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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 146404 times)
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« Reply #6930 on: Jun 30th, 2012, 09:14am »

Science Daily

Clothing the Body Electric: Cotton T-Shirt Fabric Can Store Electricity, Maybe Keep Your Cell Phone Charged

ScienceDaily (June 29, 2012)

Over the years, the telephone has gone mobile, from the house to the car to the pocket. The University of South Carolina's Xiaodong Li envisions even further integration of the cell phone -- and just about every electronic gadget, for that matter -- into our lives.

He sees a future where electronics are part of our wardrobe.

"We wear fabric every day," said Li, a professor of mechanical engineering at USC. "One day our cotton T-shirts could have more functions; for example, a flexible energy storage device that could charge your cell phone or your iPad."

Li is helping make the vision a reality. He and post-doctoral associate Lihong Bao have just reported in the journal Advanced Materials how to turn the material in a cotton T-shirt into a source of electrical power.

Starting with a T-shirt from a local discount store, Li's team soaked it in a solution of fluoride, dried it and baked it at high temperature. They excluded oxygen in the oven to prevent the material from charring or simply combusting.

The surfaces of the resulting fibers in the fabric were shown by infrared spectroscopy to have been converted from cellulose to activated carbon. Yet the material retained flexibility; it could be folded without breaking.

"We will soon see roll-up cell phones and laptop computers on the market," Li said. "But a flexible energy storage device is needed to make this possible."

The once-cotton T-shirt proved to be a repository for electricity. By using small swatches of the fabric as an electrode, the researchers showed that the flexible material, which Li's team terms activated carbon textile, acts as a capacitor. Capacitors are components of nearly every electronic device on the market, and they have the ability to store electrical charge.

Moreover, Li reports that activated carbon textile acts like double-layer capacitors, which are also called a supercapacitors because they can have particularly high energy storage densities.

But Li and Bao took the material even further than that. They then coated the individual fibers in the activated carbon textile with "nanoflowers" of manganese oxide. Just a nanometer thick, this layer of manganese oxide greatly enhanced the electrode performance of the fabric. "This created a stable, high-performing supercapacitor," said Li.

This hybrid fabric, in which the activated carbon textile fibers are coated with nanostructured manganese oxide, improved the energy storage capability beyond the activated carbon textile alone. The hybrid supercapacitors were resilient: even after thousands of charge-discharge cycles, performance didn't diminish more than 5 percent.

"By stacking these supercapacitors up, we should be able to charge portable electronic devices such as cell phones," Li said.

Li is particularly pleased to have improved on the means by which activated carbon fibers are usually obtained. "Previous methods used oil or environmentally unfriendly chemicals as starting materials," he said. "Those processes are complicated and produce harmful side products. Our method is a very inexpensive, green process."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120629211540.htm

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« Reply #6931 on: Jun 30th, 2012, 09:20am »

Seattle Times

Originally published June 29, 2012 at 9:52 PM
Page modified June 30, 2012 at 5:07 AM

The Seattle Great Wheel opens to a big crowd

The Great Wheel, a 175-feet tall Ferris-wheel-like attraction on Seattle's waterfront, opened to the public late Friday afternoon.

By Jennifer Sullivan
Seattle Times staff reporter


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Standing below "The Seattle Great Wheel," just hours before it was set to open Friday, Pier 57 owner Hal Griffith looked a little frazzled.

Dozens of construction workers scurried about, laying bricks, putting the finishing touches on a ticket booth, steering a crane on and off the pier. Griffith compared what was going on to prep work for any major grand opening, but he said he sure could use another week to get ready.

"There's a lot of unfinished details," Griffith said as he stood underneath the 175-foot wheel on Friday morning. "The ride is done, it's all of the other things."

Nonetheless, the big wheel opened to the public, as planned, on Friday afternoon.

Griffith has envisioned a wheel on his pier for nearly 30 years; it's just taken years for the plan to come to fruition.

The Seattle Great Wheel is one of the largest of its kind in the U.S., according to developers. The 280,300-pound wheel holds 42 climate-controlled gondolas, allowing for 252 passengers at full capacity. Extending 40 feet over Puget Sound, the 12-minute ride boasts incredible views of the city.

Just before 8 a.m., under Friday morning's gray skies, passengers on an early run of the ride easily could see the entire city skyline, activity at the Port of Seattle and the morning commute on the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Passengers could look down at the flurry of activity on Pier 57 as construction workers tried to get ready for the grand-opening ceremony at 2:30 p.m.

Jani Trousdale, who lives in Belltown, excitedly watched the construction Friday morning.

"I love it. My son's screen saver is the (wheel) in London; we're just so excited about it," Trousdale said. (The London Eye wheel is much bigger, at more than 400 feet high.)

Trousdale said she often has walked from her home to watch Seattle's wheel project take shape and plans to return this weekend to take a ride. She said she has taken a ride on The London Eye, and the view was fine.

"This one is going to be more spectacular," she said.

More than 200 people lined up before the Great Wheel opened to the public at 4:30 p.m..

University of Washington student Dustin Boehlke, 21, said he barely resisted camping overnight and was elated to snag the first spot in line with his girlfriend, Zerina Curevac, 20, at 8 a.m. A veteran of the Marines, Boehlke already has done a lot in life — including shooting his way to safety with a broken ankle in Afghanistan — but he'd never been on a Ferris wheel.

"It's a big day for Seattle, and I wanted to be a part of it," said Boehlke, who was upgraded to the VIP gondola for coming first.

Behind Boehlke was Vince Wilson, 49, of Roy, Pierce County, who didn't let his wife's fear of heights keep him from coming on his own. The 32-year longshoreman wasn't first in line, but he said he took pride in being the first customer to pay in cash through ticket windows that weren't even installed when he arrived at 10:30 a.m.

While most people stopping to watch and photograph the Great Wheel on Friday said they were happy about the waterfront addition, downtown resident Linda Mitchell remained skeptical, saying Seattle's wheel was "a little country fairish."

"On one hand I'm excited about it, but it's going to impact our skyline forever," she said.

Yet a new shape on the Seattle skyline is exactly what Bremerton resident Jeremy Blum, 29, liked most about the new ride.

"This is going to look really beautiful lit up as you come in on the ferries," said Blum, who brought a youth group from Sylvan Way Baptist Church in Bremerton. "This is a destination now — a legit party on the pier."

Seattle Times staff reporter Alexa Vaughn contributed to this report.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2018564435_wheel30m.html

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« Reply #6932 on: Jul 1st, 2012, 08:58am »

Washington Post

First nuclear reactor to go back online since Japan disaster meets with protests

By Chico Harlan, Sunday, July 1, 2:53 AM

TOKYO — Protesters this weekend thronged the wide streets in front of the prime minister’s office in Tokyo, and across the country they gathered about a quarter-mile from the entrance of a nuclear plant. They shouted “No to the restart,” and parked cars in front of the plant’s access road, blocking workers from coming or going, according to Japanese media.

But the workers were already inside.

And Sunday, at the Ohi nuclear facility along Japan’s western shoreline, those workers went through the technical steps to reboot a reactor, the first to come back online since last year’s accident at Fukushima Daiichi.

The restart at Ohi — with more to potentially follow — will avert dire power shortages and sustain the economy, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has told the nation. But the restart has also managed to divide the country, staging an increasingly hostile showdown between the government and those doubtful about its atomic safety claims.

Some political experts thought Noda’s announcement two weeks ago about the restart of two reactors at Ohi — the No. 4 unit is scheduled to restart later this month — would quiet public opposition. Instead, Noda’s announcement fomented it, and social media-organized protests that once drew hundreds now draw thousands. A Friday rally in front of Noda’s office drew 17,000, according to police, though organizers put the number around 200,000.

The central government has so far given no indication that the public display will cause a rethink of its nuclear restart efforts. Wide-scale protests are rare in this country that traditionally complies with its authority figures, and Noda, who is also pushing for a consumption tax hike, faces a backlash for his pro-nuclear stance.

In a Pew Research Center poll earlier this month, 70 percent of Japanese said they favor a reduction in the country’s reliance on nuclear power. The government, before calling for the restart, received approvals from local and regional officials near Ohi, a process that required months of persuasion.

Engineers at Ohi planned to pull out the control rods that prevent nuclear fission on Sunday evening. By Wednesday, according to Japan’s Kyodo news agency, the 1,180-megawatt reactor will begin transmitting power.

Before the series of meltdowns at the Fukushima plant, which forced the evacuation of more than 100,000 people, Japan depended on its 54 reactors for roughly one-third of its energy. But in the wake of the accident, those reactors steadily went offline, either because of safety concerns or for routine maintenance checks. In early May, the final reactor in Hokkaido went offline and the country became briefly nuclear free.

Noda became a voice for the restart, and last month he said that a failure to restart the reactors would jeopardize life as Japanese knew it. The government forecasted energy shortages during the sweltering summer — nearly 15 percent in one region, known as Kansai, that had been particularly atomic-dependent. Japan picked reactors No. 3 and No. 4 at Ohi as the first to restart because they supplied the Kansai region and because they had already passed stress tests to gauge their response to disasters.

The restart comes at a time when policymakers here are planning the country’s energy future. The so-called Energy and Environment Council is debating three options: By 2030, nuclear power will account either for 20 to 25 percent of Japan’s total electricity share, 15 percent, or zero percent. The council is supposed to reach a decision in August, Japanese media have said.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/1st-nuclear-reactor-to-go-back-online-since-japan-disaster-meets-with-protests/2012/07/01/gJQAdlHZFW_story.html

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« Reply #6933 on: Jul 1st, 2012, 09:01am »

Science Daily

Easter Island Drug Raises Cognition Throughout Life Span in Mice

ScienceDaily (June 29, 2012)

Cognitive skills such as learning and memory diminish with age in everyone, and the drop-off is steepest in Alzheimer's disease. Texas scientists seeking a way to prevent this decline reported exciting results this week with a drug that has Polynesian roots.

The researchers, appointed in the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, added rapamycin to the diet of healthy mice throughout the rodents' life span. Rapamycin, a bacterial product first isolated from soil on Easter Island, enhanced learning and memory in young mice and improved these faculties in old mice, the study showed.

"We made the young ones learn, and remember what they learned, better than what is normal," said Veronica Galvan, Ph.D., assistant professor of physiology at the Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies, part of the UT Health Science Center. "Among the older mice, the ones fed with a diet including rapamycin actually showed an improvement, negating the normal decline that you see in these functions with age."

The drug also lowered anxiety and depressive-like behavior in the mice, Dr. Galvan said. Anxiety and depression are factors that impair human cognitive performance. Lead author Jonathan Halloran conducted scientifically reliable tests to accurately measure these cognitive components in the rodents.

Venturing into the open

Mice are burrowers that prefer tunnels with walls. To observe behavior, Halloran used an elevated maze of tunnels that led to a catwalk. "All of a sudden the mice are in open space," Halloran said. "It's pretty far from the floor for their size, sort of like if a person is hiking and suddenly the trail gets steep. It's pretty far down and not so comfortable."

Mice with less anxiety were more curious to explore the catwalk. "We observed that the mice fed with a diet containing rapamycin spent significantly more time out in the open arms of the catwalk than the animals fed with a regular diet," Halloran said.

The second test measured depressive-like behavior in the rodents. Mice do not like to be held by their tails, which is the way they are moved from cage to cage. Inevitably they struggle to find a way out. "So we can measure how much and how often they struggle as a measure of the motivation they have to get out of an uncomfortable situation," Dr. Galvan said.

Rapamycin acts like an antidepressant

Some mice barely struggle to get free, but if an antidepressant is administered they struggle a lot more. This behavior is very sensitive to the action of antidepressants and is a reliable measure of whether a drug is acting like an antidepressant, Dr. Galvan said.

"We found rapamycin acts like an antidepressant -- it increases the time the mice are trying to get out of the situation," she said. "They don't give up; they struggle more."

The reductions of anxiety and depressive-like behavior in rapamycin-treated mice held true for all ages tested, from 4 months of age (college age in human years) to 12 months old (the equivalent of middle age) to 25 months old (advanced age).

Feel-good chemicals elevated

The researchers measured levels of three "happy, feel-good" neurotransmitters: serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. All were significantly augmented in the midbrains of mice treated with rapamycin. "This is super-interesting, something we are going to pursue in the lab," Dr. Galvan said.

Dr. Galvan and her team published research in 2010 showing that rapamycin rescues learning and memory in mice with Alzheimer's-like deficits. The elevation of the three neurotransmitters, which are chemical messengers in the brain, may explain how rapamycin accomplished this, Dr. Galvan said.

Rapamycin is an antifungal agent administered to transplant patients to prevent organ rejection. The drug is named for Rapa Nui, the Polynesian title for Easter Island. This island, 2,000 miles from any population centers, is the famed site of nearly 900 mysterious monolithic statues.


This study became available online June 28 as a manuscript in press in the journal Neuroscience.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120629211902.htm

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« Reply #6934 on: Jul 1st, 2012, 09:15am »

Hollywood Reporter

'Revolution's' 'Lost' Reunion: Elizabeth Mitchell Joins J.J. Abrams Drama as Series Regular

She'll replace Andrea Roth in the freshman drama, reuniting with executive producer J.J. Abrams.

12:00 PM PDT 6/30/2012
by Lesley Goldberg



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It's a Lost reunion for NBC's Revolution.

The upcoming freshman drama from Lost's J.J. Abrams and Supernatural's Eric Kripke has brought in former Lost star Elizabeth Mitchell as a series regular, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

The adventure drama, starring Twilight's Billy Burke, is set in a world that exists after every piece of technology including cars, planes, computers, phones and lights mysteriously black out forever and follows a family struggling to reunite in the post-apocalyptic world.

Mitchell will play Rachel Matheson, mother of Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) and Danny (Graham Rogers), who is described as a beautiful and warm parent who's terrified of the ordeal that her children will face as they navigate the dystopian world. Mitchell (Gia) will appear in flashbacks.

She'll replace Andrea Roth, who played the role in the pilot, and join new castmember Daniella Alonso, who will play a new character, Nora, a rebel fighter.

Mitchell played Dr. Juliet Burke on Abrams' ABC island-set drama Lost from 2006-10. The Revolution role marks her first series regular gig since she spent two seasons starring as Erica Evans on ABC's V reboot. More recently, she appeared in a guest stint on NBC's Law & Order: SVU.

Mitchell is repped by IFA Talent Agency, Kritzer Levine and Hirsch Wallerstein.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/revolution-nbc-elizabeth-mitchell-lost-jj-abrams-343674

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Elizabeth Mitchell in The Santa Claus


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« Reply #6935 on: Jul 1st, 2012, 09:22am »

Reuters

Two killed in Yemen as army pursues militants

Sun Jul 1, 2012 9:50am EDT

ADEN (Reuters) - At least two al Qaeda-linked militants were killed as U.S.-backed Yemeni forces pursued fighters driven from their southern strongholds last month, a local official said on Sunday.

Hundreds of militants from Ansar al-Sharia have been on the run since they were pushed from towns and cities they had seized during an uprising that forced President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down.

Ansar al-Sharia - meaning Partisans of Islamic Law - swears allegiance to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which U.S. officials have called the most dangerous offshoot of the global militant network.

The official said the army clashed with a group of 10 militants in Dalea province late on Saturday. One was killed on the spot and one died of his wounds. The rest were captured.

Driving the Islamists from the cities of Zinjibar and Jaar was a major breakthrough in a U.S.-backed offensive aimed at ensuring stability in the wider oil-producing Gulf region.

A Yemeni military official said a U.S. training team had arrived at a base in southern Lahej province.

U.S. officials say President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi - who came to power in February as part of a power-transfer deal brokered by the United States and Gulf states - is more cooperative in the fight against al Qaeda than his predecessor.

The defense ministry said that in Azzan, one of the towns held by the militants until recently, a large cache of bombs and explosives had been made safe.


(Reporting by Mohammed Mukhashaf; Writing by Mahmoud Habboush; Editing by Matthew Tostevin)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/01/us-yemen-violence-idUSBRE86009P20120701

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« Reply #6936 on: Jul 1st, 2012, 9:29pm »

Quadrotors are a fancy modern version of radio-controlled helicopter. This is a light show that was put together using them.

Think something like this might trigger a few UFO reports? wink


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cseTX_rW3uM&feature=player_embedded
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« Reply #6937 on: Jul 2nd, 2012, 08:52am »

on Jul 1st, 2012, 9:29pm, Swamprat wrote:
Quadrotors are a fancy modern version of radio-controlled helicopter. This is a light show that was put together using them.

Think something like this might trigger a few UFO reports? wink


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cseTX_rW3uM&feature=player_embedded


Good morning Swamprat cheesy

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« Reply #6938 on: Jul 2nd, 2012, 08:55am »

Reuters

German spy chief quits in neo-Nazi files scandal

BERLIN | Mon Jul 2, 2012 8:40am EDT

(Reuters) - The head of Germany's domestic intelligence service resigned on Monday after admitting that his agency had shredded files on a neo-Nazi cell whose killing spree targeting immigrants rocked the country late last year.

Heinz Fromm's resignation is the latest in a series of embarrassing setbacks for Germany's security services over their handling of the "National Socialist Underground" (NSU), which went undetected for more than a decade despite its murder of 10 people, mostly ethnic Turkish immigrants.

An interior ministry spokesman confirmed that Fromm would quit his post, which he has held since 2000, at the end of July.

German lawmakers said there was no suggestion that Fromm had ordered the destruction of the files but that he was taking responsibility for others' failures.

"Fromm was no firebrand but a solid custodian in the defense of the constitution.. He was no James Bond," Wolfgang Bosbach, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling Christian Democrats, told Die Welt newspaper.

He and other lawmakers called for a swift and thorough investigation into the matter.

German media have said an official working in the intelligence agency is suspected of having destroyed files on an operation to recruit far-right informants just one day after the involvement of the NSU in the murders became public.

Fromm told the Spiegel weekly that the shredding of files in the case had done "grave damage to the reputation" of his agency, known in Germany as the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

Despite his resignation, Fromm is expected to appear as a witness in the NSU case before a parliamentary committee later this week, lawmaker Sebastian Edathy said.

Germans, burdened by their Nazi past, were mortified by last year's news that three neo-Nazis had been behind the killings of eight ethnic Turks, an ethnic Greek and a police officer in a period running from 2000 to 2007.

The NSU cell's culpability only came to light after two of the neo-Nazis committed suicide following a botched bank robbery last autumn. A third member was later arrested.

Chancellor Angela Merkel publicly apologized to the families of the murder victims for the catalogue of neglect and errors that allowed the NSU cell to operate with impunity for so long.


(Reporting by Gareth Jones)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/02/us-germany-neonazis-idUSBRE8610ME20120702

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« Reply #6939 on: Jul 2nd, 2012, 08:59am »

New York Times

July 1, 2012, 8:48 pm

Chairman of Barclays Resigns

By MARK SCOTT AND MICHAEL J. DE LA MERCED
2:36 a.m. | Updated

LONDON - Marcus Agius, the chairman of Barclays, resigned on Monday, less than a week after the big British bank agreed to pay $450 million to settle accusations that it had tried to manipulate key interest rates to benefit its own bottom line.

The resignation comes as Barclays tries to limit fallout from the case, which is part of a broad investigation into how big banks set certain rates that affect borrowing costs for consumers and companies. Since striking a deal with American and British authorities last Wednesday, the Barclays management team has faced increasing pressure from politicians and shareholders to take action.

"Last week's events have dealt a devastating blow to Barclays' reputation," Mr. Agius said in a statement. "As chairman, I am the ultimate guardian of the bank's reputation. Accordingly, the buck stops with me and I must acknowledge responsibility by standing aside."

Mr. Agius, the first casualty, will remain as chairman until a successor has been found. Michael Rake, a senior independent director on the Barclays board and a former chairman of the accounting firm KPMG, has been appointed deputy chairman, according to a statement from the bank.

Barclays also announced on Monday that it will conduct an independent audit of its business practices. The review will center on what led to the rate manipulation, as well as other "flawed" practices since the financial crisis began, and how these issues will affect the bank's business units in the future. The audit will be used to create new code of conduct for the bank.

Shares in Barclays rose 4.5 percent in early morning trading in London on Monday.

As head of the British bank's board, Mr. Agius has been a focus of investor dissatisfaction in recent years.

Shareholders balked at his decision to take capital from Mideast investors during the financial crisis, concerned that the deal did not protect the rights of existing investors. The board has also been criticized for signing off on the multimillion-dollar pay packages of the chief executive, Robert E. Diamond Jr., and other executives, as well as for the lackluster performance of the bank's shares.

Now Mr. Agius is being held to account for the rate-manipulation scandal that took place under his watch.

A former banker at Lazard, Mr. Agius joined the Barclays board in 2006 and became its chairman in 2007. He was also the honorary chairman of the British Bankers' Association, the organization that oversees one of the key rates in question, the London interbank offered rate, or Libor. Mr. Agius tendered his resignation as chairman of the trade association on Monday.

With the resignation of Mr. Agius, Barclays may be trying to deflect some of the attention away from Mr. Diamond, who ran Barclays' investment bank during a period when authorities found wrongdoing by traders. Mr. Diamond has come under scrutiny from British politicians, and some have called for him to step down.

While he has dismissed those calls, Mr. Diamond has apologized for the bank's missteps, saying the behavior was "wholly inappropriate."

"This kind of conduct has no place in the culture of Barclays," Mr. Diamond said in a letter to British politicians last week. He and other executives have also agreed to give up their bonuses this year.

Mr. Diamond will be in the line of fire on Wednesday, when he is scheduled to testify before Parliament. Local politicians are expected to question him about the actions within the bank that led to the multimillion-dollar fines from the Justice Department and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in the United States and the Financial Services Authority in Britain.

"The public's trust in banks has been even further eroded," Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the British Parliament's treasury select committee, said in a statement. "Parliament and the public need to know what went wrong and whether the perpetrators have been rooted out."

The British government will also start an inquiry this week into a key rate at the center of regulators wide-ranging inquiry.

The rate, Libor, is currently set based on submissions from a number of the world's largest banks about how much it would cost them to raise money in the capital markets. Such benchmarks are used to help determine the borrowing costs for $750 trillion worth of financial products, including mortgages, credit cards and student loans. The review of Libor is expected to be completed by the end of August.

The integrity of Libor and other key rates have come into question as a result of the multiyear investigation by regulators. A number of banks are under scrutiny, including HSBC, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup.

In the Barclays settlement, regulators released evidence of what they called "pervasive" wrongdoing by the bank over four years that was aimed at improving its results.

Authorities found that employees in the bank's treasury department, which helped set Libor, submitted artificially low figures at the request of the firm's traders, who profited from buying and selling financial products. The two sides are supposed to be divided by so-called Chinese walls to ensure that confidential information is not improperly shared to make profits.

But e-mails showed that the two divisions regularly collaborated in an effort to bolster their profits and avoid scrutiny about the bank's health at the height of the financial crisis. In part, Barclays wanted to keep its rates in line with those of rivals to keep its " 'head below the parapet,' so that it did not get 'shot off,' " according to regulators.


Mark Scott reported from London and Michael J. de la Merced from New York

http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/07/01/chairman-of-barclays-is-expected-to-resign/?hp

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« Reply #6940 on: Jul 2nd, 2012, 09:08am »

Wired

July 2, 1928: America’s First TV Station Goes on the Air
By Tony Long
July 2, 2012 | 6:30 am
Categories: 20th century, Inventions


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A 1928 television from General Electric initially received alternating sound and picture.
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1928: W3XK, the first American TV station, begins broadcasting from suburban Washington, D.C.

The station was an outgrowth of the work done by Charles Francis Jenkins in devising a way to transmit pictures over the airwaves, a process he called “radiovision.” He sold several thousand receiving sets, mostly to hobbyists, and, after receiving permission to start an experimental TV transmitting station, aired programming five nights a week until shutting down in 1932.

Jenkins essentially brought the wrong technology to the field: His receiving sets relied on a 48-line image projected onto a 6-inch-square mirror to create the picture, rather than using electronics, the technology that determined the future of television.

An interesting aside: Jenkins was also the first to air a television commercial. He was fined by the government for doing so, a practice that was discontinued, unfortunately, as the medium matured.

http://www.wired.com/thisdayintech/

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« Reply #6941 on: Jul 2nd, 2012, 09:12am »

The Hill

Millions face loss of jobless benefits as lawmakers delay action

By Vicki Needham
07/02/12 05:00 AM ET

Millions of long-term unemployed Americans will face the loss of their jobless benefits at year's end without congressional action.

As federal programs wind down this year, pressure will increase on lawmakers to consider an extension while the unemployment rate hovers around 8 percent.

At least one lawmaker, though, thinks the chances of an extension hinge on the outcome of the presidential election, pushing the issue into an already busy lame-duck session.

"I think Nov. 6 will determine the outcome more than anything else," Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.), ranking member on the Ways and Means Committee, told The Hill.

"We've had a struggle with the Republicans. They continue to think that it's a disincentive," he said of jobless benefits. "So we're going to continue the battle; whether we win it or not will depend more on Nov. 6."

Political fatigue over the issue is already high, spinning from the compromise crafted in February that requires the drawdown of federal programs this year — from a maximum of 99 weeks to 73 weeks — and places additional requirements for unemployed workers to qualify for job placement programs.

There is no funding for federal benefits beyond Dec. 29, and advocates of extending the program face a high level of difficulty as Congress hurtles toward the so-called fiscal cliff, a volatile mix of spending cuts and tax increases set to hit next year.

The cost of an extension could certainly hamper its chances of moving forward.

That doesn't bode well for 2.7 million jobless workers who will lose their benefits at the end of December, said George Wentworth, senior attorney with the National Employment Law Project (NELP).

Wentworth said NELP intends to help spearhead the campaign to assess what is needed for jobless workers heading into 2013.

"The evidence is pretty compelling that as the economy is recovering the labor market is not coming back fast enough," he said.

What this means is that workers who lose their jobs beginning in July would likely be the first group that won't be able to dip into federal benefits and would receive a maximum of 26 weeks of state benefits.

Furthermore, with voters already concerned about the economy and jobs, expiring federal benefits, which have always been available when the unemployment rate was above 7 percent, could hinder President Obama's bid for a second term.

The highest unemployment rate when federal benefits were cut by Congress was 7.2 percent, in 1985.

The cutbacks will begin to hit the unemployed amid an already slowing job market.

The problem for Obama is the persistently high unemployment rate, although the economy is creating and not losing jobs. If job creation picks up in the fall, that would provide a boost to the broader economy, including consumer spending, and for Obama's second-term hopes.

The Federal Reserve, though, said recently that the unemployment rate will stay stuck above 8 percent for the rest of the year, and that it will remain above 7 percent through 2014.

The Labor Department is set to release June employment figures on Friday. May’s report was worse than expected, with job growth of 69,000, while April’s numbers were revised downward from 115,000 to 77,000. Average growth over the last three months was 96,000, with a 165,000 average, so far, for the year.

After a robust pace of hiring over the winter, employers pulled back this spring. Economists called it "payback" for the higher levels of hiring during unseasonably warm winter months.

Unemployment increased from 8.1 percent to 8.2 because 642,000 workers entered the labor force. The number of unemployed increased by 220,000.

"The hole is so deep even in our third year of recovery that it takes years to get back to a place that … looks closer to normal rate," Wentworth said.

Jobless benefits are already being scaled back and NELP has argued that the cuts are coming faster than the economy is improving, which means more workers will have to survive without any jobless assistance and families will have less money to put back into the economy.

In June, 24 states lost eligibility for the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) because of stricter unemployment rate triggers.

In addition to the loss of EUC benefits, by the end of August, the federal Extended Benefits (EB) program will be done in 35 states because of falling unemployment rates, effectively ending the program and benefit payments for more than 500,000 unemployed workers.

Once September rolls around, the maximum number of benefit weeks available will fall to 73.

Further complicating the issue is the high percentage of long-term unemployed. Historically, the highest percentage of long-term unemployed workers was 26 percent in the 1980s, but those numbers hit a peak of 46 percent during the most recent downturn, and have dropped to 43 percent, according to the latest Labor Department figures.

Out of the 12.7 million unemployed, 5.4 million have been out of work for at least six months, with about 33 percent of those without work for a year or longer, with an average duration at 40 weeks, Wentworth said.

Before the recession began in December 2007, only 17.5 percent of the unemployed were out of work for six months or longer.

http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/economy/235819-millions-face-loss-of-jobless-benefits-as-lawmakers-delay-action

Crystal
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« Reply #6942 on: Jul 2nd, 2012, 2:25pm »

Dr. Jeff Masters' WunderBlog

Wunderground.com sold to The Weather Channel Companies


Posted by: Dr. Jeff Masters, 6:30 PM GMT on July 02, 2012

It's true. After 17 years as an independent company, Weather Underground has been sold, and will now be part of The Weather Channel Companies (TWCC.) As one of the founders of Weather Underground, I am excited about embarking upon this new chapter in our company's history. Having the infrastructure, resources, and content of The Weather Channel Companies will enable wunderground to create some great new products, and improve the quality and reliability of our existing content. We will now be called Weather Underground, LLC, and will maintain the wunderground.com web site as it is.

The wild ride that began in 1995

Back in 1995, when the newly created commercial Internet put up for sale domains with a ".com" designation, and Weather Underground, Inc. became the world's first commercial weather web site, I could not have anticipated the wild ride that brought us to where we are at today. We registered the 2,000th domain ever taken, "wunderground.com", in 1995, missing registering "weather.com " by a month.

Later that year, a group of executives from The Weather Channel visited us in Ann Arbor, inquiring on how we might work together. No sale resulted, but over the years, The Weather Channel and Weather Underground have had a number of meetings to discuss a possible merger. Many other companies have inquired about buying us, but we have always opted to stay independent, in order to nurture our creative, alternative weather web site and keep breaking new ground.

The company's growth was slow at first, since we never took venture capital money. We grew from 6 employees in 1999 to 20 in 2009. But in the past three years, Weather Underground entered into a rapid period of growth that saw our staff more than double to 57 people. With a swelling user base around the globe, and with demands for our services to be made available across so many new digital platforms like mobile phones and tablets, the board recognized the need for an even greater injection of resources, and the decision was made to merge with The Weather Channel Companies.

How will the merger with The Weather Channel improve wunderground?

The Weather Channel is committed to keeping the Weather Underground brand and the web site in its current form. Weather Underground CEO Alan Steremberg will remain in charge, and our meteorologists and developers will continue to create the ground-breaking weather products that we're renowned for. The plan is to make both wunderground.com and weather.com stronger, by sharing content and infrastructure. Many Weather Underground features, such as our Personal Weather Station data, WunderMap, and my blog, are scheduled to also appear on the weather.com web site in the coming months. My blog's main home will continue to be wunderground.com, and I have been asked to continue to write the same variety of science-based posts on hurricanes, extreme weather, and climate change that I've provided since 2005.

I enjoy communicating weather science, and am pleased I will be able to do this for both wunderground and The Weather Channel, which has an audience about three times as large as wunderground's.

http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2143
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« Reply #6943 on: Jul 3rd, 2012, 09:27am »

Thanks for that article Swamprat, and a good morning to you.

Crystal


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« Reply #6944 on: Jul 3rd, 2012, 09:33am »

.












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