Monday, December 31, 2012

Well Over 3,00 Earthquakes Had Hit Japan in 2012


Japan had experienced well over 3,000 noticeable earthquakes in just the year 2012, nearly 60 percent of them were aftershocks from last year's massive tremor that devastated the country's northeast, Japanese media reported on Monday.

Quoting the Japan Meteorological Agency, the NHK broadcaster reported that a total of 3,134 quakes had been felt across Japan until Sunday (December 30) which is about 1,000 more than the annual average from 2001 to 2010.

An analysis of seismic waves indicates that there were more than 10,000 noticeable quakes in 2011. While the number of quakes decreased from that of last year, seismologists continue to monitor frequent seismic activity.

They urged people to be on the alert for possible strong quakes with a magnitude of at least 7 or those triggering tsunami.

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Amazon Apologizes for Christmas Eve Outage



Amazon.com has apologised for a December 24 disruption in its cloud-computing services that hindered Netflix customers from watching movies, and said it is taking steps to prevent a recurrence.

Netflix said last week that many users in the Americas were unable to access online content on Christmas Eve because of an outage caused by Amazon's web storage and computing system. Amazon didn't identify Netflix in its statement, which was posted online on December 29, according to Tera Randall, a spokeswoman for Amazon Web Services. 

"We want to apologise," Seattle-based Amazon said. "We know how critical our services are to our customers' businesses, and we know this disruption came at an inopportune time for some of our customers." 

Amazon, the largest online retailer, has billed its 6-year- old cloud-computing offering as a cheap and safe way for customers to outsource their data centres. It's a business that may bring in about $US1.5 billion ($1.4 billion) in revenue for Amazon in 2012, according to Colin Sebastian, an analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co. in San Francisco. Occasional outages can undermine confidence in the service, which makes it possible for companies like Netflix to run their operations via the internet.

While Amazon Web Services accounts for a fraction of the $US62 billion ($59.6 billion) in sales analysts are projecting for the company in 2012, the business is more profitable than the retail operations. The segment has about a 10 per cent operating margin, Sebastian said. That compares with a 1 per cent margin expected in 2012 for the entire company, according to the average of analysts' estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

The disruption began at at 12:24 pm Seattle time on December 24 and continued until the following day, according to Amazon. The problem was related to Amazon's Elastic Load Balancing service, which apportions demand for computing power among the servers that are most able to handle the work loads.
Amazon said that data was accidentally deleted in a maintenance process run by a small number of developers, which prompted high latency and error rates for technology that manages the load balancers. At the peak of the event, 6.8 per cent of ELB load balancers were affected, the company said.

The outage occurred in the eastern US, where Amazon has data centres in northern Virginia. That region was hit by storms earlier this year that caused Netflix to lose control over streaming content for about three hours on June 29.

Amazon Web Services is used by companies in more than 190 countries, letting them rent servers for their websites, support mobile applications and store customer data, according to Amazon.

Stocks leap higher on 'fiscal cliff' hopes


Stocks staged a rally Monday afternoon on signs a deal in the "fiscal cliff" was near, with the Dow Jones industrial average closing up 166 points, or 1.3%.

Jumping higher were the Nasdaq composite, up 60 points or 2% and the S&P 500, gaining 24 points or 1.7%. 

The Dow jumped more than 130 points to about 13,068 around 3 p.m. ET after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said a deal was near to avoid raising taxes on most Americans.

U.S. stocks had struggled for most of the last day of the year, with the "fiscal cliff" just hours away and Republicans and Democrats yet to hammer out a budget deal.

The Dow opened lower, with investors disappointed that politicians hadn't reached an agreement over a weekend of terse, stop-and-go negotiating. With no clarity on whether a deal would get done, and what it would look like if it did, the Dow spent the morning flitting between small gains and losses.

The Dow and the other major stock indexes turned higher at midday after a few signs that a deal was emerging. The Associated Press and other media outlets reported that both sides had agreed on a few key points on taxes and unemployment benefits. 

Teen Mom 2 Divorce: Is Jenelle Evans Leaving Her Husband


It appears that Teen Mom 2's Jenelle Evans and her husband Courtland Rogers are over newlywed bliss. In fact, the couple may be separating after getting married just 26 days ago.

In a series of angry tweets Sunday, Evans implied she may be leaving Rogers. "Why would I come back "home" when u just threw my suitcase down the stairs and at yr own SISTER @courtyb11," she tweeted, addressing Rogers' by his Twitter handle. 

In subsequent tweets, Evans accused Rogers of pawning his father's cell phone for drugs and wrote, "I need my best friend right now I can't stop crying."

Later in the day, Evans wrote, "Deactivating twitter. Bye." and has not posted since, but prior to that she mused, "Why do we fall in love so easy even when it's not right?"

On Sunday, Rogers sent a series of tweets himself, some of which were directed at Evans. "Come home to ur husband !!" he wrote. "Quit f---ing making this look like my fault let me love u jenelle like I always have and more."


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Passengers on Queen Mary 2 sickened by unidentified pathogen

An unknown illness, suspected of being a norovirus, has sickened 194 passengers and 11 crew members aboard the luxury cruise ship Queen Mary 2, causing vomiting and diarrhea, federal health officials said on Friday.


Earlier in the week, 189 passengers and 31 crew members on the Emerald Princess came down with the same symptoms.

The symptoms are those of norovirus, a contagious microorganism that can be acquired from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Norovirus causes an inflammation of the stomach or intestines called acute gastroenteritis, producing stomach pain, nausea and diarrhea, and is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis in the United States.

Each year, norovirus causes some 21 million illnesses, of which 70,000 require hospitalization. It kills about 800 people a year, the CDC says.

The Queen Mary 2, with 2,613 passengers and 1,255 crew members, is now docked in Saint Lucia in the Caribbean, according to ship owner Cunard Line, which is owned by Carnival Corp. The cruise left Brooklyn, New York, last Saturday and is due to return there next Thursday.

The CDC learned of the illnesses on the QM2 on Christmas Day on Tuesday, and of those on the Emerald Princess last Saturday. Vessels are required to notify the agency when 2 percent of those on board develop a gastrointestinal illness.

Although the microbial culprit remains unclear In both cases, another reason to suspect norovirus is that the pathogen "has affected a number of schools, hospitals, nursing homes and children's day care centers this winter" in the United Kingdom, Cunard said in a statement.

The UK's Health Protection Agency reports that norovirus activity in the country is 83 per cent higher than last year.

The QM2 sails regularly scheduled crossings between New York and Southampton, England, between April and late November, Cunard spokeswoman Jackie Chase said in an email. "In addition, many of our guests come from the UK."

The QM2's captain is advising passengers with gastrointestinal symptoms to report to the medical center, Chase said. Those sickened are asked to "isolate themselves in their cabin until non-contagious. They are also asked not to proceed ashore, and any shore excursion costs will be refunded. Room service is provided to affected passengers and every effort is made to make them as comfortable as possible."

Of the 194 QM2 passengers who had fallen sick, said Chase, all but 12 had recovered as of Friday.


F.D.A. Clears Anticlotting Drug by Bristol and Pfizer

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved Eliquis, an anticlotting drug that has been highly anticipated by cardiologists and is expected to be a blockbuster for Bristol-Myers Squibb, which will make the drug, and Pfizer, which will help market it. 


The agency approved Eliquis for reducing the risk of stroke and dangerous blood clots in people with atrial fibrillation, a common heart arrhythmia that afflicts millions of people in the United States.

The drug, also known as apixaban, is the third anticlotting medicine to be approved in recent years and the companies are expected to aggressively compete to pitch their products as a replacement for warfarin, an older treatment that requires more careful monitoring. Warfarin is also known by the brand name Coumadin.

“The marketing games will now begin,” said Dr. Sanjay Kaul, a cardiologist at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, who was not involved in the development of any of the drugs.

He said that cardiologists would now have to sort out the differences among Eliquis and its competitors already on the market: Pradaxa, sold by Boehringer Ingelheim, and Xarelto, sold by Johnson & Johnson and Bayer.

While some experts have argued that Eliquis offers the best balance between the drug’s benefits and risks, Dr. Kaul said since there have been no clinical trials comparing the three new drugs, “it is impossible to adjudicate which of these new agents is the preferred one.”

Bristol-Myers and Pfizer issued a brief statement Friday saying they were pleased with the approval. In a news release in November announcing the drug’s approval in Europe, Bristol-Myers noted that Eliquis was the only drug in the group that has shown an advantage over warfarin in reducing the risk of stroke and dangerous blood clots, major bleeding and death.

The agency also warned that patients with prosthetic heart valves should not take Eliquis, nor should patients with atrial fibrillation that is caused by a heart valve problem.

Despite the promise of Eliquis and the other new drugs, some cautioned against prescribing them too enthusiastically.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

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New Storm Could Pose a Threat on Holiday Travel

A major winter storm that on Sunday was dumping steady rain and snow on Northern California could strengthen as it makes its way east, promising a White Christmas – and travel headaches – for a wide swath of the country.


The storm will deposit snow from California’s Sierra mountains to New England through Friday morning, forecasters said. “Unfortunately, this occurs not only during the Christmas holiday, but also in the peak travel period after Christmas Day in the South, Midwest and East,” weather.com said.
Forecasters warned that roads would become treacherous Christmas Day and Christmas night from the High Plains of western Kansas and the Texas Panhandle eastward into Oklahoma, extreme north Texas, Arkansas and into the mid-Mississippi Valley.

There was also the potential for severe thunderstorms with damaging winds, hail and tornadoes in parts of the South on Christmas Day, said Greg Forbes, The Weather Channel’s severe weather expert.

The storm was expected to reach the Northeast Wednesday, bringing gusty winds and widespread precipitation. Whether that precipitation will be snow or rain remains to be seen.

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Save the Eagles Day January 10th

Save the Eagle Day is celebrated on January 10th every year. This holiday was formed to aide in the public awareness of the plight of the bald eagle, the national bird of the United States, when the species was facing extinction.

On the 28th of June 2007, the United States Secretary of the Interior, Dirk Kempthorne, removed the bald eagle from the "Threatened and Endangered Species" list at a ceremony performed at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. "After years of careful study, public comment and planning, the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are confident in the future security of the American Bald Eagle," Kempthorne stated. "From this point forward, we will work to ensure that the eagle never again needs the protection of the Endangered Species Act."



Wednesday, December 19, 2012

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Snowstorm slams Rockies, spreads to Midwest


A storm that has dumped more than a foot of snow in the Rocky Mountains was causing problems for travelers as it spread across the Plains on Wednesday. The main east-west route across Colorado, Interstate 70, closed for several hours from east of Denver to the Kansas line because of poor visibility due to blowing snow. Eastbound lanes remained closed Wednesday night. Smaller highways were also closed for hours in eastern Colorado.

Drivers in Iowa and Nebraska are being warned to be careful or stop driving altogether starting Wednesday evening as the Plains gets its first major winter storm of the season. 

Light snow is also expected at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on Thursday and strong winds could make visibility poor. That, combined with low clouds, could cause delays at the nation's second-busiest airport. National Weather Service forecaster Jamie Enderlen said.

Iowa officials advised drivers to avoid most roads from Wednesday night through noon Thursday, but native Laurie Harry, a manager at a Casey's General Store, expects to drive to work Thursday morning.
"If I need to get into work, I'll be here," she said. "We've had snow before. Iowans know what to expect. We're used to it."

Conditions improved in Denver by midday Wednesday. At the height of the storm, Denver's airport, the nation's fifth-busiest, reported delays averaging 30 minutes because of snow and ice, but operations have since returned to normal.

Delta and United Airlines reacted by announcing plans to allow many affected travelers across the nation to change schedules without incurring fees.

The snow is a gift for ski resorts in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah ahead of the busy holiday week. The weather might also tempt backcountry skiers but prompted avalanche warnings in Colorado and Utah.

Colorado officials near Vail, about 90 miles west of Denver, planned to trigger some small snow slides in order to remove larger threats.

In Utah, a backcountry skier triggered a slide near a Park City ski resort. Authorities said no one was injured.

In Nebraska, officials have closed parts of Interstate 80 in the western and south central parts of the state. Nebraska State Patrol Deb Collins said one vehicle fatality was reported near North Platte and there were reports of numerous car accidents and slide offs.

The moisture is also a relief after an extended wildfire season in Colorado. Drought conditions persist especially in the mainly agricultural eastern half of the state.
Farmer Fred Midcap welcomed the snow even though 25 mph winds were blowing some of it away from his land near Hudson in northeastern Colorado.

Midcap doesn't plow his land, a move intended to help improve the soil, and said the stubble leftover from this year's weak millet crop will help hold some of the snow in place, hopefully setting up for a better growing season next year. If the snow keeps coming, it will also provide some welcome insulation to his winter wheat crop before the coldest weather of the season.

In Arizona, two recent storms had combined to blanket the mountains north of Flagstaff with 2 feet of snow, and about 20 inches in Flagstaff and along the Mogollon Rim.

The storm is also expected to hit Wisconsin and Michigan, where up to a foot of snow was forecast in the north by Friday.

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Redskins' Griffin fined $10,000 for wearing Adidas sweatsuit


Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III was fined $10,000 for wearing an Adidas sweatsuit instead of clothing from the team's official apparel supplier, Nike. 

RG3 got into hot water with the NFL after wearing the Adidas clothing while answering post-game questions from reporters about the Redskin' 31-28 overtime win against the Ravens two weeks ago.

Apparently Griffin left his Nike sweatsuit at home. Now the league is fining him $10,000 for not playing by the rules.

Robert Griffin III has an endorsement deal with Adidas, but he still has to wear Nike to represent the Redskins.

60-Vehicle Pileup On I-5 Causes Several Injuries


Bad weather is plaguing drivers in California this week, with freezing roadways and foggy conditions leading to a 60-car accident on I-5 in Siskiyou County on Tuesday night. 

Thankfully, no one was injured in the pile-up, but several reports of injuries have come in after a semi truck crashed into a concrete barrier while sliding on black ice, causing a chain-reaction. At least one person had to be airlifted to a nearby hospital. Both sides of the interstate were shut down for about two miles as crews worked frantically to help the victims and remove vehicles from the site.

“At this time we’re not certain whether or not a small snowstorm or hail storm precipitated this ice formation or it was just the below freezing temperatures in the air,” Yreka Police Public Information Officer Nick Black said.

While 60 vehicles were involved, 18 of those were actually struck; the rest were simply stranded on the interstate, either due to the icy conditions or because of the accident. 

Miss USA Olivia Culpo is crowned Miss Universe


A 20-year-old Boston University sophomore and a self-described "cellist-nerd" brought the Miss Universe crown back to the United States for the first time in more than a decade when she won the televised contest Wednesday.

Olivia Culpo beat out 88 other beauty queens to take the title from Leila Lopes of Angola during the two-hour competition at the Planet Hollywood casino on the Las Vegas Strip. 

Culpo wore a tight navy blue mini-dress with a sequined bodice as she walked on stage for the competition's opening number. Later in the night, she strutted in a purple and blue bikini, and donned a wintery red velvet gown with a plunging neckline.

Culpo's coronation ends a long losing spell for the U.S. in the competition co-owned by Donald Trump and NBC. An American had not won the right to be called Miss Universe since Brook Lee won the title in 1997.


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Friday, December 14, 2012

Valentines Day Craft Ideas for Kids

Here's some awesome Valentines Day Craft Ideas for Kids you will enjoy:


To make these custom treat packages, cut out a picture of your child, scan it, and print onto heavyweight matte paper. Cut tags using pinking shears for the bottom edges, draw hearts, and stamp or write a message on each one. Fold the tags and tape them to cellophane bags filled with sweets.



Fill flattened cupcake liners with candy for a treat you won't have to bake. The liners' pleats nicely frame scrap-art pictures or paper hearts (we used scalloping scissors to trim some). Use a craft punch or paper flowers to make cute borders.


Create this card by making signs out of construction paper, doilies, and adhesive letters from an office-supply store. Photograph your child holding the signs, then tape the pictures to construction paper and fold the card accordion-style.





Valentine's Day Craft Ideas

With Valentine’s sneaking up right around the corner, we thought you would enjoy some adorable kids Valentines crafts. These would be great just to entertain the kids or for them to hand out at school on Valentine’s Day.
















Best New Years Photos