Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ke$ha's Ghost Sex Claim Arouses Skepticism From Paranormal ...

Ke$ha's recent claim that she had sex with a ghost before writing her latest single is arousing something from paranormal experts: skepticism.

The pop singer recently revealed to Ryan Seacrest that a randy romp with a male ghost helped give birth to her new song, "Supernatural."

"It's about experiences with the supernatural... but in a sexy way," she told Seacrest. "I had a couple of experiences with the supernatural. I don't know his name! He was a ghost! I'm very open to it."

There have been reports of people having sex with ghosts, according to paranormal researcher Eric Olsen, who co-hosts "America's Most Haunted," an online radio show.

"There is a tradition of entities known as 'succubus' and 'incubus,' which are malevolent spirits and their whole modus operandi is to seduce human victims and, in the process of consummating, steal or possess the victim's soul," Olsen told The Huffington Post.

Still, Olsen is skeptical about Ke$ha's alleged haunted humpings, which, if true, would make her a "spectrophiliac."

"There is a question as to what kind of visitation can you have while asleep," Olsen said, suggesting that the singer's otherworldly orgasms with some paranormal perv may just be part of a vivid dream.

"Unless you can observe them, you can't really differentiate between a vivid dream and an actual encounter," Olsen said.

Ghost researcher and HuffPost blogger Alexandra Holzer is also raising her eyebrows at Ke$ha's allegations of spirit sex, which, if true, would not be a hot and heated encounter.

"The people who report having sex with a ghost report feeling pressure on them and even penetration, but ghosts don't have warmth," Holzer told HuffPost. "When they're in the room, it's a very cold environment."

Holzer said the singer has been known for her ability to get publicity and suggests it wouldn't shock her if Ke$ha created the story in order to scare up publicity for the new CD.

"In terms of PR, it's an interesting and smart move," Holzer said.

Los Angeles-based ghost hunter Jayni Hartman won't dismiss Ke$ha's claims as strictly for publicity, but said that erotic apparition encounters are rare.

"Connections between ghosts and humans are more likely to be emotional, like the woman I met who could actually feel the spirit of her dead husband spooning her in bed and even smelled his cologne," Hartman told HuffPost.

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Will India be under pressure against Pakistan? CNN-IBN's cricket experts discuss...

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Tech Access Blog: A web host helps businesses for an online ...

That's right. Technology helps businesses to have an online presence in the form of websites. A business oriented company can have their own dedicated website that will list down the detailed services and the businesses that they do. There are a few kinds of businesses that would vanish off after a particular period and there are a few others which would sustain by for many years to come. There could be debate on whether the sustaining ones are better or the ones that live shorter. These businesses would all need a mode of communication to propagate the companies or to advertise the companies.

There would always be a lot of need for websites for the companies and that is when the need of a popular web hosting firm is needed. A perfect business with the perfect website is one of the most famous business that would sustain for years to come. The servers provided by the web hosting firms are the large storage devices that would enable accessing the data from any part of the world. Many people too, are creating websites for their own in order to spread their views to the friends. Choosing a premium web hosting has its own perks. These kind of socializing activities would also need more servers which eventually means more number of web hosting opportunities for the firms.


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The Zooka Wireless Speaker Bar Turns Bad Audio Into Loud Noises!

detail_oLiving in the digital age is a privilege. All the content you could want, whether it's music, video, games, or apps, is at the tip of your fingers every time you fire up the old MacBook or iPad. But these portable devices - our smartphones, tablets and notebooks - aren't really prepared to deliver that content at the highest quality possible. In terms of visuals, Retina displays and the like have gone a way to improve this, but where sound is concerned...


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Prostate cancer testing and treatment guidelines developed

ScienceDaily (Sep. 29, 2012) ? Julio M. Pow-Sang, M.D., chair of Moffitt Cancer Center's Department of Genitourinary Oncology, and colleagues have published two prostate cancer articles in the September issue of JNCCN -- The Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. The articles review and clarify recent updates made to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network's (NCCN) guidelines for the screening and treatment of prostate cancer.

According to the NCCN, nearly 242,000 cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in 2012, accounting for 29 percent of new cancers among men. It is estimated that more than 28,000 men will die from the disease this year.

According to the journal, prostate cancer is "over diagnosed and over treated" and is subject to a controversy "fueled by large screening studies." This month, Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, the NCCN has offered support for active surveillance, a strategy by which men with low-risk tumors, often classified as clinically insignificant, are monitored over time.

"Depending on the disease characteristics and the patient's life expectancy and personal preference, active surveillance may be a viable alternative to immediate and radical treatment," Pow-Sang said. "For others with high-risk, localized tumors or locally advanced disease, there are recent treatment advances that should be considered."

New agents and therapy combinations According to the NCCN, external beam radiation and androgen deprivation therapy have been the traditional treatments for patients with high-risk tumors. However, the NCCN reports that brachytherapy, either permanent seed implant or temporary placement (high dose radiation), combined with external beam radiation and androgen deprivation therapy is increasingly being used for these patients.

The first article, Prostate Cancer, version 3.2012, noted that two new agents -- abiraterone acetate and immunotherapy sipuleucel-T -- are welcome therapeutic additions for patients with late-stage disease and poor prognosis.

Abiraterone acetate, which inhibits a key enzyme related to prostate cancer, can be given to patients after their chemotherapy. Studies have shown that it can also be used in chemotherapy-na?ve patients.

Sipuleucel-T, a second line therapy, is a live cancer vaccine approved in 2010 for treating asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic patients with metastatic prostate cancer. The NCCN has recommended the new drug for use after chemotherapy failure or as treatment along with chemotherapy.

"The new NCCN guidelines highlight important updates to the management of prostate cancer," concluded Pow-Sang and his co-authors. "These protocols are updated annually and more often when new, high-quality clinical data become available. The guidelines are based on evidence from clinical trials combined with expert consensus."

Active surveillance and PSA density, percent free, and biopsy cores

In a second article, Enrollment Criteria Controversies for Active Surveillance and Triggers for Conversion to Treatment in Prostate Cancer, Pow-Sang and co-author David D. Buethe, M.D., a urologic oncology fellow at Moffitt, examine the controversy and criteria for implementing active surveillance for patients with asymptomatic prostate cancer and identify the triggers that would convert active surveillance patients to active treatment status.

The authors note that for those patients with prostate cancers at low-risk for progression, the active surveillance strategy was proposed a decade ago but is recently receiving more attention as a viable management option.

"However, critical uncertainties still surround active surveillance," Pow-Sang said. "The criteria that qualify a patient as low or very low risk are not clear, nor is the definition of disease progression."

In this article, Pow-Sang and Buethe reviewed recent literature regarding those uncertainties, examining criteria for assisting in selecting men for active surveillance, including PSA density, percent free versus percent total PSA, biopsy positive core results and "volume of involvement" data.

"A PSA density of greater than 0.08 ng/mL/g has been identified as a significant predictor of future disease progression in those with low-risk prostate cancer," reported Pow-Sang. "However, some clinicians use a level of 0.15 ng/mL/g as a threshold."

Percent-free PSA has been found to be a significant predictor of organ-confined disease, said Pow-Sang and Buethe, noting that some reports have shown a significant indirect correlation between percent-free PSA and prostate cancer volume; but as yet this parameter is "not widely accepted as a predictor of cancer extent."

They also looked at studies on positive cores from biopsies and the extent to which core results could be used to develop criteria for treatment. Reports have shown the predictive value of positive biopsy cores, but the frequency for performing prostate biopsies remains controversial for outcomes of active surveillance patients, Pow-Sang said.

"Biopsies are not without consequences," he said. "Rectal bleeding and serious infectious complications from frequent biopsies need to be considered."

Additionally, no standard protocol exists, and controversy remains, for the frequency of PSA testing and the digital rectal exam for patients who are under active surveillance.

"Current guidelines vary," Pow-Sang said. "There are recommendations that the PSA and digital rectal exam should be performed every three to six months, or the PSA every three months and the digital rectal exam every six months. The frequency of biopsies is also variable, from once a year to up to every three years."

New potential tools

Pow-Sang and Buethe also report that a new tool, the PCA3 urinary marker, may be useful. PCA3 is a urine test used to quantify copies of the known prostate cancer gene 3. A PCA3 score of 35 or greater is considered possibly malignant. The test is prostate cancer specific and unaffected by prostatitis or benign prostatic hyperplasia, both of which have confounded the results of PSA testing.

The future of active surveillance

"Most studies report that 30 percent of active surveillance-classified men will be reclassified in the short term to clinically significant cancer that may require treatment," noted Pow-Sang. "Once more, PSA velocity (how quickly the PSA score rises) or PSA doubling time (how often the score doubles) has no clear role in active surveillance."

When counseling men with early prostate cancer, all treatment options, risks and complications should be discussed, Pow-Sang confirmed.

"Active surveillance is a reasonable management strategy for low-risk and very low risk prostate cancer, but allows for continual reassessment and identification of progressive tumors."

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Story Source:

The above story is reprinted from materials provided by H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

Journal References:

  1. James L. Mohler, Andrew J. Armstrong, Robert R. Bahnson, Barry Boston, J. Erik Busby, Anthony Victor D?Amico, James A. Eastham, Charles A. Enke, Thomas Farrington, Celestia S. Higano, Eric Mark Horwitz, Philip W. Kantoff, Mark H. Kawachi, Michael Kuettel, Richard J. Lee, Gary R. MacVicar, Arnold W. Malcolm, David Miller, Elizabeth R. Plimack, Julio M. Pow-Sang, Mack Roach III, Eric Rohren, Stan Rosenfeld, Sandy Srinivas, Seth A. Strope, Jonathan Tward, Przemyslaw Twardowski, Patrick C. Walsh, Maria Ho, and Dorothy A. Shead. Prostate Cancer, Version 3.2012 Featured Updates to the NCCN Guidelines. J Natl Compr Canc Netw, 2012 DOI: 10:1081-1087
  2. Pow-Sang and David D. Buethe. Enrollment Criteria Controversies for Active Surveillance and Triggers for Conversion to Treatment in Prostate Cancer. J Natl Compr Canc Netw, 2012;10:1101-1110 DOI: 10:1101-1110

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.


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'Hotel Transylvania' checks in with $43M debut

LOS ANGELES (AP) ? Adam Sandler's monster mash-up "Hotel Transylvania" has brought the weekend box office back to life after a late-summer slump.

According to studio estimates Sunday, the animated comedy debuted at No. 1 with $43 million, one of the strongest starts ever for a movie opening in September.

"Hotel Transylvania" set a new high for September debuts in terms of actual dollars, beating the previous record of $35.7 million for 2002's "Sweet Home Alabama." But factoring in today's higher admission prices, "Sweet Home Alabama" sold more tickets.

This weekend's box office was further strengthened by a solid No. 2 debut for Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt's time-travel thriller "Looper," which took in $21.2 million.

Hollywood's overall grosses rose for the first time in a month compared to the same weekend last year.


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Is my goal achievable - Weight Loss & Dieting - MedHelp

Hey guys I'm 5ft 7in and weigh 88kg...I want to wear a bikini and be skinny this December/January and lose about 30 kg I've so far lost 5 kg in 1 and a halve weeks and was wondering if I could lose this and look in shape by this summer..

If it is how do I do it?
Have you ever done it?



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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Evolutionary psychologists study the purpose of punishment and reputation

Friday, September 28, 2012

For two decades, evolutionary scientists have been locked in a debate over the evolved functions of three distinctive human behaviors: the great readiness we show for cooperating with new people, the strong interest we have in tracking others' reputations regarding how well they treat others, and the occasional interest we have in punishing people for selfishly mistreating others.

In an article published today in the journal PLoS ONE, researchers at UC Santa Barbara's Center for Evolutionary Psychology report new findings that may help settle the debate and provide answers to the behavioral puzzle.

As they go about their daily lives, people usually don't know the names of the people they encounter and ?? in cities, at least ?? typically expect never to see them again, noted Max M. Krasnow, a postdoctoral researcher in psychology at UCSB and the paper's lead author. Despite the fact that these encounters are brief, anonymous, and unlikely to be repeated, however, people often behave as if they are interested in the ongoing well-being and behavior of the strangers they meet.

"Imagine that, while grocery shopping, you see someone help a wheelchair-bound person he or she doesn't know get her bags across the parking lot to her car. For many people, witnessing the action would elicit feelings of kindness toward the helper," Krasnow explained. "Equally, if people see someone driven off the road by a reckless driver, they might become angry enough to pursue and even confront the driver. Evolutionary scientists are interested in why humans have impulses to help the kind stranger or to punish the callous one. At first glance, these sometimes costly impulses seem like they would subtract from the welfare of the individual who exhibited them, and so should be evolutionarily disfavored."

Other contributors to the paper include Leda Cosmides and John Tooby, professors of psychology and anthropology, respectively, and co-directors of UCSB's Center for Evolutionary Psychology; and Eric J. Pedersen, a graduate student in psychology at the University of Miami.

Scientists have struggled for decades to explain these behaviors in evolutionary terms, with two alternative theories gaining prominence. The first proposes that these social inclinations emerged because our ancestors lived in small populations, where every encounter ?? even one with a stranger ?? had a chance to develop into an ongoing relationship that yielded mutual gains from cooperation. In such a world, paying attention to how those around you treat others could help zero in on the partners most likely to cooperate with you. In addition, letting it be known that you wouldn't allow yourself to be treated poorly would increase the likelihood that you'd be treated well.

The second theory suggests that these behaviors emerged because our ancestors lived in groups that often fought with other groups ?? interactions where groups with high levels of internal cooperation would have the advantage over groups in which the members were divisive and exploitative of each other. This theory proposes that these other-oriented social inclinations were designed to cultivate a group-wide culture of cooperation.

"The reason why the debate has dragged on so long is that previous studies unfortunately focused on situations where the two theories made very similar predictions," said Tooby. "We wanted to design studies involving situations where the theories made sharply contrasting predictions, so the results would falsify one theory or the other."

In the studies reported in this paper, over 200 participants were tested in a series of structured social interactions designed to capture the essence of real-world situations like the supermarket mentioned above. "We wanted to know exactly what kinds of information people actually use in deciding who to trust ?? that is, who to cooperate with, and who to avoid," said Krasnow. "If our minds are designed to seek out the benefits of cooperative relationships with others, then participants should have preferred to trust those likely to cooperate with them in particular. On the other hand, if our reputational psychology is designed to support group-wide cohesion and cooperation, the participants should have resisted cooperating with those who defected on other group members."

The findings supported the individual cooperation account, not the group cooperation account. "Participants ceased responding to information about whether their partners cheated others when they had good information that their partners would not cheat them," Tooby emphasized.

The researchers were also interested in testing the diverging predictions about what situations should trigger the inclination to punish cheating. "We all recognize that punishing others is costly and unpleasant," said Cosmides. "So what benefits led it to evolve?"

The authors reasoned that tracking the triggers of punishment should illuminate which benefits favored its evolution. "If the impulse to punish evolved as a bargaining tool to defend the individual by deterring against future instances of being cheated, then participants should be inclined to punish others' defections when they themselves would be vulnerable to being cheated by that person in the future," said Kasnow. "On the other hand, if our punitive psychology is designed to defend the group against cheating, then participants should have punished those who mistreated others, regardless of their own personal exposure to continuing mistreatment by that person."

The researchers found that participants strongly conditioned their punishment of their partners' cheating on their own vulnerability to continued bad treatment from their partner. As Krasnow pointed out, people in these experiments systematically avoided expending effort to reform those who only posed a risk to others. Cosmides noted, "It's very hard to reconcile these findings with the group cooperation theory."

These results have significant implications for the science of cooperation. "The current research findings suggest that the human readiness to cooperate, our selectivity in who we cooperate with, and our tendency to respond negatively when we are cheated form an efficient package to forge and maintain strongly cooperative relationships," said Krasnow. "The human tendencies to care about how a person treats others and to protest bad treatment are not simply a thin veneer of cultural norms atop a cold and calculating core. Rather, they represent fundamental features of a universal human social nature."


University of California - Santa Barbara:

Thanks to University of California - Santa Barbara for this article.

This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.

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Car And Taxi Hire Services In London City

London is a city of wonders. It lists among the worlds most historical and most visited countries. The city which began life since unknown time is today the capital of United Kingdom of Great Britain and the largest metropolitan city of continent Europe. London has a countless number of buildings and historical remains from the ancient times. The enthralling and extremely interesting history of London compels people to spare the time out of their busy lives and experience all that the great city has to offer. The city of London boasts facilities and features that are second to none in the world.

Hire a taxi in UK
You can hire a taxi in UK London via various methods which include call based booking, website based booking and mobile application/site based booking. The city of London is highly advanced and developed. The network of roads and the planning of the city are absolutely fantastic. Its a treat for a tourist to just stroll around the city and witness its futuristic buildings and the hustle and bustle around. The taxis which are also known as cabs started from London long time ago and became very popular means of private transportation in a short time. These cabs were painted in black and even today, the London cabs are considered as the symbol of London City.

UK taxi hire
The UK taxi hire service providers paint their cabs in black and yellow colors even today. The taxis in London are the latest models of sedans and are extremely comfortable and convenient for all kinds of transfer requirements. A cab can accommodate a maximum of four people and has a trunk space for placing enough baggage. The people hire taxis for local transfers as well as for traveling to and from different airports. The taxi drivers providing services in London are usually local to the city therefore the tourists do not face any kind of difficulty while traveling to different locations in London.

Car Hire
The local car hire companies of London also provide premium quality transportation services in London making it possible for all kinds of tourists to enjoy max. London being one of the places for dream vacations has a range of high end recreational facilities. Some of the top listed places in the wonderful iconic London city include The London Eye, The London Dungeon, Madame Tussauds London, SEA LIFE London Aquarium, Wembley Stadium Tour, Banqueting House, The British Museum, Buckingham Palace, Chelsea Football Club - Museum and Stadium Tour, Design Museum, Eltham Palace, Fulham Football Club, Hampton Court Palace and many more.

Cheap taxi hire in UK
You can visit each of these places during your visit to the city by hiring a local London taxi. The local taxis are driven by local drivers of London who have an intense geographical knowledge of the city and can take you anywhere you want to, in London in a hassle free way. If you are looking for online cheap taxi hire in UK for your next trip to the capital city, CrossCab is the best choice for you.

About the Author:
The UK taxi hire service providers paint their cabs in black and yellow colors even today. If you are looking for online cheap taxi hire in UK for your next trip to the capital city, CrossCab is the best choice.


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The Massive Radio Telescope That Peers Into the Universe's Darkest Corners [Video]

The 13,000 square-mile National Radio Quiet Zone is home to the Green Bank Telescope. The 2-acre, 16-million pound dish is the largest, fully steerable radio telescope in the world. And, as this gorgeous video by Motherboard highlights, it might be in danger. More »


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Turning Vacation Dreams Into Reality

Most of us have that one holiday destination that we consider a dream! It is a nice sandy area that we would love to visit every month if possible!


Greece is one of those countries that looking at its photos makes anyone want to visit! With so many islands, there is a lot one can do while on holiday there and have a great time. In the past, it was one of those holiday dream destinations that most people could not actualize. However, visiting Greece is a real possibility today. Depending on the activity you enjoy most, there is an island in Greece to meet your need. Lefkada is one of the most popular islands of the country that most new tourists love visiting. If you are after a nice family holiday, this is the island to visit! Also known as The Island of Blue Dreams, the island offers a relatively cheaper option for a holiday. There are many resorts that you can visit while at the island. Most of these offer impressive packages that are guaranteed to be appealing to anyone who wants to have a good time on a budget. One of the best resorts in this area is the Porto Ligia Hotel. This resort is located in a fishing village that is in close proximity with the city of Nidri. The Semiramis Hotel is great if you want a hotel that is near everything. This resort is located 3 kilo meters from the island and has a great view of the landscape.


There are so many sights that you can choose from if you love looking at nature. These include; the lake of Marantohori, the drop of Volti, the castle of Agia Mavra, the Monasteries of Panagia, Myrtidiotissa Thapsanon, Panagia Sta Kelia, and Agio Ioannis Kaparos. All these are great and excellent attractions that you need to add to your visit list when you take your family to Greece. The area is also vast with ancient marble quarries that are worth looking at! If you are more after intriguing landscape, be sure to check out Dimossari. However, if you are into more activity filled holidays, then you should consider the many water sports available around the island. In addition to the beautiful beaches, you can engage in activities such as jet skiing, water skiing, sailing, yachting, wind surfing, Para surfing, swimming and any other available water based fun activity. If you have no idea how these games are played, be safe by ensuring that you have a local guide who will take you through the basics.


A good number of us take holidays to relax! If this is you, then the beaches are the best place to be! You can relax as you read your favorite book or simply enjoying the sun on your back! The island is also a perfect shopping arena from which you can get good memoirs of your holiday. Therefore, no matter the activity you want to engage in during your holiday, spare some time for a little shopping. Before you set out on your holiday however, do a research of the best island that will meet your holiday needs and give you your moneys worth!

About the Author:
The author gives a travel guide to Greece such as the to the Greek island of Lefkada.


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Atlantic Metro Launches Cloud Tool for Businesses to Connect to ...

Atlantic Metro Communications has joined the Amazon Partner Network with the launch of its CloudDirect ServicesAtlantic Metro Communications has joined the Amazon Partner Network with the launch of its CloudDirect Services

Data centere services provider Atlantic Metro Communications announced on Friday it has joined the Amazon Partner Network with the launch of its CloudDirect Services, a free tool designed to enable businesses to provide a private connection to Amazon Web Services.

It is beneficial for data centers to provide their business customers with a simplified way to connect to Amazon Web Services, as it offers increased levels of security, affordable rates and reduced costs for data transfer, faster connection speeds, consistent network performance, and improved application performance.

CloudDirect is an effective solution designed for customers currently using Atlantic Metro?s Ethernet or Business Internet Access services, as well as businesses looking for an independent connection to their Amazon Web Services.

Atlantic Metro?s CloudDirect services enable customers using AWS to establish secure and reliable connectivity from any of its data centers, network POPs, and locations with Metro Ethernet connectivity.

Businesses previously sending data over the public Internet will now have the ability to directly connect to their Amazon Web Services via a private network connection.?Businesses can access AWS via standard Ethernet over copper or fiber at speeds ranging from 10 Mbps to 10 Gbps.

CloudDirect is available as a virtual or dedicated LAN link, with both options designed to reduce change to existing connectivity.

Under CloudDIrect pricing, customers are directly billed for network transfer usage via their existing AWS account at a significantly discounted rate of $0.03 per GB.

?Atlantic Metro is very excited to join the Amazon Partner Network and introduce our CloudDirect services to offer businesses an easy and affordable means to securely access their Cloud,? said Stephen Klenert, chief strategy officer of Atlantic Metro. ?Customers in our data center facilities and utilizing Atlantic Metro?s Metro Ethernet service can now leverage Amazon Web Services as if it were part of their own infrastructure. The ability to access the Amazon Cloud via a secure and private connection opens up a wide range of exciting new possibilities and cloud computing solutions.?

Talk back: Are you currently offering a tool for businesses to connect to Amazon Web Services? Do you think this is something your customers would benefit from? Let us know in the comments.

Justin Lee

About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a staff analyst with theWHIR since 2004. He writes about a range of web hosting and IT-related issues facing the industry on the WHIR website, as well the print version of the WHIR magazine. Follow him on Twitter @Justin_theWHIR.


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Friday, September 28, 2012

BestThinking / Thinkers / Arts & Entertainment / Literature / Fiction

Sep. 25, 2012 2:42 pm

As we get ready for three television debates between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, much is being written about the first one between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon 52 years ago. The problem is that so much of it is wrong. Rarely have so many inaccuracies become part of an event's mythology. Over the years I've written about the pivotal Kennedy-Nixon debate several times. I watched it twice...? Read?More

Aug. 27, 2012 5:31 pm

When Steve Jobs died, a satrical publication called The Onion lamented that Jobs was the last American who knew what the hell he was doing. It was a different time and a different world, but Neil Armstrong, who died August 25 at 82, knew what he was doing, too. The first man to walk on the moon; it doesn't get any better than that. In this utterly dispiriting presidential campaign - something...? Read?More

Aug. 21, 2012 5:26 pm

Scott McKenzie may have died, which he did a few days back at the age of 73, but his song San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair) lives on, which is too bad because I hate the damn thing. Always have, by the way. I am no Robert-come-lately. I hated it as much in the summer of 1967, when it first abraded the nation's ears, as I do now. That song has more sap than an entire forest...? Read?More

Aug. 16, 2012 1:47 pm

We live in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which bills itself as "The City Different" - and let me tell you, it isn't kidding. Don't misunderstand - after more than three years, we love it here. Great sunsets, great food, lots of art, very outdoorsy. But to call Santa Fe different doesn't get the job done. This place is nuts. Let me offer some examples: The Woo Woo Factor We lived in California for...? Read?More

Aug. 8, 2012 4:01 pm

I don't watch much television news and every so often it's good to be reminded why. A couple of days ago two self-inflating gas bags on Fox News - where else? - were releasing hot air all over Gabby Douglas and her double gold medal-winning gymnastics performance at the London Olympics. Alisyn Camerota, guest host of Fox's "America Live," pointed out that it was noticed by "some folks,"...? Read?More

Jul. 19, 2012 3:23 pm

You probably weren't at all wondering why 90-plus year old British mystery writer P. D. James thought I was gay. That's okay, I gave it enough thought for all of us. Me, my wife, Dana, and another couple recently indulged ourselves in a trans-Atlantic cruise from New York City to Great Britain via the Queen Mary II. Unlike the standard port-a-day cruises, we got on the ship in New York City and...? Read?More

Jun. 7, 2012 3:08 pm

It seemed as if the great Ray Bradbury always was and always would be, and it does not seem possible that he could die. Many will praise the extraordinary literary legacy he left behind with his death at age 91 - more than 27 novels, 600 short stories, and many classic short story collections, including "The Martian Chronicles," "Fahrenheit 451," "Dandelion Wine," and one of the the greatest...? Read?More

May 28, 2012 4:13 pm

And so, like the song says, another one bites the dust. In this case, "another one" is the New Orleans Times-Picayune, which sometime this fall will go out of business as a daily newspaper, leaving New Orleans as the largest city in the country without one. We should be used to this by now. The newspapers that now Rest In Peace include the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, the Seattle...? Read?More

May 23, 2012 1:10 pm

There was a time, back long before the earth cooled, when you had to get up to change the channel! What! those who are not of a certain age may cry. Impossible! The horror! The brutality of it all! Trust me, it's in all the history books. And who is the man who helped lead us out of this dark and terrifying time? I give you Eugene Polley, inventor of the first wireless channel changer,...? Read?More

May 6, 2012 2:18 pm

A friend recently sent me a copy of an essay by the writer Hilary Mantel that confronted a problem faced by all historical novelists: How did those people talk? As Mantel, author of the excellent novel "Wolf Hall," pointed out, in any era the language in preserved letters, speeches and documents is much more formal than how people really spoke to each other. In Mantel's case, that era is Tudor...? Read?More

May 4, 2012 12:13 pm

I have been asked time and time again - that makes twice - why I was interested in writing two novels about Sam Houston, a man whose name is well known but without anything specific coming to mind for most people. Which is one reason I wanted to write about him. He was, to say the least, colorful, which makes writing about him a lot more enjoyable. I'm sure there are people who yearn to write...? Read?More


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Lookup Adsense Commissions Mixed Living in With In | Information

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Since they can be working from home it can often be difficult to find the correct help. From a normal employment if are usually confused you can easily ask your coworkers or colleagues for services. Yet when Yet since you are working dwelling if there?s a problem potentially question you should have to find it on yourself. For this reason you need to find a fellow worker who knows in website and affiliate marketing. You as well going to need to take part in an internet forum along with subscribe any newsletter. If you do this you expose you to ultimately other individuals who are already your home driven business and find the ability to clarify and option any questions you sometimes have.
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Gambling: How To Manage It | Arts and Entertainment

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Angry Bird's creator Rovio unleashes its Bad Piggies game for iPhone

Angry Birds creator Rovio has just unleashed the latest game in the franchise this time called Bad Piggies. The game turns the Angry Birds concept on its head and this time you have to help out the piggies to progress in the game.

The Bad Piggies are after the eggs again -- but as usual, nothing is going according to plan! Can you create the ultimate flying machine and steer them safely to their destination? Those tricky pigs have a few objects they can use, but they need your help to turn these into the perfect transportation!

With more than 60 levels, and free updates coming up, you have hours and hours of pig-crashing, exploding, and flying fun! Get three stars on every level to unlock 30 more puzzles! HINT: Sometimes you need to play the level several times to achieve all the objectives -- try building a new device or steering in a different way to earn all the stars!

Bad Piggies has been released for the iPhone and also for the Mac and certain Android devices too. It should also be released later in the year for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 devices as well; looks like Rovio is covering all bases. If this game is nearly as good as the original Angry Birds then Rovio will have another huge hit on its hands.

$0.99 Download Now

Bad Pigges is compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad all running iOS 4.0 or later. If you pick this one up, let us know if it is as addictive and exciting as the original Angry Birds.


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Galaxy Note II Poised to Hit the Runway for US Debut

Samsung on Thursday emailed out a teaser that sparked frenzied speculation about its being a harbinger for the launch of the company's Galaxy Note II phablet. The email is titled "The Next Big Thing Is Here," and carries an edge-on lengthwise shot of what appears to be a Samsung Galaxy Note, with the tip of the S pen sticking out from the top. Recipients are urged to save the date, October 24, at 7 pm, and New York City is given as the venue.


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The Three Broad-Based Categories Of Folks Seeking Custom Auto

There are basically three kinds of individuals drawn to the world of custom auto upholstery. Understanding which ?kind? you are (broadly speaking) will go far in helping you understand what your needs truly are when you?re looking for the services of a custom auto upholstery expert, which will in turn, help to ensure you get the most out of it, and walk away with what exactly you wanted.

The three broad-based groups of people seeking services like these are:

1) Generalists, seeking fixes, maintenance, and upkeep. Probably the most numerous category, these folks aren?t seeking to spend an arm and a leg on some elaborate aftermarket project, or to wind up with some newfangled, smokin? set of custom auto upholstery, they only want to keep their automobile running nice and looking nice.

For the former, they?ve no doubt got AAA and an auto technician on standby. For the latter, they?ll turn to a custom auto upholstery specialist to keep the headliner and door panels pristine, and to repair or replace any rips and tears in the seats or consoles.

Most often, the jobs that this group brings to the custom auto upholstery professional have relatively quick recovery times, and are pretty easy. It?s rare that you?ll see a generalist working with his upholsterer on some long term, elaborate project.

2) Then there are Classic Car Restorers. This category is probably the second largest, and they usually want huge, deeply involved projects. Often, they?ll pick up a classic car for a song, with the knowledge and expertise that it?s seen numerous years of neglect. They task their practitioner with completely rebuilding the interior, while being faithful to the original design. These assignments take a lot of time generally from several weeks, to several months to complete, depending on exactly what is being done, and also the people in this category are usually the most demanding and exacting, as they want absolute perfection in their restoration work (and rightly so!).

3) Lastly, there are the diehard Automobile Fanatics. Unlike the classic car restoration crowd, they don?t have a problem spending money on whatever they happen to be driving. For this group, it?s not regarding faithful restoration, but rather, creating a driving experience that?s completely unique to them (and for these folks, having a set of custom auto upholstery, or something similar would be a good thing!) . For these people, their car is not merely a means of conveyance, but instead, an expression of personality, and upgraded effects can only take you to date (they are, after all, still produced in higher quantities).

For this reason, the people in this group will put their mind along with their specialist to create an often elaborate look and feel that they could be proud of when the job is done. Again, these tasks will probably span weeks or months, depending on exactly how involved they are.

If you?re looking to have work done on your automobile, give at least some thought to which of these groups you fall into before getting in touch with your custom auto upholstery specialist. Understanding exactly where you?re coming from can help you define exactly what it is you are considering, and will help ensure you get exactly what you?re after in the end. Are you a restoration aficionado, looking to stay true to the original design? Simply looking for a restoration work, or looking for something more intricate, such as a sweet set of custom auto upholstery? Give it some thought, and make certain you?re getting exactly what you want!

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Sherman's Security Blog: IT's 9 biggest security threats

Years ago the typical hacking scenario involved a lone attacker and maybe some buddies working late at night on Mountain Dew, looking for public-facing IP addresses. When they found one, they enumerated the advertising services (Web server, SQL server, and so on), broke in using a multitude of vulnerabilities, then explored the compromised company to their heart's content. Often their intent was exploratory. If they did something illegal, it was typically a spur-of-the-moment crime of opportunity.?

My, how times have changed.

When describing a typical hacking scenario, these days you must begin well before the hack or even the hacker, with the organization behind the attack. Today, hacking is all crime, all the time, complete with bidding markets for malware, crime syndicates, botnets for hire, and cyber warfare gone amok.
Here are the nine biggest threats facing today's IT security pros.

Threat No. 1: Cyber crime syndicates
Although the lone criminal mastermind still exists, these days most malicious hacking attacks are the result of organized groups, many of which are professional. Traditional organized crime groups that used to run drugs, gambling, prosecution, and extortion have thrown their hats into the online money grab ring, but competition is fierce, led not by mafiosos but several very large groups of professional criminals aimed specifically at cyber crime.

Many of the most successful organized cyber crime syndicates are businesses that lead large affiliate conglomerate groups, much in the vein of legal distributed marketing hierarchies. In fact, today's cyber criminal probably has more in common with an Avon or Mary Kay rep than either wants to admit.
Small groups, with a few members, still hack, but more and more, IT security pros are up against large corporations dedicated to rogue behavior. Think full-time employees, HR departments, project management teams, and team leaders. And it's all criminal, no more funny messages printed to the screen or other teenage antics. Most operate in the open, and some -- like the Russian Business Network -- even have their own Wikipedia entries. Kind of makes you wish for yesteryear, doesn't it?

Specialization and division of labor are at the heart of these organizations. A single mastermind, or an inner circle, will run the collective. Sergeants and subdivisions will specialize in different areas, with an arm dedicated to creating malware, another dedicated to marketing, another that sets up and maintains the distribution channel, and yet another in charge of creating botnets and renting them to other evildoers (see below).

It's little wonder why popular IT security practices just don't work against today's malware, given that cyber crime has evolved into a multilevel, service-oriented industry with the blatant goal of fleecing companies and people out of their money and intellectual property.

Threat No. 2: Small-time cons -- and the money mules and launders supporting them
Not all cyber criminal organizations are syndicates or corporations. Some are simply entrepreneurial in nature, small businesses after one thing: money.

These malicious mom-and-pop operations may steal identities and passwords, or they may cause nefarious redirection to get it. In the end, they want money. They initiate fraudulent credit card or banking transactions and convert their ill-gotten gains into local currency using money mules, electronic cash distribution, e-banking, or some other sort of money laundering.

It's not hard to find money launders. There are dozens to hundreds of entities competing to be the one that gets to take a large percentage cut of the illegally procured loot. In fact, you'd be surprised at the competitive and public nature of all the other people begging to do support business with Internet criminals. They advertise "no questions asked," "bulletproof" hosting in countries far from the reaches of legal subpoenas, and they offer public bulletin boards, software specials, 24/7 telephone support, bidding forums, satisfied customer references, antimalware avoidance skills, and all the servicing that helps others to be better online criminals. Many of these groups make tens of millions of dollars each year.

Many of these groups and the persons behind them have been identified (and arrested) over the past few years. Their social media profiles show happy people with big houses, expensive cars, and content families taking foreign vacations. If they're the slightest bit guilty from stealing money from others, it doesn't show.

Imagine the neighborhood barbeques where they tell neighbors and friends that they run an "Internet marketing business" -- all the while social engineering their way to millions to the consternation of IT security pros who have done just about everything you can to protect users from themselves.

Threat No. 3: Hacktivists
Whereas exploit bragging was not uncommon in the early days, today's cyber criminal seeks to fly under the radar -- with the exception of the growing legions of hacktivists.
These days IT security pros have to contend with an increasing number of loose confederations of individuals dedicated to political activism, like the infamous Anonymous group. Politically motivated hackers have existed since hacking was first born. The big change is that more and more of it is being done in the open, and society is readily acknowledging it as an accepted form of political activism.

Political hacking groups often communicate, either anonymously or not, in open forums announcing their targets and hacking tools ahead of time. They gather more members, take their grievances to the media to drum up public support, and act astonished if they get arrested for their illegal deeds. Their intent is to embarrass and bring negative media attention to the victim as much as possible, whether that includes hacking customer information, committing DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks, or simply causing the victim company additional strife.

More often than not, political hacktivism is intent on causing monetary pain to its victim in an attempt to change the victim's behavior in some way. Individuals can be collateral damage in this fight, and regardless of whether one believes in the hacktivist's political cause, the intent and methodology remain criminal.

Threat No. 4: Intellectual property theft and corporate espionage
While the likelihood of dealing with hacktivists may be low, most IT security pros have to contend with the large group of malicious hackers that exist only to steal intellectual property from companies or to perform straight-up corporate espionage.

The method of operations here is to break into a company's IT assets, dump all the passwords, and over time, steal gigabytes of confidential information: patents, new product ideas, military secrets, financial information, business plans, and so on. Their intent is to find valuable information to pass along to their customers for financial gain, and their goal is to stay hidden inside the compromised company's network for as long as possible.

To reap their rewards, they eavesdrop on important emails, raid databases, and gain access to so much information that many have begun to develop their own malicious search engines and query tools to separate the fodder from the more interesting intellectual property.

This sort of attacker is known as an APT (advanced persistent threat) or DHA (determined human adversary). There are few large companies that have not been successfully compromised by these campaigns.

Threat No. 5: Malware mercenaries
No matter what the intent or group behind the cyber crime, someone has to make the malware. In the past, a single programmer would make malware for his or her own use, or perhaps to sell. Today, there are teams and companies dedicated solely to writing malware. They turn out malware intended to bypass specific security defenses, attack specific customers, and accomplish specific objectives. And they're sold on the open market in bidding forums.

Often the malware is multiphased and componentized. A smaller stub program is tasked with the initial exploitation of the victim's computer, and once securely placed to ensure it lives through a reboot, it contacts a "mothership" Web server for further instructions. Often the initial stub program sends out DNS queries looking for the mothership, itself often a compromised computer temporarily acting as a mothership. These DNS queries are sent to DNS servers that are just as likely to be innocently infected victim computers. The DNS servers move from computer to computer, just as the mothership Web servers do.

Once contacted, the DNS and mothership server often redirect the initiating stub client to other DNS and mothership servers. In this way, the stub client is directed over and over (often more than a dozen times) to newly exploited computers, until eventually the stub program receives its final instructions and the more permanent malicious program is installed.

All in all, the setup used by today's malware writers makes it very difficult for IT security pros to defend against their wares.

Threat No. 6: Botnets as a service
Botnets aren't just for their creators anymore. Having more than likely bought the malware program that creates the bot, today's owners will either use the botnet for themselves or rent it to others by the hour or another metric.

The methodology is familiar. Each version of the malware program attempts to exploit thousands to tens of thousands of computers in an effort to create a single botnet that will operate as one entity at the creator's bidding. Each bot in the botnet eventually connects back to its C&C (command and control) server(s) to get its latest instructions. Botnets have been found with hundreds of thousands of infected computers.

But now that there are so many active botnets (literally tens of millions of infected computers each day), botnet rentals are fairly cheap, meaning all the more problems for IT security pros.

Malware fighters will often attempt to take down the C&C servers and/or take over their control so that they can instruct the connecting bots to disinfect their host computers and die.

Threat No. 7: All-in-one malware
Today's sophisticated malware programs often offer all-in-one, soup-to-nuts functionality. They will not only infect the end-user but also break into websites and modify them to help infect more victims. These all-in-one malware programs often come with management consoles so that their owners and creators can keep track of what the botnet is doing, who they are infecting, and which ones are most successful.

Most malicious programs are Trojan horses. Computer viruses and worms have long since ceased to be the most popular types of malware. In most cases, the end-user is tricked into running a Trojan horse that's advertised as a necessary antivirus scan, disk defragmentation tool, or some other seemingly essential or innocuous utility. The user's normal defenses are fooled because most of the time the Web page offering the rogue executable is a trusted site they've visited many times. The bad guys simply compromised the site, using a host of tricks, and inserted a few lines of JavaScript that redirect the user's browsers to the Trojan horse program.

Threat No. 8: The increasingly compromised Web
?At the most basic level, a website is simply a computer, just like a regular end-user workstation; in turn, Webmasters are end-users like everyone else. It's not surprising to find the legitimate Web is being increasingly littered with malicious JavaScript redirection links.

But it's not entirely a matter of Webmasters' computers being exploited that's leading to the rise in Web server compromises. More often, the attacker finds a weakness or vulnerability in a website that allows them to bypass admin authentication and write malicious scripts.

Common website vulnerabilities include poor passwords, cross-site scripting vulnerabilities, SQL injection, vulnerable software, and insecure permissions.? The Open Web Application Security Project Top 10 list is the authority on how most Web servers get compromised.

Many times it isn't the Web server or its application software but some link or advertisement that gets hacked. It's fairly common for banner ads, which are often placed and rotated by general advertising agencies, to end up infected. Heck, many times the malware guys simply buy ad space on popular Web servers.

Because many of the evildoers present themselves as businessmen from legitimate corporations, complete with corporate headquarters, business cards, and expense accounts, it's not always so easy to separate the legitimate ad sources from the bad guys, who often begin advertising a legitimate product only to switch out the link in the ad to a rogue product after the ad campaign is under way. One of the more interesting exploits involved hackers compromising a cartoon syndicate so that every newspaper republishing the affected cartoons ended up pushing malware. You can't even trust a cartoon anymore.

Another problem with hacked websites is that the computers hosting one site can often host multiple sites, sometimes numbering in the hundreds or thousands. One hacked website can quickly lead to thousands more.

No matter how the site was hacked, the innocent user, who might have visited this particular website for years without a problem, one day gets prompted to install an unexpected program. Although they're surprised, the fact that the prompt is coming from a website they know and trust is enough to get them to run the program. After that, it's game over. The end-user's computer (or mobile device) is yet another cog in someone's big botnet.

Threat No. 9: Cyber warfare
?Nation-state cyber warfare programs are in a class to themselves and aren't something most IT security pros come up against in their daily routines. These covert operations create complex, professional cyber warfare programs intent on monitoring adversaries or taking out an adversary's functionality, but as Stuxnet and Duqu show, the fallout of these methods can have consequences for more than just the intended targets.

Crime and no punishment
?Some victims never recover from exploitation. Their credit record is forever scarred by a hacker's fraudulent transaction, the malware uses the victim's address book list to forward itself to friends and family members, victims of intellectual property theft spend tens of millions of dollars in repair and prevention.

The worst part is that almost none of those who use the above malicious attacks are successfully prosecuted. The professional criminals on the Internet are living large because the Internet isn't good at producing court-actionable evidence. It's anonymous by default, and tracks are lost and covered up in milliseconds. Right now we live in the "wild, wild West" days of the Internet. As it matures, the criminal safe havens will dry up. Until then, IT security pros have their work cut out for them.

?via: networkworld


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Venezuela, Russian companies start tapping oil

(AP) ? A joint venture involving Venezuela's state oil company and a consortium of Russian oil companies has begun to tap a rich deposit of heavy oil in eastern Venezuela.

Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez oversaw a ceremony where a sample of heavy oil was extracted on Thursday in the eastern state of Anzoategui. The Venezuelan state news agency reported that Ramirez said joint investment involving the Russian consortium and Venezuela is projected to reach about $38 billion.

Ramirez says the Russian consortium includes the companies Rosneft, Lukoil and Gazprom.

Rosneft President Igor Sechin said on Wednesday that two joint oil projects in the Orinoco River region, known as Junin 6 and Carabobo 2, are projected to require up to $20 billion each in investment over the coming decades.

Associated Press


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Aviation: Finnair Goes Green with Eco Friendly Jet Engines - Typepad


Finland's flag carrier Finnair has selected IAE International Aero Engines AG to supply engines for the airline's five new Airbus A321 extended range aircraft, which will join the Finnish airline's fleet in September 2013.

The IAE V2533-A5 engines will offer Finnair a significant advantage in fuel efficiency over competing air carriers, saving the airline about 300 tons of fuel per year per aircraft, according to Airbus test data, the Finnish airline says.

The engines also operate well within noise limitations set by ICAO and the European Union.

Finnair announced in June 2010 an order for five Airbus aircraft to replace the four Boeing 757s currently in the air Finnish air carrier's fleet.

Quieter, More Comfortable, More Fuel Efficient

The new Airbus 321s will be quieter and more comfortable for passengers as well as about 5% more fuel efficient than its existing airplanes. The move also enables more flexibility and interoperability between European scheduled and leisure flights, driving up aircraft utilization and further reducing per-passenger emissions.

?The IAE engines on these aircraft allow us to enhance the customer experience while also saving on fuel costs and making a substantial dent in our carbon profile,? says Chief Operating Officer Ville Iho.

?They are essential to remaining competitive in the tough market in European narrow-body traffic, both scheduled and leisure.?

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