More time at school may boost IQ

Spending more time at school may increase intelligence, according to a study of Norwegian men.

The research, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggested that an extra year in the classroom could boost IQ by nearly four points.

The authors said that extra schooling had a "sizeable effect" on IQ in early adulthood.

But they do not know if this applies to all children, or just those in this study.

A link between a higher IQ and more education has already been established, the authors say.

However, determining whether spending more time in school actually improves IQ is more difficult, as it is possible that children with a naturally higher IQ are those who choose to spend more time in the education system.

Researchers from Statistics Norway, which publishes official government data, and the University of Oslo took advantage of a natural experiment in the Norwegian education system and its effect on 107,223 pupils.

Between 1955 and 1972 regional governments in Norway increased compulsory schooling from seven to nine years. It meant pupils left school at 16 instead of 14.

The effect of this forced increase in schooling was measured at the age of 19, when the military gave all men eligible for drafting an IQ test.

The researchers reported that: "An unusually large increase in both average education and average IQ is apparent at the same time as the reform was introduced."

They said one additional year in school raised IQ by 3.7 points.

They added: "By exploiting the increase in schooling induced by a comprehensive compulsory schooling reform, this study is able to uncover a statistically significant and sizeable effect of middle school education on IQ scores in early adulthood for Norwegian men."

The statisticians caution against drawing too many conclusions, as they admit that the effect may only apply to Norwegian society or its education system at the time.

However, they argue that it may be possible to improve intelligence in adolescence.

Risiti for your peace of mind and convenience

It's still in beta but look out! Why, you might ask? Well, something timely and ingenious is coming soon and there is no question it is bound to be a winner with consumers, young and old.

Let me ask you a question? How big is your wallet or for the ladies, how congested is your handbag?

Most folks are already guessing what I am arriving at more-so as the daily consumer purchases elicit a record of the transactions you are a party to.... or the receipt.... in this case, the precursor to Risiti, a more than welcome escape from receipt overload! is an online receipt management system that was born from the frustrations of never ending emailed and paper receipts, scattered throughout our already busy lives.

These receipts, brought into one management location, allows Risiti users to not only retain their receipts indefinitely, but also to gain insight into their spending habits, turning their receipts into a fiscal management tool, with a view to better managing their finances and developing 'healthier' spending habits.

Now, it becomes easier and convenient to locate your receipts for returns, taxes, expense reports and much more.

Getting a receipt into is just a few clicks away. Users are currently able to upload receipts by emailing in a smartphone photo of their paper receipt or by forwarding in any emailed receipt to

The receipt is then processed through the system where date, merchant, total, and tax are extracted from the receipt.

Once in the system, users can tag each receipt based on their needs including such things as business expenses and tax deductible items. If a user needs to access one of their receipts, they can easily do so by filtering down their data by tag, date range, and location of purchase.

The team is dedicated to benefiting the consumer and with that goal in mind the receipt management features of will always be free to use.

Furthermore, if a user needs to get their receipt data out of the system they can easily export their data, another feature Risiti intends to keep free to the user.

The team at Risiti is determined to make sure the consumer's needs and concerns are paramount, hence Risiti values customer feedback and will work diligently to always address any consumer concerns.

"File it away!" You deserve the peace of mind and let Risiti provide just that, for you.

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Iran says it will not return US drone

Iranian headache for Obama
 TEHRAN, Iran — Remaining defiant in the face of crippling sanctions and diplomatic hand-twisting, Iran insists it will not return a U.S. surveillance drone captured by its armed forces, a senior commander of the country's elite Revolutionary Guard said Sunday.
Gen. Hossein Salami, deputy head of the Guard, said in remarks broadcast on state television that the violation of Iran's airspace by the U.S. drone was a "hostile act" and warned of a "bigger" response. He did not elaborate on what Tehran might do.
"No one returns the symbol of aggression to the party that sought secret and vital intelligence related to the national security of a country," Salami said.
Iranian television broadcast video Thursday of Iranian military officials inspecting what it identified as the RQ-170 Sentinel drone.
Iranian state media have said the unmanned spy aircraft was detected over the eastern town of Kashmar, some 140 miles (225 kilometers) from the border with Afghanistan. U.S. officials have acknowledged losing the drone.
Salami called its capture a victory for Iran and a defeat for the U.S. in a complicated intelligence and technological battle.
"Iran is among the few countries that possesses the most modern technology in the field of pilotless drones. The technology gap between Iran and the U.S. is not much," he said.
Officers in the Guard, Iran's most powerful military force, had previously claimed that the country's armed forces brought down the surveillance aircraft with an electronic ambush, causing minimum damage to the drone.
American officials have said that U.S. intelligence assessments indicate that Iran neither shot the drone down, nor used electronic or cybertechnology to force it from the sky. They contend the drone malfunctioned. The officials had spoken anonymously in order to discuss the classified program.
But Salami refused to provide more details of Iran's claim to have captured the CIA-operated aircraft.
"A party that wins in an intelligence battle doesn't reveal its methods. We can't elaborate on the methods we employed to intercept, control, discover and bring down the pilotless plane," he said.

Source: AP News


Microsoft and GE in new healthcare venture

REDMOND, WA - General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE), through its healthcare IT business, and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq “MSFT”) today announced plans to create a joint venture aimed at helping healthcare organizations and professionals use real-time, systemwide intelligence to improve healthcare quality and the patient experience. Upon formation, the new company will develop and market an open, interoperable technology platform and innovative clinical applications focused on enabling better population health management to improve outcomes and the overall economics of health and wellness.
As healthcare providers and payers around the globe shift from episodic single-patient care to continuous population management, new requirements have emerged for integrated care processes, greater insight and engaging patient experiences. These delivery system reforms, including a shift toward new payment models, require healthcare providers to address gaps and integrate data across silos of care delivery to help enable better care coordination and performance improvement.
This new joint venture will combine Microsoft’s deep expertise in building platforms and ecosystems with GE Healthcare’s experience in clinical and administrative workflow solutions, empowering healthcare professionals and organizations with the intelligence and capabilities to respond to the rapidly evolving and complex healthcare landscape.
“The complementary nature of GE Healthcare’s and Microsoft’s individual expertise will drive new insights, solutions and efficiencies to further advance the two companies’ shared vision of a connected, patient-centric healthcare system,” said Jeffrey R. Immelt, chairman and CEO of GE. “The global healthcare challenges of access, cost and quality of care delivery are creating a new focus on the performance and accountability of healthcare delivery systems — in every country, at every level of care. This venture will demonstrate what is possible when leading companies with complementary capabilities work together to meet a common goal.”
The new company will deliver a distinctive, open platform that will give healthcare providers and independent software vendors the ability to develop a new generation of clinical applications. The venture will develop healthcare applications on the platform using in-house developers and the platform will connect with a wide range of healthcare IT products. GE Healthcare IT will immediately be able to connect existing products to the platform, helping current customers to derive new insights.
“High-quality, affordable healthcare is one of the biggest challenges facing every nation, but it’s also an area where technology can make a huge difference,” said Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft. “Combining Microsoft’s open, interoperable health platforms and software expertise with GE’s experience and healthcare solutions will create exciting opportunities for patients and healthcare providers alike. Working together, GE and Microsoft can help make healthcare systems more intelligent and cost efficient while improving patient care.”
The two parent companies bring complementary expertise to this new venture and will contribute intellectual property, including the following:
Microsoft Amalga, an enterprise health intelligence platform
Microsoft Vergence, a single sign-on and context management solution
Microsoft expreSSO, an enterprise single sign-on solution
GE Healthcare eHealth, a Health Information Exchange
GE Healthcare Qualibria, a clinical knowledge application environment being developed in cooperation with Intermountain Healthcare (Salt Lake City, Utah) and Mayo Clinic
The long-term vision of the venture is to create new value by offering a healthcare performance management suite that includes many of these products.
In addition to the new joint venture, GE Healthcare and Microsoft will each maintain a strong presence in the healthcare IT industry, as both parent organizations will continue to sell other products and services to healthcare organizations around the globe.
“Improving the quality of healthcare through innovative collaboration is a goal that we share with GE Healthcare and Microsoft. Working together with others to identify new ways to improve health outcomes and drive down cost is a hallmark of our patient-care philosophy,” said C. Michel Harper, M.D., executive dean for Practice, Mayo Clinic. “We’re pleased to see healthcare IT companies embrace this same idea and come together in new ways. We look forward to seeing the progress this new endeavor will bring in medicine.”
“Intermountain Healthcare and GE have a strong history and partnership in developing and advancing transformational healthcare information technologies,” stated Charles S. Sorenson, MD, president and chief executive officer of Intermountain Healthcare. “Our common vision is driving powerful advancements in healthcare and improving the clinical work process by making real-time information available at the point of care. We look forward to continuing our efforts to further these principles, achieving our combined objectives, and putting these important technologies into practice.”
The new company’s products and services will provide the information and insight required to help address many critical problems in the healthcare system today, including these:
Healthcare associated infections. In the U.S. alone, an estimated 1.7 million healthcare associated infections occur annually, resulting in $35 billion in additional healthcare costs1,2 and the loss of nearly 100,000 lives.3 By pulling together data from disparate IT systems, identifying those patients most at risk for a given HAI, and surfacing guidelines and protocols within provider workflow, the solutions will enable healthcare organizations to more effectively deploy their resources and deliver better care at lower costs.
Chronic disease management. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 133 million Americans (nearly half of all adults) live with at least one chronic illness and most chronic diseases require a lifetime of ongoing care.4 To help patients and their physicians work together more efficiently to manage chronic conditions, the platform and applications will support the sharing of data from at-home medical devices (such as blood pressure cuffs, scales and glucometers) with caregivers to facilitate better tracking of chronic conditions, coordination of treatment schedules, management of medication regimens and timely interventions.
The new venture complements the existing offerings from both parent companies and is expected to yield job growth in its first five years of existence. It will operate globally, offering interoperability platforms and application solutions targeting both healthcare providers and payers. Michael J. Simpson, vice president and general manager at GE Healthcare IT, will serve as the company’s CEO.
The new company, which has yet to be named, will be headquartered near the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Wash., with significant presence in Salt Lake City, Utah, and additional cities around the world.
Launch of the new joint venture is subject to customary conditions, including regulatory approvals, and is expected in the first half of 2012.
About GE Healthcare
GE Healthcare provides transformational medical technologies and services that are shaping a new age of patient care. Our broad expertise in medical imaging and information technologies, medical diagnostics, patient monitoring systems, drug discovery, biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies, performance improvement and performance solutions services help our customers to deliver better care to more people around the world at a lower cost. In addition, we partner with healthcare leaders, striving to leverage the global policy change necessary to implement a successful shift to sustainable healthcare systems.
About Microsoft in Health
Microsoft is committed to improving health around the world through software innovation. Over the past 16 years, Microsoft has steadily increased its investments in health, with a focus on addressing the challenges of health providers, health and social services organizations, payers, consumers and life sciences companies worldwide. Microsoft closely collaborates with a broad ecosystem of partners and develops its own powerful health solutions, such as Microsoft Amalga and Microsoft HealthVault. Together, Microsoft and its industry partners are working to deliver health solutions that enable better health outcomes for more people.
About Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Source: CNBC News


Facebook absorbs Gowalla developers as part of software team

Facebook has announced it is hiring the co-founders of Gowalla.

The social network is also taking on other developers from the location-based "check-in service". Gowalla will close in 2012 as a consequence.

The news comes days after Facebook announced plans to take on "thousands" of new members of staff.

The company is opening a software engineering centre in New York as part of the strategy - its first away from of the West Coast of the US.

Despite a report last week by CNN that Facebook had acquired Gowalla for an undisclosed sum, the company said on Monday that it had taken on key members of the businesses's staff but had not bought the organisation outright.

"We're excited to confirm that Gowalla co-founders Josh Williams and Scott Raymond, along with other members of the Gowalla team, are moving to Facebook in January to join our design and engineering teams," a statement said.

"While Facebook isn't acquiring the Gowalla service or technology, we're sure that the inspiration behind Gowalla will make its way into Facebook over time."

Texas-based Gowalla is a two-year-old social network based around the idea of allowing users to "check in" to locations and share pictures from their visits.

Members used to receive virtual "items" at certain check-in points. However, the company struggled against a larger competitor, Foursquare.

In September it refocused its efforts on becoming a travel service, offering "social guides" to 60 cities, including London, Paris and Chicago, based on its members' postings.

A blog post on Gowalla's site said: "Gowalla, as a service, will be winding down at the end of January. We plan to provide an easy way to export your Passport data, your Stamp and Pin data (along with your legacy Item data), and your photos as well. Facebook is not acquiring Gowalla's user data.

"As we move forward, we hope some of the inspiration behind Gowalla - a fun and beautiful way to share your journey on the go - will live on at Facebook."

The original CNN report suggested that the Gowalla team would work on Facebook's Timeline feature.

Timeline turns users' profile pages into digital scrapbooks, making it easier for them to view each others' life histories.

The feature was announced in September, but has yet to be rolled out to many of the site's members.

Facebook already had a location-based service built into its mobile device apps and website, but experts say the network may want to use the developers' experience to create a richer experience.

"Facebook Places seems to work fairly well but they want to make a big play in this area," said Lee Bryant, the European managing director of Dachis Group, a social media consultancy.

"Location-based services are still in their early stages. Gowalla was interesting and slightly more story-based than Foursquare, which Facebook may feel will help it strengthen its Timeline service."

The announcement follows Friday's news that the firm plans to open a software engineering centre in New York in early 2012.

The company already employs an advertising team in the city. However, it is the first time the company has created a software base that is not on the US West Coast.
Facebook's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, announced the New York expansion plan at a press conference attended by the city's Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, and other officials.

"We are trying to grow at a clip that will allow us to get the very best people and integrate them," she said.

"We will be adding thousands of employees in the next year."

The new office will be headed up by Serkan Piantino. He previously led the engineering team behind Facebook's News Feed and helped develop its Timeline feature.

Ms Sandberg did not specify how many of the promised posts would be created in New York.

The moves come ahead of an expected share flotation which analysts say may occur in the first half of next year.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the firm could raise $10bn through the sale, valuing the company at $100bn.

It quotes sources saying that the initial public offering (IPO) could be completed by June.

Facebook has declined to comment, saying it does not want to add to speculation about the move.

Source: BBC Tech News

Nigeria's Central Bank Governor wins Forbes award

Lamido Sanusi
Nigeria's central bank governor Lamido Sanusi has been voted Africa Person of the Year by Forbes magazine.

He beat five other candidates for the inaugural award - including Nobel Peace laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Africa's richest man, Aliko Dangote.

Mr Sanusi, 50, has spearheaded reforms in Nigeria's troubled banking sector since his appointment in 2009.

The central bank bailed out nine banks and removed their chief executives who were accused of fraudulent practices.

Several of the ousted bankers have been put on trial for alleged financial mismanagement.

Forbes magazine's readers gave Mr Sanusi the most votes in an online poll.

He beat Mrs Sirleaf, the Liberian president who was awarded this year's Nobel Peace prize, Mr Dangote, a Nigeria business tycoon who tops Forbes' list of Africa's richest people, former Cape Verde President Pedro Verona Pires, who won this year's $5m Mo Ibrahim prize for good governance in Africa and Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan Nobel Peace laureate who died in September.

Last year, another financial publication, The Banker, named Mr Sanusi the Central Bank Governor of the Year.

Mr Sanusi's critics says his reforms have led to massive job losses in the banking sector.
But when receiving the award, he said the central bank's role was not to create jobs but to create an environment for business to thrive, Nigeria's privately owned newspaper, The Daily Trust, reports.

He called on the government to show tighter fiscal discipline and to discourage imports.

"You cannot be exporting crude oil and be importing refined petrol," Mr Sanusi said, according to The Daily Trust.

Nigeria is a leading oil producer but its leadership has consistently misappropriated billions of dollars of crude oil revenue, since it gained its independence from Great Britain in 1960.


AT&T and T-Mobile USA withdraw merger application

US telecoms giant AT&T and Deutsche Telekom have cast doubt over the $39 billion sale of T-Mobile USA by withdrawing their merger application to the industry regulator.
AT&T also said it would include a $4 billion charge in its fourth-quarter accounts to cover any potential compensation due if the deal does not go ahead.
The US Justice Department moved to block the sale at the end of August.
The two firms said they would focus on clearing the deal with the government.
AT&T agreed to buy T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom in March, aiming to create the largest US wireless network.
However, the government has said the merger would lead to higher prices and restrict choice, and has requested a court order to block it.
As a result, the two firms have withdrawn their application with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
This would allow them to "focus their continuing efforts on obtaining antitrust clearance for the transaction from the Department of Justice", the companies said.
They would then focus on seeking approval from the FCC, they added.
The deal needs the approval of both the Justice Department and the FCC to go ahead.
AT&T's bid to buy T-Mobile would give the US telecoms firm about 43% of the US mobile phone market.


Water The Bamboo® Moment: Fear of Failure or Fear of Success

“What could we accomplish if we knew we could not fail?”
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Fear of failure or success has haunted many would-be successful people. To put it bluntly, graveyards are filled with countless intentions that were never acted upon because of fear. Fear is generally about control. People with a fear of flying don’t really have a fear of flying, they have a fear of crashing. The mind is so powerful it can make something seem real that has not yet occurred.
Recently, a young man told me that he could not get a job and I asked him how many had he applied for. He replied, “none.” I challenged him to get 33 rejection letters or emails in a row, and if he did I would take him to dinner and give him $100 dollars. After checking on him a few months later, he was unable to collect on the bet because he was gainfully employed after only 7 rejections.
Bamboo Rule: Success awaits those who are willing to deal with rejection.
Fearing rejection before you apply for a job is normal. Nobody wants to get rejected but there is no reason to assume the answer is no. What if you went for the rejection? After studying the most successful people I found that they had the ability to recover from failure or rejection. In other words, they kept on watering. In Water The Bamboo® I recommend creating a vision board—I call mine a success board—it inspires me and keeps my vision vivid. I can see it, feel it, even smell it—this helps me stay focused. When I reach a milestone or suffer a setback I am not thrown off my vision.
Bamboo Rule: The turtle only moves when it sticks its neck out.
To learn more about how you can achieve success by pushing through rejection, read Chapter 16, Take Risks in Water The Bamboo®: Unleashing The Potential Of Teams And Individuals.

Penn State, Joe Paterno and the defacing of America


"Joe (Paterno) is perceived to be a father figure or grandfather figure, and that's a very hard thing for people to get to that realization, that your dad is bad."------ former Penn State assistant coach Matt Paknis. 

Like most people this past week, I have followed with rapt but uncomfortable attention the news coming out of Penn State University as it relates to the child sex-abuse scandal.

Former defensive coordinator Gerald "Jerry" Sandusky is accused of sexually molesting boys as young as 10 years old (the very thought of that makes me cringe with disgust) over a 15 year period.

While it is true that emotions and opinions have run across the spectrum in just about every direction you can imagine, one thing  has been evidently clear, albeit unfortunately; that the victims, no, not the so-called student athletes or Joe Paterno or the Penn State student body, the real victims - the little boys (at the time) who were sexually assaulted by this sick and utterly depraved excuse for a human being, have been relegated to the background of the real conversation.

I am really not sure if I can say anymore about this matter. Why, you might ask?

Well, like most folks in the country who were all wrapped up the the "legend of Joe Paterno", a man who many saw as the very epitome of morality and everything that was good about America, I really just realized that I knew nothing about this case until I read the full grand jury findings.

Then it dawned on me why Joe Paterno was fired and why he should NEVER be allowed to coach again or be trusted with the mantle of custodial leadership on any American college campus! It also dawned on me how much we were lost as a nation, when the well-being of our most precious asset, our children and those that are vulnerable in society are sacrificed time and again, for a buck and change.

The Board of Trustees at Penn State University has demonstrated leadership that is at best rudderless and the conduct of some of the students has been at best disgraceful; what with the distasteful hero-worship of a man (Joe Paterno) who we've now found out was not exactly who we thought he was.

Like most individuals who conceal their true nature and put on appearances for the rest to see, Joe Paterno showed us not just how flawed he was, but how dishonest and callously deceptive he could be.

We have him (Joe Paterno), the Board of Trustees at Penn State University and the general "leadership" at Penn State to thank for destroying the innocence and future of America, while aiming to preserve their reputation, integrity and financial well-being.

It is obvious from the news still emanating in "drip-drip" fashion from Happy Valley that Joe Paterno ran a dictatorship where no one challenged his authority and everything was aimed at protecting him and the program from being maligned, at all cost.

Joe Paterno and everyone in a position of authority at Penn State knew about this sick man.

This video from 1987 shows Jerry Sandusky talking about his "work with children" and as the grand jury document shows, he was investigated just a decade later for having "inappropriate" contact with a young boy.

I shudder to think Penn State might actually not be an isolated case and that this decadence may in-fact be common place, particularly in small-town America, where all they have is the college football team and the ol' ball coach.

Read the full grand jury presentment here.... and it can't help but make you weep for this nation of ours.


Billionaire Warren Buffet buys "huge" stake in IBM

Warren Buffett - one of the world's most closely watched investors - has disclosed building a 5.4% stake in IBM.

Mr Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway fund started buying shares in the firm in March, eventually spending around $10.7bn.

The billionaire had steered away from technology firms in the past.

However, he said that he had been impressed by IBM's road map for how it planned to attract IT firms outside the US to sign up to its services.

"If you're in some country around the world and you're developing your IT department you're probably going to feel more comfortable with IBM than with many companies," he told the US television station CNBC.

He said he started buying the stock after he read IBM's 2010 annual report and spoke to technology professionals in the businesses his fund had already invested in.

He said he realised there was a lot of "continuity" in the US-headquartered business.

"It is a big deal for a big company to change auditors, change law firms, or change IT support," he said.

"There's a fair amount of presumption in many places that if you're with IBM, you stay with them."

Mr Buffett said he had not told IBM's chief executive, Sam Palmisano, about the investment before announcing it on TV. He added that he does not plan to increase his stake which was why he was comfortable talking about it.

Until now the US bank, State Street, was the biggest known investor in IBM by a clear margin. A September filing revealed the lender owned 5.5% of of the firm.

When asked about other investments Mr Buffett noted that he would never buy stock in Microsoft because of his friendship with the company's founder and chairman Bill Gates.

Mr Buffett's actions are closely monitored by other investors because of his track record for spotting and buying undervalued stocks. However, IBM's shares only rose slightly after the broadcast.

IBM said it is not commenting on the news at this time.

Source: CNBC News


BMW unveils new electric and hybrid concept cars

Getty Images - BMW i8 Concept car
NEW YORK — BMW unveiled a pair of concept cars  Wednesday, one a hybrid and one electric, made of light-weight carbon fiber  and a see-through glass exterior.
The cars are expected to go into production within the next two to three years.
The carbon fiber in the i3 city car and i8 sports car significantly reduces the weight of the vehicle and the size of its frame, giving designers more flexibility and creating more interior space for passengers, said Richard Kim, who designed the exteriors of both vehicles.
The material, used in the aerospace sector and also for high-end bicycles, is valued for its strength-to-weight ratio. Its uses are expanding, however, and engineers are designing everything from camping equipment to pool cues.
For the German automaker, it allowed for more glass where there is traditionally metal, Kim said. The doors of both vehicles are mostly made of glass, along with much of their roofs and tail ends.
BMW said the car offers "superb safety in the event of a collision."
The final product may not appear as dramatic, but will have the same feel as the concept cars, Kim said.
"You may not see as much glass, but you will be able to see the light coming through," Kim said at a sneak peak event Wednesday in New York. The cars officially debut next week at the Los Angeles auto show.
The i3 is expected to go into production in 2013, with production of the i8 following a year later. The cost of the car has yet to be determined, though carbon fiber is not cheap.
The four-door i3 is designed for urban driving, with its wheels pushed out to the corners of the frame for stability. It has coach-style doors, with rear and front doors swinging open at the center of the vehicle.
The added stability of carbon fiber allowed designers to eliminate the support pillar traditionally found between the front and back doors, which will make it making it easier to enter and exit the vehicle, Kim said.
The i3 comes in an all-electric version that can go 80 to 100 miles on a single charge, but buyers have the option of adding a small gas engine that would recharge the battery if needed. It takes about six hours to fully charge the battery.
The sporty i8 has two winged doors made of glass and a sleek silhouette. The exterior is designed to help the car cut through the air more efficiently.
The all-wheel drive car has a battery and a gas engine that work together, with the battery powering the front wheels and a gas engine powering the rear wheels. Without the gas engine, the car has a range of about 20 miles, but fully charges in less than two hours.


Africa's silent but robust mobile phone industry growth

Africa is the fastest-growing mobile market in the world, and is the biggest after Asia, an association of worldwide mobile phone operators has said.

The number of subscribers on the continent has grown almost 20% each year for the past five years, the GSM Association report on Africa says.

It expects there will be more than 735 million subscribers by the end of 2012.

Analysts say bad and expensive landline connections in Africa are responsible for the high mobile phone usage.

Peter Lyons, GSMA's director of spectrum policy for Africa and Middle East, told the BBC that mobile penetration in Africa had reached 649 million subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2011.

"That is equivalent to a 65% penetration rate. Out of every 100 people, 65 have some form of mobile connectivity," he told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme.

In a report, GSMA says that 96% of subscriptions are pre-paid with voice services currently dominating, although uptake of data services is increasing steadily.

The Kenyan government's abolition of the 16% general sales tax on mobile handsets in 2009 has resulted in handset purchases increasing by more than 200%, it says.

Kenya is at the forefront of mobile money transfers, with 8.5 million users, the report says.

Nigeria has the highest number of mobile phone subscriptions in Africa - more than 93 million, representing 16% of the continent's total mobile subscriptions, GSMA says.

South Africa, with its more developed infrastructure, has the highest broadband penetration - 6%, followed by Morocco with 2.8%, the report says.

"The mobile industry in Africa is booming and a catalyst for immense growth, but there is scope for far greater development," Mr Lyons said.

He said 36% of people in the 25 largest African mobile markets still had no access to mobile services.

"To take full advantage of its potential, African countries need to allocate more spectrum for the provision of mobile broadband services, as well as introduce tax cuts for the industry," Mr Lyons said.

The report says African countries have allocated far less spectrum to mobile services than Europe, the Americas and Asia, which inhibits connectivity to many people in rural areas.

"Sufficient spectrum should be provided for mobile broadband services through 3G, HSPA [High-Speed Packet Access] and LTE [Long Term Evolution] technologies," it says.

Source: BBC Technology News


Cain 'beyond reproach' as Perry stumbles over his lines....

Texas Governor Rick Perry
Texas Governor Rick Perry could not remember the third government agency he plans to abolish, if elected president.

The eight contenders for the Republican presidential nomination have faced off over the economy at a debate in the state of Michigan.

Front-runner Mitt Romney criticised the government bailout of US car makers in the state, while his rivals said banks should not become too big to fail.

The debate was the first since sexual harassment allegations emerged against Mr Romney's chief rival, Herman Cain.

He dismissed the accusations, calling them "character assassination."

To a chorus of boos from the audience - aimed at the CNBC interrogators and not at Mr Cain - the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza said his character was beyond reproach.

"The American people deserve better than someone being tried in a court of public opinion based on unfounded accusations."

The biggest drama of the evening came when Texas Governor Rick Perry stumbled over his lines, finding himself unable to name the three federal departments he would eliminate if he became president - a key policy and a regular part of his stump speeches.

"The third agency of government I would - I would do away with education, the... commerce... commerce and, let's see. I can't. The third one, I can't. Sorry. Oops," he said.

The answer he was looking for, he told moderators later, was the Department of Energy.

The Michigan debate, staged by the cable business channel CNBC, was held at Oakland University in Rochester.

In a series of questions focused on pressing economic issues, candidates discussed a range of topics from the eurozone debt crisis to the domestic housing market to bailouts for the domestic auto industry.

They generally agreed that the US should not "bail out" Europe, but warned that budget deficits in the US could create a similar crisis to the one faced by eurozone nations.

Candidates also used the time to reprise their calls for flat tax plans, social security reform and the repeal of President Barack Obama's healthcare law.

Each candidate was asked specifically what they would do about healthcare costs immediately after repealing the law.

Mr Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, called for individual state decisions on health care laws, while former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman argued for better access to medical records as a way of improving care.

The debate came nearly two months before the first votes are cast in the Iowa caucuses to nominate a Republican nominee.


Tyrants: From figures of fear to figures of fun

A younger Muammar Gaddafi
By Mary Beard

From Roman emperors to Colonel Gaddafi, it's easy to turn tyrants from figures of fear into figures of fun. But while their behaviour was often brutal and bloody, that's not all they were, writes Mary Beard.
On 11 March, 222 AD, a posse of rebel soldiers tracked down the Roman Emperor Elagabalus to his hiding place - he had come to power in a coup just four years earlier, supposedly dividing his time between fundamentalist religious reforms, corruption and self-indulgence - but not before they had sodomised and skewered some of his few remaining loyal troops.
Now the tyrant was holed up in a latrine, desperately hoping to keep clear of the liberators, out for his blood. No such luck. The rebels rooted him out, killed him, triumphantly dragged his body through the streets and then threw his mutilated remains into a drain.
The Roman accounts of Elagabalus's end, if not outright unreliable, are certainly embellished at the edges. They may be as misleading as those confused mobile phone images that purported to record the final, bloody moments of Colonel Gaddafi a couple of weeks ago. But what is clear is that one of the basic story lines of "the death of a tyrant" - from hopeless hiding places to sewers and sodomy - was already well established 2,000 years ago.
It's more, though, than just these stories of the tyrant's death that we share with the Romans. We've inherited from them the standard cliches about the life of a tyrant too. In fact, we still operate with a more-or-less Roman view about what's despotic about a despot.
Then as now, of course, killing was central to the image, on a mass scale and sometimes in ingeniously ghastly ways. The Emperor Nero not only massacred his opponents, but he tried to get rid of his own mother using a specially constructed collapsible boat. In fact the tough old bird was a strong swimmer and had to be disposed of using more orthodox methods.
But it doesn't stop with violence. Tyrants are responsible for all kinds of lurid disruptions to the normal rules of social life. Disruptions that have been the trademark of tyranny for at least two millennia.
Take the rules of gender, for a start. Gaddafi's battalion of high-heeled, heavily made-up female bodyguards seem uncannily close to Elagabalus's new Roman governing senate, which was to be made up entirely of women.
But you can add to that the tyrant's penchant for eccentric accommodation - from Gaddafi's idiosyncratic "tent" to Nero's notorious "Golden House" in Rome - and his dubious hobbies. The emperor Domitian was said to have spent his leisure hours stabbing flies with his pen, Gaddafi obsessively collecting pictures of Condoleezza Rice and sticking them into his scrapbook.
'Hearsay and fantasy'
More than anything though, the tyrant - ancient or modern - adopts weird forms of dress. Elagabalus was criticised for being the first Roman to wear outfits made entirely of silk. Gaddafi was derided for his silly, pantomime military uniforms, with their row upon row of spurious medals. To be honest "silliness" here is largely in the eye of the beholder. Quite why Prince Charles's much decorated, gaudy military outfits are not thought silly even though he has never, to my knowledge, seen a single day's service in an actual war, I really can't imagine.
These stereotypes of tyrants are a confused mixture of truth, semi-truth, hearsay and utter fantasy. I very much doubt Gaddafi had the time to go searching for pictures of Condy in the international press, or that Elagabalus's female senate was more than the figment of some ancient tabloid imagination.
So why have they proved so lasting? For various reasons I think. Partly, they are a neat way of turning the dictator from a figure of fear to a figure of fun. Partly, the silly costumes and the mad houses are a whole lot easier for us to talk about than the torture and the murder that goes with tyranny.
But partly, it's laziness. It requires almost no intellectual effort whatsoever to bandy around an off-the-peg, identikit image of the monster - wicked from his clothes to his very core.
It's harder to think about the nuances of tyranny. And it's particularly hard to face the uncomfortable fact that very few of these loathed tyrants are as wholly bad as it suits us to assume.
Nero may have been a murderous persecutor, but even his fiercest critics conceded that he mounted admirable and unprecedented relief measures for the people after the Great Fire of Rome in 64 AD. And, as we know, even the most vicious murderer may love his family deeply, be kind and generous to them, and be loved in return. "Badness" comes in inconveniently complicated ways.
Oil profits
I'm not trying to rehabilitate Nero, or stand up for Gaddafi. If I lived in Libya I hope I would be on the rebel side. And I feel confident that overall the world is a better place without the colonel. Though whether it will be a better place with whatever the National Transitional Council turns into we'll just have to wait and see.
My point is not that we should see Gaddafi as a good man - no-one would try to convince the relatives of Yvonne Fletcher or of the victims of Lockerbie of that. My point is that we sell ourselves short if we don't work a bit harder to move beyond the stereotypes and get a more complicated view of the tyrant. We need to understand why some people supported him, as they passionately did - and not always bad people for bad reasons.
Have you ever wondered why Nelson Mandela was such a friend of the Libyan leader? Or why Mandela's grandson is actually called Gaddafi. It goes back to the 1970s and 80s when Gaddafi gave cash and weapons to the ANC in their fight against apartheid.
Sure, he probably did the same for any band of thugs who fetched up in Tripoli, with a begging bowl for some "anti-colonial cause". But, in this case, at a time when many European countries were still treating anti-apartheid freedom fighters as terrorists, and when the British government was dragging its heels even on economic sanctions against white South Africa, Gaddafi came up with the goods. The Libyan record is bound to look different when you see it from an African rather than a European point of view.
Adulation is 'distrusted'
It also looks a bit different if you dip into some of the statistics about recent conditions in Libya before the war, gathered by the UN and the US state department - hardly natural friends of Gaddafi. No, they don't include any good news about Libyan human rights. Gaddafi's regime was authoritarian at best, violently repressive at worst.
But how often are we told that life expectancy in Libya far exceeds its neighbours, that Libya has a substantially lower child mortality rate than Saudi Arabia, Egypt or Tunisia, the highest literacy rate in North Africa - on US estimates, not the Libyan propaganda machine - as well as free hospitals and childcare?
The profits of oil have not simply been flowing into the pockets of the few, or into the weapons that still stuff the warehouses. Among all the things that have been going terribly wrong under the Gaddafi regime, some things have been going right.
The Romans were actually a bit more prepared than we are to face up to the complexities of tyranny. Among all the cliches they tossed around about the Emperor Nero, they did stop to wonder how to explain the seemingly good things he did. Did he start out well and only later go to the bad? Or was he the victim of a change of advisers?
But it was Publius Cornelius Tacitus, the sharpest Roman historian of them all, who hit the nail on the head. In the introduction to his book that would include an account of the reign of Domitian (the notorious fly-stabber), Tacitus reflected on how best to analyse tyranny. It's problematic, he wrote, because it's very hard to find out the truth.
The temptation is to go one of two ways - total adulation for the tyrant's achievements or blanket vilification of his crimes. Readers, he went on, distrust adulation. It looks like flattery. They tend to trust vilification, as criticism appears more objective. But that doesn't mean, he warns, that it is necessarily right.
Maybe we should remember Tacitus's words the next time some time-expired despot crawls out of a sewer to his death.

Mary Beard is Professor of Classics at Cambridge University in the UK. She is also an author.


Even in the face of potential Israeli attack, Iran remains defiant....

By Marwa Awad - Reuters
The United States fears Iran's growing military power because it is now able to compete with Israel and the West, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in comments carried by an Egyptian newspaper on Monday.
Responding to a toughening stance from the United States and Israel against Tehran, Ahmadinejad accused Washington of inventing conspiracies to discredit Iran and sowing discord with its near neighbor Saudi Arabia.
"Yes, we have military capabilities that are different from any other country in the region," Egyptian daily al-Akhbar cited Ahmadinejad as saying. "Iran is increasing in capability and advancement and therefore we are able to compete with Israel and the West and especially the United States."
"The U.S. fears Iran's capability," he told the paper. "Iran will not permit (anyone from making) a move against it."
Iran's Islamic rulers, who say Israel has no right to exist, deny accusations that they are seeking nuclear weapons and have warned they will respond to any attacks by striking at Israel and U.S. interests in the Gulf.
A senior U.S. military official said on Friday Iran had become the biggest threat to the United States and Israel's president said the military option to stop the Islamic republic from obtaining nuclear weapons was nearer.
Ahmadinejad repeated that Iran does not own a nuclear bomb, but said Israel's end was inevitable.
The U.N. nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, is expected this week to issue its most detailed report yet on research in Iran seen as geared to developing atomic bombs.
"It is Israel that has about 300 nuclear warheads. Iran is only keen to have nuclear capability for peaceful means," he said, accusing Washington of lumping Iran with Syria, the Islamist Hamas movement that rules Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
The U.S. portrays those four as "the Axis of Evil to save the Zionist entity (Israel). But the Zionists are bound to go out of existence," he said.
Responding to a U.S. claim that Iran was involved in a plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Ahmadinejad said: "Iran is farthest from thinking of carrying out such crimes but the U.S. is always inventing conspiracies against Iran."
"The U.S. fears any friendship between us and Saudi Arabia and therefore incites disagreements," he said. "To stop the U.S. in its tracks we must deepen the elements of friendship... We are ready for this and the relation between Saudi and Iran already exists and has not been cut off."