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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 112987 times)
WingsofCrystal
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« Reply #3045 on: Feb 23rd, 2011, 08:54am »

Wired Danger Room

Mobile Tech Activists Wary of State Department Cash
By Spencer Ackerman
February 23, 2011 | 7:00 am
Categories: Info War


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Photo: Flickr/AlJazeeraEnglish


If technology advisers to online activists have their way, the mobile phones in the pockets of the democracy protesters reshaping the Middle East will have circumvention and anonymity tools built in to them, and they’ll be able to go blank if pro-regime goons confiscate them. The State Department wants to fund the development of precisely such activist tools. Only the activists aren’t exactly jumping to take the government’s cash.

In a speech last week, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said she’d make available $25 million for a “venture capital approach” to underwriting new tools to keep the Internet open in repressive nations. She singled out mobile technologies as increasingly important. But some observers and developers, while lauding the move, aren’t so sure the rigid bureaucracy of the State Department can accommodate the approach.

Nathan Freitas of the Guardian Project, which designs Android-based tools for mobile anonymity, says he’s not going to apply for any of State’s money. “Accounting complexity of process means we’d have to spend 25 percent of it” on an accountant, he says, while praising the idea in theory.

Same goes for Katrin Verclas of MobileActive.org, which advises activists and non-governmental organizations on how to minimize security risks on their mobile devices. Verclas likes where State is coming from, as she thinks it’ll expand the pool of government funding recipients beyond the typical Beltway aid groups who “know how to navigate the system.” But she’s not seeking the aid herself until she has a “really great project” ready to pitch.

Which might be surprising, because both of them have lots of ideas for how activists need to protect themselves when using their mobile devices. The basic problem is that mobiles are “highly traceable, trackable and centralized,” as Verclas puts it, with carriers possessing a lot of information on their users and without many circumvention tools developed for mobile phones. One of Freitas’ efforts is Orbot, a proxy tool for Android phones that uses Tor to block mobile carriers from accessing their data usage.

And the phones are potential security risks even when they’re switched off. Verclas sees a big need for a remotely activated “kill switch” that can cleanse a phone of its stored contacts or its recent Twitter or SMS activity when an activist gets arrested, so as not to alert authorities to the names of other dissidents. Activists tell her they’d like to have some kind of phone wiping occur “with a simple command while an arrest is taking place, or for an ally to do that remotely via SMS or something.”

Freitas worries about the proliferation of camera phones — a somewhat counterintuitive concern, given the power of viral videos to inspire a protest movement or galvanize outside support. But impromptu video can reveal sensitive information like people’s faces. He sees a need to “tap on these faces and blur them out” before an innocent upload accidentally gives away someone’s identity and puts them in the crosshairs of a regime.

These are the kinds of ideas that the State Department says it wants to fund. But it’s just not clear how nimble the department can really be in dishing out money responsibly — a good-government encumbrance, remember — or even what it really means by a “venture capital approach,” says Sheldon Himmelfarb, a technology expert at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

When venture capital firms find a promising technology, they’re “able to turn lots of focus, attention, people, brainpower and resources to taking that to market, and the State Department doesn’t work that way,” Himmelfarb says. “It’s really interesting to hear them talk about a venture capital-style approach, but try to unpack that. Apparently, they’re going to give money to lots of organizations in the hope of bringing about breakthrough technologies, but how are they going to bring them to market?”

Indeed, just last week, Sen. Richard Lugar identified at least $8 million in money the department hadn’t spent that Congress provided to help Chinese Internet users evade restrictions.

That’s not to say State’s approach doesn’t have its virtues. “Venture capital firms own half your company, while [here] the U.S. government owns nothing,” Freitas says, “so there is that benefit if you figure out how to make it work.”

And Himmelfarb notes that the $25 million pot of cash is a “significant amount of money for this effort.” According to his research, the Tor Project’s 2009 budget was $1.25 million, so it’s not as if these tools are particularly expensive to develop. Rather, he says, “we have to make sure the approach is one we’re in position to take advantage of.” After the success of the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions, there’s not going to be any shortage of demand for tools that can keep activists off the radar of the tyrants they’re trying to overthrow.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/

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« Reply #3046 on: Feb 23rd, 2011, 09:05am »

Guardian

Nicholas Courtney, Doctor Who's legendary Brigadier, mourned by fans

The Tardis will feel a tiny bit emptier with the passing of Nicholas Courtney,
who played the unflappable Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart for more than three decades.

by Dan Martin
Wednesday 23 February 2011 14.25 GMT


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Nicholas Courtney as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and Jon Pertwee as the Doctor in the show's 1970s incarnation.
Photograph: BBC



News today of the death of actor Nicholas Courtney has struck genuine sadness through the geek community and the world at large. A fine actor and a seemingly genuinely lovely man, he was also the longest-serving actor in Doctor Who history.

His character, the unflappable Brigadier Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, was one of the most beloved characters in the entire Whoniverse. He made his first appearance in 1969 adventure The Web Of Fear, then a mere Colonel, head of the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, the international community's line of defence against alien threats. When the series went Earthbound in 1970, the Doctor was employed by Unit and the Brigadier became central to the series' "Scooby Gang".

The Brigadier occupies a unique position in Who lore. It is the Doctor's defining quality to abhor violence, refusing to use weapons even when absolutely necessary. Lethbridge-Stewart was a military stalwart, his instinct to shoot at the alien threat with a catchphrase of: "Five rounds, rapid!" The two men's differing approaches tested as much as complemented each other.

Famously, in the Third Doctor Silurian story, the Brigadier orders the destruction of the underground Homo Repltilia settlement, to the Doctor's disgust. But he also served as a human, and humane, counterpoint to the Time Lord's alien eccentricities, and the pair developed a professional respect and personal affection.

While circumstance dictated that the Doctor's female companions would come and go on a biannual basis, their bromance was a rare constant in the renegade's life, and when our hero returned to travelling through time and space, the Brigadier appeared alongside every subsequent Doctor from the classic series (barring the sixth, unless we're counting the audio-plays as canon, in which case we'll be here all day).

When Unit turned up again in the Tenth Doctor story The Poison Sky, the organisation had toughened up and skewed its moral compass. "Sir Alastair" as he was now known was stranded Peru during the crisis. The Doctor openly pined for the Brigadier's more honourable way of doing things.

His final appearance on the main show came in 1989's Arthurian Legend-riff Battlefield, where the now-retired Lethbridge-Stewart battled a Jean Marsh-portrayed version of Morgan La Fay alongside the Seventh Doctor. The plan had been to kill the character off, but with all hell breaking loose, his death could only have been an incidental plot point, and producer John Nathan-Turner told Courtney, "If you're going to die, I want your death to mean something." This was how significant he had become, and he was allowed to live happily ever after in his country pile. A year later the series was axed.

Lethbridge-Stewart returned to the screen one last time in 2008 for a guest appearance in spin-off The Sarah-Jane Adventures. Now a retired General turned schoolteacher, he was called in to help his old friend. The warmth between the two former colleagues, their lives forever fused together by their experiences with the man in the blue box, was genuinely touching.

It was much the same in real life. Courtney knew he was part of something special, and never stopped enthusiastically cheerleading for Who, attending conventions and taking part in numerous Big Finish audio plays. He was rightly proud to be defined by his defining role. The time-space continuum feels a little bit smaller without him in it.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/tvandradioblog/2011/feb/23/doctor-who-nicholas-courtney-brigadier

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #3047 on: Feb 23rd, 2011, 09:59am »

on Feb 23rd, 2011, 08:49am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Wired

Feb. 23, 1942: Invasion! They’re Coming!
By Tony Long
February 23, 2011 | 7:00 am
Categories: 20th century, Warfare and Military


1942: A Japanese long-range submarine surfaces off the California coast and uses its 5˝-inch deck gun to shell an oil refinery near Santa Barbara.

The attack, which lasted about 20 minutes, caused little damage to the Ellwood refinery. But it helped to stoke fears, which had existed since the raid on Pearl Harbor 10 weeks earlier, that the Japanese might be preparing a full-scale invasion of the West Coast.

In Philip K. Dick’s 1962 novel, The Man in the High Castle, the Japanese not only plan a U.S. invasion, they carry it off. In reality, though, the Imperial High Command envisioned nothing of the sort, lacking both the military capacity and a strategic reason for invasion.

Cmdr. Nishino Kozo, skipper of the I-17, was familiar with the Ellwood refinery, having docked there as the captain of an oil tanker before the war. A Parade magazine article in 1982 suggested that Kozo staged the raid on his own initiative, in retaliation for a slight he suffered during a prewar visit to Ellwood.


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Some World War II Japanese submarines were so big, they carried airplanes.


Whether Kozo took the opportunity to settle an old score is unknown. He never said. (The I-17 was on combat patrol along the Pacific Coast. Five days after shelling the refinery, Kozo torpedoed an American tanker off Cape Mendocino.)

Kozo’s gunnery display scared the bejesus out of the already skittish Americans. On the night following I-17’s shelling of the refinery, trigger-happy anti-aircraft gunners in Los Angeles lit up the night sky with tracer ammunition for a couple of hours after spotting some UFOs. The refinery shelling, in any event, showed the extent to which submarine technology had advanced since World War I.

The I-17 was a B1-class submarine: 350 feet long, with 2,200 tons surface displacement, and by far the largest combat sub to see service during World War II. By comparison, Germany’s largest long-range combat U-boat, the IXD, was 70 feet shorter and displaced barely 1,600 tons when surfaced.

A generation earlier, World War I subs were smaller, carried fewer torpedoes and had a much more limited range.

Kozo was able to take advantage of the fact that American coastal defenses were poorly organized in early 1942. German U-boat commanders on the East Coast were discovering the same thing, with devastating effect on Allied shipping.

http://www.wired.com/thisdayintech/2011/02/0223japanese-sub-shells-santa-barbara/

Crystal


Wasn't this incident the basis for the movie '1941' ? Love that movie!!!LOL

Lone
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #3048 on: Feb 23rd, 2011, 10:03am »

on Feb 23rd, 2011, 09:05am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Guardian

Nicholas Courtney, Doctor Who's legendary Brigadier, mourned by fans

The Tardis will feel a tiny bit emptier with the passing of Nicholas Courtney,
who played the unflappable Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart for more than three decades.

by Dan Martin
Wednesday 23 February 2011 14.25 GMT


User Image
Nicholas Courtney as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and Jon Pertwee as the Doctor in the show's 1970s incarnation.
Photograph: BBC



News today of the death of actor Nicholas Courtney has struck genuine sadness through the geek community and the world at large. A fine actor and a seemingly genuinely lovely man, he was also the longest-serving actor in Doctor Who history.

His character, the unflappable Brigadier Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, was one of the most beloved characters in the entire Whoniverse. He made his first appearance in 1969 adventure The Web Of Fear, then a mere Colonel, head of the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, the international community's line of defence against alien threats. When the series went Earthbound in 1970, the Doctor was employed by Unit and the Brigadier became central to the series' "Scooby Gang".

The Brigadier occupies a unique position in Who lore. It is the Doctor's defining quality to abhor violence, refusing to use weapons even when absolutely necessary. Lethbridge-Stewart was a military stalwart, his instinct to shoot at the alien threat with a catchphrase of: "Five rounds, rapid!" The two men's differing approaches tested as much as complemented each other.

Famously, in the Third Doctor Silurian story, the Brigadier orders the destruction of the underground Homo Repltilia settlement, to the Doctor's disgust. But he also served as a human, and humane, counterpoint to the Time Lord's alien eccentricities, and the pair developed a professional respect and personal affection.

While circumstance dictated that the Doctor's female companions would come and go on a biannual basis, their bromance was a rare constant in the renegade's life, and when our hero returned to travelling through time and space, the Brigadier appeared alongside every subsequent Doctor from the classic series (barring the sixth, unless we're counting the audio-plays as canon, in which case we'll be here all day).

When Unit turned up again in the Tenth Doctor story The Poison Sky, the organisation had toughened up and skewed its moral compass. "Sir Alastair" as he was now known was stranded Peru during the crisis. The Doctor openly pined for the Brigadier's more honourable way of doing things.

His final appearance on the main show came in 1989's Arthurian Legend-riff Battlefield, where the now-retired Lethbridge-Stewart battled a Jean Marsh-portrayed version of Morgan La Fay alongside the Seventh Doctor. The plan had been to kill the character off, but with all hell breaking loose, his death could only have been an incidental plot point, and producer John Nathan-Turner told Courtney, "If you're going to die, I want your death to mean something." This was how significant he had become, and he was allowed to live happily ever after in his country pile. A year later the series was axed.

Lethbridge-Stewart returned to the screen one last time in 2008 for a guest appearance in spin-off The Sarah-Jane Adventures. Now a retired General turned schoolteacher, he was called in to help his old friend. The warmth between the two former colleagues, their lives forever fused together by their experiences with the man in the blue box, was genuinely touching.

It was much the same in real life. Courtney knew he was part of something special, and never stopped enthusiastically cheerleading for Who, attending conventions and taking part in numerous Big Finish audio plays. He was rightly proud to be defined by his defining role. The time-space continuum feels a little bit smaller without him in it.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/tvandradioblog/2011/feb/23/doctor-who-nicholas-courtney-brigadier

Crystal


John Pertwee was the first 'Who' I ever got to see. In 1972 they first broadcast the series on PBS in Kansas where I was working at the time! I was addicted almost immediately! The Brigadier was my favorite character! He will be missed for sure!

RIP Mr. Courtney!

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #3049 on: Feb 23rd, 2011, 12:25pm »

on Feb 23rd, 2011, 09:59am, LoneGunMan wrote:
Wasn't this incident the basis for the movie '1941' ? Love that movie!!!LOL

Lone


Hi Lone,

John Belushi. He was brilliant. And yes, I think the movie was based on this incident.

Crystal

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #3050 on: Feb 23rd, 2011, 12:31pm »

on Feb 23rd, 2011, 10:03am, LoneGunMan wrote:
John Pertwee was the first 'Who' I ever got to see. In 1972 they first broadcast the series on PBS in Kansas where I was working at the time! I was addicted almost immediately! The Brigadier was my favorite character! He will be missed for sure!

RIP Mr. Courtney!

Lone


My first Dr. Who was Tom Baker. I loved this series. The Daleks that looked like garbage cans with toilet plungers stuck to them!

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Though I don't love them as much as the lovely woman in the photo above seems to. grin

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« Reply #3051 on: Feb 23rd, 2011, 12:33pm »

Chicago Sun Times

NASA clears shuttle Discovery for Thursday launch
BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
Last Modified: Feb 23, 2011
11:04AM


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA has given a unanimous “go” for Thursday’s planned launch of space shuttle Discovery.

It will be the final flight for Discovery, the world’s most traveled rocketship.


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Shuttle managers met Wednesday and agreed to proceed with the flight after a four-month delay caused by fuel tank cracks. Liftoff is scheduled for 4:50 p.m. Thursday. There’s an 80 percent chance of good weather.

Six astronauts will ride Discovery up to the International Space Station. They will deliver and install a closet full of space station supplies, and drop off a humanoid robot. Robonaut will become the first humanoid in space.

Discovery has already logged nearly 143 million miles, more than any other reusable spacecraft.


NASA: http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle

http://www.suntimes.com/news/nation/3970650-418/nasa-clears-shuttle-discovery-for-thursday-launch.html

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #3052 on: Feb 23rd, 2011, 12:45pm »

I kinda like this idea smiley :

Living large: A look inside the tiny house movement

Given the state of the current economy, a growing number of Americans with ordinary lives are choosing to scale down — way down. They call themselves the “tiny house” movement. Need to Know visited one of the movement’s proponents, Dee Williams, at her small home in Olympia, Wash.

Her home measures 84 square feet, has a small sleeping loft, a compost toilet and enough closet space for a few shirts and pairs of pants. Williams says the downsizing has brought her a sense of contentment, and many others are beginning to follow her lead.

Check out the vid:
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/culture/living-large-a-look-inside-the-tiny-house-movement/2522/
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #3053 on: Feb 23rd, 2011, 1:09pm »

on Feb 23rd, 2011, 12:45pm, philliman wrote:
I kinda like this idea smiley :

Living large: A look inside the tiny house movement

Given the state of the current economy, a growing number of Americans with ordinary lives are choosing to scale down — way down. They call themselves the “tiny house” movement. Need to Know visited one of the movement’s proponents, Dee Williams, at her small home in Olympia, Wash.

Her home measures 84 square feet, has a small sleeping loft, a compost toilet and enough closet space for a few shirts and pairs of pants. Williams says the downsizing has brought her a sense of contentment, and many others are beginning to follow her lead.

Check out the vid:
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/culture/living-large-a-look-inside-the-tiny-house-movement/2522/



Hi Phil,

I lived in a Wingfoot when I was a kid (about the size of the tiny house in the photo below). They were used during WWII to house the military. Talk about tiny! Couldn't swing a cat in there. There were four kids, Mom and a Siamese. But I really like the idea.

Crystal
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« Reply #3054 on: Feb 23rd, 2011, 1:15pm »

Oregon Live

What's next for minimalist houses? How about a subdivision of tiny houses in Eastern Oregon?

Published: Saturday, December 18, 2010, 11:00 PM Updated: Sunday, December 19, 2010, 3:16 PM
By Richard Cockle, The Oregonian


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Rich Daniels, a former gold miner and timber cruiser, now builds tiny homes for a living and dreams of creating an RV park
for the houses on the edge of his hometown of North Powder in eastern Oregon. The 8 1/2-foot-wide, $42,000 model behind him
is small enough to be towed by a pickup, which a thief did last summer. Police returned it to Daniels after finding it abandoned
at a service station near the Oregon-Idaho border.
photo: Richard Cockle/The Oregonian



NORTH POWDER -- Ex-logger and gold miner Rich Daniels was making his living building storage sheds when his customers began commenting, "If this shed was bigger, I could live in it." That got Daniels to thinking.

"So I made a cabin on wheels," he said. He's built and sold more than 100 minimalist homes -- some that can be towed behind a pickup -- over the past five years.

Now the 50-year-old builder has come up with an idea that may prove both brilliant and quixotic: a subdivision for 50 to 100 pint-sized homes geared to folks hurt by the real estate bust, jobless or on fixed incomes. Increasingly, he's approached by people desperate to cut their living expenses, he said.

"It's obvious they are looking for a cheap place to live while they get back on their feet," Daniels said. "There are a lot of people getting kicked out of their 2,000- and 3,000-square-foot homes. Where are they gonna go?"

While some may be ready to simplify and live smaller, the trick will be to weave that idea through Oregon's land-use laws.

The subdivision location Daniels has in mind is a former Idaho Timber Co. sawmill log yard southeast of North Powder, population less than 500.

Part is zoned exclusive farm use and the rest is industrial -- and neither allows for a subdivision, said Union County planner Hanley Jenkins of La Grande. Winning county approval is likely to be impossible, he said.

Still, it might have a chance if North Powder annexed the spot into the city and extended water and sewer lines there, Jenkins said.

North Powder Mayor Bonita Hebert said that's a possibility because utility lines already reach to the edge of the property. But the city would have to change an ordinance that requires dwellings to be at least 900 square feet, she said.

"They are just beautiful, well-built," the mayor said of the cabins. "They would be very comfortable for a couple to live in."

Cabins provide new career

For the past five years, Daniels has built 20 rustic cabins a year, some as small as 144 square feet. The biggest are 400 square feet -- or with a loft, 800 square feet. Costs so far have ranged from $15,000 to $95,000.

It's his second new profession since the shrinking wood products industry pushed him out of his job as a U.S. Forest Service contract timber cruiser. He bought a small sawmill and built and sold utility sheds, using lumber milled on his property. And that gave way to Rich's Portable Cabins. He still operates the sawmill and occasionally builds a shed, but seldom uses milled timber from his own property these days.

more after the jump
http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2010/12/whats_next_for_minimalist_houses_how_about_a_subdivision_in_eastern_oregon.html

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« Reply #3055 on: Feb 23rd, 2011, 5:08pm »

Hollywood Reporter

Paul Haggis Received 'Troubling' Emails After 'New Yorker' Scientology Expose

5:25 PM 2/23/2011
by Mark Cina


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Academy award-winning, screenwriter-director Paul Haggis says he has received all sorts of feedback since referring to Scientology as a “cult” in a recent New Yorker expose: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/02/14/110214fa_fact_wright

“I’ve been getting a lot of very supportive emails and I’ve been getting some really troubling ones,” he told THR Tuesday at Vanity Fair’s Campaign Hollywood 2011 event celebrating Artists for Peace and Justice presented by Brioni in West Hollywood. "Some break my heart and some are just really angry."

In the article, Haggis, who spent three decades with the Church, revealed for the first time why he quit the religion in 2009. Among the reasons: The Church refused to publicly denounce the anti-gay measure Proposition 8 (Haggis' daughter is gay). He also said he read reported allegations of physical violence among church senior executives and other Scientologists.

By speaking out, Haggis told THR he knew he would elicit reactions: "I went in with my eyes open.”

But leaving the Church “was a personal choice,” he added. “I don’t suggest that anyone else make that choice that I did. Mine was personal.”


Reporting by Lindsay Flans

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/paul-haggis-received-troubling-emails-160819

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« Reply #3056 on: Feb 23rd, 2011, 5:20pm »

How far away......


http://www.wimp.com/moonaway/
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« Reply #3057 on: Feb 23rd, 2011, 5:22pm »

Geek Tyrant

Another Great Preview for HBO's Upcoming Fantasy series A GAME OF THRONES

23 February 2011
by Venkman


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Here's another great preview for HBO's upcoming new series A Game of Thrones, based on George R.R. Martin's fantasy book series Song of Ice and Fire. This series looks like it's going to be incredible. I love what I've seen so far.

The new preview video is called An Invitation To Westeros, and it takes you onto the set of the show and the executive producers and the cast talk about Westeros and what to expect in HBO's new dramatic series. A Game of Thrones will premiere April 17th 2011 on HBO.






http://geektyrant.com/news/2011/2/23/another-great-preview-for-hbos-upcoming-fantasy-series-a-gam.html


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« Reply #3058 on: Feb 23rd, 2011, 5:26pm »

on Feb 23rd, 2011, 5:20pm, Swamprat wrote:
How far away......


http://www.wimp.com/moonaway/


Boy I would have been wrong. tongue
Thanks Swamprat.
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« Reply #3059 on: Feb 23rd, 2011, 6:54pm »

Here's an interesting article on why Angelo Mozilo, Countrywide chief, isn't going to prison:

http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/investing/countrywide-mozilo-fraud-no-prison-trial-sec-mortgage-meltdown-deal-crisis/19788287/


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