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Thursday, December 4, 2008

NZ teen makes surfing history

RISING STAR: Paige Hareb has become the first New Zealand woman to break into the elite World Championship surfing tour.

Rising Kiwi sports sensation Paige Hareb is trying to pull herself down from "cloud nine" as she comes to grips with creating New Zealand surfing history while readying herself to take on the world's best women surfers in Hawaii's giant waves.

The 18-year-old from Oakura Beach yesterday became the first New Zealand woman to qualify for the elite World Championship Tour, a $US1m annual circuit known as "The Dream Tour" and limited to the best 18 surfers in the world.

For the fitness-driven Hareb, it meant giving herself a rare 24 hours off training to soak in her amazing achievement of qualifying for the Dream Tour only one year into a three-year plan to achieve the goal.

"We had a barbecue last night to celebrate, and I got a few calls from New Zealand from friends and family which was really cool," said Hareb from Sunset Beach in Hawaii where results in the World Cup WCT event yesterday confirmed her Dream Tour elevation.

"I had a couple of champagnes and it was really good to just sit back for a moment or two and reflect on the year which has been really hectic but is now really rewarding. But I can't sit back too much.

"I've been given a wildcard entry into the last Dream Tour event of the year, the Billabong Pro on Maui starting next week, and I really want to take advantage of that, so I can't afford to relax.

"It's a chance to test myself against the world champion Stephanie Gilmore of Australia and the other top women professionals ahead of the 2009 Dream Tour. They're the competitors I will have to face regularly next year so the sooner I front up to them the better, as far as I'm concerned."

It is that fighting attitude from Hareb that has propelled her to the elite of her sport.

A stunning 2008 campaign on the World Qualifying Series circuit, the tier below the Dream Tour, paved the way for Hareb's breakthrough with a win in the five-star Drug Aware Pro at Margaret River in Australia mid-year proving a critical triumph.

"I finished the year seventh on the WQS rankings and the top six qualify for the Dream Tour," explained Hareb. "But because the bottom ranked girls on the Dream Tour drop out and are replaced by the top six from the WQS, a lot of the girls do both tours.

"If you double qualify (finish in the top six of the WQS), it doesn't matter if you finish low on the Dream Tour. You still qualify again. So I had to rely on one of the girls ahead of me on the WQS rankings finishing in the top 10 of the Dream Tour this year.

"That happened when Silvana Lima from Brazil finished second to Steph at Sunset. Silvana had finished ahead of me on the WQS but because she was also top 10 on the Dream Tour, she double qualified which meant I got promoted from 7th to 6th.

"I guess I owe Silvana a drink next time I see her!"

Hareb admitted to being slightly "overwhelmed" by her achievement.

"I wasn't expecting to make the Dream Tour in my first year," she said. "I was actually going to concentrate on junior events in Australia and just compete in the odd WQS event for experience this year.

"I thought 2010 was a realistic year to target making the Dream Tour. But this year just took off for me, I gained confidence very contest and things have developed from there - I'm stoked in how it's gone."

Best Xmas Tune? Willie and Colbert's Ode to Weed

By Scott Thill Email

A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All has redefined the holiday special for the new millennium. But it may also have redefined holiday songs for the 21st century as well, especially Willie Nelson and Stephen Colbert's "Little Dealer Boy." Think "Little Drummer Boy" 2.0, substitute the phrase "finest gifts" for marijuana, and you're there.

Or better yet, just check out the video of the entire song at right. It's a double-exposure romp that might make Jesus blush, if he wasn't already rumored to have used cannabis himself. After all, as Willie sings in the duet, cannabis is a "plant that smokes more sweetly than either frankincense or myrrh."

If you like the tune, you're probably going to love the rest of the bizarro standards found A Colbert Christmas, out now as an iTunes-only digital EP. Heck, you might even dig Toby Keith's War-On-Christmas shocker "Have I Got a Present For You," the very track that had me worried that Colbert's holiday special might suck.

Boy, was I wrong about that.

Meanwhile, "Little Dealer Boy" has caught some flak on Colbert Nation, but I think it is one of the finest Christmas tunes ever laid down. Am I high? Post a comment below and let me know.

Xbox 360 Jasper: What's changed?

By Andrew Webster

Anyone who has purchased an Xbox 360 lately might have received the latest version of the console, dubbed the Jasper. This most recent update is expected to improve the reliability issues that have plagued the console since its launch. However, we've heard this story from Microsoft before. So what exactly is new in this latest iteration to make the 360 a more reliable piece of hardware?

Of course, the biggest change is the newly redesigned motherboard, which should help alleviate the infamous Red Ring of Death problem. Attached to the motherboard is a new 65-nanometer graphic chip. This new chip will consume less power and run cooler.

The new versions of the Arcade unit also feature the addition of 256MB of internal memory. "We are constantly updating the console's more than 1,700 internal components," a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed to Xbox 360 Fanboy. "We can confirm that we are moving to internal memory for the Xbox 360 Arcade." Essentially, this additional internal storage replaces the 256MB memory unit that used to come with 360 Arcade units.

The only other change that we currently know of is that the console also includes a new 150-watt power supply, as opposed to the previous 175-watt version. These changes were most likely made in order to support the New Xbox Experience, which requires a great deal of the 360's processing power. Hopefully, these changes will all add up to a more hard, longer-lasting system.

Mozilla-based iTunes rival "Songbird" takes flight

Mozilla-based iTunes rival "Songbird" takes flight

By Katie Marsal

Published: 12:00 PM EST

A multi-year effort to deliver an open-source and customizable iTunes rival came to fruition this week with the release of Songbird 1.0, but whether it will sway some users from the Apple jukebox software remains to be seen.

The cross-platform player is available as a free download for Intel-based Macs, Windows and Linux. It's based on the same Gecko rendering engine that drives Mozilla's Firefox browser but comes wrapped in an extensible user interface that could easily be mistaken for iTunes.

Unlike the Apple media software, whose features are governed by the iPod maker and its licensing agreements, Songbird prides itself on extensibility through add-ons that allow you to customize the media player experience through collapsable panels and gain new functionality.

In addition to support for QuickTime playback and a variety of iPods, the inaugural release includes four other add-ons by default. Among them are SHOUTcast radio streaming, Scrobbling, and Songkick integration for discovering and acquiring concert tickets related to artists in your library.

Another highly touted add-on is mashTape, which displays Flickr photos, YouTube videos, artist biographies, news items and other web content related to the artist currently playing. Dozens of other add-ons can be downloaded from Songbird's website.

For file formats, Songbird currently supports MP3, FLAC, and Vorbis on all platforms; WMA on Windows; and AAC on Windows and Mac. It's quick to import full iTunes libraries -- including DRM-wrapped tracks -- and maintains their associated metadata. For playback, the software uses the high-performance and open-source GStreamer multimedia framework.

Songbird's user interface was designed to be familiar to Apple iTunes users.

Still, there are a number of limitations and potential roadblocks that may combine to slow adoption of the new player, which also features a built-in web browser.

For example, Songbird 1.0 lacks CD ripping capabilities, and its list of compatible devices omits the most recent generation of iPods and all of Apple's Mac OS-based handhelds, including the iPhone and iPod touch. Zune is also unsupported, though support for all these devices, CD ripping, broader video support, and others are all on the software's roadmap.

A mashTape add-on displays related web content as songs play.

Another big question mark is what, if any, measures Apple will take to prevent Songbird compatibility with its software and media players going forward. The company has recently moved to squash efforts from open-source competitors aiming to develop products compatible with its iPod+iTunes ecosystem.

Ancient lost city discovered deep in Amazonian rainforest

.... linked to the legendary white-skinned Cloud People of Peru

By Daily Mail Reporter

A lost city discovered deep in the Amazon rainforest could unlock the secrets of a legendary tribe.

Little is known about the Cloud People of Peru, an ancient, white-skinned civilisation wiped out by disease and war in the 16th century.

But now archaeologists have uncovered a fortified citadel in a remote mountainous area of Peru known for its isolated natural beauty.

An ancient Chachapoyas village located close to the area where the lost city was found

An ancient Chachapoyas village located close to the area where the lost city was found

It is thought this settlement may finally help historians unlock the secrets of the 'white warriors of the clouds'.

The tribe had white skin and blonde hair - features which intrigue historians, as there is no known European ancestry in the region, where most inhabitants are darker skinned.

The citadel is tucked away in one of the most far-flung areas of the Amazon. It sits at the edge of a chasm which the tribe may have used as a lookout to spy on enemies.

The area where the lost city was discovered by a team of archaeologists

The area where the lost city was discovered by a team of archaeologists


The Chachapoyas, also called the Warriors of the Clouds, were an Andean people living in the cloud forests of the Amazonian region of present-day Peru

The main encampment is made up of circular stone houses overgrown by jungle over 12 acres, according to archaeologist Benedict Goicochea Perez.

Rock paintings cover some of the fortifications and next to the dwellings are platforms believed to have been used to grind seeds and plants for food and medicine.

The Cloud People once commanded a vast kingdom stretching across the Andes to the fringes of Peru's northern Amazon jungle, before it was conquered by the Incas.


The city was found in Amazonian rainforest in northern Peru


A mummy of a baby from the Chachapoyas culture

Named because they lived in rainforests filled with cloud-like mist, the tribe later sided with the Spanish-colonialists to defeat the Incas.

But they were killed by epidemics of European diseases, such as measles and smallpox.

Much of their way of life, dating back to the ninth century, was also destroyed by pillaging, leaving little for archaeologists to examine.

Remains have been found before but scientists have high hopes of the latest find, made by an expedition to the Jamalca district in Peru's Utcubamba province, about 500 miles north-east of the capital, Lima.

Until recently, much of what was known about the lost civilisation was from Inca legends.

Even the name they called themselves is unknown. The term Chachapoyas, or 'Cloud People', was given to them by the Incas.

Their culture is best known for the Kuellap fortress on the top of a mountain in Utcubamba, which can only be compared in scale to the Incas' Machu Picchu retreat, built hundreds of years later.

Two years ago, archaeologists found an underground burial vault inside a cave with five mummies, two intact with skin and hair.

Chachapoyas chronicler Pedro Cieza de Leon wrote of the tribe: 'They are the whitest and most handsome of all the people that I have seen, and their wives were so beautiful that because of their gentleness, many of them deserved to be the Incas' wives and to also be taken to the Sun Temple.

'The women and their husbands always dressed in woollen clothes and in their heads they wear their llautos [a woollen turban], which are a sign they wear to be known everywhere.'

Enlarge Peru

Secret civilisation: a map of the region where the settlement was found

The Chachapoyas' territory was located in the northern regions of the Andes in present-day Peru.

It encompassed the triangular region formed by the confluence of the Maranon and Utcubamba rivers, in the zone of Bagua, up to the basin of the Abiseo river.

The Maranon's size and the mountainous terrain meant the region was relatively isolated.

New Xbox 360 Portable

My latest project is the Xbox 360 Portable. Figured that was a more appropriate name than laptop, because seriously, who’d put this in their lap? It weighs almost as much as my sister’s cat.

New Xbox 360 Portable Experience

It differs from my past Xbox 360 laptops in several ways:

  • Removable standard Xbox 360 hard drive for easy profile/data swapping
  • Both memory card slots accessible, same reason.
  • No keyboard! Really, they have those chat pads, what’s the point? (Besides looking cool)
  • Simplified layout of ports and buttons.
  • Internal wi-fi module, no external antenna. Antenna is strung out inside unit like other consoles/laptops.
  • Beveled edges! Countersunk screws!

Containing the full-sized 360 hard drive caused this unit to be about 1/2″ thicker than past models.

For a bunch more photos and info please read the rest of the story below. The THQ Darksiders prize laptop is the same model as this one but covered with artwork of course.

This black unit was a commissioned model, as for new large-project orders I probably can’t take more until the spring. If you do wish to suggest a project to me remember weirder is always better!

Demonstration Video:

More finished product photos:

Shiny lid can be used to signal airplanes if you ever get Lost on an island with Evangeline Lily.

The unit when opened. There is a brushed aluminum plate on the back with the same Xbox 360 logo as some of my past projects. Originally this was going to be a blank black top (with logo) but I added the plate to cover up some pre-existing material scratches and to allow some “case gaps” behind the screen circuitry.

For some reason this reminds me of a skeleton breastplate - don't ask me why!

Inside of the unit. Again we have brushed aluminum, though this is the faux plastic kind. Still looks good. The keyboard has been replaced with something more important - lots of air holes. No keyboard also allows for the hard drive compartment…

There is one more chip...

Lift the Velcro-secured upper left panel to reveal the full-sized hard drive. Looking back now a non-removable hard drive and no memory card access was a pretty stupid thing to omit on my past projects. I guess you live and learn.

I C U!!!!!

Once again we have an Xbox Live Vision camera. Truthfully I don’t know what the purpose of this thing is, other than to see grainy video of people contemplating UNO moves, but people seem to like it so it’s back again. The controls from the LCD are also present, so adjustments can be made if need be.

Xbox portable - now with cheesy Mii rip-off characters!

Installing Gears of War 2: Attack of the Giant Worm on the Xbox 360 Portable. Game installs are a great feature on NXE since they alleviate the need for the super-noisy DVD drive, which is even handier on a unit such as this. Reduces power consumption as well.

Gears of War 2: Now with Third Color! (orange)

Noisy DVD tray ejected. You can see the eject button just above. This unit does not have an exposed IR sensor as with previous models. It’s a lot easier to have everything on one surface (such as the ring of light, buttons, USB port) than sticking out all over in random spots.

Despite what you mom always told you, you can NEVER have enough air holes.

Memory card ports. Another way to easily transfer your data. You can really see the reflectivity of the fake brushed aluminum in this shot.

It must be thiiiiiin!

Side view of unit. There is silver trim as with the Playstation 3 portable. The basic theme of this unit is black and silver. A box of crap with “controller” misspelled is clearly visible in the background.

In case you didn't know what this console was, the DVD drive door reminds you

DVD door closed.

Main view of inside panel. It was very important to me that every vent hole was symmetrical to the ones on the other side.

Ring of Lift at the moment

Ring of light, eject and sync buttons. Simple & symmetrical, the way I like it!

Volume control knob on side of unit drives built-in stereo speakers. The knob was very late in the design, so yes, it looks like an afterthought.

Main view of console that was a little too washed out to be used for the hero pic.

More “inside guts making-of” photos coming soon!

Amazon's iPhone App Remembers So You Don't Have to

By Charlie Sorrel Email


At first look, Amazon's new home-grown iPhone application, called Amazon Mobile, is almost pointless. To work, it needs an internet connection, and Amazon's own iPhone-optimized website works so well that you wonder why anyone bothered with an actual app.

Amazon Mobile lets you browse and buy from your phone, but there's a twist which might make this worthwhile. You can use the iPhone's camera to snap a picture of anything you may want to buy. This feature is called "Amazon Remembers", and that's just what it does. The photo is saved on your iPhone, but also on Amazon's servers so you can access it from any browser. Surely, though, you could do this with any camera?

Well, here comes the twist: Once your picture is on its servers, Amazon will attempt to match your picture up to a product. If it's successful, Amazon will fire you an email to let you know.

The product blurb doesn't say how this is done. It could be a fancy image recognition algorithm. Amazon could be farming the work out to humans using its own Mechanical Turk service (the most likely, we reckon) or it could be something as simple as a million monkeys with a million keyboards.

But even this could be done via the web. What the app really needs, and what would really annoy store-owners, is a bar code reader for instant price comparison shopping. Sadly, the iPhone's hopeless, fixed-focus camera means that won't be happening anytime soon. Free, US only right now.

Amazon App for iPhone and iPod Touch [Amazon]

Product page [iTunes]

How To Watch Movies and Shows on Hulu & Sling from Abroad

hulu-sling Hulu and Sling are two great websites for watching high quality movies and TV shows. Both offer plenty of movies (see here and here) and a number of currently popular TV shows to choose from. You can even get watche latest epsiodes for popular TV shows like Heroes, House and Prison Break - all without paying a dime.

There is nothing to download or install, just find what you want to watch, hit the full-screen button and enjoy. The only problem is that both sites are US-only and not available for users from outside United States. And that’s exactly what this post is all about, how to watch Hulu and Sling videos from outside United States

Hotspot Shield and UltraSurf

There are two free apps that can help you access Hulu, Sling and any other US-only website even if you’re located outside the United States. These are Hotspot Shield and UltraSurf. Both are free and very easy to setup.

I had a few problems with getting UltraSurf to work, so I will just focus on Hotspot Shield here. Although it might be different in your case, while one works for some it doesn’t work for others, so just try both of them. UltraSurf is easier to setup so better try it first. If it doesn’t work then try Hotspot Shield.

Installing Hotspot Shield

Here is what I would get when trying to watch latest episode of Heroes before installing Hotspot Shield. The message goes: “We’re sorry, currently our video library can only be streamed within the United States …”

Hulu - Video Not Available

And that’s what I got once the Hotspot Shield was up and running.

Hulu - Video Not Available

It worked!

So, how do you set it up?

    1. Go to and download Hotspot Shield (direct download link)

    2. Extract the package contents and run the setup file.

    3. Once it’s finished installing, you should notice a new red icon on your Windows Taskbar.

    Hotspot Shield icon

    4. Right-click on the icon and select “Connect” option.

    5. This will open a new browser window where Hotspot will try to connect your computer to a network that it will be using to mask your location and subsequently access Hulu and alike US only sites.

    Configuring Hotspotshield

    6. If everything goes right, in about 10-20 seconds you should be connected.

    Configuring Hotspotshield

    7. Done! Direct you browser either to Hulu or Sling and check it out.

Make sure to disconnect (right click on the Hotspot shield icon in the taskbar) when you’re done watching stuff or you will see a extra banner ad on top every website you visit.

Are you aware of any other tricks or similar tools that can bypass filters on sites like Hulu, Sling or Pandora? Let us know in comments.

13 Things You Never Knew About Your Weight

The fascinating facts behind the new fat-busting science.

Steven Blair is, in his own words, a "short, fat, bald guy." But at five-foot-five and 200 pounds, he may very well be healthier than men much taller and leaner. He runs 25 miles a week, eats six to eight servings of fruits and vegetables a day, and avoids processed and fatty foods. A professor of exercise science and epidemiology at the University of South Carolina, Blair is a living example of how fat doesn't play fair. And thanks to advances in his field, he is beginning to understand why.

Surprising Weight Facts
Robert Simon/
Is your scale scaring you? These surprising facts about weight will give you a new perspective on your figure.

Genes, hormonal imbalances, and even viruses are now acknowledged to play a role in obesity. Eating less and working out more, in fact, don't have nearly as much to do with weight loss as you might assume. "This is all counter to what people think they know," says Blair. "You can see obesity, so it's easy to say 'Well, that person must not be trying. He must be lazy.' But that's often not the case."

Our team pored over the latest studies, interviewed the top clinicians in obesity science, and listened to the real-life experiences of men and women struggling to maintain their weight. Here, the latest (and often unexpected) thinking behind size and thighs, fatness and fitness.

1. It Really Is Genetic
When scientists first discovered it in certain chubby mice, they called it simply the fatso gene. Years later, when they scoured the human genome for markers that increased vulnerability to type 2 diabetes, the fatso gene (now more politely called FTO) showed up there too. Turns out, people with two copies of the gene were 40 percent more likely to have diabetes and 60 percent more likely to be obese than those without it. Those with only one copy of the gene weighed more too.

Scientists now suspect that there are lots of fat genes. "There could be as many as 100 of them," says Claude Bouchard, PhD, executive director of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University System, "each adding a couple of pounds here and a pound or two there. That's a noticeable difference when it comes to how much more fat we need to burn off."

As much as 16 percent of the population has two copies of the FTO gene, and half of us have one copy. So far, scientists suspect that the other possible obesity-promoting genes have a small effect compared with FTO. The good news? "A genetic predisposition isn't necessarily a life sentence," says Bouchard. Exercising regularly can offset the risk.

2. Some People Just Have More Fat Cells
And the range is enormous, with some people having twice as many fat cells as others have, says Kirsty Spalding, PhD, of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. Even if you've lost a few pounds (or gained some), your fat-cell count remains, holding tight to the fat already inside and forever thirsting to be filled up with more. (To add insult to injury, the fat cells of overweight and obese people hold more fat too.)

New fat cells emerge during childhood but seem to stop by adolescence. Those of us destined to have a lot of these cells probably start producing them as young as age two. The cells' rate of growth may be faster, too-even if kids cut way back on calories.

Strangers have written to Spalding, telling her how depressed they are by her research. But she says her news isn't all bleak. You're better off with more fat cells, she says, than with fewer fat cells that become overstuffed and enlarged. (New research suggests that the overstuffed group are more vulnerable to obesity—related health complications.) So while you can't reduce your total number of fat cells, there are things you can do to keep them small. (See next point.)

3. You Can Change Your Metabolism
Another Scandinavian team looked into what happens at the cellular level when you gain weight. Kirsi Pietiläinen, PhD, an assistant professor of nutrition at Helsinki University Central Hospital, studied sets of twins where one was fat and the other thin, and learned that fat cells in heavier twins underwent metabolic changes that make it more difficult to burn fat. Pietiläinen's team suspects that gaining as little as 11 pounds can slow metabolism and send you spiraling into a vicious cycle: As you gain more fat, it becomes harder to lose it.

How to get back on track? "The more I learn on the job, the more I'm convinced we need physical activity," Pietiläinen says. Once a chubby child herself, she now runs regularly and is at a healthy weight.

4. Stress Fattens You Up
The most direct route is the food-in-mouth syndrome: Stressful circumstances (your bank account, your boss) spark cravings for carbohydrate-rich snack foods, which in turn calm stress hormones. (When researchers in one study took away high-carb food from stressed mice, their stress hormones surged.)

Stress hormones also ramp up fat storage. For our prehistoric ancestors, stress meant drought or approaching tigers, and a rapid-storage process made sense; we needed the extra energy to survive food shortages or do battle. Today we take our stress sitting down—and the unused calories accumulate in our midsection.

To whittle yourself back down to size, in addition to your usual workout routine, make time for stress relief—whether it's a yoga class or quality time with family.

5. Mom's Pregnancy Sealed Your Fate
A mother's cigarettes increase the risk of low birth weight, and alcohol can damage her baby's brain. So why wouldn't unhealthy foods wreak similar havoc? A growing body of science suggests that sugary and fatty foods, consumed even before you're born, do exactly that. A Pennington study on rodents reports that overweight females have higher levels of glucose and free fatty acids floating around in the womb than normal-weight ones do. These molecules trigger the release of proteins that can upset the appetite-control and metabolic systems in the developing brain.

What's true for mice is often true for humans too. Doctors from State University of New York Downstate Medical Center compared children born before their mothers had gastric bypass surgery with siblings born later. Women weighed less after the surgery, as expected, but their children were also half as likely to be obese. Because siblings have such similar genetic profiles, the researchers attributed the weight differences to changes in the womb environment. Moms-to-be, take note: You can give your kids a head start by eating well before they're born.

6. Sleep More, Lose More
When patients see Louis Aronne, MD, past president of the Obesity Society and author of the forthcoming book The Skinny, they're as likely to have their sleep assessed as their eating habits. If patients are getting less than seven to eight hours, Dr. Aronne may prescribe more shut-eye rather than the latest diet or drug. With more sleep, he says, "they have a greater sense of fullness, and they'll spontaneously lose weight."

Why? University of Chicago researchers reported that sleep deprivation upsets our hormone balance, triggering both a decrease in leptin (which helps you feel full) and an increase of ghrelin (which triggers hunger). As a result, we think we're hungry even though we aren't—and so we eat. Indeed, sleep may be the cheapest and easiest obesity treatment there is.

7. Your Spouse's Weight Matters
When Jodi Dixon's six-foot-two, 360-pound husband lost 125 pounds, she had mixed feelings. She was the one who always watched her weight and exercised; she was always the one trying to get her husband to be more active. Mort, a medical sales rep, was always the life of the party, says his wife, a 43-year-old mother of two in Freehold, New Jersey. But when he lost the weight, it was different.

"Men and women would flock to him, drawn to his charisma," she recalls. "I felt jealous." Dixon comforted herself with food and gained 20 pounds before she decided to take action. She began biking with her husband and enrolled in a diet program. Eventually she trimmed down, too, shedding 30 pounds, and has her sights on losing more.

Dixon credits the weight gain, and the loss, to her jealousy. But research shows that weight gain and loss can be, well, contagious. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that if one spouse is obese, the other is 37 percent more likely to become obese too. The researchers concluded that obesity seems to spread through social networks.

As in Dixon's case, slimming down seems to be catching, at least within the family: When Dixon launched her weight-loss plan, her eldest daughter, also overweight, followed her mom's healthy habits and lost 40 pounds.

8. Achoo! A Virus Can Cause Obesity
Adenoviruses are responsible for a host of ills, from upper respiratory tract problems to gastrointestinal troubles. The link to fat was uncovered when researchers at the University of Wisconsin injected chickens with the viruses and found that certain strains fattened them up.

Stem cells, known for their chameleonlike abilities to transform, also turned into fat cells when infected with the viruses. "The virus seems to increase the number of fat cells in the body as well as the fat content of these cells," says Nikhil Dhurandhar, PhD, now an associate professor of infections and obesity at Pennington.

Human studies, including comparisons of twins, suggest that obese people are indeed more likely to harbor antibodies for a particular virus, known as adenovirus-36.

We have flu shots; could an obesity vaccine be the next step? It may sound far-fetched, but "that's what they said about cervical cancer too," says Dhurandhar.

9. Cookies Really Are Addictive
While food is not addictive the way cocaine or alcohol is, scientists in recent years have found some uncanny similarities. When subjects at Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia were shown the names of foods they liked, the parts of the brain that got excited were the same parts activated in drug addicts. It may have to do with dopamine, the hormone linked to motivation and pleasure, say researchers at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York. If obese people have fewer dopamine receptors, they may need more food to get that pleasurable reaction.

10. Ear Infections Can Taint Your Taste Buds
For years, the team at Linda Bartoshuk's taste lab at the University of Florida wondered why people who tasted food less intensely than others seemed more likely to be fat. Researcher Derek Snyder had a theory: Could an ear infection, which can damage a taste nerve running through the middle ear, be the missing link? After tabulating 6,584 questionnaires, the team discovered that those over 35 who had suffered several ear infections had almost double the chance of being obese.

Responses to additional questions provided clues as to why. Former ear-infection patients were a little more likely to love sweets and fatty foods—perhaps because the damaged nerve causes them to have a higher threshold for sensing sweetness and fattiness. Even a small increase in calories from bad food choices adds up over time.

Childhood ear infections are as hard to avoid as the colds that tend to bring them on, but limiting passive smoke seems to drive down incidents of ear infection. If you're an overweight adult who suffered a severe ear infection as a child, it may be worth paying attention to the taste and texture of your food. Simply finding healthier substitutes, such as fruit instead of candy, or olive oil instead of butter, may help drive you toward eating better and weighing less.

11. Antioxidants Are Also Anti-Fat
Free radicals are now blamed not only for making you look old but also for making you fat. Zane Andrews, PhD, a neuroendocrinologist at Monash University in Australia, says these oxidizing molecules damage the cells that tell us we're full. Free radicals emerge when we eat (something even the keenest dieter must do to survive), but they're especially prevalent when we gorge on candy bars, chips, and other carbohydrates. With every passing year, these fullness signifiers suffer wear and tear-causing the "stop eating!" signal to get weaker and appetites (and possibly our stomachs) to get bigger. The best way to fight back? Avoid the junk and load up on colorful, antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables.

12. Pick a Diet, Any Diet
As established diet books constantly reinvent themselves to sell copies and win converts, a curious phenomenon has emerged: Ornish, Atkins, and everyone in between are sounding remarkably similar. The low-fat gurus now say that certain fats are okay, while the low-carb proponents are beginning to endorse whole grains. With every new guideline and selling point, each diet acknowledges that there are really four basic rules to healthy eating (drumroll, please):

  • Consume carbs in the form of whole grains and fiber.
  • Avoid trans fats and saturated fats.
  • Eat lean protein.
  • Fill up on fruits and vegetables.
The low-carb South Beach Diet, for example, now espouses the virtues of eating the Mediterranean way-including lots of carbohydrate-rich fruits and vegetables. The latest Atkins book emphasizes the "good carb" message too. Weight Watchers, a champion of the points system, is now offering a "no counting" option based on healthy choices like those above. Jenny Craig is pushing Volumetrics, a high-volume, low-calorie strategy. And everyone gives a thumbs-down to processed and sugary carbohydrates, which cause insulin to spike and can lead to more fat and even diabetes.

Low-fat-diet guru Dean Ornish, MD, says, "It's the end of the diet wars." His most recent book, The Spectrum, even offers recipes that can be prepared in various "degrees"-from a vegetable chili served plain (low-fat) to one served with olives (more fat) to still another served with turkey breast sausage (still more fat).

The key to all of this, of course, is moderation rather than deprivation -- eating in a way you can live with. And for some people, an important side effect of eating more plant-based foods is that it's better for the environment. (See food writer Mark Bittman's Simple Till Six: An Eating Plan for Busy People.)

13. You Can Be Fat and Fit
A growing body of literature suggests that size doesn't matter when it comes to your health. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine surveyed 5,440 American adults and found that 51 percent of the overweight and almost 32 percent of the obese had mostly normal cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure, and other measures of good health.

Further defying conventional wisdom, the article also reported that 23.5 percent of trim adults were, in fact, metabolically abnormal-making them more vulnerable to heart disease than their heavier counterparts.

The latest U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report corroborates what our doctors have said all along: You need about 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity five days a week for health. And you don't even have to do your exercise in one fell swoop-ten-minute stints of walking are just as effective. That means if you forgo the elevators for the stairs, get off one train or bus stop earlier, and park your car a few blocks away, chances are you'll be good for the day.

Remember Steven Blair, the self-described short, fat, bald guy? At age 69, his blood pressure is in check, his cholesterol levels are normal, and his heart is strong. What's more, he may have even more positive vital signs, according to his recent study in the journal Obesity: Men who are fit (determined by their performance on a treadmill) have a lower risk of dying of cancer than out-of-shape guys, regardless of their body mass index, waist size, or percentage of body fat.

The news is heartening, says Blair: "We don't have great tools to change people's weight, but we know we can change their fitness levels.

New Way to Tame Cravings?
Some of the most eagerly awaited pills in the pipeline promise to calm cravings, reduce appetite, and even boost metabolism.

For instance, vigabatrin has been studied as a treatment for drug addiction. Suspecting that it would work on weight- control patients, scientists injected the substance into obese rats. It worked: The rats lost 19 percent of their original weight after 40 days.

Another drug, tesofensine, works on three different mechanisms in the brain to regulate appetite and metabolism. In early trials, patients who used the drug lost an average of nearly 30 pounds.

So what's the catch? Side effects. The much-hyped drugs taranabant and Acomplia both failed because they caused severe mood swings and depression. Scientists will have to pay close attention to dosage and side effects if future weight-loss drugs are to clear the FDA approval process.

See 3 new ways to approach popular weight loss diets.

Were the Mumbai Terrorists Fueled by Coke?

Mumbai: Were they warned? Play Video Australia 7 News – Mumbai: Were they warned?

Did the jihadists who tore up Mumbai last week rely on party drugs usually associated with Western decadence to stay awake and alert throughout their three-day killing spree? Britain's Telegraph newspaper suggests that they did, citing unidentified officials claiming physical evidence shows the assailants used cocaine and other stimulants to sustain their violent frenzy. And if the notion of self-anointed holy warriors on a coke binge sounds incongruous, the report also maintains that the killers imbibed the psychedelic drug LSD while fighting advancing security forces.

"We found injections containing traces of cocaine and LSD left behind by the terrorists, and later found drugs in their blood," the Telegraph was told by one official, whose nationality and relation to the investigation were not specified. "This explains why they managed to battle the commandos for over 50 hours with no food or sleep." (See the terrorism in Mumbai.)

The hallucinogenic and sensory-distorting effects of LSD make it an unlikely combat drug, even for kamikaze assailants who were, after all, seeking to kill as many people as possible before their own inevitable death. But the suggestion that the Mumbai jihadists may have amped themselves up on stimulants typically forbidden by their strict Salafist brand of Islam strikes some experts as plausible, particularly within the twisted jihadist logic in which holy ends justify impious means.

"We've never seen instances of operatives using drugs in attacks before, but we've also never seen the kind of open-ended, insurgent-style strike of civilian targets by Islamists prior to Mumbai," says Jean-Louis BruguiÈre, who retired this year as France's chief counterterrorism investigator to take a top post in the transatlantic Terrorist Finance Tracking Program. BruguiÈre had no information to confirm or deny the reported cocaine binge by the Mumbai assailants, but he believes that discounting it out of hand would be naive.

"Why wouldn't attackers do something forbidden by their religious practice - to take drugs or anything else - that could help them achieve what they consider the far more important goal of their plot in striking a blow for God?" BruguiÈre asks. "Adepts of the Takfir wal-Hijra sect will adopt what Islam considers impure behavior of enemy societies, like drinking alcohol, eating pork and wild living, to better prepare attacks for those same societies. That's what Mohamed Atta and the other 9/11 attackers did while plotting in the U.S. If terrorists feel jihad justifies impious acts to prepare strikes, why wouldn't that rationalization also apply to carrying attacks out?"

Independent French terrorism expert Roland Jacquard is a little more skeptical of the report, however, at least as far as it claimed some of the fighters had used narcotics to numb themselves to pain as death approached. Though he understands the strategic logic of assailants using stimulants to overcome fatigue as their attack wears on - conventional armies, including the U.S. military, have used stimulants to counter combat fatigue - he does not believe the stern Salafist prohibition of soporifics would be ignored as the end loomed.

"We're talking about people who think they're killing for God and who are certain they'll attain paradise by slaying innocent people. The most powerful drug they could ever find is already in their head before the attack starts," says Jacquard. "There's a very strong antidrug culture among Salafists - most don't even use tobacco. And extremists with any drug experience usually say Islam is what allowed them escape it."

The Telegraph story also quotes an official saying traces of steroids had been found in the bloodstreams of Mumbai attackers - something the unnamed source says "isn't uncommon in terrorists." If so, it's a well-kept secret that runs counter to jihadists' disdain of external "impurities" being used to attain physical fitness they often extol. But for BruguiÈre, wrangling over those kinds of details is simply a counterproductive attempt to create a precise, predictable stereotype of a terrorist in what is, in fact, a diverse, rapidly changing, amorphous milieu of extremists. (Read Mumbai's Terror Is Over, but Panic Persists.)

"It's now clear the Mumbai group was connected to the Pakistan-supported Lashkar-e-Taiba, but it takes a while before we know how close and structured that relationship was and how much autonomy the attacking unit was operating with," BruguiÈre says. "LeT is keen to export its fight throughout the region and world but will do so in loose relationships with myriad extremist movements out there. Some will use car explosions, others kamikaze bombers, and others insurgent terrorists who - just maybe - decide to use drugs to keep their strike going longer. If we want to prepare for the way we may be attacked next, we have to start considering all the ways we haven't been attacked yet, as well as the ones we know."

See TIME's Pictures of the Week.

'Smart' Fabric Glows in Response to Allergens

Carbon Thread
One Smart Spool | Discovery News Video
Eric Bland, Discovery News

Dec. 3, 2008 -- A cotton shirt that could warn its wearer of allergens or instantly tell where a soldier is bleeding is being developed by scientists at the University of Michigan.

The scientists created the electrically conductive cloth by dipping cotton fibers into a vat filled with water, a conductive polymer, and carbon nanotubes. The tubes soaked into the cotton fibers and remained after the cloth was dried.

"The process is quite elementary," said Nicholas Kotov of the University of Michigan, the lead scientist on the project. "But [the thread] is able to conduct electricity almost like metallic wires, so we were able to power a light emitting diode."

Carbon nanotubes are tiny, hollow cylinders made of pure carbon atoms and arranged in a flat, repeating hexagonal pattern. Diamonds, also composed of pure carbon, are, for comparison, arranged in a three-dimensional diamond shape.

Carbon nanotubes are lightweight and strong, conduct electricity, and have various optical properties that make them interesting to scientists. The current research was published in the online journal Nano Letters.

Related Content: Nanotechnology Challenges and Risks
Eric Bland's Blog: Interior Design
Discovery Tech: Top 10 Uses for Carbon Nanotubes

The number of nanotubes in the material varies depending on the number in the vat or the number of times the fabric is treated. The more nanotubes in the cloth, the more electrically conductive the cloth is.

To prove that the cloth will hold a charge, the scientists attached a thread to a light-emitting diode and watched as it shined.

While stringing a shirt with tiny lights is one potential use for the thread, a more likely use is for clothes that detect airborne allergens or human blood, or for gloves that can manipulate touch screens.

An entire shirt doesn't have to be dipped in carbon nanotubes; just a few threads need be woven in. This efficiency, along with increasingly cheap ways to produce carbon nanotubes, should help keep the cost down.

"If you want to make a whole shirt from that type of cotton, it may be expensive," said Kotov. "But then again, some cotton shirts cost a substantial amount, so I don't believe it will be cost prohibitive."

The cloth, of which there is now roughly one square foot, still looks and feels like cotton, said Kotov. "What we have right now is very much like the fabric you find on jeans."

The ease and sophistication of the technique is what appeals most to Juan Hinestroza, an assistant professor in the Fiber Science and Apparel Design Department at Cornell University.

"It's a combination of a natural material and a synthetic material that is very simple but also quite functional," said Hinestroza. "I think the implications of smart and interactive clothing are huge."

Hinestroza expects that electrically conductive, nanotube-based clothing could be found on store shelves within a few years. That should be plenty of time to answer questions about the safety of carbon nanotubes in such close and prolonged contact with human skin.

"All this is conditioned on the fact that carbon nanotubes are benign and biocompatable," said Kotov. "The question is still not completely resolved, but lots of published research says that as a solid material, carbon nanotubes are very benign."

2500 Theaters to go 3-D by April 2009

3-D vision doesn't waver

DreamWorks Animation chief predicts 2,500 screens by April

By Carolyn Giardina

Dec 1, 2008, 06:10 PM ET

Jeffrey Katzenberg boldly predicted Monday that there will be nearly 2,500 screens ready for 3-D in time for the March 27 release of DreamWorks Animation's "Monsters vs. Aliens."

At the 3-D Entertainment Summit here, DWA's CEO also forecast that there will be 7,500 3-D screens for the summer 2010 release of his company's "Shrek Goes Fourth."

Estimates suggest that the number of 3-D-ready digital-cinema screens now in the domestic market is in the 1,500 range.

But Katzenberg, the ultimate 3-D cheerleader, expressed optimism, once again calling the format an "economic game-changer for movie theaters."

"I expect a $5 premium will be paid for the 3-D experience," he said. "Fifty% of the admissions of 'Bolt' -- which was 3-D on only 1,300 of its 4,000 screens -- is 3-D. The customers have spoken time and time again. If you offer them a premium-quality experience, they will for the most part trade up."

Commenting on "Monsters," Katzenberg suggested that there will be "more than enough screens to give us our investment back of $15 million. We spent $150 million making a movie like this, with a $15 million incremental cost for 3-D."

Digital-cinema installations are required to offer digital 3-D, so challenges like raising d-cinema deployment financing in today's tough economic climate remain.

"Just at the moment when exhibition and distribution got together, negotiated and finally closed deals for virtual print fees, there's no money," Katzenberg said. "I think in the first quarter of next year, certainly by the second quarter, financing will come together for Digital Cinema Integration Partners."

DCIP, the joint venture owned by AMC, Cinemark and Regal, represents about 14,000 screens in North America.

100+ iPhone Games That Use the Accelerometer

The iPhone’s built-in accelerometer has opened up a new world of mobile gaming, introducing fun, engaging, and interactive applications from virtual golf to racing games, mobile beer pong, and more.

Here are over 100 free and paid apps that are worth checking out, especially if you’re looking for ways to waste some time, say in line at the grocery store, or in the car on your way to some holiday festivities this year.

Tell us about your favorites in the comments.

Free Apps

You can get these apps for free, no strings attached. You can also find some “lite” versions of some paid applications.

Top Rated

Cube Runner (4.5 stars) – In this game, you “fly your ship across a landscape whilst avoiding the many treacherous cubes which lie in your path.” It’s like a flight simulator where everything is made of cubes.

PapiJump (4 stars) - Tilt your device to move Mr. Papi to the left and right to get him higher and higher towards the goal.

Touch4 (3.5 stars): Remember Connect 4? Here it is in all its iPhone/iPod glory. It’s multi-player and works over Wi-Fi. Okay, so the only accelerometer feature is shaking out the pieces, but that’s a game in itself, right?

JellyCar (3.5 stars): Possibly one of the hardest but addicting games that uses the accelerometer. In this game, you guide a little squishy car through squishy worlds trying to reach the exit.

Pretty Cool

iGolf (3 stars): Swing your iPhone like a golf club and the accelerometer gauges how fast you swung and how far your shot will travel.

Snowball (3 stars): Tilt your device to slide a penguin across some ice to keep him alive. The goal is to collect as many snowflakes as you can.

Space Path (2.5 stars): Use the accelerometer to stay balanced on the “space path” while you watch out for space junk and meteorites.

Scroll Driver (2.5 stars): Navigate your car along a straight road while avoiding obstacles – without crashing. The car points in the direction of the tilt when moving forward.

Square Jams (2.5 stars): Use the accelerometer to guide balls into hills. The description says it will “test your surgeon-like skills and patience.” Now that’s marketing!

Oh My Egg! (2.5 stars): Use the accelerometer in this game to guide a fat little chicken named Jack who can’t jump or fly and needs to collect eggs.

Silkworm 3-D (2.5 stars): Steer a silkworm using the accelerometer so that it can eat apples before the silkworm gets too long. Similar to the TiltSnake app, but with better graphics and more challenges.

iThrown (2.5 stars): The “game” in this app is trying not to destroy your iPhone while testing how fast you can throw a ball. Just hold onto your iPhone for dear life and throw a pitch.

Two-Up (2.5 stars): Gamble like the Australians when you use your device to toss two coins in the air and bet on the results.

Fire Tail (2.5 stars) - Capture different parts of your game “territory” to win in this game. Use the accelerometer to move or use the touch screen.

Worth a look

PocketHoops (2 stars): This is a simple physics-based basketball game that uses the accelerometer to influence gravity and bounce your ball off walls and perform trick shots.

Apache Lander (2 stars): Use the accelerometer in this game to land your helicopter safely on a heli-pad before you run out of fuel.

TiltSnake (2 stars): Modeled after the time-proven arcade game “Snake,” the accelerometer is used in this game to pilot a snake that needs to eat food in order to grow. As the snake gets bigger, you have to move faster, you remember the game.

Handy Snake (2 stars): Another “Snake” app. You use the accelerometer to control a snake who’s trying to catch rabbits while avoiding spiky creatures and a hungry mongoose.

iSKBan3D (1.5 stars): You are a cube of smiling ice in a space-world. The goal is for you to use the accelerometer to move along a path and push stones to where they belong on the path.

Beer Pong PRO (1.5 stars): This game utilizes the accelerometer to capture your arm motion when throwing the ping-pong ball. It’s multi-player too, so who needs a ping-pong table and plastic cups when you can just flick your wrist and take a swig from the bottle?

Apocalypse (1.5 stars): You are Go Go, an eye creature who must collect crystals while flying around avoiding falling enemies (by tilting) on his hoverboard.

Paid Apps

These apps range from $0.99 to $9.99. Most of them have free equivalents, but look out for the ones that have a “lite” version.

Top Rated

HupplePupple (5 stars): Tilt your device to guide a jumping smiley face around different worlds trying to collect hearts to bring to his girlfriend.

Shock Ball (5 stars): Protect your “Energy Orb” from obstacles and hazards by tilting your device and dodging “Shock Balls” to survive

Crazy Egg Jump (5 stars): You’re an egg and you must tilt your device to navigate your way into empty flying nests.

Python (5 stars): One of several “Snake” replicas for the iPhone where you use the accelerometer to move your snake around while eating fish and avoiding your own tail.

2079 (4.5 stars): This spaceship shooting game plays like the famed “Geometry Wars” and uses the accelerometer for movement.

Gaia (4.5 stars): Rotate your device to eliminate blocks that come into your way while playing through 20 hand-illustrated nature themed puzzles

Zone Warrior (4.5 stars): Part space flight, part arcade action, use the accelerometer to guide your spaceship in this game.

Scoops (4.5 stars): Stack your cone high into the sky by tilting your device left and right, catching as many scoops as you can and avoiding falling vegetables.

iTexun (4.5 stars): Navigate a 2-D environment by tilting your device to guide your ship through space while avoiding fiery pursuers.

Dashball (4.5 stars): Destroy colored blocks by controlling a bouncing ball with your accelerometer.

iSnake (4.5 stars): Tilt your device to play the classic “Snake” game that has graphics with a little more pizazz.

Bubble Bang (4 stars): Tap 2 or more bubbles of the same color that touch each other to let them explode. Re-sort and stack the bubbles by tilting the device.

Hairball (4 stars): Guide yourself as a hairball through an endless clogged pipe trying to keep pace with a continuous onslaught of filthy sludge.

Block Breaker Deluxe 2 (4 stars) – This brick breaking game lets you use the accelerometer to re-arrange and rotate brick formations by tilting the device.

Crash Bandicoot Nitro Cart 3D (4 stars) - This is a 3D kart-racing game where you tilt your device to get through 12 different tracks.

SolarQuest (4 stars): A space game where you “explore, duck and dodge” your way around to escape the planet’s gravitational pull.

Alien Attack (4 stars): Defend the earth from alien invaders by tilting the device from left to right in order to move your spaceship.

Asphalt 4: Elite Racing (4 stars): Use your device as a steering wheel to become the “ultimate VIP of urban racing”.

Kitten Jump (4 stars): Tilt your device to help a kitten jump from cloud to cloud while eating up butterflies and counting stars. Yup, I’m not kidding.

Beer Pong U (4 stars): A beer pong game that uses the accelerometer for aiming and throwing to “play beer pong on the go.” Because that’s what beer pong was made for, right?

De Blob (4 stars): Using the accelerometer, you can swoosh around as a blob and grow in girth, weight and speed as you devour paint pellets. Then use the pellets to paint the monochromatic world in bright colors.

Pass the Pigs (4 stars): This is a dice game using pigs as the device. Using the accelerometer, you can “shake shake shake” and roll your pigs as you try to reach 100 points

3-D Vector Ball (3.5 stars): Battle your way through an electronic labyrinth and use your accelerometer to serve, deflect and spike your way to glory.

Spore Origins (3.5 stars): Also available in a free “LE” version, you can tilt, turn and twist your custom-made creature through 30 levels of primordial ooze with the accelerometer.

Super Monkey Ball (3.5 stars): Guide a little monkey entrapped in a plastic ball to the goal by tilting your iPhone/iPod in the right direction and while collecting bananas though a variety of slopes and turns.

Blue Skies (3.5 stars) – Also available in a free “lite” version, you can use the accelerometer in this game to pilot your helicopter and out-maneuver enemy tanks, planes, helicopters, blimps and mines.

SuperBall 2 (3.5 stars): Also available in a free “lite” version, this pong-type game uses tilt controls to maneuver the ball in 23 different levels.

iFroggy Prince (3.5 stars): A mix between Frogger and Labyrinth, use your device to tilt your way through levels to challenge both your reaction time and your brain.

Matrix (3.5 stars): Guide a tiny little man through a maze by tilting your device in the direction you want him to go.

Ball in a Cup (3.5 stars): Tilt your device left or right to fling a ball into a moving cup.

Draconis (3.5 stars): Tilt your phone to move and play this 2D/3D shoot-em-up space game through 5 different levels.

FlashRiders (3.5 stars): Race your flash cycle against a computer opponent and stay alive by using the accelerometer to turn your cycle and avoid the “Flash Trails,” obstacles and outer walls.

Eat Bunny, Eat! (3.5 stars): Tilt your device to move a bunny and catch falling carrots while avoiding falling cans.

iNCLINE (3.5 stars): In this space-racing game, you use your accelerometer to guide yourself through space trying to pick up things and make it to the end.

Stellar Blaster (3.5 stars): Fly a ship through space while avoiding and/or vaporizing asteroids.

Tilt A Sketch (3.5 stars): This game uses the accelerometer to draw on a canvas using the constant pressure of gravity to ruin your work. Hard and extreme levels make it harder and harder to complete a picture.

TouchSports Tennis ‘09 (3.5 stars): Use your device as a racket and play tennis in this 3D sports action game.

AstroTilt (3.5 stars): This “Breakout”-type game uses the accelerometer in “tilt” mode to move the ball towards the blocks you want to break.

Aqua Forest (3.5 stars): Also available in a free “lite” version this is a very neat physics-based app where you can use the elements of nature, like water and heat to create realistic scenarios (like adding fire to water to create steam). It also has games where you use the elements to reach the end of a maze. Watch the YouTube video for a better look. It’s $7.99 but probably one of the better apps I’ve played around with.

Tilt Fighter (3.5 stars): This Galaga-style arcade game uses the accelerometer to maneuver your space ship past asteroids and through enemy fire.

Topple (3.5 stars): Stack and balance shapes and use the accelerometer to tilt your device and keep the blocks from tipping over.

Bubblets Tilt (3.5 stars) Arrange colored bubbles in a row to build your score before the bubbles reach the top. Use the accelerometer to tilt your screen to re-shift your bubbles into new groupings.

Plank (3.5 stars): Balance marbles on a log and try to match colors using the accelerometer to win in this game.

Virus (3.5 stars): Also available in a free “lite” version, this game utilizes real-time physics, blood-flow simulation and depth of field to defeat “viruses.”

Tilt Me (3.5 stars): Tilt your divide to roll some balls around mazes while making music as the balls collide with the walls and floor.

Shooter (3.5 stars): Shoot flying objects passing through day to night in different place, cities or landscapes using the accelerometer.

Pretty Cool

Cow Hunt (3 stars): This hunting game uses the accelerometer to aim at different types of cows which include army cows that parachute down, ninja cows, and cows with forcefields.

Cube Runner II (3 stars) – Much like the original free Cube Runner, you “fly your ship across a landscape whilst avoiding the many treacherous cubes which lie in your path,” except this time, the accelerometer also accounts for how fast you’re going by either tipping forwards or backwards.

Hooked: Pocket Fishing (3 stars): Catch some fish with this game that uses the accelerometer to cast and catch fish.

twistedBugs (3 stars): Try to kill as many bugs as you can within 60 seconds while the accelerometer moves bugs around.

Space Truckers (3 stars): Another space game, if you can really believe it. Fly your deep space transport ship “Betty” through congested space lanes by tilting your device and try to deliver your cargo.

Spacemania (3 stars): Classic arcade space shooter that takes place in the year 3043 and utilizes the accelerometer to navigate through space.

Serpents (3 stars): Tilt your device to block opponents and force them to collide with each other in an explosion of flames.

iSoccerFor2 (3 stars): Foosball for your iPhone! Control the handles with your fingers, but use the accelerometer to cheat the match.

Ninja (3 stars): Tilt your device to move a little ninja around while trying to avoid any obstacles. The goal of the game is to live as long as you can.

My Little Tank (3 stars): Choose accelerometer mode to move a tank and experience some miniature military mayhem.

MarbleMash (3 stars): Also available in a free “lite” version, you can race a marble against time in 150 different mazes using the accelerometer to guide your ball into a hole.

PAC-MAN (3 stars) & Ms. PAC MAN (2.5 stars) - Also available in a free “lite” version, dodge pesky ghosts by tilting or rotating your phone in Accelerometer Mode.

Armado (3 stars) – Also available in a free “lite” version, Armado is from the developers of Spore Origins for the iPod and iPhone. The accelerometer in this game guides Armado (an armadillo) as he rolls, jumps and crashes his way through this 3-D game with pretty impressive graphics.

Venger (3 stars): Also available in a free “lite” version, Venger is a 3-D space shooter. The accelerometer is used to steer your spaceship through trenches, tunnels and asteroid fields.

Moto Chaser (3 stars) – This is a motorcycle game with turns and jumps all steered by the accelerometer. Reviews claim that the accelerometer is “spot on.”

RhinoBall (3 stars) - Play as Rhino the hamster from the new Disney movie “Bolt.”

iFish (3 stars): A fishing game where you can catch over 50 different types of fish. The accelerometer controls casting and hooking.

GTS World Racing (3 stars): Accelerate, brake and steer using the accelerometer around 64 track layouts in 16 different worldwide locations.

Worth a Look

Dougie Moo’s Aqua Antics (2.5 stars): Guide a floating cow through water trying to collect and match colored balls.

Catch the Egg (2.5 stars): Try to catch eggs that are falling from the sky. The accelerometer determines whether or not you catch the egg. Reviewers seem to agree that buying a carton of eggs would be more worth the money though.

Bubble Trap (2.5 stars): Trap bugs inside of bubbles using the accelerometer to guide the bubbles.

Tripzee (2.5 stars): Roll the dice by shaking your device in this Yahtzee game.

Treasure Land (2.5 stars): Find treasures while avoiding deadly insects by utilizing indicators that use the accelerometer interface.

iHunt (2.5 stars) – This hunting game features accelerometer-based aiming and lets you hunt deer, pheasants and clay pigeons.

I Fishing (2.5 stars): This fishing simulator uses the accelerometer to cast, jig, aim your lure, and fight fish.

Wings Flight Simulator Experience (2.5 stars): Probably the most visually-appealing of the flight simulators, you can use the accelerometer in this game to coast around the 3-D world of over 50,000 square miles.

Crash Landing (2.5 stars): Tilt your iPhone to land your shuttle safely on a platform or the moon. The accelerometer controls the thrust, speed, angle and position.

AutoMangle (2.5 stars): Also available in a free “lite” version, this game totes itself as an “addictive vehicular combat game” with 192 different gameplay configurations. In general, the accelerometer is used for steering.

Beach Volleyball (2.5 stars): Play volleyball with your accelerometer while listening to your own music and soaking up the digital rays.

Xhake Shake (2.5 stars): Shake, flip, rub and tap your device to challenge your eye-hand response.

Head2Head 3D Racing (2.5 stars): Use the accelerometer to race your way through this game that uses physics emulation to control the vehicle suspension.

SpaceWar (2 stars): Guide your advanced spacecraft through space by tilting the device and destroying as many enemy spacecrafts as you can.

Quaddrazz (2 stars): Dissolve a 3D cube made up of dice by rotating or switching dice into rows of the same color or number.

MetalAngel (2 stars): Use your accelerometer to fly your ship across the universe. Drop atomic bombs and grab gems while you’re at it.

Paper Airplane (2 stars): Pop as many balloons as you can by throwing a paper airplane, without hitting any birds. Use the accelerometer to navigate your plane.

Amazing Maze (2 stars): Also available in a free “lite” version, the accelerometer is used in this game to guide balls to the center of a maze.

Elemental (2 stars): Also available in a free “lite” version, play this game to guide a little ball through earth, wind, fire and water using the accelerometer to open gates to new maps and worlds.

iBullseye (1.5 stars): In the most basic of all shooting games, this is simply a game to test your accuracy and steadiness using the accelerometer.

Balloonacy (1.5 stars): Tilt and guide a balloon around mazes that increase in difficulty as you progress.

Agents of Interpol (1.5 stars): A game that’s not very recommended by its users, this one uses the accelerometer to track a fugitive doctor’s global path of disruption.

Adrenalinic (1 star): Yet another space game where you tilt your device to avoid comets and other space junk while collecting yellow and blue stars.

Downhill (1 star): Ski and snowboard downhill by tilting your device.

LightSword Defense (1 star): Wield you LightSword while trying to battle space lasers.

Not Yet Rated

Pocket Skiing (not yet rated): Three tracks of skiing use the accelerometer to race against time to reach the race track checkpoints.

Prickly Pete (not yet rated): Guide Prickly Pete through the deep sea by using your accelerometer, eating eggs for energy while fighting off predator fish.

iLander Christmas Edition (not yet rated): Make sure Santa lands safely by tilting your device and landing his balloon between the yellow poles.

Interested in more iPhone resources? Check these out:

- Blogging: “13 Apps to Turn Your iPhone Into a Blogging Machine
- Gaming: “12 Great Free Games for the iPhone and iPod Touch
- Video: “Beyond YouTube: 10 Top iPhone Video Apps,” HOW TO: Convert Videos for Your iPhone
- Navigation: “15+ Free iPhone Apps to Navigate Your World
- Google: “Great Google iPhone Apps Not Made By Google