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From the captions: "China is now the world’s second-biggest economy, but some of its provinces by themselves would rank fairly high in the global league. Our map shows the nearest equivalent country. For example, Guangdong’s GDP (at market exchange rates) is almost as big as Indonesia's; the output of both Jiangsu and Shandong exceeds Switzerland's."
"What about other economic yardsticks? Guangdong exports abroad as much as South Korea, Jiangsu as much as Taiwan. Shanghai’s GDP per person is as high as Saudi Arabia's (at purchasing-power parity, or PPP), though still well below that in China's special regions of Hong Kong and Macau. At the other extreme, poor Guizhou has an income per head close to that of India. Note that these figures use the same PPP conversion rate for the whole of China, yet prices are likely to be lower in poorer provinces than they are in richer ones, thus slightly reducing regional inequality."
Interactive version here.
LEGOLAND California will be the first of three parks to launch the Star Wars Miniland, including six scenes from the movie series, and one from The Clone Wars, comprised of about 2,000 individual models, over 1.5 million bricks and and built in 1:20 scale.
Starbucks just unveiled a new logo to commemorate its 40th anniversary and, judging by the look of things, it seems to have nailed it. The image of the siren is so iconic that the text itself had become redundant. Simplifying the image and distancing the brand from the word “coffee” enables the company to expand its portfolio into new arenas such as ice cream and bottled beverages without cannibalizing the brand’s cache.
The jet-black helmet, mask and armor worn by the intergalactic villain are expected to sell for between 160,000 pounds and 230,000 pounds ($250,000 and $365,000) at a sale of pop culture memorabilia next month. The costume is made for "The Empire Strikes Back," the second film in George Lucas's sci-fi series, released in 1980. [ link ]
"Robot drivers react faster than humans, have 360-degree perception and do not get distracted, sleepy or intoxicated, the engineers argue. They speak in terms of lives saved and injuries avoided — more than 37,000 people died in car accidents in the United States in 2008. The engineers say the technology could double the capacity of roads by allowing cars to drive more safely while closer together. Because the robot cars would eventually be less likely to crash, they could be built lighter, reducing fuel consumption. But of course, to be truly safer, the cars must be far more reliable than, say, today’s personal computers, which crash on occasion and are frequently infected...
During a half-hour drive beginning on Google’s campus 35 miles south of San Francisco last Wednesday, a Prius equipped with a variety of sensors and following a route programmed into the GPS navigation system nimbly accelerated in the entrance lane and merged into fast-moving traffic on Highway 101, the freeway through Silicon Valley.
It drove at the speed limit, which it knew because the limit for every road is included in its database, and left the freeway several exits later. The device atop the car produced a detailed map of the environment. " [ link ]
It is the ARES (Aerial Regional-Scale Environmental Surveyor) - NASA's new plan: a rocket-powered, robotic plane that screams over the Martian landscape at more than 450 miles per hour, exposing hundreds of miles of unexplored country. It will spend its two hours surveying nearly 1,000 miles of Mars, taking atmospheric measurements, looking for signs of water, collecting chemical sensing data, and studying crustal magnetism.
"Enveloped in an aeroshell similar to the ones that deployed the rovers, ARES would detach from a carrier craft about 12 hours from the Martian surface. At about 20 miles up, the aeroshell would open, ARES would extend its folded wings and tail, and the rockets would fire. It sounds somewhat complicated, but compared with actually landing package full of sensitive scientific instruments on the surface deploying ARES is relatively simple."
"Bring your own resealable bottles, Poland Spring containers, jerrycans, whatever. Or you can get one at the store. Select your grade (red, white, or rosé). Pump. Print receipt.
Astrid Terzian introduced this concept that hearkens back to a bygone era when wine would arrive in Paris shops in tonneaux and consumers would bring their own flagons to fill. But today, Terzian says, she started this scheme in fall 2008 to fill a niche, tapping into two key themes, environmental awareness and the economy. "
Happy birthday: Keanu Reeves, who turned 46 today, was pictured cutting a solitary figure outside a film prop warehouse in New York, with a cupcake and candle. [ link ]