Friday, June 13, 2008
"You guys are running out of ideas!" you must be thinking. Stop judging us. We're not on trial here. Also, no, we're not running out of ideas. It's just that countless hours logged searching for hot chicks on the web has resulted in some interesting outcomes
read more | digg story
Posted by gjblass at 4:45 PM
Posted by gjblass at 4:27 PM
Between the barbecues, national holidays and beach vacations, cold beers become a necessity in many households over the summer months. As some of us pay more attention to the way our food (and drink) is grown, more breweries are beginning to make structural changes that promote sustainability. It doesn't hurt that these are damn fine beers, too.
read more | digg story
Posted by gjblass at 4:26 PM
Things You'll Need
Overall Tips & Warnings
- Buy a cheap model first to see if the technology is right for you.
Posted by gjblass at 4:21 PM
Featured on the Colbert Report, this project might be the future of the way we farm in America. Through farm towers that can be located in even the small confined land of our nations largest cities. Are these farm sky scrapers the answer to world hunger? Or just another crazy idea that will never happen? Either way it's pretty cool to think about.
read more | digg story
Posted by gjblass at 4:18 PM
Posted by gjblass at 4:15 PM
Eric Clough isn't your typical architectural designer. That's why, when given the opportunity, he secretly built an incredible scavenger hunt into a $8.5-million, 4,200-square-foot Park Avenue apartment that included ciphers, riddles, poems and a lot of hidden doors and compartments.
read more | digg story
Posted by gjblass at 4:12 PM
Image Credit: Jerry Cannon, Robert Murray, NASA
Explanation: Rising through a billowing cloud of smoke, this Delta II rocket left Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's launch pad 17-B Wednesday at 12:05 pm EDT. Snug in the payload section was GLAST, the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope, now in orbit around planet Earth. GLAST's detector technology was developed for use in terrestrial particle accelerators. But from orbit, GLAST can study gamma-rays from extreme environments in our own Milky Way galaxy, as well as supermassive black holes at the centers of distant active galaxies, and the sources of powerful gamma-ray bursts. Those cosmic accelerators achieve energies not attainable in earthbound laboratories. GLAST also has the sensitivity to search for signatures of new physics in the relatively unexplored high-energy gamma-ray regime.
Posted by gjblass at 4:10 PM
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Continued flooding in Iowa and Illinois - the nation's top two corn-growing states - is inciting fears that the cost of the high-priced crop could soar even further, driving up ethanol and gas prices, too.
Days of heavy rain across the Midwest "corn belt" region have wreaked havoc on the crop, sending front-month prices to $7.08 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade Friday. Corn futures have risen for 7 straight trading sessions.
Since ethanol - a mandated ingredient in U.S. gasoline - is produced domestically with corn, rising crop prices could send already record gasoline prices even higher.
"The floods in the Midwest will have a major impact on ethanol," said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Alaron Trading in Chicago.
Gasoline in the United States is comprised of only about 6% to 10% ethanol, as mandated by federal and state governments. But Flynn believes gas prices could jump 10% or 15% if corn were to hit $10 a bushel and crude oil maintains its current high level.
With the national average of gasoline at a record $4.07 a gallon, according to AAA, a 15% increase would translate into an additional 61 cents.
"Crude oil is still the predominant factor why gas prices are high, but don't think that 6% to 10% isn't going to matter," Flynn said.
Congress continues to search for a way to relieve Americans' pain at the pump, and if gas prices spike another 50 or 60 cents, members may look to change their ethanol policies.
"Congress is going to have a hard time justifying mandating the use of ethanol in gasoline if we lose one-third of the corn crop," Flynn said.
But simply relaxing ethanol mandates may not be enough. According to the latest short-term energy report released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, use of ethanol has reduced U.S. oil demand by 440,000 barrels a day.
If the nation consumes less ethanol, crude oil usage - and prices - could rise as well.
"For every drop of ethanol that we're not using, we'll be using (more oil-based) gasoline," noted Flynn.
Flynn argued that the market should determine ethanol's price, saying the root of the problem was Congress' rushing the use of ethanol in the first place.
"The problem with ethanol is that it was driven by the government and not by market forces," Flynn said. "Ethanol would have come on naturally had the government not acted."
Posted by Chismillionaire at 1:18 PM
many more pics here:Lakers vs. Celtics game 3 pics
celebrity sighting: The scene from Game 4
Posted by gjblass at 12:37 PM
When you see videos like this you’re just happy that even though we elect our idols with text message votes, we have laws against most of this stuff to prevent it from happening here.
read more | digg story
Posted by gjblass at 12:28 PM
Posted by gjblass at 12:24 PM
Severe Bleeding - If you are gushing blood, forget about tourniquets. Use your hand and grab any fabric you can grab, and push down on the wound until the bleeding stops. Only use a tourniquet when a wound is beyond repair (i.e. amputation)
read more | digg story
Posted by gjblass at 12:22 PM
At noon, it was black as night. It was May 19, 1780 and some people in New England thought judgment day was at hand. Accounts of that day, which became known as 'New England's Dark Day,' include mentions of midday meals by candlelight, night birds coming out to sing, flowers folding their petals, and strange behavior from animals.
read more | digg story
Posted by gjblass at 12:21 PM
Edy’s Slow Churned Strawberry Ice Cream
($5.50 per 1.75 quarts)
The berry flavor here is nice and fresh, and strawberry preserves are swirled throughout. At just 110 calories and 3 grams of fat for a half cup, this one’s a very good deal.
Breyers Double Churned Cookies & Cream Light Ice Cream
($5.29 per 1.75 quarts)
Breyers light ice cream isn’t as thick or creamy as their regular stuff, but we loved the fluffy texture, especially for only 120 calories and 4 grams of fat per half cup.
Häagen-Dazs Extra Rich Light Dutch Chocolate Ice Cream
($3.69 per pint)
This is a more decadent light ice cream, with 190 calories and 5 grams of fat per half cup. The chocolate is really rich too. It’s a must-have for PMS.
Häagen-Dazs Low-Fat Dulce de Leche Frozen Yogurt
($3.69 per pint)
Of all of the fro-yo varieties we tried, this one’s the best. We loved the light texture and caramel swirls. One small problem: It’s not superlight on calories—190 per half cup—but it has only 2.5 grams of fat.
Paciugo Mediterranean Sea Salt Caramel Gelato
(Visit the Paciugo website for store locations; cups start at $2.99)
Salt intensifies flavor, and this delighful gelato is no exception. It tastes absolutely sinful—and it nearly is at 160 calories and 4.5 grams of fat for less than a half cup.
Häagen Dazs Brazilian Açai Berry Sorbet
(Available at select grocery stores, $4.99 for a pint)
We love this dense, flavorful sorbet. It packs in a punch of acai berry (which is a little bit like a blueberry and blackberry), and offers you 20 percent of your daily vitamin C needs at only 120 calories and 2 grams of fat per half cup.
PJ Madison’s Kashmir Cinnamon Organic Ice Cream
(Visit PJ Madison’s website for distributors; $3.99 to $4.69 for a pint)
This gelato-style ice cream definitely is a splurge, but if you’re going to go for it, why not pick something organic? This creamy cinnamon ice cream is USDA-certified organic, and the rich texture is completely satisfying. But at 190 calories and 11 grams of fat per half cup, make sure you don’t overindulge.
By Allison Avery
Related Links:Tips for Lighter Sips: Make Your Favorite Cocktails Low-Cal
Posted by gjblass at 12:20 PM
Most of us drink soda. Some drink more than others. And probably many regular soda drinkers are aware that soft drinks are bad for the health. At the same time, United States ranks first among countries in soft drink consumption.
I think we need to know more about this drink that we love so much. And so here are 8 reasons why we drink soda:
1 It's Very Tasty!
The taste could be one thing that gets us addicted to drinking soda, it is delicious. In fact, it is so good, that many people drink it with every meal!
2 It's Everywhere!
Even if you wanted to drink something else, you would be hard-pressed to find it as prominently displayed in vending machines, at fast-food chains, and supermarket checkouts. You might not realize how ubiquitous Coke, Pepsi, and the like are in our society until you try to stop drinking soda.
3 Convenience, "Grab-n-Go"!
The most addictive thing about soda is the convenience. If you want something quick or are in a hurry, it is so easy to grab and convenient to drink.
4 Promotion and Advertising
Soft drinks are heavily consumed in part because companies promote them vigorously - Billions of dollars are spend on advertising sodas - and market them everywhere - in stores, restaurants, gas stations, museums, and even schools.
5 Soda Habit
For some people, drinking several sodas a day is a force of habit. You know drinking soda is a habit when you find yourself going to the grocery store at 10 p.m. because your refrigerator is tapped out.
6 It Is Cheap
Soda may be pretty inexpensive when compared with fruit juice and milk. With combo meals, a large soda is only an extra dollar, and you get fries!
Often people drink soda to quench the thirst. However, this is probably the worst time to drink soda, because when you are very thirsty or dehydrated you have low levels of saliva. And saliva helps to neutralize acids (soda is the most acidic beverage you can buy) and wash your teeth clean.
8 Caffeine Addiction
Many soft drinks contain caffeine and caffeine is mildly addictive. This fact is part of the reason soda is such a hard habit to break. If you're addicted to the caffeine in soda, you're really having two habits - the soda habit and the caffeine habit.
These were reasons why we drink soda and here are 16 powerful reasons to give up soda drinking.
Do you know the extent to which drinking carbonated, caffeinated, sugared, or artificially sweetened beverages harms your body? Giving up soft drinks can be one of the best things you can do to improve your health.
1 Soda Is Useless.
First of all, there are no nutritionally beneficial components in soft drinks. Soft drinks mostly consist of filtered water and refined sugars. Yet the average American drinks about 57 gallons of soft drinks each year.
2 Weight Gain & Obesity
Many people either forget or don't realize how many extra calories they consume in what they drink. Drinking a single 330 ml can a day of sugary drinks translates to more than 1lb of weight gain every month.
Several scientific studies have provided experimental evidence that soft drinks are directly related to weight gain. The relationship between soft drink consumption and body weight is so strong that researchers2 calculate that for each additional soda consumed, the risk of obesity increases 1.6 times.
According to the results of high quality study3 reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages helped reduce body mass index in the heaviest teenagers.
This is a consequence of #2. Anything that promotes weight gain increases the risk of diabetes. Drinking soda not only contributes to making people fat, but it also stresses the body's ability to process sugar5. Some scientists now suspect that the sweet stuff may help explain why the number of Americans with type 2 diabetes has tripled from 6.6 million in 1980 to 20.8 million today.
Rapidly absorbed carbohydrates like high fructose corn syrup put more strain on insulin-producing cells than other foods. When sugar enters the bloodstream quickly, the pancreas has to secrete large amounts of insulin for the body to process it. Some scientists believe that the unceasing demands that a soda habit places on the pancreas may ultimately leave it unable to keep up with the body's need for insulin. Also, insulin itself becomes less effective at processing sugar; both conditions contribute to the risk of developing diabetes.
Interestingly, women who consumed a lot of fruit juice--which is high in natural fructose--were not at increased risk of diabetes, leading researchers to speculate that naturally occurring sugars may have different metabolic effects than added sugars. They also speculate that vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals in fruit juices may have a protective effect against weight gain and diabetes, counterbalancing the adverse effects of sugar.
Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and Harvard Medical School4 analyzed data from the Nurses' Health Study II, a trial tracking the health of more than 51,000 women. None of the participants had diabetes at the onset of the study in 1991. Over the following 8 years, 741 women were diagnosed with the disease. Researchers found that women who drank one or more sugary drinks a day gained more weight and were 83% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who imbibed less than once a month.
4 Weakened Bones And Risk Of Osteoporosis
Frequent consumption of soft drinks may also increase the risk of osteoporosis,6 especially in people who drink soft drinks instead of calcium-rich milk7. High soda consumption (particularly cola15) in children poses a significant risk factor for impaired calcification of growing bones.
In the 1950s, children drank 3 cups of milk for every 1 cup of sugary drinks. Today that ratio is reversed: 3 cups of sugary drinks for every cup of milk. Tellingly, osteoporosis is a major health threat for 44 million Americans. Most experts now say that the real culprit is soda's displacement of milk in the diet, though some scientists believe that the acidity of colas may be weakening bones by promoting the loss of calcium.
5 Dental Caries And Erosion
The acidity can dissolve the mineral content of the enamel, making the teeth weaker, more sensitive, and more susceptible to decay. Soda's acidity makes it even worse for teeth than the solid sugar found in candy.
Dental experts continue to urge that people drink less soda pop, especially between meals, to prevent tooth decay and dental erosion.
6 Kidney Damage
People who down sugary drinks don't feel as full as those who consume the same amount of calories in solid food.
This theory was born out by researchers at Purdue University who, in 2000, gave 15 volunteers 450 calories a day of either soda or jelly beans for a month and then switched them for the next month, while monitoring their total calories. The candy eaters compensated for the extra calories by eating less food and maintained their weight; during the soda phase, the volunteers ate more and gained (MSN Health)
There is good evidence that cola beverages can increase the risk of kidney problems, more so than non-cola sodas.
Researches clearly demonstrated that large quantities of cola result in enhanced kidney stone formation16-17. If you're wondering exactly how soft drinks cause kidney stones, it's because of their acidity and radical mineral imbalances. Your body must buffer the acidity of soft drinks with calcium from your own bones. As this calcium is eliminated through your urine, it slowly forms kidney stones.
In a study published in the journal Epidemiology14, the team compared the dietary habits of 465 people with chronic kidney disease and 467 healthy people. After controlling for various factors, the team found that drinking two or more colas a day (whether artificially sweetened or regular) was linked to a twofold risk of chronic kidney disease.
7 Increased Blood Pressure
Experts have reasons to believe that overconsumption of fructose, particularly in the form of soft drinks, leads to an increase in blood pressure22.
8 Likely To Cause Heartburn
9 Metabolic Syndrome Risk Factor
Soft drink consumption is a significant risk factor for developing of metabolic syndrome18, a combination of the symptoms such as high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, and insulin resistance.
10 Harmful Effects On Liver
There is evidence that consumption of too many soft drinks puts you under increased risk for liver cirrhosis similar to what chronic alcoholics have19.
11 Impaired Digestive System
Soda, no matter who makes it, is the most acidic beverage you can buy, with a pH of about 2.51, about the same as vinegar, but the sugar content disguises the acidity. To put that into perspective, consider that battery acid has a pH of 1 and pure water has a pH level of 7.
Interesting fact: A pH below 4 or above 10 will kill most fish and very few animals can tolerate waters with a pH below 3 or above 11.
Why does that matter? Throughout the digestive system, that starts from the mouth and ends up at the anus only the stomach can resist an acidic environment up to pH 2.0. But before the acidity of soft drink reaches the stomach it passes through all the other organs involved in the digestive system thus causing an abnormal acidic environment. The linings of the mouth, pharynx and esophagus are highly sensitive to acids.
The phosphoric acid present in soft drink competes with the hydrochloric acid of the stomach and affects its functions. When the stomach becomes ineffective, food remains undigested causing indigestion, gassiness or bloating (swelling of stomach).
Another problem with sodas is that they act as dehydrating diuretics. Both caffeine and sugar cause dehydration.
Caffeine is a diuretic and causes an increase in urine volume. High concentration of sugar is drawing off water because your kidneys try to expel the excess sugar out of the blood. When you drink a caffeinated soda to quench your thirst, you will actually become thirstier.
13 High Caffeine Content
Another advantage of avoiding sodas is that you will avoid the unnecessary caffeine. Soda drinks are a major source of caffeine in the American diet.
High doses of caffeine can cause irritability, restlessness, tension, insomnia, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal disturbance, excessive urination, irregular heartbeat and other side effects.
14 Toxins - Aspartame
If you think diet soda is better think again. The poison in diet soda is an artificial sweetener aspartame. Aspartame is made up of three chemicals: aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol. It is used because it's about 200 times sweeter than table sugar.
Despite US FDA approval as a "safe" food additive, aspartame is one of the most dangerous substances added to foods. After you drink an aspartame-sweetened product, aspartame breaks down into its starting components: phenylalanine, aspartic acid, and methanol (that further converts to formaldehyde and formic acid, which are known carcinogens.). There are over 92 different health side effects associated with aspartame consumption10-13.
15 Possible Cell Damage Ability
A new health scare erupted over soft drinks recently amid evidence that they may cause serious cell damage. Research from a British university suggests a common preservative E211, known as sodium benzoate, found in drinks such as Fanta and Pepsi Max has the ability to switch off vital parts of DNA.
Sodium benzoate occurs in small amounts naturally in berries, but is used in large quantities to prevent mould in soft drinks.
16 There Are So Many Healthy Alternatives!
Soda replaces healthier drinks. By drinking soda, you cut the intake of fresh juices, milk, and even water and deprive yourself from essential vitamins and minerals.
- Water. Water is the best drink in the world.
- Tea. Any kind of tea - herbal, green or black - is rich in antioxidants, which were shown to protects the body form many health problems.
- 100% Juice. Fruit juice can be also useful for flavoring your water and teas.
Posted by gjblass at 12:14 PM
Posted by gjblass at 12:13 PM
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The housing crisis grew worse in May, as more than 73,000 American families lost their homes to bank repossessions, up a staggering 158% from the 28,548 households that were dispossessed in May 2007.
Foreclosure filings of all kinds, including default notices, notices of sheriff's sales and bank repossessions, were up 48% from May 2007, according to the latest release from RealtyTrac, the online marketer of foreclosed properties. Filings increased 7% from April.
"May was the 29th straight month we've seen a year-over-year increase," RealtyTrac's CEO James Saccacio said in a statement.
The report follows months of increasingly gloomy housing market conditions with home prices, existing home sales and new housing starts all plummeting. The S&P Case/Shiller Home Price Index posted a record 14.1% decline in national home prices for the 12 months ending March 31, while April's existing-home sales were down 17.5% year over year.
Nevada remained the most troubled default state for the 17th consecutive month. One out of every 118 households there received some kind of foreclosure filing during May, up 24% from the previous month and 72% from a year ago.
California led the nation in the sheer volume of filings, with nearly 72,000 properties in some stage of default, which works out to one out of every 183 households. More than 20,000 Californians lost their homes, more than any other state.
Florida recorded over 37,000 filings and 4,300 bank repossessions. Nine of the top 10 cities with the most foreclosure filings were in either Florida or California.
Stockton, Calif., was the worst-hit city last month, with one filing for every 75 households. Cape Coral, Fla., where one out of every 79 homes received a filing, was second. Other hard-hit places were Merced, Calif., which ranked third, Modesto, Calif., which was fourth and Riverside, Calif., which was fifth.
Las Vegas was the only city outside of California and Florida to crack the top 10. In May it had one filing for every 96 households - about five times the national average - which put it in sixth place.
Default rates will rise for many more months, according to RealtyTrac vice president Rick Sharga, who thinks that there could be another 18 months of this activity left. Several factors will continue to boost filings.
"We haven't even seen the full effects of the Alt-As (mostly loans issued without verification of income and assets) yet," said Sharga. Many of these mortgages are option ARMs, negative amortization loans that let borrowers make very small, minimum payments that don't even cover the interest they owe each month. But soon, these payments will spike.
Also driving foreclosures is the fact that more people are walking away from homes they bought at the top of the market that have since lost a lot of value, according to Keith Gumbinger of HSH Associates, a publisher of mortgage industry data.
"These people are looking at the present value of their homes and at their debts and saying, 'What's the point of paying the mortgage?'" said Gumbinger. "We may have not finished wringing these people out of the market yet."
Sharga says that price declines are probably the market's biggest problem right now. "If prices stabilize, foreclosures will too," he said.
As more people than ever are losing their homes, some state and local governments are trying to slow the foreclosure tsunami. Colorado has extended the initial default period to as much as 125 days, and Maryland has increased it to 150 days.
In Philadelphia, homeowner's can't be foreclosed on without having the opportunity to go through a court-sponsored reconciliation session.
Additionally, the administration's foreclosure prevention initiative Hope Now says it has helped over one million at-risk borrowers avoid foreclosure.
These measures help, according to Sharga, but to really break the spiral, more intervention on the federal level may be needed.
Posted by Chismillionaire at 12:07 PM
| Power bars: Intel Research engineers yesterday showed off prototype methods for system-wide laptop power savings. Using the current implementation, average power consumption of a laptop can be reduced from 6.23 to 4.02 watts. The researchers believe that the approach has the capacity to slash up to 50 percent of laptop power consumption. |
Credit: Kate Greene
Anyone who uses a laptop on an airplane would love a single battery to last through a trans-American flight. Now researchers at Intel believe that they can double a laptop's battery life without changing the battery itself. Instead, they would optimize power management--system wide--of the operating system, screen, mouse, chips inside the motherboard, and devices attached to USB ports.
To be sure, manufacturers and researchers have been exploring piecemeal ways to make portable computers more energy efficient. Operating systems are designed to deploy power-saving screen savers and put an entire system to sleep if its owner hasn't used it after a while. And Intel's forthcoming Atom, a microprocessor for mobile Internet devices, can be put to sleep at up to six different levels, depending on the types of tasks that it needs to do.
But the problem with these approaches is that they're not coordinated across the entire device. Intel's prototype power-management system is aware of the power that's used by all parts of a laptop, as well as the power requirements of a person's activity, and it shuts down operations accordingly, says Greg Allison, business development manager. The project, called advanced platform power management, was demonstrated on Wednesday at an Intel event in Mountain View, CA.
Allison gives this example: today, when a person reads a static e-mail, the screen still refreshes 60 times a second, and peripherals such as the keyboard, mouse, and USB devices drain battery power while awaiting instructions. "We're burning energy even when we don't need to," Allison says. In this situation, Intel's system would save power by essentially taking a snapshot of the screen that a person is reading and saving it to a buffer memory. So instead of refreshing, the screen would maintain an image until a person tapped a button on the keyboard or moved the mouse (the keyboard and mouse would also stay asleep until activated).
All the while, the operating system will be monitoring use of other applications, restricting operations to those that aren't being actively used. And if there are any devices plugged into a USB port, such as a flash-memory stick, the system would put them to sleep. At the same time, explains Allison, energy-monitoring circuits on Intel chips will put unnecessary parts of the microprocessor to sleep. It takes 50 milliseconds for the entire system to spring to life, he says, a length of time imperceptible to the user.
Intel isn't the first to think of the idea of integrating power-saving technology throughout a device. One Laptop per Child (OLPC), the nonprofit that builds inexpensive, rugged laptops meant for children in the developing world, set the standard with a gadget that consumes one-tenth of the power of a conventional laptop. Granted, OLPC's laptop doesn't have the capabilities of consumer machines, but it does show what is technically achievable.
There are definitely advantages to this systemic approach, says Seth Sanders, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of California, Berkeley. "Comprehensively looking through the system at all of the different pieces that are cycling unnecessarily provides an opportunity [for power savings]," he says.
Allison says that the company is already talking with operating-system vendors to explore what it would take to integrate this approach into software. And as a major contributor to the new USB 3.0 standards, Intel will have some say in how much power forthcoming USB devices will use. In addition, Allison says, the company is trying to secure deals with display and hardware vendors. "This won't happen in the next three years," he says. But he suspects that pieces of the new power-management system will find their way into laptops within five years.
Posted by Chismillionaire at 11:07 AM
|Credit: Technology Review|
The problem with to-do lists and schedules is that you need to fill them out. Now, a new generation of free online schedulers promises to end that drudgery. These new Web applications use natural-language processing to interpret spoken commands and ordinary written sentences to build calendars and personal organizers.
Perhaps the simplest of the new generation of schedulers is Presdo, based in San Francisco, which launched in late April to help users collaborate to schedule meetings and other events. Borrowing from Google's successful bag of tricks, Presdo's home page is as simple as it gets: just a floating text box. Type in "have brunch with Margaret on Sunday," and Presdo translates your command into data, bringing you to a page where you and your guests can check and tweak the details of your event.
By taking its cues from the ways that people naturally talk about time, the software frees users to be general about dates and times, says Presdo founder Eric Ly. Imprecise phrases like "next month," which would be impossible to put on a calendar without picking a particular date and time, are allowed to stay fluid for as long as the user wants them to.
"There's no widget in our system that looks anything like a calendar, and that was intentional," says Ly. "We really wanted to make it very easy for people to express what they wanted in terms of time. We felt like the natural-language approach was going to be more flexible and expressive for users." If you sign up as a regular user, Presdo will gather more information to help it guess automatically. For example, it will suggest restaurants near where you live via Google Maps, or it will remember Margaret's e-mail address from your last event together.
But translating the vagaries of ordinary speech into data that a computer can understand is a tough technical problem. "One thing this made me acutely aware of is how weirdly people speak," says Rael Dornfest, developer of IWantSandy, an online personal-assistant program based in Portland, Oregon, that uses simple text-based interactions to generate calendar items, to-do lists, and reminders. "There are little things that are sort of classic. When I say 'next week,' do I mean the week upcoming or the week after that? The problem is not about parsing. It's that if you said it to 15 people, half would interpret it one way, and half the other way."
Sandy--named after free-software advocate Tim O'Reilly's real-life personal assistant--can intelligently read e-mails, text messages, and Twitter feeds. Dornfest calls Sandy's algorithm "natural-language-ish processing": it's basically English, with a few keywords to help Sandy recognize common tasks. Telling her to "remind" or "remember" something generates an automatic e-mail or text-message reminder; adding "@todo" to your message places it on your to-do list.
Posted by Chismillionaire at 11:04 AM
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The cost of living rose in May as consumers were belted by energy costs, the government said Friday.
The Consumer Price Index, a key inflation reading, rose 4.2% through the 12 months ended in May, according to the Labor Department. This compared to an increase of 3.9% during the 12 months ended in April.
For the month of May, overall CPI rose 0.6%, compared to an increase of 0.2% in April. That's the biggest increase since last November, when the overall CPI surged 0.9%. A consensus of analysts interviewed by Briefing.com had projected an increase of 0.5% for May.
The dramatic increase in energy costs were largely responsible for the overall inflation. Energy costs rose 4.4% in May, and surged 17.4% over the 12 months ending in May, the Labor Department said.
"These (CPI) numbers are nowhere near to what we're seeing in the real world," said Peter Beutel, energy analyst for Cameron Hanover, who believed the "real" cost of living has increased at a higher rate than the index shows. "But even these diluted numbers are showing that inflation is getting uglier and uglier and uglier."
Beutel said this puts more pressure on the Federal Reserve to increase the federal funds rate, which he thinks could happen in August or September. The rate is currently at 2%.
"The higher that inflation is, the sooner the Fed has to raise rates to help keep a lid on prices," said Beutel.
The index for fuel oil rose 10.4% in May and soared 64% over the 12 months. The gasoline index rose 5.7% in May and surged 20.8% on a year-over-year basis. The index for natural gas rose 5.6% in May, and was up 16.5% over the last year.
Electricity costs also increased, but less dramatically, edging up 0.9% in May, and rising 5.8% over the last 12 months.
As a result, transportation costs increased 2% in May, and jumped 8.1% over the 12 months ending in May.
The index for household energy costs climbed 2.8% in May, its fourth consecutive jump, the Labor Department said.
The price of food also pushed up overall costs. Food costs increased 0.3% in May, and jumped 5.1% during the 12 months ending in May. The price of milk was a big influence on the overall price, increasing 10.2% over the 12 months, despite slipping 0.7% in May.
The cost of clothing was the one area where consumers got some relief. Apparel costs deflated 0.2% in May, and decreased 0.4% over the 12 months.
The core CPI, which excludes the cost of food and energy, rose 0.2% in May, compared to an increase of 0.1% in April. A consensus of analysts interviewed by Briefing.com had projected an increase of 0.2% for May.
Posted by Chismillionaire at 11:00 AM
Welcome to Keukenhof
Nowhere else in the world are the flowers and colours of the spring as glorious as at Keukenhof. Here you can find endless inspiration while you relax in the beautiful surroundings of the park. Keukenhof offers you the opportunity to see millions of bulbs in flower, fantastic flower shows and the largest sculpture park in the Netherlands and is the most photographed place in the world. Enjoy the spring!
Come to Keukenhof above all dont forget to bring your camera!
At the moment the estate belongs to a Corporation. On the initiative of the Lisse mayor of that time and a number of leading flower bulb growers and exporters, an open air flower exhibition was organised here for the first time in 1949. This expanded to an annually recurring event that has always drawn great numbers of visitors from all over the world. This is how Keukenhof became the park that we now know.
In 2009 we will be open from 19th of March until 21st of May (including Sundays and public holidays). Then Keukenhof is open from 8.00 a.m. to 19.30 p.m. daily (ticket office closes at 18.00 p.m.).
The bulb districts Flower Pageant will take place on 25th April 2009.
When do the bulbs bloom?
Flower bulbs are a product of nature. Therefore nature determines when the spring bulbs will bloom. The temperature is a deciding factor there; with a cold spring it takes longer for the bulbs to bloom than with a warmer spring. Im sure you can understand that at Keukenhof we always hope for a spring with a lovely sun and pleasant temperatures, so that our visitors can appreciate the flowering bulbs for a long time.
How many flowers bloom at Keukenhof?
Approximately seven million flower bulbs are planted annually. Furthermore there are also numerous inner exhibitions.
How many people visit Keukenhof annually?
Keukenhof receives over 750,000 national and international visitors annually.
Is it possible to take wedding pictures at Keukenhof?
A bridal pair is always welcome at Keukenhof during the opening hours of the park.
A bridal pair, with photographer and bridesmaids, has free access. For a larger group, admission will have to be paid during the opening hours. No passenger vehicles or other vehicles are allowed in the park.
When the park is closed, you can report to the reception during office hours from 8h30 to 12h30 and from 13h00 to 17h00.
Through the heart of the tulip fields by boat
Huge white clouds float across the expansive sky, topping the unique Dutch landscape of bulb fields and shallow waterways.
A beautiful background for a boat trip in a traditional electromotor driven Dutch punt or flatboat. The boats have a minimum draught and are perfect for navigating the shallow waterways around Keukenhof.
Wend your way gently through this beautiful landscape, almost without a murmur, and enjoy the magical colours of the bulb fields to the full.
Some Nice Picture Blogs of Keukenhof:
Posted by gjblass at 10:46 AM
demo client for the iPhone, bringing the popular video streaming service to the Apple platform. Much like the video apps from Sling and ..., Qik appears to be running an unnofficial app on a jailbroken iPhone.
read more | digg story
Posted by gjblass at 10:31 AM
Posted by gjblass at 10:26 AM