четверг, 15 марта 2012 г.


AMERICAN PREMIER DEAL: American Premier Underwriters Inc., acash-rich insurance company that is 59.6 percent-owned by AmericanFinancial Corp., said today it will acquire the parent company in astock merger. Under the definitive agreement, American Premier willoffer American Financial shareholders 28.6 million common shares ofan entity that will be created to own both companies. Eachoutstanding American Premier common share would be converted into onecommon share of the new entity, called American Premier Group Inc.The new holding company would in effect buy the 18.7 million or 40.4percent of American Premier common shares now owned by AmericanFinancial. CAT IN VIETNAM: …

Summary Box: Heineken says 3Q profit measure rose

BEER MONEY: The Dutch brewer Heineken NV said a measure of profitability rose more than 10 percent in the third quarter on a mix of cost savings, volume growth in Asia and Africa and price increases. It did not provide figures and the measure cited excludes exceptional items and amortization costs.


French defense chief: no new troops to Afghanistan

French Defense Minister Herve Morin says French troops already in Afghanistan could be used to train the Afghan military, but Paris has no intention of sending new contingents to bolster the NATO mission there.

Morin says France already is doing enough in Afghanistan.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told journalists after …

среда, 14 марта 2012 г.

Summer of '87; Remembering a momentous month of bombshells on the broadcast beat

OK, I'll admit it: The dog days of August typically are theslowest time of the year on the broadcast beat -- and this year'sbeen no exception.

But it was a totally different story 20 years ago, with such bigevents as the launch of Chicago's fifth television news operationand its first "New Age" format radio station competing for headlineswith the early retirement of a legendary "Superjock" and the deathof the Fairness Doctrine.

With the luxury of hindsight, here are the highlights of August1987 -- a pivotal month in local television and radio history:

- Credit a world-class general manager, Al DeVaney, and atrustworthy news director, Greg Caputo, with …

Grub Street



There's a primal voyeurism to peering behind the ritualistic staging area of public dining. The price of being nosy, though, more often than not, is disenchantment. George Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London remains the sordid pinnacle of the restaurant and resort tell-all genre. His descriptions of grubby fingers arranging prettily presented plats will inspire you to consider eating at home-forever.

In the wake of Anthony Bourdain's surprise best seller Kitchen Confidential, this season offers an all-you-can-eat pig-out of foodie lit. Sirio: The Story of My Life and Le Cirque (Wiley) is Sirio …

FBI: Hate crime down in 2007 but anti-gay crime up

Hate crime incidents decreased slightly last year, despite a surge in crimes targeting gays and lesbians.

The FBI reported more than 7,600 hate crime incidents in 2007, down about 1 percent from last year. The decline was driven by decreases in the two largest categories of hate crimes _ crimes against race and religion.

But prejudice against sexual orientation, the third-largest category, increased about 6 percent, the report found.

The FBI report does not compare its data from one year to the next because the number of law enforcement agencies participating in the annual count varies from year to year. More agencies contributed to the 2007 …

Community briefs

5 on 5 tournament

Generation Charleston will sponsor a 5 on 5 invitationalbasketball tournament on Kanawha Boulevard near Magic Island onSaturday.

The event is part of the West Virginia Games to be held that dayby the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau

The entry fee for the tournament is $150, and proceeds willbenefit Generation Charleston.

For more information, visit www.thewvgames.com.

Cow Run Day

The annual Cow Run Day will be Saturday at the Jackson CountyJunior Fairgrounds in Cottageville.

The event is always on the Saturday before Labor Day and featuresfood and music.

The event began in 1983 when the …

Second Captive Briton Apologizes to Iran

TEHRAN, Iran - A captive Royal Marine was shown in new TV footage Friday apologizing for being in Iranian waters, and Tehran made public a third letter supposedly written by the only woman prisoner among 15 Britons seized by Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

Britain sharply denounced Iran over the treatment of the captives - a clear sign both sides were hardening their stance as the crisis entered its second week.

Iran appeared intent on sending a message of strength as it faces mounting U.N. Nations sanctions over its uranium enrichment program, which the U.S. and other nations suspect the Islamic Republic is using to develop nuclear weapons.

Underlining Iran's …

$68 million mystery: Who's behind college gifts?

It's the question on everyone's lips in philanthropy: Who is the mysterious donor giving away millions of dollars to at least a dozen colleges across the country?

A circle of successful businesswomen? A publicity-shy (or playful) billionaire? Oprah?

What's so unusual is that not even the colleges themselves know the answer. But the parlor game is afoot, with only one real clue: So far, all the colleges are led by women.

Coincidence? Unlikely. With about 23 percent of U.S. college presidents women, the odds of a dozen randomly selected institutions all having female leaders are 1 in 50 million.

Melissa Berman, president and chief …

Suspect nabbed at WLS after hiding for 40 hrs.

Police charged John Fidel Kane with armed robbery, aggravatedassault, criminal trespass to a building and criminal damage to abuilding after capturing him Monday morning in the WLS building, 190N. State.

He's scheduled to appear in Branch 42 Violence Court thismorning.

Kane, 28, hid from police for almost 40 hours over the weekendin the WLS building before being captured in a closet.

He fled to the building after he allegedly robbed Lou Malnati'sPizza Restaurant, 439 N. Wells, Saturday. Kane's brother, James, 31,was captured and charged with armed robbery. The two made off with$6,000 from the restaurant, police said.

Kane apparently entered …

Heavy rain wipes out practice at Edmonton Indy

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Heavy rain has wiped out the first day of practice at the Edmonton Indy.

Track and IndyCar officials said large pools of water on the 2.6-mile, 13-turn circuit Friday made the course too dangerous.

Officials will try to cram in practice …

Top record labels: artists, market share

Here's a look at the top record labels, their artists and their U.S. market share as of Oct. 9:

_ UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP: 35.12 percent market share in U.S.

Labels include: Geffen Records, Island Def Jam Music Group, Motown Records, Verve Music Group, Decca Music Group.

Artists include: Gwen Stefani, Elton John, Jimi Hendrix, Kanye West, Shania Twain.

_ SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT INC.: 22.79 percent market share.

Labels include: Arista Records, Columbia Records, Jive Records, RCA Records.

Artists …

Pakistani Troops Seize Red Mosque

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Pakistani troops seized Islamambad's Red Mosque on Tuesday and attempted to flush out the remaining militants entrenched inside a women's religious school in fierce fighting that left at least 50 militants and eight soldiers dead, the army said.

The troops stormed the mosque compound before dawn. Eight hours later, they were still trying to root out the well-armed defenders said to be holding about 150 hostages. Officials said at least 50 women were allowed to go free from the complex. Some 26 children had earlier escaped.

Clashes this month between security forces and supporters of the mosque's hardline clerics prompted the siege. The religious extremists had been trying to impose Taliban-style morality in the capital through a six-month campaign of kidnappings and threats. At least 67 people have been killed since July 3.

Amid the sounds of rolling explosions, commandos attacked from three directions about 4 a.m. and quickly cleared the ground floor of the mosque, army spokesman Gen. Waheed Arshad said. Some 20 children who rushed toward the advancing troops were brought to safety, he said.

Two dozen others fleeing were captured by security forces, Arshad said, without giving further details about those trapped inside. Another military official, who spoke on condition of anonimity because he was not authorized to talk to the press, later said that 51 militants had surrendered or been captured.

The officer said troops had cornered the mosque's chief cleric, Abdul Rashid Ghazi, in the basement of the school but held back from an all-out assault because a number of children were being held there as hostages.

Troops demanded four times that he surrender but his followers responded with gunfire and Ghazi said he was ready to die rather than give up, the officer said.

The government, eager to avoid a bloodbath that would damage President Gen. Pervez Musharraf's embattled administration, had earlier said it would not storm the mosque so long as women and children remained inside.

The mosque itself has been cleared of the militants - who are armed with machine guns, rocket launchers and gasoline bombs. They put up tough resistance from the basement of the mosque, Arshad said, adding rebels also fired from minarets and booby trapped some areas. "Those who surrender will be arrested, but the others will be treated as combatants and killed," he said.

Pakistan's Religious Affairs Minister Mohammed Ijaz ul-Haq - quoting the mosque's leader - said foreign militants were among the defenders. He did not give the numbers or their nationalities.

The assault began minutes after a delegation led by a former prime minister left the area declaring that efforts to negotiate a peaceful end to a week-old siege had failed.

An associate of the mosque's chief cleric, Abdul Rashid Ghazi, told the private Geo Television network that troops had seized the mosque but that resistance was continuing from inside the religious school.

The assault was signaled by blasts and gunfire. About three and a half hours after the assault started, Arshad said 50 to 60 percent of the complex had been "cleared" but resistance continued in "various places."

Some 40 militants had been killed and between 15 to 20 had been wounded. Arshad said three special forces commandos were also killed and 15 wounded.

Ghazi told Geo TV that his mother had been wounded by gunshot. There was no immedidate official confirmation of his claim but one of Ghazi's aides, Abdul Rahman, later said she had died.

"The government is using full force. This is naked aggression," he said. "My martyrdom is certain now."

He said that about 30 militants were resisting security forces but were only armed with 14 AK-47 assault rifles.

As the fighting roiled on, emergency workers at an army cordon waiting for access to the compound. Women police officers were on standby to handle any female survivors or casualties.

A senior civilian official said troops had arrested dozens of people inside the compound and that part of the madrassa had caught fire. The official requested anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to media.

Tuesday attack followed a botched commando raid on the high-walled mosque compound over the weekend.

On Monday, Musharraf assigned ex-premier Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain to try and negotiate a peaceful end to the standoff.

But Hussain and a delegation of Islamic clerics returned crestfallen from the mosque before dawn Tuesday after about nine hours of talks with rebel leader Abdul Rashid Ghazi via loudspeakers and cell phones.

"We offered him a lot, but he wasn't ready to come on our terms," Hussain told reporters waiting at the edge of the army cordon.

Rehmatullah Khalil, a senior cleric who was part of a 12-member delegation of mediators, accused Musharraf of sabotaging a draft agreement to end the siege.

He said Hussain had prepared an agreement under which Ghazi was to be briefly held in protective custody, and the government would agree to free the students. Only those being sought by police were to be detained.

"We were happy and hoping that the nation will hear a good news, but the government changed almost all clauses of the draft agreement," he told The Associated Press. "We were stunned on seeing changes in the draft agreement, and we don't know why the government did so."

"The government is responsible for today's bloodshed."

Hussain rejected the claim that the president's office had made changes to the draft.

"No this is not correct," he said.

Ul-Haq said the negotiations broke down on the issue of what would happen to foreign militants within the compound.

The minister said that during the talks, Ghazi suddenly asked what would happen to the foreign militants. The government side, he said, responded that they would be dealt with according to the law.

"On hearing it, Ghazi stopped the telephone conversation," ul-Haq said.

He said it was the first time that Ghazi acknowledged that foreign militants were present inside the mosque.

Several loud explosions were heard just as the vexed looking delegates were getting into their cars and sporadic shooting was also heard.

About two dozen relatives of people trapped inside the complex waited anxiously at the army cordon during the assault.

The government has said wanted terrorists are organizing the defense of the mosque, while Ghazi has accused security forces of killing scores of students.

In his comments on Tuesday, Ghazi said he had offered to show the mediators that they had no heavy weapons, foreign militants or other wanted people inside the mosque.

The siege has given the neighborhood the look of a war zone, with troops manning machine guns behind sandbagged posts and from the top of armored vehicles.

It has also sparked anger in Pakistan's restive northwest frontier. On Monday, 20,000 tribesmen, including hundreds of masked militants wielding assault rifles, held a protest in the frontier region of Bajur.

Many chanted "Death to Musharraf" and "Death to America" in a rally led by Maulana Faqir Mohammed, a cleric wanted by authorities and who is suspected of ties to al-Qaida No. 2 leader Ayman al-Zawahri.


Associated Press writers Zarar Khan and Sadaqat Jan in Islamabad and Habibullah Khan in Khar contributed to this report.

вторник, 13 марта 2012 г.

AP Interview: Kennedy's new focus is neuroscience

WOONSOCKET, R.I. (AP) — Patrick Kennedy retired from Congress in January, but on a recent evening in a veteran's hall here, he sounded like he was still running for office as he spoke about the plight of troops traumatized by war.

"A lot of these veterans come home now and they're prisoners of their war injuries," he told a small group of veterans who nodded in assent. "That's not the American way. We don't leave our people behind."

In a sense, the eight-term Rhode Island Democrat and 43-year-old son of the late Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy is still on the campaign trail, although not for any partisan cause. This month, he and a group of top neuroscientists launch an initiative called One Mind for Research to improve funding and unify research efforts in brain science.

He says it's a quest that's relevant to every American: military troops with rising suicide rates, children whose parents have Alzheimer's disease, parents whose children have autism, anyone with a friend or family member suffering from epilepsy, depression, Parkinson's disease or addiction.

May 25 is the 50th anniversary of the call made by his uncle, President John F. Kennedy, to send a man to the moon, and the group will commemorate that speech with a three-day invitation-only conference in Boston at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Massachusetts General Hospital. Vice President Joe Biden will deliver the keynote address.

The group, which also includes representatives from government, advocacy groups and the pharmaceutical industry, will release a 10-year plan for neuroscience to sketch out goals in areas from genetics to stem cells to connectomics — the science of mapping neural connections in the brain — and in making scientific data and research free and accessible. They hope to raise $5 billion from philanthropists in that period, as well as secure an additional $1 billion in federal funding.

Kennedy calls the brain the last medical frontier for discovery, and is calling for a new "moonshot to inner space" to spark the same spirit of idealism that captured the nation's imagination as the call for lunar exploration did.

"Instead of us going to outer space, let's go to inner space," he told The Associated Press. "This is a fundamental moment for us as a nation to determine whether this is something that we're up to the task of tackling."

During his congressional tenure, Kennedy made mental health advocacy his signature cause, pushing through a bill that required insurance companies to treat mental health on an equal basis with physical illnesses.

He speaks about the issue in personal terms. His aunt, Rosemary Kennedy, was mentally disabled and spent most of her life in an institution. His uncle, Sargent Shriver, had Alzheimer's. His father died in 2009 of brain cancer, an illness that "affected his whole being," Kennedy says. He credits science with helping his father live an extra year, time he says was the best he ever spent with his father.

Kennedy himself has experienced very public struggles with addiction and depression. He has been in and out of rehab since high school, including several times while serving in Congress. Kennedy told the AP his life in Congress was "antithetical to good sobriety," and that his recovery is going well.

He attributes that partly to being able to step out of the relentless spotlight that comes with being a Kennedy and establish a personal life. He is now engaged to 32-year-old middle school social studies teacher Amy Petitgout, and has moved to New Jersey to live with her and her 3-year-old daughter from a previous marriage, Harper. They plan to marry in mid-July at the Kennedy family compound in Hyannis, Mass., and Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer will officiate, he said.

He also starts a two-year visiting fellowship at Brown University's Institute for Brain Science this summer.

But his life's work is now the One Mind for Research campaign. Advancing our knowledge about how the brain works is fundamentally an issue of national security, he argues. He calls brain injuries the signature wounds of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, whether they are physical trauma or post-traumatic stress from living for months with the threat of IEDs and the chaos of war, and he says too many military members are suffering lifelong disabilities without effective treatments.

"The end result is a failure of massive proportion," he said.

Campaign participants say the nation needs a renewed focus on neuroscience, especially now, when the tools and technologies have made huge leaps but effective treatments for many psychiatric and other disorders are still elusive. Federal funding for research has not kept up with the need, and pharmaceutical companies are moving away from neuroscience, said Jerrold Rosenbaum, chief of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Susan G. Amara, chair of neurobiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and president of the 41,000-member Society for Neuroscience, said many researchers are feeling stressed and demoralized about having insufficient money to fully explore questions about the brain. Kennedy's passion and understanding of the issues will help bring scientists, government and the public on board, she said.

"He has this ability to make things much more personal and to really relate what it is and why it's important to do these kinds of things," she said.

Steven Hyman, the Harvard University's provost and a neurobiologist who oversaw the development of the 10-year plan, said Kennedy has galvanized the scientific community.

The people affected are also taking notice. Joseph Nadeau, an Air Force veteran of the Korean War and commander of a Woonsocket VFW group, called Kennedy's work an inspiration for people like him who work with veterans.

"He's a hero to the families who receive these afflicted, traumatized individuals," Nadeau said.

Kennedy acknowledges it may be impossible to try to change things as much as he'd like to, but says he's heartened that everyone he asks to be involved has signed on.

"There's no Republican or Democrat in terms of the urgency of the brain," he said. "This investment in neuroscience will pay more dividends to our families and our countrymen than anything else we can make."


Michelle R. Smith can be reached at http://twitter.com/MRSmithAP.

State news agency says casualties reported after earthquake in southwest China

BEIJING (AP) — State news agency says casualties reported after earthquake in southwest China.

Aircrew making date for reunion ; Letters

ALL ranks from RAF, WAAF and WRAF or next of kin who served atRAF St Eval are invited to join the RAF St Eval Coastal CommandAssociation. We have two reunions every year, in April and Septemberand two newsletters, in January and July.

Information regarding these is available from me on 01925 755556,Peter Salisbury on 01460 61291 or Ken Wilson on 0151 424 3263.

Raymond Massey www.raf-steval-cc-association.co.uk

Campos not enough // Mexican goalie can't ignite Fire

M'stars 1 Fire 0 Jorge Campos' first game for the Fire wascolorful, but not rewarding.

Mexico's national team goalkeeper was the focal point forthe 86 minutes he spent in goal and the four he spent as a fieldplayer Friday night, but the Fire still absorbed its third straight1-0 loss before 24,661 at Soldier Field.

This one was administered by the New York/New JerseyMetroStars, who came into the game 0-3 and without Tab Ramos andMarcelo Vega, two of their top players.Ramos is recovering from knee surgery. Vega, a Chilenational team member, hasn't reported. Goalkeeper Tony Meola,however, notched his 15th career shutout - a Major League Soccerrecord."We're clearly a frustrated group," Fire coach Bob Bradleysaid. "Going three games without a goal is disappointing. In otherways, our overall play was OK, but that doesn't mean anything if youcan't convert it into goals."The game produced the first victory for MetroStars' headcoach Alfonso Mondelo, Bradley's first choice as his assistant coach.Mondelo rejected an offer from the Fire to stay in his native NewYork, and the MetroStars later hired him.Campos' presence helped the Fire draw the third-bestsecond-game home crowd for any of Major League Soccer's 12 teams, butthat was small consolation. Fire general manager Peter Wilt washopeful for 20,000, which seemed conservative after 36,444 showed forits first home game two weeks ago without Campos.The goalkeeper's preparation for his first Fire appearanceleft something to be desired. Campos was was supposed to bring hisown uniforms, but reportedly gave them to youngsters in Los Angelesearlier in the week. He picked up bright yellow jersey and shorts atNike Town Friday morning. The jersey was a Brazil field uniform witha Fire patch sewn over the logo, and the shorts were University ofMichigan style without lettering.Campos also wasn't prepared for an early free kick by theMetroStars.Kerry Zavagnin hit it in the 14th minute and found AlexiLalas unmarked and boring in on Campos. With no defender to help,the 5-6 Campos challenged the 6-3 Lalas on a header, and it was nocontest. Lalas headed the ball into an open net, giving theMetroStars the first goal for the first time in their four matches."I came over a little late, and Lalas was able to get it overme," Campos said.Jorge Salcedo, a Fire midfielder, called it "a fluke goal"and criticized the MetroStars' defensive style after it was scored."They didn't come to play," Salcedo said. "They snuck outwith a win that they shouldn't have." The MetroStars set a teamrecord with 29 fouls.Lalas, a defender on the United States national team in histhird MLS season, predicted Campos will help the Fire as soon as he'savailable full-time. "He'll help them on and off the field," Lalassaid. "I'd pay money to see him."The MetroStars' scoring play was similar to the one thatbeat the Fire in San Jose on Saturday. Only the personnel wasdifferent. San Jose's Ronald Cerritos challenged for a head ballwith Zach Thornton in the Fire net and defender C.J. Brown also nearthe play. Cerritos headed over Thornton.Lalas had an easier opportunity. No defender was near him.Francis Okaroh was assigned to cover him, but he had fouled EduardoHurtado to set up the free kick.Lubos Kubik, who had been guarding (marking) Hurtado, switchedto Lalas. "But he couldn't keep up with him," Bradley said.The Fire had more shots (17-8), more shots on goal (4-2),more possessions in the box (21-7) and more possession time (62percent to 38 percent). Still, the first-year team fell below .500for the first time. Campos, who has yet to practice with histeammates, wasn't fazed."The team is very well structured," he said. "I'm happy tobe with the team. Unfortunately, the goal didn't fall for us. Butwe have a good future. The team will come together."

Stocks stage afternoon rally; Gold plunges $104

NEW YORK (AP) — A late afternoon surge pushed stocks higher for the third day straight. The Dow Jones industrial average finished with a gain of 144 points Wednesday, but only after veering much of the day from gains to losses and back again.

Gold plunged $104 an ounce and government bond yields rose as investors became less fearful.

An encouraging rise in orders for cars, aircraft and other long-lasting goods in July helped ease worries that the U.S. was headed for another recession. The government said durable goods orders rose 4 percent, the biggest increase since March. Orders fell in June.

The stock market spent most of the day looking like a driver given bad directions. The Dow headed lower at the start of trading, turned up 115 points by 10 a.m., then pulled another U-turn and was down 48 points shortly after midday.

Near the end of the day, the Dow retraced its route and rose steadily in the last 90 minutes of trading to end up 143.95 points, or 1.3 percent, at 11,320.71. The Dow had surged 322 points the day before, the biggest gain since Aug. 11.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 15.25 points, or 1.3 percent, to 1,177.60. The Nasdaq rose 21.63, or 0.9 percent, to 2,467.69.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note jumped to 2.29 percent from 2.15 percent late Tuesday. The yield had fallen below 2 percent last week, a record low, as investors piled into lower-risk assets. Bond yields fall when demand for them rises.

Large swings in the stock market have been commonplace this August. In the week after Standard & Poor's stripped the U.S. of its AAA rating Aug. 5, the Dow alternated between 400-point gains and losses four days in a row. That had never happened before.

The stock market often takes sudden turns in late August anyway, because fewer traders are at their desks, said Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at the brokerage BTIG. Lower trading volumes often make for a more volatile market.

"It's kind of crazy. I blinked and in 15 minutes the market had turned," Greenhaus said. "But in the last two weeks of August, wild swings like this are not out of the ordinary."

Another reason for the recent jumpiness is the debate over the possibility of another U.S. recession. Investors have said they're weighing each economic report for evidence. In this climate, weak economic figures can look encouraging if they're not as bad as most people had feared, Greenhaus said.

Weak economic data can also be seen as a call for the Federal Reserve to announce another rescue effort for the economy, said Abigail Huffman, head of research for Russell Investments. Many investors hope Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will offer some help when he speaks at a conference on Friday. It was at that same meeting last year that Bernanke made the case for the Fed buying Treasury bonds to lower interest rates and spur spending. That $600 billion bond-buying program, known as QE2, ended in June.

Huffman and other strategists think the Fed is unlikely to start another large bond-buying program. Another stimulus program would risk stoking inflation. "There's a pretty high bar for QE3," she said.

Two days after trading above $1,900 an ounce for the first time, gold fell $104 to $1,757 an ounce as investors became less skittish about holding stocks. Gold lost $30 Tuesday.

Bank of America Corp. rose 11 percent, the most of any stock in the Dow average, after analysts said a four-day slide that erased 15 percent of the bank's value had been overdone. Toll Brothers rose 4.6 percent after the homebuilder reported quarterly income that trounced analysts' estimates.

Indexes jumped sharply Tuesday as investors brushed off a pair of weak economic reports and an earthquake that shook the East Coast. The Dow has recovered 503 points in three days after a four-week losing streak. Even after this week's rally, the Dow remains 11 percent below the recent peak it reached on July 21 and is down 2 percent this year.

The S&P 500 index, the measure used by most money managers, has surged 4.8 percent this week. It's still down 8.9 percent in August and 10.8 percent for the year.

Train derails in central France, 5 injured

Police say a train has hit a trailer filled with hay and derailed in central France, leaving five people injured.

A police official in the Haute-Vienne region says a tractor pulling a hay-filled trailer overturned on the train tracks, and was hit by a train from Paris to Cahors.

The train derailed about 12 kilometers (7 miles) south of Limoges.

The official said five people were injured, and other passengers were being evacuated from the train. An investigation was opened.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of agency policy.

The incident comes days after a train carrying liquefied gas derailed in Viareggio, Italy, setting off a massive explosion that destroyed nearby homes and left 22 dead.

Lincecum pushed up a day in Giants rotation

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Tim Lincecum's turn in the rotation is being pushed up a day to Wednesday against Arizona, making the San Francisco Giants' ace available for a one-game playoff Monday with San Diego if the NL West title comes to that.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy also could decide to pitch the two-time reigning NL Cy Young Award winner on short rest Sunday in the season finale against the Padres if need be, though the hard-throwing righty hasn't gone on three days' rest in the majors. Lincecum would certainly agree to the challenge, though he wasn't available before Tuesday night's series opener with Arizona. The team said he was receiving treatment.

"Right now our rotation's in order and we tweaked it a little in this series and flip-flopped Timmy and Madison," manager Bruce Bochy said.

Entering Tuesday's game, the Giants lead the Padres by one game in the division race.

With Lincecum pitching Wednesday — still on normal rest — rookie Madison Bumgarner will now go in Thursday afternoon's series finale with the Diamondbacks.

Lincecum is 15-10 with a 3.51 ERA this season. After a career-worst five-start losing streak, he is 4-1 with a 2.08 ERA in his past five outings.

"We're just keeping Timmy on his regular rest," Bochy said. "He's pitching on his fifth day, it gives Madison a couple of extra days. And so that's our thinking as much as anything down the road."

The Giants hope to have second baseman Freddy Sanchez back from a shoulder strain for the middle game against Arizona.

Sanchez underwent an MRI exam during Monday's day off that revealed a mild strain in his right shoulder. He also received an injection in the shoulder.

"We'll have to check on him tomorrow but he's feeling better and that's good news for us," Bochy said.

Sanchez, a three-time All-Star and the 2006 NL batting champion with Pittsburgh, had a procedure on his non-throwing left shoulder in late December. That's after he underwent left knee surgery late last season.

Germany's auto industry thriving again

Several top German auto manufacturers say the industry has begun to recover, thanks in part to China's growing appetite for luxury cars.

Companies are adding extra shifts, and hiring more temporary workers to meet increased demand.

BMW AG spokesman Marc Hassinger says his company has hired 3,500 more temporary workers since January.

Mercedes, Volkswagen, BMW, and Audi representatives told The Associated Press that order books are full and some plants are operating at full capacity.

понедельник, 12 марта 2012 г.

New Deluge Hits Midwest // Downstate Town's Workload Rises Along With the River

VILLA GROVE The 22-person volunteer fire department had a busyday in this central Illinois town of 2,700 - and there wasn't even asingle fire.

"(We're) just getting the sidewalks cleaned up so people don'tfall on filth, mud and debris," said firefighter Denny Brown as hedirected a fire hose onto the sidewalk in front of the town's onlypizza parlor.

Residents of Villa Grove, which is about 20 miles south ofChampaign, worked tirelessly to protect their homes from the risingfloodwaters of the Embarras River, which cut the town in two andformed a two-block lake at the base of Main Street on Tuesday.

Water was 6 feet deep in some places on Main Street.

Firefighters and local volunteers worked all day Tuesdaysandbagging the town's water station. But the waters broke throughthe ramparts anyway, cutting water service for at least a weekk, saidwater department employee George Scott.

City workers took on unusual roles as the crisis dictated, withparamedics helping families move possessions to high ground andfirefighters operating boats to rescue about 35 families stranded intheir homes by high water.

"We have a good crew," said city Clerk Glenda Millsap, who wasmanning a makeshift command center.

A day after storms flooded towns across central Illinois, waterbegan to recede, leaving residents with messy homes and streets fullof muck and other debris.

There was no cause for relief near Springfield, however, as theSangamon River remained above flood stage. An eight-mile stretch ofInterstate 55 was closed because of high water.

Gov. Edgar summoned 150 National Guard troops to be prepared topounce on the lower Illinois and Mississippi rivers if the floodspreads from smaller streams.

Edgar also declared disasters in Douglas, Calhoun, Greene andJersey counties, qualifying them for state assistance.

Villa Grove families that never had been flooded before foundtheir homes significantly damaged by the swirling, muddy waters.

"It was really bad. We wanted too sell the house this summer,"said Shirley Hughes as she tossed out the crumpled, waterloggedcardboard boxes she had been collecting in her basement for the move.

Hughes said that in the 26 years she and her husband, Ted, hadlived in the house, they had never seen anything comparable.

The police station also was flooded and had to be evacuated.

Residents commented on the rapid rise of the floodwaters,estimating that the Embarras rose 1 to 1 1/2 feet an hour on Tuesday.

Ken Fulk didn't have time to save his recreational vehicle,whose engine he had taken apart and could not reassemble in time.

"The waater came up to here," he said, placing his hands midwayup the radiator of the bus he uses for deer-hunting trips.

Fulk said his house sustained $4,000 worth of damage in ruinedfloors, carpets and walls.

Tired Villa Grove residents gave thanks for the outpouring ofassistance their community received - from a truckload of bottledwater that came from the J. M. Jones wholesale grocery distributor inUrbana to offers of help from Niota, a town Villa Grove helped duringlast summer's Mississippi River flooding.

"It's ironic, about this time last year we adopted Niota aftertheir flood," said Deborah Chapman, a town volunteer paramedic.

Tips for touring battlefields, from Flanders to the Marne

The best way to tour the World War I battlefields of northernFrance and Belgium is by automobile. Michelin sectional maps, at ascale of about 1 inch to 3 miles, provide detailed information forfinding cemeteries, memorials and other sites, which often arelocated on secondary roads.

Most of the old battlefields lie beyond the normal touristcircuit, so choices of lodging and restaurants are more limited thanin heavily traveled areas. But it is difficult to dine poorly inFrance or Belgium.

When exploring World War I battlefields, be wary of picking updebris. Unexploded shells can still present a hazard, even 75 yearsafter they were manufactured.

The most detailed book on Western Front sites is BeforeEndeavours Fade: A Guide to the Battlefields of the First World War,by Rose E.B. Coombs (fifth edition, 1986). Also very useful is AGuide to the Western Front: A Companion for Travellers, by VictorNeuburg (published in 1988 by Penguin).

Gene Smith's Still Quiet on the Western Front: 50 Years Later,while not a guidebook as such, can serve as an inspirationalcompanion for anyone touring World War I sites. The 25th-anniversaryedition of Barbara Tuchman's The Guns of August, published last yearby Macmillan, makes a good starting point for background reading onthe war.

General information is available from the French GovernmentTourist Office, 645 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago 60611 (call 337-6301);and the Belgian Tourist Office, 745 Fifth Ave., New York, N.Y. 10151(call 212-758-8130).

On to Z! Quirky regional dictionary nears finish

If you don't know a stone toter from Adam's off ox, or aren't sure what a grinder shop sells, the Dictionary of American Regional English is for you.

The collection of regional words and phrases is beloved by linguists and authors and used as a reference in professions as diverse as acting and police work. And now, after five decades of wide-ranging research that sometimes got word-gatherers run out of suspicious small towns, the job is almost finished.

The dictionary team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is nearing completion of the final volume, covering "S" to "Z." A new federal grant will help the volume get published next year, joining the first four volumes already in print.

"It will be a huge milestone," said editor Joan Houston Hall.

The dictionary chronicles words and phrases used in distinct regions. Maps show where a submarine sandwich might be called a hero or grinder, or where a potluck _ as in a potluck dinner or supper _ might be called a pitch-in (Indiana) or a scramble (northern Illinois).

It's how Americans do talk, not how they should talk.

"It's one of the great American scholarly activities and people will be reading it for a century learning about the roots of the American language," said William Safire, who frequently cites the dictionary in his "On Language" column in The New York Times Magazine. "It shows the richness and diversity of our language."

Doctors have used it to communicate with patients and investigators have referred to it in efforts to identify criminals, including the Unabomber. Dialect coaches in Hollywood and on Broadway have used the dictionary's audio recordings of regional speakers to train actors.

Author Tom Wolfe has called the dictionary "my favorite reading."

In awarding the two-year, $295,000 grant that will get the final volume into print, National Science Foundation reviewers called the dictionary "one of the most visible public faces of linguistics," and a "national treasure."

The concept dates to 1889, when the American Dialect Society was formed. But the project did not start in earnest until 1965, when English professor Frederic Cassidy dispatched workers to 1,000 carefully chosen U.S. communities to interview residents and make audio recordings of their speech.

Workers often slept in "word wagons" _ vans emblazoned with the UW logo _ and even were chased out of a few Southern towns. The field work alone took five years and collected 2.5 million different words and phrases.

Since then, linguists have painstakingly researched the words using print materials to decide which should be included. The dictionary project has about a dozen workers and a $750,000 annual budget.

Cassidy died in 2000, still looking toward publication of the final volume. His tombstone reads: "On to Z!"

Hall, who has worked at the dictionary since 1975 and been editor since 2000, said the complete series of five volumes published by Harvard University Press will contain about 75,000 entries.

Draft entries for the final volume are still being reviewed. During a recent visit to their offices at UW-Madison's English department, one was tracing the history of the word "stone toter," a type of fish found in parts of the eastern U.S.

After the final volume is published, the next phase of the project will be to put the dictionary online. Hall envisions an online edition that will be updated constantly.

Hall said her all-time favorite word is bobbasheely, used in Gulf Coast states as a noun meaning a good friend or a verb to hang around with a friend. It comes from the language of the Choctaw tribes.

Two people interviewed in Texas and Alabama in the 1960s used the word. Further digging revealed that Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner had once used it in a novel, and it was used in the early 19th century by a colleague of the infamous former vice president Aaron Burr.

The dictionary has occasionally been put to serious use.

Forensic linguist Roger Shuy said he occasionally referred to the dictionary when he studied the Unabomber's writings in the 1990s for clues to the writer's identity. His profile didn't help catch Ted Kaczynski, but it turned out to be pretty accurate: He guessed the Unabomber had a doctorate, grew up near Chicago and was older than some investigators initially believed.

Hall said she has uncovered flaws in a test routinely given to diagnose a brain abnormality in which people have difficulty coming up with words for everyday items. The test's answer key does not allow regionalized answers; for instance, referring to a harmonica as a "mouth harp" is counted as a mistake. She hopes to help the authors rewrite the test to avoid misdiagnosis.

Hall also was sought for help by reporters who didn't understand President Bill Clinton's comment in 1993 that an Air Force official who had criticized him "doesn't know me from Adam's off ox."

Hall said the phrase is used west of the Appalachians in place of the more popular "he doesn't know me from Adam." The "off ox" refers to one of the two oxen once used to plow fields.


On the Net:

Dictionary: http://polyglot.lss.wisc.edu/dare/dare.html

LOSAT: Line of sight antitank

Soldier Armed

Throughout the changing political and military global landscapes of the last two decades, there are few system needs that have remained constant. One example is the need to provide U.S. Army early entry/light forces with a vehicle-based capability to defend themselves against heavy modern armored vehicles. Contingency planning in the 1980s to meet this need focused largely on the venerable but obsolescent M551 Sheridan. Even into the early 1990s, it was the M551 that was called upon to make the anti-armor vehicular contribution to the first stages of Operation Desert Shield. The mid-1990s saw the identification of a successor to the M551 in the M8 105 mm armored gun system before budget tradeoffs curtailed that effort. Current development efforts on the 105 mm mobile gun system variant of Stryker are seen by some as the 21st-century step in this evolutionary capability path.

Meanwhile, during much of this period, Army and industry scientists have continued working to refine the design concepts for what some see as the ultimate antitank weapon. Called line of sight antitank (LOSAT), the system is based on the general concept of a large rocket wrapped around a long rod penetrator that goes incredibly fast, simply destroying any armor that it hits. No known or projected armor packages can stop it.

Program participants note that LOSAT's technical challenge is not so much in the manufacture of a hypersonic missile but more in the development of its guidance to allow the missile to consistently hit its target. LOSAT designers employed a guidance system that includes a C02 laser with two functions: determining range to the target and providing updates to the missile. In its simplest sense, the fire unit transmits target location information through a series of laser pulses. The pulses are received through the aft looking receiver at the rear of the 174 pound, 6.4 inch diameter x 113 inch long kinetic energy missile (KEM) which is traveling at approximately 5,000 feet per second. Based on that pulsed information, the missile's guidance electronics fire a series of small squibs on the forward attitude control motor to push the missile into the correct azimuth to impact the target.

Designers acknowledge essential similarities between LOSAT's terminal guidance and the-design used on the PAC-3 air defense missile. Although the KEM design has remained largely unchanged for the past 15 years, the combat packaging has seen the entire spectrum of chassis configurations. Early notional designs, for example, featured LOSAT variants of both heavy and medium chassis versions of the Army's armored family of vehicles. With the dissolution of that concept, planners resolved to put kinetic energy missiles on an Abrams tank chassis. From there the program evolved into hardware prototypes, with vehicle engineers and missile engineers integrating the system onto both a stretched Bradley chassis and an armored gun system chassis. LOSAT's chassis roulette finally ended with the sixth variant concept, one based on the M1114 "Heavy" Humvee.

Missile changes during the same period have been relatively minor, focusing primarily on improvements to the electronics in the fire unit. Advances to the missile itself have been made in areas like new guidance and electronics circuit cards. Approximately 50 LOSAT missile test firings have been made over the developmental period. After several years of no live-fire activity, the most recent shots were made in May and July 2001 and involved testing of a new inertial measurement unit with its related software.

Emerging from the tech base arena, LOSAT officially entered an Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) program in April 1998. Approximately two years later, it was figuratively accelerated into what participants describe as an "ACTD+." Goals of the program acceleration include moving directly from ACTD into production with all of the activities that would normally take place under systems development and demonstration (formerly engineering and manufacturing development) now taking place under ACTD.

Work is beginning on modification of the first dozen M1114s to LOSAT firing unit configuration. Modification of this initial company-sized element will be completed over the next year, with these vehicles slated for delivery to a company in the XVIIIth Airborne Corps (Alpha, 5/11) during the summer of 2003. That unit will then conduct the necessary testing to allow the program to proceed into full production.

Along with the fire units, the system includes a missile resupply trailer that will be towed by a separate resupply Humvee. In addition, the current contract includes an option for 144 go-to-war LOSAT KEMs for potential use by the first company (12 fire units).

Service funding currently projects fielding five battalion-sized (36 fire units) LOSAT units, with the first battalion going to the 82nd Airborne Division. Additional battalions will be fielded to the 10th Mountain (Light Infantry), the 25th Infantry (Light), the 29th Infantry and the 101st Airborne (Air Assault) Divisions. Projected LOSAT fielding runs through fiscal year 2012.

"This will provide the light forces with a ground-to-ground antiarmor capability that they severely need," says Randy Tatum, LOSAT Business Development Manager for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "When the XVIIIth Airborne Corps retired their Sheridans, and then the Armored Gun System program went away, they were left with a severe deficiency in antiarmor capability for the U.S. Army's light forces. This fills that gap.

"[It] is a system that absolutely overwhelms any known or projected armors out through the foreseeable time frame," he continues. "The momentum and the energy it imparts onto its targets are so overwhelming that it just overmatches anything that you can pile onto a vehicle to keep it out. It moves so fast that the computing capability of the active protection systems that are out there can't keep up with it. And it has a large mass with the long rod penetrator, not to mention the large rocket engine that's wrapped around it. We say that LOSAT puts 40 + megajoules of energy onto a target. Contrast that with an M829 tank sabot round that puts somewhere between seven and 10 megajoules of rod energy onto a target. This will be a pretty devastating capability in the hands of the soldiers who truly need it."

The same technologies that make LOSAT such a devastating weapon will likely evolve to support Future Combat Systems capabilities, including the desire by service planners to obtain and field a future compact kinetic energy missile.

Engineers are reportedly looking at the physics behind such a missile, which would be capable of defeating the most modern battlefield armor suites at just over half the size and weight of the current LOSAT design.

Comic Boosler goes the way of the game show

LOS ANGELES -- Elayne Boosler likes to think of her new game show,PAX's "Balderdash," as a throwback to the programs that she watchedas a youngster.

Picture Kitty Carlisle and Bennett Cerf elegantly dressed andtossing off witticisms on "I've Got a Secret" or "What's My Line?"and you've got an idea of how Boosler frames her work.

So is there a Boosler dress code for guest celebrities andplayers? Debuting at 7:30 p.m. Monday (Chicago time), "Balderdash" isbased on the board game and tests contestants' ability to discernfibs and facts.

"It's more of a mindset in my head that I think of those shows,"the veteran comedian replies.

"I think, hey, there's probably little kids watching, going,'Wait, is this show business?"' Although, she quickly adds, "Adultsknow game shows aren't show business."

But isn't show biz her career?

"No, I'm in vaudeville. I've said that for 30 years. I've alwayswanted to do standup, period," she said.

Sitcoms are considered the rainbow's end for comedians -- case inpoint is "Everybody Loves Raymond" star Ray Romano's reported $1.8million an episode -- but for Boosler, they mean waiting around allday to deliver "lines that aren't funny."

The "Balderdash" gig, on the other hand, allows her to work in agenre that honors improvisation -- and reminds viewers they mightlike to catch her on stage.

"TV is a commercial for my live act," she said. "People thinkthere's something wrong with you when you don't want a sitcom. Butwhen I started ... the goal wasn't to get a sitcom. The goal was tobe Richard Pryor."

The game show also gives her the chance to give back to fellowcomedians, especially younger ones who could use the exposure.

"Balderdash" calls on comics and actors to present informationthat may or may not be true and asks contestants to figure it out towin.

Among her guests: George Wendt, French Stewart, Shelley Morrison,Tim Meadows, Regan Burns, Loni Love, Bruce Vilanch, Maria Bamford andTodd Glass.

When Boosler, a Brooklyn native, pursued a standup career in the1970s only a handful of launching pads existed. The comedy club boonwouldn't arrive until the 1980s and TV outlets were limited,especially for women, she said.

Although Johnny Carson and "The Tonight Show" are often creditedfor helping fledgling comedians, Boosler contends "it really was Merv[Griffin] who gave everyone their start."

"Carson had a very narrow view of comedy. You never saw women, newwomen other than Joan Rivers, and you didn't see many black people."

Griffin's talk show, on the other hand, "was the United Nations ofcomedy. He put everybody on," Boosler said.

Besides plying her craft with Griffin, she also spent a decadeopening for singers including Lou Rawls, Natalie Cole, Helen Reddyand Melissa Manchester. Then came cable and its fondness for comedy,a boost for all standups including minorities and, eventually, women.

Boosler likes to credit her 1986 Showtime special, "Party of One,"as a personal and gender breakthrough.

After it aired to critical acclaim, Boosler got a deal for moreShowtime specials and HBO announced its own "Women of the Night"comedy series.

The continued wealth of cable opportunities is particularlyimportant given the state of affairs on Jay Leno's "Tonight" andDavid Letterman's "Late Show," according to Boosler.

"They put on almost nobody," Boosler said, adding that Leno"doesn't want there to be a Jay waiting in the wings like he waswaiting for Carson."

Even she's shut out, Boosler said, but she shrugs off the reasonswhy as well as any frustration over lost TV appearances. "Everybodyhas their own agenda," she said.

Instead, she focuses on her passion for comic strips, for PBS'"The NewsHour" (and its host; she has permission from her husband to"run off and marry Jim Lehrer" if the opportunity arises) and animalprotection.

She runs Tails of Joy, a nonprofit rescue organization for dogs,cats and other pets that also promotes animal welfare laws.

And, of course, there's the standup tours, where the satisfactionsare greater than sitcom gold, Boosler contends.

"I don't care if standup isn't burning up the world and you'resupposed to do this or that. This is what I do. If it's 500 people ina club or 3,000 in a nice theater I know what I left them with."


Tiniest Four-Wheeled Molecule Drives Forward

Synthetic molecular machines hold promise for nanorobotics, improved drug delivery systems, and chemical synthesis. Now, researchers have taken a step toward creating these nano-machines by building a four-wheeled molecule - dubbed a nanocar - that can convert electrical energy into forward motion.

The nanocar is a synthetic organic molecule made of four molecular motors. When placed on a conductive substrate and electrically stimulated. the so-called wheels rotate and propel the molecule forward.

This is not the first example of synthetic molecular movement.

"There have been previous examples of molecules that could move on surfaces," says lead researcher Tibor Kudernac, a postdoctoral student at the Univ. of Twente in the Netherlands. "But although controlled movement of single molecules along a surface has been reported, the molecules in those examples act as passive elements that either diffuse along a preferential direction with equal probability for forward and backward movement or are dragged by an STM [scanning tunneling microscope] tip," Kudernac says.

The nanocar transforms electrical energy into mechanical motion and therefore could be used to perform tasks at the nanoscale, such as carrying atoms or molecules from one location to another.

The proof-of-principle research demonstrates that a synthetic molecule can be designed and made to perform mechanical tasks, Kudernac says. "This particular molecule will probably never find any application, but the demonstration that we can do something like that probably will lead to further designs and other molecules that can do something more complex, more application-related."

The nanocar makes use of molecular wheels - chiral units that undergo geometric changes and rotate in one direction as a result of electrical or vibrational energy input.

For the car to move forward, all four wheels must move in the same direction. The researchers met this requirement by identifying and then designing the molecule to have a specific configuration: the meso-(R, S-R, S) isomer of the molecule. They placed the meso-isomer on a copper surface and used an STM to both fuel the molecule and observe its movement. The STM tip applied a voltage pulse (> 500 mV), and after 1 0 pulses, the nanocar moved 6 nm across the copper surface.

Kudernac and his colleagues will now focus their research on the next critical challenges, one of which is to perform the same results at ambient conditions; the current findings were obtained at very low temperatures (7 K) and in ultrahigh vacuum (less than 1O-10 mbar). Because STM requires a conductive substrate, they will also experiment with using light to provide energy to the nanocar, which will make their work applicable to a variety of substrates.


* The 3D geometry of the four-wheeler is essential to its forward motion. Image courtesy of Randy Wind and Martin Roelfs.

* The nanocar consists of four chiral units that act like molecular motors. For the molecule to move forward, all four wheels must move in the same direction. Of all the possible isomers that the molecule could assume, this requirement is met only by the meso-(R, S-R, S) isomer. The direction of the motors is represented by the red arrows. Image courtesy of Nature.

среда, 7 марта 2012 г.

Banks zero in on reputational risk

Recent corporate scandals have made executive fraud, misconduct and reputational damage a staple of the mainstream media. In response, Canadian companies, especially financial institutions, have set up board and executive-level committees that focus on threats to their reputation, which may be their most valuable intangible asset.

A good reputation can influence customers to select a brand or dissuade them from moving to a competitor. But once it has been tainted, restoring public confidence is extremely challenging. To quote Nicholas Le Pan, Canada's superintendent of financial institutions, "There is no other basis for the financial services business than trust and confidence! …

Father of 3 missing boys arraigned on new charges

ADRIAN, Mich. (AP) — A southern Michigan man whose three young sons have been missing since Thanksgiving has been arraigned on additional charges in their disappearance.

Thirty-nine-year-old John Skelton was arraigned in Lenawee County District Court on Friday on charges including kidnapping and child endangering. The (Toledo) Blade says a hearing in the case is set for March 28.

The Morenci (mor-EN'-see) resident has said he doesn't …

понедельник, 5 марта 2012 г.

Determine mass accurately over a wide range. (Instrumentation & Controls).

With the AX64004 comparator, the mass of either a single or group of weights can be determined to within 0.1mg. The high-load automated mass comparator has a continuous weighing range up to 64 kg. The method of mass determination is fully …

Belizean Journeys.(BELIZE)

Belizean Journeys is an online subscriber-based magazine covering life and nature in Belize. Through articles, photography and multimedia, visitors and locals share the …


ALBANY Police are investigating the BB-gun shooting of a nun who serves as principal of St. Teresa of Avila Elementary School as well as damage to a school window caused by BB gunfire this week.

Police said Sister Patricia Houlihan reported she was struck on the right forearm while standing in front of the school office at 8 Hollywood Ave. on Monday evening.

While she did not see anyone fire the pellet, she believed it came from a westerly location, according to police reports. She experienced pain, redness …

Pittsburgh Penguins fans celebrate championship

Thousands of jubilant people dressed in black and gold are on the streets of Pittsburgh celebrating the Penguins' Stanley Cup title.

The Penguins beat the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 on Friday to win the Cup for the third time.

Drivers are honking their horns in reaction to fans' shouts of "Go, Penguins!" A truck with men waving a homemade replica of the Cup is going around Pittsburgh's South Side to the cheers of crowds.

Ambrose Bierce's Definitions in The Devil's Dictionary: W

WAR: A by-product of the arts of peace. The most menacing political condition is a period of international amity.

WEATHER: The climate of an hour. A permanent topic of conversation among persons whom it does not interest, but who have inherited the tendency to chatter about it from naked arboreal ancestors whom it keenly concerned.

WHEAT: A cereal from which a tolerably good whiskey can with some difficulty be made. It can also be used to make …

воскресенье, 4 марта 2012 г.

Lean construction boosts productivity.

Emphasis of design and construction planning is shifted from specific tasks to the interrelationship of activities

The process of designing and constructing a building is markedly different from that of manufacturing a product. But adapting lean production-management concepts from manufacturing for use in construction has the potential to substantially increase the efficiency of delivering buildings, say its proponents.

"Lean construction" is a concept espoused by the Lean Construction Institute of Idaho (see "Learning about lean construction"). Gregory Howell, a civil engineer, is its executive director. In the late 1980s, he and Research Director Glen Ballard began to investigate the performance of project planning systems. They discovered that on a typical U.S. construction project, only about half of the assignments planned to be performed in a given week are actually completed (see charts).

Against this background, Howell and Ballard saw a potential for applying the work of Lauri Koskela, a researcher with VTT Building Technology in Espoo, Finland, to the construction industry. Koskela recommend that construction theory be revised to focus on optimizing the project by considering the flow of work between activities and the creation and delivery of value.

Making quality assignments

The "last planner" system of production control is a key element of lean construction. The last planner is the person who makes assignments to direct workers. It is …

Data on life sciences reported by researchers at University of Colorado, Colorado Health Sciences Center.

Investigators publish new data in the report 'Sequence differences in the IQ motifs of CaV1.1 and CaV1.2 strongly impact calmodulin binding and calcium-dependent inactivation.' "The proximal C terminus of the cardiac L-type calcium channel (Ca(V)1.2) contains structural elements important for the binding of calmodulin (CaM) and calcium-dependent inactivation, and exhibits extensive sequence conservation with the corresponding region of the skeletal L-type channel (Ca(V)1.1). However, there are several Ca(V)1.1 residues that are both identical in six species and are non-conservatively changed from the corresponding Ca(V)1.2 residues, including three of the 'IQ motif.' To …


Byline: CHRISTEN DEMING Staff writer

The term motormouth usually applies to the guy at the end of the bar with endless opinions on every topic. But Colin Quinn's motormouth is the sort of mechanism you might find in a high-end sports car: He delivers the killer punch line in less time than it takes a Porsche to go from zero to 60.

You might find Quinn in a bar every now and then -- or, this weekend, at Saratoga Race Course -- but these days you'll also find him sharing a time slot with Charlie Rose and Ted Koppel: Quinn hosts Comedy Central's topical chatfest ``Tough Crowd'' (11:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday), in which stand-ups and assorted guests crack wise about the news of the day.

Quinn, a Brooklyn native who first came to prominence as the mordant second-banana on MTV's mock game show ``Remote Control'' before joining the cast of ``Saturday Night Live,'' brings his stand-up act to Saratoga Springs at 8 …


Byline: Craig Brandon Staff writer

Gov. Mario M. Cuomo's nomination speech for his party's presidential candidate, Bill Clinton, next week at the Democratic National Convention can only help his chances of ending up in the White House or the Supreme Court, political experts said Monday.

"As governor of the convention's home state, he had no choice but to accept some kind of role," said Theodore J. Lowi, professor of government at Cornell University and author of 10 books on the presidency.

"Cuomo was on a tightrope and it would have been embarrassing to the party if he played a minor role," he said.

Up until the July 4 weekend, Cuomo had …

Lohan judge says she won't consider alcohol report

A judge at Lindsay Lohan's probation revocation hearing said Tuesday she would not consider whether the actress consumed alcohol last month after attending the MTV Movie Awards.

Prosecutors had hoped to introduce reports from an ankle, alcohol monitor to show the "Mean Girls" actress had violated a court order against drinking imposed as part of a 2007 drug case.

Superior Court Judge Marsha Revel said the device showed Lohan's blood-alcohol content was 0.03. Lohan has denied drinking that night.

The judge added, however, that she would honor what she told lawyers for both sides in a closed hearing, and not allow the negative report to be …

Harvard professor resigns after misconduct probe

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — A Harvard University psychology professor has resigned, saying he wants to pursue other opportunities more than ten months after a faculty investigation found him "solely responsible" for eight instances of scientific misconduct at the Ivy League school.

Marc Hauser said in a letter obtained Tuesday that his resignation is effective Aug. 1.

Hauser is director of Harvard's Cognitive Evolution Laboratory, which studies the developmental foundations of the human mind. He took a yearlong leave of absence after the school's three-year probe found him responsible for misconduct.

He said in a resignation letter dated July 7 that while he was on leave he …

MarketingFix.com. (News in Brief).(Brief Article)

Five Web marketing veterans have formed MarketingFix.com, a new Web site for professionals involved in Internet marketing and media. The site aggregates stories from a variety of other news sources …


RAVENA -- Animal control investigators arriving Thursday at 23 Orchard Ave. found three dead cats and dozens more living in squalor, police said.

But they called the bomb squad when they noticed the grenades and aerial bombs in the living room.

According to Coeymans police Investigator Steve Prokrym, officials from the Mohawk and Hudson Humane Society arrived at the village of Ravena home about 2 p.m. to investigate a complaint of animal abuse.

Three dead cats were found inside the home, Prokrym said. About 60 more were found and removed from the home, which Prokrym said had "deplorable living conditions."

In an adjacent room, investigators …

суббота, 3 марта 2012 г.


Byline: HOWARD SCHNEIDER Washington Post

JERUSALEM -- Prime Minister Ehud Barak announced Wednesday that he will meet this weekend with Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat and President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt in a swift start to his promised campaign for renewed peace negotiations with Israel's neighbors.

The meetings, along with conciliatory language that flowed from both sides on Wednesday, generated a new sense of opportunity following Barak's ascent to power Tuesday at the head of a Labor-led coalition that defeated the Likud-led government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu.

Responding to Barak's call to set old battlefield animosities aside, an official …

Motion Media forges alliance with telemedicine company.

2003 DEC 1 - (NewsRx.com & NewsRx.net) -- Motion Media Technology (MMD) announced a strategic distribution alliance with AMD Telemedicine, a provider of medical devices for the telemedicine market.

As part of this alliance, Motion Media's videophone solutions for telemedicine applications, including the recently announced CareStation 126s, will now be available to markets in more than 55 countries worldwide through AMD Telemedicine's extensive distribution network.

In addition to the strategic alliance with AMD Telemedicine, Motion Media announced that Cardionics, a manufacturer of specialized medical electronics instruments, including electronic …

Air Apparent

In his first month in the compressed air business back in 1985, Paul Gelinas had nine machines at various gas stations and convenience stores in Maine. They took in a total of $172, and he had expenses of roughly $225.

"I was already starting to think that maybe this wasn't a very good idea," he said with a detectable note of understatement.

But the entrepreneurial Gelinas stayed with what was then a fairly new concept and eventually turned the math around in rather dramatic fashion.

Today, his venture, Chicopee-based Air Express, has more than 10,000 machines in dozens of states, with annual revenues exceeding $10 million. Gelinas is, by all accounts, the king of the …

Research Reports on Environmental Management from University of Pretoria Provide New Insights.

"Grasslands provide many ecosystem services required to support human well-being and are home to a diverse fauna and flora. Degradation of grasslands due to agriculture and other forms of land use threaten biodiversity and ecosystem services," scientists writing in the Journal of Environmental Management report.

"Various efforts are underway around the world to stem these declines. The Grassland Programme in South Africa is one such initiative and is aimed at safeguarding both biodiversity and ecosystem services. As part of this developing programme, we identified spatial priority areas for ecosystem services, tested the effect of different target levels of ecosystem services …


Backstreet Boy Nick Carter has agreed to enter a counseling program and perform community service to resolve a misdemeanor charge stemming from a nightclub brawl in Tampa, Fla.

After Carter, 22, completes the misdemeanor intervention program and his community service, the charge of resisting/opposing a law enforcement officer without violence will be dropped, prosecutor …

The deleted region is confined to a very small area around 1p36.32.

2003 MAY 5 - (NewsRx.com & NewsRx.net) -- The deleted region is confined to a very small area around 1p36.32. in melanoma.

"Deletions in 1p36 in malignant melanoma have been found in high percentages in nodular melanomas and melanoma metastases. Despite many efforts, no candidate tumor suppressor gene associated with malignant melanoma has so far been found in this region," scientists writing in the journal Melanoma Research report.

"To further determine a possible tumor suppressor gene locus, we carried out a deletion mapping of chromosome 1p36 at nine microsatellite loci in 74 malignant melanomas," wrote M. Poetsch and colleagues, University of Greifswald, …

An Analyst's Take on ALLTEL ACBS.

In August 2001, TowerGroup issued a brief report on global loan syndication in which the firm looked closely at ALLTEL's Advanced Commercial Banking System, or ACBS. TowerGroup notes that both ALLTEL's lending technology and that of a competitor, Loan IQ, enjoyed strong growth in the 1990s. Even in the wake of that robust period, however, the financial technology consulting firm expects the market for commercial lending systems to remain strong due to the following three trends:

More midsize banks are entering the syndicated loan market. These banks (with assets ranging from $25 billion to $150 billion) generally require advanced systems to allow them to play on the …


Byline: Frances Ingraham - Staff writer

Since the late 1970s, residents and business owners in this historic village, in the northeast corner of the town of Saratoga, have been trying hard to turn it around-into an attractive and lucrative community, a place where people traveling between Saratoga Springs and Vermont will stop for a bite to eat and some gift shopping.

The boosters' slogan is "Old Saratoga-New Schuylerville-a new beginning." Originally, the name of the community was Saratoga, but it was changed later to Schuylerville in honor of Revolutionary War Gen. Philip Schuyler.

Trees have been planted lately and buildings spruced up along the village's main arterial, Broad Street or Route 4, which leads south to Stillwater and north to …