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Gul bats Pakistan to South African win

Umar Gul emerged as Pakistan’s unlikely batting hero, blasting a 17-ball 32 to give the 2009 champions’ a narrow two-wicket victory over South Africa in a nail-biting World Twenty20 Super Eight match today.

Chasing a 134-run victory target, Pakistan were reeling at 76 for seven in the 15th over when Gul joined Umar Akmal (43 not out) and they added 49 runs off 4.3 overs to turn the group two match on its head.

Number nine batsman Gul blasted three sixes and two boundaries in his entertaining cameo before being dismissed in the 19th over. Akmal batted till the end as Pakistan scampered home with two balls to spare.

“I knew he can hit the ball hard. He showed character today,” Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez said of man-of-the-match Gul in the post-match presentation ceremony.

“Even if it’s not with his bowling, he can still contribute for the team. It’s a very good sign for us.”

Pakistan needed nine runs off the last over sent down by Morne Morkel and Akmal hit a six off the second delivery, a full toss, before taking a single.

Saeed Ajmal edged the fourth delivery to third man boundary to score the winning run.
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“The bowlers did a great job and we restricted South Africa to a total we can chase. South Africa played well and anybody could have won it but in the end, Pakistan was lucky to get this,” Hafeez said.

It capped a stunning comeback by Pakistan who lost their top three batsmen in a span of seven balls.

Dale Steyn (3-22) drew first blood removing Imran Nazir (14) before left-arm spinner Robin Peterson dismissed Hafeez (15) and the scoreless Nasir Jamshed in his first over to peg them back.

South African bowlers maintained the pressure and were rewarded with wickets until Gul and Akmal mounted a spectacular counter-attack.

“Unfortunately we lost the momentum in the last five overs,” South Africa skipper AB de Villiers rued.

“I’m proud of the way we fought back into the game, especially after the bad start. We will be back fighting in the next two games for sure,” he said.

Earlier opting to bat first, South Africa overcame a top order crisis to post 133 for six wickets, a total built largely around J.P. Duminy’s 38-ball 48 that included two sixes and as many boundaries.

The Proteas struggled against Pakistan’s four-pronged spin attack and were 66 for four wickets in the 13th over before Duminy and captain AB de Villiers (25) scored some brisk runs to help them to a below-par total on a slow track at the R. Premadasa Stadium.

Apple vs. Samsung: Will Galaxy Tab 10.1 ban be lifted?

A U.S. appeals court ruled on Friday that a lower court should reconsider a sales ban against Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 won by Apple in a patent dispute with the South Korean electronics maker.

The injunction was put in place ahead of a month-long trial that pitted iPhone maker Apple Inc against Samsung Electronics Co Ltd in a closely watched legal battle that ended with a resounding victory for Apple last month on many of its patent violation claims.

However, the jury found that Samsung had not violated the patent that was the basis for the tablet injunction and Samsung argued the sales ban should be lifted. U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh said she could not act because Samsung had already appealed.

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In its ruling on Friday, the Federal U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington said Koh could now consider the issue.

The decision comes just a month before the South Korean corporation is expected to unveil the second generation of one of its most successful devices, the stylus-equipped Note.

The Galaxy 10.1 is an older model, but the ban still hurts Samsung in the run-up to the pivotal holiday shopping season.

The world’s top two smartphone makers are locked in patent disputes in 10 countries as they vie to dominate the lucrative market, which is growing rapidly.

A U.S. jury found during the just-concluded trial that Samsung had copied critical features of the iPhone and iPad and awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages.

Tim Cook ‘did not have to write’ Apple’s apology, argues analyst

Apple CEO Tim Cook’s apology earlier today was unnecessary, a Wall Street analyst said.

“Despite the chorus of negative media coverage around the new Apple maps, Tim Cook did not have to write this letter and bring even more attention to this issue,” Brian White of Topeka Capital Markets, said in a note to clients Friday.

“However, we believe he made the right decision to protect and further enhance Apple’s brand in the long run,” White added.

White’s take was at odds with most analysts and public relations experts, who as they applauded the mea culpa, said it was necessary to stem the rising tide of complaints and negative press.
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Calling Cook’s open letter “refreshing and stunning,” Jonathan Rick, a public relations professional who operates a Washington, D.C.-based digital communications consultancy, said the missive met several important goals.

“He acknowledges the problem upfront and doesn’t make excuses,” said Rick in a email Friday that expanded on previous comments. “He apologizes directly and without qualification. And he takes the unprecedented step to name and promote competitors (not one, not two, but four of them).”

Earlier today, Cook issued a statement — and Apple promoted it on its website’s home page — that apologized for the mapping misstep.

“We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better,” Cook wrote. He promised that Apple’s Maps app will improve over time, and in the interim urged customers to try alternatives, including Microsoft’s Bing app and Google’s Maps, which can be accessed through the iPhone’s built-in Safari browser.

John Gruber, who writes the Daring Fireball blog, and is one of Apple’s most vocal supporters, called the letter “humble and honest,” but nothing more.

White, on the other hand, argued that although the apology wasn’t needed, it will benefit Apple in the long run.
Hoover Dam bypass
The Hoover Dam bypass bridge south of the dam appears to have melted in this 3D view of the area in Apple’s new Maps app.

“Longer term, we believe this apology will help Apple further its brand of trust with customers, and it is only a matter of time before the company delivers a great map experience,” White wrote.

Rick agreed, but put it very differently.

“Apple customers are savvy and forgiving,” Rick said. “They realize that mapping the world is long-term drudgery, and as we saw with Siri and Lightning, neither half-baked products nor gouging will dampen their fervor.”

By “gouging,” Rick was referring to complaints that Apple has not included an adapter for the new “Lightning” connector on the iPhone 5 with each new smartphone. Instead, Apple will charge customers $19 to $39 for various Lightning adapters and cables.

White also went further than most in characterizing Apple’s move.

50 Years after Silent Spring, Chemical Industry Still Trying to Deny Science

Fifty years ago, Rachel Carson helped launch the modern environmental movement with the publication of Silent Spring. She was a woman ahead of her time who saw before others the urgent need to rid our nation, our bodies, and our ecosystems of toxic chemicals.

When she first raised the alarm, Carson was vilified by the chemical industry and the Agricultural Department and called “hysterical and unqualified.” Her information was described as “oversimplified” and “filled with downright errors and scary generalization.”

Thanks to Carson’s fortitude and people’s outrage, the truth prevailed, and Congress finally banned DDT. Yet five decades later, industry-funded attacks on science continue unabated.

Rachel Louise Carson (1907-1964)

Just this spring, the Chicago Tribune exposed the joint efforts by the tobacco industry and chemical industry to drown out scientific evidence linking flame retardants to cancer, developmental delays, and fertility problems. Tobacco companies and chemical manufacturers flooded the field with industry-sponsored studies and publicized grossly misleading conclusions. They even hired a burn doctor who repeatedly lied during testimony, literally fabricating stories of small babies dying from fires.

Carson would recognize these anti-science tactics, especially those reaching all the way to Congress. Last year, the National Toxicology Program released the latest addition of the Report on Carcinogens, a congressionally mandated, science-based report identifying chemicals and substances that could increase the risk of cancer. The report listed formaldehyde as a carcinogen and styrene—a component in plastics as “reasonably anticipated” to cause cancer.

The report unleashed a wave of industry backlash. Chemical companies said the findings and methodology were flawed. The styrene industry is suing the Department of Health and Human Services. The industry is working with House Republicans to defund the report until the National Academy of Sciences can review the formaldehyde and styrene findings. And the American Chemistry Council wants to suspend the Report on Carcinogens entirely.

People respect and rely on the Report on Carcinogens. It is the government’s only document focused entirely on which substances cause cancer in humans, and independent scientists, health groups, workers, veterans, and businesses depend on its findings. Having the chemical industry shut it down is the equivalent of the tobacco industry calling a “suspension” of the surgeon general’s report on the health risks of smoking.

One way to combat industry’s anti-science campaigns is to have strong national toxics law. Unfortunately, the Toxic Substances Control Act passed in 1976 isn’t up to the job. When the law was passed, 62,000 chemicals were grandfathered in without testing. And rather than calling on chemical manufacturers to prove the safety of their products before use, TSCA requires the Environmental Protection Agency to prove that a chemical is unsafe before it can be restricted. In more than 30 years, the EPA has required testing of about 200 chemicals and partially regulated five.

We need a comprehensive reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act in order to put scientific evidence—and not chemical industry influence—at the heart of America’s safeguards against toxics.

A stronger version of the Toxic Substances Control Act would require all chemicals to be tested for safety and put the burden of proof on the chemical industry to demonstrate that a chemical is safe. It would establish safety standards for chemicals using the latest scientific knowledge to protect children and other vulnerable or over-exposed sub-populations. And it would promote innovation and transition to safer alternatives, including less dangerous chemicals and non-chemical alternatives.

Many lawmakers are committed to safeguarding our families from hazardous chemicals, yet in order to push back against industry influence, they need to know the American people are behind them. Click here to urge your senators to co-sponsor the Safe Chemicals Act.

Now more than ever, we must follow Carson’s example: listen to the research, raise our voices, and hold companies and politicians accountable.

Your opinion required…….

iPhone 5 is Good, But Not Worth the Hype

Don’t get me wrong. Apple’s iPhone 5 is an improvement over its predecessor. It’s thinner, taller and lighter (all the things I want to be), it has a bigger screen, a faster processor and it can use the cellular carriers’ faster LTE networks. But, at the end of the day, it’s just a phone and mostly an incremental improvement over the iPhone 4s.

Yes, it does feel good in your hand and yes it’s lighter, but I don’t recall too many people complaining about the weight and bulk of the old iPhone. My 4s fits nicely into my pocket and even though it weighs just under an ounce more than the iPhone 5, it’s hardly what I’d call a heavyweight.

As far as I can tell, the only significant feature upgrades are the larger screen and the ability use LTE networks. The phone is a little faster, but the iPhone 4s is still plenty fast. LTE does download apps and load websites faster, but even this needs to be put into perspective. First, it’s only an advantage if you’re not on a WiFi network (I download most of my apps when I’m connected to my home network) and even if you do have to download something at 3G speeds, its still pretty quick. As for web surfing — remember you’re looking at a small cell phone screen so you’re not generally loading a lot of data when you hit websites. It will make a big difference when streaming video but unless you have an unlimited data plan, you may wind up having to avoid that little pleasure anyway.

As for the larger screen — I agree it’s an improvement. But somehow I managed to love my old iPhone with its smaller screen and though I like the new screen better, it’s not a major game changer.

In my side-by-side comparisons between a iPhone 5 using Verizon’s LTE network and an iPhone 4s on Sprint’s 3G network, I did notice a difference loading websites, but it wasn’t earth shaking.

You can “upgrade” your old iPhone with iOS 6

The main thing I like about the iPhone 5 is the iOS 6 operating system, but you don’t need a new phone to get it. And if you have an iPhone 4s, you can also use the enhanced version of Siri who got a lot smarter with the upgrade. Despite all the criticism of the new map app, I still prefer it to the one it replaces because of the turn-by-turn directions.

Can’t put a price on the cool factor

Having said this, I’m not suggesting that people shouldn’t upgrade. It’s hard to put a price on style and on the feeling one gets from having what many people consider the coolest phone on the planet. I visited an Apple store on the morning the phone became available and couldn’t help notice the excitement and the smiles on people’s faces as they left with their new phones. Think about the thousands of extra dollars people pay to get a cooler or more stylish car. Chances are more people will see you with your phone than with your car, so I can understand why some people would consider a cool new phone is a fashion statement that’s worth spending money on.

Getting your phone cheap(er), even if you’re under contract

If you’re under contract, ask the carrier what it would cost to buy out the contract or just add another line of service. If the contract is expiring in a few months, it may be cheaper to just pay for a minimum line of service or pay the buyout (if it’s available) rather than pay $650 or more for an subsidized phone.

And regardless of whether you get the contract rate or pay full price, considering selling your old one.

Gazelle.com is paying $240 for an iPhone 4s in good condition, which is $41 more than the cost of a subsidized iPhone 5. If you buy a new iPhone from Sprint they’ll buy back your iPhone 4s for $235. Trouble is, if you bought a 4s it’s probably still under contract. Sprint is paying $125 for an 8 GB iPhone 4 and Gazelle is paying $145 for a 16 GB iPhone 4 which means that it you can get the $199 upgrade price, your out of pocket could be as little as $54.

Researchers create single-atom silicon-based quantum computer

A team of Australian engineers is claiming it has made the first working quantum bit (qubit) fashioned out of a single phosphorous atom, embedded on a conventional silicon chip.null

This breakthrough stems all the way back to 1998, when Bruce Kane — then a University of New South Wales (UNSW) professor — published a research paper on the possibility of phosphorous atoms, suspended in ultra-pure silicon, being used as qubits. For 14 years, UNSW has been working on the approach — and today, it has finally turned theory into practice.

To create this quantum computer chip, the Australian engineers created a silicon transistor so small that “electrons have to travel along it one after the other.” A single phosphorous atom is then implanted into the silicon substrate, right next to the transistor. The transistor only allows electricity to flow through it if one electron from the phosphorus atom jumps to an “island” in the middle of the transistor. This is the key point: by controlling the phosphorus’s electrons, the engineers can control the flow of electricity across the transistor.

At this point, I would strongly recommend that you watch this excellent video that walks you through UNSW’s landmark discovery — but if you can’t watch it, just carry on reading.

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