Sunday, January 27, 2013

What will Michelle Obama do with four more years?

WASHINGTON (AP) ? Michelle Obama has a new look, both in person and online, and with the president's re-election, she has four more years as first lady, too.

That's got many people wondering: What will she do with them?

Take on a new cause? Travel more? Trace the path of another first lady and keep the Obama political brand alive by running for office?

The answers are to be determined.

The first lady is trying to figure out what comes next for this self-described "mom in chief" who also is a champion of healthier eating, an advocate for military families, a fitness buff and the best-selling author of a book about her White House garden.

For certain, she'll press ahead with her well-publicized efforts to reduce childhood obesity and rally the country around its service members.

"But beyond that, the first lady is exploring ways that she can make a real difference for Americans, not just for these next four years, but for years to come," said Kristina Schake, Mrs. Obama's communications director.

Here are five areas to watch.



Will she take on a new cause? It's possible.

When Parade magazine asked last year whether she'd take up any new issues, Mrs. Obama identified women's health issues. "How do we strengthen families and make them healthier, an issue not just in America but around the world," she said.

Her marquee causes ? the "Let's Move" campaign against childhood obesity and the "Joining Forces" effort to help military families ? took a back seat last fall as she campaigned doggedly for President Barack Obama's re-election.

Look for her to begin publicizing those efforts anew.

Do not expect to see Mrs. Obama push more contentious issues such as gun control or immigration, both second-term priorities for the president. Her public approval rating was 73 percent in a December poll by CNN and she'd like to keep it there.

Some feminists remain unhappy that the Ivy League-educated lawyer hasn't used her position to champion what they view as more substantive issues.

Robert Watson, an American studies professor at Lynn University, said he hopes Mrs. Obama will use her popularity to pivot away from the "velvet-glove" issues first ladies typically embrace and say, "I'm swinging for the fence."



Obama's daughters are older and will be in full teenage mode by the summer of 2014. Malia is already there at 14; sister Sasha is 11.

Both the president and first lady sometimes talk about the girls' busy lives and how they don't want to spend much time with their parents anymore.

Could having older, more independent children free Mrs. Obama to pursue other interests? Some first lady watchers say that's unlikely. After all, the teenage years are often full of angst about dating, proms, learning how to drive, going to college and so on.

"Michelle has made such a public statement about being the 'mom in chief' that it's hard to see her saying, 'Go ahead girls, here's the limo,'" Watson said.

Malia will graduate from high school during Obama's final year in office, in 2016, and probably trade the White House for a college dorm. She and her parents will have to navigate the college application process and campus tours. Sasha will be in high school.



Presidents and first ladies often step up the pace of international travel in the second term. But it seems unlikely that Obama could make such a pivot just yet, with the U.S. public still so concerned about the economy, unemployment and government spending.

One option would be to send Mrs. Obama abroad in his place.

The first lady is popular overseas and has been well-received outside the U.S., including in India, where she accompanied the president in 2010, and in Mexico, also in 2010, and in South Africa and Botswana in 2011, the only countries she has visited alone as first lady.

She and Vice President Joe Biden's wife, Jill, traveled together to Haiti after the massive earthquake there in January 2010.

Mrs. Obama also went to Spain in the summer of 2010 on a personal trip with friends and daughter Sasha, but her stay at a luxury resort on the Costa del Sol wasn't well-received back home, raising questions about the cost and wisdom of taking such a trip during tough economic times.

Laura Bush pursued a grueling foreign travel schedule during George W. Bush's second term. She visited 77 countries in eight years as first lady, including with the president, but 67 of those trips came during the second term, including solo stops in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, according to Anita McBride, her then-chief of staff who runs American University's first ladies program.

Hillary Rodham Clinton also traveled abroad extensively during Bill Clinton's second term.



Will she or won't she? Despite Mrs. Obama's many denials of interest in seeking elected office herself, the question keeps getting asked. A recent survey found her to be more popular than Mark Kirk, the Republican senator from her home state of Illinois, in a hypothetical matchup.

"I have no interest in politics. Never have, never will," the first lady said last year on ABC's "The View."

But even those who at one time say "never" can later change their minds.

Hillary Clinton gave the same answer in 1995 when asked if she'd ever run for public office, says Myra Gutin, who studies first ladies at Rider University. But five years later, as her husband's presidency was ending, there was Clinton campaigning across New York for a Senate seat.

She won, used her time in the Senate as a springboard for her 2008 presidential campaign but lost the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama. She became his secretary of state but is departing soon amid feverish speculation that she will run for president in 2016.

Mrs. Obama will be young ? 53 years old ? when her husband leaves office in January 2017, and will have a range of options ahead of her. Friends say she has always believed there are ways to serve the country without running for office.



Look for the first lady to continue to be a fashion trendsetter. Everything from her hair to her clothes is scrutinized, with some clothing pieces selling out quickly after she's seen wearing them.

Her new bangs became the talk of this town immediately after she went public with them on her 49th birthday, a few days before the president began his second term. Even the president said his wife's haircut was "the most significant event" of inaugural weekend and gave his approval.

Mrs. Obama also won largely positive reviews for her inaugural wardrobe: Reed Krakoff and Thom Browne by day, and Michael Kors and Jason Wu by night. Wu designed her red chiffon and velvet ball gown. He also designed the white ball gown she wore four years ago.

She also has a new presence on Twitter ? (at)FLOTUS.


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Elusive giant squid is still a deep mystery

The recent unprecedented video footage of a giant squid filmed in its deep ocean habitat has renewed interest in the enormous ? and yet still mysterious ? species.

It's believed that giant squid (genus Architeuthis) can grow up to 55 feet long. The individual captured on video via a small submarine located in the North Pacific Ocean was about 30 feet long and silver and gold in color, marine biologist Edie Widder, who helped to shoot the footage, said. Her colleague Tsunemi Kubodera added that the squid was missing its two longest tentacles.

Cephalopod experts are intrigued by the world record footage.

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"It was really thrilling to see the press releases concerning the filming of a living giant squid with a manned submersible," William Gilly, a professor of biology at Stanford University and the Hopkins Marine Station, told Discovery News.

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Gilly previously examined a 7-foot-long giant squid that weighed 300 pounds. It was found floating dead in Monterey Bay, Calif.

"It was missing the tentacles and its stomach had been removed through a hole in its body," he said. "Something strange must like to eat those parts, I guess!"

He also noted that the color-changing system, which functions using organelles called chromatophores that contain pigment and reflect light, was present very deep inside the giant squid's body cavity. In smaller species, this system is arranged only on the body?s outer surface.

In recent months, researchers have also learned more about giant squid eyes. The diameter of these eyes measures two to three times that of any other animal.

Dan-Eric Nilsson of Lund University determined that giant squid eyes measure 10 inches, making them about the same size as a large dinner plate. Big is optimal for sight in deep-water environments.

"For seeing in dim light, a large eye is better than a small eye, simply because it picks up more light," Nilsson said, explaining that the light isn?t from the sun, but rather from bioluminescence emitted by other deep sea species, such as huge and hungry sperm whales.

This bioluminescence, he explained, is ?light produced by small gelatinous animals when they are disturbed by the whale moving through the water. It is well known that bioluminescence can reveal submarines at night, and diving sperm whales will become visible for the same reason."

Bioluminescence even played a key role during the recent filming in about 3,000 feet of water near Japan. Widder, Kubodera and their crew used a lure that mimicked the bioluminescent display of jellyfish in order to attract the giant squid?s attention.

News: Giant squid filmed in Pacific depths

Despite the footage and other recent research, there are still more questions than answers about giant squid.

Gilly, for example, mentioned that the following questions remain: What are their daily behavior patterns? Do they rise toward the surface at night like many other large oceanic squid, or do they remain deep all the time? How can they tolerate the very low oxygen levels at great depths? How rapidly can they swim? What do they eat, and how do they catch prey with their very long tentacles? How many of them are there in any one place? Do they travel in groups like other squid? If so, do they show group behaviors associated with hunting, mating or defense? How big and old can they get?

"These questions can, at least in theory, be answered by existing technologies, including manned and remotely-operated submersibles for filming," he said.

He added that another important tool could be video and archival electronic tags for filming interactions with other animals, monitoring swimming activity, recording migration patterns, and documenting environmental parameters ? such as temperature, depth, light and oxygen ? as the squid moves up and down in the water column.

Such tags are programmed to release at a certain time, permitting researchers to non-invasively study the collected data. Gilly and his colleagues are using these techniques to monitor large Humboldt squid in the Gulf of California and off the Pacific coast from Baja California to Canada. No one, though, has yet been able to successfully capture and tag a giant squid for release back into its habitat.

Gilly said Kubodera might be the one, in the future, to solve this problem. In the meantime, Gilly plans "to wait until Jan. 27 like everyone else" to see the rare giant squid footage.

Discovery Channel's Monster Squid: The Giant Is Real, premieres on Sunday, Jan. 27 at 10/9c as the season finale of Curiosity.

? 2012 Discovery Channel


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Azarenka beats Li, defends Australian Open title

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) ? Victoria Azarenka had the bulk of the crowd against her. The fireworks were fizzling out, and when she looked over the net she saw Li Na crashing to the court and almost knocking herself out.

Considering the cascading criticism she'd encountered after her previous win, Azarenka didn't need the focus of the Australian Open final to be on another medical timeout.

So after defending her title with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory over the sixth-seeded Li in one of the most unusual finals ever at Melbourne Park, Azarenka understandably dropped her racket and cried tears of relief late Saturday night.

She heaved as she sobbed into a towel beside the court, before regaining her composure to collect the trophy.

"It isn't easy, that's for sure, but I knew what I had to do," the 23-year-old Belarusian said. "I had to stay calm. I had to stay positive. I just had to deal with the things that came onto me."

There were a lot of those things squeezed into the 2-hour, 40-minute match. Li, who was playing her second Australian Open final in three years, twisted her ankle and tumbled to the court in the second and third sets.

The second time was on the point immediately after a 10-minute delay for the Australia Day fireworks ? a familiar fixture in downtown Melbourne on Jan. 26, but not usually coinciding with a final.

Li had been sitting in her chair during the break, while Azarenka jogged and swung her racket around before leaving the court to rub some liniment into her legs to keep warm.

The 30-year-old Chinese player had tumbled to the court after twisting her left ankle and had it taped after falling in the fifth game of the second set. Immediately after the fireworks ceased, and with smoke still in the air, she twisted the ankle again, fell and hit the back of her head on the hard court.

The 2011 French Open champion was treated immediately by a tournament doctor and assessed for a concussion in another medical timeout before resuming the match.

"I think I was a little bit worried when I was falling," Li said, in her humorous, self-deprecating fashion. "Because two seconds I couldn't really see anything. It was totally black.

"So when the physio come, she was like, 'Focus on my finger.' I was laughing. I was thinking, 'This is tennis court, not like hospital.'"

Li's injury was obvious and attracted even more support for her from the 15,000-strong crowd.

Azarenka had generated some bad PR by taking a medical timeout after wasting five match points on her own serve in her semifinal win over American teenager Sloane Stephens on Thursday. She came back after the break and finished off Stephens in the next game, later telling an on-court interviewer that she "almost did the choke of the year."

She was accused of gamesmanship and manipulating the rules to get time to regain her composure against Stephens, but defended herself by saying she actually was having difficulty breathing because of a rib injury that needed to be fixed.

That explanation didn't convince everybody. So when she walked onto Rod Laver Arena on Saturday, there were some people who booed, and others who heckled her or mimicked the distinctive hooting sound she makes when she hits the ball.

"Unfortunately, you have to go through some rough patches to achieve great things," she said. "That's what makes it so special for me. I went through that, and I'm still able to kiss that beautiful trophy."

She didn't hold a grudge.

"I was expecting way worse, to be honest. What can you do? You just have to go out there and try to play tennis in the end of the day," she said. "It's a tennis match, tennis battle, final of the Australian Open. I was there to play that.

"The things what happened in the past, I did the best thing I could to explain, and it was left behind me already."

The match contained plenty of nervy moments and tension, and 16 service breaks ? nine for Li. But it also produced plenty of winners and bravery on big points.

Azarenka will retain the No. 1 ranking she's mostly held since her first Grand Slam win in Melbourne last year.

Li moved into the top five and is heartened by a recent trend of Australian runner-ups winning the French Open. She accomplished that in 2011, as did Ana Ivanovic (2008) and Maria Sharapova (2012).

"I wish I can do the same this year, as well," Li said.

Later Saturday, Bob and Mike Bryan won their record 13th Grand Slam men's doubles title, defeating the Dutch team of Robin Haase and Igor Sijsling 6-3, 6-4.

Sunday's men's final features two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic and U.S. Open winner Andy Murray. Djokovic is seeking to become the first man in the Open era to win three titles in a row in Australia.

Azarenka was planning a night of partying to celebrate her second major title, with her friend Redfoo and the Party Rock crew, and was hopeful of scoring some tickets to the men's final.

She said she needed to let her hair down after a draining two weeks and hoped that by being more open and frank in recent times she was clearing up any misconceptions the public had of her.

"When I came first on the tour I kind of was lost a little bit," he said. "I didn't know how to open up my personality. It's very difficult when you're alone. I was independent since I was, you know, 10 years old. It was a little bit scary and I wouldn't show my personality.

"So the (last) couple of years I learned how to open up to people and to share the moments. I wasn't really good before. I hope I got better. It's your judgment."


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Friday, January 25, 2013

Magma in Earth's mantle forms deeper than once thought

Friday, January 25, 2013

Magma forms far deeper than geologists previously thought, according to new research results.

A team led by geologist Rajdeep Dasgupta of Rice University put very small samples of peridotite, rock derived from Earth's mantle, under high pressures in a laboratory.

The scientists found that the rock can and does liquify, at least in small amounts, at pressures equivalent to those found as deep as 250 kilometers down in the mantle beneath the ocean floor.

Dasgupta said that this answers several questions about Earth's inner workings.

He is the lead author of a paper that appears today in the journal Nature. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

"The results show that in some parts of the Earth, melting, or magma formation, happens very deep beneath Earth's surface," said geologist Jennifer Wade, a program director in NSF's Division of Earth Sciences, which funded the research.

"It also means that some carbon dioxide and water could come from different sources--and deeper within the Earth--than we believed."

The mantle is the planet's middle layer, a buffer of rock between the crust--the top five miles or so--and the Earth's core.

If one could compress millions of years of observation of the mantle to mere minutes, the mantle would look like a rolling mass of rising and falling material.

This slow but constant churning convection brings materials from deep within the Earth to the surface, and higher, through volcanic eruptions.

The team focused on the mantle beneath the ocean because that's where crust is created and where, Dasgupta said, "the connection between the interior and surface world is established."

Magma rises with convective currents, then cools and spreads out to form ocean-floor crust.

The starting point for melting has long been thought to be at 70 kilometers beneath the seafloor.

That had confounded geologists who had suspected, but could not demonstrate, the existence of deeper magma, said Dasgupta.

For example, when scientists try to determine the mantle's density, they do so by measuring the speed of a seismic wave after an earthquake, from its origin to other points on the planet.

Because such waves travel faster through solids (e.g., crust) than through liquids (e.g., magma), geologists had been surprised to detect waves slowing down, as though passing through liquid, in a zone that should be the mantle's faster "express lane."

"Seismologists have observed anomalies in velocity data as deep as 200 kilometers beneath the ocean floor," Dasgupta said.

"It turns out that trace amounts of magma are generated at this depth, which would potentially explain that" slower velocity.

The research also offers clues to the electrical conductivity of the oceanic mantle.

"The magma at such depths has a high enough concentration of dissolved carbon dioxide that its conductivity is very high," Dasgupta said.

But, because scientists have not yet been able to sample the mantle directly, researchers have had to extrapolate from the properties of rocks carried up to the surface.

So, in a previous study, Dasgupta determined that melting in Earth's deep upper mantle is caused by the presence of carbon dioxide.

The present study shows that carbon helps to make silicate magma at significant depths. And, the researchers also found that carbonated rock melts at significantly lower temperatures than non-carbonated rock.

"This deep melting makes the silicate differentiation [changes in silicate distribution that range from the dense metallic core, to the less-dense silicate-rich mantle, to the thinner crust] of the planet much more efficient than previously thought," Dasgupta said.

"Deep magma is the main agent that brings all the key ingredients for life--water and carbon--to the surface of the Earth."

In Dasgupta's high-pressure lab, volcanic rocks are windows to the planet's interior. The researchers crush tiny rock samples that contain carbon dioxide to find out how deep magma forms.

"We have all the necessary tools to simulate very high pressures--to nearly 750,000 pounds per square inch--and temperatures," he said. "We can subject small amounts of rock to these conditions to see what happens."

The geologists use powerful hydraulic presses to partially melt rocks that contain tiny amounts of carbon, simulating what they believe is happening under equivalent pressures in the mantle.

"When rocks come from deep in the mantle to shallower depths, they cross . . . the solidus [boundary], where rocks begin to undergo partial melting and produce magmas," Dasgupta said.

"Scientists knew the effect of a trace amount of carbon dioxide or water would lower this boundary, but our new estimation made it 150-180 kilometers deeper from the known depth of 70 kilometers," he said.

"What we are now saying is that with just a trace of carbon dioxide in the mantle, melting can begin as deep as around 200 kilometers.

"When we incorporate the effect of trace water, the magma generation depth becomes at least 250 kilometers."

The extent of magma generation is larger than previously thought, he said, and, as a consequence, has the capacity to affect the geophysical and geochemical properties of the entire planet.


National Science Foundation:

Thanks to National Science Foundation for this article.

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How Much Will Tar Sands Oil Add to Global Warming?

tar-sandsTAR SANDS: At least 170 billion barrels of oil could be extracted from Alberta's oil sands deposits with today's technology. Image: ? David Biello

James Hansen has been publicly speaking about climate change since 1988. The NASA climatologist testified to Congress that year and he's been testifying ever since to crowds large and small, most recently to a small gathering of religious leaders outside the White House last week. The grandfatherly scientist has the long face of a man used to seeing bad news in the numbers and speaks with the thick, even cadence of the northern Midwest, where he grew up, a trait that also helps ensure that his sometimes convoluted science gets across.

This cautious man has also been arrested multiple times.

His acts of civil disobedience started in 2009, and he was first arrested in 2011 for protesting the development of Canada's tar sands and, especially, the Keystone XL pipeline proposal that would serve to open the spigot for such oil even wider. "To avoid passing tipping points, such as initiation of the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, we need to limit the climate forcing severely. It's still possible to do that, if we phase down carbon emissions rapidly, but that means moving expeditiously to clean energies of the future," he explains. "Moving to tar sands, one of the dirtiest, most carbon-intensive fuels on the planet, is a step in exactly the opposite direction, indicating either that governments don't understand the situation or that they just don't give a damn."

He adds: "People who care should draw the line."

Hansen is not alone in caring. In addition to a groundswell of opposition to the 2,700-kilometer-long Keystone pipeline, 17 of his fellow climate scientists joined him in signing a letter urging Pres. Barack Obama to reject the project last week. Simply put, building the pipeline?and enabling more tar sands production?runs "counter to both national and planetary interests," the researchers wrote. "The year of review that you asked for on the project made it clear exactly how pressing the climate issue really is." Obama seemed to agree in his second inaugural address this week, noting "we will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations."

At the same time, the U.S. imports nearly nine million barrels of oil per day and burns nearly a billion metric tons of coal annually. China's coal burning is even larger and continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Partially as a result, global emissions of greenhouse gases continue to grow by leaps and bounds too?and China is one alternative customer eager for the oil from Canada's tar sands. Neither developed nor developing nations will break the fossil-fuel addiction overnight, and there are still more than a billion people who would benefit from more fossil-fuel burning to help lift them out of energy poverty. The question lurking behind the fight in North America over Keystone, the tar sands and climate change generally is: How much of the planet's remaining fossil fuels can we burn?

The trillion-tonne question
To begin to estimate how much fossil fuels can be burned, one has to begin with a guess about how sensitive the global climate really is to additional carbon dioxide. If you think the climate is vulnerable to even small changes in concentrations of greenhouse gases?as Hansen and others do?then we have already gone too far. Global concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have reached 394 parts per million, up from 280 ppm before the Industrial Revolution and the highest levels seen in at least 800,000 years. Hansen's math suggests 350 ppm would be a safer level, given that with less than a degree Celsius of warming from present greenhouse gas concentrations, the world is already losing ice at an alarming rate, among other faster-than-expected climate changes.

International governments have determined that 450 ppm is a number more to their liking, which, it is argued, will keep the globe's average temperatures from warming more than 2 degrees C. Regardless, the world is presently on track to achieve concentrations well above that number. Scientists since chemist Svante Arrhenius of Sweden in 1896 have noted that reaching concentrations of roughly 560 ppm would likely result in a world with average temperatures roughly 3 degrees C warmer?and subsequent estimates continue to bear his laborious, hand-written calculations out. Of course, rolling back greenhouse gas concentrations to Hansen's preferred 350 ppm?or any other number for that matter?is a profoundly unnatural idea. Stasis is not often found in the natural world.

Concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere may not be the best metric for combating climate change anyway. "What matters is our total emission rate," notes climate modeler Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution for Science Department of Global Ecology at Stanford University, another signee of the anti-Keystone letter. "From the perspective of the climate system, a CO2 molecule is a CO2 molecule and it doesn't matter if it came from coal versus natural gas."

Physicist Myles Allen of the University of Oxford in England and colleagues estimated that the world could afford to put one trillion metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere by 2050 to have any chance of restraining global warming below 2 degrees C. To date, fossil fuel burning, deforestation and other actions have put nearly 570 billion metric tons of carbon in the atmosphere?and Allen estimates the trillionth metric ton of carbon will be emitted around the summer of 2041 at present rates. "Tons of carbon is fundamental," adds Hansen, who has argued that burning all available fossil fuels would result in global warming of more than 10 degrees C. "It does not matter much how fast you burn it."

Alberta's oil sands represent a significant tonnage of carbon. With today's technology there are roughly 170 billion barrels of oil to be recovered in the tar sands, and an additional 1.63 trillion barrels worth underground if every last bit of bitumen could be separated from sand. "The amount of CO2 locked up in Alberta tar sands is enormous," notes mechanical engineer John Abraham of the University of Saint Thomas in Minnesota, another signer of the Keystone protest letter from scientists. "If we burn all the tar sand oil, the temperature rise, just from burning that tar sand, will be half of what we've already seen"?an estimated additional nearly 0.4 degree C from Alberta alone.

As it stands, the oil sands industry has greenhouse gas emissions greater than New Zealand and Kenya?combined. If all the bitumen in those sands could be burned, another 240 billion metric tons of carbon would be added to the atmosphere and, even if just the oil sands recoverable with today's technology get burned, 22 billion metric tons of carbon would reach the sky. And reserves usually expand over time as technology develops, otherwise the world would have run out of recoverable oil long ago.

The greenhouse gas emissions of mining and upgrading tar sands is roughly 79 kilograms per barrel of oil presently, whereas melting out the bitumen in place requires burning a lot of natural gas?boosting emissions to more than 116 kilograms per barrel, according to oil industry consultants IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates. All told, producing and processing tar sands oil results in roughly 14 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than the average oil used in the U.S. And greenhouse gas emissions per barrel have stopped improving and started increasing slightly, thanks to increasing development of greenhouse gas?intensive melting-in-place projects. "Emissions have doubled since 1990 and will double again by 2020," says Jennifer Grant, director of oil sands research at environmental group Pembina Institute in Canada.

Just one mine expansion, Shell's Jackpine mine, currently under consideration for the Albian mega-mine site, would increase greenhouse gas emissions by 1.18 million metric tons per year. "If Keystone is approved then we're locking in a several more decades of dependence on fossil fuels," says climate modeler Daniel Harvey of the University of Toronto. "That means higher CO2 emissions, higher concentrations [in the atmosphere] and greater warming that our children and grandchildren have to deal with."

And then there's all the carbon that has to come out of the bitumen to turn it into a usable crude oil.

Hidden carbon
In the U.S. State Department's review of the potential environmental impacts of the Keystone project, consultants EnSys Energy suggested that building the pipeline would not have "any significant impact" on greenhouse gas emissions, largely because Canada's tar sands would likely be developed anyway. But the Keystone pipeline represents the ability to carry away an additional 830,000 barrels per day?and the Albertan tar sands are already bumping up against constraints in the ability to move their product. That has led some to begin shipping the oil by train, truck and barge?further increasing the greenhouse gas emissions?and there is a proposal to build a new rail line, capable of carrying five million barrels of oil per year from Fort McMurray to Alaska's Valdez oil terminal.

Then there's the carbon hidden in the bitumen itself. Either near oil sands mines in the mini-refineries known as upgraders or farther south after the bitumen has reached Midwestern or Gulf Coast refineries, its long, tarry hydrocarbon chains are cracked into the shorter, lighter hydrocarbons used as gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. The residue of this process is a nearly pure black carbon known as petroleum (pet) coke that, if it builds up, has to be blasted loose, as if mining for coal in industrial equipment. The coke is, in fact, a kind of coal and is often burned in the dirtiest fossil fuel's stead. Canadian tar sands upgraders produce roughly 10 million metric tons of the stuff annually, whereas U.S. refineries pump out more than 61 million metric tons per year.

Pet coke is possibly the dirtiest fossil fuel available, emitting at least 30 percent more CO2 per ton than an equivalent amount of the lowest quality mined coals. According to multiple reports from independent analysts, the production (and eventual burning) of such petroleum coke is not included in industry estimates of tar sands greenhouse gas emissions because it is a co-product. Even without it, the Congressional Research Service estimates that tar sands oil results in at least 14 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than do more conventional crude oils.

Although tar sands may be among the least climate-friendly oil produced at present?edging out alternatives such as fracking for oil trapped in shale deposits in North Dakota and flaring the gas?the industry has made attempts to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, unlike in other oil-producing regions. For example, there are alternatives to cracking bitumen and making pet coke, albeit more expensive ones, such as adding hydrogen to the cracked bitumen, a process that leaves little carbon behind that is employed by Shell, among others.

More recently, Shell has begun adding carbon-capture-and-storage (CCS) technology to capture the emissions from a few of its own upgraders, a project known as Quest. The program, when completed in 2015, will aim to capture and store one million metric tons of CO2 per year, or a little more than a third of the CO2 emissions of Shell's operation at that site. And tar sands producers do face a price on carbon?$15 per metric ton by Alberta provincial regulation?for any emissions above a goal of reducing by 12 percent the total amount of greenhouse gas emitted per total number of barrels produced.

The funds collected?some $312 million to date?are then used to invest in clean technology, but more than 75 percent of the projects are focused on reducing emissions from oil sands, unconventional oils and other fossil fuels. And to drive more companies to implement CCS in the oil sands would require a carbon price of $100 per metric ton or more. "We don't have a price on carbon in the province that is compelling companies to pursue CCS," Pembina's Grant argues.

In fact, Alberta's carbon price may be little more than political cover. "It gives us some ammunition when people attack us for our carbon footprint, if nothing else," former Alberta Energy Minister Ron Liepert told Scientific American in September 2011. Adds Beverly Yee, assistant deputy minister at Alberta's Environment and Sustainable Resource Development agency, more recently, "Greenhouse gases? We don't see that as a regional issue." From the individual driver in the U.S. to oil sands workers and on up to the highest echelons of government in North America, everyone dodges responsibility.

Price of carbon
A true price on carbon, one that incorporates all the damages that could be inflicted by catastrophic climate change, is exactly what Hansen believes is needed to ensure that more fossil fuels, like the tar sands, stay buried. In his preferred scheme, a price on carbon that slowly ratcheted up would be collected either where the fossil fuel comes out of the ground or enters a given country, such as at a port. But instead of that tax filling government coffers, the collected revenue should be rebated in full to all legal residents in equal amounts?an approach he calls fee and dividend. "Not one penny to reducing the national debt or off-setting some other tax," the government scientist argues. "Those are euphemisms for giving the money to government, allowing them to spend more."

Such a carbon tax would make fossil fuels more expensive than alternatives, whether renewable resources such as wind and sun or low-carbon nuclear power. As a result, these latter technologies might begin to displace things like coal-burning power plants or halt major investments in oil infrastructure like the Keystone XL pipeline.

As it stands, producing 1.8 million barrels per day of tar sands oil resulted in the emissions of some 47.1 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent in 2011, up nearly 2 percent from the year before and still growing, according to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. In the same year coal-fired power plants in the U.S. emitted more than two billion metric tons of CO2-equivalent. "If you think that using other petroleum sources is much better [than tar sands], then you're delusional," says chemical engineer Murray Gray, scientific director of the Center for Oil Sands Innovation at the University of Alberta.

In other words, tar sands are just a part of the fossil-fuel addiction?but still an important part. Projects either approved or under construction would expand tar sands production to over five million barrels per day by 2030. "Any expansion of an energy system that relies on the atmosphere to be its waste dump is bad news, whereas expansion of safe, affordable and environmentally acceptable energy technologies is good news," Carnegie's Caldeira says.

There's a lot of bad news these days then, from fracking shale for gas and oil in the U.S. to new coal mines in China. Oxford's Allen calculates that the world needs to begin reducing emissions by roughly 2.5 percent per year, starting now, in order to hit the trillion metric ton target by 2050. Instead emissions hit a new record this past year, increasing 3 percent to 34.7 billion metric tons of CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

Stopping even more bad news is why Hansen expects to be arrested again, whether at a protest against mountaintop removal mining for coal in West Virginia or a sit-in outside the White House to convince the Obama administration to say no to Keystone XL and any expansion of the tar sands industry. The Obama administration has already approved the southern half of the pipeline proposal?and if the northern link is approved, a decision expected after March of this year, environmental group Oil Change International estimates that tar sands refined on the Gulf Coast would produce 16.6 million metric tons of CO2 annually, along with enough petroleum coke to fuel five coal-fired power plants for a year. All told, the increased tar sands production as a result of opening Keystone would be equal to opening six new coal-fired power plants, according to Pembina Institute calculations.

Even as increased oil production in the U.S. diminishes the demand for tar sands-derived fuel domestically, if Keystone reaches the Gulf Coast, that oil will still be refined and exported. At the same time, Obama pledged to respond to climate change and argued for U.S. leadership in the transition to "sustainable energy sources" during his second inaugural address; approving Keystone might lead in the opposite direction.

For the tar sands "the climate forcing per unit energy is higher than most fossil fuels," argues Hansen, who believes he is fighting for the global climate his five grandchildren will endure?or enjoy. After all, none of his grandchildren have lived through a month with colder than average daily temperatures. There has not been one in the U.S. since February 1985, before even Hansen started testifying on global warming. As he says: "Going after tar sands?incredibly dirty, destroying the local environment for a very carbon-intensive fuel?is the sign of a terribly crazed addict."


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Leadership advice for first-time managers ? Business Management ...

It?s hard to be a boss for the first time, but Dan McCarthy, the director of Executive Development Pro??grams at the University of New Hamp??shire, has some tips to help you out.

  • Know it?s a new job. Managing takes a different skill set, so you?ll have to start in learning mode.
  • Approach each employee as an individual. Get to know your em??ployees well and read the book on ?situational leadership? so you can manage each one the best way possible.
  • Practice active listening. It?s the most important leadership skill.
  • Learn to deal with performance problems. You will have them, and you will have to deal with them consistently, effectively and discreetly.
  • Show everyone respect. Never fail to treat your employees respectfully.

? Adapted from ?25 tips for managing your first direct reports,? Daniel McCarthy, SmartBlog on Leadership.

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Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...

We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.

The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.

" This information is proudly provided by Business Management "


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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Red and blue PlayStation 3 variants to hit Japan next month

Red and blue PlayStation 3 variants to hit Japan next month

Sony's current console line up a little too monochrome for your taste? Look towards the sunrise -- a more colorful PlayStation is about to arrive in Japan. Starting next month, Japanese gamers will be able to decorate their living room with PS3s in "garnet red" and "azurite blue." Sony says the colorful variants will be available in limited quantities when they launch on February 28th, packing a 250GB HDD and priced at ¥24,980 ($279). The colors appeared in Europe over the weekend, too -- flaunting 500GB HDD and a €330 (about $440) sticker price on No word on North American availability, though we wouldn't be surprised to see it show up in a bundle somewhere down the road.

Filed under: ,


Via: Engadget Japanese

Source: Sony


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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Yelp Partners With Local Authorities To Add Hygiene Scores To Restaurant Reviews, Starting In San Francisco & New York

yelplogoYelp is adding restaurant inspection scores to reviews on its business pages, initially for the cities of San Francisco and New York, but with a plan to roll the feature out to other cities where other local authorities are open to working with it. Yelp said it has worked with local authorities' technology departments in San Francisco and New York to import hygiene scores into listings.


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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

NASA’s Climate Drones Research at 65,000 Feet

Some NASA researchers believe the key to better climate science is sitting about 65,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean. This month, they?re going up there.

The project, called ATTREX (Airborne Tropical TRopopause EXperiment), will provide measurements of moisture and chemical composition, radiation levels, meteorological conditions, and trace gas levels in the high atmosphere. A slew of climate specialists hope to collect unprecedented amounts of data from the tropopause, the boundary between the troposhere (where most weather phenomenon take place) and the stratosphere. The ultimate goal, according to principal investigator Eric Jensen, is to improve the mathematical models scientists use to predict climate change.

"It turns out that even the smallest changes in the humidity of the stratosphere are important to climate," he says. "As we put more greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, there are going to be changes in the tropopause that will affect the air going into the stratosphere. This will have a feedback effect on climate change. It could dampen or magnify it." With more data from this vital region, he says, climate-change models can give us a better sense of what?s coming.

Climate researchers first realized the importance of this region more than a decade ago. Greenhouse gases seem to cause the stratosphere to cool, allowing a greater number of clouds to form. This in turn causes a faster depletion of ozone in the stratosphere, as the clouds destroy ozone faster than dry air. Since the composition of the stratosphere affects climate, and the tropopause is the gateway to the stratosphere, understanding how water vapor circulates in this layer is vital to understanding climate change. Without good data on how the air circulates, climate models won?t produce accurate predictions.

The trick to studying the tropical tropopause is finding an aircraft that can withstand the temperatures (as low as minus 115 degrees F) and long-duration flight time required. Traditional manned aircraft can?t breach the altitude the scientists are interested in studying. That?s because in the tropics the troposphere is higher than it is in many parts of the globe, where commercial jets can soar into the stratosphere with ease.

Instead, NASA will use drones. With the two Global Hawks the agency has acquired for the project, Jensen and his colleagues will complete 24-hour missions, during which they can watch and control the craft using a high-speed satellite. "It?s very interactive," he says. "We?re changing parameters in real time. In a way, it?s like we?re in the aircraft . . . even though we?re all sitting in a comfy control room."

The Global Hawk, which can fly about 20,000 feet higher than commercial airliners, has been used for climate research before. In September, the Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel began a five-year project flying into and around hurricanes. These five-year campaigns, of which ATTREX is one of the first, are part of NASA?s Earth Ventures project. Low- to moderate-cost missions can get preapproval for five years of research, something that makes it possible to plan for data collection across the globe during different seasons.

Eventually, ATTREX will be moving to Guam and Australia to collect more data. While in Guam, researchers will collaborate with scientists from the U.K. and the National Science Foundation, who will fly their aircraft at different altitudes. Jensen says he hopes the data from three aircraft will provide a more complete picture of what?s happening from the surface to the stratosphere.

The first science flight is scheduled to leave on Jan. 17 or 18 from the Dryden Flight Research Center in California. It can?t come soon enough for Jensen and his team. "It?s going to be exhausting," Jensen says, "Because the flights last for 24 hours, and you just want to stay up for the whole thing."

It could take years before the data collected by ATTREX has any effect on climate-change models, but it could change our picture of the planet?s future.


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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Creating a Bird Friendly Garden | The Pet Health and Pet Care Blog

Spring isn?t quite in the air yet, but it won?t be long until we can expect to see some feathery visitors to our gardens. For the bird watchers among us, it?s one of the best times of the year and it?s a whole lot of fun.

So? how do we go about encouraging the birds to stop by? It?s not as confusing at it might seem to attract a beautiful array of birds to your garden with minimal effort on your part.

Here are my handy dandy tips to making your garden the perfect rest stop for British birds!

Some Handy Ideas

1. Place your bird feeders and nest boxes away from low cover where your pet moggy could be lurking ? birds and cats aren?t a good mix (although your cat will disagree)!

2. Place your bird feeders away from your house to stop the birds from flying into the windows. It may sound silly, but it does happen ? I remember once seeing a huge bird print on the glass of our patio doors! Fascinating for me, but probably not so good for the bird.

3. Experiment with different types of seed and observe the types of bird that come to visit.

4. Place peanuts in a wire feeder so only small pieces can be taken at a time, because whole peanuts may be too large for young birds to handle.

5. Some species feed their young on mealworms during the spring, and so providing them with dried mealworms, or bug boxes for a live meal, will make your garden an attractive place to nest. Yummy!

6. Provide a bird table, feeders and protected ground space for birds to feed as different species have different feeding preferences.

7. Sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labour!


Posted in Great & Small, Wildlife, Winter | Tagged bird, bird feeder, bird seed, bird table, birds, Feeding, Peanuts, wild bird food, wild bird seed, wild birds, wildlife, Winter |


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Preparing your toddler or preschooler for the arrival of a new baby

Preparing your toddler or preschooler for the arrival of a new baby 8 Flares 4 Facebook 3 Google+ 0 StumbleUpon 1 LinkedIn 0 Email -- Email to a friend 8 Flares ?


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Monday, January 14, 2013

Israel evacuates Palestinians from West Bank tent outpost

E1, West Bank | Sun Jan 13, 2013 6:57am EST

E1, West Bank (Reuters) - Israeli security forces evacuated about 100 Palestinians early on Sunday from tents pitched in an area of the West Bank as a protest against Israeli plans to build a settlement there.

Israel's Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the Palestinian outpost, built in the geographically sensitive area known as E1, could remain for six days while the issue of the removal of the tents was being discussed.

A police spokesman said the court allowed for the removal of the protesters even if the tents, for now, will stay.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had ordered the area sealed off to prevent clashes.

"I immediately called for the area to be closed off so there would not be large gatherings there that could cause friction and breach the public order," he told Army Radio.

Hundreds of Israeli police and border guards entered the compound and told a crowd of about 100 to leave the 20 large, steel-framed tents erected on Friday.

Those protesters who refused to leave were carried down the hill by Israeli officers and detained, but were not jailed. Israeli police vans took them to the West Bank town of Ramallah, the Palestinian seat of government.

"Everyone was evacuated carefully and swiftly, without any injuries to officers or protesters," said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.


Palestinian activists criticized the raid and promised more protest camps in areas designated by Israel for settlements.

"The eviction and the exercise of force is another indication that Israel is defying the international consensus on the need to vacate occupied Palestinian land," Palestinian government spokesman Nour Odeh said.

For years, Israel froze building in E1, which currently houses only a police headquarters, after coming under pressure from former U.S. President George W. Bush.

Netanyahu said Israel would build at E1 after the planning process was completed.

"It is a gradual process, it will take time. It will not happen immediately, you understand our bureaucratic process ... We will complete the planning an there will be building there," he told Army Radio.

Israel announced plans to expand settlements, mainly in West Bank areas around Jerusalem, after the Palestinians won de-facto recognition of statehood at the U.N. General Assembly in November.

International powers view all Jewish settlement building in areas captured by Israel in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War as detrimental to securing an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

E1 covers 4.6 square miles (12 square km) and is seen as particularly important because it not only juts into the narrow "waist" of the West Bank, but backs onto East Jerusalem.

Palestinians want to establish an independent state in the West Bank, dominated by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction, and the Gaza Strip, run by the rival Islamist group Hamas, with East Jerusalem as the capital.

About 500,000 Israelis and 2.5 million Palestinians live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down in 2010 over the issue of Israel's continued settlement building.

(Additional reporting by Ori Lewis in Jerusalem and Noah Browning in Ramallah; editing by Andrew Roche)


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India top court allows more time for revoked cellular permits

MELBOURNE, Jan 12 (Reuters) - Li Na's Melbourne Park nemesis Kim Clijsters no longer stalks the Australian Open draw but her absence is no cause for celebration, according to the Chinese sixth seed. If anyone should be popping champagne corks in the non attendance of the retired Belgian, it should be 30-year-old Li, Asia's first grand slam singles champion. Teak-tough Clijsters denied Li her maiden major title in 2011's tense final at Rod Laver Arena, overhauling the Chinese in three sets to win her fourth and final grand slam. ...


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NOAA?s Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R) provides science-based solutions to protect and restore the nation?s natural resources from coastal environmental hazards. OR&R serves the nation by providing expertise and a suite of products and services critical for making science-based response decisions that prevent further harm, restore natural resources, and promote effective planning for future incidents.


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Health Plus Fitness: Foot Health Article Category | Authoroo ...

. Camomile & Spearmint tea is said to minimize anxiety and insomnia. It is furthermore chosen to ease a belly pain and decrease nausea. It has additionally been selected to treat heartburn plus light indigestion.

So, it becomes clear from the above discussion which usual cleaning and maintenance of drains is a very important task to maintain a healthy living environment and to ensure which the drains work efficiently.

They are equally used for treating anemia. This really is because of the excellent levels of some minerals like iron and copper, that enable in the manufacturing of hemoglobin.

According to the Chronicle of High Education, conventional university campuses are declining as for-profit organizations grow and public and private organizations continue to emerge.

The fact is there can always be a need for health care. The only time there won?t be a demand is when folks stop getting sick. Besides being a doctor or specialist surgeon, there are numerous different jobs in healthcare which don?t require you to complete 10 years of schooling. For instance, all hospitals, because well as nursing homes, need nurses and nurses aids.

Irrespective of what age one can be, dental wellness is an important factor for keeping the teeth plus mouth healthy. With healthy teeth, one may eat a variety of foods necessary for wise wellness, plus, it moreover makes the smile far more artistic. Our teeth are supposed to last throughout the lives; hence, by incorporating proper dental health, you will protect our teeth also as gums for a lifetime. Plus, proper care is moreover significant for sustaining one?s total well-being.

In other words, very unstable free radicals inflict considerable damage to the cell. Even moderate exercise will release free radicals and this might be why athletes require excellent levels of antioxidant protection. In the same breath, chronic health insufficiency usually deplete a cell?s antioxidant status. As long as you have enough antioxidant shops in a cells, the damage is minimized. Such oxidative damage has been shown to be the dark force behind the onset of degenerative condition.

If you want more details about podiatry medicine hat take a look at Nannie F. Lamens?s site there?s plenty of points not detailed in this article, go to Author?s site to uncover more.

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Monday, Jan. 21, 2013 - Upgrading your skills to MCSA Windows Server 2012

  • Date Monday, Jan. 21, 2013
  • Time 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
  • LocationNew Horizons, 725 Heartland Trail
  • DescriptionThe student will learn new features and functionality in Windows Server 2012 around Management, Networking Infrastructure, Storage, Access Control, Hyper-V, High Availability, and Identity Federation.
  • Web site
  • Cost$1,935
  • Contact262-3605,
  • Tagged under

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Lawyer: Trio charged in India rape to plead not guilty

By NBC News wire services

NEW DELHI -- Three of the men accused of raping and murdering an Indian student in a moving bus will plead not guilty to the charges, their lawyer said on Wednesday, citing lapses in the police investigation.

Five men have been charged for the assault on the woman in a case that has provoked such outrage that lawyers in the district where the case is being heard have refused to defend the men.

Manohar Lal Sharma, who will represent the bus driver and the main accused, his brother and another man, said the case must go to trial so that the evidence police have presented can be tested in court.

"We are only hearing what the police are saying. This is manipulated evidence. It's all on the basis of hearsay and presumption," said Sharma.

It is not yet known if two other accused men have a lawyer, while a sixth accused will be tried separately because he is a minor.

Five men, accused of the rape and murder of a medical student in India have appeared in court. If convicted they face the death penalty. The attack on a bus three weeks ago sparked outrage and violent protests in the country. ITV's Geraint Vincent reports.

The five defendants are scheduled to appear at another pre-trial hearing on Thursday that is expected to result in the case being sent to a special "fast-track" court. Indian courts are notoriously slow, with some cases dragging on for decades.?

Authorities have charged the men with murder, rape and other crimes that could bring them the death penalty. The crime caused nationwide outrage, leading to massive protests.

Blood stains
A sixth suspect, who is 17 years old, is expected to be tried in a juvenile court, where the maximum sentence would be three years in a reform facility.

Prosecutor Rajiv Mohan said last week that a DNA test confirmed that the blood of the victim matched blood stains found on the clothes of all the accused.

On Sunday, two of the defendants offered to become "approvers," or informers against the others, according to reporters present at the hearing. The two were presumably seeking lighter sentences.

The companion of the student recounted in a television interview last week how the pair was attacked for 2 1/2 hours on a New Delhi bus before being thrown on the side of the road, where passersby ignored them and police debated jurisdiction issues before helping them. The student died at a Singapore hospital weeks after the Dec. 16 attack.

The attack has led to calls for tougher rape laws and reforms of a police culture that often blames rape victims and refuses to file charges against accused attackers. The nation's top law enforcement official said the country needs to crack down on crimes against women.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Related stories from NBC News:


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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The New Dan ? Pittsburgh Trademark Lawyer

Dearest Readers,

Dan Corbett set an impressive standard for this site.? When you ask this young man who his favorite bloggers are in the field, he delivers a spreadsheet.? Ask him, ?what is a blog?? and he patiently indulges your willful technophobia.? It seems he grew up without a speed-limit on the information highway.? I was young in a simpler time, when kids were not allowed to touch the computer.? That said, I hope to stay relevant and keep everyone coming back for more.


Owner: Coca-Cola Co.

My first recollection of trademarks involved customer confusion and a cola company trying to protect its brand.? You may already know this story, but when I was a kid growing up in Kansas, one could walk into a restaurant, order a Coke?, and get any number of cola brands in his cup. For many good reasons, the cola companies required servers to disclose what brands, in fact, were served if a customer asked for a cola by brand-name.

Imagine a cola company?s point of view; surely they want to protect their brand?s reputation for taste, to leverage their advertising and sales efforts, and to prevent a phenomenon known as ?genericide.? ?Genericide will get its own blog-post one day, but in short:? it is the death of a trademark due to the fact that it is now a generic term and no longer indicates the source of a product or service.

My first formal education in the law of trademarks was in 1991.? Freshman-year, studying journalism and creative writing at IU in Bloomington, I learned that brand-names were off-limits for print.? The concept that some words were off-limits grabbed me as a challenge.? I grew enthused with the idea that I would write a novel chocked-full of as many brand-names as I could imagine.? Let?s face it, a character wearing sunglasses, using a cotton swab to remove the red chili pepper sauce from his right nostril, begs the question:? What brands does this guy buy?

Fear not, I?ve grown to appreciate the rules of capitalism since then. ?Fourteen-years of legal practice have set me straight.? I aim to continue to do the following, but not limited to:

  1. Contribute reliable information,
  2. Stay relevant,
  3. Entertain readers about the wily adventures of trademarks,
  4. Humbly accept underwriting in any form, including brand-placement (we?ll talk terms later),
  5. Listen and respond to reader-inquiries as efficiently as humanly possible.

Stay tuned, the next blog will explore the certification mark: ?Made In USA? and we?ll see what reports come from the holiday marketing campaign this past season?

In the meantime, please enjoy this game for the bored:? As an experiment, try to go 2 days without using a brand-name.

Daniel T. Friedson

2013, Jan 6th

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Saturday, January 5, 2013

Homeless after Superstorm Sandy, some pets may be displaced again

A shelter housing pets displaced by Superstorm Sandy is scheduled to close, with about half of the animals still unclaimed. The ASPCA will try to find foster homes for the animals, but their future remains uncertain.

By Peter Rudegeair,?Reuters / January 3, 2013

Anita Edson, (l.), checks on a shelter cat on Nov. 17, at an emergency boarding facility in the Brooklyn borough of New York. A temporary facility to house animals displaced by Superstorm Sandy will be closed this month, leaving 280 pets with an uncertain future.

Bebeto Matthews/AP


The?New York City shelter?housing 280 pets displaced by Superstorm Sandy must shut down and, with nearly half the animals still unclaimed, cannot rule out euthanizing any left behind.

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An uncertain future lies ahead for 52 cats and 84 dogs who remain in the Brooklyn emergency boarding facility run by the?American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty?to Animals, spokeswoman?Kelly Krause?said on Thursday.

They are among 280 pets sheltered since November, after the New York City area was devastated by the late October storm.

The facility was originally scheduled to close on Dec. 17, but the volume of unclaimed pets prompted the ASPCA to extend its deadline into January.

What will happen to those pets whose owners fail to return is unclear. The ASPCA is looking into placing the unclaimed pets in foster homes or shelters if their owners are unreachable or unable to take them back, although no hard deadline has been given to owners, said Krause.

Following Hurricane Katrina, many similarly unclaimed pets were put up for adoption and placed in caring homes, only to have their owners surface months later and seek to get them back.

"We are still caring for the displaced pets at our emergency boarding facility, but we're also planning the next step, which is to find homes for unclaimed animals as we start to demobilize our operation,"?Tim Rickey, senior director of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response, said in a statement.

Most of the owners that the ASPCA has identified live in temporary housing or with family and friends, environments that prevent them from bringing their animals home, Krause said. A majority of the owners who had yet to claim their pets lived in the hard-hit Rockaways neighborhood in Queens.

Many pit bulls and mastiffs, dogs that shelters typically find hard to place given their vicious reputations, were among the unclaimed canines.

It was too early to say whether any of the pets that remain left behind would be put down, Krause said.

Reporting by Peter Rudegeair; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Sandra Maler


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