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Thursday, January 8, 2009

This Magnificent Dragon is a Cake!


Seriously. A dragon made of cake.

Made by Mike's Amazing Cakes.

Mangini agrees to coach Browns

Mangini Agrees To Deal To Coach Browns

Chris Mortensen on the Browns signing Eric Mangini to a four-year deal


The Cleveland Browns have agreed to hire former New York Jets head coach Eric Mangini as their head coach.

Mangini, fired last week by the Jets, agreed to a four-year deal, a source close to the situation told ESPN.com's Michael Smith on Wednesday.

A person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press that Mangini will be introduced Thursday at a news conference at the team's headquarters in Berea. Mangini began his NFL career as a ballboy with the Browns in 1994 under then-coach Bill Belichick. Now he's taking over the job of one of his best friends in football, fired Browns coach Romeo Crennel. Mangini went 23-25 and made the playoffs once in three seasons with the Jets, who stumbled down the stretch to lose four of their last five games and miss the playoffs after an 8-3 start. His tenure in New York was tumultuous. When he arrived, Mangini inherited a 4-12 Jets team and led them to 10 wins in his first season, prompting New York's tabloids to dub him "Mangenius." By the end of his run in the NFL's largest market, he was being called moody, dour and controlling. Mangini took the fall after the Jets finished a disastrous stretch in which they lost to Denver, San Francisco and Seattle -- three non-playoff teams -- in the final month behind 39-year-old quarterback Brett Favre's injured arm and questionable play calling by Mangini.

Mangini and Crennel both lost their jobs on Dec. 29, although Browns owner Randy Lerner was not aware of Mangini's dismissal when he met with the media regarding Crennel. Lerner wasted no time in going after Mangini and interviewed him the following night in the New York area. Despite the Jets' meltdown, Lerner was enamored with Mangini's potential and believed he would bring discipline to the underachieving Browns. Lerner also believed Mangini, who will be 38 on Jan. 19, learned from his mistakes in New York. Jets running back Leon Washington said in an e-mail to The Associated Press that he was pleased to see Mangini land another head coaching job. "I am really happy for Coach Mangini," Washington said in the e-mail. "I learned so much from him while he had his tenure with the Jets. His hardworking, selfless and competitive approach really helped me. ... The Browns got themselves a really good coach." Jets long-snapper James Dearth said the Browns are a good fit for Mangini. "They run the same type of defense there, so they already have the right personnel for him. I hope he does well there," Dearth said. Mangini will hire Jets quarterbacks coach Brian Daboll, whose contract is expiring, as his offensive coordinator, league sources told Smith.
Mangini heads to Cleveland

NFL.com Video

Mangini heads to Cleveland

For the position of defensive coordinator, sources told Smith that Mangini will bring aboard Raiders defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, whose contract with Oakland is up. Sources also said that Mangini and Crennel discussed the possibility of Crennel's returning to work with Mangini but decided it best to both go in a different direction. Mangini and Crennel became friends during their days as assistants with the Jets under Bill Parcells. Mangini was a defensive assistant while Crennel was the defensive line coach from 1997 to 1999. Mangini followed Belichick to New England in 2000, and Crennel joined the Patriots' staff a year later after a stint as Cleveland's defensive coordinator. Crennel and his wife, Rosemary, stayed with Mangini and his wife, Julie, for about six months when the Crennels were having a home built after Romeo took the job as New England's defensive coordinator. When Crennel was hired as Cleveland's coach, he wanted Mangini as his defensive coordinator, but Mangini decided to take over Crennel's spot with the Patriots instead. Mangini was one of four candidates interviewed by Lerner, but the only one with NFL head coaching experience -- a prerequisite for the Browns owner, who also spoke with New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Browns defensive coordinator Mel Tucker. Mangini takes over a Browns team with more talent than Crennel had when he arrived in 2005. Cleveland entered 2008 with high expectations after going 10-6 last year. But beginning with a training camp injury to wide receiver Braylon Edwards, who cut his foot while running in his socks after practice, the season unraveled quickly.

The Browns blew back-to-back home games in a five-day span and finished the season 4-12 without scoring an offensive touchdown in their final six games. On the way to their fifth season of at least 10 losses in the past six years, the Browns changed quarterbacks, benching Pro Bowler Derek Anderson in favor of Brady Quinn. Lerner fired GM Phil Savage after a 31-0 loss at Pittsburgh in the season finale. He then interviewed Scott Pioli, New England's highly regarded director of player personnel, and had hoped to pair him with Mangini in Cleveland. The two began their pro careers together with the Browns, but their relationship may have been strained when Mangini reported the Patriots to the NFL for videotaping New York's defensive signals during a game. During his interview, Mangini mentioned Baltimore player personnel director George Kokinis as his preference as GM. Kokinis is expected to interview with Lerner on Sunday. Information from ESPN.com's Michael Smith and The Associated Press was used in this report.

CES 2009: World's thinnest television unveiled

The world's thinnest television was unveiled on Tuesday measuring just 6.5mm (0.26inches).

World's thinnest television unveiled: CES 2009
Electronics companies are expected to unveil even thinner televisions in the near future. Photo: AFP

The wafer thin television, which was created by the South Korean company Samsung Electronics, is being hailed as the world's slimmest television ever created.

Its features include a LCD (liquid crystal display) screen as well as an LED (light emitting diode) backlighting system, to which its creators attribute its record slimline structure.

A prototype of the new flat-panel television is to be displayed during the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas which opens on Thursday.

Global economic turmoil and diminishing demand for goods has intensified competition between global electronic companies battling to produce the world's thinnest, smallest and lightest products.

During the Las Vegas show, the Japanese company JVC will also unveil what it claims is the world's lightest 32-inch LCD TV, which is fractionally thicker than Samsung's creation at 7mm (0.28inches).

The new generation of slim televisions eclipse streamlined models such as the Philips 8mm (0.3 inches) prototype LCD television unveiled in Berlin last year, Sony's 9.9mm (0.4 inches) set which is currently on sale and Samsung's Bordeaux 850 LCD TV.

Electronics companies are expected to unveil even thinner televisions in the near future based on new screen technology known as organic light emitting diode (OLED).

Pandora iPhone App Hits 2.0, Gets Even Snazzier

By John Mahoney
Pandora's personalized internet radio player is one of our favorite iPhone apps—and tonight it got better, adding a snazzy Coverflow-like song history, bookmark previewing, in-line artist bios and a playback progress bar (finally).

You can also take your track-based stations (previously only generated via artist and e-mail them to friends, just like the artist stations (Update: Pandora says something here is new, but you folks are right, you could do this in the last version. Weird. The emailing bit is still true.) Artist biographies also show up inline now to supplement Pandora's ingenious descriptive tags.




The update is available now on iTunes, even though the App Store page still says version 1.2.1: [Pandora via TechCrunch, LifeHacker]

Amazing solar-powered fridge invented by British student in a potting shed helps poverty-stricken Africans

By Chris Brooke


It's the kind of simple yet brilliant invention that would have the tycoons of Dragons' Den salivating with excitement.

Not only is the fridge solar powered, it can also be built from household materials - making it ideal for the Third World.

Emily Cummins, 21, came up with the idea while working on a school project in her grandfather's potting shed. The fridge is now improving the lives of thousands of poverty-stricken Africans.

Enlarge  Emily Cummins

Emily Cummins holds the portable eco-fridge. It can keep perishable goods, such as milk or meat, cool for days at a temperature of around 6C

And Miss Cummins hopes to patent a more sophisticated portable model for use in transporting medical supplies around hot countries.

From the age of four, when she was given a hammer as a gift, Miss Cummins has spent much of her spare time making things out of ordinary materials.

She has won awards for a toothpaste squeezer for arthritis sufferers and for a water-carrying device, again for Third World use.

Emily Cummins

Emily with her grandfather Peter Harrison, 78, in his potting shed where she created the fridge

Her 'sustainable' fridge works through evaporation and can be used to keep perishable goods such as milk and meat cool for days.

Without using any power, temperatures stay at around 6c.

The fridge comprises two cylinders - one inside the other. The inner cylinder is made from metal but the outer cylinder can be made from anything to hand, including wood and plastic.

Miss Cummins, from Keighley, West Yorkshire, said: 'A fridge is something that people can't seem to live without.

'I wanted to keep it really simple and so I set about researching how we cooled things years ago. The simplest method of cooling something could be seen when you look at how we cool biologically - through sweating or evaporation.

'That idea led me to the design and the fridge was born.'

fridge graphic


After her A-levels she spent five months of her gap year in Africa, perfecting and demonstrating her product. In Namibia she became known as 'The Fridge Lady'. Miss Cummins returned to the UK to start a business management course at Leeds University.

She had been refused a place on an engineering course because, to her dismay, she didn't have the correct qualifications.

Last year she met the Queen at Buckingham Palace after being invited to a prestigious women in business event.

Joe the Plumber to become war correspondent

TOLEDO, Ohio: Joe the Plumber is taking on a new job.

The Ohio man, who became famous during the U.S. presidential campaign after asking Barack Obama about his tax plan, is heading to Israel as a war correspondent for a conservative Web site called pjtv.com.

Dubbed "Joe the Plumber" by McCain's campaign, Samuel "Joe" Wurzelbacher was held up as an example of an American worker who would be hurt economically by Obama's election.

Wurzelbacher says he'll spend 10 days covering the fighting and explaining why Israeli forces are mounting attacks against Hamas.

He tells WNWO-TV in Toledo that he wants "go over there and let their 'Average Joes' share their story."

Wurzelbacher later joined Republican John McCain on the campaign trail.

At one stop, Wurzelbacher agreed with a McCain supporter who asked if he believed a vote for Obama was a vote for the death of Israel.

CES 2009: 3D video gaming to become a reality next month

By Wolfgang Gruener


Las Vegas (NV) - One of the most impressive product demos on the first day came from Mitsubishi. It showcased Nvidia 3D technology on one of its 3D-enabled TVs. You will be able to buy this stunning product for $200 next month (TV not included, of course).





Image

Mitsubishi will be pitching a 3D product consisting of Nvidia driver software, 3D glasses with a receiver and a sender that is placed on top of a TV. If you own a home entertainment PC with a potent Nvidia graphics card, the driver software can create 3D imagery from regular video games, we are told. The sending unit reacts to the position of the 3D glasses to create a true 3D feeling.

We were able to testdrive the technology for a few minutes and were deeply impressed. Mitsubishi said that the product will be offered for $200 beginning next month - home entertainment PC and 3D-enabled LCD TV not included.

Gladiators to 'Fight' Again at Rome's Colosseum

Rossella Lorenzi, Discovery News

Jan. 06, 2009 -- Gladiators are to return to Rome's most famous fight arena almost 2,000 years after their bloody sport last entertained Roman crowds, local authorities announced.

According to Umberto Broccoli, the head of archaeology at Rome's city council, 2009 will be a time for the five million people who visit the Colosseum each year to experience "the sights, sounds and smells" of ancient Rome.

"We do not need to enshrine historical sites and monuments, we need to make them more spectacular. Museums and monuments must speak to the public in a new way," Broccoli told the daily La Repubblica.

According to Broccoli's plan, modern-day gladiators will engage in realistically choreographed mock fights, wearing original costumes and the same combat gear -- swords, tridents, nets and daggers -- that was used 2,000 years ago.

The re-enacted contests will be staged in the evening, accompanied by readings from the works of Latin poets such as Seneca. It has yet to be determined whether gladiators will fight on a stage over the arena's subterranean chambers and tunnels or on a stage outside the Colosseum.

Stressing that the fights would not be a Disneyland-like attraction, but a serious project to bring the sporting heroes of antiquity alive, Broccoli also dismissed fears that they might appear too crude.

"The gladiators themselves were vulgar. They were sweaty, they stank and they swore. Why not show them as they really were?" Broccoli said.

Broccoli's proposal has not be widely welcomed. According to Giulia Rodano, the Lazio region cultural councillor, "there might be more appropriate ways to celebrate the tragic time of the gladiators."

"After all we are not talking of Hollywood myths, we are talking of slaves sent to die just to entertain the Romans," Rodano said in a statement.

However, city officials agree that mock gladiator fights would make a better entertainment at the Colosseum than pop concerts, whose vibrations risk damage the monument

"There will be no more concerts there. The amphitheater has no need of publicity through such events," Francesco Giro, the deputy culture minister, said.

Nevertheless, a series of so far undisclosed events are scheduled to take place over the next months at the famous arena.

They are intended to mark the 2000th anniversary of the birth of the Emperor Vespasian, who during his reign from 69 A.D. to 79 A.D. began the construction of the Flavian Amphitheater, better known as the Colosseum.

"2009 will be the year of the Colosseum. The world's most famous monument deserves to be celebrated, and with it the man who conceived it," Mauro Cutrufo, the deputy mayor, said.


Related Links:

View a slide show of gladiator relics

How Stuff Works: Gladiators

Roman Gladiator

Is The MacBook's New Super-Battery Actually Cutting Edge?

| posted by Chris Dannen

The best new feature in Apple's [AAPL] new MacBook Pro is the 8-hour, ultra-durable battery that Apple says it custom-designed. But is it really the advanced powerplant it claims to be?

Conventional notebook batteries, or lithium-ion batteries, are made up of tightly-packed cylindrical cells, almost like a bunch of little Duracell Cs in a case. Apple has chosen to use lithium-polymer batteries in the new MacBook Pro, which are widely regarded as more advanced than li-ion batteries; they're lighter, more physically robust, more energy-dense, cheaper to manufacture and don't have to be in the traditional block form-factor.

Macbook ProBecause li-poly batteries can be any shape, Apple smartly molded the new MacBook Pro's battery to the inside of its case, packing in a 40% "bigger" battery into the machine. That increase probably has as much to do with the physical size of the cells as the energy density of li-poly storage, which has helped Apple keep weight down. The MacBook Pro tips the scales at 6.6 pounds.

The new li-poly battery allows Apple to claim eight hours on a single charge, or seven with a beefier video card. Each battery should survive longer, too; Apple claims five years, or 200-300 full charges. That longevity owes itself to Apple's new "adaptive charging" system, which uses microchips inside the battery to determine the optimal level of current for each cell.

But put your ear to the ground in the battery community, and the buzz isn't about custom-shaped li-poly batteries, with or without "adaptive" charging. Companies like ZPower are already boasting huge improvements in silver-oxide batteries (also known as silver-zinc batteries), which have a much better energy-to-weight ratio than lithium-based batteries. You can see an animation of how silver-zinc batteries work here.

Not only are they 40% more energy-dense than lithium-based cells, silver-zinc batteries are 95% recyclable, and because they don't contain lithium, they're not prone to exploding and engulfing your precious notebook in flames. Apple's new li-poly battery, to its credit, is arsenic, BFR, mercury, and PVC free, and “highly recyclable,” according to the company -- but it's hard to beat silver for its green cred and safety.

The downside is that silver-based batteries are susceptible to the fluctuations of the price of silver, which has been on a rollercoaster ride since late 2005. [To see a graph of silver prices since 1992, courtesy of TheBullionDesk.com, click here.] That has rendered them useful only in small, if important, devices like the on-board computers inside self-guided weaponry.

But ZPower, for one, has said that it's gearing up to launch its batteries inside a "major notebook computer" this year, suggesting that some of the leakage problems that plagued early silver batteries has been solved. The company plans on using a trade-in recycling program to keep battery prices stable and manageable. California-based ZPower, whose backers include Intel [INTC], claims this will add two hours to the life of an average notebook battery, a jump from five hours to seven hours.

With its monster battery registering at welter-weight size, Apple is ahead of the pack for now. But should a competitor like Dell [DELL] or HP [HPQ] come out with a silver-ion battery in one of their 2009-2010 notebooks -- and should the price of silver fall -- all of Apple's custom in-house engineering might have been for naught.


NIN releases 400gb of free HD concert footage via torrents!

nin.com — A couple months ago Trent Reznor publicly sounded off about the difficulties he faced with his old record company that prevented him from filming a 3D concert film. Now he's inviting fans to make their own DVD by offering over 400gb of raw HD concert footage free via NIN's own torrent tracker.



trent_reznor posted:
Your gift...

The internet is full of surprises these days.
I was contacted by a mysterious, shadowy group of subversives who SOMEHOW managed to film a substantial amount (over 400 GB!) of raw, unedited HD footage from three separate complete shows of our Lights in the Sky tour. Security must have been lacking at these shows because the quality of the footage is excellent.

If any of you could find a LINK to that footage I'll bet some enterprising fans could assemble something pretty cool.

Oh yeah, you didn't hear this from me.

There is about 405gb of HD footage available. It was recorded with multiple consumer HDV cameras during three shows: Victoria 12.05.08, Portland 12.07.08, and Sacramento 12.12.08.

This is raw, unedited, un-color-corrected HD footage. It will be primarily of interest to advanced users, who may wish to attempt to edit it together into something. It could be really interesting to see what creative users can put together using this and other fan-recorded footage. These guys are off to a great start already.

Novice users might not want to download this just yet. If you don't have a fast computer for playing back high definition video, or hundreds of gigabytes of storage available to save it to, this download will probably cause you nothing but problems. If you just want to see some live footage, you might be better off waiting until more advanced users get the footage and turn it into something more digestible for the masses. I'm sure a lot of this stuff will be turning up on YouTube as soon as people get it downloaded.

The footage is available as a free download via bitTorrent. If you don't know what bitTorrent is, please go to this link and read every word of it before you ask anyone on the forums what to do with the torrent files.

As the files are tremendously large, don't expect any instant gratification - the download may take days, even weeks. There are a handful of seeders to start things off. Until we get a large number of seeders, please only download these files right now if you intend to help seed them for a while after you're done. Certain downloaders will get much faster download rates than others, depending on your IP address. This is due to peering relationships our hosting provider has which we're utilizing to get some initial seeds out as fast as possible. If your download is going incredibly slow or not going at all, don't worry, it'll pick up within the next couple days.

Here are the links:

Victoria
Portland
Sacramento

The included README files have some further notes about the footage, which has been conveniently formatted for easy editing and even includes Final Cut Pro sequences with the footage pre-organized for editing.


by rob_sheridan.
more info here at http://www.nin.com

Top 20 iPhone Apps for Bloggers, Designers & Freelancers

See the original image at noupe.com —

noupe.com — This week I ’d like to share with you 20 iPhone apps you might find interesting if you are a designer, blogger & freelancer.


some of theses are F**cing Amazing!!


click here for the Top 20 iPhone Apps for Bloggers, Designers & Freelancers

Zep without Plant

Led Zeppelin Robert Plant and Jimmy Page
Page's manager discusses possible tour and album for Zep mark II
07 January 2008 - Legendary rock manager Peter Mensch has been discussing his client Jimmy Page's plans to reform Led Zeppelin without Robert Plant.

According to Mensch, Jimmy Page, bassist John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham - the son of original Zep drummer John Bonham - look likely to tour, and there's even talk of recording an album.

“People don’t really understand it,” Mensch told 6 Music, “Jimmy Page has been playing guitar professionally since he was 16 years old. Jimmy Page likes being a musician. That’s what he does! He doesn’t want to be a race car driver or a solicitor.

“So they [Page, Jones, Bonham] did the show with Robert Plant; they had a really good time rehearsing, the three of them, before Robert showed up.

“And they decided that if they could find a singer that they thought would fit their bill – whatever their bill was at this stage in their career – that they’d make a record and go on tour.

“And I support that because, why not? That’s what Jimmy Page does. That’s his job, his hobby, his vocation.”
"They decided if they could find a singer that they thought would fit their bill... that they’d make a record and go on tour."
Peter Mensch


Mensch – whose company Q Prime also represents Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Snow Patrol – also revealed that the band have yet to find a replacement for Plant: “John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page enjoy playing with each other, Jason Bonham is a really good drummer so why not? We just need to find a singer.”

Despite a list of rumoured vocalists that includes Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, Chris Cornell from Soundgarden and Myles Kennedy from relative unknowns Alter Bridge, Mensch wouldn’t confirm any names.

“I can’t comment on any rumours right now,” Mensch continued, “It’s gonna be a long and difficult process. And we’re not soliciting people! So don’t call me about it!”

Similarly, it’s not known whether the new outfit would be touring under the banner Led Zeppelin or a new name.

To hear more from this interview listen again to the Music Week or download the Music Week podcast.

Matt Everitt

TRON Sequel Chooses Leading Man

Garrett Hedlund to star in Disney sequel

By Borys Kit


Disney has picked up-and-comer Garrett Hedlund to star in "Tron," the studio's sequel to the 1982 cult classic by the same name being directed by Joseph Kosinski.

Hedlund, who made his debut in 2004's "Troy," has until now acted in larger ensemble pieces. He was one of the football players in Peter Berg's "Friday Night Lights," one of the foursome in the ensemble thriller "Four Brothers," a supporting player in the fantasy film "Eragon," and he appeared opposite Lindsay Lohan, Jane Fonda and Felicity Huffman in "Georgia Rule."

Hedlund has been considered one of those actors that is on the cusp within the industry, though without much of a profile in middle America. Starring in a $100-plus million effects-intensive feature could change that.

Disney cast a wide net as it searched for the role that, because of the title, generated a lot of interest. Such potential leads as Ryan Gosling and Chris Pine met on the project, while Michael Stahl-David ("Cloverfield') was one of the those that screen-tested.

Hedlund will play the lead, a man who finds himself pulled into the world of a computer and retracing the steps of a character from the original movie named Kevin Flynn.

Jeff Bridges is reprising the role of Flynn, who was a computer programr but ended up as the CEO of a software corporation. Olivia Wilde and Beau Garrett have also been cast in the project, which was known as "Tron 2" and "Tr2n" but it now going with the simple "Tron."

Sean Bailey is producing along with Steven Lisberger, who co-wrote and directed the original film, and Jeff Silver. The movie is eyeing a spring shoot.

Hedlund is repped by Endeavor and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.

12 girls one tube: French answer to Japanese game shows


A French game show of some sort, it's about - aw who cares what it's about it's got HOT chicks with nice boobs and asses!

L'épreuve des seins dans fort boyard

Porn industry seeks federal bailout

From

Larry Flynt is asking for a bailout.
Larry Flynt is asking for a bailout.

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Another major American industry is asking for assistance as the global financial crisis continues: Hustler publisher Larry Flynt and Girls Gone Wild CEO Joe Francis said Wednesday they will request that Congress allocate $5 billion for a bailout of the adult entertainment industry.

“The take here is that everyone and their mother want to be bailed out from the banks to the big three,” said Owen Moogan, spokesman for Larry Flynt. “The porn industry has been hurt by the downturn like everyone else and they are going to ask for the $5 billion. Is it the most serious thing in the world? Is it going to make the lives of Americans better if it happens? It is not for them to determine.”

Francis said in a statement that “the US government should actively support the adult industry's survival and growth, just as it feels the need to support any other industry cherished by the American people."

“We should be delivering [the request] by the end of today to our congressmen and [Secretary of the Treasury Henry] Paulson asking for this $5 billion dollar bailout,” he told CNN Wednesday.

Flynt and Francis concede the industry itself is in no financial danger — DVD sales have slipped over the past year, but Web traffic has continued to grow.

But the industry leaders said the issue is a nation in need. "People are too depressed to be sexually active," Flynt said in the statement. "This is very unhealthy as a nation. Americans can do without cars and such but they cannot do without sex."

"With all this economic misery and people losing all that money, sex is the farthest thing from their mind. It's time for congress to rejuvenate the sexual appetite of America. The only way they can do this is by supporting the adult industry and doing it quickly."

So far, there has been no congressional reaction to the request.

–CNN’s Chloe Melas contributed to this report

Jay Leno's wind turbine


Ed Begley, Jr, says:

Thought I would send along this video from my friend Jay Leno about a new wind turbine called the MagWind from Enviro-Energies that he and I will be installing soon. As many of you have asked about "vertical axis wind turbines," I thought you'd like to see the latest in this technology.
Jay Leno's wind turbine

Obama's Presidential Limo Will Be a 'Rolling Tank With Windows'

By Jose Fermoso Email

Obamacadillacgmlimogasguzzling_2

The inauguration of Barack Obama will not only bring about a wholesale turnover in the political leadership of the country but it will also unveil the newest in a long line of Presidential limos.

According to Presidential vehicle experts, the new limo is a beast-like General Motors truck-based Cadillac that is so tough it's like a 'rolling tank with windows.'

Among the vehicle's main features are windows that are 5 inches thick, 19.5-inch Goodyear RHS tires (same as super tough trucks), and possibly even a lock safety mechanism that seals off the car like a bank vault in case of an emergency.

Because the Secret Service keeps details of the limo understandably private, even the most knowledgeable security experts don't really know how much gadgety tech is being installed in the new ride. But it's not stopping them making a few informed guesses.

In an interview with CNN, security expert Ken Lucci says rubber gaskets likely protect the car against chemical weapons and that the body will be made out of a tougher material than before. The most recent limo used by President Bush used some combination of a dual hardness steel, aluminum, titanium and even ceramics to break up possible projectiles. And there are usually steel overlaps that cover any gaps a door might leave.

Despite the immense secrecy, reports have leaked that the limo also comes with a 10-CD changer, which will inevitably end up playing Obama favorites like Steve Wonder and Bob Dylan. We're surprised there's no Blu-ray or Wii in there, but we're pretty sure of one thing: The limo will be a Zune-free zone, especially considering the most recent reports.

Car

Photos: Brend Priddy & Co/DetNews.com

A&E reality show has cops chasing ghosts

Who you gonna call? How about 911?

A&E is seeking to one-up Sci Fi's "Ghost Hunters" with a new series that blends paranormal investigation with law enforcement.

The network has greenlit a new unscripted series called "Paranormal Cops," about a group of Chicago police officers who moonlight as ghost chasers in their spare time.

Given the team's law enforcement credentials, the format seeks to add a new layer of credibility to an increasingly popular reality TV genre which has featured ghost hunting teams founded by professional plumbers, college students and academics.

Ghostbusters1 The police group includes four officers, two tech assistants and a "medium." The ghost-chasing group existed before the show's producers came along, a network spokesman said, and the officers' various departments have approved the venture.

" 'Paranormal Cops' is the perfect marriage of A&E’s successful crime and justice genre with our blossoming paranormal programming that documents real-life accounts of bona fide paranormal investigators," said Robert Sharenow, senior vp nonfiction and alternative programming at A&E. "

A&E also announced a third season of its similar show, "Paranormal State," which features a group of Penn State University college students. "Cops" is tentatively slated to premiere this year.

The ghost-hunting genre shows no signs of slacking on cable, with ratings continuing to grow for several shows. In addition to the A&E's ramp-up, Sci Fi recently ordered a new "Ghost Hunters" spinoff.

“Paranormal Cops” is produced by North South Productions for A&E. Charlie Debevoise, Mark Hickman Robert Sharenow and Elaine Frontain Bryant are executive producers.

RELATED: Sci Fi orders "Ghost Hunters" spinoff

Top 10 White Water Rafting Destinations - Which One Thrills You The Most

Whitewater rafting is an experience, which can literally prepare you to face any type of challenge in your life. It is a good idea to be on an adventure trip with your family. There are many destinations around the world, where your family members can enjoy their vacation, while you participate in the most stimulating ride of your life.

Adventure is no more the feed meant for few daring spirits. The concept of going on a family adventure holiday has flourished in past few years. Among all other adventure rides, white water rafting certainly ranks higher, because of the element of thrill and excitement associated with it. So, if you are ready to accept the challenge of untamed waves of river, here is the list of top 10 whitewater rafting destinations around the world.

Zambezi River In Zimbabwe

Zambezi Waterraft

The splashing waves of Zambezi River in Victoria Falls are ready to make your rafting experience wild and violent. The long rapids, stubborn gradients and highly built-up pressure can send a chill down your spine. Only an experienced rafter, with ability to raft at grade 5 should take up the challenge.

Colorado River Rafting

Colorado River Rafting

Colorado River rafting is the experience, which will remain intact in your memories for long. What makes it special is the natural beauty offered by this river. The rafting tours in Colorado are innumerable, with many majestic rivers, like the Arkansas River, the Colorado River and the Dolores River offering splendid rapids waiting for you.

Costa Rica River Rafting

Costa Rica River Rafting


Costa Rica is a treasured destination with more than few whitewater rafting opportunities. You can find everything, from cool water to wildlife expedition, while rafting on the roaring waves of the river. Reventazon, Sarapiqui, Savegre and Pacuare are few convenient water bodies to extract fun out of rafting.

Nepal –The Ultimate Rating

Water Rafting


Nepal, the country with highest mountain peak in the world, offers tempting whitewater rafting experience, with uncultivated form of rivers housed by it. From River Kosi to river Marshyandgdi, the rafting experience offered by this destination is only for brave hearts. But, if you are capable of accepting this challenge, you can bet upon the pure fun of adventure.

Australia River Rafting

Nymboida River Rafting


If you want to explore the ancient rainforests, while riding the white frothy water of the river, you need to visit Australia, the country offering ultimate whitewater rafting experiences. From the North Johnstone River to Nymboida River, you can’t ask for more, after riding these storming rivers.

Futaleufu River In Chile

Futaleufu River Rafting


Chile offers a number of other adventurous rides, apart from whitewater rafting in Futaleufu River. You can also participate in horse riding, kayaking and mountain biking, after facing the growling waves of these gigantic rivers. The Bio Bio rafting experience in Chile is also getting popular with more and more rafter exploring the fun and thrill.

Idaho River Rafting

Idaho River Rafting


The Snake River and the Middle Fork of the Salmon River are among most admirable rafting destination offered by Idaho. The rivers offer raft-soaking rapids to make it’s the best experience of you life. The surrounding beauty of mountains and forests can further motivate you to enjoy your ride.

Yangtze River Rafting In China

Yangtze River Rafting


The Great Bend of the Yangtze River in china can be a favorable whitewater rafting destination. The crashing water can kick your passion and invite you to grab some precious moments of your life. The scenic landscapes offered by the mountains can add delight to your adventurous journey here.

Magpie River Rafting In Canada

Magpie River Rafting


The whitewater rafting ride on Magpie River in Canada can pack your vacations with action and satisfy your enthusiasm beyond expectations. The 80-foot Magpie Falls can provide you with a fantastic river rafting experience.

Victoria Nile White Water Rafting In Uganda

Victoria Nile White Water Rafting In Uganda


The Victoria Nile River is an awesome whitewater rafting destination in Uganda, not only for the tourists from different corners of the world, but also for local residents. It is one of the places, which exhibit the real essence of term rafting.

Why is Brazil Doubling its Military Protection in the Amazon Rainforest?

Brazil owns the single largest area of the Amazon Rainforest

Brazil’s government has announced plans to increase their soldiers in the Amazon Rainforest from 17,000 to 30,000 over the next 9 years, as well as build new forts and improve others. Why have they chosen to invest $488.6 million in this plan?

The answer is more muddled than I would have guessed. But what can you expect given Brazil’s recent my-way-or-the-highway conservation tactics, their boldness in announcing an unrealistically ambitious anti-deforestation campaign, and a giant oil discovery that further added to the wealth of a country that is now buying more ethanol than gas?

As part of the “Protecting Amazon” project, the military buildup will supposedly aid in the further protection of tribal reservations and the Brazilian border. Brazil shares an extensive border in the rainforest with 8 other countries, and has recently been involved in a dispute with Peru over uprooted Indian tribes. Brazilian authorities and several NGOs devoted to advocacy efforts for tribal peoples claim that deforestation in Peru’s forests is displacing tribal peoples rapidly into Brazil. But this dispute in fact, seems to have little to do with the plan for military buildup.

When I first read about Brazil’s plan, I thought they were pursuing it for conservation reasons, much in the way that Peru’s Environmental Minister has proposed a 3,000 person Environment Police to patrol the Amazon Rainforest and protect its biodiversity. It turns out that its more so about modernizing their military, for what I think are pretty lame reasons.

As mentioned earlier, last year Brazil discovered a huge oil deposit offshore. They promptly scheduled military war games as a show that they were willing to protect the oil. From who I ask? George Bush? In addition to modernizing their ground forces via this new Amazon protection plan, Brazil also wants to build nuclear submarines with the help of France, to help defend their coastline (from who I ask?–once again).

I also am not sure if building 28 new forts will do much good in Brazil’s section of the Amazon Rainforest, but I’m hoping I’m wrong. Perhaps it will help lead to greater protection of the amazing biodiversity and cultures found within the forest’s boundaries.

Photo Credit: openDemocracy on Flickr under a Creative Commons license

Comcast's New Network Throttling Now In Place

For the last few months, Comcast has been transitioning how it monitors and throttles broadband traffic. DSLreports.com claims that this transition is now complete for all of Comcast's markets, meaning that Comcast users might see their connection speeds drop if they use too much sustained downstream throughput and they can even potentially lose their service if they exceed Comcast's monthly broadband cap.

Comcast previously received quite a bit of flack for throttling the throughput of users who were downloading certain types of data, such as torrent packets. While torrent traffic can often mean someone is downloading illegal content, that it not always the case--there is a growing amount of legitimate torrent content. Comcast decided to transition from this packet-inspection type of network monitoring to one that is content-agnostic.

Screenshot of a beta version of Comcast's bandwidth
usage meter tool (Credit: DSLreports.com)
The new system, which is now in place, monitors the amount of downstream traffic a user consumes and not what that traffic is actually composed of. The system first monitors the traffic on the cable modem termination system (CMTS) ports. If a particular CMTS port is deemed as "congested," any users on that port who are "identified as a primary reason why" that port is congested will have their traffic priority downgraded, which can potentially impact their throughput. By default, most users have a quality-of-service (QoS) traffic priority of "Priority Best-Effort" (PBE). However, if a user is flagged as causing congestion on a CMTS port, that user's priority changes to "Best-Effort" traffic (BE) for a period of time. DSLreports.com states:

Comcast says that sustained use of 70% of your up or downstream throughput triggers the BE state, at which point you'll find your traffic priority lowered until your usage drops to 50% of your provisioned upstream or downstream bandwidth for "a period of approximately 15 minutes." A throttled Comcast user being placed in a BE state "may or may not result in the user's traffic being delayed or, in extreme cases, dropped before PBE traffic is dropped."

The downside is that if you are downloading a lot of data at a time when many of your neighbors are online, you might see your connection speeds slow down--or even drop out entirely--at least temporarily. The upside is that you can be as much of a bandwidth hog as you want at any given moment as long as the network can handle your traffic and your neighbors. This might act as an incentive for users to perform more of their large downloads during off hours.

But even if you never find your throughput temporarily throttled, you are still not out of the woods if you download and/or upload lots of large files. Don't forget that Comcast also has a monthly cap of 250GB of data--and that 250GB per month is an aggregate of both your downstream and upstream traffic. Users who go over the limit will receive a warning as well as a suggestion to upgrade their service from a residential to a commercial plan. Users who go over the 250GB per month twice in a six month period can have their service terminated. Comcast has promised a bandwidth usage meter tool so that Comcast users can keep track of their usage, but as of yet, the tool has not been released to Comcast customers.

5 Ways To Clone & Copy Your Hard Drive

Jan. 6th, 2009 By Tina

clone hard disk One of the most annoying things about owning a computer is the maintenance. It’s easily neglected. After all you don’t really notice the slow decline of your system’s performance, do you?

But then again it’s a delight to work on a freshly installed machine, where everything is smooth and responds quickly. But customization is tedious. And when your hard drive decides to break spontaneously, time is something you won’t have for sure.

For emergencies it’s better you have a data and a system backup available. Here are the 5 best tools to clone or copy your hard drive in no particular order.

Paragon’s Drive Backup Express (Windows)

clone hard drive

This software is the easy solution. It’s comfortable to use with a sleek interface that guides you through the whole process of backing up and restoring step by step. And while a backup is running in the background you can even proceed using your system.

Both Drive Backup Express and DriveImage XML (described below) require a bootable CD, which the user has to create independently.

I have previously written about Drive Backup Express and thoroughly explained how it works here.

DriveImage XML (Windows)

hard drive cloneIn contrast to Drive Backup Express, DriveImage XML is a visually very basic tool. However, it reliably creates images of logical drives and partitions and restores these to either the originating or a different hard disk.

Like Drive Backup Express, DriveImage XML applies a cloning technique that allows parallel use of the system while the backup is running. It can also do incremental backups, supplementing existing backups with what was changed in the meantime. Additionally, images can be restored without having to reboot.

CloneZilla (cross platform)

hard drive cloningCloneZilla is an open source and cross platform tool to clone and restore hard drives.

It’s a tough tool for non nerds as it requires some background knowledge. First of all it’s not a software you install on your computer. You download CloneZilla in form of an ISO image or ZIP file and burn the image to a CD or load the files onto a USB flash drive or hard drive.

The next step is to reboot the computer from that medium you created, which may require going into the BIOS and allow booting from a CD or USB device.

Once the tool is running, it’s easy to use the simple interface to initiate or restore a backup. There also is sort of a screenshot walkthrough on the CloneZilla homepage, where you can view some of the options before running the tool.

XXCLONE (Windows)

copy hard driveXXCLONE is Windows software. The tool can create a self-bootable clone of a Windows drive as well as full backups of non-system volumes.

The interface is basic and clear. When started, the tool scans for available volumes and you can then choose a source and target volume from these. A direct link to the Windows Disk Management is provided through the “diskmgmt” button. Under the “Tool Cools” tab you can make use of options such as making the target volume self-bootable, manage restore points or create a batch file to save your current settings for future re-use.

The download section of the website provides a thorough help file that contains screenshots and descriptions of all features.

EASEUS Disk Copy (cross platform)

backup hard diskEASEUS Disk Copy creates sector by sector clones of partitions or hard disks, independent of operating system, file systems or partition scheme. It’s a versatile tool for both the novice and experienced user.

Just like CoolZilla, it’s not installed locally, rather the ISO image is burned to a bootable CD or DVD.

The website is probably the best of all tools described here. The information is thorough and very clear, including a very detailed help section that will walk you through every aspect of the program.

Do you clone and copy your hard drive? If so, which program do you use? Can you recommend any particular program to us? Let us know in the comments.

Modern Electrical Outlets and Power Strips

Modern Electrical Outlets and Power Strips

Modern electrical outlets and creative power strips from all over the world.

Socket Pocket

Creative phone-pocket for your electrical outlet. [link]

Socket Pocket

Hang On Outlet

It is a basic power outlet with a little extra lip to hold on to your lose plugs, keeping your power management neat and tidy. [link]

Hang On Outlet

Hang On Outlet 2

Hang On Outlet 3

Wall Cleats

What use is an electrical plug when you’re not plugged in? Two simple tabs on the ends of a standard cover plate increase its function. [link]

Wall Cleats

Hidden Wall Safe Electrical Outlet

These unique wall safes allow you to hide valuables inside one of many identical looking wall outlets you already have in your home, the last place someone is likely to look. [link]

Hidden Wall Safe Electrical Outlet

WirePod

Electrical “power pod” made of thermoplastic rubber and with four plug outlets is the first in a series of Artecnica products called Wiremore, which will make electrical cables more, rather than less, visible. [link]

WirePod

WirePod 2

Swivel Sockets

Swivel sockets rotate 90 degrees for compact use in tight spaces. [link]

Swivel Sockets

Donut Power Strip

Each outlet can spin inside its socket for the best fit. The donut shape also helps to keep cabling organized. [link]

Donut Power Strip

Donut Power Strip 2

E-Rope Power Strip

Power strip that allows users to add or subtract sockets as needed. [link]

E-Rope Power Strip

Picket Fence

The Picket Fence adapts to older homes and cleanly manages the electrical necessities of the occupants. [link]

Picket Fence

E-Ball Multiplug Connector

Modern power strip concept by MASHALLAH.DESIGN. [link]

E-Ball Multiplug Connector

E-Ball Multiplug Connector 2

Plug with a Hole Concept

Pulling out a plug is not a hard work, but it is not always an easy task. Therefore, you need a better solution. This plug comes with a circular cut-out which can help you pull it out easily. [link]

Plug with a Hole Concept

360 Electrical Outlet

360 Electrical is an electrical outlet plate where the two sockets spin 360 degrees to help manage bulky plugs. [link]

360 Electrical Outlet

Socket Deer Outlet Cover

These electrical outlet covers let you put your mobile phone on the wall as it recharges. [link]

Socket Deer Outlet Cover

Power Aware Cord

Electrical power strip in which the cord is designed to visualize the energy rather than hiding it. The current use of electricity is represented through glowing pulses, flow, and intensity of light. [link]

Power Aware Cord

Rozetkus Power Strip

Power strip that gives you free choice of which way to plug. [link]

Rozetkus Power Strip

Electroman Surge Protector

Here he comes to save the day - especially if you have more plugs than outlets. [link]

Electroman Surge Protector

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