The PC revolution is almost coming to an end, and everyone’s trying to work out a strategy for surviving the aftermath.
This is why there’s a stench of panic hanging over silicon valley. this is why Apple have turned into paranoid security Nazis, why HP have just ditched Microsoft from a forthcoming major platform and splurged a billion-plus on buying up a near-failure; it’s why everyone is terrified of Google:
via The real reason why Steve Jobs hates Flash – Charlie’s Diary.
Dr Abecassis performs a “hymenoplasty” as it’s called, at least two to three times a week. Re-connecting the tissue of the hymen takes about 30 minutes under local anaesthetic.
He says the average age of the patient is about 25, and they come from all social backgrounds. Although the surgery is performed in clinics around the world, Dr Abecassis is one of the few Arab surgeons who talks openly about it. Some of the women come to him because they need virginity certificates in order to marry.
With Chinese manufacturers leading the way, there are now non-surgical options on the market as well. One website sells artificial hymens for just £20 (23 euros). The Chinese hymen is made of elastic and filled with fake blood. Once inserted in the vagina, the woman can simulate virginity, the company claims.
via BBC News – The virginity industry.
The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government—a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises. If the IMF’s staff could speak freely about the U.S., it would tell us what it tells all countries in this situation: recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform. And if we are to prevent a true depression, we’re running out of time.
via The Quiet Coup – Magazine – The Atlantic.
He suggests that aliens might simply raid Earth for its resources and then move on: “We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet. I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach.”
He concludes that trying to make contact with alien races is “a little too risky”. He said: “If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.”
Similarly, Lord Rees, the astronomer royal, warned in a lecture earlier this year that aliens might prove to be beyond human understanding.
“I suspect there could be life and intelligence out there in forms we can’t conceive,” he said. “Just as a chimpanzee can’t understand quantum theory, it could be there are aspects of reality that are beyond the capacity of our brains.”
via Don’t talk to aliens, warns Stephen Hawking – Times Online.
* Attempts to measure the ash’s density were hampered because the main aircraft used by the Meteorological Office for this purpose had been grounded as it was due to be repainted.
* Computers at the Met Office, which earlier forecast a ‘barbecue summer’ last year and a mild winter for this year, produced a stream of maps predicting the ash would cover a vast area, eventually stretching from Russia to Newfoundland. But across almost all of it, there was virtually no ash at all, and none visible to satellites.
* Though there was some ash over Britain at times during the ban, the maximum density measured by scientists was only about one twentieth of the limit that scientists, the Government, and aircraft and engine manufacturers have now decided is safe.
via The ash cloud that never was: How volcanic plume over UK was only a twentieth of safe-flying limit and blunders led to lock-down | Mail Online.
Our local Library had a free Saturday morning Yoga class that always overflowed into the hallway. When it was threatened by budget cuts an anonymous donor not only saved the class, but was generous enough that a night class during the week has been added. This article delves into the anti-diva yoga movement…the problem wasn’t with the instructor, but with Mr. Gumucio himself. “You are your own teacher,” Mr. Gumucio said he was told. “You are responsible for your own experience.”
It was a revelatory moment for Mr. Gumucio. If the student was more important than the teacher, why was there such an emphasis placed on the individual instructors?
A second revelation occurred in class when he was struggling to keep his body in a difficult position. “I was sweating, my muscles shaking, in triangle pose, and Bikram was talking about how fast he was as a boy in Calcutta. How he could catch this dog.” The situation was almost more than Mr. Gumucio could bear. “In my mind,” he recalled, “I was thinking ‘What is wrong with you. Stop this stupid story!’ ”
Later, Mr. Choudhury again dismissed his complaints, telling Mr. Gumucio that distractions were everywhere: “Candle, incense, music, easy to meditate!” Mr. Gumucio recalls being told. “Try being calm and peaceful in your car when someone cuts you off.
via Yoga’s New Wave – NYTimes.com.
The leader of Tehran’s Friday prayers has suggested that “women who do not have an appropriate appearance cause the spread of adultery in society which leads to an increase in earthquakes.”
According to Iran’s Student News Agency ISNA, during Friday prayers on 16 April, Kazem Sadighi said that reducing sins were necessary for preventing the occurrence of natural disasters.
via Leader of Friday prayer: ‘Adultery reason for increase in earthquakes’ | The Green Voice of Freedom.
Take American Express’ Centurion Card, for example. There’s an initiation fee on the Black Card of $5,000 — plus an annual fee of $2,500. Considered the cream of the crop, the top of heap and the most exclusive card in the world, this “Black Card” is by invitation only and has been around since 1999.
“Whenever you take a card that gives points, miles, whatever, the more perks a card offers its cardholders the more [the credit card company] charges the merchant for taking that card,” says Sherry Frankel, president of the Worth Avenue Association and owner of Sherry Frankel’s Melangerie.
The charge for using a Centurion Card can be as high as 4 percent but is determined by the amount of business a merchant does within a year. The average rate charged for using it today is reportedly around 3.75 percent.
via Black credit cards come with cachet, price.
“The Saudis are particularly concerned about the shape of the global market where all the growth comes from the east and all the security comes from the west,” Mr. Alterman said.
China’s oil demand is set to grow by 900,000 barrels a day in the next two years. Chinese oil consumption reached 8.5 million barrels a day last year, compared with 4.8 million in 2000. It will account for a third of the world’s total consumption growth this year.
While China is by far the fastest-growing oil market in the world, the United States is still the top consumer: despite the slump, Americans consumed 18.5 million barrels a day in 2009. That amounts to 22 barrels of oil a year for each American, compared with 2.4 barrels for each Chinese.
via More Saudi Oil Goes to China Than to U.S. – NYTimes.com.
Predicting people’s behavior is becoming big business—and increasingly feasible in an era defined by accessible information. Data crunching by Canadian Tire, for instance, recently enabled the retailer’s credit card business to create psychological profiles of its cardholders that were built upon alarmingly precise correlations. Their findings: Cardholders who purchased carbon-monoxide detectors, premium birdseed, and felt pads for the bottoms of their chair legs rarely missed a payment. On the other hand, those who bought cheap motor oil and visited a Montreal pool bar called “Sharx” were a higher risk. “If you show us what you buy, we can tell you who you are, maybe even better than you know yourself,” a former Canadian Tire exec said.
And with its “Total Rewards” card, Harrah’s casinos track everything that players win and lose, in real time, and then analyze their demographic information to calculate their “pain point”—the maximum amount of money they’re likely to be willing to lose and still come back to the casino in the future. Players who get too close to their pain point are likely to be offered a free dinner that gets them off the casino floor.
via How Visa Predicts Divorce – The Daily Beast.