Sunday, March 31, 2013

Pa. group gives helping 'paw' to displaced pets

PHILADELPHIA (AP) ? After a fire broke out at Dorothy Phillips' apartment in Philadelphia, the Red Cross gave her a temporary place to stay. Unfortunately, the shelter would not accept her beloved dog, Max.

Who would care for him while she looked for a new home?

"As far as I'm concerned, he's one of my grandbabies," Phillips said.

Max is now being boarded in a kennel in a Philadelphia suburb thanks to Red Paw, an animal rescue group that has a unique partnership with the southeastern Pennsylvania chapter of the American Red Cross.

While Red Cross workers tend to human victims of residential disasters like fires, floods or building collapses, Red Paw takes care of their animals.

The nearly 2-year-old agency uses a network of volunteers, foster homes and other animal welfare groups to care for pets whose owners are struggling to rebuild their lives. Help includes veterinary care, pet supplies and temporary boarding ? all free of charge.

"We don't want to see anyone lose their pet because of something completely out of their control," Red Paw founder Jen Leary said.

Leary started the nonprofit after seeing the heartbreak and confusion of too many pet owners during her work as a city firefighter and Red Cross volunteer. Red Paw then teamed up with the local Red Cross about 18 months ago.

Before Red Paw, the Red Cross had no uniform approach to handling displaced animals ? each case depended on the location of the disaster and the available responders, Red Cross spokesman Dave Schrader said.

Red Paw is now the go-to group whenever Red Cross clients need help with their animals. It's a model that Leary hopes to replicate in other states.

Schrader called Red Paw "invaluable" in helping victims cope with catastrophes.

"Knowing that their pets will be cared for certainly reduces the trauma," he said.

According to Leary, Red Paw responded to 164 disasters last year in Philadelphia and four surrounding counties, helping nearly 300 animals ? including dogs, cats, birds, turtles, ferrets and a snake. The group relies entirely on donations.

Red Paw volunteer Kat Nania recalled going out one snowy night in January after a fire had destroyed a house in southwest Philadelphia. A cat was missing, and its owner said the feline had just birthed a litter of kittens.

Nania feared the worst when she entered the ruins of the house ? its ceiling fallen in, broken glass everywhere, the interior staircase more like a hill than steps. But there, hiding behind a mirror, was a still-pregnant Tabitha.

"She was just so frightened, she let me scoop her up and put her in the carrier," Nania said. "When I felt her pregnant belly, I was just like, 'Yes!'"

Tabitha gave birth within a day of the rescue. But she and her kittens need a permanent home now; their owner could no longer care for them and surrendered the animals to Red Paw to put up for adoption.

"The goal is always to reunite people with their pets," Leary said. "But sometimes after losing everything they had, it's hard to do that."

Red Paw aims for reunification within a month, but Leary conceded it can take much longer. The agency was able to reunite 86 families with their pets last year; an additional three dozen animals were surrendered and re-adopted.

Max, the German shepherd-pit bull mix owned by Phillips, remains in the group's care while Phillips looks for a new home. She isn't sure when she'll have one, but she calls constantly to check on her dog.

In Philadelphia, the city's animal control organization will also respond to animals left homeless by disasters, executive director Susan Cosby said. But Red Paw's capacity for crisis response is valuable because it eases the burden on her agency, which deals with more than 32,000 stray and surrendered animals per year.

"They're able to work in a far more specialized way with the animals and families that they're helping," Cosby said, later adding: "We can't do it alone. There's just too much work to be done."




Follow Kathy Matheson at


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Anchorman 2 Set Photo: Ron Burgundy's Son?


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Pageonce (for Android)

In times of financial panic, like when you realize your credit card payment is overdue, the Pageonce mobile app (free) proves its worth. The free app, available for Android (the focus of this review), iPhone, Windows Phone 7, and BlackBerry, lets you see a snapshot of all your account balances and upcoming bills, with bill-payment functionality included, too. You can manage payments to credit card companies, utility providers, lenders, and even small proprietors, such as your landlord.

Don't mistake Pageonce for a complete financial management tool, though. You won't find in it budgeting tools or detailed information about your spending habits, something Editors' Choice (free, 5 stars) provides through a fully automated site and mobile app. If your goal is to get a handle on your money, I highly recommend dedicating yourself to Mint. Pageonce is more for checking in on your financial situation and making quick corrections when you need to pay bills. It has one or two other miscellaneous features thrown in, such as the ability to see at a glance many of your travel reward program balances, but the core Pageonce experience on Android is to answer the question, "Do I have enough money in the right places right now?"

Fully Free
It may be worth pointing out that Pageonce formerly locked some features behind a paid Gold membership, but the company has done away with this premium tier. All Pageonce's features and functionality are now totally free.

You can set up a Pageonce account either right on your Android device or from the full website?and while we're on that subject, I should note that in my review of Pageonce, I point out that the mobile apps meet a need more than the website does. For setting up your accounts, it helps to have a full screen, keyboard, mouse, and additional browser tabs at the ready. But in actually getting use out of Pageonce, I wholly prefer the mobile app over the site. I think the former meets a consumer need better than the latter.

App Features
Inside the Android app, a plus sign at the top of the screen is your key to adding more accounts. Connect any kind of financial account?savings, checking, investment, retirement, loan?and the balance will be counted toward your Pageonce net worth (updated once daily, with a manual refresh option included). As mentioned, you can also connect to online accounts for bills, be they for insurance policies, Internet service, gas and electricity, or phone service. Whenever one of these bills or your credit card bill is near due, Pageonce will let you know via an alert, shown at the bottom of the screen.

The app's main dashboard shows totals for available cash, bills owed and minimum payment due, investment balances, credit card debt, offers (essentially, advertisements for financial services), and Credit Guard (an offer for a credit report and protection service). These six items appear as easy-to-access tiles on the main dashboard.

Other buttons at the top let you manage existing connected accounts, view reports, access your settings, and add new accounts.

The reporting section contains a few interesting bits of information, such as a "file cabinet" that houses previous bill statements, although in testing the app, only two of my connected accounts put any information here, even though I had at least two more accounts that generate a monthly statement.

Another sub-section to the Reports page shows "all your account transactions." This area proves useful when you need to quickly check to see what changed recently in an account if the balance seems off from what you expected it to be. Also under the Reports page is payment history, although it doesn't contain any information prior to the date you connected your financial accounts to Pageonce. And finally, there's "Where your money's going," the place you can actually find real reports. Pie charts and tables detail your expenditures into five simple categories: bills and utilities; insurance; credit cards; loans; and other. In my testing, I found the report just didn't accurately capture what I truly wanted to know about my spending habits, like if I spend much more than I realize eating out, and whether I might be able to cut back on that kind of unnecessary expense to fund something else I need or want. Mint not only has those features, but it does most of the work for me in terms of identifying different kinds of credit card charges.

Bill Pay
The bill pay function is what makes Pageonce worthwhile for some people, namely, those who forget to pay their bills until the day before they're due (or later). ?

You can pay a bill, right from within the app, but the very first time you do so, it isn't exactly a one-two-three process (it does become more streamlined afterward, though). Let's say you want to pay your upcoming credit card bill. First, you have to enter the full credit card account number, even if that card is already connected to Pageonce. Second, you have to enter the complete information, meaning account and routing numbers, from the checking account you want to use to pay. Also, it can take up to two business days for a payment to process. That's typically of any online payment you initiate, however, so it's the same results you'd see from making an online payment right from your service provider's website.

One minor problem: In my account, I had one bill payment already scheduled (which I did outside Pageonce), but Pageonce had no knowledge of it, so had I not been careful, I might have tried to pay the same bill twice and double-taxed my own checking account. One thing I've always appreciated about one particular credit card company's online user account experience is that it pops up a warning if I try to schedule a payment within three days of an existing scheduled payment. You wouldn't believe how often I try to pay my bills more than once.

Pageonce has good security measures in place to keep your financial information safe. You can't transfer money using Pageonce, so no one else can move your money through this service either. All your account info is kept under lock and key. Similar to, Pageonce doesn't store any information on the phone itself, and uses bank-level encryption.

The app has a four-digit PIN, which you enter every time you exit the app or your phone goes on standby. Furthermore, Pageonce is VeriSign Secured (i.e., tested and approved by Norton) and TrustE approved.

Pageonce in a Pinch
The Pageonce Android app delivers on its promise to quickly show you your account balances as well as set up a bill to be paid on the fly when you forget to do it ahead of time. If you're the kind of person always getting hit by late charges, give Pageonce a try. But if you're looking for real guidance about how to manage your money and debts, put yourself in the hands of Editors' Choice


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Little Cyprus thumbs its nose at EU 'bullies'

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) ? The moment word broke that Cypriot lawmakers in Parliament had voted down a bailout deal that would have raided everyone's savings to prop up a collapsing banking sector, a huge cheer rose up from hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside that echoed through the building's corridors.

Many relished it as a kind of David-against-Goliath moment ? a country of barely a million people standing up to the will of Europe's behemoths who wanted it to swallow a very bitter pill to fix its broken-down economy.

"Shame on Europe for trying to snatch people's savings. It's a mistaken decision that will have repercussions on other economies and banking systems," said protester Panayiotis Violettis. "People have stopped trusting the EU which should be our protector."

Fighting back is not a new experience for Cypriots. From the 1950s guerrilla war against British rule to Greek Cypriots' defiant refusal in 2004 to accept a U.N.-backed peace plan to reunite the island, they are used to holding their own against big opponents.

Just as quickly as Cyprus' euro area partners decided that a deposit grab was the only way out, so Cypriots decided their tiny island was ground zero in Europe's new financial scorched earth policy and that it had to be resisted at all costs.

"Better die on your feet than live on your knees," one placard among the throngs of protesters read. Another said: "It starts with us, it ends with you" as a warning to other Europeans that their savings were no longer safe.

Politicians seized on the public mood. "This is another form of colonization," Greens lawmaker Giorgos Perdikis spouted in Parliament. "We won't allow passage of something that essentially subjugates the Cypriot people for many, many generations.

"Unfortunately, instead of support and solidarity, our partners offered blackmail and bitterness," said Parliamentary Speaker Yiannakis Omirou. The indignant leader of the country's Orthodox Christian Church, Archbishop Chrysostomos II, added: "This isn't the Europe that we believed in when we joined. We believed we would receive some kind of help, some support."

The country's foreign minister, Ioannis Kasoulides, even acknowledged that Cypriot negotiators had contemplated exiting the euro instead of accepting their euro area partners' terms.

In the end, Cyprus accepted a deal that would safeguard small savers but where depositors with more than 100,000 euros in the country's two most troubled banks would lose a big chunk of their money.

Nonetheless, Europe was stunned at the sheer brazenness. How could a pipsqueak country on Europe's fringes thumb its nose to continental juggernauts Germany and France and dare to turn down a deal meant to save it from economic chaos?

It's not the first time the country has pushed back in defiance, even against what many would consider as insurmountable odds. The island's majority Greek Cypriots fought former colonial ruler Britain to a draw in a four-year guerrilla campaign in the 1950s that aimed for union with Greece. That conflict ended in the country's independence in 1960.

Just 14 years later, a Turkish invasion prompted by an abortive coup by supporters of union with Greece resulted in the island's division into an internationally recognized, Greek-speaking south and a breakaway, Turkish-speaking north.

The invasion and its fallout remains an existential matter in the minds of Cypriots and it still informs many of the political and economic decisions the country and its people make.

"Greek Cypriots lost nearly everything during the 1974 invasion," said University of Cyprus History Professor Petros Papapolyviou. "So they reason, what else do we have to lose? Why accept another injustice?"

In 2004, Greek Cypriots again defied international expectations when they voted down a United Nations-backed reunification plan they believed was unfairly weighted against them.

A few days later, the island joined the European Union and some EU leaders were left fuming at what they saw as Greek Cypriot deceit for promising to sign up to a peace deal in exchange for EU membership.

Nearly a decade later and European acrimony at the Cypriot "no" hasn't entirely dissipated. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaueble told the Sunday edition of German newspaper Welt am Sonntag that "Cyprus was admitted to the EU in hopes that the plan of then-U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to overcome the (island's) divide would be honored."

"I interpret (that) as indicating a sense of vindictiveness rather than rational, result-oriented thinking." said University of Cyprus Associate Professor Yiannis Papadakis.

Were the tough bailout terms some sort of belated punishment? Whether that's true or not, such notions only feed a Cypriot proclivity for conspiracy theories. As in other small, insular societies, threats ? real or imagined ? sharpen a sense of collective victimhood.

Papadakis said Cypriots see their political culture as underpinned by personal relationships. Hence their reference to "friends" instead of "allies," which implies a more pragmatic relationship.

"That's why Greek Cypriots often complain of a 'betrayal from our friends'," he said. But it's wrong for the EU to foist all the blame on Cypriots when things go awry, Papadakis added.

"I believe that the rest of the EU has made a large share of mistakes during this arduous process."


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Sexual Orientation I sound like a bisexual, don't I - Empty Closets - A ...

Lately, I've had these unbelievable fantasies of being with a guy. Like really attracted, it would feel so good, etc. I could have sworn I was turning gay. Thing is, I never even acknowledged my attractions to men before because I was so attracted to women. But now, being in a highly sexual relationship with a woman for the last 3 years, my gay side has started to come out. I came out to myself about a week ago. There are butterflies in my stomach around guys, and definite sexuality.

Thing is, today, I'm thinking if I have a sexual relationship with a guy, after a bit, when the newness wears off, I would desperately miss the sexuality of a woman. So is my thinking. The way she moves, her curves, her softness, her sweet voice/song. I have always adored that so much. I just realized that after fantasizing about guys a lot recently, but also thinking of bisexual encounters.

That maybe I'm not going in the gay direction, but really, that I'm with a woman all the time and that maybe I miss the bi side of me. Cuz thinking about it, I think if I didn't have a woman, I'd probably crave that sexually more than anything else in my life.

Does that make me bi? I would think even split down the middle, but since I have a woman right now, the male fantasy is really driving me. Without a woman, I LOVE the female fantasy very much, and I always have. So I think, but it's been a long time since I've even been single. And I've never even acknowledged my bisexuality before this. Never even occurred to me I could be bi/gay/whatever.

Last edited by Musician; 29th Mar 2013 at 11:25 PM..


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Drones over America: How unmanned fliers are already helping cops

It was getting dark, and the sheriff of Nelson County, N.D., was in a standoff with a family of suspected cattle rustlers. They were armed, and the last thing anybody wanted was a shoot out.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which monitors police radio chatter, offered to help. Their Predator was flying back to its roost at the Grand Forks Air Force base and could provide aerial support. Did the sheriff want the assist?


"We were able to detect that one of the sons was sitting at the end of the driveway with a gun. We also knew that there were small children involved," Sheriff Kelly Janke told NBC News, remembering that tricky encounter in the early summer of 2011. "Someone would have gotten seriously injured if we had gone in on the farm that night." He decided to wait.

The next day, the drone gave them an edge again by helping them choose the safest moment to make a move. "We were able to surprise them ? took them into custody," Janke said. They also collected six stolen cows.

Rodney Brossart, the arrested farmer, sued the state, in part because of the cop's use of a drone. But a district judge ruled that the Predator's service was not untoward.

When advocates express concern about government drones threatening people's privacy, the Brossart case is one they bring up. It's one of the first instances of a flying robot doing a cop's dirty work, and this kind of intervention is likely to be more and more commonplace, as the FAA fulfills a congressional mandate to increase its granting of drone permits ? certificates of authorization, or COAs.

Cops and flying robots
At the moment, there are only 327 active COAs, all held by these organizations, and all for unarmed crafts, of course. A tiny sliver of these permits are in the hands of law enforcement agencies, and from them, we're seeing the first glimpses of drone use in policing and emergency response.

"The FAA has approved us to cover a 16-county area," Sheriff Bob Rost of Grand Forks County, N.D., said of their COA. "To look for missing children, to look for escaped criminals and in the case of emergencies." In the spring, they will use two mini-copter drones ? a trusty DraganFlyer X6 and an AeroVironment Qube ? to check on flooded farms.

The police department in Arlington, Texas, also recently got FAA clearance to fly their drones after two years of testing. The two battery-powered Leptron Avenger helicopter drones won't be used for high-speed chases or routine patrol, the department explains. In fact, the crafts will be driven in a truck to where they're needed, and when they're launched to scope out incidents, local air traffic control will be informed.

In Mesa County, Colo., the police department has used drones to find missing people, do an aerial landfill survey and help out firefighters at a burning church. For them, it's seen as a cost-cutting technology.

"It's the Wal-Mart version of what we'd normally get at Saks Fifth Avenue," said Benjamin Miller, who leads the drones program in Mesa County, comparing drones to manned helicopters that would otherwise give police officers help from the sky.

In Seattle, the police department received an FAA permit ? but had to give back its drones when the mayor banned their use, following protests in October 2012.

Protests and red tape
"Hasn't anyone heard of George Orwell's '1984'?" the Seattle Times quoted a protester as saying. "This is the militarization of our streets and now the air above us."

Protesters, not just in Seattle, seek more legal definition of what a drone can or can't do, and debate whether or not current laws sufficiently protect citizens from unauthorized surveillance and other abuses.

New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg thinks of police drones as an inevitability ? "We're going to have them," he recently said in a radio interview ? while those on the police (and drone) side say the fears are unfounded.

"This hysteria of [a drone] hovering outside your backyard taking a video of you smoking a joint, it's just that ? hysteria," said Al Frazier, an ex-cop from Los Angeles who is now an assistant professor of aeronautics at the University of North Dakota, and a deputy at the Grand Forks sheriff's office.

The reason the sky isn't lousy with drones already mostly has to do with red tape. The FAA's highly restricted drone application for government agencies is supposed to take about 60 days, though unofficially, we're told it's much longer. COAs are also very strict about where, when and by whom a drone is flown.

"I think there are many agencies who would like to use [drones] for public good, but they're stymied by the process," Frazier said.

That's likely to change ? and soon. Last February, Obama signed a mandate that encourages the FAA to let civil and commercial drones join the airspace by 2015. This will take new regulations from the FAA for safe commercial drone flight, and it may take some convincing of local anti-drone activists (who sometimes don't differentiate between drones great and small). It may even require the passing of a few new privacy laws.

Folks like Frazier and Miller don't see the permit process getting easier any time soon but eventually ? inevitably ? and for better or worse, your local police department will get its drone.

Nidhi Subbaraman writes about technology and science. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.


The drones are coming ... but our laws aren't ready

Anticipating domestic boom, colleges rev up drone piloting programs


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Obama pitches public works spending to create jobs

MIAMI (AP) ? Trying to show that the economy remains a top priority, President Barack Obama promoted a plan Friday to create construction and other jobs by attracting private money to help rebuild roads, bridges and other public works projects.

Obama fleshed out the details during a visit to a Miami port that's undergoing $2 billion in upgrades paid for with government and private dollars. The quick trip was designed to show that the economy and unemployment are top priorities for a president who also is waging high-profile campaigns on immigration reform and gun control.

Obama said the unemployment rate among construction workers was the highest of any industry, despite being cut nearly in half over the past three years.

"There are few more important things we can do to create jobs right now and strengthen our economy over the long haul than rebuilding the infrastructure that powers our businesses and economy," Obama said. "As president, my top priority is to make sure we are doing everything we can to reignite the true engine of our economic growth ? and that is a rising, thriving middle class."

Among the proposals Obama called for, which require approval from Congress, are:

?$4 billion in new spending on two infrastructure programs that award loans and grants.

?Higher caps on "private activity bonds" to encourage more private spending on highways and other infrastructure projects. State and local governments use the bonds to attract investment.

?Giving foreign pension funds tax-exempt status when selling U.S. infrastructure, property or real estate assets. U.S. pension funds are generally tax exempt in those circumstances. The administration says some international pension funds cite the tax burden as a reason for not investing in American infrastructure.

?A renewed call for a $10 billion national "infrastructure bank."

Arriving at the expansive port in Miami, Obama stood inside a double-barreled, concrete-laced hole in the ground, touring a tunnel project that will connect the port to area highways. The project has received loans and grants under the programs Obama touted and is expected to open next summer.

The president made private-sector infrastructure investment a key part of the economic agenda he rolled out in his State of the Union address last month. In the speech, he also called for a "Fix-It-First" program that would spend $40 billion in taxpayer funds on urgent repairs.

Congressional approval is not a sure bet, considering that House Republicans have shown little appetite for Obama's spending proposals. In fact, the infrastructure bank is an idea Obama called for many times in the past, but it gained little traction during his first term.

Obama's focus on generating more private-sector investment underscores the tough road new spending faces on Capitol Hill, where Republican lawmakers often threaten to block new spending unless it's paid for by cutting taxes or other spending. "These are projects that are helpful to the economy and shouldn't break down on partisan lines," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

But Florida Republicans, including Gov. Rick Scott, faulted Obama for being "late to the party." Before Obama arrived in Florida, Scott argued that state taxpayers have had to pick up too much of the tab for this and other port projects because the president was slow to support them.

Alan Krueger, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, told reporters traveling with Obama that the initiatives discussed Friday will cost $21 billion, not including the $40 billion for "Fix-It-First." Krueger said any increased spending associated with the proposals would not add to the deficit.

Krueger said details of how the programs would be paid for would be included in the budget Obama is scheduled to release on April 10.


AP White House Correspondent Julie Pace in Washington contributed to this report.


Follow Josh Lederman on Twitter:


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Humongous extinct bird egg up for auction. Where did it come from?

The fine arts auction house Christie's is auctioning off a huge, partly fossilized egg laid by an elephant bird, an extinct creature native to Madagascar. The starting price: $45,000.

By Eoin O'Carroll,?Staff / March 28, 2013

Christie's scientific specialist James Hyslop poses for photographs with a sub-fossilized pre-17th century Elephant Bird egg at the auction house's premises in London. The extinct Elephant Bird species was native to Madagascar and among the heaviest known birds.

Matt Dunham/AP


Larger than a rugby ball and several hundred years old, a giant, partly fossilized egg laid by an extinct bird is set to be auctioned by Christie's. The auction house expects the egg to fetch up to $45,000.

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James Hyslop, the Christie's scientific specialist shown in the Magritte-esque photo above, told the BBC that the type of egg is "the largest egg ever laid by any animal."

The egg is "bigger than dinosaur eggs," said Hyslop.

Of course, phylogenetically speaking, birds?are?dinosaurs, a fact that is easier to believe when you consider the creature that dropped this particular ovum, the elephant bird.

The elephant bird, if you haven't guessed by its name and the size of the egg, was big. Bigger, in fact, than the biggest living bird, the African ostrich. Like the African ostrich, the elephant bird was flightless and from Africa ? Madagascar to be exact. But unlike the African ostrich, it stood over 10 feet tall and weighed up to 800 lbs.?In short, it's not the sort of creature you'd like to meet in a dark alley, unless you happen to be a paleoornithologist?with a tranquilizer rifle.

Elephant birds, a term that comprises up to four species, were common on Madagascar through the 17th century. They are thought to have been driven out of existence by humans, either directly through hunting or indirectly through diseases carried by poultry brought to the island.

How did the elephant bird get so big? It's an example of island gigantism, a phenomenon by which animals on islands tend to evolve to be much larger than their mainland counterparts. Island gigantism often occurs when islands make poor habitats for large predatory mammals, either because they offer limited ranges or because the mammals can't cross the water to get there in the first place. In the absence of such predators, other animals can evolve to fill their niches. Either that, or the lack of predators allow them to grow larger, because there is no need to hide or escape. But?when humans arrive on an island, its giants tend to go extinct. ?

Examples of island gigantism can be found with Komodo dragons, Galapagos tortoises, and the Flores giant rat. ?

In 1894, the science fiction author H.G. Wells published a short story about a man who discovers an ancient elephant bird egg, which subsequently hatches.


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Buster Posey gets $167M, 9-year deal from Giants

San Francisco Giants' Buster Posey removes his cap during batting practice before an exhibition spring training baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Thursday, March 28, 2013, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

San Francisco Giants' Buster Posey removes his cap during batting practice before an exhibition spring training baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Thursday, March 28, 2013, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

San Francisco Giants' Buster Posey (28) swings for an RBI single off Oakland Athletics' Tommy Milone in the third inning of an exhibition spring training baseball game Thursday, March 28, 2013, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) ? The San Francisco Giants have rewarded NL MVP and batting champion Buster Posey with a $167 million, nine-year contract.

Posey's deal, announced Friday by the reigning World Series champions, includes a club option for 2022 that could raise the value to $186 million over 10 years.

The agreement is the longest for a catcher and the largest in Giants history, surpassing Matt Cain's $127.5 million, six-year contract.

Posey had been due to make $8 million this year. He instead gets a $7 million signing bonus, with $5 million payable Oct. 15 and the remainder Jan. 15, and his 2013 salary is reduced to $3 million.

The agreement includes a full no-trade clause.

Associated Press


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Exclusive: Apple will launch an official gaming joypad soon | news ...

Long rumoured - and hoped for - GDC 2013 has finally provided confirmation that Apple will release its own dedicated game controller.

Of course, there's no official word yet, but Apple has been active during the conference talking to developers about its plans and ensuring plenty of games will support the joypad at launch.

It's been operating a meeting room at the show, albeit booked under a pseudonym company name to avoid media attention.

However, speaking anonymously, multiple developer sources have confirmed the news to

In the hand

It's expected Apple will formally announce its plans during its annual April press event; previously this has been centred around the iPad.

Many things remain unknown, though.

None of our contacts had seen or held the physical device so we don't know if the pad will take a conventional approach or employ a radical new design.

Following recent mishaps, Apple doesn't let unreleased hardware leave its closely guarded offices.

Neither are we sure when the pad will be released.

It would be logical for it to hit retail alongside a new iPad, but given the opportunities a dedicated controller would provide in the living room, we'd expect it to be part of a large announcement also revealing Apple's wide TV strategy, including a direct assault on the console businesses of Sony and Microsoft.

Everybody plays the joypad game

The news follows on from an explosion in third-party controllers from iOS and Android devices during 2012.

This has come from dedicated peripheral companies like MOGA and Nyko, as well as start ups such as Green Throttle, and even unconsole players like Ouya and GameStick, for whom a physical controller is a vital part of their plans to disrupt the console business.

Another example of the important of a game pad to big business was Samsung's surprise announcement of its Game Pad at the Galaxy S4 launch.

And to complete the picture, one developer source also told us that Google will be making its own announcement about an official game controller in the near future too.


Mar 2013



1) sounds fake

2) no dev will support it

3) nobody will care


Feb 2013



Apple are often criticised for not reaching out to the games development community, perhaps this time that is what they have done, and whether the rumours become reality or not, that's probably a good thing.


Apr 2012



Todd - nope. The news came from trusted sources while at GDC. Whether it makes it to market is another matter, but we've been assured something was happening in San Francisco.

We don't run rumours lightly on - they're something of a rarity here.


Mar 2013



Which is it? Confirmed or not confirmed? Looks like the story is unfounded and author is using the Apple name just to bait people into reading this generating hits on nothing.

"Long rumoured - and hoped for - GDC 2013 has finally provided confirmation that Apple will release its own dedicated game controller."

"Of course, there's no official word."

Jim says "nope" and I agree.


Jun 2012



I hope this is a rare miss on Dalrymple's part...


Mar 2013



From Jim Dalrymple: "Nope"


Mar 2013



Jim Dalrymple says "Nope", so it's not happening. If you're not familiar with Jim, check his track record before responding.


Jun 2012



Sooner than I thought - three cheers for things that make sense.


Mar 2013



Relevant tweet from a developer at GDC:


Feb 2012



We shall see.


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Wuerth elected to membership in American Law Institute | News ...

Posted on Friday, Mar. 29, 2013 ? 4:06 PM

Ingrid Wuerth (Courtesy of Vanderbilt Law School)

Ingrid Wuerth, professor of law at Vanderbilt Law School, has been elected to membership in the American Law Institute (ALI), an independent non-profit organization made up of lawyers, judges and law professors.

Wuerth was one of 40 new members whose ALI membership was announced in March 2013. ALI members draft and publish influential Restatements of the Law, model statutes and other scholarly work aimed at clarifying, modernizing and otherwise improving the law. ALI has long been influential internationally and, in recent years, more of its work has become international in scope. Wuerth has already been named as a Reporter for the Fourth Restatement of the Foreign Relations Law of United States, a project launched by the ALI in 2012.

Wuerth directs Vanderbilt?s International Legal Studies Program and she is a leading scholar of foreign relations and international law. Her broad intellectual interests also include the German Constitution, comparative constitutional law and methodology.

She has been recently named as a Fulbright Senior Scholar and a German Academic Exchange Council Fellow, permitting her to work extensively in Berlin, Germany. Wuerth also serves as a member of the Secretary of State?s Advisory Committee on Public International Law and has held a variety of leadership positions within the American Society of International Law.

?The work of the ALI requires the most accomplished and respected lawyers, judges and scholars and we are always looking for the intellectual leaders in every area of law,? said ALI President Roberta Cooper Ramo in a March 26 ALI press release. ?The work we do simply would not be possible without members who generously give of their time because of the importance of our projects. I am confident this new group will make tremendous contributions to ALI?s work for years to come.?

Contact: Grace Renshaw, 615-322-4594


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'My goal is to address low self esteem and inferiority complex in ...

By Prisca Sam-Duru
Princess Simisola is? in her early twenties and already doing exploits as a woman in her chosen career as well as in her first love which is engaging the youths positively so as to become great in future.

In spite of her busy schedule as a young banker with one of the new generation banks in the country, she finds time to publish and also, to involve the youths in several meaningful projects.Her interesting narrative is amazing and full of optimism for the Nigerian youths. Read on.

Her background

I am Simisola Agunbiade, a.k.a. Princess Simisola. I am an Economics graduate of Bowen University Iwo. I work with one of Nigeria?s new generation banks. I am also the founder of SimRoyalE and hope to become Nigeria?s foremost esteem coach.

How do you describe SimRoyale?

Princess Simisola

Princess Simisola

SimRoyalE is a social enterprise that aims at proffering solutions? on low self-esteem through different mediums, avenues and platforms. One of such medium is SimRoyalE Letter, a quarterly mini-magazine addressing issues on self-esteem targeted mainly at teenagers and young ladies. Other initiatives are girls club, teen workshops, youth seminars, personal coaching which are all geared towards solving the problem of low self-esteem and inferiority complex in our youths and teenagers.

What informed the publication?

SimRoyalE letter was borne out of the desire to pass my message to the world, especially to the young uninformed girls who are drowning away in low self-esteem. Having gone through low self-esteem, inferiority complex as a young girl, I was going to use my experience and lessons to pass a message and guide them from the pitfalls caused by low self-esteem. The nearest step I could take was to do something that came to me so naturally, which is writing, so I channeled my energy in producing SimRoyalE Letter. And the major aim is for people to be enlightened and educated about issues of self-esteem so as to be inspired to maximize their lives to the fullest.

What else do you hope to achieve with? it?

As regards SimRoyalE letter, it is my desire to change at least one person?s life for the better, even though I hope it changes millions. It is my intention that the young females are enlightened and inspired to bring out the greatness inside of her to be the best she was created to be notwithstanding her colour, size, shape, height, but accept and celebrate her uniqueness.

What is the core of your message?

Self-esteem, the need for young people to dig deep and find the beauty God deposited inside of them. The need for young people to accept and celebrate their inimitability. I hope to continually pass that message across to Nigeria?s teeming youths and teenage population through varying mediums and platforms.
What would it take a youth to be enterprising?

Inner drive, diligence and discipline. It?s easy to stay laid back and accept the status quo of situations, but inner drive gives you strength and will-power to achieve your set goals. There are so many times when I have wanted to give up, but then I am reminded of the responsibility that I have to teens and youths to help overcome low self-esteem, and so I pick myself back up and get back to work. And of course, discipline is key to staying focused in achieving your goals.

Any project aside publishing?

Personally, it is always a joy to be a part of any initiative that aims at improving the lives of people especially youths and teenagers. Presently, SimRoyalE Letter is gradually evolving and we aim at continuing enlightening and inspiring both teenagers and youths to live and maximize their lives to the fullest. Another initiative is a Girls club called LACE Royals. It is recently founded with a friend of mine, and our basic objective is to gather as many teenage girls as possible to revive, renew and rejuvenate the spirit, mind and body through informal gathering/meetings/outings. And of course, as it is laid in my heart, I hope to continually do as much as I can? within my capacity to assist the youths to live a meaningful life.

Non profit exercises/programmes?

Yes, I have been involved in a couple of programmes, offering resources, services for the good of my fellow brothers and sisters. Some of which are ?Back To School? event for less privileged children which is organized by ?Beyond The Classroom Foundation?. There is also Karmajiji Project put together by Beacons Nigeria. It is always a privilege to be a part of such programmes. I hope to continue such programs for the good of the society.

Advice to youths

Never see prostitution as an option! Personally, I believe that notwithstanding the economic situation, prostitution in any form is never an option; our bodies are sacred and should be treated as such. There is dignity in doing seemingly little decent jobs to make ends meet, knowing that faithfulness in little is the key to acquiring the big things.
Education is key/ foundation for any career. And in my opinion, I believe this foundation is important to jump-start whichever path you intend to follow in life. It is important that young ladies in school are able to identify their roles in the societies, either as a banker, designer, make-up artist, business woman, caterer, Human Resource personal, accountant etc. This would enable them know the exact sector to channel their energy to. Not everybody is cut out for white collar jobs. So I?ll say, basic education is key, but of course know your strengths, talents and channel your energies appropriately.
What?s the future for women?

The older generation of women are presently working tirelessly to put their names on the global arena in varying fields, having such models. It gives my generation of women a better leverage to be greater because we get to learn through their stories and experiences. I see the Nigerian women breaking more frontiers both at home and in the global arena.

The Holy Spirit is my number one inspiration, and so I am continually filled to keep getting better. I am also driven by the passion to make my family proud, especially my dad and my spiritual parents, Pastor Yemi & Bimbo Davids. And of course, my mentors are too many to mention but particularly Fela Durotoye, Lanre Olusola, Steve Harris and Bankole Williams have stood like my second family inspiring, challenging and intimidating me to bring out a better version of me each time.

You participated in the recent leadership workshop at the U.S Consulate, tell us about it?

It was a great privilege to be shortlisted as one of the very few women to attend training on Leadership, Public Speaking and Communication organized by the U.S Consulate in Lagos. The workshop was not only educative, but really enlightening. I met other 29 passionate great women and also an amazing team of facilitators. For me, it was a period of refining, and I am glad I was a part of it.


Comments are moderated. Please keep them clean and brief.


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Rogue Dentist HIV Scare Causes Panic in Tulsa


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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Galaxy S4 preorders start at US Cellular on April 16

Samsung Galaxy S4

Looks like April 16 is starting to be the day for Samsung Galaxy S4 presales. AT&T's opening up that day, and now US Cellular is throwing its hat into the ring, too. 

No word yet on what the phone will cost -- we're told it'll be announced on April 16 -- nor do we know what storage options USCC will offer.

More: US Cellular

Also: Samsung Galaxy S4 Forums | Hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy



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Rapper Lil Wayne says he's an epileptic

FILE - In this Nov. 13, 2012 file photo Entertainer Lil' Wayne attends the Duke-Kentucky NCAA college basketball game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Lil Wayne says he's an epileptic and has had seizures for years. In an interview with Los Angeles-based radio station Power 106 on Thursday, March 28, 2013, the 30-year-old rapper said epilepsy caused his most recent health scare earlier this month, when he was rushed to a hospital. Wayne said he had three back-to-back seizures. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

FILE - In this Nov. 13, 2012 file photo Entertainer Lil' Wayne attends the Duke-Kentucky NCAA college basketball game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Lil Wayne says he's an epileptic and has had seizures for years. In an interview with Los Angeles-based radio station Power 106 on Thursday, March 28, 2013, the 30-year-old rapper said epilepsy caused his most recent health scare earlier this month, when he was rushed to a hospital. Wayne said he had three back-to-back seizures. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

(AP) ? Lil Wayne says he's an epileptic and has had seizures for years.

In an interview with Los Angeles-based radio station Power 106 on Thursday, the 30-year-old rapper said epilepsy caused his most recent health scare earlier this month when he was rushed to a hospital. Wayne said he had three back-to-back seizures.

The Grammy winner says: "I've had a bunch of seizures, y'all just never hear about them."

Wayne says he "could've died" and that the recent seizures were a result of "just plain stress, no rest, overworking myself."

He released his 10th album, "I Am Not a Human Being II," this week. He'll embark on a 40-city tour in July with rappers T.I. and Future.

The New Orleans native, whose given name is Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., is one of the biggest stars not only of his genre but in all music.



Associated Press


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Google launching same-day delivery service for online shoppers

Internet search leader Google is taking another step beyond information retrieval into grocery delivery.

The new service, called Google Shopping Express, will initially provide same-day delivery of food and other products bought online by a small group of consumers in San Francisco and suburbs located south of the city. The company, based in Mountain View, Calif., didn't say how many people will be part of the test.

If the pilot program goes well, Google plans to expand delivery service to other markets.

"We hope this will help users explore the benefits of a local, same-day delivery service, and help us kick the tires on the new service," Google said in a Thursday statement.

The delivery service is part of Google's effort to increase consumer reliance on the Internet, so it will have more opportunities to show online ads, which generate most of its revenue.

Google has learned that the more time people spend online, the more likely they are to use its dominant search engine or one of its other popular services, like its YouTube video site or Gmail, that include advertising.

The delivery service also could spur merchants to buy more online ads if Google's same-day delivery service encourages consumers to do more of their shopping online. Having to wait days or, in some cases, more than a week for the delivery of online orders ranks among the biggest drawbacks to Internet shopping.

It's a problem that and eBay, which operate the largest e-commerce sites, already have been trying to solve by offering same-day service in some U.S. markets. Wal-Mart Stores, the world's largest retailer, also offers same-day delivery in five markets.

A mix of national, regional and neighborhood merchants are enlisting in Google Shopping Express. The best-known names on the list include Target and Walgreen. All the merchants in the Google program will sell certain items through a central website. Google has hired courier services to pick up the orders at the merchant stores and then deliver them to the customer's home or office.

Although the couriers will be working on a contract basis, they will be driving Google-branded vehicles and wearing company-issued uniforms.

It remains unclear whether Internet shopping and same-day delivery can be profitable. Online grocer Webvan collapsed in 2001, largely because it couldn't devise a pricing plan that would pay for the costs of same-day delivery without alienating shoppers unwilling to pay too much extra for the added convenience.

Google is still trying to figure out how much to charge for its same-day delivery service. For the six-month test period in the San Francisco area, consumers won't have to pay a surcharge. Google instead will receive a commission from participating merchants.

The expansion into same-day delivery comes at the same time that Google is preparing to close some of its older online services so it can devote more attention and money to other projects.

The realignment has irked some Google users. The biggest complaints have centered on Google Reader, which allows people to automatically receive headlines and links from their favorite sites, and iGoogle, which allows Web surfers to design a page consisting of the Google search engine surrounded set up other online features, such as local weather reports and stock market quotes.

Google Reader is scheduled to close in July and iGoogle will shut down in November.


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Ouya begins disrupting the gaming console market

The 2012 Kickstarter darling Ouya has been anticipated ever since it skyrocketed past its fund-raising goal and began pre-production. While Sony has released information on its next-generation PlayStation and many people have been talking up the new Xbox, Ouya may have outdone both larger companies in terms of publicity and expectation.

CEO?Julie Uhrman announces that "Today we start shipping our early backers their OUYAs. And at our unveiling event this evening, the first of you will get to see OUYA in the flesh (or, metal, as it were)".

Following the big announcement some details were revealed. For one, customers will be prompted to install an update upon first boot up, though the company promises that these updates will be done in the background in the future. You will also need to enter in your credit or debit card information to grab games, but every game will be free to try before you buy -- "Your card will only be charged if you buy content you love", Uhrman promises.

The device supports up to four controllers and also Bluetooth pairing with other devices -- a list of compatible hardware is being prepared.

For now, the box is shipping to early backers from Kickstarter. Early pre-orders will follow and then the console will debut at retail on June 4. Ouya promises it will?continue to add features, refine the user interface, and keep building the software. I am awaiting my box, or at least confirmation it has shipped -- stay tuned for a review.


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Killer waves: Scientists study how tsunamis changed history


Beach damage between Banda Aceh and Krueng Sabe on Jan. 28, 2005, after a devastating tsunami.

By Becky Oskin

In a jumbled layer of pebbles and shells called the "Dog's Breakfast deposit" lies evidence of a massive tsunami, one of two that transformed New Zealand's Maori people in the 15th century.

After the killer wave destroyed food resources and coastal settlements, sweeping societal changes emerged, including the building of fortified hill forts and a shift toward a warrior culture.

"This is called patch protection, wanting to guard what little resources you've got left. Ultimately it led to a far more war-like society," said James Goff, a tsunami geologist at the University of New South Wales in Australia.

The Maori?were victims of a one-two punch. An earthquake on the nearby Tonga-Kermadec fault triggered the first tsunami in the mid-15th century. It was soon followed by an enormous wave triggered by an exploding volcano called Kuwae, near Vanuatu. The volcano's 1453 eruption was 10 times bigger than Krakatoa and triggered the last phase of worldwide cooling called the Little Ice Age.

The tsunamis mark the divide between the Archaic and Classic periods in Maori history, Goff said. "The driver is this catastrophic event," he told OurAmazingPlanet.

Goff is one of many scientists searching for ancient tsunamis in the Pacific and elsewhere. The devastating 2004 Indonesia tsunami and earthquake, which killed 280,000 people, brought renewed focus on the hazards of these giant waves. Understanding future risk requires knowing where tsunamis struck in the past, and how often. As researchers uncover signs of prehistoric tsunamis, the scientists are beginning to link these ocean-wide events with societal shifts.

Government of Australia

"Following 2004, there has been a lot of rethinking and a greater appreciation for how such events would have impacted coastal settlements," said Patrick Daly, an archaeologist with the Earth Observatory of Singapore.

Vulnerable islands
The West's written history and legends clearly illustrate the consequences of tremendous tsunamis in the Mediterranean. A great wave destroyed Minoan culture on the Greek island of Crete in 1600 B.C. The same tsunami may be responsible for the legend of Atlantis, the verdant land drowned in the ocean. More recently, in 1755, an enormous tsunami destroyed Lisbon, Portugal, Europe's third-largest city at the time. The destruction influenced philosophers and writers from Kant to Voltaire, who references the event in his novel "Candide." [10 Tsunamis That Changed History]

But islands face a much greater threat from tsunamis than coastal communities. After the Lisbon tsunami, the king of Portugal immediately set out to rebuild the city, which was only possible thanks to the presence of untouched inland areas.

"An island becomes totally cut off from the outside world," said Uri ten Brink, a marine geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Woods Hole, Mass. "Islands are a lot more vulnerable to such disasters. It's the same kind of thing as during bad hurricanes. It takes a lot longer to recover."

Exposed on all sides, islands are simply more likely to be hit by tsunamis. People settle in shallow bays, which are protected from storms but actually magnify the height of incoming tsunami waves. Food in these societies comes from marine resources, which are destroyed by tsunamis, and croplands that become inundated with saltwater. Boats are smashed, halting trade and communication. Goff said women, children and the elderly are most likely to die, and in Polynesian culture, elders hold the knowledge needed to build boats, make tools and grow food.

The islands of the Pacific are particularly vulnerable. About 85 percent of the world's tsunamis strike in the Pacific Ocean, thanks to its perilous tectonics. Tsunamis are waves triggered when earthquakes, landslides or volcanic eruptions shove a section of water. Ringed by subduction zones, spots where one of Earth's plates slides beneath the other, the Pacific suffers the world's most powerful earthquakes, and it holds the highest concentration of active volcanoes.


A coal barge and tug carried onto land in Lho Nga, Sumatra in 2004. The tsunami runup reached 104 feet (32 m) here.

But the kind of tsunami that can change history, one that sweeps across the entire ocean, is rare.

"There are many tsunamis where there's been no cultural response or no obvious one," Goff said. "The smaller events aren't going to be the game changers."

Polynesia and tsunamis
But Goff thinks he's found a "black swan" that hit 2,800 years ago, the result of an enormous earthquake on the Tonga-Kermadec subduction zone, where two of Earth's tectonic plates collide. The tsunami scoured beaches throughout the Southwest Pacific, leaving distinctive sediments for scientists to decode. Goff's findings are detailed in several studies, most recently in the February 2012 issue of the journal The Holocene.

The tsunami coincides with the mysterious long pause, when rapid Polynesian expansion inexplicably stopped for 2,000 years. Before the pause, settlers had swiftly crossed from New Guinea to Fiji, Tonga and Samoa over the course of about 500 years.

"It's one of those archaeological conundrums," Goff said. "Why? Well, if I just had my culture obliterated, it might take me a little time to recover. It's probably not the only explanation, but it very well could have been the root cause of why they stopped," he told OurAmazingPlanet.

Two tsunamis in the 15th century had a similarly chilling effect on Polynesian society. After leaving Samoa between AD 1025 and 1120, Polynesians spread across the Pacific Ocean, discovering nearly all of the 500 habitable islands there, according to a study published Feb. 1, 2011, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The Polynesian network covered an area the size of North America, all traversed by wooden canoes. [7 Most Dangerous Places on Earth]

Following the tsunamis, the culture contracted, with the rise of chiefdoms, insularity and warfare, Goff said. "There was a major breakdown at exactly that time," Goff said. "You have to live on what you have on your island, and that causes warfare and a fundamental shift in how they go about living."

Indian Ocean tsunami history
Paleotsunamis also froze trade in the Indian Ocean, according to recent studies by geologists and archaeologists.

Along the Sunda fault off the Indonesian island of Sumatra, which spawned the deadly 2004 tsunami, growth patterns in coral reefs record past earthquakes. Combined with sediment layers that point to past tsunamis and historic records of cultural shifts, the clues suggest a 14th century tsunami with an impact as great as the modern cataclysm.

After the 14th-century tsunami, Indian Ocean traders shifted to the sheltered northern and eastern coasts in the Straits of Malacca, and activity ceased in coastal settlements in the same area hit by the 2004 wave, said Daly of Singapore's Earth Observatory.

"We think that the 14th-century tsunami disrupted one of the main trading routes connecting the Indian Ocean with China and Southeast Asia, a far more powerful impact on a global scale than what happened in 2004," Daly said.

After about a century, there was a gradual shift back, leading to the establishment of the flourishing Acehnese Sultanate from the 16th century, he said.

"It is interesting to think that later settlement only began after the memory of the previous event had faded," Daly told OurAmazingPlanet. "A huge, unexpected deluge of water that wiped out everything along the coast would have been really traumatic and incomprehensible to people in the past, and it is reasonable to suspect that the survivors would have been very apprehensive about moving back into such areas."

Repeating the past
Warnings would be passed down in oral or written stories and legends. The Maori offer detailed accounts of a series of great waves that hit the New Zealand coast. Along the Cascadia subduction zone, west of Washington state, tribal mythology documents a 1700 tsunami, with warnings to flee to high ground.

But because history-changing waves are rare, the warnings may be lost to time, or disregarded. In Japan, stone markers warned of the height of past tsunamis, and told residents to flee after an earthquake. Not all heeded the ancient admonitions when the 2011 Tohoku earthquake struck and sent a massive wave ashore.

By studying past tsunamis and their causes, researchers such as Goff and ten Brink of the USGS hope to reduce the destruction and loss of life from future waves. Right now, ten Brink is on Anegada Island in the Caribbean, investigating whether a tsunami there between 1450 and 1600?came from Lisbon or a local source. The project started as a hunt for evidence of a magnitude 9.0 earthquake, one similar in size to those in Japan and Sumatra. Goff is assembling a database of Pacific paleotsunamis, including the 1450 wave, which ran 100 feet (30 meters) inland along the New Zealand coast.

"The reason we're interested in looking at old tsunamis is we're worried about how often these things happen," Goff said.

The question is whether increased knowledge about the scope and frequency of tsunamis will change current and future decision-making. [Read: Tsunami Warnings: How to Prepare]

"The early evidence from the last few destructive tsunamis suggests that we don't necessarily learn lessons that well, and people in general seem to be willing to remain in highly vulnerable areas," Daly said.

Email Becky Oskin or follow her @beckyoskin. Follow us?@OAPlanet, Facebook?or Google +. Original article on LiveScience's OurAmazingPlanet.

Copyright 2013 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Court: EPA can stop some power plant modifications

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) -- Government regulators can try to halt construction projects at power plants if they think the companies didn't properly calculate whether the changes would increase air pollution, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday, marking the latest twist in a decades-long fight over the Clean Air Act.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sued Michigan-based DTE Energy in 2010, because the company was replacing key boiler parts at its Monroe Unit 2 coal-fired power plant without installing pollution controls. The EPA said the controls were required because the utility was performing a major overhaul, but DTE argued the $65 million project was only routine maintenance and was therefore exempt.

A federal judge threw out the suit, saying the EPA went to court too soon. But the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that decision in a 2-1 ruling, saying the law doesn't block the EPA from challenging suspected violations of its regulations until long after power plants are modified.

Thursday's ruling comes amid years of skirmishing between the EPA and the electric power industry over bringing coal-fired plants into compliance with the Clean Air Act. The federal law requires utilities to figure out ahead of time what kind of pollution any proposed changes to their power plants may cause, but the industry, environmental groups and EPA often differ over what circumstances require adding the anti-pollution devices.

DTE performed calculations required under EPA regulations and concluded that after the project, its annual emissions of sulfur dioxide would rise by 3,701 tons and its nitrogen oxide emissions would rise by 4,096 tons. But it contended the increases would result from higher demand for electric power, not the plant modifications. The EPA disagreed, saying the project would cause "a significant net emissions increase."

U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman agreed with DTE that regulators couldn't take action against the company unless data collected after the project's completion showed the company had miscalculated its future emissions. Friedman threw out the lawsuit last year, but the EPA appealed.

The appeals panel said Friedman erred by overstating the limits on EPA's authority to challenge power plant construction projects before they are finished. The agency can do so if it finds a company didn't follow the rules when projecting its emissions, the court said.

However, the appeals court didn't rule on whether DTE had complied with the regulations. It only returned the case to the district court for further consideration.

"Overall, we're encouraged by the decision of the appellate court," DTE spokesman Alejandro Bodipo-Memba said. He said the ruling dealt with a "narrow procedural issue" and upheld most of Friedman's reasoning.

The court made clear that the EPA cannot second-guess a company's emission projections ahead of construction and can intervene to block such projects only under limited circumstances, said Scott Segal, director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, an industry group.

But that interpretation of the ruling was disputed by Eric Schaeffer, the director of the Washington-based Environmental Integrity Project and a former EPA attorney. He said the appeals court decision allows the EPA to intervene if the agency can produce evidence that a company is underestimating how a construction project will affect its emissions totals without waiting until the work is finished.

A message seeking comment at the U.S. Department of Justice, which represented EPA in the case, wasn't returned Thursday.


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