Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5431 on: Nov 5th, 2011, 12:16pm »
Uploaded by captbijou on Nov 11, 2009
Theatrical trailer for the delightful holiday classic, CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT (1945), starring Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis Morgan and Sydney Greenstreet.
A famed food writer describes herself as a family mom living on a farm, when, in fact, she's a sophisticated New Yorker who can't even boil an egg! Her publisher in unaware of this fact and decides to invite a war hero to her "farm" for the holidays!
Geez! Can't even go to a football game anymore......
Swamp, I know you are a Big Bang Theory fan as I am:
Big Bang Theory fuels physics boom Interest in A-level and university courses rises as US comedy makes the subject "cool"
Mark Townsend The Observer, Saturday 5 November 2011
A cult US sitcom has emerged as the latest factor behind a remarkable resurgence of physics among A-level and university students.
The Big Bang Theory, a California-based comedy that follows two young physicists, is being credited with consolidating the growing appetite among teenagers for the once unfashionable subject of physics. Documentaries by Brian Cox have previously been mentioned as galvanising interest in the subject.
One pupil, Tom Whitmore, 15, from Brighton, acknowledged that Big Bang Theory had contributed to his decision, with a number of classmates, to consider physics at A-level, and in causing the subject to be regarded as "cool". "The Big Bang Theory is a great show and it's definitely made physics more popular. And disputes between classmates now have a new way of being settled: with a game of rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock," he said.
Experts at the Institute of Physics (IoP) also believe the series is playing a role in increasing the number of physics students. Its spokesman, Joe Winters, said: "The rise in popularity of physics appears to be due to a range of factors, including Brian's public success, the might of the Large Hadron Collider and, we're sure, the popularity of shows like The Big Bang Theory."
Alex Cheung, editor of physics.org, said: "There's no doubt that TV has also played a role. The Big Bang Theory seems to have had a positive effect and the viewing figures for Brian Cox's series suggest that millions of people in the UK are happy to welcome a physics professor, with a tutorial plan in hand, into their sitting room on a Sunday evening."
According to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), there was a 10% increase in the number of students accepted to read physics by the university admissons services between 2008-09, when The Big Bang Theory was first broadcast in the UK, and 2010-11. Numbers currently stand at 3,672. Applications for physics courses at university are also up more than 17% on last year. Philip Walker, an HEFCE spokesman, said the recent spate of popular televisions services had been influential but was hard to quantify.
The number studying A-level physics has been on the rise for five years, up 20% in that time to around 32,860. Physics is among the top 10 most popular A-level topics for the first time since 2002 – and the government's target of 35,000 students entering physics A-level by 2014 seems likely to be hit ahead of schedule. It is a far cry from 2005 when physics was officially classified as a "vulnerable" subject.
The number of those entered for AS level has also increased, by 27.8% compared with 2009, up from 41,955 to 58,190. The number of girls studying physics AS-level has risen a quarter to 13,540 and of boys by 28.6% to 44,650.
A Twitter debate on whether Big Bang Theory had played a role in encouraging more potential physicists provoked mixed reactions. PhD student Tim Green wrote: "I'd say it's more to do with economics and good science docs than sitcoms with only the vaguest relation to physics." Markela Zeneli said: "I think the show is hilarious, and it may make physicists seem nerdy and geeky, but what's so bad about that? "
Winters identified another more prosaic reason for the rising popularity of physics. He said: "TV shows and news coverage of exciting research both have the power to inspire their audiences but we firmly believe, and all the evidence suggests, that only good physics teaching has the power to convert student's latent interest into action."
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5436 on: Nov 6th, 2011, 12:03pm »
New York Times
November 5, 2011 Pakistan Indicts 7 in Bhutto Assassination By WAQAR GILLANI
LAHORE, Pakistan — A Pakistani antiterrorism court indicted five militants and two police officers Saturday in the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, prosecutors said.
Ms. Bhutto was killed after an election rally in 2007 in an attack by at least one gunman and a suicide bomber, both of whom were believed to have been killed in the assault.
The seven people indicted on Saturday, who include the former police chief of Rawalpindi, where the assassination took place, were charged with being part of a conspiracy.
In a closed-door hearing at a high-security prison in Rawalpindi, Justice Shahid Rafique charged all seven men with criminal conspiracy and murder, according to Chaudhry Azhar, a special public prosecutor in the case.
The five militants, who are believed to be members of the Pakistani Taliban, were arrested four years ago and remain in jail, Mr. Azhar said. Two of them have admitted to helping in the suicide bombing, he said.
The five men were identified as Sher Zaman, Hasnain Gul, Rafaqat Hussain, Abdul Rasheed and Aitzaz Shah. All are from the troubled northwestern region of the country.
The two police officers charged were Saud Aziz, who was the Rawalpindi police chief at the time of the killing, and Khurram Shahzad, another senior officer.
Mr. Azhar said they had been charged with failure to perform their duties by ordering the crime scene hosed down two hours after the attack, by removing evidence and by reducing Ms. Bhutto’s security detail several days before the attack. The two officers were free on bail.
All seven suspects denied the charges on Saturday.
The killing of Ms. Bhutto on Dec. 27, 2007, as she stood in the sunroof of a car waving to crowds two weeks before parliamentary elections, threw Pakistani politics into turmoil. Twice elected prime minister, she was the leader of Pakistan’s largest political party and vying for a third term after having returned from eight years in exile.
Her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, was later elected president, and her party, the Pakistan Peoples Party, leads the coalition government.
The circumstances of her death — including the cleansing of the crime scene, the police refusal of an autopsy request, and conflicting reports of the number of attackers and cause of death — have generated confusion about the case and raised questions about the possible involvement of the military government, then led by Gen. Pervez Musharraf, Ms. Bhutto’s rival.
A United Nations investigation reported last year that the failure of Pakistani authorities to effectively investigate the killing was “deliberate” and that the investigation had been “severely hampered” by the country’s powerful intelligence agencies.
The report singled out Mr. Aziz, the police chief, for ordering the washing of the scene and impeding the investigation. But it also said that Mr. Aziz gave the order after receiving a call from army headquarters, possibly involving Maj. Gen. Nadeem Ijaz Ahmad, then director general of military intelligence.
The government had blamed Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, for masterminding the attack. Mr. Mehsud was killed by a C.I.A. drone strike in 2009.
Mr. Musharraf, who fled the country in 2008 under threat of impeachment, has also been charged in the case. A Pakistani court issued an arrest warrant for him in February, accusing him of failing to provide Ms. Bhutto with adequate security.
Mr. Musharraf has been living in exile in London and has failed to respond to subpoenas.
Meanwhile, the legal case against the suspects in custody has been delayed by procedural moves on both sides, although four years is not a particularly long time for an indictment in a murder case in Pakistan.
“Whether the case is high profile or low profile, the court has to adopt the legal procedure to ensure justice and fairness,” said Syed Zahid Hussain Bukhari, a former judge and prosecutor in Punjab Province.
The indictment starts the trial phase of the prosecution. The court instructed the accused to present witnesses at the next hearing, on Nov. 19.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5437 on: Nov 6th, 2011, 12:05pm »
BP's $7 billion South America stake sale collapses
By Tom Bergin and Lorraine Turner HONG KONG/LONDON | Sun Nov 6, 2011 12:17pm EST
HONG KONG/LONDON (Reuters) - BP's (BP.L) plan to sell a stake in its South American unit for $7 billion (4 billion pounds) has collapsed, potentially trimming the oil major's cash flow and making it harder to raise its payout to shareholders.
China's biggest offshore oil producer CNOOC Ltd (0883.HK) said on Sunday its 50 percent-owned unit Bridas Energy Holdings has terminated a deal to buy BP's stake in Argentina-based oil and gas group Pan American Energy LLC BPPAE.UL (PAE).
BP hinted at its third-quarter results last month that it would announce an increase in its dividend in early 2012.
However, the failure of the sale of its 60 percent interest in PAE could mean cashflow is lower than might have been expected, making it harder to raise the dividend.
At the results, BP said the deal, initially signed last November, was not as important to the firm's cashflow today as it was a year ago.
"We reached that agreement last year at a time when oil prices were lower. It was a time when we actually needed to make some divestments of properties. We're past that point. We don't actually need to make that divestment....if it doesn't happen, it's absolutely fine," Chief Executive Bob Dudley told analysts at the time.
BP said in a statement on Sunday it will repay a deposit of $3.5 billion received for the PAE stake at the end of 2010, which would not impact its level of gearing.
BP's planned sale of the stake was intended to help raise funds to pay for the cleanup of its Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010.
BP had been waiting on regulatory approval for the deal to proceed.
"The transaction was subject to conditions precedent - namely, Argentine anti-trust and Chinese governmental approvals," said a spokesman at BP.
"Securing these approvals was the sole responsibility of Bridas. Bridas had not yet been able to satisfy these conditions precedent but the approval processes were ongoing and, for reasons known only to them, Bridas has now chosen to terminate the transaction," he added.
BP previously said delays in regulatory approval were understandable given the ongoing election campaign in Argentina.
In a filing with the Hong Kong stock exchange, CNOOC said Bridas Energy sent BP a letter on November 5 to terminate the deal.
It gave no further details.
Late last month, CNOOC said Bridas Corp had not obtained the necessary regulatory approvals to complete the $7 billion bid. It had said Nov 1. was the deadline after which either party would have the right to terminate the agreement.
Bridas already owns a 40 percent stake in the group, which BP has described as Argentina's second-largest producer of oil and gas.
CNOOC may have developed cold feet over the agreement because of the arbitrary and heavy handed nature of Argentina's government that has seen Western oil and gas companies exit the country, according to a report from Jefferies Group at the end of October.
BP said it will now consider all its strategic options regarding PAE.
(Reporting by Charlie Zhu in Hong Kong, Tom Bergin and Lorraine Turner in London; Editing by Erica Billingham; Editing by Ed Lane)
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5438 on: Nov 6th, 2011, 12:09pm »
White House: There's no sign of E.T. or UFO cover-up Science policy official responds to petitions calling for full disclosure
By Nancy Atkinson Universe Today updated 11/5/2011 6:48:56 PM ET
The White House has responded to two petitions asking the U.S. government to acknowledge formally that aliens have visited Earth and to disclose any intentional withholding of government interactions with extraterrestrial beings.
"The U.S. government has no evidence that any life exists outside our planet, or that an extraterrestrial presence has contacted or engaged any member of the human race," Phil Larson from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy reported on the WhiteHouse.gov website."In addition, there is no credible information to suggest that any evidence is being hidden from the public’s eye."
The petition calling on the government to disclose any knowledge of or communication with extraterrestrial beings was signed by 5,387 people, and 12,078 signed the request for a formal acknowledgement from the White House that extraterrestrials have been engaging the human race.
“Hundreds of military and government agency witnesses have come forward with testimony confirming this extraterrestrial presence,” the second petition states. “Opinion polls now indicate more than 50 percent of the American people believe there is an extraterrestrial presence and more than 80 percent believe the government is not telling the truth about this phenomenon. The people have a right to know. The people can handle the truth.”
These petitions were sparked by an Obama administration initiative called "We the People." Initially, the White House said staffers would respond and consider taking action on any issue that received at least 5,000 online signatures within 30 days. The requirement has since been raised to 25,000 signatures.
Larson stressed that the facts show there is no credible evidence of extraterrestrial presence here on Earth. He pointed out that even though many scientists have come to the conclusion that the odds of life somewhere else in the universe are fairly high, the chance that any of them are making contact with humans are extremely small, given the distances involved.
"However, that doesn't mean the subject of life outside our planet isn't being discussed or explored," Larson wrote.
Larson mentioned that a scientific search for extraterrestrial intelligence is keeping an “ear” out for signals from alien civilizations, with none found so far. (He noted that this at first was a NASA effort, but is now being funded privately.)
He added that the Kepler spacecraft is searching for Earthlike planets in the habitable zones around other stars, and that the Curiosity rover will launch to Mars this month to "assess what the Martian environment was like in the past to see if it could have harbored life."
Regarding any evidence for alien life, all anyone has now is "statistics and speculation," Larson said. "The fact is we have no credible evidence of extraterrestrial presence here on Earth."
The Paradigm Research Group, one of the organizations promoting the petitions, said that the response by a "low-level staffer" was unacceptable and that it would begin a new petition campaign.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5439 on: Nov 6th, 2011, 12:15pm »
Weak wifi? Use a baking tray
Confronted with a weak wifi signal and no mobile reception, a top technologist knew exactly the right solution. Use an old baking tray as an amplifier.
By Matt Warman, Consumer Technology Editor 7:00AM GMT 06 Nov 2011
Peter Cochrane, formerly the Chief Technology Officer at BT, was on a boat on the Norfolk Broads but unable to get online. By improvising, he could boost a flagging, useless signal to something much more effective.
Writing on his blog at Silicon.com, Cochrane said that “My mobile phone is showing one bar of 2.5G and one bar of wi-fi. My laptop isn't doing any better, and a data connection is proving impossible. There are some buildings behind the trees on the other side of the river, and my scanner is showing a number of open access wi-fi opportunities. But all I have is what I carry, and that does not include a high-gain antenna.”
The solution was not, however, to stop and visit a nearby community on land. Cochrane instead used an old baking tray to focus the reception.
“Time to improvise,” he wrote. “A visit to the galley turns up a much-used baking tray. A few simple experiments later and I'm able to locate the direction of the 2.5G base station and the strongest wifi signal. So I now have three bars of wifi and 2.5G by way of the unlikely combination of a baking tray and some judicious positioning.”
He concluded: “No matter how well prepared you are, there are times when you don't quite have to hand all the technology you really need. All the other options would have been far more expensive and far less convenient.”
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5440 on: Nov 6th, 2011, 1:47pm »
FOX 6, WBRC
Man claims he lost winning Powerball ticket
Posted: Nov 05, 2011 2:09 AM PDT Updated: Nov 05, 2011 9:29 AM PDT
STAMFORD, CT (WTHN/CNN) - A Connecticut man may have had a chance to win $254 million, but instead he let it slip through his fingertips.
The owner the Belltown Superette in Stamford, CT has explained the story over and over about a man who came into the store claiming to have picked the winning numbers in the Powerball lottery, but lost the ticket.
"He said it's his number, but he can't find the ticket lost ticket, so I don't know what to say," said store owner, Suni Patel.
Lottery officials say no one has claimed the ticket, which was purchased at Patel's convenience store.
"Regular customers say this place has a reputation for selling winning tickets," Erin Logan said. "They weren't kidding."
Whether it's true or not, the lottery business is suddenly booming for Patel and her husband's store.
Since the latest win this week, the store owners have been seeing new faces coming in to buy tickets.
If the man who says he lost the winning ticket actually bought the winning ticket, he has six months to file a claim, but he has to prove he bought it.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5441 on: Nov 6th, 2011, 3:45pm »
Another quake, 5.6 mag, hit Sparks, OK last night with aftershocks this morning. "Significant damage" reported.
Oklahoma Hit With 10 Aftershocks Following 5.6-Magnitude Earthquake
Published November 06, 2011
SPARKS, Okla. – Oklahoma residents more accustomed to tornadoes than earthquakes have been shaken by weekend temblors that cracked buildings, buckled a highway and rattled nerves. One quake late Saturday was the state's strongest ever and jolted a college football stadium 50 miles away.
It was followed by 10 aftershocks by midmorning Sunday. But although homes and other buildings cracked and suffered minor damage, there were no reports of severe injuries or major devastation.
Saturday night's earthquake jolted Oklahoma State University's stadium shortly after the No. 3 Cowboys defeated No. 17 Kansas State. "That shook up the place, had a lot of people nervous," Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon said. "Yeah, it was pretty strong."
The magnitude 5.6 earthquake was Oklahoma's strongest on record, said Jessica Turner, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey. Centered near Sparks, 44 miles northeast of Oklahoma City, it could be felt throughout the state and in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, northern Texas and some parts of Illinois and Wisconsin. It followed a magnitude 4.7 quake early Saturday that was felt from Texas to Missouri.
The aftershocks included two that were magnitude 4.0, one about 4 a.m. Sunday and one about 9 a.m., USGS said. The smallest aftershock it recorded was magnitude 2.7. USGS seismologist Paul Earle in Golden, Colo., said the aftershocks will likely continue for several days and could continue for months.
Oklahoma typically has about 50 earthquakes a year, and 57 tornadoes, but a burst of quakes east of Oklahoma City has contributed to a sharp increase. Researchers said 1,047 quakes shook Oklahoma last year, prompting them to install seismographs in the area. The reason for the increase isn't known, and Turner said there was no immediate explanation for the weekend spurt in seismic activity.
Several homeowners and businesses reported cracked walls, fallen knickknacks and other minor damage. Brad Collins, the spokesman for St. Gregory's University in Shawnee, said one of the four towers on its "castle-looking" administration building had collapsed and the other three towers were damaged. He estimated the towers were about 25 feet tall.
"We definitely felt it," Collins said. "I was at home, getting ready for bed and it felt like the house was going to collapse. I tried to get back to my kids' room and it was tough to keep my balance, I could hardly walk."
Jesse Richards, 50, of Sparks, said his wife ran outside when the shaking started because she thought their home was going to collapse. One of her cookie jars fell on the floor and shattered, and pictures hanging in their living room were knocked askew. He estimated the big earthquake lasted for 45 seconds to a minute.
"We've been here 18 years, and it's getting to be a regular occurrence," Richards said. But, he added, "I hope I never get used to them."
An emergency manager in Lincoln County near the epicenter said U.S. 62, a two-lane highway that meanders through rolling landscape between Oklahoma City and the Arkansas state line, crumpled in places when the stronger quake struck Saturday night. Other reports Sunday were sketchy and mentioned cracks in some buildings and a chimney toppled.
"Earthquake damage in Oklahoma. That's an anomaly right there," Todd McKinsey of Moore told The Oklahoman newspaper after the magnitude 5.6 earthquake centered 50 miles away left him with cracked drywall. Most earthquakes that have hit the region have been much smaller.
The crowd of nearly 59,000 was still leaving Oklahoma State's Boone Pickens Stadium when the earthquake hit, and players were in the locker rooms beneath the stands. The shaking seemed to last the better part of a minute, rippling upward to the stadium press box.
"Everybody was looking around, and no one had any idea," Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden said. "We thought the people above us were doing something. I've never felt one, so that was a first." A few hours before dawn Sunday, the latest quake set nerves on edge anew.
Jessie Plumb, a registered nurse at Prague Community Hospital, said she and other staffers felt the 4.0 magnitude quake while on the second floor of the building.
"It kind of gave a little bit of a shake, a little bit of rock `n roll," she said by telephone. "I would say it was 20 or 25 seconds."
Plumb said she was anxious because of the number of earthquakes in so short a span and the fact that they were so strong.
Saturday's late-night quake was slightly less in intensity than the one that rattled the East Coast on Aug. 23. That 5.8 magnitude earthquake was centered in Virginia and felt from Georgia to Canada. No major damage was reported, although cracks appeared in the Washington Monument, the National Cathedral suffered costly damage to elaborately sculpted stonework, and a number of federal buildings were evacuated.
Oklahoma has had big earthquakes before. USGS records show a 5.5 magnitude earthquake struck El Reno, just west of Oklahoma City, in 1952 and, before Oklahoma became a state in 1907, a quake of similar magnitude 5.5 struck in northeastern Indian Territory in 1882.
Turner said an active spate of earthquakes started in the region in February 2010 and the latest activity appears to be part of that trend. But experts are still puzzling out why the latest quakes have been concentrated in such a small geographic area around Sparks, she said.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5443 on: Nov 6th, 2011, 9:27pm »
CALL FOR PHOTOS Help VVMF and HISTORY® Honor Service Members Memorialized on The Wall
HISTORY is proud to join the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund’s (VVMF) Call for Photos, a nationwide campaign to collect a photograph for each of the 58,272 men and women whose names are inscribed on The Wall. Collected photographs, like the ones below, will be displayed in the future Education Center: http://www.buildthecenter.org/ at The Wall and will also appear online on the VVMF’s Virtual Memorial Wall: http://vvmf.org/thewall
This October and November, HISTORY will host a series of Call for Photos events in New York City, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Chicago with VVMF to advance the collection of the more than 35,000 photos still needed to complete the display. Anyone with a photo of a service member listed on The Wall is urged to scan and submit their photo online or bring it to the event where it can be scanned.
Please join us at these Call for Photos events and help us put a face with a name.
1.NEW YORK, NY Times Square, Military Island Broadway between 43rd and 44th Streets Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011 from 12:00 - 6:00PM Featuring The Wall That Heals To learn how to submit a photo of someone from NYC or the State of New York, click here.
2.PHILADELPHIA, PA Independence National Historical Park Adjacent to the Visitor Center on N. 6th Street and Market St. Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011 from 1:00 - 5:00PM Featuring The Wall That Heals To learn how to submit a photo of someone from Philadelphia or the State of Pennsylvania, click here.
3.ATLANTA, GA Centennial Olympic Park Directions to Park Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011 from 12:00PM - 6:00PM Featuring The Wall That Heals To learn how to submit a photo of someone from Atlanta or the State of Georgia, click here.
4.CHICAGO, IL Vietnam Veterans' Memorial The Riverwalk between W. Wacker Drive & N. State Street Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011 from 10:00AM - 2:00PM
To learn how to submit a photo of someone from Chicago or the State of Illinois, click here.