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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Most Popular Free Mac Downloads of 2008

We've featured gobs of great Mac freeware over the course of the year—now it's time to check out the best. Keep reading for a look back at the 10 most popular Mac downloads of 2008.

NOTE: This list is based on the popularity of posts we've published in 2008 only, regardless of the original release date of the app. Many were brand new this year, while others were solid updates to popular software. If you took a look at yesterday's Most Popular Free Windows Downloads of 2008, a few of the cross-platform favorites may look familiar.

Firefox 3 Is Released for All Platforms

Oh Firefox, what a journey it's been. We've seen all sorts of competition spring up in the browser market over the past year, but no browser excited readers like the third major release of Firefox. If you're living la vida Firefox, make sure you're taking advantage of the top 10 Firefox 3 features, then school yourself with our power user's guide to Firefox 3.

Mojo Downloads Music from Your Friends' iTunes Libraries Over the Internet

iTunes may be one of the most widely used desktop media players on the block, but that doesn't mean it can't be better. Mojo lets you browse through your friends' iTunes libraries and download any song directly to your computer. Sounds like an improvement to us. If you haven't used Mojo, check out our guide to getting started with Mojo.

OurTunes Makes a Comeback, Still Snags Music from Shared iTunes Libraries

What's that? Two iTunes-related apps back-to-back? That's right, the dormitory classic ourTunes is back at it. It's got a new developer releasing updates semi-regularly, it's still open source, and it still downloads any song from any shared iTunes library on a network. (Original post)

PwnageTool Jailbreaks the Hell out of Your iPhone and iPod touch

Mac users jumped all over the opportunity to jailbreak their iPhones with the dead simple PwnageTool this year (the official download is a torrent from The Pirate Bay). Though Apple continues to battle jailbreaking with every new software update, the iPhone Dev Team has so far managed to push out new jailbreaks through PwnageTool within a few days of each update. Using PwnageTool is dead simple, but if you'd prefer a little reassurance, check out our guide to jailbreaking your iPhone with PwnageTool.

XBMC Moves to the Mac in a Serious Way

XBMC made its first official appearance on the Mac back in February, and since then the popular media center application has made the move to all platforms and found a huge following along the way. Mac lovers have been especially lucky: XBMC's move to the Mac has come in many different forms, including Plex and Mac-supported spinoff, Boxee.

Dropbox Makes Cross-Platform, Instantaneous File Sync a Breeze

We saw several exciting new file-syncing applications in 2008, but none more popular than Dropbox. It's fast, it's free, and—if you need it—it makes for a helluva password syncing utility. (Original post)

iTimeMachine Backs Up Leopard Over Your Network

Mac OS X Leopard's Time Machine may offer one-click backup so simple that you've got no excuse not to back up, but unless you like carrying an external hard drive with you everywhere you take your laptop, it's not always terribly convenient. iTimeMachine backs up your Mac using Time Machine to any hard drive on your network. (Original post)

Top Draw Generates Psychedelic Images

The Official Google Mac Blog released a crazy little utility called Top Draw that creates killer wallpapers and other trippy psychedelic images. (Original post)

Songbird Challenges iTunes

Songbird is a free, cross-platform music player built using the same bricks as Firefox. That means it's open source, extensible, and looking to innovate. Songbird has been incubating for a while, but now that the official 1.0 release has hatched, it's sparked all kinds of interest. If you're just trying Songbird for the first time, check out these killer add-ons that make Songbird sing. (Original post)

Secrets Presents an Easy Way to Tweak Leopard's Hidden Features

Developed by the Mac philanthropist who brought us Quicksilver, Secrets rolls every hidden feature of Leopard into an easy-to-use preference pane in your System Preferences. Tweaking hidden features that would normally require obscure Terminal hacks is as simple as ticking a checkbox with Secrets. (Original post)

The Top 10 Architectural Wonders of Dubai

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It is one of history’s most rapidly developing urban centers. It boasts the world’s “largest”, “tallest”, and “most expensive” architectural works in the world. The city of Dubai has transformed itself from a humble port city into a sprawling metropolis fueled by immeasurable wealth. To celebrate its achievements, here are the 10 greatest architectural wonders of Dubai.

10. The Emirates Towers

emirates-towers_msp1

The earliest completed structure on this list was, for a time, a primary symbol of the Dubai landscape. The Emirates Towers are comprised of two individual structures, the Emirates Office Tower and the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel. The Emirates Office Tower reaches a full 1,163 feet into the sky, while the Jumeirah Emirates Hotel is a bit shorter at 1,014 feet– making these the 12th and 29th tallest buildings in the world, respectively. The Emirates Towers complex is joined by a two story, 100,000 sq. ft. retail mall set on a 42 sq. acre development of gardens, waterfalls and public seating areas. A room at the Jumeirah Emirates Hotel this holiday season starts at $420/night– and climbs quickly from there.

9. The Dubai Marina

dubai-marina_msp1

Upon its completion, the Dubai Marina will be the world’s largest man-made marina. While only its first phase of development is complete, it is on its way to unseating Marina Del Ray, California, as the world’s greatest. This marina will hold over 200 high-rise buildings and complexes including the Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City and the American University in Dubai. Unlike other areas in Dubai, this marina is publicly accessible for boats via foreshoreways and ocean inlets that connect it with the sea-going world.

8. Business Bay

business-bay_msp1

In hopes to become the financial epicenter of the Middle East and later the world, Business Bay is set as the heart of Dubai’s commercial district. The future home to 230 buildings both commercial and residential, Busines Bay will be Dubai’s answer to Manhattan, NY and Ginza, Tokyo. Business Bay is built on 64 million square feet of space, including a waterway to be dredged from an existing creek.

7. Mall of Arabia

mall-of-arabia_msp1

To be constructed in the City of Arabia section of Dubailand, the Mall of Arabia will become the world’s largest mall– overtaking the South China Mall in Dongguan, China. This 10,000,000 square foot behemoth will feature two levels of shopping and entertainment, rooftop hotels and relaxation spots– as well as the world’s largest Starbucks cafe.

6. Burj Al Arab

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(image courtesy: eric_swist)

Among Dubai’s greatest completed works of architecture, the Burj Al Arab Hotel is one of the most recognizable in the world. The Burj Al Arab is the tallest active hotel in the world, reaching 1,053 feet from its base on an artificial island on Dubai’s coast. The price of a suite in the Burj Al Arab starts at $1,000/night, climbing to $28,000/night for the royal suite. Designed as a symbol of Dubai’s urban revival, the appearance of a sail taking wind, has been both hailed and hated by critics of architecture throughout the world.

5. Hydropolis

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To be built not far from the site of the Burj Al Arab, Hydropolis will be the world’s first underwater luxury resort. It will be constructed 66 feet below the surface of the Persian Gulf, constructed of reinforced steel, concrete and plexiglass. The resort will provide 2,200 underwater suites to its guests and will cost over $1 billion to build. Construction has been delayed, cancelled, re-scheduled and delayed again, so it might be safe to assume the Hydropolis may not be built until later this century, if at all.

4. The World Islands

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Among the world’s largest man-made archipelagos, The World Islands off the Dubai coast combine for 144 miles of shoreline. Designed as a scaled map of the world broken into over 300 individual islands, The World Islands are among Dubai’s most expensive pieces of residential real estate– selling for between $15 million and $50 million each. It had been rumored that actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie purchased the Ethiopia island, a rumor that was later proven false.

3. Dubailand

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At present, Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida is the largest theme park in the world. When the Dubailand theme park in Dubai is completed, it will be twice the size of Disney World, setting the bar practically out of reach for future developers. This 107 square mile superpark includes 45 “mega projects” and 200 sub projects, including projects from Dreamworks, Six Flags, Marvel and others. $6 Billion in private capital has been raised to fund the park’s development, with completion on its final phase slated for 2015.

2. The Palm Islands

palm-islands_msp1

(image courtesy: twocentsworth)

Arguably the most recognizable man-made island on the planet, the Palm Islands Jumeirah is a palm frond peninsula fanning out from the Dubai coast. Construction on the first of three Palm Islands began in July of 2001, with residents moving into their homes on Jumeira in 2006. The other two Palm Islands remain under construction and not-yet-liveable, but the existing island, the Jumeira, is deep into residential development. Real estate magnate Donald Trump himself is currently building on the island, constructing the Palm Trump International Hotel and Tower. When residential and commercial projects are complete, the Palm Jumeira will feature a monorail transit system, 4,000 residences and 32 hotels, making it a virtual city unto itself.

1. Burj Dubai

burj-dubai-courtesy-burjdubaiskyscraper-com_msp1
(image courtesy: burjdubaiskyscraper.com)

The crowning achievement of the Dubai skyline is its highest reaching tower, the Burj Dubai. Upon completion in the coming year, the Burj Dubai will be the world’s tallest building at 2,684 feet. At present, it has already outstretched the Taipei 101 as the world’s tallest, having reached 2,320 feet on September 26th of this year. Slated for completion in mid-2009, the Burj Dubai will open its doors to occupants in September of 2009. Want to claim some of that space for yourself? Office space prices has reached $4,000/sq. ft., while residential prices are available for just $3,500/sq. ft. Those prices make Manhattan look cheap…

Vintage Parkour from the 1930s

Watch as a guy does parkour in the 1930s...


Vintage Parkour - Watch more free videos

ASCII Art: Older Than The Internet

img370.imageshack.us — Newspaper clipping from 1948

Chismillionaire wants to know?

Is it possible to drop a Bentley Continental GT motor into a W12 Phaeton? Would that be possible? Transmission/drive train issues?? Anyone?

THIS
http://autoreview.belproject.com/media/1/20070802-bentley-continental-gt-speed-w12-engine.jpg

PLUS THIS

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v731/04Phaeton/Picture053med.jpg

It certainly would be cool. Might have to head over to VW Vortex to find out.

Blurred Out: 51 Things You Aren't Allowed to See on Google Maps

Find out which sensitive locations are off-limits online.

IT Security Editors

Depending on which feature you use, Google Maps offers a satellite view or a street-level view of tons of locations around the world. You can look up landmarks like the Pyramids of Egypt or the Great Wall of China, as well as more personal places, like your ex’s house. But for all of the places that Google Maps allows you to see, there are plenty of places that are off-limits. Whether it’s due to government restrictions, personal-privacy lawsuits or mistakes, Google Maps has slapped a "Prohibited" sign on the following 51 places.


Government and Military Sites

  1. The White House: Google Maps' images of the White House show a digitally erased version of the roof in order to obscure the air-defense and security assets that are in place.
  2. The U.S. Capitol: The U.S. Capitol has been fuzzy ever since Google Maps launched. Current versions of Google Maps and Google Earth show these sites uncensored, though with old pictures.
  3. Dick Cheney's House: The Vice President's digs at Number One Observatory Circle are obscured through pixelation in Google Earth and Google Maps at the behest of the U.S. government. However, high-resolution photos and aerial surveys of the property are readily available on other Web sites.
  4. Soesterberg Air Base, in the Netherlands: This Dutch air-force base and former F-15 base for the U.S. Air Force during the Cold War can't be seen via Google Maps.
  5. PAVE PAWS in Cape Cod, Mass.: PAVE PAWS is the U.S. Air Force Space Command’s radar system for missile warning and space surveillance. There are two other installations besides the one in Cape Cod.
  6. Shatt-Al-Arab Hotel in Basra, Iraq: This site was possibly censored after it was reported that terrorists who attacked the British at the hotel used aerial footage displayed by Google Earth to target their attacks.
  7. Leeuwarden, Netherlands: This Dutch city is one of the main operating bases of the Royal Netherlands Air Force, part of NATO's Joint Command Centre and one of three Joint Sub-Regional Commands of Allied Forces Northern Europe. Leeuwarden is also one of two regional headquarters of Allied Command Europe, headed by the Supreme Allied Commander Europe.
  8. Reims Air Base in France: This lone building on Reims Air Base in France is blurred out.
  9. Novi Sad: This military base in Serbia is off-limits.
  10. Kamp van Zeist: Kamp van Zeist is a former U.S. Air Force base that was temporarily declared sovereign territory of the U.K. in 2000 in order to allow the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial to take place.
  11. NATO C3 Agency: Located in Brussels, Belgium, the C3 Agency supports NATO through scientific support and funded acquisition of C4ISR (Consultation, Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) capabilities.
  12. New American Embassy Location: This site is under construction.
  13. NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen : This is the site of the main operating of NATO's Airborne Early Warning Control Force's E-3A Component, which provides an early-warning radar system to enhance NATO's air- defense capabilities. The base includes 17 E-3A aircraft used for air surveillance and air-operations-communications support. Crews from 14 nations, including Spain, Turkey and the U.S., power the aircraft.
  14. Ramstein Air Base in Germany: Ramstein Air Base figures prominently in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. It's the home of the 86th Airlift Wing and headquarters of U.S. Air Forces in Europe. It is also a NATO installation. Americans, Canadians, Germans, British, French and other nationalities comprise the base's population.
  15. The Royal Stables in The Hague, Netherlands: A division of the Civil Household, the Royal Stables arranges transport for the members of the Royal House and the Royal Household.
  16. Huis Ten Bosch Palace: This address is one of the four official residences of the Dutch Royal Family, also located in The Hague, Netherlands. Queen Beatrix has lived here since 1981.
  17. Political Pushback on Google Earth and Google Maps' Street View

  18. North Oaks, Minn.: In late June 2008, the St. Paul, Minn. suburb of North Oaks successfully petitioned that street images be removed from Google Maps’ Street View feature. The argument put forth collectively by North Oaks' 4,500 residents involves the fact that the town has private roads that are protected by a trespassing ordinance. Google spokeswoman Elaine Filadelfo said that she didn't know of any other city in the country that has made a similar request.
  19. The Boring Home: Aaron and Christine Boring of Franklin Park Pa. claimed that Google Maps' Street View feature violated their privacy, devalued their property and caused them mental suffering by posting images of a private road in front of their house. The Borings said that the images of their home must have been taken from their long driveway, which is labeled "Private Road."
  20. Bahrain: In August 2006, Bahrain's Ministry of Information instructed the country's Internet exchange to block access to Google Earth servers. The ban lasted three days. Internet rumors claimed that the ban's goal was to keep poorer citizens from viewing the elaborate residences and private jets of the country's rich, in order to keep secret the inequity of wealth distribution in Bahrain. Cyberactivists circulated an email that contained a PDF file with annotated Google Earth screenshots of the supposed Bahrain sites.
  21. Europe: In May 2008, the EU's (European Union) data-protection agency railed against Google Maps' Street View feature, which shows ground-level, 360-degree views of streets in 30 U.S. cities. Officials claimed that the feature may break EU privacy laws if launched in Europe.
  22. Singapore: In April 2008, the country's government claimed that the ban stemmed from a dispute between SLA (Singapore Land Authority) and Google over copyright issues. SLA alleged that the satellite images on Google Earth are direct copies of real geographic features in Singapore and infringe upon the organization's copyrights.
  23. Sudan: The Google Earth ban in Sudan is reportedly due to U.S. export restrictions and economic-sanctions regulations. Knowledge of the ban spread after Google Earth added info about the humanitarian crisis in Sudan's Darfur region.
  24. Iran: Late in 2007, an Iranian businessman tried to download Google Earth and got a message that said, "Thanks for your interest, but the product that you're trying to download is not available in your country."
  25. India: Google censors certain sensitive sites in India. Former Indian President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam expressed concern over the availability of high-resolution pictures of sensitive locations within the country.
  26. Sydney, Australia: Much of inner Sydney still remains blurred. Google says that it removed the high-resolution photos due to a problem with one of the image providers, but Internet publications pointed to fears that the maps could be used as a terrorist tool. Some of the blocked areas include (or have included at some point) The Garden Island Naval Depot, the Lucas Heights Reactor, Parliament House and the Australian Defence Force headquarters in Canberra.
  27. Areas of Southeast Asia: Areas blurred by Google Earth include sensitive political areas like Tibet/Xinjiang Province, northern areas of Pakistan and royal palaces.
  28. Central/Eastern village of Yona, on the Pacific Island Territory of Guam: It’s unknown why this location is censored.
  29. The city of Utrecht in the Netherlands: Some sites say that the ban on this Dutch city was an apparent mistake, but it does hold relevance as an ancient city and has served as the religious center of the Netherlands since the eighth century.
  30. Fortress on Castell de Montjuïc in Barcelona, Spain: This hill no longer houses a military presence, but it’s unavailable in Google Maps' high-resolution satellite images. However it did become accessible on Google Earth in April 2008.
  31. Nuclear Stations, Energy-Generation Sites and Reserves

  32. Seabrook Station: This nuclear-power station is located in New Hampshire and is one of two originally planned units.
  33. UMass Lowell Nuclear Research Reactor: This lab's primary focus is on reactor physics, operations and modeling. It houses 1 MW pool-type nuclear research reactor that has been operating since 1974.
  34. Indian Point Energy Center in Westchester, N.Y.: Indian Point Energy Center is a three-unit nuclear power plant station.
  35. Hydroelectric Dams and Supporting Waterways Near Niagara Falls, N.Y.: Niagara Falls function as a good source of hydroelectric power, which is probably why Google keeps these dams and waterways blurred.
  36. McGuire Nuclear Station: With two Westinghouse pressurized water reactors and an ability to produce 2,200 megawatts of power, McGuire Nuclear Station generates almost half of North Carolina's nuclear power.
  37. Perry Nuclear Generating Station: The San Francisco Chronicle reported in May 2007 that a spokeswoman for FirstEnergy, the electricity company that owns this Ohio nuclear plant, had no idea why the facility was blurred on Google.
  38. Oconee Nuclear Station in Seneca, S.C.: Oconee Nuclear Station, which has three pressurized water reactors manufactured by The Babcock & Wilcox Company, is the second nuclear power plant in the country to have its license extended by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
  39. Oil-Tank Farm in Braintree, Mass.: An oil-tank farm is a storage facility for liquid chemicals.
  40. Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant: Though closed since 1989 due to protests, this General Electric Co. nuclear boiling-water reactor in New York is still fuzzy on Google Maps.
  41. Liquid Natural Gas Terminal in Chelsea, Mass. and a Large Portion of an Industrial Port Area in Boston: Both of these areas are blurry on Google Maps.
  42. Marshall Steam Station in Terrell, N.C.: Marshall Steam Station is a four-unit, coal-fired generating facility located in Catawba County, North Carolina.

    Colleges and Research Labs

  43. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory: Lincoln Laboratory is a federally funded research-and-development center working to use advanced technology to help solve problems of national security.
  44. General Electric World Research Laboratories and General Electric Main Plant in Schenectady, N.Y.: According to General Electric's Web site, the research component boasts more than 3,000 of "the best and brightest researchers spread out at four multi-disciplinary facilities around the world."
  45. Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory: This research-and-development facility supports the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, which researches, designs, constructs, operates and maintains U.S. nuclear-powered warships.
  46. Stony Brook University: Stony Brook University is blurred because it houses Brookhaven National Laboratory.
  47. Manhattanville College's Dammann and Tenney Dormitories: Manhattanville College, located in Purchase N.Y., is probably blurred because it’s near several corporate headquarters, including PepsiCo Inc., Texaco and MasterCard.
  48. Noordwijk Aan Zee: The headquarters for ESTEC (European Space Research and Technology Centre and part of ESA (European Space Agency) are located in this Dutch community.
  49. HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program) Antenna Array on the Alaska/Yukon Border: This is part of the site for HAARP, which studies ionospheric-radio science.Miscellaneous
  50. White Plains Train Station: The Wikipedia page for this New York train station states that "due to security reasons, overhead images of the station cannot be viewed in Google Maps or Google Earth."
  51. William Hurt's Home: This actor’s home outside of Paris is hazy.
  52. Playland Amusement Park in Rye, N.Y.: Google will not let you in on the fun at this amusement park, which boasts arcade games and 45 major rides.
  53. Saint Louis School in Honolulu: Only the football field, the field house, the gym and ellipse are available on Google.

A Car in Every Port: China's first mass-produced hybrid car goes on sale


China's first mass-produced hybrid car goes on sale

BEIJING, Dec. 15, 2008 (AFP) -- China's first mass-produced hybrid electric car hit the market on Monday, its manufacturer said, in a move aimed at driving the nation to the cutting edge of the world's green auto industry.

The car is made by BYD Auto, a Chinese company backed by American Warren Buffett, one of the world's most successful investors who owns 9.9 percent of the firm.

The F3DM is also the world's first mass-produced plug-in hybrid car, meaning owners can charge it from powerpoints at home for the first time, as well as in specialised electric car charging stations, according to BYD.

BYD president Wang Chuanfu was quoted by Chinese media as saying that his firm and China were on their way to being world leaders in the fuel-efficient auto industry.

"Through the F3DM dual-mode electric vehicle, BYD will grab a head-start in the new energy automobile market," he said at the launch in the southern city of Shenzhen, according to Auto 18, an online platform for China's auto industry.

A spokeswoman for the company confirmed the launch took place on Monday, but gave no other details.

BYD, which also specialises in making rechargeable batteries, only started making cars in 2003 when it bought a bankrupt state-owned auto company.

Its hybrid car is planned to first go on the market in 14 Chinese cities, and the firm is initially focusing on striking deals for company fleets rather than individuals, mycar168.com, another auto website, quoted Wang as saying.

The United States, meanwhile, is currently examining the F3DM to see if it meets the necessary standards for its domestic market, a spokesperson for the firm was quoted as saying by pcauto.com.cn, another car-focused web portal.

Exports to the United States could begin from 2010, according to the report.

The Prius hybrid electric car, made by Japan's Toyota, is currently sold in China, but the F3DM is the first locally made hybrid vehicle to hit the market.

Other carmakers in China have also manufactured these types of hybrid cars but never released them for public sale, said Duan Chengwu, a Shanghai-based technical analyst with international market research firm Global Insight.

The F3DM, meanwhile, has beaten Toyota and General Motors in the plug-in area, as the two companies only plan to launch hybrid cars that can be charged from home in 2009 and 2010 respectively, Duan said.

BYD's hybrid car, which can run 100 kilometres (62 miles) on a full battery, will cost just under 150,000 yuan (22,000 dollars).

Duan expressed doubt that the F3DM would initially be successful with Chinese customers because of the high price.

"In the initial stage, I don't think Chinese customers will buy a lot of these cars, but BYD wants to use them to test the waters," he said.

"Ultimately, though, this kind of car has a big potential in the Chinese market, and in the world market, because we all know we need new energy cars to solve the environmental and oil crisis problems."

Duan said Chinese automakers still lagged behind Western companies in conventional car technologies, but were at a similar level when it came to hybrids.

"The Chinese manufacturers have the opportunity to leapfrog the traditional technologies and to gain a leading position in terms of new energy cars," he said.

Copyright 2008 -- Agence France-Presse

Spectacular Images of 2008

The TinStix of Dynamite team performs during the Al-Ain International Aerobatics Show at the airport in Abu Dhabi

The TinStix of Dynamite team performs during the Al-Ain International Aerobatics Show at the airport in Abu Dhabi


telegraph.co.uk — We take a look back at some of the year's most awesome photographs.

Click here for the pic:

Images of 2008

NSF Reports on Jellyfish Gone Wild

by Jeremy Elton Jacquot, Los Angeles on 12.14.08

jellyfish swarm
Image from Monty Graham/Dauphin Island Sea Lab

If you have any interest whatsoever in jellyfish—and, really, who doesn't?—then you should head on over to the National Science Foundation (NSF) website and read their special report on the environmental causes and ramifications of large jellyfish swarms. The interactive site is chock-full of videos, pictures (of course), interesting trivia (for example: a single jellyfish may release up to 45,000 eggs in a day) and several excellent primers on the species' ecology and swarm behavior.

moon jellyfish
Image from NOAA

It's no secret that jellyfish have slowly, but steadily, begun taking over the oceans in recent years. Thanks to climate change, overfishing, habitat deterioration and other anthropogenic impacts, jellyfish have flourished, both in size and in sheer numbers, often forming swarms of hundreds of millions of organisms.

The Japanese had a harrowing experience in the summer of 2005 when almost 500 million jellyfish—each weighing around 450 pounds—took up residence in the Sea of Japan on a daily basis. On a global scale, the massive swarms have cost the fishing and tourism industries hundreds of millions, perhaps even billions, of dollars in damage since 1980.

As Kimberley wrote about a few months ago, many biologists believe the growing presence of these gelatinous, seemingly innocuous, creatures signals that something is deeply wrong with the world's marine ecosystems. If the pace of their invasion is any indication, it may already be too late to save some of the most vulnerable ones.

Though jellyfish populations typically rise and fall over a 16 to 18-year period, their natural life and reproductive cycles seem to have accelerated under conditions of global warming and anthropogenic impact; indeed, 2008 marked the eight consecutive year that their numbers continued their meteoric rise.

Here are a few more interesting tidbits you'll find on the NSF's website:

1 microsecond is the time it takes a jellyfish stinger to hit its target. The discharge of the jellyfish's stinger is among the fastest movements in nature.

1/3 of the total weight of all life in Monterey Bay is from gelatinous animals.

20-40 people are killed annually from box jellyfish stings in the Philippines alone.

Some of the areas that have witnessed the largest increases in numbers—and the most spectacular swarms—include Hawaii, the Gulf of Mexico, the Bering Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, Australia, the Black Sea and the North Sea. You can see the full breakdown of swarm locations in recent years here.

More about jellyfish
Huge Jellyfish Numbers "Signal Something Has Changed" in Oceans
Jellyfish: Coming to a Beach Near You

Barack Obama picks 'best cabinet basketball team in history'

The sports-obsessed President-Elect Barack Obama has assembled what he proudly calls 'the best basketball-playing cabinet in American history'.
Barack Obama, Arne Duncan - Barack Obama picks 'best cabinet basketball team in history'
'I just want to dispel one rumour before I take questions,' joked Mr Obama. 'I did not select Arne because he's one of the best basketball players I know.' Photo: EPA

Latest to join the ranks on Tuesday was Arne Duncan, 44, Mr Obama's education secretary, a 6ft 5in tall former co-captain of Harvard's basketball team who also played professionally in Australia.

General James Jones, 64, the new national security adviser, stands at 6ft 4in and was a forward for the Georgetown University team, the Hoyas. Eric Holder, 57, the nominee for attorney general, was co-captain of the Peglegs, his high school team in New York and also played at Columbia University.

Susan Rice, 45, the new United Nations ambassador, is just 5ft 3in tall but was a star basketball player at National Cathedral School in Washington, where she was nicknamed Spo – short for Sporting.

Mr Obama, 47, himself was an avid basketball player at school in Honolulu, where he was nicknamed Barry O'Bomber because of his devastating "jump shot" and would dribble and bounce a ball as he walked between classes. He struggled to make the starting line-up of his champion school team but has improved his game further over the years and still plays regularly.


Barack Obama - Barack Obama picks 'best cabinet basketball team in history'
Mr Obama has said he will build a basketball court in the White House Photo: AP

During the 21-month election campaign, Mr Obama developed a ritual of playing a game of basketball every election day. Mr Duncan, currently chief executive of Chicago public schools, played with him on Nov 4, the day he won the White House.

Announcing Mr Duncan's appointment in Chicago, a grinning Mr Obama, who has said he will build a basketball court in the White House, said: "I just want to dispel one rumour before I take questions. I did not select Arne because he's one of the best basketball players I know.

"Although I will say that I think we are putting together the best basketball-playing cabinet in American history. And I think that is worth noting."

Mr Obama has just three main cabinet secretaries still to appoint. So far he has put together the most ethnically diverse cabinet in American history. Though he has yet to follow through on his promise to appoint Republicans, he is keeping on Robert Gates, a career intelligence officer, as defence secretary.

Among his selections are Mr Holder, who is black; commerce secretary Bill Richardson, who is Hispanic; veterans affairs secretary Eric Shinseki, who is Japanese-American; energy secretary Steven Chu, who is a Chinese-American Nobel prize winner; and several women, including Hillary Clinton as secretary of state.

"When you look at our entire White House staff and cabinet and our various appointments I think people will feel that we followed through on our commitment to make sure that this is not only an administration that is diverse ethnically, but it's also diverse politically, and it's diverse in terms of people's life experience," said Mr Obama.


Barack Obama - Barack Obama picks 'best cabinet basketball team in history'
Mr Obama was nicknamed Barry O'Bomber at school because of his devastating basketball jump shot Photo: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

He even has a reserve for the starting line-up of five for his basketball team. Although not a cabinet member, Paul Volcker, ex-chairman of the Federal Reserve, has been selected as chairman of Mr Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

Mr Volcker is 6ft 7in, played basketball for Princeton and is a towering 6ft 7in tall. The only drawback in terms of his court skills is that he is now 81.

Terminator 5 Already in Motion

By Hugh Hart Email

Conceptart1

Terminator Salvation doesn't hit theaters until May but producers have already decided to make a follow-up slated for release in 2011. Salvation director McG will be involved in this fifth picture in the machine freak franchise, with star Christian Bale contractually committed to play John Connor in up to three movies.

When Terminator rights were acquired last year by Halcyon bosses Derek Anderson and Victor Kubicek, they hoped to make a new trilogy of films to complement the original Arnold Schwarzenegger threesome. According to Variety, fan buzz encouraged Anderson and Kubicek to pull the trigger even before they saw how Salvation did at the box office.

Speaking over the weekend at the Dubai International Film Festival, Kubicek said: "We feel the time is now to start shaping the next part of this."

Concept art for Terminator Salvation courtesy Warner Bos.

12 Most common beer myths exploded



12 Most common beer myths exploded

December 16, 2008 by legendsofbeer


Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy

–Benjamin Franklin

Beer gets a bad rap. It’s blamed for so much of society’s ills, when it should be celebrated as one of the finest beverages created.

There are a number of persistent myths and urban legends about beer that are passed around that unfairly distort the facts and confuse beer drinkers.

At LegendsOfBeer.com, we’d like to set the record straight and explode 12 of the most common beer myths, for once and for all. So take a read of these myths and the truth behind them and start spreading the good beer news!

Photo by elkojote

Myth #1: The Guinness served in Ireland is different to the rest of the world

Actually, the Guinness served in Ireland is most likely the same as that served in Boston or Berlin. However, many people will attest that Guinness simply tastes better in Ireland, which is why the myth spread. There’s a certain amount of sentimentality in this myth, but when you dig into it, most of the reasoning is pretty circumstantial.

There are a few reasons why it may taste better in Ireland - most likely freshness and rapid keg turnover (a pub in Dublin will serve the freshest Guinness in the world) - but the actual product is not any different that the black stuff served around the world. Also, a Guinness drinker in Ireland is guaranteed to have their drink poured correctly in Ireland than in some parts of the world, which will have an impact on the quality of the experience.


Myth #2: Lite beers will help you lose weight

On average, a lite beer will have 90-100 calories, while a regular beer might have under 200. In the grand scheme of things, lite beers will contribute very little to your dietary goals, and considering their typical lack of taste, you’d be better off drinking one or two regular beers.


Myth #3: Dark beers are stronger in alcohol

The color of beer has no relation to its alcohol content. For example, Guinness, one of the most popular dark beers has an alcohol volume of 4.2%, while several light-colored Belgian beers have alcohol content of 8%+.


Myth #4: Corona beer contains urine

This was a nasty rumor claiming that Mexican brewery workers were relieving themselves into the beer. Allegedly, the rumor was spread by a Heineken distributor and was only refuted following a lawsuit by Corona.


Myth #5: Imported beers are stronger than American beers

Traditionally, American beers measure their alcohol content by weight, while many other countries (across Europe and in Canada) measure by volume. The alcohol by weight figure will always appear lower than the alcohol by volume - for example, 4% ABW = 5% ABV, hence the myth creation.


Myth #6: Beer should be served ice-cold for best flavor

This is an unfortunate myth perpetuated by the major commercial breweries - especially for their lite beers. The fact is, flavor typically diminishes when beer is served ice-cold. It may make for a thirst-quenching, refreshing beverage, but often bears little resemblance to traditional beer. Several beers are, in fact, best served much closer to room temperature or slightly cool and are considered undrinkable when icy cold - such as Guinness and many of the traditional English ales.


Myth #7: The best beers have green bottles

Another myth that circulated imported beers. Brown glass is the best color to protect beer from light, which is why most beers are bottled with it. A shortage of brown glass in Europe during the last century led to many breweries using green glass to bottle their beer - therefore, green bottles represented imported beer for many years and people incorrectly assumed the color indicated a better beer.


Myth #8: “Beer before liquor, never sicker - liquor before beer, in the clear”

This is common drinking advice shared but not scientifically true. In reality, alcohol is alcohol, and the overall quantity you imbibe will determine your resulting (in)sobriety or hangover. Drinking beer before drinking hard liquor may prolong the onset of inebriation. However, it won’t ultimately matter whether you drink beer first or last; it’s the quantity of alcohol that does the damage.


Myth #9: You can’t get a hangover from drinking organic beer

If only being eco-friendly was this rewarding! This myth is based on the idea that organic beer is cleaner or purer than other beer, but there’s no existing proof that it manages to avoid giving hangovers when consumed in sufficient quantities.


Myth #10: Beer will raise your cholesterol levels

Beer actually contains no fat and no cholesterol! Perhaps this is one reason that Guinness was originally advertised as good for your health.


Myth #11: A good beer must be high in alcohol

Many people unfairly associate low alcohol with low flavor. There are plenty of poor quality beers that are high in alcohol content, and the opposite is also true. Some of the famous Belgian and German beers have traditionally high average alcohol content - perhaps 8% or 10%. However, the alcohol content is only one feature and doesn’t necessarily account for the good taste. In England, many of the best mild ales have alcohol content of 4% or less - resulting from a higher tax on stronger beer. Of course, the advantage is finding good-tasting, lower alcohol beers is that you can drink more of it!


Myth #12: Beer kills brain cells

Possibly the most damning of all beer myths, and we’re happy to explode this for you. An Australian study has determined that beer is not responsible for killing brain cells as was once thought.

What a nice cat!

The below was completely stolen from this guy's site.

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I personally think cats are awesome when trained properly. Here’s further proof. Check out these images of a FUCKING JUNGLE CAT living in a house with people.

Theoretically you should let wild animals be, you know, wild animals. They like to run and hunt and shit in the jungle. Or you could keep them in your home and let them do those things there!

Yes, what you’re seeing is the owners offering this jungle cat a ritualistic sacrifice of a chicken. Well, actually, what you’re seeing is a completely fucking disintegrated chicken that’s probably thinking it should have gone back to school instead of walking the streets and agreeing to get into a car with these strange people who kidnap live chickens and feed them to their jungle cat.

This is simultaneously the most awesome and most fucked up thing ever. It’s like having a child whom you had resurrected by a witch doctor after his untimely demise but, now that he’s back alive, he can only subsist on the flesh of nubile coeds. Except, with a jungle cat, you get snuggles and licks!

More photos below and even more on the site I found it on.

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