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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Best Volcano Footage in the World

by Larry O'Hanlon

This is the most insanely interesting volcanic footage I have ever seen! Watch it all the way through because it gets closer up and more intense towards the end. Amazing stuff!
-Larry O'Hanlon



Aston Martin delivers a car to the masses with £20,000 Cygnet


Aston Martin says the Cygnet will be engineered to the highest standards

Aston Martin says the Cygnet will be engineered to the highest standards, economical and very safe

James Bond screeches around hairpin bends in them with a beautiful woman at his side, while they are the car of choice for European royalty in which to parade themselves around the Continent’s more opulent capitals.

Now, at last, the opportunity to pop out to the supermarket behind the wheel of an Aston Martin will be opened to the more conventional motorist.

The Aston Martin Cygnet — a new “luxury commuter concept” car, according to its marketeers — is to be built on the base of Toyota’s existing iQ city car and is likely to be available for less than £20,000.

“Small is beautiful these days,” Ulrich Bez, Aston Martin’s chief executive, said yesterday. “We have to move on from the preconceived ideas regarding what Aston Martin is about.”

What the company has been about is high-end performance cars that sell for upwards of £100,000. Even its wristwatches sell for more than the proposed price of the Cygnet.

Mr Bez said that Aston Martin needed to diversify to cope with a sharp fall in demand for its sports cars. “For decades we have seen the big US car manufacturers stick to what they have always done and now they’re on the brink of extinction,” he said.

“This concept will allow us to apply Aston Martin design language, craftsmanship and brand values to a completely new segment of the market.”

It is thought that between 4,000 and 5,000 Cygnets will be built each year. Toyota, attracted by the cachet of Aston Martin, said that it would be the only car that it would make for another manufacturer.

The two companies began their unlikely friendship at the Nürburgring 24-hour race, where they shared garage facilities.

Akio Toyoda, the new president of Toyota and the grandson of the company founder, had raced a Lexus while Dr Bez was behind the wheel of an Aston Martin. Dr Bez said that their friendship grew into a business opportunity.

“When I saw the iQ,” Dr Bez said, “I immediately saw potential for our two companies to work together. Two days after I called Akio Toyoda to discuss this, Toyota’s people were visiting our factory at Gaydon. Just a few months later and we are making public our intentions.”

The chief executive said that he had initially encountered great resistance in his attempts to reform the luxury carmaker when he took over the helm in July 2000. The company, then owned by Ford, was sold in 2007 to a consortium of Kuwaiti and British investors.

He added that the company had finally adapted to the philosophies of car buying in a new greener age. “Aston Martin has reduced the CO2 emissions of its cars by 15 per cent in the past year but it has no real impact on anything,” he said.

“What the Cygnet will do is allow our customers to drive a car with all the hallmarks of Aston Martin’s design philosophy but one that is cheap to run, is environmentally friendly and, above all, extremely safe.”

One question does remain, however — would James Bond be seen in one? Time will tell.

Thousands of miles apart

Aston Martin

Founded 1913 in London

Employees 1,250

Vehicles made each year 7,000

Most famous for DB5, driven by James Bond in Goldfinger

The name Derived from that of the founder Lionel Martin and the Aston Hill speed climb track in Buckinghamshire

Toyota

Founded 1937 in Toyota City, Japan

Employees 320,000

Vehicles made each year 7 million

Most famous for Prius, one of the first mass-market hybrids

The name “Toyoda” became Toyota after a Japanese designer left two lines out of the design in order to use eight “lucky” brush strokes

Michael Jackson Fans are Committing Suicide

According to Michael Jackson's largest online fan club, MJ fanatics have been recently committing suicide because of the pop star's tragic death.

The Sun is reporting that up to 12 die-hard Jackson followers have taken their own lives since his passing on Thursday.

Gary Taylor, who runs MJJcommunity.com, recently said, "I know there has been an increase, I now believe the figure is 12. I believe there may have been one Briton who has taken their life. It is a serious situation that these people are going through but Michael Jackson would never want this. He would want them to live."

This crazy news came to light when it was revealed that a Jackson lookalike in Russia cut his wrists after Michael's death was announced last week. The fan, Pável Talaláyev, was found bleeding heavily at his home in Moscow just hours after it was announced that Jackson had died. Luckily for him, an ambulance crew found him in time and managed to save his life. Apparently others have not been so fortunate.

The most insane aspect of this story has to be the conversation that took place in the ambulance after the paramedics had saved Talaláyev from death.

One of the paramedics stated, "He was in a terrible state and kept on saying: 'It's all the same to me. I'm going to kill myself. It's the worst tragedy of my life and I don't want to live any more. I don't know why you saved my life, I want to be with him'."

Pável is supposedly Russia's most famous Jacko lookalike and apparently modeled himself after MJ from the age of nine.

Hot damn.

Source: Ben Stansall/Getty Images

Guinness offers drinkers chance to win space flight

Guinness has launched a competition offering drinkers the chance to win a trip into space aboard Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic spacecraft.


Guinness is offering the chance to fly to space with Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic spaceline.
Guinness is offering the chance to fly to space with Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic spaceline. Photo: EPA

The brewer is putting three once-in-a-lifetime experiences up for grabs themed on the colour of its famous black stout beer.

To mark its 250 years in business, the company is sending one winner into space, another to the depths of the ocean, and a third to an exclusive Black Eyed Peas concert.

A Guinness spokeswoman said: "Since 1759, Arthur Guinness and the Guinness brand have been behind some remarkable and hugely momentous achievements.

"To continue this legacy and as part of the 250 celebrations, Guinness is giving something back to supporters around the world."

The competition is open to adults in 28 countries at its website www.guinness.com until the 250-year anniversary on September 24 – dubbed Arthur's Day.

The Guinness space experience gives one person the chance to become one of the first non-professional astronauts to venture into space with Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic, the world's first commercial spaceline.

After training in New Mexico at the Virgin Galactic's home at Spaceport America, the winner will take a flight through the Earth's atmosphere at almost 2,500mph – three times the speed of sound.

Sitting 68 miles above the Earth's surface, they will experience the feeling of weightlessness before they view Earth from the blackness of space.

The winner of the Guinness sea experience will travel to the Lofoten Islands in Norway with two friends where they will venture to the depths of the sea and plunge into the black stuff in the first ever Guinness deep sea bar.

There the group will be surrounded by a breathtaking seascape to depths of up to 70m below sea level.

The final winner and two friends will get an exclusive live performance by The Black Eyed Peas at an intimate recording studio as part of their forthcoming world tour.

World's first ever 'self-watering' plant discovered in Israel

Scientists have discovered the world's first 'self-watering' plant in Israel's Negev desert – one of the driest regions on earth.

The Desert Rhubarb can hold 16 times more water than its rivals and has developed a unique ability to effectively water itself in its barren habitat.

Researchers were confounded by the metre-wide plant's giant leaves, compared to its desert counterparts, whose tiny leaves stop dangerous moisture loss.

But they found the plant's large leaves are the key to its success, because they are covered in microscopic streams through which water can be channelled.

Scientists claim ridges in the leaves act like mountain valleys, funnelling the water slowly and directly into the plant while stopping it evaporating.

A team from the Department of Science Education-Biology at the University of Haifa-Oranim, in Israel, said the leaves act like a mini irrigation system.

Lead researcher Professor Gidi Ne'eman said "We know of no other plant in the deserts of the world that functions in this manner.

"We have managed to make out the 'self-irrigating' mechanism of the desert rhubarb, which enables it to harvest 16 times the amount of water than otherwise expected for a plant in this region based on the quantities of rain in the desert.

"These deep and wide depressions in the leaves create a "channelling" mountain-like system by which the rain water is channelled toward the ground surrounding the plant's deep root.

"Other desert plants simply suffice with the rain water that penetrates the ground in its immediate surroundings."

Results of experiments and analysis of the plant's growth – in an area with an average annual rainfall of 75mm – showed that the desert rhubarb is able to harvest quantities of water that are closer to that of Mediterranean plants, reaching up to 426mm per year.

That is 16 times the amount of water harvested by the small-leafed plants of the Negev desert region.

The Negev makes up more than 50 per cent of Israel's land area to the south of the country near it's border with Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula.

Marijuana and cocaine should be legalised, says Latin American drugs commission

Duncan Campbell


Marijuana and cocaine for personal use should be decriminalised because the "war on drugs" has been a disaster, according to some of Latin America's most powerful politicians and writers.

The current international policy on drugs encourages corruption and violence that is threatening democracy throughout the continent, according to the former president of Brazil, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who is a co-president of the Latin American commission on drugs and democracy. As well as politicians, the commission includes the writers Mario Vargas Llosa of Peru, and Paulo Coelho of Brazil.

The election of Barack Obama has opened up the best opportunity for decades to address the failure of the "so-called drugs war", Cardoso told the Guardian today on a visit to London. He said he was hopeful that the international community would acknowledge that the time had come for a "paradigm shift" in the debate on drugs. "The war on drugs has failed in spite of enormous efforts in places like Colombia – the area of coca crops is not reducing," he said.

The current system of prohibition encouraged corruption among police officers, politicians and even judges. "It poisons the whole system, it undermines democracy," Cardoso said. "The war on drugs is based on repression … How can people believe in democracy if the rule of law doesn't work?" Users should be offered treatment rather than jail, he said.

"The starting point has to be the United States," he said. "Now we have a new American administration, which is much more open-minded than before." He said he had held talks with the US state department in the later years of the Bush administration and found that, privately, many of the officials there shared his views.

Cardoso said that the changes would have to be co-ordinated. "We need an international convention, otherwise you will have different countries doing different things," he said. "But the climate is changing for the first time for many years. Even in the US, they recognise we are in deadlock now." Obama had already made it clear that the idea of a "war on drugs" was not workable. The need for change is urgent, said Cardoso, because of what is happening in Latin America. "There is a very grave situation in Mexico," he said. "More people are being killed there (through the drugs war) than in Iraq." He said that it was easier for former presidents who were no longer in office or running for election to speak out on such a controversial issue. He added that ending the war on drugs would be not be a signal that drugs were acceptable but a recognition that current policies had failed.

"You have to show that drugs are harmful, even light drugs, like marijuana - it is better not to use drugs - but tobacco is harmful also yet its use is being reduced by education," said Cardoso. He added that the vast quantities of money being used to enforce "repressive" policies on drugs could be put into treatment and education. Hundreds of thousands of people were being unnecessarily criminalised and sent to prison, "which are schools of crime."

The previous UN drugs policy that aimed to eliminate all drug use by this year was ill-conceived, he said. "You can never stop drugs use," he said, likening it to some of the failed policies in the past over HIV/Aids. "You can't have zero drugs any more than you can have a zero sex policy but you can have a safe sex policy." He said that Brazil's success in halting the HIV/Aids epidemic, which meant promoting the use of condoms in a Catholic country, was an example of how people's behaviour could be changed by education rather than repression.

Lost wallet returns after 63 years behind school bleachers, rekindling memories for Oregon man

By Associated Press
4:16 AM PDT, June 30, 2009
BAKER CITY, Ore. (AP) — Bill Fulton doesn't remember losing his wallet, but getting it back more than 60 years later helped him remember the past.

The leather stayed smooth and the zipper moved as easily as it did in 1946, when he apparently dropped the wallet behind the balcony bleachers in the Baker Middle School gym while cheering for the Baker High basketball team.

Fulton's Social Security card and a bicycle license for his job as a drugstore delivery boy were positioned in their respective compartments, apparently untouched since the year after World War II ended.

"After that long, my gosh, it stayed in good shape," Fulton, 78, told the Baker City Herald. "It's hard to believe."

A worker found the wallet — along with old homework, lost library books and a 1964 talent show program — while removing the bleachers for renovations on June 17. It was brought to Fulton's door the following day by Melanie Trindle, the Baker Middle School secretary.

"He was pretty much amazed," Trindle said. "He just kept saying, 'Thank you. Thank you so much.' "

The brown pine bleachers had been in place since the school opened in 1936.

Fulton said the recovery has led him to reflect on a life that took him to the Korean War and Berlin before a return to Baker City. He worked at Ellingson Lumber Company for 30 years until 1994.

"Where did all the time go?" Fulton said with a deep sigh. "It's hard to believe that the times have gone so fast."

___

Information from: Baker City Herald, http://www.bakercityherald.com/

Hybrid Electric Scooter Runs On Anything That Burns

Segway inventor Dean Kamen is developing a hybrid electric scooter that can run on almost anything that burns.

According to the patent, the bike has a small two-piston Stirling engine right under the seat. Though with an engine of that size, it really isn’t going to provide much juice - not much more than 5bhp.

A Stirling engine is based on tech which predates internal combustion engines by almost 100 years. It’s kinda like a steam engine in the sense that it uses external combustion. They use pistons for the crankshaft, but unlike the alternatives they have no valves for no gas ever enters or leaves the cylinders.

Since there is no need for a fuel to be injected, it can run on almost anything that burns - everything from wood chips to old Barbies. This really opens the door for renewable fuel technologies and the standards they would have to meet.

With the engine’s low output, it won’t provide much of the bike’s performance on its own. But it can keep the rechargeable battery packs, which are located in the floor of the bike, topped off. Those reserves can be used for an extra kick in the pants!

Multimillionaire Kamen has already sunk more than $50 million into developing the Stirling engine technology.

A prototype of the bike has yet to be seen unlike Kamen’s Stirling-engined car. Though, rumor has it that Kamen rides one around his own estate.

A version of the Th!ink City also uses a Stirling Engine

But Kamen isn’t the only one looking at the Stirling as a viable solution. Honda has patented concepts using the Stirling to extract more power from a conventional internal combustion engine. Yah, say that three times fast. Other applications include autonomous robots for the US military that can “feed” themselves to remain active for years.

Um, anyone else thinking…SkyNet?

Source: Gizmag

Woman Kills Self to Avoid Eviction, Tweets Just Before Death


heather newnam.jpg
Heather Newnam's photo from her Twitter account.
Here's a story that brings home just how morbid this housing crisis can be: Heather Newnam of Tamarac shot herself yesterday instead of letting cops evict her for failing to pay her rent.

It's a depressing tale, but perhaps what's more depressing is reading what amounts to Newnam's final public words on her Twitter account. Writing under the name rsangel04, bits of Newnam's life played out in her posts. Then she seemed to foretell her own death in this final post at 7:04 p.m. on June 24. She sent this from her cell phone:

Rich get richer, poor get poorer, families on the street, govt doesn't care. God bless the usa, but can He save it?

What's even sadder is that previous posts seem to show Newnam in a better place, talking about going to the tattoo convention and watching the TV show Rescue Me. The day before that last message, she wrote:

five minutes til Rescue Me, Woo Hoo! then bed, Im beat

newnam's facebook photo.JPG
Newnam's photo from Facebook.
A few days before that, she tweets about having a tooth pulled and using tequila to kill the pain. She writes about hating Florida, wonders what tattoo she should get next, and talks about watching her husband play a videogame.

The site gives only a few clues about the financial state she's in, like this post from June 3:

this working shit sucks! When do I get to hit the lotto?

According to the Broward Sheriff's Office, Newnam shot herself at 1 p.m. yesterday when a real estate agent, a locksmith, and movers showed up at the home at 6902 NW 79th St. in Tamarac. Newnam told them she needed to secure her dogs before they could come in. Then they heard a gunshot. The SWAT team showed up, and at 4 p.m., they found her dead.

Details of her life are also played out on her Facebook page, where she writes that she worked in sales for Success Resource Group in Oakland Park. Her profile describes a woman who lived a happy life before Monday. In the line for her favorite quote, she wrote:

""I live to love, and laugh alot, and that's all I need"

11 Fantastic Fireworks Celebrations

Observe this Independence Day with one of these epic displays

By Olivia Putnal

In the “land of the free,” nothing says Independence Day like an exciting fireworks display—a tradition since 1777, the first time our nation celebrated the Fourth of July. Just in time for this year’s festivities, WD has rounded up the most spectacularly patriotic events across the country for you and your family to enjoy—all guaranteeing an explosive holiday weekend.


A Capitol Fourth in Washington, DC

Beginning at dusk on July 4, the West Lawn of the Capitol building will be open to the public so citizens can celebrate our nation’s freedom with the first family. Performances by the National Symphony Orchestra and the Choral Arts Society of Washington are always part of the festivities, as well as celebrity appearances—this year’s host is Jimmy Smits and musical performers include Barry Manilow, Aretha Franklin and Natasha Bedingfield. Photo courtesy of Capitol Concerts


Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular in Boston

One of the most anticipated shows in the country, this event will be hosted by Craig Ferguson and includes performances by Neil Diamond and, of course, the world-renowned Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra. At this year’s 36th annual celebration, the 104th Fighter Wing will fly over the area as the Boston Pops perform “The Star-Spangled Banner” and Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks will display a choreographed show with over 20,000 pounds of fireworks, including large shells that climb up to 1,500 feet in the air. Photo courtesy of Rich Moffitt via Flickr.com


Fireworks Display at Mount Rushmore in Keystone, SD

On July 3, the famous monument of our greatest presidents will be the scenic setting for this fireworks show. Only at Mount Rushmore’s Independence Day celebration will you travel down the Avenue of Flags from the Concession Building to the Presidential trail—a half-mile path that will put you in one of the prime viewing spots for all of the fireworks action, including the Grandview Terrace or the memorial’s amphitheater. Photo courtesy of TravelSD.com


Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks in New York City

America’s favorite department store will host the Big Apple’s most spectacular display for the 33rd time with over 120,000 fireworks from around the world. In the past, the celebration has been over the East River, but this year, the action will take place over the Hudson River, where six barges, positioned between West 23rd and 50th Streets, will be setting off the pyrotechnics. Prior to the show, there will be a FDNY Fireboat water show and an Air National Guard jet flyover. Photo courtesy of C et C via Flickr.com


A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky in Orlando, FL

The festivities at Walt Disney World begin on July 3 with a fireworks display followed by the SpectroMagic parade, a standard at the theme park. On July 4, the celebrations kick off at 10 a.m. with a parade, and then, come nighttime, the sky over the Magic Kingdom will radiate for miles, allowing you to enjoy this truly magical commemoration alongside Mickey Mouse and other beloved Disney characters. Photo courtesy of Johnny9s via Flickr.com


LIVE on the Levee in St. Louis

Soaring above the Mississippi River on July 4 will be St. Louis’ fireworks display, which creates a gorgeous backdrop for the Gateway Arch. For this year’s celebration, the Counting Crows and Train will rock the main stage, while Nat and Alex Wolff perform on the side stage and kid-friendly bands perform on the Buster Brown Kids Stage. Photo courtesy of CelebrateStLouis.org


Lights on the Lake at Lake Tahoe

Rated one of the top five shows in the nation, Lights on the Lake is best viewed, well, on the lake, aboard boats like the Tahoe Queen and M.S. Dixie. Depending on where you are situated—Lake Tahoe is on the border of Nevada and California—Regan and El Dorado Beaches are also great viewing points for the Pyro Spectaculars Inc. fireworks show, which features an array of patterns, designs, lights and shapes. Photo courtesy of LTVA.org


Big Bay Boom in San Diego

Port San Diego’s 9th annual event—a.k.a. The Big Kahuna of fireworks displays—is best seen from a boat or on land around Shelter Island, Harbor Island, the North Embarcadero area and Seaport Village. The San Diego Symphony Pops perform their “A Star-Spangled Pops” show, while four barges dispersed throughout the San Diego Bay release 8,000 fireworks into the sky. Photo courtesy of Wendyness via Flickr.com


July 4th Fireworks Spectacular in Los Angeles

The Hollywood Bowl hosted its first fireworks celebration in 1969 and has since become one of the best venues for firework shows in the country. The combination of perfectly timed lights and corresponding sounds—this year, John Fogerty and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra will be performing—create a night you won’t soon forget. Photo courtesy of Scarlet Lark via Flickr.com


Go 4th on the River in New Orleans

For 19 years now, the Southern coastal city of New Orleans has been the home to this much-anticipated night. At 9 p.m., the Dueling Barges Extravaganza will begin, with fireworks shooting from two barges strategically placed on the Mississippi River. Earlier in the day, take in the sights and sounds of the bayou at various events along the waterway. Photo courtesy of Max Sparber via Flickr.com


Tempe 4th in Phoenix

From the Mill Avenue bridge, hundreds of fireworks, designed by ProTix Fireworks, will be launched into the night sky. Before and after the show, a variety of bands will hit the stage, performing everything from high-energy blues and Top 40s to indie pop and Arizona rock. And, before finding your fireworks viewing spot on the lawn, you can get your fill of hamburgers, hot dogs, BBQ and more. Photo courtesy of Tempe4th.com

The Ultimate Mac Setup for Photographers (50 Apps)

OS X is a popular platform for professional photographers, and offers a huge range of software which can help to take better photos, streamline post-processing, sell images, and publish them for others to view. Whether you’re a complete amateur or a seasoned pro, this roundup will have something new to show you.

We’ll be covering 50 fantastic applications for various areas of photography: organizing, post-processing, geo-tagging, panoramas, HDR images, uploading/sharing images, and more.

Organizing & Editing Photos

    aperture
  • iPhoto - The basic photo program shipped with OS X, iPhoto packs a wide range of features and integrates brilliantly with all the other software on your Mac.
  • Adobe Photoshop Lightroom - A professional photo organization tool, complete with powerful editing features. You can quickly import, process, manage, and showcase your images — from one shot to an entire shoot.
  • Aperture - Having improved a great deal in recent versions, Aperture now offers a good way to cull through shoots, enhance images, manage massive libraries, and deliver stunning photos.
  • Capture One Pro - The choice of seasoned professionals, Capture One works well for tethered shooting and offers a solid tool for a RAW workflow.
  • Picasa - Google’s free photo management application, Picasa is friendly and simple to use. It lacks the innovative features found in recent versions of iPhoto.
  • Bibble - Another RAW workflow tool, useful for organizing photos with a wide range of editing functionality.
  • Shoebox - A solid solution for organizing all of your photos by content, with an interface well suited to widescreen displays.
  • JetPhoto Studio - An easy-to-use photo management app with a range of publishing features (including the automatic creation of Flash web galleries)
  • Photoshop Elements - Step-by-step editing, compositing tools, and it’s built on the solid foundation of Adobe Photoshop.

Post Processing

    photoshop
  • Adobe Photoshop - The de-facto photo editing application, Photoshop has been an industry leader for many years. It’s incredibly powerful, but comes at a price.
  • Pixelmator - An incredibly fast photo editing tool for OS X, which uses various speed-enhancing features of Leopard. Definitely worth taking a look at.
  • Seashore - A native application built upon the core of GIMP, offering a well-rounded, free photo editing solution.
  • Corel Painter X - Taking a slightly different angle, this app tries to simulate as accurately as possible the appearance of traditional media associated with drawing and painting.
  • Acorn - A remarkably uncluttered and simple photo editor for OS X, with a great in-built brush designer.
  • Picturesque - Useful for adding the finishing touches to a photo, such as borders, shadows, perspective, reflections etc.
  • PhotoComplete - Similar to Acorn, PhotoComplete is a basic image editor which excels on account of a simple and easy-to-understand interface.
  • Prizmo - This app allows you to easily change the perspective of a photograph, and essentially “scan” using a digital camera. Fascinating stuff.

Batch Processing

    automator
  • Automator - The built-in automation app from Apple, which can perform a range of photo manipulation actions and be easily extended with a range of plugins.
  • iMagine Photo - Another tool for automating your image processing workflow. You can scale, crop, blend images, apply filters and rotate.
  • EasyBatchPhoto - Allows you to process hundreds (or thousands) of images with a single drag-and-drop, with a simple looking interface.
  • PhotoDrop - A simple utility that allows you to create small, customized droplets that turn the tedious task of modifying a folder of images into a simple drag-and-drop operation.

HDR Photography

    hydra
  • Photomatix - A widely popular HDR app with tone mapping and exposure fusion. It works as a standalone app, or as a plugin for Photoshop or Aperture.
  • Qtpfsgui - Despite the horrendous name, this tool is completely open source and offers a free way to start a HDR workflow.
  • Hydra - A user-friendly interface, automatic matching of images and an Aperture plug-in make Hydra definitely worth a look.
  • Silverfast - Whilst starting to look at little dated, Silverfast seems to offer a fairly large set of advanced features. Not too user-friendly.
  • Bracketeer - A front-end GUI for Enfuse, which offers an auto-align feature and can supposedly create far better looking images than Photoshop. You can be the judge!
  • FDRTools - Another similar tool for combining images, tone mapping, and exporting in a variety of different formats.

Panoramas & Stitching

    panorama
  • Panorama Tools - A page crammed with technical information seems to suggest that this is a very proficient set of tools for stitching and viewing panoramas. Also available as a Photoshop plugin.
  • Double Take - A very simple, user-friendly interface make this a good choice for when you can’t get far enough away to fit everything in the viewfinder.
  • PhotoWarp - Capable of producing some fascinating circular warps and panoramas, PhotoWarp is something a little different.
  • Flexify - Allows you to bend and stretch a photo into seemingly any shape, creating some really impressive effects.
  • Panorama2Flash - Support for batch conversion and Flash export make this app a full-featured alternative to those previously mentioned.

Uploading & Sharing

    iweb
  • Flickr Uploadr - A fantastically simple app for uploading your photos to Flickr and ensuring they remain organized as you’d like.
  • Facebook iPhoto Plugin - A simple plugin for uploading images straight to Facebook, supporting tagging and organization within the app itself. Far better than the web based tools.
  • iStockPhoto Aperture Plugin - If you sell images through iStockPhoto, this plugin can be a real time-saver. If you use another stock site, check around to see if a different plugin has been created (you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised).
  • iWeb - Apple’s basic website design app can be very useful for creating quick, good looking photo galleries and slideshows from images already contained in iPhoto or Aperture.
  • PictureSync - Offering a central app for tagging and organizing photos for upload to a wide range of different online services.
  • Smilebox - A fun and friendly service for scrap-booking, creating cards, and quickly sharing photos.

Geotagging

    geophoto
  • Geophoto - See your pictures from a new perspective and start tagging by location. It can import photos directly from iPhoto or Aperture and share them on Flickr.
  • PhotoLinker - A professional solution than can integrate with GPS tracks, attempting to automatically put your photos in precisely the right location.
  • GeoTagger - A droplet for inserting GPS coordinates into your photos that integrates with Google Earth.
  • HoudahGeo - Catering for both geotagging for archival purposes, and for publishing to Google Earth, Flickr or locr. Also capable of matching photos to a GPS track.
  • PhotoGPSEditor - An easy to use meta-data editor for photo files, plus it can match data from GPS (gpx or NMEA) files. Completely free.
  • Trails for iPhone - If you have an iPhone, Trails is a fantastic way to track exactly where you’ve been for later geotagging. It doesn’t require an internet connection - great for when traveling.

Backup & Recovery

    compactflash
  • CameraSalvage - Retrieve your photos from corrupt or formatted flash cards or other digital camera media. It can recover data from digital camera media cards, hard drives, CD-ROM, external devices, Apple iPods, and much more.
  • Salvage - Salvage is a tool for recovering digital camera pictures from corrupt removable media.
  • ImageRecall - And another. ImageRecall will do it’s best to recover any photos from a corrupt or accidentally deleted card.
  • Time Machine - The OS X Leopard backup solution. All that you require is an external hard drive, and to keep a copy of your website locally.
  • Dropbox - I use Dropbox as a means of keeping an off-site backup of important website documents and files (though it’s also great at keeping multiple computers in sync!)
  • SuperDuper - If you’d like to keep a bootable backup of your Mac hard drive, SuperDuper is an excellent solution.

Conclusion

A huge selection of software is available for photographers, from direct tethered capturing right through to uploading images to a stock photography website. It’s always worth trying out a few options before settling on one in particular (especially when considering major software choices such as Aperture vs Lightroom).

Which pieces of photography software could you not do without? I’m interested to read about the applications that fit into your workflow.

Springy: The Ultimate Archiver for Macs

The Wonderful World Of Tim Burton


empireonline.com Tim Burton's style is instantly recognisable, as demonstrated in the recently released "Alice in Wonderland" pics. This piece looks back over his films to see how his style developed, in the man's own words.

clcik here to explore The Wonderful World Of Tim Burton

Hyundai Offers a $1.49 Price Lock on Gas

It's the Korean carmaker's latest effort to seize share in the depressed U.S. market after earlier this year assuring buyers worried about their jobs

Suddenly gasoline is in the headlines again as attacks on Nigerian oil pipelines and the summer driving season cause energy analysts to predict higher prices at the pump. That could pay dividends for Hyundai. On Tuesday, June 30, the Korean automaker is launching a summer promotion that guarantees buyers of its vehicles one year's worth of gas at $1.49 per gallon.

The gas giveaway comes on top of other offers that have helped Hyundai boost its share of the U.S. auto market from 2.9% to 4.2% so far this year. Earlier this year, Hyundai launched an "Assurance" program that guarantees that buyers can walk away from a new-car loan if they lose their jobs, with no adverse effect on their credit rating. It already offered one of the most generous warranty programs in the industry. Hyundai also bought a series of extremely high-audience TV ad buys, such as the Super Bowl and the first ad spot on CNN after then-President-elect Obama's election night acceptance speech.

Hyundai is trying to increase its market share amid the recession, as Detroit automakers regroup and even Japanese companies are hurting. It is making similar moves in China, where its share rose to 7.3% from 5.3% a year earlier. "Hyundai appears to be using the difficult industry situation as a good opportunity to vault into the league of major players in two or three years," says auto analyst Sokje Lee at brokerage Mirae Asset Securities in Seoul. "Taking advantage of a weak Korean currency, it is spending heavily on marketing."

Gas prices were already expected to rise above $3 a gallon this summer, before the violence in Nigeria that forced Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa) to close its primary oil field on Monday. Crude oil prices for August delivery climbed $2.33 a barrel, to $71.49, on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The Associated Press reported that the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gas fell by four-tenths of a cent, to $2.639, according to AAA, Wright Express, and the Oil Price Information Service. The U.S. imports almost half of Nigeria's production of light crude, which is the oil used in gasoline refining.

Driving Web site and showroom traffic

"A guarantee of such a low gas price could have a great psychological effect on car buyers, and it certainly will increase hits to Hyundai's Web site and create more interest in researching Hyundai, which is really the point of this promotion," says independent marketing consultant Dennis Keene. "Very few people actually take advantage of these headline-grabbing programs, but [the deals] stimulate Web site and showroom traffic."

Hyundai's Web site traffic is up 18% this year, according to the company. Its U.S. sales are down 7.9% through May of this year, but that's better than the industry's overall 30% drop.

Hyundai's research showed that nearly 40% of potential new-car buyers were staying out of the market specifically because of uncertainty around future gas prices. Chris Perry, director of marketing communications at Hyundai, says: "Our programs are designed to address consumer needs, the ones they are talking about around their kitchen tables." Indeed, while Hyundai's Assurance program increased Web interest when it was launched last January, fewer than 10 buyers have had to take advantage so far, the company says.

Consumers have to buy or lease a new Hyundai by Aug. 31 to take advantage of the discount gas offer. Perry says Hyundai is also running advertising reminding new-vehicle buyers of the Hyundai models that qualify for the Federal government's Cash for Clunkers program, which gives consumers up to $4,500 for trading in old vehicles that get below 18 mpg for new, more fuel-efficient vehicles. "We already are marketing our vehicles that qualify on our Web site, and we will add it to our ads as the government program rolls out."

Hyundai is already benefiting from a bump in attention since it topped Toyota (TM) last week in J.D. Power & Associates Initial Quality Study, which measures problems in the first three months of owning a new vehicle, as reported by buyers. Hyundai was the top-ranked non-luxury brand in the annual study.

the fine print may limit takers

The Korean automaker is not the first to offer discounted gas. Last summer both GM and Chrysler offered big discounts on gas when prices were more than $4 a gallon nationally. Buyers who had to choose between the gas discount and other deals typically opted for the cash or cheap financing rather than discounted gas. And they were smart to do so, because gas prices subsequently plummeted below Chrysler's $2.99 per gallon three-year price lock. Of course, if gas climbs back to $3.50 per gallon in the next 12 months, those buyers will be able to cash in again.

Here is how Hyundai's program will work: After buying a new Hyundai, the buyer registers a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover credit card, or a Visa or MasterCard check card, at hyundai.pricelock.com. After enrolling, the consumer gets a new Hyundai Assurance branded card to be used for all future fill-ups. The consumer is billed $1.49 per gallon of regular grade gasoline, regardless of the price at the pump, and Hyundai pays the difference. (The driver may elect to purchase mid-grade gasoline for $1.64 per gallon or premium gas for $1.79 per gallon as well, though all eligible Hyundai vehicles are factory-certified for regular fuel.)

The card can be used at any gas station in the Voyager credit -card network, which covers 93% of gas stations nationwide, including brands such as Exxon (XOM), Chevron (CVX), BP (BP), Shell, Texaco, and many more. Consumers are eligible for a maximum number of gallons, equal to 12,000 miles divided by the EPA combined fuel economy rating for the qualifying model.

Hyundai says buyers who opt for the gas discount have to subtract $1,000 from any rebate offered on its individual models. That may mean many buyers will pass on the gas discount. Why? The Elantra Touring model, for example, has a $1,500 rebate now. If gas prices average $3 per gallon in the next 12 months, the savings to a buyer would be about $720, based on the vehicle's 26 mpg rating. So buyers would be better off talking the full rebate unless they fear gas prices will again climb above $4 a gallon.

Read more about Pricelock's role in the Hyundai deal.

With Rebecca Reisner in New York and Moon Ihlwan in Seoul.
Kiley is a senior correspondent in BusinessWeek's Detroit bureau.


Seth McFarlane gives revealing interview & shows off office



fhm.com:80 So how does MacFarlane cope with the burden of his critics? Of a $100 million contract? Of devoted yet unforgiving fans? No one seems to know; notoriously private, he gives only two interviews a year. But no matter – FHM snared one of them, so they flew to LA to find out and took photos of his amazing office.


click here for the article and glimpse into his office: Seth McFarlane gives revealing interview & shows off office

My Friend Bill, a Medical Marijuana Patient

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My friend, Bill is dying of cancer. He probably has two or three days left. He's not conscious and while the caretakers say that he can recognize my voice, I doubt it. He's being given a lot of drugs including morphine, but they don't seem to give him peace. His body struggles as if he is trying to free himself from unseen restraints. Perhaps he's pain-free, but he definitely does not seem comfortable. However, I was able to say goodbye to Bill with a smile on my face because of something his wife told me a few minutes earlier. She said, "Bill spent the last five days of his conscious life smoking pot." Now, if you knew Bill you'd know how utterly preposterous that statement sounds. Bill was a retired Pediatric Cardiologist. He voted Republican all his life until he voted for Obama. He did not waste money or words. And he definitely had never smoked marijuana.

Some weeks back, Bill's internist suggested that he consider medical marijuana as a way to restore his appetite which had been destroyed by chemotherapy. Later Bill decided to give it a try. Bill and his wife found a dispensary nearby after a brief internet search. They called the dispensary and were told they would need a referral letter and that a "doctor" would be on the premises that afternoon. At the time, Bill could only walk short distances and he was very weak, but they went over to the dispensary. They stood in a queue of seemingly able-bodied young men also seeking relief from something. The doctor relieved them of $140 and provided each with the referral letter. Bill's wife said that she was less than impressed with the certification process and ventured an opinion that "Bill was the only truly ill individual that doctor would see all week." The young dispensary clerks were very helpful. They suggested that Bill purchase two thumb sized buds "one of indica for pain and one of sativa for depression". Bill also picked out a nice psychedelic pipe. Once home, bill tried it. His wife said that once he felt the effects of the first puff a little smile brightened his face. He smoked some more and the smile broadened. His wife chuckled as she remembered his fondness for the stuff. She said, "I'd ask him if he'd like anything and he usually answered, "I believe I'll have some of that marijuana." It made Bill happy at the end of his journey. What a gift!

I agree with those that say that medical marijuana is mostly used by recreational pot smokers, but I know that there are other people like Bill who are truly ill and can't get anything from the medical community that works as well as marijuana to put a smile on their faces.

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