Subscribe

RSS Feed (xml)

Powered By

Skin Design:
Free Blogger Skins

Powered by Blogger

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Major flaw revealed in Internet Explorer. Affects all versions

The major press outlets are abuzz this morning with news of a major new security flaw that affects all versions of Internet Explorer from IE5 to the latest beta of IE8. The attack has serious and far-reaching ramifications -- and they're not just theoretical attacks. In fact, the flaw is already in wide use as a tool to steal online game passwords, with some 10,000 websites infected with the code needed to take advantage of the hole in IE.

Virtually all security experts (as well as myself) are counseling users to switch to any other web browser -- none of the others are affected, including Firefox, Chrome, and Opera -- at least for the time being, though Microsoft has stubbornly said it "cannot recommend people switch due to this one flaw." Microsoft adds that it is working on a fix but has offered no ETA on when that might happen. Meanwhile it offers some suggestions for a temporary patch, including setting your Internet security zone settings to "high" and offering some complicated workarounds. (Some reports state, however, that the fixes do not actually work.)


Expedient patching or switching are essential. Security pros fear that the attack will soon spread beyond the theft of gaming passwords and into more criminal arenas, as the malicious code can be placed on any website and can be adapted to steal any password stored or entered using the browser. It's now down to the issue of time: Will Microsoft repair the problem and distribute a patch quickly enough to head off the tsunami of fraud that's about to hit or will it come too late to do any good?


Meanwhile, I'll reiterate my recommendation: Switch from Internet Explorer as soon as you can. You can always switch back once the threat is eliminated.


CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Friday, December 12, 2008

FROM SANDWICH BOARD TO DREAM JOB


An out-of-work banker who became a symbol of the looming financial crisis by trudging Manhattan streets wearing a sign advertising "MIT grad for hire" has landed on his feet - scoring a well-paying job at an accounting firm.

In a more hopeful sign of the times, Joshua Persky got rid of his sandwich board and demonstrated that creative people can bail themselves out without any help from the government.


Jobless Rate Hits 26-Year High
"I liked his resume. He had great business sense, great experience and great references," Elliot Ogulnick, his new boss at the Manhattan firm Weiser LLP, said yesterday. As for his unique brand of self-promotion, Ogulnick said, "I must admit, it was very innovative." Persky was hired as a senior manager for Weiser as of last week, just about a year after he was laid off by the investment bank Houlihan Lokey and some six months after he started handing out his résumé to passers-by on Park Avenue.

The road from the streets to his new office on West 50th Street was longer and more winding than he expected - but he never gave up hope.
"It just took more time than I expected," he said yesterday. In his weeks as a walking classified ad, he got several job interviews. "The problem was, it was the time when Bear Stearns collapsed," he said. "I had a lot of interest, but then everybody stopped hiring."

So he tried a different tack. "The publicity I got from the sandwich board encouraged me to set up a blog to document my experience," said Persky, 49. A headhunter spotted the blog and brought it to Weiser's attention. "Obviously, I had vigorous interviews, but I think it was [the blog] which sealed the deal," Persky said. "It feels so great to be back at work. I went through some frustrating times, but every day I tried to be optimistic."

He posted the happy news on his blog and got cheers from around the world. Now the father of five - who declined to discuss his new salary - is looking forward to being reunited with his family.

His wife and youngest kids, 4 and 5, had moved to her parents' home in Nebraska to save cash. But they'll be returning to New York after the end of the school year. "We're looking forward to being back together," he said. "It's hard being a telephone dad.

"There is all this holiday spirit around me, all these holiday parties, and I've got such a lot to be grateful for myself. It's like I'm celebrating twice this year."

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Monday, December 1, 2008

Spectacular Sky Show: Venus, Jupiter and the Moon


As the sun goes down in the evening, step outside and look southwest to see a celestial phenomenon. We wont see this spectacle for another 44 years, because next they'll gather like this will be on November 18, 2052.

You’ll find the bright planets Venus and Jupiter near the place the sun went down, with a waxing crescent moon nearby. They’re low in the sky – but beautiful both November 30 and December 1. With the exception of the sun and moon, Venus is the brightest light in the heavens, and Jupiter is second-brightest.


The Venus/Jupiter conjunction happens when these objects have the same right ascension on the sky’s dome. It’s as if they cross the same line of longitude in the sky and – for a brief time – beam north and south of one another on the sky’s dome. A conjunction of the two brightest planets won’t happen again until March of 2012. During this particular Venus and Jupiter conjunction, these two brilliant worlds appear 2 degrees apart. That’s about the width of your finger at an arm length away.


It’s possible – but extremely rare – to see two planets appear to merge into a single point of light. The last time two planets met up at the same spot on the sky’s dome was in the year 1818, when Venus passed in front of Jupiter. Tonight and tomorrow night, look for Venus, Jupiter, and the crescent moon in the west after sunset.


Conjunctions of two planets are fairly common. The planets often meet and appear close together the sky’s dome. But an occultation – or covering over – of one planet by another is very rare. Two planets won’t meet again on the sky’s dome for another 247 years – or until Venus occults Jupiter in the year 2065.


The Venus/Jupiter conjunction in right ascension takes place on November 30, 2008 at 7 p.m. Central Time (1:00 Universal Time on December 1).


CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Six Techniques for Remembering Dreams

By: Dayna Davis

Even though I remember a lot of my dreams, I tend to get hung up on the ones I don’t remember. I’ll sit up in my bed, trying my best to remember what I dreamt before it fades away. Sometimes I’m able to recall parts of the dream, but as much as I try, I just can’t remember all of it.

We dream about every hour and a half and the longest dreams last from thirty to forty-five minutes. One would think that so many dreams unfolding each time we sleep would leave a more lasting impression. So why don’t they? They can—if you’re willing to do a little work. If you want to tap into your subconscious and start recalling your dreams, these tips will help get you started.

1. Keep a Dream Journal
Writing our dreams down as soon as we wake is one of the best ways to remember them; it also helps us decipher them since we’re able to reference them at any time. Craig Hamilton-Parker suggests an experiment for remembering our dreams in his book, The Hidden Meaning of Dreams. Hamilton-Parker recommends investing in a long-lasting, hardcover blank book and resolving to enter at least one dream in it every night for an entire month. Once you’ve got your journal, he suggests drawing a line down the middle of the page; on the left side of the line, write your dream. On the right side, give your interpretation of it.

When writing down your dreams, don’t worry about grammar, punctuation, or the sequence of events. Concentrate on getting it all on paper as fast as you can before it fades away.

When the month is up, look back through your dreams. You’ll be amazed at what you remembered and you’ll have a lot more insight into what’s influencing your dreams.

2. Give Your Dreams a Title
If you wake up and don’t have time to journal, create a title for your dream and write that down instead. You should title dreams in your dream journal anyway, but this can be an effective way of remembering aspects of your dream without journaling right away.
Use the title of your dream as often as you can throughout the day, whether you’re telling others about it or just trying to remember more details. When you have time to go back, expand on the title as much as you can. This could give you more clues into what you dreamed.

3. Use Pictures Instead of Words
If the idea of journaling all your dreams is intimidating, try drawing them. If you’re better at images than words, this might be the best technique for you. Buy a sketchbook and keep it by your bed with a pencil nearby. When you wake up, draw images you saw in your dreams. They don’t have to be masterpieces of art, just stick figures or colors you remember.

Once you get all the images down, go back and try to connect them to reconstruct your dream. If you have time later on, look up the images in a dream journal to see what they might mean.

4. Create a Map
Have you ever seen one of those mind maps with all the bubbles connected to one another and words inside each bubble? That’s what this technique is all about. If you dream about running down a windy canyon road, but the only thing you really remember is the canyon, write the word “canyon” in a bubble, then start branching off and drawing other bubbles off of that. One of the bubbles can have the word “road” and one “running.” The more you remember about each part of the dream, the more bubbles you can add. Once you get it all mapped out, you may be surprised at how much you actually remember. By zeroing in on key words and not worrying about the sequence or plot, you may be able to fill in the gaps of your fuzzy dream.

5. Wake Yourself Up
In 1955, Eugene Aserinsky and Nathan Kleitman published a paper about rapid eye movements, or the REM phase of sleep. They found that REM sleep takes up about 20 percent of our nightly sleep and that dreams in this phase of sleep are some of the easiest ones to remember.

Try waking yourself up at different times of the night to remember more dreams. Set an alarm for early in the morning and when it goes off, challenge yourself to remember what you were dreaming.

Or, drink a glass of water before you go to bed. When you wake up to use the bathroom, see if you remember what you were dreaming. Once you get a feel for what time is the best for dream catching, you can make it a regular thing.

6. Get Yourself in the Right Mind Set
Before going to bed, say aloud, “I will remember my dreams tonight.” When you wake up, lay still in bed for a couple of minutes, eyes closed, and try to remember. Once you start remembering, sit still a little longer and try to reach for more. To get yourself motivated to remember dreams, it may also be helpful to read a dream book before going to bed.
We all dream every night; we just don’t always remember them. If we make a conscious decision to remember our dreams and try a few new techniques, we’re bound to get a little closer to our own dream worlds.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Japanese man makes airport home. The Terminal 2?

MEXICO CITY – Hiroshi Nohara is on a layover at the Mexico City airport. It has lasted almost three months, and he has no plans to leave.

For reasons he can't explain, the Japanese man has been in Terminal 1 of the Benito Juarez International Airport since Sept. 2, surviving off donations from fast-food restaurants and passengers and sleeping in a chair.

At first, he frightened passengers, and airport authorities asked the Japanese Embassy to investigate why the foul-smelling man refused to leave. Now, he's somewhat of a celebrity, capturing Mexico's collective imagination with nearly daily television news reports on his life at the food court.

Tourists stop to pose with him for photographs or get an autograph.

The Tokyo native flew into Mexico with a tourist visa and a return ticket home, but he never left the airport. In an interview Thursday alongside the airport McDonald's, he said he had no motive for his extended stay and doesn't know how much longer he'll remain.

"I don't understand why I'm here," he said through a visiting interpreter originally hired by a television station. "I don't have a reason."

The embassy can't force him to leave, and since Nohara's visa is valid all Mexican officials can do it wait for it to expire in early March.

During his stay, Nohara's wiry goatee has grown into a scraggly mass. His red-tinted hair is speckled with dust and dandruff, and his cream-colored jacket and fleece blanket are dingy with overuse. He smells like he hasn't had a shower in months.

"He's a calm person, a nice man," said Silvia Navarrete del Toro, an airport janitor. "He just sits here and eats all day."

Various stalls in the food court give Nohara free snacks and drinks, sometimes even throwing in hats or coffee mugs with store logos to get free publicity during his frequent television appearances.

Strangers often buy him pastries or hamburgers; he prefers the latter.

He sits with the interpreter, talking and laughing for hours, at a small table covered with cups of cold coffee, packets of ketchup and sandwiches wrapped in foil.

Stroking his facial hair, Nohara said the 2004 film "The Terminal," starring Tom Hanks as an Eastern European man stuck in a New York City airport, was not his inspiration. But he acknowledged the similarities.

"My life," he joked, "is 'The Terminal 2.'"

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Friday, November 21, 2008

e=mc2: 103 years later, Einstein's proven right

PARIS (AFP) – It's taken more than a century, but Einstein's celebrated formula e=mc2 has finally been corroborated, thanks to a heroic computational effort by French, German and Hungarian physicists.

A brainpower consortium led by Laurent Lellouch of France's Centre for Theoretical Physics, using some of the world's mightiest supercomputers, have set down the calculations for estimating the mass of protons and neutrons, the particles at the nucleus of atoms.


According to the conventional model of particle physics, protons and neutrons comprise smaller particles known as quarks, which in turn are bound by gluons.


The odd thing is this: the mass of gluons is zero and the mass of quarks is only five percent. Where, therefore, is the missing 95 percent?


The answer, according to the study published in the US journal Science on Thursday, comes from the energy from the movements and interactions of quarks and gluons.


In other words, energy and mass are equivalent, as Einstein proposed in his Special Theory of Relativity in 1905.


The e=mc2 formula shows that mass can be converted into energy, and energy can be converted into mass.


By showing how much energy would be released if a certain amount of mass were to be converted into energy, the equation has been used many times, most famously as the inspirational basis for building atomic weapons.


But resolving e=mc2 at the scale of sub-atomic particles -- in equations called quantum chromodynamics -- has been fiendishly difficult.


"Until now, this has been a hypothesis," France's National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) said proudly in a press release.


"It has now been corroborated for the first time."


For those keen to know more: the computations involve "envisioning space and time as part of a four-dimensional crystal lattice, with discrete points spaced along columns and rows."


CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Michael Jackson sued by Arab sheikh in UK court

LONDON (AP) — The son of an Arab monarch took the King of Pop to court Monday, charging that Michael Jackson took $7 million as an advance on an album and an autobiography that he never produced.

Lawyers for Sheikh Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa say their client paid Jackson expenses as an advance on the book and joint recording project with the sheikh, who is an amateur songwriter. Jackson claims the money was a gift.


Al Khalifa, 33, was due to testify at London's Royal Courts of Justice Wednesday. Jackson's lawyer Robert Englehart said he was seeking permission to have Jackson testify by video link from Los Angeles.


A lawyer for Al Khalifa said the royal first spoke to Jackson, 50, by telephone while the singer was on trial in California following his 2003 arrest on child molestation charges. Attorney Bankim Thanki said that Al Khalifa wanted to work with Jackson on rebuilding his career. Jackson's finances fell apart after his arrest and he was desperately short of cash.


Al Khalifa's first payment, for $35,000, went toward paying the utility bills at Neverland, Jackson's 2,500-acre (1,000 hectare) ranch and miniature amusement park in California, Thanki said. When Jackson was found innocent of the molestation charges in June 2005, Al Khalifa footed $2.2 million in legal bills, the lawyer said.


Al Khalifa said he believed the money would be repaid once Jackson's career recovered from the damaging trial.


"I saw the payment as an investment in Michael's potential," the sheikh in a statement he read out in court. "He said he would pay me back ... through our work together."


Al Khalifa moved Jackson and his entourage to Bahrain almost immediately after the trial, setting up a recording studio for him in Manama, the Gulf state's capital. The sheikh, who is the governor of the Bahrain's Southern Province, supplied Jackson with $500,000 in cash to subsidize his lifestyle and splashed out on a $350,000 European vacation for Jackson and his associates in February of 2006, Thanki said.


"The costs even included the expenses of bringing out Mr. Jackson's hairdresser," he said.


The lawyer said Jackson and the sheikh became close friends and at one time both lived in a palace in Abu Dhabi owned by Al Khalifa's father, Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Bahrain's king. The singer stayed nearly a year in Bahrain as a guest of the son, but the relationship soured when Jackson repudiated a business deal Thanki said they had agreed to.


Jackson's lawyers say the pair never entered a valid agreement and that Al Khalifa's money was given freely.


Thanki acknowledged that Al Khalifa gave some gifts to Jackson but said that most of what the singer received was part of a business deal.


The gifts, he said, "were essentially personal effects — watches, jewelry."


Thanki said the sheik was wealthy but that paying Jackson's bills had taken a big bite out of his finances.


"Some of the payments were staggering by any standards," Thanki said, saying the expenditure "should not be regarded as loose change for my client."


As for Jackson, he still appears to be in difficult financial straits.


Last week he was forced to give up the deed on Neverland, which is named for the mythical land of Peter Pan.


The trial is being held in London because the parties had agreed to take any disputes over their deal to an English court, Al Khalifa's representatives said. The trial is due to wrap up by the end of the month.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Mystery solved: How bleach kills germs

Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology Associate Professor Ursula Jakob (L) and Jeannette Winter, Ph.D. in an undated photo courtesy of the University of Michigan. Bleach has been killing germs for more than 200 years but U.S. scientists have just figured out how the cleaner does its dirty work.

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Bleach has been killing germs for more than 200 years but U.S. scientists have just figured out how the cleaner does its dirty work.


It seems that hypochlorous acid, the active ingredient in bleach, attacks proteins in bacteria, causing them to clump up much like an egg that has been boiled, a team at the University of Michigan reported in the journal Cell on Thursday.


The discovery, which may better explain how humans fight off infections, came quite by accident.


"As so often happens in science, we did not set out to address this question," Ursula Jakob, who led the team, said in a statement.


The researchers had been studying a bacterial protein called heat shock protein 33, which is a kind of molecular chaperon that becomes active when cells are in distress, for example from the high temperature of a fever.


In this case, the source of the distress was hypochlorous acid or hypochlorite.


Jakob's team figured out that bleach and high temperatures have very similar effects on proteins.


When they exposed the bacteria to bleach, the heat shock protein became active in an attempt to protect other proteins in the bacteria from losing their chemical structure, forming clumps that would eventually die off.


"Many of the proteins that hypochlorite attacks are essential for bacterial growth, so inactivating those proteins likely kills the bacteria," Marianne Ilbert, a postdoctoral fellow in Jakob's lab, said in a statement.


The researchers said the human immune system produces hypochlorous acid in response to infection but the substance does not kill only the bacterial invaders. It kills human cells too, which may explain how tissue is destroyed in chronic inflammation.


"Hypochlorous acid is an important part of host defense," Jakob said. "It's not just something we use on our countertops."

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lindsay Lohan Admits Her Relationship With Samantha Ronson


LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Lindsay Lohan is finally speaking at length about her relationship with celebrity DJ Samantha Ronson.

Though she first confirmed she and Samantha are a couple during a phone-in to syndicated radio show "Loveline" in late September, in a new cover story for the December issue of Harper's Bazaar, Lindsay tackled the question again, revealing more about her feelings for the DJ.

"I think it's pretty obvious who I'm seeing," Lindsay told the magazine, which hits newsstands November 18. "I think it's no shock to anyone that it's been going on for quite some time... She's a wonderful person and I love her very much."

Lindsay, who recently wrapped up an abbreviated four-episode arc on "Ugly Betty," told the magazine that her family, with the exception of her father Michael Lohan (who publicly criticized Samantha), has been supportive of her relationship.

"It's never really come up as an issue," the actress said. "We're close; we've been through a lot. They're supportive of me whether I'm with a guy or a girl. They're just supportive of me as a person."

And sister Ali Lohan, who originally denied to the press that Lindsay was in a homosexual relationship when rumors about the couple first surfaced, has also offered Lindsay her blessing.

"Ali's known Samantha for a really long time. And she's like, 'Whatever it is, I support you. I probably won't ever do what it is you're doing, but I'm happy for you,'" Lindsay said. "Ali's very mature. I've told her that it's okay to like a boy or a girl if you're comfortable with it and it's something you believe you want to do. And I told her not to be afraid of who she wants to be."

While Samantha is the first woman Lindsay has admitted to dating publicly, when asked if she had previously "been with a girl" by Harper's, the actress replied, "I don't know, maybe."

Lindsay said she does not consider herself a lesbian, but as for whether she thinks of herself as bisexual, she told the magazine, "maybe."

"I don't want to classify myself," she continued. "First of all, you never know what's going to happen -- tomorrow, in a month, a year from now, five years from now. I appreciate people, and it doesn't matter who they are, and I feel blessed to be able to feel comfortable enough with myself that I can say that."

The star of the upcoming film "Labor Pains" also said she plans to get married some day, though she doesn't know whether it would be to a man or a woman. Lindsay also said she isn't ready to talk children.

"I don't know if I could really set a time because then it's like pressure to do it and failure if I don't," she said. "It shouldn't be about that. It should be about knowing that you're ready."

And, Linsday added, "I still need to be in charge of taking care of myself and getting my sh** in line and buying a house."

In fact, the 22-year-old admitted that prior to her 2007 rehab stints, she used up a lot of money while living at the Chateau Marmont hotel - money that could have gone to permanent digs,

"I was living here [at the Chateau] for almost two years. Who blows that much money on a hotel?" she said. "I could have bought a house!"

Now however, with rehab behind her and her relationship with Samantha making her happy, Lindsay suggested she is on the right track.

"Now I feel clear. That's my past, and I'm a different person now. I have goals and I'm working to achieve them. I'm not hanging out with people who are out every night getting f***ed up," she said. "And... I think that I'm happy."

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama is the New US President

Obama elected president

Obama wins California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington, giving him 324 electoral votes to McCain's 124 (AP). He will be the 44th president of the United States. After a tight battle against Republican Sen. John McCain, Obama has become the first African American president in the history of the United States.


Obama is set to address his supporters from Chicago's Grant Park.


Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware will be accompanying Obama to the White House as his vice president. Biden made his first unsuccessful bid for president in 1988, and again this year before dropping out. A six-term senator, Biden is the chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee. One of his adult sons from his first marriage is currently serving in Iraq.


On June 4, Obama won the Democratic presidential nomination, beating Sen. Hillary Clinton in a tight primary race. The 47-year-old Democratic senator from Illinois stepped into the national spotlight in 2004, delivering the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.

By now, Obama's personal history is well-known: He was born in Hawaii, the son of a white mother and Kenyan father. Obama's father returned to Kenya when Obama was two years old, leaving him to be raised by his mother and her family, including his beloved grandmother, "Toot," who died one day before her grandson was elected one of the most powerful leaders in the world.


After graduating from Columbia University, he went to Harvard Law School, becoming the first African American president of the prestigious Harvard Law Review. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004, where he sits on several committees, including Foreign Relations, Homeland Security and Veterans' Affairs.


Obama and his wife, Michelle, have two young daughters, Malia and Sasha

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Solar system like ours found



WASHINGTON — For the first time, astronomers think that they've found evidence of an alien solar system around a star close enough to Earth to be visible to the naked eye.

They say that at least one and probably three or more planets are orbiting the star Epsilon Eridani, 10.5 light-years — about 63 trillion miles — from Earth. Only eight stars are closer.

The host star, slightly smaller and cooler than our sun, is in the constellation Eridanus — the name of a mythological river — near Orion in the northern sky.

Epsilon Eridani is much younger than the sun, about 850 million years old compared with 4.5 billion years for our system.

"This really is a system like our solar system was when it was five times younger than it is now," said one of the discoverers, Massimo Marengo , an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass. "It's like a time machine for our solar system."

"This system probably looks a lot like ours did when life first took root on Earth," said Dana Backman , of the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif. , the lead author of a report to be published Jan. 10 in The Astrophysical Journal .

SETI chose Epsilon Eridani as one of the first targets in its long — but so far vain — search for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence in 1960. The suspected planets are too far away to be detected directly, so their presence has to be inferred by indirect measurements. Their star is so near, however, that some astronomers think that they may be able to see its planets with better telescopes within the next decade.

One of the planets, a gas giant 1 { times heavier than Jupiter, was discovered in 2000 by Barbara McArthur , an astronomer at the University of Texas in Austin . She measured the slight wobble in the star's position as the planet swung around it. Further observations by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2006 confirmed its existence, McArthur said at the time.

Now Backman's team has deduced the presence of at least two more planets, after space- and ground-based telescopes separately revealed two belts of rocky asteroids and an outer icy ring circling Epsilon Eridani.

The inner asteroid belt is about 280 million miles from its host star, the same distance as our own ring of asteroids orbiting between Mars and Jupiter. The second belt is about the same distance as Uranus is in our system.

Finally, a wide, third ring of icy objects extends billions of miles beyond Epsilon Eridani, resembling the so-called Kuiper Belt of mini-planets outside Pluto.

In 2002, Alice Quillen , an astronomer at the University of Rochester in New York state , reported that unusual clumps of material in the outer ring probably indicated the presence of a Saturn -size planet in a Pluto-like orbit. Her finding hasn't been confirmed, but "I still think there is a planet out there of this size," Quillen said in an e-mail.

According to Marengo, the gaps between these belts were created when clouds of dust and rocks consolidated into planets, as happened in the early days of our solar system. He likened the process to the formation of Saturn's famous rings, which are separated by spaces cleared out by little moons.

"The easiest way to explain the gaps is to say there are planets there," Marengo said. "It's the same way as the rings of Saturn are kept stable by the moons of Saturn ."

"I think these rings are probably telling us about how systems clear out after planets have formed," Quillen said. "It's pretty exciting to catch such a nearby system in this critical stage."

Marengo raised the possibility that more Earthlike planets might exist in the space between Epsilon Eridani and the inner dust ring.

"The inside belt is cleared, like in our solar system," he said. "There could be terrestrial planets inside, but we can't detect them yet."

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Arrested for virtual murder

TOKYO: A 43-year-old Japanese woman whose sudden divorce in a virtual game world made her so angry that she killed her online husband's digital persona has been arrested on suspicion of hacking, police said Thursday.

The woman, who is jailed on suspicion of illegally accessing a computer and manipulating electronic data, used his identification and password to log onto popular interactive game "Maple Story" to carry out the virtual murder in mid-May, a police official in northern Sapporo said on condition of anonymity, citing department policy. "I was suddenly divorced, without a word of warning. That made me so angry," the official quoted her as telling investigators and admitting the allegations. The woman had not plotted any revenge in the real world, the official said. She has not yet been formally charged, but if convicted could face a prison term of up to five years or a fine up to $5,000.

Players in "Maple Story" raise and manipulate digital images called "avatars" that represent themselves, while engaging in relationships, social activities and fighting against monsters and other obstacles.

The woman used login information she got from the 33-year-old office worker when their characters were happily married, and killed the character. The man complained to police when he discovered that his beloved online avatar was dead.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

X-rays detected from Scotch tape

NEW YORK – Just two weeks after a Nobel Prize highlighted theoretical work on subatomic particles, physicists are announcing a startling discovery about a much more familiar form of matter: Scotch tape. It turns out that if you peel the popular adhesive tape off its roll in a vacuum chamber, it emits X-rays. The researchers even made an X-ray image of one of their fingers.

Who knew? Actually, more than 50 years ago, some Russian scientists reported evidence of X-rays from peeling sticky tape off glass. But the new work demonstrates that you can get a lot of X-rays, a study co-author says.


"We were very surprised," said Juan Escobar. "The power you could get from just peeling tape was enormous."


Escobar, a graduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles, reports the work with UCLA colleagues in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature.


He suggests that with some refinements, the process might be harnessed for making inexpensive X-ray machines for paramedics or for places where electricity is expensive or hard to get. After all, you could peel tape or do something similar in such machines with just human power, like cranking.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Very Short yet powerful Movie

This 3-minute animation is short but conveys a powerful message! It's about a dream of a flightless bird (Kiwi) to fly and his determination to achieve his dream---no matter what happens.

The 3-minute movie:

Some dreams are worth DYING for... :(

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ten Reasons Why you're not Rich

Many people assume they aren't rich because they don't earn enough money. If I only earned a little more, I could save and invest better, they say.

The problem with that theory is they were probably making exactly the same argument before their last several raises. Becoming a millionaire has less to do with how much you make, it's how you treat money in your daily life.

The list of reasons you may not be rich doesn't end at 10. Caring what your neighbors think, not being patient, having bad habits, not having goals, not being prepared, trying to make a quick buck, relying on others to handle your money, investing in things you don't understand, being financially afraid and ignoring your finances.

Here are 10 more possible reasons you aren't rich:

You care what your car looks like: A car is a means of transportation to get from one place to another, but many people don't view it that way. Instead, they consider it a reflection of themselves and spend money every two years or so to impress others instead of driving the car for its entire useful life and investing the money saved.

You feel entitlement: If you believe you deserve to live a certain lifestyle, have certain things and spend a certain amount before you have earned to live that way, you will have to borrow money. That large chunk of debt will keep you from building wealth.

You lack diversification: There is a reason one of the oldest pieces of financial advice is to not keep all your eggs in a single basket. Having a diversified investment portfolio makes it much less likely that wealth will suddenly disappear.


You started too late: The magic of compound interest works best over long periods of time. If you find you're always saying there will be time to save and invest in a couple more years, you'll wake up one day to find retirement is just around the corner and there is still nothing in your retirement account.


You don't do what you enjoy: While your job doesn't necessarily need to be your dream job, you need to enjoy it. If you choose a job you don't like just for the money, you'll likely spend all that extra cash trying to relieve the stress of doing work you hate.


You don't like to learn: You may have assumed that once you graduated from college, there was no need to study or learn. That attitude might be enough to get you your first job or keep you employed, but it will never make you rich. A willingness to learn to improve your career and finances are essential if you want to eventually become wealthy.

You buy things you don't use: Take a look around your house, in the closets, basement, attic and garage and see if there are a lot of things you haven't used in the past year. If there are, chances are that all those things you purchased were wasted money that could have been used to increase your net worth.

You don't understand value: You buy things for any number of reasons besides the value that the purchase brings to you. This is not limited to those who feel the need to buy the most expensive items, but can also apply to those who always purchase the cheapest goods. Rarely are either the best value, and it's only when you learn to purchase good value that you have money left over to invest for your future.


Your house is too big: When you buy a house that is bigger than you can afford or need, you end up spending extra money on longer debt payments, increased taxes, higher upkeep and more things to fill it. Some people will try to argue that the increased value of the house makes it a good investment, but the truth is that unless you are willing to downgrade your living standards, which most people are not, it will never be a liquid asset or money that you can ever use and enjoy.


You fail to take advantage of opportunities: There has probably been more than one occasion where you heard about someone who has made it big and thought to yourself, "I could have thought of that." There are plenty of opportunities if you have the will and determination to keep your eyes open.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Cambodian couple saw home in half to avoid messy divorce


To some of you this will be madness; to others, blissful sanity:

An estranged Cambodian couple married for nearly 40 years have split their home 50-50 — sawing it in half to avoid the country's complicated, expensive divorce laws, the BBC tells us. Moeun and Nhanhy Rim also divided their land into four parcels — one for each of them and their two children.


Moeun Rim has carted away his fixer-upper and relocated elsewhere in Prey Veng province, about 60 miles outside the capital, Phnom Penh.


The last straw? Rim accused his wife of neglecting him when he was sick.


Although they have split up, they're still legally married, a local lawyer says.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Philippine Oil Well starts its production

After numerous delays, the Galoc oil field off northwest Palawan has finally produced oil, boosting the country’s hope to become 60-percent energy self-sufficient by 2010.

First discovered in 1981 and appraised in 1988, the Galoc field was left undeveloped due to the risks associated with its development and the then low price of oil.

Delays in the delivery of the first oil mean that its operators have missed this year’s oil price rally. Global crude oil prices are now around $89 a barrel, well off highs near $150 a barrel in mid-July.

In a joint statement, Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes and Jeff Davison, chief operating officer of service contract operator Galoc Production Co. (GPC), said the first well opened at 10:45 a.m., with first oil on board the vessel by 11:20 a.m.

GPC had repeatedly missed its first oil targets this year due mainly to bad weather.

Based on the consortium’s timetable, flow testing would be conducted over the coming weeks to stabilize production. Upon stabilization, production is expected to reach 20,000 barrels a day from the two wells.

6 percent of oil demand

For the remainder of 2008, production should average around 17,000 barrels a day.

“We are expecting to get 20,000 barrels a day in the first 90 days of commercial production. That will provide for 6 percent of the daily oil demand of the country,” Reyes said.

Independent appraiser Gaffney, Cline and Associates had estimated the production rate at the Galoc field to reach 23,000 barrels a day, on average, for the first year of production.

The Galoc field, 65 km northwest of Palawan, holds oil reserves estimated at 10 million barrels.

The new crude will raise the Philippines’ domestic oil output by some 70 percent to 42,500 bpd, a welcome addition to the country, which imports nearly all of its requirements.

But Galoc’s crude, also called Palawan Light, could find it hard attracting customers as it has a higher sulphur content than most Asia-Pacific grades, at 1.64 percent.

It is also coming on stream at a time of weakening oil demand in Asia, even as Vietnam has started selling first cargoes of its new light sweet Song Doc crude.

Reduction in imported oil

In June, Reyes said Galoc’s output would be aimed at local refineries.

Malacañang officials hailed the extraction of oil from the Galoc field saying this would reduce the country’s dependence on imported oil and save the country millions of dollars.

“The President is optimistic that this new development will positively impact on the administration’s efforts to reduce the country’s annual oil importation of $6 billion, and in turn will also contain the increasing cost of food and other commodities,” Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said, reading from a statement.

This, he added, would translate into $1.4 billion foreign exchange savings for the Galoc oil well’s lifetime of three to five years.

The country imported some $8.8 billion worth of oil last year, up from $8 billion the previous year. The total imports reached 120.1 million barrels in 2007.

GPC owns 58.29 percent of the Galoc contract area covered by Service Contract 14C, while Australian firms Nido Petroleum Ltd. and Otto Energy Ltd. hold 22.28 percent and 18.28 percent, respectively.

Other shareholders include local companies The Philodrill Corp. (7.03 percent), Oriental Petroleum and Minerals (4.96 percent), Linapacan Oil, Gas and Power (2.61 percent), Forum Energy (2.27 percent), Alcorn Gold Resources (1.53 percent), and PetroEnergy Resources (1.03 percent).

Vitol and European trader Trafigura will be the two main marketers of Palawan Light.

The Philippines also wants to drill oil from its Malampaya gas field off the Palawan coast and expects to start producing oil from its largest hydrocarbon discovery in less than two years.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Japan Plans to Build an Elevator into Space

From cyborg housemaids and waterpowered cars to dog translators and rocket boots, Japanese boffins have racked up plenty of near-misses in the quest to turn science fiction into reality.

Now the finest scientific minds of Japan are devoting themselves to cracking the greatest sci-fi vision of all: the space elevator. Man has so far conquered space by painfully and inefficiently blasting himself out of the atmosphere but the 21st century should bring a more leisurely ride to the final frontier.

For chemists, physicists, material scientists, astronauts and dreamers across the globe, the space elevator represents the most tantalising of concepts: cables stronger and lighter than any fibre yet woven, tethered to the ground and disappearing beyond the atmosphere to a satellite docking station in geosynchronous orbit above Earth.

Up and down the 22,000 mile-long (36,000km) cables — or flat ribbons — will run the elevator carriages, themselves requiring huge breakthroughs in engineering to which the biggest Japanese companies and universities have turned their collective attention

In the carriages, the scientists behind the idea told The Times, could be any number of cargoes. A space elevator could carry people, huge solar-powered generators or even casks of radioactive waste. The point is that breaking free of Earth's gravity will no longer require so much energy — perhaps 100 times less than launching the space shuttle.

“Just like travelling abroad, anyone will be able to ride the elevator into space,” Shuichi Ono, chairman of the Japan Space Elevator Association, said.

The vision has inspired scientists around the world and government organisations including Nasa. Several competing space elevator projects are gathering pace as various groups vie to build practical carriages, tethers and the hundreds of other parts required to carry out the plan. There are prizes offered by space elevator-related scientific organisations for breakthroughs and competitions for the best and fastest design of carriage.

First envisioned by the celebrated master of science fiction, Arthur C. Clarke, in his 1979 work The Fountains of Paradise, the concept has all the best qualities of great science fiction: it is bold, it is a leap of imagination and it would change life as we know it.

Unlike the warp drives in Star Trek, or H.G. Wells's The Time Machine, the idea of the space elevator does not mess with the laws of science; it just presents a series of very, very complex engineering problems.

Japan is increasingly confident that its sprawling academic and industrial base can solve those issues, and has even put the astonishingly low price tag of a trillion yen (£5 billion) on building the elevator. Japan is renowned as a global leader in the precision engineering and high-quality material production without which the idea could never be possible.

The biggest obstacle lies in the cables. To extend the elevator to a stationary satellite from the Earth's surface would require twice that length of cable to reach a counterweight, ensuring that the cable maintains its tension.

The cable must be exceptionally light, staggeringly strong and able to withstand all projectiles thrown at it inside and outside the atmosphere. The answer, according to the groups working on designs, will lie in carbon nanotubes - microscopic particles that can be formed into fibres and whose mass production is now a focus of Japan's big textile companies.

According to Yoshio Aoki, a professor of precision machinery engineering at Nihon University and a director of the Japan Space Elevator Association, the cable would need to be about four times stronger than what is currently the strongest carbon nanotube fibre, or about 180 times stronger than steel. Pioneering work on carbon nanotubes in Cambridge has produced a strength improvement of about 100 times over the last five years.

Equally, there is the issue of powering the carriages as they climb into space. “We are thinking of using the technology employed in our bullet trains,” Professor Aoki said. “Carbon nanotubes are good conductors of electricity, so we are thinking of having a second cable to provide power all along the route.”

Japan is hosting an international conference in November to draw up a timetable for the machine.

Stranger than fiction

“Riding silently into the sky, soon she was 100km high, higher even than the old pioneering rocket planes, the X15s, used to reach. The sky was already all but black above her, with a twinkling of stars right at the zenith, the point to which the ribbon, gold-bright in the sunlight, pointed like an arrow. Looking up that way she could see no sign of structures further up the ribbon, no sign of the counterweight. Nothing but the shining beads of more spiders clambering up this thread to the sky. She suspected she still had not grasped the scale of the elevator, not remotely.”

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony

For those who missed the opening of the Beijing Olympics Ceremony, here's the video hosted by Youtube uploaded by our friend and partner site, DCRJ, of Pinoy Biscuits for the complete videos of whole event, please visit his channel @ PB youtube Channel

First Part of the Opening Ceremony video. Enjoy!

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Philippine wins Gold! - 2008 World Hip Hop Dance Championship

The Philippine All Stars won the gold medal at the 2008 World Hip Hop Dance Championship Sunday at Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas, USA

Message from Philippine All-Stars:
Yey! We won the Gold in the Adult Division of the 2008 World Hip Hop
Championship! ALL GLORY TO GOD!!! Thanks to all your prayers!

Thank you to Hip Hop International and to all our supporters all over the world. Watch out for our own footages of the event. We are currently experiencing technical difficulties. Please bear with us.

Winning Moves:

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Moon Landing Anniversary

On 20th day of this month marks the 39th anniversary of first manned landing in the Moon.. (July 20, 1969) and this event will be remembered FOREVER..

And so are the crews:

* Neil A. Armstrong - Commander (First man on the Moon)
* Michael Collins - Command Module Pilot
* Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr. - Lunar Module Pilot

Here's the video of the Apollo 11 Mission: From Takeoff to Splashdown

Overall, there are 12 men have reached the moon surface before the manned lunar missions was discontinued.

Future manned missions would be on the Planet Mars about 3 decades from now (2030 - 2040)

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Fastest Tetris Player in the World

In my younger days, my highest Tetris record is 999,999... i dunno my record now but I'm an amateur to this player.. this guy is soo wicked!

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Historic Hostage Rescue

Bob Orr provides an in-depth analysis how Colombian government officials were able to outsmart FARC guerilla forces into handing over hostages held captive for over 5 years.



Well, just in case situation didn't go as planned, there is the Plan B, where about 2,000 government soldiers and 39 attack helicopters in the vicinity to force the rebels to hand in the hostages.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Top 10 Easy Paths to Self Destruction

10. Sacrifice Sleep

Inadequate sleep (less than 7 or 8 hours a night) has been tied to many different health problems, including obesity, diabetes and cancer. Mental fatigue is also as big of a risk factor for vehicular accidents as alcohol. And just think of all the time you'd have for destructive behavior if you shunned the zzz's altogether!

9. Ignore the Doctor

Many Americans agree that their health is hardly worth finding thirty minutes among 526,000 for that once-per-year physical exam. It's a good tactic if early disease detection and important medical consultation are going to get in the way of your Tommy Lee lifestyle. If you don't want to hear the doctor tell you our other tips for self-destruction are unhealthy, just don't go.

8. Dumb down your Brain

Reading, doing crosswords and tackling sudokus are all risky behaviors if you're looking to avoid Alzheimer's. The degenerative brain disease attacks almost everyone who lives long enough, though mind games and puzzles are known to ward off the effects.

7. Have a Lot of Sex

Most people agree that sex in itself isn't so bad, it's how you do it that could mean life or death. The smart self-destructor doesn't use protection, ignores the partner's sexual history and shuns the annual medical exam. Twelve million Americans contract sexually transmitted diseases every year, many of which can leave the victim infertile. Killing yourself and preventing new births: there?s a two-fer!

6. Drive a lot

If people wanted to increase their chance of surviving 'til a ripe old age, they'd fly everywhere. Driving kills more people aged 1 to 35 than anything else, a statistic that could drop to near zero if everyone just stayed home. But how fun would that be? So hit the road, forget the speed limit, yak on your cell phone?or worse, eat?and don't buckle up if you're anxious to become part of this popular statistic.

and for the Top 5, Click below...



5. Drink a Lot

The occasional drink of alcohol, especially wine, can be beneficial to your health, many studies suggest. But if you're looking to do yourself in, overdo the two-drink-per-day limit and imbibe heartily. Besides alcoholism of course, too much booze causes liver damage, diabetes and is the root cause of nearly 100,000 deaths per year.

4. Stress Out

Creating more stress in your life is a great way to invite all kinds of diseases to attack the body. When you're chronically stressed, the adrenal glands are forced to work overtime and eventually exhaust themselves, inhibiting the immune system. So go ahead and worry about everything from the color of your socks to whether dinner will be ready on time. Your hormones won't know what hit them.

3. Watch TV

Not only is television entertaining, it can keep us on the couch for hours at a time several days per week. The average American spends a full 9 years of his life glued to the boob tube, years that could otherwise be spent exercising. Resist the urge! Being an obese, sedentary TV-addicted couch potato makes for speedy self-destruction, though you may be a little smarter (if you watch those nerdy science channels).

2. Smoke

They don't call them cancer sticks for nothing: Tobacco-related illnesses are America's number two killer, and the most preventable. But if you're bent on putting the kibosh to healthy living, go ahead and light up; just one cigarette will immediately increase your blood pressure and decrease the circulation to your extremities. Imagine what you could do with a pack.

and the # 1. Eat Junk

Last year, at least 400,000 Americans managed to kill themselves based almost solely on what they ate. Heart disease is the country's number one killer and, while some of that comes from genetics, most of it's due to the fat-laden, sugar-heavy junk we put in our bodies. Looking for the most effective, probably most enjoyable way to do yourself in? Have another doughnut. And make it cream-filled!

source: LiveScience

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Monday, June 30, 2008

Round 9 Knockout Video



Round 9 Video of Pacquiao - Diaz Fight


CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Pacquiao Fight -- Spectators View











Pics here are taken by our friend in Las Vegas, Darwin aka Rastaman in his Blog,
---> http://pinoyrastaman.blogspot.com


CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Pacquiao and The Science of Knockout

According to Science and human anatomy, this is how a knockout occurs...



Accoding to Manny Pacquiao, this is how a knockout is executed:



On June 28, in Las Vegas, (June 29, Sunday, in Manila) brace yourselves for the biggest fight of the 2 boxers! For Manny it will be a historic win, (5 world titles in 5 weight division, the only Asian to do that) --- but for Diaz, he'll be a hero if he stop the Mexican executioner, a revenge for his country.



Manny Paquiao:

“This will be my hardest-fought battle," said Pacquiao. “It's been over three
years since I have changed weight divisions and I will be doing it against the
lightweight division's world champion. I saw how he took the fight to Erik
Morales in his last title defense and I'm expecting to see the same firepower
out of him when we meet. But this is my drive for five. Five world titles in
five different weight classes and I will not be denied. I am fighting for
history, for destiny and for my people of the Philippines ."


Davia Diaz:

"Manny Pacquiao has beaten many great fighters, especially Mexicans like

Morales, Barrera, Marquez, Larios and Solis. That's why they call him “The
Mexicutioner," said Diaz. “I will shock the world and beat Pacquiao at his own
game, power for power. He's a great champion but he's fighting in my division –
lightweight. I have worked too hard for this world title and I will not give it
up to him."


Wow! this is one hell of a fight!!!

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Friday, June 27, 2008

Sony has lost over $3 billion on the PS3

Think you paid too much for your Playstation 3? Don't expect any sympathy from Sony.

In the company's fiscal 2008 annual report, Sony revealed that they've now lost roughly $3.3 billion (that's billion with a B) on the Playstation 3 since its launch. That breaks down to $2.16 billion in 2007, followed by a notably smaller but equally daunting $1.16 billion loss in 2008.

The reason? Pricing the console below its production cost. That's right - that hefty $599 you paid for the PS3 back when it first launched was significantly cheaper than the cost of producing it in the first place, and while the retail price has come down some, the losses keep piling up.

Investors have reason to sweat. In a statement, Sony claimed "the large-scale investment required during the development and introductory period of a new gaming platform may not be fully recovered." They went on to note that they've invested a great deal of money into R&D for the console, a sum they might not be able to recoup if the PS3 "fails to achieve such favorable market penetration."

Sony fanboys should take heart, however. Losing money on hardware is relatively common in the video game biz, as companies routinely lower prices to sell more units and thus stimulate software sales. Sony's game division saw a 26% sales spike last quarter, a trend they expect will continue on the strength of strong exclusives like the recently released Metal Gear Solid 4 and the upcoming sequel Resistance 2.

But will it be enough?

Source: Yahoo! Games

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A rendezvous with Disaster

Google Earth voyage presentation of the ill-fated ship, Princess of the Stars. The ship left Manila on June 21 bound for Cebu not knowing that they're heading to a path of a Typhoon Fengshen (named Frank by PAGASA) The ship capsized near Sibuyan Island, Dozens of survivors were drifted ashore but about 700 are still missing.


CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Hope Fades in search of Survivors


Hopes faded on Monday that more survivors would be found in what could be one of the Philippines’s worst sea tragedies as rescuers failed to find signs of life inside a capsized ferry that had held more than 800 passengers and crew members when a typhoon struck on Saturday.

Rescue officials said only 38 survivors had been rescued, including 28 passengers and crew members who came ashore Monday after drifting at sea since Saturday.

A total of 13 bodies believed to be from the ferry, Princess of the Stars, have been recovered, including nine that washed up on land on Monday.

The known dead from the ferry brought the death toll from the typhoon, named Fengshen, to at least 176, the Philippine National Red Cross said. Fengshen, packing winds of up to 121 miles per hour , struck the central and northern Philippines on Saturday, knocking down power lines, causing landslides, flooding rivers, and inundating entire communities.

Divers who beat against the hull of ferry on Monday in search of survivors heard nothing that indicated life.

“We just approached the hull of the ship, we got near and then banged, knocked in order for us to give a sign if ever there are still people inside,” Lieut. Col. Edgard Arevalo of the Coast Guard said Monday. “Unfortunately there was no response.”

The Philippine government has asked other countries, particularly the United States, for help in the recovery operations. A United States Navy ship from Okinawa, Japan, was expected to arrive early Tuesday near Sibuyan island, south of Manila, where the ferry sank, said Jesus Dureza, press secretary of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Officials said helicopters on the Navy ship could help survey the general area for possible survivors.

Eleandro Madrona, a congressman of Romblon Province where the ferry sank, flew over the area on Monday afternoon, but reported seeing only a tugboat near the ship’s wreckage.

“I was thinking, where could these 700 people be?” Mr. Madrona said, according to The Associated Press.

Elsewhere, officials tried to assess the losses from the typhoon. Iloilo, a central Philippine province, was the worst hit, with fatalities approaching 100 as of Monday, officials said. It was too early to determine damage to agriculture and infrastructure, but officials said it could run up to billions of pesos.

Another concern was the welfare of the nearly 70,000 people across the country who were displaced by the typhoon and are now living in evacuation centers. On Sunday, Ms. Arroyo ordered all government agencies to help in the relief operations, while private companies have begun campaigns to collect donations of food, clothing and bottled water.

The president also ordered tighter maritime regulations. “Pending a review of Philippine Coast Guard protocols, no vessel sails if it would pass a possible typhoon path,” Ms. Arroyo, who is on a state visit in the United States, said in a video conference with her advisers on Monday.

The government has suspended the operation of all vessels of Sulpicio Lines, which owns the 24,000-ton ferry, which was capable of carrying 1,992 people.

Distraught relatives of the ferry’s passengers have trooped to the Manila office of Sulpicio Lines since Sunday, many of them blaming the company for the disaster. An advocacy group for crime victims, Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, announced Monday that it was filing a class action suit against the company.

Officials of Sulpicio Lines, however, said that they tried to set in motion a rescue operation as soon as they learned that the ship had encountered problems. But “severe weather condition delayed the rescue efforts both from the sea and on air,” Carlos Go, the company’s chief executive officer, said in a statement on Monday.

“Our company also assures the families of all unfortunate passengers who perished in this incident that they will be properly compensated,“ Mr. Go added.

Coast Guard officials told reporters Monday that they cleared the ferry to leave Manila for Cebu, a city in the central Philippines, on Friday night because the initial forecast for Fengshen showed it would only hit the eastern part of the country, away from the ferry’s path.

But according to the government’s weather bureau, the typhoon changed direction on Saturday, moving toward the center of the country, running right into the ferry’s path.

Coast Guard officials said they advised the ferry to seek shelter, but that the boat’s engine failed after being battered by the strong winds and waves, thus leaving it even more vulnerable to the intensifying storm.

In a television interview, Senator Richard Gordon, who is also the chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross, quoted a survivor as he described what happened next. According to the survivor, “It was high noon but it was so dark, and there was too much rain and the waves were just too much for the ship,” Mr. Gordon said.

Sulpicio Lines is one of the country’s largest shipping companies, with 22 ships, both freight and passenger, plying the major routes of the Philippine archipelago.

Its ships and ferries have figured in many of the worst maritime disasters in the Philippines. In December 1987, an overloaded Doña Paz collided with an oil tanker off Mindoro Island, killing more than 4,300 people.

A year later, in October 1988, another Sulpicio Lines ship, Doña Marilyn, sank near Leyte province, killing 300 passengers and crew. In 1998, 200 died when the Princess of the Orient, also a Sulpicio liner, capsized near Manila during a storm.

Source: nytimes.com

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...