watch the video by clicking the link below
watch the video by clicking the link below
The “marijuana cannon” (Mexicali Public Safety Department)
Mexican police have confiscated an improvised cannon that they say was used to fire packages of marijuana across a border fence into California.
The makeshift cannon was made of plastic pipe and powered by compressed air sourced from an old car engine, police in the border city of Mexicali said. The device was able to fire cylinders packed with up to 30 pounds of pot.
The cannon was discovered on Tuesday after U.S. officers told Mexican police that they had been confiscating a large number of drug packages that appeared to have been fired over the border, the Associated Press said.
It’s not the first time drug traffickers have used a cannon to transport marijuana across the border. In December, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials recovered more than 30 cans of marijuana scattered in Yuma, Ariz., near the Colorado River.
According to NBC, an investigation of the area “determined that the cans were fired from about 500 feet away with a pneumatic-powered cannon” and that a “carbon-dioxide tank was found nearby.”
In that case, the cannon was not found. But Mexican border police said on Tuesday that they have confiscated similar devices in recent years.
CNET.com – The FonePad has a 7-inch display, which packs in 1,280×800 pixels, making this the same size and resolution as the Nexus 7.
BARCELONA, Spain–Asus isn’t exactly the first company that springs to mind when you think of tablets, but having constructed Google’s brilliant Nexus 7 device, it’s proved that it can crank out a terrific slate.
Now the company is applying many of the same tricks to a new tablet. Dubbed the FonePad (yeesh), this new device follows in the footsteps of Asus’ docking PadFone mobile, and borrows much from the Nexus 7. It has the ability to make calls, though, and is powered by an Intel Atom processor.
Screen and design
The FonePad has a 7-inch display, which packs in 1,280×800 pixels, making this the same size and resolution as the Nexus 7. It lacks a rear camera, but finds space for a 1.2-megapixel front-facing snapper, which should come in handy for video calling.
The FonePad is made from metal, but thankfully isn’t too heavy at 340g. It’s slim, too, measuring 10.4mm on its shallowest side. Asus is confident you’ll be able to grip this tablet comfortably with one hand, and indeed during my hands-on time I found that the FonePad felt very light and portable, much like the Nexus 7.
The FonePad’s metal construction does feel classy, and my impressions after a brief period of use were that build quality seemed high. The plastic construction of the Nexus 7 is one of the few things I didn’t like about Google’s tablet, so this is a definite plus in my mind.
Apart from the metal casing, though, once you get your mitts on this tablet there’s very little to distinguish it from the Google-branded Nexus 7, and the FonePad is very similar in size and design. The good news is that if you’ve used a Nexus 7, you’ll be more than equipped to handle Asus’ newest tablet. It does leave me wondering whether this device is different enough, however.
Humming away on the inside is one of Intel’s Atom Z2420 processors, clocked at 1.2GHz and backed up by 1GB of RAM. The Nexus 7 offers excellent performance using Nvidia’s quad-core Tegra 3 chip, so it’ll be interesting to see whether the FonePad can outpace it. Graphics meanwhile come courtesy of a PowerVR GX540 GPU.
As for storage, you get 16GB of space, but happily you can bump that up by slotting in a microSD card, with up to 32GB cards supported. That should be plenty of space, unless you’re a particularly ruthless hoarder of photos and video, and gives the FonePad an edge over the Nexus 7, which is bereft of expandable storage. Asus says you’ll get 9 hours of battery life from this compact gadget.
Look ridiculous on a call
The FonePad comes complete with all the necessary hardware to make phone calls, provided you don’t mind holding a 7-inch tablet up to your face and attracting baffled looks from passersby. It’s equipped with a noise-canceling microphone, too.
In theory, built-in phone power means you could pay for just one SIM-card and scrap your smartphone completely, essentially nabbing yourself a smartphone and tablet in one, for a fraction of the amount it would cost to buy both. In practice I can’t see many shoppers taking to the idea, but if you’d happily use a tablet as your main phone, let me know in the comments.
The FonePad is running on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, which isn’t quite the latest version, but still gets you all the key features of Android like access to the Google Play store, and several home screens to pack full of widgets and apps.
Asus has taken the time to add some of its own applications, including Floating App, which helps manage your multitasking apps, and SuperNote Lite, which is for making handwritten notes and doodling. You’ll also get the giddy thrill of editing Microsoft Office documents on the go using Asus’ WebStorage Office Online, and 5GB of cloud storage on the inventively named Asus WebStorage.
Because it’s not running “vanilla” Android like the Nexus 7, if you buy the FonePad you’ll probably have to wait a lot longer for updates, because Asus will likely take its time making sure all its apps play nice with any new Android software. If you’re a dedicated Android fan who thirsts for bleeding-edge software, the FonePad probably isn’t for you.
Price and release date
The FonePad will be landing in the U.K. between April and June, likely toward the end of June and costing £179, or 219 euros in the rest of the continent. That’s a tad more expensive than the Nexus 7, so it’ll need to impress in terms of performance and battery life.
It’ll reach Asia-Pacific around the same time for $249. Unfortunately there’s no word on a release in the U.S., but Asus does have a habit of bringing its devices stateside. Fingers crossed, folks.
Whenever you travel, you have your essentials: your passport, your carry-on, your in-flight distraction of choice (iPad, Kindle, magazine). Then you have items that are…not so necessary, like these very odd travel gadgets and gizmos.
Warning: these are for those who aren’t planning on packing light.
Napping on the go is hard: Lights are too bright, sounds are too loud, the temperature is less-than-ideal.
Stick your head (and hands) in the sand with the Ostrich Pillow, which lets you escape all of these distractions for a quick power nap.
Note: Even though you might think you’re hiding in your own cave of comfort, people can definitely still see you—in fact, you might even be calling attention to yourself—so you can’t crawl in there when you want to get out of work meetings.studiobananathings.com, $100.
You want to keep yourself safe from germs and pollution, but those stark clinical masks clash with your wardrobe.
Vogmask offers microfiber fabric masks—which they claim filter out 99 percent of dust, ash, germs, and pollen—in more attractive patterns. You will, however, still look paranoid.magellans.com, $20.
Packable Walking Stick
Walking sticks that you find outdoors along a trail may have that cool, hippie Gandalf vibe to them, but they are so single-function—and dirty.
Instead, opt for a sleek, 50-inch, metal walking stick, which comes with a built-in compass and place to attach a camera. When you’re finished using it, the whole thing packs up into a 11.25″ carrying case. hammacher.com, $40.
Tugo Cup Holder
You’re zooming around the airport with your roll-on suitcase in one hand and your boarding pass in the other—where do you put your coffee?
The Tugo cup holder lets you suspend a drink in between the bars of the handle of your suitcase—for a short time, at least, since you definitely have to remove it before trying to get your luggage into the overhead bin, or risk a face full of hot coffee. goodtugo.com, $3 to $13.
Sure, these bars may make you look like you’re suffering from a neck injury, but they’re really designed to help you get your 40 winks by keeping your head in place and your neck aligned.
If the look of it gives you nightmares of headgear, you can also buy a silky cover to go with it.skymall.com, $40 for the UpRight Sleeper alone, $47 for the Sleeper/cover combo.
When you travel, you don’t want to waste time adjusting to jet lag. Re-Timer’s sci-fi-looking goggles will try to help you adjust before you even take off.
The glasses emit light that mimics sunlight to adjust your internal clock in smaller, baby steps. We can’t prove it works, but it’s definitely got fewer calories than those creamy, venti coffees you use to wake yourself up after entering a new time zone. re-timer.com, $290.
Long journeys can wreak havoc on the breath, and sometimes your toothbrush is too packed away for a mid-trip freshening.
Consider slipping a few Toothettes into your travel bag. They clean teeth and freshen breath, and don’t even need any water to work—your saliva is good enough—so you can use them anywhere. Plus, they look like cute little lollipops.magellans.com, $9.50 for a pack of 20.
Even when you’re away from home, you have your standards—and flimsy plastic takeout utensils just will not do. The reusable ForkChops are not only more stylish, the three-in-one eating utensil—which includes a fork, knife, and chopsticks—covers most any meal you will encounter. Just don’t order soup (unless, of course, you also buy aTitanium Spork). thinkgeek.com, $5 for ForkChops, $10 for the Titanium Spork.
Hand Crank Emergency Cell Phone Charger
How many times have you needed to juice up your phone, but can’t find a public outlet?
If that text absolutely, positively has to go out right that minute, this device can solve your problem with a little elbow grease. One minute of cranking gets converted into 30 seconds of energy, so you’ll also get to work out those arm muscles.hammacher.com, $60.
SkyRest Travel Pillow
Sure, pulling out a 17-inch-tall travel pillow might garner stares from your fellow passengers, but do you care about the judgment of strangers when you’re sleeping? At least you won’t have to sacrifice precious cargo space for comfort: The pillow inflates and deflates, so you don’t have to worry about shoving the whole thing into your carry-on.Available at Skymall, $30.
Mobile Foodie Survival Kit
When you’re on the road, you might not have any cayenne handy. Or dill. Or basil. If you simply cannot live without a spice rack at your disposal, the Mobile Foodie Survival Kit has you covered with 1.5-tablespoon-sized jars of organic sea salt, black pepper, cayenne, onion, basil, cinnamon, oregano, garlic, thyme, curry, rosemary, ginger, and dill.
Just be prepared for your travel companions to (rightfully) call you a finicky eater. Available atUncommon Goods, $26.
A recently released British anti-smoking video advertisement is designed to be in-your-face, showing a tumor growing out of a cigarette as it’s smoked.
The video, released by the British Department of Health, is the first anti-smoking advertisement released in the U.K. since the fatty deposit cigarette ad, which was released 8 years ago.
As the ad states, it takes less than a pack of cigarettes to cause a mutation which can lead to cancerous tumors like the one portrayed on the cigarette. Almost 200 people die in the UK every single day from smoking-related conditions.
“This is a hard-hitting campaign to get at the hidden harms of smoking,” said Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies. “People will see a man smoking and then a cancer growing out of the cigarette. That is what happens in people’s bodies.”
Dame Davies added: “This is a hard-hitting campaign to get at the hidden harms of smoking.”
Why release a new video? Because the Department of Health has found that 1 in 3 smokers in the UK believe the negative effects of smoking have been exaggerated. Based on these figures, the DoH says it believes the time is right to ramp up from softer campaigns, and to deliver a much stronger message.
The campaign will run for the next two months on television, billboards and via online media outlets. Smokers who see the ads will be urged to pick up a free NHS Quit Kit from their local pharmacies.
DETROIT (AP) — Snow squalls, high winds and slippery roads led to a chain-reaction of crashes on a mile-long stretch of an interstate in Detroit Thursday, leaving at least three people dead and 20 injured.
Michigan State Police Lt. Michael Shaw said visibility was poor when the mass of crashes happened on Interstate 75 on the southwest side of the city. The injured, including children, have been taken to hospitals, Shaw said.
SUVs with smashed front ends and cars with doors hanging open sat scattered across the debris-littered highway, some crunched against jackknifed tractor-trailers and tankers.
Motorists and passengers who were able to a get out of their vehicles huddled together on the side of the road, some visibly distraught, others looking dazed. A man and woman hugged under the gray, cloud-filled skies, a pair of suitcases next to them and a bumper on the ground behind.
“We’re not sure of the cause,” Shaw told The Associated Press. “Some witnesses said there were white-out conditions.”
More than two dozen vehicles were involved in the pileups and scores of cars and trucks not involved in crashes were stuck on the freeway behind. Shaw said it could be hours before the freeway reopened.
Greg Galuszka was driving a fuel truck along I-75 when white-out conditions quickly materialized.
“I looked on my driver’s side mirror, and I could see the trucks piling up back there,” Galuszka said, pointing to a mass of twisted metal where vehicles had smashed into each other a short time earlier.
“Then, when I looked in my passenger side (mirror), is when I saw the steel hauler coming up,” he said. “I just said my prayers from there and said, ‘Please don’t hit me.’”
Shaw said many people had to be pulled from their vehicles. Numerous fire engines and ambulances were at the scene.
The crash happened as a wave of snow and strong blustery winds reduced visibility across southeastern Michigan, said Bryan Tilley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oakland County’s White Lake Township.
“There was a pattern of snow showers moving through the area in the midmorning hours,” Tilley said.Nearby Detroit Metropolitan Airport had west winds at 20 miles per hour, with gusts to 33 mph around the time of the crash. The temperature of 24 degrees was about 30 degrees colder than a day before.
The crash happened near an elevated stretch of expressway where the road surface can cool quickly and make driving hazardous, Tilley said.
It’s a cautionary tale for foreign retailers hoping to cash in on China’s burgeoning middle class: Apple is being outsold in the world’s biggest smartphone market by a local company less than 1% its size.
That local company is Coolpad (or Kupai in Chinese, which translates roughly as “cool clique”), a subsidiary of Shenzhen-based China Wireless Technologies. It’s also one of several Chinese vendors that are beating Apple by offering smartphones for 1,000 yuan ($160) or less. In 2012, Apple slipped from the fourth to sixth place among top smartphone vendors in China, and Coolpad skipped three places to third, according to market research firm IDC. (Samsung and Lenovo are the market leaders.)
Where Coolpad seems to succeed is making phones that are good enough for China’s newly affluent who are still not all that wealthy. Average disposable income in 2012 was 24, 565 yuan a year (about $4,000) for urban Chinese residents, the bulk of smartphone buyers. The Coolpad starts at 658 yuan while Apple’s iPhones start at 3,088 yuan.
As for its features, the Coolpad runs on Google’s Android operating system and uses a five-inch-touchscreen display. One blogger, discussing the merits of the phone on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter-like microblog, says, ”A 1,000-yuan smart phone is good enough. Play a few games, watch movies, whatever.” Another blogger, commenting on the crowded marketplace of smartphone vendors in China, writes, “Natural selection of smartphones in this market is happens too quickly. Better to buy a phone that’s affordable and fine to use.” One blogger complained that the phone’s processing was slow but that it was good enough as “a backup.”
But it’s not all doom for Apple in China where sales doubled in 2010 and 2011. Perhaps more importantly, Apple has cachet in China’s “aspirational” consumer culture where the newly affluent want specific brands to signal their rising status. Apple was the second most-preferred luxury brand among Chinese male millionaires in 2012, after Luis Vuitton and ahead of Hermès, according to the Hurun Research Institute. Among female millionaires, Apple was the fifth most-popular brand. Apple has allure among regular Chinese, too. In one extreme case, a teenage boy sold a kidney for the cash to buy an iPhone and an iPad.
Apple, which reports quarterly earnings later today, at least has plans to reach China’s larger middle class. Earlier in January, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook’s pledged that China, whose smartphone base could reach 500 million by the end of this year, would become the company’s largest market. Apple is introducing an installment system and is reportedly making a cheaper iPhone to cost between $99 and $149.
Flying was less deadly in 2012 than in any year since 1945, but that does not mean all airlines are equally safe.
The Jet Airliner Crash Data Evaluation Centre (JACDEC), which collects information about aviation accidents and safety, has published its annual Airline Safety Ranking.
The ratings take into account the number and deadliness of the hull losses (destroyed airplanes) they have suffered in the past 30 years, how they have fared more recently, and how many flights they have flown without incident.
The results do not take into account the cause of the hull losses, or whether the airline is at fault, so they are not a perfect measure of how safely an airline behaves.
Of 60 ranked airlines, here are the 10 with the worst safety records, including the number of hull losses since 1983, and how many fatalities they caused:
#10 SkyWest Airlines: 3 hull losses; 22 dead
#9 South African Airways: 1 hull loss; 159 dead
#8 Thai Airways International: 5 hull losses; 309 dead
#7 Turkish Airlines: 6 hull losses, 188 dead
#6 Saudia: 4 hull losses; 310 dead
#5 Korean Air: 9 hull losses; 687 dead
#4 GOL Transportes Aéreos: 1 hull loss; 154 dead
#3 Air India: 3 hull losses; 329 dead
#2 TAM Airlines: 6 hull losses; 336 dead
#1 China Airlines: 8 hull losses; 755 dead
A giant black hole is thought to lurk at the center of the Milky Way, but it has never been directly seen. Now astronomers have predicted what the first pictures of this black hole will look like when taken with technology soon to be available.
In particular, researchers have found that pictures of a black hole ? or, more precisely, the boundaries around them ? will take a crescent form, rather than the blobby shape that is often predicted.
By modeling what these pictures will look like, scientists say they are preparing to interpret the photos that will become available from telescopes currently under construction.
“No one has been able to image a black hole,” said University of California, Berkeley student Ayman Bin Kamruddin, who presented a poster on the research last week in Long Beach, Calif., at the 221st meeting of the American Astronomical Society. “So far it’s been impossible because they’re too small in the sky. Right now we’re just getting some details about the structure, but we don’t have an image yet.” [Gallery: Black Holes of the Universe]
Black holes themselves are invisible, of course, as not even light can escape their gravitational clutches. However, the boundary of a black hole — the point of no return called the event horizon — should be visible from the radiation emitted by matter falling into the black hole.
“A black hole’s immediate surroundings have a lot of really interesting physics going on, and they emit light,” Kamruddin said. “Technically speaking, we aren’t exactly seeing the black hole, but we are effectively resolving the event horizon.”
A new project called the Event Horizon Telescope combines the resolving power of numerous antennas from a worldwide network of radio telescopes to sight objects that otherwise would be too tiny to make out.
“The Event Horizon Telescope is the first to resolve spatial scales comparable to the size of the event horizon of a black hole,” said Kamruddin’s collaborator, University of California, Berkeley astronomer Jason Dexter. “I don’t think it’s crazy to think we might get an image in the next five years.”
The Event Horizon Telescope already has been gathering some preliminary measurements of the object called Sagittarius A* (pronounced “Sagittarius A-star”) at the center of our Milky Way galaxy.
Kamruddin and Dexter have matched this data to various physical models and found that they best fit images that are crescent-shaped, rather than the blob shapes called “asymmetric Gaussians” that had been previously used in models.
The crescent shape emerges from the flat doughnut, called an accretion disk, formed by matter orbiting a black hole on its way to falling in. As gas spins around the black hole, one side of the disk comes toward view on Earth, and its light becomes brighter because of a process called Doppler beaming. The other side, representing receding gas, gets dimmer because of this effect.
In the center of the crescent is a dark circle called the black hole shadow, which represents the black hole itself — an incredibly dense object where space-time is extremely twisted.
“There’s really extreme bending of light happening because of general relativity and the extremely strong gravitational field,” Kamruddin said.
Knowing that the crescent model best fits the data allows the researchers to discriminate between different models describing the physics around the black hole. Ultimately, the astronomers hope to use the first photos of Sagittarius A* to accurately weigh the behemoth at the center of the Milky Way.
“Just getting an image itself will be mind-blowing,” Kamruddin said. “It will provide direct confirmation of the event horizon, which has been predicted, but no one’s ever actually seen it. Seeing what it is like will rule out certain physics.”
5. New Zealand
8. The Netherlands
Happiness means having opportunity – to get an education, to be an entrepreneur. What’s more satisfying than having a big idea and turning it into a thriving business, knowing all the way that the harder you work, the more reward you can expect?
With this in mind, six years ago researchers at the Legatum Institute, a London-based nonpartisan think tank, set out to rank the happiest countries in the world. But because “happy” carries too much of a touchy-feely connotation, they call it “prosperity.”
The objective of the institute’s work (which is part of billionaire Christopher Chandler’s Dubai-based Legatum Group) was to figure out what it is that makes happy countries happy – so that the less fortunate corners of the globe might have a benchmark to work toward.
The resulting Legatum Prosperity Index is based on a study of 142 countries comprising 96% of global population. Nations are analyzed and ranked on 89 indicators in eight categories, such as education, government and economics. The inputs for the index are both objective and subjective. It’s not enough to just look at per capita GDP or unemployment rates. It also matters how hard people think it is to find jobs, or how convinced they are that hard work can bring success.
The core conceit: Prosperity is complex; achieving it relies on a confluence of factors that build on each other in a virtual circle.
So who are the happiest people in the world, as measured by Legatum? Norway takes the crown, followed by Denmark and Sweden (which leapfrogged Australia and New Zealand this year). Rounding out the Scandinavians is Finland, just a few steps behind in the seventh spot.
Luxembourg is the healthiest nation on Earth. Iceland is the safest. Switzerland has the world’s best economy and governance, according to Legatum.
What’s Norway got that the rest of the world doesn’t? For one thing, a stunning per capita GDP of $57,000 a year. Norwegians have the second-highest level of satisfaction with their standards of living: Ninety-five percent say they are satisfied with the freedom to choose the direction of their lives; an unparalleled 74% say other people can be trusted. It sure doesn’t hurt that the massive Norwegian welfare state is bankrolled by high taxes and big reserves of offshore oil and gas.
Indeed, most of the top 20 “happiest” countries according to the index are in western Europe. So what gives? What do these nations have in common that can somehow explain their prosperity?
Being an electoral democracy is virtually a given – of the top 20 most prosperous countries, only Singapore and Hong Kong aren’t democracies. Being small also seems to help. Big countries with heterogeneous populations are more unwieldy; disparate groups make it harder for a society to build social cohesion and trust.
What else? They are all borderline socialist states, with generous welfare benefits and lots of redistribution of wealth. Yet they don’t let that socialism cross the line into autocracy. Civil liberties are abundant (consider decriminalized drugs and prostitution in the Netherlands). There are few restrictions on the flow of capital or of labor.
So where does the United States rank? It’s at 12th place this year, slipping from 10th. According to Legatum, the U.S. has slipped in the areas of governance, personal freedom, and most troubling, in entrepreneurship & opportunity. America is supposed to be the land of opportunity, but Legatum notes “a decline in citizens’ perception that working hard gets you ahead.”