Friday, October 18, 2013

Xbox One graphics currently output in 900p, worse than PS4′s ...

In the ongoing prerelease war between Sony’s PS4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One, the PS4 continually appears to be the clear victor, from Sony’s E3 showing and Microsoft’s DRM and indie game debacle, to the PS4′s superior hardware and the Xbox One’s higher price. Now, a mysterious insider that has leaked correct Microsoft info in the past, is claiming that the Xbox One can’t output in 1080p, and tops out at a mere 900p.

Update, 4:38PM ET: We’ve spoken with a representative from Microsoft, who provided the following statement: “Xbox One fully supports native 1080p output at 60 fps. It is up to individual developers to determine what resolution best fits their design goals. At launch, Xbox One will present all titles at 1080p—whether natively or upscaled.” It’s worth keeping in mind that just because a box can output at 1080p doesn’t mean it will. For instance, we already know that Ryse – a high-profile launch title — will be running at 900p. The further we get into a console’s life, though, the more experience developers will have with that console, and can figure out methods to get the most out of it. The representative said they could not comment on the rumor regarding the stress test boxes outputting at 900p.

The PlayStation 3 supports 1080p (1920×1080) output, but a large swath of games only displayed in 720p. Meanwhile, the Xbox 360 caps out at 720p. This upcoming generation, both consoles are supposed to support 1080p. A NeoGAF forum user, CBOAT, claims that 720p to 900p (1280×720, 1600×900) will be the Xbox One norm. As far as we know, the PlayStation 4 adheres to this promise, but if this new leak is true, the Xbox One will find yet another category in which to trail the PS4.

However, before you eBay your Xbox One pre-order, you should know exactly what kind of place from which this new “leak” is coming. The leak comes from NeoGAF user CBOAT, which stands for “crazy buttocks on a boat.” While choice of online handle shouldn’t completely damn or praise someone, it can cast the things they say in a certain light. Furthermore, CBOAT has his own troll-speak style language, where everything is misspelled so poorly that you can instantly tell that it was done intentionally. Both the troll-speak and acronym could easily disprove anything CBOAT says, but can also be a clever tactic to disguise actual leaked information. The reason why you shouldn’t instantly discredit CBOAT’s claims is because the user is known within the NeoGAF community for predicting just about everything that went down during the Microsoft E3 press conference this year before it happened.

PS4 vs. Xbox One

CBOAT claims that the reason the Xbox One won’t output in true 1080p is because Microsoft rushed to release the console. Just because CBOAT has something of a pedigree with regards to Microsoft rumors, doesn’t mean the person is spot on this time around — especially with something as finicky as game console resolution.

CBOAT also made note of Forza 5 being displayed natively in 1080p, which was confirmed back in September, stating that it should be the exception, not the rule.

In response to CBOAT, an Xbox One developer took to Reddit and responded to the 900p claims. The developer (who has been confirmed as such), stated that the 900p claims were true, but that the resolution was output from consoles specifically made for stress testing. This means that the performance of those consoles should not be indicative of the final, retail unit’s performance.

Whether or not CBOAT or the Xbox One developer are legitimate sources remains to be seen, but both did more or less confirm that there are Xbox One units out in the wild that can only max out at 900p. Take everything with a grain of salt, of course. However, if the Xbox One can’t output in true 900p and instead has to resort to upscaling wizardry, then it would appear that the PS4 once again has an advantage over the Xbox One.

Now read: PS4 is ’50% faster’ than Xbox One, report game developers

Tags: 1080p, 720p, eighth generation, game consoles, gpu, gpus, graphics, hardware, microsoft, ps4, resolutions, xbox one

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Billy Crystal Finds Fun In Growing Old (But Still Can't Find His Keys)

Billy Crystal has hosted the Academy Awards more times than anyone except Bob Hope. "I love doing it because I love the danger of it," Crystal says. "You have to come through and think on your feet."

Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Billy Crystal has hosted the Academy Awards more times than anyone except Bob Hope. "I love doing it because I love the danger of it," Crystal says. "You have to come through and think on your feet."

Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Billy Crystal isn't happy about turning 65, but at least he's finding a way to laugh about it. His new memoir — Still Foolin' 'Em: Where I've Been, Where I'm Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys? — is on the best-seller list, and he'll be back on Broadway in November.

Crystal got his start in standup comedy, and in 1977 he landed a leading role in the sitcom Soap — playing one of the first openly gay characters on TV. In 1984 he joined the cast of Saturday Night Live and went on to star in the films When Harry Met Sally, City Slickers and Analyze This. He's hosted the Oscars more times than anyone except Bob Hope. In 2007 he received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. His autobiographical one-man show 700 Sundays won a Tony in 2005 and reopens on Broadway in November.

Interview Highlights

On how his show business family brought him to comedy early

[I did impressions] of relatives because I heard so many different sounds. You know, my dad was in the music business and of course my uncle was a giant [music producer], but my dad in particular had the house filled with these Dixieland jazz stars — really the best of them, Henry "Red" Allen, Willie "Lion" Smith, Buster Bailey, Cutty Cutshall, Tyree Glenn, Zutty Singleton, these are big names in the Dixieland world. It was mostly African-American [musicians] and my Jewish Eastern European relatives.

The house as I say ... smelled of brisket and bourbon, so you could hear that. I started imitating them. Phrases came out of that, "Can't you dig that?" "I knew that you would." We were at [Passover] Seders and they were confused with the bitter herbs, "Do we smoke these or do we do we dip them in salt water?" "We dip them in salt water, well that's gonna kill the vibrancy of the weed, you know." So that's what I was around. So I would imitate them. That's where it all started.

On losing his father at age 15

At the time it was devastating, of course. My two older brothers were both out of the house and in college, and I was left alone with [my mom] and we developed this incredible bond where I could not let her get too sad, [even] when I felt it in myself. It was a hard thing to juggle. I never felt like I could have a weak moment, I had to always be there for her and keep her up. ...

I'd try to make her laugh, and try to do things with her. ... She is the greatest hero I'll ever know because she kept us all together, she made sure we all graduated college. She always believed in us no matter what we do. My older brother Joel became an art teacher; my brother Rip ultimately became a television producer and singer and actor himself.

For me, it was always, "Whatever you want to do, I'm there for you." I never stopped believing in us and I never felt like I was wanting for anything, except for my father, and that was not going to be. I describe in the book [that] I don't think I ever felt young again in that way. I never felt I had my 15, 16, 17 kind of years the way I maybe should have. It's a huge dent in you that it's hard to knock out and make it all smooth again.

On his early standup days opening for Sammy Davis Jr., who used to lie to the audience about their relationship

I have 40-something intros [that Davis Jr. did]; all are different, none of them happened. And it was hilarious. ... [He did it] because it was show business. Because I think he thought he was doing a good thing for me and for him. He created this whole wonderful fantasy world for the two of us that was part of the show. I was OK with it. I thought it was really fascinating.

I loved him. Every time I was with Sammy it was like going to the show business museum because the stories were so extraordinary, and I didn't care if they were true or not after a while. ... I don't know if he really got high with Humphrey Bogart or not. It didn't matter because he was painting these fantastic pictures.

On playing Jodie, one of the first openly gay characters on television, in the show Soap in the late '70s and early '80s

We were in front of a live audience and I would be acting with the man who was playing my lover, and we used those words, and the audience would titter and laugh, and make me uncomfortable doing the scenes. ... I wanted to sort of stop and yell at them, "What's so funny? What's the matter with you people? Grow up!" It made me very self-conscious at times.

I think back to what we did and the things we talked about, all these years ago, and I'm so proud of what we did. I think it was in the third season Jodie was confused about his sexuality and he has a one-night stand with a woman and she gets pregnant and has a baby. ... Now I have to raise this little girl and so we go to court [to determine] who is going to get custody of the child. ABC did a poll and the poll at that time said 3 to 1 that the country wanted Jodie to get the baby. And I thought, "OK, we did good here."

On hosting the Oscars

I love doing it because I love the danger of it and you have to come through and think on your feet. That's why that show, no matter who hosts it, it really should be a fast-thinking comedian who is really quick on their feet that can handle situations that happen, or somebody with that kind of mentality that can capitalize on something.

On his proudest Oscar moment

I was introducing [director and producer] Hal Roach — Mr. Roach was 100 years old, he was one of the fathers of early days in films, he put Laurel with Hardy, he created the Our Gang kids, and all these silent movies he did — he was a giant. I think it was his 100th birthday and he was just supposed to take a bow. So I'm at center stage and I say, "Ladies and Gentlemen, one of the fathers of this industry, he's 100 years old, Mr. Hal Roach." Big hand, he stands up. And he starts talking and he has no microphone. ... And it's getting restless in the audience and they're all looking at me going, "What are you gonna say?" And I see the red light is right on me, and I looked at the audience and lines are flying through my head and one settled like a slot machine, three cherries, and I said, "Ladies and Gentleman, it's only fitting because he got his start in silent films." It took the pressure away, and that's one time I will pat myself on the back.

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Kendrick Lamar Slams "Sensitive" Drake at 2013 BET Hip Hop Awards, Plus the Complete Winners List

Kendrick Lamar took home five awards at the 2013 BET Hip Hop Awards. But it was the emcee's controversial verse that actually swept Tuesday evening's telecast.

Before he even took to the stage to perform, #KendricksVerse was already trending on Twitter.

PHOTOS: Miley Cyrus vs. Kanye West's quotes: Who said it?

The artist, whose pointed dig at Drake and other hip-hop contemporaries stirred trouble after the release of his guest verse on Big Sean's "Control," finally responded to the feud during the show, which was taped Sept. 28 at the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center in Atlanta, Ga. In two minutes of an emotionally-fueled TDE cypher, Lamar spewed, "Yeah, and nothing's been the same since they dropped 'Control.' And tucked a sensitive rapper back in his pajama clothes."

"Pin the tail on the donkey, boy you been a fake," he continued.

PHOTOS: Celebrities' biggest, most outrageous demands

While the Nothing Was the Same artist was not present at the show to react to the jab, Drake nabbed a healthy helping of awards including the People's Champ honor for his single, "Started From the Bottom." He also won Best Hip-Hop Video for the same track. Other winners included Jay Z and J. Cole. View the complete list below.

Best Hip-Hop Video: Drake - "Started From the Bottom"

Best Collaboration, Duo or Group: A$AP Rocky (ft. Drake, 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar) - "F---in' Problems"

Best Live Performer: Jay Z

Lyricist of the Year: Kendrick Lamar

Video Director of the Year: Benny Boom

Hustler of the Year: Jay Z

PHOTOS: Us Weekly's Most Stylish New Yorkers 2013

Best Hip-Hop Style: A$AP Rocky, Nicki Minaj

Best Hip-Hop Online Site: World Star Hip-Hop

Best Club Banger: French Montana (feat. Rick Ross, Drake and Lil Wayne) - "Pop That"

Album of the Year: Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d city

Sweet 16: Kendrick Lamar - "F---in' Problems"

Impact Track: J. Cole (feat. TLC) - "Crooked Smile"

MVP of the Year: Kendrick Lamar

Track of the Year: Mike Zombie and Noah "40" Shebib - "Started From the Bottom" 

Producer of the Year: Mike Will Made It

DJ of the Year: DJ Drama

Best Mixtape: Big Sean - Detroit

Rookie of the Year: A$AP Ferg

People's Champ Award: Drake - "Started From the Bottom"

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WHO agency: Air pollution causes cancer

(AP) — What many commuters choking on smog have long suspected has finally been scientifically validated: air pollution causes lung cancer.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer declared on Thursday that air pollution is a carcinogen, alongside known dangers such as asbestos, tobacco and ultraviolet radiation. The decision came after a consultation by an expert panel organized by IARC, the cancer agency of the World Health Organization, which is based in Lyon, France.

"The air most people breathe has become polluted with a complicated mixture of cancer-causing substances," said Kurt Straif, head of the IARC department that evaluates carcinogens. He said the agency now considers pollution to be "the most important environmental carcinogen," ahead of second-hand cigarette and cigar smoke.

IARC had previously deemed some of the components in air pollution such as diesel fumes to be carcinogens, but this is the first time it has classified air pollution in its entirety as cancer causing.

The risk to the individual is low, but Straif said the main sources of pollution are widespread, including transportation, power plants, and industrial and agricultural emissions.

Air pollution is a complex mixture that includes gases and particulate matter, and IARC said one of its primary risks is the fine particles that can be deposited deep in the lungs of people.

"These are difficult things for the individual to avoid," he said, while observing the worrying dark clouds from nearby factories that he could see from his office window in Lyon on Wednesday. "When I walk on a street where there's heavy pollution from diesel exhaust, I try to go a bit further away," he said. "So that's something you can do."

The fact that nearly everyone on the planet is exposed to outdoor pollution could prompt governments and other agencies to adopt stricter controls on spewing fumes. Straif noted that WHO and the European Commission are reviewing their recommended limits on air pollution.

Previously, pollution had been found to boost the chances of heart and respiratory diseases.

The expert panel's classification was made after scientists analyzed more than 1,000 studies worldwide and concluded there was enough evidence that exposure to outdoor air pollution causes lung cancer.

In 2010, IARC said there were more than 220,000 lung cancer deaths worldwide connected to air pollution. The agency also noted a link with a slightly higher risk of bladder cancer.

Straif said there were dramatic differences in air quality between cities around the world and that the most polluted metropolises were in China and India, where people frequently don masks on streets to protect themselves. China recently announced new efforts to curb pollution after experts found the country's thick smog hurts tourism. Beijing only began publicly releasing data about its air quality last year.

"I assume the masks could result in a reduction to particulate matter, so they could be helpful to reduce personal exposure," Straif said. But he said collective international action by governments was necessary to improve air quality.

"People can certainly contribute by doing things like not driving a big diesel car, but this needs much wider policies by national and international authorities," he said.

Other experts emphasized the cancer risk from pollution for the average person was very low — but virtually unavoidable.

"You can choose not to drink or not to smoke, but you can't control whether or not you're exposed to air pollution," said Francesca Dominici, a professor of biostatics at Harvard University's School of Public Health. "You can't just decide not to breathe," she said. Dominici was not connected to the IARC expert panel.

A person's risk for cancer depends on numerous variables, including genetics, exposure to dangerous substances and lifestyle choices regarding issues such as drinking alcohol, smoking and exercising.

Dominici said scientists are still trying to figure out which bits of pollution are the most lethal and called for a more targeted approach.

"The level of ambient pollution in the U.S. is much, much lower than it used to be, but we still find evidence of cancer and birth defects," she said. "The question is: How are we going to clean the air even further?"



Associated PressSource:
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US shutdown hits cult German late-night TV show

(AP) — The United States government shutdown could have the unintended effect of making Germans go to bed earlier.

Fans hoping for fresh episodes of a cult late-night German TV show featuring footage of Earth seen from space accompanied by ambient music have been told its relaunch will be delayed by at least two weeks because of the U.S. budget battle.

Public television station Bayerisches Fernsehen said Monday that new high-definition video it hopes to use for its "Space Night" program won't be able available Nov. 1 as planned because archivists at NASA, a key source of footage, are among U.S. federal employees currently furloughed.

"Space Night" was launched in 1994 and is a favorite among rave goers and insomniacs.


On the Web:

Associated PressSource:
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Government Workers Must Get The Wheel Turning Again

President Obama has signed legislation that ends the partial government shutdown and raises the U.S. debt ceiling. The Office of Management and Budget says federal employees should report to work Thursday. But it will take some time until all the agencies are back up to speed.

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UFC heavyweight contender Junior Dos Santos wants to box Klitschko brothers

Former UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos challenges current division king Cain Velasquez at UFC 166 this Saturday in a rubber match between the two big men. There’s plenty of competitiveness and bad blood between the two to promote their third fight this weekend, but the most outrageous promotion came from Dos Santos recently when he dropped a name other than “Velasquez.”

During an interview with MMA Fighting, Dos Santos, who has used his hands to devastating effect in the UFC, turned his attention to the two best heavyweight boxers of the past decade, brothers Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko.

"I’m a boxing guy. I love to box with my training partners and everything but now everybody is saying this, everybody wants to fight with boxing guys. It’s become not sincere. When I say that, I’m sincere,” Dos Santos said, leading up to his punch line.

"I think if they give me four months to get prepared, I can beat [the Klitschkos]" he said. "I love to train boxing and I think I have enough skills in boxing. I know how to see a good fight. Four months, that’s what I need."

Now, we’ll be the first ones to jump down the throats of any foolish boxer who disrespects the well-rounded skills that mixed martial arts fights possess by suggesting that they could dismantle any UFC fighter with ease. It is just as absurd for even a top-level MMA fighter like Dos Santos to suggest that he would be able to beat any top-ten heavyweight boxer, to say nothing of the two very best, in a straight boxing bout.

Just as MMA fighters spend decades learning myriad skills and styles to prepare them for the most realistic and useful of combat sports, professional boxers spend their entire lives refining a very specific set of skills that, within the confines of boxing rules, no one that hasn’t spent the same amount of time doing the same could hope to match them in a boxing contest.

"I did talk to Dana but just a little bit once," Dos Santos of him doing boxing matches.

"It wasn’t very serious. Next time, maybe I’ll do that."

Dos Santos may be serious, but he has no serious prospect of beating either of the Klitschkos in a boxing bout even if he manages to pull off the near-impossible cross-promotional logistics to make such fights happen.

Dana White is no longer fond of cross-promoting and Vitali is busy with running for President of the Ukraine. Perhaps Wladimir would be open to an easy pay day.

What do you think? Does Dos Santos have the athleticism and KO power to beat the Klitschkos in a boxing ring or should he just worry about avenging his last loss to Velasquez this Saturday at UFC 166.

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Adrian Peterson Baby Mama -- He's Fathered SEVEN Children, Not Five

Adrian Peterson Baby Mama
He's Fathered 7 Kids ... Not 5



Our Adrian Peterson baby count was off by two -- at least according to one of the NFL star's baby mamas, who tells us AP has actually fathered SEVEN kids, not five.

TMZ broke the story about baby #5 today, but Erica Syion -- a former dancer who met AP in Houston a few years back -- called in to "TMZ Live" today to correct our math ... and the numbers are pretty shocking.

As for how good of a dad Adrian is, Erica says he dutifully pays his child support ... but could definitely stand to spend more quality time with his children.

Category: mrsa   affordable care act   denver broncos   us open tennis   Karen Black  

Deadspin "Redskins": A Native's Guide To Debating An Inglorious Word | Jezebel Tell Us About the Wor

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House to vote Tuesday night on budget bill (The Arizona Republic)

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AP Newsbreak: Arrest in LA airport ice explosions

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A baggage handler was arrested Tuesday in connection with dry ice explosions at Los Angeles International Airport after police stepped up patrols and increased its checks on employees.

Dicarlo Bennett, a 28-year-old employee for the ground handling company Servisair, was booked for possession of a destructive device near an aircraft. He is being held on $1 million bail.

Bennett took the dry ice from a plane and placed it in an employee restroom Sunday night and another device that was found on a tarmac outside the international terminal, according to a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation who wasn't authorized to speak publicly.

Police had previously said they didn't believe the explosions were an act of terror because of the locations of the devices and because people weren't targeted.

No one was injured in either incident, although some flights were delayed Sunday.

The incidents could be the work of a disgruntled employee due to an internal labor dispute, said Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Michael Downing, who heads the department's counter-terrorism and special operations bureau.

Swissport recently agreed to acquire Servisair and the transaction is expected to close by the end of the year. An afterhours message seeking comment from Servisair was not immediately returned.

It wasn't immediately known what Bennett's motives were, but he was riding in a van with several others, including a supervisor, when he decided to plant one of the dry ice bombs, the official told The Associated Press. Those in the van were aware of the dry ice, the official said, but no other arrests have been made.

The bombs were made by putting dry ice in 20-ounce plastic bottles and could have caused serious injury to anyone in close proximity, Downing said.

One device exploded in an employee men's room Sunday night in Terminal 2. Remnants of an exploded bottle also were found that night on the tarmac area near the Tom Bradley International Terminal, but an employee threw it away. The same employee found an unexploded bottle Monday evening and then reported what he found the previous day.

While there are cameras in some of these restricted-access areas, Downing said there isn't as much camera coverage as in the public-access areas and investigators had been reviewing available video.

Dry ice is widely used by vendors to keep food fresh.

Associated PressSource:
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White October

Hi, may I reserve the role of the Male character from the royal family?

Soki: but what did my face do to you before?
ICry: Lol what? "but whats on my face? Whore?"
Soki: No, that''s not what I said -Lhfao-

-ICryForAFamily & Soki 11/12/10

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EU states urged to cooperate on drones, cyber defense

By Adrian Croft

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union states should work together in four areas of defense technology, including developing drones, the bloc's foreign policy chief said in a report on Tuesday.

In a report commissioned ahead of an EU summit in December, Catherine Ashton said European governments should commit to cooperative projects in drones, a new satellite communications system, cyber defense and plugging a shortfall in air tankers.

Though primarily a civilian organization, the EU plays a growing military and security role, ranging from an anti-piracy naval force off Somalia to training the army in Mali, and the December summit aims to strengthen that role.

Weaknesses in areas such as air-to-air refueling planes and surveillance drones were shown up during NATO's bombing campaign of Libya in 2011.

Ashton's report said drones would be increasingly important for both military and civilian uses such as border control and agriculture. The report said there was an urgent need to prepare a program for the next generation of Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) drones.

Three European aerospace companies called on Europe in June to launch its own independent drone program to reduce reliance on foreign-made equipment.

France's Dassault Aviation, EADS Cassidian and Italy's Finmeccanica Alenia Aermacchi said they were ready to work together on a MALE drone program.

For now, the EU is not contemplating launching an ambitious pan-European drone program. But officials say the EU could fund the development of technologies useful in future drones and agree on rules for using drones in civilian airspace.

"We could start with a joint investment program in research," one EU official said.

On air-to-air refueling, Ashton's report said one goal for EU governments could be "the multinational acquisition of multi-role tanker/transport aircraft."

Ten European countries agreed in November last year to work together to boost their military air-to-air refueling capacity either by buying new tanker aircraft, leasing them or paying to borrow another country's tankers when not in use.

Ashton called for a European satellite communications system that could be used for both military and civilian purposes, to replace member states' existing military satellites whose operational life is due to end by 2025.

(Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Stewart Mills For Congress (Powerlineblog)

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Bridgestone Press Release: Masao Azuma Talks Tropical Temperatures At Sepang

Bridgestone issued their customary press release today, containing a discussion of conditions at Sepang. Big topic of the weekend was of course temperatures, and how they affect the tires:

Malaysian MotoGP™ debrief with Masao Azuma
Tuesday 15 October 2013

Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Medium & Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium (Symmetric) & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main) & Soft (Alternative)

Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa clinched his third victory of the year in sultry conditions at Sepang ahead of teammate Marc Marquez and Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo.

After unsettled weather on Friday and Saturday, conditions on race day were warm and fine with the track temperature reaching 46°C at the start of the race. Softer slicks front and rear were preferred by the twenty-three riders contesting the Malaysian Grand Prix, with only two riders selecting the harder rear slick option, and just five riders opting for the hard compound front tyre. Strong tyre performance at Sepang resulted in new qualifying and race lap records being set and an overall race time eighteen seconds quicker than the previous record.

Q&A with Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department

What challenges does the Sepang circuit provide for Bridgestone in terms of tyre development and were you happy with tyre performance last weekend?

“Sepang is only moderately severe circuit on tyres, but in combination with the hot Malaysian climate the venue does present us with some challenges. The high ambient temperatures mean the tyres retain a lot of heat, so to ensure consistent performance and durability we tend to use harder compound here. Also, track conditions at this circuit seem to be deteriorating year-on-year, probably due to the large amount of racing held at the circuit, so our tyres need to also provide a high amount of feel and grip for the riders.

“Our tyre allocation was well suited to the conditions we had at Sepang last weekend and overall performance was good. Many riders complained about the bumps in the braking zones this year, but new qualifying and race lap records were set and the overall race time was also the quickest ever at this circuit. Rider feedback after the race was that the tyres offered strong, consistent performance over race distance so I am happy with this result.”

How does the deteriorating condition of the track surface at Sepang influence tyre choice?

“Last weekend the condition of the circuit was a factor in front tyre selection as in contrast to most other races this year, the majority of riders selected the softer of the two front slick compounds available. Sepang features heavy braking zones and some fast corners which would normally suggest the selection of the harder option tyre for maximum braking and cornering stability. Last year, more than half of the riders had planned to use the hard front tyre for the race if it was dry. This year however, due to greater amount of bumps in the braking zones, the preference this year was for the softer option, medium compound front tyre. This is because most riders felt the more pliable rubber of the softer option was better at absorbing the bumps, giving riders greater control when entering the corners. Curiously, of the five riders that chose the hard compound front slick for the race, four were CRT entries, so depending on machine specification and setup some riders felt the hard option offered an advantage over the soft. Also, after the race some riders commented that the grip level of the track on Sunday wasn’t as good in comparison to Saturday. We think this was due to the overnight rain and this is something we’ve experienced before at this circuit.”

Temperatures were warmer on race day than on Friday and Saturday. Did this have an effect on tyre choice?

“Track temperatures on Sunday for the race were about five degrees warmer than seen in qualifying, which wasn’t a big enough increase to have an effect on tyre choice. As the riders mentioned that on Sunday grip levels were lower than on previous days and also considering the aforementioned bumps, the softer slicks were always going to be the preferred option. Our slick allocation for this race was towards the harder end of the scale and only if track conditions were in the mid-fifty degree range would we have perhaps seen a shift towards the harder slick options.”

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Russian official rules out Arafat polonium poisoning

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The head of a Russian forensics agency said on Tuesday that samples from the body of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat had revealed no traces of radioactive polonium, a Russian news agency reported.

However, the government scientific body later denied that it had made any official statement about the research, saying only that it had handed its results to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

If confirmed, the findings would deal a blow to Palestinian suspicions that Arafat was assassinated by Israel - a theory fuelled by a Swiss lab report last year which found unusual amounts of the deadly isotope polonium on his clothes.

A Palestinian medical team took samples from Arafat's corpse in the West Bank last year and gave them to Swiss, French and Russian forensic teams in an attempt to determine whether he was murdered with the hard-to-trace radioactive poison.

"He could not have been poisoned with polonium. The research conducted by Russian experts found no traces of this substance," the Russian news agency Interfax quoted Vladimir Uiba, who heads the Federal Medico-Biological Agency (FMBA), as saying.

Uiba said experts from the FMBA had conducted a detailed study of Arafat's remains.

The agency later sought to distance itself from the comments. "The FMBA of Russia has made no official statement about the results of research on the remains of Yasser Arafat," the FMBA's press service said.

It added that it had completed its tests and given the results to the authorities.

The Russian Foreign Ministry declined immediate comment, but state-run news agency RIA cited a source in the ministry as saying it was up to the Palestinian authorities to release any information about the tests.

Arafat died aged 75 of an unexplained ailment he developed while confined to his Ramallah headquarters by Israeli tanks at the height of an armed Palestinian uprising in 2004.

Palestinians saw the veteran guerrilla as a hero of their national cause. Israel regarded him as a terrorist, though it denied responsibility for his death.

A negative result from the samples may not totally preclude a poisoning, as experts warned last year that his partial exhumation might have occurred too late to detect polonium.

The Lausanne-based hospital which first found the isotope on Arafat's clothing said that eight years would be the limit to detecting it on his remains and questioned whether such a late examination would provide conclusive results.

A spokesman for the hospital said at the time of the exhumation that findings might be reached by early this year.

No explanation has been given for the lengthy delay in presenting the results.

(Reporting by Steve Gutterman in Moscow; Writing by Noah Browning in Ramallah; Editing by Crispian Balmer and Robin Pomeroy)

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'Gravity' eclipses 'Phillips' at box office

LOS ANGELES (AP) — "Gravity" won't be held down.

The Warner Bros. astronaut adventure directed by Alfonso Cuaron and starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney landed in the top spot at the box office for the second weekend in a row, according to studio estimates Sunday.

"Gravity" earned $44.3 million, raising its domestic total to $123.4 million.

"They say what goes up must come down, but that's not really true with 'Gravity,'" said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box office tracker Rentrak. "To have opened as big as it did last week and only drop 21 percent, that's really an amazing hold. It's a direct testament to the word of mouth on the movie."

"Gravity" also fared well overseas, making $28 million in 38 territories such as Russia, Australia, Germany and Spain.

Sony's "Captain Phillips" launched in second place with a respectable $26 million. The high seas drama directed by Paul Greengrass stars Tom Hanks as a cargo ship captain who is held captive by Somali pirates.

"We think the success of 'Gravity' will also bode well for 'Captain Phillips,'" said Rory Bruer, head of distribution for Sony Pictures. "This is the extraordinary kind of film that we think audiences will flock to over the next several months moving forward."

The animated Sony movie "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2" gobbled up third place in its third weekend with $14.2 million, bringing its domestic haul to $78 million.

The weekend's only other new release, "Machete Kills," opened in fourth place with $3.8 million. The gun-toting sequel from director Robert Rodriguez and starring Danny Trejo and Michelle Rodriguez is the follow-up to "Machete," which earned $11.4 million when it opened in 2010.


Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Rentrak. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. "Gravity," $44.3 million ($28 million international).

2. "Captain Phillips," $26 million.

3. "Cloudy with a Chance Of Meatballs 2," $14.2 million ($9.1 million international).

4. "Machete Kills," $3.8 million ($575,000 international).

5. "Runner Runner," $3.7 million ($5.3 million international).

6. "Prisoners," $3.7 million ($7.4 million international).

7. "Insidious: Chapter 2," $2.6 million ($7.1 million international).

8. "Rush," $2.4 million ($6 million international).

9. "Don Jon," $2.3 million.

10. "Baggage Claim," $2 million.


Estimated weekend ticket sales Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada) for films distributed overseas by Hollywood studios, according to Rentrak:

1. "Gravity," $28 million.

2. "Stalingrad," $15.5 million.

3. "Despicable Me 2," $10.1 million.

4. "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2," $9.1 million.

5. "Now You See Me," $8.2 million.

6. "Prisoners," $7.4 million.

7. "Insidious: Chapter 2," $7.1 million.

8. "Planes," $6.2 million.

9. "Rush," $6 million.

9. "Hwayi: A Monster Boy," $6 million.

9. "Young Detective Dee: Rise Sea Dragon," $6 million.

10. "Turbo," $5.4 million.


Follow AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang on Twitter at .


Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by News Corp.; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC.

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Steve Niles Loses 'Just About Everything' in Texas Floods

Ben Templesmith/IDW Publishing

Horror writer Steve Niles, co-creator of 30 Days of Night, Criminal Macabre and Mystery Society, was amongst many hit by flash floods in the Austin, TX area this weekend -- so badly hit, in fact, that Hellboy creator Mike Mignola posted to Facebook that Niles and his wife Monica "lost just about everything" when their house flooded.

Posting to Tumblr yesterday, Niles admitted that "a lot" was gone, including "a scrapbook full of original art I've kept for 30 years." He wrote that he "woke up at 6am to water rushing into the house. Already ankle deep by the time we saw it. We got as much as we could off the ground and tried to block but there wasn't much we could do." He later updated, "We lost a ton of stuff and who knows how much repairs will be needed but right now we are okay."

STORY: IDW Publishing to Release '30 Days of Night,' 'Kill Shakespeare' Games

Niles and his wife didn't have flood insurance, and fans and friends have rallied to help him pay for the cost of repairs to his house with a Paypal account at "It’s looking like the house is more or less screwed (I think that’s the technical term) so this help will come in very handy over the next few months," Niles updated today, adding "We are so lucky to have friends like all of you."

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Monday, October 14, 2013

Jack London Believed 'Function Of Man Is To Live, Not To Exist'

Jack London's 1903 The Call of the Wild was a sensation — it sold one million copies and made London the most popular American writer of his generation. He's shown above in 1916, shortly before his death at age 40.


Jack London's 1903 The Call of the Wild was a sensation — it sold one million copies and made London the most popular American writer of his generation. He's shown above in 1916, shortly before his death at age 40.


A literary critic once remarked, "The greatest story Jack London ever wrote was the story he lived." In his brief life, London sought adventure in the far corners of the world, from the frozen Yukon to the South Pacific, writing gripping tales of survival based on his experiences — including The Call of the Wild, White Fang and The Sea Wolf.

His story is the subject of a new biography, Jack London: An American Life, by Earle Labor, curator of the Jack London Museum in Shreveport, La. Labor wrote his first book about London in 1974, but the 85-year-old scholar says with London, there's always more to write.

"He was a fighter. He was a terrific competitor. He wanted to win whatever he did," says Labor. "He was also a genius. He had terrific personal charm or charisma. Everybody talks about that. At the same time, while he was physically tough, he was emotionally sensitive. He could cry over the death of his favorite animal, or over the tragic episode in a novel."

London was born in San Francisco in 1876 to a poor family. When he was 14, he quit school to work in a cannery — 15 hours a day for 10 cents an hour. By the time he was 18, he had sailed to the Bering Sea on the crew of a sealing schooner and hopped freight trains to Niagara Falls, where he was arrested for vagrancy and spent a month in the Erie County Penitentiary. It was a traumatizing time for London, who was precocious but still an adolescent.

The only known recording of Jack London's voice is a 1915 letter he spoke into an early dictation machine. Dr. Carl Haber at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory restored the scratchy sound from a wax cylinder. On the recording, London says he can scarcely think about the abuse he experienced as a teenager in prison, much less write about it. "What I found there was unprintable, and almost unthinkable," he said.

Radicalized by his experience, London joined the Socialist Party, read voraciously and began to write stories and essays. He spent one semester at the University of California, Berkeley, then quit to join the Klondike Gold Rush in 1897.

After a winter in the Yukon, London returned with only $5 worth of gold, but a priceless lode of stories. London's 1903 novel, The Call of the Wild, tells the story of Buck, a kidnapped ranch dog sold to Gold Rush prospectors, who brutally train him to adapt to his new life:

A dozen times he charged, and as often, the club broke the charge and smashed him down. After a particularly fierce blow, he crawled to his feet, too dazed to rush. He staggered limply about, the blood flowing from nose and mouth and ears, his beautiful coat sprayed and flecked with bloody slaver.

The Call of the Wild was a sensation — it sold one million copies and made London the most popular American writer of his generation. London used his fame and money to embark on new adventures. He went to the Far East as a war correspondent. He sailed the Pacific in his own ship for two years, a trip that included a visit with headhunters and cannibals.

And he wrote about it all. "He encountered a lot of people of different ethnicities, and he was able often to imagine himself inside of that group and see the world from their point of view," says Jeanne Reesman, director of the Jack London Society and a professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio. "To take the point of view of a young slave rebelling against his colonial masters in the South Seas, for example. Most people in America really didn't know anything about those people."

London wrote 1,000 words a day, and he almost never revised what he wrote. Biographer Labor says London needed to publish because he was always broke.

He was a dreamer, and a visionary. And his dreams and visions almost always outran his finances. But he wanted the best of everything. ... I think in some ways he was trying to make up for what he was deprived of as a kid.

"He was a dreamer, and a visionary. And his dreams and visions almost always outran his finances," says Labor. "But he wanted the best of everything. He wanted the best barn. He wanted the best home. He wanted the best boat. I think in some ways he was trying to make up for what he was deprived of as a kid."

After years of heavy drinking on and off through his adventures, London's lifestyle caught up with him. On Nov. 22, 1916, he died suddenly from kidney disease at just 40 years old. He left behind 52 books and 200 short stories — work that has influenced writers from George Orwell to Jack Kerouac.

But Labor says London's artistry is only now being recognized by the literary establishment. "I think one reason is that he writes so clearly, that anybody with a good basic education can understand what he's saying. He puts the critics out of business," says Labor.

Though London died young, his legacy and writings speak to a life lived with abandon. A journalist who visited London weeks before he died reported that London said, "I would rather be ashes than dust ... The function of man is to live, not to exist."

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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Pressure on US as global economy meetings near end

WASHINGTON (AP) — World finance officials prepared to wrap up three days of meetings in Washington, where fretting about the risk of an unprecedented U.S. debt default overshadowed myriad worries about a shaky global economic recovery.

Finance ministers and central bank chiefs from the Group of 20 major economies urged the U.S. on Friday to take urgent action to resolve the political impasse that has partially shut down the government and delayed passage of a bill to raise the debt ceiling.

If Congress does not increase the borrowing limit by Thursday, the U.S. could default on its debt payments and cause serious turmoil in world markets and economies.

With the U.S., Europe and Japan all just emerging from long slumps, finance officials have been predicting a modest recovery in the global economy in the coming year, driven in large part by a strengthening U.S. economy.

But the current budget stalemate, coupled with anticipation that the Federal Reserve will soon start scaling back its massive stimulus program for the economy, have officials worried that the fragile global recovery could be derailed.

In prepared remarks to finance officials released late Friday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said the United States understood the role it played as "the anchor of the international financial system." He said the administration was continuing to push Congress to reopen the government and increase the borrowing limit.

"Prior to the government shutdown, all signs pointed to the strengthening recovery of the U.S. economy," Lew said. "If Congress acts quickly, this will continue to be the case."

The G-20 officials issued their plea for a U.S. resolution on the debt ceiling at the end of two days of discussions held in advance of Saturday meetings of the 188-nation International Monetary Fund and its sister lending organization, the World Bank. The Saturday meetings will be the last in three days of high level discussions.

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, whose country currently holds the rotating chair of the G-20, told a news conference Friday that the budget stalemate between Congress and the Obama administration was discussed at the meeting.

But "no emergency or extraordinary plans" were made during the meeting in case of a U.S. default, he said.

"In the course of today's meeting, no plans were drawn up," he said. "No worst-case scenario was discussed. We trust the U.S. authorities will find a way out of this complex situation."

A number of the leaders attending the meeting said they saw the risk of default as remote.

In one telling comment, Siluanov offered a glimpse of what a tremendous impact a U.S. debt default would have on Russia's economy and many others like it around the world. Most central banks hold a significant portion of their foreign currency reserves in U.S. Treasury securities — considered the safest investment in the world.

Siluanov said about 45 percent of Russian's foreign exchange reserves are invested in U.S. Treasuries. Nevertheless, he said Russia was not considering reducing the size of its Treasury holdings because they are long-term investments while the debt crisis was a short-term issue.

America will run out of borrowing authority for new debt on Thursday. Treasury Secretary Lew has warned there is expected to be only $30 billion in cash on hand at that time and the U.S. will soon fall short of money to meet all of its obligations, including interest payments on the $16.7 trillion federal debt. That would trigger the first U.S. debt default ever.


Associated Press reporters Harry Dunphy and Matthew Pennington contributed to this report.

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

JFK and the Dawn of Punitive Liberalism

She thought it robbed his death of any meaning. But a meaning would be quickly manufactured to serve a new politics. First, however, an inconvenient fact — Oswald — had to be expunged from the story. So, just 24 months after the assassination, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., the Kennedys’ kept historian, published a thousand-page history of the thousand-day presidency without mentioning the assassin.

The transformation of a murder by a marginal man into a killing by a sick culture began instantly — before Kennedy was buried. The afternoon of the assassination, Chief Justice Earl Warren ascribed Kennedy’s “martyrdom” to “the hatred and bitterness that has been injected into the life of our nation by bigots.” The next day, James Reston, the New York Times luminary, wrote in a front-page story that Kennedy was a victim of a “streak of violence in the American character,” noting especially “the violence of the extremists on the right.”

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