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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 111023 times)
WingsofCrystal
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« Reply #4455 on: Jul 1st, 2011, 9:18pm »

Prince Albert of Monaco (Grace Kelly's son) got married today. Below is the wedding kiss.
Awkward!



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A former Olympic swimmer from South Africa was officially declared Princess Charlene of Monaco today following her marriage to Prince Albert.
Dressed in a sky-blue jacket and skirt, 33-year-old Charlene Wittstock smiled radiantly as she said ‘I do’ in a civil ceremony in the Royal Palace
throne room of the ancient Mediterranean principality.
Her new husband, 53-year-old Albert, looked on proudly in a dark suit and grey tie as he put sensational rumours about his personal life behind him.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2010331/Monaco-Royal-Wedding-Prince-Albert-Charlene-Wittstock-marry.html#ixzz1QuUuuqxQ

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« Reply #4456 on: Jul 1st, 2011, 10:05pm »

Time for Your Dust Bath??


http://www.youtube.com/user/neonsahvannah#p/a/u/0/1MuduGl5wEs

Chinchilla Dust

Chinchillas should be given chinchilla dust to roll in at least once or twice a week. This is a fine powder that mimics the volcanic ash of their native environment. Oil and dirt sticks to the dust, and is thus removed from the chinchilla when the dust particles fall out of the fur. Dust can be left in the cage at all times, or for a few minutes several times a week.

Chinchillas will soil the dust if it is left in the cage at all times, so it will need to be changed more often if this is done. The dust particles are also very fine, and will get into an indoor ventilation system. If the chinchillas are being kept in a human dwelling, the air handling system will need to have a filter that is changed often.

It is not advisable to sift your dust or use it on multiple animals since this practice can enhance the spread of fungus. Blue Cloud and Blue Sparkle are the most common and effective brands of chinchilla dust used for show and breeding stock.

http://www.chinchillas.com/resource/dust.htm
« Last Edit: Jul 1st, 2011, 10:08pm by Swamprat » User IP Logged

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« Reply #4457 on: Jul 2nd, 2011, 07:39am »

on Jul 1st, 2011, 10:05pm, Swamprat wrote:
Time for Your Dust Bath??


http://www.youtube.com/user/neonsahvannah#p/a/u/0/1MuduGl5wEs

Chinchilla Dust

Chinchillas should be given chinchilla dust to roll in at least once or twice a week. This is a fine powder that mimics the volcanic ash of their native environment. Oil and dirt sticks to the dust, and is thus removed from the chinchilla when the dust particles fall out of the fur. Dust can be left in the cage at all times, or for a few minutes several times a week.

Chinchillas will soil the dust if it is left in the cage at all times, so it will need to be changed more often if this is done. The dust particles are also very fine, and will get into an indoor ventilation system. If the chinchillas are being kept in a human dwelling, the air handling system will need to have a filter that is changed often.

It is not advisable to sift your dust or use it on multiple animals since this practice can enhance the spread of fungus. Blue Cloud and Blue Sparkle are the most common and effective brands of chinchilla dust used for show and breeding stock.

http://www.chinchillas.com/resource/dust.htm


Who knew? Thanks Swamprat. cheesy

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« Reply #4458 on: Jul 2nd, 2011, 07:41am »

New York Times

July 1, 2011
U.S. Expands Its Drone War Into Somalia
By MARK MAZZETTI and ERIC SCHMITT

WASHINGTON — The clandestine American military campaign to combat Al Qaeda’s franchise in Yemen is expanding to fight the Islamist militancy in Somalia, as new evidence indicates that insurgents in the two countries are forging closer ties and possibly plotting attacks against the United States, American officials say.

An American military drone aircraft attacked several Somalis in the militant group the Shabab late last month, the officials said, killing at least one of its midlevel operatives and wounding others.

The strike was carried out by the same Special Operations Command unit now battling militants in Yemen, and it represented an intensification of an American military campaign in a mostly lawless region where weak governments have allowed groups with links to Al Qaeda to flourish.

The Obama administration’s increased focus on Somalia comes as the White House has unveiled a new strategy to battle Al Qaeda in the post-Osama bin Laden era, and as some American military and intelligence officials view Qaeda affiliates in Yemen and Somalia as a greater threat to the United States than the group of operatives in Pakistan who have been barraged with hundreds of drone strikes directed by the Central Intelligence Agency in recent years.

The military drone strike in Somalia last month was the first American attack there since 2009, when helicopter-borne commandos killed Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, a senior leader of the group that carried out the 1998 attacks on the American Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Although it appears that no senior Somali militants were killed in last month’s drone strike, a Pentagon official said Friday that one of the militants who was wounded had been in contact with Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born radical cleric now hiding in Yemen. The news that the strike was carried out by an American drone was first reported in The Washington Post this week.

American military officials said there was new intelligence that militants in Yemen and Somalia were communicating more frequently about operations, training and tactics, but the Pentagon is wading into the chaos in Somalia with some trepidation. Many are still haunted by the 1993 “Black Hawk Down” debacle, in which 18 elite American troops were killed in Mogadishu, the Somali capital, battling fighters aligned with warlords. Senior officials have repeatedly said in private in the past year that the administration does not intend to send American troops to Somalia beyond quick raids.

For several years, the United States has largely been relying on proxy forces in Somalia, including African Union peacekeepers from Uganda and Burundi, to support Somalia’s fragile government. The Pentagon is sending nearly $45 million in military supplies, including night-vision equipment and four small unarmed drones, to Uganda and Burundi to help combat the rising terror threat in Somalia. During the Ethiopian invasion of Somalia in 2007, clandestine operatives from the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command initiated missions into Somalia from an airstrip in Ethiopia.

Even as threat warnings grow, American officials say that the Shabab militants are under increasing pressure on various fronts, and that now is the time to attack the group aggressively. But it is unclear whether American intelligence about Somalia — often sketchy and inconclusive — has improved in recent months.

This week, Vice Adm. William H. McRaven, who was until recently in charge of the Joint Special Operations Command, told lawmakers that planners were “looking very hard at Yemen and at Somalia,” but he said that the effectiveness of the missions there was occasionally hampered by limited availability of surveillance aircraft like drones.

One day later, President Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, said that Al Qaeda’s badly weakened leadership in Pakistan had urged the group’s regional affiliates to attack American targets. “From the territory it controls in Somalia, Al Shabab continues to call for strikes against the United States,” Mr. Brennan said.

Over the past two years, the administration has wrestled with how to deal with the Shabab, many of whose midlevel fighters oppose Somalia’s weak transitional government but are not necessarily seeking to battle the United States. Attacking them — not just their leaders — could push those militants to join Al Qaeda, some officials say. “That has led to a complicated policy debate over how you apply your counterterrorism tools against a group like Al Shabab, because it is not a given that going after them in the same way that you go after Al Qaeda would produce the best result,” a senior administration official said last fall.

American officials said this week that they were trying to exploit the Shabab’s recent setbacks. Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, Al Qaeda’s leader in East Africa and the mastermind of the 1998 bombings, was killed on June 7 in a shootout at a security checkpoint in Somalia.

Somali clan militias, backed by Kenya and Ethiopia, have reclaimed Shabab-held territory in southwestern Somalia, putting more strain on the organization, said Andre Le Sage, a senior research fellow who specializes in Africa at the National Defense University in Washington.

Still, American intelligence and military officials warn of increasing operational ties between the Shabab and the Qaeda franchise in Yemen, known as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or A.Q.A.P. The group orchestrated a plot to blow up a jetliner headed to Detroit on Dec. 25, 2009, and another attempt nearly a year later to destroy cargo planes carrying printer cartridges packed with explosives. Both plots failed.

American intelligence officials say that the Shabab so far have carried out only one attack outside of Somalia, a series of coordinated bombings that killed more than 70 people in Uganda as crowds gathered to watch a World Cup match last year.

In statements in recent months, the Shabab have pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda and its new leader, Ayman al-Zawahri. American officials said that Mr. Awlaki had developed close ties to senior Shabab leaders.

“What I’d be most concerned about is whether A.Q.A.P. could transfer to Shabab its knowledge of building I.E.D.’s and sophisticated plots, and Shabab could make available to A.Q.A.P. recruits with Western passports,” said Mr. Le Sage, referring to improvised explosive devices.

More than 30 Somali-Americans from cities like Minneapolis have gone to fight in Somalia in recent years. Officials say they fear that Qaeda operatives could recruit those Americans to return home as suicide bombers.

“My main concern is that a U.S. citizen who joins, trains and then gains experience in the field with organizations such as Al Shabab returns to the U.S. with a much greater level of capability than when he left,” said a senior law enforcement official. “Coupled with enhanced radicalization and operational direction, that person is now a clear threat.”

Souad Mekhennet contributed reporting from Frankfurt, Germany.


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/02/world/africa/02somalia.html?_r=1&hp

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« Reply #4459 on: Jul 2nd, 2011, 07:46am »

Telegraph

British banking consultant turns South African witch doctor

A British banking consultant has retrained as a witch doctor after a gruelling three months' initiation in the South African bush.


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Thomas Heathfield, 32, from Maidenhead in Berkshire, England, graduates as a sangoma
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By Aislinn Laing, Johannesburg
11:16AM BST 02 Jul 2011

Thomas Heathfield, 32, whose family hail from Maidenhead in Berkshire, renounced sleep for three days, rose at 2.30am to dance for the tribal ancestors and vomited up goats' bloods as part of his training to become a "sangoma".

He slept out in the bush, wore traditional robes and was sent to hunt for the animal body parts hidden by locals in the remote village of Mangweni, close to the Mozambican border in Mpumalanga province.

He had to learn enough of the local siSwati language to understand his instructors, who also gave him a new name, Gogo Mndawe.

He was banned from all contact with family and friends until last Sunday, when his parents Ally and Brian Heathfield flew out to South Africa to attend his graduation ceremony.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph yesterday, he said he first learned about sangomas from a local friend and spent many years studying the practice before giving up his job advising banks on risk and information security in February to train as one himself.

"It's not something you just decide to do – it chooses you rather than the other way round and it's such a massive process that you don't enter into it lightly," he said.

"Some people might see this as a weird decision because I had a successful job in the UK and quite a nice life.

"This is very different and there was a period of learning to renounce control, to think less and do more. Before, I was paid to ask questions but here, questions aren't important. It's about doing things without asking."

He conceded that locals might have initially been nonplussed about a white man training as a sangoma, whose skills including reading bones and prescribing herbal cures are sought out by an estimated 50 per cent of South Africans.

"People are curious as to what brings you here and whether your spirits are the same as African spirits, but when they see you dance, perhaps those questions go away," he said.

While still undecided about how he will use his new-found skills, he intends to settle in Cape Town and buy a house.

And despite the seemingly strange and secretive rituals, he insists that Westerners can learn much from sangomas.

"It's very much grounded and there's nothing New Age or airy fairy about it, you get your hands dirty," he said.

"Here, if they want a chicken to eat, they kill it. In England I'd have gone to the supermarket.

"Having said that, I really miss Starbucks coffee."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/8611221/British-banking-consultant-turns-South-African-witch-doctor.html

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« Reply #4460 on: Jul 2nd, 2011, 12:11pm »

Science Daily

New Theory On Origin of Birds: Enlarged Skeletal Muscles
(June 22, 2011)

A developmental biologist at New York Medical College is proposing a new theory of the origin of birds, which traditionally has been thought to be driven by the evolution of flight. Instead, Stuart A. Newman, Ph.D., credits the emergence of enlarged skeletal muscles as the basis for their upright two-leggedness, which led to the opportunity for other adaptive changes like flying or swimming. And it is all based on the loss of a gene that is critical to the ability of other warm-blooded animals to generate heat for survival.


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Ostriches in South Africa's Kruger National Park. A developmental biologist is proposing a new theory of the origin of birds,
which traditionally has been thought to be driven by the evolution of flight. The new theory credits the emergence of enlarged skeletal muscles
as the basis for their upright two-leggedness, which led to the opportunity for other adaptive changes like flying or swimming.
(Credit: © David Garry / Fotolia)



Dr. Newman, a professor of cell biology and anatomy, studies the diversity of life and how it got that way. His research has always centered on bird development, though this current study, "Thermogenesis, muscle hyperplasia, and the origin of birds," also draws from paleontology, genetics, and the physiology of fat.

Dr. Newman draws on earlier work from his laboratory that provided evidence for the loss, in the common dinosaur ancestors of birds and lizards, of the gene for uncoupling protein-1 (UCP1). The product of this gene is essential for the ability of "brown fat," tissue that protects newborns of mammals from hypothermia, to generate heat. In birds, heat generation is mainly a function of skeletal muscles.

"Unlike the scenario in which the evolution of flight is the driving force for the origin of birds, the muscle expansion theory does not require functionally operative intermediates in the transition to flight, swimming, or winglessness, nor does it require that all modern flightless birds, such as ostriches and penguins, had flying ancestors. It does suggest that the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs may have been related to a failure to evolve compensatory heat-generating mechanisms in face of the loss of UCP1," says the scientist.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110622115317.htm

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« Reply #4461 on: Jul 2nd, 2011, 12:16pm »

Geek Tyrant

SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN Planned as a Trilogy
2 July 2011
by Venkman

According to producer Joe Roth, Universal Pictures' live-action adaptation of Snow White and the Huntsman will most likely be turned into a trilogy. In a recent interview with EW he said,

"It’s meant to be the first in a series of films. This story will end, but there will be questions remaining for these three characters."

The first film is being developed by first time feature film director Rupert Sanders (Halo 3 commercials) and will star Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen, Kristen Stewart as Snow White and Chris Hemsworth as The Huntsman. It is set to start shooting in August, and is in direct competition with the Tarsem Singh directed Snow White film. The fact that Universal is planning a Snow White trilogy is pretty ambitious. Roth continues to talk about the film saying,

"We retain the basic story in the same way we retain the basic story of Alice, a young girl meant to be the queen who is cast out. The Huntsman is a mercenary, in the sense that he’s a guy who is very able in the woods, more able than most anyone. His job is to capture runaway girls, who are all fleeing the kingdom because of the queen. He’s a nondescript bounty hunter, as we first meet him... He’s not a nice guy, but not only that he’s someone who has lost hope and lost faith. He has lost his wife, given up on everything."

Roth also explains that, "he’s no killer... Snow White’s bounty is the first time he has been directed to return with only a part of the missing girl — her heart. When he finds he doesn’t have it within his to cut hers out, the two become unlikely allies — at first fleeing the Queen’s forces, and then mounting a counterattack on her kingdom." This really does sound like it could end up being a great adaptation of the story. As for the character Snow White and the actress portraying her,

"She starts out not a damsel in distress, but innocent, and after 11 years of imprisonment by the Evil Queen, she escapes and learns the ways of a warrior in the woods... Frankly, what we did, we searched high and low for an unknown. Which was my want after Alice. As we went through it, it just became evident to me that Kristen occupies a space in the universe where she’s a terrific actress only known for one part. I hope this is a movie that will appeal to those who find Twilight appealing, but also [Stewart] is someone who has some piss and vinegar in her."

So Kristen Stewart is being described as someone who has piss and vinegar? Interesting. The film opens up on June 1st 2012, and there will be more details for the film revealed at Comic-Con later this month. If the first film turns out to be good, then I won't mind seeing more of them. As cool as this movie sounds though, I'm more interested in seeing what Tarsem has planned for his version. What do you think?

http://geektyrant.com/news/2011/7/2/snow-white-and-the-huntsman-planned-as-a-trilogy.html

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« Reply #4462 on: Jul 2nd, 2011, 12:22pm »

Techflash.com

With iPads, The Social aims to go "beyond face to face"
by Glenn Drosendahl
Saturday, July 2, 2011, 8:00am PDT


Coming soon to Seattle: a restaurant, bar and nightclub where social interaction won’t only be real. It will be virtual too.

The Social, a gay “ultra lounge” scheduled to open in mid-August on Capitol Hill, will have what its owners think will be the city’s first iPad ordering system for food and drinks.





Developed by HubWorks Interactive LLC, the system is marketed as a way to increase efficiency for restaurants and bars.

But what excites Laura Olson, co-owner of The Social, is how the system gives customers added ways to connect. With an iPad in each booth, they not only will be able to order food and drinks using the touch screens, but also use social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and foursquare, and even order drinks for and have online chats with people in other booths.


http://www.techflash.com/

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« Reply #4463 on: Jul 3rd, 2011, 07:05am »

New York Times

July 2, 2011
We Knew They Got Raises. But This?
By PRADNYA JOSHI

IT turns out that the good times are even better than we thought for American chief executives.

A preliminary examination of executive pay in 2010, based on data available as of April 1, found that the paychecks for top American executives were growing again, after shrinking during the 2008-9 recession.

But that study, conducted for The New York Times by Equilar, an executive compensation data firm based in Redwood City, Calif., was just an early snapshot, and there were even more riches to come. Some big companies had not yet disclosed their executive compensation.

So Sunday Business asked Equilar to run the numbers again.

Brace yourself.

The final figures show that the median pay for top executives at 200 big companies last year was $10.8 million. That works out to a 23 percent gain from 2009. The earlier study had put the median pay at a none-too-shabby $9.6 million, up 12 percent.

Total C.E.O. pay hasn’t quite returned to its heady, prerecession levels — but it certainly seems headed there. Despite the soft economy, weak home prices and persistently high unemployment, some top executives are already making more than they were before the economy soured.

Pay skyrocketed last year because many companies brought back cash bonuses, says Aaron Boyd, head of research at Equilar. Cash bonuses, as opposed to those awarded in stock options, jumped by an astounding 38 percent, the final numbers show.

Granted, many American corporations did well last year. Profits were up substantially. As a result, many companies are sharing the wealth, at least with their executives. “We’re seeing a lot of that reflected in the pay,” Mr. Boyd says.

And at a time of so much tumult in the media business, it might be surprising that some executives in media and communications were among the most richly rewarded last year.

The preliminary and final studies put Philippe P. Dauman, the chief executive of Viacom, at the top of the list. Mr. Dauman made $84.5 million last year, after signing a new long-term contract that included one-time stock awards.

Leslie Moonves, of the CBS Corporation, got a 32 percent raise and reaped $56.9 million. Michael White of DirecTV was paid $32.9 million, while Brian L. Roberts of the Comcast Corporation and Robert A. Iger of the Walt Disney Company each received pay packages valued at $28 million.

“Media firms seemed to be paying a lot,” said Carol Bowie, head of compensation policy development at ISS Governance, which advises large investors on corporate governance issues like proxy votes. “Media companies in general tend to be high-payers, and they tend to feed off each other.”

Other big payers included oil and commodities companies like Exxon Mobil and a few technology giants like Oracle and I.B.M.

Some of the other highly paid executives on the new list who were not in the April survey are Gregg W. Steinhafel of Target, who had a $23.5 million pay package; Michael E. Szymanczyk of Altria, $20.77 million; and Richard C. Adkerson of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, $35.3 million.

Most ordinary Americans aren’t getting raises anywhere close to those of these chief executives. Many aren’t getting raises at all — or even regular paychecks. Unemployment is still stuck at more than 9 percent.

In some ways, chief executives seem to live in a world apart when it comes to pay. As long as shareholders think that the top brass is doing a good job, executives tend to be well paid, whatever the state of the broader economy. And some corporate boards were probably particularly generous in 2010 after a few relatively lean years for their top executives. In other words, some of this was makeup pay.

“What is of more concern to shareholders is that it looks like C.E.O. pay is recovering faster than company fortunes,” says Paul Hodgson, chief communications officer for GovernanceMetrics International, a ratings and research firm.

According to a report released by GovernanceMetrics in June, the good times for chief executives just keep getting better. Many executives received stock options that were granted in 2008 and 2009, when the stock market was sinking.

Now that the market has recovered from its lows of the financial crisis, many executives are sitting on windfall profits, at least on paper. In addition, cash bonuses for the highest-paid C.E.O.’s are at three times prerecession levels, the report said.

Of course, these sorts of pay figures invariably push the buttons of many ordinary Americans. Yes, workers’ 401(k)’s are looking better than they did in some recent years, but many investors still have not recovered from the hit they took during the financial crisis. And, of course, millions are out of work or trying to hold on to their homes — or both.

And it’s not as if most workers are getting fat raises. The average American worker was taking home $752 a week in late 2010, up a mere 0.5 percent from a year earlier. After inflation, workers were actually making less.

On the flip side, some chief executives have consistently taken token salaries — sometimes, $1 — choosing instead to rely on their ownership stakes for wealth. These stock riches don’t show up on the current pay lists, but they can be huge.

Warren E. Buffett, for instance, saw his stock holdings rise last year by 16 percent, to $46 billion. Other longtime chief executives or founders who are sitting on billions of paper profits include Jeffrey P. Bezos of Amazon.com and Michael S. Dell, the founder of Dell.

Resurgent executive pay has some corporate watchdogs worried that companies have already forgotten the lessons of the bust. Boards have promised to tie executive pay to company success, but by some measures pay is rising faster than performance. The median pay raise for chief executives last year — 23 percent — was roughly in line with the increase in net corporate profits. But it far exceeded the median gain in shareholders’ total return, which was 16 percent, as well as the median gain in revenue, which was 7 percent.

FOR the moment, shareholders aren’t storming executive suites. And while they received a say on pay under new federal rules last year, their votes are nonbinding. In other words, boards can still do as they please.

Pay specialists say companies are taking a hard look at these votes. Still, only about 1.5 percent of the 200 companies in the Equilar study were rebuffed by their shareholders on pay. A vast majority of the votes passed overwhelmingly, with 80 percent or 90 percent support, according to Mr. Boyd of Equilar.

Mr. Boyd says companies are making an effort to explain their pay plans. “We saw companies take it very seriously,” he says of the new rule.

In some respects, the mere possibility that shareholders might reject a proposed pay plan is enough to make corporate executives think again. Ms. Bowie of ISS says that outrageous payouts — such as so-called tax gross-ups, in which companies cover executives’ tax bills on perks like corporate jets — are becoming rarer.

Disney for instance, eliminated tax gross-ups this year in the face of shareholder ire, she said.

Company directors have the power to rein in runaway executive pay, but it is unclear whether either they or shareholders will do so in 2012. “It can be done if there is the will,” Ms. Bowie says.


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/03/business/03pay.html?_r=1&hp

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« Reply #4464 on: Jul 3rd, 2011, 07:12am »

LA Times

Warring ambitions

The Founding Fathers could have predicted President Obama's decision not to seek Congress' approval for military action in Libya.
That's why they crafted the Constitution the way they did.

By Joyce Appleby
July 3, 2011

James Madison would have smiled had he heard about President Obama's maneuver, seemingly in defiance of the War Powers Act, to avoid asking Congress to authorize military action in Libya.

The act, passed in 1973, came at a time when the Vietnam War had been underway for years without any president asking for congressional approval. Members of Congress wanted future presidents to be obliged to come to them early on in a military action.

The Constitution, after all, had invested in Congress the sole power to declare war. And it rankled legislators that no president had sought congressional approval of a war since 1941, when Franklin D. Roosevelt appeared before a joint session of Congress the day after Pearl Harbor. The War Powers Act was expected to put a stop to presidential impunity in entering armed conflicts by requiring presidents to notify Congress within 48 hours of sending troops into action, and to begin withdrawing them after 60 days unless Congress voted to authorize the action.

Since the act's passage, the country has gone to war many times under various guises, but presidents have blithely continued to act without congressional approval. The Libyan engagement has presented an ideal occasion for Congress to press the issue.

The 60-day deadline on Libya passed May 20. And then began the war of experts.

After Caroline Krass, acting head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, advised Obama that he should comply with the law, the president sought legal advice elsewhere, in an attempt to find some that was more to his liking. White House counsel Robert Bauer came through, issuing an opinion that the missiles we had been raining on Libya did not constitute "hostilities" as envisioned under the act. The president chose Bauer's opinion over Krass'.

And why would Madison have smiled? Because this type of presidential reaction was exactly what he predicted would happen as chief executives confronted the limitations contained in the separation of powers established in the Constitution.

The Founding Fathers considered a balance of powers essential to preventing tyranny. As Madison wrote in his Federalist No. 51 essay, "Ambition must be made to counteract ambition." "The interest of the man," he went on to explain, "must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place."

The drafters of the Constitution wanted an energetic federal government, so they created one, investing it with powers not established in the Articles of Confederation. Then they set about figuring out how to keep their new institution from turning into a monster.

Some like to see the Constitution as a compendium of political virtue, but it would be more accurate to celebrate it as a work of engineering. It set up powers for Congress, the presidency and the Supreme Court, and then channeled and sluiced these streams of power to keep them under control.

The Constitution's drafters expected Congress to be the superior power in the new government they were creating. It was the British Parliament, after all, that had shaken up the old imperial order with laws to rein in Colonial initiatives in the 1760s and 1770s.

The great respect George Washington had accrued during the fighting of the Revolutionary War argued for making the president commander in chief of American forces. But which branch would decide when to go to war? Because members of both the House and the Senate represented the communities from which soldiers and sailors would be drawn for future conflicts, wisdom dictated that the power to make war be put in their hands.

Keeping those two powers — declaring and waging war — separate involved an engineering feat Madison tellingly described as pitting the officeholders' ambitions against each other.

Obama not only acted according to original expectations in his reluctance to have his authority curtailed, but so did Congress. Liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans have dropped their differences for the moment and joined together to check presidential power. Instead of acting like partisans, they are trying to chart a course of action to preserve their constitutionally mandated authority.

Madison went on to say that relying on personal ambition to maintain the separation of powers might seem to reflect on human nature, but what then, he asked, is government itself if not "the greatest of all reflections on human nature."

Pundits like to point to statements Obama made about proper executive restraint when he was a law professor or a member of the Senate. They fail to realize that when he became president, the "interest of the man" would connect him to "the constitutional rights of the place."

Joyce Appleby is a professor of history emerita at UCLA and the author of "The Relentless Revolution: A History of Capitalism."

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-appleby-war-powers-20110703,0,3517152.story

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« Reply #4465 on: Jul 3rd, 2011, 07:22am »

Reuters

Little-known Republican McCotter opens White House bid

WASHINGTON | Sun Jul 3, 2011 7:12am EDT

Thaddeus McCotter, a guitar-playing Michigan congressman with an independent streak, formally launched a longshot bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination on Saturday.

The conservative McCotter made his formal announcement at an Independence Day rock festival outside Detroit. He filed the paperwork on Friday to enter the Republican race for the right to challenge Democratic President Barack Obama.

"Through your hard work and through your principled determination to bequeath to your children a better America, we will restructure the government," McCotter told the crowd at the rock festival, where he played guitar with a band. "... What we need in Washington is someone who knows the future is not big government -- it is self government."

McCotter, 45, is a rock 'n' roll fan known to quote song lyrics and at times challenge his own party leaders. He enters the campaign as a heavy underdog with little name recognition or money.

The five-term congressman from the Detroit suburbs is a strong supporter of the car industry and backed the industry bailout but he has appealed to Tea Party conservatives with calls for a fundamental restructuring of government.

McCotter said on Friday there was room for more candidates in the Republican race, which is now led by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota.

"I want to take my message out and ... see if people respond to it," he said in an interview with a Detroit radio station.

(Writing by John Whitesides; Editing by Bill Trott)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/03/us-usa-campaign-mccotter-idUSTRE7602Y120110703

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« Reply #4466 on: Jul 3rd, 2011, 07:26am »

Wired

Electric Airplane Pilot Breaks Own Speed Record
By Jason Paur
July 1, 2011 | 8:00 am
Categories: Air Travel, Alt Fuel, EVs and Hybrids


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French pilot Hugues Duval broke his own speed record for electric aircraft after topping 175 mph.

He made the record-setting flight in the same twin-engine Cri Cri airplane he flew to achieve his previous record of 162 mph in December. He completed the flight during the Paris Air Show after a full week of demonstration flights.

The tiny Cri Cri has a wingspan of a bit more than 16 feet. Powered by a pair of 35-horsepower electric motors and a pair of batteries totaling 3 kilowatt-hours (and 24 kilograms), the electric Cri Cri can fly for about 25 minutes at 65 mph.

With much of the attention in the electric airplane community focused on range rather than speed, speed records are few and far between. But with four successful electric-airplane designs flying in four different countries, the fledgling industry hints back to the early days of aviation when competition drove improvements in all aspects of performance.

The CAFE Green Flight Challenge originally scheduled for later this month has been postponed for later in the summer. The competition is open to both electric and internal-combustion-powered aircraft, though this year everyone expects a strong contingent of electric aircraft. The challenge includes speed and range, with the task to fly a 200-mile course in less than two hours using the energy equivalent of one gallon of gasoline per occupant.

These aren’t quite the same speeds of the Schneider Trophy, but sure to spur innovation in a similar way. Watch video from French TV of the record-setting flight: http://videos.tf1.fr/jt-we/salon-du-bourget-le-cri-cri-est-un-drole-de-coucou-6551398.html

http://www.wired.com/autopia/2011/07/electric-airplane-pilot-breaks-own-speed-record/

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« Reply #4467 on: Jul 3rd, 2011, 07:32am »

Geeky Gadgets

Sonar Equipped Virtual Canes Can Make The Blind See

By Glenn Santos on Sunday 3rd July 2011 12:00 pm in Gadgets

The Yissum Research Development Company proudly unveiled their latest project at a recent Presidential Conference. While a marketable brand name is currently unavailable, what the Hebrew University lab has created is a marvel of Israeli innovation. The “Virtual Cane” is a sonar equipped aid for blind people, who will use the gadget to map their immediate surrounding and improve mobility.

The Virtual Cane is pretty rugged as well, packing a 12 hour battery life without the hassle of lengthy recharging.

Additional specs are a mystery and a proper release date is unknown. When it does finally become available, expect it to be paired with either a handheld device or a wearable gadget. As seen in the concept illustration above, the Virtual Cane might be useful in transmitting data to a (Bluetooth?) sensor word like a headband. Kinda reminds us of that Batman gadget in the Dark Knight. Moving on…the ultimate goal of the Virtual Cane is to go one step farther by allowing the blind to recognize their environment.

In the words of Yaacov Michlin, who is the leading authority on the Virtual Cane (his lab built it after all): [This] promising invention can endow visually impaired people with the freedom to freely navigate in their surroundings without unintentionally bumping into or touching other people and thus has the potential to significantly enhance their quality of life.

http://www.geeky-gadgets.com/sonar-equipped-virtual-canes-can-make-the-blind-see-03-07-2011/

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« Reply #4468 on: Jul 3rd, 2011, 8:43pm »

Popular Mechanics

The World's 18 Strangest Roadways: Gallery

The most direct path between two points is a straight line, but roads are rarely straight, and the ones that are can be terminally boring. Engineers around the world must calculate the most efficient routes over massive mountains, through densely populated cities and around unavoidable bodies of water, all while accounting for the ecological and financial cost of such projects. The results can be astonishing. Here are some of the world's most notable roads and why they stand out.

By Chris Sweeney


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Guoliang Tunnel
Hunan, China



Background: This spectacular tunnel is one of the few ways to travel to the remote Guoliang village in China's Hunan Province.

How It's Unique: Chiseled by hand in the 1970s, the Guoliang Tunnel is a road that Mahmassani calls "a sculpture more than a means of transportation."

The tunnel passes through a treacherous section of the Taihang Mountains and is lined with makeshift windows that provide scenic but terrifying views. With a clearance of only 15 feet, a width of 12 feet and a precipice around every other bend, navigating this short tunnel is a guaranteed thrill.

Gallery after the jump
http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/engineering/architecture/4338387

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« Reply #4469 on: Jul 4th, 2011, 07:28am »

Linda Drane Burdick is about to give the final prosecution closing in the Casey Anthony trial. Be back later. I think she has two hours then they read the jury instructions.
Then it's jury watch.

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