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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 70598 times)
WingsofCrystal
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2370 on: Dec 28th, 2010, 08:47am »

Good morning Swamp!
I hope you had a good Christmas. cheesy
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« Reply #2371 on: Dec 28th, 2010, 08:51am »

New York Times

December 28, 2010
Iran Executes Man Convicted of Spying for Israel
By WILLIAM YONG

TEHRAN — Iran on Tuesday executed two men, one of them said to be a member of an exiled opposition group and the other convicted of spying for Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, according to official reports.

Iran’s judiciary reported that the alleged spy, Ali-Akbar Siadat, had been hanged at Tehran’s Evin Prison after being found guilty of passing on to “Iran’s enemies” information about the country’s military capability, including the missile program operated by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

According to the charges against him, Mr. Siadat had met with Israeli agents on repeated occasions over the course of six years while traveling to destinations including Turkey, Thailand and the Netherlands. He was said to have received payments of $3,000 to $7,000 for each meeting. He was arrested in 2008, according to the official IRNA news agency.

The official list of charges on which Mr. Siadat had been convicted included “spreading corruption on earth,” “supporting the Zionist regime” and “opposing the Islamic Republic.”

Earlier this year, Mr. Siadat was among 192 detainees named by opposition Web sites as political prisoners being held by Iran’s authorities.

Iran periodically reports the arrest of Iranians accused of working for Israel’s intelligence services. In November 2008, the authorities hanged Ali Ashtari, a communications and security equipment salesman, after convicting him of passing information to Israeli agents.

A second man, Ali Saremi, was also hanged Tuesday morning, according to the judiciary statement. Mr. Saremi was executed after repeated convictions for supporting Mujahedeen Khalq, an exiled opposition group that the government has accused of masterminding terrorist attacks within Iran’s borders from bases in Europe and Iraq.

The group said in a statement after the execution that several members of his family were arrested for protesting outside Evin Prison and taken inside.

Last August, Amnesty International reported that Mr. Saremi, 62, had visited a son in Mujahedeen Khalq’s Camp Ashraf in Iraq. He had been imprisoned on political charges for a total of 23 years both under the rule of the shah and since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Amnesty said.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/29/world/middleeast/29iran.html?_r=1&ref=world

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« Reply #2372 on: Dec 28th, 2010, 08:53am »

New York Times

December 27, 2010, 10:06 pm
Stock Trading in Private Companies Draws S.E.C. Scrutiny
By PETER LATTMAN

A red-hot trading market has developed in the shares of the world’s leading social networking companies: Facebook, Twitter, Zynga and LinkedIn. What is unusual is that none of the companies are listed on a public stock exchange. Each is privately held.

Now, the Securities and Exchange Commission wants to learn more about the business of these stock trades. The agency has sent information requests to several participants in the buying and selling of stock in these four companies, according to two people with direct knowledge of the inquiry who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about it.

It is unclear exactly what has piqued the agency’s interest. An S.E.C. spokesman declined to comment on the matter. But the S.E.C.’s interest comes as a crop of new exchanges is popping up to facilitate these trades.

Over the last year, several private exchanges have matched up buyers and sellers of shares in these fast-growing companies. Though the volume remains thin, the number of transactions is increasing each month.

At the same time, Wall Street brokerage firms have begun forming investment pools to buy these companies’ shares.

Driving this activity is the social networking phenomenon, which has created the hottest, and most hyped, segment in Silicon Valley in years.

Businesses like Facebook, the social networking leader, and Zynga, a popular maker of online games, already generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. Twitter has more than 150 million users, and just received $200 million in venture financing. LinkedIn, another social networking site, has become a Facebook for professionals.

Who is selling these shares? Much of the supply comes from former employees at these companies and their early stage venture capital investors looking to exit their stakes.

The buyers in these so-called secondary trading markets are mostly wealthy speculators looking to snag a piece of the next Apple, Microsoft or Google before the rest of the investing public can.

Part of what is driving this emerging market is the shifting dynamics of initial public offerings on Wall Street, particularly in the technology sector, as companies take longer to tap the public markets.

“We are serving a growing need,” said David Weir, the chief executive of SharesPost, an online marketplace for private investments started last year that now has 39,000 registered members. “A decade ago, these companies would be public by now. Investors can now buy into these businesses and sellers can exit their already valuable stakes.”

SecondMarket, the leading trading exchange handling transactions in these securities, is expected to execute about $400 million in trades involving about 40 private companies this year, roughly a fourfold increase from 2009, the first year it began making markets in the companies, according to a company spokesman.

Facebook, run by Mark Zuckerberg, is SecondMarket’s most actively traded company. Last month, SecondMarket held an auction in which approximately $40 million worth of Facebook shares changed hands.

As the volume has picked up, the worth of these nonpublic companies has ratcheted up as well. The combined value of the top 11 private venture-backed technology businesses has increased by 54 percent since June, according to a recent study by Nyppex, a brokerage firm that facilitates trading in private companies.

Facebook is now trading at an implied valuation of $42.4 billion, according to SharesPost, more than tripling in value from earlier in the year. Twitter is worth $3.6 billion, more than doubling over the last several months.

Another batch of small Wall Street firms is also trying to get in on the action. These companies, which include GreenCrest Capital and Felix Investments, are raising “Facebook funds” or “Twitter funds.” These firms are pooling their clients’ money into investment vehicles to acquire blocks of stock of these companies.

Investors are taking on substantial risk when buying shares in these private companies. Despite Facebook’s ubiquity (it is the subject of at least two books, countless magazine features and a critically acclaimed motion picture) it does not disclose its financial results. And Twitter, despite its popularity and influence, generates minimal revenue.

But investors are betting that Facebook, Twitter and their brethren will ultimately go public at sky-high valuations, delivering big profits similar to Google’s initial public offering in 2004.

It is uncertain what exactly the S.E.C. is looking into, but several securities lawyers say it could relate to understanding the number of shareholders at these companies.

That would be relevant to regulators because Facebook and other start-ups have a reason to keep the number of shareholders to under 499. If they had 500 shareholders, S.E.C. rules would require them to disclose their financial results to the public.

The pooled vehicles being set up to acquire Facebook stock, for instance, could push the company’s shareholder count above 499 if the S.E.C. counted the number of investors in the funds.

In 2008, the S.E.C. and Facebook tangled over a related issue. Then, the agency allowed Facebook to issue restricted stock to employees without having to register the securities, which would have required the company to provide financial information to prospective investors.

Although the trading in these companies has increased over the last year, the market remains illiquid.

The market is capped by the amount of stock for sale. At Facebook, for example, only former employees can sell stock. In March, Facebook announced a ban on current employees selling stock.

It also announced an “insider trading policy” to better comply with the securities laws and “to protect the interests of the company and its employees and shareholders.” Also, recently hired Facebook employees are given restricted stock units that do not have value unless the company goes public or is sold.

The number of potential buyers is also limited. Because these privately held companies are considered high-risk securities by the S.E.C., the agency’s rules permit only qualified institutions (like ones that manage $100 million or more) and accredited investors (individuals whose net worth exceeds $1 million) to buy their shares. Also, many of the companies, including Facebook, have the right of first refusal to buy any shares of their stock offered on these private exchanges.

http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2010/12/27/stock-trading-in-private-companies-draws-scrutiny/?ref=technology

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« Reply #2373 on: Dec 28th, 2010, 08:57am »

Telegraph

American man 'shoots fabled chupacabra monster'

An American man has shot dead a hairless, grey creature which has led to frenzied speculation that it could be the fabled chupacabra, a legendary blood-sucking creature.





Amy Willis
7:00AM GMT
28 Dec 2010

Mark Cothren, who lives in Lebanon Junction, Kentucky, said he killed the domestic cat-sized animal after it wondered into his front yard and he did not recognise what it was. The creature had long pointed ears, whiskers and a long tail but was completely bald.

Many of Mr Cothren's neighbours have speculated that the mystery animal could be a chupacabra, or "goat sucker", a mythical creature said to suck the blood of livestock.

He told Wave3.com: "I was like 'every animal has hair, especially this time of year!'"

"What puzzled me is how something like that could survive through a winter with no hair.

"Everybody is getting very curious, you know. The phone is ringing off the hook. It's kind of a mystery right now."

The legend of the chupacabra is reported to have originated more than 15 years ago in Puerto Rico after eight sheep were discovered with puncture wounds on their chests and the carcasses completely drained of blood.

A few months later a woman claimed she saw the fabled creature kill 150 animals and pets in the same region.

An animal that was killed in Texas in July 2004 was also thought to be a chupacabra but the beast was later identified as a coyote with a severe parasite infection.

In 2006 a US woman claimed she had found a dead chupacabra complete with fangs which had been hit by a car. The creature was unable to be identified due to its injuries.

However experts say the creature is likely to be a racoon or dog rather than a mythical creature.

Sam Clites from Louisville Zoo said: "This is an animal that's native to our area, most likely that is suffering from some type disease.

He added that often animals that have lost their fur are completely unrecognisable.

Mr Cothren is currently awaiting for the creature to be analysed by the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/8227045/American-man-shoots-fabled-chupacabra-monster.html

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« Reply #2374 on: Dec 28th, 2010, 09:06am »

Wired Danger Room

Docs Detail CIA’s Cold War Hypnosis Push
By Spencer Ackerman
December 28, 2010 | 7:00 am
Categories: Spies, Secrecy and Surveillance


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It was an innocent time, the mid-1950s. America wasn’t yet cynical about its geopolitical games in the Cold War. Case in point: In order to maintain its spying edge over the Russkies, the CIA considered the benefits of hypnosis.

Two memos from 1954 and 1955 dredged up by Cryptome show the CIA thinking through post-hypnotic suggestion in extensive, credulous detail. How, for instance, to pass a secret message to a field operative without danger of interception?

Encode it in a messenger’s brain, an undisclosed author wrote in 1954, so he’ll have “no memory whatsoever in the waking state as to the nature and contents of the message.” Even if a Soviet agent gets word of the messenger’s importance, “no amount of third-party tactics” can pry the message loose, “for he simply does not have it in his conscious mind.” Pity the poor waterboarded captive.

But the counterintelligence benefits of hypnosis are even greater.

Picture this course of action, the memo’s author propose: Hypnotize a group of “loyal Americans” to the point of inducing a “split personality.” Outwardly, they’d appear to be “ardent Communists,” who will “associate with the Communists and learn all the plans of the organization.” Every month, CIA agents will contact them, induce a counter-hypnosis, and these Manchurian Candidates will spill. (Meanwhile, Communist Party meetings on the Lower East Side of Manhattan were open to the public.) While admittedly “more complicated and more difficult,” the agency’s hypno-enthusiast wrote, “I assure you, it will work.”

That’s the level of assurance the memos’ authors provided. A 1955 follow-up openly sneered at the “cautious pessimism” and “congealed pig-headedness” of “academic experts in hypnotism,” waving it away with a pitch to dabble in hypnosis “in a way no laboratory worker could possibly prove.” Indeed, the memo concludes, the CIA had already made some headway: Narcotics were iffy choices for inducing intelligence-useful trances, but on the whole, “drug-assisted hypnosis is essential in CIA work.”
The agency’s mind-control experts gave up some helpful tips, according to the 1955 memo. It’s easier “to hypnotize large numbers of people” than individuals” — alas, there’s no useful elaboration on that point — and in no circumstance can the hypnotizer fail to get a subject to snap out of his trance.

Still, responsible mind-control advocates could scarcely avoid presenting the potential drawbacks of their own courses of action. Since there’s no rigorous scientific way of determining “what limits ‘belief’ may be changed by hypnosis,” that means a “double-think Orwellian world of hypnosis, while unlikely, is not utterly fantastic.”

As it turns out, successful mind control could get out of hand rapidly. Who would have thought?

The CIA’s aborted experiments in hypnosis are long-documented. (There was a pretty good National Geographic Channel exploration of them not long ago.) Its impulses to master the human mind led to the mass LSD tests called MK-ULTRA, which became the subject of acrimonious congressional inquiries.

And three years ago, the CIA’s document dump of its so-called “Crown Jewels” of decades-old secrets went into further detail about its hypnotism fetish.

But in case you find yourself unmoved by the disclosures, consider that you have no foolproof way to determine that you aren’t yourself the subject of mental conditioning.

One of the many benefits of hypnosis, the 1955 memo notes, is a resistance to Commie brainwashing. “Hypnosis may be able on the one hand to pre-condition a subject against the pressure” of enemy influence, it asserts, “or after the fact to help undo the damage.” How do you know they haven’t gotten to you, too?

Check out the full memos:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/45949511/CIA-Hypnotism-1954


more after the jump
http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/12/cia-hypnosis/

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2375 on: Dec 28th, 2010, 09:50am »

Good morning Crystal... grin
Quote:
Good morning Luvey! We had a very nice Christmas. After 33 years I finally figured out how to fix a ham without drying it out!


I had to chuckle when I read that... you see over here we buy it cooked from the supermarket, and that is the way I always had it until I married a wonderful American man... smiley He said, no dear let me do it... and he cooked it up with pineapple, glazed cherries and brown sugar... oh! boy it was sooo yummy... so now its his job to cook the Christmas ham... hehehehe grin

Have a great day hon...

Luvey
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« Reply #2376 on: Dec 28th, 2010, 12:30pm »

on Dec 28th, 2010, 09:50am, Luvey wrote:
Good morning Crystal... grin


I had to chuckle when I read that... you see over here we buy it cooked from the supermarket, and that is the way I always had it until I married a wonderful American man... smiley He said, no dear let me do it... and he cooked it up with pineapple, glazed cherries and brown sugar... oh! boy it was sooo yummy... so now its his job to cook the Christmas ham... hehehehe grin

Have a great day hon...

Luvey


That man knows how to cook!!!! You done good Luvey! grin
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« Reply #2377 on: Dec 28th, 2010, 12:32pm »

Looks like the "Conformers" are celebrating the holidays too.


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grin

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« Reply #2378 on: Dec 28th, 2010, 12:55pm »

Ham Biscuits
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

Biscuit filling:

Ingredients

•1 cup ground cooked country or regular ham
•4 tablespoons butter

Directions

In a food processor, grind ham into small pieces. Add the butter and pulse until combined. Split hot biscuits in 1/2, and fill each biscuit with about 1 tablespoon of the ham mixture.


Cream Biscuits:

Ingredients

•2 cups self-rising flour, plus more for dusting
•1 tablespoon sugar
•1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, and cream until the dough forms a ball. Turn the dough out onto a surface dusted with additional flour. Fold the dough in 1/2 and knead 5 to 7 times, adding just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to your hands. Gently roll out dough to 1/2-inch thickness. Using a 3-inch biscuit cutter coated with flour, cut dough into biscuits. Place on baking sheet coated with cooking spray, leaving at least 1-inch between each biscuit. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

Yield: 10 to 12 biscuits

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ease of preparation: Easy

~

Crystal

edit to add:
I would not use the amounts listed for butter and heavy cream. Less is more here..........unless you want to kill off your entire family with one dish.
« Last Edit: Dec 28th, 2010, 1:06pm by WingsofCrystal » User IP Logged

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2379 on: Dec 28th, 2010, 2:16pm »

on Dec 28th, 2010, 12:32pm, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Looks like the "Conformers" are celebrating the holidays too.


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grin

Crystal


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« Reply #2380 on: Dec 28th, 2010, 2:19pm »

I just got a copy of "Hope Diamond" by Richard Kurin.

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"Hope Diamond: The Legendary History of a Cursed Gem
by Richard Kurin

The true story behind the most famous-and infamous-stone in the world. The Hope diamond is not only exceptionally beautiful it has a long and incredibly colorful history. That history - spread over three continents - features diamond mining in India, the French Revolution, the machinations of British King George IV, the Gilded Age in America and a number of very clever jewelers including Pierre Cartier and Harry Winston. In the 20th century, the myth of the Hope diamond curse made the diamond more notorious and famous than ever before, but it is only one small piece of a long and lustrous history."

~

I didn't go see it at the Smithsonian when we lived in Maryland. I was never interested in gems. This book is a good read.

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« Reply #2381 on: Dec 28th, 2010, 2:21pm »

on Dec 28th, 2010, 2:16pm, DrDil wrote:
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Thank you DrDil for laughing at my joke. grin

Crystal
« Last Edit: Dec 28th, 2010, 2:37pm by WingsofCrystal » User IP Logged

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« Reply #2382 on: Dec 28th, 2010, 3:27pm »

Crystal,
The Gems Dept at the Smithsonian is unbelievable. You can literally spend hours and learning all the different precious and semi-precious elements on this planet.
The Hope Diamond exhibit is kool because you can get right up to it and see the luster and brilliance of that stone and it's settings. The rest of the display of diamonds, rubies, emeralds in all the jewelry is astounding!

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2383 on: Dec 28th, 2010, 3:35pm »

on Dec 28th, 2010, 09:50am, Luvey wrote:
Good morning Crystal... grin


I had to chuckle when I read that... you see over here we buy it cooked from the supermarket, and that is the way I always had it until I married a wonderful American man... smiley He said, no dear let me do it... and he cooked it up with pineapple, glazed cherries and brown sugar... oh! boy it was sooo yummy... so now its his job to cook the Christmas ham... hehehehe grin

Have a great day hon...

Luvey

Now I'm hungry. grin

on Dec 28th, 2010, 12:32pm, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Looks like the "Conformers" are celebrating the holidays too.


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grin

Crystal

And they got their kids with 'em. Thanks, Crystal. grin

Thanks to Maako:
Ancient teeth find may 'change picture of evolution'

Israeli archaeologists say they may have found the earliest evidence yet for the existence of modern man.

A Tel Aviv University team excavating a cave in central Israel said on Monday they found teeth about 400,000 years old.

The earliest Homo sapiens remains found until now are half that old.

Archaeologist Avi Gopher said Monday further research is needed to solidify the claim

If it does, he says, "this changes the whole picture of evolution".

...

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/world/4497784/400-000-year-old-teeth-found

In relation to this I find this interview with Kevin Trudeau quite intriguing:
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TheKateValentineUfoShow/~5/ft6RpOHbJYQ/12-17-10.mp3
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« Reply #2384 on: Dec 28th, 2010, 5:15pm »

on Dec 28th, 2010, 3:27pm, LoneGunMan wrote:
Crystal,
The Gems Dept at the Smithsonian is unbelievable. You can literally spend hours and learning all the different precious and semi-precious elements on this planet.
The Hope Diamond exhibit is kool because you can get right up to it and see the luster and brilliance of that stone and it's settings. The rest of the display of diamonds, rubies, emeralds in all the jewelry is astounding!

Lone


Hey Lone!

I could kick myself now for not going to the exhibit. I spent a lot of time at the National gallery of Art and the National museum of American history.

I could spend the day on the mall for $10.00 or less. This was in the 1980's. $1.50 each way on the red line, a buck and a half for a hot dog and the museums were free. I LOVED IT!!!

Crystal
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