Archive for January 2014
|See Earlier Stories 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 |
The Edge of Medicine
|Michael E. Newman||January 31st 2014|
Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and in Lithuania have used a NIST-developed laboratory model of a simplified cell membrane to accurately detect and measure a protein associated with a serious gynecological disease, bacterial vaginosis (BV), at extraordinarily low concentrations. The work illustrates how the artificial membrane could be used to improve disease diagnosis.
Caused by the bacteria Gardnerella vaginalis, BV is a very common health problem in women and has been linked to infertility, adverse pregnancy outcomes, post-surgery infections and increased risk for acquiring sexually transmitted diseases. Current diagnosis relies on time-consuming, labor-intensive and somewhat inconsistent laboratory cultures or immunological assays.
In a recent paper in the journal PLoS One,* researchers at NIST and Vilnius University (Vilnius, Lithuania) reported that they were able to reveal the presence of G. vaginalis by rapidly detecting and quantifying vaginolysin (VLY), a protein toxin produced exclusively by the bacteria, using the NIST model of cell membranes known as a tethered bilayer lipid membrane (tBLM). Read more ..
|Jim Sleeper||January 31st 2014|
The Watchdog That Didn't Bark. Dean Starkman. Columbia Journalism Review Books. 2014. 368 pp.
In 1920 the New Republic ran “A Test of the News,” a special supplement to the magazine (published soon after as the book Liberty and the News) by Walter Lippmann and Charles Merz showing that in the three and a half years since the Bolshevik revolution, the New York Times had reported “not what was, but what men wished to see.” On ninety-one occasions, the paper had reported that the new regime was on the verge of collapse, although the only real “censor and . . . propagandist were hope and fear in the minds of reporters and editors” themselves.
Lippmann later claimed to identify something more profoundly problematic than bad reporting: “the very nature of the way the public formed its opinions,” as his biographer Ronald Steele put it. He despaired of a public of citizens with enough time and competence to weigh evidence and decide important questions, and in 1922 he published Public Opinion, which contended that experts needed to be insulated from democratic tempests when making decisions, which could then be ratified by voters. Lippmann’s contemporary John Dewey called it “perhaps the most effective indictment of democracy as currently conceived ever penned.”
Public Opinion has never gone out of print, and it’s still easy to imagine elites at Davos telling one another that while “the people” should be consulted, ultimately they must be ruled. But what if the experts and media watchdogs can barely rule themselves? What if they haven’t kept faith with a public that responds more constructively to reporting and education better than what Lippmann encountered?
Ninety-two years later, the Columbia Journalism Review has outdone Lippmann’s indictments of both the press and the public—along with Dewey’s democratic response—with an excerpt of the veteran Wall Street Journal and CJR journalist Dean Starkman’s subtle, devastating The Watchdog That Didn’t Bark: The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism. CJR first published the extensive survey that seeded Watchdog, “Power Problem: The Business Press Did Everything But Take on the Institutions that Brought on the Financial Crisis,” three years ago, but the book goes much farther than that. Read more ..
|Laura Barron-Lopez||January 31st 2014|
The controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline cleared a major hurdle on Friday as the State Department ruled the project wouldn’t significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions.
The finding puts the pipeline one step closer to approval, and sets up a new battle between environmental groups and oil companies over whether the project is in the national interest.
The Environmental Impact Statement on the project reiterates key parts of a draft analysis released early last year, finding that oil sands extraction would continue regardless of whether the pipeline is built.
"Approval or denial of any one crude oil transport project, including the proposed Project, is unlikely to significantly impact the rate of extraction in the oil sands or the continued demand for heavy crude oil at refineries in the United States based on expected oil prices, oil-sands supply costs, transport costs, and supply-demand scenarios," the report said.
The finding could be crucial, as President Obama has said he would only approve the pipeline if he was convinced it would not "significantly exacerbate carbon emissions." Read more ..
The Coal Problem
|Kristen Lombardi||January 31st 2014|
Center for Public Integrity
For the first time, the Environmental Protection Agency is agreeing to regulate the disposal of coal ash as part of a settlement in a lawsuit filed against the agency by environmental groups.
In a consent decree Wednesday, the agency sets December 19 as its deadline for “taking final action regarding EPA’s proposed . . . regulations pertaining to coal combustion residuals.” The settlement follows an earlier judicial order, issued last fall, partly ruling in favor of Earthjustice and 10 other groups in a lawsuit challenging the slow pace of EPA’s regulatory action.
The agency is now weighing how to regulate coal ash, waste from the production of electricity. One of the nation’s largest refuse streams at 136 million tons a year, coal ash has fouled water supplies and threatened communities across the country. In a series of stories, the Center for Public Integrity highlighted the consequences of coal ash. Read more ..
The Battle for Syria
|Ehud Yaari||January 31st 2014|
As the fighting in Syria rages, Israel has been moving cautiously and often reluctantly toward assuming a modest role in the civil war, restricted to areas along the Golan Heights frontier line. What began as a purely humanitarian step -- extending emergency medical aid to injured and sick Syrians from neighboring villages -- has by now reportedly expanded into a well-developed mechanism for providing a whole range of items, from medications to food, fuel, clothes, heaters, and more. One should assume that the same understandings which allowed over 600 wounded Syrians to be evacuated for treatment in Israeli hospitals -- including a special military field hospital on the Golan -- are facilitating other forms of assistance as well. A significant operation of this type indicates that a system of communications and frequent contacts have been established with the local rebel militias, since the evacuation of the injured and their return to Syria seem to function flawlessly. Read more ..
The Ukraine on Edge
|Claire Bigg||January 31st 2014|
As Ukraine's civil unrest spreads across Ukraine, with antigovernment protesters laying siege to official buildings in a dozen cities, jittery citizens are taking security into their own hands.
Self-defense groups are hastily being formed in the Russian-speaking east, President Viktor Yanukovych's traditional power base, to bar protesters from seizing control of local administrations.
In the European-leaning, western part of Ukraine, local residents supporting Kyiv's Euromaidan protests are also conducting patrols and guarding government buildings seized by demonstrators last week. But there are fears that the mushrooming of rival vigilante groups, instead of bringing order back to the streets, will only fuel violence and divisions. Read more ..
The Way We Are
|Farangis Najibullah and Mujib Rahman Hbibzai||January 31st 2014|
Sabur has moved out of his marital home on the outskirts of Mazar-e Sharif. It was the only way to escape the domestic abuse he suffered at the hands of his wife.
"We've been constantly having arguments, and sometimes my wife loses her cool and gets violent," Sabur says, pointing to a bruise and cut on his forehead. In an almost apologetic tone, he cites his money problems and the lack of employment opportunities in the northern Afghan city as the root causes of his suffering.
"I can't find work and can't provide for my family," he says. "Obviously, when I come home empty-handed, it annoys my wife. Once she hit my forehead with the heel of her shoe. But I don't want people to know about my situation because I live in Afghan society, and it could ruin my honor and reputation if people hear about it." Read more ..
The Ancinet Edge
|Antoine Blua||January 31st 2014|
If you ever wondered what the Ice Age looked like, then look no farther than Eurasia's Altai-Sayan mountains, where thriving mammalian communities are frozen in time.
Parts of the range along the Russia-Mongolian border have served as sanctuaries for Ice Age mammals since the last glacial period.
While the sizes and unique physical features of the mammals have evolved, the communities themselves are nearly identical to those that existed in the region during the Pleistocene era.
Czech scientists from the University of South Bohemia have compiled a list of mammals at seven Eurasian sites that lived between 35,000 and 12,000 years ago, and compared them with the mammals living today at 14 sites. Read more ..
|Jonah Goldberg||January 31st 2014|
Wendy Davis, a Democratic state senator running to replace Rick Perry as governor of Texas, owes her political stardom to two things: a pair of pink sneakers and her unstinting support for a woman’s right to terminate a late-term pregnancy in a substandard clinic. Yay, feminism!
Last year, Davis led an eleven-hour filibuster — that’s where the sneakers came in handy — to block legislation that would ban abortion after 20 weeks and require abortion clinics to meet the same standards that hospital-style surgical centers do.
This was all going on against the backdrop of the sensational Kermit Gosnell case in Pennsylvania. Gosnell ran a bloody, filthy “clinic” where he performed late-term abortions with a barbarity you’d expect to find in a Saw movie. Sometimes he’d “snip” the spines of fully-delivered babies with a pair of scissors. His instruments were so unsanitary that some women got STDs from them. Cat feces was a common sight on the procedure-room floors.
In short, you didn’t need to be an abortion-rights activist to find the story of interest, but you’d certainly expect an activist to be up to speed on it. Working on that theory, The Weekly Standard’s John McCormack caught up with Davis last August to ask her a few questions. Read more ..
|James C. Capretta||January 31st 2014|
The introduction of an Obamacare replacement plan by Republican senators Richard Burr (N.C.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), and Orrin Hatch (Utah) has given Obamacare’s apologists — who admittedly have had very tough duty over the past four years — a rare opportunity to get out of their defensive crouches and go on the attack. Not surprisingly, fast out of the gate has been Ezekiel Emanuel, who has a piece up at theNew York Times website claiming that the fatal flaw of the Republican senators’ plan is that it would raise taxes on millions of American households.
There are a couple of problems with Emanuel’s analysis. The first is not Emanuel’s fault: He based his assessment of the tax consequences on an imprecise description of the tax policy in the original write-up of the plan. That description said an upper limit would be placed on the tax preference for employer-paid health premiums at 65 percent of the average employer plan. But the policy the senators have actually adopted, as explained in a clarification, would place the upper limit at 65 percent of the cost of a very high-cost employer plan. In Obamacare terms, think of the fully loaded benefit package with very low cost-sharing. Setting the upper limit at this level would mean most employer plans would fall well below the cap, and only a relatively small percentage of the work force would see any changes in job-based coverage. Those who today have expensive employer plans that would be over the upper limit would see adjustments, of course, such as higher deductibles; but those adjustments wouldn’t take away their employer plans but would only bring them more in line with the coverage an average worker experiences. Read more ..
The Edge of Healthcare
|Sally Satel||January 31st 2014|
The biggest class action suit in Canadian legal history is under way at the Quebec Superior Court in Montreal. At stake are billions in damages and penalties sought from three tobacco companies – Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd., Rothmans, Benson & Hedges; and JTI-Macdonald. Justice Brian Riordan is hearing cases representing almost two million victims of lung, larynx and throat cancer, and emphysema caused by smoking cigarettes.
In an unusual act, the Non-Smokers’ Rights Association has filed a complaint with the Collège des médecins du Québec against a key expert who testified last week. The complaint accuses Dominique Bourget, a forensic psychiatrist at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre, of breaching the college’s ethics code by “minimizing the gravity of, if not denying the existence of, tobacco dependence.” Read more ..
The Economy on Edge
|Charles Recknagel||January 30th 2014|
If there is one common denominator these days in emerging markets, it is turbulence, with many of these countries' economies having to contend with sliding currencies and stockmarket volatility. Here are five things to know about what's behind the turmoil.
How widespread is the turbulence in emerging markets?
Since the start of the year, investors have been fleeing emerging markets worldwide amid concerns about faltering economies and political unrest.
The turbulence is not felt in every emerging market but is widespread enough to talk of a global phenomenon.
Last week offered particularly dramatic examples. On January 24, Russia's ruble fell to its lowest level in almost five years against the US. dollar, while Turkey's lira fell by 1.6 percent in a single day. At the same time, South Africa's rand slid to its weakest level since October 2008. And even Mexico’s peso, one of the stronger currencies in emerging markets, fell to its weakest level against the U.S. dollar since June. Read more ..
C.A.R. on Edge
|Peter Clottey||January 30th 2014|
The formation of a new transitional government is being welcomed as “a legitimate partner” for the African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic (MISCA), in a bid to stabilize the security situation, says Eloi Yao, an African Union spokesman.
His comments came after UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay expressed concern about the deteriorating security situation in C.A.R.
Yao says troops from the African-led force are implementing security measures to create an environment to enable humanitarian groups to provide much needed assistance to unarmed civilians displaced by the conflict.
“With this government that is a legitimate government, they will help MISCA to have partners that can talk to directly so that the MISCA can implement its mandate, and engage in regular dialogue with the members of the government,” said Yao. He says next week Rwanda will complete the deployment of the rest of its troops to help with MISCA’s stabilization efforts. Yao says the deployment of the Rwandan troops has been a significant boost to MISCA’s objectives. Read more ..
The Edge of Medicine
|Jessica Berman||January 30th 2014|
An international team of scientists tracing the origins of two of the world’s most devastating plagues says strains of the same plague caused the pandemics hundreds of years ago. They warn that new strains could trigger future outbreaks.
The so-called Plague of Justinian, the first one known to historians, struck in the sixth century. The pandemic originated in China and killed between 30 and 50 million people as it spread across Asia, northern Africa, Arabia and Europe between 1347 and 1354. Experts believe that plague, caused by a bacterium carried by rodents, contributed to the fall of the Roman Empire.
Eight hundred years later, according to researchers, the Black Death killed an estimated 75 million to 200 million people in Europe and North Africa. Expert say this plague, which also originated in Asia, was hardier, resurfacing in the 1800s. The Black Death was caused by a different strain of the same bacterium that caused the Justinian Plague. Read more ..
Turkey on Edge
|George Friedman||January 30th 2014|
Turkey has been desperately trying to stem the plunge of the lira, which has declined about 10 percent against the U.S. dollar over the past year. Like several other once-celebrated emerging economies, Turkey has seen a rapid outflow of short-term portfolio investment that Ankara had been heavily relying on to help cover its burgeoning current account deficit, totaling $60.8 billion, or roughly 7 percent of gross domestic product, for January to November 2013.
The capital flight has been driven in part by the U.S. Federal Reserve's withdrawal of stimulus measures, which has limited Turkey's access to cheap liquidity. With the Federal Reserve's Jan. 29 announcement that it would again reduce its monetary stimulus, Turkey is now applying all of its tools to stabilize the lira, even with the knowledge that the move is unlikely to have a lasting impact. This is because Turkey's financial troubles have been greatly exacerbated by a deep-rooted power struggle that is only going to intensify in the lead-up to local elections in March, presidential elections in August and parliamentary elections in 2015. Read more ..
The Glass Edge
|Katherine Gombay||January 29th 2014|
Normally when you drop a drinking glass on the floor it shatters. But, in future, thanks to a technique developed in McGill’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, when the same thing happens the glass is likely to simply bend and become slightly deformed. That’s because Prof. François Barthelat and his team have successfully taken inspiration from the mechanics of natural structures like seashells in order to significantly increase the toughness of glass.
“Mollusk shells are made up of about 95 per cent chalk, which is very brittle in its pure form,” says Barthelat. “But nacre, or mother-of-pearl, which coats the inner shells, is made up of microscopic tablets that are a bit like miniature Lego building blocks, is known to be extremely strong and tough, which is why people have been studying its structure for the past twenty years.”
Previous attempts to recreate the structures of nacre have proved to be challenging, according to Barthelat. “Imagine trying to build a Lego wall with microscopic building blocks. It’s not the easiest thing in the world.” Instead, what he and his team chose to do was to study the internal ‘weak’ boundaries or edges to be found in natural materials like nacre and then use lasers to engrave networks of 3D micro-cracks in glass slides in order to create similar weak boundaries. The results were dramatic.
The researchers were able to increase the toughness of glass slides (the kind of glass rectangles that get put under microscopes) 200 times compared to non-engraved slides. By engraving networks of micro-cracks in configurations of wavy lines in shapes similar to the wavy edges of pieces in a jigsaw puzzle in the surface of borosilicate glass, they were able to stop the cracks from propagating and becoming larger. They then filled these micro-cracks with polyurethane, although according to Barthelat, this second process is not essential since the patterns of micro-cracks in themselves are sufficient to stop the glass from shattering. Read more ..
The Race for Batteries
|Sam Orez||January 29th 2014|
A Kansas State University engineer has made a breakthrough in rechargeable battery applications.
Gurpreet Singh, assistant professor of mechanical and nuclear engineering, and his student researchers are the first to demonstrate that a composite paper -- made of interleaved molybdenum disulfide and graphene nanosheets -- can be both an active material to efficiently store sodium atoms and a flexible current collector. The newly developed composite paper can be used as a negative electrode in sodium-ion batteries.
"Most negative electrodes for sodium-ion batteries use materials that undergo an 'alloying' reaction with sodium," Singh said. "These materials can swell as much as 400 to 500 percent as the battery is charged and discharged, which may result in mechanical damage and loss of electrical contact with the current collector." Read more ..
Obama's Second Term
|Heather C. McGhee and Amy Traub||January 29th 2014|
When it comes to boosting economic opportunity, President Obama isn’t going to wait for Congress anymore.
In his State of the Union Address last night, the President made a powerful statement about employers’ obligation to reward work -- starting with his own obligation as the executive in charge of millions of federal contracts.
In a study my colleagues Robert Hiltonsmith and Amy Traub released last May, Demos found that nearly two million private sector employees paid with federal tax dollars through contracts, loans, grants, leases and health spending, earn wages too low to support a family. These are people working on behalf of America, doing jobs that we have decided are worthy of public funds—yet they’re being treated in a very un-American way. That’s why federal workers have been walking off the job for the last year, organizing with Good Jobs Nation to call on President Obama to raise their wages. Read more ..
Obama's Second Term
|Alexander Bolton||January 29th 2014|
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Wednesday suggested he will not bring legislation to the floor that would grant President Obama greater trade powers.
Reid said he is “against” trade promotion authority (TPA) legislation — often called “fast track” — that, if passed, would make it easier for Obama to negotiate trade deals by preventing Congress from amending them.
“I’m against fast track,” said Reid, who told reporters he would not guarantee floor time for legislation by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who is set to leave the Senate upon his confirmation as ambassador to China. “We’ll see,” Reid said of the bill. “Everyone would be well advised just to not push this right now.” Read more ..
America on Edge
|Bernie DeGroat||January 29th 2014|
American households without a vehicle have increased nearly every year since 2007—providing further evidence that motorization may have peaked in the United States, says a University of Michigan researcher.
Following up his research from last year showing that Americans own fewer light-duty vehicles per household, drive them less and consume less fuel than in the past, Michael Sivak of the U-M Transportation Research Institute examined recent trends (2005-12) in the proportion of U.S. households without a car, pickup truck, SUV or minivan. He also studied variations in this proportion for the 30 largest U.S. cities for 2007 and 2012.
Sivak found that 9.2 percent of U.S. households were without a vehicle in 2012, up from 8.7 percent in 2007. Further, the proportion of such households increased in 21 of the 30 largest cities, with the 13 cities with the largest proportions showing an increase during that time. Read more ..
|Diane Swanbrow||January 29th 2014|
A new University of Michigan analysis challenges the conventional wisdom that President Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty failed. In the decade after Johnson declared "unconditional war on poverty," poverty rates plummeted to reach their historic low of about 11 percent in 1973. Poverty rates were 19 percent in 1964.
In a new analysis of spending during the Johnson administration, University of Michigan economists Martha Bailey and Nicolas Duquette examine why Johnson and the War on Poverty received so little credit.
"We find that the Johnson administration chose poverty over politics," said Martha Bailey, associate professor of economics and co-author of a paper titled "How Johnson Fought the War on Poverty: The Economics and Politics of Funding at the Office of Economic Opportunity." Read more ..
America's Darkest Edge
|Matthew Hilburn||January 29th 2014|
Every day in the United States, about 20 children are injured by firearms and require hospitalization, according to new research.
The research said that in 2009, there were 7,391 hospitalizations of victims under the age of 20 and that six percent of those admitted die as a result of their injuries.
“This study is a stark reminder of the devastating effects of gun violence,” said Adam Winkler, a law professor at UCLA and author of the book Gunfight. “Too often, we focus only on the number of people who die from gun violence. But so many who escape death also suffer lifelong injuries.”
The study says assaults accounted for the majority of hospitalizations, while the fewest were suicide attempts. Suicide attempts were the most likely to result in death. The most common types of firearm injuries were open wounds (52 percent); fractures (50 percent); and internal injuries of the thorax, abdomen or pelvis (34 percent), according to the study. Read more ..
Healthcare on Edge
|Kokab Farshori||January 29th 2014|
The war on polio is in danger of being lost in Pakistan, and in a dramatic development a new strain of polio has been identified in a part of the country where eradication efforts against the crippling disease are most at risk because of attacks against vaccinators.
Pakistan is one of only three countries, along with Afghanistan and Nigeria where polio remains endemic and while eradication efforts are making progress in Afghanistan and Nigeria they are faltering in Pakistan, the only country in the world where polio case rose from 2012 to 2013.
Dr. Sarfraz Khan Afridi, a WHO official based in Peshawar, the capital city of Pakistan’s restive Khyber Pakhtunkhaw province in the northwest of the country, told VOA’s Deewa Radio that 91 cases of polio were reported in 2013, up from 58 in 2012. Read more ..
The Battle for Syria
|Aryeh Savir||January 29th 2014|
For the past three years a brutal civil war has been waged in Syria. The main victims of this internal conflict are the Syrian civilians themselves. According to the United Nations, at least 120,000 Syrians have been killed in the fighting over the past three years. Since the outbreak of the Syrian conflict in March 2011, over 300 Syrians have been treated in hospitals throughout Israel.
Last year, the IDF set up a field hospital to treat wounded Syrian civilians near the northern border, treating over 500 Syrian nationals.
Regardless of the tense relations between Israel and Syria, who are still officially at war, IDF soldiers have continued to apply a core Jewish value: “He who saves one life, saves the whole of humanity.”
On February 16, 2013, seven wounded civilians from Syria approached Israel’s border in urgent need of help. Colonel Tariff Bader, a Druze officer, heads an Israeli field hospital near the border. He began his IDF service in 1993, and after completing his medical studies, rose through the IDF’s ranks to become a senior medical officer in the IDF’s Northern Command. Read more ..
Sports on Edge
|Armstrong Williams||January 29th 2014|
Watching the Olympic Games used to be like watching The Godfather, or Citizen Kane. You knew you were watching something spectacular, and you didn’t want the show to end. I remember anticipating the eve of the games; the complexities and rivalries between cultures, seeing the top athletes around the world give it their all, the tradition of the games, and then the ensuring political nature of them.
There are a few reasons the ensuing Winter Olympics will not be met with the same excitement in as in years past, but still eagerly anticipated. Our athletes represent ideals, not just skill and prowess. In years past the United States competing against the Soviets got my full attention. Every four years; it seemed like a battle of good vs. evil, white cowboy hats and black cowboy’s hats every four years. Beating the Soviets was like winning a battle in the Cold War. It was more than just the games, and I loved every second of it. Read more ..
The Iranian Threat
|Jim Kouri||January 29th 2014|
An engineer who was arrested earlier this month for allegedly attempting to ship stolen documents regarding a high-tech U.S. military fighter jet to the Iranian government was officially indicted by a federal grand jury in Connecticut on Tuesday, according to law enforcement officials.
Mozaffar Khazaee, who is a naturalized U.S. citizen but also retains his Iranian citizenship, is charged with transporting stolen goods after he was arrested attempting to surreptitiously deliver stolen property to Iran's military.
The 59-year-old suspect was arrested on Jan. 9. 2014 for his attempt to smuggle thousands of pages of classified documents regarding the U.S. military's high-tech F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. If convicted, the suspect is facing a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. Khazaee was indicted Tuesday for transporting, transmitting and transferring in interstate commerce goods obtained by theft, conversion or fraud, according to court documents. Read more ..
After the Holocaust
|Martin Barillas||January 29th 2014|
Cutting Edge Contributor
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon sounded a strong warning against the dangers of anti-Semitism and hatred of any kind in the world during the International Holocaust Day held at the UN offices in Nairobi in tribute to the six million Jews and countless others massacred in the Holocaust.
In a statement, Ban Ki-Moon wrote, “The United Nations was founded to prevent any such horror from happening again. Yet tragedies from Cambodia to Rwanda to Srebrenica show that the poison of genocide still flows.” His message was read on his behalf by the UN Resident Coordinator Nardos Bekele-Thomas on January 27. Read more ..
The Digital Edge
|Jeannie Kever||January 28th 2014|
University of Houston
University of Houston researchers have developed a new stretchable and transparent electrical conductor, bringing the potential for a fully foldable cell phone or a flat-screen television that can be folded and carried under your arm closer to reality.
Zhifeng Ren, a physicist at the University of Houston and principal investigator at the Texas Center for Superconductivity, said there long has been research on portable electronics that could be rolled up or otherwise easily transported. But a material that is transparent and has both the necessary flexibility and conductivity has proved elusive – some materials have two of the components, but until now, finding one with all three has remained difficult.
The gold nanomesh electrodes produced by Ren and his research associates provide good electrical conductivity as well as transparency and flexibility, the researchers report in a paper. The material also has potential applications for biomedical devices, said Ren, lead author on the paper. The researchers reported that gold nanomesh electrodes, produced by the novel grain boundary lithography, increase resistance only slightly, even at a strain of 160 percent, or after 1,000 cycles at a strain of 50 percent. The nanomesh, a network of fully interconnected gold nanowires, has good electrical conductivity and transparency, and has "ultrahigh stretchability," according to the paper. Read more ..
The Race for Wind
|Dan Levin||January 28th 2014|
The Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), along with partners from the Electric Power Research Institute and the University of Colorado have completed a comprehensive study to understand how wind power technology can assist the power grid by controlling the active power output being placed onto the system. The rest of the power system’s resources have traditionally been adjusted around wind to support a reliable and efficient system. The research that led to this report challenges that concept.
The study, “Active Power Controls from Wind Power: Bridging the GapsPDF”, finds that wind power can support the power system by adjusting its power output to enhance system reliability. Additionally, the study finds that it often could be economically beneficial to provide active power control , and potentially damaging loads on turbines from providing this control is negligible. Active power control helps balance load with generation at various times, avoiding erroneous power flows, involuntary load shedding, machine damage, and the risk of potential blackouts. Read more ..
The Economy on Edge
|Bernard Shusman||January 28th 2014|
New York City and the State of New York are investing hundreds of millions of dollars to become a major player in the development of high tech industries. They have developed a concept called incubators - providing fully-equipped, subsidized workspaces for qualified start-up companies. There are approximately 40 incubator projects across New York State.
Harlem Biospace is the first city-backed incubator facility for biomedical engineering. It gives young entrepreneurs a relatively low-cost way to develop their ideas and businesses. A low monthly fee provides them with desk space and laboratory facilities. They pay for their own raw materials.
“This is great. The reason is because it is so cheap and it has the wet lab that we need. So, I order chemicals that I need, and I’m given the facilities here to do my experiments," said Tyler Poore.
Tyler Poore and his partner are developing a product that will kill bacteria forever. It can be applied to household items, like a sponge, or to anything that needs to be bacteria-free. His goal and that of the 17 others at Biospace is to find solutions to biomedical problems. Read more ..
The Music Edge
|Katerine Cole||January 28th 2014|
Pete Seeger, the legendary folk singer-songwriter who fought for social change and played a major role in the American folk revival, died Monday at the age of 94.
For many, Seeger will be remembered as America’s most-famous, and infamous, folk singer.
Banjo player Tony Trischka first heard Seeger’s banjo-playing and singing as child and later became his friend. When he was 14 years old, Trischka wrote Seeger a fan letter. He didn’t have an address, so he just addressed it to Pete Seeger, Beacon New York and hoped that it would reach his hero.
“I wrote something to the effect ‘Dear Pete, I think you’re the greatest banjo player who ever lived.’ Two weeks later, I received a postcard back from Pete Seeger saying ‘Dear Tony, music’s not like a horse race, there’s no such thing as best, but I’m glad you like my music.’ And he signed it Pete Seeger, as you would, and he drew a little banjo. And that just became a relic, this iconic thing that helped inspire me,” he said. Read more ..
The Battle for Syria
|Reva Bhalla||January 28th 2014|
International diplomats will gather Jan. 22 in the Swiss town of Montreux to hammer out a settlement designed to end Syria's three-year civil war. The conference, however, will be far removed from the reality on the Syrian battleground. Only days before the conference was scheduled to begin, a controversy threatened to engulf the proceedings after the United Nations invited Iran to participate, and Syrian rebel representatives successfully pushed for the offer to be rescinded. The inability to agree upon even who would be attending the negotiations is an inauspicious sign for a diplomatic effort that was never likely to prove very fruitful.
There are good reasons for deep skepticism. As Syrian President Bashar al Assad's forces continue their fight to recover ground against the increasingly fratricidal rebel forces, there is little incentive for the regime, heavily backed by Iran and Russia, to concede power to its sectarian rivals at the behest of Washington, especially when the United States is already negotiating with Iran. Ali Haidar, an old classmate of al Assad's from ophthalmology school and a long-standing member of Syria's loyal opposition, now serving somewhat fittingly as Syria's National Reconciliation Minister, captured the mood of the days leading up to the conference in saying "Don't expect anything from Geneva II. Neither Geneva II, not Geneva III nor Geneva X will solve the Syrian crisis. The solution has begun and will continue through the military triumph of the state." Read more ..
Israel on Edge
|Rachel Ehrenfeld||January 28th 2014|
The tremendous success of the Palestinian propaganda machine is underexposed. No other refugee group has been as violent, or attracted such active political and financial support as the Palestinians. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons they refuse to stop their violence against Israel. Taking advantage of wide-spread anti-Semitic (aka anti-Israeli) sentiments, the Palestinian propaganda machine has succeeded over more than five decades to live off many hundreds of billions of dollars of outside support.
The millions of Syrian and Sudanese refugees, the survivors of the 2004 Tsunami, and the 17 million affected by super typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013, and millions of other displaced people who are trying to survive and rebuild get the headlines couple of days, sometimes weeks, get some token money and are then forgotten. Read more ..
Obama's Second Term
|Star Parker||January 28th 2014|
Senior advisor to President Obama, Valerie Jarrett, wrote for the White House blog and the Huffington Post that, "A Woman's Health Care Decisions Should Be in Her Own Hands, Not Her Boss's." I couldn't agree more.
Odd then that the administration is trying to insert bosses, many of them against their deeply held religious beliefs, into the private health care decisions of women. Ms. Jarrett writes that, "The ACA (Affordable Care Act) was designed to ensure that health care decisions are made between a woman and her doctor, and not by her boss, or Washington politicians."
In fact, the administration has done the opposite. It has forced employers to act as middlemen between women and their doctors by forcing them to participate in providing four potentially life terminating drugs and the whole gamut of FDA-approved contraceptives, even when they object on religious grounds. And then it thrust the issue right into the portfolio of Washington politicians by making it an election wedge issue, by using it to stoke partisan bickering, and by peddling lies about a "war on women." Read more ..
Islam on Edge
|Lisa Curtis and Maneeeza Hossain||January 28th 2014|
Bangladesh has experienced significant political tumult in the past year and there is concern that as the parliamentary election (scheduled for January 5, 2014) approaches, street violence will escalate, jeopardizing the country’s nascent democratic system. While the threat from terrorism had diminished to some extent under the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the recent execution of an Islamist politician and the sentencing to death of other opposition leaders accused of war crimes during Bangladesh’s war of independence in 1971 have unleashed furor among Islamists. The war crimes verdicts led to violent protests earlier this year that left over 150 dead. Following the December 12 execution of Islamist leader Abdul Qader Mollah, rioting broke out, killing at least five Bangladeshis in a 24-hour period. The international community urged the Bangladeshi Prime Minister to stay Mollah’s execution, but to no avail. Read more ..
The Digital Edge
|David Inserra||January 28th 2014|
The explosion of Internet capabilities, specifically over the past seven years, has engendered seismic shifts in societies around the globe. This dynamic game changer challenges the economic and political status quo by providing a venue for sharing ideas and practicing innovation. According to a 2011 report by the McKinsey Global Institute, the Internet “accounted for 21 percent of the GDP growth in mature economies” from 2007 to 2011, and greatly benefited “consumers and small, upstart entrepreneurs.” Together with other economic, political, and social benefits, the value of an unchained Internet is apparent.
As a result, governments—both autocratic and democratic—around the world recognize the power of information to affect citizens’ economic, political, and social fortunes. Fearing the Internet’s power, cyber censorship and surveillance is common under many of the world’s brutal regimes, such as Cuba, North Korea, China, and Iran. As the Internet is a powerful medium of expression and innovation, the U.S. needs to reject government control of the Internet. Read more ..
Pakistan on Edge
|Salim Mansur ||January 28th 2014|
Since 9/11, Islamist culture is seen to be synonymous with violence, misogyny and a pathological hatred for others; and, ironically, it has made Muslims themselves its most numerous victims. "Impure," or non-authentic Muslims, meant those whose Islam had been weakened by un-Islamic or non-Islamic values imported from the West, or contaminated by the Hindu culture of India.
Eventually political differences came to be viewed, by the measure of Islam, in terms of the "purity" and "impurity" of people. In the "Land of the Pure" [Urdu for Pakistan], those suspected of impurity must be cleansed, purged or driven out.
For Osama bin Laden there was a clear and unmistakable cultural divide separating the Arab-Muslim world from the West. The idea that there is a difference, perhaps even qualitative, in terms of culture between the West and the East is considered a scandal by those who are convinced that our highly interdependent world is headed in a direction where, at some point, cultures will converge, or their significance be so diminished that cultural differences will be merely a matter of curiosity. Read more ..
The Digital Edge
|Junko Yoshida||January 28th 2014|
In the results posted Friday for the fourth quarter of 2013, Samsung Electronics reported an operating profit of 8.31 trillion won ($7.7 billion), which missed analyst expectations by a whopping 20%.
Samsung also reported its first quarterly operating profit decline in two years - an 18% drop from the $9.4 billion it reported for the third quarter. Though it posted a record $54.95 billion of revenue, the industry is focused now on its potential growth limits in the coming quarters.
Read more ..
The Korean company also issued a warning about anemic earnings in the current quarter. It's blaming "weak seasonality" in the IT industry early in a calendar year. It expects performance to pick up in the second half, but admitting a disappointment in advance is hardly good news.
Nobody is predicting the beginning of the end for Samsung, but this might be an opportune moment to compare its situation today with Nokia's back in 2007. Today the mobile division is responsible for more than half of Samsung Electronics' revenue and profit. Further, Samsung's share of the global smartphone market is more than 35%, and Nokia's share peaked at 39% in the third quarter of 2007.
|Kevin Bogardus and Erick Wasson||January 28th 2014|
Lobbyists are seeing dollar signs with the return of “regular order” to Capitol Hill.
They are brimming with anticipation for a year of hearings, markups and floor votes on appropriations legislation that would decide how the government divvies up around $1.1 trillion in federal cash.
“In terms of morale on K Street, it’s great. In terms of business, yeah, if bills are moving, that creates opportunities,” said former Rep. Jim Walsh (R-N.Y.), a government affairs counselor at K&L Gates.
Work on the 12 annual appropriations bills has been largely fruitless since 2011, as Congress careened from one crisis to the next. Lawmakers passed a series of continuing resolutions (CR) that extended government funding but left spending on autopilot. Read more ..
Ukraine on Edge
|Thekla Hritz||January 28th 2014|
Ukraine's parliament has repealed controversial antiprotest laws in a move aimed at ending two months of antigovernment protests.
A total of 361 lawmakers out of 412 present voted to repeal the legislation at a special session of parliament on January 28.
The laws had sparked violent clashes between antigovernment protesters and riot police when they were enacted earlier this month.
President Viktor Yanukovych agreed to abolish them on January 27 after talks with opposition leaders, who have made their repeal a key demand.
The vote came after Prime Minister Mykola Azarov -- a loyal Yanukovych ally -- announced he was stepping down. Azarov said in a statement that he was resigning to create "an additional possibility for a political compromise to peacefully resolve the conflict." Read more ..
See Earlier Stories 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9