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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Michigan's Joe Cada becomes youngest poker champion

World Series of Poker

Tim Twentyman / The Detroit News

Joe Cada is on top of the poker world.

Tuesday morning, the 21-year-old from Chesterfield Township became the youngest player to win the World Series of Poker Main Event in its 40-year history.

After 88 hands and nearly 3 ½ hours of heads-up play in Las Vegas, the $8.5 million first-place prize that was neatly stacked on the table belonged to Cada.

Joe Cada poses after winning the 2009 World Series of Poker at the Rio Hotel & Casino. (Associated Press)

"It's all been pretty surreal," Cada told The Detroit News on Tuesday, after a short night of sleep. "I suspect it will be pretty crazy and I'll be pretty busy for the next year."

Cada turned over a pair of nines after 46-year old Darvin Moon called his all-in wager with a suited queen-jack, setting up a nearly-even race for all the chips on the table.

The board fell 7-7-K-8-2 as Moon didn't connect with either his queen or jack to give Cada the win. The hand abruptly ended a final table that was a back-and-forth affair the whole way.

Cada's friend, Tony Gargano of Sterling Heights, went to Las Vegas to show his support of Cada and was part of the mob that engulfed Cada after he won.

Joe Cada fans cheer on their player during the World Series of Poker final table. (Associated Press)

"I started playing with Joe when he was just getting into poker at age 16," said Gargano, 25, during a phone interview. "We were always really tough on him when he first started, bluffing him all the time and showing him how to really play. It's amazing to be here and see him now. I was more nervous for him than I think I would have been if it was me."

Dean Hamrick, also a friend of Cada's, missed his flight out of Lansing to Las Vegas on Monday to watch Cada in person. But Hamrick, who finished 10th at the main event last year, stayed up throughout the night to follow Cada's progress.

"I guess you can say I was vicariously living through Joe because a bad beat prevented me from getting to the final table last year," Hamrick said.

Hamrick added, however, that Cada's victory "couldn't have happened to a better guy."

Moon, a logger from Oakland, Md., battled his way back to take a dominant chip lead after being down more than 2-1 in chips to start the night.

Cada entered the match with nearly 136 million chips to Moon's nearly 59 million. But Moon erased Cada's lead in just 12 hands.

The night started with Moon pulling pocket-queens to Cada's pocket-nines in the very first hand of the match. Neither player hit a set and Moon netted nearly 50 million in chips right off the bat.

After some chip-shifting, Cada was ahead by less than 4 million chips after 52 hands, with 194.8 million chips in play.

Moon jumped to nearly a 100 million-chip lead after a 20-minute break, but Cada's fortunes changed when he made one of the more memorable all-in calls in recent World Series of Poker history. Moon aggressively played a board with 10-10-9-5 after the turn to put Cada's entire tournament at risk. After several minutes of deliberating, Cada called the bet and flipped over a jack and a nine for a pair of nines. Moon bet big on a straight draw but didn't hit his hand on the river, giving the lead back to Cada.

The call put Cada back in control the rest of the way.

"I ran really well and I never really thought this was possible," Cada told reporters immediately after his victory. "It was one of those dreams and I'm thankful it came true."

Cada navigated his way through 6,494 entrants and on Saturday a 276-hand, 14 ½-hour marathon session with the final nine players to make it to the heads-up match with Moon.

Cada's run to the title is even more amazing considering he had less than 1 percent of the chips with seven players remaining Saturday.

"It helped being down before and having no chips earlier at the final table," Cada told The News on Tuesday afternoon. "I though about that and I continued to stay focused and tried not to make any mistakes. I just remained calm and it worked out well. Props to Darvin, he played great poker."

Cada is the first professional to win the Main Event in eight years.

NASA’s Scrubbed Escape Pod Glides to New Home


The odd story of NASA’s unused wingless escape vehicle for the International Space Station is finally over.

The prototype X-38, a 7-person, unpowered, totally automatic lifeboat, was officially laid to rest at the Strategic Air and Space Museum in Ashland, Nebraska last weekend.

Canceled in 2002 by the Bush administration in an effort to cut some costs from the International Space Station budget, the vehicle could have provided an emergency return route for astronauts on the station. It would have been docked in space, awaiting the call of duty.

The program got as far as “drop tests” during which the vehicles were dropped from B-52s and piloted to the ground. One of them is seen above. After a short freefall, the X38 deployed an enormous parafoil, which allowed it to glide softly to the ground.

The program had cost around $510 million and needed around $50 million more to complete its flight testing. At the time, an unnamed engineer told the Houston Chronicle the decision to abandon the project was “absolutely ridiculous.”

The shape of the plane’s body recalls the X-24 and other lifting body airplanes, including the one designed for the 1969 space opera starring Gene Hackman, Marooned.



Images: NASA

Dead wrong: Man attends own funeral after mix-up over body's ID

From Mariane Teixeira, CNN

(CNN) -- On the holiday known as the Day of the Dead, a Brazilian bricklayer walked into his own funeral.

The sight of Ademir Jorge Goncalves alive shocked relatives, some of whom tried to jump out of the windows of the funeral home in southern Brazil.

"In my 10 years in this business, I have never witnessed a scene like this," said Natanael Honorato, manager of the funeral home in the Parana state.

On November 1, some family members and friends had identified the victim of a car crash as the 59-year-old Goncalves.

In my 10 years in this business, I have never witnessed a scene like this.
--Natanael Honorato, manager of funeral home

They scheduled his funeral for the following day, Dia de Finados, a holiday when Brazilians remember loved ones who have died.

What Goncalves' family did not know is that he had spent the night drinking at a bar near the site of the crash, but he was not the victim.

When the bricklayer got word of his funeral, he showed up at the Funeraria Rainha das Colinas funeral home Monday morning.

Later that day, the mystery was solved when a family in a neighboring town came inquiring about a son who was missing.

The family recognized the body -- and took it away for burial.

50 Spectacular Shots of the New Aston Martin Rapide Wow this is such an awesome car! Not sure who can afford to drive a car like this, but here's a peek into the serious Luxury of a new Aston Martin. This is a Hi-res gallery.

click here for the gallery: 50 Spectacular Shots of the New Aston Martin Rapide

Chad Ochocinco tries to 'bribe' official on replay ruling

The artful use of a folded bill can get people past a long line at a club, seated quickly at a restaurant with a 45-minute wait or, as countless detective shows have demonstrated, a good piece of information from a cab driver with a hazy memory. As Chad Ochocinco(notes) found out today, it will not get you a call during an NFL game.

The impish Cincinnati Bengals receiver playfully tried to bribe an NFL official today during his team's game with its division rival, the Baltimore Ravens. With the Cincinnati Bengals up 14-3 in the third quarter, Ochocinco caught a 15-yard Carson Palmer(notes) pass near the sideline. The side judge ruled it a catch, but the Ravens contended that Ochocinco's foot was out of bounds. While the ref was under the hood looking at the replay, Ochocinco borrowed a dollar bill from an assistant and playfully tried to hand the one-spot to another official.

Ochocinco was smiling the entire time and, as you can see above, the official put a stop to the hijinks before they really began. It didn't work, the ref overturned the call on the field and ruled that the pass was incomplete.

You're either going to be in one of two camps with this. Either you think it's hilarious (like me) or you think that the mere appearance of bribery toward officials is uncouth and needs to be dealt with swiftly. Judging by his track record, Roger Goodell will fall firmly in the latter camp. Expect a fine for Ochocinco, even though nobody will seriously think that this was ever meant to be anything but a goof.

How Ants Make Their Nest?


Ants are very industrious insects in which many people in the world expressed ants’ attitude and behavior in proverbs and pithy words. In fact, in al-Quran (muslim book) itself there was already a devoted one chapter which is called an ant (an-Naml in arabic). Being a small creature with only 2 stomachs and 3 eyes, they can lift the burden of double of their weight. Let us see why the ants are very heralded by many people and cultures. This experiment has been carried out by the investigation unit at NASA in Florida, USA, in which NASA wants to see how ants make their nests.

First, ants are placed in a closed container seen as an aquarium with only a light illuminated by ultra violet (light purple representing the sun) and the transparent medium gel (having the properties of minerals and nutrients as the soil).

After a few minutes away passed, ants were beginning to work, making the holes of small colonies to help other ants move in the “land”. These ants from my opinion want to escape from the hot sun.

As a result, it forms various types of small alleys connecting roads in the soil which is indeed a very unique arts. If we see the container from afar, oh God! it is very beautiful and creative architecture. Let’s take an example of their diligence and creativity and apply in our day life. Plus, they are also seen to work closely together to achieve their goal of making their nests for comfortable.

Source: Melayu Kini

Matchstick Titanic

Meet a man who's either very skilled, or just has way too much time on his hands.

Is Verizon’s New Early-Termination Fee Anti-Consumer?


Beginning Nov. 15, Verizon subscribers looking to get out of their smart-phone contracts early will pay $350 for the privilege. That early-termination fee is double the current one, but Verizon insists it’s justified because of the higher prices of today’s phones.

“The cost of smart phones is considerably higher than feature phones for which the early termination fees were created years ago at $175,” said Verizon spokesman Jim Gerace. He added that the new $350 ETF declines by $10 per month through the life of the contract and customers can avoid it by buying their devices off contract and paying full retail price.

An interesting move for Verizon (VZ), which just last year agreed to pay $21 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed by California consumers over the very early-termination fees it is now increasing. The plaintiffs in the suit alleged that Verizon’s ETFs were illegal under California law and that they were designed to unfairly lock consumers into long-term contracts and prevent them from switching carriers. When Verizon settled the suit, it denied any wrongdoing, insisting that early-termination fees are simply a means of recovering legitimate costs. And to some extent Verizon does have a point.

Full retail price for the Motorola’s (MOT) new Droid is $559.99. With a two-year contract, Verizon sells the handset for $199.99. Theoretically, that’s a $359.99 subsidy (I have no idea at what price Verizon purchases Droid from Motorola). So if Verizon allowed subscribers to break their contract after a month without paying an early-termination fee, the company would stand to lose money. And subscribers who did so could subsequently sell the device online and potentially make a profit, though a small one.

So it’s certainly understandable that Verizon and other carriers want to protect the subsidies they dole out for these new smart phones. And as noted earlier, Verizon’s new ETF drops by $10 each month a subscriber remains under contract. But at this rate, subscribers are still bound to pay a $110 termination fee in the 23rd month of a two-year contract. The contract is nearly over, the subscriber obligation to Verizon almost fulfilled, yet the company can still slap its customers with nearly a third of the full ETF if they break it at that time.

By month 23 of a two-year contract, does Verizon really stand to lose $110 if subscribers decide to switch carriers? Doesn’t seem likely if subscribers can walk away just a month later without consequence, taking their handsets with them.

Since Verizon is pro-rating the ETF, why isn’t it doing so in such a way that it zeroes out by the end of the contract?

And isn’t the fast pace of innovation in the smart-phone sector such that prices–for both component and device–are dropping so quickly that high ETFs aren’t really justified? Remember, you can get Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone for $99 today. When the iPhone debuted in 2007, it commanded a price of $499/$599, depending on model.

I’ve put those same questions to Verizon and will update here when I hear back. In the meantime, here’s what Consumers Union policy analyst Joel Kelsey has to say on the matter: “When people want to switch wireless services, the biggest cost they face is early termination fees. These fees are designed to lock people into long-term contracts and stop them from getting better deals. Early-termination fees make the marketplace less competitive. Verizon’s move is painful proof that it’s time for lawmakers to crack down on these fees.”

UPDATE: Verizon Wireless spokesperson Nancy Stark offers the following answers to the questions I posed above:

Your first question regarding the balance at month 23 or 24 assumes that, at that point, we have recovered all of our subsidy and up-front costs for every device. That simply is not so.

On your second question, while the pace of innovation plays a role in prices coming down somewhat, it also plays a role in driving up costs as more and more complexity that customers want is added to phones–from premium HTML browsers to high-resolution MP cameras with optical zoom; videoplayers; music players; dual processor chipsets; WiFi; very high display resolution, operating systems such as BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Palm, Android–ALL with the added value (vs a desktop) of mobility, and ALL in one tiny device that ALSO allows you to talk to anyone from anywhere. phew! (by comparison, I recently paid $200 for a camera and all it can do is take pictures, and it has only middle of the road capabilities.)

But getting back to ETFs specifically. The most important point is that Verizon Wireless customers do not have to have an ETF at all if they do not want to. ETFs allow customers to have it either way: They can have no ETF and pay full retail for their device. OR, they can get a greatly discounted device by having an ETF.

The end of Aerosmith? Singer Steven Tyler 'quits' the band

By Daily Mail Reporter

Steven Tyler

Steven Tyler performs with Aerosmith at the Abu Dhabi grand prix - but said he is now going solo

Hard Rock band Aerosmith are on the verge of splitting up after members revealed they are tossing up whether to call it a day or replace front man .

The singer signalled he is ready to work on solo material, and the rest of the band are considering their options.

Although the group's 40th anniversary is less than a year away, a growing wedge appears to have grown between the band and their frontman.

After injuring himself in a fall off stage in August, the band were forced to cancel gigs in .

Steven Tyler returned to front gigs in Hawaii and Abu Dhabi last month, but in a post-gig interview with Classic Rock magazine, he indicated he was ready to focus on his solo career.

The 61-year-old said: 'I don't know what I'm doing yet, but it's definitely going to be something Steven Tyler: working on the brand of myself - Brand Tyler.'

The rest of the band reportedly plan to meet soon to discuss 'either the announcement of a long hiatus or carrying on with a new lead vocalist'.

Rhythm guitarist Brad Whitford claimed that they would consider hiring a new frontman first.

He said: 'I'm not sure how good that would look, it would largely depend on who we could get and who would want to do it.

'That's big shoes to fill. Nobody could replace Steven or imitate him - he's one of a kind. But if somebody was willing to do it and the chemistry was right, why not?'

In Abu Dhabi, Tyler's dressing room was reportedly far away from the rest of the band, and his fellow musicians wouldn't see him until he walked onstage for the first song.


Aerosmith in 2007: (Left to right) lead guitarist Joe Perry, Joey Cramer, Steve Tyler, Tom Hamilton and Brad Whitford at Bangalore Airport

After Tyler injured himself in the fall, guitarist Joe Perry said he was upset the group had to cancel the rest of the tour and said they did not speak for more than a month.

'All I know is [Steven's] got to get his act together,' Perry told Associated Press recently.

'He and I haven't written a song together in over 10 years, so there's been some changes in what Aerosmith is.'

And he told an U.S. newspaper: 'Steven quit as far as I can tell. I don't know any more than you do about it. I got off the plane two nights ago.

'I saw online that Steven said that he was going to leave the band. I don't know for how long, indefinitely or whatever. Other than that, I don't know.'

The band formed in 1970, have released 14 albums and won numerous awards.

Among their best-loved singles are Walk This Way, Cryin, Janie's Got A Gun, Dude (Looks Like A Lady), Dream On and I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing.

How to turn an old PC into a media centre
Play media on your TV with an old PC and XBMC


XMBX has a selection of add-ons you can customise to improve you media centre experience


For years, Microsoft has been trying to convince us that we need to have not just a PC in the living room to serve up our media, but a full-blown installation of Windows too.

Both Intel and AMD have joined the fray – Intel with Viiv (the brand that no one knew how to pronounce), and AMD with its Live! initiative.

Despite all the marketing dollars spent on these ideas, they've been almost universally unpopular for a few simple reasons. First of all, most people don't want a modern high-powered PC, with all the noise they usually make, in the living room.

Much as we would like to, we won't be sidestepping this aspect in this tutorial; unfortunately, you'll still need a fairly decent PC.

Second, having a PC next to your TV or stereo means that you can't really use it as a standard PC. Trying to run standard applications on a TV screen will make you myopic in an instant, while watching movies on anything under a 24in widescreen monitor in your living room is a very unsatisfying experience.

Last but not least, the incredibly long boot times of your average Windows install make a mockery of any sort of instant-on concept.

XBMC – which was originally an app for the first-generation Xbox known as the Xbox Media Center – has become one of those annoying recursive acronyms so common in the world of software: it's now the XBMC Media Centre.

Despite the name, it's a very capable cross-platform, opensource application that will meet all of your media centre needs. Although it comes in versions for Linux, Windows, and OS X, we're going to look at the Live version.

It can be run from CD or installed onto your hard drive, and it is built around its own self contained operating system.

Get the software

1. First, head over to here and download the Live CD image. It will arrive as a ZIP file, so you'll need to extract it once it's been downloaded.

Step 1

Inside the ZIP file you'll find the ISO image, a Readme file and two other files. The file named 'installXBMC' is a script file that can be used to install XBMC in a Linux environment, so unless you intend to do that, ignore it.

Use your standard disc-burning software to make a bootable image from the 'XBMCLive.iso' file and, once you're finished, plonk the disc in the drive of your old computer.

Run the Live CD

2. Before you do anything else, you'll need to change the BIOS settings of the PC that you are going to use as the media centre so that it boots from CD. To do this, press the appropriate key – such as [Del] or [F1] – when the computer starts to enter the BIOS settings, and then go to the Boot section.

Step 2

After you've made the appropriate changes, make sure you save them before exiting. When you restart, the PC should run the Live CD and show a Boot menu with various options, including choosing the GPU, running in Safe mode and an option to install to your hard drive.

For now, either select your GPU or allow the system to boot to the Live CD automatically. While running the Live CD enables you to get a feel for the application, any settings you change will be lost the next time you reboot, so you're best off installing to your hard drive once you're sure you like what you see.

Install XBMC

3. To install, reboot your machine and choose the last menu option, 'Install XBMCLive to disk (USB or HDD)'. Some older PCs don't support booting from USB devices, in which case you'll have to go with an internal drive.

Step 3

Be careful here: installation will completely wipe all information from your hard drive, so make sure it doesn't contain anything important before you proceed. Fixed disks must be larger than 5GB, while USB sticks need to have at least 1.5GB of usable capacity.

You'll need to designate the drive you are installing to. If it's a single fixed drive, this will be Drive 1. You'll also need to confirm that you want to install to a fixed disk rather than removable drive as well as entering a password. The install process takes about 10 minutes. After it's finished, remove the Live CD and reboot.

Access your media

4. Rather than a media centre – where your content is stored locally – XBMC is more of a 'media extender', in that it is designed to fetch media across a network from shared folders, NAS drives and other UPnP devices. You can use local folders, but this works best if you installed XBMC in Linux or Windows.

Step 4

If you didn't do this, you'll either need to set up a network share on another computer on the network or use a removable hard drive or DVD drive. To set a folder's source, click on the media category – say, for instance, 'Video'. Right-click on the 'Videos' link on the next screen and choose 'Edit Source'.

Click 'Browse' and have a look for the shared folder. If necessary, enter a username and password for protected shares. Once this is done you can either add a new shared location using the 'Add' source button, or move on to the next category.

When playing video, moving the mouse to the bottom-left corner of the screen will bring up a Playback menu. Press the [Esc] key to go back up the menu levels.

Add extra features

5. As well as playing back your media collection, XBMC can retrieve weather information, run scripts and be customised with different themes and skins.

Step 5

If you fancy being able to access forecasts, click 'Weather | Settings | Region' and change the region to 'UK' and the time zone to 'Britain'. You will now be able to enter your location in the Weather section and receive local weather forecasts.

Now go back to the main menu screen and click on 'Settings'. Here you can tweak the defaults for video, music and pictures, as well as editing things like your network settings and autoplay.

Clicking the power icon will bring up a new menu from which you can eject discs from the optical drive, shut down, reboot or enter Suspend mode. The only thing left to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the show.


First published in PC Plus Issue 287