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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Megan Fox Strips For Armani!!

Move over Victoria Beckham, Megan is the latest fox to go bare for Emporio Armani Underwear!!

Megan Fox for Emporio Armani underwear.
Megan Fox for Emporio Armani underwear.

Megan Fox for Emporio Armani underwear.
Megan Fox for Emporio Armani underwear.

Megan Fox for Emporio Armani underwear.
Megan Fox for Emporio Armani underwear.

Victoria Beckham for Emporio Armani underwear.
Victoria Beckham for Emporio Armani underwear.

Victoria Beckham for Emporio Armani underwear.
Victoria Beckham for Emporio Armani underwear.

Victoria  and David Beckham for Emporio Armani underwear.
Victoria and David Beckham for Emporio Armani underwear.

Victoria and David Beckham for Emporio Armani underwear.
Victoria and David Beckham for Emporio Armani underwear.

David Beckham for Emporio Armani underwear.
David Beckham for Emporio Armani underwear.

Cristiano Ronaldo will be replacing David Beckham as Emporio Armani's new underwear model.
Cristiano Ronaldo will be replacing David Beckham as Emporio Armani's new underwear model.

If you thought Megan Fox was sexy on screen, just wait until you see these pics of her in her underwear for Emporio Armani!! The sizzling siren replaces last year’s Emporio Armani face and body, Victoria Beckham, while her hubby, David Beckham is replaced by soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo in the latest campaign. Megan was shot by photographers Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott for both Armani Jeans and Emporio Armani Underwear.
So how did Megan get so lucky? Well, it looks like Giorgio Armani is among the many Megan Fox fans! He says, “Megan is young and sexy and has a lot of spirit. Emporio Armani Underwear and Armani Jeans are all about a youthful attitude making her the perfect choice for the collections.” Judging by the photos above, I’m sure BFFs that you might agree! So now SHOP for Megan’s undies AND click to see – pics of Megan, Victoria, David Beckham and Cristiano!
—Katrina Mitzeliotis

Swedish girl 'grows back face' after reaction to Paracetamol

A Swedish teenager has grown back her entire face after an allergic reaction to a single Paracetamol pill caused it to turn black and fall off.

Eva Uhlin has finally recovered her looks.
Eva Uhlin has finally recovered her looks. Photo: Caters
Eva Uhlin, aged 19, has recovered her looks after suffering a once-in-a-million allergic reaction to the commonly used household pain killer purchased over the counter.
The deadly condition, known as Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis, attacked her body causing her skin to blister, burn and to scab.
During her illness parts of her chest, arms, back and stomach fell off. At one point the damage to Miss Uhlin's face was so bad that her lips grew together.

"It felt like something was crawling around under my skin, I was in total shock – it was like something out of a horror film," she said.

"I couldn't believe what was happening. I had taken Paracetamol many times before."
Miss Uhlin's nightmare began in September 2005 when she became ill with a fever on holiday.
Then aged 15, she was told to take a couple of Paracetamol tablets to relieve her symptoms but the combination of her virus and the drug created a freak reaction.

The teenager, now working as a waitress, woke up the next day to find blisters covering her face and spreading all over the rest of her body.

"It was terrifying, because at the time they didn't know what was wrong with me or what would happen to me," she said.

"When I looked in the mirror for the first time after it happened I didn't recognise myself."

Eva Uhlin in hospital.
Eva in hospital. Photo: Caters

After years of treatment at Sweden's University Hospital of Linkoping, Miss Uhlin has finally tried to return to the normal life of teenage girl. But even today she still has to take eye drops twice a day and is sensitive to bright sunlight.

"I've always been a positive person, and I didn't let myself think about the chance that my skin would never be normal again," she said.

"As well as the pain, the affect that the reaction had on my confidence for that time was pretty terrible. I was so ashamed of the way I looked. I hated anybody to see me."

Professor Folke Sjoeberg, one of the doctors who treated Miss Uhlin, said that she had been lucky to recover from the rare condition.

"The condition is very uncommon and it strikes only one in a million people. With this condition you have to just let it run its course because there is no way to stop it," he said. "I'm very glad that Eva has done so well after all that happened." 

Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis, also known Lyell's syndrome, kills 40 per cent of sufferers.

Rebecca Freeman, a spokesman for the British Association of Dermatologists, said anybody could be struck down by the disease.

"It is a very rare and severe skin condition," she said. "It can occur in all age groups, although prognosis is worse in the elderly and it is more frequent in females."

Milky Way over the Alps (Stunning Timelapse VID)

Timelapse movie: The Alps -- part II (night) from Michael Rissi on Vimeo.

Seven surprises on day one of the 2010 Detroit Auto Show

By Jonathan Oosting |

The North American International Auto Show in Detroit opened its doors to the press Monday with big news from several automakers. Here's a look at seven surprise announcements and reveals.
1.  Toyota goes 8-bit with FT-CH concept

Referencing the car's 8-bit styling, Toyota on Monday unveiled their new FT-CH compact hybrid with a retro video and soundtrack, evoking past Japanese innovations in the video game industry.

While it remains a concept car at this point, U.S. President Jim Lentz said the FT-CH could be the first entry in the Toyota's upcoming family of Prius vehicles.

If produced, Toyota says the FT-CH would likely cost less than the Prius, which starts at $22,000, providing the Chevy Volt with some stiff competition. (Photo gallery) PhotoFord Chairman Bill Ford Jr. and Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm speak Monday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.2. Michigan steals Ford jobs from Mexico as Focus goes electric

Ford dominated the headlines Monday at the Detroit Auto Show, announcing an additional $4.5 million investment in Michigan as it plans to build an electric version of it's popular Focus at the Michigan Assembly facility in Wayne.

The investment could produce up to 1,000 jobs according to Chairman Bill Ford Jr.

To produce the Focus Electric, Ford will move it's battery development in-house and shift production from Mexico to the Mitten State.

"There's a new spirit here," Gov. Jennifer Granholm said at a press conference announcing the development, "because we know the auto industry is back." (More)

House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., got star treatment Monday at the Detroit Auto Show, touring the floor with the likes of new Chrysler chief Sergio Marchionne and Gov. Granholm.

"We've come to Michigan, come to Detroit, to see, listen and observe," she said.  "We go back with great optimism."

And like the governor of her state, she promised she'll be back. (More)

4. Tea Party for two: Local tea party limits turnout at protest

A national tea party group hoped to stage a large-scale protest of 'Government Motors' on Monday outside the Detroit Auto Show, but relatively few people showed up.

Joan Fabiano, an activist who organizes local tea parties, urged supporters via email not to show up, writing that such a protest could hurt business in the state.

It seems many followed his lead. (More)

5. From SUV to UUV? GMC unveils Granite concept

GMC launched it's Monday press conference with the new Granite concept, which Executive Director of Design Dave Lyon called an urban utility vehicle.

Lyon said he hopes the Granite, which is two feet shorter than the Terrain, will "redefine GMC." (More)

Ford began the Detroit Auto Show with a bang, sweeping the 2010 Car and Truck of the Year at the morning awards ceremony.

A jury of 49 veteran automotive journalists voted the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Transit Connect the best car and truck of the year, respectively.

It was only the third time in the history of the awards that one automaker took home both honors. (More)

7.  Volkswagen unveils flashy NCC with flash dancers

Volkswagen took home Monday's honors for the most unusual reveal, hiring a group of male dancers to peel away panels hiding the automaker's gas-electric two-door hybrid concept.

While the dancers drew a few guffaws, the New Concept Coupe did not.

Powered by 27-hp electric and 150-hp gasoline engines, the NCC could get up to 45 mpg while going from 0-60 in 8.1 seconds, according to the automaker. (More)

Massachusetts cops can arrest you for making them famous


By Daniel Tencer

If you plan to videotape police officers at work in public, just be sure you're not in Massachusetts -- or you might end up in jail.
A report from the New England Center For Investigative Reporting has chronicled a pattern of what civil liberties advocates say is a misuse of police powers: Massachusetts police are using the state's stringent surveillance laws to arrest and charge people who record police activities in public.

It's a situation that is pitting new technologies against police powers. With recording equipment now embedded into cellphones and other common technologies, recording police activities has never been easier, and has resulted in numerous cases of police misconduct being brought to light. And that, rights advocates argue, is precisely what the police are trying to prevent.

In October, 2007, Boston lawyer Simon Glick witnessed what he said was excessive use of police force during the arrest of a juvenile. When he pulled out his cellphone to record the incident, he was arrested and charged with "illegal electronic surveillance."

In December, 2008, Jon Surmacz, a webmaster at Boston University, was attending a party that was broken up by police. Thinking that the police were being unnecessarily rough in the encounter, he pulled out his cellphone and started recording. He, too, was arrested and charged with illegal surveillance.

In September, 2002, citizen journalist Jeffrey Manzelli was arrested and charged with illegal surveillance after recording police officers cracking down on protesters at an anti-war rally.

Massachusetts is one of 12 US states that require "two-party" consent for surveillance. (The others include California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan and Pennsylvania.) While two-party consent laws were originally designed to stop private detectives and others from invading people's privacy, in Massachusetts the law's application has now broadened to include what civil libertarians say is an attempt by police to stop public oversight of their activities.

“The statute has been misconstrued by Boston police,’’ June Jensen, the lawyer who recently succeeded in having the charges against Glick thrown out, told investigative reporter Daniel Rowinski. “You could go to the Boston Common and snap pictures and record if you want; you can do that.’’

But that's not necessarily how Massachusetts' highest court sees it. As Alexandra Andrews reports at ProPublica, in 2001 the state's Supreme Court upheld a conviction of a man who was arrested in 1998 for recording an encounter with police. "Since then, such arrests have continued to occur," she reports.
Read the complete report from the New England Center for Investigative Reporting here.

Civil libertarians have been arguing for years that the beefed-up anti-terrorism laws that have come in to force in much of the Western world in recent years also present an opportunity for abuse of police power.
Earlier this year, a new anti-terror statute in Britain -- known as Section 76 -- allowed police to arrest anyone found "eliciting, publishing or communicating information" about soldiers, intelligence agents or police officers that is "likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism."

Since that definition is so broad, it has allowed police to arrest virtually anyone who takes a photograph of a police officer. Since the law was enacted last year, it has been used to delete tourists' photos of London, and to arrest and fine visitors who take pictures of landmarks.

15 year old is youngest to ride giant Jaws wave

From: Almost before they've dropped, Tyler Larronde proved his balls are made of steel when he become the youngest person to surf Hawaii's legendary big wave spot "Jaws".

The 50 Best Films of the 2000s Looking over the last ten years of movies, it’s clear – we need more filmmakers with personality. Here are the 50 Best films of the 2000s as reflected by the decade's best filmmakers (Martin Scorsese, David Lynch, Charlie Kaufman, Baz Luhrmann, Spike Lee, Guillermo del Toro, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Christopher Nolan, David Cronenberg, Pixar, etc.).

click here for the list: The 50 Best Films of the 2000s

Amanda Bynes Maxim Photo Shoot

Amanda Bynes

Amanda Bynes

Posing for us is the greatest Valentine's Day gift we can imagine. Thank you!
I'm honored! I had the best time on this shoot. I think every shot I did was sexy. Some people still see me as a kid, but I'm a 23-year-old woman now.

You want to show the world you're all grown up?
I want to show people who I am. My parents were like, "Does this mean you're gonna do sexy movies now?" I said, "Well, if they're done the right way, then maybe!" I mean, I'm not gonna do porn, but if it's a Leonardo DiCaprio movie or whatever...

Oh, we get it. If a scene involves making out with Leo DiCaprio, then it's OK?
Ha, yeah, then I wouldn't mind! Point is, it's time for me to start making my own decisions.

To see all the sexy photos of Amanda Bynes from our shoot, and to read her full interview, make sure to pick up a copy of Maxim's February issue, on newsstands January 19.

For immediate photos of Amanda, click here and here.
Watch Amanda's video here.

7 Ways to Make Money Without Actually Having a Job

Job market got you down? If applying to real-person jobs isn’t landing you the position you want, it may be time to try something different. Like offering up your body to medicine. Or selling your opinion for $50/hour. Or, easiest yet, hanging out at someone else’s house.
We’ve come up with seven ways you can make money without actually having a job. See if any of the opportunities below help you think outside the employment box.

1. House Sitting
While petsitting and babysitting generally don’t involve much down time, house sitting is a literal job: You sit in someone else’s house. For money. Sure, you have to water their plants every so often, but the rest of the time, you can relax. Just don’t break or steal anything.
Pros: Get paid to sit around in someone else’s house.
Cons: None, unless you throw a kegger while you’re there.
Pay range: $50+ per day.

2. Medical studies
Can’t sleep? Depressed or anxious? Got bunions? Chances are, someone wants to use you as a guinea pig for their latest product. Craigslist is usually chock full of opportunities in this field.
Pros: Get paid while potentially curing whatever ails you.
Cons: Nobody’s sure what the side effects are. That’s why they’re hiring you.
Pay range: $100+

3. Consumer surveys
A quick, painless way to get pennies in your cup is to fill out customer surveys for marketing research companies. Mind you, it’s going to take a lot of Internet time to turn those pennies into dollars. If time is what you have, surveys might be worth a try.
Pros: Low effort.
Cons: Low pay. Scammers abound in this industry.
Pay range: Usually a few dollars per survey.

4. Homestays
Students around the world come to the US to study and learn English. Many of these students choose to live with American families to get to know the culture better. Those host families, meanwhile, get paid a stipend to accommodate that student.
Pros: Get paid to have a student live with you and talk to them in English.
Cons: You may hate the student.
Pay range: $500+/month

5. Egg/sperm donation
Image: Yale Medicine
Sperm donation doesn’t net you as much as donating eggs does. Then again, giving sperm doesn’t require hormones, weight gain, and surgical harvesting sessions.. Call it hazard pay.
Pros: It’s easy, if you’re a guy.
Cons: It’s hard and painful, if you’re a woman.
Pay range: Sperm: $100—if you’re lucky. Eggs: $1,000-$30,000+

6. Focus groups
Image: Behavior Research
Research departments will pay you hundreds of dollars to sit around for a few hours and discuss topics of their choosing. The pay per hour can be good, if you’re selected.
Pros: High pay for little time.
Cons: You might not get selected. Watch for scammers.
Pay range: $50+/hour

7. Surrogacy
If you’ve successfully carried a child to term once before, why not do it again–for pay? Lots of couples want you to carry their precious bundle, often for close to $10,000.
Pros: Get paid to for living your life–with someone else’s bundle of joy in your stomach.
Cons: It’s someone else’s bundle of joy.
Pay range: $7,000+

Recording of Nazi officers who found Hitler's body released

A tape recording of Nazi officers describing the moment they found Adolf Hitler's body in his Berlin bunker has been discovered.


Recording of Nazi officers who found Hitler's body released
Adolf Hitler Photo: PA
The recording was made on October 25 1956 in a courtroom in Berchtesgaden, site of the Fuehrer's mountaintop home in Bavaria. The court was convened to officially declare the former leader of Nazi Germany dead so that his fortune and rights to his book "Mein Kampf" could be seized by the state government.
Among those giving evidence that day were Otto Guensche, an SS officer, and Heinz Linge, a valet, who first discovered the corpses of Hitler and his new bride Eva Braun.

Recording of Nazi officers who found Hitler's body released
The remains of Hitler's bunker in Berlin Photo: AP

On the recording, discovered by researchers for the German Spiegel TV channel, the men speak under oath of entering the Fuehrer's study after hearing shots ring out on April 30 1945.
"When I entered to my left I saw Hitler on the sofa," said Linge, who died in 1980.
"Hitler had his head bent forward somewhat and I could see a bullethole approximately the size of a penny on the right side of the temple."
Guensche, who went to his death in 1983 refusing to give details about the dictator's end, said: "Hitler sat on the arm of the sofa with his head hanging down on the right shoulder which was itself hanging limp over the back of the sofa. On the right side was the bullethole."
Martin Bormann, Hitler's secretary, was with them when they first entered Hitler's study, the pair testified.
They arrived at 3.30pm and participated in removing the bodies, carrying them upstairs to the devastated garden of the Reich Chancellery and assisting in their cremation.

Adolf Hitler skull fragment is genuine evidence of suicide, insists Russia
The skull fragment that is believd to belong to Adolf Hitler Photo: EPA

Both men were captured by the Soviets after the fall of Berlin and shipped off to Moscow for over a decade. It fuelled the myth which Russian leader Josef Stalin wanted to perpetuate that Hitler might somehow have escaped and was on the run. They came back to Germany in 1955.
The testimony of Guensche and Linge lay hidden in the Munich public records office. Spiegel has restored the recordings to allow them to be heard by scholars and historians.

Star Wars Trifecta: Nudity, Deadpool, France

By Rob Bricken

• The increasingly nerd-friendly burlesque joint Bordello in L.A. had another nerd-themed strip night, this time inspired by Star Wars. The ladies dressed as Slave Leia, a Stormtrooper, Darth Vader, Boba Fett, C-3PO, and, amazingly, Jabba the Hutt (it's not as terrifying as you think, but it is pretty terrifying). The pics begin here.

• What I'm convinced is the greatest Deadpool comics page of all time, courtesy of Distracted by Star Wars.

• Of course, you know I can't leave you with pics of sexy Stormtroopers and wacky Deadpool hi-jinks -- that wouldn't be nearly scarring enough. So enjoy this exceedingly French clip of French people doing some kind of Star Wars thing in ways that will leave you confused, angry and feeling like you've been touched inappropriately. Much thanks to Sean P. and everyone else who sent in the tip.

EA Officially Announces ‘NBA Jam’

by Ruibo  

The rumors of the NBA Jam revival from last week has been confirmed true today with the announcement from EA confirming the development of the most influential basketball game ever made.
NBA Jam will be an exclusive for the Nintendo Wii, and all-new features with a fresh new take on the game that will combine the old school with the new. There are still no details yet but do expect new modes, Wii visuals, characters and what EA PR is calling “gameplay depth.”
“NBA JAM is one of the most recognizable franchises in videogame history,” said Peter Moore, President, EA SPORTS. “Diehard fans of the original game have been asking for a remake for more than a decade. We’re very excited to give them their wish this year with the return of this iconic franchise.”
No price has been mentioned but we do expect the game to be released later this year. More information can be found on the official site including your chance to vote on the draft.

Scratching the surface: DJ'ing with your Mac

It's Saturday night and you're out and about painting the town red, or whatever color it is that towns are painted these days. Whether you end up at a night club, a lounge or a bar, there's a good chance there's going to be a DJ spinning up some tunes at the venue. And there's a good chance that you'll see a glowing Apple in front of the DJ, as said DJ may be accompanied by a MacBook or MacBook Pro. If you've ever looked into doubling your Mac as a virtual turntable, then this post may help you scratch the surface -- err, vinyl.
At the top of my list for DJ apps is Serato Scratch Live, commonly known just as "Serato". Although the software-hardware combination of Serato is also compatible with Windows-based machines, most DJs that I know, and most of the DJs in the venues I've been to, outfit their Serato setup with a Mac. Here's what's in a typical Serato DJ config:
  1. There's Serato Control Vinyl. Although it looks and feels like a traditional vinyl record, Serato Control Vinyl doesn't have any pre-recorded music on it. Instead, the record contains a control signal that allows Scratch Live (the software on your computer) to track the motion of the record -- allowing you to control and scratch the the MP3s or AACs on your computer. The price for Serato Control Vinyl records ranges between USD $10 and $20.
  2. Scratch Live, which is the software that's installed on your computer.
  3. To bridge the digital world (Scratch Live and your digital music) and the vinyl analog world, you'll need to use special hardware: either Rane's SL 1 or SL 3 audio interfaces. These breakout boxes connect to your computer via USB. Audio is passed to the breakout box by connecting your left and right turntables' respective RCA cables to Serato's inputs, and likewise Serato's outputs to your mixer.
While you can purchase Serato Control Vinyl and a Rane SL 1 or SL 3 box separately, they can can also be purchased as packages. For example, a package with Scratch Live, two Serato Control Vinyl records and the Rane SL 1 box is usually priced at about USD $540.
Similar vinyl-based digital solutions are also offered by Stanton's Final Scratch, Native Instruments' Traktor Scratch, and Torq DJ.

But if you're just looking to get your feet wet without the need for expensive hardware, there are software-centric options to tickle your beat matching and vinyl scratching fancy. Here, instead of using digital vinyl, you'll be using your Mac's trackpad and some keyboard combinations to perform your mixing trickery. Of the paid-for options available, I've found algoriddim's Djay (USD $49.95) to offer the best balance of simplicity and ease-of-use for novices, as well as providing some advanced features for the more seasoned DJ.
Like a traditional DJ setup, DJay's interface presents dual virtual turntables to the user. Playing a song on one of the turntables is as simple as dragging and dropping songs from your song library (which is very nicely integrated with iTunes) to the desired turntable. Besides EQ, gain level, record speed and mixer controls, you can also set looping and cue points. To facilitate your workflow and mixing, the app features an "analyze library" feature that analyzes your songs and provides the beats per minute (BPM) of them. But if you're feeling lazy and not in the mixing mood, you can choose the app's "Automix" option. As implied in its name, the feature puts DJay on autopilot and automatically mixes your music for you. While DJay is suitable for use without any special hardware, Vestax has developed Spin, a USB controller that provides for more physical, turntable-like control. Spin is available at the Apple Store for USD $249.95.
Advances in technology have changed DJ'ing, as the sight of seeing DJs carrying in large carrying cases and milk crates full of 12" records has become less frequent. Serato and DJay represent two DJ'ing offerings available on the Mac, but by no means are they the only options. Readers, we'd like to hear some of your recommendations to the aspiring DJ or the mixmaster in all of us.

Israeli Robots Remake Battlefield

Nation Forges Ahead in Deploying Unmanned Military Vehicles by Air, Sea and Land

(See Corrections & Amplifications below).
TEL AVIV, Israel – Israel is developing an army of robotic fighting machines that offers a window onto the potential future of warfare.
Sixty years of near-constant war, a low tolerance for enduring casualties in conflict, and its high-tech industry have long made Israel one of the world's leading innovators of military robotics.

WSJ's Charles Levinson reports from Jerusalem to discuss Israel's development of robotic, unmanned combat systems. He tells Simon Constable on the News Hub how they are deploying unmanned boats, ground vehicles and aerial vehicles.
"We're trying to get to unmanned vehicles everywhere on the battlefield for each platoon in the field," says Lt. Col. Oren Berebbi, head of the Israel Defense Forces' technology branch. "We can do more and more missions without putting a soldier at risk."
In 10 to 15 years, one-third of Israel's military machines will be unmanned, predicts Giora Katz, vice president of Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., one of Israel's leading weapons manufacturers.
"We are moving into the robotic era," says Mr. Katz.

Over 40 countries have military-robotics programs today. The U.S. and much of the rest of the world is betting big on the role of aerial drones: Even Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Shiite guerrilla force in Lebanon, flew four Iranian-made drones against Israel during the 2006 Lebanon War.
When the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, it had just a handful of drones. Today, U.S. forces have around 7,000 unmanned vehicles in the air and an additional 12,000 on the ground, used for tasks including reconnaissance, airstrikes and bomb disposal.
In 2009, for the first time, the U.S. Air Force trained more "pilots" for unmanned aircraft than for manned fighters and bombers.
U.S. and Japanese robotics programs rival Israel's technological know-how, but Israel has shown it can move quickly to develop and deploy new devices, to meet battlefield needs, military officials say.
"The Israelis do it differently, not because they're more clever than we are, but because they live in a tough neighborhood and need to respond fast to operational issues," says Thomas Tate, a former U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who now oversees defense cooperation between the U.S. and Israel.
Among the recently deployed technologies that set Israel ahead of the curve is the Guardium unmanned ground vehicle, which now drives itself along the Gaza and Lebanese borders. The Guardium was deployed to patrol for infiltrators in the wake of the abduction of soldiers doing the same job in 2006. The Guardium, developed by G-nius Ltd., is essentially an armored off-road golf cart with a suite of optical sensors and surveillance gear. It was put into the field for the first time 10 months ago.
In the 2006 Lebanon War, Israeli soldiers took a beating opening supply routes and ferrying food and ammunition through hostile territory to the front lines. In the Gaza conflict in January 2009, Israel unveiled remote-controlled bulldozers to help address that issue.

More on Israel

[Israeli Robots Remake Battlefield] David Furst/AFP for The Wall Street Journal.
Israel pioneered the use of aerial drones like the Heron, under construction, above, at Israeli Aerospace Industries.
Within the next year, Israeli engineers expect to deploy the voice-commanded, six-wheeled Rex robot, capable of carrying 550 pounds of gear alongside advancing infantry.
After bomb-laden fishing boats tried to take out an Israeli Navy frigate off the coast off Gaza in 2002, Rafael designed the Protector SV, an unmanned, heavily armed speedboat that today makes up a growing part of the Israeli naval fleet. The Singapore Navy has also purchased the boat and is using it in patrols in the Persian Gulf.
After Syrian missile batteries in Lebanon took a heavy toll on Israeli fighter jets in the 1973 war, Israel developed the first modern unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV.
When Israel next invaded Lebanon in 1981, the real-time images provided by those unmanned aircraft helped Israel wipe out Syrian air defenses, without a single downed pilot. The world, including the U.S., took notice.
The Pentagon set aside its long-held skepticism about the advantages of unmanned aircraft and, in the early 1980s, bought a prototype designed by former Israeli Air Force engineer Abraham Karem. That prototype morphed into the modern-day Predator, which is made by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc.
Unlike the U.S. and other militaries, where UAVs are flown by certified, costly-to-train fighter pilots, Israeli defense companies have recently built their UAVs to allow an average 18-year-old recruit with just a few months' training to pilot them.
Military analysts say unmanned fighting vehicles could have a far-reaching strategic impact on the sort of asymmetrical conflicts the U.S. is fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and that Israel faces against enemies such as Hezbollah and Hamas.
In such conflicts, robotic vehicles will allow modern conventional armies to minimize the advantages guerrilla opponents gain by their increased willingness to sacrifice their lives in order to inflict casualties on the enemy.
However, there are also fears that when countries no longer fear losing soldiers' lives in combat thanks to the ability to wage war with unmanned vehicles, they may prove more willing to initiate conflict.
In coming years, engineers say unmanned air, sea and ground vehicles will increasingly work together without any human involvement. Israel and the U.S. have already faced backlash over civilian deaths caused by drone-fired missiles in Gaza, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Those ethical dilemmas could increase as robots become more independent of their human masters.
Write to Charles Levinson at
Corrections & Amplifications
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. manufactures the Predator unmanned aerial vehicle. A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that General Dynamics Corp. manufactured the UAV.

Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page A10

Surfers Catch Record-Setting Wave?

By James Williams
In early December 2009, Super Typhoon Nida was dying in the North Pacific (that's her in her prime below). She was a real beaut - 175 mph winds, lots of energy. Some of that energy ended up in what could be a record-setting wave in Hawaii. More on that in a sec...


As Nida lost steam, another system called "97W" was beginning to organize just below her. Both storms are visible here:

What happened next created what some predicted would be the biggest waves Hawaii had seen in 40 years.
As Nida lost her mojo, her energy was absorbed into 97W creating a massive low-pressure system similar to a nor'easter. Before the storm fell apart, it pumped out a huge swell that landed in Hawaii three days later, on the morning of Dec. 7.  The result was a wave that only two surfers were both brave enough and in a position to catch:
By the way - when they ask if this is the biggest wave ever caught, they're talking about paddling into a wave without the use of a jet-ski. In other words, this isn't the biggest wave ever ridden...that likely happened on Cortes Bank in January of last year (that wave was judged to be 77 feet high) and was caught with the towing abilities of a jet-ski.  But the wave you see above *could* be the biggest wave ever ridden by simply catching it via paddling with your arms and legs. This video is an entry in Billabong's annual big wave competition, so we'll probably hear from them this summer on exactly how big they think the wave was.

Also, you may wonder what it feels like to wipe out on one of these monster waves. Watch the video below for that answer...
 Surviving a Big Wave Wipeout

*Thanks to NASA for the images and NASA's Rob Gutro for an explanation on the storm systems.

Essential whisky facts that every man should know

All too often these days, we can't even identify what we´re drinking. If, Swingers style, you're going to order "any Glen" to impress the ladies, it's probably best if you don't mix it up with the bourbon your buddy ordered. So, with that noble goal in mind, here is your Whisky Cheat Sheet:

Whisky was first made in Ireland by missionary monks (who make the best booze and beer because the secrets are given to them by God) as early as the sixth century. Along with spreading The Word of The Lord, they also began distilling whisky, or as it's called in Gaelic, uisce beatha, meaning "water of life." Occupying British soldiers in the 12th century bastardised the pronunciation and it eventually came out "whisky".

Whisky is a general term describing many spirits. Every region/country that makes whiskey has its own rules & regulations for the liquor to be considered official -- so they can set themselves apart and then have a pissing contest to see whose is better. Whisky in the simplest of terms is comprised of water, a grain and yeast (if you add hops to those three, you get beer), and is aged in oak casks. The way you manipulate these ingredients accounts for all of the different varieties.

More, right here.

The four major types are Irish Whiskey (with an 'e'), Scotch Whisky, American Whiskey (again with an 'e'), & Canadian Whisky. The Irish & Americans spell it with the 'e'; the rest of the world leaves it off to save on printing costs. Let's break it down:

Irish Whiskey
Distilled three times. Uses pure-malted barley as the grain. Aged at least three years in oak casks.

Scotch or Scottish Whisky
Distilled twice. Also uses barley, which is dried over peat fire, giving scotch it's characteristic smoky flavor. Aged at least two years in oak.

American Whiskey

Made from a mash (mixture) of cereal grain. Aged at least two years in charred, unused oak.

Canadian Whisky
Uses at least 51 percent malted rye as the grain. Aged at least three years in oak.

Other Fun Facts:
A whisky stops maturing after it's bottled, so it won't get "better" over time.

A closed bottle can be kept for more than 100 years and you'll still be good to go. So, raid your parents' liquor cabinet and grab that sealed Jameson from Christmas of '87.

An opened bottle is all right for five years. This is good to know for nicer bottles, but you should be drinking that handle of Beam way quicker than that.

The oak barrels give the whisky its caramel colour.

Whisky gains as much as 60 percent of its flavour from the type of cask used in the aging process.

Bourbon is an American Whiskey made from at least 51 percent corn. It no longer has to be made in Bourbon, Kentucky, but 90 percent of it is.

Bourbon County, is a dry county. Which is just stupid. Silly Americans.

The reason Jack Daniel's is not considered bourbon is because they filter it through sugar-maple charcoal ("mellowing") prior to aging.

While most people think that adding ice or water to whisky is sacrilegious, it is all about taste. One person might prefer his whisky neat (straight up), but a small amount of water or ice will bring out more subtle, nuanced flavors. Give it a try ... just stay away from the mixers. You're a man now.

Anne Frank diary guardian Miep Gies dies aged 100

Speaking in 1995, Miep Gies shares her memories of Anne Frank

Miep Gies, the last surviving member of the group who helped protect Anne Frank and her family from the Nazis, has died in the Netherlands aged 100.

She and other employees of Anne Frank's father Otto supplied food to the family as they hid in a secret annex above the business premises in Amsterdam.
Anne's diary of their life in hiding, which ended in betrayal, is one of the most famous records of the Holocaust.
It was rescued by Mrs Gies, who kept it safe until after the war.
Miep Gies died in a nursing home after suffering a fall just before Christmas.
Speaking last year as she celebrated her 100th birthday, Mrs Gies played down her role, saying others had done far more to protect Jews in the Netherlands.
She and her fellow employees kept Anne and the seven others supplied for two years, from 1942 to 1944.
Anne Frank
Anne Frank died of typhus in a Nazi concentration camp in 1945
When the family were found by the authorities, they were deported, and Anne died of typhus in the German concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen.
It was Mrs Gies who collected up Anne's papers and locked them away, hoping that one day she would be able to give them back to the girl.
In the event, she returned them to Otto Frank, who survived the war, and helped him compile them into a diary that was published in 1947.
It went on to sell tens of millions of copies in dozens of languages.
Mrs Gies became a kind of ambassador for the diary, travelling to talk about Anne Frank and her experiences, campaigning against Holocaust denial and refuting allegations that the diary was a forgery.
For her efforts to protect the Franks and to preserve their memory, Mrs Gies won many accolades.
Memories of Anne
In an interview from 1998, published on the annefrank website, Miep Gies says she thought it "perfectly natural" to help Anne and the seven others despite the penalties she could have suffered under the Nazi occupation.
(AP Photo/Anne Frank House/AFF)
Mrs Gies, bottom left, and Otto Frank, next to her, were reunited after the war
"They were powerless, they didn't know where to turn..." she says. "We did our duty as human beings: helping people in need."
Her role was, she recalls, to fetch vegetables and meat while others supplied bread or books.
Her memory of Anne is of having the feeling she was "speaking to an adult".
"I'd say to myself, 'My goodness, child, so young and talking like that already'," she says in the interview.
She believes that she once came across Anne writing the diary.
"It was a very uncomfortable situation," she says.

"I tried to decide what to do. Should I walk away or go to her? At that moment she glanced at me, with a look that I'll never forget.
"This wasn't the Anne I knew, that friendly, charming child. She looked at me with anger, rage. Then Anne stood up, slammed her diary shut and glared at me with great condescension. 'Yes,' she said, 'I'm writing about you, too.'
"I didn't know what to say. The only thing I could manage was: 'That ought to be interesting.'"
Mrs Gies also remembers the day the Franks were taken away and how she went up into the empty annex to find the pages of the diary lying on the floor.
Removing the pages, she did not read them immediately, telling herself at the time: "These may belong to a child, but even children have a right to privacy."

Abandoned Salt Mine in Romania

The Salina Praid is situated 5 km from Sovata, in the Harghita County which is more famously known as the Salt Zone in Romania. Geographically, the basin of Praid can be found on the east coast of the Transylvanian basin (”a huge salt cellar”), at the base of the Gheorgheni Mountains. The history is traced back to the middle ages around 2nd century AD, when the Romans exploited the salt. The excavations left by Romans were continued by Avars and by Bulgars later.
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The history has in fact witnessed the Szekler rising in the year 1562. The Szeklers were Hungarians in origin, lived in the northern-central regions of Transylvania as pastoralists. And their livelihood here made this place more famous for the Szekler Salt that allowed them to mine the salt 3 times in a year without any taxes or restrictions.
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Geologically speaking, the Praid is the salt hill, 567 meter tall and called as Dealul Sarii, where you can find the salt deposits in abundance which are as thick as 2000m, and which are estimated to contain about 3 billion tons of salt. The Praid is termed as the natural centre of the Szekely Salt Country. One can find different sorts of recreation too, for instance, the underground playgrounds for children, the billiard-tables for adults, a buffet, salt-spas & salt swimming pools (for wellness and relaxation, rheuma treatment, and skin diseases), salt museum, salt exhibition and sculptures, and of course a church too called ecumenical chapel.
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The most attractive feature of this salt mine is the Speleotherapy that amounts for great number of visitors daily, around 2500 to 3000 per day. This therapy also called as halo therapy, is a special therapy used to deal with the respiratory problems like bronchitis, asthma and allergies, etc. A highly ionized air and a higher atmospheric pressure than on the surface 735-738 mmHg on average are concentrated on for this kind of treatment. A very famous treatment in some countries that takes about 18 days’ time.
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The mine tours take around the people through all these places in the salt mine, accumulating 25 visitors in a trip, and thus making about 100 such trips daily.