Black Friday Starts Early At Walmart

Black Friday,  that time of the year when everything is on sale is only a few days away. Retailers have published the first ads, whereas others such as Walmart are already announcing the promotions schedule. At Walmart, Black Friday 2012 starts at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, an early start to make sure you get what you want.

After Thanksgiving Day dinner, football and family time, Walmart is suggesting you reserve the night for shopping. The retailer is starting Black Friday earlier this year, promising it will open stores at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving. It’s the company’s earliest Black Friday ever as it hopes to start the holiday shopping season the best way possible: with huge sales.

According to a report by the National Retail Federation, this year’s Black Friday isn’t going to be just as productive as that of 2011. Holiday spending for Black Friday 2012 is expected to go as high as 4.1 percent, but that’s considerably smaller than that of 2011, 5.6 percent.

“We bought deep, very deep, and we bought deep on items that matter to our customers” said Mac Naughton, U.S. Chief Merchandising and Marketing Officer for Walmart U.S. And the decision to start Black Friday early is based on customer’s preferences. “We got customer feedback that says ‘I like to shop earlier so I can go to bed earlier” Mac Naughton explained.

According to a review by DealNews.com, starting Black Friday earlier it’s a great idea since Walmart has “some good deals in here”. However, before lining up in front of Walmart stores all stuffed with turkey, you’d better check “into the recent price history and checking other stores”.

In the meanwhile, Walmart says take your time, browse around and then buy. “We’re so confident in our assortment and our pricing” says Walmart spokeswoman Sarah Spencer that people just can “come on in and look”. And even if you’re not planning to buy something, the discounts and advertising will probably have you leave the stores with more things you can carry.

But if you’re not feeling like standing in line at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, just remember Black Friday is an online thing too. Like usually, Amazon is going to have the most amazing deals on Black Friday, so don’t stand in the cold if you have an Internet connection and a computer/smartphone.

New Super Earth Planet Could Be Habitable

The quest for a second Earth continues as astronomers found a new super Earth planet candidate that could be habitable. Scientists are still cautious, but the new potentially habitable planet is only 42 light years away from Earth.

There have been other Earth-like planets that made the headlines before, but it looks like HD 40307g is the closest to our planet in the habitable zone. There are only 42 light years from Earth to HD 40307g and while that’s still mindboggling math (1 light year is 9.4605284 x 1015 meters) it is right in the neighborhood compared to other super-Earth candidates.

Earlier this week, scientists published a review of old data that found HD 40307g as a likely Earth. The paper published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics explains the new technique used to measure the existing data on nearby stars. On the overall there are three new planet candidates added to the list, but HD 40307g seems to be the most likely to support liquid water and even life.

 “The planetary system around HD 40307 has an architecture radically different from that of the solar system” reads the paper signed by lead researcher Mikko Tuomi and Guillem Anglada-Escude. Using data gathered by the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) in Chile, experts analyzed the waves of light and energy sent by the dwarf star in the planetary system.

Scientists says that the new super-Earth candidate is just far enough from the dwarf star HD 40307 that it could even have a night and day, since it is able to rotate freely, unlike the planets closer to it. According to astronomer Steven Vogt with the University of California’s Lick Observatory, “all we know at this point is that it has a minimum mass of about 7.1 Earth-masses”.

The new super-Earth planet candidate should be getting 62 percent of the radiation level our planet gets from the sun, based on experts’ estimates. “Even though the radiation is somewhat low compared to that received by the Earth, we note that the Earth lies actually reasonably close to the inner boundary of the sun’s habitable zone” the paper added.

But is the new super-Earth candidate planet a rocky one? Does it even have an atmosphere? Study co-author Hugh Jones believes “it’s likely that it’s sufficient in mass that it does have an atmosphere”. “The longer orbit of the new planet means that its climate and atmosphere may be just right to support life” he added.

Obama’s Granny Does The Victory Dance For Her Grandson’s Re-Election

Obama’s granny, Sarah, did the victory dance in honor of her step-grandson’s re-election. She was accompanied by most of the inhabitants in the city of Kogelo in western Kenya, who set up a special party for the President, the Inquisitr reports.

90-year-old Sarah Obama breathlessly waited for the results of the Elections Day hoping that her step-grandson would be elected president for four more years. Her expectations were fulfilled when the polls indicated that Barack Obama was re-elected president for the second term.

The woman, whom the American President calls “Granny Sarah”, celebrated the special occasions by performing a victory dance in the small city of Kogelo, Kenya. Even though her neighbors never actually met Obama, they were all happy for her grandson’s achievement. As a matter of fact, they threw a party in honor of Barack.

The President is not blood related to Sarah, but he confessed on numerous occasions that he is very fond of her. “Granny Sarah”, too, cares for Barack which is why she spent the entire evening watching the elections. Once she found out that he has scored another political victory over the Republicans, Sarah told reporters that her grandson’s kindness has helped him win the race.

None of this would have been possible if it hadn’t been for God, Sarah Obama stated. However, the fact that Barack knows how to love all people has also contributed to his success. “He has got the knowledge to love all people, he doesn’t have the knowledge of division, that is why he has won,” she added.

Sarah Obama doesn’t know English, so she uses an interpreter to speak to the American President. Her comments in relation to the re-election were made in Luo, one of Kenya’s most popular languages. In the end, she confessed that she wished the President would visit Kenya sooner, so she could congratulate him in person for his second presidency.  

Obama Celebrates Re-Election

Barack Obama celebrated his re-election as president on Tuesday. He began his second term with a political speech underlining his goals for the next four years. The commander-in-chief invited the Republicans to join forces with the Democratic Party for the nation’s benefit, according to the Associated Press.

Supporters of the Democrat President have many reasons to be happy as Obama nabbed another victory against the Republicans on Tuesday. Despite the lengthy and difficult campaign, Obama was successful in all 12 crucial battleground states.

Soon after the first results were communicated, Obama hurried to make another presidential speech on early Wednesday morning. Similar to his 2008 speech, the newly re-elected President thanked all Americans for the support they have shown during the campaign and the Elections Day. He promised to continue working with the leaders of the two parties for the benefit of the country and recalled some of the challenges that must be tackled within the following months.

Obama reassured everyone that America is on the right track. “Our economy is recovering, a decade of war is ending, a long campaign is now over,” he told the ecstatic crowd in Chicago. The fact that he has always paid attention to the nation’s needs and the electors’ wishes has helped Obama become a better president. As a consequence, the future of the United States looks brighter than ever now that Obama was re-elected president. Even so, when it comes to the needs of the country, politicians are no longer divided in Democrats and Republicans as they can all join forces to help America prosper.

The commander-in-chief plans to achieve deficit reduction by adopting a plan that combines tax increases with spending cuts. In addition, he will overhaul the nation’s federal immigration laws and tax reform to lower unemployment rates.

The Republican Party, headed by Mitt Romney, was not as happy as their political opponent. Romney addressed the crowd in Boston at 1 a.m. ET and stated that he and Paul Ryan did everything they could to give America an alternative to the current government. He concluded by acknowledging that America has chosen another leader and congratulated the winner.

Astronomer Finds The Location Of Krypton, Superman’s Home Planet

So Krypton and Superman are fictional, right? Well, an astronomer found the actual location of Krypton, Superman’s home planet.

Every story has a bit of truth in it, and so does Superman’s story. Thanks to astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, Krypton is got an actual location, in the sky. Superman’s home planet is located in the Corvus constellation, some 27.1 light years from Earth.

DC Comics, the company that owns Superman and everything there is about him, hired astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson to find Krypton in the sky. “One of our staffers reached out to him [ Neil deGrasse Tyson] to see if he’d assist for a story we were doing, and he actually came up with a location” DC co-publisher Dan DiDio told Fox News.

“As a native of Metropolis, I was delighted to help Superman, who has done so much for my city over all these years” said Tyson who is the director of the Hayden Planetarium on West 81st Street at Central Park West. The astronomer even got a part in “Action Comics” No. 14, but it’s the Man of Steel who finds Krypton up in the sky. “It’s clear that if he weren’t a superhero, he would have made quite an astrophysicist” Tyson gushed.

“Having Neil deGrasse Tyson in the book was one thing, but by applying real world science to this story he has forever changed Superman’s place in history” added Dan DiDio. “Now fans will be able to look up at the night’s sky and say, ‘That’s where Superman was born” the DC co-publisher’s statement reads.

Krypton is a fictional planet, but Neil deGrasse Tyson figured out where its location if it had ever existed. Planet Krypton is 27.1 light years from Earth and orbits a red dwarf star labeled LHS 2520. In fact, some hardcore Superman fans could do the math and see that the distance between Earth and Krypton coincides with the superhero’s age in the comic books.

For the amateur astronomers, also fans of Superman, here are the coordinates for Superman’s home planet in the sky: right ascension: 12 hours 10 minutes 5.77 seconds; declination: -15 degrees 4 minutes 17.9 seconds; proper motion: 0.76 arcseconds per year, along 172.94 degrees from due north.

Beached World’s Rarest Whale Proves The Species Exists

Scientists across the world got their proof that the spade-toothed beaked whale is real in a not so pleasant way. The world’s rarest whale was found beached in New Zealand proving the species actually exists.

You’d imagine that by 2012, scientists have managed to explore everything there is to Earth. With all the technology and intense traffic, you’d imagine there isn’t one animal left on Earth hiding from scientists. But the spade-toothed beaked whale managed to keep out of sight, becoming so elusive nobody believed it still existed. Until two were found on a beach in New Zealand.

In 2010, two whales beached themselves. It was a 17-foot whale and her calf that were misidentified by conservation workers to be a common type of whale. The carcasses were buried, but scientists from New Zealand and the United States took a second look at the findings and concluded that the beached whales from two years ago were in fact spade-toothed beaked whales.

“For the first time we have a description of the world’s rarest and perhaps most enigmatic marine mammal” researchers write in their paper published in journal Current Biology this week. “When these specimens came to our lab, we extracted the DNA as we usually do for samples like these, and we were surprised to find that they were spade-toothed beaked whales” said Rochelle Constantine with the University of Auckland.

Scientists have never actually seen a beaked whale alive. They had only three partial skulls collected from New Zealand in Chile in 1872, 1950 and 1986. In 2010, when the two whales were found in New Zealand, was for the first time when scientists had the chance to see a full body and see a spade-toothed whale for the first time in almost 150 years.

Spade-toothed beaked whales were not considered extinct. But at the same time, scientists were baffled that no one had ever seen one alive, in its environment.

Beaked whales dive to incredible depths for food and that might be one of the reasons why these are the world’s rarest whales. “We’re not sure why they are so rarely seen” said Kristine Thompson from the Auckland University. “It may be that they live in deep oceanic waters away from land so we don’t see them when they die, or it may be that there are very few of them. The answer remains an unknown” she told Discover Magazine.

Suspense Increases As Obama, Romney Prepare For Elections Day

WASHINGTON (AP) – Suspense is getting bigger and bigger as the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama and his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney prepare for Elections Day. Using every means they have, the political candidates made one last appeal to voters in an attempt to win them on their sides.

America is deeply divided between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama which is why both candidates are terrified by the prospect of Elections Day. They both yielded the center stage to determine voters to back them up, a mission which is all the more difficult considering that Americans have been through dire straits in the past week, their homes and cities being devastated by the super storm.

Judging by the recent reports, Obama has more chances of winning the Elections Day, so Romney addressed his voters in Cleveland and Pittsburgh on Tuesday. His running mate, Paul Ryan, will visit Cleveland and Richmond, Va. making sure the Republican candidate gets all the publicity he needs. Unlike them, Barack Obama will release various radio and TV interviews to remind electors why they should choose him.

The United States President reminded everyone why they elected him in the first place. He recalled them that Republicans threw America in the current economic crisis and the healing has just begun during his government. The way he sees it, electors have two possibilities: they can either choose to go back to “to the top-down policies that crashed [the] economy” or let him complete the work he started during his first term. In his opinion, America needs a person who can provide equal opportunity to everyone and grow a strong middle class.

Romney, on the other hand, stated that Obama had his chance of ensuring the country’s economic stability, but he missed it. Prolonging Obama’s administration with another term is definitely not the solution, he declared. “No, Mr. President, more jobs, that’s the answer for America,” the Republican candidate added in the end of his Sanford, Fla. speech. 

Voters, however, hope the Elections Day will be over soon. The grinding political campaign was tiresome for them, too, not just for the candidates. Nurse Jennifer Walker in Columbus, Ohio confessed that she is “ready for it to be over”.

One-Child Policy Challenged In China

30 years since it was first introduced, the one-child policy is finally challenged in China. The new political leaders think the government’s involvement in family planning issues is no longer necessary, but their decision raises concerns among the population.

Based on a recent report published by NBC News, China could finally do away with the policy that prevents families from having more than one child. The future of the one-child policy is unclear for the moment as political leaders don’t know whether they should completely remove it or replaced it with a two-child policy, instead.

The news that families could soon make family planning decisions on their own was well-received by great part of the population. The majority of the respondents declared that they think the replacement of the law is a positive change for the Chinese government. However, they all admitted that they plan to have only one child because the current economic situation does not allow them to raise more than one baby.

On the other hand, there are those who claim that the introduction of the two-child policy or, even worse, its complete cancellation could have major consequences on the demographic evolution of the country. In their opinion, the population is still too big for families to be able to have more than one child. Chen Chi, a 22-year-old student in Beijing, is a supporter of the one-child policy and thinks its removal could lead to abnormal population growths, not to mention, high urban-rural imbalances. He, too, stated that he will only have one baby for economic reasons.

Even though the announcement gave birth to numerous discussions in relation to the one-child policy, political analysts think there are few chances for more relaxed rules to be adopted in the following period. The Communist Party ruling China is consensus-driven; therefore, they will need a long period of time until they can finally modify the law. According to them, the two-child policy could be enacted in 2015, whereas all birth limits could be eliminated in 2020.

Homeowners Start Filing Hurricane Sandy Insurance Claims

Hurricane Sandy has been even more damaging than what experts predicted. Sandy caused widespread damage, leaving millions of homeowners on the hard journey to rebuilding. Hundreds of thousands of homeowners in affected stats have already filed Hurricane Sandy insurance claims.

If your home was damaged during Hurricane Sandy, you’d better start filing your catastrophe insurance claim. This storm was estimated by disaster and risk-modeling firm Eqecat to cost Americans some $20 billion. It’s likely the damage is worth even more after Hurricane Sandy’s damages surprised even weather forecasters.

According to data from the Insurance Information Institute your standard homeowner policy will cover hurricane, tornadoes and severe weather wind damages. It also covers additional living expenses as temporary housing and daily necessities. On the other hand, if your car was flooded you are covered by the standard auto insurance policy only if you checked that option too.

The Daily News writes that by Wednesday afternoon, there were 24,600 homeowner insurance claims filed with State Farm, most of them coming from New York State residents. But as more and more homeowners get a grip and are confronted with the storm damage, the number of insurance claims will skyrocket.

Eqecat estimates that Hurricane Sandy damages will cost in insured losses anywhere from $5 billion to $10 billion and another $10 to $20 billion in economic damages. Director Robert Hunter, Insurance for the Consumer Federation of America, believes wind damage insurance claims will be in the range of several hundred thousands, whereas tens of thousands of homeowners will file insurance claims for flood damage.

The first step into filing a Hurricane Sandy insurance claim is to set up a meeting with an insurance adjuster. Spokeswoman Anna Bryant with State Farm Insurance warns that it will likely take a few days before the insurance company sends someone to assess the hurricane damage.

But experts warn you should be weary of the offer the insurance adjuster will make. A lot of people have been fooled by insurance agents offering only a third of their homes’ replacement costs. Meanwhile, Robert Hunter warns insurance companies will try their best to pay as less as possible:

“Families will have to dig deeper into their pockets because insurers have been steadily increasing hurricane wind coverage deductibles and imposing other policy limitations”.

Hurricane Sandy Causes Gas Shortage

As authorities are still assessing the damages, people in New York City and New Jersey are facing another problem. Hurricane Sandy caused a gas shortage, as most service stations have already shut down since there is no gas to sell.

A gas shortage was an expected side-effect of a Frankenstorm good for the history books. Downtown New York City went underwater, whereas New Jersey shores completely disappeared in the flood. With 6 million people nationwide still without electricity, people need gas to refuel their cars and power generators.

Wednesday, Kevin Beyer, president of the Long Island Gasoline Retailers Associations, was concerned that “With the kind of demand [gas stations] are seeing, they’re likely to run out of gasoline within the next 24 hours”.

In New Jersey the quest for gas took drivers on a journey that at times was hours long. While many looked for a gas station with electricity and gasoline to sell, many others kept in line for as much as two hours. The quest for gasoline jammed the traffic at the Lincoln Tunnel, the entry point from New Jersey into New York City that escaped without damage during Hurricane Sandy.

Mayor Bloomberg tried to contain a situation that could easily spell chaos and asked drivers to have a minimum of three people in their cars or they’ll be turned away. That checkpoint only made things worse as the line to enter the tunnel was as long as a mile.

Governor Chris Christie announced today that gas stations and other fuel merchants can go buy gasoline from other states. In the meanwhile, the federal government is sending 500,000 gallons of diesel to address the gas shortage. 100 power generators will be sent to ensure basic government services will function. In New Jersey alone there are 2.2 million homes and business without electricity according to data from utility companies.

But gas shortage is looming. The Coast Guard confirmed earlier this week for ABC that an oil facility spilled oil into the New York City harbor. The storm damaged the storage tanks and is likely other facilities are dealing with the same problem. Even the gas lines near Seaside Heights, Ortley and Ortley Beach might have been damaged as residents reported hearing hissing noises from the main gas line.
 


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