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Saturday, July 12, 2008

DONETSK, Ukraine (CNN) -- A frail Irene Famulak clutched her brother on the airport tarmac, her arm wrapped around him in a tight embrace, tears strea

That was the night the invading Nazis came to take her away from her Ukrainian home.

"I remember it well because I kissed him good-bye, and he pushed me away," she said of her brother. "I asked, 'Why did you do that?' And he said that he doesn't like kisses."

"The Nazis told my mother that I was being taken to work in a German labor camp for six months. But it was, of course, much longer. I was there for years."

Both siblings survived the Holocaust and grew up on different sides of the Iron Curtain, not knowing the fate of the other.

But after 66 years apart, Famulak, 83, was reunited with her long lost 73-year-old brother, Wssewolod Galezkij. They held each other close this time, cherishing the moment. Video Watch siblings hug for first time in seven decades »

"I don't believe anyone has ever known such happiness. Now, I truly believe I can die satisfied," Galezkij said.

Famulak made the long journey to Donetsk in eastern Ukraine from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, after being contacted by the American Red Cross. The organization told her they had located her only surviving sibling.

Famulak said she spent World War II in a labor camp in Munich, Germany, working in the kitchens. She had been taken to the camp with her older sister. When it was liberated in 1945, Famulak stayed in Germany for several years, eventually emigrating to the United States in 1956.

She never saw her parents again after that day in 1942 when Nazis separated her from her family. She and her brother still have no idea what happened to their mother and father. Some of their siblings lived through the war, but later died; others, they never heard from again after being separated.

But her younger brother never gave up hope of tracking his sister down. He, too, was sent to a German labor camp, but after the war, he moved back to Ukraine, then a republic of the Soviet Union.

Under Soviet leader Josef Stalin, information on lost relatives was kept sealed, and Galezkij said it wasn't until reforms in the late 1980s, followed by the Soviet collapse, that he started making progress in finding his sister.

Even then, it took him more than 17 years to locate her in the United States. He broke down in tears as he spoke of his overwhelming happiness at finding her.

"When the Red Cross told me they had found her in America, it was such a joy," he said, sobbing.

In fact, he had to be taken to the hospital because he was so overcome when he first learned she was alive. At this week's reunion, there was a doctor on hand at the airport as a precaution.

Back in the United States, there were tears, too.

Linda Klein, the director of the American Red Cross Holocaust and War Victims Tracing Center, said the volunteer who helped the siblings find each other got caught up in the emotion herself.

"When I showed her the picture, she stood there and wept," Klein said. "She was beside herself."

Klein's group has reunited 1,500 families since it began work in 1990. She said the former Soviet Union released records in 1989 of concentration camps it liberated, greatly helping organizers find information on Holocaust victims.

The organization has 100 volunteers -- a third of them Holocaust survivors, Klein said. The group also helps families find information about their loved ones who died during the Holocaust. They have brought together more than 50 families this year. All of their work is free. She says it's often like "looking for a needle in a haystack."

"We're playing beat the clock right now," she said, adding, "It's about families that one day they were together and then they were apart."

"When a connection is made, there are just smiles all around."

That was the case for this family in Ukraine. Years of trauma, of separation, of not knowing what happened to loved ones, have been replaced by celebration.

In a picturesque orchard overlooking rolling fields, Galezkij, his wife and their neighbors laid out a feast for his American sister. As the vodka flowed, he told her how he had survived for a lifetime without her.

"He says he always thought he'd see me someday. He dreamt lots about me," Famulak said, as she sat next to her brother.

"And he wrote a song for me. When he went to sleep, he sang every night and cried."

With that, Galezkij, weakened by illness and age, burst into song. But this time, he sang the words with pure joy.
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No Steelers ownership in Cuban's future

Mark Cuban grew up near Pittsburgh and once wore a Ben Roethlisberger jersey on the Late Show with David Letterman. Just don't expect to see him in the owners box for Steelers games.

Reports have surfaced that the NFL club may be for sale. Native son Cuban would seem to a possible buyer. Native son Cuban was among the names surfacing in early media speculation.

But he told CNBC's Darren Rovell that he wasn't interested, and questioned whether a small-market team could excel under the NFL's salary cap. Asked by e-mail Wednesday evening if that was his position, Cuban responded: "It is."
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Man breaks record by sitting in 39,250 seats

Man breaks record by sitting in 39,250 seats

Jim Purol took a seat at the Rose Bowl, and then another, and then another, until he broke a world record.

The Anaheim man set a Guiness World Record on Wednesday for "Most Seats Sat in 48 Hours" by sitting in 39,250 seats.

He began the task Monday morning, and he's still going, hoping to rest his tush in each of the stadium's 92,542 seats by sometime this week.

The 56-year-old, who already holds several other world records, says he has dreamed of tackling the Rose Bowl seats for 20 years _ ever since he sat in all 107,501 chairs at the University of Michigan's football stadium.

The feat has taken a toll on his body and his cleanliness, as soot on the seats rubbed off on his clothes. He says he loves the Rose Bowl but calls the place "filthy."

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Decoders take a crack at letter sent to Fermilab

Through the Internet, hundreds try to unlock meaning of mysterious missive

Fermilab code

This section of the coded message received last year at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia continues to puzzle the online community. (Fermilab)


The enigma began last year when a plain envelope with no return address arrived at the world-famous physics laboratory outside Chicago, addressed simply to "Fermilab."

Inside was a single sheet marked by pen with a bizarre series of hash marks, numbers and alien-looking symbols.

No one at the lab could make sense of the letter. Was it a joke? A threat? A hint at some exotic new theory?

Whatever the meaning, something about the inscription's order and symmetry touched Judy Jackson, the first person to examine the letter. "It was beautiful, kind of like abstract art," said Jackson, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory's director of public affairs.

In hopes of cracking the code, Jackson's colleagues posted the letter in May on their Internet blog.

Hundreds of people from around the world responded and several of them quickly deciphered part of the hidden message, discovering to their surprise that it named an 86-year-old retired physicist from Princeton University who designed some of Fermilab's first experimental tools.

But one section of the cipher continues to resist any solution, and no one knows the sender's identity—though many suspect the author was a lab insider.

The keys to the mystery have taken code-breakers on a romp that encompasses Fermi's earliest days in the 1960s, the cryptic jargon of computer programming and high-energy physics, and the power of "crowdsourcing," or unleashing a problem on the collective intelligence of an Internet community.

"It's really a treasure-hunt mentality," said one of the code-breakers, Geoff Milburn, an engineer with the Canadian Space Agency based near Montreal.

Fermi has always been a beacon for amateur scientists and anyone eager to air an odd theory or puzzling proclamation, so the arrival of an unsolicited letter on March 5, 2007, was not unusual.

"We get a couple of these a week, everything from curious kids to someone writing about the latest developments in his proof that Einstein was wrong," Jackson said.

Blog attracts 30,000

On May 15, Jackson's group released the letter on a physics blog they had launched recently, under the heading, "Code crackers wanted!" Within a day the blog post attracted 30,000 visitors, many drawn by a link from the technology news site Slashdot, self-described as "news for nerds."

At first the technophiles seemed stumped. Proposals for a solution trickled in—some serious, some fanciful. A couple of Slashdot users suggested the marks were a kind of music notation; another theorized it was a test by the National Security Agency to see how people solve complex codes.

One wag opined in mock horror: "It's a cookbook!"

But several amateur decoders zeroed in on a solution on May 16, the day after the original post appeared. They noticed that the hash marks in the top part of the message came in distinct bunches of between one and three marks, appearing as I, II or III.

That suggested the code was mathematical, many analysts thought. Furthermore, the use of just three digits implied that the code relied on the base-3 counting system, as opposed to the base-10 system we use for everyday math problems.

To Milburn of Canada, a puzzle aficionado since childhood, the base-3 system made sense because it could yield 27 distinct combinations using three digits—just enough to encode all the letters of the alphabet, plus a spare combination used for spacing.

"It's best to assume the simplest solution, and if that doesn't work, then try something more complicated," Milburn said.

Milburn wrote down the sequence of base-3 numbers from 1 to 27, then assigned a letter to each number, with the last number representing a space. But that attempt yielded only gibberish when he plugged it into the Fermilab code. So he tried again with a slight shift, assigning the blank space to the first number instead of the last.

That coding technique yielded the following:
"FRANK SHOEMAKER WOULD CALL THIS NOISE."

The bottom group of hash marks used a slightly different base-3 code, which the code-breakers cracked using a similar technique. It read:

"EMPLOYEE NUMBER BASSE SIXTEEN."

As strange as the code itself had been, the decoded message seemed just as inscrutable. But seeing the name on the Fermilab message board prompted a shiver of recognition for Peter Meyers, a Princeton University physics professor who has occupied an office across the hall from fellow physicist Frank Shoemaker for more than 20 years.

"It's kind of like finding your friend's name in some ancient hieroglyphics," Meyers said.

The code's reference to Shoemaker, a Fermilab legend, suggested that the author was a physics insider. Shoemaker had arrived at Princeton in 1951 when Albert Einstein still showed up for the occasional physics lecture there.

In the late 1960s, Shoemaker led the team that designed the powerful magnets for Fermilab's first big particle accelerator, the Main Ring.

Meyers said Shoemaker was an exacting researcher and would criticize fellow scientists who had failed to account for excess "noise" in their experiments. Shoemaker, now 86 and ailing, was amused by the code, Meyers said.

Asked if he thought the code's author was someone who knew him, Shoemaker told Meyers, "It's quite possible. The comment is not out of character for me."

Multiple theories floated

No one quite understands the second message about an employee number, though many decoders think it refers to the author's old employee number at Fermilab. Most think "basse sixteen" was a typo and the author meant to write "base sixteen," referring to the mathematical technique needed to decode the employee number.

The key may reside in the code's alien-looking middle section, which remains as baffling as ever.

A few decoders think the solutions found thus far are just a ruse, hiding a deeper message.

Work on the enigma shares many qualities with genuine physics research, experts said—first comes a hunch, then refinement of ideas and finally the answer snaps into view. But for the Fermilab code, as for theories of the real world, a final solution may require another flash of insight.
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Cocaine found in seized car used by undercover officers

DALLAS - A two-door black 2004 Infiniti driven by police after being seized at a drug house came fully equipped with air-conditioning, sporty chrome rims – and nearly 50 pounds of cocaine hidden in secret compartments.

Undercover Dallas officers who drove the car for two months were surprised to learn that the car had a few secrets of its own.

An officer cleaning the car discovered the $400,000 worth of cocaine carefully hidden in hydraulically controlled compartments Wednesday morning at the northeast patrol station.

"These compartments have recently been more and more popular with drug operations," said Deputy Chief Julian Bernal, commander of the narcotics division.

"The difficulty with this is that because of the use of hydraulics, you normally don't have any indication that the car has been altered in any way. They use multiple switches and relays, and you have to know the sequence in order to make the panel open."

The car was seized in mid-March, when police officers responded to a report of gunshots and masked individuals beating a man behind a house in the 3900 block of Antigua Drive in northwest Dallas.

When police arrived at the address, they found blood on a 1999 Honda and a trail of blood leading into the home, Chief Bernal said.

No one was inside, but police found $34,000 cash, dope scales and a small amount of cocaine in the house. Police also seized the Honda and the Infiniti.

"The narcotics division did search both of the vehicles," Chief Bernal said. Nothing was found.

The Honda was sold at auction. Chief Bernal said police plan to contact the person who bought it to find out if drugs were hidden in the Honda, too.

On May 7, the Infiniti was put into police service, Chief Bernal said.

Now, police are trying to find out who owned the cocaine.

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5-Year-Old Wants To Be A Tractor When She Grows Up


AKRON, OH—In a statement delivered to friends, family members, and household pets, Kendall Garretson announced Monday that she would like to become an 13-ton, 275-horsepower John Deere row-crop tractor when she grows up.

Garretson, who turned 5 in May, developed an interest in becoming the powerful motor-driven vehicle during a recent trip to her grandfather's farm. According to sources, the young kindergarten student made her decision based on a number of key factors, including her desire to have "big wheels," make holes in the ground with "a digger," and chase birds and butterflies through fields of sunflowers.

Little Girl

Garretson

"I'm gonna be a tractor," Garretson said. "Tractors are fun."

Although Garretson does not have a six-cylinder diesel engine, independent-link suspension, or a comfort command seat with air-suspension swivel, the 5-year-old said she was excited to be both red and shiny someday. Garretson added that as a tractor she would sleep in the barn with the cows and the chickens, but not with the pigs, because the pigs make too much of a mess.

"I'll drive around in the dirt, but I won't get stuck," Garretson said. "Because I'll spin my tires lots and lots."

Since making her intentions known, Garretson has set about preparing for her career as the hauling vehicle by talking about tractors, coloring in drawings of tractors, asking her parents where tractors come from, and walking around her house making "VROOOOM, VROOOOM" sounds.

Enlarge Image Tractor Drawing

Garretson, at right, meets her boss during her first day in the new position.

In addition to performing her regular tractor duties, such as "mowing all the corn," Garretson said she plans to give rides to every one of her friends, even Brian Waldie, even though he is sometimes mean.

Although Garretson clearly stated her future goal of becoming a tractor, the unexpected announcement left a large number of adults feeling confused, with some assuming that the 5-year-old meant she wanted to be a farmer instead of a piece of agricultural equipment. In response to the off-base remarks, Garretson accused the adults of not paying attention, jumped up and down while shaking her head violently, and called everyone a "bunch of sillies."

"A tractor," Garretson continued. "Trrraaaaaccctooooor!"

Before settling on tractor, Garretson is said to have contemplated a variety of possible career paths, including a professional great white shark, a bouncy trampoline, "a doctor nurse just like Mommy," and the pink ballerina inside of her music box. Garretson went on to say that she would like to someday eat cookies for breakfast and be a mother to 17 infants, all of them girls.

When asked how she envisioned a typical workday as a tractor, the 5-year-old claimed it would begin with her mother waking her up early in the morning with a kiss. After driving into the farmhouse for breakfast, Garretson would rouse the horses, ducks, and flowers, and play with them until lunchtime. The rest of her schedule would reportedly consist of driving up and down the fields and skipping rope.

Despite having chosen tractor as a career, Garretson has shown little interest in soil cultivation or, at the very least, the hydraulic requirements for maintaining a properly functioning front-end loader. Instead, the 5-year-old has spent most of her time deciding which of her toys she will bring along to the farm.

"When I'm a tractor, I'm gonna pull a wagon, and then I'm gonna put all of my stuffed animals inside the wagon," Garretson said. "And my dollhouse. And a bunny. And maybe a Halloween pumpkin. But I won't let spiders on it unless they promise not to bite anyone."

During several other statements about her future, Garretson maintained that upon reaching adulthood she would cross the street by herself and marry the family's English bulldog, Rutherford. Garretson also stated that her cousin Madison could not come to her wedding if she kept chewing on her crayons.

Representatives from the John Deere Corporation told reporters that Garretson was a "promising candidate" for the company's annual $25,000 scholarship aimed at helping young people become tractors.
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