The Fabiola is almost as long as the Empire State Building is tall, as wide as a 10-lane freeway and big enough to carry the contents of eight 1-million-square-foot warehouses.
The largest cargo container ship to ever dock in the Americas made a fog-shrouded first voyage into the Port of Long Beach on Friday morning, sending a message to competitors that Southern California can handle the giant vessels most others can’t welcome for at least two more years.
Out by the breakwater, it looked as though a man-made island had sprung up overnight, but the dark shape was a vessel called the Fabiola, gliding very slowly toward port.
The Fabiola is one of a new generation of vessels that can carry 11,000 or more containers, favored by ocean cargo lines because packing more freight boxes onto each ship lowers costs.
“She’s way beyond our previous record for size,” said Dick McKenna, executive director of the Marine Exchange of Southern California, which logs the arrival and departure of all ships calling at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the nation’s largest seaport complex. “This is quite a significant jump for us.”
Bankrate: Credit Card Debt Calculator “Use this credit card debt calculator to find out how much is owed. This can be used as a good starting point for any debt management plan. Enter all of the credit cards and outstanding installment loans balances. Find out how much is owed and how long it will take to pay it all off.”
Spring begins in the Northern Hemisphere on March 20, 2012, at 1:14 A.M. (EDT). – Provided by RandomHistory.com So enjoy today!
A photo placement gaffe involving the leader of Alberta’s conservative Wildrose Party left campaign coordinators searching for someone to throw under the bus.
The party’s new campaign bus, unveiled yesterday in Edmonton, featured a photo of party leader Danielle Smith awkwardly placed just above the wheels.
Wildrose candidate Shannon Stubbs called the placement “an oversight,” and Smith herself took to Twitter to acknowledge to need for “a couple of changes” to the bus’s facade.
“Albertans are going to want to talk about the challenges of the province, rather than pictures on the side of a campaign bus,” said Stubbs. Can’t Albertans talk about both?
Teenage female couple (16-18) dancing at prom
Britney and Madonna did it; so did Scarlett Johansson and Sandra Bullock. And so do women in bars, at mixers, on the street and, increasingly, in private — especially when those women are college students. The “it” is the kiss, of course, and even before Katy Perry celebrated the all-girl lip-lock in song, it was clear that the party was definitely on.
Girl-girl kissing is not new, anymore than boy-girl or boy-boy — or any of the other mix-and-match combinations of genders and numbers in which sexually charged human beings can find themselves. What is new is the openness with which girls are sampling from among their own, and the way the phenomenon has rapidly gone from startling to titillating to, if not quite commonplace, at least not all that uncommon either
“It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want – oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!” – Mark Twain
Study: How Shock Therapy Alleviates Depression
Electroconvulsive therapy, formerly known as shock therapy, has been used to treat mood disorders since the 1930s, yet scientists are only now determining how and why it works. Brain scans indicate that the controversial treatment, which uses electric currents to induce seizures in patients, dampens overactive connections between the parts of the brain that control mood and the parts responsible for thinking and concentrating. The findings are in line with current theories suggesting that hyperconnectivity between these brain regions plays a role in depression. More …
welcome to the world of Britain’s working poor
First published online by Yvonne Roberts.
Richard, 28, and Christine (Crisy) Rowley, aged 27, have been married for five years and together for nine. They are buying their own home in Braintree, Essex, and they have aspirations. Richard hopes to become a carpenter; Crisy, who has a foundation degree in animal management, would like to train as a veterinary assistant when Lucie, five, and four-year-old Rhys are older.
“We’ve been told we have two bright children,” Crisy says with pride. “We want to make sure they have a decent future and that begins with them growing up in a home with two parents in paid work, putting money on the table, going somewhere.”
I first met the Rowleys six weeks ago with the Conservative MP Dr Dan Poulter. Poulter, an obstetrician who was elected to a neighbouring constituency in 2010, has agreed to take part in a unique experiment, organised by the Observer. He will make several visits to a family experiencing the sharpest point of the current economic downturn to see how Westminster policy affects ordinary people.
The job of the intelligence services is to understand others and help leaders act more wisely, says the author of a new history of the FBI. There’s also, he says, a balance to be struck between liberty and security
You have spent decades studying the inner workings of America’s intelligence system, and the past few years looking at newly released files from the FBI. What will we learn by reading your new history of the FBI, Enemies?
You will learn that the Bureau has served first and foremost as a secret intelligence service reporting to the president of the United States. In its first incarnation under J Edgar Hoover, who ruled the Bureau for 48 years, the FBI was the president’s secret intelligence service. Today, 40 years after Hoover’s death, we still live in the shadow of his legacy. How do you run a secret intelligence agency in an open and democratic society? How do you balance national security and civil liberty? How can we be both safe and free? These are questions that Hoover struggled with, and that we struggle with still.
Your prize-winning book about the CIA, Legacy of Ashes, was called “a credible and damning indictment of US intelligence policy” by Publishers Weekly. What are the counts in your indictment, if you agree with that assessment?
The Fredericksburg woman divorcing her husband laid out all the messy details, including the most secret of them all. Her husband, she wrote in now-sealed court documents, is a covert operations officer for the Central Intelligence Agency. His CIA job, she said, poisoned their five-year-old marriage.
“[He] used me and our daughter . . . to run cover for his undercover operations . . . I never felt safe, never knew who people were or why they were interested in us or why they were photographing us,” wrote the woman, who is in her 30s, in December. “As a result of [his] different assignments I never had a good support network of people I could trust or rely on to help out.” And, she claimed, her spy-husband had little interest in household chores. “[He] never so much as washed or folded a load of laundry, swept or mopped one floor, or changed one dirty diaper.”
The woman’s account is a rare window into the deep strains that the agency’s ethos of secrecy can exert on operatives’ marriages. Divorces involving spies are often just as clandestine as their work. The details are typically buried in documents sealed by the courts. Only a handful of people get read-in, so to speak: divorce lawyers, marriage counselors and sometimes the agency’s attorneys.
Unlike the Pentagon, which studies how often service members split up, and knows, for instance, that 29,456 of 798,921 military couples divorced last year, the CIA does not keep official tabs on its employees’ divorce rates.
One retired CIA senior paramilitary officer, who served for more than two decades and lives in Virginia, said he was told several years ago that the divorce rate for the agency’s operations division was astonishingly high.
The officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect his family’s identity, said he asked the agency’s human resources office for the numbers in 2005 because he was managing a Middle East operations group and was worried about the post-Sept. 11 pressures on CIA officers and their families. When he learned how many marriages were imploding, he said, he urged his officers not to take back-to-back unaccompanied tours.
As he started the Crazy Horse monument in 1947, short on money, manpower and the credulity of just about anyone who heard his plans, Korczak Ziolkowski, a sculptor from Connecticut, promised the tribal leaders who had recruited him and the local residents who scorned him that he was dedicating his life to the effort.
But he underestimated the scale of the undertaking. His promise, it turned out, was a multigenerational commitment.
The sprawling country clan Mr. Ziolkowski reared at the base of the mountain has spent the 30 years since his death honoring his final plea to continue the effort, to which he supposedly added, “But go slowly, so you do it right.”
Now led by his 85-year-old widow, Ruth, with the help of their 10 children and, more recently, their grandchildren, this eccentric family effort has plodded forward through doubts and controversy at a deliberate pace more in keeping with the age of the pyramids than the age of Twitter.
Last summer, near the end of my mother’s life, I woke up in my childhood bedroom in the middle of the night in a fever of panic. My heart was thrumming, my mind racing. In 1819, the English poet John Keats called anxiety a “wakeful anguish,” and so it was with me. Relief seemed impossible.
Then I had an idea. I wandered into the room where my mother lay dying and found the hospice nurse—a gentle, generous soul—sitting quietly beside my mother as she slept. She looked up from her fat paperback.
“Do you want to hold her hand?” she asked.
“No,” I said. “I’m looking for the Ativan.”
The nurse went back to her book, and I went rummaging through the pill bottles. Point-five milligrams and fifteen minutes later, the anti-anxiety medicine prescribed to my mother had bound itself to my GABA receptors, and I was calm enough to sleep. Afterward, I felt the occasional twinge of regret about my priorities at that moment. Then a friend told me she had swiped drugs from her just-dead mother to cope with her own surging anxiety. “I was glad for it,” she said.
9Lives Adventures, “an adrenaline-fueled tour operator catering to the physically disabled,” helps make a paraplegic girl’s bungee jumping dreams come true.
How We Cured “The Culture of Poverty,” Not Poverty Itself
As growing numbers of America’s middle class join the ranks of the poor, old generalizations about poverty make less sense than they ever did.
This story first appeared on the TomDispatch website.
It’s been exactly 50 years since Americans, or at least the non-poor among them, “discovered” poverty, thanks to Michael Harrington’s engaging book The Other America. If this discovery now seems a little overstated, like Columbus’s “discovery” of America, it was because the poor, according to Harrington, were so “hidden” and “invisible” that it took a crusading left-wing journalist to ferret them out.
Harrington’s book jolted a nation that then prided itself on its classlessness and even fretted about the spirit-sapping effects of “too much affluence.” He estimated that one quarter of the population lived in poverty—inner-city blacks, Appalachian whites, farm workers, and elderly Americans among them. We could no longer boast, as President Nixon had done in his “kitchen debate” with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in Moscow just three years earlier, about the splendors of American capitalism.
A World Without People
For a number of reasons, natural and human, people have recently evacuated or otherwise abandoned a number of places around the world — large and small, old and new. Gathering images of deserted areas into a single photo essay, one can get a sense of what the world might look like if humans were to vanish from the planet altogether. Collected here are recent scenes from nuclear-exclusion zones, blighted urban neighborhoods, towns where residents left to escape violence, unsold developments built during the real estate boom, ghost towns, and more. [41 photos]
Can’t live with him, can’t live without him. In a special series of articles we lay out a new vision that resets the terms of the debate
In our enlightened world, god is still everywhere. In the UK, arguments rage over “militant atheism” and the place of religion in public life. In the US, religion is again taking centre stage in the presidential election. Try as we might, we just don’t seem to be able to let go.
Perhaps that is because we have been looking at god the wrong way. Atheists often see gods and religion as being imposed from above, a bit like a totalitarian regime. But religious belief is more subtle and interesting than that. In these articles we lay out a new scientific vision that promises to, if not resolve ancient tensions, at least reset the terms of the debate.
Vodka, gin, shaken, or stirred: The “Mad Men” generation ruled the world—even after a four- martini lunch.
In one of the many scenes in “Mad Men” having to do with drinking, Roger Sterling, played to perfection by John Slattery, goes mano a mano with Don Draper over oysters and Martinis. Roger instructs the waiter, “And don’t let me see the bottom of this glass.”
At the end of this conspicuous consumption, they walk up the stairs and Roger casually vomits. Oh, for the early 1960s, when America ruled the world and its captains of industry drank three martinis for lunch. Now, in our decline, they drink fizzy water.
Mono Lake in California is a strange place to say the least. However, unlike many bizarre places in the world this strange environment is caused by us.
Anthropologist Elinor Ochs and her colleagues at the University of California, Los Angeles have studied family life as far away as Samoa and the Peruvian Amazon region, but for the last decade they have focused on a society closer to home: the American middle class.
Why do American children depend on their parents to do things for them that they are capable of doing for themselves? How do U.S. working parents’ views of “family time” affect their stress levels? These are just two of the questions that researchers at UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives of Families, or CELF, are trying to answer in their work.
By studying families at home—or, as the scientists say, “in vivo”—rather than in a lab, they hope to better grasp how families with two working parents balance child care, household duties and career, and how this balance affects their health and well-being.
The center, which also includes sociologists, psychologists and archeologists, wants to understand “what the middle class thought, felt and what they did,” says Dr. Ochs. The researchers plan to publish two books this year on their work, and say they hope the findings may help families become closer and healthier.
One soldier, one year: $850,000 and rising
By Larry Shaughnessy
Keeping one American service member in Afghanistan costs between $850,000 and $1.4 million a year, depending on who you ask. But one matter is clear, that cost is going up.
During a budget hearing today on Capitol Hill, Sen. Kent Conrad, D-North Dakota, asked Department of Defense leaders, “What is the cost per soldier, to maintain a soldier for a year in Afghanistan?” Under Secretary Robert Hale, the Pentagon comptroller, responded “Right now about $850,000 per soldier.”
Conrad seemed shocked at the number.
“That kind of takes my breath away, when you tell me it’s $850,000,” Conrad said
A Pentagon spokesman later said a more accurate figure is $815,000 a year.
Regardless of which number is used Sen. Conrad would be really shocked by the estimate that the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments reached about the same issue.
Researchers reveal how a single gene mutation leads to uncontrolled obesity
The discovery offers clues about how to turn on brain sensitivity to leptin and insulin, hormones that turn off appetite
Washington, D.C. — Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center have revealed how a mutation in a single gene is responsible for the inability of neurons to effectively pass along appetite suppressing signals from the body to the right place in the brain. What results is obesity caused by a voracious appetite.
Their study, published March 18th on Nature Medicine’s website, suggests there might be a way to stimulate expression of that gene to treat obesity caused by uncontrolled eating.
The research team specifically found that a mutation in the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (Bdnf) gene in mice does not allow brain neurons to effectively pass leptin and insulin chemical signals through the brain. In humans, these hormones, which are released in the body after a person eats, are designed to “tell” the body to stop eating. But if the signals fail to reach correct locations in the hypothalamus, the area in the brain that signals satiety, eating continues.
“This is the first time protein synthesis in dendrites, tree-like extensions of neurons, has been found to be critical for control of weight,” says the study’s senior investigator, Baoji Xu, Ph.D., an associate professor of pharmacology and physiology at Georgetown.
“This discovery may open up novel strategies to help the brain control body weight,” he says.
Xu has long investigated the Bdnf gene. He has found that the gene produces a growth factor that controls communication between neurons.
India, China, and the Importance of Storytelling
Every time they fly in and out of Mumbai, tourists, businesspeople, and politicians can see blue-tarp and cardboard rooftops squeezed between condominiums and luxury hotels. The irony of Mumbai’s slums is that the urban poor are ubiquitous, simultaneously visible and invisible.
But seeing slums from the perspective of those who inhabit them — and not just an aerial view — is crucial to gaining real insight into a place. As UCLA historian Vinay Lal asks, “How else is one to understand a civilization and a particular junction in time?”
Katherine Boo’s debut book, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, offers readers the chance to see this India from the ground up. Hers is a deeply reported story about Annawadi, a community of 3,000 people living at the edge of Mumbai’s international airport. Boo gained remarkable access to the people of the neighborhood. At first, her presence in the slum was a curiosity, she told attendees at a book talk in Los Angeles. But over time, as she returned again and again for more than three years, Annawadians lost interest in their strange, American observer and went about their business. For her part, this access allowed Boo to present nuanced characters — neither victims nor heroes of poverty, but three-dimensional people who are good and bad and complicated.
Originally posted 2012-03-20 11:24:12. Republished by Blog Post Promoter