Saturday, November 10, 2007

FOODHYPE: Gluttony As A Spectacle

If you've been watching any ESPN2 lately, you might be wondering why something as patently ridiculous as competitive eating edges out real sports like bowling, darts, and rugby in the contest for airtime. Personally, I think it's because the Yoo-nited States is overflowing (or should I say over-hanging) with fat bastards.

Check out some of these gluttonous exploits from competitions sponsored by the IFOCE (International Federation of Competitive Eating).

My favorite highlights:
  • 6 Pounds of Baked Beans (1 minute, 48 seconds)
  • 1.75 Pounds of Salted Butter (5 minutes)
  • 212 Chicken & Vegetable Gyoza (10 minutes)
  • 1 Gallon of Mayonnaise (8 minutes)
There's not much to add to that, except that the other records are just as impressive... I really hope these peeple have a good cardiologist!

POLITICSHYPE: Waterboarding: Probably Not Fun!

In light of what's happening these days, this may be quite informative. It's a video showing somebody being subjected to a waterboarding.


The subject of waterboarding is brought up every now and again. In fact, it was an answer to one of the Jeopardy-style questions at a local pub quiz (or trivia night) at a bar in San Francisco.

Make your own judgements as to whether or not this interrogation technique is appropriate and has a place in the world today and/or in The War Against Terror (T.W.A.T), but this video appears to be a pretty accurate depiction of waterboarding.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

NOHYPE: Hello? Is This Thing Working?

Apparently, it is.

We expect to see some more hype here shortly.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

POLITICSHYPE: A Casus Belli For Iran

Iran, having been pressured by the international financial community at the behest of various agencies of the US Government, has decided to make a move. The story below is the latest example of a trend that's been increasingly more common nowadays, which is this: oil-producing countries deciding to sell their oil in a currency other than dollars for whatever reason (hostility towards the United States is a good example).

Saddam tried this tactic, and shortly afterwards was shocked and awed (supposedly), and then whacked (definitely). Of course, oil had nothing whatsoever to do with the US decision to invade Iraq - at least, not in the way it's commonly understood. Had Saddam sold Iraqi oil in Euros, it would have been a slap to the back of the sack for the United States, and encouraged more countries to follow suit.

However, fundamental economic weaknesses cannot be shored up by military dominance and cultural hegemony forever. The increasing acceptance of the Euro as a central bank reserve currency, combined with the huge holdings of dollar-denominated government debt (i.e., US Treasury bonds) in China and Japan, will continue to pressure the US dollar and encourage further moves like the one Iran has just made. Reuters has more:
Iran Slashes Oil Transactions In Dollars
(Copyright Reuters, 2007-10-02)

Iran has slashed the use of the dollar in payment for its oil exports to 15 percent, an official said on Tuesday, amid growing pressure from arch-foe the United States on its financial system. The vast majority of transactions for oil from OPEC's number two producer are now being carried out in euros, said Mohammad-Ali Khatibi, deputy head of the National Iranian Oil Company in charge of marketing.

"Iran is selling about 85 percent of its oil in the non-dollar currencies," Khatibi was quoted as saying by state television. "Currently, about 65 percent of the oil sale income is in euros and 20 percent in yen," Khatibi added. Japan, which purchases 20 percent of Iran's crude oil, has recently agreed to pay for the crude oil in yen, he said. He also said that the remaining sums being paid in dollars, about 15 percent, are going to shift to "other creditworthy currencies". Khatibi also cited the United Arab Emirates dirham as one other possible currency for use in oil transactions.

He said the main reason for the move was fluctuations of the dollar on the currency markets and the depreciation of its value since 2004. Iran had previously announced that 60 percent of its oil transactions for export had been switched into euros.
Nobody is accusing the Aryan Brown of being stupid! Iran knows that the US is not in the strongest ecomonic position at the moment, and will only benefit from Iranian Euro-denominated oil. They also get to thumb their noses at the Americans, which must be a nice domestic political bonus for their leaders.

Another previous anti-dollar move that Iran has made was proposing an oil bourse (bourse is the French/international word for exchange) denominated in Euros. That may or may not be worth a war, as this opposing viewpoint explains.
Iran, the world's fourth largest oil exporter, has massively cut down its dependence on the dollar in the face of US pressures. The United States has been seeking to make international banking transactions harder for Iran, as another tool to pressure Tehran into backing down over its controversial nuclear programme. Several European banks have drastically cut business with Iran as a result of US pressure.
The only European banks that have cut ties with Iran are ones that do business in the US. If they have a branch office anywhere in America, their business activities in the States can be sanctioned. Many banks in Europe (especially smaller ones that don't have operations in the US and therefore can't be pressured) are now benefitting from the artificially-increased Iranian demand for their services.
However despite problems with inflation and unemployment at home, Iran's conomy is being helped by revenue windfalls from current high crude oil prices. Iran's foreign currency reserves held in banks abroad have risen by 37 percent over the past year to the equivalent of 65 billion dollars as of the end of June 2007, the central bank said in September.
So... to sum up, poor (or deliberate, if you prefer to see it that way) economic management in the USA can lead to a weaker dollar, which strengthens the Euro, which can encourage oil-producing countries to sell their black gold in Euros, which will generally strengthen their economies, which can (theoretically) do serious damage to the US economy, can lead to them being bombed.

In addition to the link above, here's another excellent, if somewhat polemic, piece on why the US will go to war to protect the petrodollar. And keep in mind that lot of the stuff you have been and probably will be hearing about Iran is just fluff - it's all about the money.

Friday, September 21, 2007

SPORTSHYPE: Bonds Dropped By Giants - Good Riddance To Bad Rubbish!

Not all of us are Barry Bonds Supporters like the rest of the lemmings. Some of us don't appreciate a lack of hustle (especially in the 6th game of the world series) or the stories we hear about how Bonds used to have a leather La-Z-Boy in the middle of the team locker room.

At least one other person shares those views - to wit, Marc Ecko's suggestion to brand Bonds' 756th home run ball with an asterisk before giving it to the Hall of Fame (this writer supports that idea wholeheartedly). Bonds apparently didn't like that - Barry called Mr. Ecko "stupid" and "an idiot" among other things. Hey Barry - SHUT YOUR DAMN MOUTH!

As further proof that good news comes in spurts, it's now been revealed that Barry Bonds will no longer be playing for the Giants next year. He was waived. Cut. Canned. Fired. Whacked. Let go. Axed. Pink-slipped. Terminated (with extreme prejudice, hopefully). Laid off. Downsized. Rightsized. Smartsized. Strategically re-aligned. Determined not economically viable. Made redundant. Deemed surplus to requirements. Eliminated. Uninstalled. Decruited. Destaffed. Deselected. Reduced in force.

Whichever euphemism you prefer (and here are some good ones for loosing a job), this is a good thing - it should have happened a lot earlier, and the Giants should have kept Will Clark instead of Bonds back in 1993. And if good news really does come in sets of three, maybe (hopefully) the last piece in this set will be a headline about Bonds being hit by a Muni Bus.

However, this may be a miscalculation on the part of the Giants owners - do they really think Pacbell Park will be sold out next season if the Giants are 19 games out of first at the bottom of the National League West?

Reuters has more:

Record Breaker Bonds to Leave Giants
(Copyright 2007 Reuters)

Home run record holder Barry Bonds, the biggest name in baseball, will leave the San Francisco Giants at the end of this season, the player said on Friday.
Bonds said on his personal website that the Giants had told him he would not be playing for them in 2008 but added he intended to continue in the game.

"Yesterday (Thursday), I was told by the Giants that they will not be bringing me back for the 2008 season. During the conversation with (Giants owner) Peter McGowan I was told that my play this year far exceeded any expectations the Giants had, but that the organization decided this year would be my last season in San Francisco," said Bonds, who has been with the Giants since 1993.

"Although I am disappointed, I've always said baseball is a business -- and I respect their decision. However, I am saddened and upset that I was not given an earlier opportunity to properly say goodbye to you, my fans, and celebrate with the city throughout the season as I truly believe this was not a last-minute decision by the Giants, but one that was made some time ago," he added.

Damn straight, Barry, they were only pimping you out to the fans until you broke that record (by hook or by crook). Now that you're done, you're outta here! Nobody likes prima donnas with fake tits, understand?

Bonds hit his 756th homer, beating Hank Aaron's Major League Baseball record, in the Giants' game against the Washington Nationals on August 7. However, the record has been surrounded by controversy because many baseball fans suspect Bonds, 43, may not have spoken truthfully when denying steroid use. Bonds remains under investigation as to whether he lied about past steroid use to the grand jury in the BALCO sports doping case.

The slugger said on Friday that he intended to continue in the game with another team. "I would have loved nothing more than to retire as a Giant in the place where I call home and have shared so many momentous moments with all of you, but there is more baseball in me and I plan on continuing my career. My quest for a World Series ring continues," he added.

Hey putz, maybe you could have had one in 2002 if you hadn't leisurely jogged over to the left-field foul line while watching an easily catchable ball drop in front of you! That would have pretty much been the end of Game 6, the Angels' Rally Monkey never would have appeared, and you'd have your precious ring. Never mind about how the team did, it's all about you, isn't it? If you can't be bothered to hustle in the World Series, when the hell can you be?

Bonds, who now has a career total of 762 home runs, played this season on a one-year contract which the Giants said was worth $15.8 million, with potential incentives of another $4 million.

Despite his contributions, the Giants have endured a difficult season and went into Friday's games bottom of the National League's West Division with a 67-86 record.

Once again, it's all about Barry Bonds. I'm reminded of the teamwork speech given by Al Capone/Robert De Niro in The Untouchables.

Good-bye, Barry Bonds, and thanks for nothing! Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out of town!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

SPORTSHYPE: Rugby World Cup

Those of you who are watching your American football or whatever, just don't get it: the ultimate territory sport is rugby. Bar none.

Until you've witnessed the terrifying spectacle of England's Lawrence Dallaglio (see pic below -- though he's now well past his prime, still horrific), the majesty and passion of the New Zealand All Blacks haka (another cool haka youtubed below) , and the ineffable skills of Ireland's Brian O' Driscoll, you really have not seen the zenith of sport.


Brian O'Driscoll Tribute

All Blacks Haka v Australia- 30/06/07

Well, this is the year for the World Cup of Rugby. The top teams in the world are competing (NOW, in France) for the Webb Ellis Cup. And our very own US Eagles are more competitive than ever before (though they certainly won't get out of their first-round Group A). Do yourself a favor. Be patient, figure it out, and enjoy the mayhem, the competition, the sheer mad chaos of rugby. It's like Braveheart with a ball!

Hey Cacetudo, you could probably do this better than me!

Setanta Sports Rugby Webcasts
World Rugby Shop

Monday, September 17, 2007

SPORTSHYPE: Marco Belinelli's Blog

Check him out: Marco Belinelli -- EuroLeague superstar and Warriors first round pick. Man, Is it November yet?!?

It's My Life
Posted by Marco Belinelli on September 11, 2007, 5:10 p.m. ET

This has been very busy summer for me, playing NBA Summer League in Las Vegas to now the European championships in Spain. Playing in Las Vegas gave me a lot of confidence because I played very good in my first game when I scored 37 points. All the games were very important because I know the NBA style of basketball is different than European. In Italy and Europe, it's much different physically and mentally from American basketball. I am a person who likes to work and I think I have to improve. I have to improve my offense and defense. But I like to play. It's my life.

It would be a dream for Italy to win the European Championships. It is very important to play for my country because I am Italian and I want to play with the players on this team like Bargnani, Basile, and Soragna. Bargnani is very good player. Last year he couldn't play with the national team because he was the top overall pick in the draft. Playing for your country is especially important to European players. There is a lot of pride to wear the colors of your country on your uniform. There are so many teams in this tournament that are very good, like Greece, Spain and Lithuania. Some teams have one, two, even five players like Spain, who are playing in the NBA. These players want to play for their country. The Finals MVP Tony Parker is playing for France while the regular season MVP, Dirk Nowitzki, plays for the German National Team. Nowitzki is incredible, now especially, because he is MVP of the NBA. Now he is the top scorer in the European championship.

I started playing on high level for Italy last year in the World Championships in Japan. Playing against the U.S. and LeBron and Wade was my most memorable basketball moment. That game changed my life because I score 25 points. We lost, but that is a game I remember especially. But before last year, I played on Italy's under-20 national team.

In this tournament we haven't played really good. We won only two games against Poland and Turkey. But this team has a great coach, Carlo Recalcati, and for me and the team, it's important to play together. And for European players, it's one of the best experiences you can can have as a basketball player.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

POLITICSHYPE: No Black Sheep Is No Big Deal

Previously we brought you news of Switzerland's No Black Sheep campaign, which was criticized by many as racist, insensitive, demeaning, etc. Let's ignore for the moment the fact that there is an increasing problem with immigrant crime in Switzerland. One way or another, the Ausschaffung campaign appears to be accomplishing its mission, which is probably less about kicking out immigrant criminals than it is about generating coverage for the Swiss People's Party in the media, thereby increasing the chances that their boys and girls get elected (imagine, them doing that on purpose right before an election).

Well, it seems like everybody has to get into the act. The United Nations' anti-racism czar, Doudou Diène, put in his two cents. European political scientists have also been looking at this issue closely, and a leading Swiss observer in the UK has rebutted claims by at least one British paper that Switzerland is Europe's new "Heart of Darkness". The horror!

Wait a minute, if they were the heart of Darkness, wouldn't they be kicking out the white sheep?

Swissinfo has more (this is only an excerpt, here's the full story):
British Analyst Assesses "Black Sheep" Row
Copyright 2007 Swissinfo

Foreign coverage of the rightwing Swiss People's Party's provocative campaign and immigration plans is unlikely to dent Switzerland's reputation, says an expert.

Clive Church, a leading writer on Swiss affairs, said recent articles in the British press failed to give a full picture of national political debate in which differing views are in "increasingly militant collision".

Switzerland's biggest political party has come under fire both at home and abroad for a controversial election campaign, which has been accused of being racist. Posters show three white sheep kicking a black sheep over the Swiss border with the caption "Create security".

The black sheep posters underpin a People's Party initiative to expel foreign criminals, which was launched on August 1 – Swiss National Day – three months ahead of October's parliamentary elections.

On Friday the United Nations' special rapporteur on racism, Doudou Diène, called on the People's Party to withdraw the controversial election poster.

He warned that the poster would only provoke racial and religious hatred. The Swiss authorities say it is up to the courts to decide.

swissinfo: Is Switzerland really Europe's "Heart of Darkness", as one British newspaper claimed on its front page?

Clive Church: I think that's rather exaggerated and overlooks the electoral statistics. The implication is that the whole nation is gripped by these views, but the reality is you have a very divided country and a furious battle, with a minority – a very big one in Swiss terms – fighting to establish itself ahead of the [October] elections.

Rather than seeing Switzerland as a country that has already succumbed to racism, you have to see it as a country engaged in a very bitter political battle fought out in a style which 20 years ago would have been unthinkable in Switzerland.

The problem for other parties is that the People's Party has changed its political style and become much more aggressive; it has shown itself much more adept in the media age.

swissinfo: Do the actions of the People's Party - dubbed "racist" by the Swiss president, a member of the centre-left Social Democratic Party - have the potential to damage Switzerland's reputation abroad?

C.C.: It's clearly not very helpful. If the Swiss are being accused of being racist, it clashes with the view of them as being highly moral.

But I'm not certain it will have a great impact. There is very little press coverage of Switzerland in Britain, so I doubt there will be much follow-up.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

MOVIEHYPE: Transformers In IMAX

The mega-hit of the summer, Michael Bay's Transformers, has one last stop to make before it hits your flat-screen: your local IMAX theater. If, like me, you managed to resist the temptation of the first run, you are in for a treat, as the IMAX screen is the ne plus ultra of moviegoing these days, with a kicking sound system to match. Plus, an extra five minutes of footage has apparently been added to this release. Of course I won't be blowing my hard-earned (15? 20? Some ridiculous gouging amount of) bucks to have some no-neck sitting up my ace while I try to dig the flick -- only Beowulf and the promise of IMAX 3D will get me back into a public theater after my recent miserable experiences. But maybe you should...

Transformers movie Official Site (with two options to enter - Protect or Destroy. I wonder what percentage of our youthful film-fans pick Destroy)

LEGALHYPE: Breaking It Down Equitably

I was reading some "Odd News" a while back, and the following story reminded me of something I came up with a few months ago. First, the story from Reuters:
Man Chainsaws House In Two In Divorce Split
© 2007 Reuters

A 43-year-old German decided to settle his imminent divorce by chainsawing a family home in two and making off with his half in a forklift truck.

Police in the eastern town of Sonneberg said on Friday the trained mason measured the single-storey summer house -- which was some 8 meters (26 feet) long and 6 meters wide -- before chainsawing through the wooden roof and walls.

"The man said he was just taking his due," said a police spokesman. "But I don't think his wife was too pleased."

After finishing the job, the man picked up his half with the forklift truck and drove to his brother's house where he has since been staying.
I think that's pretty damn funny. Never mind all the clichées about German precision, although perhaps he should have divided the house into one large piece for his soon-to-be ex-wife and a smaller piece for himself. We'll leave that up to the judge.

Anyway, that story brought the following piece to mind. I wrote it in May 2006 after the news of Paul McCartney's divorce from Heather Mills broke. I was trying to get my head around how much that amount of money would be worth in everyday terms. At work I throw around figures like these on a regular basis, but when it's other people's money or a thoroughly analyzed investment opportunity, it's a little different.

USD 390 million for what, exactly?
"Lawyers believe the divorce would never be allowed to degenerate into a messy court case but they said McCartney's decision not to seal a pre-nuptial deal could cost him dear in a private settlement."
(quoting a Reuters story)
Let's crunch some numbers here...

If she gets just a quarter of his loot, she'd have $390 million. As the article stated, that's $1,875,000 million per week for the 4 years they were married.

What else could one get for that much money per week, spread over 4 years?:

The life of Riley in Brasil with a huge house on the beach, with several girls ready to go at all times (i.e., "Here was the cock. Take care of it."), partying every day, eating the best steak and seafood every night, and renting out the biggest clubs every night, with a Hummer limo convoy to and fro for you and all your friends - a rough estimate would be well under $250,000 a week.

A lap dancer at a high-class strip joint (the Mitchell Brothers Eros Center in San Francisco, for example) - $20 for 5 minutes = $40,320 per week. At a lower-class joint in a smaller town (e.g. Raider's Reef in Tucson), it's something less than half of that ($14,112).

A top-class hooker in one of the big American cities (no experience here, but this is what I've heard) - $5,000 for 12 hours = $70,000 per week.

I've heard stories of the idiots at Scores in New York City being surprised that their tabs were so high that their Black Amex cards exploded, but I've never been there (or to the similar-level places in Las Vegas), so do your own math for those. Speaking of Vegas, even after adding booze, drugs, fine dining, gambling, random helicopter rides, private jets, detox, and several trips to rehab, Heather Mills was way more expensive.

Come to think of it, comparing the prices of the lap dancers at the EC and the high-class hookers, we ought to save our money for the hookers; they're apparently way more cost effective!

P.S. - If you haven't heard Chris Rock's piece on divorce, you should. Here's the transcript. It's part of his "OJ, I Understand" routine.

Update: As it turns out, he "only" had to pay her 32 million pounds sterling (about 64.6 million bucks). Cheap! Get 'em while they're hot!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

PRODUCTHYPE: Celebrity LifeGems

LifeGem seems to be an Illinois company that offers a unique product: diamonds made from the carbon "of a loved one." In other words, before Aunt Tildie kicks off, you harvest a hank of
hair (?) and send it to LifeGem, who will then turn it into a diamond. O-kaaayy... kinda creepy, but now LifeGem is branching out, offering "Celebrity LifeGems":

To showcase our newest technology, we are creating three LifeGem diamonds with the carbon from Ludwig van Beethoven's hair! These will be the only three diamonds ever created from Beethoven’s carbon and could be considered the three most rare and valuable diamonds in the world. After a worldwide tour of museums and opera houses, the Beethoven LifeGems will be auctioned online right here, and the proceeds will go towards creating LifeGem diamonds for underprivileged and military families. For detailed information on Project Beethoven LifeGem, or if you are interested in showcasing or bidding on one of the three extremely rare Beethoven LifeGem diamonds, click here.

That's right, "Project Beethoven LifeGems." I gotta say, yeah, capitalism and all... but this is kinda weird, and creepy... and what'll you say to the folks at the party? "Hey, check out my ring, it's made out of Beethoven!"

Oh yeah, of course there's also the "Precious Pet LifeGem."


I've been desultorily working my way through mpegs of the original series, and I'm disappointed to report that what was hilarious in 1967 ain't really cutting it in 2007. Amusing, yes, but only the occasional big laugh. "Get Smart", the classic TV series, was overdue for a reworking, and Hollywood, ever-eager for some successful old idea they can rip off (uh, I mean, "reimagine") has stepped in and done the job.
Steve Carrell is Agent Maxwell Smart, Anne Hathaway is Agent 99. Hmmm... excellent start. And the teaser is enough to convince me this is one of the top upcoming comedy prospects, right there with "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story." I can't wait for the trailer. Hurry up, already, wouldja, jeez... dammit!

Get Smart Trailer page at Movie-List
Get Smart The Official Site

DISASTERHYPE: MacGyver To The Rescue

The McCormick Tribune Foundation had a poll asking Americans which fictional character they would want to come to their rescue in the event of a disaster. Apparently, the majority of respondents were somewhat advanced in age as more than one in four voted for Richard Dean Anderson's classic TV hero Macgyver.

From PRNewswire:

Legendary for escaping tough situations by improvising with readily available materials, MacGyver was Americans' top choice (27 percent) for fictional help in an emergency. MacGyver beat out movie character Indiana Jones (16 percent) played by Harrison Ford, and John McClane (14 percent) played by Bruce Willis in the "Die Hard" movies. Others heroes receiving votes include:

- Movie character Jason Bourne played by Matt Damon (8 percent);
- James Bond (8 percent);
- Jack Bauer played by actor Kiefer Sutherland on the series "24" (7 percent);
- And Lara Croft of the movie "Tomb Raider" played by actress Angelina Jolie (7 percent).

Now I don't know about you, but given that slate, my demographic votes overwhelmingly for Lara Croft. Rescue me, baby! But seriously, what a sad comment this is on the decline of American education. We're talking fictional help here, people! Personally, I'm still trying to decide between the Silver Surfer and Superman (played by yatta-yatta and blah-blah-blah).

Facing Disaster, Americans Would Turn To MacGyver For Help, Survey Finds at PRNewswire
Macgyver - The Complete Series Pack Gift Set at Amazon

POLITICSHYPE: Don't F%#k This Up America

Last night Stephen Colbert kicked off The Colbert Report's official 2008 Presidential campaign coverage, Indecision 2008: Don't F%#k This Up America.

Of course, one way or the other, we probably will.

Colbert Nation
Indecision 2008
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon at
Guns Germs and Steel at Google Video

TYCOONHYPE: The Camel's Nose Is Indeed Under The Tent

Several years ago, Larry Ellison, the Chairman of Oracle, got into a spat with the San Jose International Airport authorities. In a nutshell, he wanted to ignore the night operations curfew and fly in and out whenever he wanted (i.e., the middle of the night). Of course, a Gulfstream V is no seagull - it makes noise. Hence, the curfew. Ol' Larry decided that curfews were for the little people and had his pilots fly in and out whenever he pleased, and decided to pay the several-thousand dollar fines each time. He ended up suing the city and winning on a technicality.

Now, in an even more over-the-top move, the private B767-200 airliner owned by the founders of Google (well, not actually by them... in order to avoid taxes and such, creating an ownership structure for these kinds of assets gets pretty complicated) has been cleared for landing at Moffett Federal Airfield (formerly Naval Air Station Moffett Field). It will be joined by a couple of their Gulfstream 550s. The Navy finally closed up shop at Moffett in 1994, after there was no need for the P-3s previously stationed there to patrol for Russian submarines off the Pacific coast, and handed the place over to NASA. Understandably, the folks who live in the area have consistently been opposed to expanding operations at this particular airport (mostly due to noise constraints). Nowadays the only highlight of Moffett's operations is when Air Force One comes to the area.

Coming soon to the skies above silicon valley: The GooglePlane

As could be reasonably expected, the locals are a little pissed off. Whoever set this deal up was smart enough to paint a veneer of pretext ("scientific missions") over the unprecedented grant of landing rights at a federal - that is to say United States Federal Government - airfield. There will undoubtedly be another set of pissed-off people, however: those others who have offices in silicon valley, private jets, and frustrating commutes to those jets on US-101 or I-880 (in the backs of their limousines, natch). At present, they have to use either San Francisco, San Jose, or Oakland airports, with the landing/departure queues that go along with those busy facilities.

The New York Times has more:
For Google’s Founders, a Coveted Landing Strip
(Copyright New York Times, 2007-09-12)

In the annals of perks enjoyed by America’s corporate executives, the founders of Google may have set a new standard: an uncrowded, federally managed runway for their private jet that is only a few minutes’ drive from their offices.

For $1.3 million a year, Larry Page and Sergey Brin get to park their customized wide-body Boeing 767-200 on Moffett Field, an airport run by NASA that is generally closed to private aircraft.

It is a perk that is likely to turn other Silicon Valley tycoons green with envy as no other private jets have landing rights there. But it may not sit well with a community that generally considers itself proud to have Google in its midst.

How did the two billionaires get such a coveted parking place for the jet, which is unusually large and rare by private jet standards? Officials at the Ames Research Center of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said the agency signed a unique agreement last month that allows it to place scientific instruments and researchers on planes used by the Google founders. NASA gets to collect scientific data on some flights of those jets, which in addition to the Boeing 767-200 includes two Gulfstream Vs.

“It was an opportunity for us to defray some of the fixed costs we have to maintain the airfield as well as to have flights of opportunity for our science missions,” said Steven Zornetzer, associate director for institutions and research at the Ames Center. “It seemed like a win-win situation.”

NASA said it had already run one mission on one of the Gulfstream Vs, to observe the Aurigid meteor shower on Aug. 31.

Moffett Field is nearly adjacent to Google’s Mountain View, Calif., headquarters, and the four-mile drive between the two locations takes just seven minutes, according to Google Maps. Other Silicon Valley executives have to fight traffic to get to their large jets parked at San Francisco or San Jose international airports or even further.

Two private aviation industry executives said that parking two Gulfstream jets at San Francisco or San Jose airports would cost between $240,000 and $360,000 a year, or more, depending on the parking location and the amount of fuel purchased. As for the Boeing, one of the executives, who asked not to be identified because his wealthy clients insist on privacy, said that most private jet facilities at large airports are not equipped to take in a jet that big. “It’s like if you lived in a condo and decided to own a semi,” he said.

The agreement is raising questions from local officials and community activists, who have a long history of opposing the expansion of flights at Moffett Field, an historic airport that was once under the supervision of the United States Navy, but was transferred to NASA in 1994.

“The Google flights represent the possibility that the camel’s nose is under the tent, and that NASA is looking at opening up the use of the runways to help pay for it,” said Lenny Siegel, director of the Pacific Studies Center, a local nonprofit group that over the years has opposed various proposed expansions of civilian flights at Moffett Field. “The majority of the people in the community are against that.”

Mr. Siegel said he was hoping NASA would provide clear answers about the agreement. “If they are doing science missions, that’s O.K.,” Mr. Siegel said. “If they are doing it just because they are rich and popular, it is not O.K.”

Google and Ames Research Center have other agreements to collaborate on research, as well as a preliminary plan for Google to build as much as a million square feet of space at Ames. The deal for the planes, which are not owned by Google, was unrelated to the Google agreements, Mr. Zornetzer said. It was signed with H211, a limited liability corporation that counts Eric E. Schmidt, Google’s chief executive, as one of its principals. The ownership of the planes is held by other affiliated companies.

Google, for its part, says that this is a personal matter involving the founders, who would not comment. Ken Ambrose, whom NASA identified as a representative of H211, did not return calls seeking comment.

“This is not a new issue,” said Representative Anna Eshoo, a Democrat, whose district includes Moffett Field. “You have to live with your neighbors. You are not out in the middle of the desert. You are in the heart of Silicon Valley.”

Some details of the agreement were reported Wednesday in The San Francisco Chronicle and The Palo Alto Daily News.

The plane’s presence at Moffett Field was first reported last week by the technology gossip blog Valleywag. The Google founders’ jet has been the talk of Silicon Valley since 2005, when the pair purchased the plane, which in a normal configuration can hold 180 passengers.

A year later, attention on the plane intensified after The Wall Street Journal wrote about a legal dispute between the owners and a contractor who was charged with refurbishing it. In the article, the contractor described requests for modifying the plane to include California king-size beds for the founders. At one point, the founders asked whether hammocks could be hung from the ceiling. The contractor said that Mr. Schmidt had described the jet as “party plane.”

The extravagance of the plane stands in contrast to the low-key image cut by Mr. Brin and Mr. Page, whose lifestyle is less flashy than that of other Silicon Valley billionaires. They have been intensely private about the plane as they have been about all details of their private lives. Ever since the Navy decided to close operations at Moffett Field in the early 1990s, local communities have been opposed to expanding the airport’s use. In 1992, voters in Mountain View and Sunnyvale overwhelmingly rejected the idea of opening up Moffett Field to general aviation in nonbinding votes. A plan to open the field to air cargo companies like FedEx and UPS was shot down in the late 1990s, in part due to community opposition.

Mr. Zornetzer said NASA was not expecting the deal to create a large number of new flights at Moffett. While two other private parties are allowed to use the airfield, a helicopter operator and Lockheed Martin, none of those agreements are for flying private jets. NASA officials said it has no agreements allowing private jets to land at any of its other facilities. As news of the jet’s presence at Moffett Field spread, private jet owners and operators have begun coveting the airfield.

“Everyone who operates private jets or owns them has been eyeing that gorgeous runway eager to take off from there,” said Nicholas Solinger, chief strategy officer for XOJET, a private aviation company. Mr. Solinger said Moffett was far better situated for most Silicon Valley executives than the airports at San Jose and San Francisco. “People will now redouble their efforts to get access to that airfield,” he said.

"Redouble?" "Green with envy?" Never mind that - you can bet your bottom dollar that Larry Ellison and the rest his buddies are going to be screaming bloody murder, and that within a relatively short period of time one of two things will happen: either the Google chiefs will have to park their plane somewhere else, or they won't be the only ones at Moffett.

Just something to keep in mind while you're taking off your shoes and throwing away all those dangerous >3.4 oz. liquids at the airport security checkpoint. Isn't flying in the USA fun? For these guys, it most definitely is.

POLITICSHYPE: Only in San Francisco

Maybe I've been paying attention to the wrong things on the news lately. After all, there seems to be a raging war going on in the middle east. So imagine my surprise when I read a news piece about Theresa Sparks, the president of the San Francisco Police Commission. The title of this article is irrelevant to this discussion, because its substance was mostly about how, as a transgender woman, she's sensitive to the needs of that particular population.

Never mind the murder rate in San Francisco, it's apparently more important to Mr/s. Sparks to make sure the cops don't offend any transgendered people or unwittingly aid those who are transphobes. I guess those of us that don't have a spare thirty grand or so to get our plumbing changed in Thailand have different priorities. (maybe s/he had some sort of epiphany in Bangkok while there on R&R from the Vietnam war?) Another hilarious aspect to this only-in-San-Francisco story: Mr/s. Sparks is the current CEO of Good Vibrations.

Maybe the professionals who have been elected or appointed to their positions in San Francisco could focus on more pressing matters... or perhaps that's just too much to ask.

Mr/s. Sparks tells it like it is:

For a similar story, albeit a little more tongue-in-cheek, check out The Daily Hype's take on the priorities of the police in Santa Cruz.

ARCHITECTUREHYPE: The Timeless Lines Of Frank Lloyd Wright

I've been looking for a new house lately, and I've been impressed by the work of this kid, Frank Lloyd Wright. His simple straight lines hide depths of complexity, and somehow just looking at a Wright design is relaxing, yet energizing. To live in one of these homes must make every day a joy.

From Wikipedia:

Wright practiced what is known as organic architecture, an architecture that evolves naturally out of the context, most importantly for him the relationship between the site and the building and the needs of the client. Houses in wooded regions, for instance, made heavy use of wood, desert houses had rambling floor plans and heavy use of stone, and houses in rocky areas such as Los Angeles were built mainly of cinder block. Wright's creations took his concern with organic architecture down to the smallest details. From his largest commercial commissions to the relatively modest Usonian houses, Wright conceived virtually every detail of both the external design and the internal fixtures, including furniture, carpets, windows, doors, tables and chairs, light fittings and decorative elements.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Imperial Hotel, Meiji Mura, Japan

On the other hand, maybe I'll just give the commission to this other kid I've been hearing about -- some guy named Gaudi.

Frank Lloyd Wright at Wikipedia
Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

CONVENIENCEHYPE: Twenty-two Years in a Motel !!!

Wow! Talk about resistance to change. This couple has been staying at this Travelodge motel in Grantham, England ever since they checked in 22 years ago!

From Yahoo News:

David Davidson, 79, and his wife, Jean, 70, first tried out a Travelodge hotel while visiting a sick aunt in 1985 -- and were instantly hooked.

Their room -- near Grantham, east central England off the A1 trunk road from London to Edinburgh -- overlooks a car park, but is also within sight of a slip road that trucks rumble down day and night, jazzing up the view.

"We get great rates because we book well in advance and we even have our own personal housekeeper. All our bed linen is laundered, too. It doesn't get much better than that, does it?" said former Royal Navy sailor David Davidson.

The couple do go for trips abroad -- but stay in a Travelodge.

"Some will think David and Jean Davidson bonkers to have spent the last 22 years living in a hotel," said the Daily Express in its editorial.

But their room rates are "not more than many people's mortgage payments, the housework is done for them and they do not pay utility bills. What's not to like?"

Yahoo News Story

SPORTSHYPE: Longhorns fan nearly castrated

As Paulie Walnuts might say, "Oooohhhh!!!"


To some Oklahoma football fans, there are things that just aren't done in the heart of Sooner Nation, and one of them is to walk into a bar wearing a Texas Longhorns T-shirt.

That's exactly what touched off a bloody skirmish that left a Texas-shirt-wearing fan nearly castrated and an Oklahoma fan facing aggravated assault charges that could put him in prison for up to five years.

The shocking case has set off a raging debate in this football-crazed region about the extreme passions behind a bitter rivalry. Some legal observers have even questioned whether this case could ever truly have an impartial jury.

"I've actually heard callers on talk radio say that this guy deserved what he got for wearing a Texas T-shirt into a bar in the middle of Sooner country," said Irven Box, an attorney in this city 20 miles from Oklahoma's campus in Norman.

According to police, 32-year-old Texas fan Brian Christopher Thomas walked into Henry Hudson's Pub on June 17 wearing a Longhorns T-shirt and quickly became the focus of football "trash talk" from another regular, 53-year-old Oklahoma fan Allen Michael Beckett.

Thomas told police that when he decided to leave and went to the bar to pay his tab, Beckett grabbed him in the crotch, pulled him to the ground and wouldn't let go, even as bar patrons tried to break it up. When the two men were separated, Thomas looked down and realized the extent of his injuries.

"He could see both of his testicles hanging on the outside of his body," said Thomas' attorney, Carl Hughes. "He was wearing a pair of white shorts, which made it that much worse."

It took more than 60 stitches to close the wound, and police interviewed Thomas at a nearby hospital emergency room.



Much-beloved, much-hated, former film star, former President Joseph Ejercito "Erap" Estrada was convicted Tuesday (or is that Monday in the Philippines? Wednesday?) of plunder and sentenced to "reclusion perpetua" or, as you American convicts know it, life in prison.

From ABS-CBN Interactive:

The Sandiganbayan Special Division on Wednesday found former president Joseph Estrada guilty beyond reasonable doubt for the crime of plunder but acquitted him for the lesser crime of perjury.

Winding up a six-year trial that the 70-year-old had repeatedly insisted was politically motivated, the anti-graft court ruled that Estrada was guilty of plundering billions of pesos in tobacco excise tax kickbacks and bribes and sentenced him to reclusion perpetua.

"Accordingly accused former president Joseph Estrada is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and accessory penalties of civil interdiction during the period of sentence and perpetual absolute disqualification," the decision read.

He probably (sadly) won't be joining these Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center inmates in their fabulous interpretation of Michael Jackson's Thriller:

CPDRC Inmates Perform Michael Jackson's Thriller

Erap in happier days

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

MOVIEHYPE: Resident Evil Extinction

OK, the second one sucked big-time, but here at The Daily Hype, we are hopeful that this videogame-inspired franchise has regained its feet in part three: Resident Evil Extinction. World cinema's number one ass-kicking babe, Milla Jovovich, returns as... uh... what was her name again, honey? Oh yeah -- Alice. And Alice looks badder than ever, wading into a Woodstock of zombies in the trailer. So, maybe wait for the reviews to see if it just bites hard, but if not -- zombies, apocalypse, extinction? Hell, that's entertainment!

Resident Evil Extinction Official Site
Resident Evil Extinction Trailer Page at Movie-List
Milla Jovovich's Home Page
Raccoon City News has a bunch of clips

(This post brought to you by The Umbrella Corporation)

WEBHYPE: Traffic Jam Simulator

Doctor Martin Treiber of the Technische Universitat Dresden has recently updated his "Microsimulation of road traffic" or as I call it, the Traffic Jam Simulator. An interactive Java app, it allows you to dynamically adjust variables such as road grade, vehicle inflow/hr, truck percentage, and imposed speed limit, until the little red and black rectangles grind to a halt, just like your morning commute.

From Herr Doktor Treiber's homepage:

Traffic dynamics Under certain conditions, traffic of individual vehicles can become unstable, especially on motorways. Who was not yet amazed by traffic jams or stop-and-go waves, seemingly appearing ''out of nothing'', without any obvious cause? We investigate these instabilities and other aspects of nonlinear traffic dynamics by developing and simulating mathematical models: Microscopic traffic models describe the motion of each individual vehicle. Macroscopic models describe the dynamics of locally averaged quantities like the density of vehicles, velocity, and velocity variance. The corresponding equations have some analogies to the Navier-Stokes equations of fluid dynamics. In our case, the analogy can be stressed even further: The equations of our models were derived from a kinetic equation The results should help to prevent at least some of the traffic jams by providing effective algorithms for a dynamical, i.e., traffic-dependent control of
  • speed limits
  • overtaking restrictions
  • green phases of street lights in cities
  • others.
Also check out the little 3D movies of virtual vehicles jamming up. You can almost hear the honking horns. When you've had enough, fire up "Need For Speed."

The Physics and Traffic Homepage of Dr. Martin Treiber
The Traffic Jam Simulator


When Owen Wilson was mysteriously hospitalized recently, and the mainstream press was unanimously uncertain of the reasons, like all inquiring minds, I clicked immediately over to and got the straight scoop, delivered with maximum snark and nastiness, including recent paparazzi pics of Wilson's ex, Kate Hudson, and Dax Shepherd, the new man in her life, that were said to be the trigger that pushed Owen over the edge. In this celebrity-obsessed culture, I am surprised this site isn't bigger than CNN.
Check it out, but if you're a fan of Britney or Paris or TomKat, be warned: no punches are pulled.


I would like to share with you a post I made to

This is an internet forum where the Madeleine McCann case has been discussed from day 1.

This place, and this case has touched me deeply, and profoundly....

~Peace All

Open Letter to the Maddie Forum

Dear friends,

I have to say that I am feeling a bit "defeated" this evening, I read through the Not Guilty/Fence Sitters thread and now feel rather blue...

I know I come across as being hard on the McCanns and I wish I could just remain neutral. I have tried very hard, believe me. I am a huge believer in "innocent until proven guilty" and I hate to rush to judgement. I have been reading and posting and trying to digest and trying to find a middle ground. I have prayed so hard and begged God to let the truth come out. I just keep coming back to how it feels like the McCanns have been lying to me, in so many ways, and to the whole world too.

The only thing that has mattered to me from the start is this little girl. I do not care if her parents feel like they are been persecuted. I just want to know what happened to her. When I thought she had been abducted by a pedophile, my heart broke into a million pieces. I could not stand to think about it. I have two very young children and I found myself pulling them close, even to the point of suffocation. I could not even consider letting them play in front of the house because my fear was so great. As I searched the internet for information I was confronted with unspeakable horrors.

As the tide began to shift, my anxiety lessened. I actually felt relief that her parents might be responsible for her vanishing. Perhaps my shift toward the guilt of her parents was because I desperately wanted to believe that this world was a safe place for my children. It was actually easier for me to believe that Maddie was dead than to consider the alternative. Do you know how hard that is, to feel that way??

I am not a sleuth by nature. I never posted on this board or any like it, before this case. I am a tech, a computer nerd, an internet junkie. I am a logical thinker and I trust my gut. It has yet to fail me. I am a late in life mom who cherishes her children deeply. I cannot imagine life without them. I want to protect children and innocence. To that end I am driven. So I found myself here....

I want very much for you to know that I am a good person with a really big heart. I do not wish harm to come to the McCanns. I want the truth to come out, in full, with no doubts. Proof, facts, solid evidence...I desperately want that too. Anything less would be hard for me to bear. Please forgive my attempts at humor at their expense. I mean no harm. I only want one thing....the TRUTH.

I just want you to know that I do not consider myself to be part of a "lynch mob". I hope that you will read my contributions and not judge me to harshly. Maybe knowing where I am coming from will shed some light on how, and why, I am contributing.

I appreciate all of you, every thought, every argument, every reason is valid to me.

Thanks for listening (and reading).

FINANCEHYPE: Little Old Ladies Making The Pros Look Like Fools

Back in the old days, before financial information was available to the mass market, there was no such thing as retail foreign exchange investing. Unless working on the front lines of the financial wars (i.e., the markets), the only exposure the vast majority of people had to Forex was figuring out how to pay for stuff in the local currency when on holiday abroad. Use cash, and one had to pay a hefty transaction cost (poor rates plus fees) at the change booth. Use plastic, and one got shafted by his bank 6 ways from Sunday (side note: if you used a Visa, MasterCard, or Diners Club for a foreign transaction between 1996 and 2008, you got screwed - follow that link).

Thankfully, a confluence of several factors has brought about significant changes to the Forex markets, to which your not-so-friendly local foreign currency booth and/or bank are closely linked. In my opinion, this is A Good Thing (see Euromoney's theory on why this is happening).

Recently, Japanese housewives - who, on aggregate, have significant investable assets thanks to their disciplined savings habits - have begun to get in on the action. The funny part is that they're confounding predictions made by the so-called experts at firms like UBS and Deutsche Bank, without question two of the largest and most sophisticated investment banks/financial institutions in the world.

The main tactic these retail Forex investors are using is the carry trade. It's fairly simple in principle, but if you have no idea what this is, here's a basic explanation and a detailed trading strategy. Don't you wish you paid closer attention in economics class now? Or better yet, took a few finance electives?

Bloomberg has more on this example of how new technology has helped empower individuals. And by the way, nothing is keeping you from getting into the game either - although if you live in Switzerland, you already know that your bank will happily sell you whatever currency you want at great rates with no fees... we should all be so lucky. Walk into nearly any retail bank branch in the States, even if you're a customer, and ask them for Euros (or Swiss Francs, or Japanese Yen, or British Pounds, or ...) and see what happens. Most likely you'll only get a blank expression from the teller.

TVHYPE: Ken Burns' The War

Or, as an anonymous commentator asked "Why is Ken burning the war?"

PBS' most celebrated documentarian, Ken Burns, returns on Sunday, September 23, for what sounds like it should be his most affecting work yet -- a seven-part epic on World War II, called simply "Ken Burns' The War." For some reason, this by-all-accounts-amazing work is being shown on that creaking, obsolete technology we know as "television."

From the PBS website:
Throughout the series, the indelible experience of combat is brought vividly to life as veterans describe what it was like to fight and kill and see men die at places like Monte Cassino and Anzio and Omaha Beach; the Hürtgen Forest and the Vosges Mountains and the Ardennes; and on the other side of the world at Guadalcanal and Tarawa and Saipan; Peleliu and the Philippine Sea and Okinawa. In all of the battle scenes, dramatic historical footage and photographs are combined with extraordinarily realistic sound effects to give the film a terrifying, visceral immediacy.

The War Extended Preview

Waterbury, Connecticut, one of four towns nationwide, that are specifically focussed on in the film, had a sneak preview and a visit from the man himself last night.

Waterbury's World War at
The War at

MUSICHYPE: The Good The Bad And The Ugly - Live!

Ennio Morricone conducts The Good The Bad And The Ugly

ANIMALHYPE: Tigers Rediscovered In Indian Rainforest

Good news unless you're a small animal eking out a precarious existence in the rainforest. And remember, like a bumper sticker I saw yesterday said: "Animals are little people in fur coats."

From Reuters:

At least 20 tigers have resurfaced in a tropical rainforest in western India, almost three decades after it was thought that poaching had wiped them out there, experts said on Tuesday.

The big cats were sighted over an 800 square kilometer (300 square miles) mountainous forest range in the western state of Maharashtra, bringing rare good news in a country that is rapidly losing its wildlife to poaching and habitat destruction.

Tiger-Watching Holidays at Naturetrek

CARHYPE: 2008 Aston Martin DBS

If anyone was wondering what to get me for Christmas... :

Aston Martin is going to reveal the awesome DBS coupe. It is officially being unveiled at the Pebble Beach d'Elegance this week and will go on sale in the first quarter of next year. Anyone that saw the latest Bond flick, Casino Royale will recognize this sweet car.

The production DBS will have a 510 horsepower version of the DB9's 6-liter V-12. (DB9 only has 450hp) A six-speed manual is standard (no auto for the wussies) and helps the car achieve 0-62mph in 4.3 seconds. The DBS has a top speed of 191 mph.

In addition to the great power under the hood, the DBS is the first Aston Martin fitted with carbon ceramic brakes to help keep the car under control. An Adaptive Damping System with five different settings to adjust the car's ride and handling characteristics is also a new feature.

Oh, and don't forget:

Like something straight out of a James Bond flick, Aston Martin is offering a limited edition Jaeger LeCoultre wristwatch for its new DBS that can be used to unlock the car and fire it up. Available only to buyers of the 510hp flagship, the new watch carries a price tag of €25,000. Remember, that’s on top of the €240,000 already put down for the car.

For that kind of money, customers get one of the most complex timepieces in the world. There’s over 200 parts used for just the casing and an additional 200 parts used for the watch movement itself, reports Automotive News. Engineers also managed to shrink the DBS transponder electronics so that it fits inside the watch.

Jaeger Chronograph at Motor Authority
2008 Aston Martin DBS at The Torque Report
"Casino Royale" Trailer page at Movie-List

Monday, September 10, 2007

SPORTSHYPE: North America's Best Rugby

Beginning in 2006, rugby in the United States and Canada was boosted by the International Rugby Board's North America 4 tournament, which showcases the best players from each country in a 4-team, 12-match competition. For those of you unfamiliar with the nature of higher-level rugby (representative, as we call it), this is akin to a nationwide all-star team, and one level below the international teams. The idea is that this competition will provide a basis for the game to turn professional here - that is to say, the players get paid to play rugby full-time.

A side note: The rest of the world better watch out when we do figure out this sport... the USA has a monstrously huge athletic talent pool, a lot of which is going untapped, and it's not inconceiveable that we could break into the top 5 in the world within 20 years or so. You read it here first.

Getting back to the topic at hand, however, complete video coverage of the 2007 tournament is available. This is a treat for rugby supporters in this country - aside from Setanta or Mediazone coverage (both of which are for-pay products), anyone wanting free rugby video has to get it online from BitTorrent or by swapping tapes with friends.

As a bonus, here's a video of the USA's national team in action at the Rugby World Cup 2007, which kicked off last on 2007-09-07. Take note that this not a normal occurrence in rugby - but rather a highly dangerous and illegal tackle that earned the tackler a 5-week suspension (in addition to the yellow card). But hey, the guy who got planted was English... who cares, right?


And the Marvel hits just keep on coming! Apple has the teaser for the new Iron Man movie up this morning. I watched a camera-phone version of this footage taken at the recent comic-con, and it looks awesome! Robert Downey Jr should be ideal in the role of the flawed-but-heroic Tony Stark, and Gwyneth Paltrow and Terrence Howard will bring additional starpower. It's nice to see these classic comic books being brought respectfully to the screen, now that Hollywood realizes they don't have to get gimmicky or humorous to make money with them. I can't wait to see what they do with Thor!

Iron Man trailer at Apple
Iron Man The Official Site

(As an added bonus, he's 49er-colored!)

Sunday, September 9, 2007

SPORTSHYPE: The Running Back

He led the NFC in rushing last season and, after sitting out the preseason with a broken hand, 49ers running back Frank Gore is rested, refreshed, and ready to wreak havoc on opposing defenses this year.
NFL football has a number of exciting features, from the "vertical game" of the long pass to the unleashed savagery of the dominant defense, but there is nothing more exciting, more elementally fascinating, than the great running back who, long after his blockers have fallen to the wayside, continues his rampage with nothing more than speed, strength, and instinct. If he can avoid injury, Gore could join the ranks of the great runners. If you doubt, check this out:

Frank Gore tribute at Youtube

The true greats:

Walter Payton

Barry Sanders

Jim Brown (c'mon, post some video of this absolute monster to YouTube)

Hmmm.... after watching those guys, this kid's got a ways to go... but I'm rooting for him. Go Frank! Go Niners!


El Cerrito firm Marine Advanced Research, in partnership with Hewlett-Packard, has developed the extremely rad Wave Adaptive Modular Vehicle or WAM-V class marine vessel. The prototype, named Proteus, is currently on its maiden voyage, having arrived in New York Harbor on September 6.

From the press release:
Unlike conventional boats, the hulls of a WAM-V™ conform to the surface of the water. A WAM-V does not push, slap or pierce the waves. She utilizes flexibility to adapt her structure and shape to the water surface. Instead of forcing the water to conform to the hull, she gives and adjusts; she “dances” with the waves.

A superstructure is flexibly connected to specially designed pontoons by several components that actually move in relation to one another. A WAM-V™ has springs, shock absorbers and ball joint to articulate the vessel and mitigate stresses to structure, payload and crew. Two engine pods, containing the propulsion and ancillary systems, are fastened to the hulls with special hinges that keep the propellers in the water at all times.

It's cool. Check it out, and imagine one ten times the size, riding on big waves:

WAM-V Proteus in action
Marine Advanced Research site
More video at PRNewswire


It may have been years since you had to read it for junior English, or slogged through it in a pot-haze, or never read it at all, but do yourself a favor: read it again: NOW. Shit is cheap nowadays, yo. I don't know how he did it, but George Orwell mysteriously saw a century into the future, and understood better than anybody where the societal trends of his time would inevitably lead us:

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Winston Smith, his chin nuzzled into his breast in an effort to escape the vile wind, slipped quickly through the glass doors of Victory Mansions, though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering along with him.

The hallway smelt of boiled cabbage and old rag mats. At one end of it a coloured poster, too large for indoor display, had been tacked to the wall. It depicted simply an enormous face, more than a metre wide: the face of a man of about forty-five, with a heavy black moustache and ruggedly handsome features. Winston made for the stairs. It was no use trying the lift. Even at the best of times it was seldom working, and at present the electric current was cut off during daylight hours. It was part of the economy drive in preparation for Hate Week. The flat was seven flights up, and Winston, who was thirty-nine and had a varicose ulcer above his right ankle, went slowly, resting several times on the way. On each landing, opposite the lift-shaft, the poster with the enormous face gazed from the wall. It was one of those pictures which are so contrived that the eyes follow you about when you move. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption beneath it ran.

It will break your heart, shatter your mind, and maybe, just maybe, wake your silly ass up!

One craaaazy muhfuggah...

1984 at Amazon
1984 at
1984 at Wikipedia