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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 12355 times)
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« Reply #4770 on: Aug 10th, 2011, 08:03am »

New York Times

August 10, 2011
South Korea Returns Fire After North Shells Disputed Waters
By CHOE SANG-HUN

SEOUL, South Korea — The South Korean military returned fire on Wednesday after North Korean artillery shells fell in waters near a South Korean island the North had earlier attacked with an artillery barrage, Defense Ministry officials said.

South Korean marines based on the island, Yeonpyeong, 75 miles west of Seoul, detected three artillery shots from a North Korean island across a disputed maritime border line at around 1 p.m. Wednesday, the officials said.

One of the shells was believed to have landed on the so-called Northern Limit Line, a Defense Ministry spokesman said, speaking on customary condition of anonymity. South Korea patrols the line, drawn by the United Nations at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. But North Korea rejects it, insisting on a border line farther south.

“We responded by broadcasting a warning and then firing three artillery shells on the N.L.L.,” the spokesman said. “We are paying close attention to the situation, but so far we have detected no further unusual activities from the North.”

The South Korean military has been on high vigilance since North Korea’s coastal artillery launched a barrage on Yeonpyeong last November, killing two marines and two civilians. At the time, South Korea responded with an artillery attack on North Korea.

The attack on Yeonpyeong and the sinking of a South Korean warship in March last year chilled inter-Korean relations to their lowest point in years. South Korea blames a North Korean torpedo attack for the ship’s sinking, which killed 46 South Korean sailors. North Korea denied responsibility.

North and South Korea remain technically at war after they suspended hostilities with a ceasefire rather than a peace treaty. The two sides have never agreed on a western sea border, subjecting the waters around Yeonpyeong to rival claims and occasional military clashes. Hundreds of South Korean fishermen operating in the waters had been taken by the North Korean navy in postwar years. The two navies fought skirmishes in 1999, 2002 and 2009.

Earlier Wednesday, South Korean media reported that the Seoul authorities were searching for an assassination squad assigned by North Korea to murder the South Korean defense minister, Kim Kwan-jin.

Both the Defense Ministry and the government’s main spy agency, the National Intelligence Service, said they could neither confirm nor deny the reports. North Korea, which had earlier threatened to “execute” Mr. Kim for his hawkish remarks, had not yet reacted to the news reports.

Mr. Kim, a former army general, came to office shortly after the Yeonpyeong shelling, calling for a swift and powerful retaliation against North Korean provocations. North Korean state media called him a “national traitor” and “warmonger.” In June, they called for his “execution” after some South Korean reserve army troops used photos of the North’s ruling family as rifle-range targets.

Two North Korean men were arrested last year on charges of posing as defectors and entering South Korea on a secret mission to assassinate Hwang Jang-yop, a high-ranking North Korean party secretary who had vehemently criticized the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, after his defection to Seoul in 1997. Mr. Hwang died of a heart failure last October.

Lee Han-Young, a nephew of a former wife of Kim Jong-il, was shot and killed in Seoul in 1997. South Korea suspected that a North Korean agent killed Mr. Lee, who became a bitter critic of the Pyongyang regime after defecting to Seoul in 1982.

Late last month, prosecutors announced that they had cracked a spy ring. They arrested five men and were investigating dozens more, some affiliated with opposition parties, on charges of spying for Pyongyang. North Korea called the case “a fascist fabrication,” while opposition parties warned against using the case to stifle political dissent.

Last week, the South Korean Justice Ministry said it would increase the cash reward for reporting a North Korean spy to the authorities from 100 million won to 500 million won, or from $92,000 to $462,000.

Also Wednesday, the South Korean Red Cross proposed sending nearly $5 million in baby food, cookies and instant noodles to help North Korea cope with extensive flood damage. Last week, the North Korean Red Cross asked for food, cement and construction equipment, but South Korea is reluctant to send materials that could be used for military purposes.

Inter-Korean relations have alternated between recurrent military tensions and attempts at political reconciliation.


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/11/world/asia/11korea.html?_r=1&hp

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« Reply #4771 on: Aug 10th, 2011, 08:09am »

You know you have too much money when...

Telegraph


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Want to make your eyes really sparkle? A company is offering contact lenses fitted with real diamonds and gold. Dubbed 'eye jewellery', the bling eyewear sees 18 diamonds studded onto an 18-carat gold plate on a special lens. Created by Shekhar Eye Research in Mumbai, the 'La SER' brand lenses can be custom-made at a cost of $15,000 a pair in four designs of diamonds on white gold, diamonds on yellow gold, or just gold or yellow gold.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/picturesoftheday/8692980/Pictures-of-the-day-10-August-2011.html

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« Reply #4772 on: Aug 10th, 2011, 08:17am »

Wired

Aug. 10, 1909: Leo Fender and the Heart of Rock ‘n’ Roll
By Michael Calore
August 10, 2009 | 12:00 am |
Categories: 20th century, Culture, Inventions


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1909: Clarence “Leo” Fender is born.

The designer, engineer and inventor would found the Fender Electric Instrument Manufacturing Company, the banner under which he created and produced the first wave of commercially successful electric guitars, basses and amplifiers. Fender’s panache for instrument design reached its pinnacle with his work on the Telecaster guitar, the Fender Precision Bass and, most famously, the Stratocaster, the musical instrument that was the central force in defining rock ‘n’ roll in the 1950s and ’60s, and whose influence continues to dominate every genre of popular music.

Leo Fender didn’t invent the electric guitar. Six-string slingers had been experimenting with rudimentary amplification systems since the early decades of the 20th century. Always itching for more volume, guitarists were eager to be heard above the drums and other loud instruments in the dance bands of the time.

The first real innovations toward electric axes, however, came with the awarding of two patents for magnetic pickups. The first went to Gibson’s Guy Hart for his company’s Hawaiian guitar design on July 13, 1937, and the second went to Rickenbacker’s George Beauchamp for his horseshoe magnet pickup design featured on his company’s lap steel “frying pan” guitars, on Aug. 10, 1937 — coincidentally, Fender’s 28th birthday.

The earliest electric guitars were either of the lap steel or hollow body archtop varieties. It wasn’t until guitarist Les Paul constructed his own prototype solid body electric, nicknamed “The Log,” in 1946 that the stage would be set for the revolution that would define popular music in the second half of the century.

And that’s where Leo Fender comes in.

Fender was working alongside the earliest electric guitar designers throughout the 1930s and 1940s, even applying for his own patent on his 1944 Hawaiian guitar design. Fender’s earliest commercial successes were in amplifiers, but his first hit was the Fender Precision Bass. The “P-Bass,” introduced in 1951, was meant for players in jazz and dance bands who needed more volume than they could get out of their acoustic upright models. Fender’s bass was a huge success, and its design became his signature. Its visual cues were ones he would return to as he moved on to creating electric guitars.

The Broadcaster and the Telecaster, designed with his business partner George Fullerton, came first, in 1951. The Telecaster, a light-weight solid body with an adjustable neck that was easy to play, is still in production today. But nothing endured, influenced or captured the imagination like Fender’s next major design.

The Fender Stratocaster is more than just an electric guitar. It is one of the great hallmarks of modern art. As an object, it has made a profound impact, becoming synonymous with the men and women who play it and the art it has been used to create.

Put on a Jimi Hendrix song, shut your eyes and let your mind draw you a picture. There’s the head tipped back, the messy afro half-tamed by a headband, the face a mask of lidded-eyed sexual ecstasy, mouth agape. In his flailing hands is a white Fender Stratocaster. And what’s most the most enduring visual image of Hendrix? His stunt at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival when he lit his Strat on fire and knelt behind it, coaxing the flames to grow higher like a possessed Voodoo priest.

It’s the same with Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, David Gilmour, Buddy Guy, Jeff Beck, Buddy Holly, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Dick Dale — every popular musician who has chosen a Fender as his primary axe has assumed the guitar’s iconic curves as part of their own image. Only Stravinsky’s piano approaches such visual power.

Fender’s crowning achievement is indeed a tremendously influential piece of industrial design, and one of the most evocative relics of America’s post-war culture. The Stratocaster’s slopes and swooshes perfectly connect the empty spaces between the dawning space age, the sleek Modernism of Calder’s floating sculptures, the flamboyance and heat of a California hot rod, the raw lust of the sexual revolution and the angry rebellion of youth.

Most of the guitars on the market in the late 1950s had their share of feminine curves, but the Strat was the wood and metal equivalent of a pin-up model. It came in colors like orange sunburst, pearl white and the ever-popular candy apple red. It begged to be touched, and it practically screamed “trouble.”

It was, as the songwriter Jonathan Richman put it in “Fender Stratocaster,” his 1989 ode to the Strat, “everything your parents hated about rock ‘n roll.”

But in the end, it’s a guitar, and it’s not all about the looks.

All of Fender’s guitars were noted for their clean, bright sound. The Telecaster featured two pickups, one at the bridge and one closer to the neck that produced a thin, trebly twang. Strats were configured with a third pickup in between the neck and the bridge, supplying a wider range of tones. Since the solid wood design didn’t resonate as much as hollow body guitars, you could crank one up nice and loud without it feeding back. Just ask Bob Dylan, who plugged in a Strat at Newport in 1965 and turned American pop music upside-down.

Leo Fender’s guitars weren’t just versatile, they were also durable. The carved slabs of wood with bolt-on necks were made to be abused. The neck was detachable (making it easier to service) and adjustable, so the player could set the distance between the strings and fretboard to his or her liking. The Strat’s spring-loaded tremolo system, which could alter the pitch of all six strings at once, may have caused the to guitar to go out of tune a little, but you rarely saw one break.

All of Fender’s guitar designs have endured, and they are prized by both players and collectors. The visual boldness draws you in, but it’s the playability, the way the guitar feels balanced on your shoulders, the curvature of the neck and the way its carved body hugs your own that hooks you.

Fender didn’t stop after the Strat. He also designed the Jazzmaster, the Jaguar, the Duo-Sonic and the Mustang. He followed up the massively popular P-Bass with its slimmer and lighter cousin, the Jazz Bass. He also had a hand in designing the company’s famous amplifiers like the Twin, the Champ and the Bassman.

Leo Fender sold the company that bore his name to CBS in 1965. He founded two more companies, Music Man and G&L Guitars, that sold his newer instrument and amp designs.

He suffered from strokes and Parkinson’s disease late in life, and died in 1991. He never learned how to play the guitar.

http://www.wired.com/thisdayintech/2009/08/dayintech_0810/

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« Reply #4773 on: Aug 10th, 2011, 08:27am »

Reuters

Mother's blood test reveals baby's sex

By Frederik Joelving
NEW YORK | Tue Aug 9, 2011 5:37pm EDT

Blood drawn from expectant mothers could offer parents an earlier sneak peek at their baby's sex than methods currently used in the U.S., researchers said Tuesday.

The test may be particularly valuable for families that harbor sex-linked genetic disorders like hemophilia, they add.

Because such disorders mostly strike boys, knowing that the baby is a girl could spare the mother diagnostic procedures, such as amniocentesis, that carry a small risk of miscarriage.

"It could reduce the number of invasive procedures that are being performed for specific genetic conditions," said Dr. Diana Bianchi of Tufts University School of Medicine, who worked on the new study.

But other researchers voiced concerns, saying it could be misused to terminate a pregnancy if the baby isn't of the desired sex.

"What you have to consider is the ethics of this," said Dr. Mary Rosser, an obstetrician and gynecologist at the Montefiore Medical Center in New York.

"If parents are using it to determine gender and then terminate the pregnancy based on that, that could be a problem," she told Reuters Health. "Remember, gender is not a disease."

The test looks for small pieces of the male sex chromosome in the mother's blood, which would mean she is carrying a baby boy. Some European hospitals already rely on the method, called cell-free fetal DNA, although it's not available from doctors in the U.S.

"What they are finding in England is that many women are not going on to have the invasive tests," Bianchi told Reuters Health.

In those procedures, doctors either extract a small amount of the fluid that surrounds the fetus (amniocentesis) or they take a sample of the placenta (chorionic villus sampling). Between one in 100 and one in 600 mothers miscarry as a result, according to Bianchi.

In a fresh look at the medical evidence for the blood test, she and her colleagues analyzed 57 earlier studies that included more than 6,500 pregnancies.

They found parents could trust the test 98.8 percent of the time when it said they'd have a boy, and 94.8 percent of the time when it indicated a girl.

That leaves some room for error, which could be important if parents are making medical decisions based on the results -- such as whether or not to get an invasive procedure to look for genetic disorders.

However, the current non-invasive alternative -- an ultrasound done at the end of the first trimester -- isn't always good at spotting a baby's sex, Bianchi's team reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

And the blood test is reliable as early as seven weeks into the pregnancy, whereas ultrasound is not.

Bianchi said one study had estimated the blood test costs about 255 pounds in the UK (about $413), all included. While it's available over the Internet, she said her team had only looked at hospital-based test performance.

"I don't know why it is not being incorporated in the US," she said.

Rosser, however, chalked that up to the ethical issues it raises.

"It is a great test that can be part of our armamentarium of noninvasive testing that we use," she said. "But it should only be used by families that are at risk for sex-linked diseases."

Bianchi said she owns stock in Verinata Health, a company that is developing cell-free fetal DNA tests for Down syndrome, although that company had no role in the new study.

The American College of Medical Genetics did not respond to requests for comment on the DNA tests.

SOURCE: Journal of the American Medical Association, August 10, 2011.

(This story has been corrected in paragraph 3 to show said disorders mostly strike boys, not only strike boys)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/08/09/us-mothers-blood-test-idUSTRE77860Q20110809

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« Reply #4774 on: Aug 10th, 2011, 08:31am »

Deadline Hollywood

Bruce Willis Drafted For 'G.I. Joe: Retaliation'
By MIKE FLEMING
Wednesday August 10, 2011 @ 1:50am PDT
Tags: Adrianne Palicki, Bruce Willis, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Joe Cornich, John Moore, Jon M. Chu, Justin Lin, Nicolas Winding Refn

Hardly a big revelation, the report that Bruce Willis is negotiating to play the original G.I. Joe, Joe Colton in Paramount's G.I. Joe: Retaliation. This courtship has been going on for about six weeks or more, and Deadline was the first to tell you that Willis was the guy that Paramount was chasing for the Colton role way back on July 1. That was when we broke news that Friday Night Lights' Adrianne Palicki had been cast as the female lead by director Jon M. Chu. At the time the studio claimed that Willis wasn't the only actor being eyed, but I've only heard his name for that role and I believe the conversation was always with Willis. He has time to squeeze this in before gearing up for another Die Hard, with the studio about to set a director from a short list of Attack the Block's Joe Cornish, Fast Five helmer Justin Lin, Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn and Max Payne helmer John Moore. This positions Willis to have his third franchise, at age 56, as Summit develops a sequel to his 2010 sleeper hit Red.

http://www.deadline.com/2011/08/bruce-willis-drafted-for-g-i-joe-retaliation/

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« Reply #4775 on: Aug 10th, 2011, 5:54pm »

Digital Trends

NASA funds 30 new space research projects


Rick Marshall August 9, 2011

NASA’s space shuttle program may have been retired, but that doesn’t mean the agency has abandoned its plans for extraterrestrial adventure. In fact, it just announced plans for an ambitious new set of outer-space initiatives.

NASA announced plans to fund 30 new space projects yesterday, covering everything from ways to reduce the amount of debris orbiting Earth to 3-D printers that will aid in the construction of planetary outposts.

Each of the proposals will receive $100,000 in funding for a one-year period of research and development. The funding was arranged as part of the agency’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) department, according to the official announcement.

Along with the two aforementioned projects, additional proposals include ways to protect astronauts from deep-space radiation and methods for fueling spacecrafts with solar and nuclear energy.

“These innovative concepts have the potential to mature into the transformative capabilities NASA needs to improve our current space mission operations, seeding the technology breakthroughs needed for the challenging space missions in NASA’s future,” said NASA chief technologist Bobby Braun.

One example of the projects being funded is the Space Debris Elimination proposal by Daniel Gregory of Raytheon BBN Technologies. The project will investigate the viability of using a specialized “air gun” to push space junk out of orbit and reduce the threat of an in-space collision, according to Space.com.

As for the 3-D printer, that project involves the use of 3-D printing technology to construct tools, equipment, and even spacecraft and lunar habitats using the printers, which layer material like plastic or metals into a three-dimensional construct.

http://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/nasa-funds-30-new-space-research-projects/
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« Reply #4776 on: Aug 10th, 2011, 7:12pm »

on Aug 10th, 2011, 5:54pm, Swamprat wrote:
Digital Trends

NASA funds 30 new space research projects


Rick Marshall August 9, 2011

NASA’s space shuttle program may have been retired, but that doesn’t mean the agency has abandoned its plans for extraterrestrial adventure. In fact, it just announced plans for an ambitious new set of outer-space initiatives.

NASA announced plans to fund 30 new space projects yesterday, covering everything from ways to reduce the amount of debris orbiting Earth to 3-D printers that will aid in the construction of planetary outposts.

Each of the proposals will receive $100,000 in funding for a one-year period of research and development. The funding was arranged as part of the agency’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) department, according to the official announcement.

Along with the two aforementioned projects, additional proposals include ways to protect astronauts from deep-space radiation and methods for fueling spacecrafts with solar and nuclear energy.

“These innovative concepts have the potential to mature into the transformative capabilities NASA needs to improve our current space mission operations, seeding the technology breakthroughs needed for the challenging space missions in NASA’s future,” said NASA chief technologist Bobby Braun.

One example of the projects being funded is the Space Debris Elimination proposal by Daniel Gregory of Raytheon BBN Technologies. The project will investigate the viability of using a specialized “air gun” to push space junk out of orbit and reduce the threat of an in-space collision, according to Space.com.

As for the 3-D printer, that project involves the use of 3-D printing technology to construct tools, equipment, and even spacecraft and lunar habitats using the printers, which layer material like plastic or metals into a three-dimensional construct.

http://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/nasa-funds-30-new-space-research-projects/


Hooray!!!

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« Reply #4777 on: Aug 11th, 2011, 08:07am »

New York Times

August 10, 2011
Fugitive Florida Siblings Arrested After Colorado Crash
By ERICA GOODE

They were quickly dubbed “the Dougherty gang,” three gun-toting, fast-driving and allegedly bank-robbing siblings whose exploits invited media comparisons to Bonnie and Clyde.

They eluded law enforcement officers for more than a week as they fled westward from Florida, their photos plastered across billboards in the Southeast and posted on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s list of wanted criminals. But after a 20-mile, Hollywood-style chase-plus-shootout in southern Colorado on Wednesday morning, the three were taken into custody.

Lee-Grace Dougherty, 29, her brother, Ryan Dougherty, 21, and her half-brother, Dylan Dougherty Stanley, 26, are now likely to face prosecution, suspected of shooting at a police officer in Florida, robbing a bank in Georgia and whatever other charges might arise from their sojourn in Colorado.

The siblings’ capture was perhaps inevitable: they were still driving the same white 2006 Subaru Impreza they left Florida in, though they had replaced its New York license plates with stolen Texas ones. On Tuesday, they were spotted buying camping supplies at an REI store in Colorado Springs; Wednesday morning, someone saw them at a campground near town and called the Colorado State Patrol.

The car chase that ensued ended when the suspects’ Subaru rolled and crashed on Interstate 25 near Walsenburg, according to the State Patrol. One of the brothers escaped from the car and fled on foot but was caught shortly afterward. All three siblings were arrested and taken to a hospital, where at least one was being treated for minor injuries. No state troopers were hurt, the State Patrol said.

The siblings’ brief career as fugitives began on Aug. 2, when a police officer tried to stop them for speeding in Zephyrhills, Fla. They led him on a chase and fired at him, the police said, puncturing the tire of his cruiser. Hours later, the F.B.I. said, they held up the CertusBank in Valdosta, Ga., where two of them were captured on camera, holding an AK-47 and a machine pistol. They fired at the ceiling before fleeing.

In its crime alert, the F.B.I. branded the three “armed and dangerous.”

But in a week dominated by stock markets in free fall and riots in London, the suspects’ sibling bond and provocative behavior provided diversionary fodder for many. In an interview with The Associated Press, the suspects’ mother, Barbara Bell, urged them to turn themselves in before someone was hurt.

And criminal justice experts speculated on the significance of their family ties; one former F.B.I. agent, Brian Kensel, told a CBS affiliate in Florida that the fact that they were siblings made them especially dangerous. “It’s an ‘I’ll die for you, you’re my brother, you’re my sister’ kind of a thing,” he said.

Lee-Grace Dougherty in particular was immediately portrayed as a kind of Internet-savvy successor to Bonnie Parker. On her Flickr page, she boasted, “I love to farm and shoot guys and wreck cars” and added that she was fond of “causing mayhem with my siblings.”

She worked briefly as one of 300 or so exotic dancers at Cheaters Gentlemen’s Club in Cocoa Beach, Fla., where Mark Luethje, the general manager, said, “She did nothing to make an impression on anybody.”

But a Florida Highway Patrol officer who responded to the scene of a traffic accident on May 7 and arrested her on charges of driving under the influence, battery on a law enforcement officer and reckless driving described her in his report as yelling and crying, spitting in his face, kicking a deputy and trying to break out the back window of the patrol car with her feet.

Ryan Dougherty, whose fiancée is pregnant, had recently pleaded guilty to a charge of lewd and lascivious behavior after communicating with a minor on the Internet, said Robert E. Eddington, a lawyer in Daytona Beach who defended him on the charge. Mr. Dougherty was required to register as a sex offender and to wear an ankle monitor, and he risked being barred from seeing his child being born, events that may have helped set off the siblings’ actions, Mr. Eddington speculated.

“The kids aren’t bad kids per se, but sometimes kids are exposed to so many things at a young age,” he said.

“So many of these stories end in children getting killed or officers getting killed, and luckily, nothing happened,” Mr. Eddington said.


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/11/us/11fugitive.html?_r=1&hp

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« Reply #4778 on: Aug 11th, 2011, 08:14am »

be right back.........


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« Reply #4779 on: Aug 11th, 2011, 12:02pm »

The Hill

Mitt Romney says he foresees 'real ugly' general-election fight against Obama
By Michael O'Brien
08/11/11 10:39 AM ET

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) said Wednesday evening that he expects a general-election battle to get "real ugly" between him and the president.

Romney addressed the strategy reportedly plotted by President Obama's reelection campaign to negatively cast the tentative front-runner for the GOP nomination by vowing to respond aggressively.

"I think the American people are going to look beyond the personal attacks that are coming from his campaign, and by the way, I'm expecting it's going to get real ugly," Romney said on Fox News. "My guess is, you're going to see all sorts of things, drudged up and made up and puffed up."

Romney's campaign hasn't spent much time going negative, at least against his fellow Republican presidential candidates. But behind the scenes, his campaign keeps close tabs on the other GOP competitors, and, for that matter, the president. His operation is poised to engage in the "aggressive" kind of response he said he'd deliver to the president.

"Of course you fight back," he said. "The president is going to go after every dimension of warfare he can think of, then of course you respond aggressively and dynamically and you point out not personal failings, those are not relevant right now. The American people want to know who can get this economy going again. And you fight back by pointing out the president's remarkable failures."

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/176447-romney-sees-real-ugly-election-fight-against-obama

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« Reply #4780 on: Aug 11th, 2011, 12:04pm »

Wired Danger Room

New Air Force Jet Concept: Like a Prius, But With Lasers
By David Axe
August 11, 2011 | 7:00 am
Categories: Air Force

The jet fighter of the future could fire lasers, evade radars and heat-detecting sensors, and slip software viruses into enemy computer networks. All this while flying farther and more often, and using less gas. At least that’s what Air Force chief scientist Mark Maybury envisions for the planned successor to today’s F-22 and F-35 stealth fighters.

The new fighter, called “F-X” by the Air Force, could enter service sometime after 2030 and be heavily influenced by an increasingly popular aerospace design trend called the “More-Electric Aircraft,” Maybury said in a July presentation. In essence, the More-Electric Aircraft initiative aims to produce badass flying versions of today’s hybrid-electric Prius cars.

But don’t get too excited. There are good reasons to be skeptical of Maybury’s electric-fighter idea. For one, a hybrid-electric dogfighter could cost a fortune to design and build. And the Air Force has completely botched the current batch of jet fighters — why would anyone believe it can successfully develop the next one? Of all the military branches, only the Navy has proved in recent years that it can balance ambitions and the discipline to actually produce new fighters in large numbers.

Still, the More-Electric Aircraft take on the F-X — let’s just call it the “More-Electric Fighter” — looks great, in theory.

The key to the electric fighter’s sweet skills would be a new power system loosely modeled on the internal workings of hybrid cars, plus a super-efficient “combined-cycle” engine equally suited for slow and fast flight. The power system and engine promise “savings in the $B’s with improved warfighting,” Maybury claimed. (That B, by the way, stands for “billions.”)

The new power system Maybury envisions is built around internal capacitors storing up power drawn from the main engine, just like in a hybrid car. With smart computerized management, the capacitors could release power to particular sensors, energy weapons and mechanical systems, as required. (Shameless plug: This confluence of civilian and military hybrid tech is one subject of my forthcoming book From A to B: How Logistics Fuels American Power and Prosperity.)

That would allow the new jet to mount lethal lasers, radar-frying microwave beams and high-powered radars capable of slipping malicious code into enemy networks — capabilities that, not coincidentally, are also slated for the Air Force’s next-gen bomber.

Flexible power distribution would allow the More-Electric Fighter to ditch today’s bulky, slow-reacting hydraulic flight-control system. It would instead use purely electric actuators, which should be faster-reacting, more efficient and more reliable, allowing a higher sortie rate.

Plus, the new plane’s electrical system would use energy from the engine that otherwise gets absorbed in the fuel tanks or spewed out the back, making the fighter a juicy target for infrared sensors. In short, the electric jet could be more heat-stealthy and possess the same radar stealth as the F-22 and F-35.

And, it would fly more efficiently than any current plane, thanks to the combined-cycle engine. Designers optimize today’s jet engines for either fuel efficiency or speed, but not for both. The idea behind the combined-cycle motor is that, using new shapes and materials, it can be both gas-miserly and speedy. That could bring airliner-level efficiency, range and cash savings to the normally thirsty, pricey business of aerial combat.

If your eyes are rolling as you read this, we understand. This is not the first time the Air Force has promised to introduce radical new technology along with big cost savings, instead of viewing the two as necessarily separate goals. That’s how we got the F-35, a heavier, more complex fighter than the jets it will replace, but which was also supposed to be cheaper. Spoiler: It isn’t.

Equally, it’s not clear the Air Force can successfully manage any new fighter development. Leaving aside the issue of catastrophically escalating costs, the most recent jets don’t actually work at the moment.

If there’s a silver lining for Maybury’s electric fighter, it’s this: The total absence of cash, credibility and confidence to back a high-profile, formal program means the early work on the More-Electric Fighter is being done quietly, on the cheap, by the Air Force Research Laboratories — in essence, Maybury’s nerd corps.

“We are out of money, so we have to think,” admitted Gen. Philip Breedlove, the Air Force vice chief of staff.

Thinking sure beats throwing buckets of cash at some over-hyped dream. Maybe with some solid research and aggressive experimentation, the Air Force can winnow the electric fighter notion down to something it can actually build, and at reasonable cost.

After it’s got today’s stealth jets working again, of course.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/08/prius-with-lasers/

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« Reply #4781 on: Aug 11th, 2011, 12:08pm »

Geek Tyrant

Cinemax Starts Production on TRANSPORTER TV Series
11 August 2011
by Venkman

Cinemax has announced that they have started production on the new Transporter television series. This new show is an adaptation of the action-packed Luc Besson and Jason Statham films. Besson is an executive producer on the series, but Statham will not be reprising his role. The role of the Transporter has been filled by Chris Vance (Burn Notice), who I think will end up doing a fine job in the series. I've enjoyed watching the Transporter films, and even though Statham isn't involved with the series I'm still excited about it and willing to give it a shot. It could end up being pretty awesome! The 12-part action series is set to debut on Cinemax in 2012.

Here's the synopsis:

Based on the successful film franchise of the same name created by Europacorp's Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen, this fast-paced series follows the adventures of professional transporter Frank Martin, who can always be counted on to get the job done - discreetly. Operating in a seedy underworld of dangerous criminals and desperate players, his three rules are: Never change the deal, no names, and never open the package. Occasionally, complications arise and rules get broken.

From the press release:

The series' executive producers are Luc Besson, Fred Fuchs, Robert Cooper, Joseph Mallozzi & Paul Mullie and Alexander Ruemelin; produced by Susan Murdoch (QVF Inc.) and Klaus Zimmermann (Atlantique Productions). "Transporter" is a France/Canada international treaty co-production produced by Atlantique Productions and QVF Inc. in association with broadcast partners HBO/Cinemax as well as The Movie Network and Movie Central (Canada), M6 (France) and RTL (Germany).

Andrea Osvart (Duplicity) co-stars as Martin's trusted handler Carla and Francois Berléand reprises his role of Inspector Tarconi from the films. The cast also includes Delphine Chanéac (Splice) in the recurring role of Juliette, a reporter who seems to know a lot about Frank's work, and Rachel Skarsten ("Made... The Movie," "Birds of Prey") as Delia, the daughter of someone from Frank's past.

Stephen Williams, a director and co-executive producer of "Lost," is directing the first episode.


http://geektyrant.com/news/2011/8/11/cinemax-starts-production-on-transporter-tv-series.html

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« Reply #4782 on: Aug 11th, 2011, 12:15pm »

Scientific American

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Dramatically Wiped Out by Reprogrammed Cells

Patchwork receptors target immune cells against cancer.

August 10, 2011
By Heidi Ledford of Nature magazine

Two weeks after receiving an experimental treatment for his cancer, David Porter's 65-year-old leukemia patient seemed to take a turn for the worse. Fatigue and fever drove the patient back to hospital, where his temperature surged to more than 39º C and he began to shake, his body racked with nausea and diarrhea.

But rather than being a clinical failure, the patient's return to hospital heralded the treatment's success. His symptoms were the dying scream of more than a kilogram of leukemia cells under attack by genetically engineered immune cells called T cells that Porter, an oncologist at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center in Philadelphia, and his colleagues had infused two weeks earlier. As the T cells destroyed their targets, the sheer volume of cellular debris temporarily overwhelmed the patient's body.

"I was sure the war was on," the patient, who has asked to remain anonymous, wrote in a statement released to reporters. "It was another week later that I got the news that my bone marrow was completely free of detectable disease."The dramatic results from this patient and two others, published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine and Science Translational Medicine, are among the first successes for a long-sought therapy based on reprogramming immune cells to attack cancers.

The approach aims to harness the lethal capabilities of T cells. Porter and his colleagues, including immunologist Carl June, engineered each patient's T cells to recognize a protein called CD19 that is displayed on the surface of cancerous cells as well as on normal immune cells called B cells.

Researchers have long sought to kill cancer with T cells containing such "chimeric antigen receptors", but early results were disappointing. Then, last year, the field was rocked by the reports of two deaths in clinical trials of similar therapies.

Advocates of the technique hope that Porter's results and others like them will spark a renaissance. "These are very encouraging findings," says Michel Sadelain, a cancer researcher at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. "It really vindicates this small but growing field of cancer researchers who believe that cells are very smart drugs."

Promising leads

Cells may be smart, but researchers have struggled to harness that intelligence to fight cancer. Early attempts to engineer T cells with chimeric antigen receptors failed to coax the cells to proliferate in the body. As a result, the modified cells soon died off, leaving little impact on the disease.

Porter's group is one the first to report results from a generation of chimeric receptors that include both an antibody to target the cancer and part of a receptor that amplifies the T-cell response. This time, the doctored T cells proliferated more than 1,000-fold in the body, and were still present at high levels six months after the treatment.

June credits this expansion and persistence for the study's dramatic results: two patients in complete remission and a third showing a partial response. The treatment kills off normal antibody-producing B cells too, but patients can be given regular infusions of antibodies to compensate for this, Porter says.

Other laboratories have also reported success with this generation of receptors. Last year, Steven Rosenberg's group at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda, Maryland, published a similarly promising case report: a person with lymphoma given T cells modified to target CD19 experienced a partial remission of his cancer. That patient, treated initially in 2009, received a second treatment in March 2010 and is "still having a fabulous response", says Rosenberg.

more after the jump
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=reprogrammed-cells-cure-leukemia

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« Reply #4783 on: Aug 11th, 2011, 12:18pm »

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« Reply #4784 on: Aug 12th, 2011, 07:26am »

New York Times

August 11, 2011
Fight Harder, Voters Telling Congressmen
By JENNIFER STEINHAUER

VIRGINIA BEACH — Taking in the highly unfavorable view most Americans have about Congress right now, it might be assumed that what voters seek is a lowered volume, thoughtful bipartisanship and legislative compromise. But in meetings with voters across the country this week, many members of Congress are seeing a mirror of the House floor.

As lawmakers meet with voters back home in their districts, the message is often not “Can’t we all just get along?” but rather a push to get back into the ring and fight harder, as they face the most partisan and intransigent factions of both parties.

In middle school auditoriums, retirement centers, recital halls and other such venues, angry constituents are deriding their representatives for the spectacle of the past month over the raising of the debt ceiling.

But in many cases, the anger is less about the dissension that brought the nation to the edge of default than frustration with both Democrats — including President Obama — and Republicans that their side had not been tough enough.

“I sometimes wonder,” said John Joslin, 70, a Democrat reflecting on Mr. Obama during a town hall-style meeting on Tuesday with Representative Betty McCollum, Democrat of Minnesota, “Whose side is he on? He’s almost Republican. He’s just rolled over and rolled over and rolled over, and I hope that you, as a progressive, can somehow add some steel to his blood.”

Preston Davis, 48, of Payson, lamented, “Republicans chasing Democrats to the left, and I hate it when the party deserts me.”

So far, the post debt-debate gatherings have neither the urgency nor the toxicity of those from the summer of 2009, when angry voters and interest groups came out slugging over health care. But what members — with their eyes turned both to the new committee charged with deficit reduction recommendations and the 2012 campaign — are finding back home suggests that tough times lie ahead in Washington.

Representative Tom Graves, Republican of Georgia, told an audience of about 100 in Fort Oglethorpe this week that he did not vote for a final deal to increase the debt ceiling, because: “I believe compromises are what got us into this mess in the first place. You can’t compromise your way out of it.” He was met with thunderous applause.

Town hall-style meetings are an imperfect arbiter of voter sentiment. While the meetings draw plenty of local constituents, they are also a magnet for activists, as Democrats and Republican have learned the importance of packing the halls with supporters.

But as the raucous meetings in the summer of 2009 demonstrated, the tone of the meetings tends to frame the terms of the debate.

It is a reality that Representative Eric Cantor, the majority leader, made note of in a call with his members this week.

“When we are out with constituents who are voicing anger frustration and fear,” Mr. Cantor said, according to transcripts, “in this economy, that’s understandable. We need to try to listen and address their concerns and show that we have acted and have a handle on the situation. We are going to continue to take our case to Democrats and the president.”

Members can often test their crowd with particular lines or references to bills. At a meeting here in Virginia Beach on Tuesday night with several lawmakers invited by the district’s Republican congressman, Scott Rigell, members spoke of a balanced budget amendment — something many Republicans in Congress are seeking as part of any long-term deficit reduction deal — which sent the audience to its feet.

In her meeting in St. Paul, Ms. McCollum tried to throw her audience some liberal red meat, even while preaching civility to those who heckled a man for advocating higher tax rates for high earners. “Since the elections last fall,” she said, “the Republican Tea Party has forced our country into one manufactured crisis after another.”

While most members got broad support from those who attend their meetings — and are not there simply to protest — others saw significant push back. “What we’re going through right now doesn’t bother me,” said Representative Joe Walsh of Illinois, as he addressed 50 people in DeKalb on Wednesday night. The audience snorted in mocking laughter.

Mr. Walsh, who has been an outspoken critic of the debt ceiling deal and who is under fire after The Chicago Sun-Times reported that he owed thousands of dollars in child support, continued: “I think this is good for this country because the country has finally woken up and is finally going to get serious about big problems. It’s like it’s asleep 40, 50 years and woke up and ‘My God, the government has all these problems.’ I think all this wrestling right now is good. I think we’re finally taking them serious.”

(Concerning his child-support debts, Mr. Walsh said: “We’re trying to get this taken care of legally. I can’t and won’t talk about this publicly. This is a personal matter near and dear to me, it involves me, it involves my kids, it involves my family. I’m not going to publicly talk about that.”)

There is clear evidence that some liberal groups are stoking the partisan fires at meetings. A group called the American Dream Movement has been protesting outside Republican meetings — a small group formed here Tuesday night, and handed out buttons — and other groups have also sent protesters or hostile questioners to meetings.

But the importance of adhering to ideological orthodoxy within the legislative process is often reinforced by members when they have a supportive crowd. First elected to the House in 2008, Mr. Chaffetz then defeated a six-term Republican incumbent, former Representative Chris Cannon.

“If you want different results, you have to elect different people,” Mr. Chaffetz told his audience in American Fork. Noting that in the 2008 campaign, fellow Republicans campaigned against him, he said with glee: “I love that; bring it on.”

Wild applause.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/12/us/politics/12congress.html?_r=1&hp

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