Sunday, September 26, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Friday, September 24, 2010
Do you speak English ?
- Abdul al-Rhazib.
...- Three to fi...ve times a week.
- No, no... I mean male or female?
- Yes, male, female, sometimes camel.
- Holy cow!
- Yes, cow, sheep, animals in general.
- But isn´t that hostile?
- Horse style, doggy style, any style!
- Oh dear!
- No, no! Deer run too fast...
- Abdul al-Rhazib.
...- Three to fi...ve times a week.
- No, no... I mean male or female?
- Yes, male, female, sometimes camel.
- Holy cow!
- Yes, cow, sheep, animals in general.
- But isn´t that hostile?
- Horse style, doggy style, any style!
- Oh dear!
- No, no! Deer run too fast...
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
The ad begins as a standard YouTube video, only 30 seconds long. But near the end of the clip, there are buttons presented to you in a sort of choose-your-own-adventure kind of way, as you’re asked to choose whether the main character shoots the bear or not. Regardless of what you choose, you’re then taken to a page that looks like another YouTube video, but it’s not. It’s a full-page flash file.
The hunter then reaches over to the right of the “video player,” and grabs the Tipp-Ex white-out tape from the nearby advertisement, and uses it to erase the word “shoots” from the video’s title. He then invites you to fill in your own word and watch the results.
You’ll get hilarious results for things like “dances”, “punches”, “farts”, “eats”, “drinks” , “brushes”, “sings to”, and who-knows how many other action words. And yes… for the lowbrow fans among us… you’ll get an actual result for the f-word as well.
DVD Extras: if you refuse to type something for the bear to do… the main character will eventually come back on screen and harass you for taking so long.
This is funny, clever, original, and interactive—and best of all, it demonstrates the product in a memorable way. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to try more verbs. Try it yourself by watching the video below:
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Political correctness takes a step closer to complete insanity, as Microsoft bans a gamer from Xbox LIVE just because of where he lives.
You see, Josh Moore, a 26 year-old unemployed factory worker with a penchant for first-person shooters, is a resident of “Fort Gay”. This diminutive West Virginian ‘burg dates back to 1789 and is thought to be named after an American Civil War nurse. Sadly, Xbox LIVE staff knew nothing of this and didn’t even bother to check the town’s existence. Instead they suspended Moore’s Xbox LIVE account when they saw what was considered to be an offensive term in his gamer profile.
Needless to say, Moore was somewhat dumbfounded, complaining: "At first I thought, 'Wow, somebody's thinking I live in the gayest town in West Virginia or something. I was mad. ... It makes me feel like they hate gay people."
You might think that such a simple mistake would be easy to fix with a quick phone call to Xbox Customer services. Alas, this only seemed to make matters worse: "I figured, I'll explain to them, 'Look in my account. Fort Gay is a real place. I told him, Google it - 25514!" said Moore, identifying the town's ZIP code.
However the Xbox LIVE employee responded with a stern warning that if Moore put Fort Gay back in his profile, they’d cancel his account and keep the two years’ subscription fee he’d already paid in advance.
Even Fort Gay’s Mayor, David Thompson, was unable to help, and was summarily informed that “Gay” was deemed an insulting term when used in any context. Which, of course, is complete nonsense – quite apart from its ‘Happy’ meaning, Microsoft itself has recently changed its policy, allowing Xbox gamers to express their sexuality in their profiles and gamer tags.
But it took Xbox LIVE’s director of policy and enforcement, Stephen Toulouse, to finally break the unfortunate impasse.
“Someone took the phrase 'Fort Gay WV' and believed that the individual who had that was trying to offend, or trying to use it in a pejorative manner. Unfortunately, one of my people agreed with that. When it was brought to my attention, we did revoke the suspension."
"In this very, very specific case, a mistake was made and we're going to make it right."
To which end, staff training has since been improved and senses of humour have been reset. At least until the next moronic misunderstanding hoves into view...
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Adam Goldstein was a whiz-kid MIT engineering student with an enviable network of tech contacts and a decade of industry experience. He also had a lofty dream: To reinvent Internet flight search.
So he called up his old friend, Reddit co-founder Steve Huffman, and embarked on a summer project. It culminated in this week's launch of Hipmunk, which drew instant acclaim for its new approach to an old but still daunting search challenge: matching travel shoppers with flights. Hipmunk arranges flights on a colorful, user-friendly grid, letting browsers evaluate their options in a blink.
Just days old, the site is already winning rave reviews. "When you see the results you'll never want to see flight results in any other format," TechCrunch gushed. "It's one of those 'that's so obvious why didn't I think of that' moments."
Lifehacker calls the site "fantastic" and praised its visual innovation.
"We spent a disproportionate amount of time on building that interface," says Goldstein, who graduated from MIT this spring. "Helping users find the right flight in the least amount of time is what informs every decision."
Hipmunk cuts the clutter, displaying all flight options on one screen. Prices show on the grid's vertical axis, with departure times on the horizontal axis. Airlines are color-coded -- JetBlue (JBLU) flights in blue, Delta (DAL, Fortune 500) in orange, and so on -- allowing searchers to zoom straight in on their favorites.
From there, browsers can sort by factors including price, flight length, and the number of stops. The aptly named "agony" button is a one-click combination of all three. Users can search in multiple tabs, filter out flights that depart too early or late, and share links to their searches with friends.
Goldstein met David Pogue, the New York Times tech reviewer, at a book signing in 2003. The 14-year-old Goldstein was already an adept programmer, and he stayed behind to chat with Pogue. Soon after, he became a technical editor on one of Pogue's books.
In 2005 he penned his own book for one of Pogue's series, called AppleScript: The Missing Manual. It was Goldstein's ticket into the tech world, and he soon found himself in business with the editor-in-chief of Wired to create the website BookTour.
As for Hipmunk, Goldstein and his longtime friend Huffman hatched the idea this summer at the San Francisco apartment building they share. Huffman -- who sold his social news startup Reddit to Conde Nast in 2005 for an undisclosed sum -- lives upstairs with his wife, while Goldstein lives one floor below.
The pair met with several flight booking sites and eventually settled on a deal with aggregator Orbitz (OWW). For now, all flights found on Hipmunk are booked on Orbitz. While Goldstein won't reveal the details, "when Orbitz makes money from us, we make money from them," he says.
With the Orbitz deal set and site built entirely by the two developers, all they needed was a name. Goldstein's girlfriend stepped up to the challenge.
"She said, 'If you pick a small, cute animal and a good logo you'll never go wrong,'" Goldstein says.
Hipmunk's flight-goggled chipmunk mascot has the same "awww" factor as Twitter's iconic bluebird. With that, Hipmunk was born.
But Goldstein knows his work isn't done: "Some things are lacking, even compared to our competitors," he admits. "We have steps to take before we become the go-to site."
Hipmunk doesn't currently support multi-city search. Some commenters on the Hipmunk blog have complained that the site's international flight search is weak. And, of course, Orbitz supplies all the flight data.
Hipmunk has received small investments from two venture-capital firms that focus on startups: Ron Conway's SV Angel and Y Combinator. Goldstein won't confirm how much Hipmunk took from each company, but he says TechCrunch's report that Y Combinator put up $15,000 is incorrect.
"We haven't fully decided on a long-term plan for monetizing," Goldstein says. "We know we don't want to have ads or spam people. There isn't a ton of money in just flight data, which is why a lot of sites expand into hotel and package search."
No matter how Hipmunk evolves, Goldstein says clarity for consumers will be the core mission. He's confident a user-friendly site can win in a crowded field that includes Orbitz, Expedia, Travelocity and Kayak.
And his ambitions aren't limited to travel: There's other interfaces Goldstein would like to reimagine.
"It's not in our immediate plans, but we work day by day," Goldstein says. "Just because it's not on the list now doesn't mean it won't be tomorrow."
Julio Iglesias has married his girlfriend of 20 years, Dutch model Miranda Rijnsburger, his rep tells TVGuide.com.
The couple wed Saturday at the Virgen del Carmen church in Marbella, Spain. Iglesias, 66, and Rijnsburger, 45, have five children together.
It is the second marriage for the Spanish singer, who also has three children, including Enrique Iglesias and Julio Iglesias Jr., from his first marriage to Isabel Preysler.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Thursday, August 5, 2010
In the 15th anniversary issue of Vibe magazine, Eminem admits that he's still haunted by the death of his "8 Mile" co-star - and former flame - Brittany Murphy.
"It was crazy...It's crazy because at one point we were very close and she was a really good person," the rapper says of Murphy, who died December 20 at age 32 from pneumonia compounded by anemia and prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
"It's crazy when you see things, not just with her but just all these things that are happening in Hollywood with people in music, with people in acting," he said. "Famous people are overdosing at alarming rates and that almost sounded like a commercial. Wow."
Thirty-seven-year-old Eminem, who shared the big screen with Murphy in 2002, has also endured his own battles with drug addiction, and blames the problem on doctors who enjoy basking in a star's spotlight.
"Doctors will kiss your ass because they love the celebrity. 'Oh, I can call up Eminem and get him on the phone right now. Oh, hi Marshall, how are you doing? Do you need that [prescription]?'" he explains. "There are doctors that will give you certain things just because of who you are."
A little over a year after Bill Gates and Warren Buffett began hatching a plan over dinner to persuade America's wealthiest people to give most of their fortunes to charity, more than three-dozen individuals and families have agreed to take part, campaign organizers announced Wednesday.
In addition to Buffett and Gates — America's two wealthiest individuals, with a combined net worth of $90 billion, according to Forbes — 38 other billionaires have signed The Giving Pledge. They include New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, entertainment executive Barry Diller, Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, energy tycoon T. Boone Pickens, media mogul Ted Turner, David Rockefeller, film director George Lucas and investor Ronald Perelman.
"We're off to a terrific start," Buffett, co-founder and chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, said in a conference call also attended by Bloomberg and San Francisco hedge-fund manager Tom Steyer and his wife Kat Taylor, founder of OneCalifornia Bank.
Buffett said he and Gates, the Microsoft co-founder, and Gates' wife Melinda made calls to fellow billionaires on the Forbes 400 list of wealthiest Americans — in many cases, people they had never met — to try to persuade them to join the giving pledge.
"We contacted between 70 and 80 people to get the 40. A few were unavailable. We don’t give up on them. Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future. We’ll keep on working," Buffett said.
Bloomberg, who made the bulk of his estimated $17.5 billion fortune from financial news and information services company Bloomberg L.P., said it didn't make sense to leave everything to his children and have them go through life as members of "the lucky sperm club."
"You don’t want to leave them so much money that it ruins their lives," Bloomberg said. "You want kids who can look back and say, 'Yeah my family helped me but I did something on my own.'"
Added Steyer: "We need to support each other. I look at this as replanting your garden so that future generations will have a full bounty of crops."
The United States has roughly 400 billionaires — about 40 percent of the world's total — with a combined net worth of $1.2 trillion, according to Forbes. If they all took the pledge, that would amount to at least $600 billion for charity.
The 40 names that have pledged to date have a combined net worth surpassing $230 billion, according to Forbes. Several of them have said they plan to give away much more than 50 percent of their wealth. Buffett has promised to donate more than 99 percent of his wealth.
The pledge is a moral commitment to give, not a legal contract. It does not involve pooling money or supporting one cause or organization. It's up to each person who signs the pledge how to divvy up their wealth.
In letters on the givingpledge.org website, the 40 billionaires explain what motivated them to follow in the footsteps of Gates and Buffett.
"I’m particularly thankful for my father’s advice to set goals so high that they can’t possibly be achieved during a lifetime and to give help where help is needed most," CNN founder Ted Turner said. "That inspiration keeps me energized and eager to keep working hard every day on giving back and making the world a better place for generations to come.”
“My pledge is to the process; as long as I have the resources at my disposal, I will seek to raise the bar for future generations of students of all ages," filmmaker George Lucas said. "I am dedicating the majority of my wealth to improving education.”
Gates and Buffett hatched the idea of a giving campaign in mid-2009 at a secret dinner meeting in New York with a few select billionaires. The campaign went public this June.
Buffett acknowledged that some wealthy people may find it beneficial to donate more so they can avoid or write off more taxes. But he said that's not the reason billionaires are taking the pledge.
"Of the 20 or so people that I have talked to that have signed, not one of them has talked to me about taxes," Buffett said.
"It may be a consideration but I think the motivation goes far, far beyond taxes."
And of the billionaires contacted who didn't join the pledge?
"There were a few people who gave answers that indicated their various dissatisfaction with government," Buffett said. "A few had dynastic ideas about wealth … an intergenerational compact with family to keep that going. And there were others who said, 'I’ve got a plane to catch and I'll have to hang up.'"
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Spoon Up: Low-fat cottage cheese
Hair is almost all protein, so attaining a strong, vibrant mane starts with eating enough of it. Reduced-fat cottage cheese is a protein heavyweight, with 14 grams in half a cup.
Pack: Pumpkin seeds
Zinc helps reduce shedding, says Francesca Fusco, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at New York's Mount Sinai Medical Center. Toss a tablespoon of these zinc-heavy seeds into your cereal.
Surf for: Arctic char
This cold-water fish is a great source of the omega-3 fats DHA and EPA, which can improve brain function and ward off the blues, says Elizabeth Somer, R.D., author of Age-Proof Your Body. Omega-3s help squelch inflammation in the brain and regulate feel-good neurotransmitters. Sprinkle fillets with sea salt, ground pepper, and fresh lemon juice, then pan-fry on medium-high until one side is slightly brown. Flip and cook until the inside is slightly pink (6 to 8 minutes total).
Feed the 100 billion neurons in your noggin with nutritious kale. A study in the journal Neurology reports that getting two-plus servings per day of veggies — especially leafy green ones like kale — slows cognitive decline by 40 percent. Temper kale's bitter flavor by sautéing it lightly with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, a chopped garlic clove, 2 ¬tablespoons of pine nuts, and a pinch of salt.
Nosh: Sunflower seeds
Hay fever affects more than 40 million Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health. Halt the drip with vitamin E. Researchers suspect it calms the parts of your immune system involved in allergies. With 49 percent of your daily vitamin E needs in an ounce, these seeds are your shnoz's best friend.
Scramble: Whole eggs
Forgo egg-white omelets. The yolks are an all-star source of two antioxidants — lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids that fight cataracts as well as macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness. Don't worry: University of Massachusetts researchers have concluded that eating an average of one egg yolk a day will not hurt your cholesterol levels.
Steam: Orange cauliflower
Yes, that really is orange cauliflower popping up in your produce aisle. Food scientists at Cornell University reworked the white variety to provide 25 times as much beta-carotene, which maintains the protective covering over the cornea. As with any low-cal vegetable, you can enjoy peachy cauliflower with reckless abandon, provided you don't drown it in salt and fat-laden butter.
Cozy up to your nearest Italian eatery. The fruit is especially beneficial when cooked—more of the carotenoid lycopene makes it into the skin, where it can limit UV damage to lower skin-cancer risk and hold off wrinkles.
Experiment with: Hemp
The omega-3 fatty acids in hemp help your skin retain moisture so you don't look like a cast member from Dawn of the Dead. Toss a tablespoon each of lemon juice, pine nuts, and shelled hemp seeds ($9 for 8 oz, manitoba*harvest*.com) into a blender with ³ cup of hemp-seed oil ($10 for 8 oz, manitoba*harvest*.com), a chopped garlic clove, a pinch of salt, and ½ cup fresh basil. Whirl to create a delicious and healthy pesto.
Munch On: Walnuts
To get moist, beautiful, chap-free lips, your body needs to constantly replace old skin cells with new ones. "Omega-3 fats help regulate this turnover so that it happens all the time," Fusco says. And unlike much-lauded almonds, walnuts have tons of the phat fats. So do your lips a favor and pucker up to an ounce (about 14 shelled halves) a day; eat them plain or add them to salads, cereal, oatmeal, trail mix, or your favorite muffin recipe.
Grill up: Beef
Of all the sources of highly absorbable iron in your supermarket, beef is among the best. Low iron levels, which are common in women, not only zap your zip, but, Fusco says, can cause brittle nails. With the least fat of the common cuts, top round (and other round cuts) deserve high billing on your broiler pan.
Add: Broccoli sprouts
Sulforaphane, found in baby broccoli, fires up enzymes that may stop breast-cancer cells from growing. Johns Hopkins University researchers discovered that broccoli sprouts have up to 20 times as much of this compound as fully grown plants. Pimp your sandwiches and salads with ½ cup of robustly flavored broccosprouts — developed by scientists at Johns Hopkins. A one-ounce serving contains 73 milligrams of the naturally occurring precursor of sulforaphane.
Snap Up: Asparagus
Italian researchers have found that the B vitamin folate reduces homocysteine, an amino acid believed to promote inflammation, which can up your risk of heart disease. Eight steamed asparagus spears deliver 20 percent of your daily folate requirement, as well as other heart-chummy nutrients like potassium.
Sip: Purple grape juice
Pull over, OJ! According to researchers at the University of Glasgow, purple grape juice is high in phenolics, "a group of powerful antioxidants that swallow up heart-damaging free radicals," says Anne VanBeber, R.D., Ph.D., a nutrition professor at Texas Christian University. To cut calories while guarding your arteries, mix equal parts grape juice and seltzer.
Reach for: Dried plums, aka Prunes
These high-fiber fruits help keep your gastric system working like a finely tuned machine. They may shrink your stomach, too. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that among 74,000 women surveyed, those who got more fiber were 49 percent less likely to suffer weight gain. Make your own trail mix with a handful of chopped pitted prunes plus walnuts, pumpkin seeds, dried blueberries, and hemp seeds.
Toss in: Tempeh
Made from whole soybeans that are then fermented, tempeh pads our guts with beneficial bacteria. After taking up residence, VanBeber says, these live microorganisms improve digestion, reduce gas production, and kill bacteria that cause ulcers. Like tofu, tempeh soaks up the flavors around it, so crumble a block and toss it into chili, soup, and pasta sauce.
Your Girl Parts
From vision-protecting vitamin C to appetite-quelling fiber, there are plenty of reasons to be sweet on these tiny antioxidant powerhouses. And scientists now believe that, like cranberries, blueberries battle urinary tract infections, Somer says.
Pour on: Kefir
Yeast infections put a serious damper on bed play. "Having lots of fermented milk products, including kefir, is a good way to reduce infections," VanBeber says. These products may add beneficial bacteria to the vagina, keeping infectious bacteria in line, early research indicates. Blend ½ cup low-fat plain kefir (we like Lifeway) with a cup of milk, a handful of berries, and a tablespoon of almond butter for a creamy smoothie.
Your Muscles & Joints
Mix in: Ricotta cheese
Loaded with all of the amino acids muscles need to grow and mend, whey protein is a virtuoso when it comes to helping you build a buff bod. While milk curd is used to make most cheeses, ricotta is produced from the whey that's left behind in the cheese-making process. Mix low-fat ricotta with scrambled eggs, salsa, and broccoli sprouts for a killer breakfast.
Drizzle: Extra-virgin olive oil
Ditch fat-free dressings. Olive oil contains oleocanthal, an anti-inflammatory that may work like ibuprofen, report scientists in the journal Nature. Drizzle two teaspoons of Spectrum organic extra-virgin ($12 for 12.7 oz, spectrumorganics.com) onto your veggies.
Indulge in: Chocolate
Chocolate is rich in magnesium, vital to bone health. "It forms the crystal lattice that gives bone its structure," VanBeber says. That may be why University of Tennessee scientists linked higher mag intake with greater bone-mineral density. Nibble an ounce of the dark stuff each day.
Open up: Canned salmon
New research suggests that the omega-3s in these fatty swimmers can boost bone density. Canned salmon is inexpensive and typically lower in heavy metals like mercury than many other fish. "Canned salmon [with bones] is also a good source of calcium — another bone must," Somer says. For a better burger, make patties with a tin of salmon, an egg, ¼ cup breadcrumbs, ¼ cup chopped onion, and ½ tablespoon cumin powder.
Peel: Mango and Kiwi
Together, these two tropical fruits deliver more of the proven gum protector vitamin C than an orange. Bonus: Researchers in Italy have found that each fruit portion you down daily (that's just a single kiwi) reduces your risk for oral cancer by nearly 50 percent.
If you have periodontal disease, you're churning out more cytokines, proteins that stimulate inflammation — turning your mouth into a hotbed of pain and bleeding. Research has shown that vitamin D can put the smackdown on cytokines. Three ounces of shrimp provides 65 percent of the RDA of vitamin D, so cast the crustaceans into your next wok full of vegetables.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Monday, July 5, 2010
Here in the U.S., you can name your kid almost anything, but that's not the case everywhere in the world. Let's take a look at some countries with pretty strict or otherwise fascinating baby-naming laws.
Enacted in 1982, the Naming law in Sweden was originally created to prevent non-noble families from giving their children noble names, but a few changes to the law have been made since then.
The part of the law referencing first names reads: "First names shall not be approved if they can cause offense or can be supposed to cause discomfort for the one using it, or names which for some obvious reason are not suitable as a first name."
If you later change your name, you must keep at least one of the names that you were originally given, and you can only change your name once.
Rejected names: "Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb111163 (pronounced Albin, naturally) was submitted by a child's parents in protest of the Naming law. It was rejected. The parents later submitted "A" (also pronounced Albin) as the child's name. It, too, was rejected.
Also rejected: Metallica, Superman, Veranda, Ikea and Elvis.
Accepted names: Google as a middle name, Lego.
Mental Floss: How favorite sneakers got their names
In Germany, you must be able to tell the gender of the child by the first name, and the name chosen must not be negatively affect the well being of the child. Also, you can not use last names or the names of objects or products as first names.
Whether or not your chosen name will be accepted is up to the office of vital statistics, the Standesamt, in the area in which the child was born. If the office rejects your proposed baby name, you may appeal the decision. But if you lose, you'll have to think of a different name. Each time you submit a name you pay a fee, so it can get costly.
Mental Floss: Stories behind 16 athlete nicknames
When evaluating names, the Standesamt refers to a book which translates to "the international manual of the first names," and they also consult foreign embassies for assistance with non-German names. Because of the hassle parents have to go through to name their children, many opt for traditional names such as Maximilian, Alexander, Marie and Sophie.
Rejected names: Matti was rejected for a boy because it didn't indicate gender.
Approved names: Legolas and Nemo were approved for baby boys.
Mental Floss: Fictional characters whose names you don't know
3. New Zealand
New Zealand's Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act of 1995 doesn't allow people to name their children anything that "might cause offence to a reasonable person; or [...] is unreasonably long; or without adequate justification, [...] is, includes, or resembles, an official title or rank." Officials at the registrar of births have successfully talked parents out of some more embarrassing names.
Rejected names: Stallion, Yeah Detroit, Fish and Chips, Twisty Poi, Keenan Got Lucy, Sex Fruit, Satan and Adolf Hitler
Approved names: Benson and Hedges (for a set of twins), Midnight Chardonnay, Number 16 Bus Shelter and Violence
Mental Floss: Why do your dog's feet smell like popcorn?
In Japan, one given name and one surname are chosen for babies, except for the imperial family, who only receive given names. Except for a few examples, it is obvious which are the given names and which are the surnames, regardless of in what order the names have been given. There are a couple thousand "name kanji" and "commonly used characters" for use in naming babies, and only these official kanji may be used in babies' given names. The purpose of this is to make sure that all names can be easily read and written by the Japanese. The Japanese also restrict names that might be deemed inappropriate.
Rejected names: Akuma, meaning "devil."
Mental Floss: 16 abbreviated company names explained
Denmark's very strict Law on Personal Names is in place to protect children from having odd names that suit their parents' fancy. To do this, parents can choose from a list of 7,000 pre-approved names, some for girls, some for boys.
If you want to name your child something that isn't on the list, you have to get special permission from your local church, and the name is then reviewed by governmental officials. Creative spellings of more common names are often rejected.
The law states that girls and boys must have names that indicate their gender, you can't use a last name as a first name and unusual names may be rejected. Of the approximately 1,100 names that are reviewed each year, 15-20 percent of the names are rejected. There are also laws in place to protect rare Danish last names.
Rejected names: Anus, Pluto and Monkey.
Approved names: Benji, Jiminico, Molli and Fee.
Most new babies in China are now basically required to be named based on the ability of computer scanners to read those names on national identification cards. The government recommends giving children names that are easily readable, and encourages Simplified characters over Traditional Chinese ones.
Parents can technically choose the given name, but numbers and non-Chinese symbols and characters are not allowed.
Also, now, Chinese characters that can not be represented on the computer are not allowed. There are over 70,000 Chinese characters, but only about 13,000 can be represented on the computer. Because this requirement is a new one, some citizens are having their name misrepresented, and some have to change their names to be accurately shown on the identification cards.
Rejected names: "@": Wang "At" was rejected as a baby name. The parents felt that the @ symbol had the right meaning for them. @ in Chinese is pronounced "ai-ta" which is very similar to a phrase that means "love him."
As former President Ronald Reagan might have said, "Obama, there you go again."
The current occupant of the White House claims to know how to create jobs. He claims jobs have been created. But so far the score is Great Obama Depression 2.2 million lost jobs, Obama 0 -- a blowout.
Obama is as hopeless, helpless, clueless and bankrupt of good ideas as the manager of the Chicago Cubs in late September. This "community organizer" knows as much about private-sector jobs as Pamela Anderson knows about nuclear physics.
It's time to call Obama what he is: The Great Jobs Killer. With his massive spending and tax hikes -- rewarding big government and big unions, while punishing taxpayers and business owners -- Obama has killed jobs, he has killed motivation to create new jobs, he has killed the motivation to invest in new businesses, or expand old ones. With all this killing, Obama should be given the top spot on the FBI's Most Wanted List.
Meanwhile, he has kept the union workers of GM and Chrysler employed (with taxpayer money). He has made sure that most government employee union members got their annual raises for sleeping on the job (with taxpayer money). He made sure that his voters got handouts mislabeled as "tax cuts" even though they never paid taxes (with taxpayer money). And he made sure that major campaign contributors collected billions off government stimulus (with taxpayer money).
As far as the taxpayers -- the people who actually take risks with our own money to create small businesses and jobs and pay most of the taxes -- we require protection under the Endangered Species Act.
You won't find proof of the damage Obama is doing on Wall Street, but rather on Main Street. My friends are all part of the economic engine of America: Small business. Small business creates 75 percent of new jobs (and a majority of all jobs). I called one friend who was a wealthy restaurant owner. He says business is off by 60 percent. He's drowning in debt. He won't last much longer. His wealth is gone.
I called another friend in the business of home improvement. He says business is off 90 percent from two years ago. My contractor just filed personal bankruptcy. She won't be building any more homes. The hair salon where I've had my hair cut for years closed earlier this year. Bankrupt. But here's the clincher -- ESPN Zone just closed all their restaurants across the country. If they can't make it selling cheap food and overpriced beer with 100 big screens blaring every sporting event on the planet to a sports-crazed society, we are all in deep, deep trouble.
I've polled all my friends who own small businesses -- many of them in the Internet and high-tech fields. They all agree that in this new Obama world of high business taxes, income taxes, payroll taxes, capital gains taxes, and workers compensation taxes, the key to success is to avoid employees. The only way to survive as a business owner today is by keeping the payroll very low and by hiring only independent contractors or part-time employees provided by temp agencies.
The days of jobs in the private sector with big salaries, full benefits, and pensions are over. We've all seen where those kinds of jobs get you as a business owner -- in Bankruptcy Court or surviving on government welfare like GM and Chrysler. Or in the case of government itself -- completely insolvent, but surviving by ripping off taxpayers and fraudulently running printing presses at the Fed all day and night to print money by the trillions.
Unfortunately, small businesses don't have the power to impose taxes or print money. So unlike government, we'll just have to cut employees and run lean and mean.
It has now become clear that, outside of the burgeoning field of Census takers, there will be no major increase in new jobs for years to come. Outside government, Obama has created a wasteland of economic ruin and depression that looks much like the landscape of Mel Gibson's first movie "Mad Max." Without a printing press in Obama's world, you're just plain out of luck.
The days of believing the Obama propaganda about a jobs recovery are over. The trillion-dollar corporate handouts (neatly named "stimulus") may have kept big business in the money for the past 18 months, and artificially propped up the stock market, but small business is the real canary in the coal mine.
My small business-owning friends aren't creating one job. Not one. They are shedding jobs. They are learning to do more with fewer employees. They are creating high-tech businesses that don't need employees. And many business owners are making plans to leave the country. In a high-tech world where businesses can be run from anywhere, Obama has a problem. His one-trick pony -- raise taxes, raise taxes, raising taxes -- is chasing away the business owners he desperately needs to pay his bills.
So who is going to pay Obama's taxes? Not his voters. They want government to pay them. Who is going to create Obama's jobs? Not his voters -- they've never created a job in their lives.
So what is Obama going to do? Maybe he can get Pamela Anderson on the line.
Wayne Allyn Root, a former vice presidential nominee for the Libertarian Party, writes from Henderson. His column appears every other week.
Friday, July 2, 2010
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The United States has a reputation for guzzling gasoline, especially in summer, when increased demand and processing costs drive up the price by an average of 10 to 20 cents per gallon. And while the recession has helped reduce U.S. gas demand in recent years, summer heat — combined with unforeseen variables like hurricanes and oil spills — can still wreak havoc with prices at the pump.
But whether you're planning a cross-country road trip or just trying to avoid spending your paycheck on commuting, there's plenty you can do to save money on gasoline. The best strategy is to simply drive less often, maybe carpooling or biking instead, but don't feel discouraged if that's not an option.
Check out these 10 ideas for ways to cut back the amount of time and money you spend at gas stations this summer:
1) Slow and steady wins the race
Gasoline mileage drops off in most cars once you're going faster than about 60 mph. For every 5 mph you drive over 60 mph, you're essentially paying an extra 24 cents per gallon of gas.
Try using cruise control on interstates and other highways to maintain a constant speed. It can also help to use your car's overdrive gears, which save fuel and engine wear by reducing your speed.
2) Be cool in traffic
Aggressive driving — speeding, swerving, sudden acceleration and braking — is not only dangerous, it can lower your gas mileage 33 percent on highways and 5 percent on city streets. Revving your engine while stopped is even more wasteful.
3) But not too cool
Air conditioning can be a big drain on gasoline, so make sure you don't just leave it on absentmindedly, and certainly don't leave it on while windows are open, even if they're just cracked. You can improve your fuel efficiency in stop-and-go traffic by turning off the A/C and rolling down the windows instead, but that's not necessarily always the best idea.
When driving above 55 mph, especially for long periods on highways, the opposite is true — open windows make a vehicle less aerodynamic by letting in air, which increases air resistance and decreases fuel efficiency. On long road trips, using air conditioning could actually improve your mileage by up to 20 percent.
4) Don't just sit there
On top of pointlessly pumping out greenhouse gases without actually getting you anywhere, idling automobiles also contribute to ground-level ozone, airborne particulate matter, and other near-surface air pollution. These emissions can aggravate asthma and even hinder breathing in otherwise healthy people, especially children and the elderly.
If you're just idling to warm up your car in winter, it still only needs to run about a minute. Anything beyond that is just wasting gas.
5) Stay in tune
Fixing a car that needs a tune-up or has failed an emissions test can improve its fuel efficiency by an average of 4 percent. More serious problems, like a faulty oxygen sensor, can reduce mileage by up to 40 percent.
And don't forget to get an oil change roughly every 3,000 miles or three months, whichever comes first (or you could look into installing an Electro-Lube Oil Refiner, which reportedly eliminates the need for oil changes while boosting efficiency 3 to 4 percent).
6) Get pumped
Keeping a car's tires properly inflated can improve fuel efficiency by about 3.3 percent. It's also safer and lengthens the lifespan of your tires, since under-inflated tires lose their tread quickly in addition to wasting fuel. Regular checkups for your tires' alignment and balance aren't a bad idea, either.
7) Take a load off
While it mainly affects smaller cars, carrying extra weight means burning extra gasoline, no matter how big your vehicle is. On average, you may be cutting your fuel efficiency by up to 2 percent for every 100 extra pounds you haul.
8) Develop motor skills
Using the manufacturer's recommended grade of motor oil can boost mileage by 1 to 2 percent. Try to also use the lowest grade of gasoline that's appropriate for your car, since high-octane grades cost several cents more per gallon.
Check your owner's manual to be sure, but as long as your engine doesn't start knocking, you're probably OK. Switching from premium to regular gasoline would save hundreds of dollars every year.
9) There's a cap for that
Gasoline can evaporate from a vehicle's fuel tank if it's able to find an opening, which is bad for your wallet and your lungs. Make sure your gas tank's cap is tightened securely after you fill up, and if the cap's threading is stripped or it fits too loosely, you might want to buy a new one.
10) Join the masses
Carpool or, even better, don't take a car at all — walk, ride a bike, or take mass transit. It saves you money, improves your personal health, and helps the planet by keeping greenhouse gases out of its atmosphere.
In just six months, the largest tax hikes in the history of America will take effect. They will hit families and small businesses in three great waves on January 1, 2011:
First Wave: Expiration of 2001 and 2003 Tax Relief
In 2001 and 2003, the GOP Congress enacted several tax cuts for investors, small business owners, and families. These will all expire on January 1, 2011:
Personal income tax rates will rise. The top income tax rate will rise from 35 to 39.6 percent (this is also the rate at which two-thirds of small business profits are taxed). The lowest rate will rise from 10 to 15 percent. All the rates in between will also rise. Itemized deductions and personal exemptions will again phase out, which has the same mathematical effect as higher marginal tax rates. The full list of marginal rate hikes is below:
- The 10% bracket rises to an expanded 15%
- The 25% bracket rises to 28%
- The 28% bracket rises to 31%
- The 33% bracket rises to 36%
- The 35% bracket rises to 39.6%
Higher taxes on marriage and family. The “marriage penalty” (narrower tax brackets for married couples) will return from the first dollar of income. The child tax credit will be cut in half from $1000 to $500 per child. The standard deduction will no longer be doubled for married couples relative to the single level. The dependent care and adoption tax credits will be cut.
The return of the Death Tax. This year, there is no death tax. For those dying on or after January 1 2011, there is a 55 percent top death tax rate on estates over $1 million. A person leaving behind two homes and a retirement account could easily pass along a death tax bill to their loved ones.
Higher tax rates on savers and investors. The capital gains tax will rise from 15 percent this year to 20 percent in 2011. The dividends tax will rise from 15 percent this year to 39.6 percent in 2011. These rates will rise another 3.8 percent in 2013.
Second Wave: Obamacare
There are over twenty new or higher taxes in Obamacare. Several will first go into effect on January 1, 2011. They include:
The “Medicine Cabinet Tax” Thanks to Obamacare, Americans will no longer be able to use health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement (HRA) pre-tax dollars to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines (except insulin).
The “Special Needs Kids Tax” This provision of Obamacare imposes a cap on flexible spending accounts (FSAs) of $2500 (Currently, there is no federal government limit). There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children. There are thousands of families with special needs children in the United States, and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education. Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington, D.C. (National Child Research Center) can easily exceed $14,000 per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education.
The HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike. This provision of Obamacare increases the additional tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent.
Third Wave: The Alternative Minimum Tax and Employer Tax Hikes
When Americans prepare to file their tax returns in January of 2011, they’ll be in for a nasty surprise—the AMT won’t be held harmless, and many tax relief provisions will have expired. The major items include:
The AMT will ensnare over 28 million families, up from 4 million last year. According to the left-leaning Tax Policy Center, Congress’ failure to index the AMT will lead to an explosion of AMT taxpaying families—rising from 4 million last year to 28.5 million. These families will have to calculate their tax burdens twice, and pay taxes at the higher level. The AMT was created in 1969 to ensnare a handful of taxpayers.
Small business expensing will be slashed and 50% expensing will disappear. Small businesses can normally expense (rather than slowly-deduct, or “depreciate”) equipment purchases up to $250,000. This will be cut all the way down to $25,000. Larger businesses can expense half of their purchases of equipment. In January of 2011, all of it will have to be “depreciated.”
Taxes will be raised on all types of businesses. There are literally scores of tax hikes on business that will take place. The biggest is the loss of the “research and experimentation tax credit,” but there are many, many others. Combining high marginal tax rates with the loss of this tax relief will cost jobs.
Tax Benefits for Education and Teaching Reduced. The deduction for tuition and fees will not be available. Tax credits for education will be limited. Teachers will no longer be able to deduct classroom expenses. Coverdell Education Savings Accounts will be cut. Employer-provided educational assistance is curtailed. The student loan interest deduction will be disallowed for hundreds of thousands of families.
Charitable Contributions from IRAs no longer allowed. Under current law, a retired person with an IRA can contribute up to $100,000 per year directly to a charity from their IRA. This contribution also counts toward an annual “required minimum distribution.” This ability will no longer be there.
If you want to see the final tab regarding Obamacare and Taxes in pdf, follow this link: http://www.atr.org/userfiles/040510pr-totalhealthtaxes.pdf
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Paraguay's success at the World Cup continued on Tuesday, with the country's soccer team beating Japan on penalty kicks to advance to the tournament's quarterfinals. Now, with only eight teams remaining, the Paraguayans may have a few more fans to help win it all.
Larissa Riquelme, a curvy lingerie model who loves her national team, has been cheering the Paraguay squad on from Asuncion, clad in revealing outfits. The 24-year-old beauty has pledged to run naked through the streets "with my body painted with the colors of Paraguay" if Paraguay wins the World Cup.
The gorgeous football fanatic is not the first person to promise to streak in the event of a World Cup win. Argentina's coach Diego Maradona was the first prominent person to issue such a guarantee, and his team has also made the quarterfinals. Scroll down for pictures of Riquelme cheering her team on. Are you rooting for Paraguay now?
Elin Nordegren has dramatically escalated her demands during negotiations over a possible divorce agreement with Tiger Woods, Bill Zwecker of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. According to the columnist, Woods' wife is seeking full custody of the couple's children and "an estimated $750 million package."
Zwecker writes that Tiger has demanded a strict -- and lifelong -- confidentiality clause that would bar her from disclosing information about their marriage in interviews or books.
It was previously reported that Woods and Nordegren are working toward a joint-custody arrangement, a rumor that was circulated before a new report alleged that the two are no longer speaking to each other.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Stop the presses. The National Enquirer is alleging that Tiger Woods cheated ... while in sex addiction rehab. They may be stretching it a little bit here.
Sure, the entertainment news rag broke the scandal of Tiger's affair with Rachel Uchitel, which in turn led to nearly a dozen other affairs unraveling.
And sure, they also broke the John Edwards-Rielle Hunter scandal, for which some people think they deserve a Pulitzer Prize (seriously, look that up).
But Tiger cheating on Elin Nordegren in sex rehab? Come on.
The only reason he's there is to salvage the marriage she's somehow still committed to. Such an affair would also be fairly hard to pull off logistically.
Nevertheless, a "hostile" Tiger Woods exploded with pent-up rage during sex addiction therapy and treated the program as a joke, The Enquirer says.
Sex Rehab Cheater
Maybe they mean "cheating" as in on an exam of some kind.
He denied he has a problem, says the tabloid's source, and worse yet, ridiculed fellow patients and refused to cooperate with his rehab therapists.
The disgraced golfer even "treated group therapy with such contempt that he caused one female patient to break down in tears," the source claims.
"What a cheat!" the source said. "Tiger's so-called sex rehabilitation is a joke. He went into rehab as a sex addict, and he's leaving rehab as one."
"He has been in complete denial the whole time."
"Tiger isn't about to change his stripes. As soon as Elin takes her eyes off him, he will be hopping into bed with the first bimbo that catches his eye."
As for the alleged cheating that took place there? They don't really elaborate on that, but hey. Details, right? Would we doubt it at this point? (Yes.)
The 25-year anniversary remake of "We Are the World" debuted last night during Winter Olympics coverage on NBC.
The production featured over 80 artists and celebrities, as the video below features the young (Justin Bieber), the high (Snoop Dogg) and the deceased (Michael Jackson sang a posthumous duet with sister Janet, using old footage).
Vince Vaughn even got a solo.
We heard John Mayer was invited, but turned down the appearance because he heard black and gay people might be there.)
As Jamie Foxx says in the introduction, the purpose of the song is to unite people from across the globe and to encourage donations to the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. It's a great cause and we applaud all those involved.