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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Toyota looks to next generation of hybrids

TOYOTA, Japan - Since he was a teenager, Takeshi Uchiyamada's dream was to make a car. But as he entered his 50s as a Toyota engineer, he had all but given up hope he would ever head a project to develop a model.

In 1994, he finally got his dream. Little did he know that the car he was about to design — the Prius — would revolutionize the global auto industry.

Uchiyamada, 61, now executive vice president, was tackling the first mass production gas-electric hybrid, which celebrates its 10th anniversary in December.

With other engineers, he trudged away at 16-hour work days, patiently testing hundreds of engines. Fistfights broke out over what option to take to overcome engineering obstacles.

The Prius was a big step forward for the future of green cars. Up next for Toyota and its rivals: Far more powerful batteries for next-generation hybrids, plug-in electric cars and eventually zero-emission fuel-cell vehicles powered by hydrogen, which combines with oxygen in the air to form water.

In an interview, Uchiyamada recalled the exhaustion, the loneliness and the gambles as his team debunked Toyota's image as a safe and boring imitator of rivals' successes.

Introduced in Japan in December 1997, and the following year in the U.S., the Prius, now in its second generation, gets about 46 miles per gallon switching between a gas engine and electric motor. It has been by far the most successful hybrid, selling a cumulative 829,000 vehicles — making up for most of Toyota's nearly 1.2 million hybrid sales.

Toyota has gotten a kick from the Prius, an enhanced global image for technological innovation, social responsibility and fashionable glamour, analysts say.

The Prius is also one solid bright spot for Toyota, whose reputation for quality is starting to tarnish as it targets a record of selling 10.4 million vehicles globally in 2009. Meanwhile, its recalls are also ballooning.

But when it all began, Uchiyamada wasn't even thinking hybrids.

Orders from management — then president Hiroshi Okuda and Shoichiro Toyoda, the company founder's son and chairman — were ambiguous: Come up with the 21st century car, the vehicle that would hands-down beat the competition in mileage and environmental friendliness.

Uchiyamada initially proposed an advanced gasoline engine that was quickly rejected as lacking imagination. But advanced technologies like fuel cells and the electric vehicle were too expensive for a commercial product.

Creating a hybrid would demand excruciating labor, and management had moved up the deadline to 1997. The engineering obstacles were tremendous, especially the development of the hybrid battery, which must deliver power and recharge in spurts as the car is being driven.

Uchiyamada ditched the usual back-up plans and multiple scenarios, focusing his team on one plan at a time and moving on when each failed.

As Uchiyamada tells it, the Prius wasn't the kind of car Toyota would have ever approved as a project, if standard decision-making had been followed. It was sure to be a money loser for years.

Conventional wisdom was wrong; Toyota's once skeptical rivals are now all busy making hybrids.

The Frankfurt auto show in August had hybrids galore.

Porsche AG showed off a version of its Cayenne sport utility vehicle that is powered by hybrid technology developed with Volkswagen, and BMW pulled back the curtain on its X6, an SUV coupe crossover hybrid.
General Motors Corp., which makes the Saturn Vue, Saturn Aura and Chevrolet Malibu hybrids, is working on a more advanced lithium-ion battery to beat Toyota in the race to bring to market plug-in hybrids, which recharge from a regular home socket. GM has begun production of a two-mode gas-electric hybrid transmission system for the 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid and GMC Yukon Hybrid SUVs which uses a computer to choose from thousands of combinations of two electric motors and the gasoline engine.

Ford Motor Co. already has its Escape Hybrid, introduced in 2004, but is working on improved versions. Earlier this year, Ford and Southern California Edison agreed to test rechargeable hybrid vehicles in an effort to speed up their mass production.

Chrysler LLC is debuting a new hybrid system next year on the Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango sport utility vehicles.

Elvis leads list of top-earning dead celebrities

Marilyn, Warhol, Peanuts creator all make the cut, but there’s only one King

The 13 legends in our seventh annual list of the Top-Earning Dead Celebrities grossed a combined $232 million in the past 12 months. Many are instantly recognizable one-name wonders (Elvis, Marilyn, Warhol) who still command attention worldwide, making them a marketer's ideal pitchman.

Indeed, all the members of this year's club are the linchpin of enormously profitable — and growing — merchandising empires. Albert Einstein's name is used to peddle Baby Einstein DVDs. Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel's books are a staple of every kiddie library on the planet. Hundreds of performances of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown pad the portfolio of Peanuts creator Charles Schulz each year — as well as comic strips that are still syndicated daily in thousands of newspapers worldwide.

But even in death, there can only be one King. Reclaiming his top spot on the list is Elvis Presley, whose estate generated $49 million in the past year. CKX Entertainment, the publicly traded firm which presides over the bulk of the Elvis empire (daughter Lisa Marie Presley retains a 15 percent stake) announced a massive overhaul of Graceland this summer, marking the 30th anniversary of the The King's death. Among the changes are a new hotel convention center, a state-of-the-art multimedia museum and a new, spiffier visitor's center.

The plans are already paying off: Revenues from Graceland were up 15 percent this year, to $35 million. And that doesn't include royalties generated from Elvis music, DVDs and licensing deals like the one struck with Cirque du Soleil for an Elvis-themed revue in Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, the brightest star of 2006 doesn't even appear on this year's list. Kurt Cobain, former frontman of grunge band Nirvana, debuted on the list in first place last year after his widow, Courtney Love, sold part of his song catalog for a reported $50 million. But while the deal opened the door for future ad dollars, Cobain's 2007 earnings weren't enough for him to stay on the list.

John Lennon jumps from the No. 4 spot last year to second place this year, with earnings estimated at $44 million. In February, the Beatles settled a 15-year battle with Apple Inc. over the company's decision to get into the music business. (The Beatles' commercial interests are overseen by a firm called Apple Corps.) Two months later, the band settled another long-standing dispute with its record label EMI over alleged unpaid royalties. The settlements, which are believed to have exceeded $100 million, also buoyed the income of the other deceased Beatle, George Harrison, who placed No. 4 on this year's list, with earnings estimated at $22 million.

Now that Apple and the Beatles have settled their differences, stock market analysts are hungrily awaiting an announcement from Apple Chief Steve Jobs regarding the covetable Beatles archive being made available for download from Apple's iTunes Music Store. In late August, shares of Apple jumped nearly 6 percent on rumors that an announcement was forthcoming. (No such announcement has been made yet.) ITunes already sells the Fab Four's solo works.

Confusion remains over Mukesh wealth-richest men in the world

MUMBAI: There’s considerable confusion over whether Mukesh is indeed the richest man in the world. Even if one adds what he holds directly in his flagship Reliance Industries as well as through RIL in IPCL, Reliance Petroleum and Reliance Infrastructure, his personal wealth works out to about $58 billion (around Rs 2,27,690 crore).

Several marketmen, however, argue that since Mukesh does not directly hold any shares in the three companies, his personal net worth should be calculated only on the basis of what he owns in RIL. This logic assumes that the value of the three companies is already imputed in the current price of RIL’s shares.

By that yardstick, his wealth will be $46 billion - still making him one of the richest men in the world.

Confusion remains over Mukesh wealth-richest men in the world

MUMBAI: There’s considerable confusion over whether Mukesh is indeed the richest man in the world. Even if one adds what he holds directly in his flagship Reliance Industries as well as through RIL in IPCL, Reliance Petroleum and Reliance Infrastructure, his personal wealth works out to about $58 billion (around Rs 2,27,690 crore).

Several marketmen, however, argue that since Mukesh does not directly hold any shares in the three companies, his personal net worth should be calculated only on the basis of what he owns in RIL. This logic assumes that the value of the three companies is already imputed in the current price of RIL’s shares.

By that yardstick, his wealth will be $46 billion - still making him one of the richest men in the world.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Boston Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox are a professional baseball team based in Boston, Massachusetts and are the reigning World Series Champions. The Red Sox are a member and current champions of both the Major League Baseball’s American League Eastern Division and of the American League itself. From 1912 to the present, the Red Sox have played in Fenway Park.

The "Red Sox" name originates from the iconic uniform feature. They are nicknamed "the BoSox," a combination of "Boston" and "Sox" (as opposed to the "ChiSox"), and "the Olde Towne Team." Most fans, however, simply refer to them as "the Sox."

One of the American League's eight charter franchises, the club was founded in Boston in 1901. Then known as the Boston Americans, they played at Huntington Avenue Grounds, and met the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first World Series. In 1918, the team won its fifth World Series, and then went into one of the longest championship droughts in baseball history. Many attributed the phenomenon to the "Curse of the Bambino" said to have been caused by the trade of Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees in 1920. The drought was ended, and the "curse" reversed in 2004, when the team won their sixth World Series Championship.

The Red Sox lead all other MLB teams in average road attendance,[1] while the small capacity of Fenway causes them to rank 11th in home attendance.[2] Every home game since May 15, 2003 to the present has been sold out, a span of well over four years.[3]

Contents [hide]
1 History
1.1 The Golden Era 1901-1919
1.2 Team renamed: Red Sox
1.2.1 Sale of Babe Ruth
1.3 Ted Williams era 1939-1960
1.4 The 60s: Yaz and the Impossible Dream
1.5 1970s: Red Hat era
1.5.1 1978 American League playoff
1.6 1986 World Series and Game Six
1.7 1988-1991 Morgan Magic
1.8 1992-2001 mixed results
1.9 2002-present: a new Red Sox era
1.9.1 2002: Henry comes to Boston
1.9.2 2003: Cowboy Up
1.9.3 2004: World Champions
1.9.4 2005 - 2006: The "Idiots" Disband
1.9.5 2007: World Champions Again
2 Nickname
2.1 Pilgrims
2.2 Summary
3 Retired numbers
4 Baseball Hall of Famers
5 Notable seasons and team records
6 Current roster
7 Radio and television
8 Minor league affiliations
9 See also
10 Notes
11 References
12 External links

Why am I here?

It's not finished!
Wikipedia is a paradox — it doesn't work in theory, only in practice. And no, it doesn't work all the time, and no, you shouldn't trust it completely. You should know what you're dealing with, and if it's critical information (for your job, or a grade, or what have you) you should check what you read here with other sources. (Of course you should do that with any information — and do note that the best Wikipedia articles will cite some of those other key references to make them easier to find, as well as giving you the terminology to do a more effective search of other sources.)

And yet....

As a highly addicted editor here, I don't find very many errors when I'm doing fact-checking. Missing info certainly, poorly written info certainly. Vandalism and copyright violations, certainly. But in general everything that looks like a properly formatted article has been touched by enough editors to be accurate. Clicking "random page" repeatedly will get you a few clunkers, but most pages are at least a decent starter article, many on things Britannica will never touch. The subjects I know well were fairly well-written and accurate before I got here in 2003, and I hope are even better now that I've expanded and tinkered with them. I am continually astonished with the quality that this crazy system has produced, and with the increasingly sophisticated attempts to improve the quality without sacrificing the openness that made it possible.

As the Bismarckian saying goes: "People who enjoy eating sausage and obey the law should not watch either being made", and Wikipedia is the same — its underpinnings are chaotic, bewildering, and sometimes downright ugly.

And yet...

To me the addictive thing about it is that it's surprisingly good after only a handful of years, and I really want to see where it can go, and help it get there with my own writing and editing skills. It did not even EXIST before 2001, and now has almost two million articles in English alone. It is good, and getting better, but it requires a dedicated core of editors to keep it going that way, or it will get overwhelmed by the vandals, or warped by more subtle tricksters and propagandists. So far, we're generally winning, and I really want to see where it's going to be in ten to fifteen years when it has matured a little more.


One gateway to the wide garden
of knowledge, where lies
The deep rock of our past,
in which we must delve
the well of our future,
The clear water we must leave untainted
for those who come after us,
The fertile earth, in which
truth may grow in bright places,
tended by many hands,
And the broad fall of sunshine,
warming our first steps toward knowing
how much we do not know.

Catherine Munro

inspired by This is a printing office,
by Beatrice Warde

( like the poem? buy a poster or t-shirt )
When I first got on the World Wide Web in the early 1990s (graduating from Usenet on an amber terminal to the giddy heights of America Online!), I was excited about the potential for learning, but over the next few years I was really disappointed to find out that searching for basic encyclopedic facts usually led you to a teaser page for a pay service, or else a tidbit of dubious reliability on a personal site. That model certainly didn't last!

Wikipedia was definitely not the first, or the only, site to provide encyclopedic knowledge for free -- I have great respect for all the pioneers in the field, and the driven individuals, organizations, and even governments who built their own educational websites. However, Wikipedia is the one which seems to have found the key to keep expanding and staying current, in a way that no single stakeholder has ever been able to do before.

One important thing to remember is that Wikipedia is under a copyleft license (the GFDL), which means that anyone can not only read it for free, but can copy and use the text for any purpose for free (so long as they credit the source and don't try to claim copyright themselves). This is a radical departure from Britannica and its cohorts, where the ownership and pricing of knowledge is paramount.

Why is this important? Well, it's a virtuous circle.

Why haven't the traditional encyclopedias had any real competition? Because they own the copyright on the textual presentation of the knowledge they've compiled, and the only way to compete is to write your own encyclopedia from scratch -- start with the facts and begin writing down everything human beings know in your own words. Why hasn't anyone done it? Because traditionally it would take a staggering amount of up-front investment to hire the writers and researchers just to get started, and when it was finally done, then you'd be competing against some powerhouses of the reference world without any reputation to rely on. Even Encarta, with all the resources of Microsoft to draw on, was started by purchasing the existing encyclopedia Funk & Wagnalls.

Still, there have been lots of people out there who have wanted knowledge to be free, but weren't ready to take on the whole project themselves. And there are millions of people out there with billions of true, verifiable, hard-learned and hard-earned facts in their heads, and at least some of them are delighted to share if you ask them — especially if it's easy for them to do, and doesn't require a huge commitment.

So how do you convince a lot of people to volunteer to write an encyclopedia? Well, first you make it a non-profit project, so they're not being asked to donate their hard work to make someone else rich. Toss in a neutral point-of-view policy to keep controversial issues from tearing the thing apart.

Then you commit to making it available in every language on Earth, so that even the poorest communities on the planet will eventually be able to read about water purification, and agricultural techniques, and the moons of Jupiter, not to mention every minor character on The Simpsons and Coronation Street. So there's your humanitarian angle.

On top of that, you find a licence that allows anyone to use the content — human knowledge that can be freely distributed by anyone, instead of being locked up behind copyright laws. Free for teachers, for students, for textbook publishers, for humanitarian organizations, for anyone. That includes the profiteers, and there will be many.

However, the fantastic thing is that the only way for a profit-making enterprise to compete with a free resource is to do something to add value to the content. They must organize it, proofread it, fact-check it, filter it, print it, distribute it on DVD, or otherwise convince people to spend money on something they could get for free just by coming to Wikipedia in the first place. By the terms of the GFDL, any improvements they make to the content must also be GFDL-licensed and can be incorporated here, and any improvements they make to the presentation or distribution are simply helping to fulfill our mission of making the knowledge we collect here available to every person on earth.

Stir all those elements vigorously, and you wind up with a community, and all the good and bad things that implies. The good: as an editor, you often get virtually instant feedback, and start to develop a reputation that you're eager to enhance and retain. You feel a sense of responsibility to come back every day: to create something new, to watch over what you've built, to polish what others contribute, and to keep the barbarians at least somewhat at bay... and you feel this wonderful cheerful competitiveness, to write something good enough to withstand the quasi-Darwinian editing process here. The bad: Build anything, and someone will try to see how hard it is to knock it down. And: Put four people in a room, and one of them will become a politician.

And yet...

You start talking about the long term — about being one of the first large information sources on the web that is truly free. You start talking about what will happen if this works; that because it's free, it's going to be the default resource for a whole lot of people, and you start to get a little bit awed by the responsibility to build it properly, and keep it open, and keep it sane, and most of all, to get the facts right, because this work is going to be a base on which many unforeseeable future projects will be built.

New technologies which allow others to mine our information — our date lists, our categories, our interwiki links, our biographical and geographical data, etcetera ad infinitum — are just now beginning to be developed. As we continue to develop our database structure and APIs to make this information easily available and machine-readable, Wikipedia data is going to be incorporated into a huge number of other online and offline applications.

The task will never be finished, as there's always an incoming avalanche of unformatted, unreferenced, badly linked articles, but the core group of articles which have been refined and polished in our policy-and-guideline-tumbler is also always growing, and by definition, the articles which get the most attention are those which are most popular and which the most people are looking at. It'll never be perfect, but I think that it will always be useful.

We started out with a few articles, a few volunteers, and no reputation at all. Now we've grown fantastically — millions of volunteer editors, millions articles in over a hundred languages, and we're one of the top ten sites on the web. Because our content grew out in public, the reputation grew along with it, almost without even trying; Google's funny that way.

Growing pains? Scaling issues? More at stake when we get it wrong? You betcha. Conflict between our foundation values and the needs of preserving what we've built? Absolutely. Worth helping it along? I sure think so.

I think that what we're doing here is going to be the ground level of something huge in the next century. I might be wrong — maybe the vandals and the point-of-view warriors will eventually overwhelm the dedicated core of editors to the point where people no longer trust us. Maybe the dedicated core itself will become insular and stagnant. Maybe the site will fade off the top fifty list in a sad, limping finale, but you know what?

Even if this project does fail in its present form, we will still have done something mighty, because anyone who wants to has access to the 2,067,669 articles we've already finished (and that's just in English!). They can discard anything they thought wasn't good enough, and put it in print or on the web in any format they want, editable or not, and still have the most enormous collection of general encyclopedic knowledge ever put together by human beings.

In the end though, I don't believe we're going to fail. I think we're going to continue growing and evolving, and the Wikipedia of ten years from now may look totally different from what we have today, but I don't think this resource is ever going away.

I am an idealist, I admit it. I won't try to convince you to trust Wikipedia on every detail — just keep watching it and see what happens.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Killer instincts

“Bunting today,” Denzel Washington groans theatrically. “We been buntin’.” The afternoon is grinding to a close on the Sony Studios lot in Los Angeles, and Washington hasn’t made any grand advances in editing “The Great Debaters,” a 1930s period piece that marks his second effort behind the camera and the follow-up to 2002’s widely admired “Antwone Fisher.” Instead, he’s spent eight hours slogging away in a beige, windowless room littered with spent water bottles and a sad plate of muffins. Dressed in dad-casual workout clothes, the 52-year-old star swivels contemplatively in an office chair, absorbed by his work in progress.

Seeing him like this presents a Hollywood kind of paradox. One of the prime pleasures of watching Washington over the past two decades — the years since his breakout performance as the anti-apartheid activist Stephen Biko in 1987’s “Cry Freedom” and his Oscar-winning turn in “Glory” — has been marveling at his self-possession. The key to his superstardom, more important than his send-the-ladies-swooning looks, is his restraint in revealing only the subtlest shades of what’s on his characters’ minds. So it’s an odd sensation to watch him in that familiar situation — lost in thought — but with his charm on pause. He almost appears to be a regular guy.

Almost. “It’s a very tedious process, as you see,” Washington tells me, as if loving the tedium. Then he unleashes a laugh that suggests he knows how to amuse himself and enjoys the abrupt flourish of his charisma. You know the laugh well, a quick explosion followed by a warm and swaying cackle, his easy demeanor enveloping the righteous core of someone raised by a Pentecostal minister.

We head down the stairs and into his black Land Rover for a ride over to Beverly Hills. (You know the stride, too: an unstoppable swagger with a hint of military bearing and nothing to prove.) A rich suite by the late composer R. Nathaniel Dett — possible music for the film — is on his stereo, and the future’s on his mind. For starters, Ridley Scott’s “American Gangster,” hitting theaters now, stars Washington as Frank Lucas, a Southern country bumpkin turned urban drug lord, and the role ranks among the most electric of his high-voltage career.

“American Gangster” — a kaleidoscopic, “Departed”-esque game of chase between Lucas and the incorruptible cop who ultimately nails him, played by Russell Crowe — began seven years ago in the pages of New York magazine. As the biggest drug dealer in Harlem in the early seventies, Lucas found himself targeted by none other than U.S. Attorney Rudy Giuliani. The dope du jour was Blue Magic, a strain of heroin with an unusually low price and uncommonly high purity. Cutting mafioso middlemen out of the equation, Lucas bought opium at its source in Southeast Asia and smuggled it Stateside in the coffins of Vietnam War casualties. The article was begging to be adapted for the movies.

Washington shelved his own memories of 116th Street in Frank Lucas’s heyday — “My mother was raised in Harlem,” he says, “and I remember Frank’s block, those four corners” — and disappeared into “American Gangster’s” Cadillac cruise through questions of family and honor. As a result, friend and producer Brian Grazer had the eye-opening experience of being on Washington’s business end. “I’ve known him for 16 or 17 years, and we made “Inside Man,” but when we started the first day on “American Gangster,” it was just like starting over,” the producer says. “I said hi to him, and I’m not sure he even saw me. His concentration was as intense as I’ve ever seen in an actor.”

There might be a deeper meaning in Washington’s old longing to play the villain. Who wouldn’t want to sink his teeth into a dastardly criminal role after playing the slew of heroes that he has? His résumé already overflowed with upright cops and steady soldiers—not to mention a tremendous Malcolm X—and the following years brought more martyrs (“The Hurricane”) and noble pioneers (“Remember the Titans”). It’s easy to imagine that Washington’s singular position — with its expectation that his persona ought to shine with as much goodness as Sidney Poitier’s did during the Civil Rights era — might feel like a virtuous burden. But Washington plays down the idea that his vicious roles in “Training Day” and “American Gangster” represent a conscious shift, and he discourages the notion that he’s felt a professional responsibility to uplift the race. “Without making light of it, it ain’t that complicated,” he says of his calculus in choosing roles. “Is it a good script? It’s not about the black experience. It’s more specific and selfish than that. It’s what I feel like doing, not what I feel like people need.”

Cut back to Washington in the editing room, his posture again resembling a supersize pretzel. After eight hours of patient struggle, he calls an end to the workday — “You don’t want to start getting bad ideas” — and cues up one of his scenes. “The Great Debaters’s” Melvin Tolson, an educator who also wielded influence as a columnist and politician, stands as another in Washington’s long line of steely motivators, but the actor brings a good deal of his dashing friskiness to the character. Dapper and intellectually meticulous, Tolson is a little Mr. Chips and a lot Mr. Know-It-All. “Sit down,” he orders a simpering charge at debate practice, and proceeds to ask fiendishly, “Who’s next?” Seeing this—for perhaps the fiftieth time — Washington can’t help but savor his pungency. Bouncing from his chair and swinging an arm at the screen, he releases himself from mute concentration, the day of bunting suddenly far behind. “That ain’t too bad,” he says, and delivers a grinning echo: “Who’s next?”

cool view from space

cool view from space

The Hotels in Dubai

Dubai is a world-known city. It attracts many tourists as well as business travelers. And of course as there is the demand, there are many hotel offerings. Be ready to face the high prices for accommodations in Dubai. Here are the main competitors.

Burj Al Arab has the duple suits of the world class. There are non-smoking rooms with complimentary newspapers available. The hotel boasts of its spectacular views. Enjoy the SPA, sauna, therapy rooms and Jacuzzi so helpful for those who are looking for relax. Keep fit due to the hotel’s private health and fitness facilities. Women would love Aerobic rooms and shopping centers. Burj Al Arab’s restaurants are awesome.

Sheraton Jumeira Beach Resort and Towers is another great place to stay at. It provides its clients with cable TV. If you are taking your kid with you, don’t worry; there is childcare in the hotel. Not to oversleep the hotel has a wake up service. Sheraton pays much attention to the sports facilities: water sports, outdoor tennis, squash courts and a special golf course.

Hyatt Regency Dubai differs from many other hotels. For example it has such special offer as fishing. So you will have to make a rather hard decision choosing the hotel. Many hotels have a strong brand reputation.

Dubai is commercially developing, more and more hotels are built throughout the city. The competitiveness is incredible. That is why every hotel has something special to attract the visitors. Burj Al Arab for instance is world known for being the highest on the planet. Its shape is unique. But anyway it is all up to you what hotel to decide.

Ann Sammers is a member of a support team at Academic Writing Services. Having completed a number of IEEE research papers himself, Ann uses her knowledge to provide individualized customer support to students, who order Chaucer essay.

Web-Based Training

Web-based training (WBT) refers to training that can be delivered anytime in any part

of the globe to someone with Internet access. This has grown into something with immense

possibilities, and comprises a world of skill improvement, enhancement of learning and

understanding, and changing attitudes and behaviors in a period of time.

WBT offers training in three distinct modes: synchronously or in real time,

asynchronously or not in real time or a combination of both. Besides these, there are many

technologies and combinations of technologies that can also serve to deliver WBT courses.

Benefits of WBT: There are several benefits of WBT such as:

Convenience: With a WBT course, a learner can take the training anywhere at

any time, provided he has Internet access. A learner can also learn at his own pace and

convenience of time within a training timeframe. With this learning mode, individuals can also

get in touch with colleagues and experts from different world geographic locations.

Learning while earning: This learning mode also allows for learners to take a

course while holding on to their full time jobs.

Learner-centred approach to learning: Learners must think, solve problems,

respond and use logic to tackle the course on this learning mode. They feel in greater control

and assume more responsibility. This learner-centred approach is more productive than logging in

a certain number of hours while training.

Access to new technologies: Training can be done on several computer platforms

such as Windows, Macintosh and UNIX and can be accessed by using Netscape Navigator, Internet

Explorer, Lynx, America Online, etc. Learners usually find this very challenging.

Refresher training class: Learners can use this platform to take part in

refresher training classes which is an asset to him and to the instructor. The latter can send

his instructors to other classes while the learner takes his class online at his own convenience

and pace.

Cost: WBT courses are cheaper if done online as they completely eliminate the

cost of travelling and other related costs. It is also more economical since it can be

distributed worldwide and so is not limited to a room size. Besides, WBT can be updated easily

updated and "recycled" with additional training material at an extra fee.

Other benefits of WBT are:

WBT reinforces key messages with animation, tests and lab exercises.

It provides the same quality of training to students all over the world and across an

organization, thereby promising standardized training.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Samsung D900 - A classic piece of technology

Gone are the days when bulky calling devices used to rule the necessity of successful mobile communication. These bulky and insipid devices have given way to sleek and stylish mobile phones which are the perfect all-rounders in facilitating many a functions via their slim and trim entity. And in the realm of die-hard competition between the mobile manufacturing companies, resulting into the so transformation, a company that has bore the burden to awe-struck mankind with its series of svelte beauties is none other than the Samsung, the famed South Korean leader in the business of electronic gadgets. This time around, with an all encompassing mobile phone in the name of SGH D900 Samsung comes with another spell binding creation that throws an open challenge before each of its famous competitors.

Samsung D900 comes in a smooth slide-up form factor. The front of which is embellished by a bright and big 32 x 42 mm sized TFT. The display screen supports for 240 x 320 pixels resolution and accommodates 256K colours. Other than the big screen, the front side of this phone also sports a set of ergonomic keys and a 3D sound generating speaker. Look at the back side of the phone and come face to face with a powerful 3.15 megapixel camera. The imaging mechanism in Samsung D900 mobile phone deals come with autofocus, flash and ability to record video in CIF mode. The same camera captures still images at a resolution of 2048x1536 pixels.

In the perfect combination to powerful external features, for the ones in a mood to estimate the interiors, the phone comes to woo with a package of highly advanced functionalities. Samsung D900 comes complete with GPRS, EDGE, Bluetooth with A2DP and USB. It comprises WAP 2.0 and xHTML browser. The media player of this phone supports files of MP3/AAC/ACC+ formats. Add to all, the Samsung D900 comes with an innovative document viewer program, direct TV output, JAVA MIDP 2.0 interface and a 60MB embedded memory with microSD memory expansion slot.

Now, once through with the long queue of features, does one needs to say that the phone comes power-packed with style and substance in a single entity? For ones ever curious, a fist full of D900 is ready to serve the purpose!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Computer for poor children currently runs on rival Linux software

Coming soon: Windows on '$100 laptop'

BOSTON - Microsoft Corp. has made progress in getting its Windows software to work on a low-cost laptop computer for poor children that currently runs on rival Linux software, an executive said on Thursday.

(MSNBC is a joint Microsoft - NBC Universal venture.)

The world's largest software company is now working to adapt a basic version of Windows XP so it is compatible with the non-profit One Laptop per Child Foundation's small green- and-white XO laptop.

"We're spending a non-trivial amount of money on it," Microsoft Corporate Vice President Will Poole said in an interview on Thursday. "We're working hard. But we're still at least a few months away."

The One Laptop per Child Foundation, a spin-off from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, plans to start producing the $188 machines in China next month and eventually manufacture millions a year for elementary school children in developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The foundation is also selling the machines in the United States and Canada for $400 apiece through a fundraising campaign.

The laptops were designed specifically to run Linux programs. If the machines run only Linux, Microsoft will lose an opportunity to expose tens of millions of children worldwide to its Windows system.

"We've made progress," Poole said.

If the foundation is able to meet its goal of producing millions of laptops for school children around the world and they are all loaded with Linux software, then they would end up being more comfortable with those programs than with Windows, said Wayan Vota, who publishes a blog that monitors the project. (

"People will realize there is an alternative to Windows and they might like it better," Vota said."

Originally dubbed the $100 laptop, which is the group's target price for the machine, the XO features a string pulley to charge its battery, a keyboard that switches between languages, a digital video camera and wireless connectivity.

The laptop's designer, Mary Lou Jepsen, said in an interview earlier this month she expects the price to drop in the first quarter of next year because prices of memory tend to fall dramatically during that period.

The computer requires just 2 watts of power compared with the typical laptop's 30 to 40 watts and does away with hard drives, relying instead on flash memory and four USB ports to add memory devices.

Ryan's TD pass with 11 seconds left produces 14-10 win over No. 8 Va. Tech

Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan completed 25 of 52 passes for 285 yards and two interceptions, but his 24-yard touchdown pass with 11 seconds left gave the No. 2 Golden Eagles a 14-10 victory over No. 8 Virginia Tech on Thursday.

BLACKSBURG, Va. - Matt Ryan bought some time, scrambling to his left away from the Virginia Tech rush while searching for an open receiver.

He found just what he was looking for, fired a pass all the way across the field and kept No. 2 Boston College perfect.

Call it Ryan’s Heisman moment.

The senior quarterback threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Andre Callender with 11 seconds left and the Eagles validated themselves as national title contenders with an improbable 14-10 victory over No. 8 Virginia Tech on Thursday night.

Boston College avoided becoming the fourth second-ranked team to lose in the last four weeks, with Ryan throwing two touchdown passes in the final 2:11 after doing little for the first 55 minutes against the Hokies’ swarming defense.

“Well, you know there’s still time left on the clock,” Ryan said. “You know you still have a shot and you still got a chance. We’ve been in this situation so many times through the course of the year in practice and we’ve prepared ourselves really well.”

Boston College (4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), second in the BCS standings this week, improved to 8-0 for the first time since 1942. Despite the fast start, some were skeptical of the Eagles, who had only played one ranked team before Virginia Tech.

Ryan finished 25-for-52 for 285 yards with two interceptions, but the final numbers hardly told the story.

College football's unbeaten teams
Perfection, so far
Breakdown of those few yet
to lose a game this season

“That’s what Heisman’s do,” Hokies defensive end Chris Ellis said. “They don’t ever give up. We beat the O-line, put licks on him and he came through at the end. He had a 2-minute drill — two of them. He did what he had to do.”

With the Hokies (6-2, 3-1) leading 10-0 late in the fourth and the Eagles backed up against their own goal line, Ryan finally found a rhythm. He led a 91-yard scoring drive, capped by a 16-yard TD pass to Rich Gunnell with 2:11 left.

“Matt Ryan, what he did tonight, along with the receivers and the whole crew there in the last three minutes of the game, that was special,” first-year coach Jeff Jagodzinski said. “There wasn’t one bit of panic —nothing — with those kids, especially that guy.” College football Jagodzinski was pointing to Ryan.

After BC recovered an onside kick at its own 34, Ryan went back to work. Three times he scrambled away from pressure to complete passes, showing off the powerful right arm NFL scouts love and some nimble feet, too.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Gym Class Heroes hit the mainstream

‘We try not to analyze our music too much,’ says frontman Travis McCoy

NEW YORK - Gym Class Heroes frontman Travis McCoy was half-flattered, half-annoyed when his band won the best new artist trophy at the MTV Video Music Awards last month.

“It was really cool,” he says of the Heroes’ victory over the likes of Amy Winehouse and Carrie Underwood. “(But) I mean, in a sense, it was kind of a little bit interesting, because of the fact that we’ve been a band for 10 years.”

“Part of me is like, ‘Yeah, awesome!’ and the rest is like, ‘We’re not really that new,”’ McCoy says of his mixed emotions.

After years under the radar, Gym Class Heroes has emerged as this year’s breakout band. And McCoy, 26, the charismatic rapper-singer and goofy star of the music video of the group’s huge single “Cupid’s Chokehold,” has gotten plenty of attention. He is the Pete Wentz of the quartet, more of a camera ham than guitarist Disashi Lumumba-Kasongo, bassist Eric Roberts and drummer Matt McGinley.

The Heroes watched their profile rise after “Chokehold” hit the radio last year. The undeniably catchy song — which samples the hook of Supertramp’s oldie “Breakfast in America” — eventually reached No. 4 on Billboard’s “Hot 100.”

It first appeared on the band’s 2005 album, “The Papercut Chronicles,” and was featured again on the follow-up disc, “As Cruel as School Children,” first released in July 2006 and reissued several months later with “Chokehold” as an additional track.

When asked for his take on the song’s popularity, McCoy shrugs and says simply: “I don’t know. You have to ask the people that.”

“We try not to analyze our music too much,” he explains, munching on potato chips in the band’s trailer before a recent Manhattan concert. “Us not doing that kinda gives us the freedom to (make) the music we want as opposed to drawing ourselves in a certain category.”

Ties to Fall Out Boy
The group, which blends diverse musical styles including hip-hop and emo-rock, began in the ’90s after McCoy and McGinley bonded during gym class at their high school in Geneva, N.Y., near Rochester in upstate’s scenic Finger Lakes region. They added Lumumba-Kasongo and Roberts a few years ago, and ultimately signed to Fall Out Boy bassist Wentz’s Decaydance Records, an imprint of Fueled By Ramen, which has more than a dozen youth-friendly bands on its roster.

While Wentz remains Fall Out Boy’s most conspicuous member, the emo outfit’s lead singer, Patrick Stump, went behind the scenes with the Heroes to co-produce “As Cruel As School Children”; his power-pop vocals can also heard on “Chokehold” and the album’s other hit, “Clothes Off!”

The Heroes have further cemented their association with Fall Out Boy on the current “The Young Wild Things” tour, on which they serve as the opening act.

“There’s gonna be a lot of debauchery and a lot of crazy happenings,” he says.

Indeed, McCoy seems like the kind of guy who loves to whip up trouble — and haze friendly journalists. During the course of this interview, the 6-foot-5 McCoy — surprisingly soft-spoken — fake-wiped potato chip grease on this reporter’s jacket sleeve (Gross, but kind of funny).

Another surprising thing about McCoy is his taste in music. He cites Hall and Oates as one of his favorites — which explains a lot about the eclectic Heroes songbook. For example, “Clothes Off!” uses the melody from the 1986 Jermaine Stewart abstinence song “We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off.” McCoy, however, switched up the chaste message by omitting the “don’t” from the chorus.

McCoy gets a kick out of people who try to define the Heroes.

“They’ve called us emo hip-hop,” he says. “They’ve called us alternative hip-hop, they’ve called us hip-hop and rock. Whatever makes it easier for them to categorize us so be it. I just laugh at a lot of ‘em. I always thought we were a country-western band.”


Boston Celtics
Last season: 24-58, last in Atlantic Division.
Coach: Doc Rivers (273-312, 9th season)

Needs: Maybe an extra basketball or two to accommodate the three-headed superstar. Aside from that, an upgrade at point guard and center would be ideal.

Key Additions: Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Glen Davis, Scot Pollard, Eddie House.

Key Subtractions: Al Jefferson, Theo Ratliff, Gerald Green, Sebastian Telfair, Ryan Gomes.

Remaining from last season: Paul Pierce, Tony Allen, Dahntay Jones, Leon Powe, Rajon Rondo, Brian Scalabrine, Kendrick Perkins.

Outlook: There are three reasons to believe the Celtics can go from the bottom to the top of the Atlantic in one year: Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce. But the rest of the Celtics’ revamped roster is underwhelming at best. Fortunately, they’re in the East, where LeBron and his tepid Cavs reigned supreme last season, so even with a mediocre supporting cast the Celtics could challenge for the Eastern Conference crown behind their big three. But there’s still a question as to whether Garnett, Pierce and Allen – three superstars who are used to being the top guns on their teams – can suddenly learn to share. Even if they hit some rough spots, the season will still be a huge step up from what fans have become accustomed to from their Celtics in recent years.

How to raise mpg? Turn off half the engine

Honda’s system, which is called Variable Cylinder Management, is available for the first time on the new Accord with automatic V6 engines. An earlier version of the system has been on the Odyssey minivan since the 2005 model year and the two-wheel drive Pilot SUV since the 2006 model year.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - With a daily roundtrip commute of 120 miles, Marie Czapiewski needed good gas mileage in her new car but didn’t want to give up a V6 engine for something less powerful.

So when she bought another Honda Accord in September, Czapiewski was pleased to learn about a new feature that shuts off some cylinders in the engine when she’s cruising along Interstate 90 in southern Minnesota.

“With the V6, I’m getting 27 miles per gallon and that’s going at a high speed, too,” said Czapiewski, a 47-year-old customer service representative from Winona, Minn.
Cylinder deactivation systems have been available on some sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks and minivans for the last few years, and now the technology is becoming more widespread on passenger cars.

They can help people get more miles per gallon while keeping horsepower they crave. Honda Motor Co., General Motors Corp., and Chrysler LLC are bringing the systems to V8 and V6 engines.

“It’s adding that extra gas economy that everyone’s looking for right now,” said R.W. McKay, a general sales manager with Gordon Chevrolet in Tampa, Fla., who has the system on his 2007 Chevrolet Impala.

The technology helps the engine seamlessly operate on a reduced number of cylinders under light conditions, such as when a vehicle is on the highway. By shutting off cylinders, the engine reduces fuel consumption but still has the flexibility to provide more power when necessary.

Cylinder deactivation is part of a tool kit that the auto industry is using to improve fuel economy, said Mike Omotoso, senior manager of global powertrain for J.D. Power & Associates. The portfolio includes gas-electric hybrids, variable valve timing and “start-stop” technology that turns off the engine when the vehicle comes to a halt in traffic or at a stop light.

“The consumer wants to have a powerful engine but hates to pay for the fuel that comes with the V8,” said Gottfried Schiller, director of engineering for engine management systems at auto supplier Robert Bosch LLC. He said the automakers “are looking for an effective way to give them both.”

Honda’s system, which is called Variable Cylinder Management, is available for the first time on the new Accord with automatic V6 engines. An earlier version of the system has been on the Odyssey minivan since the 2005 model year and the two-wheel drive Pilot SUV since the 2006 model year.

The Accord’s system allows the driver to operate on three, four or all six cylinders, depending on driving conditions. For example, a driver can stay in four-cylinder mode when driving along a highway with mild hills at speeds of up to about 80 miles per hour.

The driver, as a result, gets more power without compromising gas mileage.

Toyota sells 2.34 million vehicles in 3Q

TOKYO - Toyota said Monday it sold 2.34 million vehicles globally in the July-September quarter, fewer than General Motors' tally, as its U.S. rival regained the lead in the race to be the world's top automaker.

Toyota Motor Corp.'s worldwide vehicle sales for the first nine months of this year — at 7.05 million vehicles — also fell short of Detroit-based General Motors Corp.'s sales of 7.06 million vehicles for the same period.

But the numbers Toyota released Monday show the Japanese automaker running neck-and-neck against General Motors, which sold 2.38 million vehicles in the third quarter.

Toyota beat GM in global vehicle sales in the first half of the year, riding on its reputation for high quality, low-mileage small cars such as the Camry, Corolla and gas-electric hybrid Prius.

Some analysts say it's a matter of time before the Japanese automaker — which built its business in the decades after World War II by imitating American automakers — will close in on GM.

Toyota's global vehicle sales for the latest quarter grew 4 percent from the same period a year ago, while sales for the first nine months of the year grew 7 percent.

"With oil prices rising, Toyota has the advantage in the long run," said Yoshihiro Okumura, auto analyst at Chibagin Asset Management Co. "Toyota is making a dash to the top."

Toyota has been in a slight lapse in introducing new models, but its momentum for growth is picking up as it comes out with new offerings, Okumura said. New models tend to boost sales, and some drivers hold off on purchases until a product gets remodeled.

In August, Toyota set a global sales target of 10.4 million vehicles for 2009 — a number that would put it far ahead of the current industry record of 9.55 million vehicles sold by GM in 1978.

GM is fiercely fighting back against Toyota by boosting overseas sales. GM has worn the industry crown of No. 1 automaker for 76 years.

Soaring gas prices have helped to lift Toyota's sales, but it saw its U.S. sales dip slightly last month, partly because of a record set in the same month a year earlier.

Toyota is lowering its sales target in Japan for this year because of a stagnant market, but it has said that better-than-expected demand in other overseas markets will offset the domestic decline.

GM, which has been trimming jobs and cutting costs, reported last week that third-quarter global sales rose 4 percent to 2.38 million cars and trucks, led by increases in emerging markets outside the United States.

Toyota reported selling 4.72 million vehicles during the first half of the year compared with GM's 4.67 million.

GM still led Toyota in vehicles produced worldwide during the first half of the year. Toyota and its group companies produced 4.71 million vehicles in the first half, inching up to GM's 4.75 million vehicles.

The race is more than about the number of cars people are buying.

GM's profitability falls far short of Toyota, which is rich in cash to invest in technology research and model development.

GM's second-quarter net income totaled $891 million, largely from overseas operations. It was the third straight quarter of profit, and a dramatic reversal from the $3.4 billion loss it posted in the same period last year.

For the April-June period, Toyota raked in earnings of $4.27 billion, its biggest quarterly profit ever and up 32.3 percent from a year earlier.

A recent study of industry costs and profits by Laurie Harbour-Felax found GM made $2,123 less per vehicle than Toyota in 2006 in North America.

Toyota, the most profitable of all automakers on a per-vehicle basis, increased its profit per vehicle from $1,175 in 2005 to $1,977 in 2006, the report said.

GM is still losing money for every vehicle sold in North America but lowered that loss to $146 in 2006 from $1,271 in 2005, mostly because of cost reductions, including thousands of job cuts, it said.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Style and superior mobile performance go hand-in-hand.

access your email easily
Mobilize your Outlook email, calendar, and contacts with Mail for Exchange.

connect on the go
Find and connect to available hotspots using the WLAN wizard.

take pictures and videos
Capture the moment with the integrated 2 megapixel camera.

Nokia E61i combines business and pleasure – offering you an improved email experience and fun multimedia features.

Dedicated email keys and QWERTY keyboard make writing emails easy. The large, 2.8” landscape color display makes mobile emailing and web browsing easier.

3G, HSCSD, and WLAN give you high-speed internet connectivity. Connect to your computer or other compatible devices through USB, Bluetooth, or infrared.

MP3 player for music on the move. Video and audio streaming bring you videos and music over the internet. Take pictures and video with the 2 megapixel camera.

Nokia E90 Communicator

Mix business with pleasure
Travel light with this 3G device optimized for business.

navigate quickly and easily
Be in the right place at the right time with integrated GPS.

take your office with you
View, open, and edit email attachments on your device with Quickoffice.

make video calls
Two cameras for video calls, images, and videos. Easy video calling with fast broadband connectivity.

Your mobile office – featuring high-speed mobile broadband, conference calling, cameras, music and media players, and a large display.

3G, HSCSD, and WLAN give you high-speed internet connectivity. Connect to your computer or other compatible devices through USB, Bluetooth, or infrared.

Push email with support for attachments, Quickoffice, Adobe Acrobat Reader, web browser, GPS, and a wide range of applications help you keep work moving.

MP3 player and FM radio for music on the move. Take perfect pictures with the 3.2 megapixel camera with flash. QCIF camera for video calls.

Large, 800 x 352 pixels, inner active matrix color display, supporting up to 16 million true colors for browsing and videos. Plus, a 240 x 320 pixels outer color display so you can see who’s calling.

Dynamical system

The dynamical system concept is a mathematical formalization for any fixed "rule" which describes the time dependence of a point's position in its ambient space. Examples include the mathematical models that describe the swinging of a clock pendulum, the flow of water in a pipe, and the number of fish each spring in a lake.

A dynamical system has a state determined by a collection of real numbers, or more generally by a set of points in an appropriate state space. Small changes in the state of the system correspond to small changes in the numbers. The numbers are also the coordinates of a geometrical space—a manifold. The evolution rule of the dynamical system is a fixed rule that describes what future states follow from the current state. The rule is deterministic: for a given time interval only one future state follows from the current state.


The concept of a dynamical system has its origins in Newtonian mechanics. There, as in other natural sciences and engineering disciplines, the evolution rule of dynamical systems is given implicitly by a relation that gives the state of the system only a short time into the future. (The relation is either a differential equation, difference equation or other time scale.) To determine the state for all future times requires iterating the relation many times—each advancing time a small step. The iteration procedure is referred to as solving the system or integrating the system. Once the system can be solved, given an initial point it is possible to determine all its future points, a collection known as a trajectory or orbit.

Before the advent of fast computing machines, solving a dynamical system required sophisticated mathematical techniques and could only be accomplished for a small class of dynamical systems. Numerical methods executed on computers have simplified the task of determining the orbits of a dynamical system.

For simple dynamical systems, knowing the trajectory is often sufficient, but most dynamical systems are too complicated to be understood in terms of individual trajectories. The difficulties arise because:

The systems studied may only be known approximately—the parameters of the system may not be known precisely or terms may be missing from the equations. The approximations used bring into question the validity or relevance of numerical solutions. To address these questions several notions of stability have been introduced in the study of dynamical systems, such as Lyapunov stability or structural stability. The stability of the dynamical system implies that there is a class of models or initial conditions for which the trajectories would be equivalent. The operation for comparing orbits to establish their equivalence changes with the different notions of stability.
The type of trajectory may be more important than one particular trajectory. Some trajectories may be periodic, whereas others may wander through many different states of the system. Applications often require enumerating these classes or maintaining the system within one class. Classifying all possible trajectories has led to the qualitative study of dynamical systems, that is, properties that do not change under coordinate changes. Linear dynamical systems and systems that have two numbers describing a state are examples of dynamical systems where the possible classes of orbits are understood.
The behavior of trajectories as a function of a parameter may be what is needed for an application. As a parameter is varied, the dynamical systems may have bifurcation points where the qualitative behavior of the dynamical system changes. For example, it may go from having only periodic motions to apparently erratic behavior, as in the transition to turbulence of a fluid.
The trajectories of the system may appear erratic, as if random. In these cases it may be necessary to compute averages using one very long trajectory or many different trajectories. The averages are well defined for ergodic systems and a more detailed understanding has been worked out for hyperbolic systems. Understanding the probabilistic aspects of dynamical systems has helped establish the foundations of statistical mechanics and of chaos.
It was in the work of Poincaré that these dynamical systems themes developed.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

'Not Guilty' T.I. Faces Another Week Behind Bars

HOLLYWOOD - Rapper T.I. has pleaded not guilty to illegal weapons charges in Atlanta, and now could spend another week in jail.

T.I., real name Clifford Harris, appeared in court on Friday after federal agents arrested him last Saturday.

The agents claim the rap star took delivery of three machine guns and two silencers that a bodyguard purchased on his behalf.

T.I.'s lawyers are appealing for bail, which Georgia Judge Alan Baverman has revealed he is considering.

He says, "I haven't decided that I am going to release him yet. What I am contemplating is looking at everything as a package."

Tom Cruise

Engagingly sexy with a wall of perfect teeth and a grin to defrost the coldest of hearts, Tom Cruise exploded onto screens during the mid-1980s in a series of teen roles that made the most of his athleticism and revealed the boyishly handsome star's charisma. The actor quickly graduated to adult superstar status and by decade's end had held his own opposite both Paul Newman and Dustin Hoffman as each garnered Best Actor Oscars in his company. By the mid-90s, he was indisputably the most powerful movie star of his generation, only bested by the relatively grizzled Harrison Ford as the world box-office champ, and by the end of the millennium he had surpassed even Ford, becoming Hollywood's most bankable star with five consecutive films grossing in excess of $100 million prior to the release of the hotly anticipated "Eyes Wide Shut" (1999), Stanley Kubrick's directorial swan song....

Full Biography
Engagingly sexy with a wall of perfect teeth and a grin to defrost the coldest of hearts, Tom Cruise exploded onto screens during the mid-1980s in a series of teen roles that made the most of his athleticism and revealed the boyishly handsome star's charisma. The actor quickly graduated to adult superstar status and by decade's end had held his own opposite both Paul Newman and Dustin Hoffman as each garnered Best Actor Oscars in his company. By the mid-90s, he was indisputably the most powerful movie star of his generation, only bested by the relatively grizzled Harrison Ford as the world box-office champ, and by the end of the millennium he had surpassed even Ford, becoming Hollywood's most bankable star with five consecutive films grossing in excess of $100 million prior to the release of the hotly anticipated "Eyes Wide Shut" (1999), Stanley Kubrick's directorial swan song. Cruise had managed this feat without developing an insufferable movie star ego, perhaps his greatest accomplishment of all--and yet in 2005 his public behavior veered far from his usual genial image, even though his career was still flying high.
A peripatetic childhood saw him attend a dozen schools by age 12, and when a knee injury derailed his wrestling ambitions, Cruise turned to acting, landing the role of Nathan Detroit in his high school production of "Guys and Dolls" and dropping out in his senior year (school had long been a problem for the dyslexic Cruise) to pursue the dream full-time. By 1981, Cruise was in Los Angeles where he met Paula Wagner, then an agent at Creative Artists Agency, who would subsequently guide his film career. After making his feature debut in a small role in Franco Zeffirelli's notorious Brooke Shields-starrer "Endless Love", he gained attention in a showy supporting role as an increasingly lunatic gung-ho cadet in "Taps" (both 1981). He next landed his first starring role opposite "older woman" Shelly Long in "Losin' It" (1983), a middling teen coming-of-age comedy. Prospects brightened when he persuaded Francis Ford Coppola to cast him in a small role as a tough guy in "The Outsiders" (1983), though he failed to stand out amidst teen heartthrobs like Matt Dillon, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, C Thomas Howell and Ralph Macchio.

Cruise gained celebrity in the superior teen sex satire "Risky Business" (also 1983) as an anxious, affluent, suburban teen poised precariously on the brink of young adulthood, creating a resonant protagonist for young Reagan-era audiences. He even put on some extra pounds to emphasize the softness and vulnerability of the character who flirts with illicit capitalism. In a star-making scene, Cruise, clad in a button-down Oxford shirt, Jockey briefs, and cool shades, played air guitar and danced wildly to Bob Seger's anthem, "Old Time Rock'n'Roll." This celebrated sequence provided a key to the actor's subsequent mega-success: he was an attractive but fairly regular guy to whom audiences could easily relate. Intriguingly, the part also showcased Cruise's magnetic sexual appeal much more effectively than many subsequent screen roles.

Cruise performed well in a more naturalistic mode in "All the Right Moves" (1983), a sober high school football drama which pitted him against hot-headed coach Craig T Nelson that fared modestly at the box office. He next grew his hair long and made the wrong move donning green tights for Ridley Scott's colossal fantasy flop, "Legend" (1985). Cruise, however, solidified his star status and established his onscreen persona with one of the signature hits of the 80s, "Top Gun" (1986). Defiantly politically incorrect, with flying sequences edited to the rhythms of pop tunes, the film functioned as both Navy recruiting ad and glossy romantic adventure. No longer the engaging boy-next-door, Cruise's Maverick was a prototype for roles to come, a cocky loner who plays by his own rules, confronts a crisis, then is triumphantly transformed.

Not content to be a matinee idol, Cruise crafted his career carefully, teaming with talented directors and co-stars for "The Color of Money" (1986) and "Rain Man" (1988). The former, Martin Scorsese's sharply made, nicely textured sequel to 1961's "The Hustler", cast him as a talented but arrogant small-time pool hotshot, a younger, greener version of Paul Newman's Fast Eddie Felsen. They made an eclectic pair, Cruise's boisterous All-American boy versus Newman's seasoned con man, and though the old stud picked up the Best Actor Oscar, he was clearly passing the mantle to the new stud, and not just on the screen. The time spent talking with the politically-active Newman had a profound consciousness-raising effect on Cruise who would later choose Oliver Stone's extremely anti-war "Born on the Fourth of July" (1989) to counter his contribution to the jingoistic "Top Gun". He broadened his serious dramatic credentials in his work with director Barry Levinson on "Rain Man", playing another self-centered hotshot whose relationship with his autistic brother (Dustin Hoffman) changes his life. Hoffman shone as the idiot savant and took home Oscar, but Cruise was equally important to the Oscar-winning Best Picture equation.

For Stone's "Born on the Fourth of July,” he did not have to share the spotlight (with anybody but the man at the helm who snared the Best Director Oscar for his efforts) and earned his first Best Actor Oscar nomination for a hard-hitting portrayal of paraplegic, anti-war activist Ron Kovic. Cruise then stumbled a bit with his next two projects. Though "Days of Thunder" introduced him to love of his life Nicole Kidman and inaugurated a long-term association with screenwriter Robert Towne, it suffered from an inordinately short editing period, causing Cruise (who also received a "from story" credit) to remark: "My regret is making a movie to meet a release date like that. Big mistake. I won't do it again." Scalded by critics, it still raked in $166 million worldwide, but there was no saving "Far and Away" (1992), a goofy period romance co-starring Kidman ("The honeymoon project, that's what we call it. I loved making that movie. It's a picture I look forward to showing to our kids in a few years"). He returned to box office clover after that critical and commercial disappointment, successfully confronting an iconic Jack Nicholson in Rob Reiner's highly popular court-martial drama, "A Few Good Men" (1992).

Cruise's hotshot lawyer bent on toppling his corrupt bosses in "The Firm" (1993) could have been a brother to his character in "A Few Good Men.” Despite a stellar supporting cast (i.e., Gene Hackman, Hal Holbrook, Holly Hunter and Wilfred Brimley, among many others), he shouldered carried the smooth adaptation of John Grisham's giant bestseller, tackling the deceptively difficult character with a vibrancy that guaranteed a successful box office for his first thriller. Director Sydney Pollack (rebounding from the disastrous "Havana" 1990) and his outstanding team of scriptwriters (Towne, David Rabe, David Rayfiel) brought a few extra plot twists and added some dramatic and ethical complexity to the attractive and entertaining tale.

Cruise then raised eyebrows—and more than a few hackles—by accepting the central role of the vampire Lestat in David Geffen's lavish production of Neil Jordan's "Interview With the Vampire" (1994). Many balked at the idea of the All-American go-getter playing the decadent, ambisexual European predator of Anne Rice's novel. Rice herself was the harshest critic as she traveled about the country trashing the casting decision while on a book tour. Sporting blond locks and blue contact lenses (his eyes are naturally green), Cruise eventually won Rice's approval and generally positive (if hardly enthusiastic) notices. The film was also notable for teaming the superstar with less familiar heartthrobs Brad Pitt, Christian Slater and Antonio Banderas. Although Cruise was only 32 at the time, there was a peculiar sense of his passing on the baton. (Ironically, Pitt was only a year younger.) In any event, the film earned mixed reviews while doing brisk business.

Cruise was all but omnipresent in the media as he aggressively promoted his feature producing debut, the post-Cold War espionage movie "Mission: Impossible" (1996). Based on the fondly remembered 60s TV show, the project had languished in various development hells before Cruise got involved. This marked the inaugural project for Cruise/Wagner Productions, the company the actor formed with his one-time agent in 1992. Rumors abounded about his clashing with director Brian De Palma over budgetary and story matters. Nonetheless, despite international location shooting, high-tech stunts, computer-generated visual effects and last-minute re-writes by a stellar assortment of writers (including his buddy Towne again), "Mission: Impossible" came in on time and under budget at approximately $67 million (Cruise deferred his $20 million actor's salary). Though many critics deemed it an extravagant but cold vanity production with a confused storyline, most admired the cinematic technique, and the mixed reviews didn't inhibit ticket buyers, proving the actor could attract crowds to a movie that didn't entirely make sense.

The sweetly offbeat romantic comedy "Jerry Maguire" (1996), in which he played the eponymous, shallow, back-stabbing sports agent, provided a sort of mid-career breakthrough for Cruise. For years he had portrayed irresistible smoothies, turning the world on with his smile while piloting fighter jets and driving race cars. Though it was a classic Cruise performance, bursting with the usual cocky charm and boyish charisma, there was an added dimension of desperation and a new maturity to his screen persona. He had played characters who had been up against the ropes before but perhaps never for so long or so convincingly. Here was a slickster whose powers had failed him, exposing a seldom seen vulnerability which made his eventual comeback that much sweeter. This time, the critics and moviegoers reached consensus, and Cruise garnered his second Best Actor Academy Award nomination. Three years would pass before he returned to the screen, though he and Wagner would produce "Without Limits" (1998), Towne's biopic about fabled long distance runner Steve Prefontaine.

Cruise took himself out of the game at the height of his career to work with Kubrick on "Eyes Wide Shut,” starring opposite Kidman for the first time since "Far and Away". Far from feeling hostage to the famous perfectionist's obsessive vision, the pair relished their brush with genius, diving in to share the adventure with eyes wide open. "For me it was no sacrifice. He became a dear friend and a mentor. Sometimes I'd look at him and think, This guy made '2001'! I'll carry the experience the rest of my life." The director gained the couple's trust as only a true friend could. When he filmed Cruise and Kidman in the nude scene that opens the film, Kubrick closed the set and operated the camera himself, intensifying the intimacy among the three of them. Sex and violence have long resonated as twin bogeymen in the rhetoric of the moral majority, but sex that is not degrading or a joke has been curiously absent from commercial cinema for some time. Though time will tell if Kubrick's swan song can revive the erotic impulse and its consequences as viable mainstream fodder, "Eyes Wide Shut" is a significant notch in Cruise's artistic belt, one well worth the tens of millions of dollars he gave up as the 18-week shoot ballooned to 52 weeks over 15 months.

Following the arduous shoot with Kubrick and the mixed critical and box office reaction to "Eyes Wide Shut", Cruise took on a pivotal role in Paul Thomas Anderson's ensemble drama "Magnolia" (1999). Playing a cocky sex guru who runs seminars designed to empower men, the actor offered a charismatic turn that was alternately chilling and humorous. Having taken a role in an ensemble piece, Cruise reminded audiences and reviewers alike of his capabilities as a dramatic actor and earned a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination. He segued back to leading parts in more high profile mainstream work reprising his role as Ethan Hunt in the big-budget, special effects laden "M:I-2" ("Mission: Impossible 2" 2000), directed by John Woo. For a variety of reasons, the film's shooting schedule fell behind forcing the release date to be moved back several months and for Cruise to postpone his long-awaited teaming with director Steven Spielberg on the futuristic thriller "Minority Report."

Before tackling that film, Cruise reunited with his "Jerry Maguire" helmer Cameron Crowe for an American remake of the perception-bending 1997 Spanish film "Abre los ojos" aka "Open Your Eyes." During the making of that film, titled "Vanilla Sky" Cruise endured a very public and acrimonious split from his Kidman, and while the reasons were never revealed he clearly laid the blame at her door, even as he entered into a relationship with his "Vanilla Sky" co-star Penelope Cruz (Cruise and Kidman later amicably worked out their divorce battles for their children's sake in the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001). "Vanilla Sky" (2001) opened to mixed reviews, seen as a competent and often compelling puzzle with a somewhat unsatisfying endgame, and Cruise's performance as David Aames, a successful publisher finds his life taking a turn for the surreal after a car accident with a obsessive lover, was seen as appropriately intense but perhaps a little over-the-top in his efforts to subvert his pretty boy looks with Hollywood-made scars. The actor was finally given the opportunity to work with Spielberg on "Minority Report" (2002), a crackerjack collaboration filled with skillful action sequences and a thought-provoking expansion of sci-fi author Phillip K. Dick's premise of a future where police use precognitives to prevent murders before they happen. Playing Detective John Anderton, the head of the special unit who finds himself the subject of a manhunt after the psychics predict that he will commit a murder, Cruise is in top heroic form on the run from his own officers.

Up next Cruise turned in one of his more nuanced performances for director Ed Zwick in "The Last Samurai" (2003), playing Capt. Nathan Algren, an alcoholic veteran of Custer's battles with Native Americans who travels to Japan to help Westernize the Imperial army, only to be captured by a rebellious samurai leader (Ken Watanabe) and embrace the ways of the bushido code, finding his lost honor along the way. Although the film follows the slightly patronizing white-man-embraces-and-improves-indigenous culture template of movies such as "Dances With Wolves," Cruise's initial anguish and his subsequent reclaiming of his own soul were skillfully and subtlety conveyed by the actor, earning him a Golden Globe nomination. The actor's hot streak continued unabated with another of his best roles, the cold-hearted assassin Vincent who high-jacks a good-hearted L.A. cabbie (Jamie Foxx) to drive him on his deadly rounds in director Michael Mann's "Collateral" (2004). Wearing a gray wig and beard stubble, Cruise used his trademark intensity to his advantage in a rare villainous role, while his inherent charm also gave the character a compelling quality.

Cruise's personal life overshadowed his professional career in 2005 when, after just a few weeks of dating, he and actress Katie Holmes—who was at 26 was 16 years younger than Cruise—announced their romance to the world just weeks before both of them had major summer movies heading to theaters (Cruise, the Steven Spielberg-directed "War of the Worlds"; Holmes, the franchise re-starting "Batman Begins"). The media instantly speculated that the romance was a massive publicity stunt, and the couple's often unconvincing interaction and their relentless media onslaught added fuel to the fire: within just a few weeks of the announcement, Cruise made a bizarre fist-pumping appearance on Oprah Winfrey's talk show to proclaim his love for Holmes, jumping on the host's set furniture and dragging a seemingly reluctant Holmes before the cameras; Holmes presented Cruise with a career achievement award on the MTV Movie Awards; Holmes, who had been quoted years earlier that as a girl she dreamed of marrying Cruise, denied even thinking about their age (or height) difference; and both appeared separately before David Letterman to further spin their love story.

Cruise had long been a proponent of the often mysterious, Hollywood-centered Church of Scientology founded by science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard (he credited his studies there with "curing" him of the dyslexia that plagued him since his youth, among other benefits; rumors abounded that his faith contributed to his split with Nicole Kidman) and the actor took an active role in promoting the religion around the globe. At the onset of the Holmes romance, he also was reportedly instrumental in opening up the very secretive church and inviting journalists to sample its practices (Holmes also began taking Scientology courses, and dumped her Hollywood handlers in favor of his). The couple's apparent happy ending came just days later, when they announced their engagement in Paris (Cruise proposed atop the Eiffel Tower). However, he also launched into a uncharacteristic war of words with his former "Endless Love" co-star Brooke Shields after she described taking antidepressants to relieve her post-partum depression in her book Down Came the Rain, with Cruise criticizing Shields for being "irresponsible," claiming her career was over and suggesting that vitamins would have been a better alternative treatment. Also, rumors ran rampant that Paramount was waffling over proceeding with "Mission Impossible 3" due to concerns about Cruise, but the studio ultimately moved forward on the film. And there were more curious on-camera incidents, including a sharply worded exchange with "Today Show" co-host Matt Lauer in which Cruise aggressively derided psychiatry as a "pseudo-science," provoking a formal rebuke from the American Psychiatric Association. Nearly lost in all of Cruise's public appearances was his film "War of the Worlds" itself, which was another mostly masterful exercise in cinematic suspense and terror, buoyed by a strong performance by Cruise as Ray Ferrier, a working class deadbeat dad who must suddenly protect his two children during a horrific alien invasion.

Meanwhile, the tabloid fun continued when Cruise announced in October 2005 that Holmes was pregnant with his child. Then in November 2005, Cruise fired publicist Lee Anne DeVette—also his sister—who some considered responsible for his bizarre behavior on Oprah and insane ramblings against psychology and pharmaceuticals. He then hired Paul Bloch, a veteran publicist known for protecting the public images of Eddie Murphy and John Travolta, and for a spell Cruise’s outlandishness seemed quelled. He spent the winter months relatively subdued until an episode of the subversive animated series, “South Park” (Comedy Central, 1997- ), depicted Scientology in a negative light and made not-so-veiled jokes that questioned his sexuality — a persistent rumor that dogged him ever since he successfully sued a tabloid that published a story about a gay porn star claiming to have had an affair with the actor. Cruise retaliated against “South Park” in public by reaffirming his faith in scientology. Comedy Central subsequently yanked the episode after its only airing, leading some to speculate that Cruise exerted his star power behind the scenes—an assertion that was publicly denied.

After months of fawning and speculation—and a spattering of ridicule — Cruise and Homes — dubbed “TomKat” by a smug media — had a 7 pound, 7 ounce baby girl named Suri in an undisclosed location in Los Angeles. It was announced prior to having the baby that Holmes would follow Scientology’s tenets of silent birth, a procedure that dictates everyone in the delivery room be silent as to not cause stress for the mother and child.

Meanwhile, Cruise began making the media rounds in anticipation of his next film, “Mission: Impossible 3” (2006), including a highly-publicized chat with celebrity interviewer, Diane Sawyer, who riddled him with tough questions and the latest rumors. She asked, for example, if he was joking about eating the placenta after birth—referring to a comment he made in a magazine article; if Holmes’ family — particularly her father — were rebelling against their daughter’s conversion to Scientology; if he and Holmes were actually splitting up after rumors she had moved to another room in their home. Cruise denied every accusation, claiming that all was well. After the birth of his first biological child (even that wasn’t immune to tabloid speculation), Cruise continued his publicity for “Mission: Impossible,” the third installment to the franchise that depicted a retired Ethan Hunt (Cruise) living a slower-paced life while training new IMF agents. But he’s called back to action to due battle with Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman), an international weapons dealer who may turn out to be Hunt’s toughest adversary yet.

In a move that shocked not only the industry, but much of the world, on Aug. 22, 2006, Paramount Pictures announced it was ending its 14-year relationship with Cruise/Wagner Productions. Chairman of Viacom (Paramount's parent company) Sumner Redstone cited the economic damage to Tom Cruise's value as an actor and producer from his controversial public behavior and views. Cruise/Wagner Productions responded that Paramount's announcement was a face-saving move after the production company had successfully sought alternative financing from private equity firms. In the end, Cruise/Wagner reportedly secured a two-year production deal with a group led by Washington Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder, who also owned Six Flags, Inc., which would give Cruise less than $3 million to finance staff and office expenses. In exchange, Snyder and the others would have the ability to finance movies developed by Cruise/Wagner. At the same time this unfortunate series of business setbacks occured, the public at long last got their first glimpse of baby Suri Cruise, when Vanity Fair published a much anticipated cover and 22-page spread in September, 2006. The unveiling received much fanfare, as blogs, tabloids and even hard news programs like "The CBS Evening News" detailed the contents of the magazine and the story behind the buzzed-about photos taken by famed celebrity photographer, Annie Leibovitz.

Actor, producer, director Sometimes Credited As:
Thomas Cruise Mapother Family
cousin:Amy Mapother (born c. 1973; sister of William)
cousin:William Mapother (born in 1965; brother of Amy; appeared in "Mission: Impossible 2" and the tv series "Lost")
daughter:Suri Cruise (born April 18, 2006; mother, Katie Holmes)
daughter:Isabella Jane Kidman Cruise (adopted by Cruise and Kidman in January 1993; born weighing 9 pounds on December 22, 1992 in Florida)
father:Thomas Cruise Mapother III (born in October 1934 in Kentucky; divorced cruise's mother in 1974, when Cruise was 11; never paid child support; Cruise and his father reconciled before he died of cancer on January 9, 1984)
Producing partner:Paula Wagner
sister:Cass Mapother (born c. 1963; owns a restaurant in New Jersey)
sister:Marian Mapother (born c. 1961; has a teaching degree)
sister:Lee Anne DeVette (born c. 1959; works in publicity and marketing for Cruise's company; took over as Cruise's publicist in 1994; dropped as publicist in order to oversee the day to day operations of Tom Cruise's philanthropic activities in 2005)
son:Connor Anthony Kidman Cruise (born on January 17, 1995 in Florida; adopted by Cruise and Kidman in early February 1995)
wife:Katie Holmes (began dating April 2005; became engaged June 17, 2005 atop the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France; married November 18, 2006 in a 15th-century castle outside of Rome in Bracciano, Italy; they had "officialized their marriage in Los Angeles prior to their departure for Italy")
wife:Mimi Rogers (married on May 9, 1987 (with Emilio Estevez as best man); divorced in January 1990)
wife:Nicole Kidman (born on June 20, 1967; married on December 24, 1990 in Telluride, Colorado (this time with Dustin Hoffman as best man); first appeared together in "Days of Thunder" (1990); later co-starred in "Far and Away" (1992) and "Eyes Wide Shut" (1999); announced separation in February 2001; Cruise filed for divorce on February 7, 2001; divorce finalized on August 8, 2001)
Melissa Gilbert , Companion , ```..dated in 1982
Penelope Cruz , Companion , ```..worked together on "Vanilla Sky"; went public with relationship in July 2001; no longer together as of January 2004
Rebecca De Mornay , Companion , ```..involved during and after filming of "Risky Business"; lived together for 2 1/2 years (c. 1983-85)

Glen Ridge High School Glen Ridge, New Jersey


MTV Movie Award Best Male Performer "Mission: Impossible 2" 2001
Golden Globe Award Best Supporting Actor "Magnolia" 1999
John Huston Award for Artists Rights 1999
National Board of Review Award Best Ensemble "Magnolia" 1999
MTV Movie Award Best Male Performance "Jerry Maguire" 1997
Golden Globe Award Best Actor in a Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) "Jerry Maguire" 1996
Golden Satellite Best Actor in a Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) "Jerry Maguire" 1996
National Board of Review Award Best Actor "Jerry Maguire" 1996
NATO/ShoWest Award International Box Office Star 1992
Chicago Film Festival Best Actor Award "Born on the Fourth of July" 1990
Golden Globe Award Best Actor in a Motion Picture (Drama) "Born on the Fourth of July" 1990
People's Choice Award Favorite Motion Picture Actor 1990

Milestones (Back to top)

2006 Reprised role of Ethan Hunt for "Mission: Impossible III," with J.J. Abrams making his feature-film directorial debut
2006 On August 22, 2006, Paramount Pictures announced it was ending its 14-year relationship with Cruise/Wagner Productions
2006 With business partner Paula Wagner, signed a two-year development deal with an investment partnership headed by Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder
2006 Partnered with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to resurrect United Artists; will star in and produce films for the studio, and production partner Paula Wagner will serve as chief executive officer
2005 Starred in Steven Spielberg's "War of the Worlds," based on H.G. Wells' novel, which chronicles a Martian invasion of Earth
2004 Played a contract killer in Michael Mann's "Collateral"
2003 Starred in the epic drama "The Last Samurai"; received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Dramatic role
2002 Teamed with Steven Spielberg for "Minority Report"
2002 Narrated the IMAX film "Space Station"
2001 Reunited with director Cameron Crowe on "Vanilla Sky", a loose remake of the Spanish film "Obra los ojos/Open Your Eyes"
2000 Reprised role of Ethan Hunt in the sequel "M:I-2" ("Mission: Impossible 2"), directed by John Woo; also produced with Wagner
1999 Acted in Paul Thomas Anderson's ensemble drama "Magnolia", playing a foul-mouthed cable TV sex guru; earned Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination
1998 Produced (with Wagner) "Without Limits", Robert Towne's biopic about fabled distance runner Steve Prefontaine
1998 Accepted (with Kidman) substantial libel damages from Express Newspapers over allegations that their marriage was a "hypocritical sham"; the Cruises donated the money to charity
1996 Feature producing debut (with partner Wagner), "Mission: Impossible"; also acted, deferring $20 million salary
1996 Earned second Best Actor Oscar nomination for lead performance as sports agent "Jerry Maguire"
1996 - 1998 Filmed lead role in Stanley Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut" (1999), starring opposite Kidman; project reteamed him with Pollack (acting this time) who replaced Harvey Keitel after filming had started
1994 Portrayed Lestat in Neil Jordan's "Interview with the Vampire", adapted by Anne Rice from her novel; eventually won over Rice who had publicly campaigned against his casting
1993 Scored with Sydney Pollack's "The Firm", the first film adaptation of a John Grisham novel
1993 Awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
1993 TV directorial debut with "Frightening Frammis", an episode on Showtime's "Fallen Angels" series, starring Isabella Rossellini and Peter Gallagher
1992 Reteamed with Kidman for "Far and Away", Ron Howard's would-be epic of Irish settlers in the American west
1992 Hit blockbuster gold as a Navy lawyer in Rob Reiner's "A Few Good Men"
1992 Along with his partner, former CAA agent Paula Wagner, signed an exclusive production pact with Paramount Pictures to produce his films
1990 First story credit (shared with Robert Towne), "Days of Thunder", directed by Tony Scott; also first film with future wife Nicole Kidman
1990 Renounced his devout Catholicism for the Church of Scientology, claiming its teachings had cured him of his dyslexia
1989 Earned first Best Actor Oscar nomination portraying paralyzed Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic in Oliver Stone's "Born on the Fourth of July"
1988 Turned in top-drawer performance opposite Dustin Hoffman (who collected the Best Actor Oscar) in Barry Levinson's "Rain Man"
1986 Roared to first position in the annual exhibitors' poll of the top ten box office stars on the strength of the blockbusters "Top Gun" (directed by Tony Scott) and "The Color of Money" (directed by Mar
1983 Persuaded director Francis Ford Coppola to cast him in a small role in the feature "The Outsiders"
1983 Breakthrough film role, as high school student Joel Goodson in "Risky Business"
1983 Starred as goal-oriented high school football player in "All the Right Moves"
1981 Film acting debut in "Endless Love"
1981 Cast in a small role in "Taps"; bumped up to a major supporting role after another actor failed to measure up during the mock-boot-camp rehearsals for the film; first gained critical attention
1981 Met Paula Wagner, then an agent at Creative Artists Agency
1974 Fled Canada (and his father) for the USA with his mother and three sisters at age 12
Diagnosed as dyslexic as a child; has claimed in interviews he was "misdiagnosed"
Attended a dozen schools before he was 12 years old
Took up acting in high school after losing his place on wrestling team due to a knee injury
Portrayed Nathan Detroit in a high school production of "Guys and Dolls" during his senior year


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