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Soyuz capsule docks with space station

Essential News from The Associated Press

AAA??May. 29, 2013?1:11 AM ET
Soyuz capsule docks with space station

The Soyuz-FG rocket booster with Soyuz TMA-09M space ship carrying a new crew to the International Space Station, ISS, blasts off at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Wednesday, May 29, 2013. The Russian rocket carries U.S. astronaut Karen Nyberg, Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, and European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano. (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel)

The Soyuz-FG rocket booster with Soyuz TMA-09M space ship carrying a new crew to the International Space Station, ISS, blasts off at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Wednesday, May 29, 2013. The Russian rocket carries U.S. astronaut Karen Nyberg, Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, and European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano. (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel)

In a photo provided by NASA Expedition 36/37 Soyuz Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin of the Russian Federal Space Agency, top, Flight Engineers Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency, center, and Karen Nyberg of NASA, wave as they board the Soyuz rocket ahead of their launch to the International Space Station, early Wednesday, May 29, 2013, in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. Yurchikhin, Nyberg, and, Parmitano, will remain aboard the station until mid-November. (AP Photo/NASA, Bill Ingalls)

Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, top, and European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano, bottom, crew members of the mission to the International Space Station (ISS), gesture prior to the launch of Soyuz-FG rocket at the Russian leased Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Wednesday, May 29, 2013. (AP Photo/ Kiril Kudryavtsev, Pool)

The Soyuz-FG rocket booster with Soyuz TMA-09M space ship with a new crew to the International Space Station, ISS, stands at the launch pad of the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Wednesday, May 29, 2013. The Russian rocket will carries U.S. astronaut Karen Nyberg, Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, and European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano. (AP Photo/ Kiril Kudryavtsev, Pool)

In this picture taken through a safety glass, Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, crew member of the mission to the International Space Station, ISS, waves a hand during the last preparations prior the launch of their Soyuz-FG rocket at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Tuesday, May 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel)

(AP) ? A Soyuz capsule carrying an American, Russian and Italian successfully docked Wednesday with the International Space Station, where the new crew will spend six months conducting a variety of experiments.

The docking took place at 8:10 a.m. (0210 GMT, 10:10 p.m. EDT) less than six hours after the Russian spacecraft lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, which Russia leases in Kazakhstan.

Live footage provided by NASA TV showed it soaring into the clear night sky. About four minutes later, the announcer said the Soyuz was traveling at 4,700 miles per hour (about 7,500 kilometers per hour).

The cramped capsule carrying NASA's Karen Nyberg, Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin and Italy's Luca Parmitano orbited the Earth four times before docking with the space station.

After docking, two hours passed before pressure equalized between the capsule and the station, allowing safe entry.

The three new arrivals were greeted by NASA's Chris Cassidy and Russians Alexander Misurkin and the station's commander Pavel Vinogradov, who have been aboard the space station since late March.

"It was a pretty cool ride," Nyberg said upon arrival.

Cassidy had shaved his head clean to match Parmitano's look and got a thumbs-up from the Italian.

Yurchikhin, 54, is a veteran of three previous spaceflights, while the 36-year-old Parmitano, a former test pilot, is making his first trip into space. Nyberg, 43, spent two weeks in space in 2008 as part of a U.S. space shuttle crew.

Shortly after their arrival, the incoming team spoke via video link with relatives and officials back in Baikonur. Parmitano's mother wept throughout the chat with her son.

Four spacewalks are planned during the expedition, including what NASA said would be the first by an Italian.

The International Space Station is the biggest orbiting outpost ever built and can sometimes be seen from Earth with the naked eye. It consists of more than a dozen modules built by the United States, Russia, Canada, Japan and the European Space Agency.

Associated Press
People, Places and Companies: Russia

Source: http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/b2f0ca3a594644ee9e50a8ec4ce2d6de/Article_2013-05-29-SCI-Space-Station/id-4b8ce4f3df4647a1973561d11b695b0a

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Cosmic glitch: Astronomers discover new phenomenon in neutron star

May 29, 2013 ? The physics behind some of the most extraordinary stellar objects in the Universe just became even more puzzling.

A group of astronomers led by McGill researchers using NASA's Swift satellite have discovered a new kind of glitch in the cosmos, specifically in the rotation of a neutron star.

Neutron stars are among the densest objects in the observable universe; higher densities are found only in their close cousins, black holes. A typical neutron star packs as much mass as half-a-million Earths within a diameter of only about 20 kilometers. A teaspoonful of neutron star matter would weigh approximately 1 billion tons, roughly the same as 100 skyscrapers made of solid lead.

Neutron stars are known to rotate very rapidly, from a few revolutions per minute to as fast as several hundred times per second. A neutron star glitch is an event in which the star suddenly begins rotating faster. These sudden spin-up glitches have long been thought to demonstrate that these exotic ultra-dense stellar objects contain some form of liquid, likely a superfluid.

This new cosmic glitch was detected in a special kind of neutron star -- a magnetar -- an ultra-magnetized neutron star that can exhibit dramatic outbursts of X-rays, sometimes so strong they can affect Earth's atmosphere from clear across the galaxy. A magnetar's magnetic field is so strong that, if one were located at the distance of the Moon, it could wipe clean a credit card magnetic strip here on Earth.

Now astronomers led by a research group at McGill University have discovered a new phenomenon: they observed a magnetar suddenly rotate slower -- a cosmic braking act they've dubbed an "anti-glitch." The result is reported in the May 30 issue of Nature.

The magnetar in question, 1E 2259+586 located roughly 10,000 light years away in the constellation of Cassiopeia, was being monitored by the McGill group using the Swift X-ray telescope in order to study the star's rotation and try to detect the occasional giant X-ray explosions that are often seen from magnetars.

"I looked at the data and was shocked -- the neutron star had suddenly slowed down," says Rob Archibald, lead author and MSc student at McGill University. "These stars are not supposed to behave this way."

Accompanying the sudden slowdown, which rang in at one third of a part per million of the 7-second rotation rate, was a large increase in the X-ray output of the magnetar, telltale evidence of a major event inside or near the surface of the neutron star.

"We've seen huge X-ray explosions from magnetars before," says Victoria Kaspi, Professor of Physics at McGill and leader of the Swift magnetar monitoring program, "but an anti-glitch was quite a surprise. This is telling us something brand new about the insides of these amazing objects." In 2002, NASA's Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer satellite also saw a large X-ray outburst from the source, but in that case, it was accompanied by a more usual spin-up glitch.

The internal structure of neutron stars is a long-standing puzzle, as the matter inside these stars is subject to forces so intense that they are presently not re-creatable in terrestrial laboratories. The densities at the hearts of neutron stars are thought to be upwards of 10 times higher than in the atomic nucleus, far beyond what current theories of matter can describe.

The reported anti-glitch strongly suggests previously unrecognized behaviour inside neutron stars, possibly with pockets of superfluid rotating at different speeds. The researchers further point out in the Nature paper that some properties of conventional glitches have been noted to be puzzling and suggestive of flaws in the existing theory to explain them. They are hoping that the discovery of a new phenomenon will open the door to renewed progress in understanding neutron star interiors.

The research was funded in part by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, the Fonds de recherche du Qu?bec -- Nature et technologies, the Canada Research Chairs program, the Lorne Trottier Chair in Astrophysics and Cosmology, and the Centre de recherche en Astrophysique du Qu?bec.

Source: http://feeds.sciencedaily.com/~r/sciencedaily/top_news/top_science/~3/o58OduJAT2w/130529130522.htm

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81-year old climber quits Everest attempt

KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) ? An 81-year-old Nepalese man has abandoned his attempt to climb Mount Everest, leaving a Japanese mountaineer with the record as the oldest person to scale the world's highest mountain.

Team member Dame said Wednesday that Min Bahadur Sherchan returned from Everest because weather conditions were worsening late in the spring climbing season for the Himalayas. Sherchan was having financial difficulties and a government grant for his climb only came last week.

Sherchan had held the record until last week when 80-year-old Japanese climber Yuichiro Miura scaled the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) mountain.

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/81-old-climber-quits-everest-attempt-042034005.html

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South Korea shuts more nuclear reactors over fake certificates

By Meeyoung Cho

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea said on Tuesday it was suspending the operations of two nuclear power reactors and extended a shutdown of a third to replace cables that were supplied using fake certificates, threatening power shortages in Asia's fourth-biggest economy.

The government warned there could be "unprecedented" electricity shortages and rolling blackouts this summer due to the nuclear shutdowns. South Korea previously halted the operations of some of its 23 reactors last November after a scandal emerged over parts being supplied using fake documents.

The Asian country is heavily dependent on oil, gas and coal imports, but usually gets about a third of its electricity from nuclear power generation.

"This is a separate case from the last investigation," said Kim Kyun-seop, president & CEO of Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co Ltd, which runs nuclear reactors in South Korea and is owned by state-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp.

The new case relates to forged documents on cables worth 6 billion won ($5.35 million) provided in 2008, Kim and energy ministry officials said, declining to identify the cable producers.

The reactors, which each have a capacity of 1,000 megawatts (MW), would remain closed for about four months, the government said.

Of the three reactors, two are in Kori, about 320 km southeast of the capital Seoul, and one is in Wolsong, about 280 km from Seoul, the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission said.

A fourth newly built nuclear power reactor, also in Wolsong, which is waiting for operational approval, would also have its cable replaced, the statement added.

The emergence of a new scandal will be damaging for authorities and South Korean President Park Geun-hye pledged at a cabinet meeting a thorough investigation.

The energy ministry said it would ask the international nuclear safety evaluation body Tuv Sud to include the latest case in a review of safety at all reactors, which started this week.


The nuclear problems could increase the risk of power shortages in the hot Korean summer when power demand is seasonally high for air conditioning.

The energy ministry warned the worst shortages could occur in August, and it would consider various measures including rolling blackouts and spreading out holidays to curb demand.

"We expect unprecedented supply shortage this summer as we have to meet power demand while three reactors are halted," said Han Jin-hyun, Vice Minister for Trade, Industry and Energy.

He added power saving measures would be unveiled this Friday.

The energy ministry sees power supply this summer at about 77,000 MW, less than 80,000 MW projected before the closure and short of demand projection of 79,000 MW.

Last year, South Korea was forced to take power saving measures to avoid blackouts after it closed two reactors to replace parts supplied with fake certificates and extended the shutdown of another reactor where microscopic cracks were found.

($1 = 1122.3250 Korean won)

(Additional reporting by Se Young Lee; Editing by Ed Davies)

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/south-korea-shuts-more-nuclear-reactors-over-fake-081406744.html

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Twitterific | Mystery Writing is Murder

?by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

Twitterific links are fed into the Writer?s Knowledge Base search engine (developed by writer and software engineer Mike Fleming) which has over 19,000 free articles on writing related topics. It's the search engine for writers. Sign up for our free newsletter for monthly writing tips and interviews with top contributors to the WKB or like us on Facebook. Mike Fleming worked with author and writing coach James Scott Bell to offer an online, interactive, writing program to help make your next novel great. It's called "Knockout Novel" and you can learn more about it at Knockout Novel.com. Big news for BEA--6 top indies have a booth. Is the BEA ready? http://bit.ly/16em6Vl @bellaandre @cjlyonswriter @Porter_Anderson @hughhowey What do authors owe publishers?Ann Patchett's remarks in @thebookseller cause furor: http://bit.ly/12JdgKp @MickRooney7777 @Porter_Anderson


The need for self-pub work to be well-produced--and the associated costs: http://bit.ly/13L23dw @miralsattar @Porter_Anderson A closer look at Amazon's fan fiction program, Kindle Worlds: http://bit.ly/11jgGp4 @flourish @scalzi @Porter_Anderson 11 Ways Stay-at-Home Moms (and Other Busy Folks) Can Find Time to Write: http://bit.ly/10wUfYe @KMWeiland @devtflaherty 3 Storytelling Methods to Improve Your Writing or Speaking: http://bit.ly/10xO5qZ @dennisbrooke @bloggingbistro 10 tips for handling public pressure and online vitriol without losing it: http://bit.ly/10NQ1KG @ajackwriting The Numbers Game: What to do after you've submitted a short story: http://bit.ly/10IDuy6 @amazingstories0 The Five Cornerstones of Dramatic Characterization: http://bit.ly/126xJqK @thecreativepenn @DavidCorbett_CA It's not enough to write the book.? Self-pubbed authors must think about business: http://bit.ly/10EnNTQ @nataliegayle1 Handling conflict in a virtual world (esp. in online writing communities): http://bit.ly/16b9qOE @Jan_Ohara The 3 forces that are shaping 21st century book publishing: scale, verticalization, and atomization: http://bit.ly/13pr1LS @PassiveVoiceBlg 5 Rules For Writing A Murder Mystery: Keeping the Murderer Secret Until The End: http://bit.ly/109anCM @woodwardkaren

Source: http://mysterywritingismurder.blogspot.com/2013/05/twitterific_26.html

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Florida teacher instigated FBI?s two-year investigation of ?Louie Louie?

You probably have at least some knowledge about the Federal Bureau of Investigation?s scrutiny of the ostensibly raunchy lyrics of ?Louie Louie,? the Richard Berry-penned rock song popularized in 1963 by an otherwise obscure band called The Kingsmen.

What you may not know is that person responsible for setting off the investigation ? which, amazingly, lasted two long years ? appears to have been a teacher at Sarasota Junior High School in Florida.

The Smithsonian magazine?s website has the story.

The irate teacher, whose name is frustratingly redacted throughout 119 pages of material at the FBI?s archival website, wrote to then-U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy in 1964 claiming with certainty that the spectacularly indecipherable lyrics of ?Louie Louie? were obscene.

?Who do you turn to when your teen age daughter buys and bring home pornographic or obscene materials being sold along with objects directed and aimed at the teenage market in every City, Village and Record shop in this Nation?? the teacher asks.

?We all know there is obscene materials available for those who seek it, but when they start sneaking in this material in the guise of the latest teen age rock & roll hit record these morons have gone too far.?

The letter ends with this quadruple-question-marked plea: ?How can we stamp out this menace? ? ? ??

The letter-writer explains that he (clues hint at a male author) went to considerable lengths to decode the lyrics ? no doubt listening to the song he thought was obscene dozens and even hundreds of times.

The letter-writer says that the lyrics he concludes he has discovered are so bawdy that he can?t include them with his letter to Robert Kennedy.

Nevertheless, the very next page in the FBI?s archive is a typed version of someone?s stab at it. It?s pretty dirty. The second stanza, as imagined in someone?s fervid mind, goes:

Tonight at ten I?ll lay her again

We?ll fuck your girl and by the way

And?on that chair I?ll lay her there

I felt my bone?ah?in her hair

Later, on page 22 of the FBI collection, someone else takes a similar stab:

At night at 10 I lay her again

Fuck you girl, Oh, all the way

Oh, my bed and I lay her there

I meet a rose in her hair

According to The Smithsonian, here are the actual lyrics in that stanza:

Three nights and days we sailed the sea;

me think of girl constantly.

On the ship, I dream she there;

I smell the rose, in her hair.

FBI agents spent two years analyzing the record and playing it at different speeds, according to the Daily Mail. In the final analysis, the Bureau?s gumshoes could not determine what the words were.

The agents never bothered to get in touch with Jack Ely, the original singer for The Kingsmen, to ask him what he had actually sung, notes The Smithsonian.

Numerous artists have recorded the garage classic since the FBI investigation including Paul Revere & the Raiders, Otis Redding, Motorhead, Black Flag and Young MC.

Almost certainly, the best-ever cover version is the collaboration by the members of the Delta Tau Chi fraternity in the 1978 John Landis movie Animal House.

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Florida teacher instigated FBI's two-year investigation of 'Louie Louie'

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Fireworks between Brit Hume, Juan Williams over Holder's role in FNC-Rosen probe

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/florida-teacher-instigated-fbi-two-investigation-louie-louie-141807646.html

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LEGAL CONCERNS: Try to Maintain a Reasonable Perspective on ...

LEGAL CONCERNS: Try to Maintain a Reasonable Perspective on Criminal?Assaults

Posted by Rick Wolff on May 26, 2013 ? Leave a Comment?


More Thoughts About the Role of Criminal Prosecutions in Preventing Assaults on Youth Sports Officials

By Doug Abrams

?After the recent fatal assault on youth soccer referee Ricardo Portillo in suburban Salt Lake City, last week?s column explained why legislation to criminalize assaults on sports officials remains unnecessary and potentially counter-productive. In every state, a wide array of general-application statutes already criminalizes assaults on any victim, including a sports official. The most effective approach is to enforce these general-application statutes in appropriate cases, and not to enact new statutes whose provisions would tend to duplicate existing law.

To help explain this conclusion, two themes mentioned in last week?s column deserve greater amplification here. First, I wrote that assaults on sports officials sometimes go unprosecuted because law enforcement authorities too often exercise discretion not to arrest, indict or prosecute an assailant.? Second, I suggested that more robust enforcement of criminal laws would likely deter some future assaults on officials. Here I discuss not only the likely reasons for this exercise of discretion, but also the criminal law?s potential for deterrence.?

To maintain proper perspective about antidotes to violence in youth sports, this column concludes with a timely reminder that criminal prosecution should be the last resort, not the first.? The most promising strategy for managing sporadic violence should be education and instruction conducted by youth leagues and interscholastic sports programs, prevention efforts that continue to show much success.??

Reluctance to Enforce

The April 27 assault on Mr. Portillo was unusual because the perpetrator was a player, and not an adult such as a parent or coach. Media reports suggest that nearly all assaults on referees and other officials are committed by adults.?

Prosecutors may resist indicting offending parents or coaches, or may negotiate plea bargains, because winning a conviction can be difficult. ?Except in rare instances when violence is caught on video, the parent or coach need only claim ?self-defense? (?The ref pushed me first?) or provocation (?The ref cussed at me first?) and the case may collapse. The offending adult may have eyewitness friends and allies willing to lie to law enforcement and, if necessary, commit perjury on the witness stand. The case can end as a stalemated ?he said-she said.?

Busy prosecutors also sense that adults charged with youth sports violence tend to make sympathetic defendants because they are usually first-time offenders who hold regular employment.? Aside from their inability sometimes to control themselves in games, they are the kind of people we would be pleased to have as next-door neighbors. Except perhaps where the injury is particularly serious, juries can be sympathetic to adults with clean records who appear contrite for an assault committed in the heat of the moment to defend the perceived interests of their children. And juries often respond to pleas that if the parent or coach lands in prison even briefly, the real loser would be the innocent child at home.

Even when prosecutors do secure a conviction or guilty plea, judges may impose only probation, community service, or some similar sentence that appears like a slap on the wrists. Without a prior criminal record, the defendant may present little likelihood of being a future threat to the community, and not the kind of violent criminal we tend to worry about most.

None of these reasons offers a suitable excuse for under-enforcement or leniency because prosecutors can prevail, and judges can impose meaningful sentences. When prosecutors believe in good faith that proof would support a conviction, they signal social disapproval as much by the charge as by the outcome.


Publicity about prosecutions for assaults on sports officials would likely deter some parents and coaches ? and perhaps many ? from similar behavior. ?In general, the likelihood of deterrence depends on two factors, the nature of the offense and the nature of the offender.

The nature of the offense, by itself, does not hold particular promise in youth leagues because publicized prosecutions are more likely to deter future premeditated crimes than future impulsive crimes of passion. Most assaults on sports officials fall into the second category because I have never heard of a parent or coach who woke up in the morning plotting to attack an official later that day. (Indeed, this lack of premeditation is reportedly what led the Salt Lake City prosecutor to charge Mr. Portillo?s assailant with homicide by assault rather than with murder or manslaughter.)? We cannot count on publicity about criminal prosecutions to deter the sort of unplanned, impulsive behavior that tends to characterize youth sports assaults.

The nature of the offender, however, holds more promise in youth leagues because prosecutions are more likely to deter people who think rationally than people who chronically lack self-control. Despite the usually impulsive nature of attacks on youth sports officials, I suspect that in places where prosecution is a real possibility, publicity does indeed encourage greater self-control in some parents and coaches.?

In youth sports, assaultive adults are normally family people who are trying to earn a living and raise their children, who make good neighbors until the game starts, and who value their jobs and their places in the community. They are not career criminals, and the youth league assault is typically their first brush with the law. Most of all, parents and coaches sense the embarrassment that indictment, prosecution and sentencing would cause them and their families. Word gets around.

Plan A: Adult Education in Youth Sports

As we discuss the criminal process after the Utah homicide, we should not lose perspective.? In youth sports as in other areas of American life, prevention efforts should be the primary anti-violence strategy. Criminal prosecution should be the last resort, reserved for the relatively few persons whose sporadic violence resists efforts to maintain basic standards of civility before anyone strikes a blow. Even with its potential to deter some future acts of violence, prosecution demonstrates breakdown and failure. Someone has already been victimized, and the families of the victim and the perpetrator may suffer life-changing dislocation from legal proceedings. ?

With pre-season parents meetings and generally effective printed materials, youth sports governing bodies and interscholastic sports leagues seek to prevent violence by emphasizing sportsmanship and mutual respect among competitors and their families.? From my years of coaching, I sense that these constructive educational initiatives can create local sports cultures that help insure that outbursts of violence against officials and others remain the exception rather than the rule. Most youth sports parents know right from wrong, and most tend toward civility when leagues, teams, and other parents and coaches lead the way.

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Source: http://askcoachwolff.com/2013/05/26/legal-concerns-try-to-maintain-a-reasonable-perspective-on-criminal-assaults/

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President Obama Heckled During Speeches

Apparently, this is the week to get your two cents in with Obama:

During a speech given at Ohio State University, President Obama had to deal with hecklers, as respect for the position he holds continues to erode in the eyes of those who believe differently. The Commander in Chief had to deal with audience member interruptions one more than one occasion, as one audience member challenged the President to read a book he was holding. The lead video reveals the exchange quite clearly, and Politco.com has also transcribed the exchange:

?Sir, I?m here to speak to these folks. You can hold your own rally. You?re being rude. ? I?m trying to talk to these people? I?ll be happy to read your book. If you want to give me your book, I?ll be happy to read it but don?t interrupt my conversation with these folks. Show me some courtesy. I?ll be happy to take your book, but don?t interrupt everybody else. Alright??

The President then instructed his aides to retrieve the book, and while no one outside of that particular circle will ever truly know what happens to the book (or the hecklers), it appears as if they obliged. As for the additional hecklers, they are unhappy with what?s going on with the Keystone XL project, which Politco describes as:

Obama?s visit to a state [Oklahoma] where he lost all 77 counties four years ago will be to tout TransCanada?s plans to build the southern portion of the Keystone XL that would be intended to relieve a surplus of oil stored here in Cushing down to Texas refineries.

Considering the recent outcry, some may be surprised to find Obama?s approval ratings remain steady.

The President was also heckled during a press conference when he was discussing Guantanamo.

The BBC also has additional footage (non-embeddable) where the President discusses the concepts of the First Amendment with the female heckler, who has been identified as Medea Benjamin an activist and founder of Code Pink, an organization that is firmly against war.

Lead image courtesy

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/WebpronewsTopNewsRssFeed/~3/lK8vIBVslUg/president-obama-heckled-during-speech-at-ohio-state-2013-05

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ITV News, Sun Defend Airing Footage Of Woolwich Suspect

  • A tent is erected near the scene of an attack in Woolwich southeast London Wednesday, May, 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

  • A tent is erected near the scene of an attack in Woolwich southeast London Wednesday, May, 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

  • A tent is erected near the scene of an attack in Woolwich southeast London Wednesday, May, 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

  • A tent is erected near the scene of an attack in Woolwich southeast London Wednesday, May, 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

  • Police close the road on Artillery Place, Woolwich southeast London near the scene where British officials said one person has died and at least two people have been wounded in an attack on Wednesday May 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Nick Ansell/PA)

  • Artillery Place road is closed in Woolwich southeast London near the scene where British officials said one person has died and at least two people have been wounded in an attack on Wednesday May 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Nick Ansell/PA)

  • British forensic officers attend the scene of an apparent attack which has left one man confirmed dead and two people wounded near Woolwich barracks in London Wednesday, May, 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

  • Police at the scene in Woolwich following a major incident in which a man was killed, on May 22, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • Police forensics tents and officers are seen in Woolwich, east London, on May 22, 2013. (LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Scenes of Crime Officers at the scene in Woolwich following a major incident in which a man was killed, on May 22, 2013 in London, England. I (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • Police forensics tents and officers are seen in Woolwich, east London, on May 22, 2013. (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Police forensics tents and officers are seen in Woolwich, east London, on May 22, 2013. (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Police near to the scene in Woolwich following a major incident in which a man was killed, on May 22, 2013 in London, England.(Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • A general view of Woolwich Barracks, near to the scene in Woolwich following a major incident in which a man was killed, on May 22, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • A general view of Woolwich Barracks, near to the scene in Woolwich following a major incident in which a man was killed, on May 22, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • Scenes of Crime Officers at the scene in Woolwich following a major incident in which a man was killed, on May 22, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • Police near to the scene in Woolwich following a major incident in which a man was killed, on May 22, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • Police Treating Major Woolwich Incident As Terrorist Attack

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 22: Police talk to local residents near to the scene in Woolwich, following a major incident in which a man was killed, on May 22, 2013 in London, England. It has been reported that the government and police are treating the attack in Woolwich on a serving soldier as a possible terrorist attack. Police have confirmed that one man has died after being attacked in the street by two men and firearms and knives were involved in the incident. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • Scenes of Crime Officers at the scene in Woolwich following a major incident in which a man was killed, on May 22, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • Police forensics tents and officers are seen in Woolwich, east London, on May 22, 2013. (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/24/itv-news-defends-woolwich-footage_n_3331419.html

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    Salesforce.com's quarterly results disappoint Wall Street

    By Noel Randewich

    (Reuters) - Salesforce.com Inc's quarterly earnings and outlook disappointed investors as costs rise following a spree of acquisitions, sending its shares lower.

    Under Marc Benioff, Salesforce's CEO and founder, the company's fast revenue growth has made it a favorite with investors eager to own part of the growing trend among businesses to outsource their information technology needs - from servers to software, a phenomenon known as cloud computing.

    But Salesforce has struggled to earn consistent profits. Its stock has underperformed the S&P 500 year to date but it still trades at 85 times expected earnings, compared to an average of 17 for its peers.

    During the quarter ending in April, Salesforce's subscription and support costs rose faster than its revenue, pushing its bottom line further into the red.

    Moving beyond "organic" expansion of the company, Salesforce.com made a series of major acquisitions last year that included a $745 million deal for Buddy Media, a social media marketing software company.

    "They're moving from organic to inorganic growth. And inorganic is very expensive," said Bernstein analyst Mark Moerdler. "They're building out lots of sales organizations in lots of different areas."

    Inorganic growth refers to expanding through acquisitions, in contrast to growth of existing business.

    Considered the leader in cloud computing, Salesforce is facing rising competition from Oracle Corp , SAP AG and Microsoft Corp , which are intensely pursuing its customers and making splashy acquisitions to match Salesforce's product offerings.

    Salesforce.com had a first-quarter net loss of $67.7 million or 12 cents a share, compared to a net loss of $19.5 million, or 4 cents a share, in the same quarter last year.

    Salesforce said on Thursday its non-GAAP diluted earnings per share in the first quarter were 10 cents, in line with expectations.

    It said it expects adjusted earnings in the current quarter of 11 or 12 cents, also in line with expectations.

    "The guidance is just in line and we're used to seeing these guys raise," said Pacific Crest Securities analyst Brendan Barnicle. "We see this as a buying opportunity."

    Salesforce.com also said full-year EPS would be between 47 cents and 49 cents, compared to expectations of 49 cents.

    The seller of on-demand business software posted fiscal first-quarter revenue of $893 million, up 28 percent from the previous year.

    It said revenue in the current quarter would be in the range of $931 million to $936 million.

    Analysts on average expected first-quarter revenue of $887 million and current-quarter revenue of $934 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

    Shares of Salesforce.com fell 6.43 percent to $42.75 in extended trade after closing down 0.20 percent at $45.69.

    (Reporting by Noel Randewich; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

    Source: http://news.yahoo.com/salesforce-coms-quarterly-results-disappoint-wall-street-003038456.html

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    HP Q2 2013 financials: $1.1 billion in profits on revenue of 27.6 billion, earnings down 32 percent

    HP just posted its Q2 financial report, and despite somber news of falling profits and revenue, the company managed to beat consensus estimates and the stock has jumped more than 10 percent in after-hours trading. As for concrete figures, HP pulled in $1.1 billion in profit, which is down 32 percent from just one year ago. Revenue of $27.6 billion reveals a similar story, which is down 10 percent year over year.


    Filed under:


    Source: HP

    Source: http://www.engadget.com/2013/05/22/hp-q2-2013-financials/?utm_medium=feed&utm_source=Feed_Classic&utm_campaign=Engadget

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    বৃহস্পতিবার, ২৩ মে, ২০১৩

    Sports ? Penguins rout Senators 7-3, take 3-1 series lead

    OTTAWA ?

    Pittsburgh?s Jarome Iginla and James Neal each scored twice as the Penguins routed the Ottawa Senators 7-3 on Wednesday night to take a 3-1 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal series.

    Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis also scored for Pittsburgh, and Tomas Vokoun made 30 saves. Down 2-1 after the first period, the Penguins scored twice in a 40-second span early in the second and added four goals in the first 10 minutes in the third.

    Milan Michalek, Kyle Turris and Daniel Alfredsson scored for Ottawa. Senators goalie Craig Anderson was benched in the third after Pittsburgh?s sixth goal.

    Game 5 is Friday in Pittsburgh.

    Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

    Source: http://www.japantoday.com/category/sports/view/penguins-rout-senators-7-3-take-3-1-series-lead

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    Practice makes perfect? Not so much

    Tuesday, May 21, 2013

    Turns out, that old "practice makes perfect" adage may be overblown.

    New research led by Michigan State University's Zach Hambrick finds that a copious amount of practice is not enough to explain why people differ in level of skill in two widely studied activities, chess and music.

    In other words, it takes more than hard work to become an expert. Hambrick, writing in the research journal Intelligence, said natural talent and other factors likely play a role in mastering a complicated activity.

    "Practice is indeed important to reach an elite level of performance, but this paper makes an overwhelming case that it isn't enough," said Hambrick, associate professor of psychology.

    The debate over why and how people become experts has existed for more than a century. Many theorists argue that thousands of hours of focused, deliberate practice is sufficient to achieve elite status.

    Hambrick disagrees.

    "The evidence is quite clear," he writes, "that some people do reach an elite level of performance without copious practice, while other people fail to do so despite copious practice."

    Hambrick and colleagues analyzed 14 studies of chess players and musicians, looking specifically at how practice was related to differences in performance. Practice, they found, accounted for only about one-third of the differences in skill in both music and chess.

    So what made up the rest of the difference?

    Based on existing research, Hambrick said it could be explained by factors such as intelligence or innate ability, and the age at which people start the particular activity. A previous study of Hambrick's suggested that working memory capacity ? which is closely related to general intelligence ? may sometimes be the deciding factor between being good and great.

    While the conclusion that practice may not make perfect runs counter to the popular view that just about anyone can achieve greatness if they work hard enough, Hambrick said there is a "silver lining" to the research.

    "If people are given an accurate assessment of their abilities and the likelihood of achieving certain goals given those abilities," he said, "they may gravitate toward domains in which they have a realistic chance of becoming an expert through deliberate practice."


    Michigan State University: http://www.newsroom.msu.edu

    Thanks to Michigan State University for this article.

    This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.

    This press release has been viewed 65 time(s).

    Source: http://www.labspaces.net/128329/Practice_makes_perfect__Not_so_much

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    Amanda Bynes Denied By Private Jet For Lack of ID, Tells Pilot to Google Amanda Bynes

    Source: http://www.thehollywoodgossip.com/2013/05/amanda-bynes-denied-by-private-jet-for-lack-of-id-tells-pilot-to/

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    বুধবার, ১৫ মে, ২০১৩

    Research helps paint finer picture of massive 1700 earthquake

    May 14, 2013 ? In 1700, a massive earthquake struck the west coast of North America. Though it was powerful enough to cause a tsunami as far as Japan, a lack of local documentation has made studying this historic event challenging.

    Now, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania have helped unlock this geological mystery using a fossil-based technique. Their work provides a finer-grained portrait of this earthquake and the changes in coastal land level it produced, enabling modelers to better prepare for future events.

    Penn's team includes Benjamin Horton, associate professor and director of the Sea Level Research Laboratory in the Department of Earth and Environmental Science in the School of Arts and Sciences, along with then lab members Simon Engelhart and Andrea Hawkes. They collaborated with researchers from Canada's University of Victoria, the National Taiwan University, the Geological Survey of Canada and the United States Geological Survey.

    The research was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth.

    The Cascadia Subduction Zone runs along the Pacific Northwest coast of the United States to Vancouver Island in Canada. This major fault line is capable of producing megathrust earthquakes 9.0 or higher, though, due to a dearth of observations or historical records, this trait was only discovered within the last several decades from geology records. The Lewis and Clark expedition did not make the first extensive surveys of the region until more than 100 years later, and contemporaneous aboriginal accounts were scarce and incomplete.

    The 1700 Cascadia event was better documented in Japan than in the Americas. Records of the "orphan tsunami" -- so named because its "parent" earthquake was too far away to be felt -- gave earth scientists hints that this subduction zone was capable of such massive seismic activity. Geological studies provided information about the earthquake, but many critical details remained lost to history.

    "Previous research had determined the timing and the magnitude, but what we didn't know was how the rupture happened," Horton said. "Did it rupture in one big long segment, more than a thousand kilometers, or did it rupture in parcels?"

    To provide a clearer picture of how the earthquake occurred, Horton and his colleagues applied a technique they have used in assessing historic sea-level rise. They traveled to various sites along the Cascadia subduction zone, taking core samples from up and down the coast and working with local researchers who donated pre-existing data sets. The researchers' targets were microscopic fossils known as foraminifera. Through radiocarbon dating and an analysis of different species' positions with the cores over time, the researchers were able to piece together a historical picture of the changes in land and sea level along the coastline. The research revealed how much the coast suddenly subsided during the earthquake. This subsidence was used to infer how much the tectonic plates moved during the earthquake.

    "What we were able to show for the first time is that the rupture of Cascadia was heterogeneous, making it similar to what happened with the recent major earthquakes in Japan, Chile and Sumatra," Horton said.

    This level of regional detail for land level changes is critical for modeling and disaster planning.

    "It's only when you have that data that you can start to build accurate models of earthquake ruptures and tsunami inundation," Horton said. "There were areas of the west coast of the United States that were more susceptible to larger coastal subsidence than others."

    The Cascadia subduction zone is of particular interest to geologists and coastal managers because geological evidence points to recurring seismic activity along the fault line, with intervals between 300 and 500 years. With the last major event occurring in 1700, another earthquake could be on the horizon. A better understanding of how such an event might unfold has the potential to save lives.

    "The next Cascadia earthquake has the potential to be the biggest natural disaster that the Unites States will have to come to terms with -- far bigger than Sandy or even Katrina," Horton said. "It would happen with very little warning; some areas of Oregon will have less than 20 minutes to evacuate before a large tsunami will inundate the coastline like in Sumatra in 2004 and Japan in 2011."

    The research was supported by the National Science Foundation, the United States Geological Survey and the University of Victoria. Simon Engelhart and Andrea Hawkes are now assistant professors at the University of Rhode Island and the University of North Carolina, respectively. Their co-authors were Pei-Ling Wang of the University of Victoria and National Taiwan University, Kelin Wang of the University of Victoria and the Geological Survey of Canada's Pacific Geoscience Centre, Alan Nelson of the United States Geological Survey's Geologic Hazards Science Center and Robert Witter of the United States Geological Survey's Alaska Science Center.

    Source: http://feeds.sciencedaily.com/~r/sciencedaily/top_news/~3/JcRtUeCSUpU/130514190635.htm

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    Untangling the tree of life

    May 15, 2013 ? These days, phylogeneticists -- experts who painstakingly map the complex branches of the tree of life -- suffer from an embarrassment of riches. The genomics revolution has given them mountains of DNA data that they can sift through to reconstruct the evolutionary history that connects all living beings. But the unprecedented quantity has also caused a serious problem: The trees produced by a number of well-supported studies have come to contradictory conclusions.

    "It has become common for top-notch studies to report genealogies that strongly contradict each other in where certain organisms sprang from, such as the place of sponges on the animal tree or of snails on the tree of mollusks," said Antonis Rokas, Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair in Biological Sciences at Vanderbilt University.

    In a study published online May 8 by the journal Nature, Rokas and graduate student Leonidas Salichos analyze the reasons for these differences and propose a suite of novel techniques that can resolve the contradictions and provide greater accuracy in deciphering the deep branches of life's tree.

    "The study by Salichos and Rokas comes at a critical time when scientists are grappling with how best to detect the signature of evolutionary history from a deluge of genetic data. These authors provide intriguing insights into our standard analytical toolbox, and suggest it may be time to abandon some of our most trusted tools when it comes to the analysis of big data sets. This significant work will certainly challenge the community of evolutionary biologists to rethink how best to reconstruct phylogeny," said Michael F. Whiting, program director of systematics and biodiversity science at the National Science Foundation, which funded the study.

    To gain insight into this paradox, Salichos assembled and analyzed more than 1,000 genes -- approximately 20 percent of the entire yeast genome -- from each of 23 yeast species. He quickly realized that the histories of the 1,000-plus genes were all slightly different from each other as well as different from the genealogy constructed from a simultaneous analysis of all the genes.

    "I was quite surprised by this result," Salichos pointed out.

    By adapting an algorithm from information theory, the researchers found that they could use these distinct gene genealogies to quantify the conflict and focus on those parts of the tree that are problematic.

    In broad terms, Rokas and Salichos found that genetic data is less reliable during periods of rapid radiation, when new species were formed rapidly. A case in point is the Cambrian explosion, the sudden appearance about 540 million years ago of a remarkable diversity of animal species, without apparent predecessors. Before about 580 million years ago, most organisms were very simple, consisting of single cells occasionally organized into colonies.

    "A lot of the debate on the differences in the trees has been between studies concerning the 'bushy' branches that took place in these 'radiations'," Rokas said.

    The researchers also found that the further back in time they went the less reliable the genetic data becomes. "Radioactive dating methods are only accurate over a certain time span," said Rokas. "We think that the value of DNA data might have a similar limit, posing considerable challenges to existing algorithms to resolve radiations that took place in deep time."

    The research was supported by National Science Foundation CAREER award DEB-0844968.

    Source: http://feeds.sciencedaily.com/~r/sciencedaily/~3/9F2MAVdoBWs/130515094809.htm

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    Why Is Science Behind a Paywall?

    Scientists? work follows a consistent pattern. They apply for grants, perform their research, and publish the results in a journal. The process is so routine it almost seems inevitable. But what if it?s not the best way to do science?

    Although the act of publishing seems to entail sharing your research with the world, most published papers sit behind paywalls. The journals that publish them charge thousands of dollars per subscription, putting access out of reach to all but the most minted universities. Subscription costs have risen dramatically over the past generation. According to critics of the publishers, those increases are the result of the consolidation of journals by private companies who unduly profit off their market share of scientific knowledge.

    When we investigated these alleged scrooges of the science world, we discovered that, for their opponents, the battle against this parasitic profiting is only one part of the scientific process that needs to be fixed.

    Advocates of ?open science? argue that the current model of science, developed in the 1600s, needs to change and take full advantage of the Internet to share research and collaborate in the discovery making process. When the entire scientific community can connect instantly online, they argue, there is simply no reason for research teams to work in silos and share their findings according to the publishing schedules of journals.

    Subscriptions limit access to scientific knowledge. And when careers are made and tenures earned by publishing in prestigious journals, then sharing datasets, collaborating with other scientists, and crowdsourcing difficult problems are all disincentivized. Following 17th century practices, open science advocates insist, limits the progress of science in the 21st.

    The Creation of Academic Journals

    ?If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.?

    ~ Isaac Newton

    Into the 17th century, scientists often kept their discoveries secret. Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz argued over which of them first invented calculus because Isaac Newton did not publish his invention for decades. Robert Hooke, Leonardo da Vinci, and Galileo Galilei published only encoded messages proving their discoveries. Scientists gained little by sharing their research other than claiming their spot in history. As a result, they preferred to keep their discoveries secret and build off their findings, only revealing how to decode their message when the next man or woman made the same discovery.

    Public funding of research and its distribution in scholarly journals began at this time. Wealthy patrons pooled their money to create scientific academies like England?s Royal Society and the French Academy of Sciences, allowing scientists to pursue their research in a stable, funded environment. By subsidizing research, they hoped to aid its creation and dissemination for society?s benefit.

    Academic journals developed in the 1660s as an efficient way for the new academies to spread their findings. The first started when Henry Oldenburg, secretary of the Royal Society, published the society?s articles at his own expense. At the time, the market for scientific articles was small and publishing a major expense. Scientists gave away the articles for free because the publisher provided a great value in spreading the findings at very little profit. When the journals market became more formal, almost all publishers were nonprofits, often associated with research institutions. Up until the mid 20th century, profits were low and private publishers rare.

    Universities have since replaced academies as the dominant scientific institution. Due to the rising costs of research (think linear accelerators), governments replaced individual patrons as the biggest subsidizer of science, with researchers applying for grants from the government or foundations to fund research projects. And journals transitioned from a means to publish findings to take on the role of a marker of prestige. Scientists? most important qualification today is their publication history.

    Today many researchers work in the private sector, where the profit incentives of intellectual property incentivize scientific discovery.

    But outside of research with immediate commercial applications, the system developed in the 1600s has remained a relative constant. As physicist turned science writer Michael Nielsen notes, this system facilitated ?a scientific culture which to this day rewards the sharing of discoveries with jobs and prestige for the discoverer? It has changed surprisingly little in the last 300 years.?

    The Monopolization of Science

    In April 2012, the Harvard Library published a letter stating that their subscriptions to academic journals were ?financially untenable.? Due to price increases as high as 145% over the past 6 years, the library said that it would soon be forced to cut back on subscriptions.

    The Harvard Library singled out one group as primarily responsible for the problem: ?This situation is exacerbated by efforts of certain publishers (called ?providers?) to acquire, bundle, and increase the pricing on journals.?

    The most famous of these providers is Elsevier. It is a behemoth. Every year it publishes 250,000 articles in 2,000 journals. Its 2012 revenues reached $2.7 billion. Its profits of over $1 billion account for 45% of the Reed Elsevier Group - its parent company which is the 495th largest company in the world in terms of market capitalization.

    Companies like Elsevier developed in the 1960s and 1970s. They bought academic journals from the non-profits and academic societies that ran them, successfully betting that they could raise prices without losing customers. Today just three publishers, Elsevier, Springer and Wiley, account for roughly 42% of all articles published in the $19 billion plus academic publishing market for science, technology, engineering, and medical topics. University libraries account for 80% of their customers. Since every article is published in only one journal and researchers ideally want access to every article in their field, libraries bought subscriptions no matter the price. From 1984 to 2002, for example, the price of science journals increased nearly 600%. One estimate puts Elsevier?s prices at642% higher than industry-wide averages.

    These providers also bundle journals together. Critics argue that this forces libraries to buy less prestigious journals to gain access to indispensable offerings. There is no set cost for a bundle, instead providers like Elsevier structure plans in response to each institution?s past history of subscriptions.

    Source: ?The Economics of Ecology Journals?

    The tactics of Elsevier and its ilk have made them an evil empire in the eyes of their critics - the science professors, library administrators, PhD students, independent researchers, science companies, and interested individuals who find their efforts to access information thwarted by Elsevier?s paywalls. They cite two main objections.

    The first is that prices are increasing at a time when the Internet has made it cheaper and easier than ever before to share information.

    The second is that universities are paying for research that they themselves produced. Universities fund research with grants and pay the salaries of the researchers behind every paper. Even peer review, which Elsevier cites as a major value it adds by checking the validity of papers and publishing only significant and valuable findings, is performed on a volunteer basis by professors whose salaries are paid by universities.

    Elsevier actively responds to each challenge to its legitimacy, refuting point by point and speaking of ?work[ing] in partnership with the research community to make real and sustainable contributions to science.? Deutsche Bank, in an investor analyst report, summarizes Elsevier?s arguments:

    ?In justifying the margins earned, the publishers point to the highly skilled nature of the staff they employ (to pre-vet submitted papers prior to the peer review process), the support they provide to the peer review panels, including modest stipends, the complex typesetting, printing and distribution activities, including Web publishing and hosting. REL [Reed Elsevier] employs around 7,000 people in its Science business as a whole. REL also argues that the high margins reflect economies of scale and the very high levels of efficiency with which they operate.?

    How do their arguments stand up?

    One means of analysis is to compare the value of for profit journals to non-profits. Within ecology, for example, the price per page of a for profit journal is nearly three times that of a non-profit. When comparing on the basis of the price per citation (an indicator of a paper?s quality and influence), non-profit papers do more than 5 times better.

    Source: ?The Economics of Ecology Journals?

    Another is to look at their profit margins. Elsevier?s profit margins of 36% are wellabove the average of 4%-5% for the periodical publishing business. Its hard to imagine that no one could do the centuries old business of publishing papers at lower margins. The aforementioned Deutsche Bank report concludes similarly:

    ?We believe the [Elsevier] adds relatively little value to the publishing process. We are not attempting to dismiss what 7,000 people at [Elsevier] do for a living. We are simply observing that if the process really were as complex, costly and value-added as the publishers protest that it is, 40% margins wouldn?t be available.?

    Libraries point to the high cost of journal subscriptions as a problem. It has been reported as far back as 1998 by The Economist. But now even the world?s wealthiest university cannot afford to purchase access to new scientific knowledge - even though universities are responsible for funding and performing that research.

    No One to Blame but Ourselves

    For critics of private publisher?s monopolization of the journal industry, there is a simple solution: open access journals. Like traditional journals, they accept submissions, manage a peer review process, and publish. But they charge no subscription fees - they make all their articles available free online. To cover costs, they instead charge researchers publication fees around $2,000. (Reviewers not on payroll decide which papers to accept to spare journals the temptation of accepting every paper and raking in the dough.) Unlike traditional journals, which claim exclusive copyright to the paper for publishing it, open access (OA) journals are free of almost all copyright restrictions.

    If universities source the funding for research, and its researchers perform both the research and peer review, why don?t they all switch to OA journals? There have been some notable successes in the form of the Public Library of Science?swell-regarded open access journals. However, current scientific culture makes it hard to switch.

    A history of publication in prestigious journals is a prerequisite to every step on the career ladder of a scientist. Every paper submitted to a new, unproven OA journal is one that could have been published in heavyweights like Science orNature. And even if a tenured or idealistic professor is willing to sacrifice in the name of science, what about their PhD students and co-authors for whom publication in a prestigious journal could mean everything?

    One game changer would be governments mandating that publicly financed research be made publicly available. Every year the United States government provides over $60 billion in public grants for scientific research. In 2008, Congress mandated (over furious opposition from private publishers) that all research funded through the National Institute of Health, which accounts for 50% of government funding of science, be made publicly available within a year. Extending this requirement to all other research financed by the government would go a long way for OA publishing. This is true of similar efforts by the British and Canadian governments, which are in the midst of such steps.

    The Costs of Closed Publishing: The Reinhart-Rogoff Paper

    The controversy over the 2010 paper ?Growth In A Time of Debt,? published by Harvard economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff in the American Economic Review, illustrates some of the problems with the journal system.

    The paper used a dataset of countries? rate of GDP growth and debt levels to suggest that countries with public debts over 90% of their GDP grow significantly slower than countries with more modest levels of debt.

    To the media that covered their findings and the politicians and technocrats that cited it, the message was clear: debt is bad and austerity (reducing government spending) is good. Although they discussed their findings with more nuance, Reinhart and Rogoff obliged Washington by discussing how their findings supported the case for deficit reduction.

    But this past April, a group of researchers from UMass Amherst revealed that the Reinhart-Rogoff paper was wrong. Like many economists, the researchers had been trying unsuccessfully to replicate Reinhart and Rogoff?s findings. Only when the Harvard economists sent them their original dataset and Excel spreadsheet did the UMass team discover why no one could replicate the findings: the economists had made an Excel error. They forgot to include 5 cells of data. Noting this mistake, and the exclusion of a number of years of high debt growth in several countries and a weighting system that they found questionable, the UMass team declared that the effect Reinhart and Rogoff reported disappeared. Instead of contracting 0.1%, the average growth rate of countries with debt over 90% of GDP was a respectable 2.2%.

    The mistake was caught, but for 2 years the false finding influenced policy-makers and informed the work of other economists.

    Bad Incentives>

    Moving to open access journals would expand access to scientific knowledge, but if it preserves the idolization of the research paper, then the work of science reformers is incomplete.

    They argue that the current journal system slows down the publication of science research. Peer review rarely takes less than a month, and journals often ask for papers to be rewritten or new analysis undertaken, which stretches out publication for half a year or more. While quality control is necessary, thanks to the Internet, articles don?t need to be in a final form before they appear. Michael Eisen, co-founder of the Public Library of Science, also notes that, in his experience, ?the most important technical flaws are uncovered after papers are published.?

    People celebrate the discovery of new drugs, theories, and social phenomena. But if we conceptualize science as crossing out a list of possible hypotheses to improve our odds of hitting on the correct one, then experiments that fail are just as important to publish as successful ones.

    But journals could not remain prestigious if they published litanies of failed experiments. As a result, the scientific community lacks an efficient way to learn about disproven hypotheses. Worse, it encourages researchers to cherry pick their data and express full confidence in a conclusion that the data and their gut may not fully support. Until science moves beyond the journal system, we may never know how many false positives are produced by this type of fraud-lite.

    A Scientific Process for the 21st Century

    Although scientists are the cutting edge, there are many instances of missed opportunities to make the process of science more efficient through technology.

    As part of our look at academic journals and the scientific process, we talked with Banyan, a startup whose core mission is open science. A surprisingly illuminating moment was when we learned how much low hanging fruit is out there. ?We want to go after peer review,? CEO Toni Gemayel told us. ?Lots of people still print their papers and [physically] give them to professors for review or put them in Word documents that have no software compatibility.?

    Banyan recently launched a public beta version of their product - tools that allow researchers to share, collaborate on, and publish research. ?The basis of the company,? Toni explained, ?is that scientists will go open source if given simple, beneficial tools.?

    Physicist turned open science advocate Michael Nielsen is an eloquent voice on what new tools facilitating an open culture of sharing and collaboration in science could look like.

    One existing tool that he advocates expanding upon is arXiv, which allows physicists to share ?preprints? of their papers before they are published. This facilitates feedback on ongoing work and disseminates findings faster. Another practice he advocates - publishing all data and source code used in research projects along with their papers - has long been called for by scientists and could be accomplished within the journal framework.

    He also imagines new tools that don?t yet exist. A system of wikis, for example, that allow scientists to maintain perfectly up to date ?super-textbooks? on their field for reference by their fellow researchers. Or an efficient system for scientists to benefit from the expertise of scientists in other fields when their research?gives rise to problems in areas? in which they are not experts. (Even Einstein needed help from mathematicians working on new forms of geometry to build his General Theory of Relativity.) For a full account of his proposals, see his excellent essay, ?The Future of Science.?

    But none of these ideas are likely to take off on a mass scale until scientists have clear incentives to contribute to them. Since publication history is all too often the sole metric by which a scientist?s work is judged, a scientist who primarily assembles data sets for others to use or maintains a public wiki of meta-knowledge of the field will not progress in his or her career.

    Addressing this issue, Toni references the open spirit amongst coders working on open-source software. ?There?s no reward system right now for open science. Scientists? careers don?t benefit from it. But in software, everyone wants to see your GitHub account.?

    Talented coders who could make good money freelancing often pour hours of unpaid work into open-source software, which is free to use and adapt for any purpose. On one hand, many people do so to work on interesting problems and as part of an ethos of contributing to its development. Thousands of companies and services (including Priceonomics?s price guides) would simply not exist without the development of open-source software.

    But coders also benefit personally from open-source work because the rest of the field recognizes its value. Employers look at their open-source work via their GitHub accounts (by publicly showing their software work, it can effectively function as a resume), and people generally respect the contributions people make via open-source projects and sharing valuable tips in blog posts and comments. It?s the exact type of open pursuit that you would expect in science. But we see it more in Silicon Valley because it is valued and benefits people?s careers.

    Disrupting Science

    ?The process of scientific discovery ? how we do science ? will change more over the next 20 years than in the past 300 years.?

    ~ Michael Nielsen

    The current model of publicly funding research and publishing it in academic journals was developed during the days of Isaac Newton in response to 17th century problems.

    Beginning in the 1960s, private companies began to buy up and unduly profit off the copyrights they enjoyed as the publishers of new scientific knowledge. This has caused a panic among cash-strapped university libraries. But the bigger problem may be that scientists have not fully utilized the Internet to share, collaborate, and invent new ways of doing science.

    The impact of this failure is ?impossible to measure or put an upper bound on,? Toni told us. ?We don?t know what could have been created or solved if knowledge wasn?t paywalled. What if Tim Berners-Lee had put the world wide web behind a paywall. Or patented it??

    Advocates of open science present a strong case that the idolization of publishing articles in journals has resulted in too much secrecy, too many false positives, and a slowdown in the rate at which scientific discoveries are made. Only by changing the culture and incentives among scientists can a system of openness and collaboration be fostered.

    The Internet was created to help scientists share their research. It seems overdue that scientists take full advantage of its original purpose.

    This post was written by Alex Mayyasi for Priceonomics.com.

    Source: http://gizmodo.com/why-is-science-behind-a-paywall-504647165

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    US senator probing why IRS revealed mistakes at lawyer meeting

    By Patrick Temple-West

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The decision by the IRS to reveal to a small room of tax lawyers last week that it had targeted conservative groups is now itself the subject of a Congressional inquiry.

    In a letter Tuesday to Steven Miller, acting commissioner of the IRS, Iowa Republican Senator Charles Grassley asked for all records relating to the decision to reveal its mistakes at a meeting on Friday of an American Bar Association committee instead of to Congress.

    Lois Lerner, the IRS director of Tax Exempt Organizations, "revealed this bombshell" at a lawyers conference "prior to informing Congress, despite multiple Congressional requests for information about these practices," he wrote.

    "An IRS official apologized for activities the IRS previously denied," Grassley said in a comment released by his office. "She explained the activities in a detailed way. Why now and why at a conference instead of to Congress?"

    Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland also criticized the agency on Tuesday for failing to disclose the news to the Appropriations Committee she chairs before "news outlets began reporting" about it.

    On Monday, an agency statement said the IRS specifically wanted to reveal the information in that forum because it knew a report from the IRS Inspector General was about to be released.

    "The ABA Tax Section conference was an important meeting for a key part of the Exempt Organization community" and it was "important" for members to "hear first-hand that we made mistakes in handling the process."

    Lerner revealed that the agency had singled out Tea Party and conservative groups for scrutiny of their tax-exempt status in a windowless room at a Washington hotel on Friday in response to what appeared at first glance to be a casual question from a member of the ABA Tax Section's Committee on Exempt Organizations.

    It allowed the news to get out in a friendly setting of professional colleagues who did not have a chance to follow up instead of in a rowdy news conference or a hostile Congressional committee-room.

    But it later turned out to be not as casual as it seemed.

    The agency had three press officers on hand to field questions from a handful of reporters who were present.

    The question itself came from a long-time professional colleague of Lerner's, Celia Roady, a Washington tax lawyer at the firm of Morgan Lewis who served on the agency's Advisory Committee on Tax-Exempt and Government Entities for a two year term starting in 2010 and has attended numerous professional conferences with Lerner.

    In a brief telephone interview Monday, Roady said she was "as stunned as anybody to get a response" to her question.

    But she declined to comment when asked how it was she happened to ask the question in the first place, referring Reuters to the IRS, which also declined to elaborate.

    While the agency statement said that officials knew a critical Inspector General's report on the subject was due for release, most likely the following week, Lerner's answer to Roady's question made no mention of an inspector general's report.

    It took the form of an apology, ultimately generating a first round of headlines that said "IRS apologizes."

    Since then, members of Congress from both parties condemned the agency practice and have called for investigations and resignations. President Barack Obama on Monday called the practice "outrageous."

    Given the Congressional backlash that ensued, any hope by the IRS to mitigate damage with its tax conference roll-out flopped, said Eric Dezenhall, who has been a crisis public relations specialist in Washington for almost 30 years.

    "They made a bet that this would be the quietest way to roll it out," he said of the IRS strategy. "It didn't work."

    The IRS's approach put it in a weak position to fend off Congressional criticism, said Scott Talan, a communications professor at American University.

    To mitigate damage going forward, IRS officials need to "explain what was going on and what corrective actions will be taken ahead," he added.

    (Editing by Fred Barbash; Reporting By Patrick Temple-West. Editing by Andre Grenon)

    Source: http://news.yahoo.com/us-senator-probing-why-irs-revealed-mistakes-lawyer-212310017.html

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