Saturday, December 31, 2011

RSSMicro: Toledo tops Air Force 42-41 in wild Military Bowl shootout #toledo #militarybowl

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JobsWithUs: #ThomsonReuters Compliance Consultant Job (18 Science Park, Singapore, Singapore-Singapore-SG) #jobs

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California vs. Texas: Pick 'Em & Open Thread

Our current record in bowl pick 'em as a blog is 7-4 (.636)

7-5 (4-5) 4th Pac-12 North

Holiday Bowl
Qualcomm Stadium
San Diego, CA
7:00 pm CST

7-5 (4-5) 6th Big XII


Running kind of behind today so I'm not going to go into any detail here. I'm pretty much just getting the graphics up so y'all can vote. Two teams with identical records both overall and in-conference. Neither have any impressive wins. Cal beat a 7-5 Utah and a 6-6 Arizona State whereas Texas beat 6-6 Texas A&M and 6-6 Iowa State. They had a common opponent (UCLA) that Texas beat and Cal lost to. They both got slaughtered by a couple of teams. Vote and chime in with your rationale below.

Current Bowl Records by Conference:

Conference Record
ACC 1-1
Big East 0-1
Big Ten 1-0
Big XII 1-0
C-USA 2-0
Independents 0-0
MAC 3-1
Mountain West 2-3
Pac-12 0-1
SEC 0-0
Sun Belt 1-1
WAC 0-3
Who will win the Holiday Bowl?


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Friday, December 30, 2011

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Stratfor cyberattack adds an exclamation point to ?Year of the Hack?

The 'hack and extract' attack on the strategic think tank Stratfor will only contribute to the public and media awareness of cybercrime that has grown throughout 2011.

Don?t be too surprised if historians look back at 2011 and dub it ?The Year of the Hack.? If so, it won't likely be due to raw numbers of computer networks infiltrated or websites defaced, but rather the fact that cyberspies, criminals, and hacktivists finally registered as a major threat in the public mind and with news media.

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The ?hack and extract? attack targeting the Texas-based strategic think tank Strategic Forecasting Inc. (or Statfor), which the firm reported Sunday, reinforced that growing awareness of cybercrime.

In the attack, which the hackers said was carried out by the group Anonymous but was later disavowed by others claiming to speak for the hacktivist group, Statfor?s confidential client list was stolen, as were thousands of the clients? credit card numbers. Some clients reported fraudulent charges on their accounts.

It?s difficult to determine if the overall number of cyberincidents in 2011 was more or less significant than previous years since the severity of such attacks is so subjective and information so limited, cyberexperts say.

Yet the sheer volume of high-profile incidents covered heavily by news media outlets seemed significant to several analysts while at the same time a large number of hacks were quite sophisticated and alarming from a national security perspective.

?There seems to have been a rather noticeable increase in attention given to hacking by news media and a corresponding increase in the public interest and awareness of such hacks,? says Patrick Underwood, a University of Washington researcher on online communities, including Anonymous.

At least 58 highly-publicized hacking attacks occurred in 2011 with victim organizations around the world ranging from law enforcement agencies, Fortune 500 companies, and governments to defense agencies and military contractors, according to a Monitor tally compiled from lists drawn up by the Center for Strategic Studies, The Hacker News, and a George Mason University study.

?I would call it the ?Great Awakening,? when people finally realized the extent of the problem,? writes James Lewis, director of the Technology and Public Policy Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington in an e-mail interview.

While some highly reported hacks were ultimately deemed relatively trivial ? briefly knocking the public website of the Central Intelligence Agency out of commission, for instance ? such attacks were still part of a 2011 wave that showed many major government institutions seemingly quite vulnerable.


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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Photos: No-man's land attests to Japan's nuclear nightmare

Story Published: Dec 27, 2011 at 9:41 AM PST

Story Updated: Dec 27, 2011 at 9:41 AM PST

Photos: No-man's land attests to Japan's nuclear nightmare

Two stray pet dogs fight in the deserted streets of Okuma, Japan. In the early days of the crisis, roaming farm animals and pets were everywhere inside the no-go zone. But by midsummer, some animals had been rescued and others had perished.

IWAKI, Japan (AP) - Fukushima was just emerging from the snows of winter when the disaster hit - a 9.0-magnitude earthquake, the strongest in Japan's recorded history, followed by a tsunami.

The wall of water destroyed much of the northeastern coast on March 11. In the northeast region of Fukushima, a different disaster was brewing: Three reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant were melting down, irreparably damaged by the super tremor.

Now, as the snows are beginning to fall again, the government has announced the plant has attained a level of stability it is calling a "cold shutdown." As many as 3,000 workers - plumbers, engineers, technicians - stream into the facility each day.

The tsunami's destruction is still visible. Mangled trucks, flipped over by the wave, sit alongside the roads inside the complex, piles of rubble stand where the walls of the reactor structures crumbled and large pools of water still cover parts of the campus.

In the ghost towns around Fukushima Dai-ichi, vines have overtaken streets, feral cows and owner-less dogs roam the fields. Dead chickens rot in their coops.

The tens of thousands of people who once lived around the plant have fled. They are now huddling in gymnasiums, elementary school classrooms, bunking with friends, sometimes just sleeping in their cars, moving from place to place as they search for alternatives.

For those who lived on the perimeter of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, fliers used to come in the mail every so often explaining that someday this might happen. Most recipients saw them as junk mail, and threw them away without a second glance. For those who did read them, the fliers were always worded to be reassuring - suggesting that although a catastrophic nuclear accident was extremely unlikely, it could require evacuating the area.

Never was it even hinted that the evacuation could last years, or decades.

At most of the shelters, food is doled out military-style, at set times. Personal space is extremely limited, often just big enough to fit a futon and the collective snoring at night makes sleep fitful, at best. Baths are public, cramped, dark.

The total amount of radiation released from the plant is still unknown, and the impact of chronic low-dose radiation exposures in and around Fukushima is a matter of scientific debate.

Recent studies also suggest Japan continues to significantly underestimate the scale of the disaster - which could have health and safety implications far into the future.

According to a study led by Andreas Stohl the Norwegian Institute for Air Research, twice as much radioactive cesium-137 - a cancer-causing agent - was pumped into the atmosphere than Japan had announced, reaching 40 percent of the total from Chernobyl. The French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety found 30 times more cesium-137 was released into the Pacific than the plant's owner has acknowledged.

Under a detailed roadmap, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. will remove the melted nuclear fuel, most of which is believed to have fallen to the bottom of the core or even down to the bottom of the larger, beaker-shaped containment vessel, a process that is expected to begin in 10 years.

All told, decommissioning the plant will likely take 40 years.


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Netflix drops in customer satisfaction


Netflix streaming on a laptop

By Athima Chansanchai

As Netflix execs ring in the new year, they'll probably pray that things get better in 2012. A fresh consumer study reveals a big drop in the beleaguered video company's customer satisfaction scores, mostly due to poor handling of the separation of its streaming and DVD plans ??and the price hike that went with it.?

ForeSee, an analytics firm specializing in the consumer experience, released its annual Holiday E-Retail Satisfaction index, which shows that even as Amazon has risen to top place, Netflix has slid the most. As the two go head to head in the video streaming competition, the company predicts the two will continue to go in opposite directions, with "a gulf that may be too wide for Netflix to overcome anytime soon."

Netflix took hits in almost every measurement ForeSee compiles as part of the index.

With its satisfaction decline, Netflix has gone from satisfaction superstar to merely average, matching the index?s aggregate score of 79 (up one point from 78 in the 2010 holiday shopping season). Netflix saw scores drop in every single element of the website that ForeSee measures, including site content, site functionality, merchandise and prices.


Netflix has been trying to regain its footing since the summer, according to CEO Reed Hastings, when the company "greatly upset many domestic Netflix members with our significant DVD-related pricing changes, and to a lesser degree, with the proposed-and-now-cancelled rebranding of our DVD service," referring to the short, unhappy life of the Qwikster almost-spin-off.

Elsewhere in Hastings' third quarter letter to shareholders, he and CFO David Wells acknowledge that a "temporary cancellation surge" was the price to pay for the way they handled the 60 percent price increase that came with separating its streaming and DVD plans.

We think that $7.99 for unlimited streaming and $7.99 for unlimited DVD are both very aggressive low prices, relative to competition and to the value of the services, and they are the right place for Netflix to be in the long term. What we misjudged was how quickly to move there. We compounded the problem with our lack of explanation about the rising cost of the expansion of streaming content, and steady DVD costs, so that absent that explanation, many perceived us as greedy. Finally, we announced and then retracted a separate brand for DVD.

We first saw that wave of derision engulf the company over the summer, when more than 100,000 comments slammed the Netflix Facebook page and official blog following the separation announcement, which gave once-loyal costumers no choice in the matter, just a perfunctory heads-up that change was a-comin'. And after that, Netflix could do no right, with members complaining about snafus like the much smaller volume of streaming choices vs. DVDs (tens of thousands vs. millions), Qwikster and the threat of not being able to watch more than one stream at a time in the same household.?

Despite the threats of a mass exodus, Netflix members for the most part stayed put, though, as the company has acknowledged, it meant downgrading to streaming only. But that is, after all, the company's focus as it moves steadily into the tablet space and continues its infiltration onto TVs via video game consoles, Blu-ray players and dedicated devices like Roku's set-top boxes.?

TechCrunch recently ran a story about Citi analysts whose survey still put Netflix ahead of Hulu (and way ahead of Amazon) as the go-to site for streaming TV/movie watching, and another one that showed people spending twice as much time on Netflix than on Hulu.

Looks like whatever happens, there's almost no way 2012 won't be a better year for Netflix than this one.

More stories:

Check out Technolog on?Facebook, and on Twitter, follow?Athima Chansanchai, who is also trying to keep her head above water in the?Google+?stream.


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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A future gaming world of 100% digital games? | N4G

[unable to retrieve full-text content]A future gaming world of 100% digital games? Pravkebab: I love collecting games and not just playing them and I think that one day we will see a world of pure digital content. (Industry, PS3, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360). Read full story >> Comments ...


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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

India vs Australia: India 314-3 at Stumps; Sachin's Elusive Century Continues

Australia paceman Peter Siddle deflated a nation of a billion people when he bowled Sachin Tendulkar for 73 in the last over, but India's fluent batting helped the tourists seize control of the first test on Tuesday.

With Tendulkar gliding effortlessly toward his 100th international century, Siddle sent a stinging full-pitched delivery that swung in late and bowled the 38-year-old through the gate to break a 117-run partnership with Rahul Dravid.

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Ishant Sharma came in as nightwatchman and survived the last three balls of the second day to see India through to 214 for three at stumps in response to Australia's first innings total of 333 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Dravid ended the day unbeaten on 68 alongside Sharma, who has yet to score, with the tourists primed to build a big total on a pitch that is offering little for the bowlers.

Tendulkar and Dravid had resumed after tea on 99-2 and made hay while the sun shone, blunting an Australian attack that had been buoyed by their dismissal of Virender Sehwag for 67 shortly before the interval.

The pair dominated the hosts in a bruising session with few genuine chances but Siddle's late breakthrough was just reward for a bowler who thought he had removed Dravid for 65 a few overs earlier, only for the decision to be overturned on review.

Television replays showed the paceman's foot had crept over the crease, rendering it a no-ball, and after the fiery redhead from rural Victoria had displayed his anger by spitting on the field, he came steaming back with renewed determination.

"It actually felt like he did come through five k's (kilometres per hour) quicker after that which was good and I thought he showed a bit of character coming back after what happened to get Tendulkar late in the day," wicketkeeper Brad Haddin told reporters.

"It was a big blow for us to get him."

Having survived a tense few overs before tea, Tendulkar belted Siddle for six off the first ball of the final session with an uppercut over the slips to ignite the crowd of 52,000.

By the time he trudged off the ground to warm applause, the "Little Master" had lofted another two deliveries over the slips cordon and stroked a pair of sublime cover drives among the eight boundaries he spread around the ground.

Dravid reverted to type, playing the role of straight man in the double act, reaching his half-century off 139 balls with a thick edge that fired past home captain Michael Clarke in the slips on the way to the fence.

Tendulkar raised his 50 a few minutes later with a deft flick to mid-on off spinner Nathan Lyon, sparking a roar from the crowd, where one of the many banners read: "We welcome His Excellency Sachin Tendulkar to the MCG."


India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who took 3-81, said Tendulkar would bounce back from another near-miss. The right-handed master batsman has been stranded on 99 international centuries since March.

"It will eventually happen, so there's no point in really bothering about it," he said.

Sehwag had earlier put Australia to the sword, helped along by two dropped catches. Mike Hussey grassed a diving chance in the gully early in the hard-hitting opener's innings, while Haddin later spilled an edge toward the end of his knock.

Sehwag registered his 8,000th run in the seven-boundary, 83-ball innings before Pattinson had him play onto his stumps.

Opener Gautam Gambhir was out for three when he feathered an edge to Haddin off recalled paceman Ben Hilfenhaus.

Resuming their innings on 277-6, Australia's tail-enders cobbled 56 runs for the final four wickets with paceman Zaheer Khan and Ashwin sharing two wickets apiece.

Zaheer had Haddin caught behind for 27 to end a 72-run stand with Siddle, but Hilfenhaus and Pattinson frustrated the tourists with a 27-run partnership for the ninth wicket before Lyon joined the latter to add another 15.

Ashwin ended a quick 19 from Hilfenhaus who was caught in the deep by Virat Kohli, and then bowled Lyon for six when he attempted an ill-judged sweep.

Zaheer, playing his first test in five months after a long injury layoff, took 4-77 to finish the best of the Indian bowlers. Umesh Yadav matched Ashwin's haul of three wickets.

"In the end we were happy with 330. India might be a little bit in front than us in the game but it's evenly poised tomorrow if we start this first session well," Haddin added.?


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cfbmatrix: Wine, Beer, Christmas cookies, Frank Sinatra and Christmas eve & kids that will get me up at 5am! Merry Christmas to All on Twitter! #Peace

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Wine, Beer, Christmas cookies, Frank Sinatra and Christmas eve & kids that will get me up at 5am! Merry Christmas to All on Twitter! #Peace cfbmatrix

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Monday, December 26, 2011

SBC and Cancer Awareness Bible

An expensive decision, no doubt, but one in keeping with a fundamental moral stance against abortion and one with which I completely agree:

?A Bible published by the Southern Baptist Convention to raise awareness and money for breast cancer has been pulled from shelves in America after Christians complained that the charity it was backing supported abortion provider Planned Parenthood. The Southern Baptist Convention?s publishing arm released its cancer awareness Bible in October ?as a way to place God?s Word into the hands of those suffering through breast cancer?, it said, with $1 from each sale going to the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Foundation for breast health education, screening and treatment programmes. But after it discovered ?the overwhelming concern? that some of the foundation?s affiliates were donating funds to Planned Parenthood, the sexual healthcare and abortion provider, it made the decision to withdraw it.

And this is what LifeWay posted:

We made a mistake.

As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, B&H Publishing Group released to several mass market retailers a Cancer Awareness Bible as a way to place God?s Word into the hands of those suffering through breast cancer. As part of the project, B&H agreed to donate $1 from the sale of each Bible to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation for breast health education, screening and treatment programs.

As this project has developed, we realized it was a mistake.

When our leadership discovered the overwhelming concern that some of Komen?s affiliates were giving funds to Planned Parenthood, we began the arduous process of withdrawing this Bible from the market. Though we have assurances that Komen?s funds are used only for breast cancer screening and awareness, it is not in keeping with LifeWay?s core values to have even an indirect relationship with Planned Parenthood.

B&H?s mission to advance the gospel through distribution of God?s Word is unchanged, so we will continue to seek innovative ways that are in keeping with LifeWay?s core values.

Thom S. Rainer
President and CEO
LifeWay Christian Resources


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North Africa -Al Qaeda's new threatre of Jihad - Samaylive

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The Beginning of the End of the 9-to-5 Workday? (

The traditional eight-hour workday may soon be the exception rather than the rule. New evidence shows that we?re reaching a tipping point in terms of workplace flexibility, with businesses seeing the wisdom of allowing employees ? young ones especially ? to work odd hours, telecommute and otherwise tweak the usual 9-to-5 grind.

One of the?top 12 trends for 2012 as named by the communications firm Euro RSCG Worldwide is that employees in the Gen Y, or millennial, demographic ? those born between roughly 1982 and 1993 ? are overturning the traditional workday.

The Business and Professional Women?s Foundation estimates that by 2025, 75% of the global workforce will be Gen Y. As early as next year, this group of younger Americans will comprise 60% of the employees at companies like Ernst & Young. And increasingly, companies are creating workplace-flexibility programs because it makes good business sense, not in the least because that?s what their employees are demanding.

(GALLERY: 9 Jobs of of the (Near) Future)

Gen Y-ers are spearheading this change because they don?t want the same work environment their parents had. Between new technology and global workplace dynamics, companies are implementing flexible work arrangements for everyone, inclusive of Gen Y. A recent Vodafone U.K. survey illustrates that 90% of employers enable work flexibility instead of sticking to traditional hours.

Leading the charge in the shift toward allowing employees to work anywhere around the world, at any time they want, are companies such as Ernst & Young, Aflac and MITRE, which all realize that they need to accommodate employees? personal lives if they want to retain them. ?This notion of an eight-hour day is rapidly disappearing, simply because we work so virtually and globally,? says Maryella Gockel, Ernst & Young?s flexibility-strategy leader. By understanding Gen Y-ers? need for workplace flexibility, companies are better able to recruit and grow young talent for the future.

Aside from the early adopters of workplace-flexibility programs, many other companies are hesitant because of the traditional ?command and control? approach laid out for older generations. The challenge these companies face is letting go and trusting their young employees ? even when they are telecommuting or using Facebook regularly at work.

(LIST: 10 Money Moves to Make Before 2012)

Many companies fear that, without structure, employees will be distracted, not as engaged and less productive. In fact, the opposite is often true. A trusting work environment breeds more-loyal employees and increases efficiency. Here are three reasons for companies to embrace workplace-flexibility programs:

1. Gen Y workers won?t accept jobs where they can?t access Facebook. Cisco?s ?Connected World Technology? report shows that more than half of Gen Y employees prioritize social-media freedom over a higher salary when evaluating a job offer. Furthermore, more than half say the Internet is an integral part of their lives. Gen Y-ers wants to be connected to their friends and families, not just their co-workers, throughout the day. Although some companies ban social media at work, other companies have embraced it as long as employees use it professionally. ?We do want people to use social networks in order to keep in touch with their colleagues and contacts,? explains Gockel, whose company has no formal social-media guidelines or policies.

(MORE: The Blackberry Moral, Or: The Trouble With Too Many Options)

2. Gen Y-ers value workplace flexibility over more money. More than one-third (37%) of Gen Y workers would take a pay cut if it meant more flexibility on the job, reports a study by Mom Corps. Flexibility motivates these workers to be more productive and loyal to their companies because they feel like they are respected. An employer that allows flexibility in the workplace also demonstrates that it understands the evolving modern-day work environment, which bodes well for the future.

3. Gen Y workers are always connected to jobs through technology. Technology has made the traditional 9-to-5 model blurry ? for all workers, of all generations, really. No one is ever out of touch or off the clock. When workers go home, they?re still working because who they are personally and professionally have become one and the same. Workers are always representing the company, and more and more, it seems, work e-mail doesn?t stop for anything or anyone. By no means does time away from the office equal less work getting done.

Schawbel?is the managing partner of Millennial Branding LLC, a full-service?personal-branding?agency. He is the author of? Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future, founder of the blog Personal Branding and publisher of? Personal Branding magazine.?


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Sunday, December 25, 2011

St. Vincent's Invites Community to a Free Christmas Meal

RENO, Nev. (KRNV & - St. Vincent?s dining room, as part of Catholic Community Services of Northern Nevada, has welcomed the hungry with open arms for more than four decades. Today, the dining room serves hundreds of meals every day. No preaching, no fee, no questions are asked of the hungry who go there.

This year,?Christmas meal service begins at 11:30 a.m., is free of charge,?and is catered by The Nugget.?The dining room is located at 325 Valley Rd., just east of downtown Reno.

For details, call 775-322-7073.


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Automobile current market once the newest talents Automotive ...

Saying goes, ?there isn?t any diamond does not embrace porcelain reside.? A certified auto plastic auto mechanics teacher to master the theory of functional expertise in technological innovation, similar to: vehicle supplies and warmth procedure, auto mechanics and other cars and trucks influenced by standard expertise in English examining the same vehicle, home pc apps can also be essential. Inside theory of knowledge and mastered plenty of apply by a wealth of practical knowledge amassed when the be taken into consideration like a capable professional automotive plastic division.

Numerous domestic universities and schools have setup professional auto Plastic

HC Car Routine maintenance Routine maintenance Network vehicle plastic, the name suggests, may be to structure and manufacture, fix of motor motor vehicles outdoors the form, shell, external packaging, automotive sheet metal is famous technological innovation that requires high knowledge, automotive plastic mildew inside manufacturing sector combined with the motor vehicle, Just about all vehicle makers and Program Enterprises have to have this Expertise ?? Would be the car?s plastic division.

Present, the domestic auto Plastic Industry There can be two principal regions: accident vehicle routine maintenance and vehicle modification.

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So, irrespective of whether the market or modified routine maintenance marketplace, in anticipation of your promulgation of relevant policies and rules for the professional automotive plastic whereas the need is extremely remarkable. A high Car decoration Tu mounted as much as 5,000 yuan month-to-month wage personnel, whereas It can be comprehended that fifty establishments of larger finding out lately, new cars and trucks can have 109 experts in shaping the career. Preferred and professional wants of your marketplace mirrored the increased shaping domestic vehicle marketplace will slowly develop into regularized, and professional Producing Road.

Saying goes, ?there isn?t any diamond does not embrace china reside.? A certified auto plastic auto mechanics teacher to master the theory of functional expertise in technological innovation, similar to: vehicle supplies and warmth procedure, auto mechanics and other cars and trucks influenced by standard expertise in English examining the same vehicle, home pc apps can also be essential. Related theoretical knowledge inside mastered plenty of apply due to a wealth of practical knowledge amassed when the be taken into consideration like a capable professional automotive plastic division.

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Art of the Adventures of Tintin for iPad

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Fans of the new Tintin movie will love 'The Art of the Adventures of Tintin' app for the iPad.

The Art of the Adventures of Tintin features 360? Immersive Environments, 360? Turnaround Characters, Video Clips and Exclusive new content, as a part of the narrative that turns the amazing story and evolution of Herg?'s original artwork into the blockbuster 3D performance captured in the film directed by Steven Spielberg and produced by Peter Jackson and Kathleen Kennedy.

Based on content from the beautifully presented book, the Art of the Adventures of Tintin by Chris Guise, the app takes the reader further into the story by exploring and interacting with various features throughout the book. Readers are able to see the transformation of concept illustrations into final shots from the film, as well as listen to the artists and filmmakers who worked on the film, including Oscar Winners Joe Letteri and Richard Taylor. Joe Letteri and Richard Taylor also share their insights into the filmmaking experience in their video introductions for this outstanding book. The die-hard Tintin fan can also take pleasure in the inclusion of never before published footage of Herg? working in his studio as well as never seen before concept art and interactive features.

You can purchase The Art of the Adventures of Tintin from the App Store for $5.99.

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SportDesignBlog: RT @steven_little: Look what you've started, @GTAthletics. RT @darrenrovell The @Celtics put their Twitter handle on the court http://t. ...

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Friday, December 23, 2011


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Catholic Cardinal Warns Gay Pride Parade Could 'Morph into Ku Klux Klan'

A Catholic cardinal in Chicago on Wednesday compared the gay liberation movement to the Ku Klux Klan.

Appearing on Fox's Chicago station, Cardinal Francis George complained that this year's Gay Pride Parade route would mean that Our Lady of Mount Carmel might have to cancel Sunday mass for the first time in almost 100 years.

"You don't want the gay liberation movement to morph into something like the Ku Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against Catholicism," George said.

"That's a little strong analogy, Ku Klux Klan," Fox Chicago's Dane Placko noted.

"It is," George agreed. "But you take a look at the rhetoric -- the rhetoric of the Ku Klux Klan, the rhetoric of some of the gay liberation people. Who is the enemy? The Catholic Church."

Upon hearing the church's concerns, parade organizers agreed to move the event start time from 10 a.m. to noon.

The parade is normally held on the last Sunday in June. The route was changed to accommodate a large crowd after more than 800,000 people attended last year's event, causing crowd control and traffic problems. A 10 a.m. start time was suggested to reduce the amount of drinking.

State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D) on Wednesday called for George to apologize.

"The Cardinal's unfortunate choice of words in comparing the LGBT community to the Klu Klux Klan is offensive," she told

The Gay Liberation Network released a statement calling George a "mendacious" man for "trying to deflect criticism of church policies that promote discrimination."

"It is ironic that George chooses to mention the KKK, as they are but one of the most extreme examples of organizations which have used religion to shield themselves from criticism of their hateful policies," the statement said. "While an overwhelming majority of lay Catholics support equality for women and LGBTs, the Catholic leadership has a history and present practice of discrimination which they apparently will go to quite extreme lengths to defend."


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Monday, December 19, 2011

Beach Boys announce 50th anniversary reunion tour

FILE - In this Sept. 11, 2011 file photo, Mike Love of the Beach Boys sings for a crowd of thousands during the Colorado Remembers 911 event at Civic Center Park in Denver. The founding members of the classic rock group; Brian Wilson, Mike Love and Al Jardine, announced Friday, Dec. 16, they were getting back together to celebrate their 50th anniversary. (AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez, file)

FILE - In this Sept. 11, 2011 file photo, Mike Love of the Beach Boys sings for a crowd of thousands during the Colorado Remembers 911 event at Civic Center Park in Denver. The founding members of the classic rock group; Brian Wilson, Mike Love and Al Jardine, announced Friday, Dec. 16, they were getting back together to celebrate their 50th anniversary. (AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez, file)

NEW YORK (AP) ? It's almost winter, but get ready for some surf and sun: The Beach Boys are reuniting.

The founding members of the classic rock group ? Brian Wilson, Mike Love and Al Jardine ? announced Friday they are getting back together to celebrate their 50th anniversary. They're working on a new album and also plan a 50-date tour that will take them around the world.

"This anniversary is special to me because I miss the boys, and it will be a thrill for me to make a new record and be on stage with them again," Wilson said in a statement.

The group also includes Bruce Johnston and David Marks, both of whom have been with the band for decades.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers gave birth to the California rock sound. Back then, the band members were Love, Jardine, Wilson and his two brothers ? Carl and Dennis Wilson, who have since died. With songs like "Good Vibrations," ''I Get Around" and "California Girls," the quintet embodied the fantasy of West Coast beach life. Their albums, particularly "Pet Sounds," influenced rockers of their generation and beyond.

But Wilson suffered mental problems that caused him to withdraw from the band, and there were years of animosity between Love and Wilson, who are cousins, as well as lawsuits among members of the band. Still, they have gotten back together over the years, including for their 40th anniversary in the last decade.

Love remarked in the statement Friday on how he and Wilson were getting along well, sharing compliments together in the studio.

"Music has been the unifying and harmonizing fact of life in our family since childhood," he said.?"It has been a huge blessing that we have been able to share with the world." Referring to a Beach Boy hit, he added: "Wouldn't It Be Nice to Do It Again??Absolutely!"

The group was supposed to announce their reunion as a surprise during the Recording Academy's live nominations special for the Grammys last month, but those plans fell through.

However, Jardine said the group planned to appear at the Feb. 12 Grammy telecast in Los Angeles.

"There will be a surprise at the Grammys," he told Rolling Stone. "We will do something really exciting. There's a lot of interest in it, which is nice. It's going to be a very big operation."

The Beach Boys first concert is scheduled for April 27 at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.



Associated Press


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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Russian opposition bracing for new weekend rallies (AP)

MOSCOW ? Russia's opposition parties on Friday called for weekend rallies to protest election fraud following Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's rejection of protesters' demands for a rerun of a disputed parliamentary poll.

Several parties and groups hope for a repeat of last weekends mass gatherings in Moscow and other cities, when tens of thousands of people vented their anger against results of parliamentary poll on Dec. 4 which they say were marred ballot stuffing and other irregularities.

The Moscow protest was the largest in Russia's post-Soviet history, signaling that Putin's comeback to the presidential job he held from 2000 to 2008 will not be as easy as had been expected only two weeks ago.

On Thursday, Putin insisted that the vote results reflected the people's will and dismissed the protesters as Western stooges.

Putin's United Russia party won nearly 50 percent of the vote, a 20 percent decrease on the number of seats it held in the previous legislature. The opposition and some observers said the slim majority it retained was due to widespread vote fraud.

The widespread protest following the vote reflected popular anger against Putin's party, dubbed by its critics as a "party of crooks and thieves."

"The crooks and thieves have stolen our victory," Oksana Dmitriyeva, a leading member of the opposition Just Russia party wrote in her blog, alleging that her party's victory in St. Petersburg, Russia's second-largest city was taken away from it through massive fraud.

Putin, who has consistently marginalized the opposition and tightened election rules during his 12-year rule, promised on Friday some moves toward liberalization. He proposed placing web cameras in all the country's poling stations for the March 4 presidential election that he is contesting.

The opposition dismissed Putin's proposal as an attempt to deflect public anger.


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Zynga's rivals welcome the social gaming IPO | VentureBeat

With the IPOs of Zynga and Nexon, the social and online game industries have their first billion-dollar public offerings. May many more follow.

That?s the spirit among other social gaming rivals, including those that have been fierce competitors to Zynga, the largest of the social gaming companies. Now both Zynga and Nexon will have an extra billion dollars to buy some of those rivals, spreading around some of the holiday cheer. And the worldwide publicity from the offerings will bring new recognition that gaming is a big business and that social and online games have mass market awareness.

As we chronicled in our 25,000-word history of the company, Zynga has come a long way since chief executive Mark Pincus (pictured) founded the company in 2007. His tale is sure to inspire other entrepreneurs to follow in his footsteps. Pincus will ring the opening bell ? virtually, from Zynga?s headquarters in San Francisco ? on Nasdaq this morning.

Nexon went public three days ago, raising $1.2 billion on the Tokyo Stock Exchange at a $7 billion valuation. Zynga priced its IPO shares yesterday at $10 a share, which will enable it to raise $1.15 billion at a $8.9 billion valuation.

?Zynga?s IPO is great for the industry, providing a focal point for many to learn and get more involved in important industry trends,? said Trip Hawkins, chief executive of mobile and social gaming firm Digital Chocolate. ?The IPO should also prove to be a catalyst for many future transactions that will help the industry.?

Hawkins is certainly no fan of Zynga, as he competes head to head against it every day. Peter Relan, chairman of YouWeb and CEO of social game firm CrowdStar, said, ?In the western world zynga is the first company to bring validity to a business model that has thrived in Asia for over a decade as exemplified by the Nexon IPO.?

Kevin Chou, chief executive of hardcore social gaming company Kabam, said, ??The excitement and pricing of Zynga?s IPO as one of the largest in gaming history shows just how powerful and fast disruption is coming to the industry.?

He added, ?Zynga is at the center of not one but three very powerful disruptive forces.? That includes the free-to-play business model (where users play for free and pay real money for virtual goods) as a frictionless way to optimize how to charge for entertainment. It also provides technology advancements to put entertainment within reach of any consumer with an internet connected device. And it enables ?social interactions that power connectivity and play.?

Chou said, ?It?s the most important event in the gaming industry in the last decade, and Zynga didn?t even exist five years ago.?

Arjun Sethi, head of social game maker Lolapps at 6waves Lolapps, said, ?Zynga?s IPO is an important validation for the social gaming market which will continue its rapid growth in 2012. Zynga?s milestone proves that companies taking a data-informed approach to their product development continue to find the most success.?

Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, isn?t allowed to comment on the valuation yet. But he said, ?It?s not a surprise that they priced at the high end of the range. I think they created a lot of demand with limited supply, and expect it to trade up due to demand.?

Alex St. John, former president of social network Hi5, said, ?I think it?s a good thing no matter what happens. If they fail it will be blamed on the bad times and Facebook dependency. If they succeed, they will define the value of hundreds of online game companies that are successful and control their own audiences.? The market will become highly educated about the online game business regardless of what happens.?

?What Zynga?s IPO does is finally put tangible metrics and evaluations within the social space,? said Jesse Divnich, analyst at game research firm EEDAR. ?Till now the forces driving evaluations have mostly been expert driven guest work.? Now we?ll have an entire public market driving evaluations to their true value.?

But Divnich said that these new IPOs shouldn?t necessarily lead to a bunch of others.

?I do fear that Zynga?s IPO may create a surge in IPO offerings from other social and mobile game companies across the world, much like we saw in the 2000?s with the internet boom,? he said. ?At the very least, having an objective measuring stick (Zynga?s IPO) will likely accelerate acquisitions in the space. Certainly those being acquired or going public will see the benefit, but I do worry that this could be part of a bubble.?

Eric Goldberg, managing director at Crossover Technologies, said that Zynga?s IPO may actually be an impediment to more social game companies going public. Other companies will want to ride in Zynga?s slipstream and insist that they do one or two things better than Zynga. It doesn?t always follow that these followers are going to be good investments, Goldberg said.

Previous Story: On heels of new funding and global expansion, car service Uber launches in D.C.?today

Tags: mobile games, social games

People: Jesse Divnich, Kevin Chou, Mark Pincus, Michael Pachter, Trip Hawkins


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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Internet Explorer to start automatic upgrading across Windows 7, Vista and XP

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery right? Well, in an attempt to keep its tenuous grip on the browsing crown, it's borrowing some tricks from its plucky upstart competitors. Microsoft's announced that Internet Explorer will now tie into future Windows Update releases. The new system will start in the new year in both Australia and Brazil -- no, we don't get the connection either -- with a graduated roll-out from there throughout 2012. Microsoft says that this will help keep their browser secure and on the cutting edge of all those HTML5 developments. Fortunately, according to the Windows Team Blog, auto-update antagonists will still be able to opt out of the system. See how Ryan Galvin, Internet Explorer's General Manager, explains the reasoning over at the official blog; the link's just below.

Internet Explorer to start automatic upgrading across Windows 7, Vista and XP originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 15 Dec 2011 09:45:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink   |  sourceWindows Team Blog  | Email this | Comments


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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

AP Interview: Chou taps inner child for 11th album (AP)

TAIPEI, Taiwan ? The Number 11 seems to be a lucky number for Mandarin pop's biggest star, Jay Chou.

Chou released "Wow," his 11th Mandarin album on Nov. 11, and 2011 marks his 11th year in show business. Over that time, he has revolutionized the business in ways not even he could have foreseen and has heavily influenced a generation of musicians and song writers who followed.

Although his musical style is loosely categorized as R&B or pop, the 32-year-old Taiwanese singer/song writer is a classically trained pianist who often injects classical music and traditional Chinese instruments into his tracks.

With "Wow," Chou says he is "getting back to basics" and making music for a younger audience.

"I believe that a musician should have a child's heart," Chou said in an interview in Taipei with The Associated Press. "I've made a lot of more sophisticated tracks in the last 10 albums. There were a lot of songs that adults love. The 11th album is more for the kids."

Since becoming a huge star and developing a following across Asia, Chou has fallen victim to the growing paparazzi culture in Taiwan. He is often followed and chased by photographers and reporters who would go to great lengths to dig up stories about his personal life.

Chou doesn't hide his disdain for the paparazzi, and he vents his frustrations in lyrics, or, in the case of the music video for the album's title track, by blowing up a fictitious paparazzi "office building."

It's an "immature" thought, he acknowledges, but one he says will resonate with fellow celebrities. "I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels this way," he said.

Chou has also ventured into acting and directing. His directorial debut "Secret," is a story about star-crossed high school sweethearts who re-connect with the help of a magical piano. He revealed to AP that a sequel is planned for next year.

"I will use the same cast and crew," he said. "because I think we've already got pretty good chemistry."

Playing Kato alongside Seth Rogen's "Green Hornet" gave Jay Chou his first big Hollywood break, and more offers are coming in. But Chou hasn't yet found another project that appeals to him.

"I want to pick something that's suitable and something that I like," he said.

He's hoping "Green Hornet 2" gets the green light so he can reprise the role of Kato. Until then, Chou can be seen in the "Viral Factor," co-starring Hong Kong actor Nicholas Tse, in January 2012.


Associated Press writer Angela Chen contributed to this report from Hong Kong.


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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Clinton sees Syrian opposition, US envoy returns

With concern mounting over the crisis in Syria and President Bashar Assad's crackdown on dissent, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton meets with a small group of expatriate Syrian opposition members, at an hotel in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, Pool)

With concern mounting over the crisis in Syria and President Bashar Assad's crackdown on dissent, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton meets with a small group of expatriate Syrian opposition members, at an hotel in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, Pool)

With concern mounting over the crisis in Syria and President Bashar Assad's crackdown on dissent, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, meets with a small group of expatriate Syrian opposition members, at an hotel in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, Pool)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton defends the rights of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender persons from around the world in a speech entitled "Free and Equal in Dignity and Rights", at the UN in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011, International Human Rights Day. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, Pool)

With concern mounting over the crisis in Syria and President Bashar Assad's crackdown on dissent, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, below right, meets with a small group of expatriate Syrian opposition members, at the Intercontinental Hotel in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, Pool)

(AP) ? U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton held a rare meeting on Tuesday with Syrian opposition figures as the Obama administration returned its top envoy to Damascus, both signs the U.S. is increasing pressure on the Bashar Assad regime and looking ahead to a time when he is gone.

Ambassador Robert Ford had been recalled from Damascus six week ago because of threats on him and rising violence.

In Geneva, Clinton told a group of seven Syria n pro-reform activists that she wanted to hear their plans to establish a new democratic government if they are successful in prying Assad from power. Her invitation was a step short of endorsement, but a clear sign the U.S. wants to work closely with those who might assume leadership roles.

"Obviously, a democratic transition is more than removing the Assad regime. It means setting Syria on the path of the rule of law," Clinton told the activists who are all exiles in Europe and belong to the Syrian National Council, one of several umbrella groups for Assad foes.

Tuesday's meeting marked only the second time Clinton has held an in-person session with members of the Syrian opposition since President Barack Obama called for Assad to step down in August amid a still ongoing brutal crackdown on pro-reform demonstrators.

"We certainly believe that if Syrians unite, they together can succeed in moving their country to that better future," Clinton told the group. Reporters heard her greeting to six of the exiles, who agreed to be identified publicly despite a campaign of retribution against Assad opponents inside and outside Syria. A seventh joined the meeting later because he did not want to be identified.

The meeting in Geneva came as the State Department announced that Ford was returning to his post in Damascus.

The United States has abandoned hope that Assad might pull back from the crackdown and install reforms. But the U.S. has not endorsed any candidate or movement as a successor, and has been careful not to be seen as prescribing a solution from afar.

Ford is due to return to Syria overnight despite the Assad government's continuing crackdown on reformers, the department said. The administration has argued that Ford's presence in Syria is important for advancing U.S. policy goals by meeting with opposition figures and serving as a witness to the ongoing violence.

"He will continue the work he was doing previously; namely, delivering the United States' message to the people of Syria; providing reliable reporting on the situation on the ground; and engaging with the full spectrum of Syrian society on how to end the bloodshed and achieve a peaceful political transition," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement.

"We believe his presence in the country is among the most effective ways to send the message that the United States stands with the people of Syria," he said.

Ford's recall on Oct. 22 prompted the Syrian government to recall its ambassador to Washington. Ford had been due to return to Syria in late November, but instability, including attacks on several foreign diplomatic missions, prompted the administration to delay his trip.

Ford's presence in Syria is a symbolic part of Obama's now-abandoned effort to engage Damascus, which was without a U.S. ambassador for years after the Bush administration broke ties over Syria's alleged role in the 2005 assassination of a political candidate in neighboring Lebanon.

In September, Ford and several colleagues were pelted with tomatoes and eggs by a violent mob as they entered the office of a prominent Syrian opposition figure. No one was injured, but officials said several heavily armored embassy vehicles sent to help extricate them from the situation were badly damaged with broken windows and dents when the same crowd hurled rocks.

Ford has angered the Syrian regime by visiting protest centers outside of Damascus in a show of solidarity with the anti-government uprising. Those incidents have further raised tensions between Washington and Damascus, which has accused the United States of helping incite violence in Syria.


Lee reported from Washington


Associated Press


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