writes "President Barack Obama said Wednesday his administration will respond to new Ebola cases "in a much more aggressive way," taking charge of the issue after a second Texas health care worker was diagnosed with the disease.
Aggressive? What's he going to do? Throw some gang signs at it, and yell, "You think you bad, mutha fuckah?"
Obama scrapped plans to attend Democratic fund-raisers in New Jersey and Connecticut on Wednesday afternoon so that he could huddle with Cabinet members and officials who are leading the administration's Ebola response. Afterward, the President sought to tamp down fears of of an outbreak of the disease within the United States — saying that he shook hands with, hugged and kissed nurses who'd treated an American doctor who contracted Ebola in Africa, and felt safe.
"Welcome to your new promotion, Mr. President Biden!"
Obama acknowledged that even foolproof plans don't work when local health care providers don't know how to carry them out — and said his administration will make sure "certain local hospitals that may not have that experience are walked through that process as carefully as possible."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will have "SWAT teams" ready to send to hospitals where future cases are discovered, he said.
I think we need "Whack-a-Mole" teams, at the rate this seems to be spreading . . . "Link to Original Source
writes "Rep. Curt Clawson, a freshman Republican congressman from Florida, mistook two senior U.S. officials for representatives of the Indian government during a House hearing on Friday.
“I am familiar with your country, I love your country,” Clawson said to Nisha Biswal and Arun Kumar, addressing fellow U.S. citizens who hold high-ranking positions in the State Department and Commerce Department, respectively.
After a lingering silence, Clawson smiles slowly. Kumar appears to grin, while Biswal echoes Clawson’s sentiment, informing him it should probably be directed to the Indian government. It’s unclear whether Clawson realized his error."Link to Original Source
writes "While there are non-lethal uses for drones, the high-flying devices have sparked some privacy concerns, especially as federal officials move to loosen restrictions on their use. As a result, a Portland, Oregon company has taken matters into its own hands with a new a Kickstarter campaign for a Personal Drone Detection System.
The team at Domestic Drone Countermeasures (DDC) has been working for more than a year to produce hardware that detects drones and, ultimately, deters them from recording you and your surroundings.The Basic Personal Drone Detection System is comprised of three boxes, which together create a mesh grid network that triangulates moving transmitters—like drones. If a rogue transmitter flies into range, the system sounds an alarm or sends a message to your mobile device.
Don't worry: The system won't fire any shots at the flying devices; it will simply announce their presence to you (at home or on the go)."Link to Original Source
writes "Grilling meat gives it great flavour. This taste, though, comes at a price, since the process creates molecules called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which damage DNA and thus increase the eater’s chances of developing colon cancer. But a group of researchers led by Isabel Ferreira of the University of Porto, in Portugal, think they have found a way around the problem. When barbecuing meat, they suggest, you should add beer.
The PAHs created by grilling form from molecules called free radicals which, in turn, form from fat and protein in the intense heat of this type of cooking. One way of stopping PAH-formation, then, might be to apply chemicals called antioxidants that mop up free radicals. And beer is rich in these, in the shape of melanoidins, which form when barley is roasted."Link to Original Source
writes "President Obama plans to announce on Tuesday the opening of two new manufacturing institutes in the Chicago and Detroit areas as part of a larger plan to use public-private partnerships to advance his agenda despite opposition from Republicans in Congress. Several federal agencies will join forces with companies and universities to run the institutes, which will be devoted to bridging the gap between applied research and product development, according to an administration official familiar with the plans.
Each institute will function as a “teaching factory,” the official said, and will provide training for workers while also helping companies get the expertise and equipment they need to offer new products and manufacturing processes. The government will put up $140 million to match the more than $140 million promised by the private sector leaders involved with each project, said the official, who requested anonymity to discuss the plans before the official announcement next week. The federal government will devote $70 million to each of the two institutes.
The selection of Chicago to host a new institute drew praise from elected officials who have lobbying for it for months."Link to Original Source
writes "The Khaleej Times of Dubai reports that a fatwa committee has forbidden Muslims from taking a one-way trip to the Red Planet. At the moment, there is no technology available that would allow for a return trip from Mars, so it is truly a one-way ticket for the colonists, who may also become reality TV stars in the process. The committee of the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowment in the United Arab Emirates that issued the fatwa against such a journey doesn't have anything against space exploration,Elon Musk's Mars visions, or anything like that. Rather, the religious leaders argue that making the trip would be tantamount to committing suicide, which all religions tend to frown upon.
Professor Farooq Hamada, who presided over the committee, explained, "Protecting life against all possible dangers and keeping it safe is an issue agreed upon by all religions and is clearly stipulated in verse 4/29 of the Holy Quran: Do not kill yourselves or one another. Indeed, Allah is to you ever Merciful." Hundreds of Saudis and other Arabs have applied to Mars One, and the committee suspects some may be interested in the trip "for escaping punishment or standing before Almighty Allah for judgment," according to the Khaleej Times.
The committee stood firm in its belief that this approach would be a waste of time and one very long trip: "This is an absolutely baseless and unacceptable belief because not even an atom falls outside the purview of Allah, the Creator of everything.""Link to Original Source
writes "America's new top diplomat for Europe seems to have been caught being decidedly undiplomatic about her EU allies in a phone call apparently intercepted and leaked by Russia. "Fuck the EU," Victoria Nuland apparently says in a recent phone call with the US ambassador to Kiev, Geoff Pyatt, as they discuss the next moves to try to resolve the crisis in Ukraine amid weeks of pro-democracy protests which have rocked the country. The call appears to have been intercepted and released on YouTube, accompanied by Russian captions of the private and candid conversation.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that if the Russians were responsible for listening to, recording and posting a private diplomatic telephone conversation, it would be "a new low in Russian tradecraft."
So . . . Russians spooks are spying on US diplomats . . . which you would expect them to do. But American spooks are spying on Americans citizens . . . and the State Department has the gall to call the Russians "low" . . . ?"Link to Original Source
writes "A U.S. Coast Guard heavy icebreaker left Australia for Antarctica on Sunday to rescue more than 120 crew members aboard two icebreakers trapped in pack ice near the frozen continent's eastern edge, officials said.
The 399-foot cutter, the Polar Star, is responding to a Jan. 3 request from Australia, Russia and China to assist the Russian and Chinese ships because "there is sufficient concern that the vessels may not be able to free themselves from the ice," the Coast Guard said in a statement.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority's Rescue Coordination Centre, which oversaw the rescue, said the Polar Star, the Coast Guard's only active heavy polar icebreaker, would take about seven days to reach Commonwealth Bay, depending on weather. Under international conventions observed by most countries, ships' crews are obliged to take part in such rescues and the owners carry the costs."Link to Original Source
writes "Should YouTube subsidize le cinéma français? France’s audiovisual regulator thinks so. In a report this week, the Superior Audiovisual Council (CSA) says that video-sharing websites should be subject to a tax that helps finance the production of French films and TV shows. Although the CSA report says that videos posted online by private individuals should not be subject to taxation, it contends that video-sharing sites increasingly have become “professional” content providers.
Separately, France is considering a tax on smartphones, tablets, and other devices as another source of revenue for cultural subsidies. The proposed tax would raise an estimated €86 million annually that would be used to finance the “cultural industries’ digital transition,” France’s Culture Ministry said at the time."Link to Original Source
writes "The General Motors bailout may have cost the government $10 billion, but GM CEO Dan Akerson rejects any suggestion that the company should compensate for the losses. He says Treasury officials took the same risk assumed by anyone who purchases stock.
Akerson said that GM repaid all the debt issued by the government beginning in December 2008 when George W. Bush was still president and extending into the first year of Barack Obama's presidency. He added that it was the Treasury's decision — though one he clearly supported — to take an ownership stake in the form of company shares.
Asked whether GM should pay the difference between the amount the government provided the company and the return from the sale of the shares, Akerson said the "die was cast" by Treasury when it decided to take shares. For GM to make up for any shortfall could result in lawsuits from other shareholders."Link to Original Source
writes "Thousands of German users that have used a porn website to stream shows have received threatening letters from a local law firm demanding €250 ($344) per certain watched clips, Chip.de reports. Apparently, a Swiss-based firm that owns the content hosted by porn site Redtube has tasked a law firm with collecting fines for each of its shows that was streamed online in the region. The law firm has apparently received a go ahead from a local court, and as many as ten thousand warnings may have been set to users, for porn shows watched in August.
However, the court in Cologne may have issued a wrong verdict, German online publication Stern says, allowing the lawyers of U+C to go forward and ask ISPs to disclose names and addresses associated with the IPs which allegedly streamed the porn shows.
More importantly, it’s unclear how their IPs were actually shared with the law firm sending out the warnings in the first place, but their privacy has clearly been violated in some sort of way. Chip.de suggests that these users may have been targeted with malware that harvested their IP addresses in order to be later used in such legal proceedings."Link to Original Source
writes "As punishment for Germany's NSA spying complaints . . . ?
The United States Treasury singled out Germany for criticism in a report released on Wednesday that said Berlin’s reliance on exports was holding back its struggling partners in the European Union. The document, the Report to Congress on International Economic and Exchange Rate Policies, outlines the practices of America’s top trading partners over the first half of 2013, concluding that none “met the standard of manipulating the rate of exchange between their currency and the United States dollar” in order to gain an unfair trade advantage.
Yet Germany was a focus of particular — and unusual — scolding from the Obama administration, which said that Berlin’s “anemic pace of domestic demand growth and dependence on exports have hampered rebalancing” and hurt its ailing European Union partners. For decades, Germany’s manufacturers have produced more than its residents demand, sending more of its relatively low-cost goods into the international market than what it imports.
Yeah, all those damn low-cost Porsches, BMWs and Mercedes!
Germany’s policies have also driven export surpluses in the European Union as a whole, to the detriment of the United States and other major exporters, Mr. Kirkegaard said. He said he doubted that German officials “will pay the least attention to this finger-pointing.”"Link to Original Source
writes "A gambling website’s favorite as Microsoft Corp.’s next chief executive officer is Stephen Elop, the Nokia CEO who has presided over a 62 percent decline in market value. Elop, a former Microsoft executive, has 5-to-1 odds to be hired as Steve Ballmer’s replacement, according to Ladbrokes, the U.K.-based gambling operator. He leads a pool including internal candidates Kevin Turner and Julie Larson-Green and outsiders like Apple CEO Tim Cook — a 100-to-1 dark horse.
The betting house says Turner, Microsoft’s chief operating officer, is the second-favorite contender for the CEO job at 6-to-1, followed by Andreessen Horowitz board partner Steve Sinofsky and Larson-Green, at 8-to-1. Tony Bates, Satya Nadella, Qi Lu and Terry Myerson are the leading internal choices to replace Ballmer, people with knowledge of the matter said. All four have odds between 10-to-1 and 14-to-1 on Ladbrokes. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings offers a 16-to-1 shot for gamblers betting on Microsoft’s expansion in entertainment.
Feeling a bit riskier? Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, T-Mobile USA Inc. CEO John Legere and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey are 40-to-1 long shots. Then there’s Bill Gates, Microsoft’s co-founder and the world’s richest person — and a 50-to-1 bet."Link to Original Source
writes "Researchers at Sweden’s Lund University have announced that they’ve been able to confirm the existence of element 115 on the periodic table. This research team isn’t the first to create element 115, which is currently known as ununpentium. The first claim that ununpentium had been synthesized in a lab was by a joint group of Russian and American researchers, who believed that they created it in their lab in 2004.
The Lund research team created ununpentium by bombarding americium(!?!?!) , which has 95 protons, with calcium, which has 20 protons. The bombardment created elements with 115 protons. The atoms were so unstable, however, that they decayed almost instantly. So to demonstrate that they had created element 115, the scientists had to actually measure the photons released by the atoms decay and confirmed that it matched what physics predicts would be the decay pattern for ununpentium."Link to Original Source
writes "More than one in ten firms surveyed by Mercer, a consultancy—and one in five retail and hospitality companies—say they will cut workers’ hours because of Obamacare. A hundred part-timers can flip as many burgers as 50 full-timers, and the former will soon be much cheaper. Opinions are furiously divided as to whether the unintended harm caused by health reform will outweigh its benefits. Republicans, who have always hated the whole package, howl that it will destroy jobs. Nonsense, say Democrats; it will promote growth and boost employment. Since the law has so many moving parts, it is hard to predict who is right. But there is a risk that a lot of workers will be hurt.
Obamacare includes a tax on generous health plans, starting in 2018, which is making some employers reconsider lush benefits. Unions, which fought for them, are livid. At the other extreme, some low-paid workers may want their employers to drop insurance, so they can receive subsidies on the exchanges.
More worrying, though, is the possibility that Obamacare may kill jobs. In 2010 the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that it would shrink employment by 0.5%. The law’s many provisions would pull in opposite directions. Some would raise employment, the CBO predicted. For example, by expanding Medicaid (health care for the poor) to those with higher incomes, Obamacare would remove a disincentive to work. People who might have turned down extra work for fear of losing their Medicaid would now take it, ran the argument.
Other provisions would reduce employment. Partly, this would be because employers will cut jobs and hours to avoid being subject to the law. But mostly, the CBO thinks it would be because people will choose to work less. Obamacare’s subsidies will boost the finances of poor workers; they may therefore work fewer hours.
When the final diagnosis is done, Obamacare may have nasty side-effects."Link to Original Source