Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #7545 on: Oct 30th, 2012, 12:40pm »
Superstorm Sandy delivers a devastating blow to the U.S. Posted by: Dr. Jeff Masters, October 30, 2012
In a stunning spectacle of atmospheric violence, Superstorm Sandy roared ashore in New Jersey last night with sustained winds of 90 mph and a devastating storm surge that crippled coastal New Jersey and New York. Sandy's record size allowed the historic storm to bring extreme weather to over 100 million Americans, from Chicago to Maine and from Michigan to Florida. Sandy's barometric pressure at landfall was 946 mb, tying the Great Long Island Express Hurricane of 1938 as the most powerful storm ever to hit the Northeast U.S. north of Cape Hatteras, NC.
New York City experienced its worst hurricane since its founding in 1624, as Sandy's 9-foot storm surge rode in on top of a high tide to bring water levels to 13.88' at The Battery, smashing the record 11.2' water level recorded during the great hurricane of 1821. Damage from Superstorm Sandy will likely be in the tens of billions, making the storm one of the five most expensive disasters in U.S. history.
Sandy's snows have clobbered the town of Davis, WV with an estimated 26 - 28" of snow. Most of the town is without power, and winds are blowing 20 - 30 mph with 40 mph gusts. Sandy brought the snowiest October day on record to both Elkins, WV (7" of snow) and Bluefield, WV (4.7".)
There's so much more to say about Sandy--including how the storm may have been influenced by climate change--but I'll save this for later posts, as it's time to get something posted.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #7547 on: Oct 31st, 2012, 09:48am »
Northeast eyes recovery after Sandy
By Edward Krudy and Daniel Bases and Ellen Wulfhorst Wed Oct 31, 2012 10:08am EDT
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. Northeast began crawling back to normal on Wednesday after monster storm Sandy crippled transportation, knocked out power for millions and killed at least 45 people in nine states with a massive storm surge and rain that caused epic flooding.
Financial markets reopened with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange, and packed buses took residents back to work with the subway system halted after seawater flooded its tunnels.
John F. Kennedy and Newark airports reopened with limited service after thousands of flights were canceled, leaving travelers stuck for days. New York's LaGuardia Airport, the third of the airports that serve the nation's busiest airspace, was flooded and remained closed.
It will take days or weeks to recover from the massive power and mass transit outages.
With six days to go before the November 6 elections, President Barack Obama will visit storm-ravaged areas of the New Jersey shore, where Sandy made landfall on Monday.
He will be accompanied by Republican Governor Chris Christie, a vocal backer of presidential challenger Mitt Romney. Nevertheless, Christie has praised Obama and the federal response to the storm.
The storm killed 27 people in New York state, including 22 in New York City, and six in New Jersey. Seven other states reported fatalities. One disaster-modeling company said Sandy may have caused up to $15 billion in insured losses.
Sandy killed 69 people in the Caribbean last week before it slammed into the U.S. East Coast and pushed inland, dumping snow in the Appalachian Mountains and other inland areas.
Remnants of the storm churned slowly over Pennsylvania on Wednesday, the National Weather Service said. Winter storm warnings were in effect from southwestern Pennsylvania to eastern Tennessee.
Battered by a record storm surge of nearly 14 feet of water, large sections of New York City remained submerged under several feet of water. In the city's borough of Staten Island, police used helicopters to pluck stranded residents from rooftops.
Across the Hudson River in Hoboken, New Jersey, members of the National Guard arrived to help residents pump floodwater from their homes, the city said on Twitter.
More than 8.2 million homes and businesses remained without electricity across several states after trees toppled by fierce winds tore down power lines.
In New Jersey, Christie said it could take seven to 10 days before power was restored statewide.
Subway and commuter tunnels under New York City, which carry several million riders a day, were under several feet of water.
In the lower half of Manhattan, a quarter of a million residents remained without power after a transformer explosion at a Con Edison substation Monday night.
New York City likely will struggle without subway service for days, authorities said. Buses were operating on a limited basis and many residents were walking long distances or scrambling to grab scarce taxi cabs on the streets.
Sunday's New York Marathon will go on as scheduled, but Wednesday night's Halloween parade through Greenwich Village was postponed. On Broadway, the Theater League announced that most shows would resume performances on Wednesday. Shows had been canceled since Sunday due to the storm.
In New Jersey, Christie took a helicopter tour of the devastation on Tuesday along the shore, where boats were adrift, boardwalks washed away and roads blocked by massive sand drifts. He stopped in the badly damaged resort towns of Belmar and Avalon.
"I was just here walking this place this summer, and the fact that most of it is gone is just incredible," he said at one stop.
Sandy hit the East Coast with a week to go to the November 6 presidential election, dampening an unprecedented drive to encourage early voting and raising questions whether some polling stations will be ready to open on Election Day.
Obama faces political danger if the government fails to respond well, as was the case with his predecessor George W. Bush's botched handling of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Obama and Romney put campaigning on hold for a second day on Tuesday but Romney planned to hold rallies in the battleground state of Florida on Wednesday and Obama seemed likely to resume campaigning on Thursday.
Sandy became the biggest storm to hit the United States in generations when it crashed ashore with hurricane-force winds on Monday near the New Jersey gambling resort of Atlantic City.
(Additional reporting by Michael Erman, Anna Louie Sussman, Atossa Abrahamian, Michelle Nichols, Ed Krudy, Chris Michaud and Scott DiSavino in New York and Ian Simpson in West Virginia; Writing by Daniel Trotta and Ellen Wulfhorst; Editing by Eric Beech)
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #7548 on: Oct 31st, 2012, 09:54am »
Tricks and Treats: 12 Amazing Things About Bats By Brandon Keim October 31, 2012 | 6:30 am Categories: Animals
Bats are among the world's most successful mammals. Found on six continents, they do at night what birds do in daytime. But other than a bit of Halloween lip service, they go largely unnoticed, and are appreciated mostly for being scary and carrying disease.
We at Wired, however, are big fans of bats, and on the following pages we take a closer look at these amazing creatures.
Even Bats Have Friends
Because bats live in colonies and look alike to human eyes, it's odd to imagine them having friends. Yet researchers say they're smart, highly social, and hang out with the same group year after year. Some even mate for life.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #7549 on: Oct 31st, 2012, 10:05am »
New York Times
October 31, 2012 City, Gridlocked and Shaken, Faces Strain of Long Recovery By JAMES BARRON
Still hobbled by power failures and waterlogged transit, the New York region struggled to return to the rhythms of daily life on Wednesday, while facing the reality of a prolonged and daunting period of recovery.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg rang the bell to open the New York Stock Exchange in the morning after a two-day closing, the first for weather-related reasons since 1888, as Wall Street and other businesses began to shake off the storm and return to work.
But as the skies cleared and the sun poked out over Manhattan for the first time in days, the morning commute quickly froze to gridlock. People who normally took the subway or regional rail lines were forced into taxis or their own cars, clogging the streets. Drivers reported delays of hours, with vehicles lined up at the major crossings and at parking garages.
More than 4,000 cabs, which for the moment could be shared among harried commuters, offered another partial lifeline to those cut off by the continued suspension of subway service. Some ferries were expected to be crossing between New Jersey and Manhattan.
Newark Liberty International Airport opened at 7 a.m. and Kennedy Airport was expected to be operating at noon on Wednesday, but many airlines were still working on a limited basis. La Guardia Airport remained closed after suffering damage.
State courtrooms in the city were also reopening. Connecticut, New Jersey and New York began reopening many closed roads and bridges on Tuesday.
Yet schools, parks and East River tunnels remained closed in the city, and many residents up and down the mid-Atlantic still stumbled through their morning routines with candles, flashlights or in darkness. La Guardia Airport, which saw water rise up to the jet bridges in some areas, was still closed.
President Obama approved disaster declarations for New York and New Jersey, making them eligible for federal assistance for rebuilding. “All of us have been shocked by the force of mother nature,” said the president, who planned to visit New Jersey on Wednesday. He promised “all available resources” for recovery efforts.
“This is going to take some time,” Mr. Obama said. “It is not going to be easy for these communities to recover.”
The toll — in lives disrupted or lost and communities washed out — was staggering. A rampaging fire reduced more than 100 houses to ash in Breezy Point, Queens. Explosions and downed power lines left the lower part of Manhattan and 90 percent of Long Island in the dark. The New York City subway system was paralyzed by flooded tunnels and was expect to remain silent for days.
Accidents claimed more than 40 lives in the United States and Canada, including 22 in the city. Two boys — an 11-year-old Little League star and a 13-year-old friend — were killed when a 90-foot-tall tree smashed into the family room of a house in North Salem, N.Y. An off-duty police officer who led seven relatives, including a 15-month-old boy, to safety in the storm drowned when he went to check on the basement.
There was no immediate estimate of the losses from the storm, but the scope of the damage — covering more than a half-dozen states — pointed to tens of billions of dollars. Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey called it “incalculable.”
Rescuers looked for survivors in the drenched rubble in places like Atlantic City, and state and local officials surveyed wreckage. Utility crews began working their way through a wilderness of fallen trees and power lines. And from Virginia to Connecticut, there were stories of tragedy and survival — of people who lost everything when the water rushed in, of buildings that crumbled after being pounded hour after hour by rain and relentless wind, of hospitals that had to be evacuated when the storm knocked out the electricity.
Mr. Obama spoke with 20 governors and mayors on a conference call Tuesday, and the White House said he would survey damage from the storm with Mr. Christie on Wednesday. Mr. Obama’s press secretary said the president would join Mr. Christie, who has been one of his harshest Republican critics, in talking with storm victims and thanking first responders.
Mr. Obama had also offered to visit the city, Mr. Bloomberg said, “but I think the thing for him to do is to go to New Jersey and represent the country.”
Mr. Bloomberg said 7,000 trees had been knocked down in city parks. “Stay away from city parks,” he said. “They are closed until further notice.”
The mayor also said that trick-or-treating was fine for Halloween, but the parade in Greenwich Village had been postponed. The organizers said it was the first time in the parade’s 39-year-history that it had been called off.
New York’s subway network, which suffered the worst damage in its 108-year-history, faced one of its longest shutdowns because the problems were so much worse than expected, said Joseph J. Lhota, the chairman and chief executive of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the agency that runs the subways and several commuter railroads.
Water climbed to the ceiling of the South Ferry subway station, the end of the No. 1 line in Lower Manhattan, and debris covered tracks in stations up and down other lines after the water rushed in and out. Mr. Lhota said that seven subway tunnels between Manhattan and Brooklyn were flooded.
He also said that the Metro-North Railroad had no power north of 59th Street on two of its three lines, and that a 40-foot boat had washed up on the tracks in Ossining, N.Y.
The Long Island Rail Road’s West Side Yards had to be evacuated, and two railroad tunnels beneath the East River were flooded in the storm. The railroad had no timetable for restoring service. The Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel and the Queens-Midtown Tunnel also remained impassable, he said.
Airports, too, took a beating. Thousands of flights were canceled, and water poured onto the runways at Kennedy and La Guardia, both in Queens. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said La Guardia had suffered “extensive damage.”
The flooding in the tunnels in Lower Manhattan was so serious that the Federal Emergency Management Agency asked specialists from the Army Corps of Engineers to help. The “unwatering team,” as it is known — two hydrologists and two mechanical engineers from the corps with experience in draining flooded areas — flew to the airport in White Plains because it was one of the few in the area that was open.
From southern New Jersey to the East End of Long Island to the northern suburbs in Connecticut, power companies spent Tuesday trying to figure out just how much damage the storm had done to their wires, transformers and substations.
The work will take at least a week, possibly longer, because the damage was so extensive, and utility companies called in thousands of crews from all around the country to help out. Consolidated Edison reached to San Francisco to bring in 150 workers from Pacific Gas and Electric.
Even with the additional staffing, Con Edison said it could still take more than 10 days to complete the repairs. Con Edison had more than 285,000 customers in Manhattan who were in the dark on Tuesday, and more than 185,000 in Westchester.
Things were worse east of New York City, where nearly one million customers of the Long Island Power Authority did not have power on Tuesday and Mr. Cuomo made clear he wanted the authority to restore power faster than it had in the past. He said it was “not O.K.” for it to take two weeks to repair lines brought down by tree limbs.
In New Jersey, Public Service Electric and Gas said it had 1.3 million electric customers in the dark, including 500,000 without power because a surge in Newark Bay flooded substations and other equipment. Another New Jersey utility, Jersey Central Power and Light, whose territory covers many shore towns, said almost all of its customers had lost power in some counties, including Ocean and Monmouth. More than one-third of Connecticut Light and Power’s 1.2 million customers had no electricity, either.
The fire in Breezy Point, Queens, leveled scores of houses, among them one that belonged to Representative Bob Turner, who was riding out the storm at home despite the mayor’s order to evacuate low-lying areas. Mr. Turner’s spokeswoman, Jessica Proud, said he and his wife made it out safely after flames reached their house. Michael R. Long, the chairman of the state Conservative Party, had a home nearby that also burned down, she said.
Flooded streets in the area prevented firefighters from reaching the blaze, a Fire Department spokesman said, and the mayor, who toured the area on Tuesday afternoon, said the neighborhood had been devastated.
“To describe it as looking like pictures we have seen at the end of World War II is not overstating it,” the mayor said.
The off-duty officer who drowned in his basement was identified as Artur Kasprzak, 28, who was assigned to the First Precinct in Manhattan. He had led seven relatives upstairs to the attic as the water rose in his house on Doty Avenue on Staten Island. He said he was going to check the basement and would be right back. About 20 minutes later, one of his relatives called 911 and said he was missing.
A rescue team with boats and motorized water scooters tried to answer the call but could not reach the house at first because power lines were in the water. His body was found shortly before sunrise.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #7550 on: Oct 31st, 2012, 10:10am »
Major UFO Conference to Hit New England in Fall of 2013!!!
The New England UFO Conference/ Festival is tentatively scheduled to be held on Saturday, October 26, 2013 in Leominster, Massachusetts. Barring any future issues, our speaking line up will include Stanton Friedman, Kathleen Marden and Peter Robbins.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRLog (Press Release) - Oct 30, 2012 -
In October 2013 some of the worlds top lecturers in the field of Ufology will gather for a major conference and festival in Massachusetts!!!
The New England UFO Festival is in the early planning stages. It tentatively will be held on Saturday, October 26, 2013 in Leominster, Massachusetts. Barring any future issues, our speaking line up will include:
In 1970, Friedman left full-time employment as a physicist to pursue the scientific investigation of UFOs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UFO). Since then, he has given lectures at more than 600 colleges and to more than 100 professional groups in 50 states, nine provinces, and 16 foreign countries. Additionally, he has worked as a consultant on the topic. He has published more than 80 UFO-related papers and has appeared on many radio and television programs. He has also provided written testimony to Congressional hearings and appeared twice at the United Nations.
Author/Lecturer Kathleen Marden
Scientific Ufologist Kathleen Marden earned her B.A. in Social Work at the University of New Hampshire in 1971. Thereafter, she entered into graduate studies in Education at the University of Cincinnati, and later, at U.N.H.
She began her professional career as a social worker and eventually entered the field of education as a teacher. Later, she was promoted to a supervisory position, coordinating education programs and supervising education staff.
She left her job in 1990, and decided to pursue a career as a UFO investigator, researcher and writer. She taught adult education classes on UFO and abduction history, and for 10 years volunteered as the Mutual UFO Network's Director of Field Investigator Training.
In 2003, MUFON publicly recognized Kathy for her most outstanding contribution of advancing the scientific study of the UFO phenomenon by dedicating the annual MUFON International UFO Proceedings to her.
She is currently a UFO & abduction writer and lecturer investigating some of the very substantial cases in the annals of UFO and abduction history. She was recently appointed as MUFON's Director of Abduction Studies.
As the niece of Betty and Barney Hill, Kathy had the opportunity to observe and learn from many of the great late abduction researchers in action. As such, she has been able to present substantial evidence that the Betty and Barney Hill UFO abduction was quite possibly a veridical experience.
She also takes to task the pseudo-skeptics who fail to do their research, but disseminate false and misleading information with regard to several of the high profile, substantial evidence abduction cases, and the hoaxers and attention seekers who blur the lines between fantasy and reality and bring impropriety to legitimate UFO research and investigation.
Kathy is currently a full time researcher, writer and lecturer. Several of her articles have been published in UFO magazines.
Additionally, she has written papers on the use and misuse of hypnosis in abduction investigations, the ethical use of hypnosis in abduction investigations, the comparative analysis of Betty and Barney Hills' statements made under hypnotic regression versus Betty's dream account of abduction, a critical analysis of the Harvard false memory study of self reported UFO experiencers, and “The Conundrum of Alien Abduction” (available from MUFON).
Her 2007 book Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience, with coauthor Stanton T. Friedman is a case study of her aunt and uncle, Betty and Barney Hills' 1961 UFO close encounter and abduction.
Autographed copies of her 2010 book Science Was Wrong (with Stan Friedman) are now available at her website. You can also find them in the "Science" section at bookstores.
2011 brought a new book, UFOs and Aliens, with a chapter on alien abduction by Kathy.
Author/Lecturer/Investigator Peter Robbins
Peter Robbins (http://www.peterrobbins.info/) is one of the most respected UFO investigators in the world today. He has more than thirty years experience as a researcher, investigator, writer, lecturer, activist and author. A regular guest on radio shows around the country, he has appeared on or been consultant to numerous television shows and documentaries. He is also co-author of the British best-seller, Left at East Gate: A First-Hand Account of the Rendlesham Forest UFO Incident, Its Cover-Up and Investigation. You’ve seen him on the History Channel, National Geographic, the Sci Fi Channel, Lifetime, and The O’Reilly Factor
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #7551 on: Nov 1st, 2012, 09:21am »
New York Times
October 31, 2012 As Fighting Rages, Clinton Seeks New Syrian Opposition By NEIL MacFARQUHAR and MICHAEL R. GORDON
BEIRUT, Lebanon —The United States indicated on Wednesday that it was undertaking its most aggressive attempt yet to reshape the Syrian opposition, with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton dismissing the current leadership as a bunch of out-of-touch exiles who should be replaced with a group more representative of the fighters on the ground.
“There has to be representation of those who are on the front lines, fighting and dying today to obtain their freedom,” Mrs. Clinton told reporters during a trip to Croatia. “This cannot be an opposition represented by people who have many good attributes, but have, in many instances, have not been inside Syria for 20, 30 or 40 years.”
Hundreds of opposition figures are gathering in Doha, Qatar, next week to try to form such a group — ostensibly under the auspices of the Arab League but really pushed there by the United States. Mrs. Clinton said she had been heavily involved in planning the meeting, including recommending individuals and organizations to include in any new leadership structure.
“We’ve made it clear that the S.N.C. can no longer be viewed as the visible leader of the opposition,” Mrs. Clinton said, referring to the Syrian National Council. It can participate, she added, “but that opposition must include people from inside Syria and others who have a legitimate voice that needs to be heard.”
Although council members are likely to have up to one third of the seats on the new body, which is expected to have 35 to 50 members, Mrs. Clinton’s very public announcement could well be the council’s death knell. “The S.N.C. has been over with for a long time now; fighters only talk about it sarcastically,” said Khaled Youssef al-Aboud, a pilot in northeast Syria.
The Obama administration has been exasperated for months with the anemic leadership and constant bickering of the council, which is often far more caught up in fighting over spots on travel delegations than in creating an effective transitional government. It failed to attract significant representation from minority groups, including the Alawites who dominate Syria as well as the Christians or the Kurds. Its obscure academics and long-exiled activists also seem increasingly irrelevant in a civil war in which extremist jihadis are gaining more visibility.
From the beginning, the council was seen as a prime vehicle for the long-exiled Muslim Brotherhood, backed by Turkey, and Mrs. Clinton said it was not inclusive enough and too accommodating of extremists.
“There needs to be an opposition leadership structure that is dedicated to representing and protecting all Syrians,” she said. “And we also need an opposition that will be on record strongly resisting the efforts by extremists to hijack the Syrian revolution.”
The timing of the Qatar meeting that could produce the change is interesting since the announcement is anticipated for next Wednesday, a day after the American presidential election, so the outcome of the attempt will not become an election issue.
Although no great shift in policy is anticipated no matter who wins the election, some analysts are expecting that the United States could become more deeply involved by supplying weapons, including antiaircraft weapons, to the opposition. Thus far it has insisted it was supplying only nonlethal aid, although it has been directing weapons from other states to favorite groups.
“They are hoping that some new body will emerge that they can work with, that they can recognize and that they can insert inside,” said Amr al-Azm, a Syrian academic in the United States who has long been a critic of the council.
“It will also ratchet up the pressure on the regime,” he added. “At the moment it is all moving at a snail’s pace. There is a stalemate on the political front and on the battle front.”
On Wednesday, the Syrian government was deploying its air force heavily against rebel strongholds in the north of the country and in the Damascus suburbs in what the opposition called a failed attempt to dislodge it from smaller towns it had captured.
Although the United States and its partners are trying to extract military commanders from Syria for the Qatar meeting next week, there was no guarantee that the overall effort would succeed. Previous attempts to create a more unified, more representative opposition have ended in spectacular failure, with a similar meeting in Cairo last June descending into acrimonious shouting and fisticuffs.
This week council members and other opposition activists fired the first shot over the bows against the Qatar meeting. One influential activist suggested Washington wanted to recreate its success in forming a friendly government in Baghdad after the 2003 invasion. The Damascus Declaration, a group of mainly secular leftists on the council, accused the United States of abandoning it because it refused any compromise with the government in Damascus. “We are against any new political entity that becomes subject to the agendas of foreign countries,” said Samir Nachar, one member.
Their statement said that it was too early for a transitional government because opposition territorial gains thus far had been “negligible,” with no safe zone, and that there was a potentially explosive lack of coordination among the various political, military and activist groups. Finally, it said that the need for a transitional government warranted further study.
Several of the failings, particularly the final one, were those for which foreign governments blame the council, whose members have been fighting to undermine the decision at the failed Cairo conference to form a committee on creating a more representative opposition organization. “The S.N.C. ship is holed, and now they are fighting over the lifeboats,” Mr. Azm said.
Neil MacFarquhar reported from Beirut, and Michael R. Gordon from Zagreb, Croatia. Hania Mourtada and Hwaida Saad contributed reporting from Beirut, and Hala Droubi from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #7552 on: Nov 1st, 2012, 09:23am »
State Media: New China Stealth Fighter in Test Flight Nov. 1, 2012 - 08:20AM By AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
BEIJING — China’s second stealth fighter has made its first test flight, state media reported Nov. 1, in a boost to the country’s air capabilities even though the plane is unlikely to be deployed for years.
The J-31, the second stealth plane to be unveiled by China in less than two years, flew for 11 minutes on the morning of Oct. 31, the state-run Global Times reported, citing an eyewitness.
Photos posted online by Chinese military enthusiasts appeared to show the black-painted combat plane in mid-flight. Images of the aircraft were first leaked online in September.
China’s first stealth fighter, the J-20, was unveiled in early 2011 but is not expected to enter service until 2018. The country’s first aircraft carrier entered service last month, with others capable of carrying aircraft expected to follow.
The J-31 appears to be more mobile than the J-20, with its landing gear suggesting it is designed to be launched from an aircraft carrier, military expert Andrei Chang told AFP.
He said the J-31 appeared similar to the latest “fifth” generation of U.S.-designed stealth fighters, but with a less powerful engine and a lower proportion of sophisticated radar-blocking composite materials.
“In terms of design it appears the J-31 is inferior to the latest U.S. planes,” said Chang, head of the Kanwa Information Centre, which monitors China’s military.
“The layout is similar, but the material and quality are inferior.”
A long testing process means the aircraft is unlikely to be put into action for nearly a decade.
“It will take at least seven or eight years before it can be commercially sold,” Chang said, adding that the test flight was timed to coincide with the run-up to China’s once-in-a-decade leadership transition next month.
“I think the regime is trying to show off to their colleagues that the Hu Jintao regime achieved a lot for China,” he said, adding that the J-31’s manufacturers hoped to export the plane to Chinese allies such as Pakistan.
China says its defense spending will top $100 billion in 2012, the latest in a series of budget increases to the country’s 2.3 million-strong military.
Decades of increased investment saw the country fall from being the world’s largest importer of arms in 2007 to the fourth largest by 2011, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said.
Arms exports rose 95 percent in the same period.
The U.S. ordered 31 fifth-generation F-35 stealth fighter jets in one 2010 deal, the same year it deployed four F-22 Raptor stealth fighters in joint drills with South Korea in the Sea of Japan.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #7553 on: Nov 1st, 2012, 09:27am »
It's Official: Kathryn Bigelow's 'Zero Dark Thirty' Won't Open Wide Until January
5:07 PM PDT 10/31/2012 by Pamela McClintock
Rather than opening everywhere on Dec. 19 -- as Sony originally planned -- Zero Dark Thirty will only debut in New York and Los Angeles on that date in a bid to build word-of-mouth and benefit from awards momentum. THR first reported on Oct. 24 that Sony was considering such a move.
On Jan. 4, Zero Dark Thirty will add eight to 10 markets before expanding nationwide on Jan. 11 -- one day after Oscar nominations are announced. Independent companies almost always use platform releases, and while it's less common for a big studio, it's not unheard of.
Zero Dark Thirty now avoids the Christmas crush; titles opening nationwide during the 2012 year-end holidays include Les Miserables, Django Unchained, This Is 40, Parental Guidance and The Guilt Trip. Conversely, Zero Dark Thirty forfeits one of the most lucrative stretches of the year in terms of box-office returns.
Also, Sony -- which is reassessing its financial position -- won't have to write down the marketing charge for Zero Dark Thirty until January, a new quarter (the write down is timed to a film's nationwide break).
On Jan. 11, Zero Dark Thirty goes up against Warner Bros.' period crime drama Gangster Squad, starring Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin and Emma Stone.
Zero Dark Thirty is Bigelow's follow-up to best picture Oscar winner The Hurt Locker, for which she also became the first woman to win the best director statuette, and Sony is planning an aggressive awards push for the film, which chronicles the CIA's hunt for bin Laden and the U.S. SEALs raid which left the world's most wanted terrorist dead.
Sony could be borrowing a page from the past. In 2001, the studio and then-partner Revolution opened Black Hawk Down on four screens Dec. 28. The pic added more theaters Jan. 11 before expanding nationwide Jan. 18.
Conservatives have tried to make Zero Dark Thirty a political football by claiming that the film glamorizes President Barack Obama. Originally, Sony considered opening the film before the November general election but pushed back the release date to the week before Christmas.
Paramount responded quickly to Zero Dark Thirty's new plan by moving up the nationwide release of The Guilt Trip from Dec. 25 to Dec. 19. The movie, starring Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen, now avoids a direct showdown with rival holiday comedy Parental Guidance, starring Billy Crystal, Bette Midler and Marisa Tomei. Fox opens Parental Guidance on Christmas Day.