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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 111333 times)
WingsofCrystal
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« Reply #5145 on: Sep 29th, 2011, 08:35am »

LA Times


GERMANY: Lawmakers OK plan to bolster Europe's bailout fund

September 29, 2011 | 3:18 am

REPORTING FROM LONDON -– In a key test for Europe's attempts to resolve its raging debt crisis, German lawmakers Thursday ratified a controversial plan to strengthen the continent’s $600-billion bailout fund.

It was an important victory for Germany's leader, Angela Merkel, who staked much of her authority as chancellor on securing approval of the plan.

The vote in favor was a decisive 523-85 with 3 abstentions. But more important was the fact that Merkel was able to muster a majority from within her own center-right coalition, despite threats of a backbench rebellion. If she had had to count on opposition votes to get the measure passed, her credibility as chancellor would have been seriously eroded.

Bailing out debt-ridden nations such as Greece and Portugal has become a distasteful exercise to many of Merkel's compatriots, who feel their taxes are going toward propping up spendthrift countries that ought to pay their own debts.

"We've gone on a slippery slope with the Greek bailout," lawmaker Klaus-Peter Willsch told the Bundestag, breaking ranks with fellow members of Merkel's ruling party, the Christian Democratic Union. "This will cost a lot of money, money that we don't have."

But analysts describe the beefed-up rescue fund as a crucial step in Europe's efforts to get a handle on its debt crisis, even though many economists say that it is far from enough and that bolder measures are needed fast to keep the crisis from engulfing bigger nations such as Spain and Italy.

The plan to give the emergency fund expanded powers to buy sovereign bonds and to lend to cash-squeezed banks was crafted by European leaders in July, but it needs the approval of all 17 national parliaments in the Eurozone to go into effect.

Support from Germany, Europe's largest economy, is imperative. On Wednesday, Finland's parliament also approved the expanded fund, despite heavy opposition in that country.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/world_now/2011/09/germany-lawmakers-ok-plan-to-bolster-europes-bailout-fund.html

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« Reply #5146 on: Sep 29th, 2011, 1:14pm »

The Hill

Privacy advocates at odds with Facebook over changes
By Gautham Nagesh
09/29/11 02:08 PM ET

A group of privacy advocates asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether recent changes by Facebook to encourage users to share more information violate consumers' privacy on Thursday.

"For users who wish to maintain something approaching their old privacy settings, Facebook has offered solutions that are confusing, impractical, and unfair," the letter states.

The group's complaints about Facebook's adoption of frictionless sharing for some applications and the unveiling of Timeline, an updated profile that makes a user's entire history on the site easily viewable at once, reveal a fundamental divide on the nature of sharing data online.

The groups including the Electronic Privacy Information Center, American Civil Liberties Union, and the American Library Association claim the changes have made sharing information on Facebook a passive rather than active activity, meaning consumers may unwittingly reveal more than they intend.

New features such as the Facebook Ticker and Timeline were also targeted because they allow users to view more information about other users without having to actively seek it out. Facebook argues users have full control over who can view their profile information.

The groups view frictionless sharing, in which a user can choose to let an app share all of their activity with a given audience, as particularly troublesome, arguing the practice is consistent with Facebook's attempts to push consumers to publish more information online.

But Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has consistently maintained that users have shown a preference for sharing more information online, not less. He claims Facebook is simply giving users the tools to share as much as they want; but the letter argues Facebook is looking to profit from that data.

"Some groups believe people shouldn't have the option to easily share the songs they are listening to or other content with their friends. We couldn't disagree more and have built a system that people can choose to use and we hope people will give it a try," said a Facebook spokesman.

"If not, they can simply continue listening and reading as they always have. If people do try the new apps announced by Facebook last week, they'll find that they have complete control over whether their information is shared and with whom."

Also at issue for the groups is Facebook's use of cookies, which they claim the firm uses to track the Internet activity of users even after they have logged off of Facebook, such as when users visit pages that feature Facebook's "Like" button.

"By concealing the company's tracking of users' post-log-out activity and materially changing the framework under which users share data without providing a clear opportunity for users to maintain existing privacy protections, Facebook is engaging in unfair and deceptive trade practices," the letter states.

Reports of the post-logout tracking have already prompted Reps. Joe Barton (R-Texas) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.) to request an FTC probe of Facebook. Facebook claims it did not store any information that identifies users and didn't use the data to track anyone.

"Even though we weren't using this information, it's important to us that we address even potential issues, and we appreciate the issue was brought to our attention," said a Facebook spokesman.

"When [researcher Nik Cubrilovic] provided us with additional information that allowed is to identify these three cookies, we moved quickly to fix the cookies so that they won't include unique information in the future when people log out."

The rest of the group's 14-page letter, particularly the sections focused on Timeline and frictionless sharing, show a strong aversion to encouraging users to share more information.

Facebook has argued that mindset is simply not reflective of consumer behavior, but a previous attempt at broadcasting information about users' actvity via the Beacon program prompted a quick reversal and apology from Facebook along with a slew of lawsuits.

Many of Facebook's recent changes, most notably Timeline, are scheduled to go live for most users over the weekend. The public's reception to the changes and the efficacy of Facebook's privacy controls in allowing them to prevent the unintentional sharing of data will likely determine whether more policymakers and stakeholders join the calls for action.


http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/184625-privacy-advocates-at-odds-with-facebook-over-changes

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« Reply #5147 on: Sep 29th, 2011, 1:18pm »

Wired Science

Brainwave Delay Makes Rats Feel Teleported
By ScienceNow
September 29, 2011 | 9:20 am
Categories: Brains and Behavior

By Sara Reardon, ScienceNOW

Snuffling around in a Plexiglas box that it knows well, a black and white rat catches a whiff of chocolate cookies. It scampers toward them—but suddenly, it finds itself teleported into another, equally familiar box. One could hardly blame the poor rat for being confused and disoriented for at least a fraction of a second, and researchers have now figured out why: cells in the memory center of its brain compete over where it is for exactly one-eighth of a second.

The “teleportation” effect in rats is similar to the momentary disorientation you feel when elevator doors open and you step out onto the wrong floor. It occurs because the place you expect to see and the place you actually do are “mutually exclusive,” says Edvard Moser, a neuroscientist at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. Normally, the brain orients itself gradually as you move. The hippocampus, the brain’s memory center, contains neurons known as place cells, which record both your environment and your movement within it in order to form memories that ensure you always know where you are. To update the brain on your position, place cells fire in a rhythm called a theta oscillation, which repeats itself every 125 milliseconds and is especially prominent when you’re moving.

To teleport rats, Edvard Moser and his wife, neuroscientist May-Britt Moser, built two rat boxes connected by a tunnel. One box had a circle of white light-emitting diodes shining up through the clear floor, and the other had a row of green LEDs around the ceiling. The researchers let a rat run back and forth between the two boxes and forage for food until it became familiar with both. They also implanted an electrode array into the rat’s hippocampus and recorded firing patterns from individual neurons while the rat was in each box.

Then the researchers played a mean trick. They put the rat into the white box and placed some cookie crumbles at one end. While the rat was running toward the treat, they switched the light pattern, fooling the rat into thinking it was suddenly in the green box.

The rat still managed to find its cookies, but when the researchers looked at the recordings from the place cells, they saw a war going on. At the moment of “teleportation,” one group of cells was firing with the pattern that it had used in the white box, but another group fired with the pattern corresponding to the green box. The neurons sorted it out eventually: Within 125 milliseconds, they were all firing together, which is the amount of time that a theta cycle takes to complete, the researchers report online today in Nature. The fact that the two distinct patterns stuck around to fight it out rather than slowly drifting from one pattern to the other suggests that the brain puts memories into discrete, 125-millisecond packages, preventing itself from mixing them up.

The conflict, Edvard Moser says, likely occurs because although the light change was instantaneous, the illusion wasn’t. The visual system told the rat that it was in a new place, but the number of footsteps it had taken, the smell of the box, and other variables said it was still in the old one. The researchers hope to look at other oscillation patterns next, such as the gamma wave, which repeats itself several times faster than the theta wave.

“It’s certainly interesting,” says Neil Burgess, a cognitive neuroscientist at University College London. It would be difficult, he says, to pin down similar phenomena in humans, for whom theta oscillations are more difficult to measure, or to know what the findings might say about memory disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. But he expects it to attract a lot of interest from other researchers. “Theta, whatever it’s doing,” he says, “is very pervasive” in neuroscience.

This story provided by ScienceNOW: http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/
the daily online news service of the journal Science.

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/09/brain-wave-teleportation/

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« Reply #5148 on: Sep 29th, 2011, 1:25pm »

Famous DC

Capitol Hill Bingo
Posted on 29. Sep, 2011
by nolongerfamous

Capitol Hill is full of funny, bizarre and otherwise interesting moments that don’t happen anywhere else in this country – moments happen at least once, if not multiple times a day. Most of us ignore them, because they’ve become so common, while others of us can’t believe they continue to happen.

Well, over-worked and under-paid Congressional staffers, there is some hiatus from the weirdness that is Capitol Hill, and that would be the Capitol Hill Bingo Board.

If you witness any of the below events, mark it off on your Capitol Hill Bingo Board.


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« Reply #5149 on: Sep 29th, 2011, 1:32pm »

This Is Gloucester

UFO 'space caterpillar' filmed whizzing over Gloucester - VIDEO
Thursday, September 29, 2011

A STRANGE "space caterpillar" was filmed whizzing over Gloucester this week - do you know what it is?

The UFO darted across the night sky above Quedgeley on Wednesday morning at around 5am and was captured on film by a keen eyed resident.

It was shot at some distance, she said, as it wiggled across the sky.

On closer inspection the object appears to have segments and is bright orange.






photo after the jump
http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/UFO-space-caterpillar-filmed-whizzing-Gloucester/story-13429779-detail/story.html

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« Reply #5150 on: Sep 29th, 2011, 8:35pm »

Geek Tyrant had the link to this:







Uploaded by sh4dowww90 on Sep 26, 2011

Another useless device.
Imperial march played by two floppy disk drives.

Homepage: http://silent.org.pl/home/
Post in English: http://silent.org.pl/home/2011/09/29/evil-floppy-drives-english-translation/

Po polsku: http://silent.org.pl/home/2011/09/25/muzykalna-stacja-dyskow/

Category:
Science & Technology

~

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« Reply #5151 on: Sep 30th, 2011, 07:35am »

I love it!
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« Reply #5152 on: Sep 30th, 2011, 07:37am »

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« Reply #5153 on: Sep 30th, 2011, 07:39am »

Got another one:

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Have a nice day. smiley
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« Reply #5154 on: Sep 30th, 2011, 09:01am »

Good morning Phil!
And of course my little monsters are awake. Be back in a bit.
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« Reply #5155 on: Sep 30th, 2011, 11:41am »

LA Times

Family finds, rescues man who plunged off cliff six days earlier
September 30, 2011 | 8:59 am
Esmeralda Bermudez and KTLA News

The family of a 67-year-old Lake Hughes man celebrated his return Friday after he plunged off the side of a mountain while driving through the Angeles National Forest, then survived for six days eating bugs and leaves and drinking creek water.

Relatives told KTLA they formed a search-and-rescue effort and found David LaVau's car Thursday evening off Lake Hughes Road north of Castaic. They alerted the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

"I hugged him, and we both cried," Sean LaVau told the TV station.

The family was able to access David LaVau's cellphone and credit card records, which showed no activity since Friday. Based on that, family members said, they narrowed their search to Lake Hughes Road.

They spotted the car and Sean LaVau said he slid down the mountain in a frantic effort to reach his father.

"We got credit cards, we got cellphone [records], we broke into his Facebook," Sean LaVau said. He said his 12-year-old daughter was able to break into her grandfather's cellphone and listen to voice-mail messages.

LaVau was airlifted in a helicopter to a hospital. His family said he sustained a broken collarbone and bruises.

There were reports Thursday night that another person was in the car with LaVau, but no details were immediately available. There were also reports that another car, possibly with the body of a man inside, had plunged off the cliff before LaVau's, but it was not clear how it ended up there.

The incident was being investigated by the California Highway Patrol.

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http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/09/family-finds-rescues-dad-who-crashed-down-cliff-6-days-earlier.html

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« Reply #5156 on: Sep 30th, 2011, 11:46am »

shocked Now that's a Bond Girl!


Bleeding Cool

Bond Girl Found? Berenice Marlohe To Join Bond 23
Submitted by Brendon Connelly on September 29, 2011 – 12:57 pm

The Bond series hasn’t change that much over the years; we’re still talking about “Bond Girls.”

Up-and-coming French actress Bérénice Marlohe is said to have been cast in Sam Mendes upcoming 23rd Bond picture.
There’s no information on her role, as yet, but here’s a picture to help you guess:



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If the film is indeed based upon Carte Blanche, then Marlohe could be playing international aid worker Felicity Willing, South African policewoman Bheka Jordaan, or Ophelia “Philly” Maidenstone a member of MI6.

Out of those Jordaan would seem the most obvious… though, frankly, you could also read the casting of Marlohe as an indicator that Carte Blanche isn’t the source.

The news of her involvement comes from Twitch who have no details. Personally, I’m taking their claim with a pinch of salt, though they do have some good sources.

Incidentally, the MI6 Bond fan page have reported that the big opening scene for the film is to be shot in Istanbul. Other locations in Turkey will be used elsewhere in the film. It’s not clear if they’ll be representing locations in Turkey, however.

At the same time, Turkish actresses have been trying out for the role of a villain’s girlfriend.

Ebru Akel is the only actress named as having had an audition. That’s her on the left.

You might note that her look isn’t too distinct from Marlohe. Were they both candidates for the same role, I wonder?

If so, how big of a role is it? “Lover of the film’s villain” could be anything from a do-nothing, standing around role all the way up to the film’s third lead, I suppose.

Principal photography on the film is expect to start in November, so I’d expect that some rather more definite information will be forthcoming soon. A title would definitely be nice. I want to know, for sure, what the deal is with these Carte Blanche claims.

http://www.bleedingcool.com/2011/09/29/bond-girl-found-bernice-marlohe-to-join-bond-23/

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« Reply #5157 on: Sep 30th, 2011, 11:52am »

TVology.com


'Star Trek​' Stars Come to Big Bang Theory
By: Leah Rocketto
September 28, 2011 - 7:56pm


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For several seasons, Sheldon Cooper has hated Will Wheaton, the actor behind Star Trek's Wesley Crusher​. But will Sheldon put his hatred aside for the chance of a lifetime?

TVGuide.com revealed that a mini Star Trek: The Next Generation reunion will occur on the October 13 episode of The Big Bang Theory. During the episode, Wheaton offers Cooper the chance to meet fellow Star Trek star Brent Spiner​, the man behind Commander Data​. While there were a number of characters show creators could have chose from, exec producer Bill Prady felt Cooper connected best to Commander Data. After all, both are socially awkward to the point of amusement and neither can express emotions in a normal way.

Prady promises an amusing episode that Star Trek fans and Big Bang fans will enjoy. Hell, even the people who aren't attached ot either show will love it just because The Big Bang Theory is hilarious!

Will Sheldon accept Wheaton's invitation, or will he stick to his stubborn ornery ways?

http://www.ology.com/tv/star-trek-stars-come-big-bang-theory

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« Reply #5158 on: Sep 30th, 2011, 11:57am »

Wired

Sept. 30, 1861: A Novelist With a Nose for Disaster
By Tony Long
September 30, 2009 | 12:00 am
Categories: Culture, Disasters, Transportation


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1861: American novelist and short-story writer Morgan Robertson is born. His 1898 novel, Futility, eerily foretells one of the 20th century’s great man-made disasters: the sinking of the Titanic.

The similarities between Futility and subsequent actual events are startling, beginning with the names of the ships. Morgan Robertson called his liner Titan, which is just a little too close for comfort. Both ships founder on an April night in the North Atlantic, each after hitting an iceberg while going too fast.

They are roughly the same size: Titan is 800 feet long, while the Titanic was only 83 feet longer. Titan displaces 45,000 tons, Titanic 46,328. Both are filled with the cream of high society from either side of the Atlantic. Both carry too few lifeboats to accommodate everyone on board. And in each case, the loss of life is appalling.

For all the similarities, there were differences, too, although they seem trifling enough in retrospect. While the Titanic was making its maiden voyage when it sank, Robertson’s ship was on its third trip across the Atlantic. Titanic was bound from Southampton, England to New York; Titan was eastbound from New York to Liverpool.

Just over 700 survivors were plucked from the North Atlantic after the Titanic sank, while only 13 souls survived Robertson’s imagination. Probably the biggest difference, though, was that the Titanic sank slowly, taking over two hours to go down, while Titan capsized and slipped beneath the waves almost immediately.

Robertson demonstrated his knack for forecasting events elsewhere, too. A collection of short stories published in 1914 includes “Beyond the Spectrum,” which posits a future war between the United States and Japan. That in itself wasn’t so unusual — other authors had tackled the same subject owing to the geopolitical climate of the times — but Robertson’s story again comes closest to foretelling actual events. In “Beyond the Spectrum,” the war begins with a surprise attack by the Japanese (although it’s American shipping that’s targeted by Robertson, not Pearl Harbor).

He also wrote a novel, The Submarine Destroyer, that featured the first mention of a periscope in fiction. Robertson, in fact, claimed to be the inventor of the device (adding that he had been denied a patent for it), but that claim didn’t, umm, hold water. By the time The Submarine Destroyer appeared in 1905, the U.S. Navy had been equipping its subs with periscopes for three years.

But there is no getting around the astounding similarities between Titan and Titanic.

Whatever fame or notoriety accrued to Robertson for his prescient novel, which was republished in the wake of Titanic’s sinking in April 1912 (and retitled The Wreck of the Titan), it apparently wasn’t enough to overcome his inner torment. Robertson is believed to have committed suicide in an Atlantic City, New Jersey hotel room in 1915, although an accidental overdose of the dubious over-the-counter medication protiodide is occasionally given as the cause of death.

http://www.wired.com/thisdayintech/2009/09/dayintech_0930robertson/

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« Reply #5159 on: Sep 30th, 2011, 11:59am »

.



Please be an angel


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