vendredi 30 novembre 2012

Honda tries to regain its stride with upgraded Civic

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Honda Motor Co introduced its redesigned Civic sedan only a year-and-a-half after a major model change of the best-selling compact car in the United States.
Even Honda admits that the 2012 Civic, introduced in the spring of 2011, missed the mark. For a company that prides itself on rock-solid reliability, it was a shock last summer when influential Consumer Reports ranked the Civic dead last in a field of 12 compact sedans it tested.
Sales of the new Civic, a 2013 model, will start this week and the refreshed car was shown off on Thursday at the LA Auto Show.
Honda produced a Civic that is upgraded inside and out, featuring a sleeker look, better quality interiors and improved steering feel and a rear view camera that comes standard, said John Mendel, executive vice president of sales for American Honda.
Mendel said that Honda has no plans to compensate owners of the 2012 Civic, and that he has only heard from a few customers upset that they bought a car that was upgraded so soon.
He said he would equate it to the owner of a year-and-a-half-old Apple IPod when Apple comes out with a new version.
"You still got a great vehicle, with a lot of capability. The new one is just improved," said Mendel, which is what he tells customers, who, he said, are satisfied with their cars.
"I don't want to be too flip about that but at the same time it's not as if we duped them into buying something that was not good and then all of a sudden said we fixed it," said Mendel. "You got the broken one and now we got the real one. It's not the case."
Mendel said that there is a 45-day supply of 2012 Civics remaining, which should take a few months to sell off. Honda is offering three-year leases on those cars for $149 a month and $1,999 down.
Jake Fisher, director of automotive testing for Consumer Reports, says that the magazine will test the new Civics soon. He could not predict if the Civic will return to its "recommended buy" list, but he said that Honda seems to be making the right moves after some questionable quality in some of its models in the past several years.
"They have gotten their mojo back," Fisher said on the sidelines of the LA Auto Show. "They've had problems. They had a whole series where every new redesign was worse" than the car it replaced.
Fisher said the new Accord, which went on sale a few months ago, "is a really impressive vehicle" and much-improved over its predecessor.
"Hopefully, the improvements they've made in the Civic will help bring it up over the line and we can recommend it again," Fisher said.
The Civic LX sedan with automatic transmission is priced at $19,755 including destination charges, and a manual transmission version is $800 less. All versions of the 2013 Civic that go on sale this week are $160 higher than the 2012 models.
Mendel, as he has said several times this year, said on Thursday that Honda miscalculated the market after the Lehman Bros. collapse in 2008 and the beginning of the recent recession, which was when the 2012 Civic was being developed.
"We had anticipated," said Mendel, "that consumers would have a little bit different and more conservative view about driving. We underestimated the expectations. We zigged a little bit to provide them with the content that we thought they would want."
Mendel said that by the time the 2012 Civic was introduced, Honda executives were already saying they undershot the target and needed to upgrade the car.

Congress looks at doing away with the $1 bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — American consumers have shown about as much appetite for the $1 coin as kids do their spinach. They may not know what's best for them either. Congressional auditors say doing away with dollar bills entirely and replacing them with dollar coins could save taxpayers some $4.4 billion over the next 30 years. Vending machine operators have long championed the use of $1 coins because they don't jam the machines, cutting down on repair costs and lost sales. But most people don't seem to like carrying them. In the past five years, the U.S. Mint has produced 2.4 billion Presidential $1 coins. Most are stored by the Federal Reserve, and production was suspended about a year ago.
The latest projection from the Government Accountability Office on the potential savings from switching to dollar coins entirely comes as lawmakers begin exploring new ways for the government to save money by changing the money itself. The Mint is preparing a report for Congress showing how changes in the metal content of coins could save money.
The last time the government made major metallurgical changes in U.S. coins was nearly 50 years ago when Congress directed the Mint to remove silver from dimes and quarters and to reduce its content in half dollar coins. Now, Congress is looking at new changes in response to rising prices for copper and nickel. At a House subcommittee hearing Thursday, the focus was on two approaches:—Moving to less expensive combinations of metals like steel, aluminum and zinc. —Gradually taking dollar bills out the economy and replacing them with coins.
The GAO's Lorelei St. James told the House Financial Services panel it would take several years for the benefits of switching from paper bills to dollar coins to catch up with the cost of making the change. Equipment would have to be bought or overhauled and more coins would have to be produced upfront to replace bills as they are taken out of circulation. But over the years, the savings would begin to accrue, she said, largely because a $1 coin could stay in circulation for 30 years while paper bills have to be replaced every four or five years on average.
"We continue to believe that replacing the note with a coin is likely to provide a financial benefit to the government," said St. James, who added that such a change would work only if the note was completely eliminated and the public educated about the benefits of the switch. Even the $1 coin's most ardent supporters recognize that they haven't been popular. Philip Diehl, former director of the Mint, said there was a huge demand for the Sacagawea dollar coin when production began in 2001, but as time wore on, people stayed with what they knew best.
"We've never bitten the bullet to remove the $1 bill as every other Western economy has done," Diehl said. "If you did, it would have the same success the Canadians have had." Beverly Lepine, chief operating officer of the Royal Canadian Mint, said her country loves its "Loonie," the nickname for the $1 coin that includes an image of a loon on the back. The switch went over so well that the country also went to a $2 coin called the "Toonie."
Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Mich., affirmed that Canadians have embraced their dollar coins. "I don't know anyone who would go back to the $1 and $2 bills," he said. That sentiment was not shared by some of his fellow subcommittee members when it comes to the U.S. version. Rep. Lacy Clay, D-Mo., said men don't like carrying a bunch of coins around in their pocket or in their suits. And Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., said the $1 coins have proved too hard to distinguish from quarters.
"If the people don't want it and they don't want to use it," she said, "why in the world are we even talking about changing it?" "It's really a matter of just getting used to it," said Diehl, the former Mint director. Several lawmakers were more intrigued with the idea of using different metal combinations in producing coins.Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, said a penny costs more than 2 cents to make and a nickel costs more than 11 cents to make. Moving to multiplated steel for coins would save the government nearly $200 million a year, he said.
The Mint's report, which is due in mid-December, will detail the results of nearly 18 months of work exploring a variety of new metal compositions and evaluating test coins for attributes as hardness, resistance to wear, availability of raw materials and costs. Richard Peterson, the Mint's acting director, declined to give lawmakers a summary of what will be in the report, but he said "several promising alternatives" were found.

jeudi 29 novembre 2012

Supersymmetry Fails Test, Forcing Physics to Seek New Ideas

As a young theorist in Moscow in 1982, Mikhail Shifman became enthralled with an elegant new theory called supersymmetry that attempted to incorporate the known elementary particles into a more complete inventory of the universe.
“My papers from that time really radiate enthusiasm,” said Shifman, now a 63-year-old professor at the University of Minnesota. Over the decades, he and thousands of other physicists developed the supersymmetry hypothesis, confident that experiments would confirm it. “But nature apparently doesn’t want it,” he said. “At least not in its original simple form.”
With the world’s largest supercollider unable to find any of the particles the theory says must exist, Shifman is joining a growing chorus of researchers urging their peers to change course.
In an essay posted last month on the physics website, Shifman called on his colleagues to abandon the path of “developing contrived baroque-like aesthetically unappealing modifications” of supersymmetry to get around the fact that more straightforward versions of the theory have failed experimental tests. The time has come, he wrote, to “start thinking and developing new ideas.”
But there is little to build on. So far, no hints of "new physics" beyond the Standard Model — the accepted set of equations describing the known elementary particles — have shown up in experiments at the Large Hadron Collider, operated by the European research laboratory CERN outside Geneva, or anywhere else. (The recently discovered Higgs boson was predicted by the Standard Model.) The latest round of proton-smashing experiments, presented earlier this month at the Hadron Collider Physics conference in Kyoto, Japan, ruled out another broad class of supersymmetry models, as well as other theories of “new physics,” by finding nothing unexpected in the rates of several particle decays.
“Of course, it is disappointing,” Shifman said. “We’re not gods. We’re not prophets. In the absence of some guidance from experimental data, how do you guess something about nature?”
Younger particle physicists now face a tough choice: follow the decades-long trail their mentors blazed, adopting evermore contrived versions of supersymmetry, or strike out on their own, without guidance from any intriguing new data.
"It's a difficult question that most of us are trying not to answer yet," said Adam Falkowski, a theoretical particle physicist from the University of Paris-South in Orsay, France, who is currently working at CERN. In a blog post about the recent experimental results, Falkowski joked that it was time to start applying for jobs in neuroscience.
“There’s no way you can really call it encouraging,” said Stephen Martin, a high-energy particle physicist at Northern Illinois University who works on supersymmetry, or SUSY for short. “I’m certainly not someone who believes SUSY has to be right; I just can’t think of anything better.”
Supersymmetry has dominated the particle physics landscape for decades, to the exclusion of all but a few alternative theories of physics beyond the Standard Model.
“It's hard to overstate just how much particle physicists of the past 20 to 30 years have invested in SUSY as a hypothesis, so the failure of the idea is going to have major implications for the field,” said Peter Woit, a particle theorist and mathematician at Columbia University.
The theory is alluring for three primary reasons: It predicts the existence of particles that could constitute "dark matter," an invisible substance that permeates the outskirts of galaxies. It unifies three of the fundamental forces at high energies. And — by far the biggest motivation for studying supersymmetry — it solves a conundrum in physics known as the hierarchy problem.

What are some scientific discoveries that were considered too crazy but turned out to be correct?

mardi 27 novembre 2012

Engineering in the energy sector: opportunities, skills and trends

Despite the overwhelmingly gloomy headlines regarding graduate employment, there are still rare areas of opportunity to be found. Engineering is experiencing a steady growth rate and offers exciting opportunities, both at home and abroad.
In the UK, ongoing work on renewable energy projects, driven by government environmental commitments and an increased focus on energy security, is creating demand for sector specialist engineers. In a recent study of 350 senior engineers, more than 57% of respondents believe renewable energy will be the main growth area for engineering in the coming years. Indeed, engineering has a huge amount to contribute to the UK economy, and recognition is long overdue.
But employers in the sector are struggling as there is a dearth of candidates with sector-specific skills. As the overall candidate profile ages, there are fewer experienced engineers that employers can call on. Hiring managers will have to think of innovative ways to attract experienced candidates or provide better training programmes for new recruits to satisfy demand.
While this is a long-term challenge for the industry, it is also creating an opportunity for new recruits and engineers who have transferable skills from other sectors. For those looking to enter the profession, flexibility and a willingness to learn will be crucial to getting that first foot in the door.
Engineering is often perceived as a hands-on, technical profession but there is increasing demand for softer skills. After technical skills, research shows that 55% of hiring managers in the engineering sector think good communication skills are "essential".
Today's engineers have to interact with a far broader range of contacts than their predecessors. The ability to convey complex solutions, enthuse funding partners and work closely with non-engineering specialists is becoming a daily requirement, fuelling the need for excellent communicators.
For able candidates engineering has the potential to be a truly global career. There are exciting opportunities in the UK, but there is also employment to be found almost anywhere in the world. The international opportunities are exacerbating the UK's skills shortage, and UK employers should be aware of the level of competition for talent they face as Britain's strong global reputation for high standards of education drives international appetite for UK engineers.
There is a wealth of work in the Middle East and Asia where vast ongoing construction and infrastructure projects offer a near constant demand for skilled engineers of all specialties. There are also huge mining projects in western Australia that are creating thousands of engineering jobs in the country. Significant salary packages are currently being offered to attract engineers to work in the outback on projects lasting several years. The offer of higher salaries often tempts engineers abroad, but the experience of another culture and involvement with iconic foreign projects is a key draw.
The most common concern about working abroad is the impact on an employees' family and friends. While new technology, such as Skype or Facetime, go some way to ease the problem of communication, the issue of dislocation is something employers must meet head-on. To attract the best talent, employers can offer a good remuneration package, assistance to those making the move and give an allowance for return travel. This is a challenge for employers but can work in the favour of those looking to get ahead in the industry.
The combination of skills and the personal considerations now required to prosper in engineering is constantly changing. Ultimately, the new generation of engineer, armed with softer skills and a desire to follow jobs around the world is best placed to reap the rewards of engineering's enduring promise.

What is this article about?


lundi 26 novembre 2012

Song: Robbie Williams sings Angels

Robbie Williams was born in Stoke On Trent, England on February 13th, 1974. Having played in school productions of "Oliver" and, obviously showing a flair for entertaining, Williams' mother saw an advert for auditions to be in a new boy band which he applied for and, at age 16, was a member of Take That. After the incredible success of Take That and countless number one hits, Robbie Williams departed from the band in July, 1995. He started his solo career slowly with modest sales for his debut album "Life Thru A Lens" on Chrysalis Records. Record sales exploded after the single "Angels" was released for Christmas 1997 - a beautiful ballad, written within 20 minutes, which recently got voted the second best song of all times by British voters.

I sit and wait
Does an angel contemplate my fate
And do they know
The places where we go
When we're grey and old
'Cause I have been told
That salvation lets their wings unfold
So when I'm lying in my bed
Thoughts running through my head
And I feel the love is dead
I'm loving angels instead

And through it all she offers me protection
A lot of love and affection
Whether I'm right or wrong
And down the waterfall
Wherever it may take me
I know that life won't break me
When I come to call, she won't forsake me
I'm loving angels instead

When I'm feeling weak
And my pain walks down a one way street
I look above
And I know I'll always be blessed with love
And as the feeling grows
She breathes flesh to my bones
And when love is dead
I'm loving angels instead

And through it all she offers me protection
A lot of love and affection
Whether I'm right or wrong
And down the waterfall
Wherever it may take me
I know that life won't break me
When I come to call, she won't forsake me
I'm loving angels instead

And through it all she offers me protection
A lot of love and affection
Whether I'm right or wrong
And down the waterfall
Wherever it may take me
I know that life won't break me
When I come to call, she won't forsake me
I'm loving angels instead

vendredi 23 novembre 2012

Cash-strapped post office tests same-day delivery

Emboldened by rapid growth in e-commerce shipping, the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service is moving aggressively this holiday season to start a premium service for the Internet shopper seeking the instant gratification of a store purchase: same-day package delivery. Teaming up with major retailers, the post office will begin the expedited service in San Francisco on Dec. 12 at a price similar to its competitors. If things run smoothly, the program will quickly expand next year to other big cities such as Boston, Chicago and New York. It follows similar efforts by eBay,, and most recently Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which charges a $10 flat rate for same-day delivery.

The delivery program, called Metro Post, seeks to build on the post office's double-digit growth in package volume to help offset steady declines in first-class and standard mail. Operating as a limited experiment for the next year, it is projected to generate between $10 million and $50 million in new revenue from deliveries in San Francisco alone, according to postal regulatory filings, or up to $500 million, if expanded to 10 cities. The filings do not reveal the mail agency's anticipated expenses to implement same-day service, which can only work profitably if retailers have enough merchandise in stores and warehouses to be quickly delivered to nearby residences in a dense urban area. The projected $500 million in potential revenue, even if fully realized, would represent just fraction of the record $15.9 billion annual loss that the Postal Service reported last week.

But while startups in the late 1990s such as notably failed after promising instant delivery, the Postal Service's vast network serving every U.S. home could put it in a good position to be viable over the long term. The retail market has been rapidly shifting to Internet shopping, especially among younger adults, and more people are moving from suburb to city, where driving to a store can be less convenient. Postal officials, in interviews with The Associated Press, cast the new offering as "exciting" and potentially "revolutionary." Analysts are apt to agree at least in part, if kinks can be worked out. "There is definitely consumer demand for same-day delivery, at the right price," said Matt Nemer, a senior analyst at Wells Fargo Securities in San Francisco. "The culture in retail traditionally has been to get a customer into the store, with the immediacy of enjoying a purchase being the main draw. So same-day delivery could be huge for online retailers. The question is whether the economics can work."

He and others said that consumers are a fickle lot when it comes to shipping, seeking fast delivery, but also sensitive to its pricing. Many will order online and pick up merchandise at a store if it avoids shipping charges, or will agree to pay a yearly fee of $79 for a service such as Amazon Prime to get unlimited, free two-day delivery or even purchase a higher-priced item if it comes with "free" shipping. "Customers do like same-day delivery when it gets very close to a holiday or it otherwise becomes too late to shop," said Jim Corridore, analyst with S&P Capital IQ, which tracks the shipping industry. "But while the Postal Service has the ability to deliver to any address, they are not always known for their speed. To increase their speed might prove to be a much more complex offering than they're thinking about."

As the Postal Service launches Metro Post and sets pricing, its target consumer is likely to include busy professionals such as Victoria Kuohung, 43. A dermatologist and mother of three young children, Kuohung for years has gone online for virtually all her family's needs, including facial cleansers, books, clothing, toys, diapers and cookware. Kuohung lives in a downtown Boston high-rise apartment with her husband, who often travels out of town for work. The couple says they would welcome having more retailers offer same-day delivery as an option. Still, at an estimated $10 price, Kuohung acknowledges that she would likely opt to wait an extra day or two for delivery, unless her purchase were a higher-priced electronics gadget or a special toy or gift for her son's birthday.

"I prefer not to spend my time driving in a car, fighting for parking, worrying about the kids, dealing with traffic and battling crowds for a limited selection in stores," said Kuohung, as her 1-year-old-twins and 4-year-old son squealed in the background. "But right now Amazon delivers in two days since I'm a member of Prime, so it would have to be something I can't get at the corner CVS or the grocery store down the street." Under the plan, the Postal Service is working out agreements with at least eight and as many as 10 national retail chains for same-day delivery. The mail agency says nondisclosure agreements don't allow it to reveal the companies. But given the somewhat limited pool of large-scale retailers — they must have a physical presence in 10 or more big U.S. cities to be a postal partner — the list is expected to include department stores, sellers of general merchandise, clothiers, even perhaps a major e-commerce company or two.

mardi 20 novembre 2012

Salvador Dalí retrospective has Paris art fans reaching for record books

Biggest Dalí show in 30 years expected to be latest in series of blockbuster exhibitions in French capital

Dalí's Lobster Telephone at the Pompidou Centre in 2002
Salvador Dalí's Lobster Telephone at the Pompidou Centre in 2002.

Paris's reputation for blockbuster art shows – where hordes of diehard visitors will queue all night in the rain to get in – will be confirmed again this week as the Pompidou Centre opens the biggest Salvador Dalí retrospective in more than 30 years. It is the largest show of his works since his 1979 Paris retrospective, which remains the most viewed show in the Pompidou's history – with almost 900,000 visitors, a rate of about 8,000 a day. That show was presided over by Dalí himself, who, with typical immodesty, demanded of curators: "It must be something enormous, colossal, a sort of living apotheosis that makes everyone understand that I am inimitable."
Since the start of the financial crisis, the French capital has repeatedly shown that international economic gloom has not diminished the public's demand for big art exhibitions. In 2010, the world's biggest Monet retrospective, at the Grand Palais, attracted 920,000 visitors and had to open all night to accommodate the crowds. France had not seen such desperate queues since 1.2 million turned out to see the treasures of Tutankhamun in 1967. Another vast Grand Palais exhibition, Picasso and the Masters, was a sellout in 2008. The Dalí show, tipped as one of Paris's biggest arts events of the winter. The theatre-museum in Figueres, Catalonia, the town where Dali was born, has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Spain.
The Paris show, which will run until March before transferring to Madrid, will feature about 200 works, including oils, sculptures, films and installations, designed to show the inner workings of the artist and provocateur who was lampooned for his political stances and the money he made from his art, and once quipped: "The only difference between me and the Surrealists is that I am a Surrealist."

lundi 19 novembre 2012

Britain in nutrition recession as food prices rise and incomes shrink

Austerity Britain is experiencing a nutritional recession, with rising food prices and shrinking incomes driving up consumption of fatty foods, reducing the amount of fruit and vegetables we buy, and condeming people on the lowest incomes to an increasingly unhealthy diet.
Detailed data compiled for the Guardian, which analysed the grocery buying habits of thousands of UK citizens, shows that consumption of fat, sugar and saturates has soared since 2010, particularly among the poorest households, despite the overall volume of food bought remaining almost static. Food experts and campaigners called for government action to address concerns the UK faces a sustained nutritional crisis triggered by food poverty, which is in turn storing up public health problems that threaten to widen inequalities between rich and poor households.
The data show consumption of high-fat and processed foods such as instant noodles, coated chicken, meat balls, tinned pies, baked beans, pizza and fried food has grown among households with an income of less than £25,000 a year as hard-pressed consumers increasingly choose products perceived to be cheaper and more "filling".
Over the same period, fruit and vegetable consumption has dropped in all but the most well-off UK households, and most starkly among the poorest consumers, according to the data. It estimates the number of people who regularly achieve the "five-a-day" fruit and vegetable guideline has declined by 900,000 over the two years to May 2012.
The food campaigner Laura Sandys, who is Conservative MP for South Thanet in Kent, one of the UK's most deprived constituencies, said the findings demonstrated that the country faced a "major and growing" nutritional crisis. Sandys called for the government and the food industry to introduce measures to tackle food poverty, which she said would only intensify as food prices continued to rise and household incomes declined.
Sandys, who set up the Smarter Consumer Commission earlier this year to address food poverty, said: "We have to start to look at food as an important policy area and accept that many families are not going to be able to feed themselves in the way they have done, because of food price inflation, and lack of food skills."
Data for the Guardian's Breadline Britain investigation was collected by the consumer analyst Kantar Worldpanel, which operates a panel of 30,000 UK households across all income categories. The participating households electronically scan every grocery item they buy each week, enabling Kantar Worldpanel to build up a detailed, constantly updated picture of food purchasing habits.
Giles Quick, Kantar Worldpanel director, said: "We should worry about the child who goes to bed having not eaten a meal that evening but we should also worry about the much greater number of children who go to bed filled with food that is nutritionally poorThis problem affects many millions of homes on a regular basis. Left unchecked it is gradually creating a major social and public health problem."
Mary Creagh, shadow environment secretary, said the findings were "a big wake-up call" for ministers. "We need action to tackle what is an epidemic of nutritional poverty. We face a perfect storm of stagnant wages and high food prices at a time when the government is cutting huge holes in the social welfare net, and the impact will be felt most by the most vulnerable: children, women and the elderly."
The data, which captured consumer food buying habits up to June 2012, showed lower income groups were nutritionally most affected. The rising price of food – up 32% over the past five years according to official figures – meant the least well-off consumers focused their increasingly stretched food budgets on frozen and processed products at the expense of fresh fish, meat and fruit.
Food choices of poorer households were driven primarily by price and were more likely to be influenced by two-for-one style price promotions, most commonly associated with processed food products. Spending on chilled ready meals was up 25% in the past two years. "Feeding the family on a special offer pizza or ready meal represents a cheaper alternative to more complex, freshly cooked meals containing multiple ingredients," said Quick.
Fruit and vegetable consumption has fallen since 2010 across all households and almost all regions of the UK, but most markedly in the poorest households, and in north-west England. In Scotland, five-a-day intake has marginally increased since 2010, the data shows. This was attributed by Quick to the Scottish government's maintenance of a sustained social marketing campaign to encourage healthier choices.
Since May 2010, fruit and vegetable intake has decreased among consumers at all the leading supermarkets, excepting discounters such as Lidl and Netto, according to the data. Quick said price was the key factor: "Health is simply not seen as a priority when budgets are tight.
"Fruit and vegetables are much more likely to be consumed as a part of a home-cooked meal, and home cooking declines as working hours lengthen as families struggle to make ends meet and retain their jobs."
The findings echo official government statistics released last month, which showed the lowest income households started to buy less food in 2007, after the first of a series of food price rises. Over the past five years, the retail price of processed food has risen 36%, including a 15% rise in the year to 2012. Fruit prices have risen by 34% since 2007, and vegetables by 22%.
Liz Dowler, professor of food and social policy at the University of Warwick, said poor diet in early life stored up health problems for the future.
"Children who go hungry and who fill up on monotonous diets based on highly processed carbohydrates, little fresh vegetables and no fruit, are likely to have poor nutritional status – particularly insufficient micronutrients [vitamins and minerals] which are essential for building good immunity, enabling efficient metabolism and full body functioning."Professor Tim Benton of the Global Food Security programme, which brings together government departments and academic research councils, said the implications of rising food prices needed to be urgently addressed. "We have seen three food price spikes in five years. I can't see how that will go away – it can only get worse."
Sandys has set out a 10-point plan to address food poverty issues, including establishing a national food affordability index to monitor food prices and nutritional changes, mandatory food education in the early years schools curriculum, and a review of the effectiveness of the coalition's Change4Life healthy eating campaign.

vendredi 16 novembre 2012

Teen Arrested During TV Interview

It's embarrassing enough when something bad happens to you if there are people around to witness it, but take that to another level: Imagine getting arrested in front of a news crew while you're being interviewed. That's exactly what happened to 18-year-old Reilly Neuklis, who was arrested shortly after the car he was driving collided with a school bus on Tuesday afternoon.
Local ABC affiliate WBND reporter Jessie McDonough was interviewing Neuklis about the crash when an officer arrested him for being possibly under the influence of marijuana. Apparently, a tipster alerted police at the scene that Neuklis may have thrown out drug paraphernalia in a nearby trash can after he hit the bus.
After the officer located the drug paraphernalia, he displayed it for the camera and explained to Neuklis, "In Indiana, it is illegal to have metabolites in your system while you are driving." The interview was cut short, and the officer took Neuklis to the hospital to be tested for drugs. One other student who had been in the car with Neuklis was injured and taken to the hospital, but no one else reported injuries.
Unfortunately for Neuklis, his embarrassment will now live on not just as a bad memory, but also in YouTube infamy.

Taliban Oops Reveals Mailing List IDs

Somewhere out there, Mullah Omar must be shaking his head.
In a Dilbert-esque faux pax, a Taliban spokesperson sent out a routine email last week with one notable difference.He publicly CC'd the names of everyone on his mailing list.
The names were disclosed in an email by Qari Yousuf Ahmedi, an official Taliban spokesperson, on Saturday. The email was a press release he received from the account of Zabihullah Mujahid, another Taliban spokesperson. Ahmedi then forwarded Mujahid's email to the full Taliban mailing list, but rather than using the BCC function, or blind carbon copy which keeps email addresses private, Ahmedi made the addresses public.
"Taliban have included all 4 of my email addresses on the leaked distribution list," tweeted journalistMustafa Kazemi, a prolific Kabul-based tweeter with more than 9,500 followers. "Quite reassuring to my safety."
The list, made up of more than 400 recipients, consists mostly of journalists, but also includes an address appearing to belong to a provincial governor, an Afghan legislator, several academics and activists, an l Afghan consultative committee, and a representative of Gulbuddein Hekmatar, an Afghan warlord whose outlawed group Hezb-i-Islami is believed to be behind several attacks against coalition troops.
The Taliban routinely send out press releases to their mailing list, often claiming responsibility for attacks against Afghan and coalition targets. They are known for exaggerating casualty figures.
In recent weeks, the Taliban have increased the number of emails they send out, growing from just a handful every week, to several per day. Most of the emails are sent from Ahmedi's account. The increase coincides with the end of the annual Taliban fighting season, prompting one local journalist to joke, "I guess when fighting season ends, emailing season begins."
Qari Yousuf Ahmedi did not return emails requesting a comment.

jeudi 15 novembre 2012

Texas Girl Paralyzed by Drunk Driver Leaves Jury in Tears

The life of Xitclalli "Chilli"Vasquez, 9, took a tragic turn in the summer of 2011 when a drunk driver's car collided head-on with the car the Fort Worth, Texas, girl was riding in, leaving her paralyzed from chest down.
Last week, on the day of convicted drunk driver Jeremy Solis's sentencing at Tarrant County Court, Vasquez had a chance to read him a letter she had written, a letter that brought Solis, the jury, and everyone present in the court room to tears, witnesses said.
The four-page handwritten letter, titled "From One of Your Victom," presented to the jury explained how Vasquez was going to the mall with her sister "to get my hair cut and my nails done." That was all she could recall of the fateful day of the crash. "I don't remember the first several days. I could not talk, so I had to use my thumb to answer yes or no. While I was in UCLA I had very bad moments. They take xrays of me every day. Feed me through by gbutton. I had tubes through my mouth and nose."
"There were times that I would cry and cry…in therapy they showed me how to lift myself and dress myself. But right now it's still very hard. My mom does a lot for me but I try myself. There are days that I cry cause I can't do what I used to. Well, I could keep going but my hand is getting tired. I would like you to meet me and my family…there are days that are bad because I have a hard time getting around. "
"Look at what I said and the words I said and tell me how I look and feel. How do you feel today? Do you remember July 9th?"

Vasquez, who is the third of five siblings, turned 8 three days after her July 9, 2011 accident. She is a fourth grader who has a talent for mathematics, and wants to be a doctor some day. Her dream is to walk again.
"I hope Jeremy would respond to my letter," Chilli told ABC News. "It will make me happy if he says he is sorry," she said. Chilli said she planned to send him more letters while he was serving his sentence and hoped he would respond.
The prosecutor for Solis's case, Allenna Bangs, said that Solis was sentenced to 10 years in prison and would be eligible for parole in five years. "There were no restitution charges. It was not a trial, rather it was a plea case and he pleaded [guilty]," said Bangs. Solis pleaded guilty to two counts of intoxication assault.
Bangs said that at the time of the accident Solis's blood alcohol level was 0.23. "This is nearly three times the legal limit. He is 21 years old with no criminal history," she said.
Amid Vasquez's ordeals with rehab and therapy, her family said that she was a miracle child. "It is very difficult when your child suddenly has a handicap. But no matter how bad it is, we feel blessed to have Chilli with us and fortunate that she made it alive," Arabella Vasquez, Vasquez's mother, told ABC News. "She is a survivor. Many people die because of drunk driving accidents but Chilli made it alive and we all have faith she will walk again someday," she said.

mercredi 14 novembre 2012

Flunk : Blue Monday


Flunk is a Norwegian electronic band consisting of producer Ulf Nygaard, guitarist Jo Bakke, drummer Erik Ruud, and vocalist Anja Oyen Vister.
The band began as a project between Ulf, and Jo in Oslo, Norway in winter 2000 and 2001. Beginning as an instrumental and sampled vocal project, they were signed for a track on a compilation by Beatservice Records in winter 2001. On hearing the finished track, label manager Vidar Hanssen signed the unnamed band for a full album.
During early summer 2001, Ulf and Jo recorded most of the album and Anja improvised the vocals. After their vocals, Jo layered the guitars, but it would be a year before the album would be completed and released.
In spring 2002, the band was known as Flunk and they released their first single, a cover of New Order's Blue Monday in April. The track was well received in the UK and was included on numerous compilations in North America and Europe. Later in April, their debut album For Sleepyheads Only was released which garnered great reviews in Norway. With the success of their album, BBC invited them to do a recording session for the Radio 1 show The Blue Room in London. Shortly after Notting Hill Art's Club would become the location of their live debut. In the United States, they signed with Guidance Recordings.

mardi 13 novembre 2012

Giant pandas threatened by climate change

Global warming will wipe out much of the bamboo on which the bears rely for food, according to a new study

A giant panda lying in bamboo 
The research, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, focused on the Qinling Mountains in Shaanxi Province, which is home to around 275 wild pandas. Photograph:
Giant pandas could be left hungry and struggling to survive by global warming, scientists have warned.
A new study predicts that climate change is set to wipe out much of the bamboo on which the bears rely for food.
Prime panda habitat in China could be completely lost by the end of the century, say the researchers.
Human development adds to the threat by blocking the bears' access to places where bamboo is less affected by rising temperatures, they point out.
"We will need proactive actions to protect the current giant panda habitats," said lead researcher Mao-Ning Tuanmu, from Yale University in the US.
"We need time to look at areas that might become panda habitat in the future, and to think now about maintaining connectivity of areas of good panda habitat and habitat for other species."
The research, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, focused on the Qinling Mountains in Shaanxi province, which is home to around 275 wild pandas. The animals make up around 17% of the entire wild giant panda population.
Qinling pandas have been isolated for thousands of years due to a long history of human habitation around the mountain range. Their restricted range makes them particularly vulnerable to the loss of food resources.
Bamboo, which carpets the forest floor where the pandas live, is the sole item in the bears' diet and also provides essential food and shelter for other animals.
The plant's unusual reproductive cycle limits its ability to adapt to climate change. One species studied by the scientists only flowers and reproduces every 30-35 years.
Tuanmu's team assessed how three dominant bamboo species were likely to fare in the Qinling Mountains as the climate warmed.
Even the most optimistic forecasts predicted major bamboo die-offs by the turn of the century.
Conservation efforts should now aim to protect areas that have a better chance of supplying pandas with food, despite climate change, said the scientists. Natural "bridges" could also be created to help the pandas escape from a bamboo famine.
Co-author Jianguo Liu, from Michigan State University in the US, said: "Understanding impacts of climate change is an important way for science to assist in making good decisions.
"Looking at the climate impact on the bamboo can help us prepare for the challenges that the panda will likely face in the future."

jeudi 8 novembre 2012

Russian scuba divers find shipwrecked Polymetal gold cargo

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian scuba divers have found a sunken cargo ship loaded with 700 tons ofgold ore owned by Polymetal International Plc shipwrecked off Russia's Far East coast, the transport ministry said on Wednesday.
The dry-cargo freighter Amurskaya, whose cargo was worth an estimated $230,000, went missing early last month in the Okhotsk sea - one of the main routes for Russia to Asian markets.
The vessel, built in 1972, had a nine-member crew on board, but no bodies have been found in the wreckage, rescue workers said.
"Scuba divers investigated the sunken object - it is the Amurskaya freighter," the Transport Ministrycited state lifeguard services as saying in a statement. "We plan to continue work by penetrating inside the vessel."
The ship, operated by a company based in Nikolayevsk-on-Amur, left the Kiran Sea terminal on October 28 carrying ore from Polymetal's Avlayakan mine to be deliver at its Hakanja processing plant.
At current gold prices, the 700 tons of gold ore is worth about $230,000, analyst Sergey Donskoy at Societe Generale said. Each ton of ore out of the Avlayakan mine contains about 6 grammas of gold.
The shipwrecked freighter was discovered on the sea bed at a depth of 25 meters (82 feet), where experts say it sunk after its cargo was displaced in roiling, high seas - swiftly capsizing the vessel.
"A ladder, the lack of people on the bridge, the open door to the room below the bridge deck and the lack of lifeboats on board confirms with a high likelihood that the crew attempted an emergency evacuation," the ministry statement said.
The director of the ship's operator is being investigated on charges of negligence for having sent the vessel out in bad weather and overloading it with gold ore.