Want to offend half the population? There's an app for that!
UPDATE - Pepsi have apologised for causing any offence http://twitter.com/AMPwhatsnext/status/4814953081
Popular gadgets in Japan often just need a little time to start popping up in the U.S. For instance, most Japanese were using LCD monitors years before they were common stateside. But the rule doesn't hold for every gadget. Every now and then Japan produces a consumer technology that's incompatible with the American populace. Hit the Continue jump for some standout tech absences that are all the rage in the Far East.
The Japanese buy massage chairs like they were La-Z-Boys. Maybe the stresses of everyday Japanese life encourage people there to put a massage chair in their home, but for whatever reason they're popular enough to have a whole section dedicated to them in many department stores.
Why they haven't caught on stateside: Call us crazy, but the thought of having a chair grip you tightly enough to give you a massage is more than a little unsettling. I tried it once, and I couldn't stop thinking, "Don't piss this thing off."
Walk down a crowded street in Tokyo and you'll see any number of people holding a phone to their face. What's surprising is how many of those phones are long and slim — often much longer than is necessary for the speaker to be clearly heard by the mike.
Why they haven't caught on stateside: Style, mainly. Super-skinny phones, like the Motorola KRZR, were so 2007.
Witness this machine, a Panasonic Blu-ray recorder that can hold up to two terabytes on its internal hard disk, ready to burn that video onto a Blu-ray disc anytime. That's pretty impressive technology, letting users save entire seasons of TV shows before archiving them to disc.
Why they haven't caught on stateside: Americans use video technology differently. Setting up a machine to record TV shows to discs — or tapes, for that matter — is beyond many people. The U.S. rejected DVD recorders because we use DVD machines as players only, with the DVR essentially taking over all video-recording duties. By the time Blu-ray came, virtually no one was recording to disc anymore outside of the PC.
Need a shower? In Japan, it's not uncommon to be able to kick your feet up while you rinse, sitting on a stool or, as in this photo, a chair built right into the wall. Pretty handy at the end of a long day, or if you simply don't want to get your hair wet.
Why they haven't caught on stateside: Showers in Japan are used before you get in the bath, and in public baths you're supposed to wash only from the neck down. In the U.S. public baths aren't mainstream, and sit-down showers have pretty much been relegated to bathrooms of the elderly and disabled.
Yes, you can get mini laptops here in the U.S., but in Japan it's the really tiny ones that stand out. Asus and Acer, known for their tiny (sub 10-inch) machines, have dominated the netbook market in Japan, and other manufacturers (notably Sharp) are following suit.
Why they haven't caught on stateside: You've got us. Maybe those small screens look a little too dainty to American sensibilities. Or maybe we just need to give it a few more months.
1. Bidet toilets
No list of curiously popular technologies in Japan would be complete without mentioning bidet toilets. As any visitor will tell you, going number two is a whole experience in Japan, from the first moment your behind touches the heated seat to the built-in stereos to the automatic flush.
Why they haven't caught on stateside: Beyond the sheer impractibility of connecting power cables to every toilet in America, here it's more accepted to catch up on some reading while sitting on the throne. That's entertaining enough for us.
When steady hands are not precise enough, surgeons rely on sophisticated assistants.
CHICAGO – Aye Carumba!
has done something that Homer might not like but will make Bart the proudest kid in his school: She's posed for .
After more than a half century featuring women like Marilyn Monroe, Cindy Crawford and the Girls of Hooters on its cover, Playboy has for the first time given the spot to a cartoon character.
And the magazine is giving the star of "" the star treatment, complete with a data sheet, an interview and a 2-page centerfold.
The magazine's editorial director, James Jellinek, won't say exactly how much of Marge will show in the November edition that hits newsstands on Oct. 16 — or whether she lets that big pile of blue hair down. But, he said, "It's very, very racy."
But he stressed that the mother of three — the youngest a baby, by the way — has a lot to be proud of.
"She is a stunning example of the cartoon form," he said on Friday at the magazine's headquarters in Chicago, appearing both pleased and surprised at the words coming out of his mouth.
For Playboy, which has seen its circulation slip from 3.15 million to 2.6 million since 2006, putting Marge on the cover was designed to attract younger readers to a magazine where the median age of readers is 35, while not alienating older readers.
"We knew that this would really appeal to the 20-something crowd," said Playboy spokeswoman Theresa Hennessey.
The magazine also hopes to turn the November issue into a collectors' item by featuring Marge, sitting on a chair in the shape of the iconic Playboy bunny, on the cover of only the magazines sold in newsstands. Subscribers get a more traditional model on the cover.
"It's so rare in today's digital age where you have the opportunity to send people to the newsstand to pick something up," Jellinek said.
Playboy even convinced 7-Eleven to carry the magazine in its 1,200 corporate-owned stores, something the company has only done once before in more than 20 years.
"We love Marge," said 7-Eleven spokesman Margaret Chabris.
For those who do collect the magazine — and they're out there — the cover will bring to mind another first for the magazine that occurred in 1971 when a black woman appeared on the cover in exactly the same pose and, like Marge, smiling under an impressive head of hair.
"We knew it was something all of our readers would get a kick out of," said Hennessey.
Jellinek said putting Marge on the cover, while unusual, made perfect sense. For one thing, the cover celebrates theof the TV show. Further, he said there was an episode in which "Marge bears all," which suggested the at she, or at least the people who drew her, would be comfortable with the Playboy treatment.
Perhaps most important, the idea seemed like a good one to the magazine's founder,.
"He's a huge 'Simpsons' fan,' said Jellinek. "He's been on '.'"
Hiroshima and Nagasaki are launching a joint bid for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.
Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba of Hiroshima and Nagasaki's Tomihisa Taue are founding members of the Mayors for Peace 2020 Campaign, advocating for a global ban on nuclear arms, and they want to use that to springboard the world's largest sporting event into their two cities.
The Japanese cities were the site of the 1945 atomic bombings that closed out the Second World War in the Pacific.
"The Olympics symbolize the abolition of nuclear arms and world peace, and we want to work to realize our plan to host the games," Akiba said.
Hiroshima's mayor spoke last month in Mexico City, saying he firmly believed the world could abolish nuclear weapons by 2020. He suggested his city and Nagasaki could hold the Games that year to celebrate.
The mayors' announcement comes just over a week after Tokyo lost in its bid for the 2016 Games to Rio de Janeiro.
There is no word yet as to whether Tokyo will try for the Olympics again in 2020. Only one city from each country can bid.
Competition for the Games is expected to come from Delhi, Istanbul and Budapest. All three cities have already expressed interest in submitting a bid to host the Olympics.
Although the two cities that the United States dropped nuclear bombs on share a tragic bond, they are quite a distance apart on a map. Hiroshima is in western Japan, about 650 kilometres from Tokyo. Nagasaki is on the island of Kyushu, roughly 320 kilometres from its fellow Olympic aspirant.
Hiroshima has held a large-scale event before, hosting the 1994 Asian Games. The competition brought 7,300 athletes from 42 countries and regions to western Japan.
While the Japanese Olympic Committee praised the two cities for their enthusiasm, they felt that it would take far more than simply a message of world peace to be successful in their bid for the Games.
"The concept to host the Olympics is wonderful," Japanese Olympic Committee secretary general Noriyuki Ichihara said, according to the Kyodo news agency.
"But I believe it would be difficult for the IOC to accept it just on the basis of abolishing nuclear weapons."With files from The Associated Press
Written by Julie Miller
Since Michael Jackson’s tragic death this summer, everyone from Al Sharpton to Heidi Montag has shared their memories of the King of Pop. Now, on the eve of John Ortved’s The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History release, details have emerged about the time the Fox cartoon crew met the singer for an unprecedented location rehearsal. Instead of tiptoeing around the late artist’s strangeness, The Simpsons team recalls the straight-up bizarreness of their 1991 experience, including an implicit “Don’t Stare at His Nose” policy and Jackson’s “sing-along guy.”
The book which hits shelves tomorrow, details the Simpsons rehearsal with Jackson, who appeared as an overweight mental patient convinced that he is the former King of Pop. In preparation for the guest spot, Jackson requested the crew leave the studio to hold a read-through at Jackson’s manager’s house. Writer Wallace Wolodarsky remembers that the entire afternoon was weird, especially the fact that everyone was “served food by Sikhs in white robes and turbans.”
Even in the early nineties, Hank Azaria (voice of Moe and Chief Wiggum) says that he tried to avoid looking at Jackson’s face while talking to him: “I remember even then, staring at his nose, and it was all about, ‘Don’t Stare at His Nose.’ “
So intimidated by the environment and pressure of the situation, editor Brian Roberts tried to avoid all eye contact with Jackson:
“I literally didn’t want to look at him. So I get my head buried in the script, and then at one point in the script he sang, ‘Man in the Mirror,’ and I said, ‘All right. How many times in your life are you sitting next to Michael Jackson and he’s singing “Man in the Mirror?” I just gotta look.’
“So I look over to Michael Jackson, and he wasn’t singing! He had a sing-along guy next to him who was actually singing for him. I couldn’t believe it. I was like, What kinda weird [expletive] is this?”
A “sing-along guy”? Did he look anything like this?
· Jacko Freaked Out Simpsons [New York Post]
• Promote weight loss.
• Improve posture.
• Strengthen the back.
• Tighten abdominal muscles.
• Firm buttocks, calves and thighs.
• Reduce cellulite.
• Improve blood circulation.
They'll help you "get in shape without going to the gym," according to the Shape-Ups ad campaign launched last spring. That's quite a claim. And the Skechers company isn't the only one making it: A company called MBT has sold heavier, pricier versions of these rocker-soled shoes for several years with similar claims. Reebok has a version, too.
The idea: The heavily cushioned rocker sole forces wearers to work harder to maintain balance and stand erect, engaging muscles that are otherwise less active. More active muscles burn more calories. The shoes also enforce a rolling heel-to-toe gait that makers say simulates walking barefoot in the sand.
"Rocker-bottom shoes are not new," says Marlene Reid, a podiatrist in Naperville, Ill., and spokeswoman for the American Podiatric Medical Association. But in the past they were sold as therapeutic footwear for people with medical problems, including arthritis in their feet, she says.
Reid says the shoes might help people who stand for long hours or need to improve posture. But she worries: "The shoes limit normal motion in the foot. So you may be under-using some muscles and overusing others."
She also notes that shoes requiring good balance might make some people fall.
Studies cited on the MBT website tell a mixed story: In some cases the rocker shoes performed better than other shoes or exercise programs; in others they did not. Skechers has not published its small studies, but a larger study has begun, says Skechers vice president Jennifer Weiderman.
I decided to conduct my own, unscientific test by taking five consecutive 30- to 40-minute daily walks in the purported wonder shoes. I even threw fashion to the winds and wore them out for an afternoon of errands.
As predicted in the training DVD that comes with the shoes, they were awkward at first. They slowed my pace — something I resented, since I depend on my heart-thumping, arm-swinging, iPod-fueled walks for both mental and physical health. Going down hills was particularly tricky. By Day 5, though, I was almost up to speed and navigating those hills with skillfully rolling steps.
Also: I do seem to stand straighter in these shoes. And they are very comfortable. My feet do not hurt. But: My calves, thighs and buttocks don't hurt either, an indication that this new way of walking isn't new enough to be a major muscle-toner, at least not for already-devoted walkers like me.
Any added effect on weight or muscle tone may be "negligible," says Pete McCall, an exercise physiologist with the American Council on Exercise in San Diego. "If you are walking, you are walking."
But, he says, "if you are spending $100 or more on a pair of walking shoes, maybe you're going to go out and walk more. Anything that gets anybody up and moving is a good thing."
By John Sciacca
The first “real” A/V component I ever bought was a subwoofer — a glorious 15-inch beast that made no attempt to hide what it really was: a big, black, utterly style-less cube. At the time, there weren’t really any other options available, so adding a sub meant a big, black cube. My wife, possibly sensing that our future might be connected with this whole “audio” thing, tolerated the sub but never really grew to love it.
Nowadays, most people take one look at a “traditional” sub and say, “Do I have to have that?” The implication is that a “yes” will kibosh the entire system. But the subwoofer’s importance has increased until it’s become an almost indispensable part of any surround system. As style demands have dictated a transition to smaller and less obtrusive models, the ability of speakers to offer any bass reproduction has gone by the wayside. Beyond the impact and emotion they add to the home theater experience, subwoofers lend the weight and depth crucially missing in small speakers.
Fortunately, technological advances like new driver designs and powerful digital amplification have resulted in so many great options that you’ll almost never come across a situation where a sonically and visually appealing solution can’t be found. Below are a few options to consider for adding some stealthy bass to your system.
There are tons of subwoofers not much larger than a bowling ball. Because of their size, these mighty micros offer lots of discreet placement options, like under a table, behind a plant, or behind some drapes. But don’t expect these subs to be cheaper just because they’re smaller. “Miniaturization and concealment come with a price,” Velodyne’s Joe Finn points out. “A small sub works harder and must be made of better materials, have a more powerful amp, and so on to produce the same quantity and quality of bass as a sub with plenty of cabinet volume.” So you can have good and small — just don’t expect cheap.
We’ve enjoyed in-wall speakers for 27 years, but subwoofers have only recently made the migration into the wall. Part of the problem is the technology required to make this kind of sub perform well without shaking your walls apart. Sunfire’s Eric Harper commented on the importance of decoupling “the shaking force of the woofer from the wall.” Sunfire’s approach is to use some good old-fashioned physics — in particular, Newton’s Third Law of Motion (“for every action there is an equal but opposite reaction”).
“By employing a weighted antishake device that’s wired out of phase with the woofers, [Sunfire’s in-wall sub achieves] a five times reduction in the vibration coming from the cabinet,” Eric says.
Chris Brunhaver from BG Radia, inventors of the world’s first THX Ultra 2-certified in-wall subwoofer, echoes Harper’s comments: “The most significant challenge is designing and installing them so as to not mechanically vibrate the surrounding structure. That sort of vibration seriously degrades quality and it colors the sound. I wouldn’t consider using an in-wall subwoofer that doesn’t have a specific technology to address this important issue.”
Since bass frequencies are mostly nondirectional, the ceiling can be another great place for a hidden-sub install. This option works especially well if the other speakers are also in the ceiling since this helps to “marry” the bass information to the other channels, creating a more cohesive effect.
If your floor is a concrete slab, you should probably skip this option. But if your home is built on a crawl space or above a basement, then the floor can be a terrific location. Mount the sub between the floor joists, replace the traditional speaker grille with an HVAC register, and your guests will be wondering where all that great sound is coming from.
For another stealthy install, consider the suggestion from Carl Kennedy of JL Audio to position the sub “under the sofa firing straight up into the seats.” The same thin models that go inside walls can also slide under some sofas. Besides the benefits of keeping the sub out of sight, this is a great install for areas where excessive bass can disturb the neighbors (like in a condo or apartment) or wake sleeping family members. Since the signal is coming from literally inches away, you can greatly lower the volume level and still get a really nice tactile response.
Clearing out a compartment in your cabinetry or entertainment center offers another great place to conceal a sub. Sunfire’s Harper recommends a front-firing model for in-cabinetry use. “Side- and down-firing subs tend to create more cabinet rattle since they send sound waves directly into a cabinet surface.”
Al Baron from Polk Audio gave the same forward-firing recommendation, and also advised, “Keep the space around the woofer enclosure to a minimum to reduce unwanted resonances from this ‘secondary enclosure.’ The cabinet’s interior will have a resonant frequency all its own that will exaggerate this range unnecessarily, muddying up the bass. If you can’t minimize the space, stuff fairly dense batting or insulation around the sides and back to reduce the level of this resonance.” If you plan to hide the sub behind closed doors, make sure the doors aren’t solid but rather a material like speaker-grille cloth or perforated metal to allow bass to flow into the room. If the idea of altering your cabinet doors is a turn-off, consider James Loudspeaker’s Powerpipe sub, which fires bass through a tube that ports into your room through a vent in the subwoofer. Very slick.
Build A False Wall
If you like the idea of an invisible sub but need something massive like Definitive Technology’s SuperCube Trinity Reference, JL Audio’s Gotham, or Velodyne’s DD-18, you can build a new wall in the front of the room. The speakers can sit in the space behind this wall, which can be finished with a variety of sound-friendly fabrics that let you hide all of your speakers, regardless of their size.
While hitting up manufacturers for their tips and tricks on getting the most sub out of discreet locations, it quickly became apparent that there was just too much information to cover in one column. So next month, I’m going to relay some of the terrific things I gleaned from the sub makers to help you get the best bass performance from your system regardless of the type of sub you use.
There has been a sharp rise recently of so-called geek girls, and the sad fact is that many, if not most, of these women are nothing near geeky. While the elusive geek girl does, in fact, exist, she’s much less common than most would care to admit. There are criteria that must be met to make a proper geek girl; she must be geeky, she must be a techie, and she must be hot. Too many misconceptions are throwing off the curve, and people need to understand that receiving a 300 page phone bill does not make a girl geeky. It makes her a stereotype that is far older, and less respectable. We’re here to set the record straight, with these 12 women who all qualify as the hottest geek girls to have graced the Internet’s tubes of fame.
This 28 year-old Russian vixen doesn’t spend her time bouncing around in front of a camera just for kicks — she’s out to educate in the process. Originally an etymologist, Marina found that applying her considerable knowledge in an unorthodox fashion was a quick way to beat the economy, and in 2007 Hot for Words was born. Averaging at over two million views per video, Marina pretty much owns YouTube. She’s been singled out by Wired, G4, and Cosmopolitan as one the world’s sexiest geek girls, and we’re tipping our hats as well.
She may be one quarter Aussie, a quarter Chinese, and half Canadian, but this geek girl is 100% awesome. She produced Assassin’s Creed in 2007, and she’s the sequel’s executive producer this year. She’s spent time working for Sony Online and Electronic Arts, two of the biggest names in the industry. One thing’s for certain; Ubisoft is one lucky gaming company to have her guiding their code.
She may be called The Cupcake Princess, but Marissa Mayer is no joke. She’s Vice President of Search Product and User Experience at Google. What’s that mean? It means within the walls of Google, what she says goes. She studied artificial intelligence at Stanford, and before she became the first woman to work at Google, she worked for UBS in a Zurich lab.
Gorgeous and aptly named Veronica Belmont began her career as an A/V nerd out of Boston’s Emerson College. She’s since hopped coasts and now spends her time in San Francisco, attending tech events and hosting tech shows for people like Sony and Revision3. That’s when she’s not busy podcasting, or logging hours on her PS3.
Jolie has a pretty solid history as a writer and journalist, and though she’s technically freelance, spends most of her time these days over at Read Write Web. Unlike most geeky goddesses, this redhead is actually pretty down to earth, even downright girl next door in the way she interacts with people. Add this girl to your reading list — You won’t be sorry.
No man can make it through a day in the life of a modern geek without the sight of Olivia Munn somewhere in his periphery. Whether she’s in a Wonder Woman outfit, or a Princess Leia bikini, she’s everywhere. And for good reason — She’s gorgeous. She’s become the face of not only G4, but all geekery as well, due to her long-running success as co-host of Attack of the Show.
Born Jessica Lynn Horn, it’s understandable that Ms. Chobot prefers a pseudonym. With looks like hers, the constant threat of bad punnery must have been stressful, to say the least. She’s a huge anime nerd on top of being a staff-writer for IGN, and if that’s not enough, she dabbles in Maxim and FHM in her spare time. She’s been on G4’s Attack of the Show several times, and is most noted for licking what is arguably the luckiest PSP ever built.
Morgan’s shown her resilience matches her geekiness by outlasting nearly every other employee who worked alongside her at TechTV before it merged with G4 in 2004. Since then, she’s steadily cemented her fame by not only hosting X-Play, but also making appearances in nearly every other tech show and convention possible. She’s even spent time writing for FHM, responding to despondent, horny gamer nerds once a month in her own column.
Another Canadian, Amber came down from the deep north to work for Microsoft, and even spent time in San Francisco working for Razorfish. She hangs out with Leo Laporte on a regular basis, and she’s hosted or made appearances on a laundry list of tech shows and podcasts over the years.
Felicia may have started off in the realm of pure acting, but she drifted into something much deeper when she helped create The Guild. Geeks everywhere suddenly became aware of the notoriously pale, gorgeous internet-star when episodes of the severely under-funded show began popping up in their inboxes. She’s now a full-blown web-celebrity now, and unlike many, works hard to earn her place in geeky lists everywhere.
This native Californian now hangs out in New York, and she’s serious business. She’s one of CNET’s senior editors, and she’s worked with Wired, TechCrunch, PC Magazine and a host of newspapers and other publications. She’s an experienced podcaster, and she’s made appearances on numerous other tech shows and broadcasts, including G4’s Attack of the Show.
Leah Culver was a co-founder of Pownce (now defunct), and now codes for Six Apart. She’s largely responsible for OAuth, which you probably used on at least one website today. She’s obscenely cute, and codes better than you do. She’s got a thing for old VW’s and Diet Coke, which pretty much makes her awesome.
By Philip Case
It may not give you 'The Drive of Your Life', as its makers Peugeot may try to claim, but the latest micro electric car is creating huge excitement in the automotive industry.
The Peugeot BB1, a cross between a scooter and a car, is powered by two electric motors which are mounted in the rear wheels.
A silver prototype BB1had residents and tourists stopping to take a closer peak when a prototype version rolled into Paris today.
Inspired by Peugeot’s electric VLV from the 1940s, the new all-electric BB1 represents the car firm’s view for the future of electrical-based urban mobility.
The Peugeot BB1, a cross between a scooter and a car, is powered by two electric motors which are mounted in the rear wheels
Back to the future: Peugeot has based the design of the BB1 on its VLV from the 1940s
At just 2.5m long, the bubble-shaped BB1 can amazingly seat four people in saddle-like seats and its packaging miracle is achieved by rethinking the driving task.
There are no pedals so the driver sits more upright with the rear passenger's legs around the driver's torso, motorbike pillion-style.
There is no room for a steering wheel either and the driver uses handlebars to control the mini vehicle, which is undoubtedly a real head-turner.
Peugeot sought inspiration from quad bikes when planning the BB1's electric propulsion system, co-developed with tyre manufacturer Michelin.
And the rear-wheel driven car is powered by two electric engines which give it plenty of poke.
It can reach 0 to 19 mph in 2.8 seconds and 19 to 37 mph in an impressive four seconds, with a top speed of around 65mph.
The power for the vehicle is provided by two lithium-ion battery packs supplying energy to the respective electric motors located under the right and left-hand rear seats, with a comfortable range of 75 miles.
Future's bright: The Peugeot BB1 could revolutionise the electric car industry if if it makes it to production
Peugeot says the BB1 is a logical addition to a vehicle line-up that incorporates bicycles and scooters, as well as cars.
Access to the vehicle is gained via the reverse opening doors, while the load area access is through an innovative tailgate design.
The body is made up of a very light carbon fibre structure, designed to wrap around the passenger compartment.
Inside, the car has an extensive range of interactive technologies, including a colour multi-function display and audio system with telephone, navigation, Internet access, radio, MP3, USB connector and 12V power socket if necessary.
Peugeot’s keeping mum about whether it will actually put the BB1 into production.
Electric dreams: A cameraman films the Peugeot BB1 prototype, styled on a 1940s design, while it is parked outside a Parisian cafe
C'est chic: French business people flock around the new Peugeot BB1
By Sean Poulter
If you thought kitchen technology had reached its peak with the microwave oven, think again.
Future cooks will use an indoor biosphere which grows vegetables and fish ready to be prepared with absolute freshness.
It sounds like the stuff of science fiction, but this sort of technology is already under development to help households take the pain out of going green.
Going swimmingly: The Biosphere Farm by Philips houses fish, root vegetables, grasses, herbs, plants and algae under a common roof
A study produced to help buyers at John Lewis plan for changing lifestyles details how technology can preserve the quality of life while dramatically cutting energy and water use.
It highlights advances already in development such as washing machines and dishwashers which clean with sound waves.
There will also be 'frugal fridges' which will suggest recipes based on what is inside and even compact and recycle food waste.
But perhaps most dramatic is the self-contained biosphere farm, created by Philips, to provide fish and fresh produce 52 weeks a year.
It will also deliver fresh hydrogen, which can be used to power a car, and run on food waste from the kitchen.
The plants produce oxygen, which is fed into the fish tank to keep the occupants happy.
The tank is kept clean by shrimps, which can also be eaten.
Elsewhere in the house, showers will filter waste water through a bed of reeds, allowing it to be reused to flush the lavatory or even make a cup of tea using, of course, a low-energy kettle.
Architects already use 3D printers to create the models they use in building design.
However, the technology will be applied to a machine which can use waste plastic to manufacture goods ranging from cups and spoons to a pair of trainers.
Last week, the energy regulator Ofgem warned that power tariffs might need to rise by 60 per cent by 2016 to fund a new generation of wind farms, nuclear and clean coal power stations.
Against this background, John Lewis and experts at the Future Laboratory, who are looking ahead to 2030, say there will be a fundamental shift in lifestyles and products to minimise energy use.
The head of product sourcing at the store, Sean Allam, said there would be a big move away from throwaway household gadgets with the store looking at ten-year guarantees on some items.
Police said Adam Manning had first tried to touch the nurse's neck before launching the sex assault
A father missed the birth of his first son after being arrested for groping a nurse on the way to the delivery room.
Police said Adam Manning sexually assaulted the nurse as she wheeled his wife into the delivery room.
The 30 year old had told the nurse she was "cute" then reached round to grab her breasts.
Police in Ogden, Utah, were called to the hospital and arrested Manning on charges of forcible sexual assault.
When later asked about his actions he said he had no idea why he carried out the assault. Police confirmed that he missed the birth of his son.
Ogden Police Lieutenant Lt. Loring Draper said Manning had looked the nurse 'up an down' after arriving at the McKay-Dee hospital and made a comment about her appearance.
'He commented on how attractive she was, how cute she was,' Draper said.
Police said Manning had first tried to touch the nurse's neck before launching the sex assault.
'After the second time, the nurse asked what he was doing,' Draper said. 'The wife responded that he was just drunk.'
Draper said it is unclear whether Manning drove to the hospital intoxicated or if he was taken there by someone else.
Officers said Manning had looked the nurse 'up an down' after arriving at the McKay-Dee hospital and made a comment about her appearance
Shortly after 11 a.m. on a sunny Thursday, a most astounding thing happened on the busy intersection of the Boston University Bridge and Commonwealth Avenue. Alexandra Slender, a BU sophomore, stopped at a crosswalk, waited for the white gleam of the “Walk’’ sign, and crossed.
It was a rare act of civil obedience for a pedestrian in Boston, repeated by almost no one else on this day at this intersection. Throngs of iPod-wearing, cellphone-texting walkers blew through the red “Don’t walk’’ signs, barely acknowledging the flustered drivers who slammed on the brakes and banged on their dashboards in futility.
Other cities hit unruly pedestrians with fines that can cost upward of $50. The $1 ticket for illegally crossing the street in Massachusetts would deter no one, even if Boston police bothered to issue citations, which they do not do. In a city infamous for its combative drivers, the walkers are no less aggressive, immersed in what one pedestrian advocate called “a culture of jaywalking’’ - despite statistics that suggest Boston is increasingly perilous for those on foot.
Last year, 13 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in Suffolk County, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, up from 10 the two previous years and 8 in 2005. The rate of pedestrian fatalities in Boston is low compared with other cities its size - a fact officials here attribute to the city’s compact layout, which generally prohibits high-speed driving.
But the number of Boston pedestrians taken to the hospital after accidents involving motor vehicles in 2008 shot up to 1,178, over 150 more than in any of the previous three years. That’s about 193 per 100,000 people. By contrast, there were 124 injuries per 100,000 people in New York City in 2006, the most recent year for which statistics were available from the state Department of Motor Vehicles. In Denver last year, a city of nearly Boston’s size, there were 39 pedestrian accidents per 100,000 people, according to the Denver Police Department. In Seattle, a city with nearly Boston’s population but much higher jaywalking fines, there were about 89 pedestrian injuries per 100,000 population in 2007, according to the Seattle Department of Transportation.
Boston officials are amid a campaign to improve crosswalks and intersections to make them safer for typical pedestrians - meaning people in a hurry. It is nowhere near enough to stem the tide of illegal crossings. On any given day, at any given intersection in Boston, pedestrians cut off drivers on the notoriously clogged labyrinth of city streets. They wander off narrow sidewalks to avoid a puddle, a dog, or one another, without regard to an oncoming 10-ton truck. They take over thoroughfares en masse, in little urban coups d’etat. Daring individuals step out and stare down drivers defiantly, like toreadors in a bull ring.
Even Slender’s law-abiding act was guided not by philosophy, but by footwear. “Usually, I just cross,’’ she said, pointing toward her flimsy pair of flip-flops. “Today I have the wrong shoes for hurrying across the street.’’
Jaywalking - the act of crossing against a signal, or not using a crosswalk when it is within 300 feet - is illegal in Massachusetts. With the fourth violation in a calendar year, the $1 fine goes up. To $2.
“The fine doesn’t do the trick,’’ said Boston police Superintendent William B. Evans, who heads department’s Bureau of Field Services. He had not heard of any officers issuing citations for jaywalking, even though he believes the proliferation of mp3 players, personal digital assistants, and other digital devices have made pedestrians “even more self-absorbed,’’ and more likely to jaywalk, than ever.
Distractions are not the only reasons walkers cross out of turn. At the especially chaotic intersection of Congress and State streets, no more than 30 yards from the site of the Boston Massacre, David Brown set out from the curb on a “Don’t Walk’’ sign, in front of a moving taxicab. Brown stared at the cab. Luckily for him it stopped.
“I’m from Boston,’’ Brown explained.
Boston’s transportation commissioner, Thomas J. Tinlin, observes this uneven clash of wills and weight classes all the time. From an operations center on the seventh floor of City Hall, Tinlin can watch a wall-size array of monitors, which broadcast in greenish tint live feeds from up to 200 cameras installed throughout the city. Here, transportation engineers can adjust the timing of signals, make note of problems, and dispatch police to unclog congestion.
During one recent lunch hour, a monitor showed gridlock on Congress and State, caused by a construction site. Pedestrians, sensing the opportunity to save time, were dashing across Congress Street between backed-up trucks rather than walk the extra 100 feet to the crosswalk. Others were at crosswalks, but ignoring signals. On the monitor, it looked foolhardy.
“You have pedestrians who are making poor decisions,’’ Tinlin said.
The decisions did not look so poor on the ground. Roxana Santana, in a hurry to cross the street, pressed the button that she thought would render a “Walk’’ signal. It did not. Few people know this, but the buttons at some busy intersections are programmed to work only at night, when traffic is light. (“It’s supply and demand,’’ Tinlin said.) A crowd materialized as Santana grew impatient with the “Don’t Walk’’ signal. At a lull in the traffic, everyone started to cross, and after one last glare at the button, she joined them.
“I took a chance,’’ she said.
People jaywalk, said Rosa Carson, program coordinator at the pedestrian advocacy group WalkBoston, “because street infrastructure really disregards pedestrians’ needs.’’
WalkBoston has completed a study of what works and what does not at 200 city intersections, and, once it has tallied the results, plans to share them with local officials.
“Improving the infrastructure won’t solve the problem overnight but would, likely, move things in a safer direction,’’ Carson said.
In many other cities, jaywalking is not as ingrained in the pedestrian culture. Carson described being “amazed’’ in San Francisco to find pedestrians waiting at “Don’t Walk’’ signs, even when there were no cars. Seattle has been combating jaywalkers for years - no matter who they are. Kenny Williams, general manager of the Chicago White Sox, reportedly was slapped with a $56 jaywalking fine in Seattle in August. Manny Ramírez, still with the Red Sox at the time and perhaps accustomed to Boston jaywalking mores, was nabbed for illegally being Manny on a Seattle street in 2008. Ramírez was lucky - he got off with a stern lecture.
In cities such as Los Angeles or Houston, where major thoroughfares are multilane, high-speed boulevards, the layout discourages unprotected forays into traffic, said Jeff Larson, general manager of SmartRoute Systems Inc. in Cambridge.
Boston is taking a few steps. City transportation engineers, aided by recently installed digital-control boxes that allow them to program and synchronize signals at many city intersections, recently re-calibrated more than 100 traffic lights to give pedestrians more time and opportunities to cross. New traffic configurations allow pedestrians and cars going the same direction to cross an intersection simultaneously; signs tell vehicles to yield to pedestrians and walkers to watch out for cars. The city has introduced “Don’t Walk’’ signals that count down how much time is left to cross - an upgrade long commonplace in other cities. And City Hall has proposed legislation that would raise the fine for jaywalking to $20, and $50 after the first three offenses in a calendar year.
Above all, Tinlin said, the city is trying to accommodate everyone on the sidewalks and roads, not just those sitting behind the wheel.
This approach has yet to change habits. Drivers, Evans said, still cut people off in crosswalks, infractions that result in dozens of tickets a week. Pedestrians still jaywalk with no fear of penalty.
Tinlin, born and raised in South Boston, knows all about that.
“I tried to jaywalk this morning and my 7-year-old daughter said ‘Dad, why aren’t we using the crosswalk?’ ’’ he said recently. “Do I wait for the walk all the time? I’d love to tell you that I do, but I don’t.’’
“But I know that what I’m doing is wrong.’’
Globe correspondent Jack Nicas contributed to this report.
A postcard bringing holiday news to a couple in Almondbury has just been delivered - 40 years after it was posted.
Couple David and Jennifer Palliser were dumbfounded to find the postcard - bearing a 5d stamp and addressed to a previous occupant of their house - among the bills landing on the doormat.
And it came amid mounting fears that postal workers are set to go on national strike.
The Communication Workers Union revealed on Thursday that members backed a nationwide walkout by 3-1 in protest at the "imposition" of changes to working practices as well as cuts in their pay and job losses.
The postcard was sent by someone called Heather to a Mr and Mrs Sedgwick at 27 Broadgate Crescent.
The postmark shows it was posted in June or July, 1969, in Shakespeare's birthplace of Stratford on Avon.
Heather talks about enjoying the sunshine, watching plays and seeing a match at Wimbledon's Centre Court.
Heather comments on having seats behind US tennis player Charlie Pasarell - who that summer famously defeated Pancho Gonzalez in the longest match in Wimbledon history at 5hrs 14mins.
The Wimbledon men's singles title was eventually won by Australian Rod Laver while Britain's Ann Jones took the women's title.
The postcard, featuring a colour picture of Anna Hathaway's Cottage, also bears a stamp marking the Garrick Theatre Jubilee 1769-1969. Famous Shakespearean actor David Garrick built the first theatre in Stratford in 1769.
Mrs Palliser said: "I saw the postcard lying on the mat with the other post and my first thought was - who's sent us a postcard?"
"I read the name and thought it must have come to the wrong house.
"Then I saw it had a 5d stamp and realised it was properly addressed but was 40 years old.
"The postcard looks to be in good condition, considering its age.""
Mrs Palliser said a Mr and Mrs Sedgwick had lived at the address - but they left some years before the Pallisers moved in during 1986 and the house had at least two other occupants in between.
Mr Palliser said: "We are asking around some of the neighbours who may know what became of the Sedgwicks or their relatives.
"If possible, we'd like to make sure the postcard gets to its rightful recipients."
A spokesman for Royal Mail said: "Without seeing the item, it's difficult to speculate as to what may have happened, but it's extremely unlikely that it's been in our system all that time as we regularly check all our sorting machines and offices.
"It could be that it has only recently been re-posted by a member of the public."
Other events from the summer of 1969 include:
June 1 - John Lennon and Yoko Ono protest against war by staging a "bed-in" in Montreal, Canada
June -20 Georges Pompidou is elected President of France
June 24 - The UK and Rhodesia sever diplomatic ties
July 8 - The US maks its first troop withdrawals from Vietnam
July 20 - Neil Armstrong becomes the first man to walk on the Moon