Visible Only From Above, Mystifying 'Nazca Lines' Discovered in Mideast Owen Jarus, LiveScience Contributor Date: 14 September 2011 Time: 10:33 AM ET
The giant stone structures form wheel shapes with spokes often radiating inside. Here a cluster of wheels in the Azraq Oasis. CREDIT: David D. Boyer APAAME_20080925_DDB-0237
They stretch from Syria to Saudi Arabia, can be seen from the air but not the ground, and are virtually unknown to the public.
They are the Middle East's own version of the Nazca Lines — ancient "geolyphs," or drawings, that span deserts in southern Peru — and now, thanks to new satellite-mapping technologies, and an aerial photography program in Jordan, researchers are discovering more of them than ever before. They number well into the thousands.
Referred to by archaeologists as "wheels," these stone structures have a wide variety of designs, with a common one being a circle with spokes radiating inside. Researchers believe that they date back to antiquity, at least 2,000 years ago. They are often found on lava fields and range from 82 feet to 230 feet (25 meters to 70 meters) across.
Animation depicting the design of NASA's new Space Launch System that will take the agency's astronauts farther into space than ever before, create high-quality jobs here at home, and provide the cornerstone for America's future human space exploration efforts.
This new heavy-lift rocket will be America's most powerful since the Saturn V rocket that carried Apollo astronauts to the moon and will launch humans to places no one has gone before.
In this undated photo released by the U.S. Marines, Sgt. Dakota Meyer poses for a photo while deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Ganjgal Village, Kunar province, Afghanistan.
Dakota Meyer saved 36 lives from an ambush in Afghanistan and the ex-Marine will collect the nation's highest military honor at the White House on Thursday. While he is receiving the Medal of Honor, Meyer's slain comrades will be memorialized in hometown ceremonies at his request.
His hero's moment was his darkest day. Meyer lost some of his best friends the morning of Sept. 8, 2009, in far-off Kunar Province.
"It's hard, it's ... you know ... getting recognized for the worst day of your life, so it's... it's a really tough thing," Meyer said, struggling for words.
Meyer charged through heavy insurgent gunfire on five death-defying trips in an armored Humvee to save 13 Marines and Army soldiers and another 23 Afghan troops pinned down by withering enemy fire. Meyer personally killed at least eight insurgents despite taking a shrapnel wound to one arm as he manned the gun turret of the Humvee and provided covering fire for the soldiers, according to the military.
President Barack Obama will bestow the medal at a White House ceremony. The two have also met privately, having a beer on a patio outside the Oval Office on Wednesday.
In Afghanistan, Meyer was part of a security team supporting a patrol moving into a village in the Ganjgal Valley on the day of the ambush.
Meyer and the other Americans had gone to the area to train Afghan military members when, suddenly, the village lights went out and gunfire erupted. About 50 Taliban insurgents on mountainsides and in the village had ambushed the patrol.
As the forward team took fire and called for air support that wasn't coming, Meyer, a corporal at the time, begged his command to let him head into the incoming fire to help.
Four times he was denied his request before Meyer and another Marine, Staff Sgt. Juan Rodriguez-Chavez, jumped into the Humvee and headed into the fray. For his valor, Rodriguez-Chavez, a 34-year-old who hailed originally from Acuna, Mexico, would be awarded the Navy Cross.
"They told him he couldn't go in," said Dwight Meyer, Dakota Meyer's 81-year-old grandfather, a former Marine who served in the 1950s. "He told them, `The hell I'm not,' and he went in. It's a one-in-a-million thing" that he survived.
With Meyer manning the Humvee's gun turret, the two drew heavy fire. But they began evacuating wounded Marines and American and Afghan soldiers to a safe point. Meyer made five trips into the kill zone, each time searching for the forward patrol with his Marine friends -- including 1st Lt. Michael Johnson -- whom Meyer had heard yelling on the radio for air support.
With Meyer and Rodriguez-Chavez ready to test fate a fifth time in the kill zone, a UH-60 helicopter arrived at last to provide overhead support. Troops aboard the chopper told Meyer they had spotted what appeared to be four bodies.
Meyer knew those were his friends and he had to bring them out.
"It might sound crazy, but it was just, you don't really think about it, you don't comprehend it, you don't really comprehend what you did until looking back on it," Meyer said. Wounded and tired, Meyer left the relative safety of the Humvee and ran out on foot.
"He just really took a chance," Dwight Meyer said.
Ducking around buildings to avoid heavy gunfire, he reached the bodies of Johnson, a 25-year-old from Virginia Beach; Staff Sgt. Aaron Kenefick, 30, of Roswell, Ga.; Corpsman James Layton, 22, of Riverbank, Calif.; and Edwin Wayne Johnson Jr., a 31-year-old gunnery sergeant from Columbus, Ga.
Meyer and two other soldiers dodged bullets and rocket-propelled grenades to pull the bodies out of a ditch where the men had died while trying to take cover.
The deaths of Meyer's comrades prompted an investigation into events that day, and two Army officers were later reprimanded for being "inadequate and ineffective" and for "contributing directly to the loss of life." Along with Meyer's friends, a fifth American -- Army Sgt. Kenneth W. Westbrook, 41, of Shiprock, N.M. -- was fatally wounded in the ambush.
Meyer said he'll be humbled by the memory of his fallen comrades as he receives the award Thursday. One of the memorials will be at a Columbus cemetery for gunnery sergeant Johnson, a father of three who served nearly 13 years in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Will Duke, one of the organizers, said the memorials spoke volumes about Meyer.
"I can tell by his actions, not only the actions he took in earning the Medal of Honor in Afghanistan but also the actions he is taking now. Essentially by requesting these memorial services for his fallen comrades, he's saying this is about them," Duke said.
Sgt. Dakota Meyer tells his story of the events which led to his galiant bravery, as well as the loss of his friends and team members.
Meyer is a Marine Sergeant from Columbia, Ky., who repeatedly braved enemy fire in eastern Afghanistan attempting to find and save fellow members of his embedded training team will receive the Medal of Honor from President Obama on September 15, 2011.
September 15, 2011 Israeli Diplomats Leave Jordan Ahead of Protest By ISABEL KERSHNER
AMMAN, Jordan — Israel nearly emptied its embassy here of staff members on Thursday ahead of a planned pro-Palestinian rally outside the gates. But officials denied Israeli news reports that all the diplomats had been evacuated over fears that the building could be ransacked, in an echo of the attack on the Israeli Embassy in Cairo last week.
Paul Hirschson, a deputy spokesman at the Israeli Foreign Ministry, said most of the diplomats in Jordan, including the ambassador, Daniel Nevo, had been scheduled to spend the weekend in Israel anyway, and that they had left Jordan a few hours earlier than they normally would have.
“Nothing has been evacuated,” Mr. Hirschson said. “We are watching what is going on.”
The weekend staff remained in Jordan, though Israeli officials would not comment on specifics — who was staying or whether they remained inside the embassy.
The embassy would ordinarily close after office hours on Thursday and reopen on Sunday. Mr. Hirschson said he expected the ambassador and all staff members to be back by Sunday.
The demonstration has been called for 6.30 p.m., when the building would be mostly empty in any event.
Earlier, Israel’s Haaretz newspaper and other Israeli news media had reported that a convoy carrying the Israeli diplomats had left Jordan overnight for Israel.
Pro-Palestinian activists in Jordan were planning a large march against Israel later on Thursday to protest Israel’s policies toward Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied territories.
Anti-Israel sentiment in Jordan and Egypt, the two Arab neighbors that have made peace with Israel, has intensified since the revolution that toppled President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, an important Israeli ally, earlier this year.
The Jordanian protesters said they would demand that the embassy be closed, that the Israeli ambassador be expelled and that the 1994 peace treaty be annulled.
The rising hostility toward Israel comes at a time of political convulsions across the Middle East and increasing Palestinian impatience about the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. The Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, has said he intends to pursue a vote on Palestinian statehood at the United Nations next week over the objections of Israel and the United States.
September 14, 2011 Islamists’ Growing Sway Raises Questions for Libya By ROD NORDLAND and DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
TRIPOLI, Libya — In the emerging post-Qaddafi Libya, the most influential politician may well be Ali Sallabi, who has no formal title but commands broad respect as an Islamic scholar and populist orator who was instrumental in leading the mass uprising.
The most powerful military leader is now Abdel Hakim Belhaj, the former leader of a hard-line group once believed to be aligned with Al Qaeda.
The growing influence of Islamists in Libya raises hard questions about the ultimate character of the government and society that will rise in place of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s autocracy. The United States and Libya’s new leaders say the Islamists, a well-organized group in a mostly moderate country, are sending signals that they are dedicated to democratic pluralism. They say there is no reason to doubt the Islamists’ sincerity.
But as in Egypt and Tunisia, the latest upheaval of the Arab Spring deposed a dictator who had suppressed hard-core Islamists, and there are some worrisome signs about what kind of government will follow. It is far from clear where Libya will end up on a spectrum of possibilities that range from the Turkish model of democratic pluralism to the muddle of Egypt to, in the worst case, the theocracy of Shiite Iran or Sunni models like the Taliban or even Al Qaeda.
Islamist militias in Libya receive weapons and financing directly from foreign benefactors like Qatar; a Muslim Brotherhood figure, Abel al-Rajazk Abu Hajar, leads the Tripoli Municipal Governing Council, where Islamists are reportedly in the majority; in eastern Libya, there has been no resolution of the assassination in July of the leader of the rebel military, Gen. Abdul Fattah Younes, suspected by some to be the work of Islamists.
Mr. Belhaj has become so much an insider lately that he is seeking to unseat Mahmoud Jibril, the American-trained economist who is the nominal prime minister of the interim government, after Mr. Jibril obliquely criticized the Islamists.
For an uprising that presented a liberal, Westernized face to the world, the growing sway of Islamists — activists with fundamentalist Islamic views, who want a society governed by Islamic principles — is being followed closely by the United States and its NATO allies.
“I think it’s something that everybody is watching,” said Jeffrey D. Feltman, assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, visiting here on Wednesday. “First of all the Libyan people themselves are talking about this.” The highest-ranking American official to visit Libya since Colonel Qaddafi’s fall, Mr. Feltman was optimistic that Libya would take a moderate path.
“Based on our discussions with Libyans so far,” he said, “we aren’t concerned that one group is going to be able to dominate the aftermath of what has been a shared struggle by the Libyan people.”
Mr. Sallabi, in an interview, made it clear that he and his followers wanted to build a political party based on Islamic principles that would come to power through democratic elections. But if the party failed to attract widespread support, he said, so be it.
“It is the people’s revolution, and all the people are Muslims, Islamists,” Mr. Sallabi said. Secularists “are our brothers and they are Libyans.”
“They have the right to offer their proposals and programs,” he said, “and if the Libyan people choose them I have no problem. We believe in democracy and the peaceful exchange of power.”
Many Libyans say they are not worried. “The Islamists are organized so they seem more influential than their real weight,” said Usama Endar, a management consultant who was among the wealthy Tripolitans who helped finance the revolution. “They don’t have wide support, and when the dust settles, only those with large-scale appeal, without the tunnel vision of the Islamists, will win.”
Yet an anti-Islamist, anti-Sallabi rally in Martyrs’ Square on Wednesday drew only a few dozen demonstrators.
Many, like Aref Nayed, coordinator of the Transitional National Council’s stabilization team and a prominent religious scholar, say that the revolution had proved that Libyans would not accept anything but a democratic society, and that the Islamists would have to adapt to that.
“There will be attempts by people to take over, but none of them will succeed because the young people will go out on the streets and bring them down,” Mr. Nayed said.
Some are concerned that the Islamists are already wielding too much power, particularly in relation to their support in Libyan society, where most people, while devout, practice a moderate form of Islam in which individual liberties are respected.
Mr. Sallabi dismissed those fears, saying Islamists would not impose their traditionalist views on others. “If people choose a woman to lead, as president, we have no problem with that. Women can dress the way they like; they are free.”
Adel al-Hadi al-Mishrogi, a prominent businessman who began raising money for the anti-Qaddafi insurgents early in the revolution, is not convinced by the Islamists’ declarations of fealty to democratic principles. He pointed to a well-organized Islamist umbrella group, Etilaf, which he said had pushed aside more secular groupings.
“Most Libyans are not strongly Islamic, but the Islamists are strongly organized, and that’s the problem,” Mr. Mishrogi said. “Our meetings go on for hours without decisions. Their meetings are disciplined and right to the point. They’re not very popular, but they’re organized.”
He complains that Etilaf and Mr. Sallabi are the ones who are really running things in Libya now. Others say the picture is much more diverse and chaotic than Mr. Mishrogi suggests, although it is true that Etilaf, with no fixed address and still apparently operating underground, continues to issue decrees of all sorts as if it were some sort of revolutionary guide.
“All offices here must make sure that they are headed by an acceptable person within seven days of this notice,” read a leaflet pasted to the doors of offices throughout Tripoli Central Hospital, dated Sept. 3 and signed, simply, Etilaf.
“They are behind everything,” Mr. Mishrogi said.
Youssef M. Sherif, a prominent Libyan writer and intellectual, said: “Every day the Islamists grow stronger. When there is a parliament, the Islamists will get the majority.”
“Abdel Hakim Belhaj is in effect the governor of Tripoli just because he was elected by an Islamist militia,” Mr. Sherif said. Echoing debates in Egypt, Mr. Sherif argued for a longer transition to elections than the planned eight months, to give liberals a better chance to organize.
The growing influence of the Islamists is reflected in their increased willingness to play a political role. Until recently the Islamists have kept a low profile, and even many secular Libyan officials have expressed a reluctance to criticize them, saying they should focus instead on the common enemy while Colonel Qaddafi remains on the loose.
That seems to be changing. After the interim government’s acting prime minister, Mr. Jibril, appeared recently in Tripoli and indirectly criticized politicking by the Islamists as premature with a war still in progress, Mr. Belhaj and Mr. Sallabi began agitating for his replacement.
“Jibril will be gone soon,” one aide to Mr. Belhaj said.
And Mr. Sallabi said that Mr. Jibril, along with the American-educated finance and oil minister, Ali Tarhouni, were ushering in a “new era of tyranny and dictatorship,” Al Jazeera reported.
During the 42 years of Colonel Qaddafi’s rule, underground organizations like Mr. Belhaj’s Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and the Muslim Brotherhood were the only opposition. Although outlawed and persecuted, they had a network through mosques that secular opponents of the government could not match.
That has also given them a head start in political organizing now, and they appear to be wasting no time.
“There will be attempts by some parties to take over; it’s only natural,” said one prominent official with the Transitional National Council, who spoke anonymously so as not to alienate Islamists. “And definitely Etilaf is trying to increase its influence. And we’re hearing much more from the Islamists in the media because they are more organized and they are more articulate.”
Mr. Nayed conceded that might be true, but was unconcerned. “My answer to anyone who complains about that: You must be as articulate as they are and as organized as they are,” he said. “And I think we’re starting to see that among various youth groups.”
Fathi Ben Issa, a former Etilaf member who became an early representative on the Tripoli council, said he quit his position after learning that the Muslim Brotherhood members who dominate that body wanted to ban theater, cinema and arts like sculpture of the human form. “They were like the Taliban,” he said. “We didn’t get rid of Qaddafi to replace him with such people.” The final straw, he said, came when Etilaf began circulating a proposed fatwa, or decree, to bar women from driving.
Most Libyans are quick to bristle at suggestions that their own Islamists might one day go the way of Iran, where after the fall of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini stomped out a short-lived liberal government by denouncing democracy as un-Islamic.
Mr. Sallabi said he hoped Libyans could find a leader on the model of George Washington, whom he had been reading about lately. “After his struggle he went back to his farm even though the American people wanted him to be president,” Mr. Sallabi said. “He is a great man.”
Sept. 15, 1916: All Disquiet on the Western Front By Tony Long September 15, 2011 | 6:30 am Categories: 20th century, Transportation, Warfare and Military
Photo: An early British Mark I tank, the C-15, sits beside a trench near Thiepval, Sept. 25, 1916. It’s fitted with a wire “grenade shield” and a steering tail, features that disappeared in the next models. (Lt. Ernest Brooks/Courtesy Imperial War Museum, London)
1916: The tank makes its debut as a battlefield weapon, attacking the Germans as part of a British assault near Bois d’Elville, or Delville Wood, on the Western Front.
The crude, 14-ton monster that breasted the German trenches that day was the culmination of an idea 145 years in the making.
The concept of an armored assault vehicle dated back to 1770, with the first appearance of the caterpillar track. A precursor of the modern tank — a steam-powered tractor — was actually used by the British army during the Crimean War. Only a few of these vehicles were built, though, and they carried no offensive weapons of their own.
In 1899, Frederick Simms developed an engine-driven “motor war car.” It was armor-plated and carried two Maxim machine guns, making it more akin to the armored car than to the tank as we know it. Simms offered it to the British army, but was turned down.
In the run-up to World War I, the British High Command remained indifferent to the concept an armored assault weapon, preferring to concentrate on infantry and cavalry. But the tank (or “landship” as it was then known, because it was regarded as a kind of land-based warship) had some influential advocates — including First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill, whose Landship Committee kept the idea alive.
In fact, the first tanks were manned not by army personnel but by naval ratings and officers, since the Royal Navy was already responsible for the operation of armored cars on the Western Front.
The experimental vehicles got the codename tank because their shells looked like water carriers. The name stuck.
The Sept. 15 attack at Delville Wood was made by a D1 tank, commanded by Capt. H. W. Mortimore. It was followed up by a larger attack at Flers-Courcelette, which employed 15 tanks. The British had intended to commit every tank they had — 49 in all — to this assault, but only 22 of them reached the front line without breaking down, and seven of those failed to start as the attack commenced.
The Germans were profoundly shocked by the tanks’ sudden appearance and fell back, but they quickly rallied. They soon discovered that while small-arms fire and machine guns had little effect against the armor, artillery could knock the tanks out with relative ease. And the Germans had very good artillery.
The tankers themselves found the machines difficult to operate. Visibility from the viewing slits was poor, and the machines were not only prone to breaking down but were very cumbersome: They crawled along at less than 1 mph and got hung up rather easily in the trench works.
Nevertheless, the British managed to reach some of their objectives at Flers, which impressed the brass back at headquarters. Even the subsequent German counterattack, which forced the British Expeditionary Force to break off its offensive on Sept. 22, didn’t dampen Gen. Douglas Haig’s enthusiasm for the new weapon. He ordered the construction of 1,000 more. By 1918, the British had produced around 2,800 tanks.
The French, meanwhile, built 4,000 tanks of their own, and used them in an infantry-support role. They proved just as unreliable as the British models, although they achieved some success when used in mass attacks. The United States built 84 tanks, while Germany put a mere 20 tanks into the field during World War I.
At the end of the war, both the French and British seemed to lose their appetite for tanks and did little to advance the technology during the 1920s and ’30s. Across the Rhine, however, those who had been most affected by the new weapon began to study its potential use for the next big European war.
Harlan Ellison Sues Claiming Fox's 'In Time' Rips Off Sci-Fi Story (Exclusive)
Legendary sci-fi author files copyright infringement lawsuit to stop Fox's movie starring Justin Timberlake and Cillian Murphy.
September 15 8:38 AM PDT by Eriq Gardner
Science fiction legend Harlan Ellison is attempting to kill a high-profile movie that is scheduled to come out in theaters next month. The Hugo award-winning writer has filed a lawsuit against New Regency and director Andrew Niccol over 20th Century Fox's film, In Time, starring Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried and Cillian Murphy. He is demanding an injunction to prevent the film's October 28 release and the disposal of all copies of the film.
Ellison filed his lawsuit on Wednesday in California federal court with allegations of copyright infringement on the part of the producers of In Time, including Niccol, who is renowned for his sci-fi films including The Truman Show, Gattaca, and S1mOne.
Copyright lawsuits in Hollywood are certainly plentiful, but rarely successful because plaintiffs typically struggle to meet the high burden of showing substantial similarity. Will Ellison's case be any different?
Ellison says the new film is based on his multiple prize-winning 1965 work, "Repent, Harlequin! Said The Ticktockman" which the complaint calls one of the most famous and widely published science fiction short stories of all time.
For years, according to Ellison, he has resisted producer interest in adapting this story into film, but in late 2010, Ellison's company, The Kilimanjaro Corporation, entered into an agreement with a third party to create a screenplay based on the story so that it could be sold or licensed to a Hollywood studio. Now, Ellison says that In Time jeopardizes an official film adaptation of "Repent Harlequin!"
Ellison says the similarity between the two works is "obvious" and quotes critics such as Richard Roeper who have attended advanced screenings and seem to believe that In Time is based on "Repent Harlequin!"
Both works are said to take place in a "dystopian corporate future in which everyone is allotted a specific amount of time to live." In both works, government authorities known as a "Timekeeper" track the precise amount of time each citizen has left.
The complaint goes on to list similarities in the features of the universe as well as the plot surfaces -- the manipulation of time an individual can live, the type of death experienced by those whose time runs out, rebellion by story protagonists, and so forth.
Ellison restricts his charges to basic descriptions here, eschewing a comparison of dialogue, for example. It's hard to get a read whether he's seen the new film, but since copyright law protects expression and not ideas, he could face a hurdle in proving illegal misappropriation unless the complaint is further amended.
Then again, since both the author and work are renowned, he'll likely overcome a pitfall that trips up other copyright plaintiffs in offering a theory about how the defendants had access to his work.
The lawsuit names Regency, Niccol, and John Does as defendants. Fox isn't explicitly named, but the prayer for relief includes a demand that the distributor be subject to an injunction.
Besides the injunction remedy, Ellison is demanding all profits from the allegedly copyright infringing material. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of The Kilimanjaro Corporation by attorney Adam Thurston at Drinker Biddle & Reath.
We've reached out to New Regency and if we hear anything, we'll update.
September 16, 2011, 1:30 pm Gundlach Found Liable for Trade Secret Theft, but Gets Back Pay By KEVIN ROOSE 2:23 p.m. | Updated
A bitter corporate feud came to an end on Friday, as a jury found Jeffrey E. Gundlach, a star fixed-income manager, liable for breaching his fiduciary duty and stealing trade secrets at his former firm, Trust Company of the West.
But the jury delivered a mixed verdict as it also awarded Mr. Gundlach $66.7 million as the result of a counterclaim that he was owed fees from the funds he oversaw.
Jurors deliberated for just two days before finding Mr. Gundlach and three co-defendants liable for taking trade secrets from TCW, as Trust Company of the West is known, and breaching his fiduciary duty to investors. They awarded no damages to TCW on the breach claim.
The judge in the case will determine the damages in the trade secret claim.
The verdict, announced in Los Angeles County Superior Court, capped a trial that lasted nearly two months and captivated the mutual fund world. TCW had claimed that Mr. Gundlach and his associates took client information and proprietary trading systems in order to set up a competing firm, DoubleLine Capital, after he was fired in December 2009. The jury found that Mr. Gundlach had misappropriated that data, but found that he had not acted maliciously in doing so.
TCW gained an important symbolic win in the jury’s finding that Mr. Gundlach and his co-defendants were liable.
“We came in here focused on basic principles and wrongful conduct. We brought three claims, and the jury found liability on all three claims,” said Susan Estrich, a lawyer for TCW.
However, Mr. Gundlach’s lawyers pointed to the $66.7 million award as a victory.
“We are pleased that the jury agreed with us that neither Jeffrey Gundlach nor any of our clients did anything that resulted in monetary harm to TCW. We’re equally pleased that the jury awarded Mr. Gundlach and our other clients the wages that were owed to them,” said Brad Brian, a lawyer for Mr. Gundlach.
Mr. Gundlach, dressed in a pinstripe suit with a bright orange tie, was seated next to one of his co-defendants, Barbara VanEvery, as the verdict was read.
Although lawyers for both sides claimed victory after the verdict, some industry watchers said that the lack of damages for TCW’s claims meant the verdict had favored Mr. Gundlach slightly, although neither side had landed a knockout blow.
“This divorce has been messy, and it’s a good thing that the investment teams can now go back to managing portfolios without this distraction hanging over them,” said Miriam Sjoblom, a bond fund analyst with Morningstar. “To the extent DoubleLine shareholders were worried about damages from this suit impacting the resources of the firm, this verdict should assuage those fears.”
Mr. Gundlach was known as “the bond king” at TCW, where he worked for 24 years and was named fixed-income manager of the year in 2006 by Morningstar for his fund specializing in mortgage-backed securities.
As his star rose, former colleagues say Mr. Gundlach’s ego grew as well. Witnesses in the trial described him as a “cultural cancer” who berated colleagues and disparaged his bosses, Marc I. Stern and Robert A. Day, calling them “dumb and dumber.” In closing arguments, lawyers for TCW queued up a slideshow of some of Mr. Gundlach’s greatest hits, including e-mails in which he referred to himself as “the Pope” and referred to Philip A. Barach, his co-manager, as “the B team.”
After being fired from TCW in December 2009, Mr. Gundlach got DoubleLine up and running quickly, bringing more than 40 members of his fixed-income team over to the new firm. It has grown quickly, amassing $15 billion in assets in less than two years.
TCW, a unit of the French bank Société Générale, struggled in the immediate wake of Mr. Gundlach’s departure. The firm lost $25 billion in assets after Mr. Gundlach left, even though it acquired a competitor, Metropolitan West, to replace his team.
Today, TCW is on the mend. It has about 600 employees, and the firm’s assets under management have grown to $120 billion. In a fact sheet distributed to reporters during the trial, the firm claimed that it has gained “a more collegial, collaborative workplace culture” since firing Mr. Gundlach.
Mr. Gundlach, a math prodigy who has claimed he only does The New York Times crossword puzzle on Saturdays and Sundays because the other days are too easy, said in an interview last month that undergoing an ugly legal battle with his longtime firm had damaged his view of human nature.
“I didn’t realize how twisted people were,” he said.
The trial, which began in July, resembled a white-collar divorce case. Lawyers for TCW accused Mr. Gundlach of conspiring to sabotage his firm, comparing him to Gordon Gekko, the fictional buyout villain played by Michael Douglas in Wall Street. Mr. Gundlach’s lawyers, in return, asserted that TCW had plotted to fire him for months, and that it wanted to save money on the lucrative fees it owed him.
After the verdict was read, Judge Carl J. West thanked jurors for serving in the trial, which included long slogs through arcane financial terminology.
“It is an imposition, and you are to be commended for your service,” Judge West said, according to a live feed provided by CourtroomView.
TCW was represented in the case by the Los Angeles law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan. Mr. Gundlach and his co-defendants were represented by Munger, Tolles & Olson.
How Single Stars Lost Their Companions ScienceDaily (Sep. 16, 2011)
— Not all stars are loners. In our home galaxy, the Milky Way, about half of all stars have a companion and travel through space in a binary system. But explaining why some stars are in double or even triple systems while others are single has been something of a mystery. Now a team of astronomers from Bonn University and the Max-Planck-Institute for Radio astronomy (also in Bonn) think they have the answer -- different stellar birth environments decide whether a star holds on to its companion.
The scientists publish their results in a paper in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Stars generally do not form in isolation but are born together in groups within clouds of gas and dust or nebulae. These stellar labour rooms produce binary star systems, which means that virtually all newborn stars have a companion. Most of these groups of stars disperse quickly so that their members become part of the Galaxy. But why, then, are not all stars seen in the sky binaries, but only half of them?
Before the groups of stars disperse, binary stars move through their birth sites and the group studied how they interact with other stars gravitationally. "In many cases the pairs are torn apart into two single stars, in the same way that a pair of dancers might be separated after colliding with another couple on a crowded dance floor," explains Michael Marks, a PhD student and member of the International Max-Planck Research School for Astronomy and Astrophysics. The population of binaries is therefore diminished before the stars spread out into the wider Galaxy.
The stellar nurseries do not all look the same and are crowded to different extents, something described by the density of the group. The more binaries form within the same space (higher density groups), the more interaction will take place between them and the more binary systems will be split up into single stars. This means that every group has a different composition of single and binary stars when the group disperses, depending on the initial density of stars.
By using computer models to calculate the resulting composition of stars and binaries in regions of different densities, the Bonn astronomers know how different types of birth sites will contribute single stars and binary systems to the wider Galaxy. "Working out the composition of the Milky Way from these numbers is simple: We just add up the single and binary stars in all the dispersed groups to build a population for the wider Galaxy," says Kroupa.
Marks explains how this new approach can be used much more widely: "This is the first time we have been able to compute the stellar content of a whole galaxy, something that was simply not possible until now. With our new method we can now calculate the stellar contents of many different galaxies and work out how many single and binary stars they have."