Asus warranty won’t cover damages in case of alien invasion

Do you lie awake at night expecting aliens to invade our planet? Perhaps you have nightmares after watching “Mars attacks!” or think Jell-O is now yuck after seeing “The green slime.”

Chances are, regardless of whether you are anxious about aliens or not, that it’s not something you think about when you buy a new computer or gadget. For example, have you ever thought about whether the warranty of your brand new computer is valid if (when?) the aliens arrive?

If that’s you, you should definitely not expect Taiwanese computer, component, and gadget manufacturer Asus to help.

Under the heading “Exclusions from your ASUS Warranty Extension Program including the WEP On-Site NBD Limited Hardware Warranty Service” we can read some of the usual things you would expect to find in this text…

But as we continue down the list of exclusions something more unusual appears: “There is damage caused by natural disaster, intentional or unintentional misuse, acts of war, space invasions, abuse, neglect, improper maintenance, or use under abnormal conditions.”

Uh, OK.

Thanks, Ursarodinia

Sarah Palin was as ignorant of foreign policy, military command, as you thought she was

Sarah Palin believed that the Queen rather than the prime minister was responsible for the decision to keep British forces in Iraq, according to research done for a new film chronicling her brief political rise.

The former Alaska governor reportedly made the comment during the 2008 presidential campaign as aides to John McCain, the Republican candidate, scrambled to bring his surprise-pick running mate up to speed on foreign affairs.

Her confusion emerged during a coaching session with Steve Schmidt, a top McCain adviser, who asked Mrs Palin what she would do if Britain began to waver in its commitment to the Iraq war.

In one of the many rambling responses that steadily eroded her credibility during the campaign, Mrs Palin reportedly replied that she would “continue to have an open dialogue” with the Queen…

The incident was revealed during research for Game Change, an HBO ‘docu-drama’ based on a book about the 2008 campaign by two leading American journalists.

While the film is a dramatisation – with the Oscar-nominated actress Julianne Moore playing Mrs Palin – its producers conducted dozens of research interviews and Mr Schmidt confirmed its accuracy in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

The incident can be added to a long list of policy gaffes made by Mrs Palin during her three months as the Republican vice-presidential candidate…

Game Change describes panicked cramming sessions during the campaign, with aides beginning their history tutorial with the Spanish Civil War and carrying through to post-9/11 era.

Mrs Palin was initially enthusiastic, making notes on hundreds of coloured flash cards, but became increasingly sullen and was described by tutors as going into a “catatonic stupor“.

Perhaps a catatonic stupor might be less embarrassing to the Republican Party than the confidently 19th Century noises brayed by the current herd of presidential candidates?

Aurora borealis + volcano = outstanding Pic of the Day

British photographer, James Appleton from Cambridge, has spent the past seven years capturing the volatile landscapes of Iceland – and was rewarded with shots of an erupting volcano and the northern lights. He says: “I became aware of the Fimmvörðuháls volcano through a friend of mine who is an Icelandic vulcanologist. I knew immediately I had to try and get out to see it. On the plane flying over to Iceland I had in my mind’s eye the perfect image I wanted to see, which was exactly this combination of an erupting volcano and the Aurora Borealis. I never dared to hope it might actually happen, but seeing it for real put all the hairs on the back of my neck up. When I saw the photographs come through the camera I was jumping around with excitement.”


German MPs back human rights activist to be next president

Sigmar Gabriel, Social Democrats + Joachim Gauck + Angela Merkel, Christian Democrats
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

Germany’s government and the two major opposition parties have said they will jointly nominate Joachim Gauck, a human rights activist originally from East Germany, to be the country’s next president.

Angela Merkel said her coalition government, and the centre-left opposition had rallied behind Gauck, 72, who was initially proposed by the opposition Social Democrats and Greens.

He is not a member of a political party.

“What moves me the most, is that a man who was still born during the gloomy, dark war, who grew up and lived 50 years in a dictatorship … is now called to become the head of state,” Gauck said. “This is of course a very special day in my life.”

Christian Wulff, 52, resigned as president on Friday after two months of allegations about receiving loans on favourable terms and hotel stays from friends when he was state governor of Lower Saxony. He was Merkel’s candidate when elected less than two years ago…

When Wulff resigned, Merkel immediately said she would work with the Social Democrats and Greens to find a consensus candidate to succeed him…

The chancellor said that clergymen such as Gauck – a former Lutheran priest – were at the forefront of the protests that eventually brought down the east German regime.

Claudia Roth, the Greens’ leader, said “Gauck will restore the respect for the office, will restore dignity,” to the presidency, which had become tainted by Wulff’s actions.

Isn’t it interesting how a nation which parallels so many of our circumstances in the United States figures out how to take different directions, grow and even prosper in hard times.

Now, a discredited politicians leaves office. The leftwing opposition proposes a replacement. The conservative government accepts he would be the best solution for country – and that’s what counts.

Anyone even imagine this happening in the United States with the clown show we have in Congress?

Despite year-old court order, kids in tainted daycare still not being regularly tested for mercury poisoning

Catherine Cuffy and son Garrett at the Franklin Township site after demolition

Despite a judge’s order more than a year ago, the children who inhaled toxic mercury vapors in the infamous former Kiddie Kollege day care still have not been monitored for potential medical problems.

The story attracted national attention in July 2006, after New Jersey inspectors discovered babies and children playing inside a heavily contaminated Gloucester County building that had once been a thermometer factory.

Kiddie Kollege has become a frequently cited cautionary tale as laws have been adopted to keep other children from being subjected to toxins. But the 100 who were exposed over two years at the Franklin Township day care and nursery school have been nearly forgotten in a bitter court fight that is again gathering steam…

“I keep wondering how our kids got lost in the system,” said Catherine Cuffy, whose son, Garrett, attended Kiddie Kollege from age 18 months to 3.

“Other than demolish the building, they haven’t done anything for the children,” Cuffy said. “There was no follow-up to find out ‘did the mercury affect them, and how?”

When the state Department of Health tested the children’s urine in the weeks after the day care was closed, Garrett’s had an elevated level of the toxin. Subsequent tests showed the levels had dropped…

Years of litigation led to a stormy three-month trial and a Jan. 11, 2011, verdict by New Jersey Superior Court Judge James Rafferty. All of the defendants were negligent, he said, because they knew of the contamination before the day care obtained approvals to open.

Rafferty, who delayed his retirement to finish the case, ordered the defendants to contribute to a $1.5 million fund for neuropsychological tests until the children reached age 24. Relying upon expert medical testimony, the judge said there was a need for early detection and treatment if health problems emerged.

But the testing was never launched.

Some of the necessary funds are already in escrow. RTFA and you need a scorecard to figure out which combination of lawyers, politicians, property-owners sucks the most. No one seems to give a damn about kids.

It’s been a year since the testing was ordered to start and none of that seems to be as important as shuffling the stacks of money required to guarantee the tests – with lawyers taking a cut at every hearing.