November 26, 2008

Best pictures of 'The Chronicles Of Narnia'

CNN's human 'hologram' on election night

Holy holograms, was that Princess Leia on CNN during election night?

No, it was just Jessica Yellin, a CNN correspondent. CNN beamed her image from Chicago to the CNN press center in New York City, where Wolf Blitzer and the rest of the team were covering election returns.

Yellin, who claimed she was the first person to be beamed in a "hologram" on live TV, explained for the audience how this was done. (See video below.) She said she was standing in a tent outside of the Obama headquarters in Chicago where the CNN crew had set up 35 high-definition cameras in a ring. She stood in the center of this ring and the cameras picked up her every movement and transmitted the image in 3D to the studio in New York.

While CNN is touting its special effects from election night as a '"hologram," that may not be technically the case. CNN's "hologram" seems to have been done using overlay images and a green screen to virtually put the reporter in the same studio as Wolf Blitzer. But true holography uses a different technique to create a true 3D image of a person standing in the studio. According to Wikipedia, "holography is a technique that allows the light scattered from an object to be recorded and later reconstructed so that it appears as if the object is in the same position relative to the recording medium as it was when recorded. The image changes as the position and orientation of the viewing system changes in exactly the same way as if the object was still present, thus making the recorded image or hologram appear three-dimensional."

True holography technology has been demonstrated by many other companies. Telstra, the Australian phone company, used a hologram earlier this year to beam its chief technology officer from Melbourne to a business meeting about 460 miles away in Adelaide. Cisco Systems has also used holograms in demonstrations to talk about its telepresence products. Cisco's telepresence solution does not transmit hologram images, but it does use high-definition cameras and TV screens to make executives in different locations feel like they are having an in-person meeting.

For the most part, holography is still too expensive for most companies to deploy commercially.

Whatever technique CNN used, there's no doubt that it looked it cool. And it conjured up some futuristic thoughts of Star Trek and Star Wars. But as a viewer watching the broadcast in my living room, I thought the whole thing was a bit silly and sort of annoying.

At one point during his interview with Yellin, Blitzer commented that he felt bringing Yellin into the studio via hologram created a more intimate setting for their interview. He said he liked the fact that there weren't oodles of noisy people standing behind her.

But I disagree with Blitzer. It seems to me the whole point of sending correspondents to events is so that viewers at home can get a taste of what's happening in those places. I actually wanted to see the throngs of people in Chicago, standing behind Yellin, shouting and cheering for Obama.

It's that excitement and feeling like I am there with the reporter that makes me want to watch TV news instead of just reading a story in a newspaper or online.

I realize that CNN wanted to show off its fancy new technology. And I applaud the cable network for pushing the envelope in its use of technology. But I don't really mind the old-fashioned cutaways to correspondents in remote locations. CNN and other news stations have plenty of reporters and pundits sitting in its studios every night of the week. There isn't anything terribly interesting about that to me. For an event like this, when Blitzer is talking to someone who is actually at Obama's headquarters, I want to see what she is seeing.

What about you?


Recipe for Sweet Potato Casserole

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I thought I'd share my sweet potato casserole recipe today, just in case someone is still searching for one. It would be easy to use mostly organic ingredients in this, however, once you see the ingredients you'll realize that it isn't a low fat or low sugar recipe. That's why I only make this once a year.

Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe
  • 3 cups cold mashed sweet potatoes (prepared without milk or butter)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cups butter (softened)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp cold butter
  1. Beat sweet potatoes, milk, butter, eggs, salt and vanilla until smooth
  2. Transfer to a greased 2 quart baking dish
  3. Combine brown sugar, pecans and flour; cut in butter until crumbly - sprinkle over potato mixture
  4. Bake uncovered at 325 degrees for 40-50 minutes
I usually boil and mash the sweet potatoes the day before Thanksgiving. I put the casserole together Thanksgiving morning and put it in the frig. I take it out and let it come to room temperature about an hour before the turkey is done. As soon as the turkey comes out of the oven, I pop it in to cook. By the time turkey is carved, regular potatoes are mashed and the table is completely ready to go, I pop it out of the oven. YUM!


Kim Cattrall Strips for Titian

Sex and the City
star Kim Cattrall has joined the campaign to keep Titian's Diana and Actaeon in Britain by posing semi-naked for a 21st-century version of the work, the Telegraph reports.

BBC2's The Culture Show asked photographer Tom Hunter, known for his recreations of old master paintings, to update the classic Titian work after he backed the campaign; the result is a photo that shows Actaeon accidentally happening upon the secret bathing place of Diana and incurring her wrath.

Cattrall, who was born in England, stars as Diana. "Kim is the perfect Diana," said Hunter. "Just like the Greek goddess, she combines beauty with a sense of threat." The others in the picture are art students from the Courtauld Institute and performers from the West End burlesque show La Clique.

The National Galleries of Scotland and the National Gallery in London have until December 31 to raise £50 million to buy Diana and Actaeon; if they fail to do so, it could be sold by the Duke of Sutherland on the open market. Cattrall commented that "it would be a tragedy" to lose the painting from public view.



Image:Hulu logo.svg

Hulu is a website that offers free, ad-supported streaming video of TV shows and movies from NBC, FOX and many other networks and studios. Hulu videos are currently offered only to users in the United States.

Hulu provides video in Flash Video format in a higher resolution and bit-rate than YouTube, including many films and shows that are available in 480p. Also, some TV shows and movies are now offered in high-definition. Hulu also provides web syndication services for other websites including AOL, MSN, MySpace, Yahoo! and Comcast's Hulu provides one of the largest free video selections from a collection of over 50 broadcasting networks. It allows the users to watch shows with limited commercial interruption by watching longer ads prior to the start of the selected program.

Content providers


Hulu distributes video both on its own web site and syndicated to other sites.[1] In addition to NBC and FOX programs, Hulu carries shows from other networks such as Comedy Central, PBS, USA Network, Bravo, Fuel TV, FX, SPEED Channel, Sci Fi, Style, Sundance, E!, G4, Versus and Oxygen.

Television shows

Hulu offers full episodes and segments from over 400 different TV shows, some no longer on the air, some in syndication, and many currently shown only in the United States. The TV content on Hulu is provided by NBC, Fox and their TV production subsidiaries Universal Media Studios and 20th Century Fox Television, respectively, as well as the aforementioned cable networks and other TV studios such as Sony Pictures Television, Warner Bros. Television, MGM Television and Lionsgate Television. Hulu allows users to share or edit these clips. Shows that get the most traffic on the site include The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Battlestar Galactica, The Simpsons, Bones, House, Arrested Development, Family Guy, The Office, Saturday Night Live, American Dad! and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. It is the original host of Joss Whedon's Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.


Hulu offers over 100 motion pictures that range from classic to modern films. The movie content is provided by studios such as Universal Pictures, 20th Century Fox, MGM, Lionsgate Entertainment and Sony Pictures among others. Hulu also offers trailers for new and upcoming movies. R-rated and TV-MA content is available unedited but only for registered users.


Hulu has an online social networking feature which allows users to create video clips for posting in other online communities.[2]


The Hulu venture was announced in March 2007, with AOL, MSN, MySpace and Yahoo! planned as "initial distribution partners".[3][4] The name Hulu was chosen in late August 2007, when the website went live, with an announcement only and no content. It invited users to leave their email addresses for the upcoming beta test.[5] In October, Hulu began the private beta testing by invitation, and allowed users to invite friends.[6] Hulu launched for public access in the United States on March 12, 2008.[2]

Hulu is a joint venture of NBC Universal and News Corp, with funding by Providence Equity Partners, which made a USD$100 million equity investment and holds a 10% stake.[7]

The name Hulu comes from a Mandarin Chinese proverb (宝葫芦), in which it means holder of precious things.[8] Literally, it refers (in Chinese) to the calabash gourd.[9]


Source: Wikipedia

Funny Thanksgiving Pictures

What is a 'libero' in volleyball?

The Libero

In 1998 the libero player was introduced internationally, the term meaning free in Italian; the NCAA introduced the libero in 2002. The libero is a player specialized in defensive skills: they must wear a contrasting jersey color from their teammates and cannot block or attack the ball when it is entirely above net height. When the ball is not in play, the libero can replace any back-row player, without prior notice to the officials. His or her replacements also do not count against the substitution limit each team is allowed per set, although NCAA rules only allow the libero to be replaced by the player whom s/he replaced.

The libero may function as a setter only under certain restrictions. If s/he makes an overhand set, s/he must be standing behind (and not stepping on) the 3-meter line; otherwise, the ball cannot be attacked above the net in front of the 3-meter line. An underhand pass is allowed from any part of the court.

Furthermore, a libero is not allowed to serve, according to international rules, with the exception of the NCAA women's volleyball games, where a 2004 rule change allows the libero to serve, but only in a specific rotation.

Source: WikiAnswers

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2009 Calendar

The real images are so large! Please click on images to enlarge them:

You can find December 2008 calendar, here

Nicki Meyer officially inks with Ga. Tech

Nicki Meyer sat at a table in the Buchholz cafeteria on Monday afternoon flanked by her younger sister Gigi and parents Shelley and Urban with a pen in her hands and tears in her eyes.

Soon after, Nicki would sign a national letter of intent to play volleyball for Georgia Tech. But before that, she, her family and Bobcats' coach Jeff Reavis gave emotional reflections as to how Nicki, a libero, got to this point.

A few years ago, the scene was improbable to say the least.

When the Meyer family moved to Gainesville in early 2005 after Urban was hired away from Utah to become Florida's football coach, he was very much against putting their kids Nicki, Gigi and Nate in public school. But Shelley, a former high school outside hitter (then called "spiker") and still an avid volleyball player, got a call from a member of the community who suggested she meet Reavis, the director of the Gainesville Juniors club program and Buchholz's new coach.

Shelley was told "if you want your kids to get the best coaching, you want them to play for Jeff."

The Meyers met Reavis and toured Buchholz, and it didn't take much longer to sell Urban.

"I come from a different perspective than most parents in regards to coaching," Urban said. "So, I watched with a very critical eye. I can tell the difference in a well-coached team and a poorly coached team, and I could tell Jeff really knew what he was doing. I also could tell how much he cared about his players."

So, that was settled, but still there were issues.

Like many young high school students, Nicki was a bit rebellious. She didn't do bad things, but in instances like when friends were allowed to go out and she wasn't, she was vocal in her displeasure.

"She would get mad and say ‘I can't wait to get out of here and go to Utah or UCLA,'" Shelley said.

Also strained was Nicki's relationship with Gigi, younger by two years.

Shelley said Gigi used to try to tag along with Nicki and her friends, and would borrow clothes and other items without asking. It turns out, after growing up sharing a life that at one point saw them attend four different schools in five years, Gigi just wanted a friend that understood her.

"It's hard to move from place to place without a shoulder to lean on," Gigi said. "I really needed that. There were times when I never knew if that day would come."

Neither did Reavis, who once sat Nicki down and told her "look, you guys are going to be teammates soon, so you need to figure things out."

The last couple of years have seen many changes in Nicki.

Reavis said she grew from naturally shy to a take-charge leader. Shelley said Nicki told her last summer that Utah and UCLA were just too far away, that she wanted to stay closer to home because she would miss her family too much. And Gigi and Nicki now proudly call each other their best friends, a new relationship they both acknowledge they owe in great part to volleyball.

Shelley said she will miss her oldest child's sense of humor and how they now can talk about anything. Urban, a self-proclaimed "volleyball junkie" who joked to the signing day crowd he had just accepted a job at Georgia Tech, said he'll really miss Wednesday night dinners and how much he and Nicki bonded at those. And Gigi said volleyball season won't be the same without her big sister.

But they all said they were proud of and excited for Nicki.

"This feels like the start of a whole new beginning for me," said Nicki, who won an FHSAA Class 6A state championship as a junior. "Even though my high school season is over (following a loss to Orlando Timber Creek in last Saturday's regional final), I'm really excited to think about what the next four years has in store for me.

"I'm really going to miss being here and everyone that is here, but I'm also really looking forward to starting something new."


Christmas Fairy Tale

Once upon a time – not long ago or far away – the snow was falling gently onto the still and frozen Great River by the Cold Stone Palace. The Great River had never before been stilled - but strange things were happening in the land.

The Strong-Willed Prince had finally departed the Stone Palace – forced into exile by his Chief Red Elf. And the Chief Red Elf, having brooded and plotted for this moment for ten years or more, finally ascended the throne and became known thenceforth as the Dark Wizard. This was his land – at last! His icy grip, cold and hard, spread like Mordor across the land – as he vanquished foes, floods and foul diseases. Invincible and stern, he swept away the years of Camelot and shadows lengthened across the land.

Perhaps swelled by the arrogance of high office and just like the Emperor who Had No Clothes – the Dark Wizard began to believe his courtiers who told him how wonderful, clever and all-knowing he was. He stopped listening to the people. He took no notice of what was happening outside of the Palace environs. He didn’t notice the darkening sky or the icy blast from the North. And having plotted against and threatened all other contenders for the throne – thus ascending without contest or joust - he believed that he could safely now ask the people of his lands to show him their love and obeisance by a pledge of allegiance. His subjects would each sign a paper telling him of their loyalty to the throne – and seal it with their blood.

His Red Elves went out through the land far and wide telling scribes and gossips that the Dark Wizard would seek the people’s allegiance. The scribes, and indeed the runes, all said that his omnipotence would be confirmed. His ascendance to the throne would be revalidated through the proof of the people’s love of their new ruler. His star was ever rising. The Red Elves readied their huge supplies of pen and paper, ready to dispatch to all four corners of the kingdom to gather in the pledges of loyalty.

But, being a cautious and (in the author’s view) somewhat cowardly being, the Dark Wizard sent his favourite Red Elf to the Lands of Changing Fortunes. And when his Elf returned he brought sad tidings. In the Lands of Changing Fortunes the runes read badly. The Dark Wizard knew not which way to turn and the people waited to know what would happen. Just before the Voting Clock struck Midnight, at the last possible moment of halting – the Wizard decided that he didn’t need to ask the people for their approval – in fact that had never been his intention. The piles of pen and paper were always meant for something else, you understand.

But the people did not believe him. He had mislead them. He said it wasn’t the sad tidings from the Land of Changing Fortunes that changed his mind. Now the people were not stupid. And the tide began to turn. Suddenly this colossus of control, this Dark Wizard, looked weak and feeble. He had dealt himself a mortal blow and ashamed of himself, he retreated further and further inside his Stone Palace, and wouldn’t see what was really happening – or talk to anyone.

Everything around him began to crumble. He had lost his confidence and his judgement. There was an important meeting of Princes and Wizards to sign a blood treaty. He arrived too late. There was uncertainly and fright in the land. People were scared that their homes would be taken away and they would lose all their gold. Afraid of what might happen if more people took fright, the Wizard threw all the wealth of the lands into the Goblins Fires to assure the people their gold was safe. But still the uncertainly raged – and then it suddenly came to light that much of the Dark Wizard’s gold had been passed on in secret from a mysterious gold mine in the North.

No laughter was heard and the birds stopped their chorus. The people who at first were glad to have a new ruler began to believe that the Dark Wizard was not, after all, their legitimate ruler. And whilst the Wizard’s attention had been so focused on his own desires – he had failed to notice that the world had grown colder. The globe was warming ever faster and as the Gulf Stream stopped its warm flow – our land no longer was protected from the icy northern blasts.

Sadder and sadder and more alone than ever, the Dark Wizard rocked back and forth on his cold stone throne.

As for the Chief Blue and Golden Elves - who you may have noticed have barely featured in this fairy tale - there really was no need – as the Dark Wizard did this all to himself.

And I’m the Christmas Fairy!


A Christmas Fairy Story: The rose of Jericho

The Rose of Jericho is a fairy tale for people all ages.

This fairy tale describes what very well could have happened in those days in Bethlehem when Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus had to flee to Egypt.

Use this fairy tale for any occasion around Christmas time. Feel free to use it in your school, your home or other places, as long as you use it to honour our Lord and Master Jesus Christ.

Mary was startled out of her sleep. It was Joseph. He looked serious.

"I had a dream", he said. "An angel told me that we must flee to Egypt and that we will know more later."

Mary was shocked. More nightmares to go through? As if the suspicious circumstances around the conception weren’t enough. Not to speak of the stable where she had to give birth.

And now fleeing to Egypt!

But suddenly she became calm. She looked at the infant and was convinced that the child’s angel would protect them on the dangerous journey because there were great promises associated with this child.

She remembered the three gifts from the wise men. They had to symbolize something good.

She had thought about the gifts. Gold must mean the boy would be a king like David, the incence that the boy would be a priest like Melchizedek, and the myrrh that he would be a prophet like Moses.

She still felt that something was missing but pushed the thought aside. It was probably just a mother’s ambition.

"Mary", said Joseph, "are you dreaming again? We must leave. I’ll take the gifts from the wise men and you must find food and clothes for us."

They gathered their things together and put everything in the donkey’s saddle bag.

Mary sat on the donkey with the boy. Her fear had completely disappeared. She looked at the child and knew that God would surround them with love and keep them safe. But the fear quickly returned when they reached the edge of the desert.

There was nothing but desert as far as the eye could see. And they had to cross it. How would they manage? Fear filled her again. She almost clung to the fear now. "This is too much", she thought, "going through a barren desert with husband and child". She drew the child closer to her to protect him.

They travelled through the desert all day and when evening came, they reached a cave where they hoped to spend the night.

It looked like the stable in Bethlehem. They were surprised - someone was already living there.

After talking for a while with the residents, they were invited in. A man reached out his hand toward the boy and asked perplexed, "How do you dare take the boy through the desert? There are so many dangers out here."

Joseph said, "An angel told us to flee to Egypt but we will be protected along the way for God has plans for the boy. At his birth something strange happened. The boy received three wonderful gifts: gold, incence, and myrrh. I believe he will give gifts to people because he has received gifts himself."

The stranger became more attentive and looked at the boy.

"I also want to give the boy a gift", he said eagerly and reached for a handful of withered grass behind him.

"This is the rose of Jericho. It got its name from the city of Jericho which lies as an oasis in the middle of a desert of stones. Jericho is fertile and gives life to many. I grew up there myself. There is a story about the rose. If you give it to a male child in the desert you can be certain that the child will have the same qualities as the rose."

The man then told them about the wonderful qualities of the rose, how it comes back to life with the slightest bit of water, that it never dies, and that it doesn’t need any soil.

Mary thought this sounded strange. And the gift - it wasn’t much really.

It looked so poor and worthless. But then she thought about the qualities of the plant - so life-affirming. It never dies! It brings life!

That was what the other three gifts were missing. Her son would bring life to all who would kneel before him with prayers of tears and joy.

She looked at the rose. Now she understood. Her son would see what others did not see, what others passed by. He would be the rose that people would be drawn to. He would never die but bring eternity into time. The rose surely meant that he was the Son of God.

Mary accepted the gift and then looked around the cave.

A little girl who was ill was lying in the corner of her bed. Mary saw the bundle begin to move. Then she saw a face and finally a small body that stood up.

"I feel much better, Father", the girl said happily. "I had such a warm feeling in my body when you gave the rose to the strangers."

The man knelt down with tears covering his cheeks and said, "I know that my daughter will be healed. Just like water brings life to the rose of Jericho, so will prayers of tears and joy make the boy give life to those who need it."

Mary thanked him for the gift and knew that her son would be everything to everyone.

Four gifts could only mean that his gifts would reach the four corners of the earth and be valid for all four seasons.

She blessed the rose and said, "You, rose of Jericho, will bring good news about my son who will never die to all the world and on the day of his birth people will take you out and rejoice in the miracle of your life.

Children will rejoice and adults will wonder, and you stranger", she added, "because you were encouraged to give my son a gift, you will know grace, the blessing that always comes when you give gifts to God’s people. You have already known it: look at your daughter!"

The man smiled and held his daughter in his arms.

The next morning the travellers said good-bye to the strangers. They placed the rose of Jericho in the saddle bag next to the gold, the incence, and the myrrh.

A star appeared in the sky and guided the three of them and the donkey on their journey through the desert to Egypt.