Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #8656 on: Jun 15th, 2013, 09:15am »
Published on Sep 16, 2012
Considered the first Sci-Fi TV show; it ran on the Dumont Network from 1949 to 1955. Done on a shoestring budget and performed live, note the flubbed lines and rinky-dink special effects. You may notice that the show is awkwardly padded out with stock footage from an old western movie which has nothing to do with the rest of the show. The theme music was however better than the tinny organ usually used for live TV and radio at the time. A wildly popular show aimed at kids it spawned a slew of merch like like lunchboxes, toys etc. and was later spun into a movie serial with a bigger budget and a different cast. It was later a cartoon series as well. It starred Al Hodge. Complete with ads.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #8657 on: Jun 16th, 2013, 09:33am »
Riot police patrol Istanbul ahead of ruling party rally
By Daren Butler and Seda Sezer
ISTANBUL Sun Jun 16, 2013 8:24am EDT
(Reuters) - Riot police fired occasional bursts of teargas in Istanbul on Sunday after a night of unrest to try to prevent anti-government demonstrators from regrouping ahead of a rally by Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's ruling party.
Bulldozers removed barricades and municipal workers swept the streets around the central Taksim Square, sealed off by police, after thousands took to the streets overnight following a raid by riot police firing teargas and water cannon to evict demonstrators from the adjoining Gezi Park.
Erdogan had warned hours earlier that the security forces would clear the area around the park - where protesters have been camped out for more than two weeks - before a ruling party rally on the other side of the city later on Sunday.
The government says the demonstrators are being manipulated by illegal groups seeking to sow instability.
"There are illegal groups there. Which country will turn a blind eye if a public space is occupied by a marginal group," EU Minister Egemen Bagis told Turkey's Kanal 24 television, citing Istanbul's governor as saying some of the protesters were believed to have been carrying guns.
"What did the prime minister say, he said people with good intentions should withdraw, we will deal with terrorists. By not withdrawing from there they created an impression that they are shielding terrorists," Bagis said.
Erdogan has long been Turkey's most popular politician, overseeing a decade of unprecedented prosperity, and his AK Party has won an increasing share of the vote in three successive election victories, but his critics complain of increasing authoritarianism.
While the protests pose no immediate threat to his government, they have tarnished Turkey's image as a haven of stability in a turbulent Middle East.
Panicked protesters fled into an upscale hotel at the back of the park during Saturday night's raid, several vomiting, as clouds of teargas and blasts from percussion bombs - designed to create confusion rather than injure - engulfed the park.
"We tried to flee and the police pursued us. It was like war," Claudia Roth, co-chair of Germany's Greens party, who had gone to Gezi Park to show her support, told Reuters.
The Gezi Park protesters, who oppose government plans to build a replica Ottoman-era barracks there, had defied repeated calls to leave but had started to reduce their presence in the park after meetings with Erdogan and the local authorities.
A similar police crackdown on peaceful campaigners in Gezi Park two weeks ago provoked an unprecedented wave of protest against Erdogan, drawing in secularists, nationalists, professionals, trade unionists and students who took to the streets in protest at what they see as his autocratic style.
The unrest, in which police fired teargas and water cannon at stone-throwing protesters night after night in cities including Istanbul and Ankara, left four people dead and about 5,000 injured, according to the Turkish Medical Association.
Riot police in Ankara fired teargas on Sunday to try to disperse hundreds of demonstrators blocking streets in the central Kizilay district, after first warning them through megaphones, a Reuters witness said.
Protesters took to the streets in several neighborhoods across Istanbul after the raid on Gezi Park, ripping up metal fences, paving stones and advertising hoardings to build barricades and lighting bonfires of trash in the streets. Some chanted "Tayyip, resign."
"One million people to Taksim" - a call for more anti-government demonstrations later on Sunday - was a top-trending hashtag on Twitter overnight but many Istanbul streets were quiet after clashes died down in the hours before dawn.
There was a heavy police presence in some areas as bulldozers cleared barricades.
"We have our Istanbul rally tomorrow. I say it clearly: Taksim Square must be evacuated, otherwise this country's security forces know how to evacuate it," Erdogan had told tens of thousands of supporters at a rally in Ankara shortly before the police raided the park.
A main public-sector union confederation, KESK, which has about 240,000 members, said it would call a national strike for Monday, while a second union grouping said it was holding an emergency meeting to decide whether to join the action.
"The police brutality aims at clearing the streets of Istanbul to make way for Erdogan's meeting," said Oguz Kaan Salici, Istanbul president of the main opposition People's Republican Party. "Yet it will backfire. People feel betrayed."
Erdogan told protesters on Thursday that he would put the plans for Gezi Park on hold until a court rules on them. It was a softer stance after two weeks in which he called protesters "riff-raff" and said the plans would go ahead regardless.
But at the first of two rallies this weekend by his ruling AK Party, he reverted to a defiant tone, telling supporters on the outskirts of Ankara that he would crush his opponents in elections next year.
Erdogan has said the AK Party rallies in Ankara and Istanbul are meant to kick off campaigning for local elections next year and are not related to the protests, but they are widely seen as a show of strength in the face of the demonstrations.
(Additional reporting by Ayla Jean Yackley, Can Sezer, Asli Kandemir, Evrim Ergin in Istanbul, Jonathon Burch and Humeyra Pamuk in Ankara; Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Janet Lawrence)
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #8658 on: Jun 16th, 2013, 09:38am »
Lenders seek court actions against homeowners years after foreclosure
Written by Kimbriell Kelly
For Jose Santos Benavides, the ordeal of losing his home was over.
The Salvadoran immigrant had worked for years as a self-employed landscaper to make a $15,000 down payment on a four-bedroom house in Rockville. He had achieved a portion of the American dream, earning nearly six figures.
Then the economy soured, and lean paychecks turned into late mortgage payments. On Aug. 20, 2008, one year after he bought his dream home for $469,000, the bank’s threat to take his house became real via a letter in the mail. Just four days before the bank seized the property, he moved out, along with his wife and their two young children.
That wasn’t the worst of it.
In November, more than three years after the foreclosure, he was stunned to learn he still owed $115,000 — with the interest alone growing at a rate high enough to lease a luxury car.
“I’m scared, you know,” Benavides said. “I can’t pay.”
The 42-year-old is among the many homeowners being taken to court by their lenders long after their houses were taken in foreclosure. Lenders are filing new motions in old foreclosure lawsuits and hiring debt collectors to pursue leftover debt, plus court fees, attorneys’ fees and tens of thousands in interest that had been accruing for years.
It’s an aftershock of the foreclosure crisis, and most homeowners don’t know it’s coming.
“When people take out a loan, they generally think the home is the security for the loan,” said Alys Cohen, an attorney in the Washington office of the National Consumer Law Center. When they no longer have that home, “people don’t expect that debt to follow them,” she said.
It’s all part of a legal process known as a “deficiency judgment,” which is allowed in the District and 40 of 50 states, including Maryland and Virginia. Since the start of the mortgage meltdown of 2008, at least 400 Maryland homeowners have been pursued in court, according to a Washington Post analysis of state court data. In the first four months of this year, 57 new court actions have been filed against homeowners — on pace to exceed last year’s total of 120.
It works like this: A property with a $500,000 mortgage might be worth only $300,000 following the housing crisis. The $200,000 difference, or what’s commonly referred to as the “underwater amount,” is known to lenders as a deficiency balance.
It’s unclear how many people walk away from homes when they can still afford to pay the mortgage. Likewise, there is little publicly available data on how many people pay off their deficiency judgments. A recent government audit found the recovery rate at one-fifth of 1 percent. But for those hit with the judgments, it can seem like double-dipping on their pain.
“Deficiency judgments are absolutely devastating to the foreclosed home buyer both as a matter of immediate financial impact and income tax consequence,” said John Mixon, a recently retired professor at the University of Houston Law Center who has studied deficiency judgments for the past 30 years.
Among the lenders pursuing the judgments are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two quasi-governmental lending agencies that have long strived to open up home ownership to a wider segment of the population. Officials at those agencies said the judgments are necessary to recoup money lost in the crisis.
“Pursuing deficiency judgments has always been a remedy that we have looked at to mitigate our losses prior to the recent housing crash,” said Freddie Mac spokesman Brad German. “It is not a new thing.”
German said Freddie Mac is targeting “strategic defaulters,” which the agency defines as “someone who had the means but chose to go into default, that there were no extenuating circumstances that affected their ability to pay. If you’re choosing not to pay off your mortgage, but you’re paying other bills, we would consider that strategic default.”
In 2011, Fannie and Freddie flagged 12 percent of 298,327 properties they had foreclosed on — more than 35,000 — for deficiency judgments in an attempt to collect $2.1 billion in unpaid mortgage debt, according to an inspector general’s report released in October from the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
“Pursuing these collections against borrowers we believe have the ability to pay but who have decided not to helps us minimize our losses, which in turn helps minimize taxpayer losses,” said Malloy Evans, an attorney and Fannie Mae’s vice president for default management. “And we think it’s our responsibility to try to minimize those taxpayers’ losses as much as we can.”
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #8659 on: Jun 16th, 2013, 09:47am »
Google unveils internet beaming balloons
Search giant Google has launched giant balloons into the stratosphere with the goal of providing internet access to the entire planet.
7:53AM BST 15 Jun 2013
The translucent, jellyfish-shaped balloons were released from a frozen field in the heart of New Zealand's South Island. They hardened into shiny pumpkins as they rose into the blue skies above Lake Tekapo.
It was the culmination of 18 months' work on what Google calls 'Project Loon'.
Developed in the secretive X lab that came up with a driverless car and web-surfing eyeglasses, the flimsy helium-filled inflatables beam the Internet down to earth as they sail past on the wind.
Still in their experimental stage, the balloons were the first of thousands that Google's leaders eventually hope to launch 12 miles into the stratosphere in order to bridge the gaping digital divide between the world's 4.8 billion unwired people and their 2.2 billion plugged-in counterparts.
"Two-thirds of the world's population or about 4.8 billion people don't have the internet right now. And some of them are living in remote places, but some of them are actually living right here in New Zealand, and we think that Project Loon can play a big role in connecting many of those unconnected people," explained Project Loon founder Richard DeVaul.
If successful, the technology might allow countries to leapfrog the expense of laying fibre cable, dramatically increasing Internet usage in places such as Africa and Southeast Asia.
Project leader Mike Cassidy explained how people on the ground would receive the Internet.
"For someone on the ground to use the Loon service, they need a small antenna about the size of a softball on the side of their house, and they just plug their computer into that antenna, and they get internet from the sky," Mr Cassidy said.
Google's balloons fly free and out of eyesight, scavenging power from card table-sized solar panels that dangle below and gather enough charge in four hours to power them for a day as the balloons sail around the globe on the prevailing winds.
Far below, ground stations with internet capabilities about 60 miles apart bounce signals up to the balloons.
The signals would hop forward, from one balloon to the next, along a backbone of up to five balloons.
Each balloon would provide internet service for an area twice the size of New York City, about 780 square miles, and terrain is not a challenge.
There are plenty of catches, including a requirement that anyone using Google Balloon internet would need a receiver plugged into their computer in order to receive the signal.
Google is not talking costs at this point, although they're striving to make both the balloons and receivers as inexpensive as possible, dramatically less than laying cables.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #8661 on: Jun 17th, 2013, 09:16am »
Hamas calls on Hezbollah to pull fighters out of Syria
GAZA Mon Jun 17, 2013 8:05am EDT
(Reuters) - The Palestinian Islamist Hamas movement on Monday urged Lebanese militant group Hezbollah to withdraw its forces from Syria, where they are battling for President Bashar al-Assad, and focus on fighting Israel instead.
Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, was once an Assad ally but last year endorsed the revolt against him in a shift that at the time deprived the Syrian leader of an important Sunni Muslim supporter in the Arab world.
"We call on Hezbollah to take its forces out of Syria and to keep their weapons directed against the Zionist enemy," Moussa Abu Marzouk, a Cairo-based Hamas leader, said on his Facebook page.
The call marked a further deterioration in relations between Hamas and Hezbollah, two long-time allies who have each fought against Israel and advocate its destruction.
Abu Marzouk said Shi'ite Muslim Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, where Assad, a member of the Shi'ite-rooted Alawite sect, is fighting mainly Sunni rebels, had stoked sectarian conflict.
Hamas has denied some Lebanese media reports that its fighters were present in Syria to train rebels in weaponry, bomb-making and tunnel digging.
On Friday, Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah promised his group would keep fighting alongside Assad's forces after it spearheaded the recapture of the strategic town of Qusair.
Hamas's leaders in exile were once based in Damascus but left, mainly for Egypt and Qatar, in 2012 as the civil war escalated.
(Reporting by Nidal Almughrabi, Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Alistair Lyon)
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #8662 on: Jun 17th, 2013, 09:22am »
A moonwalking Shetland pony who became an internet sensation has lost a paternity battle after leaving his partner to seek out a new mate.
By Victoria Ward 12:04PM BST 16 Jun 2013
Five-year-old Socks was put out to stud with three mares next to a loch but abandoned them after taking a shine to another filly called Kimberley on the other side of the water.
After he swam out to meet her, Kimberley gave birth to a black colt called Scamp and hair samples were sent to a DNA laboratory to determine his paternity.
But the results have confirmed that Socks, who shot to fame in a mobile phone advert in which he danced to the Fleetwood Mac song Everywhere, is not the father.
And to add insult to injury, it has appeared that another stallion might have stolen his “ladies man” crown.
In a twist the ponies’ owner likened to an episode of the Jeremy Kyle show, Scamp’s father turned out to be Nuggett, who not only impregnated Kimberley but also appears to have had his wicked way with Felicity, one of Socks’s mares, who has since given birth to a colt named Scallywag.
Mari Williamson, who runs the 200-acre Benston stud farm on Shetland, said Socks had been unlucky in love.
"Socks is a bit of a Casanova, but Nuggett has beaten him to it,” she said.
“He was quicker off the draw with Kimberley and with Felicity too. The other mare he was with may or may not be pregnant. We will have to wait and see.
"It has been a bit of a shambles but I am not disappointed – Scamp is a lovely black colt, whoever his father is. The funny thing is he has Socks's cheeky personality, but the DNA test says he's Nuggett's.
"Socks is a very good swimmer. That loch is five-and-a-half feet in places but I will have to think about how to contain his enthusiasm for the ladies a bit more next year.
"He just fancied Kimberley more and thought the grass is always greener on the other side. He's a little tinker. But it now appears that even Felicity had a romance that day with Nuggett. It was his lucky day.”
In true Jeremy Kyle style, she revealed there had even been a fight between Nuggett and Socks.
"Socks was put in stables for two weeks after," she said.
"It cost an arm and a leg for the DNA tests but it is important to keep the line correct."
Socks appeared in a 60-second commercial for the mobile company Three which showed him “moonwalking” on a cliff to impress other ponies before hiding his dance moves from a local farmer.
Since the advert was first broadcast on television at the start of March, it has been viewed more than 5.3 million times on YouTube.
Socks also has his own Facebook page with almost 1,200 followers.
The stallion was given the VIP treatment during his television shoot by having his own hairdresser who attached 40 clips to his mane for each day of filming.
Mrs Williamson, 42, added: "I would never part with him, no matter how much money I was offered. He is very special to me. Socks just has the presence.”
The dancing pony fathered a filly called Quartz two years ago, but another foal he sired died shortly after being born last month.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #8663 on: Jun 17th, 2013, 09:24am »
Mysterious Subatomic Particle May Represent Exotic New Form of Matter
By Adam Mann 06.17.13 9:30 AM
In the course of exploring the properties of a strange subatomic particle, physicists may have stumbled upon something even stranger: a mysterious and exotic new form of matter.
The intriguing discovery was made more or less simultaneously by two collaborations: the Belle experiment at the Japanese High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK) and BESIII experiment run by the Institute of High Energy Physics (IHEP) in China.
Both teams were looking at a particle called Y(4260) that had been discovered in 2005 but whose nature has mystified researchers since. By smashing together electrons and their antiparticle, positrons, the experiments produced large numbers of Y(4260), which lives for only 10-23 seconds before falling apart into other particles. The teams noticed that their data had a peculiar bump around 3.9 megaelectronvolts (MeV), an energy corresponding to roughly four times the weight of a proton.
“Inspired by this discovery, we decided to further study the Y(4260) decay, which indeed did not disappoint us,” said particle physicist Zhiqing Liu, lead author of a paper from the Belle experiment that appeared in Physical Review Letters on June 17. A second paper from BESIII, of which Liu is also a member, appears in the same issue.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #8664 on: Jun 17th, 2013, 09:27am »
UFO Sighted in Land O' Lakes Area?
There have been dozens of sightings reported by Tampa Bay area residents in the past few years, according to the UFO Stalker website.
By Sherri Lonon June 15, 2013
We are not alone.
At least, that’s the contention of dozens of Tampa Bay residents who have reported sightings of unusual lights, flying objects and even alien encounters over the past few years via the UFO Stalker website. UFO Stalker is “a real time UFO tracking system,” according to its website. “It gives an immediate view into worldwide UFO activity both past and present.”
Visitors to the site can check out activity reports across the globe and right in their own neighborhoods. Those who witness unexplained activity can also log their sightings on UFO Stalker.
So, how common are UFO sightings in the Tampa Bay area?
According to the website, there are dozens of sightings in the region each year.
The most recent Bay area sightings were logged in May and June. A Wesley Chapel resident reported seeing “5 orbs come into view slowly,” according to the website.
Back in February, there was a report of an unexplained sighting in the Lake Magdalene area. A “black triangle” was sighted in Odessa in 2011. An “entity encounter” was logged in 2011 in Tampa.
In May, a Palm Harbor resident reported seeing “3 fire looking objects in (the) sky.”
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #8668 on: Jun 18th, 2013, 09:57am »
Cheetah-Cub: A Robot That Runs Like a Cat
June 17, 2013 — Thanks to its legs, whose design faithfully reproduces feline morphology, EPFL's four-legged "cheetah-cub robot" has the same advantages as its model: it is small, light and fast. Still in its experimental stage, the robot will serve as a platform for research in locomotion and biomechanics.
Even though it doesn't have a head, you can still tell what kind of animal it is: the robot is definitely modeled upon a cat. Developed by EPFL's Biorobotics Laboratory (Biorob), the "cheetah-cub robot," a small-size quadruped prototype robot, is described in an article appearing today in the International Journal of Robotics Research. The purpose of the platform is to encourage research in biomechanics; its particularity is the design of its legs, which make it very fast and stable. Robots developed from this concept could eventually be used in search and rescue missions or for exploration.
This robot is the fastest in its category, namely in normalized speed for small quadruped robots under 30Kg. During tests, it demonstrated its ability to run nearly seven times its body length in one second. Although not as agile as a real cat, it still has excellent auto-stabilization characteristics when running at full speed or over a course that included disturbances such as small steps. In addition, the robot is extremely light, compact, and robust and can be easily assembled from materials that are inexpensive and readily available.
The machine's strengths all reside in the design of its legs. The researchers developed a new model with this robot, one that is based on the meticulous observation and faithful reproduction of the feline leg. The number of segments -- three on each leg -- and their proportions are the same as they are on a cat. Springs are used to reproduce tendons, and actuators -- small motors that convert energy into movement -- are used to replace the muscles.
"This morphology gives the robot the mechanical properties from which cats benefit, that's to say a marked running ability and elasticity in the right spots, to ensure stability," explains Alexander Sprowitz, a Biorob scientist. "The robot is thus naturally more autonomous."
Sized for a search
According to Biorob director Auke Ijspeert, this invention is the logical follow-up of research the lab has done into locomotion that included a salamander robot and a lamprey robot. "It's still in the experimental stages, but the long-term goal of the cheetah-cub robot is to be able to develop fast, agile, ground-hugging machines for use in exploration, for example for search and rescue in natural disaster situations. Studying and using the principles of the animal kingdom to develop new solutions for use in robots is the essence of our research."
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #8669 on: Jun 18th, 2013, 10:00am »
Military has schedule for women to move into combat jobs, including SEALs, other commandos
By Associated Press, Published: June 17 Updated: Tuesday, June 18, 12:25 AM
WASHINGTON — Military leaders are ready to begin tearing down the remaining walls that have prevented women from holding thousands of combat and special operations jobs near the front lines.
Under details of the plans obtained by The Associated Press, women could start training as Army Rangers by mid-2015 and as Navy SEALs a year later.
The military services have mapped out a schedule that also will include reviewing and possibly changing the physical and mental standards that men and women will have to meet in order to quality for certain infantry, armor, commando and other front-line positions across the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. Under the plans to be introduced Tuesday, there would be one common standard for men and women for each job.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel reviewed the plans and has ordered the services to move ahead.
The move follows revelations of a startling number of sexual assaults in the armed forces. Earlier this year, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said the sexual assaults might be linked to the longstanding ban on women serving in combat because the disparity between the roles of men and women creates separate classes of personnel — male “warriors” versus the rest of the force.
While the sexual assault problem is more complicated than that, he said, the disparity has created a psychology that lends itself to disrespect for women.
Under the schedules military leaders delivered to Hagel, the Army will develop standards by July 2015 to allow women to train and potentially serve as Rangers, and qualified women could begin training as Navy SEALs by March 2016 if senior leaders agree. Military leaders have suggested bringing senior women from the officer and enlisted ranks into special forces units first to ensure that younger, lower-ranking women have a support system to help them get through the transition.
The Navy intends to open up its Riverine force and begin training women next month, with the goal of assigning women to the units by October. While not part of the special operations forces, the coastal Riverine squadrons do close combat and security operations in small boats. The Navy plans to have studies finished by July 2014 on allowing women to serve as SEALs, and has set October 2015 as the date when women could begin Navy boot camp with the expressed intention of becoming SEALs eventually.
U.S. Special Operations Command is coordinating the matter of what commando jobs could be opened to women, what exceptions might be requested and when the transition would take place.
The proposals leave the door open for continued exclusion of women from some jobs if research and testing find that women could not be successful in sufficient numbers. But the services would have to defend such decisions to top Pentagon leaders.
Army officials plan to complete gender-neutral standards for the Ranger course by July 2015. Army Rangers are one of the service’s special operations units, but many soldiers who go through Ranger training and wear the coveted tab on their shoulders never actually serve in the 75th Ranger Regiment. To be considered a true Ranger, soldiers must serve in the regiment.