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, Withings.com.

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, Jawbone.com

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, JR.com.

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, Target.com.

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, amazon.com.

Monday, January 31, 2011

US Set to Fly Thousands of Americans From Egypt

WASHINGTON - The State Department is prepared to evacuate thousands of U.S. citizens from Egypt on chartered planes, but is relying largely on friends and families in the U.S. to relay that information to stranded Americans.

Assistant Secretary of State Janice Jacobs told reporters Sunday that she expects it will take several flights over the coming days to handle the number of Americans who want to leave Egypt.

Jacobs acknowledged that Internet interruptions in Egypt are making it difficult for Americans there to get information about the evacuations. But she said they have been able to get information from people in the United States who do have access to State Department and embassy websites.

The charters will begin Monday from Cairo and will fly to Europe. Jacobs said the U.S. is looking at Athens, Greece; Istanbul, Turkey; and Nicosia, Cyprus as destinations. So far, she said, Americans have been able to get taxis, but she said people should wait until tomorrow before they try to go to the airport to get one of the charter flights.
Jacobs, who's in charge of consular affairs, said the U.S. will have enough flights to take out all American citizens and dependents who want to leave. And the U.S. may also send charter planes to other cities in Egypt, such as Luxor, if there are a number of Americans stranded there. She said Americans with tickets on commercial airlines should first contact those carriers about getting out.

Americans taking the charter will be billed for the cost of the flight and will need to make their own travel arrangements home after arriving in Europe.

According to the State Department there are about 52,000 Americans registered with the embassy in Cairo. Officials noted, however, that many people don't register (or de-register when they leave) and some Americans in Egypt may not want to leave.

Americans looking for information on the flights should monitor the State Department and embassy websites or send an e-mail to egyptemergencyusc(at)state.gov. They can also call toll-free, 1-888-407-4747, from within the U.S. and Canada. From outside the U.S. and Canada people can call 1-202-501-4444.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Jaime Pressly Files for Divorce

It's been reported that Jaime Pressly has filed for divorce from her husband of 16 months, Simran Singh.

Earlier this week there were reports that the couple had split. Now RadarOnline.com says the 33-year-old actress cited irreconcilable differences as the cause for the collapse of her marriage which she claims ended on December 27.

On Jan. 5, Pressly was arrested on the suspicion of drunk driving. She was driving in Santa Monica when police pulled her over at around 11 PM for an alleged traffic violation. Following a field sobriety test, she was arrested and booked.

Pressly is asking that the court not award Singh spousal support. Tax records show the IRS has filed for over $500,000 in tax liens against her in the last year, and the state of California is looking to collect $95,080.

The former 'My Name is Earl' star and two-time Emmy nominee has a three-year-old son, Dezi James Calvo, from her previous relationship with DJ Eric Cubiche. She and Singh have no children together.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Nicki Minaj Opens Up About Parental Abuse and Drug Use


It's been quiet a week for Nicki Minaj who caused big waves on her first trip overseas, she inciting a near-riot outside of her London hotel and got thrown out of the establishment. But, in an interview with U.K. newspaper The Sun, the singer got deep, discussing her troubled past and revealing that her father's abuse and mother's subsequent addictions caused her to "act out."

"All of my young and teenage early years we lived in fear that my mother would be killed by my father," Nicki explained. "It was ridiculous. It made me act out to guys and be evil to them when I was growing up."

While her father's abuse may have damaged her early relationships, Nicki also said that her difficult childhood made her stronger. "It made me tough. Of course it did," Nicki continued. "I am an emotional person, but I am a tough person. It was very tough emotionally for me to have a parent who was an alcoholic and a drug addict. I had a mum with no money."
Ultimately, the lesson Minaj said she learned from her mother was to "keep it moving" and be prepared to walk away from any situation when things aren't working out.

"I will cry about something but I never let anything stop me. I can't be like my mum. I know I can cut ties and still make it," Nicki said. "She didn't cut ties when I felt like she should have done. That's been my whole thing. I've been able to say, 'This isn't working anymore. You need to get out of my life.' I keep it moving and it has worked."

Recently, Minaj was asked about her rumored relationship with rapper Drake and whether they indeed were a couple. She toyed with the idea jokingly, "I think (our children will) definitely have my personality," she said. "My mother-in-law will be super beautiful, so that's good 'cause Drake's mom is freaking amazing. I love her. (Our kids will) have Drake's intelligence. They'll have his sarcastic wittiness that I love about him, and they'll have his songwriting skills."

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Obama Taps New Point Man for Terror Finances, Iran Sanctions


Stuart Levey, architect of the post-9/11 strategy of using the long reach of the U.S. financial system to fight terrorists and pressure Iran to give up its atomic ambitions, is leaving the government just as the sanctions fight with Iran could be heating up.

President Barack Obama today named Levey's current deputy and former law partner, David Cohen, the assistant Treasury secretary for terrorist financing, to succeed Levey as undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

Levey was the first to hold the post when it was created by the Bush administration in 2004. And in 2009, Obama asked Levey to stay on as leader of the government's efforts to cut off financial support to international terrorists, drug traffickers, proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and other national security threats.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told the Wall Street Journal that Levey had agreed to stay for six months into the Obama administration, and that two years later he is ready to take a break.

"It will have no effect on policy or on our ability to execute the president's policy," Geithner said, citing Cohen's close work with Levey.

But the news of Levey's departure comes just two days after the latest top-level diplomacy over Iran's nuclear program ended without any negotiation having even taken place.

Iran declined to engage any of the parties across the table -- the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China -- insisting it has the right to enrich uranium, an activity much of the international community suspects to be a part of an Iranian drive to build atomic weaponry.

That means the Obama administration is likely to return to its strategy of tightening pressure on a financially beleaguered Iran, in hope that the cost of pursuing suspect nuclear activities will prove too much for the governing mullahs.

After a previous round of negotiations was rejected by Tehran in the fall of 2009, the U.S. cobbled together global support for tougher United Nations sanctions in June, and then piled on a host of additional sanctions on Iran's banks, shipping companies and other commercial and government groups supporting the nuclear program.

Sponsored Links Joined by allies in Europe and Asia, the U.S. has cut Iranian access to gasoline and other processed fuels and vastly increased the cost and difficulties of obtaining operating cash for Iranian entities.

Levey has been the leader and principal guide of that effort in Washington, and its chief proponent abroad, frequently traveling to allied capitals to coordinate strategy or persuade reluctant governments to get on board.

A senior Justice Department official from 2001 until he moved to the Treasury, Levey is expected to stay in the post another month as Cohen, who also served as a Treasury lawyer in the Clinton administration, goes through the confirmation process.

'Fantastic Four' death: Human Torch, one Marvel's first superheroes, dies

The Human Torch makes his final stand in epic issue of 'Fantasic Four.'
The Human Torch makes his final stand in epic issue of 'Fantasic Four.'

Marvel Comics has snuffed out the Fantastic Four's Human Torch.
In the most shocking death to hit the comic book industry since - well, the publisher knocked off Captain America four years ago - the fiery Johnny Storm goes out in a blaze of glory saving his young niece and nephew from an army of insect creatures in Fantastic Four #587, in stores Wednesday.
It's the end of an era dating back to November 1961 when writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby first launched the Fantastic Four and changed the medium as the first real superheroes to have the same character flaws as their readers.
The fiery and immature Johnny -- played by Chris Evans in two movies and voiced by Bill Murray in a '70s radio series -- always seemed to leap before he looked. Fans have nervously awaited this issue for several months as Marvel publicized that one of the team -- which includes The Torch's sister, the aptly-named Invisible Woman, her husband, the elastic scientist Mr. Fantastic and the human rock-pile, The Thing -- wouldn't make it past this issue.
Jonathan Hickman, the current writer of the series, says it wasn't easy to extinguish a comic book legend.
"Johnny kind of represents a childlike idealism within the group," Hickman told the News. "And the story that we wanted to tell going forward from my first issue on the book and where I would like to end up, there came a point in the story where it served us to eliminate what was an eternal source of optimism in the world."
Fans can also be optimistic that The Human torch will eventually return. Comics have a long history of killing off heroes - victims of either a good story or a good sales ploy. Captain America came back two and a half years after his demise and Superman didn't slow down much after his much ballyhooed death in 1993.
Robert Branch, 33, videographer from the Bronx and a Fantastic Four fan was just relieved that it wasn't The Thing. (Branch keeps a statue of his favorite hero on his office desk.) He wasn't particularly surprised that The Human Torch was the one to go.
"You're surprised it hasn't happened yet, because he's a hot head - literally," said Branch. "He's the least interesting to me. But sometimes you don't miss them until they're gone.
"It's great that they take away the toys for a while and it makes you appreciate them."
But the Fantastic Four isn't just any old superheroes - they are an actual family that bickers with each other almost as much as they do with super-villains - and it remains to be seen if the team can stay together long as the Fantastic Three.
"It's a story about a family and we lose a family member and we've all experienced someone in our life who's died or we all will," said Hickman. "It becomes that much more powerful so it's a table missing a leg and of course it's unstable, it's rickety. That's kind of the point. Is it going to stay up or is it going to fall down?"
The night before the news broke, life-long Fantastic Four fan Patrick Edmund, an artist from Brooklyn, paced Jim Hanley's Universe, a comic book store in Midtown Manhattan, unsure of which member of the super team he could handle losing.
"It's hard, I'd be hurting no matter who dies," said Edmund, 43. "But I'd buy the book and see who would step up and [fill the void]. Whatever happens you have to see how they're going to roll with it."

 

Cost of heart disease to triple in US by 2030; More than $800 billion a year



The costs of heart disease in the United States will triple between now and 2030, to more than $800 billion a year, a report commissioned by the American Heart Association predicted on Monday.
Treating high blood pressure will be the most expensive part of the cost, rising to $389 billion by 2030, the report projects, with overall heart disease rising by 10 percent by then.
The report is bad news for the United States, which already has the highest per capita healthcare costs in the developed world and is struggling to lower expenses. Last week the Republican-led House of Representatives passed legislation that would repeal President Barack Obama's landmark healthcare reform law, although it will likely be scuttled by the Senate.
The report does not factor in changes that are part of the reform law, which the White House says will provide health insurance and preventive care to 32 million Americans who currently lack it.
But Heart Association CEO Dr. Nancy Brown said the legislation calls for preventive care and practices that could make a dent in the projected toll.
"The repeal of healthcare reform ... would be a catastrophe," Brown told a news conference.
"This country has a choice to make: We can wait until people get sick and figure out how to treat them or we can focus on prevention."
Dr. Paul Heidenreich of the VA Palo Alto Health Care System in California and colleagues looked at current costs of heart disease, the U.S. population and trends in behavior and illness for the first such projection of heart disease costs.
"Between 2010 and 2030, real total direct medical costs of cardiovascular disease are projected to triple, from $272.5 billion to $818.1 billion," reads the report, published in the journal Circulation.
MOST HEART DISEASE PREVENTABLE
The report predicts that the number of heart disease cases will grow by 10 percent over the next 20 years if nothing changes, including tobacco use and obesity rates.
"By 2030, we estimate that 40 percent of U.S. adults, or 116 million people, will have one or more forms of cardiovascular disease," it reads.
Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States and most other developed countries. It accounts for 17 percent of U.S. health spending.
Healthcare spending grew to 17.6 percent of U.S. gross domestic product in 2009, from 16.6 percent the year before.
U.S. government data released this month show that spending on hospital services, doctor visits, medicines and other health needs rose 4 percent to $2.5 trillion in 2009.
Most heart disease is preventable with better diet and more exercise, according to the Heart Association. And many patients do not take their heart disease drugs as directed, or are not prescribed the optimal regimen, further raising costs.
One easy fix would be for Americans to eat less salt, the report recommended. Brown praised last week's announcement by Wal-Mart Stores Inc that it would will promote cheaper, healthier food at its stores.
"That is a big step in the right direction because we believe this will change the momentum in this country," Brown said. She also praised moves to require big restaurant chains to provide nutrition information and better community planning to encourage exercise.

Manhattan artist Laurel Nakadate cries for 365 straight days for 'A Catalogue of Tears' photos

Laurel Nakadate's first big museum exhibit, at MoMA PS1 in Queens, includes photos of her weeping every day.
Laurel Nakadate's first big museum exhibit, at MoMA PS1 in Queens, includes photos of her weeping every day.

They're her photos, and this Manhattan artist will cry if she wants to.
Laurel Nakadate, 35, just finished a project where she took photos of herself weeping every single day for an entire year.
She says she was inspired by clicking through phony Facebook photos. "I was online looking at all these pictures of all these people pretending to be happy," Nakadate said.
"I thought - what would it mean to deliberately take part in sadness each day, and photograph that?" she said.
The series, called "365 Days: A Catalogue of Tears," is being shown for the first time starting this week at MoMA PS1 in Queens.
Nakadate - who often appears in her own work, sometimes wearing only underwear - began documenting her tears on New Year's Day last year.
She took her tripod and camera everywhere, photographing herself crouched miserably near her bathtub, looking sad aboard a plane to Estonia and sobbing in random hotel rooms. She truly cried every time, she said - there were no crocodile tears.
At first, a poignant memory - "like my childhood dog's death" - was enough to set her off, she says, but later she had to resort to tearjerker pop songs. Jolie Holland's "Mexican Blue" became her go-to tune.
She took as many as 80 photos each time she cried, but chose only one from each day.
The crying series is the newest work in Nakadate's first big museum exhibition, which includes her photos, videos and feature-length films from the past 10 years.
Nakadate first became known for video pieces in which she went into men's homes to dance, pose and even play dead - recording their reactions all the while.
Her latest work tries for a different sort of connection with the viewer.
"I don't think that art has to be therapeutic, but it's interesting when art makes you feel not alone," she said.

French fashion stylist Laurence Renard killed in horrific East Side rush-hour accident

Victoria's Secret stylist killed while crossing street after getting hit by dump truck

Fashion stylist Laurence Renard worked with famed photographer Bruce Weber.
Fashion stylist Laurence Renard worked with famed photographer Bruce Weber.
Truck driver Diego Tapia-Ulloa was arrested for not having a valid license.

Truck driver Diego Tapia-Ulloa was arrested for not having a valid license.

A French fashion stylist who worked with photographer Bruce Weber was fatally hit by a dump truck on Monday in a horrific rush-hour accident on the upper East Side, police said.
Laurence Renard, 35, was crossing First Ave. right outside her building about 5:45 p.m. when a private carting truck turning from 90th St. struck her.
"She was the sweetest, biggest-hearted person I knew," her brother Lionel Renard told the Daily News. "We're all in shock. We're gathering tomorrow in New York."
Lionel Renard said his sister did the styling for a Victoria's Secret campaign last year and had been working with Weber on Abercrombie & Fitch ads.
Renard was married to a restaurateur and split her time between her Manhattan home and Miami, her brother said. She did volunteer work at the Kabbalah Center in midtown, he said.
After the accident, pedestrians raced to block other vehicles from running over Renard's body.
"People were screaming for cars not to go through," said Norizan Ibrahim, 46, a witness.
Renard died at the scene and lay under a white sheet in the roadway as cops investigated the accident Monday night.
The truck driver, Diego Tapia-Ulloa, 23, of Newark was arrested for not having a valid license.

Britain's Academic Elite Shock Ski Trip Sponsors by Showing Their Cheeky Sides

Oxford Cambridge ski trip
Sir Isaac Newton and Lord Tennyson never stripped themselves naked and posed for erotic pictures in the snow.

Charles Darwin and Lord Alfred Douglas never smeared chocolate and pasta sauce on their nude bodies while hundreds of people stood around and cheered. And no one ever mistook Stephen Hawking for Bluto from "Animal House."

Sigh. Times have changed at Oxford and Cambridge. These were once the hallowed halls of higher learning where men in black robes learned to say "tut tut" and "I daresay" while referring to each other as "old bean."
Now, the Daily Telegraph reports that executives at Scott Dunn, a veddy proper travel firm, have pulled their sponsorship of the annual varsity ski trip for some 2,500 Oxford and Cambridge university students after this year's event turned into a bacchanal worthy of "Girls Gone Wild."
The lads got a tad unruly, as well.
Scott Dunn executives offered a skiing holiday worth $7,800 in American currency for the team which won the end of the week's Scott Dunn Valley Rally.
Jolly good fun, that.
The fun got a little jollier, however, when the students engaged in activity risque enough to make the average Brit exclaim, "Egads! What's all this then?"
Nudity and pasta sauce aside, the Daily Telegraph reports students held a contest to see which team could smash an egg in the most creative manner possible. That's when things got a bit, shall we say, cheeky.
An egg was placed between the buttocks of one team member while another smashed it with a wine bottle. Students then proceeded to eat the egg.
Cambridge alum Sir Isaac Newton was then heard spinning in his grave while the ghost of Oxford alum Oscar Wilde exclaimed, "Why didn't I think of that?"
Scott Dunn execs saw last month's event, staged at the French resort Val Thorens, as an opportunity to promote itself to Britain's intellectual elite. So much for that idea.

"Scott Dunn recently learned of reported bad behavior by some of the participants of the Varsity Trip's Valley Rally," the company said in a statement to the Telegraph. "Scott Dunn in no way endorses any of the inappropriate behavior reported."
Company execs added they will honor the prizes but will have no future involvement in the annual varsity ski trip.
The Daily Telegraph quotes one winner of the competition as saying, "I sold my dignity for a free holiday."
Oh well, it could be worse. The losers reportedly had to drink each other's urine.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Razzie Nominations Target Jennifer Aniston and Robert Pattinson


The Razzie nominations dropped this morning, and stars like Jennifer Aniston, Robert Pattinsonand Miley Cyrus have big, fat targets on their backs as some of the cantankerous committee's least favorite actors of the year. The 31st Annual Razzies also have sights set on movies like 'The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,' 'The Last Airbender' and 'Sex and the City 2.'

Our pals at Moviefone opine that the Razzie committee's picks "seem to be either a) high-profile 'fish in a barrel' nominees, or b) a bunch of movies and stars that are bad, sure, but are mainly popular enough to generate some fan-based outrage -- and therefore more attention for the Razzies as a whole."

Sounds a little cynical to us, but aren't the Razzies all about cynicism? See all the nominees, including Worst Eye-Gouging Misuse of 3-D, and find out which Hollywood hunks and sweethearts landed Worst Actor and Actress nominations.
Worst Picture
'The Bounty Hunter'
'The Last Airbender'
'Sex and the City 2'
'Twilight Saga: Eclipse'
'Vampires Suck'

Worst Actor
Jack Black, 'Gulliver's Travels'
Gerard Butler, 'The Bounty Hunter'
Ashton Kutcher, 'Killers' and 'Valentine's Day'
Taylor Lautner, 'Twilight Saga: Eclipse' and 'Valentine's Day'
Robert Pattinson, 'Remember Me' and 'Twilight Saga: Eclipse'

Worst Actress
Jennifer Aniston, 'The Bounty Hunter' and 'The Switch'
Miley Cyrus, 'The Last Song'
The Four Gal Pals, 'Sex and the City 2'
Megan Fox, 'Jonah Hex'
Kristen Stewart, 'Twilight Saga: Eclipse'

Worst Supporting Actor
Billy Ray Cyrus, 'The Last Song'
George Lopez, 'Marmaduke,' 'The Spy Next Door' and 'Valentine's Day'
Dev Patel, 'The Last Airbender'
Jackson Rathbone, 'The Last Airbender' and 'Twilight Saga: Eclipse'
Rob Schneider, 'Grown Ups'

Worst Supporting Actress
Jessica Alba, 'The Killer Inside Me,' 'Little Fockers,' 'Machete' and 'Valentine's Day'
Cher, 'Burlesque'
Liza Minnelli, 'Sex and the City 2'
Nicola Peltz, 'The Last Airbender'
Barbra Streisand, 'Little Fockers'

Worst Eye-Gouging Mis-Use of 3-D
'Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore'
'Clash of the Titans'
'The Last Airbender'
'Nutcracker 3-D'
'Saw 3-D'

Worst Screen Couple / Ensemble
Jennifer Aniston & Gerard Butler, 'The Bounty Hunter'
Josh Brolin's Face & Megan Fox's Accent, 'Jonah Hex'
The Entire Cast, 'The Last Airbender'
The Entire Cast, 'Sex and the City 2'
The Entire Cast, 'Twilight Saga: Eclipse'

Worst Director
'The Expendables,' Sylvester Stallone
'The Last Airbender,' M. Night Shyamalan
'Sex and the City 2,' Michael Patrick King
'Twilight Saga: Eclipse,' David Slade
'Vampires Suck,' Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer

Worst Screenplay
'The Last Airbender,' M. Night Shyamalan
'Little Fockers,' Michael Hamburg & Larry Stuckey
'Sex and the City 2,' Michael Patrick King
'Twilight Saga: Eclipse,' Melissa Rosenberg
'Vampires Suck,' Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer

Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel
'Clash of the Titans'
'The Last Airbender'
'Sex and the City 2'
'Twilight Saga: Eclipse'
'Vampires Suck'

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bigger Not Better: Porn Star Dies After Breast Enlargement


A German porn star went into a coma and died after undergoing her sixth breast enlargement.

Carolin Berger, who used the stage name "Cora" in adult films, underwent the cosmetic surgery in an attempt to boost her popularity, the Daily Mail reported today.

The 23-year-old blond beauty was in a medically induced coma for nine days before dying Thursday from complications following a surgery to increase her chest size from 34F to 34G.

Berger had become well known to the public after appearing last year on the German version of the reality show "Big Brother," according to the BBC. Over several episodes her behavior became more wild, including one episode in which she stripped topless and flirted with another cast member.

Reports indicate she suffered two heart attacks after going under the knife for the cosmetic surgery in a Hamburg clinic. Her family was told she went without oxygen for 15 minutes during the procedure.

Fans started a memorial page to the tattoo-covered starlet on Facebook, and it had attracted more than 4,700 members by this afternoon.

"Only the good die young," Thurston Fuchs, a Canadian living in Germany, wrote on the tribute page. "R.I.P. Cora."

The surgeon and anesthesiologist who led the operation on Bergen are under investigation by local prosecutors, according to reports.

Her quest for fame and glory in skin flicks caused medical problems for her in 2009. Bergen was rushed to the hospital with breathing difficulties after attempting to set a world record for consecutive sex acts, the Sun reported then.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Google Co-Founder Larry Page Will Be CEO in Shake-Up



SAN FRANCISCO -- Eric Schmidt, a technology veteran brought in as Google Inc.'s "adult supervision" a decade ago, is relinquishing the CEO job to Larry Page, one of the prodigies who co-founded the company behind the Internet's dominant gateway.

The surprise shake-up announced Thursday appears to be driven by Schmidt's desire to tackle other challenges as much as Page's personal ambition.

"Day-to-day adult supervision no longer needed!" Schmidt wrote on his Twitter account moments after Google dropped the bombshell that upstaged its fourth-quarter earnings. Schmidt, 55, will become executive chairman and remain available to advise Page, 37, and Google's other 37-year-old founder, Sergey Brin.

Under the new pecking order effective April 4, Page will reclaim the CEO job that he held for three years before the two venture capitalist firms backing Google in its early days insisted that a more mature leader be brought aboard.

hat led to the 2001 hiring of Schmidt, a professorial engineer who was previously chief technology officer at Sun Microsystems Inc. and CEO of Novell Inc., both much bigger than Google at the time. After initially resisting Google's overtures, Schmidt bonded with Page and Brin to form a brain trust that proceeded to build the Internet's most powerful company.

Google now boasts a market value of more than $200 billion, a success story that has placed Page, Brin and Schmidt among the world's wealthiest people. The three men are Google's largest individual shareholders, stakes that turned them all into multibillionaires.

But as Google has grown into a company with more than 24,000 employees, its decision-making increasingly has bogged down into a bureaucracy. The managerial constipation and joint decision-making by the trio threatened to put Google at a competitive disadvantage as younger, more nimble Internet services such as Facebook pounce on new trends to lure away users and advertisers. At Facebook, 26-year-old founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg calls the shots in an entrepreneurial culture that has enticed dozens of engineers to leave Google to work for the social networking company.

"My goal is to run Google at the pace and with the soul and passion of a startup," Page said in a Thursday interview. "I think I will have time to do that given the way we have split up our responsibilities."

Schmidt concurred in the same interview, saying Google's triumvirate decided they needed to find ways for the company to run more crisply.

"I am not as concerned about the titles as I am winning," Schmidt said. "I am quite certain that this change will result in faster decision making and better value for the shareholders."

Google's stockholders have had little to complain about, not that it would have made a major difference because Schmidt, Page and Brin combined own a controlling stake in the company. Google is coming off a year in which its earnings climbed 30 percent to $8.5 billion and, although its stock price remains below its all-time high reached in 2007, it has more than doubled from its lows during the recession.

Google shares rose $8.23, or 1.3 percent, to $635 in extended trading after Thursday's announcement. In the regular session earlier, the stock fell $4.98, or 0.8 percent, to close at $626.77.

The stock peaked at $747 before the recession.

"Eric Schmidt has played his innings very well," said analyst Sandeep Aggarwal of Caris & Co.

The management reshuffling appears to be amicable. Both Page and Schmidt had high praise for each other during a Thursday conference call with analysts, with Schmidt describing Google's co-founders as his "best friends."

"I believe Larry is ready" to be CEO, Schmidt said during the call. "It's time for him to have a shot at running this."

Page hailed Schmidt as a "tremendous leader" whose contributions exceeded all expectations. "There is really no one else in the universe that could have accomplished what Eric has done," Page said.

Although he tried to debunk the idea in Thursday's interview, Schmidt may have been growing weary of all the attention and prosaic duties that come with running one of world's most scrutinized companies.

"I don't think Eric was pushed. I think he jumped," said Ken Auletta, author of "Googled: The End of the World As We Know It." "I think Eric is burned out."

There have been signs Schmidt would prefer doing something else.

For the first time last year, he started to sit out of Google's quarterly calls to discuss its earnings. More recently, he has expressed irritation about how some of his public remarks have been picked apart to support the idea that Google is an arrogant company that can't be trusted to protect people's privacy as its search engine and other services collect vast amounts of personal information.

In October, Schmidt drew fire for responding to a hypothetical question posed at a forum in Washington, D.C., about an implant that would let Google know what its users were thinking. He responded that Google's policy is to "get right up to the creepy line and not cross it," and an implant would cross the line.

He also said that as users voluntarily share information online, it doesn't need users to type in search queries for the company to tailor the results. "We don't need you to type at all. We know where you are. We know where you've been. We can more or less know what you're thinking about," he said.

Such comments have been repeated in online musings that portrayed Schmidt and Google as "creepy."

"The biggest thing I wonder is after a year or so of having various gaffes and statements taken out of context if he decided he no longer wanted to play that front-man role," said Danny Sullivan, the editor-in-chief of the SearchEngineLand news site.

In his new role, Schmidt indicated he will focus on meeting with Google's business partners and government officials around the world.

Wrangling with regulators is becoming a more common occurrence as Google tries to expand its empire even as it faces complaints that it has been abusing its dominance of Internet search to thwart competition. Schmidt, who has been called upon to give economic advice to President Barack Obama before and after he was elected, could be well suited to defuse the concerns in the U.S. He is also expected to play a key role in identifying Google's takeover targets, which makes sense if he is also going to being addressing antitrust concerns.

The change in command seemed long overdue to longtime Silicon Valley analyst Rob Enderle.

"Whenever you have a caretaker CEO, they're supposed to stay in place until the founders have enough experience," he said. "Larry had enough experience about four years ago."

Although he is more outgoing than Page, Brin has never shown any interest in being CEO. Now, he intends to concentrate on a few high-priority products. Some are believed to be social tools designed to counter Facebook's popularity, but Brin wouldn't discuss specifics in a Thursday interviews.

"I have a passion for several projects," he said. "I don't think anyone has heard of any of them and I don't think anyone will for a while."

As CEO, Page will lead product development and technology strategy and run day-to-day operations.

Schmidt, Page and Brin all still plan to remain with Google through at least 2024, reaffirming a promise they made to each other when the company went public in 2004.

The changes at Google come on the same day that Hewlett-Packard Co. announced its own shake-up, replacing four board directors with five new ones as HP's new leadership tries to dampen shareholder anger over the handling of CEO Mark Hurd's ouster in August.

Facebook and other up-and-coming Internet companies still have a long way to go to catch Google, as demonstrated by the way Google cranked up its Internet marketing machine during the holiday shopping season.

Google earned $2.5 billion, or $7.81 per share, during the final three months of 2010. That's a 29 percent increase from net income of $2 billion, or $6.13 per share, in the prior year.

Excluding stock-compensation expenses, Google says it earned $8.75 per share. That figure topped the average analyst estimate of $8.06 per share, according to FactSet.

Revenue climbed 26 percent from the prior year to $8.44 billion, from $6.67 billion.

After subtracting the commissions paid to Google's advertising partners, the company's revenue totaled $6.37 billion - about $300 million more than analysts anticipated.

Google has plenty of ammunition left to finance its ambitions for this year and beyond. It ended December with $35 billion in cash.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Debbie Gibson Credits Boyfriend for Her Beach Body


Eighties teen sensation Debbie Gibson is back! Not only is the original pop princess (sorry, Britney!) joining up with fellow popstress Tiffany for her new film, 'Mega Python vs. Gatoroid,' premiering Jan. 29 on Syfy, she also has a new boyfriend and a rock hard body.
"I did my man's BTL diet, which stands for Better Than Lipo," Debbie tells me about how her boyfriend, Dr. Rutledge Taylor, helped her get the body she always wanted. "It taught me to be mindful of what I eat and why and focuses on limiting sugar intake while eating lots of healthy fats and protein and veggies."
And the weight just fell off, she says. "I've worked out and danced my entire life but often all that hard work's been covered up by layers of fat. The way we eat is the most important thing for weight loss and weight maintenance."
And if her new guy doesn't sound perfect enough, Debbie tells me the song they wrote together, 'Rise,' from his new documentary '3 Billion and Counting,' has been short-listed as a contender for an Academy Award nomination.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Artist Banksy's Real Identity Almost Auctioned for $1 Million


In what smells like a colossal prank, an eBay seller is claiming to have uncovered the UK street artist Banksy's identity and is auctioning it off for a hefty sum.

What started as a $3,000 bid has amounted to almost a million dollars for a piece of paper containing Banksy's legal name. The artist/activist has remained largely an underground phenomenon until his film 'Exit Through the Gift Shop' -- "the world's first street art disaster movie" -- which fascinated audiences because of its hoax angle.

Seller jaybuysthings writes in his auction listing (which has since been removed for a second time), "I have uncovered [Banksy's] identity by matching up the prices of his sold pieces to corresponding tax records. I will reveal no more details ... I give you 100% assurance that it is most certainly the full name of the street artist known as 'Banksy'."
Mashable indicates that jaybuysthings' record with the online broker dates back to 2001 and is "fairly sparse but mostly positive." Banksy's website indicates that he doesn't maintain representation with all the commercial/gallery affiliates selling his work, which leaves a big question mark hanging over the supposed tax records.

The auction was supposed to close Wednesday evening and may reveal that the artist himself is behind all this as some kind of social statement -- not surprising. Several people have claimed to know Banksy's identity throughout the years, but nothing has been officially confirmed.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Kristin Cavallari Is in Love With Jay Cutler


Love is definitely in the Chicago air as far as Kristin Cavallari is concerned. She was talking toPEOPLE about her relationship with Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler when she said "I'm in love."

Cavallari was in Las Vegas Saturday night celebrating her 24th birthday at a swanky nightclub where she also revealed that things were going well between the couple.

Sadly, Cutler was not by her side during the celebrations as he was preparing for the playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks, which the Bears won on Sunday.

Cavallari said she wanted to be there with Cutler and was bummed that he was not in Vegas to celebrate her birthday.

Cutler, however, made up for his absence when he sent a large bouquet of pink flowers to her table.
Cavallari also said that the city of Chicago has been great for her as she wanted to be away from the public eye and she loved hanging out with her mom, who resides in the city.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Chole Sevigny denies dating Pauly D of the 'Jersey Shore,' but says she's checked out the show

Chole Sevigny (c.) and Pauly D from 'Jersey Shore' took in the Jan. 4th Knicks-Spurs game.
Chole Sevigny (c.) and Pauly D from 'Jersey Shore' took in the Jan. 4th Knicks-Spurs game.

Chloƫ Sevigny and Pauly D a couple? Fughetaboutit!
The Oscar-nominated and Golden-Globe winning actress shot down rumors that she’s dating the "Jersey Shore" cast member when Interview magazine asked the “Big Love” star if she and DelVecchio were an item.
"No, but I wish, because that would be hilarious," Sevigny said. "That would be the weirdest couple in the world. It would be like the apocalypse."
Rumors started to swirl that the two were more than just acquaintances when they were seen sitting courtside at the Knicks-Spurs game Jan. 4 at Madison Square Garden.
When pressed why the mythical couple would open so many eyes, Sevigny cited their different professional lives as a potential deal breaker.  
"I think it's because we're both kind of extreme. We represent extremes, in opposite directions. So for us two to come together, it would be a very strange meeting of the minds or colliding of two worlds," Sevigny said. 
But that doesn’t mean Sevigny hasn’t checked out DelVecchio’s antics on the widely popular MTV show.
"I haven't watched that many episodes, but of the ones I have... if I were to pick one of the dudes on the show, I'd definitely pick him," Sevigny said.  
"He seems more affable and kind of funny and easygoing."

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