Saturday, December 31, 2011

Syrian opposition groups unite against Assad (AP)

BEIRUT ? Syria's two largest opposition groups signed an agreement on setting up a democracy after President Bashar Assad's regime falls, opposition figures said Saturday.

The move is so far the most serious by the fractured opposition to unite against the regime and shows that Assad's opponents will accept nothing less than his departure from power.

Burhan Ghalioun, leader of the Syrian National Council, and Haytham Manna of the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change in Syria, or NCB, signed the draft in Cairo on Friday night, according to an NCB statement and Omar Idilbi of the SNC.

Syria's uprising began in March, inspired by other Arab Spring revolts. The United Nations says more than 5,000 people have died as the government has sought to crush the revolt.

On Tuesday, scores of Arab monitors, who are the first that Syria has allowed into the country during the uprising, began their work on the ground visiting hot spots around the country. They are supposed to ensure the regime complies with terms of the Cairo-based 22-member Arab League's plan to end Assad's crackdown on dissent. Despite the observers' presence, regime forces went on with the crackdown killing at least 27 people on Friday.

The draft, of which a copy was obtained by The Associated Press, says both groups reject any foreign military intervention in Syria and call for the protection of civilians by all legitimate means in the framework of international laws.

It also said that as soon as Assad's regime falls a "transitional period" begins by preserving all state institutions then drafting a new constitution that guarantees a "civilian pluralist parliamentary democratic system" after which a parliament and new president are elected.

The draft also says that all Syrian citizens are equal and the country's Kurdish minority is a "fundamental and historic" part of Syria's national structure. It also calls for "liberating Syrian territory," an apparent reference to the Golan Heights occupied by Israel since 1967.

The two umbrella groups, the SNC and NCB, arose after the revolt began in March as activists and the opposition tried to organize their ranks against Assad. The national council has been the more active of the two abroad, with Ghalioun meeting international leaders in a bid to build support. The NCB has organized opposition conferences inside Syria, suggesting it has a stronger presence on the ground.

The Syria-based head of the NCB, Hassan Abdul-Azim, told the AP that the aim is to have a "united opposition inside and outside the country" making it a more active force.

"The opposition, inside and outside the country, agree that this regime should go and a new democratic system be set up," said Abdul-Azim, one of the most prominent dissidents inside Syria.

His group adopted the draft agreement. The SNC's Ghalioun signed the agreement but the membership of the group must still formally adopt it, though the SNC's Idlibi said he expects that will happen without any changes. The groups said they will hand an official copy to Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby in Cairo on Sunday.

Syria's state-run TV said observers visited the southern city of Daraa and the restive central city of Homs on Saturday.

The Arab League plan, which Syria agreed to on Dec. 19, demands that the government remove its security forces and heavy weapons from cities, start talks with the opposition and allow human rights workers and journalists into the country. It also calls for the release of all political prisoners.

Arab League officials say they have no illusions that Assad will stop trying to crush a street movement that has raised the most serious challenge to the 40-year rule of his family. Assad, who inherited power from his father in 2000, has denied issuing orders to kill protesters.


Bassem Mroue can be reached on


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#SciAmBlogs Wednesday - Earth's magnet, botanical nomenclature, oxycodone, Winnie-the-Pooh and more.

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It?s Wednesday ? time for the brand new Video of the Week! And lots of great blog posts:

- Davide Castelvecchi ? Book Review: Our Magnetic Earth, by Ronald Merrill


- Hannah Waters ? Botanists finally ditch Latin and paper, enter 21st century


- David Wogan ? Growth of the Alberta tar sands from 1984 to 2011


- Cassie Rodenberg ? Every drug is the ?deadliest drug,? especially oxycodone


- Maria Konnikova ? Winnie-the-Pooh and the Pervasiveness of Egocentric Bias: Why We Are All THAT Sort of Bear


- Krystal D?Costa ? Macy?s Holiday Tradition: Windows Through Time


- Kevin Zelnio ? Cave-Dwelling Invertebrates Enjoy Exotic Cuisine


- Mark Fischetti ? Tornadoes in 2011 Set Deadly Records


- Larry Greenemeier ? 1.4-Meter Organic LED TV Sets to Be Unveiled at Consumer Tech Extravaganza



Conversations on our articles and blog posts often continue on our Facebook page ? ?Like? it and join in the discussion. You can also put our official Google Plus page in your circles.

You should follow the Blog Network on Twitter ? the official account is @sciamblogs and the List of all the bloggers is @sciamblogs/sciambloggers.

Bora ZivkovicAbout the Author: Bora Zivkovic is the Blog Editor at Scientific American, chronobiologist, biology teacher, organizer of ScienceOnline conferences and editor of Open Laboratory anthologies of best science writing on the Web. Follow on Twitter @boraz.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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Friday, December 30, 2011

Watch: Chris Christie Threatens to Go 'Jersey-Style' on Iowa (ABC News)

Share With Friends: Share on FacebookTweet ThisPost to Google-BuzzSend on GmailPost to Linked-InSubscribe to This Feed | Rss To Twitter | Politics - Top Stories News, RSS and RSS Feed via Feedzilla.


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Occupy protesters arrested at Paul, Democratic HQ (AP)

DES MOINES, Iowa ? Police arrested more than a dozen Occupy protesters Thursday in Iowa who are targeting Democrats and Republicans just days before the state's closely watched lead-off presidential caucuses.

Five protesters were arrested outside the Iowa campaign headquarters of presidential contender Ron Paul in Ankeny before the group moved on to the Iowa Democratic Party headquarters in Des Moines, where 12 more were taken into custody. All were ticketed for trespassing and released.

The protests are part of an Occupy the Caucuses effort launched this week in Des Moines that has attracted activists from around the country. Many of them have promised to interrupt campaign activities, and organizers promised more confrontations on Friday with campaign offices of Republican presidential hopefuls.

Occupy the Caucuses spokeswoman Danielle Ryun, who was among those arrested at the state Democratic Party headquarters, said the goal is not to be arrested. But since campaign officials won't listen to them, protesters are willing to be arrested to get their message across, she said.

"It would be great if we could show up, issue our concerns and have the candidates acknowledge us and change their platform," she said.

Those arrested in Des Moines included a 14-year-old girl who was released to her father at the scene. On Thursday, seven protesters were arrested outside Republican Mitt Romney's Des Moines headquarters.

Iowa Democratic Party Executive Director Norm Sterzenbach said the protesters were given the opportunity to express their opinions and party officials listened to their concerns, but he said occupying the party offices was unacceptable.

"Not only does it interfere with the important work that our volunteers and staff do to engage Iowans in the political process, by physically blocking our staff from entering or exiting the building sets a very dangerous precedent," Sterzenbach said in a statement.

Protesters at Paul's campaign headquarters were protesting his proposal to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency if elected.

Ryun said the Paul campaign headquarters were locked when protesters arrived. By locking their doors, campaigns "are signaling to us that they have become disengaged," Ryun said.

A telephone message left for a Paul campaign spokesman was not returned.

At the Iowa Democratic Party's offices, protesters targeted President Barack Obama, demanding that he put a stop to home foreclosures, turn down campaign donations from Wall Street, and end indefinite detentions of detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

"They're all going to get equal play on this," Ryun said. "We are very disillusioned with every candidate."

Eight protesters were arrested at the party's offices on Dec. 19.

Police in Des Moines and Ankeny said the protesters were given the option of leaving and told if they refused they would be arrested. Police said the arrests were peaceful and no force was used.

The Occupy movement began in New York and has spread across the country. Activists generally protest the growing gap between rich and poor and corporate influence over government.


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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sacramento mayor hopes to keep momentum from Kings win

SACRAMENTO, CA - After the Sacramento Kings beat the L.A. Lakers in Monday night's season opener, city officials hope to use the energy to keep the momentum going for a new arena.

At Tuesday morning's weekly news conference, Sacramento Kevin Johnson was visibly excited; saying last night was a big win for the city.

Johnson said he hopes this is a great new start for the team in the city.

"We're in negotiations now with the NBA and the Maloofs and all the parties involved," Johnson said. "So this is a critical juncture for all of us. I'll tell you what, the Maloofs are very very optimistic, they feel that we have a chance to get it done."

The excitement from Monday's game is spilling into Thursday's Kings game against the Chicago Bulls, is a sellout. This is the first time since 2007 that the Kings sold out games back-to-back.


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Jewel?s Family Will Be On A New Alaska Reality Show

Jewel’s father Atz Kilcher has invited cameras into his home for a new reality TV series which he hopes will showcase the beauty of his native Alaska. Members of the Who Will Save Your Soul singer’s extended family will now taste TV stardom as part of Alaska: The Last Frontier. The programme will follow patriarch [...]


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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

FREE!! Lifetime Antivirus - Microsoft Security Essentials

Not sure if already added but thought of sharing as is really good and 100% FREE antivirus and anti-malware from Microsoft.

This has been there for quite some time and i have been using this for long and is really good and reliable.

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Video: Ringing up holiday sales

Mall parking lots across the U.S. were chock-full with shoppers eager to take advantage of after-Christmas sales. NBC?s Ron Mott reports.

Related Links:


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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

FIRSTweets: RT @whitehouse: Shine, Give, Share: Have a look at how the @WhiteHouse honors military families this holiday season:

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Shine, Give, Share: Have a look at how the @WhiteHouse honors military families this holiday season: whitehouse

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Update on Government of Canada's Response to Attawapiskat: Statement From Minister Duncan

By Marketwire .

Article Rating:

December 24, 2011 02:08 PM EST



OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 12/24/11 -- The Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, issued the following statement:

"Today, I am pleased to report that the retrofit of the Attawapiskat Healing Lodge is complete. Thanks to the hard work and round the clock efforts of AANDC officials, Emergency Management Ontario, the Canadian Red Cross staff and volunteers, and the community of Attawapiskat, any of the 25 families, currently living in temporary shelter now have access to a safe, warm dry shelter to sleep until the permanent housing modules arrive. In addition, work is already underway to repair the multi-family unit ATCO trailers which means that other residents will have a more comfortable place to live.

As well, the 22 modular homes purchased by the Government of Canada are en route to Moosonee, Ontario. These will all be delivered by the end of December and will be sent to Attawapiskat for installation as soon as the winter roads open.

In the meantime, our Government will continue with our action plan to address the urgent health and safety needs of the people of Attawapiskat. I am pleased that progress is being made and that working collaboratively is delivering concrete results for the community.

Our Government will continue working with the community, and our partners, to ensure the residents of Attawapiskat have access to safe and warm shelter for the coming months."

Fact Sheet - Attawapiskat action plan - Progress to date

This statement is also available on the Internet at

You can receive all our news and media updates automatically. For more information or to sign up for our Media Room RSS Feed, visit:

Fact Sheet


  --  November 9, an Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada     (AANDC) letter to the Chief of Attawapiskat First Nation confirms the     Department will provide $499,500 on an urgent basis for the renovation     of homes for some of the families living in tents and shacks.   --  November 28, AANDC officials are sent to the community to carry out an     on-the-ground assessment and they determine that there were urgent     health and safety issues.  --  November 30, as a result of the urgent health and safety needs     identified, Minister Duncan announces that a Third-Party Manager will be     put in place.  --  November 30, the Minister also orders a comprehensive and independent     audit be undertaken to identify how money has been spent and what     oversight measures have been taken over the past five years. If there     are problems identified, the Government will take action to address     them.  --  December 5, AANDC appoints a Third-Party Manager and the Third-Party     Manager's work commences.  --  December 11, AANDC announces the Department will provide 22 modular     homes for families in Attawapiskat First Nation. The homes will be     delivered to the community via winter road as soon as they open.  --  December 10 and 12, 20 high-efficiency wood stoves and 10 composting     toilets, purchased by AANDC, for families living in temporary shelters,     arrive in the community.  --  December 12, AANDC requests the Canadian Red Cross conduct an assessment     of work required to retrofit the Healing Lodge and to repair the De     Beers ATCO trailers to provide access to warm, dry, safe shelter to     Attawapiskat residents in need.  --  December 13, 14, 16 and 17, other material provided by the Red Cross and     EMO, including plastic sheeting, fire extinguishers, styrofoam and other     supplies, are delivered to the community.  --  December 14, a flight carrying rugs, smoke and carbon monoxide     detectors, and cots arrives in the community.  --  December 16, another shipment of essential emergency supplies heads to     Attawapiskat First Nation by plane. The shipment includes necessary     supplies such as styrofoam insulation, beds, diesel generators and     drywall.  --  December 16, Chief and Council agree to the Canadian Red Cross plan to     retrofit the Healing Lodge.  --  December 20, the first of the 22 modular homes AANDC is providing to     Attawapiskat First Nation are completed, and shipped from Fredericton,     New Brunswick, where they were manufactured, to Ontario, where they will     be stored until the winter road is ready.  --  December 20, renovation supplies are flown to Attawapiskat.  --  December 20, work to retrofit the Healing Lodge in Attawapiskat begins.     A team, made up of various technical experts, is on the ground and     working to ensure the Healing Lodge is comfortable and ready for any of     the 25 families currently living in temporary shelter. Experts will     ensure there is a supply of potable water, effective electrical, heating     and fire systems, and a fully operational plumbing system in the Healing     Lodge.  --  December 22, additional shipment of renovation supplies is transported     by air to Attawapiskat.  

Date: December 24, 2011


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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Sustainability, Environment & Safety *Engineering* - *Summer* *Internship* - Ford Motor Company (United States)

Job Title Sustainability, Environment & Safety Engineering - Summer Internship
Location Dearborn
Company Ford Motor Company
Job Description At Ford Motor Company, we are dedicated to designing, manufacturing and selling high quality vehicles that meet the diverse needs of our customers. We believe our employees and the different perspectives that they bring to the business are the driving force behind our success. Come discover a company that is focused on the quality of our vehicles, the environment, the community and the world in which we live.

Sustainability, Environment & Safety Engineering is responsible for ensuring that our automotive products and facilities meet or exceed the environmental and vehicle safety regulations of all of the countries in which we do business around the world. We also seek sustainable business strategies that strengthen our business while enhancing the world around us both environmentally and socially.

We are seeking qualified internship candidates for our Automotive Safety Office (ASO), Environmental Quality Office (EQO), and Vehicle Homologation & Compliance (VH&C) staffs. In EQO, we ensure that all of our Company production facilities comply with environmental requirements. We also implement innovative environmental initiatives to reduce waste and pollution. In VH&C and ASO, we ensure that our cars and trucks comply with all US vehicle emission, fuel economy, and safety regulations. We actively contribute technical advice to government agencies regarding environment and safety rulemaking. We also provide technical analysis to corporate counsel on product liability lawsuits.

As a summer intern, you would participate in various projects related to our functions during a 12-week assignment. Preferred candidates have outstanding interpersonal, leadership and communication skills and, entering the internship, will have completed at least their Junior year of an undergraduate engineering program (mechanical, electrical, chemical, or environmental engineering).


Our employees are the driving force behind our success. Find out what it is like to be part of ONE TEAM. By choice, we are an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to a culturally diverse workforce.

Candidates for positions with Ford Motor Company must be legally authorized to work in the United States . Verification of employment eligibility will be required at the time of hire. Visa sponsorship is not
available for this position.

To be considered for this position you must apply to our website at to the stated title above. Thank You!

Apply to job &nbspSend to friend Save to cart View similar jobs


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PFT: Week 17 flex decision will come Monday

New York Giants v Dallas CowboysGetty Images

Since 2006, the league has been using a flexible schedule on Sunday nights to ensure that a competitive and interesting game always will occupy the prime-time slot.? In most weeks of flex scheduling, the decision comes at least 12 days before the games are played.? For Week 17, the decision usually is made after the full Week 16 slate of games has been played, and it?s unveiled no later than six days before the final Sunday.

Unlike all other weeks of flexible scheduling, no game has even tentatively been placed in the 8:20 p.m. ET time slot.? Instead, all games have a 1:00 p.m. or 12:00 p.m. local time kickoff (for three games due to start at 4:15 p.m. ET, it?s a 1:15 p.m. local start), and the NFL will choose one of those 16 games to be the final act of the regular season, since no Monday night game is played in Week 17.

The goal every year becomes finding a game with clear playoff implications that can?t be resolved based on the outcomes of games played earlier in the day.? And that?s not always an easy thing to do.

Last year, only the Seahawks and Rams provided a clear-cut pre-playoff game, with the winner capturing the NFC West and the loser being bounced from the postseason field ? regardless of the final score of any other game played that day.

This year, a game with obvious playoff implications regardless of what happens elsewhere could be hard to find.? Here?s a quick glance at the potential relevance of each game.

Redskins at Eagles:? Since Philly?s shot at winning the NFC East would hinge (if it survives Week 16) on the Giants beating the Cowboys, this game could be irrelevant.

Lions at Packers:? Green Bay?s clinching of the top seed, if they don?t have it after this weekend, would come if the 49ers lose to the Rams in Week 17.? Also, losses by other teams would deliver a Detroit playoff berth, if Detroit doesn?t clinch it this weekend.? Then again, whether the Packers have the No. 1 or No. 2 seed really isn?t that big of a deal in the grander scheme of things.

Ravens at Bengals:? Depending on the Week 16 games, this game could have implications for the AFC North title, the No. 2 seed, and the final wild-card berth.? But those implications could become irrelevant based on the other games played in Week 17, which makes this game less attractive for prime time.

Jets at Dolphins:? Again, Week 16 will provide more clarity.? With the Jets and Bengals each 8-6, however, it?s unlikely that the Jets will have a clear win-and-in, lose-and-leave scenario that would apply regardless of what the Bengals do against the Ravens.

Panthers at Saints:? New Orleans could be playing for the No. 2 seed and/or the NFC South crown, but those could be decided via losses earlier in the day by the Falcons or the 49ers.

Buccaneers at Falcons:? If the Falcons still haven?t clinched a playoff berth after Monday night, losses by others could deliver the spot earlier in the day on January 1.

49ers at Rams:? San Fran is jockeying for the No. 2 or No. 1 seed, which if still relevant after Week 16 could be completely irrelevant before 8:20 p.m. ET in Week 17.

Bills at Patriots:? The Pats are playing for the top seed, but the outcomes of the Steelers and Ravens games could strip this one of any remaining relevance.

Colts at Jaguars:? It?s very highly unlikely that the league would want to showcase the ?Suck for Luck? finale.? In 2008, for example, the NFL had no interest in televising in prime time the Lions? date with 0-16 destiny.

Titans at Texans:? Houston has an outside shot at a bye, but it will depend on the Steelers and Ravens games from earlier in the day.

Bears at Vikings:? This one would be attractive in prime time only for anyone who stayed up too late and drank too much on New Year?s Eve and doesn?t want to miss anything important.

Cowboys at Giants:? If the Giants beat the Jets on Saturday, the NFC East likely will hinge on this game, with the loser most likely being done.? It could be one of the best candidates for the prime-time slot, based on the clarity provided by Week 16.

Steelers at Browns:? Um, no.

Chiefs at Broncos:? The Broncos definitely will win the AFC West by beating the Chiefs.? The only problem is that the Broncos could nail it down before 8:20 p.m. ET on January 1, making the game irrelevant.

Seahawks at Cardinals:? It could be one of the best games of the day.? But it very likely will have zero relevance to the postseason.

Chargers at Raiders:? With the Broncos able to win the division by beating the Chiefs, there?s no reason to hold this one ? unless somehow it would present a clear-cut win-and-in for a wild-card berth for one of the two teams.

And so, for now, it appears that the best candidates are Cowboys-Giants and Chiefs-Broncos.? We?ll know more by Monday night.

In the end, there?s a chance that the NFL will simply have to assume a calculated risk that one or more of the outcomes earlier in the day will screw up the New Year?s Night party on NBC.

UPDATE 10:04 a.m. ET:? For those of you who have asked via Twitter or otherwise, CBS and FOX cannot protect games in Week 17.? But, as we all learned a few weeks ago, the failure or inability to protect a game doesn?t mean they won?t try.


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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Android Central staff #FollowFriday holiday edition

Follow the leaders

One of the few times throughout the year when there won't be a mountain of Android news is coming up.  We're talking about Christmas, of course, when the western world takes a few days off and we eat too much, drink too much, and spend time with our loved ones.  Everyone here at AC is stoked at the thought of all the Android phones and tablets that will be unwrapped come Christmas morning, and we'll be sure to be watching our friends and followers on Google+ and Twitter to see how their holidays are going.  Join in the fun, and give us a shout to let us know how you're enjoying your holidays, or just to say hey.  Without you guys we wouldn't have near as much fun doing what we do here, and we appreciate each and every one of you.


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News Analysis: Oil Sands Pipeline Seems Likely to Endure

[unable to retrieve full-text content]A presidential vow to kill the pipeline if Congress rushes a decision will hardly be a death knell, officials say.


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Friday, December 23, 2011

Facebook Study: Why people friend and unfriend each other (Yahoo! News)

"Offensive comments" top the list of reasons for unfriending

Still hurting over being unfriended on?Facebook? If?William Shatner can't make you feel better, maybe knowing the reason why you got the boot can give you peace of mind. A recent?study by NM Incite reveals the most common reasons why users friend (and unfriend) people on the?social network, and it could help you pinpoint where you went wrong along the way.

Receiving offensive comments and not knowing much about the other person are the top two motives for removing others on Facebook, followed by sales talk and depressing comments. And, even if people with thousands of friends make us wonder if they go on friend adding sprees sometimes, personal acquaintanceship is still the top reason why users add each other on the site. Knowing someone through mutual friends or through a business network comes next on the list.

The study also reveals that men and women generally have different activities on the site, with women using Facebook more as a creative outlet, a source of?coupons and promos, and a way to give products or services positive feedback. Men, on the other hand, use the social network to connect with business contacts, to find a job, or to find a?new romantic interest.

Why were you unfriended?

Source via?Geekosystem

This article was written by Mariella Moon and originally appeared on Tecca

More from Tecca:


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Sunday, December 18, 2011

HBT: Are Cardinals in play for Fielder?

After Albert Pujols signed with the Angels, the assumption was that the Cardinals would move Lance Berkman to first base and potentially make a play for free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran. However, in a series of tweets this morning, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch indicates that any such plan isn?t necessarily set in stone.


We?ve heard some conflicting reports this week about whether the Cubs are actually a legitimate suitor for Fielder. The Blue Jays have been mentioned, but we can probably rule them out if they land Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish. The Mariners and Orioles are also believed to be in the mix, but it?s not known whether either club would be willing to give him the massive long-term contract he desires. Fielder doesn?t turn 28 until May, so it?s not inconceivable that he could take a shorter deal and test free agency again in a couple of years, but it?s also possible that his agent Scott Boras is just trying to get more teams involved in the conversation.


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Autom The Diet Robot Now Shipping In Time Nog Season

Screen Shot 2011-12-15 at 8.27.16 AMI've been following Autom for years now, first interfacing with this happy little robot in China and then watching her grow into a young, intelligent diet robot. What does she do? She's designed to help you lose weight by talking to you every day and getting to know your habits and peccadilloes. Autom sits on your counter and asks what you're eating. You tell her, through on-screen prompts, and she reminds you to weigh yourself and gives you moral support. Although you wouldn't think a little plastic robot could help people shed the pounds, you'd be surprised by what a non-judgmental, plastic baby can do for your self-esteem. During testing, users began to dress their robots up in funny clothes and came to consider them friends.


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