Saturday, December 31, 2011

Turn down the iPod to save your hearing

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Today's ubiquitous MP3 players permit users to listen to crystal-clear tunes at high volume for hours on end ? a marked improvement on the days of the Walkman. But according to Tel Aviv University research, these advances have also turned personal listening devices into a serious health hazard, with teenagers as the most at-risk group.

One in four teens is in danger of early hearing loss as a direct result of these listening habits, says Prof. Chava Muchnik of TAU's Department of Communication Disorders in the Stanley Steyer School of Health Professions at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Sheba Medical Center. With her colleagues Dr. Ricky Kaplan-Neeman, Dr. Noam Amir, and Ester Shabtai, Prof. Muchnik studied teens' music listening habits and took acoustic measurements of preferred listening levels.

The results, published in the International Journal of Audiology, demonstrate clearly that teens have harmful music-listening habits when it comes to iPods and other MP3 devices. "In 10 or 20 years it will be too late to realize that an entire generation of young people is suffering from hearing problems much earlier than expected from natural aging," says Prof. Muchnik.

Hearing loss before middle age

Hearing loss caused by continuous exposure to loud noise is a slow and progressive process. People may not notice the harm they are causing until years of accumulated damage begin to take hold, warns Prof. Muchnik. Those who are misusing MP3 players today might find that their hearing begins to deteriorate as early as their 30's and 40's ? much earlier than past generations.

The first stage of the study included 289 participants aged 13 to 17. They were asked to answer questions about their habits on personal listening devices (PLDs) ? specifically, their preferred listening levels and the duration of their listening. In the second stage, measurements of these listening levels were performed on 74 teens in both quiet and noisy environments. The measured volume levels were used to calculate the potential risk to hearing according to damage risk criteria laid out by industrial health and safety regulations.

The study's findings are worrisome, says Prof. Muchnik. Eighty percent of teens use their PLDs regularly, with 21 percent listening from one to four hours daily, and eight percent listening more than four hours consecutively. Taken together with the acoustic measurement results, the data indicate that a quarter of the participants are at severe risk for hearing loss.

Dangerous decibels

Currently, industry-related health and safety regulations are the only benchmark for measuring the harm caused by continuous exposure to high volume noise. But there is a real need for additional music risk criteria in order to prevent music-induced hearing loss, Prof. Muchnik says. In the meantime, she recommends that manufacturers adopt the European standards that limit the output of PLDs to 100 decibels. Currently, maximum decibel levels can differ from model to model, but some can go up to 129 decibels.

Steps can also be taken by schools and parents, she says. Some school boards are developing programs to increase awareness of hearing health, such as the "Dangerous Decibels" program in Oregon schools, which provides early education on the subject. Teens could also choose over-the-ear headphones instead of the ear buds that commonly come with an iPod.

In the near future, the researchers will focus on the music listening habits of younger children, including pre-teens, and the development of advanced technological solutions to enable the safe use of PLDs.


American Friends of Tel Aviv University:

Thanks to American Friends of Tel Aviv University for this article.

This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.

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Lawsuit seeks to get Gingrich on Va. ballot (AP)

WASHINGTON ? A Virginia attorney and tea party activist is seeking to have Newt Gingrich's name placed on the state's Super Tuesday primary ballot.

Attorney Jonathon Moseley of Reston, Va., says he filed the suit Thursday in the Circuit Court of Richmond County. It contends that Gingrich met the requirement of filing 10,000 signatures and that many of those were improperly excluded. The suit also takes issue with how the Republican Party of Virginia determined that not enough signatures were valid.

Only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul have been found eligible for the Virginia primary ballot. The campaign of Rick Perry is challenging his exclusion in court.

Moseley says he is acting independently of the Gingrich campaign but is encouraging the former House speaker to join his suit.

Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond said the campaign has not decided how to proceed in Virginia.

Gingrich believes that he was kept off the ballot in the state ? where he now lives ? because a paid campaign worker committed fraud by turning in false signatures, according to Hammond.


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On 10th anniversary, euro takes blame for economy

Graphic shows the euro against the dollar since

Graphic shows the euro against the dollar since

(AP) ? Just three years ago, the euro was being praised as the can-do currency that had delivered unprecedented prosperity in Europe.

Now, it's widely derided as a hugely flawed experiment in the wake of a debt crisis that's threatening its very existence ? an uncomfortable backdrop as the currency's notes and coins hit their first decade in circulation on Jan. 1.

The question is: Will it get to its 11th birthday, let alone 20th? In the euro's tumultuous short history, it has already been heralded as the ultimate mark of a peaceful, united Europe; scoffed at as a giant act of hubris by a distant political elite; and credited with giving Europe a more influential voice in the world.

These days, as it faces its biggest crisis yet, the euro is a daily reminder to more than 330 million people of the dismal state of the economy in the 17-nation eurozone. Many countries seem headed back into recession, and policymakers are grappling with a spiraling debt crisis.

While few Europeans are prepared to scrap the euro ? in part because they fear a chaotic collapse more than the current muddle ? some are nostalgic for the money they counted on before it arrived.

Parisians waiting to exchange their old francs outside a branch of the Banque de France before a Feb. 17 deadline harked back to the "rosy" days.

"Life was better before," said Mamia Zenak, a 52-year-old doctor. "It (the euro) is a misery for everyone."

But it was not always so.

In 2009, fanfare accompanied the 10th anniversary of the euro's "launch," when it began floating on international exchanges and banks and governments started using it in their accounting. It was widely credited with briefly cushioning the countries that use it from the banking crisis sparked by the collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers in 2008, and for preventing proud euro member Ireland from descending into the economic chaos that befell non-euro Iceland.

"When the euro was launched there were plenty of people who thought it would crash and burn," the BBC wrote in a story on its website at the time. "Ten years on, its role as a global currency is secure."

It doesn't look so secure now. Events took a dark turn in 2010, when the debt-fueled boom years finally caught up with Greece and the eurozone realized it didn't have the tools to deal with its economic implosion.

Eventually Greece's euro partners and the International Monetary Fund found the money to bail the country out but it wasn't long before Ireland had to be rescued too after its property and banking sectors collapsed. In 2011, Portugal's failure to deal with its chronically sclerotic economy meant it joined the bailout club too. Meanwhile, Iceland, which suffered terribly in the crisis of 2008 appears to be on the mend after allowing its currency to fall and its banks take big financial hits.

Now as 2012 dawns, the euro's role as even a regional currency is uncertain as the crisis has spread to much-bigger Italy, with many skeptical about its ability to survive, at least in its present form.

Today's pessimism, which saw the euro fall to a 15-month low against the dollar of $1.2857 on Dec. 29, recalls the early days, when consumers worried that the currency would do them in financially, as shopkeepers took advantage of the changeover to hike prices. Maria Esteban, a catering manager in Madrid, remembered the price of a beer jumping from 150 pesetas to euro1.50 ? an increase of 66 percent.

"People barely knew what they were paying," said the 50-year-old.

Prices that had been set for their ease ? 10 francs, which was one coin, for a cone of roasted chestnuts in Paris, for instance ? saw some of the most egregious markups. Overnight, those chestnuts rose by a third ? to euro2, also a single coin.

A European Central Bank analysis found that while the perception that prices skyrocketed after the euro is generally exaggerated, 0.3 percentage point of 2002's 2.3 percent inflation was due to the introduction of the new notes and coins.

But, after that first uneasy year, an EU survey found that just over half of respondents thought the euro was "overall advantageous," while nearly a third thought the opposite. By 2007, at the height of an economic boom and with calls for the euro to become the world's reserve currency, 72 percent thought the currency was a "good thing" for Europe.

In the EU's latest survey, that figure has fallen to around two-thirds of respondents, and the economic downturn has renewed complaints about the squeeze exerted by the single currency.

While public affection for the euro vacillates frequently, Europeans have remained convinced of one thing: Few believe the currency has achieved one of its more lofty goals, forging a common European identity from Dublin to Tallinn.

The European Commission most recently asked citizens last year if the euro had made them feel more European. More than three-quarters said it had "no effect." That number has remained fairly intractable over the years; it was 80 percent in 2002.

Dutchman Patrick Plomp, who collects and trades rare bank notes, said the bills' design is partially responsible for their failure to instill a connection to Europe.

Whereas his country's guilders carried pictures of the sunflower, Austrian schillings depicted a Lipizzaner stallion and Greece's drachma bore Apollo's head, the drawings on euros are merely examples of different types of European architecture: They don't represent real monuments.

"If you look at a euro, you'll see that it's made with buildings that don't exist, bridges to nowhere," said Plomp, 44. "The effect that this has is that people feel alienated from the money. It's something that comes from far away."

Taina Kovamaki, a 40-year-old nurse, added that a feeling of alienation from the note leads to worries about the currency in general.

"After all the Finnish markka was Finnish ? it was our own," Kovamaki said as she lined up at the Bank of Finland counter in Helsinki, where the markka can be changed until Feb. 29. "The financial crisis scares me. I'm just not sure those people in Brussels know what they're doing."

But as with all things euro, how people feel about it depends largely on what they had before.

While many deride their generic look, stationery store owner Yiannakis Ioannides compares the notes to the flimsiness of the old Cypriot pound.

"It's better quality than the pound, which wasn't as good," the 52-year-old said.

The view from outside the currency union has also been just as fickle. Once seen as a sign that eastern European countries had "made it," joining the euro is now a far more sensitive subject. Poland, for one, is carefully measuring its words, calling for reforms before it joins.

Pauline Frommer, the managing editor of the Frommer's travel guides, recounts the glee of the currency's early days, when an Italian shopping spree could be had on the cheap by Americans because of the favorable exchange rate and the eventual dismay as the rate turned around in recent years.

Now, the euro has moved into a new phase, she said.

"The euro has come to symbolize something that may not have been fully thought through and may come back to bite us," said Frommer. "I think we're all very worried about the future of the euro, that maybe its 10th anniversary will be its last."



European Commission's surveys on the euro:


Associated Press writers Toby Sterling in Amsterdam, Matti Huuhtanen in Helsinki, Menelaos Hadjicostis in Nicosia, Cyprus, Harold Heckle and Ciaran Giles in Madrid and Vanessa Gera in Warsaw, Poland, contributed to this report.

Associated Press


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Friday, December 30, 2011

MsEntropy: So Aisha #Gaddafi will, it seems, seek #Israel asylum. I did hear somewhere they're fond of war-crimes...#Palestine #Libya

Twitter / Ms. Entropy: So Aisha #Gaddafi will, it ... Loader So Aisha will, it seems, seek asylum. I did hear somewhere they're fond of war-crimes...


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Jennifer Elia: Cheating on Chaz Bono With Heidi Shink?

When Chaz Bono and Jennifer Elia broke up last week, the pair claimed they left their long partnership with "great love, respect and affection toward one another."

That statement belies the tumult between the pair, one report says.

According to Star, there's a sordid secret behind the collapse of this 12-year relationship: Jennifer betrayed Chaz in a major way by cozying up to his ex Heidi Shink.

Chaz Bono, Jennifer Elia

Jennifer was a guest at a private party hosted by Chaz's ex-girlfriend Heidi Shink at her L.A. home in mid-November, according to alleged insiders.

"There was a ton of wine and food," Viktor Budnik, who attended the party, says in an exclusive interview, adding "They were doing wine pairings."

Wow. That alone sounds super-scandalous right there.

Chaz was nowhere to be seen. As the party got increasingly boozy, people started taking intimate photos that Heidi later posted on her Facebook page.

One shot of Jennifer and her party guests is captioned "La familia!" In another shot, Jennifer is pictured inappropriately clad in pajamas with wet hair.

There you have it. We're sorry, it's a slow news week.


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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Two charged over claims in Sugarland collapse

Two women are being charged after the Marion County prosecutor said they filed false claims related to the Indiana State Fair stage collapse.

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Prosecutor Terry Curry says Stephanie Murry and Sandra Hurn submitted claims to the Indiana State Fair Remembrance Fund (ISFRF) and the Indiana Tort Claim Fund, which is administered by the Indiana Attorney General's Office. Authorities say the women each submitted claims totaling $22,500.

According to the prosecutor, the women claimed they were injured in the Aug. 13 stage collapse. The prosecutor's office alleges that the women falsified hospital records in order to be eligible to make claims to both funds.

"The state police determined pretty that the medical records submitted were falsified," said Curry.

In fact, Curry said, neither Hurn nor Murry even attended the concert.

"It would certainly appear from the investigation that neither woman was actually at the State Fair," Curry told Eyewitness News. "Sandra Hurn stated who she went with and that she was there for a couple of the Sugarland songs which obviously Sugarland never performed that night."

The scaffolding on the stage collapsed when a strong thunderstorm moved through that night. That happened after Sara Bareilles left the stage but before Sugarland came on.

Curry says Hurn collected $7,500 from the ISFRF, but Murry's claim was denied because her alleged injuries did not meet qualifications to receive ISFRF funds.

Both women also submitted a notice of tort claim to the Indiana attorney general's office, and both were notified they would receive money from the fund. But Hurn was arrested when she went to pick up a claim check, and Murry was arrested a short time after that.

"It's beyond troubling in a situation which was clearly a tragedy, people were legitimately injured even killed, that there are people out there that in turn exploit it for their own gain," said Curry.

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The alleged false claims are especially disheartening for the people who were there that night and did suffer injuries.

"I can't believe that someone could stoop that low to do that. I'm appalled. I'm actually very angry," said Laura Magdziarz, who suffered a broken leg that night. Her young daughter Maggie had a critical arm injury. "That's just unbelievable. There are people out there that desperately needed the money and there's a lot of people that didn't get any money for the same reasons - they had people at different hospitals; they needed to find their family and that was more important than staying in the hospital."

That was the situation for Magdziarz, whose own claim was denied because she was not admitted to the hospital that night despite having broken her leg as the scaffolding came down that night. Magdziarz' first priority was to be by the bedside of her four-year-old daughter, who was undergoing surgery at a different hospital.

"Somebody either has to be really desperate or cold-hearted. That's like adding insult to injury," Magdziarz said. "I'm glad they caught them. I hope they throw the book at them."

Stephanie Murry has been charged with one count of forgery (class C felony), one count of perjury (class D felony), and one count of attempt theft (class D felony).

Sandra Hurn has been charged with three counts of forgery (class C felony), two counts of perjury (class D felony), one count of theft (class D felony), and one count of attempt theft (class D felony).

The maximum penalty both women could face for a class C felony is eight years in prison and a $10,000 fine.


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Galaxy Nexus 32GB Available in EU Soon

An overwhelming proportion of the UK and other European Union nations' tech savvy population were shying away from the Galaxy Nexus - ?until now. The reason European customers were not purchasing the device was because it lacked an SD card slot - and because the 32 GB version of the device?was not yet available.

But now, it is?just a matter of time?until the 32 GB version of the Galaxy Nexus?will be?made available in the region, according to a new and confirmed report.

Details regarding the price of the device?has not?yet been confirmed though, however, the 32 GB variant of this massively popular Android (Ice Cream Sandwich) powered smartphone is likely to hit the stores pretty soon, as reported by Fudzilla.

Even though the device will include an?additional 16 GB of internal storage capacity, the device will still lack an external storage slot. But then, with Google Music out there to store all music collections and Netflix movies and television shows, the Galaxy Nexus, even without the external storage slot, will still bring enjoyment to those who purchase it.


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US weighing travel request for Yemen's president

An elderly protester chants slogans during a demonstration demanding the prosecution of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa, Yemen, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2011. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

An elderly protester chants slogans during a demonstration demanding the prosecution of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa, Yemen, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2011. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

Protesters march during a demonstration demanding the prosecution of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa, Yemen, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2011. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

HONOLULU (AP) ? The Obama administration is considering whether to allow Yemen's outgoing president into the United States for medical treatment, as fresh violence and political tensions flare in the strategically important Middle East nation.

A senior administration official said President Ali Abdullah Saleh's office requested that he be allowed to receive specialized treatment in the U.S. for injuries sustained in a June attack on his compound. The request was being considered, and would only be approved for medical reasons, the official said.

Until now, the White House had not commented on Saleh's assertion Saturday that he would be leaving Yemen and traveling to the U.S. Saleh insisted he was going in order to help calm tensions in his country, not for medical treatment.

The official, who requested anonymity because of a lack of authorization to speak publicly, did not say when the Obama administration would decide on Saleh's request. But the official said Saleh's office indicated that he would leave Yemen soon and spend time elsewhere abroad before he hoped to come to the U.S.

Demonstrators began protesting against Saleh and calling for his ouster in February. The Yemeni government responded with a bloody crackdown, leaving hundreds of protesters dead, and stoking fears of instability in a nation already grappling with burgeoning extremism.

Last month, Saleh agreed to a U.S.- and Saudi-backed deal to hand power over to his vice president and commit to stepping down completely in exchange for immunity. The deal further angered Saleh's opponents, who demanded he be tried for his attacks on protesters.

American officials are deeply concerned that the months of turmoil in Yemen have led to a security breakdown. The dangerous al-Qaida branch in Yemen, known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, has taken advantage of the vacuum to expend its presence in southern Yemen.

Pressure has been mounting in recent weeks for Saleh to leave Yemen altogether. Opponents say he has continued to wield influence through his loyalists and relatives still in positions of power, hampering the transition ahead of presidential elections set for Feb. 21. Many feared he would find a way to continue his rule.

Activists said troops commanded by Saleh's relatives attacked protesters in the capital of Sanaa Saturday, killing at least nine people. Tens of thousands of people demonstrated the following day, protesting the deaths and demanding the resignation of Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi for failing to bring the killers to justice.

The White House said President Barack Obama's top counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, called Hadi on Sunday and emphasized the need for Yemeni security forces to show "maximum restraint" when dealing with demonstrations. Hadi told Brennan that he had launched an investigation into the recent deaths and injuries and would do his utmost to prevent further bloodshed, the White House said.

The White House said Brennan and Hadi agreed on the importance of continuing with the agreed-upon path of political transition in Yemen in order to ensure that the February elections take place.

Obama was being briefed on developments in Yemen while in Hawaii for his Christmas vacation.

The U.S. has experience with letting unpopular foreign leaders into this country for medical treatment.

More than three decades ago, President Jimmy Carter allowed the exiled shah of Iran into the U.S. for medical treatment in October 1979, eight months after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini led a revolution that ousted the shah and created the Islamic Republic of Iran.

On Nov. 4, 1979, Iranian students occupied the U.S. embassy in Iran. Fifty-two American hostages were held for 444 days in response to Carter's refusal to send the shah back to Iran for trial.


Follow Julie Pace at

Associated Press


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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mexico, Guatemala collaborate to strengthen border security

backgroundblue line Monday 26th December, 2011

Mexico, Guatemala collaborate to strengthen border security ??

?????Monday 26th December, 2011??Source: People's Daily ??
Mexican President Felipe Calderon (L) and his Guatemalan counterpart Alvaro Colom arrive at a joint press conference at the official residence Los Pinos, in Mexico City, capital of Mexico, on July 27, 2011.
(Xinhua/David de la Paz)

Breaking News
Monday 26th December, 2011

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

12/25/2011 - The Seven Days of Creation, art show at Tikvat Israel Synagogue

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The Manchester Art Gallery's Ford Madox Brown: Pre-Raphaelite Pioneer exhibition will run until January 29th 2012.


Art lovers have until the end of January 2012 to catch the Ford Madox Brown: Pre-Raphaelite Pioneer exhibition in Manchester.

Taking place at the Manchester Art Gallery, the show represents the first major exhibition of the English painter's work since 1964 and features approximately 140 pieces.

It is due to run until Sunday January 29th, with admission to the Mosley Street gallery priced at ?8. Concessions are available for ?6 and under-18s can go in for free.

Divided into 11 key themes, the exhibition explores different stages of Brown's life in an attempt to support a better understanding of his work and influence on the Pre-Raphaelite movement.

Visitors can also learn about the years the artist spent in the north-west city working on the Manchester Murals - a series of 12 historical paintings he completed at the Town Hall.

Curated by Victorian art expert Julian Treuherz, the exhibition is due to move to a gallery in Ghent, Belgium after it closes in Manchester.

The Manchester Art Gallery is open between 10:00 and 17:00 GMT, Tuesday to Sunday.

Art lovers can browse for a diverse selection of hotels in Manchester, including the City Warehouse Apartments.

Visit or contact the gallery on 0161 235 8888 for more information on this event.


Editors Notes: is part of B2C sector of TUI Travel PLC?s Accommodation and Destination Division. Also within this sector are and is the UK?s leading online accommodation site offering fantastic deals in over 50,000 properties worldwide, ranging from bed and breakfasts to five star luxury hotels. offers customers a saving of up to 70 per cent off the normal room rate for a variety of independent and branded hotels. Customers can book online or by phone 24/7, whether booking 12 months or 12 minutes in advance ? whatever time, whatever day. No other accommodation site offers this flexibility. arms customers with information to help them choose the right hotel. Users can read from over 1.2 million true hotel reviews, written by customers who have booked through and actually stayed at the hotel. is the first online site to use VisitBritain?s official national classification system to rate its hotels, bed and breakfasts and guest houses. This ensures customers know the standards of quality they can expect when making a reservation.

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Monday, December 26, 2011

Facebook Messenger for Windows 7

Here is the official chat client for the Windows 7 platform. With all the features of being on Facebook without having to be.


  • Facebook ticker
  • Friend request
  • Message Counter
  • Notifications
  • Search
  • Dock as sidebar.

  • >> ' + google_ads[0].line2 + '?' + google_ads[0].line3 + ' ' + google_ads[0].visible_url + '
    '; } else if (google_ads.length > 1) { s += '' for(i = 0; i ' + google_ads[i].line1 + ' - ' + google_ads[i].line2 + ' ' + google_ads[i].line3 + '' + google_ads[i].visible_url + '
    '; } } } document.write(s); return; } google_ad_client = 'pub-6960825562757852'; google_ad_channel = '7203605953'; google_ad_output = 'js'; google_max_num_ads = '1'; google_ad_type = 'text'; google_image_size = '728x90'; google_feedback = 'on'; google_skip = '4'; // -->



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    Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson gets contract extension

    Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson gets contract extension

    Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson has gotten his Christmas wish. Two days after hinting on Twitter of his desire for a new contract, Wilson says the team has given him an extension.

    A link to this page will be included in your message


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    Sunday, December 25, 2011

    LibertyHill: 2012?s Rose Parade features the first HIV/AIDS awareness float ever. Sponsored by AHF and dedicated to Elizabeth Taylor....

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    Action Movie FX App is Awesome, Free Fun (Mashable)

    [brightcove video="1344414576001 " /] Admit it, you've always wanted to be an action star. I mean, who wouldn't want to effortlessly dodge flying cars, helicopters and missiles? Now, thanks to action auteur J.J. Abrams's new free app, Action Movie FX, and a little help from your iPhone, you can.

    [More from Mashable: 1976 Letter from Potential Partner Calls Steve Jobs a ?Joker? [VIDEO]]

    The app launched in Apple's App Store just a day after Abrams big-screen actioner Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol hit theaters. Abram's Bad Robot produced and Brad Bird directed (and Mashable hit the red carpet premiere). Included effects are "inspired by" the film. It's obviously designed to appeal those who would not only love to see Tom Cruise's latest film, but wouldn't mind starring in it too.

    Action Movie FX [iTunes link] is an incredibly simple app that accomplishes an impressive feat: It puts you in the middle of the action. Here's how it works: You open the app and select one of two free action effects: Missile Attack and Car Smash. You can purchase additional effects for 99 cents apiece. After you've selected the scene, you shoot a short video. The apps offers some guidance and how and where to shoot (shoot over flat surface if you want the missile to land properly). It also offers a handy screen overlay that shows you approximately where the effect will occur in your clip.

    [More from Mashable: 6 Crazy Tech Predictions for 2012]

    It's also helpful if you have someone else hold the camera. All they have to do is hit the big red record button, hold the camera steady and record. I'd suggest recording a minute or less since most of the effects are pretty brief. Once the video is recorded, Action Movie FX offers an effects slider that lets you adjust where in your recording to start the effect. Next, you process the film and preview. You can still go back and adjust the timing until the effect hits at just the right moment.

    The final product is a hoot -- the effects overlay is near perfect. You can save locally to your own camera roll, email, or share via Facebook.

    The app requires iOS 4.3 or later and works with the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (4th generation), iPad 2 Wi-Fi and iPad 2.

    I made my own brief effects-laden film (and could have done a better job positioning the camera), and I encourage you iPhone owners to do the same. If you do make your own video, we'll make an exception to our "no HTML" rule if you'll paste the link to it in the comments below, so we all can enjoy your artistry.

    This story originally published on Mashable here.


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    Tear gas fired at protesters in China seaside town (AP)

    BEIJING ? Riot police in a southern Chinese coastal town fired tear gas Friday at protesters, including elderly men and women, on the fourth day of unrest over a planned power plant expansion, according to protesters' accounts and TV footage.

    Police and protesters in the town of Haimen squared off near a highway entrance that has become the focal point for protests this week, with residents demanding that authorities release an unknown number of demonstrators.

    The town's elders knelt on the road facing a barricade set up by riot police with helmets and shields several hundred yards (meters) away while others lit large incense sticks and planted them into a plastic foam makeshift altar, a protester said by phone.

    "They were begging the police to release those people that they've detained and praying that the riot police can see things more clearly," the 20-year-old saleswoman surnamed Yao told The Associated Press by phone.

    Haimen's protesters are demanding a halt to the planned expansion of a coal-fired power plant which they say has contributed to what they say is a rise in cancer cases and heavy pollution in the seas, a serious problem for a town where many make their living from fishing.

    The protests started Tuesday when thousands of people besieged a Haimen government office and blocked a highway. When riot police used tear gas in an attempt to disperse them, demonstrators hurled rocks, water bottles and bricks in return. Clashes broke out, injuring an unknown number of protesters and police, residents say.

    In response to the protests, the local government said Tuesday that it would temporarily suspend the power plant project, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

    But protesters say they have not heard directly from authorities on the matter and say several protesters in their teens or early 20s had been detained.

    Many of the protesters waved red plastic bags meant to signify red scarves worn by children as part of their school uniforms, photos from the scene showed.

    They held up banners saying "Release the people," "Defend our home" and "Oppose construction of power plant."

    It was not immediately clear how many people have been taken into police custody, but Xinhua said Thursday that five people had been detained by Wednesday for vandalism during the protests.

    Earlier in the day, police fired tear gas at the protesters, said another protester, a man surnamed Lin.

    "When they saw that more and more people had come to protest, they fired the tear gas to try to chase us away. At the same time, a big gust of wind blew toward us, so we all had to run," Lin said. "My tears ran continuously. Our eyes are all red."

    This is the third time police have used tear gas to disperse protesters in Haimen this week.

    "We have no weapons at all. All we are doing is standing here and protesting," Lin added.

    Hong Kong's Cable TV showed footage of tear gas clouds being blown toward protesters, scattering the crowd of hundreds of people. Riot police with helmets and shields had formed a blockade at the entrance to the highway.

    After three decades of laxly regulated industrialization, China is seeing a surge in protests over such environmental worries.

    In September, hundreds of villagers in an eastern Chinese city near Shanghai demonstrated against pollution they blamed on a solar panel factory. In August, 12,000 residents in the northeastern port city of Dalian protested against a chemical plant after waves from a tropical storm broke a dike guarding the plant and raised fears that flood waters could release toxic chemicals.


    Follow Gillian Wong on Twitter at


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    Saturday, December 24, 2011

    India Post extends sim card facility for customers in remote areas

    Informing this official sourcers here today said following large number of complaints from the mobile phone subscribers, specially those in farthest corner of the country, about the non availability of any sim card in their locality, the India Post had decided to use its vast network of Post Offices across the country for selling BSNL sim card and their top up facilities to the common people at normal rates However, the sources said, before launching the all India programme in a phased manner in over 1500 post offices, the India Post had introduced a Pilot project in nine rural post offices in West Bengal in association with Bengal Telcom Circle.

    When fully implemented, expectedly from next month, the project would cover the remote areas in all border states, including West Bengal, Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Punjab, Sikkim, and the Union Territories of Andaman and Nicobar islands, the sources added. (UNI)


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    Best Buy Is Ruining Christmas [Bad Buy]

    Best Buy is completely dropping the ball this holiday season. We're hearing reports that customers who bought items on on Black Friday (yes, nearly a month ago) will not be receiving their orders this year, with some of them even being cancelled right before Christmas. Congratulations Best Buy! You are the Grinch. More »


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    Friday, December 23, 2011

    Britney Spears' Big 2011: From A Smash Album To A Ring On Her Finger

    A decade into her career, the pop megastar reinvented herself this year as the ultimate Femme Fatale and made a big commitment to Jason Trawick.
    By Jocelyn Vena

    Britney Spears
    Photo: Getty Images

    Maybe Britney Spears' lucky number is 30. The singer turned 30 this year, marking the landmark birthday on December 2 with a fan-voted MTV News tournament that crowned the Best Britney Video of All Time. But her 30th year also proved to be an incredibly successful period in her career.

    For the first time in a while, she seemed comfortable being the pop megastar that she is. More than a decade into her career, Spears re-emerged as a Femme Fatale, giving fans a fist-pumping album, embarking on a flashy tour and dropping more memorable music videos. Britney Spears fandom was reenergized as the singer came out of her shell, opening up about this phase in her career as well her personal life in several high-profile interviews. So it's probably not surprising that Spears will cap off the year at #4 on MTV News' Top Newsmakers of 2011 list, just behind Lil Wayne.

    "When I was younger, I was busy, busy, and I was always singing and dancing all the time. I was just really creative," she recalled in the MTV special "I Am the Femme Fatale." "That's when my mom realized I'm a really creative person."

    She let that creativity shine over the past 12 months. From "Hold It Against Me" to "Till the World Ends" to her Chris Marrs Piliero-directed "I Wanna Go" and "Criminal," Britney made headlines every time she dropped a music video. But no vid stirred up as much controversy as her "Criminal" clip, which featured real-life boyfriend (now fiancé) Jason Trawick — and his abs.

    "At the end of the day, Jason killed it," Piliero told MTV News of Trawick's cameo. "That was one of those things I was really stoked [about], as much as I went into it like, 'Wow, he's not an actor. This is going to be interesting,' but I really do like a challenge, and I really do like the idea that I'm a director and my job is to direct and get the performance. For me, it was a fun challenge to be like, 'I'm gonna make sure that you are awesome,' and he was."

    Between video shoots, Spears hit the road with the likes of Nicki Minaj, Joe Jonas, and DJ Pauly D. Spears fully embraced her sensuality on the Femme Fatale Tour, a spectacular show full of costume changes, elaborate stage setups and stunning mini-films.

    And while much of the 2011 VMA buzz was about Beyoncé's baby bump and Jo Calderone, Spears stole the spotlight by walking away with a Moonman for Best Pop Video and the prized Video Vanguard Award. She also had tongues wagging after an onstage kiss from Jo (a.k.a. Lady Gaga), just before she was honored with an electrifying dance tribute that highlighted some of biggest career moments.

    "It was really crazy. I had no idea what to expect," Spears told us backstage at the VMAs. "The kids were amazing and so entertaining, and it was a really fun night. It was really cool. I was like, 'Wow, that's really sweet!' "

    As 2011 came to a close, Spears wrapped up her tour, and MTV News threw her a birthday bash in the form of the "30 Videos for 30 Years" tournament. The competition was heated but in the end, Spears' iconic "I'm a Slave 4 U" took home the prize. And just when it seemed things couldn't get any better, Britney confirmed she was engaged to Trawick after dating for two years. She showed off her Neil Lane ring during a celebratory weekend in Las Vegas.

    MTV continues our Best of 2011 coverage by looking back at the biggest pop-culture stories of the year. As we count down the newsmakers that mattered to you most, also check out our Best Artists, Best Songs, Best MTV Live Performances and Best EDM Artists of 2011.

    Related Videos Related Artists


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    Jim Ross reviews "Stone Cold" DVD set

    The new Steve Austin DVD, ?Stone Cold? Steve Austin: The Bottom Line on the Most Popular Superstar of All Time, is the most thorough, revealing and compelling look ever at, arguably, WWE?s biggest Superstar. The Texas Rattlesnake opens the door to his heart and his mind and invites all fans in for a neighborly visit with the WWE Hall of Famer.

    Austin was one of the most complex individuals to ever perform in WWE. His amazing and wildly successful tenure as the top Superstar in WWE during the most successful and critically-acclaimed period of time in WWE history will likely never be equaled. (PHOTOS)

    1290068471001|01:47But what made "Stone Cold" so successful? Why did he go from being considered by many as a solid, mid-card talent rising to the unparalleled levels of success he reached in WWE? What motivated Austin to risk his own health and personal relationships to achieve global stardom?

    These questions and many more are answered by the man himself in this four-disc set. It?s an eye-opener even for the most devout ?Stone Cold? fans. I also think it should be required viewing for anyone who aspires to be a WWE Superstar, as Austin outlines the path that he took and the sacrifices that he made to become the top box office attraction in the history of sports-entertainment. (PHOTOS)

    Austin?s journey to the top wasn?t easy, as he honestly explains. There were many prices to be paid to achieve greatness in a highly competitive and oftentimes volatile business. Steve shares all.1301315117001|00:56

    These sacrifices and the native Texan?s obsessive desire to be the best did not come without a bevy of heavy prices to pay. Steve does a marvelous job of explaining those personal prices along with any regrets that he carries with him to this very day. (PHOTOS)

    Many of sports-entertainment?s biggest stars and personalities provide their own personal and candid thoughts on Steve Austin the performer and Steve Austin the man. I found those interviews to be as compelling as any that I can recall on a WWE DVD.

    1301284152001|01:00Personally, my favorite aspects of the four-disc set were the three, hand-picked WrestleMania bouts that Steve selected. He and I did alternate commentary that takes you inside Austin?s head as it relates to ring strategy and the art of story-telling. It was one of the most rewarding broadcast assignments of my long career.

    Fans often ask me how the relationship between Steve Austin and me evolved and why it is so strong today. This DVD will answer those questions and many more from Steve Austin himself, candidly and honestly.

    For anyone interested in ?Stone Cold,? WWE, compelling biographies, the sports-entertainment business or what it takes to become successful in one?s chosen field of endeavor, I can?t recommend any WWE production more. I assure you that ?Stone Cold? Steve Austin: The Bottom Line on the Most Popular Superstar of All Time is ?must see,? ?must keep,? and ?must watch again.?

    Happy Holidays to all!


    Follow @JRsBarBQ on Twitter and purchase some of JR?s delicious BBQ products at the WWE Shop! Get your copy of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin: The Bottom Line on the Most Popular Superstar of all time on DVD and Blu-ray at


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    Monday, December 19, 2011

    Strange Sunday: Packers lose, Colts win

    Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver watches the final moments of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011, in Kansas City, Mo. The Chiefs won 19-14. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

    Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver watches the final moments of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011, in Kansas City, Mo. The Chiefs won 19-14. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

    Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) is tackled by a group of Kansas City Chiefs defenders during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011, in Kansas City, Mo. The Chiefs won 19-14, handing the Packers their first loss of the season. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

    Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning looks on during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans in Indianapolis, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011. Colts vice chairman Bill Polian said Manning will not return to play in the final two games of the season, but the franchise quarterback did take snaps from center Jeff Saturday this week. The Colts defeated the Titans 27-13. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

    Indianapolis Colts middle linebacker Pat Angerer (51) celebrates with cornerback Kevin Thomas after making an interception against the Tennessee Titans during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011. The Colts defeated the Titans 27-13. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

    Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne celebrates as he leaves the field after the team's first win of the season in an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans in Indianapolis, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011. The Colts won 27-13. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

    NFL Sundays in 2011 haven't been any stranger than this one: Green Bay loses and Indianapolis wins.

    The Packers' 19-game winning streak, second-longest in NFL history, was snapped with a 19-14 loss at Kansas City, a team that fell by 27 points last weekend. Defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay (13-1) won't have to put up with questions about an undefeated season any more.

    "I personally always viewed the undefeated season as, really, just gravy," coach Mike McCarthy said. "The goal was to get home-field advantage and win the Super Bowl. That's what we discussed."

    The Packers already own the NFC North title and still have the edge in the conference, two games ahead of New Orleans and 2 1/2 in front of San Francisco, which hosts Pittsburgh on Monday night.

    "We were fortunate enough to be in the position to possibly achieve the undefeated season," McCarthy added, "but we still have the primary goal in front of us, and that's to get home-field advantage."

    Indy's primary goal in this lost year was to avoid a completely lost season, as in 0-16. That won't happen after the Colts stunned Tennessee 27-13 following 13 straight defeats.

    Yes, the Colts finally won one without Peyton Manning.

    "I'm happy for a lot of people on this team, for a lot of people in this organization," said Dan Orlovsky, the latest replacement at quarterback for Manning, who hasn't played all season after neck surgery. "It's a lot better than the feeling we've had lately."

    Only one team, the 2008 Lions, went 0-16.

    "It means a lot, but we're a proud ballclub, so one game out of 13 or 14, we still have a ways to go," defensive end Robert Mathis said. "Everybody held the fort today. We just kept chopping wood and the tree fell today."

    Associated Press


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    Sunday, December 18, 2011

    Senate passes budget bill, sends measure to president (Washington Bureau)

    Share With Friends: Share on FacebookTweet ThisPost to Google-BuzzSend on GmailPost to Linked-InSubscribe to This Feed | Rss To Twitter | Politics - Top Stories Stories, RSS and RSS Feed via Feedzilla.


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    Shots fired at Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles (Reuters)

    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) ? Gunshots were fired at the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles on Thursday by a man identified by a security guard as a protester, and police said a suspect had been taken into custody.

    Details were sketchy, but police spokesman Gregory Baek said multiple rounds were fired at the building during the afternoon shooting, but no one was injured.

    A consulate security officer, Cipriano Gutierrez, 53, said he was in his guard hut outside the building when he heard shots ring out, at first mistaking them for firecrackers.

    "Then the reality kicked in. There was a gunshot at me, directed towards me, so I hit the ground," Gutierrez told reporters at the scene.

    "I was dodging bullets. I saw a hollow-point bullet land right next to my knee cap," he said, adding that some of the rounds pierced metal fencing in front of the consulate.

    "I was grabbing the phone books trying to cover my head," he said.

    The shots were fired at the consulate itself as well as at the security kiosk, Gutierrez said.

    He described the gunman as a protester whom he had seen outside the consulate hours earlier. The man apparently left and then returned.

    China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said the Consulate General in Los Angeles has made representations to the United States, and has called for security to be stepped up at the Chinese embassies and consulates in the country.

    "China attaches great importance to this matter and has urged the United States to solve this case as soon as possible and to take effective measures to protect the Chinese embassies and consulates in the United States, institutions and personnel safety," Liu said in a statement on Friday.

    Police initially said they were looking for an Asian man about 65 years old with white hair.

    Baek said an Asian man had turned himself in to authorities more than three hours after the incident and was in custody. It was not immediately clear if the man described by the security guard and the suspect taken into custody were the same person.

    A representative from the consulate could not immediately be reached for comment.

    (Additional reporting by Aron Ranen in Los Angeles and Sui-Lee Wee in Beijing, Editing by Steve Gorman and Greg McCune)


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    Saturday, December 17, 2011

    Glittery Gifts for the Mystifying Girly Girl on Your List [Gift Guide]

    You love your girly girlfriend (friend, sister, cousin, who needs labels). But you do not at all understand the girly-girl accoutrements. They're a glittery, flowery, long-eyelashed cloud trailing her like a shiny pink version of Pig Pen's dirty shadow. Think you're not equipped for the job of gifting such a creature? Never fear. Here's a list of presents that are super-fem but believable and appropriate coming from a dude such as yourself. More »


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