মঙ্গলবার, ২৯ জানুয়ারী, ২০১৩

PFT: Former 49er Harris arrested for assault

Philadelphia Eagles v New Orleans SaintsGetty Images

Eagles running back LeSean McCoy has made headlines for his Twitter use before, but there?s a big difference between trash talking with Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora and what happened between him and the mother of his son over the weekend.

McCoy lobbed volleys toward the woman, whose Twitter page identifies her only as Steph, in what seemed to be an argument about requests for money. USA Today has some of the tweets from McCoy?s account, which has been deleted, as well as the woman?s replies. Those replies included accusations that McCoy performed a particular sexual act to her to get out of paying child support and that McCoy?s current girlfriend had slept with one of his best friends.

McCoy originally deactivated the account by saying that his account was hacked. It?s a familiar explanation for unsavory content, but McCoy took the unusual step of admitting he made up the hacking story as part of a larger apology for the whole situation.

?In light of the recent events that played out over Twitter this past weekend, I would like to express how deeply sorry and remorseful I am to my family, the?Philadelphia Eagles, my fans, and every young person who views me as a role model. This is not who I am as a person, nor the image I ever wanted to portray of myself. It?s definitely not the example I want to set for my son,? McCoy said in a statement, via CSNPhilly.com. ?My Twitter account was not hacked. I take full responsibility and I apologize for trying to make it seem like it was not me. Due to my bad judgment and frustration, I allowed a very personal matter to be played out on a social network, of all things. It was immature and unprofessional for me to do so and to encourage others to join in.?

Anyone who follows athletes on Twitter can tell the ones who are doing it for themselves and those who are doing it with help as part of developing their ?brand.? The latter approach is boring and inauthentic, but it?s a lot less likely to get you in trouble for flying off the handle in full view of the public.

Source: http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/01/28/former-niners-lineman-charged-with-assaulting-boyfriend/related/

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Russia likely to contribute to Cyprus bailout

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) ? Russia is likely to contribute money to a rescue package that Cyprus is trying to finalize with eurozone partners, the cash-strapped country's finance minister said Tuesday.

Vassos Shiarly said leaders from the other 16 EU countries that use the euro are in "high level" talks with Moscow about a contribution to the bailout and that a deal was "probable."

"I think it's only a question of time," he told The Associated Press in an interview.

The Kremlin confirmed that the two countries' presidents, Vladimir Putin and Dimitris Christofias, spoke by phone about the issue on Tuesday, but gave no details.

Cyprus has enough money to survive through April but hopes to sign a final rescue bailout deal in March, after general elections, Shiarly said.

The key concern is size. The bailout, most of which would go to help stabilize Cypriot banks, would likely be worth as much as the tiny country's entire yearly economic output of ?17.5 billion ($23.51 billion). Many experts say that is too much for the country to be able to pay back. And if Cyprus can't handle its rescue loans, that defeats the purpose of a rescue program.

Shiarly insisted Cyprus would be able to cope with the bailout ? which some estimate would push public debt to 140 percent of annual gross domestic product. The government could manage, if deemed necessary, by selling state-owned companies and its controlling stake in Laiki bank, the country's second largest lender, he said.

The so-called troika of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund are meanwhile looking for ways to reduce Cyprus' debt load. There has been speculation that the troika might try to impose losses on the Cypriot banks' investors, such as bondholders and depositors, many of which are Russian.

That is one reason why Russia, a long-time ally of Cyprus, has been involved in the bailout talks.

Cyprus already received a low interest loan of ?2.5 billion ($3.36 billion) from Russia two years ago to keep it afloat and has asked to extend its repayment from 2016 to 2021. The left-wing government tried last year to clinch an additional ?5 billion loan from Moscow but those talks never yielded a deal.

Shiarly said Cyprus' eurozone partners are aware that the country's connection with Russia is a "very strong one."

"We have lots of Russian businesses operating from Cyprus, lots of Russian investment has gone through Cyprus in the past, the relationship is a very close one, not to mention the same religious Orthodox (Christian faith) that we maintain," he said.

The country has also faced allegations ? mostly from Germany which is resisting granting a bailout ? that it's a Russian money laundering hub, something that Cypriot officials strenuously deny.

"One only has to look at the international reports from organizations whose role is to report on matters such as money laundering and you will find that we rank very favorably compared to many other European member states," said Shiarly.

Shiarly said Cypriot authorities are briefing eurozone partner countries on the country's anti-money laundering efforts to dispel any misconceptions and to curb resistance to a bailout.

He pointed out that the many of the losses Cypriot banks took in Greece were due to a writedown on Greek sovereign debt that the eurozone had insisted on. When the other eurozone countries see that Cyprus problems' are largely due to the Greek writedown, "I think the attitude will change and we will receive the financial assistance we're seeking," said Shiarly.

"We're not asking for a gift, we're asking for a loan on the reasonable terms which have been offered to other member states," he said.

Eurozone states have already rescued the governments of Greece, Ireland, and Portugal as well as the Spanish banking sector.

Shiarly noted that Cyprus has already enacted a string of austerity measures, including deep public sector salary cuts and tax hikes as foreseen under a draft bailout agreement.

But Shiarly, whose job will be up next month when elections are held, dismissed any talk of a Greek-style 'haircut' for Cyprus under which private investors will be forced to take losses on their investments in Cypriot sovereign debt.

"It has been rejected by us, it has been rejected by the Commission, it has been rejected by the IMF and therefore I think it's not an issue."

The finance minister said recapitalizing Cypriot banks directly from the EU's rescue fund is one option that the country can pursue. But that is unlikely to happen before April next year at the earliest, when a single banking supervisory that will oversee the process is up and running.

Shiarly backed European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi's assessment that Cyprus needs eurozone support so as not to upset the currency bloc's slow and fragile recovery.

"I have read these statements how even small Cyprus can be a systemic risk to the euro and not only myself, but I believe many other European ministers of finance share this view."


Lynn Berry in Moscow contributed to this report.

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/russia-likely-contribute-cyprus-bailout-151125945--finance.html

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সোমবার, ২৮ জানুয়ারী, ২০১৩

Good Reads: Thick financial fog, unskilled workers, self-helped Americans, and a forgiveness that heals

This week's good reads includes a look at the billowing fog surrounding bank regulations, the disappearance of unskilled labor jobs, the American tradition of self-help, and a profound act of forgiveness by a victim's family.

By Marshall Ingwerson,?Managing editor / January 14, 2013

A ?skilled worker? in Massachusetts checks the plastic coating on a solar panel.

Alfredo Sosa/Staff


Here?s the short answer to the question posed on the cover of the latest Atlantic Monthly, ?What?s inside America?s banks??: No one knows. Not the regulators, not sophisticated investors, and not even the bankers themselves.

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?Banks today are bigger and more opaque than ever, and they continue to behave in many of the same ways they did before the crash,? write Frank Partnoy and Jesse Eisinger, authors of the Atlantic piece.

Complexity and opaqueness are the core of the problem, according to the authors. They cite a wide range of former bankers, investors, and regulatory officials who know the banks best and who ?absolutely? don?t trust their accounting. Even the banks with the best reputations, JP Morgan or Wells Fargo, are impenetrable black boxes with annual reports that defy parsing by even the most expert readers.

The fog of financial complexity is matched by a fog of rules ? as regulators parry moves by the bankers ? but always a few moves behind. The famed Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 ran to 37 pages. Dodd-Frank of 2010 was 848 pages and may balloon to 30,000 in the end. By the time the law?s ?Volcker Rule? is finalized, ?only a handful of partners at the world?s biggest law firms will understand it.?

The authors would offer the following version instead: ?Banks are not permitted to engage in proprietary trading. Period.?

That would save a lot of paper.

Maybe the Luddites had a point

Traditionally, technology has raised incomes for each generation by raising worker productivity. But ever smarter technologies are replacing the need for unskilled labor altogether, argue economists Jeffrey Sachs and Laurence Kotlikoff in a paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Think, for example, of the fully automated turnpike tollbooths or checkout stands at Home Depot. Investors are benefiting from these innovations, as are highly skilled programmers and technologists. (And lines are shorter.) But the jobs that are disappearing are the unskilled ones that offer young people a first few steps up the economic ladder. Without them, the authors argue, we don?t really have a ladder, and lifetime well-being slips by a generation. So what to do? For individuals, this sounds like a warning to get some skills.

?Although smart machines substitute for unskilled workers, they are designed and run by skilled workers. So it?s no surprise that the incomes of skilled workers have risen relative to those of unskilled workers.? The authors note that this is one reason the wage premium for college graduates has increased from around 40 percent in 1999 to more than 80 percent today.

Helping ourselves

From Benjamin Franklin to Oprah Winfrey, from ?How to Win Friends & Influence People? to ?The 4-Hour Workweek,? self-help advice is a very American phenomenon ? and getting more so, according to Laura Vanderkam writing in the quarterly City Journal. More than 45,000 self-help book titles are in print, she writes, and the genre?s share of all titles published doubled from 1975 to 2000.

?There is much to mock? in this field, she notes, and she runs through its history and various critiques. But there is much that is useful as well. Socially mobile Americans construct their own notions of the good life, in DIY-style, ?from what we see of the world around us ? and what we find at the bookstore.?

Crime and recovery

In these weeks following the Newtown, Conn., shooting, there is something ? dare we say healing? ? in The New York Times Magazine story by Paul Tullis about the killing of Ann Grosmaire by her fianc?, Conor McBride, in 2010. The crime came in a moment of overwhelming emotion after an argument between the two community college students that had stretched on for 38 hours. It was not premeditated exactly, but it wasn?t an accident either.

As the father of the mortally wounded and unconscious Ann sat with her in a Tallahassee, Fla., hospital, he ?felt? her say ?Forgive him? so clearly that he spoke his refusal aloud. But he kept hearing that message in her voice. A devout Roman Catholic, he was praying in the hospital four days later, shortly before removing her from life support, when he ?realized it was not just Ann asking me to forgive Conor, it was Jesus Christ.?

The journey the family went on then took them through a process called ?restorative justice,? which strives for agreement among everyone involved in and affected by a crime over how to make restitution. This means that victims, offenders, and their families sooner or later end up sitting around a table and talking.

The upshot, in this story as in others, is forgiveness. Says Ann?s mother, Kate: ?I think that when people can?t forgive, they?re stuck. All they can feel is the emotion surrounding that moment.... Forgiveness to me was self-preservation.?

Source: http://rss.csmonitor.com/~r/csmonitor/globalnews/~3/9xbYbWQ04Sw/Good-Reads-Thick-financial-fog-unskilled-workers-self-helped-Americans-and-a-forgiveness-that-heals

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French, Mali forces head toward Timbuktu

SEVARE, Mali (AP) ? French and Malian forces pushed toward the fabled desert town of Timbuktu on Sunday, as the two-week-long French mission gathered momentum against the Islamist extremists who have ruled the north for more than nine months.

So far the French forces have met little resistance, though it remains unclear what battles may await them farther north. The Malian military blocked dozens of international journalists from trying to travel toward Timbuktu.

Lt. Col. Diarran Kone, a spokesman for Mali's defense minister, declined to give details Sunday about the advance on Timbuktu citing the security of an ongoing operation.

Timbuktu's mayor, Ousmane Halle, is in the capital, Bamako, and he told The Associated Press he had no information about the remote town, where phone lines have been cut for days.

A convoy of about 15 vehicles transporting international journalists also was blocked Sunday afternoon in Konna, some 186 miles (300 kilometers) south of Timbuktu.

The move on Timbuktu comes a day after the French announced they had seized the airport and a key bridge in Gao, one of the other northern provincial capitals under the grip of radical Islamists.

Meanwhile, French and African land forces also were making their way to Gao from neighboring Niger.

French and Malian forces were patrolling Gao Sunday afternoon searching for remnants of the Islamists and maintaining control of the bridge and airport, said Kone, the Mali military spokesman.

The French special forces, which had stormed in by land and by air, had come under fire in Gao from "several terrorist elements" that were later "destroyed," the French military said in a statement on its website Saturday.

In a later press release entitled "French and Malian troops liberate Gao" the French ministry of defense said they brought back the town's mayor, Sadou Diallo, who had fled to the Malian capital of Bamako far to the west.

However, a Gao official interviewed by telephone by The Associated Press said late Saturday that coalition forces so far only controlled the airport, the bridge and surrounding neighborhoods.

And in Paris, a defense ministry official clarified that the city had not been fully liberated, and that the process of freeing Gao was continuing.

Both officials insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

Gao, the largest city in northern Mali, was seized by a mixture of al-Qaida-linked Islamist fighters more than nine months ago along with the other northern provincial capitals of Kidal and Timbuktu.

The rebel group that turned Gao into a replica of Afghanistan under the Taliban has close ties to Moktar Belmoktar, the Algerian national who has long operated in Mali and who last week claimed responsibility for the terror attack on a BP-operated natural gas plant in Algeria.

His fighters are believed to include Algerians, Egyptians, Mauritanians, Libyans, Tunisians, Pakistanis and even Afghans.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon said late Saturday that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told Le Drian the United States will aid the French military with aerial refueling missions.

U.S. aerial refueling planes would be a boost to air support for French ground forces as they enter vast areas of northern Mali, the size of Texas, that are controlled by al-Qaida-linked extremists.

The U.S. was already helping France by transporting French troops and equipment to the West African nation. However, the U.S. government has said it cannot provide direct aid to the Malian military because the country's democratically elected president was overthrown in a coup last March.

The Malian forces, however, are now expected to get more help than initially promised from neighboring nations.

Col. Shehu Usman Abdulkadir told The Associated Press that the African force will be expanded from an anticipated 3,200 troops to some 5,700 ? a figure that does not include the 2,200 soldiers promised by Chad.

Most analysts had said the earlier figure was far too small to confront the Islamists given the huge territory they hold.

Since France began its military operation, the Islamists have retreated from three small towns in central Mali: Diabaly, Konna and Douentza. However, the Islamists still control much of the north, including the provincial capital of Kidal.

The Mali conflict will dominate the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Sunday and Monday.


Associated Press writer Rukmini Callimachi contributed to this report.

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/french-mali-forces-head-toward-timbuktu-085610699.html

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Patrick Comerford: Developing academic writing skills

Oscar Wilde ... ?What is the difference between literature and journalism? Journalism is unreadable, and literature is never read?

Patrick Comerford

Each month, I write a column for two diocesan magazines that runs to 1,800 words. On most months, the columns are the same, but sometimes I tweak them, and occasionally they have some major changes in them to give them local relevance.

For most people, it looks like 3,600 words, and over a year that amounts to 43,200 words. When someone asks how I manage to write that much every month or every year, I tend to respond either it takes more to write a book each year, or I make some dismissive asides about insomnia and being able to sit up all night writing.

Well, for most people it does seem like a lot.

Then, on top of that, there?s perhaps a sermon or reflection on average each week, no matter how short or long, commentary for a newspaper, or a paper for other publications.

And then, sometimes, people say things like: ?It must come easily to you after all those years working as a journalist.?

Well, let me share with you two trade secrets of a writer:

? Firstly, it doesn?t come easy, ever.
? Secondly, having worked as a journalist for 30 years does not necessarily mean I am capable of writing well in other styles and genres.

The task of writing

Oscar Wilde once said: ?What is the difference between literature and journalism? Journalism is unreadable, and literature is never read.?

Although Rebecca West once claimed ?journalism is the ability to meet the challenge of filling space,? some of my colleagues in The Irish Times were sub-editors but also well-known, critically acclaimed writers, regarded not as mere novelists but as key figures in modern literature.

TS Eliot ... ?Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers?

TS Eliot rightly recognised: ?Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers.?

And one of those colleagues gave me good early advice. He gave me two valuable tips: he got up early, and wrote for a set time, let?s say, two hours every morning. And he set himself a target: write 500 words a day.

Now, his books did not amount to 182,500 words a year. His average for a book was somewhere around 70,000 words. He admits that some of what he wrote each morning was thrash, only worth pulping. I remember writing my first book in 1984 on an old-fashioned, heavy typewriter. And so many pages ended up crumpled on the floor of my study.

But I wrote each day, and set time aside each day, even if all I started with was: ?The quick brown fox jumped over the fence,? even if, like Jack Nicholson in The Shining, I was sometimes reduced to typing nonsense sentences again and again: ?All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.?

One of the most difficult tasks when sitting down to write is actually sitting down ? to write.

And when you have sat down, the task of writing does not include getting up to make a cup of coffee, knocking on the next door to ask someone about last weekend or the weekend ahead, checking on your email or your Facebook page. Would you do that when you are praying?

Sit down, call up a blank screen on your laptop or PC, key in the title of your essay and assignment, go to the next line, your name, go to the next line, and key in the word ?Introduction.? Believe you me, you have got past the first difficult hurdle.

Try to set aside a time each day when you can write, and set yourself a target, a manageable target, for what you would like to write each day.

If you leave every assignment until the week before it is due, none is going to be written properly.

If you start now, then you will be comfortably pleased, and physically comfortable, with what you produce.

Don?t write everything

There are two dangers to avoid, particularly when you have a limit on the number of words in an assignment. So: don?t pad it out; and don?t squeeze it all in.

You know what it?s like when a writer has entertained herself with her own recollections and her own ability to be clever. How often have you found yourself skipping parts of a book?

The American novelist and screenwriter Elmore Leonard says: ?I try to leave out the parts that people skip.?

Sometimes I just write too much because I?m not focussed and disciplined enough. More focus, more discipline would allow me to say all the things I want to say. Sometimes less actually means more. Less verbiage on my part allows the reader to grasp more of my ideas.

Sometimes we just pack too much in, trying to show that we have paid attention, trying to show what we have learned.

And then we become thieves, stealing more space surreptitiously, by cramming more detail into the footnotes.

Sometimes we pad things out because we?re not focussed enough, not directed, because we allow ourselves to ramble all over the place. As a journalist I found it was more difficult to write a story in 300 words than in 1,000 words.

I remember one prima donna demanding more words to write a report, claiming: ?I can?t explain it in less.?

?If you can?t explain it in less,? the page editor retorted, ?how can I believe you really understand it??

Writing within the limit you are given is an important discipline in writing. Blaise Pascal once wrote to a friend: ?I have made this letter longer only because I have not had the time to make it shorter.?

It takes discipline to confine yourself to what you ought to say.

But padding it out to reach the required length is also an indication of a lack of discipline, and poor research.

Try to remember how many times you have listened to a sermon, and found yourself wondering why some of those boring, personal asides were dropped in while the sermon was being written?

Was it because he had to speak for 10 or 12 minutes, and didn?t have enough good, relevant ideas?

Don?t pad it out

John Ruskin once gave the advice: ?Say all you have to say in the fewest possible words, or your reader will be sure to skip them; and in the plainest possible words, or he will certainly misunderstand them.?

On the other hand, your first rector, hopefully, is going to advise you: ?Don?t pack all your good sermons into one.?

If you have good ideas that you don?t want to lose, open a file where you can hold and keep them ? for the future.

At an extreme level, journalists in the Sun were advised by their news editors: ?Make it short. Make it snappy. Make it up.?

But there is a germ of truth in that. Say it simply, say it sweetly, and say it quickly. Use space for your ideas. Don?t use unnecessary adjectives and superlatives as a way of reaching a required length.

Mark Twain dealt with this problem by advising: ?Substitute ?damn? every time you?re inclined to write ?very?. Your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.?

Be structured

The Red Queen advises Alice: ?Start at the beginning, go through to the end and then stop?

The Red Queen advises Alice in Alice in Wonderland: ?Start at the beginning, go through to the end and then stop.?

The secret of good story-telling remains paying attention to three details: a good story needs a beginning, a middle and an end.

As Maria advised the children in The Sound of Music:

Let?s start at the very beginning
A very good place to start
When you read you begin with A-B-C
When you sing you begin with do-re-mi

Well, we?re all good at the beginning. We can set out the task we have to do. It?s like school exams: we were all good at writing our names down at the top of the exam paper.

But then we find ourselves all over the place in the middle, and run out of time at the end. Plan how much space you need for each part of your essay. Don?t leave it to chance and find you have only 50 or 100, or even 200 words for your summaries and conclusions. They tell me what you have not only learned, but assimilated and can apply. Don?t tell me you?ve learned little or nothing.

Be careful with punctuation

I hope you all know about the book Eats, Shoots and Leaves, by Lynn Truss. She describes it as the ?zero tolerance approach to punctuation.? The book takes its title from this joke on bad punctuation:

A panda walks into a caf?. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and proceeds to fire it at the other patrons.

?Why?? asks the confused, surviving waiter amidst the carnage, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.

?Well, I?m a panda,? he says, at the door. ?Look it up.?

The waiter turns to the relevant entry in the manual and, sure enough, finds an explanation. ?Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.?

Do you all know about the grocer?s apostrophe?


Do you all know the difference between it?s and its?

There?s also a wonderful Facebook page called: ?Let?s eat Grandma!? or, ?Let?s eat, Grandma!?

Punctuation saves lives!

Punctuation matters.

Punctuation matters

Think of this letter from Gloria to John:

Dear John,

I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, and thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we?re apart. I can be forever happy ? will you let me be yours?



Dear John,

I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, and thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men, I yearn. For you, I have no feelings whatsoever. When we are apart, I can be forever happy. Will you let me be?



Watch your sentences

And even if you are good at punctuation, don?t use too many dashes and brackets.

A good idea, when you have written something, is to read it out loud, to yourself or, preferably, to someone else. That way, you share ideas, you learn collaboration, but your colleague actually hears what you wrote, not what you think you have written.

If it?s difficult for you to read out loud, then it?s difficult for me to read when it lands on my desk.

And if you lose your train of thought as you wrestle with dashes and brackets ? and you know what you intended to write, how much more difficult is it going to be for me?

Write simply, write clearly, write with your own voice.

Watch your words

Anglo-Saxon words are always better that French or Latin words. You are more likely to understand them, and to tell me precisely what you mean, and they are easier to spell.

To repeat Ruskin?s advice: ?Say all you have to say ? in the plainest possible words, or he will certainly misunderstand them.?

Don?t rely on spell-check. Spell-check can?t tell the difference between their, there, they?re, and, if you speak like the Kerry politician Jackie Healy Rae, th(e) hair, t(he) heir, the air, and dare. Here, hear, ?ere ?

It?s worth remembering: Spell-check may not understand you.

Watch your sources

Do not trust everything you find on the internet ? even when it appears to come from a reputable academic source

The internet opens the world to us, and may provide you with wonderful, new and fresh insights and sources. But if you are referring in footnotes to web sources try to find another, second, preferably printed source that backs up and confirms what you have found.

And when giving web references, give the date you accessed it ? because web addresses change, web pages or updated, and web pages may be taken down.

Do not trust everything you find on the internet, even when it appears to come from a reputable academic source. The Irish Times reported recently [16 September 2011] how a page for a fictitious lecturer went up on the website of the School of English in Trinity College Dublin [14 September 2011]. He was ?Dr Conan T. Barbarian, B.A. (Cimmeria), Ph.D. (UCD), F.T.C.D., Long Room Hub Associate Professor in Hyborian Studies and Tyrant Slaying? ? complete with research interests that include ?Vengeance for Beginners,? and even a TCD email address.

Nor is Wikipedia a valid source to cite, as far as I am concerned. The year before last, Katie and I found ourselves in laughter when someone edited a Wikipedia page on the Apostle Philip, saying his father was a plasterer, and he was a time traveller who had made a guest appearance on Dr Who.

Reward yourself at the end

Reward yourself with a coffee and a read of the newspaper ... when you've finished the task in hand (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Give up each writing task while you?re still feeling good. If you end each writing task only when you?re frustrated, flustered or exhausted, you?ll hate getting back to your laptop the next assigned time.

Then reward yourself.

Give yourself that shot of coffee or that chocolate biscuit ? not in the middle, but at the end, when you?ve finished. Then the next time you know there?s a prize at the end, and that it?s worth sticking to.

Psychologically ? it works.

Read what others write

Finally, read what others write, see how they do it, and learn from them.

Share your writing skills with others, learn from how they map out assignments, deal with difficult phrases, clauses and sentences, and notice how they express themselves. And don?t be afraid to ask why they wrote things that way.

And read for pleasure.

Read for pleasure and fun ? including poetry and novels

Read newspapers ? Karl Barth said the preacher should have the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other. If I don?t know how the world thinks, how can I address its needs in the light of the Gospel?

Read poetry ? John Donne and TS Eliot teach me a lot about how to use theological categories in crisp, sharp writing.

Read novels ? Susan Howatch and Catherine Fox are theologians who write as novelists; they are academically sound when it comes to theology and church history, pastorally they are so insightful, as writers they truly know how to tell a story.

Read theology ? for fun ? Janet Soskice is Professor of Philosophical Theology at the University of Cambridge, but her recent book, Sisters of Sinai (Vintage, 2010), has all the fun and pace of a novel.

I read it with fun and for knowledge by the pool on a holiday in Turkey. It is theology, church history and biblical studies all in one. And if reading theology can be fun, then writing it should be fun too. And it should be. You?ll be writing theology for the test of your life, for sermons, for parish notes, for book reviews, for communicating the Good News.

Canon Patrick Comerford is Lecturer in Anglicanism and Liturgy, the Church of Ireland Theological Institute. These notes were prepared for a workshop with Dr Katie Heffelfinger on ?Developing Writing Skills? for Year II students on the MTh course on Monday 28 January 2013.

Source: http://revpatrickcomerford.blogspot.com/2013/01/developing-academic-writing-skills.html

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Quotations of the day

Please check the URL for proper spelling and capitalization. If you're having trouble locating a destination on Yahoo!, try visiting the Yahoo! homepage or look through a list of Yahoo!'s online services.

Please try Yahoo Help Central if you need more assistance.

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/quotations-day-070627283.html

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Toward 2-D devices: Single-atom-thick patterns combine conductor and insulator

Jan. 27, 2013 ? Rice University scientists have taken an important step toward the creation of two-dimensional electronics with a process to make patterns in atom-thick layers that combine a conductor and an insulator.

The materials at play -- graphene and hexagonal boron nitride -- have been merged into sheets and built into a variety of patterns at nanoscale dimensions.

Rice introduced a technique to stitch the identically structured materials together nearly three years ago. Since then, the idea has received a lot of attention from researchers interested in the prospect of building 2-D, atomic-layer circuits, said Rice materials scientist Pulickel Ajayan. He is one of the authors of the new work that appears this week in Nature Nanotechnology. In particular, Ajayan noted that Cornell University scientists reported an advance late last year on the art of making atomic-layer heterostructures through sequential growth schemes.

This week's contribution by Rice offers manufacturers the possibility of shrinking electronic devices into even smaller packages. While Rice's technical capabilities limited features to a resolution of about 100 nanometers, the only real limits are those defined by modern lithographic techniques, according to the researchers. (A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter.)

"It should be possible to make fully functional devices with circuits 30, even 20 nanometers wide, all in two dimensions," said Rice researcher Jun Lou, a co-author of the new paper. That would make circuits on about the same scale as in current semiconductor fabrication, he said.

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material since its discovery in the last decade. Even at one atom thick, the hexagonal array of carbon atoms has proven its potential as a fascinating electronic material. But to build a working device, conductors alone will not do. Graphene-based electronics require similar, compatible 2-D materials for other components, and researchers have found hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) works nicely as an insulator.

H-BN looks like graphene, with the same chicken-wire atomic array. The earlier work at Rice showed that merging graphene and h-BN via chemical vapor deposition (CVD) created sheets with pools of the two that afforded some control of the material's electronic properties. Ajayan said at the time that the creation offered "a great playground for materials scientists."

He has since concluded that the area of two-dimensional materials beyond graphene "has grown significantly and will play out as one of the key exciting materials in the near future."

His prediction bears fruit in the new work, in which finely detailed patterns of graphene are laced into gaps created in sheets of h-BN. Combs, bars, concentric rings and even microscopic Rice Owls were laid down through a lithographic process. The interface between elements, seen clearly in scanning transmission electron microscope images taken at Oak Ridge National Laboratories, shows a razor-sharp transition from graphene to h-BN along a subnanometer line.

"This is not a simple quilt," Lou said. "It's very precisely engineered. We can control the domain sizes and the domain shapes, both of which are necessary to make electronic devices."

The new technique also began with CVD. Lead author Zheng Liu, a Rice research scientist, and his colleagues first laid down a sheet of h-BN. Laser-cut photoresistant masks were placed over the h-BN, and exposed material was etched away with argon gas. (A focused ion beam system was later used to create even finer patterns, down to 100-nanometer resolution, without masks.) After the masks were washed away, graphene was grown via CVD in the open spaces, where it bonded edge-to-edge with the h-BN. The hybrid layer could then be picked up and placed on any substrate.

While there's much work ahead to characterize the atomic bonds where graphene and h-BN domains meet and to analyze potential defects along the boundaries, Liu's electrical measurements proved the components' qualities remain intact.

"One important thing Zheng showed is that even by doing all kinds of growth, then etching, then regrowth, the intrinsic properties of these two materials are not affected," Lou said. "Insulators stay insulators; they're not doped by the carbon. And the graphene still looks very good. That's important, because we want to be sure what we're growing is exactly what we want."

Liu said the next step is to place a third element, a semiconductor, into the 2-D fabric. "We're trying very hard to integrate this into the platform," he said. "If we can do that, we can build truly integrated in-plane devices." That would give new options to manufacturers toying with the idea of flexible electronics, he said.

"The contribution of this paper is to demonstrate the general process," Lou added. "It's robust, it's repeatable and it creates materials with very nice properties and with dimensions that are at the limit of what is possible."

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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Rice University.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

Journal Reference:

  1. C. Drexler, S. A. Tarasenko, P. Olbrich, J. Karch, M. Hirmer, F. M?ller, M. Gmitra, J. Fabian, R. Yakimova, S. Lara-Avila, S. Kubatkin, M. Wang, R. Vajtai, P. M. Ajayan, J. Kono, S. D. Ganichev. Magnetic quantum ratchet effect in graphene. Nature Nanotechnology, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2012.231

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.

Source: http://feeds.sciencedaily.com/~r/sciencedaily/~3/Z5aTSo83LOQ/130127134208.htm

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Azarenka secures back-to-back Australian titles

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) ? Victoria Azarenka won her second consecutive Australian Open title, beating Li Na 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in a dramatic final that contained a break for fireworks, two medical timeouts and a nasty fall to the court by Li.

The Chinese star first tumbled to the court after twisting her left ankle in the fifth game of the second set and had it taped.

On the first point after a 10-minute pause in the third set while fireworks boomed overhead from nearby Australia Day celebrations, Li fell over again and slammed the back of her head on the court. The 2011 French Open champion was treated immediately and had another timeout before being allowed to resume the match.

Azarenka, who broke down in tears and sobbed into her towel when the match ended, won five of the next six games to claim her second major title and retain the No. 1 ranking.

"Unfortunately, you have to go through some rough patches to achieve great things. That's what makes it so special for me," she said. "I went through that, and I'm still able to kiss that beautiful trophy."

Serena Williams, who lost in the quarterfinals, will become the new No. 2 in the rankings.

The 2-hour, 40-minute match featured 16 service breaks, with Li losing her service nine times.

On a crisp Saturday night, Azarenka won the coin toss and elected to receive, a ploy that seemed to work when a nervous Li was broken to start the match. After a double fault on the first point, Li's forehand long gave Azarenka the early lead.

When she first injured her ankle, Li was trailing 3-1 in the second set. When she came back, she won three of the next four games to level the set at 4-4, but Azarenka broke back and then held her serve to level the match.

Azarenka broke in the opening game of the final set, just two games before the match was suspended for the fireworks, a planned stoppage of play that both players were notified about before the match.

While Azarenka jogged around and practiced her serving motion during the 10-minute fireworks break, Li sat on her courtside chair for most of the stoppage.

It was on the first point that she again fell to the court.

Li said she went "totally black" for two seconds after her head hit the court, and when a medical official asked her to follow her finger, "I started laughing, thinking 'This is a tennis court, not like a hospital.'"

Li said the tournament doctor saw her after the match and checked out her head and neck.

"I should be OK,' Li said.

From the outset, the capacity crowd at Rod Laver Arena was firmly behind Li, cheering loudly when she was introduced. Azarenka, meanwhile, had her errors applauded, and one spectator even mocked the loud hooting sound she makes when she hits a shot.

The chill from the crowd was a remnant of Azarenka's semifinal win over American teenager Sloane Stephens, when Azarenka was criticized for taking a questionable 10-minute medical timeout near the end of the match. She was accused of taking the time out to compose herself after she'd wasted five match points while serving for the match against Stephens, although Azarenka said she needed the time out because a rib injury was making it difficult for her to breathe.

In the second set Saturday, a few fans heckled Azarenka over the incident. One man yelled, "Take a deep breath, Vicky."

By the end of the match, she appeared to have won some of the fans back. Azarenka's friend, rapper Redfoo, yelled down to her from the player box "You deserve it," and she later blew kisses to the crowd. Someone else in the crowd shouted "Victoria, we love you."

Azarekna appeared to quickly forgive the crowd, saying during the trophy presentations that she wanted to thank the fans for their support.

"I will always keep very special memories of this court and it will be in my heart forever," she said, pausing several times to find the right words. "Of course, I (almost) forgot to say congratulations to Li Na, she's had a terrific start to the year ... hope to see you in many, many more finals."

Azarenka and Li had met twice before in Grand Slam tournaments, with Li winning both times ? in the fourth round of the 2011 Australian Open and quarterfinals at the French Open. Li lost the 2011 Australian Open final to Kim Clijsters but won her first Grand Slam title at Roland Garros a few months later, beating Francesca Schiavone.

But after failing to advance past the fourth round at any major in 2012, Li hired Carlos Rodriguez, Justine Henin's former coach. The hard training he's put her through in the past four months appears to be paying dividends.

Li won a WTA tournament in China before travelling to Australia, where she advanced to the semifinals at the Sydney International.

In the men's final on Sunday, Novak Djokovic will attempt to win his third consecutive Australian Open against U.S. Open champion Andy Murray. Djokovic has had the benefit of an extra day off after an easy three-set win over David Ferrer on Thursday night, while Murray needed a tough five-setter to defeat Roger Federer.

Murray has predicted a tough match with long rallies against Djokovic, the player he beat in the final at Flushing Meadows in September.

"I'm ready for the pain," he said. "I hope it's a painful match, that will mean it will be a good one."

In the other final Sunday to end the year's first Grand Slam, the unseeded pairs of Jarmila Gajdosova and Matthew Ebden of Australia and the Czech Republic's Lucie Hradecka and Frantisek Cermak play for the mixed doubles championship.

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/azarenka-secures-back-back-australian-titles-113423413--spt.html

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Education of Business Online from NCSU How Is Email Marketing ...


Email marketing is a promotional tool used for online marketing of the business. According to research and study, researchers have found that it has become one of the most popular and easy to use marketing tool. Above all, its use is cost effective and can get easily fit into the budget of a marketer. Let?s see how it is an affordable means to reach out a customer.

Many marketers indulge in aggressive and robust marketing or advertising of their products and services. They strive hard to promote their companies through all sorts of media. Main media are print, broadcast as well as Internet. Prior to Internet, print and broadcast were broadly used by the entrepreneurs striving to compete with and outshine each other. The print form includes newspaper, pamphlets, brochures, magazines or journals. This consumes massive amount of money and a lot of time and other resources of a marketer. If you are advertising your product through radio or airing the same on a television channel, it requires manpower to create a promotional ad, time as well as money.

The net result of promotions through print and broadcast media is that it is uncertain whether you have reached your target customer. Your target audience may not have turned on the radio, watching the television channel or read the newspaper the day your advertisement was being aired or printed. When Internet marketing came into existence the marketers started turning to the World Wide Web for promotion. One of the major factors for turning to this medium was that the marketers found it inexpensive.

Email marketing is one such promotional tactics used by the advertisers to advertise their products or services. The essence is that one can create an ad or a newsletter, fetch for a potential customer and reach out to him. It has an assurance that a customer has received the mail. Avoid using promotional words as they can trap you in the snare of Spam. Create informative content that your reader would like to read. A marketer simply needs an opt-in list and an Internet connection in the marketing campaign. In this way, you can reach out your customers cost-effectively and easily.

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Source: http://www.graspncsu.com/2013/01/how-is-email-marketing-cost-effective/

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Europeans Tax the Kings, Sharp Tool Obama Puts Fox In Charge of ...

We're always the last to find out.

And the last it seems now to move towards greater equality of treatment (of the lower classes anyway).

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Europeans Move Forward On A Robin Hood Tax On Financial Transactions - U.K. And U.S. ... Dragging Their Feet

In December the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of the kind of financial transaction tax Wall Street has bribed conservatives in America to reject. And on Tuesday E.U. Finance Ministers OK-ed the new tax which will cover inter-bank trading in stocks, bonds and derivatives, something that's expected to bring in over $50 billion dollars in revenues in 2014 when it's up and rolling. There's a 0.1 per cent tax on stock and bond transactions and a 0.01 per cent tax on derivatives trades. David Cameron, who shares the distinction with Paul Ryan of being a deranged advocate of bone-crunching Austerity, has kept Britain from participating.
Just as David Cameron appeared to be grabbing his coat for an EU exit, other European countries took a step towards greater unity with agreement for eleven countries to implement a multi-billion pound tax on the banks.

Not tax rises on low income families, or cuts to public services to balance the books, but a tax on banks. It's not every day you get to write that. The eleven hope that the Financial Transaction Tax of between 0.1-0.01 per cent on stocks, bonds and derivatives could be implemented as early as next year and will raise around ?30bn.

The FTT has for years stirred controversy. Banks, following the Mayan's lead, warned that the end of the world was nigh. As campaigners for a Robin Hood Tax we have often been told "you may have a nice video with Bill Nighy in it [see video above], but your idea won't wash in the complex world of finance, nor will it cut it at the coalface of Government."

Yet it has-- Europe's biggest economies including France, Germany, Italy and Spain are signed up. The group of eleven makes up an impressive 90 percent of Eurozone GDP. Other European nations agreed to let them press ahead. Yet there was one notable abstention, from the UK Government.

Why? It could be argued that a right of centre Government, a powerful financial sector and an economy struggling to return to growth would never add up to much of an appetite to take a chunk out of the banks. Yet all of this applies to Germany, one of the FTT's biggest champions.

The difference is that Germany sees the FTT as a necessary part of the economic equation. It too is implementing tough austerity measures. Germany understands the need to balance and indeed improve the economy by ensuring the financial sector pays its fair share. The richest sector in the world, paying a modest additional tax for causing the largest financial crisis of a generation: quid pro quo.

As Wolfgang Schauble, German finance minister said:
It?s in the interest of the financial sector itself that it should concentrate more on its proper role of financing the real economy and ensuring that capital is allocated in the most intelligent way, instead of banks conducting the bulk of their trading on their own account. That?s in the long-term interest of the financial sector.
Cameron, conversely, opted to call the Financial Transaction Tax "madness," fighting hammer and tong to protect the hallowed elite in the City, whilst cutting benefits and services for the poorest. The Government's much touted bank levy, will raise a just ?2.5bn a year and be offset by a lowering of Corporation Tax that Osborne has boasted will be the lowest of any major western economy.

Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England pointed out the irony that "the price of the financial crisis is being borne by people who did absolutely nothing to cause it," adding that he was "surprised that the degree of public anger has not been greater than it has."

But if the moral argument doesn't sway you, then the fiscal case should. Leading City figure Avinash Persaud has calculated that if the UK were to join in with the European Financial Transaction Tax it would raise the Exchequer at least ?8bn a year. This could lift over three million people struggling on minimum pay above the living wage threshold.

Ten thousand teachers lost their jobs in 2010/2011 and there are 5,780 fewer nurses than at the time of the last general election-- in eleven days an FTT could raise enough revenue to re-employ every one. In just a single day the tax could raise enough money to reinstate Sure Start centres for 25,000 children.
American efforts to do the same thing were defeated by Wall Street and their allies in 2011. But Pete DeFazio (D-OR) and Tom Harkin (D-IA) are going to try again, hoping to institute a minuscule o.o3% tax on some financial transactions that will yield something like $35 billion dollars a year.
A financial transactions tax would slow down high-frequency trading, which has exploded in the last five years. Such trading ?has absolutely no social value,? according to one of its pioneers, and only increases volatility in the market. The tax would have little effect on normal traders.
And in response to Wall Street traders claiming "businesses" would move elsewhere-- Dubai? Beijing? Somalia?-- DeFazio has pointed out that 52 financial executives have endorsed the tax and rejected the scare tactics. ?For 50 years we had a tax that was about seven times larger than this when the country was seeing the greatest growth in its history, post-World War II,? he said. ?So we?ve proven this will not have a detrimental impact on growth. In fact, it perhaps is beneficial to growth. It?s not necessarily beneficial to salaries of hedge fund managers on Wall Street.?

And, it turns out, DeFazio and Harkin aren't the only Members of Congress talking about a financial transaction tax. Boehner pawn Dave Camp (R-MI), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee is reportedly about to introduce some kind of twisted, partisan version of the tax, that smacks of Republican revenge against businessmen asking them to cooperate with Democrats for the sake of the country.
The draft legislation, which may get significant revision before it's presented to a congressional committee, would be vehemently opposed by Wall Street and other major corporations that trade heavily in derivative securities.
They may have only themselves to blame. Congressional Republicans have been furious at top corporate executives lobbying heavily for a "grand bargain" that would include tax hikes and cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, according to congressional GOP insiders. Republican leaders were further piqued when business executives began lobbying for certain corporate tax reforms, leading to a sharply worded letter from Camp to the Business Roundtable, a lobbying group of corporate CEOs.

One Republican operative told HuffPost that Camp's bill is political payback for the CEOs collaborating with the Fix the Debt coalition, which worked with corporate chiefs who had pressured Republicans to accept tax increases as part of a deal to avert the so-called fiscal cliff at the close of 2012.

"This transaction tax was only a matter of time after Camp's letter to the Business Roundtable," the GOP operative said. "In just a few months, their lobbying campaign has resulted in Republicans initiating new revenues on their backs. Maybe the CEOs can kill it by Democrats insisting the taxes aren't high enough."

...Camp's new bill would harvest government revenues from complex financial transactions involving derivatives, some of which figured prominently in the 2008 banking collapse. Although the 2010 financial reform legislation would curb some excesses in the derivatives market, the legislation isn't yet fully implemented, and leaves much of the market unregulated. Financial reform advocates have urged new taxes on derivatives to deter excessive risk-taking by big banks.

...Camp's bill would establish a new tax regime for derivatives, requiring banks to declare the fair market value of the products at the end of each year. Any increase in value would be considered corporate income, subject to taxation. It's a more aggressive tax treatment than Wall Street enjoys for either derivatives or for trading in more traditional securities.

...The bill would significantly strengthen the Volcker Rule, which bans banks from speculating in securities markets with taxpayer money. The Volcker Rule's implementation has been delayed as bank lobbyists have flooded regulatory agencies in Washington, pillorying the ban with loopholes. Hefty tax burdens for proprietary trading would reduce bank incentives to engage in the risky activity.

Camp's legislation also would permanently establish a homeowner aid plan advocated by former Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.), who retired this month. When banks grant homeowners mortgage relief, the IRS considers the debt-reduction taxable income. As a result, struggling homeowners can face an unmanageable tax burden. A $50,000 debt reduction can spark an $18,000 tax bill-- money that borrowers struggling to avoid foreclosure simply do not have. Miller successfully lobbied to include a one-year fix on the tax policy in the fiscal cliff deal. Camp's legislation would permanently end the tax policy.

I couldn't believe how the MSM was able so easily to portray this traitor as god's gift to progressive government.

Maybe their god.

By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

25 January 13

was shocked when I heard that Mary Jo White, a former U.S. Attorney and a partner for the white-shoe Wall Street defense firm Debevoise and Plimpton, had been named the new head of the SEC.

I thought to myself: Couldn't they have found someone who wasn't a key figure in one of the most notorious scandals to hit the SEC in the past two decades? And couldn't they have found someone who isn't a perfect symbol of the revolving-door culture under which regulators go soft on suspected Wall Street criminals, knowing they have million-dollar jobs waiting for them at hotshot defense firms as long as they play nice with the banks while still in office?

As I explained a few years ago in my story, "Why Isn't Wall Street in Jail?": The attorney Aguirre joined the SEC in 2004, and two days into his job was asked to look into reports of suspicious trading activity involving a hedge fund called Pequot Capital, and specifically its megastar trader, Art Samberg. Samberg had made suspiciously prescient trades ahead of the acquisition of a firm called Heller Financial by General Electric, pocketing about $18 million in a period of weeks by buying up Heller shares before the merger, among other things.

"It was as if Art Samberg woke up one morning and a voice from the heavens told him to start buying Heller," Aguirre recalled. "And he wasn't just buying shares - there were some days when he was trying to buy three times as many shares as were being traded that day."

Aguirre did some digging and found that Samberg had been in contact with his old friend John Mack before making those trades. Mack had just stepped down as president of Morgan Stanley and had just flown to Switzerland, where he'd interviewed for a top job at Credit Suisse First Boston, the company that happened to be the investment banker for . . . Heller Financial.

Now, Mack had been on Samberg's case to cut him in on a deal involving a spinoff of Lucent. "Mack is busting my chops" to let him in on the Lucent deal, Samberg told a co-worker.

So when Mack returned from Switzerland, he called Samberg. Samberg, having done no other research on Heller Financial, suddenly decided to buy every Heller share in sight. Then he cut Mack into the Lucent deal, a favor that was worth $10 million to Mack.

Aguirre thought there was clear reason to investigate the matter further and pressed the SEC for permission to interview Mack. Not arrest the man, mind you, or hand him over to the CIA for rendition to Egypt, but merely to interview the guy. He was denied, his boss telling him that Mack had "powerful political connections" (Mack was a fundraising Ranger for President Bush).

But that wasn't all. Morgan Stanley, which by then was thinking of bringing Mack back as CEO, started trying to backdoor Aguirre and scuttle his investigation by going over his head. Who was doing that exactly? Mary Jo White. This is from the piece I mentioned, "Why Isn't Wall Street In Jail?":
It didn't take long for Morgan Stanley to work its way up the SEC chain of command. Within three days, another of the firm's lawyers, Mary Jo White, was on the phone with the SEC's director of enforcement. In a shocking move that was later singled out by Senate investigators, the director actually appeared to reassure White, dismissing the case against Mack as "smoke" rather than "fire." White, incidentally, was herself the former U.S. attorney of the Southern District of New York ? one of the top cops on Wall Street . . .

Aguirre didn't stand a chance. A month after he complained to his supervisors that he was being blocked from interviewing Mack, he was summarily fired, without notice. The case against Mack was immediately dropped: all depositions canceled, no further subpoenas issued. "It all happened so fast, I needed a seat belt," recalls Aguirre, who had just received a stellar performance review from his bosses. The SEC eventually paid Aguirre a settlement of $755,000 for wrongful dismissal.

It got worse. Not only did the SEC ultimately delay the interview of Mack until after the statute of limitations had expired, and not only did the agency demand an investigation into possible alternative sources for Samberg's tip (what Aguirre jokes was like "O.J.'s search for the real killers"), but the SEC official who had quashed the Mack investigation, Paul Berger, took a lucrative job working for Morgan Stanley's law firm, Debevoise and Plimpton, just nine months after Aguirre was fired.

It later came out that Berger had expressed interest in working for the firm during the exact time that Aguirre was being dismissed and the Mack investigation was being quashed. A Senate investigation later uncovered an email to Berger from another SEC official, Lawrence West, who was also interviewing with Debevoise and Plimpton at the time. This is from the Senate report on the Aguirre affair:

The e-mail was dated September 8, 2005 and addressed to Paul Berger with the subject line, "Debevoise.'' The body of the message read, "Mary Jo [White] just called. I mentioned your interest.''

So Berger was passing notes in class to Mary Jo White about wanting to work for Morgan Stanley's law firm while he was in the middle of quashing an investigation into a major insider trading case involving the C.E.O. of the bank. After the case dies, Berger later gets the multimillion-dollar posting and the circle is closed.

Here, a line investigator gets a good lead, it's quickly taken out of his hands and the whole thing is negotiated at 50,000 feet by friends and former co-workers of the top regulators now working at hotshot firms.

If Barack Obama wanted to send a signal that he's getting tougher on Wall Street, he sure picked a funny way to do it, nominating the woman who helped John Mack get off on the slam-dunkiest insider trading case ever to cross an SEC investigator's desk.

When I contacted Gary today, his take on it was simple. "Obama is not going to clean up financial corruption," he said, "by pinning a sheriff's badge on Wall Street's protector-in-chief."

Karen Garcia at Sardonicky always sees (and writes) so clearly. Who could disagree with her judgment?

A Sharp Tool With a Smooth Handle

The Inaugural bullshit is over. Long live the eternal campaign bullshit. It's time to forget about Selma and Seneca Falls and Stonewall. It's time, once again, to dust off the whips and chains and scolds' bridles for the little people, and call them *gifts*. In this week's radio address, your President signals whose side he is really on. (Hint: it ain't yours.) Just pretend you're a fly on the wall in the boardroom of Goldman Sachs, and that he's talking directly to the annual convention of the Plutocratic Mafia. *Hi, everybody. Here in America, we know the free market is the greate... more ?

Charlie Pierce knows where this neoliberalism disguised as progressivism leads.

Right. It's all coming out of our ground (notice the middle east corollary?) and going to China (or the highest bidder).

By Charles Pierce, Esquire

26 January 13

really hate to make the whole morning about the intellectual monkeyhouse that Fred Hiatt's running at The Washington Post, but the paper's lead editorial today, pushing the president to sign off on the Keystone XL pipeline rather forces us to enter the hallways of flung poo one more time. If whoever wrote the editorial knows anything about the pipeline, the toxic gunk that it will carry through virtually the entire continent, and the events surrounding the controversy both nationally, and in the state of Nebraska, it is not evident from the editorial itself, which is little more than a vague infomercial for TransCanada, which plans to build the pipeline, and which is a large energy company and, therefore, unworthy of the benefit of any doubts. I choose to believe that whoever wrote this mess simply was late for a lunch date and tossed it off.
President Obama rejected the Keystone XL oil pipeline this time last year, a result that Canada had every reason to be dismayed by, as did Americans whom the project would have employed. The issue is coming back, and the president has even less reason to nix the project than he did last time.
(Actually, "Canada" is as split over this environmentally calamitous project as we are, and TransCanada, because it is a large energy company, has been lying about the jobs the pipeline would create from the very start of the project. This should give the president pause.)
After years of federal review, there was little question last year that construction of the pipeline, which would transport heavy, oil-like bitumen from Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico coast, should proceed. Thousands of miles of pipeline already crisscross this country. An environmental analysis had concluded that the risks of adding this new stretch were low. An economic review had found that Canada would get its bitumen to the world market - if not via pipeline to the gulf, then very likely by ship to China. Supply would make it to demand, one way or another.

Environmentalists nevertheless made Keystone XL a rallying issue. Among other things, they pointed to disquiet in Nebraska about the pipeline's proposed route, objecting that it would traverse environmentally sensitive areas, such as the state's Sand Hills.
(Regular readers of the blog know of our devotion here to the Oglalla aquifer, which is based on my long-held belief that we can do without having the Gobi Desert recreated between St. Louis and Denver. You will note that the Post here is limiting the "disquiet" in Nebraska to concern about the Sand Hills. This is the same bait-and-switch Governor Dave Heineman pulled the other day when he approved the revised pipeline route that avoids the Sand Hills but still crosses a piece of the aquifer. Also, a good part of the "disquiet" - nice word, Post - in Nebraska was occasioned because TransCanada was granted the power of eminent domain and has every intention of taking people's land away, which would "disquiet" me.)
The election is past, TransCanada has reapplied with a new proposed route, and this week Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman (R) signed off on the plan, following an analysis from the state's Department of Environmental Quality. The regulators found that the new route would avoid the Sand Hills and other areas of concern. Though there is always some risk of spill, they said, "impacts on aquifers from a release should be localized, and Keystone would be responsible for any cleanup." TransCanada will have to buy at least $200 million in insurance to cover any cleanup costs.

(We have discussed Heineman's bait-and-switch already. The survey he relied on is mischaracterized here. The aquifer is certainly an "area of concern," as we have said. And, applied to an energy company, the last two sentences are a joke, as half-a-million pelicans in the Gulf will testify. TransCanada found the $200 million for insurance under the cushions of the sofa.)

Mr. Obama should ignore the activists who have bizarrely chosen to make Keystone XL a line-in-the-sand issue, when there are dozens more of far greater environmental import. He knows that the way to cut oil use is to reduce demand for the stuff, and he has begun to put that knowledge into practice, setting tough new fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks. That will actually make a difference, unlike blocking a pipeline here or there.
(Ah, and now we come to the Post's main point - hippie punching. It has made no serious attempt to address the legitimate environmental concerns regarding tar sands development and its implementation, the legitimate environmental concerns about the pipeline itself, or the legitimate environmental concerns regarding investing any trust in the good faith of an oil company.
All it's really concerned about is that "activists" - to whom it condescends to explain what issues should be of "far greater environmental import" - somehow got in the way of The Way Things Are Supposed To Work. They have inconvenienced the Very Serious People with whom Fred Hiatt lunches between editing George F. Will's latest defense of climate-change denial. That's all the paper has here. The Post's dedication to actual democracy would embarrass the Plantagenets.)
Alas, though, the fix seems to be in. The wheels of the giant Not Giving A Damn machine in our nation's capital seem thoroughly greased. You can tell because the 53 senators - including two utterly useless Democrats - aren't even trying to come up with good lies anymore.
At a news conference Wednesday, senators from both parties said the Nebraska decision leaves Obama with no other choice but to approve the pipeline, which would carry up to 800,000 barrels of oil a day from tar sands in western Canada to refineries in Houston and other Texas ports. The pipeline also would travel though Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma. "No more excuses. It's time to put people to work," Baucus said. "Back home, we call this a no-brainer," added Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. Hoeven, of North Dakota, said the tar sands oil will be produced whether or not the U.S. approves the project. "Our choice is, the oil comes to us or it's going to China," he said.

You're only putting a very few people to work, and that's if you count the strippers. "No-brainer" is not a word Joe Manchin should toss around idly. And Hoeven's just lying. Either that, or he's too stupid to understand the phrase, "the world market." In actual fact, the gunk comes through us to refineries in Texas, whence it's just as likely to go to China as it would be if it sailed there from Vancouver, which it never would because the Canadians aren't as reckless with their land as we are with ours. You can pretend to be with this project because of jobs, or because of a spurious claim of energy independence. But, if you are in favor of this pipeline, and the gunk it will carry, you cannot claim to be serious about climate change. That, Joe, is a no-brainer.

(Charlie has been a working journalist since 1976. He is the author of four books, most recently "Idiot America.")

Source: http://welcome-to-pottersville2.blogspot.com/2013/01/europeans-tax-kings-sharp-tool-obama.html

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Tracking the spread of dengue fever: Domestic networks drive rapid transmission of human infection

Tracking the spread of dengue fever: Domestic networks drive rapid transmission of human infection

Friday, January 25, 2013

The mosquitoes that spread dengue fever tap into the domestic networks of humans, along with their bloodstreams, finds a study recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The data from Iquitos, Peru, shows that the trail of the most rapid transmission of human infections does not lead through large, public gathering places, as might be expected, but from house-to-house, as people visit nearby friends and relatives.

"It's common in a dengue fever outbreak to first treat public places like schools for mosquitoes, but our results show the focus needs to be on residential networks," says disease ecologist Gonzalo Vazquez-Prokopec.

Vazquez-Prokopec and Uriel Kitron, both from Emory University's department of environmental studies, conducted the spatial-temporal analysis as co-authors of the study, led by Steve Stoddard and Thomas Scott from the University of California, Davis. The research is part of a major, ongoing dengue project that also includes scientists from the U.S. Navy; the University of Iowa; Tulane University; San Diego State; and researchers in Peru.

"On a global scale, human air travel is known as a driver of dengue virus circulation, but this is the first time we've quantified the powerful impact of human movement on the small scale of neighborhoods," Vazquez-Prokopec says.

The tropical disease is caused by a virus that is passed from the blood of one person to another through the bites of mosquitoes. Also known as "break-bone fever," dengue causes debilitating pain leading to the hospitalization of many sufferers. Severe cases can be fatal.

"It is vicious, and rapidly growing as a threat," Vazquez-Prokopec says.

During the last 50 years, the incidence of dengue has increased 30-fold and more than half the world's population is now at risk. The World Health Organization estimates that 50-100 million dengue infections occur each year. That number is expected to rise as the climate warms and the trend toward urbanization continues.

During 2009 and 2010, dengue fever emerged for the first time in decades in the contiguous United States, when an outbreak in the Florida Keys led to 93 cases.

The dengue virus is complex and has at least four different serotypes. Each time a person is infected with one serotype, it raises the risk that they will become more severely ill if infected by a different serotype.

"There is no vaccine for dengue. The only way to control outbreaks is to kill the vectors ? mosquitoes," Vazquez-Prokopec says. Many of the places affected have poor public health infrastructure, he adds, so it's critical to identify the most effective places to spray for the insects.

A 2009 outbreak of dengue in Iquitos killed at least 24 people and drove almost 1,000 sufferers to the hospital, where cots had to be set up in stairwells and hallways to handle the flood of patients.

A city of 400,000 located deep in the Amazonian rain forest, Iquitos is essentially an island, only accessible by boat or plane. The city has high unemployment, and the housing is often substandard. Water is stored in open containers in crowded homes that lack air-conditioning, or even window screens. These factors make the homes havens for Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the primary vector for the dengue virus. These mosquitoes feast almost exclusively on human blood, bite during the day, and have a limited flight range of about 100 meters.

To study how the dengue virus spreads through Iquitos, the researchers tracked and mapped outbreak patterns of two large neighborhoods, encompassing hundreds of homes, over several years. When a case of dengue was confirmed through a blood test, social workers would interview the patient, recording all the places the patient went during the 15 days leading up to the onset of fever. Mosquitos were collected from as many of these locations as possible and tested to determine if they carried the virus.

The data from interviews of 2,000 people was plotted over time and space using geographic information systems (GIS) technology.

"People appear to be getting infected most often in homes, but not necessarily their own homes," Vazquez-Prokopec says. "The main driver is people visiting friends and relatives in nearby homes."

Interviews with dengue patients revealed that two-thirds of them had visited the same location.

"We suspect that the importance of human movement that we observed in Iquitos will hold in other populations and for other pathogens transmitted by the mosquitos that spread dengue," Vazquez-Prokopec says. "The findings provide a different way for thinking about how a vector-borne pathogen may spread through a population, and have implications for better disease surveillance and control."


Emory University: http://www.emory.edu

Thanks to Emory University for this article.

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Source: http://www.labspaces.net/126448/Tracking_the_spread_of_dengue_fever__Domestic_networks_drive_rapid_transmission_of_human_infection_

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