Monday, July 2, 2012

Bye Bye, Western Rock 'n Roll (Link Round-Up 7/2/12)


Associated Press summer intern found dead in Mexico City
During his time in the bureau, Montano covered stories including the saga of nine young elephants from Namibia who wound up on an animal reserve in Mexico’s Puebla state, and the shooting of three federal policemen at the Mexico City airport.

He was not on assignment at the time of his death. The U.S. embassy is monitoring the course of the investigation.
Mexico's new president: a recipe for disaster?
Peña Nieto could be even more of a disappointment than Fox, since he will have his hands tied from the very beginning of his term. For example, the country's roughly 20 state governors from the PRI (there are 32 states in Mexico) will enjoy unprecedented influence over the Peña Nieto administration. Twelve years without a president from the PRI to control them from above has empowered these local leaders and turned them into the de facto leaders of the party. They now rule like feudal lords without a glimmer of oversight or public responsibility, especially in those states -- including Coahuila, Mexico, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz -- where the PRI has never lost power. As former governor of the state of Mexico, Peña Nieto is a member of this group and will have to co-govern with it from the start.
Billy Corgan: Western culture won't produce next the great rock star
Corgan says you can't even point to one example of a genre-crossing musical genius in 2012. "It should be easy to identify a twentysomething right now who's getting it done. And there isn't a single one of them. At that level—at the level of a Kurt Cobain, John Lennon or Bob Marley. [The next one is] going to show up somewhere where no one anticipates. The next one is going to be in India, Africa, or China and it's going to blow us out of the water, because it's going to be a real movement with real power behind it."
White American visits Nigeria, becomes accidental Nollywood star 
Oh, also, about a year after all this, I was out at a club in Manchester. It was about five in the morning, and I was having a pee. This guy taps on my shoulder and goes, "Are you that boy from that movie Festival Of Love?" I told him I was, so he got five of his mates into the loo and they made me reenact the "You're the most beautiful black creature..." scene in this nightclub toilet at five in the morning. It was bizarre.
Hypothesis: fungi ended coal production 300 million years ago
The findings were a surprise result from US Department of Energy-funded research project focussed on understanding fungal diversity and their role in converting biomass to biofuels.

One of the barriers in biofuel production is that the sugars that need to be fermented are trapped inside the plant biomass, which needs to be broken down by fungi.
Brazilian prisoners charge batteries with bicycles to reduce sentences 
Jornal Nacional reports that city judge José Henrique Mallmann got the idea for his battery-charging bikes from other prisons that offer prisoners incentives for riding bikes. For example, in Phoenix, Ariz.'s Tent City Jail, female prisoners are required to pedal a stationary bicycle when they watch television, with the bike generating enough energy to power the TV set. Under Mallmann's plan, however, prisoners can actually reduce their sentences by pedaling, albeit a little bit at a time. For every 16 hours a prisoner pedals, he shaves a day off of his sentence.
Six pegs on the American wealth gap
I approached Wayne, as he's known, for wholly mathematical reasons. I'd worked out that there are six degrees of economic separation between a guy making ten bucks an hour and a Forbes billionaire, if you multiply each person's income by five. So I decided to journey across America to meet one representative of each multiple. By connecting these income brackets to actual people, I hoped to understand how money shapes their lives—and the life of the country—at a moment when the gap between rich and poor is such a combustible issue. Everyone in this story, then, makes roughly five times more than the last person makes. There's a dishwasher in Miami with an unbelievably stressful life, some nice middle-class Iowans with quite difflcult lives, me with a perfectly fine if frequently anxiety-inducing life, a millionaire with an annoyingly happy life, a multimillionaire with a stunningly amazing life, and then, finally, at the summit, this great American eagle, Wayne, who tells me he's "pissed off" right now.

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