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Thursday, December 11, 2008

South African Teenagers Smoke HIV Drugs to Get High

drugsIn the U.S., the kids are snorting Ritalin to get high. But in South Africa, the newest abused prescription drugs of choice are HIV drugs. Teenage schoolchildren in South Africa have been seen grinding up anti-retroviral pills and smoking them, sometimes mixed with painkillers or marijuana. The children say they are buying or stealing the drugs from HIV patients and healthcare workers.

Tooli Nhlapo, a documentary filmmaker for the South African Broadcasting Corporation, was shocked when she first observed the children smoking the pills. Meant to boost the immune system and help the body fight off HIV, the drugs apparently produce a hallucinogenic effect when smoked.

“When I asked them why they like doing it, they said it helps them relax and forget about their problems,” she said. What Nhlapo first thought was an isolated incident may turn out to be a nationwide problem: Many people in the areas she visited were aware of the new way to get high.

Doctors say the abuse of HIV drugs is particularly worrisome if the drugs are coming from HIV patients, because these pills need to be taken as part of a cocktail of several drugs to have optimal effect.

To make matters even worse, South Africa has one of the worst HIV/AIDS epidemics in the world, with an estimated one-fifth of the population infected. The government-supported treatment program, which distributes anti-retroviral drugs, has only been in effect since 2004.

iPhone Copy and Paste Now Working Between Safari and Mail

Finally, someone has conceived a way to copy and paste text from Safari to Mail, and between web pages. And this time, it doesn't require any software installation and it's legal:

Unlike other approaches, it works with the two apps that matter most, Mail and Safari, and gets around Apple's onerous App Store terms through a clever combination of javascript bookmarks and web services.

In fact, it doesn't require anything to be installed, so it avoids the App Store altogether. As you can see in the video, Pastebud—as the service is called—works using two bookmarks in Safari. One prepares and loads the page you are viewing, ready to select text at the touch of a finger. From there, you can copy any text you want and create a new mail message with that text in it. In addition to that, you will be able to copy and paste in the text field of a different web page.

While this is not full copy and paste capabilities, I, for one, welcome the ability do exactly this, which is basically what I want to do 95% of the time. According to Jed Schmidt, creator of Pastebud, they have been testing it for about a week and they are now "putting the finishing touches on the web site before launch".

Study Reports Anal Sex on Rise Among Teens

Lack of Sex Education, Virginity Pledges, Ignorance Contribute to Risky Behavior

Carry -- a Colorado college student who had been in a steady relationship for months -- was recently cajoled by her boyfriend into some sexual experimentation.

sex trends
The teen and young adult years are a time of sexual exploration and anal sex is one of the "underground" behaviors that is becoming more common, but also more dangerous.
(ABCNews Photo Illustration)

He wanted to try anal sex, and even though the 20-year-old said she was "OK with the idea," she nervously downed several drinks before their lovemaking began.

Within 15 seconds, Carry -- not her real name -- said she was "crying and asking him to stop."

They never did it again. But experts say that as social mores ease, more young heterosexuals are engaging in anal sex, a behavior once rarely mentioned in polite circles. And the experimentation, they worry, may be linked to the current increase in sexually transmitted diseases.

Recently, researchers at the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center in Rhode Island suggested that anal sex is on the rise among teens and young adults, particularly those who have unprotected vaginal sex.

Experts say girls and young women like Carry are often persuaded to try such sexual behavior for the wrong reasons -- to please a partner, to have sex without the risk of pregnancy or to preserve their virginity. But many don't understand the health consequences.

The Ten Most Outrageous Car Paint Jobs Of 2008

White may be the most popular car color, but as this year draws to a close, we're reminded of all the strangely-painted rides we've turned up. These ten are the most outrageous.

Click on images for full details

10.) Lingerie-Themed Mini Clubman

Agent Provacteur is known for its provactive lingerie and its cop-meets-panties paint scheme definitely raised some eyebrows. Or maybe it's because the only photos you can find of it come covered with scantily clad women (click on the pic for more of that).

9.) Volvo Custom Vinyl Wraps

Vinyl wrapping isn't new to cars, but this Europe-only OEM vinyl package for the Volvo C30 is something unique. They come in eight different varieties including rainbow, zebra and woodie.

8.) Trippy Alan Aldridge Mini

The Mini is one of those most popular platforms for custom paint and this version may remind some of a bad, drug-induced dream. That's because it was painted by famed free love-era artist Alan Aldridge.

7.) Matte Black + Gold Tetsu Bentley Continental GTR

Cars that are painted with a gold scheme and cars painted with matte black hoods aren't unique, but the combination of the two on the fastest production Bentley is something altogether different and frightening.

6.) Custom Tequila Sunrise Prius

When you think custom car you'd be forgiven for not immediately picturing a Prius. These guys saw the eco-driver and immediately thought tequilla sunrise!

5.) Gold Leaf Aston Martin

An Aston Martin DB7 covered in gold flake paint would no doubt top any list. Unfortunately, the owner didn't have the scratch or ability to paint the entire car. What remains is just ridiculous.

4.) Snakeskin Citroen Saxo

Yes, you're looking at an econobox Citroen covered in snakeskin. Real snakeskin. What more is there to say?

3.) Swarovski Crystal-Covered Patriotic Mini Cooper

The Swaovrski-covered Benz was classy in a crazy Dubai sort of way. The crystal-covered Mini is just insane. It's an American patriotic version of a British car built by Germans and featured in London. We totally dig the crystal space shutle.

2.) Matte Black Rolls Royce Phantom

The Rolls Royce Phantom is all about bling and flashiness and standing out. What could possibly stand out more than a Phantom that doesn't stand out at all?

1.) Chrome Mercedes McLaren SLR

We've seen chrome on cars, we've seen black chrome on cars and we've even seen all-chrome cars but never did with think someone would have the audacity to make an all-chrome version (including the windshield!) of the über-amazing McLaren SLR. In this trim it isn't just blindingly fast, in the right sunlight it is probably actually blinding.

Click on images for full details

Blow Smoke In Her Face and She'll Follow You Anywhere (PIC)

I'd love to see clips of men around the country following the advice of this ad and the end result. I'm thinking she follows him to his car and smashes a cinder block on his hood.

Space shuttle Endeavour heads back to Kennedy Space Center in Florida

The space shuttle Endeavour takes off from Edwards Air Force Base piggybacked to a modified 747 on its way back to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
December 10, 2008

click here for all the pics

Water Vapor Confirmed on Alien Planet

By Clara Moskowitz Email


The unequivocal signature of water vapor has been found on a planet beyond our solar system.

Using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, astronomers detected the steamy signature of water vapor in the light coming from a large exoplanet circling around a star about 63 light-years from Earth. Though it's not the first sign of water vapor around this planet, it's the strongest evidence yet.

The planet, HD 189733b, is what's called a "Hot Jupiter" — a boiling, gigantic gas planet more akin to our own Jupiter or Saturn than to a terrestrial planet like Earth. It's not a good candidate itself for alien life, but the successful detection of water vapor here, in the location and quantities that theorists predicted, bodes well for further studies of more promising locales for extraterrestrial life.

"It means we're starting to understand these objects a little bit better than we did when we first started," astrophysicist Adam Burrows of Princeton University told "It’s a trial run for the much more detailed investigations that will be possible in the years to come as we take this stepping stone from giant planets to terrestrial planets."

Though water vapor is thought to be fairly common on planets — even our own Jupiter has it — the discovery of its presence on another world is significant and points the way toward future discoveries, scientists say. Yesterday scientists announced that the Hubble Space Telescope had found carbon dioxide, which under the right circumstances could be connected to life, on the same planet. The presence of methane has also been detected.

Burrows and the research team, led by Carl Grillmair of the California Institute of Technology, used a technique known as the secondary-eclipse method to observe the infrared light coming from the planet. The world is so close to its star that normally the light from the two objects cannot be distinguished. But when the planet orbits behind the star, only the light from the star is visible. By subtracting the star's light from the total light of star plus planet, the scientists were able to isolate only the planet's light. When they separated the image into its constituent colors in a process called spectroscopy, they found the characteristic dip in light of a certain wavelength that results from water in the planet's atmosphere absorbing that light.

"We’re looking at the brightness of the planet, as opposed to the effect of the stellar light," Burrows said. "The data we have is the best spectrum ever taken of a planet outside the solar system."

In an article accompanying the research paper, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, astronomer Drake Deming of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, wrote, "We must first learn how to detect abundant molecules such as water before we can advance to identifying the more subtle signatures that scarcer molecules such as molecular oxygen leave in exoplanet spectra. Grillmair and colleagues have taken that first step."

Citation: "Strong water absorption in the dayside emission spectrum of the planet HD 189733b" by Carl J. Grillmair, Adam Burrows, David Charbonneau, Lee Armus, John Stauffer, Victoria Meadows, Jeffrey van Cleve, Kaspar von Braun and Deborah Levine. Nature: doi:10.1038/nature07574.

Have you been dreaming of a white Christmas? Scientists could soon watch it on a screen

By Daily Mail Reporter

Have you been dreaming of a white Christmas? Scientists may soon be able to show your winter scene on a computer screen once you've drifted into a peaceful slumber.

A Japanese research team has successfully processed and displayed images directly from the human brain, they said in a study to be published in the US magazine Neuron.

While the researchers at the ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories have only reproduced simple images from the brain, they said the technology could eventually be used to display dreams.


Sweet dreams? Scientists could soon be able to watch them on a screen

A spokesman for the Kyoto-based company said it was the first time that it had ever been possible to visualise what people saw directly from their brain activity, a spokesman said.

'By applying this technology, it may become possible to record and replay subjective images that people perceive like dreams,' they added.

When people look at an object, the eye's retina recognises an image that is converted into electrical signals which go into the brain's visual cortex.

The team, led by chief researcher Yukiyasu Kamitani, succeeded in catching the signals and then reconstructing what people saw.

Firstly they studied people's individual brain patterns by showing them some 400 different still images. They then showed volunteers the six letters in the word 'neuron' and succeeded in reconstructing the letters on a computer screen by measuring their brain activity.

Scientists hope eventually this software could be used to map complex dreams.

Dreaming is associated with rapid eye movement sleep although the biological purpose is still not understood. The most common recorded emotion experienced in dreams is anxiety.

Abandoned SFO

Main Gallery

Inside the abandoned International terminal at San Francisco International Airport.

This structure first opened in 1954 and was renovated and converted to international flights only in the early 80s. Closed since 2002 and sealed from the public when the new IT opened.

There's still a few lights on, but most of the disco-era fixtures and furniture are gone. It's a little fresher than what I usually shoot, but I knew this was a once (well, twice, actually) in a lifetime shoot. This massive, multi-story complex is undergoing demolition later in 2008.

Shot on two nights, a month apart. April and May 2008.

Some multi-exposure compositing, contrast adjustments and minor cloning on some of these, but the lighting FX and color are all done in-camera. These are not Photoshop creations.

25 photos

items are from between 09 Apr 2008 & 20 May 2008.

Main Gallery by Lost America
Welcome to SFO by Lost America
Sh_ppers by Lost America
Memphis Store by Lost America
All Flights Cancelled by Lost America
Last Chance Shopping by Lost America
Cave In by Lost America
Escobar International Airport by Lost America
Gin by Lost America
White Courtesy Telephone by Lost America
Robin by Lost America
Lounges by Lost America
The Vista by Lost America
Diner-style by Lost America
Curvy by Lost America
Lime Accordion by Lost America
Arrowhead by Lost America
High Tech by Lost America
MICRO-DOSE by Lost America
Elevator Tube by Lost America
Beneath the Skin by Lost America
To the Checkpoint by Lost America
The Planet of Lost Luggage by Lost America
Welcome to America by Lost America
Quarantine by Lost America

Giz Explains: Everything You Need to Know About Hard Drives

Some say that the end of the trusty hard drive is near, killed by SSD. But let's not be so quick to give up on a technology that stores a whole terabyte for $100.

It'll be years before solid-state flash-memory disks (in this case usually referred to as SSDs) let us cheaply bank the same amounts of data as trusty old hard disk drives for a reasonable price. So, you might as well know how they work, 'cause honestly, they'll have a place on or next to your desk holding all the crap that won't fit on daintier solid state drives—HD movies, huge pictures, music and who knows what else if you're Jason Chen.

What Goes on Inside
The reason hard drive is abbreviated as HDD is that it's really a hard disk drive. Inside you've got what's called a "platter," which is a magnetized recording surface that spins around really really fast, with a head that zooms across the disk to read and write data, think kinda like a record player, except that the head never actually touches the disk except, as you will see below, when bad things happen. [Image via Wikipedia]

Hard drives also come in a few different sizes, with 1.8", 2.5" and 3.5" being the most common, but they've been bigger (and smaller). 3.5" is for desktops, 2.5" is for notebooks (or obsessively quiet desktops), and 1.8" is what goes in classic iPods, MacBook Airs and other small portable devices.

The more platters a drive has, the more data it can hold, but most advances in storage have focused on increasing storage density. A really high-capacity drive can have four platters, while many 3.5" desktop models and some elite laptop 2.5" drives have three platters. Most laptop drives and all the 1.8" portable-device drives that we know of are limited to two platters.

The real catalyst for those 1TB and 1.5TB monster drives pooped out by Hitachi and Seagate wasn't platter stacking, though. It was perpendicular magnetic recording, which allows for triple storage density by storing data vertically (or perpendicularly) along the platter's recording layer, rather than spreading it out across it horizontally (parallel-ly?). However, data is more fragile and susceptible to erasure when stored vertically, hence the slow creep in precision allowing for greater storage densities and capacities.

What All Those Numbers and Letters Mean
You might've noticed hard drives are often labeled as IDE or SATA or PATA or PITA (kidding), with specs like 5400RPM or 7200RPM, plus they come in various sizes, like 1.8, 2.5 or 3.5-inches. Confusing, no? So here's all that crap means.

RPM means the same thing it does in cars, rotations revolutions per minute. In hard drives it's important because the faster the disk spins, the faster it can read and write data. 7200RPM is the standard for desktop drives, but performance models run at 10,000RPM or 15,000RPM. Notebook drives typically run at 5400RPM, because they're smaller, but recently, you can order them with 7200RPM to get more performance at the cost of battery life.

A higher RPM is the single greatest performance variable, since the faster it spins, the more data it can read or write within whatever time frame—it also makes access faster, since the head doesn't have to wait as long to pass over the right data once it's moved to the right spot. And a faster (lower) seek time, basically, refers to how long it takes for the drive to move its head where it needs to go to read or write data. High end drives have a seek time of just 2ms, while typical consumer drives are close to 9ms. Also, the higher the buffer—most typically 8, 16 or 32MB—the more data it can pre-cache, though Tom's Hardware found that you getdiminishing returns there.

How They Connect
The various kinds of drives essentially refers to how it interfaces or connects with your computer's motherboard. There are a bunch, but only a few worth knowing. Up until the last few years, the dominant standard was ATA, or Advanced Technology Attachment. Once SATA, or serial ATA, came onto the map (more on that in a sec), regular ATA picked up the alternative name parallel ATA.

Further revisions to the ATA spec allowed for hard drives with greater storage and faster transfer speeds, and you might see drives using the later spec revisions called "Ultra ATA" or something similar, and they can transfer data at 133MBps (which is slooooow). ATA drives are commonly called IDE (integrated drive electronics), but ATA is more precise. If you've ever messed around inside a computer, you'd recognize them because they connected to fatass ribbon cables that take up a lot of room. The third major interface, which you should know of, but not necessarily about, is SCSI (pronounced "scuzzy"), which was primarily used in the enterprise or high-end space when ATA was still king. The ATA/IDE interface also confused some with its master/slave assignations, which, as you'll see, is no longer a problem.

Okay, so the current hard drive standard in consumer PCs as of a few years ago is SATA, which is worlds better than ATA. For one, it's faster—first-gen devices ran at 1.5Gbps, but now they're up to 3Gbps, and are on the road to hitting 6Gbps. Also, their cables are way thinner, for better air flow and less tangly crap inside your case. And because they're smarter and don't depend on a lot of configuration, they're easy to work with, and are even hot-swappable. Newer external drives use a variant of SATA, eSATA (e for external) that essentially just moves the port to the outside of the computer case, delivering SATA speed for peripherals. Soon, eSATA will come in a bus-powered format, much like the smaller portable USB drives you see today.

Fast seek times are different than fast transfer times from a good interface—one pertains to how quickly the data can be located on the disk, and the other is how fast it can be sent over. To describe it in somewhat oversimplified terms, you can see how a slow interface on a fast seek drive would be better for a system that's constantly shifting tiny bits of data, where a fast interface on a relatively slower drive is good for moving really large files around.

Why They Die
Remember how I said the head usually never touches the drive's platter surface? When the head actually does touch the drive platter, it's what's called a head crash (check out the video above), and it means you're skee-rewed. Normally the head flies on a tiny pocket of air, but a single particle can make the head bounce on the disk, totally hosing the magnetic layer, especially at higher RPMs. And it just gets worse from there, because stuff scraped away by a head crash making it more likely that more head crashes will happen. More mundanely, the delicate mechanical parts eventually just wear out over time, which is typically measured by the the drive's rated mean time between failures. Unfortunately, there's not a whole lot you can do to predict when your drive is gonna go down in flames, unless you bought a drive from a series suffering manufacturing defects.

So what is really the single most important thing you should know about hard drives? Back your crap up, they may be awesome, but that doesn't mean they're without weakness.

Something you still wanna know? Send any questions about drives, personal storage or other hard things to, with "Giz Explains" in the subject line.