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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 1087 times)
WingsofCrystal
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« Reply #1770 on: Nov 5th, 2010, 07:17am »

New York Times

Indonesia’s Deadly Volcano Erupts Again
By AUBREY BELFORD
Published: November 5, 2010


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A fire burned in an ash-covered building in the Java village of Argomulyo on Friday.


MAGUWOHARJO, Indonesia — A massive overnight eruption from the Mount Merapi volcano created chaos for Indonesia’s disaster response effort on Friday after an explosion of hot gases and debris killed scores of people and sent more than 160,000 villagers fleeing to underprepared evacuation camps.

At least 64 people were killed from the eruption, which was far larger than any other since the volcano on central Java Island started spewing out ash and gas on Oct. 26. The latest eruption brings the total death toll to 109, said Andi Arief, the disaster adviser to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

The eruption sent a pyroclastic flow of superheated gases and debris racing down Merapi’s slopes. Tens of thousands had to abandon camps previously considered safe in a chaotic dash as ash and hot debris rained down as far as the central Javanese city of Yogyakarta.

Included in the latest round of victims were 59 residents of the hamlets of Argomulyo and Bronggang, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the disaster preparedness chief of the National Disaster Management Agency. The villagers fled fast-moving currents of hot gas, at first flowing down Merapi’s slopes in a river and then breaking free, Mr. Nugroho said.

The “danger zone” around Merapi was extended by three miles to 12 miles, the state volcanologist Subandrio told The Associated Press. Ash from the latest eruption obscured the sun as far as 20 miles away from Merapi on Friday, according to the AP.

With tens of thousands evacuating camps, and tens of thousands more abandoning villages, police, troops and aid workers struggled to deal with crowds at new collection points further away from the smoldering mountain.

At the Maguwoharjo Stadium on Yogyakarta’s outer fringe, nearly 30,000 people arrived covered in dust to take shelter in squalid spaces underneath concrete awnings.

Relief workers at the stadium said the surprising strength of the eruption meant one had yet taken charge of the growing camp.

“It’s still chaos,” said Endang Pujiastuti, a member of the local disaster-management committee, as soldiers unloaded boxes of water and instant food and Red Cross volunteers recorded arrivals.

“We’d already set this up as a place and decided where people from different district should go, but we weren’t ready for this to happen so fast,” she said.

Indonesia is an archipelago of 235 million people, sitting along the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” a horseshoe-shaped string of faults that lines the Pacific Ocean.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/06/world/asia/06indo.html?_r=1&hp

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« Reply #1771 on: Nov 5th, 2010, 07:30am »

Guardian

Pakistan mosque suicide bomb kills 'at least 50'Bomb goes off after hundreds gather for Friday prayers in north-west town near tribal regions where Taliban are active

guardian.co.uk, Friday 5 November 2010 12.05 GMT

A suicide bomber demolished a mosque in north-west Pakistan today as Friday prayers were ending, killing at least 50 people after a relative lull in militant violence, provincial government officials said.

It was the latest in a series of attacks at mosques and Sufi shrines in Pakistan, and underscored the relentless security challenge to a nation where Islamist militants have thrived despite US-supported army offensives against them.

The explosion, Pakistan's biggest since September, happened in Darra Adam Khel, an area near Pakistan's tribal regions where Taliban-led militants have been active. Hundreds of worshippers had gathered at the Sunni mosque for the most popular prayer session of the week.

The mosque's roof caved in, trapping people in debris. People in private vehicles rushed the wounded to hospitals in Peshawar, the main city in the north-west, TV footage showed. A woman was beating her head, while two elderly men in blood-soaked clothes lay in a hospital corridor.

"The blast tossed me up. I fell down," said Mohammad Usman, 32, a schoolteacher with wounds on his head and arms as he lay on a hospital bed in Peshawar. "Later, it was just like a graveyard."

Haji Razaq Khan, a member of Pakistan's senate from Darra Adam Khel, says a tribal elder who had been encouraging people to stand against the Taliban had a guest room next to the mosque and may have been the target. It was not immediately clear whether the elder, Malik Wali Khan, was among the victims.

Islamist militants have frequently targeted tribal leaders who have taken stands against them.

At least 50 people died, while 80 others were wounded, said Shahid Ullah, a local official.

Provincial information minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain called the militants "beasts" who were lashing out at Pakistan's crackdown against them.

"This is part of international terrorism. America, Pakistan and Afghanistan are the main players, who need to work closely and more aggressively to root out this menace," said Hussain, whose only son was killed by militants earlier this year.

Pakistan is in the midst of multiple offensives against the Taliban and linked militants in its north-west, including the tribal areas that border Afghanistan.

The US has praised the offensives, hoping they will break the backs of at least some of the groups involved in attacks on American and Nato troops in Afghanistan. However, Pakistan has yet to mount an operation in North Waziristan, the tribal region where the most dangerous groups have bases.

The militants have staged attacks in major cities throughout Pakistan as well as smaller areas. Last month, a bomb attack at a Sunni mosque on the outskirts of Peshawar killed three people and wounded 22. It also came during Friday prayers.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/nov/05/pakistan-suicide-bomb-kills-several

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« Reply #1772 on: Nov 5th, 2010, 07:37am »

Wired Threat Level

White House Orders Standard Practices on Unclassified Information
By Kim Zetter
November 4, 2010 | 6:36 pm | Categories: Sunshine and Secrecy

The White House released an executive order Thursday that aims to standardize how agencies handle unclassified information that carries statutory protections against dissemination.

Such information — designated “controlled unclassified information,” or CUI — is currently handled in an ad hoc manner, with each agency creating its own policies, procedures and markings for safeguarding the information. This can create confusion with those requesting documents under the Freedom of Information Act, and among agency personnel handling such requests.

“This inefficient, confusing patchwork has resulted in inconsistent marking and safeguarding of documents, led to unclear or unnecessarily restrictive dissemination policies, and created impediments to authorized information sharing,” according to the order, signed by President Obama. “The fact that these agency-specific policies are often hidden from public viewhas only aggravated these issues” (.pdf).

To standardize the management of such information, the directive orders all executive branch agencies to produce a list of all the categories and subcategories they currently use to distinguish CUI from other unclassified information and to submit the list within six months to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For each category, the agencies must cite the relevant law, regulation or government policy that justifies protecting the information from dissemination.

“If there is significant doubt about whether information should be designated as CUI, it shall not be so
designated,” according to the order.

The NARA has a year to winnow these lists down to a single list of acceptable categories and subcategories for CUI.

Unclassified controlled information is protected from dissemination by various statutory exemptions passed by Congress and by government-wide policies. These include, for example, exemptions for information about individuals that is protected under the Privacy Act, information about law enforcement investigations and information about proprietary business information and trade secrets. In the case of the latter, businesses are allowed to block government entities, such as the Federal Trade Commission, from disseminating information to the public or to other corporations that they assert could harm their business interests.

Open-government advocacy groups such as the California First Amendment Coalition have often accused corporations and agencies of abusing these exemptions to protect their self-interests.

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/11/unclassified-informatio/

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1773 on: Nov 5th, 2010, 07:40am »

Wired

Cops Pay $4,000 to Man Who Flipped Them Off
By David Kravets
November 4, 2010 | 3:52 pm | Categories: The Courts, The Ridiculous

A suburban Oregon police department is paying a local man $4,000 to settle a civil rights lawsuit in which he claimed he was pulled over for flipping off the cops in traffic.

Twice he saluted with his middle finger while driving, and was pulled over each time by a Clackamas County patrol officer, resulting in what he said was a tongue lashing and “bogus” citations that were later dismissed. He sued (.pdf) in March.

“It was just time to settle,” the plaintiff, Robert Ekas, said in a brief telephone interview Thursday. The retired Silicon Valley systems analyst declined to elaborate.

Edward McGlone III, the counsel for Clackamas County, just outside Portland, said the local government settled (.pdf) rather than litigate for “business reasons.”

“It was just cheaper than proceeding in the case at this point,” he added. McGlone, too, declined to elaborate.

There’s no law against directing to police what might be the world’s oldest insulting gesture. But it’s not advised, as it may lead to a confrontation.

In a March interview, however, Ekas told us that he performed the middle-finger salute to the cops because “it seemed like the right thing to do.” He said it was a form of protest against a department he claimed was abusing its citizenry.

The settlement comes a year after a Pittsburgh man was awarded $50,000 after he was wrongly cited for disorderly conduct after flipping off a cop.

For an authoritative legal and historical discussion of flipping the bird, read “Digitus Impudicus: the Middle Finger and the Law. (.pdf) http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/threatlevel/2010/03/middlefinger.pdf



http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/11/middle-finger-case/

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« Reply #1774 on: Nov 5th, 2010, 07:46am »

Science Daily

Damage to Prefrontal Cortex Compensated by Intact Areas; 'Phantom' Images Stored in Flexible Network Throughout Brain
ScienceDaily (Nov. 3, 2010) —

Brain research over the past 30 years has shown that if a part of the brain controlling movement or sensation or language is lost because of a stroke or injury, other parts of the brain can take over the lost function -- often as well as the region that was lost.

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When images are presented to the right eye of a stroke patient with a lesion in the left prefrontal cortex, visual working memory is impaired. These patients perform poorly in a test requiring that they hold a "phantom image" of a screen display in their mind for up to a second in order to match a subsequent image. The intact right prefrontal cortex picked up some of the slack, however, showing that the brain can compensate for some memory loss. (Credit: Bradley Voytek, Robert Knight/UC Berkeley)


New research at the University of California, Berkeley, shows that this holds true for memory and attention as well, though -- at least for memory -- the intact brain helps out only when needed and conducts business as usual when it's not.

These results support the hypothesis that memory is not stored in one place, but rather, is distributed in many regions of the brain, which means that damage to one storage area is easier to compensate for.

"It's not just specific regions, but a whole network, that's supporting memory," said Bradley Voytek, a UC Berkeley postdoctoral fellow in the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute and first author of two recent journal articles describing EEG (electroencephalogram) studies of people with strokes. Voytek recently completed his Ph.D. in neuroscience at UC Berkeley.

"The view has always been, if you lose point A, point B will be on all the time to take over," said co-author Dr. Robert Knight, UC Berkeley professor of psychology and head of the Wills Institute. "Brad has shown that's not true. It actually only comes on if it's needed.

"Most of the time, it acts like a normal piece of brain tissue. It only kicks into hyperdrive when the bad part of the brain is particularly challenged, and it does it in less than a second. This is a remarkably fluid neural plasticity, but it isn't the standard 'B took over for A,' it's really 'B will take over if and when needed.'"

One of the papers, published Nov. 3 in the online edition of Neuron and scheduled for the Nov. 4 print issue of the journal, describes a study of stroke patients who have lost partial function in their prefrontal cortex, the area at the top front of each hemisphere of the brain that governs memory and attention.

Voytek put electrodes on the scalps of six stroke patients as well as six controls with normal prefrontal cortex function, and showed each patient a series of pictures to test his or her ability to remember images for a brief time, so-called visual working memory. Visual working memory is what allows us to compare two objects, keeping one in memory while we look at another, as when we choose the ripest of two bananas.

"We presented each subject with a really quick flash of a visual stimulus and then showed them a second one a little while later, and they had to say whether it was the same as the first," Voytek explained. "The idea is that you're building a representation of your visual world somehow in your brain -- and we don't know how that happens -- so that later you can compare this internal phantom representation you're holding in your mind to a real world visual stimulus, something you actually see. These patients can't do that as well."

EEGs provide millisecond measurements of brain activity, though they do not pinpoint active areas as precisely as other techniques, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). On the other hand, fMRI averages brain activity over seconds, making it impossible to distinguish split-second brain processes or even tell which occur first.

The neuroscientists discovered that when images were shown to the eye opposite the lesion (output of the left eye goes to the right hemisphere, and vice versa), the damaged prefrontal cortex did not respond, but the intact prefrontal cortex on the same side as the image responded within 300 to 600 milliseconds.

"EEG, which is very good for looking at the timing of activity in the brain, showed that part of the brain is compensating on a subsecond basis," Voytek said. "It is very rapid compensation: Within a second of challenging the bad side, the intact side of the brain is coming online to pick up the slack."

"This has implications for what physicians measure to see if there's effective recovery after stroke," Knight said, "and suggests that you can take advantage of this to train the area you would like to take over from a damaged area instead of just globally training the brain."

In a second paper that appeared online Oct. 4 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Voytek and Knight looked at visual working memory in patients with damage not only to the prefrontal cortex, but also to the basal ganglia. The basal ganglia are a pair of regions directly below the brain's cortex that are involved in motor control and learning and that are impaired in patients with Parkinson's disease.

The patients with stroke damage to the prefrontal cortex had, as suspected, problems when images were presented to the eye on the side opposite the lesion. Those with basal ganglia damage, however, had problems with visual working memory no matter which part of the visual field was shown the image.

"The PNAS paper shows that the basal ganglia lesions cause a more broad network deficit, whereas the prefrontal cortex lesions cause a more within-hemisphere deficit in memory," Voytek said. "This demonstrates, again, that memory is a network phenomenon rather than a specifically regional phenomenon."

"If you take out one basal ganglia, the logic would be that you would be Parkinsonian on half your body. But you're not," Knight said. "One basal ganglia on one side is able to somehow control fluid movement on both sides."

"Brad's data show that for cognitive control, it's just the opposite. One small basal ganglia lesion on one side has global effects on both sides of your body," he added. "This really points out that for this deep subcortical basal ganglia area, you need all of it to function normally. I don't think anybody would have really suspected that."

Knight hopes to conduct follow up studies using direct recordings from electrodes in the brain to further explore the various brain regions involved in visual memory and other types of memory and attention governed by the prefrontal cortex.

"Cognition and memory are the highest forms of human behavior," Knight said. "It is not just about raising or lowering your hand, or whether you can or cannot see. These are the things that make us human, and that is what makes it so interesting for us."

Other coauthors of the Neuron paper are Matar Davis and Elena Yago of UC Berkeley's Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute; Francisco Barceló of the Institut Universitari d'Investigació en Cičncies de la Salut at the Universitat de les Illes Balears in Palma de Mallorca, Spain; and Edward K. Vogel of the University of Oregon in Eugene.

The work was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke of the National Institutes of Health, and by an American Psychological Association Diversity Program in Neuroscience grant to Voytek.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101103135241.htm

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« Reply #1775 on: Nov 5th, 2010, 07:49am »

Hollywood Reporter

EXCLUSIVE: Sally Field in Talks for Spider-Man Film
11/4/2010
by Borys Kit

Sally Field as Aunt May?

The actress is in early talks to play Peter Parker’s beloved aunt in the new Spider-Man movie, which Marc Webb is directing for Columbia.

The news comes on the heels of Martin Sheen in final negotiations to play Uncle Ben in the relaunch of the movie franchise.

Aunt May is a key supporting character in Peter Parker/Spider-Man’s life, as she is the only family the young hero has.

In the early comics, she was portrayed as a frail lady who worried over her nephew, trying to set him up with the neighbor’s daughter, and frequently got sick, adding to Peter's personal woes.

In addition to Sheen, the new movie, which begins shooting in December, has Andrew Garfield as Peter, Emma Stone as love interest Gwen Stacy and Rhys Ifans as the movie’s unnamed villain.

Field’s last major studio role was in 2003’s Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde, although she did star in the 2006 indie drama Two Weeks. She is more recently known for her work on ABC’s Brothers & Sisters.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/blogs/heat-vision/sally-field-talks-spider-man-35864

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1776 on: Nov 5th, 2010, 12:49pm »

The music is right out of a 1950's sci fi movie.
3 November 2010



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« Reply #1777 on: Nov 5th, 2010, 1:20pm »

Yeah, interesting sighting. Would like to know how long these lights were visible, but also why there are no other reports from other people who possibly saw this. The 1997-sighting surely made people more sensitive to that phenomena so this shouldn't have gone by without getting noticed by anyone.
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« Reply #1778 on: Nov 5th, 2010, 1:40pm »

on Nov 5th, 2010, 1:20pm, philliman wrote:
Yeah, interesting sighting. Would like to know how long these lights were visible, but also why there are no other reports from other people who possibly saw this. The 1997-sighting surely made people more sensitive to that phenomena so this shouldn't have gone by without getting noticed by anyone.


Very good point Phil. There should be someone, who's the guy that is in Chandler that watches the skies? Darn! Can't remember his name.
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« Reply #1779 on: Nov 5th, 2010, 1:42pm »

Hollywood Reporter

Keith Olbermann 'Suspended Indefinitely' Without Pay
2:08 PM 11/5/2010 by Lindsay Powers

MSNBC president Phil Griffin made the decision after learning Olbermann donated to three Democratic candidates this election cycle.

Keith Olbermann has been suspended without pay from MSNBC after it was learned he donated to three Democrats this election. Chris Hayes will fill in for him Friday night.

"I became aware of Keith's political contributions late last night. Mindful of NBC News policy and standards, I have suspended him indefinitely without pay," MSNBC president Phil Griffin said in a statement, as obtained by The Huffington Post.

The Countdown host donated $2,400 each to Reps. Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, and to Kentucky Senate candidate Jack Conway, Politico reported Friday.

NBC does not prohibit employees from making political donations, but it does require they get prior approval from executives.

Olbermann defended himself, saying in a statement: "I did not privately or publicly encourage anyone else to donate to these campaigns nor to any others in this election or any previous ones, nor have I previously donated to any political campaign at any level."

Olbermann and Griffin have long had a contentious relationship, the Huffington Post points out. Olbermann once told the New Yorker: "Phil thinks he's my boss," while Griffin sniped to New York magazine, "Keith doesn't run the show… I do a lot of things he doesn't like. I do a lot of things he does."

Olbermann recently suspended his Worst Persons segment on his MSNBC show.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/keith-olbermann-suspended-indefinitely-pay-36246

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« Reply #1780 on: Nov 5th, 2010, 5:54pm »

Looks like Oberdork is up to his old tricks of thinking HE runs the network because he's SOOOOOOO impotent! I mean Important!
He did the same thing at ESPN and got his head handed to him. He's such a brave man. When women disagree with him, he attacks them Physically. Not a joke. This is ONE of the reasons he's not on ESPN now nor ever will be again!

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One quote from one of his colleagues at ESPN: Obermann didn't just burn his bridges here..He Napalmed them!!
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« Reply #1781 on: Nov 5th, 2010, 6:46pm »

on Nov 5th, 2010, 5:54pm, LoneGunMan wrote:
Looks like Oberdork is up to his old tricks of thinking HE runs the network because he's SOOOOOOO impotent! I mean Important!
He did the same thing at ESPN and got his head handed to him. He's such a brave man. When women disagree with him, he attacks them Physically. Not a joke. This is ONE of the reasons he's not on ESPN now nor ever will be again!

Lone

One quote from one of his colleagues at ESPN: Obermann didn't just burn his bridges here..He Napalmed them!!


Hi Lone,
OUCH! I didn't know all that. He has been getting seriously BIG HEADED lately. I stopped watching him because all he did was rant. I want the news, not his pontificating. Sounds like he will have to go to print media/internet. Nowhere else to go.
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« Reply #1782 on: Nov 5th, 2010, 6:49pm »

Washington Post

Keith Olbermann suspended for making campaign contributions

By David Montgomery
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 5, 2010; 5:57 PM

Keith Olbermann, the unabashedly liberal-leaning counterpart to cable television's conservative hosts, was suspended indefinitely without pay from MSNBC Friday afternoon for contributing a total of $7,200 to three Democratic candidates in late October, a violation of network ethics policies.

Olbermann's banishment leaves uncertain the immediate future of MSNBC's top-rated show, "Countdown with Keith Olbermann." MSNBC initially said Christopher Hayes, Washington editor of the Nation, would fill in for Olbermann Friday night ż then revised the announcement to say that daytime anchor Thomas Roberts would host. Who will take the helm in coming days has not been decided, a spokesman said.

Olbermann's audience at 8 p.m. weeknights averaged about 1.1 million people in October, according to MSNBC. The host's contract with the network runs through 2013.

"I became aware of Keith's political contributions late last night," Griffin said. "Mindful of NBC News policy and standards, I have suspended him indefinitely without pay."

The language of NBC's policy leaves open the possibility that Olbermann would have been all right if he had sought permission from his superiors first -- though they could have forbidden him from contributing: "You should report...potential conflicts in advance to, and obtain prior approval of, the president of NBC News or his designee."

Media ethicists said Friday it is good policy for journalists -- even opinionated ones -- to demonstrate their independence by not contributing to candidates. But fans of Olbermann launched a petititon demanding that MSNBC "put Olbermann back on the air now."

Politico first reported Friday morning that Olberman -- who anchored MSNBC's election coverage Tuesday night -- gave $2,400 apiece in late October to Kentucky candidate Jack Conway and to Arizona Reps. Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords. The donation to Grijalva came on the same day the Democratic incumbent appeared on "Countdown," Politico reported.

Conway lost his race against Tea Party favorite Rand Paul. Grijalva was declared the winner in his race late Thursday, and Giffords's remained too close to call as of Friday morning.

Olbermann said in a statement to Politico: "I did not privately or publicly encourage anyone else to donate to these campaigns, nor to any others in this election or any previous ones, nor have I previously donated to any political campaign at any level."

Under Federal Elections Commission rules, $2,400 is the most an individual donor can give to a candidate in a general election campaign.

Giffords and Conway had also appeared on Olbermann's show earlier in the year.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/05/AR2010110504496.html?hpid=topnews

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« Reply #1783 on: Nov 5th, 2010, 6:55pm »





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« Reply #1784 on: Nov 5th, 2010, 6:58pm »





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