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Home country: USA
Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
Number of posts: 30,669
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Posted by n2doc | Sun Mar 9, 2014, 03:05 PM (5 replies)
By Alexandra Zayas and Letitia Stein, Times Staff Writers
Last year in western Pasco County, 16-year-old Mason Jwanouskos was in the backseat of a convertible when his friend lost control and crashed into a stone pillar.
He couldn't have picked a more expensive place to get hurt.
If he had crashed 30 miles to the south, he would have gone to one of three trauma centers in Tampa or St. Petersburg. They likely would have charged him about $30,000, their typical charge for patients with a concussion.
But Mason was closer to the trauma center at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point.
His bill: $99,000.
Posted by n2doc | Sun Mar 9, 2014, 02:59 PM (2 replies)
by Quinn Norton
“It’s called ‘the crackpot realism of the present’” someone said to me, and handed me a note. I folded up the note, and stuffed it in my purse. This was a phrase used to explain, much more clearly than I was doing at the time, the bias of thinking that now is right, forgetting that the future will look back on our ideas with the same curious and horrified amusement we watch the human past with. It’s believing, without any good reason, that right now makes sense.
The present I was in right then didn’t make a lot of sense.
I was sitting in a cleared facility near Tyson’s Corner in Virginia, the beating heart of the industrial-military-intelligence-policing complex, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. I was there to help the government. Of the places I did not expect to ever go, at least not of my free will, the ODNI would be up there.
A few weeks ago, a friend from the Institute for the Future asked me if I would fly to DC for a one day workshop on the future of identity with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. "What?" I sputtered, "Did they google me?" and then, mentally: Duh. The ODNI can do a lot more than google me.
I knew IFTF had intel clients, with whom I have occasionally chatted at events in the past. My policy when confronted with spooks asking questions about how the world works is to give them as much information as I can -- one of my biggest problems with how security services work is their lack of wisdom. If I can reach people in positions of power and persuade them to critically examine that power, I consider that a win. I also consider it a long shot.
Posted by n2doc | Sun Mar 9, 2014, 09:37 AM (1 replies)
The scene was unprecedented: seven runners walking off the track hand in hand, in quiet protest against their own governing body. The women had just run the 1,500-meter race at the U.S. indoor national championships on Feb. 23 in Albuquerque.
The day before, the winner of the 3,000-meter race, Gabe Grunewald, had been disqualified by one of the most powerful men in track, Nike Oregon Project coach Alberto Salazar, for supposedly interfering with one of his athletes. How Salazar managed the feat is still unclear, but to fans and to other runners it was obvious what had happened: The people who really run the sport had prevailed upon the people who nominally do to change a result in their favor.
By itself, this was nothing new—dictatorial, rule-bending judgments are the order of the day in track. What was new was the backlash: an immediate eruption on social media and the small, televised show of solidarity after the 1,500, which a day later led to Grunewald's reinstatement as national champion. And the outcry is ongoing. People are pissed about the way the sport is run—about the lack of transparency, about the way the athletes are left out of the process, about the appearance of Nike favoritism—and for the first time they're saying so en masse and out loud, right there in front of God and Phil Knight. Call it the Albuquerque Spring.
To understand what's happening here, you first have to understand that this sort of thing never happens in the track world, which exists largely thanks to Nike's dollars. According to USA Track & Field's 2012 annual report, sponsorships account for 45 percent of the nonprofit's operating budget, and Nike is by far the most generous donor. That money buys, among other things, the grudging acquiescence of runners who might otherwise object to their sport's unhealthy relationship with its patron. So when USATF appoints team coaches, determines who moves on from a semi-final, or adjudicates protests behind closed doors—or when yet another decision comes down in favor of a Nike athlete—the grumbling is often tempered by the knowledge that the track the athletes are standing on and the meet they're competing in might not exist without Nike's largesse. That's the way of the world, right? Put up or shut up. Add to that dynamic the fact that track athletes are not of the Richard Sherman school of public relations—they're quiet and undemonstrative—and you've got yourself, in simplistic terms, a classful of underweight, underpaid geeks getting stuffed into lockers while the principal looks the other way.
Or at least, that's how it used to be, until the Foul Foul of Gabe Grunewald.
Posted by n2doc | Sat Mar 8, 2014, 09:39 AM (1 replies)
Mario Livio& Joe Silk
Dark matter is living up to its name. In spite of decades of compelling evidence from astronomical observations showing the existence of matter that neither emits nor absorbs electromagnetic radiation, all attempts to detect dark matter's constituents have failed.
The presence of dark matter is inferred from its gravitational effects. Stars and gas clouds in galaxies and galaxies in clusters move faster than can be explained by the pull of visible matter alone. Light from distant objects may be distorted by the gravity of intervening dark material. The pattern of large-scale structures across the Universe is largely dictated by dark matter. In fact, about 85% of the Universe's mass is dark, accounting for about one-quarter of the total cosmic energy budget.
Despite its ubiquity, the nature of dark matter eludes us. Negative results have flowed from searches for candidate particles to explain it. In 2013, the Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment — the most sensitive detector of its kind — in the Homestake Mine in Lead, South Dakota, reported no signs of dark matter in its first three months of operation1. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, Europe's particle-physics laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland, has found no evidence for the existence of what some think are the most likely culprits: supersymmetric particles, theoretically predicted partners to the known elementary particles.
Is there light at the end of this dark tunnel? Possibly — but only if searches become bolder and broader. More varied particle types should be sought. Definitive tests need to be devised to rule out some classes of dark matter and some theories. If dark matter remains undiscovered in the next decade, then physicists will have to seriously reconsider alternative theories of gravity.
Posted by n2doc | Fri Mar 7, 2014, 05:05 PM (1 replies)
By Carolyn Y. Johnson
MEDFORD — The bird stamps its feet on the ground, taking mincing dance steps through the corn stubble. Neck feathers flare like a headdress, and the male puffs out his neck, making a hollow, hooting call that has been lost to history.
These courtship antics are captured on a silent, black-and-white film that is believed to be the only footage of something not seen for nearly a century: the extinct heath hen.
The film, circa 1918, is the birding equivalent of an Elvis sighting, said Wayne Petersen of Mass Audubon — mind-blowing and transfixing to people who care. It will premier Saturday at a birding conference in Waltham.
Massachusetts officials commissioned the film nearly a century ago as part of an effort to preserve and study the game bird, once abundant from Southern New Hampshire to Northern Virginia. Then, like the heath hen, the film was largely forgotten.
Martha’s Vineyard is where the last known heath hens lived, protected in a state preserve. But the last one vanished by 1932.
Posted by n2doc | Fri Mar 7, 2014, 05:02 PM (1 replies)
BY SARAH SLOAT
It’s well known that living in high-poverty neighborhoods has a significant effect on the mental health of children. Now a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association offers a nuanced look at what happens after children leave these environments. It highlights a paradox: According to the study authors, led by Harvard professor Ronald Kessler, boys who move into more affluent neighborhoods report higher rates of depression and conduct disorder than their female peers.
The reason for the disparity between boys and girls isn’t exactly pinned down. Kessler points to various factors—community perception, interpersonal skills—as major points of influence: “We had an anthropologist working with us, and the anthropologist went and talked to and watched the kids in the old neighborhoods and the new neighborhoods, and their perception was that when the boys came into the new neighborhood they were coded as these juvenile delinquents,” says Kessler. “Whereas with the girls, it was exactly the opposite. They were embraced by the community—‘you poor little disadvantaged thing, let me help you.’”
Kessler’s study was conducted using data from Moving to Opportunity (MTO), a decades-spanning housing mobility experiment financed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Within this project, 4,604 volunteer families with 3,689 children were randomly divided into three groups. Two of them received different versions of rent-subsidy vouchers that enabled them to move into a better neighborhood. A control group did not move.
In follow-up interviews conducted 10 to 15 years later, boys reported higher proportions of major depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and conduct disorder than boys within the control group—rates of PTSD comparable to those of combat soldiers. The opposite occurred with girls, who reported mental health that was substantially better than the girls who stayed in high-poverty neighborhoods.
Posted by n2doc | Fri Mar 7, 2014, 04:57 PM (1 replies)
By Dana Liebelson
On Wednesday, a Republican state senator in Alaska took to the floor to explain that the government should not pay for family planning services for low-income women, because anyone can afford birth control. "Even the most active folks don't need to spend more than $2 or $3 a day for covering their activity," state Sen. Fred Dyson (R-Eagle River) said. He explained that it's easy for women to get access to birth control in Alaska, given that they can get it delivered via Alaska Airlines' express delivery program.
Dyson was talking about birth control as part of the debate on a controversial abortion bill. He is one of six Republicans senators cosponsoring the fast-moving bill, which would stop low-income women in the state from using Medicaid to fund abortions, except in the cases of rape, incest, or to "avoid a threat of serious risk to life or physical health of a woman." The bill outlines a list of 22 conditions that would qualify a woman for a Medicaid-funded abortion, such as risk of coma or seizures. Under Alaska law, since 2001, a woman could still only use state Medicaid to pay for an abortion that was "medically necessary"—but the definition was left up to the woman and her doctor. Critics of the bill say that the bill's new definition is much more restrictive. (Last year, more than 37 percent of abortions reported in Alaska were covered by Medicaid.) Recently, Alaska's Department of Health and Social Services tried to enforce the same restrictions contained in the bill, but Planned Parenthood sued the state over that decision. A court put the regulations on hold as the case unfolds. If this bill passes, it is expected to be challenged as part of that lawsuit. And it's expected to pass—Alaska has a Republican majority in the House, and Republican Gov. Sean Parnell opposes abortion.
Democrats in the state have been trying to limit the bill's effects on women, successfully adding an amendment to this bill last year that would have allowed at least 14,000 low-income Alaskans without children to get their family planning services—including STD testing and birth control—covered by Medicaid. (Right now, Alaska has chosen not to accept money through the government's Medicaid expansion.) But in February, the House Finance Committee stripped the amendment from the bill. State Sen. Berta Gardner (D-Anchorage), who proposed that amendment, says that if the state really wants to prevent abortions, lawmakers should focus on giving women access to birth control. "We know that the best and most efficient way to reduce abortions is to ensure that all women have access to contraceptive services. We do not understand the opposition to doing this," Gardner says, characterizing the Republican opposition as part of "the continuing war on women."
Debate has been ongoing about the bill, and whether the birth control amendment should be added back in. At a Senate floor meeting on March 5, Dyson explained that low-income women don't need their birth control paid for, because it's already easy to get: "No one is prohibited from having birth control because of economic reasons," he said, arguing that women can buy condoms for the cost of a can of pop and get the pill for the price of four to five lattes each month. He added, "By the way, you can go on the internet. You can order these things by mail. You can make phone calls and get it delivered by mail. You all know that Alaska Airlines will do Gold Streak, and get things quickly that way." (When reached by Mother Jones, Dyson says that he was referring to the fact that even women in tiny villages in Alaska can get their prescriptions delivered.)
Posted by n2doc | Fri Mar 7, 2014, 03:26 PM (2 replies)
The mother-of-two who infamously lost custody of her children because she had an abortion after she was divorced has now been ordered to return thousands in child support.
Lisa Mehos, 38, was ordered by a judge to return $50,000 to Houston banker Manuel Mehos - her ex-husband was also relieved of all obligations to pay further child support to the tune of $5,000 a month.
The decision comes after she admitted to having sex with a friend one year after her five year marriage to Manuel Mehos, 59, came to an end in 2011 - the fling resulted in her being pregnant and having an abortion her ex-husband has used against her in court.
-Lisa Mehos was 'shocked' and may lose her Upper West Side apartment, according to the New York Daily News, which first reported the ruling.
A final decision in custody over the couple's children is also considered imminent, Manuel Mehos currently has temporary custody.
Thursday's decision is the latest in a series of court hearings the mother of two says has left her feeling 'raped and beaten.'
Posted by n2doc | Fri Mar 7, 2014, 11:45 AM (159 replies)