Oct 19

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Mar 16

Lady Gaga is rallying her little monsters to raise money for disaster relief in Japan. Fans of the singer can purchase a white-and-red band—emblazoned with “We Pray for Japan” in English and Japanese, along with Gaga’s signature monster claw—for $5 (plus an optional donation of your choice) on her official website. All proceeds will go directly to the victims of the Japan earthquake and tsunami.
“I Designed a Japan Prayer Bracelet. Buy It/Donate here and ALL proceeds will go to Tsunami Relief Efforts. Go Monsters,” Gaga tweeted on Friday.

+ Japan Earthquake Relief Wristband $5

[Via MTV News]


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Dec 25

Metro marry me man says yes

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A gay man who proposed on the front page of 16 November 2010’s Metro newspaper is celebrating after his partner said yes.

Their engagement may have been overshadowed by Prince William and Kate Middleton, but before that story broke today this gay proposal had captured the attention of commuters across the UK.

Jon Mark Ireland was one of the winners of a competition to design the cover of the British free national paper and used it to pop the question to his boyfriend of almost five years, Ben Daniel Collins.

Ireland, 27, was worried Collins would miss seeing the paper that day despite being an avid Metro reader. But the 23-year-old spotted one under the arm of a fellow commuter on the London Underground and, seeing his own name, instantly panicked.

Reading the message he texted Ireland, jokingly promising “I’m going to kill you.”

But when they were able to speak a few hours later, Collins gave his partner a resounding “yes!”

Ireland said: “He said that he was a bit horrified to see his name but he was happy so it was a good job, I suppose.”

And he wasn’t bothered by William and Kate stealing their thunder. “Ben’s a royalist, he loves all that,” Ireland said.

He added that winning the competition and getting a yes from his partner had been “magical”.

The pair from Woodford, London are now considering tying the knot around the time of their fifth anniversary in May, perhaps at Kent’s spectacular Leeds Castle.

Metro, launched in 1999, is the UK’s third biggest daily national newspaper, read by an estimated 3.5 million people.

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Mar 02

Chilean Quake Likely Shifted Earth’s Axis, NASA Scientist Says

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By Alex Morales

March 1 (Bloomberg) — The earthquake that killed more than 700 people in Chile on Feb. 27 probably shifted the Earth’s axis and shortened the day, a National Aeronautics and Space Administration scientist said.

Earthquakes can involve shifting hundreds of kilometers of rock by several meters, changing the distribution of mass on the planet. This affects the Earth’s rotation, said Richard Gross, a geophysicist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, who uses a computer model to calculate the effects.

“The length of the day should have gotten shorter by 1.26 microseconds (millionths of a second),” Gross, said today in an e-mailed reply to questions. “The axis about which the Earth’s mass is balanced should have moved by 2.7 milliarcseconds (about 8 centimeters or 3 inches).”

The changes can be modeled, though they’re difficult to physically detect given their small size, Gross said. Some changes may be more obvious, and islands may have shifted, according to Andreas Rietbrock, a professor of Earth Sciences at the U.K.’s Liverpool University who has studied the area impacted, though not since the latest temblor.

Santa Maria Island off the coast near Concepcion, Chile’s second-largest city, may have been raised 2 meters (6 feet) as a result of the latest quake, Rietbrock said today in a telephone interview. He said the rocks there show evidence pointing to past earthquakes shifting the island upward in the past.

‘Ice-Skater Effect’

“It’s what we call the ice-skater effect,” David Kerridge, head of Earth hazards and systems at the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh, said today in a telephone interview. “As the ice skater puts when she’s going around in a circle, and she pulls her arms in, she gets faster and faster. It’s the same idea with the Earth going around if you change the distribution of mass, the rotation rate changes.”

Rietbrock said he hasn’t been able to get in touch with seismologists in Concepcion to discuss the quake, which registered 8.8 on the Richter scale.

“What definitely the earthquake has done is made the Earth ring like a bell,” Rietbrock said.

The magnitude 9.1 Sumatran in 2004 that generated an Indian Ocean tsunami shortened the day by 6.8 microseconds and shifted the axis by about 2.3 milliarcseconds, Gross said.

The changes happen on the day and then carry on “forever,” Benjamin Fong Chao, dean of Earth Sciences of the National Central University in Taiwan, said in an e-mail.

“This small contribution is buried in larger changes due to other causes, such as atmospheric mass moving around on Earth,” Chao said.

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Jun 26

KING of pop MICHAEL JACKSON died last night after a massive heart attack.

He collapsed and stopped breathing after an injection of a powerful painkiller named Demerol.

Jacko, 50, was said to be addicted to the drug – similar to morphine – and it is feared he took an overdose.

Paramedics who raced to his Los Angeles home after an emergency call found he had no pulse. And frantic attempts to revive him failed.

The Thriller star, who had been fighting skin cancer, was due to start a series of comeback concerts in London next month.

Instead, millions of shocked fans around the globe are today mourning a legend.

Emergency … paramedics’ monitor shows Jacko – a ’50 year old male’ – was ‘not breathing at all’ when the 911 call was received


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Apr 17

Pirate Bay founders found guilty

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A court in Sweden has jailed four men behind The Pirate Bay (TPB), the world’s most high-profile file-sharing website.

Frederik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Carl Lundstrom and Peter Sunde were found guilty of breaking copyright law and were sentenced to a year in jail.

They were also ordered to pay 30m kronor (£2.4m) in damages.

In a Twitter posting, Mr Sunde said: “Nothing will happen to TPB, this is just theatre for the media.”

Mr Sunde went on to say that he “got the news last night that we lost”.

“It used to be only movies, now even verdicts are out before the official release.”

The damages were awarded to a number of entertainment companies, including Warner Bros, Sony Music Entertainment, EMI, and Columbia Pictures.

The Pirate Bay is the world’s most high profile file-sharing website and was set up in 2003 by anti-copyright organisation Piratbyran, but for the last five years it has been run by individuals.

Millions of files are exchanged using the service every day.

No copyright content is hosted on The Pirate Bay’s web servers; instead the site hosts “torrent” links to TV, film and music files held on its users’ computers.

Critics of the trial say Swedish authorities only brought the case because of pressure from the US film industry.

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Mar 10

YouTube is blocking all premium music videos to UK users after failing to reach a new licensing agreement with the Performing Right Society (PRS).

Premium music videos will not be accessible to UK YouTube users

Thousands of videos will be unavailable to YouTube users from later on Monday.

Patrick Walker, YouTube’s director of video partnerships, told BBC News that the move was “regrettable”.

Steve Porter, head of the PRS, said he was “outraged… shocked and disappointed” by YouTube’s decision.

In a statement, Mr Porter said the move “punishes British consumers and the songwriters whose interests we protect and represent”.

The PRS has asked YouTube to reconsider its decision as a “matter of urgency”.

The body, which represents music publishers, added: “Google has told us they are taking this step because they wish to pay significantly less than at present to the writers of the music on which their service relies, despite the massive increase in YouTube viewing.

“This action has been taken without any consultation with PRS for Music and in the middle of negotiations between the two parties.”

Mr Walker told BBC News the PRS was seeking a rise in fees “many, many factors” higher than the previous agreement.

He said: “We feel we are so far apart that we have to remove content while we continue to negotiate with the PRS.”

“We are making the message public because it will be noticeable to users on the site.”

Videos will begin to be blocked from 1800 GMT with the majority of them made inaccessible over the next two days.

YouTube pays a licence to the PRS which covers the streaming of music videos from three of the four major music labels and many independent labels.

Stream online

While deals with individual record labels cover the use of the visual element and sound recording in a music video, firms that want to stream online also have to have a separate deal with music publishers which covers the music and lyrics.

In the UK, the PRS acts as a collecting society on behalf of member publishers for licensing fees relating to use of music.

YouTube stressed that it continued to have “strong partnerships” with three of the four largest record labels in the world.

Mr Walker said the PRS was asking for a “prohibitive” rise in the cost of a new license.

While not specifying the rate the PRS was seeking, he said: “It has to be a rate than can drive a business model. We are in the business for the long run and we want to drive the use of online video.

“The rate they are applying would mean we would lose significant amounts of money on every stream of a music video. It is not a reasonable rate to ask.”

New deal

YouTube has also complained of a lack of transparency by the PRS, saying the organisation would not specify exactly which artists would be covered by any new deal.

“That’s like asking a consumer to buy a blank CD without knowing what musicians are on it,” a statement from YouTube UK says on its official blog.

YouTube is the world’s most popular online video site but has been under increased pressure to generate more revenue since its purchase by Google for $1.65 billion in 2006.

“We are not willing to do this [new licensing deal] at any cost,” said Mr Walker.

He said the issue was an industry-wide one and not just related to YouTube.

“By setting rates that don’t allow new business models to flourish, nobody wins.”

Services such as, MySpace UK and Imeem have also had issues securing licence deals in the UK in the last 12 months.

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Feb 23

Oscars 2009: Slumdog Millionaire, Best Film 

What a night for Danny Boyle and crew. Wow. I’ve slightly lost count but I think that’s eight Oscars out of a possible nine for Slumdog Millionaire.

Producer Christian Colson does the speechifying honours for this one, thanking the usual all and sundry, with the cast and crew all on stage with him (pictured) – including someone’s kid, a child of maybe 10.

A huge result tonight for British cinema, with Kate Winslet‘s victory added to the runaway success of Slumdog. 

Oscars 2009: Sean Penn takes Best Actor

What an opening line to his acceptance speech – “You commie homo-loving sons of guns“, says Sean Penn, taking the award for his portrayal of gay-rights activist and politician Harvey Milk in Milk.

He also gets another couple of good lines in – first he acknowledges that he sometimes “makes it hard for you to appreciate me“, a reference to his sporadic assaults on paparazzi.

Then he becomes the first winner this year to go overtly political in his speech, slating anti-gay marriage campaigners.

He comes across pretty well, to be honest. Rather assumed he’d be an unbearable luvvie. But he seems all right.

Oscars 2009: Kate Winslet takes Best Actress

She’s got it!
After what felt like an eternity of former winners telling us how great all the nominees are, they open the envelope and – yes, it’s Kate Winslet.

And her speech is pretty sensible. She didn’t have a complete meltdown, anyway. She is panting like she’s just run three miles to get to the stage, but most of the words she’s saying are at least coherent and strung together in grammatically accurate sentences.

Called all her fellow nominees “goddesses”, which was a little over the top, but had quite a good line when she said “I don’t think any of us can even believe we’re in a category with Meryl Streep“. Streep in the audience doing a good magnanimous-in-defeat face.

Oscars 2009: Danny Boyle takes Best Director

Told you.
Well, that’s been coming. Best Director award goes to Danny Boyle (pictured) for Slumdog Millionaire, which – weirdly, for a low-budget film set in Mumbai and only partly in English – felt inevitable.

He comes bouncing on stage, explaining that he promised his kids when they were young that if he ever won an Oscar he would accept it in the spirit of Tigger out of Winnie The Pooh. Rather sweet.

Then he becomes the first winner this year to go overtly political in his speech, slating anti-gay marriage campaigners.

He comes across pretty well, to be honest. Rather assumed he’d be an unbearable luvvie. But he seems all right.

Here are the winners, as they are announced, at the 81st Academy Awards, which are being held at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles on 22 February.

Best supporting actress: Penelope Cruz – Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Also nominated: Amy Adams – Doubt; Viola Davis – Doubt; Taraji P Henson – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Marisa Tomei – The Wrestler

Best original screenplay: Milk
Also nominated: Happy-Go-Lucky; Wall-E; In Bruges; Frozen River

Best adapted screenplay: Slumdog Millionaire
Also nominated: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Doubt; Frost/Nixon; The Reader

Best animated feature film: Wall-E
Also nominated: Bolt; Kung Fu Panda

Best animated short film: La Maison en Petits Cubes
Also nominated: Lavatory – Lovestory; Oktapodi; Presto; This Way Up

Art direction: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Also nominated: Changeling; The Dark Knight; The Duchess; Revolutionary Road

Costume design: The Duchess
Also nominated: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Australia; Milk; Revolutionary Road

Make-up: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Also nominated: The Dark Knight; Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Cinematography: Slumdog Millionaire
Also nominated: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Changeling; The Dark Knight; The Reader

Best live action short film: Spielzeugland (Toyland)
Also nominated: Auf der Strecke (On The Line); Manon on the Asphalt; New Boy; The Pig

Best supporting actor: Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight
Also nominated: Josh Brolin – Milk; Robert Downey Jr – Tropic Thunder; Philip Seymour Hoffman – Doubt; Michael Shannon – Revolutionary Road

Best documentary feature: Man on Wire
Also nominated: The Betrayal; Encounters at the End of the World; The Garden; Trouble The Water

Best documentary short subject: Smile Pinki
Also nominated: The Conscience of Nhem En; The Final Inch; The Witness – From the Balcony of Room 306

Visual effects: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Also nominated: The Dark Knight; Iron Man

Sound editing: The Dark Knight
Also nominated: Iron Man; Wanted; Slumdog Millionaire; Wall-E

Sound mixing: Slumdog Millionaire
Also nominated: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; The Dark Knight; Wanted; Wall-E

Film editing:Slumdog Millionaire
Also nominated: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; The Dark Knight; Frost/Nixon; Milk

Best original score: Slumdog Millionaire
Also nominated: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Defiance; Milk; Slumdog Millionaire; Wall-E

Best original song: Jai Ho – Slumdog Millionaire
Also nominated: Down To Earth – Wall-E; O Saya – Slumdog Millionaire

Best foreign language film: Departures – Japan
Also nominated: Revanche – Austria; The Class – France; The Baader Meinhof Complex – Germany; Waltz With Bashir – Israel

Best director: Danny Boyle – Slumdog Millionaire
Also nominated: Stephen Daldry – The Reader; David Fincher – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Ron Howard – Frost/Nixon; Gus Van Sant – Milk

Best actress: Kate Winslet – The Reader
Also nominated: Anne Hathaway – Rachel Getting Married; Angelina Jolie – Changeling; Melissa Leo – Frozen River; Meryl Streep – Doubt

Best actor: Sean Penn – Milk
Also nominated: Richard Jenkins – The Visitor; Frank Langella – Frost/Nixon; Brad Pitt – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Mickey Rourke – The Wrestler

Best picture: Slumdog Millionaire
Also nominated: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Frost/Nixon; Milk; The Reader

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Feb 12

US and Russian Satellite crash in Space

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For the first time in history (at least publicly known) two satellites collided in Space. This space accident was happening 485miles over Siberia already on Tuesday.

The US satellite is owned by Satellite phone service provider Iridium. The Russian satellite is said to be not in use anymore.

The crash generated a huge cloud of debris and it is expected to take weeks until the “dust settles” again. NASA says that there is no risk to the ISS right now. Space agencies are tracking the debris of the satellite crash and hope most of it burns in the earth atmosphere.

The orbit around earth is already pretty full with satellites and with debris. At some point they really need to clean up.

More details on BBC News and Reuters. See also the Iridium site.



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Oct 11

Source From: 10 links to walk you through today’s financial crisis — and make you smarter than 99% of other people

If u like his article, pls visit his blog:

All right, guys. I’ve gotten lots of emails about what’s going on with the economy and bailout, so I thought I’d put together a list of the articles I’ve been reading over the last two weeks. I added my own commentary to them below, plus links to stuff I’ve written that agrees/disagrees with each of the articles. My guess: If you read these links, you’ll understand more about the economy than nearly anyone you meet on the street. (Especially some of the fools I’ve been hearing lately, who are convinced that the U.S. will (1) go bankrupt, (2) start owning every mortgage in the country, and (3) think the entire financial system will be “crashing,” whatever that means.)


* * * 

1. Ignore the Sensationalist Media
Gawker pulls off one of the finest pieces of reporting on the bailout. When I wrote The Media is Atrociously Bad at Prediction and I’m Sick of It, I highlighted how various business media point make bold predictions, get it completely wrong, and are never held accountable.

In this case, Fortune highlighted AIG as one of “10 Stocks to Buy Now.” When they later apologized, they posted “The Best Stocks for 2008,” which, as Gawker points out, included…Merrill Lynch.



2. Hedge Fund Surprise?
This is like a tuna surprise, only worse: Hedge Funds Are Bracing for Investors to Cash Out. Many people haven’t heard about hedge funds’ redemption clauses, which basically means that fancy investors (e.g., universities, pension funds, and really wealthy people) will be able to withdraw their money today (Tuesday, 9/29/08). If that happens, nobody really knows what the repercussions could be…but they would probably be Very Bad. I’ve previously written about why hedge funds are overrated for investors.

3. We Have Short-Term Memories.
If you think history doesn’t repeat itself, you’re nuts. In fact, 10 years ago this month, Long Term Capital Management, a huge hedge fund, nearly caused a global financial collapse. Yet here we are — with the same words being thrown around. Does anyone really think investment bankers won’t make their same salaries at some point in the future? Or that we won’t gradually move back to huge executive compensation? Still, as I pointed out last week, none of that really matters to the individual investor. What matters is picking the right strategy and sticking to it.

4. What We Can Learn From Warren Buffett
Huge, long Warren Buffett interview. He is the man. Read this. It teaches you so much about long-term investing and admitting what you know — and don’t know. Note: I just ordered this new book on Warren Buffett.

5. Should You Buy More? Sell More? Something???!
Should I withdraw money from my 401(k)?” After 10 people sent me this link, I knew I had to check it out. In the article, 24-year old Bodie Partsch worries about the economy and contemplates withdrawing money from his retirement account, saying, “I could have the money sitting in a jar on my kitchen counter. It’d be safer than in my 401(k),” he said. BAD MOVE! Here’s a quote from my upcoming book:

Recently, a group called Dimensional Funds studied the performance of the S&P 500 from January 1970 to December 2006, during which time the annualized return of the market was 11.1%. They also noted something amazing: Of those 36 years from 1970 to 1986, if you missed the 25 days when the stock market performed the best, your return would have dropped from 11.1% to 7.6%, a crippling difference.

Now, if only we could know the best investing days ahead of time.

But, of course, you can’t. Trying to time the market is for fools. So you keep investing carefully and methodically, while spending as consciously as possible.

I’ll also add this link from JLP: It looks like Market Turmoil is Scaring Off Young Investors, where he notes:

Isn’t it crazy how we do the exact opposite of what we should be doing? If the stock market was going up, up, UP, people would be jumping in left and right—essentially buying over-priced stocks. Now that the market is on a downswing, people are sitting on the sidelines.

6. Cool Data Visualizations of The Economy
The New York Times does extraordinary data visualizations to give you a fresh perspective on the news. Check out What Your Global Neighbors Are Buying and A Year of Heavy Losses. From the first one:

How people spend their discretionary income – the cash that goes to clothing, electronics, recreation, household goods, alcohol – depends a lot on where they live. People in Greece spend almost 13 times more money on clothing as they do on electronics. People living in Japan spend more on recreation than they do on clothing, electronics and household goods combined. Americans spend a lot of money on everything.

7. Q&A: What’s Actually Going On With the Bailout?
If you don’t understand exactly what’s going on, that’s because nobody does. But there are some excellent overviews of the financial situation floating around. I like this one by Suze Orman, where she tells people the following:

  • What to do with $100,000 in debt and a $39k/year job.
  • The huge mistake first-time homebuyers make. (Hint: A $1,500 rent is not the same as a $1,500 mortgage.)
  • What to do when your mutual fund’s account value drops from $120,000 to $88,000.
  • Should you stick with stock funds in this tumultuous environment?
  • How to buy a car (I disagree with her on this one).

I also like this overview by NY Times Columnist David Leonhardt. If you like audio, check out this excellent program from This American Life. Finally, last week I linked to this excellent explanation of the market crisis on the Freakonomics blog.

8. What Gmail Has To Do With Your Money
I’ve been thinking about this post on a tech blog recently. It shows the early sketches/designs of Gmail, and what you realize from looking at them is that we only see the finished result — not the sausage-making in the back room. The same is true of rich people: We hear about people going on $50,000 honeymoons or driving brand-new Mercedes, but we don’t see the hard work behind it. This is an important concept that’s being more revealed with today’s economy: Many of the people who drove the expensive cars and bought the expensive houses couldn’t afford it. The people who were quietly accumulating wealth will do much better. Read more about this in one of my favorite personal-finance books, The Millionaire Next Door. (Btw, if you haven’t bought a couple good finance books recently — or anything that will help you turn your income into more money so you can hit your goals — please read this.)

9. Don’t Let Your Friends Be Morons
Don’t let your friends be idiots. If you read this site, chances are you understand that having 20, 30, or 40 years before you need your money gives you plenty of flexibility to invest for the long term, even with major or minor dips in the market. Yet with these terrifying headlines every day, it’s like people have become blind, yet highly literate zombies who wander aimlessly from one newspaper to another. Being dumb is not just focusing on the wrong things, it’s making poor financial decisions and then throwing up your hands and wondering why you don’t have enough money a few years later. If you own only one stock — especially if it’s your employer’s stock — then you are a fool. If you are going to buy a $1 million house with no research because you think it’s a good investment, you are a fool. If you don’t realize that your expensive, worthless mutual fund is costing you tens of thousands of dollars over your lifetime, you are a fool. Worry about the things you can control, not the headlines.

10. Get More Reading Material
Want more links? I keep my delicious bookmarks up to date every day, especially the section on finance.


* * * 

I hope this helped. I’m thinking of doing a live video/webchat next week. What do you think? Would you attend?

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