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'Finishing touches' delay world's tallest building
Topic: Business 9:52 am EDT, Jun 10, 2008

Construction of the world's tallest building, the Burj Dubai, has been delayed and will be completed only in September next year, the developer was quoted on Tuesday as saying. The tower, which is expected to reach a final height of 900 metres (2,953 feet), was due for completion in the bustling city state at the end of 2008.

"The luxury finishes that were decided on in 2004, when the tower was initially conceptualised, are now being replaced by upgraded finishes," developer Emaar said, according to the Gulf News. The Burj Dubai had already become the tallest man-made structure on the planet, when Emaar announced in April that it has surpassed the 629-metre (2,063-foot) KVLY-TV mast in the United States. Many building projects in Dubai, which is going through a construction frenzy, have been facing delays caused by shortage of building materials and skilled labour.

Signature Tower in Nashville has been delayed, as well. It appears they're still waiting to sell half of the residential apartments. The groundbreaking was supposed to happen last year, but it keeps getting rescheduled.

'Finishing touches' delay world's tallest building

Threat of world Aids pandemic among heterosexuals is over, report admits
Topic: Society 11:45 am EDT, Jun  9, 2008

By Jeremy Laurance
Sunday, 8 June 2008
The Independent

In the first official admission that the universal prevention strategy promoted by the major Aids organisations may have been misdirected, Kevin de Cock, the head of the WHO's department of HIV/Aids said there will be no generalised epidemic of Aids in the heterosexual population outside Africa.

Dr De Cock, an epidemiologist who has spent much of his career leading the battle against the disease, said understanding of the threat posed by the virus had changed. Whereas once it was seen as a risk to populations everywhere, it was now recognised that, outside sub-Saharan Africa, it was confined to high-risk groups including men who have sex with men, injecting drug users, and sex workers and their clients.

Forget the doctor's strangely coincidental name for a moment. Do we really need phrases such as "men who have sex with men" and "sex workers and their clients"? Would "homosexual males" and "prostitutes" have been considered inaccurate or offensive? These phrases are brought to you by the same people who replaced "personnel" with "human resources," and this type of language makes it difficult to take the article seriously. Political correctness is far from new, but I'll never get used to it.

But the factors driving HIV were still not fully understood, he said.

"The impact of HIV is so heterogeneous. In the US , the rate of infection among men in Washington DC is well over 100 times higher than in North Dakota, the region with the lowest rate. That is in one country. How do you explain such differences?"

Behavior, maybe?

Threat of world Aids pandemic among heterosexuals is over, report admits

GM's Volt
Topic: Business 5:30 pm EDT, Jun  4, 2008

The Volt, with an initial production run of 10,000, is expected to hit showrooms in 2010. After that, GM plans to build tens of thousands per year.

Good! Yes, I'm a "big vehicle" person, but I hope these electric models succeed. The sooner these become mainstream, the better. Maybe by time I'm ready to replace my truck, I can get an electric version, without sacrificing size, comfort, speed, or range.

GM's Volt

"Losing Perspective" - John C. Dvorak
Topic: Society 12:17 pm EDT, May 27, 2008

These days everyone is so enthusiastic about the evolution of the Web, with its free content, interesting blogs, citizen journalism, and the rest of it. Not me. The big problem, as I see it, is the decline in general perspective, which is due to the decline in the popularity of newspapers and magazines.

It all started with the idea of the custom newspaper. I've always been against it. It's been trotted about as a supposed good idea since the birth of the Internet. "You only get what news you want to get" was the sales pitch. But how do you really know what news you want when the story has not been written? Most people who want custom news tend to want news only about their hobby or interests. Should a plague sweep through their city, they probably wouldn't know about it until they were dying from it.

Meanwhile, the public continues to read about what they already know. And they hang out only with like-minded people. There are huge cadres of people who are practically duplicates of each other. They all think alike, dress alike, and go to the same group-approved places.

So the audience goes to the Net to get information—most of it without perspective, and, thus, the days of a wide public perspective of the world are almost gone. I blame these three factors: the Internet; newspapers, for not acting responsibly and instead cheapening their product; and educational institutions. Schools do not teach kids how to use the Net responsibly. Kids need to be shown how to make it a useful resource rather than a source of disinformation and gossip.

"Losing Perspective" - John C. Dvorak

Onion - Obama, Clinton, McCain Join Forces To Form Nightmare Ticket
Topic: Society 2:34 pm EDT, May 23, 2008

"No other ticket is capable of rallying this nation around a clearer, more unified message of chaos and hopelessness," the candidates said in unison from three separate podiums, each adorned with its own American flag arrangement and personal message. "Together, we will lead this nation into the future—a future where absolute deadlock over even the most minute decisions and total inefficiency on matters of the war, the economy, and the environment will launch a bold new age of confusion and social decay. For America, the only choice is [indecipherable]!"

"This nightmare ticket presents the American people with an unprecedented lack of opportunity in 2008," Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen wrote Tuesday. "For just one vote, citizens will get four years of McCain's brilliant temper, the incredible inexperience of Barack Obama, and the powerful two-headed monster of Hillary and Bill Clinton."

"It will be very exciting to see what they're capable of destroying, " Cohen added.

"Getting three political all-stars together like this is a clear lose-lose-lose situation for everyone involved," NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell said. "By themselves, none would have been capable of uniting the country. But the possibilities of what they could do together to drive it ever further apart are limitless."

I love The Onion.

Onion - Obama, Clinton, McCain Join Forces To Form Nightmare Ticket

Alaska Will Sue to Block U.S. Listing of Polar Bears as 'Threatened'
Topic: Society 8:30 am EDT, May 22, 2008

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The state of Alaska will sue to challenge the recent listing of polar bears as a threatened species, Gov. Sarah Palin announced Wednesday. She and other Alaska elected officials fear a listing will cripple oil and gas development in prime polar bear habitat off the state's northern and northwestern coasts.

Palin argued that there is not enough evidence to support a listing. Polar bears are well-managed and their population has dramatically increased over 30 years as a result of conservation, she said.

Alaska Will Sue to Block U.S. Listing of Polar Bears as 'Threatened'

Analogy from a Music Review
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:55 am EDT, May  9, 2008

This is an excerpt from an album review that I recently stumbled across.

Then I heard track 21. The "hidden track". Oh, my God. Imagine the most beautiful woman in the world, and making love to her, in an open field, during a full blown thunderstorm. That's how awesome track 21 is.

I think he liked it.

Colliding with nature's best-kept secrets
Topic: Science 11:03 am EDT, May  9, 2008

Arkani-Hamed is only in his mid-30s, but he has already distinguished himself as one of the leading thinkers in the field of particle physics.

His revolutionary ideas about the way the universe works will finally be put to the test later this year at Switzerland's Large Hadron Collider, which, when completed, will be the world's most powerful particle accelerator.

A theory that has emerged in recent decades that claims to bring some relief to physics mysteries like these is called superstring theory, or string theory for short. While previously, scientists believed that the smallest, most indivisible building blocks of our world were particles, string theory says that the world is made of extremely small vibrating loops called strings.

In order for these strings to properly constitute our universe, they must vibrate in 11 dimensions, scientists say. Everyone observes three spatial dimensions and one for time, but theoretical models suggest at least seven others that we do not see.

Arkani-Hamed proposed, along with physicists Savas Dimopoulos and Gia Dvali, that some of these dimensions are larger than previously thought -- specifically, as large as a millimeter. Physicists call this the ADD model, after the first initials of the authors' last names. We haven't seen these extra dimensions yet because gravity is the only force that can wander around them, Arkani-Hamed said.

String theory has come under attack because some say it can never be tested -- the strings are supposed to be smaller than any particle ever detected, after all. But Arkani-Hamed says the Large Hadron Collider could potentially lead to the direct observation of strings, or at least indirect evidence of their existence.

Colliding with nature's best-kept secrets

For Acidus...
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:27 pm EDT, May  7, 2008

This article triggered flashbacks from PhreakNIC 11.

When I wake up every morning, I'm thinking one thing: It takes a wolf to catch a wolf.

If you want me to help you find plane tickets, you best unlearn all that shit they taught you in Sunday school. I got your back, yeah—but I can turn on you in an instant. I just don't give a fuck. Expedia, Hotwire, Cheapflights? Fuck them bitches. I got my own methods, shit you ain't never seen before. Shit you never knew existed. But I ain't holding no hands, I ain't babysitting—you don't like my style of airline-ticket purchasing, then get the fuck out my home office. Shit.

I ain't afraid to open up my eyes and see the world of air-travel ticket searches for what it is. Sometimes you gotta look right into the credit-card payment field and see that nothing's down there but fear. Sometimes you gotta get your soul a little dirty.


For Acidus...

Hell Girl (anime)
Topic: Arts 11:01 pm EDT, May  6, 2008

Trailer for Hell Girl, Volume One:

(no spoilers below, aside from what one could find on the DVD cases)

I received Volume Six (the final volume of the first season) of Hell Girl today. May 20 was the posted release date, but I had pre-ordered it, and I suppose RSI received it early. For those who are into anime, I highly recommend it. I haven't enjoyed a series this much since Cowboy Bebop, which, considering my collection, is saying quite a bit.

The animation is absolutely gorgeous, and the music is great; even the menus are cool. The character interactions and dialogue are realistic, and while Tsugumi Shibata (another seven-year-old girl; not the title character, who's actually hundreds of years old, despite her appearance) does seem a bit precocious at times, it's not enough to make her character unbelievable.

With a few exceptions, most of the characters are adults, so if you've had enough of high school and college age anime characters, this will be a nice change of pace. The series isn't heavy on action, and the plot moves at a slower than normal pace, but it works very well, getting better as it goes along. The series focuses on human beings' inability to forgive and the consequences of revenge, and that's where Hell Girl comes in.

Great stuff! 10/10, five stars, A+, etc.

Rating: TV-MA (not for anyone younger than high school age)

Hell Girl (anime)

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