October 2009 - Posts

 

Zombies Vs. Pirates 2009, or ZP2K9, is a badass sidescroller game that's available under the Indie section of the Xbox Live Marketplace for about $3. I downloaded it while trying to spend some extra Microsoft Points after I picked up another Ska game, "I MA3D A GAM3 W1TH ZOMBIES IN 1T."

ZP2K9 is a 2D platform-scrolling shooter in which you run around as either a human or a zombie, pick up guns, and blast bitches into the dark ages.

 There are several different game modes including deathmatch, team deathmatch, king of the hill, and capture the flag. You can play all of these game types either with bots or on Xbox Live. Its pretty cool because you can start a game with bots and allow real players to join in so you don't have to just sit there and wait for real people. There really aren't that many people that play online but if you have patience and wait a little while you can get a full game going. You can edit what other players see you as by customizing your avatar. You can choose your race, zombie or human, and then select out of 7 different skins. Most of them are pretty stupid but there's a viking and a ninja that are pretty cool.

I've really only been playing the free-for-all deathmatch since that seems to be what most people play, so that's the only thing I'm going to talk about. You're dropped in an invulnerable state that lasts for about 3 seconds into a 2D world in which there are crates and floating guns scattered all around. The crates contain suits that give you special abilities. There are 9 suits: the phoenix suit which makes you impervious to fire and grants you an extra life (you are reborn out of fire when you die), hedgehog suit that makes the player deal double damage, cat suit which allows the player to run faster and jump higher, the cyborg suit that allows for faster firing and reloading, skunk suit that poisons anyone that comes near, tesla suit that makes you really sparkly and shoots electricity along with your gun, bat suit that lets the player drain health and grants invisibility when the player is upside down on the ceiling, chameleon suit that gives invisibility as long as the player is not moving, and the bee suit that allows the player to fly. The floating weapons can be picked up by just running through them. There are 13 different weapons: the pistol you start with, the grenade launcher, rocket launcher, fire pistol, ice gun, shrink ray, SMG, assault rifle, electricity ball shooter thing, flame thrower, machine gun, kitana blade, and last but not least, some badass sword that looks like Cloud's sword from Final Fantasy. An Inventory of your weapons is available on the bottom left of the screen on a small D-Pad icon. This is to show you which direction you should press to select the proper gun from your 4 slot inventory. You can switch out guns if your inventory is full by pressing Y (you can do the same thing for suits).

The game is a two stick shooter, but it isn't from the overhead view that is typical with these games, so it will require you to occasionally tap the A button to jump and the left trigger to sprint or roll. You run around with the left stick and aim with the right. What I like about the game is the fluidity of movement. You can run on all of the walls and the ceiling so once you get the movement down a lot of possibilities are left to be explored.

There are a couple of different weapon combinations that are a little unbalanced, but for the most part the game is pretty much equal opportunity from the spawn. The hedgehog suit and either of the swords together makes you a one hit killing machine. The bat suit or chameleon suit with the shrink ray allows you to wait in stealth and then just shrink and step on the opponents as the walk by. The bee suit and the rocket launcher allows you to fly up in the air and rain explosives on the opponents. There are a bunch of different effective combinations that can be made.

The goal is to kill as many people is necessary to reach the score limit. The score limit on the standard deathmatch is only 10 by default, but when you create the game you can set the score limit as high as 100 frags. When you create the game you can have up to 5 bots to play with while you wait for real humans to join your game. One kind of annoying thing is that whenever a human player enters the game you are automatically respawned. This has happened to me, snatching my potential for mass murder on a cluster of scrubs right out of my hands.

The bots are relatively intelligent, but definitely not like the people you will meet on XBox Live. There is a lot of strategy to this game, and a few different places and weapons can be exploited a little bit.

All in all the game DOES get a little bit repetitive, but I'd have to say its a steal for $3 bucks. Get on there and see if Smokescreen420u is on, he'll school you real quick.

Posted Monday, October 26, 2009 3:55 PM by cstanton | with no comments
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The revolutionary new multi-touch computer, the Microsoft Surface, has a lot of cool capabilities. It allows quick and easy navigation using a series of touches or combinations of touches to zoom, scroll, and select. It also has a smart surface that can detect other digital devices such as cell phones and cameras, and with some devices it can even transfer files through the surface and allows you to view and edit them on the touchscreen. That's all great, but that's not really what this is about at all. What this is about is SurfaceScape, a touchscreen software development company, putting the best old-school tabletop game, Dungeons and Dragons, on the Microsoft Surface. They've got nearly everything down but really can't get the fluidity of the original game because you are limited to the list of commands given by the software, thus giving the Dungeon Master, or story telling game leader, an inability to improvise. I'm not a real big table-top gamer, and to be honest the last nerd game I played was Magic... 7 or 8 years ago, so I can appreciate this cool technology without knowing enough to complain about how its going to take away from the original game. Check it out!

 

Posted Monday, October 26, 2009 2:59 PM by cstanton | with no comments
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Hit-and-run is the crime of colliding with a person, their personal property (including their motor vehicle), or a fixture, and failing to stop and identify oneself afterwards.

Some hit-and-runs are terrible and leave people hurt and some are just hilarious. Here are a few of the latter.


"The brake's on the right... right?..... oops, i guess not. I didn't want to park here anyway..."


"Ohhhhh man that was a car, maybe i can back up and just parallel park right... ooohhhh that was a pole, okay maybe i'll just pull forward just a... oohh kayy just ran over my bumper... OH SHIT THOSE PEOPLE LOOK PISSED.. that guy in Transporter made this look way easier."


What a badass! "I'll make it fit.."


I have no words.

Posted Monday, October 26, 2009 1:09 PM by cstanton | with no comments
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A small man, a humble man, Simo Häyhä would definitey pick up the award for the most badass ruthless killing machine if there was one. 

 

Simo Häyhä lived in a small town near the border of Finland and Russia. He began his military service in 1925, and was living life peacefully until the damn Russians decided that they wanted to test Finland's gangster by marching in a bunch of red star wearing communist pawns. Finand's army called Simo Häyhä into service as a sniper, to which he kindly obliged. He went and snagged his Mosin-Nagant M28/30 out of his house, that was apparently filled with marksmanship trophies because the man was a beast with a gun. He dressed out in all white, went out into the woods, waited patiently for some communist douchers to stumble their vodka'd up asses into his sites, then BOOM HEADSHOT! The guy killed EVERYONE and everything that wandered into his killzone, recording 25 kills in ONE DAY. One fucking day and he goes ahead and matches my kill streak on Call of Duty 4 and I've been playing that game for a quick minute. Well anyway, he goes around killing Russians and making a name for himself. He was honored by the Finnish Army for killing so many Russians, so they gave him a custom Sako M28/30 to replace his Mosin-Nagant.


Simo Häyhä was so hardcore that he would lay on the ground in -20 to -40 degree Celsius temperatures, mouth full of snow, blasting pinkos in the head through his iron sights. YES IRON SIGHTS. Later in his duties the Russians caught on to Simo Häyhä and started sending other snipers after him. The glare off of their telescopic sights would give them away and Häyhä would blast them in the dome. He didn't want to subject himself to this, so he just used iron sights, which allowed him to present a smaller target because he didn't have to lift his head or worry about the sun glare. He was so undetectable in his camouflage that the Russians called in a couple of air strikes. What pussies.

 

During his entire killstreak of 100 days, he was credited with 505 confirmed sniper kills, 542 if you count the unconfirmed, and credited 200 kills with a Suomi KP/-31 submachine gun, bringing his total kills to at least 705! Only person I can think of that got more kills was the guy that pressed the button over Hiroshima.

On March 6th, 1940, one lucky son of a bitch commie was able to put an explosive round into Hayha's right cheek. A couple of his chronies were able to drag him off the battlefield, reporting that "half his head was missing." Even the tough get hurt sometimes, so he just decided to take a 7 day hiatus, in the form of a coma. He awoke on March 13th, the day that peace was declared, and shortly after the war was over, Field Marshal Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim promoted him from a corporal to a second lieutenant, which is totally badass because its the fastest anyone's ever been promoted in the Finnish military, because they weren't... and probably still aren't all corrupted yet.

The man doesn't stop there. Killing a record breaking amount of people as a sniper with an iron sight and then getting shot in the face wasn't quite enough, Hayha went on to be a dogbreeder and moosehunter in his later years. This man is truely badass. There's absolutely no denying that he would beat anyone's ass who would take the time to read this.

Posted Wednesday, October 21, 2009 5:20 PM by cstanton | with no comments
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So with all of the ruckus about the Balloon Boy hoax, which I feel stupid for not writing about, there was of course a lot of media around to cover it. The people of the media seem to have some amplified sense of belonging in areas where there is something to report, even if that means that they are going to act like arrogant douchebags and run in front of your car because they've already claimed the street that you live on.

Associated Press is circulating a great video of a little sideline action at the Balloon Boy house. On Sunday afternoon, an unnamed guy, a neighbor of the Heene's, the Balloon Boy family, is just trying to get to his house on the news-truck-lined street he calls home, when a reporter or cameraman or whatever-he-is runs out in front of his truck. Immediately there is a confrontation and the man gets out of truck and calls the police, complaining about the media people. When the man gets back in the truck and tries to drive off, another guy gets in the way of his car. At this point, the guy hops out of the truck and wants to fight. Its really hard to tell who the bigger jerk is, though, the guy in the truck kind of leaves you with the macho douchebag impression and it kind of takes from the obvious annoyance that having a million news trucks on his street must have caused. What's so great is that only one of the news reporters does anything, and look where it ends up getting him. Its also really funny to watch the actions of his brave reporter buddies.

Posted Wednesday, October 21, 2009 3:37 PM by cstanton | with no comments
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 A heterosexual couple in Italy is suing Grimaldi Cruise Lines for booking them on the company's first gay cruise without telling them.
They claimed to have boarded the ship and recognized a few people that they had known before realizing that the vast majority of the ship's occupants were homosexual.

According to the couple, who's names are not given, they booked the cruise using loyalty points from their local grocery store. I guess their grocery store was on the funny side of town. For suing the cruise lines, people are saying that this couple is homophobic or anti-gay. Those accusations are completely ridiculous. I don't consider myself homophobic but I would definitely be upset if I wound up on a boat filled with homosexuals participating in homosexual events. I mean its cool that they have homosexual cruises like that... But its cool that they have them for homosexual people. When you're specifically trying to please one crowd, it should be clearly stated which crowd it is that you are targeting. I would be pissed if I were on a vegan cruise, A My Chemical Romance cruise, or a Dungeons and Dragons cruise... I would totally sue them.

Problem is, they are claiming ignorance of the point that it was a "gay cruise." Here is a clipping from the program....

 

I don't know if they can really claim ignorance if they saw that first... I mean there's a she-male and a couple of obviously gay people on there and it may be hard to deny that they knew what they were getting themselves into.

Lawyer Antonio Francesconi wrote a letter to Grimaldi Lines telling them that he was taking them to court and asking for £2800 in compensation. He said: "I have not yet received a response. It is not a question of discrimination but one of lost satisfaction because no-one had told them their holiday was at the same time as the gay cruise.When they booked the cruise, directly with the company, no-one told them it was also hosting the Revuelta [super huge gay] event. They arrived at the port and saw the ship surrounded by the media. They thought it was because someone famous was on board but it was in fact due to the event - the 1,500 passengers were all gay and there were numerous gay events during the three days."

Alessio De Giorgio, a cruise organizer, said "This is a clear case of homophobia. Nothing scandalous happened. It's a clear example of how prevalent homophobia is in this country."

I think that its pretty funny that he can't see, that even if the couple were comfortable with gay people being gay, that they may be just a little bit uncomfortable around 1,500 homosexuals on a boat, half naked, with cruise ship amounts of alcohol flowing through their veins.

I don't consider myself homophobic, though I do make fun of gay people sometimes (I mean, I make fun of pretty much anything that has a soft spot). I have a couple of gay friends, but I've also had some bad experiences with gay drunk guys... the likes of which you may find on an all-gay cruise ship. I could not imagine wanting to pay full price for a cruise with 1,500 gay men as opposed to a cruise with predominantly heterosexual people like myself. Its not that I'm against equality, its that if they're making it a point for it to be a GAY CRUISE then it should be a GAY CRUISE. Now, if there is no sexuality tagged with the cruise, then anyone should be allowed on and everyone should be made to pay full price. If the couple had gone on a cruise and everyone on it happened to be gay, so be it. That's clearly not what happened here though, and so they should either get their money back or they should be comped for another cruise or something.

Anyway, I really don't know how they'll do in court, but I hope they win! The cruise line should have made it very straightforward what they were trying to do with this specific cruise.

via DailyMail

Posted Monday, October 19, 2009 5:14 PM by cstanton | with no comments
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Looking at this picture you may think that this man's arm is a genetic mutation or a deformity, but really this is Matthias Schlitte, professional arm wrestler.
Schlitte has turned himself into a lopsided Popeye the sailor man by training only one side of his body for wrestling so that he can compete in lighter weight classes. His right forearm measures nearly 18" around!

Schlitte said that when he first got into the sport, he was 16. He went to a bar, and they were having an arm wrestling competition. At the time he only weighed about 65 kg, about 145 pounds. He competed in the competition where the weight limit was 90 kg. "At first, older and more experienced fighters smiled at me for being so light-weighted, but after winning the contest the opinions changed immediately," said Schlitte.

After gaining the recognition from Bill Frank, the vice-world-champion and coach of VfL Wolfsburg, he was invited to a practice and was quickly accepted onto the team. In 2004, shortly after being accepted by the team, he participated in his first professional event, the 17, and proceeded through the event with zero losses in the -70kg youth class, giving him his first championship.

Since then, he has competed in 23 tournaments, where he placed first in 12 of them. These first place triumphs included the international Over The Top competition and the Arm Wars "Iron Curtain" event.

 Here's a video clip of him beating fellow arm wrestler Daniel Balzer at the First Gameday Competition of the Armwrestling National League. 

Posted Monday, October 19, 2009 11:16 AM by cstanton | 1 comment(s)
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I am really not sure whether or not I agree with it, but I'm sure you know that President Obama was notified last week on friday that he had won the Nobel Peace Prize. 

Each year, the Nobel Foundation chooses select nominees to win the Nobel Peace Prize for medicine, chemistry, physics, literature, economics, and peace. 

Medicine - the winners found out how chromosomes were protected

Chemistry - the winners discovered the structure of the Ribosome.

Physics - the fathers of fiberoptics and digital imaging were finally awarded

PEACE -  given to Obama for "his extraordinary efforts to improve international diplomacy and cooperation between people

This is just so debateable, and really it has nothing to do with me, nor do I have much to say about it.

Personally, I do not really know who the actual peace prize should go to. I don't have any numbers or anything, but I do feel like the US probably has more deployed troops than any other nation in the world and the winner is supposed to "do the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses."

Now, we obviously haven't been abolishing or greatly reducing the amount of standing armies, and Obama is not directly responsible for any extra peace congresses.. but who do you give the prize to?

It seems as if the Nobel Foundation just got a little confused and wanted to pick a figurehead to keep their prize viewed as a prize of paramount prestige. It really just makes it look like kind of a joke.

What's totally whack about the whole thing is that these two academics, Elinor Ostrom and Oliver E. Williamson, who study economic transactions outside of the market, in the commons and the boundaries within the firm respectively,  ran away with the prize that Obama was WAY more qualified for. Lets think for a minute.. $787 billion stimulus package, cap-and-trade bill, General Motors and Chrysler seizure, health-care reform..

The real prize that this man deserved, if any, would be the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. There has been talk of him denying the prize for peace as a statement against the Nobel Foundation for not acrediting him the prize for the work that he feels is more deserving and acknowledgeable.

Here's a clip from the Daily Show on the topic that I thought was pretty funny.

 

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Super Prize Me
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorRon Paul Interview

 

Posted Thursday, October 15, 2009 2:10 PM by cstanton | with no comments
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As post 9/11 security has slowed up the process of getting through to the terminals, airports have been trying to make the process easier, faster, and with as little human contact as possible.

Manchester Airport has installed a machine at Terminal 2 that makes the "pat down" and the removal of clothing obsolete, but has not been able to quietly replace the age old method of airline security.

 

The machine, the Rapiscan Secure 1000, uses high energy x-rays and Compton Scattering to produce an image. When the beam hits anything organic, it "scatters back" towards the machine. It is very similar to the machine that the airline checks your luggage with, but now people are subjected to the same kind of search.

The machines captures "nude" images of the people that stand in the detection zone. This has caused quite a ruckus with people worried about their physical and electronic privacy.

Though Sarah Bennet, the head of customer service at Manchester Airport, assures us that "the images are not erotic or pornographic and can not be stored or captured in any way," many people still feel like they're being intruded upon. "Maybe if I was 18, slim and lovely, I'd take it, but its a bit too personal," said one passenger to BBC.

 

These images show the way that weapons and drugs are detected using the backscatter technology. 

Its easy to agree that they aren't pornographic, and unless the subject is feeling frisky its easy to say that they're not erotic, but there is no way that it would be impossible to capture or save the images taken by the machine since there are images that are taken by the machine on this page.

As to the safety of the machine, the radiation levels are extremely low. To put it in perspective, a CAT scan will put out 1,000,000 microRem and during a regular flight a passenger will be exposed to 500 microRem per hour. The Rapiscan Secure 1000 only emits 10 microRem per exam.

On June 4th, 2009, Congress approved a bill limiting the use of whole body imaging as the primary screening of aircraft passengers. The bill requires that passengers be notified about the use and operation of the technology and will be offered a traditional "pat down" instead of going through the scanner.

 In June of 2009 the Transportation Security Administration announced that backscatter x-rays would replace traditional metal detectors as a primary form of weapon detection. The Privacy Coalition wrote a letter stating that "the devices are designed to capture, record, and store detailed images of individuals undressed" and said that "If the public understood this, they would be outraged by the use of these devices by the US government on US citizens." They asked for suspension of the use of whole body imaging pending an investigation.

Aside from the embarrassment from having some operator that sits in a room with no windows, completely and totally separated from the machine, that the passenger never sees, the machine seems like it is a great alternative to the metal detector and "pat down." Its easier in the way that non-metal weapons can be detected on the person, intrusive "pat downs" are eliminated, and the passenger doesn't have to remove their shoes or their belt.

The option should remain open to keep things traditional, but the new technology will hopefully speed up the lines. 

 

Posted Wednesday, October 14, 2009 11:42 AM by cstanton | with no comments
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 I found this really cool widget called "inudge" today on the Hobnox site and thought I would share it.

Inudge is a flash program that allows you to make and share a short clip of music.

 

This is one I made when I was messing around with it.

The inudge tone matrix features 8 different instruments and a 16 step matrix as your drawing board.

Each instrument's volume and balance can be tweaked, as well as the tempo of the composition as a whole.

Its pretty cool how many different kinds of short beats you can make with it. 

It was put together by Hobnox, which is a really cool online entertainment website with online TV and browser based tools to create music.

They have a couple of different pretty awesome music tools including Electro and Drum and Bass. I haven't gotten the chance to mess with them all that much, but it seems like they really put a lot of time and effort into creating these flash applications. 

Posted Wednesday, October 7, 2009 10:44 AM by cstanton | with no comments
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 This technology blew my mind. PhotoSketch is a program that allows users to create images, using a sketch pad and text labels, that are compiled from images that are found on the internet. Once the sketch has been drawn and all elements, including the background, have been text labeled, PhotoSketch searches for matches for the labeled items.

PhotoSketch: Internet Image Montage on Vimeo.

The filtering system is what's really impressive. First, the salient region filter detects the general space that the scene item takes up in its original picture. The grab-cut algorithm is then used to cut the scene item from its image. The contour filter is then applied to remove all of the scene items that do not match the shape of the sketch drawn by the user. Last, the content filter is applied. The content filter uses feature space clustering and color matching to eliminate unsuitable matches.

Once the program has finished filtering, it produces several final images for the user to choose from. The program of course has its querks, but it works well enough!

They took down their site, but hopefully it will be back up soon!

Posted Tuesday, October 6, 2009 10:29 AM by cstanton | 1 comment(s)
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KeepVid.com is a site that I just ran across today that allows you to save any embedded video that you find online. You simply put the URL of the page that the video is on and it finds the videos on the page and allows you to save them to your harddrive. 

 I have found a few sites that have not worked with keepvid.com, but I assume it is because the actual link to the video isn't on the page.

 

It works great with Youtube though! Just enter the URL where your video can be found, and click Download! When you are looking for your video, you might notice that there are multiple links. Usually it will be the higher quality video that you are looking for.

Posted Monday, October 5, 2009 12:16 PM by cstanton | with no comments
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iSquint is an application for the Mac that allows you to convert any video file to a simple mp4 that is playable on your portable device, like the iPod.

1) Simply just drag the file that you want to see available in your iTunes or on your iPod into the app,

2) Select your level of quality from "Tiny" to "Go Nuts,"

3) Decide whether you want to optimize the file for your iPod or AppleTV,

4) Choose whether you want it in your iTunes and select whether or not you would like H.246 encoding for higher quality,

5) and then click start

Your file will be saved in whichever directory you select from the dropdown in the simple program. 

Its really neat if you have a video iPod and want to watch your favorite videos without the screen size being all messed up. 

 

The program runs pretty fast and can convert in real time on a 1.5GHz G4. On an Intel Mac the program can convert up to 5X realtime!

The program also works in 7 different languages: English, German, French, Chinese Simp, Dutch, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese BR, Swedish

 

 

Posted Monday, October 5, 2009 11:19 AM by cstanton | with no comments
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