Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Their mission: to comfort the families of soldiers who died fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and to lift the spirits of those wounded in the service of their country.
On Monday, the president is set to make a more common public trip - with reporters in tow - to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, home to many of the wounded and a symbol of controversy earlier in his presidency over the quality of care the veterans were receiving.
GIVING SUPPORT: Vice President Dick Cheney, an avid fly-fisherman, practices his cast with wounded troops from Walter Reed Army Medical Center during one of the half-dozen barbecues he's hosted at his Naval Observatory home. (White House photo)
But the size and scope of Mr. Bush's and Mr. Cheney's private endeavors to meet with wounded soldiers and families of the fallen far exceed anything that has been witnessed publicly, according to interviews with more than a dozen officials familiar with the effort.
"People say, 'Why would you do that?'" the president said in an Oval Office interview with The Washington Times on Friday. "And the answer is: This is my duty. The president is commander in chief, but the president is often comforter in chief, as well. It is my duty to be - to try to comfort as best as I humanly can a loved one who is in anguish."
Mr. Bush, for instance, has sent personal letters to the families of every one of the more than 4,000 troops who have died in the two wars, an enormous personal effort that consumed hours of his time and escaped public notice. The task, along with meeting family members of troops killed in action, has been so wrenching - balancing the anger, grief and pride of families coping with the loss symbolized by a flag-draped coffin - that the president often leaned on his wife, Laura, for emotional support.
"I lean on the Almighty and Laura," Mr. Bush said in the interview. "She has been very reassuring, very calming."
Mr. Bush also has met privately with more than 500 families of troops killed in action and with more than 950 wounded veterans, according to White House spokesman Carlton Carroll. Many of those meetings were outside the presence of the news media at the White House or at private sessions during official travel stops, officials said.
The first lady said those private visits, many of which she also attended, took a heavy emotional toll, not just on the president, but on her as well.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Apple opened its flagship Munich retail outlet — the first Apple Store in Germany. A huge crowd showed up, and it’s all there in QTVR — Click here for the Quicktime VR IMage.
The store, at 1 Rosenstrasse, is the first of five retail shops that Apple plans to open in Germany, according to AppleInsider. Click here to see photos of the site — once the home of a Sport Schuster outlet — after Apple razed the existing building to construct one of their classic glass-enclosed retail spaces.
According to the store’s official website, Apple employees were going to hand out T-shirts to the first 2,500 people who showed up. Judging from the panorama, they didn’t bring enough.
The Gluhwein sign is at 6 o-clock from the start of the panorama.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
Cesar Kuriyama, a New York animator and lighting technical director, has directed a visually arresting music video using an interesting technique.
Eschewing a video camera, he took 45,000 photographs with a Nikon D200 DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera and stitched them together to create the illusion of video.
The music video was created for the band Fat City Reprise and premiered at their homecoming concert in Philadelphia.
Kuriyama says he directed the talent in the video to move as best they could in slow-motion while he had his director of photography Tommy Agriodimas shoot JPG bursts with the Nikon D200.
The duo were able to get about 60 images per burst at about four pictures per second. "Obviously we did many takes for each shot," says Kuriyama. "Eventually one good take of them moving in slow motion would look great."
After that the team re-worked the frames in post-production to move closer to 24 frames per second.
Including the time for conceptualizing and creating the story board, it took Kuriyama about 14 months to the video. He worked on it after-work hours every day.
The whole video cost just about $3000 to make, says Kuriyama, "plus the endless personal hours."
The video also features an animated stuffed animal designed and created by a friend. Kuriyama rigged it with blue sticks coming out of its arms and legs and wore a black suit to hide him. Post-production tricks helped firm the illusion.
Much of the editing for the video, says Kuriyama, was done on his MacBook Pro in Final Cut Pro. He managed the photographs in iPhoto and did the effects in Eyeon Fusion.
Kuriyama's efforts is an interesting way to circumvent the challenge that photographers face when it comes to creating high quality videos at low cost.
Compact digital cameras, which have had video-recording capabilities for years, offer disappointing image quality. High-end video and movie cameras are bulky and can be very expensive.
But the $2700 21-megapixel Canon 5D Mark II capable of 1080p HD video and the $1300 12-megapixel Nikon D90, which can record 720p HD video could change the game.
The two cameras deliver very high quality video and still images and could help photographers move to a single camera for their needs.
The simple phrase his father repeated into Tchicaya Missamou's ears as a child still echoes thousands of miles from his homeland.
Missamou never forgets the words that helped him survive a civil war in his native country and foreign war in Iraq.
Missamou, 30, owns Warrior Fitness Camp in Valencia.
The fitness center transformed more than 600 people's lives in its 18 months of operations, Missamou said.
"We give people hope that they can change their bodies, their health and how they feel," he said.
Missamou's life is filled with change, turmoil and transformation.
He was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as a member of the Bakongo tribe. At 7 years old,
Missamou was recruited into the Bakongo tribal militia to wage civil war against tribes in the northern region of the country.
"I saw drugs and alcohol used to make kids shoot people with AK-47s," he said.
A second wave of civil unrest broke out in 1997 and the militia tried to recruit then 19-year-old Missamou again.
"I was tired of the war," he said.
"They beat me up then tied me up," Missamou said.
Tribal militia members raped his mother in front of him. The militia threw Missamou and his mother into their home and set it on fire. Missamou broke free and carried his mother to safety, he said.
Missamou's father, a member of the police force, obtained a forged passport and snuck him out of Congo.
"At that time black Africans were not allowed to leave the country," he said. His father convinced a pilot to sneak Missamou out of the country.
His family paid for defying the tribe.
"They put my father in jail, beat and tortured him and injected him with the HIV virus," he said.
His father remains imprisoned.
Missamou arrived in the United States in 1997 with little money and no English skills. He was mugged at a bus station his first day in the country, he said.
On March 26, 2000, Missamou joined the U.S. Marine Corps, where he learned English and graduated first in his infantry class.
"I had lost my family. I had lost hope," he said. "The Marine Corps is my family. It gives me hope."
He became a U.S. citizen in 2003, and when the Iraq war began he was part of the first wave of Marines to invade the country. He gave to his new country and continued to give after he returned from the war.
Missamou began training people from his Saugus garage in 2006.
"I started with two people and within six months it grew to 37," he said.
He combines military training techniques with Third World realities. "You don't need fancy equipment," he said pointing to a tire. Missamou makes his students drag tires with weighted back packs.
"This is what life is like in Africa," he said.
He moved his business to Valencia in February 2007, and the grand opening was accompanied by another event. His mother moved here from the Congo.
"One day I will go back and get my father and the rest of my family," he said.
LOS ANGELES — A program to exchange guns for gifts has brought in a record number of weapons this year as residents hit hard by the economy look under the bed and in closets to find items to trade for groceries.
The annual Gifts for Guns program wound down Sunday in Compton, a working class city south of Los Angeles that has long struggled with gun and gang violence. In a program similar to ones in New York and San Francisco, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department allows residents to anonymously relinquish firearms in return for $100 gift cards for Ralphs supermarkets, Target department stores or Best Buy electronics stores.
Turning in assault rifles yields double that amount.
In years past, Target and Best Buy were the cards of choice, with residents wanting presents for the holidays.
A fall resulted in a shoulder injury to Grylls, who is en route back home to Britain for medical treatment and assessment of the injury's severity, according to Discovery.
He was not filming for Discovery, but instead was taking part in an independent expedition.
The 34-year-old Grylls has hosted "Man vs. Wild," on which he strands himself in remote locations to demonstrate survival techniques, since November 2006.
The former British Special Forces member recently published "Man vs. Wild: Survival Techniques for the Most Dangerous Places on Earth."Story link.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Vice President-elect Joe Biden was briefed on the panel's study on Tuesday. Among other things, the report suggests that the incoming Obama administration shore up its counterterrorism efforts to fight against germ warfare.
"Our margin of safety is shrinking, not growing," states the report, a copy of which was obtained by FOX News. It is scheduled to be publicly released Wednesday.
The commission is also encouraging the new White House to appoint one official on the National Security Council to exclusively coordinate U.S. intelligence and foreign policy on combatting the spread of nuclear and biological weapons.
The report of the Commission on the Prevention of WMD Proliferation and Terrorism, led by former Sens. Bob Graham of Florida and Jim Talent of Missouri, acknowledges that terrorist groups still lack the needed scientific and technical ability to make weapons out of pathogens or nuclear bombs.
But it warns that gap can be easily overcome, if terrorists find scientists willing to share or sell their know-how.
"The United States should be less concerned that terrorists will become biologists and far more concerned that biologists will become terrorists," the report states.
The commission believes biological weapons are more likely to be obtained and used before nuclear or radioactive weapons because nuclear facilities are more carefully guarded.
Civilian laboratories with potentially dangerous pathogens abound, however, and could easily be compromised.
"The biological threat is greater than the nuclear; the acquisition of deadly pathogens, and their weaponization and dissemination in aerosol form, would entail fewer technical hurdles than the theft or production of weapons-grade uranium or plutonium and its assembly into an improvised nuclear device," states the report.
Full story link.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
The 40-year-old Marine saw the Afghan insurgent reaching for a yellow detonator button on the bike and leapt into action to drag him away.
He foiled a cunningly planned attack in which the same motorcycle had been checked by the same troops just hours earlier when its panniers had been packed with potatoes instead of explosives.
The suicide bomb contained 70 kilograms of explosives and was so huge it would have destroyed everything within 180 metres and left a huge crater.
The 20-year-old Taliban fighter had driven it into the middle of a group of 130 Marines and Afghan Army soldiers.
He tried to set off the first of the two bombs but it failed to go off and the Marine was
alerted by the distinctive pop of the detonator.
He spotted wires running from the bulging saddlebags to another yellow button on the petrol tank and he hauled the bomber off the bike as he reached to press it.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Marine Corporal Garrett Jones is back in combat, and he's mad as...well, you get the picture.
While on patrol with his unit, the 2/7 Marine Regiment in Iraq a little over a year ago, Cpl Jones remembers a flash and a cloud of smoke. He was thrown through the air into a sewage canal. After that, things got fuzzy. When he awoke, a chaplain informed him he'd lost his leg above the knee. Jones recalls saying, "I hear they make really good prosthetics."
Seventeen surgeries and a whole lot of physical therapy now behind him, the tough young corporal is back in battle with his buddies - this time in Afghanistan. He's one of a growing number of amputees who refuse to allow the loss of a limb to stop them from serving. And Jones recuperated in record time - a little under nine months after his injury, he was training to return to his unit. To do so, he had to prove himself all over again, going through all the same pre-deployment training as the others.
This is, after all, the Marine Corps. They don't play wait-up.
"My leg popped off a couple of times in the humvee scenario and once when I was leaving a range," Jones said. "I thought it was funny because 'How many guys walk around with combat loads and have a leg fall off?' I still did it to prove that I could deploy as an amputee."
It's that kind of spirit that enables him to endure the brutal operational tempo and primitive living conditions that his unit must endure in the Helmand province of southern Afghanistan. And being the first above-the-knee amputee to return to combat with his unit makes him a literal walking legend with his peers.
Jones recently submitted his paperwork to reenlist for another stint with the unit he loves. He also plans to represent the Marine corps this winter in another amazing display of toughness - a national snowboarding competition.
"I love being with the guys, the same people. I really do," Jones said. "If it wasn't for the guys in this unit, I wouldn't be here. It's an honor to serve with them and be in a place where many Marines don't get a chance to go."
Monday, November 10, 2008
"the nation will enlist them for three months of civilian service."
"[s]ome Republicans will squeal about individual freedom," ruling out any likelihood that they would let people opt out of universal citizen service.
One World Cafe, where patrons set prices, has had trouble paying employees
The One World Cafe, in the last month, fired its long-time manager and the staff walked out in protest. Here, owner Denise Cerreta helps serve a customer's lunch on Friday. The restaurant's new chef, Giovanni Bouderbala, is working in the kitchen at right. (Scott Sommerdorf / The Salt Lake Tribune)
For nearly a year, Salt Lake City's One World Cafe - founded on the altruistic goal of letting customers set their own meal price - has been on a crash course with business reality.
In mid-October, employee paychecks bounced and the longtime manager was fired. Bo Dean's dismissal angered the rest of the staff enough that they walked out in protest.
Founder Denise Cerreta was forced to call a temporary staffing agency so she could serve customers.
Friday, November 7, 2008
City of Ember
Looks like fun...
It's a wobbler. Zombies=good but the movie itself seems a little shaky.
Appears to be solid sci-fi fun.
Not sure about this yet. Post-apocalypse love stories are tough to pull off...
The Last Man
Looks interesting, adaption from a Marry Shelly book, but he production value is a bit suspect.
Link to movie trailer.
Too early to tell.
Full Article link.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
BISMARCK, North Dakota (AP) -- North Dakota health officials are recommending that pregnant women and young children avoid eating meat from wild game killed with lead bullets.
Officials in North Dakota have warned about eating venison killed with lead ammunition since the spring.
Officials in North Dakota have warned about eating venison killed with lead ammunition since the spring.
The recommendation is based on a study released Wednesday that examined the lead levels in the blood of more than 700 state residents. Those who ate wild game killed with lead bullets appeared to have higher lead levels than those who ate little or no wild game.
The elevated lead levels were not considered dangerous, but North Dakota says pregnant women and children younger than 6 should avoid eating venison harvested using lead bullets.
Those groups are considered most at risk from lead poisoning, which can cause learning problems and convulsions, and in severe cases can lead to brain damage and death.
The study, conducted by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state health department, is the first to connect lead traces in game with higher lead levels in the blood of game eaters, said Dr. Stephen Pickard, a CDC epidemiolgist who works with the state health department.
A separate study by Minnesota's Department of Natural Resources previously found that fragments from lead bullets spread as far as 18 inches away from the wound.
"Nobody was in trouble from the lead levels," Pickard said. However, "the effect was small but large enough to be a concern," he said.
Pickard said the study found "the more recent the consumption of wild game harvested with lead bullets, the higher the level of lead in the blood."
Officials in North Dakota and other states have warned about eating venison killed with lead ammunition since the spring, when a physician conducting tests using a CT scanner found lead in samples of donated deer meat.
The findings led North Dakota's health department to order food pantries to throw out donated venison. Some groups that organize venison donations have called such actions premature and unsupported by science.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
You have two cows.
Your neighbor has none.
You feel guilty for being successful.
You have two cows.
Your neighbor has none.
You have two cows.
The government takes one and gives it to your neighbor.
You form a cooperative to tell him how to manage his cow.
You have two cows.
The government seizes both and provides you with milk.
You wait in line for hours to get it.
It is expensive and sour.
CAPITALISM, AMERICAN STYLE
You have two cows.
You sell one, buy a bull, and build a herd of cows.
BUREAUCRACY, AMERICAN STYLE
You have two cows.
Under the new farm program the government pays you to shoot one, milk the other, and then pours the milk down the drain.
You have two cows.
You sell one, lease it back to yourself and do an IPO on the 2nd one.
You force the two cows to produce the milk of four cows. You are surprised when one cow drops dead. You spin an announcement to the analysts stating you have downsized and are reducing expenses.
Your stock goes up.
You have two cows.
You go on strike because you want three cows.
You go to lunch and drink wine.
Life is good.
You have two cows.
You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk.
They learn to travel on unbelievably crowded trains.
Most are at the top of their class at cow school.
You have two cows.
You engineer them so they are all blond, drink lots of beer, give excellent quality milk, and run a hundred miles an hour.
Unfortunately they also demand 13 weeks of vacation per year.
You have two cows but you don't know where they are.
While ambling around, you see a beautiful woman.
You break for lunch.
Life is good.
You have two cows.
You have some vodka.
You count them and learn you have five cows.
You have some more vodka.
You count them again and learn you have 42 cows.
The Mafia shows up and takes over however many cows you really have.
You have all the cows in Afghanistan , which are two.
You don't milk them because you cannot touch any creature's private parts.
You get a $40 million grant from the US Government to find alternatives to milk production but use the money to buy weapons.
You have two cows.
They go into hiding.
They send radio tapes of their mooing.
You have two bulls.
Employees are regularly maimed and killed attempting to milk them.
You have one cow.
The cow is schizophrenic.
Sometimes the cow thinks he's French, other times he's Flemish.
The Flemish cow won't share with the French cow.
The French cow wants control of the Flemish cow's milk.
The cow asks permission to be cut in half.
The cow dies happy.
You have a black cow and a brown cow.
Everyone votes for the best looking one.
Some of the people who actually like the brown one best accidentally vote for the black one.
Some people vote for both.
Some people vote for neither.
Some people can't figure out how to vote at all.
Finally, a bunch of guys from out-of-state tell you which one you think is the best-looking cow.
You have millions of cows.
They make real California cheese.
Only five speak English.
Most are illegal.
Arnold likes the ones with the big udders.
Monday, November 3, 2008
For our latest mission, we turned a little league baseball game in Hermosa Beach, California into a major league event.
In order to pull this mission off we worked with the commissioner of the Hermosa Beach Little League. The commissioner provided us with the names, numbers, and batting order of all of the players for both teams. He told us the 2 PM game between the Mudcats and the Lugnuts would be ideal for our mission, and allowed us to arrive early to set up all of our equipment. He was the only person involved with the league who knew what was going to happen. The players, coaches, and parents were kept completely in the dark.
The league’s games are six innings, and we planned our mission to unfold slowly, heightening with each passing inning. As the game started, the only unusual thing anyone could notice was a large truck parked just pass the outfield wall (housing our jumbotron to be revealed later.) All of the cameras remained hidden away.Story link.
Check out the rest of thier site, it is really fun stuff!
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Thursday, October 30, 2008
Oct 30, 2008 11:06 am
Netflix continues to find as many ways as possible to get movies into your home. The latest is a new partnership with TiVo, announced today.
This adds TiVo boxes to the list of devices that will allow you to view Netflix movies; the other devices include your PC, the Roku Netflix box, and--soon--the Xbox 360. TiVo announced that Netflix service will be available to all TiVo customers with a TiVo Series 3, TiVo HD, or TiVo HD XL this December with no extra cost other than Netflix's own fees.
The match between TiVo and Netflix is a natural fit. Back in 2004, Netflix and TiVo tried to develop a digital film distribution system together, but due to licensing issues and technical limitations the plan never came around. Now, four years later both companies have come together again.
And personally, I couldn't be happier with the partnership. As someone who rents a lot of movies, and a complete TiVo addict, I can definitely see myself getting a lot of use out of this. My only gripe with the service is that it only supports streaming movies through the TiVo. The thing that makes TiVo so great is that it stores your shows so you can watch them anytime, and it would be great if the Netflix partnership allowed you to store movies--even for a short period of time. TiVo already has an option that automatically deletes shows after a set period of time, so it would have been a great addition if Netflix movies could use that feature to allow the movies to be more of a digital rental than just a streaming movie. But even as just a streaming service, the partnership will be getting a lot of use in my house.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Oh, I stand by my not-so-casual disregard for the semicolon. It all stems from my tattoo. One morning, a teensy bit hungover, I decided to get my tattoo. (My tattoo, and not a tattoo. It had been in the works for a while. This was not a flight of fancy.) I have four Japanese symbols across my back, gleaned from a Japanese-English dictionary. In case you weren’t aware, Japanese-English dictionaries are printed in 6-point font. Like 6 Sigma, but with less “Sigma” and more “point font”.
Anyway, there I am in the tattoo parlour, all by my lonesome on a rainy Tuesday morning, design in hand. Said design has been photocopied and enlarged to within an inch of its life. It begged for mercy and I didn’t care. I settle in to the chair and raise the back of my shirt. Anthony, my friendly neighborhood tattoo parlor employee, asks where exactly I want the ink.
Right above the bra line, I say.
What bra would that be? Anthony is amused.
I guess I hadn’t worn one. This was before I nursed three ungrateful children.
Anyway, I was totally embarrassed and in a rush to get out. When we were done, I thanked him profusely and essentially ran like hell.
Upon my return home, I showed my roommate. He had seen the desired design many times, so he knew what he was looking for. I pulled up the back of my shirt, removed the gauze, and showed the new art.
Dude, is that a fucking semicolon on your back?
Yes, it would seem that in our haste, nobody took the semicolon from the dictionary entry out of the design and it now lives for eternity on my skin.
Moral of the Story: Always Proofread.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
But at least he knew for certain then that when the ballgame was over -- he was going to be the Democratic candidate for president.
Now, with the Nov. 4 general election still 12 days away, the front-running Illinois senator is planning an Election Night celebration that could put his Invesco Field party to shame.
A huge stage is being constructed in Chicago's Grant Park, where Obama hopes to declare victory before a cheering throng that could dwarf the one at the Democratic convention. Back then, "only" 80,000 fans were in attendance that night. This time, it could be hundreds of thousands in the park and its surroundings -- closer to Berlin in July than Denver in August.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports the price tag of the fanfare has been pegged at $2 million, to be picked up by the Obama campaign. Mayor Richard Daley reportedly suggested Obama use a cheaper venue, but was turned down.
Obama is well on his way to winning the election, according to most polls and electoral vote projections. The campaign may be preparing to set the champagne on ice. But it may want to heed the usual reminder: As Yogi Berra famously said, it ain't over till it's over.
An Obama victory -- he would become the first African-American president -- would logically be cause for an historic celebration. So far, the campaign's staying mum on the expected crowd count.
Asked how many people the campaign was anticipating in Grant Park, Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor quipped, "At least 10."
"We have a lot of supporters who have given their time and effort to the campaign, and we want them to share in the election night with us," Vietor told FOXNews.com.
The excitement is palpable at Obama's rallies, a tone the candidate has reflected. "I feel like we got a righteous wind at our backs here," Obama told supporters in Leesburg, Va., Wednesday evening.
But John McCain -- and Obama himself -- are warning the Democrat's supporters not to get ahead of themselves.
McCain says he savors being the underdog so close to Election Day, and for weeks he has accused Obama of "measuring the drapes" and counting him out.
"My opponent's looking pretty confident ... these days," McCain said Wednesday in Goffstown, N.H. "He'll be addressing the nation soon. He's got another of those big stadium spectacles in the works. But acting like the election is over, it won't let him take away your chance to have the final say in this election."
Obama is making an effort to catch himself and couch his language when he talks about post-Election Day plans. He is warning supporters not to get lazy and "screw it up," as he says Democratic campaigns have been known to do.
"We're going to have to work, we're going to have to struggle, we're going to have to fight for every single one of those 12 days," Obama told the crowd at an Indianapolis rally Thursday. "It's not going to be easy, but I'm hopeful about the outcome ... but we cannot let up."
Vietor brushed aside McCain's criticism that Obama is being too presumptuous.
"That's ridiculous. We're working hard every day to talk to voters, to get out the vote and knocking on doors. This is a campaign that went through one of the longest primaries in history, and rest assured we take nothing for granted," he said.
He said the Grant Park event will be free and open to the public.
As for McCain, he's holding his election night festivities at the Biltmore in Phoenix, which customarily hosts weddings and business retreats. Compare that with Grant Park, which customarily hosts the rock mega-concert Lollapalooza.
Also by contrast, only a select group of reporters will be allowed to witness McCain's postelection remarks, which he is reportedly planning to give to supporters on the hotel lawn. Due to limited seating, the rest of the media on site will be watching on TV in a separate filing room.
With a theoretically limitless outdoor capacity, the press are invited to attend Obama's event. While there's no fee outright to cover it, news organizations have been asked to pay for prime seating and Internet and phone service.
Meanwhile, Obama is trying to downplay speculation about post-election plans. He spoke about foreign policy challenges Wednesday after meeting in Virginia with his "working group" on national security. He oscillated between jabs at McCain (he said his rival's latest tax policy charges were a sign "that they have run out of ideas"), and deference to the voters who will decide the election.
Asked whether he planned to attend the global economic summit scheduled for mid-November, Obama made sure to pay homage to President Bush.
"Even though the election will have taken place and we will have a new president-elect, we are still going to have one president at a time until January 20th, when the new president is sworn in," Obama said.
"So, you know, there is always a transition period. I don't want to get too much ahead of ourselves."
He noted that his economic team has been in regular contact with the "uppermost reaches of policy-making, Secretary Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke."
"But I don't want to make commitments at this point in terms of our participation ... before I've even won the election," he added.
First, you have to get infected. This is easy to do as there are Conspicuous Crates all over -- I clicked on some from Booty Bay -- which will give you a 10 minute debuff called 'You're Infected!'. The only way to cure the debuff is to be in the vicinity of an Argent Healer [EDIT: It can be cured by Paladins, Priests, and Shamans, too. Those killjoys!], who will heal you automatically with several yards. If you want to serve the Lich King, stay away from the major cities until you get turned. If you don't get cured within 10 minutes, you will, like me, turn into a zombie!
[UPDATE: If you transform into a zombie, you will need to keep on killing things. Otherwise, you will constantly lose health until you die and return to your normal state. The ability Bite! is a passive effect that happens whenever you attack, so you'll constantly need to keep attacking. This prevents zombies from traveling very far without killing.]
When you turn into a zombie, you'll get a whole bunch of unique abilities. The first is Mangle!, which is your basic melee attack on a 3 second cooldown. It's fairly weak, but the best part of the ability is that it seems to shave minutes off infections. Attacking players or NPCs will infect them, so be ready to spread the plague. Players and NPCs that die with infections will transform into zombies immediately, as will players whose infections run the course naturally or through zombie attacks. With a little cooperation, you'll soon have a zombie army of your own!
You also have Retch! which is an AoE that slows down enemies... this is good because you move slow as, well, a zombie when you're transformed. It also heals your fellow zombies, so use it wisely and often! You can use Beckoning Groan! to attract other zombies to your aid -- the NPCs that you killed, specially -- and create undead unrest everywhere. There's Lurch!, which is kind of like a Dash or Sprint for zombies, which is great because moving slow gets really annoying. The cool thing about Lurch! is it dispels movement impairing effects, too. You'll need that when city guards tie you down. And finally there's Zombie Explosion! for when you want to end all that misery! It's a channeled spell that will make you explode! Kind of like a self-inflicted Corpse Explosion.
Here are some tips to create maximum mayhem as a zombie: while you become hostile to everyone else, you can still whisper members of your own faction and talk in various channels. If other players attack you, you can just whisper them -- you'll have to type out their names as the selection menu won't allow you to do so. Tell them to get infected to, and there's a good chance they'll join in on the chaos! Attack players and NPCs with the debuff, spamming Mangle!, which shortens the You're Infected timer by a full minute with what appears to be every other hit. Just remember that you won't have access to all your normal abilities as a zombie, and won't be able to mount up or hearth. Well, now that you've got that teaser, what're you waiting for? Go forth and zombify!
Tips for Eating Brains (a good read!)
The sides of some of London's red buses will soon carry ads asserting there is "probably no God," as nonbelievers fight what they say is the preferential treatment given to religion in British society.
Organizers of a campaign to raise funds for the ads said Wednesday they received more than $113,000 in donations, almost seven times their target, in the hours since they launched the project on a charity Web site. Supporters include Oxford University biologist Richard Dawkins, who donated $9,000.
The money will be used to place posters on 30 buses carrying the slogan "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life." The plan was to run the ads for four weeks starting in January, but so much money has been raised that the project may be expanded.
"A lot of people say trying to organize atheists is like herding cats. The last couple of days shows that is not true," said comedy writer Ariane Sherine, who started the campaign.
While most London buses carry posters for shops or Hollywood movies, Christian churches and Muslim groups have bought bus-side ad space in the past.
Sherine came up with the idea after seeing a series of Christian posters on London buses. She said she visited the Web site promoted on one ad and found it told nonbelievers they would spend eternity in torment in hell.
"I thought it would be a really positive thing to counter that by putting forward a much happier and more upbeat advert, saying 'Don't worry, you're not going to hell,'" said Sherine, 28. "Atheists believe this is the only life we have, and we should enjoy it."
The British Humanist Association, which is administering the fundraising drive, said it had been so successful the campaign might spread to other cities including Manchester and Edinburgh.
Most Britons identify themselves as Christians, but few attend church regularly, and public figures rarely talk about their beliefs. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair was rare among politicians in speaking openly about his Christian faith.
Dawkins, author of the best-selling atheist manifesto "The God Delusion," said that religion nonetheless held a privileged position in society.
"Religious organizations have an automatic tax-free charitable status," he said. "Bishops sit in the House of Lords automatically. Religious leaders get preferential treatment on all sorts of commissions.
"This campaign to put alternative slogans on London buses will make people think — and thinking is anathema to religion."
Dawkins said that as an atheist he "wasn't wild" about the ad's assertion that there was "probably" no God.
Sherine said the word was included to ensure the posters didn't breach transit advertising regulations, which stipulate ads should not offend religious people.
Few believers appeared offended by the campaign, although most doubted it would work.
"I think people will ask themselves, 'On what basis can they make that statement?" said Inayat Bunglawala of the Muslim Council of Britain. "So it will get people thinking, so in that sense it can only be good."
Ad agency CBS Outdoor, which manages advertising on many London buses, said it had approved the atheist campaign.
Sales and marketing director Tim Bleakley said "our decision to take an ad that promotes God, or one that promotes no God, is based on commercial terms, as long as the advertising copy itself does not breach U.K. advertising standards."
The Rev. Jenny Ellis, spirituality and discipleship officer for the Methodist Church, welcomed the ads.
"This campaign will be a good thing if it gets people to engage with the deepest questions of life," she said.
The religious think tank Theos said it had donated $82 to the campaign, on the grounds that the ads were so bad they would probably attract people to religion.
"It tells people to 'stop worrying,' which is hardly going to be a great comfort for those who are concerned about losing jobs or homes in the recession," said Theos director Paul Woolley.
"Stunts like this demonstrate how militant atheists are often great adverts for Christianity."