Board Logo
« Stuff & Nonsense »

Welcome Guest. Please Login or Register.
Nov 19th, 2017, 11:51am


Visit the UFO Casebook Web Site

*Totally FREE 24/7 Access *Your Nickname and Avatar *Private Messages

*Join today and be a part of one of the largest UFO sites on the Net.


« Previous Topic | Next Topic »
Pages: 1 ... 177 178 179 180 181  ...  1070 Notify Send Topic Print
 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 11745 times)
WingsofCrystal
Global Moderator
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Female
Posts: 12167
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2670 on: Jan 23rd, 2011, 09:11am »

LA Times

Marines pay a price trying to secure an Afghan hot spot

What happened to them in Sangin district of Helmand province shows the sacrifices in a campaign aimed at crippling the Taliban in a stronghold and helping extricate the U.S. from a decadelong war.

By Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times
8:33 PM PST, January 22, 2011
Reporting from Camp Pendleton

Marines tell of snipers who fire from "murder holes" cut into mud-walled compounds. Fighters who lie in wait in trenches dug around rough farmhouses clustered together for protection. Farmers who seem to tip the Taliban to the outsiders' every movement , often with signals that sound like birdcalls.

When the Marines of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, deployed to the Sangin district of Afghanistan's Helmand province in late September, the British soldiers who had preceded them warned the Americans that the Taliban would be waiting nearly everywhere for a chance to kill them.

But the Marines, ordered to be more aggressive than the British had been, quickly learned that the Taliban wasn't simply waiting.

In Sangin, the Taliban was coming after them.

In four years there, the British had lost more than 100 soldiers, about a third of all their nation's losses in the war.

In four months, 24 Marines with the Camp Pendleton-based Three-Five have been killed.

More than 140 others have been wounded, some of them catastrophically, losing limbs and the futures they had imagined for themselves.

The Marines' families have been left devastated, or dreading the knock on the door.

"We are a brokenhearted but proud family," Marine Lt. Gen. John Kelly said. He spoke not only of the battalion: His son 1st Lt. Robert Kelly was killed leading a patrol in Sangin.

The Three-Five had drawn a daunting task: Push into areas where the British had not gone, areas where Taliban dominance was uncontested, areas where the opium poppy crop whose profits help fuel the insurgency is grown, areas where bomb makers lash together explosives to kill and terrorize in Sangin and neighboring Kandahar province.

The result? The battalion with the motto "Get Some" has been in more than 408 firefights and found 434 buried roadside bombs. An additional 122 bombs exploded before they could be discovered, in many instances killing or injuring Afghan civilians who travel the same roads as the Marines.

Some enlisted personnel believe that the Taliban has developed a "Vietnam-like" capability to pick off a platoon commander or a squad or team leader. A lieutenant assigned as a replacement for a downed colleague was shot in the neck on his first patrol.

At the confluence of two rivers in Helmand province in the country's south, Sangin is a mix of rocky desert and stretches of farmland where corn and pomegranates are grown. There are rolling hills, groves of trees and crisscrossing canals. Farmers work their fields and children play on dusty paths.

"Sangin is one of the prettier places in Helmand, but that's very deceiving," said Sgt. Dean Davis, a Marine combat correspondent. "It's a very dangerous place, it's a danger you can feel."

Three men arrived in Sangin last fall knowing they would face the fight of their lives.

1st Lt. John Chase Barghusen, 26, of Madison, Wis., had asked to be transferred to the Three-Five so he could return to Afghanistan.

Cpl. Derek A. Wyatt, 25, of Akron, Ohio, an infantry squad leader, was excited about the mission but worried about his wife, pregnant with their first child.

Lance Cpl. Juan Dominguez, 26, of Deming, N.M., an infantry "grunt," had dreamed of going into combat as a Marine since he was barely out of grade school.

What happened to them in Sangin shows the price being paid for a campaign to cripple the Taliban in a key stronghold and help extricate America from a war now in its 10th year.

———

When Lance Cpl. Juan Dominguez slipped down a small embankment while out on patrol and landed on a buried bomb, the explosion could be heard for miles.

"It had to be a 30- to 40-pounder," Dominguez said from his bed at the military hospital in Bethesda, Md. "I remember crying out for my mother and then crying out for morphine. I remember them putting my legs on top of me."

His legs were severed above the knee, and his right arm was mangled and could not be saved. A Navy corpsman, risking sniper fire, rushed to Dominguez and stopped the bleeding. On the trip to the field hospital, Dominguez prayed.

"I figured this was God's will, so I told him: 'If you're going to take me, take me now,'" he said.

His memories of Sangin are vivid. "The part we were in, it's hell," he said. "It makes your stomach turn. The poor families there, they get conned into helping the Taliban."

Like many wounded Marines, Dominguez never saw a Taliban fighter.

"We don't know who we're fighting over there, who's friendly and who isn't," he said. "They're always watching us. We're basically fighting blind."

His mother, Martha Dominguez, was at home the night of Oct. 23 when a Marine came to her door to tell her that her son had been gravely injured. She left her job right away and rushed to his bedside in Bethesda. She's never been far away since.

When Dominguez's father, Reynaldo, first visited the hospital, he was overcome by emotion and had to leave.

"Mothers are stronger at times like this," Martha Dominguez said.

Juan Dominguez has since been fitted with prosthetic legs and a "bionic" arm and is undergoing daily therapy at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. He and his girlfriend have broken up.

"She wanted someone with legs," his mother said.

When he's discharged, Dominguez wants to return to Deming to be near his 8-year-old daughter, who lives with his ex-wife, and open a business painting and restoring cars.

But his immediate goal is to be at Camp Pendleton, in uniform and walking on his prosthetic legs, when the battalion returns in the spring.

———

By some accounts, no district in Afghanistan is outpacing Sangin in "kinetic activity," military jargon for combat.

"Sangin is a straight-up slug match. No winning of hearts and minds. No enlightened counterinsurgency projects to win affections," said Bing West, a Marine veteran who was an assistant secretary of Defense under President Reagan. "Instead, the goal is to kill the Taliban every day on every patrol. Force them to flee the Sangin Valley or die."

When the Marines of the Three-Five arrived in Sangin, many were on their first deployment, eager to live up to the legacy the battalion earned at the battles of Belleau Wood, Guadalcanal, Okinawa and the Chosin Reservoir.

Some were with the battalion during the 2004 fight in Fallouja, Iraq, the bloodiest single battle the U.S. Marine Corps had fought since Vietnam. And now they were in Sangin, a place they called "the Fallouja of Afghanistan."

Marine brass, to whom heroes of the past stand as the measure of all things, say the Three-Five is writing its own chapter of combat history. Marine Commandant Gen. James F. Amos, who spent Christmas in Sangin, said the Marines there are writing "a story of heroism, of courage, of fidelity."

A victory over the Taliban in Sangin, American officials hope, would bolster the confidence of Afghan President Hamid Karzai's government and possibly push the Taliban into a negotiated settlement, allowing the United States to withdraw its troops by the 2014 target set by the Obama administration.

Maj. Gen. Richard Mills, the top Marine in Afghanistan, has called Sangin the last major Taliban stronghold in Helmand, although there are other pockets of insurgent activity in the province.

Fighters from Pakistan use Sangin as a staging area before launching into other parts of Afghanistan, particularly into neighboring Kandahar province.

"We know that the senior leadership [of the Taliban] outside the country is very concerned that this area is going to slip away," said Col. Paul Kennedy, commander of Regimental Combat Team Two, which includes the Three-Five.

To get a sense of the intensity of the fighting that has killed the 24 Marines of the Three-Five, one might look at a recent deployment by another group of Marines. When the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, was deployed for seven months last year in the Helmand district of Garmsir to the south, another Taliban stronghold, 14 were killed, about half as many casualties in almost twice the time.

Four Marines from battalions assigned to assist the Three-Five by clearing roads and detonating Taliban bombs have also been killed.

U.S. military hospitals in Landstuhl, Germany; Bethesda; and San Diego have seen a steady stream of wounded Marines and sailors from the Three-Five, including at least four triple-amputees.

Less severely wounded Marines have been sent to the Wounded Warrior Battalion West barracks at Camp Pendleton. Still others among the Three-Five injured have been transferred to the Veterans Affairs facility in Palo Alto, which specializes in traumatic brain injuries.

Fifty-six replacements have been rushed from Camp Pendleton to Afghanistan to take the places of the dead and severely wounded. Priority was given to young lieutenants, who serve as platoon commanders, and Navy corpsmen.

Many of the volunteers were Marines from other battalions who had been wounded in Afghanistan, said Gunnery Sgt. Enrique MorenoRuiz.

"We're war fighters," MorenoRuiz said. "If they want to go, they can go."

more after the jump
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-afghanistan-marines-20110123,0,7828727.story

Crystal
User IP Logged

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VkrUG3OrPc
WingsofCrystal
Global Moderator
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Female
Posts: 12167
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2671 on: Jan 23rd, 2011, 09:19am »

Guardian

Chinese stealth fighter jet may use US technology

China may have bought parts of US F-117 Nighthawk shot down over Serbia in 1999, say experts

Associated Press
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 23 January 2011 12.11 GMT

User Image
China's J-20 stealth fighter pictured at Chengu airbase, Sichaun province, this month.
Photograph: Kyodo/Reuters



A Chinese stealth fighter jet that could pose a significant threat to American air superiority may borrow from US technology, it has been claimed.

Balkan military officials and other experts said China may have gleaned knowledge from a US F-117 Nighthawk that was shot down over Serbia in 1999.

"At the time, our intelligence reports told of Chinese agents crisscrossing the region where the F-117 disintegrated, buying up parts of the plane from local farmers," said Admiral Davor Domazet-Loso, Croatia's military chief of staff during the Kosovo war. "We believe the Chinese used those materials to gain an insight into secret stealth technologies ... and to reverse-engineer them."

The Nighthawk was downed by a Serbian anti-aircraft missile during a bombing raid on 27 March 1999. It was the first time one of the fighters had been hit, and the Pentagon blamed clever tactics and sheer luck. The pilot ejected and was rescued.

A senior Serbian military official confirmed that pieces of the wreckage were removed by souvenir collectors, and that some ended up "in the hands of foreign military attaches". Efforts to get comment from China's defence ministry and the Pentagon were unsuccessful.

Parts of the F-117 wreckage, including its left wing, cockpit canopy, ejection seat, pilot's helmet and radio, are exhibited at Belgrade's aviation museum. Zoran Milicevic, deputy director of the museum, said: "I don't know what happened to the rest of the plane. A lot of delegations visited us in the past, including the Chinese, Russians and Americans ... but no one showed any interest in taking any part of the jet."

Zoran Kusovac, a Rome-based military consultant, said the regime of the former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic routinely shared captured western equipment with its Chinese and Russian allies. "The destroyed F-117 topped that wish-list for both the Russians and Chinese," Kusovac said.

China's multi-role stealth fighter – known as the Chengdu J-20 – made its inaugural flight on 11 January, revealing dramatic progress in the country's efforts to develop cutting-edge military technologies. It is at least eight or nine years from entering service.

Russia's Sukhoi T-50 prototype stealth fighter made its maiden flight last year and is due to enter service in about four years. It is likely that the Russians also gained knowledge of stealth technology from the downed Nighthawk.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/23/china-stealth-fighter-us-technology

Crystal
User IP Logged

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VkrUG3OrPc
WingsofCrystal
Global Moderator
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Female
Posts: 12167
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2672 on: Jan 23rd, 2011, 09:31am »

Guardian

Your lying brain: The quest for a reliable lie detector test

Polygraph lie detector tests are notoriously easy to manipulate, but can brain imaging provide a reliable alternative? The Royal Society Brain Waves project has some answers.

Posted by Rebecca Hill
Friday 21 January 2011 13.28 GMT

User Image
MRI scan of the human brain. Using imaging to detect changes associated with lying could fall foul of the same tricks as the polygraph test.
Photograph: Getty Images



Anyone familiar with daytime TV relationship gurus such as Jerry Springer and Jeremy Kyle will have seen polygraphs in action. The accused husband/girlfriend/mother is hooked up to a lie detector as they face a barrage of questions. The machine monitors something known as skin conductance, basically the moisture level of the skin, which usually changes when someone is telling fibs. If this happens the show can then brand them a liar, a cheat and a scoundrel and offer various forms of counselling to their weeping loved one.

But polygraph tests can be manipulated by the subject (see various guides on how to cheat a polygraph) and their validity and reliability have been challenged for decades.

Surely, with the huge advances we've seen in neuroscience and brain imaging in recent years, there must be a more reliable way to detect deception? Yesterday The Royal Society published the first in a series of essays from the Brain Waves project, and some of them address just this question. (link at bottom, Crystal)

Research looking at changes and patterns in brain activity has identified areas of the brain, known as the prefrontal cortices, that seem to play a part in preventing someone telling the truth, while also helping them to generate a false response. Monitoring such changes has proved successful on a case-by-case basis, but it could still fall foul of the same tricks used to manipulate a polygraph test.

Because lying involves a conscious decision, another approach is to rely on unconscious knowledge or recognition of an event. The principle of the guilty knowledge test (GKT) is explained by Professor Geraint Rees in his report, "Contemporary neuroscience and technology": "The so-called guilty knowledge test utilises a series of multiple-choice questions, each having one relevant alternative (eg. some aspects of a crime under investigation) and several neutral alternatives, all chosen to be indistinguishable by an innocent participant. If the subject's physiological (or brain imaging) responses to the relevant alternative are consistently greater than for the neutral alternatives, then knowledge of the event is inferred."

Although this form of GKT has shown some success in proving innocence, there is a question mark over its ability to distinguish between someone who knows something about the crime but is innocent and the person who actually committed the crime.

The process of evaluating the reliability, sensitivity and suitability of any of these methods has serious limitations. The test subjects are often young, healthy adults who are asked to simulate deception. How the brain responses of such people differ from those of people who have actually been convicted of a crime – who include older people and those with mental illnesses – hasn't been established. As Rees writes, "It is not clear whether such simulated deception corresponds in any way to deception carried out in the real world."

These neuroimaging technologies aren't being used by police in the UK yet, and have little support from neuroscientists, but Professor Steven Rose writes of their use in Indian and US trials. There are also a number of commercial companies offering the devices for lie detection, like US company No Lie MRI which claims to have "the first and only direct measure of truth verification and lie detection in human history!"

Scientists are unconvinced of claims like this. As Rees comments: "It remains uncertain whether such technologies will ever be sufficiently robust to be used in such 'real world' settings."

The fourth in the Brain Waves series will focus more on some of these issues, and discuss applications of neuroscience within the law. With high expectations from the justice system and a great deal of public interest, this field is one with an interesting future.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2011/jan/21/lying-brain-lie-detector-test

http://royalsociety.org/policy/reports/brainwaves1/?from=homefeaturefront

Crystal
User IP Logged

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VkrUG3OrPc
WingsofCrystal
Global Moderator
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Female
Posts: 12167
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2673 on: Jan 23rd, 2011, 6:37pm »

Toronto Sun

Canadian military likely headed to Sudan: Ex-diplomat
By Ian Elliot, QMI Agency

Last Updated: January 23, 2011 6:10pm

KINGSTON, Ont. – A former Canadian diplomat to Africa said Canada’s next military deployment will likely be in war-torn Sudan.

John Schram — who was Canada's ambassador to Ethiopia, Eritrea and the Sudan from 1998 to 2002 — said now that Sudan has completed a referendum, big issues are being raised, and the fractured country will need international support to bring some measure of calm.

Those issues include negotiations on frontiers and oil rights and revenues between country's north and south, a second referendum in the oil-rich Abyei region and the ongoing peacekeeping/peacemaking effort to support the emerging state.

The Canadian military's presence in Afghanistan has prepared it for such a mission, he said.

“We’re going to come under pressure from the Americans who have been in the lead all along,” said Schram, who is a senior fellow in international relations at Queen’s University and who spent almost four decades on the Africa file for the federal department of external affairs.

“However, we also have a skeptical public and a non-interventionist government and there’s a sense of weariness and reluctance to do what the Americans want us to do,” he said. “After Afghanistan, do Canadians have the stomach for another nation-building program?”

Schram thinks Canada's soldiers do. He believes that among the rank and file, although their equipment has been chewed up in the harsh Afghan climate and they are tired and overstretched, there is a belief that Task Force Afghanistan is not a single mission, but the establishment of a permanent expeditionary force always on a mission overseas.

There is already a contingent of nearly 40 military officers in the Sudan monitoring the situation and reporting back to the Canadian government. Such contingents nearly always precede a military intervention to provide intelligence and logistics support.

Even top-level military officers will quietly admit the era of traditional blue-helmet United Nations peacekeeping is over, and never really worked that well, anyhow, Schram said.

Sudan, or any future deployment, will likely be by troops who are armed and with rules of engagement, allowing them to engage the enemy, not stand between warring factions with good intentions and no ammunition, Schram said.

He said a Sudan mission would likely look like Afghanistan, where the military supports and protects vulnerable towns and areas while assisting in reconstruction and negotiations.

Schram said Canada cannot ignore an international effort in Sudan if it wants to maintain its role on the international stage.

But he laments that Sudan, from the genocide in Darfur to the border skirmishes and ineffective national government, is often ignored in Canada.

“With Sudan, we don’t really talk about it all that much. You don’t really hear about what Canada has done there, yet it has been one of our major foreign-aid efforts over the years,” he said.

Canada has contributed hundreds of millions of dollars in aid, trade and technical expertise to Sudan, putting it just behind Norway when it comes to helping the African nation.

“We’re still included at the table with countries such as Norway because Canada has done so much there, and you never hear about the Canadian contribution,” he said.

http://www.torontosun.com/news/canada/2011/01/23/17002891.html

Crystal
User IP Logged

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VkrUG3OrPc
WingsofCrystal
Global Moderator
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Female
Posts: 12167
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2674 on: Jan 24th, 2011, 08:21am »

New York Times

January 24, 2011
Mortgage Giants Leave Legal Bills to the Taxpayers
By GRETCHEN MORGENSON

Since the government took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, taxpayers have spent more than $160 million defending the mortgage finance companies and their former top executives in civil lawsuits accusing them of fraud. The cost was a closely guarded secret until last week, when the companies and their regulator produced an accounting at the request of Congress.

The bulk of those expenditures — $132 million — went to defend Fannie Mae and its officials in various securities suits and government investigations into accounting irregularities that occurred years before the subprime lending crisis erupted. The legal payments show no sign of abating.

Documents reviewed by The New York Times indicate that taxpayers have paid $24.2 million to law firms defending three of Fannie’s former top executives: Franklin D. Raines, its former chief executive; Timothy Howard, its former chief financial officer; and Leanne Spencer, the former controller.

Late last year, Randy Neugebauer, Republican of Texas and now chairman of the oversight subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee, requested the figures from the Federal Housing Finance Agency. It is the regulator charged with overseeing the mortgage finance companies and acts as their conservator, trying to preserve the company’s assets on behalf of taxpayers.

“One of the things I feel very strongly about is we need to be doing everything we can to minimize any further exposure to the taxpayers associated with these companies,” Mr. Neugebauer said in an interview last week.

It is typical for corporations to cover such fees unless an executive is found to be at fault. In this case, if the former executives are found liable, the government can try to recoup the costs, but that could prove challenging.

Since Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were taken over by the government in September 2008, their losses stemming from bad loans have mounted, totaling about $150 billion in a recent reckoning. Because the financial regulatory overhaul passed last summer did not address how to resolve Fannie and Freddie, Congress is expected to take up that complex matter this year.

In the coming weeks, the Treasury Department is expected to publish a report outlining the administration’s recommendations regarding the future of the companies.

Well before the credit crisis compelled the government to rescue Fannie and Freddie, accounting irregularities had engulfed both companies. Shareholders of Fannie and Freddie sued to recover stock losses incurred after the improprieties came to light.

Freddie’s problems arose in 2003 when it disclosed that it had understated its income from 2000 to 2002; the company revised its results by an additional $5 billion. In 2004, Fannie was found to have overstated its results for the preceding six years; conceding that its accounting was improper, it reduced its past earnings by $6.3 billion.

Mr. Raines retired in December 2004 and Mr. Howard resigned at the same time. Ms. Spencer left her position as controller in early 2005. The following year, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, then the company’s regulator, published an in-depth report on the company’s accounting practices, accusing Fannie’s top executives of taking actions to manipulate profits and generate $115 million in improper bonuses.

The office sued Mr. Raines, Mr. Howard and Ms. Spencer in 2006, seeking $100 million in fines and $115 million in restitution. In 2008, the three former executives settled with the regulator, returning $31.4 million in compensation. Without admitting or denying the regulator’s allegations, Mr. Raines paid $24.7 million and Mr. Howard paid $6.4 million; Ms. Spencer returned $275,000.

Fannie Mae also settled a fraud suit brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission without admitting or denying the allegations; the company paid $400 million in penalties.

Lawyers for the three former Fannie executives did not respond to requests for comment. A company spokeswoman did not return a phone call or e-mail seeking comment.

In addition to the $160 million in taxpayer money, Fannie and Freddie themselves spent millions of dollars to defend former executives and directors before the government takeover. Freddie Mac had spent a total of $27.8 million. The expenses are significantly larger at Fannie Mae.

Legal costs incurred by Mr. Raines, Mr. Howard and Ms. Spencer in the roughly four and a half years prior to the government takeover totaled almost $63 million. The total incurred before the bailout by other high-level executives and board members was around $12 million, while an additional $18 million covered fees for lawyers for Fannie Mae officials below the level of executive vice president. Many of these individuals are provided lawyers because they are witnesses in the matters.

Employment contracts and company by-laws usually protect, or indemnify, executives and directors against liabilities, including legal fees associated with defending against such suits.

After the government moved to back Fannie and Freddie, the Federal Housing Finance Agency agreed to continue paying to defend the executives, with the taxpayers covering the costs.

But indemnification does not apply across the board. As is the case with many companies, Fannie Mae’s by-laws detail actions that bar indemnification for officers and directors. They include a person’s breach of the duty of loyalty to the company or its stockholders, actions taken that are not in good faith or intentional misconduct.

Richard S. Carnell, an associate professor at Fordham University Law School who was an assistant secretary of the Treasury for financial institutions during the 1990s, questions why Mr. Raines, Mr. Howard and others, given their conduct detailed in the Housing Enterprise Oversight report, are being held harmless by the government and receiving payment of legal bills as a result.

“Their duty of loyalty required them to put shareholders’ interests ahead of their own personal interests,” Mr. Carnell said. “Had they cared about the shareholders, they would not have staked Fannie’s reputation on dubious accounting. They defied their duty of loyalty and served themselves. At a moral level, they don’t deserve indemnification, much less payment of such princely sums.”

Asked why it has not cut off funding for these mounting legal bills, Edward J. DeMarco, the acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, said: “I understand the frustration regarding the advancement of certain legal fees associated with ongoing litigation involving Fannie Mae and certain former employees. It is my responsibility to follow applicable federal and state law. Consequently, on the advice of counsel, I have concluded that the advancement of such fees is in the best interest of the conservatorship.”

If the former executives are found liable, they would be obligated to repay the government. But lawyers familiar with such disputes said it would be difficult to get individuals to repay sums as large as these. Lawyers for Mr. Raines, for example, have received almost $38 million so far, while Ms. Spencer’s bills exceed $31 million.

These individuals could bring further litigation to avoid repaying this money, legal specialists said.

Although the figures are not broken down by case, the largest costs are being generated by a lawsuit centering on accounting improprieties that erupted at Fannie Mae in 2004. This suit, a shareholder class action brought by the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System and the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio, is being heard in federal court in Washington. Although it has been going on for six years, the judge has not yet set a trial date. Depositions are still being taken in the case, suggesting that it has much further to go with many more fees to be paid.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/24/business/24fees.html?_r=1&hp

Crystal
User IP Logged

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VkrUG3OrPc
WingsofCrystal
Global Moderator
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Female
Posts: 12167
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2675 on: Jan 24th, 2011, 08:24am »

New York Times

January 23, 2011
Hezbollah Seeks to Ease Misgivings Before Talks
By NADA BAKRI

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Hezbollah’s leader promised Sunday that his movement would respect Lebanon’s institutions of state and tradition of consensus if it succeeded in deciding the shape of the next government.

The leader, Hassan Nasrallah, made the promise the day before negotiations were to begin that were likely to determine whether Hezbollah took the lead in forming the government or if its opponents would. If Hezbollah succeeds, it will be a turning point in Lebanon’s history, formalizing the power of a Shiite Muslim movement that rose from the ashes of the 1982 Israeli invasion.

Hezbollah opponents — who are grouped around the son of a former prime minister who was assassinated — warned that the United States and its allies could isolate and ostracize Lebanon if Hezbollah prevailed.

Silvan Shalom, an Israeli vice prime minister, said in a radio interview that it would be “a very, very dangerous development.” He called it the equivalent of having an “Iranian government on Israel’s northern border.”

A dispute over an international court that was expected to name members of Hezbollah in the assassination of the former prime minister, Rafik Hariri, led Hezbollah to withdraw from the government and caused it to collapseon Jan. 12. Mr. Hariri’s son, Saad Hariri, had presided over the government for 14 months.

The court issued its first indictments last week, but no details were disclosed.

In a speech on Sunday, Mr. Nasrallah said: “We want the new prime minister to form a national unity government in which everyone participates. We don’t want a cabinet that excludes any party.” He has not named a candidate for prime minister.

“We are not seeking authority,” he said.

Mr. Nasrallah’s statements seemed to reflect the difficulties his movement might face if it formed a new government. Many Lebanese say that the Shiite Muslims whom Hezbollah has come to represent already control the state.

To nominate a prime minister, Hezbollah and its allies, which have 57 seats in the 128-member Parliament, need a total of 64 votes. Saad Hariri’s coalition has 60, and Walid Jumblatt, the leader of the Druse minority, has 11. Mr. Jumblatt, once an ally of Mr. Hariri’s, has emerged as the kingmaker, saying on Friday that he will stand by Hezbollah and Syria, which supports it. But given the divisions within Mr. Jumblatt’s own coalition, it is not clear how many votes will go to Hezbollah’s candidate.

Hassan Khalil, publisher of the leftist Al-Akhbar newspaper, said, “This could change in an hour’s time.”

Anthony Shadid contributed reporting.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/24/world/middleeast/24lebanon.html?ref=world

Crystal

edit for spacing
« Last Edit: Jan 24th, 2011, 08:25am by WingsofCrystal » User IP Logged

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VkrUG3OrPc
Swamprat
Gold Member
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Male
Posts: 4234
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2676 on: Jan 24th, 2011, 08:26am »

Good Monday morning, all! cheesy


Well, I see we have another voice from the esteemed science community weighing in on ET's existence, or lack thereof...... tongue


MAILONLINE

We ARE alone: Despite discovering more planets, the chances of finding ET are unlikely, says astronomer


By Sophie Borland
Last updated at 2:15 AM on 24th January 2011

Still waiting for little green men to make contact? Don’t hold your breath.

A leading astronomer has concluded there probably aren’t any aliens out there – meaning we are entirely alone in the universe.

Even though there may be tens of thousands of other distant planets similar in size to Earth, the conditions on them are likely to be too hostile to support life-forms such as ET.

Is there life out there? Hundreds of planets have been discovered but all of them have hostile environments that would not support alien civilisations.

Dr Howard Smith, a senior astrophysicist at Harvard University, believes there is very little hope of discovering aliens and, even if we did, it would be almost impossible to make contact.

So far astronomers have discovered a total of 500 planets in distant solar systems – known as extrasolar systems – although they believe billions of others exist.

But Dr Smith points out that many of these planets are either too close to their sun or too far away, meaning their surface temperatures are so extreme they could not support life.

Others have unusual orbits which cause vast temperature variations making it impossible for water to exist as a liquid – an essential element for life.

Dr Smith said: ‘We have found that most other planets and solar systems are wildly different from our own.
‘They are very hostile to life as we know it.’

‘The new information we are getting suggests we could effectively be alone in the universe.

‘There are very few solar systems or planets like ours. It means it is highly unlikely there are any planets with intelligent life close enough for us to make contact.’ But his controversial suggestions contradict other leading scientists – who have claimed aliens almost certainly exist.

Only last month Professor Stephen Hawking said the fact that there are billions of galaxies out there made it perfectly rational to assume there were other life-forms in the universe.
Researchers from the University of London have recently suggested that aliens could be living on as many as 40,000 other planets.

But Dr Smith suggests that such estimates are optimistic.
He said: ‘Any hope of contact has to be limited to a relatively tiny bubble of space around the Earth, reaching maybe 1,250 light years out from our planet, where aliens might be able to pick up our signals or send us their own.

‘But communicating would still take decades or centuries.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1349786/Despite-discovering-planets-chance-finding-aliens-unlikely.html#ixzz1Bxf6g1hS

User IP Logged

"Let's see what's over there."
WingsofCrystal
Global Moderator
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Female
Posts: 12167
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2677 on: Jan 24th, 2011, 08:33am »

Wired

Jan. 24, 1935: First Canned Beer Sold
By Danielle Venton
January 24, 2011 | 7:00 am
Categories: 20th century, Chemistry, Food and Drink


User Image
Image: C-Monster/Flickr


1935: The first canned beer in the United States goes on sale in Richmond, Virginia. By the end of the year, 37 breweries follow the lead of the Gottfried Krueger Brewery.

The American Can Co. began experimenting with canned beer in 1909. But the cans couldn’t withstand the pressure from carbonation — up to 80 pounds per square inch — and exploded. Just before the end of the Prohibition in 1933, the company developed a “keg-lining” technique, coating the inside of the can the same as a keg.

Krueger had been brewing beer since the mid-1800s, but had suffered from the Prohibition and worker strikes. When American Can approached with the idea of canned beer, it was initially unpopular with Krueger execs. But American Can offered to install the equipment for free: If the beer flopped, Krueger wouldn’t have to pay.

So, in 1935 Krueger’s Cream Ale and Krueger’s Finest Beer were the first beers sold to the public in cans. Canned beer was an immediate success. The public loved it, giving it a 91 percent approval rating.

Compared to glass, the cans were lightweight, cheap, and easy to stack and ship. Unlike bottles, you didn’t have to pay a deposit and then return the cans for a refund. By summer Krueger was buying 180,000 cans a day from American Can, and other breweries decided to follow.

The first cans were flat-topped and made of heavy-gauge steel. To open, a hole had to be punched in the top with the sharp end of a church-key style opener.

Some breweries tried out cans with conical rather than flat tops, but they didn’t stack and ship as easily. Cone tops were sealed with a crown cap just like the cap of a glass beer bottle.

Canning was interrupted between 1942 and 1947 to devote resources to World War II. Aluminum cans, cheaper and lighter still, were introduced in 1958.

Beyond their economy and convenience, cans are actually better for beer than glass bottles. This isn’t the heresy it sounds. Beer’s main enemies are light, oxygen and heat. A can’s complete opacity blocks out the light that can make a beer taste “skunked.”

Beer becomes skunked or “light-struck” when light splits its riboflavin, a type of B vitamin. The ruptured riboflavin can react with isohumulones, chemicals that come from hops and help beer taste bitter.

The resulting molecule is similar in shape and smell to the musk sprayed by skunks. That’s why most microbreweries sell beer in dark brown bottles or, increasingly, in beer cans.

http://www.wired.com/thisdayintech/2011/01/0124first-us-canned-beer/

Crystal
User IP Logged

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VkrUG3OrPc
WingsofCrystal
Global Moderator
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Female
Posts: 12167
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2678 on: Jan 24th, 2011, 08:33am »

Good morning Swamp!

Crystal
User IP Logged

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VkrUG3OrPc
WingsofCrystal
Global Moderator
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Female
Posts: 12167
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2679 on: Jan 24th, 2011, 08:40am »

Telegraph

New home for abandoned car-chasing dog

A lame dog that was filmed desperately chasing a car after being dumped by its owners has been given a new home.

User Image
Ginger enjoying a walk with Vicky Crow from Woodlands Farm Kennels
Photo: BNPS



7:30AM GMT 24 Jan 2011

Ginger was abandoned on a patch of grass by a man who pretended to take her for walk before running back to his car and driving away.

The Shetland cross terrier was recorded on CCTV helplessly limping after the vehicle in Weymouth, Dorset four months ago.

But the eight-year-old will been taken in by a new owner on Monday after the kennels in which she has been living was inundated with rehoming offers.

The retired man, from Hedge End, Southampton, was judged to be the most suitable owner, after hundreds of people were whittled down to a shortlist of 25.

After completing a questionnaire, these were narrowed down to just a dozen before Ginger's new owner was selected.

The man, who lives alone in a bungalow, has already met Ginger twice since she was dumped on September 17 last year.

Ginger has been living at Woodlands Farm Kennels near Bridport ever since, while court proceedings were under way.

Mary Bull, 62, who runs the kennels, said: "Ginger is off on Monday, to live with a retired gentleman living in Hedge End.

"He was one of the hundreds of folk who contacted us originally after reading about Ginger in the papers.

"It's taken a while for us to get back to them all, because we were absolutely inundated. By 3pm on the day it happened I had to stop taking people's details because there were so many."

Mrs Bull said Ginger had recovered from her ordeal well, after being spotted wandering alone on the grass outside BMT Defence Services and taken to Woodlands Farm.

She said: "She's doing so well. She's been on medication for her arthritis, and she's happy and healthy.

"I've had people asking about her welfare from as far away as Canada and many of the people who offered to take her originally went on to find other rescue dogs.

"It's nice to have a happy ending for her after everything she's been through."

Two people alleged to have been caught on CCTV dumping Ginger, on September 17 last year, have been charged with animal cruelty.

Michael Hartley, 54, and Jenny Hadfield, 55, from Preston, Lancs, have pleaded not guilty to the charges by post and are due to face trial in April.

Ginger's former owner, Andrew Shepherd, 46, also from Preston, is not facing prosecution over the matter.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/family/pets/8277469/New-home-for-abandoned-car-chasing-dog.html

Crystal
« Last Edit: Jan 24th, 2011, 08:41am by WingsofCrystal » User IP Logged

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VkrUG3OrPc
WingsofCrystal
Global Moderator
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Female
Posts: 12167
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2680 on: Jan 24th, 2011, 08:44am »

Science Daily

Creating Simplicity: How Music Fools the Ear
ScienceDaily (Jan. 24, 2011) —

What makes music beautiful? The best compositions transcend culture and time -- but what is the commonality which underscores their appeal?

New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Research Notes suggests that the brain simplifies complex patterns, much in the same way that 'lossless' music compression formats reduce audio files, by removing redundant data and identifying patterns.

There is a long held theory that the subconscious mind can recognise patterns within complex data and that we are hardwired to find simple patterns pleasurable. Dr Nicholas Hudson used 'lossless' music compression programs to mimic the brain's ability to condense audio information. He compared the amount of compressibility of random noise to a wide range of music including classical, techno, rock, and pop, and found that, while random noise could only be compressed to 86% of its original file size, and techno, rock, and pop to about 60%, the apparently complex Beethoven's 3rd Symphony compressed to 40%.

Dr Nicholas Hudson says "Enduring musical masterpieces, despite apparent complexity, possess high compressibility" and that it is this compressibility that we respond to. So whether you are a die hard classicist or a pop diva it seems that we chose the music we prefer, not by simply listening to it, but by calculating its compressibility.

For a composer -- if you want immortality, write music which sounds complex but that, in terms of its data, is reducible to simple patterns.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110120073507.htm

Crystal
User IP Logged

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VkrUG3OrPc
WingsofCrystal
Global Moderator
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Female
Posts: 12167
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2681 on: Jan 24th, 2011, 08:49am »

Hollywood Reporter

Television Fitness Guru Jack LaLanne Dies at 96
11:55 PM 1/23/2011
by Bryan Alexander

User Image


'The Jack LaLanne Show' workout program ran for three decades.

Jack LaLanne, the man recognized as the founder of the modern physical fitness movement, died Sunday afternoon at his home in Morro Bay, Calif, according to the New York Times. He was 96.

The cause of death was respiratory failure resulting from pneumonia, his son Dan Doyle told the paper.

The Jack LaLanne Show was the forerunner of the modern fitness show and made its debut in 1951 as a local program in the San Francisco area. It went nationwide on daytime television in 1959 making LaLanne's short-sleeved jumpsuit nationally recognized.

His show continued into the mid-1980s and continues in reruns on ESPN Classic.

In his later years, he appeared in late-night infomercials pitching the benefits of juicing.

LaLanne's wife of 51 years, Elaine, released a statement on her husband's passing according to CNN: "I have not only lost my husband and a great American icon, but the best friend and most loving partner anyone could ever hope for."

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/television-fitness-guru-jack-lalanne-74838

Crystal
User IP Logged

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VkrUG3OrPc
WingsofCrystal
Global Moderator
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Female
Posts: 12167
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2682 on: Jan 24th, 2011, 7:22pm »



User Image
photo by Spike83


Crystal
User IP Logged

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VkrUG3OrPc
WingsofCrystal
Global Moderator
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Female
Posts: 12167
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2683 on: Jan 24th, 2011, 7:45pm »

National Geographic Television tonight:

Ancient X-Files

9:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Ancient X-Files: Secrets of the Dark Arts
Scholars have uncovered a handwritten manuscript by one of the greatest scientific minds in history, Sir Isaac Newton, that may unlock the secrets of the Philosopher's Stone.




User Image

Anna Marie Roos in the lab with yellow phosphorous. Dr. Anna Marie Roos is a research fellow at the University of Oxford, and an expert in the history of science. She is on a quest, to unravel Newton's cryptic manuscript, and to find out if Newton really was on the trail of the philosopher's stone. According to legend, the philosopher's stone was a substance, the product of an alchemical recipe that could transform any metal into gold, and also to heal wounds and cure diseases, the secret, in effect, of wealth and eternal life.




Secrets of the Dark Arts
Mon Jan 24 9P


Legend describes the Philosopher's Stone as the source of limitless wealth and eternal life. Despite its name, the stone was actually a special recipe, and the ultimate object of medieval alchemy. Scholars have uncovered a handwritten manuscript by one of the greatest scientific minds in history, Sir Isaac Newton, that may reveal its secrets. If they can decipher Newton's cryptic codes and equations, can they unlock the secrets of the Philosopher's Stone?

http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/episode/secrets-of-the-dark-arts-5050/Overview#tab-Overview#ixzz1C0UzO8kx

~

Crystal
User IP Logged

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VkrUG3OrPc
WingsofCrystal
Global Moderator
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Female
Posts: 12167
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2684 on: Jan 25th, 2011, 08:49am »

New York Times

Stroke of Pen Altered Date, and a Tale of Lincoln, Too
By SAM ROBERTS
Published: January 24, 2011

User Image
National Archives
Look closely: that "5" in the document
was once a "4"



Just hours before Abraham Lincoln “put on his hat and headed for Ford’s Theater,” on April 14, 1865, the president is said to have spared a mentally incompetent Army private the death penalty for desertion.

The legendary act of compassion was revealed by Thomas Lowry, an amateur historian, who said he found the pardon among hundreds of untapped Lincoln documents in the National Archives in 1998 and described it in a book the following year. His discovery was hailed by scholars as one of the biggest findings of Lincoln memorabilia in the 20th century.

But on Monday, the National Archives disclosed that Dr. Lowry had altered the date on the original pardon to promote his book, changing the year to 1865 from 1864, possibly to make it look as if the pardon was one of the president’s final acts — and thus historic.

Dr. Lowry is a 78-year-old Virginia psychiatrist, who, after researching Civil War documents with his wife, Beverly, wrote “Don’t Shoot That Boy: Abraham Lincoln and Military Justice,” which was published in 1999.

“This kind of put him into the Lincoln expert world,” said Trevor Plante, the Archives’ acting chief of reference, whose suspicions about the timing of the pardon were finally confirmed not long ago when he consulted a published version of Lincoln’s collected works.

David S. Ferriero, the national archivist, said Dr. Lowry confessed this month to the alteration. Because the statute of limitations has lapsed, he will not be criminally prosecuted, but will be barred from National Archives facilities.

“He indicated that he snuck a pen in — a Pelikan pen — and he marked the document and changed the date for the simple reason of getting some notoriety,” said Mitchell Yockelson, an investigator for the National Archives.

Dr. Lowry insisted in an interview Monday that the alteration was not his doing.

“It’s against my code of ethics,” he said. “I got leaned on for two hours with a mixture of pressure and false promises. While they weren’t driving splinters under my fingernails, they said I wouldn’t hear from them again.”

But Paul Brachfeld, the inspector general of the National Archives and Records Administration, said Dr. Lowry had “confessed to having erased the ‘4’ and changing it to a ‘5’ ”and said he had “even defined the kind of pen he used.”

Historians said the alteration reflected on a single pardon and would not affect their perception of Lincoln. “I think the Lincoln we have come to know historically is still the man of compassion,” Craig L. Symonds, a Lincoln scholar, said.

After reading the 1863 court-martial report of Pvt. Patrick Murphy of California, who had been characterized as “idiotic and insane,” Lincoln pardoned him and released him from the military. The otherwise-obscure pardon became part of a National Archives exhibit in 1998, leading Dr. Lowry to conclude in his book: “Fame comes to men in many strange ways.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/25/us/25lincoln.html?_r=1&hp

Crystal



User IP Logged

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VkrUG3OrPc
Pages: 1 ... 177 178 179 180 181  ...  1070 Notify Send Topic Print
« Previous Topic | Next Topic »

Become a member of the UFO Casebook Forum today and join our more than 19,000 members.

Visit the UFO Casebook Web Site

Donate $6.99 for 50,000 Ad-Free Pageviews!

| |

This forum powered for FREE by Conforums ©
Sign up for your own Free Message Board today!
Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Conforums Support | Parental Controls