How Defying Gravity would have ended: the final chapter


Exactly a year ago tomorrow, I posted many bits of a discussion I had with Defying Gravity‘s creator James Parriott, where he explained much of how he envisioned the series would have continued, had it endured past its one season run. The show was canceled late in its first and only season, the remaining episodes viewable now via DVD. At that time, Parriott wasn’t yet willing to divulge everything about the series. He didn’t want to fully explain the ending and so forth, because there was still a teeny, tiny chance the show might be brought back in some form. The actors were all still unattached to projects, for example. So, he told me if nothing became of the series after six months, he’d spill it all to me.

Well, six months came and went, and no word came of how Defying Gravity would have ended. I won’t get into why Parriott didn’t follow through at the time, as it’s off the record. So, six months more of my pestering the hell out of the poor man, I’ve finally got what we’ve all been waiting for.

Much of what Parriott told me was already mentioned in my previous post, though he did go into more detail. Below, in Parriott’s own words, is what he has revealed as how Defying Gravity would have ended, though do make sure you check out the original post first.

The second season would be the flight to Mercury and the landing there on “the terminal” (the line where day and night meets).  This is the one area where you can land on Mercury and neither freeze nor fry. It serves as a metaphor – the in-between place – for what Nadia is experiencing, and it is she who will be making the solo landing and have to choose between day and night to survive.

Nadia, in season two, will be revealed in flashback, to have been a true hermaphrodite.  She carries the internal frustration that she allowed the decision to become female to be made for her. Her hallucination is a vision of herself as she might have been. Mintz will draw this out of her (as a shrink) and become her closest confidant. Eventually, over a season or two, this relationship develops into a full blown romance of uncommon dedication. Why?

Because Nadia, after Mercury, slowly starts changing into the man she could’ve been. This miracle (of course caused by the objects’ ability to affect the astronaut’s genes) inspires a kind of faith in Mintz. He moves from cynic to believer (in fact, we come to understand that, in his hatred for the brutality of man, he never intended to return to Earth).

Mintz and Nadia’s true love would transcend their sex, and give the writers the platform to discuss what love is (and address gay marriage, etc.)

Zoe will heal. And her love for Donner will bloom (in contrast to the relationship hell going on in the flashbacks to the ISO training). This is darkened, though, by their mutual dream. Is it possible for her to become pregnant? They do body scans to make sure their tubes are still tied.

And Donner begins to dread what they’ll find on Mars.

Wass and Paula will continue their shy romance that dances around the subjects of science, religion, and faith. He will help her deal with her rape as a child, as they both search for answers as to what the fractal objects really are. Paula will become convinced that the burning bush that spoke to Moses was, in fact, a fractal object.

In terms of Wass and Jen not having hallucinations: I had a storyline for Wass in the very beginning that revolved around him being an Aspberger’s kid and hating being touched. (kind of the opposite of Jen). I dumped that when it became apparent that he and Paula had chemistry and I hadn’t come up with a replacement arc. Jen’s non-hallucination is Beta screwing with her – making her face her loneliness and outsized need for intimacy.

Jen will be forced to deal with those needs. Rollie won’t be available to her – his second-season arc would be to pay for his hit and run and go to jail. The bunny will be discovered — its fur screwing with the ventilation – and be put down. It will devastate Jen. Ted, who is feeling distanced from Eve, will become her lover.


On Earth, Eve will have to deal with Ted’s betrayal; and Jen’s betrayal of Rollie, to whom Eve feels close. She will also have to deal with the fact that her genes are changing like the astronauts’ … and her repeated dream of Ted yelling “go … go!” in the middle of a Mars dust storm. As the dreams become more vivid, she will realize that this isn’t a vision of the past – Ted’s helmet visor clearly says ANTARES – rather, a vision of the future. Her future. She realizes that the fractals want her to go to Mars.

There would be a re-supply ship launching for Mars at the end of the second season. Eve will be on it — as will Rollie (the pilot), who, it will turn out, has been genetically changing as well. They will meet Ted and Jen on Mars and get a chance to confront them directly.

Claire will be freaked out by the gene modification happening to Eve, Rollie, and the astronauts and will seriously start to question the mission.  This is all far darker than she ever imagined – and clearly, as the probes on Venus showed, there is a larger, international agenda.  She will find herself becoming an ally of her ex-lover, Trevor – who, with his black rock clue delivered by Arnel Poe, starts some serious digging.

This digging and unraveling of the true nature of the mission continues over several seasons and will, eventually, involve Ajay, as well. And, ultimately, even Goss – who will discover that he’s been played all along by the uber bosses:

The true mission isn’t to bring the objects back (or assemble them, as Wass discovers) – the uber bosses want the world to remain as it is. Whatever the fractal objects are, they don’t want them. The true mission is to collect them and send them and Antares out of the solar system into deep space. To simply get rid of them.

Mars.  This will be a lot of season three and into season four. I honestly haven’t thought through it. Obviously, the Eve/Ted/Jen/Rollie stuff will play out. But the center of it is Donner and his discovery that Karen Walker lived for weeks in the habitat after he left her on Mars; and was, in fact, pregnant. The ISO knew it and blocked her radio transmissions. In the writers’ room we were playing with Karen being alive when they got there – and maybe we would have gone that way. At the very least, alive in Donner’s mind as an hallucination.

But it is when they leave Mars (and I think one or two of them will be left behind, dead) that they discover 1) that the fractals are a puzzle to be assembled, and 2) that they’ve been seriously shorted on fuel (Ajay and Claire will tip them). Their choice is to try to return home, or go for it.

Goss, who now knows that he’s been played, tells them to go for it.

So the end game is to get the rest of the fractals – which involves each of our characters overcoming their weaknesses – in effect, proving themselves to the universe.

Yes, Zoe will become pregnant, even though hers and Donner’s tubes are tied. And yes, their dream will, in fact, come true.

The dark planet is Pluto (okay, Pluto’s no longer a planet). The bright light emerging from behind it is the assembly of objects – now, as bright as the sun and put together by Wass and Paula in a surely suicidal mission. But they have faith that something greater is going to come of it. And it does….

As the light hits Zoe and Donner, we’ll flash back to all of those moments in our characters’ lives – the moments that shaped them – the moments that they could have done something to change.  And this time, like a giant do-over, they go the other way. Other moments, unrelated to our characters, shift as well. A road untraveled is taken. A life is spared. And, in a brilliant flash …

Antares is floating again above Mother Earth. Coming home. Its astronauts shuttling back to the surface after a successful mission. Climbing out of their shuttle to cheering crowds. Ajay, Goss, Arnel, Claire — a completely different crew.

Donner and Zoe cheer from Mission Control with their family.

It’s a different world. A better world. The only constant is Trevor Williams, asking into his camera if it was all really worthwhile.

I pressed Parriott for further clarification on something at the end there. Here’s his response:

The objects, Wass realizes, are a puzzle to determine man’s worthiness to exist in a greater universe. Mankind is being tested. In the retrieval of the objects, and in figuring out what to do with them in the end. If we fail, we will simply be allowed to progress on our self-destructive path and cease to exist. If we succeed, we are given a push (don’t forget that time is elastic) by re-doing bad decisions that lead us on the wrong path. Like Ganesh, the god of destruction — but also of new beginnings — we are given a chance to start over. Call it an alternate universe, if you like.

The Antares is returning from a tour of the solar system (the mission as it was conceived, minus the fractals and intrigue). Yes, an alternate universe mission — the mission it would’ve taken had we been on the right path. Donner and Zoe, in this universe, were never on it. (although, in thinking about it yesterday, a better ending would be for Zoe to have been on the mission and for Donner to be married to Karen — in the re-do, he never left her on Mars). It would’ve been a more bittersweet ending — and I like that.

Well, there you have it. I’m sure Mr. Parriott will be glad to not have to hear from me anymore, and I’m hoping having this information revealed to fans will give him some satisfaction that there’s some closure out there for us. Before I posted this, I asked Parriott if this was really how he’d like for the rest of the story to be told, via this little ol’ site called CliqueClack. Could it continue in book form? Comic books, perhaps? Unfortunately, FOX and ABC own all rights to the series, so unless they decide to release or sell the rights to the series, it’s dead and buried; no life left in the girl.

Thank you again to Mr. Parriott for all his time and dedication to the fans, in releasing the final words on Defying Gravity. And thanks everyone for reading.


How Defying Gravity would have progressed

dg-beta-425x242Defying Gravity creator James Parriott discusses how Defying Gravity would have continued on, had the show lived to see more seasons.

One of the things that kills me anytime a show I love doesn’t get picked up for additional seasons — or is flat-out canceled mid-season — is dangling storylines. Being that I’m into sci-fi shows, enduring long story arcs is pretty commonplace. So, when word came that Defying Gravity was not only not getting a second season, but it wouldn’t be airing the final handful of episodes in the U.S., it was par for the course. But dammit, I wanted to know what was going to happen next!

Via powerful, mystical, magical items that I won’t reveal here, for fear the secret will fall into the wrong hands, I was able to watch the final episodes of the first and only season of Defying Gravity. Ivey’s already written about them, the final episode having aired on Canada’s CTV and SPACE channels last weekend. Unlike another sci-fi show that was cut short soon — the U.S. version of Life on MarsDefying Gravity wasn’t allowed to wrap up its story. In fact, even if it had the time to prepare for it, there’s just no way it could wrap everything up in one season. The season only got better in the latter episodes, which makes the show being gone all the more disappointing.

Still, I had to know how the show was meant to end. If there was truly no hope that the show would get picked up somewhere else, I had to jump at a chance to find out what was going to happen next. So, I went straight to the source and contacted the show’s creator, James Parriott, to get a reading from the next book from the Defying Gravity bible. And, lordy, did he read.

First of all, let’s get the basics out of the way. Parriott confirmed to me that the actors have all been released and the sets have been destroyed, so the show is “pretty much dead” — no real hope now of seeing the show get the CPR it needs to continue on into another season or a wrap-up movie.

So, why did the show not do better in the first place, if it’s as good as I say? As Parriott explained, the show wasn’t officially picked up by ABC until a mere three weeks before the first episode aired, virtually giving them no time to market the show properly. By that time, all ad space they needed for the show to get the awareness it needed was spoken for.

Getting back to what I said about a show “bible,” Parriott said that in order to sell the show, he had to have the show worked out, and he does indeed have a bible for it. In fact, he has the first three years of the show all worked out, along with how it would ultimately end. Because Parriott has what he said is “a tremendous respect for science fiction and its fans,” he didn’t want to string viewers along too long without anything significant to reveal, which is why Beta was revealed in episode nine and not somewhere in season two; he wasn’t about to leave us with “a big hole in the ground” at the finale. Lost fans know what he’s talking about.

Speaking of Lost, here’s a fun bit he had to say about the show and how it relates to how he went into putting Defying Gravity together:

“I love the show [Lost], and Damon [Lindelof] and Carlton [Cuse]. I did a lot with Grey’s Anatomy during the first couple of years of Grey’s, and that first year of Grey’s was the first year of Lost, and I did a lot of dinners with ABC buyers with those two guys and Shonda Rhimes from Grey’s. Carlton is a really bright and funny guy, and he gets up, and the first question out of the foreign buyers’ mouths is ‘where’s it going to go? Do you know where it’s going to go?’, and he said ‘I haven’t a clue.’ And then he sits down across from me at the dinner table, and I remember saying ‘Damon, come on, that’s bullshit, right? I mean, you know where it’s going to go.’ And he says, ‘Jim, I haven’t a clue. I’m four episodes out; that’s all I know.’

“And I just thought to myself, y’know, that’s really dangerous. And then when I got into doing this show, I said I don’t want to do that; I don’t want to be in that position. First of all, I’d have ulcers if I did that, which would just be crazy, and I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night. So I went in pretty much knowing where it was going to go.”

I’ve often said that having the “Grey’s Anatomy” tag on this show really hurt it. Sci-fi fans ran for the hills when they saw it was going to be Grey’s-in-space, so it never took off. So, I asked Parriott about that.

“First of all, ABC literally bought the show three weeks before it aired. ABC, I think, in their own way, were trying to kill it. They had been planning to buy the show all summer long, so they had us on a hook. But they wouldn’t commit, wouldn’t commit, wouldn’t commit. While they weren’t committing, they were cutting trailers and were preparing to launch, but they weren’t telling anybody. And then they finally committed three weeks before launch.”

Essentially, the only people who saw the promos were the 1.5 million viewers through ABC’s summer schedule.

“[Having the Grey’s Anatomy tag] probably hurt the show ultimately. But in terms of trying to sell the show, as sort of a quick pitch … for the buyers, it had to be ‘look, it’s a show in space, but it’s not a space show. This is a space show that’s going to attract women.’ That seemed to be the easiest thing to do. In fact, I don’t think we ever really coined the phrase that it’s Grey’s in space; someone had just said that and we said ‘OK.’”

So why wasn’t the show pitched instead to Syfy? Couldn’t the show have shined there and gotten the attention it needed and deserved? “You know, it could have. But we were always trying to create a network show and not a cable show. So if you go out and just say “we’re sci-fi,” the networks sort of balk at that. They want to know it’s bigger and the potential audience is broader than a sci-fi audience. However, when it became clear that ABC wasn’t going to give us a big summer launch and not be promoted as well as we wanted, I was encouraging the studio not to sell it and go to Syfy. And in fact they did go to them, but they did it too late and after we already aired two episodes. I said, ‘would you guys buy this if we pulled it from ABC and give it to you for free on rerun and buy us into a second season?’ But then you’ve already aired and you’re taking the wind out of Syfy’s sails, because they can’t promote it as ‘their’ show. And Mark Stern [Syfy Exec VP of Original Content] was very interested in it, but once it aired on ABC you lose your caché. And you’re done. But we could have survived on Syfy and done many seasons.

If it had been an ABC developed show, believe me, we would have been promoted and been put into a better time slot.”

Now, let’s get into the answers to some of the unanswered questions from the show. First of all, Parriott won’t yet reveal to me the ending of the show, as he’s still holding onto hopes that something will come out of left field and cause it to be revived again, in one for or another. If, in six months, the show doesn’t see the light of day again, then we may get our answer. (UPDATE: Here are the answers.)

Let’s go over the characters Parriott and I discussed:

Nadia — She had quite the odd hallucinations, didn’t she? Who was that man she kept seeing, and why did he look so much like Nadia? As Parriott revealed to me, some fans of the show got it right in their guess that she was, in fact, a hermaphrodite when she was born. The choice was made for her when she was 11, by her parents, which sex she’d ultimately become. So that man we’re seeing is actually what Nadia would have been, had they chosen to raise her — or him — as a man.

Now, here’s the wild kicker. All those DNA changes that are happening with the crew, caused by Beta and the other artifacts? Well, they would eventually wind up causing Nadia to gradually turn into a man.

Parrriott also said that it was planned for Nadia to really have a more significant presence in season two. “If you see the way we wrote her, she sort of had that male sexuality about her, that ‘fuck ‘em and forget ‘em’ mentality. So we wanted to write her sort of as a male character in a female body.”

Donner & Zoe – Probably already guessed or assumed by many, but Donner’s reversed vasectomy was part of the DNA change brought upon by Beta. Eventually, toward the very end of the series, the true reason for that happening would be revealed, when Zoe becomes pregnant again on the trip. So yes, even Zoe’s hysterectomy would be “reversed” in order for that to happen.

“They were all going to be tested. The idea was that they all had points in their lives that, if they could do them all again, then they would have chosen a different path. Beta — the ‘fractal objects’ — were going to put them up against those same situations and stand them up to themselves again, give them a chance to make another decision.”

Wass — I asked what the Wassenfelder character’s significance was going to turn out to be, since, for the most part, he only seemed to serve as the comic relief for the show. “Dylan [Taylor] sort of has that different gear that we had to exploit, which is sort of that funny gear. And he had a relationship with Paula Garcés the first time we put them together, and we just though that was a relationship we have to mine. That wasn’t the initial plan, but Wass was going to have something like Pervasive Developmental Disorder [similar to Autism] and have a great fear of people touching him and having contact with other people. He was going to become a weirder guy. One reason I didn’t have hallucinations for him was because I didn’t have any for him worked out yet!”

Arnel Poe — “Yeah, people guessed pretty early on that it’s Arnel’s leg loss that gets Zoe back into the program. At the beginning of the second season, she’s going to be at home, has a job teaching college, she’s going to have another romance, she’s going to have washed her hands of the whole thing. Donner’s going to be going nuts. They’re going to be doing the survival training for the mission and Arnel was going to lose a leg, and Zoe would be called back.”

Jen — Was she mistakenly put on the mission? Why can’t she see the fractal objects? “No, she was correctly put on the mission. And she can’t see [the objects] because, if you look back at when she was in the isolation tanks, she has a fear of abandonment. Jen seems to always need a man, and she’s very needy that way because she was abandoned as a child. And what the fractal objects were doing was she was going to become extraordinarily lonely in season two, and the bunny was going to fuck up the ship and she was going to have to kill that bunny. That’s her thing she was going to have to overcome, that incredible loneliness.”

Eve — “In season two and season three, and leading into Mars, Eve was going to discover that the flashback she has of Mars, where Ted is yelling ‘go go go’, she’s going to realize that on top of his helmet there it says ‘Antares’ — so she was actually seeing the future. And she’s going to realize she has to go to Mars.”

Rollie — “Rollie was going to be in jail for his [driving incident] and have to be pulled out and take Eve [to Mars]. And they were going to go up in one of the resupply vessels to Mars.”

Goss — “Goss would not be the bad guy in the end. Goss would find out that he’s been being duped a little bit, and that it’s bigger than all of them.”

Beta and the other “fractal objects” — “I was never going to define what they were. I think that’s one of the themes about the whole show, is the theology of it. Is it God? Is it not God? Is it alien? What is the Universe? I do believe in a greater being, a greater thing, and this fractal thing is really an amazing thing. I was reading in The New Yorker how stock market swings follow Pi, the fractal equation. And that’s sort of a scary thing, that it just moves. You can plot the right dips and curves [of the market] that it does indeed move fractally, and that just blows me away. There’s just tons of stuff we don’t know.”

Other reveals:

  • They would eventually get all of the fractal objects during the course of the show.
  • Arnel, Trevor, Ajay and Claire would have been behind the “true” mission being revealed to the world, eventually. The three would be forced to work with Trevor in a sort-of underground initiative and ally with him when they see that he’s right in that something larger is being hidden. We would find out that Goss is hiding a larger agenda, and then there’s an even larger agenda that even Goss is unaware of.
  • The state of the world — the planet Earth itself — would have been revealed. “We didn’t have the budget to do it the first season — it was struggle enough just to get the ship up and running and do the shows with the quality that we had. We were going to reveal the world at large and, y’know, it’s kinda a fucked up place.”
  • On that note, I mentioned the scene where Wass says he “could sleep through World War IV,” and Parriott had no idea what I was talking about. He said he’d been through the shows “eight million times” and never remembered seeing that. When I told him the episode and scene (episode 11, Wass at the isolation chambers), he said it must have been another case of Dylan Taylor ad-libbing again, and he totally missed it.
  • “There was horrific stuff we didn’t show that happened on Mars. Sharon and Walker had actually lived a couple of weeks in the habitat on the planet. Half of season three would probably have taken place on Mars or in orbit around Mars, but we hadn’t worked out fully what exactly they were going to find on Mars. But we did talk in the writers’ room about possibly having the two still alive when they arrived.”

Well, there you have it. As for the remaining episodes not shown yet in the U.S., Parriott tells me not to expect them on network television, though you will see them appear on Hulu and/or iTunes. The full set of episodes should arrive on Blu-ray next January.

I really want to thank Mr. Parriott for taking the time to talking to me and revealing so much of what many fans were wondering about this show. If only we’d get that sort of resolution with every other killed series. See me again next spring when I try to pry the show bible from Parriott’s hands to find out the rest of the details yet to be revealed.

(UPDATE: The final chapter in how Defying Gravity is here, as again revealed by James Parriott.)

Before the Beginning

You live your lives through your own subjective knowing, to begin with, and I will try to arouse within your own consciousnesses memories of events with which your own inner psyches were intimately involved as the world was formed— and though these may appear to be past events, they are even now occurring. Before the beginning of the universe, we will postulate the existence of an omnipotent, creative source. (Pause.) We will hope to show that this divine subjectivity is as present in the world of your experience as it was before the beginning of the universe. Again, I refer to this original subjectivity as All That Is. I am making an attempt to verbalize concepts that almost defy the edges of the intellect, unless that intellect is thoroughly reinforced by the intuition’s strength. So you will need to use your mind and your own intuitions as you read this book.

All That Is, before the beginning contained within itself the infinite thrust of all possible creations. All That Is possessed (pause) a creativity of such magnificence that its slightest imaginings, dreams, thoughts, feelings or moods attained a kind of reality, a vividness, an intensity, that almost demanded freedom. Freedom from what? Freedom to do what? Freedom to be what? The experience, the subjective universe, the “mind” of All That Is, was so brilliant, so distinct, that All That Is almost became lost, mentally wandering within this ever-flourishing, ever-growing interior landscape. Each thought, feeling, dream, or mood was itself indelibly marked with all of the attributes of this infinite subjectivity. Each glowed and quivered with its own creativity, its own desire to create as it had been created.

Before the beginning there existed an interior universe that had no beginning or ending, for I am using the term “before the beginning” to make matters easier for you to assimilate. In parentheses: (That same infinite interior universe exists now, for example.) All That Is contained within itself the knowledge of all existences, with their infinite probabilities, and “as soon as” All That Is imagined those numberless circumstances, they existed in what I will call divine fact. All That Is knew of itself only. It was engrossed with its own subjective experiences, even divinely astonished as its own thoughts and imaginings attained their own vitality, and inherited the creativity of their subjective creator. [Those thoughts and imaginings] began to have a dialogue with their “Maker” (all very emphatically). Thoughts of such magnificent vigor began to think their own thoughts— and their thoughts thought thoughts.

As if in divine astonishment and surprise, All That Is began to listen, and began to respond to these “generations” of thoughts and dreams, for the thoughts and dreams related to each other also. There was no time, so all of this “was happening” simultaneously. The order of events is being simplified. In the meantime, then, in your terms, All That Is spontaneously thought new thoughts and dreamed new dreams, and became involved in new imaginings— and all of these also related to those now-infinite generations of interweaving and interrelating thoughts and dreams that “already” existed (with many gestures and much emphasis). So beside this spontaneous creation, this simultaneous “stream” of divine rousing, All That Is began to watch the interactions that occurred among his own subjective progeny.

(Pause.) He listened, began to respond and to answer a thought or a dream. He began to purposefully bring about those mental conditions that were requested by these generations of mental progeny. If he had been lonely before, he was no longer. Your language causes some difficulty here, so please accept the pronoun “he” as innocuously as possible. “It” sounds too neutral for my purpose, and I want to reserve the pronoun “she” for some later differentiations. In basic terms, of course, All That Is is quite beyond any designations having to do with any one species or sex.

All That Is, then, began to feel a growing sense of pressure as it realized that its own ever-multiplying thoughts and dreams themselves yearned to enjoy those greater gifts of creativity with which they were innately endowed. It is very difficult to try to assign anything like human motivation to All That Is. I can only say that it is possessed by “the need” to lovingly create from its own being; to lovingly transform its own reality in such a way that each most slight probable consciousness can come to be (long pause); and with the need to see that any and all possible orchestrations of consciousness have the chance to emerge, to perceive and to love.

Roberts, Jane (2012-06-02). Dreams, “Evolution,” and Value Fulfillment, Volume One (A Seth Book) (Kindle Location 2177). Amber-Allen Publishing, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Session 883.

Opt-Out Facebook?

*Try to “opt out” of Facebook, and they’ll immediately track you everywhere with the special “he opted out” DATR cookie.

*Plus: American spies galore!

Facebook has hit back at a new report commissioned by the Belgian Privacy Commission, which claims that Facebook tracks far more users than previously thought.

The report, conducted by researchers at universities in Leuven and Brussels, says the social giant is tracking the browsing habits of everyone visiting its site, irrespective of whether or not they are an account holder, and in complete disregard of whether or not they have opted out of being tracked across the EU.

Additionally, the report says Facebook also continues to track users after they close their accounts and sets tracking cookies on some third party websites. The researchers note that social plugins, such as the Like button, are often behind the setting of these third-party cookies, even if the user does not directly interact with them.

The researchers also say Facebook is placing tracking cookies every time a user visits tertiary pages on its site, such as celebrity pages or shops, all for the purpose of delivering targeted advertising based on other pages they visit across the internet.

Under EU law, websites must generally obtain consent before using a cookie and websites must seek permission from new users before placing them.

In theory, users who have previously consented to particular cookies, can later opt out of having their web browsing history tracked in this way by clicking an ‘ad choices’ button or similar, as found on many different flavours of advertisements across the web. Taking this option typically allows the user to then choose which internet companies can and cannot track them, or even block them completely.

In the case of Facebook, however, the researchers say that an ‘opt out’ request is interpreted in an unexpected way – it actually places an additional cookie on the user’s device.

That cookie – called ‘datr’ – actually allocates a unique tracking number to the user’s device, allowing Facebook to track it for the next two years, as explained by one of the report’s authors, Günes Acar:

If people who are not being tracked by Facebook use the ‘opt out’ mechanism proposed for the EU, Facebook places a long-term, uniquely identifying cookie, which can be used to track them for the next two years. What’s more, we found that Facebook does not place any long-term identifying cookie on the opt-out sites suggested by Facebook for US and Canadian users.

Co-author Brendan Van Alsenoy told the Guardian how this policy contradicts existing law within the European Union:

European legislation is really quite clear on this point. To be legally valid, an individual’s consent towards online behavioural advertising must be opt-in.

Another of the co-authors, Rob Heyman, noted the irony brought about by Facebook’s cookie policy, saying:

If you take measures to protect your privacy from Facebook, you are actually going to be followed more on the internet.

Naturally, though, Facebook sees things differently to the report authors.

According to the Guardian, Facebook described the report as “inaccurate,” and said there had been no contact between itself and the authors prior to publication.

A Facebook spokesperson told the news agency that the report was based on assumptions, and no clarification or comment had been sought before it was made public.

Facebook said it remained “willing to engage with them and hope they will be prepared to update their work in due course,” adding:

Earlier this year we updated our terms and policies to make them more clear and concise, to reflect new product features and to highlight how we’re expanding people’s control over advertising. We’re confident the updates comply with applicable laws including EU law.

The Dublin headquartered company also told the BBC that it had passed two audits of its data protection policies and that it continues to be regulated by the Irish Data Commissioner.

These new reports come just a few days after we brought you the news that European Commission attorney Bernhard Schima admitted that the EU-US Safe Harbor agreement, designed to protect the privacy of European citizens, was not working as intended.

His advice to privacy-conscious Facebook users: “consider closing your account”.

Schima’s comment came not long after German privacy regulator Johannes Caspar, questioned Facebook’s new privacy policy – which some campaigners have suggested is just a rehash of the old one – and whether it breached the nation’s laws.

The social giant has other concerns too – Max Schrems and his ‘Europe v Facebook’ group are not only challenging the Safe Harbor agreement in the European Court of Justice, but also seeking compensation for breach of privacy via a Vienna court too.

Schrems began that action last June, claiming that Facebook supplied personal information to the US Prism spy program….

Nexus 7 Tutorial: Use Network Share as a Mount Point

This tutorial requires your Nexus 7 have ROOT access.  It is an “intermediate” difficulty level tutorial.

The Nexus 7 has no external storage medium like a microSD card.  You can use an OTG (on the go) cable to get access to removable media, keyboards, mice, etc. But wouldn’t it be nice if you could just use your home network’s Windows shares, NAS or network drive as a big fat storage unit for your brand new Nexus 7?

I know what you’re thinking.  But Shane … We have file managers with SMB (Samba/sharing) capabilities – why would we need this tutorial?

The simple answer is – this mounts your network shares as a device MOUNT POINT – meaning that share is available to all apps (emulators, media players, etc.) not just your favorite file manager.

That’s right – use any shared hard drive, network attached drive, NAS in your house/network as storage for your Nexus 7.   Sounds great, right?

For Windows folks; this is like mapping Drive S: to a network drive or remote network share.

You will need a few things:

  • Nexus 7 (Unlocked and Rooted – very easy to do with Nexus 7 Toolkit)
  • CIFS Modules (Download here)
  • Mount Manager App (Install here)
  • BusyBox (Install here)
  • Network Share on your WiFi (I’m using a GoFlex Home network drive – but any Windows share will do)
  • Some basic knowledge of working with files


  • Unlock/Root your Nexus 7.  This is not optional.
  • Install BusyBox
  • Ensure your network share is up and working.  If you’re sharing a Windows drive, I recommend setting up a NEW USER on Windows – one just to use for permissions for this share.

Getting it Working:

  • Unzip the CIFS modules – should be three .ko files in there.  You can put these anywhere you like – I put them on the Nexus “SDCard” folder under “mods” (/sdcard/mods)
  • Install Mount Manager on your Nexus 7.  Run it.  Grant ROOT access.
  • On the toolbar, hit the gear icon (settings).
  • Select ADD MODULEAdd each of the .ko files you extracted in Step 1.  Should look like this:

  •  Hit BACK.
    • Note: This may not work until you FORCE CLOSEthe app once:
      • Leave the app with BACK or HOME.
      • Hit the Apps button
      • Swipe off the Mount Manager app to close it
      • Reopen the app.
      • Check to see of the Modules loaded properly.
  • Hit BACK.
  • Hit the + toolbar icon to add a new mount.
  • Under Share Path, put your share: like Home Public or
  • (Use IP addresses not Windows PC names)
  •  Under MOUNT POINT, click the folder and it will open the default share folder.
  • Create a new folder for your share (if one wasn’t created) – the UI is a bit weird – use the Down Caret button for actions and SELECT the folder.
  • Under OPTIONS hit the + and add USERNAME.  Fill this in with your network resource username (PC username)
  • Hit the + again, add PASSWORD.  Fill this in with your network resource password (PC password()
  • Hit the + again, add IOCHARSET – fill this in with: utf8.
  • At this point it should look something like this:
    (if file_mode and dir_mode don’t fill in, add them)

  • Hit OK and your new mount is on the main screen.  Tap it.
  • If you did everything right, you will get a green check mark and it will look something like this:

  • At this point, you are ready to test.  Open a file manager, and navigate to the mount folder you made.
  • If all is good – you’re done!  You can mount and dismount this anytime from the Mount Manager.  You can automate this on boot up with the next steps.
  • Go to Mount Manager’s preferences and check LOAD MODULES and LOAD ON BOOT.  Also check ENABLE AUTO MOUNTS and AUTO MOUNT ON BOOT.
    There are also options to connect when wifi connections.

That’s it!  Enjoy your new found freedom.  Needless to say, this only works on your own network – but clever people might find a way to make it work from ANY access point anywhere.  Maybe the topic of a different tutorial.

Desiderata (Max Ehrmann)


Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

Love lived every second of your life

Therese Benedict loveWhen to love should not be a question, for it should be an action that is lived every second.

If it were my last day here on this earth in a physical form, I would leave these words with others so they may share the love I had in my life.

To love people right, whether you knew them or not. To be willing to learn what you can change so you may know how to live life right and to the fullest – so you may impact this world instead of just living in this world.

To show the people in your life that you love them by actions and not only by words of “I Love You.” To express emotions with sincerity and truth and to forgive others mistakes, for mistakes are golden when used in a life-changing manner. To understand that you have the power to change this world with love and not judgment, but only understanding that there are reasons why people hold anger and fault within them.

To see that all people are worth saving and not just selected ones. To understand that the people who have done worse wrongs in life than others, only hold more pain inside themselves to commit such hateful acts. Knowing that people who are cruel in ways that we cannot imagine, are the ones who had no love at all and had neglect and cruelty in its place.

So when you do come across that love you have been searching for or any kind of love, have the knowledge to take care of that love, with love, and never mistreat it. For it will only make you lose that love, you wish not to lose, and only give pain to people you do not wish to scar. To be willing to apologize with compassion and sorrow and to leave out who was wrong and who was right.

To give to others that are in need, whether it is a hug, an ear to listen, support and even money to those who are in need of comfort. To give without wanting anything back, but peace in your heart that you have helped someone who was suffering with fear. To have their smile and the relief in their eyes be your reward.

To always remember, not only fight for someone to hear you, but to fight to hear them as well. To communicate with wanting peace to be the outcome and only love, understanding and compassion – be the road for your tone in your expression of words. To understand someone’s expression of pain given by you, even if you did not realize that you caused an act you do not like to feel yourself.

To fight for a love that no one else has because it does exist. To want to be the person who cares of others’ feelings and not a person who cares about your own. To want others to find happiness and not just for you, while showing this world that there is still hope of bettering this world of fear, cruelty and lost hope.

Therese Benedict | Inspire Me today


For Ever and Ever

Stephen Edwards ForgivenessSometimes it’s hard to take things in your stride,
To turn the other cheek, look away, and swallow your pride.
But some people strike out in their anger and pain.
And we must forgive them, again and again.
Try to understand, that although it’s not okay
It’s not your job to make them pay.
Give them the benefit of what you know.
Show them love, and help them to grow.
You see, bitterness and anger only fuel the fire.
It’s to love and happiness that we all need to aspire.
If you try to find the good in all that you do
You’ll find it will reflect right back at you.
Material things are great to get and to give
But they are not the reason that we all live.
It’s those memories of moments, of times spent together
That binds us together as one, forever and ever.

Whew! I don’t know about you, but just reading those words makes the knees of my heart bend.

But watch closely here. The forgiveness that we tend to think of first is really a false forgiveness. It goes something like this:

“Well, I will forgive that rat, but I am the better person for it, and certainly a better one than him.”

Or maybe it’s a little more subtle, like this:

“Oh, I pity this poor, helpless person. They can’t help themselves because of X, Y and Z. So I will allow they are not responsible and still hold myself as higher and forgive that sad little thing.”

These are simply maneuvers of the logical mind to keep the grievance while letting it go. And this is not a plan that will work.

No, the forgiveness I am speaking of requires some real honesty with yourself. Attend this well.

  • It is important not to confuse forgiveness with denial. Instead of denying the world and its pain, which is just another form of grievance, you allow it and look through it to see a truer, brighter reflection.
  • And once you look closely at the situation and realize you can’t judge – not just that you shouldn’t, but you actually can’t judge – because you can never know all the circumstances involved. Then you just relax your mind and let it go.

And that is it! That is the key! Forgiveness is simply a letting go, a relaxing, or a releasing of your logical mind. Whoooosh you can feel the peace rushing in to smooth the wrinkles your grievances have caused. Once you unlock that power then other things will be allowed to flow into your life. The blockages you’ve experienced will soon disappear as you continue to let go and be free.

From here you can change the world. Your light allows love to express itself and that will affect people and situations close to you and far beyond your awareness. But most importantly, you will feel you have finally found a place that feels like home.

Stephen Edwards | Inspire Me Today

Mind your stories

David Christopher Mind your stories

Mind your stories; question them often.
Nourish those that serve.

Change those that do not.
Far easier said than done, yes?

For many of our darker stories
have cut grooves in the primordial stone of our psyches—
and the river of mind all too easily turns back into
these dark and shadowy valleys.
So mind also your story
about changing your story;
be quick to forgive
both yourself and your world
should the story be slow to change.

Mind your stories; know them for what they are.
For more than it is through your wild circumstances,
It is instead through your stories
that you might find
and happiness.

Mind your stories about health,
about what is sickness, wellness,
and suffering.
For it is not your suffering,
but your stories about suffering
that makes pain either buoyant
or burdensome.

Mind your stories about prosperity,
about what is enough.
For it is not your desire,
but your stories about desire
that leaves you
either full or wanting.
If you find yourself succumbing to envy,
surround yourself with the impoverished.
If you find yourself succumbing to
or vanity,
surround yourself with those
who are kind, gentle, and wise.
Do these things, and you may learn
of the deeper meaning of prosperity.

Mind your stories about happiness,
about what will bring you joy.
Be wary of striving for happiness;
it would be like striving to grow a flower garden.
You can do only this:
find a sunny place for the soul,
prepare the soil of your destiny,
water the seeds of what might be,
tend to the weeds of shadowy stories,
and then,
the rose will bloom all bright and shining . . .
but you can never force her to do so.

And beyond health, prosperity, and happiness,
mind your larger story.
Mind your story about your place in our cosmos.
Know that along with all of the beings
of the Web of Life,
you, too, are a child of the Infinite:
that great, mysterious process
that worked patiently
for billions of years
to bring your tiny but delightful
sacred sparkle of stardust
into being.

Finally, mind your contribution to our larger story.
Ponder your place in the possibility
that we are growing beyond
both the story of gods and goddesses
serving or stymying us
and the old scientific story
of a decaying and meaningless Universe
to a new story of the Infinite,
a Planetary Story of a mysteriously creative Universe.
Know that we each have a place
in the birth of this emerging story,
and that yours is a vital role as midwife.

For it is through our new story that we can awaken
to a deeper communion with Earth,
know and love our place within her Web of Life,
rejoice in her,
and share in her bounty.
And we do so with gratitude, respect,
and humility,
For we know that, while we have learned much,
there is still much to learn
as our Planetary Story awakens within
our Holy Universe.

David Christopher | Inspire Me Today