Muslims More Numerous Than Catholics

VATICAN CITY – Islam has surpassed Roman Catholicism as the world’s largest religion, the Vatican newspaper said Sunday.

“For the first time in history, we are no longer at the top: Muslims have overtaken us,” Monsignor Vittorio Formenti said in an interview with the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano. Formenti compiles the Vatican’s yearbook.

He said that Catholics accounted for 17.4 percent of the world population — a stable percentage — while Muslims were at 19.2 percent.

“It is true that while Muslim families, as is well known, continue to make a lot of children, Christian ones on the contrary tend to have fewer and fewer,” the monsignor said.

Formenti said that the data refer to 2006. The figures on Muslims were put together by Muslim countries and then provided to the United Nations, he said, adding that the Vatican could only vouch for its own data.

When considering all Christians and not just Catholics, Christians make up 33 percent of the world population, Formenti said.

Spokesmen for the Vatican and the United Nations did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment Sunday.

That is the news.

Here is my comment.

Why do Christians have to compare?

Why do Muslims have to fight as Christians before?

Why do I have the feeling we are in war?

My heart feels very sad.

But I still keep my compassion…


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The Readability Test

I remember when I was student, one professor asked us to prepare a memo and a speech in view to explain the Law of Large Numbers to… a 10 years old kid.

Both of us believed it was a piece of cake especially for advanced students in econometrics: the subject belongs to the introduction in statistics and random variables.

Both of us gave our memo and made the speech (less than 20 graduated students, so no problem)

Both of us failed.

Both of us felt WTF, what’s wrong?

I think for the first time, thanks to this professor, I realized that if you really know a subject, you are supposed to be able to explain it in a clearly way to people who have never heard about it.

Even it was a long time ago, I never forgot that class.

Anyway, my point is not this one but it is related to: what is the readability of our writing?

When you check your spelling in WORD, you get a readability statistics.

Today I was just surfing Internet for relax during my coffee break (come on!) and I visited a good blog written by an American professor, which mentioned a Website test for your readability abilities.

I followed the link which is sorting out sites from “elementary school” to “genius”. Very simple: just type the address.

For my personal blog, the result is:


For my forex blog, I got the same result 🙂

I don’t know if I should aim for high school or kindergarten 😉

It is common sense that if you want to get a lot of “reach”, your text should be written at the junior high or lower level.

The problem is how to judge or test your readability? This link is one way and readability statistics from WORD another easy way. But do they provide compatible results?

To verify it, I tested the text of my previous post and here are the results:

From the above link (just copy and past the address) I got:


Hum Hum Hum 🙂

And from WORD (see the link and explanations above) the result for “Flesch Reading Ease” is 47.7 (The higher the score, the easier it is to understand the document. For most standard files, the score should be between 60 and 70).

For “Flesch-Kindcaid Grade Level”, the result is 11.9 (This test rates text on a U.S. school grade level. For example, a score of 8.0 means that an eighth grader can understand the document. For most documents, aim for a score of approximately 7.0 to 8.0).

Conclusion: results obtained from the Website and WORD using exactly the same text are roughly coherent, showing a readability above the “what should be” level.

But it raises a question about the algorithms used to measure the readability.

Common factors used for evaluating readability include:

  • Number of words in a sentence.
  • Number of syllables per word.
  • Usually algorithms also include a syntactic factor and semantic factor.
  • Use of passive sentence etc…

I don’t know the algorithm used by the above mentioned Website but the results are quite surprising at least for my two blogs.

I believe this tools gives better results text per text that for a whole blog or Website.

Anyway, it is always very interesting to have an idea about our readability. Between to be “technical” or “readable”, what will be your choice?


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Thomas Edison Was Not the First One in Sound Recording

The first (as far as I know) who recorded a sound, is a French.

A group of researchers has succeeded in playing a sound recording of a human voice made in 1860 – 17 years before Thomas Edison invented the phonograph.

Roughly ten seconds in length, the recording is of a person singing “Au clair de la lune, Pierrot répondit” – a snippet from a French folksong.

It was made on April 9, 1860 by Parisian inventor Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville on his “phonautograph” – a device that scratched sound waves onto a sheet of paper blackened by the smoke of an oil lamp.

Scott never dreamed of playing back his recordings. But this morning, the dream Scott never had will come true.

A cadre of audio historians, recording engineers, and scientists working in conjunction with the First Sounds initiative has transformed Scott’s smoked-paper tracings into sound.

They will premiere Au Clair de la Lune at the annual conference of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections at Stanford University this morning.

Examples of sounds evoked from French and American phon-autograph recordings made between 1857 and 1878 will also be played publicly for the first time.

Here, a Scott’s 1857 drawing of a phonautographic recording session, included in his patent paperwork preserved at the Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle (INPI), the French patent office:

Here, the Scott’s 1859 drawing of his phonautograph, included in his patent paperwork preserved at the Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle (INPI), the French patent office:

Here is the 1859 model of Scott’s phonautograph. Source: Franz Josef Pisko, Die neuere Apparate der Akustik (Vienna, 1865):

Do you want to have a look of the support after recording? Here is a detail of an 1859 phonautogram made by Scott and included in his patent paperwork, preserved at the Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle (INPI), the French patent office.


If you want to know more about the team who made this dream to come true, go HERE.

How It All Began

In ancient Israel, it came to pass that a trader by the name of Abraham Com did take unto himself a young wife by the name of Dot. And Dot Com was a comely woman, broad of shoulder and long of leg. Indeed, she had been called Amazon Dot Com.

She said unto Abraham, her husband, “Why doth thou travel far from town to town with thy goods when thou can trade without ever leaving thy tent?” And Abraham did look at her as though she were several saddle bags short of a camel load, but simply said, “How, Dear?”

And Dot replied, “I will place drums in all the towns and drums in between to send messages saying what you have for sale and they will reply telling you which hath the best price. And the sale can be made on the drums and delivery made by Uriah’s Pony Stable (UPS).”

Abraham thought long and decided he would let Dot have her way with the drums. The drums rang out and were an immediate success. Abraham sold all the goods he had at the top price, without ever moving from his tent. But this success did arouse envy.

A man named Maccabia did secret himself inside Abraham’s drum and was accused of insider trading. And the young man did take to Dot Com’s trading as doth the greedy horsefly take to camel dung. They were called Nomadic Ecclesiastical Rich Dominican Siderites, or NERDS for short.

And lo, the land was so feverish with joy at the new riches and the deafening sound of drums, that no one noticed that the real riches were going to the drum maker, one Brother William of Gates, who bought up every drum company in the land. And indeed did insist on making drums that would work only with Brother Gates’ drumheads and drumsticks.

Dot did say, “Oh, Abraham, what we have started is being taken over by others.” And as Abraham looked out over the Bay of Ezekiel, or as it came to be known “eBay” he said, “we need a name that reflects what we are,” and Dot replied, “Young Ambitious Hebrew Owner Operators.” “YAHOO”, said Abraham.

And that is how it all began. It wasn’t Al Gore after all.

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With Biofuels, "There Will Be Nothing to Eat,"

The increased use of food raw materials for the production of biofuels is endangering the food supply of the world’s population, warned Sunday the boss of Nestle, Peter Brabeck.

“If one wants to cover 20% of the growing need for petroleum products with biofuels, as anticipated, there will be nothing to eat,” said the CEO of the first global food group, Peter Brabeck, in a interview to the Sunday newspaper NZZ am Sonntag.

“Giving huge subsidies to produce them is morally unacceptable and irresponsible,” said the Swiss leader of the group, believing that the millions of tons of corn devoted to biofuels are less for the food sector.

While this phenomenon draws up the price of corn, soybean and wheat, land becoming scarce and water is also threatened, “said Brabeck, estimating that to produce one liter of bio-ethanol requires 4,000 liters of water.

Scaring, isn’t it?

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So Strange Domain Names!

During my coffee break and to read something different than the election results here, I was surfing on some Websites including TechCrunch, and I read a post listing new startups supposed to participate on a demo event.

Anyway, I don’t remember the precise address. My point is that some names are totally strange, at least for me. See for example:

I don’t mean the name of my blog is good but my purpose is not to make business and I didn’t make a multi-million dollars business plan to launch it.

I mean, Wundrbar? Gwt-ext? For real?

I visited their sites… Yes, it’s for real.

Beside they are supposed to be a “big hit” in their fields…

Who chose the name?

I am still wondering…

No more comment!


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Both U.N. Bid Referendums Vetoed

Two referendums took place yesterday alongside the presidential election.

While the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) had proposed a referendum on joining the UN using the name “Taiwan,” the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) initiated its own, asking the nation whether it should seek to “rejoin” the international body using the name “Republic of China” or any other “practical” title that would uphold the country’s dignity.

In Taiwan, the Referendum Law states that two thresholds needed to be attained for a referendum to be valid.

First, more than 50 percent of eligible voters need to cast a referendum ballot, and second, of the valid votes, 50 percent of the voters need to respond in the affirmative to the referendum question.

By law a failed referendum question cannot be asked again for a period of three years, so this subject will be out from the front pages for a while…

The controversial referendums on Taiwan’s quest for U.N. membership failed to pass the legal threshold Saturday, marking yet another blow to the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration.

A total of 6,201,677 voters, or 35.82 percent of the electorate, took part in the DPP-initiated referendum asking voters whether Taiwan should join the United Nations under the name “Taiwan.”

The figure fell far short of the minimum 50 percent needed for the referendum to be counted valid.

Among those who cast their ballots, 5,529,230 voted affirmatively while 352,359 cast “no” votes. The remaining 320,088 ballots cast were invalid.

As for the main opposition KMT-initiated referendum on rejoining the United Nations under Taiwan’s official title “Republic of China, ” “Taiwan, ” or any other suitable name, the participation rate was slightly lower at 35.74 percent.

Among the voters, 4,962,309 cast affirmative ballots, compared to 724,060 who voted “no.” An additional 500,749 ballots were invalid.

The two referendums were doomed from the beginning in part because of the extremely high legal threshold they had to meet. The initiatives were also seen as political ploys that had little relevance for Taiwan’s U.N. membership bid.

Taiwan, as the Republic of China, lost its U.N. seat to the People’s Republic of China in 1971, and has made unsuccessful bids annually to rejoin the body since 1993.

As expected, neither of the two UN referendums passed. This must not be interpreted as meaning that Taiwanese do not want UN membership.

Rather, the referendums were sacrificed because they had been overly politicized and manipulated by both the DPP and the KMT.

The fact that six consecutive referendums have failed to pass in the past four years probably means that similar referendums are unlikely to be held again in the foreseeable future.