“Instead,” the Pope continued, “the Lord has created us in His image and likeness, and has given us this commandment in the depths of our heart: do good and do not do evil”:
“The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class! We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all! And we all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: we need that so much. We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”
So, Francis – are you telling me the Church renounces its policy of Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus?
It will be noisier than you are used to. Emotions will be higher than they are at home. The food will be awful. People will be drunk. The weather will be bad. Many of the supporters, even the ones cheering the loudest, will not appear to be having fun as we know it, and will be expressing their feelings in novel combinations of swear words. The discomfort, the din, the rudeness, the cleverness, the chanting, the verbal abuse, the unalloyed ecstasy, the abject despair, the love, the hatred — all these are part of the ritual, essential to even to the most meaningless, late-season, non-standings-affecting match.
The determination of David Cameron to press ahead with legalising gay marriage opens up the possibility of a lesbian queen giving birth to a future monarch by artificial insemination, Lord Tebbit has warned.
Because that’s exactly what happened in Belgium when they legalized gay marriage ten years ago.
Sen. James Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, argued that there is no comparison between Hurricane Sandy relief, which he voted against last fall, and aid for his state in the wake of Monday’s devastating tornado because the two are “totally different.”
Of course. That was “them” and this is “us”.
Energy exists all around us — in the motion of a heartbeat, the fluorescent light in an office building, and even the flow of blood cells through the body. These individual units of energy are relatively small, but they are numerous. Dr. Zhong Lin Wang, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has developed a way to harness this ambient energy. After months of work, Wang and his team have developed the very first hybrid cell, which is capable of harnessing both motion and sunlight. By tapping into multiple sources of readily available energy, the tiny cells have the potential to revolutionize the way we power our devices.
All of our electronic devices, from medical sensors to calculators, require a constant supply of energy. Currently, the most common methods are a plug and power supply or batteries, both of which are large and thus limit miniaturization. Since Wang’s cell is small enough to work on the nanoscale, it can readily be incorporated into biomedical sensors, cellphones, and other small electronics. The cell’s hybrid design is an advantage as well: Solar energy alone produces high voltages but is unsuitable for devices used in the dark, while energy from ambient motion is more consistent but is available on a smaller scale. By combining these sources, Wang’s device can provide a highly reliable supply of electricity.
Wang developed the motion-harnessing component of the hybrid cell in 2006. These devices, called nanogenerators, can collect energy at the micro- and nanoscales of motion by relying on piezoelectricity, the production of a current from compression or strain. To construct a nanogenerator, Wang grew a vertical array of microscopic zinc oxide (ZnO) wires on a flat base. On top of this, he placed an electrode with multiple pointed peaks that give it a “zig-zag” appearance. When the ZnO nanowires are bent out of their ordered formation, they generate small electric charges due to piezoelectricity. They then touch the zig-zag edge of the electrode, which collects all the electricity to produce a current. Due to its sensitivity, a nanogenerator can capture even vibrations of very small magnitudes, which can then be harnessed to power an object such as a pacemaker. In fact, nearly a milliwatt of mechanical energy exists in each cubic centimeter of the ambient environment.
The Bronx Defenders took a more aggressively experimental tack several years ago when, with little fanfare, they quietly spun off a nonprofit called the Bronx Freedom Fund.
After raising around $200,000, the fund began doing something at once simple and completely revolutionary: It bailed people out. When lawyers at the Bronx Defenders took on a client who couldn’t make bail but wasn’t considered a flight risk and wasn’t charged with anything more serious than a misdemeanor or a nonviolent felony, they would refer him to Zoe Towns, the fund’s only employee. If the defendant met the criteria, Towns would go down to the courthouse with a certified check and bail him out. When the defendant returned to court for his next hearing and the bail came back, it would be rolled back into the fund to help someone else.
The fund kept a low profile, in large part because its advisers worried that if judges and prosecutors knew that it existed, they might inflate bails to keep people in jail. But over the course of more than a year, the fund bailed out nearly 200 people. That was a tremendous boon for the defendants who could go home rather than stay locked up, but the project also generated some remarkable data.
First, the fund’s numbers gave the lie to the assumption that defendants won’t return to court if they don’t have a personal relationship with the people posting bail for them. Ninety-three percent of the fund’s clients showed up for every single one of their subsequent court hearings—a return rate higher than that of defendants who post their own bail or get commercial bail bonds.
But the really shocking revelation of the Freedom Fund experiment was this: More than half of the fund’s clients eventually saw their cases either completely dismissed or knocked down to some noncriminal disposition. Not a single one ever went back to jail on the charges for which they were bailed out.
Without access to a bail fund, defendants in similar positions pleaded guilty to criminal charges 95 percent of the time. The fund’s numbers made wincingly clear what everyone had already vaguely known: The current bail system has the direct effect of slapping criminal convictions on poor people who would otherwise win their cases.
The experiment didn’t last. Eventually, a judge discovered the existence of the program and launched an investigation, ultimately ruling that the fund was illegal because it was effectively operating as an uninsured bail-bond company.
Apple says that it “complies fully with both the laws and spirit of the laws,” and that is surely true. It has plenty of good lawyers to make sure it complies with the actual laws, and as for the spirit … I mean, here is something Apple says:
From a tax policy standpoint, cost sharing agreements play an important role in encouraging companies like Apple to keep R&D efforts – and the high-paying, income tax generating jobs associated with them – in the US.
Here’s how to read that: “Congress stuffs the tax code with loopholes and oddities in order to offer ad hoc bribes and incentives to particular companies at particular times, depending on who’s been bamboozling Congress about what recently, and we’d be schmucks not to take advantage of all of them.” That, surely, is the spirit of the corporate tax code.
Some people consider themselves sensitive to electromagnetic fields. They report symptoms such as burning skin, tingling, nausea, dizziness, or chest pain, and they blame their malaise on nearby power lines, cell phones, or WiFi networks. A recent Slate article described such people moving to a remote West Virginia town where radio-frequency signals are banned. (The town is within the U.S. National Radio Quiet Zone, an area that’s enforced to keep signals from interfering with radio telescopes there—telescopes that work because they receive the radio-frequency signals constantly hitting our planet from space.)
There’s no known scientific reason why a wireless signal might cause physical harm. And studies have found that even people who claim to be sensitive to electromagnetic fields can’t actually sense them. Their symptoms are more likely due to nocebo, the evil twin of the placebo effect. The power of our expectation can cause real physical illness. In clinical drug trials, for example, subjects who take sugar pills report side effects ranging from an upset stomach to sexual dysfunction.
After watching the videos, subjects put on headband-mounted antennas. They were told that the researchers were testing a “new kind of WiFi,” and that once the signal started they should carefully monitor any symptoms in their bodies. Then the researchers left the room. For 15 minutes, the subjects watched a WiFi symbol flash on a laptop screen.
In reality, there was no WiFi switched on during the experiment, and the headband antenna was a sham. Yet 82 of the 147 subjects—more than half—reported symptoms. Two even asked for the experiment to be stopped early because the effects were too severe to stand.
Witthöft says he expected to see a greater effect in people who had watched the frightening documentary. This wasn’t the case overall. Instead, the movie mainly increased symptoms in subjects who described themselves beforehand as more anxious.
“It suggests that sensational media reports especially in combination with personality factors (in this case anxiety) increase the likelihood for symptom reports,” Witthöft says.
Allowing me to once again resurrect one of my oldest anecdotes:
Two Scotsmen are wending their way home after a Saturday night of heavy drinking. They come upon a newly painted brick wall. Something must be done! The first man starts to shake up his paint spray can.
Standing close to the wall, he starts to write in letters a metre high, “Fuck the Pope!”
When he’s finished he stands back in admiration. “A thung of beauty, Bully!”
The other fellow shouts, “Yeer a traitor Jimmy! I thought you were a Celtic supporter an ‘at!”
Jimmy sighs, “I’m truly sorry Bully, but I dinna have enough paint to write, ‘Fuck the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland!’”
He drew a connection to the last thing in the world the C.E.O.’s wanted linked to their products: cigarettes. First came a quote from a Yale University professor of psychology and public health, Kelly Brownell, who was an especially vocal proponent of the view that the processed-food industry should be seen as a public health menace: “As a culture, we’ve become upset by the tobacco companies advertising to children, but we sit idly by while the food companies do the very same thing. And we could make a claim that the toll taken on the public health by a poor diet rivals that taken by tobacco.”
Coke was not alone in seeing Brazil as a potential boon; Nestlé began deploying battalions of women to travel poor neighborhoods, hawking American-style processed foods door to door. But Coke was Dunn’s concern, and on one trip, as he walked through one of the impoverished areas, he had an epiphany. “A voice in my head says, ‘These people need a lot of things, but they don’t need a Coke.’ I almost threw up.”
…it isn’t me! It is a conspiracy!
(in my humble opinion, but I’m probably a food nazi).
Exorcism experts said on Monday that it appears that Pope Francis may have performed an exorcism on an ill man on St Peter’s Square following mass on Pentecost Sunday. According to a panel of clergy specialized in exorcism speaking on the religious satellite channel TV2000′s program Vade Retro, images appear to show the pontiff placing his hands on a man’s head and reciting a prayer to liberate the him from demons. Next Friday’s edition of the program on the religious satellite channel will be dedicated to “Pope Francis’ battle against the devil and his seductions,” the program conductor said. TV2000 is the television channel of the Italian Bishops Conference.
Thakur knew the drugs weren’t good. They had high impurities, degraded easily, and would be useless at best in hot, humid conditions. They would be taken by the world’s poorest patients in sub-Saharan Africa, who had almost no medical infrastructure and no recourse for complaints. The injustice made him livid.
Ranbaxy executives didn’t care, says Kathy Spreen, and made little effort to conceal it. In a conference call with a dozen company executives, one brushed aside her fears about the quality of the AIDS medicine Ranbaxy was supplying for Africa. “Who cares?” he said, according to Spreen. “It’s just blacks dying.”
Just to be clear, Ranbaxy is an Indian company and not a Western one.
It’s rare to see a macroeconomics experiment play out in real time in the way we are seeing it right now in Japan and in Europe. Prime Minister Shinzō Abe has embarked on aggressive measures to stimulate Japan’s long-moribund economy since he took office in December, and the result so far has been strong growth — and, perhaps, liftoff after a triple-dip recession. Europe, on the other hand, remains mired in the muck of austerity and economic contraction.
Some newspaper editor must have been giggling like a four-year-old over this one.
although there is no way to win from the Times in 1986, when Michael Foot, former deputy leader of the Labour Party, was put in charge of a nuclear disarmament committee. The headline stated “Foot Heads Arms Body.”
New revelations emerged yesterday in the Washington Post that are perhaps the most extreme yet when it comes to the DOJ’s attacks on press freedoms. It involves the prosecution of State Department adviser Stephen Kim, a naturalized citizen from South Korea who was indicted in 2009 for allegedly telling Fox News’ chief Washington correspondent, James Rosen, that US intelligence believed North Korea would respond to additional UN sanctions with more nuclear tests – something Rosen then reported. Kim did not obtain unauthorized access to classified information, nor steal documents, nor sell secrets, nor pass them to an enemy of the US. Instead, the DOJ alleges that he merely communicated this innocuous information to a journalist – something done every day in Washington – and, for that, this arms expert and long-time government employee faces more than a decade in prison for “espionage”.
But what makes this revelation particularly disturbing is that the DOJ, in order to get this search warrant, insisted that not only Kim, but also Rosen – the journalist – committed serious crimes. The DOJ specifically argued that by encouraging his source to disclose classified information – something investigative journalists do every day – Rosen himself broke the law.
Banks have paid less than half the $5.7 billion in cash owed to troubled homeowners under nearly 30 settlements brokered by the government since 2008, delaying help to the millions of victims of discrimination and shoddy lending that epitomized the housing crisis, according to a Washington Post analysis of government data.
But in order to determine how much each borrower was owed, the banks planned to review each foreclosure one by one. After 12 months, no homeowners had received a dime. But the eight consultants managing the process on behalf of the banks were paid nearly $2 billion.
It is no secret that Hollywood is trying to take down as many pirated movies as they can, but their targeting of a Creative Commons Pirate Bay documentary is something new. Viacom, Paramount, Fox and Lionsgate have all asked Google to take down links pointing to the Pirate Bay documentary TPB-AFK. But is it a secret plot to silence the voices of the Pirate Bay’s founders, or just another screw up of automated DMCA takedowns?
Retirement has a detrimental impact on mental and physical health, a new study has found.
The study, published by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), a think tank, found that retirement results in a “drastic decline in health” in the medium and long term.
The IEA said the study suggests people should work for longer for health as well as economic reasons.
Don’t retire, folks! You’ll be much happier if you drop in your traces like that hero Boxer, in Animal Farm.
BP wants Prime Minister David Cameron to intervene over the escalating cost of compensating US companies for the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster in 2010…”BP is so worried by the potential magnitude of alleged undeserved payments it is making to companies that it is planning to ask the UK prime minister and chancellor for help in persuading the US government to intervene.
“It is hopeful that David Cameron will raise the issue at the G8 meeting of the government of the world’s richest countries, which the UK is hosting next month.”
The company is also under pressure, along with other oil majors including Shell and Norway’s Statoil, following allegations that firms colluded in fixing oil prices.
Bunch o’ cry-babies. “Oh goodness, we did a bad thing, and a bunch of other bad things and we need help!”
Iceland is awash in guns, yet it has one of the lowest violent crime rates in the world…Violent crime was virtually non-existent. People seemed relaxed about their safety and that of their children to the point where parents left their babies outside and unattended.
I’d spent time in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, but those countries now appeared plagued with crime by comparison…
First – and arguably foremost – there is virtually no difference among upper, middle and lower classes in Iceland. And with that, tension between economic classes is non-existent, a rare occurrence for any country.
Not guns, not people, but inequality kills people?
Sketch group Improv Everywhere released a new video of people posing as city workers, “providing a ridiculous solution to the ‘texting and walking’ epidemic in New York.”
Participants dressed in custom orange New York City Department of Transportation vests inscribed with: “I can help you walk and text.” They also carried leashes that plainclothes’ participants held onto while texting and walking. For the project, Improv Everywhere collaborated with BuzzFeed and also offered the service to actual people in NYC. Watch their reactions here.
Anyone who uses Skype has consented to the company reading everything they write. The H’s associates in Germany at heise Security have now discovered that the Microsoft subsidiary does in fact make use of this privilege in practice. Shortly after sending HTTPS URLs over the instant messaging service, those URLs receive an unannounced visit from Microsoft HQ in Redmond.
Over the last decade, former Navy Secretary Richard J. Danzig, a prominent lawyer, presidential advisor and biowarfare consultant to the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security, has urged the government to counter what he called a major threat to national security.
Terrorists, he warned, could easily engineer a devastating killer germ: a form of anthrax resistant to common antibiotics.
U.S. intelligence agencies have never established that any nation or terrorist group has made such a weapon, and biodefense scientists say doing so would be very difficult. Nevertheless, Danzig has energetically promoted the threat — and prodded the government to stockpile a new type of drug to defend against it.
Danzig did this while serving as a director of a biotech startup that won $334 million in federal contracts to supply just such a drug, a Los Angeles Times investigation found.
By his own account, Danzig encouraged Human Genome Sciences Inc. to develop the compound, and from 2001 through 2012 he collected more than $1 million in director’s fees and other compensation from the company, records show.
IT IS a lesson of the past five years that benchmarks in unregulated markets can fall victim to the incentives they create. Subprime mortgages bundled into securities often won high scores from ratings agencies that stood to profit in a busy market. The London Interbank Offered Rate, LIBOR, was sometimes underestimated by banks which were cast in a healthier light by lower interest rates. Has something similar been going on in energy?
That is the suspicion after a series of raids on May 14th by the European Commission’s competition authorities. The commission declared that it feared oil companies had “colluded” to distort benchmark prices for crude, oil products and biofuels. Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Norway’s Statoil and Italy’s ENI (which was not raided) all said that they were co-operating with the commission. The competition authorities also called on the London offices of Platts, a subsidiary of McGraw Hill, an American publisher and business-information firm, which sets reference prices for these commodities.
For more than 100 years, the Anna Louise Inn in downtown Cincinnati has been a safe, serene place that thousands of struggling women came to know as home.
But after losing a two-year fight with a Fortune 500 company determined to buy their beautiful, 104-year-old property and turn it into a boutique hotel — even though it wasn’t for sale — the women of the Anna Louise Inn have to leave the neighborhood.
Western & Southern executives, whose headquarters sit across a park from the Anna Louise, offered to buy the Anna Louise for $1.8 million several years ago, less than half its value. The Anna Louise declined and won $12.6 million in federal and state tax credits to renovate the home, where some rooms are smaller than 100 square feet and all the women have to share bathrooms and one kitchen.
Days before the renovation was to begin, Western & Southern sued over a zoning issue and a judge ordered an immediate construction halt until the legal fight was resolved. The Anna Louise and its supporters didn’t back down, vowing to fight Western & Southern with everything they had — until last week when they inked a deal with the company to sell the home for $4 million.
Leaders at Cincinnati Union Bethel, the nonprofit that runs the Anna Louise, said they sold reluctantly because they couldn’t afford to fight any longer.
Company CEO John Barrett has long said it was time for the women at the Anna Louise to leave the neighborhood to make way for economic development. He plans to turn the building into a boutique hotel and envisions transforming the neighborhood into a hub of activity with restaurants and bars.
“This truly is a win for everyone and will make Lytle Park a destination like no other,” Barrett said in a Monday news release announcing the Anna Louise sale.
Barrett, who has repeatedly declined requests for an interview, has become a loathed figure at the Anna Louise, not only for his tireless efforts to acquire the property but also for the way he has talked about the women living there, repeatedly referring to them as recovering prostitutes and saying they just don’t belong in the neighborhood.