one can only hope……
US government warns it’s running out of cash
Treasury Secretary John Snow has warned that unless Congress raises the national debt limit, the US government will run out of cash to finance its daily work in two months.
In a letter to Senate leaders Thursday, Snow said the statutory debt limit imposed by Congress of 8.184 trillion dollars would be reached in mid-February and the government would then lose its borrowing power.
“At that time, unless the debt limit is raised or the Treasury Department takes authorized extraordinary actions, we will be unable to continue to finance government operations,” said the letter, seen by AFP.
Snow warned that even if the Treasury took “all available prudent and legal actions” to avoid breaching the ceiling, “we anticipate that we can finance government operations no longer than mid-March”.
“Accordingly, I am writing to request that Congress raise the statutory debt limit as soon as possible.”
The Republican-led Congress last voted to increase the debt limit in mid-November 2004, despite opposition from Democrats who demanded the free-spending federal government tighten its belt instead.
The US debt limit sparked bitter partisan battles in the mid-1990s between a Republican-dominated Congress and the Democratic administration of president Bill Clinton, leading to shutdowns of the federal government.
Once the US government hits the ceiling, it comes under threat of defaulting on its debts and can lose the ability to raise future credit on the capital markets.
Snow underlined that the “full faith and credit of the United States” was a unique selling point on the markets.
“A failure to increase the debt limit in a timely manner would threaten this unique and important position,” he wrote in his letter.
LAHAINA, Maui — A hot cup of coffee was used to flush out a suspected thief this morning at Lahaina Harbor.
Tad Luckey of Luckey’s Fishing Charters noticed his backpack missing at 5:30 a.m. from behind the counter at the harbor’s Slip 52, according to Capt. Charles Hirata of the Maui Police Department. Luckey told co-worker William Sinclair he had seen a man walking away with a backpack, and Sinclair headed for a line of boulders that borders one end of the harbor. Suspecting the thief was nearby, but unable to see in the dark, Sinclair began pouring his cup of coffee out onto the rocks, Hirata said.
Scalded by the hot liquid, a 21-year-old man yelled and jumped up with Luckey’s backpack in his hand, Hirata said. The suspect was escorted back to the boat slip and arrested for second-degree theft. Luckey’s wallet was missing from the backpack, but the item was found hidden among the boulders.
The suspect was being held this morning at the Lahaina Police Station.
Wow, the Chinese take job discrimination to a whole new level.
BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese tradition holds 2006 will be a year of bad luck for people born under the sign of the dog, but misfortune has come early for some looking for jobs, state media said on Wednesday.
Chinese companies looking for new recruits had deliberately passed over candidates born as dogs in China’s ancient 12-animal astrological cycle to ward off the bad luck expected for people in years of their same sign, the China Youth Daily said.
The rooster will make way for the dog at Chinese Lunar New Year in late January.
The dog denials were just one example of widespread employment discrimination in China, a Chinese legislator told parliament during discussions about a new labor law on Tuesday, the newspaper said.
“Workplace discrimination has even reached this ridiculous level,” Wan Xuewen was quoted as saying.
Wan said the new labor law should include clauses to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender, ethnicity and religion, the newspaper reported.
Many Chinese companies showed illegal hiring biases, even according to such factors as height and blood type, it said.
A rule that women applying for government jobs in central Hunan province had to show they had symmetrically shaped breasts sparked a public uproar last year and calls for stronger legal protection against job discrimination.
Hunan scrapped its requirement, but China still does not have clear-cut laws ruling out such hiring prejudices.
A previous film adaptation “disappeared” from the director’s home.
A TV adaptation of cult novel The Master and Margarita has become a ratings hit in Russia despite superstition that it was “cursed”.
More than 55% of Russians aged over 18 watched the first part of the 143 million roubles (£2.9m) TV series.
Mikhail Bulgakov started his satire in 1928 but it was not published until his death.
It was banned for 16 years until a government-edited version was published in a literary magazine in 1966.
It follows Satan as he causes murder and mayhem in 1930s Moscow –
Vladimir Bortko, director of the 10-episode series broadcast on Rossiya state television, said the book embodied freedom for several generations of Russians.
“It was like a breath of fresh air in the dead atmosphere of Soviet writing,” he said.
It includes surreal scenes such as the devil’s black cat riding a tram, Moscow women running around in their underwear and a naked Margarita hovering above the city on a broom.
Mr Bortko added that for many Soviet citizens, Bulgakov’s novel was their first encounter with the Bible – a book discredited by the atheist communist government.
Previous attempts to film The Master and Margarita failed or adapted only limited sections of the story.
This is the road I drive 2 or 3 times most days. You have to be an idiot to race through these tunnels as you come out and hit a fairly blind curve….or a line of traffic….or flip yourself over an embankment…
wow…I bet the guy that won the race feels like shit….let me sooth him though…it’s not your fault the other dude couldn’t drive and thought he could….don’t turn yourself in….it will only make things worse…
POLICE are imploring the driver of a car allegedly involved in a deadly race on Pali Highway yesterday to come forward.
The driver was racing with a Kailua man who was killed when his car plunged off the Pali Highway and landed 40 feet down a ravine, police said.
“We’re not interested at this time in pressing charges,” said Capt. Frank Fujii. Any information provided by the driver will help the family of the dead driver understand what happened, he said.
The Honolulu Medical Examiner’s Office identified the victim as Terrence Daniel Lee, 35. He was found under his white 2004 Nissan 350z about 20 feet below the highway, just outside the second tunnel in the Kailua-bound lanes.
According to traffic investigators, Lee was traveling at a high rate of speed at about 1:35 a.m.
When Lee came out of the tunnel, his car hit the right-side concrete jersey barrier, slid along the barrier and then went airborne about 200 feet before crashing into the mountainside and coming to rest in the ravine.
Honolulu Fire Department officials who rappelled into the ravine to retrieve the body said Lee was ejected from his car and ended up underneath his vehicle.
Police confirmed Lee was not wearing his seat belt and suffered a fractured skull and other internal injuries. Speed and alcohol also appear to be factors in the crash, according to investigators.
According to witnesses, Lee had been racing someone in a black or dark-colored car. “The driver of the other vehicle actually stopped for a little bit” before leaving, Fujii said. Police did not have any other information about the second car.
“According to the 911 caller, they were traveling at an extremely high rate of speed,” Fujii said.
Racing continues to be a problem on Oahu.
“To date, we have issued 186 citations for racing (this year),” Fujii said. Last year, Honolulu police issued 199 tickets for racing.
“People make conscious decisions to do what they do, and the results can be catastrophic,” he said.
Of the 77 traffic fatalities on Oahu so far this year, 23 were speed-related and 11 were alcohol-related, Fujii said. During the same period last year, there were 69 fatalities.
Tow-truck driver Sal Taito said he rappelled to hook up the car and used a heavy-duty truck to bring it up. Taito found the car upside down, perched on its roof.
“The whole car was smashed up,” he said, adding that the car must have been traveling at a high rate of speed to go over the guardrail and receive so much damage.
“When it came down, it did a lot of damage, too,” he said.
Traffic investigators closed the Kailua-bound lanes of the highway at Waokanaka Street for several hours as they investigated the crash. Windward-bound motorists were forced to use Likelike Highway, the H-3 freeway or go around Makapuu Point.
The investigation was completed before daybreak. However, the highway remained closed for more than 7 1/2 hours until 9:30 a.m., allowing tow-truck operators to retrieve the car from the ravine during daylight hours.
“We ask the public to remember that in cases like this there is a criminal act, and we want to conduct an investigation that is thorough,” Fujii said.
HPD now has a policy allowing single-vehicle fatalities to be investigated by patrol rather than the traffic investigators from the Vehicular Homicide Section.
I’ve always been one to really analyze my life and what I’ve done with it at this time of the year….I’ve spent many a new years eve looking at the past and future year and wondering what they will bring….this article is comforting…in a way…but I think I will stick to making my lists of what I want to do…maybe I’ll even share it here at fukn.us
cd Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right – New York Times
IT’S navel gazing time again, that stretch of the year when many of us turn our attention inward and think about how we can improve the way we live our lives. But as we embark on this annual ritual of introspection, we would do well to ask ourselves a simple question: Does it really do any good?
The poet Theodore Roethke had some insight into the matter: “Self-contemplation is a curse / That makes an old confusion worse.” As a psychologist who conducts research on self-knowledge and happiness, I think Roethke had a point, one that’s supported by a growing body of controlled psychological studies.
Not sure how you feel about a special person in your life? Analyzing the pluses and minuses of the relationship might not be the answer.
In a study I conducted with Dolores Kraft, a clinical psychologist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and Dana Dunn, a social psychologist at Moravian College in Pennsylvania, people in one group were asked to list the reasons their relationship with a romantic partner was going the way it was, and then rate how satisfied they were with the relationship. People in another group were asked to rate their satisfaction without any analysis; they just gave their gut reactions.
It might seem that the people who thought about the specifics would be best at figuring out how they really felt, and that their satisfaction ratings would thus do the best job of predicting the outcome of their relationships.
In fact, we found the reverse. It was the people in the “gut feeling” group whose ratings predicted whether they were still dating their partner several months later. As for the navel gazers, their satisfaction ratings did not predict the outcome of their relationships at all. Our conclusion? Too much analysis can confuse people about how they really feel. There are severe limits to what we can discover through self-reflection, and trying to explain the unexplainable does not lead to a sudden parting of the seas with our hidden thoughts and feelings revealed like flopping fish.
Here they are folks straight from David Pogue at the NY Times…the best 10 gadgets of the year…of course, if I can ever find the backing to embark upon the project I like to call Pahrump, you will see it in one of these year end lists someday…
Here they are, the 10 best gadget ideas of 2005:
THE FOLDING MEMORY CARD After taking a few digital photos, the next step, for most people, is getting them onto the computer. That usually involves a U.S.B. cable, which is one more thing to carry and avoid misplacing.
SanDisk’s better idea is to take the memory card out of the camera and stick it directly into your computer’s U.S.B. port.
That’s possible with the SanDisk Ultra II SD Plus card. It looks just like any other SD memory card, except that it folds on tiny hinges. When you fold it back on itself, you reveal a set of metal contacts that slide directly into the U.S.B. jack of your Mac or PC. The computer sees the card as an external drive, and you can download the photos as you always do – except that you’ve eliminated the need to carry around a cable.
THE VOICE MAIL VCR Voice mail is a delightful invention. But trying to remember which keys to press – for replay, skip, delete and so on – is not so delightful, especially if you have more than one voice mail system to learn. Thanks to Palm, then, for adding VCR-style buttons on the touch screen of its coming Treo 700W cellphone. You just tap Skip, Play, Delete, or whatever. The phone remembers which touch tones to play so you don’t have to.
THE FRONT-SIDE TV CONNECTOR The home-theater explosion is all well and good, but one less exciting aspect never appears in the photos: the rat’s nest of cables. Depending on how permanently your TV has been built into your cabinetry, getting behind it to plug or unplug something is either a royal pain or a full-blown construction project.
Hewlett-Packard’s latest microdisplay (rear projection) TV sets solve the problem sweetly and simply: everything plugs into the front. A broad tunnel lets you hand each cable to yourself from the back, an illuminated connection panel makes it easy to see what you’re doing at the front, and an attractive door hides the whole ingenious system.
THE BIGGER-THAN-TV MOVIE Most digital still cameras today can also capture video big enough to fill a standard TV screen (640 by 480 pixels) and smooth enough to simulate standard TV motion (30 frames a second). But Canon’s PowerShot S80 model goes one step further: it can capture videos at even higher resolution (1024 x 768 pixels).
Why on earth would you need a video picture of higher resolution than the TV itself? Three reasons. First, your videos will look better on high-definition sets. Second, the videos fill much more of your computer screen when played there. And finally, that’s so much resolution, you can isolate a single frame and grab it as a still photograph.
TV Ã LA CARTE It’s always seemed crazy that TV companies would spend $1 million an episode writing and producing a program that is shown only once. Yet the obvious solution – making past shows available for purchase on the Internet – gave TV executives nightmares of teenage download pirates run amok.
It took Apple to persuade them to dip a little toe into the Internet waters. ABC took the first plunge, offering iPod owners five shows’ worth of archives for a perfectly pitched price of $2 each – and no commercials. NBC came next with a broader menu of shows. The concept was a hit, the floodgates have opened, and the era of downloadable, reasonably priced, lightly copy-protected TV episodes is finally upon us.
THE OUTER-BUTTON FLIP PHONE First came the cellphone with a hinge (the flip phone). Then came the flip phone with an external screen, so you could see who was calling. Problem was, this arrangement deprived you of the option to dismiss the call or send it to voice mail. If you opened the flip phone to get to the Ignore button, you’d answer the call – unless you’d turned off the “opening phone answers the call” feature, in which case you lost one great convenience of having a flip phone to begin with.
The solution? Add buttons on the outside of the phone. When a call comes in to the LG VX8100, for example, its external screen identifies the caller – and the small buttons just below it are labeled Ignore (let it ring until voice mail picks up) or Dismiss (send it directly and immediately to voice mail). You get the best of all cellular worlds, without ever having to open the phone.
THE FREE DOMAIN NAME A domain name is what comes before the “.com” in a Web address – like NYTimes.com, verizonwireless.com or MarryMeBritney.com. Getting your own personal dot-com name has its privileges – for example, your e-mail address can be You@YourNameHere.com – but it costs money and requires some expertise.
It took Microsoft, of all companies, to make getting your own dot-com name free. Its new Office Live online software suite for small businesses, now in testing, will offer a domain name, Web site and e-mail accounts free. Yes, you’ll see ads on the screen (unless you pay for the adless version) – but plenty of people won’t mind viewing them in exchange for a free, professional-looking Web presence.
THE MODULAR DVD SCREEN If you tallied up the amount of money you’ve spent on L.C.D. screens, you’d probably go white-haired in horror. One on your laptop, one on your digital camera, plus screens on your Game Boy, camcorder, portable DVD player, car dashboard and so on.
Audiovox has taken a small step toward reducing that redundancy with its Shuttle DVD player. It’s a portable, battery-powered DVD player (available in three screen sizes) that hangs from the driver’s-side headrest, for the benefit of the young audience in the back seat of the car. But the beauty of the Shuttle is that you can also buy docking stations for it: a car-ceiling mount, for a more permanent and central position; an under-cabinet mount, complete with AM-FM radio, for the kitchen; a cable-ready tabletop stand, with stereo speakers, for the home; and so on. The player and screen move with you from place to place, so your investment isn’t sitting wasted every time you leave the minivan.
THE FAMILY-PORTRAIT BURST MODE If you’ve ever tried to take a family portrait, you know about Ansel’s Law: the odds of somebody’s eyes being closed increases geometrically with the number of people in the group.
That’s why Casio digital cameras, in self-timer mode, automatically shoot three consecutive snaps, a fraction of a second apart. You’ve just tripled your odds of getting one decent shot.
THE HYBRID HIGH-DEFINITION TAPE JVC and Sony developed the first camcorders capable of recording in spectacular wide-screen high definition. This would have been a perfect opportunity for them to introduce yet another type of videocassette – some expensive, proprietary new format that wouldn’t fit any other camcorder (and would generate millions in sales).
But they didn’t. Instead, these HDTV camcorders record on everyday $4 drugstore MiniDV tapes, the same kind used in regular camcorders. In fact, you can mix and match high-def and standard video on the same tape. It took a lot of engineering to cram so much more video data onto the same amount of tape, but for home-movie buffs, it was a surprising, generous, kind-hearted move.
And there you have it: 10 of the year’s best small, sweet improvements in our electronic lives. Come New Year’s Eve, raise one tiny toast to the anonymous engineers whose eccentricities or idealism brought these sparkling developments to life.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is severing ties with his hometown in Austria after politicians there had the gall (gasp!) to criticize him for allowing the execution of Tookie Williams to proceed. Arnold even asked them to take his name off the local stadium.
Can’t take a little criticism, Arnold? Or are you hoping that denial of your heritage puts you one step closer to higher US political aspirations??
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s name has been expunged from the websites of his Austrian hometown in the latest chapter of the row over the US death penalty.
The editing came a day after the California governor’s name was removed from Graz’s main football stadium.
Mr Schwarzenegger – one of Graz’s most famous sons – was berated by local politicians after he refused to grant clemency to a US death row inmate. The governor subsequently made clear he wanted nothing more to do with Graz.
He returned a “ring of honour” the city awarded him in 1999 and demanded his name no longer be used in promotional material.
“It’s all settled,” Thomas Rajakovics, a spokesman for Graz Mayor Siegfried Nagl, told Austrian media.
The official Graz site still carried a news account of the renaming of the stadium, which reverted to its original name of Liebenau Stadium after his name was removed late on Sunday.
The spat is over Mr Schwarzenegger’s refusal to use his powers [to] pardon the former Los Angeles gang leader Stanley “Tookie” Williams, who was executed for murder earlier this month.
US campaigners had long called for Williams’ life to be spared, arguing that he had left behind his violent past in jail to become an advocate of reconciliation.
Graz assembly members condemned Mr Schwarzenegger’s support for the death penalty, which is illegal in Austria.
The holidays have been somewhat hectic here at Fukn.us and I realize that I have been a post and run sort of editor for the most part as late…I will work on that. Of course over New Years weekend MH and I will be taking a short hiatus….just a warning for ya…
Yesterday we had a tremendous number of hits and if you clicked on the link you can find numerous comments regarding anarchists, buddhism, my books, my philosophy, etc…
The question I have is why haven’t you posted any comments here?
Anyway…enjoy the robots….
cd VW Touareg Stanley Tops List of the 50 Best Robots Ever
End of the year is always the time to publish rankings. Wired Magazine has an interesting one. They ranked the best 50 robots of all times.
Interesting is that they chose the winner of this years DARPA Grand Challenge. Stanley, the Stanford University autonomous Volkswagen Touareg is the best robot of all times. ( at least until next year).
The Wired Magazine top 50 robot list also contains Astroboy, Terminator or the Tin Woodman – Somehow they had to fill the list.
They forgot the sexiest robot though – the Repliee Q1 aka Actroid. I mean what the heck, she breathes. Prominently missing is also Honda’s Asimo. Even that Asimo can run now did not qualify him for Wired Magazine (at least they listed his predecessor, the Honda P2).
See also PC World’s Top 50 Gadgets of the past 50 years