Latest Gifts for the techies - 2011

Don't scale down this holiday season. The Withings Wi-Fi Body Scale not only measures your weight, fat mass, lean mass and body-mass index, but will then transmit that data to your an app on your smartphone and chart it out for you. Just what you need after a big meal. $159.00,

Latest Gifts for the techies - 2011

It's not the size of the speakers that matters. The Jawbone Jambox portable wireless speaker delivers crystal clear sound with an output of up to 85 decibels, enough to fill the largest of New York apartments. 199.99,

Latest Gifts for the techies - 2011

It's time to stop plugging your camera into your computer. The new Eye-Fi memory card has built in wi-fi capabilities that will tranfer photos and videos wirelessly straight from your digital camera straight to your smartphone, iPad or computer. $47.99 - $79.99,

Latest Gifts for the techies - 2011

See without being seen, that's the goal of the Spy Net Video Glasses, which can record up to 20 minutes of video with sound. Perfect for the budding young spy in all of us. $29.99,

Latest Gifts for the techies - 2011

Make your Skype/GChat experience a pleasurable one with the comfortable Logitech Wireless Headset H800, which connects to all devices via bluetooth and features a built-in equalizer. $99.99,

Friday, December 31, 2010

Rex Ryan's wife Michelle purported to be woman in X-rated Internet photos that put FootGate to shame

Michelle and Rex Ryan are welcomed in January 2009 at the Jets' New Jersey training facility.
Michelle and Rex Ryan are welcomed in January 2009 at the Jets' New Jersey training facility.

Just when Rex Ryan thought he was back on solid footing, it appears that another shoe has dropped.
New and graphic photos appeared on the Internet Thursday purporting to depict Michelle Ryan, the wife of the chastened Jets coach, showing off her bare feet - and much, much more.
Some of the pictures show a man who is definitely not Rex Ryan rubbing and smelling the woman's bare feet.
"Coach Ryan considers this a personal matter and will have no comment," said a Jets spokesman, reprising the line that Ryan used repeatedly earlier this month when asked to explain six online foot-fetish videos that seemed to show the couple engaging in foot-related role-playing.
The new photos were posted at The woman in the photos bears a strong resemblance to Michelle Ryan, and a headline on the posting identifies her as such. The site does not indicate the source of the photos.
The photos come nine days after the sports website Deadspin first published a story about the original videos, which were fairly innocent compared with the new images.
Deadspin also pointed out similarities between biographical details of the Ryans and a user profile - with the screen name "ihaveprettyfeet" - at a website devoted to alternative sexual lifestyles.
The new photos are only the latest in a season-long series of controversies and embarrassments for the Jets. The team's general manager, Mike Tannenbaum, has said Ryan has the organization's full support.

Redheaded Russian spy Anna Chapman makes first public appearance, but spills no secrets on TV

Anna Chapman didn't spill any secrets during her TV interview.

Anna Chapman didn't spill any secrets during her TV interview.
It was from Russia with love - for sexy spook Anna Chapman.The redheaded Russian spy made her first major public appearance Thursday on a talk show in Russia, with the host calling her the "woman of the year."
Chapman, who was one of 10 Russian spies ejected from the U.S. six months ago, said she likes spy movies and the actress Angelina Jolie, The New York Times reported.
She also told Andrei Malakhov, the host of the Russian talk show "Let Them Speak," that she was considering an acting career, and that more than anything else she wanted a lion cub, the newspaper reported.
With a remix of the James Bond theme song introducing her , the 28-year-old Playboy playmate didn't tell stories of intrigue or spying.
But she talked about her family and her passion for shooting. "In general, I am a very good shot," she said. "I have a passion for it."
Chapman, who was accused of passing encrypted messages to Russian officials from a Barnes & Noble in TriBeCa, didn't divulge any secrets.

"Keep watching television," she said, when asked about her future. "Next year I will reveal all my secrets.

George Clooney's girlfriend Elisabetta Canalis flaunts her body in bikini

Elisabetta Canalis was spotted wearing sexy bikinis on her vacation with George Clooney.
Elisabetta Canalis was spotted wearing sexy bikinis on her vacation with George Clooney

As if anyone needed more reasons to be envious of George Clooney, the actor's girlfriend, Elisabetta Canalis, was photographed showing off her, ahem, assets this week on their Mexican vacation. 

The 32-year-old Italian model's toned arms and flat tummy were on display when she wore sexy bikinis  several days in a row on a beach in Los Cabos.

Also visible: Canalis' derriere. When Clooney's gal pal splashed in the water, her bathing suit bottom slid almost completely off.

The couple, who have been together since summer 2009, ran into another famous pair at the hot spot last week: Alex Rodriguez and Cameron Diaz. 

Canalis must not mind the possibility that the 49-year-old actor, twice named People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive, will never propose. 

Since his divorce from actress Talia Balsam in 1992, Clooney has said several time he doesn't think he'll ever wed again.

Good thing “The Bachelor and The Beauty" has a nice ring to it.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Top 10 Startups of 2010

2010 was a good year for Web startups. Deal flow, particularly at early stages, was active, and even though valuations were high, investor dollars were seemingly at the ready. Of the companies that made headlines and that led some of the major tech trends of the year, many were startups: Zynga (social gaming), Groupon (group buying),Foursquare (location-based networks), Tumblr (micro-blogging), andGetGlue (semantic Web), to name a few.
In pulling together our list of the Top 10 Startups of 2010 for ReadWriteWeb's "Best of" series, we've decided to look beyond some of those big names and "established" startups (the term gets applied so broadly). Rather than lumping together new companies no matter their age or size, no matter whether they have an acquisition offer by Google or have a Hollywood biopic about their founder, we've decided to restrict our list to those startups who were founded or who launched in 2010.
We chose some of these startups due to their great features and impressive momentum. We chose some for addressing important consumer and business pain-points in particularly innovative ways. Whether any of these companies are the next Facebook or Google hardly matters. These startups left their mark on 2010, many of them helping to foster some of the most important trends of the year.

Instagram: Photo Sharing Goes Viral

I can't look at my Twitter or Facebook stream without seeing a flurry of shared links from Instagram. And I even confessed in October, the app has made me an iPhone photo addict.
The free app allows users to snap photos, apply one of 11 filters, and then quickly and easily publish them to a variety of social networks, as well as follow, comment, and like within the app itself. The new camera that came with the iPhone 4 this summer spawned a lot of great mobile phone apps, and Instagram is hardly alone in the photo-sharing space. But it has had incredibly viral adoption - growing by about a 100,000 users a week after its release in October according to athread on Quora, with rumors of 1 million users to date.

Quora: High Quality Q&A

Did you notice that reference in the Instagram entry above? "According to a thread on Quora." It's something we heard a lot this year as the Q&A site, founded by former Facebook CTO Adam D'Angelo, became an important new communication and knowledge-sharing tool for the tech industry. Quora launched in private beta in January and opened to the public in June. As with Instagram, Quora is a startup in a crowded space; there are no shortage of Q&A sites. But Quora has attracted a very high caliber of respondents during its beta, particularly those "in the know" in Silicon Valley, and the site has become a real treasure trove of news and advice. Quora allows you to subscribe to topics, users, and questions, and the ability to vote up good answers, along with the ability to offer edits on questions and answers, have helped to build a smart network on the site.

Flipboard: Curated Reading, Built for the iPad

We already recognized the startup as one of this year's Top Semantic Web Products, but Flipboard - along with the iPad - helped usher in a change in the way in which we consume Web content. The free app lets you curate various feeds - RSS, Twitter, Facebook - and presents them to you via a beautiful, touchscreen UI. Rather than scrolling through the Web as we have been trained perhaps to do, Flipboard allows us to more easily browse and read. Having acquired the semantic technology startup Ellerdale, Flipboard's technology delivers a more personalized reading experience.

Chatroulette: Spontaneity, Chat... and Dicks

Flash in the pan? Maybe. Launched in late 2009 (too late and too obscure for the "Best of" lists for that year), Chatroulette took off in early 2010, and at the peak of its popularity this year, Chatrouletteboasted a million-plus users. Chatroulette connects you randomly with another person via your webcam, so you can chat via text, audio, and video with a stranger. If you don't like the conversation, the "Next" button places you with someone else. A post on Techcrunch surmised that the site was "89% male, 47% American, and 13% perverts," the latter figure seeming a tad low based on my experience. Despite - or maybe because of - the dicks, the site gained a lot of buzz, spawning a number of memes as well being a topic on South Park - high honors. Chatroulette also spawned a number of clones as the idea of random, spontaneous encounters became popular.

Rapportive: The Gmail Plug-in I Am Thankful for Every Day

Marshall Kirkpatrick wrote this headline back in March: "Stop What You Are Doing & Install This Plug-in: Rapportive. And honestly, I'd issue the same command today. Rapportive replaces the ads in your Gmail side bar - which is cool enough right there - but then, it fills that space with a wealth of info - a picture of the person who sent you an email, their job title from LinkedIn, recent Twitter messages they've sent and more. It's become an indispensable tool for me, giving me background information right within my browser for the people with whom I communicate via email. Rapportive demonstrates some of the useful tools that can be built with our social data.

Diaspora: The Anti-Facebook, Crowdfunded

When ReadWriteWeb first covered Diaspora in May, the group of 4 NYU students were raising money via Kickstarter to fund their idea for an alternative to Facebook. Diaspora sought to build an open-source, decentralized social network, one that respected users' privacy. Continued dust-ups this year over Facebook and privacy, along with the fact that Diaspora's challenge to Facebook simply made for a compelling story, gave the group a lot of press.
Within days of ReadWriteWeb's first story, the funds raised via Kickstarter skyrocketed from $8000, just shy of its $10,000 to almost $200,000 from over 6000 backers. Diaspora released the first version of the developer code in September, and launched in private alpha in late November. The expectations for Diaspora were set quite high, with all the buzz and funding it received, and while those may be difficult to meet, Diaspora certainly represents the power of crowd funding, as well as an interest in making sure the social Web is not centralized in one company.

Hipmunk: The Power of a Good User Experience

Oftentimes we put up with painful experiences as consumers simply because there are no good alternatives, and we can lull ourselves into thinking that those unsatisfactory ways of doing things are just "how things are done." So when I first heard about Hipmunk, an airline flight search engine, I wondered "Why?" There are already many ways to search online, ways to bid for your tickets - albeit none of them great. But it's better, I suppose, than dealing with an airline directly.
But one look at Hipmunk - even better, one search via Hipmunk - and you can see how smart entrepreneurs can enter an already-crowded space and disrupt it with a great user interface and a great user experience. Rather than forcing you to click through pages of results to find the right flight, Hipmunk gives you the results on one page and allows you to have a pretty granular level of control over exactly the things that make a flight feasible for you - price, time of day, number of stops, for example.

LearnBoost: Bringing the Teacher Gradebook to the Web with Open Source

Like Hipmunk, LearnBoost is tackling a space that may not be particularly sexy - Web-based classroom administration tools. But tracking grades and attendance is an important, if not cumbersome, responsibility of teachers, many of whom still use the paper-and-pencil gradebook for record-keeping. In fact, LearnBoost co-founder and CEO Rafael Corrales sees that paper gradebook as the startup's main competitor, and so LearnBoost has built a product that is not just beautiful but incredibly easy to use. LearnBoost seems to really understand educators' needs, something that is incredibly important in education technology. LearnBoost is free, it supports data portability, and it integrates with Google Apps, for example, and the company has been very responsive since launching in August to update the product to suit the needs of those using it.
But LearnBoost doesn't just receive kudos for its work in education technology. The company has been a leader in developing a variety of open-source tools, including Mongoose for storage, Sodafor acceptance testing, and for real-time communication. For a new company, LearnBoost has an impressive following on GitHub.

Square: The Future of Money is Mobile

We may be slightly cheating to squeeze this one into a 2010 list, asSquare, the brainchild of Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, allows you to accept and pay via physical credit cards using a card swiper that plugs into the headphone jack of your mobile device. The hardware and app are free, but Square takes a small cut of each transaction.
Square spent most of 2010 in private beta and had its share of hardware and security problems, but the addition to the team in August of Paypal veteran Keith Rabois marked a big win for the company. Square now says it's processing millions of dollars of mobile transactions per week, and boasts some avid users - small businesses and independent merchants who are looking for an easy and mobile way to manage credit card transactions.

InDinero: The of Young Entrepreneurs

Describing a startup as the "" of something felt like one of the most overused phrases in pitches in 2010. But in the case of InDinero, the description actually works, as the company really does aim to provide a similar sort of real-time financial dashboard to small businesses. Unlike traditional accounting software, InDinero is easy to set-up and use, and the analytics it offers provides small businesses with a wealth of important data.
But a nod to InDinero isn't simply recognition that the company addresses an important business need or that it has gathered impressive traction - and funding - since launching this summer. It's a nod to co-founder Jessica Mah, who founded her first Internet startup at age 13, entered the University of California, Berkeley at age 15 to study computer science, and now at age 20, is the CEO and architect of a profitable Internet company. Yes, of course, all the startups in this list were founded by incredibly smart and talented entrepreneurs, but Mah is particularly inspiring.
Selecting 10 top startups for 2010 was not an easy task. Do you agree with our assessments? Did we miss anyone? Let us know in the comments who you think should - or shouldn't - make the list.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Buying breast milk online; Nursing mothers sell their breast milk to moms in need--but is it safe?

Is it safe for your baby to drink another mom's breast milk?
Is it safe for your baby to drink another mom's breast milkNeed breast milk? It's only a click away.
Online forums like and allowing moms who make more breast milk than their nursing babies need to sell it.
At, which describes itself as "a community for moms to buy and sell natural breast milk," instructions are offered on how to ship, pump, freeze and store breast milk. Ads for buyers and sellers appear on the site. 
"Super Mom," advertises frozen breast milk for $3 an ounce with a minimum of 16 ounces, and the cost of overnight shipping. The seller says she's selling the milk because one of the twins she had in September isn't able to drink it. 
"We currently have two regular customers," writes Super Mom. "We have sold milk after all 5 pregnancies and are experienced in providing great tasting healthy milk.", which describes itself as the "world's largest breast milk sharing network," offers an online space "where families who want human breast milk for their babies can find women who have breast milk to share."  
But is it safe for your baby to drink another mom's breast milk? 
The FDA has issued a warning saying that breast milk purchased via the Internet or through individual may not be wise.
"The donor is unlikely to have been adequately screened for infectious disease or contamination risk," the government agency warns. "It is not likely that the human milk has been collected, processed, tested or stored in a way that reduces possible safety risks to the baby."
the FDA recommends using sources like the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, since the group test, screens and questions each breast milk donor.
International Board Certified Lactation consultant Sam Doak, the former contact person for the local La Leche League, told the Marietta Times that she's known for some time about informal breast milk sharing. 
How does La Leche feel about it? That it's better for a baby than formula, according to Doak.
"The La Leche League says that human milk from the mom is still the best option followed by milk expressed by the mom, human milk from another mother and then formula," she told the Marietta Times.

Nicki Minaj performs Christmas Day in leopard-print bodysuit with armor-style crinoline

Nickie Minaj performs in a leopard-print bodysuit with black outcroppings at the Paradise Theater in New York on Christmas Day.

Nickie Minaj performs in a leopard-print bodysuit with black outcroppings at the Paradise Theater in New York on Christmas Day.

Instead of ripping open presents on Christmas Day, Nicki Minaj dressed up in leopard-print armor to tear apart the New York stage.
The festively festooned 26-year-old hip hop star performed alongside Fabolous and Lloyd Banks at Hot 97's Christmas Concert in New York at the Paradise Theater.
Sporting her trademark bubblegum pink lips and two-toned hair (bleached blonde and dark brown), the Trinidadian songstress wore a skintight leopard bodysuit covered in what appeared to be black bits of crinoline armor.
Black boning threaded through the front of the bodysuit and around Minaj's legs then shot out at the hips and shoulders to create crinoline style hoops in a 21st-century nod to 19th century petticoats.
This isn't the first time Minaj has worn a frock with bizarre outcroppings. At the American Music Awards in November, she wore a fluorescent pink dress with 3D gold outcroppings that appeared as though they made up part of the dress’ machine-style design.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Android in Spaaaaaace!

The 10 Hottest Private Companies in Tech

 1. Facebook: More than 25% of the firm’s buyers and potential buyers indicated that they were interested in Facebook. With the company reportedly on track to bring in $2 billion in revenue this year and attracting 81% of Gen Yers daily, it’s easy to see why.
  • 2. LinkedInLinkedIn: Last month, the professional social networking platform announced that it was adding a member every second to its 85 million-person community. Earlier this year, estimates placed LinkedIn’s valuation at $2 billion.
  • 3. TwitterTwitter: Twitter finally tried to make money this year with promoted tweets, and it bodes well thatbeta testers are finding the new marketing channel valuable. The company just raised another $200 millionthat values it at a reported $3.7 billion.
  • 4. Zynga: The New York Times pondered whether Zynga might be the “GoogleGoogle of Games” this year. The company has more than 45 million active users on its social games like FarmVille and Mafia Wars.
  • 5. CraigslistCraigslist: Craigslist makes money on recruitment listings, and it used to make money on adult services listings. Alas (for Craigslist, at least), the questionably legal section that expected to comprise about 30% of its revenue was shut down yesterday.
  • 6. Groupon: Google was willing to pay $5.3 billion for the group-buying company, which has about an $800 million annual gross revenue run rate.
  • 7. YelpYelp: This year Yelp took new funding and challenged FoursquareFoursquare and Groupon with new features.
  • 8. SecondMarket: Given that the investors who indicated SecondMarket was an interest were signing up to buy through SecondMarket, this one isn’t a surprise.
  • 9. PandoraPandora: Pandora reported its first profitable quarter — and $50 million in revenue — at the end of 2009. Earlier this year, a Wall Street analyst predicted the company’s 2010 revenue would reach $100 million.
  • 10. Bloom Energy: Building a refrigerator-sized box that can power a whole house with sand-based fuel cells will inevitably attract some attention from investors. Before the Bloom Box launch, it’s rumored that the company had already won more than $400 million in funding.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

MTV College Network's Man of the Year: Robert Gates

College students are going crazy for ... Robert Gates?

MTV's college network, mtvU, has named the secretary of defense its Man of the Year for helping overturn the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy and changing the establishment from within.

In a statement on its website, the network called the 67-year-old former CIA agent a "beacon of reason in a sea of polarizing soundbytes."

It also praised him for standing up for the country's troops:

"He inherited two wars that have deeply divided college students nationwide, but Secretary Gates and the college audience have always been in lock step on a critical principal: Doing what's best for our troops and a new generation of veterans."

Gates, a Republican who was first appointed defense secretary by President George W. Bush, was in some hip company. The network named rapper Nicki Minaj as Woman of the Year for speaking out against homophobia and sexism and for helping to fight breast cancer.

Gates has been outspoken against the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which banned gays from openly serving in the military until it was overturned in a bill signed into law today by President Barack Obama.

The network's decision to choose Gates for the honor "is somewhat counterintuitive," MTV General Manager Stephen Friedman told Reuters. "But when you look at what he's done, especially this year ... he's really a role model as a public servant who has avoided the partisan rhetoric."

Friedman told Reuters that members of the "millennial generation" see themselves as being a part of the establishment and think they can change it from within.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

'True Grit' review: Coen brothers' reboot is a wonderfully entertaining, beautiful Western

Jeff Bridges and newcomer Hailee Steinfeld star in Joel and Ethan Coen's 'True Grit.'
Jeff Bridges and newcomer Hailee Steinfeld star in Joel and Ethan Coen's 'True Grit.'
Joel and Ethan Coen are rare cinematic originals, which masks how carefully distilled their films are. No matter the source — gangster noirs, cultural footnotes, Homeric journeys, Looney Tunes — they bolster new ideas with classic structure, and make the seasoned seem fresh.

Their latest, "True Grit," adapted religiously from Charles Portis' 1968 pulp novel, is a wonderfully entertaining, beautiful Western drama that lets the quirks of the genre gallop freely as it keeps a tight rein throughout.

John Wayne won an Oscar for his own version of quirky in the 1969 original, as U.S. Marshal Reuben (Rooster) Cogburn, a drunkard who called a mangy cat his relative and wore an eyepatch.

In the Coens' fable of 1870s retribution, Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) is not a sideshow but a serious man. When 14-year-old Mattie Ross (newcomer Hailee Steinfeld) hires him to find her father's killer, Cogburn heads with her from Arkansas to the Indian territory that would one day be Oklahoma. For part of the way, a preening Texas Ranger named La Boeuf (Matt Damon) rides with them.

Their adventure brings them to Chaney (Josh Brolin) and a scarred thug named Lucky Ned (Barry Pepper). The story builds slowly and is filled with character, and the Coens and their longtime cinematographer, Roger Deakins, make every run-in and frontier snowfall feel haunted and poetic.

Damon is sly and Steinfeld is sturdy, yet the big question for most viewers — does Bridges sit tall in Wayne's saddle? — is really like comparing a rifle and a six-shooter.

The onetime Big Lebowski is always a delight and lets Rooster reveal himself to be (a bit) softer at first, until he slowly pulls out the toughness. (Wayne, the same age in the first movie as Bridges is now, did it flinty, then tender.)

Bridges has moments in which Rooster's croaky monologues are as full of nuance as the one eye he's left to work with. His sole peeper darts around, closes in exhaustion and earns our affection, while "True Grit" proves to be as funny and heroic as any other legend, and tells an expert tale to boot. 

Anna Chapman, sexy Russian spy, nude in January issue of Playboy

Nude photos of Anna Chapman, the infamous red-head who was exiled from the United States for spying for Russia, appear in the January issue of Playboy.
Nude photos of Anna Chapman, the infamous red-head who was exiled from the United States for spying for Russia, appear in the January issue of Playboy.
The red-headed Russian spy is back in the U.S.A. -- nude in the pages of Playboy.
Anna Chapman, one of several men and women sent back to Moscow for espionage earlier this year, graces the pages of the men's magazine's January issue. They are included as part of an article written by John H. Richardson, author of "My Father the Spy."
It was suggested several months ago that the 28-year-old would appear nude in Playboy. However, the sexy spook did not pose for the publication. The naked pictures are from an ex-boyfriend and were part of a batch of nude photos which appeared online in July.
Around the same time, Chapman's ex-husband, Alex, dished about his sex life with his one-time bride and shared several semi-nude pictures of her.
"I hadn't met anybody like her before," he told the British newspaper, News of the World, over the summer. "I was infatuated with her."
"I found her Russian accent such a turn-on," the 30-year-old psychologist trainee said. "We were having so much fun. We also experimented with sex toys."
Chapman's lawyer Robert Baum told CNN in July that his client was "shocked" that her ex-husband had kept the photos and "disappointed in his betrayal" by releasing them.
The scarlet-haired spook did pose for the Russian edition of Maxim magazine in October. The cover image and layout, which also included an interview, featured Chapman as a Bond girl-like vixen.
"Seduction, like love and friendship are the same everywhere," she told Maxim in Russian, when asked which men are easier to seduce, Russians, British or Americans.
"Most men are divided in three categories: primitive, those that only want sex; smarter, those that want to be loved, and [the] last group -- those that not only want to be loved, they also need that this love will be the biggest and most amazing feeling in your life," she said.
Chapman, who once claimed to be a wealthy realtor, has since been hired as an adviser to the president of FundServiceBank, an authorized bank of the Russian space agency.

Census: Don't Blame Katrina for Louisiana's Loss of Clout

WASHINGTON -- Conventional wisdom holds that Hurricane Katrina's destructive powers have cost Louisiana one of its seven seats in Congress in the new census because thousands of people were forced to relocate.

But it turns out that Katrina may not be to blame after all.

Greg Rigamer, a demographer and president of GCR & Associates, a New Orleans consulting firm, said the state's growth was so sluggish in the past decade that it was on track to lose a seat in the House of Representatives and one of its nine electoral votes anyway.

Between 2000 and 2005, the nation's population grew at a rate of 5 percent. In the South, the fastest-growing region, the population grew at 7.5 percent, Rigamer said. Louisiana's population growth rate, by comparison, was less than 1 percent for the first five years of the decade, and 1.4 percent for the whole decade, the lowest among Southern states.

"So it's not Katrina," he said. "Louisiana just wasn't on pace with the rest of the country. It kind of got lost in the spread."

Louisiana is one of eight states to lose one congressional seat. New York and Ohio lost two. Neighboring Texas gained four. Louisiana now ranks as the 25th largest state; in 2000, it ranked as 22nd. The state's population is 4,533,372, an increase from the 2000 population of 4,468,976.

In fact, the population numbers ticked up after Katrina, when billions of dollars in federal money flowed into the state.

Newly constructed homes by the Make it Right Foundation are seen in the Lower Ninth Ward August 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina is August 29.  (Mario Tama, Getty Images)
Mario Tama, Getty Images
Newly constructed homes by the Make it Right Foundation are seen in the Lower Ninth Ward on Aug. 24 in New Orleans. A high concentration of blighted houses throughout the city is one factor in its slowing growth rate.
"People follow money," Rigamer said. "Post-Katrina, we've had more growth than pre-storm."

U.S. Census Director Robert Groves declined to speculate Tuesday on Katrina's role in Louisiana's slow growth.

Still, the damage wreaked by Katrina should not be discounted.

Katrina -- and Hurricane Rita, which hit western Louisiana two weeks later -- created one of the largest diasporas in the country's history, as newly homeless hurricane victims spread out across the country in search of temporary housing and work.

"So much of the metro area of New Orleans located to Houston and Dallas," said Allison Plyer of theGreater New Orleans Community Data Center. "What's less understood is that many of the evacuees were displaced within the state."

The city of New Orleans lost more than half of its population after the storm. By July 2006, 11 months later, the city counted just 208,548 residents, down from the 455,188 who lived there in July 2005. The numbers have grown steadily as displaced residents rebuilt and returned home. By last July, New Orleans' population had recovered to 354,850 residents.

"We've drawn young professionals who are spurred on by a sense of American urban adventure, coming to help the city recover," said Clancy DuBos, owner and political columnist for the Gambit Weekly in New Orleans.

New population figures for cities have not yet been released.

New Orleans has attracted new residents. But Plyer said the growth rate has slowed in recent years as the city reached a crucial turning point in its recovery.

"Some folks finally got rebuilt in New Orleans but can't find a job in New Orleans now and they're not coming back until they do. We all understand that," she said.

Growth is tied to a complicated set of factors, including the national recession and thorny urban issues, such as the high concentration of blighted houses throughout the city. New Orleans has a higher percentage of blighted homes, a new report says, than any other city in the country at 25 percent, compared with 24 percent in Flint, Mich.; 23 percent in Detroit; and 20 percent in Cleveland.
This fall, Mayor Mitch Landrieu unveiled a plan to help reduce the backlog.

The changed demographics in New Orleans will have a greater impact at the state level. The city stands to lose four seats in the Legislature -- three in the House and one in the Senate.

But the loss of clout in Washington can't help in a state that depends heavily on federal funds. More than $100 billion in Katrina aid arrived from Washington.

"It makes a big difference," DuBos said. "We lost a seat in the 1990 census and now we're losing another one. We used to have eight and now we're down to six."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Stars get in the holiday spirit

'Tis the season for Tinseltown to get in the holiday spirit.  Although Hollywood may not have a white Christmas, stars still know how to be merry.  Click through to see celebs pay a visit to the North Pole, do their last minute shopping, and even <a href="" target="_blank">sneak a kiss or two</a> under the mistletoe ...

Santa baby! Katy Perry dons her best Santa suit ...

<br><br>Follow our galleries on Twitter <a href="" target="_blank">@NYDNPhotos</a>.
'Tis the season for Tinseltown to get in the holiday spirit. Although Hollywood may not have a white Christmas, stars still know how to be merry.  celebs pay a visit to the North Pole, do their last minute shopping, and even sneak a kiss or two under the mistletoe ... 

Santa baby! Katy Perry dons her best Santa suit ...

... and a true performer at heart, she also slips into her best Frosty the Snowman outfit.
and a true performer at heart, she also slips into her best Frosty the Snowman outfit.
Mariah Carey, and her <a href="" target="_blank">baby bump</a?, get festive as they snuggle up to Snoopy.
Mariah Carey, and her baby bump 


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