PolygamousRanchKid writes with news that GM's outgoing CEO doesn't agree with the National Law and Policy Center's call for GM to repay the loss made by the Treasury from their bailout. From the article: "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 ... to take an ownership stake in the form of company shares."
Lev13than writes "Canada Post is phasing out urban home delivery, raising the price of a letter to $1 and cutting 8,000 jobs to cope with dwindling volume and a projected loss of $1B/year by 2020. About 1/3 of Canadian homes currently get mail delivered to their door. Deliveries will remain weekdays-only and business will be unaffected (at least for now). Much like the USPS, Canada Post is mandated to be self-funded, but 5% annual volume declines and rising costs are taking their toll."
An anonymous reader writes "A medical radioactive material truck has been stolen just outside Mexico City. From the article: 'BBC world affairs correspondent Rajesh Mirchandani says Cobalt-60 could theoretically be used in a so-called "dirty bomb" - an explosive device that could spread radioactive material over a wide area - although there is no official suggestion this was the purpose of the theft. Mexican police are currently conducting a search for the truck and its contents and have issued a press release to alert the public to its potential dangers.'"
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "CNN reports that the 600 horsepower Porsche Carrera GT is notoriously difficult to handle, even for professional drivers. Known as the car actor Paul Walker was riding in when he died, there is no suggestion anyone was to blame for Walker's crash but Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson says drivers are on a 'knife edge' handling the car and described it as 'brutal and savage". 'It is a phenomena — mind blowingly good. Make a mistake — it bites your head off.' Todd Trimble, an exotic car mechanic in Las Vegas, says the Carrera GT is a 'very hard car to drive.' It's (a) pure racer's car. You really need to know what you're doing when you drive them. And a lot of people are learning the hard way.' The sports car has a top speed of 208 mph, a very high-revving V10 engine and more than 600 horsepower says Eddie Alterman, editor-and-chief of Car and Driver magazine. 'This was not a car for novices,' says Alterman. Having the engine in the middle of the car means it's more agile and turns more quickly than a car with the engine in the front or in the rear so it is able to change direction 'very quickly, very much like a race car,' adds Alterman. The Carrera GT is also unusual because it has no electronic stability control which means that it's unforgiving with mistakes. 'Stability control is really good at correcting slides, keeping the car from getting out of shape,' says race car driver Randy Pobst. Alterman concludes that learning to drive a car like a Carrera GT can be extremely tricky. 'Every car is sort of different. And this one, especially since it had such a hair-trigger throttle, because it changed directions so quickly, there is a lot to learn.'"
George Maschke writes "Investigative reporter Marisa Taylor of the McClatchy newspaper group reports that a list of 4,904 individuals who purchased a book, DVD, or personal training on how to pass a polygraph test has been circulated to nearly 30 federal agencies including the CIA, NSA, DIA, DOE, TSA, IRS, and FDA. Most of the individuals on the list purchased former police polygraphist Doug Williams' book, How to Sting the Polygraph, which explains how to pass or beat a polygraph test. Williams also sells a DVD on the subject and offers in-person training. In February 2013, federal law enforcement officials seized Williams' business records, from which the watch list was primarily compiled. Williams has not been charged with a crime."
rtoz writes "Sweden is taking steps to close many prisons due to lack of prisoners. This year alone, four prisons and a detention center got closed in Sweden. The percentage of the population in Sweden prison is significantly lower than in most other countries. ... Though the Swedish Government is taking steps to close the prisons, the crime rate in Sweden has increased slightly. It seems they are planning to take steps for preventing crime rather than focusing on jailing people involved in criminal activities."
On Friday, Marvel released its latest superhero blockbuster, Thor: The Dark World. Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, and Tom Hiddleston reprise their roles as Thor, Dr. Jane Foster, and Loki. Christopher Eccleston, best known for his role as the Ninth Doctor on BBC's Doctor Who, portrays Thor's nemesis in The Dark World: Malekith, ruler of the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim. Despite a strong opening weekend at the box office, critical reception has been lackluster. The movie averaged 66/100 on Rotten Tomatoes and 54/100 on Metacritic, but user reviews rated it higher, at 86/100 and 8/10 respectively. io9's review calls the plot "completely forgettable," but also said, "at a time when superhero films are gravitating towards Christopher Nolan-style darkness, it's really nice to see a movie go swinging into adventure with a song in its heart." Comic Book Resources also commented that the movie was a lot of fun, but added, "the film doesn't quite reach its true potential due to a villain who never truly feels like much more than an amorphous bad guy." Those of you who went to see it over the weekend: what did you think?
Ghostery plugin is your friend here.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Mark Thompson writes in Time Magazine that Air Force pilots flying the T-38 Talon can rest easy, knowing that their cockpit canopy can survive hitting a 4-lb. bird at 190 mph. Unfortunately, the Northrop supersonic jet trainer has a top speed of 812 mph. 'To my knowledge, the training planes are the only ones in the Air Force fast enough to make a bird strike lethal, and with a windshield too flimsy to deflect one,' wrote one Air Force pilot. Midair collisions between birds and Air Force aircraft have destroyed 39 planes and killed 33 airmen since 1973. That's why the USAF is seeking comments to 'identify potential sources, materials, timeframe, and approximate costs to redesign, test, and produce 550 T-38 forward canopy transparencies to increase bird strike capability.' The move follows a T-38 crash on July 19 in Texas triggered by a canopy bird strike. 'The current 0.23 inch thick stretched acrylic transparency can resist a 4-pound bird impact at 165 knots which does not offer a capability to resist significant bird impacts, and has resulted in the loss of six (6) aircraft and two pilot fatalities,' the service acknowledged. 'Numerous attempts since 1970 were made to evaluate existing materials and redesign a transparency that could withstand a bird impact of 4 pounds at 400 knots.' Previous efforts have foundered because they'd require expensive cockpit modifications to the twin-engine, two-seat supersonic jet. 'Although it would increase the level of bird impact protection,' the Air Force said, 'the proposal was cancelled due to the high cost of the modification.'"
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Many of New York City's subway cars are well past their prime and due for fleet replacement, most strikingly those on the C line, known by their model number, R32, and for the tin-can siding that will continue rolling beneath Eighth Avenue for at least a few more years. Now the NYT reports that transit planners have urged the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to consider articulated subway cars for any future fleet upgrades. Articulated cars, already adopted in cities like Berlin, Paris, and Toronto, have no doors between cars, allowing unrestricted flow throughout the length of the train that could increase capacity by 8 percent to 10 percent. Adam Lisberg, the authority's chief spokesman, says that increased capacity could also improve 'dwell time' — the period during which a train is stopped in a station, often because of overcrowding — and allow more trains to run. 'We're one of the largest systems in the world that doesn't do it,' says Richard Barone, the director of transportation programs at the Regional Plan Association. 'Our trains don't function right now to allow people to circulate.' Articulation also has the benefit of making empty trains feel safer. By allowing passengers the ability to move between cars easily and to see passengers throughout the train, the isolation that can sometimes feel dangerous on a late-night subway is less of an issue, simply because the whole train is joined together like one huge car. But not everyone embraces the idea. Elizabeth Kubany who works in the Flatiron district, expressed a fondness for the current configuration, suggesting that the separated cars were more 'intimate' binding passenger to passenger in an increasingly antisocial age. Then she reconsidered. 'You don't really want to be intimate with people on the train.'"
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Time Magazine reports that according to an estimate from Standard & Poor's, the government shutdown, which ended with a deal late Wednesday night after 16 days, took $24 billion out of the U.S. economy and reduced projected fourth-quarter GDP growth from 3 percent to 2.4 percent. The breakdown includes about $3.1 billion in lost government services, $152 million per day in lost travel spending, $76 million per day lost because of National Parks being shut down, and $217 million per day in lost federal and contractor wages in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area alone. Hundreds of thousands of federal workers bore the economic brunt of the shutdown but small businesses also suffered from frozen government contracts and stalled business loans. With the deal only guaranteeing government funding through January 15, the situation could grow worse. 'This is a real corrosion on the economy,' says Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody's Analytics. 'If we have to go down a similar road in the near future, the costs are going to continue to add up.'"
schwit1 writes "Mark Cuban won a years-long fight with the federal government Wednesday as jurors decided that the billionaire basketball team owner did not commit insider-trading when he sold his shares in an Internet company in 2004. The jury in federal district court in Dallas said that the Securities and Exchange Commission failed to prove the key elements of its case, including the claim that Cuban agreed to keep certain information confidential and not trade on it. The nine-member jury deliberated about half a day before reaching the unanimous decision that ended the three-week trial."
down-voting bad comments and up-voting good ones.
Oh how you made me laugh!
dryriver writes "Committee To Protect Journalists reports: U.S. President Barack Obama came into office pledging open government, but he has fallen short of his promise. Journalists and transparency advocates say the White House curbs routine disclosure of information and deploys its own media to evade scrutiny by the press. Aggressive prosecution of leakers of classified information and broad electronic surveillance programs deter government sources from speaking to journalists. In the Obama administration's Washington, government officials are increasingly afraid to talk to the press. Those suspected of discussing with reporters anything that the government has classified as secret are subject to investigation, including lie-detector tests and scrutiny of their telephone and e-mail records. An 'Insider Threat Program' being implemented in every government department requires all federal employees to help prevent unauthorized disclosures of information by monitoring the behavior of their colleagues. Six government employees, plus two contractors including Edward Snowden, have been subjects of felony criminal prosecutions since 2009 under the 1917 Espionage Act, accused of leaking classified information to the press—compared with a total of three such prosecutions in all previous U.S. administrations. Still more criminal investigations into leaks are under way. Reporters' phone logs and e-mails were secretly subpoenaed and seized by the Justice Department in two of the investigations, and a Fox News reporter was accused in an affidavit for one of those subpoenas of being 'an aider, abettor and/or conspirator' of an indicted leak defendant, exposing him to possible prosecution for doing his job as a journalist. In another leak case, a New York Times reporter has been ordered to testify against a defendant or go to jail."
An anonymous reader writes with a link to The Huffington Post, which reports "that a Saudi man was sentenced to 2,000 lashes and 10 years in prison for dancing naked on the roof of a car and posting the video online, according to multiple reports. Three other men were also sentenced to three to seven years in jail and hundreds of lashes each for the incident, Agence France-Presse reported, citing Arabic-language paper Al-Sharq. The four men were hit with a number of charges, including "encouraging vice" and violating public morality, according to the report. The prosecutor in the case, which was heard by a judge in Saudi Arabia's conservative Al-Qassem province, reportedly objected to the sentences for being "too lenient," Gulf News notes. The video was reportedly circulated widely on the Internet, but could not be found by The Huffington Post."