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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

New diesel land speed record: 328 mph

British pilot breaks old mark by 90 mph, says car capable of 400 mph

British driver Andy Green sets a new unofficial world diesel powered land speed record of over 328 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats of Utah.
Douglas C. Pizac / Ap File

The Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY - A British pilot broke a land-speed record for driving with a diesel engine, racing across the Bonneville Salt Flats at more than 325 mph.

Andy Green broke the supercharged diesel streamliner world record by more than 90 mph by reaching an average land speed Tuesday of 328.767 mph. The old record was 235.756 mph, set by Virgil Snyder on the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1973.

"It's absolutely astonishing what we've achieved today," Green said by telephone from the salt flats, about 90 miles west of Salt Lake City.

The attempt was observed by the FIA, the international governing body of racing. FIA rules require that two passes be made within an hour to arrive at an average speed. Green's first run was clocked at 324.265 mph and his return run at 333.364 mph, said David Petrali, FIA's representative at the 11-mile track.

Green drove a vehicle powered by two diesel engines that have a combined total of 1,500 horsepower. Each is a 4-cylinder, 4.4-liter engine used commercially as a backhoe loader.

Green said he used only about 1,200 horsepower because the vehicle couldn't handle any more than that. The tires on the car are designed to go no faster than 350 mph, but Green's crew said the car is capable of going 400 mph.

The record will likely become official when a FIA board meets next month. Green said he might try to break his own record this week.

Green also set a supersonic world land speed record in 1997 at 763.035 mph using a jet engine.

Big Surprise: Fuel efficient cars are holding their value better than other cars

August 24th, 2008 by Benjamin Jones

It shouldn’t be surprising to anyone that buys gas that the market for fuel-efficient vehicles has exploded recently. Not only is gas expensive, but the psychological effects of paying big time at the pump has driven people toward hybrids and small cars, making many models scarce and putting the Civic up on top.

Recently, GFF took a look at some numbers, which show that hybrids, which already had a comparatively high residual value, have gotten a further bump. They make an interesting comparison between the discontinued Honda Insight, still the MPG king as far as production vehicles go, and Acura’s very popular sports car, the RSX:

For instance, in the US, values for a three- or four-year-old Honda Insight are almost identical to the more upmarket Acura RSX Sports Coupe at around $14,800 for a 2005 and $13,500 for a 2004.

This made me want to do my own research to see how big the gap is between vehicles on opposite ends of the spectrum. Using values from KBB, I compared the Ford F150, Honda Civic, Toyota Prius, and Dodge Caravan to see how values held up when comparing 2008 models to still-young 2004 models. Read on to found out what I learned.

Efficient cars, not just hybrids, are holding their value

First, I compared the F150 and the Civic head to head. Not because they represent the same market, but because they symbolize the American market shift from big trucks to sensible cars. Here are the raw values from KBB:

  • 2008 F150 MSRP: $26,140.00
  • 2004 F150 Suggested Retail: $9,670.00
  • 2008 Civic MSRP: $16,280.00
  • 2004 Civic Suggested Retail: $11,980.00

So, where the 2004 F150 only has 37% of the value of a new F150, the non-hybrid Civic still has 75% of the value of a new car. Even though Honda usually receives top marks for value retention, there is a huge difference between two of the country’s most popular vehicles.

On the other side of things, I chose the Caravan and the Prius because they are both icons in the auto industry. For years, the Caravan has been the “family vehicle” of choice, but recently, with the “green” movement in full swing, more and more families have been giving up the sliding doors and hopping into Priuses. Here’s what KBB has to say about the prices:

  • 2008 Caravan MSRP: $22,470.00
  • 2004 Caravan Suggested Retail: $9,070.00
  • 2008 Prius MSRP: $22,160.00
  • 2004 Prius Suggested Retail: $21,035.00

As you might have expected, the Prius wins, with 2004 models still bringing in 95% of new values while the Caravan only brings in 40%. The Caravan is pretty much on par with the F150, but the hybrid Prius is definitely beating the Civic. Since it’s not obvious if this is because of the hybrid premium of the current “green appeal” surrounding the Prius, I decided to put the hybrid Civic up head-to-head with the Civic I’ve already calculated. Here’s the results:

  • 2008 Civic Hybrid MSRP: $23,270.00
  • 2004 Civic Hybrid Suggested Retail: $16,230.00

While the normal 2004 Civic has about 75% of the value of the 2008, the hybrid model only has 69% of the value in the same comparison. Perhaps this suggests that the Prius is an outlier due to it’s iconic status and recognizability.

Buy efficient, save gas and money

The takeaway here is that if you’re looking at a fuel efficient car because of gas prices, you should also be thinking about the day you want to sell or trade-in that vehicle. Lots of people will complain that your Prius won’t save as much in gas as you’ll pay compared to other cars, but if you can sell it in 4 years for the same price you paid, you’ll end up way ahead compared to swallowing the depreciation on a less efficient vehicle.

I Am Legend/Home Alone Trailer Remix

Who knew Robert Neville and Kevin McAllister had so much in common?

Nine-year-old told he's too good

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) -- Nine-year-old Jericho Scott is a good baseball player -- too good, it turns out.

Jericho Scott
Jericho Scott throws about 40 miles per hour.

The right-hander has a fastball that tops out at about 40 mph. He throws so hard that the Youth Baseball League of New Haven told his coach that the boy could not pitch any more. When Jericho took the mound anyway last week, the opposing team forfeited the game, packed its gear and left, his coach said.

Officials for the three-year-old league, which has eight teams and about 100 players, said they will disband Jericho's team, redistributing its players among other squads, and offered to refund $50 sign-up fees to anyone who asks for it. They say Jericho's coach, Wilfred Vidro, has resigned.

But Vidro says he didn't quit and the team refuses to disband. Players and parents held a protest at the league's field on Saturday urging the league to let Jericho pitch.

"He's never hurt any one," Vidro said. "He's on target all the time. How can you punish a kid for being too good?"

The controversy bothers Jericho, who says he misses pitching.

"I feel sad," he said. "I feel like it's all my fault nobody could play."

Jericho's coach and parents say the boy is being unfairly targeted because he turned down an invitation to join the defending league champion, which is sponsored by an employer of one of the league's administrators.

Jericho instead joined a team sponsored by Will Power Fitness. The team was 8-0 and on its way to the playoffs when Jericho was banned from pitching.

"I think it's discouraging when you're telling a 9-year-old you're too good at something," said his mother, Nicole Scott. "The whole objective in life is to find something you're good at and stick with it. I'd rather he spend all his time on the baseball field than idolizing someone standing on the street corner."

League attorney Peter Noble says the only factor in banning Jericho from the mound is his pitches are just too fast.

"He is a very skilled player, a very hard thrower," Noble said. "There are a lot of beginners. This is not a high-powered league. This is a developmental league whose main purpose is to promote the sport."

Noble acknowledged that Jericho had not beaned any batters in the co-ed league of 8- to 10-year-olds, but say parents expressed safety concerns.

"Facing that kind of speed" is frightening for beginning players, Noble said.

League officials say they first told Vidro that the boy could not pitch after a game on Aug. 13. Jericho played second base the next game on Aug. 16. But when he took the mound Wednesday, the other team walked off and a forfeit was called.

League officials say Jericho's mother became irate, threatening them and vowing to get the league shut down.

"I have never seen behavior of a parent like the behavior Jericho's mother exhibited Wednesday night," Noble said.

Scott denies threatening any one, but said she did call the police.

League officials suggested that Jericho play other positions, or pitch against older players or in a different league.

Local attorney John Williams was planning to meet with Jericho's parents Monday to discuss legal options.

"You don't have to be learned in the law to know in your heart that it's wrong," he said. "Now you have to be punished because you excel at something?"

Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Bartering sex for stuff or services

(LifeWire) -- While she was studying in Brazil during college, the one thing Stephanie Gerson longed to do before leaving was spend time in the thick of the Amazon rain forest. Unfortunately, she couldn't find a tour that would take her past the forest's edge.

Survey at college finds 27 percent of men and 14 percent of  women willing to trade favors or gifts for sex.

Survey at college finds 27 percent of men and 14 percent of women willing to trade favors or gifts for sex.

So, when a college-aged busboy at a resort she was visiting began flirting with her, she asked him if he thought a tourist could survive alone in the jungle.

"He laughed and told me I was nuts," says Gerson, 27, who works part-time in online marketing for a chocolate company in San Francisco.

Then he told her that he'd grown up in the jungle in a nearby indigenous community. That was all Gerson needed to hear. Although she wasn't attracted to the guy, Gerson flirted right back in the hopes that he would be her jungle tour guide. It worked. The busboy wormed his way out of work, and the two headed into the rain forest.

"It was amazing," Gerson says of her adventure in 2000. "We built our homes out of palm leaves, I saw animals I'd never seen before, he taught me the medicinal properties of all the plants, we picked fruit off the trees, we swam with and ate piranhas. And, of course, we had sex ... for almost two weeks."

Body currency system

Gerson never felt sleazy or uncomfortable with her unspoken arrangement with the busboy.

"It was a good barter both ways," she says. "I got to stay in the jungle, and he got to have sex with a cute, young American girl."

Such trades aren't so unusual. Throughout history, humans have used their bodies to get what they want -- from ancient Egyptian ruler Cleopatra, who cemented her power through liaisons with Roman rulers Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, to the man and woman who were arrested at a Fort Wright, Kentucky, motel in late June for allegedly swapping sex for gasoline. Regardless of our motivation, scientists say we're hardwired to use our bodies as a bargaining chip.

A recent study of 475 University of Michigan undergraduates ages 17 to 26 found that 27 percent of the men and 14 percent of the women who weren't in a committed relationship had offered someone favors or gifts -- help prepping for a test, laundry washing, tickets to a college football game -- in exchange for sex. On the flip side, 5 percent of the men surveyed and 9 percent of the women said they'd attempted to trade sex for such freebies.

And although they weren't hard up for resources, the students surveyed "recognized the value of this socioeconomic currency system," says Daniel Kruger, research scientist at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, who published his findings in the April issue of "Evolutionary Psychology."

"It's more about getting what you want than getting what you need," he says. "Unless you think everyone needs a $200 Louis Vuitton bag."

The handyman hookup

But unattached coeds aren't the only ones who barter with their bodies. Some professionals will attest that their skills are, well, sexy.

"Women are turned on just by the simple idea of their guy getting off his ass and doing something for them," says Rocky Fino, author of "Will Cook for Sex: A Guy's Guide to Cooking."

It works both ways, he adds.

"Give it to me first thing in the morning, and I'll play [handyman] all day," says Fino, a 39-year-old father of two and part-time construction worker.

Ben Corbett, a 39-year-old contractor from Boulder, Colorado, credits his tool belt with prompting the barrage of come-ons he fields from female clients -- most of them married -- on a regular basis.

"It starts with the flirting, and it just progresses," says Corbett, who has run a construction and remodeling business for 20 years. "They'll touch my hand, and there's all this physical contact. Or they'll run around in their pajamas."

"Once," he says, "I was painting the hallway right outside a client's bedroom, and she was lying on her bed like a girl at a slumber party with her legs up and her arms crossed and her head resting on them, asking me if I had a girlfriend.

"It's all about the fantasy of being taken by the rough-hewn construction guy," muses Corbett, who, despite the temptation, has avoided getting sexually involved with his clientele for fear of jeopardizing his business.

It's the biology, stupid

Call it crass, sexist or gender stereotyping all you want, but there are thousands of years of biological programming at work here, says Dr. Chris Fariello, director of the Institute for Sex Therapy at the Council for Relationships, a nonprofit relationship-counseling group based in Philadelphia.

Plain and simple, a partner who provides more resources -- wealth, shelter, home repairs -- is seen as more attractive and stands to reap more sexual rewards.

Or, as Fariello puts it, "I don't get anybody in my office who says, 'My husband sits on the couch all day and eats bonbons, and I want to have sex with him all the time.'"

Dual Level Turns Your iPhone into a Digital Level

dual-level.pngiPhone/iPod touch only: Free iPhone application Dual Level uses your iPhone or iPod touch's accelerometer to turn your device into a dual-bubble level. That's really all it does, and though it's a bit jumpy at times, it seems to work pretty well. You probably shouldn't trust this level with building your home, but for a quick and crude leveling job, it seems like it could come in handy (hopefully it'll only improve with updates). This is one app that probably works best with iPod touches and first generation iPhones, since the iPhone 3G's curved back doesn't really help with leveling. Dual Level is a free download from the iTunes store.

Fender Custom Shop Announces David Gilmour Signature Series Stratocaster® Guitar

Eagerly awaited instrument to debut Sept. 22, 2008 …

Gilmour with his original "Black Strat."
Photo by Brian Rasic

For many years, guitarists have clamored for and indulged in much wishful thinking about one guitar in particular—a David Gilmour signature model Stratocaster® based on Gilmour’s famous “Black Strat.” They’re about to get their wish.

In a most eagerly awaited musical event, the Fender Custom Shop and Gilmour will at last make available just such an instrument on Sept. 22, 2008—the David Gilmour Signature Series Stratocaster® guitar—which coincides with the release of Gilmour’s three-disc Live in Gdansk CD/DVD set. The instrument is based on Gilmour’s beloved Black Strat and was created by Fender Custom Shop craftsmen to mirror the look, sound and feel of the original instrument.

Gilmour’s original black Stratocaster has become the stuff of legend among guitarists and discerning Pink Floyd fans. Heavily modified and experimented on over the decades—often by Gilmour himself—the guitar became a cornerstone of Pink Floyd’s surreally psychedelic sound as soon as Gilmour got it, and it was featured prominently on seminal chart-topping albums such as The Dark Side of the Moon (1973), Wish You Were Here (1975), Animals (1977) and The Wall (1979), in addition to Gilmour’s acclaimed solo albums David Gilmour (1978), About Face (1983) and On An Island (2006).

Gilmour bought the stock original at Manny’s Music in New York in May 1970, in time to use it on Pink Floyd’s fifth album, Atom Heart Mother. It quickly became his main guitar onstage and in the studio, and, famously, he and longtime guitar tech Phil Taylor were constantly modifying it and experimenting with its neck, hardware and electronics. The black guitar acquired a black pickguard in summer 1974, thus assuming its darkest and most famous incarnation, plus an enduring nickname—the Black Strat.

The Fender Custom Shop worked closely with Gilmour and Taylor in recreating the Black Strat as the new David Gilmour Signature Series Stratocaster guitar. Main features include an alder body, black over Three-color Sunburst finish, a black pickguard, a one-piece straight-grain maple neck, custom pickups and electronics, and a shortened vintage tremolo arm. The guitar will be available in N.O.S. (new old stock) and Relic® treatments.

Further, the guitar comes with a custom case, an Evidence high-end guitar cable, the Live in Gdansk CD/DVD set and Taylor’s 2007 book about the guitar’s history, The Black Strat. The first 500 sold in either finish option will include a limited edition copy of The Black Strat autographed by Taylor.

The Fender Custom Shop David Gilmour Signature
Series Stratocaster.

this is from David's website:

Apologies for the delay in announcing this, but Fender have only just officially posted the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the David Gilmour 'Black Strat' NOS and Relic versions. They are: New Old Stock version MSRP $3,999.99 and Relic MSRP $4,799.99.

The Black Strat

David Gilmour - Live In Gdansk...coming September 22

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David Gilmour - Live in Gdańsk

DAVID GILMOUR - Live in Gdañsk - Exclusive footage available to watch now!

On 22nd September David Gilmour releases 'Live In Gdańsk' - a double album and concert DVD.

David Gilmour's first solo live album captures the magic of his concert held in front of 50,000 fans in the Gdańsk shipyards in Poland. This final performance from his critically acclaimed 2006 'On An Island' tour features Pink Floyd classics never previously performed with an orchestra. The concert marked the 26th Anniversary of the founding of trade union Solidarity in Poland and the historic importance of the date magnified the night's breathtaking atmosphere.

The 2.5 hour DVD accompanying the live album fully portrays the drama of the Gdańsk concert, set against the industrial landscape of the shipyard and the crane-filled skyline. It includes both concert footage and a riveting documentary featuring David Gilmour and the Baltic Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra in Gdańsk.

Buy Now on Amazon

Go to the David Gilmour Youtube channel to see videos from 'Live In Gdańsk'

Listen to 'Comfortably Numb' and 'Astronomy Domine'

YouTube Comfortably Numb
Astronomy Domine

Yellow Card for Blasster- Deepest hole already posted yesterday

Dev Team Releases PwnageTool 2.0.3 Jailbreaks Latest 2.0.2FW

PwnageTool 2.0.3

If you are the iPhone jailbreaking type, then you might want to know that Pwnage Tool from the iPhone Dev Team has been updated to version 2.0.3.

This version includes the following new features:
  • Support for iPhone/iPod touch firmware 2.0.2 5C1
  • Updated version of beta 6
  • New .de localization for German speaking users
Pwnage Tool 2.0.3 can be downloaded from the iPhone Dev Team's blog, or via the Pwnage Tool updater.
Thanks for the tip, Doc!

Happy 78th Birthday Sean Connery

Connery launches book at festival

Sir Sean Connery promotes his new book
Sir Sean Connery launched his new book at the festival

Scottish acting legend Sir Sean Connery has celebrated his 78th birthday by launching his memoirs at a sell-out event in Edinburgh.

Sir Sean launched Being A Scot in front of a 300-strong crowd, which included First Minister Alex Salmond, at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

The actor backed calls by the SNP for a separate Scottish Olympic team.

He told the audience: "Scotland should always be a stand-alone nation at whatever, I believe."

The former James Bond actor also revealed his enthusiasm for US tycoon Donald Trump's controversial plans for a £1bn golf resort in north east Scotland.

'Local repercussions'

He told how he met the tycoon in New York soon after the proposals were announced.

Connery told the audience: "I said 'Well, I think it's terrific'.

"But I had no idea what local repercussions would be.

"My first response was I couldn't see anything but benefits for that part of Scotland because it's pretty neglected, apart from the oil fields."

I get spat on if I go to Parkhead
Sir Sean Connery
Sir Sean joked with the audience about the stick he now faces from Celtic fans since switching his football allegiance to Old Firm rivals Rangers.

He said he had been a Celtic supporter when he was younger, after being introduced to the club by his father.

He was even involved in a benefit match for their legendary former manager Jock Stein.

"Then I changed my allegiance later with (Rangers owner) David Murray," he said.

"I met him when I got the freedom of the city here and immediately, we had chemistry.

"We enjoyed each other's company - he's an amazing chap and we've stayed very, very good friends since."

He added, to laughter from the crowd: "And I get spat on if I go to Parkhead."

Team USA Gold Medal Winners (pics)

Phelps and the Dream Team are just the tip of the iceberg.

read more | digg story

Olympic BMX: Getting Air (pics)

The men and women of the BMX events have sailed through their first Olympic experience.

read more | digg story

How the Soviets Drilled the Deepest Hole in the World

By Alexis Madrigal

In the Cold War '60s, as the space race heated up, another race began: to the center of the earth.

Well, perhaps the Soviets and Americans couldn't drill quite that deep, but they could try to get to the so-called Moho, more formally the Mohorovicic Discontinuity, the theorized but much-disputed boundary between the mostly solid crust and the magma-filled mantle.

After the launch of an American drilling program to reach the boundary, the Russians joined the race to drill the deepest hole in the world.

"Between 1960 and 1962, the combination of economic interest and national pride during the Space Race period inspired scientists of the Soviet Union to plan drilling a "Russian Mohole" whose objective was to reach the Mohorovicic Discontinuity before the American drilling program," Dean Dunn writing in the book, Science of the Earth.

The original goal was soon subsumed by the desire to learn more about how valuable ores formed, so the hopes of the Russian effort eventually landed in the middle-of-nowhere mining region, Pachenga. There, the Soviets drilled the deepest hole in the history of the world, more than 7 miles deep.

At the Kola Institute, pictured, the Russians drilled for more than 15 years to reach a crust depth of 40,226 feet, a record that's never been broken. But however successful the mission was as an exploration, the geological findings from the site remain murky and obscured by the way they emanated out of the fading Soviet scientific machine.

Stanford geologist and drilling expert, Mark Zoback, said that the Kola borehole was "an anomaly" even within the rather grandiose field of superdeep drilling projects.

Photo: Kola Institute

Cher as Catwoman?

And The Dark Knight sequel gossip continues. Could Cher be in line to play Catwoman in the next Batman installment? The British newspaper The Telegraph is citing a “studio executive” source, claiming that Cher us “Nolan’s first choice” for the role.

“He wants to her to portray her like a vamp in her twilight years,” says the Telegraph’s source. “The new Catwoman will be the absolute opposite of Michelle Pfeiffer and Halle Berry’s purring creations.”

While I agree that Catwoman should be given a Nolanverse-style reboot, if she were to make an appearance in the next Batman film, Cher seems like a strange choice even considering Nolan’s history. Of course, The Telegraph is known for it’s gossipy/tabloid like reports, and unless an actual source is clearly identified, I wouldn’t bet 25 cents on a story like this one. But let us pretend for a second that this rumor is true: I would expect a heavy fan backlash over the casting choice. Not that Nolan hasn’t encountered adverse reaction in his past decisions. From what I remember, when the casting announcement was first made, most fans hated the idea of Heath Ledger as The Joker.

Beijing Olympics Gets Bigger U.S. Ratings Than Anything Ever

Some 86 percent of every TV household in the United States were tuned to the Olympics this year.

That's more viewers than “Roots,” the “M*A*S*H” Finale and Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon!

Look! Press release!




86 Million Watch on NBC Universal’s Cable Nets ; 86% of All U.S. TV Households Have Tuned In

NEW YORK –Aug. 24, 2008 –Through 16 days, NBC Universal's Beijing Olympic coverage has reached 211 million viewers and has been viewed by more Americans than any event in U.S. television history, according to data provided by Nielsen Media Research. The Beijing Games have surpassed the 1996 Atlanta Games, which were viewed by 209 million Americans. The 211 million viewers are 11 million more than the first 16 days for Athens (200 million) and 5 million more than the Atlanta Games (206 million). NBCU's cable networks through 16 days have already reached 86 million, surpassing the 17-day viewership total for any previous Olympics.


1. 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, 211 million (*through 16 days)

2. 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics, 209 million (17 days)

3. 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics, 204 million (16 days)

4 . 2004 Athens Summer Olympics, 203 million (17 days)

5. 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics, 194 million (17 days)

• The Beijing Olympic 16-day average primetime viewership is 27.7 million, 11 percent ahead of Athens in 2004 (24.9 million). NBC's average of a 16.2 rating, 28 share is the best through the final Saturday for a Summer Olympics outside the U.S. since Barcelona in 1992 (17.3/33), and is a seven percent jump from Athens in 2004 (15.2/27).

• Saturday night garnered 43 million total viewers in primetime and 16.5 million average viewers. The night earned a 10.2 rating/19 share. The comparable night in Athens did an 11.1 rating/21 share and averaged 18.0 million viewers.


Through 16 days, 86 million have watched the coverage on NBC Universal's cable networks, a 25 percent gain from the first 16 days of the Athens Games (69 million) and more than the 17-day total viewership for any previous Olympics (Athens, 69 million).

TAMi FOR FRIDAY: The TAMi (Total Audience Measurement Index) measures the 3600 hours of programming during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, including Television (P2+ reach), Online (Unique Users), Mobile (WAP unique users and Mobile VOD unique users) and TV VOD (unique users). Below is the TAMi measurement through Friday, Aug. 22:

Friday, August 22: 79.8 million

TV: 73.3 million, ONLINE 6.1 million, Mobile 421k, TV VOD: n/a

Thursday, Aug. 21: 87.7 million

Wednesday, Aug. 20: 91.2 million

Tuesday, Aug. 19: 95.5 million

Monday, Aug. 18: 94.4 million

Sunday, Aug. 17: 107.4 million

Saturday, Aug. 16: 108.0 million

Friday, Aug. 15: 95.1 million

Thursday, Aug. 14: 101.6 million

Wednesday, Aug. 13: 101.0 million

Tuesday, Aug. 12: 105.1 million

Monday, Aug. 11: 103.2 million

Sunday, Aug. 10: 113.1 million

Saturday, Aug. 9: 97.8 million

Friday, Aug. 8: 74.6 million

NBC Universal, broadcasting its record 11th Olympics and surpassing ABC for the most Olympics broadcast by any network, is presenting an unprecedented 3,600 hours of Beijing Olympic Games coverage, the most ambitious single media project in history featuring the most live coverage (nearly 2,900 live hours in total), across the most platforms, of any Summer Olympics in history.

FAST & FURIOUS - summer 2009

Fast & Furious in HD

Vin Diesel and Paul Walker head back to the streets where it all began to blast muscle, tuner and exotic cars across Los Angeles and floor through the Mexican desert in the new high-octane action-thriller.

Ziggurat: Dubai Carbon Neutral Pyramid will House 1 Million

by Evelyn Lee

Timelink, Ziggurat, Carbon Neutral City, Dubai Architecture,  Sustainable Communities

The Mayans and Egyptians constructed incredible feats of architecture able to weather the test of time, but they had no idea their pyramids would inspire the shape of the latest carbon-neutral super-structure to hit Dubai. Dubai-based environmental design firm Timelinks recently released some eye-catching renderings of the gigantic eco pyramid - aptly named Ziggurat - with plans for its official unveiling scheduled for the Cityscape Dubai event which runs October 6-9 of this year. The ginormous pyramid will cover 2.3 square kilometers and will be able to sustain a “community” of up to 1 million.

Timelink, Ziggurat, Carbon Neutral City, Dubai Architecture,  Sustainable Communities

Timelinks claims that their Ziggurat will be capable of running completely off the grid by utilizing steam, wind, and other natural resources. The tightly knit city will also feature a super efficient public transportation system that runs both horizontally and vertically, and plans are being drawn up to utilize both public and private green spaces for agricultural opportunities.

According to the International Institute for the Urban Environment, the technologies incorporated into the Ziggurat project will make it a viable metropolis, and Timlinks has responded by quickly patenting the design and technology developed for the project. A number of European professors will be on hand at CityScape Dubai to explain how the Ziggurat project can be incorporated into grander plans, meaning that it may not be a one-off structure.

Via World Architecture News

The Giant’s Causeway: A Natural Wonder in Ireland [PICS]

Houses of the holy

Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy album cover really left an impression on me the first time I saw it many years ago. It shows a group of children sprawled out on stone steps, reaching towards the horizon (see above). It has an other-worldly vibe and it was only many years after when I realized that the background in the picture was something that actually existed. I thought it was a painting. But it’s not.

The album cover featured the Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the northeast coast of Northern Ireland. It’s area is made up of 40,000 interlocking basalt columns… the steps you see are the result of an ancient volcanic eruption. Discovered in 1692 and announced to the world, it became a popular tourist attraction ever since the 19th century.

Giant\'s Causeway, Ireland
Source: sumlin

Giant\'s Causeway, Ireland
Source: greinarr

Giant\'s Causeway, Ireland

Click here for more | digg story

Hack allows VOIP calls on airplanes


We knew it would happen eventually, but we figured it would take longer than a week.

Just days after American Airlines made the big-deal announcement that it had rolled out in-flight internet on certain routes, hackers have found a way to use the service for voice-over-internet protocol calls, despite promises from the airline that its air-to-ground system, developed by Aircell, would block voice calls.

A tip before we go any further: Voice calls on airplanes will result in chatty passengers who yap their way through an entire six-hour flight, which is likely to increase the chance of an air-rage incident. Fly at your own risk.

The workaround, called Phweet, allows users to call friends who are linked via Twitter. Andy Abramson from VoIP Watch says that he recently used Phweet to chat with a friend on an American Airlines flight, and that the conversation was so clear he could hear the flight attendant ordering people to get back to their seats in preparation for landing.

Phweet is a shortURL link to an external directory (for now, only Twitter, though others will be added later), that enables calls between two or more profiles without sharing any additional information between the parties. Using the application to make calls at 27,000 feet is a painless three-step process:

  1. Go to the Phweet homepage and log on with your Twitter name and password.
  2. Add the Twitter user name of person you want to connect with, along with a message telling them want to talk. A Twitter update and Phweet URL is sent.
  3. When your friend clicks on the Phweet URL and accepts, your browser whistles and a Flash widget appears. Click on it to talk.

A spokesperson from Aircell told that the company was aware of the Phweet workaround. "At American's request, we set up various mechanisms to block voice calls. Obviously someone found a way around them." She added that although it's up to American to enforce its no-call policy during flights, Aircell is doing everything it can to address the issue.

Track locations with Fire Eagle

Get Started with Fire Eagle

/skill level/ medium


Yahoo Fire Eagle provides an online database which you can update with your latest geographical location. All of your social applications can access this centralized database for your geo-location instead of depending on you to log in to each one and update each one separately.

Why is Fire Eagle cool? Put simply, Fire Eagle takes care of all the geographical details so you don't have to. On top of that, Yahoo has built an administrative layer, so user's can hand-pick the people or applications accessing their updates.

There are many applications currently using Fire Eagle, with more to come ...including yours. In this tutorial, you'll learn the basics of setting up a Fire Eagle application and accessing the Fire Eagle API. Fired up and ready fly? Let's go!

This article is a wiki. If you find some cool geo-location information while exploring Fire Eagle, describe your discoveries by adding them yourself.



What you'll need

Remainder of the Wiki is here: Fire Eagle How To

Moving computer security to the Cloud

Credit: Technology Review

Most people know better than to connect a computer to the Internet without first installing up-to-date antivirus software. But even the best software protection won't catch every new virus, and performing a thorough system scan can require plenty of processor power, slowing some computers to a crawl.

New research from the University of Michigan suggests that computers could be better protected from viruses without sacrificing performance if antivirus software were moved from the PC to "the cloud"--a collection of servers that work seamlessly as one powerful machine. Using this approach, researchers found that they could detect 35 percent more recent viruses than a single antivirus program (88 percent compared with 73 percent). Moreover, using the distributed software, called Cloud AV, they caught 98 percent of all malicious software, compared with 83 percent, on average, for a single antivirus solution.

"We were concerned about the fact that the detection coverage of antivirus software from most popular vendors was poor," says Farnam Jahanian, a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Michigan. If a single PC could use a combination of antivirus services, Jahanian says, security could be improved, but this would be a huge drain on resources. "We can run multiple programs, in parallel, and by doing that we're moving the antivirus functionality into the network cloud and addressing the limitations of antivirus services that reside only on the personal computer," he adds.

Jahanian and his colleague Jon Oberheide started by scanning 10,000 malware samples collected over the past year using several different antivirus programs. Oberheide notes that each program had its own strengths and weaknesses and that malware missed by one program would often be caught by another. So, to make the most of each program, the researchers installed 12 different antivirus programs on servers running the University of Michigan's College of Engineering network. Volunteers also installed a small piece of software on their computer to detect the arrival of any new file, whether that was an e-mail attachment or a downloaded program.

New files are converted into a unique string of characters, or a "hash," of less than 100 bytes, which is sent to Cloud AV for analysis. If a file can't be identified, it is sent in its entirety for full analysis. Other files can be identified as either safe or a threat based on hashes stored in a database maintained by Cloud AV.

In addition to employing several antivirus services in parallel, Cloud AV makes use of information received from multiple users. Whereas ordinary antivirus software simply looks at the files and activity on one machine, Cloud AV can compare the files on thousands of machines. Catching a virus on one system automatically protects any other machine connected to Cloud AV from the same threat.

"We're able to do something that's impossible to do when you run antivirus software only on your desktop," says Jahanian. This network effect also helps keep bandwidth requirements low because once Cloud AV has analyzed one particular spreadsheet, it doesn't need to scan the entire file again when it arrives on someone else's computer.

"Sometimes the best ideas are simple ideas," says Wenke Lee, a professor at the College of Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Lee adds that the research provides a realistic scenario. "A lot of papers are written using synthetic data or small-scale network traffic, but this work is an actual demonstration of the system's capabilities," he says.

Although other companies offer server-side antivirus services, these only use one detection system and can only analyze files being sent across the network. Google provides a similar scanning service, called Google Message Security, for companies that use its Web-based applications. "We very much agree that putting these types of solutions in the cloud makes a lot of sense, given the way that they evolve, morph, and mutate," says Adam Swindler, head of Google applications security.

But it's still unclear whether a network-based solution like Cloud AV could be deployed very widely. "If you start putting billions of messages through this process, some questions of scalability arise," says Swindler.

Another issue is privacy, since such a system logs every file that comes in and out of a computer. This is one more question that has yet to be answered. "When you talk about cloud-computer and data security, you've got to be sure, based on the terms of service, that the data is going to be provided to the customer [when he or she wants it] and made secure," says Swindler.