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Hurricane Gustav Track

Hurricane Gustav Track: To Become Category 3 for New Orleans?
New Orleans is considering evacuations after forecasters predicted Tropical Storm Gustav will return to a hurricane and enter the U.S. Gulf of Mexico as a major storm by the weekend.

Tropical Storm Gustav continues to churn off the coast of Haiti, being downgraded from a Category 1 hurricane to a tropical storm on Wednesday.

Hurricane forecasters were predicting on Tuesday that Gustav would skirt the western coast of Cuba and enter the Gulf of Mexico as a powerful Category 3 hurricane with winds in excess of 100 miles per hour by Sunday

Commercial Brokerage Corp's Ed Kennedy said Tuesday: "There's the possibility of a Category 3 to Category 5 hurricane in the Gulf on Sunday. There's major change in the track just since yesterday, and I'm sure there's going to be more, but that's what has everyone's attention right now. If we get a major hurricane in the Gulf there's going to be a lot more short-covering."

Officials in Louisiana have asked residents to start preparing for a possible hit from Gustav this weekend, saying they should buy plenty of food and water, enough for 4-5 days, and whatever they or their pet may need.

Original Source :

Lesbian Activist Del Martin Dies At 87

World-renowned lesbian activist Dorothy L. (Del) Martin died Wednesday at UCSF Hospice in San Francisco.

An eloquent organizer for civil rights, civil liberties and human dignity, Del Martin created and helped shape the modern LGBT and feminist movements. She was a woman of extraordinary courage, persistence, intelligence, humor and fundamental decency who refused to be silenced by fear and never stopped fighting for equality.

Her last public political act, on June 16, 2008, was to marry Phyllis Lyon, her partner of 55 years. They were the first couple to wed in San Francisco after the California Supreme Court recognized that marriage for same-sex couples is a fundamental right in a case brought by plaintiffs including Martin and Lyon.

A broken arm two weeks ago exacerbated Martin's existing health problems, said Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Martin is survived by her spouse, Lyon; daughter Kendra Mon, son-in-law Eugene Lane, granddaughter Lorraine Mon, grandson Kevin Mon, sister-in-law Patricia Lyon and a vast, loving and grateful LGBT family.

Born in San Francisco on May 5, 1921, Dorothy L. Taliaferro, or Del, as she would come to be known, was salutatorian of the first graduating class of George Washington High School and went on to study journalism at the University of California at Berkeley.

At 19, after transferring to San Francisco State College, she married James Martin and two years later gave birth to their daughter Kendra. The marriage ended in divorce.

Del Martin met the love of her life, Lyon, in Seattle in 1950 when they worked for the same publication company. They became lovers in 1952 and formalized their partnership on Valentine's Day in 1953 when they moved in together in San Francisco. In 1955, they bought the small home that has been theirs ever since.

In what would prove to be an act that would change history, Martin, Lyon and six other lesbians co-founded the Daughters of Bilitis in San Francisco in 1955. DOB, which was named after an obscure book of lesbian love poetry, initially was organized to provide secret mutual support and social activities. It became the first public and political lesbian rights organization in the United States, laying a foundation for the women's and lesbian and gay liberation movements that flowered in the early 1970s and continue today.

Del Martin used her writing and speaking talents to challenge misconceptions about gender and sexuality.

"We were fighting the church, the couch and the courts," she often remembered years later, naming the array of social and cultural forces early activists confronted when homosexuals were treated as immoral, mentally ill, and illegal. As the first President of DOB, she penned stirring calls to arms.

"Nothing was ever accomplished by hiding in a dark corner. Why not discard the hermitage for the heritage that awaits any red-blooded American woman who dares to claim it?" She was the second editor (after Lyon) of DOB's groundbreaking monthly magazine, The Ladder, from 1960 to 1962 and ushered in a new decade of political engagement and media visibility for the nascent gay rights movement.

The Ladder grew from a mimeographed newsletter in 1956 to an internationally recognized magazine with thousands of subscribers by 1970, and thousands more readers who copied its contents or circulated it among friends and coworkers. Martin's many contributions to The Ladder ranged from short stories to editorials to missives: one of the most famous is "If That's All There Is," a searing condemnation of sexism in the gay rights movement written in 1970.

Due to Martin's influence, The Ladder provided one of the few media outlets confronting misogyny in the decade before the rebirth of women's liberation.

In 1964, Martin was part of a group that founded the Council on Religion and the Homosexual in order to lobby city lawmakers more effectively to reduce police harassment and modify the sex laws that criminalized homosexual behavior. In later years, Martin was also a founding member of the Lesbian Mother's Union, the San Francisco Women's Centers and the Bay Area Women's Coalition, among other organizations.

As an early member of the National Organization for Women Del Martin worked to counter homophobia within the women's movement. She and Lyon were the first lesbians to insist on joining with a couples' membership rate, and Martin was the first out lesbian on NOW's Board of Directors. Their efforts helped to insure the inclusion of lesbian rights on NOW's agenda in the early 1970s.

"Lesbian/Woman," the book they co-authored in 1972, is one of Martin and Lyon's landmark accomplishments. The book described lesbian lives in a positive, knowledgeable way almost unknown at the time. In 1992, Publishers Weekly chose it as one of the 20 most influential women's books of the last 20 years.

For many years, Martin was a leader in the campaign to persuade the American Psychiatric Association to declare that homosexuality was not a mental illness. This goal was finally achieved in 1973.

Martin's publication of "Battered Wives" in 1976 was a major catalyst for the movement against domestic violence. Martin became a nationally known advocate for battered women and was a co-founder of the Coalition for Justice for Battered Women (1975), La Casa de las Madres (a shelter for battered women) founded in 1976, and the California Coalition against Domestic Violence (1977). She lectured at colleges and universities around the country. Martin received her doctorate from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in 1987.

Martin's keen political instincts and interests extended her influence into the mainstream Democratic Party. She and Lyon were co-founders, in 1972, of the Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club, the first gay political club in the United States. Martin was appointed chairwoman of the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women in 1976 and served on the committee until 1979. She worked as a member of many other councils and boards, including the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women. Throughout the years, many politicians recognized their stature as community leaders and sought advice and endorsement from Martin and Lyon.

It is difficult to separate Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon and write about only one of them. Their lives and their work have intertwined and their enduring dedication to social justice has been recognized many times.

In 1979, local health care providers established a clinic to give lesbians in the San Francisco Bay Area access to nonjudgmental, affordable health care and named it Lyon-Martin Health Services in their honor. In 1990, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California awarded the couple its highest honor, the Earl Warren Civil Liberties Award.

In 1995, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein named Martin, and U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi named Lyon, as delegates to the White House Conference on Aging, where they made headlines by using their moment at the podium to remind the 125,000 attendees that LGBT people grow old, too, and must be included explicitly in aging policies.

The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality gave Martin and Lyon their Outstanding Public Service Award in 1996. They are among the most beloved figures in the LGBT community and have served as grand marshals at Pride marches across the nation and been honored by every major LGBT organization in the country.

Martin identified her own legacy in 1984 when she said that her most important contribution was "being able to help make changes in the way lesbians and gay men view themselves and how the larger society views lesbians and gay men." She had the courage to be true to herself when the world offered only condemnation for lesbians.

Martin showed all of us how to have what she called "self-acceptance and a good sense of my own self-worth." Del Martin never backed down from her insistence on full equality for all people and, even at 87 years old, she kept moving all of us closer to her ideal.

Gifts in lieu of flowers may be made to honor Del's life and commitment and to defeat the California marriage ban through the National Center for Lesbian Rights' No On 8 PAC at

A public memorial and tribute celebrating the life of Del Martin will be planned in the next several weeks. (National Center for Lesbian Rights)

Original Source :

FAA Computer Failure

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Airports across the United States were experiencing flight delays Tuesday afternoon after a communications breakdown at a Federal Aviation Administration facility, the administration said.

The facility south of Atlanta had problems processing data, requiring that all flight-plan information be processed through a facility in Salt Lake City, Utah -- overloading that facility.

The two facilities process all flight plans for commercial and general aviation flights in the United States, said FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen.

By 5 p.m. ET, delays were beginning to clear as the Salt Lake City facility began processing flight plan requests at closer to normal speed, said Hank Krakowski, chief operating officer for the FAA's Air Traffic Organization.

The largest remaining delays from the glitch were at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, he said.

The administration said there were no radar outages and said they had not lost contact with any planes. The roughly 5,000 flights that were in the air when the breakdown happened were not affected -- just those that were waiting to take off.

"This is really not a safety issue, this is an aggravation issue," said CNN aviation expert Miles O'Brien. iReporter stuck in Philadelphia

The problem appeared similar to a June 8, 2007, computer glitch that caused severe flight delays and some cancellations along the East Coast. Are you stuck at the airport?

iReporter Stephanie McCauley sat on the tarmac for more than an hour at Baltimore/Washington International Airport Tuesday on a flight bound for Albany, New York.

"It happens. It's just weird because you're sitting and you don't know if it's going to be 20 minutes or 2 hours," McCauley said.

Cheryl Stewart, spokeswoman for Baltimore/Washington International Airport, said as of about 3:40 p.m. some flights were being allowed to take off, but the FAA was no longer accepting new flight plans.

"We're just kind of waiting for further word," Stewart said.

On the FAA's Web site, delays were being reported at all 40 airports on the administration's primary flight information map.

The worst delays were in the Northeast, Bergen said. Chicago's Midway and O'Hare airports in Illinois were reporting delays of up to 90 minutes.

The Web site, which normally lists the length of expected flight delays, was no longer listing that information Tuesday afternoon.

The total number of flights affected was unknown, although it was believed to be in the hundreds.

Mark Biello, a CNN photographer sitting on a delayed flight at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta on Tuesday afternoon, said flights there were being cleared for takeoff one at a time.

"They're releasing the planes, but on a one-by-one basis, so it's really backed the whole system up -- at least in the Atlanta area," Biello said.

At Philadelphia International Airport, in Pennsylvania, iReporter Randy Hehn and his wife were on their way home to Denver, Colorado, after a trip to Europe. He said he'd left Stockholm, Sweden, 11 hours earlier.

"I don't really want to spend the rest of the evening in the airport; I'm hoping they get this fixed," Hehn said in a video posted on "I see planes moving around, but I don't know.

"We're just coming back from Europe, we're really tired and this is bad news."

Original Source : 3D Chat Room 3D Chat Room is the pioneering platform in 3D virtual communities and rich immersive environments. Launching in 1994, Worlds leverages its patented proprietary technology in partnership with brand leaders in specific market segments to offer users multi-user environments that have interactive Avatars, rich media graphics, text chat, voice-to-voice chat, video and e-commerce.

The 3D communities allow visitors to interact with each other, teleport throughout the Worlds environment as well as participate in shared experiences. Besides partnering with existing content providers that have strong brands and an existing following, Worlds also encourages individuals to create their own virtual spaces, communities and unique Avatars with easy-to-use tools. Worlds was and remains true “social networking” well before the term became mainstream.

Original Source :



Texas Deputies Add To Chupacabra Legend

The legend of a mythical blood-sucking animal roaming South Texas gained new life over the weekend as two DeWitt County sheriff's deputies spotted what they said they believe was the creature.
Video: Chupacabra Caught On Camera?

Cpl. Brandon Riedel was training a new deputy on Friday when he said they saw something running down a dirt path along fence lines.

"You need to record something like this because it's not everyday you find something that looks like this, running around out in the middle of the county," he said.The short-legged, hairless animal had a long snout that looked like a coyote, Riedel said. But he admitted he wasn't convinced.

"You know, it's just kind of one of those things to hear about and talk about, but to actually see something on video that may actually be a live one, that's pretty amazing," DeWitt County Sheriff Jode Zavesky said.

Friday's sighting isn't the first time locals believe they've seen the mythical animal, which is rumored to attack livestock and pets. Stories about the chupacabra go back to the 1990s.

And a rancher in 2007 found a dead animal near the town of Cuero that was thought to be a chupacabra.

Biologists at Texas State University-San Marcos tested DNA taken from the remains of the animal and found it to be a coyote."It's like every good urban legend," Erik McCowan said. "Maybe it's better to just think it is the chupacabra and just leave it at that."

Original Source :

Tallan "T-Man" Latz

Tallan "T-Man" Latz8-year-old guitar wiz has reason to sing the blues

ELKHORN, Wis. (AP) -- An 8-year-old Wisconsin guitar wiz says the problems he's had trying to play legally will make him a better blues artist.

Tallan "T-Man" Latz has been playing since he was 5 years old. He's played with Les Paul and performed in bars and nightclubs, including Chicago's House of Blues.

That's before an anonymous tipster complained to state officials that child labor laws bar Tallan from playing in taverns and clubs. And before his booking agent got an anonymous death threat.

Earlier, the boy's father says he heard a local guitarist say Tallan shouldn't be in a bar and that he was going to turn him in. The man denies badmouthing the youngster.

Tallan can still play at festivals. But the boy's father is asking a legislator for help changing the law.

Original Source :

Mark David Chapman Conjugal Visits

John Lennon's killer Mark Chapman has conjugal visits

JOHN Lennon's killer has been enjoying conjugal visits with his wife for the past 16 years.

Mark David Chapman has been visited at least once a year by his wife Glorio Hiroko Chapman since 1992, reports say.

Chapman murdered the former Beatle in New York on December 8, 1980. He has been held in the Attica Correctional Facility, New York, since 1981.

Under a "family reunion" scheme, Chapman gets to spend up to 44 hours at a time with his wife in a special unit.

Gloria, who was married to Chapman at the time he killed Lennon and who still lives in Hawaii, visits at least once a year, sources said.

There are no cameras or guards inside the units, New York's Daily News reports.

The news comes during the week that Chapman made another request to the authorities to be released on parole. It was denied, and he will remain in jail for at least two more years.

He has been turned down four times since he became eligible in 2000.

Lennon's widow Yoko Ono had notified the parole board that she is still opposed to Chapman's release.

In 2000, Ono wrote to the board telling them about her concerns for her safety if Chapman was ever released.

"Myself and John's two sons would not feel safe for the rest of out lives," she wrote.

"With his one act of violence (Chapman) managed to change my whole life, devastate his sons, and bring deep sorrow and fear to the world."

Because of his notoriety, Chapman is kept in a unit apart from the general population.

Original Source :,26278,24169996-7484,00.html

WexTrust Capital Owners Charged in $100 Million Fraud

WexTrust Capital Owners Charged in $100 Million FraudAug. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Two owners of WexTrust Capital LLC, a Chicago-based real estate investment firm, were charged with using a Ponzi scheme to cheat investors including members of an Orthodox Jewish community out of more than $100 million.

Steven Byers, of Oakbrook, Illinois, and Joseph Shereshevsky, of Norfolk, Virginia, were arrested today on charges that they stole funds raised in private placements. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sued WexTrust and the two men and is seeking an order freezing the company's assets.

``One of the defendants used his extensive connections in the Orthodox Jewish community to solicit more than $250 million from unsuspecting investors,'' Andrew Calamari, the SEC's associate director of enforcement, said today in a statement. ``Our complaint alleges an affinity fraud of very large scale.''

Ponzi schemes traditionally involve using money from new investors to pay off old ones. WexTrust has raised at least $255 million from at least 1,196 investors in the U.S. and abroad, and stole more than $100 million, the SEC alleged. WexTrust is a private-equity company specialized in real estate and investment banking, with offices in New York, Atlanta, Tel Aviv, Johannesburg, and Boca Raton, Florida, according to a January statement by the company.

A WexTrust spokesman, David Gutierrez, declined to immediately comment.

Guilty Plea

Byers, 46, the firm's chairman, and Shereshevsky, who until recently was chief operating officer, were arrested on a securities fraud charge in Illinois and Virginia, respectively, U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia in Manhattan said in a statement. Shereshevsky, 51, pleaded guilty in 2003 to bank fraud, the SEC said.

According to authorities, Byers and Shereshevsky used money raised from private placement investors to fund the firm's operations and repay earlier investors. The government claimed that, for example, $9.2 million raised by the company from investors would be used to buy and operate seven properties that would be leased to the U.S. General Services Administration.

``The seven GSA properties, however, were never purchased, the monies raised to purchase the properties were used for some other purpose, and investors were not informed,'' Garcia said.

A private placement is a negotiated sale in which securities are sold directly to investors, rather than through a public offering.

60 Percent

Byers owns 60 percent of WexTrust, and Shereshevsky owns 20 percent, the SEC said. WexTrust is owner of at least 120 entities formed to acquire real estate interests, and it conducted at least 60 private placements between 2005 and 2008, the SEC said.

``Defendants have been fraudulently raising money in the various offerings, each of which purportedly is for a particular investment, without disclosing that funds raised were actually being used to pay prior investors in unrelated offerings,'' the SEC said in its complaint.

The criminal case is U.S. v. Byers, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan). The SEC case is SEC v. Steven Byers, 08-cv-7104, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Original Source :

Blizzcon 2008

Blizzcon 2008Blizzard Entertainment, makers of World of Warcraft, have posted details of their forthcoming BlizzCon 2008 event, taking place on October 10 - 11, 2008 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif.

BlizzCon is Blizzard’s now-annual gathering of gaming enthusiasts to celebrate Blizzard’s popular games. Blizzard is the developer of the Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo game series. The company is developing new games or expansion packs for all three franchises, and they’re developing them all for the Mac as well. Tickets to BlizzCon 2008 cost $100 each.

BlizzCon features tournaments for players who want to test their skills against others in Warcraft III and World of Warcraft. The top prize is $25,000 per player, and players and teams will be venturing forth from North America, Europe, Korea and Taiwan. There will also be a StarCraft Invitational.

Other events planned for BlizzCon 2008 include a costume contest for cosplayers who want to dress up like their favorite Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo characters, a diorama contest, original song contest, motivational poster contest, BlizzCon dance contest, “silly contest” and more. Attendees will also get a “goody bag” filled with exclusive stuff.

Original Source :

Because the rich people have such a hard time finding dates, there's Actually, you don't have to be a certified millionaire to join, anyone who earns $150,000 and above annually qualifies for This dating site guarantees complete anonymity so you can be sure that your potential mate likes you for your personality and not your status in life.'s features include chat, email, search, blog and one of the most interesting dating forums around.

You don't have to earn more than $150,000 to belong to It may seem like it, but actually encourages anyone to join because rich people are looking for a quality relationship and they don't care how much their partner earns.

CEO, celebrity, sports star, etc. If you've got a busy lifestyle and big bank account, is for you.

Original Source :

Hanny Van Arkel Armchair Astronomer

Hanny Van Arkel Armchair Astronomer

Armchair astronomer discovers unique 'cosmic ghost'

Hanny van Arkel was poring over photos of galaxies on the Internet last August when she stumbled across a strange object in the night sky: a bright, gaseous mass with a gaping hole in its middle.

"It looked a bit like an irregular galaxy, but I wasn't sure what it was," Van Arkel told CNN. So she posted a query on the Web site of the Galaxy Zoo project, which encourages members of the public to join in astronomy research online.

Van Arkel is a 25-year-old schoolteacher in Heerlen, The Netherlands, not an astrophysicist. But her startling find -- a mysterious and unique object some observers are calling a "cosmic ghost" -- has captivated astronomers and even caught the attention of the Hubble Space Telescope, which has agreed to take a closer look next year.

"This discovery really shows how citizen science has come of age in the Internet world," said Bill Keel, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Alabama and a Galaxy Zoo team member. "There was a time when I spoke pejoratively of armchair astronomers. And I've gotten up at a star party and publicly apologized for that."

Not so long ago, the term "amateur astronomer" conjured images of stargazers peering through backyard telescopes. But today's citizen astronomers are as likely to be analyzing reams of sophisticated data collected by observatories and posted on space-related Web sites.

Armchair observers like van Arkel increasingly are making significant contributions to science, said Steve Maran, spokesman for the American Astronomical Society, a group of 6,500 professionals. Amateurs have been invited to present papers at recent AAS conferences, "which wouldn't have happened years ago," he said.

A successful example of amateur-professional collaboration, the Galaxy Zoo project was launched last year by Yale University astrophysicist Kevin Schawinski and his colleague Chris Lintott at the University of Oxford in England.

The pair were looking for help in cataloging archived photographs of galaxies -- one million images -- taken by the robotic Sloan Digital Sky Survey telescope in remote southern New Mexico.

Knowing the human eye is sometimes more sensitive than a computer at picking out unusual patterns -- and that they didn't have time to do all the work themselves -- Schawinski and Lintott posted the images on the Galaxy Zoo Web site last summer.

The professors then invited amateur astronomers, with the help of a brief online tutorial, to classify the galaxies as spiral, elliptical or something else. Online galaxy-sorting might not sound as fun as, say, surfing YouTube, but it was an immediate hit.

"We were overwhelmed by the response. It completely melted the server," Schawinski told CNN. "People tell us it's addictive. Some of [the volunteers] are professional astronomers, but most of them are not. They're just regular people who got excited about the project."

During the last year, more than 150,000 armchair astronomers from all over the world volunteered their time, submitting more than 50 million classifications.

The public's collective wisdom -- the same principle that guides jury trials, or Wikipedia -- proved remarkably astute, Schawinski said. For example, if 33 of 36 volunteers thought a galaxy appeared elliptical, then astronomers could be confident the classification was correct, he said.

Van Arkel had been classifying photos on Galaxy Zoo for about a week when she came across the the image that quickly became known as "Hanny's Voorwerp," or Dutch for "object." The primary school teacher does not own a telescope -- "my [astronomy] background doesn't really go further than looking at the stars when walking outside in the evening," she said -- but when she posted her finding August 13 on the Galaxy Zoo forum, the astronomers who run the site began to investigate.

They soon realized van Arkel might have found a new class of astronomical object. The Galaxy Zoo team asked scientists working at telescopes around the world to take a look at the mysterious Voorwerp.

Their best guess: The Voorwerp is probably a cloud of hot gas punctured by a central hole some 16,000 light years across and illuminated by the "dying embers" of a nearby quasar, Schawinski said. Quasars are distant, highly luminous astronomical objects powered by black holes; scientists suspect light from the quasar still illuminates the Voorwerp even though the quasar itself burned out sometime in the past 100,000 years.

"It's this light echo that has been frozen in time for us to observe," said Lintott, the Oxford scientist. "It's rather like examining the scene of a crime where, although we can't see them, we know the culprit must be lurking somewhere nearby in the shadows."

Galaxy Zoo leaders are eagerly awaiting images from NASA's orbiting Hubble, which is scheduled to train its powerful instruments on the Voorwerp in 2009. In the meantime, van Arkel is enjoying the fuss over her contribution to astronomy.

"It's amazing to think that ... amateur volunteers can help by spotting things like this online," she said. "What excites me the most is that all of this leads to more interest in science."

Original Source :

Kwame Kilpatrick

Kwame KilpatrickMayor Kwame Kilpatrick is in jail (finally) and the City of Detroit is in its most precarious state in decades. But who's the fool in this horrible production?

It's not the mayor, despite his serial misbehavior, his unbelievable audacity, his ridiculous clinging to power. At this point, it's us - Detroiters of all hue, economic station, political affiliation, block club and neighborhood. It's the people who live here, who do business here, who care about this place and depend on its health and vitality.

We are the fools, for letting this awful chapter in the city's 300-year history develop to this point. We are the fools, for not standing up en masse to escort Kilpatrick out of the Manoogian, and out of our public lives. We are the fools, for enduring the national and international, embarrassment time after time, while prattling idly about his right to a fair trial, the sanctity of his elected status and various other irrelevancies.

Kilpatrick has ruled us as Caesar did Rome. He has turned our fair city into a renegade's playground where his ego, rather than the rule of law, reigns supreme. Kilpatrick's spectacular fibbing and manipulations were first exposed on Jan. 24 of this year, and in the 196 days since, he has done nothing but prove his unworthiness to lead. He has cast himself, against all odds, as the victim. He has played into the racial polarization of this region as a defense for his own misdeeds, most famously in a madman's tirade at the end of his State of the City address.

As a criminal defendant, he has defied the courts' restrictions on him time and again, while publicly dismissing the case against him as trivial, hate-inspired, or otherwise illegitimate. He has assaulted a sheriff's deputy who was not even on Kilpatrick's property, or serving papers on the mayor.
In any other American city - hell, in most banana republics - half of that would be enough to inspire near rebellion in an effort to change leadership.

But what have we heard from the other political leadership in Detroit? True, some have spoken out, but most have sat on their hands, taking precautions not to offend the mayor or his allies. Where is the outrage from the state's congressional delegation, which should have spoken with one voice about the outrages Kilpatrick has perpetrated? The state delegation in Lansing has also not acted collectively, though some of its more notable members (such as state senators Tupac Hunter and Buzz Thomas) have said their piece.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm began a process to consider removing the mayor, and lately, at least, has accelerated her timetable. But shouldn't her sense of urgency have been heightened well before the mayor's continued transgressions? And now, with misdeeds on the record in the form of his bond violations, doesn't she have enough power to act without the contemplative, judicial-like process she established before?

The business community, too, has largely taken a pass on leadership, or even self-respect, with regard to the Kilpatrick problem. Last week, Roger Penske, the racing magnate who heads the Downtown Detroit Partnership, even suggested there was no role for business leaders to play here. The judicial process should be allowed to work itself out, he said.

What a docile and sheepish cop-out, from a man whose business reputation is for tough negotiating and uncompromising discipline. At a time when Detroit needs leaders - those who see tough situations and do the right thing anyway - the city is stuck with cowards too tied to the mayor's power, or too afraid to cross him, to speak out. Even if Kilpatrick goes, we need to reconsider whether some of the private interests who seem so integral to the city's future truly have our interests at heart.

The city's religious and civic leadership has also been woefully absent. Why has the local NAACP, a chapter so rich in history and strong in tradition, been all but silent about the crisis in leadership in a city whose residents are overwhelmingly African American? Wendell Anthony, who heads the branch, has said little or nothing, and certainly hasn't pushed for Kilpatrick to leave. He has stuck to the "let the law work this out," line, which falsely conflates Kilpatrick's right to a fair trial with his position as mayor. And it allies the organization with the mayor's interests, above and beyond the interests of the hundreds of thousands of others who are being victimized by his leadership.

Why has New Detroit, the organization founded after the 1967 riots to help heal racial fissures in this region, been so silent about the racial overtones that have been drowning out some of the substantive issues in this scandal?

New Detroit has not only been silent about Kilpatrick's misuse of race, it has not even had anything to say about the role race may actually be playing in some of the response to this scandal. After seven months, how can that make any sense?

Fools, we all are. And Kwame Kilpatrick has made us that way.
Going forward, if we don't stiffen our spines and assert strongly that this is unacceptable, that the mayor must go and the city must move on, it will say nothing about Kwame Kilpatrick - and everything about us.

Original Source :

Dell Studio Hybrid

Dell Studio HybridWith its ovoid-cylindrical design, the Dell Studio Hybrid ($874 direct, $1,064 with 19-inch widescreen monitor) is a new twist on the small-form-factor PC. Its size, though, is reminiscent of others in that space, including the Apple Mac mini, and HP's Slimline PCs like the s3330f.

It's an energy-efficient and environment-friendly design (hence the "hybrid" moniker), but thanks to its Intel Core 2 Duo T8100 Penryn-based processor, it can keep up not only with the other systems in the compact space but with larger tower-based PCs as well.

It does suffer from weak 3D performance due to the system's integrated graphics, but if you don't need to play 3D games, the Studio Hybrid is a good alternative to the boxy mainstream PCs that have dominated the market since the dawn of personal computing.

Original Source :,1895,2326613,00.asp

Cindy Nicole Babe Of The Day

Babe of the Day: Cindy Nicole

Only a girl with two first names could look this good.

US, July 28, 2008 - Whether you speak the language or not, there is one undeniable truth about Spanish television—it is packed with beautiful, under-dressed babes.

Today's Babe, Cindy Nicole currently stars in a Spanish television series in Houston, Texas. A native daughter of Ecuador, Nicole moved to Boston, Massachusetts when she was 18 to obtain a college degree.

- CBTalent
We have girlfriends in Canada who look just like this. Honest.
After graduating, Nicole moved to the Lone Star State in order to tap into the area's large Latino market. There she has worked on several local television shows, magazines, and advertising campaigns.

- CBTalent
Our new babe-skin rug.
In addition to her roles on Spanish television and various projects in the Houston metropolitan area, Nicole has been featured in several national and international publishings, namely and's own sister site

- CBTalent
Currently, Nicole is working on several series locally in Houston and continuing to gain exposure through various national and international outlets.

- CBTalent
Pig tails and boobs are our only babe kryptonite.

Original Source :

Sesame Place Mother Gives Birth

Woman Gives Birth To Third Child While Visiting Sesame Place

A mother who took her two children to Sesame Place Saturday gave birth to her third child in a bathroom stall.Takia Mann, 21, of Manhattan, gave birth to Jayda about 20 minutes into the family visit to Sesame Place, according to the theme park.Mann went into a restroom, her water broke and the baby entered the world. The baby's umbilical cord even broke off naturally, according to the theme park.

"It happened so fast. I didn't have pain, just shock," Mann said.According to the theme park, a woman in a nearby stall asked Mann if she was all right. Mann opened the stall door with her newborn in her arms.Sesame Place EMT Emily Raab, 20, checked out the baby who was healthy and weighed 5 pounds and 11 ounces.Mann and Jayda were taken by ambulance to St. Mary Hospital. Both are doing well and are scheduled to return home on Monday afternoon, after they have a special visit with Elmo and Abby Cadabby from Sesame Place.The family will receive season passes for the remainder of the year and 2009 since Jayda's older brothers only spent 20 minutes in Sesame Place after traveling from New York, according to the theme park.

Original Source :

George W. Bush Makes History With His Affirmation Of Ronald A. Gray’s Death Sentence

George W. Bush Makes History With His Affirmation Of Ronald A. Gray’s Death Sentence

The US president gave his agreement to execute a military man for the first time in 50 years. George W. Bush approved the death sentence of Private Ronald A. Gray, convicted of four counts of murder and eight counts of rape.

Court martial sentenced Private Ronald Gray to death penalty in 1988 for two murders, an attempted murder and three rapes, which the serviceman committed in North Carolina where he served. His victims were two military women and one civil woman. Civil courts of the state had previously sentenced Gray to several life terms for two other murders and five rapes.

The law of the United States stipulates the president’s affirmation of the sentence if it is court martial that brings down a death sentence against a serviceman. Thus, George W. Bush became the first US president in 50 years to have affirmed the execution of a military man.

"While approving a sentence of death for a member of our armed services is a serious and difficult decision for a commander in chief, the president believes the facts of this case leave no doubt that the sentence is just and warranted," White House press secretary Dana Perino said.

The history of the US Army knows many incidents when courts martial brought down death sentences against military men. This was especially noticeable during the US-led campaign in Iraq. There was quite a number of incidents, when US military men were put on trial for their actions against Iraqi civilians. US peacemakers raped women and children, humiliated and tortured unarmed men.

Corporal Joshua Belile of the United States Marine Corps made headlines of many newspapers in the world with his song which he wrote about a fictitious encounter with a family of Iraqi insurgents.

A video of Belile performing the song was posted anonymously on in March 2006. It sparked controversy at a time when Marines were already facing public scrutiny over allegations of a civilian massacre at Haditha. YouTube subsequently removed the video from the site, rejecting any further uploaded versions as violating the site's terms of use.

In the song, the Marine protagonist meets an Iraqi girl who convinces him to follow her to her house. After arriving, the Marine is confronted by the Iraqi girl's father and brother who are armed with AK-47 rifles. The Marine then uses the girl's younger sister as a human shield. The father and brother attack, killing the sister as the Marine laughs maniacally. The Marine then hides behind a TV, returns fire, and kills the father and brother. Cheers and clapping from the unseen audience can be heard in the background of the video.

Belile later said the song was meant only as a joke based on lines from the film Team America: World Police, and apologized to those who were offended by its content. The performance, according to Belile, was at Al Asad airbase in Iraq, where Belile's helicopter gunship unit was posted until March 2006. In the video, Belile is wearing parts of a uniform, although not enough to characterize him as "in uniform" as no nameplate or national markings are visible. The US military, like many others, allows service members and military employees to pursue their own interests when not in uniform.

He was later exonerated of all wrongdoing.

Dwight Eisenhower was the last president before George W. Bush who approved the death penalty of a military man in 1957.

Original Source :

Gainax On Gurren Lagann

Gainax On Gurren Lagann

Gainax's latest giant robot series Gurren Lagann is finally making its way to American shores this month; the first subtitled DVD is in stores now, and the dub premieres tonight at 11:00 p.m. ET/PT on the Sci Fi Channel's Ani-Monday programming block. To mark the occasion, we spoke with producer Yasuhiro Takeda, project planner (and Gainax co-founder) Hiroyuki Yamaga, mechanical designer and animation director Yoh Yoshinari, and assistant director Masahiko Otsuka.

Anime News Network: Like a see-saw, Gurren Lagann tilts back-and-forth in tone from serious to comedic — often several times within the same episode. How did you manage to balance the serious and tongue-in-cheek themes that you wanted to depict?

Takeda: Overall, we decided what we were going to do in each episode, and then the rest is up to the screenwriter (Kazuki Nakashima) to come up with a balance of what works and what doesn't work.

Yamaga: We've worked together so long that we don't have to have a discussion on where to have comedy and where we're going to be serious. We just understand each other so much that it progresses naturally and works smoothly.

ANN: Were there any story ideas or designs that were suggested, but didn't make it into the final animation because they were too serious or too silly?

Takeda: I mean, not in terms of being too serious or comedic or anything like that, but there was more we wanted to depict within the series, such as wanting to spend more episodes on what it was like to live underground — two episodes at least. Another example was when the story moved into the jail. We wanted to spend more time with that, but we weren't able to.

ANN: Much of the art style, especially in the early episodes, was reminiscent of [director Hiroyuki] Imaishi's other directorial work, Dead Leaves, and I see that Mr. Yoshinari also worked on both of those projects. What was it like to maintain that unique, fast-paced yet tongue-in-cheek style on a more rigorous television schedule, as opposed to a film?

Yoshinari: Artistically speaking, [the animation] looks very complex, but the truth is that during the design phase, it's actually very easy to animate. When the whole design was being created, we had motion in mind. So, despite the fact that it looked difficult, it wasn't that difficult to animate.

ANN: Were there any episodes or themes that stood out in each of your minds as the most challenging as an animator or creator?

Yamaga: Episode 15 (laughter).

Yoshinari: Episode 15 was the most difficult because there were so many shots (cuts) when compared to a typical episode. It was at least one and a half episodes worth of shots because there was so much we needed to cover.

Yamaga: When we get the scripts, we need to figure out how many shots it will take to do the story. When it comes down to it, you only have the same amount of time to do that episode [as in any other episode].

Takeda: When [acclaimed animator] Sushio introduced himself at the FanimeCon meet-and-greet, he called himself the “super animator” [because of the extensive work he did on episode 15].

ANN: On the same note, which episode was the most satisfying at the end of the day?

Takeda: It would have to be the last episode. That means it's done, finally. If you don't finish it then none of it would have mattered, so the last episode was definitely the most satisfying.

ANN: Mr. Yoshinari, which of the mecha did you enjoy designing the most among the many unique designs you brought to the series?

Yoshinari: None of it was fun, it was hard (laughter).

ANN: Then which one was the most challenging?

Yoshinari: Deciding on the finalized design for Gurren Lagann [robot], since it was the basis for everything else in that world.

ANN: What about the original design of the Gurren Lagann was hard?

Yoshinari: Basically, in deciding what Gurren Lagann's finalized design was going to be, it chooses the level of reality that you're going to be allowing for the series. Once you decide that, you'll be subject to that design, and so finalizing Gurren Lagann's design was the hardest thing to do.

ANN: Gainax has had to deal with concerns from television stations regarding mature images and themes in previous series. For Gurren Lagann, airing at a child-friendly time slot last year, did any television stations raise similar concerns about the series?

Takeda: Well, it's not Gainax's problem — it's the television stations' problem (laughter). We had a number of problems though — in particular, episode 6, the bathhouse episode. If only the television stations would just look through the original scripts when we submitted them instead of waiting until the animation footage was made. When we actually first suggested [the episode], they said, “Oh, it shouldn't be a problem.” Yet, when we completed the animation footage and showed it to them, they said, “There's no way we can show this.” The biggest issue was that peeking into the women's bath — that act alone — is illegal. Therefore, we can't show that during a child-friendly timeslot. Why couldn't they have told us that when we gave them the script before? So we had to do what we could to get it on the air. I mean, we took the script to them, we took the storyboards to them, and eventually, when we finally took the animation footage to them — only then, did they finally say that they had a problem with it.

ANN: The two-part storyline, with the multi-year gap in between, is a very special feature of the story. How early in the process did you decide to develop the story in two parts?

Takeda: It was decided from the beginning.

ANN: Gurren Lagann indirectly reminded me of another Gainax series, Otaku no Video, in that both had a two-part structure with the multi-year gap, and they both deal with themes of revolution and what to do after that revolution ends. Changing the world is easy; running the world and dealing with the consequences is hard. Was that similarity intentional, unintentional, or just a result of the similar experiences that Gainax has dealt with over the years?

Yamaga: Doing such a thing wasn't intentional in the beginning, but one of our jobs is to create a character in a world setting, and it's very difficult to depict such a thing realistically. Now to take that person, have him grow up, it creates a little reality…[pause] It's depicting human nature in that when you're a child, you want to be a grownup. Then when you're grown up, the question is: are you living in an idealized grownup world? No, there's a reality to everything, and that's part of the story that we wanted to show in the two-part series.

ANN: I understand that you're doing two movies. Is that going to reflect the same story structure?

Yamaga: The first movie will depict the first part of the story.

ANN: In a previous convention panel, it was mentioned that the first episode's introductory scene tells a slightly different story than the ending because the story changed during production. What were some of the reasons as to why the story changed from the introductory scene to the way we know it now?

Otsuka: That's where we thought we were going to go when we first depicted it. However, by the time we got there it had grown so much beyond the scale of what we had originally imagined it was going to be, therefore slight differences would be noticed.

ANN: I'd like to clarify a few things that were mentioned at previous convention panels: there's talk of three different projects [at Gainax] at the moment: one television project, one movie project, and one where the release hasn't been decided upon. Can you expand on these at all?

Takeda: We'd really like to, but we've given away more than we should. We've got all those things in mind and planned and then some. [Note: ANN confirmed in May that Gainax was adapting Yoshiichi Akahito's Shikabane Hime manga as a television anime series.]

Yamaga: We hope to be working on Gurren Lagann for the next decade. This work we know as Gurren Lagann will continue.

Special thanks to Toshifumi Yoshida for interpreting the interview and to Jeremy Snow for transcribing.

Original Source :

2 Killed In Tennessee Church Shooting

2 Killed In Tennessee Church Shooting

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (CNN) -- A shotgun-wielding man opened fire at a Unitarian church during a children's play Sunday morning, killing two adults and wounding seven others before being overpowered by congregants, officials said.

One of the victims, Linda Kraeger, 61, died at a hospital several hours after the shooting at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, Knoxville municipal spokesman Randall Kenner said.

Also killed was Greg McKendry, a 60-year-old usher and board member at the church, police said earlier in the day.

A suspect, Jim Adkisson, 58, of Powell, Tennessee, was charged with one count of first-degree murder, Kenner said Sunday evening. Video Watch scene at church after shooting »

Adkisson is not believed to have been a member of the Knoxville church, and investigators have not determined a motive for the shooting, Knoxville Police Chief Sterling Owen told reporters.

"[The motive] is one thing we're obviously aggressively pursuing," Owen said.

Five others were hospitalized in either critical or serious condition, police said. Are you there? Share photos, video, accounts

Two other people hurt in the attack were treated and released, Owen said.

Church member Barbara Kemper told The Associated Press that McKendry "stood in the front of the gunman and took the blast to protect the rest of us."

Owen told reporters he couldn't comment on whether McKendry confronted the gunman, but he said McKendry apparently "was the first person [the gunman] encountered" in the sanctuary.

Members of the church said a man entered the building at about 10:15 a.m. and began shooting during a children's production of the musical "Annie." About 200 people in the church were watching the production, which was being put on by 25 children, the AP reported.

No child was shot, and a few church members subdued the man and held him until officers arrived, police said. Church members said one of the tacklers was John Bohstedt, a man who had a part in the musical, the AP reported.

"This was a day the church was looking forward to for a long time, and it turned into a nightmare," Bohstedt told Knoxville television station WBIR.

Ken Kitts said he arrived late and saw a couple and a child running out of the church at "super-fast speed."

"Then everybody else started pouring out of the church, lots of them in costume from this show they were putting on," he said.

Inside, he said, was a scene of "absolute chaos," including wounded people and the gunman, who was pinned to the floor by church members.

"He was face-down in the middle of a bunch of shotgun shells rolling around on the floor," Kitts said.

Owen said investigators are looking into whether Adkisson has a criminal history. Bail was set at $1 million late Sunday.

"We don't know this particular individual. We may never know why," said Steve Drevik, a church member who arrived after the shooting. "All of this will come out in the next couple of days."

Rick Lambert, the FBI agent in charge of the bureau's Knoxville office, said federal agents are assisting Knoxville police with witness interviews and could help analyze evidence from the crime scene. He said the bureau is examining whether the attack was a hate crime.

"Anytime there is a shooting in a church, there is the possibility it could be a hate crime," he said.

The church, on its Web site, describes itself as a community that has worked for social change -- including desegregation, women's rights and gay rights -- since the 1950s.

Police said people were recording videos of the children's performance when the shooting happened, and investigators were reviewing the videos. Information on what, if anything, the videos show of the shooting wasn't immediately available.

The church's minister, Chris Buice, said he was on vacation when the shooting happened but rushed back when he heard what occurred. Sunday afternoon -- after McKendry's death but before Kraeger's -- he spoke briefly to reporters.

"Please pray for this congregation, because we are grieving the loss of a wonderful man," Buice said as he choked back tears.

Sunday's attack was the fourth time in 15 months that an American church became a scene of a fatal shooting.

In December 2007, a 24-year-old former missionary candidate killed two people at a suburban Denver, Colorado, missionary training center and two more at a Colorado Springs megachurch the following day. The gunman, Matthew Murray, killed himself after being shot by a security guard.

The previous August, police said, 52-year-old Eiken Saimon shot and killed three people and wounded five others at a Congregational church in Neosho, Missouri. The attack left three people dead and five wounded.

And that May, in Moscow, Idaho, 36-year-old Jason Hamilton fatally shot a police officer and a sexton at First Presbyterian Church, then killed himself before police stormed the building. Hamilton's wife was found shot to death in the bedroom of their Moscow home after the church shootings.

Original Source :

Istanbul: Turkey Blames Kurds For Bomb Attacks

Istanbul: Turkey blames Kurds for bomb attacks

Istanbul's governor has blamed two bomb blasts which killed 17 people and injured 150 others in Istanbul on a Kurdish rebel group - but the rebels have denied involvement.

Gov Muammer Guler said police were still investigating the explosions in a packed square on Sunday night, which were the deadliest attack against civilians in Turkey in five years.

"There appears to be a link with the separatist organisation. We are working on that. We hope to get a result at the first opportunity," Mr Guler said.

But Firat, a pro-Kurdish news agency, reported Zubeyir Aydar, a Kurdish rebel leader, as saying that the rebel Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, did not carry out the bombing.

"The Kurdish freedom movement has nothing to do with this event, this cannot be linked to the PKK," he was quoted as saying. "We extend our condolences to the families of the victims and to the Turkish people."

While government officials blamed the Kurds, the timing and location of the attacks pointed to a link with a key court case which threatens the future of the Islamic-oriented government.

The attack came on the eve of deliberations by the Turkey's top court on whether to ban the ruling party for allegedly trying to steer the country toward Islamic rule. The government won a strong mandate in elections last year, but is locked in a power struggle with secular circles that have backing in the military and judiciary.

The case before the top court is pivotal in that conflict, which has distracted attention from key policies such as Turkey's troubled bid to join the European Union.

There were reports yesterday that Turkish police had detained three teenagers in connection with the blasts, but Mr Guler would not confirm that report.

Turkey is home to a variety of militants, including Kurdish rebels, Islamic extremists and alleged coup plotters with ties to the secular establishment.

Deniz Baykal, the opposition leader, said security officials told him the type of bombs used were similar to those detonated in attacks in Ankara and Diyarbakir, a mostly Kurdish city, which were blamed on the PKK.

The PKK, which is designated by the EU as a banned terror organisation, is fighting for an independent homeland in Turkey's south and Iraq's north.

The high level of professionalism in the Istanbul bombings, apparently designed to inflict maximum casualties among civilians, was unsettling. Authorities said the vast majority of the deaths and injuries occurred when a curious crowd gathered after an initial, small blast.

"First, they exploded a percussion bomb to grab attention. Then, 10 minutes later, in another trash can, they exploded a fragmentation bomb," said Hayati Yazici, deputy prime minister.

Cihan news agency said the second bomb consisted of a plastic explosive of the same kind used in a suicide attack in a shopping thoroughfare in Ankara in May 2007 that killed seven people.

Cihan said two of the dead were children. Anatolia news agency said one victim was a 12-year-old girl who rushed with her parents onto the balcony of their fourth floor apartment to see what was going on.

Original Source : cks.html

Cuil Search Engine

Cuil Search Engine

Can Cuil's new search engine capture the salmon of knowledge?

Google has yet another a new challenger for the search engine crown
I'm annoyed with Google at the moment -- it is spamming me with intrusive Google Toolbar adverts on its main page -- so I might just give a rival a try. One launched today is called Cuil (or "cool"), which is "an old Irish word for knowledge," says the site.

This is different from Google in that it displays results in two or three columns (thus reducing what on Google amounts to "the tyranny of the top hit"), quotes enough content to be useful, has an illustration with each entry, and does some clustering, It also claims to focus on content. The site says:

Rather than rely on superficial popularity metrics, Cuil searches for and ranks pages based on their content and relevance. When we find a page with your keywords, we stay on that page and analyze the rest of its content, its concepts, their inter-relationships and the page's coherency.

Cuil's other claim to fame is that it indexes more of the web than anybody else. At the moment, it says: "Search 121,617,892,992 web pages". This is presumably why Google posted a not very useful boast on its blog last week, We knew the web was big...

But Cuil has some obvious drawbacks, even on two minutes' use. For example, it is no doubt a good idea to focus on content, but it gets a bit repetitive if you're faced with hits from basically the same content at different addresses. Another drawback: I searched for [google official blog] without any quotes, and got nothing from Cuil: It simply says:

We didn't find any results for "google official blog"

Yeah, I do wish people would use [square brackets] to show what's typed into a search box, but there you go. The same search in Google correctly finds Official Google Blog and 130m hits, not zero hits. If I'm not using quotation marks, I don't see why Cuil should be so picky about me misremembering Google's official word order.

One thing in Cuil's favour is that its founders and staff have enough background (ie ex-Google employees) and backing to get coverage in The New York Times, TechCrunch, Search Engine Land and even The Guardian.

Whether it will actually do any better than Vivisimo, Teoma, Hakia, Kartoo, Wikia etc is another matter. Google is no longer winning by delivering much better results than the competition (provable here), it's winning by tying in other products (Gmail etc) and because we all love familiar things and don't like unfamiliar ones.

So what can be done about the increasingly bad results that Google produces? The obvious answer is to use multiple vertical-market search engines that focus only on the topic you want. Google did this rather badly and the feature has been quietly buried away where you won't find it. (To be fair, Google Scholar seems to be more successful.)

Scirus is one example, and Kosmix is having a go. But I still wouldn't bet on specialist search engines taking off.....

So, what do you think of Cuil? Or does nobody care any more?

Original Source :

Compass Bank Robbery

Compass Bank Robbery

FBI Says Woman Who Robbed Compass Bank Still At Large
The F.B.I is hunting searching for a woman who is thought to be behind Tuesday’s robbery at Compass Bank on Center Point Parkway around lunch Tuesday. Investigators handling the case also revealed that Banks in Birmingham, Albertville and Madison were also targeted with robbery.

Investigators say a woman armed with a handgun entered Compass Bank at 2337 Center Point Road at 11:58 a.m.She then handed the teller a note saying she was there to rob the Bank. She later drew an automatic teller gun at the teller.

The woman whom the F.B.I say was accompanied by a male gateway is said to have looted and run away with an unspecified amount of cash. According to sources close to the investigation, the woman fled in either a dark-colored Ford or Chevrolet sedan.

Police in Albertville have said two males and a female were arrested following an armed robbery of Southern Bank at around 1:30 p.m.It appears the suspects were apprehended after a reportedly crashing their getaway near the bank.

Compass Bank is a Sunbelt-based financial institution which operates 420 full-service banking centers including 166 in Texas, 90 in Alabama, 76 in Arizona, 44 in Florida, 33 in Colorado and 11 in New Mexico. Compass Bank is also a subsidiary of Compass Bancshares, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of BBVA (NYSE: BBV) (MAD: BBVA).

When combined with BBVA's three other U.S. banking companies, Compass will rank as the largest regional bank in the Sunbelt region and among the top 25 banks in the U.S. by total deposits.

If you have any information regarding the Compass Bank robbery, call the Birmingham F.B.I. office at (205) 326-6166.

Original Source :

Google Cache Back On Track

Google's Cache Database Back On Track?

A WebmasterWorld thread had reports that Google had all old cache dates for most sites on the web. By old, I mean, the last time Google said they "retrieved" the site was on the 15th or 16th and it was already the 22nd before Google showed new cache dates.

Here is a screen capture of what the cache date looked like on many sites:

Google Cache Dates

Google is known for having fairly frequent cache dates and crawling patterns on most sites, even sites that do not update all that frequently.

Last night, senior member Atomic noticed Google started to update the cache dates with fresher dates. But until then, Webmasters were really worried. One even joked, "maybe they've ran out of room."

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

Original Source :

Edwin Hall Pleads Guilty To Kelsey Smith Murder

Edwin Hall Pleads Guilty To Kelsey Smith Murder

In a surprising twist to a Johnson County murder that gained nationwide attention, Edwin Hall pleaded guilty this afternoon to killing Kelsey Smith.

Hall stood before Judge Peter Ruddick as he entered guilty pleas to charges of capital murder, aggravated kidnapping, rape and aggravated criminal sodomy.

For the murder charge, he faces life in prison with no chance of parole. For each of the other three counts, the range of punishment is 147 to 653 months.

Johnson County District Attorney Phill Kline told the court about DNA gathered in the case. The best match was found inside the zipper flap of the shorts that Hall wore the night that Kelsey disappared. There’s less than one chance in 280 billion that the material came from anyone other than Kelsey, Kline said.

Investigators also found Hall’s DNA on the steering wheel of Kelsey’s car. Kline said there was only a chance of 1 in 5.3 million that the DNA was from someone other than Hall.

More than 100 people crammed into the small courtroom including 17 youths in blue T-shirts that said, “Kelsey’s Army” on the front and “We’re still here.”

That’s a reference to the many friends of the victim who organized searches after her disappearance last year, and they continue to follow her case.

Members of Kelsey’s family wept as Hall admitted to the crimes.

Today’s 1:30 p.m. hearing had been expected to be routine. Attorneys planned to argue on whether the mid-September trial should be delayed.

But this morning, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department said it was planning extra security for the hearing.

Hall was arrested June 6, four days after Smith was kidnapped from an Overland Park Target store where she went on an errand. She had graduated from Shawnee Mission West High School 10 days earlier.

Authorities located Smith’s body near Longview Lake in southern Jackson County on June 6 after tracking cell phone pings from Smith’s phone.

For more than three days, her family and friends had no clue what had happened to the girl who was never afraid to give her opinion, who loved to sing and perform and play clarinet. In the hot sun, they walked neighborhoods within a five-mile radius of the Target store, determined to find Kelsey.

Hall, 27, will be sentenced on Sept. 16, the day he had been scheduled for trial.

Original Source :

Google Knol

Google Knol

Google opens doors to Knol

Wikipedia-like site will identify expert content providers who will own their pages

Seven months after Google Inc. announced plans to launch its own Wikipedia-type project, authors on Wednesday were invited to submit content to the new site, called Knol (which means a unit of knowledge).

Though the concept is quite similar to that used by Wikipedia, Google said it is not looking to compete harshly with the established site. The company said it is focusing on highlighting the authors who submit articles to the site. Each knol will have a single author or group of authors whose name or names will appear with their contributions, Google noted in a blog post.

"The Web contains vast amounts of information, but not everything worth knowing is on the Web," Google said. "An enormous amount of information resides in people's heads: Millions of people know useful things, and billions more could benefit from that knowledge. Knol will encourage these people to contribute their knowledge online and make it accessible to everyone."

Knol will include a new concept that Google is calling "moderated collaboration," where any reader can make suggested edits to a knol, which the author can choose to accept, reject or modify for inclusion on the site, Google said.

Knol also includes various community tools to allow users to submit comments, ratings or write reviews. Mashable blogger Adam Ostrow wrote that because Knol allows authors to insert AdSense ads on their knols and earn money based on clicks, "this sounds a lot less like the community collaborating on authoritative articles (Wikipedia) and a lot more like a potential land grab to create content for keywords."

However, he acknowledged that offering the ability for anyone to comment or review an article raises or lowers the authority of that article and should keep "would-be opportunists" at bay.

"In giving a single author control over each knol and its edits, it's hard to imagine the service will be as authoritative as Wikipedia, which many would argue has its own biases," Ostrow added. "Meanwhile, Knol could still be a huge traffic generator for Google and steal visitors from Wikipedia if it's integrated in search results -- something Google has not been shy about doing with other properties like YouTube."

Danny Sullivan, a blogger at Search Engine Land, noted that the best way to describe Knol is Wikipedia with moderation. "The collaborative advantage to Wikipedia is also its disadvantage," Sullivan noted. "Since anyone can contribute, some introduce factual errors or overtly vandalize articles. It's one reason that Wikipedia is considering moderation."

However, Sullivan added that he is concerned that hosting Knol content will set up inherent conflicts that will start to erode the trust users have in Google.

"By hosting this content, it plays too much in the content-owner space when its core business is supposed to be driving traffic outbound to others," Sullivan noted. "I can see the value in Knol's tool set and the potential it might offer to help collect further knowledge. So I'll give Knol the benefit of the doubt -- that it will perhaps occupy a space not being filled, rather than push others aside."

Original Source :

AMZN Amazon Stocks Soar

AMZN Amazon Stocks SoarOnline-retail giant Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) reported brisk second-quarter earnings today, posting profits of 37 cents per share, a $158 million windfall that more than doubled from the same time last year.

With sales of $4.06 billion, up 41 percent from the year-earlier period, Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) came in at the high end of its own guidance and beat the Wall Street consensus of $3.96 billion, according to analyst polling by Thomson Reuters.

Amazon's robust numbers buck the trend of a weakening economic climate that has hurt retailers across the board. Amazon, the world's largest online retailer, continues to expand, announcing plans to open two new fulfillment centers during the quarter.

In announcing the numbers, CEO Jeff Bezos suggested that his company was better positioned to weather the economic storm than its brick-and-mortar counterparts.

"Customers continue to take advantage of our low prices, free shipping and Amazon Prime," Bezos said in a statement. "Amazon Prime membership costs less than a tank of gas -- more and more customers are joining the program and enjoying its benefits."

Amazon continued to aggressively promote its Kindle e-book reader in the second quarter. The company does not provide sales figures for the device, but it boasted that it has now made more than 140,000 titles available for the Kindle.

During the second quarter, Amazon mounted a legal challenge to a controversial law that took effect in New York has joined Amazon's suit against New York State.

But Amazon's tax troubles might not end there. Through nominal subsidiaries, Amazon runs fulfillment centers and call centers in about a dozen states, but only collects sales taxes in four. One of those states -- Texas -- is undertaking a review of Amazon's tax responsibilities, and Arizona is considering a change to its tax laws that could impose a collection requirement on the online retailer.

Also during the quarter, Amazon continued to build its cloud computing business. The company said that more than 30,000 developers signed up for Amazon Web Services, bringing the total number to more than 400,000.

Amazon offered Q3 guidance of between $4.2 billion and $4.425 billion, an increase of between 29 percent and 36 percent over the third quarter of 2007.

Amazon raised slightly its full-year guidance to between $19.35 billion and $20.1 billion.

Original Source :

Cybertecture Egg

Holistic Reality: Mumbai’s Cybertecture Egg

India has been on world architecture news for a while now. Antilla has hardly left the headlines, while Cybertecture Egg has already taken a place on top.

Talk of intelligent design- this building will surpass all that fall in this category. You will see it built by 2010.

The concept. The concept was inspired by considering the world as an ecosystem allowing life to evolve. Elements of the design and intelligence systems will work together to give the building’s inhabitants the ‘best space to work in’.

The design. The 32,000 sq m egg-shaped building will accommodate 13 floors of offices bringing together “iconic architecture, environmental design, intelligent systems, and new engineering to create an awe-inspiring landmark in the city.”

Within the building, there will be a series of innovative systems such as ‘cybertecture health’ which is designed to keep track of the inhabitant’s health including blood pressure and weight. The data collected may be retrieved and sent to a doctor if deemed necessary.

You do not like the view from your window? Well, in this building you can customize your favorite view and have real time scenery from all around the world instead of the view the user currently has. Technology and the working environment are united in the use of ‘cybertecture reality’ which allows you to do this.

It is green. The egg itself is orientated and skewed at an angle to create both a strong visual language and to alleviate the solar gain of the building, also there is a sky garden on the top of building which performs thermolysis (the dissipation of heat from the surface). PV panels will be installed on top of the building and a wind turbine on the sky gardens will generate electricity. A water filtration system will also be incorporated into the building to recycle grey water for flushing and irrigation purpose.

James Law Cybertecture International, commissioned by Vijay Associate (Wadhwa Developers) to create an office unlike any other in India, comments, “In the 21st Century, buildings will be different from 20th Century. They are no longer about concrete, steel and glass, but also the new intangible materials of technology, multimedia, intelligence and interactivity. Only recognizing this will bring a new form of architecture to light, namely a Cybertecture.”

Why an egg? By using this “Egg” shape, compared to a conventional building, the structure has approximately 10-20% less surface area. Within the building, an innovative structure derived from the skin of the egg creates up to 30m spans of column less floors. The architecture is sleek and computer designed, with engineering that creates a building of high quality and geometric sophistication.

Cybertecture egg is indeed a futuristic building where technology and life embrace each other to help live a quality life. It IS the next big thing.

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Petrol Price War As Sainsbury's Cuts Costs

Petrol Price War As Sainsbury's Cuts Costs

A burgeoning petrol price war has escalated after Sainsbury's became the third supermarket to cut fuel costs.

Asda triggered a petrol price war after cutting the price by 3p a litre
Sainsbury's petrol price cut of 5p a litre follows similar cuts by Asda and Morrisons

The store said it was cutting 5p a litre from fuel from Thursday for customers who spent more than £50 or more in its shops, in a promotion which will run for two weeks.

Asda began the price cutting by taking 3p off a litre, bringing the price of petrol down to 113.9p a litre and diesel down to 128.9p .

Morrisons swiftly responded by cutting prices by 4p a litre. Both companies said they were responding to a recent drop in the price of oil, which has seen the cost of a barrel drop from a peak of $147 to around $130.

Asda said all 170 of its petrol forecourts across the country would sell fuel at the cheaper price. David Miles, the store's trading director, said: "We are seeing a more stable reduction in oil prices, allowing us to pass on the savings to customers.

Morrisons group store operations director Mark Gunter added: "The cost of crude oil and refined product has fallen in the last few days and we are ensuring our customers reap the benefit by passing on the saving quickly, for cheaper prices at the pumps."

Tesco has already offered a five pence a litre discount to customers who spend £50 in its supermarkets and is now expected to match local branches of other supermarkets rather than lose business.

Edmund King, AA president, said: "Asda's petrol price drop is excellent news for UK motorists and we urge other fuel retailers to reduce their prices – and not only where they find themselves neighbouring an Asda petrol station.

"We have seen two drops in European wholesale fuel prices so far this summer with the UK motorist seeing next to no benefit. Since mid July the wholesale gasoline price has fallen 6 per cent and the AA expects fuel suppliers to pass on, not pocket, the saving for the good of UK families, hauliers and the economy.

"We will watch price movements like a hawk, and should fuel suppliers and retailers appear to be dragging their feet we will seek to expose this."

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