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Friday, March 21, 2008

Roman Abramovich opens luxury hospital for millionaires in Moscow

Roman Abramovich opens luxury hospital for millionaires in Moscow

A hospital for millionaires opened in Moscow. It became the first-ever hospital of the kind that has ever been organized in Russia. The hospital is located in the north-west of Russia’s capital, close to the so-called reservation of millionaires, known as Rublyovka. The hospital is capable of servicing up to 50 VIP patients at a time. Roman Abramovich’s company, Millhouse LLC, acted as the project investor.

Artyom Tolokonin, an author of the project, said that the creation of such a medical institution would allow to render first class medical services in Russia, which are now available only in several privately owned hospitals of Western Europe and the USA. The Moscow VIP hospital hopes to become a competition at this point, attracting not only wealthy Russians, but Western millionaires too.

The servicing program for one year will cost about 1.5 million rubles ($62,500). Investments in the implementation of the project make up about $10 million.

The hospital for millionaires will distinguish greatly from the vast majority of Russian hospitals. Most of them still use the outdated equipment of the 1970s.

The clinic will become another addition to Roman Abramovich’s extensive list of property. He currently owns five yachts – the fleet, which the media called “Abramovich’s Navy.”

He owns a private Boeing 767-33A/ER, known as "The Bandit" due to its cockpit area paint detail. Originally the aircraft was ordered by Hawaiian Airlines but the order was cancelled and Abramovich had it refitted to his own requirements. The Boeing 767 replaces a smaller Boeing 737-7CG BBJ. Abramovich also owns Eurocopter helicopters based on his yachts, Blackbushe airport or at his home near Rogate in Sussex, England.

As of early 2007 he has been using a smaller aircraft for his European travels. The Austrian-registered Dassault Falcon 900 registration OE-IDX is instantly recognizable by the livery similar to P4-MES.

In 2004 Abramovich bought two Maybach 62 limousines. He had these customized to be bomb proof and have bullet-proof glass. They were reported to have cost him £1 million. In September 2007, the French newspaper Le Figaro incorrectly claimed that Abramovich was the previously unidentified customer for the first private Airbus A380 Superjumbo. At the 2007 Dubai Air Show it was revealed that the jet was in fact ordered by Prince Al-Walid bin Talal, the CEO of Kingdom Holdings.

Prepared by Dmitry Sudakov

Get BitTorrent on Your TV with Myka

Written by Ben Jones on March 21, 2008

Until recently, if you’ve wanted to play videos you’ve downloaded on your TV, you either needed to hook it to your PC, buy an AppleTV, or use an Xbox. Now, one company aims to add another option - one which can get the videos itself, via BitTorrent.

Myka TV torrent boxThe Myka box, is a small set top box, not all that dissimilar from the AppleTV although larger. Like the Apple product, it aims to be a video playback device for your television, able to pull video from computers on a local network. What makes the Myka different, however, is that it incorporates a BitTorrent client.

Incorporating torrent technology into a set-top box could be a very powerful driving force for the torrent community, bringing it into the homes and minds of many more people. Quite how Comcast will feel about it though, is another matter.

Technically, the box’s specs look good, with HDTV resolutions up to 1080i available. Of perhaps greater note is that it may be possible, with its h.264 support, to playback Blu-Ray torrents. Also, there has been suggestions posted to the Myka forums, that a Blu-Ray drive could be coming in the future. If so, it might cut into some of the sales the PS3 has been getting.

Hardware wise, the system seems solid enough. The only options, at present, are the size of the included hard drive. The OS, for those of you that care, will be a highly customised version of Linux. PAL versions, with SCART are also promised.

Legally, there are some worried about how the Grokster decision might affect things in the US. Selling a product which can infringe copyright was held in that case to be ‘contributory infringement’. Myka boss, Dan Lovy, told TorrentFreak “We’ve looked the legal side extensively. We are like a movie projector. It has kept the competition down though, to our advantage.”

Price-wise, its comparable with the Apple offering. The 160Gb model is $20 more expensive than the equivalent AppleTV but this may be felt by many, to be a small price to pay for access to the vast library of content available.

At present, we haven’t seen one in the flesh, so to speak. According to Myka, BitTorrent inc. is currently developing the torrent software, but we hope to bring you a full review as soon as possible.

Chismillionaire's Weekend Movie preview and top pick

Chismillionaire's pick this week is for Shutter with The Hammer as the alternative if Horror is not your thing. Call me crazy, but I think Drillbit is going to be a bust.

Drillbit Taylor

When three nerdy teenagers (Alex Frost, Josh Peck) are continually being beaten up by the school bully, they hire a nutty bodyguard named Drillbit Taylor (Owen Wilson) to protect them. But when their savior shows up on campus, he's more interested in a pretty teacher (Leslie Mann) than them


Benjamin and Nicky Shaw (Joshua Jackson, Rachael Taylor) are newlyweds honeymooning in Tokyo. Like all good tourists, they end up taking a lot of pictures of the city. Except, their images include ghosts in them.

The Hammer

Jerry Ferro (Adam Carolla) used to show a lot of promise as an amateur boxer, but he quit the game and has gone from one lousy construction job to another. He gets another shot at greatness, though, when he's asked to spar for a few rounds against new up-and-coming fighter Malice Blake (Harold House Moore). When Jerry lands a lucky knockout punch, he throws himself back into the ring with great gusto and attempts to win an Olympic gold medal.

Chismillionaire must admit this guy is Dead On - See you at The Bing

Ultimate Peep Show-Happy Easter

6 Disney Secrets You’ll Wish You Never Read

A Listropolis Original

I worked at the Magic Kingdom for 7 years, and was able to take with me a ton of secrets that ruin the “Magic” of Disney. Since I’m now burdened with these secrets, I figured I’d share 6 of them that most people have no clue about. If you’re a die-hard Disney fan that still believes in fairy tales and pixie dust, this list isn’t for you.

  1. There are tunnels under the Magic Kingdom - the tunnels are large enough to drive vehicles through, and serve as a way for cast members to access areas of the park specific to their costume. I did a much larger post about the Disney tunnels on another site that goes into details, and provides a list of park access points from the tunnels. These access points are scattered throughout the park, but most people never notice them.
    disney tunnels
  2. Main Street Illusion - All of the buildings on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland, are built using forced perspective, making it seem as if Main Street will never end as you walk into the park, and making it seem very short when you’re leaving. The windows on the second floor were all created much smaller than the windows on the first floor, and the building slightly angle towards the castle.
    main street
  3. Hidden Mickeys - this is probably the best known of all the Disney secrets. If you’ve never heard of hidden Mickey’s, they are just mickey heads scattered throughout everything done by Disney - EVERYTHING. There are plenty of sites that cover the locations of the hidden Mickey’s, but I doubt anyone knows where all of them are. They are on every Disney attraction, in most Disney movies, formed by buildings and gardens that can only be discovered by air, and many other places you’d never expect.
    hidden mickey in field
  4. X-Rated Fun - Not the x-rated you’re expecting, but many Disney videos have dirty little secrets hidden in them. The most notorious is the penis hidden in the castle on the cover of the Little Mermaid, and the word “sex” being formed from dust in the Lion King. There’s also a pornographic legend about the “Partner’s Statue” in front of the castle, which is a statue of Walt and Mickey holding hands, and if you turn a certain way, you see a whole lot more than you bargained for.
    partners statue
  5. Flash Mountain - No, not Splash Mountain, Flash Mountain(NSFW). Flash Mountain isn’t really a place. It’s actually a phenomenon where woman flash their breasts as they’re going down Splash Mountain. It’s much more common than you’d expect, and if you watch the logs coming over the drop, you’re bound to experience Flash Mountain. A picture is snapped as you go over the falls, and now they are heavily monitored for flashes, middle fingers, and gang signs. If any of those show up, the picture won’t print, and you’ll be left with only a story to tell.
    flash mountain
  6. No Deaths at Disney - I’m not sure if this one is still true, but as of a couple of years ago, it was ok for Disney to say they had never had a death at the park. If someone were to be fatally injured at the park, they would not be pronounced deceased until they arrived at the hospital - away from the park. Nothing happy fun about this subject, but it’s a dark secret, and not many people know about it.

Everything you ever wanted to know about the Navy Seals

­­­ Any place where there are currently U.S. troops, you'll find that SEALs are either there now or were there first. The role that Navy SEAL teams play revolves around getting in and out quickly and without being seen, gathering intelligence, destroying targets, and performing rescues, among other things.

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Lion tackles woman during photoshoot [video]

While demonstrating the martial art Kalaripayat, Gitanjali Kolanad is tackled by Leo the Lion during a cover shoot for Desi Life magazine.

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Amazing Jamaican Pot Bust

Oh, those Jamaicans. They're a creative bunch.

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Ghostrider 5: Back To basics

The king of the road is back for a final run. He needs no introduction so just sit back, turn that sound up to 11 and enjoy Ghostrider 5.

Top 10 Video Formats HD DVD Will Meet in Heaven

This year is shaping up to be a year of technology battles-Microsoft vs. Google, iPhone vs. Android-but just last month, we saw the end to a momentous tech showdown. On Feb. 19, the high-definition disc format war was finally over. And when the dust settled, Toshiba's HD DVD technology lay beaten on the ground-left for dead by its former friends..

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Lamborghini Gallardo LP560 Bends the rules

Secrets behind Lamborghini's latest projectile, the LP560-4

Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4
Lamborghini's faster, more powerful, 560bhp Gallardo, called LP560-4, doesn't just have a bigger 5.2-litre capacity and direct fuel injection. The entire engine is new.

'The old engine was at the limit of its power and capacity,' said technical director Maurizio Reggiani at Geneva. 'So we've used stratified direct injection to increase power, because it allows a higher compression ratio – up from 11.5 to 12.5 to one – and it improves efficiency, with CO2 reduced by 10 per cent.

'We also needed to increase the cylinder bore, which meant a new block with wider bore centres. And that meant we had to have a new, longer crankshaft.'

Previously the crankshaft had split crankpins for opposite cylinders, to give even 72deg firing intervals with the 90deg vee-angle Lamborghini deems necessary to keep the centre of gravity low. The crankshaft design wasn't very rigid, though, causing vibration that the even firing intervals were meant to stop. This time, opposite cylinders share a common crankpin, like those of a typical V8, which means the firing intervals are either 90deg or 58deg apart.

Combine that with a exhaust manifolds which, on each bank, have three-into-one, two-into-one and a single pipe joining the two-into-one downstream, and you have the recipe for a wholly different Gallardo sound. But does the new engine vibrate more? 'No,' says Reggiani, 'because the stiffer crankshaft makes up for the uneven firing.' A brief burst of action from the LP560-4 at a pre-show demo was accompanied by an almost Formula One-like explosion of noise, which was very promising.

20 Actors Who Turned Down Important or Popular Roles

For every celebrity winning critical acclaim or an Academy Award there’s another celeb or two who turned down that same meaty role. While we’re sure they had good reasons for their decisions, we’re also wondering how hard they kick themselves after realizing they passed up "The Big One."

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Ferrari F149 model confirmed

Ferrari will reveal its 'F149' in Paris in October

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo surprised both the audience and the Ferrari PR department at the Geneva press conference by announcing Ferrari will reveal their new front-engined V8 GT car (known internally as the F149) at this year’s Paris motor show in October.

Those expecting an entry level Ferrari will be disappointed to hear the new F149 GT car will be priced above the basic F430 (priced at £138,500 here in the UK) when it goes on sale in 2009. Pervious reports that this car was to be a new Dino type Ferrari, priced sub £100,000, have proved to be very wide of the mark.

Ferrari are still being cagey with the details but we do know the car will be a brand new design and will feature versatile architecture, which is taken to mean a choice of either 2+2 or 2 seat plus a luggage bench inside the cabin. Expect to see a conventional steel roof as standard, with either a glass or folding roof as an option.

Engine is expected to be a revised version of the F430’s 4.3litre V8 with slightly more power thanks to new direct injection technology and new throttle bodies which should deliver lower CO2 emissions as well. This will be linked to the new gearbox that could be the DCT gearbox we know Ferrari have been working on.

It’s exciting times for Ferrari, with this new model Ferrari are hoping to gain a new set of customers who have always been put off by the mid-engined layout of it’s V8 models up to now.

In-game Rock Band Music Store revealed

Harmonix has revealed an in-game iTunes-inspired Music Store for Rock Band which will be available in a software update for both PS3 and Xbox 360 this week.

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First Look- 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

By Edward Loh

As we revealed in our March 2008 issue, Hyundai opens a new chapter in automotive history this summer when it begins selling its first V-8-powered, rear-drive sedan-the appropriately named Genesis.

Naturally, a rear-drive Genesis sedan begets a rear-drive Genesis coupe-and from the appearance of things, this two-door could be just as much of a revelation as its four-door forebear. Why? Just take a look at who it's targeting.

According to Hyundai, the short list of Genesis coupe competitors includes the Infiniti G37, BMW 335i coupe, Ford Mustang GT, Mazda RX-8, and Mitsubishi Eclipse GT, though a comparison of specs reveals the G37 matters most.

Dimensionally, Hyundai apes Infiniti in all key external measurements. At 182.3 inches long with a 111.0-inch wheelbase, the Genesis coupe is shorter by 1.2 inches between the wheels and 0.8 inch overall. With a width of 73.4 inches and height of 54.3, the Genesis coupe is 1.6 inches broader and 0.5 lower.

Curb weight is close as well-a claimed 3550 pounds in base V-6 configuration makes it about 65 pounds lighter than the G37. Engine specs and output are also in the ballpark; Hyundai claims the coupe's all-aluminum, 24-valve 3.8-liter V-6 makes 310 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 263 pound-feet of torque at 4700. Both figures are less than the 330 horses at 7000 rpm and 270 pound-feet of at 5200 rpm the G37's 3.7-liter V-6 makes, but note the Genesis's rpm advantage. The G37 has a better weight-to-power ratio, 11.0 versus 11.6 pounds per horsepower, though the Genesis coupe is ahead of everyone else on the list, including the 335i coupe. More significant, Hyundai is certifying the Genesis coupe (and sedan) to run on premium or regular unleaded gasoline and lose only four horsepower in the process.

THE NOTCHED beltline at the rear side window and Z-shaped character line are two of the Genesis coupe's signature design details.

That goes for the turbocharged, inline-four-cylinder base engine as well. Yes, you read that right-at the 2008 New York auto show, Hyundai announced the entry-level Genesis coupe will be a tuner's dream come true.

The base coupe's 2.0-liter all-aluminum turbo four-cylinder is the fruit of the same Global Engineering Manufacturing Alliance that produced the 291-horse, 2.0-liter turbo in the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and 300-horse, 2.4-liter turbo that powers the Dodge Caliber SRT-4. Output from the north/south-oriented engine will be significantly less-212 horses at 6000 rpm and 217 pound-feet of torque at 2500 rpm-to give buyers a reason to pick the V-6. Hyundai did engineer some headroom for the tuning and drifting set; the blown and intercooled I-4 features a low 9.3:1 compression and can take boost up to 29 psi. Like the V-6, Hyundai is certifying the engine to run on regular or premium unleaded. With the latter, horsepower jumps to 223.

At 3450 pounds in base trim, four-cylinder Genesis coupes won't be light, but they still should be an attractive alternative for enthusiasts. Not since the Nissan 240SX has America had a rear-drive, four-cylinder coupe.

Genesis coupes get three transmissions. The four- and six-cylinder will share a six-speed manual. In addition, four-cylinder models, likely badged Genesis 2.0t, will receive a five-speed automatic with Shiftronic. The Genesis 3.8 will get a six-speed automatic transmission with Shiftronic manufactured by ZF.

Clearly, Hyundai didn't crib everything from the Infiniti playbook. For cost, weight, packaging reasons, Hyundai went with a MacPherson-strut type front suspension; the G37 has a more expensive unequal-length A-arm setup. The Genesis sedan's five-link design is used in back. For chassis-bending rigidity, Hyundai benchmarked the last-generation BMW M3 and claims to have surpassed it by 24 percent.

Entry-level GS and midlevel chrome- whiskered GT models get standard single piston brakes-with 12.6-inch ventilated rotors in front and 12.4-inch solid rotors in the back. In addition to track-tuned suspension, top-step SE models receive upgraded Brembos with four-piston monobloc calipers that bite 13.4-inch cross-drilled rotors up front and 13.0-inch solid rotors in the rear. So large are these optional brakes, they work only with the larger 19-inch wheel package. For enhanced acceleration and cornering dynamics, Genesis coupes will have a standard Torsen limited-slip differential.

As far as styling is concerned, it's easy to say Hyundai went after more than the G37's mechanical bits, especially when you see the Genesis coupe in silver. Easy, but not quite accurate upon closer examination. Though the overall shape shares G37 proportions (and really, what coupe doesn't?), Hyundai's admittedly handsome coupe features a few distinct styling cues-most notably the notched-out greenhouse and "Z-character" line surface treatment. Hyundai American design chief Joel Piaskowski claims the scooped-out beltline beneath the rear side windows is a practical and signature styling statement, differentiating the Genesis coupe while providing additional visibility for rear passengers and blind-spot access for the driver. The twin creases in the side sheetmetal are less practical, but do create a "Z" visual element that Piaskowski says is original and not derivative. Distinctive dihedral headlights, hood strakes, and carefully articulated bumper surfacing round out Hyundai's signature style.

Will the Genesis coupe have biblical implications on the sport-coupe scene? It could. As far as trends go, Hyundai has three of them nailed: turbocharging, small, high-efficiency engines, and rear drive are all hot right now. But make no mistake, the Genesis sedan and coupe represent a huge gamble by Hyundai-especially given the equipment (keyless remote, HID headlamps, LCD display screen, and USB/iPod connectivity) and aggressive pricing.

MSRPs haven't been finalized, but expect a spread of about $8000 between a base Genesis 2.0t and a fully loaded Genesis 3.8. If the base coupe comes in at or just below $20,000, that means in spring 2009, there'll be a six-speed, 300-horse rear-drive coupe on sale in America for right around $25,000. A spokesman for the company claims Hyundai is committed to selling the lowest-priced, 300-horse, rear-drive car in the U.S.

That's not a just revelation, that's a rear-drive revolution.

Russia's Radioactive Mines

These guys have gone deep into old Soviet uranium mines. In these mines Russian prisoners have dug for radioactive materials for the Soviet Army.As you can see on the top picture the Geiger counter shows that there is still some radioactive pollution.

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Cheap efficient Thermoelectrics

By Katherine Bourzac

Efficient crystals: Researchers increased the efficiency of a commonly used thermoelectric material, bismuth antimony telluride, by grinding it into a fine powder and pressing it back together. This technique creates random crystal lattices (lines in this tunneling-electron microscope image of the material) that interrupt the flow of heat.
Credit: Zhifeng Ren, Boston College

Thermoelectric materials promise everything from clean power for cars to clean power from the sun, but making these materials widely useful has been a challenge. Now researchers at MIT and Boston College have developed an inexpensive, simple technique for achieving a 40 percent increase in the efficiency of a common thermoelectric material. Thermoelectric materials, which can convert heat into electricity and electricity into heat, hold promise for turning waste heat into power. But thermoelectric materials have not been efficient enough to move beyond niche applications. The new jump in efficiency, achieved with a relatively inexpensive material, may finally make possible such applications as solar panels that turn the sun's heat into electricity, and car exhaust pipes that use waste heat to power the radio and air conditioner.

The researchers started with bismuth antimony telluride, a thermoelectric material used in niche products such as picnic coolers and cooling car seats. Then Gang Chen, a professor of mechanical engineering at MIT; Institute Professor Mildred Dresselhaus; and Boston College physics professor Zhifeng Ren crushed it into a powder with a grain size averaging about 20 nanometers, and pressed it into discs and bars at high heat. The resulting material has a much finer crystalline lattice structure than the original material, which is made up of millimeter-scale grains. Chen and Ren's nanocomposite formulation of the material is 40 percent more efficient than the conventional form of the material at 100 °C, and it works at temperatures ranging from room temperature to 250 °C.

"Power-generation applications [for thermoelectrics] are not big now because the materials aren't good enough," says Chen. He believes that his group's more efficient version of the material will finally make such applications commercially viable.

Thermoelectric materials must be able to maintain a heat gradient, which means that they must be good conductors of electrons and good thermal insulators. When one end of a bar of thermoelectric material is heated, electrons move from the hot side to the cold, creating an electrical current. If a material conducts heat well, this current-generating temperature gradient will dissipate. Unfortunately, in most bulk materials, electrical conductivity and thermal conductivity "go hand in hand," says John Fairbanks, who heads thermoelectrics efforts in the Department of Energy's Vehicle Technologies Program.

One approach to making better thermoelectric materials has been to build nanostructured materials from the bottom up. Interfaces in these materials reflect the flow of heat without impeding electrical current. Researchers who have grown arrays of silicon nanowires, pressed silicon and germanium nanowires into millimeter-scale bars, and tested single organic molecules have had success on a small scale, but making such materials in bulk is a major hurdle.

The researchers' nanocomposite technique creates many interfaces in the material that reflect thermal vibrations, says Chen. Peidong Yang, a professor of chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, says that the work is "a great example of how defect engineering can significantly impact on the [vibration] transfer in solids."

Ren says that it's easy to make large amounts of the nanocomposite material: "We're not talking grams; we're not talking kilograms. We can make metric tons." Because bismuth antimony telluride is already used in commercial products, Ren and Chen predict that their technique will be integrated into commercial manufacturing in several months.

FileDropper: Best Free Uploader Ever. 5 gb File? No Problem!

This is simple, allows huge files and is totally free. Bookmarked under "something I'll probably use at least once a week"

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Verizon, AT&T big winners of spectrum auction

In a hotly contested auction that raised $19.6 billion for the U.S. government, Verizon walked away with the lion's share of the spoils, bidding $9.4 billion for a huge chunk of spectrum that includes the coveted C-block, which carries open-access stipulations. AT&T also won big, spending $6.6 billion for its own swath of spectrum.

Google did not win in its bid for the C-block, but the search giant may have won in a subtler way, as the FCC's openness regulations (which Google campaigned for) will ensure that any compatible device, such as the forthcoming "Google phones," will be able to work with any network that Verizon deploys on the C-block.

"In many respects, Google was in a 'can't lose' situation," says Derek Brown, an analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald. "What they -- and many other internet companies -- have really been focused on is getting their applications or services on mobile handsets."

The 700Mhz spectrum auction was one of the most significant auctions of wireless spectrum in years. Telecom experts point out that this band of spectrum, formerly used by UHF television signals, is particularly well suited to long-range broadband data transmissions, using emerging standards such as WiMax or "fourth-generation" cellular technologies like Verizon's Long Term Evolution (LTE). Those qualities made this auction particularly hotly contested. The FCC's open-access requirements raised the stakes even further, since most wireless operators' networks are currently closed to outside devices.

Verizon said in a statement that the company's bids include a nationwide spectrum footprint covering 298 million people, plus 102 smaller licenses for local markets covering 171 million people.

To comply with the FCC's anti-collusion rules, Verizon Wireless said it cannot comment further until the down payment deadline, which will be ten business days after the release of the Closing Public Notice, according to the FCC.

Now, with Google-backed Android phones expected to appear later this year and Verizon locked into the open-access rules, the wireless company will ultimately have no choice but to allow those phones on its network.

Still, Jeffrey Lindsay, an analyst at Bernstein Research, says the subject of openness remains controversial. As has noted before, the interpretation of the open access attached the the C block is more than a little ambiguous.

"At a minimum it means Google applications cannot be kept off wireless devices operating in this spectrum," says Lindsay. "Whether or not Google can be charged for access to the devices, or if customers can be surcharged for using Google applications remains unclear for now."

As anyone who followed the proceedings leading up the Auction 73 knows, there's also no shortage of irony to the fact that it was Verizon Wireless who eventually emerged as the C-Block winner. Last September, the company actually sued the FCC, decrying the open access rules pertaining to, you guessed it, the C-Block of spectrum.

That set off a fierce battle of words between open-access proponents like Google and Frontline Wireless on the one hand and Verizon Wireless on the other. At one point, Frontline -- whose board members including former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt and Janice Obuchowski, a former assistant secretary of commerce in charge of telecommunications policy -- even asked the commission to ban Verizon from the auction.

Whatever Verizon and AT&T do with the spectrum they've just agreed to purchase, it will be years before their plans bear fruit.

"The prospect for more openness is potentially a meaningful victory for the long-term. I certainly don't think this has any near-term consequences," says Cantor Fitzgerald's Brown.

Tech Rx for Doctor's: The Iphone

Version 2.0 of the iPhone's firmware, due this June, could turn the device into an indispensable medical tool if hospitals OK its medical use.
Photo illustration: Jonathan Snyder/

The arrival this June of an enterprise-friendly iPhone is exciting to more than just business users. Doctors, too, are eyeing Apple's handheld and wondering if it could kill off the old-fashioned clipboard and X-ray light box once and for all.

"If you could use the gesture-based way of manipulating images on the iPhone and actually manipulate a stack of X-rays or CT scans, that would be a huge selling point," says Adam Flanders, director of informatics at Thomas Jefferson University and an expert in medical imaging.

To date, such a feature has remained a pipe dream due to most smartphones' inability to handle the sophisticated compression techniques used on large medical images. Also, most phones lack the requisite memory and image-processing capabilities.

Then there are the security concerns: As Flanders notes, hospital CIOs are also understandably wary of beaming medical images all over the place via WiFi. But the iPhone's reasonably powerful Samsung ARM processor, 8 GB or 16 GB of flash memory and intuitive, visual interface seem well suited to medical imagery. And the iPhone's new business-friendly security features may ease privacy fears, physicians say, and could even turn the device into an indispensable medical tool if hospitals OK the device.

Tech-savvy doctors have been speculating about the iPhone's medical potential long before Apple shipped its first unit. But the lack of native application support has meant that, up to now, all iPhone applications had to work through the phone's Safari web browser. That's a nonstarter for most medical applications because it demands constant connectivity (either via WiFi or an AT&T cellular data network) and prevents application developers from using the device's full processing power.

Earlier this month, however, Apple released a software development kit (SDK) for programmers to create native iPhone applications. During the announcement event, Apple gave doctors the first concrete reason to trade in their Blackberries and Treos for iPhones by announcing a new partnership with Epocrates, the developer of a massive drug-interaction database for mobile devices. While Palm users have had access to Epocrates for years, the company said it is now working directly with Apple on a new iPhone-native version. When released, it will give doctors the ability to view drug information regardless of their location or the availability of a WiFi.

"The real beauty of the iPhone is that it offers a richer 3-D experience and more memory," says Michelle Snyder, vice president of marketing and subscription services at Epocrates.

But medical databases -- be they native like Epocrates, or browser-based, like Unbound Medicine's medical research database -- are only part of the iPhone's overall allure in the medical field. Physicians, particularly radiologists, are also excited about the prospect of accessing medical images directly on their iPhones.

Flanders, who regularly looks for ways to apply new imaging techniques to the radiology field, says he's already seen a number of "neat tricks" with compression in recent years that can deliver hundreds of images on a handheld device, with a high resolution as well as the ability to manipulate those images.

Such applications might actually work better through a browser-based interface, Flanders says.

"The neatest stuff that I've seen so far is where all the rendering is server side -- where none of the heavy lifting is actually happening on the client," Flanders says. "So even if you have a medical image that requires some manipulation -- something like a 3-D model of someone's brain -- it's all happening server side. That way, you can really get away with a lot less horsepower on the client app."

Whether it's new imaging apps or a database of patient information, ultimately, the same concerns that businesses have expressed about the iPhone will be the ones that hospital IT departments will bring up. Is it secure enough? Can hospitals guarantee patient privacy when data is being stored or accessed on iPhones? And can the popular handset stand up to the rigorous demands of a busy hospital environment?

When version 2.0 of the iPhone's firmware becomes available this June, along with a host of new native iPhone applications, we'll see whether Apple is able to fill that prescription.

By Bryan Gardiner Email 03.20.08 | 6:00 PM

Shrimp eyes may hold key to better communications

Scientists have found a fourth mode of sight — joining black and white, color and linearly polarized — in the mantis shrimp, a crustacean that's taken a unique evolutionary path for 400 million years.
Photo: Roy Campbell

Scientists have discovered a new mode of sight in a most unusual creature: a primitive marine crustacean known as the mantis shrimp.

Until now, it was believed that animals could see only the intensity, color and -- in a few species -- the linear polarization of light.

But in a study published today in Current Biology, researchers showed that the mantis shrimp, a fancifully nicknamed stomatopod whose unique evolutionary path began some 400 million years ago, perceives what's known as circular polarized light. They are the first organisms to demonstrate this ability.

Linear polarization refers to light with photons traveling along parallel, up-and-down wavelengths. By contrast, circular polarized light -- CPL for short -- has photons traveling in parallel, rotating wavelengths. It occurs rarely in nature but is widely used in high-tech communications. Researchers say that understanding the eyes of mantis shrimps could help engineers design better CPL systems.

Many satellite systems rely on circular polarized light, as do devices that amplify radio signals, because CPL's tightly rotating configuration reduces data losses during transmission. (When an antenna sports something that looks like a tightly wound spring, that's for CPL.) It could someday be used in mobile phones -- invisible to our eyes, but not to the machines that detect it.

Human applications aside, the discovery of a new type of sight is a landmark unto itself, and the mantis shrimp is an odd but deserving history maker.

"Since they branched off from animals so early, their evolution took them in unique directions," said study co-author Tom Cronin, a visual physiology researcher at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. "We used to call them shrimps from Mars, because their biology is so different from any other animal."

Like insects and other crustaceans, mantis shrimps possess compound eyes composed of thousands of rows of light-detecting units called ommatidia. These are especially refined in mantis shrimps, containing a mix of photoreceptors and filters that let them see 100,000 different colors -- 10 times more than can be detected by humans.

Two decades ago, Cronin, along with co-authors Justin Marshall at the University of Queensland and the University of California, Berkeley's Roy Caldwell, noticed that sections of the mantis shrimps' ommatidia are arranged at a slant.

This suggested an ability to detect circular polarized light, in which photons follow a corkscrew path and ostensibly enter the ommatidia at a correspondingly slanted angle. After finding a species that seemed to send signals with a CPL-reflecting patch of exoskeleton, the researchers decided to test whether the shrimps' oddball ommatidia really registered the light.

First they hooked severed eyes to electrodes to measure whether the cells energized when hit with circularly polarized light; they did. Then they trained the shrimps to associate CPL-reflecting boxes with food. The shrimps passed the test with flying colors.

Cronin said the shrimps probably use CPL to communicate during sexual and territorial encounters, though he doesn't know why they evolved such a one-of-a-kind system. Further research may illuminate those origins -- and, Cronin said, could help scientists refine their use of CPL in computer screens and signal transmission, where its tightly rotating configuration lends itself to loss-free transmission.

"We're now looking at the molecular diversity of the visual pigments that create these visual analysis cells," said Cronin, whose lab is partly funded by the signal-hungry Air Force.

Not everyone was so enthused about the practical applications of the shrimps' vision.

"The mantis shrimp system is pretty much the way it is done in optical technology, so I'm afraid there is not a lot to be learned here," said Mike Land, a vision researcher at the University of Sussex.

But Justin Marshall disagreed.

"We invented this a few years ago, and stomatopods [invented it] 400 million years ago," he said, noting that CPL is used in detecting skin cancer. "They have honed and perfected a system that we could learn from."

Good Friday!!!!! Van Damme's

Van Damme's clothing line "Dammage7"

In July, 2001 Jean Claude van Damme entered the fashion world with a line of eponymous denim clothing, named "Dammage7".
The line was going on sale in the famous Londoner store "Harrods". Van Damme was a close friend of Harrods owner Mohammed al-Fayed. "He is a good friend of mine, since Gstaad many, many years ago, where we skied together".

By the introduction Van Damme, sporting a Dammage7 jacket and baseball cap, said: "It's going to be a great business. It's a very special, unusual line and I'm proud of it. It's a brand new line of jeans. What's nice about it is that we have a triple wash in the textile -- it's a brand new way of doing clothing,"

The clothing line was full of energy and vibrant colours. A website was launched by the introduction, but is now disappeared. After the release Van Damme appeared regularly in his new outfit, but probably due to the poor availability, the sale collapsed.