Yeah, interesting sighting. Would like to know how long these lights were visible, but also why there are no other reports from other people who possibly saw this. The 1997-sighting surely made people more sensitive to that phenomena so this shouldn't have gone by without getting noticed by anyone.
This gentleman watches the Phoenix skies a lot. I still can't remember the guy's name in Chandler. Anyway, here's Jeff Willes:
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1786 on: Nov 6th, 2010, 08:40am »
New York Times
November 6, 2010 Russian Journalist Beaten in Moscow By ELLEN BARRY
MOSCOW — A journalist for the liberal daily newspaper Kommersant was seriously injured on Saturday morning in an attack that his editor said was likely connected to his work.
Oleg Kashin, 30, was placed in an artificial coma in a Moscow hospital with injuries that include a concussion, a broken jaw, skull fractures, fractures in both of his legs and broken fingers, the newspaper reported on Saturday.
Mikhail Mikhailin, the newspaper’s editor, told the Ekho Moskvy radio station that he believes the attack was related to Mr. Kashin’s assignment — covering youth political movements and protest actions, among other political themes. Mr. Kashin was carrying money and an iPhone at the time of the attack, but nothing was stolen, he said.
“The thing that bothers me is that at the moment of the beating, they broke his fingers,” Mr. Mikhailin said. “It is completely obvious that the people who did this did not like what he was saying and what he was writing. I don’t know what specifically they did not like, but I firmly connect this with his professional activities.”
Mr. Kashin’s newspaper is mainstream by comparison, and has good contacts in the government, securing such scoops as a much-scrutinized exclusive interview with Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin which ran this summer. Unlike many of the Russian journalists who have been targeted in recent years, Mr. Kashin works for a newspaper that is popular among Moscow’s elite. The Kremlin responded with alacrity on Saturday, announcing around lunchtime that President Dmitri A. Medvedev had ordered Russia’s general prosecutor and interior minister to personally supervise the investigation. Mr. Medvedev also commented on the attack on his Twitter feed.
“The criminals must be found and punished,” it read.
Russian journalists have been the subject of repeated attacks in recent years, but in most cases the investigations go nowhere.
No arrest has been made in the murder of Natalya Estemirova, who investigated violence in the north Caucasus for the opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta, or in the savage beating of Mikhail Beketov, who documented corruption in the Moscow suburb of Khimki for a local newspaper.
Mr. Mikhailin said the beating will test the government’s willingness to follow up on violence against journalists.
“I want to see whether, starting in the morning, the federal channels will report on what happened to Oleg Kashin,” Mr. Mikhailin said in his radio interview. “Will they close their eyes to what happened with Oleg? That is what interests me.”
Roughly an hour after the attack, the journalist’s next-door neighbor, Yelena Pogrebizhskaya, a well-known musician, wrote on her blog that two men were waiting for Mr. Kashin outside his apartment building last night with a bouquet of flowers. She said it appeared he had been beaten with objects, not with fists.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1787 on: Nov 6th, 2010, 08:43am »
D.A. investigates Bell's business fees It's the seventh outside probe of city finances to result from reports of unusually high municipal salaries. By Robert J. Lopez and Paloma Esquivel, Los Angeles Times
November 6, 2010
Los Angeles County prosecutors are investigating Bell's practice of arbitrarily requiring some business owners to pay thousands of dollars in fees, in the seventh outside investigation into alleged wrongdoing at City Hall.
The Times reported earlier this week that former Bell city administrator Robert Rizzo and others demanded that restaurants, tire shops, auto detailers and a market either pay special fees or guarantee thousands of dollars in sales tax revenue for the city each year. Since then, more merchants have come forward to say they also were forced to pay the fees.
The owner of one Bell car wash said he was so outraged at paying his $300-a-month fee that he wrote "bribe" in Spanish on the memo line of some of his checks to the city.
"I put that because I knew it was a bribe," said Gerardo Quiroz, who paid a total of $10,000 to the city. Quiroz owns car washes in two other L.A. County cities but said Bell was only one that charged the fees.
The L.A. County district attorney's office has assigned half a dozen prosecutors and several investigators to look into possible criminal activity in Bell. Investigators have spoken to at least three business owners who allege they were illegally charged under the fee program.
"If we find something that is criminal that we can prove, we will certainly file charges," said Dave Demerjian, head of the district attorney's Public Integrity Unit, which is leading the investigation. "We are still looking at a lot of potential issues in Bell ... and other targets."
Bell city officials announced they were also investigating the fees and could decide in the next few weeks whether to scrap the program. Interim city administrator Pedro Carrillo said some businesses are still being charged the fees and that his office is trying to determine exactly how many. It's unclear whether the fees would be refunded if they are found to be illegally obtained.
"We will take action, depending on the findings," Carrillo said.
City records reviewed by The Times as well as interviews show that at least 20 businesses were subjected to fees and that the city collected at least $245,000 in revenues. But the records cover only a fraction of the city's fee collections, so that number is expected to grow.
It appears that city officials targeted mostly small mom-and-pop businesses.
The district attorney's probe into the fees marks the latest in a string of investigations in Bell, where eight current and former officials have been charged with public corruption. The state attorney general's office filed civil charges against Bell officials and has asked a court to appoint a monitor to oversee Bell's operations. The U.S. Justice Department is investigating potential civil rights and voting rights violations by the city, and the state controller, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and State Department of Corporation have each launched probes of Bell's finances.
The scandal became public in July, when The Times revealed that top Bell officials received huge salaries, notably Rizzo, who was set to earn $1.5 million this year. Revelations about the special fees underscore evidence that the city took unusual and aggressive measures to generate revenues. State auditors already have concluded that Bell levied unlawful taxes and fees on its residents, most of whom earn relatively low incomes. The city also imposed one of the highest property tax rates in Los Angeles County.
Legal experts said the Bell fee program is unprecedented and pointed out that state law requires municipalities to identify the purpose of fees in conditional-use permits. Typically, such fees are used to defray costs associated with the business or development seeking the permit, such as new traffic signals or parking lots.
City officials have been unable to provide any guidelines or other records explaining how businesses were singled out or how the annual fees were calculated. Records show that the fees were deposited into the city's general fund, which was used to help pay the salaries of Rizzo and other city officials.
In one instance, a tire shop owner paid at least $144,000 over a four-year period, according to city records. Another tire shop owner was required to pay $13,000 a year. Yet the very next permit approved by the city for an auto repair shop did not require the owner to pay any annual fees, records show. One auto dealer had to guarantee the city $80,000 a year in sales taxes or pay the difference.
Some merchants said they felt intimidated or pressured to agree to the terms if they wanted to do business in the city. Some who fell behind on their payments said the only way to appeal was to show up at City Hall and try to negotiate with Rizzo or his assistants. One business owner said city officials threatened to close down his business if he didn't pay the fees.
Quiroz, the car wash owner, closed his business out of frustration over the fees. Now, he'd like his $10,000 refunded.
"I'm going to do everything possible to get my money back," he said.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1788 on: Nov 6th, 2010, 08:50am »
New Statistical Model Moves Human Evolution Back Three Million Years ScienceDaily (Nov. 5, 2010) —
Evolutionary divergence of humans and chimpanzees likely occurred some 8 million years ago rather than the 5 million year estimate widely accepted by scientists, a new statistical model suggests.
A new statistical model suggests that evolutionary divergence of humans from chimpanzees likely occurred some 8 million years ago, rather than the 5 million year estimate widely accepted by scientists. (Credit: iStockphoto/Eric Gevaert)
The revised estimate of when the human species parted ways from its closest primate relatives should enable scientists to better interpret the history of human evolution, said Robert D. Martin, curator of biological anthropology at the Field Museum, and a co-author of the new study appearing in the journal Systematic Biology.
Working with mathematicians, anthropologists and molecular biologists, Martin has long sought to integrate evolutionary information derived from genetic material in various species with the fossil record to get a more complete picture.
Comparing DNA among related animals can provide a clear picture of how their shared genes evolved over time, giving rise to new and separate species, Martin said. But such molecular information doesn't yield a timetable showing when the genetic divergence occurred.
Fossil evidence is the only direct source of information about long-extinct species and their evolution, Martin and his colleagues said, but large gaps in the fossil record can make such information difficult to interpret. For a generation, paleontologists have estimated human origins at 5 million to 6 million years ago.
But that estimate rests on a thin fossil record. By looking at all of today's primate species, all of the known fossil primates and using DNA evidence, computer models suggest a longer evolutionary timetable. The new analysis described in the Systematic Biology paper takes into account gaps in the fossil record and fills in those gaps statistically.
Such modeling techniques, which are widely used in science and commerce, take into account more overall information than earlier processes used to estimate evolutionary history using just a few individual fossil dates, Martin said. It can give scientists a broader perspective for interpreting data.
One example is a skull fossil discovered in Chad (central Africa) earlier in this decade. The fossil, named Sahelanthropus tchadensis and nicknamed Toumaï (which means "hope of life" in the local Goran language), raised great interest because it has many human characteristics. But consensus on how to classify the discovery has been elusive particularly because the fossil is about 7 million years old, well beyond the accepted time frame for human evolution.
Under the new estimate, Toumaï would fall within the period after the human lineage split from chimpanzees, Martin said.
The new approach to dating evolutionary history builds on earlier work by Martin and colleagues. In 2002, they published a paper in Nature that argues the last common ancestor of today's primates lived some 85 million years ago.
This implies that for 20 million years before dinosaurs became extinct, early versions of primates also lived and evolved. It challenged the accepted theory that primates and other mammals didn't really thrive on the planet until dinosaurs were gone.
After that paper was published, Martin said he expected someone would apply the new statistical techniques to the question of human evolution, but when no one did, "We decided to do it ourselves."
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1789 on: Nov 6th, 2010, 08:55am »
Airline frequent fliers 'radiation poisoning risks' from space 'solar flare' storm activity Airline frequent fliers are at greater risk of developing long term radiation poisoning from “solar space storms” or flare activity from the Sun, a new study warns.
By Andrew Hough Published: 10:00PM GMT 05 Nov 2010
Researchers found passengers faced the “hazard” of space radiation, which created unhealthy levels of exposure while flying at “typical cruise altitudes” of 40,000 feet.
Experts warned passengers could be subjected to increasing risk to cancer due to such radiation levels.
Nasa scientists believe the earth is facing danger from a once-in-a-century “solar flare”, a disturbance on the Sun's surface that could cause geomagnetic storms on this planet.
One in the mid-19th century blocked the nascent telegraph system and many scientists believe another is overdue.
Researchers from the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Oxon, warned that the electrical grid, computers, telephones, transportation, water supply and food production faced “huge disturbances” from space storms.
Their vulnerability is also blamed on humans’ “creeping dependency” on modern technology. For example there are about 4.9 billion mobile phone “connections” every month.
Scientists found aircrew were “the major occupation group” most exposed to the Sun’s radiation with passengers also at risk from the phenomenon.
Because the sun’s radiation levels had been reasonably low for the past century, its strengthening power in the coming few years would create new health problems.
“Space radiation is a hazard not only to the operation of modern aircraft but also to the health of aircrew and passengers,” said the study, titled Space weather and its impact on Earth – implications for business.
“Radiation from space can reach the Earth’s atmosphere and create extra radiation exposure for people travelling on aircraft at typical cruise altitudes (40,000 feet).
“The radiation risk to passengers is usually much less than that for aircrew since most passenger spend less time in the air (and) the radiation doses accumulate with time in flight, especially at cruise altitudes.”
The study, published by Lloyds of London, the insurance market, added: “However, frequent fliers whose time in the air approaches that of aircrew are equally at risk. There is, as yet, no legal framework for handling such risks.”
During one “major space weather event”, in October 2003, the FAA issued a formal warned that all routes north and south of 35 degree latitude “were subject to excessive radiation doses” and the researchers said further airline disruption was almost certain.
In 1990 such health risks to aircrew were recognised by the International Commission on Radiological Protection with EU-based aircrew classified as radiation workers in 2000. Most airlines now monitor levels during safety assessments.
Prof Mike Hapgood, the head of the Laboratory’s Space Environment Group, who led the study, told The Daily Telegraph that a person flying from London to the US West Coast would receive extra radiation levels to that given from an chest x-ray, which is fairly low.
But Prof Hapgood, who will give evidence to MPs next week, said that during a big solar storm radiation levels would sharply spike, with a passenger on a long haul flight being exposed to the equivalent of dozens of x-rays at once.
“There is an increased risk of cancer,” said Prof Hapgood, who undertakes scientific research into “near-Earth space” activity.
“People would be sensible to think about kind of work they do, how much flying they do and what risk that poses. I don’t think that is unreasonable.”
The Lloyds study urged business to “plan accordingly” and develop safeguards against the event.
The researchers found “vulnerable” and unprepared British firms could be hit with “widespread disruption”.
Between five and 10 per cent of critical infrastructure is government owned and business understanding on the subject was “patchy”, which left many facing uncertainty.
A power grid or satellite breakdown would leave a multi-million pound cost to the economy as solar flares trigger “cascading failures across systems”.
“Because space weather affects major global systems… a very severe outbreak presents a systematic risk,” the report said.
The Daily Telegraph disclosed in September that ministers fear the electricity grid, financial networks and transport infrastructure could be paralysed by a solar flare or a nuclear attack.
Such an event would be similar to the recent volcanic ash cloud disruption to airline travel or the chaos caused by the recent bouts of snowy weather, which left a multi-billion pound bill to firms.
The researchers cited a Quebec power grid failure in 1989 which, following a magnetic storm, caused it to shutdown, leaving five million people without electricity during the winter for more than nine hours and left a damage bill of more than C$2billion (£1.23 billion).
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1790 on: Nov 6th, 2010, 09:00am »
Oscar-nominated Actress Jill Clayburgh Dies 12:13 AM 11/6/2010 by Duane Byrge
Jill Clayburgh, whose performance in An Unmarried Woman as a woman who suddenly finds herself single after a divorce reflected the growing women's liberation movement, died Friday at her home in Lakeville, Conn. She was 66.
The actress, who recently conclued two seasons as the rich matriach of ABC's Dirty Sexy Money, had been battling chronic lymphocytic leukemia for 21 years, her husband, playwright David Rabe, told the Associated Press.
She dealt with the disease courageously, quietly and privately, Rabe said, and conducted herself with enormous grace "and made it into an opportunity for her children to grow and be human."
Clayburgh won an Oscar nomination for 1978's Woman, directed by Paul Mazursky. And she shared best actress honors at Cannes with Isabelle Huppert for her portrayal of a young, comfortable woman who finds her world is shattered when her husband of surprises her by asking for a divorce.
With willowy good-looks, an edgy verve, as well as singing ability, Clayburgh was a versatile talent with a distinctive style: In 1978, Cue magazine described her "winsome naturalness," characterized by "...quick movements, glances, shrugs, half-smiles and pensive, revealing expressions."
Having attracted attention in the 1975 TV movie Hustling, in which she played a prostitute and earned an Emmy nomination, Clayburgh portrayed Carole Lombard opposite James Brolin in 1976's Gable and Lombard. She teamed with Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder in the screwball mystery Silver Streak and with Burt Reynolds and Kris Kristofferson in the football comedy Semi-Tough, based on Dan Jenkins' best-seller. She and Reynolds had a good rapport, and Clayburgh co-starred with him again in 1979's Starting Over, where she was nominated for a second Oscar for best actress.
She also gravitated toward edgier films, including Bernardo Bertolucci's Luna and Costa-Gavra's Hanna K. Bertolucci complimented her ability "to move from one extreme to the other in the same shot, be funny and dramatic within the same scene."
Clayburgh also turned in multiple guest-starring performances on such TV series as Ally McBeal, Leap of Faith, The Practice and Nip/Tuck, for which she earned a second Emmy nomination in 2005.
Clayburgh was born April 30, 1944 in New York City. Her father was a vice president of the Bancroft Bookcloth Company and an opera lover, while her mother was a production secretary to Broadway producer David Merrick.
She attended the exclusive Brearley School and enrolled at Sarah Lawrence College, where she became involved in acting after serving as a summer-stock apprentice at the Williamstown Theater Festival in Massachusetts. While in college, Clayburgh starred with friends Robert De Niro and Jennifer Salt in The Wedding Party, an indie film that another friend, Brian De Palma, helped direct.
After graduating from Sarah Lawrence, she worked for a year as a member of the Charles Street Playhouse repertory company in Boston. While there, Clayburgh formed a romantic attachment with one of the other performers, Al Pacino and they moved in together in New York, where she studied acting with Uta Hagen.
She appeared in several off-Broadway productions, including a couplet of plays with Pacino at the off-Broadway Astor Place Theater: She played in It's Called the Sugarplum, while he performed in The Indian Wants the Bronx.
Clayburgh made her Broadway debut in 1970 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater in The Rothschilds, a musical about a Jewish family that moved from the Frankfurt ghetto to become the richest bankers in Europe. She displayed her vocal talents again in the musical Pippin, directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse.
However, she lost a role she coveted -- the go-go dancer in Rabe's In the Boom Boom Room-- to Madeline Kahn. That experience convinced her that she needed a bigger "Hollywood name," and so she sought out mainstream roles in film and TV, breaking into film with 1972's Portnoy's Complaint.
And though she wasn't cast in his play, at her try-out she met Rabe, whom she married in 1979.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by three children, actress Lily Rabe, Michael Rabe and stepson Jason Rabe.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1792 on: Nov 6th, 2010, 4:09pm »
American Chronicle Saturday, November 06, 2010 2:06:19 PM
Further UFO disclosure requires readiness, teamwork Steve Hammons
Over the decades and in recent years and months, many military officers have come forward with solid information about unusual unidentified flying objects (UFOs).
In many cases, the information includes direct sightings and experiences. In other reports, intelligence information on UFO incidents was compiled, and tentative or limited conclusions reached by very senior military officers.
Some U.S. astronauts and Russian cosmonauts have also reported similar observations and encounters.
The intelligence community, being discreet as is required, prefers to work behind the scenes, both gathering and disseminating information on this and other subjects.
Closed-loop compartmentalization and "need to know" protocols attempt to maintain security on sensitive topics related to national security, including the UFO issue.
At the same time, the task of appropriately disseminating appropriate information could also be challenging in the case of unconventional and anomalous phenomena which include, but are not limited to UFOs.
SECURITY AND PREPAREDNESS
Evaluating potential dangers and threats of various kinds can be a complex task in both conventional and unconventional scenarios. The safety and well-being of the American people and our friends require that caution is paramount on the issue of UFO disclosure.
We have only to look at the apparent psychological denial by many people about UFOs to realize that this can be a difficult situation to accept.
Some of this denial may be due to years of security and secrecy measures. But part of it may also be emotional and mental readiness to accept unusual, surprising and possibly disturbing or dangerous elements involved.
As a result, a decades-long period of safe, steady acclimation and preparedness many have been going on using various media platforms. At least this has been theorized about.
For UFO disclosure to continue to unfold, there will probably need to be ongoing teamwork among various aspects of society. Citizens, media, public safety personnel, professionals of all kinds, educators, government officials and others will need to work together as a team.
Effective leadership and guidance, from wherever it may be found, will also be very helpful.
Is there a schedule, time constraints or some kind of master plan on an increasingly overt disclosure process? There has been speculation that this might be one factor involved. If so, then increased readiness on the part of many aspects of our communities and societies is also helpful and necessary.
INTELLIGENCE AND EDUCATION
Learning more about this subject is not as difficult as we might think.
One recently-published book is a good starting point. Journalist Leslie Kean's "UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go on the Record," contains valuable factual information that includes a minimum amount of speculation.
The new book "A.D. After Disclosure: The People's Guide to Life After Contact" by Richard M. Dolan and Bryce Zabel, on the other hand, does speculate about the possible or probable impacts on society from more open awareness of the UFO situation.
This book is also a comprehensive real history of the many complex circumstances and theories involved. The authors also look at other unconventional phenomena that could very well be related to UFOs, or are just more scientific mysteries that we are also gaining an understanding of.
Zabel's and Dolan's website AfterDisclosure.com is a good place to gain additional information about the subject.
Will some kind of event require government officials in Washington, D.C., to address the issue in a more open way?
Dolan and Zabel propose that it is possible. They also point out that a public explanation of the overall situation could be very difficult because of sensitive security issues, complex scientific unknowns and the information management challenges involved.
This, again, is where a certain level of cooperation and teamwork might come into play. Many elements of society will need to both try to absorb certain new information and also realize that some intelligence must be kept secure.
And, as noted, there probably are simply mysterious unknowns that cannot be fully answered at this time.
By working together, we may be able to expect more disclosure about unconventional subjects such as UFOs, unusual visitors or beings, new discoveries about the physics of multiple dimensions and many other advanced topics.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1794 on: Nov 6th, 2010, 8:16pm »
San Francisco 6 November 2010 5:59pm By Cyriaque Lamar
David Duchovny confirms a script for a third X-Files movie is being penned.
It will return to the series' conspiracy roots.
Duchovny's been talking up a third X-Files movie for a while now, and after the self-contained story of X-Files: I Want to Believe, it looks like the third film will get back to basics. And when I say "basics," I mean labyrinthine conspiracy cloak-and-dagger mumbo jumbo. Here's what Duchovny had to say (translation via X-Files News):
It is being written. One awaits just the green light from Fox, a little disappointed from the relatively poor reception of the second film. The error comes, in my opinion, that the authors strayed too far from the roots of the series. Moreover, the film was released in the summer. The third will be much closer to what the public expects, with government conspiracies, etc.
So there you have it. Details are otherwise scant, and given that "the public" is a pretty nebulous term, I'm just going to assume the movie's about what I would like to see from an X-Files movie — that is, 90 minutes of Flukeman.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1795 on: Nov 7th, 2010, 07:40am »
New York Times
November 6, 2010 In Japan, U.S. Defends Fed Actions By HIROKO TABUCHI
KYOTO, Japan — The United States confronted growing restiveness with its economic policy on Saturday as leading Asian countries resisted its call to set limits on trade deficits and surpluses while also warning that the decision to pump more money into the American economy would have harmful global repercussions.
The heightened wariness about United States policy underscores the difficulties facing the Obama administration as it experiments with ways to shore up the economy. The strategy differences will present a challenge to President Obama when he travels to Seoul this week for a meeting of the Group of 20 nations, where leaders will try to reach a framework for correcting the trade imbalances that economists say threaten a fragile global recovery.
The growing divide was evident here on Saturday at a gathering of finance ministers from the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, after several days of sharp criticism of the Federal Reserve’s announcement that it would buy $600 billion in Treasury securities to bolster growth.
Countries like China, Brazil and Germany have warned that the unilateral move devalues an already-weak dollar, and could set off a destabilizing flow of funds into emerging economies that will inflate their own currencies and make their exports more expensive.
On Friday, the German finance minister assailed United States monetary policy as “clueless,” and China suggested that American officials explain their decision so as to calm international anxiety.
Though the atmosphere at the forum on Saturday was less charged, the United States was on the defensive. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner took pains to rebut some of the criticism, saying American economic policy was aimed at shoring up the recovery, and not an attempt to deflate the dollar to help exports.
“We will never use our currency as a tool to gain competitive advantage,” Mr. Geithner said after the meeting, adding that the United States was committed to a strong dollar.
He said that capital inflows into emerging markets were a vote of confidence in their fast-growing economies, and that a healthy American economy would benefit all its trading partners. “I think that confidence is justified,” he said, “and something that should be welcomed. It does come with pressures, and they’re going to have to manage those pressures.”
But Asian countries remained concerned about the effect of American policy.
“In the long term, there’s a hope that capital inflows will become good investments, but in the short term, they work to strengthen local currencies and that’s a problem,” the Japanese finance minister, Yoshihiko Noda, told reporters here. He said that Japan would work particularly closely with emerging economies in Southeast Asia to find solutions.
The Thai finance minister, Korn Chatikavanij, said that while he understood the need to address excessive trade surpluses and deficits, it was important “at the same time that trade protectionism is not used as a tool to correct imbalances.”
Countries like Thailand, South Korea and Brazil that have successful export economies have threatened to take measures to curb the flood of money that has pushed up currency values and raised the specter of asset bubbles.
With the Democrats having suffered a stinging defeat in elections, and with more government stimulus spending seemingly out of the question, economic recovery has increasingly hinged on the Fed’s injection of money into the economy, an attempt to encourage businesses to borrow and invest. Mr. Obama emphasized that point in an address to business leaders on Saturday in India as he called for job-creating economic ties between the two countries.
But increasing the money supply also weakens the dollar, and has opened the United States to the charge that it is doing what it has long accused China of doing: keeping its currency artificially weak, and helping to create dangerous imbalances in the world economy.
“Essentially, what the Fed’s doing is trying to get U.S. growth up on the backs of other countries’ growth — at least that’s the sense that other countries have,” said Raghuram G. Rajan, a former chief economist for the International Monetary Fund. “You are forcing them to adjust by making their exports to the U.S. more expensive.”
Mr. Rajan said the Fed could not ignore the overseas impact of its policies.
“When the Fed has reached the limits of expanding U.S. demand and monetary policy works primarily on the exchange rate, rather than on expanding spending, then it comes dangerously close to direct exchange-rate intervention,” Mr. Rajan said.
Mr. Geithner also encountered continued resistance to his proposal to set numerical limits to trade surpluses and deficits.
Asean, the 10-nation group of southeast Asian countries, will raise concerns over the United States proposals at the G-20 meeting this week.
Mr. Geithner did not appear concerned, and said that agreeing on specifics would take more time. But he cited an emerging consensus on obliging countries to avoid excessive trade imbalances: namely, too heavy a reliance on exports or imports.
“What I’m very pleased with is how much broad support there is for the idea that you need to build a better set of understandings around exchange rate cooperation,” Mr. Geithner said. “I really believe it will help reduce some of the tensions, some of the pressures you’re seeing.”
The divisions underscore a deterioration in global camaraderie in recent months. Less than five months ago, G-20 leaders in Toronto exchanged far friendlier words, pledging to work toward “shared objectives.”
At the meeting on Saturday, the atmosphere was one of labored consent, with the United States and China notably stepping back from the critical tone that has colored recent comments on economic policy.
Yet ministers at the two-day meeting broke no new ground in correcting global trade imbalances that economists say threaten the fragile worldwide recovery.
In a joint statement, the ministers pledged not to use their currencies as trade weapons and to take steps to shrink damaging trade gaps to bring more stability to the global economy.
For most of this year, the debate over trade gaps has focused on China and the value of its currency, which many countries have charged is being kept artificially low. But with criticism of its policies mounting, the United States appears to have diverted attention to itself and away from China.
Reporting was contributed by Sewell Chan in Jekyll Island, Ga., Keith Bradsher in Hong Kong, Jack Ewing in Frankfurt and Vikas Bajaj in Mumbai.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1796 on: Nov 7th, 2010, 07:47am »
Family's fridge is still going after 63 years The war had just ended and British housewives were still struggling to cope with rationing. But for the Ashley family the purchase of a new refrigerator represented their hopes for a more prosperous future.
By Patrick Sawer Published: 10:45AM GMT 07 Nov 2010
English Electric appliance which George and Ivy Ashley bought in 1947
Six decades on, as the country enters another era of austerity, the fridge is still working as well as ever.
The English Electric appliance which George and Ivy Ashley bought in 1947 is now thought to be the oldest continuously-working fridge in the country.
It has served the family so well that, apart from the occasional replacement bulbs for the internal light, it has never needed repairs.
Over the years, three generations of Ashleys have relied on the fridge. Food fashions may have changed, but its temperature-controlled chamber has proved a constant in their lives.
The fridge's current owner, Don Ashley, 68, the son of George and Ivy, said: "The fridge is now in an outbuilding at the home because it had a noisy motor but otherwise I've no complaints."
For Mr Ashley, a retired farmer of Cockshutt, Shropshire, the fridge harks back to a forgotten era when Britain manufactured its own consumer durables, and built them to last.
Back in 1947 his mother and father would no doubt have been astonished at the thought that Japanese or German imports would soon become ubiquitous in British households.
Mr Ashley said: "My father bought it in 1947 and it's been going every day. It's never once stopped or needed repairing apart from the odd bulb going. The number of hours it has been going for must be incredible."
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1797 on: Nov 7th, 2010, 07:51am »
NASA: Cassini Camera Will Be Offline Until Nov. 24 By Lisa Grossman November 5, 2010 | 4:00 pm | Categories: Space
NASA’s Cassini orbiter, the powerhouse producer of mind-blowing Saturn photos, unexpectedly put itself into “safe mode” at 7 p.m. EDT, Tuesday, Nov. 2.
Update 4:30pm Pacific: The spacecraft is healthy, but will be convalescing until Nov. 24, said Cassini program manager Bob Mitchell of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab.
NASA engineers determined that some command files were corrupted en route from Earth to Saturn. Usually Cassini’s computers reject any corrupted commands, but somehow this one got through, Mitchell said.
The data stream may have been interrupted by solar flares, which spew jets of charged plasma into space and are known to pose problems for Earth-orbiting satellites as well.
The craft automatically triggers its safe-mode settings whenever something happens that requires attention from mission controllers on the ground. Since going into safe mode (what NASA terms a “safing event”), Cassini has stopped collecting science data and sent back only data on engineering and spacecraft health.
That’s normal, Mitchell said. “The spacecraft did everything it was supposed to do,” he told Wired.com. When the satellite reboots, “it will be as though nothing had ever happened, as far as the spacecraft is concerned.”
But the Cassini team will probably elect to leave the orbiter in safe mode until the next scheduled data-collecting sequence begins on Nov. 24, Michell added. Engineers will need to reset a lot of values in Cassini’s software by hand, such as indicators for which instruments are on and how much power is being used.
“There’s a lot of housecleaning to be done,” Mitchell said. “Rather than risk another safing event, or do damage, my preference is to take it careful.”
This is the sixth time Cassini has gone into safe mode since its launch in 1997, and only the second since it arrived at Saturn in 2004. That time, the safety switch was thrown by a cosmic ray striking the computers and throwing a power switch.
“Considering the complexity of demands we have made on Cassini, the spacecraft has performed exceptionally well for us,” Mitchell said.
But the hiccup came at an awkward time. The spacecraft was scheduled to fly past Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, on Nov. 11. The flyby will still happen, but the scientific instruments won’t be up and running again in time.
“Losing one [Titan flyby] will hurt,” Mitchell said.
There’s a silver lining, though: Cassini has 53 more Titan flybys planned between now and the end of its extended mission in 2017.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1798 on: Nov 7th, 2010, 07:55am »
New face of terror has Yemenis scratching their heads Anwar Awlaki, whom U.S. authorities have linked to the Ft. Hood killings, is said to be hiding in the mountains in Yemen. But a sampling of men in Sana say they don't know who he is, and some call him — and his Al Qaeda branch — a political invention.
Jeffrey Fleishman, Los Angeles Times November 7, 2010 Reporting from Sana, Yemen
"Is he a doctor? I don't think I know him."
Americans may regard the U.S.-born cleric with the beard and hard stare as a new face of terror, but when you mention Awlaki in the Yemeni capital, it's as if you've asked someone to solve a complicated bit of arithmetic. Eyes narrow, faces scrunch.
"I don't know who he is. I work all day and don't watch a lot of TV," said Ibrahim Abdulrab, standing over an ironing board with a pile of shirts at his feet.
The radical preacher is on the CIA's assassination list and is believed to be hiding with Al Qaeda fighters in Yemen's mountainous tribal lands. He is implicated in a number of plots, including inspiring a U.S. Army psychiatrist who is charged with killing 13 people a year ago at Ft. Hood, Texas, and the recent attempt to blow up aircraft with packages of concealed explosives.
Internet videos, website manifestos and pundit rhetoric are splicing Awlaki into the American consciousness. But he is largely unknown here or referred to as an apparition hiding in a distant crevice. Even his Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is scoffed at by many as an invention, a ploy by Washington and Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to advance larger agendas.
Rumors dart like sparrows across this city, flitting through conversations, sermons and newsrooms. Perceptions are shaped by conjecture and thinly drawn asides. They highlight the ideological and emotional divides between the U.S. and the Middle East on matters ranging from drone strikes in Pakistan to the elusive characters and strange blueprints of global terrorism.
"Al Qaeda in Yemen? A myth," said Mohammed Asari, a university student dressed in a blue blazer and sitting on a motorcycle. "I haven't seen them. They're mentioned on the news, but I don't trust the news. It's full of liars."
He slipped on his sunglasses and rode away, just as another student, Isa Ahmed, strolled into an alley past rows of books for sale on blankets. "Al Qaeda is not real," he said. "They've been created for political reasons. We don't know what's going on or what exists and what doesn't."
In an electronics store, pecking away at a laptop on a slow morning before prayers, Khaled Farih offered a theory.
"Al Qaeda is an Israeli gang using Islam as a cover," he said. "They want to defame Islam through terrorist acts. Yemen has a lot of enemies and they're all looking for gaps to slip through and destroy us. Al Qaeda might also be the work of the secessionists who want to divide Yemen."
Many Yemenis believe that Saleh, a shrewd tribesman who has ridden atop this country's rambunctious politics for three decades, is inflating the strength of Al Qaeda's regional branch as a ruse to attract Western aid. His government has attempted to link terrorist elements to an intensifying separatist movement in the south that analysts fear could ignite a civil war.
But nobody knows; figuring out reality here is like reading road signs in the fog. Besides, there are too many other problems: joblessness, corruption, malnutrition, human rights abuses and questions like how a man such as Abdulrab, who charges about 24 cents for each shirt he irons, feeds his family.
Don't complain too loudly. The beggar at your elbow may be a spy. Interlopers are everywhere, listening, making phone calls. Or so it seems. Yemenis love intrigue, folding and unfolding possibilities, sketching scenarios to fit a confusing world beyond the old city's fortress walls.
But what of Awlaki? A Yemeni judge on Saturday ordered his "forcible arrest." But despite his website and eloquent missives, Awlaki, known for public relations savvy and quoting from the Koran and Charles Dickens, drew barely a hint of recognition from shopkeepers, waiters and computer engineers along Sana's streets and alleys.
"Never heard of him," said Adnan Lotef, who served flat bread and tin plates of beans at a cafe not far from men with paint rollers and shovels waiting on corners and hoping for a day's work.
Down the sidewalk, past a stand of bags of yesterday's popcorn, a kettle steamed in a tea shop. Asad Hussein had no customers, but customers come and go, and much of life is spent in the lulls between.
He took a seat.
"Anwar Awlaki?" he said. "Yes, I know who he is. He is not of Islam. He is not a real Muslim. His behavior against the world is not right. We should do no harm to one another. It's Allah who should decide whether we go to heaven or hell, not Awlaki."
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1799 on: Nov 7th, 2010, 08:01am »
Inside Keith Olbermann's Ouster 10:53 AM 11/6/2010 by Paul Bond
Apparently, there is finally enough proof that Keith Olbermann is biased in favor of liberals. So much so, that MSNBC has suspended their marquee host indefinitely and without pay.
The official reason for punishing Olbermann, according to MSNBC brass, is that he violated rules by donating $2,400 to each of three candidates.
The donations, made Oct. 28, went to Arizona Representatives Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords and Kentucky candidate for senator Jack Conway. Conway lost to Rand Paul, Grijalva won and the Giffords race was so close it hasn't been called yet. All three recipients of Olbermann's money are Democrats.
Around the time Olbermann was giving him money, Grijalva was a guest on "Countdown With Keith Olbermann." Among the topics: favors for political donations.
Olbermann is aware that the mere appearance of a conflict of interest can be harmful, which is why he doesn't vote, much to the chagrin of the ladies of "The View."
"I don't vote," he said while a guest on the show two years ago. "It's the only thing I can do that suggests even that I don't have a horse in the race."
But Olbermann's show is all about criticizing conservatives and promoting progressives, so it probably doesn't bother his audience that he also supports them monetarily. It does, though, bother MSNBC president Phil Griffin.
"I became aware of Keith's political contributions late last night," Griffin said. "Mindful of NBC News policy and standards, I have suspended him indefinitely without pay."
But journalists make political donations all the time, according to a msnbc.com investigative report. Its list contains the names of 143 professional journalists who made campaign contributions for a three-year period ending in 2007. Eighty-seven percent of the donations went to Democrats.
MSNBC host Joe Scarborough is on the list, as is a correspondent for Dateline, a senior editor with TodayShow.com and others at NBC.
NBC said Scarborough had permission beforehand and that, since the study, "we have recommitted ourselves to following these important standards."
A spokesman had no comment about the other NBC journalists on the list, nor would he discuss recent political donations from Larry Kudlow and other CNBC personalities that were made after NBC "recommitted" themselves to stricter guidelines.
Anyway you slice it, chatter that MSNBC is being inconsistent with its policy because it is looking for an excuse to yank Olbermann off the air is inevitable.
Olbermann has been controversial on numerous occasions during his so-far seven-year-run as host of "Countdown."
Most memorable, perhaps, are his rants against News Corp. head Rupert Murdoch and his on-air feud with Bill O'Reilly, who says on a regular basis that Olbermann is destroying the NBC brand.
That feud peaked last year when Jesse Watters, an ambush journalist with "The O'Reilly Factor," infiltrated the shareholders meeting of GE, NBC's parent company. Once inside, Watters zeroed in on an episode of "Countdown" where guest Janeane Garofalo maligned Republicans, and he asked GE chief executive Jeffrey Immelt to condemn the "hate speech."
Olbermann's suspension comes as Comcast gets ready to take control of NBC Universal, and some insiders have speculated that Comcast isn't happy that Olbermann has become the face of MSNBC. The suspension, therefore, is a first move in lessening the leftward slant of the network.
O'Reilly, a competitor, even broached the subject during his show Wednesday, saying: "Comcast takes over soon and I think they're gonna change that whole thing over there. That's what we hear."
During that same segment, guest Bernie Goldberg, formerly of CBS News, said that MSNBC had "jumped the shark" with its Tuesday election coverage from "five liberal commentators... having some fun at Republicans' expense."
"I thought I was watching 'The View' without Elizabeth Hasselbeck," Goldberg said.