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31 Aug 2012

The basic story is that after the financial crisis, lawmakers decided that one of the reasons the economy collapsed is that average investors didn't understand the various stocks and bonds and mutual fund shares they had bought. So they decided to require the SEC to find out how much average (also known as "retail") investors knew about the stuff in their portfolios, by asking them questions like, and I'm paraphrasing: "This stock you own — what does it do?"

The resulting study, released today, is amazing and depressing. Not only does it contain the world's longest section titles ("The Most Useful and Understandable Relevant Information that Retail Investors Need to Make Informed Financial Decisions before Engaging a Financial...

31 Aug 2012

The Obama administration on Thursday made a surprise announcement that it will allow Shell Oil Co. to begin drilling in the Chukchi Sea before its unique oil spill containment barge is ready -- just not deep enough to reach oil.

For weeks, the problematic barge has held up Shell's drilling plans in the Alaska Arctic. It's undergoing final work and inspections at a shipyard in Bellingham, Wash.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told reporters in a news briefing that the newly approved drilling will reach 1,400 feet or so under the sea floor and is limited to specific preparatory work.

"Today's action does not allow Shell to drill into potential oil reservoirs," Salazar said.

Environmental groups immediately criticized the decision as too...

30 Aug 2012

The CDC repeated its warning that this year may have the highest number of cases since the virus was first found here in 1999.

"We think the numbers may come close to or even exceed the total reported in 2002 and 2003," both of which were severe West Nile virus years, said Lyle Petersen, director of the CDC's Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases.

More than 260 deaths were reported each of those years.

The case count in 2012 is the highest number of West Nile virus disease cases reported through the last week in August ever. Health officials expect the mosquito-borne disease to continue to peak into September and early October, Petersen said.

More than 70% of the cases have been reported from six states: Texas, South Dakota,...

30 Aug 2012

The retreat of arctic permafrost in Siberia is releasing 10 times more carbon into the atmosphere than previously thought, a team of researchers have discovered.

A team of researchers, led by Stockholm University, investigated an area of coastline at Yedoma, the northernmost point of the Siberian Arctic, and found that the amount of greenhouse gas being released exceeded their expectations.

While the present rate of carbon release from the Siberian coast is not having a substantial effect on the CO2 levels in the global atmosphere, the study findings, which have been published in the journal Nature, suggests that this is merely a matter of time.

The findings show that the Yedoma region, which has previously remained unstudied because of...

30 Aug 2012

The sun strikes every square meter of our planet with more than 1,360 watts of power. Half of that energy is absorbed by the atmosphere or reflected back into space. 700 watts of power, on average, reaches Earth’s surface. Summed across the half of the Earth that the sun is shining on, that is 89 petawatts of power. By comparison, all of human civilization uses around 15 terrawatts of power, or one six-thousandth as much. In 14 and a half seconds, the sun provides as much energy to Earth as humanity uses in a day.

The numbers are staggering and surprising. In 88 minutes, the sun provides 470 exajoules of energy, as much energy as humanity consumes in a year. In 112 hours – less than five days – it provides 36 zettajoules of energy...

30 Aug 2012

Companies cite various reasons for moving, including expanding their operations and their geographic reach. But tax bills remain a primary concern. A few cite worries that U.S. taxes will rise in the future, especially if Washington revamps the tax code next year to shrink the federal budget deficit.

"We want to be closer to where our clients are," says David Prosperi, a spokesman for risk manager Aon plc, which relocated to the U.K. in April.

Aon has told analysts it expects to reduce its tax rate, which averaged 28% over the past five years, by five percentage points over time, which could boost profits by about $100 million annually.

Since 2009, at least 10 U.S. public companies have moved their incorporation address abroad or announced...

30 Aug 2012

Speaking at the Moscow motor show, Mazda boss Takashi Yamanouchi has reaffirmed the company's commitment to the rotary engine. He revealed plans to launch a new range extended car using the engine next year, and to keep developing rotary applications for use in future sports cars.

Concerns had been raised that the rotary engine would not be part of Mazda's future after production of the RX-8 ended in June. However, although he would not reveal whether the range extended car will be new or based on an existing vehicle, Yamanouchi revealed it will only be leased in Japan initially.

"We are still learning," he said. "the rotary has very good dynamic performance, but if you accelerate and brake a lot there are efficiency disadvantages. The...

30 Aug 2012

NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission has led to a bonanza of newfound supermassive black holes and extreme galaxies called hot DOGs, or dust-obscured galaxies.

Images from the telescope have revealed millions of dusty black hole candidates across the universe and about 1,000 even dustier objects thought to be among the brightest galaxies ever found. These powerful galaxies that burn brightly with infrared light are nicknamed hot DOGs.

"WISE has exposed a menagerie of hidden objects," said Hashima Hasan, WISE program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "We've found an asteroid dancing ahead of Earth in its orbit, the coldest star-like orbs known and now, supermassive black holes and galaxies hiding behind...

30 Aug 2012

Gov. Mitt Romney's campaign toasted its top donors Wednesday aboard a 150-foot yacht flying the flag of the Cayman Islands.

The floating party, hosted by a Florida developer on his yacht "Cracker Bay," was one of a dozen exclusive events meant to nurture those who have raised more than $1 million for Romney's bid.

"I think it's ironic they do this aboard a yacht that doesn't even pay its taxes," said a woman who lives aboard a much smaller boat moored at the St. Petersburg Municipal Marina.

Romney's Cayman-based investments have come under fire during the campaign.

The event, attended by no more than 50 people, along with Romney relatives, including older brother Scott, appeared on no public calendars. ABC News obtained a schedule of the...

30 Aug 2012

A new survey finds that one in three homeless people in Boston are clinically obese, a number that casts in relief the strange reality of food in the 21st century United States.

Not long ago, malnourishment was embodied by emaciation. Now it’s far more likely to be hidden in folds of fat.

“This study suggests that obesity may be the new malnutrition of the homeless in the United States,” wrote the researchers, led by Harvard Medical School student Katherine Koh, in an upcoming Journal of Urban Health study.

The findings are the latest and most dramatic illustration of what’s called the “hunger-obesity paradox,” a term coined in 2005 by neurophysiologist Lawrence Scheier to describe the simultaneous presence of hunger and...

29 Aug 2012

We now have a name for the live-action Marvel comics project being developed by geek god Joss Whedon for ABC. Or, make that an acronym: S.H.I.E.L.D. A covert, quasi-military peace-keeping organization, S.H.I.E.L.D. (or the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division) was featured in this summer’s Avengers movie, which was penned and directed by Whedon, as well as in myriad Marvel comic books. Although it has not been detailed which Marvel characters will be featured in the TV take, on the big screen, Samuel Jackson’s eye-patched Nick Fury oversaw the org as well as a somewhat motley (yet quite mighty) crew populated by the disparate likes of Captain America, the Hulk, Black Widow, Tony Stark and Thor.


29 Aug 2012

The Arctic Ocean’s vast, frozen expanse of ice is rapidly vanishing. On Monday, scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center announced that the extent of sea ice in the Arctic had reached its lowest level since satellite measurements began, breaking the previous record in 2007. That’s particularly striking because the summer melting season still has about two more weeks to go.

It’s clear that Arctic sea ice is now shriveling more quickly each year. And scientists say the melt has been driven by both global warming and other pollutants that humans have put into the atmosphere. So why does the disappearing sea ice actually matter? Partly it’s a sign of how quickly we’re heating the planet. Yet the vanishing sea ice can...

22 Aug 2012

Labour unrest in South Africa's platinum belt spread on Wednesday, raising concerns that anger over low wages and poor living conditions could generate fresh violence after 34 striking miners were shot dead by police last week.

The strike that started last week at Lonmin's Marikana mine has driven up platinum prices and stoked worries about investing in Africa's biggest economy, where chronic unemployment and income disparities threaten social stability.

At Marikana, a sombre-looking President Jacob Zuma stood under a parasol held by an aide to address around 2,000 subdued miners. In the Xhosa and Zulu languages, he said there was no need for workers to die in a labour dispute.
Full story: Reuters

22 Aug 2012

Arctic sea ice cover is likely to reach a new record low as soon as next week, several weeks before the end of the melt season, according to data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and news reports. In fact, by at least one measure — sea ice area — the ice cover has already set a record low.

The rapid decline in Arctic sea ice during the past several decades is one of the most visible signs of manmade global warming. The Arctic is warming at nearly twice the rate of the rest of the globe, largely due to feedback loops that are unique to the climate of the Far North. What happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic, though. Recent research shows that the loss of sea ice cover may be contributing to extreme...

22 Aug 2012

Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb, an injury that occurred last month before he played for the U.S. in the London Olympics.

The team said Paul had the surgery Tuesday and he is expected to be sidelined for eight weeks. That means the All-Star guard wouldn't resume basketball activities until mid-October. The Clippers open the season on Oct. 31 against Memphis.

The Clippers said Paul got hurt during the U.S. training camp in Las Vegas. Despite the injury, he went on to lead the U.S. men's team to a gold medal in London. Paul started all eight games in the Olympics, averaging 8.3 points, 5.1 assists and a tournament-best 2.5 steals.
Full story: ABC News

22 Aug 2012

Robert split from long-term love and Twilight co-star Kristen Stewart in July after finding out she’d had an affair with Snow White And The Huntsman director Rupert Sanders. And, understandably, Rob’s been pretty down ever since.

Reese Witherspoon, who’s a mutual friend, apparently put the fellas in touch after Titanic star Leo expressed concern for the 26-year-old, who’s often been compared to him.

Leo, 37, has now offered Rob a chance to forget about Kristen by taking him away to Puerto Rico.
Read full story:

22 Aug 2012

Rumors are flying around the internet that Apple will announce the iPhone 5 on September 12, with the release date soon after that. If you want to offset the cost of your new phone by scoring the highest value possible for your old one, trade-in experts say you’ll need to lock in your trade now, before everyone else gets the same idea.

“We always get a rush of people who wait to get a quote until they have the new [iPhone] in their hands,” said Jeff Trachsel, the chief marketing officer for trade-in service NextWorth, to WPTV. “But as the volume increases, the value of your phone declines.”

Source: 1037 Lite FM

22 Aug 2012

Warmer summer months means being outside playing many different hobbies such as running, skateboarding, as well as other sports activities. Having the appropriate clothes is essential so that you can secure your system in the sun, snow, as well as other elements.

Two female skateboarders - T-shirt says "Reading is Sexy. On the return on the harborwalk path with Morro Rock and the harbor entrance in the background, two girls (most participants were male). 2012 2nd Annual Morro Bay Mile Skateboard Race,
Photo credit: mikebaird
via Flickr CC

When choosing gear for assorted recreation, you should make sure that it fits perfectly and isn't too snug or too loosely. If almost everything of garments doesn't fit correctly, you will find the choice of returning or exchanging it. A genuine athlete will say your apparel could be the difference between succeeding and failing. That is why deciding on the best gear for your particular recreation is really essential. Being sidetracked in the...

21 Aug 2012
Water is inescapable in Virginia's second-largest city, home to the world's biggest naval base, three major port facilities and public and private shipyards. Norfolk is nearly surrounded by water: it sits at the mouth of the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay and the junction of the Elizabeth and James Rivers. Canals and creeks penetrate into many neighborhoods, and home sale listings highlight water access – "Within 50 feet of H2O – You can canoe and kayak!"

Yet as much as water is a resource in Norfolk and the surrounding area, known as Hampton Roads, it also represents a threat.

Read full story: Daily Climate