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Monday, May 18, 2009

The Enterprise space shuttle - HDR

The Enterprise space shuttle by Menetnashté.
On display at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles.
This a 5 exposure tone mapped HDR.
Explore #65, 17th June 2008

View Large On Black


Wiki: The Space Shuttle Enterprise was the first Space Shuttle built for NASA. It was constructed without engines or a functional heat shield, and was therefore not capable of space operations; its purpose was to perform test flights in the atmosphere.
Read more here

Stunt driver defies gravity on the world's biggest loop-the-loop

sAm I on the ring road?

By Paul Revoir

It was definitely not the time to be having second thoughts.

For the driver attempting the world's largest loop-the-loop, a moment's hesitation could have been fatal.

If stuntman Steve Truglia had been too timid in his acceleration, his yellow Toyota would have reached the top of the track and dropped like a stone.

Stuntman Steve Truglia suceeds in the first loop to be driven in a car

Loopy: Stuntman Steve Truglia successfully completes the first British attempt at the loop-the-loop by car

But if he had driven in too fast, the G-force generated could have knocked him unconscious.

Either way, his route down from the high point of the 40ft loop would have been, shall we say, less than graceful.

But as this extraordinary picture shows, Mr Truglia's timing and speed were perfect.

The breathtaking stunt - planned with the help of a Cambridge physicist - was filmed at a Suffolk airbase for Channel Five's car show Fifth Gear.

Mr Truglia approaches the loop, driving at 37mph

I'm going in: Mr Truglia approaches the loop, driving at 37mph

hot wheels

Source of inspiration? The stunt brings kids' toy Hot Wheels to life

It will be shown in a special episode next Saturday at 11.30am.

John Nolan, of North One Television, which produces Fifth Gear, admitted that Mr Truglia was dicing with death by taking on the challenge - known to stuntmen as the 'death loop'.

Mr Truglia after his achievement

Success: Mr Truglia after his achievement

'This is definitely the highest loop-the-loop in a real car ever,' he said. 'If he had blacked out he might not be here now.'

To stop this happening, Mr Truglia took part in endurance training in an aircraft to get his body used to the stresses of the G-forces involved.

Fighter pilots are trained to tense the muscles in their legs, arms and abdomens to restrict the flow of blood away from their brains, which could cause a blackout.

Mr Truglia also had to overcome his natural urge to bail out.

But after successfully completing the stunt, he is now ready for his next adventure - skydiving from space.

Life or death precision

Steve Truglia successfully completed the stunt by precise control of centripetal - often incorrectly known as centrifugal - force.

The Toyota had to be travelling fast enough that the centripetal force generated by its circular motion 'offset' the downward pull of gravity. This required the stuntman to enter the loop at exactly 37mph, immediately change out of gear and slow to 16mph as the vehicle swung round the top.

He was helped by the fact that the front and back of the car had been carved off to stop it scraping the track and slowing down.

Marijuana and sin taxes? ------ Paying With Our Sins

Op-Ed Contributor

Published: May 16, 2009

Washington

Enlarge This Image
David Sandlin

THE Obama administration’s drug czar made news last week by saying he wanted to end all loose talk about a “war on drugs.” “We’re not at war with people in this country,” said the czar, Gil Kerlikowske, who favors forcing people into treatment programs rather than jail cells.

Here’s a better idea — and one that will help the federal and state governments fill their coffers: Legalize drugs and then tax sales of them. And while we’re at it, welcome all forms of gambling (rather than just the few currently and arbitrarily allowed) and let prostitution go legit too. All of these vices, involving billions of dollars and consenting adults, already take place. They just take place beyond the taxman’s reach.

Legalizing the world’s oldest profession probably wasn’t what Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, meant when he said that we should never allow a crisis to go to waste. But turning America into a Sin City on a Hill could help President Obama pay for his ambitious plans to overhaul health care and invest in green energy. More taxed vices would certainly lead to significant new revenue streams at every level. That’s one of the reasons 52 percent of voters in a recent Zogby poll said they support legalizing, taxing and regulating the growth and sale of marijuana. Similar cases could be made for prostitution and all forms of gambling.

In terms of economic stimulation and growth, legalization would end black markets that generate huge amounts of what economists call “deadweight losses,” or activity that doesn’t contribute to increased productivity. Rather than spending precious time and resources avoiding the law (or, same thing, paying the law off), producers and consumers could more easily get on with business and the huge benefits of working and playing in plain sight.

Consider prostitution. No reliable estimates exist on the number of prostitutes in the United States or aggregate demand for their services. However, Nevada, one of the two states that currently allows paid sex acts, is considering a tax of $5 for each transaction. State Senator Bob Coffin argues further that imposing state taxes on existing brothels could raise $2 million a year (at present, brothels are allowed only in rural counties, which get all the tax revenue), and legalizing prostitution in cities like Las Vegas could swell state coffers by $200 million annually.

David Sandlin

A conservative extrapolation from Nevada to the rest of the country would easily mean billions of dollars annually in new tax revenues. Rhode Island, which has never explicitly banned prostitution, is on the verge of finally doing so — but with the state facing a $661 million budget shortfall, perhaps fully legalizing the vice (and then taking a cut) would be the smarter play.

Every state except Hawaii and Utah already permits various types of gambling, from state lotteries to racetracks to casinos. In 2007, such activity generated more than $92 billion in receipts, much of which was earmarked for the elderly and education. Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, has introduced legislation to repeal the federal ban on online gambling; and a 2008 study by PriceWaterhouseCoopers estimates that legalizing cyberspace betting alone could yield as much as $5 billion a year in new tax revenues. Add to that expanded opportunities for less exotic forms of wagering at, say, the local watering hole and the tax figure would be vastly larger.

Based on estimates from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Americans spend at least $64 billion a year on illegal drugs. And according to a 2006 study by the former president of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, Jon Gettman, marijuana is already the top cash crop in a dozen states and among the top five crops in 39 states, with a total annual value of $36 billion.

A 2005 cost-benefit analysis of marijuana prohibition by Jeffrey Miron, a Harvard economist, calculated that ending marijuana prohibition would save $7.7 billion in direct state and federal law enforcement costs while generating more than $6 billion a year if it were taxed at the same rate as alcohol and tobacco. The drug czar’s office says that a gram of pure cocaine costs between $100 and $150; a gram of heroin almost $400; and a bulk gram of marijuana between $15 and $20. Those transactions are now occurring off the books of business and government alike.

As the history of alcohol prohibition underscores, there are also many non-economic reasons to favor legalization of vices: Prohibition rarely achieves its desired goals and instead increases violence (when was the last time a tobacco kingpin was killed in a deal gone wrong?) and destructive behavior (it’s hard enough to get help if you’re a substance abuser and that much harder if you’re a criminal too). And by policing vice, law enforcement is too often distracted at best or corrupted at worst, as familiar headlines about cops pocketing bribes and seized drugs attest. There’s a lot to be said for treating consenting adults like, well, adults.

But there is an economic argument as well, one that Franklin Roosevelt understood when he promised to end Prohibition during the 1932 presidential campaign. “Our tax burden would not be so heavy nor the forms that it takes so objectionable,” thundered Roosevelt, “if some reasonable proportion of the unaccountable millions now paid to those whose business had been reared upon this stupendous blunder could be made available for the expense of government.”

Roosevelt could also have talked about how legitimate fortunes can be made out of goods and services associated with vice. Part of his family fortune came from the opium trade, after all, and he and other leaders during the Depression oversaw agenerally orderly re-legalization of the nation’s breweries and distilleries.

There’s every reason to believe that today’s drug lords could go legit as quickly and easily as, say, Ernest and Julio Gallo, the venerable winemakers who once sold their product to Al Capone. Indeed, here’s a (I hope soon-to-be-legal) bet worth making: If marijuana is legalized, look for the scion of a marijuana plantation operation to be president within 50 years.

Legalizing vice will not balance government deficits by itself — that will largely depend on spending cuts, which seem beyond the reach of all politicians. But in a time when every penny counts and the economy needs stimulation, allowing prostitution, gambling and drugs could give us all a real lift.

Nick Gillespie is the editor in chief of Reason.com and Reason.tv.

Amish face crisis of faith

photo

Raylee Hayes, 5, rode a wooden horse rocker at a store in Nappanee. Amish deacon Lester Chupp said business is down about 40 percent from a year ago




Job losses force Hoosiers to choose money or tradition

By Tom Coyne
Associated Press

TOPEKA, Ind. -- A part-time construction job strengthened Orva Fry's financial foundation after he was laid off from a recreational vehicle factory. It also kept the 41-year-old Amish father of two on steady spiritual ground.

Another way to make ends meet that Fry briefly considered -- unemployment checks -- went against his faith, which shuns all forms of government assistance.

That Fry even pondered signing up for jobless benefits illustrates a marked shift in this Northern Indiana Amish settlement, the nation's third-largest.

Suffering steep unemployment following a decades-long shift from farming to factory work, a growing number of the area's 23,000 Amish are breaking with centuries of tradition and taking government help to stay afloat, church and economic leaders say.

Bishops who once might have censured those who sought public assistance are reluctantly looking the other way.

"We prefer to supply ourselves, but I told people that if they have no other option and no other way to make ends meet then they can take it," said Paul Hochstetler, bishop of an Amish district east of Goshen.

Of more than two dozen Amish approached recently in Topeka, a town of 1,100 about 40 miles southeast of South Bend, only six would talk of the unemployment situation, and all were reluctant to be identified.

The unemployment rate in the Elkhart-Goshen metropolitan area approached 19 percent in March -- the most recent month for which data are available -- in large part due to the misfortune of RV factories that have laid off thousands of workers. It is the nation's fourth-highest unemployment rate and is up 13 points from March 2008, the country's largest increase.

The Amish's refusal to take assistance such as unemployment and welfare is shared by like-minded Anabaptist traditions that grew out of 16th-century German sects that sought to separate themselves from the world, said John Farina, an associate professor of religious studies at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. That would include Hutterians, the Church of the Brethren and the Church of the United Brethren.

It's part of a simpler way of life for the Amish, a Christian denomination with about 227,000 members nationwide that uses bicycles or horse-drawn buggies instead of owning cars and avoids connecting to the electrical grid because of a belief that doing so will lead to a dependence on the outside world.

"We want to be producers, to be an overall good to the community and to the nation and not be dependent upon the nation for our livelihood or for the federal or state governments to give us our livelihood," said David Kline, an Amish minister in Mount Hope, Ohio, whose county has the nation's largest Amish population.

For centuries, that has meant taking care of their own, supplying food, shelter and other necessities in times of need. Those who seek outside help can risk being forced to make public confessions in church or told to refrain from taking communion for six months, said Steven Nolt, a Goshen College history professor who has written several books on the Amish.

But tradition has had to bend as Northern Indiana's Amish continue to move away from their roots, becoming heavily reliant on a single industry.

A survey of 3,358 Amish heads of households in Indiana's Elkhart-LaGrange settlement in 2007 found that 53.3 percent earned their living working in factories. In contrast, the economies of the nation's largest Amish centers -- the Holmes County area of Ohio and around Lancaster, Pa. -- focus primarily on small shops, construction trades and, to a lesser extent, farming.

"When the RV industry shut down here as well as the mobile home industry, it hit them really hard," said LeRoy Mast, director of the Menno-Hof, a nonprofit information center in nearby Shipshewana that teaches visitors about the Amish and Mennonites.

"They can't handle the 19 percent unemployment rate on their own because the needs are just so great."

Hochstetler said it is impossible for his church district, where about half the 31 families had people employed in the RV industry, to make up the lost wages. The laid-off Amish are eligible to receive jobless benefits of $50 to $390 a week.

Will Ferrell stars again in SNL Celebrity Jeopardy


hulu.com — On the season finale of Saturday Night Live with Will Ferrell as the host, Celebrity Jeopardy made a comeback. This time Alex Trebek takes on Kathie Lee Gifford, Tom Hanks (actually Tom Hanks), his rival Sean Connery, and Burt Reynolds... sort of.

Israel and Arab nations in rare agreement

ANALYSIS: Abraham Rabinovich

Article from: The Australian

"FOR the first time in the history of Zionism," said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday, "there is an alignment of views between the Arab world and Israel."

He was speaking a few hours after returning from talks with Jordan's King Abdullah and three days after meeting Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak in Sinai.

Although Netanyahu didn't say what the Arabs and Jews agreed about, it was clear he meant Iran. "There is a strategic threat confronting all of us," he said on Israel television. "This is something new. It creates a challenge but it is also an opportunity for co-operation."

In his talks with the leaders of the two Arab countries which have peace agreements with Israel and his designation of a common interest, Netanyahu was setting himself up for his visit with President Barack Obama on Monday when the parameters of US-Israel relations will be determined by the two new leaders.

While the potential of a nuclear-armed Iran is clearly Israel's major strategic concern, there are some analysts who suspect Netanyahu may also be using Tehran as a bogey man to divert pressures on him by Washington on the Palestinian front.

Netanyahu's optimistic assessment of his talks with Abdullah were out of sync with the undiplomatic tone of the Jordanian foreign ministry statement which said the King had "demanded" of Netanyahu to declare his acceptance of the idea of a Palestinian state.

While Israel and the moderate Arab leadership share alarm about the hard-edged regime in Iran, their concern comes from different directions. Israel is concerned about Tehran achieving nuclear capability, and its support of Hamas and Hezbollah. Mubarak, who heads the largest and most prestigious Arab country, knows Tehran is unlikely to threaten another Muslim nation with destruction.

He fears Iran's increasingly bold attempts to achieve hegemony in the Middle East.

Although Mubarak might pray for an Israeli air strike on Iran, he would never say so since, for his people, and the Arab masses in general, the main enemy is Israel. The fact Iran is a Shia Muslim state and Egypt is at the heart of the Sunni world is also a factor.

The same concerns are true for Abdullah. Although he publicly calls for a Palestinian state, his nightmare is finding a radical Hamas-controlled state as his neighbour, with Iran at its back.

With Obama's accession, Israel finds itself for the first time dealing with a president whose strong support cannot be taken for granted. Washington is likewise uncertain about Netanyahu - as witnessed by the secret dispatch two weeks ago of CIA director Leon Panetta to Jerusalem to get Netanyahu's pledge that Israel will not stage a surprise attack against Iran's nuclear installations.

Netanyahu gave that assurance but asked in return for benchmarks to determine whether Washington's diplomatic efforts in Tehran were working.

Marijuana Chemical May Fight Brain Cancer

Active Component In Marijuana Targets Aggressive Brain Cancer Cells, Study Says
By Kelli Miller Stacy
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

April 1, 2009 -- The active chemical in marijuana promotes the death of brain cancer cells by essentially helping them feed upon themselves, researchers in Spain report.

Guillermo Velasco and colleagues at Complutense University in Spain have found that the active ingredient in marijuana, THC, causes brain cancer cells to undergo a process called autophagy. Autophagy is the breakdown of a cell that occurs when the cell essentially self-digests.

The team discovered that cannabinoids such as THC had anticancer effects in mice with human brain cancer cells and people with brain tumors. When mice with the human brain cancer cells received the THC, the tumor growth shrank.

Two patients enrolled in a clinical trial received THC directly to the brain as an experimental treatment for recurrent glioblastoma multiforme, a highly aggressive brain tumor. Biopsies taken before and after treatment helped track their progress. After receiving the THC, there was evidence of increased autophagy activity.

The findings appear in the April 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

The patients did not have any toxic effects from the treatment. Previous studies of THC for the treatment of cancer have also found the therapy to be well tolerated, according to background information in journal article.

Study authors say their findings could lead to new strategies for preventing tumor growth.

See the original image at imgur.com The Most Ironic Tattoo You'll Ever See

Attorney gets arrested at courthouse for possession of marijuana

Deputies say they found pot and pipe in her bag

Amanda Stanzilis, Reporter

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Attorney Regina Criswell was arrested at the Bexar County Courthouse after deputies say they discovered two ounces of marijuana and a chrome-colored marijuana pipe in her bag.

Deputies say Criswell was heading into the Courthouse to go to work. As is standard, security guards went through everyone's bags including Criswell's. That's when they say they found the baggie and pipe. Deputies were called over, and questioned Criswell. The 50 year old woman admitted she knew the drugs were in her bag, but said they belonged to a client.

Deputy Ino Badillo said, "It doesn't matter who you are. You can't be in possession of narcotics. Period."

Badillo says this is the first time he can remember an attorney being arrested for drug possesion at the Courthouse.

GLOWING ANIMALS: Pictures of Beasts Shining for Science

GLOWING ANIMALS: Pictures of Beasts Shining for Science


Crystal Jelly


How does it glow?


Green fluorescent protein, naturally occurring

What can we learn?

In 1961 researcher Osamu Shimomura of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Massachusetts noticed a molecule in this jellyfish that glowed bright green under ultraviolet light (as pictured).

After extracting the molecule from 10,000 specimens, Shimomura found the protein that creates the glow.

At some point, a light bulb went off. Some of Shimomura's colleagues realized that the protein could be attached to other proteins--enabling scientists to mark proteins of their choice with a green glow.

Since then, Shimomura's green fluorescent protein (GFP) has been used to decrypt previously invisible processes, like the spread of cancer or the development of nerve cells--earning Shimomura and colleagues a Nobel Prize in 2008.

Fluorescent proteins have also been used to engineer some truly strange beasts (and the odd plant), such as the glowing puppies, monkeys, mice, fish and other animals on the following pages.

--Chris Combs, May 14, 2009
—Photograph courtesy Osamu Shimomura and Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole

Click here for the rest of the gallery..........Next >>

Bots vs. Smugglers: Drug Tunnel Smackdown

tunnel1

Semi-autonomous robots that can navigate and map drug-smuggling tunnels could be the greatest weapon to emerge from the government’s attempt to stamp out the trade in illicit substances across its borders.

Using special intelligence software developed at Idaho National Laboratory that can be mounted on different machines, the iRobot and Foster Miller robots use lasers to situate themselves in the dark tunnels that have been bored beneath the line that divides Mexico from the United States.

The subterranean passageways are a tough environment for Border Patrol to police. The agents know nothing beyond that there’s a hole in the ground. Some tunnels turn out to be crude holes. Others can reach three-quarters of a mile long and be part of a complex distribution infrastructure.

“They are not places you want to send people, especially ones that are claustrophobic, so it’s a perfect application for robotics,” said INL roboticist David Bruemmer, who has spent a decade developing the software the robots run. “That’s where we’ve really found a niche for the capabilities that we have.”

High-tech border surveillance has taken off since both the Sept. 11 attacks and the surge in illegal immigrants over the last decade. Tech is playing a bigger and bigger part in Border Patrol efforts because it’s simply too expensive to have agents everywhere. But for every high-tech solution, say, the controversial “virtual fence” that will begin construction soon in Arizona, there’s a low-tech countermove: mole tech.

In Arizona, more than 30 tunnels have been discovered just since 2006, when Congress passed the Secure Border Fence Act, which called for the construction of more than 700 miles of fence across California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

Near San Diego, 32 tunnels have been discovered since Sept. 11, 2001. Before the heightened vigilance that came in the aftermath of the attack, only two tunnels had been discovered in eight years. Now, there’s a special multi-agency task force in the area dedicated to stopping the tunneling operations. In the past, officers have found them more-or-less by chance.3d-interface1

“We’ve discovered people coming out of the ground on camera footage,” said Jerry Conlin, a Border Patrol agent and spokesman for San Diego. “We’ve had others where we had an agent witness someone disappearing into the ground.”

At the end of 2007, a canine unit picked up a scent and followed it to a storage facility near Tecate, Mexico. Agents eventually pulled 13,700 pounds of marijuana out of the tunnel they found on the premises.

“With our increased operational control, it has literally forced them to go underground,” Conlin maintained. “We disrupted the traditional smuggling routes.”

That’s created a new need for ways of fighting the subterranean drug trade. Sophisticated geological techniques for detecting tunnels offer one solution, but once you’ve found a tunnel, you’ve got to figure out what’s down there. That’s where Bruemmer’s bots — running what his lab calls the Robotic Intelligence Kernel — come into play.

In December, they brought a sensor-loaded Talon robot to a tunnel that the Department of Homeland Security had seized. Though it had been entered, the government agents knew little about the space. Victor Walker, another roboticist at INL, accompanied the bot to the border near Arizona.

“They brought us to this warehouse,” Walker said. “There was a grate in the ground around back. Just a drain. I did not expect that. The Talon is a pretty big robot. You pulled it up and it dropped down about 10 feet below the warehouse.”

This anteroom to the tunnel was dark and damp, and about the size of a large bedroom. In the corner, was a shaft that dropped fifty feet down to the tunnel proper, which ran about 90 meters. They lowered the robot down with wires and, after a few technical hiccups, traversed the muddy hole. It output chemical readings, video, and a map like the one you see below, which can be stuck into Google Maps.

“We hooked it up with a chemical sensor. We were able to map those chemicals to the map. You could see as it was going along,” Walker said. “Within a few minutes, we were able to task it down and get the video back so [Homeland Security officials] could look at it.”

woodward_3d3

A map generated by a robot with software developed by Regis Vincent at Stanford Research Institute.

The INL robots aren’t the only ones being used by government officials, nor is the border the only place where robotic border inspectors might be used. Canadian robot maker Inuktun specializes in pipe inspecting robots operated by human beings. Most of the more than 1,000 bots they’ve sold are used by utilities checking out their sewer pipes or water mains. In recent years, however, they’ve seen requests from government agencies to repurpose their bots for subterranean inspection.

“I don’t think anyone has ever built a robot to go into a tunnel, but if you’ve built a bot to go into a nasty sewer pipe, it translates fairly well to going into a tunnel,” Dobell said. “There are a lot more of these cross border tunnels than people think.”

The company’s president, Colin Dobell, said that he could not reveal the names of the organizations that he’s working for, but that he knew they’d been deployed.

“I can tell you that they have been used in tunnels and have been used in tunnels that go across borders,” Dobell said.

The INL bots, though, use a fundamentally different control paradigm. Dobell’s bots are teleoperated, meaning there’s a human with a joystick driving them around. Bruemmer’s are a kind of hybrid bot that share control between the operator and the robot. Operators tell Bruemmer’s robots where to go, but the robots drive.

In the tunnel application, the robots use their lasers to locate themselves within the space and help human operators controlling them with a standard joystick or a Wiimote from running them into walls.

“In the Arizona tunnel, there was less than an inch involved on each side,” Bruemmer said. A teleoperator without some guided motion couldn’t do it.”

Most importantly, though, they can go exploring and mapping autonomously. Inside tunnels, you can’t always communicate via the standard means with the robots. If they go deep and far enough away from the operator, they’ll lose communications contact. In that case, the operator can set a time limit for autonomous exploration, which, when it expires, will send the robot back into communications range to phone home the data it’s found. That information is integrated into the operator’s heads-up display, and then the robot can be sent a-roving again.

Robots might not be serving us drinks yet, but they are evolving to suit our real needs. And slowly but surely we’re learning how to take advantage of robots’ potential.

“It’s all about the man-machine interface. Like Windows just provided this simple user-understood interface, I think that’s what we’re really trying to do with robots,” he said. “Forget about trying to make robots massively intelligent.”

Last Day Dream

Last Day Dream from torbjon on Vimeo.

The Eiffel Tower in Panoramic Splendor at Dusk

Smart Memory Bra Lifts Bust When a Girl Fancies a Fella

Boost ... bra increases cleavage

Boost ... bra increases cleavage


HERE’S a bra that gets the message across — it lifts the bust when a girl fancies a fella.

The “smart memory bras” have heat-sensitive foam that pushes up boobs as sexual attraction causes body temperature to rise.

As the body cools the foam relaxes and the bust appears normal again.

Inventors at the Slovenia-based Lisca lingerie firm discovered the saucy side-effect by accident, while developing underwear that adapted to changing weather.

Designer Suzana Gorisek said: “As the body changes, so does the bra.”

They were unveiled at a lingerie exhibition in Paris and will hit British stores in summer, for around £25 each.

A spokesman for Lisca said: “It’s healthier than an ordinary bra because it will always provide the perfect fit.”

Sexy mascot can stay if curves covered



An Ohio zoning board has ordered a busty, life-size mannequin that stands outside a restaurant to be covered up. (AP)



READING, Ohio — A curvaceous, scantily clad mannequin can keep her spot outside a Cincinnati area barbecue joint, but local officials want her to cover up a bit.

The life-size figure stands as a busty beacon outside a restaurant in suburban Reading owned by Kenny Tessel.

He told zoning officials at a hearing Wednesday night that the advertising gimmick has boosted business 40 per cent.

The 5-foot-10 mannequin is on the street wearing a bikini top and tight short-shorts, though Tessel brought her to the hearing draped in a long, sleeveless grey T-shirt.

The board said Tessel may continue to use the figure only if it’s dressed more modestly in front of the restaurant, too.

He plans to appeal.


———

Information from: The Cincinnati Enquirer, http://www.enquirer.com

A baby at 66 for Elizabeth Adeney - the desperate divorcee set to become Britain's oldest mother

By Andrew Levy and Christian Gysin


 Elizabeth Adeney

Elizabeth Adeney will be Britain's oldest mum when she gives birth next month

With her sizeable bump on show, this is Elizabeth Adeney - Britain's oldest mother-to-be.

At 66, she is four years older than the previous record holder.

Mrs Adeney, who is around eight months pregnant, is believed to have undergone IVF abroad because most British clinics will not treat women over the age of 50.

Friends say that the divorcee, a wealthy businesswoman who is still working a five-day week, is in perfect health and looking forward to the birth of what is thought to be her first child.

But her pregnancy will reignite the debate over late motherhood and the ability of science to enable women in their 50s and 60s to become mothers.

Mrs Adeney will be just short of her 80th birthday when her child becomes a teenager.

A friend said she had been desperate to conceive for years.

Last year, she travelled to the Ukraine, where a controversial IVF clinic has helped countless women get pregnant using donor eggs and sperm.

The friend added: 'She was desperate for a child. She was over the moon when she learned last year that she was pregnant and has been quite open about it - it's not the sort of thing she can hide.

'Elizabeth has had a pretty good pregnancy. She has been very well, considering her age - I'm amazed how she keeps going.

'She does get up a little later in the mornings than she used to and sometimes spends an hour or two at home before going to work but she is still at her business Monday to Friday.'

Mrs Adeney, the managing director of a firm in Mildenhall, Suffolk, which produces plastic and textile products, is described by friends as 'very bright and single-minded'.

Yesterday, she declined to discuss her condition.

 Elizabeth Adeney

The divorcee is expected to give birth by elective Caesarean

'I am a private person and while I appreciate there may be some publicity I will just ignore it,' she said.

'This has been a very personal decision and I do not feel I have to give interviews or talk to anyone in the media about what I have decided to do and where I have done it.'

Mrs Adeney is divorced from Robert Adeney, a former chairman of upmarket riding and leather goods firm Swaine Adeney Brigg, which was founded in 1750.

Like most older mothers-to-be, she is expected to give birth by elective Caesarean. She has hired a live-in nanny, who will help her to cope after the birth.

A room in her £600,000 detached house in Lidgate, a picturesque village a few miles outside Newmarket, has already been converted into a nursery.

The news of Mrs Adeney's pregnancy has led critics to question once more whether IVF should be given to women who are past the age where they could naturally conceive. The NHS will only consider women under the age of 40.

A spokesman for the Church of England said: 'A child is a gift not a right.

'For those who have never received that gift we can well understand their desire to have children but it is always important to think in those circumstances about what is really in the child's best interests.'

However, Laurence Shaw, a consultant in reproductive medicine at London Bridge Fertility Centre, said: 'The truth is, anybody might not survive to raise their children.

'Until 100 years ago, our life expectancy was 50 or so, so if you had a baby at 30 you had 20 years with your child. Now life expectancy is 80, so is it not reasonable for someone to go through a process of fitness screening to decide whether they should have a child?'

50+ mothers panel

One of the chief health risks to older mothers is pre-eclampsia, which can lead to blood clots and serious complications, or even death.

However, the condition, which causes high blood pressure, can be detected by regular checks.

Mrs Adeney is one of a growing number of older women who have sought IVF treatment abroad in the last few years.

These include Patti Farrant, who was the previous oldest woman in Britain to give birth.

The psychiatrist, who uses the professional name Dr Patricia Rashbrook, was 62 when she had a son in 2006 using a donated egg from Russia.

A shortage of women willing to donate eggs in Britain - where they cannot be paid - has also driven increasing numbers of younger childless couples into travelling for treatment.

The Daily Mail has investigated the growing trade in 'fertility tourism' in countries such as the Ukraine.

An undercover female reporter visited one of the best-known clinics, the Isida in Kiev, where women can receive IVF treatment for around £6,000.

The 43-year-old was expecting 'a general chat' about IVF but instead the clinic's medical director, Victor Zinchenko, offered to start treatment straight away.

Unlike clinics in Britain, the Isida does not impose an age limit for women who are prepared to use donor eggs.

The clinic refused to say how much the egg donors were paid - it is thought to be a few hundred pounds - but simply said they were 'very well rewarded' for their trouble.

Fertility experts in Britain have warned that donors in other countries are not always warned of the risks of egg donation, which can even cause infertility.

The oldest woman in the world to give birth was 70-year-old Omkari Panwar from India, who had a twin boy and girl last year.

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11 Cool Android Prototypes We'd Like to See

The Android mobile operating system is invading not only new handhelds but a host of new portable gadgets, including laptops and media tablets.

Daniel Ionescu, PC World

Friday, May 15, 2009 10:00 AM PDT

2009: The Year of the Android Invasion?

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Could 2009 go down as the year of the Android device invasion? We haven't yet seen the debut of many gadgets based on Android, Google's mobile operating system, but hopes are high.

According to a study by Strategy Analytics, global shipments of Android-based smartphones will grow a stunning 900 percent this year. That's a lot of Androids and raises the question, what can we expect? Some manufacturers say they have more Android-based handsets coming, but others are teasing us with the promise of netbooks, tablets...you name it--all based on the Android OS.

Why should you care? Android is not only a mobile OS, but can support a mobile platform (or ecosystem) on a par with the wildly popular OS that runs Apple's iPhone. (See " What Google's Mobile OS Will Do for Your Next Cell Phone.") The T-Mobile G1 Android-based phone is very similar to the iPhone in features and functions, offering a touchscreen interface, 3G wireless support, and a mobile app store, just as Apple does. Better yet, the Android OS is open-source, meaning developers are free to innovate in ways simply not possible with the iPhone's mobile OS (Apple keeps an iron-clad grip on what you can and cannot do with its iPhone OS).

Lastly, Android was developed in-part with the help of Google. And it never hurts to have the backing of heavy hitters like that.

To get a sense of what an Android takeover might be like, we've put together some Android devices still in prototype form. We aren't claiming that the Android gear we've assembled here is headed for success--or even that all of them will make retail shelves. But the lineup of candidates is interesting. Have a look.

GiiNii Movit Mini

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This $150 Internet device GiiNii Movit Mini features a 4.3-inch touchscreen, a built-in microphone and camera (for an out-of-the-box Skype experience), Bluetooth, and an internal speaker. Quite sparse on storage with only 256MB (but expandable via MicroSD), the GiiNii Android tablet should make an appearance later this year. You can also get the "home version" called Movit Maxx.

Huawei Google Android G3

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Introduced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona earlier this year , Huawei claims this will be the T-Mobile G3. This iPhone-esque prototype has a 5-megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. What's even better is that Huawei said this would be a low-cost handset. A commercial release is expected late this summer.

Alpha-680 Netbook

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Netbooks, already one of the hottest-selling tech categories this year, won't miss the Android trend. Chinese company Skytone is prepping the Alpha-680 Android netbook, sporting a 7-inch display, a 533MHz processor, a neat convertible design, and up to 4GB of storage space (flash). Other specifications include two USB 2.0 ports, an SD/MMC expansion slot, Wi-Fi, and an ethernet port. Here's the whole lowdown on this nifty netbook.

Archos Internet Media Tablet

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French manufacturer Archos, famed for its portable media players, teases us with this Android device. The media player is said to come with a 5-inch touchscreen display, 500GB of storage, and 3G connectivity, all in a 10mm thick casing. Multimedia features include TV recording with HD video playback and support for Adobe Flash Video. The Archos Internet Media Tablet could show up sometime this fall.

CompuLab Exeda

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Not all Android prototypes have to be pretty, as the CompuLab Exeda proves. What saves the Exeda is its purpose: It's an enterprise digital assistant, used to build other custom devices with Android. Exeda has a 3.5-inch touchscreen and a 2-megapixel camera, GPS, and a MicroSD slot. Though you wouldn’t want to rock one of these on the street, it should be released within the coming months.

General Mobile DSTL1

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Deemed to be the world's first dual-SIM card handset running on Android, this General Mobile prototype sports a 3-inch touchscreen, Wi-Fi, and 4GB of on-board storage. A good all-rounder, the DSTL1 is also expected to come with a 5-megapixel camera (with autofocus) and DivX playback support. But no word on a release date since we first saw this phone in February.

Lenovo OPhone

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Love on the rocks between Lenovo and Android with this sleek prototype. The OPhone will include a 5-megapixel camera (with autofocus, flash, and video recording) and a microSD card slot, and comes with Bluetooth 2.0 connectivity. Unfortunately the Lenovo OPhone will work only with Chinese 3G technology, so you can't use one of these anywhere else when it gets released sometime in Q4.

NiMble Home Phone

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Android could be showing up on your home phone. The perks of a nonmobile Android phone are a 7-inch multitouch screen (800 X 400 resolution), a speedy 624MHz Marvel processor, and 512MB of storage with SD expansion. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are on board also, plus some dedicated software for the $300 home phone. Expect to see the Touch Revolution NiMble sometime in September.

QiGi i6

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The i6 may be the only dual-OS smartphone in the world, and it comes from China. This 3G phone can run both Android and Windows Mobile 6.1 and is powered by a 624MHz processor. With a 2.8-inch screen and a 2-megapixel camera, the i6 also does GPS and beefs up storage via microSD. These guys were lucky enough to get a hands-on with this HTC look-alike.

Yuhua Xphone-SDK

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Made by the same company behind the General Mobile DSTL1, this prototype is meant to be its cheaper sibling, though sharing most of the specs. The Xphone-SDK has, among its highlights, a 3-megapixel camera, 256MB of internal storage (expandable via MicroSD up to 16GB), a 3-inch touchscreen, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 2.0. Again, no official release date has been mentioned for this handset.

Alienware Android Phone

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Here is an Android prototype/concept created by Jas Seehra for the Web site Dial-a-Phone. Although we've titled this roundup "11 Cool Android Prototypes We'd Like to See," this is the exception--we hope it never makes it to market. Why? Simply because it is ugly.

This mockup of an Alienware phone first showed up as a rumor. At the time, February 2008, the buzz was that Dell was about to enter (again) the mobile market with something more inspiring than the Axim handheld it discontinued in 2007. And what could power a hip Alienware phone? Android of course.

Here's hoping Dell won't give any thought to this concept.

For a look at some ugly cell phones that actually did make it to market see "Dirty Dozen Ugliest and Lamest Cell Phones."

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