Are Companies More Powerful Than Countries?

January 31, 2012 § Leave a comment

Kepler team confirms 11 more planetary systems, 26 planets

January 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

This Just In

Scientists’ list of verified planets is now more than two dozen planets longer, thanks to NASA’s Kepler space telescope team.

The Kepler mission has discovered 11 new planetary systems with 26 verified planets in the Cygnus and Lyra constellations, NASA said Thursday.

This nearly triples the number of verified multiple-planet stars that the Kepler mission has discovered, now standing at 17. And it nearly doubles the number of verified planets it has discovered, which now is 61.

Before the Kepler satellite was launched in 2009, scientists knew about perhaps 500 planets outside our solar system “across the whole sky,” said Doug Hudgins, Kepler program scientist at NASA.

“Now, in just two years staring at a patch of sky not much bigger than your fist, Kepler has discovered more than 60 planets and more than 2,300 planet candidates,” Hudgins said in a news release. “This tells us that our galaxy is…

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Chinese Researchers Lead in Howard Hughes Awards – NYTimes.com

January 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

mawillits

The number of winners from China, he said, reflects China’s “big investment in research” as well as other factors.

“Young people go where they can flourish the best,” he said. “And those countries have been able to attract young scientists trained in the U.S. to go back.”

“That’s a big hurdle. It used to be that people thought people came here and never went back. But I think now that is starting to change.”

Some of the award winners agreed. “I think it’s very obvious in recent years, and we’re very happy to see that,” Wang Xiaochen, a former doctoral student at the University of Colorado who is now at Beijing’s National Institute of Biological Sciences.

While many if not most Chinese doctoral students who choose to remain in the United States after their studies, she said, in China, “I don’t have to apply for a grant,” while in the…

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Should We Trust Paid Experts On The Volcker Rule?

January 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

The Baseline Scenario

By Simon Johnson

On Wednesday morning, two subcommittees of the House Financial Services Committee held a joint hearing on the Volcker Rule.  The Rule, named for former Fed chair Paul Volcker, is aimed at restricting certain kinds of “proprietary trading” activities by big banks – with the goal of making it harder for these institutions to blow themselves up and inflict another deep recession on the rest of us.

The Volcker Rule was passed as part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation (it is Section 619) and regulators are currently in the process of requesting comments on their proposed draft rules to implement.  Part of the issue currently is claims made by some members of the financial services industry that the Volcker Rule will restrict liquidity in markets, pushing up interest rates on corporate debt in particular and therefore slowing economic growth.

This argument rests in part on a report…

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Fed websites back online after Anonymous attack

January 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

This Just In

Most of the websites shutdown by a hackers group were up and running early Friday including the U.S. Department of Justice, FBI and some entertainment sites targeted after one of the federal government’s largest anti-piracy crackdowns.

“Hacktivist” collective Anonymous on Thursday took credit for taking down the sites of the FBI, the Justice Department and some major entertainment companies after the arrests of leaders of Megaupload.com and shut down the popular hub for illegal media downloads.

Hours after the announcement of the arrests some of Megaupload’s fans turned the table on the feds knocking the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI websites offline.

Both sites appeared to be back up early Friday. A law enforcement official told CNN the FBI was investigating.

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South Korea to allow food aid to North for first time since Kim’s death

January 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

This Just In

The South Korean government on Friday approved the first shipment of food aid to North Korea since the death of dictator Kim Jong Il last month.

The South Korean Unification Ministry has given the green light to the sending on January 27 of 180 tons of flour to elementary schools and day care centers by the Korea Peace Foundation, Kim Hyung-suk, a ministry spokesman, said at a briefing.

North Korea has agreed to receive the shipment, according to the ministry.

Pyongyang announced Kim’s death on December 19, setting off speculation about the stability of the reclusive state and its possible consequences for the broader region. Kim’s youngest son and chosen successor, Kim Jong Un, has replaced him as the regime’s “supreme leader.”

The country’s dysfunctional economy, hurt by failed policies and international sanctions, has resulted in famines and widespread malnutrition during the past two decades. Other countries and international organizations…

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World Bank fears Europe’s crisis could set off deeper global slump than Lehman collapse

January 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

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