Alyssa Milano

Posted in entertainment with tags , , on January 14, 2013 by SpenceG

Title: Alyssa Milano, ‘Mistress’ in chief

If you didn’t already know Alyssa Milano was all grown up, you will after Mistresses.

The former Who’s the Boss star returns to ABC sometime this spring as Savannah Davis, a frustrated wife who begins an affair with a co-worker, played by Grey’s Anatomy’s Jason George. This being a soap, she becomes pregnant — without knowing whether the father is her husband or her lover.

“I love playing women who are flawed, and right from the pilot she makes a decision that has serious consequences,” she says.

If that set-up sounds familiar, there’s a reason: The as-yet-unscheduled, 13-episode American series is a remake of a six-episode British series that ran here on BBC America. While the plots begin in the same place, producer Rina Mimoun says the American show soon shifts off in its own direction, in terms of plot and approach.

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Why Samuel L. Jackson and Leonardo DiCaprio were snubbed by the Oscars

Posted in entertainment with tags , , , , on January 13, 2013 by SpenceG

Fans of Django Unchained couldn’t help but be a little disappointed by yesterday’s Academy Award nominations.

While the movie did bring home nods for best picture and screenplay, its director, Quentin Tarantino, was snubbed, as were the two actors who gave arguably the bravest and most memorable performances in the film: Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson.

Previous Oscar winner Christoph Waltz was nominated for his performance as the anti-slavery bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz, and while the recognition is definitely deserved (he’s brilliant in the movie), it’s also fair to say that his part is the film’s safest.

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Quentin Tarantino on the story behind his Western Django Unchained

Posted in entertainment with tags , , on January 13, 2013 by SpenceG

The difference between Django Unchained and my other films is that it follows one character on a journey.

Django and his wife are runaway slaves who are caught and as a punishment sold to owners on opposite sides of the country.

We meet Django in Texas as he’s freed by a bounty hunter who teaches him his trade and, later, agrees to help him rescue his wife from the clutches of Calvin Candie, a plantation owner who makes slaves fight to the death for fun.

Generally, revenge movies are simple. You meet the hero. You meet his wife. You meet their kids.

You hang out with them for about 20 minutes and then the bad guys kill the wife, kill the kids and the good guy goes on a roaring rampage of revenge.

The important thing to remember is that the revenge should be satisfying; it’s horrible when the heroes don’t personally kill the bad guys.

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How Popular Is the Wii U, Really?

Posted in entertainment with tags , on December 27, 2012 by SpenceG

I have a Wii U. And although I find its motion implementation quite fun at times, and the addition of a second screen a good idea, I haven’t played it at all in the last couple of weeks.

I decided to conduct an informal poll with other people I know who also own a Wii U. I asked them if they’ve been playing with the console much since its launch. Nearly every person said that they played it somewhat heavily in the first week after launch, but little after that.

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Retailers face ho-hum holiday sales-early data

Posted in business with tags , on December 27, 2012 by SpenceG

As the U.S. holiday season winds down, retailers were left to hope that post-Christmas sales could help salvage their worst performance since 2008, preliminary data showed.

Holiday-related sales rose 0.7 percent from October 28 through December 24, compared with a 2 percent increase last year, according to data from MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse.

The preliminary estimate from SpendingPulse was in line with other estimates showing weak growth during the holiday season, when retailers can book about 30 percent of annual sales and in many cases half of their profits.

On Tuesday, the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs Weekly Chain Store Sales Index said sales rose only 0.7 percent in the week ended Saturday.

And last week, research firm ShopperTrak lowered its holiday season forecast, calling for sales in November and December to increase only 2.5 percent from 2011, down from 3.3 percent.

read more:–finance.html click here

‘Gangnam Style’ death prompts warning to middle-aged men not to attempt the vigorous dance

Posted in general with tags , on December 14, 2012 by SpenceG

The death of a father-of-three who collapsed while dancing to Gangnam Style has prompted a warning to middle-aged men not to attempt the vigorous dance from the hit video.

Eamonn Kilbride, 46, collapsed with chest pains at his office party in Blackburn last weekend after performing the dance moves made famous by the South Korean rapper Psy, who mimics riding a horse.

Professor Bernard Keavney, a consultant cardiologist at Newcastle University, has warned older men not to “stray outside your comfort zone” while dancing at their Christmas parties this year.

“The chance that you’ll come to grief is very small. But as with any form of untypical exercise … be somewhat measured. Let the lady dance around you,” he told The Daily Telegraph.

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Ugg boots are over – the fashion world rejoices

Posted in fashion with tags , , on November 25, 2012 by SpenceG

It may be an object of derision throughout the fashion industry, but the Ugg boot – a bit like the bootcut jean, or the square-toed office-boy shoes – has refused to die. Over the past 10 years, sales continued to rise, and their squat, solid, shearling-lined shapes became the footwear of young Britons nationwide.

Until now. The newest sales figures from Deckers, the Ugg parent group, are down 31%. While this has been put down to mild weather, and prices of the boots rising, it’s a minor victory for fashion. While not defeated – prices will be reduced in a bid to boost sales – its footwear nemesis is showing signs of weakness.

In truth, these signs have been there for a while. Uggs are undeniably comfortable – they’re more often worn as slippers in their native Australia – but the ubiquity of them, and their many imitations, has led to overkill. Bad press has been growing. In a survey in 2010, they were voted one of the 10 items men don’t like on women and a judge recently ruled they can be dangerous to wear while driving.

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Maintaining Fitness throughout the Championship Season

Posted in sports with tags , on November 19, 2012 by SpenceG

The championship season in high school cross country can be a long and drawn out affair in the United States. The time period between state sectional meets and the Footlocker Championship race can last up to eight weeks for some runners. Maintaining both aerobic and anaerobic fitness is critical to racing success, yet energy systems need to be cycled in a different pattern to stay at their highest efficiency. There are also numerous psychological considerations to be aware of in keeping athletes fresh during this extended period of time. Some of these areas of physiological and psychological concern are individual in nature, and must be addressed that way, however broad guidelines can be used to provide a chassis for maintaining and even improving fitness during the championship racing period of time.

In training theory the Competitive Period can be broken into two parts, the tapering mesocycle, and the maintenance mesocycle. It takes about two to three weeks to taper properly, so the average cross country runner will only encounter this mesocycle before their biggest competitions. However, for the runners moving on to Nike Regionals and Nationals or Footlocker Regionals and Nationals, an additional three to five week mesocycle is employed to maintain fitness.

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‘Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars’ Week 6 Performance Recap: Dance Goes Country

Posted in entertainment with tags , , on November 1, 2012 by SpenceG

It’s Country Week, y’all! Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars week 6 is also pretty much the only normal week (more or less) we’re going to have in a long stretch of episodes. Considering that this week’s eliminations will take two weeks of scores into account, that’s saying a lot.

It’s going to be rather complicated to make predictions this week, actually. What with the multiple scores — pairs could have as many as four separate scores by Tuesday night’s Results Show — who knows what could happen?

We do at least know how the various couples did last week. Here’s a quick reminder if you — like me — need it.

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How Warner Bros Could Reboot Batman – Part 1

Posted in entertainment with tags , , , on September 30, 2012 by SpenceG

Okay, let’s get down to business. Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise trilogy has now come to an end with The Dark Knight Rises, and now Warner Bros. is going to need to reboot the series. The billion dollar question is, how?

I’ve already stated my opposition to the idea of rebooting Batman in a Justice League film. Now, I’m going to offer my explanation for how I think Warner Bros. should go about rebooting Batman’s franchise — and the kicker is, it involves both cinema AND television. So strap in, dear readers, for part 1 of “how to reboot Batman!”

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Dragon*Con: Billy West Dean Cain And Plenty of Cosplay To Go Out On

Posted in entertainment with tags , on September 22, 2012 by SpenceG

Dragon Con, Superman

Well, the costumes and weapons have been packed and put away, the host hotels have been sprayed down and sanitized to make way for the big Baptist convention that came in on the last day, and thousands of geeks are heading home to their normal lives. Dragon*Con 2012 may be over, but we still have a ton of coverage for you.

First off, here’s a little chat I had with Billy West (Futurama, Ren & Stimpy, Skeets on JLU) about comic books, being a geek before it was cool, and what sets Dragon*Con apart from other conventions.

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Why Hipmunk Is The World’s Best Travel Site – Forbes

Posted in travel with tags , , on September 17, 2012 by SpenceG

George Orwell said journalism is “printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.” Bully for you, Eric Arthur Blair, but you never had to book a flight from JFK to SFO for a family of four on a budget. Because I have run that gauntlet several times, I don’t feel bad writing a few paragraphs of unpaid PR for Hipmunk, a two-year-old travel-booking site. This post meets the Orwellian bar for journalism insofar as it’s not what Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline, and want printed: Hipmunk is the best travel site on the Web. Period.

Why? It’s smarter than all the others about presenting flight and hotel data. It doesn’t waste your time. It sacrifices ad revenue for a better user experience. It personalizes better than the others. It’s not trying to be anything other than a decision-making engine. “Our main philosophy,” says Hipmunk cofounder Steve Huffman, “is that we want you to spend as little time on our site as possible with the least amount of pain.” Completing the booking happens elsewhere, including on Orbitz and the airline and hotel sites. Hipmunk makes a few bucks for generating each lead. “Like a lot of people, when I get home from work, I don’t want to think. We started from that notion,” says Huffman. “You only have so many decision-making units in your head per day.”

via Why Hipmunk Is The World’s Best Travel Site – Forbes.

Who wants more public transit choices? Most Americans, it turns out

Posted in business with tags , , , on September 17, 2012 by SpenceG

Three out of four Americans are frustrated with the lack of transportation options that forces them to drive more than they would prefer, according to a new nationwide public opinion survey released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). According to the poll results, two out of three support government investment in to expand and improve public transportation and twice as many people favor new transit – buses, trains and light rail – rather than new highways as the best way to solve America’s traffic woes.

“Americans hate traffic and love transit,” said Peter Lehner, NRDC’s executive director. “Investing in public transportation eases congestion but for too long most federal funding has limited people’s choices, leaving them sitting in traffic.”

The survey of 800 Americans was conducted this summer by a bipartisan team — Public Opinion Strategies, which conducts polling for Republican candidates, and Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, which specializes in polling for Democratic candidates. The nationwide telephone survey was preceded by focus groups in Charlotte, N.C., Raleigh, N.C., Philadelphia, Pa., and Cleveland, Ohio.

via Who wants more public transit choices? Most Americans, it turns out.

Japanese tooth patch may reduce decay › News in Science (ABC Science)

Posted in health with tags , , , on September 17, 2012 by SpenceG

Scientists have created a microscopically thin film that can coat individual teeth to prevent decay or to make them appear whiter.

The “tooth patch” is a hard-wearing and ultra-flexible material made from hydroxyapatite, the main mineral in tooth enamel that could also mean an end to sensitive teeth.

“This is the world’s first flexible apatite sheet, which we hope to use to protect teeth or repair damaged enamel,” says Professor Shigeki Hontsu of the Kinki University’s Faculty of Biology-Oriented Science and Technology in Japan.

“Dentists used to think an all-apatite sheet was just a dream, but we are aiming to create artificial enamel,” the outermost layer of a tooth, he says.

Researchers can create film just 0.004 millimetres thick by firing lasers at compressed blocks of hydroxyapatite in a vacuum to make individual particles pop out.

These particles fall onto a block of salt which is heated to crystallise them, before the salt stand is dissolved in water.

The film is scooped up onto filter paper and dried, after which it is robust enough to be picked up by a pair of tweezers.

via Japanese tooth patch may reduce decay › News in Science (ABC Science).

What’s behind the bald Bratz dolls?

Posted in entertainment with tags , , , on September 17, 2012 by SpenceG

bald bratz dolls
The “bald doll” movement actually came about as a result of an online campaign from a young cancer patient who wanted to see a bald Barbie. After hemming and hawing, Mattel finally complied, but only with 10,000 limited edition dolls that are being sold to U.S. hospitals. The company has been widely criticized for missing out on a great opportunity to make a difference and help children with cancer. Even the Vatican’s official newspaper jumped on the bandwagon. The Bratz line is being praised because the dolls are widely available in retail stores. But does it deserve congratulations or some questions?

The biggest question is whether this effort is really dedicated to helping the cause, given that only a small portion of proceeds will go to charity. The criticisms are similar to those lobbied at the pink ribbon movement, in which products are branded in the colour pink while only a fraction of profits actually go to charity. The Pink Underbelly draws the comparison in a post written earlier this year that says “if MGA really wanted to be an ‘active supporter’ in pediatric cancer treatments and research, they’d donate more than $1 from the sale of each doll …”

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Nissan Leaf Nismo RC First Drive – Motor Trend

Posted in cars with tags , , on September 7, 2012 by SpenceG

nissan leaf nismo rc
The Nissan Leaf Nismo RC might be powered by the same 107-hp electric motor that propels the consumer-oriented Leaf, but that’s where the similarities end. With its purpose-built carbon-fiber body, monocoque chassis, race-tuned suspension setup, servo-less brakes, and powerless steering, the Nismo RC is a race-ready EV on steroids.

Nismo has created about a dozen Leaf RCs. Equipped with a huge Super GT-style wing and sitting ultra-close to the ground, it certainly looks the part, but does it drive the part as well? To see if the hype is real, we jumped behind the wheel of the experimental race car at Nissan’s Oppama Grandrive proving ground, about one hour south of Tokyo.

The spec sheet tells the initial story. The RC is nearly 7 inches wider than the standard Leaf, but 13 inches lower, and, at a featherweight 2050 pounds, some 1300 pounds lighter. Though its powertrain retains the stock car’s output of 107 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque, the lower curb weight considerably improves the RC’s power-to-weight ratio. All of the critical hardware — electric motor, inverter, single-speed reduction gearbox, and sizeable 192 lithium-ion battery pack — is located just behind the cockpit, giving the car an ideal 50:50 front-rear weight distribution. The rearward shift also allowed Nismo to reroute the power from the front wheels to the rear.

via Nissan Leaf Nismo RC First Drive – Motor Trend.  Also, check out diecast plymouth road runner superbird.

1 | A Simple Solar Oven Makes Salt Water Drinkable | Co.Design: business + innovation + design

Posted in environment, science, technology with tags , on August 27, 2012 by SpenceG

It functions by filling the black boiler with salty sea water in the morning, then tightening the cap. As the temperature and pressure grows, steam is forced downwards through a connection pipe and collects in the lid, which acts as a condenser, turning the steam into fresh water. Once Diamanti established the fundamentals were sound, he experimented with a series of concepts for the aesthetic of the object. “My goal was to design something friendly and recognizable for the users,” he explains. “The process developed quite naturally to determine the current shape; every detail is there for a reason, so the form, as well as production techniques, represent a compromise between technical and traditional.” Primary field studies in sub-Saharan Africa revealed the habit of carrying goods on the head–also a common practice in other areas around the world–and this was integrated into Eliodomestico’s plan. And while solar stills aren’t a totally new concept, Diamanti says it’s rare to find them in a domestic context rather than in missions or hospitals, or as large plants overseen by qualified personnel that serve entire communities. “I tried to make something for a real household that could be operated directly by the families,” he says.

via 1 | A Simple Solar Oven Makes Salt Water Drinkable | Co.Design: business + innovation + design.

Is a $675,000 fine for sharing 31 pirated songs too much? | ExtremeTech

Posted in entertainment, technology with tags , , , , on August 27, 2012 by SpenceG

Joel Tenenbaum is out of options. A Massachusetts District Court judge ruled the $675,000 fine levied against him is indeed appropriate and refused calls for a new jury trial, meaning the former Boston University graduate student will pay a staggering $21,774 for every song he shared over P2P networks.

The case has made its way through the courts over the past five years, with a jury initially finding Tenenbaum guilty of copyright infringement and levying the fine. His lawyers argued the fines were excessive, and the Judge presiding over the case at the time agreed. She lowered the fines to $67,500, or $2,177 per song, which record industry lawyers balked at and appealed to higher courts.

via Is a $675,000 fine for sharing 31 pirated songs too much? | ExtremeTech.

Analysis: Friend and foe; Samsung, Apple won’t want to damage parts deal | Reuters

Posted in technology with tags , , , on August 27, 2012 by SpenceG

While Samsung Electronics is reeling from a patent pounding by its smartphone rival Apple Inc, this is unlikely to damage the other part of their relationship – where Samsung is the sole supplier of Apple-designed chips that power the iPhone and iPad.

At an emergency meeting in Seoul early on Sunday following the damning U.S. legal defeat, the South Korean group’s post mortem was led by vice chairman Choi Gee-sung and the head of the mobile business JK Shin, rather than by CEO Kwon Oh-hyun, whose primary role is in charge of the components business.

The clear message from Samsung is that a strict internal firewall between its handset business and its components operations remains intact.

While it plans to appeal the U.S. verdict, and a damages bill for $1.05 billion for copying critical features of Apple’s popular mobile devices – a sum that could be trebled – Samsung will not want to put at risk its Apple supply contract which is worth billions of dollars.

via Analysis: Friend and foe; Samsung, Apple won’t want to damage parts deal | Reuters.

Going public with depression

Posted in health with tags on August 27, 2012 by SpenceG

Editor’s note: Politicians Jesse Jackson Jr. and Patrick Kennedy have each recently revealed struggles with depression and mental illness. After the death this week of “Top Gun” director Tony Scott in an apparent suicide (it’s unclear whether Scott suffered from mental health issues), CNN’s Kat Kinsman writes that talking freely about personal mental health issues and suicidal thoughts, whether you’re a public figure or a private person, can help those who share the struggle.

(CNN) — I am 14 years old, it’s the middle of the afternoon, and I’m curled into a ball at the bottom of the stairs. I’ve intended to drag my uncooperative limbs upstairs to my dark disaster of a bedroom and sleep until everything hurts a little less, but my body and brain have simply drained down. I crumple into a bony, frizzy-haired heap on the gold shag rug, convinced that the only thing I have left to offer the world is the removal of my ugly presence from it, but at that moment, I’m too exhausted to do anything about it.

I sink into unconsciousness, mumbling over and over again, “I need help… I need help… I need help.” I’m too quiet. No one hears.

Read full story:  Also, pharmacy technician license.