Saturday, December 31, 2005

What Howard Stern Will Learn: Debbie Schlussel

Debbie Schlussel: "When I see a woman with tattoos, I generally see a skank, a whore."

Debbie Schlussel comments on her experience with XM--the number one satellite radio service and rival to Stern's Sirius.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Unified physics theory explains animals' running, flying and swimming

"The similarities among animals that are on the surface very different are no coincidence," said Adrian Bejan, J. A. Jones Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Duke's Pratt School. "In fact, animal locomotion is no different than other flows, animate and inanimate: they all develop in space and in time such that they optimize the flow of material." In the case of animal locomotion, this means that animals move such that they travel the greatest distance while expending the least amount of energy, he said.

"From simple physics, based only on gravity, density and mass, you can explain within an order of magnitude many features of flying, swimming and running," added James Marden, professor of biology at Penn State. "It doesn't matter whether the animal has eight legs, four legs, two, even if it swims with no legs."

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Email spying claim fuels wiretapping scandal

Email spying claim fuels wiretapping scandal
By Andrew Gumbel in Los Angeles
Published: 26 December 2005

Secret domestic wiretaps authorised by US President George Bush led to the National Security Agency gaining access to the country's main telephone switches in a vast operation to mine data from phone calls and emails.
The New York Times, the paper that broke the wiretap story, cited disclosures from current and former government officials that the surveillance operation was far broader than anything admitted by the White House and involved the co-operation of private telecoms companies.

Mr Bush said a week ago that he had authorised the NSA to intercept 'the international communications of people with known links to al-Qa'ida and related terrorist organisations'. But The Times report indicated that it went much further than that and involved some sort of 'pattern analysis' of all telecommunications passing through the US in an effort to detect suspicious behaviour.

That, in turn, implied that any US resident hooked up to the phone system or the internet might have been exposed to government surveillance - a shocking notion in a country with a lower tolerance of government secrecy than Britain.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

MU math professor finds proof is positive

Peers hail solving of problem
MU math professor finds proof is positive
By MARÁ ROSE WILLIAMS
The Kansas City Star

As a boy, Steven Hofmann dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player. But odds were against that happening, and arithmetic came easier, so he stuck with math.

Unlike athletes, mathematicians rarely garner national or international praise.

But Hofmann is an exception.

The 47-year-old math professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia is in line for applause from around the world for solving a math problem that had baffled his peers for more than 40 years.

Solving the problem got Hofmann an invitation to speak next spring in Madrid, Spain, at the 2006 International Congress of Mathematicians, which is held every four years.

For a mathematician, the event is “a really big deal,” Hofmann said.

“It is like a baseball player being picked for the all-star team.”

Theodore Slaman, chairman of the Department of Mathematics at the University of California-Berkeley, says an opportunity to speak at the international congress is a career achievement. And solving a problem as old as the one Hofmann solved “is like finding the Holy Grail,” Slaman said.

http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/13491081.htm?template=contentModules/printstory.jsp

Monday, December 26, 2005

Man with a secret helps city say bye-bye to birdies

By Colleen Mastony
Tribune staff reporter

December 26, 2005

DECATUR, Ill. -- Every fall, the starlings descended on Decatur like a plague. Screeching and flapping, thousands of birds seized control of the park and dive-bombed residents, who fought back by lobbing firecrackers and blasting them with a propane cannon.

Nothing worked until town officials called in James Soules. As owner of the Decatur-based Bird Repellent Co., the quiet man said he could beat the birds, but there was a catch: He refused to tell anyone how he would do it. He demanded complete secrecy, warning officials not to spy on him.

Soules might have seemed like a swindler, but over the next few weeks something astounding happened. The starlings began to fly away. "I was amazed," said Dan Mendenall, a city official in Decatur. "It was almost like he wished them away."

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Six degrees of separation theory REAL?

six degrees of separation

Six degrees of separation is the theory that anyone on the planet can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries. The theory was first proposed in 1929 by the Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy in a short story called "Chains."

Although the participants expected the chain to include at least a hundred intermediaries, it only took (on average) between five and seven intermediaries to get each package delivered. Milgram's findings were published in Psychology Today and inspired the phrase "six degrees of separation."

To experience the phenomenon of six degrees of separation, visit The Oracle of Bacon at Virginia.


Friday, December 23, 2005

Russia's Khabarovsk prepares for chemical attack - PRAVDA.Ru

Hmmmm. I never heard about this on the news around here...

Blocking sunshine with aerosol may help avoid global warming - PRAVDA.Ru

Found this link while looking at something else. I think that the US has already figured this out. Do a search on Contrail with Google and you will see what I mean. I hate seeing those fake clouds unfurling from contrails laid down by high altitude jets...

KGB's secret UFO files finally made public - PRAVDA.Ru

KGB's secret UFO files finally made public - 12/22/2005 12:05

KGB agents were making records of UFO observations in special Blue Folder

Files comprising the famous Blue Folder have been declassified a while ago. The prominent Soviet cosmonaut Pavel Popovich got the folder from the KGB in 1991. These days Mr. Popovich holds the position of honorary president of the Academy of Informational and Applied Ufology. The folder contains numerous descriptions of UFO flights and reports on some (mostly failed) attempts taken by the military in order to catch the aliens.

Aliens acknowledged back in 1968

More...

In Britain, charity goats are the Christmas rage - Yahoo! News

In Britain, charity goats are the Christmas rage - Yahoo! News

The Cowbell Project

I Love Cowbell....

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Yahoo! Widgets - Get Weather, Photos, Calendar, and More on Your Mac or Windows Desktop

Why haven't I heard of these before? Yahoo Widgets are AWESOME!!!

Netcraft: Phishing Worm Installs Trojan Without Trickery

The threat posed by phishing has racheted up a notch with the Korgo worm, which auto-infects unpatched Windows systems with a keylogging trojan, steals online banking information, and secretly transmits data back to the fraudsters.
The worm represents an alarming advance in phishing, as it forgoes the need to trick the end user into divulging details. Phishing trojans that monitor keystrokes are not new, but to date have required some form of response to an e-mail "bait." Korgo uses the LSASS vulnerability to auto-infect Windows systems that haven't applied the MS04-11 patch issued April 11.

Korgo's phishing activities were documented by F-Secure, which reports that the associated trojan is aggressively stealing user information from infected machines. "It does this via a keylogger which specifically collects user logins for online banks (the ones which do not use one-time passwords)," writes F-Secure's Mikko Hypponen. "It also logs everything the user types to any web form - this will collect lots of credit card numbers, passwords etc."

Google and Dilbert Doodle

Dilbert Doodles!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Ice Age Footprints Said Found in Outback

CANBERRA, Australia - Hundreds of human footprints dating back to the last Ice Age have been found in the remote Australian Outback, an official and media reported Thursday.

The 457 footprints found in Mungo National Park in western New South Wales state is the largest collection of its kind in the world and the oldest in Australia, The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper reported.

The prints were made in moist clay near the Willandra Lakes 19,000 to 23,000 years ago, the newspaper reported ahead of archeologists' report on the find to be published in the Journal of Human Evolution.

State Environment Minister Bob Debus said the site showed a large group of people walking and interacting.

"We see children running between the tracks of their parents; the children running in meandering circles as their parents travel in direct lines," Debus told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.

"It's a most extraordinary snapshot of a moment or several moments in the life of Aboriginal people living on the edge of the lake in western New South Wales 20,000 years ago," he added.

The first print was reported by a local Aboriginal woman two years ago and a team of archaeologists led by Bond University archaeologist Steve Webb uncovered more than 450, the newspaper said.

Webb was not immediately available for comment.

Billy Bass meet Toothy Trout!




The two mouthed trout picture!

Seagate Says: My Way

Diskmaker Seagate Technology announced early this morning that it plans to acquire competitor Maxtor in a stock swap worth $1.9 billion.

TweakHound's Super XP Tweaking Guide - Tweak & Optimize XP

Tweaking is best done on a new installation of XP. See, The Right Way To Install Windows XP.

For tweaking your security settings see, Securing Windows XP.

Those interested can see My Thoughts On Tweaking Windows XP And This Guide.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

High Volume xml-xsl to pdf generation

Built on standard technology and developed with high quality and reliability, XMLMill allows you to generate PDF documents from XML data, combined with XSL and XSLT. XMLMill is 100% build in Java and any JAXP xml-parser and xslt-transformer. It uses Apache's Log4j standard for logging.

XMLMill is especially suited for high volume xml/xsl to pdf generation:

large PDF documents (1000+ pages).
large number of PDF documents (in batch).
multi-threading ready.
XMLMill for Java can be used in:

stand-alone Java applications (using the PDX api).
applets.
servlets.
JSP pages.
It can also be used:

as a stand-alone application (own gui front-end).
in batch (using command-line arguments).
XML and XSL sources can be passed to XMLMill in a variety of ways:

as java.io.File objects.
as java.io.InputStream objects.
via a java.net.URL objects.
as org.w3c.dom.Document objects.
XMLMill has been deployed in production environment on a variety of O/S, including:

Windows NT, 2000, XP.
Solaris 8,9.
AIX
OS400
Different UNIX/Linux flavors.
XMLMill has been deployed succesfully on different Application servers, including:

Tomcat.
WebSphere.
JServ
...

Monday, December 19, 2005

Western Wisconsin animal shelter to close

Kevin Giles, Star Tribune

Last update: December 19, 2005 at 1:36 PM

The only Humane Society animal shelter serving two growing counties in western Wisconsin will close later this month for lack of operating funds.

"It's been a teary few days," said Theresa Jonas, the shelter's volunteer executive director. She said the Humane Society of Pierce-St. Croix, Inc., will accept stray animals through Dec. 31. After that, the shelter, south of River Falls, will stay open only until homes are found for the remaining animals, she said.

Jig is up for cheery homeless man who dared dance

Doug Grow, Star Tribune

Sometimes a guy feels so good he just wants to start dancing.

Ah, but don't let that happen in Minneapolis. If you break out in dance on a Minneapolis street you can be hit with a $112 fine.

It happened to 45-year-old Paul Wicklund early in the morning of Dec. 2. He was dancing -- and, according to University of Minnesota police, singing at the top of his lungs -- in the 300 block of Washington Avenue SE. He was stopped and ticketed for being in violation of city statue 427.20.

"No person shall dance or engage or participate in any dancing upon any public street or highway in the city; and no person shall provide for, promote or conduct any dance or dancing upon any public street or highway in the city, except at a block party."

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Dogs Heads? Meat shop nearby? Hmmmmm

TOKYO - Some 30 dog heads were found discarded in a moat near Tokyo's main detention center, police said Friday.

Police are investigating the bizarre incident outside the Tokyo Detention Center on suspicion of violation of animal protection law and vandalism, an official at nearby Kameari Police Department said.

The severed heads were mostly decomposed and some of them were skeletal, the police official said. The shape and size of the heads suggested they were of adult dogs, he said, adding that investigators believed no human heads were included.

He said police were planning on removing the heads from the water.

Late Friday, an 82-year-old man who runs a neighborhood meat shop admitted to dumping the dog heads into the moat, and police are questioning him, public broadcaster NHK and Kyodo News agency said.

The man, whose name was not released, told police that he imported the dogs — frozen and already separated into heads and bodies — from China to sell as food, Kyodo said. All the torsos had been sold, and as there was little interest in the heads, the butcher said he dumped them in the moat, hoping they would be eaten by the fish.

Police were not available late Friday to comment on the report.

The case surfaced after a passer-by found a head inside a shallow moat just outside the detention center and reported it to police.

Marlie Casseus

Marlie Casseus, 14, a Haitian girl who has a 16-pound (7.26 kg) tumor-like growth on her face, is shown in this undated handout photograph.



Casseus, who has a genetic condition that causes deformity in her bones, has undergone surgery on December 14, 2005 at Holtz Children's Hospital , part of the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center in Florida. Casseus' case received global media attention, motivating thousands of people from across the globe to donate to the International Kids Fund which is sponsoring her medical care at the public hospital, part of the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Researchers make long DNA 'wires' for future medical and electronic devices

Contact: L. James Lee
Lee.31@osu.edu
614-292-2408
Ohio State University

Researchers make long DNA 'wires' for future medical and electronic devices

DNA strands fluoresce in these microscope images from Ohio State University . Researchers here have invented a process for uncoiling DNA strands and forming them into precise patterns – a prelude to biologically based electronics and medical devices. The squares in the lower right image measure approximately 10 micrometers (millionths of a meter) across. Image courtesy of Ohio State University.

Ohio State University researchers have invented a process for uncoiling long strands of DNA and forming them into precise patterns.

Ultimately, these DNA strands could act as wires in biologically based electronics and medical devices, said L. James Lee, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Ohio State University.

In the early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Lee and postdoctoral researcher Jingjiao Guan describe how they used a tiny rubber comb to pull DNA strands from drops of water and stamp them onto glass chips.

Other labs have formed very simple structures with DNA, and those are now used in devices for gene testing and medical diagnostics. But Lee and Guan are the first to coax strands of DNA into structures that are at once so orderly and so complex that they resemble stitches on a quilt.

"These are very narrow, very long wires that can be designed into patterns for molecular electronics or biosensors," Lee said. "And in our case, we want to try to build tools for gene delivery, DNA recombination, and maybe even gene repair, down the road."

The longest strands are one millimeter (thousandths of a meter) long, and only one nanometer (billionths of a meter) thick. On a larger scale, positioning such a long, skinny tendril of DNA is like wielding a human hair that is ten meters (30 feet) long. Yet Lee and Guan are able to arrange their DNA strands with nanometer precision, using relatively simple equipment.

In this patent-pending technology, the researchers press the comb into a drop of water containing coils of DNA molecules. Some of the DNA strands fall between the comb's teeth, so that the strands uncoil and stretch out along the surface of the comb as it is pulled from the water.

They then place the comb on a glass chip surface. Depending on how they place the comb, they leave behind strands of different lengths and shapes.

"Basically, we're doing nanotechnology using only a piece of rubber and a tiny droplet of DNA solution," Guan said.

Computer chips that bridge the gap between the electronic and the biological could make detection of certain chemicals easier, and speed disease diagnosis. But first, researchers must develop technologies to mass produce DNA circuits as they produce chip circuits today.

The technique that Lee and Guan used is similar to a relatively inexpensive chip-making technology called soft lithography, where rubber molds press materials into shape.

In this study, they arranged the DNA into rows of "stitches," pinstripes and criss-cross shapes.

The pinstripes presented the researchers with a mystery: for some reason, thorn-like structures emerged along the strands at regular intervals.

"We think the 'thorns' may be used as interconnects between nanowires, or they could connect the nanowires with other electronic components," Guan said. "We are not trying to eliminate them, because we do not think they are defects. We also believe their formation is controllable, because they are almost completely absent in some experiments but abundant in others. Although we currently do not know exactly how the thorns form, maybe new and useful nanostructures may be created if we can better understand and control this process."

The university will license the technology for further development. Lee and Guan are working on their first application – building the wires into sensors for detecting disease biomarkers. In the meantime, they are collaborating with researchers in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Ohio State to measure the electrical properties of the DNA wires. They are also using this technique to produce DNA-based nanoparticles for gene delivery.


###
Contact: L. James Lee, (614) 292-2408; Lee.31@osu.edu

Jingjiao Guan, (614) 688-4400; Guan.13@osu.edu

Pam Frost Gorder, (614) 292-9475; Gorder.1@osu.edu

2005 Offers Fresh Tales of the Bizarre - Yahoo! News

By PATRICK CASEY, Associated Press Writer Thu Dec 15, 4:39 PM ET

NEW YORK - The Easter Bunny was hopping mad but kept his cool after being socked by a boy, a Wal-Mart greeter was sacked for showing a lot more than customers cared to see and a prep football coach was reprimanded for some eccentric licking.

2005 offered fresh tales of bizarre lust, quirky cuisine, multiple marriages and other foibles of human existence.

SAY WHAT TO ME, DUDE?

Like most everybody, LaChania Govan of Chicago got bounced around when she called her cable company to complain. She made dozens of calls and was even transferred to a person who spoke Spanish — a language she doesn't understand. But when she got her August bill from Comcast she had no trouble understanding she'd made somebody mad. It was addressed to "Bitch Dog." "I was like you got to be freaking kidding me," said Govan, 25, of her reaction when she saw the bill. "I was so mad I couldn't even cuss." Two employees were fired after company officials went through records and identified them as being involved in the incident.

JUST WHAT WAS IN THAT RECIPE?

How about the Idaho high school boy who fed a batch of semen-frosted brownies to a fellow student and his friends? It seems the teenager was more than a bit ticked when his classmate put peanut butter in his cheese sandwich days before. As a police report said, the prankster, who has since agreed to admit to three counts of disturbing the peace, "hated peanut butter and it made him more mad than he could explain."

GAVE A LICKING AND KEPT ON TICKING

An Oregon education board reprimanded a Central Linn High School football coach for licking the wounds of several student athletes. Coach Scott Reed admitted licking blood from the knee of one student and the arm of another. It was not clear why he did it. Linn County Sheriff Dave Burright called the licking "bizarre" but not criminal because contact wasn't forced. Three students said it appeared the coach was "just joking around."

SO EASY. EVEN A CHILD CAN DO IT

An Anderson County, S.C., sheriff's deputy was temporarily sidelined by his boss after the officer's pistol went off during a gun safety class at a middle school. It seems the weapon discharged when a student pulled the trigger as the deputy was showing the kids how hard it was to take a gun from an officer's holster. The bullet fired into the floor, and debris cut two students.

ONE WIFE AT A TIME

Another South Carolina deputy had a lapse of judgment, too, but his was of the matrimonial variety. Sumter County sheriff's deputy Jay Follin was fired for being married to two women at the same time. Follin, 27, was separated from his first wife when he married his second, according to a department investigation. His second wife, the investigation revealed, was already married to another man at the time. Everything became known when the husband of Follin's second wife filed a complaint with the sheriff's department. The couple was separated at the time.

PSST! TRADE YA SOME GOAT FOR A ROCK

Four Connellsville, Pa., men ended up behind bars after they allegedly stole and butchered a goat so they could trade it for crack cocaine. Two of the men, police said, stole and killed the 4-year-old pygmy goat and then took it to another residence where two more men skinned and butchered the animal.

40 GOATS FOR CHELSEA CLINTON. DO I HEAR 50?

Kenyan councilman Godwin Kipkemoi Chepkurgor says he offered
Bill Clinton 40 goats and 20 cows for his daughter's hand in marriage five years ago. He's still awaiting an answer.

HEY! WHATCHA LOOKING AT?

A Pittston, Maine, man arrested after he was found peering at a teenage girl from the business end of a New Hampshire rest-stop privy has pleaded no contest to criminal trespass. Gary J. Moody was given a 30-day sentence that will be suspended if he maintains good behavior for two years. The judge cited Moody's public humiliation from the ensuing publicity in not jailing him.

HOOD? WHAT HOOD? WE DON'T SEE NOTHING

Two Cedar Rapids, Iowa, men landed in jail after they continued driving on Interstate 380 when the hood of their car popped open and covered their windshield. Instead of stopping to fix the problem, the men stuck their heads out the windows so they could see and kept going. Two Linn County deputies took note and pulled them over.

ANOTHER STORY ABOUT THE DANGERS OF SMOKING

A man riding in a car on Arkansas 234 near the Oklahoma border didn't go to jail following a long night of drinking. But he did go to a hospital after jumping from the vehicle in an effort to retrieve his lit cigarette. Jeff Foran was recovering after leaping from the car and landing hard on the roadway in a failed bid to grab the butt, state police said. "If anything could make him stop smoking, this should be it," said Trooper Jamie Graver.

MAMA MIA! ALL SHE WANTED WAS SOME PIZZA

An 86-year-old Charlotte, N.C., woman spent two nights in the city lockup after police said she called 911 dispatchers 20 times in a little more than 30 minutes to complain about service at a pizza parlor. Dorothy Densmore told dispatchers the shop refused to deliver a pie to her apartment. Densmore wanted the workers arrested. Instead, police arrested her.

NEVER WHEN MARRIED

Authorities in Wisconsin pinched a 63-year-old man who allegedly had a fondness for calves.

Harold G. Hart, of Neillsville, reportedly told police he stopped at a Greenwood farm "at least 50 times" to have sex with calves there. The man, however, told police he never had sex with animals while maintaining a relationship with a girlfriend or his wife.

HONEY, I'M HOT FOR YOU

A 38-year-old Oregon man wearing a gasoline-soaked cape set himself on fire before getting down on one knee and asking his longtime girlfriend to marry him. About 100 people gathered to watch Todd Grannis perform the flaming stunt for Malissa Kusiek, who said "yes."

SHOOT. HE WAS JUST TRYING TO BE FRIENDLY

In Muscatine, Iowa, Dean L. Wooten was fired for greeting Wal-Mart customers with a computer-generated photo in which he appeared to be naked — except for a carefully placed Wal-Mart bag. Wooten reportedly told customers the store was cutting costs and the bag was the company's new uniform. A supervisor told him to stop showing the photo after customers complained. He was canned when he displayed the photo again.

AIN'T FUNNY TO THIS BUNNY

The Easter Bunny wasn't laughing this year. Bryan Johnson, who portrayed the holiday rabbit at a mall in Bay City, Mich., says he was pummeled in an unprovoked attack by a 12-year-old boy.

"He just started hitting," Johnson said. Johnson suffered a bloody nose but kept his cool because he figured it was inappropriate for the Easter Bunny to battle back.

Mistletoe SHORTAGE!

LONDON (Reuters) - An outbreak of opportunistic mistletoe rustling is
threatening a Christmas kissing crisis, British environmental experts
said Wednesday.

The Wildlife Trusts said over-harvesting of the plant that only grows
in the wild and is mainly found on old apple trees meant it was
becoming increasingly rare.

"Mistletoe is being taken in increasingly large quantities from
orchards, hedgerows and ancient trees to be sold at markets to
Christmas shoppers," said The Wildlife Trusts -- a partnership of 47
British wildlife organizations.

"There are cases of mistletoe rustling, and once the whole plant has
been removed from its host tree it won't grow back."

The parasitic green plant with white berries has been associated with
fertility since the time of the ancient Druids and kissing under the
mistletoe has long been a Christmas party tradition.

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MIT Media Lab: $100 Laptop News

More $100 Laptop news from MIT.

Consumer Prices Plunge; Production Jumps - Yahoo! News

BULLSHIT!

Who pays the writers to produce this drivel?

OK, so I don't pay $3.04 per gallon of gasoline like I had to do for about 4 weeks. I stilll pay the $3 per gallon of milk! This headline is very misleading. All of my other expenses haven't come down any. In fact all my expenses have gone up.

Please...



Consumer Prices Plunge; Production Jumps

By MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer 9 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - A record plunge in the cost of gasoline pushed consumer prices down by the largest amount in 56 years in November while industrial production posted a solid gain.

The new government reports Thursday provided further evidence that the economy is shaking off the blows delivered by a string of devastating hurricanes. But analysts cautioned that the huge drop in consumer prices was overstating the improvement in inflation.

The Labor Department report showed the
Consumer Price Index fell by 0.6 percent last month, the biggest decline since a 0.9 percent fall in July 1949. It reflected a record fall in gasoline prices, which have been retreating since they surged to above $3 per gallon right after Katrina hit.

Meanwhile, the
Federal Reserve said output at the nation's factories, mines and utilities rose a solid 0.7 percent last month following a 1.3 percent rise in October. Industrial output had plunged by 1.6 percent in September, reflecting widespread shutdowns of oil refineries, chemical plants and other factories along the Gulf Coast.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Huge Asteroid could slam into earth!!!

Huge asteroid could slam into Earth in 31 years

In Egyptian myth, Apophis was the ancient spirit of evil and destruction, a demon that was determined to plunge the world into eternal darkness.

A fitting name, astronomers reasoned, for a menace now hurtling towards Earth from outer space. Scientists are monitoring the progress of a 390-metre wide asteroid discovered last year that is potentially on a collision course with the planet, and are imploring governments to decide on a strategy for dealing with it.

US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has estimated that an impact from Apophis, which has an outside chance of hitting the Earth in 2036, would release more than 100,000 times the energy released in the nuclear blast over Hiroshima.

Thousands of square kilometres would be directly affected by the blast but the whole of the Earth would see the effects of the dust released into the atmosphere.

And, scientists insist, there is actually very little time left to decide.

At a recent meeting of experts in near-Earth objects (NEOs) in London, scientists said it could take decades to design, test and build the required technology to deflect the asteroid.

Apophis had been intermittently tracked since its discovery in June last year but, in December, it started causing serious concern. Projecting the orbit of the asteroid into the future, astronomers had calculated that the odds of it hitting the Earth in 2029 were alarming. As more observations came in, the odds got higher.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Sci Fi Channel sues NASA, alleges UFO cover-up

Sci Fi Channel sues NASA, alleges UFO cover-up


Researchers and witnesses who believe a UFO landed in the woods of western Pennsylvania 40 years ago are marking another anniversary on Friday: two years since a lawsuit was filed to get NASA to release records of what happened.

A National Aeronautics and Space Administration spokesman says there's no cover-up: the "UFO" was a Russian satellite but government records documenting it have been lost.

Leslie Kean, an investigative reporter backed by the Sci Fi Channel, and a group connected to the cable TV channel sued the NASA two years ago under the Freedom of Information Act.

PhotoRazor download and review - batch / resize images from directories

PhotoRazor enables you to resize an entire folder or selected images and save the smaller version to a new subfolder. You can specify the maximum width/height and image quality, and it also offers a real-time preview that reflects size and quality settings.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

World's poorest don't want '$100 laptop': Intel

World's poorest don't want '$100 laptop': Intel By Peter Apps
Fri Dec 9, 9:48 AM ET

COLOMBO (Reuters) - Potential computer users in the developing world will not want a basic $100 hand-cranked laptop due to be rolled out to millions, chip-maker Intel Corp. (Nasdaq:INTC - news) chairman Craig Barrett said on Friday.

Schoolchildren in Brazil, Thailand, Egypt and Nigeria will begin receiving the first few million textbook style computers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) media lab run by Nicholas Negroponte from early 2006.

"Mr. Negroponte has called it a $100 laptop -- I think a more realistic title should be 'the $100 gadget'," Barrett, chairman of the world's largest chip maker, told a press conference in Sri Lanka. "The problem is that gadgets have not been successful."

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has welcomed the development of the small, hand-cranked lime-green devices, which can set up their own wireless networks and are intended to bring computer access to areas that lack reliable electricity.

Negroponte said at their launch in November the new machines would be sold to governments for schoolchildren at $100 a device but the general public would have to pay around $200 -- still much cheaper than the machines using Intel's chips.

But Barrett said similar schemes in the past elsewhere in the world had failed and users would not be satisfied with the new machine's limited range of programs.

"It turns out what people are looking for is something is something that has the full functionality of a PC," he said. "Reprogrammable to run all the applications of a grown up PC... not dependent on servers in the sky to deliver content and capability to them, not dependent for hand cranks for power."

PDF Image Extraction Wizard download and review - extract images from PDF files from SnapFiles

PDF Image Extraction Wizard enables you to extract images from PDF files and save them to BMP format. You can limit the extraction to a range of pages, and also provide a password, if required."

Friday, December 09, 2005

Protopage v2 released - free AJAX start pages now with RSS news feeds, sticky notes and bookmarks

Create your own free Protopage, then:

Use it to catch up with news from hundreds of sources (including the BBC, CNN, Reuters, New York Times, London Times, CNET, ESPN, ...)
Put color coded sticky notes, todo lists and reminders on it
Keep your frequently accessed bookmarks on it
Name it (e.g. as www.protopage.com/yourname)
Share parts of your page with friends, or keep it private
Set it as your browser 'start page' for easy access "

How to Configure Your PC to Academic Support Standards

Microsoft’s Windows XP, as it’s configured on most computers from a vendor, has very few, if any, customizations applied. IST spent many months working together with Academic Support departments at UW to customize the operating system and departmental applications in a way preferred by most of our clients. We believe these changes not only improve aesthetics but also make the user more productive.

When we do this we install Windows XP Professional on a computer and customize it to our specifications. Then we install the required primary applications from previously IST-built executables that have also been customized accordingly. Lastly we make a few more minor changes and cut an image of the whole hard disk. This image was then put on most desktop PC’s in Academic Support. (Please note that this gives us a quick and easy way to replace broken hardware and software.) Then the computer is joined to the ADS domain where more changes are automatically applied (by domain policies).



Sunday, December 04, 2005

Wired News: Huge Solar Plants Bloom in Desert

Stirling Energy Systems is planning to build two separate solar farms, one with the capacity to generate 500 megawatts of electricity in the Mojave Desert near Victorville, California, for SoCal Edison, and a 300-megawatt plant in the Imperial Valley, near Calexico, California, for SDG&E. The utilities have signed 20-year deals to buy all the juice the farms can turn out, and have options to expand the plants if they are successful.

"Without question, this will be the largest solar project in the world," said Gil Alexander, a spokesman for SoCal Edison. "It will be bigger than all U.S. solar-energy projects combined."



http://www.stirlingenergy.com/solar_overview.htm

Bosnian Pyramid - Visocica Hill, which is 2,300 feet high, is actually Europe's first pyramid in heart of Bosnia

Pyramid in Europe?

Some say its so..

The shape of Visocica Hill is consistent with that of a pyramid, having four identical sides, with the exception of the front side which accesses a plateau. Nature does not make correct geometrical shapes like this and the rocks could not have been formed in this pattern by natural forces

Friday, December 02, 2005

What the hell is up with all the spam?

I've seen my email accounts spam filter catching almost double what it used to catch in the last week. Did some kind of turbo spam application get released? Or is there that many comprimised machines online now?
Bueller? Bueller?

Jalenack's AJAX Periodic Table of the Elements

For those moments when you just have to know the atomic weight of Rutherfordium. A very nice display of the periodic table of elements. Created by Andrew Sutherland as an AJAX demo.

Very nice...

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Mosquito Inventor

Howard Stapleton's device, which emits ultrasonic sound waves that can normally be heard only by people aged under 25, has captured the public imagination at a time when confronting yob culture is one of the contentious political issues.

In the course of a week, he has appeared on national breakfast television and been profiled in newspapers, and is now in the final stages of negotiating a major order with a chain of convenience stores.

He claims the device, named the Mosquito after the flying insect's notorious whine, does not cause pain but is so irritating that young people will not linger in an area where they can hear it.

Explaining the rush of interest in his product, Mr Stapleton said, 'With this trouble in France, it looks like we are descending into gradual anarchy. They have picked up on a novel idea that's really needed.'

At present, the devices are put together at the Servonetic Control (Instruments) plant at Taffs Well.

The plan is that revenue from this project will fund a much more ambitious invention. This is a security system for the fences around construction sites which will be detect if a vibration is caused by someone climbing over it.

Present systems can be set off when a football hits the fence, causing many alarms to be ignored.