Saturday, December 31, 2011

Chinese five star hotel and office space resemble ocean waves

Another stunning feat of design and architecture has been proposed to undergo construction -- the JDS architects Hangzhou Waves hotel and office space would add to the already long list of marvelous buildings proposed for China.

The Hangzhou Waves is a proposed ?hotel and office complex located in the Hangzhou Xintiandi district of Hangzhou, China. The two buildings that make up the Hangzhou Waves feature a ?wave-like? appearance and mirror one another when place back-to-back. ?Not only would the Hangzhou Waves function as both a five star luxury hotel and class A office space. The uniquely designed building from JDS architects would serve the city and act as a modern architectural icon, as well as proud beacon and attract visits from across the world.

As can be seen from the images and derived from its name, the exterior of the Hotel features a form that utilized stepped cubes which ascend and descend in a wave-like arrangement. In addition to the building sporting various degrees of warm vegetation, guest can also enjoy views of the surrounding canal and park.

In contrast to the hotel?s jagged pixilated approach, the office building that makes up the other half of the Hangzhou Waves features a sharp sloping fa?ade that smoothly curves downward and offers a beautiful glass skylight ? allowing an array of natural light into the atrium below.



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Iowa race shifts from persuasion to mobilization (The Arizona Republic)

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Friday, December 30, 2011

Italian who fought for votes for emigres dies

FILE - In this Monday, Oct. 10, 2005 file photo, Minister of Italians abroad, Mirko Tremaglia, waves a Italian flag during the 61st Annual Columbus Day Parade in New York. Tremaglia, a right-wing politician who successfully battled for the right of Italians abroad to vote in Italian elections, has died. He was 85. President Giorgio Napolitano and other Italian leaders issued tributes to mark the death Friday, Dec. 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Adam Rountree, File)

FILE - In this Monday, Oct. 10, 2005 file photo, Minister of Italians abroad, Mirko Tremaglia, waves a Italian flag during the 61st Annual Columbus Day Parade in New York. Tremaglia, a right-wing politician who successfully battled for the right of Italians abroad to vote in Italian elections, has died. He was 85. President Giorgio Napolitano and other Italian leaders issued tributes to mark the death Friday, Dec. 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Adam Rountree, File)

(AP) ? Mirko Tremaglia, a right-wing politician who won a decades-long battle for the right of Italian emigres to vote in Italian elections, died on Friday. He was 85.

Italian news agencies and Sky TG24 TV said Tremaglia died at home in Bergamo, northern Italy, after a long illness.

Tremaglia was a co-founder of the Italian Social Movement, a neo-fascist party built on the ashes of Benito Mussolini's political legacy. But he gradually moved toward what is now Italy's center-right ? first as a leader of the National Alliance and then as a prominent member of Silvio Berlusconi's conservatives ? before breaking with the media mogul in 2010 to defect to a new center-right party.

In a condolence message to Tremaglia's family, President Giorgio Napolitano, a former Communist, noted that the late lawmaker and himself had "different experiences" and ideological positions but they shared a "sense of national responsibility."

"Particularly strong remains the mark of his commitment to give voice and representation to Italians abroad," Napolitano said.

Tremaglia campaigned tirelessly in Parliament for rights for millions of Italians who had emigrated, or who were born to emigre parents, to cast ballots in Italian elections. His dream became law in 2001, the same year he became minister for Italians abroad, in one of Berlusconi's governments.

In spring 2006, campaigning for Berlusconi in parliamentary elections, Tremaglia energetically worked the crowds in South America, where many of the 3.5 million Italian voters abroad lived. The law also gave Italian emigres the right, for the first time, to have representation in Parliament.

Tremaglia had served as a lawmaker in Parliament's lower chamber, the Chamber of Deputies, since 1972. Chamber President Gianfranco Fini, himself a former neo-fascist leader and former Berlusconi ally, hailed Tremaglia in a tribute Friday, as a "great political and personal friend."

Fini called Tremaglia a "great protagonist of the Italian right ? a cause to which Tremaglia, right to the end, dedicated himself with coherence and loyalty."

Fini's defection, along with several lawmakers like Tremaglia, from Berlusconi's coalition after nasty bickering in 2010, weakened the premier's government. Berlusconi resigned in November amid criticism over his handling of Italy's financial crisis.

In 2004, as a minister in then-premier Berlusconi's government, Tremaglia caused uproar when he complained about what he called the influence of gays in the European Union and used a pejorative term for homosexuals in remarks carried by Italian media.

Tremaglia was commenting on a European Parliament committee's decision not to endorse an Italian nominee to become EU justice minister after the candidate, a former Christian Democrat with close ties to the Vatican, testified that he considered homosexuality a sin.

Associated Press


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Russia slams US for its human rights record

(AP) ? Russia's Foreign Ministry has attacked America's human rights record in its first report on injustice elsewhere in the world, offering examples such as the Guantanamo Bay prison and wrongful death row convictions to paint the U.S. as hypocritical for lecturing other nations on the subject of rights.

"The situation in the United States is a far cry from the ideals that Washington proclaims," says the report released Wednesday.

Moscow has previously reacted angrily to the accusations of human rights breaches that the U.S. State Department has leveled at Russia in its annual reports. The State Department has expressed concern about the violent attacks on rights activists and journalists in Russia, most of which go unpunished. It also has criticized abuses in Russia's Caucasus, including extrajudicial killings, kidnappings and torture.

The 90-page Russian report slams EU nations, Canada and Georgia, but reserves its longest section of 20 pages for what it says are violations by the United States. The report does not cover Asia, Africa or the Middle East, other than a five-page section criticizing the NATO operation in Libya.

Moscow laments the ongoing operation of the "notorious" prison in Guantanamo Bay, where terrorism suspects have been held since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, and criticizes President Barack Obama for "legalizing indefinite and extrajudicial custody and the return of court martials."

The report accuses the U.S. of prying into citizens' personal lives and violating the rights of Muslim Americans in the fight against terrorism. It also points to errors made by American courts.

"Judicial errors are the Achilles heel of American justice as concerns capital punishment," the report argues. It notes the roughly 130 people sentenced to death in the past 30 years who were later cleared of the charges, some after they were executed.

The Foreign Ministry also struck back at international criticism of Russia's recent parliamentary election, which independent observers said involved widespread fraud. Outrage over the vote set off a spate of protests led by citizens unhappy with Vladimir Putin's rule.

The report accuses the U.S. of blocking independent candidates from elections and criticizes the practice of allowing governors to nominate senators when a Senate seat is vacated, as when Obama became president. It refers to the conviction this year of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was accused of trying to auction off Obama's Senate seat.

The State Department is reviewing the Russian report, spokesman Mark Toner said. He said such reports can be a "useful mechanism provided that they are produced using objective methodology."

"We certainly don't regard it as interference in our internal affairs when foreign governments, individuals or organizations comment on or criticize U.S. human rights practices," he said, adding later, "In terms of our human rights record, we're an open book."

Associated Press


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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS Roleplay!

Hello everyone
Luna Kasumi here, I am going to be making my first ever rp on this site so be nice please :)

I am going to be hopefully starting an rp based around the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Series although it will be series 3 that I will mostly be covering! Now I know you all won't want to hear very very long explaintion about the rp so I'll keep it sort and if you want any more info about it Pm me! Ok then let's get this show on the road!

The rp can have as many people as we all like, but only one character for your acc I don't want millions of mages running around :)

Here is the basic intro I will post that I will start with then everyone can join in ^_^ (oh and if I use "I" when im IC its just my habbit so dont mind me^^)

Intro Luna walks into the TSAB HQ waiting for the new recurits to arrive and test them, she smiles and takes a quick look around waiting for them to arrive, so they can start with everything. She looks down at Raizaki (Her device) and sighs, then leans against a wall waiting for them...

Well thats it for now post back and see what you think! :)


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Tour offers visitors a special screening of New Orleans (omg!)

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - It's been more than 50 years since Blanche DuBois of the New Orleans-set play "A Streetcar Named Desire" wistfully declared that she had "always depended on the kindness of strangers."

Now, a local tour service brings strangers close to settings where the lives of DuBois and later fictional characters, such as Benjamin Button (portrayed by Brad Pitt) and "GI Joe" Colton (Bruce Willis), played out in dramatic style.

New Orleans Movie Tours owner Jonathan Ray personally escorts visitors to film locations and other movie-related spots. Sites related to 30 movies are now on the tour, he said.

"I want to be able to answer every question about every movie ever filmed here," Ray told Reuters.

He and his wife Michelle began the tours seven months ago with the idea of giving visitors a cameraman's view of New Orleans by highlighting its history as a filming location.

Twice a day, Jonathan Ray drives as many as 10 passengers around the city in a van equipped with individual video monitors.

At each location along the two-hour route, Ray shows clips from a movie or TV episode filmed at the site and offers anecdotes related to the location.

They visit a spot near the foot of Canal Street as they watch video of Vivien Leigh, starring in the 1951 film version of "Streetcar," stepping off a train and asking directions to a street called Elysian Fields.

When a scene from the 1991 movie "JFK" pops onto the screen, showing Kevin Costner's character in the French Quarter bar called Napoleon House, tour guests get to see the bar up close.

"We'll show you that clip while parked right outside the Napoleon House, and then we'll tell you about the history of the building, too," Ray said.

Guests, who pay $39 for the tour, also get popcorn and bottled water.

Ray, who worked behind the scenes on several locally-shot feature films, spent much of the last two years researching local movie history and amassing details about more than 100 classic and contemporary New Orleans-related productions, from the 1958 Elvis Presley movie "King Creole" to "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (2008).


Keeping up with local movie trivia is a growing challenge in a city that's become a hotbed of movie production.

Since 2002, when Louisiana implemented a tax credit program that gives producers financial breaks in exchange for making movies in the state, New Orleans has become one of the largest film centers in the country outside of Los Angeles.

Some 90 feature films and television productions came to Louisiana during 2011, according to the state's Department of Economic Development. New Orleans hosted more than half of those projects.

The industry's growth here has increased the chances a visitor wandering along local streets might bump into a screen idol such as Brad Pitt or Sandra Bullock, who own homes in the city, or Nicolas Cage, Samuel L. Jackson, Nicole Kidman, Sylvester Stallone and a host of other stars who have worked here.

Guests on Ray's tour last week caught sight of Will Ferrell and Dylan McDermott as the van visited a location for "Dog Fight," a comedy slated for release in 2012.

Cris Roman, a recent visitor from Sauk Centre, Minnesota, said New Orleans Movie Tours gave him an insider's view of one of his favorite TV shows, the HBO series "Treme."

Now in production on its third season, the series uses sets throughout the city, including the series' namesake neighborhood just north of the historic French Quarter.

"I loved seeing the Treme neighborhood," Roman said. "And the fact that Jonathan would screen clips in the bus while driving by the locations -- I haven't taken a tour like that before."

Local tourism officials welcome the movie tours as an extension of the local film business, which they count among the city's growing visitor assets.

"When a tourist comes to the city and sees Matthew McConaughey or Jessica Alba, it supports the idea that New Orleans is an exciting place to be," said Jennifer Day-Sully, a spokeswoman for the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau.

(Editing by Corrie MacLaggan and Jerry Norton)


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Police seek motive in Texas family deaths

By the CNN Wire Staff

updated 1:23 PM EST, Mon December 26, 2011

Seven found dead in Texas apartment


  • Police say the 7 people were opening Christmas gifts when the shootings occurred
  • The shooter is believed to be related to the family by marriage, authorities say
  • Autopsies will be conducted Monday, according to police

Dallas (CNN) -- Autopsies will be conducted Monday on seven family members who were shot -- apparently by one of their own -- at a Christmas gathering, police said.

"The information we have is that this is a family, some of them related by marriage but mostly by blood," Grapevine, Texas, police Sgt. Robert Eberling said Monday. "They have lived in other areas in the (Dallas) metroplex and they came yesterday for a Christmas gathering."

Authorities believe the shooter "was one of the individuals inside the apartment that was also deceased," Eberling said. "We know he is a family member ... we are working to find out why exactly this took place. We contacted other family members to piece this together."

The shooter is believed to have been related to the family by marriage, he said.

Police said Sunday the group was either in the process of opening Christmas gifts or had just finished doing so when the shootings occurred in the living room of the apartment in Grapevine, about 25 miles northwest of Dallas.

Authorities responded to the address Sunday after receiving a 911 call from the apartment, but hearing only an open line, police said in a statement.

The seven bodies -- four female adults and three adult males -- were found when officers entered the apartment. "All victims appear to have gunshot wounds," said the statement.

The victims range in age from 15 to 58 or 59 years old, Eberling said Monday. Autopsy results will be available Tuesday, he said.

CNN's Carma Hassan and Chuck Johnston contributed to this report.


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A Summer Wedding North of Napa

This amazing wedding had many elements that the bride did herself, such as the pinwheels which were used as escort cards. Even the self-portrait photo booth that the guests had their picture taken inside of "frames" was made by the bride. They had many "school" elements as the bride is an elementary school teacher, such as the guest book made out of old library cards.?

Couple: Kendall Smith & Alex Wilson

Photographer: Gertrude & Mabel Photography

Caterer:? Paula LeDuc Fine Catering

Event Planner:? Stacy McCain Event Planning

Floral Designer:? Cherries

Reception Venue:? Beaulieu Garden


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Wednesday, December 28, 2011




Krishi Anusandhan Bhavan ? II, Pusa, New Delhi ? 110012


Online Application for AIEEA-UG/PG-2012

The above article is a summary for INDIAN COUNCIL OF AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH (ICAR), ICAR?s 17th ALL INDIA ENTRANCE EXAMINATION FOR ADMISSION TO AIEEA-UG-2012 AND AIEEA-PG-2012 from Admissions to Various Courses in India. Read More Here

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Nelson Expected to Retire (Taegan Goddard's Political Wire)

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?ddia : Apple, iTV i?in ?retime 2012 ilk ?eyrekte ba?layabilir

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Source: --- Tuesday, December 27, 2011
2012 y?l? i?in en ?ok Apple'?n yeni iPad modeli merak edilirken firman?n kendi markas?n? ta??yan televizyon ?retimine ba?layaca?? iddialar? da giderek art?yor. Asyal? elektronik cihaz end?strisinin nabz?n? tutan DigiTimes sitesi Apple'?n yeni televizyonlar?yla ilgili yeni iddialarda bulundu. ...


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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

NBA preview: Wizards roster

1 Nick Young G

(Ned Dishman - NBAE/Getty Images)
Age: 26 Years: 4 Height: 6-7 Weight: 210 Games: 64 PPG: 17.4 APG: 1.2 FG%: 44.1

College: Southern California

Acquired: Selected 16th overall in 2007 draft.

Strengths: Great one-on-one scorer who can catch and shoot or create off the dribble. Led team in scoring last season.

Weaknesses: Has tunnel vision on offense. Struggles to create scoring chances for others. Needs to develop better all-around game. Improved on-ball defense but remains mediocre.

2 John Wall G

(Nick Wass - Associated Press)
Age: 21 Years: 1 Height: 6-4 Weight: 195 Games: 69 PPG: 16.4 APG: 8.3 FG%: 40.9

College: Kentucky

Acquired: No. 1 pick in 2010 draft.

Strengths:Explosive with blazing speed, tremendous leaping ability. Gets into lane with ease. Finishes strong. Unselfish floor general with superb vision.

Weaknesses:Lacks consistent jump shot. Aggressive style leaves him susceptible to injury. Gets careless with ball and is turnover prone.

6 Maurice Evans G

(John Minchillo - AP)
Age: 33 Years: 8 Height:6-5 Weight: 220 Games: 73 PPG: 6.3 APG: 0.6 FG%: 41.7

College: Texas

Acquired: Via trade with Hawks in February 2011.

Strengths: Solid veteran with playoff experience and knowledge of game. Tenacious, aggressive defender who can knock down three-pointers.

Weaknesses:After working on CBA as union VP, needs to get back in shape. Limited offensively.

7 Andray Blatche F-C

Age: 26 Years: 6 Height: 6-11 Weight: 260 Games: 64 PPG: 16.8 RPG: 8.2 FG%: 44.5

High School: South Kent Prep (Conn.)

Acquired: Selected 49th overall in 2005 draft.

Strengths: Versatile, talented big man with quickness, agility, ballhandling skills and scoring ability.

Weaknesses: Struggles with conditioning. A poor post defender. Settles for jumpers too often.

8 Roger Mason Jr. G

Age: 31 Years: 7 Height: 6-5 Weight: 200 Games: 26 PPG: 2.9 APG: 0.8 FG%: 33.8

(Nick Wass - AP)
College: Virginia

Acquired: Signed as free agent in December 2011.

Strengths:Veteran shooting guard provides perimeter shooting, professionalism, leadership.

Weaknesses: Field goal percentage declined past two seasons. Lacks quickness, which hurts on defense. Attempted just 10 free throws last season.

9 Rashard Lewis F
(Nick Wass - AP)

Age: 32 Years: 13 Height: 6-10 Weight: 230 Games: 57 PPG: 11.7 RPG: 5.1 FG%: 43.3

College: Alief Elsik (Texas)

Acquired: Via trade with Orlando in December 2010.

Strengths: Ex-all star has a high basketball IQ. Provides leadership. Can play both forward positions. Solid team defender. Stretches floor with ability to make three-pointers.

Weaknesses: Production has declined past three seasons. Had knee troubles last season.

13 Kevin Seraphin F

Age: 22 Years: 1 Height: 6-9 Weight: 275 Games: 58 PPG: 2.7 RPG: 2.6 FG%: 44.9

(Nick Wass - AP)
Country: French Guiana

Acquired: Via trade with Chicago in June 2010.

Strengths: Physically imposing big man provides strength and sets solid screens. More confident after playing for French national team and in Spain.

Weaknesses: Remains very raw. Has awkward form on jump shot. Needs to develop greater instincts. Foul prone.

15 Jordan Crawford G

(Nick Wass - AP)
Age: 23 Years: 1 Height: 6-4 Weight: 195 Games: 42 PPG: 11.7 APG: 2.8 FG%: 38.4

College: Xavier

Acquired: Via trade with Hawks in February 2011.

Strengths: Extremely confident. Not afraid to shoot. Can play either guard position. Has good court vision. Fearless competitor.

Weaknesses: Belief in his talents often leads to bad shots. Reliance on long jumpers results in poor percentage from the field. Can be a defensive liability.

21 Ronny Turiaf F

Age: 28 Years: 6 Height: 6-10 Weight: 249 Games: 64 PPG: 4.2 RPG: 3.2 FG%: 63.2

(Nick Wass - AP)

College: Gonzaga

Acquired: Via trade with Knicks in December 2011.

Strengths: High-energy player who adds intensity and hustle. An excellent shot-blocker despite being undersize. Good passer. Veteran presence for front line.

Weaknesses: Injury-prone. Lacks size. A poor rebounder despite his activity on both ends. With his fourth team in the past five years.

22 Shelvin Mack G

Age: 21 Years: R Height: 6-3 Weight: 215

College: Butler

Acquired: Selected 34th in 2011 draft.

(Nick Wass - AP)
Strengths: Smart player who hails from good program. Knows how to win. Plays steady and under control. Can run pick-and-roll offense well.

Weaknesses: Doesn?t have overwhelming speed or quickness. Needs to become a better perimeter shooter.

24 Jan Vesely F

Age: 21 Years: R Height: 6-11 Weight: 240

Country: Czech Republic

Acquired: Selected sixth in 2011 draft.

Strengths: Athletic, high-energy player known for providing exciting dunks. Loves to score in transition. Runs the floor well. Excellent finisher.

(Nick Wass - AP)
Weaknesses: Has been limited by hip injury. Needs to add strength and improve jumper. Poor ballhandler.

31 Chris Singleton F

(Nick Wass - AP)
Age: 22 Years: R Height: 6-8 Weight: 230

College: Florida State

Acquired: Selected 18th in 2011 draft.

Strengths: Defensive specialist who can guard four positions. Rebounds well. Has excellent speed and lateral quickness. Tenacious competitor.

Weaknesses: Poor ballhandler. Cannot create scoring opportunities. Shoots poorly off the dribble.

34 JaVale McGee F

Age: 23 Years: 3 Height: 7-0 Weight: 237 Games: 79 PPG: 10.1 RPG: 8.0 FG%: 55.0

College: Nevada

Acquired: Selected 18th in the 2008 draft.

(Nick Wass - AP)
Strengths: Supremely athletic big man. Incredible shot blocker. Runs the floor well. Regularly supplies highlight dunks. Has phenomenal size and length.

Weaknesses: Focus on shot-blocking leads to goaltends or poor position for rebounds. Often prefers style over substance.

35 Trevor Booker F

Age: 24 Years: 1 Height: 6-7 Weight: 240 Games: 65 PPG: 5.3 RPG: 3.9 FG%: 54.9

College: Clemson

Acquired: Via trade with Timberwolves in June 2010.

Strengths: Energetic player compensates for lack of height with hustle. Can change momentum with a block or tip dunk. Excels in low-post defense.

(Nick Wass - AP)
Weaknesses: Lacks size to consistently play power forward, and poor outside shot affects his ability to play small forward.

55 Hamady Ndiaye C

Age: 24 Years: 1 Height: 7-0 Weight: 235 Games: 16 PPG: 0.9 RPG: 0.4 FG%: 80.0

College: Rutgers

Acquired: Via trade with Timberwolves in June 2010.

Strengths: Good shot blocker. Hard worker with positive attitude. Great teammate who lightens mood in locker room. Has steady learning curve.

Weaknesses: Still extremely
(Nick Wass - AP)
raw. Limited offensively. Lacks a go-to move inside. Not a great rebounder despite size.


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Pay Off Debt or Save for Rainy Day - Credit, Debt, Savings ...

Reasons to Pay Off Debt First:

1.? You want to lower your monthly payments quickly.
Paying off high-interest debts will reduce your overall monthly payments, which frees up more cash for savings and other expenditures. So, if your primary objective is to slash your monthly bills and more quickly free up cash, you'll want to pay off debt as soon as possible.

2.? You need to boost your credit score.
If you're planning to buy or refinance a home in the near future or seek some form of credit, you'll need to have a good credit score. Accumulating savings won't do much for convincing lenders that you should get a low-interest loan (unless you're using the cash to reduce your loan amount).

In general, lenders will scrutinize your credit score because it's indicative of your payment track record and it also reflects how well you've handled credit card debt. That's because 30 percent of your FICO credit score is based on the amount of credit card debt you have outstanding. Shedding some of that debt to give your credit score a boost could make you eligible for much better interest rate on a long-term loan, potentially saving you thousands of dollars.

3.? Avoid interest rate hikes.

If you're carrying a credit card balance that was initially offered with a promotional offer or zero-interest rate, you might want to pay it sooner rather than later, to avoid an interest rate hike. Going from a teaser rate of 0 percent to a 15 percent rate, which is the current average rate for credit cards, means you'll be subjected to finance charges on top of the charges you made for purchases. So paying off that debt quickly prevents you from having to pay extra, or potentially excessive, amounts of interest.

Next: 3 good reasons to save first. >>


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Monday, December 26, 2011

Sony: We Didn?t Apologize for PS Vita Bugs

Sony Corp. has denied news reports that the company has apologized for the glitches with its newest console the PlayStation Vita. According to Sony, there was no evidence of widespread bugs on the Vita and that the reports about Sony apologizing were not true.

"The PS Vita has had a terrific launch and sold in large numbers," said David Wilson, head of UK PR at Sony Computer Entertainment, in an interview with The Guardian. "We're annoyed with these stories, because we can't find any evidence of widespread glitches."

"The stories even said that Sony has issued an apology for PS Vita glitches, which simply isn't true - there's an apology on our Japanese website for people who are having trouble getting through to our technical help line, but that's it."

Wilson also added that there is a page showing standard procedures for powering the PS Vita on and off which had been misconstrued as a method for solving the alleged glitches. The supposed apology could also be attributed to a simple mistranslation of Sony's Japanese website on the part of the Internet public. ?

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The PS Vita launched in Japan on Saturday and has already sold around 321,000 units. But just as quickly as the units sold did complaints about the new console crop up on the Internet. Infuriated users have posted videos on YouTube of the PS Vita freezing up and not working, one video shows a unit that shipped in a debug mode and couldn't be booted normally. Sony has already posted a software update on its site. ?

The PS Vita will launch in Australia in February 23, 2012 and will cost AUD$349.95 for the Wi-Fi version while the 3G and Wi-Fi version will cost AUD$449.95. The PS Vita will have a unique set of features including an OLED front touch screen and rear touch pad, dual analog sticks, motion sensors and dual cameras.


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sbnationdetroit: Live from Ford Field RT @ChrisVannini The calm before the storm.

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Sunday, December 25, 2011

GameStop is telling customers Last Guardian is cancelled, but Sony says it’s not true

We?ve been worried about Last Guardian for months now. It skipped E3 and Tokyo Game Show, and the game?s director continues to work on the game, but has quit Sony. But we?d never thought it?d be cancelled, that is until a friendly phone robot from GameStop told people the game wasn?t coming out. However, don?t panic and let this add to your already mounting holiday stress, the perpetually delayed title is still coming no matter what the mega-retailer says.

Just hours ago people were popping up all over the internet saying they?d received calls from GameStop that The Last Guardian (and the customer?s preorder of the game) had been cancelled. You can hear one of those automated calls?here. It?s easy to understand people believing a huge corporation like Stop saying a vendor had cancelled a game, but fortunately Sony was quick to clarify things

According to a?Sony representative, Sony is very clear on Last Guardian still existing in this quote: ?It's not true. The game is still in development, it hasn't been cancelled.? And that?s clear enough for us. We?ll mark this down to either a technical malfunction with GameStop?s computerized calls, or them getting incorrect information from this ?vendor? person. Either way, if you get a call from GameStop today about Last Guardian, please don?t do anything drastic, as everything?s fine (except for the fact Guardian has no real release date).

UPDATE: GameStop has now issued a statement taking responsibility for the goof. Here's what they wrote:

""The Last Guardian has not been cancelled by Sony as we incorrectly stated in an automated call to reservation customers. Because the game did not have a specific release date, GameStop made the decision to remove the game from our system.?The Last Guardian?will be reinstated for pre-order when a firm launch date is known."


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Use Your Snooze Alarm to Stay On Task in the Morning [Time Management]

Use Your Snooze Alarm to Stay On Task in the MorningWhile staying in bed and snoozing your alarm will certainly make you late for work, reader Mythimna shows us how you can use it to keep you moving quickly in the morning.

Instead of snoozing your alarm while staying in bed, snooze it as you run around the house getting ready to leave:

If you have trouble staying on task in the morning, don't turn off your alarm. Just hit snooze.

Each morning, every fifteen minutes or so, my alarm will go off. I'll hit snooze and know it's time to move on to the next task that has to happen before I leave the house.

You could, of course, just use another alarm...but your alarm clock is probably already on and faster to set than anything else. It's not necessarily life-changing, but for me, it's been the difference between making it to those 4AM appointments, and rescheduling them.

Photo by Tim Ebbs.

Keep Snoozing Your Alarm to Move Faster in the Morning | #tips


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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Vikings Vs. Redskins Injury Report And Inactive List: Washington RB Roy Helu Inactive Against Minnesota

The Week 16 list of inactives has been released for the Redskins and Vikings matchup, and by far the biggest name on the list is rookie running back Roy Helu. Helu was limited in practice this week with a sore toe and ankle, but it had been expected that he would still play Sunday. Fellow rookie Evan Royster will likely get the start in Helu's place.

The full list of Redskins inactives, from the team's official twitter feed:

An already porous Minnesota secondary will be without two cornerbacks today. Vikings inactives, from the team's official twitter feed:

For more Redskins coverage, please visit Hogs Haven, SB Nation's Redskins blog. For the perspective from the other side, please check out SB Nation Minnesota and Daily Norseman, SB Nation's Vikings blog.


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Anthony McFarlin, 54, Cape Coral, Florida

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At least 61 dead in northeast Nigeria violence (AP)

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria ? At least 61 people have been killed during several days of fighting in northeast Nigeria between security forces and a radical Muslim sect responsible for a series of increasingly bloody attacks in Africa's most populous nation, authorities said Saturday.

The fighting between suspected members of the sect known as Boko Haram and a joint task force of police and military began Thursday in Borno and Yobe states in Nigeria's arid northeast corner bordering Cameroon, Chad and Niger. The fighting left residents cowering in their homes amid gunfire and explosions.

At least 50 people have died in Damaturu and Potiskum in Yobe state during the fighting, local police commissioner Lawan Tanko told The Associated Press on Saturday. In Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, a mortuary official who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter told the AP at least 11 bodies had been brought in from the fighting.

The violence left at least two senior police officers dead in Yobe state, while a military spokesman in Borno said that three churches had been bombed during attacks there.

In Yobe state, the fighting became so intense that the military ordered those living in a neighborhood surrounding Damaturu's central mosque to evacuate. After a deadline, soldiers riding in armored personnel carriers and tanks drove into the neighborhood shooting, Tanko said.

"We were able to kill 12 of the Boko Haram armed sect and bombers," Tanko said. The police commissioner said officers also recovered Kalashnikov rifles, ammunition and explosives.

Boko Haram has launched a series of bombings against Nigeria's weak central government over the last year in its campaign to implement strict Shariah law across the nation of more than 160 million people home to both Christians and Muslims.

Boko Haram claimed responsibility for a Nov. 4 attack on Damaturu, Yobe state's capital, that killed more than 100 people. The group also claimed the Aug. 24 suicide car bombing of the U.N. headquarters in Nigeria's capital that killed 24 people and wounded 116 others.

Little is known about the sources of Boko Haram's support, though its members recently began carrying out a wave of bank robberies in the north. Police stations also have been bombed and officers killed.

Boko Haram has splintered into three factions, with one wing increasingly willing to kill as it maintains contact with terror groups in North Africa and Somalia, diplomats and security sources say.

The sect is responsible for more than 450 killings in Nigeria this year alone, according to an AP count.


Jon Gambrell reported from Lagos, Nigeria and can be reached at


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Critics Say Obama's Efforts To Protect Science Are Slow and Weak

Did politics trump science when it came to Plan B? Enlarge ASSOCIATED PRESS

Did politics trump science when it came to Plan B?


Did politics trump science when it came to Plan B?

Critics cried foul when Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled the Food and Drug Administration earlier this month, saying that teenage girls can't buy the emergency contraceptive plan B without a prescription. Their complaint: That the move went against the Obama administration's stated goal of protecting science from the taint of politics.

Despite the controversy, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy is continuing to push ahead with its nearly three-year-long effort to have all government agencies put new "scientific integrity" rules in place.

The Department of Health and Human Services is one of 13 agencies that submitted near-final draft policies to meet a December 17 deadline, according to a new blog post by John Holdren, Obama's top science advisor.

In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was to submit its latest draft to OSTP this week, and five other agencies already have final policies in place.

The goal of all this work is to make it less likely that scientific data is altered or suppressed, so that decision makers and the public have access to the most accurate and relevant information.

But, as Holdren notes in his blog post: "That does not mean that 'science trumps all' in the policy-making process." Economic and social realities also factor in, he said.

President Obama pledged in his inaugural address to "restore science to its rightful place" in federal decision-making, but the process of creating rules to protect science and scientists has been slow and less than transparent, according to watchdog groups that have been closely monitoring the effort.

One of the groups following the issue, the Union of Concerned Scientists, noted that of the 19 draft and final policies submitted to OSTP, only six have been made public.The departments of Interior, Agriculture, and Education, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and NASA have released their final policies, while EPA and the National Science Foundation have put out drafts so the public could comment.

"To protect and enhance their own credibility, the remaining agencies and departments should make draft or final policies immediately available and invite the public to help them improve their policies," said Francesca Grifo, director of the Union of Concerned Scientists' Scientific Integrity Program, in a written statement. "They should also disclose plans to meaningfully implement their policies by the end of the president's first term."

NPR recently used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain the final policy that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence provided to OSTP, which has not been made public. That policy encourages researchers to seek independent peer review from within and outside government, but doesn't give scientists a system to protest manipulation or suppression of their work.

In an email, policy analyst Gavin Baker with OMB Watch, a nonprofit that promotes government accountability, wrote that the four-page document struck him as helpful "in expressing some common principles about how to handle science in environments where many activities are classified. But these are modest principles that don't do much to prevent the political manipulation of science or to protect the free flow of scientific information."

Baker noted that several intelligence community agencies?such as the Department of Justice, Department of State, and Department of Defense?have submitted draft policies to OSTP and that he would only consider the intelligence community's final principles adequate if each agency had a strong and enforceable scientific integrity policy of its own.


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Facebook Prepares to Go Public; Microsoft and Apple Provide Inspiration

Facebook is a holding mock earnings call as it prepares to launch its own initial public offering.

In an interview?with the Wall Street Journal, Mark Zuckerberg said he has been studying how Microsoft and Apple transformed themselves and plans to implement the same thing on Facebook to make the company ever-lasting.

"There was a period in Microsoft's evolution where they said, we want to put a computer on everyone's desk," said Zuckerberg.

"That's the way that I want to run Facebook...We want to be operating in a way that we're working towards this longer vision of where we think the world should be," he added.

Sources familiar with the matter tell WSJ the company plans to file IPO papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission early next year and launch the IPO in the second quarter of 2012.

The IPO is expected to raise around $10 billion for the company and push its market valuation to more than $100 billion. Sources also say Facebook executives have been preparing scripts for an earnings call with analysts and have even prepared a mock IPO draft, which is usually prepared by banks.


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designmilk: Today's Skim Milk is a minimalist house in - where else? you guessed it - Japan, but this 1 has a giant piece missing:

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Today's Skim Milk is a minimalist house in - where else? you guessed it - Japan, but this 1 has a giant piece missing: designmilk

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Hitwise: Pinterest Grows Nearly 40-Fold Past Six Months

Pinterest hitwisePinterest's growth over the past six months has been nothing short of astounding. We've noted this before, but some new data today from Hitwise confirms the trend. Last week, Pinterest attracted 11 million visits, up almost 40-fold from just six months ago. Pinterest is now one of the top 10 social networking sites Hitwise tracks. These stats are estimates of visits, not visitors, so you'd have to divide by how many visits per visitor Pinterest gets in a week to get the number of people going to the site. Pinterest is daily habit for many people, which is why it's pageviews are going through the roof. Hitwise doesn't break out estimates for visitors, but comScore has Pinterest at 4.9 monthly uniques in November, up from 3.3 million in October.


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Friday, December 23, 2011

CFT: Barkley puts NFL on hold, returning to USC

UCLA v USCGetty Images

In early January of this year, Andrew Luck surprised some observers by announcing that he was eschewing a shot at a certain spot inside the Top Five of the NFL draft and returning to Stanford.

Nearly a year later, another Pac-12 school has officially become the beneficiary of an even more surprising decision by the leader of its offense.

With an ornate Christmas tree setting the seasonally-themed scene:?Matt Barkley announced at an on-campus press conference Thursday afternoon the one gift Trojan fans have been wishing for over the past few months: the quarterback will be returning to USC for one more season. ?Barkley told his coaches and teammates of the news of his decision earlier in the day, a decision that was made after extensive conversations with his family, school officials and other advisers from the professional level.

?I know in my heart that I have not yet finished my journey as a Trojan football player,? the junior said. ?Our USC football team has been through some tough times and we have persevered. ?But the 2012 team has some serious unfinished business to attend to, and I intend to play a part of it.

?So, yes, I have firmly decided to forego the NFL draft in 2012 and finish this exceptional and unique journey that I?ve had here at USC.?

Based on the early draft projections, Barkley was a near-lock to be one of the first 10 players selected in the April NFL draft and, pending the pre-draft workouts, perhaps even a top-five selection. ?Instead, he?s returning to solidify his legacy as one of the greatest Trojans in the football program?s storied history.

With the decision, Barkley immediately becomes one of the front-runners for the 2012 Heisman Trophy ? perhaps the front-runner pending the NFL decisions of 2011 winner Robert Griffin III and this year?s?other finalists, all of whom are draft-eligible ? thanks to a 2011 season that saw him pass for more than 3,500 yards, 39 touchdowns and just seven picks.

More importantly is what Barkley?s decision means for the Trojans as a team. ?Add Barkley?s return with the fact that 16 other starters from a 10-2 squad are expected to return as well, and it will likely equal the Trojans starting the 2012 season deep inside the Top Ten of the major preseason polls.

And, with the school finally eligible following a two-year bowl ban, a run at a Pac-12 championship and berth in a BcS bowl?are certainly not out of the question and should probably be expected. ?In fact, and even with the final chapter of the 2011 season not yet written, the Trojans would have to be considered one of a handful of legitimate national title contenders eight months or so out from the start of next season.

Thanks to Barkley?s unexpected decision, such talk is far from premature, regardless how far the start of the 2012 season is off in the distance.


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40 Years On, the Triumphs and Challenges of America's 'War on Cancer' (HealthDay)

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Jack Whelan first knew something was wrong when it got harder and harder to walk from the train station in Boston to the financial district where he worked.

He knew something was terribly wrong when he started getting nose bleeds.

A consultation with an oncologist confirmed Whelan's fears: He had advanced Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia, a rare form of blood cancer that affects only about 1,500 people in the United States each year.

Forty years ago, Whelan would have had five years to live -- at the outside -- and who knows what his quality of life would have looked like.

But today, five years after his diagnosis and almost 40 years to the day that President Richard Nixon signed the National Cancer Act declaring "war" on cancer, Whelan, 63, is power-walking, raking leaves, shoveling snow and back at work as a marketing executive.

Whelan is just one of the millions of Americans who have benefited from continued advances in cancer research. He has participated in four different clinical trials and is currently taking an experimental drug called LBH589 which, Whelan said, makes him "feel like Popeye the sailor after having spinach."

Just this month, scientists at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, where Whelan is being treated, discovered a single gene mutation present in 90 percent of patients who have this rare type of cancer, raising the hope that an even more targeted treatment will soon be able to attack the disease.

Since Dec. 23, 1971, and the passage in Congress of the National Cancer Act, research has made tremendous progress against what is still one of the world's foremost killers, experts say.

"Back at that time point, cancer essentially was a death sentence," said Dr. Raymond N. DuBois Jr., provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

That's no longer the case, however, thanks to advances in early detection, improved therapies and a better understanding of the genetics driving different forms of cancer, he said.

"Forty years ago, fewer than one-third of patients with a diagnosis of cancer lived five years. Almost no children with a diagnosis of the most common form of childhood cancer, acute leukemia, lived [that long]," said Dana-Farber president Dr. Edward Benz Jr. "In 2011, nearly 90 percent of children diagnosed with acute leukemia will be cured and nearly two-thirds of all people diagnosed with cancer will live at least five years."

Since 1991 alone, there's been more than an 18 percent reduction in deaths from cancer, added Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society.

An ounce of prevention

Much of this progress may have started with prevention.

Declines in smoking rates, helped by the landmark U.S. Surgeon General's Report in 1964 linking smoking to cancer, have continued over the decades, preventing countless cases of lung malignancies and other forms of cancer.

Colonoscopies to detect pre-cancerous polyps have not only reduced mortality but prevented many cases of colorectal cancer outright.

The adoption of regular mammography screening for breast cancer is another success story in its own right, as is screening for cervical cancer.

Thanks to, first, the Pap smear (which looks for abnormal cells on the cervix) and now the HPV test (which detects the human papillomavirus that can cause cervical cancer), death rates from cervical cancer in the United States plummeted more than 60 percent between 1955 and 1992, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

No doubt, incidence and mortality from cervical cancer will continue to decline with the advent of another major weapon: newly approved vaccines that prevent infection with the strains of HPV that cause most cases of this type of cancer.

These vaccines (two have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration) have great potential to reduce head and neck cancers, as well as anal cancer deaths, which can also be caused by HPV, Brawley said.

But advances in detection have been complemented by improvements in treatment, the experts added. These include better surgical techniques. For example, studies suggest that women who have a lumpectomy to conserve their breast along with radiation typically have as good a prognosis as women who undergo a full mastectomy.

Targeted radiation has also made treatment much less onerous for prostate cancer patients, and new chemotherapies often arrive with drastically fewer side effects than in decades past.

The age of "targeted therapies" or "personalized medicine" -- an era ushered in by anti-estrogen breast cancer therapies such as tamoxifen (which debuted in the 1980s) -- is here, Brawley said. Those highly targeted medications were later joined by aromatase inhibitors as well as Herceptin (trastuzumab) to attack a specific form of Her2neu-positive breast cancer.

Scientists are also finding new targets for lung, colorectal and other cancers. For example, studies show that Tarceva (erlotinib) can improve the average survival of patients with non-small cell lung cancer by about two months. That may not sound like much but, in lung cancer, it represents a huge stride.

"Wonder drug" Gleevec, a medicine used to push certain blood cancers into remission, is another targeted-therapy success story. In fact, a colleague of Whelan's was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia while still in his 20s and subsequently died. Had he been diagnosed a few years later, after the discovery of Gleevec, he would have lived, Whelan believes.

Brawley agrees that "personalized medicine is the future," and he predicts many more advances in this area in the next five years.

Dubois added: "We are doing molecular fingerprinting of each individual tumor and, although we're not using that right now to direct cancer care, the idea is once we have that information we will be able to use it to figure out exactly which treatments a patient needs so they're not being given unnecessary treatment. And the treatment they do get is going to be much more effective on the first round of therapy when it really makes the biggest difference."

Doctors now also know that "multi-modality" therapy -- meaning the combined use of surgery, radiation and drug therapy -- "has given people the best chance for good outcomes for particular kinds of cancer," said Benz.

Progress lacking on some fronts

But while there's been undisputed progress, "it's very incomplete progress," Benz and others acknowledged.

"If you look over the past 40 years, on some fronts we've actually been winning and on some fronts we're losing terribly," said Brawley. "We are our own worst enemy in terms of battling cancer with tobacco control, diet and exercise and getting everybody adequate preventive screening and treatment.

"In excess of 200,000 of the 500,000 lives that will be lost from cancer this year could have been avoided if we simply adopted all the cancer-control technologies that we've learned over the last 40 years," he added.

Although the smoking rate has declined dramatically since publication of the U.S. Surgeon General's 1964 report, it's been stalled at about 20 percent for 10 years now, Brawley said.

There are also lingering disparities in both prevention and treatment by race, socioeconomic status and urban versus rural locations, said Brawley.

Cancer therapies are also becoming increasingly complicated and expensive "at a time when the trend in health care and in support for cancer research is going down," added Benz. "I worry that we're going to see increasing disparities as cancer and personalized medicine becomes more complicated and expensive. It will be harder and harder to offer it to everybody who needs it."

Clinical trials may also become more difficult and expensive to conduct, as scientists recognize more and more subtypes of cancer. That means fewer people fit each particular subtype, Benz said.

Nevertheless, the overall message is a positive one.

"It's been a huge evolution since 1971," said DuBois. "It's just incredible."

More information

There's more on the National Cancer Act at the U.S. National Cancer Institute.


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