Saturday, 2 February 2008

Navy's futuristic railgun displays potential in test

The Navy has amorphous developing a affected “hypercannon” that could anytime hit a ambition added than 200 afar away, application technology that may be added accustomed to acceptance of science fiction than avant-garde argosy weaponry.

Known as an electromagnetic railgun, the weapon uses electricity instead of armament to blaze projectiles.

In a affecting aboriginal step, the Office of Argosy Research said bygone that it accursed the electromagnetic gun application an aberrant beating of activity in a analysis captivated Thursday in Dahlgren, Va.

During the test, the gun about anon propelled an aluminum bang belief hardly added than 7 pounds to Mach 7 – or added than seven times the acceleration of sound.

The railgun has the abeyant to blaze a projectile 230 miles, a aisle that would booty aloof seven minutes. By contrast, a accepted 5-inch argosy gun array can blaze a carapace 20 miles.

With such technology, a warship off the bank of San Diego could blaze a projectile as far as Bakersfield, or about two-thirds the ambit to Phoenix.

After watching Thursday's demonstration, the arch of argosy operations, Adm. Gary Roughead, alleged the abstraction a “revolutionary access to argosy warfare.”

The arc of the projectile's aisle would accelerate it about 95 afar high, able-bodied aloft the Earth's atmosphere. The projectile would use a satellite-based advice arrangement to acclimatize its re-entry, application article like adaptable fins to calibrate the final coast to its target.

Even if development gain as planned, however, it will booty 15 years afore a Navy warship could be able with such a weapon, said Elizabeth D'Andrea, the railgun affairs administrator for the Office of Argosy Research. She active a government-industry bunch that includes San Diego-based General Atomics and SAIC.

The appellation “railgun” was acquired from its basal components.

The bore consists of two awful conductive alongside rails, one accustomed a absolute electric current, the added a abrogating current. The projectile, which sits on a conductive device, is placed amid these two balustrade so it completes the electric circuit. This allows the accepted to flow, which creates a alluring acreage and a force that launches the projectile out of the barrel.

The aboriginal appearance of the affairs began in 2005 and is accepted to abide through 2011 at a amount of $237 million, D'Andrea said. The abutting phase, including accession of a high-power ancestor aboard a ship, depends on developing apparatus and abstracts that can bear the amazing calefaction activity and added armament generated by the railgun.

“This is a class launcher, which agency it's not meant to go into the field,” D'Andrea said.

Yet Navy admiral appearance the technology as tantalizing.

Among added things, it could badly advance assurance aboard ships because no explosives are appropriate to blaze the projectile and no atomic circuit would be stored in the ship's magazine.

The projectiles accursed by the railgun would be apathetic metal slugs or canisters abounding of metal pellets, affiliated to a shotgun shell. But they would appulse at such aerial velocity, about Mach 5, that they would abort whatever they hit, authoritative the railgun what the aggressive calls a “kinetic energy” weapon.

Because a projectile is basically a hypersonic ammo and not a high-explosive warhead, Navy admiral say that there is no associated bang and that the appulse is added focused. So a railgun would acceptable abbreviate accessory accident abreast a target.

In addition, the rechargeable railgun would be apparently able of battlefront assorted circuit per minute.

“Because we can shoot six to 10 circuit per minute, we could abutment added than one assurance at sea,” D'Andrea said. The railgun's ambit of 230 afar (or 200 abyssal miles) agency a warship could appoint targets as far as 400 abyssal afar apart, she said.

Some experts anticipate railguns could be acclimated to ambition and abort admission nuclear ballistic missiles.

Thursday's analysis at the Argosy Surface Warfare Center set a almanac because the electromagnetic gun accursed the projectile at added than 10.6 megajoules, D'Andrea said. (A joule is the admeasurement of activity bare to aftermath one watt for one second. A megajoule is 1 actor joules.)

The antecedent railgun record, 9 megajoules, was set in 1993 by the Center for Electromagnetic Abstracts and Devices at the University of Texas.

“Nine megajoules was the absolute of their capability, but that's area we're starting,” said Roger Ellis, abstruse administrator of the railgun program.

The cage acceleration of the swallow-tailed aluminum projectile was 5,600 mph – in balance of Mach 7. It catholic about 100 anxiety afore hitting a sand-filled metal box in a bunker, Ellis said.

The bang vaporized the face of the metal box and hit the beach with such force that the box breach open, he said.

In accelerated images arise by the Navy, a aggressive trailed the projectile – authoritative it arise like a ablaze rocket propellant. D'Andrea said the calefaction activity generated aural the railgun is acute abundant to burn aluminum particles and gases.

“One of the things we're aggravating to do is analyze abstracts that can alive in a actual high-temperature environment,” D'Andrea said.

The abutting footfall in the affairs is to advancement the railgun's ability accommodation to 16 megajoules, application electric capacitors supplied by San Diego's General Atomics, a key affairs architect that is developing a final design.

“All of the technology that comes out of this affairs will be accessible in added high-energy, high-power applications,” said Scott Forney, carnality admiral of General Atomics' Electromagnetics Systems Division. The aggregation is developing electromagnetic aircraft launcher technology for aircraft carriers and mag-lev technology for accessible transit.

But the railgun has alone one purpose, Forney said.

Another San Diego aegis contractor, Science Applications International Corp., has been alive with British aegis behemothic BAE Systems on the development of a battling railgun design.

Lindsay Lohan's fresh boyfriend singer-songwriter Jeremy Greene?

There accept been rumors activity on adage that singer-songwriter Jeremy Greene is Lindsay Lohan's new beau. This started back Life & Style annual appear that Lohan

perceived Greene as her "new boyfriend."

He told the Morning Sentinel bi-weekly "It's acceptable and it's bad," Greene told the Morning Sentinel newspaper. "It's like the allowance and the curse."

Currently he is filming a absoluteness appearance with Lindsay Lohan.

Fire causes closure of Leonard between Crahen & East Beltline

Fire crews aggressive a blaze on Leonard Street are closing the alley as they try to action the flames.

Kent County authorities acquaint WZZM 13 News the blaze is in the 4000 Block of Leonard and involves a ample 4 arrest garage. They say there are no injuries.

WZZM 13 News has a aggregation branch to the arena and we will accept new advice on air and online as anon as it becomes available.

Michelle Williams breakings silence on Ledger's dying

Michelle Williams bankrupt her blackout Friday, adage her "heart is broken" over Heath Ledger in her aboriginal account back the "Brokeback Mountain" actor's death.

The 27-year-old extra and Ledger became a brace during filming of 2005's "Brokeback," in which they costarred as bedmate and wife.

They after acclimatized in New York, and had a daughter, Matilda, built-in October 2005.

"Please account our charge to ache privately," Williams said in a statement. "My affection is broken. I am the mother of the best tender-hearted, high-spirited, admirable little babe who is the spitting angel of her father. All that I can adhere to is his attendance central her that reveals itself every day."

Ledger, 28, died in his Manhattan accommodation January 22. Authorities doubtable a accessible biologic overdose, but the account of his afterlife is still awaiting the aftereffect of toxicology tests.

Police said several decree drugs were begin in the Manhattan accommodation area the actor's anatomy was found.

"His ancestors and I watch Matilda as she whispers to trees, hugs animals, and takes accomplish two at a time, and we apperceive that he is with us still," Williams said. "She will be brought up in the best memories of him."

Snipes cleared of tax fraud, conspiracy

Actor Wesley Snipes was begin accusable Friday on three abomination accuse of declining to book tax allotment -- but jurors austere him of added austere abomination accuse of tax artifice and conspiracy.

Snipes could accept faced up to bristles years in bastille on both the cabal and artifice charges. He was begin accusable of alone bisected -- three out of six -- of the abortion to book charges. He faces a best one-year book on anniversary but can be accustomed to be bedevilled to less.

"Our position has been all forth that Mr. Snipes committed no fraud," said Robert Bernhoft, Snipes' attorney, afterwards the adjudication was apprehend Friday afternoon. "He had no bad intent, and that's what the board accepted."

Snipes, dressed in a atramentous suit, smiled and thanked well-wishers alfresco the courthouse -- walking with his easily captivated in a adoration position. He did not accomplish a account or booty questions from the media.

Almost immediately, agents of the Centralized Acquirement Service fabricated it bright that they still intend to accompany taxes Snipes owes on almost $38 actor in income.

"Ultimately, if he absolutely wants to booty this all the way, he can go to tax court," said Victor Lessoff, a appropriate abettor with the IRS. "But we will pursue, civilly, the taxes. That's actual important to us."

Bernhoft appropriate Snipes will try to booty affliction of the payments.

"Mr. Snipes has consistently been committed to accomplishing the appropriate affair and afterwards this balloon is over, he'll accomplish whatever apology are required," he said.

Snipes, who starred in such movies as "New Jack City," "White Men Can't Jump" and the "Blade" alternation of activity films, had pleaded not accusable to accuse that he bootless to pay his federal assets taxes from 1999 through 2004.

In October 2006, Justice Department and IRS admiral issued an arrest accreditation for Snipes that answerable him with conspiring to bamboozle the Centralized Acquirement Service and presenting a counterfeit affirmation for acquittal to the IRS.

Snipes was answerable in Florida because he lived in Windermere in Orange County, Florida, during the years covered by the indictment.

Two added men -- Eddie Ray Kahn and Douglas Rosile -- were answerable forth with Snipes. Kahn was declared in the allegation as the architect of what he billed as a Christian accumulation but allegedly was a "for-profit bartering action that answer and awash counterfeit tax schemes that interfered with the administering of the centralized acquirement laws of the United States."

Rosile is declared as a above certified accessible accountant who connected to do accounting assignment afterwards his authorization had expired.

According to the indictment, the men affirmation the IRS is advantaged alone to assets acquired from foreign-based activities.

Kahn and Rosile were begin accusable on artifice and cabal charges.

Lessoff, of the IRS, said Kahn's accumulation is believed to accept as abounding as 4,000 members.

"This was a actual high-profile case with us and we're annoyed with the aftereffect because it acutely shows you cannot get abroad with not advantageous taxes," Lessoff said. "If you are allotment of this organization, if you're one of them, you charge to get in blow with us and accomplish appropriate with us."

Snipes will be bedevilled at a after date.

Killing of glamour model-bodyguard shocks Russian Capital

Anna Loginova was, for abounding Russians, a feminine figure -- bridging the alluring apple of clay and the black base of Russian crime.

But this week, the beauteous Loginova became a victim of the abyss she fabricated abiding could not get to her millionaire clients. She was dead aggravating to stop a bandit burglary her own car on a active Moscow street.

As a allure model, 29-year-old Loginova generally appeared on the covers of Russian magazines, almost clad. She fronted advertisements for high-profile brands in Russia, like the German carmaker BMW.

But abaft the bright images, Loginova had addition profession: She was an accomplished bodyguard, accomplished in aggressive arts, advantageous aerial prices to assure Russia's affluent elite. One notable applicant was Russian boxer Kostya Tszyu.

Having a changeable babysitter is added than aloof a cachet attribute in Russia. Industry assembly say women bodyguards are not apparent and, thus, accustomed to sit at tables with their audience during dinners and added contest -- clashing their macho aeon who are usually affected to delay in the lobby.

Those who knew Loginova say she was amorous about her bifold life, adage she saw no bucking amid her delicacy and her alarming job as a bodyguard.

"She was affectionate and sweet, not like a terminator, not like Sigourney Weaver in 'Aliens,'" said Igor Cherski, editor of Maxim magazine's Russian edition, which commissioned her aftermost allure shoot.

"But I feel that she was not abashed of anything. There was no abhorrence in her eyes," he added.

It seems that adventurousness may accept gotten her killed. On a active artery in southeastern Moscow on Sunday night, badge say they recovered her aged anatomy afterwards she approved to anticipate her Porsche Cayenne from actuality baseborn -- adhering on to the high-end SUV as it sped away. The agent was after begin abandoned.

"According to eyewitnesses, an burglar aloof threw her out of the car," explains Oleg Pavlov, a appropriate badge investigator in allegation of the investigation.

"She affective the aperture handle, but aback the car took off and best up speed, she let go."

No one has been arrested in affiliation with the killing.

Russian media accept been giving the killing arresting coverage, with assemblage cogent their shock that this affectionate of abomination could happen.

But affluence car annexation in Moscow is not uncommon, and Loginova herself was no drifter to it. In her aftermost annual interview, she declared how she aghast addition carjacking aloof four months ago as she anchored her car alfresco a blatant Moscow appearance boutique.

"So while I was closing my car, a guy of 30 years old or hardly earlier jumped on me," Loginova said. "So I did a jujitsu move -- I angled his duke that affective mine, and addled him in the face with my elbow. It was a absolute abruptness for him.

"As he was aptitude aback accoutrement his face, I pulled a pistol from my bag and aimed it at him. He acutely accomplished that was no joke," she said. "Then a car anon pulled up nearby, article like a Honda, a aphotic car, and he jumped into it. And I still stood there with my pistol. I was absolutely abashed too."

That acquaintance allegedly emboldened Loginova to avert her car for a additional time. But she was overwhelmed. Even the appalling abilities of Russia's best acclaimed -- and alluring -- babysitter couldn't save her.

Microsoft offers $45 billion for Yahoo

NEW YORK ( -- Microsoft Corp. fabricated an unsolicited $44.6 billion banknote and banal bid for Yahoo on Friday, ambience the date for a accord that would agitate up the aggressive and advantageous bazaar for online advertising.

Yahoo shareholders would accept $31 a share, which represents a 62% exceptional over Yahoo banal bulk one day earlier.

Shares of Yahoo (YHOO, Fortune 500) zoomed and concluded the day 48% higher, while Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) confused 6.6%.

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's arch executive, alleged the move the "next above milestone" for the software giant.

"We are very, actual assured this is the appropriate aisle for Microsoft and for Yahoo," Ballmer said.

Microsoft hopes to abutting the accord by the end of the year. Ballmer said that Microsoft has been in "off and on" talks with Yahoo for 18 months and said he alleged Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang Thursday night to acquaint him the bid was coming.

A Microsoft-Yahoo aggregate would actualize a able cardinal two amateur in the online chase business, which Google commands. It would additionally be one of the better tech deals in years, on a par with Hewlett-Packard's $25 billion accretion of Compaq in 2002.

Microsoft appear the bid aboriginal Friday. In a statement, the aggregation said the action allows Yahoo shareholders to accept to accept banknote or a anchored cardinal of shares of Microsoft accepted stock, with the software giant's action consisting of one-half banknote and one-half Microsoft accepted stock.

In a statement, Yahoo accustomed cancellation of the action and said its lath would appraise the angle "carefully and promptly."

Searching for solutions

Both Microsoft and Yahoo accept collapsed far abaft battling Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) in the advantageous acreage of Internet search. Yahoo's balance and allotment of the online chase bazaar accept abominably trailed Google.

Google reigns over 58.4% of the U.S. chase market, while Yahoo has 22.9% and Microsoft's allotment is aloof 9.8%, according to comScore, a analysis close that advance Internet traffic.

The accumulated armament of Microsoft and Yahoo would additionally accomplish a stronger force in online affectation advertisement - the blazon of targeted banderole ads that Yahoo is accepted for.

In a letter it beatific to Yahoo's lath of directors, Microsoft appear it had explored a Microsoft-Yahoo accord a year earlier, alone to be rebuffed by Yahoo, which said at that time it was assured of the "potential upside" for Yahoo from operational changes it planned.

"A year has gone by, and the aggressive bearings has not improved," said Ballmer.

On Thursday, above Yahoo CEO and accepted Chairman Terry Semel, who against an beforehand access Microsoft fabricated aftermost year, accommodated from the Yahoo board.

Yahoo appear Tuesday it would lay off 1,000 advisers by mid-February, citation what CEO Yang declared as "headwinds" adverse the company. It additionally appear lower fourth-quarter balance that still exhausted Wall Street's now bashful expectations for the firm, but it gave a 2008 acquirement anticipation that aghast analysts.

"Last year, Yahoo told investors it bare added time to get on the appropriate track," says UBS analyst Benjamin Schachter. "But you alone get a assertive bulk of time to about-face things around."

Gunning for Google

Recently, Google has run into problems. It appear fourth-quarter balance on Thursday that fell a penny a allotment abbreviate of forecasts. The aggregation additionally appear a arrest in its acquirement growth, attributed partly to adversity in affairs ads on amusing networking sites.

A Google spokesman, Matt Furman, beneath to animadversion on Microsoft's move on Yahoo. "It would be abortive to animadversion at this point," he said.

Google shares accept collapsed 24% back hitting a almanac aerial $747.24 in aboriginal November. But Yahoo shares accept absent added than a third of their amount over the aforementioned period.

Still, online advertising, decidedly ads angry to Internet search, is by far the fastest growing allotment of ad spending. That's acquired problems for acceptable media, which accept apparent ad spending fall.

Microsoft said it projects the online advertisement bazaar to abound from over $40 billion in 2007 to about $80 billion by 2010.

In the letter to Yahoo's board, Microsoft said a amalgamation would accomplish economics of calibration while acceptance accumulated analysis and development efforts to accomplish advance products, decidedly in the growing areas of online video and adaptable Internet connections.

Microsoft said it intends to action cogent assimilation bales to Yahoo engineers, key leaders and advisers beyond the firm. It said it believes the proposed aggregate would accept all all-important authoritative approvals.

Shortly afterwards the announcement, a U.S. Justice Department agent said that its "antitrust analysis is absorbed in attractive at the aggressive furnishings of the [Microsoft and Yahoo] transaction." But with Google's able advance in the chase industry, analysts said it is awful absurd Microsoft's proposed accord would breach antitrust laws.

Stifel Nicolaus analyst George Askew gives the accord an 80% change of actuality completed.

"This accretion action is a buck hug - and the two companies may able-bodied appear to agreement on a accord at a abundantly college bulk than the $31 offer," Askew said in a accounting note.

But some analysts say the affiliation of the two companies could be catchy to cull off. For one, Microsoft and Yahoo use altered platforms to run their chase engines, and they would accept to adjudge which one to use.

Exxon Mobil (XOM) drops off in spite of record profit

Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) opened college but has collapsed so far this morning afterwards the oil aggregation acquaint a fourth division accumulation of $11.7 billion, or $2.13 a share, assault analyst estimates of $1.95 a share. XOM additionally acquaint a fiscal-2007 accumulation of $40.6 billion, the better anytime for an American company. However, falling awkward oil futures are boring XOM lower as US unemployment abstracts announce a still-slowing economy. If you anticipate that the aggregation won't abatement by too abundant in the advancing months, again now could be a acceptable time to attending at a bullish belted barter on XOM.

After hitting a one-year low of $69.02 in March, the banal hit a one-year aerial of $95.27 in October. XOM opened this morning at $87.70. So far today the banal has hit a low of $85.05 and a aerial of $87.86. As of 10:50, XOM is trading at $86.06, bottomward $0.34 (-0.4%). The blueprint for XOM looks bearish but convalescent slightly, while S&P gives the banal a aloof 3 STARS (out of 5) authority rating.

For a bullish belted comedy on this stock, I would accede a March bull-put acclaim advance beneath the $75 range. A bull-put acclaim advance is an options position that combines the acquirement and auction of put options to barrier accident in case the banal doesn't do what you anticipate but still advantage nice returns. For this accurate trade, we will accomplish a 6.4% acknowledgment in aloof seven weeks as continued as XOM is aloft $75 at March expiration. Exxon Mobil would accept to abatement by added than 12% afore we would alpha to lose money.

XOM hasn't been beneath $75 back March and has apparent abutment about $83 recently. This barter could be chancy if the bazaar has not yet formed a basal and oil prices arch lower, but alike if that happens, this position could be adequate by the abutment the banal ability acquisition amid $80 and $85, area it has bounced three times in the accomplished six months.

Brent Archer is an options analyst and biographer at Investors Observer.

DISCLOSURE: Mr. Archer owns and/or controls adapted portfolios of continued and abbreviate banal and advantage positions that may accommodate backing in companies he writes about. At advertisement time, Brent neither owns nor controls positions in XOM.