Friday, August 31, 2012

States reach $69 million settlement with three publishers in e-book price fixing case

When the US Department of Justice sued Apple and five major book publishers over alleged e-book price rigging, it immediately became clear that a few of these companies would do just about anything to avoid trial. That same day, three of the publishers -- HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Hachette -- elected to settle with the DoJ. Now, those same three publishers have reached an agreement in 49 states (all but Minnesota), wherein consumers will receive a combined $69 million in compensation.

Specifically, the payout applies to people who bought agency-priced e-books between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012. Interestingly, the payout includes folks who bought e-books from Macmillan and Penguin, even though those two publishers aren't settling. As for making sure people get paid, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google, Sony, Apple and Kobo have agreed to identify and contact affected customers. According to ABC News, most of these retailers will give customers the option of receiving a check or a credit toward future purchases. Sony, meanwhile, will automatically issue checks, while Google will direct customers to an online submission form where they can file a claim. Whatever the method, payments are expected to begin 30 days after the settlement is approved. The DoJ settlement, which is separate from the agreement with the 49 states, is still awaiting clearance.

States reach $69 million settlement with three publishers in e-book price fixing case originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 30 Aug 2012 11:43:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Angola opposition doubts election will be free and fair

On the eve of Angola's second peacetime vote, the main opposition party on Thursday sought talks with President Jose Eduardo dos Santos on its fears the election won't be free and fair.

Unita's party leader Isaias Samakuva said earlier he wanted to meet Dos Santos to discuss its long-held concerns about the electoral roll and the accreditation of 2,000 of its activists to monitor the balloting.

"We are going to propose a conversation with the candidate and president... to one more time use dialogue to resolve this situation," he said late Wednesday, the final day of campaigning in the oil-rich nation.

"Many Angolans' names don't appear on the voter roll, and in many places the voter roll has not been released," he said.

"We have come to the conclusion that the National Electoral Commission is not ready. The conditions don't exist to ensure the minimum of an organised, transparent process."

Unita, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, was once a powerful rebel force that battled the government for 27 years.

It is now the main opposition party but managed to take only 10 percent of the vote in the last elections four years ago.

Dos Santos's People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) took 80 percent, in elections that were generally judged as legitimate. He has shown little willingness to make concessions to Unita in the past.

State media's silence on Samakuva's request seemed to indicate that a meeting was unlikely.

Dos Santos, already in power for nearly 33 years, is widely expected to win another five-year term with his party set to cruise to victory Friday.

He has claimed credit for hauling Angola out of civil war, which ended in 2002 after the army killed Unita's notorious leader Jonas Savimbi.

Angola emerged from the conflict as one of the world's fastest-growing economies, powered by vast oil reserves that make the country Africa's second-largest producer after Nigeria.

While Dos Santos's family, notably his daughter Isabel, has built an international business empire, he has also poured billions of dollars into building roads, schools and hospitals.

The capital Luanda is now an endless series of construction projects, with glittering skyscrapers rising out of derelict districts and sprawling new neighbourhoods springing up in the suburbs.

But Dos Santos since last year has faced a small but persistent protest movement, led by young Angolans without a party affiliation but angered at their struggle to find jobs and decent housing.

Such demonstrations were long unheard of in Angola, where the ruling party keeps a tight lid on any public dissent and closely monitors the activities of civic groups.

The protests were quickly and often violently repressed, but have succeeded in turning the election campaign's attention to the 55 percent of Angolans living in abject poverty, many without water or electricity.

"Even if you have skills, there's no jobs," said Jeroman de Dias da Costa, 27 and unemployed, among the few hundred people at Samakuva's rally Wednesday.

The failure of either of the two leading parties to address those concerns sparked the creation of a new party in April. Top Unita leader Abel Chivukuvuku broke away to form the Casa party with a top MPLA official and a clutch of smaller opposition groups.

With half of Angolans younger than 18, how the youth decide to cast their ballots is one of the central questions of the election, though even Casa leaders say their goal is simply to dent MPLA's majority.


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GOP Convention Blessed By New Apostolic Reformation Leader Samuel Rodriguez

Top leaders of that "stealth" apostle's movement, as I described in a 2011 story,

"have repeatedly emphasized in their writings the need for believers to destroy or neutralize, by burning, smashing, or flushing down toilets, objects deemed to be unholy, including profane books and "idolatrous" religious texts (such as Books of Mormon), religious relics (such as statues of Catholic saints, the Buddha, or Hindu gods), and native art (such as African masks, Hopi Indian Kachina dolls, and totem poles.)"

In his book Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America, recommended by significant Christian theologians and released May 2012, Colonel V. Doner, who pioneered distributing voter guides in churches and helped mobilize the religious right to reelect Ronald Reagan in 1984, writes,

"I realized that the main difference between "our people" and "their people" (Islamic fundamentalists) was that ours (with the notable exception of bombing abortion clinics and assassinating doctors) had not (yet) resorted to violence."

In his book, Doner identifies one particular Christian tendency as leading the vanguard of such potentially jihadist Christians: the New Apostolic Reformation - a theologically, ideologically, and politically radical movement that is reshaping large swaths of global Christianity and which includes, notably, the apostles and prophets brought together during the last decade under C. Peter Wagner.

Blessing the convention was National Hispanic Leadership Conference President Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, who has served as an apostle in C. Peter Wagner's International Coalition of Apostles and has extensive ties to Wagner's movement.

Rodriguez also has ties to policy advisers on faith who are influential within the Democratic National Committee and has appeared in public with First Lady Michele Obama, leading evangelical Christians and secular critics to accuse Rodriguez of leading a double life (as well as possibly exaggerating the size of his NHCLC coalition's membership.)

In 2010 Rodriguez co-led a political initiative which promoted a video speech from (Ret.) Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin, in which Boykin claimed that a provision in the health care reform legislation signed by President Obama was "laying the groundwork for a constabulary force that will control the population in America" - a force Boykin compared to Hitler's brownshirts.

While Rodriguez's public speech before secular audiences is typically moderate, when addressing movement audiences a very different Samuel Rodriguez can emerge. ?In 2006, the Rev. Rodriguez told members of a Utah church,

"We have radical Muslims. Radical homosexuals. Radical abortionists. We need radical, born again, spirit filled Christians to arise ! Do you follow me ? We don't need any sissy Christians, Oprah Winfrey Christians. We need prophetic, devil stomping, demon rebuking, blood washed, Bible believing, free-from-sin Christians !"

In 2010, at an Oak Initiative event speech, Rev. Rodriguez compared legal abortion to genocide, called for political candidates who shared a "Biblical worldview", and stated,

"The Tea Party, God bless you, CPAC, Council on National Policy, look at your audience! If your audience is 99.9 percent white, no te vista, que no va! The election is not going to happen at a national level. You need to go beyond that--enlarge your tent. Get it off the party platform and put it into practice, in the name of Jesus, and then you will see something happen in your party. This message was sponsored by the Oak Initiative."

The secretive Council On National Policy, founded by the Rev. Tim LaHaye, author of the "Left Behind" series, is considered one of the most influential leadership groupings on the theocratic Christian right. ?

In 2009, a San Francisco Chronicle story billed Rodriguez as one of seven top leaders in an emergent tendency of "new evangelicals", but the same year Rodriguez also co-founded The Oak Initiative, a political organizing effort which fused Wagner's NAR movement with Tea Party politics. ?

Wagner's movement came to public attention in 2011, because of a nationally publicized prayer rally, dominated by C. Peter Wagner's apostles, that kicked off the 2012 election presidential bid of Texas governor Rick Perry - who had been anointed in 2009 by one of Wagner's apostles, as reported by Texas Observer journalist Forrest Wilder, in Rick Perry's Army of God.

Perry is far from the only nationally prominent politician with ties to Wagner's movement. Kansas governor Sam Brownback once shared a Washington D.C.condominium with The Call founder and head Lou Engle and has appeared at numerous events held by Engle's ministry The Call

Engle serves as one of the prophets in Wagner's Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders (ACPE), currently headed by Cindy Jacobs; ACPE channels "prophetic" message directly from God, messages that can have within Wagner's movement the force of papal edicts. Sam Brownback has also appeared at numerous events held by Engle's The Call.

In 2011, ACPE head Cindy Jacobs gained widespread attention from her claim that flocks of blackbird were dropping dead because of the Obama Administration's decision to repeal the US military "Don't Ask/Don't Tell" policies covering gays in the military. Samuel Rodriguez, who calls Jacobs "mama Cindy" has appeared with Jacobs at numerous NAR events.

In May 2010, ACPE prophet Engle staged and spoke at a The Call event in Kampala, Uganda which was widely accused of being held in support of Uganda's so-called "kill the gays" bill, which threatened to impose a death sentence on active homosexuals in Uganda. One of the authors, and top supporters, of the bill was a Wagner apostle, the Ugandan evangelist Julius Oyet.

In 2007, The Call head Engle released a "prophetic" doctrine on "The Shedding of Innocent Blood", which declared that God demanded blood be shed to avenge legal abortion, and shortly before the assassination of late-term abortion doctor George Tiller, Engle, on his personal website, compared Tiller to a guard at the Nazi Auschwitz death camp.

But one of the most prominent politicians closely tied to C. Peter Wagner's apostles has been Sarah Palin, identified by Charisma magazine as a longtime personal friend to Wagner apostle and prophet (serving in ACPE along with Lou Engle) Mary Glazier, who has reported that Palin joined Glazier's personal prayer group when the future McCain vice presidential pick was in her twenties. ?

In 2005, as Wagner confirmed to Fresh Air host Terry Gross in an October 3, 2011 interview, shortly before her successful 2005 bid to become Alaska governor Sarah Palin was blessed, in an elaborate church ceremony, by an apostle, colleague, and friend of C. Peter Wagner's, Kenyan evangelist Thomas Muthee, who called upon God to protect Palin from "every spirit of witchcraft". Along with Mary Glazier, Muthee is one of two personal friends and associates of Palin's who claims to have led successful witch hunts.

During his speech, Muthee called on believers to carry out the "Seven Mountain" mandate, a dominionist vision in which charismatic neo-fundamentalist Christians would achieve control of seven "mountains" of society: business, media, education, arts and entertainment, religion, the family, and government. Muthee urged his listeners to "infiltrate" these sectors of society.

One astonishing case of of such "infiltration" may have even given America the two-term presidency of George W. Bush.

In an account published by Charisma magazine prior to the 2006 election, ?the founder and publisher of Charisma magazine Stephen Strang, who was then serving as an apostle in C. Peter Wagner's International Coalition of Apostles, described the "pivotal" role that then-Florida Secretary Katherine Harris played in shutting down the Florida vote recount in the 2006 election, and claimed Harris as a movement member.

Wrote Strang,

"The 2000 presidential election was decided in Florida by only 537 votes, which put George W. Bush into the White House over Al Gore. Little did we know at the time that within a year our country would be at war against terrorism and that the outcome of the election would be crucial to the future of our country.

The election thrust Katherine Harris, the little-known Florida secretary of state, into the national spotlight. Her role in the election proved to be pivotal.

Few people are aware that Harris was impacted in 1966 by an intercessor in Bartow, Florida, who sparked the interest in government that led to Harris' running for public office years later. The intercessor was her fourth-grade teacher, a godly woman who prayed for all her students and tried to instill in them a love for their country and a sense of duty.

The reason I know this story is that the intercessor also prayed for me. She is my mother, Amy Strang, a powerful prayer warrior.

The point is that 35 years ago God set in motion events that would later help accomplish His purposes in the political arena."



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Tori Spelling Gives Birth To Fourth Child?A Baby Boy!

Tori Spelling Gives Birth To Fourth Child…A Baby Boy!

Tori Spelling has given birth to her fourth child. The former “Beverly Hills 90210″ actress and her husband Dean McDermott welcomed their fourth child into [...]

Tori Spelling Gives Birth To Fourth Child…A Baby Boy! Stupid Celebrities Gossip Stupid Celebrities Gossip News


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Sunny Health and Fitness Pro Indoor Cycling Bike ? Exercise ...

The Sunny Health and Fitness Pro Indoor Cycling Bike are for those that want a rugged, durable and quiet indoor cycling bike. The cycling bike comes equipped with a heavy-duty crank, self-leveling pedals with toe straps and a heavy-duty steel frame. The tension of the Sunny Health and Fitness Pro Indoor Cycling Bike can be easily adjusted with the turn of a tension knob, as can be the handlebars and the seat, so that the cycling bike can be a fit for people of all shapes and sizes.


There is a chain drive mechanism to ensure quiet and smooth workouts

The resistance is fully adjustable

The flywheel is a durable 40 pounds

Both the seat and the handlebars are fully adjustable

Transport wheels are included, so moving from one room to another is made easy.

Heavy-duty steel frame, crank

Self-leveling pedals and toe straps are included.

Included is a water bottle holder.

Can accommodate a maximum user weight of 275 pounds


The cycling bike is 48.5 inches long.

The width of the bike is 20 inches wide.

The height is 46.5 inches tall.

The weight of the bike is 108 pounds.


The frame of the Sunny Health and fitness has a warrantee of 1 year and the parts have a warrantee of 90 days.


This is a very good cycling bike for those people on a budget.

The Sunny Health and Fitness Pro Indoor Cycling Bike are equipped with a heavy duty-steel frame.

Due to the chain drive mechanism and flywheel, you will have a quiet and smooth workout.

Adjustable handle bars and seat to accommodate all shapes and sizes.

Ease of adjusting the tension by just a turn of the tension knob.

Well-made cycling bike with a heavy-duty steel frame


Some complained that there was a squealing noise that emanated from the flywheel as tension is applied.

There were some complaints that the Sunny Health and Fitness Pro Indoor Cycling Bike does not come equipped with a comfortable seat, and that this had to be remedied with the purchase of the Schwinn Pillow Top Cruiser Bicycle Seat.

Many cannot argue that the Sunny Health and Fitness Pro Indoor Cycling is not an excellent buy for the money. The Sunny Health and Fitness Pro Indoor Cycling Bike is a well-made cycling bike that is highly praised by their owners for the cycling bike being extremely durable and solid, and is quite easy to assemble normally not taking more than 30 minutes. For those on a budget this cycling bike is highly recommended.


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Luxuo: @Ford Plans Launch of #Luxury Lincoln Brand in China in 2014?

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Taylor Swift Offers Breakup Advice For That 'Never Ever' Ex

VMA performer offers up her sage wisdom for the post-breakup blues during 'MTV First.'
By Jocelyn Vena, with reporting by Sway Calloway

Taylor Swift and Sway
Photo: Michele Crowe / MTV


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What type of flooring should you get? | Home Improvement ...

Walk into any home improvement store, and head straight to the ?flooring? section. I can guarantee that most would be quite overwhelmed by the different kinds of flooring available today. Once you choose the type of flooring you want, you will still have a few more choices to make.? What color carpet should you get? What pattern of laminate or tile best accents your kitchen, and what fits into your budget. Each type of flooring has it?s own pros and cons, as well. Our list will break it down to a more understandable level and provide a few tips.

Just a few of the many types of tile available

Types of flooring, their pros and cons, and ideal placements

  • Wood- or hardwood flooring is made of solid wood or engineered planks of wood. The Pros of wood flooring are that it is universal and works well with almost any decor, wood is a quality material (especially hardwood or solid wood), may be refinished, long lasting with proper upkeep. The Cons of wood flooring are that it darkens upon aging,? Susceptible to water damage, expensive, spills must be cleaned immediately, harder to clean that laminate or tile. Wood flooring works well with open floor plans, and for those that are not working with a budget.
  • Tile- Many different colors,patterns, shapes, and sizes to choose from.The Pros are the vast selection, and that many designs are friendly on the wallet, it?s attractive, durable, easy to maintain, easy for DIY installation. The Cons are it can crack or chip, and cleaning the grout can be hard. Tile is an ideal choice for people with a medium to high budget, and works well in bathrooms and kitchens.
  • Stone- Choose from Marble, Limestone, Slate and Granite. The Pros of stone flooring are that it is nearly indestructible, with Granite being the strongest,Very attractive, long-lasting. The Cons of stone flooring are that it is very expensive, Tumbled or honed stone requires routine sealing, Marble,Limestone and Slate collect dirt. Stone flooring works well for those without a budget, and those with small areas to cover.
  • Carpet-?Endless choices here. The Pros are the vast selection, it can be affordable, and is soft on the feet. The Cons are it isn?t ideal for humid climates, collects moisture and dirt to create mildew and requires deep cleaning a few times a year. Ideal for bedrooms and areas children frequent.
You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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Cooler waters help diminish Isaac's punch

ScienceDaily (Aug. 29, 2012) ? Seven years after the powerful Category 3 Hurricane Katrina caused widespread devastation along the Gulf Coast, a Category 1 Hurricane Isaac, with maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour (70 knots), made landfall Aug. 28 in southeast Louisiana. And one of the reasons why Isaac is not Katrina is the path it took across the Gulf of Mexico and the temperature of the ocean below, which helps to fuel hurricanes.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina's maximum wind speeds increased dramatically as the storm passed over a warm ocean circulation feature called the Loop Current that is part of the Gulf Stream. The storm evolved quickly from a Category 3 to a Category 5 event on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale in a matter of nine hours as it drew heat from the Loop Current. It subsequently dropped in intensity to a Category 3 storm at landfall.

Because the Loop Current and its eddies are warmer, and thus higher in surface elevation, than the surrounding waters, they are easily spotted by satellite altimeter instruments, such as those aboard the NASA/French Space Agency Jason 1 and Ocean Surface Topography Mission/Jason 2 satellites. Scientists use the latest satellite measurements of sea-surface height from these and other satellite altimeters to create maps showing the location, direction and speed of currents in the Gulf of Mexico.

This color-enhanced image of sea surface heights in the northeastern Gulf, produced using data from available satellite altimeters, including NASA's Jason-1 and Jason-2 satellites, shows Isaac's path through the Gulf. The storm skirted around the Loop Current, then caught the outer edge of a warm eddy before passing directly over a cold eddy. The storm's track away from the Gulf's warmest waters has helped to keep Isaac from intensifying rapidly, as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita did in 2005.

Warm eddies have high heat content and great potential to intensify hurricanes, whereas cold eddies have low heat content and may even cause hurricanes to weaken, as was the case with Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

For more on NASA's satellite altimetry missions, visit: .

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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.


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Billy Crystal Takes On Adventures In Babysitting With 'Parental Guidance'

Actor talks to MTV News about working with longtime friend Bette Midler on a movie that tells 'a story for everybody.'
By Kara Warner

Billy Crystal, Marisa Tomei and Tom Everett Scott in "Parental Guidance"
Photo: Chernin Entertainment


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What Online Soccer Has to Offer | Player Gaming Mods

What Online Soccer Has to Offer Categories: Games | 0 comments

Modern entertainment has a lot of different faces. Some people still enjoy the same leisure activities our ancestors have, such as reading a good book, a cup of tea with a friend, or a walk in the forest. Others have turned to more technological forms of entertainment, from movies, to social media, to gaming for their recreational activities.

Internet based entertainment has the advantage of being customized to whatever one is interested in enjoying. With the internet you can enjoy all sorts of entertainment, wherever you are.

Online soccer games are one way soccer enthusiasts are able to enjoy their hobby anytime and anyplace. There are online communities and online soccer leagues that gamers can join. The virtual experience is just about as sophisticated as the real life one, with players being traded, penalties called, trophies earned and all the rest.

Of course, some of these online soccer leagues can be expensive to register with. If you are not interested in paying for registration with one of these online soccer leagues, there are still a number of online soccer games that you can enjoy. You can download these games onto your personal electronic or mobile device, and enjoy them anytime you can fit in a game; in the office on your lunch break, on your couch on a rainy day, as you take the subway into work, or any other time you choose.

Some of these online soccer games for kids and adults alike are designed for multiple players, so you can play against a friend, making it a great way for soccer fans to share their passion. If you are one who always wants to call the shots on a soccer match, or get frustrated with the calls the manager of your favorite team is making, online soccer games are a great way for you to deal with your frustrations.

For the majority of these virtual soccer games you will get to actually manage the soccer team. You get to pick the players, often from an international league of players, decide on the plays, and all the other tasks that go with leading a team to success. Maybe if you?re a real pro at it you will decide to take up managing a real life team. If not, at least you know there is one place where you can command the full attention of a soccer team, and hopefully lead the team to victory.


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U.N. nuclear watchdog sets up "Iran Task Force"

VIENNA (Reuters) - The United Nations' nuclear watchdog has set up a specialized Iran Task Force to handle its inspections and investigation of the Islamic state's disputed atomic activities, an internal document showed on Wednesday.

The brief announcement by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), addressed to its staff, appeared to be an attempt to focus and streamline its handling of the sensitive Iran file by concentrating experts and other resources in one unit.

The Vienna-based U.N. agency, which regularly inspects Iran's nuclear sites, has voiced growing concern over the last year of possible military dimensions to the country's nuclear program. Tehran says its nuclear work is entirely peaceful.

The IAEA and Iran failed on Friday to strike a deal aimed at allaying concerns about Tehran's nuclear program and unblock a long-stalled agency probe into suspected nuclear weapons research in the Islamic Republic.

Bellicose rhetoric from some Israeli politicians has fanned speculation Israel might hit Iran's nuclear sites before the November U.S. presidential vote. Washington has said there is still time for diplomatic pressure to work, but it might be drawn into any war between the two Middle East foes.

Diplomatic sources say Iran has installed many more uranium enrichment centrifuges at Fordow, a fortified underground site and a likely target in any attack. Refined uranium can have both civilian and military purposes, depending on the level of enrichment.

The internal IAEA statement said the Iran Task Force would be part of the agency's department of safeguards, which carries out inspections around the world to make sure nuclear material is not diverted for military purposes.

It said the unit would "perform functions related" to the implementation of the IAEA's safeguards agreement with Iran - which includes monitoring of its atomic sites - as well as "relevant provisions" of resolutions by the agency's 35-nation board and the U.N. Security Council.

The IAEA board and the Security Council in New York have repeatedly called on Iran to curb its nuclear enrichment program and open it up to unfettered IAEA inspections.

"Staff members are hereby informed that the Director General (Yukiya Amano) has approved the establishment in the Department of Safeguards of the Iran Task Force," the statement said.

(Reporting by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Andrew Heavens)


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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Dodgers?top Rockies

Associated Press Sports

updated 6:28 p.m. ET Aug. 29, 2012

DENVER (AP) - Hoping to come together in time for a big finish to the season, the revamped Los Angeles Dodgers relied on holdovers and newcomers alike to get back on a winning track.

Joe Blanton pitched effectively into the eighth inning for his first win with Los Angeles and A.J. Ellis hit his first career grand slam in a 10-8 win over the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday.

Hanley Ramirez, another mid-season acquisition by the Dodgers, also homered in his second straight game to help the Dodgers overcome the absence of slugging center fielder Matt Kemp and withstand a late rally that saw Colorado score seven runs in the eighth inning. Kemp, whose status was characterized as day to day, sat out with a bone bruise on his left knee and sore jaw suffered in a collision with the center field wall the night before while trying to chase down a fly ball.

"That's kind of our team now, but we're just getting to know each other," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "It's definitely a different feel. Hopefully, we can put this thing together quick and get that rhythm that we need to play. But really, it comes down to a matter of getting the pitching and scoring runs."

The Dodgers did both in snapping a three-game losing streak that came on the heels of last week's blockbuster deal with Boston in which they added such headliners as pitcher Josh Beckett and Adrian Gonzalez, who had two hits, including a two-run single.

Blanton (9-12), who was 0-3 with a 7.71 ERA in four previous starts since joining the Dodgers in an Aug. 3 trade with Philadelphia, struck out five and walked one in 7 1-3 innings. It was his first win since July 16 when he beat the Dodgers in one of his last starts for the Phillies.

"As a starter, sometimes it's not necessary to get the win, just making sure the team gets the win, but that hadn't happened either way in my last couple of starts," Blanton said. "I think the most important thing right now are the team wins, not the individual wins.

"And I think the good thing is that everybody that has come over and everybody that was here before, we have a common goal: We want to win and I think any time you have that, hopefully good things are going to happen, because everybody is thinking the right things out there."

Drew Pomeranz (1-8) lost his fifth consecutive decision since his lone win of the season July 6 against Washington. He allowed six runs on six hits, walked none and struck out four.

Pomeranz retired the first six batters he faced before running into trouble in the third, when the Dodgers sent nine batters to the plate and scored six runs.

Juan Rivera and Ellis began the Dodgers' big inning with successive singles and advanced on Blanton's sacrifice. After Mark Ellis reached on first baseman Jordan Pacheco's fielding error that also allowed Rivera to score, Shane Victorino followed with an RBI single and Adrian Gonzalez, part of the latest wave of newcomers included in the Dodgers' blockbuster trade last week with the Boston Red Sox, chipped in with a two-run single.

Ramirez capped the burst with his 22nd homer of the season and eighth homer in 32 games with the Dodgers since coming to Los Angeles from Miami.

After Colorado got an RBI single from Tyler Colvin in the seventh for its first run, the Dodgers stretched their lead to 10-1, loading the bases against reliever Will Harris before A.J. Ellis connected for his 11th home run of the season.

"At the time, you're just glad to be adding on runs and giving yourself more of a cushion and hopefully rest some of the key guys in our bullpen," A. J. Ellis said. "Unfortunately, we needed those runs and I was just glad I could support and help out. It's a big win for us because it gets those good feelings back. We need to win as many as we can."

The Rockies sent 11 batters to the plate in their half of the eighth.

"We know we can score runs, we find a way to put runs on the board," said the Rockies Carlos Gonzalez. "Just one bad inning with the grand slam. That was a great run, a great effort for the guys. We still got the series, so that's a good thing."

Blanton retired the first batter he faced and gave up successive singles to Pacheco and Ramon Hernandez before being relieved by Shawn Tolleson, who gave up three run-scoring singles and a walk before being lifted for Randy Choate.

Choate hit Tyler Colvin with a pitch, forcing in another run and bringing on reliever Ronald Belisario. The Rockies added three more runs in the inning on Josh Rutledge's fielder's choice, Carlos Gonzalez's RBI single and an error by center fielder Victorino.

Belisario got the final five outs for his first save since Sept. 29, 2010, which also was against Colorado.

"It's not exactly the way, when you're up to 10-1, that you want to win that game, but at the end of the day you walk out of here with a `W,' and you don't care how you got it," Mattingly said.

NOTES: The Dodgers return to LA to open a homestand Thursday against the Diamondbacks, with LHP Clayton Kershaw (12-7) going against Arizona's Ian Kennedy (11-11). ... The Rockies are off Thursday before hosting the San Diego Padres in a three-game set over the weekend. ... The Dodgers placed LHP Scott Elbert on the 15-day disabled list with left elbow inflammation and recalled RHP Shawn Tolleson Single-A Rancho Cucamonga. ... Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki (groin) and 1B Jason Giambi (viral illness) were scheduled to play Wednesday night for Triple-A Colorado Springs as part of their rehab assignments. ... All 15 hits for the Rockies were singles.

? 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Ecological monitoring on bird populations in Europe re-evaluated

ScienceDaily (Aug. 30, 2012) ? Biodiversity and environmental monitoring is of crucial importance to diagnose changes in the environment and natural populations in order to provide conservation practice with relevant data and recommendations. The information from monitoring is required, for example, for the design and evaluation of biodiversity policies, conservation management, land use decisions, and environmental protection.

Birds are headline indicators of biodiversity due to their worldwide distribution and popularity. More than 600 bird monitoring programs are in place in Europe, resulting in huge investment of effort. Nearly 28,000 people have been involved in the 144 monitoring programs analyzed in the Nature Conservation paper, spending almost 80,000 person days per year. The evaluation was performed in SCALES, a large-scale integrated project funded by the 7th Framework Program (FP7) of the European Union.

At a dedicated SCALES symposium at the 3rd European Congress of Conservation Biology (ECCB) in Glasgow on 28th-31st of August 2012, the lead author Dr Dirk Schmeller from the CNRS, France and guest researcher at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research -- UFZ in Leipzig, Germany, commented: "Although popular among conservationists, bird-monitoring practices have never been characterized quantitatively. We undertook a focused questionnaire-based survey to objectively explore the strengths and weaknesses of the massive bird-monitoring effort in Europe. The results indicate a high potential for further improvements to bird monitoring in sampling design, data analysis and involvement of volunteers from the public."

"Variation in space and time can cause a significant deviation in the monitoring results, which may lead to incorrect conservation policy decisions," added Dr Klaus Henle from UFZ and coordinator of SCALES. "Therefore increasing awareness of the spatial or temporal scale at which monitoring has been performed can be of crucial importance!"

To optimize the monitoring practices, the scientists have proposed a range of recommendations. For most monitoring programs, the best data type to be collected is quantitative (count) data, such as number of individuals, which provide an early warning for conservation and policy. Further, monitoring could optimize resource allocation between independent monitoring sites. Importantly, even low variation between sites or years can induce spurious conclusions; hence repetitive sampling of the same sites within a year should be the rule.

In case of limited manpower, Schmeller and colleagues recommend an increase in the number of monitoring samples, even at the expense of the size of each sample. Further, more collaborations between monitoring programs at different scales need to be established, so that the sampled data may be integrated and re-used.

Finally, monitoring coordinators have to make special efforts to attract volunteers. Coordinators need to keep in mind several important points: 1) the specific characters of the local community; 2) having a recruitment strategy for volunteers interested in monitoring; 3) maintaining good communication with the volunteers; 4) having low hierarchies and treat volunteers with respect, and 5) making links to other voluntary organizations to add value to the work. Schmeller adds: "There is no one clear recipe to recruit and keep volunteers, but what is important is to keep in mind that the volunteers sacrifice their spare time for monitoring activities, which are of interest to all society!"

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Story Source:

The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Pensoft Publishers, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

Journal Reference:

  1. Dirk Schmeller, Klaus Henle, Adeline Loyau, Aurelien Besnard, Pierre-Yves Henry. Bird-monitoring in Europe ? a first overview of practices, motivations and aims. Nature Conservation, 2012; 2 (0): 41 DOI: 10.3897/natureconservation.2.3644

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.


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Jennifer Garner & Violet Are 'American Girls' |

Posted Thursday August 30, 2012 12:43 AM GMT

After a morning full of meetings in Beverly Hills, Jennifer Garner and her oldest daughter Violet were spotted shopping at The Grove in Los Angeles, CA on Wednesday (August 29).

The ?13 Going On 30? actress wore her usual ensemble consisting of jeans and a button-up as she walked hand-in-hand with her six-year-old after shopping at American Girl and Dylan?s Candy.

Recently, the Save the Children ambassador wrote a blog for iVillage about why she's so passionate about early childhood education. Jennifer wrote, "[m]ore than 60 percent of poor families don?t have books in their homes. It isn?t that kids should be reading by kindergarten, but they should know what a book is -- how to hold it, turn the pages, and how to sit still in anticipation of hearing a story."

She continues, "And that?s why Save the Children?s Early Steps to School Success programs are so effective. Through home visits, book exchanges, parenting groups and more, Early Steps helps babies and toddlers with language, social and emotional development. Just as important, the program helps their parents, giving them the knowledge and skills to support their children?s growth."

Enjoy the pictures of Jennifer Garner and Violet at The Grove in Los Angeles, CA (August 29).


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Will Paul Ryan?s truth-bending hurt him and the GOP?

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Thrills, chills, dramatic films dominate fall season

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Fall brings colder weather across the Northern Hemisphere and Hollywood's major studios will usher into theaters cool action thrillers, chilly horror movies and some dramatic Oscar hopefuls looking for a head start on awards season.

From new James Bond flick "Skyfall" to another scary "Paranormal" installment and the long-awaited Paul Thomas Anderson Scientology drama, "The Master," there is plenty for cinephiles to dissect in the season, which begins after this weekend's U.S. Labor Day holiday and runs roughly to Thanksgiving.

The pace of movies is slower than the U.S. summer when the studios bring out blockbusters like "The Avengers" and "The Dark Knight Rises" weekly. But don't let the pace fool you; fall 2012 is neither short on quality nor quantity, experts say.

"Early fall can often be a little bit of a lull at the movies, but it can also be a time when real quality films can take advantage of a quiet marketplace and really stand out," Entertainment Weekly writer Dave Karger said.

The season kicks into high gear on September 21, with Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena playing Los Angeles police battling a ruthless drug cartel in "End of Watch," from writer/director David Ayer.

Ayer, whose previous LA cop flick, "Training Day," earned Denzel Washington a best actor Oscar, said the film shows "what it's like to work the streets in a way very few films have ever shown," pulling back the curtain on the cops' lives, personal and professional.

"It's not your typical Hollywood movie. It's very grounded, very real - almost a pseudo documentary. You'll walk out of this movie wanting to hug a cop," he said.

Guns continue to blaze on September 28 when Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt play the same person - only 30-years apart - in the time-travel flick "Looper" about assassins killing targets sent back from the future.

Liam Neeson is back as the CIA-trained, overly protective father in "Taken 2" (October 5) when the kidnappers who swiped his daughter in the first "Taken" movie return for revenge.

The best-selling Alex Cross crime novels get a reboot with Tyler Perry taking the lead role previously inhabited by Morgan Freeman in "Alex Cross" (Oct 19). This time, the detective psychologist takes on a hitman played by Matthew Fox.

On October 12, crime takes a comedic edge in "Seven Psychopaths," about a screenwriter (Colin Farrell) who gets involved in the Los Angeles underworld when his dog-snatching friend (Sam Rockwell) makes the mistake of kidnapping a Shih Tzu belonging to a crime boss (Woody Harrelson).

The season ends with a bang as the highly anticipated "Skyfall" comes out on November 9, amid a celebration of 50 years of Bond movies. This time around, Daniel Craig takes his third turn as 007 with Oscar-winning filmmaker Sam Mendes at the helm of the movie and Javier Bardem as the villain, Silva.


Fall is long on horror as the studios play to fears ahead of Halloween. On September 21, Jennifer Lawrence finds herself haunted in "The House at the End of the Street." On October 5, a ghostly entity threatens Ethan Hawke and his family in "Sinister."

If that's not enough haunted house-themed flicks, the hugely popular franchise "Paranormal Activity 4" returns on October 19.

For family frights, animated "Hotel Transylvania" (September 28) stars Adam Sandler as a hotelier to non-humans whose world turns upside down when an overexcited human shows up. And Tim Burton brings his usual ghoulish charm to the screen with the stop-motion animated "Frankenweenie" (October 5) about a young boy who resurrects his late dog, Sparky. Arf!

Then, there is the Oscar race. In recent years, as Academy Award organizers moved their top film honors up by a month, to February from late March, the studios have been bringing more award hopefuls to theaters in September and October.

Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master" is creating Oscar buzz prior to its September 14 release. Set in the 1950s, the movie tells of a damaged alcoholic (Joaquin Phoenix) who is taken under wing by a charismatic leader (Philip Seymour Hoffman) of a spiritual movement not unlike the controversial Church of Scientology.

Also getting attention is "Argo" (October 12), directed by and starring Ben Affleck. Based on real events, the movie shows a CIA specialist's mission to free six U.S. diplomats in 1979 Iran by posing as a filmmaker and putting them among his bogus crew.

Actor John Hawkes gives a tour-de-force performance in "The Sessions" (October 26) playing a 38-year-old man who, having spent most of his life in an iron lung, decides to hire a therapeutic sex surrogate (Helen Hunt) to lose his virginity.

But Hawkes will see Oscar competition from Daniel Day Lewis starring as Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg's biopic, "Lincoln" (November 9).

Fans of the filmmaking Wachowski siblings (Lana and Andy of "The Matrix" movies) will try to wrap their heads around "Cloud Atlas" (October 26), starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry in different roles throughout six interwoven tales.

"'Cloud Atlas' is the complete wild card," said Entertainment Weekly's Karger. "A two and a half-plus hour movie by the Wachowskis that looks so bizarre. It's probably going to be one of the most polarizing movies of the season."

Finally, there is sport-themed documentary "The Other Dream Team" (September 28), chronicling members of the 1992 Lithuanian Olympic basketball team as they go from life behind the Iron Curtain to newfound independence - with financial assistance from the Grateful Dead.

(Reporting By Zorianna Kit; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

(This story corrects names in the fifth and 21st paragraphs and the release date in the final paragraph)


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Marriage, Divorce, Step-Parents, and Blended Families 08/25 by ...

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Sample Battle!

Fire Emblem: Scorched Earth

A group of friends and enemies alike must fight to survive the war engulfing their homeland.


Game Masters:

This topic is an Out Of Character part of the roleplay, ?Fire Emblem: Scorched Earth?. Anything posted here will also show up there.

Topic Tags:

Forum for completely Out of Character (OOC) discussion, based around whatever is happening In Character (IC). Discuss plans, storylines, and events; Recruit for your roleplaying game, or find a GM for your playergroup.
This is the work you'd have to do before your post to figure out whether or not you managed to beat your opponent safely or whether you had to heal at any point or escape because it went horribly against you. This was using the dice system and percentage rates which are standard with no Biorhythm from FE9 or FE10 to get in the way and no terrain bonuses.


Starting Exp: 58

Weapon Equipped: Oragiell


HP: 19
Str: 7
Mag: 0
Skill: 6
Speed: 6
Luck: 5
Def: 4
Res: 0

Hit: 107%
Evasion: 16%
Attack Strength: 14
Critical Rate: 3%
Critical Evade: 4%


Weapon: Iron Axe


HP: 25
Str: 8
Mag: 0
Skill: 6
Speed: 2 (4 initially, but - 2 for speed penalty since the axe weighs 10 and he has only 8 Str)
Luck: 0
Def: 5
Res: 0

Hit: 87%
Evasion: 4%
Attack Strength: 16
Critical Rate: 3%
Critical Evade: 0%

Blaze attacks first:

Attack Accuracy: (Blaze hit% - Enemy Evasion%) 103% (automatic hit, no dice roll required)

Blaze attacks

Enemy HP = 25-10 (10 due to weapon triangle advantage) = 15

Enemy Attacks:

Attack Accuracy: (Enemy Hit% - Blaze Evasion%) 71%

(Dice Roll = 91, miss because it's over the 71% range)

Blaze attacks

Enemy HP = 5

Next Phase

Enemy Attacks

(Dice Roll = 94, miss) (And yes that is what I happened to roll so don't think I did that just to keep Blaze safe)

Blaze attacks

Enemy HP = 0

Blaze wins the fight!

Blaze gains 12 weapon experience for his 3 attacks since Oragiell is considered Rank E even though it's not listed on the profile. He gains a total of 6 points per round which did not kill the enemy and gained 30 for killing the enemy for a total of 42 experience. Blaze leveled up!

HP: +1
Str: +1
Mag: +0
Skill: +0
Speed: +1
Luck: +1
Def: +1
Res: +0

Resulting Stats:

HP: 20
Str: 8
Mag: 0
Skill: 6
Speed: 7
Luck: 6
Def: 5
Res: 0

Battle Over!

User avatar
Member for 2 years

Post a reply

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U.N. nuclear watchdog team to examine Iran program

VIENNA (Reuters) - The U.N. nuclear watchdog is establishing a specialized team to inspect and investigate Iran's nuclear program, which diplomats say is expanding despite tough Western sanctions and the threat of an Israeli attack.

The U.N. agency announced the establishment of an Iran Task Force shortly before it is expected to issue a report showing that the Islamic state has installed more than 300 new uranium enrichment machines in a fortified underground facility.

Its latest report on Iran's nuclear work, due to be released on Thursday or Friday, also is likely to highlight deep concern about suspected efforts to remove any evidence of illicit atomic activity at an Iranian military complex, diplomats say.

The statement on concentrating the agency's Iran experts in a dedicated team, seen by Reuters, was made separately to staff on Wednesday. Previously, the Iran dossier was handled by a department that also was responsible for other countries.

The findings in the upcoming International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Iran's nuclear program may strengthen the Israeli belief that diplomatic and economic pressure is failing to make Iran curb its disputed atomic activities.

Bellicose rhetoric from some Israeli politicians has fanned speculation that Israel might hit Iran's nuclear sites before the November U.S. presidential vote. Washington has said there is still time for diplomatic pressure to work, but it could be drawn into any war between the two Middle East foes.

Iran denies allegations it seeks a nuclear weapons capability and says all its atom work is for peaceful purposes.

The IAEA report "will be seized upon by those who argue that Israel can't afford to wait before taking unilateral military action to stop Iran", said Mark Fitzpatrick of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London.

Diplomats say the IAEA is expected to say that Iran has completed installation of two additional cascades - linked networks of 174 enrichment centrifuges each - at the Fordow site buried deep in a mountain, since its previous report in May.


While the new machines are not yet operating, the move reaffirmed Iranian defiance of international demands to suspend enrichment, which can have both civilian and military uses depending on refinement level.

The IAEA and Iran failed on Friday to strike a deal aimed at allaying concerns about Tehran's nuclear program by unblocking an agency probe into suspected nuclear weapons research.

Iran's refusal to limit and open up its atomic activity to unfettered IAEA inspections that could determine whether it is purely peaceful, or not, has led to harsher punitive sanctions and increased talk about possible military action.

Citing satellite images, diplomats say Iran has been "sanitizing" a military facility, Parchin, where the IAEA believes it has carried out explosives tests relevant for nuclear weapons development.

"Iran is in the final stages of cleansing the site," one Western envoy said, casting doubt on whether IAEA inspectors would find anything even if they were allowed to go there.

Iran says Parchin, southeast of the capital Tehran, is a conventional military facility and has dismissed the allegations about it as "childish."

An IAEA report showing that Iran has not cooperated in resolving outstanding issues and has added centrifuges at Fordow would "heighten Israel's already acute concern the IAEA can't assure the world that Iran's nuclear program is peaceful," said Mark Hibbs of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

The IAEA's decision to form a Task Force on the Islamic state appeared to be an attempt to focus and streamline its handling of the sensitive file by setting up one single unit with Iran experts and other resources it already has.

The brief IAEA statement to staff said the Iran Task Force would be part of the agency's department of safeguards, which carries out inspections around the world to make sure nuclear material is not diverted for military purposes.

The move underlined that the IAEA is prioritizing its Iran investigation. "The agency had the resources and people in place and now they are trying to make sure the appropriate structure is there to continue to support them," a Western diplomat said.

(Editing by Michael Roddy)


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