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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 91145 times)
Swamprat
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« Reply #1320 on: Sep 27th, 2010, 08:05am »

Fox News

An Ice Dot Could Save a Football Player's Life

By Kelli Morgan
Published September 26, 2010

FoxNews.com

The small ICEDOT disc is made of durable plastic that clips on to any workout jersey, shorts or sweatshirt. And the company behind it claims it could save lives.

Some college football players are carrying a few grams of extra gear this season, and it could save their lives -- yours, too.

The In Case of Emergency Dot (or ICEDOT) is a small red disc that snaps onto a person’s shirt. The incredibly low-tech plastic chip grants access to an incredibly high-tech world of info, through a unique eight-digit number that medics can activate and receive a patient’s complete, current health information in seconds.

It's just one feature in the Invisible Bracelet system, a high-tech version of the medical ID cards or bracelets people have worn for years -- which are hand-written or permanently stamped and way, way out of date. ICEDOT owners register online and create a public profile of up to 160 characters, which can be sent via text message to a medic during an emergency situation and list up to 10 people medics should contact.

The public profile is a limited one anyone can access -- just as anyone could have read an old ID bracelet -- by texting the eight-digit number to 51020. But the technology goes further, letting users create a very detailed private profile with added layers of security.

Emergency providers must show in writing that they are in good standing with their local health department in order to be a part of the Invisible Bracelet system. Each medic approved by Docvia, the company that designed ICEDOT, is given a unique log-in and password and trained to access the private profiles through a series of secured firewalls, using a computer or a mobile device at the scene of an emergency.

“A vast majority of EMS services in this country, if they have not migrated to an electronic documentation system, they are migrating to an electronic documentation system,” Bruce Baxter, CEO for New Britain Emergency Medical Services in Connecticut, a trained user of ICEDOT, told FoxNews.com.

Once a medic passes the secured server, he can input a patient’s eight-digit number to access medical records in the private profile. This ensures a person's privacy, Noah Roberts, Docvia’s CEO, told FoxNews.com.

“When a query is done we know precisely who did it, when they did it, and what patient’s PIN number was queried for how long,” Roberts said. He said the company monitors searches and looks for abnormal queries, like multiple searches for one patient’s eight-digit number or searches for non-active member identification numbers.

On September 11, the Oklahoma Sooners football team wore the tiny new medical devices beneath their jerseys for the team's season opener. But Docvia sees the gadgets in use beyond the wide world of sports and in the world at large.

“When you’re the patient and you’re in that chaotic situation ... well, it’s unbelievable how many folks cannot remember their husband’s phone number,” Roberts said. “And they can't remember which medications the family member is on; this, as we’ve just said, takes the guess work out of it.”

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http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/09/16/ice-dot-save-football-players-life/
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« Reply #1321 on: Sep 27th, 2010, 08:42am »

Good to see you Swamprat! cheesy
Thanks for that article.
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« Reply #1322 on: Sep 27th, 2010, 08:44am »

New York Times

September 27, 2010
U.S. Wants to Make It Easier to Wiretap the Internet
By CHARLIE SAVAGE

WASHINGTON — Federal law enforcement and national security officials are preparing to seek sweeping new regulations for the Internet, arguing that their ability to wiretap criminal and terrorism suspects is “going dark” as people increasingly communicate online instead of by telephone.

Essentially, officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications — including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct “peer to peer” messaging like Skype — to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The mandate would include being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages.

The bill, which the Obama administration plans to submit to lawmakers next year, raises fresh questions about how to balance security needs with protecting privacy and fostering innovation. And because security services around the world face the same problem, it could set an example that is copied globally.

James X. Dempsey, vice president of the Center for Democracy and Technology, an Internet policy group, said the proposal had “huge implications” and challenged “fundamental elements of the Internet revolution” — including its decentralized design.

“They are really asking for the authority to redesign services that take advantage of the unique, and now pervasive, architecture of the Internet,” he said. “They basically want to turn back the clock and make Internet services function the way that the telephone system used to function.”

But law enforcement officials contend that imposing such a mandate is reasonable and necessary to prevent the erosion of their investigative powers.

“We’re talking about lawfully authorized intercepts,” said Valerie E. Caproni, general counsel for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “We’re not talking expanding authority. We’re talking about preserving our ability to execute our existing authority in order to protect the public safety and national security.”

Investigators have been concerned for years that changing communications technology could damage their ability to conduct surveillance. In recent months, officials from the F.B.I., the Justice Department, the National Security Agency, the White House and other agencies have been meeting to develop a proposed solution.

There is not yet agreement on important elements, like how to word statutory language defining who counts as a communications service provider, according to several officials familiar with the deliberations.

But they want it to apply broadly, including to companies that operate from servers abroad, like Research in Motion, the Canadian maker of BlackBerry devices. In recent months, that company has come into conflict with the governments of Dubai and India over their inability to conduct surveillance of messages sent via its encrypted service.

In the United States, phone and broadband networks are already required to have interception capabilities, under a 1994 law called the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act. It aimed to ensure that government surveillance abilities would remain intact during the evolution from a copper-wire phone system to digital networks and cellphones.

Often, investigators can intercept communications at a switch operated by the network company. But sometimes — like when the target uses a service that encrypts messages between his computer and its servers — they must instead serve the order on a service provider to get unscrambled versions.

Like phone companies, communication service providers are subject to wiretap orders. But the 1994 law does not apply to them. While some maintain interception capacities, others wait until they are served with orders to try to develop them.

The F.B.I.’s operational technologies division spent $9.75 million last year helping communication companies — including some subject to the 1994 law that had difficulties — do so. And its 2010 budget included $9 million for a “Going Dark Program” to bolster its electronic surveillance capabilities.

Beyond such costs, Ms. Caproni said, F.B.I. efforts to help retrofit services have a major shortcoming: the process can delay their ability to wiretap a suspect for months.

Moreover, some services encrypt messages between users, so that even the provider cannot unscramble them.

There is no public data about how often court-approved surveillance is frustrated because of a service’s technical design.

But as an example, one official said, an investigation into a drug cartel earlier this year was stymied because smugglers used peer-to-peer software, which is difficult to intercept because it is not routed through a central hub. Agents eventually installed surveillance equipment in a suspect’s office, but that tactic was “risky,” the official said, and the delay “prevented the interception of pertinent communications.”

Moreover, according to several other officials, after the failed Times Square bombing in May, investigators discovered that the suspect, Faisal Shahzad, had been communicating with a service that lacked prebuilt interception capacity. If he had aroused suspicion beforehand, there would have been a delay before he could have been wiretapped.

To counter such problems, officials are coalescing around several of the proposal’s likely requirements:

¶ Communications services that encrypt messages must have a way to unscramble them.

¶ Foreign-based providers that do business inside the United States must install a domestic office capable of performing intercepts.

¶ Developers of software that enables peer-to-peer communication must redesign their service to allow interception.

Providers that failed to comply would face fines or some other penalty. But the proposal is likely to direct companies to come up with their own way to meet the mandates. Writing any statute in “technologically neutral” terms would also help prevent it from becoming obsolete, officials said.

Even with such a law, some gaps could remain. It is not clear how it could compel compliance by overseas services that do no domestic business, or from a “freeware” application developed by volunteers.

In their battle with Research in Motion, countries like Dubai have sought leverage by threatening to block BlackBerry data from their networks. But Ms. Caproni said the F.B.I. did not support filtering the Internet in the United States.

Still, even a proposal that consists only of a legal mandate is likely to be controversial, said Michael A. Sussmann, a former Justice Department lawyer who advises communications providers.

“It would be an enormous change for newly covered companies,” he said. “Implementation would be a huge technology and security headache, and the investigative burden and costs will shift to providers.”

Several privacy and technology advocates argued that requiring interception capabilities would create holes that would inevitably be exploited by hackers.

Steven M. Bellovin, a Columbia University computer science professor, pointed to an episode in Greece: In 2005, it was discovered that hackers had taken advantage of a legally mandated wiretap function to spy on top officials’ phones, including the prime minister’s.

“I think it’s a disaster waiting to happen,” he said. “If they start building in all these back doors, they will be exploited.”

Susan Landau, a Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study fellow and former Sun Microsystems engineer, argued that the proposal would raise costly impediments to innovation by small startups.

“Every engineer who is developing the wiretap system is an engineer who is not building in greater security, more features, or getting the product out faster,” she said.

Moreover, providers of services featuring user-to-user encryption are likely to object to watering it down. Similarly, in the late 1990s, encryption makers fought off a proposal to require them to include a back door enabling wiretapping, arguing it would cripple their products in the global market.

But law enforcement officials rejected such arguments. They said including an interception capability from the start was less likely to inadvertently create security holes than retrofitting it after receiving a wiretap order.

They also noted that critics predicted that the 1994 law would impede cellphone innovation, but that technology continued to improve. And their envisioned decryption mandate is modest, they contended, because service providers — not the government — would hold the key.

“No one should be promising their customers that they will thumb their nose at a U.S. court order,” Ms. Caproni said. “They can promise strong encryption. They just need to figure out how they can provide us plain text.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/27/us/27wiretap.html?_r=1&hp

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« Reply #1323 on: Sep 27th, 2010, 08:47am »

New York Times. This sounds so familiar...........

September 26, 2010
Iraq Waits for a Government on a Long Vacation
By TIMOTHY WILLIAMS and YASIR GHAZI

BAGHDAD — More than six months ago, millions of Iraqis cast aside fears about bombs and bullets to vote. In households without a reliable supply of water, the indelible purple ink on the voters’ index fingers did not wear off for more than a week.

The voters have since watched winter turn to spring, and now summer become fall — and the people they elected still have no leader. They are waiting for their parties to come to an agreement so they can start work. And while the summer months were marked by a surge in violence and by riots over the lack of electricity, drinking water and other basic services, in Baghdad, members of Parliament have lived out a workers’ fantasy: a vacation of more than 200 days (and counting), with full pay and benefits, each free to do his heart’s desire.

Since the March 7 election, they have met just once, and that was for less than 19 minutes.

In the interim, some have sought out less chaotic places with better weather and less bloodshed, staying in nice hotels or private homes with chlorinated swimming pools in Jordan, Syria, Iran or Dubai.

A few have sat home and stewed.

Others have reconnected with family, undergone medical procedures in countries with better-equipped hospitals, or gone to weddings and funerals they would otherwise have missed.

More than a dozen members interviewed say they have been assiduously following news on television and in the papers on sporadic talks among parties to form a coalition government. There has been much news, they agree, but little progress.

The energy and optimism with which these would-be reformers rode into Baghdad after the March 7 election have all but vanished. They have been replaced by feelings of embarrassment, frustration and anger.

“I’m representing the Iraqi people, but it doesn’t feel like it,” said Kadhim Jwad, a Sadrist elected to represent Babil Province in the country’s south. “I’m at the boiling point. I’m tired and annoyed all the time. There’s lots of pressure on me. This is more than I can take.”

Ayad Samarrai, the speaker of Iraq’s last functioning Parliament — a body whose trademark lassitude led the public to vote good members out of office in March (though Mr. Samarrai was re-elected) — said feelings of melancholy were not uncommon among his colleagues.

“Not having a session has created a state of psychological emptiness” among those elected, he said. “They feel useless. They were ready to participate. They were ambitious, ready to make change. And of course, that motivation has now been stopped entirely.”

A salve for their ennui, however, has been their compensation: salaries of about $11,050 a month each, which include a housing allowance; a fleet of three brand-new armored sport utility vehicles and a 30-member security detail for their use; freshly issued diplomatic passports, which allow for worry-free international travel; and government payments into pension plans that will yield 80 percent of their salaries.

A bank was recently set up inside the Parliament building so that checks can be cashed without fuss.

In the meantime, one in four Iraqis are estimated to live below the poverty line. Leila Hassan, a newly elected member, said, “I get embarrassed when people ask me ‘What’s going on?’ and when I go out, I feel shy because I’m worried people will blame me.”

Ms. Hassan, from the Kurdish Alliance party, said she had tried to stay engaged, but now often gives in to an all-enveloping boredom.

“In my spare time, well, I’m not married and my mother takes care of me,” the 30-year-old said. “She cooks and cleans the house, so I have nothing to do. I have spent a lot of time reading books.”

Ms. Hassan said she had also taken courses on democracy with other women elected to Parliament, which has taken them to the United States and Lebanon.

“We have agreed to serve as a lobby on women’s issues inside Parliament,” she said. “We expected that we would meet each other during a session, so it’s funny it happened outside Iraq.”

Mahmoud Othman, also a member of the Kurdish Alliance, said he had been fighting the doldrums by showing up at Parliament in spite of himself. He has found himself feeling even more isolated.

“I keep coming to the building, but I am all alone,” he said. “I find no one. Sometimes, there are journalists so I do an interview with them, and sometimes I see friends here, but nothing very useful.”

He said he had spent all but one month of the break in Baghdad, a city he says compares poorly to Erbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region.

“Baghdad? What’s there in Baghdad?” he said. “There’s nothing to do in Baghdad. I’m sitting at home most of the time with my wife, chatting, bonding. This has been a great opportunity for me to spend more time with her.”

Fatah al-Ashikh, a member of the Iraqiya political slate, who represents Baghdad, said the hiatus had given him the chance to work on his doctorate in media studies.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/27/world/middleeast/27baghdad.html?ref=world

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« Reply #1324 on: Sep 27th, 2010, 08:54am »

Wired

Sept. 27, 1822: Deciphering the Rosetta Stone Unlocks Egyptian History
By Jason B. Jones
September 27, 2010 | 7:00 am | Categories: 19th century, Culture, Social Sciences

1822: Jean-François Champollion shows a draft translation of the mysterious Rosetta stone and demonstrates to the world how to read the voluminous hieroglyphics left behind by the scribes of ancient Egypt.

The story of the Rosetta stone is one of coruscating intellects and petty rivalries, of ancient mysteries and quite modern imperial politics. The stone dates to 196 B.C., and was recovered in 1799 by a French soldier in Rosetta, aka Rashid, a port on Egypt’s Mediterranean coast. Discover is a noble word — the stone was part of a wall in a fort!

Despite being an Egyptian artifact, and despite the fact that it was recovered and ultimately translated by the French, the Rosetta stone currently resides in the British Museum, as it has done since 1802.

The importance of the Rosetta stone can’t be overstated: It enabled the translation of Egyptian hieroglyphics, a skill which had been lost for more than a thousand years. It is a stele, or commemorative slab, announcing a cult of Ptolemy V, who was to be seen as divine.

Such an announcement would have been politically necessary for the 13-year-old Ptolemy, who had already been ruler for 8 years following the death of his parents at the hand of his father’s mistress. The child-king oversaw a land plagued with enemies without and within, and the decree was an attempt on the part of priests and the king to restore stability.

What was so helpful, from a translator’s perspective, about the Rosetta stone was the fact that the decree was written on the stele three times: in hieroglyphics (the formal communication medium of the priests), Egyptian demotic script (the everyday notation used by most of those who could read and write), and Greek (used by the administrative apparatus of Egypt during the Ptolemaic dynasty).

There were, in effect, two key breakthroughs in the translation of the Rosetta stone. The first was by an English polymath, Thomas “Phenomenon” Young (1773-1829), famous for such other discoveries as the wave properties of light, Young’s modulus, and numerous other researches in optics, engineering and medicine.

Young was able to discover inaccuracies in the late-18th-century understanding of demotic script, and, by 1814, to translate the demotic portion of the Rosetta stone. His most critical contribution, however, was to discover cartouches containing the phonetic representation of Greek names — notably the name of Ptolemy himself.

Young set aside his study. He was distracted by other research, and by his assent to the prevailing belief that hieroglyphics were exclusively logograms, or units of meaning rather than units of sound.

That left the second breakthrough to Champillion (1790-1832), a French linguist who had been obsessed with hieroglyphics from a very young age. Champillion continued Young’s research into cartouches, aided by his own extensive knowledge of Coptic, a form of Egyptian that uses the the Greek alphabet plus a few other signs to capture Egyptian sounds not otherwise represented in Greek.

Young had been waylaid by his belief that when cartouches were phonetic only when they represented foreign names, such as Ptolemy. In 1822, Champillion discovered conventional Egyptian names in cartouches from other documents, each with phonetic spellings, and he took up the Rosetta stone again.

Simon Singh explains Champillion’s method:

Champollion focused on a cartouche containing just four hieroglyphs: The first two symbols were unknown, but the repeated pair at the end signified ’s-s’. This meant that the cartouche represented ?-?-s-s….

Champollion wondered if the first hieroglyph in the cartouche, the disc, might represent the sun, and then he assumed its sound value to be that of the Coptic word for sun, ra. This gave him the sequence ra-?-s-s. Only one pharaonic name seemed to fit. Allowing for the omission of vowels and the unknown letter, surely this was Ramses.

This cartouche turned out to be the royal road to a full translation of Egyptian hieroglyphics, because, as Singh explains, it “showed that the scribes sometimes exploited the rebus principle, which involves breaking long words into phonetic components, and then using pictures to represent these components.”

He made this breakthrough Sept. 22, 1827, shouted “Je tiens l’affaire!” (“I’ve got it!”) to his brother and promptly fainted. He remained bedridden for five days.

Only then, on Sept. 27, was his famous report, the “Lettre à M. Dacier” read at the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres in Paris.

The announcement of Champillion’s breakthrough was not the last word. The Rosetta stone was a flashpoint in Anglo-French conflict. Originally discovered during Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign, the stone, along with all other Egyptian antiquities discovered by the French, was surrendered to England as part of the Articles of Capitulation of Alexandria in 1801.

It was impossible, then, for Young and Champillion not to play nationalist roles, and to be championed by linguists and Egyptologists from their respective nations. While there can be no doubt that Young’s deciphering of the cartouches played a key role in Champillion’s discovery, the latter’s recognition of the more extensive phonetic underpinnings of hieroglyphics was a legitimately original breakthrough.

Modern research has shown that, as important as Young and Champillion’s research was, it emerged in dialogue with other famous linguists and Egyptologists, such as A.I. Silvestre de Sacy, who both taught Champillion and tipped off Young that cartouches might be an interesting place to look.

Like many treasures in the British Museum, there is controversy over the location and possession of the Rosetta stone. Egypt would like the stone back, while the museum believes its ownership is well-established.

http://www.wired.com/thisdayintech/2010/09/0927rosetta-stone-decipher-announced/

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« Reply #1325 on: Sep 27th, 2010, 08:57am »

Wired

Original Models: A Look at Iconic Tech Prototypes
By Steven Leckart August 11, 2010 | 4:45 pm | Wired September 2010

If necessity is the mother of invention, trial and error is the father. In these prototypes of now-iconic products, you can still glimpse the sweat and ingenuity it took to bring them to life.

Super Soaker
1989
Lonnie Johnson was trying to build a better refrigerator, based on a low-cost heat pump that circulated water instead of Freon. But when one of his custom-machined brass nozzles blasted a stream of water across his bathroom, Johnson—by day an engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory—realized he had the makings of something way more fun. A shotgun-style air pump and a series of check valves allowed for sniperlike range and accuracy with little exertion. Selling the idea to toy companies, though, was more of an effort. After seven years of frustration, Johnson scrapped his difficult-to-manufacture Plexiglas “pressure containment vessel” for an empty 2-liter soda bottle. It wasn’t slick, but it was easy to make. In 1990, the toy maker Larami brought the Power Drencher to store shelves; it sold roughly 2 million of them in the first year alone. Rebranded as the Super Soaker, the line has raked in sales of more than $200 million to date.


photos and more after the jump
http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/08/ff_prototypes/

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« Reply #1326 on: Sep 27th, 2010, 09:01am »

Guardian

Segway boss Jimi Heselden dies in scooter cliff fall
Yorkshire millionaire Jimi Heselden dies while testing cross-country version of upright, motorised 'green commuter' machine

Martin Wainwright
guardian.co.uk, Monday 27 September 2010 14.01 BST

The flamboyant former miner at the head of the Segway scooter company has died in a freak accident by sliding on one of the miniature two-wheelers off a cliff.

Jimi Heselden, who latched on to an international craze for the upright, motorised "green commuter machines", was testing a cross-country version when he skidded into the river Wharfe which runs beside his Yorkshire estate.

Police confirmed this morning that the 62-year-old's body had been found in the river at Boston Spa, five miles from the Leeds factory where he made his first fortune from Afghanistan defence contracts. Using redundancy money from his pit job, he invented a wire basket crammed with earth and water which proved far more effective than sandbags against mortar and missile attacks.

Heselden, whose personal fortune was ranked at £166m and earned him 395th place in this year's Sunday Times Rich List, died after the accident yesterday morning. West Yorkshire police said the scooter had been found nearby after the body had been reported by a local walker at 11.40am. "Mr Heselden was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics. The incident is not believed to be suspicious and the coroner has been informed," said a spokesman for the force.

Heselden lived near the British Library's vast storage depot at Thorp Arch, a village on the other side of the river from the small, sought-after town of Boston Spa. He lost his mining job in the pit closures after the 1984-85 miners' strike, but put his knowledge of geology and soil science to good use. Updating the medieval defence system of gabions - baskets filled with stones and crammed together to create makeshift walls - he patented the Bastion, which proved an immediate bestseller for his Hesco firm. Its Leeds base lends colour to an otherwise drab industrial estate, with a surplus tank beside a wall of Bastions which looks like something out of a conflict zone.

Heselden did not court personal publicity but rewarded loyalty in his workforce. When Hesco won an order for UN forces in Kosovo and fulfilled it well within deadlines, he flew 21 staff out to Benidorm in Spain for a holiday. In five years after first ordering a Bastion in 1998, the Pentagon made orders totalling £53m.

Heselden bought the Segway company in January this year, after commissioning a financial analysis of its success in the US, where it was invented. The scooter has been heavily marketed as a "green commute" but buyers are warned to take a string of safety precautions, including wearing a helmet.

Heselden was born and brought up on Halton Moor, a large council estate in east Leeds made famous by the writer Keith Waterhouse, whose family moved there when he was a schoolboy. Heselden stayed in touch with local people and was a major donor to charities, especially in the Leeds area and others with military links such as Help for Heroes.

A statement from Hesco this morning said: "It is with great sadness that we have to confirm that Jimi Heselden OBE has died in a tragic accident near his home. Jimi is perhaps best known for his charity work with Help for Heroes and the Leeds Community Foundation.

"A £10m gift to the foundation earlier this month saw his lifetime charitable donations top £23m. Our thoughts go out to his family and many friends, who have asked for privacy at this time."

George Bush dramatically illustrated the hazards in 2003 when he was photographed on holiday in Maine, leaping from a Segway after losing control. The then US vice-president Dick Cheney rode one of the scooters around his Washington office complex while suffering from an ankle injury and was widely quoted as recommending them as equipment for US special forces.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/sep/27/segway-boss-jimi-heselden-dies-cliff-fall

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« Reply #1327 on: Sep 27th, 2010, 2:43pm »



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« Reply #1328 on: Sep 27th, 2010, 4:02pm »

Fake but fun!




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« Reply #1329 on: Sep 27th, 2010, 4:05pm »





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« Reply #1330 on: Sep 27th, 2010, 4:06pm »





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« Reply #1331 on: Sep 27th, 2010, 4:08pm »





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« Reply #1332 on: Sep 27th, 2010, 4:38pm »

Metal artist Fred Conlon

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I love this guy!

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« Reply #1333 on: Sep 27th, 2010, 6:23pm »

Dandelions are good eatin'!


http://www.wimp.com/babybunny/
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WingsofCrystal
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1334 on: Sep 27th, 2010, 6:29pm »

on Sep 27th, 2010, 6:23pm, Swamprat wrote:
Dandelions are good eatin'!


http://www.wimp.com/babybunny/


Thanks Swampy!
That is so cute!
Crystal
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