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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 14646 times)
WingsofCrystal
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« Reply #2895 on: Feb 11th, 2011, 09:37am »

on Feb 11th, 2011, 08:32am, Swamprat wrote:
Airbus A380 Contrail:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xl6iR7w7a_Q&feature=relmfu


Thanks Swamprat and good morning.

At first it looked like one of those UFO photos that were published recently. Spectacular.

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« Reply #2896 on: Feb 11th, 2011, 09:43am »

New York Times

February 11, 2011
Mubarak Leaves Cairo as Crowds Surge
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK, ANTHONY SHADID and ALAN COWELL

CAIRO — President Hosni Mubarak left the Egyptian capital for his resort home in Sharm el-Sheik, amid indications that a transfer of power was underway, Western officials said Friday. State television said Mr. Mubarak would issue a statement later.

The Egyptian military issued a communiqué pledging to carry out a variety of constitutional reforms in a statement notable for its commanding tone. The military’s statement alludes to the delegation of power to Vice President Omar Suleiman and it suggests that the military will supervise implementation of the reforms.

Angry protesters, who had swarmed by the thousands into the streets here Friday morning, were hardly mollified by the news of Mr. Mubarak’s exit and an accompanying statement by the Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces over state television and radio. They said they would not believe he was gone until he had formally relinquished his title as president, and until Mr. Suleiman, his handpicked successor, had been ousted as well.

The protesters did let out a cheer at news on state radio that Naguib Sawiris, a wealthy and widely respected businessman, has agreed to act as a mediator between the opposition and the authorities in carrying through the political reforms.

Mr. Suleiman himself has not made a statement. The military also did not indicate whether it intended to take the kinds of fundamental steps toward democracy that protesters have been demanding. This was the second direct statement from the military in two days, and it was not clear if the military was asserting more direct leadership or if it intended to signal that it stands behind the vice president.

Nor was it clear whether Mr. Mubarak is definitely relinquishing all power, although Western diplomats said they had received a barrage of calls from senior Egyptian officials assuring them that was the case.

Although Mr. Mubarak said in his speech Thursday that he was “delegating” his powers to his vice president, he did it in an aside that was easy to miss. He apparently referred to a provision of the Constitution that would have allowed him to reclaim those powers. And the rest of his speech sounded very much like he was an active president with no intention of resigning, and in a patronizing tone that further enraged protesters.

Western diplomats said that officials of the Egyptian government were scrambling to assure the public that Mr. Mubarak had flubbed his lines, and that his muddled speech had in fact signaled his irrevocable hand over of presidential authority.

“The government of Egypt says absolutely, it is done, it is over,” a Western diplomat said, suggesting that the Egyptian military and government officials had expected Mr. Mubarak to make his exit clear last night, but that the president failed to deliver those lines. “That is not what anybody heard.”

The Army announcement and diplomatic scrambling appeared intended to forestall the potential for violent confrontations as hundreds of thousands of protesters, angered by Mr. Mubarak’s refusal to step down on Thursday, flooded the streets demanding his full resignation — if not also his public trial for violence against them.

By about 1 p.m., state television was reporting that thousands had gathered around the state television building and were threatening violence against employees who entered. Their rage had been stoked when, after a day of mounting official signals that he was about to make an exit, the president failed to convey any such conclusion in either the tone or literal meaning of his speech.

The statement Friday by the military’s Supreme Council struck a very different tone and appeared to assert that the military was now directing events. The military said that it would end the 30-year-old emergency law — often used by the government to detain political opponents without trial— “as soon as the current circumstances are over.” The protesters have demanded that the law be eliminated immediately, before any talks about ending the uprising.

The military also said that it would oversee the amendment of the Constitution to “conduct free and fair presidential elections.”

“The Armed forces are committed to sponsor the legitimate demands of the people,” the statement declared, and it vowed to ensure the fulfillment of its promises “within defined time frames with all accuracy and seriousness and until the peaceful transfer of authority is completed toward a free democratic community that the people aspire to.” The military further promised the protesters — “the honest people who refused the corruption and demanded reforms” — immunity from prosecution or “security pursuit.”

The statement urged a return to normalcy but made no threats to enforce it. Western diplomats and American officials say that the top military commanders, including the defense minister and the chairman of the armed forces, have told them for weeks that the Egyptian Army would never use force against Egyptians civilians to preserve the regime. And on Friday morning the military said that the defense minister, Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, was presiding over the military’s Supreme Council, which appeared to have taken control of the state.

It has been “increasingly clear,” a Western diplomat said Friday, that “the army will not go down with Mubarak. “

The military statement, broadcast first by a civilian announcer on state television and then by a uniformed military spokesman, came as the city — and many other places in Egypt — began noon prayers on Friday, the Muslim holy day and the beginning of the weekend, a moment that has been the prelude for large-scale demonstrations since the revolt started.

Several hundred protesters gathered outside the presidential palace in the suburb of Heliopolis, news reports said, as troops backed by armored vehicles and razor wire barricades did nothing to prevent them from assembling.

In the upscale neighborhood of Mohandiseen, about a thousand protesters spilled out of the Mustafa Mahmoud mosque to march on the Radio and Television Building, even though shouting matches broke out as some Egyptians watching them urged them to call off their protest because Mr. Mubarak had repeated that he would leave in September when elections are scheduled. But one demonstrator, Mohamed Salwy, 44, said: “Mubarak doesn’t understand. I think these protests are going to have to go on for a long time.”

Once they arrived at the broadcasting center, they were joined by thousands of others, facing a ring of steel made up of a dozen armored personnel carriers and tanks forming a cordon. Soldiers with heavy machine guns looked down at them from a balcony.

Outside the capital, television images showed large numbers of protesters gathering under a sea of Egyptian flags in Alexandria, and there were unconfirmed reports of thousands of protesters surrounding government buildings in Suez.

The reaction abroad to Mr. Mubarak’s address was more measured, but also critical. President Obama issued a statement on Thursday night saying that “too many Egyptians remain unconvinced that the government is serious about a genuine transition to democracy.” European leaders also called for more fundamental change and urged that it happen faster.

Earlier in the day, even Mr. Obama seemed to believe that Mr. Mubarak would go further, celebrating his belief that Egypt was “witnessing history unfold.”

Instead, Mr. Mubarak, 82, a former general, struck a defiant, even provocative note in his speech. While he acknowledged for the first time that his government had made mistakes, he made it clear that he was still president and that reforms in Egypt would proceed under his government’s supervision and according to the timetable of elections in September.

Mr. Mubarak echoed the contention of officials in past days that foreigners might be behind the uprising, but he cited no evidence to support that allegation.

For hours before Mr. Mubarak’s speech, jubilant crowds, prematurely celebrating their victory, positioned themselves next to large speakers for what they assumed was a resignation speech. At about 10:45, the crowd quieted as Mr. Mubarak started his speech, which was transmitted via a tiny radio that someone held up to a microphone.

Soon, angry chants echoed through the square. People gathered in groups, confused, enraged and faced with Mr. Mubarak’s plea to endorse his vision of gradual reform. Some said his speech was intended to divide the protesters, by peeling off those who thought he had gone far enough. Others said it reflected the isolation of a president they had come to detest.

By midnight, about 3,000 protesters made their way from the square to the Radio and Television Building, which protesters loathe for propaganda that has cast them as troublemakers. In a sign of the confusion that reigned in Cairo, youthful opposition leaders sought to dissect the series of statements from the military command, Mr. Mubarak and Mr. Suleiman. Some believed that the army, long a player behind the scenes, was still intent on seeking power but had not yet mustered the leverage to force Mr. Mubarak from office.

It was unclear whether the military had tried to oust Mr. Mubarak and failed or was participating in a more complicated choreography in Egypt’s opaque system of rule.


more after the jump
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/12/world/middleeast/12egypt.html?_r=1&hp

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« Reply #2897 on: Feb 11th, 2011, 09:47am »

New York Times

February 11, 2011
Court in Pakistan Extends Jailing of U.S. Official
By WAQAR GILLANI and JANE PERLEZ

LAHORE, Pakistan — A Pakistani court on Friday ordered an American official, arrested for the killing of two Pakistanis, to be held for another two weeks while authorities prepared charges in what police called a “cold-blooded” murder.

The official, Raymond A. Davis, 36, whose arrest has a cast a deep chill over relations between the United States and Pakistan, says he acted in self-defense when he shot the men in an attempted daylight robbery on Jan. 27.

After a 30-minute, closed-door court hearing, the Lahore city police chief, Aslam Tareen, said that Mr. Davis had committed “cold-blooded” murder, a statement that appeared likely to further inflame the highly contentious case. Mr. Davis was transferred to a crowded city jail to await formal charges.

A lawyer for Mr. Davis, Hassam Qadir, asked Judge Aneeq Anwar Chaudry of Municipal Court to adhere to the principles of diplomatic immunity and release Mr. Davis. The State Department has repeatedly said that he is protected by diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Conventions and must be released immediately.

In response to the American demands for Mr. Davis’s release, Pakistani officials say he will be dealt with in the courts.

Although senior Pakistani officials agree in private that Mr. Davis, who carries a diplomatic passport, is protected by the Vienna Conventions, they appear unable or unwilling to enforce the protocol, according to senior American officials.

The civilian government of President Asif Ali Zardari is being pounded daily in the press about the case, and the cause of the two victims has been taken up by right-wing religious parties.

The Pakistani military and security apparatus appears to be willing to allow the Davis case to the dominate the relationship with Washington for the moment, American and Pakistani officials said.

That way, Pakistan can wring concessions on the breadth of the presence of American security officials and contractors in Pakistan, according to the officials.

American officials say two armed men threatened Mr. Davis when he was driving alone on a busy Lahore road, and that he fired in self-defense.

A former American Army Special Forces soldier, Mr. Davis was assigned to Pakistan as a “technical” and “security” adviser, the American Embassy has said. His exact duties have not been explained, and the reason why he was driving alone with a Glock pistol, a pocket telescope and GPS equipment has fueled speculation in the Pakistani press.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Leon E. Panetta, have warned the Pakistani government in telephone calls to Mr. Zardari and Lt. Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha, the head of Pakistan’s main spy agency, that the continued detention of Mr. Davis threatened the foundations of the strategic relationship between the two countries.

As the American government argued for Mr. Davis’s release, photos and video from his camera and his cellphone were shown on two Pakistani television channels in what appeared to be deliberate leaks by the Pakistani security forces.

Several images showed one of Mr. Davis’s assailants, Faizan Haider, lying on the road after he had been shot, a pistol in his hand.

Other photos showed the road near Lahore that leads to the border with India, old military bunkers along the road, and office buildings in the city.

The video taken shortly after Mr. Davis was detained included his voice asking the police the whereabouts of his passport. In the video, he is heard saying he worked as a consultant at the United States consulate in Lahore.

Mr. Davis, who arrived at the court in an armored van with tight security, was kept away from the press.

While in detention, he will be segregated from the rest of the prisoners but will not be allowed access to the Internet or a cellphone, a senior government official said. Mr. Davis wore a gray suit and tie in court on Friday, in contrast to the checked shirt and jeans he was wearing when he was arrested, according to a lawyer who attended the session.

“By the book,” was how the official described the treatment of Mr. Davis in the jail that housed former President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and, in the early 1990s, Mr. Zardari, who was held on corruption charges that he has contended were politically motivated and never proven.


Waqar Gillani reported from Lahore, Pakistan, and Jane Perlez from Mingora.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/12/world/asia/12pakistan.html?ref=world

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« Reply #2898 on: Feb 11th, 2011, 09:51am »

Wired Danger Room

Pentagon’s Prediction Software Didn’t Spot Egypt Unrest
By Noah Shachtman
February 11, 2011 | 7:00 am
Categories: DarpaWatch

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Photo: AJE/Flickr


In the last three years, America’s military and intelligence agencies have spent more than $125 million on computer models that are supposed to forecast political unrest. It’s the latest episode in Washington’s four-decade dalliance with future-spotting programs. But if any of these algorithms saw the upheaval in Egypt coming, the spooks and the generals are keeping the predictions very quiet.

Instead, the head of the CIA is getting hauled in front of Congress, making calls about Egypt’s future based on what he read in the press, and getting proven wrong hours later. Meanwhile, an array of Pentagon-backed social scientists, software engineers and computer modelers are working to assemble forecasting tools that are able to reliably pick up on geopolitical trends worldwide. It remains a distant goal.

“All of our models are bad, some are less bad than others,” says Mark Abdollahian, a political scientist and executive at Sentia Group, which has built dozens of predictive models for government agencies.

“We do better than human estimates, but not by much,” Abdollahian adds. “But think of this like Las Vegas. In blackjack, if you can do four percent better than the average, you’re making real money.”

Over the past three years, the Office of the Secretary of Defense has handed out $90 million to more than 50 research labs to assemble some basic tools, theories and processes than might one day produce a more predictable prediction system. None are expected to result in the digital equivalent of crystal balls any time soon.

In the near term, Pentagon insiders say, the most promising forecasting effort comes out of Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Technology Laboratories in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. And even the results from this Darpa-funded Integrated Crisis Early Warning System (ICEWS) have been imperfect, at best. ICEWS modelers were able to forecast four of 16 rebellions, political upheavals and incidents of ethnic violence to the quarter in which they occurred. Nine of the 16 events were predicted within the year, according to a 2010 journal article [.pdf] from Sean O’Brien, ICEWS’ program manager at Darpa.

Darpa spent $38 million on the program, and is now working with Lockheed and the United States Pacific Command to make the model a more permanent component of the military’s planning process. There are no plans, at the moment, to use ICEWS for forecasting in the Middle East.

ICEWS is only the latest in a long, long series of prediction programs to come out of the Pentagon’s way-out research shop. Back in the early 1980s, products from a Darpa crisis-warning system program allegedly filled President Reagan’s daily intelligence briefing, with uncertain results. In the late ’80s, analyst Bruce Bueno de Mesquita began his modeling work. According to The New York Times Magazine, Bueno de Mesquita picked Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini’s successor five years ahead of time, and forecast Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf’s ouster — to the month.

One former CIA analyst claims that Bueno de Mesquita was “accurate 90 percent of the time.” It’s an assertion that no one — inside the government or out — has independently verified. Perhaps someone at the CIA really is relying on the model, and it really is that good. That hasn’t stopped the agency from swinging and missing for decades on Middle East intelligence estimates.

In 2002, the military’s National Defense University began tapping Abdollahian and his “Senturion predictive political simulation model” to forecast unfolding events in Iraq. According to Abdollahian, the model accurately predicted that Bush administration favorite Ahmed Chalabi would prove to be a lousy ally, and that both Sunni and Shi’ite insurgencies would grow to seriously challenge U.S. forces.

Both Abdollahian and Bueno de Mesquita take a similar approach to the prediction game. They interview lots and lots of experts about the key players in a given field. Then they program software agents to replicate the behavior of those players. Finally, they let the agents loose, to see what they’ll do next. The method is useful, but limited. For every new situation, the modelers have to interview new experts, and program new agents.

A second approach is to look at the big social, economic and demographic forces at work in a region — the average age, the degree of political freedom, the gross domestic product per capita — and predict accordingly. This “macro-structural” approach can be helpful in figuring out long-term trends, and forecasting general levels of instability; O’Brien relied on it heavily, when he worked for the Army. For spotting specific events, however, it’s not enough.

The third method is to read the news. Or rather, to have algorithms read it. There are plenty of programs now in place that can parse media reports, tease out who is doing what to whom, and then put it all into a database. Grab enough of this so-called “event data” about the past and present, the modelers say, and you can make calls about the future. Essentially, that’s the promise of Recorded Future, the web-scouring startup backed by the investment arms of Google and the CIA.

But, of course, news reports are notoriously spotty, especially from a conflict zone. It’s one of the reasons why physicist Sean Gourley’s much heralded, tidy-looking equation to explain the chaos of war failed to impress in military circles. Relying on media accounts, it was unable to forecast the outcome of the 2007 military surge in Iraq.

ICEWS is an attempt to combine all three approaches, and ground predictions in social science theory, not just best guesses. In a preliminary test, the program was fed event data about Pacific nations from 2004 and 2005. Then the software was asked to predict when and where insurrections, international crises and domestic unrest would occur. Correctly calling nine of 16 events within the year they happened was considered hot stuff in the modeling world.

But it doesn’t even meet the threshold that O’Brien, the Darpa program manager and long-time military social scientist, set for strong models. If “we cannot correctly predict over 90% of the cases with which our model is concerned,” he writes, “then we have little basis to assert our understanding of a phenomenon, never mind our ability to explain it.”

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/02/pentagon-predict-egypt-unrest/

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« Reply #2899 on: Feb 11th, 2011, 09:56am »

Wired

Feb. 11, 2005: This Guy’s No Dummy
By Randy Alfred
February 11, 2011 | 7:00 am
Categories: Engineering, Inventions, Transportation

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Photo: Crash-test dummies have to be repaired and prepared for the next crash test. This one is readied for Volkswagen in Wolfsburg, Germany, 1973.
(Lothar Schaack/German Federal Archive)



2005: Samuel Alderson, inventor of the automotive crash-test dummy, dies. His creation saved countless lives … and amused millions along the way.

Alderson graduated from high school at age 15, but the realities of the Great Depression repeatedly interrupted his college education: He needed to help his father run the family’s sheet-metal business in Southern California. As a result, he studied at various times at Reed, Caltech, Columbia and the University of California at Berkeley. Alderson returned to Berkeley and started work on a Ph.D. in physics under J. Robert Oppenheimer and Ernest O. Lawrence, but left without finishing his dissertation.

Alderson worked on servomotors for missile-guidance systems during World War II. He founded Alderson Research Labs in 1952 and built dummies for the military to test jet-ejection seats and parachutes. He also engineered one for NASA to test the safety of the Apollo lunar-command-module splashdown.

The dummies matched the size, shape and weight of pilots and astronauts, had joints to mimic human biomechanics, and contained scientific instruments to measure acceleration and impact forces. Alderson tried adapting one to test automobile safety in 1960, but was a few years ahead of his time.

Ralph Nader’s 1965 book Unsafe at Any Speed and the subsequent National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 created a market for a high-quality automobile-test dummy. Automobile engineers had for decades tested their cars using cadavers, but the research results were unsatisfactory: The stiffs were, well, stiff. Also, no two cadavers were alike, and after a couple of tests they degraded rapidly (to say the least). That made it difficult to generate consistent and reproducible results.

Alderson’s first auto-test dummy to go into production was the VIP model in 1968. It featured a steel ribcage, articulated joints and a flexible spine. Engineers at General Motors combined elements of Alderson’s dummies with those from rival Sierra Engineering to create a dynasty of Hybrid dummies. Today’s Hybrids include men, women, children and infants.

The dummies are used to test seat belts, air bags and other safety features. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates those devices have saved more than 300,000 lives since 1960.

Alderson’s obituary in The New York Times listed his surviving family and went on to note: “His cultural legacy includes Vince and Larry, the ubiquitous dummy stars of highway safety advertisements in the 1980s and ’90s; the television cartoon Incredible Crash Dummies and the pop group Crash Test Dummies.” The dummies also spawned toys and a videogame.

In case you’re wondering, Alderson, like the inventor of the three-point seat belt, died of natural causes. He was 90 and suffering from myelofibrosis and pneumonia.

http://www.wired.com/thisdayintech/2011/02/0211sam-alderson-crash-test-dummie-inventor/

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« Reply #2900 on: Feb 11th, 2011, 09:59am »

Phantoms and Monsters

Thursday, February 10, 2011
Sasquatch...or Something Else?

The following account was posted on the MUFON CMS today:

"Maud, Oklahoma - 4/15/2010 - edited for spelling: Was out rabbit hunting between the hours of 2130 CDT to about 2315 CDT on a farm outside of Maud, Oklahoma. It was a clear and cold night with a quarter moon out. I was armed with an a pump-action tactical shotgun and a Kimber 5in. 45. cal. pistol along with about 100 rounds of 45 and 45 shotgun rounds. Both weapons are equipped with high end wight lights.

Upon returning to my home, about 2315 CDT, I walked up on my patio which is about 5 feet off the ground. When I saw a large human like figure that was bigger then any man I ever saw. I used the surefire white light on my shotgun to see better. Due to light fog, I could only see about 25 feet with the light. The creature was out in the open enough to see an outline of the figure. I had seen all my animals act unusual prior, a feeling of being watched at hours of darkness on more then once. The figure was watching me and made eye contact. It was very large and close to 7 to 8 feet tall, was very stocky build, would guess over 400 lbs.

The figure seemed annoyed that I pointed my shotgun at it. Seemed to have no fear of me or my animals. My dog (military trained) cowered down and would not respond to commands. I did contact a "bigfoot team" that showed up within 72 hours of this. No evidence was found. No footprints, hair, nothing.

I did experience some lapse in memory there after. I am a retired special forces sniper with 10 yrs. experience and 3 tours in Iraq including the Iraq Invasion with the 3rd Inf. Div. on the frontlines. I have no knowledge after all I seen and done to describe this figure. I do need to be kept out of any public report because of my background and security clearance with the military. I just want answers and will provide full cooperation in person. The biggest thing that bothers me is the lack of fear from the figure and my fear back . I fear very little in life. Just want to get to the bottom of this."

more after the jump
http://naturalplane.blogspot.com/2011/02/sasquatchor-something-else.html

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« Reply #2901 on: Feb 11th, 2011, 10:04am »

Science Daily

How Much Information Is There in the World?
ScienceDaily
Feb. 11, 2011

Think you're overloaded with information? Not even close.

A study appearing on Feb. 10 in Science Express, an electronic journal that provides select Science articles ahead of print, calculates the world's total technological capacity -- how much information humankind is able to store, communicate and compute.

"We live in a world where economies, political freedom and cultural growth increasingly depend on our technological capabilities," said lead author Martin Hilbert of the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism. "This is the first time-series study to quantify humankind's ability to handle information."

So how much information is there in the world? How much has it grown?

Prepare for some big numbers:

•Looking at both digital memory and analog devices, the researchers calculate that humankind is able to store at least 295 exabytes of information. (Yes, that's a number with 20 zeroes in it.)

Put another way, if a single star is a bit of information, that's a galaxy of information for every person in the world. That's 315 times the number of grains of sand in the world. But it's still less than one percent of the information that is stored in all the DNA molecules of a human being.

•2002 could be considered the beginning of the digital age, the first year worldwide digital storage capacity overtook total analog capacity. As of 2007, almost 94 percent of our memory is in digital form.

•In 2007, humankind successfully sent 1.9 zettabytes of information through broadcast technology such as televisions and GPS. That's equivalent to every person in the world reading 174 newspapers every day.

•On two-way communications technology, such as cell phones, humankind shared 65 exabytes of information through telecommunications in 2007, the equivalent of every person in the world communicating the contents of six newspapers every day.

•In 2007, all the general-purpose computers in the world computed 6.4 x 10^18 instructions per second, in the same general order of magnitude as the number of nerve impulses executed by a single human brain. Doing these instructions by hand would take 2,200 times the period since the Big Bang.

•From 1986 to 2007, the period of time examined in the study, worldwide computing capacity grew 58 percent a year, ten times faster than the United States' GDP.

Telecommunications grew 28 percent annually, and storage capacity grew 23 percent a year.

"These numbers are impressive, but still miniscule compared to the order of magnitude at which nature handles information" Hilbert said. "Compared to nature, we are but humble apprentices. However, while the natural world is mind-boggling in its size, it remains fairly constant. In contrast, the world's technological information processing capacities are growing at exponential rates."

Priscila Lopez of the Open University of Catalonia was co-author of the study.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110210141219.htm

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« Reply #2902 on: Feb 12th, 2011, 09:00am »

New York Times

February 12, 2011
New Era Dawns in Egypt and Across the Arab World
By KAREEM FAHIM and DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK

CAIRO — A new era dawned in Egypt on Saturday as this nation of 80 million — and hundreds of millions beyond its borders — began to absorb the fact that an 18-day mass movement of largely nonviolent protest brought down a nearly 30-year military dictatorship and renewed the country’s lease on life.

Within hours of the news that Hosni Mubarak had resigned as president, Egypt’s new army leadership quickly sought to project its control and assuage fears about military rule, at home and abroad.

In an announcement broadcast on state television on Saturday, an army spokesman said that Egypt would continue to abide by all of its international and regional treaties — which include its peace treaty with Israel — and that the current civilian leadership would manage the country’s affairs until the formation of a new government, without giving a timetable.

The Associated Press, quoting an official at the Cairo airport, said that some current members of the government had been barred from traveling abroad.

The army spokesman urged citizens to cooperate with the police, after weeks of civil strife, and urged a force stained by accusations of abuse and torture to be mindful of the department’s new slogan: “The police in the service of the people.”

As the impact of the revolution settled in, some members of the movement that toppled Mr. Mubarak vowed to continue their protest, saying that all their demands had not yet been met. In Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the new Egypt, protesters met in small clusters, arguing about the path forward, as thousands of volunteers cleaned the square.

Some said their sit-in should continue.

As soldiers removed some barricades on the square’s periphery, volunteers with brooms swept streets and scrubbed graffiti from a statue in a nearby square.

The tone of the state media quickly reflected Egypt’s altered reality.

“The People Overthrew the Regime,” read the headline in Al Ahram, the flagship state-owned national newspaper and former government mouthpiece, borrowing a line from the protest movement. Another article noted that Switzerland had frozen the assets of Mr. Mubarak, and those of his aides. On state television an announcer referred to the “Youth Revolution.”

People across the Arab world celebrated the end of the dictatorship in the largest Arab country after a similar uprising in Tunisia last month, but it was less clear if they would be able to follow their examples.

In Yemen, police officers with clubs beat antigovernment protesters as they marched on the Egyptian Embassy, demanding the resignation of the president, Reuters reported.

In Algeria, where an antigovernment demonstration had been called, only several dozen protesters arrived in the center of the capital, Algiers, and they were met by hundreds of police officers in riot gear, Reuters reported.

The protests elsewhere came the day after Mr. Mubarak, 82, left without comment for his home by the Red Sea in Sharm el Sheik. His departure overturned, after six decades, the Arab world’s original secular dictatorship. He was toppled by a radically new force in regional politics — a mainly secular, largely nonviolent, youth-led democracy movement that brought Egypt’s liberal and Islamist opposition groups together for the first time under its banner.

“One by one the protesters withstood each weapon in the arsenal of the Egyptian autocracy — first the heavily armed riot police, then a ruling party militia and finally the state’s powerful propaganda machine.

Mr. Mubarak’s fall removed a bulwark of American foreign policy in the region. The United States, its Arab allies and Israel are now pondering whether the Egyptian military, which has vowed to hold free elections, will give way to a new era of democratic dynamism or to a perilous lurch into instability or Islamist rule.

President Obama, in a televised address Friday, praised the Egyptian revolution. “Egyptians have made it clear that nothing less than genuine democracy will carry the day,” he said. “It was the moral force of nonviolence — not terrorism and mindless killing — that bent the arc of history toward justice once more.”

The Muslim Brotherhood, the outlawed Islamist movement that until 18 days ago was considered Egypt’s only viable opposition, said it was merely a supporting player in the revolt.

“We participated with everyone else and did not lead this or raise Islamic slogans so that it can be the revolution of everyone,” said Mohamed Saad el-Katatni, a spokesman for the Brotherhood. “This is a revolution for all Egyptians; there is no room for a single group’s slogans, not the Brotherhood’s or anybody else.”

The Brotherhood has said it will not field a candidate for president or seek a parliamentary majority in the expected elections.

The Mubarak era ended without any of the stability and predictability that were the hallmarks of his tenure. Western and Egyptian officials had expected Mr. Mubarak to leave office on Thursday and irrevocably delegate his authority to Vice President Omar Suleiman, finishing the last six months of his term with at least his presidential title intact.

But whether because of pride or stubbornness, Mr. Mubarak instead spoke once again as the unbowed father of the nation, barely alluding to a vague “delegation” of authority.

The resulting disappointment enraged the Egyptian public, sent a million people into the streets of Cairo on Friday morning and put in motion an unceremonious retreat at the behest of the military he had commanded for so long.

“Taking into consideration the difficult circumstances the country is going through, President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak has decided to leave the post of president of the republic and has tasked the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to manage the state’s affairs,” Mr. Suleiman said in a brief televised statement.

It is now not clear what role Mr. Suleiman, whose credibility plummeted over the past week as he stood by Mr. Mubarak and even questioned Egypt’s readiness for democracy, will have in the new government.

The transfer of power leaves the Egyptian military in charge of this nation, facing insistent calls for fundamental democratic change and open elections. Hours before Mr. Suleiman announced Mr. Mubarak’s exit, the military had signaled its takeover with a communiqué that appeared to declare its solidarity with the protesters.

Read on state television by an army spokesman, the communiqué declared that the military — not Mr. Mubarak, Mr. Suleiman or any other civilian authority — would ensure the amendment of the Constitution to “conduct free and fair presidential elections.”

“The armed forces are committed to sponsor the legitimate demands of the people,” the statement declared, and the military promised to ensure the fulfillment of its promises “within defined time frames” until authority could be passed to a “free democratic community that the people aspire to.”

It pledged to remove the reviled emergency law, which allows the government to detain anyone without charges or trial, “as soon as the current circumstances are over” and further promised immunity from prosecution for the protesters, whom it called “the honest people who refused the corruption and demanded reforms.”

Egyptians ignored the communiqué, as they have most official pronouncements of the Mubarak government, until the president’s resignation was announced. Then they hugged, kissed and cheered the soldiers, lifting children on tanks to get their pictures taken. “The people and the army are one hand,” they chanted.

Whether the military will subordinate itself to a civilian democracy or install a new military dictator will be impossible to know for months. Military leaders will inevitably face pressure to deliver the genuine transition that protesters did not trust Mr. Mubarak to give them.

Yet it may also seek to protect the enormous political and economic privileges it accumulated during Mr. Mubarak’s reign. And the army has itself been infused for years with the notion that Egypt’s survival depends on fighting threats, real and imagined, from foreign enemies, Islamists, Iran and the frustrations of its own people.

Throughout the revolt, the army stood passively on the sidelines as the police or armed Mubarak loyalists fought the protesters centered in Tahrir Square.

But Western diplomats, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were violating confidences, said that top army officials had told them that their troops would never use force against civilians, depriving Mr. Mubarak of a decisive tool to suppress the dissent.

Now the military, which owns vast commercial interests here but has not fought in decades, must defuse demonstrations, quell widespread labor unrest, and rebuild a shattered economy and security forces. Its top official, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, 75, served for decades as a top official of Mr. Mubarak’s government. And its top uniformed official, Lt. Gen. Sami Hafez Enan, has not spoken publicly.

Egypt’s opposition has said for weeks that it welcomed a military role in securing the country, ideally under a two- to five-member presidential council with only one military member. And the initial reaction to the military takeover was ecstatic.

“Welcome back,” said Wael Ghonim, the Google executive who administered the Facebook group that helped start the revolt.

more after the jump
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/13/world/middleeast/13egypt.html?_r=1&hp

Crystal
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« Reply #2903 on: Feb 12th, 2011, 09:33am »

Good morning, Crystal! cheesy


The Sun

Wacky Facts—A new book by Mitchell Symons


These are just some of the weird and wacky facts from around the planet in a new book by Mitchell Symons.

Here BEN JACKSON picks his favourites.

THE DANES eat more frozen food than any other nation.

Mongolians prefer salt instead of sugar in their tea.

And there are more than 400million car owners in the world.

Thais watch more television than any other nation.

Argentinians listen to the radio more than any other race - more than 20 hours a week.

The Japanese believe that if you put a piece of snake skin in your wallet you will become rich or find money.

Americans use enough toilet paper EVERY DAY to wrap nine times around the world.

Finland is the country with the highest number of natural blondes.

Every year the Chinese use around 45 BILLION chopsticks.

January 1 is every Korean's birthday. On this day they add another year to their age, irrespective of which month they were born.

Brunei's lowest recorded temperature is 21°C (70°F).

There are more kangaroos than people in Australia.

Luxembourg has its own language - Luxembourgish - which is also sometimes spoken in parts of France, Belgium and Germany.

Kazakhstanis never whistle inside their own house - or anyone else's - for fear that it will bring poverty to the homeowner.

In 1928 Richard Halliburton swam the Panama Canal. He had to pay a toll of 28 cents.

Sweden has the highest proportion of people over 65.

Mali is the world's hottest nation.

Himalaya means "home of snow".

Icelanders read more books than any other race.

Colombia has more plant and animal species per sq mile than any other country.

There are 400million car owners in the world. There are twice as many bicycle owners.

There is one motorcycle for every two people in Taiwan.
France is the most visited country in the world.

The Atacama Desert in Chile is the world's driest place. No rainfall has EVER been recorded there.

Russia "boasts" the lowest recorded temperature in Europe: -68°C (-90°F) in 1933.

Belgium produces more comic books per sq mile than any other nation.

Countries with more sheep than people: Australia, Falkland Islands, Iceland, Ireland, Mauritania, Mongolia, Namibia, New Zealand, Turkmenistan, Sudan and Uruguay.

Places of entertainment, such as cinemas, are banned in Saudi Arabia.

In Guatemala, lemons are green and limes are yellow.

Bolivians maintain little personal space and tend to stand close during conversations.

Mozambique and Guatemala are the only two countries with flags that have guns or rifles on them.

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/features/3407361/Crazy-facts-about-our-wacky-world.html

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« Reply #2904 on: Feb 12th, 2011, 10:50am »

Good morning Swamprat! cheesy

Belgium produces more comic books than any other nation? Weird.

Love the article. Thank you Swamp.

Crystal
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« Reply #2905 on: Feb 12th, 2011, 11:00am »

Wired

Boeing Puts Another Behemoth in the Sky
By Jason Paur
February 11, 2011 | 7:00 pm
Categories: Air Travel, Design


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A 747-8 is wheeled into the paint shop ahead of this weekend’s unveiling.
photo Boeing



Boeing pulls the sheet off its biggest airliner ever this weekend, the 747-8 Intercontinental. It is an extreme makeover of the plane that ushered in the jumbo jet era, but despite its impressive tech and imposing size it won’t be a big seller. Still, it offers further evidence that Boeing has found a winning strategy in its race against Airbus to make commercial aviation cleaner and greener.

The latest iteration of the venerable 747, which made its first flight 42 years ago this week, comes as the industry has spent the past few years debating the merits of two all-new aircraft, the gargantuan Airbus A380 and the technologically advanced Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Each was billed by its manufacturer as the airplane of the future, and they represent fundamentally different approaches to making air travel more efficient.

Airbus bet on moving a lot of passengers from hub to hub cheaply in giant airplanes. Boeing thought the future lies in moving fewer people point-to-point in super-efficient aircraft. And while the A380, which seats as many as 525 people, allowed Airbus to boast it makes the world’s biggest airliner, bragging rights only go so far. It’s the bottom line that matters.

“The secret sauce in the aerospace business is not building a pressurized tube with swept wings and podded engines,” says industry analyst Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group. “It’s carefully surveying market needs and building a product the market wants. That’s the secret sauce.”

So far Boeing has better sauce.

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An artist’s rendering of a 747-8 Intercontinental in flight.



Airbus is planning a fuel-efficient twin-engine, twin-aisle airplane to compete against the 787 Dreamliner. So with all of the attention on the 787 and the mammoth A380 not selling very well, it might seem a jumbo like the 747-8 is an anachronism. But Boeing isn’t about to cede the market for very large aircraft to Airbus, even if that market is a fraction of what it was in the 1970s when the 747 transformed the airline industry.

“In the past 10 years you’ve had 3,000 mid-market, twin-aisle long-rangers sold,” Aboulafia says of industry workhorses like the Airbus A330 and A350, along with the Boeing 777 and 787. Compare that to less than 450 very large aircraft like the A380 or 747.

“That’s the future,” Aboulafia says of very large aircraft sales. “Two per month.”

So if the market is so small, why did Boeing even bother with a new jumbo jet when it has more than 800 orders for the 787 Dreamliner, and the 737 and 777, two industry staples, continue selling well?

“It was supposed to be cheap,” Aboulafia says. “You re-engine it and spruce up the wing and for $2 billion [in development costs] you get something that’s far more cost-effective than the A380, which is going to come in at $25 billion.”

It didn’t quite work out that way. Both the 787 and 747-8 development programs have been plagued by delays and the 747-8 program is approaching $5 billion, according to analysts. With Airbus offering deep discounts on the A380, Boeing is having a hard time selling the Intercontinental passenger version of the 747-8, with only 33 ordered so far.

With so few airplanes sold (there are an additional 74 cargo versions ordered), the economics of the 747-8 aren’t looking too rosy anymore, says aviation analyst Scott Hamilton of Leeham Co.

“Technically it’s going to be a very good airplane,” he says. “Financially it’s not going to be successful because they missed their window of opportunity.”

Economics aside, the 747-8 is an impressive aircraft. It is just over 250 feet long, making it 18.3 feet longer than the current model and the world’s longest aircraft. It will carry as many as 467 people in a three-class configuration.

The technology being put into the 747-8 is no less impressive. In addition to efficient new engines and all-new electronics and flight control systems, the airplane has an all-new wing that will dramatically improve the efficiency of the airplane over the older 747s. Boeing claims the 747-8 will be 30 percent quieter and 16 percent more fuel efficient than its current version, and it will offer 13 percent lower seat-mile costs.

Yes, the A380 can carry more people and fly a bit further. But the 747-8 Intercontinental is lighter per passenger, an indicator of cheaper operating costs.

Still, both the A380 and the 747-8 will serve a niche market — namely flights between major hubs like New York and Paris or Singapore and Hong Kong. So far only Lufthansa and Korean Airlines have ordered the Intercontinental. Hamilton points to another reason the very large aircraft market isn’t what it once was: the routes available to airlines.

“When the 747 entered service the global air transportation system was a lot different than today,” he says. Back then, individual nations held strict control over who could fly where, so you had to fly large numbers of people into relatively few cities. Today’s open-sky policies make it easier for airlines to connect cities, making point-to-point flights more attractive.

“You can go from A to C without going through B,” Hamilton says. “You can go from Cincinnati to Manchester without a hub, [and] that’s one of the reasons you see downsized planes.”

Downsized planes like the 787-Dreamliner are increasingly pushing jumbos to the margins. But for aviation buffs, planes like the A380 and 747-8 will continue to capture our imagination.

http://www.wired.com/autopia/2011/02/boeing-747-8-intercontinental/

Crystal
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« Reply #2906 on: Feb 12th, 2011, 11:06am »

Well we're off to the vet in about a half hour. Bitsie hasn't kept any food or water down for 24 hours. The seagulls will drop things in the yard like crab legs and parts of fish. The squirrels drop nuts. Dogs can't have nuts or weird fish parts. I'm hoping she just found something in the yard. She's alert and doesn't seem to be in distress. We'll see what the vet has to say.

So I'll see ya'll later. Have a good Saturday morning.

Crystal

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« Reply #2907 on: Feb 12th, 2011, 11:22am »

Good Morning Crystal

I hope Bitsie is alright... poor little thing. My daughters dog had similar symptoms recently and the vet said she was border on having Parvo.... but it turned out she can't eat chicken, it makes her sick. (She is the cutest little chihuahua). I hope its nothing and Bitsie will be back to her old self tomorrow. Please let us know how she goes.

Luvey

on Feb 12th, 2011, 11:06am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Well we're off to the vet in about a half hour. Bitsie hasn't kept any food or water down for 24 hours. The seagulls will drop things in the yard like crab legs and parts of fish. The squirrels drop nuts. Dogs can't have nuts or weird fish parts. I'm hoping she just found something in the yard. She's alert and doesn't seem to be in distress. We'll see what the vet has to say.

So I'll see ya'll later. Have a good Saturday morning.

Crystal

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« Reply #2908 on: Feb 12th, 2011, 1:23pm »

on Feb 12th, 2011, 11:22am, Luvey wrote:
Good Morning Crystal

I hope Bitsie is alright... poor little thing. My daughters dog had similar symptoms recently and the vet said she was border on having Parvo.... but it turned out she can't eat chicken, it makes her sick. (She is the cutest little chihuahua). I hope its nothing and Bitsie will be back to her old self tomorrow. Please let us know how she goes.

Luvey



Good evening Luvey,

I'm so glad your daughter's pup didn't have Parvo. Chicken, who woulda thunk it!

Bitsie is doing fine. He thinks she just picked up some yucky something in the yard. Hooray!!!!!

And he's a new vet there. We hated the other one that is now gone. Yea! Bitsie even liked him and she doesn't like strangers. Funny how the little things in life make it so much better.

Crystal
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« Reply #2909 on: Feb 12th, 2011, 1:38pm »

Telegraph


Racing was abandoned after two horses died in the parade ring
in bizarre circumstances on Tote Gold Trophy day at Newbury.

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Abandoned: racing was called off at Newbury after two horses died in the parade ring
Photo: ACTION IMAGES



By JA McGrath 1:55PM GMT
12 Feb 2011

A packed parade ring prior to racing on one of the biggest days in the jumping calendar saw Fenix Two and Marching Song collapse to the ground.

Eyewitnesses said they feared the horses had been electrocuted.

Jockey Nick Scholfield, who was to have ridden Marching Song, said: "I've never seen anything like it before in my life. I got on him and when we walked onto the grass his legs went like jelly and he fell to the ground."

Dan Skelton, assistant to trainer Paul Nicholls, who trained the eventual winner Al Ferof, said it was as if the horses were having a fit. I've seen horses have heart attacks before, but this was different. They seemed petrified."

According to another eyewitness one of the two stricken horses let out an horrific noise soon after collapsing.

Bewildered and shocked racegoers did not know where to turn as tarpaulins were dragged into the parade ring to cover the two dead horses.

Confusion reigned as Newbury officials attempted to discover the source of the incident. The first race, the novices hurdle, was run 25 minutes late with seven runners instead of the 10 declared. Apart from the two dead horses, Kid Cassidy was withdrawn by his trainer Nicky Henderson.

A visibly shocked Henderson said: "My horse has been very, very lucky. I have never seen anything like this on a racecourse before. It is pure speculation but it seems as if there has been an electrical incident. The post-mortems will show exactly what happened.

"My horse went down behind and my daughter called out that he had fallen on the ground. He went to post earlier than the others but AP (McCoy, his partner), said he was like a bolted rabbit going down."

All horses who competed in the first race were inspected by veterinary officers at the start. Al Ferof, ridden by Harry Skelton, came home a very easy winner.

Approximately 15 minutes after horses returned to the makeshift paddock, the old Pre-parade ring, an official announcement told racegoers that the meeting had been abandoned.

Security officers waved people away from the grassy areas around the paddock and Pre-parade ring and barriers were put up to stop racegoers walking in that area.

Newbury's Tote Gold Trophy day is one of the major fixtures in Britain's National Hunt calendar, and this seven-event card was seen by the racing world as a final preparation before next month's Cheltenham Festival.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/horseracing/8320381/Racing-abandoned-at-Newbury-after-two-horses-die-in-parade-ring-believed-electrocuted.html

Crystal


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