The Cry Baby is on sabbatical ....

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Video: iPad predicted in 1994

Everyone is a genius inventor in hindsight, but in this case former newspaper giant Knight-Ridder seems to have predicted in 1994 the device now known as the iPad. The newspaper chain was known for being an innovator and this is a great example of the forward thinking they were employing, even in the pre-wireless days. In Knight-Ridder it was the first newspaper publisher to experiment with videotex , launching its Viewtron system, which essentially put print content on the television screen. The company's flagship paper, the San Jose Mercury News, was the first newspaper to regularly post its full content online.

Not forward thinking enough, though. In 2006 the ailing company was sold to the McClatchy Company.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Donald Trump has his own skeletons to worry about

Donald Trump at a press conference announcing ...Image via Wikipedia
Donald Trump latching on to the Obama birther issue and his demand see the President's academic records, is a tribute to the idiocy that politics can sink to. There are certainly important issues he could be challenging Obama on that have great importance, such as the economy or foreign affairs. But the most interesting part of Trump launching these attacks is that Trump is a man with a closet full of skeletons himself.

Lets start with Trump's ability to stay out of the draft during the Vietnam war. Trump claims his unusually high draft number was the reason he was never called to duty. That indeed is part of the reason, but the Donald left out something. The Smoking Gun reports that Selective Service records show received a series of student deferments while in college and then with a medical deferment after graduation.

During a TV interview Trump said, "I actually got lucky because I had a very high draft number. I’ll never forget, that was an amazing period of time in my life. I was going to the Wharton School of Finance, and I was watching as they did the draft numbers and I got a very, very high number and those numbers never got up to.” No mention of those helpful deferments and as well his time frame is somewhat out of whack.

From the Smoking Gun:

"By the time his number (356) was drawn during the December 1, 1969 draft lottery, Trump had already received four student deferments and a medical deferment, according to military records on file with the National Archives and Records Administration. An extract of Trump’s Selective Classification record, seen here, was provided in response to a TSG records request.

In fact, the December 1969 draft lottery occurred about 18 months after Trump graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied business at the Wharton School. So, while claiming that he would “never forget” being at Wharton watching the draft numbers being drawn, the 64-year-old Trump seems to have misremembered, as candidates are fond of saying."

Another Trump skeleton that has haunted the self-proclaimed billionaire is the question of his actual net worth. Forbes has annually ranked him among the 400 richest people in the country.

His wealth began with his father, Fred Trump,a Scottish immigrant was the largest apartment building owner in New York City. Atthe time of his death in 1999, Trump had amassed a $400 million estate fortune, left largely to his children,

Recently, Trump told CNN that his net worth is "many, many, many times Mitt Romney," apparently making him a better-suited presidential contender.
"Forbes says $2.7 billion. I can tell you that's a very low number. It's much more than that."

Because many of Trumps companies are private and his finances are tangled in complicated licensing deals, his actual worth is difficult to determine.

Trump promised to release his income tax records if President Obama released his long form birth certificate. Obama released his certificate, but Trump has yet to make public his tax records.

In his book "TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald," Timothy O'Brien, a former reporter at the New York Times, pegged Trumps wealth at between $150 million and $250 million. He attributed the figures to people with direct knowledge of Trump's finances. "None of these people thought that he was remotely close to being a billionaire," O'Brien wrote.

Trump sued O'Brien and his publisher for libel and the case was dismissed. Trump has appealed and a decision is pending.

Here is a partical transcript of Trump sparing with O'Brien's lawyer Andrew Ceresney, during a deposition concerning his wealth:

Trump: My net worth fluctuates, and it goes up and down with the markets and with attitudes and with feelings, even my own feelings, but I try.

Ceresney: Let me just understand that a little. You said your net worth goes up and down based upon your own feelings?

Trump: Yes, even my own feelings, as to where the world is, where the world is going, and that can change rapidly from day to day ...

Ceresney: When you publicly state a net worth number, what do you base that number on?

Trump: I would say it's my general attitude at the time that the question may be asked. And as I say, it varies.

Ceresney:  Reading from O'Brien's book: "Donald owns 40 Wall Street, which he spent about $35 million to buy and refurbish in 1996. The building has about $145 million in debt attached to it, and New York City assessors value it at $90 million. Donald values it at $400 million."

Trump: "Anybody would understand that a city assessment is 15 and 20 percent the value of a building."

Questioned about the return on his investment from several golf courses, Trump said he 'does his own math.'

Ceresney: Have you ever done a projection as to how much you anticipate you will profit on these courses over time in light of the contributions that you're making in cash?

Trump: Yes, I've done mental projections.

Ceresney: Mental projections?

Trump: Yes.

Ceresney: These are projections that you've done in your head?

Trump: Yes.

(Read more on this case on Yahoo. )

I'm left wondering if the IRS would accept the  "mental projections" that the Donald alludes to. We do know that he makes a considerable sum fromhis reality TV shows. My advise to the Donald is this: Stick to reality TV,  because the reality is not sticking.

How Americans perceive Islam and violence

Religion and violence have long gone hand in hand, preaching peace from one side of the mouth and inciting violence from the other. Even a casual read of religious texts will show that god, in whatever form represented, is a violent and vengeful god, who encourages a good deal of violence to herd the sheep into the religious coral and to rid the would of unbelievers.

All that said, I have little fear of being blown up by a Christian or Jewish suicide bombers. That is simply the reality we face. Am I singling out Islam? The short answer is yes. I do not fear Muslims as a whole, nor do I find the religion any more offensive than other religions (which you have likely now realized I have little use for). But the fact is, Islam produces religious fanatics who want to blow up airplanes, building and subways – where I live.

Enough about my thoughts on this. has produced yet another excellent info-graphic that tracks Americans feelings about Islam and violence.

"Historically, violence has pervaded religions all over the world—from Christianity in Ireland to Hinduism in India. Still, the post-9/11 Western world has come to associate Islam as a primary source of contemporary religious violence. Where exactly do Americans align themselves with the question, "Is Islam more likely than other religions to promote violence among its believers?"

The unofficial list of Royal family conspiracy theories

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 29:  A well wisher hol...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
William and Kate are getting married as I pen this, and having absolutely no interest in their nuptials (yet is plays on my TV!) I thought this would be good time to look into some of those bothersome Royal family conspiracy theories. TruTV has put together an awesome list of the top eleven here.

Number one, of course, involves the 1997 car crash death of Princess Dianna. From TruTv: "Sources say that the real cause of the crash was actually the Royal Family and that the driver, Henri Paul, could have been drugged, and that bright flashing lights were used to impair the driver's vision of the dangerous, paparazzi-filled streets. " The culprit in this theory: The Royal family itself; namely the Queen, who allegedly offed the princess because she was an "inconvenient woman". I suppose that would be one way to handle an awkward situation of a having a daughter-in-law done astray. Mohamed al Fayed, father of Dodi Fayed, Dianna's boyfriend who also died in the fiery crash, never gave up trying to link the Royal's to the crash that killed the two lovers. 

Perhaps the most interesting and ludicrous theory, is the one claiming  the Royal family are lizards. Looking for a way to explain the longevity of the Royals, the nutters have come up with this , hummm, highly plausible explanation.  "Conspiracy master David Icke claims that the Royal Family are not humans but rather alien reptiles who have taken on human form in an effort to enslave humanity. Icke claims to have taped an interview with Christine Fitzgerald, a confidant of Princess Diana's, saying that Diana had told her that the Royal Family hasn't died in ages — they have "metamorphosised" by rebuilding flesh, much in the same manner that a lizard re-grows a tail. She went on to explain that the Queen Mother is "Chief Toad." The good news is that England is not alone. It appears that the lizard people have taken over governments world-wide.

Read TruTv's complete list. It's a royal hoot.
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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Unemployed ninja will make video for you for a fiver

From the website Fiverr, where people offer there services for a cool $5, this out-of-work ninja warrior offers to make a video for you for that bargain price. From user Nitrohotfire:
"I will make a cool ninja video for $5 . I'm an unemployed ninja looking for work, so im willing to do stunts and fight scenes with my ninja buddies with your message in the video."
It doesn't stop there, Nitrohotfire has much more on offer:

I'm doubting there's a lot of work out there for ninjas but at $5 who knows. Have a look at Nitrohotfir's video. I wish him well.

Senator McCain: Arm Libyan rebels like the Afghans in the 1980s

John McCain official photo portrait.Image via Wikipedia
McCain: Arm the rebels
Perhaps it's for the best that Senator McCain blundered in the presidential race and chose Sarah Palin as his running mate torpedoing his chance to become President of the United States.

Bad enough that the western powers are involved in a civil war in Libya by providing them with an air force, but AFP is reporting the McCain,who has already sung high praise of the Libyan rebels, believes we should be arming them as well.

He told AFP: "There is a possibility, if not a probability of a stalemate, and that should be of deep concern to us. The United States needs to recognise the TNC [Transitional National Council] as France and Italy have done. They need to get supplies and equipment into the liberation forces and we need to get American air power back into the fight."

But it gets better as McCain, a ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee continues: "I think we could do the same thing that we did in the Afghan struggle against the Russians. There are ways to get weapons in without direct US supplying."

McCain is referring to the U.S. arming Afghans, many of them Taliban, in the 1980s. With the luxury of hindsight, I would have guessed that Americans might look back at this as not having worked out so well for the western world. Arm the rebels, who then turn out to be the terrorists we fight. Maybe not such a great idea after all.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Video: Former Miss America tells how she was sexually molested by TSA

Air travel is becoming more and more difficult, mostly because of continually increased security. But Miss American groped? Susie Castillo, Miss America 2003, says a TSA “screener” fondled her vagina during a pat-down, after she refused to go through a full body scanner at the airport in Dallas, Texas. You can watch her spill her guts on this in the video below.

Even the tough guys are affected by this overly invasive action. Former Minnesota governor and ex-wrestler Jesse Ventura has launched a lawsuit against the TSA for subjecting him to pat-downs as he traveled while working. Ventura said that he would “no longer be forced by the TSA to prove he is not a criminal or terrorist.”

 Open your window and shout outside, " I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more." Now hope no one calls the police.

Two teachers from same school busted for having sex with students

They should call this school the School of Sex. Two teachers from Reeds High School in Sparks, Nevada have been arrested for having sex with students. Bethyl Shepherd, 34 and Marie Fisher, 21, who both worked in special education department, were arrested within weeks of each other.

Shepherd is accusing of having a threesome with two 17-year-old students in her car and Fisher is charged with having sexual relations with a 15-year-old student. After her arrest Shepherd claimed one of the teens forced her to have sex while the other watched. Police say this scenario doesn't match the evidence.

Washoe County schools police Chief Mike Mieras said, "Well, there are two sides to a story but what her allegations are at this time are not quite matching up to the accounts of what was reported to us."

School officials that teachers and staff  at the school will be given "extra training on appropriate behaviour and personal relationships with students."

Fisher (left) and Shepherd (right)        Credit:Washoe County Sherrif's Office

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A secret look at the back of web sites

Ever wonder what the back of a website looks like? Wish your monitor was transparent so you could look in from behind? Well this awesome website gives you a fun look at what you might hope to see. I've posted the Twitter and Facebook views;  go to to see the rest.

World's last typewriter plant shuts ceases production

Typewriter adler3Image via Wikipedia
Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Co. Ltd has shut down its factory in Mumbai, the last plant in the world producing mechanical typewriters. To most of us, these machines are curious antiques, but they had been quite popular in India where 400 million Indians still lack reliable electricity. As well, they were widely used in courts and government agencies.

In the 1990s, the company made 50,000 machines a year. This declined to 12,000 units in 2009.  

The company still has 500 units of its Prima brand in inventory, the last of its kind. General manager Milind Dukle told India's Business Standard newspaper, "We are not getting many orders now," he said. "This might be the last chance for typewriter lovers."

One country that might be on the look out for these machines is Italy, where graduating journalists must take a typing test on manual typewriters. At one point there was a movement to modernize the test, but the government worried that it would  put the government employed typewriter repair personnel out of work.

Nasty brown recluse spider could be headed your way

brown recluse as compared to a U.S.A. pennyImage via Wikipedia
Science News is reporting that a new study shows the brown recluse spider is likely heading north in the United States into states as far north as Michigan. When provoked, the spider injects a powerful venom into the victim, (!) that tends to kill the tissues around the site of the bite, leading to a painful deep sore and possible scarring. Not a friendly little chap.

Researchers are using s predictive mapping technique called "ecological niche modeling". When they applied this model to the brown recluse spider they concluded that its range might be expanding northward, to Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, South Dakota, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

In other spider related news, according to superherohype:   "Twitter user @mikecanadate (via On Location Vacations) has posted some tweets about what's going on for the preparation of filming for The Amazing Spider-Man in New York"
See his photos here.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Very cool New York Times visualization tool for tracking news in cyberspace

Credit: New York Times
Creating news content and releasing the information via Twitter has become the norm, but tracking how and where this information goes is difficult to gather in a useful manner. The New York Times R & D department has created "Cascade", a tool that allows them to follow the conversation through its various twists and turns and visualize it in various very creative ways. This is not just an exercise in creating something very cool – and it is very cool – it's an incredibly useful tool for publishers to track their content and figure out the best ways to propagate it.

Michael Zimbalist, VP of R & D at the New York Times said, “Our hypothesis has been and continues to be that those organizations that can be responsive to data in real time and make business decisions surrounding that data in real time will be the organizations that prosper in the 21st century.”

Turn on, tune in, drop out ... cash in: Watch Timothy Leary pitch his video game

Remember back in the day -- the day being the 1960s and 70s -- when Dr.Timothy Leary was the prophet of LSD, urging us all to "Turn on, tune in, drop out" and was described as "the most dangerous man in America" by President Richard Nixon? It somehow escaped my attention that is the mid-1980's Leary was trying to cash in with his video game/computer program "Mind Mirror". The game allows you to "try on" different personalities. If you're interested in trying it  there is a Facebook app that approximates the program. Watch the good doctor describe his program in this video.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Video: Why you need "The Girlfriend" (available now!)

This short video is just pure fun. Get one while they last!

New York Times issues correction for including pardoy magazine cover of Tiger Beat in story

The Onion's parody cover
The New York Times recently ran a story about Tiger Beat magazine and how it's survived for over forty years. From the story:
"Hair floating, skin dewy, eyes free of guile: the boys of Tiger Beat will never hurt you. In crisp photos and squeaky-clean quotes about love, they’ve been practically interchangeable for more than four decades. It’s an archetype that’s survived any number of invasions: the Brits, disco, boy bands, the Brat Pack, more boy bands, the Disney Channel, TMZ and more."

The problem is they also erroneously included a parody cover or the magazine, produced by satirical newspaper The Onion, which featured Barack Obama on the cover.  Oops. The Times then issued the following correction:

"A series of pictures last Sunday of covers of the magazine Tiger Beat, with an article about how the original teen-girl tabloid has remained virtually unchanged since its inception in 1965, erroneously included a parody cover, produced by the satiric newspaper The Onion, that featured a picture of President Obama."

Botox may reduce empathy in users

Nicole Kidman
The thought of people injected poison into their skins to remove wrinkles, has always mystified me. I do understand the will to look good, but it is so evident when you see someone with their face pumped full of Botox. Muscles in the face cease to work normally, smiles look bizarre and the face looks generally frozen like a mask.  Now there is another reason not to use Botox. A new study suggests that over time Botox use can cause people to less understand the facial expressions of others, leading them to be less empathic.

David Neal, a psychology professor at the University of Southern California, lead author of the research said, "People who use Botox are less able to read others' emotions ... When the facial muscles are dampened, you get worse in emotion perception, and when the facial muscles are amplified, you get better at emotion perception."

It has to do with a person's ability to mimic facial expressions of others. When this is not possible,the brain is less likely to understand what the emotion is. Are you reading this Nicole Kidman? (Read more here)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Blackmailing clown gets three years in the slammer

The Clown and the tightrope walker, Painter:He...Image via Wikipedia
Artist: Herbert Schondelmaier
I've said it before and I'll now repeat myself: I hate clowns. You just know they are up to no good behind all the makeup and hair. An illiterate clown name "Grumpy" was even elected to the Brazilian Congress last year. Here's another case of a clown breaking bad.

Frank Salvador Solorza, 46, was convicted in California of conspiracy, impersonating an immigration officer and attempted extortion. Solorza had been arrested in 2009 after he arrived at a home on a child's bicycle, while dressed in a clown suit, wig and a Pirates of the Caribbean hat with dreadlocks and sunglasses. He then grabbed a briefcase he believed contained $50,000, which was to be extortion money he was collecting.

Solorza targeting six members of a family, who are his cousins and accused them of lying on their applications for permanent U.S. residence. He contacted them via phone and letter pretending to be an immigration officer. The family members were told that if they paid $50,000, "your papers will be good forever."

Now the most bizarre part. He told the family that a man in a clown suit and riding a small bicycle would be coming to pick up the money. The family members grew suspicious and called the police who arranged the "sting" money drop. Solorza was sentence to three years in prison.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Wineries battle over moniker "Mommy" in wine name

A hand holding a glass of wine.Image via Wikipedia
Apparently, mommies are in hot demand, and I don't mean as MILFS. Two wineries are battling over the right to use "Mommy" on their wine labels. California  winery Clos Lachance Wines is attempting to get the court to agree that its "Mommyjuice" wine  does not violate the trademark of "Mommy's Time Out" wine, marketed by a New Jersey distributor.

"Mommy is a generic word that they don't have a monopoly on," said KC Branch, an attorney representing Clos Lachance.

Trademark disputes are common and one of the most famous  pitted Apple Computers and Steve Jobs against the Fab Four's Apple Corp., the Beatles publishing company. This dispute went on for many years, and was only settled in 2007, opening the way for Apple Computer (namely iTunes) and other companies to distribute Beatles's music and related products. 

Back to the vino. Have a look at the two labels below and make up your own mind. Not much confusion in my mind, even after several glasses of Daddy Vino™. 

Infographic: Toilet paper – over or under, the great debate

Think of it – what would life be like without toilet paper. Perhaps the greatest invention man has ever come up with – it separates man and beast. Forget about antibiotics, electricity and the automobile. Now, this brings us to the great debate: over or under. This excellent graphic from Brainz puts the matter to rest (the answer is OVER!!!)

Over or Under
Via: Engineering Degree

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Scheduling conflict: NASA to launch shuttle Endeavour same day as royal wedding

DARWEN, ENGLAND - APRIL 11:  A lady holds Prin...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
One giant step for Prince William and a calendar conflict for NASA. The space agency is launching the shuttle Endeavour on its final mission on the same day that William marries Kate Middleton. I'm no fan of the Royals, but I do realize that eyes in Britain and North America will largely be glued to the regal extravaganza, and likely not on the shuttle launch.

NASA was unaware that the shuttle Endeavour's final mission was on the same day as the royal wedding. "The frank answer is no," said Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for space operations, said when asked if the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton was a factor in the shuttle scheduling.
"I didn't realize when the wedding was when we moved the launch date," said Gerstenmaier. The shuttle was scheduled to launch on April 19 and was later postponed to April 29. "We kind of set that date independently."

"I haven't yet put on our manifest charts 'wedding constraints' so we did not factor that in," he said.

Endeavour is the second last shuttle launch for NASA. The final launch will be in June when Atlantis launches and officially ends the 30-year-old space shuttle program. I think I'll stick with the launch and watch William's next wedding. Maybe Kate should do the same, given the track record of the previous royal generation.

Credit NASA

Iran poised to outlaw dog ownership

Yorkshire terrier 01Image via Wikipedia
Iranian dog owners: Go into hiding now! Lawmakers in this hostile state have proposed a new bill in parliament that would criminalize dog ownership. The bill warns that that dogs are a public health hazard and that the popularity of dog ownership "also poses a cultural problem, a blind imitation of the vulgar culture of the West."

Dog ownership in Iran has previously been treated much the same as gays in the U.S. military: Don't ask, don't tell. There have always been occasional crack-downs by the police (even though there is no law forbidding it), but the dogs and their owners were typically left alone, despite clerics  demonizing them in sermons.

The law would allow police to confiscate the offending dogs and impose a fine of $100 - $500 on the owner. No word on the fate of the offending dog.  "Considering the several thousand dogs in Tehran alone, the problem arises as to what is going to happen to these animals," Hooman Malekpour, a veterinarian in Tehran, told to the BBC. The  dogs likely will face the same fate as the hundreds of street dogs that the government regularly culls from the streets of Tehran. "Many in Tehran and other big cities find the killing of street dogs offensive and cruel," says Omid Memarian, a prominent Iranian journalist. "It's like the Iranian people and officials live in two different worlds." 

Frankly, I'm pretty sure this wave of dog ownership is a Zionist plot.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Turn your old analog SLR into a digital camera

What to do with that great old Canon F-1 sitting in the basement? Check out RE-35 which promises to turn your old 35 mm SLR into a smoking hot digital camera using their patented Flexisensor©  removable cartridge that replaces "analog" film.

"There are many reasons to hold on to your classic 35-mm analog cameras. Whether you invested a serious amount of money or you just all that mechanical goodness - your classic Nikons, Canons, Leicas, Rolleis or Pentaxes deserve to stay. And even if you just love analog photography: the grain, the colors, the image quality - dealing with analog film does have it’s drawbacks. The hassle and the price for materials keep you from keeping it analog more and more often.
With the RE-35 digital cartridges you can have the best of both worlds. Go digital, whenever you want to. And keep using your vintage equipment."

Did I say "Too good to be true?" Check out their site and find out.

Photo: Vintage flying saucer camera

From the FBI archives
Check out this cool camera circa 1953, designed to photograph those pesky flying saucers that you see everywhere. One lens apparently takes regular picture; the other separates light into colors to help scientists decide which planet the saucer is from.

The U.S. government recently released thousands of declassified government documents posted to the FBI's new online "Vault." Among the documents are the so-called "X-files" reports detailing Air Force investigations into UFOs and their pilots, who appear to have moved on to become air traffic controllers. 

The clipping below is from Mechanix illustrated and brought to us by the cool site Modern Mechanix. Check out the site – there's lots of interesting vintage magazine stuff there to look at.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

California Republican apologizes for offensive Obama "chimp" email

Typically, I feel politicians have pretty hardened exteriors and shouldn't let smear tactics get through their skin, and the president of the United States needs extra-thick armour. In this case, however, I think the Republican party should give Marilyn Davenport, a 74-year-old elected member of the Orange County Republican Central Committee, the heave-ho. Davenport has apologized for the photo (right) that she sent out via email with the caption "Now you know why no birth certificate," however there are some things that are just not acceptable and this one is way, way over the line. Here is Davenport's apology:
"To my fellow Americans and to everyone else who has seen this email I forwarded and was offended by my action, I humbly apologize and ask for your forgiveness of my unwise behavior. I say unwise because at the time I received and forwarded the email, I didn't stop to think about the historic implications and other examples of how this could be offensive."

Forgiveness is fine – everyone makes mistakes, but party membership is another thing. Send a message out that this is not acceptable, and pull Davenport's membership car.

Happy Passover – we're foreclosing on your synagogue

Let my mortgage go!
It's not only homeowners who are in trouble with the bank these days, it appears some religious institutions are  insolvent as well:  Namely, the Congregation Beth David in San Luis Obispo County, California. The synagogue has until May 17 to come up with $1.3 million or it will be auctioned off. The four-year-old synagogue defaulted on a $3.3 million loan late last year.

The lavish 16,190 square foot building is  is the country’s only green-certified synagogue. It features a 337-seat sanctuary, social hall, classrooms, gift shop and library.

Hard economic times have hit the synagogue's membership numbers and many of the remaining members are now not able to pay their full dues. “We did a lot of thinking and planning, but there were also a lot of things we didn’t foresee,”  Gregg Loberstein, co-president of the board of directors said.

The $18,000 monthly mortgage payment was last made one year ago. Surprisingly the bank is willing to forgive $1 million of the mortgage principle but the congregation must come up with $2.3 million by May 5 or grab their Torah and clear out.

Come on bank, let their mortgage go!

Read more here.

Interactive map shows home price reductions across the U.S.

This is a very cool interactive map by real estate listing site trulia. You just plug in your zip code, city or state and it shows you the average number of days before a price reduction, the average percentage of the reductions and the likelihood of a second reduction – valuable information if you are selling your house or just trying to figure out how marketable your property is. Perhaps a good time to be a buyer, but as a seller it's still an incredibly tough market. Bloomberg reports:

"At the end of 2010, the fourth year of the housing collapse, the share of people who said a home was a safe investment dropped to 64 percent from 70 percent in the first quarter. The December figure was the lowest in a survey that goes back to 2003, when it was 83 percent.

The median U.S. home price tumbled 32 percent from a 2006 peak to a nine-year low in February, data from the Realtors show. The retreat surpassed the 27 percent drop seen in the first five years of the Great Depression, according to Stan Humphries, chief economist of Zillow Inc., a Seattle-based real estate information company." 
  Click on the map to go to the interactive version.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Video: Fox News anchor speechless after seeing Romanian dancing politician

It's not often you see an anchor on Fox News at a loss for words. Perhaps after you watch this video you'll feel the same way. This Romanian politician shows off his dance moves on national TV, much to the chagrin of fellow party members and other politicians. Frankly, it leaves me speechless as well.

Video: Jesse Jackson Jr. blames iPad for killing jobs

Jesse Jackson Jr., the U.S. Representative for Illinois's 2nd congressional district and admitted iPad owner, made a bizarre presentation to the House of Representitives. Jackson claimed the iPad was “probably responsible for eliminating thousands of American jobs.” Not only that, but he continued on to link it to the bankrupcy of Border's Books and the future demise of the textbook industry. Huhhh???

"A few short weeks ago I came to the House floor after having purchased an iPad and said that I happened to believe, Mr. Speaker, that at some point in time this new device, which is now probably responsible for eliminating thousands of American jobs. Now Borders is closing stores because, why do you need to go to Borders anymore? Why do you need to go to Barnes & Noble? Buy an iPad and download your newspaper, download your book, download your magazine."

Let's put this in perspective. The printed paper products, whether books, newspapers or magazines are basically on a slow road to extinction, but just how fast is anyone's guess. Is this a bad thing? All technological changes create job displacement. Modernization in factory production cost many, many jobs, yet are there any among us that would like to go back to the good old pre-technology days and live without modern technology, such as electricity, medicine, clean water and safe food? I suppose there are a few out there, and certainly the Taliban would cast a vote in that direction, but most of us enjoy the longer lifespans and relative comfort that modern technology has brought us.

Interactive graphic of the civil war battles and deaths

Attention civil war buffs. Have look at this interactive map by the Washington Post and watch as the civil war grows as do the casualties. The war resulted in the deaths of 620,000 soldiers and an undetermined number of civilians. Many believe the war was caused by opposing beliefs regarding slavery, but the truth is that economic and state's rights issues topped the list. Click on the graphic to go to the interactive version.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Video: GE creates its own sun; hopefully will not bill us for the sunshine

General Electric's motto used to be "We bring good things to life" and what better thing is there than sunshine. In the remarkable video, captured by 24 cameras, GE scientists actually do re-create a miniature version of the sun.  Now just wait until they figure out a way to bill us for the sunshine. From GE:

"The sun. It gives us heat, light, food and the air we breathe. But have you ever thought about just how powerful it really is or the potential scale of what it can do for us? GE is turning the world's oldest energy resource into its newest one through their latest solar panel innovation. Watch and find out how much energy the sun can produce and what it means for our future."

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Infographic: The secret of Donald Trump's hair

Donald Trump at a press conference announcing ...Image via Wikipedia
Have you been wondering how millionaire, reality TV star and possible Republican candidate (I'll believe that when it happens) Donald Trump achieves that snappy looking hair-doo?

Vanity Fair writer Bruce Handy has this to say about Trump's hair:  "My baldly-stated thesis: this could be evidence of a rarely-sighted, possibly unprecedented “double comb-over.” It looks as if a length of hair growing from the part on the left side of Trump’s pate has been combed left-to-right over the crown of his head, while a second length of hair, growing from the back of his head, has been combed back-to-front over the first length of hair. Salon-strength hair products likely play a role in the final construction of this lattice-like structure—which could also explain the “ship’s prow” look one sometimes sees in side views of Trump."

Time online has created this fun inforgraphic to show you just how it's done. 

Click on the graphic to go to the Time site.