Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Monday, 19 March 2012

New iPad is hot, but some report the device overheating -

New iPad is hot, but some report the device overheating - 

OWNERS of the new iPad complained yesterday that the device was overheating and becoming too hot to hold as Apple announced record sales since Friday's launch.

Apple is investigating the issue which drove owners to comment on online forums about the possible flaw.

One customer said: "Mine is overheating. The heat is reduced when the brightness is reduced but what's the point of that? It drains the battery fast too . . . I am going to wait one week to see if there are any solutions from Apple, if not, they can have it. I am very disappointed."

Another new iPad buyer said: "I'm loving the screen and speed but there's something weird about it. It gets rather warm/hot after 30 minutes of usage. It has never happened on my iPad 2."

Unless discovered to be widespread, the problem may not dent sales of the gadget, as it remains on course to be another bestseller for Apple. The company was unavailable for comment.

Yesterday as the company announced plans to pay a quarterly dividend from July and buy back $US10 billion worth of shares, Apple's chief executive officer Tim Cook, said. "We had a record weekend and we're thrilled with it."

He refused to reveal exact sales figures, but analysts already believe that the updated version of the device, known simply as "the new iPad", will prove to be a major hit.

Gene Munster, the respected technology analyst at Piper Jaffray, had predicted that Apple would sell around one million iPads over the weekend. His estimate was based on strong demand for the machine in the run-up to its launch.

Before the device went on sale within stores, Apple had sold out of units online, with waiting times for new buyers stretching beyond two weeks.

As with previous Apple's launches, fans of the company's products queued overnight outside its stores to be the first to own the new device, which features a vastly improved screen, processor and camera.

The critical reaction to the machine has been mixed, with some disappointed that it did not include a major new function and was slightly thicker and heavier than its predecessor, the iPad 2.

Apple has sold more than 55 million iPads since launching the first version of the gadget two years ago. In its most recent financial quarter, the Californian company said it had sold 15.43 million iPads.

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Viking invasions throughout the North Atlantic world 1,000 years ago brought mice everywhere, except for Canada -

Viking invasions throughout the North Atlantic world 1,000 years ago brought mice everywhere, except for Canada - 

An international team of scientists has determined that the Viking invasions throughout the North Atlantic world more than 1,000 years ago were accompanied in almost every case by the introduction of common house mice to the newly established Norse colonies - with the lone exception of Canada.

The new research is described as further proof of the inhospitable conditions encountered by Viking seafarers led by Leif Ericsson when they landed at L'Anse aux Meadows in northern Newfoundland. The harsh Canadian climate and the Vikings' violent clashes with the island's ``skraelings'' - members of an unidentified aboriginal nation - are believed to have forced the would-be conquerors of North America (and apparently their mouse companions, too) to abandon Newfoundland after a short time and to return to safer settlements in Greenland and Iceland.

The study, led by evolutionary biologist Eleanor Jones of Sweden's Uppsala University and Britain's University of York, traces the associated movements of Norse colonists and the European domestic mice that apparently stowed away in the travellers' sailing vessels en route to new lands to the west of ancient Scandinavia.

The research team, which also included experts from Iceland, Denmark and the U.S., examined evidence of ancient mice DNA from Viking archeological sites as well as the genetic features of mice living today in areas once inhabited by Norse settlement parties.

In findings published in the latest issue of the scholarly journal BMC Evolutionary Biology, the researchers explain how they discovered proof that bloodlines from the mouse species Mus musculus domesticus - already known to have been carried by Viking voyagers to medieval Scotland and Ireland - also found their way to Iceland and Greenland, presumably in mice hidden among the livestock carried to those colonies aboard ships from old Norway.

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Panda droppings could make world’s most expensive cup of tea -

Panda droppings could make world’s most expensive cup of tea - 


China’s national treasure, the giant panda, will become even more precious if one businessman succeeds in using their dung to grow organic green tea he intends to sell for over $200 a cup.

An Yanshi, an entrepreneur in southwest China, grows the tea in mountainous Ya’an in Sichuan province using tonnes of excrement from panda bears living at nearby breeding centres.

The first batch of panda dung tea will be sold in lots of 50 grams that will cost some 22,000 yuan ($3,500) each, a price An said makes it the world’s most expensive tea. Most people use about 3 grams of tea per cup.

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Wendy's has dethroned Burger King as the country's second biggest hamburger chain -

Wendy's has dethroned Burger King as the country's second biggest hamburger chain - 


Wendy's edged out Burger King in U.S. sales volume for the first time last year since Wendy's was founded in 1969, according to a report by the food industry research firm Technomic Inc. that's set to be released next month.

Wendy's had sales of $8.5 billion in 2011, compared with $8.4 billion for Burger King. McDonald's remained far larger than both with $34.2 billion in sales.

The figures are based on Technomic's estimates of system-wide sales at franchise and company-owned restaurants, rather than corporate revenue, which includes fees from franchise operators. Worldwide, Burger King still has far more restaurants than Wendy's and remains the second biggest hamburger chain behind McDonald's.

Both Burger King and Wendy's have struggled in recent years to keep up with the growth of McDonald's, which has managed to keep prices low through the recession, while also introducing a new menu items and remodeling restaurants. Sales are up 26 percent in the past five years at McDonald's, up 9 percent at Wendy's and flat at Burger King, according to Technomic.

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Prime Minister David Cameron's table tennis table gift to Barack Obama made in China -

Prime Minister David Cameron's table tennis table gift to Barack Obama made in China - 

It was a gift that David Cameron chose to represent the best of Britain on his recent visit to meet Barack Obama in Washington.
But far from showcasing the wealth of talent in UK manufacturing, the £600 Dunlop tennis table presented to the US President was reportedly made abroad.
Downing Street had insisted that the “truly British” product was a fitting gift in the run up to the London 2012 Olympics.
However, it has been found that although the ping pong table was “designed and branded” in the UK, it was actually manufactured in China.
In presenting the gift to the Obamas, a spokesman for Number 10 said: “Founded in 1886, Dunlop is a truly British company which operates in over 70 countries.

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30 million Chinese live in caves... -

30 million Chinese live in caves... - 

Reporting from Yanan, China— Like many peasants from the outskirts of Yanan, China, Ren Shouhua was born in a cave and lived there until he got a job in the city and moved into a concrete-block house.

His progression made sense as he strove to improve his life. But there's a twist: The 46-year-old Ren plans to move back to a cave when he retires.

"It's cool in the summer and warm in the winter. It's quiet and safe," said Ren, a ruddy-faced man with salt-and-pepper hair who moved to the Shaanxi provincial capital, Xian, in his 20s. "When I get old, I'd like to go back to my roots."

More than 30 million Chinese people live in caves, many of them in Shaanxi province where the Loess plateau, with its distinctive cliffs of yellow, porous soil, makes digging easy and cave dwelling a reasonable option.

Each of the province's caves, yaodong, in Chinese, typically has a long vaulted room dug into the side of a mountain with a semicircular entrance covered with rice paper or colorful quilts. People hang decorations on the walls, often a portrait of Mao Tse-tung or a photograph of a movie star torn out of a glossy magazine.

The better caves protrude from the mountain and are reinforced with brick masonry. Some are connected laterally so a family can have several chambers. Electricity and even running water can be brought in.

"Most aren't so fancy, but I've seen some really beautiful caves: high ceilings and spacious with a nice yard out front where you can exercise and sit in the sun," said Ren, who works as a driver and is the son of a wheat and millet farmer.

The caves have an important role in modern Chinese history. The Long March, the famous retreat of the Communist Party in the 1930s, ended near Yanan, where Mao took refuge in caves. In "Red Star Over China," writer Edgar Snow described a Red Army university that "was probably the world's only seat of 'higher learning' whose classrooms were bombproof caves, with chairs and desks of stone and brick, and blackboards and walls of limestone and clay."

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