Boat launch - you are doing it wrong

"Clearly he needs to pull ahead further to get the boat off the trailer."


I Hope To God That's Batman

Canada and Mexico vs the US: A Visual Comparison

So close, and yet so far.
Tied together as much by geographic proximity as by NAFTA, Canada, Mexico, and the US are dependent on each other for much of their economic well being.
Understanding the differences and similarities between these co-dependent economies can provide you with a compelling picture of how various factors play into a country’s economic status.
To paraphrase Alice in Wonderland, you might be wondering what the use of a chart without scale or numbers is. But before you decide that we’ve gone too far down the rabbit hole, consider that our infographic is designed to provide a sense of relativity and scale.
It’s an at-a-glance view of the most important economic dimensions of the US and its nearest neighbors. In order to help compare and contrast the economic differences, we have simplified the data from the CIA World Factbook.


"Fascinating. It shows the three countries comparatively and how inter-related they are but clearly points out the strengths and weaknesses."


Nokia developing phone that recharges itself without mains electricity

Prototype harvests radiowaves from TV, radio and other mobiles

Standby mode is often accused of being the scourge of the planet, insidiously draining resources while offering little benefit other than a small red light and extra convenience for couch potatos. But now Nokia reckons a mobile phone that is always left in standby mode could be just what the environment needs.

A new prototype charging system from the company is able to power itself on nothing more than ambient radiowaves – the weak TV, radio and mobile phone signals that permanently surround us. The power harvested is small but it is almost enough to power a mobile in standby mode indefinitely without ever needing to plug it into the mains, according to Markku Rouvala, one of the researchers who developed the device at the Nokia Research Centre in Cambridge, UK.

This may sound too good to be true but Oyster cards used by London commuters perform a similar trick, powering themselves from radiowaves emitted by the reader devices as they are swiped. And similarly old crystal radio sets and more recently modern radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, increasingly used in shipping and as antitheft devices, are powered purely by radiowaves.

The difference with Nokia's prototype is that instead of harvesting tiny amounts of power (a few microwatts) from dedicated transmitters, Nokia claims it is able to scavenge relatively large amounts of power — around a thousand times as much — from signals coming from miles away. Individually the energy available in each of these signals is miniscule. But by harvesting radiowaves across a wide range of frequencies it all adds up, said Rouvala.

Such wireless transfer of energy was first demonstrated by Nikola Tesla in 1893, who was so taken with the idea he attempted to build an intercontinental transmission tower to send power wirelessly across the Atlantic. Nokia's device is somewhat less ambitious and is made possible thanks to a wide-band antenna and two very simple circuits. The antenna and the receiver circuit are designed to pick up a wide range of frequencies — from 500 megahertz to 10 gigahertz — and convert the electromagnetic waves into an electrical current, while the second circuit is designed to feed this current to the battery to recharge it.

The trick here is to ensure that these circuits use less power than is being received, said Rouvala. So far they have been able to harvest up to 5 milliwatts. Their short-term goal is to get in excess of 20 milliwatts, enough power to keep a phone in standby mode indefinitely without having to recharge it. But this would not be enough to actually use the phone to make or receive a call, he says. So ultimately the hope is to be able to get as much as 50 milliwatts which would be sufficient to slowly recharge the battery.

Steve Beeby, an expert in harvesting ambient energy at the University of Southampton, said it would be a remarkable achievement. . "Radio frequency power falls off exponentially with distance," he says. Earlier this year researchers at Intel and the University of Washington, in Seattle, showed that they could power a small sensor using a TV signal 4.1 kilometres away.

Wireless charging is not intended as a sole energy source, but rather to be used in conjunction with other energy harvesting technologies, such as handset casings embedded with solar cell materials. According to Technology Review magazine, the phone could be on the market in three to five years.


Monster Jellyfish Taking Over The Oceans

Giant jellyfish like this one are taking over parts of the world's oceans as overfishing and other human activities open windows of opportunity for them to prosper, say researchers.

In this photo, a diver is attaching a sensor to track a monster Echizen jellyfish, which has a body almost 5 feet across, off the coast of northern Japan.

Jellyfish are normally kept in check by fish, which eat small jellyfish and compete for jellyfish food such as zooplankton, researchers said. But, with overfishing, jellyfish numbers are increasing.

These huge creatures can burst through fishing nets, as well as destroy local fisheries with their taste for fish eggs and larvae.

Anthony Richardson of CSIRO Marine & Atmospheric Research and colleagues reported their findings in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution to coincide with World Oceans Day.

They say climate change could also cause jellyfish populations to grow. The team believes that for the first time, water conditions could lead to what they call a "jellyfish stable state," in which jellyfish rule the oceans.

The combination of overfishing and high levels of nutrients in the water has been linked to jellyfish blooms. Nitrogen and phosphorous in run-off cause red phytoplankton blooms, which create low-oxygen dead zones where jellyfish survive, but fish can't, researchers said.

"(There is) a jellyfish called Nomura, which is the biggest jellyfish in the world. It can weigh 200 kilograms (440 pounds), as big as a sumo wrestler and is 2 meters (6.5 feet) in diameter," Richardson said.

Richardson said jellyfish numbers are increasing in Southeast Asia, the Black Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and the North Sea.



The Worst Job. Ever.

The Worst Job Ever - Watch more Funny Videos

Move To Canada

Canada - You Die In Real Life!

Canadians make stem-cell breakthrough

In 'great advance' to research, scientists discover new technique that safely turns skin cells into stem cells, removing risks and complications involved in using the technology

Canadian researchers have discovered a new way to turn skin cells into stem cells with fewer potential risks to patients.

Their work removes major barriers to using stem cells, which have an endless capacity for self-renewal, in new medical therapies for people with spinal cord injuries or diseases such as diabetes or Parkinson's.

“We hope these stem cells will form the basis for treatment of many diseases and conditions that are currently considered incurable,” says Andras Nagy, of Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital. He is the lead author of a groundbreaking paper published online Sunday by the journal Nature.

Dr. Nagy and his colleagues are the first to reprogram human skin cells to an embryonic state without using a virus, collaborating on the new technique with Keisuke Kaji from the Medical Research Council Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh.

Dr. Nagy's team has been working full-out for a year on this novel approach, which builds on a breakthrough reported by Japanese and American researchers in November, 2007.

The Japanese took skin cells from the face of a 36-year-old woman and turned them into cells that look and act like embryonic stem cells. The Americans did the same with skin cells from infant foreskins.

In the developing embryo, stem cells give rise to every type of cell in the body: skin, muscle, bone, heart, liver, kidney, brain and 250 other types of specialized cells. The 2007 advance made headlines because it allowed scientists to sidestep the ethical debate over getting stem cells for medical research from aborted fetuses.

But there were two major problems with the technique.

Both the Japanese and American teams used viruses to insert four genes that are active in stem cells into the genome of the mature skin cells.

Viruses can damage healthy DNA. Some of the genes that orchestrated the transformation back to an embryonic state can also cause cancer.

Dr. Nagy and his colleagues have developed a technique to make stem cells without either of these drawbacks.

Without using a virus, they were able to slip four genes into skin cells that reprogrammed them to an embryonic-like state. They were also able to then get rid of the genes with the potential to cause cancer.

How did they do it? The team used a jumping gene, a mobile piece of DNA also known as a transposon. In moths, corn and other species, these genes hop from chromosome to chromosome, inserting themselves randomly into the genome. They give rise to the kind of genetic variability that can help species adapt to changing conditions.

First, Dr. Nagy and his colleagues inserted the four reprogramming genes into a jumping gene from a moth. Then they put the jumping gene and its cargo into a skin cell.

The jumping gene cut and pasted the stem cell genes into a chromosome in the skin cell. The scientists were then able to coax the skin cell back to its embryonic state, giving it the superhero-like ability to turn into many types of cells.

In many cases, they found that the jumping gene then took a second leap to another chromosome. But 60 per cent of the time, the second cut-and-paste operation wasn't successful. This meant the four genes were not reinserted back into the genome of the skin cell, and disappeared, as did the jumping gene.

“It goes back to the original,” Dr. Nagy said.

The Canadian researchers were able to easily identify the stem cells that were no longer carrying the four genes.

The work is a “great advance,” says the University of Ottawa's Michael Rudnicki, a leading stem cell researcher who is not involved in the study.

“These will be relatively pristine cells that can certainly be exploited therapeutically and will be useful for research purposes,” he said.

Many scientists believe that the flexibility and regenerative power of stem cells hold great promise in the treatment of many diseases, including Alzheimer's, and that one day they may be used to repair damaged hearts, kidneys, livers or other tissue, or even to grow new organs for transplant.

Dr. Nagy's team performed the experiments on both mouse and human cells. They are now using their technique to grow stem cells from the mature cells taken from patients suffering from a variety of diseases, including cystic fibrosis.

One day, the work could allow patients to be treated with their own reprogrammed stem cells. But Dr. Nagy said it is difficult to predict how soon that could happen.



Vancouver world's most livable city, Harare the worst: Poll

Toronto 3rd, Calgary in 6th spot

Vancouver has once again snagged top honours as the world’s most livable city, while Harare, Zimbabwe, was pronounced the toughest city to live in.

Canadian and Australian cities hold six of the top 10 slots in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s global livability poll, which ranks 140 cities on five factors: health care, stability, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.

“I’m not surprised,” Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said. “There’s often focus on our challenges and negativity, but when you look at the big picture, Vancouver is a remarkable place to live and work and it’s great to be recognized for that.”

The poll listed Vancouver in first place with a rating of 98 per cent, with the report noting the city’s only challenges were “petty crime and availability of good-quality housing.”

Vancouver was followed by Vienna, Melbourne and Toronto in the top four, while Helsinki, Geneva, Zurich and Sydney also placed among the top-10 livable destinations.

The report noted there wasn’t much difference among the top- 10 cities, which tended to be mid-sized, in developed countries with a low population density and with lower crime levels or infrastructure problems often caused by large populations.

London and Manchester, for instance, also placed in the top tier, but weren’t as high, reflecting “the challenges faced by many large urban centres,” the report said.

“London and Manchester both benefit from the attractions that a big city offers but also suffer from the problems that can be faced such as crime, the threat of terrorist attacks and overloaded transport infrastructure,” said the report’s editor Jon Copestake.

Most of the poorest performing locations were in Asia and Africa, “where civil instability and poor infrastructure present significant challenges,” the report said. “The prospect of violence, whether through domestic protests, civil war or the threat of foreign incursion, plays a significant role in the poorest performing cities,” the report said. “They can exacerbate the impact of instability on other key livability categories.”

Robertson said he hopes Vancouver can use its honour to bring more investment and “help us build an even better city.”


Best and Worst Fast Food: McDonald's Edition

No matter how well you plan, every day can't be an ultra-healthy, bring-your-own-lunch-to-work day. But just because you're eating at a fast food place doesn't mean all bets are off. Get to know your options with the healthiest and unhealthiest foods at McDonald's.

To put this post together, we pored over the nutritional fact sheets for all the items at McDonald's. The following list of healthiest and unhealthiest foods was compiled based on several factors, including total calories, fat, and sodium content. It's up to you to decide which dietary trade-offs you're willing to make, because when you indulge in a little fast food, trades-offs are inevitable. Need a lot of protein? You'll be eating a lot of salt and fat too. Trying to avoid high sodium content? Good luck with that; you'll rarely find any truly low sodium items at any fast food restaurant outside of ordering fries with no salt.

Below you'll see our galleries for both the healthiest and unhealthiest items at McDonald's. Click through on each for the full run-down.

Five Healthiest Foods at McDonald's

Five Unhealthiest Foods at McDonald's

The biggest key to eating healthier at a fast food place—which will come as a surprise to no one—is portion control. If you're going to grab McDonald's for lunch, you really need to ask yourself how important getting a huge meal like a Quarter Pounder with Cheese, a large fry, and a chocolate shake is, compared to a more moderate meal like a regular hamburger, a small fry, and a small Coke. The former provides for the entire daily caloric needs of an average size adult, while the former leaves plenty of room for breakfast and dinner.

Blogs Falling in an Empty Forest

Many people start blogs with lofty aspirations — to build an audience and leave their day job, to land a book deal, or simply to share their genius with the world. Getting started is easy, since all it takes to maintain a blog is a little time and inspiration. So why do blogs have a higher failure rate than restaurants?

According to a 2008 survey by Technorati, which runs a search engine for blogs, only 7.4 million out of the 133 million blogs the company tracks had been updated in the past 120 days. That translates to 95 percent of blogs being essentially abandoned, left to lie fallow on the Web, where they become public remnants of a dream — or at least an ambition — unfulfilled.

Judging from conversations with retired bloggers, many of the orphans were cast aside by people who had assumed that once they started blogging, the world would beat a path to their digital door.

Not all fallow blogs die from lack of reader interest. Some bloggers find themselves too busy — what with, say, homework and swim practice, or perhaps even housework and parenting. Others graduate to more immediate formats, like Twitter and Facebook. And a few — gasp — actually decide to reclaim some smidgen of personal privacy.

Richard Jalichandra, chief executive of Technorati, said that at any given time there are 7 million to 10 million active blogs on the Internet, but “it’s probably between 50,000 and 100,000 blogs that are generating most of the page views.” He added, “There’s a joke within the blogging community that most blogs have an audience of one.”

That’s a serious letdown from the hype that greeted blogs when they first became popular. No longer would writers toil in anonymity or suffer the indignities of the publishing industry, we were told.

Many people who think blogging is a fast path to financial independence also find themselves discouraged. Matt Goodman, an advertising executive in Atlanta, had no trouble attracting an audience to his self-explanatory site, Things My Dog Ate, which included tales of his foxhound, Watson, eating remote controls, a wig and a $400 pair of Prada shoes.

“I did some Craigslist postings to advertise it, and I very quickly got an audience of about 50,000 viewers a month,” he said. That led to some small advertising deals, including one with PetSmart and another with a company that made dog-proof cellphone chargers. Mr. Goodman posted a video of his dog failing to destroy one.

“I guess the charger wasn’t very popular,” he said. “I think I made about $20” from readers clicking on the ads. He last updated the site in November.

Mr. Jalichandra of Technorati — a blogger himself — also points out that some retired bloggers have merely found new platforms. “Some of that activity has gone to Facebook and MySpace, and obviously Twitter is a new phenomenon,” he said.

Others simply tire of telling their stories. “Stephanie,” a semi-anonymous 17-year-old with a precocious knowledge of designers and a sharp sense of humor, abandoned her blog, Fashion Robot, about a week before it got a shoutout in the “blog watch” column of The Wall Street Journal last December. Her final post, simply titled “The End,” said she just didn’t feel like blogging any more. She declined an e-mail request for an interview, saying she was no longer interested in publicity.


This caribou froze while standing up in -80°F winds on the North slope at the top of Alaska.


Luck or Skill?

Sports Videos, News, Blogs

Mile-High Dogfight: Real Sweat, Fake Weapons

Golf too slow? These weekend warriors roar through the sky searching for the next ''kill.''
Hitman screamed across an azure sky at 5,000 feet in hot pursuit of Mack Attack, pulling some serious Gs as he shot up out of an inverted roll and dive. Although the wings of his Marchetti SF-260 fighter plane started to vibrate and his vision began to blur, he kept pulling the nose of the plane up even as he sunk further into his seat. Hitman didn't want to be killed.

Drenched in sweat, his nervous system in overdrive, Hitman pushed out deep grunts of breath in an attempt to keep oxygen flowing to his brain. Hoping for a clear shot at his prey, he dropped the nose of his plane down, then rose quickly, flipping to the side. Mack Attack mirrored the move, known as a Low Yo-Yo. For 10 minutes, the duo's dogfight resembled an aerial dance.

Then Mack Attack made a mistake, losing sight of Hitman, who maneuvered behind him and pulled his trigger. "When I saw the smoke coming from the back of his plane, it was a really cool feeling," says Hitman, recalling his victory roll.

On the ground, Hitman is Hoyt H. Harper, II, a 53-year-old brand manager for Starwood Resorts, focused on the chain's Sheraton hotels. Ultimately, Harper is responsible for the music you hear in a Sheraton lobby and the size, shape and smell of the soap in each room.

Mack Attack is Peter Mack, a Starwood coworker some 20 years younger than Harper (he refuses to divulge his actual age) who is in charge of Starwood's marketing partnerships. On most days, the two men sit at desks or give Powerpoint presentations in meetings at the company's office in White Plains, N.Y. When it comes to leisure activities, coworkers hit the links for a game of golf or head out to the water for a day of fishing. Not Harper and Mack. These guys prefer to live out their Walter Mitty fantasies by climbing into actual fighter planes and participating in adrenaline-pumped dogfights a mile above the earth.

"It's exhilarating, competitive and physically challenging," says Harper. "Everything about it is exciting."

Mack adds: "You get such a rush from the speed and G-forces, and it doesn't wear off for months afterward."

The purveyor of these fantasies is Air Combat USA, a civilian dogfighting school based in Fullerton, Calif. The company has taken up 40,000 customers since its founding in 1988, operating an aerial circus that travels to 30 mostly smaller and mid-sized airports.


"This. Sounds. So. Freaking. Awesome!!"


Canadians angered over "Buy American" rule

Canadian municipal leaders threatened to retaliate against the "Buy America" movement in the United States on Saturday, warning trade restrictions will hurt both countries' economies.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities endorsed a controversial proposal to support communities that refuse to buy products from countries that put trade restrictions on products and services from Canada.

The measure is a response to a provision in the U.S. economic stimulus package passed by Congress in February that says public works projects should use iron, steel and other goods made in the United States.

The United States is Canada's largest trading partner, and Canadians have complained the restrictions will bar their companies from billions of dollars in business that they have previously had access to.

"This U.S. protectionist policy is hurting Canadian firms, costing Canadian jobs and damaging Canadian efforts to grow our economy in the midst of a worldwide recession," said Sherbrooke, Quebec, Mayor Jean Perrault, also president of the federation that represents cities and towns across Canada.

The municipal officials meeting at the federation's convention in Whistler, British Columbia, endorsed the measure despite complaints by Canadian trade officials.

Trade Minister Stockwell Day told the group on Friday that Ottawa was actively negotiating with Washington to get the "Buy American" restrictions removed.

The measure's supporters agreed to modify it slightly by suspending implementation for 120 days, in order to give Canadian trade officials and U.S. critics of the "Buy America" rules more time to work on the issue.


The only Canadian community to enact an anti-"Buy American" purchasing rule so far is Halton Hills, Ontario, where a major employer, Hayward Gordon, is worried about losing its access to the United States.

The company's water treatment equipment includes parts that are produced in the United States, and critics of the "Buy American" rule say that is an example of how the restriction could end up costing U.S. jobs.

"Leaders in the United States have to understand this could have unintended consequences," said Clark Somerville, acting mayor of Halton Hills, which sponsored the measure approved by the federation delegates.

Some Canadian communities complained any retaliation effort could have unintended consequences of its own, including driving up the cost of infrastructure projects being considered to help stimulate Canada's economy.

"We as local officials have a responsibility to get the best possible deal we can for taxpayers," said Jim Stevenson, a city alderman in Calgary, Alberta.

Halton Hills councilor Jane Fogal acknowledged the views of Canada municipal officials will likely carry little weight with the American public, but she hoped it would at least make them take notice of the....


Stop Cheating!

Good sex makes you better at your job: study

A new Swedish study shows that a healthy emotional and sexual relationship can significantly reduce stress at work.

Ann-Christine Andersson Arntén is a psychology doctoral student from the University of Gothenburg. She conducted a five-year-long study on the effects of partner relations on work stress. Andersson Arntén said that people’s home lives can either help alleviate stress at work or push people over the edge.

“Either you come home to something that gives you a possibility to rewind and recover or you have a relationship that makes you more troubled,” she told The Local.

“If that’s the case than you cannot recover, and your whole system physically and mentally will become unbalanced. It will start to become more and more unhealthy and could end up in depression, anxiety, or sleeping problems.”

About 900 male and female participants completed surveys in which they were asked to categorize their relationship in one of three categories: good, average, and bad.

They were then asked to rate whether their relationship had a positive or negative effect on their work life. The results for women were as expected. Women in good relationships had less stress at work, and ones in bad relationships had more work stress. However, the surprise finding was in the men’s group.

“With men we found the average group experienced the most stress-related problems at work,” Andersson Arntén explained.

“When we talked to the men, they said that when it’s in-between, you have to put more effort into it. You keep doing that until the relationship either becomes better or hopeless. When you get to that point, it doesn’t really affect your health anymore.”

The study also found that men were often more interested in the frequency of sex than women, who were more inclined to value the quality of sexual relations.

Andersson Arntén said the survey results also dismiss the myth that men completely separate work life and private life. She said that men are not the only ones who can benefit from the results of the study.

“People should look at the whole picture,” she said. “For employees, there is an interaction between work and family. If the family life is bad, you pay the consequences. You cannot separate the two.”

She also had a few words of advice for people who are struggling in their relationships.

“Sometimes you need a nutmeg of passion, an extra thing to spice things up in the relationship.”

Andersson Arntén will present her dissertation about this study on Friday at the University of Gothenburg. She will also conduct another study in late August to get a better picture of why this study had the unexpected results.