"July 30 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. government’s $1 billion “cash for clunkers” program is being closed because it is almost out of money six days after it began, a person familiar with the matter said.
The effort to get older, less fuel-efficient vehicles off the road, for which rules were published on July 24, will be halted at midnight New York time tonight because demand proved greater than expected, said the person, a congressional official. Funds are close to running out or have run out, the official said.
The program was to continue until Nov. 1 or when the money runs out. Jill Zuckman, a Transportation Department spokeswoman, and Nick Shapiro, a White House spokesman, declined to comment."
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Saturday, July 25, 2009
"While the computer scientists agreed that we are a long way from Hal, the computer that took over the spaceship in “2001: A Space Odyssey,” they said there was legitimate concern that technological progress would transform the work force by destroying a widening range of jobs, as well as force humans to learn to live with machines that increasingly copy human behaviors.
The researchers — leading computer scientists, artificial intelligence researchers and roboticists who met at the Asilomar Conference Grounds on Monterey Bay in California — generally discounted the possibility of highly centralized superintelligences and the idea that intelligence might spring spontaneously from the Internet. But they agreed that robots that can kill autonomously are either already here or will be soon."
Friday, July 24, 2009
Bears in the Adirondacks Defeat BearVault Food-Protection Container - NYTimes.com:
"The BearVault 500 withstood the ravages of the test bears at the Folsom City Zoo in California. It has stymied mighty grizzlies weighing up to 1,000 pounds in the backcountry of Yellowstone National Park.
But in one corner of the Adirondacks, campers started to notice that the BearVault, a popular canister designed to keep food and other necessities safe, was being compromised.....it became clear that in most cases, the conqueror was a relatively tiny, extremely shy middle-aged black bear named Yellow-Yellow.
....But wildlife officials say that Yellow-Yellow, a 125-pound bear named for two yellow ear tags that help wildlife officials keep tabs on her, has managed to systematically decipher a complex locking system that confounds even some campers.
In the process, she has emerged as a near-mythical creature in the High Peaks region of the northeastern Adirondacks."
Yogi would be so proud!
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Op-Ed Columnist - Teacher, Can We Leave Now? No. - NYTimes.com:
"I watched Greg Mortenson, the famed author of “Three Cups of Tea,” open one of his schools for girls in this remote Afghan village in the Hindu Kush mountains. I must say, after witnessing the delight in the faces of those little Afghan girls crowded three to a desk waiting to learn, I found it very hard to write, “Let’s just get out of here.”
Indeed, Mortenson’s efforts remind us what the essence of the “war on terrorism” is about. It’s about the war of ideas within Islam — a war between religious zealots who glorify martyrdom and want to keep Islam untouched by modernity and isolated from other faiths, with its women disempowered, and those who want to embrace modernity, open Islam to new ideas and empower Muslim women as much as men."
'Lollipop' Device Helps Reveal Shapes To the Blind - washingtonpost.com:
Blinded by a roadside bomb in Iraq, technology is helping Marine Cpl. Mike Jernigan to at least make out shapes. From the WashingtonPost.com
"He has been given a special "lollipop," a device that uses his tongue to stimulate his visual cortex and send sensory information to his brain. ...called the intra-oral device, or IOD, the lollipop is an inch-square grid with 625 small round metal pieces. It is connected by a wire to a small camera mounted on a pair of sunglasses and to a hand-held controller about the size of a BlackBerry. The camera sends an image to the lollipop, which transmits a low-voltage pulse to Jernigan's tongue. With training, Jernigan has learned to translate that pulse into pictures. He can now identify the shapes of what is in front of him, even though both of his eyes have been removed.
'It's kind of like Braille that you use with your fingers,' said Amy Nau, an optometrist who is researching the effectiveness of the device at the University of Pittsburgh. 'Instead of symbols, it's a picture, and instead of your fingertips, it's your tongue.'"
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
BBC NEWS | Europe | Barcelona gets new water supply:
"A drought last year forced Barcelona to import drinking water by tanker. It was one of Spain's driest years on record.
The new plant at El Prat del Llobregat will provide 24% of the water consumed in the Barcelona area, officials say. It went into operation on Monday.
Two more desalination plants are being built in the Catalonia region.
The new plant near Barcelona will provide 200m litres (44m gallons) of drinking water daily for the city's 4.5 million people....The plant cost 230m euros (£198m) to build. It produces 45 litres of drinking water from each 100 litres of salt water. "
Subliminal messaging may not qualify as an Thaler-Sunstein approved nudge, but it can nudge you « Nudge blog
"But for those who are just trying to manipulate behavior, there is recent evidence that split-second images will have a stronger impact than 30-second television commercials. Why would that be? Because when a television commercial airs, your guard is up, and you are ready to thwart any advertiser’s persuasive messaging. Split-second images hit you when your guard is down, and are more easily absorbed without you realizing it."
Monday, July 20, 2009
Very quickly CNN-GPS is becoming my favorite non-sports show on TV. (Other than Man vs Wild, Family Guy, and Book TV--now not having TV limits how much I watch, but...lol)
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
Funny stuff however.
YouTube - United Breaks Guitars:
"In the spring of 2008, Sons of Maxwell were traveling to Nebraska for a one-week tour and my Taylor guitar was witnessed being thrown by United Airlines.."
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Wow! I guess we better watch what we eat!
Mice Run Faster On High-grade Oil:
"...research, to be presented on the 29th of June 2009 at the Society for Experimental Biology Annual Meeting, has shown that mice fed for two weeks on a diet high in sunflower oil, which contains n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, ran on average 0.19m/s faster than mice fed a diet rich in linseed oil, which is high in n-3 fatty acids.
This means that, over a 2 second sprint, a mouse fed on a high n-6 fatty acid diet would have a 0.4m advantage. This represents a 6.3% improvement which equals that achieved in the 100m world records over more than 75 years"
So important that I cross-posted it to several of my blogs.
Does High Self-Esteem Cause Better Performance, Interpersonal Success, Happiness, Or Healthier Lifestyles? | Simoleon Sense
"Overall, the benefits of high self-esteem fall into two categories:enhanced initiative and pleasant feelings. We have not found evidence that boosting self-esteem (by therapeutic interventions or school programs) causes benefits. Our findings do not support continued widespread efforts to boost self esteem in the hope that it will by itself foster improved outcomes. In view of the heterogeneity of high self-esteem, indiscriminate praise might just as easily promote narcissism, with its less desirable consequences. Instead, we recommend using praise to boost self-esteem as a reward for socially desirable behavior and self-improvement."
"Perfectionists, research shows, can become easily discouraged by failing to meet impossibly high standards, making them reluctant to take on new challenges or even complete agreed-upon tasks. The insistence on dotting all the i’s can also breed inefficiency, causing delays, work overload and even poor results. Perfectionism can hurt health and relationships, too."
Sunday, July 05, 2009
The Simpsons take on Ayn Rand's Fountainhead"
Thursday, July 02, 2009
On this anniversary of Gettysburg, this is 143rd (7 score and three) anniversary, an interesting look at various Civil War Battles from the US Army.