Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Obama May Delay Tax Rise

President-elect Barack Obama may consider delaying a campaign promise to roll back tax cuts on high-income Americans as he works on a huge stimulus plan to counter the worst economic crisis the world has faced in decades.The policy moves by the Obama team came as Citigroup, the second-largest US bank by assets and one of the best-known American financial institutions, was struggling on Sunday night to restore confidence after its share price dropped 60 per cent last week.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Citigroup was nearing agreement with US government officials on the creation of a separate "bad bank" that would house some of its potentially toxic assets.Meanwhile, the 21 members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, which includes the US, Japan and China, pledged at the end of a two-day summit in Lima that they would take quick and decisive action as they seek to reduce the impact of the recessionary conditions sweeping many economies.And diplomats also said there was a high probability the World Trade Organization would hold a ministerial meeting next month to seek a breakthrough in the stalled Doha round of global trade talks.

But the politicians are up against a steady drumbeat of grim economic and corporate news. On Friday, figures from the euro zone and Japan are expected to show increases in jobless rates, and on the same day the traditional start to the US holiday shopping season promises to be one of the most wrenching for retailers in recent memory.The National Institute of Social and Economic Research forecast early on Monday that the British economy will shrink by 1.5 per cent next year, and for a total six quarters in a row, with a recovery not starting until early 2010.

And Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Canada's economy may be in a "technical" recession in the last quarter of this year and the first quarter of next year, the first time the Conservative government has conceded that possibility.Such news will be vying with any positive investor sentiment created by Obama's moves as global financial markets open on Monday.

Early indications were slightly encouraging for US stock market investors at least, with US stock index futures opening a bit higher. The benchmark S&P500 index futures were up 4.50 points at 796.50 in early Asian trading, though Australian stocks were lower in early trading.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mouse Creek Falls

Big Creek Trail follows an old railroad grade used to haul lumber out of the mountains during the logging boom at the start of the 20th century. At 1.4 miles the trail passes Midnight Hole, a deep, picturesque pool below a 6' falls. At 2.1 miles a short side trail on the left leads to a bench where hikers can rest and view Mouse Creek Falls which is on the far side of Big Creek. The falls are 45’ in height.

The 4-mile roundtrip hike to the waterfall is considered moderate in difficulty.

Access Trail: Big Creek Trail
Trailhead: Exit I-40 at Waterville Road (#451). Turn left after crossing the Pigeon River and proceed 2.3 miles to an intersection. Continue straight, past the ranger station, to a large parking area at road’s end.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Obesity means having too much body fat. It is different from being overweight, which means weighing too much. The weight may come from muscle, bone, fat and/or body water. Both terms mean that a person's weight is greater than what's considered healthy for his or her height.

Obesity occurs over time when you eat more calories than you use. The balance between calories-in and calories-out differs for each person. Factors that might tip the balance include your genetic makeup, overeating, eating high-fat foods and not being physically active.

Being obese increases your risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis and some cancers. If you are obese, losing even 5 to 10 percent of your weight can delay or prevent some of these diseases.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Cranberries are a group of evergreen dwarf shrubs or trailing vines in the genus Vaccinium subgenus Oxycoccos, or in some treatments, in the distinct genus Oxycoccos. They are found in acidic bogs throughout the cooler parts of the Northern Hemisphere.

Cranberries are low, creeping shrubs or vines up to 2 m long and 5 to 20 cm in height; they have slender, wiry stems that are not thickly woody and have small evergreen leaves. The flowers are dark pink, with very distinct reflexed petals, leaving the style and stamens fully exposed and pointing forward. They are pollinated by domestic honey bees. The fruit is an epigynous berry that is larger than the leaves of the plant; it is initially white, but turns a deep red when fully ripe. It is edible, with an acidic taste that can overwhelm its sweetness.

Cranberries are a major commercial crop in certain American states and Canadian provinces (see "Cultivation and Uses" below). Most cranberries are processed into products such as juice, sauce, and sweetened dried cranberries, with the remainder sold fresh to consumers. Cranberry sauce is regarded an indispensable part of traditional American and Canadian Thanksgiving menus and European winter festivals.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Hamilton Destined For Greatness

Lewis Hamilton has got a bit of a thing about Ayrton Senna.

The Brazilian, considered by many to be the greatest racing driver of all time, was a hero to the new world champion when he was a child.

Hamilton chose to follow Senna in painting his helmet a distinctive bright yellow, and has modelled his aggressive, uncompromising approach to racing on him, too.

The 23-year-old Englishman's detractors - and he has a fair few in Formula One - might also say Hamilton shares Senna's arrogance, and belief that he is on a separate level from his competitors.

The thing is, it is beginning to look as if he is right.

"He's a cut above the rest, isn't he?" says Damon Hill, the last Briton to win the title, in 1996.

Privately, even some of Hamilton's fellow drivers are beginning to admit that he is "that 2-3% above everyone else", as one driver who preferred not to be named put it.

Already the youngest world champion in history, a mantle he has taken from his former team-mate Fernando Alonso, the question now is how good Hamilton can become.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Freshwater aquarium plant

Aquatic plants are used to give the aquarium a natural appearance, oxygenate the water, and provide habitat for fish, especially fry (babies) and for invertebrate species. Some aquarium fish and invertebrates also eat live plants. Recently, there has been a movement in the hobby to use aquatic plants as part of aesthetic aquarium design and aquascaping, spearheaded by Japanese aquarist Takashi Amano.

Most of these plant species are found either partially or fully submersed in their natural habitat. Although there are a handful of obligate aquatic plants that must be grown in water (Cabomba sp., for example), most grow and thrive fully emersed if the soil is kept moist.