Saturday, June 30, 2012

Lochte, Phelps advance to last showdown

Dana Vollmer swims in the women's 100-meter freestyle preliminaries at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials, Friday, June 29, 2012, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Dana Vollmer swims in the women's 100-meter freestyle preliminaries at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials, Friday, June 29, 2012, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Ryan Lochte swims in the men's 200-meter backstroke preliminaries at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials on Friday, June 29, 2012, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Matt Grevers swims in the men's 200-meter backstroke preliminaries at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials on Friday, June 29, 2012, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

(AP) ? Ryan Lochte got his busy Friday under way by qualifying fastest in the 200-meter backstroke at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials. He returned a short time later and swam in the 200 individual medley heats, advancing with Michael Phelps to their third and last showdown.

Lochte powered off the final turn in the 200 back and won his heat by more than a body length in 1 minute, 57.24 seconds. He stopped to sign autographs for a couple of young girls as he walked off the pool deck.

He came back and qualified fourth-quickest in the 200 IM, where he's the world champion, having beaten Phelps in the race at last year's world meet in Shanghai.

"The 200 back is probably one of the hardest events known to swimming," Lochte said. "It just takes all your legs out of you. Being able to come up and step up on the blocks and race like Michael Phelps, it's definitely a challenge, but I'm up for it."

Conor Dwyer, already on the Olympic team, led the way in 1:59.11. Phelps was second-fastest in 1:59.27. Austin Surhoff, the son of former major league baseball player B.J. Surhoff, was third in 1:59.65.

Also reaching the semifinals was Olympian Peter Vanderkaay in fifth.

Lochte has the afternoon to rest before returning in the evening for the semifinals of the 200 back, followed by the 200 IM semifinals.

"It's a difficult double, but it's not an impossible double," Clary said. "He's shown he's got the ability to be able to come to this meet, he doesn't really have to fully exert himself if he doesn't want to. That carries over to the other race if he's got a double that day."

In the 200 back, Tyler Clary was second-quickest at 1:57.93, followed by 100 back champion Matt Grevers in 1:58.90. Nick Thoman, runner-up in the 100 back, moved on to the evening semifinal in fifth at 1:59.24.

USA Swimming said Grevers had scratched the semifinals of the 200 back. That will allow him to focus solely on the evening 100 freestyle final, instead of having to swim the 200 back semis first.

"I do know a double would hurt me and my 100 free would suffer if I did the 200 back right before," he said before his scratch was announced. "I've got to get back by Clary and Lochte to get there (to back final). That's going to be very hard."

On Thursday night, USA Swimming wrongly announced that Grevers had dropped out of the 100 free final; the group said Friday that he had not.

"After talking to my coaches, they convinced me the 100 free is the way to go. Just cruise that," Grevers said. "My actual goal was to get a fast enough 100 freestyle time to make me a solid pick in the relay. I want to do a relay swim. The 100 free individual, there might be a shot, but I don't think I can medal in it even if I do make it."

Defending Olympic champion Rebecca Soni easily advanced in the 200 breast at 2:23.11. Micah Lawrence was second in 2:24.95, and Andrea Kropp third at 2:25.77.

"After so much sprinting with the 100, I wanted get nice feel for the 200 again," Soni said. "Just kept calm and smooth and it felt really good, really happy with that time."

Amanda Beard, trying to make her fifth Olympic team at 30, was fifth in 2:27.07.

"It's exciting, so you want to go out there and put down a good time," she said. "You don't want to use too much energy. I just wanted to feel my stroke out, have fun and see what my competition looks like."

Megan Jendrick, the 2000 Olympic champion in the 100 breast, finished 38th.

Dana Vollmer led the way in the 100 freestyle prelims, with teenager Missy Franklin also advancing.

Vollmer was timed in 54.35 seconds for the two-lap sprint. Allison Schmitt, having one of her best meets ever, was second at 54.49. Vollmer is already on the U.S. team in an individual event, while Schimitt is going for her third individual event, which would tie her with her training partner Phelps for most on the team.

Jessica Hardy, who failed to qualify for the Olympic team in the 100 breaststroke, had the third-fastest time of 54.52. Texas A&M sophomore Breeja Larson upset Soni to win the 100 breast, with Hardy third. Only the top two make the U.S. team for London.

"I never heard of her before. Ever," Hardy said about Larson. "But good for her. Now she's the gold-medal favorite."

Franklin was seventh in 54.78.

"Honestly, you have to go all out," Franklin said. "In the 100 free, there's such an incredible amount of people. It's so hard to make it back. You don't want to risk anything."

Franklin has already made her first Olympic team at 17 in the 100 back and 200 free.

"It's better than I could've asked for," she said. "I'm so excited. I'm still kind of on a high from my 100 back and 200 free. I'm just kind of riding that right now."

Natalie Coughlin, yet to secure a spot on her third Olympic team, finished ninth at 54.99. She will need to be faster in the evening semifinal to advance to the eight-woman final on Saturday.

Two-time Olympian Kara Lynn Joyce failed to make the semifinals in 18th, while 2008 Olympian Christine Magnuson tied for 22nd.

Associated Press


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Friday, June 29, 2012

Notre Dame Football: Breaking Down the Irish's Chances of Landing Alex Anzalone

Despite an impressive haul of 15 commitments to this point, Notre Dame is still searching for more in its 2013 class ? not just in quantity, but in quality. With a small 2012 class, multiple defections and some possible medical hardships, this year?s class is expected to be somewhere around 22 or 23 by the time National Signing Day rolls around in February.

While eight of Notre Dame?s commitments are rated as at least 4-star prospects by, the Irish need that number to reach double digits in order to complete the type of class they need to compete at the highest level. Perhaps their top remaining target at this point is linebacker Alex Anzalone from Wyomissing, Pa.

One of the best players in the Keystone State, Anzalone could play either inside or outside. Due to the?recent commitment of 5-star linebacker Jaylon Smith, an ideal outside linebacker, the Irish like Anzalone primarily at inside linebacker, a position of need. Manti Te?o departs after the season, and Dan Fox and Carlo Calabrese are seniors in the classroom with fifth-year options for 10`2.

An exceptional student, Anzalone is a great fit both on and off of the field for Notre Dame. Geometry even has a place on the gridiron, in the form of angles of pursuit. Anzalone excels at closing gaps on running backs with great vision and field awareness. At 6?3?, he has a bigger frame than Te?o, and could turn into the next great Irish run-stuffer.

Anzalone was initially committed to Ohio State, but reversed course in early May following a report that a registered sex offender was using social media to contact potential Buckeyes recruits. A photo was leaked of Anzalone and current Notre Dame commit Mike Heuerman with the man at the team?s spring game in April.


He initially did not rule out a re-commitment to Ohio State, but they appeared to have fallen out of favor. The three?contenders for Anzalone are Florida, Notre Dame and Penn State. Although he was planning to visit Penn State on Thursday, the Nittany Lions appear to be trailing slightly behind the Gators and Irish.

Anzalone?s father, Sal, is a Florida alumnus, and his grandparents currently reside in Florida. However, Anzalone was?in?South Bend?two weeks ago with a number of current Irish commits including Heuerman, Smith, Malik Zaire and Rashad Kinlaw. The rapport he?s developed with the current group of commits (search #IrishMob13 on Twitter for evidence of the group?s camaraderie) bodes well for Notre Dame?s chances.

His visit to State College will likely be his final one before making a decision. A decision prior to the start of the season is expected, and could come as early as the next couple of?weeks. After he de-committed from Ohio State, Florida appeared to be the favorite because of the family connections. Reading the tea leaves, I?d be surprised if he doesn?t end up at Notre Dame.

Due to geography, academics and its on-field struggles, Notre Dame can?t be a major player with every top recruit. When someone with Anzalone?s makeup seriously considers Notre Dame, it becomes almost a must-get for Brian Kelly. With Smith, there was a happy ending for the Irish. While it?s far from a certainty at this point, expect a similar outcome with Anzalone.


Follow me on Twitter - @MattSmithCFB


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European leaders' breakthrough defied expectations

BRUSSELS (AP) ? Europe's leaders finally rose to the challenge of a debt crisis that has hobbled economic growth and threatened the global financial system.

Markets roared their approval Friday after leaders of the 27 European Union countries backed bold ideas to help weak countries cope with rising debt levels and frail banks.

For the first time in 19 summits since the start of the crisis, the EU leaders defied low expectations by announcing plans to:

? Bail out banks, without putting any financial burden on strapped governments.

? Ease borrowing costs on Italy and Spain, the euro region's third- and fourth-largest economies.

? Seek stronger, centralized regulation to European banks.

? Rescue floundering countries, without forcing them to make painful budget cuts if they've already made economic reforms.

?Tie their budgets, currency and governments more tightly.

Europe's leaders trumpeted the agreement. The prime minister of Ireland ? one of the five euro countries that has required emergency funds ? said the plans marked a "seismic shift in European policy." British Prime Minister David Cameron said that "for the first time in some time we have actually seen steps ... to get ahead of the game."

There was a sign immediately that Europe's latest plan was easing fear in financial markets: The cost for the troubled government of Spain to borrow money on the bond market fell dramatically. The interest rate, or yield, on the country's 10-year bonds fell by more than half a percentage point, to 6.34 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average recorded one of its biggest gains of the year, and stocks advanced even further in Europe ? in strong and weak countries alike. The benchmark stock index in Germany rose 4.3 percent, by far its best performance this year. Germany has the biggest economy in Europe, and a warm reaction there was a crucial sign of approval for the plan. Prices for oil and other commodities shot higher.

The decisions made at the European Union summit in Brussels won't end the crisis that has gripped Europe for nearly three years. Plenty of questions remain about how the bank bailouts would work, whether there's enough money committed to rescue banks and governments and whether impoverished, indebted Greece will be forced out of the euro club.

But for EU leaders who have consistently underwhelmed their exasperated publics and nervous financial markets, Friday's plans marked a breakthrough.

At first it looked like the summit would produce little more than a modest plan to stimulate growth in Europe. But Italy and Spain, whose borrowing costs have soared to dangerous levels, refused to sign off on a $150 billion spending plan unless something was done to ease their financial burdens.

So the leaders signaled a willingness to expand the use of Europe's two rescue funds. The money could be used to buy bonds to drive down a country's borrowing costs. Or it could be loaned directly to troubled banks, which would EU leaders said would help break "the vicious cycle" in which weak banks and weak governments threaten to drag each other down.

Before the summit, European leaders insisted that bailout funds be used only to rescue governments ? like Ireland, Portugal and Greece. If money was going to be used for banks, it had to first go to a government, which then funneled it to the troubled banks. But that added to the debt on a government's books because it was responsible for repaying the money.

So efforts to help the banks ended up raising fears about governments. That is why Spain's borrowing costs rose dramatically after the eurozone countries agreed to lend it $125 billion to rescue its banks.

The EU plans also call for a single regulator ? probably the European Central Bank ? to oversee Europe's banks. Currently, banks are regulated by their national governments such as Spain's, which have been slow to recognize loan problems and shut down the worst banks.

As part of a broad "banking union" the new regulator will likely get power to close failing banks if their national regulators won't do it. The plan is also expected to include deposit insurance across Europe. Individual European countries now insure bank deposits within their borders. But bank failures could overwhelm those national funds.

The bank overhaul is supposed to be completed by the end of the year.

The leaders said they were committed to linking their countries closer together economically and politically. But they put off the hard work of closer integration, which is likely to require countries to give up some of their taxing and spending powers to a European budget authority.

Most analysts cheered the EU plans but worried about the questions left unanswered. And they said the bailout funds are too small to handle the tasks that could be thrown at them.

Europe's two bailout funds have a combined $625 billion in lending power; up to $125 billion of that is already committed to helping Spain bail out its banks. The remaining $500 billion looks small compared to $3.1 trillion in Spanish and Italian bonds outstanding.

The solution hovering in the background, say some economists, is the European Central Bank. The ECB could buy any necessary amount of government bonds, backed if need be by the bank's theoretically limitless power to create new money. So far the bank has been unwilling to take this step, which could risk running afoul of its mandate to fight inflation and a ban on central bank financing governments. The ECB's next policy meeting is Thursday in Frankfurt.

The summit deal leaves out crucial details of just how any bank bailouts would work. Would bank creditors have to take a loss on their investments, or would taxpayers foot the whole bill? The deal didn't specify.

If the banking regulator and a rescue fund take ownership stakes in failed banks, manage those stakes in the taxpayer interest while forcing losses on shareholders and creditors, it could be positive, said Clemens Fuest, an expert in public finance at Oxford University's Said Business School.

Otherwise, simply charging taxpayers could be "a huge burden on growth in Europe for a very long time," Clemens said.


McHugh contributed from Frankfurt, Germany. Shawn Pogatchnik in Dublin, David Springer in London and Robert Wielaard in Brussels contributed to this report.


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Apple Senior VP of Hardware Engineering Bob Mansfield to retire, be replaced by Dan Riccio

Bob Mansfield, Apple's Senior Vice President of Hardware Engineering, to Retire
Dan Riccio to Take Over Role When Transition is Complete

CUPERTINO, California-June 28, 2012-Apple? today announced that Bob Mansfield, Apple's senior vice president of Hardware Engineering, will retire and the role will be transitioned to Dan Riccio, Apple's vice president of iPad Hardware Engineering, over several months. The entire hardware engineering team will continue to report to Mansfield until his departure.

"Bob has been an instrumental part of our executive team, leading the hardware engineering organization and overseeing the team that has delivered dozens of breakthrough products over the years," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "We are very sad to have him leave and hope he enjoys every day of his retirement."

"Dan has been one of Bob's key lieutenants for a very long time and is very well respected within Apple and by the industry," added Cook. "Our hardware engineering team is the best engineering team on earth and will not miss a beat during the transition."

As senior vice president of Hardware Engineering, Mansfield has led Mac? hardware engineering since 2005, iPhone? and iPod? hardware engineering since 2010, and iPad? hardware engineering since its inception. Mansfield joined Apple in 1999 when Apple acquired Raycer Graphics, where he was vice president of Engineering. Mansfield earned a BSEE degree from the University of Texas at Austin in 1982.

Riccio currently serves as vice president of iPad Hardware Engineering and has been instrumental in all of Apple's iPad products since the first generation iPad. Riccio joined Apple in 1998 as vice president of Product Design and has been a key contributor to most of Apple's hardware over his career. Dan earned a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1986.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.


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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lantronix Launches a Home Edition of Their xPrintServer for Easy Printing from iOS Devices

Early this year, The Gadgeteer told you about the xPrintServer for iOS devices, which ?leverages Lantronix? patented technologies, along with open industry standards to enable wireless printing to nearly any printer attached to a network.?? The original was more suited to a business-network environment, and now Lantronix is launching their xPrintServer Home Edition.? The Home [...]

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Estate Planning in California: Certificate of Trust

Once a person has written a trust, they are left with a rather long document. Trusts can range from a few pages to? forty pages or more. Given the burden of lugging around a burdensome document, California law allows for a person to create a certificate of trust to provide third-parties in lieu of providing the trust document itself.??

A certificate of trust may contain the following information per Prob C ? 18100.5(b)

(1) The existence of the trust and date of execution of the trust instrument.

(2) The identity of the settlor or settlors and the currently acting trustee or trustees of the trust.

(3) The powers of the trustee.

(4) The revocability or irrevocability of the trust and the identity of any person holding any power to revoke the trust.

(5) When there are multiple trustees, the signature authority of the trustees, indicating whether all, or less than all, of the currently acting trustees are required to sign in order to exercise various powers of the trustee.

(6) The trust identification number, whether a social security number or an employer identification number.

(7) The manner in which title to trust assets should be taken.

(8) The legal description of any interest in real property held in the trust.

Two benefits of writing a certificate of trust is that it is (1) much easier to carry around to due its shorter length than a trust and more importantly (2) the certificate of trust maintains the trust's privacy as to distribution specifics, the most confidential part of the trust. One reason why people choose to write trusts is because of the privacy aspect. Generally speaking, a trust document will not become a public record as opposed to a will. A certificate of trust ensures that the trust's privacy remains intact. In particular, the relevant part of the statute reads "The certification of trust shall not be required to contain the dispositive provisions of the trust which set forth the distribution of the trust estate." Prob C ? 18100.5(d).?

It is standard practice for an attorney to write a certificate of trust for the client along with the trust. This is not particularly difficult for the attorney because the trust contains the required contents of the certificate of trust.?

A certificate of trust is commonly used when a settlor, the person who wrote the trust, wishes to transfer their bank account into the trust. When I meet with clients when all estate planning documents are signed, I explain to them the importance of transferring title to their bank account from themselves to the trust by using the certificate of trust. The bank will often copy the certificate of trust for future reference. Still it is appropriate to not assume that the bank will always have a copy on file. Hence, it is prudent to keep the certificate of trust in a safe place.??

If a third-party refuses in bad faith to honor the certificate of trust, they may be liable for damages and? attorney fees. Prob C ?18100.5(h).? Thus, the law has teeth to it to deter a third-party from being overly demanding by insisting on seeing the trust document instead of the certificate of trust.?

If you have any questions please call my office at (408) 866-8382 for a free consultation or email me at

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Oprah to appear on Kim Kardashian's show

E! Entertainment / E! Entertainment

"Keeping up with the Kardashians."

By Us Weekly

John Travolta has some competition! Oprah Winfrey, 58, forged a big bond with Kim Kardashian and family during her recent sit-down interview on OWN.

PHOTOS: Kim's terrible year

"She and Khloe (Kardashian Odom) especially hit it off. Khloe had her dying laughing," a source tells Us Weekly. "It meant so much because she loves Oprah!"

The talk show mogul was so enamored with the clan that she agreed to appear on "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," says the source, adding, "Oprah signed the release!"

PHOTOS: Kim's wedding album

And Winfrey's rep confirmed to Us that she will appear on the E! show.

During her interview with Kim, Winfrey was floored by the reality star's strength after her public split with Kris Humphries after 72 days of marriage. "I've obviously made plenty of mistakes in my lifetime, but I'm not the type to sit and beat myself up over it," Kim said. "If a real lesson was learned, I'm so okay with having experienced that."?

PHOTOS: Kim's new romance with Kanye West

"That is so perfect I could weep," replied Winfrey.?

Will you watch "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" when Oprah makes her appearance??Share your thoughts on our Facebook page.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ancient human ancestors had unique diet

ScienceDaily (June 27, 2012) ? When it came to eating, an upright, 2 million-year-old African hominid had a diet unlike virtually all other known human ancestors, says a study led by the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany and involving the University of Colorado Boulder.

The study indicated that Australopithecus sediba -- a short, gangly hominid that lived in South Africa -- ate harder foods than other early hominids, targeting trees, bushes and fruits. In contrast, virtually all other ancient human ancestors tested from Africa -- including Paranthropus boisei, dubbed "Nutcracker Man" because of its massive jaws and teeth -- focused more on grasses and sedges, said CU-Boulder doctoral student Paul Sandberg, a co-author on the new study.

The A. sediba diet was analyzed using a technique that involved zapping fossilized teeth with a laser, said Sandberg. The laser frees telltale carbon from the enamel of teeth, allowing scientists to pinpoint the types of plants that were consumed and the environments in which the hominids lived. The carbon signals from the teeth are split into two groups: C3 plants like trees, shrubs and bushes preferred by A. sediba, and C4 plants like grasses and sedges consumed by many other early hominids.

The teeth from the two A. sediba individuals analyzed in the study had carbon isotope values outside the range of all 81 previously tested hominids. "The lack of any C4 evidence, and the evidence for the consumption of hard objects, are what make the inferred diet of these individuals compelling," said Sandberg.

"It is an important finding, because diet is one of the fundamental aspects of an animal, one that drives its behavior and ecological niche. As environments change over time because of shifting climates, animals are generally forced to either move or to adapt to their new surroundings," said Sandberg of CU-Boulder's anthropology department.

The researchers concluded from their scientific tests that bark and other fracture-resistant foods were at least a seasonal part of the A. sediba diet. While bark and woody tissues had not been previously documented as a dietary component of any other ancient African hominids, such foods are consumed by many contemporary primates and contain both protein and soluble sugars. The diet of A. sediba may have been similar to that of today's African savanna chimpanzees, Sandberg said.

One unique aspect of the project was the analysis of microscopic, fossilized particles of plant tissue known as phytoliths trapped in ancient tooth tarter, a hardened form of dental plaque, said corresponding study author Amanda Henry of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

"The fact that these phytoliths are preserved in the teeth of 2 million-year-old hominids is remarkable and speaks to the amazing preservation at the site," said Sandberg. "The phytolith data suggest the A. sediba individuals were avoiding the grasses growing in open grasslands that were abundant in the region at the time."

A third, independent line of study -- analyzing microscopic pits and scratches on A. sediba teeth, which reveal what they were eating at the time just prior to death -- also confirmed that at least one of the hominids was eating harder foods, said Sandberg.

A paper on the subject was published online by Nature on June 27. Other paper authors included Professor Matt Sponheimer of CU-Boulder, Peter Ungar of the University of Arkansas, Benjamin Passey of Johns Hopkins University, Lloyd Rossouw of the Bloemfontein National Museum in Bloemfontein, South Africa, Lee Berger and Marion Bamford of the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa and Darryl de Ruiter of Texas A&M University.

A. sediba is particularly intriguing to anthropologists. The first two individuals discovered -- a juvenile male and an adult female from the Malapa Cave site roughly 30 miles north of Johannesburg in 2008 --apparently had fallen into a hidden pit in the cave and died. With an upright posture and long arms, the curious creature appears to have characteristics of both primitive and modern hominids, including a human-like ankle, short fingers and a long thumb for possible precision gripping and a relatively complex brain compared to earlier hominids, according to researchers.

The jury is still out on exactly where these hominids land on the family tree. A. sediba may have been a descendant of A. africanus, which was spawned by A. afarensis, a hominid represented by "Lucy" who lived about three million years ago and is considered by many to be the matriarch of the human family.

The A. sediba remains at Malapa were dated to 2 million years by scientists, a precise number obtained by measuring the decay of isotopes of uranium into lead that occurred in a type of mineral deposit known as flowstone that capped the fossil-bearing layer.

Paleontological evidence, including pollen and phytoliths, shows that the region around Malapa likely was a mix of abundant grassland and woody vegetation about 2 million years ago, said Sandberg. The team's carbon isotope research on the ancient teeth of rodents and hooved mammals that inhabited the region at the time indicated they had a strong affinity for C4 grasses and sedges.

"What fascinates me is that these individuals are oddballs," said CU-Boulder's Sponheimer. "I had pretty much convinced myself that after four million years ago most of our hominid kin had diets that were different from living apes, but now I am not so sure. And while our sample is too small to be conclusive, the rate at which Malapa is spewing hominid fossils makes me reasonably certain we won't have to wait another two million years to augment our data set. "

The study was funded in part by the National Science Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution, the Malapa Project at the Institute for Human Evolution at the University of Witwatersrand and the Max Planck Society.

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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by University of Colorado at Boulder.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

Journal Reference:

  1. Amanda G. Henry, Peter S. Ungar, Benjamin H. Passey, Matt Sponheimer, Lloyd Rossouw, Marion Bamford, Paul Sandberg, Darryl J. de Ruiter, Lee Berger. The diet of Australopithecus sediba. Nature, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/nature11185

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.

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Infringing another's trademark | The Power Lunch Club

Infringing another?s trademark

Gavin Tosh, Owner at Clerwood Legal Services

When a new business is started, or when an established company launches a new product or service, it is all too common to overlook the need for comprehensive clearance checks to be carried out on the proposed trademarks. This is even more common in the case of a new business for which the business name and brand are being established but which is some way away from the stage of thinking in terms of trademarks. Checking may be limited to establishing if the domain name is available and doing a Google search. This is asking for trouble. Whilst you should certainly do those things too, they do not substitute for a search of the Trademark Register and further exhaustive searches ?to check not only are there any identical or even similar trademarks already out there, but also is anybody already using the mark?

The consequences of not doing so can be severe. Use of a trade mark may end up infringing a third parties right which could mean litigation, re-branding or even withdrawal from the market. Many large (and all very large) companies actively monitor for any perceived breach of their trademark rights. Should your business be identified as a transgressor, the first you are likely to know of it is by receiving a ?cease and desist? letter from their solicitors. This will set out the details of the alleged infringement and will demand that you take certain actions almost immediately such as

  • ? taking down your website or removing all references to the infringing mark
  • ??providing documentary evidence of cancellation of all relative SEO arrangements
  • ??removing all infringing products from sale and destroying them
  • ??removing and delivering up all stationery or other materials bearing the infringing mark
  • ??providing detailed accounts showing the sales of the infringing product
  • ??providing a sworn statement of compliance and an undertaking not to re-offend
  • ??agreeing to pay all the legal and other costs of the accuser
  • ??(Possibly) payment of compensation

There will also probably be the threat of court action for an Interim Interdict to prevent your use of the trademark in any way if you refuse to comply with the demands.?

This can be an expensive exercise as it could mean the re-packaging goods, changing stationary and redesigning letterheads, websites etc. In fact any goodwill that you may have accumulated in the name through use etc would have to be forfeited, which could be very damaging. A business? identity will be embodied in its brand and is likely its most important asset. It embodies all of the business? accumulated goodwill.

The risks for small companies are arguably greater. An accusation of infringement by a larger entity may be unfairly made, tenuous at best ? but will the small company have the resources to defend an action against the much larger accuser and their lawyers? All the more important to carry out the necessary checks and to take a cautious approach if there is even the slightest possibility of confusion between your chosen mark and that of another party.

To help avoid the above scenario, a tactic often recommended for businesses at the stage of choosing their trademark is to select?creative?trademarks, probably with no relation to the products or services that are being protected. The rationale for that is that if the mark has no obvious connection to the product or service then the chances of someone else already using it are slim. The more creative and ?nonsense? the better the chance of getting a good domain name as well as a few variations on the domain. Also, the more abstract a trademark is (as opposed to it being more descriptive of the goods), the stronger the trademark will be.

Nothing in this awareness article is intended as legal advice. If you have a specific legal requirement or query you should consult a solicitor directly.

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8 Ways to Avoid Relationship Disasters on Facebook | 93.1 WZAK

By Dawn Papandrea

Here?s a stat to dislike: Nearly one-third of divorce filings in 2011 mentioned the word Facebook, according to a survey from Divorce-Online, a British legal service. ?You can?t blame Facebook for divorce, but it will exploit cracks that are already there,? says Charles J. Orlando, relationship expert and author of The Problem with Women? is Men. So does using Facebook doom your marriage? Hardly. Even Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg?s status recently went from single to married. Before your marital status takes a turn toward ?It?s complicated,? try these expert strategies to protect your relationship. Photo credit: Thinkstock

1. Go beyond just being friends with your spouse.

Befriending your spouse and sharing your relationship status on Facebook are no-brainers, but go one step further, suggests Julie Spira, author of The Rules of Netiquette: How to Mind Your Manners on the Web . ?Both you and your spouse should be digitally proud of your marriage. So post your anniversary dinner photo together or a picture from a recent vacation,? she says. Orlando agrees, adding that not mentioning your husband is the online equivalent of not wearing your wedding band.

2. Consider sharing passwords.

Elizabeth Hanes of Albuquerque, NM, says she and her husband, Lee, know each other?s logins to everything, but not so they can snoop on each other. ?It shows that neither of us have anything to hide,? she says. It?s also practical. ?Once, a friend posted something inappropriate to Lee?s wall, but he couldn?t access Facebook from work so he asked me to delete the post for him,? she says.

That?s not to say that exchanging passwords is a must. ?Everyone needs personal space, both online and offline,? says Spira. ?While you might share a toothbrush, a little privacy and mystery is good for a marriage.? So even if you know each other?s logins, you should feel like you never have to use it.

3. Don?t be friends with exes.

People rarely have pure intentions when they seek out exes, says Orlando. His simple advice: ?Defriend, disassociate, disengage.? That?s because the protection of the Internet allows for more forward conversation, points out Karen Sherman, PhD, relationship specialist and author of Marriage Magic! Find It, Keep It and Make It Last.

Seeing what an old friend is up to, though, is part of the fun of Facebook, she adds. But-and here?s the important part-only if your partner is okay with it. If you know your spouse would be upset to see an old flame on your friends list, ignoring or rejecting a friend request is the right move. On the flipside, if you?re uncomfortable that your husband is friends with an ex, bring up the subject. ?Let him explain why they?re friends,? recommends Spira. ?Chances are, it?s not a big deal to him to add her to his many friends from the past.?

4. Avoid airing your dirty laundry.

Too many couples overshare their spats on Facebook, says Spira, ?and your friends don?t want to see the drama in your marriage.? Remember, posting about how your hubby annoyed you is like putting it on a neighborhood billboard.

Even when your intentions are innocent, posting about your partner can hurt feelings, as *Barbara of St. Paul, MN, found out. Her husband dropped off their son late to a birthday party. The birthday boy?s mom made a passive aggressive remark on Facebook about people not arriving on time, and Barbara apologized for her husband who slipped up on ?daddy duty.? ?*Steve didn?t like that he was made to look irresponsible when he was late because the place was hard to find,? she explains. ?Now I only post positive stuff about my husband,? she says.

5. Set rules together.

Your page may be your own, but you have to respect your mate, says Dr. Sherman. ?Be aware of one another?s sensitivities,? she advises. For instance, maybe you?re not thrilled that your husband is posting vacation photos of you in your bikini. Or he doesn?t like when you tag him in posts that share a strong political view. Discuss posting no-nos to avoid future conflicts.

READ MORE [Original Story]

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Science of slinkys explained with slow-mo video

10 hrs.

Dangle a slinky off the roof of a building until it is fully extended, then let go and notice something odd: The bottom will hover in mid-air long enough to make even the casual observer to go, ?huh?? Thankfully, scientists have taken it upon themselves to explain this strangeness.

And they?ve done it with the help of high-speed video so that we can watch the suspended, collapsing spring in super slow motion.

Mike Wheatland from Australia?s University of Sydney explains in the video below?that when you let go of the slinky at the top, ?there?s a finite time for that information (i.e. signal) about that change to get to the bottom of the slinky.??

Until the bottom of the slinky gets the message, it just hangs there oblivious to the change happening form above. Hence, the hovering effect.?

For a bit more technical explanation, check out the explanation at io9. You can also geek out to the physics of slinkys by reading this paper on arXiv by Bill Unruh, a physics professor at the University of British Columbia.

Of course, you can also stare at the slinky and let time slip away one collapsed coil at a time.

--via io9

John Roach is a contributing writer for To learn more about him, check out his website and follow him on Twitter. For more of our Future of Technology series, watch the featured video below.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Nintendo 3DS XL caught on video, gets manhandled abroad

Nintendo 3DS XL caught on video, gets groped abroad

Nintendo's new 3DS XL was just revealed last week, but we didn't have to wait long for the plus-sized handheld to get put through its paces. Puissance Nintendo got its game on with Nintendo's newest, and if Google's translation is to be believed, the added screen real-estate is, naturally, a welcome addition, and the panel is plenty bright with excellent viewing angles. Also, any negative effects from the bigger pixels present in the display -- it's the same resolution as its baby brother -- have apparently been ameliorated by an anti-aliasing filter of some sort. As for folks concerned about gripping the 3DS XL, fear not, as ergonomics are reportedly spot on, with an even weight distribution that feels no heavier than a standard 3DS. Still not ready to rush out and grab one this August? Head on past the break to see the XL in action, and pop on over to the source link to see if the full French spill will persuade you.

Continue reading Nintendo 3DS XL caught on video, gets manhandled abroad

Nintendo 3DS XL caught on video, gets manhandled abroad originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 26 Jun 2012 20:38:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Judge upholds Indiana Facebook ban for sex offenders

8 hrs.

A national civil rights group said Sunday it would appeal a federal judge's decision to uphold an Indiana law that bans registered sex offenders from accessing Facebook and other social networking sites used by children.

On Friday, Judge Tanya Walton Pratt said in an 18-page order that the state has a strong interest in protecting children and that the rest of the Internet remains open to those who have been convicted.

"Social networking, chat rooms, and instant messaging programs have effectively created a 'virtual playground' for sexual predators to lurk," Pratt wrote in the ruling, citing a 2006 report by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that found that one in seven youths had received online sexual solicitations and one in three had been exposed to unwanted sexual material online.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed the class-action suit on behalf of a man who served three years for child exploitation, along with other sex offenders who are restricted by the ban even though they are no longer on probation. Federal judges have barred similar laws in Nebraska and Louisiana.

"We will be appealing," ACLU legal director Ken Falk said in an email Sunday to The Associated Press. Appeals from federal courts in Indiana go to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.

Courts have long allowed states to place restrictions on convicted sex offenders who have completed their sentences, controlling where many live and work and requiring them to register with police. But the ACLU claimed that that Indiana's social networking ban was far broader, restricting a wide swath of constitutionally protected activities.

The ACLU contended that even though the 2008 law is only intended to protect children from online sexual predators, social media are virtually indispensable and the ban prevents sex offenders from using the websites for political, business and religious activities.

But Pratt found that the ban is limited only to social networking sites that allow access by children, and that such sites aren't the only forms of communication on the Internet.

"The Court readily concedes that social networking is a prominent feature of modern-day society; however, communication does not begin with a 'Facebook wall post' and end with a '140-character Tweet,' " she wrote.

Though the law doesn't list which websites are banned, court filings have indicated the law covers Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Google Plus, chat rooms and instant messaging services. Earlier filings indicated LinkedIn was also covered by the ban, but Pratt's ruling said it wasn't because children under 18 can't sign up for it.

"It is a very well-reasoned opinion and the Indiana statute has certainly attempted to be specific," said Ruthann Robson, a professor of constitutional law at the City University of New York. But she faulted the judge and the law for treating all sex offenders as if they were likely to commit another offense.

"A better statute might provide for some sort of individualized determination rather than a blanket prohibition," she said.

Social networking bans have been struck down in two other states.

In February, U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson found that Louisiana's prohibition was too broad and "unreasonably restricts many ordinary activities that have become important to everyday life."

Pratt said Indiana's ban wasn't as broad the overturned Louisiana ban.

Louisiana lawmakers passed a new law last month that more narrowly defines which sites are prohibited. News and government sites, email services and online shopping are excluded from the new rules, as are photo-sharing and instant messaging systems. The measure takes effect Aug. 1.

In Nebraska, a federal judge in 2009 blocked part of a law that included a social networking ban. A second legal challenge by an Omaha-area sex offender is set for trial in July.

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Buying a home: Prepare by getting your finances in order | Maurice ...

(ARA) - For those considering buying a home, the current real estate market presents some unique opportunities. One of the side effects of the economic roller coaster ride of the past few years is that home prices have gone down and more homes have gone on the market. For buyers, that means more choices and better deals. However, those same tumultuous years also can also teach buyers a lesson: Make smart buying decisions and be wise with your finances.

Impulsive buying is never a good idea when it comes to a purchase as significant as a home, but it was something of a trend at the height of the mid-2000s. Now, with banks lending far more cautiously, you need to be absolutely certain that your finances are in order - and healthy - to be able to get the best deal on your purchase.

There are a number of steps you can take to get ready to buy a home, and you might need to work on them simultaneously. Consider that you'll need to start saving, if you haven't already, but you'll also need to review your credit score and do what you can to either maintain it or work toward healthier credit. Both of these tasks will help make the home-buying process better for you.

Your credit is an important factor in determining the terms under which you can get a mortgage. Broadly speaking, the better your credit is, the more positively you'll be viewed by lenders - and that can lead to better interest rates. And because you'll be paying off your home for years to come, it's important to get the best rate possible.

Start by checking your credit report. You're entitled to one free check of your report, from TransUnion and other credit reporting agencies every year. As much as you need to check your report to find out what shape your credit is in, it's also essential to review it for inaccuracies or fraudulent activity, both of which can have a negative impact on your score.

If your credit health needs some work, start taking action immediately. Paying bills on time, reducing your overall debt and limiting new credit inquiries can all help to build your credit - but be patient as it can take time for your positive actions to take effect. Nevertheless, the sooner you make the effort, the sooner you'll see results.

Making a prudent decision about buying a house comes down to an honest assessment of what you can afford. Keep in mind that you might be approved for a loan that's larger than what is practical for you to afford. While it may be tempting to buy a pricier house, the stress of struggling to make payments could diminish your enjoyment of your new home and even put you at financial risk. One rule of thumb is that most borrowers can afford a home loan that runs about two and a half times their annual salary.

Buying a home is a complex process, but one that is ultimately very rewarding when done right. By organizing your finances well in advance, you'll help set yourself up for success. For more information about credit and buying a home, visit

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Sandusky lawyers raise appeal issue on timing

In this booking photo released early Saturday morning June 23, 2012 by the Centre County Correctional Facility in Bellefonte, Pa., former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky is shown. Sandusky was convicted on Friday, June 22, 2012, of sexually assaulting 10 boys over 15 years Friday, accusations that had sent shock waves through the college campus known as Happy Valley and led to the firing of Penn State's beloved Hall of Fame coach, Joe Paterno.. (AP Photo/Centre County Correctional Facility)

In this booking photo released early Saturday morning June 23, 2012 by the Centre County Correctional Facility in Bellefonte, Pa., former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky is shown. Sandusky was convicted on Friday, June 22, 2012, of sexually assaulting 10 boys over 15 years Friday, accusations that had sent shock waves through the college campus known as Happy Valley and led to the firing of Penn State's beloved Hall of Fame coach, Joe Paterno.. (AP Photo/Centre County Correctional Facility)

Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, center, leaves the Centre County Courthouse in custody with Centre County Sheriff Denny Nau, left, after being found guilty of multiple charges of child sexual abuse in Bellefonte, Pa., Friday, June 22, 2012. Sandusky was convicted of sexually assaulting 10 boys over 15 years, accusations that had sent shock waves through the college campus known as Happy Valley and led to the firing of Penn State's beloved Hall of Fame coach, Joe Paterno. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

In this courtroom sketch, Judge John Cleland, second from left, defendant former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, right, and his lawyer Karl Rominger, second from right, listen at the verdict in Sandusky's child sexual abuse trial is read by the jury foreman at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., Friday, June 22, 2012. Sandusky was found guilty of 45 charges of child sexual abuse involving 10 boys over a period of 15 years. (AP Photo/Aggie Kenny)

Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, rear, leaves the Centre County Courthouse with a Centre County Sheriff's deputy after being found guilty of multiple charges of child sexual abuse in Bellefonte, Pa., Friday, June 22, 2012. Sandusky was convicted of sexually assaulting 10 boys over 15 years, accusations that had sent shock waves through the college campus known as Happy Valley and led to the firing of Penn State's beloved Hall of Fame coach, Joe Paterno. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Jerry Sandusky leaves the Centre County Courthouse Friday, June 22, 2012, after being found guilty in his sexual abuse trial, in Bellefonte, Pa. Sandusky was convicted of sexually assaulting 10 boys over 15 years Friday, accusations that had sent shock waves through the college campus known as Happy Valley and led to the firing of Penn State's beloved Hall of Fame coach, Joe Paterno. (AP Photo/Centre Daily Times, Nabil K. Mark)

(AP) ? Jerry Sandusky's lawyers said they tried to quit at the start of jury selection in his child sex abuse trial because they weren't given enough time to prepare, raising an argument on the trial's speed that could become the thrust of an appeal.

And one of the jurors who convicted Sandusky of 45 child sex abuse counts said Saturday he was swayed by the "very convincing" testimony of eight accusers who said the retired Penn State assistant football coach molested them for years.

"It's hard to judge character on the stand, because you don't know these kids," juror Joshua Harper told NBC's "Today" show. "But most were very credible ? I would say all."

A day after Sandusky's conviction, his lawyers disclosed Saturday they felt too unprepared to adequately defend him because of how quickly the case was brought to trial. Experts have said the seven months between Sandusky's November arrest and trial was fast-paced by Pennsylvania standards.

"We told the trial court, the Superior Court and the Supreme Court we were not prepared to proceed to trial in June due to numerous issues, and we asked to withdraw from the case for those reasons," attorney Joe Amendola told The Associated Press.

The issues included a scheduling conflict with a defense team member and the need to read a cache of documents produced by a lengthy grand jury investigation. Judge John Cleland denied their request.

The attorneys raised other issues that could be part of the future appeal, saying a mistrial was sought and denied over a repetition at trial of a brief part of a November interview Sandusky had with NBC's Bob Costas.

Jurors in the two-week trial convicted Sandusky of 45 of the 48 counts against him, meaning Sandusky, 68, likely will die in prison.

Harper said the accusers who testified one by one of horrific abuse at Sandusky's hands were each believable, "but then also the fact that we saw this corroborating story between all of them. It was very convincing."

Then Sandusky's impassive face when the verdict was read was confirmation for the jury, he said.

"I looked at him during the reading of the verdict and just the look on his face. No real emotion," he said, "because he knew it was true."

Harper said jurors had some issues with the testimony of Mike McQueary, a then-assistant who said he saw Sandusky assaulting a boy in the Penn State showers in 2001; jurors acquitted Sandusky on one count relating to the incident.

The case is poised to move to an investigation of university officials' role in reporting the charges; two ex-school administrators face trial on charges they didn't properly report McQueary's account of the suspected abuse in 2001.

Almost immediately after the verdict, Penn State President Rodney Erickson signaled an openness to quickly settle potential civil lawsuits arising from the convictions, saying the school "wants to provide a forum where the university can privately, expeditiously and fairly address the victims' concerns and compensate them for claims."

The university recently reported a $1.8 billion endowment. But both sides have reasons not to want to go to court, said Jason Kutulakis, a Harrisburg-area lawyer who specializes in child welfare and juvenile law. Victims are reluctant to get on the stand and have their credibility attacked, he said.

But "Penn State's got so much egg on their face, they probably just want to make it all go away," he said.

For now, the school is facing one lawsuit from an accuser, Travis Weaver, who was not among those represented in the criminal case against Sandusky.

Lawyers for McQueary, who testified against Sandusky, have signaled their intent to sue, along with a lawyer for one accuser, so-called Victim 5.

Jeff Anderson, who represents Weaver, said that he represents more victims of Sandusky's and that he will ask the court to allow him to begin seeking information from Penn State in Weaver's case.

The next step is to determine the extent of Penn State's culpability, lawyers say. In part, that means finding out who in the university's upper ranks knew Sandusky was preying on boys and could have stopped it.

The former Penn State officials facing charges, athletic director Tim Curley and retired vice president Gary Schultz, are charged with lying to a grand jury about what they knew of a 2001 incident in which McQueary said he saw Sandusky assaulting a boy in a football team shower.

A separate investigation by ex-FBI director Louis Freeh, who was hired by Penn State's board of trustees to investigate the university's handling of the Sandusky allegations, is due later this summer.

Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno was fired for a failure of leadership for not going to the police after McQueary told him about that incident. The scandal also caused the departure of university president Graham Spanier.

Philadelphia-based lawyer Fortunato Perri Jr., who followed the trial, said the jury's dismissal of the charge involving the 2001 shower incident could help Curley and Schultz' defense.

"You've now had a jury kind of preview your case with respect to the credibility of McQueary, and they didn't believe him," Perri said. "Who knows if the next jury would believe him or not believe him?"

But the administrators' attorneys would probably be precluded from introducing the acquittal evidence at the separate trial, Perri said.

Sandusky's sentencing is expected to occur in about three months; an exact date hasn't been set. Because of the severity of the charges and mandatory minimum sentences, he faces an effective life sentence.

Until his next court date, Sandusky is one of 272 inmates at the Centre County Correctional Facility, seven miles from the Penn State campus. He was kept under watch overnight and is allowed access to some personal items including a prayer book, and can get visits from family, friends and attorneys.

Rominger said he planned to visit him on Sunday.


Associated Press writer Marc Levy in Harrisburg, Pa., contributed to this report.

Associated Press

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tunisia extradites former Gaddafi PM to Libya

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Greek crisis: An odyssey seen through ancient myth

ATHENS, Greece (AP) ? In Greek mythology, King Sisyphus pushed a boulder up a hill, over and over, forever, in a futile exercise that a few commentators have compared to international efforts to revive Greece's dire finances. Homer's Odyssey, whose protagonist endures years of peril on his way home after the Trojan War, is seen as another metaphor for the ordeal of a nation in its fifth year of recession.

Scylla and Charybdis, the sea monsters flanking a strait that forced ships to brave one side or the other, are associated today with the expression, "between a rock and a hard place," the predicament of modern Greeks left with no good options.

Turning to allegories infused with one-eyed giants and other fantastical creatures to explain the Greek crisis, which threatens to morph into a financial crisis worldwide, seems like an indulgence at a time when the state, and ordinary citizens, can't pay their bills.

Yet ancient myths lend context to the swirl of acrimony and austerity, bailouts and brinkmanship, coalitions and currencies, debt and deadlines, that define the social and economic ills of Greece, which is in danger of falling out of the euro currency. It turns out the legends have plenty to say about hubris and ruin, order and chaos, boom and bust.

"Greek mythology is full of examples of how mortals should find the middle way in order to live a happy life, or as it said on the walls of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, 'Nothing in Excess,'" Peter Meineck, associate professor of classics at New York University, wrote in an email.

He noted that, according to the Greek poet Hesiod, "the first divine agent that caused creation was Eros ? the spirit of erotic drive or the impulse to create anything."

Icarus paid for his arrogance when he flew too close to the sun, plummeting to his death when his wax-and-feather wings melted. Prometheus stole fire from the gods for the sake of mankind, and as punishment, he was bound to a rock, where an eagle daily fed on his regenerating liver.

Similarly, reckless conduct and the flouting of rules fueled the crisis in Greece, which gained some political stability with the formation of a coalition government this week. Some experts assign blame beyond Greece as well, citing structural deficiencies in Europe's economic club and the insistence of Germany and other creditors on unbending austerity measures that have sliced into the quality of life.

Many Greeks are frustrated by the damning perception that their mistakes brought the global economy close to a sharp downturn. They share, one allegation goes, the same destructive qualities as their mythical monsters. Rather than attacking the idea, one Greek firm, Beetroot Design, embraces the image of Greece as a modified cyclops of modern Europe.

Its exhibition of images and sculptures in Athens, "The Greek Monsters," plays on European criticism, suggesting the beasts of lore are victims as well as predators, and teaching tools for a society sorely lacking in direction. It includes depictions of the Minotaur, the half-man, half-bull imprisoned in a labyrinth, and the Medusa, who turned people to stone with her gaze and lost her head to the sword of Perseus.

"We wanted to say that we understand that we are in a very, very bad situation and probably it's our fault for a great deal of it," said designer Paris Mexis. "But within this country, there are creative people, productive people who still want growth, who still want Europe, who still want to be part of everybody else."

The Graeae are three crones who share one detachable eye and a tooth, stolen by Perseus in his quest to kill Medusa. They are cast as a symbol of organization because they share scarce, essential resources. The cyclops Polyphemus, a single eye in his forehead, devoured companions of Odysseus, who blinded him; the exhibition portrays the one eye as a tribute to focus and originality.

Here is the Minotaur's perspective, according to Mexis:

"'Guys wait: I'm a giant, I'm enslaved, I'm in a cave, nobody feeds me and at one time they threw into my cave, in the labyrinth, seven boys and seven girls, and I hadn't eaten for, like, months. So what should I do?'"

The monster, the designer said, can be a model: "He can never escape, but he can break walls, and make his own path. And a designer, or anybody who produces something, can do the same. Maybe he's in a spiritual labyrinth."

Should Greeks get in touch with their inner Minotaur? Sounds like trouble. But arguably, the Greek crisis is a psychological one, an epic battle in which, for now, dependence has trumped innovation in the national character.

Greek myths are the cultural property of Europe, the West and the world, immortalized in high art as well as cartoons and movie depictions such as "Clash of the Titans." Greeks are rueful at how the legacy of their ancient statesmen and philosophers stacks up against their reduced circumstances. But mostly they don't cite old myths, possibly based on kernels of truth, that helped people make sense of chaotic times.

"They don't connect it. You never hear anything about myths, the rise of myths," Magnus Briem, an Athens-based documentary producer, said of Greek commentary on the crisis. He speculated that, "maybe it's too playful for them, to deal with something so serious."

Over lunch on a rooftop terrace overlooking Syntagma Square, scene of many protests and riots outside the parliament building, Briem and Harris Mylonas, a political scientist, mused that modern Greeks are creating contemporary myths because the state, stripped of credibility, does not provide them with any answers.

Among the conspiracy theories they cited as prevalent among Greeks: European bankers and policymakers are using Greece as an "experiment" to see how far they can drive down wages and pensions before the population snaps. Another one holds that the government engineered the deaths of three people in a bank fire during a 2010 demonstration in an attempt to derail public anger and protests against austerity policies.

For at least two decades, artist Yanni Souvatzoglou has displayed his bronze sculptures in the old Athens neighborhood of Plaka. He depicts Dimitra, the goddess of fertility and agriculture, as a slender figure, like a stalk of wheat, with a symbolism that suits hard times.

"She told us to use our ingenuity to survive even if we don't have wheat," said Souvatzoglou, who cites his main influences as the ancient Minoan and Cycladic eras. "She told us, 'Before you do something important in your life, you should apply thinking' ? she's holding her head ? 'But if things don't work out for some reason, be flexible.' Like the wheat is when the wind is blowing."

When countries undergo hardship, boosters sometimes pay glowing tribute to the perceived resilience of their populations. This hasn't happened much with Greece, but Meineck, the academic at New York University, suggested that maybe it should.

"The great single-minded warriors of the Iliad are all dead ? Achilles, Agamemnon, Ajax, etc. It is the wily Odysseus who survives," Meineck wrote. "Perhaps we should not count the Greeks out quite so soon? This small country has been dealing with giants for a very long time, be it Alexander, Rome, the Moors, Venice, the Ottomans, the Nazis or even now ? the market forces of Europe."

So, as with the phoenix of ancient mythologies, Greece may yet rise from the ashes.

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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Fast Cash Loans for Bad Credit People | Auto Loans Finance

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DirecTV cuts 3-D channel from 24-hour to part-time

LOS ANGELES (AP) ? DirecTV says it has reduced the programming hours of its 24-hour 3-D channel, n3D, due to a shortage of 3-D content.

The satellite TV provider launched the channel to much fanfare in July 2010, boasting the backing of Panasonic Corp. The company said it was the first 3-D channel to operate around the clock.

A dearth of 3-D programs on n3D led to the same shows being run in a constant loop. Now, when there is nothing available, the channel will show the n3D logo. If there's an upcoming special event, details will appear on the program guide two or three weeks in advance.

The reduced hours began June 1.

It's the latest setback for 3-D TV, which has had trouble attracting mainstream audiences.

DirecTV's channel isn't the first 3-D offering to stumble. Last August, AT&T Inc. said its U-verse lineup of video channels would no longer include ESPN 3D. The company said the cost wasn't justified, "especially considering the low demand we've seen from customers."

Meanwhile, sales of 3-D TVs are growing. Tracking firm NPD Group said last month that 3-D TVs accounted for 11 percent of all flat-panel TV sales in the first three months of the year. That's nearly double the rate of a year ago.

DirecTV spokesman Robert Mercer said n3D will continue to air 3-D shows like "Guitar Center Sessions" and plans to air Olympics coverage in 3-D this summer.

To watch the channel, viewers need a 3-D ready TV, an HD receiver, and HD service, which costs $10 a month. The channel is available to all DirecTV subscribers.

Associated Press

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