See “King Kong” – it’s amazing

King Kong

From Ty Burr at the Boston Globe: “Peter Jackson’s ‘King Kong’ delivers all you could possibly want from a modern popcorn behemoth: state-of-the-art special effects, epic scope and running time, rampaging dinosaurs, things majestically going ka-boom. It’s not so much a remake as it is a loving re-creation of the 1933 original on extra-strength steroids, with a side order of Botox. You’ve seen it all before but most assuredly never like this.”

9-month-old on “no fly” list of suspected terrorists

“Sarah Zapolsky was checking in for a flight to Italy when she discovered that her 9-month-old son’s name was on the United States’ ‘no fly’ list of suspected terrorists.

“‘We pointed down to the stroller, and he sat there and gurgled,’ Zapolsky said, recalling the July incident at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C. ‘The desk agent started laughing…She couldn’t print us out a boarding pass because he’s on the no-fly list.’

“Zapolsky, who did not want her son’s name made public, said she was initially amused by the mix-up. ‘But when I found out you can’t actually get off the list, I started to get a bit annoyed.’

“She isn’t alone.”

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The top 20 IT mistakes to avoid

“We all like to think we learn from mistakes, whether our own or others’. So in theory, the more serious bloopers you know about, the less likely you are to be under the bright light of interrogation, explaining how you managed to screw up big-time. That’s why we put out an all-points bulletin to IT managers and vendors everywhere: For the good of humanity, tell us about the gotchas that have gotten you, so others can avoid them…

“We’ve distilled this glut of information down to the top 20 mistakes — instances in which wrong decisions can lead to costly project overruns, business disasters, and in the worst cases, lost jobs. Read on…”

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This guy is “39 Pounds of Love”

From the official web site: “39 Pounds of Love is the inspirational and humorous non-fiction account of a remarkable man and a remarkable journey.

“Ami Ankilewitz was diagnosed with an extremely rare and often fatal form of SMA/2 that severely limits his physical growth and movement yet at 34 years of age, he continues to outlive a doctor’s prediction of life expectancy by 28 years. And counting.

“Ami, who weighs only 39 pounds, works in Israel as a 3D animator and creates his art despite the fact that his bodily motion is limited to a single finger on his left hand and in doing so, continues to redefine notions of a ‘limited’ life.

“The film follows Ami’s journey in search of the doctor who predicted his early demise. Along his journey, Ami attempts to come to terms with another major incident from his past and to complete a lifelong dream: To finally ride a Harley Davidson.

“39 Pounds of Love is an emotional roller coaster, a fascinating, humorous and truly inspirational ride through life with someone who embodies the very term, Carpe Diem (Seize the day).”

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Free voicemail helps homeless people get jobs

a whopping 70% found jobs within 2 months“‘Community Voicemail’ offers free voicemail boxes to homeless and unemployed people who are seeking work, so they’ll have a way for prospective employers to reach them. The program is very successful too: ‘workers distributed voicemail numbers to 145 people over 6 months, and a whopping 70% found jobs within 2 months!'”

From “Community Voice Mail is a simple and effective solution to a complex problem — how to help people in crisis and transition stay connected to the very tool they need most: a constant telephone number… Access to a telephone is a basic survival tool… and often one we don’t think of… Once their new phone number is active, users can check messages from anywhere that works for them: pay phones, social service agencies, or the homes of friends and family. A CVM number looks like any other local telephone number and therefore does not signal the client’s status as a homeless or phoneless person. In this way, CVM users are able to reflect the stability and credibility associated with having a personal home answering machine.”

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Video of the largest atomic bomb ever detonated

“Tsar Bomba (literally “Tsar of the bombs”), developed by the Soviet Union, is the largest nuclear explosive ever detonated, and the most powerful of such ever employed by humans. It was tested on October 30, 1961 over the island of Novaya Zemlya in the Arctic Sea. There is no clear evidence that any examples other than the one tested were ever made.

“The original USA estimate of the yield was 57 Mt, but since 1991 all Russian sources have stated its yield as ‘only’ 50 Mt… The fireball touched the ground, reached nearly as high as the altitude of the release plane, and was seen 1,000 km away. The heat could have caused third degree burns at a distance of 100 km. The subsequent mushroom cloud was about 60 km high and 30-40 km wide. The explosion could be seen and felt in Finland, even breaking windows there. Atmospheric focusing caused blast damage up to 1,000 km away. The seismic shock of the test went around the Earth three times.

“The Tsar Bomba is the most powerful device ever constructed by humans, and its test is the largest detonation ever. Since 50 Mt is 2.1×1017 joules, the average power produced during the entire fission-fusion process, lasting around 3.9×10-8 seconds or 39 nanoseconds, was about 5.3×1024 watts or 5.3 yottawatts. This constitutes over 1% of the power output of the Sun (383 yottawatts)… By contrast, the largest weapon ever produced by the United States, the now-decommissioned B41, had a predicted maximum yield of 25 Mt, and the largest nuclear device ever tested by the USA (Castle Bravo) yielded 15 Mt.”

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The Mini Shuttle

“With NASA’s beleaguered shuttle still grounded over safety concerns—and given the unanswered questions about its replacement, the Crew Exploration Vehicle, which won’t be ready to fly until 2012—the European Space Agency is mulling an option to buy its own ride to space. This month ESA plans to request $60 million from its member states to help Russia prepare its new, reusable spaceship, the Clipper, for a crewless test flight by 2011 and a manned flight by 2012.

Russia partners with Europe to build its own reusable spacecraft for flights to the International Space Station and beyond. (John Macneill)
John Macneill.

“The six-person Clipper is designed to replace Russia’s three-person Soyuz capsule, which has been in operation since the 1960s and is currently the only reliable transport to the International Space Station. Lighter than NASA’s shuttle and more powerful than the Soyuz, the Clipper will be more than just a taxi to the ISS. Notes ESA official Manuel Valls, ‘It could go to the moon.’

“The Russian Federal Space Agency showed off a full-scale mock-up of the craft at the Moscow International Air Show in August. If all goes well—that is, if ESA ponies up funding—design studies of the Clipper could begin in early 2006.”

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Giant jellyfish seen off the coast of Japan

“THEY are called echizen kurage and they sound like monsters from the trashier reaches of Japanese science fiction.

“They are 6ft wide and weigh 450lb (200kg), with countless poisonous tentacles, they have drifted across the void to terrorise the people of Japan. Vast armadas of the slimy horrors have cut off the country’s food supply. As soon as one is killed more appear to take its place.A giant jellyfish drifting in the waters off Echizen in in the Sea of Japan (Asahi Shimbun/Tetsuji Asano/AP)

“Finally, the quarrelsome governments of the region are banding together to unite against the enemy.

“Echizen kurage is not an extraterrestrial invader, but a giant jellyfish that is devastating the livelihoods of fishermen in the Sea of Japan. Nomura’s jellyfish, as it is known in English, is the biggest creature of its kind off Japan and for reasons that remain mysterious its numbers have surged in the past few months.”

Photo: A giant jellyfish drifting in the waters off Echizen in in the Sea of Japan (Asahi Shimbun/Tetsuji Asano/AP)

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