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Topic: Science 1:48 pm EDT, Jul 24, 2007

Iraq war veteran Sgt. Juan Arredondo can grasp tennis balls and door knobs with his left hand again, now that he's been outfitted with a bionic hand that has flexible fingers. The 27-year-old former soldier, who lost his left hand in 2005 during a patrol, is one of the first recipients of the i-LIMB.


Pravda: Another human civilization may live inside Earth's hollows
Topic: Science 1:10 pm EDT, Jul 24, 2007


Pravda: Another human civilization may live inside Earth's hollows

Topic: Business 1:03 pm EDT, Jul 19, 2007

'Offensive' SRO moniker dropped
By Dan Jamieson
July 13, 2007

The new SRO to be formed from the merger of NASD and NYSE's regulatory unit will be called the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA.

In an e-mail to member firms yesterday, NASD chief executive Mary Schapiro said the previously announced new name, the Securities Industry Regulatory Authority, would be dropped because “the acronym 'SIRA' could create confusion, or might even be considered offensive by some, because of its similarity to an Arabic term used to refer to the traditional biographies of Muhammad.”

Ms. Schapiro said “We operate in a global, multi-racial, multi-religion environment, and we strive to be sensitive and respectful to all.”

NASD bylaw changes needed to complete the merger are pending approval at the SEC.

Also... from the NASD

Name Update

Throughout the NASD/NYSE Member Regulation consolidation process, I have made it a priority to keep firms up-to-date on the latest developments. Today, I want to share with you news regarding the name of our new combined organization.

As you know, the name that was initially chosen for the new entity was the Securities Industry Regulatory Authority, or SIRA.

However, after we previewed the name three weeks ago, we were made aware that our use of the acronym "SIRA" could create confusion, or might even be considered offensive by some, because of its similarity to an Arabic term used to refer to the traditional biographies of Muhammad.

Because of this feedback, we determined that it was appropriate to select the alternative name of Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA, for our new organization.

NASD values and respects the diversity of our employees, member firms and the wider community of investors that we serve. We operate in a global, multi-racial, multi-religion environment, and we strive to be sensitive and respectful to all.

To remain true to that spirit, we have decided that selecting the alternative name for the new organization is simply the right thing to do. FINRA describes well the full scope of our responsibilities, clearly defines the new organization's mission and is easy to remember.

No matter what name the new organization operates under, FINRA is our opportunity to define the future of self-regulation, ensuring that industry input continues to be a valued component of the regulatory process.

I want to assure you this change in no way affects the pending consolidation. Once we receive the SEC's final approval on our by-law changes, we will close the transaction.

As events unfold, I will continue to keep you up-to-date on important matters.

Mary L. Schapiro
Chairman and CEO, NASD


House Passes Federal Gun Control Bill
Topic: Society 10:07 am EDT, Jul 13, 2007

The NRA insisted that it was not a "gun control" bill because it does not disqualify anyone currently able to legally purchase a firearm. The NRA has always supported the NICS, said the organization's executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre. "We've always been vigilant about protecting the rights of law-abiding citizens to purchase guns, and equally vigilant about keeping the guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally defective and people who shouldn't have them."

House Passes Federal Gun Control Bill

Chess is more complete than life - by Christian Hesse
Topic: Society 10:40 am EDT, Jul 12, 2007

Your child: Why can I have only one glass of apple juice?
You: Because we will eat dinner soon, I don’t want you to spoil your appetite!
Your child: Why does apple juice spoil my appetite?
You: Because it's filling and it has a lot of sugar!
Your child: Why can't I have sugar?
You: Because it will make you more thirsty and it's not good for your teeth!
Your child: Why is sugar not good for my teeth?
You: Eating sugar attracts bacteria and they make holes in your teeth!
Your child: Why do bacteria make holes in my teeth?

Chess is more complete than life - by Christian Hesse

Xbox repairs cost Microsoft $1B
Topic: Business 11:41 am EDT, Jul  6, 2007

1) Xbox repairs cost Microsoft $1B

That's bad enough. I didn't realize that Steve Jobs worked for Microsoft, too.

2) So far Microsoft has the lead on Sony in the battle for high-end video game machines, but it shipped only 11.6 million 360s by the end of June, compared with a target of about 12 million... Microsoft had already cut its forecast for Xbox 360 shipments in January. It had previously forecast shipments of 13 million to 15 million by the end of June.

That's potentially worse, especially considering that the Xbox 360's USA release date was November 22, 2005, while the release dates for the PS3 and Wii were November 17, 2006 and November 19, 2006, respectively. The Wii is already taking sales from Microsoft, and it's only a matter of time before the PS1/2 gamers decide to upgrade to the PS3, en mass (probably after the first round of price cuts).

Xbox repairs cost Microsoft $1B

Human greed takes lion's share of solar energy
Topic: Science 9:36 am EDT, Jul  3, 2007

by Chee Chee Leung
July 3, 2007
The Sydney Morning Herald

HUMANS are just one of the millions of species on Earth, but we use up almost a quarter of the sun's energy captured by plants - the most of any species.

The human dominance of this natural resource is affecting other species, reducing the amount of energy available to them by almost 10 per cent, scientists report.

Researchers said the findings showed humans were using "a remarkable share" of the earth's plant productivity "to meet the needs and wants of one species".

They also warned that the increased use of biofuels - such as ethanol and canola - should be viewed cautiously, given the potential for further pressure on ecosystems.

The scientists, from Austria and Germany, who publish their results today in the journal of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, analysed data on land use, agriculture and forestry from 161 countries, representing 97 per cent of the world's land mass.

This showed humans used 24 per cent of the energy that was captured by plants. More than half of this was due to the harvesting of crops or other plants.

The human use of the natural resource varied across the globe, ranging from 11 per cent in Oceania and Australia, to 63 per cent in southern Asia.

An agriculture professor at the University of Melbourne, Snow Barlow, said the paper showed humans were taking up too much of an important natural resource.

"Here we are, just one species on the earth, and we're grabbing a quarter of the renewable resources … we're probably being a bit greedy."


Human greed takes lion's share of solar energy

The Race for the Tallest Skyscraper
Topic: Business 10:22 am EDT, Jun 22, 2007

The race among the world's cities to build the ultimate record-busting, flat-out tallest skyscraper on the planet is fast and furious. And the obsession to build mega-structures in nosebleed territory is particularly acute in much of economically dynamic Asia and the oil-rich Middle East.

Even lesser-known regional cities with a burning ambition to make their mark, view big, gutsy, and distinctively designed skyscrapers as potential game-changers—and are willing to offer serious incentives to get them.

This article is over a month old, but I've been watching this race for some time. Even Nashville is getting in on "Manhattanization," with groundbreaking of the 1,057 ft. (322 m) Signature Tower scheduled to begin in July.

Related articles:

Mine's Bigger
Eileen Daspin, May 2007

Signature Tower - Home
Signature Tower - Wikipedia

Burj Mubarak al-Kabir - Wikipedia

Al Burj - Wikipedia

Burj Dubai - Home
Burj Dubai - Wikipedia

The Race for the Tallest Skyscraper

Read the Sunspots
Topic: Science 3:32 pm EDT, Jun 21, 2007

Stefanie wrote:
Solar scientists predict that, by 2020, the sun will be starting into its weakest Schwabe solar cycle of the past two centuries, likely leading to unusually cool conditions on Earth. Beginning to plan for adaptation to such a cool period, one which may continue well beyond one 11-year cycle, as did the Little Ice Age, should be a priority for governments. It is global cooling, not warming, that is the major climate threat to the world, especially Canada. As a country at the northern limit to agriculture in the world, it would take very little cooling to destroy much of our food crops, while a warming would only require that we adopt farming techniques practiced to the south of us.

Read the Sunspots

Azul vs. Sun: Who Won?
Topic: Business 1:01 pm EDT, Jun 21, 2007

From Sun (in an update we received from analyst relations):

While the case was not litigated to conclusion on the merits, it is worth noting that the patent infringement and trade secret claims against Azul grew larger during the pendency of the case. In light of mounting evidence that Azul employees were in possession of Sun Confidential and Proprietary information, Azul came to the realization it would be better to return to negotiations and settle the claims, rather than continue with the lawsuit they initiated.

From Azul (in a letter from Scott Sellers, their COO):

Since the lawsuits were filed over a year ago, our conviction that we would be victorious only grew stronger. While Sun continued to add to the quantity of patent and trade secrets in dispute, we felt the quality of their case continued to remain weak, and believed the assertion of these claims against us was competitively motivated. And as a result of several Court rulings, including a ruling in December where Sun acknowledged that all of the then identified trade secrets they alleged Azul misappropriated were actually now in the public domain, our Board and investors remained committed to the path of litigation.

I couldn't have spun it better myself.

Azul vs. Sun: Who Won?

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