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Friday, March 20, 2009

Source: Body of Natalee Holloway Found in Aruba

Natalee Holloway.jpg
Natalee Holloway
Details remain vague, but The Juice has just learned that authorities believe they have found the body of Natalee Holloway, the 18-year-old from Clinton, Miss., who vanished in the Caribbean island in May 2005.

A Miami-based flight attendant for American Airlines tells The Juice that a cadaver dog was aboard a Miami-to-Aruba flight. The officer with the dog was going to search for the remains of Holloway.

"They think they've found where Natalee Holloway's remains are, and they're taking the dog down to confirm that," said the flight attendant, who lives in Fort Lauderdale. "They're not telling anybody because Aruba is trying to keep this quiet."

A tabloid media sensation, Holloway's case had lately gone cold. Aruba investigators have been criticized for failing to find a body or a suspect in the teenager's disappearance.

More details to come as they become available.

Stephen Hawking to write children's books

It is extremely important to me to write for children. Children ask how things do what they do, and why. Too often they are told that these are stupid questions to ask, but this is said by grown-ups who don't know the answers and don't want to look silly by admitting they don't know.

read more | digg story

NIN | JA - Trent Reznor Announces New Free EP

The Ten Best Vampire Movies of the Modern Era

With Twilight hitting DVD shelves at 12:01 am Saturday morning, it raises the question - where does Stephenie Meyer's vamp love story fit into the modern vampire genre? While it's certainly not the worst fang flick in recent memory (Vampire in Brooklyn), it definitely doesn't make the top ten. Here are the ones that did.

read more | digg story

Lady, your husband is a sick.......DUDE WTF?!?!?

Meet Michelle Owen. Concerned that an ex-boyfriend had used her laptop to search for child pornography, the Indiana woman asked police to search the computer for illegal images, but had her plan backfire when cops discovered two videos of her engaged in illicit acts with a dog.

read more | digg story

Spectacular photo of underwater volcano eruption

The New York Times

Lothar Slabon/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Spectacular columns are spewing out of the sea about 6 miles from the southwest coast off the main Tongan island of Tongatapu.

wiki here

Pole positions: Strip club holds job fair

‘Foxy Lady’ club in R.I. looks to fill openings in bad economy

The Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Here’s a job opportunity you won’t need to buy a new wardrobe for.

Hoping to take advantage of Rhode Island’s floundering economy, owners of the Foxy Lady strip club in Providence plan to hold a job fair on Saturday.

They say they’re looking to fill around 30 positions, from strippers and waitresses to disc jockeys and bartenders, at that club and two others in Massachusetts.

“I need more managers, I need more competent staff, and I need more attractive waitresses to go along with the ones I have right now,” said co-owner Tom Tsoumas.

The naked truth is that Rhode Island’s economy is among the worst in the nation, with an unemployment rate of 10.3 percent in January.

The Providence club isn’t immune from the recession but is still drawing customers willing to drink and pay for lap dances, said manager Bob Travisono.

“It’s taken a hit,” he said. “It’s not as bad as restaurants and stuff like that. In times like this, they seem to drink their sorrows away.”

Tsoumas said he hopes some who might shun strip clubs when the economy is good might consider shedding their clothes now — or at least working as a floor host or bartender.

Legal pot debuts in Midwest

As Michigan's medical marijuana law takes full effect next month, sufferers of chronic pain and other ailments cheer while police predict problems

Medical marijuana in Michigan

Ron Stephens, who has a chronic neck disorder and depression, built his own marijuana "grow room" with high-powered lights and reflective paper on the walls. (E. Jason Wambsgans / Tribune photo / March 12, 2009)


PAW PAW, Mich.—At first glance they look like old pals, maybe a bunch from the Rotary Club leisurely gabbing away over the hamburger special, making the waitress work overtime for her tip.

But these guys are different. Their eyes, their fidgeting and their restlessness betray a shared bond of chronic pain, sleepless nights, depression and a reliance on heavy-duty prescription drugs. Around this lunchtime table, they talk about the only thing that gives them a measure of peace, the only thing that, for perhaps a few hours, sets them free: marijuana.

They've been smoking or eating marijuana for years—privately and illegally. And now, because Michigan voters approved marijuana use for the treatment of certain serious maladies, Bob White soon will be able to get himself together in his Three Rivers home "without having to draw the shades."

Legalized medical marijuana is about to make its debut in Michigan, which becomes the 13th state and the first between the Rockies and the East Coast to embrace the controversial pain treatment. In a vote last November that defied the culture war/reefer madness connotation to the illegal drug, 63 percent of the state's voters—and a majority in every county—said yes to medical marijuana. The measure collected 250,000 more votes than Barack Obama, who won the state easily.

"This shows that, bottom line, medical use of marijuana is not very controversial with the public," said Wendy Chapkis, co-author of "Dying to Get High: Marijuana as Medicine."

"Politicians are afraid to look soft on drugs, but the public understands that cannabis is not a problem for medical use," Chapkis said.

The police disagree, and so do many politicians. In a change in federal policy, the Justice Department this week said it will go after California's medical marijuana distributors only if they violate federal and state laws. Sen. Charles Grassley (R- Iowa) warned Thursday that such a policy will encourage use of harder drugs.

Opponents appear to be a minority protest against a movement gaining momentum. In the wake of the Michigan vote, legislatures in other states, including Illinois, Minnesota and New Jersey, are advancing bills to legalize the medical use of marijuana, and Michigan will be watched carefully to see how it works for people like the men who recently sat around a table at a west Michigan diner.

There is no sense of euphoria among the men, each weary from grinding pain. Their maladies include cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, neck, back and spinal problems, nerve disorders, depression and sleep apnea, for which they take a cabinetful of prescription painkillers and other medications. Marijuana provides only temporary relief. For them, marijuana is not the ticket to a better life, but to a temporarily less difficult one.

Some, like bleary-eyed Bill Kelly, who grew up in a conservative family, came to it apprehensively. Kelly, 26, suffers from nerve disorders and depression. His foot went numb over lunch.

"It got to the point where my psychiatrist was my drug dealer," said Kelly, who said a turning point for him was when his doctor prescribed anti-psychotic drugs "and all I saw was red and green colors." The Kalamazoo man said he started smoking marijuana in the past year.

Technically, medical marijuana became legal in Michigan in December, a month after the public vote. The law takes full effect in April, when doctors begin receiving applications from patients seeking authorization to use marijuana for illnesses such as cancer, HIV-AIDS, glaucoma and other maladies that provoke chronic pain. Once they receive cards authorizing marijuana use, patients can grow their own—up to 12 plants—or designate a "caregiver" who will grow marijuana for them. Unlike California, there will be no public dispensaries that sell marijuana.

But there are legal holes and inconsistencies in the law that, in many ways, will likely preserve the underground nature of marijuana use. Patients can legally buy marijuana on the street, but sellers can be prosecuted. Although patients can grow their own plants, they cannot legally obtain the seeds to grow them. Medical doctors are not required to participate. And, despite the imprimatur of legality from the state of Michigan, there is nothing in the law to protect medical marijuana patients from being dismissed by their employer for using marijuana.

Ron Stephens lost his job in 2007 after a urine test detected marijuana. Stephens, 50, suffers from depression and a chronic neck disorder that limits his neck, shoulder and arm movements. He's undergone a spinal fusion operation, has lost the use of his right hand and cannot sit for more than 10 or 15 minutes. He spent a decade taking prescribed painkillers, including Vicodin, Percocet, and the synthetic narcotic methadone, which he took for two years.

"Somehow it was OK for me to show up for work with all those drugs in me," said Stephens, who asked that his hometown not be identified. "Marijuana carries such a stigma. It's so ... stupid."

Stephens is now growing his own marijuana, out of economic necessity, given its $125- to $300-per-ounce cost, he said. He built his own "grow room" with high-powered lights and reflective paper on the walls, which is really silver Christmas wrapping.

The grow-it-yourself decision presents a big problem because it puts patients at risk of break-ins and theft, said Greg Francisco, executive director of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association, which led the successful ballot campaign.

So-called "grow-rippers" are only part of the concern of the police, who predict the law will ignite widespread marijuana abuse.

"You can call it medical marijuana, but this is the nose under the tent to the legalization of marijuana," said George Basar, chief of police in Howell and president of the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police. "My biggest fear is large, sophisticated growing operations and, eventually, storefront operations, which will lead to narcotics robberies.

"I think what we've done here is taken the pot needs of a small segment of the population and blew the door wide-open to lots of others," Basar added.

Some supporters of the new law acknowledge the potential for abuse. Bob White, who suffers from myasthenia gravis, a muscle wasting disease, and arthritis of the back and knees, predicted "a few idiots will abuse it." John Targowski, a criminal defense attorney in Kalamazoo who specializes in drug cases, said he worries that "opponents will succeed in convincing people that it is a Trojan horse for legalization."

Targowski, 31, is a paraplegic who used cannabis under California's medical marijuana law when he practiced in that state. He cautions against letting opponents define the law as a boon for bearded hippies and potheads. "This isn't about people smoking joints, but I'm afraid it could turn into a culture war instead of a rational scientific discussion," Targowski said.

The public seems to be miles ahead of the political establishment on the issue. Eleven of the 13 states that have approved medical marijuana have done so through public referendums, not the legislative process.

Majorie Russell, a professor at Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, said the measure passed in Michigan because large numbers of Baby Boomers either have personal experience or know someone who has gone through chemotherapy or suffers from chronic pain. "That changed a lot of attitudes," Russell said.

That debate is not on the mind of Jack Hemsworth, who suffers from cancer and depression and did not want his hometown identified. The news media are to blame for portraying marijuana as "Reefer Madness," he said. The issue that should be discussed, Hemsworth said, is choosing addiction to damaging prescription painkillers or embracing a drug, marijuana, that makes you—if only for a while—functional.

To him, there is nothing to debate.

"If you can escape time, that is bliss," said Hemsworth, who, just a few minutes later, was doubled over by a severe spasm in his left hand.

tmjones@tribune.com

48 of the Coolest, Stylish and Creative Lego Creations


These Lego designs are not all the biggest, not all the most intricate and not all the famous…but they are really, really cool. You could almost call these designs art, they carry the style and character of each talented and creative designer.

Click here to see all 48 design | digg story

Equinox: Sunset at the Portara

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.


See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.

Sunset at the Portara
Credit & Copyright: Anthony Ayiomamitis (TWAN)

Explanation: Today, the Sun crosses the celestial equator heading north at 11:44 UT. Known as an equinox, this astronomical event marks the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere and autumn in the south. It also marks the beginning of Norouz, the Persian (Iranian) new year. Equinox means equal night. With the Sun on the celestial equator, Earth dwellers will experience nearly 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness. Of course, in the north the days will grow longer, the Sun marching higher in the sky as summer approaches. To celebrate the equinox, consider this scenic view of the setting Sun from the island of Naxos in the Aegean Sea. Recorded last June, the well-planned image captures the Portara (big door) in a dramatic silhouette. Measuring about 6 by 3.5 meters, the Portara is the large entrance to the Greek island's ancient, unfinished Temple of Apollo.

Google Street View funny images


Google Street View has just gone live in the UK and Netherlands, and users have picked up some amusing images.

read more | digg story

Lindsay Lohan for Fornarina







click here for the rest of the photo shoot


lindsay lohan is a big star


Back in January, Lindsay Lohan did some modeling for the spring line from Fornarina (here). So today is the second day that I’ve ever heard of Fornarina. This time it’s because her new ad has arrived, and as you might expect, its a feast for the senses. They started at the Six Flags Make-Your-Own-Video booth and then sent Lindsay to the world of tomorrow. It takes all the excitement of Lindsay standing still, then adds the sounds of a malfunctioning robot. Later they dubbed in some unrelated drumming and now here we are.

President Obama Announces $2.4 Billion in Funding for Electric Vehicles

President Obama announced today that $2.4 billion will be made available for the US-based development of plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles.


The fund is intended to spur growth in research and manufacturing of next-generation plug-in hybrid vehicles and advanced battery componenents for electric cars, while creating tens of thousands of US jobs and reducing US petroleum dependence. It should also help meet the President’s goal of putting one million plug-in hybrid vehicles on the road by 2015.

The President made the announcement while visiting Southern California Edison’s Electric Vehicle Center. SCE is one of the largest electric utilities in the country and researches battery-powered and hybrid engines, along with potential impacts of having massive numbers of electric vehicles taking power from conventional utility networks.

This investment will not only reduce our dependence on foreign oil, it will put Americans back to work. It positions American manufacturers on the cutting edge of innovation and solving our energy challenges.

-President Obama

The plan was partially outlined on the Department of Energy’s website:

  • The Department of Energy is offering up to $1.5 billion in grants to U.S. based manufacturers to produce these highly efficient batteries and their components.
  • The Department of Energy is offering up to $500 million in grants to U.S. based manufacturers to produce other components needed for electric vehicles, such as electric motors and other components.
  • The Department of Energy is offering up to $400 million to demonstrate and evaluate Plug-In Hybrids and other electric infrastructure concepts — like truck stop charging station, electric rail, and training for technicians to build and repair electric vehicles.
The money is being made available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Astronaut tests space-age underpants

Before blasting off for the International Space Station, Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata said he was looking forward to carrying out the missions for which he had trained for several years.

By Julian Ryall in Tokyo
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata: Astronaut tests space-age underpants
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata Photo: REUTERS

He made no mention of the fact that one of those missions is test out state-of-the-art underpants.

Mr Wakata, 48, is not being allowed to change his underwear more than once week.

Wakata arrived aboard the space station on Tuesday and is technically classified as a flight engineer with the added responsibility of taking care of the external robotic arm.

But throughout his stay, he will be wearing underpants that have been specially designed to handle the rigours of the human body in space.

Developed by researchers at the Japan Women's University and five clothing companies, the underwear is made of a material containing threads of antibacterial polymers that reduce the smells that build up in normal clothing.

The clothes have been designed to absorb human sweat and other liquids, insulate the body and dry in a matter of minutes, according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

They are also flame-resistant and the use of Velcro helps reduce the build-up of static, a key consideration for anyone working around electronic components.

Astronauts are generally required to change their clothing after three days in space and, as they do not have enough water for the luxury of washing their outfits, simply dispose of them.

But with space agencies now looking at manned missions that will last for several years, they are seeking ways to extend the working lives of the crews' garments.

The full range of clothing includes long- and short-sleeved undershirts, shorts and underwear, as well as socks that have been designed with an individual compartment for the big toe, enabling astronauts operating in zero gravity to use their feet to hold on.

The companies that helped developed the clothing range are planning to release a line for Earth-bound humans in the future.

Live Free or Die: NH House Comm OKs Medical Marijuana Bill

By TOM FAHEY
State House Bureau Chief

A bill allowing severely ill patients to grow and use marijuana for medicinal purposes has won a 13-7 vote in the House Health and Human Services Committee.

The bill, HB 648, heads to the full House for a vote next week. Two Republicans joined the Democratic majority in support of the bill.

The bill requires patients to be certified by a doctor before they can grow or possess up to six plants or two ounces of marijuana. They or a caregiver can grow the plants, and a patient is given the option of obtaining marijuana from another certified patient.

Thirteen other states have medical marijuana bills on the books. In the past month, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has said federal policy will shift, giving states more leeway to pass and enforce their own medical marijuana laws. Federal emphasis will move from raids on marijuana clinics and onto distributors who violate state and federal laws, he said.

Two years ago, the New Hampshire House defeated a medical marijuana bill by nine votes, 186-177.

Committee Chair Rep. Cindy Rosenwald, D-Nashua, said this bill improves on all the shortcomings she saw two years ago. She termed HB 648, "a narrowly written, tightly focused, well-crafted bill." Supporters of the bill said it offers hope to those with a debilitating chronic or terminal illnesses. In many cases treatments for illnesses such as cancer or HIV, create nausea that weakens patients at a time when they need strength to survive. Proponents say it eases pain and can increase appetite in ways that manufactured drugs cannot.

Bill sponsor Rep. Evalyn Merrick, D-Lancaster, said after the committee vote, "It's a compassion bill. It's to help the seriously ill and terminally ill patients who have not been able to find relief from the symptoms and side effects of their diseases or treatments through legal therapeutic pharmaceuticals ... It gives them an option." Gov. John Lynch's press secretary Colin Manning said Lynch is not sold on the bill.

"The governor has concerns about the bill," he said. "It is in conflict with federal law and he will continue talk to lawmakers as well as law enforcement and medical community about it."

Opponents said the bill runs counter to federal law and represents the beginning of what will become the unwinding of state drug laws. It is opposed by law enforcement, including the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police.

Rep. John Cebrowski, R-Bedford, said illegal drugs are already a national problem.

"I refuse to be part of something which exacerbates that," he said. By leaving patients to find or grow their own supply, he said, the bill "takes a pure gray-market, back-alley approach to health care."

Matt Simon of N.H. Common Sense said he worries restrictions on access could make things difficult for patients. On the other hand, he said, "only people who need it will be able to get it."

Rep. Roger Wells, R-Hampstead, who voted to recommend the bill, said the bill has enough protections built into it that it will prevent abuse.

"People who are suffering, at least in our state of New Hampshire, ought not to be called criminals," he said.

Rep. Peter Batula, R-Merrimack, argued the committee acted against the best advice of national drug experts.

"There is no right way to do the wrong thing," he said.

Egypt unveils pharaonic 'brain drain' bed

Egyptian antiquities authorities on Thursday revealed an ancient pharaonic embalming bed unearthed from a mysterious tomb near Luxor used to prepare bodies for mummification more than 3,000 years ago.

The wooden was painstakingly restored after being discovered in pieces in the KV-63 tomb in southern Egypt's famous Valley of the Kings, next to Tutankhamun's tomb, the Supreme Council of Antiquities said in a statement.

The bed, featuring carved heads of a lion and a lioness at its foot, slopes downwards five centimetres (two inches) from head to toe to help drain bodies being prepared for mummification.

Bodies had their organs removed as soon as possible after death, including the brain which was thrown away as it was thought to serve no purpose in the afterlife.

The heart was left in the body, with other organs cleaned, perfumed and preserved in jars to be buried with the .

Afterwards, the corpse spent 40 days on the bed for draining of fluids, and another 15 days being bandaged.

Antiquities supremo Zahi Hawass said in a statement that the 170-cm- (68-inch-) long bed had been reconstructed from pieces of wood found scattered around tomb KV-63.

Luxor antiquities director Mansour Bouriq told AFP that unlike most beds found in , this one was not ceremonial but actually used for embalming.

"We believe this was a room used for embalming because we found some embalming materials, including herbs, oils and pottery vessels," he said.

Tomb KV-63 was discovered by Egyptian and US in 2006, the first to be found in the area in more than 80 years.

It is believed to date from the 8th (1570-1304 BC), although there was no mummy found inside to enable the tomb to be dated more precisely.

(c) 2009 AFP

The Best Star Wars "Action Figure" Ever


filled with midi-chlorians, micro-organisms that you can't see.

Review: Internet Explorer 8 Is Back: New And Improved

Internet Explorer 8 has shipped in its final version and is ready to take on its rivals. This latest version of Microsoft's browser leapfrogs its closest competition, Firefox 3, for basic browsing and productivity features -- it has better tab handling, a niftier search bar, a more useful address bar, and new tools that deliver information...

read more | digg story

Chimpanzee pees on Katy Perry during shoot

Source: bang showbiz
Katy Perry

Katy Perry's monkey trouble

Katy Perry was left red-faced when a chimpanzee "peed all over her" while she was posing for a magazine shoot.

Katy Perry was mortified when a chimpanzee urinated on her.

The 'I Kissed A Girl' singer was posing for a magazine shoot, when the lively animal - which was on the set for the photo shoot - relieved itself on her.

She wrote on her blog: "Jeremy Scott is one of my all time favourites and he shot the pictures while I got to prance around in his creations. I had a chimp on set with me that day. Fun fact, she peed all over me, I had to take a silkwood shower in the middle of shooting."

Katy is not the first celebrity to have an unfortunate encounter with a chimpanzee.

Last year, it was revealed Christina Ricci had been sexually assaulted by an animal on the set of her movie.

The actress, who already had a phobia of the animal, revealed Chim Chim grabbed her left breast while she was filming 'Penelope'.

Christina - who played a woman born with a pig's nose in the movie - said: "I'm afraid of monkeys, but I had decided not to be afraid of Chim Chim because no one else is. I thought, 'Everyone else thinks he's awesome so just be cool.'

"It's the first day of shooting and I have this kitchen scene where I'm sitting down and Chim Chim is sitting right next to me. Of course, it freaks out during the take and grabs my left breast and will not let go, and he's so strong."

Engadget's Full Comparison of iPhone3.0 to Other Mobile OS


As soon as Apple rolled out its preview of iPhone OS 3.0, the comparisons to existing (and forthcoming) mobile OSs started flying. While the major update isn't exactly a done deal, it's pretty far along, and we've been able to glean quite a bit from our time with the developer beta we've been checking out. iPhone OS, Android, webOS, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, S60; if you're in the market for a new smartphone, your choices have been getting exponentially more complicated lately, and 3.0 won't make the selection any easier. Luckily for you, Engadget is here to make sense of a frightening and uncertain landscape. Read on for an in-depth look at the similarities -- and differences -- between modern mobile operating systems.


Basics

When it comes to OSs, it's generally true that you're only as good as your kernel, and these days, there's no shortage of options in that department. Comparing core systems is difficult -- each one has its own strengths and weaknesses, but we'd be lying if we didn't say that the underlying structure of the iPhone OS is pretty robust. Since it's built atop OS X, which in turn is built atop Unix, it tends to be fairly sophisticated and stable (even if Apple has managed to lag it up with its UI). Android is Linux based, though its basic functionality is sandboxed in a particularly healthy variation of Java. S60 and Windows Mobile may be more mature, but that age doesn't always work to their advantage, and while RIM has done a tremendous job at updating its look and feel, the OS -- which is based around a proprietary kernel -- still showcases some of its ugly, underlying Java from time to time.

As you can see in the chart below, the basics slot these devices into fairly specific categories, though it's obvious that Apple is trying to nudge its way into the enterprise world (the company went out of its way to cite business customer satisfaction at the preview event). Of course, we don't expect to see the BlackBerry OS and Windows Mobile leaving that space any time soon.


Basics Return to Top

Android Cupcake

BlackBerry OS 4.7
iPhone OS 3.0
S60 5th Edition
Palm WebOS
Windows Mobile 6.5
Kernel Type Linux
Proprietary
OS X
Symbian Linux Windows CE
Platform Adaptability
Excellent
Good
Poor
Excellent Excellent Excellent
Platform Age
Young
Mature
Adolescent
Mature Young Mature
First-party Enterprise Support
None
BlackBerry
Exchange
Exchange, Domino, BlackBerry
Exchange Exchange, Domino, BlackBerry
Wireless Technologies GSM, WiFi GSM, CDMA, WiFi GSM, WiFi GSM, WiFi GSM, CDMA, WiFi GSM, CDMA, WiFi
User Interface

Apple nailed it out of the gate with many of its UI ideas. Gestures, lists with inertia, and plenty of touch-friendly sliders, wheels, and buttons generally make the iPhone OS a pleasure to navigate. While Android borrows some of that functionality, its uneven UI still doesn't match up (though Cupcake certainly makes a few welcome improvements). Windows Mobile and the BlackBerry OS have made some gains here over the years, but they still suffer from inborn deficiencies that are clear the moment you start using them (especially the Storm's 4.7 implementation), and S60 has a long, long way to go before it's up to speed. The only real competitor in terms of user-experience right now appears to be the Palm Pre, which capitalizes on many of the gains Apple pioneered and throws in a few tricks of its own, like those cards as well as a bigger emphasis on gestures.

A key innovation over the past couple years has been the emergence of capacitive touchscreens in mobile devices, which allow for lighter touch, greater display clarity, and true multitouch at the expense of stylus compatibility. The iPhone, webOS, and Android have all embraced the technology, but Windows Mobile and S60 aren't quite there yet, largely because they still make use of UI elements too small to accurately press with a human finger. To keep up, they'll need to get cranking on this over the coming versions. Of course, all of these platforms (save for webOS) can sport a virtual keyboard of some sort -- a technology particularly suited to a capacitive screen -- but we've yet to see a single one pull off a typing experience as solid as what Apple offers.

As good as they may be in stock form, both Apple and Palm leave users hanging if they want to customize -- hell, changing font sizes is taboo with the iPhone, much less a total reskinning of the interface. If you're into making your device all your own, Windows Mobile and BlackBerry are where you want to be; customization isn't just allowed with these platforms, it's practically encouraged. In fact, Microsoft pretty much touts the flexibility as a feature nowadays (a quick glance at this year's MWC offerings is proof of that).


User Interface
Return to Top

Android Cupcake
BlackBerry OS 4.7
iPhone OS 3.0
S60 5th Edition
Palm WebOS
Windows Mobile 6.5
Screen Gestures Yes
Yes Yes
Limited Yes Limited
Screen Technology
Capacitive
Capacitive
Capacitive
Resistive / Capacitive
Capacitive
Resistive
Multitouch Yes (unofficial) Yes Yes No Yes No
UI Skinning
Yes
Yes
No
Yes No Yes
Input Methods
Virtual keyboard, physical keyboard
Virtual keyboard
Virtual Keyboard
Virtual keyboard, T9, and triple tap; character recognition; physical keyboard Physical keyboard Virtual keyboard, character recognition, physical keyboard
Core functionality

Now here's a category where the operating systems really start to show their colors. While Apple is finally adding the promised -- but delayed -- push notification to its devices, it's still lagging far behind in some pretty important areas. First off: multitasking. Much like an original Palm OS device, Apple seems stuck in the past with its open-quit-open app switching scheme, which it claims is in the interest of preserving battery life. Windows Mobile, S60, Android, webOS, and BlackBerry all handle true multitasking, allowing you keep multiple apps open in the background. The push notifications will help, but nothing beats being able to return to an active app, particularly if you're doing something like loading a web page or using a map to get around.

Palm is smartly introducing a web-centric functionality called Synergy in its webOS, which allows you to pool contacts and calendars from disparate sources, while the iPhone OS, BlackBerry OS, Windows Mobile, S60, and Android still present mostly siloed options in that department (without some third-party involvement). Apple has made strides with its new calendar functionality -- CalDAV support, for example -- but it still doesn't present anything as revolutionary for dealing with scores of contacts. We do give the company marks for finally, mercifully, allowing users to share contact cards, however.

A big problem that Apple has yet to address with OS 3.0 is its obnoxious, obtrusive notifications. Where Android and webOS slide a handy "tray" into view to let you know you've got something incoming, the iPhone regularly piles on one notice after another, leaving you with a stacked, productivity-stalling, ugly mess of pop-ups. Apple, you kill this kind of annoying garbage in your browser -- why do you think users want it in their phone? Even older systems get this one more right than Apple does -- both Windows Mobile and the BlackBerry OS use a mixture of pop-ups and background notifications. It's perplexing that a company so concerned with usability and simplicity has done nothing to address the situation in three iterations of its software.

Still, Apple has certainly answered the call (no pun intended) on a lot of user-requested features. Stereo Bluetooth support, MMS, that new Spotlight homescreen (aka global search), tethering capabilities, unlocked Bluetooth support for the touch, turn-by-turn direction capability, and a whole lot more. The sad part is that these additions only really bring the OS to speed with almost all of its competition, making this update a victory, but still kind of a bummer if you take the long-view.

And don't even get us started on copy and paste.


Core Functionality
Return to Top

Android Cupcake
BlackBerry OS 4.7
iPhone OS 3.0
S60 5th Edition
Palm WebOS
Windows Mobile 6.5
Notification Style
Tray
Pop-up, background Pop-up
Pop-up Tray Tray, pop-up
Contact Integration / Management
Google
BES, BIS
Exchange, ActiveSync, Mac OS Address Book
Exchange, Domino, BlackBerry, iSync
Synergy Exchange, Domino, BlackBerry, ActiveSync
Multitasking Yes
Yes
No
Yes Yes Yes
Copy / paste
Yes
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Media Support / Ecosystem
Amazon
Non-DRM iTunes iTunes
Ovi Amazon Windows Media Player / None
Global Search No No Yes Yes Yes No
Firmware Updates OTA Tethered, OTA Tethered Tethered, OTA Unknown Tethered, OTA
Browser Engine WebKit Proprietary WebKit WebKit WebKit Internet Explorer
Tethering Yes (unofficial) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Stereo Bluetooth Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Third-party development

This is where Apple really shines. While Windows Mobile and S60 have had thriving developer bases for a while, no one has brought applications and app development to the forefront like Apple. It goes without saying that the company has revolutionized the way devs do business, and torn down dozens of barriers to entry in the process. No single company has made it easier for developers to create work (and profit from it) on a mobile platform. The new version of the iPhone OS seems designed to stoke that system, introducing 1,000 new APIs and allowing developers to offer things like in-game commerce and peer-to-peer networking.

Of course, the system isn't without its negatives, and Apple has endured more than its share of (deserved) critics of its opaque and sometimes unfair application approval process. While they say 96 percent of apps receive approval, we're fairly confident what gets left on the cutting room floor is hurting end users. Just think, with its current policies, you'll never see an Opera or Firefox browser for the device.

Regardless, other companies are currently playing catch up to Cupertino's game, with all of the major OSs offering some version of an application store now or in the near future. To date, none have been remotely as successful as Apple's outing, but none have the luxury of being tied to a pre-existing revenue stream like the iTunes Store -- and with the exception of Android's Market, they really haven't had time to marinate with the public. Only time will tell if companies like Palm, Google, and (gasp) Microsoft will be able to turn on the fire hose of development and go toe-to-toe with Apple.


Third-Party Development
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Android Cupcake
BlackBerry OS 4.7
iPhone OS 3.0
S60 5th Edition
Palm WebOS
Windows Mobile 6.5
SDK Availability / Support
Yes
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Official App Store
Yes
Coming
Yes
Coming Yes Yes
App Availability
Medium
Medium
High
Medium Low High
Native Applications
No
No
Yes
Yes No Yes
On-Device App Management
Excellent
Good Excellent
Good Excellent Good
Wrap up

Ultimately, there are loyalties and preferences that no chart can help you navigate. We won't go as far as saying it's a matter of choice -- we believe that the newer, younger operating systems offer far more than the aging ones can at this point (unless you absolutely need something like BES). In particular, the improvements Apple's made in its forthcoming update speak to many of the issues we've had since the platform's launch in 2007, patching a slew of flaws in its mobile OS, and making the advantages of something like Android or webOS (what we know of it) a little less obvious. That said, you won't find the open source freedom of the former, and there are a handful of innovations in the latter (yet to be roadtested, but extremely promising nonetheless). One thing is sure regardless of what side you throw your lot in with: the hype Apple created with its devices has spurred a space race in smartphones, and the end user is reaping the benefits.

Galleries

iPhone OS 3.0 hands-on

Microsoft announces Windows Mobile 6.5

Palm Pre: official UI shots

Android Cupcake

BlackBerry OS 4.7

S60 5th Edition


Special thanks to Chris Ziegler and Ross Miller for their work on this feature.

Michael Jordan's Son Happy to Be 1 of Guys on Illinois Team


INDIANAPOLIS — Jeff Jordan’s teammates at Illinois tease him mercilessly, the way they tease everybody else.


Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The sophomore Jeff Jordan, who rarely shoots, is averaging 8.3 minutes a game for the Illinios but could see more action.

Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Michael Jordan watching his son, a 6-foot-1 guard with a style unlike his own.

They ride him when Hanes underwear commercials come on television. They point to a closet bursting with Air Jordan clothing and sneakers, his father’s arms extended in a familiar pose. They say he more closely resembles the rapper Soulja Boy or the actor Alfonso Ribeiro than his famous father.

Jordan relishes these jokes. He always wanted to blend in, to be recognized simply as a basketball player, instead of as the son of perhaps the game’s greatest player.

This has not come easily for the oldest son of Michael Jordan. But now, in his sophomore season, Jeff Jordan has earned an athletic scholarship and a limited role on an N.C.A.A. tournament team, as well as the one thing he always wanted most — a sense of normalcy.

“It’s like watching him come into his own,” Juanita Jordan, his mother, said.

The 6-foot-1 Jordan averaged 8.3 minutes a game this season, but he could play more in the N.C.A.A. tournament while guard Chester Frazier recovers from hand surgery. The fifth-seeded Illini (24-9) play No. 12 Western Kentucky (24-8) on Thursday night in Portland, Ore., in the first round of the South Region.

Illinois Coach Bruce Weber first heard of Jeff Jordan through his brother, a high school coach who worked a camp attended by the young Jordan. There Jordan ate lunch alone, separate from the other campers, surrounded by security. He was 9.

Normal for Jordan included signing his first autograph in eighth grade, celebrating in the Chicago Bulls’ locker room after championship games and announcing his college choice on the “Today” show. During his first high school varsity basketball game, students chanted, “Overrated!”

Early in high school, he wanted to try anything but basketball, and he played receiver and cornerback on the football team at Loyola Academy near Chicago. Eventually, he dropped football and developed into a tornado of a guard, a harassing and athletic defender, the kind of role player the Bulls used to surround his father with.

It may seem strange that the son of Michael Jordan rarely shoots — he has taken 31 shots in 267 minutes this season — but Jeff Jordan plays a style opposite his father’s, even if he claims to have beaten him and Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony in a three-way game of rotating one-on-one a few years back.

Jordan stands five inches shorter than his father, wears No. 13 in honor of his mother’s birthday instead of the family’s famous No. 23, has a full head of hair and leaves the tongue-wagging to his father.

Despite the differences, Jordan remains proud of his dad’s legacy, as evidenced by the Jumpman23 logo and Chicago skyline tattooed on his left biceps.

“He’s very quiet by nature, very unassuming,” Weber said. “You would never know. He doesn’t hold up a sign reading, I’m Michael Jordan’s son.”

Jordan is majoring in psychology, and he has always been a thinker, observant and inquisitive, the kind of person who dissects and analyzes the smallest details. At times, this led to overanalyzing, but mostly it helped him become comfortable with his basketball bloodlines.

Juanita Jordan raised all three of her children with an emphasis on individuality. She was married to Michael Jordan for 17 years, and in that time she learned how to handle the mobs, the microscope, the endless attention and agendas.

“My role was to teach him what it was going to be like living under that spotlight,” she said.

In high school, teammates called him Bones, and when Jordan filled his 6-foot frame with just 150 pounds, it appeared the height gene had skipped a generation. He gained an inch and 35 pounds, but passed on scholarship offers from places like Valparaiso and Davidson to walk on at Illinois.

His father pronounced the college choice a gamble, but said he would have made the same decision, more proof that Jeff Jordan was Michael Jordan’s son.

Coaches saw the father in his son’s athleticism, in the 48-inch vertical leap, the developing midrange jump shot and the speed.

“Sometimes, when he goes to the basket and dunks, and I’m not exaggerating this, you would think somebody shot him out of a cannon,” said Wayne McClain, an assistant coach. “It just doesn’t seem right for a guy that small to get up that high.”

But Jordan went to Illinois as an athlete who lacked his father’s polish, and coaches set about turning him into a point guard, the only position suited for his size.

Early in his freshman season, Jordan questioned his decision. Illinois preferred to redshirt him, but did not have the luxury, and he spent the first two weeks of practice wondering if he belonged.

The turning point came at the Big Ten tournament, when Jordan had 4 points and 2 assists in a quarterfinal against Purdue. In two seasons at Illinois, McClain said he might have heard Jordan complain twice.

Still, the shadow looms. His father’s mere presence at games has caused grown men to act like teenagers at a boy band concert, and the younger Jordan moved into an apartment instead of a dormitory for better privacy. Even when Weber awarded him the scholarship, critics wondered why the university gave money to a student who lacked financial need.

But that cut to the center of Jordan’s paradox. The least normal Illinois player, the guard whose coach, McClain, ranked Michael Jordan as his idol and one of the two most influential athletes of all time, longed for that scholarship because it made him feel more like part of the team, more like everybody else.

Of course, everybody else did not look into the Michigan State student section to find a cardboard cutout of his father wearing a Coach Tom Izzo T-shirt. (Jordan, laughing, gave the students points for creativity.)

“I always wanted to be that way, to be normal,” Jordan said. “I didn’t want to stick out in high school, so when all the national attention came, I wasn’t ready for it. But once the guys treat you normal, that’s the best treatment you can get.”

Weber ranked Jordan as the team’s most consistent reserve, and he has produced signature moments, like stealing the ball late against the Spartans and tying the game with a driving layup. The Illini see Jordan filling a greater role next season.

Frazier entered Illinois as a highly touted recruit, a player who seemed intent on becoming the next Michael Jordan. Instead, he developed into a dogged defender and skilled passer, and now Illinois coaches see his replacement in Michael Jordan’s son.

“He has to make a decision this summer,” Weber said. “Does he want to take it to another level?”

For now, Jordan remains in transition. Somewhere between his abnormal childhood and a typical college experience. Between bench warming and starting. Between the Hall of Fame shadow of his father and the growing praise for his younger brother Marcus, a high school senior and the family’s more celebrated college prospect.

Before Illinois met Michigan in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament here last week, the Illini gathered near their bench and bounced in unison. Lost in the sea of jerseys was the oldest son of Michael Jordan. And Jeff Jordan bobbed along, just like everybody else.

5 Burgers For When You’ve Given Up On Life

by NextRound

Giving up on life has its benefits, namely wearing sweatpants all day and being able to eat any burger you want. Taking down any one of these five burgers is essentially waiving the white flag on your existence.

The Double Triple Stack Baconator

doubletriple_baconator

Combine the infamous Wendy’s “Triple Double” seven patty special order burger with the oh-so-healthy Baconator and you get 7 patties + 14 strips of bacon. A hero named Wes actually took one down on video. To get an idea of what you’re eating we imagine you take the Baconator nutrition facts and triple them.

The Angry Triple Whopper

angrytriple

This combination of Burger King’s Angry Whopper (fried jalapenos = angry) and Burger King’s Triple Whopper could possibly be a myth as we can’t find a picture of one. But it’s kind of hard to believe that not even one person in the midwest has ordered this bad boy. Oh, and nutrition facts are available. 1,360 calories and 91 grams of fat. Nice.

The Luther Burger

luther_burger

Named after the late, great Luther Vandross (who either invented the burger or just really enjoyed them), the Luther Burger is a bacon cheeseburger served on Krispy Kreme glazed donuts instead of a bun. It’s so legendary it has its own Wikipedia entry. We’re seriously considering the prospect of having “Death by Luther Burger” written in our obituary.

The Double Six Dollar Burger

double_sixdollar

AKA the Twelve Dollar Burger. Although we’re pretty sure they only charge like eight bucks for it at your local Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr. Double these nutrition facts and this thing is like drinking gallons of the fat they steal in Fight Club.

The McGangBang

Last but not least. You guessed it: the McGangBang. Our lives have been brighter ever since being introduced to it a little over a week ago. A McChicken sandwich stuffed inside a McDonald’s Double Cheeseburger. The originality, the combination of beef and poultry, the overall repulsiveness: the McGangBang is truly a burger after our own heart. We’d step up and order bacon on ours though.

If you know of other equally awesome and disgusting burgers let us know in the comments.

3 new Crank 2 stills and new TV spot!!

March 19, 2009 by Daniel Herrera

Lionsgate has just released 3 new stills for the upcoming sequel Crank 2: High Voltage. Also released with the new stills is a great new TV spot which is available at the official website HERE. Not shying away from the films violence and over top style be sure to have fun on the website as a cuss word of your choice is required to proceed to the main page!

Don’t Forget to Check out the latest happenings with Crank 2 and all things Lionsgate through their official twitter page HERE

$873,000 for nude painting of Blair's wife

LONDON, Mar 19, 2009 (UPI via COMTEX) -- A painting based on a 30-year-old sketch of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's wife in the nude is on sale at a gallery for $873,000.
The painting of Cherie Blair by artist Euan Uglow, who also drew the original sketch, is currently on display alongside the sketch at the Browse & Darby gallery in London and gallery owner Charles Bradstock said Blair recently dropped by to view the works of art, The Independent reported Thursday.

The gallery said the sketch has been sold, but Bradstock said he could not comment on rumors that it had been purchased by the Blairs.

"It's the policy of the gallery that we keep our buyers' names secret. A lot of them don't want their names to be revealed," he said.

"There has been a very good reaction to both works," he said. "We had a packed private viewing. Cherie Blair came before the private viewing to see them. She was interested, because she had never seen them before. They brought back memories. Her husband wasn't with her."

12 Essential iPhone Applications for Travelers



Traveling has become an increasingly hi-tech affair in the past few years. iPhone applications cover a range of travel-conscious programs, some useful some not. Here is a list of the best apps available for travelers looking to get some help planning and managing a good trip.

Money Matters

There are a lot of currency converter applications on the iTunes store. Here are a couple of them that are simple to use and very handy when you find yourself on foreign soil and need to make some quick calculations.

MoMPF Currency Converter - $0.99
With many free currency converters, why is MoMPF worth the 99 cents? Well, for one thing when you’re abroad, international data roaming can be expensive. This currency converter lets you store downloaded exchange rates for later use on over 30 different kinds of currencies.

ACTCurrency - $0.99
This is a fairly simple currency converter that becomes extremely useful when you are out of the country. More than 190 kinds of world currencies are available on this app. You can also manually enter other exchange rates if you want.

Checking Flight Status

When traveling, flight schedules change constantly. Staying updated on your flight status can help you plan your time better and keep your stress levels down. Here are a few apps that you can help you along.

Flight Status - $4.99
Check the status of your flight and thousands of others throughout the world. Search by flight number, route number, or by airport. Flight Status provides you with estimated times of arrival, take-off and landing, as well as maps for en route U.S. flights, delay information, baggage claim information and flight cancellations.

Flight Update - $4.99
Flight Update has a few unique features. In addition to tracking flight schedules and estimated times of arrival, take-off and landing, this app can retrieve flight details about flights scheduled sever months in the future. It can also give you meal info and allow you to view a plane’s seating charts.

Finding Places

Getting around in a new city can be hard. When you’re looking for the nearest restaurant, bank, or some other point of interest, here are some iPhone apps that might come in handy.

Yelp – Free
Yelp makes it easy to find the nearest restaurant, pub, gas station, or any other businesses of interest, via the iPhone’s built-in location finder. Yelp has quick-links you can tap to find nearby bars, cafés, and more. As you search you can read online reviews before you decide which place to go to.

AroundMe - Free
This free application provides the same benefits as Yelp and other business locators, but it has one of the easiest-to-use interfaces around. Around Me arranges businesses into comprehensive categories. Just tap on one to get started. You can also make a list of your favorites. You can see a listing’s location on a map and the easiest route to it.



LocalEats - $0.99
This is a locator that is specifically for finding local eateries in various U.S. cities. It has over 5,000 restaurant listings that you can search easily via a variety of categories, “Best Of” lists, and alphabetical order. You can also view user photos, read reviews and leave comments, among other things.

Urbanspoon - Free
Urbanspoon has a strange, slot-style interface that can be fun to use. The three “slot reels” show the name of the restaurant, the type of cuisine, and the price tag. Simply shake your iPhone and Urbanspoon will come up with a good restaurant for you to try. You can keep shaking ‘til you find one that suits you. You can also try searching the normal way.

Communicating with the Locals

If you are new to country’s language, having a phrasebook handy is essential to getting around. These two iPhone apps make it possible for you to carry around multiple language phrasebooks without the actual clunky, bound books.

Lonely Planet Phrasebooks - $9.99 (each)
These are downloadable version of Lonely Planet’s phrasebooks. They come in audio form, are easy to use, and have phrases arranged by categories of communication, such as transport and accommodations. Definitely worth the price tag.

Coolgorilla Talking phrasebooks - $0.99 (each)
If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to the Lonely Planet phrasebooks, try iDev Entertainment’s “Talking” phrasebooks. At 99 cents each, these phrasebooks might not be as comprehensive, but they cover the basics: hundreds of phrases arranged by categories, a search feature, and audio so that you know exactly how the words are pronounced.

Finding Things to Do

If you’re away from home, it can take a while to figure out where things are happening. If you find yourself abroad and at a loss for something fun to do, these apps might be able to help.

Eventful – Free
Published by Eventful, Inc, this app lets you find information local events and concert venues. You can also get tour dates, share events with your friends, and petition for your favorite bands to come play at your town.

Near + Now – Free
This app lets you find the nearest clubs, bars and other places where you can grab a drink/be entertained. Read critic and user reviews, find out when happy hour is at a particular place and connect with Facebook. The more you use the app, the better it gets at making personalized suggestions for you.

FeedM8 - Go Mobile