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Monday, August 29, 2011

IBM building largest drive ever, can hold 24 million HD movies

Fusing 200,000 hard drives creates one spectacular storage center

It wasn't that long ago that desktop and notebook computers came with just enough hard drive space to get you by. These days, however, most new systems come with ample storage space for the majority of the population, but power users still might find their drives filling up quite quickly with music, movies, and games. But fear not, media lovers, IBM can build you a data drive with 120 petabytes of storage to hold every music, movie, and picture you've ever seen — and all you need is a deep bank account and a team of computer scientists to build it.

The ambitious project is currently underway at IBM, where researchers are working with 200,000 individual hard drives to create the single largest digital storage space known to man. When complete, the drive will have 120 million gigabytes of capacity, which is enough room to store roughly 24 million feature length HD movies. The epic drive also allows old or broken components to be swapped out without losing any data or requiring costly downtime.

IBM is crafting the custom storage center for an unnamed client that needs to perform massive simulations. The company hasn't revealed the cost of the project, but with IBM engineers taking on the task, you can bet it's not being built for a home office.

Usain Bolt’s shocking DQ ends three-year reign in 100

Video: Usain Bolt’s shocking DQ ends three-year reign in 100

Usain Bolt had another stunning performance in the world championships. This time, it didn't involve him crossing the finish line in the fastest time ever recorded.

The world's fastest man broke out of the starting block early in Sunday's 100 meter final in South Korea and was disqualified from the race, providing an abrupt end to the dominance he's maintained in track's biggest event since the Beijing Olympics.

An angry Bolt refused to talk about the disqualification with reporters. "Looking for tears?" he said to a group of them following him around the track. "Not going to happen."

In 2008, Bolt broke the world record in the 100 three months before the Beijing Olympics. At that year's Summer Games, the brash Jamaican became the star of the second week, crushing competitors and showboating down the track during dominant performances. At the 2009 world championships in Berlin, Bolt ran what was considered a perfect race. His 9.58 still stands as the world record and likely won't be challenged until the lead-up to London.

At that time, a new false start rule may be on the books. A minor uproar ensued after Bolt's DQ on Sunday and could lead to changes in track's awful false start rule. The "one and done" rule has been on the books since 2010 and has led to a number of high-profile athletes getting kicked out of races before they begin. (Runners used to get two false starts. In 2003, the rule was changed to assign the first false start to the entire field.) The rule is made for television and fans, neither of whom, it is thought, want to see countless false starts and the delays that accompany them. That may be true. But what fans really don't want to see is a 100-meter final without Usain Bolt.

Imagine the marquee event of the London Olympics, a matchup between Asafa Powell, Tyson Gay and Usain Bolt, ruined by a false start. It's a disaster scenario for track & field, a sport that thrives on star power more than any other at the Olympics. The IAAF has to ask itself whether it's worth running the risk of seeing a race without Usain just to prevent a two-minute false start delay. Granted, going back to the old rules wouldn't assure a clean start by any of the three. It would, however, diminish the possibility of another fiasco in London.

American runner Walter Dix, who would eventually finish with the silver medal in Sunday's race, was confused about the process. "I didn't really think they were going to kick him out," Dix said. "How can you kick Usain out of the race?"

Next time, hopefully they won't have to.

Beyoncé Confirms Pregnancy On VMA Red Carpet

After years of denying endless pregnancy rumors, Beyoncé finally has some good news to share.

The "Single Ladies" singer is pregnant.

Beyoncé held her belly as she arrived at the Video Music Awards Sunday wearing a long, red dress, quite the opposite of her normal midriff-baring stage costumes.

When addressing photographers on the red carpet, Beyoncé said, "I have a surprise!" People reported.

Beyoncé's rep later confirmed the news to the magazine. "I'm happy to say it's true," the rep said, according to People.

Beyoncé also acknowledged that she was with child during her performance of "Love On Top." During the intro of the song she said she wanted the audience to "feel the love that's growing inside of me." And after she finished singing the song, she dropped her microphone, popped open her purple sequined tuxedo jacket, poked out her stomach, then rubbed it and smiled. Onlookers, Jay-Z and Kanye jumped up and down in excitement (see video below).

In a June interview special on "Piers Morgan Tonight," Beyoncé said she looked forward to parenthood.

"I always said I would have a baby at 30," said the singer whose 30th birthday is September 4.

Apparently, Beyoncé's husband Jay-Z has also had children on his mind. He and Kanye rapped about fatherhood on "New Day" from their new album, "Watch The Throne."

Beyoncé and Jay-Z wed in April 2008.

Buzziest Moments From The 2011 Video Music Awards

The MTV Video Music Awards is one of the few award shows where wacky antics are expected and encouraged. This year was no exception. Among the standout moments: Beyonce's baby bump rub, Justin Bieber's appearance with his pet snake and a Lady Gaga-Britney Spears kiss, with Gaga dressed as a man.

To present Spears with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, Lady Gaga dressed as her drag king alter-ego Jo Calderone. When Spears walked on stage, the two shared a polite smooch. A few minutes later, Gaga tried to recreate Spears' infamous 2003 Madonna liplock, but Spears pulled away saying she had already done that. Gaga looked disappointed.

Singer Selena Gomez, who helped host the pre-show, had one of the most anticipated interviews with her own boyfriend, Justin Bieber. As she tried to interview him, Bieber (who sported specs) tried to throw her off by holding a small snake in his hand (which he said is named "Johnson"). After she was done asking questions, he sweetly kissed her on the cheek.

As for weird outfits, Nicki Minaj set the bar, sporting a Japanese Kawaii raver-meets-Hannibal Lecter look, with a geometric metal armored dress and graffiti face mask. She also had a creepy accessory: A monster doll.

Chris Brown delivered a memorable performance, during which he covered the 1993 Wu-Tang Clan classic "Protect Ya Neck," as well as Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit." He was then elevated high above the crowd on a wire and did back-flips and splits in the air.

Another weird moment occurred when Gaga (still in drag) went to accept "Best Female Video." She was presented with the award by the Jersey Shore ladies and actress Cloris Leachman. Gaga inexplicably put the 85-year-old Leachman in a headlock before giving her speech.

But the night belonged to Beyoncé, who had announced her pregnancy on the red carpet. During the middle of the show, she belted out "Love On Top." At the end of the performance, she rubbed her belly as her usually-serious husband, rapper Jay-Z, jumped out of his chair and cheered in the audience with Kanye West.

Katy Perry took home Video of the Year for "Firework" and donned what looked like a giant cheese square on her head to accept the award. Paired with Lady Gaga's 2010 meat dress, Perry's get-up might've made a nice appetizer tray.

Demolishing a Vegas Hotel Before its Grand Opening

Las Vegas CityCenter's Harmon Hotel tower (center), may be razed before it ever opens.
Photo: flickr | Vrysxy

Th e days of the Harmon Hotel tower in Las Vegas may be numbered -- even before the hotel welcomes a single guest. Begun during the Las Vegas high-rise condo boom, the hotel tower -- first proposed as a 49-story mixed-use condo and hotel project -- is an empty, if flashy, shell that its owner, MGM Resorts International, seeks to demolish.

The building's downfall has been blamed on massive construction defects and the market downturn. MGM and the building's general contractor, Perini Building Co., are embroiled in litigation over the building's problems -- and the outcome may ultimately decide its fate.

Originally conceived as a 400-room nongaming tower with just over 200 residential condo units, the Harmon was part of the larger CityCenter development on the Las Vegas Strip.

When MGM put the planned condo units on the market in early 2008, buyers -- mostly owner-occupants -- put down 20 percent deposits on nearly half of the units within a two-month period, said Robert Hamrick, who served from January 2006 to March 2011 as senior vice president and broker at CityCenter Realty Corp. He is currently chairman and CEO of Coldwell Banker Premier Realty in Las Vegas.

Harmon tower (center) and CityCenter during construction.
Photo: flickr | Lars Plougmann

"It was a very emotional building. The physicality of it, (the) appearance, the architecture. It was going to be a very high-end luxury building, kind of appealing to the nouveau riche, perhaps. Upscale, classy and a somewhat young environment," Hamrick said.

But structural defects were discovered in the building, and in January 2009 MGM announced that the Harmon's finished size would be cut down to 28 stories, from the 49 stories originally slated. This eliminated the planned condo units entirely. Perini finished the Harmon's core and shell in December 2009.

The Aladdin Hotel on the Vegas strip imploded in April, 1998.
Photo: AP

The building currently sits unfinished as MGM and Perini debate the extent of construction defects in the courts. Neither MGM or Perini responded to requests for comment by publication time.

According to a July engineering report, repair of the building may not be possible, and if it is, it could take up to three years to fix from start to finish.

The Perini company fired back in a statement that "MGM is seeking to implode the building to hide the fact that the Harmon is not a threat to public safety and to avoid having the repairs made that Perini and its third-party structural engineers have offered to do."

The New Frontier had seen better days when it imploded in July, 2007.
Photo: AP

Perini also accused MGM of "buyer's remorse" due to the downturn of the real estate market. "MGM is now attempting to blow up the Harmon to avoid adding the Harmon as additional glut to its other vacant properties in CityCenter under the guise of 'public safety,'" the company charged.

The proposed plan is subject to approval from the county's building department. If approved, MGM would also seek to lift a court order that prevent alteration or destruction of the building while the litigation with Perini is unresolved. There have been at least a dozen buildings imploded in Las Vegas since 1993, five of them since 2006, according to an implosions page on travel website The most recent was the New Frontier hotel, the second-oldest hotel on the strip at the time, on November 13, 2007. On May 9, 2006, the precursor to CityCenter, the Boardwalk hotel, was imploded to make way for the new development.

Caroline Wozniacki and Rory McIlroy sitting in a tree

Caroline Wozniacki and Rory McIlroy, sitting in a tree …

... K-I-S-S-I-N-G. Well, technically it wasn't in a tree, it on a tennis court in front of the Yale football team and thousands of fans who watched Wozniacki advance to the finals of the New Haven Open. That doesn't rhyme as well though.

Golf's reigning U.S. Open champion gave his new girlfriend a kiss on Friday night that must have had some good luck; the 21-year-old Dane went out the next day and won her first tournament since she and the Nothern Irish star began dating after Wimbledon.

That is the happiest I've ever seen a group of guys over a kiss involving other people. I've looked at wedding photos where the groomsmen have less of a smile than the Yale football players have plastered on their faces in this shot.

Caroline Wozniacki and Rory McIlroy, sitting in a tree …

A lot of couples have to deal with differences in religion or race or finances or education or upbringing. I worry about the day when Caroline and Rory have their first adidas/Nike argument. Rory doesn't have a deal with the Oregon athletic giant yet though I'd imagine the site of him wearing a swoosh on that Yale jersey has some hearts in Beaverton aflutter.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Crude oil discovered in Kwara

The discovery was first highlighted by a farmer who discovered crude oil spouting from his farm and seven other adjoining sites
Article |

The Kwara State Government says it is set to join the list of oil-producing states following the discovery of crude oil in Ara Orin in Irepodun Local Government.

Governor AbdulFatah Ahmed said that the discovery came as the state identified solid minerals development and mining as key sources of internally- generated revenue to fund its development programmes.

The elated governor explained that the discovery was first highlighted by a farmer who discovered crude oil spouting from his farm and seven other adjoining sites and alerted the state government.

He said geologists from the state Ministry of Industry and Solid Minerals were subsequently directed to confirm whether the substance was indeed crude oil and if so, identify the blend.

According to him, the ministry officials did not only confirm the substance as crude oil but also identified the blend as Bonny Light, a high-grade of crude oil preferred by European and American refineries due to its unique properties.

A statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communications to the governor, Dr Muyideen Akorede, disclosed that the find was subsequently verified through independent analysis by a private oil company which also confirmed the government’s findings.

Ahmed said further tests were being carried out to determine if the crude discovered in Ara Orin is in commercial quantities, and pointed out that the finding was a welcome boost to the state’s economy and Kwara’s emerging reputation as one of Nigeria’s most conducive investment destinations.

The governor identified solid minerals development and mining as one of his administration’s key policy thrust for driving development in the state. He said the sector would go a long way in boosting Kwara’s internally-generated revenue by attracting foreign and indigenous investors to the state.

He added that the Ministry of Industry and Solid Minerals had been directed to catalogue all mineral and mining sites in the state with a view to regulating the sector and effectively managing the state’s resources.

The Biggest A-List Celebrity Homes for Sale

From Harrison Ford to Sean “Diddy” Combs to the late Elizabeth Taylor, there are true mega-star homes on the market right now, and these incredible properties reflect the success of their owners. You can own a piece of A-list real estate as long as you're able to pay the price.

Interestingly, when it comes to the most famous celebrities, real estate may be one of the few non-inflated things you can buy. You can buy a mid-1970s Rolex Submariner 55XX series for under $5000, but the same watch, except that it was worn by actor Steve McQueen, went for over a quarter of a million dollars.

Likewise, JFK’s cigar humidor fetched more than half a million dollars at auction, and it takes up about a square foot of real estate. So in a world obsessed with celebrity, where provenance can increase values hundreds or thousands of times, celebrity homes, which get only slightly inflated by their history, might seem like a bargain in comparison. Of course, when you go to sell, you’ll find the same lack of celebrity appreciation disappointing, but in the meantime, at least you can throw great parties in a mansion where one of the most famous people on the planet once threw parties.

Celebrity homes are on the market all the time, with plenty to choose from, and compared to the recent rash of high eight and even nine-digit billionaire homes, they can be surprisingly affordable, even for the true A-Listers. Of course, some are plenty expensive.

Here is a look at some of the homes of the ultra-famous currently on the market according to

Harrison Ford
Price: $16,000,000
Location: New York, NY

Harrison Ford's NY apartment is for sale.
Photo: The Corcoran Group

The leading man of our lifetime, Harrison Ford has homes in Los Angeles and Jackson, WY, and is jettisoning this penthouse apartment in New York’s Chelsea for $16,000,000. The 11-room, 5,664-sqaure foot apartment has concrete floors boasting radiant heat throughout, secured elevator, gourmet kitchen, and private roof deck.

Christina Aguilera
Price: $13,500,000
Location: Beverly Hills, CA

Christina Aguilera's Beverly Hills home is available.

If you’re in the business of owning a slice of celebrity, this listing’s a two-for-one deal. Before the pop diva called it home, the Osbourne family—of MTV’s The Osbournes fame—took root in the 10,000-square-foot Mediterranean dwelling before selling it to Aguilera in 2007. The sprawling single-family home features six bedrooms, nine bathrooms, grand staircase, beauty salon and recording studio. The outdoor grounds house a pool with water slide, grotto spa and custom-made Pagoda.

Sean "Diddy" Combs
Price: $13,500,000
Location: Alpine, NJ

Puffy combs' NJ estate is on the market.
Photo: Friedberg Properties & Associates

Music impresario Sean “Diddy” Combs recently listed his 3-acre Alpine, N.J. estate for $13,500,000. The 17-room main house is a whopping 26,000 square foot, plus there is a guest house, pool, tennis court, and putting green.

Billy Joel
Price: $16,750,000
Location: Sagaponack, NY

Billy Joel's Hamptons house awaits a buyer.
Photo: The Corcoran Group

Singer Billy Joel’s 4-bedroom beach house on 145-feet of sandy shoreline in Long Island’s Sagaponack was previously owned by actor Roy Scheider of Jaws fame. Recently renovated, it is in turn-key shape and the price has been reduced from a high of $22,500,000 to the current $16,750,000.

Katherine Hepburn
Price: $28,000,000
Location: Old Saybrook, CT

Kate Hepburn's former estate is for sale.
Photo: William Pitt Sotheby's International

The greatest actress of all time, Katherine Hepburn lived in this estate that was in her family for the past century until her death at 96 in 2003. The 8,400-square foot 6-bedroom home is beautiful, but the $28,000,000 price tag reflects the one of a kind seaside setting on the shore of Long Island Sound in Old Saybrook, CT. Occupying 3.5 acres, it has nearly 700 feet of waterfront with a private dock and beach, as well as a pond.

Hackers protest BART decision to block cellphones

This screen shot taken from shows a page from the website after it was hacked by the hacker's group Anonymous on Sunday, Aug. 14, 2011. Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) district officials said they were attempting Sunday to shut down the hacker's group website that lists the names of thousands of San Francisco Bay area residents who are email subscribers of a legitimate BART website. (AP Photo/

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco's mass transit system prepared for renewed protests Monday, a day after hackers angry over blocked cell phone service at some transit stations broke into a website and posted company contact information for more than 2,000 customers.

The action by a hacker group known as Anonymous was the latest showdown between anarchists angry at perceived attempts to limit free speech and officials trying to control protests that grow out of social networking and have the potential to become violent.

Anonymous posted people's names, phone numbers, and street and email addresses on its own website, while also calling for a disruption of the Bay Area Rapid Transit's evening commute Monday.

BART officials said Sunday that they were working a strategy to try to block any efforts by protesters to try to disrupt the service.

"We have been planning for the protests that are said to be shaping up for tomorrow," BART spokesman Jim Allison said. He did not provide specifics, but said BART police will be staffing stations and trains and that the agency had already contacted San Francisco police.

The transit agency disabled the effected website,, Sunday night after it also had been altered by apparent hackers who posted images of the so-called Guy Fawkes masks that anarchists have previously worn when showing up to physical protests.

The cyber attack came in response to the BART's decision to block wireless service in several of its San Francisco stations Thursday night as the agency aimed to thwart a planned protest over a transit police shooting. Officials said the protest had been designed to disrupt the evening commute.

"We are Anonymous, we are your citizens, we are the people, we do not tolerate oppression from any government agency," the hackers wrote on their own website. "BART has proved multiple times that they have no problem exploiting and abusing the people."

Allison described as a "satellite site" used for marketing purposes. It's operated by an outside company and sends BART alerts and other information to customers, Allison said.

The names and contact info published by Sunday came from a database of 55,000 subscribers, he said. He did not know if the group had obtained information from all the subscribers, he said, adding that no bank account or credit card information was listed.

The BART computer problem was the latest hack the loosely organized group claimed credit for this year. Last month, the FBI and British and Dutch officials made 21 arrests, many of them related to the group's attacks on Internet payment provider PayPal Inc., which has been targeted over its refusal to process donations to WikiLeaks. The group also claims credit for disrupting the websites of Visa and MasterCard in December when the credit card companies stopped processing donations to WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange.

BART's decision to shut down wireless access was criticized by many as heavy handed, and some raised questions about whether the move violated free speech.

The problems began Thursday night when BART officials blocked wireless access to disrupt organization of a demonstration protesting the July 3 shooting death by BART police who said the 45-year-old victim was wielding a knife.

Activists also remain upset by the 2009 death of Oscar Grant, an unarmed black passenger who was shot by a white officer on an Oakland train platform. The officer quit the force and was convicted of involuntary manslaughter after the shooting.

Facing backlash from civil rights advocates and one of its own board members, BART has defended the decision to block cell phone use, with Allison saying the cell phone disruptions were legal because the agency owns the property and infrastructure.

"I'm just shocked that they didn't think about the implications of this. We really don't have the right to be this type of censor," Lynette Sweet, who serves on BART's board of directors, said previously. "In my opinion, we've let the actions of a few people affect everybody. And that's not fair."

Laura Eichman was among those whose email and home phone number were published by the hackers Sunday.

"I think what they (the hackers) did was illegal and wrong. I work in IT myself, and I think that this was not ethical hacking. I think this was completely unjustified," Eichman said.

She said she doesn't blame BART and feels its action earlier in the week of blocking cell phone service was reasonable.

"It doesn't necessarily keep me from taking BART in the future but I will certainly have to review where I set up accounts and what kind of data I'm going to keep online," Eichman said.

Michael Beekman of San Francisco told the AP that he didn't approve of BART's move to cut cell phone service or the Anonymous posting.

"I'm not paranoid but i feel like it was an invasion of privacy," he said. "I thought I would never personally be involved in any of their (Anonymous') shenanigans."

The group Anonymous, according to its website, does "not tolerate oppression from any government agency," and it said it was releasing the User Info Database of as one of many actions to come.

"We apologize to any citizen that has his information published, but you should go to BART and ask them why your information wasn't secure with them," the statement said.


Associated Press writers Terry Tang and Bob Seavey in Phoenix also contributed to this report.

Hilary Duff Is Pregnant With First Child!

Story photo: Hilary Duff Is Pregnant With First Child!

Hilary Duff's first wedding anniversary is extra sweet: she and Mike Comrie announced they are expecting a baby!

"This weekend, Mike and I are celebrating our one year anniversary! In memory of the special day, we decided to post some of our favorite pictures from our wedding!" she wrote on her official website Sunday.

"I can't believe it has already been a year. Time really flies when you're having fun! We also want to share the exciting news that baby makes three! We are extremely happy and ready to start this new chapter of our lives. Thanks to everyone for the continued love and support throughout the years!"

Duff, 23, wed pro hockey player Comrie, 30, on August 14, 2010 in an intimate sunset ceremony at a $29 million estate near the San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito, Calif.

"We both love kids and we're really excited," Duff told Us Weekly Wednesday at the Kendra Scott jewelry event in L.A., just days before sharing her pregnancy news with the world. "It was a big deal for us because we had a year to be married."

Biggest Businesses Run by College Dropouts

Ever wonder where the chief executives of some of the world's most successful companies went to college? Well, don't tell your kids, but some CEOs never graduated college—and some never even bothered to apply.

From computers to cruise lines, these 10 CEOs made it to the top without a college degree and defied the idea that to be successful you have to have a diploma.

Ralph Lauren

Photo: Emmanuel Dunand | AFP | Getty Images
Position: CEO, Polo Ralph Lauren
Market Cap: $11.9 billion

Ralph Lauren, the chief executive of Polo Ralph Lauren , established his company in 1967 as a line of men's ties and developed the company into a global fashion empire. Lauren's successful clothing line came from his unique, classic style that went against conventional fashion of the time.

According to the Ralph Lauren website, Lauren said, "I never went to fashion school—I was a young guy who had some style. I never imagined Polo would become what it is. I just followed my instincts."

With only a high school diploma in hand, Lauren followed his instincts. His decision to ditch college and focus on running his business lead to a series of breakthroughs in the fashion world, including the first shop-within-a-shop designer boutique for men in Bloomingdale's department store in 1969. Lauren continued to build his empire, expanding it to include women and children's fashion, fragrances, and home furnishings.

Today, Polo Ralph Lauren is one of the most successful fashion companies in the world.

Richard Branson

Photo: Karim Jaafar | AFP | Getty Images
Position: CEO, Virgin Group
Company Worth: $18 billion
Virgin Media Market Cap: $8.1 billion

Forget graduating from college, this chief executive didn't even finish high school. Richard Branson, the current CEO of Virgin Group , dropped out of high school at age 16 to start Student Magazine . Four years later, Branson founded Virgin Group as a mail-order retailer. He opened his first record shop in London and two years later built Virgin's first recording studio. In 1977, Branson signed his first big name group, the Sex Pistols, and continued to sign popular artists such as the Rolling Stones and Culture Club.

In 1984, Branson developed Virgin Atlantic and the brand began to grow. Today, Virgin Group provides mobile, broadband, TV, radio, finance, health, tourism, leisure, and travel services.

Michael Dell

Photo: Justin Sullivan | Getty Images
Position: Founder/CEO, Dell
Market Cap: $30 billion

Most 19 year olds would spend a thousand dollars on a spring break weekend, or a put it toward buying a new car, but Michael Dell spent his $1,000 founding Dell .

The founder and CEO of Dell expanded his company with the idea that "technology is about enabling human potential." In 1992, he became the youngest chief executive to earn a ranking on Fortune magazine's "Fortune 500" list. His staff also grew from a one-man operation to 100,000 employees in just eight years.

Today, the company provides information-technology services for global corporations, governments, health care providers, small and medium businesses, education institutions, and home computing users.

Dell is not the only company this CEO has had a hand in creating. Dell founded MSD Capital in 1998 and a year later launched the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, a philanthropic organization for global issues.

Bill Gates

Photo: Sean Gallup | Getty Images
Position: Co-Founder/Chairman, Microsoft
Market Cap: $226.2 billion

College dropouts such as Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz are not the only successful business founders who attended, and then left, Harvard University.

Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft , enrolled at Harvard as a freshman in 1973. Gates, who lived down the hall from Microsoft's current chief executive, Steve Ballmer, created BASIC, a programming language for the first microcomputer, during his first year of college.

Gates dropped out of Harvard in his junior year to concentrate all his efforts on a company he called Micro-soft with his childhood friend Paul Allen.

As if founding Microsoft wasn't enough, Gates went on to found Corbis , one of the world largest resources of visual information. He also earned a seat on the board of directors for Berkshire Hathaway , an investment company engaged in diverse business activity.

Steve Jobs

Photo: David Paul Morris | Getty Images
Position: Founder/CEO, Apple
Market Cap: $362.4 billion

As a young boy, this college dropout showed an early interest in computers.

When he was 12, Steve Jobs, the chief executive of Apple , called Bill Hewlett, co-founder of Hewlett Packard , after finding his number in the phonebook. When Hewlett answered, Jobs said, "Hi I'm Steve Jobs. I'm twelve years old and I'm a student in high school. I want to make a frequency counter. I was wondering if you had any spare parts I can have?"

Hewlett gave Jobs the spare parts and hired him that summer to work on the assembly line at his company. During this time, Jobs formed a friendship with Stephen Wozniak, a soon-to-be dropout from the University of California at Berkley.

Jobs enrolled at Reed College after high school, but he later dropped out. He connected once again with Wozniak and the pair quit their jobs to start production on a computer in Jobs' garage.

There are different versions of how the pair came up with the name for Apple. The best-known story comes from Jobs summer spent working on an apple orchard and his love for the fruit. The bite in the side of the apple is said to be a play on the computer term "byte."

In a biography, Jobs said he was worth more than $1 million when he was 23, $10 million when he was 24, and $100 million when he was 25.

Apple went from a garage-based operation to a multibillion-dollar, worldwide corporation, and it all started with two college dropouts tinkering in a garage.

Today, Gates serves as Microsoft's chairman and as an advisor on key development projects.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Real Madrid signs 7-year-old Argentine named Leo

A lot is made about the professionalization of young athletes in America, but young U.S. phenoms have nothing on their Spanish and South American counterparts. If there were ever any doubts about that, they could safely be dispelled on Monday, when it was announced that Spanish soccer giants Real Madrid signed Argentine 7-year-old Leonel Angel Coira to a youth development contract.

7-year-old Argentine Real Madrid signing Leo Angel Coria

"(My) dream is to meet Messi, play in the first division with Madrid and for Argentina in the World Cup," Coira told the Spanish newspaper ABC shortly after signing with his new club.

Of course, there are a number of reasons behind Real Madrid's rather surprising signing of Coira, who is pictured above. First, Real had learned of interest in the second-grader by crosstown rivals Atletico Madrid. That, in itself, is sometimes enough to push Real to make a premature move.

Then there's the 7-year-old's nickname: Leo. It goes without saying that the similarities with Barcelona superstar Leo Messi -- widely regarded as the current greatest player in the world -- don't stop there, either. Coira openly idolizes Messi, who also hails from Argentina but didn't leave the South American country until his teenage years.

Like Messi, Coira wears number 10. And like Messi, he dreams of starring for the Argentinian national team. They both already sport their own Facebook fan pages, too. They even look more than a little bit similar (if you imagine Messi as a 7-year-old, of course). Really, the only thing that does clearly separate Messi and Coira are the spelling of their first names -- Leo Messi is Lionel whereas Leo Coira is Leonel -- and Messi's well-stocked trophy case.

In short, if you think that Real Madrid officials weren't positively terrified by the thought of this young Argentine Leo eventually ending up at Barcelona's famed La Masia Academy, the breeding ground which groomed Messi's talent and helped transform it from potential to genius, you're kidding yourself.

Still, the Coira family insisted that the precocious youngster spent time at both Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid in brief tryouts and came away feeling much more comfortable with the youth program at Real Madrid. Coira's father, Miguel Coira, also insisted that the family will not receive any compensation for sending their younger son to Real Madrid, though he did acknowledge that the club would pay for transportation to and from Argentina.

To put the entire episode in American context, the Coira signing is essentially like the Red Sox signing an elementary school student from Kalamazoo, Mich., named Derek Jeter Jones (or any other last name), who happened to go by the nickname "Jeter." Needless to say, it just wouldn't happen.

Of course, no American professional franchise would sign a 7-year-old from another country to begin with, even for a designated youth development setup. That's precisely what makes this story all the more incredible, and head scratching when you try to make sense of it all.

Yet officials at Real Madrid insist that there is nothing puzzling about what sparked their interest in Coira. According to club spokesman Juan Tapiador, the 7-year-old is simply a unique talent.

"They only have to be a standout," Tapiador told the AP of Real Madrid's reason for signing Coira at his young age. "We look for something different, that quality or talent that makes them stand out from the rest."

The elder Coira is confident that his son will achieve great things with the Spanish giants, even if they don't come until his idol has finished his playing days with Real's biggest rivals, Barcelona.

"I trust the club a lot," Miguel Coira told ABC. "I know they will take good care of him."

UK PM recalls Parliament for London riot crisis

A bus is set on fire as rioters gathered in Croydon, south London, Monday, Aug. 8, 2011. Violence and looting spread across some of London's most impoverished neighborhoods on Monday, with youths setting fire to shops and vehicles, during a third day of rioting in the city that will host next summer's Olympic Games. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)

Wealthy duchess gives fortune away to marry

Maria del Rosario Cayetana Alfonsa Victoria Eugenia Francisca Fitz-James Stuart y de Silva (yes, that's one name) is one of the wealthiest women in all of Spain. She is worth somewhere between $850 million and $5 billion--but not for long. The Duchess of Alba, 85, is giving it all away so she can marry the man she loves.

This sounds like a plot to the latest Nicholas Sparks novel, but we assure you, this is nonfiction to the core. So, why is she giving her vast fortune away? The duchess's six children were dubious about their mother's plans to marry Alfonso Diez, a civil servant who is 24 years younger.

To help assuage their fears that the love may not be genuine, the duchess is going to give her fortune to her children. According to an article from the BBC, the duchess's six children had been against the wedding. Earlier this year, the duchess remarked, "Alfonso doesn't want anything. All he wants is me."

Click image to see more photos. (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)

Click image to see more photos. (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)

Not surprisingly, news of the impending wedding sparked a flurry of web searches. Online lookups for "duchess marries" and "spain duchess fortune" were both incredibly popular, as computer users have sought the scoop on the unlikely love story.

The duchess's children were all from her first marriage to Pedro Luis Martinez de Irujo y Artazcoz, son of the Duke of Sotomayor. He died in 1972. The duchess remarried in 1978 to a onetime Jesuit priest named Jesus Aguirre y Ortiz de Zarate. He passed away in 2001. The duchess has been friends with Diez for several years. In fact, there were rumors of a wedding in 2008, but nothing occurred after the children "vetoed" the idea of marriage.

No word on whether the duchess's children and grandchildren intend to be on hand for the ceremony. She likes to point out that each of her kids is divorced, even though she has never split up with any of her husbands. According to the UK Guardian, the duchess has given her children and eight grandchildren "a palace each." That ought to keep them quiet.

Monday, August 8, 2011

World leaders confer on debt crises this weekend

PARIS/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Global leaders on Saturday arranged a round of emergency calls to discuss the twin debt crises in Europe and the United States that are causing turmoil in financial markets.

After a week that saw $2.5 trillion wiped off global stock markets, they are under pressure to show political leadership and reassure markets that Western governments have both the will and ability to reduce their huge and growing public debt loads.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who chairs the G7/G20 group of leading economies, conferred with Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron ahead of a call planned for this weekend by G7 finance ministers and central bankers.

"They discussed the euro area and the U.S. debt downgrade. Both agreed the importance of working together, monitoring the situation closely and keeping in contact over the coming days," a spokesman for Cameron said.

Standard and Poor's deepened the urgency for action late on Friday by stripping the United States of its top-tier AAA credit rating, a move that over time could ripple through markets worldwide by pushing up borrowing costs and making it more difficult to secure a lasting recovery.

It cited the acrimonious debate in Washington on raising the debt ceiling and near political paralysis over the best way to reduce the its $14.3 trillion debt, which on the current trajectory could climb above 100 percent of U.S. national output this decade.

President Barack Obama called on lawmakers once again on Saturday to set aside partisan politics and work together and to put the nation's fiscal house in order and stimulate the stagnant economy.

But the most immediate concern for financial markets was the debt crisis in the euro zone, where yields on Italian and Spanish debt have soared to 14-year highs on political wrangling and doubts over the vigor of budget cuts.

The European Central Bank was scheduled to hold a rare Sunday conference call. Markets are anxiously looking for the central bank to start buying Italian and Spanish debt on Monday to stabilize prices, a move that has split the ECB governing council.

Investors saw the ECB's failure to include Italy and Spain in a relaunch of its bond purchases late last week as a sign of the depth of political divisions over the role of the euro zone currency. German officials want to see stiffer austerity programs in place before the ECB would shoulder more Italian and Spanish debt. The danger is that further pressure on Italian and Spanish bonds could undermine an already damaged European banking system and lock Italy, the world's eighth largest economy, out of the market.

Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, his government weakened by infighting, ruled out early elections to stem market panic. "This has never been an option," Berlusconi said. Instead he has pledged to bring forward austerity measures and balance the budget by 2013, a year ahead of schedule -- steps the ECB will consider to gauge whether to buy its bonds.

S&P's one-notch downgrade of the U.S. sovereign credit rating to AA-plus, while not totally unexpected, adds another level of uncertainty. Loss of gold-plated status for the world's benchmark interest rate risks pushing up borrowing costs on everything from car loans, mortgages and corporate debt to government bonds worldwide.

"However justified, S&P couldn't have picked a worse time to downgrade the U.S.," said Rabobank in a note to clients.

A senior European diplomatic source said the U.S. downgrade, coupled with Europe's problems, raised the need for international policy coordination. G7 finance ministers and central bankers of the major industrialized nations were to hold talks by telephone on either Saturday or Sunday, the source said. Their deputies from the broader G20 were due to hold a call on Saturday evening, a Brazilian finance ministry source said.

A U.K. official said "senior officials" also would talk late on Saturday. There was no indication of whether a statement would be issued by G7 or G20 policymakers, the usual method by which they lay out policy steps designed to soothe markets or provide them with direction.


China, the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt, took the world's economic superpower to task for allowing its fiscal house to get into such disarray. It also revived its calls for a new stable global reserve currency to replace the U.S. dollar, gaining a sympathetic ear in the United Kingdom.

"The U.S. government has to come to terms with the painful fact that the good old days when it could just borrow its way out of messes of its own making are finally gone," China's official Xinhua news agency said in a commentary.

Xinhua scorned the United States for a "debt addiction" and "short sighted" political wrangling. China, it said, "has every right now to demand the United States address its structural debt problems and ensure the safety of China's dollar assets."

China and Japan have called for coordinated action to avert a new worldwide financial crisis. India's Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters: "There is no need to unnecessarily press the panic button."

Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager said: "I am in constant contact with colleagues in other countries and am following the development of the financial markets closely."

Recrimination flew thick and fast among U.S. politicians over its debt downgrade, with each side seeking to blame the other for the impasse over how to solve the fiscal crisis.

Senator Jim Demint, a Republican, said Obama should demand the resignation of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

In contrast, French Finance Minister Francois Baroin said France had faith in the United States to get out of this "difficult period." Friday's U.S. unemployment numbers were better than expected and so things were heading in the right direction, he said.

"One should not dramatize, one needs to remain cool-headed, one should look at the fundamentals," he told France's iTele.

"There is no need for panic," Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said. "We will see in August, and maybe more intensively in September what the effects for the world economy will be."

Boredom-Free Careers

There's nothing boring about these 6 careers.

Bored at work? Instead of going through the motions, consider transitioning to a new might be a healthy choice.

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In a 2010 study by University College London, researchers found a possible link between boredom at work and a shorter life expectancy. While researchers said that a boring job alone can't kill you (phew!), they did conclude it can potentially lead to risky habits that pose possible health concerns.

Whether you want to make a career change or are planning for your first job and don't want to be bored at work, we have broken down some of the more interesting career choices by industry.

Keep reading for info on how you can prepare for these interesting careers ...

Business Careers

From marketing to PR to event planning, the business world is full of anything but boring career opportunities. Check out these boredom bashing business careers:

  • #1 - Event Planner

    If you like to throw parties, you should think about a career as a convention or event planner. In this career, you probably won't be confined to a cubicle and you'll get a chance to meet new people.

    Education: To pursue this track, one option would be to earn an associate's degree in business administration. According to the Department of Labor, detail-oriented administrative assistants often transition into this career.

    Average Earnings: $48,780*

  • #2 - Public Relations Specialist

    Enjoy talking to and communicating with others? A career in public relations (PR) may be for you. Whether you're working for a big or small company, the gig will probably involve communicating your message to the masses, perhaps through the press or social media.

    Education: Many entry-level PR specialists have a bachelor's degree in PR, marketing, or communications, according to the Department of Labor. Courses in advertising, business administration, and journalism can also be helpful.

    Average earnings: $59,150*

Health Care Careers

If you're exploring more interesting career options, look to an industry with real life and death stakes: health care. The timing may be good for transitioning into health care, since it currently features 10 of the 20 fastest growing careers in the country, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Check out these two interesting health care career options:

  • #1 - Pharmacy Technician

    Want to avoid a lengthy degree program and still pursue health care opportunities? This career - which can involve interacting with customers, assisting pharmacists, and helping fill prescriptions - generally doesn't need a bachelor's degree to get hired, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

    Education: Requirements vary by state in this career, according to the Department of Labor, which adds that most employers prefer to hire pharmacy techs who have prepared in a career-based program.

    Average earnings: $29,330*

  • #2 - Health Services Manager

    Sick and tired of taking orders and want to pursue a job in management? As a health services manager, you'll likely be in charge of a department of a hospital or health care clinic, if not an entire facility.

    Education: Earning a bachelor's degree in health care administration, business administration, or even management could provide a strong foundation and help you pursue more entry-level positions in smaller facilities and departments, according to the Department of Labor. To pursue a manager position, you'll likely need work experience and perhaps even an MBA, according to the Department.

    Average earnings: $93,670*

Technology Careers

Mark Twain once said that if you don't like the weather in New England, wait a few minutes and it will change. It seems like technology is evolving at the same speed these days, making for an always interesting career track. Check out these two exciting career options in IT:

  • #1 - Computer Support Specialist

    Helping companies and individuals overcome technical glitches and computer and software problems is the name of the game for computer support specialists.

    Education: Employers usually look for applicants with an associate's degree in IT or a certificate in tech support, according to the U.S. Department, while others may prefer a bachelor's degree. Either way, strong-problem solving skills and the ability to communicate well is also important.

    Average earnings: $49,930*

  • #2 - Information Security Analyst

    There is nothing boring about fighting cyber-crime and helping prevent computer security breaches, which is what information security analysts do for a living, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

    Education: Employers generally prefer applicants with a bachelor's degree in an IT-related field like computer science or network administration, according to the Department of Labor, which adds that in some cases work experience and certification may be enough to join this cutting-edge career as well.

    Average earnings: $79,370*

*All average earnings info comes from the U.S Department of Labor using May 2010 national estimates.