LeapFrog TAG Reading System - Green

Short version:
The good: The pen is amazing, a real marvel of teaching technology. The kids like it.
The bad: It's the most techno-savvy leapfrog product yet. The pen needs to be connected to the computer a lot as your child learns. Not only do you have to "download" the books onto the pen, but there is a feedback loop where the child earns rewards. Most of the "rewards" require printer paper and ink. I wish you could turn off the pen's requests to be plugged back into the computer, but you can't.

Should you buy it:
If you are used to performing regular "maintenance" with your ipod, and you don't mind that, then definitely buy it.
If you don't like maintainin computers (firmware upgrades, syncing, troubleshooting, etc) then consider very carefully before buying.

Don't get this as a gift for a person who either doesn't have a computer, or has a relic of a computer that they never use.

Long version:

I have owned a lot of leapfrog toys. This is the first one I've used which is very similar to owning an ipod.

Upon receiving this product, the pen comes with a demo book. The demo book works out of the box, of course. The technology itself is cool, there is a little camera underneath the pen point and it can "see" where you are on the page. Touching the pen to the page makes the pen announce whatever is in that location. You can switch "modes" by touching in the corner of the book. For example, you can switch to "play a game" or you can "read".

The demo book is fine for maybe a couple hours play, but it doesn't have enough play value for you to be satisfied with the demo book alone. You're going to have to buy more books, which you expect if you have some experience with these leapfrog devices.

So I bought several books to test this out with. They included: LeapFrog Tag Activity Storybook I SPY Imagine That!, LeapFrog Tag Learn to Read Phonics Book Series Short Vowels, and LeapFrog Tag Learn to Read Phonics Book Series Long Vowels, Silent E and Y. I waited to post my review until those items arrived.

It was only after I received these books that I realized what it was like to use this product. Here is my journey, in steps:

STEP 1: I had to install Leapfrog software on my computer. And each time you buy a book you have use your computer to "install" that book on the pen. You can't go to a store and pick up a Leapfrog book and use it right away. You either have to download the audio ahead of time (more on that in a minute) or come home and download it after you buy the book. This IS NOT a cartridge system, like many previous leapfrog products.

STEP 2: I had to set up a leapfrog,com ACCOUNT with a username and password. I didn't appreciate the need to set up an account. I am receiving occasional rare email solicitations from Leapfrog now, even though I indicated that I didn't want any emails.

STEP 3: I had to set up each CHILD in the account. You do this to track their progress. I actually don't care about that very much, and I would have appreciated an opt-out on that feature. So each child has a little account of their own.

STEP 4: After I installed the software I plugged the pen into my computer with a USB cable.

STEP 5: Then I had to update the software on the pen. (Thats "firmware" to us geeks). Thats right, Leapfrog felt the need to change the software that makes the pen work between the time the pen was made and the time you bought it. So bringing the pen "up to date" is your responsibility.

STEP 6: Then I had to find the books I bought (one at a time, even though they aren't sold separately) for download from leapfrog's website. You can download every book they have, even if you don't own the paper version of the book. You could download the audio for a book, and then go to the store and buy the paper version, and then use the paper book immediately. This was kind of nice if you are planning ahead.

I hope you see what i'm saying - to use any book you need to have (1) a paper book and (2) a digital download for that same paper book which you got on your computer. If you only have one or the other, you can't use that book.

STEP 7: Next I had to use the computer program to move the books I wanted to use onto the pen. This is called "synchronizing". Fortunately, all 12 fit on the pen at one time. You'd have to buy a lot of books before you filled up the pen (maybe 20?).

STEP 8: I had to hit a button telling it to Sync.

STEP 9: Then I unplugged the unit to let my child play with it.

STEP 10: (the unexpected step!) The toy instructs my child that she has won a reward! And to plug it back into the computer to claim the reward! The reward is a color bookmark for me to print out on my printer! In 1 book (the I spy) she earned all four rewards in an hour. Each time she stopped what she was doing and came to me to plug it in, view the reward, and print it out. The first time, the software said I didn't own the book (which was funny because I had downloaded it using the same software) but after restarting it, restarting the pen, and resyncing the pen to the software it finally agreed that I did, in fact, own the book and could redeem the reward. Personally, I didn't like step 10 very much, I was done at step 9, but modern technology is demanding.

Will you (as a parent) like this experience?
1) Obviously, if you one of the millions of people who are used to having your iphone, ipod, or whatver, you are used to all of this. You get to do it all again when you buy this device.
2) If you are one of the millions of people to whom this sounds like a pain in the [...] and makes you want to call your son in law, then, maybe, just maybe, this product is not for you.

As for the product:

The product is really quite good. Its amazing what it can do. And the kids really love to use it. It will help them to learn to read, spell, and some other things too. I'm very pleased with the product overall.

It has a headphone jack, but no headphones are included. My kids prefer over-the-ear headphones because those little earbuds just keep falling out. We use these: Sennheiser HD 202 Dynamic Supra-Aural Headphones

The demo book that comes with it is just ok. Being optomistic, its worth 2 hour of fun. Its got a huge variety of stuff. Its almost too random an assortment, but it does show you what the pen can do. They had to include something. But the demo book is not very "deep". You absolutely will have to buy more books. The books range from $10-$20 each. They can be used without the pen in a pinch. I think the books are a "fair" value.

The instructions were "clear enough". They are good considering how much more software is involved. I felt comfortable with the instructions and had no problems getting it set up. I'm complaining about how much "setting up" there was, but, it wasn't "hard".

Overall, to enjoy this product you are looking at a total expense of around $100 between the reader and a reasonable assortment of books. And its really cool and really fun once you look past the other details.

Santorum Focuses on Reaching Out to Women; Adviser Says They Are a 'MacGyver Campaign'

Although when he walked on the stage the race here had yet to be called for Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum gave an address that seemed to focus on some of the mistakes he has made over the past week.
"A month ago they didn't know who we are, but they do now," Santorum said, flanked by his wife, eldest daughter Elizabeth, and son John. "We came to the backyard of one of my opponents, in a race where people said, 'You know, just ignore it, you're going to have no chance here.' And the people of Michigan looked into the hearts of the candidates, and all I have to say is, 'I love you back.'"
The crowd was enthusiastic, with one man shouting, "I love you," but there was a sad tone in the air that began even before they took the stage, as the theme song to the "The Natural" played.
Santorum mentioned his 93-year-old mother, something he hasn't in previous speeches, and he told the audience in what seemed to be a pitch to female voters who might feel put off by some of his previous comments about women in the workplace, that his mother made more money than his father.
"She was someone who did get a job in the 1930s and was a nurse, and worked full time. She continued to work through my childhood years," Santorum said to the crowd that was heavy on families with young children. "She balanced time working different schedules. A professional who made more money than her husband."
Santorum's mother was a nurse and his father was a psychologist for the Veteran's Administration.
The former Pennsylvania senator also touted his wife's work experience, saying she was a "professional" as well, and thanked his daughter, Elizabeth, who has been on the campaign trail with him since the early days in Iowa.
"[Karen] worked as a nurse, but after we got married, she decided to walk away, yet didn't quit working. She was a mother, and also wrote two books," Santorum said, in what also seemed to be an appeal to female voters.
He spent most of his speech repeating the themes he does on the stump, including his mention of the Declaration of Independence, but this evening there was a twist on that, too.
"The men and women who signed that declaration wrote the final phrase, 'We pledge to each other our lives, our fortune, and our sacred honor," Santorum said.
There were no women who signed the Declaration of Independence.
Longtime Santorum strategist John Brabender said it wasn't a direct appeal, but more about mentioning and thanking other people in the candidate's life besides his grandfather, who Santorum consistently talks about the trail. Brabender did acknowledge they have to "struggle with misperceptions" and said that is "something we will always be doing."
Brabender said they have won at least five districts here and tried to spin the loss that Santorum may come out of Romney's home state as the victor of the popular vote.
He said the campaign is "much better organized" than it has ever have before, but he called it the "MacGyver campaign," a reference to the TV series in which the main character is a special agent who is constantly able to create complex devices out of everyday objects.
"Every pundit, every opponent acknowledges the Santorum campaign does more with less," Brabender said. "And we are doing pretty darn well so far."
After the speech, Brabender told reporters they wouldn't call on Newt Gingrich to drop out of the race, but did urge "conservatives and tea party supporters" to "unify" to "stop a moderate like Mitt Romney."
During his speech, Santorum hardly mentioned his rival, Romney, who won his home state and received a phone call from Santorum conceding before he even took the stage. The call was made when Santorum was away from his advisers and just sitting with his family before he took the stage.
"I just congratulated him, he had a very good night," Santorum told reporters about the phone call.
Despite the loss - a win in Romney's home state would have been devastating - he said he "feels great."
"This was going to be Romney's night," Santorum told reporters while greeting supporters on the ropeline. "The question was going to be how big? And it wasn't very big. It is a two-person race right now. We are doing excellently."

Fire, rain and wrecks – just another run-of-the-mill Daytona 500

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Aside from Juan Pablo Montoya hitting a truck that was blowing the track clean during a caution in the middle of the Daytona 500 (“I have hit a lot of things, but a jet dryer?” Montoya said), and the ensuing jet fuel fire (“About the time you think you have seen about everything,” said Mike Helton, NASCAR president) …

Aside from the mass cleanup that included using no less than Tide laundry detergent, and that NASCAR actually had a contingency plan for all of this (“There’s not a true training manual to light a track on fire and respond to it,” Joie Chitwood, track president said)
Aside from having Brad Keselowski tweeting from the backstretch during the fire-created red flag, having Dale Earnhardt Jr. seize Keselowski’s cell phone to check the weather, which then actually held off …

Aside from Matt Kenseth winning the actual race, beating Earnhardt by 0.21 seconds, even though he and Greg Biffle had teamed up to chase Kenseth down yet somehow couldn’t, then having Kenseth’s engine spew water (for the second time) en route to Victory Lane …

Aside from the first-ever Monday primetime start to the Daytona 500 and, (six hours later) the first ever Tuesday-morning finish (“I think they should start cooking eggs in 30 minutes,” Kenseth said after) …

Aside from Kenseth’s victory coming under a green-white checker flag, after 21 of the 43 cars were wrecked off the lead lap in calamities from Laps 2 to 198 …

Aside from Danica Patrick getting caught in a crash after completing just one lap only to return and finish, something 11 other cars couldn’t manage …

Aside from all of that, not much happened in this year’s Daytona 500.

NASCAR: Just when you think it can’t get any crazier, here comes the 54th “Great American Race” to redefine everything.

[ Related: Matt Kenseth claims second Daytona 500 victory, holds off Dale Earnhardt Jr. ]

And, might we repeat just for emphasis: The track was on fire for a stretch there.

“We had approximately 200 gallons of burning fuel on the race track,” noted Chitwood.

It turned out to be a heck of a scene. After all, there’s nothing like 20-foot flames to spice things up.

“[After that] you do think about, ‘Oh my gosh, if that can happen, what else can happen?’ ” Helton said.

And to think, the day began with everyone worrying about rain. Then Juan Pablo went straight Adele on that problem and nearly burned the whole thing down.

[ Related: Dan Wetzel: Danica Patrick’s Daytona 500 dream turns into nightmare ]

Helton was sitting in a room in the press box with other officials observing the caution-flagged laps when he saw Montoya pull out of pit road. Montoya said he had previously felt a “weird vibration” in the rear of his car. When the race went into a caution on Lap 158, he went to the pits to have his crew look at it. Someone made the fateful mistake of saying they saw no problem.

Montoya went back on the track under yellow. But as he approached and prepared to pass one of the jet dryers that was cleaning the track, something snapped and Montoya’s No. 42 began skidding directly at the truck, which he knew carried a jet dryer powered by jet fuel.

“I was thinking, ‘This is going to be on fire pretty bad,’ ” Montoya said. “And it was. My helmet got a little burned and everything.”

Everything actually included the jet dryer, which a man named Duane Barnes had to evacuate, and then a swath of Turn 3 of the famed speedway when jet fuel poured out and lit up.

“It got your attention,” Helton said.

The race immediately went to red flag – a full stop – as flames blasted into the air and the pungent smell of burning fuel wafted over the massive infield.

[ Related: Juan Pablo Montoya sets Daytona track ablaze after hitting jet dryer ]

Stopped drivers, getting word of this one-of-a-kind fire, got out of their cars and started walking toward Turn 3 for a closer inspection. They eventually got turned back – “I can’t believe they didn’t let us go take a look at it,” Earnhardt complained later.

Prospect Vick Ballard falls while running 40-yard dash (video)

If seeing 21-year-olds running, jumping and lifting like young Charles Atlases has left you feeling inadequate about your own athletic ability, rest assured, there's at least one football prospect you could have defeated this weekend.
Mississippi State running back Vick Ballard stepped to the starting line at this weekend's NFL combine to run the 40-yard dash. A little more than one second later, he was finished, not because he ran a superhuman time, but because he tripped and plowed headfirst into a camera.
On his second try, Ballard finished with an unimpressive 4.63. Neither run will endear him to scouts. But after the first one, at least they'll know that he can gain extra yards after contact.

Marathon winner disqualified because he didn’t sign up for race

Scott Downard was stripped of his title in this weekend's Cowtown Marathon because of paperwork, or, more specifically, a lack of paperwork.

The 25-year-old won the Cowtown Marathon in Fort Worth, Tex. on Sunday but was disqualified when he crossed the finish line because he never registered for the race.

[Related: Running back Jeff Demps dreams of Olympic track start over NFL combine]

Downard was using the bib of a friend who had signed up for the race but was unable to compete. The Oklahoman freely admitted the issue to race officials when confronted with it after crossing the finish line.

Kolin Styles, 25, was named the winner. He finished the race in 2 hours, 40 minutes, 54 seconds, more than three minutes behind Downard.

"I'll take it," he told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

A race official told the newspaper that Downard was understanding about the disqualification and said he'd come back to compete next year.

Remarkably, a similar situation occurred in the 2003 race.

Over 9,000

PICS: Is Natalie Portman Secretly Married?

Natalie Portman made a resplendent return to the Academy Awards on Sunday one year after she triumphed with her Best Actress win for her searing performance in Black Swan.

PHOTOS: Natalie and all the stars party after the Oscars 2012

Back in February 2011, the star, now 30, was pregnant and engaged to her Black Swan choreographer Benjamin Millepied.

PHOTOS: Natalie's gorgeous pregnancy

The handsome Frenchman, 34, was once again Portman's date at the 2012 bash as she presented the Best Actor award to The Artist's Jean Dujardin, and the happy parents to son Aleph, 7 months, were more affectionate than ever. (Portman wore a vintage red chiffon silk Christian Dior Couture gown with velvet polka-dot detail.) What was new this year, besides Portman's slim-again post-baby bod? Both Portman and Millepied -- famously private about their relationship and son -- were wearing unexplained new rings on their wedding fingers.
Compared with pics from the 2011 Oscars, Portman's dazzling engagement ring appeared to be flanked by an additional band. Millepied, meanwhile, wore a simple silver band on his wedding finger. Portman's rep did not reply to request for comment from Us Weekly.

During her Oscar acceptance speech last year, a tearful, pregnant Portman thanked "my beautiful love" at the podium. "He has now given me my most important role of my life."

PHOTOS: Natalie's romantic history

The couple -- who fell in love while making Black Swan -- announced they were engaged and expecting in late December 2010.

Read the full article at US Weekly

How to remove your Google Web Data History

Do you know if Google is tracking your Web activity? If you have a Google account (for, say, Gmail) and have not specifically located and paused the Web History setting, then the search giant is keeping track of your searches and the sites you visited. This data has been separated from other Google products, but on March 1 it will be shared across all of the Google products you use when Google's new privacy policy goes into effect.
If you'd like to prevent Google from combining this potentially sensitive data with the information it has collected from your YouTube, Google+, and other Google accounts, you can remove your Web History and stop it from being recorded moving forward.

After signing into your Google account, type https://www.google.com/history into your browser. (Alternatively, you can choose Account Settings from the pull-down menu in the upper-right corner of a Google product such as Gmail, Google+, or Google.com. From the Account Settings page, scroll down to the Services header and click on the "Go to web history" link.) If your Web History is enabled, you'll see a list of recent searches and sites visited. Click the gray Remove all Web History button at the top of the page and a subsequent OK button to clear your Web History.

Just the way I like it, empty and paused.
This action also pauses the Web History feature so that it will no longer track your Web searches and whereabouts. If you'd like to fire it back up, simply click the blue Resume button.

Banker’s Insulting Waitress Tip Incites Class Warfare Between the 1% and the 99%

"Like" us on Facebook.com/TrendingNow and follow us on Twitter @YahooTrending.
Just when you may have thought the ongoing battle between the 99% and the 1% was dying down, it may have been reignited. A wealthy banker left a $1.33 tip on a $133 lunch at the True Food Kitchen restaurant in Newport Beach, California.
To add insult to injury the word "tip" was circled on the receipt, and the banker wrote "get a real job" on the bill. The picture of the receipt was taken and uploaded to the blog Future Ex-Banker by a person who was dining with the anonymous banker. As expected, the blog received a lot of attention and has now been taken down. The author of the blog wrote, "mention the 99% in my boss' presence and feel his wrath. So proudly does he wear his 1% badge of honor that he tips exactly 1% every time he feels the server doesn't sufficiently bow down to his holiness."
People online who had a chance to see the blog post before it went offline and those who have been made aware of it on social media outlets are outraged. One person called the tip a "tale of greed and contempt," and another referred to it as "arrogance personified." The Web's general reaction to this story is eerily similar to an almost identical 1% vs. 99% scenario that took place last fall. In Washington state, a waitress received a tip of no money and advice scrawled on the receipt that told her she could "stand to lose a few pounds."
Our next story is more of a battle between environmentalists and big oil companies.
Lucy Lawless, most famous for her leading role in "Xena: Warrior Princess" in the '90s fantasy adventure series, was arrested over the weekend. Lawless had spent four days protesting on board a Shell oil ship with a group of six other environmental activists. The protest, organized by Greenpeace, was staged to raise awareness of oil drilling in the arctic. The global environmental organization opposes the drilling in New Zealand.
During the protest, Lawless live-tweeted what she was experiencing including, for example, "Seven of us came up the tower on Shell's drillship, but 4 days later 130,000 will come down. In solidarity we can #savethearctic." The protesters had to deal with the elements while atop the ship. The wind gusts proved difficult to withstand, but the activists held their ground. Chairman for Shell New Zealand, Rob Jager, said the protest had put people in danger. Jager also said he was disappointed that Greenpeace had not joined his company in a "productive conversation" about the drilling issue instead of protesting.
Lawless told the Associated Press that she got involved because she felt compelled to take a stand against oil drilling in the Arctic and global warming. However, the protest was brought to a halt when all of the activists were arrested and charged with burglary. Since then, more than 100,000 messages have been sent to Shell opposing its upcoming Arctic drilling plans. One supporter tweeted, "She may not be Xena in real life, but she is fighting for what she believes in." Another person tweeted that Lawless is a "true warrior princess."

Gunman open fires at Ohio high school

Ohio official: Shooting suspect among at-risk kids


Shooting suspect among at-risk kids

A teenage suspect in the deadly shooting of one student and wounding of four others at a suburban Cleveland high school attends a separate school for at risk students about 16 miles away.
An education official said Monday the suspected shooter is a Lake Academy student, not a student at Chardon High School, where the shootings occurred.
Brian Bontempo declined to answer any further questions about the student. Bontempo is the superintendent of the Lake County Educational Service Center, which operates the academy.
The alternative school in Willoughby serves 7th through 12th grades. Students may have been referred to the school because of academic or behavioral problems.
The suspect's name has not been released because he is a juvenile. He was arrested near his car a half-mile from Chardon.

Rowan Atkinson's death or Mr.Bean trends worldwide on Twitter

An internet hoax about the death of British actor Rowan Atkinson became the top trending topic worldwide on Twitter today.
Rumours about the apparent demise of the Mr Bean star spread around the globe within hours of a ‘joke’ tweet from a so called 'internet troll' on the microblogging site.
The hoax even briefly fooled internet encyclopedia Wikipedia, which displayed Mr Atkinson’s date of death as 26 Febrary, 2012 on his entry page.
Tens of thousands of people latched onto the #RIP Rowan Atkinson hash-tag to express their condolences.
The top world wide trending subject was apparently sparked by a single post from a twitter user based in the Philippines.
Michael Robert Meras posted the message to his 753 followers: ‘Fresh news from Britain, Rowan Sebastian Atkinson (A.K.A. Mr. Bean) passed away this evening.’
Within a few hours the rumours had spread around the globe and ignited an internet frenzy.
Just two hours later, Michael Robert Meras posted another comment saying: ‘OMG! I started the tween RIP Rowan Atkinson, it was just a joke...’ 
An hour later he added: ‘Shutting down now. Sorry guys, RIP Rowan Atkins was just a joke. Sorry for the matter, I never thought it would be that viral.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2106780/Rowan-Atkinson-death-hoax-trends-worldwide-Twitter-RIP-Mr-Bean.html#ixzz1ngXc2vtE

McIntyre Oscar rider killed

McIntyre Oscar rider killed McIntyre died rider Oscar motor racing world lost a rider again. This time the event occurred in World Superbike, when the deadly accident happened to a young rider in Australia, Oscar McIntyre, on Saturday (02.25.12).

This tragic event occurred in the Circuit Phillip Island, Australia, in 600 cc Superstock series opener, which occurred at 14:20 local time. In the second round of a scheduled 12 laps, 17-year-old rider was hit by two other riders, which makes the injury and his life was saved.

Although he gets help from the medical team, McIntyre could not be saved and he died at the crash site. WSBK Superpole scheduled to begin at 15.00 it was finally officially canceled, after the first confirmed to be postponed.

"We express our condolences to the families of McIntyre and those affected by this accident," the statement from the official World Superbike website.

Meanwhile, two other drivers involved in the incident, namely Luke Burgess and Michael Lockhart, also received treatment. Burgess immediately taken to the circuit medical center and can be handled, while Lockhart is still getting intensive treatment.
Thus, within a period of about four months, there are two drivers who were killed on the race track. In October last year, a similar incident also occurred at the Sepang Circuit, Malaysia, which claimed the lives of the Italian MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli.

Again, the driver killed in the Circuit

Again, Driver Killed in Circuit News grief came back from the racing world. Young rider, Oscar McIntyre who fell in 600 cc Superstock event were reportedly killed while attending the opening session of Superpole World Superbike race at the Circuit Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia, Saturday, February 25, 2012, at 14:00 local time.

The Daily Mail reported that the driver of 17 years suffered a fatal accident in the second round of a scheduled 12 laps. McIntyre had to be addressed by the medical team, but his injuries are too severe, the lives of young men from Queensland can not be helped.

McIntyre's death makes the opening session of Superpole World Superbike racing to be canceled.

In addition to McIntyre, the two other drivers were also involved in the deadly accident. Luke Burgess was taken to the circuit medical center before being allowed to go home, while Michael Lockhart still have to undergo further tests.

"We also expressed condolences to the families of McIntyre and those affected by this accident," the statement from the official World Superbike website.

McIntyre became the umpteenth racers on the circuit last breath. Still fresh in the memories of the past October 2011, Marco Simoncelli Sikrkuit died at Sepang when he joined the MotoGP race weekend.

Why Danica Patrick can win the Daytona 500

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The odds of Trevor Bayne winning last year’s Daytona 500 were so long, there weren’t any. Bayne was such an unknown, he didn’t garner an individual line and instead was lumped together with “the field.”

Danica Patrick has never competed in a Sprint Cup race. Never. Yet she’s already one step ahead of where Bayne was a year ago. She’s got a 60-1 chance to win Sunday’s Great American Race, according to online sports book Bovada.

So it’s become with the Daytona 500, the biggest crapshoot in sports.
Few outside the NASCAR world had ever heard of Bayne before he won last year’s Daytona 500 as a 20-year-old rookie. And most haven’t heard of him since, mainly because he didn’t crack the top 10 again in 2011.

While the Daytona 500 stands as NASCAR’s most prestigious race, it’s also its most unpredictable. With the engines of all 43 cars governored to run virtually the same horsepower, winning isn’t just about skill, but luck as well. It’s an ebb-and-flow event with just about everyone taking their turn at the front. Just last year, the 208-lap race featured 74 lead changes and 22 different leaders.

[Related Dan Wetzel: Daytona 500 wreck proves Danica Patrick’s toughness | See Danica’s crash]

Ryan Newman, the 2008 Daytona 500 winner, puts everyone’s odds at 1 in 43 – landing on 43 because that’s how many cars will start the race – and he’ll take them.

“That is still pretty good when it comes to winning a $5-million dollar lottery,” he said.

Though they aren’t bad odds, 1 in 43 are actually the longest odds the top-tier drivers face all season. The following week in Phoenix, the number of drivers with a shot at winning will be fewer than 20. So if you’re Jimmie Johnson, Stewart or even Newman – drivers who benefit from top-notch equipment – you have a much better chance of winning a week from Sunday than you do this one.

Conversely, if you’re Bayne or David Gilliland or Danica Patrick – drivers with either little experience or mediocre equipment – you won’t do better than 1 in 43.

“Take nothing against Trevor. I mean, he did what he had to do to win the race,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. said. “He made some great moves and won that race on his own. He was very smart about how he drove his car. [But] you just don’t know who is going to come off of Turn 4 battling for this thing anymore.”

Since NASCAR implemented the use of restrictor plates to govern horsepower in 1988 – a move taken to limit speed, keep the cars on the ground and increase safety – there have been 18 different winners in 24 races. Over the last 10 years, there have been 10 different winners and there hasn’t been a back-to-back winner since 1994-95.

Derrike Cope, Ward Burton and Michael Waltrip have a combined win total of 11. Four of those are Daytona 500 victories.

Stewart and Mark Martin have 84 wins between them. Neither has ever won the Daytona 500.

And famously, Dale Earnhardt Sr. needed 20 tries before he finally won a 500. That’s 19 more than Bayne, who won it in just his second career Cup start.

“I feel good, I really feel good,” Patrick said Thursday after a wreck on the final lap of the Duel 150 qualifying race sent her careening into a wall at nearly 200 mph. “I feel comfortable. I feel confident. I feel like if things fall our way and I can take the experience from today into Sunday, I think it can be a good day.”

Danica Patrick not happy after getting wrecked again at Daytona

Danica Patrick not happy after getting wrecked again at DaytonaJust 48 hours after smashing hard into a retaining wall in a qualifying race for Sunday’s Daytona 500, Patrick got clipped again, this time by her own teammate, Cole Whitt, sending her into a spin and eventually the wall just 50 laps into the DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway.

“What the [expletive],” she yelled over her team radio. “He [expletive] hit me.”
After driving her damaged race car to the garage, Patrick jumped out, helmet still on, and stormed into her team hauler, leaving a trail of media behind her.

It was the second time in three days her race was ruined by a crash that was no fault of her own. Thursday she got bumped by Aric Almirola; Saturday it was Whitt.

“I don’t think it’s ever great when teammates come together,” she said afterward. “We’ll have to figure out what happened and move forward.”

As Whitt explained it, the two were trying to use the two-car draft to move to the front, with him playing the role of the pusher.

“We’re teammates,” he said. “We want our team to win. I mean, that’s why we were pushing each other anyways – we want to get our team up front together.”

When told Patrick expressed her dissatisfaction over the radio, Whitt responded, “I wouldn’t expect her to be happy about it. I wouldn’t be happy about it either. I don’t know why anyone would expect her to be like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s great.’ ”

The wreck ruined what could have been a storybook day for Patrick, who on Friday became just the second woman ever to win a pole position for a Nationwide Series race. Starting up front, Patrick teamed up with her boss, Dale Earnhardt Jr., to lead the first two laps of Saturday’s race.

She was running comfortably in the top 20 at the time of the accident. She wound up 38th.

Lost in the hoopla that always surrounds Patrick is the fact that she’s running for a Nationwide Series championship. Saturday’s 38th-place finish means she starts the season in a significant hole.

“The bummer of it is not only is it the start to the championship and I’m in the championship and every point matters – which is why we went back out there again – but there are so many other days when your car isn’t perfect, isn’t super fast and nothing happens to you,” she said. “And you think why on the days when I have a really fast car it has to happen today. But it did and we’ll move on.”

James Buescher won the race in a wild finish that saw an 11-car wreck as the leaders raced for the finish.

6 great smartphones that won’t cost you one single penny

6 great smartphones that won’t cost you one Smartphones are here to stay, and it's no surprise why. They connect us to Facebook, help us find directions to the office, take pictures, and can even let us connect our laptops to the internet from the side of the road. But they're just so darned expensive... or so you think.

You don't need to spend $300 or more just to get a great phone. We've put together a list of six great free smartphone options — they won't cost you anything but your signature (and, of course, a new contract). These phones aren't one-day-only deals, and they aren't refurbished models that someone's already had their fingerprints all over. They're absolutely free, absolutely new phones.
You don't need to know somebody who knows somebody to get these phones for free, but you do need to buy these online. Most carriers have special, online-only pricing. And if you're upgrading an old phone, be careful. Some carriers will charge you an upgrade fee if you're still under an old contract. What fun is a free phone if you have to pay a fee to get it?

iPhone 3GS
1. AT&T: iPhone 3GS

Buy itApple
Think an Apple iPhone costs a lot of money? Wrong — the iPhone 3GS can be yours from AT&T, absolutely free. Sure, you don't get all the features of the new $199 iPhone 4S or even the $99 iPhone 4, but you still get the iPhone essentials: access to the app store, wifi, a decent 3-megapixel camera that can record video, GPS, and 8GB worth of storage. You can even upgrade the phone to iOS 5, Apple's latest operating system.
The iPhone 3GS isn't the new kid on the Apple block anymore. But you still get a great phone for your money — which, in this case, is zero dollars and zero cents.
LG Phoenix2. AT&T: LG Phoenix
Buy itAT&T
At times, it seems like there are two different kinds of people in the world: those who love Apple products, and those who revile them. If you're in the latter category, then you're definitely going to be in the market for an Android-powered smartphone. And while we're not sure why you'd want to get an Android phone on the restrictive AT&T network (you might be trapped by your contract, or maybe your dad is president of the company), if you're dead set on it, check out the LG Phoenix.
This smartphone isn't perfect — it does lack the ability to access the high-speed 4G LTE network. But you get plenty of phone otherwise. Its OS is upgradable to Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), you get access to the ever-growing Android market, the phone's 3.2-megapixel camera shoots video, it's wifi-capable, and it's bluetooth-ready. You can even add on the option to tether the phone to your laptop or other devices for anywhere internet access. Not bad.
Droid Pro3. Verizon: Droid Pro
Buy itVerizon
Most keyboards are virtual these days, and that's a shame, because there's something very satisfying about having to press real buttons. Verizon's Droid Pro features a prominent keypad on the front — a throwback to the era of phones when BlackBerry was king.
But the keyboard isn't all you get. Behind it hides a powerful — dated, but powerful — Android device that can be updated to run the Gingerbread OS. You get 3G mobile hotspot support, wifi, 2GB of internal memory plus 2GB of (expandable) preinstalled microSD memory, and all those great games and utilities in the Android Market. You even get a 5-megapixel camera with LED flash, which is better hardware than you get with most free phones these days.
LG Enlighten4. Verizon: LG Enlighten
Buy itVerizon
So you've sold yourself on the idea of a phone with a physical keyboard. But what if you don't want those bulky keys getting in the way, getting mashed in your purse and taking up valuable phone real estate? Split the difference with the LG Enlighten, a sexy smartphone with a hidden, slide-out keyboard.
The LG Enlighten gives you most of what you get with the Droid Pro: a 3G mobile hotspot, spoken turn-by-turn GPS navigation from Google, and Android Gingerbread OS right out of the box. Plus, you get a full 3.2" capacitive touchscreen — one area where bigger most certainly is better.
The main downside to this phone is the lack of internal memory. The Enlighten doesn't offer a huge amount of built-in storage (only 150MB), and that may be a deal breaker. But you can easily expand the storage by adding your own microSD card.
LG Rumor Touch5. Sprint: LG Rumor Touch
Buy itSprint
Are you or someone you love a text-aholic? If so, you're the exact kind of customer LG had in mind when it created the Rumor Touch, a 3" touchscreen smartphone.
Like the Enlighten, the LG Rumor Touch features a slide-out QWERTY keyboard with big enough buttons to type with quick precision. The Rumor Touch even runs its own messaging-friendly operating system. And, of course, any phone built around messaging has to have Facebook and Twitter built in. The camera is weak at only 2 megapixels, but the Rumor assumes you'll probably be too busy texting to take any pictures.
Oh, and best of all? The Rumor Touch also doubles as a phone. Can you believe such a thing?
Nokia Lumia 7106. T-Mobile: Nokia Lumia 710
Buy it: Microsoft
If there's one thing that the previously mentioned phones have in common, it's that they're all good, solid 3G phones. But let's be honest — 3G is yesterday's technology. Blazing-fast 4G wireless is where it's at. And T-Mobile's Nokia Lumia 710 gives you access to luscious 4G speed without having to pay a single penny up front.
The Lumia uses the less popular Windows Phone 7 operating system, but don't let the numbers fool you. Windows Phone 7 is a solid, seamless OS, especially for beginners to the smartphone game.
The phone's hardware is great. You get a sharp, 3.7", 800 x 480 LCD screen, a 5-megapixel camera, a powerful 1.4GHz processor, and all that wifi and GPS goodness you'd expect. And you probably tuned all of that out because you were too busy thinking about how cool it is that this free phone has 4G. Completely understandable.
Note: Before you order one of these free phones, be sure to double check the pricing and make sure it's free. Carrier pricing can change with the wind, and for no good reason.

Twelve killed in protests across Afghanistan

 protests across Afghanistan

 Twelve people were killed on Friday in the bloodiest day yet in protests that have raged across Afghanistanover the desecration of copies of the Muslim holy book at a NATOmilitary base with riot police and soldiers on high alert braced for more violence.
The burning of the Korans at the Bagram compound earlier this week has deepened public mistrust of NATO forces struggling to stabilize Afghanistan before foreign combat troops withdraw in 2014.
Hundreds of Afghans marched toward the palace of Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul, while on the other side of the capital protesters hoisted the white flag of the Taliban.
Chanting "Death to America!" and "Long live Islam!," protestersalso threw rocks at police in Kabul, while Afghan army helicopters circled above.
Friday is a holy day and the official weekly holiday in Afghanistan and mosques in the capital drew large crowds, with police in pick-up trucks posted on nearby streets.
Armed protesters took refuge in shops in the eastern part of the city, where they killed one demonstrator, said police at the scene. In another Kabul rally, police said they were unsure who fired the shots that killed a second protester.
Seven more protesters were killed in the western province of Herat, two more in eastern Khost province and one in the relatively peaceful northern Baghlan province, health and local officials said. In Herat, around 500 men charged at the U.S. consulate.
U.S. President Barack Obama had sent a letter to Karzai apologizing for the unintentional burning of the Korans at NATO's main Bagram air base, north of Kabul, after Afghan laborers found charred copies while collecting rubbish.
Muslims consider the Koran to be the literal word of God and treat each copy with deep reverence. Desecration is considered one of the worst forms of blasphemy.
Afghanistan wants NATO to put those responsible on public trial.
In neighboring U.S. ally Pakistan, about 400 members of a hardline Islamist group staged protests. "If you burn the Koran, we will burn you," they shouted.
To Afghanistan's west, Iranian cleric Ahmad Khatami said the U.S. had purposely burned the Korans. "These apologies are fake. The world should know that America is against Islam," he said in a speech broadcast live on state radio.
"It (the Koran burning) was not a mistake. It was an intentional move, done on purpose."
Most Westerners have been confined to their heavily fortified compounds, including at the sprawling U.S. embassy complex and other diplomatic missions, as protests that have killed a total of 23 people, including two U.S. soldiers, rolled into their fourth day. The embassy, in a message on the microblogging site Twitter, urged U.S. citizens to "please be safe out there" and expanded movement restrictions to relatively peaceful northern provinces, where large demonstrations also occurred Thursday, including the attempted storming of a Norwegian military base.
The Taliban urged Afghan security forces Thursday to "turn their guns on the foreign infidel invaders" and repeatedly urged Afghans to kill, beat and capture NATO soldiers.
Germany, which has the third-largest foreign presence in the NATO-led war, pulled out several weeks early of a small base in the northern Takhar province Friday over security concerns, a defense ministry spokesman  protests across Afghanistansaid.
 protests across Afghanistan
(Additional reporting by Amira Mitri in TEHRAN, Imtiaz Shah in KARACHI, Sabine Siebold in BERLIN, Writing by Amie Ferris-Rotman; Editing by Michael Georgy and Ed Lane)


A narrow but violent tornado crosses Interstate 40 in Oklahoma near the city of Shawnee about 150 yards from us. This is an HDR image composed of bracketed exposures shot in rapid succession. Shortly after this image, we got in the car to put a safe distance between us and this tornado. Photo Courtesy Chris Allington/National Geographic Your Shot

Heart Attacks in Young Women Can Be Harder to Detect, Deadlier

Heart Attacks in Young Women Tami Kimet thought she was coming down with the flu, but the 35-year-old mother of two was actually having a massive heart attack."I thought I was just really rundown from my daughter's baptism the day before," said Kimet, who lives in Eerie, Pa. "I felt so tired and sick to my stomach. I slept the entire next day away."
Kimet waited three days before she drove herself to the hospital, where she hoped doctors would give her something for her flu symptoms. Instead, they cut open her chest and performed a triple bypass.
"I had no idea I was having a heart attack," said Kimet. "I'd had only ever seen my father have a heart attack, and he was always grabbing his chest. I had no pain in my chest."
Although chest pain or discomfort is the most common heart attack symptom, fatigue, nausea, shortness of breath and pain or numbness in the jaw, arms or back can also signal a blocked artery cutting off vital oxygen and nutrients from the heart. And according to a new study of more than 1 million heart attack patients, women under 55 are less likely to seek medical attention for those atypical symptoms and more likely to die in a hospital from a heart attack than men of the same age.
"Young women who have atypical symptoms might not appreciate that they're in fact having a heart attack and may be more likely to delay treatment," said Dr. John Canto, a cardiologist at the Watson Clinic in Lakeland, Fla., and lead author of the study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association. "They think it's the flu or stress or a pinched nerve, and they don't want to come in to the hospital only to have doctors tell them it's nothing serious. But we should all err on the side of caution."
Check out our list of unusual heart attack symptoms
Kimet, now 46, takes 30 pills a day for heart failure. The drugs, designed to lower her blood pressure and slow her weak heart, have packed weight on her once fit frame.
"I'm really fat, but I'm still here," said Kimet, whose doctors gave her five years to live 11 years ago.
Since her first heart attack, Kimet has had three more, signaled by a squeezing in her arm, a tingling in her hand and numbness in her jaw. She never had chest pain.
"Less than 20 percent of patients who present to a hospital with typical or atypical symptoms are in fact having a heart attack," said Canto. "But time is muscle and muscle is life. When an artery is blocked, the heart muscle begins to die after 30 to 60 minutes. We call it the golden hour of heart attacks. Every minute you wait after that golden hour, more heart muscle will die. And once you lose it, it's not coming back."
Dr. Malissa Wood, spokeswoman for the American Heart Association and co-director of Massachusetts General Hospital's Corrigan Women's Heart Health Program, said women tend to look out for the hearts of others more so than their own.
"I think women tend to worry so much about breast cancer, and I understand why," said Wood, who has survived breast cancer herself. "But heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women."
Women should "know their numbers" and risk factors, said Wood. Smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and a family history of heart disease raise the risk of heart attack.
"The more risk factors you have, the more you really need to pay attention when symptoms strike out of the blue," she said. "It's rare for young women to have a heart attack, but the results can be devastating."
After her first heart attack, Kimet wrote letters to her then 3-year-old son and 2-month-old daughter for every year of their lives, and tape-recorded a special message "so they wouldn't forget me," she said. Two weeks ago, when she had another heart scare, she updated the tape.
"Nobody can replace a mom," said Kimet, voice shaking, whose children are now 14 and 11. "Luckily, I can put away those letters and the tape for now.
Kimet said her heart attacks stole her career and her life savings. Now, she's grateful for every birthday and hopes to be there for her kids' milestones.
"I feel so bad that they have to grow up with a sick mom," she said. "I'm trying to fit in a lifetime with them right now. Every year is a gift."
Heart Attacks in Young Women

Teens Post 'Am I Pretty or Ugly?' Videos on YouTube

Am I Pretty or Ugly Naomi Gibson, who lives just outside Denver, always makes a point to tell her 13-year-old daughter, Faye, that she's beautiful. So when she started getting calls from media asking to interview Faye about a video she had posted, she couldn't believe her ears.
"I was floored," Gibson said.
The video was called "Am I Pretty or Ugly?" and asked anyone who watched the YouTube video to comment on her attractiveness.
Faye says that she has long been a victim of bullying. A day does not pass when someone at school does not call her ugly, she said. "I get called a lot of names, get talked about behind my back," she said.
The psyche of a teenage girl is understandably muddled. Faye said she goes to the web to get opinions from those who don't know her.
"Deep down inside, all girls know that other people's opinions don't matter, but we still go to other people for help because we don't believe what people say," she told ABC News.
What she received were mixed reactions. Though some comments were innocuous enough, others spewed hateful messages toward the young teenager.
One read, "FAYE! Stop asking for this attention. It makes you look so pathetic and dumb. "
"It hurt me to see those comments about my daughter," Gibson said.
Faye's case is not unique. Similar videos have been posted in recent months, all asking often unknown users to comment on whether or not a teen is ugly. Some have accrued thousands of hits, with one video, posted by user sgal01 getting 3,622,844 views. Comments are mixed, with some good Samaritans imploring the teens to know their self-worth, as more disparaging commentors hurled insults, some even taking a sexual, predatory tone.
But while posting videos like this may be a recent phenomenon, experts say that teens' desire for approval is nothing new.
Dr. Joshua Klapow, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, says that teens have always had a fervent desire to be accepted.
"This is just an extreme version of something that's very normal," Klapow said, adding, "Another piece that's normal is impulsivity. Give them a medium that is so easily accessible and so potent, you get the problem we're seeing."
Dr. Alan Kazdin, Ph.D., a professor of psychology and child psychiatry at Yale, agrees. "There's a part of it that's unfortunate, but there's a part of it that's natural. Technology has made it so that it's not new in principle but new in practice," he said.
Older generations may have used slambooks to share their feelings about peers but, for this technology-inundated generation, the internet is teenagers' open forum, providing them the comfort and ease to open themselves up to the enormous and often anonymous cyberuniverse.
"'The question is not, why would [teenagers] take their problems to the web? The question is, why wouldn't you take it to the web?" said Kazdin.
Experts say that part of the appeal of asking viewers open questions comes from the immediate reward the teens get. Rather than sitting down and having a conversation, teenagers can post something on the internet and immediately experience the thrill associated with seeing a response, whether positive or negative.
But the negative comments can have deleterious effects.
"They have no safe place now," Kazdin said. "As long as they're electronically connected, they become vulnerable."
Gibson had already instituted rules to try and protect her daughter, requiring Faye to tell her when she posted a video so she could screen it. Initially, Faye had been using YouTube to showcase her singing and dancing talents as a way to detract from the bullying that she has been a victim of since she was 11. Now, Gibson says that the privilege may soon be revoked.
"I took away her Facebook and Twitter account because of bullying. She needs to stop putting herself out there. Now people are walking around asking her if she's pretty to her face. It's hurting her more in the long run, I think," Gibson said.
For Faye, the pain of not being accepted is inescapable.
"I feel like I could just go away and never come back…I feel like I've been standing all these years and keep getting torn down," Faye said.
Aside from the emotional damage the video has caused, Gibson has a deeper concern, worrying that the video could be fodder for predators. On several such videos, users have posted lewd and sexual comments.
"It's drawing the attention of perverts, of guys looking for something to watch," she said.
She has appealed directly to YouTube to try and get these videos and comments taken down. In a statement sent to ABC News by a YouTube spokesperson, YouTube reiterated its policy on underage users:
YouTube is for people thirteen years or older only, and we provide information for teens and parents in our Safety Center on staying safe online. Our Community Guidelines prohibit videos or comments containing harassment, threats, or hate speech -- we encourage users to flag material so we can quickly review it and remove anything that breaks the rules. Videos involving children (anyone under the age of 18) are particularly sensitive. Videos containing children should never be sexually suggestive or violent.
Experts insist that effective parenting can help minimize insecurity, although nothing can completely eradicate it.
"Parents have to get serious about monitoring what their teens and tweens are doing. They've got to monitor regularly. They may not prevent [the video] from going up, but they need to catch it as soon as it goes up. They should uses these videos as teachable moments. Perhaps ask the kids, 'How would you feel if you saw these comments?'" Klapow said.
Gibson is hoping that Faye's and her experience can help alert parents before their children's insecurities spiral into something dangerous.
"Hopefully it will open up the eyes of the parents," she said. "The kids aren't letting their parents know what's wrong, just like Faye didn't let me know. Hopefully, parents can get more proactive. [Faye's] internet usage is limited even more, I have the computer locked after a certain time. I've taken all the steps that I needed to take, here's another step I need to adjust and move on from."
Am I Pretty or Ugly