Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #3495 on: Mar 30th, 2011, 4:54pm »
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More than 2000 Marines deployed for Libya on March 29th, 2011. The Marines are from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, 2nd marine Expiditionary Force, deployed along with Amphibious Squadron 6. They loaded onto the USS Bataan and USS Mesa Verde for the trip.
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Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #3496 on: Mar 30th, 2011, 5:47pm »
Former Air Force major forecasts UFO sightings at Prince William and Kate Middleton's Royal wedding By Daily Mail Reporter Last updated at 8:40 PM on 30th March 2011
Prince William and Kate Middleton’s royal wedding is expected to be viewed by over a billion people around the world – but also by a few UFOs according to a retired Air Force major.
Former military officer George Filer runs the National UFO Centre and says it’s common to see the extraterrestrials around important events, and is highly possible they may be watching the royal wedding too.
Mr Filer told AOL News: ‘The craft seem to have an interest in anything important. They’ve been sighted recently over Libya and near the Japanese tsunami.’
He says his UFO Centre tracks over 1,000 sightings each month and has been getting reports from British Royal Air Force pilots over the past few weeks, who reported seeing UFOs over the English Channel.
Mr Filer is also expecting sightings around Westminster Abbey on April 29 because he says the royal family have shown interest in UFOs.
Speaking about a conversation he once had with Prince Philip, he said: ‘It was around 1961 or ’62, when I was a navigator in a tanker. ‘He met with a group of us after a dinner because he wanted to talk about UFOs. He told us that the RAF had stopped sending fighters after UFOs because some of them didn’t come back. ‘They decided to send tankers, which were nearly as fast as the fighters but could hold 15 hours of fuel, compared to two for the fighters.’
Mr Filer also claimed that Prince William’s grandfather told him that his uncle, the Earl Mountbattan, had seen some UFOs up close.
And although the UFO expert admitted that the Soviets did try to penetrate the UK’s airspace regularly during the Cold War when he met Prince Philip, he discounted the possibility that the objects might have actually been their crafts.
A renowned investigator of crop circles in Britain during the 1980s also backs Mr Filer’s claims of the royal family’s interest in UFOs.
Colin Andrews says the Queen once read one of his books about crop circles, titled Circular Evidence’. He said: ‘Prince Philip and the Queen are particularly interested in the subject. And their interest seems to be based on personal experiences.’
Mr Andrews claims the Queen even sent him a letter confirming her reading the book, but says the British government and royal family officials have denied their interest in UFOs. ‘I have numerous documents attesting to that, even though Nick Pope, the head of the UFO project of the Ministry of Defense, publicly stated the queen and the government had no official interest in UFOs. ‘I believe he was under instruction to make that statement and he later confirmed that during a live interview with the BBC’, Mr Andrews said.
And he says after posting the alleged letter from the Queen on his website, he was later asked to remove it because it was ‘personal’ correspondence not met for public consumption.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #3497 on: Mar 31st, 2011, 08:15am »
India adds 181 million people in a decade By Rama Lakshmi, Thursday, March 31, 7:30 AM
NEW DELHI — India added more than 181 million people to its swelling population in the past decade, growing to more than 1.21 billion people, according to census data released by officials Thursday.
“We are now over 17 percent of the world population, and India is 2.4 percent of the world’s surface area,” said C. Chandramauli, India’s census commissioner. “We have added the population of Brazil to India’s numbers this time.”
The total population grew from 1.02 billion people in 2001 to 1.21 billion this year, according to the preliminary calculations of the massive census exercise that ended in February.
The population of India — the world’s second-most populous nation after China — now is almost equal to the combined populations of the United States, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Japan.
But the census’s most alarming finding is the continuing preference for sons over daughters in Indian society. In the past decade, the ratio of girls to boys for children aged 6 and younger has plunged to 914 girls per 1,000 boys. The ratio was 927 girls to 1,000 boys in the previous census.
“This is a matter of grave concern. This is the lowest ever in the demographic history of the country,” said Chandramauli. “The last census in 2001 had warned us about this; the tendency has worsened.”
In many parts of India female fetuses are aborted or female infants killed soon after birth by families that look upon daughters as a financial burden. The trend is worse in the states where people are prosperous and educated, including the northern state of Punjab and the western state of Gujarat.
The trend has continued despite the government forbidding the use of ultrasound tests to reveal the gender of an unborn fetus to its family.
“Whatever policy measures we have been following in the last 40 years will need a complete review now. They have not been effective,” said India’s home secretary, G.K. Pillai.
There was good news, too. The overall ratio of females to males in India has improved, with 940 women per 1,000 men now, compared with 933 females per 1,000 males a decade ago. But the national capital region of Delhi has recorded a much lower gender ratio, with 866 females per 1,000 males.
The literacy rate also has gone up. Almost 74 percent of Indians are now literate, a jump from 64 percent in 2001. The growth in the number of females who are literate has outpaced that of males.
Overall, India’s population grew during the past decade at a rate of more than 17 percent. This rate was slower than the 21 percent growth recorded between 1991 and 2001, or the 23 percent growth rate for the census before that. It represents the sharpest decline in the rate of growth since India’s independence in 1947.
But the absolute population numbers nevertheless continue to rise, and that overall growth continues to be a cause for worry for many analysts.
The population growth rate also varies wildly between states, which experts say is cause for concern.
“Our federal government sends funds to the states according to their population. This means that the states that have worked harder to reduce their population growth get less money from New Delhi,” said Devendra Kothari, a consultant to Management Institute of Population and Development. “The states with lesser population send fewer members to the Indian parliament. Their financial and political clout will go down.”
Officials said that the final census numbers would be released over the next year.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #3499 on: Mar 31st, 2011, 10:46am »
Soviet Union lied about 1961 Yuri Gagarin space mission
Soviet officials lied about the success of Yuri Gagarin's historic 1961 flight into space and covered up the fact that he had landed more than 200 miles away from where they were expecting him, a new book discloses.
By Andrew Osborn, Moscow 4:37PM BST 30 Mar 2011
A new book revealed that scientists twice miscalculated where Yuri Gagarin would land Photo: AFP/GETTY
The Soviet Union held up his mission, the first manned flight into space, as a major Cold War propaganda coup, portraying it as a glitch-free triumph of Communist ideology.
However, a new book published on the eve of the fiftieth anniversary of Gagarin's famous flight has revealed that scientists twice miscalculated where he would land which is why there was nobody there to meet him when he finally touched down some 500 miles south of Moscow.
"For many years Soviet literature claimed that Yuri Gagarin and his Vostok landing capsule had come down in the area it was supposed to," according to the book, titled 108 Minutes That Changed the World.
"(But) this information was far from the truth," it added, saying Soviet space planners had been expecting him to land almost 250 miles further to the south. "So it turned out that nobody was waiting or looking for Yuri Gagarin. Therefore the first thing he had to do after landing was set off to look for people and communications so he could tell the leadership where he was."
The Soviets lied too about the manner of his landing, claiming that he had touched down inside the capsule itself when in actual fact he landed separately via parachute. The reason they lied, said the book, was to skirt strict rules that would have prevented them from officially registering the flight as a world record. The book, by the Russian journalist Anton Pervushin, published a touching letter Gagarin wrote to his family before the mission in which he pondered his own mortality, telling his wife not to "die of grief" if he never returned.
He said he hoped that they would never have cause to read his words.
"But sometimes people slip on even ground and break their neck," he wrote. "Something could also happen here. If it does I ask you Valyusha (affectionate name for his wife) not to die of grief. After all life is life and there is no guarantee for anybody that tomorrow a car might not end ones life." His decision to pen a farewell letter was understandable. In 1957, Soviet scientists had sent a stray dog called Laika into space only to see her die within hours from overheating. Gagarin's wife finally got to read his emotional letter in 1968 after his tragic death at the age of just 34 in a mysterious plane crash.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #3500 on: Mar 31st, 2011, 10:49am »
March 31, 1999: The Matrix Hooks Us By Scott Thill March 31, 2011 | 7:00 am Categories: 20th century, Computers and IT, Culture
1999: Larry and Andy Wachowski release The Matrix, the first mind-bending installment in what will become an influential sci-fi film trilogy. Cyberpunks quickly forget that technocultural flops like Lawnmower Man and Virtuosity ever existed.
The movie took cyberfiction staples like those found in William Gibson’s Sprawl trilogy — including his classic 1984 novel, Neuromancer, from which the internetworked concept of “the matrix” is taken — and mashed them together with anime, wire-fu, postmodernism, metaphysics, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Jean Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulations, and a torrent of other texts and contexts.
The resulting movie was a mind-bending success: The Matrix grossed $460 million (more than $600 million adjusted for inflation) in box-office receipts worldwide and became the first DVD to move more than 3 million units in the United States alone.
Along the way, it also nabbed technical Oscars for its editing and its pioneering visual effects, which exploded the use of the “bullet time” technique and upped the ante for every action film to follow. It beat out a crazily anticipated Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, which was hamstrung by the lamentable Jar Jar Binks, to win the effects statuette.
Filmed mostly in Sydney, Australia, and anchored by a hacker named Neo (Keanu Reeves in a breakthrough role) and his battle-worn leader Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), The Matrix follows a group of intrepid rebels as they rage against their machine overlords, which farm energy from a humanity trapped in an immersive hyperreality.
Featuring kinetic action sequences soundtracked to the industrial thump of acclaimed artists like Meat Beat Manifesto, Ministry and others, the Wachowski brothers’ film attracted ecstatic praise from cinema auteurs like Darren Aronofsky, M. Night Shyamalan and Joss Whedon. The film also utterly captivated writer Gibson, who explained in the book The Art of the Matrix that “Neo is my favorite-ever science fiction hero, absolutely.”
Because the film reflected myriad influences on its own ubiquitous mirror shades, it was often criticized for its derivativeness and even accused of plagiarism. Famed comics writer Grant Morrison asserted, “The Wachowskis nicked The Invisibles, and everyone in the know is well aware of this fact, but of course they’re unlikely to come out and say it.” Other film critics, entranced by the film’s metaphysical explorations, were nevertheless put off by its reliance on visceral action, especially in the third act.
But, like postmodernism itself, the film is a gripping amalgam of its artistic and philosophical predecessors. Overtly remixing everything from Rene Descartes to the groundbreaking anime Ghost in the Shell, The Matrix is a blinding summation of all of its influences, rather than a copycat of any one, or 100, of them. Because of this, its stature has only grown in the decade since it exploded across the screen.
Visual signifiers and sequences from The Matrix quickly infiltrated every corner of popular culture. From TV shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy to similarly postmodernist films such as Scary Movie and Shrek, directors aped Neo or his bullet-time ballet.
The Matrix franchise quickly ballooned from one mind-blowing film to three, spawning comics, novels, console and online games, as well as the stunning animated shorts of The Animatrix. By the time it was all over, the Wachowski brothers — who had only directed one feature film prior to The Matrix — were firmly ensconced as pop-culture visionaries.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #3501 on: Mar 31st, 2011, 10:58am »
Wired Danger Room
Surprise! CIA’s at Work in Libya By Spencer Ackerman March 31, 2011 | 8:30 am Categories: Spies, Secrecy and Surveillance
For nearly two weeks, the U.S. military has insisted it’s had no contacts with the Libyan rebels. Turns out we reporters weren’t focusing on the right agency.
In a monster scoop, Reuters’ Mark Hosenball reports that President Obama issued a secret order authorizing unspecified covert “support” for the opposition to Moammar Gadhafi. Mark Mazzetti and Eric Schmitt of the New York Times add that for “several weeks,” CIA operatives have been on the ground in Libya, contacting the rebels and gathering targeting information for the air war.
Obama says that the goal of U.S. policy is to get rid of Gadhafi — only it won’t be a goal of the war, which NATO now runs. A substantial portion of his Monday speech on Libya argued that a coalition military overthrow of Gadhafi was unwise, as it would require the third U.S. occupation of a Muslim country since 9/11.
So it’s up to covert action to square the circle. That’s in line with Obama’s habit of secretly expanding military or quasi-military endeavors, in places like Pakistan and Yemen.
But according to the Times, the CIA role in Libya is more furtive. The agency isn’t giving guns to the rebels. It’s finding out precisely who they are — important, since the U.S. has “flickers” of intel that they include some al-Qaeda members. And along with British spies, the CIA teams are learning “the location of Colonel Qaddafi’s munitions depots [and] the clusters of government troops inside Libyan towns.” And figure they probably have some tasking to get Gadhafi’s inner circle to abandon him.
In response to the stories, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said again that “no decision has been made about providing arms to the opposition or to any group in Libya. We’re not ruling it out or ruling it in.” But “all types of assistance” for the anti-Gadhafi rebels remains on the table, he said, and the U.S. has “consulted directly with the opposition and our international partners about these matters.”
The stories break right before Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Michael Mullen spend Thursday explaining the war to the House and Senate armed services committees. Expect legislators to ask how the Obama team’s presentation of a limited war — one in which the U.S. is supposed to scale back its combat involvement — square with the insertion of CIA teams on the ground. Presidents who send CIA teams into hellholes usually do so to avoid sending larger military elements; but often, those teams end up presaging an escalation, not substituting for one.
Spencer Ackerman is Danger Room's senior reporter.
Spencer is based out of Washington, D.C., covering weapons of doom and the strategies they're used to implement.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #3502 on: Mar 31st, 2011, 11:04am »
Arnold Schwarzenegger to Star in 'Governator' Comic, TV Show
5:20 AM 3/31/2011 by Scott Roxborough
The former California governor and actor is working with Stan Lee. Arnold Schwarzenegger is returning to showbiz as a cartoon and comic-book character named The Governator, he tells Entertainment Weekly.
According to EW, the actor and two-term California governor is working together with comic book legend Stan Lee on an animated TV series and comic book that will mix the real life of the actor/politician with the superhuman exploits of the characters he’s played in films.
The news set off a flurry of online speculation that, given EW’s April 1. sale date, the story was an April Fool’s gag.
But Schwarzenegger had previously announced plans for a new television series, details of which he is to unveil at international TV market MIPTV next week.
“It takes my entire career, if its body building, if it’s acting, if its’ the governorship and combines it into one,” Schwarzenegger said in a video interview posted on EW’s site. “The Governator is designed to fight crime, to fight natural disasters…this guy will jump and solve the problems.”
Schwarzenegger said the cartoon was his plan B since the U.S. constitution does not allow him – a foreign-born American citizen – to run for President.
“Otherwise, I wouldn’t be standing here in a leather jacket, I’d be dressed up in a suit,” he said. Schwarzenegger added that he has not discussed The Governator cartoon with his wife, Maria Schriver. “I think it will be a big surprise for her,” he said.
The cartoon is still in development and won’t be finished until next year but Stan Lee revealed some details of the project. In the series, Schwarzenegger decides to become a crime fighter after leaving the governor’s office and, Batman-like, builds a Arnold Cave, a “secret high-tech crime-fighting center under his house in Brentwood,” according to Lee.
The series’ plot will see the Governator battling the evil organization Gangsters Imposters Racketeers Liars & Irredeemable Ex-cons (or G.I.R.L.I.E. Men) and, Lee claims, will include real-life people including Shriver and Schwarzenegger’s children, in its storylines.