How do you test a new kind of rocket engine? Step 1: Bolt it to a trailer in the middle of the Mojave Desert. Step 2: Vroom! In this case, NASA is firing up the 5M15, which runs on compressed liquid methane. The odorless substance has multiple advantages over conventional rocket propellants: It’s cheaper, it requires much less insulation, and it exists on several planets NASA hopes to travel to — Mars, here we come. That means astronauts could collect their own fuel for the trip home. Bonus rocket science: Those glowing figure eights in the blast stream are called Mach disks, after the guy who lent his name to the speed of sound. They’re shock waves, created as the expanding fuel hits the higher atmospheric pressure outside the nozzle. If part of this blast weren’t obscured, you could take the number of Mach disks (we count seven) and multiply by the speed of sound — about 758 mph at the 1,300-foot altitude of this test — to estimate the speed of fuel exiting the engine. Just don’t get too close.
They finally found the WMD’s from Iraq. But, not where you’d expect them.
A lawsuit filed last year by TorrentSpy–a BitTorrent search engine–that accused the movie studios’ trade group of intercepting the company’s private e-mails, was tossed out of court last week.
But while a U.S. District judge found that the Motion Picture Association of America had not violated the federal Wiretap Act, as TorrentSpy’s attorneys had argued, the MPAA acknowledged in court records that it paid $15,000 to obtain private e-mails belonging to TorrentSpy executives.
The MPAA’s acknowledgement is significant because it comes at a time when the group is trying to limit illegal file sharing by imploring movie fans to act ethically and resist the temptation to download pirated movies.
So let me get this straight – it’s perfectly fine if the MPAA goes to a middle man to obtain digital files they shouldn’t (in this case, email), but it’s lawsuit-time if you go to a middle man (a torrent site) to obtain digital files you shouldn’t?
It’s an interesting date he’s chosen — one day after a big GOP debate in New Hampshire, so why, you might wonder, would he skip it?
Follow the math and the regulatory hopscotch:
- From the date of the formal announcement, Thompson has 15 days to declare his candidacy officially with the Federal Election Commision. Takes us to September 21, 2007.
- From that date, Thompson has 10 more days for his official campaign committee to register with the FEC. Takes us to October 1, 2007.
- And what’s so special about October 1? It’s the start of a new FEC reporting quarter.
By delaying the filing of his organizational papers until books have closed on the third quarter of 2007, Thompson arguably will not have to file any disclosure reports with the FEC until January 31, 2008, after the Republican primaries/caucuses in WY, IA, NH, NV, FL and Lord knows who else at this point.
Got that? Frederick of Hollywood’s shadow campaign can raise millions and spend millions without having to disclose to the public a single contribution raised or disbursement made over a six-month span — and while his opponents have been consistently doing so — delaying disclosure until after at least five Republican primaries have been held.
And since there’s already an FEC complaint against him, I’d say it’s a safe bet he’s breaking all the rules he can, because if he’s number 1 after five primaries, nobody is going to stop him.
Zero-interest financing, a familiar sales incentive at car dealerships and furniture stores, has found its way to another big-ticket consumer market: doctors’ and dentists’ offices.
For $3,500 laser eye surgery, $6,000 ceramic tooth implants or other procedures not typically covered by insurance, millions of consumers have arranged financing through more than 100,000 doctors and dentists that offer a year or more of interest-free monthly payments.
Sounds like it’s just for vanity surgery, right?
When my fiancé was in her teens, her family was in dire economic straits. They’d just relocated to Washington State, her dad was unable to continue working as a skilled electrician due to injury, but the disability payments hadn’t yet begun. My fiancé’s teeth had cavities, and as the state didn’t then have dental care they qualified for, they had to find the cheapest dentist they could.
Ten years later, most of these fillings are breaking down. One of them has already failed catastrophically – the filling fell out, and in recent weeks she found pieces of her teeth coming out when she brushed. She hadn’t had medical coverage these last few years, and like so many other young people in their 20s, was looking for a steady job that would allow her to pay her student loans, her housing costs, and still have enough left over for medical needs. Needless to say, she didn’t find that job until last fall.
Now she has medical coverage through her job with a city here on the central California coast. And so she went to the dentist a couple weeks ago to have things checked out. They knew she needed a root canal, at minimum, and sent her off to an oral surgeon.
The oral surgeon told us it was worse than anticipated – the decay had gotten near to the bone, and the tooth – a molar – had to be extracted. And so last week it was taken out. This morning, she goes in to learn what the replacement options are – an implant, or a bridge, or who knows what.
The oral surgeon’s office gave us an application for CareCredit – one of the services noted in that NY Times article. And as the receptionist told us – and as I could confirm by sitting in the waiting room and listening to the other patients’ conversations – pretty much every patient was using it, for every procedure.
Back to the NYT article… is this really all to help those who cannot get insurance?
The zero-interest plans are not for everyone. In fact, they are available only to the creditworthy — meaning they offer no help to those among the nation’s 47 million uninsured who are in difficult financial situations.
And creditworthiness is starting to be judged even more stringently, in light of the subprime mortgage crisis’s impact on the debt markets, according to David Robertson, publisher of The Nilson Report, a newsletter for the credit card industry.
So those who need medical coverage but cannot get insurance are just as screwed as before. So who is this plan helping, then?
Even for those who can get credit approval, the plans make sense only if users are able to make payments on time and close the loan on schedule, typically within 12 months. Otherwise, the loans after defaults can carry interest rates of 20 percent or more — similar to the default penalty on a typical credit card.
A ha! So this is just a predatory lending scam…. let’s get consumers into more debt than they want…
And for those who do manage to pay it off within 12 months?
the credit companies make money even on the interest-free deals, because they are typically keeping 10 percent of the fee the doctor charges the patient.
And as long as people see Health care as a ‘product’ that these ‘consumers’ are ‘purchasing’, nothing will change.
Under terms of the agreement announced Monday, Acer will purchase all of Gateway’s outstanding shares for $1.90 per share. The deal has already been approved by the boards of directors at both companies and should be completed by the end of this year, subject to government approval, Acer said in a statement. Gateway’s shares ended at $1.21 Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.
“This is the biggest acquisition in Acer’s 30 year history,” said J.T. Wang, Acer’s chairman, speaking at a news conference in Taipei.
Honestly, this is one of those deals where it’s like going to a wedding where the two ugliest losers you know are getting hitched. You’re happy for them, I guess. You’re glad they found each other. But you sure as fuck hope they don’t have kids.
The problem with the Acer-Gateway deal is it’s just not enough of a trainwreck. I mean, yes, it’s a lousy deal, and yes, it will end badly, but it’s just not spectacular enough. It’s a “boat anchor” deal, the kind where two shitty dying companies decide, for whatever reason, that they’ll have a better chance of floating if they tie themselves to one another. Like Lucent and Alcatel. Someday they’ll slip under the surface and quietly die, but nobody will even notice or care.
A Melbourne schoolboy claims to have cracked the AU$84 million Internet filtering software which the government is giving away to schools, libraries and families across the country.
Tom Wood, 16, claims to have broken the filters, which were released as part of the government’s Net Alert scheme earlier this month, within half an hour.
The ease with which the filter can be broken came as a surprise to Wood, he told Channel Seven. “For that money, I thought it must have been unbreakable.” After circumventing the filter in half an hour, Wood claims to have broken a second version of the porn-blocking software released on Friday, within 40 minutes.
Under Watts’ workaround, the filtering software will, to a parent’s untrained eye, appear fully functional, with the software status bar untouched.
“AU$84 million is a horrible waste of money,” he told the Sunrise show. “I’m willing to work with the government if they like.” Watts denied he disabled the software so he could look at porn.
Like DRM, filtering just doesn’t work. And, just like DRM, the work of one teenager for half an hour makes it possible for everybody to bypass the limitations.
I bought a retail copy of Office 2007 today (I’m loading up the new laptop I got for the world tour, which is a Thinkpad X61s), and I must be a complete spaz, but I simply could not figure out how to open the bizarre new packaging.
It’s a hard plastic case, sealed in two different places by plastic stickies. It represents a complete failure of industrial design; an utter F in the school of Donald Norman’s Design of Everyday Things. To be technical about it, it has no true affordances and actually has some false affordances: visual clues as to how to open it that turn out to be wrong.
This is the same box that Vista comes in. Nick White over at Microsoft seems proud of the novel design, but from the comments on the web it seems I’m not the only one who couldn’t figure out how to open it. It seems like even rudimentary usability testing would have revealed the problem. A box that many people can’t figure out how to open without a Google search is an unusually pathetic failure of design. As the line goes from Billy Madison: “I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”
Microsoft today shared details on its plans for the first service pack of Windows Vista, including a timeline for its release. To learn more, PressPass spoke with Jon DeVaan, Senior Vice President of the Windows Core Operating System division at Microsoft.
We’re targeting the first quarter of 2008, but the exact date really depends on feedback we receive from testers and the work we put into making sure we understand the feedback we receive. We’re making a beta available to more than 10,000 people in the next few weeks – that’s a critical step for us on the road to release, and we’re looking forward to the feedback we’ll get.
Wow, I didn’t know that many people were already using Vista…
Saturday May 26th the VNN Vanguard Nazi/KKK group attempted to host a hate rally to try to take advantage of the brutal murder of a white couple for media and recruitment purposes.
Unfortunately for them the 100th ARA (Anti Racist Action) clown block came and handed them their asses by making them appear like the asses they were.
Alex Linder the founder of VNN and the lead organizer of the rally kicked off events by rushing the clowns in a fit of rage, and was promptly arrested by 4 Knoxville police officers who dropped him to the ground when he resisted and dragged him off past the red shiny shoes of the clowns. http://www.volunteertv.com/home/headlines/7704982.html
“White Power!” the Nazi’s shouted, “White Flour?” the clowns yelled back running in circles throwing flour in the air and raising separate letters which spelt “White Flour”.
“White Power!” the Nazi’s angrily shouted once more, “White flowers?” the clowns cheers and threw white flowers in the air and danced about merrily.
“White Power!” the Nazi’s tried once again in a doomed and somewhat funny attempt to clarify their message, “ohhhhhh!” the clowns yelled “Tight Shower!” and held a solar shower in the air and all tried to crowd under to get clean as per the Klan’s directions.
At this point several of the Nazi’s and Klan members began clutching their hearts as if they were about to have a heart attack. Their beady eyes bulged, and the veins in their tiny narrow foreheads beat in rage. One last time they screamed “White Power!”
The clown women thought they finally understood what the Klan was trying to say. “Ohhhhh…” the women clowns said. “Now we understand…”, “WIFE POWER!” they lifted the letters up in the air, grabbed the nearest male clowns and lifted them in their arms and ran about merrily chanting “WIFE POWER! WIFE POWER! WIFE POWER!”
It was at this point that several observers reported seeing several Klan members heads exploding in rage and they stopped trying to explain to the clowns what they wanted.
They’re in this video:
In 1999, when Rob was 13, his parents sent him to the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center, located in Canton, Massachusetts, 20 miles outside Boston. The facility, which calls itself a “special needs school,” takes in all kinds of troubled kids—severely autistic, mentally retarded, schizophrenic, bipolar, emotionally disturbed—and attempts to change their behavior with a complex system of rewards and punishments, including painful electric shocks to the torso and limbs. Of the 234 current residents, about half are wired to receive shocks, including some as young as nine or ten. Nearly 60 percent come from New York, a quarter from Massachusetts, the rest from six other states and Washington, D.C. The Rotenberg Center, which has 900 employees and annual revenues exceeding $56 million, charges $220,000 a year for each student. States and school districts pick up the tab.
The Rotenberg Center is the only facility in the country that disciplines students by shocking them, a form of punishment not inflicted on serial killers or child molesters or any of the 2.2 million inmates now incarcerated in U.S. jails and prisons. Over its 36-year history, six children have died in its care, prompting numerous lawsuits and government investigations. Last year, New York state investigators filed a blistering report that made the place sound like a high school version of Abu Ghraib. Yet the program continues to thrive—in large part because no one except desperate parents, and a few state legislators, seems to care about what happens to the hundreds of kids who pass through its gates.
To understand how the Rotenberg Center works, it helps to know that it runs not just one behavior-modification program, but two—one for the residents, and one for the staff. Employees have no autonomy. If a staffer believes it’s okay to shock a kid who is smashing his head against a wall, but it’s not okay to shock someone for getting out of his chair without permission, that could spell trouble. “There’s pressure on you to do it,” a former teacher told me. “They punish you if you don’t.”
I met this former teacher at a restaurant, and our meeting stretched on for six hours. At times it felt less like an interview than a confession. “The first time you give someone a ged is the worst one,” the teacher said. “You don’t want to hurt somebody; you want to help. You’re thinking, ‘This has got to be okay. This has got to be legal, or they wouldn’t be doing this.’” At the Rotenberg Center, it’s virtually impossible to discuss such concerns with coworkers because there are cameras everywhere, even in the staff break room. Staff members who want to talk to each other without being overheard may meet up in the parking lot or scribble notes to each other. But it’s hard to know whom to trust, since Israel encourages employees to file anonymous reports about their coworkers’ lapses.
Copyright, as it exists today, isn’t to protect content creators. Copyright exists solely to monetize “content” and only protect those who do exactly that and nothing else.
Here is a great example.
Yesterday, Tyler and I met with Tom Vander Ark, the president of the X-Prize Foundation, to discuss and debate the future of prizes. One interesting bit of trivia that Tom mentioned was that the X-Prize was funded with an insurance contract. The funders paid the premium and the insurance company agreed to pay if the prize conditions were met.
To figure out how to price the contract the insurance company called “the experts” at Boeing and McDonnell-Douglas. According to the experts the conditions for the X-Prize to be won (carrying three people to 100 kilometers above the earth’s surface, twice within two weeks) were so unrealistic as to be basically impossible within any reasonable time frame. Thus, the funders got lucky. The insurance company offered the contract at a very low premium and the rest is history!
Het kan in Almere. Niemand weet precies wat er nu zo bijzonder is aan de dingen die in Almere kunnen, maar het is de slogan van de gemeente. In ieder geval weten we nu wel dat een band verwisselen niet in het rijtje van “dat kan” staat.
Een buurtbewoner constateerde dat hij een lekke band had en besloot die te verwisselen. Dat kan dus niet in Almere. Geen hond die dat wist, maar een band verwisselen blijkt in strijd te zijn met de lokale milieuregels.
A conflict between passengers at Lindbergh Field Tuesday night caused the overnight delay of an American Airlines flight headed to Chicago.
Flight 590 was scheduled to depart at 11 p.m. for Chicago O’Hare International Airport but was rescheduled for Wednesday at 10:15 a.m. after some kind of dispute among customers started at the gate and continued onto the plane, said American Airlines spokesman Tim Wagner.
While Wagner said it is the airlines policy not to disclose any information about their passengers, televised reports claimed that the incident involved a group of six to seven Iraqi Americans and another passenger who was apparently uncomfortable that the men were speaking in Arabic.
The story is moronic, but the comments are priceless…
It looks for all the world like an ordinary key but this unremarkable piece of metal could have saved the Titanic from disaster.
It is thought to have fitted the locker that contained the crow’s nest binoculars, vital in detecting threats to the liner lurking in the sea in the pre-sonar days of 1912.
Catastrophically for the Titanic and the 1,522 lives lost with her, the key’s owner, Second Officer David Blair, was removed from the crew at the last minute and in his haste forgot to hand it to his replacement.
Without access to the glasses, the lookouts in the crow’s nest were forced to rely on their eyes and only saw the iceberg when it was too late to take action.
One, Fred Fleet, who survived the disaster, later told the official inquiry into the tragedy that if they had had binoculars they would have seen the obstacle sooner.
When asked by a US senator chairing the inquiry how much sooner, Mr Fleet replied: “Enough to get out of the way.”
“It isn’t easy to become a fossil… Only about one bone in a billion, it is thought, becomes fossilized. If that is so, it means that the complete fossil legacy of all the Americans alive today – that’s 270 million people with 206 bones each – will only be about 50 bones, one-quarter of a complete skeleton. That’s not to say, of course, that any of these bones will ever actually be found. Bearing in mind that they can be buried anywhere within an area of slighly over 9.3 million square kilometres, little of which will ever be turned over, much less examined, it would be something of a miracle if they ever were”
– Bill Bryson
A military court acquitted an Army officer Tuesday of failing to control U.S. soldiers who abused detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, but it found him guilty of disobeying an order not to discuss the abuse investigation.
Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan was the only officer and the last of 12 defendants to go to trial in the 2003 Abu Ghraib scandal, which embarrassed the Pentagon and shocked the Muslim world.
The allegations at the U.S.-run prison came to light with the release of pictures of U.S. soldiers smiling while detainees, some of them naked, were held on leashes or in painful and humiliating positions at the prison. Jordan, 51, never appeared in the inflammatory photos, but he was accused of fostering a climate conducive to abuse.
The jury of nine colonels and one brigadier general deliberated for about seven hours before issuing its verdicts Tuesday. It also deliberated on a sentence Tuesday but recessed and is scheduled to continue Wednesday.
Strange. Although I was at Abu Ghraib for the entire time Lt. Col. Jordan was there, for some reason the Army does not seem interested in my testimony.
The nation’s median household income grew modestly in 2006, the Census Bureau reported yesterday, even as the percentage of people without health insurance hit a high.
Experts said the rise in income was mainly a reflection of an increase in the number of family members entering the workplace or working longer hours. Average wages for men and women actually declined for the third consecutive year.
“There’s lots of evidence that more people are working,” said Jared Bernstein, a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal policy group in Washington. “The important theme going on here is a labor market that’s definitely offering people more work and more hours, but at lower wages.”
Some Republicans seized on the new data as evidence that Bush administration policies had been good for people’s pocketbooks.
So, uhm, how are lower wages good for pocketbooks, exactly?
In a sign that top commanders are divided over what course to pursue in Iraq, the Pentagon said Wednesday that it won’t make a single, unified recommendation to President Bush during next month’s strategy assessment, but instead will allow top commanders to make individual presentations.
“Consensus is not the goal of the process,” Geoff Morrell, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters. “If there are differences, the president will hear them.”Military analysts called the move unusual for an institution that ordinarily does not air its differences in public, especially while its troops are deployed in combat.
That’s the sound of America’s largest department collectively throwing its hands up in exasperation, shaking its head, and saying, “You deal with it, tough guy. We’re done with your asinine war. Have fun facing the American public.”
“The professional military guys are going to the non-professional military guys and saying ‘Resolve this,’” said Jeffrey White, a military analyst for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “That’s what it sounds like.”
White said it suggests that the military commanders want to be able to distance themselves from Iraq strategy by making it clear that whatever course is followed is the president’s decision, not what commanders agreed on.
This can be translated as: “Here, George. Hold this.”
Boven de A4 bij Leiderdorp verrijst binnenkort een enorm kruis van licht. Vanaf het dak van De Levensstroom Gemeente, pal aan de snelweg, zullen laserlampen van een paar duizend watt ‘s nachts een bijna duizend meter lange crucifix aan het uitspansel projecteren.
Volgens gebedsgenezer Jan Zijlstra, tevens voorganger van de pinkstergemeente, gaat het om het grootste kruis van Nederland. Het moet van kilometers afstand zichtbaar zijn. Morgenavond wordt de apparatuur voor het eerst getest.
Het nieuwe onderkomen van De Levensstroom opende november vorig jaar zijn deuren. Het markante gebouw met rood verlichte toren biedt ruimte aan vijftienhonderd gelovigen. Twee keer per maand op zondag vinden er genezingsdiensten plaats, onder leiding van Zijlstra. Duizenden bezoekers, onder wie veel zieken, hebben inmiddels hun weg naar de gebedsgenezer gevonden.
Waarom? Omdat Jezus sprak: “Volgelingen, luister niet naar die klimaatverandering, wees niet zuinig met het milieu, doe aan lichtvervuiling en laat jaarlijks duizenden bomen sterven, opdat wij ons lampie in de hemel kunnen laten branden” En zo zijn wil geschiedde.
As an update to this post…
When you think about it, it is odd that something as important to our health and general well-being as food is so often sold strictly on the basis of price. Look at any supermarket ad in the newspaper and all you will find in it are quantities—pounds and dollars; qualities of any kind are nowhere to be found. The value of relationship marketing is that it allows many kinds of information besides price to travel up and down the food chain: stories as well as numbers, qualities as well as quantities, values rather than “value.” And as soon as that happens, people begin to make different kinds of buying decisions, motivated by criteria other than price. But instead of stories about how it was produced accompanying our food, we get bar codes—as illegible as the industrial food chain itself, and a fair symbol of its almost total opacity.
Much of our food system depends on our not knowing much about it, beyond the price disclosed by the checkout scanner; cheapness and ignorance are mutually reinforcing. And it’s a short way from not knowing who’s at the other end of your food chain to not caring—to the carelessness of both producers and consumers that characterizes our economy today. Of course, the global economy couldn’t very well function without this wall of ignorance and the indifference it breeds. This is why the American food industry and its international counterparts fight to keep their products from telling even the simplest stories—“dolphin safe,” “humanely slaughtered,” etc.—about how they were produced. The more knowledge people have about the way their food is produced, the more likely it is that their values—and not just “value”—will inform their purchasing decisions.
“It so often happens that I receive mail – well-intended but totally useless – by amateur physicists who believe to have solved the world. They believe this, only because they understand totally nothing about the real way problems are solved in Modern Physics…It should be possible, these days, to collect all knowledge you need from the internet. Problem then is, there is so much junk on the internet… I know exactly what should be taught to the beginning student…I can tell you of my own experiences. It helped me all the way to earn a Nobel Prize. But I didn’t have internet. I am going to try to be your teacher. It is a formidable task.”
Their first experiment was published in 1989. To test the hypothesis that recognition of mortality evokes “worldview defense”–their term for the range of emotions, from intolerance to religi- osity to a preference for law and order, that they believe thoughts of death can trigger–they assembled 22 Tucson municipal court judges. They told the judges they wanted to test the relationship between personality traits and bail decisions, but, for one group, they inserted in the middle of the personality questionnaire two exercises meant to evoke awareness of their mortality. One asked the judges to “briefly describe the emotions that the thought of your own death arouses in you”; the other required them to “jot down, as specifically as you can, what you think will happen to you physically as you die and once you are physically dead.” They then asked the judges to set bail in the hypothetical case of a prostitute whom the prosecutor claimed was a flight risk. The judges who did the mortality exercises set an average bail of $455. The control group that did not do the exercises set it at an average of $50. The psychologists knew they were onto something.
Then, in late September 2004, the psychologists, along with two colleagues from Rutgers, tested whether mortality exercises influenced whom voters would support in the upcoming presidential election. They conducted the study among 131 Rutgers undergraduates who said they were registered and planned to vote in November. The control group that completed a personality survey, but did not do the mortality exercises, predictably favored Kerry by four to one. But the students who did the mortality exercises favored Bush by more than two to one. This strongly suggested that Bush’s popularity was sustained by mortality reminders. The psychologists concluded in a paper published after the election that the government terror warnings, the release of Osama bin Laden’s video on October 29, and the Bush campaign’s reiteration of the terrorist threat (Cheney on election eve: “If we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we’ll get hit again”) were integral to Bush’s victory over Kerry. “From a terror management perspective,” they wrote, “the United States’ electorate was exposed to a wide-ranging multidimensional mortality salience induction.”