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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 43366 times)
WingsofCrystal
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« Reply #3555 on: Apr 6th, 2011, 07:47am »

Wired Danger Room

Danger Room What's Next in National Security Military’s Newest Recruit: C-3P0
By Adam Rawnsley
April 5, 2011 | 1:30 pm
Categories: DarpaWatch


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The Pentagon has spent decades and gazillions of dollars trying to build the perfect translation device. Now, its far-out research arm is looking at a new direction: a robot that can interpret all sorts of languages — and think for itself. That’s right: The Defense Department wants to build a real-life version of C-3P0.

Thursday, Darpa announced its new Broad Operational Language Translation, or BOLT, research initiative — the latest in a long, long line of military interpretation gadgets and algorithms. The United States tends to fight its wars in places where it doesn’t really speak the language. Training up troops in critical languages like Arabic would be difficult, time-consuming and not entirely practical on a large scale.

Enter BOLT, which Darpa has asked Congress to fund at $15 million this year. Once developed, BOLT would act something like C-3P0 from the Star Wars movies, performing a variety of difficult translation feats for troops in hostile territory.

It would go well beyond the array of handheld phrase-translation machines currently in use. BOLT would use language as well as visual and tactile inputs so that it can “hypothesize and perform automated reasoning in the acquired language.” The end result, Darpa’s announcement says, will be a robot with visual and tactile sensors that can recognize 250 different objects “and understand the consequences (pre-state and post-state) of 100 actions, so that it can execute complex commands.”

The bot should be able to conduct both human-to-machine and human-to-human translation. On the human-to-machine end, Darpa wants BOLT to be able to understand human speech in English and one Arabic dialect, such that it can take “complex commands to control a desk-top application” like e-mail or Microsoft Excel.

For person-to-person translation, BOLT is intended to enable ”multiturn, bilingual human-human conversation” between English and Arabic with a success rate of 90 percent. The translation would be ”genre-independent,” meaning translation of language (either Mandarin or an Arabic dialect) regardless of whether it’s in a text message or just plain conversation.

The U.S. military has tried out all sorts of translation gizmos on the battlefield. But devices like the Phraselator and the Voice Response Translator are limited.

They can’t translate just any words you’d like to say. Instead, they spit out a few key phrases and words in local languages likely to be useful on the battlefield.

The blunt phrase exchanges can’t produce the kind of complex communication that the Defense Department would like soldiers to be able to engage in. They can also be downright awkward sometimes.

That’s why Darpa’s currently putting money into more sophisticated devices like BOLT and another Threepio-like translators. The agency asked Congress to fund its Robotic Automatic Translation of Speech, or RATS, program at $21 billion this year, up from $9 million in 2010.

RATS is supposed to be able to pull speech out of “noisy or degraded signals” and identify the language spoken. It’s also intended to sniff out not just the language spoken, but the person behind it, by using voice recognition technology to check the person against a most-wanted list.

Whatever comes of Darpa’s attempt to turn BOLT into a military C-3P0, let’s just hope the Pentagon doesn’t give it the continuously piqued accent of Anthony Daniels, the dude who played the protocol droid in the movies.

It’s annoying enough in English. It might be worse to hear it in Arabic.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/04/militarys-newest-recruit-c-3p0/#more-44049

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« Reply #3556 on: Apr 6th, 2011, 07:50am »

Defense News

1861 Law May Help U.S. Army Operate Under Shutdown
By KATE BRANNEN
Published: 5 Apr 2011 18:07

As the U.S. Army and the other military services face the prospect of a government shutdown by the end of the week, they are looking to the Civil War Era "Feed and Forage Act," for potential authorities to continue operations, according to Army budget officials.

To make sure that soldiers in the field are spared the impacts of a government shutdown, the Army is researching what provisions of the Feed and Forage Act of 1861 would apply in these circumstances, Barbara Bonessa, deputy director for the Army budget said in interview April 1.

Under the law, the government is allowed to buy "clothing, subsistence, forage, fuel, quarters, transportation, or medical and hospital supplies," for the troops before receiving the necessary appropriation from Congress.

The Act was first created during the Civil War for soldiers operating in the western U.S. who had no idea whether a spending bill had been passed in Washington, but needed to resupply their ammunition, food and other necessary provisions, said John Cooney, who served as deputy general counsel in the Office of Management and Budget during the Reagan administration.

It specifically allows the military to incur obligations in advance of appropriations. When the Department of Homeland Security was created it was added to the Act.

Under a government shutdown, operations that "protect life and property" are allowed to continue and it is implied that agencies can keep buying what they need to support those activities.

The Feed and Forage Act makes it explicit, Cooney said. "It's a backup plan just to make absolutely sure," he said.

Although it dates back to the Civil War, the Act has been invoked more recently.

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld invoked the Act following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"Invoking the Feed and Forage Act authorities will ensure the Department of Defense can fully support units of the U.S. armed forces involved in military operations and activities resulting from the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the aircraft crash in Pennsylvania," a Sept. 21, 2001 Pentagon press release reads.

Before that, the Defense Department invoked the Feed and Forage Act in 1996 for force protection measures in Saudi Arabia, following an attack on the Khobar Towers. While it was invoked at that time, it was not used, according to the Pentagon.

Under the Act, the Pentagon is required to notify Congress, who then appropriates the necessary funds after the fact.

According to Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon is still determining how service members' pay will be affected under a government shutdown.

http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=6156807&c=AME&s=TOP

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« Reply #3557 on: Apr 6th, 2011, 07:53am »

The Australian

UK men who shone lasers at police plane claim they were 'looking for UFOs'
From: NewsCore
April 06, 2011 9:18PM

TWO British men who shone lasers at a police plane claimed they were looking for UFOs and aliens, the Manchester Evening News reported today.

The pair's powerful laser pens blinded the police pilot for up to 30 seconds, while the plane flew over a populated area of Prestwich, an area five miles north of Manchester's city center, in northern England.

Matthew Hoult, 37, and his cousin, Paul Hopwood, were arrested when the plane's crew used thermal imaging to tell officers on the ground of their location.

They were arrested and Hoult said in a police interview that they were looking for aliens and UFOs, Bolton Crown Court was told.

Prosecutor Zoe Salter, speaking in Hoult's case, told the court that the pilot and two other officers were on board when the incident happened.

"The pilot informed the officers that there was a green light focusing on the aircraft from the ground below. He said there was a bright green light hitting him in the face causing him to be dazzled," she said. "His awareness of vital instruments on board decreased and there was an increased risk to those on board and on the ground below."

Defense attorney for Hoult, Michael Leeming, said, "The defendant has this long-standing interest with UFOs. It was stupid. He accepts it and he invited me to apologise unreservedly."

Both men received suspended sentences after they pleaded guilty to a charge of recklessly endangering an aircraft, and were ordered to do 150 hours' of unpaid work.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/uk-men-who-shone-lasers-at-police-plane-claim-they-were-looking-for-ufos/story-fn3dxity-1226034933416

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« Reply #3558 on: Apr 6th, 2011, 09:34am »

Darn! I KNEW some of Iowa's infrastructure was old and decrepit, but I had no idea it was this old!! cheesy

Ancient Human Found in Iowa Sewers

Published April 06, 2011
| Associated Press

Human remains that could be 7,000 years old have been found by sewer construction workers on the southeast side of Des Moines.

The remains were discovered in January.

They were found near a site where scientists think people harvested, cooked and ate clams thousands of years ago.

State archaeologist John Doershuk (DOHR'-shuhk) told The Des Moines Register that it's "a rather unique site, not only in Iowa but in the Midwest."

The site's exact location is not being disclosed, lest looters ravage it.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/04/06/ancient-human-iowa-sewers/#ixzz1IkcgACml


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"Let's see what's over there."
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« Reply #3559 on: Apr 6th, 2011, 2:06pm »

on Apr 6th, 2011, 09:34am, Swamprat wrote:
Darn! I KNEW some of Iowa's infrastructure was old and decrepit, but I had no idea it was this old!! cheesy

Ancient Human Found in Iowa Sewers

Published April 06, 2011
| Associated Press

Human remains that could be 7,000 years old have been found by sewer construction workers on the southeast side of Des Moines.

The remains were discovered in January.

They were found near a site where scientists think people harvested, cooked and ate clams thousands of years ago.

State archaeologist John Doershuk (DOHR'-shuhk) told The Des Moines Register that it's "a rather unique site, not only in Iowa but in the Midwest."

The site's exact location is not being disclosed, lest looters ravage it.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/04/06/ancient-human-iowa-sewers/#ixzz1IkcgACml


Wow! Sounds like Birch Bay b.c.e. Thanks Swamp.
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #3560 on: Apr 6th, 2011, 4:05pm »

on Apr 6th, 2011, 07:53am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
The Australian

UK men who shone lasers at police plane claim they were 'looking for UFOs'

Ha! Must have been some from the Greer-cult. grin tongue


on Apr 5th, 2011, 07:56am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Thanks for this link Phil.
Crystal





You are welcome and thanks for posting it. smiley

If you'll ever have a bad day you just got to watch that vid and you will forget all the negative things for a moment. smiley
« Last Edit: Apr 6th, 2011, 4:07pm by philliman » User IP Logged

Stellar Thoughts
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« Reply #3561 on: Apr 6th, 2011, 5:06pm »

Hey Phil,
And the little guys had hand gestures and everything. I kept waiting for them to sit down at a table and order coffee! grin
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« Reply #3562 on: Apr 6th, 2011, 7:25pm »

on Apr 6th, 2011, 2:06pm, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Wow! Sounds like Birch Bay b.c.e. Thanks Swamp.
Crystal


Just some OLD Hippies, living on the beach.
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« Reply #3563 on: Apr 6th, 2011, 8:27pm »

on Apr 6th, 2011, 07:43am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Telegraph

Twitter stir sparked by mystery river object in Bridgwater

A mystery object spotted floating in a river led a sleepy Somerset town to become an internet hit as intrigue over the item gre


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The mystery object floats along the River Parrett Photo: SWNS


By Andrew Hough
7:00AM BST 06 Apr 2011

Hundreds of locals flocked to Bridgwater after news spread that an “unidentified floating object” was found in the River Parrett.

The market town, which has a population of almost 34,000, was brought to a standstill after crowds gathered to catch a glimpse of the object.

Police were then called amid claims the object, which had washed up close to the town centre’s main thoroughfare bridge, was a dead body.

Within hours of the news being reported on the local newspaper’s website, the topic become one of the most discussed – or trended - issues on Twitter, the micro-blogging website.

The issue was ranked alongside Wayne Rooney facing a two match ban over his foul mouthed outburst at the weekend.

Debate raged about whether the mystery object was something out of paranormal or something as simple as a dead turtle, pig or a dolphin.

Coral Pople told the town's local paper: “I’ve been here for 45 minutes. Everyone was saying it was a turtle – but it looks more like a pig to me.”

Andrew Coles added: “I think it was a pig or cow’s head. But I heard people saying ‘look, you can see a hand.’

"But I think it was just the animal’s ears flopping around.” The object has since disappeared without being identified.

A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police confirmed officers attended the scene but dismissed suggestions of foul play.

"We were made aware of a large number of people looking into the river," he said, declining to comment further.

In 2009 a similar number of onlookers gathered at Town Bridge after a dead cow was spotted floating near the banks of the river.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/ufo/8430279/Twitter-stir-sparked-by-mystery-river-object-in-Bridgwater.html

Crystal


Must not be much to do in that town.

« Last Edit: Apr 6th, 2011, 8:28pm by ohendry » User IP Logged

Oscar Hendry
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« Reply #3564 on: Apr 7th, 2011, 07:01am »

on Apr 6th, 2011, 7:25pm, ohendry wrote:
Just some OLD Hippies, living on the beach.


As I said, Birch Bay, b.c.e. grin

Good morning Ohendry!

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« Reply #3565 on: Apr 7th, 2011, 07:07am »

Defense News

JSF Radar Absorbent Coatings Applied to Raptor
By DAVE MAJUMDAR
6 Apr 2011 20:29

The newest F-22 stealth fighters produced for the U.S. Air Force at Lockheed Martin's Marietta, Ga., factory have improved radar absorbent coatings derived from the company's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.

"Some of the [low observables] coatings system and gap-fillers that the F-35 had an advantage on, we have incorporated into the Raptor," said Jeff Babione, vice president and general manager of the F-22 program for Lockheed Martin.

The new materials do not alter the F-22's radar cross-section, but do improve on the durability of those coatings. The benefit for the Air Force is a reduced maintenance burden, Babione said.

"[The F-35 program] had some more robust materials that were more durable and we were able to pull those back on to the F-22," he said. "So our system is better, and the life-cycle cost of the F-22 is reduced."

Dan Goure, an analyst at the Lexington Institute, Arlington, Va., agreed that retrofitting the F-22 with the F-35's coatings will save the Air Force a significant amount of time and money when it comes to maintenance.

"It's not going to transform the airplane, but what it's going to really do is make it much cheaper to operate the F-22 fleet, which is terribly important given its small size," he said.

Despite Lockheed Martin's statement that the F-35-derived coatings would not alter the F-22's radar cross-section, Goure said he suspects the new materials are likely to improve upon the Raptor's already impressive signature.

"I would be very surprised if this wasn't an improvement in stealth characteristics," he said.

Lockheed Martin only had to make minor tweaks to the F-35's radar absorbent materials in order to adapt the technology to the F-22. Though the radar cross-section requirements for the Raptor and the F-35 are slightly different, fundamentally the physics and chemistry of the coatings are the same, Babione said.

For installation into the Raptor, the F-35 coatings likely needed to be modified to deal with the high supersonic cruise-speeds and extreme altitudes at which the F-22 routinely operates, Goure said.

"It's operating at a higher altitude typically and [at] faster speeds, and that would put different stresses on the material," he said.

The Raptor can cruise at speeds around Mach 1.8 above 50 000 feet without afterburners.

At the moment, the latest Lot 9 production F-22s only have some of the new stealth coatings installed. Other improved stealth materials "are still in final qualification testing and will enter the field next year," he said.

Once testing is complete, plans are in place to retrofit the entire F-22 fleet with the coatings.

http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=6169019&c=AME&s=AIR

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« Reply #3566 on: Apr 7th, 2011, 07:11am »

LA Times

Taliban attackers kill 6 at Afghan police site

Three suicide bombers strike first, then a gunfight rages for hours in and around the Kandahar police compound.

By Laura King
Los Angeles Times
4:24 AM PDT, April 7, 2011

KABUL, Afghanistan

A squad of Taliban gunmen and suicide bombers attacked a police complex Thursday on the outskirts of the southern city of Kandahar, killing at least six members of the Afghan security forces and rattling residents of a metropolis whose security has been deemed a top priority by the NATO force.

Heavy explosions rang out as fighting raged for hours in and around the police compound, located on the main highway that connects Kandahar to the city's international airport and the huge NATO base that abuts it.

Echoing a tactic used in a major assault nearly two months ago on police headquarters in Kandahar city, the insurgents used a construction site overlooking the complex as a staging ground for Thursday's attack.

Witnesses said U.S. Black Hawk helicopters circled overhead, and NATO armored vehicles were seen in the area. NATO forces generally respond to such incidents only if Afghan officials request assistance.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on what it called the "puppet" forces of the Afghan government.

Provincial spokesman Zalmay Abubi said the onslaught began at midmorning with an attack by at least three suicide bombers, which triggered a firefight between the attackers and those inside the compound.

The city of Kandahar and the surrounding province of the same name were the focus of a "surge" of American troops last year. Prior to the fighting trailing off with the onset of winter, Western military officials had boasted significant gains including the dislodging of insurgents from several key districts ringing the city, Afghanistan's second-largest.

U.S. officials say establishing security and better governance in Kandahar, which the Taliban movement considers its spiritual home, could turn the momentum of the nearly 10-year conflict in the West's favor.

NATO officials have also said that thousands of pinpoint raids targeting the Taliban's midlevel command tier in recent months have seriously hampered the insurgency's ability to mount its traditional spring offensive, but have cautioned that Western gains are fragile and reversible.

The Afghan forces killed in Thursday's assault included members of the intelligence corps, together with army and police, Afghan officials said without immediately providing a breakdown. The targeted complex houses a recruitment and training center.

Thursday's attack came as NATO's International Security Assistance Force reported it had killed more than 80 insurgents in more than a week of fighting in Kunar province, in eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistan border. Afghan officials put the figure higher, at 130.

At least six Western troops were also killed last week at the onset of the operation, which NATO said was meant to "disrupt insurgent activities in the region." Afghanistan's east is an important staging ground for militants crossing over from bases in Pakistan's tribal areas.

http://www.latimes.com/news/la-fgw-afghan-attack-20110408,0,4723033.story

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« Reply #3567 on: Apr 7th, 2011, 07:15am »

Wired Danger Room

Navy Wants Doc-Bots, Robo-Ambulances
By Adam Rawnsley
April 6, 2011 | 5:34 pm
Categories: Drones


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Not all of the military’s robot research goes into creating unfeeling killing machines. Some of them are here to heal, like the Navy’s plan to create a medical robot to treat troops carried by drones.

The Office of Naval Research recently announced that it’s looking to build a prototype medical robot it calls the Autonomous Critical Care System. ACCS’ first job would be monitoring critical patients’ vital signs. Eventually, though, the Navy wants its bot to provide fluid, drugs, anaesthesia, suction, oxygen and help regulate a patient’s temperature.

The Navy envisions its medic-bot actually diagnosing and managing a number of “medically complex, life-threatening clinical events” for more than six hours — to be done either autonomously or with the assistance of a human caregiver. To do some of that critical management, ACCS would come equipped with its own drug kit, including “epinephrine, phenylephrine, dopamine, vasopressin, paralytics” among others.

Both the military and civilian sectors have been looking into robotic medical care for a while. Darpa, the military’s bleeding edge technologists, recently teamed up with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for research into “robotic applications to surgery,” as well as “computerized therapist personalities.”

The ACCS will be a tiny little bot. The Navy wants it to be 30 pounds, max, and should be able to fit into helicopters easily.

But the Navy doesn’t just want a robo-doc. It’s also looking for an unmanned ambulance — one that flies, preferably. The Office of Naval Research says it expects that “unmanned ground or air vehicles” will be available to carry wounded troops or disaster victims in the future and that their medic-bot will “validate effective patient monitoring and control” on them while in transit.

It’s not that far-fetched of an idea. The Israelis have been working on a robotic ambulance for years. In this country, prototype cargo-carrying drones are already a reality. In the air, there’s the K-MAX helicopter drone which can carry 6,000 pounds and on the ground there’s BigDog, the robotic pack mule able to haul up to 300 pounds. The Air Force and Marine Corps already are working getting their own airborne cargo drones and the Navy wants to build software that would allow the cargo-bots to ferry the wounded by voice command, without the aid of pilots.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/04/navy-wants-doc-bots-robo-ambulances/

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« Reply #3568 on: Apr 7th, 2011, 07:25am »

Reuters

By Shrikesh Laxmidas and Julien Toyer
LISBON/BRUSSELS
Thu Apr 7, 2011 8:13am EDT

(Reuters) - The European Commission expects a formal request from Portugal for aid "soon" and a deal will probably be agreed to ease its debt crisis before a new government is elected on June 5, officials said on Thursday.

An EU source said Prime Minister Jose Socrates' caretaker cabinet still had to clear up that it had the political authority to sign up to a deal that is likely to include painful budget cutbacks.

But bank stocks rallied in response to the U-turn by Socrates, who has resisted a bailout for months, and analysts said they believed a deal could be negotiated quickly despite the political vacuum during the election campaign.

"The Portuguese program will be agreed before the elections on June 5," a senior European Union source said, adding that the first loans were very likely to be made to Portugal by then. A formal request would be made "in the next day or two," the source said.

Lisbon will have to agree to tough austerity targets if it is to follow Greece and Ireland in signing up for an estimated 60-80 billion in support from other members of the bloc.

Portuguese banks won an instant boost after taking the unprecedented step of warning the government on Monday that they might no longer be able to buy government debt -- a move which probably tipped Socrates into seeking help.

Publico daily said "pressure from banks was decisive for the government's request for aid."

The European Commission spokesman Amadeu Altafaj said on Thursday it had not yet received a formal request from Portugal for financial assistance, but expected such a request soon.

"I'm sure they won't take long," he said.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said the aid could only be granted in the framework of a reform program, which would take two to three weeks to put together, adding that the issue would be discussed at a Euro Group meeting in Hungary on Friday.

POLITICAL CONSENSUS

The campaign for a June 5 snap general election will be dominated by the country's critical economic situation as it enters its second recession in three years but the main center-right opposition endorsed Socrates' decision.

President Anibal Cavaco Silva urged cooperation between all political parties.

"I appeal for an attitude of responsible cooperation by all opposition parties," he said in a message on his Facebook page.

The Socialist caretaker government has said it has limited powers and parliament, which EU officials say would normally have to ratify any agreement before disbursal, is dissolved until the election.

Constitutional experts and political analysts said that with parliament dissolved and Portugal needing to repay bonds within days of the June vote, the two main political parties and the president could negotiate a deal with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

The center-right opposition Social Democrats helped precipitate the crisis by rejecting an austerity plan by the government last month.

"The parties are doomed to come to an agreement now on the terms of the aid, and I am certain negotiations are already underway," said Boaventura Sousa Santos, a legal and political expert at the Coimbra University.

"I don't see parliament being called back," he added.

Citigroup warned in a note that "without a clear political agreement on the set of policy measures to implement, the other European countries may be unwilling to sign off the deal."

But the market reaction was broadly placid. Shares in Banco Espirito Santo soared 7 percent in early trade, and Millennium bcp rose more than 5 percent. The banking rally helped lift Lisbon's PSI20 index 1.4 percent.

The yield on Portugal's benchmark 10-year bond edged up to 8.83 percent from Wednesday's close of 8.79 percent having fallen sharply on Wednesday afternoon before the announcement.

RISKS TOO GREAT

Socrates announced he was asking for financing from the European Union on Wednesday, saying the risks to the economy had now become too great to go it alone as borrowing rates soared in recent weeks.

"I tried everything, but in conscience we have reached a moment when not taking this decision would imply risks that the country should not take," he said in a televised statement.

Socrates cited no figure but a euro zone official estimated Lisbon is likely to need between 60 and 80 billion euros in European and International Monetary Fund loans over three years. Diario Economico newspaper said a bailout of up to 90 billion euros could be expected, but did not cite any source.

Analysts said the decision removed a cloud of uncertainty over the euro zone and has a good chance of ending the spread of debt market crises to other countries in the region.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/07/us-portugal-debt-idUSTRE7351EQ20110407

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« Reply #3569 on: Apr 7th, 2011, 07:30am »

Geek Tyrant

YouTube to use 100 million to create original programs

6 April 2011
by Mazer

It looks like Google is getting into content creation and plans to make 20 or so 'featured' channels on YouTube. $100 million is going to be used to create original programming. This will be part of a major overhaul of YouTube as they work to compete with Netflix and Hulu.
Netflix just last month announced their plan to make original content as well. What Google wants to do is create streaming video programs putting them head to head with broadcast and cable television.

In my opinion it's just going to be more of the same short videos, maybe just with more production values. The bigger question is can they create long format narrative content like HBO or AMC. Google has already visited with top Hollywood talent agencies such Creative Artists Agency, William Morris Endeavor and International Creative Management to woo their clients into creating YouTube content/channels.

Another thing to think about is that in February YouTube had 111 million unique visitors in the U.S. alone. I'm sure if any of these channels gain any traction Google could easily say "You know whats cool? A Billion Dollars!!!"

http://geektyrant.com/news/2011/4/6/youtube-to-use-100-million-to-create-original-programs.html

Crystal
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VkrUG3OrPc
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