Hurricane Irene

Hurricane Irene

Hurricane Irene wound up by most estimates as one of the top ten most destructive and deadly hurricanes to hit the United States since 1980. While ultimately not as powerful as many had predicted, the storm still killed at least 27 people along its path from the Caribbean to the eastern seaboard. Transportation was shut down all along the east coast, stranding residents and tourists in shelters, airports, and train stations. More than 5.8 million customers lost electricity, thousands of flights were cancelled, flooding washed out roads and destroyed homes, and evacuation orders were issued for hundreds of thousands. Gathered here are pictures from the Hurricane’s path. — Lane Turner (44 photos total)

Billy Stinson comforts his daughter Erin Stinson as they sit on the steps where their cottage once stood on August 28, 2011 in Nags Head, N.C. The cottage, built in 1903 and destroyed by Hurricane Irene, was one of the first vacation cottages built on Albemarle Sound in Nags Head. Stinson has owned the home, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, since 1963. “We were pretending, just for a moment, that the cottage was still behind us and we were just sitting there watching the sunset,” said Erin afterward. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

In this handout image provided by NOAA, Hurricane Irene churns of the coast of the Carolinas on August 26, 2011. (NOAA via Getty Images) #

A man wades through a flooded street after hurricane Irene hit Naguabo, Puerto Rico on August 22, 2011. (Ricardo Arduengo/AP) #

A resident rides a horse through a flooded neighborhood after the passing of Hurricane Irene in Nagua, Dominican Republic on August 23, 2011. Hundreds were displaced by flooding in the Dominican Republic, forced to take refuge in churches, schools or relatives’ homes. Electricity also was cut in some areas. (Roberto Guzman/AP) #

Bill Olney, an electronics technician aboard a P-3 Orion turboprop named “Kermit”, prepares a dropsonde to be sent into Hurricane Irene as the crew observes the storm. (Chris Urso/Tampa Tribune/AP) #

Jamie Rhome, storm surge specialist (left) and Don Brown, senior hurricane specialist, study a map at the National Hurricane Center in Miami on August 24, 2011 as Hurricane Irene passes near the Acklins and Crooked Islands in the Bahamas. (J Pat Carter/AP) #

Cory Ritz braces himself as a wave bursts onto a pier at the Boynton Beach inlet on August 25, 2011 in Boynton Beach, Fla. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images) #

Hardware store employees Richard Howell (left) and Farid Elattar load up emergency generators in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Irene in Virginia Beach, Va. on August 26, 2011. (Steve Helber/AP) #

Sentara Nursing Center Currituck residents are evacuated in response to a mandatory order in Barco, N.C. on August 26, 2011. (Jim R. Bounds/AP) #

A shopper looks for bottled water at a store in Rockaway Beach, N.Y. on August 26, 2011. (Allison Joyce/Reuters) #

Tybee Island Ocean Rescue lifeguard Andrew Robinson watches surfers with a pair of binoculars after closing the water to swimmers from the pier in Tybee Island, Ga. on August 26, 2011. (Stephen Morton/AP) #

Hotel workers put outdoor furniture in a pool to keep it from blowing away in preparation for Hurricane Irene on August 26, 2011 in Ocean City, Md. Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan has ordered a mandatory evacuation for thousands of residents and visitors. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images) #

A resident in a Battery Park City high rise apartment building tapes his windows ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Irene on August 26, 2011 in New York City. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) #

A family runs to make a connection at Union Square station as New York City’s entire mass transit system shuts down at noon on August 27, 2011 to prepare for Hurricane Irene. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images) #

Jackie Sparnackel has to abandon her van and her belongings near the Frisco Pier after she drove up to see how the storm-battered structure was doing on August 27, 2011 in Frisco, N.C. (Chuck Liddy/The News & Observer/AP) #

A group of sailors run through the streets of the nation’s capital during pouring rain in advance of the arrival of Hurricane Irene on August 27, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Win McNamee/Getty Images) #

People shield themselves from blowing sand and rain as they look over the beach during Hurricane Irene on August 27, 2011 in Kill Devil Hills, N.C. (Scott Olson/Getty Images) #

Noy Chanthasri and her mother Suksan Chanthasri, who is visiting from Thailand, play “rummy” in the Norview High School shelter on August 27, 2011, in Norfolk, Va. (Bill Tiernan/The Virginian-Pilot/AP) #

Workers walk in a nearly-deserted Grand Central Terminal in New York on August 27, 2011. (Marjorie Anders/NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority/AP) #

Pedestrians struggle against a blast of wind and rain from Hurricane Irene in downtown Washington, D.C. on August 27, 2011. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP) #

Two men paddle a boat down a street flooded by Hurricane Irene on August 27, 2011 in Manteo, N.C. (John Bazemore/AP) #

Hockey players from Vancouver play an impromptu game in Times Square in New York on August 27, 2011, as Hurricane Irene approaches. (Chelsea Matiash/AP) #

A surfer passes the broken end of the Bogue Inlet Fishing Pier in Emerald Isle, N.C. on August 28, 2011. Hurricane Irene spent 12 hours scouring the coast, killed at least five people, brought pockets of flooding that required rescues along the sounds, and left nearly a half-million customers without power. (John Rottet/The News & Observer/AP) #

Branches litter an alley after Hurricane Irene on August 28, 2011 in Virginia Beach, Va. (Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images) #

A deer wades through floodwaters in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene on August 28, 2011, in Lincoln Park, N.J. Irene was just the third hurricane to come ashore in New Jersey in the past 200 years. (Julio Cortez/AP) #

Henry Walker (right) plays around with friends Keron Roundtree (left) and Barry Gurley as rapidly rising floodwaters covered in leaking kerosene fill a neighborhood in the South Ward district of Trenton, N.J. on August 28, 2011. (Chip East/Reuters) #

Roads flood in Hatteras Island, N.C. on August 28, 2011after Hurricane Irene swept through the area cutting the roadway in five locations. (Jim R. Bounds/AP) #

Steve Egbert of Des Moines, Iowa reads from his journal at a shelter set up in Portland, Maine as Hurricane Irene made its way into the state on August 28, 2011. Egbert had been camping in western Maine for a week and was trying to get home, when both his bus and plane reservations were cancelled. (Pat Wellenbach/AP) #

B.J. Cahoon (left) helps Ivan Ireland wash down Ivan’s daughter’s bedroom in hopes of salvaging the house the day after they survived Hurricane Irene on Goose Creek Island on August 28, 2011 in Lowland, N.C. (Sara D. Davis/Getty Images) #

Bennington Police Chief Paul Doucette looks at a collapsed bridge on Route 9 in Woodford, Vt. on August 28, 2011. (Austen Danforth/Bennington Banner/AP) #

A man and his daughter scramble across the shoreline after being hit by a wave on August 28, 2011 in Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia. (Mike Dembeck/The Canadian Press/AP) #

A man walks on a wall next to a flooded highway in New Brunswick, N.J. on August 28, 2011. (Mel Evans/AP) #

Janie Gibbs helps clean up a friend’s destroyed home on August 28, 2011 after it was hit by Hurricane Irene in Columbia, N.C. (John Bazemore/AP) #

Nick Siragusa works on keeping the sump pump unplugged as he helps remove the water from the flooded lobby of the Allegria hotel as Hurricane Irene swept through on August 28, 2011 in Long Beach, N.Y. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images) #

McKenzie Joyce (left) and Teresa Desmond play in the wind on the Scituate, Ma. shoreline south of Boston as Hurricane Irene moves through the area on August 28, 2011. (Michael Dwyer/AP) #

People look over the damage to Sue and Jack Holloway’s home in the Nassau Station development in Lewis, Del. on August 28, 2011. (Suchat Pederson/The News Journal/AP)#

A man walks across a nearly-deserted 42nd Street in Times Square in New York on August 28, 2011 as Hurricane Irene hits the city. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)#

Mark Wade chases his friend Craig Busick as he surfs a large puddle in front of the Board of Education in Centreville, Md. on August 28, 2011. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images) #

Rescue workers help a woman off a floating dock they feared was going to break loose during Hurricane Irene in New Bedford, Ma. on August 28, 2011. (Winslow Townson/AP)#

People sleep at Penn Station in New York on August 28, 2011 as Hurricane Irene approaches the region. Public transportation in New York shut down around noon on Saturday. (Chelsea Matiash/AP)#

A man surveys the damage around a friend’s home as a sailboat is washed ashore as Hurricane Irene arrives on August 28, 2011 in Southampton, N.Y. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)#

Casey and Denise Robinson clear out their destroyed beach home in the Sandbridge area of Virginia Beach, Va. on August 28, 2011, the day after Hurricane Irene moved through. Officials speculate that a tornado swept through the area. (Steve Helber/AP)#

Melvis LaBrecque of Boston takes advantage of Irene’s winds to ride his skateboard with a homemade parasail on August 28, 2011. (Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff)#

Susie and over 75 other pets are checked into the Red Cross center at Indian River High School to ride out Hurricane Irene in Dagsboro, Del. on August 27, 2011. (Suchat Pederson/The News Journal/AP)#


10 Restaurants With Spectacular Views

10 Restaurants With Spectacular Views

Pull up a seat, sit back, and feast your eyes on the wonders of the world in BT’s favorite dining rooms with a view.

By Budget Travel Staff
Chez Manu pairs breathtaking views of
Beagle Channel and a menu of local
specialties with a French twist.

Courtesy of Chez Manu

    Savings-minded travelers may not always be able to spring for the loftiest hillside hotels, but a single meal at a spectacularly situated restaurant can be a worthy splurge. From glacial peaks to ancient rain forests—even an underwater dining room in the Indian Ocean—we’ve rounded up 12 unforgettable places to pick up a fork.


    The untamed Andes from the southern-most city in the world.

    You might not expect to find world-class French food in a frontier city that’s more or less at the ends of the earth—which makes Chez Manu an even more pleasant surprise. Set on a hill about a mile north of Ushuaia, the capital of Tierra del Fuego and the southern-most city in the world, the restaurant first impresses visitors with its remarkable perspective on Beagle Channel. And then there’s the food. Naturally, fish figures prominently—such as black hake, salmon, and herring, to which expat chef Emmanuel Herbin applies his own suitably French twists (seasoning with anise and herbs, say). Also worth a try: Herbin’s takes on Patagonian lamb and Fuegian rabbit, served in an aged mustard sauce.

    Best Deal: Centolla (king crab) is abundant here, and preparations such as centolla gratinada “Chez Manu” come in well below splurge territory ($24). 2135 Fernando Luís Martial Ave., Ushuaia, Argentina, 011-54/2901-432-253,, entrées from $15.

    Julaymba Restaurant sits within the world’s oldest rain forest.

    Courtesy of Julaymba


    Primordial paradise in the midst of the jungle.

    Julaymba Restaurant brings travelers right to the heart of the world’s oldest rain forest. The 40-seat restaurant’s terrace juts out over an ancient freshwater lagoon while tangled vines drape from the canopy above. From every direction, diners hear the sounds of some 430 species of birds, plus tree frogs, wild turkeys, and wallabies thumping through the brush. The distinctly Aussie menu incorporates pepper berries, wattle seeds, and other native foods used by the local aboriginal Kuku Yalanji people, many of whom work in the restaurant. Make like a local, and order either the smoked crocodile or the kangaroo steak.

    Best Deal: The lunch-only fish-and-chips special—it’s made with local, line-caught barramundi and chips ($17). Daintree EcoLodge & Spa, 20 Daintree Rd., Daintree, Australia, 011-61/7-4098-6100,, entrées from $29.

    Pierchic provides a study in contrasts when viewed with Burj Al Arab’s 1,000-foot-tall glass sail in the background.

    Courtesy of Pierchic


    Over-the-top architecture in the world’s most outrageous city.

    For all the glamour, glitz, and grandeur that have come to define Dubai, Pierchic stands out for being just the opposite: understated, low-slung, and vernacular in its architectural style. Its wooden beams blend right in with the simple, 500-foot jetty that connects the over-water dining room to Jumeirah Beach and provides enough distance to take in the man-made Palm Jumeirah Island and the full height of Burj Al Arab’s 1,000-foot-tall glass sail. Despite the restaurant’s waterfront location, much of its top-notch seafood is imported from around the world.

    Best Deal: The seafood lover’s degustation menu, which includes an appetizer, an intermediate and a main course, and a dessert ($43). The menu changes daily, but expect options such as brown shrimp panna cotta, pan-fried oyster, and crème brûlée. Served daily from 1–3 p.m. Al Qasr Hotel, Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, 011-971/4-366-6730,, entrées from $27.

    There are only 12 seats at the Ithaa undersea restaurant off Rangali Island in the Maldives—all of them have fantastic views of the Indian Ocean overhead.

    Courtesy of Ithaa Undersea Restaurant


    Scuba views from beneath the ocean.

    It’s like dinner theater for the dive set—and there’s not a bad seat in the house. Ithaa is located 16 feet below the surface of the Indian Ocean. Its tunnel shape and glass walls reveal a breathtaking seascape of unspoiled coral atolls, schools of parrot fish, and giant stingrays to 12 lucky diners. The menu is rich with decadent dishes like caviar, line-caught reef fish and rock lobster, but if you’d rather not look out the window for your ordering inspiration, seared veal tenderloin and button-mushroom soup make for suitable substitutions. And while the four-course lunch menu is undoubtedly a splurge, it’s still cheaper than getting certified to scuba. Note that tables can only be reserved two weeks in advance.

    Best Deal: An 11 a.m. daily cocktail hour opens up the space to curious travelers who can’t quite justify the cost of a meal. Conrad Maldives hotel, Rangali Island, Maldives, 011-960/668-0629,, six-course dinner from $320 per person.

    Paris, France
    From Le Déli-Cieux, patrons can see the most iconic features of the Paris skyline—the Arc de Triomphe, the Sacré Coeur, and the Eiffel Tower.

    Courtesy of Cafe Deli

    Paris, France

    A Parisian panorama from one of the city’s most iconic department stores.

    In a city where shopping has been elevated to an art form, it’s fitting that one of the best roof-terrace restaurants sits atop the iconic Printemps department store, in the 9th arrondissement. Serving simple bistro fare (think quiche, soups, and toasted spinach-honey-and-goat-cheese sandwiches) to Parisians and tourists alike, Le Déli-Cieux also delivers 360-degree views of the city’s centuries-old tin rooftops and its greatest architectural icons: the Arc de Triomphe, the Sacré Coeur, and bien sur, the Eiffel Tower.

    Best Deal: Well-priced wine, champagne, and beer ($7) flow freely on Thursday evenings, when the terrace is open until 10 p.m. Printemps Home Store, 64 Haussmann Blvd., 9th floor, 9th arrondissement, Paris, France, 011-33/42-82-62-76,, gazpacho from $6.

    Bosco Bar in Moscow overlooks the Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral, and Lenin’s mausoleum all at once.

    Courtesy of Bosco Cafe


    A view of the country’s most famous gilded square.

    Bosco Bar hits a rare sweet spot: There is a bona fide social scene, plus impressive sightlines and prices you can actually stomach. While the shopping center itself draws wealthy Muscovites browsing Hermès and Armani, savvy travelers stake out seats in the 1970s-inspired bar, where they can see Lenin’s mausoleum, the Kremlin, and St. Basil’s Cathedral all at once. The menu straddles the new/old divide, with inventive salads (quail with beets and roasted foie gras; smoked salmon, arugula, and potato) and traditional favorites such as beef Stroganoff and borscht.

    Best Deal: Red Square, red soup: A bowl of borscht goes for $16. GUM Department Store, 3 Red Square, Moscow, Russia, 011-7/495-627-3703,, entrées from $11.

    1-Altitude occupies the top three floors of the 63-story OUB Centre, on Singapore’s version of Wall Street.

    Courtesy of 1-Altitude


    A lofty view of a sparkling metropolis.

    The 63-story OUB Centre is crowned by 1-Altitude, a three-level venue that offers the best views in the city—plus main-course-quality bar snacks such as wood-fired pizzas, satay platters (spicy Thai beef, chicken, and pork), and Turkish flat bread with dips. The cocktails run the gamut from classic (mojito) to creative (The Narcissist is a tempting combination of Russian Standard vodka muddled with peach, freshly squeezed lime, and rosemary-infused raspberries). The year-old hotspot is always buzzing with young Singaporean professionals, who are keen to kick back after a day’s work and survey the skyline.

    Best Deal: Good selection of affordable New World wines, from $13 a glass (cocktails start at $16). OUB Centre, One Raffles Pl., 63rd level, Singapore, 011-65/6438-0410,, pizzas from $20.

    St. Lucia, West Indies
    The on-site Boucan Restaurant takes in the island’s lush tropical foliage and surrounding mountains.

    Courtesy of Boucan Restaurant

    St. Lucia, West Indies

    From the heart of a chocolate plantation.

    Calling all chocolate lovers: Boucan Restaurant might just be your dream come true. Every last item on the menu incorporates some form of cocoa, from a green salad tossed in white chocolate dressing to sautéed prawns with chocolate tapenade and, of course, desserts: a chocolate tart, cacao crème brûlée, and espresso-and-dark-chocolate mousse. Even dreamier than the indulgent dishes? The jungle-draped views of the Piton Mountains, lush, twin-peaked mountains that rise almost 2,600 feet above sea level on the volcanic island’s southern coast.

    Best Deal: Every dinner reservation from now until December 1, 2011, comes with a complimentary cocktail from a menu that includes chocolate daiquiris, cacao Bellinis, and cacao-pulp martinis (a $10 value). Hotel Chocolat, Rabot Estate, Soufrière, St. Lucia, West Indies, 011-758/457-1624,, entrées from $15.

    Whatever the season, Kuklos claims incredible vistas.

    Courtesy of Restaurant Kuklos


    Alpine splendor overlooking Lake Geneva, Mont Blanc, and the Matterhorn.

    Talk about making the rounds. Patrons of Kuklos, a futuristic, glass-walled restaurant in the Bernese Alps, don’t have to choose between scoping out Lake Geneva, Mont Blanc, or the Matterhorn during their meals. All they have to do is be patient. Every 90 minutes, the circular second-floor dining room makes a full 360-degree rotation. The menu skews traditional—with Gruyère-and-vacherin fondue and rösti, a Swiss riff on a potato pancake—and the dress code is casual, for a clientele of mostly skiers and mountaineers.

    Best Deal: The “panorama gourmand” package covers round-trip gondola fare (normally $26 per person) and a three-course meal ($80) for two for $160—a savings of $52. 1854 Leysin, Switzerland, 011-41/24-494-3141,, entrées from $25.

    Utah, U.S.
    The dining room of the restaurant at the View Hotel in Monument Valley, Utah, looks out over East and West Mitten Buttes.

    Courtesy of the View Hotel

    Utah, U.S.

    Iconic buttes and majestic spires.

    “Monument Valley is the place where God put the West,” remarked John Wayne, who helped put the valley on moviegoers’ maps by filming Stagecoach there in 1938. Seventy-plus years later, the landscape is just as cinematic. A large bay window overlooks East and West Mitten Buttes, so named for their resemblance to the woolly hand warmers, and natural light floods the space all day. Ambitious early birds can watch the sunrise from one of the few tables lined up along the window (the restaurant opens at 7 a.m.). But arriving later has its benefits, too—like tasting Chef MacNeal Crank’s updated takes on his grandmother’s traditional Navajo recipes, such as fry-bread tacos or red chile posole, rich with buttery hominy.

    Best Deal: The all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet ($6). Monument Valley Tribal Park, U.S. Hwy. 160 and 163, Monument Valley, Utah, 435/727-5555,, entrées from $12.

    What Your Jeans Say About You (According to Guys!)

    What Your Jeans Say About You (According to Guys!)

    By Alyssa Shapiro,

    When we asked a few guys what these jeans said about the ladies wearing them, their reactions ranged from dropped jaws to total confusion.

    (Spoiler alert: The word silhouette is mystifying to guys!)

    Regardless of your taste in jeans — be it wide-leg, skinny or straight-leg — one thing is clear: Guys love it when the real YOU is easy to see. Read on for a glimpse into the male mind.

    Paint-splattered jeans make guys think you’re en route to the Laundromat

    Paint-splattered jeansThis jean’s look says, “I like to party … around bleach.” — Francis, 25

    Photo: Ronnie Andren

    Black jeans

    Photo: Ronnie Andren

    Hip, edgy jeans make him think you’re too cool for school

    “Black shirt, Blackberryblack JEANS … There’s no taking it lightly with her.” — Alex, 24

    Relax-fit jeans

    Photo: Ronnie Andren

    Cool relax-fit jeans = cool, laid-back girl

    “She looks easygoing, like she’d be down to grab coffee with me in the afternoon.” — Anthony, 27

    Classic blue jeans

    Photo: Ronnie Andren

    You can’t go wrong with classic blue jeans

    “Simple and elegant.” — Josh, 30

    Skinny jeans

    Photo: Ronnie Andren

    Not-too-tight skinny jeans make for the perfect date outfit

    “She looks casual and comfortable, like we should cuddle on the couch … with a fire … in the fall and maybe some Bon Iver or Sigur Rós playing in the background.” — Scotty, 24

    Distressed jeans

    Photo: Ronnie Andren

    Intentionally frayed or distressed jeans distress him

    “Hoping she didn’t pay extra for the fray … .” — Philippe, 26

    Large-branded jeans

    Photo: Ronnie Andren

    Logo-in-your-face denim styles turn him off

    “Blinded by the white! She’d rather wear a brand name than something that looks good.” — Josh, 32


    Photo: Ronnie Andren

    Casual, layered jeggings are a guaranteed head-turner

    “These jeans look good on her. She seems confident wearing them!” — Colby, 26

    Ripped jeans

    Photo: Ronnie Andren

    Attention-getting ripped jeans are the denim equivalent of a pick-up line

    “She’s a free spirit, teasing you with little glimpses of skin and letting you know she’s down to party!” — Ryan, 25

    Cropped jeans

    Photo: Ronnie Andren

    Cropped, edgy jeans give off a playful vibe

    “She’s sporty, with a splash of spunk!” — Jim, 34

    Red jeans

    Photo: Ronnie Andren

    Red jeans catch — and keep — his attention

    “Love this quirky girl — I think I have a crush already; can you introduce me?” — Tom, 23

    '70s jeans

    Photo: Ronnie Andren

    ’70s jeans send a groovy message

    “She’s got flare. Literally.” — Randall, 30

    Slouchy jeans

    Photo: Ronnie Andren

    Slouchy, oversize jeans risk looking a wee bit sloppy

    “This is Tom Sawyer-esque effortless chic. Maybe a little too effortless, in my mind.” — Nicolas, 24

    Chinese general’s spy talk leaked onto YouTube

    Chinese general’s spy talk leaked onto YouTube

    APBy CHRISTOPHER BODEEN – Associated Press | AP – 18 hrs ago

    Embarrassing leak for Chinese general

    Footage of Chinese general Jin Yinan (Video screengrab from YouTube channel ChinaForbiddenNews)

    BEIJING (AP) — Footage of a Chinese general discussing sensitive spying cases has been leaked onto Google Inc.’s video sharing site YouTube, in what appears to be an embarrassing failure of secrecy for the usually tightlipped military.

    It wasn’t clear when or where Maj. Gen. Jin Yinan made the comments and China’s Defense Ministry did not immediately respond Monday to faxed questions about the video. Calls to the National Defense University where Jin is a lecturer rang unanswered.

    While some of the cases had been announced before, few details had been released, while others involving the military had been entirely secret.

    Among those Jin discussed was that of former Ambassador to South Korea Li Bin, who was sentenced to seven years for corruption. Jin said Li had actually been discovered passing secrets to South Korea that compromised China’s position in North Korean nuclear disarmament talks, but the allegations were too embarrassing to make public and graft charges were brought instead.

    “In all the world, what nation’s ambassador serves as another country’s spy?” Jin said.

    Similar treatment was handed out to the former head of China’s nuclear power program, Kang Rixin, who was sentenced to life in prison last November on charges of corruption. Jin said Kang had in fact peddled secrets about China’s civilian nuclear program to a foreign nation that he did not identify, but that was considered too sensitive to bring up in court.

    Kang, a member of the ruling Communist Party’s powerful Central Committee as well as its disciplinary arm, was one of the highest-ranking officials ever to be involved in spying, Jin said. His arrest dealt a major shock to the party leadership, Jin said.

    “The party center was extremely nervous. They ordered top-to-bottom inspections and spared no individual,” he said.

    Jin also talked about Tong Daning, an official from China’s social security fund, who was executed in 2006 after being convicted on charges of spying for rival Taiwan. Jin said Tong had passed information to the island’s leaders about China’s currency regime, allowing them to avoid massive losses due to exchange rate changes.

    Among the cases involving military personnel, Jin said that of Col. Xu Junping, who defected to the United States in 2000, did not involve the loss of any technical secrets.

    Instead, Xu relayed to the Americans his knowledge of the military leaderships’ personalities, attitudes and habits gleaned from many years accompanying the top brass on trips abroad, Jin said.

    The video was also posted on Chinese websites, and while it was removed from most locations, screen shots, audio files and transcripts of Jin’s comments could still be found on sites such as Sina Weibo’s popular microblogging service.

    Jin’s presentation, complete with explanatory slides, was typical of how such cases are discussed at private sessions as a warning to Communist Party cadres not to be lured into espionage or corruption. The leaked video appeared to have been from an official recording rather than filmed by a member of the audience.

    Authorities heavily police the Chinese Internet but can only remove objectionable content after it is posted and have no control over what appears elsewhere.

    While Chinese are enthusiastic users of social media, YouTube and Facebook are blocked inside China and their Chinese equivalents are required to inspect all content and remove politically sensitive material before being ordered to do so.

    Video: Pole vaulter’s pole snaps during jump at world champs

    Every time I watch the pole vault, I marvel at how much the thin, 15-foot poles are able to bend in order to withstand the weight of the athlete being propelled high into the air. The process of making the approach, placing the pole in the small plant, propelling into the air, having the pole bend just enough to get an athlete over the bar and falling safely to the pit is one of the more remarkable scenes in sports.

    Unfortunately for Dmitry Starodubtsev, it doesn’t always work out that way.

    The Russian was attempting a jump of 5.75 meters (a little less than 19 feet) Monday at the IAAF World Championships in South Korea when his pole snapped in half mid-jump.

    The Russian injured his hand in the fall and had to withdraw from the competition. Watch that clip a few times and you’ll realize he was lucky his hand was the only thing that got hurt.

    Fish-catching trick may be spreading among dolphins

    Fish-catching trick may be spreading among dolphins

    ReutersBy Elaine Lies | Reuters – 15 hrs ago

    Dolphins are seen on Wakatobi waters, Southeast Sulawesi province, Indonesia. (Irwin Fedriansyah/AP Photo)

    PERTH, Australia (Reuters) – Dolphins in one western Australian population have been observed holding a large conch shell in their beaks and using it to shake a fish into their mouths — and the behavior may be spreading.

    Researchers from Murdoch University in Perth were not quite sure what they were seeing when they first photographed the activity, in 2007, in which dolphins would shake conch shells at the surface of the ocean.

    “It’s a fleeting glimpse — you look at it and think, that’s kind of weird,” said Simon Allen, a researcher at the university’s Cetacean Research Unit.

    “Maybe they’re playing, maybe they’re socializing, maybe males are presenting a gift to a female or something like that, maybe the animals are actually eating the animal inside.”

    But researchers were more intrigued when they studied the photos and found the back of a fish hanging out of the shell, realizing that the shaking drained the water out of the shells and caused the fish that was sheltering inside to fall into the dolphins’ mouths.

    A search through records for dolphins in the eastern part of Shark Bay, a population that has been studied for nearly 30 years, found roughly half a dozen sightings of similar behavior over some two decades.

    Then researchers saw it at least seven times during the four-month research period starting this May, Allen said.

    “There’s a possibility here — and it’s speculation at this stage — that this sort of change from seeing it six or seven times in 21 years to seeing it six or seven times in three months gives us that tantalizing possibility that it might be spreading before our very eyes,” he added.

    “It’s too early to say definitively yet, but we’ll be watching very closely over the next couple of field seasons.”

    The Shark Bay dolphin population is already unusual for having developed two foraging techniques, one of which involves the dolphin briefly beaching itself to grab fish after driving them up onto the shore.

    The other is “sponging” — in which the dolphins break off a conical bit of sponge and fit it over their heads like a cap, shielding them as they forage for food on the sea floor.

    But both of these spread “vertically,” mainly through the female dolphin population, from mother to daughter. The intriguing thing about this new behavior with the conch shells is that it might be spreading “horizontally,” Allen said.

    “If it spreads horizontally, then we would expect to see it more often and we’d expect to see it between ‘friends’,” he added, noting that dolphins are known for having preferences in terms of companions and whom they spend time with.

    “Most of the sightings from this year are in the same habitat where we first saw it in 2007, and a couple of the individuals this year are known to associate with the ones that we saw doing it a year or two ago.”

    The next step would be not only to observe the behavior again in another season but also to try and gather evidence Of deliberate actions on the part of the dolphins.

    “If we could put some shells in a row or put them facing down or something like that and then come back the next day, if we don’t actually see them do it but find evidence that they’ve turned the shell over or make it into an appealing refuge for a fish, then that implies significant forward planning on the dolphins’ parts,” Allen said.

    “The nice idea is that there is this intriguing possibility that they might manipulate the object beforehand. Then that might change using the shell as just a convenient object into actual tool use,” he added.

    (Reporting by Elaine Lies; Editing by Alex Richardson)

    Mighty Optical Illusions

    More Puzzles at Mighty Optical Illusions


    Because of distortion caused by the grey bars, this still image has a strobing effect that makes it appear as if the water is flowing.

    Hidden Tiger

    One tiger is easy to see, but there’s a hidden tiger too. Click to the next image for a solution.

    Hidden Tiger - SolutionHint: Read the tiger’s stripes.


    This image appears to bulge in the middle, but all of the lines are completely straight and parallel! The apparent warping is caused by the placement of the black and white pips in the corners of the squares. See the next image for an overlay that will make the illusion more obvious.

    Checkerboard - SolutionWith straight red lines overlaid on top of the image, it becomes more obvious that the bulge is an illusion. Still, the illusion is so powerful that even the red lines seem to want to warp a bit!

    Painted Car

    A clever trompe-l’oeil illusion: the yellow car is merely a painting on the white van.


    Last time we showed one of Henry Lim’s 3-dimensional LEGO recreations of a famous M.C. Escher “impossible” illustration. This time, we’ve got another one: “Ascending and Descending,” Escher’s depiction of a seemingly endless staircase.

    Weird Waterfall

    3D artist Qi Xinghua painted this massive sidewalk illusion which earned him a Guinness Book of World Records entry as the largest 3D painting in the world. Presented at a shopping mall in Guangzhou, the illusion is 100 feet long and took over a month to complete.

    Purple Nurple

    This purple swirl seems to move eerily, but it’s actually a static image. As with other illusions of this type, the motion seems greatest in your peripheral vision.

    Count the Invisible Bears

    Count the Invisible Bears

    How many can you spot?

    Count the Invisible Bears - Solution


    The famous surrealist recreates a movie legend.


    Here’s a clever art installation created by Salvador Dali. From this angle it’s hard to tell what you’re looking at. Check out the next image for a clearer view.

    Dali! - Solution

    Viewed from the proper perspective, we see that this is a playful portrait of movie star Mae West.

    Desktop Delusion

    This simple sketch seems somehow to jump off the page. It’s drawn in forced perspective, giving it the appearance of a three-dimensional object when viewed from this angle.



    Scan the negative space in this whimsical illusion by Culpeo. (Haunted)

    Haunted - Solution

    Psychedelic Swirl

    Psychedelic Swirl – Trippy

    Is It Green?

    Is It Green?

    The square in the center of this image by Professor Akiyoshi Kitaoka appears to have a green tint. But is that actually its color? See next image for Solution.

    Is It Green? - Solution

    With the contrasting red squares and background removed, we can see that the center square is actually grey in color.

    On the Beach

    This is a cycling image. Focus on the red dot and wait for the image to change to a shot of the beach. It’s in black and white, but it will appear to be in color because of the after-image in your eyes!

    On the Beach