Travel West of the Pacific Ocean

Wired 14.07: Train to the Roof of the World

Train service from Beijing to Lhasa starts tomorrow, July 01, amid concern about the changes that will come with the greater influx of people.� According to UPI, tix for the first official trip sold out in 20 minutes.� Here David Wolman wheedles his way onto the train…

To score a ride sitting shotgun in a locomotive bound for Lhasa, it helps to like beer. I’ve just ditched my guide and wandered up to an unfinished train station at the edge of a dusty town high on the Tibetan plateau. Migrant workers, mostly Tibetans and Hui Muslims, wield sledgehammers, shovels, and drills, hurrying to finish work before midsummer. On July 1, China will celebrate the opening of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, the highest rail line in the world. Its 1,200 miles of tracks traverse 342 miles of permafrost, much of it at altitudes exceeding 13,000 feet. The end of the line is Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, the restive province China has been trying to subdue for half a century.
As I pace the gravel platform next to the tracks, the locals keep looking my way and I feel awkward and conspicuous. Veiling my nerves behind sunglasses, I keep in mind that, despite their stares, the people here are somewhat familiar with foreign visitors. Western companies involved in the project – Nortel, General Electric, Quebec-based transportation giant Bombardier – sometimes send reps out here to check on progress.
A locomotive emerges from a pass between two mocha-colored mountains. For nearly two weeks, I’ve ping-ponged across China to learn about this train, and now may be my only chance to climb aboard. I find a guy on the platform who speaks half-decent English and explain my interest in hitching to Lhasa. He says the train is still off-limits – the Golmud-Lhasa line isn’t open yet – but I figure it can’t hurt to ask.
Wired 14.07: Train to the Roof of the World

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Oddities people that get paid for endorsements

IOL: Hasselhoff in shaving accident

Something about this doesn’t sound right… the man hit his head on the chandelier and severed a tendon in his arm? Hmmm, did he perhaps punch the chandelier?? Or is he just the unluckiest man alive? And are they really blaming Philippe Starck?

Baywatch star David Hasselhoff was taken to hospital after a shaving accident in London.
The Hoff, 53, was shaving after using the gym at the capital’s Sanderson Hotel.
But he bumped his head on the chandelier in the Philippe Starck-designed men’s room.
The dark lighting had obscured his view and the former Knight Rider’s right arm was cut by shards of glass from the chandelier, severing a tendon.
A spokeswoman said the star was “out of hospital and ready to continue his work tomorrowâ€? filming an advert for a British internet company.

IOL: Hasselhoff in shaving accident

people that get paid for endorsements Politics West of the Pacific Ocean

Singing Japan PM tours Graceland

Wow. Koizumi and B*** ate fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches on Air Force One on the way to Graceland, where their tour was led by Priscilla and Lisa Marie. Tony Snow wore Elvis glasses. And, of course, Koizumi sang.
BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Singing Japan PM tours Graceland

critters Oddities Travel

Brazil's law-enforcing buffaloes

The idea of cops on buffalo is cute in and of itself, but this article gets into a fascinating amount of detail on politics and the history of the buffalo in Brazil…

Police have taken to an unusual form of locomotion in the Brazilian city of Belem.
Calm, dignified and, yes, friendly, they glance down indulgently on us visitors to the international fair in Belem.
Belem – whose name is the Portuguese form of Bethlehem – is the capital of the Brazilian state of Para and it lies near the mouth of the Amazon.
But, if anything, the police animals look even calmer, more dignified and friendlier than their riders, a real credit to the force. Altogether a fine body of men and beasts, you would say.

BBC NEWS | Programmes | From Our Own Correspondent | Brazil’s law-enforcing buffaloes
Woogo Group Ltd.


And if that's not enough for you

look at this website. I love putting stuff on my kitty….



Ultimate Cat Wresting

you will watch this if you know what’s good for you.

Technology Uncategorized

Data on stolen VA laptop supposedly not accessed

The data analyst who took the laptop home has basically been blamed for making a big mistake in doing so. Yet, according to this article, the analyst had permission since 2002 to take home his or her laptop, to use software at home which is designed to work with large databases, and to have access to social security numbers. OK, any one of those things by itself does not constitute permission to take home a huge file containing social security numbers, but taken together they pretty much do. It would be hard to argue that the analyst’s supervisors did not know what he or she was doing.

By HOPE YEN, Associated Press Writer
(06-29) 08:20 PDT WASHINGTON, (AP) –
The government has recovered the stolen laptop computer and hard drive containing sensitive data for up to 26.5 million veterans and military personnel, Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson said Thursday.
Nicholson said law enforcement officials were still investigating to determine whether data from the equipment, which included names, birth dates and Social Security numbers, had been duplicated or utilized in any way.
So far, he said there have been no reports of identity theft stemming from the May 3 burglary at a VA employee’s Maryland home.
“There is reason to be optimistic,” Nicholson told a House committee at the opening of a hearing on one of the worst breaches of information security. “There is not a certainty, but we have to remain hopeful they have not been compromised.”
Nicholson offered no immediate details on how the laptop was recovered. He acknowledged that the burglary “has brought to the light of day some real deficiencies in the manner we handled personal data.”

Government Says Stolen VA Laptop Recovered
Want to know how to access data without leaving a trace?
Security Adviser | InfoWorld

Oddities people that get paid for endorsements West of the Pacific Ocean

Graceland visit for Elvis' biggest fan

OK, I don’t think this is exactly hot-off-the-press, but I just heard about it and I am ROFL. Elvis and Koizumi share a birthday… January 8th.

Summits between US President George W Bush and Japan’s Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi always attract a great deal of attention.
But while their talks on Thursday in Washington will be duly noted and reported, it is day two of the visit that most people are waiting for.
Mr Bush and Mr Koizumi are going to Graceland.
In what is widely seen as a thank you gesture to an outgoing ally, the US president is escorting Mr Koizumi to Memphis, Tennessee, where the two men will become the first leaders still in office to tour the home of rock and roll legend Elvis Presley.
It is a gesture that will delight Mr Koizumi, known both at home and abroad as a huge Elvis fan. He has sung his songs to world leaders, sung duets with celebrities and even released a CD of his favourite classics.
“I love Elvis,” he told the 5,000 strong Elvis Presley Fan Club in Tokyo in 2001. “I never get tired of listening to his songs no matter how many times I hear them.”
Sold out
Mr Koizumi’s enthusiasm for Elvis dates from his childhood. He says the first English song he ever learned was “I Want You, I Love You, I Need You”.
It is something he shares with his younger brother, Masaya, now senior adviser to the Tokyo fan club. In 1987, the two brothers helped finance the construction of a statue of Elvis which now stands in central Tokyo’s Harajuku district.
And in 2001, just a few months after taking office, Mr Koizumi released a CD of personally selected Elvis classics.

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Graceland visit for Elvis’ biggest fan

kim jong il

Delusion can be sexy.

Don’t know what the hell this is about but I am sure it is world class kicking Kim Jong Ill’in style. He invented trees too MF’er so what of it. Check out the way the satanic URL is taking over the page. Scary man. Or just lame. B.E.

Technology Uncategorized

Dude, It's a Dell…and it's burning!


Dell investigating exploding laptop incident
The report of an exploding laptop at a conference in Osaka, Japan, accompanied by digital photos, was first published on technology industry news Web site The Inquirer last week.
Dell in December 2005 issued a battery recall for some of the batteries in its laptop due to overheating issues, according to the company’s Web site.