Sunday, January 31, 2010

Watchdog: Wall Street Bailout Created MORE Risk

Just when we were starting to believe that the US government's huge TARP "bailout" of several Wall Street giants was working comes a disconcerting new report. According to the Treasury Department's own "watchdog" -- inspector Neil Barofsky -- the government's actions during the financial meltdown significantly increased the risks of an even worse economic crisis in the future. He also says that the problems that created the crisis in the first place have not been fixed, and in some cases have even gotten worse. He also questions the programs overall effectiveness, saying that it has not led to increased bank lending or a decrease in home foreclosures, two of its major goals

According to Barofsky:

"Even if TARP saved our financial system from driving off a cliff back in 2008, absent meaningful reform, we are still driving on the same winding mountain road, but this time in a faster car..."

Since the $700 billion bailout was launched, the large national banks and other "too big to fail" organizations have gotten bigger, continue to overpay their executives, and continue taking on too much risk because they believe the government will save them again if things go bad. According to Barofsky his group of investigators is also looking into nearly 80 cases of possible criminal fraud involving things like tax evasion, mortgage lending, payment collection, insider trading, and public corruption.

Learn some mo': Bailout cop: TARP's not working

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Experts Say Las Vegas Can Recover

A handful or respected experts believe that Las Vegas can make an economic recovery within the next couple of years despite its current problems. Speaking at the Greater Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce's 2010 "Preview Las Vegas" event, Rob Lang of the Brookings Institute said that Vegas's glut of commercial and residential real estate will actually help the city in the long run. That's because deals on everything from office space, to retail space, to large houses will attract huge numbers of people, especially small business owners and older retired or semi-retired Americans. Good climate and low taxes will continue to help re-invigorate the local economy as well. Lang also mentioned a few other reasons why there's reason to be optimistic about a Las Vegas recovery, including huge investments in renewable energy development in Southern Nevada and the growing "carbon market" in Europe and Japan.

Lang said that there are several steps that must be taken to ensure Las Vegas's and Nevada's economic future:

-- Don't allow a sense of gloom to turn Vegas into an "un-fun" destination
-- Make strategic investments in human capital & higher education
-- Develop regional partnerships, especially on issues like solar energy development
-- Improve transportation links between Los Angeles and Phoenix.
-- Continue to promote Las Vegas as a global business city, especially in terms of conventions

While the economic problems in the US and the world continue to hurt Las Vegas more than most other places, there is certainly a ray of light appearing at the end of the tunnel. Many experts believe that once America's economy begins to re-stabilize millions of stressed out people will be looking for simple and relatively inexpensive ways to travel and "let loose". Vegas is and will continue to be America's Playground and one of the world's top destinations for fun and relaxation. There's a good chance the the city will return to economic prosperity as people from around the world begin to take advantages of the incredible deals and bargains to be had, in everything from real estate, to homes, to hotel rooms and world-class restaurants!

Learn some mo': Dreary reality aside, optimists make case for Vegas revival

Thursday, January 28, 2010

J.D. Salinger Dies

J.D. Salinger, one of the greatest writers in American history, has died at 91 years of age.... R.I.P. J.D.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Apples Launches the iPad

More than 20 years after the Newton, Apple as finally released another tablet computer system called the iPad. CEO Steve Jobs called it a mix between a smart phone and a laptop at a press conference today in San Francisco. The first versions of the device will be available to the public at the end of March for about $500. The light, half-inch thick iPad can be used for working online, reading books (like an Amazon Kindle), watching videos, listening to music, or playing videos games. It has both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity built-in and, according to Jobs, features a battery that'll last up to 10 hours and even hold a charge for a month. The iPad will run all iPhone apps and will have a number of its own apps available to the public soon.

Despite the excitement, iPad already has a lot of critics, many claiming that there are good reasons why tablet computers have never "caught on" the way many people thought they would. In fact, Gizmodo already is saying that the iPad sucks! And, of course, the iTampon jokes are already rolling out at full speed... :)

We think that the Apple iPad seems like a very interesting new device. Plus, we always love to see yet another competitor jump into the ring... especially just as the "smartphone wars" are really beginning to heat up. That can only be good for innovation and lower prices!

Learn some mo': Apple's latest creation: It's an iPad!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Google Nexus One: Is It the BEST Smartphone?

Lots of people (including us!) want an answer to this question: what is the best smartphone currently available? Is it the Apple iPhone? The Motorola Droid? The Blackberry? According to Google and its legions of loyal fans, it's none of the above. Without a doubt, they say, the Google Nexus One is the best smartphone on the market!

Fans of the new device say it's small, thin, light, and ultra-useful. It has one of the best OLED screens available which provides the richest colors of any cell phone out there. It's big 1GHz processor provides all the computing power of its rival the iPhone. Which is good because the Nexus One comes with a bunch of great Google apps, plus the number of Android apps on the marketplace is exploding. Many experts believe it will soon catch up to Apple in that department.

Even the Nexus One's strange trackball because incredibly useful once you learn how to manipulate it. The on-screen keyboard also takes some getting used to but most users eventually grow to like it. For the most part, the phone is enjoyable to use once you get the hang of it.

In the end, the Google Nexus One may very well be the best smartphone in the world right now. Many iPhone users will certainly disagree, but one thing's for certain: Google will only continue to improve its product in the coming months and years. It should be fun to watch Google, Apple, Motorola, RIM, and others battle it out for supremacy in the smartphone world!

Learn some mo': Google Nexus One: Almost the best smartphone

Monday, January 25, 2010

Plasma Jet: The Ultimate in Painless Dentistry

A new device called a "plasma jet" could soon be used to treat dental cavities without the need for a dentist's drill and fillings. The space-age plasma gun shoots a low-temperature beam of electrically-charged oxygen atoms into small cavities in your teeth, killing the bacteria that cause them and allowing the tooth to heal naturally. Unlike a drill, the plasma jet is non-invasive and pain-free... great news for the millions of people around the world who fear the dentist's chair!

Learn some mo': Plasma jet 'could cut dentist pain'

Special note: Using toothpastes and chewing gum flavored with xylitol has been shown to be a natural way to prevent tooth decay and possibly even allow your teeth to "fix" cavities on their own (aka enamel "remineralization"). Now that's what we call totally painless dentistry!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Drunk Idiot Diverts Las Vegas Flight

A United Airlines flight on its way to Las Vegas had to be diverted to Denver mid-flight yesterday? The reason? A drunk idiot tried to open one of the exterior doors on the plane. Police say they took the man into custody at the gate at Denver International. After getting the inebriated passenger off the plane it continued on to McCarran International Airport with the other 129 passengers who weren't trying to open doors and kill everyone onboard.

We think that Las Vegas (our hometown) has enough problems right now without drunken wackos doing stuff like this and scaring tourists. So, if you're coming to Vegas, please wait to get stumbling-drunk until after you're off the plane. Thank you!

Learn some mo': Another day, another drunk passenger tries to open the aircraft door mid-flight

Friday, January 22, 2010


Conan O'Brien fans are speaking out online more loudly and more clearly every day. Here's the latest from Conan's web army:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Quit Smoking, Double Your Chances of Surviving Cancer!

People diagnosed with lung cancer can double their chances of survival by quitting smoking early on, according to new research from the UK. This is great news because it's the first hard evidence showing that kicking the smoking habit can significantly improve a lung cancer patient's odds of survival. According to health researcher Amanda Parsons of the U.K. Centre for Tobacco Control Studies:
"The message is you should never give up on giving up (smoking)... Even at the stage where you have been diagnosed with early stage lung cancer ... if you give up smoking, your body can still partially recover and your risk is reduced."
Lung cancer is the most common form of cancer in the world. Hopefully this new research will help to make it a little less deadly for millions of smokers around the world!

Learn some mo': Quitting smoking may double cancer survival

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Funky Monkey: Costa Rica's Coolest Lodge?

The Funky Monkey is a pretty interesting hotel/lodge/hostel in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. According to its web site, it's located on a piece of real estate that's 200 meters north of the soccer field and 130 meters east of the surf shop. It's also really dang close to the beach, which is always a good thing when you're in Central America! According to most reviews, the Funky Monkey is a good place to stay when you're on the Nicoya Peninsula. Of course one review on TripAdvisor called it a "nightmare hostel" -- and the owner is Argentinian -- so do your own research before you book a room there! Also, we're not sure if this is related to another Costa Rican "Monkey Bar" (with super hot lingerie models) in Jaco but we kinda hope so...

Learn some mo': The Funky Monkey Costa Rica

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sexy Model Kiana Kim Gets a Web Site!

Pete Rose's sexy girlfriend Kiana Kim finally has her own web site. Fans of this beautiful Korean model should be very happy. They can now see her near-perfect, Jordan Yuam-honed body in all its glory. Hopefully the handful of photos she has there will tide them over until she appears in Playboy sometime later this year. Stay tuned for more about this ridiculously hot Asian model...

Learn some mo': Kiana Kim dot Com


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Big Recall: Tylenol, Motrin and St. Joseph's Aspirin

Johnson & Johnson has started a huge recall of many of its most-popular products because of a "moldy" smell that is making people sick.. They include its extremely popular over-the-counter pain-killers: Tylenol, Motrin and St. Joseph's aspirin. In some cases people have experienced stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. Apparently the smell comes from a chemical that is used to treat wooden pallets and has been traced back to a facility in Puerto Rico.

Obviously, if you have any of these products in your home you should check to see if they are part of the "bad" batches being recalled!

Learn some mo': Johnson & Johnson Issues Massive Recall of Tylenol, Rolaids, Motrin, and Other Over the Counter Drugs

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti Text Donations Helping Earthquake Victims

With news that as many as 50,000 people could have been killed by the recent earthquake in Haiti, many around the world are looking for ways to send help as fast as possible. Several international relief organizations have set up systems where people can actually "text" donations to Haiti. For example, anyone can donate $10 to the Red Cross simply by texting the word "HAITI" to the number 90999. So far US cell phone users have sent nearly $4 million dollars to the Red Cross to help rescue efforts in the devastated Caribbean nation. It's already become the large "mobile donation" campaign in history. Haitian musician Wyclef Jean's foundation "Yele" is also taking donations via text messages. If you don't want to text your contribution you can also donate online or via phone to several other aid groups, including CARE.

Learn some mo':

Donating by Text: Haiti Fundraising Goes Viral

How to Help the Haiti Earthquake Victims


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"Wave" of Online Support for Conan O'Brien

Embattled late night talk show host Conan O'Brien is receiving a giant wave of support on the Internet. In fact, it's quite possible that -- aside from Barack Obama -- no one else in history has received the kind of web-based support Conan is getting in his struggle against Jay Leno and NBC. On blogs, forums, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, online news editorial sections, polls, and just about every other possible online opinion outlet people are venting their anger about the current fiasco going on at NBC. Even several well-know celebrities are showing their Conan-support in their Twitter accounts and blog updates.

Yesterday The Consumerist blog published the email addresses of several NBC execs in the hope that readers would launch an email "carpet bomb" to let them know how pissed off people are that Conan might be forced out of his gig at The Tonight Show. It seems that the Conan vs. Leno battle is boosting interest in both comedians and their current talk shows. Many people expect to see a big late-night ratings boost for NBC while this bizarre drama/train-wreck plays out.

None of this really surprises us here at Buzz Punching. Conan is a comedic genius who's also a super nice guy. Leno's an egomaniac meanie. Who do you think the online community's going to rally around? All we can say is: GO CONAN!!!

Learn some mo': On the Web, a Wave of Support for Conan O'Brien

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Big Butt, Less Belly Fat = Longer Life

People who have big butts and thick thighs -- and less stomach fat -- may enjoy longer, healthier lives, according to new research from the UK. No one's 100% sure why but experts believe that lower body "gluteofemoral" fat may trap dangerous fatty acids and even secrete health-protecting compounds. People with "pear-shaped" bodies also usually have lower levels of inflammation-related compounds called cytokines, which may increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Other powerful substances like good "HDL" cholesterol, bad "LDL" cholesterol, and the hormone leptin also seem to play big roles in the phenomenon.

One thing's for sure: butt/thigh fat is definitely better than belly fat, which has been shown in many recent studies to greatly increase a person's chances of heart disease and other serious health problems. Further research will hopefully lead to better solutions for treating obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other related problems.

Learn some mo': Why those fat thighs may help you live longer


Monday, January 11, 2010

Electric Ford Focus Coming

Ford Motor Co. unveiled a new all-electric version of its Focus car today at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, MI. They call it a "world-beating" next generation electric vehicle that will be competitively priced with other similar autos such as Chevrolet's Volt. Maybe the most interesting thing about this new car is that it will be built in a Michigan factory that used to produce gas-guzzling SUVs, showing how much things have changed due to a poor world economy and rising gas prices.

Learn some mo': Ford to sell electric Focus next year

Sunday, January 10, 2010

"Light Touch" Projector Turns Any Surface Into a Touch Screen!

A UK company called Light Blue Optics has created a new device that can turn any nearby surface into small touch screen. It's been unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and it's getting a lot of buzz right now. The "Light Touch" device is basically a small projector that uses holographic laser projection and infrared (IR) sensors to create a virtual screen that senses multi-touch gestures. So instead of carrying a laptop around you could possibly just carry this pocket-sized device and setup a virtual "workstation" on any nearby table or wall.

Sounds very good to us. Even the little netbooks become a pain to carry eventually! No word yet on whether or not the Light Touch kills germs on restaurant tables...

Learn some mo': The interactive projector that turns any surface into a touch screen

Saturday, January 9, 2010

US Solar Company Will Build Plants in China

Looks the US is finally going to sell something to China! California solar energy company eSolar Inc. has announced that it will help build several solar thermal power plants in China, a major polluter that wants to decrease its reliance on dirty energy sources (mainly coal, gas, and oil). The power farms will cost about $5 billion dollars and will be able to produce about 2000 megawatts of energy when completed, not an insignificant amount of juice.

This is a good step forward, both for international trade and the world's climate!

Learn some mo': ESolar lands 2,000-megawatt deal in China

Friday, January 8, 2010

Free Cell Phone Calls from magicJack on the Way?

The company that makes the popular magicJack gadget has released a new version that allows users to make free cell phone calls in their homes. They've just announced it at the Consumers Electronics Show in Las Vegas and the news is taking the blog-o-sphere by storm. The new device is basically a small personal "cell tower" that uses radio frequencies normally reserved for cellular carriers to communicate with a mobile phone in the house. All you need is a broadband internet connection, a PC computer, and a compatible cell phone.

According to the company, when you use the new magicJack your calls are not routed through your mobile carrier's local cell tower, meaning that no minutes/credits are deducted from your account. In the case of international calls, small fees are subtracted from a special magicJack account under your name, not you cellular service account. The product will sell for around $40 and will be available around April or May of 2010.

Learn some mo':

Free Cell Phone Calls With New MagicJack!
MagicJack Harnesses Femtocell for VoIP

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Pomegranate Fights Breast Cancer

Powerful chemicals found in the pomegranate fruit may help to reduce the risk of breast cancer in some women. New research from California found that ellagic acid, a phytonutrient found in the fruit, can inhibit an enzyme that can lead to "estrogen-responsive" breast cancer. According to researcher Shiuan Chen:
"We were surprised by our findings... We previously found other fruits, such as grapes, to be capable of the inhibition of aromatase. But, phytochemicals in pomegranates and in grapes are different."
Obviously more research is needed to find out if pomegranate will actually provide significant protection in humans, but this news is very promising. Until then, if you're worried about developing hormone-dependent breast cancer, you might want to consider eating more pomegranate and/or taking a pomegranate-extract diet supplement.

Learn some mo': Natural compounds in pomegranates may prevent growth of breast cancer

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Spanking Kids Makes Them More Well-Adjusted

Adults who remember being spanked as children tend to be more well-adjusted than those who don't, according to new research from Calvin College. Professor Marjorie Gunnoe -- who has studied spanking for over 10 years -- says that children who are spanked on their rear-ends with an open hand tend to do better academically, are more optimistic later in life, and even do more volunteer work! This research directly contradicts claims by some supposed "experts" that spanked children tend to be more aggressive and have other development problems.

To us, it sounds like this new research just supports what most parents the world over know in their hearts: a good spanking every now and then -- at the right moment -- teaches kids what is right and wrong and can help to keep them from becoming juvenile delinquents and/or loser adults!

Learn some mo': Is spanking children OK?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

513 Pound Tuna = $177,000

Need to make a lot of money fast? Then go out and catch yourself a giant tuna! A humongous bluefin tuna caught of the coast of Japan was sold at auction today for 16.2 million yen, or $177,000 dollars. It's the most paid for a single tuna since 2001. Apparently the big tuna was immediately chopped up and made into sushi at restaurants Japan and Hong Kong.


Learn some mo': Giant tuna fetches £111,000 at Tokyo auction

Monday, January 4, 2010

"Boat Tail" Increases Car's Miles Per Gallon by 15.1%

Want to improve your car's MPG and save a lot of money on gasoline this year? Then consider adding a "boat tail" to it! That's what a guy named Darin Cosgrove did to his 1998 Geo Metro/Pontiac Firefly. Using nothing but some aluminum framing, cardboard, and duct tape he was able to cut the car's drag coefficient significantly, making it more aerodynamic. This translated into a fuel efficiency boost of over 15%... a very nice improvement that will make it a lot cheaper to run!

Learn some mo':

Guy Adds Boat Tail to Car, Increases MPG by 15.1%

Project: Geo Metro boat tail prototype - 15% MPG improvement @ 90 kph / 56 mph

Friday, January 1, 2010

Expert Tips to Keep Those Resolutions

There's a new article buzzing around the web entitled: How to Keep Your New Year's Resolutions: Advice from the Experts. Needless to say it's pretty popular today and probably will be for the rest of the week. Here's a quick rundown of the "expert" advice for keeping your New Year's resolutions:

1. Be honest with yourself.

2. Quit cold turkey... at first.

3. Practice mindfulness to increase willpower.

4. Don't punish yourself for failure.

5. Surround yourself with positive people (role models).

Pretty good stuff, huh?

Learn some mo': Keep Your New Year's Resolutions