Monday, November 29, 2010

November Christmas

November Christmas is the moving story of two families, a community, and the idea that Christmas doesn't have to come just once a year.
This holiday story tells how neighbors come to help a family trying to cope with their young daughter's illness. November Christmas also stars Sarah Paulson, Karen Allen, Elizabeth McLaughlin and Emily Alyn Lind.
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November Christmas is about a family and their community coming together to help raise the spirits of a sick little girl. Catch ‘November Christmas‘ Sunday, November 28th on CBS November Christmas Original Telefilm . November Christmas – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia November Christmas is a 2010 American film that will premiere on CBS on November 28, 2010. Season Episodes: November Christmas Original Telefilm
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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Manchester's other United celebrate FA Cup draw

While leaders Manchester United banged in the Premier League goals at Old Trafford on Saturday, the breakaway club formed by their disillusioned supporters five years ago also had plenty to celebrate in the FA Cup.
Minor league FC United, founded by fans upset at the Glazer family's takeover at Old Trafford, kept alive their dream of facing the club they split with a 1-1 draw in the second round at League One (third division) leaders Brighton & Hove Albion.
Even more remarkably, they did it with 10 men and after goalkeeper Sam Ashton had saved a penalty in added time. The semi-professional team, whose players include tilers and chauffeurs, had taken the lead in the 40th minute but had Scott McManus sent off for violent conduct before Mauricio Taricco equalised with seven minutes remaining.
The 37-year-old Argentine Taricco, who is also Brighton's assistant manager, had made his first professional appearance since retiring in 2004 in their shootuout victory over Woking in a first round replay when he was sent off in extra time.
FC United, by forcing a replay, will now take their place in Sunday's third round draw when the English Premier League clubs -- including Manchester United -- also enter the fray.
Manchester United thrashed Blackburn Rovers 7-1 in the Premier League with Dimitar berbatov scoring five goals.

Monday, November 22, 2010

"Harry Potter" sets box office record -- and did you see it in IMAX?

Well, good morning, fellow snowy Seattleites; and how was your commute today? (Mine was an hour and a half on the bus, enlivened by a near-fistfight between a couple of cranky commuters arguing about who was in the way of whom.) And now, with headlines indicating a possible six more inches of snow today, I'm wondering whether I'll get to tonight's screening of "Burlesque." Cher, I suspect, would make it through the snow somehow. Me, I don't know. We'll see.
Meanwhile, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I" made oodles of gold this weekend, with an estimated $125 million in tickets sold. That sets a new record for the franchise, though of course it's hard to compare as many of the tickets sold were for the inflated IMAX price. Speaking of which, did any of you happen to see the movie in IMAX? Real IMAX, or fake? How was it?

World leader assassinations & attempts

Being a world leader sometimes comes at the ultimate price. History is littered with numerousworld leader assassinations and attempts, motivated by religion, political interests or other reasons.

Nobel peace prize winner and Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat died at age 62 when he was assassinated by fundamentalists on October 6, 1981. He was succeeded by Hosni Mubarak, the current President of Egypt.

Mahatma Gandhi, the iconic leader of India's independence movement who advocated non-violence, was shot dead by Hindu nationalist Nathuram Godse on January 30, 1948. Godse and his co-conspirator Narayan Apte were later tried and convicted; they were executed on November 15, 1949.

Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin was shot to death by Yigal Amir, a radical right-wing Orthodox Jew who opposed the signing of the Oslo Accords on November 4, 1995. 

Finally, going back a little further in history, dictator of the Roman Republic Julius Caesar was assassinated as a result of a conspiracy by forty Roman senators in 44 B.C. He was stabbed by a group led by Gaius Longinus and Marcus Junius Brutus in the Theatre of Pompey. According to Eutropius, around 60 or more men participated in the assassination. Caesar was stabbed 23 times.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Surprise Link Between Weird Quantum Phenomena

Surprise Link Between Weird Quantum Phenomena: Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle Sets Limits on Einstein's 'Spooky Action at a Distance'

Researchers have uncovered a fundamental link between the two defining properties of quantum physics. The result is being heralded as a dramatic breakthrough in our basic understanding of quantum mechanics and provides new clues to researchers seeking to understand the foundations of quantum theory. The result addresses the question of why quantum behaviour is as weird as it is -- but no weirder.
Stephanie Wehner of Singapore's Centre for Quantum Technologies and the National University of Singapore and Jonathan Oppenheim of the United Kingdom's University of Cambridge published their work in the latest edition of the journalScience.

The strange behaviour of quantum particles, such as atoms, electrons and the photons that make up light, has perplexed scientists for nearly a century. Albert Einstein was among those who thought the quantum world was so strange that quantum theory must be wrong, but experiments have borne out the theory's predictions.
One of the weird aspects of quantum theory is that it is impossible to know certain things, such as a particle's momentum and position, simultaneously. Knowledge of one of these properties affects the accuracy with which you can learn the other. This is known as the "Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle."
Another weird aspect is the quantum phenomenon of non-locality, which arises from the better-known phenomenon of entanglement. When two quantum particles are entangled, they can perform actions that look as if they are coordinated with each other in ways that defy classical intuition about physically separated particles.
Previously, researchers have treated non-locality and uncertainty as two separate phenomena. Now Wehner and Oppenheim have shown that they are intricately linked. What's more, they show that this link is quantitative and have found an equation which shows that the "amount" of non-locality is determined by the uncertainty principle.
"It's a surprising and perhaps ironic twist," said Oppenheim, a Royal Society University Research Fellow from the Department of Applied Mathematics & Theoretical Physics at the University of Cambridge. Einstein and his co-workers discovered non-locality while searching for a way to undermine the uncertainty principle. "Now the uncertainty principle appears to be biting back."
Non-locality determines how well two distant parties can coordinate their actions without sending each other information. Physicists believe that even in quantum mechanics, information cannot travel faster than light. Nevertheless, it turns out that quantum mechanics allows two parties to coordinate much better than would be possible under the laws of classical physics. In fact, their actions can be coordinated in a way that almost seems as if they had been able to talk. Einstein famously referred to this phenomenon as "spooky action at a distance."
However, quantum non-locality could be even spookier than it actually is. It's possible to have theories which allow distant parties to coordinate their actions much better than nature allows, while still not allowing information to travel faster than light. Nature could be weirder, and yet it isn't -- quantum theory appears to impose an additional limit on the weirdness.
"Quantum theory is pretty weird, but it isn't as weird as it could be. We really have to ask ourselves, why is quantum mechanics this limited? Why doesn't nature allow even stronger non-locality?" Oppenheim says.
The surprising result by Wehner and Oppenheim is that the uncertainty principle provides an answer. Two parties can only coordinate their actions better if they break the uncertainty principle, which imposes a strict bound on how strong non-locality can be.
"It would be great if we could better coordinate our actions over long distances, as it would enable us to solve many information processing tasks very efficiently," Wehner says. "However, physics would be fundamentally different. If we break the uncertainty principle, there is really no telling what our world would look like."
How did the researchers discover a connection that had gone unnoticed so long? Before entering academia, Wehner worked as a 'computer hacker for hire', and now works in quantum information theory, while Oppenheim is a physicist. Wehner thinks that applying techniques from computer science to the laws of theoretical physics was key to spotting the connection. "I think one of the crucial ideas is to link the question to a coding problem," Wehner says. "Traditional ways of viewing non-locality and uncertainty obscured the close connection between the two concepts."
Wehner and Oppenheim recast the phenomena of quantum physics in terms that would be familiar to a computer hacker. They treat non-locality as the result of one party, Alice, creating and encoding information and a second party, Bob, retrieving information from the encoding. How well Alice and Bob can encode and retrieve information is determined by uncertainty relations. In some situations, they found that and a third property known as "steering" enters the picture.
Wehner and Oppenheim compare their discovery to uncovering what determines how easily two players can win a quantum board game: the board has only two squares, on which Alice, can place a counter of two possible colours: green or pink. She is told to place the same colour on both squares, or to place a different colour on each. Bob has to guess the colour that Alice put on square one or two. If his guess is correct, Alice and Bob win the game. Clearly, Alice and Bob could win the game if they could talk to each other: Alice would simply tell Bob what colours are on squares one and two. But Bob and Alice are situated so far apart from each other that light -- and thus an information-carrying signal -- does not have time to pass between them during the game.
If they can't talk, they won't always win, but by measuring on quantum particles, they can win the game more often than any strategy which doesn't rely on quantum theory. However, the uncertainty principle prevents them from doing any better, and even determines how often they lose the game.
The finding bears on the deep question of what principles underlie quantum physics. Many attempts to understand the underpinnings of quantum mechanics have focused on non-locality. Wehner thinks there may be more to gain from examining the details of the uncertainty principle. "However, we have barely scratched the surface of understanding uncertainty relations," she says.
The breakthrough is future-proof, the researchers say. Scientists are still searching for a quantum theory of gravity and Wehner and Oppenheim's result concerning non-locality, uncertainty and steering applies to all possible theories -- including any future replacement for quantum mechanics.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Obama Plays Well in India. What Will He Get in Return?

Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have met seven times since March 2009, and they seem to be getting comfortable. On Sunday in Mumbai, Obama tried his hand at Indian folk dancing during a Diwali celebration at a local school. The usually sober, scripted Singh, meanwhile, jauntily fielded questions at a joint news conference on Monday. "We're not afraid of the K-word," he said in response to a question about Kashmir. And he bluntly defended his country's much-maligned offshore outsourcing industry: "India is not in the business of stealing jobs from the United States of America."
A few hours after the Indian Prime Minister's Yankee plain-speaking, the U.S. President delivered a speech to Parliament with a subtlety and political skill worthy of India's great statesmen. Obama flattered India's pride in its past, recalling Swami Vivekananda visit to Chicago in 1893; he also showed Gandhian humility, saying, "I might not be standing here before you today" had it not been for Mohandas Gandhi's influence on the civil rights movement; and candidly addressed the two countries differences, pointing out India's failure to live up to its own ideals and speak out for human rights.
Obama then exceeded the Indian government's expectations for the trip and delivered the two most important items on India's wish list: he endorsed India's bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council and used strong language toward Pakistan, saying he would "insist to Pakistan's leaders that terrorist safe-havens within their borders are unacceptable." Here's what the U.S. can look for in return:
A new dialogue on human rights
Obama, in one of the most surprising parts of his address, spoke forcefully about India's support for Burma's military dictatorship, wading into a potentially tricky subject. India has in the past often chafed at any discussion of human rights in the United Nations or in bilateral discussions as an infringement on its national sovereignty. But Obama put his comments in the context of India's own democratic tradition, saying that as the Burmese government suppresses free elections, "the democracies of the world cannot remain silent." That rhetoric "wasn't the kind of lecturing that Indian diplomats hate listening to," said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director for Human Rights Watch, so she expects it to be more effective. "This is something that the Indian government really needed to hear."

Breathing room on Pakistan
On the morning of Obama's last day in India, the New York Times reported that David Headley, who is accused of playing a key role in planning the November 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, was working for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency in Pakistan while also attending jihadi training camps. But New Delhi downplayed what could have been an embarrassing confirmation of the common criticism among foreign policy experts in India that the U.S. has not done enough to pressure Pakistan to crack down on terror — always fodder for the conspiracy theorists who believe that Headley was a U.S. double agent. In an interview with TIME on Monday, a senior Indian government official praised the "excellent intelligence sharing" by the U.S. since the Mumbai attacks and dismissed the reports about Headley as "all in the realm of speculation." This may be a sign that Obama's tough language on Pakistan has won him a bit of breathing room to continue the administration's stated policy — to privately pressure Pakistan while publicly affirming them as an ally — without the complication of second-guessing by India.

A more level playing field
Consistent with the Obama administration's message for this trip, the 200-strong business delegation from the U.S. has been trumpeting the huge opportunities for exports to India's billion-strong consumer market. "The size and growth rate of India's population alone make India a terrific investment opportunity," Pepsico CEO Indra Nooyi told reporters. But privately, they have also been clamoring for India to lift the remaining restrictions on investment, particularly in financial services and retail. Obama's political success in New Delhi may help. "Diplomatically, everything that we thought he would not do, he did," says Suhel Seth, a marketing expert and longtime adviser to Indian big business. That puts Obama in a better position to push for more open markets and perhaps make good on his promise of delivering jobs by raising exports, Seth says. Having won over a tough audience in India, however, he'll face an even tougher one back home.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Couple Win $11.2M Lottery, Then Give It All Away

Allen and Violet Large figured they were lucky enough already. 

So when the Canadian couple hit it big in the lottery this year, they decided to give it away -- all of it. Since their July win, the elderly couple has donated nearly every cent of their $11.2 million winnings to charity. Call it the Larges' largess.
"What you've never had, you never miss," Violet Large, 78, told The Chronicle Herald in Canada. She and her 74-year-old husband, who live in Nova Scotia, said they first made sure their family was taken care of. But then, she said, they decided the money was "a big headache."

So in a matter of just four months, they gave away the rest of their millions to the Red Cross, the Salvation Army and local churches, according to The Chronicle Herald. They also donated money to the hospitals where Violet Large was fighting cancer this year. 

The Larges play the lottery twice a week and say they'd never won more than $1,000 before this year. But July 14 was different. After choosing numbers in "Lotto 649" that day, Violet Large said she first thought they'd won only $10. Then, she took a closer look and was in shock. "'Oh my God,'" she said she told Allen that day at the couple's home, according to the Truro Daily News. "I said, 'Come and check these numbers.'"

But Allen Large, a retired steel worker, said he was more concerned with his wife's health than with the cash. "That money that we won was nothing," he said. "We have each other."

Violet, who has completed her treatment, told the paper that she and Allen were happy to be done with the money and have no interest in living extravagantly. "We're the lucky ones," she said. "I have no complaints." The humble couple, who did not immediately return a call for comment today from AOL News, will not say how much they gave to each charity.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Another Qantas Jet Makes Emergency Landing

Another Qantas Jet Makes Emergency Landing


A Qantas Boeing 747 with 431 people on board landed safely in Singapore today after an engine caught fire minutes after it took off from the city-state, the airline and a passenger said. The problem arose just a day after a Qantas Airbus A380 superjumbo jet made an emergency landing at the same airport due to an engine blowout. "There was a loud bang and a jet of fire from the back of the engine," said one passenger.
The passenger adds that he could see the engine clearly. The blast happened "one or two minutes" into the flight when the plane had climbed about 2,000 feet, according to the passenger, who says the pilot stabilized the plane before returning to Singapore. Qantas said in a statement later that flight QF6 from Singapore to Sydney had an issue with its number 1 engine—one of four engines—and that the pilot returned to Singapore as a precaution. Click here to read why yesterday's explosion should scare us.

Muslim Web Site Publishes Kill List

An extremist Muslim web site has published a "kill list" of hundreds of British members of parliament who voted for the war in Iraq. The site,, urges readers to follow the example of a young "holy warrior" Muslim woman who stabbed a member of Parliament and was sentenced this week to life in prison for attempted murder. “We ask Allaah for her action to inspire Muslims to raise the knife of Jihaad against those who voted for the countless rapes, murders, pillages, and torture of Muslim civilians as a direct consequence" of the politicians' vote, says the message.
The site also offers instructions on how to track a politician's activities through their web sites, the Telegraph reports. is hosted in the US, where the White House is being pressured by the British government to take action against such sites. These sites are extremely dangerous, and this one must be taken down immediately," said the former chairman of Britain's homeland security.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Mid-East peace talks: UK says window 'closing'

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague has warned that "the window is closing" on the possibility of a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.
He also expressed "frustration" over a row with Israel which had overshadowed his three-day visit to the region.
Israel's Foreign Ministry announced it was postponing "strategic" talks with the UK in protest at a British law that puts visiting Israeli officials at risk of arrest for alleged war crimes.
Mr Hague said the law was under review.
Since Israel's military offensive in Gaza in 2009, Israeli ministers have had to cancel visits to the UK over concerns they could face arrest on war crimes charges brought by pro-Palestinian campaigners.
Earlier this week, it was reported that Israel's Intelligence Minister, Dan Meridor, cancelled a trip to Britain amid concerns that he risked being arrested for alleged crimes relating to the raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship in May in which nine Turkish activists were killed.
Diplomatic spat
On Wednesday, the first day of Mr Hague's official visit to Israel, Israel's Foreign Ministry announced that it was postponing annual strategic talks with Britain over defence and security issues.
A ministry spokesman denied that the move was a deliberate "ambush" to humiliate Mr Hague, but the row has overshadowed his visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories - his first since taking office in May.
Speaking at the end of his trip to the region, Mr Hague told the BBC that "certainly [the announcement] was a little frustrating".
But he added that he saw it as "a mistake on behalf of the foreign ministry, rather than something with bad intentions."
The foreign ministry is led by the often controversial right-wing minister Avigdor Lieberman, who has previously rebuked European politicians over their stance on the Middle East, says the BBC's Wyre Davies from Jerusalem.
Mr Hague said that he had clarified the matter with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and that "the difficulties of yesterday [had] been overcome".
He said Britain was urgently addressing the issue of amending the laws which could expose visiting Israeli politicians to arrest - a move already announced by the Conservatives.
Peace talks
He also expressed concern that peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians had stalled over the issue of renewed building in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Mr Hague said that both sides had obligations, but that it was largely up to Israel to break the impasse.
"We do want Israel to announce a new moratorium on settlements... That is what the whole of Europe wants, that is what the United States wants," he said.
"We do urge all concerned to do what is necessary to allow a two-state solution to come about. I am very worried that the window is closing on that possibility, there is a real urgency to this," he added.
The Palestinians - backed by the Arab League - have pledged not to return to direct talks without a full settlement construction freeze, but have given US negotiators until early November to try to break the impasse.
Israel has refused to renew the freeze despite international pressure.
The talks, which resumed in Washington in September after a break of almost 20 months, are now facing imminent collapse.
Israel has occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, since 1967, settling close to 500,000 Jews in more than 100 settlements. They are considered illegal under international law, although Israel disputes this.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Summary Box: World Bank lifts China growth outlook

TIME TO SHIFT? The World Bank says that with China's rapid growth easing to a manageable pace, Beijing can do more to promote domestic consumption and reduce reliance on trade.
AHEAD OF THE PACK: The bank's quarterly outlook on China reflects the country's status as the first major economy to rebound from the global crisis.
THE RECOMMENDATION: Beijing needs to boost wages and consumer spending and promote growth of private and service businesses to reduce reliance on exports and energy-intensive heavy industry, the bank said.

B.C. premier plans important announcement

B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell has scheduled a news conference to make an undisclosed important announcement on Wednesday morning starting at 11:30 a.m. PT.
There was nothing in the statement issued on Wednesday morning to indicate what Campbell would be announcing.
But in recent months Campbell's leadership has been questioned because of his handling of the introduction of the HST after the May 2009 election.
Last week Campbell announced a 15 per cent income tax cut and shuffled his cabinet in an attempt to shore up his support both publicly and inside the Liberal Party caucus.

NC man to plead to putting bomb info on Facebook

A North Carolina man who used his Facebook page to urge violence against abortion clinics is pleading guilty to federal charges of passing bomb-making instructions to an informant.
Justin Carl Moose signed a plea bargain with prosecutors. Documents filed in federal court in Greensboro show the 26-year-old will plead guilty to distributing information on making and using explosives.
Court documents say Moose posted links and instructions on making bombs to his Facebook page. In other Facebook posts, the 26-year-old called himself a "freedom fighter" and said he wanted to end abortion by any means necessary.
A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled. Moose faces up to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.

Election tally: Glenn Beck won. Progressivism lost

Glenn Beck and the Republican Party scored big in the midterm elections by attacking progressive values – even, it seems, the very concept of the federal government. Now Americans may find out just how many features of 'big government' they actually value.
Not just for Mr. Beck’s Republican Party, which captured the House and nearly the Senate in yesterday’s midterm elections. The verdict represents a victory for Beck’s political philosophy, a brand of conservatism that sees progressive values as the No. 1 threat to America. One day, historians might look back on 2010 as the year that Americans sounded the death knell for progressivism itself.

A government solution for every problem

The term dates to the early 20th century, when social reformers triggered an unprecedented explosion of government activity. To these self-described “Progressives,” America’s filthy cities, factories, farms, and schools cried out for improvement and regulation. They crafted new laws to bring this undirected chaos under intelligent control.
It’s easy to mock the distortions and outright falsehoods in Beck’s tirades against progressivism, which he has even suggested results in Communism or Nazism.

Enemy No. 1: Woodrow Wilson

But on one basic claim, Beck is spot-on correct: the Progressives gave birth to modern government. He reserves his greatest invective for President Woodrow Wilson, an Ivy-educated intellectual (sound familiar?) who brought us, among other things, the graduated federal income tax. But his screeds against the Progressives would apply equally well to Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, who both did their share of federal state-building along the banks of the Potomac.

Since the 1960s, to be sure, Republicans have won office by demonizing federal programs and especially federal spending. And we heard plenty of that in this election, with the GOP’s constant barrage against “Obamacare,” the bank bailout, and the stimulus.

But something else was at work, too. To Beck and his minions, the real problem isn’t simply abloated federal bureaucracy or runaway deficits. It’s government, plain and simple, which has run roughshod over the individual rights and freedoms that our founding fathers held dear.

Hence Beck’s constant paeans to the American Revolution (tea party, anyone?) and his equally routine attacks on the Progressives, who supposedly sold our birthright of liberty for a pottage of government regulation and control.