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And Now, For Something Completely Different

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports in its Lifestyle section: When a dog just won’t do

A new study suggests cat owners are less likely to die of a heart attack or stroke than people who, well, don’t own cats.

And no, dogs don’t do the same trick.

The study, by researchers at the University of Minnesota, found that feline-less people were 30 to 40 percent likelier to die of cardiovascular disease than those with cats.

Yet dog owners had the same rate as non-owners. “No protective effect of dogs as domestic pets was observed,” said the study, which was presented Thursday at the International Stroke Conference in New Orleans.

Don’t let your cats read this or they’ll send you a bill.

February 23, 2008   5 Comments

Presented Nearly Without Comment

The BBC report: Fowl Eurovision entry for Ireland

Eurovision Song Contest feathers may be ruffled by Ireland’s decision to be represented in May’s cross-continental competition by a puppet bird.

Dustin The Turkey was plucked from a rafter of six finalists, winning a televised vote on Saturday night.

The cult figure’s gobbled rendition of Irelande Douze Pointe – a parody of the Eurovision voting system – secured his place at the top of the pecking order.

Dustin now aims to restore Irish pride battered by recent Eurovision failures.

But while Dustin beat off national opposition in broadcaster RTE’s Eurosong on Saturday, he now faces a pressure cooker environment at May’s Eurovision, where he will have to fight off competition from all over Europe.

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February 23, 2008   Comments Off on Presented Nearly Without Comment

Providing Broadband is Too Hard For US Companies

CNN reports that a Super-speed Internet satellite blasts off in Japan

(CNN) — Japan launched a rocket Saturday carrying a satellite that will test new technology that promises to deliver “super high-speed Internet” service to homes and businesses around the world.

The rocket carrying the WINDS satellite — a joint project of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries — lifted off its pad at 5:55 p.m. (0855 GMT).

If the technology proves successful, subscribers with small dishes will connect to the Internet at speeds many times faster than what is now available over residential cable or DSL services.

The Associated Press said the satellite would offer speeds of up to 1.2 gigabytes per second.

The service initially would focus on the Asia-Pacific region close to Japan, a JAXA news release said.

Depending on the cost, this may be the answer to broadband in the US. There are a number of people who cannot get a broadband connection in the US. If this works as well as cable and costs in the $50/month range, I would be more than happy to sign on. Small towns could buy in and set up a few wireless routers and provide free broadband to the entire community. Reservations could get Japanese broadband before they get American cell phone coverage.

February 23, 2008   5 Comments

Vista’s Reign of Terror Continues

A lot of people were waiting for Service Pack 1 before moving from XP to Vista, under the assumption that most of the major problems with the new version would be fixed by the service pack. They will be waiting a little longer.

CNet reports that Microsoft pulls Vista SP1 update

Microsoft has stopped automatically distributing a prerequisite piece of software for Vista Service Pack 1, following some customer complaints that it had caused system problems.

Servicing stack update KB937287, released last week, contained updates to Windows Vista installation software, and was billed as being “necessary to successfully install and to remove Windows Vista SP1 (Service Pack 1) on all versions of Windows Vista.”

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February 23, 2008   17 Comments

Not A Good Week for the Air Force

The Associated Press reports that a Stealth bomber crashes on Guam

HAGATNA, Guam – A B-2 stealth bomber crashed Saturday at an air base on Guam, but both pilots ejected safely and were in good condition, the Air Force said.

It was the first crash of a B-2 bomber, said Capt. Sheila Johnston, a spokeswoman for Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia.

Thick, black smoke could be seen billowing from the wreckage at Andersen Air Force Base, said Jeanne Ward, a resident in the northern village of Yigo who was on the base visiting her husband.

Each B-2 bomber costs about $1.2 billion to build. All 21 stealth bombers are based at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, but the Air Force has been rotating several of them through Guam since 2004, along with B-1 and B-52 bombers.

It is highly unlikely this aircraft will be replaced, they are too expensive. The “advantage” they have over a B-52 is not worth the money. You stand off and use cruise missiles, there’s no need to endanger a crew and a billion dollars.

February 23, 2008   4 Comments