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Microsoft Virtual Earth

Microsoft Virtual EarthNew Microsoft Virtual Earth features.

Microsoft's Virtual Earth has released the Virtual Earth Silverlight Map Control community technology preview (CTP) which supports video, animation, and vector graphics.

Platforms now include Silverlight, AJAX, Virtual Earth Web Services (SOAP) or MapPoint Web Service (SOAP).

Watch an introductory video of Microsoft's Virtual Earth here.

Below is a list of the features and functionality of the service:

Maps for Mobile Devices

Develop mobile applications with imagery optimized for mobile devices (including the iPhone). The new features are supported in the new Virtual Earth Web Services.

Expanded Number of Rooftop Views

Virtual Earth now offers 85 million unique addresses—more than 70% of all rooftops in the U.S.

Bird's Eye1 Views and Bird's Eye Hybrid

Exclusive to Microsoft, these unique views of real-world locations provide insight into “what it's like there.”

3D Imagery

Create more realistic 3D views of buildings and landscapes.

Geocoding and Reverse Geocoding

Get the most accurate locations through integration of multiple geocoders and to provide the most relevant and accurate results.

International Geocoding

Your customers can find international addresses with more precision.

Localized Maps and Directions

Get localized driving or walking directions in 15 languages, and localized maps in Western Europe in English, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, and Italian.

Extended International Parsing

Users will experience better match rates for addresses in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Puerto Rico.


Your customers can find locations using alternate and similar spellings.

New Virtual Earth Web Services

Developers can take advantage of the new Virtual Earth Web Services API, which offers static map images, direct map tile access, one-box search functionality, geocoding, reverse geocoding, and routing.

Pushpin Clustering

Provide customers the ability to zoom in to visualize a cluster of points.

Landmark-Based Routing

Provide customers in the U.S. and Canada with directions using such familiar landmarks as gas stations and fast-food restaurants.

Traffic Reports

Help your users avoid traffic jams by using traffic reports that overlay the Virtual Earth map with color-coded traffic flow visuals above the roads.

GeoRSS Feeds

Import shapes, pushpins, and polylines, with GeoRSS feeds.

Weather Integration

With 3D view, get near real-time weather and cloud formation data.

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Jiverly Voong

Jiverly Voong
Jiverly Voong aka Linh Phat Voong.

42 year-old Jiverly Voong also known as Linh Phat Voong has been identified by authorities as the Binghamton shooter. Killing 13 and injuring many more, Voong who is of Vietnamese descent, was from nearby Johnson City, NY. Reports confrim Voong entered the American Civil Association building from the front after barricading his car against the rear exit doors.

As he entered through the front of the building he brandished 3 weapons, one 9mm pistol, .45 calibur and a hunters knife. He then shot and killed the receptionist as he made his way to the next room, shooting 2 others. After finding out it was her brother responsible for this massacre, Voong’s sister replied “He shot those people? No no.” She then went on to say that he takes classes there and couldn’t have been the killer.

Police found Voong’s body with his hunter’s knife wedged in the side of his waist on the first floor of the American Civil Association. Although no motive has been discovered, Voong was apparently laid off from IBM just a few weeks ago.

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PerchloratePerchlorate found in infant formula -- CDC.

Samples of powdered infant formula contain trace levels of a rocket fuel ingredient, a federal study has found.

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tested infant formula for traces of perchlorate because of concerns that the chemical can damage thyroid function. Their findings were published last month in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology.

Perchlorate has been found in the drinking water of at least 35 states and the District of Columbia. The chemical can inhibit the thyroid gland's iodine uptake, interfering with fetal development.

The highest levels of perchlorate were found in formulas derived from cow's milk, the researchers found. They also looked at soy-based formulas, as well as formulas from lactose-free cow's milk and synthetic amino acids. They declined to say which brands they tested, but said each one contained detectable levels.

The study does not answer questions about how traces of perchlorate affect human health. Some factors could offset the chemical, including the presence of iodine. An infant's weight and formula consumption can also influence risk.

The researchers also offered several caveats for understanding the results, including the scope of the study. The samples were all taken from one city, meaning the results might not apply nationwide.

But some groups are pointing to the findings as evidence that the government needs to set a more stringent perchlorate health advisory level.

"Infants fed cow's milk-based powdered formula could be exposed to perchlorate from two sources -- tap water and formula," said Anila Jacob, a senior scientist with the Environmental Working Group. "That suggests that millions of American babies are potentially at risk."

Jacob's group is urging U.S. EPA to regulate perchlorate in water. Last year, the agency said it saw no need for such regulations because they would offer no "meaningful opportunity for health risk reduction."

But EPA in January delayed deciding on regulation until the National Academy of Sciences studies the matter.

Senate Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said in a statement that the CDC study puts further pressure on EPA to set a safe drinking water standard. Boxer introduced legislation last year aimed at limiting the amount of perchlorate in drinking water and requiring some public water systems to monitor it and inform the public of any contamination.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson pledged at her Senate confirmation hearing that she would address perchlorate. EPA did not respond to requests today for comment.

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Nikki Reed Twilight

Nikki Reed TwilightNikki Reed Rumored Secretly Dating 'Twilight' Co-Star Robert Pattinson.

New rumor has emerged by the hour that "Twilight" co-stars Nikki Reed and Robert Pattinson are secretly dating. According to Lainey Gossip, which is the first to report that matter, the twosome has been spotted spending some quality time together on and off the set of "The Twilight Saga's New Moon" in Vancouver, Canada.

Nikki, still according to Lainey Gossip, hung up with Robert at his place on Sunday, April 29. Later that evening they hooked up again. They attended a Juno Awards after party with the companion of fellow "Twilight" co-star Kristen Stewart and her actor boyfriend Michael Angarano.

During the bash, Nikki and Robert "spent much of the time talking to each other, heads bent close together," a source tells Lainey Gossip. At the end of the night, "Kristen and Michael hopped in a cab, and Nikki and Rob walked further up the block...arms wrapped around each other on their way home." The source adds further, "She stayed with him overnight, was supposed to be back in L.A. on Monday....But never showed."

There hasn't been confirmation nor denial from Nikki or Robert regarding the dating claim. Besides, there is also no obvious evidence of them spending time together at the particular date and event.

Nikki Reed, Robert Pattinson, and Kristen Stewart currently are in Vancouver for the filming of the highly anticipated "The Twilight Saga's New Moon." The "Twilight" sequel will be released in U.S. theaters on November 20 later this year.

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Iowa Supreme Court

Iowa Supreme CourtIowa Court Voids Gay Marriage Ban.

Iowa became the first state in the Midwest to approve same-sex marriage on Friday, after the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously decided that a 1998 law limiting marriage to a man and a woman was unconstitutional.

The decision was the culmination of a four-year legal battle that began with a suit filed on behalf of six same-sex couples in the lower courts.

The Supreme Court said same-sex marriages could begin in Iowa in as soon as 21 days, making Iowa only the third state in the nation, along with Massachusetts and Connecticut, to legalize gay marriage. While the same-sex marriage debate has played out on both coasts, the Midwest — where no states had permitted same-sex marriage — was seen as entirely different. In the past, at least six states in the Midwest were among those around the country that adopted amendments to their state constitutions banning same-sex marriage.

“We have a constitutional duty to ensure equal protection of the law,” the Iowa justices wrote in their opinion. “If gay and lesbian people must submit to different treatment without an exceedingly persuasive justification, they are deprived of the benefits of the principle of equal protection upon which the rule of law is founded.”

“The concept of equal protection, is deeply rooted in our national and state history, but that history reveals this concept is often expressed far more easily than it is practiced,” the court wrote.

Iowa has enforced its constitution in a series of landmark court decisions, including those that struck down slavery (in 1839) and segregation (cases in 1868 and 1873), and upheld women’s rights by becoming the first state in the nation to allow a woman to practice law, in 1869.

In a hotel in Des Moines on Friday morning, several of the same-sex couples who were involved in the suit wept, teared up and embraced as they learned about the decision from their lawyers. “I’d like to introduce you to my fiancee,” said Kate Varnum, 34, reaching over to Trish Varnum. “Today I am proud to be a lifelong Iowan.”

“We are blessed to live in Iowa,” she added.

Opponents of same-sex marriage criticized the ruling.

“The decision made by the Iowa Supreme Court today to allow gay marriage in Iowa is disappointing on many levels," State Senator Paul McKinley, the Republican leader, said in a statement on The Des Moines Register’s Web site. "I believe marriage should only be between one man and one woman and I am confident the majority of Iowans want traditional marriage to be legally recognized in this state."

He added: "Though the court has made their decision, I believe every Iowan should have a voice on this matter and that is why the Iowa Legislature should immediately act to pass a Constitutional Amendment that protects traditional marriage, keeps it as a sacred bond only between one man and one woman and gives every Iowan a chance to have their say through a vote of the people."

Advocates of same-sex marriage said they did not believe opponents had any immediate way to overturn the decision. A constitutional amendment would require the state legislature to approve a ban on same-sex marriage in two consecutive sessions after which voters would have a chance to weigh in.

Iowa has no residency requirement for getting a marriage license, which some suggest may mean a flurry of people from other states.

Two states — Connecticut and Massachusetts — currently allow same-sex marriages. Several other states on the East coast allow civil unions, lawmakers in Vermont are considering gay marriage, and California allowed it until November’s election, when residents rejected the idea in a voter initiative.

A change in Iowa’s take on marriage, advocates for gay marriage said before Friday’s ruling, would signal a broader shift in public thinking, even in the nation’s more conservative middle. Opponents of same-sex marriage, meanwhile, had said any legal decision in support of same-sex marriage in Iowa would certainly trigger a prompt and sharp response among residents and, surely, state lawmakers.

In one part of the decision that focuses on religious opposition to same-sex marriage, the justices seemed to anticipate negative reactions, saying they considered the unspoken reason for the ban on same-sex marriages to be religiously motivated. The justices said marriage was a “civil contract” and should not affect religious doctrine or views.

“The only difference is civil marriage will now take on a new meaning that reflects a more complete understanding of equal protection of the law,” the justices wrote.

The legal case here began in 2005, when six same-sex couples filed suit against the county recorder here in Polk County because he would not accept their marriage license applications.

Two years later, a local judge here, Robert B. Hanson, ruled in that case that a state law defining marriage as only between a man and woman was unconstitutional. The ruling, in 2007, set off a flurry of same-sex couples from all over the state, racing for the courthouse in Polk County.

The rush lasted less than a day in August of 2007. Although Judge Hanson had ruled against the state law, he quickly decided to delay any additional granting of licenses, saying that the Iowa Supreme Court should have an opportunity to weigh in first. In the end, about 20 couples applied before the stay was issued. Just one couple, Timothy McQuillan, then 21, and Sean Fritz, 24, managed to obtain their license and also to marry.

Maura Strassberg, a professor of law at Drake University, married her partner in Massachusetts last year, but was overjoyed to learn that her status will be legal in three weeks in Iowa.

After a quick review of the 69-page decision, Ms. Strassberg said she was not surprised with the outcome, but only how it was rendered. “What is really stunning is that it’s unanimous,” she said. “It’s a very bold, confident opinion. It affirms a certain notion of what Iowa is and what Iowa means.”

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