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East Coast Pirate

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Member since: Tue May 15, 2012, 02:33 PM
Number of posts: 775

Journal Archives

Jersey City boots out corrupt mayor and his political machine

Jerramiah Healy, the outgoing mayor, drunk and naked on his porch steps.

Jersey City's new mayor, Steven Fulop.

A New Mayor to Match Jersey City’s Ambitions

JERSEY CITY — Once an unfashionable town named after an unfashionable state, this has become a place of bike lanes and brunch spots, organic farmers’ markets and free yoga in the parks. Brought on by the swell of affluent young residents who followed financial firms across the river, strollers now crowd the sidewalks and shimmering towers filled with luxury rentals line the waterfront. Kumon, the supplementary after-school program of the anxious elite, occupies a shiny storefront downtown.

Through all of this, however, Jersey City politics have stayed stubbornly within the mold of Frank Hague, the early-20th-century mayor and political boss who set the standard for corruption, even by New Jersey standards. Newly vigorous community groups have complained of projects stumbling because of bureaucracy. Developers have accused the city of playing favorites with tax abatements. A bribery scandal has swirled around City Hall.

But on Monday, Jersey City will swear in a new mayor, one whose campaign slogan — “enough” — and impressive résumé seem to match the city’s new ambition.

The new mayor is Steven Fulop, a 36-year-old former trader at Goldman Sachs. After 9/11, he took a leave to serve in the Marine Corps, and upon his return from Iraq worked his way up as a city councilman, helping to organize community groups and crusading for better schools and stronger ethics laws.

“It’s a breath of fresh air,” said Tony Frier, who moved here two decades ago and opened the 9th and Coles Tavern with his husband three years ago. “There was so much bureaucracy and red tape, it was bogging everything down. There was no progress being made. He’s got a vision. It’s going to give everybody new life.”

More: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/01/nyregion/a-new-mayor-to-match-jersey-citys-ambitions.html
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Mon Jul 1, 2013, 09:56 AM (0 replies)

READ THIS: Obama’s Covert Trade Deal

(I'm sure this was posted here but I missed it. It's shocking and hard to believe.)


The agreement, under negotiation since 2008, would set new rules for everything from food safety and financial markets to medicine prices and Internet freedom. It would include at least 12 of the countries bordering the Pacific and be open for more to join. President Obama has said he wants to sign it by October.


While the agreement could rewrite broad sections of nontrade policies affecting Americans’ daily lives, the administration also has rejected demands by outside groups that the nearly complete text be publicly released. Even the George W. Bush administration, hardly a paragon of transparency, published online the draft text of the last similarly sweeping agreement, called the Free Trade Area of the Americas, in 2001.

There is one exception to this wall of secrecy: a group of some 600 trade “advisers,” dominated by representatives of big businesses, who enjoy privileged access to draft texts and negotiators.

This covert approach is a major problem because the agreement is more than just a trade deal. Only 5 of its 29 chapters cover traditional trade matters, like tariffs or quotas. The others impose parameters on nontrade policies. Existing and future American laws must be altered to conform with these terms, or trade sanctions can be imposed against American exports.

Read all of this: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/03/opinion/obamas-covert-trade-deal.html
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Sun Jun 30, 2013, 08:00 PM (32 replies)

Can a pornographer's political views be trusted?

I guess I have to add this: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10023133791#post27
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Sun Jun 30, 2013, 11:51 AM (35 replies)

Man kills, then cooks family dog

Tampa,Florida -- A Tampa man is facing animal cruelty charges after he allegedly killed his family's pet dog, and then cut the animal up for future meals.

Investigators say 25-year-old Thomas Elliot Huggins strangled the young pit bull mix pup on Thursday morning, and then chopped the animal into quarters and put the remains in the freezer.

A family member called police after learning what happened. Arriving officers say they found the dog's ribs cooked in a pot on the stove, and the animal's head was in the garbage.

An investigator with Hillsborough Animal Services tells 10 News that Huggins "expertly" cut the animal apart, and this may not be the first time he's done this. According to his arrest report, Huggins learned how to clean an animal from his mother and had done it in the past with squirrels and rabbits.

More: http://www.wtsp.com/news/watercooler/article/322698/58/Police-Man-kills-then-cooks-family-dog
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Sun Jun 30, 2013, 07:00 AM (7 replies)

The RoboCup Championship

With the score tied 1-1, it's gone to a penalty shootout in a tense soccer match between teams from Israel and Australia.

As the Australian goalkeeper in his red jersey braces for the shot, the Israeli striker pauses. Then he breaks into a dance instead of kicking the ball. Perhaps he can be forgiven: He's a robot, after all.

Welcome to the RoboCup, where more than a thousand soccer-playing robots from forty countries have descended on the Dutch technology Mecca of Eindhoven this week with one goal in mind: beat the humans. Eventually.

The tournament's mission is to defeat the human World Cup winners by 2050 _ creating technology along the way that will have applications far beyond the realm of sport.

More: http://www.thepublicopinion.com/news/associated_press/national/europe/article_85fad950-01cd-5745-b90e-63912ffa101f.html
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Sun Jun 30, 2013, 06:38 AM (1 replies)

Raising girls in the Middle East is not for the faint of heart

Raising Girls in the Middle East

Toni Verstandig
Jun 29, 2013

Raising girls in the Middle East is not for the faint of heart. That was the consensus yesterday of three extraordinary women whose fearless commitment to empowering and educating girls in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen has inspired millions across the globe and brought them to speak at this year's Aspen Ideas Festival.

Shabana Basij-Rasikh, Nadia Al-Sakkaf, and Farahnaz Ispahani are social innovators who, despite incredible risks, continue to work tirelessly to advance the proposition that education for girls matters and that neither bombs nor bullets will keep them from sending girls to school.

But the risks for girls who don't receive education are even higher -- without education girls in so many countries are sucked into an enduring cycle of poverty, forced marriage, violence, and are never given their rightful place in their respective societies.

On the other hand, the critical link between education and economic development, health, and social mobility is crystal clear. A woman who receives an education will bring in more money for her family and for her community, she will raise healthier children, and she will have far greater social mobility. Investing in girls delivers a proven return on investment.

More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/toni-verstandig/raising-girls-in-the-midd_b_3521763.html
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Sat Jun 29, 2013, 06:27 PM (0 replies)

Chemists Work to Desalt the Ocean for Drinking Water, One Nanoliter at a Time

By creating a small electrical field that removes salts from seawater, chemists at The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Marburg in Germany have introduced a new method for the desalination of seawater that consumes less energy and is dramatically simpler than conventional techniques. The new method requires so little energy that it can run on a store-bought battery.

The process evades the problems confronting current desalination methods by eliminating the need for a membrane and by separating salt from water at a microscale.


“The availability of water for drinking and crop irrigation is one of the most basic requirements for maintaining and improving human health,” said Crooks, the Robert A. Welch Chair in Chemistry in the College of Natural Sciences. “Seawater desalination is one way to address this need, but most current methods for desalinating water rely on expensive and easily contaminated membranes. The membrane-free method we’ve developed still needs to be refined and scaled up, but if we can succeed at that, then one day it might be possible to provide fresh water on a massive scale using a simple, even portable, system.”


To achieve desalination, the researchers apply a small voltage (3.0 volts) to a plastic chip filled with seawater. The chip contains a microchannel with two branches. At the junction of the channel an embedded electrode neutralizes some of the chloride ions in seawater to create an “ion depletion zone” that increases the local electric field compared with the rest of the channel. This change in the electric field is sufficient to redirect salts into one branch, allowing desalinated water to pass through the other branch.

“The neutralization reaction occurring at the electrode is key to removing the salts in seawater,” said Kyle Knust, a graduate student in Crooks’ lab and first author on the paper.

The left panel shows the salt (which is tagged with a fluorescent tracer) flowing upward after a voltage is applied by an electrode (the dark rectangle) jutting into the channel at just the point where it branches. In the right panel no voltage is being applied.

More: http://www.utexas.edu/news/2013/06/27/chemists-work-to-desalt-the-ocean-for-drinking-water-one-nanoliter-at-a-time/
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Sat Jun 29, 2013, 07:49 AM (15 replies)

The Middle East Plague Goes Global

When the Black Death exploded in Arabia in the 14th century, killing an estimated third of the population, it spread across the Islamic world via infected religious pilgrims. Today, the Middle East is threatened with a new plague, one eponymously if not ominously named the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS-CoV, or MERS for short). This novel coronavirus was discovered in Jordan in March 2012, and as of June 26, there have been 77 laboratory-confirmed infections, 62 of which have been in Saudi Arabia; 34 of these Saudi patients have died.

Although the numbers -- so far -- are small, the disease is raising anxiety throughout the region. But officials in Saudi Arabia are particularly concerned.

This fall, millions of devout Muslims will descend upon Mecca, Medina, and Saudi Arabia's holy sites in one of the largest annual migrations in human history. In 2012, approximately 6 million pilgrims came through Saudi Arabia to perform the rituals associated with umrah, and this number is predicted to rise in 2013. Umrah literally means "to visit a populated place," and it's the very proximity that has health officials so worried. In Mecca alone, millions of pilgrims will fulfill the religious obligation of circling the Kaaba. And having a large group of people together in a single, fairly confined space threatens to turn the holiest site in Islam into a massive petri dish.

The disease is still mysterious. Little is understood about how it is transmitted and even less regarding its origins. But we do know that MERS is deadly, with a mortality rate of about 55 percent -- a remarkably higher lethality than that posed by its close cousin, the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus, which in 2003 terrified travelers across the globe but posed a fatality rate of only 9.6 percent. The MERS coronavirus is new to our species, so mild and asymptomatic infections seem to be rare, but the human immune response to infection is itself so extreme that it can prove deadly in some cases.

More: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/06/28/the_middle_east_plague_goes_global
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Fri Jun 28, 2013, 07:21 PM (1 replies)

Southwest seeing temperatures approach 120 degrees, 130 in Death Valley

The heat wave gripping the western U.S. is one of the worst in years, with desert locations in the Southwest seeing temperatures approach 120 degrees. To give some perspective, here are five facts about the punishing nature of the heat.

The desert valley in California will see temperatures approach 130 degrees. The hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth occurred in Death Valley with a reading of 134 degrees, almost 100 years ago to the day in 1913. The park is dotted with locations such as Furnace Creek and Dante's View, and officials are urging people to exercise extreme caution. But sweltering heat is often a big draw for visitors to Death Valley National Park — especially tourists from Europe — with hotels already booked solid during the hotter months of July and August.

As if temperatures nearing 120 degrees weren't bad enough, it's even hotter inside cars and on concrete and asphalt roads and sidewalks. It can get to 200 degrees on asphalt during peak summer temperatures, presenting all sorts of hazards. Drivers should keep pets and children out of locked cars, and a person who suffers a fall on a sidewalk or a street could end up in the burn unit.

It's common in cities like Phoenix to see pet owners place booties on the paws of their dogs to keep the animals from burning on the blazing heat of streets and sidewalks. As a result, pet owners are urged to walk their dogs during morning and evening hours to protect them from the heat.

Most: http://www.seattlepi.com/news/us/article/How-hot-is-it-in-the-western-US-Real-hot-4630979.php
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Fri Jun 28, 2013, 07:03 PM (5 replies)

Marriage Ruling May Give New York a Business Advantage Over New Jersey

Years before the Supreme Court recognized gay marriages on the federal level, many American corporations offered benefits to same-sex couples. They say it's what you have to do to attract the best talent. This means that the high court’s rulings this week may make New York a more attractive place for companies to do business.

One company caught in the middle of this is Goldman Sachs. The global megabank has about 8,000 staff in lower Manhattan - where gay marriage is recognized -and 4,500 right across the water in Jersey City, where it is not.

Edith Hunt, Goldman's chief diversity officer, said the company is prepared to move staff or offer other solutions to make sure employees in same sex relationships have the best possible benefits.

More: http://www.wnyc.org/articles/wnyc-news/2013/jun/28/marriage-ruling-may-give-new-york-business-advantage-over-new-jersey/
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Fri Jun 28, 2013, 02:10 PM (0 replies)
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