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"Success is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well."

$860 billion tax-cut deal: Cost breakdown
Topic: Markets & Investing 11:16 pm EST, Dec 11, 2010

- Bush tax cuts: $544.3 billion. The package would extend the Bush tax cuts for everyone for two years.

- Unemployment benefits: $56.5 billion. The package would also leave in place for 13 months the option to file for extended federal unemployment benefits -

- Social Security tax break: $111.7 billion. The package would also offer workers a payroll tax holiday worth 2 percentage points next year, so that instead of paying 6.2% on their first $106,800 of wages, they will only have to pay 4.2%.

- Individual tax credits: $8.3 billion. The compromise framework would also extend for two years the increased value of a number of tax credits that benefit low- and middle-income tax filers, such as the earned income tax credit, the child credit and a revamped tax credit for college costs.

- Business tax breaks: $69 billion. The bill contains more than 40 business tax breaks.

- Estate tax: $68 billion. The compromise framework also includes a lower estate tax, which barring any changes would return in 2011 with a $1 million exemption level and a top rate of 55%.

$860 billion tax-cut deal: Cost breakdown

Chrome Cr-48, black MacBook: Separated at birth?
Topic: Computers 11:11 pm EST, Dec 11, 2010

The all-black Cr-48 that Google is shipping to the first members of its Chrome OS notebook pilot project looked awfully familiar to us when it showed up at our office.

Software aside, after putting it side by side with a black MacBook that Apple shipped in 2007 we had in house, it dawned on us why: the two are practically twins. Not identical, but at least fraternal. The overall look is shockingly similar to Apple's now-extinct machine: from the color to the chiclet keyboard to the hinge, size, trackpad, even to the indentation in the place where you lift the lid. Well, see for yourself. We took some photos of the two machines next to each other for you to peruse

Chrome Cr-48, black MacBook: Separated at birth?

Video: Top Gear teases Iraq Christmas special
Topic: Humor 11:00 pm EST, Dec 11, 2010

The cars are some middle east beaters:

Video: Top Gear teases Iraq Christmas special

Transformers Dark of The Moon Teaser (1080p)
Topic: Movies 10:54 pm EST, Dec 11, 2010

Cool preview to the movie...

Transformers Dark of The Moon Teaser (1080p)

Apple may drop NVIDIA for Sandy Bridge's IGP next year
Topic: Computers 7:22 pm EST, Dec 11, 2010

Apple plans to drop NVIDIA in favor of Intel's integrated graphics in its upcoming Sandy Bridge processors for use in Apple's 13" laptops, according to a report from CNET. Apple has so far resisted using Intel's current-generation processors in its smallest notebooks due to inferior graphics performance, lack of OpenCL support, and engineering constraints. CNET's sources claim, however, that Apple is impressed with the performance of Sandy Bridge's IGP, and that Intel plans to support OpenCL in some form, which would allow Apple to maintain OpenCL support across its entire computer line.

We decided to take a look at some of the technical aspects of Sandy Bridge and how it would fit in Apple's notebook strategy, and we identified a few aspects that might make Sandy Bridge a good fit for Apple's 13" notebooks. Low voltage variants likely won't ship until the second or third quarter next year, so don't expect a MacBook Air refresh before then—however, the same considerations apply for those models, as well.

Apple may drop NVIDIA for Sandy Bridge's IGP next year

The iPad DJ: @ranajune
Topic: Music 1:16 pm EST, Dec 11, 2010

Her site:

The iPad DJ: @ranajune

Al Gore's Ethanol Epiphany
Topic: United States 9:17 pm EST, Nov 27, 2010

Welcome to the college of converts, Mr. Vice President. "It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for first-generation ethanol," Al Gore told a gathering of clean energy financiers in Greece this week. The benefits of ethanol are "trivial," he added, but "It's hard once such a program is put in place to deal with the lobbies that keep it going."

No kidding, and Mr. Gore said he knows from experience: "One of the reasons I made that mistake is that I paid particular attention to the farmers in my home state of Tennessee, and I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for President."

Mr. Gore's mea culpa underscores the degree to which ethanol has become a purely political machine: It serves no purpose other than re-electing incumbents and transferring wealth to farm states and ethanol producers. Nothing proves this better than the coincident trajectories of ethanol and Mr. Gore's career.

Al Gore's Ethanol Epiphany

Police: Vermont man killed in gun prank
Topic: Society 3:18 pm EST, Nov 26, 2010

(CNN) -- A 24-year-old Vermont man was fatally shot by a friend who used a gun in a prank, police said. The alleged shooter apparently tried to prank his sleeping friend by waking him up with the loud sound of an air rifle, police said.

However, police said, the man mistakenly used a real rifle in the prank. Nicholas Bell, 23, was charged with manslaughter after the incident Thursday, Manchester police said.

"The accused fired the weapon, which was a loaded .22 cal rifle hitting the [victim] in the chest," a police statement said. "The victim died at the scene."


Some prank.

Police: Vermont man killed in gun prank

Administration Is Bracing for Court Setbacks to Health Law
Topic: United States 3:07 pm EST, Nov 26, 2010

WASHINGTON — As the Obama administration presses ahead with the health care law, officials are bracing for the possibility that a federal judge in Virginia will soon reject its central provision as unconstitutional and, in the worst case for the White House, halt its enforcement until higher courts can rule.

The novel question before the courts is whether the government can require citizens to buy a commercial product like health insurance. Because the Supreme Court has said the commerce clause of the Constitution allows Congress to regulate “activities that substantially affect interstate commerce,” the judges must decide whether the failure to obtain insurance can be defined as an “activity.

Administration Is Bracing for Court Setbacks to Health Law

U.S. to Drop Color-Coded Terror Alerts
Topic: United States 3:02 pm EST, Nov 26, 2010

The Department of Homeland Security is planning to get rid of the color-coded terrorism alert system. Known officially as the Homeland Security Advisory System, the five-color scheme was introduced by the Bush administration in March 2002.

Red, the highest level, meant “severe risk of terrorist attacks.” The lowest level, green, meant “low risk of terrorist attacks.” Between those were blue (guarded risk), yellow (significant) and orange (high).

The nation has generally lived in the yellow and orange range. The threat level has never been green, or even blue.

Conan O’Brien joked, “Champagne-fuchsia means we’re being attacked by Martha Stewart.” Jay Leno said, “They added a plaid in case we were ever attacked by Scotland.”

U.S. to Drop Color-Coded Terror Alerts

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