Thursday, 25 March 2010

ARTICLE: Disputed Isle in Bay of Bengal Disappears into Sea

NEW DELHI – For nearly 30 years, India and Bangladesh have argued over control of a tiny rock island in the Bay of Bengal. Now rising sea levels have resolved the dispute for them: the island's gone.

New Moore Island in the Sunderbans has been completely submerged, said oceanographer Sugata Hazra, a professor at Jadavpur University in Calcutta. Its disappearance has been confirmed by satellite imagery and sea patrols, he said. "What these two countries could not achieve from years of talking, has been resolved by global warming," said Hazra.

Scientists at the School of Oceanographic Studies at the university have noted an alarming increase in the rate at which sea levels have risen over the past decade in the Bay of Bengal. Until 2000, the sea levels rose about 3 millimeters (0.12 inches) a year, but over the last decade they have been rising about 5 millimeters (0.2 inches) annually, he said.

Another nearby island, Lohachara, was submerged in 1996, forcing its inhabitants to move to the mainland, while almost half the land of Ghoramara island was underwater, he said. At least 10 other islands in the area were at risk as well, Hazra said. "We will have ever larger numbers of people displaced from the Sunderbans as more island areas come under water," he said.

Bangladesh, a low-lying delta nation of 150 million people, is one of the countries worst-affected by global warming. Officials estimate 18 percent of Bangladesh's coastal area will be underwater and 20 million people will be displaced if sea levels rise 1 meter (3.3 feet) by 2050 as projected by some climate models.

India and Bangladesh both claimed the empty New Moore Island, which is about 3.5 kilometers (2 miles) long and 3 kilometers (1.5 miles) wide. Bangladesh referred to the island as South Talpatti.

There were no permanent structures on New Moore, but India sent some paramilitary soldiers to its rocky shores in 1981 to hoist its national flag.

The demarcation of the maritime boundary — and who controls the remaining islands — remains an open issue between the two South Asian neighbors, despite the disappearance of New Moore, said an official in India's foreign ministry, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on international disputes.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

It's Celebrity Apprentice Time!

I know I've posted about this last season (which really had some truly egregious behaviour in it) and the prior season (only one or two posts) but it is hard to post at length about this show. The show certainly has length - two hours each episode - but there is a lot of infighting and backbiting. In between shots of each individual griping about this or that person, there were shots of the "teams" trying to run this or that business.

I don't know anyone who's said that running a business is easy. And I would laugh at the person who would. It is a lot of work to run that kind of thing, and the wiring your brain needs... well, I think highly of those people who can do this. But all these "stars" swagger into Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice absolutely sure that he or she can run a business.

Two most common traits: bad delegation/no delegation and not understanding how to use different personality types. Once in a great while the right person steps up, but mostly these famous people all have some major flaw that inevitably trips them. Or inserts both size eights into their mouths.

I am far from perfect, but then, I will never attempt to make my own business or run one. I have a running list of imperfections and that is a job I could only fail. And I'd hate it to boot.
Justify Full
Back to this season. There are some really interesting characters in this pool of famous and infamous people who at some point or another had a moment in the limelight. Me being me, I only know some of them, but I'm not crazy about too many of them... known or not. Here's the roster:

Sinbad, stand-up comedian
Cyndi Lauper, music/singer
Darryl Strawberry, baseball athlete
Rod Balgojevich, ex Illinois governor
Sharon Osbourne, wife of Ozzy Osbourne (I don't know what else she is noted for)
Bill Goldberg, wrestler
Maria Kanellis, wrestler
Curtis Stone, chef
Summer Sanders, Olympic gold medalist
Holly Peete Robinson, actress
Bret Michaels, front man for Poison
Carol Liefer, comedienne
Selita Ebanks
Michael Johnson, athlete

I wasn't excited one way or the other about most of them, but I do like Cyndi Lauper (amazingly enough, I saw her in concert when I was 17, threw my hat to her and in an interview on the telly, saw that hat on! Kinda neat, assuming it was the same hat), and I like Bret Michaels. Poison is a good group. I was appalled at the inclusion of Rob Blagojevich, the lying, cheating, embezzling rat that was Illinois' former governor. And he is still an idiot. He gives those typical politician's circular answers that mean nothing, and he insists he was framed. Yikes.

On the first episode, the teams (Rock Solid for the men and Tenacity for the women) had to each run a diner. It was interesting to watch. I bet all of those people walked away with a new appreciation for the staff of restaurants (possibly the chef knew what this would be like, depending on past experience). Cyndi was not a good server, but she put her heart and soul into it. The men were slow starters and had a bad thing going at first, with prices like $250 for a burger. Yes, it is for charity but there is a huge amount of the population that is not running around with $250 for a sandwich!

Surprisingly, in the end, the men won - I forget what crazy amount of money it was but some of them called in every favour they could from other rich and famous people. That is the idea, and they raised a boatload of money for the American Diabetes group, so they were exempt from having to return to the board room.

Cyndi was the team leader and not an inspiring one, but the weakest link there was Carol Leifer, who obviously did not want to be a server, busser, etc. I wasn't unhappy with that decision. It will be interesting to see how far Cyndi will go.

Well, it is too late already, so I will write anon about Episode 2.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Article: 10 Places NOT to Use Your Debit Card

Debit cards have different protections and uses. Sometimes they're not the best choice.

Sometimes reaching for your wallet is like a multiple choice test: How do you really want to pay? While credit cards and debit cards may look almost identical, not all plastic is the same.

"It's important that consumers understand the difference between a debit card and a credit card," says John Breyault, director of the Fraud Center for the National Consumers League, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group. "There's a difference in how the transactions are processed and the protections offered to consumers when they use them."

While debit cards and credit cards each have advantages, each is also better suited to certain situations. And since a debit card is a direct line to your bank account, there are places where it can be wise to avoid handing it over -- if for no other reason than complete peace of mind.

Here are 10 places and situations where it can pay to leave that debit card in your wallet:

1. Online
"You don't use a debit card online," says Susan Tiffany, director of consumer periodicals for the Credit Union National Association. Since the debit card links directly to a checking account, "you have potential vulnerability there," she says.

Her reasoning: If you have problems with a purchase or the card number gets hijacked, a debit card is "vulnerable because it happens to be linked to an account," says Linda Foley, founder of the Identity Theft Resource Center. She also includes phone orders in this category.

The Federal Reserve's Regulation E (commonly dubbed Reg E), covers debit card transfers. It sets a consumer's liability for fraudulent purchases at $50, provided they notify the bank within two days of discovering that their card or card number has been stolen.

Most banks have additional voluntary policies that set their own customers' liability with debit cards at $0, says Nessa Feddis, vice president and senior counsel for the American Bankers Association.

But the protections don't relieve consumers of hassle: The prospect of trying to get money put back into their bank account, and the problems that a lower-than-expected balance can cause in terms of fees and refused checks or payments, make some online shoppers reach first for credit cards.

2. Big-Ticket Items
With a big ticket item, a credit card is safer, says Chi Chi Wu, staff attorney with the National Consumer Law Center. A credit card offers dispute rights if something goes wrong with the merchandise or the purchase, she says.

"With a debit card, you have fewer protections," she says.

In addition, some cards will also offer extended warrantees. And in some situations, such as buying electronics or renting a car, some credit cards also offer additional property insurance to cover the item. Two caveats, says Wu. Don't carry a balance. Otherwise, you also risk paying some high-ticket interest. And "avoid store cards with deferred interest," Wu advises.

3. Deposit Required
When Peter Garuccio recently rented some home improvement equipment at a big-box store, it required a sizable deposit. "This is where you want to use a credit card instead of a debit," says Garuccio, spokesman for the national trade group American Bankers Association.

That way, the store has its security deposit, and you still have access to all of the money in your bank account. With any luck, you'll never actually have to part with a dollar.

4. Restaurants
"To me, it's dangerous," says Gary Foreman, editor of the frugality minded Web site The Dollar Stretcher. "You have so many people around." Foreman bases his conclusions on what he hears from readers. "Anecdotally, the cases that I'm hearing of credit or debit information being stolen, as often as not, it's in a restaurant," he says.

The danger: Restaurants are one of the few places where you have to let cards leave your sight when you use them. But others think that avoiding such situations is not workable. The "conventional advice of 'don't let the card out of your sight' -- that's just not practical," says Tiffany.

The other problem with using a debit card at restaurants: Some establishments will approve the card for more than your purchase amount because, presumably, you intend to leave a tip. So the amount of money frozen for the transaction could be quite a bit more than the amount of your tab. And it could be a few days before you get the cash back in your account.

5. You're a New Customer
Online or in the real world, if you're a first-time customer in a store, skip the debit card the first couple of times you buy, says Breyault. That way, you get a feel for how the business is run, how you're treated and the quality of the merchandise before you hand over a card that links to your checking account.

6. Buy Now, Take Delivery Later
Buying now but taking delivery days or weeks from now? A credit card offers dispute rights that a debit card typically does not. "It may be an outfit you're familiar with and trust, but something might go wrong," says Breyault, "and you need protection."

But be aware that some cards will limit the protection to a specific time period, says Feddis. So settle any problems as soon as possible.

7. Recurring Payments
We've all heard the urban legend about the gym that won't stop billing an ex-member's credit card. Now imagine the charges aren't going onto your card, but instead coming right out of your bank account.

Another reason not to use the debit card for recurring charges: your own memory and math skills. Forget to deduct that automatic bill payment from your checkbook one month, and you could either face fees or embarrassment (depending on whether you've opted to allow overdrafting or not). So if you don't keep a cash buffer in your account, "to protect yourself from over-limit fees, you may want to think about using a credit card" for recurring payments, says Breyault.

8. Future Travel
Book your travel with a check card, and "they debit it immediately," says Foley. So if you're buying travel that you won't use for six months or making a reservation for a few weeks from now, you'll be out the money immediately.

Another factor that bothers Foley: Hotels aren't immune to hackers and data breaches, and several name-brand establishments have suffered the problem recently. Do you want your debit card information "to sit in a system for four months, waiting for you to arrive?" she asks. "I would not."

9. Gas Stations and Hotels
This one depends on the individual business. Some gas stations and hotels will place holds to cover customers who may leave without settling the entire bill. That means that even though you only bought $10 in gas, you could have a temporary bank hold for $50 to $100, says Tiffany.

Ditto hotels, where there are sometimes holds or deposits in the hundreds to make sure you don't run up a long distance bill, empty the mini bar or trash the room. The practice is almost unnoticeable if you're using credit, but can be problematic if you're using a debit card and have just enough in the account to cover what you need.

At hotels, ask about deposits and holds before you present your card, says Feddis. At the pump, select the pin-number option, she says, which should debit only the amount you've actually spent.

10. Checkouts or ATMs That Look 'Off'
Criminals are getting better with skimmers and planting them in places you'd never suspect -- like ATM machines on bank property, says Foley.

So take a good look at the machine or card reader the next time you use an ATM or self-check lane, she advises. Does the machine fit together well or does something look off, different or like it doesn't quite belong? Says Foley, "Make sure it doesn't look like it's been tampered with."

A Response to the Two Articles (Wal-Mart, dated 20 March)

I was surprised. I broke for dinner and when I returned to my computer (to order Amazon stuff!), there was a comment posted on the blog about the two articles.

The comment, left by someone who is a nieghbour (I'm in Lake Hiawatha.), was: "The person arrested in connection with this incident is 16. I figured it would be a teenage boy who would be arrested for this. It sounds like a childish prank gone wrong. I hope he is found guilty and gets a severe punishment for his actions."
That makes two of us!

Just to recap, someone with a pea-sized brain went into a southern New Jersey Wal-Mart, took control of the PA system (which right there is a big red flag...) and said, "Attention Wal-Mart customers: All black people leave the store now."

They didn't know if it was a customer or an employee (and I would have loved, dearly, to have been the manager to let that person go!), and it seemed that maybe this would not have an answer to who did such a disgusting thing. But every so often, justice is served. (Like when someone tailgates you when you are driving 15 miles over the speed limit and then gets pulled over! YEEEE-E-E-E-E-S-S-S-S-S-SSSS!)

Turns out a 16-year-kid did this. And there were all kinds of things no one was willing to say because he is a juvenile. I'm thinking at 16, he is so damn close to being a legal adult, print his name anyway. Let's see what his peers at school think of him now. Does he have any priors? We can't tell anyone, he's only 16. Uh-huh. And my personal favourite: "He would not say whether the boy has a criminal record, citing the teen's age, and would not disclose the teen's race, saying that did not factor into the investigation." Oh, right - the perp's race isn't a factor in this? Gee, and yet it sounded so racial...

I hope he is convicted of both things and I hope it is not expunged from his record. This kid deserves to live with this and what a horrible, hurtful, stupid thing it was to do.
And thank you to the math wiz, who corroborated what I think. It's always nice to see other bloggers out there.

First Article: Black People Must Leave, NJ Walmart Announcer Says

Blacks must leave store, NJ Walmart announcer says, upsetting customers; company investigates

Virginia Tinsley, of Washington Township, N.J., answers a question Wednesday, March 17, 2010, outside a Wal-Mart store in Washington Township, N.J., where she and others complained Sunday about comments that came over the store's public address system. Wal-Mart officials are reviewing security tapes after an announcement was made for "all black people" to leave the southern New Jersey store. Shortly before 7 p.m. Sunday, a male voice came over the public-address system at the Route 42 store in Washington Township and calmly announced: "Attention Wal-Mart customers: All black people leave the store now." Management later apologized. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP , N.J. (AP) -- A Walmart store announcement ordering black people to leave brought chagrin and apologies Wednesday from leaders of the company, which has built a fragile trust among minority communities. A male voice came over the public-address system Sunday evening at a store in Washington Township, in southern New Jersey, and calmly announced: "Attention, Walmart customers: All black people, leave the store now."

Shoppers in the store at the time said a manager quickly got on the public-address system and apologized for the remark. And while it was unclear whether a rogue patron or an employee was responsible for the comment, many customers expressed their anger to store management.

"I want to know why such statements are being made, because it flies in the face of what we teach our children about tolerance for all," said Sheila Ellington, who was in the store at the time with a friend. "If this was meant to be a prank, there's only one person laughing, and it's not either one of us." Ellington, of Monroe, and her friend Patricia Covington said they plan to boycott the retailer until they're assured the issue has been addressed so it doesn't happen again.

The pair said they were stunned when they heard the announcement and initially believed they had misheard it. But once the words sank in, they grew angry. "I depended on Walmart for all my needs, because the store has pretty much everything you could want," Covington said. "But until this issue is addressed in a way I'm comfortable with, I can't walk through those doors again."

Officials with Wal-Mart Stores Inc., based in Bentonville , Ark. , said that the announcement was "unacceptable" and that they're trying to determine who made it and how it happened.

"We are just as appalled by this incident as our customers," the company said in a statement. "Whoever did this is just wrong and acted in an inappropriate manner. Clearly, this is completely unacceptable to us and to our customers."

This is not the first time the retailer has faced such problems.

There have been several past instances of black customers claiming they were treated unfairly at Walmart stores, and the company faced lawsuits alleging that women were passed over in favor of men for pay raises and promotions. In February 2009, the retailer paid $17.5 million to settle a class action lawsuit alleging racial discrimination in its hiring of truck drivers.

And the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued the company in May 2009, claiming some Hispanic employees at a Sam's Club subsidiary in California were subjected to a hostile work environment. That suit alleges managers failed to stop repeated verbal harassment, including the use of derogatory words, against employees of Mexican descent. However, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has said the company has worked hard in recent years to show it cares about diversity.

Bill Mitchell, a former Walmart employee who was shopping Wednesday at the store, said that he was saddened to hear about the announcement but that "as a black man, I've heard worse things."

As customer Sharon Osbourne, of Williamstown, left the store Wednesday, she called the announcement "appalling, stupid and sad."

THE SOLUTION (Article): Teen Charged in NJ Walmart Racial Comment Case

16-year-old boy charged with making racial comment over intercom at southern NJ Walmart

Bruce Shipkowski, Associated Press Writer, On Saturday March 20, 2010, 3:14 pm EDT WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP)

A 16-year-old boy patronizing a Walmart store in southern New Jersey took over the public-address system and ordered black people to leave, angering customers and prompting company leaders to apologize, police said Saturday.

Washington Township Police chief Rafael Muniz, left, listens as Gloucester County, New Jersey prosecutor Sean Dalton answers a question Saturday, March 20, 2010, in Washington Township, N.J., as they announce police have arrested a 16-year-old Atlantic County boy on charges of harassment and bias intimidation in the case of a racial comment that was made over the public-address system at a Wal Mart store in southern New Jersey. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Police said the boy, whose name is not being released because he is a juvenile, went on the intercom at Walmart's Washington Township store Sunday evening and calmly announced: "Attention, Walmart customers: All black people, leave the store now."

The teen was arrested Friday on charges of harassment and bias intimidation. Authorities said he was released to the custody of his parents; they did not know whether he had a lawyer.

"This was an extremely disturbing event on many levels," Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean Dalton said at a news conference. "Any statements like these that can cause harm or grave concern must be addressed as quickly we possibly can."

Dalton said the case would be handled in juvenile court in neighboring Atlantic County, where the boy lives. He would not say whether the boy has a criminal record, citing the teen's age, and would not disclose the teen's race, saying that did not factor into the investigation.

Authorities would not say whether the announcement was planned or made impulsively. Police said they were also investigating a teenage boy who accompanied the suspect to the store, but they had not charged the other boy.

Although a manager quickly went on the intercom system and apologized for the remark, many customers expressed their anger to store management. Some community members said Saturday that they've heard reports of similar incidents happening at the store in recent months that were not reported to police.

"We are concerned about that, and we're looking into these incidents. We want to work with the community to make sure these types of incidents don't happen," said Loretta Winters, president of the Gloucester County chapter of the NAACP. Winters said she hopes the boy will get counseling and be educated about sensitivity so he can understand the consequences of his actions. "I'm assuming this person didn't realize how hurtful his comments were," she said.

Officials for Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said the announcement was "unacceptable," and Dalton praised the company for its strong cooperation in the investigation.

"We're pleased this matter is resolved," Walmart spokesman David Tovar said in a statement issued after the news conference. "We have updated our intercom system at this store to prevent this from happening again. We again apologize to all of our customers and associates who had to listen to something so offensive."

The incident was the latest in a series of problems the retailer has had in its dealings with minorities and women. There have been several past instances of black customers claiming they were treated unfairly at Walmart stores, and the company faced lawsuits alleging that women were passed over in favor of men for pay raises and promotions. In February 2009, the retailer paid $17.5 million to settle a class action lawsuit alleging racial discrimination in its hiring of truck drivers.

And the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued the company in May 2009, claiming some Hispanic employees at a Sam's Club subsidiary in California were subjected to a hostile work environment. That suit alleges managers failed to stop repeated verbal harassment, including the use of derogatory words, against employees of Mexican descent.

However, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has said the company has worked hard in recent years to show it cares about diversity.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Mr. Blue Sky

Sun is shinin' in the sky,
There ain't a cloud in sight
It's stopped rainin'
Everybody's in a play
And don't you know
It's a beautiful new day.

Runnin' down the avenue,
See how the sun shines brightly
In the city on the streets
Where once was pity,
Mr. Blue Sky is living here today.

Chorus
Mr. Blue Sky, please tell us why,
You had to hide away
For so long
Where did we go wrong.

Hey there Mr. Blue
We're so pleased to be with you
Look around see what you do,
Everybody smiles at you.

Hey you with the pretty face,
Welcome to the human race
A celebration Mr. Blue Sky's
Up there waitin' and today
Is the day we've waited for

Chorus:repeat

Mr. Blue you did it right,
But soon comes mr. night,
Creepin' over, now his
Hand is on your shoulder,
Never mind I'll remember you this way.

In These Shoes?

I once met a man with a sense of adventure
He was dressed to thrill wherever he went
He said "Let's make love on a mountain top
Under the stars on a big hard rock"
I said "In these shoes?
I don't think so."
I said "Honey, let's do it here."

So I'm sitting at a bar in guadalajara
In walks a guy with a faraway look in his eyes
He said "I've got as powerful horse outside
Climb on the back, I'll take you for a ride
I know a little place, we can get there for the break of day."
I said "In these shoes?
No way, José"
I said "Honey, let's stay right here."

No le gusta caminar. no puede montar a caballo
(I don't like to dance, I can't ride a horse)
Como se puede bailar? Es un escandolo
(How can I dance? It's a scandal)

Then I met an Englishman
"Oh" he said
"Won't you walk up and down my spine,
It makes me feel strangely alive."
I said "in these shoes?
I doubt you'd survive."
I said "Honey, let's do it.
Let's stay right here."

No le gusta caminar. no puede montar a caballo
(I don't like to dance, I can't ride a horse)
Como se puede bailar? Es un escandolo
(How can i dance? It's a scandal)

More

Once upon a time I had plenty of nothing,
Which was fine with me.
Because I had rhythm, music, love,
The sun, the stars and the moon above,
Had the clear blue sky and the deep blue sea.
That was when the best things in life were free.

Then time went by and now I got plenty of plenty,
Which is fine with me.
'Cause I still got love, I still got rhythm,
But look at what I got to go with 'em.
"Who could ask for anything more?", I hear you query.
Who would ask for anything more? Well, let me tell you, dearie.

Got my diamonds, got my yacht, got a guy I adore.
I'm so happy with what I got, I want more!

Count your blessings, one, two, three
I just hate keeping score.
Any number is fine with me
As long as it's more
As long as it's more!

I'm no mathematician, all I know is addition
I find counting a bore.
Keep the number mounting, your accountant does the counting.
[More! More!]

I got rhythm, music too, just as much as before
Got my guy and my sky of blue,
Now, however, I own the view.
More is better than nothing, true
But nothing's better than more, more, more
Nothing's better than more.

One is fun, why not two?
And if you like two, you might as well have four,
And if you like four, why not a few
Why not a slew
[More! More!]

If you've got a little, why not a lot?
Add and bit and it'll get to be an oodle.
Every jot and tittle adds to the pot
Soon you've got the kit as well as the caboodle.
[More! More!]

Never say when, never stop at plenty,
If it's gonna rain, let it pour.
Happy with ten, happier with twenty
If you like a penny, wouldn't you like many much more?

Or does that sound too greedy?
That's not greed, no, indeedy
That's just stocking the store
Gotta fill your cupboard, remember Mother Hubbard.
[More! More!]

Each possession you possess
Helps your spirits to soar.
That's what's soothing about excess
Never settle for something less.

Something's better than nothing, yes!
But nothing's better than more, more more
[Except all, all, all]
Except all, all, all
Except once you have it all [have it all]
You may find all else above [find all else above]

That though things are bliss,
There's one thing you miss, and that's
More! More!
More! More! More! More!
More! More! More!

Xanadu

'To seek the sacred river Alph
To walk the caves of ice
To break my fast on honeydew
And drink the milk of Paradise...'

I had heard the whispered tales of immortality
The deepest mystery
From an ancient book I took a clue
I scaled the frozen mountain tops

of eastern lands unknown
Time and Man alone
Searching for the lost Xanadu

Xanadu...

To stand within the Pleasure Dome
Decreed by Kubla Khan
To taste anew the fruits of life
The last immortal man

To find the sacred river Alph
To walk the caves of ice
Oh, I will dine on honeydew
And drink the milk of Paradise

A thousand years have come and gone
but time has passed me by
Stars stopped in the sky
Frozen in an everlasting view

Waiting for the world to end, weary of the night
Praying for the light
Prison of the lost
Xanadu

Xanadu...

Emotional Rescue

Is there nothing I can say
Nothing I can do
To change your mind
I'm so in love with you

You're too deep in
You can't get out
You're just a poor girl in a rich man's house
Yeah, baby, I'm crying over you

Don't you know promises were never made to keep?
Just like the night, dissolve in sleep
I'll be your savior, steadfast and true
I'll come to your emotional rescue
I'll come to your emotional rescue

Yeah, the other night, crying
Crying baby, yeah i'm crying
Yeah I'm like a child baby
I'm like a child baby
Child yeah, I'm like a child, like a child
Like a child

You think you're one of a special breed
You think that you're his pet pekinese
I'll be your savior, steadfast and true
I'll come to your emotional rescue
I'll come to your emotional rescue

I was dreaming last night
Last night I was dreaming
How you'd be mine, but I was crying
Like a child, yeah, I was crying

Crying like a child
You will be mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, all mine
You could be mine, could be mine
Be mine, all mine

I come to you, so silent in the night
So stealthy, so animal quiet
I'll be your savior, steadfast and true
I'll come to your emotional rescue
I'll come to your emotional rescue
Yeah, you should be mine, mine, whew

Yes, you could be mine
Tonight and every night
I will be your knight in shining armour
Coming to your emotional rescue

You will be mine, you will be mine, all mine
You will be mine, you will be mine, all mine
I will be your knight in shining armour
Riding across the desert with a fine Arab charger

Thursday, 4 March 2010

HUMOUR: Remember Sniglets?

The Washington Post's Style Invitational also asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

Here are this year's winners:

Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

Giraffiti (n): Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

Sarchasm (n): The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

Hipatitis (n): Terminal coolness.

Osteopornosis (n): A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

Karmageddon (n): its like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

Dopeler effect (n): The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a grub in the fruit you're eating.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

ARTICLE: ABC-Cablevision Dispute

Want to see the height of greed and stupidity? And Walt Disney probably spinning in his grave? Read this:

LOS ANGELES — The Walt Disney Co. on Monday began warning Cablevision subscribers in New York that the local ABC television station signal may go dark this weekend in a dispute over how much it is paid by the cable operator.

If the fee fight isn't resolved, the station could go dark after midnight Saturday, meaning Cablevision's 3.1 million customers could lose the ability to watch the Academy Awards on Sunday on ABC.

The signal, however, can still be pulled from the air for free with an antenna and a new TV or digital converter box.

Disney is seeking an additional $40 million a year in new fees, Cablevision Systems Corp. spokesman Charles Schueler said in a statement. Cablevision pays more than $200 million a year to Disney.

"It is not fair for ABC Disney to hold Cablevision customers hostage by forcing them to pay what amounts to a new TV tax," Schueler said.

Disney said Cablevision charges customers $18 per month for basic broadcast signals, but does not pass on any payment for ABC to Disney.

The dispute involving WABC-TV is similar to the standoff at the end of last year between News Corp. and Time Warner Cable over how much Fox television station signals were worth. That tussle, which threatened the college football bowl season and new episodes of "The Simpsons," was resolved without a signal interruption.

Disney said it began alerting Cablevision watchers of the impasse in on-air spot advertisements Monday night. It plans on taking out ads in local newspapers, radio stations and online to inform viewers of the situation, and set up a Web site, , to plead its case. Cablevision, meanwhile, has also set up a Web site and a page on Facebook.

The company's previous contract with Cablevision expired more than two years ago, but the companies extended it month by month as talks continued.

Under previous arrangements, Disney was paid for cable channels such as ESPN and Disney Channel, but gave its ABC broadcast signal away for free, a situation that most broadcasters are now trying to change. "We can no longer sit back and allow Cablevision to use our shows for free while they continue to charge their customers for them," said Rebecca Campbell, the president and general manager of WABC-TV in a statement.

Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger foreshadowed recently that a fight was coming after News Corp. succeeded in its campaign to be paid in cash for its stations' broadcast signals. WABC-TV is the most watched TV station in the country, said Disney, which is based in Burbank. "It's time to recognize the value that they provide to distributors, and their importance to local communities," Iger said on a conference call with analysts last month."

ARTICLE: Chilean Earthquake May Have Shortened Days on Earth

The massive 8.8 earthquake that struck Chile may have changed the entire Earth's rotation and shortened the length of days on our planet, a NASA scientist said Monday.

The quake, the seventh strongest earthquake in recorded history, hit Chile Saturday and should have shortened the length of an Earth day by 1.26 milliseconds, according to research scientist Richard Gross at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "Perhaps more impressive is how much the quake shifted Earth's axis," NASA officials said in a Monday update.

The computer model used by Gross and his colleagues to determine the effects of the Chile earthquake effect also found that it should have moved Earth's figure axis by about 3 inches (8 cm or 27 milliarcseconds).

The Earth's figure axis is not the same as its north-south axis, which it spins around once every day at a speed of about 1,000 mph (1,604 kph). The figure axis is the axis around which the Earth's mass is balanced. It is offset from the Earth's north-south axis by about 33 feet (10 meters).

Strong earthquakes have altered Earth's days and its axis in the past. The 9.1 Sumatran earthquake in 2004, which set off a deadly tsunami, should have shortened Earth's days by 6.8 microseconds and shifted its axis by about 2.76 inches (7 cm, or 2.32 milliarcseconds).

One Earth day is about 24 hours long. Over the course of a year, the length of a day normally changes gradually by one millisecond. It increases in the winter, when the Earth rotates more slowly, and decreases in the summer, Gross has said in the past.

The Chile earthquake was much smaller than the Sumatran temblor, but its effects on the Earth are larger because of its location. Its epicenter was located in the Earth's mid-latitudes rather than near the equator like the Sumatran event. The fault responsible for the 2010 Chile quake also slices through Earth at a steeper angle than the Sumatran quake's fault, NASA scientists said. "This makes the Chile fault more effective in moving Earth's mass vertically and hence more effective in shifting Earth's figure axis," NASA officials said.

Gross said his findings are based on early data available on the Chile earthquake. As more information about its characteristics are revealed, his prediction of its effects will likely change.

The Chile earthquake has killed more than 700 people and caused widespread devastation in the South American country. Several major telescopes in Chile's Atacama Desert have escaped damage, according to the European Southern Observatory managing them. A salt-measuring NASA satellite instrument destined to be installed on an Argentinean satellite was also undamaged in the earthquake, JPL officials said.

The Aquarius instrument was in the city of Bariloche, Argentina, where it is being installed in the Satelite de Aplicaciones Cientificas (SAC-D) satellite. The satellite integration facility is about 365 miles (588 km) from the Chile quake's epicenter. The Aquarius instrument is designed to provide monthly global maps of the ocean's salt concentration in order to track current circulation and its role in climate change.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Into the House, a Feathered Ray of Sunshine!

I was getting ready to leave the house for work when I found a big, beautiful bird hopping around Luis' office! He was lovely. I could not tell you what kind of bird, and maybe he was really a female, but whatever the make and model, he was really neat!

I had left him hopping there, looking at the furniture and Luis, to get my camera. As I stepped into the hallway, the door was closed and Luis asked if he was out there. I looked around and suddenly said, "Yes!" as he'd come out of my office and was there looking at me.

Before I could say anything else, he hopped to the side of my left foot and sat there, looking quite content.

I really did try to get his photo, but my camera picked that moment to read "battery low" and steadfastly refused - several times - to take the image. It shut down everytime. But I stood there for a few minutes, grinning like an idiot, until Luis very gently picked the lovely creature up and let him out.

ARTICLE - NBC Awkwardly & Abruptly Ends Olympic Coverage

How did NBC choose to end its 865 hours of Winter Olympic coverage? By barely acknowledging that said coverage was ending.

In a bizarre conclusion to its telecasts of the 2010 Vancouver Games, NBC awkwardly cut away to air the premiere of the much-hyped reality show, "The Marriage Ref." Viewers were abruptly informed that coverage of the Ceremony would continue at 11:30 p.m. ET.

Here's how it went down: At 10:29 p.m. ET, the network abruptly cut to commercial after singer Michael Buble finished a swinging, Sinatra-like rendition of "The Maple Leaf Forever". After a few ads, NBC cut back to a wide shot of the ongoing Ceremony (there were a number of inflatable animals on the floor at BC Place, making it look like an indoor version of the Macy's Day Parade) and viewers heard Bob Costas say:

"We're back in an hour with the Closing Ceremony party from Vancouver. Nickleback and Avril Lavigne are among the acts that will be performing. But right now we take you to the premiere of Jerry Seinfeld's new series, 'The Marriage Ref.' "

And then, suddenly, coverage of the Olympics was over and the intro to Jerry Seinfeld's show began.

All that NBC does in over-dramatizing the Games and that's how they choose to end coverage for a vast majority of viewers? (Because, let's face it, most people aren't tuning in for the 11:30 p.m. coverage.) No Costas sign-off? No end credits? No cheesy summation of the triumphs of the Olympic spirit? Where's our closure?
Well, now I know how disappointing modern-day television and the networks are. One can only hope that NBC will NOT get the 2014 Olympics after this distastful display. And to cut off a once-every four years event for a stupid reality show! Talk about scraping the bottom of the barrel.