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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

30 mins before the 2008 Sichuan earthquake in China

Bizarre colorful (luminous/glowing) cloud phenomenon in the sky was observed about 30 mins before the May 12, 2008 Sichuan earthquake took place. This was recorded in Tianshui, Gansu province ~450km northeast of epicenter, by someone using a cell phone.

See similar cloud formation captured 20 minutes later in a different city, ~200km east of this location:

A map of the locations with sightings of very similar phenomenon.

More photos:

These clouds seemed to be glowing or somewhat luminous and seemed to resemble some characteristics of the Auroras. I guess they were formed by some kind of charged particles released from the powerful seismic events below. Well, I am no expert anyways. See if any scientists are willing to give a full explanation.

Groupies through the years - PHOTOS

You see, it's not ALL about the sex. At least, that's what they say.

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Some fo the Most Amazing Ads ever

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Cool Stuff You Can Do With Paper Money!

Some interesting shapes and figures you can make out of everyday paper money from all around the world! I like turtles.

Click Here 1

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Netflix Streaming is here! $100+9/mo for unlimited downloads

Netflix's first streaming box is finally here and it's pretty damn brilliant of a set up. First of all, the box is 100 bucks, and designed by Roku. It's fanless and quiet; has HDMI and optical outputs; and is about the size of 5 CD cases stacked together. Any Netflix disc mailing plan over $9 gets you unlimited streaming of almost 10,000 titles.

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PYCO Wind Turbine Construction Timelapse (short)

This is the short version timelapse of one of the PYCO 1 Megawatt Wind Turbines. The construction of this turbine took place from March 31st 2008 to April 4th 2008 in Lubbock Texas.

This video is copyright in whole or in part by PCCA.

Vegas Links- Bear's Best Course Review

Las Vegas, Nevada
7,194 yards, par 72;
Green fees: $225-$275

Drop a few bucks on the boys at the bag drop, and a few more on the guys who clean your clubs. Service is spot-on, with strings attached. In a city of big spenders, the expectation is that you'll act like one.

Like most resort courses, the pace is sluggish in peak season. You'll get around in 4:30 if you're lucky. Your best bet at Bear's Best is to sneak out early, when other tourists are still chasing their losses.

Though the course is composed of replica holes from other Nicklaus designs, the flow feels natural. One complaint: the front-nine is overly punishing, while the back nine opens with four relatively powder-puff holes.

Kudos to management for doing away with its pricey forecaddie program. Still, although conditions are impeccable, the overall experience is overpriced, just like almost everything else in town.

If you're on the fence, here's a suggestion: Take that $275 and lay it on a single hand of blackjack. If you lose, tell your wife that you lost your wallet. If you win, play Shadow Creek instead.

Boy Genius Reports Blackberry Thunder for the VZ this fall

While yes, the BlackBerry Bold is a pretty slick looking update to the hallowed BlackBerry line, it still sports a physical keyboard -- clearly a quaint remnant of smartphones from a bygone era. What the people want these days are touchscreens, beautiful, difficult to use touchscreens. And that's just what RIM is going to deliver with the BlackBerry Thunder.

The Boy Genius has a bunch of new details on the upcoming touchscreen BlackBerry, including the interesting tidbit that it'll be a lifetime exclusive on Verizon in the US and Vodafone in Europe. It'll have a mere four physical keys and will run on 3G EV-DO Rev. C as well as GSM HSPA for international use. No word on when this thing is going to drop, or whether or not anyone who uses a Blackberry will allow a physical QWERTY keyboard to be pried from their grip, but we'll keep you updated.

Oh, and that image above is merely a mock-up of what a touchscreen BlackBerry might look like, not an actual product rendering.

Federal Court rules Treasury Department discriminates against the blind

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. discriminates against blind people by printing paper money that makes it impossible for them to distinguish the bills' value, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

The ruling upholds a decision by a lower court in 2006. It could force the Treasury Department to redesign its money. Suggested changes have ranged from making bills different sizes to printing them with raised markings.

The United States acknowledges that the design hinders blind people but it argued they had adapted --some relied on store clerks for help, some used credit cards and others folded certain corners to help distinguish the bills.

But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled 2-1 that such adaptations were insufficient. The government might as well argue that, since handicapped people can crawl on all fours or ask for help from strangers, there's no need to make buildings wheelchair accessible, the court said.

The court also ruled that the United States failed to explain why changing the money would be an undue burden. The Treasury Department has redesigned its currency several times in recent years and adding features to aid the blind would come at a relatively small cost, the court said.

Other countries have added such features, the court said, and the United States never explained what made its situation so unique. To top of page

Top 10 Celebrity Camel Toads

~ Roll mouse over photo to Derobe ~

Darby Gunpowder:
For the record, the article above was not photoshoped or fabricated in any way shape or form -that did go into print, true story. In honor of ignorance, derober has put together our top 10 Celebrity Camel Toads Toes. We will rate the Camel Toe’s on a 3 Camel Toad basis; 3 CT’s being the best and 1 CT being the worst. Roll your mouse over the photos to reveal the Camel Toad score…
Enjoy ~

Britney Spears
~ Roll mouse over photo for CT score ~

Rebecca Romijn
~ Roll mouse over photo for CT score ~

Melissa John Hart
~ Roll mouse over photo for CT score ~

Anna Kournikova
~ Roll mouse over photo for CT score ~

~ Roll mouse over photo for CT score ~

Click here to view the rest of the list!

Heidi Klum
~ Roll mouse over photo for CT score ~

Kelly Ripa
~ Roll mouse over photo for CT score ~

Lindsey Lohan
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Jessica Alba
~ Roll mouse over photo for CT score ~

Maria Sharapova
~ Roll mouse over photo for CT score ~

Pheew- V12 is safe over in Munich

With the arrival of BMW's new twin-turbo V-8 in the X6, which produces more torque and only slightly less power than the V-12 in the 7 Series, you might imagine the future for BMW's 12-cylinder engine is bleak. Not so.

The V-12 will soon get a fresh lease on life, as evidenced by a new dedicated engine line at BMW's Munich plant. An improved version with high-precision direct injection will power the coming 7 Series, especially in Asian markets where there's little sign of long-term economic slowdown. Expect the V-12 to be rated at 470-plus horsepower. The HPi system gives cleaner emissions and improves power, although it does require higher fuel quality, which could delay introduction in some markets.

We can also confirm a V-12 will be fitted to the new 2010 $350,000 "small" Rolls-Royce, codenamed RR4. Rolls-Royce has been coy about the issue of propulsion so far, but it is a V-12, and a source says it's "of a unique capacity, larger than the 6.0-liter that'll be fitted to the 7 Series."

The Phantom runs a 6-3/4-liter, a traditional Rolls-Royce capacity, and this seems likely for the RR4, too. The fact that Bentley has a V-12 in its Continental Flying Spur might have had some bearing on the decision.

Further demand for BMW V-12s will come from topline versions of the production edition of the large Concept CS Sedan-GT car to be introduced about 2011. This means three cars on the 7 Series platform will be offered with the 12-cylinder engine: the RR4, the 7 Series, and the CS. The other upcoming new model line, the 2010 Progressive Activity Sedan, is based on the 5 Series platform and tops out with the V-8s.

Google Launches Medical-Records App

By Alexis Madrigal EmailMay 19, 2008 | 4:32:38 PMCategories: Health, Web/Tech

Google's long-awaited attempt to manage your medical records is live.

Google Health launched today in what could portend a far more personal, digital future for health-related data.

"It's a really exciting day for us. We're really happy to be able to offer this service to all our users," Marissa Mayer, the Google executive overseeing the health project, said in a webcast to mark the launch.

Proponents of Google Health and Microsoft's similar Health Vault say they could make medical data more accessible for patients, enabling them to take control of their health care. Opponents worry that putting the information online is a threat to privacy and unlikely to make much of a difference in how doctors treat their patients.

Early testers like ZDNet's Garett Rogers weren't shy about remarking on the limited nature of the offering. "Basically, Google Health is what I expected — an enhanced way to search for health-related material. Lots of people were hoping for a more feature-rich product (including myself) but that’s not usually how Google operates," Rogers wrote.

Call me old-school, but I fall into the second camp. Seeing "alexis.madrigal" next to my body's stats makes me uncomfortable. Slowly, I'm being imported into virtual space, and this creature alexis.madrigal is becoming more and more fleshed-out. Are they going to start recommending medium shirts or products based on my BMI?

I'd probably feel better about giving up this data if Google Health actually did something. Right now, I can't imagine how I'd use the app and yet Google has managed to find a way to bring information about my body into their data-crunching fingers' reach.

Bertalan Meskó notes on ScienceRoll, "I hope I will never get pharma ads or spams from doctors based on my Google Health profile.

Anyone want to put odds on whether Google Health information will eventually be used for targeted advertisements? Is anyone planning to use Google Health to manage the metrics and tests for your real-life avatar? I'd love to hear your stories.

Alarming Open Source Security Holes

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Credit: Technology Review

Back in May 2006, a few programmers working on an open-source security project made a whopper of a mistake. Last week, the full impact of that mistake was just beginning to dawn on security professionals around the world.

In technical terms, a programming error reduced the amount of entropy used to create the cryptographic keys in a piece of code called the OpenSSL library, which is used by programs like the Apache Web server, the SSH remote access program, the IPsec Virtual Private Network (VPN), secure e-mail programs, some software used for anonymously accessing the Internet, and so on.

In plainer language: after a week of analysis, we now know that two changed lines of code have created profound security vulnerabilities in at least four different open-source operating systems, 25 different application programs, and millions of individual computer systems on the Internet. And even though the vulnerability was discovered on May 13 and a patch has been distributed, installing the patch doesn't repair the damage to the compromised systems. What's even more alarming is that some computers may be compromised even though they aren't running the suspect code.

The reason that the patch doesn't fix the problem has to do with the specifics of the programmers' error. Modern computer systems employ large numbers to generate the keys that are used to encrypt and decrypt information sent over a network. Authorized users know the right key, so they don't have to guess it. Malevolent hackers don't know the right key. Normally, it would simply take too long to guess it by trying all possible keys--like, hundreds of billions of years too long.

But the security of the system turns upside down if the computer can only use a limited number of a million different keys. For the authorized user, the key looks good--the data gets encrypted. But the bad guy's software can quickly make and then try all possible keys for a specific computer. The error introduced two years ago makes cryptographic keys easy to guess.

The error doesn't give every computer the same cryptographic key--that would have been caught before now. Instead, it reduces the number of different keys that these Linux computers can generate to 32,767 different keys, depending on the computer's processor architecture, the size of the key, and the key type.

Less than a day after the vulnerability was announced, computer hacker HD Moore of the Metasploit project released a set of "toys" for cracking the keys of these poor Linux and Ubuntu computer systems. As of Sunday, Moore's website had downloadable files of precomputed keys, just to make it easier to identify vulnerable computer systems.

Unlike the common buffer overflow bug, which can be fixed by loading new software, keys created with the buggy software don't get better when the computer is patched: instead, new keys have to be generated and installed. Complicating the process is the fact that keys also need to be certified and distributed: the process is time consuming, complex, and error prone.

Nobody knows just how many systems are impacted by this problem, because cryptographic keys are portable: vulnerable keys could have been generated on a Debian system in one office and then installed on a server running Windows in another. Debian is a favored Linux distribution of many security professionals, and Ubuntu is one of the most popular Linux distributions for general use, so the reach of the problem could be quite widespread.

So how did the programmers make the mistake in the first place? Ironically, they were using an automated tool designed to catch the kinds of programming bugs that lead to security vulnerabilities. The tool, called Valgrind, discovered that the OpenSSL library was using a block of memory without initializing the memory to a known state--for example, setting the block's contents to be all zeros. Normally, it's a mistake to use memory without setting it to a known value. But in this case, that unknown state was being intentionally used by the OpenSSL library to help generate randomness.

hard disk. But when the programmers saw the errors generated by Valgrind, they commented out the offending lines--and removed all the sources of randomness used to generate keys except for one, an integer called the process ID that can range from 0 to 32,767.

"Never fix a bug you don't understand!" raved OpenSSL developer Ben Laurie on his blog after the full extent of the error became known. Laurie blames the Debian developers for trying to fix the "bug" in the version of OpenSSL distributed with the Debian and Ubuntu operating systems, rather than sending the fix to the OpenSSL developers. "Had Debian done this in this case," he wrote, "we (the OpenSSL Team) would have fallen about laughing, and once we had got our breath back, told them what a terrible idea this was. But no, it seems that every vendor wants to 'add value' by getting in between the user of the software and its author."

Perhaps more disconcerting, though, is what this story tells us about the security of open-source software--and perhaps about the security of software in general. One developer (who I've been asked not to single out) noticed a problem, proposed a fix, and got the fix approved by a small number of people who didn't really understand the implications of what was being suggested. The result: communications that should have been cryptographically protected between millions of computer systems all over the world weren't really protected at all. Two years ago, Steve Gibson, a highly respected security consultant, alleged that a significant bug found in some Microsoft software had more in common with a programmer trying to create an intentional "back door" than with yet another Microsoft coding error.

The Debian OpenSSL randomness error was almost certainly an innocent mistake. But what if a country like China or Russia wanted to intentionally introduce secret vulnerabilities into our open-source software? Well concealed, such vulnerabilities might lay hidden for years.

One thing is for sure: we should expect to discover more of these vulnerabilities as time goes on.

Oil being left in the ground on purpose

Credit: (foreground photo) Andrea Church and Technology Review

Even with record-high oil prices, about two-thirds of the oil in known oil fields is being left in the ground. That's because existing technologies that could extract far more oil--as much as about 75 percent of the oil in some oil fields--aren't being widely used, according to experts in the petroleum industry.

Several well-established technologies, including "smart oil fields," exist that could significantly boost the supply of petroleum from oil reservoirs. But a lack of investment in such technologies, particularly by the national oil companies that control the vast majority of the world's oil reserves, is holding back implementation. When oil is drawn from a field too quickly, or from a bad location, or with the wrong kind of well, large amounts of oil can be left behind, says Richard Sears, a visiting scientist at MIT who has served as a vice president for exploration at Royal Dutch Shell, based in the Netherlands. But the best technologies for managing an oil field require up-front investment--when an oil field is mapped and characterized and the first wells are drilled--and the payoff can take decades.

In most oil reservoirs, the oil resides in porous rock in geologic layers that are tens of meters thick but stretch for miles. A conventional oil well is a vertical shaft, so it is in contact with only a narrow cross section of the reservoir. Such a well depends on oil percolating through microscopic pores over long distances. That can slow production, and often oil can be stranded inside the irregular geometry of the oil field.

For 15 to 20 years, however, it's been possible to drill horizontal wells. These follow along the length of an oil field, so that the well is in contact with oil for miles, rather than for just several meters. What's more, advanced imaging technologies and new drilling rigs have made it possible in recent years to drill to an accuracy of one or two meters, Sears says. The increased precision in drilling allows oil companies to stay close to the top of the reservoir, where the oil is, and away from the water that can exist in the reservoir.

It has also become possible to make "smart wells" that include sensors that can survive the extreme temperatures and pressures found deep underground. These allow oil companies to detect, for example, when water, instead of oil, is being pulled into the well, and to quickly shut off production from that area, while continuing to produce from other sections of the well.

Such smart oil fields have started to become more common for international oil companies such as Shell, Exxon-Mobil, and BP. But they still aren't used in most oil fields. And their use is particularly low in fields run by national oil companies, says Larry Schwartz, a longtime researcher and scientific advisor for Schlumberger, a Houston-based company that provides various services to oil companies.

Schlumberger historically focused on providing services at the "front end," he says, which includes taking measurements, such as of the amount of oil and how easy the oil will be to produce, and "drilling sophisticated wells." But since oil prices have been high, the company's biggest revenue stream has come from projects related to improving existing wells, such as by fracturing rock underground to try to improve oil production at conventional wells that have stopped producing as much as they used to.

Steven Koonin, BP's chief scientist, says that cutting-edge research could lead to automated oil rigs on the sea floor, ultra-deep-water ocean drilling, and arctic exploration and production, as well as to technology for extracting oil from unconventional sources, such as shale. But although oil prices have been higher than $60 a barrel for almost three years, Koonin says that for the most advanced technologies, "oil prices will have to stay high for a couple of years longer before companies think they can make big investments."

Cameron's Dad was on to something!

1961 Ferrari convertible sells for the highest recorded price ever paid at a car at auction.

This Ferrari California Spyder once owned by actor James Coburn broke auction records, fetching a price of almost $11 million.

A 1961 Ferrari California Spyder sold for $10,894,900 at an auction in Maranello, Italy, Saturday. It was the highest price ever paid for a vintage car at auction, according to RM Auctions and Sotheby's, the companies that organized the sale.

The previous record was set in 1990 when Sotheby's sold a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO in Monaco for $10,756,000.

But that was a race car, not a convertible designed for driving on the street, pointed out McKeel Hagerty, president of Hagerty Insurance, a company that insures high-value collectible cars in Europe and North America.

Ferrari race cars have traditionally sold for much higher figures than the company's street cars, Hagerty said.

"Ferrari 250 GTO's are now selling privately for twice that," he said

Prior to the auction, RM Auctions itself had estimated the value of the 1961 California Spyder at less than half of what it ultimately sold for. The car was one of 56 ever built, according to RM.

The high price paid for this car shows strong demand for vintage Ferraris in Europe, Hagerty said. In recent months, Ferraris have been selling privately between collectors for amounts far exceeding $11 million, he said, but noted again that those have mainly been race cars.

The record-breaking black convertible had been owned by gravel-voiced tough-guy actor James Coburn. He bought the car in 1964, according to RM Auctions, shortly after completing "The Great Escape." It is not clear when Coburn sold the car. The actor died in 2002. The car was purchased by British television and radio personality Chris Evans.

"I think it just shows that there's strong demand," Hagerty said, "because you don't get to that type of number without strong demand." To top of page

DoobieDuck Logging Camp

Humbled Disabled Musician

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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Northern California

Hey friends....I am considering submitting my scenes and a story to a major marijuana publication. Fact is I have been communicating with them and they are very intrested! So what I would like from you are your comments, just a quick reply, as to what you think of my images? I'm sure you've seen my stuff before but I put these together today just for this post. Thanks for your views, Dr. Duck.

The harvest is an all year long process here in Northern Ca....below log camp!

Trimming the buds!

Moving to the Bud Shack!

Loggers like posing with the bounty!

The Bud Shack!

Ya...really it is a lot of work..the strain, Mandalas Sadhu...thanks again for the views, Dr. duck.
There are always two people in every picture. The photographer and the viewer. ~Ansel Adams
Spring 2008 Crosses:
Sweet Blue Joint F2
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