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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Artist Builds Swimming Pool, Uses Acrylic Plates to Let You Walk on Water

One quick way to trick friends and family into believing that you can walk on water is with this nifty pool illusion. Continue reading to see more. Click here for first picture in gallery.


To create this pool illusion, this artist used two acrylic plates -- with about a foot of space in-between each -- and filled the middle with water. A secret entrance lets you walk right underneath (or on top of) the surface, without getting soaked.


Photo Photo Photo Photo

PC MAG REVIEW of the Blackberry Storm 9530 with Slideshow

BlackBerry Storm 9530
Blackberry Storm for Verizon Wireless Blackberry Storm: Left-Handed Menu Blackberry Storm: Right-Handed Menu


RIM's first touch-screen BlackBerry, the Storm 9530, has the first touch screen you can actually physically click. Combine this innovative display with global high-speed cellular, a high-resolution camera, and an improved Web browser and you have a BlackBerry that's poised to steal some of the iPhone's thunder in corporate circles and among those who prefer Verizon's network to AT&T's. Although the Storm hasn't yet hit the PC Magazine Labs for full testing, I was able to get some quality time with the device. And I liked what I saw.

red arrow Read the BlackBerry Storm 9530 full review

Spec Data
  • Price as Tested:
  • Service Provider: Verizon Wireless
  • Operating System: BlackBerry OS
  • Screen Size: 3.2 inches
  • Screen Details: 3.2", 480x360, 65k-color transmissive TFT LCD display
  • Camera: Yes
  • Megapixels: 3.2 MP
  • 802.11x: No
  • Bluetooth: Yes
  • Web Browser: Yes
  • Network: GSM, CDMA, UMTS
  • Bands: 850, 900, 1800, 1900, 2100
  • High-Speed Data: GPRS, 1xRTT, EDGE, UMTS, HSDPA, EVDO Rev 0, EVDO Rev A
  • Processor Speed: 500 MHz

Tablet Mac: Mac OS X on the touchscreen Gigabyte M912X netbook

Want an ultra-portable touchscreen tablet mac? Don’t look to Cupertino for this one; the closest thing you can get your hands today, for a reasonable price at least, is a Gigabyte M912x netbook running the Mac OS X 10.5.5. This is the Dell Mini OS X hack with a twist as the M912x is a touchscreen TabletPC netbook, swivel screen and all. The author provides no details on how he enabled full touchscreen support but from the video it appears to work rather well. He also added an internal 3G mod to enable 3G support and dual boots the Mac OS X with Vista. Awesome! With a starting price of $700, the M912x is a very attractive alternative to the rather pricey Modbook while we wait forever for Apple to decide to release its own tablet Mac. Happy hacking!


Pirates 4 Directed by Tim Buron and co-starring Sacha Cohen!

Another Update....

Big, big news on the next Pirates of the Caribbean movie, courtesy of one of our most reliable tipsters. Our proven informant (who we're forced to keep anonymous) wants you to know the following info should be taken with a "grain of salt and a dose of pepper," things are still in motion, but here goes anyway. Wondering how they're going to make a whole Pirates movie with just Jack Sparrow? Or who else might return? Read on!

Most excitingly, there are talks of Captain Jack having a brother in the next movie, possibly to be played by Sacha Baron Cohen (perfect!) or Russell Brand (even more perfect!) Of course, that's probably just fantasy casting, but why would either of those comedians turn the role down? As we've mentioned before, the new movie might kick off a trilogy, which would revolve around Captain Jack's search for the Fountain of Youth.

Geoffrey Rush and director Gore Verbinski are apparently both planning to return, but... and this is a big maybe... Tim Burton might direct instead. Tim Burton! If there is a single director who could make people excited for a fourth Pirates movie, it has to be Burton. He's done so many amazing movies with Depp already, and might have the ability to make the new franchise as fresh and exciting as it was when the first movie came out. After all, Tim Burton is already making a movie for Disney, and if Alice in Wonderland is going well, you can see how they'd want to hang on to him

Again, this information is all up in the air, and could change at any moment. But still, this is the best news we've heard about the next Pirates movie, and pretty much the magic bullet it'll take to make most of us care. Russell Brand, get on the phone with your agent, and make this happen!

Future Electronics Could Be Powered by Sugar

sugar power

Finally, scientists have come up with a way to combine my two favorite things: music and sugar. Japanese researchers report in the latest issue of Energy and Environmental Science that they have created a biofuel cell that uses enzymes to break down sugars. Four of the cells combined produce 100 milliwatts of power— enough to run an MP3 player with speakers or a remote-controlled car.

Each cell consists of an anode and cathode separated by a proton-conducting membrane. Sugar—or another renewable fuel— is oxidized at the nanode, where it generates electrons and protons. The electrons and protons then combine with oxygen at the cathode to form water.

The researchers amped up the cell’s energy output by using an electron transfer mediator to move electrons between the electrodes and enzymes.

The Japanese biofuel cell is the first to have an energy output high enough for practical applications, so hopefully it will unleash a flurry of interest in the field. And who knows—in the future, you may power even larger electronics with biofuel cells.

Photo Credit: RSC Publishing

Married Cambodian couple saw home in half after separation

A married couple in Cambodia who had "finally had enough" of each other have gone their separate ways by literally cutting their home in half.
Married Cambodian couple saw home in half after separation
The husband sawed off his half of the house following the split Photo: PHNOM PENH POST

The wife will stay put with the upright half while her husband has carried away his half to start again on the other side of the village.

Neighbours said the couple saw the radical action as the most cost-efficient and equitable way to avoid each other in a country where divorce lawyers can be expensive.

Vorng Morn, the headman of Cheach village, fifty miles from the capital Phnom Penh, told the Phnom Penh Post: "We tried to persuade them to think clearly before they did this because they had been married for nearly 40 years. But they did not listen."

Mr Morn refused to identify the couple to protect their privacy.

The impetus for the break up was the husband's alleged malingering, or the wife's alleged lack of care, depending on your point of view.

"His wife said that if her husband got sick and stayed at home, she was made to pay for his medicine, but if he stayed at his parent's house, she wouldn't have to pay. So they separated," said Mr Morn.

Following the spat, the husband's friends helped him move his wife's belongings to one side of the property, before chiselling and sawing half of the building off, in a drastic move that even Steptoe and Son did not quite manage.

Until he reconstructs his half of the marital home the husband will live with his mother and father.

Inside Dubai's labour camps (PICS)

'We need slaves to build monuments' A hidden army of exploited immigrant workers are building Dubai's skyscrapers.

Dubai labour camps

In certain areas up to 20 men share a room. UN agencies estimate that there are up to 300,000 illegal workers in the Emirates

article here

click here for pics | digg story

10 Ways to Eat More Bacon

Elvis, Metallica—everybody loves it!

By Kathryn Hawkins

Metallica’s tour rider notes: BACON VERY IMPORTANT THAT BACON BE AVAILABLE AT EVERY MEAL AND DURING DAY. [Caps are theirs.] Yes, bacon sure does rock. It’s crunchy, salty, and incredibly versatile. What other ingredient could fill the needs of every meal, whether chopped and sprinkled on a salad, served fresh out of the frying pan alongside a platter of scrambled eggs and hash browns, or even made into a sweet-salty dessert? Or incorporated into one of these more unusual foods:

1. Maple-Bacon Lollipops. Courtesy of online retailer Lollyphile, they include generous chunks of bacon encased in a maple-syrup shell, delivering a full maple-syrup-drenched pancake-and-bacon breakfast in candy form.

2. Chocolate-Covered Bacon. There are chocolate-covered peanuts, chocolate-covered raisins, chocolate-covered pretzels—so why not chocolate-covered bacon? If you pass through Santa Cruz, California, stop by Marini’s on the Beach Boardwalk for its version, or try Mo’s Bacon Bar from Vosges Haut-Chocolat, featuring bits of applewood-smoked bacon and smoked salt immersed in a rich milk-chocolate bar.

3. Bacon Chocolate-Chip Cookies. Conceived of by Andrea Hockett, author of the blog Never Bashful with Butter, they include bacon chunks and a topping of maple frosting with a bacon garnish, and were an instant Internet hit. However, 10 percent of her readers, says Hockett, complained that the cookies “weren’t bacony enough.”

4. Bacon-and-Egg Ice Cream. One of the most memorable menu items at London’s triple-Michelin-starred restaurant the Fat Duck is the Smoked-Bacon-and-Egg Ice Cream, Tomato Jam, Salted Butter Caramel, Caramelized Brioche, and Tea Jelly—a complete English breakfast, deconstructed for dessert. If you feel compelled to try it at home, check out Chef Heston Blumenthal’s step-by-step video.

5. Chicken-Fried Bacon. At the Sodolak’s Original Country Inn in Snook, Texas, you can buy a steak twice the size of your head—but the true highlight is the appetizer platter of chicken-fried bacon. The bacon is dipped in seasoned batter and deep-fried, then served piping hot with a side dish of cream gravy. Check out this news report about the dish from Texas Country Reporter.

6. Bacon Vodka. If your cocktails seem a little lightweight, it might be time to meaten them up with some bacon-infused vodka. This intoxicating brew is easy enough to make at home with a few strips of cooked bacon and a bottle of store-bought vodka—visit the food blog Brownie Points for DIY directions—or if you’d rather imbibe on the town, bacon-flavored vodka is available at Baltimore’s Captain Larry’s Bar and Grill and Jake’s Dixie Roadhouse in Waltham, Massachusetts, where the liquor is used to beef up the popular Bloody Marys. Or try a bacon martini in Vegas or New Orleans.

7. Bacon-Wrapped Tofu. Food blogger Makiko Itoh of Just Hungry decided to bring the two ingredients together because she believed that “tofu was getting bashed too much, and bacon revered too much.” She wanted “to show how a marriage between the two could work.” Or try this: Next time you order a veggie burger in a restaurant, get it topped with bacon—what we like to call “The Hypocrite.”

8. Fool’s Gold Loaf. This specialty from the late Colorado Gold Mine Restaurant features an entire loaf of Italian bread hollowed out and filled with peanut butter, grape jelly, and a full pound of fried bacon. The loaf technically serves 8 to 10 people—but its most famous fan, Elvis, would often chow down on the 42,000-calorie sandwich alone, as a midnight snack. Serious Eats has the recipe.

9. Bacon-Wrapped Tater Tots. Get your fix of meat and potatoes in the same bite with these delicious snacks from the ode-to-all-things-bacon blog Bacon Unwrapped. Blogger Heather Lauer’s rendition features wild boar bacon, but the traditional variety should work just as well.

10. BLT Salad in a “Bacontainer.” Bacon is more than a simple ingredient: It can also serve as a bowl, as in this creative dish from Megan Reardon of the DIY blog Not Martha. In devising her dish for a fellow food blogger’s bacon potluck party, Reardon wrapped raw bacon around the bottoms of muffin tins and baked them in the oven, then filled the bacon cups with a lettuce-and-tomato salad. Although she received many suggestions for other fillers, such as eggs, potato salad, and meatloaf, “I’m a little afraid that anything other than a salad veers dangerously into territory otherwise reserved for KFC Famous Bowls and deep-fried things you can find at county fairs,” she says.

Wall Street Wilts- Down almost 400 to under 9000

NEW YORK ( -- Stocks slumped Thursday afternoon - with the Dow falling below 9,000 - as the Treasury's eye on buying stakes in struggling banks failed to reassure investors amid the ongoing credit crisis.

Bank lending remained tight as nervous institutions continued to hoard cash. Treasury prices fell, raising their corresponding yields. The dollar gained versus the euro and the yen. Oil and gold prices fell.

With under an hour left in the session, the Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) had lost 255 points, or 2.8%, after hitting its lowest point since July 1, 2003. The Standard & Poor's 500 (SPX) index lost 2.5%. The Nasdaq composite (COMP) lost 1.4%.

All three major gauges were flirting with fresh five-year lows.

After seesawing through the morning, stocks turned lower in the afternoon, extending the recent slide. The Dow lost nearly 1600 points in the previous six sessions on growing skepticism that the financial markets can be stabilized.

Investors are trying to get accustomed to the new realities of the market, but aren't able to just yet, despite all the government actions, said Gary Webb, CEO at Webb Financial Group.

"What the Fed has done is eventually going to help turn things around, but people don't believe it yet," Webb said. "They're acting on fear."

Stocks fell Wednesday on pessimism about the economic outlook, despite an emergency rate cut from the Federal Reserve that was coordinated with central banks around the world.

The surprise cut was the latest step taken by the government over the past week in an attempt to unfreeze the credit markets and get banks to start lending to each other again. The lack of available capital has made it harder for businesses to function on a daily basis and for consumers to get loans, exacerbating the financial crisis.

On Thursday, the Treasury Department said it was actively looking at buying stakes in some of the country's banks, confirming earlier reports. The move would be made under the $700 billion bank bailout law enacted last week. The main focus of the bailout remains buying bad assets from banks. (Full story)

A better-than-expected earnings report from IBM had lifted the technology sector through the early afternoon. But any tech advance got washed out in the afternoon selloff. Oil services stocks declined along with oil prices. Shares of General Motors (GM, Fortune 500) and Ford Motor (F, Fortune 500) fell after a report said auto sales will hit recession levels this year and sink lower next year. (Full story)

On the economic front, weekly jobless claims edged off a seven-year high, but still outpaced forecasts. (Full story)

To put in perspective just how hard the stock market has been hit over the last 12 months: a year ago today the Dow closed at an all-time high of 14,164.53. As of Wednesday's close, it has lost 33%.

Glowing jellyfish earns Nobel Prize

(CNN) -- Research into the mysterious green glow of a jellyfish earned three scientists this year's Nobel Prize for Chemistry, the Nobel Foundation announced Wednesday.

Martin Chalfie

One of Martin Chalfie's first experiments involved using GFP to color individual cells in a transparent roundworm.

Osamu Shimomura of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts; Martin Chalfie of Columbia University; and Roger Tsien of the University of California at San Diego won for the discovery and development of the green fluorescent protein GFP.

Each will take a third of the prize.

GFP was first observed in 1962, in the crystal jellyfish which drifts with the currents off the west coast of North America.

Since then, the protein has become one of the most important tools in contemporary bioscience, the foundation said. Using GFP, researchers have developed ways to watch processes that were previously invisible, like the development of nerve cells or how cancer cells spread.

Osamu Shimomura, a Japanese citizen, was the first to isolate GFP from the crystal jellyfish, discovering that the protein glowed bright green under ultraviolet light.

American scientist Martin Chalfie demonstrated GFP's value as a luminous genetic tag in nature. One of Chalfie's first experiments, the foundation said, involved using GFP to color individual cells in a transparent roundworm.

Roger Tsien, also an American, extended the color palette beyond green. Researchers can now give various proteins and cells different colors, enabling them to follow different biological processes at the same time, the foundation said.

By using DNA technology, researchers can now connect GFP to other proteins that were previously invisible, or to various cells, the Nobel Foundation said. The glowing marker allows them to watch the movements, positions and interactions of whatever carries the glowing tag.

The Nobel Foundation said GFP can help with researching nerve cell damage during Alzheimer's disease or insulin-producing beta cells created in the pancreas of a growing embryo. In one spectacular experiment, researchers succeeded in tagging different nerve cells with "a kaleidoscope of colors" in the brain of a mouse, the foundation said.

Shimomura was born in Kyoto, Japan, and received a Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 1960 from Nagoya University. He is now professor emeritus at the Marine Biological Laboratory and Boston University Medical School.

Chalfie grew up in Chicago, Illinois, and received his Ph.D. in neurobiology from Harvard University in 1977. He is now a professor of biological sciences at Columbia University in New York.

Tsien was born in New York and received a Ph.D. in physiology from Cambridge University in 1977. He is a professor at UC-San Diego.

Adventures in eating: The taste of 3-day-old wet garbage?

by Blast Dirtpeck

There is this grocery store a short distance from my house called the Hong Kong Market, and it’s one of those “authentic” places that smells horrible and has all kinds of weird food products for sale. For example, their meat departments consists of all kinds of whole fish just sitting in these big cardboard boxes. It’s also the only place where I can buy various types guts, chicken feet, duck heads or a big container of blood. Now since I am a pasty white guy, I usually only go there to buy pasty-white-guy things like oolong tea and shitake mushrooms, but over the weekend we had some company and were feeling fairly adventurous, so we bought this giant prickly fruit called a durian.

A durian

If you haven’t heard of a durian, it’s probably because they are banned in most public places because they smell absolutely horrible, and as a result are kept in the freezer of my local Hong Kong market. They also are roughly the size of a football and look like the business end of some sort of medieval weapon. But apparently, many people view these things as a delicacy and some say that they actually taste really good, despite the off-putting smell. So anyways, we purchased one, brought it home and let it thaw out on the deck for a while.

After a few hours, we got a big knife and cut it open, and lemme tell you, people aren’t kidding when they say it smells absolutely terrible. In fact, the most accurate description I can think of to describe the smell is three-day-old wet garbage. Now many people might not even want to taste something that smelled like that, but against my better judgment, I scooped out some of the glop from the inside and tasted it.

To say this stuff tasted bad is an understatement. Instead, I would say that one experiences several different tastes while eating a durian. My taste progression went something like this:

  • Three-day-old wet garbage
  • Three-day-old wet garbage with some sugar on it
  • A sweet, rotten onion
  • Back to three-day-old wet garbage

As you can see, none of the four taste sensations I experienced are tastes that I enjoy, but I could also say that they are tastes that I had never experienced prior to last weekend, for whatever that’s worth.

Overall, a durian ranks #2 on the list of the grossest foods I have ever eaten, with sea urchin roe from a sushi place several years ago still holding down the #1 spot. So what am I saying with all this? Nothing really. If you really want to go eat a durian, knock yourself out. But don’t say you haven’t been warned.

This has been Andy sayin’, “Ahh, engineering. Where the noble semi-skilled laborers execute the vision of those who think and dream. Hello, oompa-loompas of science.”

Man found dead in suitcase was drug mule

The suitcase that contained the body found at Tibbetts Brook Park.

The suitcase that contained the body found at Tibbetts Brook Park. (Department of Public Safety)

Shawn Cohen
The Journal News

HAWTHORNE - The man found dead in a suitcase in Tibbetts Brook Park last week was a drug mule from the Dominican Republic who died from an apparent overdose after two packets of heroin leaked into his body, police said yesterday.

Authorities found 50 packets of heroin, with a street value of at least $100,000, inside the man's body. They believe he was likely dumped in the park by fellow drug mules after his accidental overdose.

The man, who has yet to be identified, apparently died one or two days before his body was discovered by a park worker in a new suitcase around noon Thursday, Westchester County police Detective Lt. Christopher Calabrese said.

Police said that the man had probably flown to the United States on a paid mission to deliver drugs, concealing them inside his body. He died before he was able to excrete the heroin. Calabrese speculated that fellow mules bought the suitcase and dumped the body before the dealers came to collect the drugs, not wanting the dealers to cut open the corpse to get at the heroin.

"There could be three, four, five of these mules working together," Calabrese said, explaining how the drug transport system works. "They may be on the same plane, they may be on different planes, but they've usually got to meet up at some place because they've got to pass the drugs. They usually meet in a hotel or motel, or in an apartment nearby. They may be there for a day, maybe two, until they get the drugs to come out.

"I'm very surprised this guy's not been cut open," Calabrese said. "Either we're talking about someone who's new in the business, or he met up with the other people who were transporting, and the guy who was coming to get the drugs was not there yet because he would have cut him."

Police said the dead man was in his 50s and was wearing a striped T-shirt. While he had no identification in his pockets, he was carrying items that tied him to the Dominican Republic, Calabrese said. They determined he has no criminal record in the United States after entering his fingerprints in a national criminal database and finding no matches.

In trying to identify the man, police circulated fliers with his photograph and pictures of his shirt and the bag. The luggage had an ATC symbol on it, though police said the bag was a counterfeit that was likely hastily purchased in this region, Calabrese said. Officers so far have been unable to locate the store where it was sold.

County police have reached out to Dominican authorities to help identify the man. The body is being held by the Westchester County Medical Examiner's Office. The results of toxicology tests won't be completed for several weeks.

"Even though the guy's a drug dealer, he's probably got family," Calabrese said. "He could have a wife, he could have kids. So we'd like to get him identified and get him back to where he belongs."

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call county police at 1-800-898-TIPS.

Reach Shawn Cohen at or 914-694-5046.

New pain relief that is eight times stronger than morphine

By Richard Alleyne Science Correspondent
Last Updated: 5:01pm BST 08/10/2008

A groundbreaking treatment for pain that is eight times stronger than morphine has been discovered by scientists.

The revolutionary technique involves an injection that can combat serious discomfort for more than three days - 14 times as long as morphine.

The substance, which can be injected, appears to have few side effects and works by neutralising the chemical in the body that causes the brain to feel pain.


A team at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Medicine have pinpointed the identity of a particular "pain protein" in nerve cells and have found a way of converting it from a substance that causes pain into ones that suppress it.

"This protein has the potential to be a groundbreaking treatment for pain," said lead study author Mark Zylka, assistant professor of cell and molecular physiology at UNC.

"We were really blown away that a simple injection could have such a potent effect on pain. Not only that, but it appeared to work much better than the commonly used drug morphine."

The study published in the journal Neuron involved injecting the protein prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP) into the spines of genetically modified mice who were in serious pain.

The new protein suppressed pain as effectively as morphine but for substantially longer. One dose of PAP lasted for up to three days, much longer than the five hours gained with a single dose of morphine.

When in distress, nerve cells release a chemical known as adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which in turn invokes a painful sensation. PAP converts the ATP into ademosine which actually suppresses pain.

"It is entirely possible that PAP itself could be used as a treatment for pain, through an injection just like morphine," Zylka said.

"But we would like to modify it to be taken in pill form. By taking this field in a new direction, we are encouraged and hopeful that we will be able to devise new treatments for pain."

Information appearing on is the copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited

Proposed ban ignites cigar smoker protests

City moves to broaden tobacco restrictions

Raymond Mansolillo, who puffed on a stogie at Churchill's Lounge in Boston Tuesday night, said city smoking regulations are ''killing small businesses.'' Behind him, Joe Murphy tended the bar. Raymond Mansolillo, who puffed on a stogie at Churchill's Lounge in Boston Tuesday night, said city smoking regulations are ''killing small businesses.'' Behind him, Joe Murphy tended the bar. (David Kamerman/Globe Staff)

By Donovan Slack Globe Staff / October 9, 2008

Rudyard Kipling famously wrote, "A woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a Smoke." Novelist Aldous Huxley called them "one of the major happinesses." And after World War I, US Vice President Thomas R. Marshall prescribed, "What this country really needs is a good five-cent cigar."

For years, Bostonians have confirmed these sentiments at any one of four cigar bars in the city, where patrons still can enjoy a fat Habano with a snifter of fine liqueur. The bars were exempt from the city's smoking ban that took effect in 2004.

But now city health officials are poised to revoke the exemption and order the bars closed, drawing angry protests at a public hearing yesterday and in interviews this week at the bars, where patrons fumed about the move over glasses of port and hand-rolled Rocky Patel Premiums.

Aficionados said the city's plan is an intrusion on their right to puff, and to savor.

"Where does it end?" Michael Bellody lamented, rolling a stubby Perdomo Habano between his fingers. "Let's ban window washing; someone could fall doing that. And let's ban joining the military; it's bad for public health because people could die."

The Boston Public Health Commission, which gave preliminary approval last month to a set of sweeping tobacco restrictions that includes banning the bars, said the measures are not intended to kill neighborhood businesses but to decrease the number of smoking-related deaths in the city.

Still, the protests have not gone unheeded. Mayor Thomas M. Menino said he is exploring the possibility of a compromise.

"I understand they've been there for a while and I want to work with the cigar bars," said Menino, who appointed the Public Health Commission. "I cannot during these tough economic times prevent them from doing business."

So far, however, the city has taken a hard line. Medical research suggests smoking cigars, cigarettes, or a hookah - a Middle Eastern water pipe with flavored tobacco - are all health risks, health officials say.

Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the city's Public Health Commission, said she doesn't want any more young people to pick up the deadly habits.

She said she wants to "de-normalize" smoking.

The restrictions, which face a final vote by the commission's seven-member board on Nov. 13, also would ban smoking on outdoor patios at restaurants and other businesses and prohibit tobacco sales on college campuses and by all drug stores in the city.

"Ideally, I'd like to say by 2025 that we don't have anybody smoking," Ferrer said.

The push has sparked debate about how much government intervention is too much, how far into private lives government should reach, and why, in a tough economy, the city would propose shutting down viable businesses.

Cigar Masters co-owner Brett Greenfield said he and his partners invested $270,000 in the Back Bay bar, relying on the smoking ban exemption.

"We're in a 20-year lease and they want to shut us down," Greenfield said. "There aren't people who are in there who are expecting to not be around second-hand smoke."

At Stanza Dei Sigari in the North End, one passionate smoker said the move violates her rights as much a government ban on abortion. "It's like pro-life, pro-choice. That's how I think of it," said Stacey Kennison, sipping a glass of red wine with a friend. "It's my decision."

Across from Faneuil Hall at Churchill's Lounge, a medical sales associate noted the irony of such government intervention in the so-called Cradle of Liberty.

"This is where it all started; this is where we decided that we would decide for ourselves what is right," said Chuck Yourch, who enjoys the "thick and meaty" taste of a Rocky Patel with his Perrier. "Now they're going to decide what we can do with our time, our bodies, and our money? This crosses a line."

And a lawyer asked how government had the power to shut down family-owned neighborhood businesses selling legal products.

"Doesn't the health department have better things to do with their time? They're killing small businesses," said Raymond Mansolillo, who was puffing a stogie at Churchill's.

Public health advocates who spoke at the public hearing yesterday cited research that shows smoking kills. Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health said allowing smoking anywhere in Boston sends the wrong message - especially to younger people who might take up the extremely addictive habit.

Professor Greg Connolly said antismoking initiatives in the past decade have been successful at stamping out tobacco use, with smoking related deaths in Boston falling from about 1,150 per year to roughly 860.

Donovan Slack can be reached at

Gloucester OK's contraceptives

Will allow distribution at high school

Gloucester decides on contraceptives for high school (Latoyia Edwards, NECN) - The school committee of Gloucester, Massachusetts will allow the distribution of contraceptives in the city's high school.

By Jeannie M. Nuss Globe Correspondent / October 9, 2008

GLOUCESTER - The School Committee voted unanimously last night to allow contraceptives to be distributed at the high school after a report of a pregnancy pact pushed Gloucester into the spotlight earlier this year.

The plan allows parents and guardians to withdraw their children from the contraceptive program. The new policy will take effect after the school board votes on the final language of the parental consent form.

About 20 parents and students gathered at City Hall to discuss providing contraceptives, with parental consent, through the school's health clinic or continuing the current policy of no contraceptives.

Gloucester made national headlines in June when Time magazine reported that several teenagers entered into a pact to get pregnant and raise their babies together.

Although Mayor Carolyn Kirk said the pact did not exist, the controversy pushed the School Committee into a series of debates about the merits of providing contraceptives at the school's health clinic.

School Superintendent Christopher Farmer agreed with last night's decision.

"People are increasingly realizing the lives of adolescents now are very complex," he said. "We have a significant number of teenagers who are sexually active."

After some debate, the seven School Committee members agreed on the importance of health and sexual education and an informed student and parent population.

"The parents need to be mindful of their obligation to their children," said Val Gilman, secretary of the committee.

Gloucester has been trying to decide how to deal with the 17 pregnancies reported at the high school last academic year. The number was four times the average for the 1,200-student school.

Dr. Lauren Smith, medical director for the state Department of Public Health, said the city's teen birth rate declined from 45.7 per 1,000 residents in 1990 to 21.1 in 2006, almost the same as the state rate of 21.3.

The school board also cautioned parents to consider the options.

"I put out a challenge to the parents to self-reflect," said Melissa Teixeira, a committee member. "Ask yourself are you approachable? . . . Please strongly consider your choice to opt out or not."

A recent Gloucester school survey conducted by students indicated that 86 percent of students support the distribution of contraceptives and 49 percent felt uncomfortable talking to their parents about sex.

"I'm happy about it," Pam Tobey, a 16-year-old junior and the secretary of the Student Advisory Council, said last night. "This is what everyone wanted. It's a big issue. I do think the majority [of students] would want it, but there should be limits - age, routine check-ups."

"Freshmen can barely keep up with their classes let alone learn to take the pill."

Fran Palmer, grandmother of Gloucester High student Kyla Brown, a 17-year-old who recently had a child, said she supports the distribution of contraceptives with parental consent.

"I think it should be done the proper way, which would require education," she said.

At the meeting last night, Kirk acknowledged the importance of education and said there is a clear message that the majority of students support the contraceptive distribution and that parents need to be informed.

Several board members voiced uncertainty about distributing the birth control pill, but the committee agreed it would impossible to allow some forms of contraception and not others.

"I think we all know this is a controversial issue," said Greg Verga, committee chairman.

"We are not going to please everybody."

Merger Advice for the year 2009

With all the turmoil in the market today and the collapse of Lehman Bros and Acquisition of Merrill Lynch by Bank of America this might be some good advice. For all of you with any money left, be aware of the next expected mergers so that you can get in on the ground floor and make some BIG bucks.

Watch for these consolidations in later this year:

1.) Hale Business Systems, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Fuller Brush, and W R. Grace Co. Will merge and become:
Hale, Mary, Fuller, Grace.

2.) Polygram Records, Warner Bros., and Zesta Crackers join forces and become:
Poly, Warner Cracker.

3.) 3M will merge with Goodyear and become:

4. Zippo Manufacturing, Audi Motors, Dofasco, and Dakota Mining will merge and become:
ZipAudiDoDa .

5. FedEx is expected to join its competitor, UPS, and become:

6. Fairchild Electronic s and Honeywell Computers will become:
Fairwell Honeychild.

7. Grey Poupon and Docker Pants are expected to become:

8. Knotts Berry Farm and the National Organization of Women will become:
Knott NOW!

And finally...

9. Victoria 's Secret and Smith &Wesson will merge under the new name:

A Closer Look: The 2008 American Mustache of the Year

To be honest, any email that’s sent to me over a list serve is rarely opened. However, last week one masterpiece caught my attention. The title “Goulet finalists announced” from the American Mustache Institute radiated out of my 2,814 unread messages and begged to be opened. The upper lip follicles are a beautiful thing . . . and since the age of 15, I have encompassed an uncanny fascination with the ability to grow one.

However, despite being the hairiest of my three brothers, I am deterred from mustache glory by a “patch” default. However, the American Mustache Institute has taken the sport of ’staching to the next level. It was the bottom of their email that let me know they were for real about this entire endeavor:

Disclaimer: AMI supports healthy, performance enhancing-free mustaches that contain no pesticides. Mustaches should be worn at the individual’s own risk, and AMI is not responsible for mustaches that make men look like child molesters or Dave Navarro. Wearing a “Dictator” mustache may lead to repeated beatings. Mustaches should not be worn by women who hope to find employment outside of waste collection or who are looking for male companionship. If your mustache causes you to have an erection for more than four hours, seek immediate attention from a doctor, spouse, girlfriend, or Dave Navarro. In extremely rare cases, mustaches may cause significant decreases in sexual activity, friendships, and approval by society at large. Unibrows, commonly referred to as “forehead mustaches,” are not recognized by AMI. AMI does not support chin coverage (i.e. beards, goatees) as they represent the “spousal compromise.” The vast majority of mustache wearers have highly positive responses from friends, exotic dancers and grade school teachers. AMI strongly encourages consulting a physician before exploring your personal mustache capabilities, as premature mustache growth may lead to feelings of despair and depression. AMI cautions against trusting clean-shaven officers of the law. If a mustache-free constable attempts to stop your vehicle, dial 911 and proceed to the nearest police station, where a squadron of heavily mustached officers will greet you with open arms. Please consider the environment before shaving your mustache, and when considering your presidential choices in 2008, remember that Bob Barr is the first mustached American presidential candidate since Thomas E. Dewey in 1948.

*This was NOT sent from a Blackberry, as mustached Americans neither own, nor have the ability, to operate Blackberrys.

So I found that disclaimer more entertaining than the singing Indian guy my friend paid to call me earlier that day for my birthday. Then they appeared on ESPN promoting the Robert Goulet Memorial Mustached American of the Year Award, and it had me rolling:

With all the hype built up around the Memorial Mustached American of the Year Award, the AMI has posted their 16 worthy furry lipped Americans. Fortunately, no women were among those selected. Out of those 16, I have selected my top 4 Americans:

Bob Barr is the Libertarian Party’s nominee for President of the United States, and the first Mustached American candidate to seek the office of the presidency since Thomas E. Dewey in 1948. Throughout his distinguished career, Barr has proven that he is a leader Americans need to restore confidence in the future of United States. Both working for the American people as a Congressman from Georgia, and afterwards partnering with groups dedicated to protecting civil liberties, Bob has shown a commitment to shrinking government and giving power back to the people.

Why Bob Barr? Not only is he a presidential candidate, but the mustache is off color from the rest of his hair. It stands out, thus, he stands out. Go for the stache Obama, its only rival is the tumor on McCain’s face.

Actor, musician, and film director Jay Della Valle not only wears a mustache with style, but he actively promotes the mustache where ever he goes. The mastermind behind “The Glorius (sic) Mustache Challenge” documentary, Jay has inspired thousands of young men to rock the ’stache. It’s been written he “has done more for the mustache then Daisy Duke has done for short shorts,” and women have claimed to have dated Jay based on his mustache.”

Porn stache? No, this stache has earned the respect and admiration of millions. I once heard it empowered Jay to impregnate 39 women and a mermaid on a cross country road trip.

Cleveland Brown, best known as a star of FOX’s popular show “Family Guy,” says he loves his mustache, “because the ladies love the tickle.” But Cleveland, as well as his mustache, represent far more. As both an African American and being of Mustached American descent – all of his life Cleveland has suffered through the harsh discrimination one faces as a double minority in the small, predominately white and bare-lipped burg of Quahog, Rhode Island. But Cleveland’s candidacy for the “Goulet” award represents a turning point in his career, and success not often achieved by Mustached Americans. After his wife Loretta had “relations” with his good friend Quagmire, and following a falling out with “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane – known to be an anti-Mustached American – Cleveland went to the executives at FOX and negotiated a move that will take him to Virginia to star in his own show, tentatively titled “The Cleveland Show,” set to premiere sometime in 2009. His celebrity, bravery, and willingness to work with FOX to achieve his goals clearly make him a qualified candidate.

Honestly, there’s no reason not to vote for Quagmire.

Tim Galvin is tough. In his teens, after being notified of sharks in a river, he proceeded to jump in where his leg was bitten by a shark. A former college football player, as a young cop in New York, he was known to informants and criminals simply as “’Stache,” as he wore handlebars at that time. He was forced into early retirement after being shot in the face and in the upper leg while arresting a criminal. The Irishman has played the bagpipes for about 15 years now and is as Irish as they come, and everywhere he goes, he wears his respect-demanding full mustache. Tim has touched countless lives with his kindness and sense of humor, but also his stern fist which he isn’t afraid to put down. He is a loving husband, a caring father and a hero to everyone that knows him. His family believes he personifies the type of individual sought for the Goulet award: a proud man who is defined by his signature mustache as much as he is defined by his character and integrity.

If I grow up to be half the man that Tim has become, I will surely go down in the history books as well.

To celebrate this all, the AMI is throwing Stache Bash 2008 at the Lumiere Casino, St. Louis on Oct. 25. Some common questions answered about the party that they answered on the site:

Do I Need a Mustache? - No, but you’d look better in one.

Tickets - Tickets are $22 online (includes shipping) and $25 at the door. This gets you great live music by The Takedown, Vijoy Rao & The Removers, and Hazard 2 Ya Booty (yes, they are that hot); an open bar with beer and wine (liquor costs),a $5 gaming coupon for the casino, an act of fire-eating performers, free concert tickets and other stuff from 105.7 The Point, and a good looking fake mustache (can any mustache look bad?).

Can I Get a Beating? - The American Mustache Institute reserves the right to refuse admittance, or have you removed from the event, if you are stupid, ridiculously intoxicated, act like a knucklehead, or voice praise for Dave Navarro.

What is AMI? - You can read about our full history here, but AMI is the only facial hair think tank and advocacy organization in the world which has fought against a long pattern of discrimination against the Mustached American community since its secret formation in the 1960s. In the 1990s, AMI went public and began putting on events known as ‘Stache Bash in St. Louis, home of the world’s largest mustache - the Gateway Arch.

All Americans should make an attempt to journey out to St. Louis for this historic event. Not only will the winner bear the greatest mustache in America, he will also be the envy of every man, woman, and puberty-ridden boy. God bless America.

UFOs 'have been here since 1947'

UFOs exist and have been here since 1947, according to a British expert.

The US Air Force released this 1972 photo of a Viking space probe awaiting recovery at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico as part of its report on the 'Roswell Incident' of 1947
The US Air Force released this 1972 photo of a Viking space probe awaiting recovery at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico as part of its report on the 'Roswell Incident' of 1947 Photo: REUTERS

Editor of UFO Data Magazine Philip Mantle is set to unveil his findings at an international conference this month.

He investigated the site in Roswell, New Mexico where many people believe there was an alien crash landing. He analysed rock, earth and vegetation.

The area is surrounded by charred trees and bushes and a mysterious blue substance that dribbles down rocks.

US physician Dr Ronald Rau said in the 1940s high levels of radiation pointed to a ship landing there in the 1940s.

The area in the Nogal Canyon is close to the well-known Socorro desert site where experts say another object appeared to have landed in 1964.

Mr Mantle said: "A good friend of mine Ed Gerham first found the site and I flew over as soon as I could.

"It was a real find and as soon as I arrived there I knew what a special and peculiar place it was. There is nothing around it for around 70 miles, it is literally in the middle of nowhere.

"Us Brits really have beaten the Americans at their own game and it is really great that we have done that. It really is revolutionary for the UFO world."

Mr Mantle is set to reveal his full findings at the UFO Data Annual Conference later this month in Leeds.

The Reporter's Notebook from Dean Reynolds is very telling

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October 7, 2008

Reporter's Notebook: Seeing How The Other Half Lives

From CBS News' Dean Reynolds:

(NASHVILLE, TENN.) - After most of the previous 12 months covering Barack Obama's campaign for the presidency, it was interesting, instructive and, well, relaxing to follow John McCain for the last few days. The differences between the two are striking.

Obama is the big time orator, McCain is the guy who struggles with a teleprompter or even note cards strategically placed nearby. Obama's crowds are larger, more enthusiastic. McCain's events are smaller, but to my eye, better choreographed. And now with the addition of Sarah Palin to some of his events, McCain can boast of crowds that match Obama's in energy.

There is an urgency to the McCain campaign now that I don't think was there before. Due to the fact that he is running second, no doubt, but it may also be because McCain has a finishing kick. Whatever the case, he is sharper on the stump than he was before. (Though I would suspect a candidate running behind would want to schedule two or three appearances per day, instead of the one McCain usually does.)

It is true that McCain enjoys taking questions from the audience in town hall-style settings. That doesn't mean he is the master of that kind of forum, it just means he's good at it. He likes to converse with voters. Obama does it well too, but seldom achieves that intangible bond with the people that all politicians crave -- or fake.

Behind the scenes, where the public is not allowed, there are other differences.

Obama's campaign schedule is fuller, more hectic and seemingly improvisational. The Obama aides who deal with the national reporters on the campaign plane are often overwhelmed, overworked and un-informed about where, when, why or how the candidate is moving about. Baggage calls are preposterously early with the explanation that it's all for security reasons.

If so, I would love to have someone from Oba ma's campaign explain why the entire press corps, the Secret Service, and the local police idled for two hours in a Miami hotel parking lot recently because there was nothing to do and nowhere to go. It was not an isolated case.

The national headquarters in Chicago airily dismisses complaints from journalists wondering why a schedule cannot be printed up or at least e-mailed in time to make coverage plans. Nor is there much sympathy for those of us who report for a newscast that airs in the early evening hours. Our shows place a premium on live reporting from the scene of campaign events. But this campaign can often be found in the air and flying around at the time the "CBS Evening News with Katie Couric" is broadcast. I suspect there is a feeling within the Obama campaign that the broadcast networks are less influential in the age of the internet and thus needn't be accomodated as in the days of yore. Even if it's true, they are only hurting themselves by dissing audiences that run in the tens of millions every night.

The McCain folks are more helpful and generally friendly. The schedules are printed on actual books you can hold in your hand, read, and then plan accordingly. The press aides are more knowledgeable and useful to us in the news media. The events are designed with a better eye, and for the simple needs of the press corps. When he is available, John McCain is friendly and loquacious. Obama holds news conferences, but seldom banters with the reporters who've been following him for thousands of miles around the country. Go figure.

The McCain campaign plane is better than Obama's, which is cramped, uncomfortable and smells terrible most of the time. Somehow the McCain folks manage to keep their charter clean, even where the press is seated.

The other day in Albuquerque, N.M., the reporters were given almost no time to file their reports after McCain spoke. It was an important, aggressive speech, lambasting Obama's pa st associations. When we asked for more time to write up his remarks and prepare our reports, the campaign readily agreed to it. They understood.

Similar requests are often denied or ignored by the Obama campaign aides, apparently terrified that the candidate may have to wait 20 minutes to allow reporters to chronicle what he's just said. It's made all the more maddening when we are rushed to our buses only to sit and wait for 30 minutes or more because nobody seems to know when Obama is actually on the move.

Maybe none of this means much. Maybe a front-running campaign like Obama's that is focused solely on victory doesn't have the time to do the mundane things like print up schedules or attend to the needs of reporters.

But in politics, everything that goes around comes around.

How much are you paying for being Apple?

We all think Apple products are a little overpriced, but hey, you’re paying for the brand, quality and the tight integration. But considering you can install plain old vanilla OS X on a PC with similar hardware to the Mac, how much are you paying premium just for the Apple logo?

It’s now trivial to install plain old Mac OS X vanilla on regular PC’s using the EFIX stick. You can even install updates directly from Apple using this method. Alternatively, you could install one of the many EFI emulators out there. And, if you choose your hardware carefully, you’ll get out of the box support for everything from graphics to sound.

In this article we’re going to configure a PC, with the same spec hardware to the hi-grade iMac, and then do a price comparison.

The Mac


There’s not much you can say but ‘Ouch, that’s a lot of money'. I think we all appreciate the design and elegance of Apple products, but is it really worth it?

The PC

It seems that just about everyone is using Newegg, and they’ve got pretty good deals, so we decided to use them for this article.

imageimage image

I chose an Antec case – it’s brand name, black and has a decent power supply. You can go crazy here, from the ‘Three Hundred’ to the smaller barebones cases – it’s all up to you, just make sure the motherboard fits in. You can also opt for a DVD or Blu-Ray burner.

Which brings us to a total of $1,178.90 for a Hackintosh.


Less than half of an iMac with the same specs. That includes a nice black case, 2×500GB SATA, a good 24-inch LCD monitor, high quality keyboard and wireless laser mouse.

Let’s assume that you’re not willing to put the computer together yourself; maybe you don't have the skills or the time, and you pay a friend 200$. Maybe add 50$ for EFIX and 120$ for a Mac OS X.


That leaves you with 1,121$ in your pocket.

While building yourself a MacBook isn’t possible – building your own Mac Mini, iMac or Mac Pro is certainly a good idea – and saves you money.

Is that white Apple logo worth it? Tell us in the comments.

Stefan Neagu is the author of the Tux Geek Blog where he discusses network security, linux and other issues regarding the tech world. He's a student, an amateur C# programmer and photoshopper.

Top 10 Most Dangerous Geeks & Hackers of 2008

CLICK FOR MORE: The Internet's Top 10 Most Controversial Figures of 2008

Dan Kaminsky
Dan Kaminsky
Julian Assange
Julian Assange
Anne Wojcicki and Linda Avey
Anne Wojcicki and Linda Avey
Charlie Miller
Charlie Miller
Brad Fitzpatrick
Brad Fitzpatrick
HD Moore
HD Moore
Jon Lech Johansen aka DVD Jon
Jon Lech Johansen, aka "DVD Jon"
Joe Stewart
Joe Stewart
Jacob Appelbaum

A digital security reporter for the Washington Post weights in for Popular Mechanics -- with detailed profiles and interviews -- on the Internet's Top 10 Most Controversial Figures of 2008. From hackers to DNA decoders to copyright crackers, each of these elite members of the technorati have caused enough of a stir in the online community...

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