Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Love him or hate him, Christopher Hitchens is one of the most-interesting, most-prolific journalists working today. He writes reviews for The Atlantic. He writes a column for Vanity Fair. And he sits on more editorial boards than I can count.

One week, a few months back, I felt like I couldn't go through a newspaper or magazine without spotting his byline. During the election, he was on Hardball every other night. (In full disclosure, we've had him on TOTN a few times.)

Earlier today, I saw this article on The Guardian's website. On a trip to Beirut, Hitchens "found himself at the wrong end of a bruising encounter that has left him walking with a limp and nursing cuts and bruises."

More details on this link: Hitchens Beaten Up In Beirut : Blog Of The Nation : NPR

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

It still isn't known why a man apparently walked up to a campus police officer at Virginia Tech yesterday and fatally shot the 39-year-old father of five. And the identity of the gunman, who authorities believe died of a gunshot wound shortly after the attack, hasn't yet been released.

But we are learning some more details about the harrowing events that shook a campus still recovering from the April 2007 mass murder of 32 people by a student who then killed himself.

— Blacksburg's WDBJ reports that "the State Police and Bureau of Criminal Investigations say the dash cam video taken from Officer Deriek Crouse's patrol car shows the man found dead at the second crime scene on campus was at the original traffic stop. That dash cam video shows the man with a gun."

Virginia Tech officer Deriek Crouse, who died Thursday.
Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech officer Deriek Crouse, who died Thursday.

— About 30 minutes after Crouse was shot, according to the student-run Collegiate Times, "an officer saw a man in the I lot of Duck Pond Drive, commonly referred to as 'the Cage,' acting suspiciously, and upon return, found the man dead from a bullet wound." It's thought he killed himself.

— The attack on Crouse apparently happened while the officer was making a routine traffic stop involving another person, and authorities say "Crouse was shot to death in front of witnesses," according to The Roanoke Times.

— Crouse, according to the university, "joined the Virginia Tech Police Department on Oct. 27, 2007, and served in the patrol division. He is survived by his wife, five children and step-children, and his mother and brother."

More details on this link: Slain Virginia Tech Officer's Dash Cam Shows Suspected Shooter : The Two-Way : NPR

Barcelona celebrate

Fabregas scored his first El Clasico league goal to seal the pointsBarcelona bounced back from conceding the fastest goal in El Clasico history to stun Real Madrid and replace their rivals at the top of La Liga.

Real were three points ahead of Barca with a game in hand and Karim Benzema gave them the lead inside 23 seconds.

Goalkeeper Victor Valdes was at fault but his blushes were spared by Alexis Sanchez's drilled equaliser.

Xavi's deflected strike put Barca ahead before Cesc Fabregas completed the triumph with a diving header.

Three-time European champion Manchester United was eliminated from the Champions League when it lost 2-1 at FC Basel, with Manchester City joining its local rival on the sidelines despite beating Bayern Munich.

United needed only to avoid defeat in Switzerland on Wednesday to secure a 15th knockout round appearance in 16 Champions League seasons but drops into the Europa League while Basel advances.

City, the Premier League leader, also heads into the second-tier tournament despite a 2-0 win over already qualified Bayern.

Napoli's 2-0 win at Villarreal took the Italian side through instead. Lyon won 7-1 at Dinamo Zagreb to complete a remarkable turnaround and qualify ahead of Ajax, which lost 3-0 to Real Madrid.

CSKA Moscow won 2-1 at Inter Milan to take the final spot and complete the 16-team lineup for the next round.

'A Swiss team ... it's crazy'

After losing three of the last four finals, United was expected to join Chelsea and Arsenal in the next round after the London clubs progressed on Tuesday.

But, with United defender Chris Smalling lying dazed from a collision with teammate Nemanja Vidic, Basel captain Marco Streller put his team ahead with a ninth-minute shot past goalkeeper David de Gea.

Things got worse for United in the 43rd when captain Vidic was carried off on a stretcher after twisting his right knee while making a challenge.

And despite almost constant pressure from United, Basel doubled its lead through Alex Frei in the 84th. United's Phil Jones got a late goal and his team twice hit the bar but to no avail.

Benfica topped Group C with 12 points after a 1-0 win over Otelul Galati. Basel finished with 11 and United was two points further back.

"It's incredible," Basel goalkeeper Yann Sommer said. "A Swiss team, a little country, against Manchester United, one of the biggest teams in the world - it's crazy.

"Manchester are a good team, they had a lot of pressure and sometimes we were a bit lucky not to concede, and this is a crazy night. We are through and Manchester are out - it's super."

City needed to beat Bayern to have any chance of prolonging its first season in the Champions League and did so with ease, scoring a goal in each half through David Silva and Yaya Toure.

But Gokhan Inler and Marek Hamsik scored second-half goals to secure Napoli's place as the Group A runner-up to four-time European champion Bayern.

Napoli labored to find a way through the Villarreal defense and the home side had a first-half goal ruled out for offside before Inter launched a 25-meter drive that left goalkeeper Diego Lopez motionless in the 65th. Hamsik added a second goal 11 minutes later with a close-range finish.

Napoli finished with 11 points to Bayern's 13. City had 10, while Villarreal became the first Spanish club to suffer six straight group stage defeats.

"We're very sorry for our supporters and I'm sorry for our players," City manager Roberto Mancini said. "I think we need to improve as a team because we got a tough group this year."

Seven-goal swing

Lyon started its match at Dinamo Zagreb three points behind Ajax and needing a seven-goal swing to overturn the Dutch club's advantage on goal difference.

Real Madrid, which was already assured of top spot in Group D, helped out by completing this season's only perfect first-round record but Lyon did much of the hard work itself with a 7-1 rout of 10-man Dinamo.

Things looked bad for Lyon when Dinamo Zagreb overcame the 28th-minute sending off of Jerko Leko for a second yellow card, Mateo Kovacic putting the home side ahead five minutes before halftime.

But Bafetimbi Gomis equalised just before halftime and scored another three goals after the break, with Maxime Gonalons, Lisandro and Jimmy Briand adding the others as the home side fell apart.

Jose Callejon scored twice and Gonzalo Higuain once to give Madrid a 3-0 win at Ajax, which had two goals isallowed, leaving Lyon tied on points with the Dutch side but ahead on goal difference.

More details on this link: Manchester United out of Champions League - Football - Al Jazeera English

The story of Carmen Winstead is a chain letter about a 17 year old girl who died when she was pushed down a sewer by five girls she thought were her friends.

Carmen Winstead

Carmen was 17 years old when her parents decided to move to Indiana. Her father had lost his job and the only way he could find new employment was by moving to a new state. The relocation caused a lot of problems for Carmen. She had to leave her friends behind and attend a whole new school in Indiana.

Carmen had a hard time making friends when she changed schools. It was the middle of the school year and most of the students had no interest in befriending the new girl. Initially, she spent many days alone, walking from class to class without speaking to anyone, but she eventually started hanging around with a group of five other girls. Carmen thought these girls were her friends, but it wasn’t long before she discovered that they had been talking about her behind her back and spreading vile rumors.

When she confronted them, the girls turned on her and began bullying her every day, making her life a misery. They started out calling her names, but then the bullying got much worse. One day, she left her school books in the classroom at break time. When she returned, she found someone had taken a sharpie and written dirty words all over her books. Another day, she opened her bag and discovered someone had poured yoghurt all over the insides. Sometimes, she would come to school and find her locker had been vandalized. The final straw came when she put on her coat at recess and found that someone had stuffed dog poop in her pockets.

There and then, Carmen decided that she couldn’t take the bullying any longer. She planned to stay behind, that evening, after school, and tell her teacher what had been happening. Unfortunately, her decision came too late to save her life.

After lunch, her teacher announced that the school was holding a fire drill. When the alarm sounded, Carmen and the other students filed out of the classroom and assembled in the yard outside. As the teachers read out the roll call, the gang of five girls decided that this was a great opportunity to embarrass Carmen in front of the whole school during the fire drill. They moved over to where Carmen was standing, near a sewer drain, and began crowding the poor girl, getting in her face and nudging her towards the open manhole.

They pushed her and she tripped over and fell head-first down the manhole. When they saw her falling, the girls started giggling and when Carmen’s name was called out, they shouted “She’s down in the sewer!”

All of the other students began laughing. But when the teachers looked down the manhole and saw Carmen’s body lying at the bottom in the muck and the poop, the laughter abruptly stopped. Her head was twisted around at an odd angle and her face was covered in blood. Worse still, she wasn’t moving.

There was nothing any of the teachers could do for her. Carmen was dead. When the police arrived and went down into the sewer, they determined that she had broken her neck. Her face had been torn off when she hit the ladder on the way down and her neck snapped when she landed on her head on the concrete at the bottom.

The police hauled Carmen’s body out of the sewer and sent her to the mortuary. Everyone had to stay behind after school while the police questioned all of Carmen’s classmates. The five girls lied to the police, saying they had witnessed Carmen falling down the sewer. The police believed the girls and Carmen Winstead’s death was ruled an accident and the case was closed. Everyone thought that was the last they would hear of Carmen Winstead, but they were wrong.

Months later, Carmen’s classmates began receiving strange e-mails on their MySpaces. The e-mails were titled “They Pushed Her” and claimed that Carmen hadn’t really fallen down the sewer, she had been pushed. The e-mails also warned that the guilty people should own up and take responsibility for their crime. If they didn’t there would be horrible consequences. Most people dismissed the e-mails as a hoax, but others were not so sure.

A few days later, one of the girls who pushed Carmen down the sewer was at home taking a shower, when she heard a strange cackling laugh. It seemed to be coming from the drain. The girl started to freak out and ran out of the bathroom. That night, the girl said goodnight to her mom and went to sleep.

Five hours later, her mom was awoken in the middle of the night, by a loud noise that resounded throughout the house. She ran into her daughter’s room, only to find it empty. There was no trace of the girl. The worried mother called the police and when they arrived, they conducted a search of the area. Eventually, they discovered the girl’s grisly remains.

Her corpse was lying in the sewer, covered in muck and poop. Her neck was broken and her face was missing. It had been completely torn off. One by one, all of the girls who pushed Carmen that day were found dead. They had all been killed in exactly the same way and were all found at exactly the same spot. In the sewer at the bottom of the same uncovered manhole where Carmen had met her doom.

But the killing didn’t stop there. More and more of Carmen’s former classmates were found dead. It seemed that anyone who didn’t believe that Carmen had been pushed, was eventually found down in the sewer with their necks broken and their faces torn off.

They say that Carmen’s ghost is still on the rampage, hunting down anyone who doesn’t believe her story. According to the legend, Carmen will get you, whether it’s from a toilet, a shower, a sink or a drain. When you go to sleep, you’ll wake up in the sewer, in complete darkness, paralyzed, unable to move, hearing cackling laughter all around you. Then, as you scream in horror, Carmen will come and tear your face off.

So be careful who you bully, because you just might find yourself on the receiving end of the curse of Carmen Winstead.

More details on this link: Carmen Winstead Story | Scary For Kids

Monday, December 12, 2011

Korn frontman Jonathan Davis has hit out at Barack Obama and the effect he has had on America, saying he feels like the president is ''an Illuminati puppet" and that he has "dragged the country down to the worst it's ever been".

Korn released their new 'dubstep' album 'The Path Of Totality' on Monday (December 5). The album, which is the band's 10th, is comprised entirely of songs made with dubstep producers and features a track entitled 'Illuminati'.

Davis spoke about the lyrics for the track, which deals with the conspiracy theory that Barack Obama is controlled by a secret society and said that he believes that the White House is now "a house of shame".

Speaking to Billboard about the track, Davis said: "I feel like Obama's an Illuminati puppet. He's basically dragged this country down into the worst it's ever been. Like I say about the White House, 'You've built this house of shame'. Everybody looked up at the White House and America and now I think it's like a house of shame. I miss the old days when people were proud to be American."

Davis went on to say he has studied the 'Illuminati', which is a much-discussed secret society, and says he believes that the theory that the world will be ruled by "one world government" has a lot of truth to it.

The singer also said that he and his band felt inspired to make 'The Path Of Totality' as they believe that the world of rock music is "really stale" at the moment.

Asked about the decision to include 'dubstep' on their new album, Davis said that the band had felt compelled to "push the envelope" with their music.

He said: "I feel that the rock world is really stale and all the new stuff that's been coming out of that has been pretty lame. The basis of our band has always been about experimenting and pushing the envelope. We didn't expect it to turn into a record. We were just trying something new out, see what happened."

To read a feature about Korn's 'The Path Of Totality', pick up this week's issue of NME, which is on UK newsstands and available digitally now.

You can watch a video of the band performing their new song 'Kill Mercy Within' by scrolling down to the bottom of the page and clicking.

More details on this link: Korn's Jonathan Davis: 'I feel like Barack Obama's an Illuminati puppet' | News | NME.COM

Playboy magazine is advancing the newsstand date for its upcoming issue with nude pictures of actress Lindsay Lohan in part due to photos that were leaked online in advance, Hugh Hefner said.

The Playboy founder tweeted that the issue will now go on sale late next week, which roughly coincides with the December 15 airdate for Lohan's planned interview on Ellen DeGeneres' TV talk show.

"Because of the interest and the internet leak, we're releasing the Lindsay Lohan issue early," Hefner posted on Twitter.

He later added that "her issue goes on sale late next week," although he did not give a specific date.

A spokeswoman for the men's magazine did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking more information.

Lohan, who has seen her career spiral downward in recent years due to drunken driving, drug and theft convictions, recently posed for the pictures that will be featured in the magazine's January/February issue.

This week, a picture snapped of the cover featuring Lohan was leaked online, and on Friday, nude pictures of the actress also landed on the web. Those pictures are very similar to Marilyn Monroe's iconic centrefold photograph used in 1953's first Playboy issue.

More details on this link: Playboy advances Lohan issue due to leaked photos | ENTERTAINMENT News

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I remember when I first found reddit. It felt like I found a place online where I belonged. Interesting links was posted and the discussion was civil, informative and on topic. It was a place I looked forward to check out, every single day.

Of course this statement will tell you nothing about how reddit was back then. Mainly because it's centered around me, me, and even more me. Reddit used to cater to me and as you might suspect, I'm writing this short piece because it no longer feels like it does that. Now why is that?

Back in the days, reddit used to be a rather small community. As far as I know, it consisted mostly of hard geeks, programmers and people with a general interest in technology. In other words: A rather homegenous userbase with few if any needs of structuring or managing the content posted and with no needs for an ability to seperate or filter out the parts which was or wasn't relevant to you.

Taking a look at reddit these days, it should be fairly obvious that this is no longer the case.

The userbase

Reddit is a site where all the content is user-submitted, and it's fair to say that the userbase has literally exploded the last few years. Where they've come from, I have no idea. Digg? K5? Slashdot? Dailykos? Who knows? Who cares? It's really not relevant.

What matters is that the userbase has widened massively. Now you will encounter more people, more viewpoints and all that stuff which is supposed to be good. But you will also encounter more cultures which in theory and ideology also is good, but in practice it's not all that rosy red.

There will be parts of reddit considering all the new users uncivilized. They will consider the topics they post and discuss to be insulting to any intelligent being (Disclaimer: You might position me here). On the other side you may have parts of reddit who consider these old-timers grumpy, undiplomatic, demanding, elitist or simply taking online life way too seriously.

On both sides you may have people who couldn't give a bigger shit about the US election and they are tearing their hair off seeing the influx of US election related posts and topics. Where's my awesome python hacks or hilarious lolcats?

Some people (disclaimer: again, like me) wants substance when they visit reddit. Nothing pisses them off more than half the frontpage being self-posts only looking for having their views acknowledged. Add "Vote up if" posts to the mix and the same crowd will get grumpy, real grumpy.

The problem

In short: People have different tastes, and when the userbase explodes, this does cause problems. You get conflicts on every single thing you can get conflicted on: content, topics, nettiquette and general culture. This leads to friction, hostility and people feeling alienated, overrun or ignored.

The main problem facing reddit these days (in my opinion) is that this is starting to affect the civility and general quality of the community and discussion on the site.

The solution?

Any good solution to this problem should be me-centric. What made reddit special was how it made you feel at home, how you felt it catered to you and allowed the same for everyone else. A good solution should allow the user to be selfish and greedy about what they are exposed to, without it negatively affecting the rest of the userbase. It should allow the user to make reddit theirs. A good solution will also allow this for a maximum number of users.

The solution so far has been to allow for subreddits and user-created subreddits. This has worked out reasonably well, although not one hundred percent. However Looking for a solution which satisfies everyone fully is futile.

Subreddits however no longer seems to be good enough to deal with the different cultures on the site and keeping cultural clashes to a minimum. For every second story posted, you can now predictably find people complaining about what's posted. This creates hostility and benefits noone.

Currently, the two major issues I have observed causing friction within the userbase are the following:

  • Self-posts
  • Vote-up posts

No doubt others will have other issues, but from my point of view (and let me be selfish here) these are the ones that needs to be adressed the most.

Starting with self-posts, self-posts can more or less be summarized as forum-style threads. They provide no content: They provide discussion. At best the discussion can be informative, at worst the headline can be a declaration of a particular stance, with the submitter merely seeking reinforcement of his view. The latter is particularly notories when combined with Vote-up posts.

So should we ban self posts? Require that an actual link to something is provided? As much as I would like to see these posts gone, wiped of the face of reddit, there are obviously enough users who like them, and there is this whole thing about not alienating the userbase in the quest to make reddit "yours".

Some people, in fact many people, have argued for reddit getting into this century and getting some damn tags. They argue that subreddits are arcane and 1-dimensional and that just getting some tags in there instead would solve most of the problems discussed above, not to mention be somewhat future-proof.

Like any easy solution, it has some shortcomings. My major beef with this solution is increased fragmentation in the community. You can feel a sense of community in the subreddits (hello bacon!), but it's hard to feel a sense of community around tags. How on earth can you feel any beloning to something as mundane as a tag?

I suspect replacing subreddits with tags would effectively kill any and all sense of community currently found on the site. We would be trading community for selfishness. I'll just be selfish and admit I have a problem with that.

As for the solution being future-proof, this is (in my humble opinion) normally a good thing, but I am somewhat biased against big, major changes and solutions designed to handle every single case in the universe, when the problems you are encountering can be counted on a single hand. We don't need the big, bad solve everything solution just yet. Let's not fix what isn't a problem if it means turning everything else around.

So how about just setting up a forum.reddit.com where people can discuss all they like? That would obviously be too disconnected from the main site to work. Again we have the issue with user-alienation.

My solution

Before jumping to any conclusion, you need to adress what the real problem is. As far as I see it, the real problem is that the current userbase not only want to narrow down the world to their respective interests and topic, they also have a preference for content type.

Some people want discussion-only self-post. Some people want things they can vote on to express their opinion. Other people just wants some stuff to read.

I hereby humbly suggests that the masters of reddit take their codebase to the next dimension, that is adding content-types to the submissions and let people also subscribe to the content-types they seek. This would allow to keep the communities we have today and it would allow reddit to expand on the ways which content is treated while letting things stay on topic with whatever subreddit it is submitted to.

Instead of having "Vote up if" posts, you could have actual polls with maybe even multiple choice where the results would more telling because people are probably not voting on the actual poll just to get it away.

For self-posts you could be allowed to add some context, some extra text besides the headline if you want it. If your main objective is to express yourself, my guess is that a headline alone is probably not enough. You also may notice how I decided to make a lengthy piece about this instead of a simple self-post. I'm convinced making this a self-post would sound bitter, angry or just bitchy. Being able to provide some context for your stance is good. Reddit should allow that!

Adding content types will allow people to get what they want without intruding on those who doesn't want it. It also has the benefit of being somewhat future-proof as opposed suggestions such as just adding the ability to filter self-posts.

I'll just round it off here. I hope this wasn't "TLDR", and I would appreciate some feedback on this idea.

More details on this link: The problems facing reddit

An Android app developer has published what he says is conclusive proof that millions of smartphones are secretly monitoring the key presses, geographic locations, and received messages of its users.

In a YouTube video posted on Monday, Trevor Eckhart showed how software from a Silicon Valley company known as Carrier IQ recorded in real time the keys he pressed into a stock EVO handset, which he had reset to factory settings just prior to the demonstration. Using a packet sniffer Android debug options while his device was in airplane mode, he demonstrated how each numeric tap and every received text message is logged by the software.

Ironically, he says, the Carrier IQ software recorded the “hello world” dispatch even before it was displayed on his handset.

Eckhart then connected the device to a Wi-Fi network and pointed his browser at Google. Even though he denied the search giant's request that he share his physical location, the Carrier IQ software recorded it. The secret app then recorded the precise input of his search query – again, “hello world” – even though he typed it into a page that uses the SSL, or secure sockets layer, protocol to encrypt data sent between the device and the servers.

More details on this link: BUSTED! Secret app on millions of phones logs key taps • The Register

Miss France 2012 - Sarah Huard, Miss Champagne : son questionnaire beauté - News Election de Miss France 2012 - TF1

Du haut de ses 21 ans et de son mètre 71, la brunette Sarah Huard, candidate à l'élection de Miss France 2012, s'est prêtée au jeu de notre questionnaire beauté, surprenante.

Miss France 2012 : Miss Champagne Ardenne 2011 candidate

Elles ont tout juste une vingtaine d'années et s'apprêtent à passer la soirée de leur vie, celle où devant la France entière et un jury de professionnel, leur charme sera jugé selon des canons de beauté bien précis. A quelques jours de la cérémonie, nous avons interrogé les candidates au titre de Miss France 2012. Chacune à son mot personnel dans ce questionnaire beauté parfois surprenant...


Le jour où vous avez commencé à rêver d'être une reine de beauté...

Je n'ai jamais rêver d'être une reine de beauté.


Une femme qui vous inspire, une parente, un modèle ?

Mary Blair (dessinatrice américaine de livre pour enfant décédée en 1978, ndlr) car c'est une artiste du XXe siècle extrêmement moderne dans la manière d'aborder les illustrations, elle a notamment travaillé avec Monsieur Disney sur des dessins animés connus tel qu'Alice au Pays des Merveilles.


Une Miss dont vous aimeriez égaler la classe, en comportement, en allure... ?

Malika Ménard.


Votre look beauté (maquillage, coiffure...) pour séduire votre entourage ?

Assez naturel, un peu de crayon et de mascara avec les cheveux bien lisses.

You can download song from Music Frost program in two ways: 1) Click on the "Download" button, on the right side of the selected song. 2) Use the right mouse button and select "Download" among other options. Following the aforementioned steps will move the composition to the download field. After a download has been completed successfully, the Music Frost program will notify you.

More details on this official website link: How to download a music track?. MusicFrost

Miss Alsace, Delphine Wespiser, of Kingersheim, has been crowned Miss France 2012 tonight.

More details about the Miss France 2012's Miss Alsace

  • Wespiser, 19, at 1·75 m (5 ft 7½ in), is a management student with interests in eastern and flamenco dancing, and enjoys painting.
  • The redhead was crowned at the parc des expositions de Penfeld in Brest, ultimately chosen by a live television audience on TF1.
  • She was chosen after the final five were identified by a panel of judges, led by veteran actor Alain Delon.

  • Wespiser succeeds Laury Thilleman and is the 65th Miss France.

  • Her first words upon crowning were ‘36-37’—the number for Téléthon, urging viewers to donate.

  • Miss Réunion, Marie Payet, and Miss Pays de Loire, Mathilde Couly, were second and first runners-up respectively.

  • Miss France 2012 comes just before its rival competition, now renamed Miss Prestige National, created by former Miss France director Geneviève de Fontenay.

  • Miss Prestige National will be chosen on Sunday at the Casino in Divonne-les-Bains.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Charlie Sheen Accident, Another Twitter Death Hoax | Contactmusic

Charlie Sheen Accident, Another Twitter Death Hoax

02 December 2011 12:20

Charlie Sheen picture

Charlie Sheen is alive and well, despite another Twitter death hoax purporting that the former Two and a Half Men star had died in a snowboarding accident early on Friday (December 2, 2011).

Social networks began circulating an initial report on the Mediafetcher website that Sheen, 46, had died while vacationing at the Zermatt ski resort in Switzerland with family and friends. The original report read, "Witnesses indicate that Charlie Sheen lost control of his snowboard and struck a tree at a high rate of speed. Charlie Sheen was air lifted by ski patrol teams to a local hospital, however, it is believed that the actor died instantly from the impact of the crash". In an attempt to add authenticity to the story, the website also printed an apparent photograph of the scene, but on reflection, the tiny image appears to be a generic shot of emergency crews treating a patient. Although Zermatt is known to be one of the biggest, and potentially most dangerous ski resorts in the world (it holds the world's second biggest vertical drop), it is understood Sheen was not even in Switzerland at the time of his 'reported' death.

The hoax comes just days after Sheen paid tribute to the American comedian Patrice O'Neal, who passed away earlier this week following complications of a stroke he suffered in October. Speaking on his Twitter page, Charlie said of the entertainer, "Patrice had that rare "light" around him and inside of him.my tears today are for the tremendous loss to his true friends and loving family".


Speed's death leaves great void in Wales | Other Sports | Sports | London Free Press

London - There have been cheerier days in the old parish of sport which is supposed to take us away from the harder edge of real life. Indeed, through a week of soccer at every level here in England and Wales there has been one dominating theme.

It has been the mourning of 42-year-old Gary Speed, the head coach of the Wales national team and a former player of great distinction.

Even after allowing that some famous, hugely rewarded professional sportsmen might lead lives of desperation in varying degrees of quiet, it still seemed inconceivable that Speed could possibly have been one of them.

This, certainly, was the most shocking aspect of the news that he had been found hanged, apparently by his own hand, at his mansion home last Sunday morning. Also not so easy to understand has been some of the public reaction. Minutes of silence at the football grounds have invariably given way to bursts of applause, sustained clapping.

No doubt this reflects deep respect for an extremely impressive career -- in all his time as a notably undemonstrative member of his celebrated trade, Gary Speed seldom, if ever, gave a hint of vulnerability -- but it also creates a strange disconnection with the meaning of quite what happened. Indeed, if a minute's silence, devoted perhaps to thoughts on the pain and confusion that can grip even the most successful lives, had ever been more appropriate it is hard to imagine.

Speed was the rare animal in the football jungle. He cut his own path, lived by his own values.

In a hard and volatile business, he conducted himself with a superb and easy professionalism. If there were pressures and disillusionment and the classic fear that one serious injury might ruin his way of life, he wore such worries lightly.

Out on the field, where he played for more than 20 years with great and consistent success for Leeds United, Everton, Newcastle and Bolton, a brief Indian summer with Sheffield United, and as a young and sure-footed manager of brilliant potential, Speed's public face was invariably composed and agreeable.

If football was indeed hard and often precipitous, it didn't offer anything he couldn't handle.

That, anyway, was the overpowering conviction of each old teammate and opponent and friend stepping forward to speak of the man who never seemed to lose his balance, who appeared to have made an unswerving pact with himself that he would always take the best of football, something he had been devoted to since boyhood, and live with the rest.

He had done it so conspicuously, unerringly well right to the moment the police made their bleak and stunning announcement.

One friend, who heard the news via a radio announcement of the minute's silence before last Sunday's Premier League game between Swansea City and Aston Villa, said, "That this should happen is just unthinkable because of everyone you knew, in any walk of life, in any situation, you would have to say he would have been the last one you might have thought could have done something like this.

"When you saw him on the television he was the same guy you saw watching his boys play schoolboy football and talking with other parents. There was nothing starry about Gary. In that way big-time football didn't seem to have touched him."

Yet many good judges within the game believed that he might well have been on the point of making a significant impact as a manager. In his first year in charge of Wales, for whom he had played 85 times in midfield with a fine balance of tough physicality and skill, the perennial also-rans of international football were showing clear signs of moving back towards the level they last enjoyed more than 50 years ago when great players like John Charles and Ivor Allchurch inspired a notable impact on the 1958 World Cup finals.

Thumbscrews would not have induced Speed to make such claims but he did admit to excitement over the possibilities created by his young captain, Aaron Ramsey of Arsenal and the Tottenham superstar Gareth Bale.

The challenges of the football field could not, of course, have been more remote as relatives and friends moved to comfort Speed's wife Louise and his two sons, Tommy and Ed.

Welsh football and the wider game had lost a man of high and, apparently, uncomplicated promise. A smaller circle had been robbed of another kind of certainty. Yet, somewhat eerily, the clapping only increased in volume.

Happy birthday, Mark Twain | Open thread | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

Mark Twain.
Mark Twain, born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, on 30 November 1835 – 176 years ago today. Photograph: Classic Image/Alamy

As Google has noted with one of its doodles, 30 November marks the 176th birthday of the great American author, satirist and wit. He was celebrated in his lifetime for novels such as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, but if Twain himself is right that the definition of a "classic" is "a book which people praise and don't read", then it might be said that his epigrams are his most popular surviving work.

What is your favourite Twain aphorism?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Some people do not realise the importance of doomsday, where people will happily accept to commit suicide and find other means to end their lives when they know that they will perish and suffer terribly for all the wrong that they have committed all throughout their civilisations and stay here on planet Earth.

For real, they will definitely prefer alternate ways to end their lives rather than face the terrible doomsday.  Can you imagine,? Just like a road needs fresh water to take out its dirty layers and be clean again, well, it's most probably that fate that's awaiting us :) LOL

Asteroid Toutatis approaches Earth on December

Here is an excerpt from my upcoming PUBLICATION regarding the major doomsday theories and counter-doomsday theories.  I will be releasing Publication 2008 very soon.  The excerpt below is a debunking of Asteroid theories set forth by many theorist.  Their theory that particular asteroids are a CLEAR threat to the well-being of the human race contradicts recent data.  Many sites have been reporting on the recent data by the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard, which gives one the idea that the Asteroid Toutatis is going to be close enough to Earth to cause some global catastrophe on December 12, 2012.

Even though I would like to believe this and report it as possible doomsday evidence, I remain objective and examined the data myself. According to the data (which can be found here: (Center for Astrophysics at Harvard), on December 12, 2012 the Asteroid Toutatis will be 0.04633 A.U. away from Earth.

Oh my! Only 0.04633 AU! (sarcasm) That seems like such a small number so it must be the doomsday the asteroid. These other sites and doomsday theorists really believe you are unintelligent individuals and use that to feed you false information.

We do things differently here at DDIG where we know you are capable and intelligent individuals that deserve non-bias factual information. So back to the information at hand… you might be asking yourself what is an AU? 1 A.U. is the average distance between the center of mass of the Earth and the center of mass of the Sun which comes out to be approximately, 92,955,807 miles or 1.496×10^11meters. Now we can use simple dimensional analysis to see actually how far the Asteroid is from the Earth.

0.04633 AU x 92955807 mi = 4,306,642 Mi away from the Earth.

2012 asteroid ….1 AU

So the Asteroid will be 4.3 x 10^6 mi away from the Earth… is that close? Lets put that in perspective by comparing that to Earth-Moon average distance. The Earth-Moon distance is 238,900 miles apart, meaning that the asteroid will be 18X the distance of the Earth to the Moon. In my opinion, thats not close enough to classify it as a Doomsday possibility… its even stretching it to call it a “close encounter”

Here is a LINK to the article which presents the information as if the Asteroid is going to impact (“cross”) the Earth. This is the source of my frustration towards data manipulating authors.

Beyond that point, lets examine other NEO’s (near-Earth objects). Based on the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard, the data suggests that there are at least 3 known NEO’s < 0.001 AU. The objects are identified by WN5, SB45, and Apophis will be in the Earth’s proximity June 2028, October 2037 and April 2027, respectively. WN5 and SB45 have distances around 0.0015 AU which gives them a distance of around 130,000 miles away from Earth.


To put that in prospective, thats half the distance between the Earth and the Moon. Apophis has a distance of an 0.0002318 AU which coverts to 21547 miles away from the Earth! 21,547 miles is REALLY REALLY CLOSE. Could this be our Doomsday asteroid? Ill further examine dates in the Bible to make connections between Aprophis and the fire-filled Earth Biblical prophecies.

Read more at: Asteroid Toutatis approaches Earth on December 12, 2012 « DoomsDay Information Guide

Friday, November 25, 2011


With timelapse cameras, specialists recorded salt water being excluded from the sea ice and sinking.

The temperature of this sinking brine, which was well below 0C, caused the water to freeze in an icy sheath around it.

Where the so-called "brinicle" met the sea bed, a web of ice formed that froze everything it touched, including sea urchins and starfish.
The unusual phenomenon was filmed for the first time by cameramen Hugh Miller and Doug Anderson for the BBC One series Frozen Planet.
Creeping ice
Continue reading the main story
Dr Mark Brandon Polar oceanographer, The Open University

Freezing sea water doesn't make ice like the stuff you grow in your freezer. Instead of a solid dense lump, it is more like a seawater-soaked sponge with a tiny network of brine channels within it.

In winter, the air temperature above the sea ice can be below -20C, whereas the sea water is only about -1.9C. Heat flows from the warmer sea up to the very cold air, forming new ice from the bottom. The salt in this newly formed ice is concentrated and pushed into the brine channels. And because it is very cold and salty, it is denser than the water beneath.

The result is the brine sinks in a descending plume. But as this extremely cold brine leaves the sea ice, it freezes the relatively fresh seawater it comes in contact with. This forms a fragile tube of ice around the descending plume, which grows into what has been called a brinicle.

Brinicles are found in both the Arctic and the Antarctic, but it has to be relatively calm for them to grow as long as the ones the Frozen Planet team observed.

The icy phenomenon is caused by cold, sinking brine, which is more dense than the rest of the sea water. It forms a brinicle as it contacts warmer water below the surface.

Mr Miller set up the rig of timelapse equipment to capture the growing brinicle under the ice at Little Razorback Island, near Antarctica's Ross Archipelago.

"When we were exploring around that island we came across an area where there had been three or four [brinicles] previously and there was one actually happening," Mr Miller told BBC Nature.

The diving specialists noted the temperature and returned to the area as soon as the same conditions were repeated.

"It was a bit of a race against time because no-one really knew how fast they formed," said Mr Miller.

"The one we'd seen a week before was getting longer in front of our eyes... the whole thing only took five, six hours."

When a pregnant mother is very sick, mouse fetuses send up stem cells to help | ZME Science

Amidst of all the talks and protest against stem cell treatment and companies shutting down, nature has found its own way of treating diseases with stem cells. When a pregnant mouse mother, for example, has a heart attack, her fetus donates some of its own stem cells to help and cure.

Researchers started working on this experiment with two lines of mice: normal mice and mice genetically engineered to produce green fluorescent protein (or GFP) – which glows when exposed to blue light. They then mated normal female mice with GFP mice, meaning that the resulting fetuses also carried the GFP gene, thus their cells would glow in the dark. Twelve days later, almost two thirds into the pregnancy, scientists let loose their evil selves and gave half the mice heart attacks.

When they then examined their hearts, two weeks after the heart attacks, they found something absolutely stunning: lots of GFP tissue from the fetus was in their hearts; those who had heart attacks had eight times more fetus tissue than those who hadn’t. What is even more fascinating is that the GFP tissue actually differentiated into various types of heart tissue – something researchers are spending countless hours on, just to figure out how it works.

This is probably true for all mammals, including humans. Doctors often report that women with heart problems during pregnancy have better recovery rates than any other group of heart failure patients, and this study seems to explain why and how. Furthermore, this is not only true for heart problems, but other organs as well, including the brain here. When pregnant women have their organs damaged, fetal cells seem to show up wherever they are needed. Isn’t nature wonderful ?

It's Crowded Out There Again, Got A Holiday Travel Tip To Share? : The Two-Way : NPR

News nuggets like these are holiday classics:

— "42.5 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, a four percent increase from the 40.9 million people who traveled one year ago," the AAA says.

— "Los Angeles' LAX, Chicago's O'Hare (ORD) and Orlando International (MCO) will be the nation's busiest airports this Thanksgiving," Orbitz Worldwide predicts.

— Travelers are "at the mercy of the weather," says The Associated Press. "Heavy rains and scattered thunderstorms prompted flood warnings and closed some roads across swaths of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York early Wednesday. Snow mixed with sleet and freezing rain to make for treacherous driving and thousands of power outages across parts of New England and upstate New York."

— "Forecasters say some of the worst weather in the country for mid-week will be on the coasts and could back up some of the busiest airports such as those in Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Seattle," ABC News adds.

— Some motorists were delayed for hours last night and early today on the Pennsylvania Turnpike near Pittsburgh when "a tar-like substance ... leaked from a tanker," the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

— "A car crash on the freeway just north of San Francisco International Airport is snarling traffic on one of the year's busiest travel days," says the AP. "Television footage shows a car flipped over on Highway 101 south near the airport exit as traffic slows to a crawl. Lanes have been blocked on both sides of the freeway.

Now, we know many folks have strategies for coping with Thanksgiving travel. For one thing, as The Baltimore Sun says, "Tuesday is the new Wednesday." As in: the Tuesday before Thanksgiving "is becoming the new Wednesday before Thanksgiving" as more travelers take to the roads, rails and skies a day earlier than in the past.

But there must be many other tips — get up early; stay over until Friday; don't travel? Please share in the comments thread.

black friday 2011

Pepper spray and violence mar Black Friday bargain hunting - CSMonitor.com

In Los Angeles, a woman used pepper spray to gain a "competitive shopping" advantage at a Walmart, inflicting minor injuries on 20 people soon after the store opened on Thanksgiving night. No one was able to catch her before she apparently made her purchases and left the store. Police are reviewing video surveillance to help in trying to identify her, according to the Los Angeles Times.

In San Leandro, Calif., a Walmart shopper was shot and wounded in a suspected robbery early Friday, while walking to his car.

Although most retailers managed the Black Friday bargain hunters with few problems, similar cases of retail-related violence cropped up in other states as well.

Early Friday in Fayetteville, N.C., gunfire erupted at Cross Creek Mall, and police say they're looking for two suspects. At an upstate New York Walmart, two women were injured and a man charged after a fight broke out, police say. A central Florida man is behind bars after a fight broke out at a jewelry counter in a Walmart in Kissimmee, Fla.

All that occurred while millions of other Americans had yet to eat their morning bagel or bowl of cereal on the day after Thanksgiving.

Is this any way to run a holiday shopping season?

The violence is grist for those who argue that Black Friday has become too big a commercial ritual for America's good. As shoppers elbow for cut-rate goods and retailers vie for their business, the holiday season certainly seems to have lost some of its peace.

But with Black Friday now entrenched as an annual tradition, the violent incidents may serve mainly to amplify a longstanding practical question: How can this day of shopping frenzy be made safer for all who participate?

In recent years, retailers have adopted new crowd-management techniques (to avoid injuries or deaths from trampling). They've also heightened security on  the big shopping day.

It's part of a broader safety and security challenge for retailers. Overall rates of shoplifting, theft by employees, and other crime or fraud at stores cost retailers $37.1 billion in 2010, up from $33.5 billion the year before, the National Retail Federation reported earlier this year.

The incidents of Black Friday violence might prompt some pragmatic thoughts for ordinary shoppers as well as for retailers.

First, remember that the reports of pepper spray and shootings are the retail-store exception, not the rule.

But second, some consumer advisers say, the threats to safety might be one of many reasons to be cautious about shopping on Black Friday.

A blog post on the website Fashionista recently warned, "Black Friday is ... a bad time for people to keep their tempers in check," and it may not offer such great bargains, anyway. The blog allows that some people do well at finding deals (and even enjoy the competitive crush), but many other shoppers buy more than they need, buy the wrong things, or are too late to get the bargains they hope for.

Lots of Americans might do as well shopping by computer, going to the mall some other day in the next couple of weeks, or working harder at finding bargains throughout the year.

Rosy Outlook for Black Friday? Retailers Gear Up for Biggest Shopping Day of Year

black friday 2011

As Americans get ready to stuff and baste turkey, millions seem equally excited about Black Friday. 

The day after Thanksgiving kicks off the annual holiday shopping season and has become the busiest shopping day of the year, with stores opening before dawn and offering radical discounts. 

The term “Black Friday” seems to have originated in Philadelphia in the mid-‘60s when police were contending with massive downtown traffic jams from the retail rush.  Though many insist that this Friday is called “black” because it’s the point when stores begin to turn a profit or move “into the black." 

If early online sales are any indication, 2011 figures to be a winner. ComScore is projecting a 15 percent increase over the 2010 holiday season.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

pepper spray california

It’s been a hectic week for Lt. John Pike. First he was suspended for his now notorious pepper-spray assault on protesters at UC Davis. Next he became an online sensation.

Now the campus police officer has his phone ringing off the hook — and it doesn’t look like it will stop anytime soon.

The online retaliation against the University of California Davis cop has only gotten stronger in recent days, and after a series of edited images portraying the police officer firing at everything from Mount Rushmore and Revolution War soldiers to classic works of art have made their rounds on the Web, hacking collective Anonymous has fired back with an assault of their own.

In a video clip uploaded to YouTube on Tuesday, a digitized voice claiming to be an operative with the shadowy hacktivist group Anonymous released the cell phone number, email and home address of Pike — and according to the Daily News, his voicemail box has been full ever since.

While YouTube raced to erase the video — citing a breach in its clause prohibiting hate speech — the contents of the clip have since circulated the Web. As the voice in the video puts it, "Dear Officer John Pike, we are Anonymous. Your information is now public domain.”

"We have no problem targeting police and releasing their information even if it puts them at risk," Anonymous claims, "because we want them to experience just a taste of the brutality and misery they serve us on an everyday basis."

The group adds, however, that more damage is on the way, so although no specifics are made, Lt. Pike and other overzealous officers that have gone after Occupy protesters should be ready.

"Expect our full wrath," the video adds. "Anonymous seeks to avenge all protesters. We are going to make you squeal like a pig,” they say, noting that police brutality “will no longer be tolerated.”

It looks as though the Internet meme that the now iconic image of Pike firing pepper spray at protesters was just the tip of the iceberg.

Nearly two months earlier, Anonymous operatives posted similar private information pertaining to NYPD Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna, calling for an all-out attack on him as well.

“As we watched your officers kettle innocent women, we observed you barberically [sic] pepper spray wildly into the group of kettled women,” an alleged Anonymous member wrote on the Web back in September. “We were shocked and disgusted by your behavior. You know who the innocent women were, now they will have the chance to know who you are. Before you commit atrocities against innocent people, think twice. WE ARE WATCHING!!! Expect Us!”

The chancellor of UC Davis has since apologized for Pike’s actions, though community members — protesters, students and faculty alike — continue to call for her resignation.

pepper spray at university of californiapepper spray california

Call it the douse of pepper spray seen 'round the world.

The UC Davis police officer caught on camera shooting a bright red stream of highly concentrated, gaseous chili pepper onto a docile group of student protesters has inflamed a fiery national debate over just how harmful pepper spray can be.

Instead of dispersing the tension at the usually placid Northern California campus near Sacramento, Lt. John Pike's pepper spray canister has fueled the controversy into a growing encampment and spurred plans for a general strike Monday with sympathizers streaming in from across the state. There is now a geodesic dome and nearly 100 tents, donated from as far away as Egypt -- with more on the way.

"We've doubled in size, and we can double in size again," said Geoffrey Wildanger, 23, of Los Altos, who was one of the students sprayed Friday in what has become a touchstone moment for the Occupy movement.

And, suddenly, pepper spray is the focus of a national conversation, fomented by Fox News, MSNBC and Photoshopped images of Pike dousing the Declaration of Independence.

To one side it's a chemical weapon, but to the other it's as harmless as the sauce poured on chicken wings.

Wildanger said he still felt the burning four days later when he stepped into a hot shower.

"My eyes burned. The steam seemed to activate it," he said.

Another protester vomited blood, he said. Others felt burning on their hands for a day, and two

File - In this file photo from Monday, Nov. 21, 2011, University of California, Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi is escorted from the stage after she spoke during a rally on campus in Davis, Calif. Katehi, the first woman chancellor of the University of California, Davis, has found herself in the middle of national debate over use of pepper spray and has issued two apologies to the student body over the force campus police used on Occupy Wall Street protesters. Resisting calls for her resignation, she initiated inquiries into the episode and now is bracing for a protests at a UC Regents meeting on her campus Monday.

File - In this file photo from Monday, Nov. 21, 2011, University of California, Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi is escorted from the stage after she spoke during a rally on campus in Davis, Calif. Katehi, the first woman chancellor... of the University of California, Davis, has found herself in the middle of national debate over use of pepper spray and has issued two apologies to the student body over the force campus police used on Occupy Wall Street protesters. Resisting calls for her resignation, she initiated inquiries into the episode and now is bracing for a protests at a UC Regents meeting on her campus Monday.

During the first two months of the nationwide Occupy protests, the movement that is demanding more out of the wealthiest Americans cost local taxpayers at least $13 million in police overtime and other municipal services, according to a survey by The Associated Press.

The heaviest financial burden has fallen upon law enforcement agencies tasked with monitoring marches and evicting protesters from outdoor camps. And the steepest costs by far piled up in New York City and Oakland, Calif., where police clashed with protesters on several occasions.

The AP gathered figures from government agencies in 18 cities with active protests and focused on costs through Nov. 15, the day protesters were evicted from New York City's Zuccotti Park, where the protests began Sept. 17 before spreading nationwide. The survey did not attempt to tally the price of all protests but provides a glimpse of costs to cities large and small.

Broken down city by city, the numbers are more or less in line with the cost of policing major public events and emergencies. In Los Angeles, for example, the Michael Jackson memorial concert cost the city $1.4 million. And Atlanta spent several million dollars after a major snow and ice storm this year.

Calif. Students Protest Use of Pepper Spray - YouTube Students at the University of California, Davis on Monday protested the use of pepper spray at an Occupy encampment, ...as the school's besieged chancellor scrambled to ease tension on the Northern California campus amid calls for her resignation. (Nov. 21)

Congress is in the process of figuring next year's agriculture budget, and the food industry is using the occasion as an opportunity to bully the USDA as it rolls out new rules for the National School Lunch Program. According to the New York Times, Big Food has already dropped a cool $5.6 million lobbying to kibosh the new rules.

Why does the industry care about school lunches? Because school cafeterias get less than a dollar a day per student in federal funding to spend on ingredients (about two-thirds of the maximum $2.94 outlay per lunch goes to overhead and labor), and many public schools lack cooking facilities altogether. So cafeterias often outsource cooking to massive entities that know how to squeeze a profit by selling lots of dirt-cheap food—companies like meat giant Tyson and its infamous heat-and-serve "Dinosaur Shaped Chicken Nuggets," and Conagra and its frozen pizzas.

In January, the USDA came out with new guidelines governing what can go on kids' plates. Mandated by a 2004 act of Congress ordering USDA to align school lunches with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the rules (PDF) impose two new criteria that have drawn the ire of the food industry.

First, they rewrote the requirements around vegetable and fruit servings. Before, cafeterias were required to serve at least one vegetable per day, and the definition was expansive: Tater Tots and French fries, for example, counted. Now, they limit the amount of potatoes and other "starchy vegetables" to no more than one cup (two servings) per week—and require schools to serve at least one serving per week of dark green and red/orange vegetables. Second, they no longer allow the two ounces of tomato paste that lacquer a typical frozen pizza to count as a vegetable.

To Big Food and its friends on the Hill, none of this would do. Back in October, by a unanimous vote, the Senate slapped an amendment on its ag appropriations bill that will rescind the limit on potatoes. This, despite a major recent Harvard study finding that regular consumption of potatoes in all their forms, fried and not, contributes heavily to unhealthy weight gain.

And now, reports Politico's David Rogers, Conagra and fellow frozen-pizza behemoth Schwan are arraying their lobbying might against the new tomato-paste rule. Rogers writes:

A June letter from Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, for example, celebrates the virtues of tomato paste in language that closely mirrors the arguments made by Schwan, a privately owned giant based in Marshall, Minn. And both Schwan and ConAgra have quietly helped to finance the "Coalition for Sustainable School Meals Programs" which maintains a red-white-blue—and yes green—website with the heading "Fix the Reg."

According to Rogers, the House version of the ag-spending bill will likely contain a provision nixing the rule change, and preserving frozen pepperoni pizza's status as a fruit/vegetable serving, so long as it harbors a bit of tomato paste. Between the Senate's amendemnt and this coming move from the House, school cafeterias will remain profitable places to move cheap corporate French fries and pizza, and train a new generation to regard such dubious fare as every-day food.

In my recent post on food and Occupy Wall Street, I showed how the food system, like the financial system, is both in desperate need of reform and utterly trapped under the heel of industry influence. The gutting of the USDA's new lunch guidelines provides yet another example.

UPDATE: I wrote this post before the House came out with its spending bill late Monday afternoon. It turns out, it's even worse than I thought. Associated Press:

The final version of a spending bill released late Monday would unravel school lunch standards the Agriculture Department proposed earlier this year, which included limiting the use of potatoes on the lunch line and delaying limits on sodium and delaying a requirement to boost whole grains.

The bill also would allow tomato paste on pizzas to be counted as a vegetable, as it is now. USDA had wanted to prevent that.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mumbai: Penthouse beauty Sunny Leone has in a short period of time occupied the centrestage in Bigg Boss` house.

In the episode telecasted on Wednesday, the California-based Indian girl appeared to be moving closer and closer to Sky`s camp, especially very close to Sky.

As part of a new task, Bigg Boss divided the housemates into two teams - one headed by Sky and other by Siddharth. Apart from the predictable inclusion of Pooja Bedi, Sky`s team comprised of Shraddha and Sunny Leone; Siddharth was left with Pooja Mishra, Shonali and Mehek.

Two members from each team, Pooja Bedi and Sunny from Sky`s side and Pooja Mishra and Mehek from Siddharth`s team jumped into the pool in swim suits in search of keys (the task was to collect a particular type of keys).

Sky`s team won and was rewarded by way of a shahi dinner arranged by Bigg Boss.

Apparently taking into account the hype around `porn star` Sunny Leone, Bigg Boss also set up a new task for her.
She would have to dance to a particular Bollywood number for the amusement of her housemates daily before bedtime and adding to the spice, was Pooja Mishra`s appointment as her aide in preparing for the show.

Day 1, she was given the raunchy number `Babuji zara dheere chalo...` to perform on. What made her performance more interesting was her costume - an ill fitting salwar kurta!!!And the moment she started to dance, the three guys in the house Amar, Sky and Siddharth were all over the floor trying to match up to her, beat by beat.

Sky even went to the extent of adopting the `all on four` posture which prompted Sunny Leone to sit on his back even as she continued with seductive body movements.

Here`s waiting for Sunny`s next `performance`....

Monday, November 21, 2011

occupy wall street

Today's "Day of Action," planned by the Occupy Wall Street movement, culminated at Foley Square near City Hall in New York. In some ways, it felt rather low key, because the space felt wide open and despite a sizable crowd that overflowed onto the streets and nearby sidewalks, the protest felt organized. That certainly wasn't the case for the earlier events: It was an expansive day that started with a chaotic and contested march to block the main arteries of Wall Street and wound its away across the streets and sidewalks of lower Manhattan to the edge of New York University three miles north.

The gathering at Foley Square also marked the end of a dramatic week, which opened on Tuesday with a predawn raid in which New York Police and sanitation workers tore down the tent city the protesters had built at Zuccotti Park.

Read more on Occupy Wall Street : NPR

nathalie wood

An investigation into the death of Natalie Wood has been reopened after “additional information” was presented to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, the Associated Press reports.

The Oscar-nominated actress drowned 30 years ago this month after spending the day on Catalina Island and a yacht with husband Robert Wagner and her “Brainstorm” co-star, Christopher Walken.

Wood, best known for her roles in “West Side Story,” “Rebel Without a Cause” and “Splendor in the Grass,” had been drinking on the day of her death, which was officially ruled an accident. The circumstances surrounding that day have been considered a mystery.

A detective from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department will speak to the press Friday about why the case has been reopened, according to the AP. “Recently Sheriff’s Homicide Investigators were contacted by persons who stated they had additional information about the Natalie Wood Wagner drowning,” the department said in a statement

TMZ reports the reason for the reinvestigation might be the 2009 book, “Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour,” written by Marti Rulli with the boat’s captain, Dennis Davern. The book suggests foul play, according to TMZ.

Wagner and Wood’s sister, Lana Wood, have both denied this in the past.

In an interview with “Today,” Davern said he “did lie on a [police] report several years ago.” He told David Gregory he thought Wagner intentionally kept the case low profile. When asked if he thought Wagner was “responsible” for Wood’s death, Davern responded, “Yes, I would say so.”

“We didn't take any steps to see if we could locate her,” Davern said. “I think it was a matter of, 'We're not going to look too hard, we're not going to turn on the searchlight, we're not going to notify anybody right now.’ ”

The Wagner family said in a statement, “Although no one in the Wagner family has heard from the LA County Sheriff’s department about this matter, they fully support the efforts of the LA County Sheriff’s Dept. and trust they will evaluate whether any new information relating to the death of Natalie Wood Wagner is valid, and that it comes from a credible source or sources other than those simply trying to profit from the 30 year anniversary of her tragic death.”

twilight, breaking dawn

The Twilight movies have devoted three episodes to Bella Swan's clinging to her virginity despite the compelling appeal of Edward Cullen, the vampire. Now comes "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1," in which you have to give her credit: She holds out until after her wedding. Then she and Edward fly to Brazil and a luxurious honeymoon hideaway on the beach, where the morning after her wedding night she is black and blue with bruises, the frame of the bed is broken, all of the furniture is tossed around and the draperies are shredded. Good gravy! What happened?

We have no idea. The movie doesn't show us! Yes, the most eagerly awaited deflowering in recent movie history takes place entirely off-screen. That something momentous took place is indicated 14 days after the wedding ceremony, when Bella (Kristen Stewart) urps in the morning and discovers she is pregnant. Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) may have been dead for more than a century, but he's still producing industrial-strength sperm. Can humans and vampires mate? What's the blood chemistry on that? What will be in the wee one's bottle? Milk, or the unthinkable?

Despite these scientific conundrums, "Breaking Dawn - Part 1" is absorbing, if somewhat slow-paced, and has without doubt the most blood-curdling scene of live childbirth in a PG-13 movie. Probably the sight of Bella and Edward demolishing the bedroom would have tipped it over into R territory.

The first half is slow and dreamy, as wedding preparations get underway. If you recall the lore from the earlier films, you'll know that marriage to Edward means Bella must become a vampire herself, which any groupie who has slept with Gene Simmons will understand. It's a lovely wedding, with blossom-laden trees framing a lakeside altar. Bella's father Charlie (Billy Burke) is not entirely happy; his toast includes genial mention that should harm befall Bella he has a gun and knows how to use it. But he puts on a brave face while propelling Bella down the aisle. Edward awaits her, looking in pain as usual.

We get shots of the smiling guests. Many are familiar from the previous movies, but others on both sides of the aisle are new to us. They fascinated me. What were they thinking? How many knew Bella was marrying a vampire? Were they cool with that? Did anyone wonder why Edward apparently possessed not a single relative older than himself?

Back again is Bella's best friend Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), who you recall is now a shape-shifter who turns into a wolf. Enraged by Bella's pregnancy, he summons his pack. The wolves, it must be said, are underwhelming as a pack. They become huge ferocious beasts with sharp fangs, and hurtle at top speed through the forest, and… well, that's about it. They're always hurtling somewhere. Hurtle, hurtle.

Given that he had nine months to prepare for the big event, I can't say Edward trained himself carefully for the home delivery. The sum of his medical training seems to have been a viewing of "Pulp Fiction" in which he learned about a real big needle you can plunge into someone's chest with great results.

Kristen Stewart is really pretty good here, although like almost all actresses she believes pregnant women rub their baby bumps unceasingly. I would have liked more scenes developing her thoughts about married life. Although the possibility of an abortion is hinted at, we never learn her thinking on this question: Does a vampire baby have a soul? Does it have a right to life although, technically, it's half dead? Luckily, we must wait only until Nov. 16, 2012, when "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" will open. It had better have the answers. If it doesn't, Charlie Swan has a gun and he knows how to use it.

Read more on The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 :: rogerebert.com :: Reviews

Natalie Wood death probe reopened as ‘additional information’ comes to light; boat captain speaks on ‘Today’ - Celebritology 2.0 - The Washington Post

An investigation into the death of Natalie Wood has been reopened after “additional information” was presented to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, the Associated Press reports.

The Oscar-nominated actress drowned 30 years ago this month after spending the day on Catalina Island and a yacht with husband Robert Wagner and her “Brainstorm” co-star, Christopher Walken.

Wood, best known for her roles in “West Side Story,” “Rebel Without a Cause” and “Splendor in the Grass,” had been drinking on the day of her death, which was officially ruled an accident. The circumstances surrounding that day have been considered a mystery.

A detective from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department will speak to the press Friday about why the case has been reopened, according to the AP. “Recently Sheriff’s Homicide Investigators were contacted by persons who stated they had additional information about the Natalie Wood Wagner drowning,” the department said in a statement

TMZ reports the reason for the reinvestigation might be the 2009 book, “Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour,” written by Marti Rulli with the boat’s captain, Dennis Davern. The book suggests foul play, according to TMZ.

Wagner and Wood’s sister, Lana Wood, have both denied this in the past.

In an interview with “Today,” Davern said he “did lie on a [police] report several years ago.” He told David Gregory he thought Wagner intentionally kept the case low profile. When asked if he thought Wagner was “responsible” for Wood’s death, Davern responded, “Yes, I would say so.”

“We didn't take any steps to see if we could locate her,” Davern said. “I think it was a matter of, 'We're not going to look too hard, we're not going to turn on the searchlight, we're not going to notify anybody right now.’ ”

The Wagner family said in a statement, “Although no one in the Wagner family has heard from the LA County Sheriff’s department about this matter, they fully support the efforts of the LA County Sheriff’s Dept. and trust they will evaluate whether any new information relating to the death of Natalie Wood Wagner is valid, and that it comes from a credible source or sources other than those simply trying to profit from the 30 year anniversary of her tragic death.”

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Paris-based post house Film Factory recently finished Relativity Media’s The Immortals. To help bring the visually rich film to fruition, Film Factory senior colorist and postproduction supervisor Lionel Kopp collaborated with the filmmakers to create a unique dailies-to-DI process built around Image Systems’ Nucoda Film Master.

The visual effects-heavy movie, releasing in 2D and 3D, required cutting-edge looks and the right tools to create a strong graphical vision for the story. The Nucoda grading and mastering system gave the company the toolset necessary to achieve the surreal look, and streamlined the workflow, which included over 12 VFX houses around the globe.

From the producers of 300 and director Tarsem Singh, The Immortals is the mythical tale of a power-mad king (played by Mickey Rourke) who assails ancient Greece and threatens to destroy mankind, until a young villager (played by Henry Cavill) rises up against him. The movie was produced in Montreal, and photographed by cinematographer Brendan Galvin.

Film Factory established a workflow that centered around the Nucoda Film Master, which married an on-set process to the final color pass. The Film Master system, which included a SAN and Nucoda Fuse assist station, were installed on set at Mel’s Studios in Montreal. On set, camera dailies from the Panavision Genesis HD camera were sent to the editing room in DNX 175 format with color settings. Those settings were carried through in dailies, with the raw camera data held for future changes and final color. Kopp graded every take from the first day of dailies through completion of the DI, helping to establish a look from the earliest point possible. In dailies, he could adjust the looks with notes from the director or cinematographer, and make ongoing changes to the images. As visual effects came in, they were graded and cut, creating a unified version.

“The Nucoda grading and mastering solution was the hub for everything, which was a powerful home base,” said Kopp. “Dailies settings, visual effects, and the DI were all managed in the Nucoda Film Master.”

Film Factory had made the decision to control the postproduction of the movie in-house. Film Factory’s second colorist Marc Boucrot explained, “A DI, especially one for a huge movie, is usually done in a big postproduction facility, but Film Factory saw value and flexibility in keeping the process in-house. Since most companies don’t have the expertise to build a fully functional and successful DI pipeline, we set out to make it happen. Film Factory built a screening environment and color timing areas right by the production offices. It was a risk, but it was a great success creatively and logistically.”

Kopp added that “our thoughts about how to bring the creative vision of the filmmakers to life was greatly helped by the Nucoda Film Master. It was extremely helpful to be able to start ‘grading’ the film from day one, incorporating color graded visual effects and easily moving elements between set, editorial and DI.”

The Immortals is a 2D and 3D release, but 90% of the feature was shot in 2D. “When we received the conform of the 3D material, we were able to go into the Nucoda and do a final pass of the stereoscopic material,” explained Kopp. “We brought in the senior stereographer from the production to make sure everything was in order for the 3D, and the Nucoda helped make that process flawless.”

“The movie looks incredible; it’s a visual accomplishment, and we are honored to work with Lionel and our talented customers at Film Factory,” said Martin Bennett, MD of media for Image Systems. “We are excited to continue our relationship with them on Mirror Mirror, currently in postproduction, and 10 other films in the pipeline.”

Read more: Film Factory Creates Innovative Color Pipeline for The Immortals | Below the Line

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