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Monday, May 5, 2008

Scarlett Johansson & Ryan Reynolds Engaged!

SAD DAY FOR BERNIES RED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

http://socialitelife.celebuzz.com/images/2008/05/ryanreynolds-scarlettjohansson-engaged-050508-thumb.jpg
Photos: INFDaily.com

Scarlett Johansson can console herself over any lukewarm responses to her music video with the rock she's sporting from her boyfriend Ryan Reynolds. Ryan has decided to make an honest woman out of Scarlett and has proposed to the full-lipped actress. The two have been dating for over a year and Johansson is expected to be showing off her engagement ring tonight at the Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute Gala in New York.

Scarlett's rep marcel Pariseau told People magazine, "They're both thrilled."

Chismillionaire digs The Brideshead


http://bridesheadrevisited-themovie.com/

Naturmobil: Cart runs on ‘horse power’

Image for Naturmobil: Cart runs on ‘horse power’
© Supplied
Unlike traditional horse-drawn vehicles, the horse rides inside, behind the driver, protected by an all-weather canopy.

Abdolhadi Mirhejazi’s friends thought he was off his rocker when he told them of his idea for the Naturmobil – but he wasn’t bucking around.

His plan was to create a vehicle which really does put the cart before the horse.

And once he’d got the bit between his teeth, wild stallions couldn’t tear him away from his favourite hobby.

The result of his labours is a one horsepower, space age all-weather buggy powered by, ugh, a horse.

Unlike traditional horse-drawn vehicles, the horse rides inside, behind the driver, protected by an all-weather canopy.

And thanks to a lightweight polycarbonate frame and complex gearing, it can reach speeds of up to 80km/h – although its cruising speed is a more sedate 20km/h.

Pull quote

Naturmobil was designed and built to achieve the maximum level of attention from its audiences. F. Minooeifar, Marketing Manager

Pull quote

Impossible attempt

"My friends and relatives thought of me as a somewhat eccentric half-mad inventor attempting the impossible," said Mirhejazi, an Iranian engineer who has brought his invention to Dubai. Nevertheless, one friend was prepared to rustle up enough cash to put the project under starter’s orders.

"It took me 26 months to build the vehicle in my workshop in Tehran. I got it patented by a special department in Iran after professors at universities there attested that it was a scientific invention."

Getting started

The horse walks on a fibreglass treadmill, generating enough power to move the 300kg Naturmobil along on six motorcycle wheels.

Mirhejazi says it produces enough surplus energy to charge a small battery which powers the buggy’s lights, electrical system, and can even take over from the horse when Neddy needs a rest.

When the horse’s body temperature gets too hot for comfort, a sensor attached to its side transmits its temperature reading to a controller which automatically turns off the treadmill and switches the vehicle to run on battery power.

Neddy can then rest for 20 minutes before the back-up power runs down.

Cruelty-free

Mirhejazi, who runs a business specialising in agricultural machinery, said he came up with the idea after pondering how to utilise horses in new, cruelty-free ways.

"I first tested the vehicle in January 2006. It was around 2am and the deserted streets of Tehran in Iran were perfect for the experiment," he said.

"My brother Saleh was behind the steering wheel."

World tour

Mirhejazi has already exhibited the Naturmobil in Geneva, and plans to take it to the upcoming Invention and New Product Exhibition in the city of Pittsburg in California, USA, this June.

"After the show, I intend to have a live demonstration there with a locally procured horse and hope to attract some sponsors," he said.

He needs sponsors to fund the creation of a second-generation Naturmobil – a four-horse coach intended to carry tourists.

And he hopes the bizarre design of the existing Naturmobil will attract enough attention to help fund the next version.

Maximum exposure

Mirhejazi also discovered the horse can power two LCD advertising screens mounted on the sides of the Naturmobil

"Bearing in mind the originality and uniqueness of the idea, Naturmobil was designed and built to achieve the maximum level of attention from its audiences," said his marketing manager, F. Minooeifar.

Comfort and safety in mind

Mirhejazi says the Naturmobil was designed with the safety and welfare of the animal in mind. No whipping is involved.

To make the horse move, the driver flicks a switch to make the conveyor belt, where the horse is mounted, move.

The belt is lifted to simulate an uphill condition to prevent friction from harming the horse.

The gearbox is designed to ease the pressure on the horse.

The horse need not exert its full power to achieve a faster speed.

Shock absorbers are placed under the conveyor belt to lessen the impact on the horse’s joints.

A digital display unit allows the driver to monitor the horse.

Two sets of sensors are attached to the horse to monitor its heart rate and body temperature.

A bower attached on top of the vehicle is designed to protect the horse from cold and heat and can be opened if the horse needs air.

The horse is made to wear special soft leather shoes, tied with laces, to make walking as comfortable as possible.

A waste bin is also provided to collect the horse’s discharges. Another bag is provided for food.

The man

  • A specialist in agricultural machinery, Abdolhadi Mirhejazi is a graduate of Agriculture
  • He established the Pajoohesh and Ideh Company to set up greenhouses for olive plantations in Tehran, Iran.
  • In 1992, he invented a device for improving the efficiency of underground water pumps
  • In 2004, he developed a crankless one-stroke multi-fuel combustion engine for automobiles
  • He acquired a patent for the Naturmobil, a horse-powered vehicle, in 2005
  • Mirhejazi presently lives in Jumeirah in Dubai

Int'l Masters Cup Award Winners: Images Of Nature



Award-winning photographers here are "amateurs", but only through semantics. Beautiful, eclectic gallery of pics--from animals & wildlife to wilderness & landscapes. Some really nice stuff.

read more | digg story

Boomerang In Zero Gravity (International Space Station)

youtube.com — Japanese astronaut Takao Doi, on board of the International Space Station, has proved that a boomerang returns to the person throwing it even in the zero-gravity conditions. The idea came to him by request from his friend Yashuhiro Togai, a world boomerang champion. The result is exactly what the science behind boomerangs predict

Mentos and Diet Coke Explosion at 1200fps: Casio EX-F1 Strikes Again


Giz reader Robert Woodhead combined two things that I just can't seem to get sick of seeing: Stuffing Mentos into Diet Coke bottles and the super-slow-mo action of Casio's EX-F1 camera to create this stunningly beautiful video.

Woodhead compensated for the 1200fps' paltry 336x96 frame size by stitching four different Mentos tests together, and the results are awesome. Globs, ribbons and rings of Coke that are impossible to track in real time come to life when seen in slow-motion.

Watch out later today for another homemade slow-mo video; things will only get messier.

Alcohol, tobacco worse than pot, ecstasy: study

New landmark research concludes that alcohol and tobacco are more dangerous than some illegal drugs like marijuana or ecstasy and should be classified as such in legal systems, according to a new British study.

In research published Friday in The Lancet, Professor David Nutt of Britain’s Bristol University and colleagues proposed a new framework for the classification of harmful substances, based on the actual risks posed to society. Their ranking listed alcohol and tobacco among the top 10 most dangerous substances.

‘The exclusion of alcohol and tobacco from the Misuse of Drugs Act is, from a scientific perspective, arbitrary.’— Study’s authors

Nutt and colleagues used three factors to determine the harm associated with any drug: the physical harm to the user, the drug’s potential for addiction, and the impact on society of the drug’s use.

The researchers asked two groups of experts — psychiatrists specializing in addiction and legal or police officials with scientific or medical expertise — to assign scores to 20 different drugs, including heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamines, and LSD.

Nutt and his colleagues then calculated the drugs’ overall rankings. In the end, the experts agreed with each other, but not with the existing British classification of dangerous substances.

Heroin and cocaine were ranked most dangerous, followed by barbiturates and street methadone. Alcohol was the fifth-most harmful drug and tobacco the ninth most harmful. Cannabis came in 11th, and near the bottom of the list was ecstasy.

According to existing British and U.S. drug policy, alcohol and tobacco are legal, while cannabis and ecstasy are both illegal. Previous reports, including a study from a British parliamentary committee last year, have questioned the scientific rationale for Britain’s drug classification system.

“The current drug system is ill thought-out and arbitrary,” said Nutt, referring to the United Kingdom’s practice of assigning drugs to three distinct divisions, ostensibly based on the drugs’ potential for harm. “The exclusion of alcohol and tobacco from the Misuse of Drugs Act is, from a scientific perspective, arbitrary,” write Nutt and his colleagues in The Lancet.

Classification debate

Tobacco causes 40 per cent of all hospital illnesses, while alcohol is blamed for more than half of all visits to hospital emergency rooms. The substances also harm society in other ways, damaging families and occupying police services.

Nutt hopes that the research will provoke debate within the U.K. and beyond about how drugs — including socially acceptable drugs such as alcohol — should be regulated. While different countries use different markers to classify dangerous drugs, none use a system like the one proposed by Nutt’s study, which he hopes could serve as a framework for international authorities.

“This is a landmark paper,” said Dr. Leslie Iversen, professor of pharmacology at Oxford University. Iversen was not connected to the research. “It is the first real step towards an evidence-based classification of drugs.”

He added that, based on the paper’s results, alcohol and tobacco could not reasonably be excluded.

“The rankings also suggest the need for better regulation of the more harmful drugs that are currently legal, i.e. tobacco and alcohol,” wrote Wayne Hall, of the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, in an accompanying Lancet commentary. Hall was not involved with Nutt’s paper.

While experts agreed that criminalizing alcohol and tobacco would be challenging, they said that governments should review the penalties imposed for drug abuse and try to make them more reflective of the actual risks and damages involved.

Nutt called for more education so that people were aware of the risks of various drugs. “All drugs are dangerous,” he said. “Even the ones people know and love and use every day.”

20 unique and affordable Mother's Day gifts


Looking for a great, inexpensive gift to honor mom? Interested in a thoughtful present she’ll actually enjoy? Before you opt for the traditional flowers and Hallmark card, bargain hunter Merisa Vinick shares her list of fantastic finds, from matching pajamas to a mommy-friendly gardening set.

read more | digg story

14 Most Amazing Temples in the World


These are spectacular views of amazing and gorgeous temples around the world

read more | digg story

Amazing Watermelon Carvings


Incredible creativity and artistic carvings done all with watermelons

read more | digg story

Amazing Geological Oddities: add this to the Bucket List

Moving Rocks at the Racetrack Playa, Death Valley California.

Death Valley in California is home to rocks that seem to move on their own. Pebbles to Boulders are found scattered around the “racetrack” with trails that turn, loop, and zigzag behind them. Some of the Rocks move, others don’t. It was thought for some time that magnetic forces were the cause of the phenomena. Scientists now believe that the cause is wind. When there has been enough water to soak the flat clay, and temperatures lower below freezing, it causes tiny ice crystals to form. When the surface of a rock is slick enough in these conditions wind will actually have enough power to move them around, leaving a trail.

The Richat Structure, or “Eye of the Sahara.”

This spectacular landform in Mauritania in the southwestern part of the Sahara desert is so huge with a diameter of 30 miles that it is visible from space. The formation was originally thought to be caused by a meteorite impact but now geologists believe it is a product of uplift and erosion. The cause of its circular shape is still a mystery.

The driest place on Earth, Atacama Desert.

The Atacama Desert receives less than 1mm of rain per year, and at one point not a single drop of precipitation landed on its dry surface for 400 years. It’s caused by the Andes rainshadow; meaning that the trade winds moving east along South America lose all moisture when they slam against the steep slopes of the Andes Mountains. The Atacama Desert is found nestled up against the western slopes of the mountain range. Interestingly, several thousand miles south the winds change direction, and the deserts are then found on the eastern side of the Andes, such as the Monte Desert in Argentina.

The Naica Mine, Cave of Crystals, Mexico.

These caverns found in a mine in Chihuahua Mexico
are home to some of the largest crystals ever discovered and are an impressive sight. The crystals are made mainly of Gypsum, and under these extremely rare conditions were allowed to grow unimpeded.

The Curtain of Fire, Hawaii.

These amazing lava fountains erupted during the first stage of the Puu Oo eruption in January, 1983. The lava created a wall of magma 100-160 feet high along a fissure along the Eastern Rift of Mount Kilauea.

Sinkholes

What could be more terrifying than the earth opening itself and swallowing your entire home? Among other places, this can become a reality in the Southeastern United States. Sinkholes are found in regions of Karst Topography, where pockets of loose sedimentary rock found under the surface can be eroded by groundwater, leaving behind caverns and caves, some of which collapse.



Stone Forest, Southwest China.

The Shilin (Chinese for stone forest) is an impressive example of karst topography. The rocks are made of limestone and are formed by water percolating the ground’s surface and eroding away everything but the pillars.

Vanishing Point returns

Vanishing Point Returns


By David Gluckman


Chrysler's entry for the 2008 One Lap of America is using the 1971 film Vanishing Point as inspiration. A white 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 will stand in for the 1970 Challenger R/T featured in the movie. SRT Vehicle Dynamics Supervisor Erich Heuschele and Chrysler Vice President of Design Ralph Gilles have the enviable task of piloting the muscle car during the modern-day Cannonball Run.

The car won't be the only retro-inspired aspect of the team; Heuschele will play Vanishing Point star Jimmy Kowalski, and Gilles will assume the role of radio DJ Super Soul for the event.


The detail-oriented duo has taken an immersive approach to the starring roles. Gilles and Heuschele have put together a wardrobe to match that of the movie - Heuschele's mom knitted a hat for Super Soul and also remade Kowalski's vest, while Gilles's wife went shopping for 70s clothing and period-correct big leather watch bands. They've registered for the event under the names Kowalski and Super Soul and list the characters' employers - Argo's Car Delivery and KOW Radio - as sponsors. The car even wears a recreation of the 1970 Colorado license plate from the film.

There will of course be some differences. Fortunately for his co-driver, Gilles is not blind like the character he'll be playing. Instead of attempting to deliver the Challenger from Denver to San Francisco in less than 16 hours, the team will be competing on tracks around the country over eight days. The One Lap competition begins and ends at The Tire Rack's South Bend, Indiana, headquarters, stopping at various tracks along the way for different scored events.


The new Challenger they'll be competing in comes with its own history. It carries VIN 003 and was the first Challenger to be driven on the road where it accrued 4000 hard test miles. Originally painted black and clad in camouflage, the car also wore orange paint for photo shoot duty before it got the white hue.

Kowalski and Super Soul's ride has been prepared for the event with a long list of upgrades, though the engine is original to the car and has never been removed. Mopar products include coilovers, front and rear swaybars, a front shock tower brace, a cold air intake, and a cat back exhaust by Corsa. The fender lips have been rolled to accept custom 20" Foose "Challenger" wheels. Power transmission is aided by a Quaife limited-slip differential and a torque converter from a Grand Cherokee SRT8 that works with a Mopar transmission reflash. It is entered in the SSGT2 Big Bore class.

We wish the throwback team the best of luck and will follow their progress from the event's start on Friday, May 2.

Nissan GTR ownership myths dispelled

2009 Nissan GT-R Ownership Myths Dispelled - Car News

You’ve likely already read the various rumors flying around the Internet about the GT-R’s steep ownership costs; that it has a speed limiter unless you’re at a Nissan-approved track; and that tires can only be replaced four at a time. We heard these things, too, courtesy of a tire supplier to GT-R, so we called up Nissan and got to the bottom of it. Most of the gloom-and-doom hype is unfounded. See below for our questions and Nissan’s responses.

Rumor 1: Nissan’s GPS will only allow full-speed operation in the U.S. at Nissan-approved tracks.

There is no speed limiter on the U.S. spec GT-R unless you count the rev limiter.

Rumor 2: Once a vehicle has been run an approved track, it must be subjected to a post-track safety inspection at a Nissan dealer (brake fluid, suspension, tires, drivetrain, other checks), at an estimated cost of $1,000. Otherwise the warranty is voided.

It is a very good idea to inspect a car of the GT-R’s potential after spending time on a track to verify that everything is still within specifications and not worn. We are investigating offering this type of post-track inspection service to GT-R owners in the U.S. in order to provide the type of customer service some GT-R owners will want. Track use will not void the warranty. However, the warranty will not cover repairs required due to misuse, including operation in violation of applicable laws or racing.

Rumor 3: The vehicle is set up from the factory with suspension settings for track use, with very high negative camber in the front and substantial toe-in at the rear. If the car is driven on the street with the factory settings the tires will only last 3000–5000 miles, and inner tire wear in the front will be substantial within 1000 miles. The settings may be changed from factory settings for street use prior to delivery, however.

The normal front camber setting is just over 1 degree negative. There is a small amount of flexibility in the setting, so if a customer wants to maximize tire wear they can request slightly less negative camber. The rear toe setting is between 1 and 2 mm total toe-in. While these settings are more aggressive than most cars, they are not extreme. The car provides amazing performance and you wouldn’t expect it to behave like a typical car. Driving style and road surfaces will greatly affect tire life, so it is very difficult to estimate. However, the tread life of some of our test tires has exceeded 10,000 miles in typical street driving. Of course, track usage will definitely diminish tire life.

Rumor 4: The brakes are some type of ceramic composite, and a brake job will cost upwards of $3000.

The GT-R brakes use conventional materials. The brakes have full-floating two-piece rotors. The outer rotor is cast iron and the hub or hat is aluminum. The pads are also conventional materials. They are large Brembos—15-inch rotors front and rear, six-piston calipers front and four-piston rear—so they won’t be inexpensive, but they provide phenomenal stopping performance. We don’t expect a 500-hp engine to cost the same as a 300-hp engine, so we wouldn’t expect 500–hp brakes to cost the same as 300-hp brakes. We don’t have final pricing on the parts yet so we can’t say for certain how much they’ll cost.

2009 Nissan GT-R Ownership Myths Dispelled - Other Myths and Concerns

(continued)

Rumor 5: The OE run-flat, vehicle-specific Bridgestone tires, once dismounted, must be discarded. We have not heard if the same requirement applies to the OE Dunlop tires, but that is a reasonable assumption. One of the explanations for this that we’ve heard is that the rims have raised bumps in them at the beads to keep the tire from turning on the rim under acceleration.

Our recommendation is that the GT-R tires not be remounted regardless of brand. The knurled beads do help keep the tires from rotating on the wheels under hard acceleration, but the knurling is primarily there as part of the run-flat system to help keep the tire on the rim in the event of a flat. Remounting the tires is not recommended because of the stretching and flexing necessary to dismount and remount the run flat tires on the wheels.

Rumor 6: If any tire on the all-wheel-drive GT-R needs to be replaced, such as for a road hazard, Nissan requires that all four tires be replaced; otherwise the drivetrain warranty is voided.

Because the GT-R is all-wheel drive, matching tire circumference is critical to the performance of the system. We will be providing guidelines to help determine if only one tire can be replaced or if the entire set should be replaced. If the undamaged tires are showing limited wear, it may be possible to replace only the damaged tire. These guidelines have not been finalized yet.

Rumor 7: Estimated annual service costs for the GT-R are $10,000–$15,000.

Service costs for the GT-R will vary greatly depending on usage so we do not have an estimate of annual service costs. But these estimates seem very high. There are a series of Performance Optimization Services (POS) required for the GT-R. The Performance Optimization Services (POS) are inspections and adjustments (if needed) of three major vehicle performance systems: Engine settings, transmission settings, and wheel alignment. These services are required to keep the car functioning at optimal performance and are done free of charge for the first 36 months. These services are necessary to keep the warranty in full effect for these systems.

The first Performance Optimization Service is performed at 1000 miles. The subsequent services are performed at 12, 24, and 36 months. Additionally, it is recommended these services be continued annually beyond the first three years, but they will be at customer expense.

While this is not a free maintenance program since it doesn’t include oil changes or other maintenance, it should make keep the ownership costs pretty reasonable for such a high-performance car.

Rumor 8: Nissan is struggling with finalizing the full-disclosure form that customers are required to read and sign prior to taking delivery.

We are still finalizing the delivery materials but I wouldn’t characterize it as struggling. The GT-R is unique in offering incredible performance to a very broad range of customers so we want to make sure we provide as much information as possible to the customer at delivery to make sure they have a great ownership experience.

Rumor 9: Only the dealer principal is allowed to sell this vehicle. Salespeople are not allowed to sell it, related to the risk that the salesperson may not properly inform the customer about the details of the full-disclosure documentation.

This is a customer-service issue not a disclosure issue. When choosing to become a Certified GT-R dealer, each dealer agreed to designate the dealer principal, executive manager, or general manager as the dedicated GT-R sales representative. Since the GT-R will attract a unique customer, Nissan decided a dealership executive would be best positioned to present the vehicle and facilitate the transaction most effectively with potential customers. The ownership experience will be critical to the success of the GT-R, and this requirement involves a dealership executive in a face-to-face relationship with the customer. This should be a positive step for customer satisfaction.


Why Apple is worth 4 Dells

It was only seven months ago that we celebrated the 10 year anniversary of what may be Michael Dell’s most famous quote. Asked on Oct. 6, 1997, what he would do if he were in charge of Apple, he told a crowd of several thousand technology execs gathered in Orlando:

“What would I do? I’d shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders.” (link)

The irony, as we noted last October, was that Apple’s (AAPL) market cap was then double that of Dell, Inc. (DELL). Since then, Apple’s value has gone on to triple and, last week, quadruple Dell’s. Here, thanks to MacDailyNews, are the market cap milestones:

  • Jan. 13, 2006 Apple passes Dell: $72.13 billion vs. $71.97 billion
  • July 27, 2007 Apple doubles Dell: $127.81 billion vs. $63.65 billion
  • Dec. 6, 2007 Apple triples Dell: $165.66 billion vs. $54.42 billion
  • May 1, 2008 Apple quadruples Dell: $158.66 billion vs. $38.97 billion

By week’s end, Apple was worth 4.04 Dells.

Michael Dell, however, is still worth 3.01 Steve Jobs, according to the latest list of the richest Americans:

  • Dell’s net worth: $17.2 billion
  • Jobs’ net worth: $5.7 billion

And according to IDC, Dell is America’s No. 1 PC maker, with a 30.9% U.S. market share, while Apple is No. 4 with 6%.

So why the big difference in market capitalization? Apple’s track record of innovation, integration and customer service has something to do with it, but investors pay even more attention to the margins.

  • Apple Profit margin: 15.13% Operating margin: 19.28%
  • Dell Profit margin: 4.82% Operating margin: 5.91% [Source: Yahoo Finance]

In other words, Dell sells a lot more machines, but Apple makes way more profit on each machine it sells.

Warren Buffett says to think small

Lower your expectations, advised Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger at Berkshire's annual meeting Saturday. They also answered questions ranging from succession plans to the Cubs.

OMAHA (CNNMoney.com) -- In the Q&A session Saturday morning at Berkshire Hathaway's annual meeting, CEO Warren Buffett and vice chairman Charlie Munger repeatedly warned investors to lower their expectations. When a shareholder asked whether Buffett's recent purchases of publicly traded stocks were likely to generate returns greater than 7% to 10% over time, Buffett promptly said no.

Note: What follows is based on a best-effort attempt to take accurate notes of a fast-moving discussion and does not purport to be an exact transcript of Buffett and Munger's remarks.

"We would be very happy if we earned 10%, pre-tax" on the additions to Berkshire's equity portfolio, said Buffett. "Anyone that expects us to come close to replicating the past should sell their stock; it isn't going to happen. We'll get decent results over time, but not indecent results." Added Munger: "You can take what Warren said to the bank. We are very happy at making money at a rate in the future that's much less than the past... and I suggest that you adopt the same attitude."

"We think Berkshire is an attractive investment [at today's price]," said Buffett. "We don't think it's the most attractive in the world."

Both men made it clear that their preference now is to acquire 100% ownership of private businesses at a "fair" price and to increase BRK's interest in companies that get substantial portions of their earnings in non-U.S. currencies.

"We are happy to invest in businesses that earn their money in euros in France or Italy or sterling in the UK, because I don't have a feeling that those currencies are likely to depreciate against the dollar," said Buffett. "Overall I think that the U.S. continues to follow policies that will make the dollar weaken against other major currencies.... I feel no need to hedge purchases of companies that earn profits in other currencies." Buffett added that major U.S. multinationals, like Coca-Cola (KO, Fortune 500), are a natural hedge against the dollar, since they earn most of their profits offshore -- which, he said, "will be a net plus over time."

Asked what's in store for the economy, Buffett said he doesn't have a clue and doesn't care.

"I haven't the faintest idea," he said. "We never talk about it, it never comes up in our board meetings or other discussions. We're not in that business [of economic forecasting], we don't know how to be in that business. If we knew where the economy was going, we'd do nothing but play the S&P futures market."

His simple point: As an investor, you don't need to predict the economic cycle (or even pay much attention to it). Instead, you should focus on evaluating individual businesses if you pick your own stocks -- or, simply buy the entire market in the form of an index fund. When a shareholder asked for the single best specific investment idea Buffett could recommend to an individual in his 30s, Buffett said: "I would just have it all in a very low-cost index fund from a reputable firm, maybe Vanguard. Unless I bought during a strong bull market, I would feel confident that I would outperform...and I could just go back and get on with my work."

In response to a similar question from an investor asking how Berkshire (BRKA, Fortune 500) would invest differently if it had only a few million dollars to put to work, Buffett advised him to think small. "That would open up thousands of opportunities," said Buffett. Earlier this year there were "very mispriced bonds" that "we could buy nowhere near enough of to make a difference to Berkshire," but a smaller investor could have exploited. "Most of the opportunities would probably be in small stocks or in specialized bond situations."

On succession

Asked about succession, Buffett (who is 77) and Munger (who is 84) had this to say:

"On the CEO front, we have three [internal candidates] who could step in," said Buffett. "The board is unanimous in knowing which one it would be, although the answer might change with time.... In terms of the [chief] investment officer, the board has four names, any one or all of whom would be good at my job. They all are happy where they are now [working outside of Berkshire], but any would be here tomorrow if I died tonight, they all are reasonably young, and compensation would not be a big factor.... There will be no gap after my death in terms of having someone manage the money. They'll be much more energetic [than I am] and may even have a better record."

Added Munger: "We still have a rising young man here named Warren Buffett. And I think we want to encourage this rising young man to reach his full potential." At this point, Buffett interjected: "At the average age of 80, we're aging at the average rate of only 1 1/4% per year. That's a lot better than younger people."

From the Cubs, to China

Later, asked by a teen shareholder whether he is interested in buying the Chicago Cubs (currently on sale by the Tribune Co. for roughly $700 million), Buffett said he did not need the "psychic income" and would not swing at the offer.

Asked whether Berkshire will seek to purchase entire private companies based in China or India, Buffett responded: "We would like to. If we get lucky, we'll buy one or two in the next three or four years. I don't know if it will be in China, India, Germany, the U.K. or Japan -- there's a lot of luck in that in terms of families thinking of us specifically.... But you will see the day that BRK owns businesses in both countries [India and China]."

Despite its huge cash hoard, Berkshire won't be paying a dividend anytime soon. "The test," said Buffett, "is whether you can continue to create more than $1 for every $1 you're retaining." He and Munger feel they still can put surplus cash to work and earn a higher return with it than shareholders could on their own, after tax, if BRK paid it out. "If we can turn $1 in dividends into $1.10 or $1.20 on a present-value basis, they're better off if we don't pay out. When the day comes, it should be paid out. But because we still have this ability to redistribute money in a tax-efficient way within the company, we can reallocate it," he said, where it will earn a higher return than shareholders may be able to on their own." To top of page

Microsoft walks- Yahoo stock falls 20%

NEW YORK (Fortune) -- Yahoo Inc. shares fell 19% early Monday after Microsoft Corp. withdrew its $46 billion bid to purchase the tarnished Internet portal.

The sell-off comes two days after Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said the two companies were unable to reach an agreement.

Microsoft announced a bid in late January to purchase the company in a nearly $45 billion offer. Yahoo demanded a higher price, saying the company was
"severely valued." The three-month saga ended Saturday with Yahoo refusing Microsoft's offer that increased the original offer to $33 a share from $31.

Yahoo shares traded at $23.14 by 9:30 am EST, off 18.4% from the Feb. 1 announcement of Microsoft's offe

Chismillionaire Monday Deal of the Week-

Home Before Dark: Neil Diamond

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Fidelity low price stock fund reopens to investors

Fidelity Investments is pleased to announce that Fidelity Low-Priced Stock Fund, which has been closed to new plan participants since July 2004, will be available to all participants in retirement plans that currently offer Fidelity Low-Priced Stock Fund, effective May 13, 2008. Your plan offers Fidelity Low-Priced Stock Fund, so you will now have the opportunity to invest in this fund if you wish.

Below is a description of the fund:

Fidelity Low-Priced Stock Fund

What it is: A growth mutual fund.
Goal: Seeks to provide capital appreciation.
What it invests in: Primarily invests at least 80% of its assets in low-priced stocks (those priced at or below $35 per share), which can lead to investments in small and medium-sized companies. The fund may potentially invest in stocks not considered low priced. Investments in smaller companies may involve greater risk than those in larger, more well known companies. The fund may invest in securities of domestic and foreign issuers. The fund may invest in "growth" or "value" stocks, or both. If you sell any of your shares after holding them for less than 90 days, the fund will deduct a short-term trading fee from your account equal to 1.5% of the value of the shares sold. Share price and return will vary.

Who may want to invest:

  • Someone with a conservative portfolio who is interested in investing part of his or her money more aggressively.
  • Someone who is comfortable taking the increased investment risk that comes with investing in smaller, lesser-known companies, and who can invest over the long term.
No action is required on your part. If you have questions, or wish to review the investment options in your plan, please visit 401k.fidelity.com or fidelity.com/atwork, or contact Fidelity.

Tennessee Tribute to Soldier

"In Tennessee we really do pull off the road and stop for funerals......nobody moves until the last car has gone by."

What follows is a message from Vicki Pierce about her nephew James' funeral (he was serving our country in Iraq):

"I'm back, it was certainly a quick trip, but I have to also say it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. There is a lot to be said for growing up in a small town in Tennessee.
The service itself was impressive with wonderful flowers and sprays, a portrait of James, his uniform and boots, his awards and ribbons. There was lots of military brass and an eloquent Baptist preacher. There were easily 1000 people at the service, filling the church sanctuary as well as the fellowship hall and spilling out into the parking lot.
However, the most incredible thing was what happened following the service on the way to the cemetery. We went to our cars and drove to the cemetery escorted by at least 10 police cars with lights flashing and some other emergency vehicles, with Tennessee police handling traffic.
Everyone on the road who was not in the procession, pulled over, got out of their cars, and stood silently and respectfully, some put their hands over their hearts.
When we turned off the highway suddenly there were teenage boys along both sides of the street about every 20 feet or so, all holding large American flags on long flag poles, and again with their hands on their hearts. We thought at first it was the Boy Scouts or 4H club or something, but it continued for two and a half miles. Hundreds of young people, standing silently on the side of the road with flags.
At one point we passed an elementary school, and all the children were outside, shoulder to shoulder holding flags kindergartners, handicapped, teachers, staff, everyone. Some held signs of love and support.
Then came teenage girls and younger boys, all holding flags. Then adults. Then families. All standing silently on the side of the road.
No one spoke, not even the very young children.
The military presence, at least two generals, a fist full of colonels, and representatives from every branch of the service, plus the color guard who attended James, and some who served with him .. was very impressive and respectful, but the love and pride from this community who had lost one of their own was the most amazing thing I've ever been privileged to witness.

I've attached some pictures, some are blurry (we were moving), but you can get a small idea of what this was like.












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