Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Danish cucumbers do not contain E. coli bacteria: health authorities

Danish cucumbers do not contain the harmful E. coli bacteria believed to be triggering an outbreak of severe intestinal infections in northern Europe, Danish health authorities said Tuesday.
Tests conducted over the weekend confirmed the cucumbers contained no traces of the bacteria, Denmark's Veterinary and Food Administration (DVFA) said in a statement.
"There is nothing to suggest Danish cucumbers as the source of the serious E. coli outbreak that has affected many patients in Germany, Denmark and Sweden among other countries," the DVFA said.
The DVFA said it analyzed samples from two Danish producers, after German authorities suspected their vegetables of being the source of the outbreak. But the recent tests confirm they are not responsible for the contamination.
However, the DVFA advises consumers not to eat raw tomato, lettuce and cucumber from Germany, and cucumber from Spain, and continues to monitor the situation.
According to Denmark's National Serum Institute, there are 14 confirmed cases, and up to 26 suspected cases in Denmark.

Endometriosis signs and symptoms

Endometriosis signs and symptoms: Endometriosis is a gynecological medical condition in which cells from the lining of the uterus appear and flourish outside the uterine cavity, most commonly on the ovaries. The uterine cavity is lined by endometrial cells, which are under the influence of female hormones. These endometrial-like cells in areas outside the uterus are influenced by hormonal changes and respond in a way that is similar to the cells found inside the uterus. Symptoms often worsen with the menstrual cycle.

signs and symptoms: The primary symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain, often associated with your menstrual period. Although many women experience cramping during their menstrual period, women with endometriosis typically describe menstrual pain that's far worse than usual. They also tend to report that the pain has increased over time.

Common signs and symptoms of endometriosis may include:
• Painful periods (dysmenorrhea). Pelvic pain and cramping may begin before and extend several days into your period and may include lower back and abdominal pain.
• Pain with intercourse. Pain during or after sex is common with endometriosis.
• Pain with bowel movements or urination. You're most likely to experience these symptoms during your period.
• Excessive bleeding. You may experience occasional heavy periods (menorrhagia) or bleeding between periods (menometrorrhagia).
• Infertility. Endometriosis is first diagnosed in some women who are seeking treatment for infertility.
• Other symptoms. You may also experience fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, bloating or nausea, especially during menstrual periods

Chula Vista WWII Veteran Describes D-Day Experience

SAN DIEGO -- Memorial Day has a special meaning for an 88-year-old Chula Vista man who was there when Allied forces stormed a beach in France on June 6, 1944 -- or what is known as D-Day.
"I'm proud of all them guys because they're sacrificing their lives … sacrificing their lives. To me, it's an honor," said Lauro Vega.
Vega knows about sacrifice. As a 21-year-old soldier, he had never been in combat until he was part of the thousands who stormed Omaha Beach in Normandy with the 197th Anti-Aircraft Battalion. He remembers heading toward shore that morning.
"One of my buddies said, ‘This is going to be history,'" Vega recalled.
As he landed, Vega prayed he would not get hit. People were being shot all around him.
"But the one that got me was Jack Ruland," he said. "I've never forgotten him. I dream about him today."
Ruland, who had never been in combat either, was killed on D-Day, right next to Vega, who didn't talk about that day at all for 20 years.
"I didn't want to say," Vega said. "I don't know why. I didn't want to talk about it."
Talking about it is easier now, with the passage of time.
"I've always felt proud because I made it. I made it and I figured, hey … I did something for my country when they needed it," said Vega.
Military records show 9,000 Allied troops were killed or wounded that day.
Vega has never been back to Normandy, but a friend visited there and brought Vega a vial of sand from Omaha Beach. He keeps it still.
"I've always loved it," he said. "It gives me a remembrance from over there."
All the other members of his squad on D-Day have died.
While many Americans hang flags outside their home on Memorial Day, Vega will proudly display his flag next Monday, June 6.

Hackers Attack PBS Website, Post Tupac Shakur Hoax

Days after Lockheed Martin's information systems network was breached, another hacker attack has come into spotlight.
The website of Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) has been hacked and hackers have posted a hoax story claiming that rapper Tupac Shakur was still alive and living in New Zealand. Shakur was gunned down in 1996 in Las Vegas.
However, the WikiLeaks documentary triggered a lot of criticism, especially from those who are sympathetic to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and led to the cyber attack on PBS website.
In addition, the timing of the attack deserves special mention as May 29 marked the one-year anniversary of the detention of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning for allegedly passing thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks.
Meanwhile, the Virginia-based PBS said no personal information or email addresses were compromised in any way during the incident and erroneous information posted on the website has been corrected.
Hacking groups have really become a big headache not only for governments but also for corporate giants as well as media organizations. In December 2010, groups like Anonymous attacked the websites of MasterCard and Paypal in retaliation of their decision to freeze the account of WikiLeaks.
Sony's PlayStation Network was hacked in April and put offline due to a "compromise of personal information as a result of an illegal intrusion". At the time of the intrusion, the network consisted of "approximately 130 servers, 50 software programs and 77 million registered accounts. The attack is expected to cost Sony more than $170 million.
The lack of cyber security has emboldened serious institutional cyber criminals to hack companies like Google and Lockheed Martin.
In Google's case, the cyber attackers were able to gain access to personal information on Chinese political dissidents and presumably feed that information to the Chinese government.
Lockheed Martin, one of the biggest defense contractors, detected a significant and tenacious attack on its information systems network on May 21. However, the company said no customer, program or employee personal data has been compromised.
Such hack attacks show the pervasive lack of preparedness against cyber attacks, so much so that a loosely-organized group of enthusiasts can deface and embarrass the largest corporations and media organizations in the world.

Portable Air Conditioner

compact portable air conditioner has 3 modes of comfort; cool, dehumidify and fan. This capacity air conditioner is designed to a cool a 251-350 square feet area.
For smaller rooms up to 200 square feet in your office or home, the Haier Portable Air Conditioner is a compact cooling unit that delivers 8000 BTUs of cooling power. Like all air conditioners and dehumidifiers, this single-hose 3-speed portable air conditioner extracts water as it cools, and uses auto-evaporation to eject most of the extracted water out the exhaust hose. 3 separate modes allow you to use this model as a cooling unit, dehumidifier, or a fan to circulate air. It’s also eco-friendly, using R-410A refrigerant that won’t impact the ozone layer, and RoHS-compliant, which means the unit is free of lead, mercury, and other hazardous substances. The compact unit rides on casters that let you move it freely from room to room. It also fits double-hung, sliding, and casement windows; an installation kit with hose, hose adapters, window panel kit, and window panel adapter is included. The easy-to-use remote and 24-hour timer let you customize operation to fit your schedule. 900 watts and 115 volts. 24.4 x 17.9 x 13.1 inches. 56.1 pounds.
The KuulAire PACKA50 Portable Evaporative Cooling Unit is one of most efficient and environmentally friendly ways to keep cool, indoors or out! You can rely on the PACKA50 Portable Evaporative Cooler for all your cooling needs during those hot summer months. This unit is extremely powerful and cools with no harmful refrigerants! Its large airflow capacity allows for superior cooling that can cover up to 350-Square Ft. lowering the temperature 10 to 25 Degree. Super portable and easy to move with its heavy-duty casters, it comes complete with a one year manufacturer’s warranty for added peace of mind. What is Evaporative Cooling – Remember the chill of getting out of a swimming pool on a hot day? That’s evaporative cooling. Evaporative cooling units create this natural effect and provide a constant flow of cool, refreshing air into hot, uncomfortable environments. The heart of an evaporative cooling system is the evaporative pad. A pump pushes water over the pads and a fan pulls the air through the pads. The water evaporates within the pads and the air passing through the pads is cooled. Port-A-Cool products are manufactured in the USA by Port-A-Cool, LLC, in Center, Texas, and the company is recognized as an industry leader with Port-A-Cool products being respected in both the United States and international marketplaces. Why Buy – Cools using regular tap water and 115-Volt with no harmful refrigerants. No assembly required. Lowers temperature 15 to 25 Degree. Easy to maintain. An all-natural, effective cooling technique. You can use it in conjunction with an A/C to boost the cooling! Product Dimensions: 32-1/2-Inch High by 19-Inch Wide by 14-1/2-Inch Deep. Weight: 25-Pounds. Features: 3 speed settings, Automatic-swing louvers, Timer and remote control, 5-Gallon water capacity, Water adjustment control, Uses high-efficient rigid media. It is ETL Rated, cost efficient, and ready to operate, right out of the box!
SPT WA-9020E 9,000-BTU Portable Air Conditioner
Ideal for rooms up to 250 square feet, this portable air conditioner features a 9,000-BTU cooling capacity and an energy-efficiency rating of 10.31. The unit also functions as a dehumidifier, removing up to 50 pints of moisture from the air per day (the dehumidifier functions automatically in AC mode). During the cooling process, its self-evaporating system extracts water from the air into the unit. Most of this water then gets recycled and used to cool the cooling coils for more efficient operation. The air conditioner comes equipped with a 3-1/5-pint water tank and two fan speeds, as well as a digital thermostat, digital temperature display, and remote control, which makes it simple to use. Choose between continuous operation or the programmable timer, which can be preset up to 12 hours. The unit also provides a 62- to 90-degree F thermostat, a washable air filter, an activated carbon filter to help remove odor, a built-in water tank or extended water tube for continuous drainage, and casters for convenient mobility. Other highlights include an LCDI plug, fire-resistant PVC plastic housing, a rotary compressor, directional air discharge louvers, and an extendable exhaust hose (up to 5 feet). The unit requires exhaust hose installation, and all standard accessories come included. Weighing 63 pounds, the air conditioner measures 16 by 16 by 30 inches and carries a one-year limited warranty.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Bigfoot Bike and Skate stomps into Bay View

Bigfoot Bike and Skate relocated to Bay View under almost biblical conditions. Bigfoot owner Brian Curtiss and his wife, Maggie, had just put the last of their inventory on a truck when water rushed through the door of their old shop on Oakland Avenue during the heavy rain and flooding in July, 2010.
Working under a "strong feeling" about the approaching storms and because the intersection at Oakland and Edgewood Avenues filled with water the weekend before, Curtiss and his wife decided to pull everything out. The store flooded waist high.
They've been in the historic Avalon building, 2481 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., since September, 2010. The response from Bay View has been "phenomenal" according to Curtiss.
"A lot of people had already been asking if I'd move here to do a bike or board shop, and support from the bike and skate communities, as well as the neighborhood and the business association, has been overwhelming," he says.
Bigfoot Bike and Skate specializes in SE-brand bikes, derby, speed and "custom quad" roller skates for skate parks, longboards and retro boards. "Longboards" are skateboards that are over 36 inches long and have a special "truck," or chassis. Longboard wheels are kept on the ground and Curtiss says people use them for "downhill surfing" and as basic transportation.
Retro skateboards are wider, 1980s-style boards that can be "tricked out" and appeal to 40 year-olds like Curtiss, who grew up riding them.
Bigfoot has an extensive "quad skating" line – skates with four wheels – and does not carry inline skates. In addition to top-of-the-line Riedell skates, the custom quads and all safety gear, the shop carries tights, thigh-high socks, T-shirts and Derby Skinz brand pants.
Bigfoot Bike and Skate sponsors Brew City Bruisers roller derby and the newer men's derby club, Blitzdkrieg, and they outfit the "fresh meat" or the derby skaters who are in training.
The shop takes its name from Curtiss' roller derby handle. "Bigfoot" Curtiss has a big, hairy suit he dons for derby games, but the nickname actually started long before his sponsorship of local roller derby.
"I've had a size 15 shoe since I was 12 years old. People started calling me 'Bigfoot' long ago. And it stuck."
The SE bikes they specialize in have been a part of bike culture since the '70s. Bigfoot carries many of SE Bike's older model reissues and plus-size BMX or "Big BMX" bikes, which have 26 and 29 inch wheels. But Bigfoot will carry and repair all kinds of bikes.
"Some people call me a boutique, which I take to mean that I'm never going to become a full-blown sporting goods store. Stay true to what you're doing," says Curtiss.
Curtiss says most bikes at Bigfoot are economically priced between $300 and $500, but custom builds can run thousands of dollars. "People look for old Mongoose, Redline and Hutch bikes. We trick them out, give them custom paint and chrome," Curtiss says. "There is just as big a retro BMX culture as there is for classic cars, with swap meets, clubs, online museums."
Curtiss grew up a "local bike and skate kid" in Kenosha, where Jim and Carol Jake let him hang around their business, Ski and Sport Chalet, which is still operating after 38 years.
"I was there so much, they had me sweeping the floors just to be nice. After awhile they realized that I knew more about BMX bikes than they did," says Curtiss, who was employed by the Jakes throughout his teen and college years.
Although he repairs and custom builds everything, Curtiss prefers single speed bikes for himself. Curtiss says he has a small fleet of bikes, including a "giant BMX bike for a big boy," one of the SE bikes he specializes in.
"I keep it simple and focus on what I love," says Curtiss, who is in the shop seven days a week but keeps Mondays and Tuesdays appointment only to keep on top of repairs. "And I shoot for really high customer service."
Bigfoot Bike and Skate Shop will have a bike corral at the Bay View Neighborhood Association's "Chill on the Hill," every Tuesday from June 7 to August 20 near the Humboldt Park bandshell. Bigfoot will offer bike inspections, tune ups and "tweaks." People who stop by the corral will also get a coupon for a special rate on bike work at the Bay View shop.

Nature's Best Magnifying Glass Views an Early Spiral Galaxy

Astronomers in Hawaii have plucked unprecedented details from the life of an early galaxy using an unusually lucid gravitational lens coupled with the powerful 10-meter Keck II Telescope on Mauna Kea.
Gravitational lenses are Nature's largest telescopes, created by colossally massive clusters of thousands of galaxies that bend and magnify the light of more distant objects behind them in a way similar to a glass lens. But gravitational lenses are far from perfect. Though they make very distant galaxies from the early universe visible to telescopes, they also put the images through a cosmic blender. As a result, the smeared and distorted images don't offer much in the way of direct information about what the earliest galaxies looked like.
But that is not the case for an elegant little spiral galaxy called Sp1149, located 9.3 billion light-years away. The galaxy's image has come through a gravitational lens magnified 22 times and fairly intact, as seen in a Hubble Space Telescope image that was first observed in detail by the University of Hawaii's Tiantian Yuan. The Hubble images were initially taken by Harald Ebeling from Hawaii and published by Graham P. Smith and colleagues in 2009. The giant cluster of galaxies that created the lens is located in the vast expanse of space between Sp1149 and Earth, and appears beside Sp1149 in the Hubble image.
The secret to Sp1149's successful magnification is that it is in a special position behind the cluster which allows its light to be bent equally in all directions, explained astronomer Lisa Kewley of the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
"We're lucky that it's not being terribly distorted," said Kewley. "Something so far away that's not lensed would look like a blurred dot."
The fact that you can distinguish the galactic core and spiral arms of Sp1149, plus the fact that we are seeing the galaxy as it was when the universe was only a third of its current age, makes it a great specimen for testing different models of how galaxies are born and then grow up to be places like our own Milky Way Galaxy.
To that end, Yuan, Kewley, and their colleagues aimed the Keck II telescope at Sp1149. With the help of Laser Guide Star Adaptive Optics (which cancels out much of the optical distortions caused by Earth's atmosphere) and the OSIRIS instrument (which filters out the noise created by hydroxyl molecules in Earth's atmosphere) the researchers were able to get an unprecedented look at the distributions of elements in Sp1149. Oxygen, in particular, is very revealing because the element accumulates more in the older stellar neighborhoods -- the parts of galaxies where stars have lived and died more. In the case of Sp1149, the oxygen distribution spoke volumes.
"The oxygen in the spiral galaxy was much more concentrated at the center," said Kewley. "They had a lot of star formation at the center."
This sharp oxygen gradient, from core to outer disk, suggests that stars in the cores of galaxies form first and create the oldest stellar neighborhoods in Sp1149, followed later by the disk and arms. That supports what's called the inside-out model of galactic evolution, she said.
"This is an idea that has been out there," said Kewley. "Some models predict the opposite. It's been an open question for a long time." What has been needed was something other than a local galaxy to study to see how the oxygen gradients looked much earlier in a galaxy's history. Without that, astronomers would have nothing but middle aged galaxies to judge from. They would be like a biologist studying the lives of frogs without ever having seen a tadpole.
"This is the first time anyone has done such a detailed and precise oxygen gradient that wasn't on a local galaxy," said Kewley. Yuan, Kewley and their colleagues published their discovery in the journal May 1 issue of Astrophysical Journal Letters Now that the team has found one galactic tadpole, they are hunting for more, said Kewley. They also are hoping to study some galaxies that are midway between the ages of our local galaxies and Sp1149. With these samples from different ages, Kewley and her colleagues hope to piece together a much clearer life history of galaxies like our own.

The W. M. Keck Observatory operates two 10-meter optical/infrared telescopes on the summit of Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii. The twin telescopes feature a suite of advanced instruments including imagers, multi-object spectrographs, high-resolution spectrographs, integral-field spectroscopy and a world-leading laser guide star adaptive optics system which cancels out much of the interference caused by Earth's turbulent atmosphere. The Observatory is a private 501(c) 3 organization and a scientific partnership of the California Institute of Technology, the University of California and NASA.

A promising lesson plan

For too long, the words “broken” and “promise” have been inextricably linked when civic concern turns to Overtown. The residents of this storied and once-vibrant African-American neighborhood now are struggling economically, socially and academically. Redevelopment plans have come about in fits and starts, and there has been no magic wand to wave to improve the quality of life there.
But an incipient partnership between the Miami-Dade County School District and the Community Redevelopment Agency could provide the key to reenergizing Overtown with safe affordable housing. The attraction would be a newly renovated K-12 school — specifically the now-dilapidated Frederick Douglass Elementary School on Northwest 12th Street and Third Avenue. Throw in stores and services that could fill the needs of new residents, school staffers and the students, and you’ve got a creative plan that can succeed in spite of tight public budgets.
The school district and the CRA have agreed to enter into negotiations to renovate Frederick Douglass, which is falling apart around the few students and employees left at the school.
That has fantastic potential — if it’s done right and the CRA money is used as a loan to the district.
There are about 400 students at Douglass, but it can handle 800, so it is woefully underutilized. Under initial plans, the school would be converted to a K-8 facility. It’s a popular approach that’s attractive to parents and students alike. It offers continuity for families; students don’t have to transfer to a middle school. In addition, the new and improved Frederick Douglass, a magnet school, would have what’s called a STEM curriculum, emphasizing science, technology, engineering and math, which should excite downtown Miami workers nearby who might consider enrolling their children at Douglass.
The project is in keeping with the missions of both partners: The CRA collects taxes in the downtown/Overtown area to keep it spruced up, encourage economic development there, expand the tax base, create jobs and improve the quality of life. The school district is in the business of providing students a quality education. But plummeting property values have taken a toll on the district’s construction fund. Plus, the state has stopped giving it money for construction or maintenance.
The CRA would be able to cover the cost of renovating this elementary school — at about $20 million — now that construction costs are low. However, this money should not necessarily be a gift, especially at the risk of taxing some property owners twice for education: once through property taxes collected by the county, then again in the CRA’s tax-increment district. Both the CRA and the school district should commit to a loan that would eventually be repaid to the CRA to use for other economic development projects.
There is precedent for this community-building partnership: In 2000, another quasi-independent Miami agency, the Downtown Development Authority, contributed $100,000 to help create the K-6 Downtown Miami Charter School — again part of a strategy to make the area more appealing to families to live in; the city of Sunny Isles Beach gave the district resources for a K-8 school.
In 2002, when the CRA, under different leadership, failed to help ailing businesses remodel; and in 2007, a high-stakes megaplan to redevelop downtown risked breaking yet another promise to Overtown areas.
Enough. Renovating Douglass Elementary — and revitalizing a neighborhood — should be a promise kept.

Horse-drawn caravans ply roads to famous horse fair

Motorists in Cumbria have been warned to watch out for slow horse-drawn caravans as gypsies and travellers make their annual pilgrimage to Appleby for its famous annual horse fair.
Cumbria police issued the warning ahead of the long weekend, noting the extra traffic that would be on the road, including bikers, who enjoy the winding rural roads and views around Cumbria.
"Riders who are familiar with our rural roads regularly enjoy quiet and relatively traffic-free routes," Inspector Andy Wilkinson said.
"However, they may get a shock ... when they see so many vehicles and slow horse-drawn caravans using fast A-roads as they make their way to Appleby Horse Fair."
Vehicles travelling to Appleby Horse Fair, which runs from June 3, use popular biking routes, he added.
"Horse-drawn vehicles travel at walking speed and if a biker comes around a bend travelling at 40-60mph and sees a horse drawn vehicle in front of them, they will be forced to slow down extremely quickly."
Meanwhile, the group that undertakes the operation planning for the fair each year says it will set up a daily forum involving gypsies, travellers and the local settled community so any issues that may arise during the fair can be discussed.
Police officers working as part of the Multi-Agency Strategic Coordination Group (MASCG) say the forum will take place at 7pm throughout the course of the fair.
It will be an opportunity for those involved to provide feedback on what is going well and highlight any issues.
Assistant Chief Constable Jerry Graham, in charge of policing of the fair, said: "Our top priority during Appleby Fair is making sure that it is as safe and enjoyable as possible for everybody.
"This means that we have the difficult job of balancing the needs of local communities, who have their neighbourhood temporarily transformed, and gypsies and travellers who travel far and wide to honour the ancient traditions of their family event.
"After listening to feedback from last year, we have decided to personally invite key members from both local settled communities and the different gypsy and traveller sites in Appleby to a daily forum.
"Here, they will be given the opportunity to ask questions, highlight things that are working well or discuss any issues that they, or their neighbours, may have.
"We hope that this will be a new way of giving each community a voice and an opportunity to provide instant feedback to the Multi-Agency Group that works to co-ordinate the fair."
Around 20 people from the local community and gypsy and traveller groups have been approached by the MASCG and invited to attend the Community Advisory Group, which will be closed to the general public.
The MASCG consists of representatives from Eden District Council, Cumbria Constabulary, Cumbria County Council, Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, Cumbria NHS, North West Ambulance Service, RSPCA, Environment Agency, South Lakeland District Council, Highways Agency and HMRC.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Kelley Blue Book has a new look

A Kleenex, a Band-Aid, a Thermos. Sometimes, one product in a segment becomes so ubiquitous that it becomes a brand-name ambassador for the entire genre. Say "pass me a Kleenex" and you will receive a tissue, regardless of what the side of the box it's plucked from reads. If you need a Band-Aid, someone will find you an adhesive dressing. Thermos? Same deal.

Kelley Blue Book is one such brand name.

In 1926, Les Kelley published his first Blue Book. Originally a packet of pages filled with his valuations for used cars, the Blue Book expanded to include new cars in 1966. As our world became increasingly digital, Kelley Blue Book extended its footprint to the Internet in 1993, and the Kelley Blue Book soon began to enter the lexicon of the car buying consumer in a new way.

Now, in 2011, KBB stands as the largest automotive valuation company. That's 85 years in business and 18 years on the web, and now, like the Orange County neighbors that surround KBB HQ, the brand is ready for a facelift.

People come to Kelley Blue Book for one of two reasons: to get a value on the car they want to sell, or to price the car they want to buy. Once a user gets his or her value, they ride off into the virtual sunset. Kelley wants a deeper interaction than that, and it's looking to revamp the way you use their website.

kelley blue book year make model page

In the past, you would enter through one of two main doors. One read "New" and the other "Used." The new KBB offers a more organic approach to finding the information that you're looking for, and the singular entry point begins by asking you "How Can Kelley Blue Book Help You?" In plain English, it asks you four questions and from there you are filtered down the path that makes the most sense.

The entire website can be viewed as an information funnel. Moving through the old funnel certainly wasn't a hard process. This shiny new funnel, however, is filled with a wealth of information that's presented in a timely manner as you move from the wide ("What am I looking for?") to the narrow ("What's this car worth?"). As you progress towards your goal, you're presented with a multitude of tools. Specs, photos, consumer and staff vehicle reviews, for example, are offered up before you reach pricing information. Here, Kelley Blue Book is looking to arm both buyers and sellers with a greater breadth of knowledge. This information was there before, but now it's more visible without intruding on your computer screen. You can select how much or how little is shown.

One thing we wish we could see less of is advertising, which occupies a sizable share of the screen. We understand that KBB is a website offering its services for exactly free-ninety-nine, but seven ads on one page (including one that hovers over the content), seems a bit much. It's certainly nice to see advertising related to the content on the page, we just wish there was a little bit less of it.

total cost of ownershipBeyond the specs, reviews and advertising, however, lies the meat and potatoes of the Kelley Blue Book website. The value of a vehicle, new or used, is that meat, and KBB's Five-Year Total Cost of Ownership Tool is the juicy au gratin potato sitting just alongside. Kelley has punched up the visual flavor of each item in a way that allows consumers to quickly grab a deeper level of information than numerical figures. A tool called Reality Check displays the fair price of a vehicle. This figure is based on average transaction prices that other in-market shoppers are paying, and allows consumers to see what others are paying for the same vehicle. Any incentives can be added to the mix, and it's all shown on a graph against the MSRP. The Five-Year Total Cost of Ownership Tool displays that fair purchase price right on top of the ownership costs, and a visual dose of reality also compares a given vehicle to others in its segment.

Those tools are helpful to folks who are on the hunt for a new vehicle. KBB knows that the flip side of buying new is disposing of old vehicles, and the same valuation process applies, but in this brand-new wrapper. Since this is the refreshed Kelley, however, the tools and information have been kicked up a few levels to make the process easier and more rewarding. A major part of determining value is deciding on your heap's condition. In the past, you selected from Excellent, Good, Fair and Poor. This is still the case, but the team at KBB did research and found that most people view their vehicles through rose-colored glasses. A Condition Quiz helps eliminate some of that confusion by walking users through a series of questions. A more accurate conditional assessment will provide a value that is closer to reality, which means people will have a better understanding of what their vehicle is worth.

kelley blue book reality check

It's often considered a bold move for a brand-name company to shake things up with a new design (New Coke, anyone?), but Kelley Blue Book has been planning this move for two years. KBB started by examining the vast amount of data at its disposal, and then went looking for a better way to utilize that information. The actual redesign phase of KBB's transformation began to come to life 12 months ago. Now it's ready for public consumption, and the goal is to show that Kelley Blue Book is more than just values. Can it become the home for car shoppers through all stages of the sale and acquisition cycle of a vehicle, new or used? That's certainly an expensive gamble for a brand-name to take, seeing as KBB's network of users are familiar with the old product.

That old product lives on if you know where to look. Our very own parent company, AOL, offers Kelley Blue Book values on its AOL Autos website. Should you desire that familiar KBB feel, it's just a click away. The AOL Autos information isn't served up as visually as the info on the new Kelley Blue Book, but this bit of meat is attached to the same bones. Likewise, you'll find KBB-backed values dotted around AOL Autos when researching prospective buys.

This new information was available on Kelley Blue Book in the past, it's just easier to find now. We think the actual "reality check" will come as KBB sees just how deeply users interact with the new site. At the same time, the more visual approach will likely appeal to many users, which suggests the organizations gamble could pay off nicely.

Mass. native teaches Shakespeare to inmates

Hamilton native Jonathan Shailor said the prisoners he taught at Racine Correctional Institution in Wisconsin were in some ways like any group of college students he teaches.
But in one particular way, they were unlike any other class he has ever taught.
"There was a deep sense of need always from the men -- even if they had trouble focusing, or trouble getting along -- they deeply needed me to come to class," said Shailor, 54. "It was a real escape for them, in a good way."
Shailor, a professor of communications at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, said he used drama exercises in the class "to help men resolve conflict in their lives."
Between 15 and 20 prisoners, whose offenses ranged from drug charges and parole violations to homicide and sexual assault, attended twice a week.
In 2004, the class evolved into a production of a single play by Shakespeare, "King Lear."
It was a project Shailor had been considering after he re-discovered his love of Shakespeare by appearing in a production of "The Tempest" with his brother Christopher's company in Topsfield, The Sleepy Lion Theatre.
In addition, he spoke to a woman, Agnes Wilcox, who had done a Shakespeare production with prisoners in Missouri and encouraged him to try it.
For nine months, Shailor's class at Racine was involved in all aspects of production, in addition to studying the play and learning their parts.
They eventually held eight performances in the prison gym, which were attended by 100 prisoners each night and 50 members of the public, including prisoners' family members.
Shailor chose "King Lear" for the men because he "personally found it so enthralling," and also because it made a natural point of departure for addressing conflict.
"One of the things it's about is family conflict," he said. "This family's falling apart."
Lessons learned from the process of putting on the play, in addition to discussing its messages, also made the experience a valuable vehicle for instruction.
"I think it gave the men the opportunity to be their better selves," Shailor said. "They could express a range of their humanity, exercise imagination, build self-confidence. It allowed them to work with others on a creative project where they were responsible -- and accountable."
Where most actors find the payoff to performing is an audience's reaction, for Shailor's students at Racine there were bigger stakes involved.
Participating in the Shakespeare project, Shailor believes, provided inmates with the social, problem-solving and team-building skills they will need to get a handle on the job market.
"There's a big emphasis in corrections on re-entry," he said. "Getting that first job is rough" for former convicts, he said.
After performing "Lear," the project continued for three more years with productions of "Othello," "The Tempest" and "Julius Caesar."
The prisoners ranged in age from 19 to 60, and came from a wide mix of ethnic and educational backgrounds. Some of them participated in all four productions while they were incarcerated at medium-security Racine.
They kept journals as part of the class, and Shailor drew on their entries in writing a book about the project.
The prisoners' journals reflect on "the meaning of the text, which character they felt they were most like, and they question characters' choices," Shailor said. It's his second book on the topic of theater and corrections.
A prisoner who appeared in all four of the Shakespeare plays at Racine, Megale Taylor, attended one of Shailor's book appearances to describe the boost in self-confidence he gained from the experience.
"Now he's out of prison taking college classes," Shailor said. "You could say he's succeeded and doing well."
Shailor is establishing a website connected to his book on the Shakespeare project, which will be published later this year.

BUZZ: Facebook boss kills his own food; Google "wallet"; physics of Angry Birds; digital photo caution

Facebook boss takes to killing his own food; paying via your mobile phone might be happening soon; analyzing Angry Birds from a physics perspective; and how much do online digital photos reveal about you? Read on...

Mark Zuckerberg, the man behind Facebook, is known for many things: creating the most popular social networking site on the planet, being the subject of a critically-acclaimed movie, and generating controversy over privacy issues. But here's something most people don't know: Zuckerberg is now only eating meat from animals that he has killed, reports Forbes:
"The only meat I'm eating is from animals I've killed myself," says the Facebook founder and CEO. "It's easy to take the food we eat for granted when we can eat good things every day." Zuckerberg's new goal came to light, not surprisingly, on Facebook. On May 4, Zuckerberg posted a note to the 847 friends on his private page: "I just killed a pig and a goat."

>>> Wondering how long it will be until you can use your mobile phone as a digital wallet and pay for things on the go? Your wait just got shorter, according to CBSNews:
Search giant Google announced Google Wallet today. With the slogan, "make your phone your wallet," the new mobile technology similar to Sqaure, enables consumers to tap, pay and save. Sounds so easy, right? Here are the terms: in order to use the service (once it launches, that is), you have to have a Citi MasterCard, Google Prepaid Card or gift cards at participating stores.

>>> Angry Birds has become one of the most popular video games of all time - for mobile phones and touch-screen devices, that is. It's been downloaded more than 200 million times (in various formats), and it requires players to launch wingless birds via slingshot at green pigs that have stolen the birds' eggs. OK, so it may not be the most realistic video game ever - but do the slingshot-fired birds follow the rules of physics? Rhett Alain offers some detailed (OK, complicated) analysis over at Wired, including this:
If the bird is indeed shot from an elastic cord, then technically the bird should go faster when shot horizontally than when it is shot straight up. Why? Physics. Let me draw a diagram for a bird that is shot straight up. Also, let me assume that this sling shot is just a spring. Let me assume a spring with a spring constant k and a bird mass of m. How do I find an expression for how fast it will be when it leaves the sling shot? Yes, use the work-energy principle. Why? Because I know the starting and ending positions, but I don't know the time. Since work-energy doesn't use time, it is a perfect fit. I will let the Earth + bird + slingshot be my system and it will start at y1 = 0 meters and end at y2 = s. Since I have the Earth and the slingshot both in my system, I can have both gravitational potential energy and spring potential energy.

>>> On "The Early Show" Thursday, CBS News Consumer Correspondent Susan Koeppen discussed one aspect of sharing digital photos online that most people don't know about. Such pictures may reveal information you don't necessarily want to share - like the exact location of where you live, work, play and go on vacation  Here's how:
Most smartphones have a GPS chip built into them. So when you're taking a picture, it actually takes your location and stores it on that photo...and the same technology that helps people see real-time traffic updates and find directions on their phones also leads to GPS coordinates being attached to pictures. Koeppen decided to see just how easy it really is. A producer took pictures of just her face at several locations around Los Angeles. They posted them on my Koeppen's Twitter account, and asked Rettinger to figure out where she was. Within seconds, Rettinger told Koeppen she was shopping on Rodeo Drive, at Griffith Park and Grauman's Chinese Theater. Just by right-clicking on all of the photos, Rettinger was able to pinpoint her exact locations using GPS coordinates

Friday, 27 May 2011

AT&T Customers Get More Mobile Broadband Coverage in Eastern Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA, May 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- As part of its continuing network investment to support growing demand for advanced mobile devices and applications, AT&T* today announced the activation of more than 20 new mobile broadband cell sites in eastern Pennsylvania that will enhance coverage for area residents and businesses. With mobile broadband speeds, AT&T customers can surf the Web, download files faster, and enjoy the very latest interactive mobile applications.

Areas of enhancement include:

    Downtown Philadelphia
    Reinholds, Mertztown, Alburtis, and Wernersville in Berks County
    Coatesville in Chester County
    Mechanicsburg in Cumberland County
    Kirkwood in Lancaster County
    Williamsport in Lycoming County
    Airville and Wellsville in York County

The new cell sites are one part of AT&T's ongoing efforts to drive investment and innovation to deliver the nation's best, most advanced mobile broadband experience for customers. With the nation's fastest mobile broadband network, AT&T provides accelerated mobile data speeds and simultaneous voice and data capabilities.

"Delivering the fastest mobile broadband coverage for consumers and businesses that need to stay connected is our ultimate objective," said J. Michael Schweder, president, AT&T Mid Atlantic. "Our ongoing investments in eastern Pennsylvania will help ensure that our customers have access to mobile broadband services that help drive continued economic growth."

"Our goal is for our customers to have an extraordinary experience. As part of the eastern Pennsylvania community, we're always looking for new opportunities to provide enhanced coverage, and our investment in the local wireless network is just one way we're accomplishing that," said Tiffany Baehman, vice president and general manager, AT&T greater Philadelphia. "In addition, our recently announced agreement to acquire T-Mobile USA will strengthen and expand our network in the state. If approved, this deal means that we'll be able to expand the next generation of mobile broadband – 4G LTE – from our current plan of 80 percent of the U.S. population to more than 97 percent."

AT&T's mobile broadband network is based on the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) family of technologies that includes GSM and UMTS, the most widely used wireless network platforms in the world. AT&T has the broadest international coverage of any U.S. wireless provider, providing access to voice service in more than 220 countries and data service in more than 200 countries. AT&T also offers voice and data roaming coverage on more than 135 major cruise ships, as well as mobile broadband services in more than 130 countries.

AT&T also operates the nation's largest Wi-Fi network** with more than 24,000 hotspots in the U.S. and provides access to more than 135,000 hotspots globally through roaming agreements. Most AT&T smartphone customers get access to our entire national Wi-Fi network at no additional cost, and Wi-Fi usage doesn't count against customers' monthly wireless data plans.

For more information about AT&T's coverage in Pennsylvania or anywhere in the United States, consumers can visit the AT&T Coverage Viewer. Using the online tool, AT&T customers can measure quality of coverage from a street address, intersection, ZIP code or even a landmark.

For updates on the AT&T wireless network, please visit the AT&T network news page.

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

** Largest based on company branded and operated hotspots. Access includes AT&T Wi-Fi Basic.  A Wi-Fi enabled device required. Other restrictions apply. See www.attwifi.com for details and locations.

About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is a premier communications holding company. Its subsidiaries and affiliates – AT&T operating companies – are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and around the world. With a powerful array of network resources that includes the nation's fastest mobile broadband network, AT&T is a leading provider of wireless, Wi-Fi, high speed Internet, voice and cloud-based services. A leader in mobile broadband and emerging 4G capabilities, AT&T also offers the best wireless coverage worldwide of any U.S. carrier, offering the most wireless phones that work in the most countries. It also offers advanced TV services under the AT&T U-verse® and AT&T | DIRECTV brands. The company's suite of IP-based business communications services is one of the most advanced in the world. In domestic markets, AT&T Advertising Solutions and AT&T Interactive are known for their leadership in local search and advertising.

Additional information about AT&T Inc. and the products and services provided by AT&T subsidiaries and affiliates is available at http://www.att.com. This AT&T news release and other announcements are available at http://www.att.com/newsroom and as part of an RSS feed at www.att.com/rss. Or follow our news on Twitter at @ATT.

© 2011 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. Mobile broadband not available in all areas. AT&T, the AT&T logo and all other marks contained herein are trademarks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies.

Portsmouth Doctors Concern About Measles

Doctors in Portsmouth have echoed national concerns about the threat to local children from any measles outbreak.

The Health Protection Agency, which monitors the disease across the country, has reported over 300 cases so far this year - more than the total number for 2010. Parents are being urged to ensure that their children are immunised by having both doses of the MMR vaccine as soon as they scheduled - at 12 months and three and a half years. 

Several European countries are experiencing more severe outbreaks than Britain and parents are being advised to speak to their GP if they are planning a family holiday with young children, particularly in France or Germany. 

Earlier this year Portsmouth saw its first case since at least 2005 - with records unavailable previous years. Because vaccination levels in the city are lower than the level recommended by the World Health Organisation Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, Director of Public Health for NHS Portsmouth, fears it could only be a matter of time before a larger outbreak locally:

"Measles is a very infectious disease, and most of the cases have occurred in children  and young people who have not had the vaccine. It can be very serious and lead to life threatening complications. In some cases children can die as a result of the complications"

Matt Pickerill NHS Portsmouth's development manager for health protection backs the MMR vaccine: "The vaccine protects against measles, mumps and rubella. It is very important for children to have it. In the past some parents have been concerned about an article that claimed the vaccine was linked to autism. This has been proved not to be the case.

"If for whatever reason your child has missed the vaccine at the usual time it is still possible get it from your GP surgery. Young adults who may have missed the vaccine as infants should also check their vaccination record, particularly if they are travelling or at university."

Here's The Full Report About What Happened On Air France Flight 447 -- Sounds Like Pilot Error

France's air-crash investigation agency has released an updated report on what happened aboard Air France Flight 447, which crashed in the Atlantic two years ago.

As described here, the plane stalled at 38,000 feet--meaning that its speed slowed to the point where its wings no longer generated enough lift for the plane to remain in the air--and it then plummeted at 10,000 feet per minute into the Atlantic.

All the way down, the pilots tried to regain control of the aircraft, but failed. The plane remained in a stall despite having all its engines operating normally at full thrust.

(To visualize this, think of a plane with the nose up about 40-degrees-- almost halfway to vertical--falling pretty much straight down, without much air moving over the wings. Planes can't fly like that.).

The report makes it clear that at least one of the plane's speed indicators failed when the plane was flying normally, and when it did, the auto-pilot cut out. The co-pilot then took over manual control of the plane. And, based on the report, it appears he then fatally screwed up.

Specifically, the co-pilot pulled the plane's nose up, causing it to climb and causing its speed to decrease.

Two stall warnings immediately sounded, indicating that the plane's speed was becoming dangerously slow.

Eleven seconds later (not a rapid response), the co-pilot pushed the plane's nose down a bit--but apparently not enough. The plane continued to gain altitude rapidly.

Thirty-five seconds later, the stall-warning sounded again. The co-pilot continued to hold the plane's nose up. It's "angle of attack" (position relative to the air flowing over the wings) continued to increase.

Shortly thereafter, having climbed rapidly from 35,000 feet to 38,000 feet, the plane appears to have stalled, with the co-pilot still holding the controls in a "nose-up" position. (Again, a stall is not an "engine stall"--it is a condition in which the air moving over the wings no longer provides enough lift to keep the plane in the air.)

Final momenst of flight 447 II

3D view of the last moments of Air France 447.

Fifty seconds later, with the plane back at 35,000 feet and now falling at 10,000 feet per minute, the pilot re-entered the cockpit. (He had been on break with the auto-pilot cut out). The plane's engines remained near full thrust and were operating normally for the rest of the flight.

About 35 seconds later, the co-pilot finally pushed the nose down--to no avail.

About 30 seconds after that, still falling at 10,000 feet per minute, the plane passed 10,000 feet.

About 1 minute later, the recordings stopped. The plane was falling at nearly 11,000 feet per minute when it hit the water. Its nose was still up.

Based on this preliminary report, and speaking as someone who has a pilot's license and used to fly small propeller planes, it appears the co-pilot screwed up. He was flying partially blind--one of the plane's airspeed indicators blipped out--but he then moved the controls in a way that slowed the plane down and caused it to stall.

Final momenst of flight 447 II

Presumably, when flying an Airbus 330 at 35,000 feet at night in a storm, it is extraordinarily difficult to accurately gauge airspeed without the help of the airspeed indicators. But assuming the plane's altitude and attitude controls were still working, which they appear to have been, the pilot's decision to pull the nose up seems to have been a fatal (and basic) error.

Maintaining sufficient airspeed is the single most critical priority in any airplane. Planes cannot fly when they stall, and in many airplanes--most notably jets at high altitudes--it is extremely difficult to recover from a stall. So the pilot's first and most important job is to maintain enough airspeed.

Now, this sounds simple, but at the time it probably was anything but. Immediately figuring out what is going on in an airplane at night when instruments cut out can be very difficult, especially if you don't realize that the instruments have failed. That said, pretty much the first thing you learn in flight school is that when there is any question about having enough airspeed, you push the nose down. Perhaps readers who have flown Airbuses in such conditions can explain how easy this error would have been to make and, once it was made, whether it would have been possible to recover if the pilots had done something different.

The text of France's BEA report is below. The key section is in red:

History of Flight

On Sunday 31 May 2009, the Airbus A330-203 registered F-GZCP operated by Air France was
programmed to perform scheduled flight AF447 between Rio de Janeiro Galeão and Paris
Charles de Gaulle. Twelve crew members (3 flight crew, 9 cabin crew) and 216 passengers
were on board. Departure was planned for 22 h 00(1).

At around 22 h 10, the crew was cleared to start the engines and to leave the parking space.
Take-off took place at 22 h 29. The Captain was PNF, one of the co-pilots was PF.

The take-off weight was 232.8 t (for a MTOW of 233t), including 70.4 t of fuel.

At 1 h 35 min 15 , the crew informed the ATLANTICO controller that they had passed the
INTOL point then announced the following estimated times: SALPU at 1 h 48 then ORARO at
2 h 00. They also transmitted the SELCAL code and a test was undertaken successfully.
At 1 h 35 min 46, the controller asked the crew to maintain FL350 and to give their estimated
time at TASIL.

At 1 h 55, the Captain woke the second co-pilot and said "[…] he’s going to take my place".
Between 1 h 59 min 32 and 2 h 01 min 46 , the Captain attended the briefing between the
two co-pilots, during which the PF said, in particular "the little bit of turbulence that you just saw
[…] we should find the same ahead […] we’re in the cloud layer unfortunately we can’t climb much
for the moment because the temperature is falling more slowly than forecast" and that "the logon
with Dakar failed". The Captain left the cockpit.

The airplane approached the ORARO point. It was flying at flight level 350 [35,000 feet] and at Mach 0.82 [approx. 600mph] and the pitch attitude was about 2.5 degrees. The weight and balance of the airplane were around 205 tonnes and 29% respectively. Autopilot 2 and auto-thrust were engaged.

At 2 h 06 min 04, the PF called the cabin crew, telling them that "in two minutes we should enter an area where it’ll move about a bit more than at the moment, you should watch out" and he added "I’ll call you back as soon as we’re out of it".

At 2 h 08 min 07 , the PNF said "you can maybe go a little to the left […]". The airplane began a slight turn to the left, the change in relation to the initial route being about 12 degrees. The level
of turbulence increased slightly and the crew decided to reduce the speed to about Mach 0.8.

From 2 h 10 min 05 , the autopilot then auto-thrust disengaged and the PF said "I have the controls". The airplane began to roll to the right and the PF made a left nose-up input. The stall warning sounded twice in a row. The recorded parameters show a sharp fall from about 275 kt to 60 kt in the speed displayed on the left primary flight display (PFD), then a few moments later in the speed displayed on the integrated standby instrument system (ISIS).

Note 1: Only the speeds displayed on the left PFD and the ISIS are recorded on the FDR; the speed displayed on the right side is not recorded.

Note 2: Autopilot and auto-thrust remained disengaged for the rest of the flight.

At 2 h 10 min 16, the PNF said "so, we’ve lost the speeds" then "alternate law […]".

Note 1: The angle of attack is the angle between the airflow and longitudinal axis of the airplane. This information is not presented to pilots.

Note 2 : In alternate or direct law, the angle-of-attack protections are no longer available but a stall warning is triggered when the greatest of the valid angle-of-attack values exceeds a certain threshold.

The airplane’s angle of attack increased progressively beyond 10 degrees and the plane started to climb. The PF made nose-down control inputs and alternately left and right roll inputs. The vertical speed, which had reached 7,000 ft/min, dropped to 700 ft/min and the roll varied between 12 degrees right and 10 degrees left. The speed displayed on the left side increased sharply to 215 kt (Mach 0.68). The airplane was then at an altitude of about 37,500 ft and the recorded angle of attack was around 4 degrees.

From 2 h 10 min 50, the PNF tried several times to call the Captain back.

At 2 h 10 min 51 , the stall warning was triggered again. The thrust levers were positioned in the TO/GA detent and the PF maintained nose-up inputs. The recorded angle of attack, of around 6 degrees at the triggering of the stall warning, continued to increase. The trimmable horizontal stabilizer (THS) passed from 3 to 13 degrees nose-up in about 1 minute and remained in the latter position until the end of the flight.

Around fifteen seconds later, the speed displayed on the ISIS increased sharply towards 185 kt; it was then consistent with the other recorded speed. The PF continued to make nose-up inputs. The airplane’s altitude reached its maximum of about 38,000 ft, its pitch attitude and angle of attack being 16 degrees.

Note: The inconsistency between the speeds displayed on the left side and on the ISIS lasted a little less than one minute.

At around 2 h 11 min 40 , the Captain re-entered the cockpit. During the following seconds, all of the recorded speeds became invalid and the stall warning stopped.

Note: When the measured speeds are below 60 kt, the measured angle of attack values are considered invalid and are not taken into account by the systems. When they are below 30 kt, the speed values themselves are considered invalid.

The altitude was then about 35,000 ft, the angle of attack exceeded 40 degrees and the vertical speed was about -10,000 ft/min. The airplane’s pitch attitude did not exceed 15 degrees and the engines’ N1’s were close to 100%. The airplane was subject to roll oscillations that sometimes reached 40 degrees. The PF made an input on the sidestick to the left and nose-up stops, which lasted about 30 seconds.

At 2 h 12 min 02, the PF said "I don’t have any more indications", and the PNF said "we have no valid indications". At that moment, the thrust levers were in the IDLE detent and the engines’ N1’s were at 55%. Around fifteen seconds later, the PF made pitch-down inputs. In the following moments, the angle of attack decreased, the speeds became valid again and the stall warning sounded again.

At 2 h 13 min 32, the PF said "we’re going to arrive at level one hundred". About fifteen seconds later, simultaneous inputs by both pilots on the sidesticks were recorded and the PF said "go ahead you have the controls".

The angle of attack, when it was valid, always remained above 35 degrees.

The recordings stopped at 2 h 14 min 28. The last recorded values were a vertical speed of -10,912 ft/min, a ground speed of 107 kt, pitch attitude of 16.2 degrees nose-up, roll angle of 5.3 degrees left and a magnetic heading of 270 degrees.


At this stage of the investigation, as an addition to the BEA interim reports of 2 July and 17
December 2009, the following new facts have been established:

ˆ The composition of the crew was in accordance with the operator’s procedures.

ˆ At the time of the event, the weight and balance of the airplane were within the operatio-
nal limits.

ˆ At the time of the event, the two co-pilots were seated in the cockpit and the Captain was resting. The latter returned to the cockpit about 1 min 30 after the disengagement of the autopilot.

ˆ There was an inconsistency between the speeds displayed on the left side and the integrated standby instrument system (ISIS). This lasted for less than one minute.

ˆ After the autopilot disengagement:

„the airplane climbed to 38,000 ft,

„the stall warning was triggered and the airplane stalled,

„the inputs made by the PF were mainly nose-up,

„the descent lasted 3 min 30, during which the airplane remained stalled. The angle of
attack increased and remained above 35 degrees,

„the engines were operating and always responded to crew commands.

ˆ The last recorded values were a pitch attitude of 16.2 degrees nose-up, a roll angle of
5.3 degrees left and a vertical speed of -10,912 ft/min

Great Singapore Sale 2011 Kicks Off Today

In news from Singapore, the Great Singapore Sale (GSS) kicks off today there. This annual shopping fiesta slash frenzy is one of the biggest such events anywhere in the world, projected sales topping $5.5 billion SD.
Organizers of the sale this year hope to exceed last year’s total for the two month long shopping season. President of the Singapore Retailers Association (SRA), Jannie Chan, had this to add about the event:
“The imported brands are almost on par in terms of pricing compared to Europe. I think our hotels are still cheaper, so if you look at the package of shopping in Singapore, we have that advantage.”

According to the press from the SRA, the organization is confident sales this year will exceed those last year and even expectations. Larger working bonuses and increased population figures in Singapore could spur retail spending significantly, at least this was part of the government’s plan for the bonuses. Dr. Chan went on to talk about this aspect:

“If you were to just look at it locally, our population has gone up to from two to four million. So in the job scope, a lot of expatriates and PRs are living here, and they come with great income. If you were to look at the bonuses, last year, we are lucky to get even the 13th month. For some of the businesses, this year, definitely they’ll get the 13th month. On top of that they might get three months.”

In further news, Mastercard, SRA’s partner this year, has come out with further initiatives to entice shoppers. About two thirds of Mastercard holders, it was discovered, shop online for products. So, a new Shopping Buddy function has been added to an already popular iPhone application.
And the organizers of the Great Singapore Sale have any number of surprises and prize giveaways to sweeten the deals at the Suntec City Mall. One for instance, the so called The Great Singapore Sale Challenge, is where visitors play a version of the popular game show The Price Is Right to win $5,000 in prizes.

For people traveling to Singapore, the Singapore Hotel Association is also offering great deals on hotel rooms and other amenities for the event. You can visit this link to find out about these great savings from over 30 luxury hotels in Singapore. One such deal offers guests a 5 star stay at the luxurious Royal Plaza on Scotts (image of lobby above) for $ 245 SG ($ 198 US) per night.
Many other such bargains are being offered too like, Late Night Shopping deals, The Great Singapore Feast dining extravaganza, and many more. Be sure and check out the Great Singapore Sale website for more information for your trip to Singapore.

Singapore jails UK author for 'insulting book'

SINGAPORE — Singapore's highest court on Friday ordered a defiant 76-year-old British author to serve six weeks in jail for contempt after he published a book denouncing judicial hangings in the city-state.
Alan Shadrake, a freelance journalist and author of "Once A Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock", laughed and joked with reporters after the Court of Appeal upheld a prison term and fine imposed in November.
"I expected the decision. I am very sorry for Singapore. I'm not sorry for myself," he said.
Shadrake was granted a request to start his jail term on Wednesday after he undergoes a medical test. He said doctors had recently found a tumour on his face. He is also receiving treatment for polyps in his colon.
He said he would serve an extra two weeks in jail because he could not afford to pay a Sg$20,000 ($16,150) fine imposed on top of the prison term.
But Singapore jail terms are often reduced by a third for good behaviour.
Shadrake had been on bail while seeking to reverse a High Court ruling in November that found him guilty of "scandalising" the judiciary and imposed the prison term and fine.
"We affirm the sentence imposed by the judge," Justice Andrew Phang of the three-member Court of Appeal panel said Friday.
There was no immediate comment from the British embassy.
When he launched his appeal, Shadrake described the charges as "bloody nonsense" and said he was ready to go to jail.
Shadrake's jail term was the stiffest sentence ever imposed in Singapore for contempt and was denounced by international human rights groups campaigning for an end to executions and urging greater freedom of expression in the country.
Phil Robertson, deputy director for Asia of campaign group Human Rights Watch, said the court of appeal's decision was "a devastating blow to free speech in Singapore."
"It is shameful. More broadly, until the government releases its iron grip on basic freedoms, the Singaporean people will remain all the poorer for it," he told AFP from Bangkok.
Shadrake said last week that the second edition of his book was already on sale in Australia and was due to be launched in Britain on June 1.
His book includes a profile of Darshan Singh, the former chief executioner at Singapore's Changi Prison who, according to the author, hanged around 1,000 men and women including foreigners from 1959 until he retired in 2006.
Singapore law requires death by hanging for convicted murderers and drug traffickers, a mode of execution dating back to British colonial rule.
Shadrake's book features interviews with human rights activists, lawyers and former police officers, and alleges that some cases involving foreigners may have been influenced by diplomatic and trade considerations.
He was arrested by Singapore police in July while visiting the city to launch the first edition of his book, first published in neighbouring Malaysia.
Singapore law provides that "a person commits the offence of scandalising the court if he makes statements which have an inherent tendency to interfere with the administration of justice," according to a court press statement explaining the case.

RSAF Open House this weekend

SINGAPORE : Members of the public can view the latest arsenal of Singapore's Air Force at this weekend's RSAF Open House.

They include the F-15SG fighter jet and S-70B naval helicopter, which will be displayed at the Paya Lebar Air Base.

The event's highlight will be the "live" military demonstrations.

Armed to the teeth, and trained to handle the most intense of situations, the crack special forces unit dashes into the thick of battle.

"The whole intent about this show is to show the synergy and integratedness of the entire Air Force, and working with the Army as well. So in this air show, what we'll see is an integrated demonstration between the air as well as ground forces," said Major Benjamin Kim, F-15SG pilot, RSAF 149 Squadron.

"What we hope (they'd) take away would be for our Singaporeans to know more about the Air Force, to know what our capabilities (are) and how we do our job in defending our skies," said SLTC Foo Young Ge, chairman of the RSAF Open House 2011 Organising Committee.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Margaritaville Goes Virtual and Twitter Gets in Trouble

Jimmy Buffett fans can go directly to Margaritaville now thanks to the musical artist himself and game developer THQ. On a free-to-play online social game, Margaritaville Online will let users build a boat as well as a bar. Players can also earn virtual currency to buy “booty” and customize their games by spending real money. Buffett appears to be banking off his one-hit wonder which has since spawned lines of real-life restaurants, bars, and alcoholic beverages. The singer stated that the characters and destinations in the online game are based off his life and experiences.

In other news, Twitter has reportedly been getting in trouble overseas lately. In the most recent turn of events, an unidentified British celebrity who goes by the initials “CTB” is suing the social network for issuing public information about an alleged affair with a reality TV star. This particular celebrity is thought to be an athlete, male, and supposedly put a block on having media report on his personal life.

One particular Twitter account posted a series of tweets revealing information about certain British celebrities, including CTB, that they had expressly demanded not be released through something called a super injunction. The super injunction is this weird vaguely legal mandate that celebrities issue which forbids media from reporting on something. Apparently Twitter is in violation of this act. A court ruling has yet to issue a legal standpoint on the matter.

On another celebrity-related front, Lady Gaga has caused another ruckus recently on the world wide web with the release of her latest album, ‘Born This Way’ just days ago. The album was offered for digital download on Amazon.com (News - Alert) for just 99 cents on the day of release, but so many little monsters clamored for their mother’s music that the site’s servers crashed. Observers in the media have suggested that Amazon’s aggressive deal on the record was issued to spur competition with Apple’s (News - Alert) number 1 hold on digital music downloads. Apple’s iTunes reportedly holds 90 percent of the market share, a number Amazon cannot even come close to, but its server crash certainly stole the spotlight for a day or two.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2011, taking place Sept. 13-15, 2011, in Austin, Texas. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. To register, click here.

Juliana Kenny graduated from the University of Connecticut with a double degree in English and French. After managing a small company for two years, she joined TMC (News - Alert) as a Web Editor for TMCnet. Juliana currently focuses on the call center and CRM industries, but she also writes about cloud telephony and network gear including softswitches.

Readers' tips for handling Disneyland

The best spot to watch a parade, when to arrive at the park, how to save money on food without skipping meals.
These are just a few of the topics that Bee readers weighed in on when I asked for cost- and sanity-saving tips regarding Disneyland travel.
As many families (mine included) head to the Happiest Place on Earth for spring vacations or to experience the opening of two rides June 3 The Little Mermaid Underground Adventure in California Adventure and the newly redesigned Star Tours in Disneyland it's time to share.
Megan Smith's advice is from a trip she and her husband took to Disneyland with their grandchildren more than 20 years ago, but the Fair Oaks couple's suggestion still rings true.
"We told them ahead of time that 'everyone' sees Disneyland this way: We go first thing in the morning and stay through lunch time eat lunch at the park. Then we all go back to the motel room and take a rest Grandma and Grandpa too!" she wrote. "Then we eat dinner (outside the park) and then go back to the park until closing."
Given that "everyone" was doing it, Smith's elementary-age grandchildren bought into the plan.
"The results were very happy after the first electric light parade, most people and their very tired kids left the park. No lines, cooler weather, no lines, and our grandchildren were not tired or whiny because they had napped in the afternoon (and did I mention no lines?)" she said.
Richard and Becky Brandt of Citrus Heights have found that bringing in bottled water and plastic containers of soda helped trim their Disneyland costs. (While outside food and beverages are discouraged, plastic bottles containing nonalcoholic beverages are permitted, said John McClintock, senior publicist for Disneyland.)
"Also, and this is important, you can get cups of ice for free, just (by) asking, at any place in the park where they sell food," Brandt wrote.
Jennifer Berry, who has been vacationing at Disneyland for more than 37 years, offered (humorous) input on everything from where to stay to how to navigate the park.
"I'm amazed at the stupid things I see people doing there arriving without reservations during spring break and expecting to get a room at the Disneyland Hotel, forcing kids to stand in an hourlong line for a ride that has Fastpass, showing up at the park at 10:30 (a.m.) when the gates open at 8 (a.m.), purchasing tickets at the gate really? Do these folks make a practice of wasting their time and money? Think it's a game to torture their children?" wrote the Sacramento resident. "Perhaps it's just me am I a version of Stalin with Minnie ears?"
Nah, just a well-seasoned Disney traveler.
Berry advised purchasing passes early through the Disneyland website, through a discount travel site such as www.arestravel.com or, if a AAA member, through that organization.
Getting to the park at least 30 minutes before the gates open can help eager families zip through a few rides before lines get long, and deciding in advance which rides are "can't miss" for the family also is a good idea.
"Don't be one of those groups you see just inside the park entrance, spending 15 minutes hovering over a map bickering," she wrote.
And make hotel reservations before arriving in Anaheim.
Berry routinely stayed in Disney property hotels until last year, when they tried an "off-campus" hotel. She wasn't disappointed.
"Are the Disney properties magical? Darn tootin'," she wrote. "But, as I found out, not as magical as saving $1,000 over our last stay at the Grand Californian. I'll probably stick with Disney hotels in the future, but it was great to get out of the box and know there are viable options out there."
And then there's Debbie Vanderveer, known as "dsnydeb" to friends and colleagues, who emailed a seven-page tip sheet on all things Disneyland.
Vanderveer travels to Disneyland three times a year, often for six days at a time. The Citrus Heights resident knows Disneyland.
Here are some of her tips:
- Fastpass Get a Fastpass, which allows you to skip the wait if you return to the attraction at the specified time. But, you can pocket the Fastpass and use it later in the day or evening if you don't use it during the specified hour, she wrote.
- Parades A great vantage spot is on the benches in front of the Train Depot on Main Street, where the parades typically begin or end. Plan on staking out your spot an hour or so before the parade starts. If you're not interested in a parade, stay away from Main Street. It's also a great time to hit the rides, she said.
- Shopping Mornings or early afternoon are the best times to hit the shops. If you don't have a locker or don't want to lug around merchandise, take your purchases to the "Package Express" area at the newsstand just outside Disneyland. They'll hold your items until you pick them up at the end of the day, she said. (Note: Any item purchased in a park store can be sent over to a Disney property hotel.)
Loyal Fair Oaks reader Robert Sydnor provided advice in the form of a memory. He wanted his son, then 4 years old, to have a good night's sleep before heading to Disneyland, so he delayed telling Christopher where they were headed on their "family trip" until much of their hearty breakfast had been eaten their first morning in Anaheim.
"He had a hard time finishing his breakfast because of the intense excitement," Sydnor wrote. "Then we were off ... to the Magic Kingdom. Good memories, for sure."
Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it's off to Disneyland we go. .

Trial Stopped After Niacin Brings No Benefit to Heart Patients

Although early research had suggested that the nutrient niacin might raise levels of "good" cholesterol and thwart heart attacks, a major clinical trial has been stopped 18 months early because it has shown no such benefit.
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The trial, sponsored by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and a drug maker, enrolled patients with a history of heart disease who had their LDL ("bad") cholesterol under control with statin medications. The new trial hoped to use niacin (also known as vitamin B3) to boost levels of "good" HDL cholesterol while lowering blood levels of fats called triglycerides to help reduce the odds of heart attack or stroke.
Unfortunately, "this study has ended 18 months early because we have answered the primary question," Dr. Susan B. Shurin, acting director of the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), said during a morning press conference Thursday. "While high-dose niacin raised participants' HDL cholesterol and lowered triglycerides, it did not affect the overall rate of cardiovascular events," she said.
"There was also an unexplained higher incidence of stroke in the high-dose niacin group, compared to the group on statins alone," Shurin added.
It is not clear if this trend toward stroke was merely a matter of chance, but it was a factor in the NHLBI's decision to stop the trial, especially in the face of a lack of benefit from niacin, she said.
"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is aware of the findings and is recommending no change in labeling or practice [regarding niacin], pending full analysis of the data," Shurin said.
Prior to the trial, some observational studies had shown that low HDL cholesterol was a risk factor for heart attack and stroke, so it was thought that any drug that could boost HDL might help patients. In addition, some studies had shown that low HDL plus high triglycerides boosted the odds of cardiovascular events.
In the trial, more than 3,400 patients averaging 64 years of age were randomly assigned to high-dose niacin or a placebo. Those in the niacin arm of the trial took Abbott Laboratories' Niaspan, a time-released form of niacin that contains a much higher dose of niacin than is found in over-the-counter supplements.
All of the participants also took the cholesterol-lowering statin drug Zocor (simvastatin).
As expected, participants who took Niaspan for the 32 months of the trial saw their blood levels of HDL cholesterol rise and their triglycerides lower, compared with those who took a statin alone.
But the boost in HDL failed to translate to any reduction in heart attacks or strokes, the team said. Nor did it lower the rate of hospitalizations for heart disease or procedures to open blocked cardiac arteries, according to the NHLBI.
Worse, more people taking niacin had strokes than those on a statin alone, the researchers found. In fact, 28 participants taking Niaspan suffered strokes, compared with 12 in the placebo group. Nine of the strokes in the Niaspan group happened to participants who had stopped using the drug at least two months and up to four years before their stroke.
Earlier studies had not shown any connection between high-dose niacin and stroke risk, Shurin said. Why the uptick in strokes was seen in this study isn't clear, she said.
Shurin cautioned people who take supplemental niacin not to stop taking it. They might want to talk with their doctor, she said. But this study is no reason to change what they are doing, she added.
All those in the study have been notified of the results and will be scheduled for clinic visits within the next several months. They will also be followed for 12 to 18 months.
The trial was funded by the NHLBI with support from Abbott Laboratories, which provided the Niaspan. Drug maker Merck Pharmaceuticals provided the Zocor.
Commenting on the decision to stop the trial, Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, a professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, said that "these findings highlight the critical importance of basing treatment decisions on well-powered, randomized clinical outcome trials rather than on surrogate endpoints like changes in lipid [blood fat] levels or imaging studies ever, many clinicians have been led to believe that the so-called 'residual risk' of cardiovascular events that remained after statin therapy could be addressed with therapies like niacin added to statin therapy to raise HDL and lower triglycerides," Fonarow said. But this trial has demonstrated no added reduction in cardiovascular events with this strategy. "A prior trial, ACCORD, showed no benefit with the addition of TriCor, which reduces triglycerides, to statin therapy. Together these trials challenge that concept that raising HDL and lowering triglycerides is beneficial," Fonarow said.
Niaspan's maker looked at the results more positively.
The study results "affirmed the positive impact of Niaspan on HDL and triglyceride lipid [blood fat] values. Previous studies support HDL as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease," Abbott said in a statement.

Best Father’s Day Philadelphia Phillies gifts: 10 great ideas

Father's Day is just around the corner. If you are one of the many people that share's a strong baseball bond with your father, you might want to get him a gift that honors his favorite baseball team. The Philadelphia Phillies are one of the best teams in baseball, and there are many fathers out there that would love a nice gift with a Phillies theme.
Here are 10 of the best:
1. Divot tool and ball marker set
If your dad loves golf and baseball, this is the perfect gift for him. Most people invest money on clubs and balls, so this divot tool and marker set is a great addition that your father probably doesn't have. The set is available here for just $13.95. It includes two markers and a divot tool, each featuring the Phillies logo.
2. Philadelphia Phillies: An Extraordinary Tradition
With over 130 years of baseball history, there is a lot a baseball fan can get out of a good book. This hardcover book is available for $30 and features over 244 pages of stories, pictures, artifacts, newspaper clippings and artwork. It is the perfect book for any Phillies fan.
3. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
This book series takes a different look at the history of various teams, and the Phillies version is no exception. At just $10, the book is a bargain. At over 200 pages, there are plenty of great stories and features that cover all the best and worst in the history of the franchise, as well as many of the great players and other personalities.
4. Heritage banner
This neat banner makes a great addition to a recreation room or basement. The vertical banner includes a history of Phillies logos and costs a mere $18. It's a simple, classy banner but it will let your dad show everyone that he is a true Phillies fan.
5. Phillies Memories DVD
Your dad might already have the 2008 World Series DVD, but this is a short, sweet DVD. It takes a fun approach to showing some of the great memories in Phillies history. The features are unique and showcase great players as well as other personalities, including Harry Kalas. It is available for $17.
6. Throwback duffel bag
This would make a great gift for your dad. It features the famous "fat P" logo on the bag. Your dad could use it at the gym or take it with him when he travels. It is made with high quality material and can be ordered here for $40.
7. BBQ set
Like most men, chances are your father likes to grill. Baseball is the ultimate summer sport, and grilling is the ultimate summer cooking method. This set includes an apron, pot holder, and oven mitt that all feature the Phillies logo. They will go great with your dads grilling tools at his next BBQ. The set costs $25 and can be found here.
8. Phillies watch
If you are in the market for a classy gift, consider this watch that is available for $120. It features a 23 karat gold logo in the middle of the watch. The band is stainless steel with gold accents. If your dad is a man who likes nice watches, this is the perfect thing to honor him with on Father's Day.
9. Phillies tie
Chances are your dad has plenty of ties. It is a good idea to help him add a Phillies tie to his collection. This $35 tie is made from silk. It is primarily red with some blue stripes and a nice Phillies logo. It's a great tie that he can wear to work or anywhere else for that matter.
10. Spend some Phillies time
The Phillies are on the road on Father's Day in 2011, so look into buying tickets to a game either before or after. On Father's Day itself, invite your dad out to watch the game on Father's Day. Start the day off with a little catch. Then, put on your Phillies gear and enjoy the ball game with your father.