WASHINGTON – A visual inspection of the battered, dented left engine of the US Airways jetliner that ditched in the Hudson River found no evidence of organic matter, but there are signs the plane hit a soft body, federal investigators say. This engine and the right engine, which remained attached to the Airbus A-320 after the Jan. 15 ditching, will be shipped to their manufacturer, CFM International, in Cincinnati for thorough examination by safety board investigators. Both engines will be completely torn down to examine damage, and advanced equipment will be used to search for organic material not apparent during visual inspection.The pilot reported the plane hit a flock of birds shortly after takeoff from LaGuardia Airport which shut down both his jets. National Transportation Safety Board investigators said Saturday they visually examined the left engine after it was finally pulled 65 feet from the river bottom but saw no evidence of organic material. The safety board also said the left engine, which was recovered on Friday, had dents on its inlet lip and broken and missing guide vanes. Earlier this week, the safety board said the right engine also revealed evidence of "soft body damage" and that "organic material" was found in that engine and on the wings and fuselage. A single feather also was found. The board sent samples of the organic material to the Agriculture Department for a DNA analysis. All 155 people aboard survived when veteran pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger splashed the crippled Charlotte, N.C.-bound plane in the river. Sullenberger received a hero's welcome complete with marching band as thousands of people turned out Saturday when he returned to his home in the San Francisco suburb of Danville, Calif. Several safety board investigators remained in New York supervising Airbus technicians as the wings and vertical and horizontal stabilizers are removed from the body of the jet and the wreckage is prepared for long-term storage at a secure facility.By MICHAEL J. SNIFFEN, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON – Commercial airline crews reported more than two dozen emergency landings, aborted takeoffs or other hair-raising incidents due to collisions with birds in the past two years, according to a confidential database managed by NASA.
An Associated Press review of reports filed voluntarily with NASA's Aviation Safety Reporting System show that bird-airliner encounters happen frequently, though none as dramatic as the one involving a US Airways jet that ditched safely into the Hudson River on Jan. 15 because a run-in with birds took out both of its engines.
Since January 2007, at least 26 serious birdstrikes were reported. In some of them, the aircraft's brakes caught fire or cabins and cockpits filled with smoke and the stench of burning birds. Engines failed and fan blades broke. In one case, a birdstrike left a 12-inch hole in the wing of a Boeing 757-200.
The NASA data does not include details such as the names of crews, airlines, and in many cases, the airports involved — confidentiality designed to encourage greater reporting.
"That's only touching the tip of the iceberg," said former National Transportation Safety Board member John Goglia. "Clearly, we don't have knowledge of the full width and breadth of this problem."
From 1990 to 2007, there were nearly 80,000 reported incidents of birds striking nonmilitary aircraft, about one strike for every 10,000 flights, according to the Federal Aviation Administration and the Agriculture Department. But those numbers also are based on voluntary reports, which aviation safety experts say almost certainly underestimates the size of the problem and fails to convey the severity of some incidents.
In some cases reported to the NASA database, crews said they could smell birds burning in the engines — "a toxic smell like burning toast (or) popcorn" wrote a flight attendant on an MD-80 airliner that had just taken off last March. After returning to the airport for an emergency landing, it was discovered the aircraft had suffered a birdstrike on a previous landing that had gone undetected.
The pilot of a Boeing 767-200 reported aborting a takeoff after the cockpit "filled with the smell of cooking bird." The plane had "ingested" birds in the right engine on a prior landing, but mechanics had thought the birds had passed through the engine and had given the flight the go-ahead to takeoff again.
Among other cases detailed in the NASA database:
_In March 2007, the pilot of a Boeing 777-200, a wide-bodied airliner that typically seats over 280 passengers, reported a birdstrike in the right engine shortly after a takeoff, causing strong engine vibrations. The pilot shut down the engine and asked to divert to another airport for an emergency landing, dumping as much of the plane's 160,000 pounds of fuel as possible to reduce the plane's landing weight and cut its risk of breaking apart.
_In June 2007, a Boeing 757-200 at Denver International Airport was forced to abort a takeoff at between 150 mph and 160 mph after a flock of birds the size of grapefruit flew into the path of the plane. Some birds were sucked into both engines, the pilot reported.
_In July 2008, the pilot of a Boeing 737-300 in the midst of a 139-mph takeoff roll spotted a hawk with a 4-foot wing span on the runway. As the bird flew past the left side of the plane, the crew heard a "very loud bang" and there was engine surge. The pilot aborted the takeoff at great strain to the aircraft's brakes, which caught fire. Fire trucks doused the flames. No one was hurt.
_In May 2008, the pilot of a regional airliner reported that he arrived at his plane to get ready for a flight and found the windshield "covered in blood, guts and feathers from an obvious birdstrike" during a previous flight. When he complained to the airline's maintenance department, he said, he was told the previous flight crew was responsible for reporting the incident or cleaning up the mess themselves. "At no time should an aircraft ever be left with obvious birdstrike debris and no indication that someone has taken the necessary steps to ensure that the aircraft is safe to operate," the pilot's complaint said.
More common than aborted takeoffs are reports of planes that had to circle back to their departure airports or divert to other fields for emergency landings because a bird had damaged an engine shortly after takeoff.
Former NTSB Chairman Jim Hall said the safety board has been warning for decades that birds "are a significant safety problem." The board sent a series of bird-related safety recommendations to the FAA in 1999, including required reporting of birdstrikes by airlines and the development of a radar system that can detect birds near airports.
A decade later, reporting is still voluntary and there is no bird-detecting radar except limited testing at a handful of airports.
FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said developing a reliable bird-detecting radar has proved difficult. Some of the systems tested by the agency picked up insects as well as birds.
"We've been working on this," Brown said, "and haven't developed a system yet we feel we can make operational in a commercial aviation environment that's going to give us the kind of solid, reliable data we're looking for."
Brown said the FAA decided nearly 20 years ago on a voluntary birdstrike reporting system to encourage greater cooperation. She said the agency also agreed not to make airport-specific birdstrike data public because it didn't want to discourage airports from reporting incidents. She said an airport that was diligent about reporting incidents might look like it had a greater bird problem than an airport that wasn't as thorough.
/By JOAN LOWY, Associated Press Writer
Thieves are sending out phony emails and putting up fake Web sites pretending to be banks, mortgage-service providers or even government agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Cellphones and Internet-based phone services have also been used to seek out victims. The object: to drain customer accounts of money or to gain information for identity theft.
Avivah Litan, vice president with Internet-technology research company Gartner Inc., said clients are telling her that cyber-assaults on many banks have doubled in the past six months in the U.S. and other parts of the world, including the U.K., Canada, Mexico and Brazil. Though most are thwarted by computer-security defenses, such as spam filters and fraud-detection systems, that still leaves potentially millions of victims.
"They are all experiencing a lot more attacks, and a lot more ATM fraud" aimed at depositors' accounts, Ms. Litan said.
More than 800 complaints have been logged by the National White Collar Crime Center in Richmond, Va., so far this year from checking-account customers in the U.S. about mysterious, unauthorized transactions of $10 to $40 that appear on monthly statements. Craig Butterworth, a spokesman for the center, a federally funded group that assists police agencies, said investigators suspect a data breach or "phishing" campaign, where deceptive emails and text messages are used to acquire personal information, such as Social Security numbers, user names and passwords. Separately, a "penny" scam of phantom credit- and debit-card charges from 21 cents to 48 cents has generated 300 complaints, Mr. Butterworth said.
The FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center confirms a increase in cyber-attacks. In its most recent Internet Crime Report, the FBI said it received 207,000 complaints about crimes perpetrated over the Internet in 2007, the latest year for which data are available, amounting to nearly $240 million in reported losses, or $40 million more than a year earlier. Organized groups in the U.S. and elsewhere are behind many of the crimes, experts say.
Until recently, most attacks were scattershot, with spam emails blasted randomly to thousands of computer users at once. Now crooks are starting to single out specific targets identified through prior research, a tactic called "spear phishing." In these attacks, emails are sent to the offices of wealthy families or to corporate money managers, for example. They address potential victims by name and company or appear to come from an acquaintance.
In one such attack, hundreds of senior executives across the globe received personally addressed emails in last April, saying they were being subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury by the U.S. District Court in San Diego, according to a federal courts spokesman in Washington, D.C. When users clicked on a link containing the attachment, their computers were infected with malicious software. The case was referred to the FBI, the spokesman said.
Panos Anastassiadis, chief executive of Cyveillance, an Internet security firm in Arlington, Va., that also examined the case, suspects fraudsters were trying to get "first-quarter financial results of publicly traded companies a week before everybody else."
Mr. Antastassiadis himself received an email but didn't open it because he says he knew better. He estimates that almost half of the recipients opened the documents, exposing themselves to the malware. Many also forwarded the bogus messages to their legal departments -- infecting them, too. Mr. Anastassiadis said an organized-crime ring based in Eastern Europe is believed responsible.
The use of cellphone text messages is a fairly new tactic. Earlier this month, customers of Associated Bank, a unit of Associated Banc-Corp, were among the recipients of email and cellphone text alerts warning them that their credit cards had been deactivated. The message directed them to call a telephone number and leave their account information. Customers of Norway Savings Bank in Maine were also among those hit by cellphone text messages about their debit cards shortly before Christmas.
In another case, emails bearing the logo of Franklin Bank of Jacksonville, Texas, which failed on Nov. 7, were circulating throughout Texas in November and December that also sought account numbers, personal-identification numbers and passwords from recipients. Prosperity Bank, which assumed all the deposits of the failed bank, said customers didn't lose any money.
In another new twist, scammers using Internet-based phone service are faking the caller-IDs of banks and other businesses in telephone phishing scams. Because the phone ID bears the name of a real company, victims have been tricked into supplying personal information. Some customers of the Bank of Lancaster County in central Pennsylvania, which became part of the PNC Financial Services Group Inc. in August, were targeted in this type of scam last summer, a PNC spokesman confirmed. Because of federal regulations and bank policy, any customers' money lost would have been reimbursed, he said.
Difficult times are also causing more people to fall prey to job- and business-opportunity scams that have migrated to the Internet from postal mail.
Job Board Scam
A 68-year-old woman in Pennsylvania, who asked that her name not be used because she is still being victimized, said she searched an online job board not long ago and received a "work-at-home" offer by email. The "job" was to cash checks that would be delivered by parcel post. She was to keep 10% of the money and return the rest. Skeptical, she took the first check to her bank, where a clerk promptly declared it a fake and confiscated it. After threatening to report the sender to police, the woman thought she had avoided trouble, but she hadn't. "Suddenly I am getting phone calls from all over the country saying why did you send me these emails and checks? They are using my name and address. I have gotten calls from at least 30 or 35 people from all over the country, from California to Florida to Pennsylvania," she said.
Watching for Grammar
Identity thieves frequently post fake ads on job boards to ensnare victims, and they've become increasingly sophisticated in recent years, says Pam Dixon, executive director of the World Privacy Forum, a nonprofit public-interest research group.
"It used to be you could pick them out by their bad grammar, but now it's much more difficult," she says. "You really have to be careful."
The Pennsylvania woman notified police and also contacted Identity Theft 911, a fraud-resolution company based in Scottsdale, Ariz., for help. The outfit, which provides the ID-theft resolution under contract with insurance companies, employers and credit unions, used credit monitoring and fraud alerts to try to prevent the incident from spiraling out of control.
Brian Lapidus, chief operating officer for the Fraud Solutions division of Kroll Inc., a company that also helps businesses and individuals resolve cases, said his company is fielding a growing number of calls from wary recipients of similar emails pitching too-good-to-be-true jobs, loans and sweepstakes offers. Even when advised of the risks, many respond anyway, Mr. Lapidus says.
"People want to believe that even in this economic climate, the cloud has a silver lining," he said.
by M.P. McQueen
Family: Barack Obama was born to a Kenyan father and a white American mother. His father, Barack Obama Sr., married his mother, Ann Dunham, while studying at the University of Hawaii. The couple separated two years after Obama was born. His father ultimately returned to Kenya, where he became a noted economist. He died in a car accident in 1982.
Obama's mother's second marriage was to an Indonesian man named Lolo Soetoro. The family moved to Indonesia and Obama remained there until he was 10 when he moved back to Hawaii and lived with his grandparents while studying on a scholarship at the elite Punahou Academy.
He has seven half brothers and sisters in Kenya from his father's other marriages, and a half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, from his mother's second marriage.
Career: After finishing college in 1983, Obama worked for a New York financial consultancy and a consumer organization. He landed a job in Chicago in 1985 as an organizer for Developing Communities Project, a church-based group seeking to improve living conditions in poor neighborhoods.
Three years later, Obama left to go to Harvard Law School, where he became the first black president of the law review. He worked as a summer associate at the Sidley Austin law firm in Chicago, where he met his future wife. After graduation from Harvard in 1991, Obama practiced civil rights law at a small firm in Chicago, then became a lecturer in constitutional law at the University of Chicago in 1993.
Elective office: Obama won a seat in the Illinois state Senate in 1996. During his time in the Legislature, he worked on welfare and ethics legislation, as well as a measure requiring electronic recording of police interrogations and confessions in homicide investigations.
Obama won a heavily contested U.S. Senate seat in 2004, carrying 53 percent of the Democratic primary vote in an eight-candidate race. He easily won the general election as well. In the U.S. Senate he compiled a liberal voting record, but was one of the few Democrats to back a measure on class-action lawsuits. He opposed the appointment of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The nonpartisan National Journal ranked him as the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate early this year based on his voting record in 2007. He was ranked 10th most liberal in 2006 and 16th most liberal in 2005.
Presidential campaign: Obama announced his presidential candidacy on Feb. 10, 2007. Though New York Sen.
Hillary Clinton was initially seen as the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, Obama quickly showed an ability to raise large amounts of money and draw record-breaking crowds who were attracted to his rhetorical skill, his opposition to the Iraq war, and his promise to move beyond the divisive politics of the past 40 years.
Obama won the first contest of the Democratic primary in Iowa in January 2008, but did not clinch the nomination until the last states had cast their ballots in June. During the protracted battle with Clinton, Obama had to explain away a disparaging comment about rural voters and distance himself from a former preacher's incendiary remarks. His campaign developed new ways to mobilize voters through the Internet.
Nomination in Denver in August, Obama faced Republican John McCain in the general election. McCain initially led in opinion polls after he picked Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his running mate, but his support eroded amid a souring economy and concern about Palin's qualifications.
In photo: Senator Barak Obama, D-Ill., listens to academy awarding-winning actor George Clooney speaking to the media at the National Press Club in Washignton Thursday, April 27, 2006, to call attention to the critical situation in the Darfur region of Sudan. Obama won 53 percent of the popular vote on Election Day, Nov. 4.
From: Hassan Ali
The site, Measurement Lab, addresses a need among academics who want to gather data on how Internet connections work in practice. While the workings of the core Internet "highways" are well known and standardized, it's difficult to find out what happens on the network of an Internet service provider, between the "highway" and the customer's home.
Internet service providers say they increasingly find it necessary to act as traffic cops on this stretch of the Internet to make sure that heavy users don't slow down their neighbors' connections. But the traffic management systems can have unintended consequences, and ISPs have been secretive about their workings for fear that subscribers will circumvent them. The Federal Communications Commission sanctioned Comcast Corp. last year for secretly stifling one particular form of traffic without telling subscribers.
One of the diagnostic tools on the M-Lab site, created by researchers in Germany, is specifically designed to detect interference of the kind that Comcast employed but has since abandoned.
Another tool is designed to detect whether certain types of traffic are being slowed. Cox Communications, the country's third-largest cable company, said this week it will test a system that temporarily slows some data to let more time-sensitive traffic through. That prompted skepticism from consumer groups that favor "Net Neutrality," which is the principle of equal treatment of Internet traffic.
Google spokesman Dan Martin said M-Lab's tools "could help users understand their connections, and would allow researchers to validate and explore what Cox is doing."
The search engine company will provide 36 servers in 12 locations around the world, and will cover the bandwidth costs. Its partners are the New America Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank, and the PlanetLab Consortium, which runs network experiments for researchers but lacks the capacity for large-scale testing by consumers.
Organic light-emitting diode (OLED) TVs are cool, but it'll be a while before you see them in the sizes we're used to today. In the meantime, here's a list of HDTVs you should be able to find in stores this year. Most have LCD screens, but all of them are drool-worthy.
More from Forbes.com
Sony XEL-1 OLED
While it's true that $2,500 will buy you only 11 inches of OLED on this Sony model, drooling over it won't cost you a dime. At just 3 millimeters wide at its thinnest point (and 5 millimeters at its thickest, we hear), it has a 1 million:1 contrast ratio and is the only mass-produced OLED television available on the market.
These days, a 19-inch LCD HDTV isn't much to write home about. But Westinghouse's PT line delivers 1080p in a portable package. That makes it perfect as a multipurpose device. Drool-worthy monitor, anyone? Look for it in March 2009.
This 32-inch S-series is the latest in Sony's Bravia line, and it inherits the high-definition technology of its higher-end brothers. It supports full 1080p and has a quick 120-hertz frame--pretty darn fast for an entry-level model.
Price: NA (42-inches, $TBD)
Westinghouse announced several new LCD TVs at January's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, but the 42-inch TX-42F450S is not to be overlooked. It has a 120 Hz refresh rate, 1080p resolution and a 5000:1 contrast ratio. Look for it in June or July 2009.
JVC announced a new high-definition LCD TV monitor that targets professional photographers and other digital enthusiasts using high-end digital SLR cameras. The 42-inch LT-42WX70 offers all kinds of obscure color modes, supporting sRGB, and the deeper reds and bluish greens of Adobe RGB. JVC says the TV is capable of reproducing subtle colors, details and textures that appear in pictures but are lost by other devices.
The Sharp LC-46BD80U (shown here in the 52-inch version) touts the first Blu-ray player built into an LCD HDTV. It also has all the niceties of other devices, like 1080p and a 120-Hz frame rate. Look for it in February. It's the one donning a blue-accented frame.
Follow these tips and you will definitely have a much faster and more reliable PC! Most of the below tips works for windows XP.
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From your career and romantic relationships to your health and wealth, Astrology.com has an overview of what this new lunar year has in store!
1900, 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008
2009 Overview »
1901, 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009
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1902, 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998
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1903, 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999
2009 Overview »
1904, 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000
2009 Overview »
1905, 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001
2009 Overview »
1906, 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002
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1907, 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003
2009 Overview »
1908, 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004
2009 Overview »
1909, 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005
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1910, 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006
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1911, 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007
2009 Overview »
Curing a common cold can be really easy if you follow certain steps. It can cause less discomfort, and save you the pain of having to take unnecessary medication that can make you sleepy and slow.
Increase the amount of vitamin C in your diet. This can be done either by incorporating foods containing vitamin C, or simply taking supplements. Oranges and kiwis have abundant vitamin C content, and can be consumed either directly as fruits, or in juice form.
Bell peppers, greens, berries and broccoli are other vegetables that contain vitamin C in them. Mix the juice of lemon with warm water, honey and ginger to help soothe the throat and cure colds faster.
Garlic adds not only an unmistakable flavor to food, but also gives your immunity added strength. It contains nutrients that have strong anti-viral properties, making it a boon in keeping away ailments.
Vegetables that have bright colours are also helpful. Stack up on potatoes, yams, carrots and spinach.Green tea helps you relax and also keeps you healthier with it high antioxidant properties.
Zinc, found in whole grains, lamb, beef, nuts and beans also helps. It can weaken the virus that actually causes colds, and can help lower the intensity of the symptoms you are facing.
Onions work well with foods that have vitamin C in them. They help in killing harmful bacteria in the body and preventing diseases from attacking. They also help in recovering faster.
Plenty of fluids can help in flushing out toxins and help you get better faster. Warm beverages can make the throat feel better and also help relieve clogged noses.
The key is in keeping your spirits high. Feeling low will only make the ailment more severe. Tell yourself you will get better, and see an almost instant difference in the way you feel.