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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 16148 times)
WingsofCrystal
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #8025 on: Feb 13th, 2013, 09:04am »

on Feb 12th, 2013, 5:18pm, Swamprat wrote:
.....and they call us "UFO people" weird....... shocked


Florida couple use coffee enemas to cleanse colons 4 times a day

By Marc Lallanilla
Published February 12, 2013

Some people say they're addicted to coffee, but a couple in Florida has taken their coffee habit to a whole new level: coffee enemas.

Mike and Trina, who declined to give their last names (for reasons that may be obvious), are so hooked on coffee enemas that they use them to cleanse their colons at least four times daily, though Trina admitted using them up to 10 times in a single day, according to ABC News.

"I love the way it makes me feel," Trina told ABC News. "It gives me a sense of euphoria." ...

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/02/12/florida-couple-use-coffee-enemas-to-cleanse-colons/#ixzz2KjGv151Z


Good morning Swamprat,

That is NOT the way I want my coffee in the morning!!!!

shocked

Crystal


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« Reply #8026 on: Feb 13th, 2013, 09:08am »

on Feb 12th, 2013, 5:26pm, Reasoner wrote:
People here may think I might be leg pulling, but I had a Shadow Person encounter that nearly made me poop myself.

This around the time my mother died. I had moved back in with the parents as a young adult, staying in the smallest room. Occasionally, I'd be startled from sleep from phantom noises. This is an important point to which I'll elaborate in a bit, but let me get to the point of my own fright.

My bed was high, and pushed against the wall with the window. I would usually sleep with my back toward the window, and my front facing the rest of the room, across from which would be my bedroom door. One night, I was roused from sleep... but not by any sound. Kind of the way your consciousness fades in when you slowly wake in the morning. I opened my eyes, looking into my very dark room that had just the dimmest light from the window. I had the impression of a being, a man, right up next to my bed. He was crouching, and where his face would be was mere inches from my own. I could detect this thing as it was blacker than the rest of the room, but I couldn't see any features, just an outline of a man.

I very suddenly and violently shoved forward while yelling gutterally, "What do you want!?" My hand went through empty air, and there was nothing there. I sat bolt upright, holding my breath, looking through the room. My heart was pounding, and I felt... that's the only way to describe it... I felt the man still there, watching; but I couldn't see him. And I felt cold, but not cold by temperature. Whatever was there (if anything at all) felt malevolent. Simple terms... I felt like an evil spirit was in that room with me.

Knowing about night terrors and the way that stuff works, in time I mostly have chalked the experience up to being such a night terror. During this time, while staying in that room, I would occasionally hear weird noises at night. Like one time it sounded like a sharp deep crack noise from above my closet, as if the house suddenly settled and a deep crack in a board let out a noise. I got up and asked my mother, and she said she heard nothing. Another time, with back to the window, I was woken suddenly by an intense banging on that window (less than half a foot from my back).

But I otherwise have not experienced anything like this... much. I take it back. When I was younger, if I took a nap (and only from a nap), I would rouse from my sleep with the feeling of a cat walking on the bed, creeping slowly toward me. I'd awake with no cat anywhere, and no dimpling of weight on the bed. Since that dark manifestation, I've never again had any experience like this, and it has been over 15 years now.

Perhaps it was all the drinking I was doing as a youth huh

PS: I slept with the light on for the rest of that night.



Good morning Reasoner,

That would indeed scare the beegeebers out of a person!

Thankfully I have never had an experience like that.

Crystal



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« Reply #8027 on: Feb 13th, 2013, 09:12am »

Telegraph

A 16-year-old schoolgirl from Essex has been revealed as having an IQ higher than Einstein.

By Hayley Dixon
3:10PM GMT 12 Feb 2013

Lauren Marbe, 16, shocked teachers by scoring 161 on the Mensa brain test after she was entered with other pupils from her school for fun.

The "normal" teenager loves fake tanning, blonde highlights, manicures and getting dressed up for parties themed around her favourite reality TV show.

She is the daughter of a black cab driver and dreams of one day being a performer in the West End - like Essex celebrity Denise Van Outen.

But her remarkable brain test score means she is now officially smarter than Professor Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates and even Albert Einstein - who all have an IQ of 160.

Miss Marbe has now been enrolled in prestigious society Mensa, which means she is officially in the top one per cent of cleverest people in the world.

The schoolgirl, who is already predicted straight A's and A*'s for her GCSE's, said she was delighted to have "blown away" the Essex stereotype.

Miss Marbe, of Loughton, Essex, said: "It was such an achievement and I got a bit tearful to tell you the truth.”

The teenager, who said her parents were surprised at the result, added: "I am blonde, I do wear make-up and I do go out.

"I love my fake tan and fake nails as well so I guess I am a bit of an Essex girl in that sense. I watch TOWIE and I love the programme, it's addictive but now most people do seem to think that's what everyone in Essex is like.

"I love living in Essex and I'm glad that I might be able to show people that we aren't all ditzy and blonde."

Lauren, a pupil at Roding Valley High School, Loughton, Essex, took the Mensa-accredited IQ test earlier this month along with other high achievers at her school.

The dedicated pupil - head girl of her primary school and currently a prefect - was already considered bright after scoring a double A* in her science GCSE, which she took a year early.

She is now aiming to take A-Levels in art, physics and maths after her GCSEs, this summer, and would love to study architecture degree at the University of Cambridge.

But she admits she is torn between her academic ability and pursuing her dream of becoming a professional singer and dancer.

The prodigal teenager has already performed in the West End for two years as part of the chorus for Andrew Lloyd Webber smash-hit Joseph, with Lee Mead, from 2007.

Lauren, who lives with her family in a £350,000 semi-detached house, still takes dance classes and singing lessons, records music and takes part in Stage One drama school.

Her proud parents, father David, 45, and Sue Marbe, 45, deputy head of a primary school, say they will be happy whichever path their daughter chooses.

The couple also admitted they have no idea where her brains come from.

Mrs Marbe said: "Living in this area there is a lot of pressure to be the stereotypical Essex girl but she has a real nice support from the other girls.

"Most of the time Essex gets a bit of a negative press. People think all girls are blonde and all girls are dim.

"Lauren is blonde but it does seem like she has shaken the stereotype that all Essex girls are stupid.”

Einstein never took an IQ test as none of the modern intelligence tests existed during the course of his life, but experts believe he had an IQ of around 160.

The IQ test is designed to test a range of abilities to determine the level of intelligence of the student - in the UK the average score is 100.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/9865246/Essex-teenager-has-higher-IQ-than-Einstein.html

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« Reply #8028 on: Feb 13th, 2013, 09:14am »

Science Daily

Why Some People Don't Learn Well: EEG Shows Insufficient Processing of Information to Be Learned

Feb. 13, 2013

— The reason why some people are worse at learning than others has been revealed by a research team from Berlin, Bochum, and Leipzig, operating within the framework of the Germany-wide network "Bernstein Focus State Dependencies of Learning." They have discovered that the main problem is not that learning processes are inefficient per se, but that the brain insufficiently processes the information to be learned.

The scientists trained the subjects' sense of touch to be more sensitive. In subjects who responded well to the training, the EEG revealed characteristic changes in brain activity, more specifically in the alpha waves. These alpha waves show, among other things, how effectively the brain exploits the sensory information needed for learning. "An exciting question now is to what extent the alpha activity can be deliberately influenced with biofeedback," says PD Dr. Hubert Dinse from the Neural Plasticity Lab of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum. "This could have enormous implications for therapy after brain injury or, quite generally, for the understanding of learning processes." The research team from the Ruhr-Universität, the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Charité -- Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences reported their findings in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Learning without attention: passive training of the sense of touch

How well we learn depends on genetic aspects, the individual brain anatomy, and, not least, on attention. "In recent years we have established a procedure with which we trigger learning processes in people that do not require attention," says Hubert Dinse. The researchers were, therefore, able to exclude attention as a factor. They repeatedly stimulated the participants' sense of touch for 30 minutes by electrically stimulating the skin of the hand. Before and after this passive training, they tested the so-called "two-point discrimination threshold," a measure of the sensitivity of touch. For this, they applied gentle pressure to the hand with two needles and determined the smallest distance between the needles at which the patient still perceived them as separate stimuli. On average, the passive training improved the discrimination threshold by twelve percent -- but not in all of the 26 participants. Using EEG, the team studied why some people learned better than others.

Imaging the brain state using EEG: the alpha waves are decisive

The cooperation partners from Berlin and Leipzig, PD Dr. Petra Ritter, Dr. Frank Freyer, and Dr. Robert Becker recorded the subjects' spontaneous EEG before and during passive training. They then identified the components of the brain activity related to improvement in the discrimination test. The alpha activity was decisive, i.e., the brain activity was in the frequency range 8 to 12 hertz. The higher the alpha activity before the passive training, the better the people learned. In addition, the more the alpha activity decreased during passive training, the more easily they learned. These effects occurred in the somatosensory cortex, that is, where the sense of touch is located in the brain.

Researchers seek new methods for therapy

"How the alpha rhythm manages to affect learning is something we investigate with computer models," says PD Dr. Petra Ritter, Head of the Working Group "Brain Modes" at the MPI Leipzig and the Berlin Charité. "Only when we understand the complex information processing in the brain, can we intervene specifically in the processes to help disorders," adds Petra Ritter. New therapies are the aim of the cooperation network, which Ritter coordinates, the international "Virtual Brain" project, which her team collaborates on, and the "Neural Plasticity Lab," chaired by Hubert Dinse at the RUB.

Learning is dependent on access to sensory information

A high level of alpha activity counts as a marker of the readiness of the brain to exploit new incoming information. Conversely, a strong decrease of alpha activity during sensory stimulation counts as an indicator that the brain processes stimuli particularly efficiently. The results, therefore, suggest that perception-based learning is highly dependent on how accessible the sensory information is. The alpha activity, as a marker of constantly changing brain states, modulates this accessibility.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130213082332.htm

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« Reply #8029 on: Feb 13th, 2013, 09:17am »

Defense News

White House issues cybersecurity order

Feb. 12, 2013 - 09:17PM
By NICOLE BLAKE JOHNSON

The Obama administration on Tuesday ordered agencies to share classified threat information with companies operating critical infrastructure and called for the creation of voluntary security standards to protect systems critical to national security, such as the electric grid and water treatment facilities.

The executive order, signed by President Obama, follows Congress’ failed attempts last fall to pass comprehensive cybersecurity legislation. Senior administration officials speaking on background Tuesday said the White House was forced to take action, considering the growing cyber threats that could potentially disrupt national security.

The executive order, however, will not replace needed legislation, especially considering that an executive order cannot provide liability protections for companies that adopt security standards but suffer an attack, one senior official told reporters.

“An executive order is not a substitute for legislation, and it’s not the end of a conversation,” the official said. “In fact, it’s really just a continuation of it.”

Under the executive order:

• The National Institute of Standards and Technology will publish a draft cybersecurity framework by October. The framework will include voluntary security standards for critical infrastructure companies, based on best practices and industry input. NIST will work with the Department of Homeland Security to publish a final version of the framework within a year.

• DHS will create a voluntary program to support adoption of the voluntary standards. By June, DHS, in coordination with the Treasury and Commerce departments, must recommend incentives to entice private-sector involvement in the program.

• The Defense Industrial Base Information Sharing Program will be expanded to include more critical infrastructure companies. Under the program, government and industry share classified threat information, including software code used to determine malware. The executive order also requires agencies to share unclassified reports with industry on threats to U.S. companies.

• Agencies are directed to regularly assess the privacy and civil liberties impacts of their activities and share that information with the public.

Under the executive order, DHS is tasked with identifying which companies are deemed the most critical infrastructures, which is the intended target audience for the voluntary program.

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130212/DEFREG02/302120031/White-House-issues-cybersecurity-order?odyssey=tab

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« Reply #8030 on: Feb 13th, 2013, 09:20am »

Hollywood Reporter

Kevin Smith, Industry Voices Debate 'Star Wars' Overkill

5:00 AM PST 2/13/2013
by Marc Bernardin

Seven movies in 33 years. That has been the Star Wars output while George Lucas ran Lucasfilm. And that scarcity has been a big part of fans' lust for The Force. So Disney CEO Bob Iger's Feb. 6 reveal that Episodes VII, VIII and IX will be joined by spinoff movies (Han Solo and Boba Fett are rumored to be getting stand-alones) is causing some to wonder whether it's too much of a good thing.

"I dearly hope that this new crop of talented filmmakers will expand the world of Star Wars, not retread familiar ground or provide unnecessary backstory to characters who don't need it," says Zack Stentz, co-writer of X-Men: First Class.

Of course, even the threat of at least five new Star Wars movies -- J.J. Abrams' Episode VII is slated for 2015 -- is doing wonders for Disney's stock, which closed at $54.75 on Feb. 11, up 11 percent since the Lucasfilm purchase. But it is possible to overexpose a good thing. In the '90s, Star Trek had two TV series and regular features -- until audiences stopped watching. "Reboots and straight sequels can exhaust a franchise, but a continuing saga like Star Wars doesn't belong in that category," counters writer Zak Penn, who helped Marvel with The Avengers. "I liken it more to Terminator or even The Matrix. I'd still pay to see stories set in those worlds; even -- and maybe because -- I still have a bad taste in my mouth from more recent installments." Plus, Lucas never has shied from exploiting his creation.

"Now part of the Disney empire, Star Wars will become as ubiquitous as Starbucks," says filmmaker Kevin Smith. "It's now as American as baseball and apple pie and as universal as Coca-Cola. In our current business climate of outsourcing, Star Wars may be America's last remaining dependable export. So it's a good thing they're taking the expanded universe approach: giving Yoda, Boba Fett and Han Solo their own movies is creatively and financially ingenious. Grouse though they may that it's not 'their Star Wars', every old-school fan will line up to see a Yoda origin story, or to see David Borneaz as a a young Han Solo winning the Millennium Falcon from Donald Glover's baby-faced Lando Calrissian (Yeah, I'm calling it here!)."

Smith adds, "You can't call it the commodification of Star Wars because the creator himself first commodified Star Wars a long, long time ago in a decade far, far away with toys and bed sheets and inflatable light sabers. Star Wars has always been big business. It's a roller-coaster ride in a theme park: thrilling, fun and good for repeat business. And as you leave the ride, you're compelled to buy a T-shirt and snow globe memento. Disney paid billions for Star Wars, but with the JJ news and now this subsequent info about the spinoff flicks, they're gonna make double what they paid in the first 10 years alone. After that, the financial Force will be with them. Always."

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/star-wars-kevin-smith-x-420824

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« Reply #8031 on: Feb 14th, 2013, 08:14am »

Happy Valentine's Day, Crystal!

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« Reply #8032 on: Feb 14th, 2013, 10:04am »

Good morning Swamprat cheesy

Thank you! Happy Valentine's Day to you!

Crystal



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« Reply #8033 on: Feb 14th, 2013, 10:05am »

Husband wants food, be back in a bit.

I did find this Bigfoot article:

http://www.incredipedia.info/2013/01/bigfoot-in-oregon-strange-bloodcurdling.html

No connection between husband and Bigfoot, grin

Crystal



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« Reply #8034 on: Feb 14th, 2013, 10:52am »

Reuters

Moody's says any U.S. rating change depends on debt trajectory

NEW YORK | Thu Feb 14, 2013 11:41am EST

(Reuters) - Moody's Investors Service on Thursday said that any future changes to the U.S. sovereign credit rating will turn on the expected debt trajectory, with more budget measures needed to shrink key debt ratios.

If the United States does not see high growth rates, the debt-to-GDP ratio could suffer, Moody's said in a statement.

"Therefore, further fiscal policy actions in coming months would be needed to ensure a decline in the debt ratios," the statement added.

"Any rating action in coming months will be predicated on the expected debt trajectory, which in turn will result from fiscal policy and the expected path of economic growth."

Moody's rates the United States Aaa with a negative outlook. Fitch rates the country AAA with a negative outlook. Standard and Poor's rates the United States AA-plus, also with a negative outlook.

(Reporting By Luciana Lopez and Daniel Bases; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/14/us-usa-ratings-moodys-idUSBRE91D13M20130214

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« Reply #8035 on: Feb 14th, 2013, 11:02am »

Der Spiegel

Dead Animals 'Go Interrailing': Horsemeat Scandal Is a Europe-Wide Problem

By Carsten Volkery in London

"No artificial flavors or colors," the packaging of the frozen Spaghetti Bolognese prepared meal at British supermarket chain Tesco's promises. The additional ingredient causing such a furor right now, however, isn't even artificial. The misslabelling was even worse: Instead of the beef advertised, the product, which was sold under the chain's own Everyday Value label, contained a huge amount of horsemeat -- at least 60 percent. And all natural.

The horsemeat was first discovered in frozen hamburgers, but later in lasagne and more recently in the spaghetti product. In Britain, people are starting ask whether it is possible to eat frozen foods with a good conscience. For days now the ground horsemeat scandal has been leading the headlines as the main political issue in the country. On Tuesday, the House of Commons spent its second day in a row debating practices in European meat production that can get dicey.

And now the scandal is spreading. Traces of horsemeat have also since been discovered in other countries, including supermarkets in France and Sweden.

On Wednesday, officials at the consumer protection ministry in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia confirmed that the are investigating possible deliveries of incorrectly labelled frozen foods that may have contained horsemeat to Germany. The agency said it could only confirm whether the products actually contained horsemeat through DNA testing. So far, however, no clandestine horsemeat has been discovered in Germany, but several supermarket chains have taken the precautionary measure of removing a few food products from their shelves.

British Government Goes on Defensive

Nowhere has the outrage been as great as in Great Britain. Angered members of parliament have demanded a freeze on meat imports from the Continent. Euroskeptics in the country have also taken advantage of the opportunity to attack the EU as some kind of uncontrollable behemoth. "The EU single market is an invitation to fraud," commented Bernard Jenkin, a conservative member of parliament.

The British tabloid Sun has reported that a "grim Romanian slaughterhouse built with EU cash" has been one of the sources of the horsemeat at the center of the scandal. During a debate in parliament on Tuesday, Environment Secretary Owen Peterson, whose portfolio also includes agriculture and food, lambasted what he called a "criminal action" from abroad that led to a situation in which thousands of unwitting British people had eaten burgers or lasagne containing horsemeat. Over the weekend, he had already warned of an "international conspiracy."

But it appears that British firms have been caught conducting similarly deceptive practices. Officials at the government's Food Standards Agency (FSA) and police on Tuesday inspected horse slaughterhouses in Yorkshire County and a meat plant in Wales. Both companies are alleged to have used horsemeat in kebabs and burgers.

The British government is now on the defensive after ignoring the first case of deceptive labelling one month ago. In mid-January, horsemeat was discovered in frozen hamburger meat sold at discount supermarkets in Britain and Ireland including subsidiaries of Germany's Aldi and Lidl chains.

Tests on all Meat Products

Politicians and the authorities didn't respond in earnest until last week, when frozen lasagne comprised almost entirely of horsemeat was discovered in stores. On Monday, supermarket chain Tesco, the market leader, finally stated that its Everyday Value Spaghetti Bolognese had been made entirely with ground horsemeat.

Further cases are likely to be uncovered in the coming days, as well, because the FSA has ordered authenticity tests for all beef products. The first results from that testing are expected to be released on Friday. Once that is completed, the agency plans to test pork and chicken products in order to eliminate any remaining doubts.

On Tuesday, Paterson convened a second crisis meeting within four days with representatives of the food industry. And on Wednesday, EU agricultural ministers met in Brussels under pressure from Britain to discuss ways of better monitoring meat products.

It appears that improved monitoring is in fact needed. So far the British government assumes there are two isolated cases. Irish firm Silvercrest Foods supplied horsemeat in the hamburgers in question. And French producer Comigel provided ground meat with the lasagne and Spaghetti Bolognese.

A Complex Train Across Europe

Things start to get murky with the convoluted route taken from a slaughterhouse in Romania to supermarket shelves in Britain, a supply chain so complicated it has shocked many in the country. The Luxembourg-based Comigel subsidiary Tavola had ordered the ground meat for the lasagne from Spanghero, a subsidiary of France's Poujol. The parent company had acquired the frozen meat from a Cypriot trader who had subcontracted the order to a Dutch firm that ultimately obtained the horsemeat from a slaughterhouse in Romania.

"We should not be so ignorant of our food chain -- a phrase that used to mean animals eating other animals, not dead ones going bloody Interrailing," lambasted Times of London columnist Hugo Rifkind. "The big shock should be that this is what our food supply looks like when it's going right, too." And the Anne McIntosh of the Conservative Party, who heads parliament's Agricultural Committee, said one has to wonder how fresh even frozen meat is when it is transported through so many countries.

The question that must now be addressed is the point where the meat got mislabelled in this long supply chain. So far, all the intermediaries involved are refusing to accept responsibility. The men who run the slaughterhouse, who happen to be the brothers of Romania's agriculture minister, have even presented receipts indicating the horsemeat had been correctly identified as such at the time they sold it. Seeking to contain possible damage to the country's image, Prime Minister Victor Ponta is warning against making his country the EU's scapegoat, as often happens.

Since the outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease, in the 1990s, systems have been put in place that allow every kilo of meat in the EU to be tracked to its precise origin. But apparently that alone is not enough to stop acts of deception.

The British government believes that too much in the EU internal market is based on trust. Environment Secretary Paterson is now calling for regular spot checks in the future instead of relying on the information supplied on shipping documents. The prospect of large fines might also force the industry rethink its practices. Many of the companies affected in the scandal are now considering suing their suppliers.

For now, though, politicians and experts alike are offering some simple advice for Britain's consumers: Buy British. And Roger Kelsey, chief executive of the National Federation of Meat and Food Traders, said that consumers have a choice: If they buy locally, they can trust what they are getting. It will just be more expensive.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/great-britain-calls-for-new-eu-rules-after-horsemeat-scandal-a-883216.html

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« Reply #8036 on: Feb 14th, 2013, 11:07am »

Because it is Valentine's Day cheesy


ABC

John and Ann Betar longest married couple
February 6, 2013 - 11:54 am

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) - John and Ann Betar weren't supposed to get married. Her father had arranged for her to wed another man, but she and John fled Bridgeport and eloped in New York.

That was more than 80 years ago. The couple is still happily hitched, a fact that has led to their naming as the "longest married couple" in the U.S. for 2013 by Worldwide Marriage Encounter, a Christian marriage group based in San Bernardino, Calif.

The Betars are scheduled to receive a plaque and other gifts from the group at their granddaughter's home in Fairfield on Saturday.

They told the New York Daily News that there are no secrets to a long marriage, only a few simple rules.

"We just live with contentment and we don't live beyond our means," John Betar said. "Just go with the flow."

John's now 101 years old and Ann is 97, and they're still living in their home along the Fairfield shore. They had five children, 14 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren. Two of their children died in their 60s.

Ron and Judy Pekny of Worldwide Marriage Encounter say the title of "longest married couple" is based on nominations the group received, so there may be some couples who have been married longer.

John and Ann grew up across the street from each other in Bridgeport, and John used to drive Ann to high school in his Ford Roadster. They fell in love. When her father arranged for her to marry someone else, they eloped in Harrison, N.Y., about 25 miles north of New York City.

John went on to open a grocery store in Bridgeport.

Ann Betar told the Hearst Connecticut Media Group around their 80th anniversary in November that family has been a key to their longevity.

"That's what makes life what it is," she said. "We were fortunate enough to live long enough to see this ... and it's really one of the most gratifying things in the world to see your great-grandchildren, to see your grandchildren become adults."

John Betar added, "That's what keeps us alive. We live for them."


http://www.wjla.com/articles/2013/02/john-and-ann-betar-longest-married-couple-84925.html#ixzz2KtUyd1jc


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« Reply #8037 on: Feb 15th, 2013, 09:15am »

Reuters

Exclusive: North Korea tells China of preparations for fresh nuclear test

By Benjamin Kang Lim
BEIJING | Fri Feb 15, 2013 8:31am EST

(Reuters) - North Korea has told its key ally, China, that it is prepared to stage one or even two more nuclear tests this year in an effort to force the United States into diplomatic talks with Pyongyang, said a source with direct knowledge of the message.

Further tests could also be accompanied this year by another rocket launch, said the source who has direct access to the top levels of government in both Beijing and Pyongyang.

The isolated regime conducted its third nuclear test on Tuesday, drawing global condemnation and a stern warning from the United States that it was a threat and a provocation.

"It's all ready. A fourth and fifth nuclear test and a rocket launch could be conducted soon, possibly this year," the source said, adding that the fourth nuclear test would be much larger than the third at an equivalent of 10 kilotons of TNT.

The tests will be undertaken, the source said, unless Washington holds talks with North Korea and abandons its policy of what Pyongyang sees as attempts at regime change.

North Korea also reiterated its long-standing desire for the United States to sign a final peace agreement with it and establish diplomatic relations, he said. The North remains technically at war with both the United States and South Korea after the Korean war ended in 1953 with a truce.

Initial estimates of this week's test from South Korea's military put its yield at the equivalent of 6-7 kilotons, although a final assessment of yield and what material was used in the explosion may be weeks away.

North Korea's latest test, its third since 2006, prompted warnings from Washington and others that more sanctions would be imposed on the isolated state. The U.N. Security Council has only just tightened sanctions on Pyongyang after it launched a long-range rocket in December.

The North is banned under U.N. sanctions from developing missile or nuclear technology after its 2006 and 2009 nuclear tests.

North Korea worked to ready its nuclear test site, about 100 km (60 miles) from its border with China, throughout last year, according to commercially available satellite imagery. The images show that it may have already prepared for at least one more test, beyond Tuesday's subterranean explosion.

"Based on satellite imagery that showed there were the same activities in two tunnels, they have one tunnel left after the latest test," said Kune Y. Suh, a nuclear engineering professor at Seoul National University in South Korea.

Analysis of satellite imagery released on Friday by specialist North Korea website 38North showed activity at a rocket site that appeared to indicate it was being prepared for an upcoming launch (here).

NORTH 'NOT AFRAID' OF SANCTIONS

President Barack Obama pledged after this week's nuclear test "to lead the world in taking firm action in response to these threats" and diplomats at the U.N. Security Council have already started discussing potential new sanctions.

The North has said the test this week was a reaction to what it said was "U.S. hostility" following its December rocket launch. Critics say the rocket launch was aimed at developing technology for an intercontinental ballistic missile.

"(North) Korea is not afraid of (further) sanctions," the source said. "It is confident agricultural and economic reforms will boost grain harvests this year, reducing its food reliance on China."

North Korea's isolated and small economy has few links with the outside world apart from China, its major trading partner and sole influential diplomatic ally.

China signed up for sanctions after the 2006 and 2009 nuclear tests and for a U.N. Security Council resolution passed in January to condemn the latest rocket launch. However, Beijing has stopped short of abandoning all support for Pyongyang.

Sanctions have so far not discouraged North Korea from pursuing its nuclear ambitions, analysts said.

"It is like watching the same movie over and over again," said Lee Woo-young, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul.

"The idea that stronger sanctions make North Korea stop developing nuclear programs isn't effective in my view."

The source with ties to Beijing and Pyongyang said China would again support U.N. sanctions. He declined to comment on what level of sanctions Beijing would be willing to endorse.

"When China supported U.N. sanctions ... (North) Korea angrily called China a puppet of the United States," he said. "There will be new sanctions which will be harsh. China is likely to agree to it," he said, without elaborating.

He said however that Beijing would not cut food and fuel supplies to North Korea, a measure that it reportedly took after a previous nuclear test.

He said North Korea's actions were a distraction for China's leadership, which was concerned the escalations could inflame public opinion in China and hasten military build-ups in the region.

The source said that he saw little room for compromise under North Korea's youthful new leader, Kim Jong-un. The third Kim to rule North Korea is just 30 years old and took over from his father in December 2011.

He appears to have followed his father, Kim Jong-il, in the "military first" strategy that has pushed North Korea ever closer to a workable nuclear missile at the expense of economic development.

"He is much tougher than his father," the source said.

(Writing by David Chance; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Mark Bendeich)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/15/us-korea-north-nuclear-idUSBRE91E0J820130215

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« Reply #8038 on: Feb 15th, 2013, 09:18am »

Washington Post

Helicopter bribe scandal threatens India's defense modernization

By Rama Lakshmi, Friday, February 15, 5:48 AM

NEW DELHI — Allegations of corruption in the purchase of 12 Italian helicopters are threatening India's desperately needed multibillion-dollar modernization of its defense forces.

The chief executive of the Italian defense and aerospace company Finmeccanica, Giuseppe Orsi, was arrested in Milan this week on charges of bribing Indian officials to secure a $750 million deal in 2010 to sell the AW-101 medium-lift helicopters.

In response, India ordered a federal probe into the charges and put payments on hold. The Defense Ministry also deferred discussions this week on another contract to buy 197 light utility helicopters, fueling fears that the controversy may paralyze the government's already painfully slow decision-making process.

Defense Minister A.K. Antony told reporters Wednesday that if the probe reveals proof of graft, the Italian company and its Britain-based subsidiary “are liable for criminal actions; they are liable to be prosecuted; the company is liable to be blacklisted.”

“We are not bothered about who the companies are, how strong they are, how influential they are,” Antony said. “Nobody will be spared.”

In a statement Friday, the Defense Ministry said it has notified the Finmeccanica subsidiary, AgustaWestland, that it is seeking to cancel the contract. The company was asked to reply to the notice in seven days.

Defense analysts said the dramatic revelations of bribery that are being splashed across Indian newspapers every day — and the probe they have prompted — may cast a shadow over India’s ambitious plans to replace its aging military arsenal. Those plans made the country the world’s largest arms importer last year. The bribes were allegedly offered to officials as high as the former air force chief.

The case has reminded many Indians of another defense corruption scandal in the 1980s, which helped bring down a government and pushed back many key defense purchase decisions. A similar delay, they now warn, may threaten India’s security at a time when its lumbering military needs to urgently transform itself into a leaner and more lethal force to face potential threats from neighbors such as China and Pakistan.

“The unfortunate fallout of the current helicopter controversy is that decisions will get stalled, people will play safe and not take any decisions at all, and that will affect our defense modernization and preparedness adversely,” said Mrinal Suman, a retired army major general who instructs foreign defense manufacturers on Indian weapons procurement policies. “The modernization of our armed forces is already lagging behind by 15 years. About half of the weapons and equipment in India’s armed forces are obsolete.”

In 2011, V.K. Singh, then chief of the Indian army, said the army’s major combat weapons were in an “alarming” state, making India unfit for war.

India in recent years has embarked on plans to upgrade its Soviet-era arsenal with new fighter aircraft, antitank missiles, maritime patrol aircraft, infantry combat vehicles, helicopters, assault rifles and submarines — a shopping list worth about $100 billion over more than a decade.

American companies hope to corner a predominant share of this market in the coming years. Defense trade between the United States and India has generated nearly $8 billion since 2005, coinciding with a new era of closer ties between the two nations.

But each defense purchase takes an average of eight to 10 years, frustrating many foreign vendors.

“Overcautious officers delay the process by looping in and marking defense acquisition files to every senior [official], just to avoid taking individual responsibility for their decisions,” said an industry observer familiar with the process.

The reason for such nervousness, analysts said, is the bruising aftermath of a massive defense corruption scandal in 1989 in which Indian officials were accused of receiving bribes from the Swedish company Bofors in return for a contract to buy howitzers. The scandal cost the then-ruling Congress Party dearly in elections that year.

“It took at least 15 years for the government to recover from the shock of the Bofors scandal and pick up the courage to take decisions on buying weapons again,” said Suman.

An editorial Thursday in the Indian Express newspaper warned against “the system’s tendency to lapse into inertia and indecision when faced with demands for greater accountability”.

As in the aftermath of the Bofors scandal, “procurement may again be slowed, suspended or banned, apprehending scandal,” the editorial said. “Asked to prove its innocence, the system could again choose to retreat to the comforts of inaction and prevarication.”


http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/helicopter-bribe-scandal-threatens-indias-defense-modernization/2013/02/15/05e70f76-775a-11e2-b102-948929030e64_story.html?hpid=z3

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Wired

Darpa Wants Teeny-Tiny Fluids to Cool Down Next-Gen Microchips

By Robert Beckhusen
02.15.13
6:30 AM

The Pentagon’s mad scientists have concocted a plan to keep the miniature, stacked brains of tomorrow’s advanced computers cool enough to power next-gen technological advances. It involves the world’s smallest bath.

Advanced new microchips are now stacking up like pancakes. This new turn toward stacked chips promises huge improvements in computing power for everything from advanced cameras to new smartphones. But the Pentagon is concerned about these new stacks of chips being too powerful — that is, they risk melting down because they get too hot.

Darpa’s plan: embed them with tiny fluid channels to circulate really, really small blobs of water. This month, the agency released a solicitation asking the industry to come up with designs for “microfluidic” cooling systems which can be embedded into microchip stacks, called ICECool. The specifics are painfully complicated, but the project would involve using tiny “microgaps” between “chips in three-dimensional stacks” (more on this in a minute) that can be used to pump “naturally-circulating flows as well as directed liquid jets” to keep the microchips cool.

To describe why Darpa is interested in this, in a crude and simplified way, we should start with Moore’s Law.

more after the jump:
http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2013/02/icecool/

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