Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sexist Hipsters, Feathered Dinosaurs and Lazy Aliens (Link Round-Up 10/31/12)

[via Foreign Policy via Digg]

Hurricane Sandy destroys years of scientific research
Scientists are in a desperate frenzy to save what they can and transfer what can be moved to other areas of the hospital. In one case, scientists were rolling a big freezer -- the size of a big refrigerator -- to an area of the hospital with emergency power, the source told the News.

 Even more alarming, thousands of mice that are used by scientists for cancer research and other experiments, drowned during a flood. It is unclear how the mice died, but the source told the News that many of these mice are genetically modified for certain research and took years to produce. It will likely set back several scientists' work by years, the source said.

 "This does not equate to a loss of life, but it is extremely disheartening to see years of research go down the drain," the source said.
Researchers find first fossils of feathered dinosaurs in North America
The ostrich-like dinosaurs in the original Jurassic Park movie were portrayed as a herd of scaly, fleet-footed animals being chased by a ferocious Tyrannosaurus Rex. New research published in the prestigious journal Science reveals this depiction of these bird-mimic dinosaurs is not entirely accurate — the ornithomimids, as they are scientifically known, should have had feathers and wings. 
The new study, led by paleontologists Darla Zelenitsky from the University of Calgary and François Therrien from the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, describes the first ornithomimid specimens preserved with feathers, recovered from 75-million-year-old rocks in the badlands of Alberta.
We are missing alien communications because they are cheap and lazy (like us)
"Short pulses rather than a continuous signal would also enable frugal aliens to use small and cheap transmitters. Small transmitters can beam out powerful radiation using high voltages – but only if they broadcast brief pulses that don't give the electric fields time to discharge. 
They wouldn't want to target individual stars: there are far too many of them. Instead, they'd build a powerful beacon, then swing that beacon around and repeat it. 
Astronomers have seen some unexplained signals that lasted for tens of seconds then were never seen again. Some of those could have been extraterrestrial beacons but there wasn't enough observing time to wait for any repeats."
How InBev ruined the Budweiser brand
For a number-crunching manager like Brito, an old, family-run company like Anheuser-Busch provided plenty of opportunities for cuts. He laid off approximately 1,400 people, about 6 percent of the U.S. workforce. He sold $9.4 billion in assets, including Busch Gardens and SeaWorld. AB InBev also tried to save money on materials. It used smaller labels and thinner glass for its bottles. It tried weaker cardboard for its 12-packs and cases. The old Anheuser-Busch insisted on using whole grains of rice in its beer. AB InBev was fine with the broken kind. “Our purchasing of rice has to do with how fresh the rice is, not whether it is whole or broken,” says Vallis.

The company played hardball with vendors. Anheuser-Busch has long boasted that “beechwood aging” enhanced Budweiser’s flavor. One of its two suppliers was Tom Urani, owner of Beechwood Corp. in Millington, Tenn. “In November 2008, we were featured in a nationwide ad,” Urani recalls. “It showed an aerial shot of our factory and said Anheuser-Busch is all about people, places, and quality.”

After the merger, AB InBev informed Urani that it would use only one beechwood provider. Urani was the losing bidder. He says this was the end of Beechwood Corp. Who else bought large amounts of beechwood chips but the makers of Budweiser? Urani threw a party on the final day. He invited Brito, who didn’t show up. That day, Urani drank his last Budweiser for the television cameras. “I’ve now become a bourbon guy,” he says. “I’ve lost weight.” AB InBev says it appreciates Urani’s years of service.
Here comes "Hipster Sexism"
Hipster Sexism consists of the objectification of women but in a manner that uses mockery, quotation marks, and paradox: the stuff you learned about in literature class. As funny as Dunham’s Girls is, it can definitely border on Hipster Sexism. For example, take the episode when the male protagonist Adam says, “Yo skank, where you at? Getting that pussy pounded?” Hipster Sexism supposedly makes “pussy pounding” funny because it announces that the phrase is now ironic — as is, “skank” — rather than gross or offensive. We get to laugh at the idea of young women so obsessed with boys and sex that they mistake voting for sex and at the same time feel cool and outré for being in on Dunham’s double meaning.
Tunisia extends state of emergency after attacks
The announcement comes after a series of attacks by radical Islamists in recent weeks.

The authorities have vowed to crack down on Islamist violence in the wake of a Salafist-led attack on the US embassy in September in which four assailants were killed.

On Tuesday, Islamists raided two national guard posts in a Tunis suburb, leading to clashes with security forces that killed one attacker, the interior ministry said.

After the clashes, dozens of Islamists, some armed with knives, took to the streets of Tunis on Wednesday.
France deports radical imam to Tunisia
France's Interior Ministry said in a statement that Hammami was expelled for his "deliberate, repeated and unacceptable provocations," which constitute a threat to France's society and security.

The ministry says in addition to his anti-Semitic speeches and calls for holy war, Hammami also drew condemnation over his defense of violence towards women.
Why Putin snubs India
While exploring Pakistan’s energy sector, infrastructure and trade possibilities has benefits of its own for Russia, it is the queue of nations vying to answer the Afghan question that Russia is striving to head by wooing Islamabad. Moscow is concerned about Afghanistan coming under Taliban rule once again, and the rising influence of Afghan terrorist organisations in the Central Asian states. And the odds are that, post-2014, Russia will stop cooperating with Nato troops, leaving one of these two possibilities:

1. Despite the withdrawal of American troops, the budding US-India partnership formulates the status quo in Afghanistan.

2. The Russia-Pakistan-China axis takes centre stage and takes charge of geopolitical decision-making in the region.
Germany reassures Turkey on European Union entry
The European Commission has said that Turkey must not only bend on Cyprus, but it also has a long way to go before its standards on human rights and freedom of speech can reach the levels required for membership.

Turkey’s minister for European Union affairs, Egemen Bagis, pointed out earlier in Berlin the progress that his country had made on human rights and freedom of speech since Mr. Erdogan’s party came into power about 10 years ago. He cited Kurdish language broadcasts and the restitution of property rights to religious minorities as examples of what he called “a much more democratic and transparent” country.
German politicians demand to see gold in Federal Reserve
From a purely logistical perspective, though, returning the reserves seems outlandish. One cannot simply pack 1,500 tons of gold into an Airbus A380 super-jumbo jet and fly it back to Germany.

The Bundesbank also objects to this notion for another reason. It says the gold is supposed to act as an emergency buffer. In the extreme situation of a currency collapse, the bankers say that the gold bars could easily and quickly be exchanged on location for pounds or dollars to pay urgent bills.

In a bid to calm the debate, the Bundesbank has pledged to bring back and inspect 150 tons of gold from abroad over the next three years. Furthermore, there are plans to count and weigh the gold bars stored in one of the nine chambers at the Fed in New York -- although no date has been set for this.

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