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n2doc

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Home country: USA
Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
Number of posts: 33,669

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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

How Halsey Minor Blew His $1.8 billion Tech Fortune on Way to Bankruptcy

May 31 (Bloomberg) -- How do you sell the technology company you founded for $1.8 billion and five years later, file for personal bankruptcy? For Halsey Minor, it may have been a fascination with houses, hotels, horses and art.

Minor, 47, who sold San Francisco-based CNET Networks Inc. to CBS Corp. in 2008, says he owes as much as $100 million and only has, at most, $50 million to pay his debts thanks to bad bets on real estate and other ventures that took him out of what he calls his technology comfort zone.

He’s made sure that he won’t be the only one who’s uncomfortable. There’s no money for his unsecured creditors, he said in his bankruptcy petition, which seeks to hand over all his eligible assets to a court official who will sell them to the highest bidder and wipe Minor’s finances clean for whatever he decides to do next.

“Choosing Chapter 7 is clearing the slate,” said Bob Rattet, a bankruptcy lawyer in White Plains, New York. “He isn’t required like Middle America to pay his debts, because they’re mostly business-related.”


Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/business/bloomberg/article/How-Halsey-Minor-Blew-His-Tech-Fortune-on-Way-to-4565788.php

Hitler was on Meth. The Nazi Army, too.

'Pilot's Salt': The Third Reich Kept Its Soldiers Alert With Crystal Meth
For a while, the stuff seemed to be "the ideal war drug."


In 1972, Heinrich Böll won the Nobel Prize for literature. But before he became a writer of novels, short stories, and essays, Böll was a writer of letters. During his early 20s, which also happened to be during World War II, he was conscripted into the German military. And as he fought, serving in France, Romania, Hungary, and finally the Soviet Union, Böll corresponded with his family back in Cologne.

The letter he sent on May 20, 1940, contained not just an update, but a request. "Perhaps you could obtain some more Pervitin for my supplies?"

Just one of these pills, Böll explained, was as effective at keeping him alert as several cups of coffee. Plus, when he took Pervitin, he was able to forget, temporarily, about the trials and terrors of war. He could -- for a while, at least -- be happy.

Pervitin was the early version of what we know today as crystal meth. And it was fitting that a German soldier would become addicted to the stuff: the drug, Der Spiegel notes, first became popular in Germany, brought to market by the then-Berlin-based drugmaker Temmler Werke. And almost immediately, the German army physiologist Otto Ranke realized its military value: not only could the methamphetamine compound keep fighters (pilots, in particular) alert on little sleep; it could also keep an entire military force feeling euphoric. Meth, Spiegel puts it, "was the ideal war drug."

And it was, as such, put to wide use. The Wehrmacht, Germany's World War II army, ended up distributing millions of the Pervitin tablets to soldiers on the front (they called it "Panzerschokolade," or "tank chocolate"). The air force gave the tablets to its flyers (in this case, it was "pilot's chocolate" or "pilot's salt"). Hitler himself was given intravenous injections of methamphetamine by his personal physician, Theodor Morell. The pill, however, was the more common form of the drug. All told, between April and July of 1940, more than 35 million three-milligram doses of Pervitin were manufactured for the German army and air force.

more

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/05/pilots-salt-the-third-reich-kept-its-soldiers-alert-with-crystal-meth/276429/

The Mammy Washington Almost Had

If I say the word "Mammy," you're likely to conjure up the character from Gone With the Wind. Or, you may think of Aunt Jemima, in her trademark kerchief, beaming from boxes of pancake mix.

What you probably won't picture is a massive slave woman, hewn from stone, cradling a white child atop a plinth in the nation's capital. Yet in 1923, the U.S. Senate authorized such a statue, "in memory of the faithful slave mammies of the South."

As a Southern Congressman stated in support of the monument: "The traveler, as he passes by, will recall that epoch of southern civilization" when "fidelity and loyalty" prevailed. "No class of any race of people held in bondage could be found anywhere who lived more free from care or distress."

Today, it seems incredible that Congress sanctioned a monument to so-called Faithful Slaves -- just blocks from the Lincoln Memorial, which had been dedicated only months earlier. But the monument to the Great Emancipator masked the nation's retreat from the "new birth of freedom" Lincoln had called for at Gettysburg, three score and ten years before. By 1923, Jim Crow laws, rampant lynching, and economic peonage had effectively reenslaved blacks in the South. Blacks who migrated north during and after World War One were greeted by the worst race riots in the nation's history. In the capital, Virginia-born President Woodrow Wilson had recently segregated federal facilities and screened Birth of a Nation at the White House. The overtly racist movie exalted the Ku Klux Klan, which peaked at two million members in the 1920s and won control of mayors' office and state legislatures across the land.

"We have this image of the 1920s as the Jazz Age, the birth of the modern, a world of skyscrapers and flappers," says David Blight, a Yale historian and leading scholar of race in the late 19th and early 20th century. "But white supremacy had few better moments in our history."

more

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/05/the-mammy-washington-almost-had/276431/

10,000 Years of Sea Level Rise

Fossilized sediment from New Jersey's salt marshes contains evidence of a migrating coast line. For some 2,000 years, up until the dawn of our modern warming era around 1900, the sea level off of what's now New Jersey was rising by about one to two millimeters a year, with the coast itself imperceptibly creeping inland. Today, the sea level is rising by three to five millimeters a year.

Perhaps that still doesn't sound like much. But this is the point of taking a very long view of history.

"The last time we saw rates as fast as this was 6,000 years ago," says Benjamin Horton, an associate professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Science at the University of Pennsylvania.

And what was happening 6,000 years ago? Temperatures were rising then, too, although they weren't as warm as they are today.

"Because we came out of a glacial period, oceans were warming, and ice sheets were melting," Horton says. "They're exactly the same processes that we’re seeing today."


The 10 maps contained in the GIF below show the movement of sea level at 1,000-year intervals leading up today

more
http://www.theatlanticcities.com/neighborhoods/2013/05/if-gif-10000-years-sea-level-rise-doesnt-freak-you-out-nothing-will/5751/

Tiny Washington State high school gets Palin as graduation speaker

Republic High School in the Eastern Washington town of the same name has quite outdone itself, nabbing a former candidate for vice president as its graduation speaker.


Appearing live Saturday at the Republic High gym.
Yes, indeed, Sarah Palin is scheduled to stand before the Republic class of 2013 and offer the 27 graduates her advice, the school says in a news release. And she is doing it for free.

Republic High School is excited to announce that former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has accepted the invitation of the senior class to serve as the 2013 commencement speaker on June 1, 2013.

After an extensive campaign by the senior class,led by class president Tyler Weyer, that included weeks of coordinated letter writing, emails, tweets, and a full Facebook campaign including photographs, the senior class realized their dream to have Governor Palin speak at their commencement ceremony

.

The Spokesman-Review notes that the little high school got Palin after trying. Trying quite hard.

There were, of course, letters and phones calls. But also a Facebook campaign that featured this photo:


They wanted Palin in Republic
Why Sarah Palin?

Weyer, the class president, told the Spokane newspaper:

“I really like how the governor is able to relate to the common, everyday American. She loves to hunt, she loves to fish – and that’s what our class is like, too.”


Sarah Palin coming to Republic is an absolute big deal. A ticket to the graduation is a hot item.

more

http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattlepolitics/2013/05/30/tiny-wash-high-school-gets-palin-as-graduation-speaker/

JULIUS RICHARD PETRI: Animated Google Doodle lets viewers mix it up with father of the Petri dish

By Michael Cavna



SOMETIMES, to achieve broad cultural immortality, it’s less what you made your name in — and much more what you put your name on.

That is why, in the wider world beyond the lab, Robert Bunsen’s name burns so bright. And if anyone understands the conditions for how our culture behaves (and mutates), it’s Julius Richard Petri.

For Petri, immortality is a dish best served with his invention.

As a man of science and bacteria and hygiene, Petri wrote nearly 150 papers, many emerging out of his work with tuberculosis patients. Yet the reason most of the planet knows his name nearly a century after his death is more shallow.

As “shallow,” that is, as the classroom-common Petri dish, or “Petri plate,” that bears his surname — the great, thin invention that forever changed how most every lab scientist works. And to salute Petri’s birth — and the birth of his best-known contribution — Google today features an animated Doodle of a half-dozen Petri plates. (Press play and the six dishes are swabbed by hand; then bacteria grows into the letters “G-o-o-g-l-e.”)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/comic-riffs/post/julius-richard-petri-animated-google-doodle-lets-viewers-mix-it-up-with-father-of-the-petri-dish/2013/05/31/cb1be08c-c9a3-11e2-9f1a-1a7cdee20287_blog.html

Burger King Introduces A Hands-Free Whopper Holder



Americans are all about finding ways to make things easier on themselves, multi-tasking and -- oh yeah -- being lazy.

So this new invention from Burger King is actually perfect for us!

The company handed out 50 of these in Puerto Rico to celebrate BK's 50th Anniversary there. Please say they'll be coming to the mainland soon!



Read more: http://www.wgci.com/articles/did-you-see-that-421790/burger-king-introduces-a-hands-free-11337947/

Cost of solar photovoltaic cells, plotted over time

If your mackerel came from Thailand, an enslaved migrant probably caught it

Thailand’s fishing industry is a global powerhouse. It exports around $7.3 billion worth of seafood annually, making it the planet’s third-biggest exporter after China and Norway. But the length of its coastline alone isn’t what got Thailand there. Instead, it probably has more to do with the fantastic profitability of its business model. Specifically, the labor inputs: brutally underpaid laborers, and often outright slavery.

Nearly all of Thai long-haul fishing vessels are crewed by migrants from neighboring countries, says a new report from the Environmental Justice Foundation (pdf)—many of whom are trafficked. They do backbreaking work for as many as 22 hours a day, for little or no pay. At sea for five or more months at a time, migrants have nowhere to escape to, and are sometimes moved from boat to boat while at sea to keep them captive.

The threat of violence is constant. One escaped migrant tells of captains beating them with a stingray tail (pdf, p.61); others tell of torture and even murder. One Thai fisherman saw a captain execute his 14-man crew; it was easier than paying wages.

A booming economy sandwiched between much poorer neighbors—Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar—Thailand is now a major destination for human trafficking (pdf). But the Thai authorities are doing little, or are even taking a cut. This reluctance to protect migrants goes all the way to the top, as a former commander in the Thai marine police told NPR. “ says it’s too many and will affect the stability of the country,” said Surapol Thuanthong. ”So they don’t do anything.”

more
http://qz.com/89452/if-your-mackerel-came-from-thailand-an-enslaved-migrant-probably-caught-it/

European Economy is really going to hell

19.4 million euro zone members can’t find work—and it’s only going to get worse
By Gwynn Guilford



Euro zone unemployment continues to break records. Some 95,000 euro zone workers lost their jobs in April, bringing the total to 19.4 million—an unprecedented unemployment rate of 12.2%, up from 12.1% in March. Here’s a look at the trend:




And here’s the country-by-country breakdown in Eurostat’s typically cryptic format (pdf):



Once again, the euro zone’s young are bearing the brunt of austerity. An additional 188,000 young people went on the dole in April, bumping the youth unemployment rate up to 24.4%, up from 24.0% in March (pdf).

What’s worse, the unemployment crisis is headed downhill. Carsten Brzeski, an economist with ING, told Reuters that the euro zone typically needs 1.5% GDP growth to generate new jobs. The OECD projects 0.6% growth. The IMF, meanwhile, projects a 0.3% contraction.


more
http://qz.com/89749/19-4-million-euro-zone-members-cant-find-work-and-its-only-going-to-get-worse/
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