New Posts on Satuday
Archive for August, 2007
Wall of flame threatens to engulf birthplace of the Olympic Games
Firefighters and volunteers battled yesterday to save the birthplace of the Olympic Games from destruction as they entered the third day of devastating forest fires in southern Greece that have left at least 58 people dead.
Flames lapped at ancient Olympia, threatening the site of the original Games and a world-class museum. The luxury Amalia Hotel was evacuated in the afternoon. One by one, surrounding villages in Ilia province were engulfed by miles-long waves of flame fanned by relentless winds, sending the inhabitants fleeing. Domestic animals and possessions were abandoned to their fate. The death toll was expected to rise as many elderly people refused to be moved.
The rush to defend Olympia – involving six aircraft, two helicopters, 15 fire engines and 45 firemen – triggered complaints by one woman in nearby Nea Phigaleia. In a call to an Athens television station she shouted: “They’re protecting those old stones while leaving us to burn!” Efforts to protect the museum, which houses classical sculptures such as Hermes by Praxiteles and other finds from pagan temples and sports facilities, appeared to have been successful last night.
Greek television stations were inundated by hundreds of desperate calls, some bordering on hysteria, describing walls of flame descending on mountain communities in the Peloponnese with terrifying speed. The three days of conflagrations completely overwhelmed firefighting forces that were concentrating on two main fronts many miles apart.
The second front is in Evia, north of Athens, where fires sent a stinking pall of smoke across the capital in the 38C (100.4F) heat. Airborne firefighting reinforcements from France, Italy, Israel, Slovenia and even as far away as Iceland flew in yesterday morning.
Summer homes near the Lagonissi resort, 30 miles (50km) south of Athens, were gutted by an overnight flash-fire yesterday. Residents reported hearing the explosions of cooking gas canisters in the woods near their homes, followed by the appearance of flames, strongly suggesting arson.
The authorities offered a reward of between €100,000 (£68,000) and €1 million for information leading to the capture of anyone involved in starting the fires. Police were examining a mobile phone video showing two men apparently setting fire to pine forests on Mount Hymettos, on the outskirts of Athens, on Saturday. The size of the reward is dependent on the scale of the fire and how many victims it has claimed.
Over the weekend Costas Karamanlis, the Prime Minister, placed Greece on an emergency footing and declared three days of mourning for the victims, who included two French tourists burnt to death while hiking on Mount Taygetos, above Sparta. Yesterday rescuers near Olympia found the remains of a mother and her four children, whom she was still clutching. The Olympic Star, a seaside hotel at Amarynthos, 70 miles north of Athens, was evacuated. No British tourists or residents have been reported hurt.
“The sheer number of fires breaking out simultaneously cannot be a coincidence,” Mr Karamanlis said.
Government officials said they believed that the country was in the throes of a concerted assault reminiscent of terrorism. The theme was taken up by the media. Antenna TV, a leading network, studded its round-the-clock coverage with the screen-filling slogan “Target: Greece” against the background of the Greek flag.
“This is Greece’s September 11,” George Karatzaferis, the leader of the small but vocal right-wing Popular Orthodox Rally party, said.
Mr Karamanlis pledged immediate aid to olive growers and olive oil producers in the Peloponnese, many of whom now face ruin. The Government also promised urgent help for families who lost their homes.
It was unclear what effect the fires would have on the national elections, scheduled for September 16. Until they broke out, Mr Karamanlis and his conservative New Democracy party were at least two points ahead in the polls. George Papandreou, the opposition Socialist leader, has tried to tap into a wide undercurrent of resentment that the fires were allowed to go unchecked for such a long time.
On the other hand, conservative politicians have not said so, but many are convinced that socialist radicals could have started some of the fires in an attempt to stoke unrest.
—The archaeological precinct of Ancient Olympia covers about 50 acres (20 hectares) of ruined temples and buildings south of the modern village of Olympia
—Declared a national park in 1976, it includes most of the old Temple of Zeus and the foundations of the athletes’ quarters. There are also the remains of exercise grounds, baths and guesthouses
—During the Second World War the original stadium was uncovered and landscaped. Near the Temple of Zeus are the remains of the Altis, where the Olympic flame is lit
—Pride of place in the refurbished Olympia Museum is given to the Hermes, an acclaimed 4th-century BC sculpture by Praxiteles. There is also the helmet believed to have been worn by Miltiades when he led the Greeks to victory in the 490BC Battle of Marathon
—The Museum of the Olympic Games in the modern village contains relics and photographs from every Olympiad since the first modern one of 1896
Source: Times database
Sony develops sweet little bio battery
TOKYO (Reuters) – Sony has developed an environmentally-friendly prototype battery that runs on sugars and that can generate enough electricity to power a music player and a pair of speakers, the Japanese company said.
The bio battery’s casing is made of a vegetable-based plastic. It measures 3.9 cm (1.5 inch) along each edge and works by pouring sugar solution into the unit, where enzymes break it down to generate electricity.
Test cells had an output of 50 milliwatts, Sony said.
“Sugar is a naturally occurring energy source produced by plants through photosynthesis,” Sony said in a statement.
“It is therefore regenerative, and can be found in most areas of the earth, underlining the potential for sugar-based batteries as an ecologically-friendly energy device of the future.”
The company said it aims to produce the batteries for commercial use, without specifying when.
Sony was hit last year by the recall of millions of laptop batteries over fears they could catch fire.
© Reuters 2007. All rights reserved
more at www.reuters.com
This is Super Mario Galaxy for the Nintendo Wii
It’s official, it was all a publicity stunt. OK, maybe not, but Take-Two just announced that after months of hand-wringing and “We don’t know if this game will ever see the light of day” the once AO-rated Manhunt 2 has dropped to an acceptable level of sex and violence and secured a Wal-Mart viable Mature rating for a Halloween release of the game.While the press release on the jump is full of all sorts of jubilant quotes and drops phrases like “powerful piece of interactive story telling” and “extraordinary game”, I suspect this wasn’t much of a surprise to Take-Two and the Rockstar folks. Why else would they have continued to display the game and give press hands-on time with it if it wasn’t going to make the cut.
What I’d really love to know is what exactly they cut to make the rating drop. I suspect it will be one or two levels that were easy to dispose of for little or no expense.
Manhunt 2 Receives “M” Rating
ESRB rating assignment clears the way for October 2007 North American release
New York, NY – August 24, 2007 – Rockstar Games today announced it will release Manhunt 2 for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) system, and the Wii™ home video game system from Nintendo in North America on October 31, 2007. This announcement follows the submission of a modified version of Manhunt 2 to the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), who has now rated the title “M” for Mature for ages 17 and older.
In June, Take-Two was compelled to suspend the release of the horror title when the ESRB issued an AO (Adults Only) rating.
“Manhunt 2 is important to us, and we’re glad it can finally be appreciated as a gaming experience,” said Sam Houser, founder and executive producer of Rockstar Games. “We love the horror genre. Manhunt 2 is a powerful piece of interactive story telling that is a unique video game experience. We think horror fans will love it.”
“Manhunt 2 is an extraordinary game, and we eagerly anticipate its release in North America,” added Strauss Zelnick, Chairman of Take-Two.
Manhunt 2 is the debut title from the newly formed Rockstar London studio, which is developing the game in conjunction with series creator Rockstar North. Early previews of Manhunt 2 have consistently praised the game’s original design and creative use of narrative, tone, and atmosphere to evoke an experience many consider unmatched in video games. The Wii version is being developed by Rockstar Toronto.
Video games rated Mature are for consumers ages 17 and older and are not intended for children. Along with the Mature rating, the ESRB also assigned the following content descriptors to Manhunt 2: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content and Use of Drugs.
Rockstar Games is a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO).
He is one of the best comedians and he is Canadian. This is from the Comedy Channel in Canada. Enjoy:
Almost everyone on the internet knows what YouTube is and those who do know that they can watch their favorite TV show online, whenever they want. But now the companies that produce those shows are fighting back. They are suing YouTube for billions of dollars. Among these companies are Viacom parent company of Comedy Central and Nickelodeon. Viacom believes that YouTube is stealing their profit. This is because entire Viacom shows are submitted to YouTube and people may be watching YouTube instead of the TV where Viacom makes money. But while they are busy worrying about piracy, the world is changing. TV is old and it need to adapt, people watch videos on the internet because they can watch what they want when they want. If Viacom and other companies teamed up with YouTube by allowing them to use their TV shows in exchange for some commission of the profit made everyone would be happy and Viacom would have it’s money. That is my view on piracy over YouTube.