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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Why Obama is ending the war in Iraq

Did President Obama want American military troops to remain in Iraq?

Why did President Barack Obama announce Friday that he has decided to end the American troop presence in Iraq by the end of the year?
The United States had been negotiating with Iraqi leaders for months on a possible continuing military presence in Iraq. But the negotiations stalled over a key hitch: Iraqi leaders refused to comply with Washington's insistence that any American forces serving in Iraq be granted legal immunity in that country.
"The end of war in Iraq reflects a larger transition," Obama said Friday, noting that the number of American troops deployed in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq has decreased from 180,000 when he took office to less than half that by the end of this year.  "The tide of war is receding."

On Jan. 1, the United States and Iraq will have a "normal relationship between sovereign nations, an equal partnership based on mutual interests and mutual respect," Obama said.

Over the summer, however, the United States was asking to keep 10,000 troops in Iraq next year. "This was well below the 20-30,000 troops that military experts believed optimum," Ken Pollack, a member of Bill Clinton's National Security Council who wrote an influential book advocating war with Iraq, wrote in an analysis distributed by the Brookings Institution. "Just a few weeks ago, the Administration then unilaterally decided to cut that number down to about 3,000. There was nothing that 3,000 troops were usefully going to do in Iraq. No mission they could adequately perform from among the long list of critical tasks they have been undertaking until the present. At most, they would be a symbolic force, that might give Tehran some pause before trying to push around the Iraqi government." Pollack continued:
However, even playing that role would have been hard for so small a force since they would have had tremendous difficulty defending themselves from the mostly-Shi'ah (these days), Iranian-backed terrorists who continue to attack American troops and bases wherever they can.
At that point, it had become almost unimaginable that any Iraqi political leader would champion the cause of a residual American military presence in the face of popular resentment and ferocious Iranian opposition.  What Iraqi would publicly demand that Iraq accommodate the highly unpopular American demands for immunity for U.S. troops when Washington was going to leave behind a force incapable of doing anything to preserve Iraq's fragile and increasingly strained peace?  Why take the heat for a fig leaf?
Of course, the truth was that the Iraqi government itself had already become deeply ambivalent, if not downright hostile to a residual American military presence.  Although it was useful to the prime minister to have some American troops there as a signal to Iran that it shouldn't act too overbearing lest Baghdad ask Washington to beef up its presence, he and his cohorts probably believe that they can secure the same advantages from American arms sales and training missions.  The flip side to that was that the American military presence had become increasingly burdensome to the government--challenging its interpretation of events, preventing it from acting as it saw fit, hindering their consolidation of power, insisting that Iraqi officials adhered to rule of law, and acting unilaterally against criminals and terrorists the government would have preferred to overlook.  All of this had become deeply inconvenient for the government.
Though there have been reports for weeks that American-Iraqi negotiations were stuck on that and other disagreements, Pentagon officials had always discounted those reports as premature, saying negotiations were still continuing.

And it's worth noting that, in the details of the arrangement Obama announced Friday, the United States will maintain an Office of Security Cooperation in Iraq, which will consist of hundreds, if not thousands of American defense personnel.

There were other signs of wiggle room in Obama's announcement. "As I told Prime Minister Maliki, we will continue discussions on how we might help Iraq train and equip its forces, again, just as we offer training and assistance to countries around the world," Obama said Friday. "After all, there will be some difficult days ahead for Iraq and the United States will continue to have an interest in an Iraq that is stable, secure and self-reliant."

Still, Obama's announcement Friday does not represent only a linguistic sleight of hand, for either country. Almost nine years after the American invasion to topple Saddam Hussein--and in the year since popular uprisings began to topple a succession of the Middle East's long-entrenched dictators and autocrats from Tunisia to Egypt to Libya, not primarily at the hands of the American military but by the power of those countries' own people--the United States and Iraq will finally be able to have a "fresh start" to their post-war relationship, as Obama put it Friday.

"The United States is fulfilling our agreement with an Iraqi government that wants to shape its own future," John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat who is the chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, said in a statement Friday. "We are creating a new partnership that shifts from a clear military focus to a new relationship that is more expansive, hinging on increased diplomatic, economic and cultural relations."

Quoted from YahooNews

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Published by Gusti Putra at: 11:50 PM

285 Indian girls shed 'unwanted' names

MUMBAI, India (AP) — More than 200 Indian girls whose names mean "unwanted" in Hindi chose new names Saturday for a fresh start in life.

Girls hold certificates stating their
new official names during a renaming ceremony
A central Indian district held a renaming ceremony it hopes will give the girls new dignity and help fight widespread gender discrimination that gives India a skewed gender ratio, with far more boys than girls.
The girls — wearing their best outfits with barrettes, braids and bows in their hair — lined up to receive certificates with their new names along with small flower bouquets from Satara district officials in Maharashtra state.

In shedding names like "Nakusa" or "Nakushi," which mean "unwanted" in Hindi, some girls chose to name themselves after Bollywood stars like "Aishwarya" or Hindu goddesses like "Savitri." Some just wanted traditional names with happier meanings, such as "Vaishali" or "prosperous, beautiful and good."

"Now in school, my classmates and friends will be calling me this new name, and that makes me very happy," said a 15-year-old girl who had been named Nakusa by a grandfather disappointed by her birth. She chose the new name "Ashmita," which means "very tough" or "rock hard" in Hindi.

The plight of girls in India came to a focus as this year's census showed the nation's sex ratio had dropped over the past decade from 927 girls for every 1,000 boys under the age of 6 to 914.

Maharashtra state's ratio is well below that, with just 883 girls for every 1,000 boys — down from 913 a decade ago. In the district of Satara, it is even lower at 881.

Such ratios are the result of abortions of female fetuses, or just sheer neglect leading to a higher death rate among girls. The problem is so serious in India that hospitals are legally banned from revealing the gender of an unborn fetus in order to prevent sex-selective abortions, though evidence suggests the information gets out.

Part of the reason Indians favor sons is the enormous expense of marrying off girls. Families often go into debt arranging marriages and paying for elaborate dowries. A boy, on the other hand, will one day bring home a bride and dowry. Hindu custom also dictates that only sons can light their parents' funeral pyres.
Over the years, and again now, there are efforts to fight the discrimination.

"Nakusa is a very negative name as far as female discrimination is concerned," said Satara district health officer Dr. Bhagwan Pawar, who came up with the idea for the renaming ceremony.

Other incentives, announced by federal or state governments every few years, include free meals and free education to encourage people to take care of their girls, and even cash bonuses for families with girls who graduate from high school.

Activists say the name "unwanted," which is widely given to girls across India, gives them the feeling they are worthless and a burden.

"When the child thinks about it, you know, 'My mom, my dad, and all my relatives and society call me unwanted,' she will feel very bad and depressed," said Sudha Kankaria of the organization Save the Girl Child. But giving these girls new names is only the beginning, she said.

"We have to take care of the girls, their education and even financial and social security, or again the cycle is going to repeat."

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Published by Gusti Putra at: 11:37 PM

Shark kills American diver off western Australia

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A great white shark killed an American recreational diver on Saturday in a third fatality in recent weeks off southwest Australia that has shaken beach-loving residents and sparked fears of a rogue predator targeting humans.

Australia averages fewer than two fatal shark attacks a year nationwide.
The state government has promised to hunt the killer and is considering more aircraft surveillance off west coast beaches as whales migrating in larger numbers attract more sharks.

The first sign that the 32-year-old American man, whose name and hometown have not been released, was in trouble as he dived alone was when a stream of bubbles erupted on the ocean surface beside his 25-foot (8-meter) dive boat, police said.

His two horrified companions on the boat saw his lifeless body surface and a 10-foot (3-meter) great white swim away, Western Australia Police Sgt. Gerry Cassidy said.

The American had a work visa and had been living in a Perth beachside suburb for several months.

The shark struck 500 yards (meters) north of the picturesque tourist haven of Rottnest Island, which is 11 miles (18 kilometers) west of a popular Perth city mainland beach where a 64-year-old Australian swimmer is believed to have been taken by a great white on Oct. 10.

Authorities cannot say whether the American was killed by the same shark that is believed to have taken Bryn Martin as he made his regular morning swim from Perth's Cottesloe Beach toward a buoy about 380 yards (350 meters) offshore.

But an analysis of Martin's torn swimming trunks recovered from the seabed near the buoy pointed to a great white shark being the culprit. No other trace of Martin has been found.
"It's a cloudy old day today which is the same as we had the other day with Cottesloe, and they're the conditions that sharks love," Cassidy said.

The tragedies follow the death on Sept. 4 of 21-year-old bodyboarder Kyle Burden, whose legs were bitten off by a shark described as 15 feet (4.5 meters) long at a beach south of Perth. Witnesses were unsure of the type of shark.

Perth, the capital of Western Australia state and one of Australia's largest cities, is renowned for its white sand beaches, but the best surfing locations are further south in the wine region of Margaret River.

While great whites trail the migration of whales between Antarctic and northwest Australian waters, the west coast has not been widely regarded as a shark danger zone for humans.

Premier Colin Barnett, the leader of the state government, took charge of the official response on Saturday, telling reporters that the shark will be hunted and killed if possible.

He said fisheries officers will spread bait in the area of the attack to try to catch the shark.

While great whites are protected under Australian law, Barnett said his government would consider increasing the numbers of other sharks that commercial fishermen can catch, following reports that shark numbers have increased.

He said his government was also looking at increasing aerial shark patrols over popular beaches.
"I think all West Australians need to take special care in going to the beach and swimming, particularly if they go diving," he said.

Barnett said he did not expect the fatalities would damage the state's tourism reputation or diminish people's enjoyment of the beaches.

Quoted from YahooNews
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Published by Gusti Putra at: 11:26 PM

The Hotest Used Cars on Sale for Pennies on the Dollar

Thirty years ago, the average 10-year-old car was falling to pieces. Not anymore. Today, you can find great 15-, 20-, or even 25-year-old cars that are reliable and affordable. Our guide to finding great pre-owned cars on the cheap led to these eight examples — and there are many more out there, so happy hunting.

1975 to 1989 

Price Range: $20,000 to $40,000
Why It's Cool: It's a midengine Ferrari for the price of a family sedan. Even if the Ferrari is slower in a straight line (which it is), how can you pass that up?

What It Says: "I can afford a Ferrari. Would you like to see my Ferrari? Look, Ma, I've got a Ferrari!"

Speed Bumps: Terrible ergonomics; interior known primarily for Playskool switchgear and dime-store quality. Cam-belt service can approach $8000. Low price of entry often results in neglect by cheapskate owners. 

Why You Want It Anyway ...: Three words: Magnum, Private Investigator. Also, it sounds like a Ferrari, aka a wicked wail.
Alternative: 1997 to 2004 Corvette C5: if you can get past the Rubbermaid interior.

1983 to 1991 

Price Range: $4000 to $12,000

Why It's Cool: It's a Porsche, albeit a front-engined one that shares components with period Audis. Nimble, durable, lots of storage space. Cheaper than the floor mats in a new 911.

What It Says: "I enjoy sausages, Kraftwerk and blowing exhaust smoke into the faces of air-cooled-Porsche purists." 

Speed Bumps: Timing-belt breakage means certain engine death. Sardine-can driveline packaging and obnoxious parts pricing means maintenance is expensive. Turbo models don't feel as fast as they cost. 

Why You Want It Anyway ...: Speedy enough to get you into trouble, reliable enough to help you get out of it. In the right hands, it will embarrass a 911. Perpetually proletarian.

Alternative: 1976 to 1989 Ferrari 400/412: the greatest V12 Cadillac Eldorado Detroit never built.

1990 to 1997 

Price Range: $1000 to $7000
Why It's Cool: Imagine a 1960s Lotus designed by the same people who brought you reliable modern electronics and the immersive video game. The playful promise of every British sports car ever made—actually fulfilled. 

What It Says: "Really, I'm comfortable with my sexuality. No, I don't want a wedgie. Please, can we stop with the wedgies?" 

Speed Bumps: The engine (115- or 131-hp I4) produces less power than the average household blender. Amateur road racers are snapping up all the good ones. Seat fabric is famously less than durable, and it's tough to source replacements. 

Why You Want It Anyway ...: Few cars this cheap handle this well. And if snickers from strangers make you feel insecure, you can always just tell them you're borrowing your wife's car. 
Alternative: 1982 to 1993 Alfa Romeo Spider: hopelessly anachronistic, but butch in a '70s funk kind of way.

1984 to 1991 

Price Range: $2000 to $15,000

Why It's Cool: Good at everything, from long trips and grocery runs to track days. Astonishingly durable. Gloriously anonymous speed partner.
What It Says: "Officer, this car is 20 years old. I don't even think it goes that fast." 

Speed Bumps: As with the Porsche, a broken timing belt can lunch the engine. Good performance plus low cost and durability means most examples now have over 200,000 miles. The cooling system is a weak point on early models. 

Why You Want It Anyway ...: You need a car that will do it all, but you don't want to pay for it. Also, there's a rare but stunning M3 version with a 192-hp four-cylinder.
Alternative: 1980 to 1987 Audi 4000CS Quattro: essentially Audi's legendary '80s Quattro coupe with four doors.

1992 to 1997 

Price Range: $2500 to $7000
Why It's Cool: Big, fast and gifted with GM's trick overhead-cam Northstar V8. Interior like an overstuffed couch. Front-wheel drive, so it's not hopeless in the white stuff. 

What It Says: "What's wrong with getting old? Is there an Old Country Buffet around here?" 

Speed Bumps: Cooling and oiling systems are weak points. The line "Hey, baby, wanna see my front-drive Cadillac?" is as appealing to the opposite sex as "My new dentures fit perfectly!" 

Why You Want It Anyway ...: The dash can be turned into an onboard scan tool. It lets you watch engine parameters in real time and check and clear codes. Lends an air of quirky, senior-citizen dignity to anyone. 
Alternative: 1990 to 2002 Lincoln Town Car: limousine, rental car, American icon.

1995 to 1997 

Price Range: $4500 to $10,000
Why It's Cool: Feels like wealthy love, yet does killer burnouts. Acres of wood and leather, and a buttery ride-and-handling balance. The last high-po Jag to use the brand's creamy (and supercharged) inline six. 

What It Says: "Luxury is worth paying for, even if you pay for it over and over again. Can I borrow five bucks?" 

Speed Bumps: Factory parts can make Ferrari bits look like bargains. Electrical problems are endemic. It will depreciate like mad, no matter how much money you dump into it. 

Why You Want It Anyway ...: Because it's a Jaguar. And — even if you're pushing it down the street — everyone feels better in a Jaguar
Alternative: 1992 to 1998 Mercedes-Benz S-Class: autobahn cruiser extraordinaire.

1986 to 1995 

Price Range: $1500 to $10,000

Why It's Cool: The first Benz to introduce the chiseled, taut body. Feels like it was carved from a solid metal slab. Somehow appeals to both the counterculture and the upper class at the same time. 

What It Says: "When the revolution comes, all of you mindless jerks are going to be the first against the wall."

Speed Bumps: Diesel models are slow enough to cause brain damage. Parts prices induce fainting. Oddly fashionable with hipsters, so supply is dwindling. 

Why You Want It Anyway ...: Minor components will outlive your children's children. Later diesel versions produce little smoke and sip fuel like a hybrid. Apocalypse transportation par excellence. 
Alternative: 1979 to 1992 Peugeot 505: Modern reliability plus French ride comfort equals wonderful.

1982 to 1993 

Price Range: $1500 to $6000
Why It's Cool: Stodgy, but charmingly so. Dana rear axle will hold up to a V8 transplant. Legendary safety; could fall off the Chrysler Building without denting a bumper. Eats road trips whole. 

What It Says: "I don't believe in aerodynamics, I just believe in me. And these Birkenstocks." 

Speed Bumps: Faster than the Mercedes, but not by much. Suspension rubber is notoriously short-lived. Available with an 82-hp, Volkswagen-built diesel six, which is neither powerful nor efficient. 

Why You Want It Anyway ...: You like driving into things and surviving. You like carrying things while driving into things and surviving. You have a spare Chevy 305 in your backyard and need a place to put it. 
Alternative: 1982 to 1988 BMW 535i: ubiquitous and boxy, like the Volvo, but fun to drive.

Quoted from YahooAutos

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Published by Gusti Putra at: 11:09 PM

How to Lose Weight Test Your Eating Healthy Knowledge

The Ultimate Weight Loss Quiz

Think you know the best way to lose weight? Test your healthy eating knowledge

Choose, and Lose

The road to weight loss is littered with hype. Take this quiz and discover the smart eating strategies that'll help you drop pounds fast

1 Eating six small meals instead of three regular ones...
2 "Reduced Fat!" on a food package also means...
3 White rice or brown?
4 Lifting weights will...
5 Low-carb diets work well mostly because you consume...
6 How much protein can your body digest before the rest goes to waste?
7 The glycemic index is...
8 True or false: Taking fish-oil supplements is a great way to lose weight
9 The newest magic weight-loss pill is...
10 Taking in most of your daily calories at night...
11 Score Yourselves

Quoted from MSN
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Published by Gusti Putra at: 10:08 PM

How Can You Increase Your IQ?

Stay in school (or just play some memory games).

A new study suggests that a person's intelligence quotient can change during his or her teenage years, and those fluctuations are related to physical changes in the structure of the brain. Scientists have been arguing for years over whether a person’s IQ is fixed. Is there a proven way to increase your IQ score?

Yes, but increasing actual intelligence is much more difficult. There’s a really easy way to improve your performance on IQ tests: Take lots of them. Researchers call this the “practice effect,” and it’s pretty foolproof. But there’s a catch. IQ tests are intended to measure something known in the field of psychometrics as g, or general intelligence. The link between IQ tests and the fabled g has been established through decades of longitudinal studies showing that those who do well on IQ tests get better grades, perform better on the SATs, and make more money. The problem with improving your IQ scores by taking the test over and over is that the practice effect breaks the correlation between IQ and g. Practicing only makes you better at the test; it doesn’t make you smarter.

The best known method to improve underlying intelligence is hard work. Teenage dropouts lose between 1.5 and 5 points of IQ for every year of school they miss. People who work in challenging jobs that require problem-solving skills see gradual increases in their IQ scores, while those whose jobs involve mindless repetition see their test scores erode over time. The elderly are at special risk for mental atrophy and declining IQ. It’s difficult to link these IQ differences to changes in g, for a variety of reasons. For example, high school dropouts have less success in life, but it’s not clear whether that’s because of declining general intelligence or because they don’t have a diploma. The problem of how to separate out achievement from aptitude bedevils psychometric research.

Is there a quicker way to get smart? Maybe. In 2008, researchers at the University of Michigan and the University of Bern conducted a study in which participants repeatedly played a memory game. Every three seconds, a computer screen displayed a visual pattern. Each time a new pattern appeared, the participant also heard a letter of the alphabet in her headphones. The task was to respond when either a visual pattern or a letter was repeated at some specified delay. As the participants got better at the game, they were asked to identify repeated letters and patterns that were further and further apart in the sequence. The researchers found that their subjects’ scores on IQ-style tests increased as their proficiency at the memory game improved.

It’s not clear why the memory game improves IQ scores, but the study’s authors speculated that it taught participants how to juggle multiple ideas in their heads simultaneously—a useful skill when trying to reason through an IQ exam question. There are still some open questions, though. It’s not yet known whether the skills learned in the memory game are useful in the real world, i.e., whether they increase your g. It’s also unclear whether the skills a person learns in the memory game stick with them. A follow-up study on children suggested that those who showed gains from the practice sessions maintained their skills, but children are somewhat better at picking up new skills than adults. It’s also important to remember that the memory game only improves one aspect of intelligence, albeit an apparently useful one.

Got a question about today’s news? Ask the Explainer.

Explainer thanks Stephen Ceci of Cornell University and author of On Intelligence … More or Less: A Biological Treatise on Intellectual Development, John D. E. Gabrieli of MIT, Robert Sternberg of Oklahoma State University, and Sherry Willis of the University of Washington.

Quoted from Slate

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Published by Gusti Putra at: 7:38 PM

Jakarta Game Show, The Mania Game party - Along with the development of technology and the increasing penetration of internet, the gaming industry in Indonesia is believed to be growing rapidly. In addition, business gaming , as part of the creative industries, is one of 14 industry sectors that will get positive support from the government.

One effort to support the development of the gaming business in Indonesia conducted by Dyandra Promosindo and magazines Hotgame who initially made ​​a big special event industry gaming , Jakarta Game Show (JGS). The event is expected to be a container that brings the various players in the industry gaming Indonesia , ranging from publishers , developers , sellers, and consumers. Jakarta Game Show will be held in conjunction with the exhibition Indocomtech at the Jakarta Convention Center, 2 to 6 November 2011.

This event will be followed by a variety of publisher and developer of games both locally and from abroad. Some publishers were preparing to launch its newest product, one of which is that Prodigy will release their latest gaming products at the exhibition JGS 2011. "Not only displaying the latest gaming products, JGS also presents a variety of activities to be missed by gamers in Indonesia," said Bambang Setiawan, GM Dyandra Promosindo IT Division.

From the release received , mention will be held various competitions will be held during the five-day implementation of JGS 2011. Competitions will take place in several areas of the game. As in the area of competition will take place Game Console by Sony PS3 such as World Soccer Winning Eleven 2012, The Kings of Fighters XIII, and Tekken Hybrid. Area Console Game demos will also be enlivened by the play of the Xbox Kinect and PS3.

Being in the area of Online Games competitions will take place which is supported by several publishers such as IAH Games that will hold the competition FIFA Online and the Battle of Dragonian, Game Wave will carry the competition Heroes of Three Kingdoms (HOTK) and 3 Kingdoms Online.

Prodigy then competition will bring the game online , Battle Of Immortals and Canaan, and do not miss the competition Freejack PAVEO Mini Tournament and Freejack Laptime Record. There are still areas that will bring the Games Arcade JGS Pump It Up Battle Club # 2nd. In addition, Jakarta Game Show 2011 will also be enlivened by Mobile Game Competition.

Adapted from
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Published by Gusti Putra at: 6:46 PM

The New Libya’s First Mistake

Muammar Qaddafi should not have been killed, and his surviving son should be captured.

Surrendering to a feeling of deep impotence and slight absurdity, I borrowed an iPad on Thursday afternoon and used it to send my first-ever message by this means. It was addressed to one of those distinguished Frenchmen who have been at the fore in pressing the outside world to remove Muammar Qaddafi from the obscene toadlike posture in which, for more than four decades, he has squatted on the lives of the Libyan people. Please, I wrote, intercede with your friends on the National Transitional Council, plus any other revolutionary tribunal however constituted, in order to stop the killing of the Qaddafi family and to ensure smooth passage to the dock at the Hague for those who have already been indicted for crimes against humanity.
Simple enough? It is some time since the International Criminal Court in the Hague has announced itself ready and open for business in the matter of Libya. But now Muammar Qaddafi is dead, as reportedly is one of his sons, Mutassim, and not a word has been heard about the legality or propriety of the business. No Libyan spokesman even alluded to the court in their announcements of the dictator’s ugly demise. The president of the United States spoke as if the option of an arraignment had never even come up. In this, he was seconded by his secretary of state, who was fresh from a visit to Libya but confined herself to various breezy remarks, one of them to the effect that it would aid the transition if Qaddafi was to be killed. British Prime Minister David Cameron, who did find time to mention the international victims of Qaddafi’s years of terror, likewise omitted to mention the option of a trial.

Among other things, this tacit agreement persuades me that no general instruction was ever issued to the forces closing in on Qaddafi in his hometown of Sirte. Nothing to the effect of: Kill him if you absolutely must, but try and put him under arrest and have him (and others named, whether family or otherwise) transferred to the Netherlands. At any rate, it seems certain that even if any such order was promulgated, it was not very forcefully.

At the close of an obscene regime, especially one that has shown it would rather destroy society and the state than surrender power, it is natural for people to hope for something like an exorcism. It is satisfying to see the cadaver of the monster and be sure that he can’t come back. It is also reassuring to know that there is no hateful figurehead on whom some kind of “werewolf” resistance could converge in order to prolong the misery and atrocity. But Qaddafi at the time of his death was wounded and out of action and at the head of a small group of terrified riff-raff. He was unable to offer any further resistance. And all the positive results that I cited above could have been achieved by the simple expedient of taking him first to a hospital, then to a jail, and thence to the airport. Indeed, a spell in the dock would probably hugely enhance the positive impact, since those poor lost souls who still put their trust in the man could scarcely have their illusions survive the exposure to even a few hours of the madman’s gibberings in court.

And so the new Libya begins, but it begins with a squalid lynching. News correspondents have been quite warm and vocal lately, about the general forbearance shown by the rebels to the persons and property of the Qaddafi loyalists. That makes it even more regrettable that the principle could not be honored in its main instance. At the time of writing, Seif-al-Islam Qaddafi, one of Muammar’s sons, is said to be still at large. It will be quite a disgrace if he is also killed out of hand, or if at the very least the NTC and the international community do not remind their fighters that he needs to be taken into lawful custody.

This is not to display any undue sympathy for Seif, or others on the wanted list. But he in particular is the repository of an enormous amount of potentially useful information, about the nature of the dead regime and perhaps even of the whereabouts of strategic material—to say nothing of vast illegal holdings of money that are the rightful property of the Libyan people. In more senses than one, it would be a crime to be party to this destruction of evidence. As for the usefulness of Qaddafi senior in the still-underdeveloped field of the study of megalomania, I should have said it was beyond price. And yet his numberless victims have to take such satisfaction as they can from seeing a blood-streaked and incoherent figure, handled roughly and in a panic and then put out of his misery by a shot that added exactly nothing to the security of the country.

I was in Romania on the day that Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu were hastily done away with, and I was in Mosul on the day before Uday and Qusay Hussein were surrounded and submitted to lethal shot and shell in a house from which there was no escape. In both cases, the relief felt by the general population was palpable. There can be no doubt that the proven elimination of the old symbols of torture and fear has an emancipating effect, at least in the short term. But I would say that this effect is subject to rapidly diminishing returns, which became evident in Iraq when Moqtada al-Sadr’s unpolished acolytes got the job of conducting the execution of Saddam Hussein. There are sectarian scars still remaining from that botched and sordid episode, and I shall be very surprised if similar resentments were not created among many Libyans on Thursday. Too late to repair that now. But it will be a shame if the killing of the Qaddafis continues and an insult if the summons to the Hague continues to be ignored.

Quoted from SLATE

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Published by Gusti Putra at: 10:57 AM

The Craziest Ways to own gold

9 crazy ways to own gold

The shiny metal's price has soared, but owning it on paper or storing it in bars isn't a lot of fun. From bathroom fixtures to a gold iPad, here are 9 unusual ways to buy gold.

Going for the gold
Gold has been a superstar of the investment world in the last few years. As the economy turned sour, investors rushed to the precious metal as a safe alternative to the rocky stock market.
Gold bugs piled on, the price of the metal soared and pretty soon everyone wanted a piece of the action.
The price briefly topped $1,800 an ounce, though it has pulled back recently.
The problem, though, is how exactly you should own gold. Gold stocks and funds like SPDR Gold Shares, GLD aren't all that much fun. Gold bars can be a hassle, too, since you have to pay to store and insure them.
Are there other ways to jump into the gold frenzy? Oh, yes. From a solid gold toilet to a pencil-sized pistol, there are dozens of "investments" made of gold that are a lot more intriguing than a boring pile of bricks.
Following are nine of the oddest ways to own gold:

Solid gold toilet
Gold is hugely popular in China (where does it rank in world gold production?), and busloads of tourists come to see this solid gold toilet in one of the country's major cities (where?).
Bling details. The 24-carat (is this considered pure gold?) lavatory was created to attract shoppers to a jeweler's "Hall of Gold," (see photo of its gold bathroom) which also features a golden palace and statues, Agence France-Presse reports.
Trivia: Did you know the U.S. government owns one of the world's most expensive toilets? Find out who bought it and the mind-boggling purchase price.

Gold pencil-pistol
A gold-plated pistol that looks like a pencil? Sounds like something James Bond (who will play the villain in the next Bond flick?) would carry in his pocket.
Bling details. The pencil-pistol was made in 1948 by the late Maharaja of Jodhpur (see pics of his royal palace, now a luxury hotel) as a present for the last Viceroy of India, Technabob reports. The pencil's tip comes off, revealing a 2 3/4-inch barrel. 
Trivia: Remember the most expensive pistol ever sold? Get the price.

A gold-plated bathtub
If a gold toilet isn't enough, how about a golden bathtub? Luxury company Inax is selling a bathtub covered in white gold (what is this, exactly?). 
Bling details. The bathtub, which debuted in Tokyo last year, is covered with 10-millimeter tiles of 24-carat white gold. Inax also makes a gold-plated toilet with a unique feature (what is it?).

The Kim Kardashian coin
The marriage that will not go away -- no matter how much you want it to -- has received its own commemorative coin.
Bling details. The company created a 24-karat gold coin to celebrate the over-the-top wedding (see her in one of three Vera Wang gowns) of reality-TV star Kim Kardashian and basketball star Kris Humphries. The best part? The coin has the following inscription: "Together forever . . . Only time will tell."
Trivia: By comparison, what was the price for the royal wedding coin for Prince William (now the Duke of Cambridge) and Kate Middleton (the Duchess)?

A gold sports car
China brings us yet another golden head-scratcher. A jewelry store in Nanjing displayed a gold-plated (what is this?) Infiniti sports car (see all Infiniti's non-gold-plated models) earlier this year.
Bling details. It took five people more than four months to plate the G37 coupe with gold, the Xinhua News Agency reported. While the crowds loved the sparkly vehicle, it was reportedly blocking traffic and was parked on the street with no license plates, so police had it towed.
What's it worth? There wasn't a price tag on the gold-plated Infiniti, but check out the cost of this gold-plated luxury vehicle.
Trivia: Check out the massive record price paid for a vintage Bugatti coupe.

A gold iPad
Leave it to British designer Stuart Hughes (known by this cheeky nickname) to come up with a solid gold iPad (what other products has he blinged out?).
Bling details. Hughes used 53 diamonds to create the Apple logo, and made the casing and screen frame from a single piece of 22-carat gold. Hughes made only 10 versions of this iPad.

A gold photocopier
Want to impress your co-workers? Haul in the gold-plated Canon copier from designer Yogi Proctor (see photo of the artist). Find out if it can make copies.
Bling details. It's about the size of a real copier and has parts made of aluminum, glass and plastic.

What's it worth? We don't know the designer's price, but we can say it is an inconvenient way to own gold.

A gold bra
Move over, Victoria's Secret (who will model $2.5 million bra?). In April, a Chinese jewelry store displayed two solid-gold bras that took five designers and four workers nearly six months to make, according to Jing Daily. 
Bling details. Engraved with phoenixes and dragons, each bra weighed about 2 pounds.
Trivia: The world's most expensive panty-and-bra set is a Victoria's Secret product encrusted with precious jewels and worth millions. How much? See photos of supermodel Gisele modeling the set.

A gold beer mug
Beer enthusiasts swear that the mug makes all the difference. So could a solid gold mug make Bud Light taste like nectar of the gods? You probably wouldn't be drinking Bud Light from this luxurious mug anyway.
Bling details: Japanese gold company Ginza Tanaka unveiled the 850-gram (how many pounds?) mug as part of its "summer cool" collection. Ginza Tanaka (read about its diamond handbag) also offers golden sake and wine glasses at $30 a gram, in case you want to avoid that golden beer belly.
Trivia: Need a pricey beer to fill that extravagant mug? The world's most expensive beer will set you back a lot more than Bud Light. How much?

Quoted from MSN Money

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Published by Gusti Putra at: 10:24 AM

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Worst foods to eat while driving

Having a meal behind the wheel is always a bad idea. But if you insist on taking the risk, at least avoid the most distracting and dangerous delights.

Food is a road hazard

Remember when your car was new and you wouldn't dare allow one kernel of popcorn or a drop of soda within 100 yards of its interior?

Experts say drivers should maintain that way of thinking regardless of how many miles are on their odometers.

SmartDrive Systems, a leader in fleet safety training and research, compiled data from more than 34 million risky-driving incidents. The study ranks food and beverages consumed while driving as a bigger distraction than talking on a cell phone.

"Eating while driving is dangerous and can be deadly," says Carnegie Mellon University professor Marcel Just, a leading neuroscientist and an expert on multitasking. "Concentrating on eating can be just as distracting as texting while driving. Drivers need to keep not only their hands on the wheel; they also have to keep their brains on the road."

Any food can get you into trouble, but experts say these take the cake as the most dangerous things to consume behind the wheel.

French fries
It's hard to dunk french fries in ketchup while keeping your eyes on the road. Then there's all the salt that will preoccupy your thoughts with guzzling a soda instead of staying focused on the light that's quickly changing from green to red. Add in the grease that will have you fumbling around your front seat for a napkin, and french fries are the fifth-most-dangerous food to eat while driving.

"This is a loaded gun of distraction because all those things overload your brain. You're thinking about thirst, getting the fry into the ketchup and not on your lap, and keeping the grease and salt off your wheel," driving instructor Schwartz says.

Who can think of driving with all that going on?


The salt in popcorn will have you looking for a drink or napkin instead of at oncoming traffic, the grease can make it tricky to hang on to the wheel, and a kernel or two can threaten your life.

This triple threat earns the movie snack favorite top honors and the distinction of most dangerous.

Dr. Paul Bryson, a specialist at Cleveland Clinic's Head and Neck Institute, says eating popcorn while driving poses a significant choking risk because it's tough to concentrate on properly chewing all the kernels while keeping your road wits about you.

"Incompletely chewed pieces of popcorn can cause choking or leave distracting particulates in the throat that can cause coughing or become a distraction to the driver while you try to remove the piece of popcorn from your mouth or throat," Bryson says.

Pizza's ability to injure and jeopardize safety propels it to the second-most-dangerous spot.

"It takes just a second of contact with hot, greasy cheese dripping down your face to cause a first- or second-degree burn on the face," says Dr. Debra Jaliman, an assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and a spokeswoman for the American Academy of Dermatology.

The most common place to be burned is a corner of your mouth, where your skin is more delicate and thinner than on the rest of your face.

Looking for a napkin or something cool to calm that burn means you might not be paying attention to the road.

"Even if you're not burned, a slice of pizza often requires two hands to eat, so you can't safely steer your car (while) stuffing your face with a slice," says Stephanie Schwartz, a driving instructor and the owner of Roadrunner Traffic School in Phoenix.

Pizza is also greasy, which makes hanging on to the wheel a challenge.

Philly cheese steak
Sure, they're gooey and good, but they're greasy and messy, too. And you need two hands to get more into your mouth than into your lap. They can also be hot, which means there's the chance you'll end lunch with a burn -- and an accident.

The mess, distraction and burn potential earn this lunchtime favorite the No. 3 spot.

"An alert driver needs 1.5 seconds to react to something that happens while they are driving. A distracted driver who is splitting attention between eating and driving needs three seconds -- twice that much time to react," driving instructor Schwartz says.

By the time you put down your sandwich and get even one hand firmly on the wheel, it could be too late.

"You will have hit the child who darted out in the road or the car who cut you off," she says

Drinks without straws

It's often hard to unscrew a bottle cap with one hand. It's even harder to do so without taking your eyes off the road to look at the bottle. And while a can takes both hands only to open, it can be much trickier to grip and pop while steering.

Sure, you can stuff the bottle or can between your legs to keep one hand on the wheel, but then you're going to have to look down longer to make sure you don't spill it, thus taking your eyes off the road. That makes this a dangerous behind-the-wheel beverage no matter how you look at it, Schwartz says.

And if you do get the beverage open, hopefully you don't have to stop fast in midchug, or you'll be wearing your drink and could choke if a sip goes "down the wrong pipe.”

Sub sandwiches
This two-handed food has a tendency to fall apart, littering your lap and front seat with lettuce, sauce, condiments and crumbs. Not only are these things tough to manage while trying to watch the road, depending on the size of the sub, it could get caught up in the steering wheel. And that could make it tougher to swerve out of the way if an unexpected object (like a child or dog) appears in the road.

Bob Surrusco, the general manager of the Safe America Foundation and the SAF Teen Driving Institute in Marietta, Ga., says anything that can easily fall apart like a sub is dangerous in the car.

"When something spills, the driver's first instinct is to quickly clean it up," he says. "That can take the driver's attention away from the road, which increases the odds of getting into a car accident."

Hot dogs
Biting into one end of a hot dog inevitably sends contents squirting out the other.

"Focusing on keeping ketchup off your tie or onions from falling in between your seat and the console is very distracting," says Ann Furber, the director of Knight Driving School in Berwick, Maine.

So is thinking about how you're going to maneuver both the dog and steering wheel -- and to grab a few fries in between bites.

The result: You're a mess, and you have a bashed-in bumper.

"Looking at where those condiments and crumbs tumbled to, even for a second, takes your eyes off the road," Furber says. And since hot dogs are rarely served plain (unless you're under age 5), their mess factor earns them the distinction of being seventh on the most-dangerous list.


Ever tried keeping cereal from sloshing out of the bowl while stopping quickly or making a left turn? It's not easy and requires a great deal of concentration.

And, Furber says, all that concentrating on keeping the bowl level and the spoon from not slipping doesn't leave time to think about the rules of the road.
"There are so many things to worry about, like not showing up to work with cereal dangling from your chin, milk stains on your shirt and spilled milk souring causing a horrible stink in your car, that there's hardly time to focus on rush hour traffic," she says.

Ice cream cones
Ice cream drips all over your hands, clothes, car seat and steering wheel.

So even though you can gobble a cone with one hand, you're going to be diverting a lot of attention away from traffic to make sure you don't miss a rogue dribble.

And don't think plopping a scoop in a cup is any better than juggling a cone. Even though a cup may eliminate the drip factor, "that requires two hands to eat," Schwartz says. "So you're trading a distraction for the unsafe move of steering with your knees, elbows or anything other than the safest way, with both hands."

Juicy fruits
Rounding out the list of dangerous road foods are ripe pears, oranges, strawberries -- just about any juicy fruit that creates a distracting dribble that could end up on your clothes. These fruits also leave your fingers tacky, so it's hard to grip the wheel comfortably.

Even bananas can be distracting, because you're worrying about how to break into one without rendering it too mushy to eat, or you're afraid that pieces will fall off and roll under your seat.

The mess and distraction are why fruit rounds out the list.

"If you're eating fruit, you have to focus on not choking on the seeds, where to store the rind, stem, peel or pit and not dropping a tiny bite or (a) grape," Furber says.

Quoted from MSN Money

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Published by Gusti Putra at: 2:36 PM