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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 47333 times)
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« Reply #3960 on: May 11th, 2011, 4:41pm »

New Insect Repellent is 'Thousands of Times' More Effective Than DEET

Published May 11, 2011
| Popular Science

Researchers at Vanderbilt looking for better ways to control the spread of malaria have stumbled across an insect repellent that is thousands of times stronger than DEET.

But it doesn't just work to confuse malaria-carrying mosquitoes. This new compound works against all insects, including flies, ants, and moths.

The compound known as VUAA1 was borne of recent discoveries about the fundamental way that mosquitoes smell. Just a few years ago, it was thought that the basic sniffing mechanism for mosquitoes was very similar to that of mammals -- that is, that odorant receptors (ORs) sitting atop nerve cells are tuned to different molecules, and when a receptor comes in contact with its target molecule it notifies the brain via the nerve.

But mosquitoes' olfactory senses works a bit differently. It turns out their ORs rely on a sort of nerve switchboard, a co-receptor called Orco.

When an OR detects an odorant molecule, it activates while the other ORs on a given antenna remain deactivated. The Orco acts as a sort of switch that tells the brain which OR is activated, and thus what molecule is being detected.

VUAA1 is basically a molecule that triggers the Orco directly rather than the ORs seperately. Like a sort of universal signal, it stimulates all OR-Orco connections, essentially simulating the effect of all the different receptors on an antenna firing at once.

For the mosquito, this creates sensory overload, like tasting something that tastes like every possible flavor at once.
In the presence of VUAA1, mosquitoes basically can't smell anything, which confounds their ability to sniff out blood or anything else.

Now the obvious question is: what else does VUAA1 do? The Vanderbilt team is working to better characterize the compound and to strip away any parts of it that don't contribute to its effectiveness. They will then start testing it for toxicity and other attributes that might have negative impacts on people or the environment.

The good news is that even if there doesn't happen to be a safe commercial application for VUAA1, the science is still there. Having found this unique means to overwhelm the common mosquito could lead to better future repellents that keep mosquitoes and other pests at bay (without being deadly/toxic) -- be it in malaria-prone regions of the world, in agricultural settings, or simply in the backyard.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/05/10/new-insect-repellent-thousands-times-effective-deet/#ixzz1M4jAAnX4
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« Reply #3961 on: May 11th, 2011, 6:54pm »

on May 11th, 2011, 4:41pm, Swamprat wrote:
New Insect Repellent is 'Thousands of Times' More Effective Than DEET

Published May 11, 2011
| Popular Science

Researchers at Vanderbilt looking for better ways to control the spread of malaria have stumbled across an insect repellent that is thousands of times stronger than DEET.

But it doesn't just work to confuse malaria-carrying mosquitoes. This new compound works against all insects, including flies, ants, and moths.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/05/10/new-insect-repellent-thousands-times-effective-deet/#ixzz1M4jAAnX4



Thanks Swamprat.

My husband and I both go outside. He NEVER gets a mosquito bite. I get bit like nobodies' business!

Crystal
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« Reply #3962 on: May 11th, 2011, 6:57pm »

BBC News

10 May 2011 Last updated at 10:20 ET

Iran's Bushehr nuclear plant begins operation

Iran's first nuclear power station has begun operating at a low level, says the Russian company that built it.

The generating unit at the Bushehr reactor was brought up to the "minimum controllable level of power" on Sunday.

"This is one of the final stages in the physical launch of the reactor," said Vladislav Bochkov, a spokesman for the Russian company Atomstroyexport.

Israel and other nations have expressed fears that the reactor could help Iran develop nuclear weapons.

In February, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it had new information on "possible military dimensions" to Iran's nuclear plans.

But Tehran says its intentions are purely peaceful.

On Monday, a member of an Iranian parliamentary commission monitoring Bushehr said "final tests" were being conducted.

The following day, Atomstroyexport said it had launched "a self-supporting chain reaction" in the "active zone" of the plant's first reactor.

"This means that a nuclear reaction has begun," it said.

Iran's Fars news agency said the plant would start providing power to the national grid within two months.

Western concerns

The Bushehr project was begun in 1970s but it has been dogged by delays.

Construction on the plant was abandoned after Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution until the mid-1990s, when Moscow reached a billion-dollar deal with Tehran to complete it.

In February, Iran had to remove fuel from the reactor "for technical reasons", amid speculation that the Stuxnet computer virus may be responsible.

The United States and other Western nations for years urged Russia to abandon the project, warning it could help Iran build atomic weapons.

But an agreement obliging Tehran to repatriate spent nuclear fuel to Russia eased those concerns.

In February, an IAEA report obtained by the BBC and made available online by the Institute for Science and International Security (Isis) - said Iran was "not implementing a number of its obligations."

These include "clarification of the remaining outstanding issues which give rise to concerns about possible military dimensions to its nuclear programme".

Six world powers are negotiating with Iran over its nuclear programme, and the country is subject to United Nations Security Council sanctions over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment.

Enriched uranium can be used for civilian nuclear purposes, but also to build atomic bombs.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-13351134

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« Reply #3963 on: May 12th, 2011, 07:31am »

Washington Post

Still no word from al-Jazeera journalist Dorothy Parvaz

By Paul Farhi, Published: May 11

Todd Barker knew something was amiss only a few hours after he’d last heard from his fiancee, Dorothy Parvaz. Though separated by continents and time zones, they were constantly in touch by e-mail and phone. They had learned to make a long-distance relationship work.

But all the chatter stopped on April 29. On that day, Parvaz, a digital journalist for al-Jazeera English, flew to Damascus, Syria. Neither Barker’s nor Parvaz’s families have heard a word from her since.

The news, such as it is, has been ominous.

Barker’s and Parvaz’s families learned on Wednesday that Parvaz was deported from Syria to Iran several days after she arrived in Damascus. They have heard nothing since from the Iranians, despite the efforts of American and Canadian diplomats.

Barker isn’t sure what to make of his fiancee’s transfer to Iran. On one hand, Parvaz holds Iranian citizenship (as well as American and Canadian). On the other, Iran’s relations with the West are poor; it has held two American hikers for the past 22 months on espionage charges. “It’s debatable whether this is good news or bad news,” said arker, speaking from north Vancouver, where Parvaz’s family lives. “Frankly, I can only focus on what I know. And I don’t know where she is. My number one goal is to talk to her and hear her voice.”

Parvaz, 39, was born in Iran to an Iranian father and an American mother; she moved to Canada when she was 14. She attended the University of British Columbia and the University of Arizona and worked for the now-defunct Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper. It was in Seattle that she met Barker, a lawyer for Amazon.com.

The couple had planned to marry later this year despite the distance that separates them. He works in Luxembourg; she works in Doha, Qatar, al-Jazeera’s headquarters.

Barker says Parvaz expressed little concern before her trip to Syria despite the violent government crackdown on protests there that has killed more than 750 people, according to human-rights groups. “It wasn’t a big deal to her,” he said. “Just the opposite — I was the one who was worried. I knew she was going into a very uncertain situation. But she truly sees what [journalists] do as a force for justice. That’s something that I know she believes in deeply.”

That actually may have been the crux of the matter for Syrian officials. They say Parvaz attempted to enter the country illegally on April 29 on an expired Iranian passport, with “tourism” as her declared reason for travel.

“After further questioning at the [Damascus] airport and searching her luggage, airport authorities discovered a large sum of undeclared Syrian currency in cash, along with transmitting equipment,” a statement from the Syrian Embassy in Washington said Tuesday. “Upon this revelation, Ms. Parvaz admitted to providing false information to the Syrian authorities regarding her status in Syria.”

Syrian officials then extradited her to Iran on May 1, according to the statement.

“It is very regretful that a journalist working for a world-renowned news agency such as al-Jazeera International would attempt to enter a country on two illegal accounts: an expired passport, and by providing false information on official documents regarding her travel reason,” the Syrian statement said. “It is even more troubling if her employer was aware of, and condoned, this illegal activity. . . .”

In its own statement, al-Jazeera attempted to steer a neutral course: “We are calling for information from the Iranian authorities, access to Dorothy, and for her immediate release. We have had no contact with Dorothy since she left Doha on 29 April and we are deeply concerned for her welfare.”

Few foreign journalists have been permitted to enter Syria since protests against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime began in March. The international Committee to Protect Journalists says at least five other local and foreign journalists are missing in Syria.

Barker, meanwhile, is just hoping for a phone call. “I understand that geopolitical relations are complicated and these things take time,” he said. “My relationship with Dorothy is actually very simple: I love her and want to talk to her.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/still-no-word-from-al-jazeera-journalist-dorothy-parvaz/2011/05/11/AFAAQPtG_story.html?hpid=z3

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« Reply #3964 on: May 12th, 2011, 07:38am »

The Hill

House panel authorizes nearly $700 billion in Defense spending

By John T. Bennett
05/12/11 07:21 AM ET

The House Armed Services Committee early Thursday approved a spending measure that clears the Pentagon and Energy Department to spend nearly $700 billion next fiscal year.

The panel approved a baseline Pentagon spending level of $553 billion, matching the Obama administration's request. It also authorized the Energy Department to spend $18 billion on nuclear weapons projects, and cleared the military to spend $118 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The $690 billion defense authorization measure is expected to hit the House floor the week of May 23, according to aides.

The marathon markup began Wednesday morning and stretched into the early morning hours of Thursday.

As one day became another, the committee approved an amendment aimed at delaying a repeal of the ban on openly gay military service members. Democrats threw out the so-called “Don't ask, don't tell” policy last year during a lame-duck legislative session, against the wishes of most Republicans.

The provision approved by the panel would add the four service chiefs to the list of military leaders that must certify the military to official end the ban. The services are in the midst of training personnel on how they should behave in the post-“Don’t ask” era.

Experts see the amendment — which has brought the ire of gay groups — as a delaying tactic, with even those who supported it acknowledging the chiefs inevitably will sign on.

Panel Republicans pushed through language reiterating that the U.S. is at war with al Qaeda and the Taliban, with Democrats charging they are looking to use it as a tool in the policy debate over detainees.

The committee engaged in a sometimes-testy partisan debate over various amendments brought by Republicans that would put a number of stipulations on the New START nuclear weapons reduction treaty the Obama administration hammered out last year with Russia. The Senate has ratified that pact, but House GOP members want to make sure this — and future — presidents live up to terms of the deal made to secure ratification.

To get GOP support in the Senate, President Obama agreed to spend billions to upgrade America's existing nuclear arsenal.

The House Armed Services panel approved several amendments that would require presidential notification if specific aspects of the nation's nuclear targeting strategy are changed and keep "forward-deployed nuclear forces ... based in Europe."

Another New START amendment would limit the executive branch's ability to spend funds between 2011 and 2017 to retire any system covered by the U.S.-Russia treaty. Democrats charged the amendment was too broad and undefined, with several claiming it would "tie the hands" of Obama and future presidents.

It does, however, contain an out for the executive branch, stating such retirements can move forward if the secretaries of Energy and Defense "may jointly waive the limitation" in a written notification to Congress.

On Wednesday afternoon, the committee adopted a provision that would trigger a competition to build F-35 fighter engine if certain improvements are made to the primary power plant. The panel also killed an amendment to strip $380 million from the F-35 program by cutting the planned buy of the Marines' B variant by two jets.

On nearly all major hardware programs, the committee's bill includes the funding levels sought by the Obama administration.

One exception was a big-ticket missile program, however.

After a heated exchange between senior Democratic and Republican panel members, the committee agreed to propose adding $100 million to the Ground Based Midcourse Defense missile program. As a part of that debate, Republicans agreed to add the same amount to the bill for National Guard and Reserve equipment by taking $100 million from a troubled project to place an advanced sensor on a C-12 aircraft.

The debate got so intense that, at its conclusion, panel Chairman Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-Calif.) advised his members to "calm down" as the committee prepared for a dinner break.


http://thehill.com/homenews/house/160745-house-committee-authorizes-nearly-700b-in-defense-spending

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« Reply #3965 on: May 12th, 2011, 07:42am »

Wired

May 12, 1941: Fog of War Shrouds Computer Advance
By Tony Long
May 12, 2011 | 7:00 am
Categories: 20th century, Computers and IT, Warfare and Military


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Photo: Z3 Adder (Mark Richards)


1941: German engineer Konrad Zuse unveils the Z3, now generally recognized as the first fully functional, programmable computer.

Because Zuse designed and built his computer inside Nazi Germany, which was already at war, his achievement went unnoticed outside Germany until after the Third Reich’s collapse. In the meantime, the Harvard Mark 1, a computer produced by an American team, appeared in 1944 and is still occasionally cited as the first of its kind.

Complicating Zuse’s claim of priority, an air raid destroyed his computer, as well as all accompanying photographs and documentation. Zuse rebuilt the Z3 15 years after the war ended, to demonstrate its capabilities and to establish his claim to the patents associated with the machine.

The Z3, Zuse’s third computer in a series of four, used the simple binary system for performing complicated mathematical computations — its outstanding feature.

Zuse is also remembered for devising Plankalkül (calculation plan), an early programming language designed, although never implemented, for engineering purposes. Additionally, he’s credited with founding the world’s first computer startup company, Zuse-Ingenieurbüro Hopferau, or Zuse Engineering Office of Hopferau (Bavaria), in 1946.

Zuse’s achievement, according to his son, was even more remarkable considering he worked independently, even in isolation, and remained unaware of contemporary developments in computer science. And unlike computer pioneers in the Allied countries, Zuse received precious little support from his government. The Nazis saw little military value in his computers and provided only very minimal funding.

Years later, Zuse was generously funded by Siemens and some other German companies when he rebuilt his Z1 computer as part of a retro computing project.

Replicas of the Z3 and Z4 are on display at the Deutsches Museum in Munich.

http://www.wired.com/thisdayintech/2011/05/0512z3-first-programmable-computer/

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« Reply #3966 on: May 12th, 2011, 07:48am »

Hollywood Reporter

NBC Picks Up 'Smash,' 'Prime Suspect,' More
8:17 PM 5/11/2011
by Lacey Rose, Lesley Goldberg


NBC begins its upfront orders with a Steven Spielberg musical drama, a crime reboot and comedies
starring Whitney Cummings and Christina Applegate, all from sister studio UMS.

NBC has opened the floodgates on its series orders for the fall.

The Hollywood Reporter will update you with the latest additions, as we confirm more from our sources.

WHAT'S IN:

Whitney. The multicamera comedy, from Universal Media Studios, is based on the stand-up comedy of Whitney Cummings and revolves around the ups and downs of a young couple in a committed relationship. Cummings penned the pilot and will executive produce with Betsy Thomas (Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel), Scott Stuber (Your Highness), Quan Phung and Barry Katz (Good Luck Chuck). Andy Ackerman (Perfect Couples) directed the pilot. The series garned strong buzz in recent weeks, with network interest in femme-skewing comedies.

Up All Night (formerly known as the untitled Emily Spivey, Alpha Mom). Another single-cam comedy that takes an irreverent look at parenthood through the point of view of an acerbic working mother (Christina Applegate) who never thought she'd be a mom, along with her stay-at-home husband (Will Arnett) and opinionated parents. Maya Rudolph co-stars in the UMS project. Spivey wrote the pilot and will executive produce along with Lorne Michaels (Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock). Sources tell THR this too is a go, with the combo of talent involved a major selling point.

Smash. The musical drama, based on an idea by Steven Spielberg, revolves around a cross-section of characters (Debra Messing, Katharine McPhee) who work to put on a Broadway musical about Marilyn Monroe. Theresa Rebeck penned the pilot with Spielberg, Justin Flavey, Darryl Frank, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron on board as executive producers. Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman will contribute original songs. Smash, which many have dubbed Glee for adults, hails from Universal Media Studios and DreamWorks TV. The project was said to be a sure thing all along. Working in its favor: Spielberg's engagement, a high-profile cast and the early involvement of NBC boss Bob Greenblatt, who developed the show while still at Showtime.

Prime Suspect, an adaptation from the British miniseries starring Helen Mirren, stars Maria Bello as a female detective who has to make her bones in a tough New York precinct dominated by men. The reboot counts Alex Cunningham, Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights), Sarah Aubrey and Julie Meldel Johnson as executive producers. Berg directed the pilot. Greenblatt was a big fan of both the reboot concept and Bello, sources tell THR.

NBC is scheduled to unveil its complete slate to Madison Avenue buyers on Monday in New York.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/nbc-picks-up-smash-prime-187443

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« Reply #3967 on: May 12th, 2011, 07:56am »

Science Daily

It's Not Easy Flying Green: Large Variability in Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Alternative Fuels

ScienceDaily (May 11, 2011)

There's a race afoot to give biofuel wings in the aviation industry, part of an effort to combat soaring fuel prices and cut greenhouse gas emissions. In 2008, Virgin Atlantic became the first commercial airline to fly a plane on a blend of biofuel and petroleum. Since then, Air New Zealand, Qatar Airways and Continental Airlines, among others, have flown biofuel test flights, and Lufthansa is racing to be the first carrier to run daily flights on a biofuel blend.

However, researchers at MIT say the industry may want to cool its jets and make sure it has examined biofuels' complete carbon footprint before making an all-out push. They say that when a biofuel's origins are factored in -- for example, taking into account whether the fuel is made from palm oil grown in a clear-cut rainforest -- conventional fossil fuels may sometimes be the "greener" choice.

"What we found was that technologies that look very promising could also result in high emissions, if done improperly," says James Hileman, principal research engineer in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, who has published the results of a study conducted with MIT graduate students Russell Stratton and Hsin Min Wong in the online version of the journal Environmental Science and Technology. "You can't simply say a biofuel is good or bad -- it depends on how it's produced and processed, and that's part of the debate that hasn't been brought forward."

Hileman and his team performed a life-cycle analysis of 14 fuel sources, including conventional petroleum-based jet fuel and "drop-in" biofuels: alternatives that can directly replace conventional fuels with little or no change to existing infrastructure or vehicles. In a previous report for the Federal Aviation Administration's Partnership for Air Transportation Noise and Emissions Reduction, they calculated the emissions throughout the life cycle of a biofuel, "from well to wake" -- from acquiring the biomass to transporting it to converting it to fuel, as well as its combustion.

"All those processes require energy," Hileman says, "and that ends up in the release of carbon dioxide."

In the current Environmental Science and Technology paper, Hileman considered the entire biofuel life cycle of diesel engine fuel compared with jet fuel, and found that changing key parameters can dramatically change the total greenhouse gas emissions from a given biofuel.

Land-locked

In particular, the team found that emissions varied widely depending on the type of land used to grow biofuel components such as soy, palm and rapeseed. For example, Hileman and his team calculated that biofuels derived from palm oil emitted 55 times more carbon dioxide if the palm oil came from a plantation located in a converted rainforest rather than a previously cleared area. Depending on the type of land used, biofuels could ultimately emit 10 times more carbon dioxide than conventional fuel.

"Severe cases of land-use change could make coal-to-liquid fuels look green," says Hileman, noting that by conventional standards, "coal-to-liquid is not a green option."

Hileman says the airline industry needs to account for such scenarios when thinking about how to scale up biofuel production. The problem, he says, is not so much the technology to convert biofuels: Companies like Choren and Rentech have successfully built small-scale biofuel production facilities and are looking to expand in the near future. Rather, Hileman says the challenge is in allocating large swaths of land to cultivate enough biomass, in a sustainable fashion, to feed the growing demand for biofuels.

He says one solution to the land-use problem may be to explore crops like algae and salicornia that don't require deforestation or fertile soil to grow. Scientists are exploring these as a fuel source, particularly since they also do not require fresh water.

Feeding the tank

Total emissions from biofuel production may also be mitigated by a biofuel's byproducts. For example, the process of converting jatropha to biofuel also yields solid biomass: For every kilogram of jatropha oil produced, 0.8 kilograms of meal, 1.1 kilograms of shells and 1.7 kilograms of husks are created. These co-products could be used to produce electricity, for animal feed or as fertilizer. Hileman says that this is a great example of how co-products can have a large impact on the carbon dioxide emissions of a fuel.

Hileman says his analysis is one lens through which policymakers can view biofuel production. In making decisions on how to build infrastructure and resources to support a larger biofuel economy, he says researchers also need to look at the biofuel life cycle in terms of cost and yield.

"We need to have fuels that can be made at an economical price, and at large quantity," Hileman says. "Greenhouse gases [are] just part of the equation, and there's a lot of interesting work going on in this field."

The study is the culmination of four years of research by Hileman, Stratton and Wong. The work was funded by the Federal Aviation Administration and Air Force Research Labs.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110511134335.htm

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« Reply #3968 on: May 12th, 2011, 09:22am »

Amateur Photographer Links 37,000 Pics in Night-Sky Panorama

Published May 12, 2011
| Associated Press


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The details of the Scorpius constellation, right, and the Milky Way, are seen in this photograph provided by Nick Risinger of Skysurvey.org, which is taken from an image Risinger produced of the entire night sky made up of a composite image of more than 37,000 exposures taken in different locations all over the world.


SEATTLE – Nick Risinger has always gazed up at the sky. But last year the amateur astronomer and photographer quit his day job as a Seattle marketing director and lugged six synchronized cameras about 60,000 miles to capture an image of the entire night sky.

Risinger, 28, set up his rack of cameras in high-elevation locales in the Western U.S. and South Africa, timing photo shoots around new moons when nights were long and dark. He programmed his six cameras to track the stars as they moved across the sky and simultaneously snapped thousands of photos.

He then stitched 37,440 exposures together into a spectacular, panoramic survey sky that he posted online two weeks ago. The photo reveals a 360-degree view of the Milky Way, planets and stars in their true natural colors. Viewers can zoom in on portions of the 5,000-megapixel image to find Orion or the Large Magellanic Cloud.

"This is not a scientifically useful image. This is for educational and artistic appreciation," Risinger said, adding that he didn't want to make money off it. "It is for educational purposes. I want to develop some tools for the classroom."

"It was always hard to describe what I was doing that would make sense to people that aren't familiar with astronomy. But once they see it, they get it."

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/05/12/amateur-photographer-links-37000-pics-night-sky-panorama/#ixzz1M95ufCQT
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« Reply #3969 on: May 12th, 2011, 12:54pm »

Amateur Photographer Links 37,000 Pics in Night-Sky Panorama

Published May 12, 2011
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WOW! Thanks Swamprat.

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« Reply #3970 on: May 12th, 2011, 12:57pm »




Please be an angel


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http://www.soldiersangels.org



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« Reply #3971 on: May 13th, 2011, 07:22am »

Washington Post

Google under government investigation for online pharmacy ads

By Jia Lynn Yang and Rob Stein
Published: May 12

Government officials are investigating whether Google profited by displaying ads from illegal online pharmacies, federal regulators said Thursday.

An explosion of online companies claiming to sell prescription drugs has forced the search giant into what it has called a “cat-and-mouse game” to sort out legitimate retailers from frauds.

Yet it appears Google would still be liable for running ads from so-called rogue pharmacies. The company said in an earnings filing this week that it had set aside $500 million — equivalent to about one-fifth of the profits it made during the last quarter of 2010 — toward a settlement relating to a Justice Department investigation into its advertising practices.

Google and the Justice Department declined to comment Thursday. A spokeswoman for the Food and Drug Administration confirmed an ongoing investigation into the company’s advertising practices.

Google has said that illegal pharmacies have tried to circumvent controls in the tech firm’s powerful platform for selling ads, called AdWords.

The company has had to increase enforcement as ad spending by companies selling drugs has boomed. Healthcare and pharmaceutical companies spent an estimated $1 billion on Internet ads, according to research firm eMarketer, up 13.9 percent from last year. The firm estimates that ad spending will grow another 13 percent this year.

Last September Google filed suit against a group of unnamed defendants for violating the company’s ad sales policies relating to drug sales.

“In recent years, we have noticed a marked increase in the number of rogue pharmacies, as well an increasing sophistication in their methods,” wrote Michael Zwibelman, the company’s litigation counsel, in a blog post on the company’s site at the time of the lawsuit. “This has meant that despite our best efforts — from extensive verification procedures, to automated keyword blocking, to changing our ads policies — a small percentage of pharma ads from these rogue companies is still appearing on Google.”

Online ad sales are Google’s main source of revenue. Its share of the entire online advertising market, estimates eMarketer, is expected to reach 43 percent this year.

As consumers look for cheaper drugs, some industry experts say they are turning to online pharmacies that do not always meet legal standards, sell counterfeits or sell drugs without prescriptions.

“The illicit drug trade by rogue online pharmacies continues to be a huge concern for community pharmacists,” said Kevin Schweers, vice president of public affairs for the National Community Pharmacists Association.

In February, Google beefed up its policing by requiring pharmacies displaying ads to have a specific accreditation known as VIPPS, or Verified Internet Pharmacy Sites. Canadian pharmacies were also newly required to be accredited by the Canadian International Pharmacy Association.

“Google’s policy change is a major step toward ridding the Internet of these operations, and we applaud Google’s commitment to patient safety,” Gary Schnabel, president of the National Association Boards of Pharmacy, said at the time earlier this year.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/google-under-government-investigation-for-online-pharmacy-ads/2011/05/12/AFjeDe1G_story.html?hpid=z3

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« Reply #3972 on: May 13th, 2011, 07:39am »

Wired Danger Room

Sons of Blackwater Open Corporate Spying Shop
By Spencer Ackerman
May 12, 2011 | 4:44 pm
Categories: Spies, Secrecy and Surveillance


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Photo: Danger Room’s Blackwater logo contest



Veterans from the most infamous private security firm on Earth and one of the military’s most controversial datamining operations are teaming up to provide the Fortune 500 with their own private spies.

Take one part Blackwater, and another part Able Danger, the military data-mining op that claimed to have identified members of al-Qaida living in the United States before 9/11. Put ‘em together, and you’ve got a new company called Jellyfish.

Jellyfish is about corporate-information dominance. It swears it’s leaving all the spy-world baggage behind. No guns, no governments digging through private records of its citizens.

“Our organization is not going to be controversial,” pledges Keith Mahoney, the Jellyfish CEO, a former Navy officer and senior executive with Blackwater’s intelligence arm, Total Intelligence Solutions. Try not to make a joke about corporate mercenaries.

His partners know from controversy. Along with Mahoney, there’s Michael Yorio, the executive vice president for business development and another Blackwater vet; Yorio recently prepped the renamed Xe Services for its life after founder Erik Prince sold it.

Jellyfish’s chief technology officer is J.D. Smith, who was part of Able Danger until lawyers for the U.S. Special Operations Command shut the program down in 2000. Also from Able Danger is Tony Shaffer, Jellyfish’s “military operations adviser” and the ex-Defense Intelligence Agency operative who became the public face of the program in dramatic 2005 congressional testimony.

But Jellyfish isn’t about merging mercenaries with data sifters. And it’s not about going after short money like government contracts. (Although, the firm is based in D.C., where the intel community is and the titans of corporate America aren’t.)

During a Thursday press conference in Washington that served as a coming-out party for the company, Jellyfish’s executives described an all-purpose “private-sector intelligence” firm.

What’s that mean? Through a mouthful of corporate-speak (“empowering the C-suite” to make crucial decisions) Mahoney describes a worldwide intelligence network of contacts, ready to collect data on global hot spots that Jellyfish can pitch to deep-pocketed clients. Does your energy firm need to know if Iran will fall victim to the next Mideast uprising? Jellyfish’s informants in Tehran can give a picture. (They insist it’s legal.)

They’ve got “long-established relationships” everywhere from Bogota to Belgrade, Somalia to South Korea, says Michael Bagley, Jellyfish’s president, formerly of the Osint Group. A mix of “academia, think tanks, military or government” types.

That’s par for the course. It sometimes seems like every CIA veteran over the last 15 years has set up or joined a consulting practice, tapping their agency contacts for information they can peddle to businesses. Want to sell your analysis of the geostrategic picture to corporate clients? Congratulations — Stratfor beat you to it.

That’s where Smith comes in. “The Able Danger days, that’s like 1,000 years ago,” he says. Working with a technology firm called 4th Dimension Data, Jellyfish builds clients a dashboard to search and aggregate data from across its proprietary intel database, the public internet and specifically targeted information sources.

If you’re in maritime shipping, for instance, Jellyfish can build you a search-and-aggregation app, operating up in the cloud, that can put together weather patterns with Jellyfish contacts in Somalia who know about piracy.

Of course, there’s a security element to all of this, too. Jellyfish will train your staff in network security, as well as “physical security,” Yorio says. But Mahoney quickly adds, “Jellyfish Intelligence has no interest in guns and gates and guards.”

Message: This isn’t Blackwater — or even “Xe.” Mahoney says Jellyfish isn’t trading on its executives’ ties to the more infamous corners of the intelligence and security trades. Sure, there’s a press release that announced Jellyfish’s origins in Blackwater and Able Danger. And some companies doing business in high-risk areas might consider ties to Blackwater, which never lost a client’s life, to be an advantage.

But Mahoney says he’s just trying to be up front about his executives’ histories before some enterprising journalist Googles it out and makes it a thing. Put the moose on the table, or however the corporate cliche goes. (According to Smith, the father of 4th Dimension Data’s founder worked with Smith in an “unnamed intelligence organization.”) “Our brand enhancement,” he says, “will be the success our clients have.”

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/05/blackwater-datamining-vets-want-to-save-big-business/

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« Reply #3973 on: May 13th, 2011, 07:47am »

Science Daily

Guilt, Cooperation Linked by Neural Network: Why People Choose to Cooperate Rather Than Act Selfishly

ScienceDaily (May 12, 2011)

A team of researchers at the University of Arizona has brought a high-tech tool to bear on the study of a familiar and age-old emotion -- guilt.


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The fMRI image above depicts areas of the brain associated with the competing motivations of minimizing guilt (yellow)
and maximizing financial reward (blue) when participants decide whether or not they want to honor an investment partner's trust.
The motivation to minimize guilt is associated with the insula, anterior cingulate cortex and supplementary motor area (yellow).
The motivation to maximize financial reward is associated with the ventral striatum, ventromedial prefrontal cortex and dorsomedial prefrontal cortex.
(Credit: Image courtesy Luke Chang/UA psychology department)



What makes the investigation unique is the use of fMRI scans to target the regions of the brain associated with guilt. It also opens a new avenue in understanding behavioral disorders associated with guilt, such as depression and anxiety.

The study is published by Cell Press in the journal Neuron.

The authors -- Luke Chang, Alec Smith, Martin Dufwenberg and Alan Sanfey -- also come from two seemingly disparate areas: cognitive neuroscience and economics.

Sanfey is a recognized neuroscientist who also has an appointment at the Donders Institute at Radboud University in The Netherlands, and Chang is a doctoral student in the UA psychology department.

Dufwenberg is a behavioral economist in the UA Eller College of Management. Smith, a former doctoral student in Eller's economics department, is now a post-doctoral scholar in economics at the California Institute of Technology.

The collaboration began when Dufwenberg and Smith were "reaching out for people who would be interested" in cross-disciplinary partnerships when they met and teamed up with Sanfey and Chang.

Guilt, in this case the failure to live up to the expectations of others. It is an emotion that likely has its roots in the evolutionary history of humans. And the aversion to guilt is a factor in motivating cooperative behavior.

The thrust of the study, said Chang, is trying to understand why people cooperate.

"One idea is that most people cooperate because it feels good to do it. And there is some brain imaging data that shows activity in reward-related regions of the brain when people are cooperating.

"But there is a whole other world of motivation to do good because you don't want to feel bad. That is the idea behind guilt aversion," Chang said.

To test this, 30 volunteers played a game appropriate for testing a mathematical theory of guilt aversion that Dufwenberg devised. In it, "investors" were asked to award a certain amount of money to a "trustee," whose expectations regarding how much the investor expected to get back were elicited. The trustees were then scanned using fMRI while deciding how much money should be returned to their investors.

"The theory will then operate on the expectations the players have," said Dufwenberg. "I would feel guilt if I give you less than I believe that you expect that you will get. Then we measure expectations in the experimental situation. The theory predicts when people will experience guilt. Then we see how that correlates with brain activity."

The fMRI scans identified regions in the brain involved in guilt-motivated cooperation while test subjects made their decisions whether or not to honor a partner's trust. Different areas of the brain became active during those decisions based on their choosing to cooperate, or to abuse the trust and maximize their own financial gain.

The report said the results show that "a neural system previously implicated in expectation processing plays a critical role in assessing moral sentiments that in turn can sustain human cooperation in the face of temptation."

Civilized society is based on cooperation and trust, from behaviors a simple and informal as opening a door for someone carrying heavy packages or tipping a restaurant server to complex legal agreements between corporations or countries. Understanding the neural structures behind these behaviors promises to offer new insights into complex behaviors of trust and reciprocity.

Chang said the collaboration among economists, psychologists and neuroscientists is instrumental in understanding the biological mechanisms underlying complex social behavior, such as guilt, and has real world implications for understanding clinical disorders such as depression anxiety and psychopathy.

Alan Sanfey, the senior author of the study, said "the study demonstrates the potential in cross-disciplinary collaborations of this nature, for example, in developing more complete models of how people make decisions in complex social situations."

As a behavioral economist, Dufwenberg argues that factors such as emotions may be important drivers of economic outcomes, and that the mathematical models that economists use can be augmented to include such psychological aspects.

"In the end, it's a two-way exchange. Economists take inspiration from the richer concept of man usually considered in psychology, but at the same time they have something to offer psychologists through their analytical tools.

"Remember how guilt depends on beliefs about beliefs about outcomes? These are hard to observe, hard to test. I'm excited about the idea of using neuroscience tools to test economic theory."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110511131126.htm

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« Reply #3974 on: May 13th, 2011, 07:49am »

The Hill

Rep. Ron Paul jumps in race for 2012 GOP nod: 'The time is right'

By Daniel Strauss - 05/13/11 08:06 AM ET

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) officially announced his candidacy for president on Friday, saying "the time is right."

"I am, today and at this moment, I'm officially announcing that I am a candidate for president in the Republican primary," Paul said on "Good Morning America."

"Because time has come around to the point where people are agreeing with much of what I've been saying for 30 years, so I think the time is right," Paul continued.

Paul announced last month in Iowa the formation of an exploratory committee, and his formal campaign announcement was expected.

Paul had been planning to make what his spokesman this week called a "major announcement" on the show. This will be his third run for the White House — he was a prolific fundraiser in 2008, when he sought the GOP nomination. He also ran in 1988 as a Libertarian candidate.

He joins a field that is finally beginning to solidify. Earlier this week former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) announced his candidacy. Aside from Gingrich and Paul, highly likely candidates who have formed exploratory committees include former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

In total, seven candidates have jumped into the race so far. Other likely candidates could join the field in the next two weeks.


http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/161041-rep-ron-paul-jumps-in-white-house-race-the-time-is-right

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