"Creativity" as supposed by wikipedia.org

Creativity is a mental and social process involving the generation of new ideas or concepts, or new associations of the creative mind between existing ideas or concepts. Creativity is fueled by the process of either conscious or unconscious insight. An alternative conception of creativeness is that it is simply the act of making something new.

From a scientific point of view, the products of creative thought (sometimes referred to as divergent thought) are usually considered to have both originality and appropriateness.

Although intuitively a simple phenomenon, it is in fact quite complex. It has been studied from the perspectives of behavioural psychology, social psychology, psychometrics, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, philosophy, history, economics, design research, business, and management, among others. The studies have covered everyday creativity, exceptional creativity and even artificial creativity. Unlike many phenomena in science, there is no single, authoritative perspective or definition of creativity. And unlike many phenomena in psychology, there is no standardized measurement technique.

Creativity has been attributed variously to divine intervention, cognitive processes, the social environment, personality traits, and chance ("accident", "serendipity"). It has been associated with genius, mental illness and humour. Some say it is a trait we are born with; others say it can be taught with the application of simple techniques. Creativity has also been viewed as a beneficence of a muse or Muses.

Although popularly associated with art and literature, it is also an essential part of innovation and invention and is important in professions such as business, economics, architecture, industrial design, music, science and engineering.

Despite, or perhaps because of, the ambiguity and multi-dimensional nature of creativity, entire industries have been spawned from the pursuit of creative ideas and the development of creativity techniques.

Leonardo Da Vinci is well known for his creative works.

Creativity has been associated with right or forehead brain activity or even specifically with lateral thinking.

Some students of creativity have emphasized an element of chance in the creative process. Linus Pauling, asked at a public lecture how one creates scientific theories, replied that one must endeavor to come up with many ideas — then discard the useless ones.

Another adequate definition of creativity is that it is an "assumptions-breaking process." Creative ideas are often generated when one discards preconceived assumptions and attempts a new approach or method that might seem to others unthinkable.

Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?

canine gets pussy licked

in my opinion, it's the thought of other dogs laughing at him that makes the fox run away.

(listen for the barking a little around 1:00 and you will see what i mean)

(where in the world would you even BUY this messed up song?)

Space shuttle moves to avoid chunk of space junk

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - Confronted with orbiting junk again, NASA ordered the astronauts aboard the linked space station and shuttle Discovery to move out of the way of a piece of debris Sunday.

Discovery's pilots fired their ship's thrusters to reorient the docked spacecraft to avoid a small piece from a 10-year-old Chinese rocket body that was due to pass uncomfortably close during Monday's planned spacewalk.

Mission Control said keeping the spacecraft in this position for about three hours - with Discovery's belly facing forward - would result in a slow, natural drag of about a foot per second, enough to get the complex out of the way of the 4-inch piece of junk.

a quick vid up on the station


susan and yuri... chillin... i love susans hair.

Space junk has been a recurring problem for the space station, especially recently. Earlier this month, the three space station residents had to take shelter in their emergency getaway capsule when another piece of orbital debris seemed like it might come too close.

And just last week, right before Discovery's arrival, the space station almost had to dodge yet another piece of junk. The debris - from an old busted-up Soviet satellite - stayed at a safe distance.

"As far as I know, it's coincidental that we've had just a couple in this close timeframe," shuttle commander Lee Archambault said in a series of news interviews.

The latest episode occurred as NASA scrambled to put together a spacewalking repair plan for a jammed equipment platform at the space station.

On Monday, spacewalking astronauts will return to an equipment storage shelf that jammed during Saturday's outdoor excursion. NASA officials said Saturday night that the astronauts accidentally inserted a pin upside down and got the mechanism stuck. But on Sunday, one of the spacewalkers, Steven Swanson, said it might not have been a mistake on their part but rather the way the system was built.

It was "a lot stiffer than we thought it was going to be," Swanson said. He said he didn't pull very hard on the pin. "Now ... it looks like if I had just pulled hard on it, it would have come on down."

So Monday's spacewalkers - former schoolteachers Joseph Acaba and Richard Arnold II - will use all their strength to see if the pin comes loose. If all else fails, the jammed platform will simply be tied down with sturdier tethers, he said.

A hastily assembled team of experts spent Saturday night and much of Sunday trying to figure out how best to deal with the problem. The astronauts, meanwhile, gathered up a pry bar, a couple of hammers and other tools to force the pin loose.

The storage platform - located on the long space station framework that holds all the solar wings - is meant to secure big spare parts that will be needed once NASA's shuttles stop flying. Because of all the pin trouble Saturday, the astronauts did not have time to deploy additional shelving on the opposite side of the station. That work was bumped to Monday's spacewalk.

Swanson and Acaba said they do not worry about space junk when they're floating outside.

"We have enough other risks and worries to take on as we go outside," Swanson said.

One item on Sunday afternoon's agenda - a slow day for both crews, with time off - was a full test of the urine processor that was delivered by Discovery. There were hiccups, unfortunately, that the astronauts were trying to resolve.

The urine processor is a critical part of the space station's new water-recycling system, which NASA would like to get working before the population at the orbiting outpost doubles to six at the end of May.

Vacuous Stacy


Apple admit Briton DID invent iPod, but he's still not getting any money

Apple has finally admitted that a British man who left school at 15 is the inventor behind the iPod.

Kane Kramer, 52, came up with the technology that drives the digital music player nearly 30 years ago but has still not seen a penny from his invention.

And the father of three had to sell his home last year and move his family to rented accommodation after closing his struggling furniture business.


Now documents filed by Apple in a court case show the US firm acknowledges him as the father of the iPod.

The computer giant even flew Mr Kramer to its Californian headquarters to give evidence in its defence during a legal wrangle with another firm, Burst.com, which claimed it held patents to technology in the iPod and deserved a cut of Apple’s £89billion profits.

Two years ago, Mr Kramer told this newspaper how he had invented and built the device in 1979 – when he was just 23.

His invention, called the IXI, stored only 3.5 minutes of music on to a chip – but Mr Kramer rightly believed its capacity would improve.

His sketches at the time showed a credit-card-sized player with a rectangular screen and a central menu button to scroll through a selection of music tracks – very similar to the iPod.

He took out a worldwide patent and set up a company to develop the idea.

But in 1988, after a boardroom split, he was unable to raise the £60,000 needed to renew patents across 120 countries and the technology became public property.

Apple used Mr Kramer’s patents and drawings to defend itself in the legal wrangle with Burst last September and he gave evidence under fire from Burst’s lawyers.

Mr Kramer, of Hitchin, Hertfordshire, said: ‘I was up a ladder painting when I got the call from a lady with an American accent from Apple saying she was the head of legal affairs and that they wanted to acknowledge the work that I had done.

‘I must admit that at first I thought it was a wind-up by friends. But we spoke for some time, with me still up this ladder slightly bewildered by it all, and she said Apple would like me to come to California to talk to them.

'Then I had to make a deposition in front of a court stenographer and videographer at a lawyers’ office. The questioning by the Burst legal counsel there was tough, ten hours of it. But I was happy to do it.’

The dispute between Apple and Burst.com has since been settled confidentially out of court.

Mr Kramer said: ‘To be honest, I was just so pleased that finally something that I had done which has been a huge success and changed the music industry was being acknowledged. I was really quite emotional about it all.’

He is now negotiating with Apple to gain some compensation from the copyright that he owns on the drawings.

But so far he has received only a consultancy fee for providing his expertise in the legal case.

A staggering 163million iPods have been sold since the device was launched by Apple in 2001.

Every minute, another 100 are snapped up worldwide, earning Apple an estimated £5.5billion last Christmas alone.

But Mr Kramer, in contrast, last year had to close his struggling furniture design business and move with his wife Lorraine and children, Jodi, nine, Luis, 14, and Lauren, 16, into rented accommodation.

‘I can’t even bring myself to buy an iPod for myself,’ he said. ‘Apple did give me one but it broke down after eight months.’

Mr Kramer, who organises the annual British Invention Show, is now working on a patented invention he claims will be bigger than the iPod.

Called Monicall, it will allow people to have phone calls recorded and emailed to the various parties as an audio file.

He said: ‘It will speed up business deals and provide a low-cost third-party witness to conversations and agreements.

‘A deal will be done on the phone and that is it – an audio file gets emailed over within 30 seconds.’

IPhone Can Take Screenshots of Anything You Do


Your iPhone is watching you.

If you've got an iPhone, pretty much everything you have done on your handset has been temporarily stored as a screenshot that hackers or forensics experts could eventually recover, according to a renowned iPhone hacker who exposed the security flaw in a webcast Thursday.

While demonstrating how to break the iPhone's passcode lock in a webcast, iPhone hacker and data-forensics expert Jonathan Zdziarski explained that the popular handset snaps a screenshot of your most recent action -- regardless of whether it's sending a text message, e-mailing or browsing a web page -- in order to cache it. This is purely for aesthetic purposes: When an iPhone user taps the Home button, the window of the application you have open shrinks and disappears. In order to create that shrinking effect, the iPhone snaps a screenshot, Zdziarski said.

The phone presumably deletes the image after you close the application. But anyone who understands data is aware that in most cases, deletion does not permanently remove files from a storage device. Therefore, forensics experts have used this security flaw to gather evidence against criminals convicted of rape, murder or drug deals, Zdziarski said.

"There's no way to prevent it," Zdziarski said during the webcast. "I'm kind of divided on it. I hope Apple fixes it because it's a significant privacy leak, but at the same time it's been useful for investigating criminals."

And though the handset only snaps screenshots when users press the Home button, Zdziarski said this is only one way forensics experts collect evidence. Other methods include taking data from the iPhone's keyboard cache, Safari cache, Google Maps lookups and so on. Experts and hackers can also recover deleted photos or e-mails from months ago.

In addition to exposing the privacy leaks, Zdziarski walked webcast attendees through the steps required to bypass an iPhone's passcode in order to gain full access to it.

The method didn't look all that easy, but Zdziarski said it could take as little as 60 seconds to break the iPhone's security. To make a long story short, the process involved using Pwnage to create a custom firmware bundle and tweaking it with rather arcane methods to delete the iPhone's passcode protection. Once set up, the technique can be used over and over on different iPhones, Zdziarski added.

Despite the intricacy of the method, Zdziarski stressed that anybody with the time and digital sophistication has the ability to break the iPhone's security.

"This flaw can only be exploited by somebody with physical access to a device, but your phone could get into the hands of someone with more malicious intent," he said. "Obviously, you don't want to trust any of your data to a passcode."

A full recording of the webcast, hosted by O'Reilly, is available on YouTube.

Those interested in learning how to break iPhone security can pre-order Zdziarski's book iPhone Forensics: Recovering Evidence, Personal Data, and Corporate Assets.

Apple did not return phone calls for comment.

new adobe program


AWESOME stretchedcat!


a thirteen year old mcdonalds hamburger

which of these two burgers was bought recently?

this is the link to the article

Supersize Me

The only thing on hulu.com worth watching... really.

Giz Explains: How Cell Towers Work

snatched from HERE

I recently visited a cell site shared by Clearwire and two other unnamed carriers—without frying my nuts. We've all driven past them so many times, but have you ever actually wondered how they work?


How They Work
Whether it's handling simple phone calls or 12Mbps WiMax data, cell sites are organized with more or less the same flow:

• A cellphone or modem radios the nearest towers, saying, basically, "I'm here!" When you make a call or logon, your phone then sends a message via radio that's picked up by the antenna array.

• A wire or fiberoptic line carries the call down to the wireless access point, connected to a multi-port switch.

• The call, along with many others, gets routed to a backhaul, usually down to an underground wired T1 or T3 line, but sometimes back up the mast to a powerful line-of-sight wireless microwave antenna. They resort to wireless either when they don't have a ground connection, or when the ground connection sucks.

• The incoming call or data comes back from the backhaul and up through the switch to the antenna, where it then hits your phone wirelessly, presuming your phone is still communicating with the same site. If you are moving, then there's a handoff—a new but more or less identical cell site transmits the data to your phone, once your phone checks in and says "I'm here."

All of this happens in the blink of an eye.

The Gear
Clearwire, who gave me the tour of the cell site during my WiMax test run, is a new company, only just now deploying their network, one that is only focused on data, and not on voice calls. This means they don't have a bunch of sites already established like other carriers (though their recent acquisition by Sprint may change this). But it also means their cellular gear is modern and compact compared to the others.

For instance, the carrier whose name probably starts with A keeps its gear in a bunker like the Endor moon one that Han Solo & Co. were trying to bust into in Jedi. The backup batteries must be enormous, because there's a sign on the door that says, "Danger - Corrosive Liquids - Wear Protective Equipment."

Clearwire, by comparison, has a high-school locker for its gear—one that is built somewhere else and just trucked to the location. You attach it to the on-site power, run lines and antennas up the mast, and either bolt the sucker to a cement foundation or to the side of a steel post, and voila, you are done. It uses two car batteries for its backup power—enough juice to last six hours and they don't have to wear a hazmat suit to service it. (It can also run off of a portable generator.)

In this particular site, the carrier whose name may start with a V had a set of three larger lockers, not the huge bunker that its competitor had, but a serious array nonetheless. As you probably guessed, each carrier locks up its own facility, so I wasn't at liberty to fully inspect the other guys' gear—or even confirm their identities.

Clearwire also runs skinny fiberoptics up to the top of the tower, instead of the thick insulated copper cables that the old boys' networks run. Again, this has more to do with newness than simple common sense, but it may mean cell towers could be a little slimmer in the future.

So what happens up top?
The real demystification was the antenna array itself. I for one did not know a lot about how things were set up, and now I know a tiny bit more, which I will share:

• The huge antenna masts can have multiple carriers, each with its own triangular platform and antenna array.

• The reason the platforms are triangular is so the 360-degree coverage can be split into 120-degree pie pieces, which—if you look closely—can be subdivided again into 40-degree slices for increased, pinpointed coverage.

• If there's a white disk-shaped antenna among the array, it means that the carrier has a line-of-sight microwave backhaul. Clearwire's can handle 80Mbps at the moment, but must be directly in line with another microwave antenna. (Speaking of fried nuts, I wouldn't want to stand between two of those.)

medival help desk

the way howie day USED to be

international space station report 1

March 15 (Bloomberg) -- The space shuttle Discovery blasted off tonight under a clear sky, ending a series of delays that had scrubbed previous launches.

The seven-member crew, commanded by Air Force Colonel Lee Archambault, began a 14-day mission in which the craft will deliver two solar wing arrays to the International Space Station.

The arrays will provide extra electricity needed to run the station’s expanding laboratories and sustain the vessel’s first six-person crew, who begin living there in May.

click on this link for an awesomly HUGE picture of this

NASA postponed Discovery’s flight on March 11 after technicians found a leaky valve in a line transporting gaseous hydrogen, which is flammable, away from the launch pad it could be safely burned off.

The mission already had been delay several times so engineers could test the spaceship’s three hydrogen flow-control valves. One such valve was damaged on the space shuttle Endeavour during a November flight. The two problems were unrelated.

NASA officials have said the mission is critical because the space station’s power needs are large: The vessel’s eight arrays will generate the same number of kilowatts used by 42 2,800- square-foot houses, said Allard Beutel, a NASA spokesman.

The arrays are attached to a 45-foot-long, 31,127-pound truss. When joined to the station, the truss will complete a supporting structure, the station’s “backbone,” longer than a football field, according to NASA.

Boeing Co. was the primary contractor on the truss, working with other firms including Lockheed Martin Corp., Loral Space & Communications Inc., Honeywell International Inc. and Hamilton Sundstrand Corp.

240-Foot Wingspan

Crew members will unfold the arrays in space to their full 240-foot wingspan. Each array is covered with solar cells to capture energy from the sunlight.

The arrays are attached to a 45-foot-long, 31,127-pound truss that, when joined to the station, will complete a supporting structure, the station’s “backbone,” longer than a football field, according to NASA.

The international space station, which orbits 250 miles above Earth, is being assembled by 15 countries. The station’s crew operates laboratories that study the effects of space on humans and grow protein crystals used in medical research.

Among Discovery’s seven-man crew is Koichi Wakata, who will be the first Japanese astronaut to spend an extended period of time at the station.

Meucci invented the telephone

Chronology of Meucci's invention

An Italian researcher in telecommunications, Basilio Catania, and the Italian Society of Electrotechnics, "Federazione Italiana di Elettrotecnica", have devoted a Museum to Antonio Meucci, constructioning a chronology of his inventing the telephone and tracing the history of the two trials involving Meucci and Alexander Graham Bell

Both claim that Meucci was the real inventor of the telephone, but base their argument on the reconstruction rather than contemporary evidence. What follows, if not otherwise stated, is a résumé of their historic reconstruction.

In 1834 Meucci constructed a kind of acoustic telephone as a way to communicate between the stage and control room at the theatre "Teatro della Pergola" in Florence. This telephone is constructed on the model of pipe-telephones on ships and is still working.

In 1848 Meucci developed a popular method of using electric shocks to treat rheumatism. He used to give his patients two conductors linked to 60 Bunsen batteries and ending with a cork. He also kept two conductors linked to the same Bunsen batteries. He used to sit in his laboratory, while the Bunsen batteries were placed in a second room and his patients in a third room. In 1849 while providing a treatment to a patient with a 114V electrical discharge, in his laboratory Meucci heard his patient's scream through the piece of copper wire that was between them, from the conductors he was keeping near his ear. His intuition was that the "tongue" of copper wire was vibrating just like a leave of an electroscope; which means that there was an electrostatic effect. In order to continue the experiment without hurting his patient, Meucci covered the copper wire with a piece of paper. Through this device he heard inarticulated human voice. He called this device "telegrafo parlante" (litt. "talking telegraph").

On the basis of this prototype, Meucci worked on more than 30 kinds of sound transmitting devices inspired by the telegraph model as did other pioneers of the telephone, such as Charles Bourseul, Philipp Reis, Innocenzo Manzetti and others. Meucci later claimed that he did not think about transmitting voice by using the principle of the telegraph "make-and-break" method, but he looked for a "continuous" solution that did not interrupt the electric current.

In 1856 Meucci later claimed that he constructed the first electromagnetic telephone, made of an electromagnet with a nucleus in the shape of a horseshoe bat, a diaphragm of animal skin, stiffened with potassium dichromate and keeping a metal disk stuck in the middle. The instrument was hosted in a cylindrical carton box. He said he constructed this as a way to connect his second-floor bedroom to his basement laboratory, and thus communicate with his wife who was an invalid.
Meucci separated the two directions of transmission in order to eliminate the so-called "local effect", adopting what we would call today a 4-wire-circuit. He constructed a simple calling system with a telegraphic manipulator which short-circuited the instrument of the calling person, producing in the instrument of the called person a succession of impulses (clicks), much more intense than those of normal conversation. As he was aware that his device required a bigger band than a telegraph, he found some means to avoid the so-called "skin effect" through superficial treatment of the conductor or by acting on the material (copper instead of iron). He successfully used an insulated copper plait, thus anticipating the litz wire used by Nikola Tesla in RF coils.

In 1864 Meucci later claimed that he realized his "best device", using an iron diaphragm with optimized thickness and tightly clamped along its rim. The instrument was housed in a shaving-soap box, whose cover clamped the diaphragm.
In August 1870, Meucci later claimed that he obtained transmission of articulate human voice at a mile distance by using as a conductor a copper plait insulated by cotton. He called his device "teletrofono". According to an Affidavit of lawyer Michael Lemmi drawings and notes by Antonio Meucci dated September 27 1870 show coils of wire on long distance telephone lines. The painting made by Nestore Corradi in 1858 mentions the sentence "Electric current from the inductor pipe".


Click on the pic to play the game

Chocolate was DRANK first... not eaten.

source ~ wikipedia

Native to lowland, tropical South America, cacao has been cultivated for at least three millennia in Central America and Mexico, with its earliest documented use around 1100 BC. The majority of the Mesoamerican peoples made chocolate beverages, including the Maya and Aztecs.

Chocolate has been used as a drink for nearly all of its history. The earliest record of using chocolate dates back before the Olmec. In November 2007, archaeologists reported finding evidence of the oldest known cultivation and use of cacao at a site in Puerto Escondido, Honduras, dating from about 1100 to 1400 BC.[6] The residues found and the kind of vessel they were found in indicate that the initial use of cacao was not simply as a beverage, but the white pulp around the cacao beans was likely used as a source of fermentable sugars for an alcoholic drink.[6] The Maya civilization grew cacao trees in their backyard,[7] and used the cacao seeds it produced to make a frothy, bitter drink.[8] Documents in Maya hieroglyphs stated that chocolate was used for ceremonial purposes, in addition to everyday life.[9] The chocolate residue found in an early ancient Maya pot in Río Azul, Guatemala, suggests that Maya were drinking chocolate around 400 AD. In the New World, chocolate was consumed in a bitter, spicy drink called xocoatl, and was often flavored with vanilla, chile pepper, and achiote (known today as annatto).[10] Xocoatl was believed to fight fatigue, a belief that is probably attributable to the theobromine content. Chocolate was also an important luxury good throughout pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, and cacao beans were often used as currency.[11] For example, the Aztecs used a system in which one turkey cost one hundred cacao beans and one fresh avocado was worth three beans.[12] South American and European cultures have used cocoa to treat diarrhea for hundreds of years.[13] All of the areas that were conquered by the Aztecs that grew cacao beans were ordered to pay them as a tax, or as the Aztecs called it, a "tribute".[14]

Until the 16th century, no European had ever heard of the popular drink from the Central and South American peoples.[15] It was not until the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs that chocolate could be imported to Europe, where it quickly became a court favorite.[15] To keep up with the high demand for this new drink, Spanish armies began enslaving Mesoamericans to produce cacao.[16] Even with cacao harvesting becoming a regular business, only royalty and the well-connected could afford to drink this expensive import.[17] Before long, the Spanish began growing cacao beans on plantations, and using an African workforce to help manage them.[18] The situation was different in England. Put simply, anyone with money could buy it.[19] The first chocolate house opened in London in 1657.[19] In 1689, noted physician and collector Hans Sloane developed a milk chocolate drink in Jamaica which was initially used by apothecaries, but later sold to the Cadbury brothers.[20]

For hundreds of years, the chocolate making process remained unchanged. When the people saw the Industrial Revolution arrive, many changes occurred that brought about the food today in its modern form. In the 1700s, mechanical mills were created that squeezed out cocoa butter, which in turn helped to create hard, durable chocolate.[21] But, it was not until the arrival of the Industrial Revolution that these mills were put to bigger use. Not long after the revolution cooled down, companies began advertising this new invention to sell many of the chocolate treats we see today.[22] When new machines were produced, people began experiencing and consuming chocolate worldwide.

the new at&t

the single greatest best country God has ever given man on the face of the earth

stupid people

Good ol' Mountain Dew

At work, I get free sodas. I was partial to Mountain Dew, as I imagine many of you are, also. Since they're free, I lately find myself drinking 2 or more Mountain Dews per day. Now that Mountain Dew accounted for about half of the liquid entering my body, I decided to dew some Wikipediaing, just to see what I was dewing to myself.


Carbonated Water
About as neutral as regular water.
There are a few additives that have little-to-no health side effects or benefits.

High Fructose Corn Syrup
High fructose corn syrup is about half and half glucose and fructose.
Probably one of the worst FDA-approved substances you can put through your body.
Used instead of real cane sugar because it's cheaper and has a longer shelf-life.
Increases risk for cardiovascular disease.
Causes obesity "in lab rats".

Concentrated orange juice and other natural flavors and Citric acid
Hooray for Vitamin C.
Vitamin C forms Benzene (which can cause cancer) when combined with Sodium Benzoate. Let's just hope we don't accidentally eat or drink anything with Sodium Benzoate in it!

Sodium Benzoate
Preserves Freshness by killing stuff.
Works only in substances with a pH less than 3.6
Hooray for Benzene.

Is a drug
Actually has benefits in moderation
When overused, causes anxiety, insomnia, headaches, heart palpitations, ulcers, and acid reflux.

Sodium citrate
Adds sourness
Is a buffering agent (helps maintain pH)
Is a laxative

Gum Arabic
Not entirely sure why it's in my drink. For texture maybe?

Erythorbic acid
Nothing interesting to note about this one. "Preserves Freshness". Okay.

Calcium Disodium EDTA
This is an attempt to stop the sodium benzoate and citric acid reaction from forming benzene mentioned earlier. But seriously, there's something inherently troubling about drinking a concoction of poison and antidote in juuuuust the right proportion.

Brominated Vegetable Oil
...is vegetable oil with bromine bonded to it. Wouldn't have guessed.
Bromine gives mountain dew its cloudy appearance.
Brominated Vegetable Oil in large amounts causes hallucinations, seizures, depression, memory loss, and other great brain-related hilarities.

Yellow 5
Contrary to popular belief, Yellow 5 does not affect the size of genitalia.
Yellow 5 is the least of your worries at this point.

Needless to say that the free Welch's Orchard fruit juice sitting across from the Mountain Dew is looking much more appealing now.

gig dates

a chapman stick and an udu drum

Hanging some art up at the local coffeeshop

3-5-9 newt gingrich interview from the today show transcript

Newt Gingrich is the former Republican speaker of the House.

Speaker Gingrich, good to see you. Good morning.

Mr. NEWT GINGRICH (Republican, Former Speaker of the House): Good to be with you.

LAUER: Let me ask you how you think President Obama has handled this so far. A couple of weeks ago he went to Capitol Hill, he reached out to Republicans, met with them at their caucus. This week, a much tougher stance against Republicans. Last night, you just heard the comments he had to make. He's angry about this. Is he justified or is he sending mixed signals?

Mr. GINGRICH: Look, I think--I think he is in real danger of becoming Jimmy Carter instead of Ronald Reagan. He's zigzagging. He's not accurate. The fact is, in the House there were 11 Democrats who voted no. In the Senate it is a bipartisan group of Democrats and Republicans together who are saying this bill's too expensive. What we got last night wasn't let's reason together, let's sit down and negotiate. You know, when we did the balanced budget bill, which saved $405 billion in federal debt over four years, and it was the only time since the 1920s, President Clinton and I had to negotiate for 35 days in order to work out all the details.

LAUER: Except, though, Speaker Gingrich, the situation is different this time around, isn't it? I mean, President Obama talks about grave and immediate consequences to the economy if this isn't passed sooner than later.

Mr. GINGRICH: Well, if it's that grave and that immediate, why isn't he calling bipartisan leadership meetings in the White House to work out the details instead of making partisan speeches in front of a partisan audience, attacking the people whose votes he's going to need? I mean, I agree this is a very grave situation, but that doesn't excuse trying to ram through a $920 billion bill. Now think of it--the scale, Matt. Every American could not pay a single penny of income tax or a single penny of Social Security tax from now through August for the amount of money we're talking about. This is more money than the Iraq war and the Afghanistan war have cost in seven years, and you don't just ram that through unthinkingly. You expect your representatives and your senators to try to make the bill work.

LAUER: Let me ask you about the first couple of weeks of this administration, Newt. There have been ups and downs. More recently, more downs than ups, especially with the tax situations involving some key nominees for the Cabinet. I'm just curious, are we seeing simple growing pains, or do you think we're seeing something more serious?

Mr. GINGRICH: I don't--I don't think we know yet, but I think last night's speech didn't help any in this--in this case. You know, President Obama had a remarkable campaign. He was as disciplined and as smart as any candidate we've seen in modern times. And I thought the first five or six weeks of his transition were terrific and he was doing a good job. He picked a strong national security team. And then I think they just got tone-deaf, starting with Geithner, secretary of the Treasury. Because you can't pick a guy to be in charge of the IRS who hasn't paid his taxes for four years. And then that just continued. I don't know if they were doing a bad job of vetting or if they were so confident that they thought the country wouldn't notice or they thought they could shrug it off.

LAUER: Well...

Mr. GINGRICH: But I do think they've had a difficult challenge. And I think there is a danger it's going to get worse, because the fact is the world doesn't slow down to let presidents learn. I mean, the world moves at a very fast pace when you're in the White House.

LAUER: Let me ask you--and this is a segue, I think it works here. You've got a new project out, it's a documentary on Ronald Reagan called "Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous With Destiny." This would have been his 98th birthday. He was the Great Communicator who came to office during another time of change. What could Obama, learn from the steps taken by Ronald Reagan back then in terms of the opening month of his administration?

Mr. GINGRICH: Well, President Reagan, first of all, did not get his tax cuts through until the summer, signed them in August, at a time which, by the way, was a deeper recession than we're in right now. President Reagan had a disciplined, calm, optimistic approach, even after he was shot. There's a scene in our movie where he comes into the House chamber 13 days after he was shot, and as you look at it, you can't believe this guy is responding so well, is so disciplined and is physically so strong. I think that there was a steady optimism to Reagan that allowed him to be comfortable. After all, he and O'Neill fought--Democrat Speaker O'Neill fought all the time. But at 6:00 in the evening they put aside the fighting and they could sit around and tell stories and try to learn to work together. Reagan had eight years as governor of California, and he had learned a lot about how the executive works with the legislature. Senator Obama was a state senator, then he was a US senator. I'm not sure he yet understands as president how dramatically different that role is from simply being the party leader.

LAUER: Right. Well, we'll leave it at that. Newt Gingrich.

Newt, good to see you.

Mr. GINGRICH: Good to be with you.

Russian Foreign Ministry school dean warns of martial law in U.S. by 2010

MOSCOW – If you're inclined to believe Igor Panarin, and the Kremlin wouldn't mind if you did, then President Barack Obama will order martial law this year, the U.S. will split into six rump-states before 2011, and Russia and China will become the backbones of a new world order.

Panarin might be easy to ignore but for the fact that he is a dean at the Foreign Ministry's school for future diplomats and a regular on Russia's state-guided TV channels. And his predictions fit into the anti-American story line of the Kremlin leadership.

"There is a high probability that the collapse of the United States will occur by 2010," Panarin told dozens of students, professors and diplomats Tuesday at the Diplomatic Academy — a lecture the ministry pointedly invited The Associated Press and other foreign media to attend.

The prediction from Panarin, a former spokesman for Russia's Federal Space Agency and reportedly an ex-KGB analyst, meshes with the negative view of the U.S. that has been flowing from the Kremlin in recent years, in particular from Vladimir Putin.

Putin, the former president who is now prime minister, has likened the United States to Nazi Germany's Third Reich and blames Washington for the global financial crisis that has pounded the Russian economy.

Panarin didn't give many specifics on what underlies his analysis, mostly citing newspapers, magazines and other open sources.

He also noted he had been predicting the demise of the world's wealthiest country for more than a decade now.

But he said the recent economic turmoil in the U.S. and other "social and cultural phenomena" led him to nail down a specific timeframe for "The End" — when the United States will break up into six autonomous regions and Alaska will revert to Russian control.

Panarin argued that Americans are in moral decline, saying their great psychological stress is evident from school shootings, the size of the prison population and the number of gay men.

Turning to economic woes, he cited the slide in major stock indexes, the decline in U.S. gross domestic product and Washington's bailout of banking giant Citigroup as evidence that American dominance of global markets has collapsed.

"I was there recently and things are far from good," he said. "What's happened is the collapse of the American dream."

Panarin insisted he didn't wish for a U.S. collapse, but he predicted Russia and China would emerge from the economic turmoil stronger and said the two nations should work together, even to create a new currency to replace the U.S. dollar.

Asked for comment on how the Foreign Ministry views Panarin's theories, a spokesman said all questions had to be submitted in writing and no answers were likely before Wednesday.

It wasn't clear how persuasive the 20-minute lecture was. One instructor asked Panarin whether his predictions more accurately describe Russia, which is undergoing its worst economic crisis in a decade as well as a demographic collapse that has led some scholars to predict the country's demise.

Panarin dismissed that idea: "The collapse of Russia will not occur."

But Alexei Malashenko, a scholar-in-residence at the Carnegie Moscow Center who did not attend the lecture, sided with the skeptical instructor, saying Russia is the country that is on the verge of disintegration.

"I can't imagine at all how the United States could ever fall apart," Malashenko told the AP.

Bruce Lee said: "Kick Me!"

Great little lessons in Jeet Kun Do.

Google search:


i find it funny to find people more engrossed with computers than myself.

what else do they do with their spare time???

i just goof on the computer two hours a day... what would MORE be like?

oh and the video has a couple of funny points too.

lazy day at the beach... with planes


A Pandemic of Economic Violence

found here

By Tomgram: Michael Klare

February 24, 2009 Tomgram" -- - Islands, it's well known, are more vulnerable to species extinctions than continents. Could the same be true with economic extinctions? After all, as Rebecca Solnit wrote at this site, the small North Atlantic island of Iceland (pop. 320,000) went bust first in this ongoing, roiling economic crisis. Its economy had been riding high on speculative funny money for years when, in little more than a week in October, all three of its major banks cratered and the country's currency essentially ceased to have value. Not long after, Icelanders hit the streets of their capital, Reykjavik, launching protests, which have yet to end. Soon after, the government fell.

Just this Saturday, Ireland, another suddenly shaky island, whose economy had been riding high on funny money, saw mass protest in the streets of its capital. As the British Times described the scene: "For two hours yesterday Dublin's O'Connell Street was a swollen river of anger as 100,000 people marched in protest at the government's handling of the financial crisis." At least one protestor carried a sign warning of "a lesson learnt from Iceland." And in this climate of unrest that threatens to flood islands with "swollen rivers of anger," the British police are now bracing for the worst -- a possible "'summer of rage' with mass protests over the economic crisis that could mar Prime Minister Gordon Brown's G20 summit in London in April." We're talking here about a formerly prosperous isle that is now inspiring headlines like "Is The U.K. Another Iceland?" and whose capital has been dubbed by some "Reykjavik on the Thames."

But mainlands, as Michael Klare, author of Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet: The New Geopolitics of Energy, tells us in his latest TomDispatch post, haven't exactly been immune from rage either. As the planet seems to melt down, day by day, week by week, no place may be. Everywhere, it seems, authorities are bracing themselves for the worst. Just yesterday, for instance, the New York Times reported that, in China, which has lost 20 million jobs in the last few months, "more than 3,000 public security directors from across the country are gathering in the capital to learn how to neutralize rallies and strikes before they blossom into so-called mass incidents."

Good luck, as they say. Let Klare -- who, back in the 1990s, may have been the first person to seriously consider the kinds of violence, conflict, and even "resource wars" that might arise out of scarcity and tough times -- survey the global landscape and offer you a sense of what may lie ahead. Tom
A Planet at the Brink
Will Economic Brushfires Prove Too Virulent to Contain?
By Michael T. Klare

The global economic meltdown has already caused bank failures, bankruptcies, plant closings, and foreclosures and will, in the coming year, leave many tens of millions unemployed across the planet. But another perilous consequence of the crash of 2008 has only recently made its appearance: increased civil unrest and ethnic strife. Someday, perhaps, war may follow.

As people lose confidence in the ability of markets and governments to solve the global crisis, they are likely to erupt into violent protests or to assault others they deem responsible for their plight, including government officials, plant managers, landlords, immigrants, and ethnic minorities. (The list could, in the future, prove long and unnerving.) If the present economic disaster turns into what President Obama has referred to as a "lost decade," the result could be a global landscape filled with economically-fueled upheavals.

Indeed, if you want to be grimly impressed, hang a world map on your wall and start inserting red pins where violent episodes have already occurred. Athens (Greece), Longnan (China), Port-au-Prince (Haiti), Riga (Latvia), Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sofia (Bulgaria), Vilnius (Lithuania), and Vladivostok (Russia) would be a start. Many other cities from Reykjavik, Paris, Rome, and Zaragoza to Moscow and Dublin have witnessed huge protests over rising unemployment and falling wages that remained orderly thanks in part to the presence of vast numbers of riot police. If you inserted orange pins at these locations -- none as yet in the United States -- your map would already look aflame with activity. And if you're a gambling man or woman, it's a safe bet that this map will soon be far better populated with red and orange pins.

For the most part, such upheavals, even when violent, are likely to remain localized in nature, and disorganized enough that government forces will be able to bring them under control within days or weeks, even if -- as with Athens for six days last December -- urban paralysis sets in due to rioting, tear gas, and police cordons. That, at least, has been the case so far. It is entirely possible, however, that, as the economic crisis worsens, some of these incidents will metastasize into far more intense and long-lasting events: armed rebellions, military takeovers, civil conflicts, even economically fueled wars between states.

Every outbreak of violence has its own distinctive origins and characteristics. All, however, are driven by a similar combination of anxiety about the future and lack of confidence in the ability of established institutions to deal with the problems at hand. And just as the economic crisis has proven global in ways not seen before, so local incidents -- especially given the almost instantaneous nature of modern communications -- have a potential to spark others in far-off places, linked only in a virtual sense.

A Global Pandemic of Economically Driven Violence

The riots that erupted in the spring of 2008 in response to rising food prices suggested the speed with which economically-related violence can spread. It is unlikely that Western news sources captured all such incidents, but among those recorded in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal were riots in Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, and Senegal.

In Haiti, for example, thousands of protesters stormed the presidential palace in Port-au-Prince and demanded food handouts, only to be repelled by government troops and UN peacekeepers. Other countries, including Pakistan and Thailand, quickly sought to deter such assaults by deploying troops at farms and warehouses throughout the country.

The riots only abated at summer's end when falling energy costs brought food prices crashing down as well. (The cost of food is now closely tied to the price of oil and natural gas because petrochemicals are so widely and heavily used in the cultivation of grains.) Ominously, however, this is sure to prove but a temporary respite, given the epic droughts now gripping breadbasket regions of the United States, Argentina, Australia, China, the Middle East, and Africa. Look for the prices of wheat, soybeans, and possibly rice to rise in the coming months -- just when billions of people in the developing world are sure to see their already marginal incomes plunging due to the global economic collapse.

Food riots were but one form of economic violence that made its bloody appearance in 2008. As economic conditions worsened, protests against rising unemployment, government ineptitude, and the unaddressed needs of the poor erupted as well. In India, for example, violent protests threatened stability in many key areas. Although usually described as ethnic, religious, or caste disputes, these outbursts were typically driven by economic anxiety and a pervasive feeling that someone else's group was faring better than yours -- and at your expense.

In April, for example, six days of intense rioting in Indian-controlled Kashmir were largely blamed on religious animosity between the majority Muslim population and the Hindu-dominated Indian government; equally important, however, was a deep resentment over what many Kashmiri Muslims experienced as discrimination in jobs, housing, and land use. Then, in May, thousands of nomadic shepherds known as Gujjars shut down roads and trains leading to the city of Agra, home of the Taj Mahal, in a drive to be awarded special economic rights; more than 30 people were killed when the police fired into crowds. In October, economically-related violence erupted in Assam in the country's far northeast, where impoverished locals are resisting an influx of even poorer, mostly illegal immigrants from nearby Bangladesh.

Economically-driven clashes also erupted across much of eastern China in 2008. Such events, labeled "mass incidents" by Chinese authorities, usually involve protests by workers over sudden plant shutdowns, lost pay, or illegal land seizures. More often than not, protestors demanded compensation from company managers or government authorities, only to be greeted by club-wielding police.

Needless to say, the leaders of China's Communist Party have been reluctant to acknowledge such incidents. This January, however, the magazine Liaowang (Outlook Weekly) reported that layoffs and wage disputes had triggered a sharp increase in such "mass incidents," particularly along the country's eastern seaboard, where much of its manufacturing capacity is located.

By December, the epicenter of such sporadic incidents of violence had moved from the developing world to Western Europe and the former Soviet Union. Here, the protests have largely been driven by fears of prolonged unemployment, disgust at government malfeasance and ineptitude, and a sense that "the system," however defined, is incapable of satisfying the future aspirations of large groups of citizens.

One of the earliest of this new wave of upheavals occurred in Athens, Greece, on December 6, 2008, after police shot and killed a 15-year-old schoolboy during an altercation in a crowded downtown neighborhood. As news of the killing spread throughout the city, hundreds of students and young people surged into the city center and engaged in pitched battles with riot police, throwing stones and firebombs. Although government officials later apologized for the killing and charged the police officer involved with manslaughter, riots broke out repeatedly in the following days in Athens and other Greek cities. Angry youths attacked the police -- widely viewed as agents of the establishment -- as well as luxury shops and hotels, some of which were set on fire. By one estimate, the six days of riots caused $1.3 billion in damage to businesses at the height of the Christmas shopping season.

Russia also experienced a spate of violent protests in December, triggered by the imposition of high tariffs on imported automobiles. Instituted by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to protect an endangered domestic auto industry (whose sales were expected to shrink by up to 50% in 2009), the tariffs were a blow to merchants in the Far Eastern port of Vladivostok who benefited from a nationwide commerce in used Japanese vehicles. When local police refused to crack down on anti-tariff protests, the authorities were evidently worried enough to fly in units of special forces from Moscow, 3,700 miles away.

In January, incidents of this sort seemed to be spreading through Eastern Europe. Between January 13th and 16th, anti-government protests involving violent clashes with the police erupted in the Latvian capital of Riga, the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, and the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius. It is already essentially impossible to keep track of all such episodes, suggesting that we are on the verge of a global pandemic of economically driven violence.

A Perfect Recipe for Instability

While most such incidents are triggered by an immediate event -- a tariff, the closure of local factory, the announcement of government austerity measures -- there are systemic factors at work as well. While economists now agree that we are in the midst of a recession deeper than any since the Great Depression of the 1930s, they generally assume that this downturn -- like all others since World War II -- will be followed in a year, or two, or three, by the beginning of a typical recovery.

There are good reasons to suspect that this might not be the case -- that poorer countries (along with many people in the richer countries) will have to wait far longer for such a recovery, or may see none at all. Even in the United States, 54% of Americans now believe that "the worst" is "yet to come" and only 7% that the economy has "turned the corner," according to a recent Ipsos/McClatchy poll; fully a quarter think the crisis will last more than four years. Whether in the U.S., Russia, China, or Bangladesh, it is this underlying anxiety -- this suspicion that things are far worse than just about anyone is saying -- which is helping to fuel the global epidemic of violence.

The World Bank's most recent status report, Global Economic Prospects 2009, fulfills those anxieties in two ways. It refuses to state the worst, even while managing to hint, in terms too clear to be ignored, at the prospect of a long-term, or even permanent, decline in economic conditions for many in the world. Nominally upbeat -- as are so many media pundits -- regarding the likelihood of an economic recovery in the not-too-distant future, the report remains full of warnings about the potential for lasting damage in the developing world if things don't go exactly right.

Two worries, in particular, dominate Global Economic Prospects 2009: that banks and corporations in the wealthier countries will cease making investments in the developing world, choking off whatever growth possibilities remain; and that food costs will rise uncomfortably, while the use of farmlands for increased biofuels production will result in diminished food availability to hundreds of millions.

Despite its Pollyanna-ish passages on an economic rebound, the report does not mince words when discussing what the almost certain coming decline in First World investment in Third World countries would mean:

"Should credit markets fail to respond to the robust policy interventions taken so far, the consequences for developing countries could be very serious. Such a scenario would be characterized by... substantial disruption and turmoil, including bank failures and currency crises, in a wide range of developing countries. Sharply negative growth in a number of developing countries and all of the attendant repercussions, including increased poverty and unemployment, would be inevitable."

In the fall of 2008, when the report was written, this was considered a "worst-case scenario." Since then, the situation has obviously worsened radically, with financial analysts reporting a virtual freeze in worldwide investment. Equally troubling, newly industrialized countries that rely on exporting manufactured goods to richer countries for much of their national income have reported stomach-wrenching plunges in sales, producing massive plant closings and layoffs.

The World Bank's 2008 survey also contains troubling data about the future availability of food. Although insisting that the planet is capable of producing enough foodstuffs to meet the needs of a growing world population, its analysts were far less confident that sufficient food would be available at prices people could afford, especially once hydrocarbon prices begin to rise again. With ever more farmland being set aside for biofuels production and efforts to increase crop yields through the use of "miracle seeds" losing steam, the Bank's analysts balanced their generally hopeful outlook with a caveat: "If biofuels-related demand for crops is much stronger or productivity performance disappoints, future food supplies may be much more expensive than in the past."

Combine these two World Bank findings -- zero economic growth in the developing world and rising food prices -- and you have a perfect recipe for unrelenting civil unrest and violence. The eruptions seen in 2008 and early 2009 will then be mere harbingers of a grim future in which, in a given week, any number of cities reel from riots and civil disturbances which could spread like multiple brushfires in a drought.

Mapping a World at the Brink

Survey the present world, and it's all too easy to spot a plethora of potential sites for such multiple eruptions -- or far worse. Take China. So far, the authorities have managed to control individual "mass incidents," preventing them from coalescing into something larger. But in a country with a more than two-thousand-year history of vast millenarian uprisings, the risk of such escalation has to be on the minds of every Chinese leader.

On February 2nd, a top Chinese Party official, Chen Xiwen, announced that, in the last few months of 2008 alone, a staggering 20 million migrant workers, who left rural areas for the country's booming cities in recent years, had lost their jobs. Worse yet, they had little prospect of regaining them in 2009. If many of these workers return to the countryside, they may find nothing there either, not even land to work.

Under such circumstances, and with further millions likely to be shut out of coastal factories in the coming year, the prospect of mass unrest is high. No wonder the government announced a $585 billion stimulus plan aimed at generating rural employment and, at the same time, called on security forces to exercise discipline and restraint when dealing with protesters. Many analysts now believe that, as exports continue to dry up, rising unemployment could lead to nationwide strikes and protests that might overwhelm ordinary police capabilities and require full-scale intervention by the military (as occurred in Beijing during the Tiananmen Square demonstrations of 1989).

Or take many of the Third World petro-states that experienced heady boosts in income when oil prices were high, allowing governments to buy off dissident groups or finance powerful internal security forces. With oil prices plunging from $147 per barrel of crude oil to less than $40 dollars, such countries, from Angola to shaky Iraq, now face severe instability.

Nigeria is a typical case in point: When oil prices were high, the central government in Abuja raked in billions every year, enough to enrich elites in key parts of the country and subsidize a large military establishment; now that prices are low, the government will have a hard time satisfying all these previously well-fed competing obligations, which means the risk of internal disequilibrium will escalate. An insurgency in the oil-producing Niger Delta region, fueled by popular discontent with the failure of oil wealth to trickle down from the capital, is already gaining momentum and is likely to grow stronger as government revenues shrivel; other regions, equally disadvantaged by national revenue-sharing policies, will be open to disruptions of all sorts, including heightened levels of internecine warfare.

Bolivia is another energy producer that seems poised at the brink of an escalation in economic violence. One of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, it harbors substantial oil and natural gas reserves in its eastern, lowland regions. A majority of the population -- many of Indian descent -- supports President Evo Morales, who seeks to exercise strong state control over the reserves and use the proceeds to uplift the nation's poor. But a majority of those in the eastern part of the country, largely controlled by a European-descended elite, resent central government interference and seek to control the reserves themselves. Their efforts to achieve greater autonomy have led to repeated clashes with government troops and, in deteriorating times, could set the stage for a full-scale civil war.

Given a global situation in which one startling, often unexpected development follows another, prediction is perilous. At a popular level, however, the basic picture is clear enough: continued economic decline combined with a pervasive sense that existing systems and institutions are incapable of setting things right is already producing a potentially lethal brew of anxiety, fear, and rage. Popular explosions of one sort or another are inevitable.

Some sense of this new reality appears to have percolated up to the highest reaches of the U.S. intelligence community. In testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on February 12th, Admiral Dennis C. Blair, the new Director of National Intelligence, declared, "The primary near-term security concern of the United States is the global economic crisis and its geopolitical implications... Statistical modeling shows that economic crises increase the risk of regime-threatening instability if they persist over a one to two year period" -- certain to be the case in the present situation.

Blair did not specify which countries he had in mind when he spoke of "regime-threatening instability" -- a new term in the American intelligence lexicon, at least when associated with economic crises -- but it is clear from his testimony that U.S. officials are closely watching dozens of shaky nations in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Central Asia.

Now go back to that map on your wall with all those red and orange pins in it and proceed to color in appropriate countries in various shades of red and orange to indicate recent striking declines in gross national product and rises in unemployment rates. Without 16 intelligence agencies under you, you'll still have a pretty good idea of the places that Blair and his associates are eyeing in terms of instability as the future darkens on a planet at the brink.

Michael T. Klare is a professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College and the author, most recently, of Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet: The New Geopolitics of Energy (Metropolitan Books).

Copyright 2009 Michael T. Klare

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The "Pauly Hart Awards" a smashing success!

Online comic creator holds site-wide awards ceremony.

Heh. I was going to write a goody faux article about myself but can't go thru with it.

wrinkly white bitch cries over high gas prices.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, on her first foray into Middle East diplomacy, declared the Obama administration committed to pushing intensively to find a way for Israelis and Palestinians to exist peacefully in separate states.

She used an international donors conference to issue a blunt call Monday for urgent action to forge a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace.

"We cannot afford more setbacks or delays _ or regrets about what might have been, had different decisions been made," she said in apparent reference to the failure of previous peace initiatives, including those pushed vigorously by her husband's administration.

With the Obama administration's Mideast peace envoy, George Mitchell, seated behind her at a conference meant to raise billions to help the Gaza Strip recover from its recent war with Israel, Clinton said President Barack Obama would continue the Bush administration's focus on seeking a two-state solution that entails Israel and a sovereign Palestinian state co-existing in peace.

She made it clear, however, that Mideast leaders could count on Obama to take a more active approach than did his predecessor, George W. Bush.

"It is time to look ahead," she said, with an eye on the human aspects of what years of regional conflict have meant for the Palestinians and others.

"The United States is committed to a comprehensive peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors, and we will pursue it on many fronts," she said.

Clinton, who is scheduled to travel this week to Jerusalem to consult with Israeli government officials and to the West Bank to meet with Palestinian officials, said the United States was pledging $900 million to the international aid effort for the Gaza Strip. She gave no breakdown of the funds, but her spokesman, Robert A. Wood, said on Sunday that it included $300 million in humanitarian aid for Gaza and about $600 million in budget and development aid to the Palestinian Authority, which is based in the West Bank.

The Obama administration is casting its contributions as a calculated effort to ensure that the money does not reach Hamas, the Islamist movement that rules Gaza and is viewed by Washington as a terrorist organization and not a legitimate governing body.

"We have worked with the Palestinian Authority to install safeguards that will ensure our funding is only used where and for whom it is intended and does not end up in the wrong hands," Clinton told the conference. She did not explicitly mention Hamas but alluded to extremist elements.

"It is time to break the cycle of rejection and resistance," she said, "to cut the strings pulled by those who exploit the suffering of innocent people."

The Sharm el-Sheik conference was called in the aftermath of the Gaza crisis, which remains in danger of heating up. Israel ended its air and ground assault meant to halt rocket fire coming from Gaza about six weeks ago with a shaky cease-fire by both sides. Some 1,300 Palestinians _ at least half of them civilians _ and 13 Israelis died in the three-week offensive, officials have said.

another president shot and killed in africa. what? NO!

The president of Guinea-Bissau was assassinated Monday, a day after a powerful explosion killed the head of the west African country's military, the prime minister said.

Circumstances of Joao Bernardo Vieira's death are unclear.

It was not immediately clear how President Joao Bernardo Vieira, 69, died. Prime Minister Carlos Gomes confirmed the death to CNN.

Early Monday, gunfire and rocket explosions were heard near the presidential palace in the capital, Bissau, which lasted for an hour or so, according to local media. Looting was later reported at the presidential palace.

Vieira's death comes a day after Gen. Tagme Na Waie, chief of Guinea-Bissau's military, was killed in an explosion.

Na Waie died when a bomb went off in his office Sunday, according to local news reports. Five other high-ranking military officials were wounded, two of them critically.

After the attack, all local radio stations were ordered to immediately suspend their programs.

Na Waie's predecessor also was assassinated. Gen. Verissimo Correia Seabra was shot dead by soldiers in October 2004.

Guinea-Bissau, a former Portuguese colony, has a history of military coups. Monday's development is the latest violence over four months as the army and Guinea-Bissau's president have clashed.

The tiny country, located between Guinea and Senegal, has a population of 1.5 million and is considered one of the five poorest countries in the world, according to the CIA Factbook.

The country has been in a near-constant state of political upheaval since independence from Portugal in 1974.

In 1980, Vieira became president after a military coup. He was accused of purging political rivals and suppressing dissent, but several coup attempts throughout the 1980s and early 1990s failed to unseat him.

In 1994, the country held its first free elections, and Vieira was elected president. He held the post for five years, until a military mutiny ousted him, and the country plunged into civil war.

Successor Kumba Yala took office in 2000. He also was unseated in a military coup after three years.
Yala's ouster paved the way for Vieira to once again run for office. In 2005, he was re-elected president, pledging to pursue economic development and national reconciliation.

scottish subs spotted by fat american programmers!

MOD won't got to war on Google Earth
Google comes under 'secrets' criticism, after sub base spotted

Military experts have criticised Google Earth, after close-up views of a top-secret naval base in Scotland were found on the service.

According to The Sun, images of the naval base include two Vanguard Class nuclear submarines and even reveal the co ordinates of the base.

The Sun's unnamed 'military experts' believe that "a strike on our nuclear capability would cause untold devastation. Terrorists could have a field day, knowing exactly where to aim strikes to cause the maximum devastation."


With this in mind, TechRadar spoke to the MOD about the Google Earth controversy, and it insisted that no action would be taken toward Google and felt that asking the website to take the images off would be 'impractical'.

"The MOD cannot prevent satellites taking imagery of its establishments, however we ensure that steps are taken to protect highly sensitive equipment," said a spokesperson.

"It would be impractical to ask Google to withdraw images as they can be easily obtained from other sources over which we have no influence."

The spokesperson also revealed that satellite imagery comes under a different remit to aerial photography. In short, if Google had taken the pictures from a plane, the imagery could be deemed as illegal. As the images come from a satellite no actual action can be taken.
By Marc Chacksfield