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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Toy trains 'Star Wars' fans to use The Force

Destiny with fun: An aspiring Jedi concentrates on making the ball in the tube rise.
Uncle Milton Industries
Destiny with fun: An aspiring Jedi concentrates on making the ball in the tube rise.
Could The Force be with you? A toy due in stores this fall will let you test and hone your Jedi-like abilities.

The Force Trainer (expected to be priced at $90 to $100) comes with a headset that uses brain waves to allow players to manipulate a sphere within a clear 10-inch-tall training tower, analogous to Yoda and Luke Skywalker's abilities in the Star Wars films.

No, you're not tapping into some "all-powerful force controlling everything," as Han Solo said in the movies. But you are reaching out with mind power via one of the first mass-market brain-to-computer products. "It's been a fantasy everyone has had, using The Force," says Howard Roffman, president of Lucas Licensing.

Mind-control games may be the coming thing: Mattel plans to demonstrate a Mind Flex game (also due this fall), which uses brain-wave activity to move a ball through a tabletop obstacle course, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Thursday.

In the Force Trainer, a wireless headset reads your brain activity, in a simplified version of EEG medical tests, and the circuitry translates it to physical action. If you focus well enough, the training sphere, which looks like a ping-pong ball, will rise in the tower.A state of deep concentration is needed to achieve a Force-full effect. "When you concentrate, it activates the training remote," says Frank Adler of toymaker Uncle Milton Industries, which is creating the Trainer. "There is a flow of air that will move the (ball). You can actually feel like you are in a zone."

Star Wars sound effects and audio clips emitted from the base unit "cue you in to progress to the next level (from Padawan to Jedi) or when to move the sphere up or down to keep challenging yourself," Adler says.

"Until today, EEG technology has been designed for rigorous medical and clinical applications with little regard to price (and) ease of use," says Greg Hyver of NeuroSky, which developed the brain-wave technology for both games. "We are putting this exciting technology into everyone's living room."

RUSLAN (2008) Official Trailer - STEVEN SEAGAL [R-Rated / RedBand]



http://www.insightfilm.com/ruslan.html
http://voltagepictures.com/NewTitles....

RUSLAN Official Teaser 2008

CAST & CREW
Director : Jeff King

Producer : Kirk Shaw

Starring :
Steven Seagal
Laura Mennell

Facilities Television Film Corporate

A former Russian mobster named Ruslan, who is now a crime novelist, returns home and discovers his daughter is marrying his arch nemesis. His past also comes back to haunt him when his family is threatened. Hungry for justice, Ruslan returns to the life he once knew...with a vengeance.

Massachusetts Gone To Pot? Police Won't Ticket Marijuana Users


AHN Staff

Boston, MA (AHN) - Police departments across the state of Massachusetts reportedly will not ticket people in possession of marijuana, even if they are caught smoking it.

Officials say a new law that decriminalizes having small amounts of "pot" makes it impossible to enforce penalties because it is poorly written.

"We're just basically not enforcing it right now," said Mark R. Laverdure, chief of police in Clinton, a Central Massachusetts town of about 8,000 residents, told the Boston Globe. "You'll probably have a lot of officers that, unless there's a caller complaining about it, won't even bother with it. They probably handled a lot of it informally before and probably more so now."

The new law, that passed the ballot in November with 65 percent approval dropped the fine to $100 with no criminal charges.

Under the previous law, possession of small amounts of marijuana in Massachusetts was a criminal offense, with a possible fine of $500 and up to a six-month jail term.

Police say they have not received new ticket books to reflect the new law, nor do they have the ability to force users to show valid identity when questioning someone.

35 Basic Tutorials to Get You Started with Photoshop



sixrevisions.com — If you ’re interested in honing your Photoshop skills to create spectacular compositions, this is for you. In this article, you’ll find 35 basic Photoshop tutorials for getting started with Photoshop.


Click here for the full tutorial:
35 Basic Tutorials to Get You Started with Photoshop

Clever and Creative Billboard Advertising

Slingshot Billboard

“The Back Seat’s No Safer. Belt Up” [link]

Slingshot Billboard

Mars Billboard

Mars Billboard

Nike Billboard

Creative “transparent” billboard by Nike. [link]

Nike Billboard

Click here for the rest, to many to post so Creative.....

http://www.toxel.com/inspiration/2009/01/05/clever-and-creative-billboard-advertising/

Worried parents can track children with GPS locator watch

By Daily Mail Reporter

A satellite tracking device that will plot a child's location to within 10ft is being launched by a British firm.

The Nu.M8 digital watch uses GPS satellite technology like car sat nav systems.

The watch can be securely fastened to a child's wrist and will trigger an alert if forcibly removed. Parents can then track their children on a website.

Nu.M8

The Nu.M8 device is concealed within a digital watch and will trigger an alert if forcibly removed

Parents who text 'wru', or click 'where r you' on the secure website, will be able to see the child's location on Google maps and the street address and postcode will also be displayed.

So-called 'safe zones' can also be set up in which children can play safely and an alert will be sent to the parent's mobile phone and computer if the child strays out of that area.

The watch has been launched against a background of increasing fears among parents about the safety of their children.

As a result, youngsters are ferried to school by car, rather than walking or taking the bus, while fewer are allowed out to play in the park.

Recent reports have indicated that one in four children aged eight to ten have never played outside without a parent or guardian present, and one in three parents will not even allow older children, aged eight to 15, to play outside the house or garden unsupervised.

Steve Salmon of the watch's Worcestershire-based developers Lok8u said: 'This product gives parents the reassurance of knowing where their children are, any time, anywhere.

'Hopefully girls and boys can now be given the freedom to play outside that I enjoyed as a child.

'The overriding aim of Nu.M8 is to give children their freedom and parents peace of mind.'

However this comes at a price. The watch costs £149.99 and there is a monthly charge of up to £19.99 depending on level of use.

Michele Elliott, director of children's charity Kidscape, has reservations about using satellites to track youngsters.

She said: 'Anything that makes children safer is a good thing but is the world really that unsafe that parents need to electronically track their children? I don't think so.'

The watch will be launched this week at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Lenovo IdeaCentre 600: Thinnest (Hottest?) All-in-One PC on the Block

Lenovo's IdeaCentre 600 is a pretty splashy debut: Its first ever all-in-one is a simple curved slab that's supposedly the thinnest all-in-one in the industry.

Beyond the form factor—which borrows liberally from the new Star Trek and the iMac (the frameless black bezel looks like it was copy and pasted)—it's actually a disappointingly standard all-in-one affair, with a smallish 21.5-inch screen and nothing you can't get on the new Vaio LV. And it's missing, at least from the spec sheet, one of the Vaio's killer features—HDMI in, which would let it be a total bedroom TV replacement. Still, it does have an awesome Swiss Army knife of a remote—it's an air mouse, accelerometer controller for games and Skype VOIP handset (it acts like a cordless phone).

It starts at $999, but all the cool stuff (like Blu-ray) is add-ons, so it'll probably get pricey pretty fast.

IdeaCentre A600 All-in-One Desktop

Lenovo brings consumers the next generation of desktop computing with the IdeaCentre A600 – Lenovo’s first all-in-one desktop. The new, sleek IdeaCentre A600 all-in-one features a 21.5-inch frameless screen, and provides discerning space-conscious and style-conscious users a modern design that measures only one inch at its slimmest point, making it the slimmest all-in-one in the industry2.

For the entertainment enthusiast, the all-in-one offers a true Hi-Def experience featuring a 16:9 aspect ratio screen for cinema-like viewing and support for 1920x1080 full HD resolution delivering outstanding image quality. The integrated speaker system includes a bass sub-woofer and Dolby® Home Theatre™ audio certification, while the optional Blu-ray player completes the home cinema experience. Users can also take advantage of a digital TV tuner for watching and recording their favorite TV programs. Users can opt to include the Microsoft Vista Media Center for easy recording of TV programs and interactive navigation between videos, music and TV programs.

For gaming enthusiasts, Lenovo developed the first-of-its-kind 4-in-1 optional remote controller. It is the first to bring PC users the ability to play games using the remote control’s ‘motion drive’ feature, which controls on-screen objects according to the movement of the remote.

Unlike competitor’s remotes, the Lenovo 4-in-1 remote controller can also be used as a VOIP handset3 to make and receive phone calls over the Internet, similar to a typical cordless telephone. The remote also serves as a media center/TV remote, and with Microsoft Vista Media Center users can use the controller to operate DVDs, movies and TV. Additionally, the remote also functions as an “air mouse” so it can be used to operate the cursor on the screen, eliminating the inconvenience of using a wired mouse.

At the core of the all-in-one is a powerful desktop computer with choices of Intel® Core™2 Duo processors, optional ATI Radeon™ graphics card technology with DirectX10 support, up to 4GB of fast DDR3 memory for improved multitasking, and up to 1TB (1000GB) of hard drive space for storing hundreds of videos, music and other documents. Equipped with the latest high-performance mobile processor technology, the all-in-one runs whisper-quiet even when performing intensive tasks.

The IdeaCentre A600 all-in-one offers several connectivity options including high-speed WiFi, a 6-in-1 media card reader, side-mounted USB and FireWire ports with additional USB ports on the rear of the panel. The all-in-one also features VeriFace™ facial recognition technology which allows users to use his/her facial image as the logon password.

IdeaCentre A600

21.5-inch frameless screen, full HD resolution 1920 X 1080 resolution

Intel Pentium Dual Core & Intel Core 2 Duo mobile processors

Intel G45M Chipset

DDR3 1066MHz, 1GB-4GB and up to 1 TB (1,000 GB) of HD space

Integrated graphics with support for DirectX10 , Optional DX10 256M OR 512M OR ATI graphics

Connectivity – Intel a/b/g Optional a/b/g/n, Ethernet

VeriFace 3.5 facial recognition

Dolby Home Theatre

Optional Blu-Ray DVD player

Optional hybrid analogue/digital TV tuner

Touch sensitive controls

Optional 4-in-1 remote control

6-in-1 card reader

6 USB 2.0 ports and 1 firewire (1394)

1.3 or 2 megapixel camera

Vista Premium, Vista Basic

WinDVD (for Blu-ray ODD), Motion drive games, Veri-face 3.5, PC Care 1.1, Rescue System 2.0 (OKR5.7), Live tool bar, Power2Go, Windows Home Premium SP1 32 , Home Basic SP 1 32bit


Car Parts Made from Coconuts

By Robin Lloyd, LiveScience Senior Editor

Researchers in Texas are making car parts out of coconuts.

coconut husk
Coconut husk. Coconuts are the seed of the coconut palm tree, which grows throughout the tropics. The top 5 coconut-growing nations in the world are the Philippines, Indonesia, India, Brazil and Thailand. Credit: Baylor University Photography

A team at Baylor University there has made trunk liners, floorboards and car-door interior covers using fibers from the outer husks of coconuts, replacing the synthetic polyester fibers typically used in composite materials.

The approach has potential because coconuts are an abundant, renewable resource in all countries near the equator, including the Philippines, Indonesia and India. The husks are burned or thrown away, generating garbage. This is the first time that coconut fibers have been used to make these automotive products, said Walter Bradley, an engineering professor who is leading the project.

coconut and husk
A coconut and coconut husk. Credit: Baylor University Photography

In Ghana, as one of Bradley's students told him, the discarded husks pile up in mounds, creating a health hazard because they collect water where malaria-causing mosquitoes can breed.

"We are trying to turn trash into cash to help poor coconut farmers," Bradley said, adding that the long-term goal is to increase demand for coconuts to millions of pounds, and thereby raise their market price.

Currently, there are about 11 million coconut farmers in the world making an average annual income of $500, he said.

Husks, not shells

The production process starts with the coconut husk.

"The coconut that you see in the grocery store has a real hard shell that comes in a larger volume that's twice as big — the husk, that is very fibrous," Bradley told LiveScience.

Coconuts now are used primarily to produce coconut milk or coconut oil (which is the milk minus the water in it).

The husk is made mainly of fiber and coconut dust, or piph. The piph is spongy at first, but dries and contracts into dirt-like particles that Bradley's team confirmed to have the capacity to absorb 10 times its weight in water.


composite board made partly of coconut fibers
Composite board made partly of coconut fibers. Credit: Baylor University Photography

"The fiber has very good strength, stiffness and ductility, and potentially can be used for all kinds of things," Bradley said, including a more environmentally friendly particle board (used in construction) that requires no binders.

A lightweight composite

The husk fibers are blended with polypropylene fibers before being hot-pressed (compression-molded) into required shapes. The coconut fiber provides a rigid architecture for the lightweight, yet stiff, composite.

Preliminary testing shows that the coconut composites can meet the specifications for industrial tests, Bradley said. In fact, the mechanical properties of coconut fibers are just as good, if not better, than synthetic and polyester fibers when used in automotive parts, he said. Also, coconuts also do not burn very well or give off toxic fumes, which is key in passing tests required for their use in commercial automotive parts.

Bradley's team is now working with a Texas-based fiber processing company that supplies unwoven fiber mats to four major automotive companies. The team is creating a 600-pound roll of the composite material and assisting with the safety performance tests for certification.

Israel Fights Back: Speak Up Now

IT DOESN'T COST ANYTHING TO SIGN AND FORWARD THIS PETITION, BUT IT CAN MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE.

ONE HALF MILLION ISRAELIS ARE IN HARM'S WAY RIGHT NOW. IMAGINE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN HAMAS ACQUIRES LONGER RANGE MISSILES THAT CAN REACH TEL AVIV AND JERUSALEM. . . . . . . . . .

DON'T LET WORLD PRESSURE FORCE ISRAEL TO WITHDRAW WITHOUT DISMANTLING HAMAS OR ESTABLISHING AN INTERNATIONAL PEACEKEEPING FORCE.

IN PEACE,

GEOFF






Sign the Petition

Forward to a Friend

Donate Today


Over the last few days we have been working hard to push back against the unjust, unfair, but sadly all-too-expected criticism of Israel as it works to protect its citizens from Hamas’ terror.

Israel needs your support now.

We are particularly outraged that the UN Security Council, in an act of sheer hypocrisy, issued a statement suggesting an "equivalency" between Hamas' terrorism and Israel's attempts to eliminate that terrorism. The Security Council statement ignores Israel's fundamental right and responsibility to protect its people.

We need thousands of people to sign our petition.

The Security Council needs to understand that it is encouraging and emboldening Hamas and other Islamic extremists whose ideology seeks to undermine the rule of law and thwart democracy. The Security Council must understand that this is a critical moment in the struggle against Islamic extremism -- and the world must hear from us.

As President-elect Obama said a few months ago, "If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I'm going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing." And in the words of the White House spokesman last weekend, "Israel is going to defend its people against terrorists like Hamas."

The international community and all those who seek the rule of law, moderation and democracy should now stand with Israel, as the United States has done, in this effort to turn the tide against the extremists who not only threaten Israel, but the whole Middle East and the entire civilized world.

1980's wendys training video.

Man smashes into Cairns adult shop for sex with dolls

NEWS.com.au

Vogue at the Laneway Adult Shop, Cairns
Bizarre crime ... Vogue examines the damage at his shop.

A MAN has smashed his way into an adult shop and had sex with blow-up dolls before abandoning the sex toys in a nearby lane.

Business owners in Cairns believe the same culprit is responsible for break-ins and till thefts at the Sapphire Bar on Lake St and three break-ins at the Laneway Adult Shop off Spence St in recent days.

His method of entry is to smash through walls and squeeze through tight holes, The Cairns Post reports.

The owner of the adult shop, who wished to be named only as Vogue, said that in a first unreported break-in, the man had stolen five dolls and had sex with one of them.

“He has been taking the dolls out the back and blowing them up and using the dolls and leaving them in the alley,” he said.

“It is totally bizarre. It is a real concern that someone like that is out on the street.”

Vogue said a sex toy also went missing in the second break-in and that the offender had a liking for the doll model named "Jungle Jane", which had been taken on both occasions.

He said he was dumbfounded that the burglar also had the "weird" habit of cleaning up the mess he had made after entering the building.

The burglar again smashed through a wall in the roof area of the shop on either Monday night or early yesterday morning but was scared off by a newly installed alarm system.

Vogue and David Sharman, the owner of the Sapphire Bar on Lake St that has a rear entry in the same lane as the adult shop, both believe they have been targeted by the same thief.

Both men said fleeting video images showed the burglar as being a tall, skinny Caucasian. He has left DNA evidence at the crime scene.

Mr Sharman said in one break-in at his business: "The burglar smashed a hole near the top of the roof line. He then clambered 15m down a sheer wall.

"He (only) took the surveillance recorders - we found them in the bin."

Read more on this story at The Cairns Post

'24' (in 24 words!)

24: Day 1

24: Day 1

Andre Drazen: Pops, it's David Palmer.

Victor Drazen: Kill him.

Jack Bauer: I don't think so.

Teri Bauer: Jack, I love y–[BANG!]

Jack: Nooooooooo!

Credit:FOX


24: Day 2

24: Day 2

To Do:

8am: Reconcile with Kim
10am: Blow up CTU
12pm: Long lunch
6pm: Fly nuke out of LA
12am: Kill oil executives
8am: Spa day

Credit:FOX


24: Day 3

24: Day 3

From: Bauer.Kim@CTU.gov
To: Bauer.Jack@CTU.gov


Hey Daddy, thx for the new job! BTW I'm dating your partner. FYI, ur Mexican drug buddies accidentally mailed something 're: totally deadly virus.'

Credit:FOX


24: Day 4

24: Day 4

Coroner's Log, Thursday

Secret Service agents, COD – Gunshot Wounds
20 Train Passengers, COD – Explosion
Thousands of Civilians, COD – Radiation Poisoning
257 terrorists, COD – Pissed off Jack Bauer

Credit:FOX


24: Day 5

24: Day 5

Memorandum
From: Attorney General


. Sale of nerve gas to terrorists is now legal.
. Conspiracy to kill Russian president is OK.
. Jack Bauer on top 10 most wanted list.

Credit:FOX


24: Day 6

24: Day 6

Director's Notes

• Needs big explosion every hour
• Needs more Bauers
• Kill off everyone but Jack
• Kill Jack too
• (Kidding!)
• Everyone take 12 months off
• Tick, Tock

The Must-See IMAX Movies of 2009

Buy your tickets early (we're talking months, not days) because here are the 9 movies everyone needs to see in IMAX this year.


The Dark Knight/Warner Bros.

The Dark Knight
January 23rd, 2009
If you didn't catch The Dark Knight in IMAX the first time around (or if you're hankering for another heart-stopping glimpse of Batman teetering on a window ledge), you can peep at it starting January 23rd as part of a For Your Consideration campaign. It's technically supposed to sway Oscar voters, but plenty of fans will be lining up again and again to see TDK on the really big screen.

Under the Sea IMAX 3D
February 13, 2009
Jim Carrey narrates this 3D IMAX underwater adventure, which was directed, filmed, and produced by the folks behind 1994's Into the Deep. Under the Sea 3D was filmed with IMAX cameras, so if you want to go nose to snout with some creepy deep-sea critters in three glorious dimensions, here's your chance. Perhaps for Valentine's Day?

Watchmen/Warner Bros.

Watchmen
March 6th, 2009
Another comic book juggernaut, Watchmen will be opening on both regular and IMAX screens this March if all the legal wrangling between Fox and WB is settled by then. Rest assured true comic book fanboys and fangirls will be buying up IMAX tix far in advance so they can see Dr. Manhattan in all his atomic glory.

Monsters vs. Aliens/DreamWorks

Monsters vs. Aliens IMAX 3D
March 27th, 2009
The kids will love the monsters and aliens, but the adults will dig the subtle references to ‘50s sci-fi favorites (not to mention Stephen Colbert as a dim-witted Prez). Premiere.com got a peek at some of the footage, and it looks 3D-tastic, so we have no doubt it will be twice as tripped-out in IMAX.

Star Trek
May 8th, 2009
The highly anticipated (and scrutinized) 2009 upgrade to Star Trek will give director J.J. Abrams the chance to show off his talent for spectacle on an interstellar level. Whether or not you agree with the casting choices, the Romulans' hairstyles, or William Shatner's cameo controversy, you have to admit the possibility of seeing the USS Enterprise in IMAX is epic.

Night at the Museum: Battle at the Smithsonian
May 22, 2009
The first Night at the Museum pulled in an impressive haul of over $251M domestic, thanks, no doubt, to its fam-friendly premise – what better way to quiet the peanut gallery than mesmerize them with a gigantic screen full of dinosaur bones rattling to life? Battle at the Smithsonian promises more historical hijinks and cool cameos from folks like Amy Adams as Amelia Earhart and Bill Hader as General Custer.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
June 26, 2008
It goes without saying that anything Michael Bay puts on the big screen will have enough explosions to make robot fans squeal. According to rumors, at least 3 scenes will be filmed specifically for IMAX screens, so you folks who hit the regular theaters will be missing out on some blow-‘em'-up fun.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince/Warner Bros.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: IMAX 3D
July 17, 2009
You can see Harry and his buddies play Quidditch and fall in lurve in two dimensions, or you can see it all on an IMAX screen, with specific scenes shot in 3D. There's no telling which ones, but we're hoping they involve close-ups of Voldemort's nostrils!

James Cameron's Avatar IMAX 3D
December 18, 2009
James Cameron has been talking about and working on Avatar since 1995, so it's no wonder that this is one of the most hyped films of 2009. Combining live humans and sets, green screen, CGI, and 3D cameras developed by James Cameron and frequent Cameron collab Vince Pace, Avatar might very well knock our collective socks off.

Like Wearing A Suit And Sunglasses?FBI Hiring 850 New People

By Terry Frieden
CNN Justice Producer

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Despite a bleak economic environment featuring wide-ranging layoffs and rising unemployment, the nation's premier law enforcement agency is touting "one of the largest hiring blitzes in our 100-year history."

The FBI is about to embark on its biggest hiring spree since immediately after the September 11, 2001.

The FBI is about to embark on its biggest hiring spree since immediately after the September 11, 2001.

The FBI posted openings for 850 special agents and more than 2,100 professional support personnel. Officials say it's the largest FBI job posting since immediately after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The FBI's unexpectedly large number of job openings results more from attrition and a wave of retirements than from growing government appropriations, Bureau officials told CNN.

The FBI routinely advertises openings for individuals with critical skills in computer science and language fluency. But John Raucci, assistant director of the FBI's Human Resources Division, says current needs are much more wide-ranging.

"We're also looking for professionals in a wide variety of fields who have a deep desire to help protect our nation from terrorists, spies and others who wish us harm," Raucci said.

The lengthy list of openings includes positions in finance and accounting, security, intelligence analysis, training and education, nursing and counseling, physical surveillance, electrical engineering, physical and social sciences, and auto mechanics.

Procedures for applying and a full listing of available positions are posted on the Web site fbijobs.gov.

"This is a great time to apply for a great job in the FBI," said the bureau's chief spokesman, Richard Kolko.

Officials note at least a few jobs are currently available in every one of the FBI's 56 field offices across the nation.

The FBI lists openings throughout the year, but seldom has anything close to the current number of available positions.

The present job postings expire on January 16, but a new, possibly smaller set of openings will be posted shortly thereafter, the agency said.

Skier Hangs Upside Down..Naked...for 15 minutes (SFW)




Man left dangling upside down, pantsless after Vail lift mishap

JANUARY 6--In a bizarre incident that will surely lead to litigation (or an out-of-court settlement), a skier at Colorado's ritzy Vail resort was left dangling upside down and pantsless from a chairlift last Thursday morning. The January 1 mishap apparently occurred after the male skier, 48, and a child boarded a high-speed lift in Vail's Blue Sky Basin. It appears that the chairlift's fold-down seat was somehow not in the lowered position, which caused the man to partially fall through the resulting gap. His right ski got jammed in the ascending chairlift, and that kept him upended since his boot never dislodged from its binding. As seen in the photos on the following pages (which were snapped by fellow skiers), the Skyline Express lift was stopped shortly after the pair's botched boarding resulted in the man dangling from the lift. The exposed skier was stuck for about 15 minutes before Vail personnel backed the lift up and successfully dislodged the unidentified man from the four-seat chair. The images on page four and five were taken by Marty Odom (who can be reached at martyodm@gmail.com if you're interested in licensing the photos). In a statement released this afternoon, Vail Resorts, which operates the ski area, reported that the skier was not injured after being "suspended for approximately seven minutes." The press release did not explain how the mishap occurred, only that "the man was caught on the chair."

Skype 2.8 for Mac to launch Tuesday

Posted by Rafe Needleman
Skype logo

Skype 2.8 for Mac will ship on Tuesday, with new features including screen sharing and an integrated Wi-Fi hot spot connector.

Available only for Mac OS X at first, the new version will add screen-sharing capabilities to the app's voice, video, and chat communications features. Skype spokespeople told me that users will be able to run all four channels at once with acceptable performance.

Screen sharing is useful in business settings (I get a lot of demos over apps like Webex, for example), but it has personal applications as well: People could share photographs, and presumably videos as well, using the feature.

Skype is also getting a feature that will allow users to access WiFi hotspots on the Boingo network for 19 cents a minute. The funds will be deducted from users' Skype accounts. Boingo has about 85,000 hot spots worldwide, a Boingo rep told me. TMobile, the primary Wi-Fi provider at U.S. airports, is on the Boingo network.

The Wi-Fi access feature makes Skype a more useful product for people who use the VoIP app from their Mac laptops, and the per-minute payment scheme makes sense for highly mobile users for whom buying access by the hour or month would leave a lot of unused credits behind.

Skype co-founder Nicklas Zennstrom also started a Wi-Fi network called Fon, but Skype 2.8 doesn't yet integrate with that system.

Disruptive Telephony covered other new features in Skype 2.8, including a new way to update your Skype "mood" and to follow users in a Twitter-like fashion, bigger Avatar images, and a new way to manage and prioritize chat windows.

Also, regarding Boingo: That company announced a new Apple product: A connector app for the iPhone and iPod Touch. For $7.95 a month, users of those devices can access the entire Boingo Wi-Fi network. For U.S.-based iPhone users on the AT&T network, this is not such a great product since AT&T-provided Wi-Fi is now free for them, but international users and travelers, and iPod Touch users (perhaps those who use TruPhone for VOIP calls) may find it a good deal.

Rafe Needleman writes about start-ups, new technologies, and Web 2.0 products, as editor of CNET's Webware. E-mail Rafe.

Seven Foods to Power Your Libido

Stay strong with these vittles for virility.

By Amy Levin-Epstein, Best Life

Healthy blood flow is the key to a strong erection, so it's natural that what prevents diabetes and stroke will also prevent erectile dysfunction. You know the drill: Fill up on fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains ... and lay off the stuff that clogs your arteries. Beyond these basics, the foods below will help keep you going strong.

1. Pomegranate juice

A study in The Journal of Urology found that pomegranate juice slashed the risk of ED in rabbits. See the bartender at the Playboy Mansion for cocktail recipes.

2. Shrimp salad

Shrimp is full of zinc, and leafy green vegetables are full of folate. Together, they can boost sperm levels. Put another one on the barbie, and turn the heat up—way up.

3. Oatmeal

Oats produce a chemical that releases testosterone into the blood supply, increasing sex drive and orgasm strength. Mix in some honey (see number six on this list) for an added boost.

4. Spinach

Spinach is a potent source of magnesium, which helps dilate blood vessels, according to Japanese researchers. That means you can count on smooth blood flow and strong erections.

5. Citrus fruits

Men who consume at least 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C a day improve their sperm counts and motility. Vitamin C also keeps sperm from clumping, so they have a better chance of reaching their destination.

6. Honey

Honey's B vitamins aid the production of testosterone, and its boron content helps the body use estrogen, which is a key factor in proper blood flow and arousal. Sweet.

7. Blueberries

The soluble fiber in blueberries ushers cholesterol through your digestive tract before it chokes your arteries. The berries also contain compounds that improve circulation for a natural Viagra-like effect.

Does DNA Have Telepathic Properties?-A Galaxy Insight

Dna47_3_2 DNA has been found to have a bizarre ability to put itself together, even at a distance, when according to known science it shouldn't be able to. Explanation: None, at least not yet.

Scientists are reporting evidence that contrary to our current beliefs about what is possible, intact double-stranded DNA has the “amazing” ability to recognize similarities in other DNA strands from a distance. Somehow they are able to identify one another, and the tiny bits of genetic material tend to congregate with similar DNA. The recognition of similar sequences in DNA’s chemical subunits, occurs in a way unrecognized by science. There is no known reason why the DNA is able to combine the way it does, and from a current theoretical standpoint this feat should be chemically impossible.

Even so, the research published in ACS’ Journal of Physical Chemistry B, shows very clearly that homology recognition between sequences of several hundred nucleotides occurs without physical contact or presence of proteins. Double helixes of DNA can recognize matching molecules from a distance and then gather together, all seemingly without help from any other molecules or chemical signals.

In the study, scientists observed the behavior of fluorescently tagged DNA strands placed in water that contained no proteins or other material that could interfere with the experiment. Strands with identical nucleotide sequences were about twice as likely to gather together as DNA strands with different sequences. No one knows how individual DNA strands could possibly be communicating in this way, yet somehow they do. The “telepathic” effect is a source of wonder and amazement for scientists.

“Amazingly, the forces responsible for the sequence recognition can reach across more than one nanometer of water separating the surfaces of the nearest neighbor DNA,” said the authors Geoff S. Baldwin, Sergey Leikin, John M. Seddon, and Alexei A. Kornyshev and colleagues.

This recognition effect may help increase the accuracy and efficiency of the homologous recombination of genes, which is a process responsible for DNA repair, evolution, and genetic diversity. The new findings may also shed light on ways to avoid recombination errors, which are factors in cancer, aging, and other health issues.

Posted by Rebecca Sato.

Project Kahn Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe


BRADFORD, England — Project Kahn's version of the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe has brought even more style and luxury to what was already one of the most luxurious cars in the world.

The Project Kahn Drophead rides on 22-inch wheels that are 9.5 inches wide and designed to accommodate Rolls-Royce's original center caps. The two styles are available in either dark mist or silver mist color. The Coupe also receives clear side markers and tinted privacy glass.

The largest change is inside, where Project Kahn trims the interior in Nappa leather to the customers taste. The company also offers a steering wheel finished in piano black or carbon fiber.

Project Kahn modifies the cars as they come from the factory and orders them with elm cluster veneer wood and lamb wool rugs. The coupes also feature iPod connectivity and the Rolls-Royce logo embossed in the front headrests.

Inside Line says: Rolls-Royces rarely leave the factory without some custom touch, and now Project Kahn is taking that luxury customization even further. — Eric Tingwall, Correspondent

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