Sunday, June 30, 2013

BlackBerry ships 6.8 million smartphones but loses $84 million in Q1 2014

STUB BlackBerry made a TKTK profit last quarter, shipped TKTK BB10 phones

Every quarter is pivotal for BlackBerry right now, but the one covered by today's earnings report (Q1 2014, in fiscal terms) is especially important. It's the first full period of Z10 availability and also the first quarter to cover significant Q10 shipments to markets like Canada and the UK (although not the US). So far, it's a mixed bag: revenues are up to $3.1 billion, compared to $2.8 billion generated in the same quarter last year, which was when RIM (as it was called back then) announced significant job cuts and an equally major delay to its next-gen BB 10 operating system and hardware range. However, none of that was retained as profit, and in fact BlackBerry made a GAAP loss of $84 million, compared a $125 million profit last quarter.


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Source: Crackberry


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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Prolonged Stretch Of Unsettled Weather

By CBS 3 Weather Team

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) ? It feels like a scene right out of the movie ?Groundhog Day.? The Philadelphia region has been stuck in the same steamy weather pattern since earlier this week, and the pattern doesn?t look to be breaking anytime in the near future.

The Bermuda High, a strong high pressure system which sets up south of the Azores Islands, has stationed itself off-shore and to our east. The clockwise flow of the high has been bringing a general southerly wind to the Philadelphia region, allowing the warmer temperatures and humidity from the southern states to creep north.

The pattern has also been influenced by a trough set-up, which is located over the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley Region. As the trough continues to deepen further south, tropical moisture and humidity are being siphoned up from the Gulf of Mexico along the eastern side of the trough.

This has helped enhance the chance for showers and storms, moving disturbances from the Gulf of Mexico and the warm southern waters up the eastern seaboard. We have seen measureable rainfall each of the past five days at Philadelphia International Airport, and the Storm Prediction Center has placed our area under a ?Slight Risk? for severe thunderstorms later Friday afternoon.

With measurable rainfall being recorded 13 out of the 27 days completed in the month of June, Philadelphia is knocking on the door of the 10.06? June monthly record. As of Thursday, Philadelphia has received 9.37? for the month, making it the second wettest June of all-time, and only 0.69? is needed before Monday to tie the record.

Friday?s showers and storms will move through the area in the late afternoon and early evening, and Saturday looks like the better day of the weekend. Rain returns to the forecast on Sunday, lingering around throughout most of the day. The work-week is filled with showers and storms almost every day as the unsettled pattern continues at least beyond the Fourth of July. Instability in the atmosphere will also keep the potential for strong storms in the forecast also.

Meanwhile, we saw our second heat wave of the year Monday through Wednesday, and temperatures are expected to hover in the mid-to-upper 80?s through the July 4th holiday.


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More Frontiers: Internal grants for humanities, arts and social sciences


News for Faculty and Staff

June 28, 2013

By Dateline staff

Vice Chancellor Harris Lewin recently announced the second round of internal grant funding to stimulate new research and innovative ideas.

First came the Research Initiatives in Science and Engineering Program, or RISE. Now comes the Interdisciplinary Frontiers in Humanities and Arts Program, or IFHA, under which seven projects in the humanities, arts and social sciences will share $3.6 million over three years.

An external advisory committee of distinguished scholars recommended the seven projects (from among 30 submissions) as having the greatest potential for excellence in research and creative production, and impact on society.?

These successful proposals will address such questions as:

  • Is vocational education effective at providing true economic opportunities?
  • What are the long-term effects on children in economic distress?
  • How has increased international mobility, specifically temporary migration, affected economic development, social evolution and cultural exchange?
  • How does the use of the Internet and other transformations in scholarly publishing affect the meaning of ?publication? and ?scholarship??
  • Can video game technologies be produced and developed to help expand access to the arts, science, health interventions and culture?
  • What are the community narratives, practices, rituals and activity settings that activate community strength and well-being?
  • How might design be used to clarify information, enhance civic participation, and empower individuals to make informed choices?

?Interdisciplinary research teams are critical to crafting new approaches to the complex problems facing today?s individuals and societies,? said Lewin, who leads the Office of Research. ?I?d like to congratulate the successful applicants, and we look forward to working with them to maximize the impacts of their research.?

RISE and IFHA comprise the Interdisciplinary Frontiers Program, an effort to establish new, globally competitive, interdisciplinary research programs, coordinated by the Office of Research. Lewin announced the RISE awards in November.

Funding comes from indirect costs of grants awarded to UC Davis under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, or ?stimulus? funds. Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi set aside the funds for reinvestment in campus research, consistent with UC Davis? goal of reaching $1 billion in sponsored research activity.

In choosing only seven projects for IFHA funding, Lewin ?acknowledged the efforts of the research clusters that did not receive funding.

All of the submissions together sought almost $28 million ? and that just was not possible. Lewin said the Office of Research will work with all of the funded and unfunded clusters to identify new funding sources for their ideas.

The successful proposals:

? Vocational education and the economy ? Ann Stevens, professor and chair of economics, and director of the Center for Poverty Studies, and Michal Kurlaender, associate professor in the School of Education, lead a team that will look at vocational programs in community colleges and how such training has affected the work force.

?There has been a clear policy push in recent years to promote vocational education as a solution to the stagnant earnings of U.S. workers, with billions of federal dollars committed in the last few years,? Stevens said. ?Unfortunately, high-quality research on the effectiveness of these programs has been very limited.

?Our UC Davis faculty team will bring together expertise in higher education, poverty and labor markets, and begin to answer the critical questions of whether, when and for whom these programs provide true economic opportunities.?

? Children and poverty ? Marianne Page, professor of economics, leads this project, titled ?Understanding the Long-Term Effects?on Children in Economic Distress.? Focusing on the recent economic downturn, researchers from the departments of Psychology, Economics and Human Ecology will focus on understanding the full range of economic crises? impacts on children.?Most research today focuses on?the impacts of economic downturns on adults.

?The dismal prognosis for disadvantaged children has worsened over time,? Page said in the project proposal. ?By some measures, inequality is nearly twice as high as it was 30 years ago.?

? Migration and the economy ? In ?Managing Temporary Migrations: California, U.S. and the World,? a team led by economics professor Giovanni Peri will analyze how increased international mobility, specifically temporary migration, has affected economic development, social evolution and cultural exchange.

?Understanding the complex and multifaceted phenomenon of international mobility and managing migrations to maximize their socioeconomic benefits for the sending and receiving countries and for the migrants themselves is one of the key challenges of the next decade facing California, the U.S. and the world,? Peri said in his proposal.

? Innovation in scholarly communication ? The use of the Internet and other transformations in scholarly publishing ? from peer review, to open access to data publishing and more ? vary across academic disciplines, said Mario Biagioli, professor, Science and Technology Studies (College of Letters and Science, and the School of Law). He will work with colleagues from a variety of disciplines ? from library science to the College of Biological Sciences, and more from law, English, computer science, creative writing and the Graduate School of Management ? to ?think globally but act locally? in assessing the different meanings of ?scholarship.?

For the project titled ?Innovating the Communication of Scholarship,? researchers will look at changes and challenges in the traditional system of scholarly publication and the changing meaning of ?publication,? whether that be on the Internet or in a hardcover book, Biagioli said.??

?We do not believe that any of the different positions in each case are wrong or arbitrary, but rather that they need to be made sense of, and rendered translatable across institutional and disciplinary divides if we are to come up with a new, comprehensive system of scholarly publishing,? he said in his proposal.

? Gamification ? This team will carry out a cultural analysis of video game technologies. The team also intends to produce and develop game technologies that can help expand access to the arts, science, health interventions and culture.

The team comprises representatives from 11 disciplines, from geology and food science to cinema studies and anthropology. And English, where Colin Milburn, the team leader, is an associate professor of English, and holder of the Gary Snyder Endowed Chair in Science and Humanities.

?By some measures, the video game has become the most significant medium of contemporary culture,? Milburn said. ?Games and game technologies are now used in an immense variety of contexts beyond entertainment and artistic expression, including education, politics, business, military training, medicine and even scientific research.?

? Health and resilience in immigrant communities ? Nolan Zane, professor of Asian American studies and psychology, leads this group of faculty from nursing, medicine, psychology, cultural studies and the arts in an exploration of underappreciated and undervalued sources of strength and resiliency in immigrant communities. Partnering with immigrant groups in the Sacramento region, the researchers will begin by asking two questions: ?How do the expressive arts activate personal strength and well-being?? and ?What are the community narratives, practices, rituals and activity settings that activate community strength and well-being??

?We recognize that immigrants can and do succeed in achieving personal health and well-being,? Zane said. ?Elucidating these ?hidden? sources of resiliency are essential for effective public health approaches that are truly culturally valid and meaningful."

? Design in the public interest ? What does democratic design look like? That?s the question to be addressed by a team of researchers led by Susan Verba, associate professor of design, and ?and Sarah Perrault, assistant professor, University Writing Program. The team, also including faculty from the departments of Anthropology, Communication and Computer Science, the School of Education, and the Women and Gender Studies Program, will seek to create accessible, user-centered design ?outcomes? that can be disseminated as open-source models and used to create graphics and communications that resonate with broad audiences.

?We are confronted daily by information, artifacts and environments that are confusing, inaccessible, even potentially dangerous,? Verba said. ?From public documents and graphics to entire programs and systems ? from election ballots to the voting process, from hospital signage to communication flow within and among hospital teams ? much of this confusion is the result of narrow design decisions. Given this, we want to explore how we might use design to clarify information, enhance civic participation, and empower individuals to make informed choices.?


The Interdisciplinary Frontiers in the Humanities and Arts Program website includes a list of the seven funded projects and all the faculty participants.

Research Investments in the Sciences and Engineering Program

Interdisciplinary Frontiers Program

Follow Dateline UC Davis on Twitter.

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Call It The 25% Rule, ShareMyPlaylists Renamed To Reflect That Most Users Consume Content Only

Playlists_Logo_FULLThe well-worn theory known as the 1% rule dictates that the number of people creating content within an Internet community represents only about 1% of the people consuming it. In other words -- shock! horror! -- most people consume a lot more content than they ever contribute. Reflecting a similar pattern, whereby only 25% of its users are uploading playlists versus the 75% who use the service purely for music discovery, is Spotify community ShareMyPlaylists, which today is being renamed to better represent that proposition.


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World stocks boosted by Japan, US indicators

A man walks by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Friday, June 28, 2013. Asian stock markets were boosted Friday by encouraging indicators from Japan and further proof that the U.S. economy is on the upswing. Japan's Nikkei 225 index surged 3.6 percent to 13,684.37. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

A man walks by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Friday, June 28, 2013. Asian stock markets were boosted Friday by encouraging indicators from Japan and further proof that the U.S. economy is on the upswing. Japan's Nikkei 225 index surged 3.6 percent to 13,684.37. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

A man looks at an electronic stock board at the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo Friday, June 28, 2013. Asian stock markets were boosted Friday by encouraging indicators from Japan and further proof that the U.S. economy is on the upswing. Japan's Nikkei 225 index surged 3.6 percent to 13,684.37. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

Tokyo Stock Exchange employees work at the computer terminal in Tokyo, Friday, June 28, 2013. Asian stock markets were boosted Friday by encouraging indicators from Japan and further proof that the U.S. economy is on the upswing. Japan's Nikkei 225 index surged 3.6 percent to 13,684.37. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

A man looks at a cell-phone in front of an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Friday, June 28, 2013. Asian stock markets were boosted Friday by encouraging indicators from Japan and further proof that the U.S. economy is on the upswing. Japan's Nikkei 225 index surged 3.6 percent to 13,684.37. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

A worker stretches on a chair during a trading at the Tokyo Stock Exchange, in Tokyo, Friday, June 28, 2013. Asian stock markets were boosted Friday by encouraging indicators from Japan and further proof that the U.S. economy is on the upswing. Japan's Nikkei 225 index surged 3.6 percent to 13,684.37. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

(AP) ? World stock markets were boosted Friday by encouraging indicators from Japan and further proof that the U.S. economy is on the upswing.

Reports showing improved consumer spending, a jump in pending home sales and a drop in jobless claims emboldened investors to dive into riskier assets such as stocks. Wall Street posted its third-straight gain of the week.

Japan got a dose of upbeat economic news when the government said industrial production rose 2 percent in May from April, the fourth straight monthly increase, while the most-watched consumer price index stopped falling for the first time in seven months. Japan's Nikkei 225 index surged 3.5 percent to 13,677.32.

In early European trading, Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.1 percent to 6,249.19. Germany's DAX was nearly unchanged at 7,987.27. France's CAC-40 fell 0.3 percent to 3,752.23. Wall Street was poised for gains. Dow Jones industrial futures gained 0.3 percent to 14,977 while S&P 500 futures advanced 0.3 percent to 1,611.70.

Investors were also encouraged by comments from key U.S. Federal Reserve officials. The president of the New York branch of the Fed said the central bank would likely keep buying bonds if the economy failed to grow at the pace expected. Jerome Powell, a member of the Fed's board in Washington, said investors appear to have incorrectly concluded that the Fed will taper its purchases soon.

That brought a sign of relief to markets fearing that a pullback by the Fed would deflate stock and commodity markets, where investors have turned due to the low interest rates created by the bond buying program.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 1.8 percent to 20,803.29 while mainland Chinese shares also rose as fears eased of a credit crunch in China, analysts said. The Shanghai Composite Index gained 1.5 percent to 1,979.21, while the smaller Shenzhen Composite Index edged up less than 0.1 percent to 887.68.

The central bank had allowed rates that banks pay to borrow from each other to soar last week, part of an attempt by Beijing to clamp down on massive credit in the informal lending industry. Later, however, when Chinese policymakers softened their stance with the promise to provide "liquidity support" if needed.

The central bank's action was "good for the future because it makes merchant banks turn more market-driven and do more prudent lending," said Linus Yip, strategist at First Shanghai Securities in Hong Kong.

Elsewhere, South Korea's Kospi added 1.6 percent to 1,863.32. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.2 percent to 4,802.60

Among individual stocks, Japan's Sharp Corp. soared 8.1 percent after announcing it will set up a joint venture with in China with liquid crystal display panel maker Nanjing China Electronics Panda Group Corp., Kyodo News reported. Panasonic gained 7.6 percent. Nintendo added 6.7 percent.

New York stocks got a substantial boost Thursday by the National Association of Realtors, which reported that its seasonally adjusted index for pending home sales rose 6.7 percent last month. That's the highest level since December 2006. Separately, the U.S. Commerce Department said consumer spending rose 0.3 percent last month, nearly erasing a similar decline in April. Income rose 0.5 percent.

Benchmark oil for August delivery was up 62 cents to $97.67 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.55 a barrel to close at $97.05 on the Nymex on Thursday.

In currencies, the euro rose to $1.3051 from $1.3049 late Thursday in New York. The dollar rose to 98.89 yen from 98.36 yen.

Associated Press


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Iran's top leader: Nuclear solution 'easy'

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) ? Iran's supreme leader said a solution to the nuclear impasse with the West would be "easy" if the United States and its allies are serious about seeking a deal, Iranian media reported Thursday.

The remarks by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are his first on the nuclear issue since the presidential election earlier this month of Hasan Rouhani, who supports direct talks with Washington. It suggests Khamenei also could endorse bolder diplomacy by Iran if talks resume with world powers.

Several newspapers, including the hard-line Jomhouri Eslami, quoted Khamenei as saying "the solution to Iran's nuclear case is an easy and smooth job" if Western powers want to strike a deal.

"The opposition front against Iran does not want the nuclear issue to be solved," Khamenei told a group of judiciary officials Wednesday.

Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters, singled out the U.S. for what he called "new excuses" to block possible headway on negotiations over Tehran's nuclear program.

No other details were given in the press reports, but Rouhani has suggested greater openness on Iran's nuclear program in exchange for easing sanctions.

The West suspects Iran seeks a nuclear weapon. Tehran denies the charge, saying its nuclear activities aim at peaceful purposes such as power generation and medical isotopes.

Khamenei also urged all governmental bodies to support Rouhani, a former nuclear negotiator who has the backing of reformist leaders. He formally takes over from outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in August.

"Managing the country is a difficult job, indeed," Khamenei said. "All individuals and bodies must help the president-elect."

Also Wednesday, Iran's foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, said Iran supports direct flights to the U.S. as a way to serve the large Iranian community in Southern California and elsewhere. There have been no direct air routes between the two countries since the U.S. broke ties after the storming of the American Embassy in Tehran in 1979 in the wake of the Islamic Revolution.

Previously, Iran's national carrier Iran Air operated the longest nonstop flight at the time between Tehran and New York.


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Friday, June 28, 2013

Rising Star Maika Monroe Joins 'Downton Abbey's' Dan Stevens in 'The Guest' (Exclusive)

By Jeff Sneider

LOS ANGELES ( - Up-and-coming actress Maika Monroe has booked the female lead opposite Dan Stevens in "The Guest," a psychological thriller from the filmmaking team behind Lionsgate's upcoming horror movie "You're Next."

Adam Wingard will direct from a script by Simon Barrett, while Keith Calder and Jessica Wu will produce via Snoot Entertainment. Production starts this summer.

Stevens ("Downton Abbey") stars as David, an ex-Marine who returns from a tour of duty a changed man and terrorizes a military family whose eldest son recently died.

Monroe will play Anna, the female lead who is suspicious of David and must protect her younger brother from his cold-blooded wrath.

The 20 year-old actress, who recently starred opposite Zac Efron in "At Any Price," will next be seen as a key character in Jason Reitman's "Labor Day." A former professional kiteboarder, she also appeared briefly in Sofia Coppola's "The Bling Ring."

A terrifying original horror movie, "You're Next" premiered at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival and will finally hit U.S. theaters on August 23 via Lionsgate.

Monroe is repped by WME, Luber Roklin Entertainment and attorney Fred Toczek.


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Comparing genomes of wild and domestic tomato

June 26, 2013 ? You say tomato, I say comparative transcriptomics. Researchers in the U.S., Europe and Japan have produced the first comparison of both the DNA sequences and which genes are active, or being transcribed, between the domestic tomato and its wild cousins.

The results give insight into the genetic changes involved in domestication and may help with future efforts to breed new traits into tomato or other crops, said Julin Maloof, professor of plant biology in the College of Biological Sciences at the University of California, Davis. Maloof is senior author on the study, published June 24 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

For example, breeding new traits into tomatoes often involves crossing them with wild relatives. The new study shows that a large block of genes from one species of wild tomato is present in domestic tomato, and has widespread, unexpected effects across the whole genome.

Maloof and colleagues studied the domestic tomato, Solanum lycopersicum, and wild relatives S. pennellii, S. habrochaites and S. pimpinellifolium. Comparison of the plants' genomes shows the effects of evolutionary bottlenecks, Maloof noted -- for example at the original domestication in South America, and later when tomatoes were brought to Europe for cultivation.

Among other findings, genes associated with fruit color showed rapid evolution among domesticated, red-fruited tomatoes and green-fruited wild relatives. And S. pennellii, which lives in desert habitats, had accelerated evolution in genes related to drought tolerance, heat and salinity.

New technology is giving biologists the unprecedented ability to look at all the genes in an organism, not just a select handful. The researchers studied not just the plants' DNA but also the messenger RNA being transcribed from different genes. RNA transcription is the process that transforms information in genes into action. If the DNA sequence is the list of parts for making a tomato plant, the messenger RNA transcripts are the step-by-step instructions.

Gene-expression profiling, combined with an understanding of the plants' biology, allows researchers to understand how genes interact to create complex phenotypes, said Neelima Sinha, professor of plant biology at UC Davis and co-author on the paper.

"Genomics has fast-tracked previous gene-by-gene analyses that took us years to complete," she said.

"We could not have done a study like this ten years ago -- certainly not on any kind of reasonable budget," Maloof said. "It opens up a lot of new things we can do as plant scientists."


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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Texas carries out its 500th execution since 1982

Pat Hartwell places signs as she joins demonstrators in protesting the execution of Kimberly McCarthy on Wednesday, June 26, 2013 outside the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Huntsville Unit, where the death chamber is located, in Huntsville, Texas. If McCarthy is put to death as planned, she would become the 500th person executed in Texas since the state resumed carrying out the death penalty in 1982. The 52-year-old also would be the first woman executed in the U.S. since 2010. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Pat Hartwell places signs as she joins demonstrators in protesting the execution of Kimberly McCarthy on Wednesday, June 26, 2013 outside the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Huntsville Unit, where the death chamber is located, in Huntsville, Texas. If McCarthy is put to death as planned, she would become the 500th person executed in Texas since the state resumed carrying out the death penalty in 1982. The 52-year-old also would be the first woman executed in the U.S. since 2010. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows Kimberly McCarthy, who is on death row in Texas for the 1997 killing of a neighbor during a robbery. McCarthy is scheduled to be executed on June 26 and would be the 500th in Texas since the death penalty was reinstated by the Supreme Court in 1976. (AP Photo/Texas Department of Criminal Justice, File)

This photo taken May 27, 2008 file photo shows the gurney in Huntsville, Texas, where Texas' condemned are strapped down to receive a lethal dose of drugs. The first execution by lethal injection in Texas occurred in 1982. Since then the state has executed 499 prisoners. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan, File)

The Huntsville "Walls" Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Huntsville Unit, where the death chamber is located, is shown Wednesday, June 26, 2013, in Huntsville, Texas. Kimberly McCarthy, who would be the 500th person executed in Texas, is set to be executed Wednesday night, barring a reprieve. More than three decades after the Supreme Court cleared the way for the death penalty to resume in the United States, Texas prepares to execute its 500th inmate. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

FILE - This July 31, 1972 file photo shows the keys of death row and the electric chair at the Huntsville State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas. (AP Photo, File)

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) ? Texas marked a solemn moment in criminal justice Wednesday evening, executing its 500th inmate since it resumed carrying out capital punishment in 1982.

Kimberly McCarthy, who was put to death for the murder of her 71-year-old neighbor, was also the first woman executed in the U.S. in nearly three years.

McCarthy, 52, was executed for the 1997 robbery, beating and fatal stabbing of retired college psychology professor Dorothy Booth. Booth had agreed to give McCarthy a cup of sugar before she was attacked with a butcher knife and candelabra at her home in Lancaster, about 15 miles south of Dallas. Authorities say McCarthy cut off Booth's finger to remove her wedding ring.

It was among three slayings linked to McCarthy, a former nursing home therapist who became addicted to crack cocaine.

She was pronounced dead at 6:37 p.m. CDT, 20 minutes after Texas prison officials began administering a single lethal dose of pentobarbital.

In her final statement, McCarthy did not mention her status as the 500th inmate to be executed or acknowledge Booth or her family.

"This is not a loss. This is a win. You know where I'm going. I'm going home to Jesus. I love you all," she said, while looking toward her witnesses, who included her ex-husband, her attorney and her spiritual adviser.

As the drug started to take effect, McCarthy said, "God is great," before closing her eyes. She took hard, raspy, loud breaths for several seconds before becoming quiet. Then, her chest moved up and down for another minute before she stopped breathing.

Texas has carried out nearly 40 percent of the more than 1,300 executions in the U.S. since the Supreme Court allowed capital punishment to resume in 1976. The state's standing stems from its size as the nation's second-most populous state as well as its tradition of tough justice for killers.

With increased debate in recent years over wrongful convictions, some states have halted the practice entirely. However, 32 states have the death penalty on the books. Though Texas still carries out executions, lawmakers have provided more sentencing options for juries and courts have narrowed the cases for which death can be sought.

Outside the prison, about 40 protesters gathered, carrying signs saying "Death Penalty: Racist and Anti-Poor," ''Stop All Executions Now" and "Stop Killing to Stop Killings." As the hour for the execution approached, protesters began chanting and sang the old Negro spiritual "Wade in the Water."

In recent years, Texas executions have generally drawn fewer than 10 protesters. A handful of counter-demonstrators who support the death penalty gathered in another area outside the prison Wednesday.

Executions of women are infrequent. McCarthy was the 13th woman put to death in the U.S. and the fourth in Texas, the nation's busiest death penalty state, since the Supreme Court in 1976 allowed capital punishment to resume. In that same period, more than 1,300 male inmates have been executed nationwide, 496 of them in Texas. Virginia is a distant second, nearly 400 executions behind.

McCarthy's lawyer, Maurie Levin, had asked the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to halt the punishment, arguing black jurors were improperly excluded from McCarthy's trial by Dallas County prosecutors. McCarthy is black; her victim white. All but one of her 12 jurors were white. The court denied McCarthy's appeals, ruling her claims should have been raised previously.

Prosecutors said McCarthy stole Booth's Mercedes and drove to Dallas, pawned the woman's wedding ring she removed from the severed finger for $200 and went to a crack house to buy cocaine. Evidence also showed she used Booth's credit cards at a liquor store.

McCarthy blamed the crime on two drug dealers, but there was no evidence either existed.

DNA evidence also tied McCarthy to the December 1988 slayings of 81-year-old Maggie Harding and 85-year-old Jettie Lucas. Harding was stabbed and beaten with a meat tenderizer, while Lucas was beaten with both sides of a claw hammer and stabbed.

McCarthy, who denied any involvement in the attacks, was indicted but not tried for those slayings.

McCarthy is a former wife of Aaron Michaels, founder of the New Black Panther Party, and he testified on her behalf. They had separated before Booth's slaying.

In January, McCarthy was just hours away from being put to death when a Dallas judge delayed her execution.

McCarthy was the eighth Texas prisoner executed this year. She was among 10 women on death row in Texas, but the only one with an execution date. Seven male Texas prisoners have executions scheduled in the coming months.


Follow Juan A. Lozano at


Associated Press videographer John Mone contributed to this report.

Associated Press


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Ultramarathoners: Faster, Higher, Stronger And Sleepier

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Ultramarathoners: Faster, Higher, Stronger And Sleepier
An experiment with runners in the Italian Alps finds that extremely long races don't always lead to more muscle fatigue than those that were merely very long. Smart pacing and strategic naps help ultramarathoners cope with the challenges.

Source: NPR
Posted on: Thursday, Jun 27, 2013, 8:51am
Views: 11


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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

New theory: Emotions arise through the integration of perceptual and cognitive information

June 25, 2013 ? A life without feelings -- unimaginable. Although emotions are so important, philosophers are still discussing what they actually are. Prof. Dr. Albert Newen and Dr. Luca Barlassina of the Institute of Philosophy II at the Ruhr-Universit?t Bochum have drawn up a new theory. According to this, emotions are not just special cases of perception or thought but a separate kind of mental state which arises through the integration of feelings of bodily processes and cognitive contents.

They describe the model in the journal Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.

Earlier theories of emotion

Around the turn of the 20th Century, the psychologists William James and Karl Lange proposed that emotions are nothing other than perceptions of bodily states. According to the James-Lange theory, we do not tremble because we are scared, but rather we are scared because we tremble. "This theory does not, however, consider the cognitive content of many emotions," says Albert Newen. If a student is anxious about an exam, then he is experiencing this anxiety because he thinks, for example, that the exam is important and that he will have a blackout. The so-called "cognitive theory of emotions" therefore says that emotions are essentially an assessment of the situation based on reason: this dog is dangerous because he is baring his teeth. "This theory is also unsatisfactory," says Newen, "because it forgets the feelings as a central component of the emotion." A person can realistically judge that a dog is dangerous and at the same time have no fear because he is an expert in handling dangerous dogs. So the cognitive assessment does not necessarily determine the emotion.

Integrative embodiment theory of emotions

Bochum's philosophers call their new model the "integrative embodiment theory of emotions." The emotional level is -- as postulated by William James -- the central starting point. An emotion only comes into existence, however, when the perception of bodily states is integrated with other aspects. The brain has to combine at least two components here: the perception of our own bodily states in a given situation, for example trembling, and the intentional object, such as the dog, which triggers the fear. Moreover, in "cognitive" emotions, typical thought content can also play a role, for example, with regard to a bull terrier: "bull terriers are particularly strong and dangerous." The result is a separate kind of mental state, namely an emotion that we conceive as a complex pattern of distinctive characteristics.

Emotions for things that do not even exist

According to Newen and Barlassina, the new theory is also superior to Jesse Prinz's most sophisticated theory of emotions so far, because this does not take into account that an emotion can also be directed at an object that is not present or does not even exist. A case study: Karl goes with his girlfriend Antje to a new bar. Because Karl has already been served by the barkeeper Fritz, Antje waits alone at the bar. Karl hears that she is insulted, but does not see by whom. He assumes it is Fritz. In the meantime, however, Fritz has left the room and John, an employee, is at the bar. He passes the insult and then leaves immediately. When Karl comes to the bar to vent his anger at the insult, Fritz is back. Karl is angry with Fritz although the cause of his bodily states associated with the feeling of anger was the utterance by John. The cause, John, and the object of the anger, namely Fritz, do not coincide. The object of anger is also known as the intentional object of anger, because it does not have to exist. People can even experience emotions about things that aren't real, for example, fear of vampires. While all feeling theories of emotion overlook the intentional object as an essential part of the emotion, the cognitive theories do tend to forget the feeling dimension of the emotion. Only the integrative embodiment theory takes all these components into account as constitutive of the emotion.


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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Obama steps up military aid to Syrian rebels

(AP) ? President Barack Obama's decision to authorize lethal aid to Syrian rebels marks a deepening of U.S. involvement in the two-year civil war. But U.S. officials are still grappling with what type and how much weaponry to send the opposition forces and how to ensure it stays out of the hands of extremists battling for control of Syria.

U.S. officials confirmed Obama's authorization Thursday after the White House announced it had conclusive evidence that Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime used chemical weapons against opposition forces. Obama has said the use of chemical weapons would cross a "red line," suggesting greater American intervention.

While a small percentage of the 93,000 people reportedly killed in Syria are said to have died from chemical weapons ? U.S. intelligence puts the number at 100 to 150 ? the White House views the deployment of the deadly agents as a flouting of international norms. Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser, said the multiple chemical weapons attacks gave greater urgency to the situation.

"Suffice it to say this is going to be different in both scope and scale in terms of what we are providing," Rhodes said of the ramped-up U.S. response. But he added that the U.S. would make specific determinations "on our own timeline."

The Obama administration could give the rebels a range of weapons, including small arms, assault rifles, shoulder-fired rocket-propelled grenades and other anti-tank missiles. The opposition forces could operate most of that equipment without significant training.

In Syria Friday, the Foreign Ministry said, "The White House has issued a statement full of lies about the use of chemical weapons in Syria based on fabricated information. The United States is using cheap tactics to justify President Barack Obama's decision to arm the Syrian opposition."

And in Moscow, President Vladimir Putin's foreign affairs adviser said Russia not convinced with Washington's claim that Syrian regime had used chemical weapons against the opposition. Yuri Ushakov told reporters the information provided by U.S. officials to Russia "didn't look convincing."

The commander of the main Western-backed rebel group fighting in Syria said he hoped that U.S. weapons will be in the hands of rebels in the near future, noting it would boost the spirits of the fighters on the ground. "We hope to have the weapons and ammunition that we need in the near future," Gen. Salim Idris told Al-Arabiya TV.

"This will surely reflect positively on the rebels' morale, which is high despite attempts by the regime, Hezbollah and Iran to show that their morale after the fall of Qusair deteriorated," he said, referring to the town near the border with Lebanon.

Obama's opposition to sending American troops into Syria makes it less likely the U.S. will provide sophisticated arms or anti-aircraft weapons that would require large-scale training. Administration officials are also worried about high-powered weapons ending up in the hands of terrorist groups. Hezbollah fighters are among those backing Assad's armed forces, and al-Qaida-linked extremists back the rebellion.

The CIA and special operations trainers are already running some weapons training programs for the rebels and are expected to take charge of teaching the opposition how to use the weapons the U.S. has agreed to supply, another U.S. official said.

There is also some debate within the administration about who would provide the lethal aid and how it might be delivered, the U.S. officials said.

All the officials insisted on anonymity to discuss internal administration discussions.

Obama has resisted arming the rebels until now, a cautious approach that underscores the deep divisions within his administration. The proponents of more aggressive action, including Secretary of State John Kerry, appeared to have won out over those wary of sending weapons and ammunition into the war zone.

The U.S. has made no decision on operating a no-fly zone over Syria, Rhodes said.

The U.S. has so far provided the Syrian rebel army with rations and medical supplies. The administration has also agreed in principle to provide body armor and other equipment such as night-vision goggles to the rebels, although the Pentagon has said there has been no movement on that as yet.

Word of the stepped-up assistance followed new U.S. intelligence assessments showing that Assad has used chemical weapons, including sarin, on a small scale multiple times in the last year, killing an estimated 100 to 150 people.

Obama advisers believe Assad's regime still maintains control of Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles and does not see any evidence that rebel forces have launched attacks using the deadly agents.

The administration announced in April that it had "varying degrees of confidence" that sarin had been used in Syria. But they said at the time that they had not been able to determine who was responsible for deploying the gas.

The more conclusive findings announced Thursday were aided by evidence sent to the United States by France, which, along with Britain, has announced it had determined that Assad's government had used chemical weapons.

In Brussels, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Friday, "The international community has made clear that any use of chemical weapons is completely unacceptable and a clear breach of international law."

He said he welcomes the "clear U.S. statement" and called on Syria to "grant access to the United Nations to investigate all reports of chemical weapons use."

Obama has said repeatedly that the use of chemical weapons would cross a "red line" and constitute a "game changer" for U.S. policy on Syria, which until now has focused entirely on providing the opposition with nonlethal assistance and humanitarian aid.

The White House said it had notified Congress, the United Nations and key international allies about the new U.S. chemical weapons determination. Obama will discuss the assessments, along with broader problems in Syria, during the summit of eight leading industrial nations next week in Northern Ireland.

Among those in attendance will be Russian President Vladimir Putin, one of Assad's most powerful backers. Obama and Putin will hold a one-on-one meeting on the sidelines of the summit, and the U.S. leader is expected to press his Russian counterpart to drop his political and military support for the Syrian government.

But Putin's foreign affairs adviser, Yuri Ushakov, said Friday that Moscow had doubts about Washington's claim Assad had used chemical weapons against the opposition.

He told reporters the information provided by U.S. officials to Russia "didn't look convincing."

The Syrian fighters have been clamoring for bolder Western intervention, particularly given the estimated 5,000 Hezbollah guerrillas propping up Assad's forces. Assad's stunning military success last week at Qusair, near the Lebanese border, and preparations for offensives against Homs and Aleppo have made the matter more urgent.

Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he supported the president's decision "to expand assistance for the vetted Syrian opposition." But other lawmakers expressed reservations, including Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.


Associated Press writers Matthew Lee, Kimberly Dozier, Donna Cassata, Andrew Taylor in Washington and Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations contributed to this report.

Associated Press


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1/12 Suzuki Vinson Auto 500 4?4 Camo ATV | Bulletin Panda Google

1/12 Suzuki Vinson Auto 500 4?4 Camo ATV

  • Suzuki Vinson Auto 500 4?4 Camoflauge 1:12 scale diecast ATV by Newray
  • Detailed design, approx. 6.5? long
  • Comes with rifle gun and case
  • Comes with bow and arrows
  • Storage box on the back of the atv is NOT included

ATV is about 5 inches long and 4 inches high. Plastic body with metal frame. Has springed suspension, and includes rifle and rifle box.

Rating: 0 5 1/12 Suzuki Vinson Auto 500 4x4 Camo ATV(out of reviews)


List Price: $ 14.99

Price: $ 12.50


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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Jonathan Cheban Threatened on Airplane, Passenger Detained at LAX


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wv legislature allows for attorney's fees in certain workers'

In 2009, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals created a formal Access to Justice program for the State of West Virginia.? The Access to Justice program was established to determine the needs of citizens accessing the justice system in the state.? One of the issues identified by the Access to Justice Commission was the lack of ability for claimants to obtain counsel in the litigation of denied medical treatment issues in workers? compensation claims.? Accordingly, Supreme Court Justice Brent Benjamin formed a committee to address this issue.

This committee is composed of attorneys from the claimant and employer bars, as well as attorneys from workers? compensation administrative bodies, such as the West Virginia Insurance Commission, the Chief Administrative Law Judge of the West Virginia Insurance Commission Office of Judges, and the West Virginia Insurance Commission Board of Review.? This Committee drafted an amended West Virginia Code ?23-5-16, providing that attorney?s fees may be awarded for successful recovery of denied medical benefits in certain workers? compensation cases and providing fee limits in those cases.

W. Va. Code ? 23-5-16 provides guidelines for the fees that may be charged by an attorney for a claimant in workers? compensation claims.? The former enactment of this code section only provided that no attorney?s fee in excess of 20% of any award granted shall be charged or received by an attorney for a claimant and in no case shall the fee received by the attorney for such claimant or dependent be in excess of 20% of the benefits to be paid during a period of 208 weeks.? Essentially, the upshot of the former statute was that attorneys representing claimants were entitled to a portion of the claimant?s monetary awards granted in worker?s compensation claims, usually including the award of temporary total disability benefits, permanent partial disability benefits, permanent total disability benefits, and/or temporary partial disability benefits.

The issue identified by the Committee was that the claimants who only needed medical issues to be litigated were having a difficult time finding attorneys to represent them because there was no mechanism in place to obtain attorney?s fees as medical treatment issues did not result in monetary awards, and instead, would result in the treatment being authorized or denied.? Accordingly, the Committee drafted legislation which was passed on April?13, 2013, and signed into law by Governor Tomblin on May 1, 2013, which provides that attorney?s fees may be awarded for successful recovery of denied medical benefits.? These attorney?s fees are to be paid by the private carrier or self-insured employer for a claimant when that claimant?s attorney is successful in litigating the denied medical treatment issue.? The statute specifically provides that, if a claimant successfully prevails in a proceeding relating to a denial of medical benefits, the reasonable costs and reasonable hourly attorney?s fees of the claimant shall be charged against the private carriers or self-insured employers, whichever is applicable.

Following the successful resolution of the denial of treatment in favor of the claimant, the claimant?s attorney shall submit a fee petition to the Insurance Commissioner, arbitrator, mediator, Office of Judges, Board of Review, or Court, whichever enters the final decision on the issue.? The claimant?s attorney must submit such a claim for attorney?s fees and costs within thirty (30) days following a decision in which the claimant prevails and the order becomes final.? Thereafter, the Insurance Commissioner, arbitrator, mediator, Office of Judges, Board of Review, or Court shall enter an order within thirty (30) days awarding reasonable attorney?s fees, not to exceed $125.00/hour and reasonable costs of the claimant to be paid by the private carriers or self-insured employers as directed.? The statute provides that in no event may an award for claimant?s attorney?s fees exceed $500.00 per litigated medical issue and $2,500.00 in a claim.? In determining the reasonableness of the attorney?s fees, the Insurance Commission, etc., shall consider the experience of the attorney, the complexity of the issue, the hours expended, and the contingent nature of the fee.


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Johnson dominates in win at Pocono Raceway

Jimmie Johnson celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Pocono 400 auto race on Sunday, June 9, 2013, in Long Pond, Pa. (AP Photo/Russ Hamilton Sr.)

Jimmie Johnson celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Pocono 400 auto race on Sunday, June 9, 2013, in Long Pond, Pa. (AP Photo/Russ Hamilton Sr.)

Driver Jimmie Johnson, center, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Pocono 400 auto race, Sunday, June 9, 2013, in Long Pond, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Jimmie Johnson smokes his tires past crew members to celebrate after winning the NASCAR Pocono 400 auto race on Sunday, June 9, 2013, in Long Pond, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Jimmie Johnson crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Pocono 400 auto race on Sunday, June 9, 2013, in Long Pond, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Jimmie Johnson crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Pocono 400 auto race, Sunday, June 9, 2013, in Long Pond, Pa. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

(AP) ? Jimmie Johnson absolutely dominated Sunday at Pocono Raceway for his third victory of the season.

The Sprint Cup points leader, Johnson pulled away on both of the last two restarts over the final 10 laps to pull into Victory Lane at Pocono for the first time since he swept both races in 2004.

Johnson also won the Daytona 500 and at Martinsville Speedway this season. He led 128 of 160 laps for his 63rd career Cup victory, and was never seriously challenged a week after his run at a possible win at Dover International Speedway was taken away by a penalty off a restart.

Greg Biffle was second and Dale Earnhardt Jr., Johnson's teammate, was third. Dover winner Tony Stewart was fourth, followed by fellow Stewart-Haas Racing driver Ryan Newman.

"I really didn't have anything for Jimmie," Biffle said. "Jimmie was in a league of his own."

Johnson started first and won from the pole after rain washed out qualifying Friday.

He could be celebrating back-to-back wins had it not been for a pass-through penalty last week in the final laps at Dover. NASCAR penalized him for jumping leader Juan Pablo Montoya off the restart with 19 laps left and he finished 17th.

It was a rare misstep for the five-time champion but he rebounded just fine at Pocono. He pretty much only lost the lead because of pit stop cycles.

After only one caution in the first 125 laps, they came in bunches over the last 35. Johnson held off Earnhardt with nine laps left and pulled away one more time with four to go.

"He's one of the best drivers this sport has ever seen," Earnhardt said.

Earnhardt would love a repeat of last season when he was in contention at Pocono before settling for eighth, then won the next week at Michigan International Speedway. He wasn't won since ? and Michigan is on deck.

"We want to get a win, man," Earnhardt said. "I can see it right there in front of me. I really thought we got close."

Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano rounded out the top 10.

Associated Press


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Monday, June 10, 2013

5th victim of Santa Monica shooting dies

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) ? A woman who was critically wounded in the Santa Monica shooting rampage has died, bringing the total number of victims killed by the gunman to five.

Santa Monica College officials say 26-year-old Marcela Franco died Sunday at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

She had been a passenger in a Ford Explorer driven by her father, 68-year-old campus employee Carlos Navarro Franco, who also was killed in the attack.

Police shot the gunman dead in the school's library Friday.

The shooter has not been identified because police are working to contact his next of kin.


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