems to run like this. First, in the 1970s, a few courts applied the free-form approach to the exclusionary rule and left open the possibility that violations of the Posse Comitatus Act could lead to exclusion if it were necessary to deter violations. See, e.g.,United States v. Walden, 490 F.2d 372, 37677 (4th Cir. 1974); State v. Danko, 219 Kan. 490 (1976). When the Ninth Circuit reached the issue in 1986, the panel did not focus on the Supreme Courts then-new more skeptical approach to the exclusionary rule. Instead, the Ninth Circuit expanded on the 1970s lower-court cases, indicating that the exclusionary rule would be necessary for violations of the Act if a need to deter future violations is demonstrated. United States v. Roberts, 779 F.2d 565, 568 (9th Cir. 1986). Again, though, this was just a possibility, and the issue was never reviewed.

Dreyer picks up that 28-year-old invitation and concludes that the need has finally been demonstrated and that the exclusionary rule therefore must be applied. Dreyer cites Roberts, which in turn cited Walden. So on its face, the court is at least drawing on precedent.

But it seems to me that Dreyer is very vulnerable if DOJ thinks it is worth challenging in the Supreme Court. Dreyer appears to rely on a line of thinking about the exclusionary rule that the Supreme Court has long ago rejected. Of course, we can debate the normative question of how the Justices should approach the exclusionary rule, either in the context of constitutional violations or statutory violations. But just as a predictive matter, I suspect that todays Court would have a different view of the question than the circuit court cases from the 1970s on which the Ninth Circuits Dreyer decision ultimately relies.

Orin Kerr is the Fred C. Stevenson Research Professor at The George Washington University Law School, where he has taught since 2001. He teaches and writes in the area of criminal procedure and computer crime law.

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Volokh Conspiracy: The posse comitatus case and changing views of the exclusionary rule

Sep 132014

Signing up with an incompetent SEO agency can do considerable harm to your business. If you are not technical, or dont understand the basics of how SEO works, hiring an agency may even be a frightening prospect. Bad SEO can fail to attract traffic to your web site, and even worse, it can make it go down.

Do you suspect that youre currently working with a bad firm? If so, the faster you figure it out, the better. To help you do that, this article will review 12 warning signs that youre dealing with a poor quality firm.

While this post is focused on how to recognize if you the agency you have is a problem, you can use many of these tips to qualify a firm before you start. Either way, dont stay connected with a bad firm. Take action and move on!

1. They Wont Tell You What They Are Doing. This is a clear and immediate indication that what is happening is bad. SEO is a form of marketing. You would never let your PR firm run off and do whatever they felt like doing without telling you, and your SEO firm is no different. Demand that your SEO firm explain everything they are doing, and if they are not willing to do that, then you should fire them on the spot.

This is especially true for any agency you have involved in performing content marketing (or link building) for you. Review every single site where they propose to obtain a link for you, just as you would with your PR agency. This part of SEO is a form of PR, and each place where you publish content, or get written about, is a reflection of your brand. Make sure its a positive image you are creating out there!

This does place a burden on your organization to learn what the SEO firm is doing, but do not try to sidestep this responsibility. If you dont have the resources to do this yet, you should probably hold off on pursuing SEO until you do!

2. You Cant Understand Their Explanation. Closely related to the first warning sign, if the firm does talk to you about what they are doing, but theyre not able to help you understand it, then they are not a match for you. A key value you should look for in any SEO firm is their ability to help you understand why they are doing what they are doing.

In some cases, bad SEO firms will offer explanations to you that make it sound like SEO is some form of voodoo. For example, if someone says Google only likes pages that have 200 to 300 words on it, this should raise an alarm. Google wants to find the highest quality pages possible in relation to each query. For some queries, it may only make sense to have 20 or 30 words to highlight the key features of a particular product, and on other pages, you may want to have 1000 or more words.

Ever since the advent of technology, there has been a huge value to people who can explain to non-technical people how something works, and how to use it. SEO is no different, and you should be willing to pay a premium to get someone who can do this for you.

12 Warning Signs of a Bad SEO Firm

Many have criticized a message sent around last week by University of California atBerkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks, which spoke about free speech and civility. (See, for instance, the items by Ken White (Popehat) and Greg Lukianoff (FIRE).) I think much of the criticism has merit, and, like many institutional exhortations, the message was mushy enough that it could be used in many different ways, some bad.

But one thing at the heart of the e-mail (which I quote at the end of the post) strikes me as quite right: civility is extremely important to the work of the university as it is to the work of other institutions and it is quite right that universities stress this to incoming students. Universities shouldnt have speech codes restricting uncivil speech; but lots of things that shouldnt be forbidden should nonetheless be spoken out against, especially by institutions whose job is to teach. The skills and habits of civil, productive discourse are worth teaching, just as are other skills and habits related to the acquisition and discussion of knowledge.

If Dirkss message is indeed, as some understandably suspect, a prelude to an attempt to punish supposedly uncivil speech, that would be bad. (I set aside here the proper power of professors to ensure that class discussion is civil by cutting off students who insult other students.) But if it is an attempt to persuade people to act civilly, then this goal strikes me as something that a university chancellor should indeed be trying to promote.

And that civility is hard to precisely define, and that people may disagree about what exactly it means in particular contexts, is hardly a reason to stop urging it. Unsound argument, disingenuosness, and lack of scholarly rigor are hard to define, too, but that doesnt mean that universities shouldnt try to teach students the opposite. It would be a great loss if rejecting civility codes turned into rejecting civility norms and the speech (by chancellors, deans, professors, and others) used to buttress those norms.

Here is how I would have written Dirkss message, using many of his words and trying to keep close to the length of the original. I think this might be pretty close to what Dirks meant to say (in my experience, most scholars of all ideological stripes do care a lot about civility), but in any case, I think its worth saying.

This Fall marks the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement, which made the right to free expression of ideas a signature issue for our campus, and indeed for universities around the world. Free speech is the cornerstone of our nation and society which is precisely why the founders of the country wrote the First Amendment to the Constitution. For a half century now, our University has been a symbol and embodiment of that ideal. We continue to honor it today.

But while protecting free speech is necessary to maintaining an open, democratic society and to the meaningful exchange of ideas that is the universitys mission it is not sufficient. We also need a willingness to listen. We need a willingness to engage in intellectually honest debate rather than in demagoguery. We need commitment to the requirements and disciplines of academic knowledge, so that what we say will be more likely to be factually accurate and logically sound.

And we particularly need civility. Learning, research, and debate are social endeavors, which work best when people engage in them graciously and politely, and which work poorly when people are needlessly rude and disrespectful to each other. When people know that expressing certain views will lead to name-calling and ad hominem arguments, they will be less likely to express those views. When people are treated disrespectfully by some on the other side of a debate, they will be less open to being convinced, and less likely to work hard to convince others. And this is true not just of political speech on Sproul Plaza, but also in our everyday interactions with each other in the classroom, in the office, and in the lab.

This is especially so when issues are inherently divisive, controversial, and capable of arousing strong feelings. We will protect peoples rights to freely express themselves on these issues (even when they do so uncivilly), and we strongly encourage people to engage those issues. Indeed, the work of the University and a commitment to intellectual honesty demand that people engage those issues, despite their controversial nature. But nearly every idea that people want to express can be expressed politely and expressing it politely is almost always more persuasive, as well as being more conducive to learning, debate, and the discovery of knowledge.

Finally, the university is a place to learn, and one of the habits and skills we teach is constructive, thoughtful discussion that persuades rather than alienating. You will need these habits and skills as scholars, as professionals, and as participants in civic life. Committing ourselves to civility as well as to free inquiry is an important step for all of us in our continuing education.

View original post here:
Volokh Conspiracy: Free speech and civility at universities

Sep 052014

Maybe you’ve heard of Bitcoinit wants to shake the entire global economy, and has become the financial bubble du jour with a skyrocketing value. It’s online moneyan alternative to dollars and euros. Well what’s that mean? It’s complicated, but we break it down.

Bitcoin is not real money. It’s an online “currency”virtual tokens that can be exchanged for goods and services at places that accept it, the same way you’d give someone a dollar for a cookie. But unlike a dollar, a Bitcoin has no serial number or any possible mechanism that could be used to trace it back to a buyer or seller. This makes it attractive to drug dealers and/or privacy advocates.

In their YouTube manifesto, Bitcoin’s creators say they’re going to revolutionize global finance the way the web changed publishing. So! Kind of a lofty goal, aiming to be a global currency up there with (or replacing) the dollar. Right now, that’s still the pipiest of pipe dreams.

Aside from the software developers who work on new versions of the code that underpins Bitcoin, there’s no Central Bitcoin Bankno virtual Federal Reserve. Bitcoins are backed by no one and nothing and completely unregulated.

When you write your friend a check, money from your account is withdrawn from your bank, and then transferred to her bank, and then she withdraws it as cash (maybe). With BitCoin, there are no middlemen (other than the users that comprise the network itself). Money goes straight from you to whomever, through the BitCoin P2P system, with no intermediary agency passing along the chips.

This is where it starts to get a little weird! Unlike traditional currency, that’s backed up by something, (be it gold, silver, or a central bank), Bitcoins are generated out of thin air. Through a process called “mining,” a little app sits on your computer and slowlyvery slowlycreates new Bitcoins in exchange for providing the computational power to process transactions. When a new batch of coins is ready, they’re distributed in probabilistic accordance to whomever had the highest computing power in the mining process. The system is rigged so that no more than 21 million BitCoins will ever existso the mining process will yield less and less as time goes on, and more people sign up. This makes the whole system a lot sweeter for early adopters.

Compared to “real money,” few places accept Bitcoin at the moment. But that’s quickly changing. There’s decent incentive for small businesses to accept Bitcoinsit’s free to use, and there aren’t any transaction fees. At the moment you can buy the services of a web designer, indie PC games, homemade jewelry, guns, and even cocaine. If the internet is the Wild West, BitCoin is its wampum.

Just like you can trade in yen for dollars, you can swap your BitCoins with other users for several “real world” currencies. And right now, the BitCoin is trading very high! When we first published this post in May 2011, one Bitcoin was worth $7.50. Today it’s over $250. And climbing. And climbing and climbing. Not too shabbythe world is starting to see its first Bitcoin millionaires.

But like any bubbleor perhaps more so than most bubblesthe digital coin rush could collapse at any moment, leaving a lot of people with a lot of virtual nothing.

Visit link:
What Is Bitcoin? – Gizmodo

SAN FRANCISCO – Not only is the National Security Agency scooping up vast troves of data on the American public, it’s also sharing that data with other US government agencies.

The NSA has granted access across “nearly two dozen” agencies to data on “more than 850 billion records” that covers more than 30 different kinds of metadata on phone calls, cell phone locations, faxes, emails, and Internet chats, says a new report in The Intercept. Details were reported by CNET News.Com.

Based on classified documents provided by whistleblower and former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the planning documents for the search engine, called ICREACH for Intelligence Community Reach, implicate the participation of the Drug Enforcement Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation.

ICREACH was designed, according to the documents, to allow analysts to search for specific attributes, such as a phone number, and receive a list of results of calls made and received over a specific time period, such as a month. Those results could then be used to determine who the targeted person of interest communicated with regularly.

While the database that ICREACH searches covers an enormous swath of communication data, The Intercept story says that does not include information from the NSA’s database that stores information on American’s phone calls and collected under Section 215 of the Patriot Act. The 215 database can only be searched during terrorism investigations and only by a small group of analysts.

It’s not clear from the report how much information crosses over between the databases.

However, Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the New York University School of Law’s Brennan Center for Justice, told The Intercept that ICREACH allowed the government to to circumvent restrictions on retaining data about Americans.

Office of the Director of National Intelligence spokesman Jeffrey Anchukaitis told the Intercept that sharing information was a “a pillar of the post-9/11 intelligence community.”

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NSA Scoops Up Data On American Public, Shares With Other US Agencies

Coordinates: 505234.16N 42519.24E / 50.8761556N 4.4220111E / 50.8761556; 4.4220111

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO; pron.: /neto/ NAY-toh; French: Organisation du trait de l’Atlantique Nord (OTAN)), also called the (North) Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty which was signed on 4April 1949. The organization constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its member states agree to mutual defense in response to an attack by any external party. NATO’s headquarters are in Brussels, Belgium, one of the 28 member states across North America and Europe, the newest of which, Albania and Croatia, joined in April 2009. An additional 22countries participate in NATO’s “Partnership for Peace”, with 15other countries involved in institutionalized dialogue programs. The combined military spending of all NATO members constitutes over 70% of the world’s defence spending.[3]

For its first few years, NATO was not much more than a political association. However, the Korean War galvanized the member states, and an integrated military structure was built up under the direction of two US supreme commanders. The course of the Cold War led to a rivalry with nations of the Warsaw Pact, which formed in 1955. The first NATO Secretary General, Lord Ismay, stated in 1949 that the organization’s goal was “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.” Doubts over the strength of the relationship between the European states and the United States ebbed and flowed, along with doubts over the credibility of the NATO defence against a prospective Soviet invasiondoubts that led to the development of the independent French nuclear deterrent and the withdrawal of the French from NATO’s military structure in 1966.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the organization became drawn into the breakup of Yugoslavia, and conducted their first military interventions in Bosnia from 1992 to 1995 and later Yugoslavia in 1999. Politically, the organization sought better relations with former Cold War rivals, which culminated with several former Warsaw Pact states joining the alliance in 1999 and 2004. The September 2001 attacks signalled the only occasion in NATO’s history that Article5 of the North Atlantic treaty has been invoked as an attack on all NATO members.[5] After the attack, troops were deployed to Afghanistan under the NATO-led ISAF, and the organization continues to operate in a range of roles, including sending trainers to Iraq, assisting in counter-piracy operations[6] and most recently in 2011 enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1973. The less potent Article 4, which merely invokes consultation among NATO members has been invoked three times, and only by Turkey: once in 2003 over the Second Iraq War, and twice in 2012 over the Syrian civil war after the downing of an unarmed Turkish F-4 reconnaissance jet and after a mortar was fired at Turkey from Syria.[7]

The Treaty of Brussels, signed on 17March 1948 by Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, and the United Kingdom, is considered the precursor to the NATO agreement. The treaty and the Soviet Berlin Blockade led to the creation of the Western European Union’s Defence Organization in September 1948. However, participation of the United States was thought necessary both to counter the military power of the USSR and to prevent the revival of nationalist militarism, so talks for a new military alliance began almost immediately resulting in the North Atlantic Treaty, which was signed in Washington, D.C. on 4April 1949. It included the five Treaty of Brussels states plus the United States, Canada, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Iceland.[9] Popular support for the Treaty was not unanimous, and some Icelanders participated in a pro-neutrality, anti-membership riot in March 1949.

The members agreed that an armed attack against any one of them in Europe or North America would be considered an attack against them all. Consequently they agreed that, if an armed attack occurred, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence, would assist the member being attacked, taking such action as it deemed necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area. The treaty does not require members to respond with military action against an aggressor. Although obliged to respond, they maintain the freedom to choose the method by which they do so. This differs from ArticleIV of the Treaty of Brussels, which clearly states that the response will be military in nature. It is nonetheless assumed that NATO members will aid the attacked member militarily. The treaty was later clarified to include both the member’s territory and their “vessels, forces or aircraft” above the Tropic of Cancer, including some Overseas departments of France.[10]

The creation of NATO brought about some standardization of allied military terminology, procedures, and technology, which in many cases meant European countries adopting U.S. practices. The roughly 1300Standardization Agreements codified many of the common practices that NATO has achieved. Hence, the 7.6251 NATO rifle cartridge was introduced in the 1950s as a standard firearm cartridge among many NATO countries. Fabrique Nationale de Herstal’s FAL became the most popular 7.62 NATO rifle in Europe and served into the early 1990s.[citation needed] Also, aircraft marshalling signals were standardized, so that any NATO aircraft could land at any NATO base. Other standards such as the NATO phonetic alphabet have made their way beyond NATO into civilian use.

The outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950 was crucial for NATO as it raised the apparent threat of all Communist countries working together, and forced the alliance to develop concrete military plans. SHAPE, the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, was formed as a consolidated command structure, and began work under Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower in January 1951.[12] The 1952 Lisbon conference, seeking to provide the forces necessary for NATO’s Long-Term Defence Plan, called for an expansion to ninety-six divisions. However this requirement was dropped the following year to roughly thirty-five divisions with heavier use to be made of nuclear weapons. At this time, NATO could call on about fifteen ready divisions in Central Europe, and another ten in Italy and Scandinavia. Also at Lisbon, the post of Secretary General of NATO as the organization’s chief civilian was created, and Lord Ismay was eventually appointed to the post.[15]

In September 1952, the first major NATO maritime exercises began; Exercise Mainbrace brought together 200 ships and over 50,000 personnel to practice the defence of Denmark and Norway.[16] Other major exercises that followed included Exercise Grand Slam and Exercise Longstep, naval and amphibious exercises in the Mediterranean Sea,[17] Italic Weld, a combined air-naval-ground exercise in northern Italy, Grand Repulse, involving the British Army on the Rhine (BAOR), the Netherlands Corps and Allied Air Forces Central Europe (AAFCE), Monte Carlo, a simulated atomic air-ground exercise involving the Central Army Group, and Weldfast, a combined amphibious landing exercise in the Mediterranean Sea involving British, Greek, Italian, Turkish, and U.S. naval forces.[citation needed]

Greece and Turkey also joined the alliance in 1952, forcing a series of controversial negotiations, in which the United States and Britain were the primary disputants, over how to bring the two countries into the military command structure.[12] While this overt military preparation was going on, covert stay-behind arrangements initially made by the Western European Union to continue resistance after a successful Soviet invasion, including Operation Gladio, were transferred to NATO control.[citation needed] Ultimately unofficial bonds began to grow between NATO’s armed forces, such as the NATO Tiger Association and competitions such as the Canadian Army Trophy for tank gunnery.[citation needed]

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North Atlantic Treaty Organization: Definition from …

May 232014

A while back I wrote a piece outlining 78 of my favorite SEO resources. It was fairly well received and based on some of the questions I received I thought it wise to do a few articles outlining how I use some of the features of these tools.

This post will look at how to build links around industry hubs using Majestic SEO’s Clique Hunter. For those who are more familiar with Ahrefs, Majestic’s Clique Hunter is similar to the Domain Comparison tool (in their Labs section).

I use a wide variety of tools ranging from free add-ons like SEO Quake to custom developed tools for more specific needs. However, Majestic has been one of the core paid tools we rely on for some time now because they have a sizable index of links, and in this case at least, size matters a lot! The bigger it is, the better you can use it.

So let’s get to it. Here’s how you can use Majestic SEO’s Clique Hunter to find hubs and secure links.

Before we get into how to use the tool we should probably cover why. Let’s think about what the Clique Hunter produces and what it represents.

By following the steps outlined below you’ll be provided with a list of domains that link to multiple top-ranking competitors for a specific term. So let’s think about that for a moment. A domain linking to 5 of the top 5 ranking sites, that does not link to you, is likely:

Now, it has to be noted in advance that simply because a site appears in Clique Hunter doesn’t mean it’s good. In a world where we fight for every link and where relevancy and context are increasingly important, every mechanism to increase the odds of a solid lead on a link is welcome. We’ll discuss this more later on, but for now let’s cover the steps required to pull some great backlink leads out of the data provided by Majestic SEO.

OK, log yourself into Majestic SEO and the follow these steps.

Because I don’t want to list off anything that might be competitive for our readers (or let’s face facts, myself or one of our clients) I’m going to go with “seo blog”. The top five ranking URLs in the results are:

View post:
Hub Link Building With Majestic SEO

In this post, we cover the basics of negative search engine optimization (SEO) and look at what you can do to fight negative SEO link spam. This being a hot topic in the industry, I encourage readers to comment at the end of the article.

First, lets take a moment to define negative SEO. Negative SEO is the act of performing some type of action that damages competitors organic search rankings.

There are many ways negative SEO can be done. Someone could hack a website and riddle the code with HTML hyperlinks or inject malware. Even making multiple duplicate copies of a website or stealing a websites content could result in decreased rankings for that site, which could be seen as a method of negative SEO. Anything that hurts a websites rankings, which is done intentionally, could fall into this category.

For the purposes of this article, we are simply referring to someone (usually a competitor or black hat SEO company) building low quality links which point at the website they are trying to get penalized.

The first step in discovering if you are the target of negative SEO from links is reviewing your backlink profile. In most cases, it is a good idea to do this once a week or once a month, depending on how concerned you are and how cutthroat and competitive your industry is.

You can view the links to your site report in Google Webmaster Tools to get a decent high-level view of the links Google is seeing and utilizing as authority indicators when reviewing your site.

There are also other excellent tools out there, such as Majestic SEO, Opensite Explorer and Ahrefs, that can often surface additional inbound links not listed in the Google Webmaster Tools report. We do know that you can get a manual action for links not listed in Webmaster Tools, so its a good idea to get as much information as possible.

When you review these links, keep an eye out for the following:

Outside of just looking at the links, it is also a good idea to occasionally check to see if you have a manual action.

Go here to see the original:
Negative SEO From Links What Can You Do If Youre Hit?

This post is aimed squarely at people who are not SEO practitioners yet but want to learn a little about Search Engine Optimization, as well as to those who feel a bit mystified over how to do link building and, (more to the point) what you are and arent allowed to do.

Lately, link building has become an increasingly volatile mine field, so the first step is to make sure you are knowwhat constitutes bad when it comes to link building. And then we can talk about how to do it the right way.

If youre talking about link building you are probably talking about SEO and building links in order to improve your rankings on Google (and other search engines of course!). Over the years the practice of link building has included several different strategies which Google has ruled to be spammy and has killed off one way or another.

You do of course have the right to build links to your website in whatever way you want. But if you want to rank well in Google, then youre going to have to play by their rules. So heres a quick run-down of the less favorable options.

Submitting to things like directories, article sites, and anywhere where its more about volume than quality is pretty much a no-no. There are arguably some directories (maybe threeout of several thousand) which still have a little value, but in my opinion these arent worth worrying about.

If you want to submit to directories and similar sorts of sites, ensure they have a very strict editorial criteria. DMOZ is arguably the only directory that matters, and here is a post on Slamdot explaining why.

Regardless of what you call it, paying for links is advertising, and when used for advertising purposes thats great. But if you are paying someone to link to your site for the purposes of improving search engine results you are in a bad territory.

If you want to pay for advertising, thats fine, but links should be nofollowed if you want to keep Google happy (and like it or not, you do). Furthermore, depending on where you live you may be legally required to declare to visitors that a link is paid for.

Excerpt from:
For the Non-SEO: What is Bad Link Building? by @Think_Traffic

This post is sponsored by DIA.

Regenerative medicines and the latest regulatory issues surrounding them will be a hot topic for discussion at the DIA 2014 50th Annual Meeting. This years Annual Meeting will be in San Diego from June 15 to 19 and will feature a session titled Pioneering Regenerative Medicine: Trends in Regulations for New Therapy, under the Nonclinical and Translational Development/Early Phase Clinical Development track.

The session, to be held on June 16 from 8:30-10:00 AM, will introduce the first clinical research of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell products in Japan and review the current regulatory status and governmental efforts surrounding regenerative medicine. Speakers will also identify issues in the application of the new technology and discuss possible solutions.

iPS cells hold great promise in the field of regenerative medicine because they can propagate indefinitely, as well as give rise to every other cell type in the body such as neurons, heart, pancreatic, and liver cells, and therefore represent a single source of cells that could be used to replace those lost to damage or disease. iPS cell technology was pioneered by Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto, Japan, who was awarded the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize for the discovery alongside Sir John Gurdon.

The session will be chaired by Shinji Miyake, PhD, Professor of the Center for Clinical Research at Keio University School of Medicine in Japan.

The DIA 2014 50th Annual Meeting: Celebrate the Past Invent the Future is the largest multidisciplinary event that brings together a community of life sciences professionals at all levels and across all disciplines involved in the discovery, development, and life cycle management of medical products all with a common goal to foster innovation that will lead to the development of safe and effective medical products and therapies to patients.

This years event celebrates DIAs 50th Anniversary and will feature 260+ educational offerings over 21 tracks, 450+ exhibiting companies, over 125 representatives from global regulatory agencies, and much more. The meeting provides participants with a valuable opportunity to network with professionals from around the world, share knowledge, and build new relationships.

Find out more about DIA 2014 50th Annual Meeting at

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Introducing pioneering regenerative medicine

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