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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Yellow Card on Blasster- Never OK to bang your First Cousin despite "new" research

United Technologies vs The Dow- pretty good company here

Ten Year Stock Price History vs The Dow- pretty good in good times and bad- Just about a 30% annual return for ten years!!! In the last Five years alone, $10,000 has turned into $26,000!

United Technologies
as of 6/4/2008 makers of Otis Elevators, Pratt and Whitney jet engines, Sikorsky helicopters, Carrier HVAC systems etc etc.

NBA FINALS: have arrived!!!!

C's Host Lakers in Game 1


Tonight, the center of the basketball universe is located on Causeway Street, as the Boston Celtics host the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of the 2008 NBA Finals.

A year ago this time, Kobe Bryant was asking to be traded and Paul Pierce figured he was being traded. Instead, both guys stayed put, their teams made major acquisitions and now the league's most storied franchises will face off for the NBA Championship.


Stringer: Revamped C's Look To Make Own History

Grande: Your Time

KG 2008 Finals adidas Team Signature Commander Shoe

KG Shoes

Kevin Garnett, the Boston Celtics and adidas have launched a rare version of Kevin Garnett's 2008-09 adidas Team Signature Commander shoe. The adidas Team Signature KG Commander is scheduled to launch in October 2008, but for this year's NBA Finals, Kevin Garnett will wear a special version that will be highlighted by the inclusion of the coveted Larry O'Brien NBA Championship Trophy on the lateral side, and an embroidered callout to games 1 thru 7 on the medial side.

Available now are the exclusive shoes from Games 1 through 4.

  • Limited edition collectible commemorating the Celtics run at their 17th NBA Championship
  • Only 8 pairs per game produced, each pair size 15, just like KG wears
  • Each shoe is adorned with KG's personal tribute to pals Malik Sealy and Kirby Puckett
  • 100% of all net proceeds are donated to NBA Cares community partners in the Boston area
  • $1017 SRP commemorates the Celtics' drive for Banner #17

Purchase Today

Beat LA T-Shirts | NBA Finals Gear

Beat LA

Are you geared up for the NBA Finals? Visit the official Celtics online store today for the latest NBA Finals merchandise, including hot selling 'BEAT LA' t-shirts. The Celtics online store also has the latest Eastern Conference Championship gear to help you commemorate this historic Playoff run.

Get your official Celtics Playoff merchandise today.

Visit Store

Total Recall: 50 Most Memorable Movie Cars [W/Pics]

We count down the 50 most famous cars to drive across the silver screen.

read more | digg story

Mars Lander Gets Digging Practice

The US space agency's new robotic craft on Mars has been commanded to carry out a second practice dig before beginning its real work.

read more | digg story

How Josh Hamilton went from Crack Addict to Star Outfielder

Four years ago Josh Hamilton was a junkie strung out in a trailer park. Today he's the Texas Rangers' star center fielder poised for a breakout season no one could have predicted.

read more | digg story

Baby Makes Surprise Arrival At 37,000 Feet

Dad Delivers His Own Son When Mom Goes Into Labor Somewhere Above Canada

Larry and Jacel Brown, parents of Jadan Brown

Jacel and Larry Brown speak with Julie Chen on The Early Show about the birth of their son, Jadan, at 37,000 feet. (CBS)

(CBS/AP) A premature baby is expected to remain hospitalized for several weeks after being born on a Korean Air Lines flight.

Little Jadan Brown still weighs less than three pounds, but his father, Larry, a trained emergency medical worker, told CBS' The Early Show that his son is doing very well.

"His health is great," Brown said, "They've been upgrading his status almost on a daily basis."

Jadan was delivered last Wednesday by his father and a Korean surgeon who happened to be onboard the flight from the Philippines to New York, the hospital said Monday.

"I really didn't have time to think about what was happening," Larry Brown, of Sicklerville, New Jersey, told the hospital.

Brown's wife Jacel was about seven months into her pregnancy when she started to go into labor in the middle of the 14-hour flight.

Jacel told Chen that she had been cleared to travel with the advice from her doctor that she should get up occasionally during the flight to walk around.

Once the couple realized that Jacel was going into labor, she asked her husband to carry her to the kitchen area, but because of a shoulder injury, he was unable to do that.

"At the time we didn't know that the baby was actually coming out - she had to walk from business class into the kitchen area and kneel down to allow us to remove her clothes. At that time, when I was able to remove her clothes, the baby was actually on his way out," Larry Brown told The Early Show.

The baby was born on the floor of the plane's galley at about 37,000 feet above northern Canada, the hospital said.

Jadan Brown was stabilized at a New York hospital after the plane landed, and was transported to Lourdes Medical Center late Thursday.

Dr. Sherrilynn Parrish, an obstetrician at Lourdes, said Monday that the baby and mother are doing well.

"This is really remarkable - especially since the baby was so premature," Parrish said.

Red wine stops effects of high-fat diet

Red wine does indeed explain why the French get away with a relatively clean bill of heart health despite eating a diet loaded with saturated fats, concludes a new study.

  • 'Red wine' based drug may fight cancer
  • Antiageing drug shows promise in first human test
  • Could red wine help us keep fit and thin at 120?
  • People living in France have a much lower incidence of coronary heart disease than those in Britain, despite their similar intake of saturated fats - a phenomenon known as the "French paradox".

    Red wine contins resveratrol which can blunt the toxic effects of a high-fat diet
    Red wine contins resveratrol which can blunt the toxic effects of a high-fat diet

    Many have speculated that answer to the paradox lies in their love of a glass or two of wine with a meal and have focused on a chemical found in red wine called resveratrol, also a natural constituent of grapes, pomegranates and other foods.

    Earlier studies have shown it can blunt the toxic effects of a diet very high in fat, which causes liver damage, but this is the first study to directly look at ageing.

    Today, in the journal PLoS ONE, researchers report that even low doses of resveratrol in the diet of middle-aged mice has a widespread influence on the genetic levers of ageing, and may confer special protection on the heart.

    Specifically, the researchers found that low doses of resveratrol mimic the helpful effects of what is known as caloric restriction, diets with the full range of nutrients but up to 30 per cent fewer calories than a typical diet, which extend lifespan and slow the progression of age related diseases such as obesity, diabetes and cancer.

    "This brings down the dose of resveratrol toward the consumption reality mode," says senior author Prof Richard Weindruch of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

    But, importantly, resveratrol is just one of many "healthy chemicals", called polyphenols in wine. Now, he says, it is possible to see how a glass or two can have a health effect.


    "Resveratrol mimics a significant fraction of the profile of caloric restriction at the gene expression level," according to Prof Tomas Prolla, coauthor

    In the new study - which compared the gene use of animals on a restricted diet with those fed small doses of resveratrol - the similarities were remarkable, explains lead author Dr Jamie Barger of Madison-based LifeGen Technologies.

    In the heart, for example, there are at least 1,029 genes whose functions change with age, and the organ's function is known to diminish with age.

    In animals on a restricted diet, 90 per cent of those heart genes experienced altered gene expression profiles while low doses of resveratrol thwarted age-related change in 92 per cent. The new findings were associated with prevention of the decline in heart function associated with ageing.

    In short, a glass of wine or food or supplements that contain even small doses of resveratrol are likely to represent "a robust intervention in the retardation of cardiac ageing," the authors note.

    The new resveratrol study is also important because it confirms studies that show eating fewer calories, which has been shown in a wide range of species to extend lifespan, and resveratrol may govern the same master genetic pathways related to ageing.

    Information appearing on is the copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited and must not be reproduced in any medium without licence. For the full copyright statement see Copyright

    Scientists Say it's OK to Hook up With Your Hot Cousin....

    Most babies born to first-cousins are healthy

    Article from: The Sunday Times

    Narelle Towie

    June 01, 2008 02:15pm

    WA scientists are challenging the myth that inbreeding always leads to unhealthy babies.

    The highly contentious, often-tabooed practice has in the past been linked to deformities such as heart disease, mental retardation, deafness and even blindness.

    Australian research published in 2001 showed that babies born to first-cousins are nearly three times more likely to have serious birth defects.

    But Professor Alan Bittles, an adjunct professor at the Centre for Comparative Genomics at Murdoch University, who has spent 30 years researching the topic says most children born to first-cousins are healthy.

    In WA, about 500 marriages are between first-cousins.

    “In Western culture there is a general belief that first cousin marriages lead to negative genetic outcomes, yet a large majority of children born to first cousins are healthy,” he said.

    Prof Bittles reviewed 48 studies from 11 countries and found that the risks of birth defects rose from about 2 per cent in the general population to 4 per cent in consanguineous or same blood couples.

    He found that only 1.2 per cent suffered higher infant mortality rates, a find similar to another review from 2002 that suggested first-cousin children are less than 3 per cent more likely to have genetic deformities.

    The issue has sparked a major medical debate with some researchers and politicians claiming inbreeding between first-cousins in UK has led to a rise in rare recessive disorders – many of them fatal.

    Prof. Bittles was the lead speaker at the Royal Society of Medicine in East London this week where these divisions were hotly disputed.

    Speakers at the event argued that warnings on the negative genetic consequences of such unions should be as prominent as alcohol and tobacco cautions.

    Einstein and Darwin married their first-cousins, so did Jerry Lee Lewis and Jessie James and according to Prof. Bittles about 500 West Australians have followed suit.

    First-cousin marriages are also a common tradition in countries such as Pakistan, south Asia and the Middle East.

    Muslim doctors at the East London debate agreed with Prof. Bittles and suggested the risk of birth defects is only 4 per cent higher for parents who are closely related – making it ‘not likely’ there will be a genetic problem.

    “There is widespread misconception that these marriages rare,” Prof. Bittles said.

    “In reality there are over 1000 million people worldwide that live in regions where 20 – 50 per cent of marriages are between blood relatives.”

    Prof. Bittles believes as more migrants move into Australian communities there will be a greater incidence of first-cousin marriages.

    Given the large numbers of cousin marriages Prof. Bittles is calling for more in-depth health-based studies on the issue.

    Six Ways to Make Vista and XP Work Your Way

    Print directory folders, dump dopey Balloon Tips, save ornery files. Plus: I debunk a bogus performance trick.

    Steve Bass, PC World

    Had enough of Windows' shenanigans? I'll show you how to print elegant folder lists, dispatch Balloon Tips and annoying icon wizards, and copy files that won't copy. Plus, I debunk a performance hoax that's making the rounds on the Net.

    Disable Customize Notifications

    The Hassle: In your last column, you explained how to hide and restore the Safely Remove Hardware icon in the System Tray. Easy for you to say--the Customize option in the Taskbar tab of the Properties menu on my PC is grayed out.

    The Fix: Leave it to Microsoft to make things confusing. Right-click the Taskbar and choose Properties--'Hide Inactive Icons' is checked, right? Clear that check box, click Apply, and you're in business. And if you ever trash your system tray, grab a copy of the Taskbar Repair Tool: It's a miraculous freebie ($5 for the Pro version) that fixes dozens (36 to be exact) of taskbar, quick-launch, and system-tray problems.

    Battle Balloons and Icons

    The Hassle: I bought a laptop with Windows Vista (I know, silly me). The OS keeps asking to remove desktop icons, and the Balloon Tips are driving me nuts. Have a solution?

    The Fix: I agree--Windows' Desktop Cleanup Wizard is ever so annoying. (Hey, Microsoft, I like my old, unused shortcuts!) In XP, you can disable the wizard with a VB script from Kelly Theriot. Grab the freebie from our Downloads library. It's safe, so ignore any security warnings. The process is easier in Vista: Right-click on the Desktop, choose Properties, Desktop, Customize Desktop, and clear the Run Desktop Cleanup Wizard Every 60 Days check box. You can ditch Balloon Tips in XP with Doug Knox's VB script; in Vista this script can be a killer, so you'll want to read the instructions on the gHacks page about it.

    Print Any Folder List

    The Hassle: My friend asked for a printed list of all my MP3s. I spent an hour and still couldn't figure out how to do it.

    Karen's Directory Printer; click to view full-size image.

    The Fix: There's an easy way to do this, and a hard way. Me, I'm lazy (it's the genes), so I use Karen's Directory Printer. The free utility generates folder and subfolder listings in every way imaginable, including (or excluding) the file size, creation date, and attributes. For you purists avoiding extra programs, Microsoft has a weekend project to print folders from your context menu in XP or Vista. Be aware, though, that it involves batch files, folder mods, and Registry hacks.

    Beware This Speedup Hoax

    Not everything you read on the Internet is true. I spotted a tweak--a modification of the Quality of Service (QoS) Packet Scheduler's settings--that purportedly gives both XP Professional and Vista a 20 percent bandwidth boost. I wish. I tried it, as did a few buddies. Though some of us didn't see a thing, others, me included, perceived improved performance. Unfortunately, it was merely the power of suggestion--Microsoft's experts say the tip is bogus, and I believe them. However, if you use Wi-Fi, tuning your router's QoS settings can help with some applications. Check out Becky Waring's "Optimize Wi-Fi for VoIP, Video, and Gaming" and then read Preston Gralla's "Internet Boosters" and Michael S. Lasky's helpful "Five Quick Fixes for Internet Connection Hang-Ups" for more.

    Tool of the Month

    Copy Stubborn Files With HoboCopy

    I watched a neat Flash streaming video on a Web site and wanted to keep it to view offline. I found the file sitting in the temp folder and tried copying it to another folder. No luck--the error message 'File in use' was the only thing I saw. None of my copying tricks worked; and when I closed the browser tab that was playing the video, the file was automatically deleted. But now I've outsmarted Windows with the help of HoboCopy, an obscure, slick utility that uses Volume Shadow Service to copy files (and folders) that are in use. Once you get the hang of this command-line tool, it's easy to work with. For help, read the How-To Geek's tutorial.

    10 Slickest Suites at Sea

    One of the rooms is 5,000 square feet. [[or 25X the size of an average cubicle]]

    read more | digg story

    It's a Trap!

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    Homes in foreclosure top 1 Million

    NEW YORK ( -- More than one million homes are now in foreclosure according to a trade group, showing that the housing crisis is growing worse.

    The Mortgage Bankers Association's first quarter report showed that a record 2.5% of all home loans being serviced by its members are now in foreclosure, which works out to about 1.1 million homes. That's up from the 2% of loans, or about 938,000 homes, that were in foreclosure at the end of 2007.

    The report also showed that 448,000 homes, or about 1% of loans being serviced, began the foreclosure process during the first quarter. That's up from about 382,000 homes, or 0.83%, that entered foreclosure in the last three months of 2007.

    This marks the sixth straight quarter in which a record percentage of loans went into foreclosure. The trend has led to widespread declines in home prices, as well as huge losses for banks and other financial firms that issued or invested in the loans.

    Nearly half of the homes in foreclosure are concentrated in six states. But those states are undergoing two very different types of housing meltdowns.

    California, Florida, Arizona and Nevada have been hit by a hangover after a home building boom in the middle of the decade, which was fueled by rising home prices and investors snatching up real estate using risky mortgages. Those four states have about 368,000 homes in foreclosure, or a third of the nationwide total. Roughly 3.7% of all of the loans in these states are now in foreclosure.

    The other two states that are ground zero for the crisis - Michigan and Ohio - have been hit by the more traditional economic woes stemming from rising job losses, particularly in the automotive sector.

    Ohio has about 61,000 homes in foreclosure, while Michigan has about 54,000. The foreclosure rate in those two states is 3.9%. To top of page

    Audi TTS tested- it's the everyman's R8

    Not many cars become motoring metaphors. The 3 Series, for instance, is shorthand for a small sporting sedan. The 7 Series is still known as "BMW's S-Class," so powerful is the brand of the top-drawer Benz. And if Motor Trend ran a headline talking about Kia's Corvette, we'd know what sort of car the Koreans had in mind.

    So when Land Rover discreetly referred to its LRX concept car at the Detroit show as "our TT," we knew precisely what they meant. TT is shorthand for distinctive, design-led, jewel-like, small, and sporty. One of the best and most original pieces of product styling of the 1990s-and we're not just talking about automobiles-the TT has done wonders for the sale of small sports cars and for Audi's sport standing.

    And yet the TT still appeals to those who put design before driving. Though loved by the fashion set, it's never had the same cachet with the fast-car contingent. While Porsche and BMW build real-beef sportsters, the TT is the quiche of quick cars.

    So, soon after Audi had its first tilt at Porsche-and you can't get much more ambitious in the sports car world than that-with its 911-busting R8, now it's having another go with the TTS. The TT is no longer just a pretty boy. (Odd that Audi is tackling Porsche just as Porsche buys a majority stake in Audi's owner Volkswagen, but that's another issue.)

    This new TT goes up against Boxsters and lower-end Caymans. It's more accelerative than either, thanks to its punchy 265-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbo engine, a development of the direct-injection entry-level 200-horse TT unit. The 0-to-62 dash takes just 5.2 seconds, helped by the brilliant fast-changing S-tronic paddle-shift gearbox, formerly known as DSG. It's quicker than the Euro-standard six-speed conventional manual (not offered in the U.S.) and delivers better gas mileage, too.

    That highly efficient four-cylinder engine has been completely redesigned for the TTS. Capacity (1984 cc) is the same, but we find a reinforced block, a new head (in aluminum-silicon alloy), strengthened innards, a big-vane Garrett variable turbocharger, and the requisite remapping. It's a sweet-revving, light, and willing engine that provides real kick when accelerating down twisting roads(as we experienced on test in Germany) and yet can surf along on a wave of torque on the freeway, big power just a toe-flick away. Maximum torque is constant from 2500 to 5000 rpm.

    It's an easy car to drive briskly, always a forte with the TT. The S-tronic gearbox is auto-transmission simple, the steering is light, visibility is surprisingly good for a car that places your backside just a foot or so above the road, and handling is secure in the wet or the dry thanks to the standard quattro four-wheel drive. Handling of the Mk2 TT as launched two years ago is, on all models, way better than the original's, mostly thanks to its new alloy-and-steel spaceframe chassis-commendably light and stiff-and also to its new four-link rear suspension. On the TTS, the whole show is further improved by specially modified magnetic variable-rate dampers-iron particles in the oil change its viscosity in the presence of a magnetic field-tuned by a "sport" setting that firms the dampers and also lowers the car by 10 mm (0.39 inch). Springs and anti-roll bars are also stiffer than on the regular TT. Responses on winding roads are sharpened noticeably, though in "S" mode, the TTS bobs and pitches with just a bit too much hyperactivity. Better to take out the strain and choose the "normal" setting for long journeys.

    By some margin, the TTS is the most agile, fastest, and most entertaining TT of all, and you can thread together corners with real fluency and verve. Here, at last, is a TT that delivers big smiles with fast miles. But its elevation into Porsche territory (in Europe, the roadster version costs more than a base Boxster, and the coupe isn't all that far short of a Cayman) throws up new challenges. We now find ourselves comparing the TTS with two of the finest-handling and best-driving cars of all, and the comparison doesn't flatter the TTS. The steering of the Audi lacks the feedback or fluency of those mid-engine Porsches, never mind that it's accurate and progressively weighted. The chassis lacks the delicious deftness of the Porsches, especially at big speed. And the turbo four, though a fine engine, doesn't serenade you like a flat-six trumpeting a few inches behind your spine.

    Yet the TTS is a car of great appeal. It's fast, easy to drive, handles well, and has prodigious road-holding. Plus it possesses, in spades, those qualities that have always made the TT so desirable. Namely, that distinctive, pert style-though it's a pity the original TT looks more Bauhaus-distinctive than does the follow-up-and a fine cabin, black-and-alloy, designed and finished as only Audi can. Alluring exterior modifications over lesser TTs include front LED light strips that smile day or night, quadruple musket-size exhausts finished in alloy, handsome 18-inch (19s are optional) wheels, deeper sills, and a metallic grille complete with big, nostril-like air intakes. Cabin improvements include more brushed aluminum, gray-faced instruments whose white needles perform a fashionable flick before start-up, and handsome Alcantara-and-leather seats. The TTS's cabin is a good place to spend time.

    So Audi has boosted the catwalk appeal of its fashion icon, while elevating it into the serious fast-car league. It may not be a Porsche-beater. But it is a fine sports car and, by some margin, the best TT yet.

    Contortionist Lilia Stepanova from "America's Got Talent"

    Contortionist Lilia Stepanova from
    Contortionist Lilia Stepanova from "America's Got Talent" - kewego

    Porsche tops JD Powers Initial Quality survey for 3rd straight year

    Everyone knows Porsche and Lexus will be there at the top, but lets talk improvement. Mercedes Benz has gone from 139 problems per 100 vehicles in 2006 to 104 per 100- Almost a 40% improvement in two years and their ranking improvement shows (25th all the way up to 4th!!)- look for them to move into the top three next year and bump Infiniti. Also huge improvements from Volkswagen going from second to last, to middle of the pack. Hyundai falls from 3rd to 13th as they expand their product line and incur management tumult and growing pains.

    So Sad for the perverbial bottom dwellers Mini, Jeep and Land Rover. Land Rover has twice as many problems per 100 vehicles as the Porsche- Yikes. And this is on new cars, not three year old vehicles. No offense to Rindone, the Rover has great presence but is a nightmare to live with. Not very Chismillionaire at all. Still wondering who would buy one over a Mercedes GL or Audi Q7
    I am convinced the Mini Raters are just winy bitches and can't be satisfied no matter what. Apparently a poor cupholder design has put them at the bottom for some time. Jeep, well Jeep is supposed to be kind of crude- its part of its charm.

    Porsche topped the overall brand ratings for the third straight year in the 2008 J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study, while Lincoln fell from No. 3 to No. 15. The study results were released on Wednesday.

    Infiniti was a strong performer in the annual study, rising from No. 9 to No. 2. Jeep was at the bottom of the heap in the study, with Mini ranked next to last.

    Saturn also took a tumble, falling to No. 33 from its No. 20 ranking a year ago. Ford and Mercury performed well, ending up in the top eight.

    J.D. Power and Associates applauded the auto industry in general for "a continued reduction in the level of defects and malfunctions" in vehicles. Overall quality improved by 6 percent in 2008 compared with 2007, the study found.

    "This gain is driven not only by strong advances from many of the high-volume brands, such as Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota, but also by very significant improvements by many other automakers," said David Sargent, J.D. Power and Associates vice president of automotive research. "This industry-wide improvement is a testament to the effort that automakers are putting into listening to the voice of the customer."

    The study found that new-vehicle sales patterns in 2008 shifted away from large cars and trucks toward smaller models. Sargent noted that "the good news for consumers in this difficult environment is that they can downsize with confidence, as there are many models with high initial quality in the smaller-vehicle segments."

    For instance, the 2008 Honda Civic, CR-V and Fit captured three segment awards, more than any other nameplate in the 2008 Initial Quality Study.

    The study named the Honda Fit as the highest-ranked subcompact car. The Honda Civic was the highest-ranked compact car, while the Mazda MX-5 Miata was the highest-ranked compact sporty car. The Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class was the highest-ranked compact premium sporty car, while the Infiniti EX-Series was the highest-ranked entry premium vehicle. The Lexus LS was the highest-ranked large premium car, while the Chevrolet Malibu was the highest-ranked midsize car. The Pontiac Grand Prix took home honors as the highest-ranked large car.

    Also receiving segment awards were the Ford E-Series, Lincoln Navigator and Toyota Sequoia.

    The Porsche 911 has the fewest quality problems in the industry, with 67 problems per 100 vehicles, the study noted.

    The Mercedes-Benz assembly plant in Sindelfingen, Germany, won the Platinum Plant Quality Award for producing the vehicles with the fewest defects and malfunctions. The plant builds the Mercedes-Benz CL-Class, CLS-Class, E-Class sedan and wagon and S-Class.