Thursday, April 14, 2011

New Chili Pepper the "Trinidad Scorpion Butch T." Named World's Hottest

Tue Apr 12, 11:41 am ET
By Brett Michael Dykes
Yahoo News

Fighting fire with more fire -- and a WWF-worthy name -- there's a new champ holding the title of world's hottest chili pepper.

As you may recall, in December The Lookout reported on the Naga Viper and its initiation as the chili pepper with the most heat. But now there's a hotter ticket in town: the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T.

Yes, the Butch T. outdistances the Naga Viper, barely, on the Scoville scale -- which rates spice power by tracking the presence of a chemical compound in chilis. The Australian Butch T. weighs in at 1.46 million heat units on the scale, while the British Naga Viper tops out at 1.38 million. For comparison, the average jalapeno pepper falls around 5,000.

"They're just severe, absolutely severe," Marcel de Wit, co-owner of the chili farm that produced the pepper, told Australian Geographic. "No wonder they start making crowd-control grenades now with chillies. It's just wicked." He added that the pepper is so potent, he and his his team have to wear protective gloves when handling the Butch T., lest their hands are left "pumping heat for two days later." Making salsa with the Butch T., he explained, involves wearing chemical masks and body suits to defend against fumes given off in the cooking heat.

After being given some rare seeds by Aussie farmer Neil Smith, de Wit began cultivating the Butch T. two years ago. The champion chili will also soon be the main ingredient in a stingingly hot sauce called the Scorpion Strike.

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Fresh Out Of The Military And Looking For A Job? Come To Texas

By Rigel Celeste, Posted Apr 12th 2011 @ 4:05PM
Finding a job after the military often involves both starting a new career and choosing a new location to call home.

We hope to make the task a little less daunting by providing a list of the top cities that not only have strong job markets*, but also provide easy access to military support and services, higher education opportunities, affordable living, rich culture and entertainment options, and (in most cases) pension-friendly local tax laws.

Here's our list of the top 10 cities to find a job after the military.

1. Austin, Texas

Unemployment rate: 6.9%

Why it's so great: Consistently ranked among the best cities for finding jobs and retiring, the state capital has a reputation for being trendy and progressive and is one of the greenest cities in the country. It enjoys a very low unemployment rate, is home to the prominent University of Texas, and Fort Hood is within 60 miles. Also Texas doesn't tax federal pensions.

2. Fayetteville, N.C.

Unemployment rate: 9.3%

Why it's so great: One of two military cities named by Forbes last year as being the best for finding a job (the other is Jacksonville, N.C.) Fayetteville is home to Fort Bragg, one of the largest military complexes in the world. In addition, Fayetteville State University is conveniently within city limits and Pope Air Force Base is just to the north.

3. Jacksonville, N.C.

Unemployment rate: 8.7%

Why it's so great: Named alongside Fayetteville as one of the best cities for finding a job, Jacksonville has a strong job market and is even expanding in some areas. It's home to Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River, the largest Marine force in the world, and offers educational opportunities in the form of several colleges and universities including the University of North Carolina, Wilmington.

4. Waco, Texas

Unemployment rate: 7.5%

Why it's so great: The city is full of small to mid-sized manufacturing plants offering jobs in a variety of industries, has an affordable housing market, and is home to Bayor University for cultural and re-education opportunities. In addition Fort Hood is within 50 miles. Texas does not tax federal pensions.

5. Oklahoma City, Okla.

Unemployment rate: 6.2%

Why it's so great: The city has maintained a steady economy in recent years and is known for its vibrant and engaging downtown area. It's home to Tinker Air Force base and has a VA hospital within the city limits, plus the University of Oklahoma is nearby in Norman. However, Oklahoma does tax federal pensions.

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Freedom From Religion Foundation Overruled By Federal Judge

Charlie Butts - OneNewsNow - 4/14/2011 3:30:00 AM
A federal judge has upheld the constitutionality of a policy that allows public school students in Spartanburg, South Carolina, to go to an off-campus facility for religious training.

Public schools have historically allowed release time for a religious education course offered at a church nearby. But that has recently not been the case.

"Sometimes these release time programs have been challenged under the idea that somehow this establishes a religion," explains Mat Staver, head of Liberty Counsel. "This judge's decision is correct in allowing the release time program in the Spartanburg School District because it is clearly consistent with the Constitution and in no way establishes a religion."

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, which filed the lawsuit, did not understand that the course is strictly voluntary, explains Staver. The judge, however, deemed the policy a "passive" measure that is meant to "accommodate the desire of [the] students to receive religious instruction."

"This is the Freedom From Religion Foundation rattling more cages, just like it always does. They would rather eliminate Christianity, in particular, completely; they don't want to have any vestiges...any remembrance or any accommodation of Christianity," the Liberty Counsel founder notes, concluding that the organization "is completely and unequivocally anti-Christian."

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Remembering Rawanda Genocide: "remember the past, build the future"

Rwanda (MNN) ― Rwanda, known as the "Land of 1000 Hills," is also the land of 1000 storylines today.

The national commemoration week for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi ended yesterday, April 13, at the Rebero Genocide memorial site.

Over the course of 100 days, more than 800,000 people were killed and many more were displaced, orphaned or scarred by the violence. Thousands of children suddenly found themselves the head of their households. That situation was aggravated by the rise of HIV/AIDS and led to the disintegration of both the family unit and society.

With such a scar on the nation's history, the Rwandan Government assigned a week of commemoration to mourn the loss of loved ones and to support the survivors.

But stories of hope and resilience in Rwanda emerged, as well. Evangelist Sammy Tippit's ministry has a long history in that country in support of the reconciliation efforts. He visited the country shortly after the genocide ended.

What he saw brought him to tears. "There was a great need for reconciliation, and it looked like an impossible task." The obvious need was to move toward healing. However, the hurt had torn the fabric of the society. There was no place where it was not in evidence, even in places where peace was to prevail. "For instance, you would go into a church and there would be one woman sitting on a pew, and in the same pew would be another lady. One lady's husband had killed the other lady's husband."

What better way to encourage peace than through the Gospel? "We went in with the message of salvation, of grace, of forgiveness, of reconciliation, and we saw a mighty work."

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Court Fight Continues Over Teacher Fired For Having Bible On Desk

Posted: April 12, 2011
8:40 pm Eastern
By Bob Unruh
© 2011 WorldNetDaily


The Rutherford Institute is joining the case of an Ohio teacher who was fired for keeping a Bible on his desk and suggesting that students "think critically about the school's science curriculum, particularly as it relates to evolution theories."

The announcement from John Whitehead, the president of the organization, concerns the claims of teacher John Freshwater.

"The right of public school teachers to academic freedom is the bedrock of American education," Whitehead said. "What we need today are more teachers and school administrators who understand that young people don't need to be indoctrinated. Rather, they need to be taught how to think for themselves."

Freshwater, a 24-year veteran in the classroom, originally was suspended several years ago by the Mount Vernon School District in Mount Vernon, Ohio.

One of the early allegations was that he "branded" students with a scientific machine called a Tesa Coil that demonstrates electrical current.

However, Dave Daubenmire, who served as a spokesman for the teacher, said the "cross branding" was nothing of the sort. He characterized it as a science experiment Freshwater had been conducting for 21 years in which he made X marks, not crosses, on the students' skin in the demonstration.

Daubenmire pointed out experts have affirmed the experiment causes no injury to students.

There were other issues involved.

Cited as reasons for his 2008 suspension and official termination in January 2011 were his actions of allegedly "improperly" injecting religion into the class by giving students "reason to doubt the accuracy and or veracity of scientists, science testbooks and/or science in general."

He also was accused of failing to remove "all religious articles" from his classroom.

But Freshwater never received a negative performance evaluation. And during the 2007-2008 school year, as the issues were developing, his students earned the highest state standardized test scores in science of any eighth grade class in the district.

According to the Rutherford Institute, "moreover, according to a federal judge's findings, Freshwater was the only science teacher at Mount Vernon Middle School who got a 'passing' score on the Ohio Achievement Test."

But when the school board ordered him to remove "all religious items" from his classroom, including his personal Bible, which he kept on his desk, he agreed to remove the objects except for the Bible.

As the conflict between the teacher and district developed, students organized a rally in his honor, wore T-shirts with crosses painted on them and carried Bibles to class.

Even though the district's policies state that because religious traditions vary, teachers should give unbiased instruction so that students may evaluate it "in accordance with their own religious tenets," school officials got rid of him.

He's now appealing the termination in state court, alleging violations of his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights and religious discrimination.

Violate Copyright Laws On Youtube You Get Sent To "Copyright School"

Google released a set of tougher copyright policies for YouTube online video users on Thursday, requiring violators to watch a copyright tutorial and pass a test before allowing them to continue using the service.

The search giant has faced mounting criticism from lawmakers and the entertainment industry for not doing enough to combat online copyright infringement.

Google’s updated policies are intended to better educate users about the online video platform’s copyright rules and heighten awareness about protecting copyrights.

In the past, YouTube has posted warnings to users specifying that the use of copyrighted materials — such as movies, music or other copyright works — could lead to termination of their account and possibly monetary damages if the copyright holder decides to sue.

The new updates unveiled Thursday allow users to watch a new tutorial video about YouTube’s copyright policies and access a redesigned copyright help center.

In addition, Google instituted new policies for users who are found to have violated YouTube’s copyright rules.

If YouTube receives a copyright notification about a user’s video, the user will have to complete “YouTube Copyright School,” which requires watching a tutorial video and passing a quiz to prove the user understands the copyright policies.

Additionally, Google has also created a way for errant YouTube users to redeem themselves. In certain cases, Google will remove copyright strikes from a user’s account if he or she successfully completes its copyright school and has a solid track record of following the rules.

Google’s general policy is to suspend YouTube users who have three copyright strikes.

Wells Fargo Bank to Put Microchips In Credit Cards

Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), the U.S. bank with the most branches, is testing microchip-embedded credit cards with frequent travelers to address complaints of customers who have trouble using their cards abroad.

The pilot program announced today marks the first effort by a major U.S. bank to deploy Visa Inc. (V) credit cards with so-called EMV-chip technology, which has become a standard in Europe and much of the rest of the world, according to San Francisco-based Wells Fargo.

“It’s not an infrequent message from our customers of the acceptance challenges they have when they go overseas,” Eric Schindewolf, vice president of product development for Wells Fargo’s consumer credit-card unit, said yesterday in a phone interview. “We want to remain top-of-wallet, wherever our customers are.”

The lender is preparing to notify 15,000 customers it identified as frequent travelers, including college students and clients of its private bank, that they’ve been invited to participate in the pilot. The cardholders will receive the EMV cards in the middle of the year.

The U.S. is among the last developed nations whose payment system relies primarily on cards with magnetic stripes and hasn’t yet adopted EMV. Standards for the technology are managed by EMVCo, which was formed in 1999 by Europay International, Mastercard Inc. (MA), based in Purchase, New York, and San Francisco- based Visa. American Express Co. (AXP), the biggest U.S. credit-card issuer by purchases, is also an EMVCo member.

‘Widespread Consensus’

“There’s a widespread consensus around the world that it’s a more secure” payment technology, said Gwenn B├ęzard, an analyst at Aite Group, a Boston-based research firm.

The EMV chip creates a “dynamic cryptogram” that prevents the use of fraudulent or cloned credit-cards, Schindewolf said. Wells Fargo’s EMV cards still will carry magnetic stripes for use in the U.S., which leaves the embedded data more exposed to a type of fraud known as skimming.

Almost 10 million U.S. consumers experienced credit-card acceptance problems abroad in 2008, costing about $4 billion in lost transactions for merchants and $447 million in revenue for card issuers, according to a 2009 study by Aite.

A common problem facing U.S. consumers is that some merchants abroad are unfamiliar with magnetic-stripe cards and may refuse to accept them, Schindewolf said. Some self-serve kiosks outside the U.S. aren’t equipped to accept payments with magnetic-stripe cards, he said.

Expanding Program

The Wells Fargo program represents a “half-step” in catching up with payment technology ubiquitous in the rest of the developed world, said Brian Dodge, spokesman for the Arlington, Virginia-based Retail Industry Leaders Association, a trade group for the retail industry.

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Percentage Of Working American's Lowest Since 1983

By Dennis Cauchon, USA TODAY

The share of the population that is working fell to its lowest level last year since women started entering the workforce in large numbers three decades ago, a USA TODAY analysis finds.

Only 45.4% of Americans had jobs in 2010, the lowest rate since 1983 and down from a peak of 49.3% in 2000. Last year, just 66.8% of men had jobs, the lowest on record.

The bad economy, an aging population and a plateau in women working are contributing to changes that pose serious challenges for financing the nation’s social programs.

“What’s wrong with the economy may be speeding up trends that are already happening,” says Marc Goldwein, policy director of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a non-partisan group favoring smaller deficits.

For example, job troubles appear to have slowed a trend of people working later in life, putting more pressure on Social Security, he says.

Another change: the bulk of those not working has shifted from children to adults.

In 2000, the nation had roughly the same number of children and non-working adults. Since then, the population of non-working adults has grown 27 million while the nation added just 3 million children under 18.

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