Saturday, August 30, 2008

Friday Fun: Read at Work Helps You Do Just That


Read at Work Helps You Do Just That

Got some downtime at the office but don't feel comfortable pulling out a paperback to get some reading in on-the-job? Web site Read at Work serves up public domain works in PowerPoint-looking chunks. The site boasts a convincing Flash application that runs in fullscreen and looks exactly like a Windows XP installation. (You have to try it to truly appreciate it.) Granted, reading an entire book in this fashion is far from ideal, but if you're desperate, it's a fun—albeit weird—way to get your fix.

Read at Work



Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Syd Barrett's sister shares memories of Pink Floyd visionary -


Syd Barrett's sister shares memories of Pink Floyd visionary

Exclusive by Beth Neil 18/08/2008

Syd Barrett

The original Crazy Diamond is about to shine on even brighter - with an exhibition celebrating the creative genius of rock enigma Syd Barrett.

Titled The City Wakes, it will premiere in the Pink Floyd founder's hometown of Cambridge, before a transfer to London. It will feature artwork, previously unseen photos and letters written by Syd, who died, aged 60, in July 2006.

Ahead of the exhibition - organised by arts and mental health charity Escape Artists - Syd's sister, Rosemary Breen, 60, gives us exclusive access to her family album and shares memories of the brother she called her best friend.

My brother was two people. He was "Roger" when we were children. "Syd", as most people knew him, was a nickname for just a few years.

After that, he was Roger again for the rest of his life. So if I'm talking about the child I knew or the man I looked after, I say "Roger".

The person everybody is interested in, I prefer to call "Syd". It's easier that way.

People have many ideas of what my brother was like. But he didn't have a dark side. He was just lovely and unique, and so attractive.

They say some people walk into a room and you know they are there - he was like that. Things became livelier when he was around. I suppose it's what you call charisma.

My earliest memory of Roger is on a seaside holiday, turning in front of me, looking back at me from between his legs and giggling.

His letters, which will be on display as part of The City Wakes, show just how funny he was. He always had everybody in stitches.

My mother's friends would come to the house just to see him. He was a witty, bright, attractive child with a great presence.

He was always going to be special. He had that sparkle.

He loved children's books and was fascinated by Alice In Wonderland. Fantasy was always more interesting to him than reality.

He hadn't got a lot of time for reality.

People first realised there was something exceptional about him when they saw his childhood paintings. He just had what it took to draw what he saw.

As children we played piano duets together. Roger would play a banjo, a ukulele and later a guitar. But he always considered himself an artist rather than a musician. Music was fun but art was his real love.

He started his first band, Jokers Wild, at 16. Sunday afternoons would see Cambridge chaps and girls coming over for a jamming session. The members of Pink Floyd were just people I knew. Roger Waters was a boy who lived around the corner and Dave Gilmour went to school over the road.

The first time I saw them perform my brother seemed to think it was all a bit of a joke and didn't take it very seriously.

Jazz was his big passion - he admired Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker the most. The psychedelia thing was just his version of it.

The first time I heard Pink Floyd on the radio I was out with a boyfriend and Arnold Layne came on the car radio.

Another time I was on a late shift at the hospital and Top Of The Pops came on. I told a patient: "That's my brother." She said: "No it isn't, dear."

Syd still saw music in a light-hearted way. It was never serious until it all went wrong. Then it was very serious.

Fame was the last thing he wanted. He never needed it because from when he was a child he was surrounded by people who adored him.

I was doing my nurse's training in Tooting, South London, when Pink Floyd took off. That first year they worked so hard, travelling every night and performing - it was a killer. It contributed a lot to his trouble because they were all exhausted, physically and mentally.

People ask me why Syd withdrew and I think it was a combination of too much LSD and a very eccentric, creative brain. If you're very tired and put a load of acid into the mix you've got chaos, an explosion.

It was all very nasty but also inevitable.

He was exhausted and confused about where he was going with Pink Floyd. I think he took drugs in search of an alternative. He probably did have a nervous breakdown, although it was never diagnosed. I think he just mentally collapsed.

After leaving Pink Floyd he lived in Chelsea cloisters, coming home occasionally.

But he was still chaotic. When he came home in 1981, he lived with our mother for a year. She found it a bit much and moved in with my husband and I, leaving Roger in the house He stayed there until he died.

After he came back to Cambridge he was very shy and reclusive because he had withdrawn. If he was in a good mood, he would be funny again. But it would be rare.

He showed no interest in Pink Floyd at all. If anyone called him Syd he wouldn't answer - Syd was Pink Floyd. He wasn't being clever by being reclusive, just being himself. He tried hard to disappear but that made some fans want to know about him even more.

Roger was assessed by quite a few psychiatrists and they always said, yes, he's unusual, but there is no mental illness.

People would ask him to do paintings but if he did anything it was because he wanted to do it. He could never do a commission - performing on stage is like being commissioned and doing what you're told to creatively. He found that very difficult.

He had an obsession with the new, so everything had to be replaced all the time.

I'd say: "You've only had this mattress six months." He'd say: "It's old, it's old," and get rid of it.

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There would be new hi-fis and stereos chucked out on a regular basis.

Having people coming to the door upset him and he'd say to me: "What do they want?"

Some more extreme fans would stalk him. One even wrote to all his neighbours in an effort to get in contact with him. In the end he just disconnected his door bell.

For him, a typical day would consist of getting up late and trundling downstairs for breakfast, which was always bacon and eggs. Then he'd get on his bike and go to Sainsbury's where he would buy a lot of things that he didn't need, especially if they had nice colours or were sparkly. He might even chat with the checkout girls.

He'd have lunch on his lap and in the afternoon we'd go to B&Q where he'd buy endless amounts of plywood, nails and paint. He never watched TV - he had enough going on in his head - but he'd do some gardening.

Roger had an unusual habit of making paintings, taking a picture of them and then destroying the canvas - 30 or so photos of his art will be shown in the exhibition.

I think Roger would have found the idea of a tribute very funny. I can picture him in his armchair, reading the paper and giggling.

I will always remember my brother as a clown who attracted people. In many ways this has never stopped. He was just a magnet and everybody could feel it.

The prospect of The City Wakes exhibition really excites me. I'm looking forward to all his old friends getting together, having a good laugh and a lot of fun while raising money for Escape Artists, who are wonderful.

And it will be great to have Syd there in the background.

The City Wakes runs from October 22 to November 1, more info at:

He didn't have a dark side .. he was just lovely and unique and so attractive

Floyd by numbers

200m Number of albums Pink Floyd have sold.

25 Total number of years Dark Side Of The Moon was in the Billboard top 200 Album Charts.

87 The Wall's position in Rolling Stone magazine's 500 greatest albums of all time. Roger Waters performed the album in Berlin in July 1990 to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall.

40ft The size of the inflatable pig on the cover of their 1977 album, Animals. The helium pig escaped during a photo shoot, flew into flight lanes at Heathrow and later landed at a farm in Kent.

4 Number of Grammy nominations for Pink Floyd.

1996 The year Pink Floyd were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Life and times of a legend

1946 January 6: He is born Roger Keith Barrett in Cambridge, the son of a pathologist.

1964 August: Moves to London to attend Camberwell Art College, joins band The Tea Set with Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Rick Wright. Band is soon renamed The Pink Floyd after bluesmen Pink Anderson and Floyd Council.

1965 September: Syd's first acid trip, in Cambridge.

1966 January: Pink Floyd's debut gig - at the Countdown Club in London's Palace Gate.

1967 June 24: For the band's Top Of The Pops debut, Syd is resplendent in velvet and satin.

August: Syd is the creative force behind debut album The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn

December 22: Syd freezes during Christmas on Earth Revisited show in London's Olympia.

1968 March 2: Band ask him to stop touring and contributing material.

April 6: A statement says Syd has left the band.

1969 December: He releases The Madcap Laughs LP.

1975 June 5: As Floyd record Wish You Were Here LP (including Syd tribute track Shine On You Crazy Diamond) he turns up, bald and fat - they don't recognise him.

1981 After an apparent breakdown Syd walked to his mother's Cambridge semi where he lived as a recluse for the rest of his life.

1992 April: Atlantic Records offer Barrett's family £75,000 for new material. They decline.

2006 July 7: Aged 60, Syd dies from pancreatic cancer and diabetes-related complications.

Syd Barrett's sister shares memories of Pink Floyd visionary -

Early days in the life of Pink Floyd legend - Cambridge News


Early days in the life of Pink Floyd legend

Syd Barrett

NEW pictures of Syd Barrett's childhood in Cambridge have been released for the first time ahead of an exhibition celebrating the life of the Pink Floyd legend.
The photos of the rock enigma will feature at Trinity College on October 22 alongside his artwork and previously unseen photos and letters written by Syd, who died aged, 60, in July 2006.
Entitled The City Wakes, it has been organised by mental health charity Escape Artists as part of a 12-day celebration of his life, including songs and guided tours around sites of historical importance to Floyd fans.
The new pictures - taken from the family album of Syd's sister, Rosemary Breen - detail his childhood at the family home in Hills Road, Cambridge before moving to London, where he formed Pink Floyd with childhood friend Roger Waters.
Rosemary said: "He had enormous presence and he was always going to be something special. People first realised there was something a bit special about him when they saw his paintings as a child. He would do pencil drawings that were just exceptional.
"The members of Pink Floyd were just people I knew. Roger Waters, for example, was a boy who lived around the corner and Dave Gilmour went to school over the road.
"In the years after he came back to Cambridge he could still sometimes be very amusing with me but he could also be very shy and reclusive because he'd withdrawn.

"After returning to Cambridge he showed no interest in Pink Floyd and just tried to put that whole thing away," she said.
In Cambridge Syd preferred to be known by his real name Roger.

Early days in the life of Pink Floyd legend - Cambridge News

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Rush to end Atlantic relationship with new greatest hits package; in negotiations with Rounder Records


Rush has been with Atlantic Records since 1989's Presto and have released a total of 7 studio and 4 live albums under this label. But I'm now hearing that this relationship will finally come to a close with the release of a greatest hits record next year. This will be the first greatest hits package with Atlantic and will cover the band's 20-year history with the label. It will be titled Rush: 1989-2009 and will include some previously unreleased live Atlantic tracks in addition to several studio hits from the last 20 years. The band is currently in negotiations with Rounder Records to release all new music exclusively through their label although nothing has been finalized yet. Rounder is one of the biggest independent record labels in the United States. Some other artists they represent are Bruce Cockburn, George Thorogood and the Destroyers, Alison Krauss, They Might Be Giants, and The Tragically Hip. More details as I learn them.


Neil Peart's recommended reading updated


Bubba's Book Club: ISSUE 10 - August, 2008
NeilPeart has updated the Bubba's Book Club section of his website where he reviews and recommends books that he's been reading. In this - his tenth installment since the launch of his site - Neil reviews the following books: The Colony of Unrequited Dreams, The Custodian of Paradise by Wayne Johnston; The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell; Zen and Now: On the Trail of Robert Pirsig and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Mark Richardson; and A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World by Tony Horwitz. Thanks to Power Windows for the heads up.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Flump Exports Flickr Photos to Your Desktop

Windows/Mac/Linux (Adobe AIR): Free Adobe AIR application Flump downloads all the photos from a user-specified Flickr account to your hard drive. It's a simple one-use application: You provide it with a Flickr ID or username, tell it where to save the photos, and click Start Flump. We've highlighted similar tools before, namely FlickrDown and Flickr AutoDownloadr, but Flump is the only cross-platform offering, and it's also the most no-nonsense app of the bunch—perfect for backing up all your Flickr pics on a new computer. Flump is free, works wherever Adobe AIR does.

Flump [Google Code via Digital Inspiration]

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Mark Chapman Denied Parole - Lennon's Killer Remains In Jail:


Mark Chapman Denied Parole

Lennon's Killer Remains In Jail

Type: General

Date Posted: Wed, 13/08/2008 - 10:18

Artist Links: John Lennon / Plastic Ono Band

Mark David Chapman, the man who murdered John Lennon in cold blood outside of his New York apartment, has been denied parole by a New York court.

This denial is the fifth since 2000 for Chapman, who has served 27 years in prison for the murder. At the time, Chapman was judged to be mentally unstable, and the court heard that the American killed Lennon with "with an essentially clear mind".

This statement lead the court to believe that releasing Chapman would not be in the public's best interests. For many, Chapman remains a hated figure with Lennon's widow Yoko Ono campaigning heavily against his parole.

Mark Chapman will not be granted another parole hearing until 2010, and will remain in New York's Attica Correctional Facility.

Mark Chapman Denied Parole - Lennon's Killer Remains In Jail: Music, Festival and Film News | Clash Music

The Transformed Man: William Shatner

Sunday, August 10, 2008

This Week's Best Posts [Highlights]


If Lifehacker's daily post count's got you scrambling to keep up, subscribe to our less-frequent, cream of the crop top stories feed. Don't want to see Windows downloads, or iPhone posts, or Olympics posts? Here's how to tweak our URLs to exclude topics you're not interested in. This week's most popular posts include:

  • Debunking Common Windows Performance Tweaking Myths
    "As a tech writer, one of my biggest pet peeves is the plethora of bad advice littered across almost every web site dedicated to system tweaking."
  • Top 10 Conversation Hacks
    "A whole lot more than just words passes between people who are talking, so a few simple conversational skills can help you recognize what's really being said and help you lead the discussion your way."
  • Forget the iPhone—The iPod Touch is Good Enough
    "Back in June 2007, I couldn't convince my wife that checking my email in grocery lines was worth $1,320—the cost of an original iPhone and one year of the cheapest plan."
  • Aurora Concept Video Proposes the Future of the Web
    "What will browsing the web be like a decade from now? Leading design and UI company Adaptive Path offers one possible answer in a new concept video series called Aurora."
  • How Dr. Horrible's Felicia Day Gets Things Done
    "Whether she's appearing on a prime time TV show, gracing the silver screen, or writing, producing, and starring in her own hit web series, there's no shortage of things to keep actress and gamer Felicia Day busy."
  • Microsoft's Advice on How to Speed Up Vista
    "If your Vista PC isn't as speedy as you'd like, straight from the horse's mouth comes a 14-page PDF document on Vista Performance and Tuning."
  • Five Best To-Do List Managers
    "If all the methodology of the best GTD applications loses you in the productivity shuffle, there's nothing like a classic, simple to-do list to keep you on track."
  • Philipp Lenssen's Top Google Apps Tips
    "Author of the new O'Reilly book, Google Apps Hacks, Lenssen takes some time out of his busy schedule today to share some of his best tips for using Google Apps from Gmail to web search to Google Docs."

Friday, August 8, 2008

Picture this: The rise of the digital photo frame


One of the top-selling computer products of 2007 wasprepare for a shockthe digital photo frame. Market researchers estimate about 6 million were sold last year, a huge leap from 1.7 million in 2006. They predict sales of 9 million this year.

Why are millions of people flocking to them?

Mainly because they make great presents. The majority of digital frames are purchased as gifts, according to market research firm Parks Associates.

That doesn’t surprise me. My wife and I were among the millions who bought one for this very reason last Christmas. We purchased it as a joint gift with her brother and sister-in-law, who came up with the idea of getting one for my wife’s parents. A photo frame is one of those products you don’t want too badly for yourself, but think your parents or grandparents will love.

I bet the conversation that took place in our home last fall was echoed in millions of others. “Hey, why don’t we get your mom and dad one of those picture frame things that show digital pictures? That way they can look at pictures of their grandkids all the time!” If the exploding sales of digital frames proves anything, it's that there’s no shortage of parents who believe grandma and grandpa will never tire of gazing at a rotating assortment of their kids’ photos.

This may be true, but the frames themselves don’t always live up to expectations.

My father-in-law tried to hide his disappointment on Christmas Day when we hooked up his new 7-inch digital frame next to my 24-inch flat-panel computer monitor. Other than the obvious size difference, the resolution wasn’t even close. His frame had a paltry 480 x 234 display, making photos appear grainy and fuzzy. It was no match for the 1900 x 1200 razor-sharp pixels on my screen.

I later learned my in-laws quietly returned the photo frame we bought them, trading it in for a higher-resolution model that cost twice as much. (Being the techie in the family, I wanted to buy them a more expensive model to begin with, but was outvoted.)

The contrast and brightness of their little frame also left a lot to be desired, demonstrating that it pays to look at a model's specs before you buy. Most digital frames have a contrast ratio of 400:1 or 500:1. Don’t settle for less. As for resolution, forget anything below 640 x 480. High-resolution is especially important if you buy a large frame, say 10-inches or bigger. If the box doesn't specify a resolution, move on. (To sample the variety of models now available, check out all 83 frames sold on

But trust your eyes more than the specs. Find a store that has its floor models turned on and loaded with images so you can judge screen quality before you buy. The price tag will also tell you something. Don’t expect greatness from a $75 frame.

One promising trend: digital frames are getting bigger. One company, PhotoVu, offers three models ranging from 19 to 22 inches. But with prices for larger frames in the $800 to $1000 range, they cost far more than most people (read: I) want to spend. You can buy a same-sized computer display for two to three times less.

Until digital photo frames improve and prices drop, I’m sticking with my 24-inch LCD monitor for showing off family photos at home. I can’t put it in my living room, but no electronic frame can hold a candle to a high-end computer display. <John Swenson>

Fireworks are set off over the National Stadium during the opening ... - Yahoo! News Photos


Georgia says Russian aircraft bombed its air bases - Yahoo! News

AP Photo: In this image, made from television, Russian tanks are moving towards the breakaway South Ossetia...


DZHAVA, Georgia - Russia sent columns of tanks and reportedly bombed Georgian air bases Friday after Georgia launched a major military offensive Friday to retake the breakaway province of South Ossetia, threatening to ignite a broader conflict.


Hundreds of civilians were reported dead in the worst outbreak of hostilities since the province won defacto independence in a war against Georgia that ended in 1992. Witnesses said the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali was devastated.

"I saw bodies lying on the streets, around ruined buildings, in cars," said Lyudmila Ostayeva, 50, who had fled with her family to Dzhava, a village near the border with Russia. "It's impossible to count them now. There is hardly a single building left undamaged."

Georgia says Russian aircraft bombed its air bases - Yahoo! News

Thursday, August 7, 2008

MiniLyrics Automatically Fetches and Displays Lyrics for Your Media Player [Featured Windows Download]


Windows only: The MiniLyrics plug-in automatically downloads and displays lyrics for the currently playing song for a handful of the most popular media players. With support for everything from iTunes and Windows Media Player to Winamp and MediaMonkey, MiniLyrics fetches lyrics and—when possible—plays them back karaoke-style. The interface is completely skinnable, and you're likely to find a skin matching your preferred media player. You can also view floating lyrics in big red text for large, line-by-line playback of lyrics in time with the song. Not bad for a little impromptu karaoke or just a quick glance at the lyrics of a song. MiniLyrics is nagware, Windows only. For alternatives, check out previously mentioned EvilLyrics or the Lyrics Plugin.
Thanks Lekan!


Israel considers military option for Iran nukes - Yahoo! News


Israel considers military option for Iran nukes

By STEVEN GUTKIN, Associated Press Writer Thu Aug 7, 6:27 AM ET

JERUSALEM - Israel is building up its strike capabilities amid growing anxiety over Iran's nuclear ambitions and appears confident that a military attack would cripple Tehran's atomic program, even if it can't destroy it.


Such talk could be more threat than reality. However, Iran's refusal to accept Western conditions is worrying Israel as is the perception that Washington now prefers diplomacy over confrontation with Tehran.

The Jewish state has purchased 90 F-16I fighter planes that can carry enough fuel to reach Iran, and will receive 11 more by the end of next year. It has bought two new Dolphin submarines from Germany reportedly capable of firing nuclear-armed warheads — in addition to the three it already has.

And this summer it carried out air maneuvers in the Mediterranean that touched off an international debate over whether they were a "dress rehearsal" for an imminent attack, a stern warning to Iran or a just a way to get allies to step up the pressure on Tehran to stop building nukes.

According to foreign media reports, Israeli intelligence is active inside Iranian territory. Israel's military censor, who can impose a range of legal sanctions against journalists operating in the country, does not permit publication of details of such information in news reports written from Israel.

The issue of Iran's nuclear program took on new urgency this week after U.S. officials rejected Tehran's response to an incentives package aimed at getting it to stop sensitive nuclear activity — setting the stage for a fourth round of international sanctions against the country.

Israel, itself an undeclared nuclear power, sees an atomic bomb in Iranian hands as a direct threat to its existence.

Israel believes Tehran will have enriched enough uranium for a nuclear bomb by next year or 2010 at the latest. The United States has trimmed its estimate that Iran is several years or as much as a decade away from being able to field a bomb, but has not been precise about a timetable. In general U.S. officials think Iran isn't as close to a bomb as Israel claims, but are concerned that Iran is working faster than anticipated to add centrifuges, the workhorses of uranium enrichment.

"If Israeli, U.S., or European intelligence gets proof that Iran has succeeded in developing nuclear weapons technology, then Israel will respond in a manner reflecting the existential threat posed by such a weapon," said Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz, speaking at a policy forum in Washington last week.

"Israel takes (Iranian President) Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's statements regarding its destruction seriously. Israel cannot risk another Holocaust," Mofaz said.

The Iranian leader has in the past called for Israel's elimination, though his exact remarks have been disputed. Some translators say he called for Israel to be "wiped off the map," while others say a better translation would be "vanish from the pages of time" — implying Israel would disappear on its own rather than be destroyed.

Iran insists its uranium enrichment is meant only for electricity generation, not a bomb — an assertion that most Western nations see as disingenuous.

Israeli policymakers and experts have been debating for quite some time whether it would even be possible for Israel to take out Iran's nuclear program. The mission would be far more complicated than a 1981 Israeli raid that destroyed Iraq's partially built Osirak nuclear reactor, or an Israeli raid last year on what U.S. intelligence officials said was another unfinished nuclear facility in Syria.

In Iran, multiple atomic installations are scattered throughout the country, some underground or bored into mountains — unlike the Iraqi and Syrian installations, which were single aboveground complexes.

Still, the Syria action seemed to indicate that Israel would also be willing to use force preemptively against Iran.

"For Israel this is not a target that cannot be achieved," said Maj. Gen. Aharon Zeevi-Farkash, former head of Israel's army intelligence.

However, it's unlikely Israel would carry out an attack without approval from the United States.

Recent signs that Washington may be moving away from a military option — including a proposal to open a low-level U.S. diplomatic office in Tehran and a recent decision to allow a senior U.S. diplomat to participate alongside Iran in international talks in Geneva — are not sitting very well with Israel.

That may help explain recent visits to Jerusalem by Mike McConnell, the U.S. director of national intelligence, and Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, each of whom delivered a message to Israel that it does not have a green light to attack Iran at this time.

Senior Israeli officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they do not wish to appear at odds with their most important ally, said they were concerned about a possible softening of the U.S. stance toward Iran.

Apparently to allay Israeli concerns, Bush administration officials last week assured visiting Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak that the U.S. has not ruled out the possibility of a military strike on Iran. And the U.S., aware of Israel's high anxiety over Iran's nukes, is also hooking Israel up to an advanced missile detection system known as X-Band to guard against any future attack by Iran, said a senior U.S. defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions over the issue have not been made public.

With sanctions and diplomacy still the international community's preferred method to get Iran to stop building the bomb, an Israeli strike does not appear imminent.

If it did attack, however, Israel would have to contend with upgraded Iranian defense capabilities, including 29 new Tor-M1 surface-to-air missile systems Iran purchased from Russia last year in a $700 million deal.

Russia has so far not gone through with a proposed sale to Iran of S-300 surface-to-air missiles, an even more powerful air defense system than the Tor-M1. An Israeli defense official said the deal is still on the table, however. This is a big source of consternation for Israel because the system could significantly complicate a pre-emptive Israeli assault on Iran.

Military experts say an Israeli strike would require manned aircraft to bombard multiple targets and heavy precision bombs that can blast through underground bunkers — something Israel failed to do in its 2006 war against Hezbollah. It's widely assumed that Israel is seeking to obtain bunker buster bombs, if it hasn't already done so.

Elite ground troops could also be necessary to penetrate the most difficult sites, though Israeli military planners say they see that option as perhaps too risky.

America's ability to take out Iran's nuclear facilities is far superior to Israel's.

Unlike Israel, the United States has cruise missiles that can deliver high-explosive bombs to precise locations and B-2 bombers capable of dropping 85 500-pound bombs in a single run.

Yet the cost of an attack — by the U.S., Israel or both — is likely to be enormous.

Iran could halt oil production and shut down tanker traffic in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, which could send the price of crude skyrocketing and wreck Western economies.

It could stir up trouble for the U.S. in Iraq by revving up Shiite militias there just as Washington is showing some important gains in reining in Iraqi chaos.

It could activate its militant proxies in both Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, from where Israel could come under heavy rocket attack. And it could strike Israel with its arsenal of Shahab-3 long-range missiles — something Israel is hoping to guard against through its Arrow missile defense system.

Perhaps most importantly, any strike on Iran — especially if it's done without having exhausted all diplomatic channels — could have the opposite of the desired effect, "actually increasing the nationalist fervor to build a nuclear weapon," said Meir Javedanfar, an Iranian-born Israeli and expert on Iranian affairs.

Whether an attack on Iran would be worth its cost would depend on how long the nuclear program could be delayed, said Chuck Freilich, a former Israeli deputy national security adviser and now a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School.

"A two, three-year delay is not worth it. For a five to 10-year delay I would say yes," he said.


Associated Press Writers Anne Gearan and Lolita C. Baldor contributed to this report from Washington.

Israel considers military option for Iran nukes - Yahoo! News

Google Search Provides Olympic Event Schedules Inline [Google School]


Find out when events in your favorite sport are going down in a single Google search: Simply enter the event name and "Olympics" into the Google search box to see upcoming dates and times, like tennis Olympics, or diving Olympics.

Google's Olympics Onebox [Google Blogoscoped via Garett Rogers]

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