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Thursday, August 13, 2009

An Insider On the Apple Tablet

I never fully believed the Apple tablet was real beyond dreams, until I heard these words over my phone: "Hey, it's [redacted]. I may or may not have sat in some Apple meetings for the tablet."

I was driving, and swerved a little bit, even though both hands were on the wheel. Someone honked at me.

"What was that?"

They repeated themselves.

I switched on Bluetooth and pulled over to the side of the road to hear the story. You see, earlier in the day I'd given my phone number out to someone who sent me a cryptic email wanting to talk Apple. This must have been them. (Later on I verified to a high level of certainty that they were in the position to have access to the information and after talking to them for over an hour, I believe them to the same level of certainty.)

"The device, which I've held mock ups of, is going to have a 10 inch screen, and when I saw it looked just like a giant iPhone, with a black back— although that design could change at any time" they said, "with the same black resin back, and the familiar home button." That's obvious.

"But it will come in two editions, one with a webcam and one for educational use."

Educational use?

They continued to explain the device as something that would sit between an iPod/iPhone and a MacBook, and would cost $700 to $900—"More than twice as much as a netbook," he said.

To make up for that cost and make the device more than just a big iPod there was, this person claimed, there was talk of making the device act as a secondary screen/touchpad for iMacs and MacBooks, much like a few of the USB screens that have come out in recent months from Chinese companies. Very interesting.

They went on to say that although the project has been going on under various names between four and six years, the first prototype was built around the end of 2008. Adding, "The time to market from first prototype is generally 6-9 months." That would place the device's release date in this holiday season. They then said, "There was a question of what OS the device would run, too." (Other people I've talked to have implied this remains a huge secret.)

My call dropped on some windy road off Skyline Drive. Fucking AT&T.

Later, I asked, was there a code name for the project?


I thought about it for a second, googled the term, and it all made sense.

"Don't publish that name, please," they requested.

Don't worry, I won't.

Guitar legend Les Paul dies at age 94

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Les Paul, the guitarist and inventor who changed the course of music with the electric guitar and multitrack recording and had a string of hits, many with wife Mary Ford, died on Thursday. He was 94.

According to Gibson Guitar, Paul died of complications from pneumonia at White Plains Hospital. His family and friends were by his side.

As an inventor, Paul helped bring about the rise of rock 'n' roll and multitrack recording, which enables artists to record different instruments at different times, sing harmony with themselves, and then carefully balance the "tracks" in the finished recording.

Smile, there's an upside-down rainbow in the sky over Sussex

By Fay Schlesinger

First there was the eye of God - a dying star watching over us eerily from 700 light years away.

Now the heavens have become even more personal, as this stunning image of a smile in the sky shows.

The 'upside-down rainbow', spotted over Sussex, is in fact not a rainbow at all.

Enlarge upside down rainbow snapped over Sussex.

The smile in the sky looks like an upside-down rainbow but is caused by light shining through tiny ice crystals in the clouds

Rather than being caused by raindrops, it is the result of freak atmospheric conditions rarely seen outside the North and South Poles.

While normal rainbows are formed when light penetrates raindrops and emerges on the other side without changing direction, the smile is formed when sunlight shines through millions of tiny ice crystals in cirrus and cirrus stratus clouds.

Because the crystals are flat and hexagonal, they invert the light and create an upside-down curve called a circumzenithal arc.

The phenomenon relies on the sun being low in the sky, normally less than 32 degrees from the horizon.

The arcs can appear at any time of the year, hovering in the sky only fleetingly because clouds tend to move quickly near the zenith.

Nigel Blackwell, who runs a delivery business in Copthorne, near Crawley, captured the spectacle over a five-minute period on Valentine's Day this year, after his son alerted him to the grin.

Mr Blackwell, 55, said last night: 'It was a Saturday morning and my son was cleaning cars when he saw it. He was surprised and called me over.

'I went to get my camera and started taking pictures. It was in the sky for about five minutes from 11.28 to 11.33, as I followed the cloud moving slowly overhead. Then in an instant it was gone.

'My first impression was that it was an upside down rainbow but it was a clear, sunny day. It was February 14 and you have got to wonder whether that was why the sky was smiling.'

John Hammond, from the Met Office, said: 'This is a great example of a circumzenithal arc. It is unusual to see one so well defined.

'As well as being in the right place at the right time, the sun and cloud needs to be angled such that the arc is displayed below.

'The sun usually needs to be below an angle of about 32 degrees above the horizon.'

Just days after Mr Blackwell spotted the arc, scientists released captivating pictures of what they nicknamed the 'eye of God' - in fact the death throes of a star similar to our sun, before it turns into its final evolutionary 'white dwarf' state.

The images, captured by giant telescope in Chile, showed a blue pupil, the white of the eye and a pink lid, created by layers of gas and dust thrown off and illuminated by the star as it comes to the end of its life over the course of thousands of years.

It's toy mania as Lego becomes next Hollywood target

By Steven Zeitchik and Borys Kit


Warner Bros. is building a Lego movie.

The studio and producer Dan Lin have acquired theatrical rights for a motion picture about the timeless toy, and set writers Dan and Kevin Hageman to pen the script.

The live action/CG hybrid is described as a movie set in the world of Lego that centers on the subject of childlike imaginations and examines themes of creativity and teamwork in the manner of “Toy Story.” While the pic will have elements for children, the studio is hoping the film is a four-quadrant play that can also appeal to adults.

In addition to Lin (whose credits include Guy Ritchie’s upcoming “Sherlock Holmes” at Warners), Roy Lee will produce and Stephen Gilchrist will co-produce, while Jill Wilfert will oversee creatively for Lego. Matt Reilly is overseeing for the studio.

The Lego development project continues what has been a veritable craze for toy-based movies, a trend that flowered again at the boxoffice this past weekend with the $56 million opening of “G.I. Joe,” the Hasbro toy that became a Paramount hit, and has extended into lesser-known toys like the View-Master, which is being developed as a feature under the guidance of producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci at DreamWorks.

It's a bit of a switch for the CAA- and Underground Management-repped Hagemans, who are set to adapt the ensemble monster pic “Hotel Transylvania” for Sony and are adapting the genre tale “Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom” for Warners. But apparently when the scribes pitched the Lego execs (in Denmark), there was warm enthusiasm, not always the reception when Hollywood's come a-knocking before.

Some history: Lego began in the 1940s as a toy first popular with Europeans and then around the globe. The company, which remains a privately controlled firm based in Billund, Denmark, has over the years maintained its core lines of building blocks even as it has expanded into robots, space stations and other theme-driven extensions.

The toy has always had a presence of sorts in and around Hollywood. A handful of direct-to-DVD CGI pics have been distributed through the home video arms of companies such as Universal and Miramax, and it also has offered children’s video game tie-ins with Warners properties like “Batman." And one of the only Legolands in North America sits in Carlsbad, about an hour south of Los Angeles, which if you have anyone under 7 years old in your life, you know all too well.

But a big-screen feature has never been attempted.

There's another trend at work here. Warners is keen on developing a toy pic, but it's also hot for live action/CG hybrids. The studio is behind a big screen remake of “Yogi Bear” as well as a reboot of the Don Knotts “The Incredible Mr. Limpet,” which live-CG master Kevin Lima is attached to direct, about an adult who turns into a mermaid. Guess it's now time for some computer-generated little yellow men, too.

The truth about dollar stores

dollar storeSince I started shopping at and writing about dollar stores more than four years ago, I've heard many complaints about dollar store merchandise. Some of the criticism may be deserved but mostly, it's simply the old prejudice that anything that can be sold for a buck must not be worth the plastic bag you're given to carry it home in. Let's look at a few of the most common fallacies:

Fallacy: Anything from China is junk or worse, unsafe and, since that's all dollar stores stock, they must bear the brunt of these accusations.

Fact: Every year, China exports billions of dollars worth of merchandise to the U.S. and Canada. Even excluding all of the machinery, electronics, and other expensive items, I don't think dollar stores could possibly be the only ones selling Chinese merchandise. Heck, even the princess figurine I brought back from Disney World a few years ago was made in China, as are most of this American icon's souvenirs. Bottom line: If you are concerned about food or plastic products from China at the dollar store or anywhere else for that matter, don't buy them. However, it's simply not fair to classify all dollar store products as junk. There is much to choose from that comes from China, Turkey, Germany or even the U.S. and Canada that is exceptional value for a buck or two.

Fallacy: Brand name cookies, crackers and other packaged foods that end up in the dollar store are bound to be stale.

Fact: Dollar store buyers develop relationships with many different manufacturers and are on the spot to snap up overstock. If you've be stung before, do what you would do in any other store; check the best-before date.

Fallacy: Dollar store chocolate bars and candies must have been sitting around for a long time before they got to a dollar store.

Fact: I love my Hershey bars and jujubes and I've haven't come across anything stale from my dollar store yet. Consider: how long would customers keep buying the candy, if everything they bought turned out to be stale?

Fallacy: You can't get good batteries at the dollar store.

Fact: While this may have been true in the past, the dollar stores I'm familiar with now sell brand name batteries like Panasonic and Sunbeam. Since adding products up to $2, I've even seen Duracell batteries at Dollarama. Again, if you're leery, check the best-before date, which is printed in bold on the lower right-hand side of the package. Speaking from personal experience, I have been extremely satisfied with dollar store batteries.

Fallacy: There must be something wrong with a brand name shampoo, facial product or household cleaner that ends up in a dollar store.

Fact: I recently spoke to a representative of Unilever Canada about a Dove Energy Glow product I purchased recently from my local dollar store and, from the product code I gave her, she confirmed that it was indeed their product, made in Canada. Again, dollar store buyers are always on the look-out for deals from the big manufacturers and sometimes nab some amazing products.

Marlene Alexander is a freelance writer and dollar store diva. She writes tips and ideas for home decorating using only items from the dollar store.

Romancing the Stoner: Cameron's Gal Busted in Smuggle

Douglas' girlfriend busted for smuggling heroin, in a toothbrush, sources say

Getty Images

The girlfriend of Cameron Douglas, the son of actor Michael Douglas, was arrested Monday for allegedly trying to smuggle him drugs.

Law enforcement sources said Kelly Sott was caught by court-appointed security guards passing an electric toothbrush to Douglas at a Manhattan apartment where he was under house arrest on his federal drug charges. Hidden inside the handle of the toothbrush were dime bags of heroin, a criminal complaint said.

Read the complaint

Douglas, 30, was arrested last month after an undercover cop allegedly found half-a-pound of meth on Douglas at the swanky Hotel Gansevoort, law enforcement officials said.

Cameron is accused of running a well-oiled drug operation, selling hefty amounts of methamphetamine between New York and Los Angeles, delivering the addictive substance in person, or via Fed Ex from a California hotel, according to the criminal complaint.

One source said that Sott herself looked tired and worn. A criminal complaint against Sott said that inside the battery compartment of the toothbrush she brought her boyfriend, guards found "about 19 glassines" with a brownish substance "that appeared to be heroin."

Field test indicated it was, in fact, about seven grams of heroin.

Law enforcement sources said Sott was at a relative's Manhattan apartment when Cameron Douglas called and asked her to bring down items to him Investigators took Sott back to the Gansevoort Hotel, where she had a room, and there they discovered more drug paraphenalia, sources said.

When DEA agents arrested Sott, she said "that she was not aware of the contents of the toothbrush that she delivered," the complaint said.

Cameron Douglas has acted in movies including 2003's "It Runs in the Family," starring his Oscar-award winning father and his grandfather Kirk Douglas.

First Published: Aug 11, 2009 1:44 PM EDT

54 Out Of The Box Night Photography Examples

Posted by MoiN |

Taking pictures at night is also an art, you need to have full control over your camera, equipment and the night itself. The right lightning, timing etc counts a lot. I honestly, never had a chance to take a picture at night that stands out, still a new bie in that area but there’s always a healthy inspiration. Presenting a list of over 40 pictures taken at night, some of these are also in HDR so I hope you like them. Do subscribe to our Feeds for latest updates.

French Cancan By anto XIII


Kyoto wall
by RomImage


So Near, so Far By Alex Tremps


This is One Hundred Days by Dustin Diaz


Golden Gate Bridge – The Passageway by Patrick Smith


The Magic Of Disney by Stuck In Customs


Just Another Blue Christmas by Ernesto Ortega


Many Ships by Jens King


Arches MoonRise
by James Watkins


Hong Kong On A Summer Night by Stuck In Customs


Heart of Satan by Stuck in Customs

Heart of Satan

One Mans Junk by Nocturne


Last Passenger by Tim Corbeel


Niagara Falls At Night by Olvwu


States That Use Red-Light and Speed Cameras to Monitor Your Driving - Feature

Big-Brother nation: A guide to the states where police have red-light and speed cameras in operation.


RedSpeed International Traffic Camera


KRIA T-RED Traffic Camera


KRIA Automatic License Plate Reading System


SPECS Traffic Cameras


SPECS Traffic Cameras


SPECS Traffic Camera


SPECS Traffic Camera


Crown Traffic Camera


Crown Traffic Camera


Applied Concepts Stalker's PC LidarCam Traffic Camera


OLVIA Traffic Camera


Gatsometer GTC-D Traffic Camera


Top 30 Kid's Cartoon Theme Tunes watch! There’s nothing like a trip down memory lane to get those endorphins pumping – so let’s wander idly along, humming the tunes that preceded our infant distractions, recalling with a grin that the opening titles were very often far more enjoyable than the tripe that followed.

click here to here see amazing retro Tunes...Top 30 Kid's Cartoon Theme Tunes watch!

Heath Ledger's "The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus" Trailer This is the last movie that Heath Ledger played in. Along with Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Collin Farrel "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" is a fantastical morality tale, set in the present day. It tells the story of Dr Parnassus and his extraordinary 'Imaginarium'.

12 Spectacular Hot Air Balloons

Take a look at these out-of-the-ordinary floating attractions

By Olivia Putnal

Here’s a little-known fact: When the first-ever hot air balloon met the sky in 1783, its passengers were not its inventors, brothers Joseph and Jacques Montgolfier, but instead an unlikely trio that included a sheep, duck and rooster. Since then, the technology and capabilities of hot air balloons have skyrocketed—but it’s their design that has seen the most transformation today, with examples as colorful and varied as those first on-board passengers. From a giant Star Wars–inspired Darth Vader balloon to an adorable floating ladybug, below, check out a dozen extraordinary balloons from festivals around the world.

Bagpipe Player

This bagpiper-shaped balloon was spotted at the Canberra Balloon Fiesta in Canberra, Australia, in 2006. For more than 20 years, the annual festival has attracted thousands of spectators from around the world, and includes activities such as balloon rides and performances from local bands. Photo courtesy of Ben Harris-Roxas

Miss Daisy

The 2008 Plano Balloon Festival in Plano, Texas, was the host to this blooming balloon. The festival takes place in September of each year, and this year’s upcoming gathering will mark the 30th anniversary of the event. The annual festival receives approximately 95,000 visitors each year, and offers plenty of family-friendly fun, including balloon launches, skydiving performances, concerts, arts and crafts, and a special kids’ zone. Photo courtesy of Scott Armstrong via flickr

Darth Vader

Balloons over Waikato is an annual event that has been celebrated in Hamilton, New Zealand, since 1988. The 2008 festival was one of the most impressive to date, including a higher volume and variety of balloons than ever before. This Darth Vader balloon was one such example, and was captured on film by a resident of the neighboring area. Photo courtesy of Tharrin Way via flickr


These grinning pig balloons were on display at the 2008 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, which takes place in Balloon Fiesta Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In addition to watching the amusing balloons float by, attendees of this event can also embark on their own exhilarating hot air balloon ride. Be sure to purchase your online tickets in advance to secure your seat in the sky. Photo courtesy of Joey Madrigal

Tyrone the T-Rex

London, Ontario’s Hot Air Balloon Festival of 2006 featured this ferocious-looking dinosaur balloon. The dino is a veteran of the event, which has been hosted in London from 1983 to 2008 and begins on the first Monday of August. Photo courtesy of Valerie Klint

Hopper T. Frog

Measuring 14 feet wide and 3 ½ feet in diameter, this frog isn’t your ordinary slimy amphibian. A competing hot air balloon disguised as a frog prince, this is the crown jewel of the largest free hot air ballooning festival in the nation, The Great Reno Balloon Race in Reno, Nevada. Every year the event draws a crowd of 140,000 people who gather to watch more than 100 balloons race across 10 miles of sky above the Truckee Meadows valley. Photo courtesy of Pink Pepper via flickr

Energizer Bunny

Eyes to the Skies in Lisle, Illinois, recently celebrated its 29th anniversary of ballooning and entertainment. The yearly festival typically falls on the Fourth of July weekend, and involves a wide array of events, including a carnival, parade, craft fair, fireworks and—of course—the balloon festival. The balloon version of this familiar bunny, which was launched into the sky at dusk, was a crowd favorite at the 2008 event. Photo courtesy of Bret via flickr

Quick Chek Fresh Farm

These friendly barnyard animals are having a gas housed in this giant floating farm, complete with a 61-foot silo and 30-foot-tall farmer. The full-house balloon was spotted high in the sky at the famous Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning of 2009 in Readington. Photo courtesy of Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning


Each October, the sunny skies of New Mexico are filled with a parade of air balloons during Albuquerque’s International Balloon Fiesta. During last year’s celebration, this precious ladybug floated in the cloudless expanse of blue over the city. Photo courtesy of Craig Wells via flickr

Pepsi Super Can

One of America’s most beloved soda pops came to life at the three-day Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning. This 110-foot-tall construction definitely stole the show during the 2008 festivities, and was a hands-down crowd favorite. Photo courtesy of Craig Wells via flickr


Malaysian resident Muhammad Nor was driving across Kuala Lumpur one morning last March when he happened to encounter this buoyant peacock air balloon soaring above the city. When his car broke down, he took the opportunity to snap this striking picture. Photo courtesy of Muhammad Nor via flickr

PNC American Flag

It’s always nice to see some American pride up in the sky, especially when you’re looking at the world’s largest free-flying American flag. (The balloon is 53 feet tall, 78 feet wide and 29 feet deep.) This remarkable structure rose to great applause at the 2009 world-renowned Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning. Photo courtesy of Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning

The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare

The Wall Street Journal

Eight things we can do to improve health care without adding to the deficit.

"The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out
of other people's money."

—Margaret Thatcher

With a projected $1.8 trillion deficit for 2009, several trillions more in deficits projected over the next decade, and with both Medicare and Social Security entitlement spending about to ratchet up several notches over the next 15 years as Baby Boomers become eligible for both, we are rapidly running out of other people's money. These deficits are simply not sustainable. They are either going to result in unprecedented new taxes and inflation, or they will bankrupt us.

While we clearly need health-care reform, the last thing our country needs is a massive new health-care entitlement that will create hundreds of billions of dollars of new unfunded deficits and move us much closer to a government takeover of our health-care system. Instead, we should be trying to achieve reforms by moving in the opposite direction—toward less government control and more individual empowerment. Here are eight reforms that would greatly lower the cost of health care for everyone:

• Remove the legal obstacles that slow the creation of high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts (HSAs). The combination of high-deductible health insurance and HSAs is one solution that could solve many of our health-care problems. For example, Whole Foods Market pays 100% of the premiums for all our team members who work 30 hours or more per week (about 89% of all team members) for our high-deductible health-insurance plan. We also provide up to $1,800 per year in additional health-care dollars through deposits into employees' Personal Wellness Accounts to spend as they choose on their own health and wellness.

Money not spent in one year rolls over to the next and grows over time. Our team members therefore spend their own health-care dollars until the annual deductible is covered (about $2,500) and the insurance plan kicks in. This creates incentives to spend the first $2,500 more carefully. Our plan's costs are much lower than typical health insurance, while providing a very high degree of worker satisfaction.

• Equalize the tax laws so that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have the same tax benefits. Now employer health insurance benefits are fully tax deductible, but individual health insurance is not. This is unfair.

• Repeal all state laws which prevent insurance companies from competing across state lines. We should all have the legal right to purchase health insurance from any insurance company in any state and we should be able use that insurance wherever we live. Health insurance should be portable.

• Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover. These mandates have increased the cost of health insurance by billions of dollars. What is insured and what is not insured should be determined by individual customer preferences and not through special-interest lobbying.

• Enact tort reform to end the ruinous lawsuits that force doctors to pay insurance costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. These costs are passed back to us through much higher prices for health care.

• Make costs transparent so that consumers understand what health-care treatments cost. How many people know the total cost of their last doctor's visit and how that total breaks down? What other goods or services do we buy without knowing how much they will cost us?

• Enact Medicare reform. We need to face up to the actuarial fact that Medicare is heading towards bankruptcy and enact reforms that create greater patient empowerment, choice and responsibility.

• Finally, revise tax forms to make it easier for individuals to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation to help the millions of people who have no insurance and aren't covered by Medicare, Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

Many promoters of health-care reform believe that people have an intrinsic ethical right to health care—to equal access to doctors, medicines and hospitals. While all of us empathize with those who are sick, how can we say that all people have more of an intrinsic right to health care than they have to food or shelter?

Health care is a service that we all need, but just like food and shelter it is best provided through voluntary and mutually beneficial market exchanges. A careful reading of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution will not reveal any intrinsic right to health care, food or shelter. That's because there isn't any. This "right" has never existed in America

Even in countries like Canada and the U.K., there is no intrinsic right to health care. Rather, citizens in these countries are told by government bureaucrats what health-care treatments they are eligible to receive and when they can receive them. All countries with socialized medicine ration health care by forcing their citizens to wait in lines to receive scarce treatments.

Although Canada has a population smaller than California, 830,000 Canadians are currently waiting to be admitted to a hospital or to get treatment, according to a report last month in Investor's Business Daily. In England, the waiting list is 1.8 million.

At Whole Foods we allow our team members to vote on what benefits they most want the company to fund. Our Canadian and British employees express their benefit preferences very clearly—they want supplemental health-care dollars that they can control and spend themselves without permission from their governments. Why would they want such additional health-care benefit dollars if they already have an "intrinsic right to health care"? The answer is clear—no such right truly exists in either Canada or the U.K.—or in any other country.

Rather than increase government spending and control, we need to address the root causes of poor health. This begins with the realization that every American adult is responsible for his or her own health.

Unfortunately many of our health-care problems are self-inflicted: two-thirds of Americans are now overweight and one-third are obese. Most of the diseases that kill us and account for about 70% of all health-care spending—heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and obesity—are mostly preventable through proper diet, exercise, not smoking, minimal alcohol consumption and other healthy lifestyle choices.

Recent scientific and medical evidence shows that a diet consisting of foods that are plant-based, nutrient dense and low-fat will help prevent and often reverse most degenerative diseases that kill us and are expensive to treat. We should be able to live largely disease-free lives until we are well into our 90s and even past 100 years of age.

Health-care reform is very important. Whatever reforms are enacted it is essential that they be financially responsible, and that we have the freedom to choose doctors and the health-care services that best suit our own unique set of lifestyle choices. We are all responsible for our own lives and our own health. We should take that responsibility very seriously and use our freedom to make wise lifestyle choices that will protect our health. Doing so will enrich our lives and will help create a vibrant and sustainable American society.

Mr. Mackey is co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market Inc.