News Hugs

July 27, 2008

The Lowdown on Oil

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — newshugs @ 5:32 pm

Here’s why we’ll never see low gas prices again. But hopefully, we’ll see more hybrids and plugins and bikes and windmills. 

WaPo: Earlier oil shocks have had obvious causes. In October 1973, OPEC raised prices and declared an oil embargo against the United States and other countries that had supported Israel in its war earlier that month against its Arab neighbors. The embargo ended in March 1974, but pricing power had shifted from the oil companies to the producing countries. In 1979, prices soared again after the Iranian Revolution curtailed output and consumers and oil companies went on a spree of panic buying.

Now, however, there is no one culprit and no single international crisis to blame. Instead, world demand has been increasing faster than supply, steadily squeezing oil markets.

This in turn has signaled to investors that prices are inevitably heading higher. Financial players, such as Wall Street banks and hedge funds, have bet just that, investing tens of billions of dollars in oil futures. Critics on Capitol Hill and elsewhere say this speculation has turbo-charged the market, helping lift prices even more.

The tightening of the oil market reflects decisions made a decade ago, when conditions looked radically different. Regular unleaded gas was less than a dollar a gallon. Oil was little more than $10 a barrel. And the Economist magazine, predicting prices could soon be half that, ran a cover story with the headline: “Drowning in Oil.”

Those low prices sent the wrong signals to consumers and oil companies alike.

Demand for oil jumped as U.S. sales of gas-guzzling cars soared and China’s breakneck economic expansion picked up pace.

Daniel Yergin, a historian of the oil business and head of Cambridge Energy Research Associates, said that over the five years from 1998 to 2002, world oil demand grew 1.1 percent annually, raising daily consumption by 4.2 million barrels. But in the following five years from 2003 to 2007, world oil demand grew 2.1 percent annually, boosting consumption by about 8.2 million barrels per day. 


July 26, 2008

Inspirational Randy Pausch Dies

Filed under: books, inspiration — Tags: , , — newshugs @ 3:15 am

The Last Lecture. Aspire to your childhood dreams and if you don’t achieve them, you’ll still get a lot out of trying. 

July 19, 2008

Obama Shoots Hoops in Kuwait

Filed under: Uncategorized — newshugs @ 9:12 pm

He sinks his first shot and the soldiers are showing Obama some love, indeed. 

Summertime Rocks

Filed under: music, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — awstories @ 1:05 am

Cool, fun video from Smoke of India.

July 14, 2008

Yaz is Back

Filed under: entertainment, fun, music — Tags: , , , , , , — awstories @ 10:38 pm

Or Yazoo if you live in Britian. Being a former, all-night dance queen, I adore this duo. 

Yaz always did leave fans wanting more.

During the course of their brief but auspicious career in the early 1980s, the onetime Basildon, England-based duo released just two albums and three singles. Songwriter Vince Clarke and singer Alison Moyet never toured the United States outside of New York, and one of their best-loved hits in England, where they are known as Yazoo, “Don’t Go,” fades out around the 2 1/2 -minute mark.

Now, after a public split just as their record “You and Me Both” was released in 1983, the group is back to settle some unfinished business.

“Alison has been interested in doing something with me for quite a while now,” Clarke, 47, said via telephone from London’s sprawling 3 Mills Studios in May, where he was rehearsing with Moyet for Yaz’s “Reconnected” world tour. The band stops at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Los Angeles for shows tonight, Thursday and Friday and winds up its trek July 24 in Costa Mesa.

With Clarke on a break from touring with his band Erasure — and a four-disc Yaz boxed set, “In Your Room,” due out today on Mute records — the timing seemed right. But Moyet, who also releases her latest solo album, “The Turn,” today, said that the new concert dates represent more than just the opportunity to reconnect with fans: The tour has brokered a reconciliation for artistic collaborators whose union was always fraught with considerable tension.

“For me, the live element of the work is just as important as any other area,” said Moyet, 46. “The fact that we never got to play ‘You and Me Both’ live, I felt cheated.”

Unlike other 1980s synth-pop acts, Yaz never faded from the public consciousness, especially in the U.K., where the band’s unique brand of music — think icy cool synthesizers coupled with warm vocals over electropop beats — remains influential to this day.

Tour sked.

July 11, 2008

Robert Downey Jr. As Sherlock Holmes

Seems perfect. It’s about times someone brings Sherlock to life.

Robert Downey Jr. is trading Iron Man’s metal suit for Sherlock Holmes’ deerstalker hat.

Downey is following his action blockbuster “Iron Man” with the title role in “Sherlock Holmes,” a mystery drama based on Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective and an upcoming comic-book about Holmes by Lionel Wigram, one of the movie’s producers.

Guy Ritchie (“Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels”) is directing the Warner Bros. film, which is set to begin shooting in October, the studio said Thursday.

That should put it ahead of the schedule for a “Sherlock Holmes” comedy in development at Sony, which will star Sacha Baron Cohen as the detective and Will Ferrell as his partner, Dr. Watson.


July 9, 2008

I Love Etsy

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — awstories @ 3:47 am

Etsy is a site where you can buy just about anything. The best part, though, is everything is handmade, which makes each item distinctive. Plus you’re supporting crafty people and starving artists.  

July 2, 2008

Fruits and Veggies and Spices For Health

NYT has a story on the 11 best foods that you might not keep in your fridge or cabinets. There are some that are edible: canned pumpkin, cinnamon, turmeric, frozen blueberries. And others that aren’t, sardines. Yuck. Swiss chard. That just sounds yucky. 

Read them all here.

Here’s how to get your five servings of fruits and veggies a day.  

July 1, 2008

Latino or Hispanic?

Filed under: informative — Tags: , , , , , — newshugs @ 12:59 am

A lesson from

Latino is slightly preferred.

Bottom line: “Latino” and “Hispanic” are terms used in the United States to identify individuals whose ancestry comes from a variety of countries where Spanish is their main language. Both terms are generally acceptable, although in the last 10 years, there is a slight preference for the use of the term “Latino.” There are also some regional preferences that play a role, and when in doubt, you should ask.

Defining some of the most common terms:

·        Latino  An individual with roots that go back to any of the Spanish-speaking countries. Be aware that the term “Latino” may be used for a man only or for a man and woman. Latina is used for women only (never say “Latina women,” as it is redundant). The term “Latino” began to be broadly used in the late 1980s when a younger generation started using it to replace the term “Hispanic.”

·        Hispanic — A term that was originated by the Census Bureau in the 1960s. It was used as a way to capture all the people whose backgrounds included any of the Spanish-speaking countries. The term is gender neutral.

·        Mexican American — An American citizen of Mexican descent. This term gained popularity in 1980s.

·        Spanish — The language of Spain and the language spoken in most of Latin America, except for Brazil, where Portuguese is the main language.

·        Latin — The official and ancient language of the people of the Roman Empire. It is a term that is generally not used to refer to someone who is Latino.

·        Chicano — An American citizen of Mexican descent who has a strong sense of Mexican-American ethnic identity. This term was regularly used in the 1960s, mostly in the Southwest, and by the 1970s it was the preferred term used to refer to Mexican Americans. It isn’t used widely today except in some parts of the country, like Chicago.

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