Several electronic road construction signs around Anchorage were hacked late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning, according to the state Department of Transportation.
Signs that normally display closure and detour information, like the one on Minnesota Drive near 100th Avenue, were changed to read "Impeach Obama." That particular sign wasn't fixed until sometime between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. Thursday.
It happened because DOT says it doesn't lock the boxes on the signs that hold the message control pad.
Construction managers say sign-hacking has never happened before, so they never thought to lock the boxes.
DOT says that changed this morning, and now all of them will be locked.
"I'm sure somebody thought it was a pretty funny joke but we try to convey a lot of important information with these signs," said Tim Croghan, a regional construction engineer for DOT. Seems important to me ....
Tamara Douglas snapped a picture of the sign message around 6 a.m. Thursday. Neither Tim Croghan nor the reporter who put this piece together do any homework. Click on the graphic and read it. :-)
Posted by: Eric Jablow ||
I went to the Del Mar Fair last week, aka the Southern California Exposition. It is a really big deal in these parts with thousands of people in attendance every day. Thousands upon thousands. Well, while I was there, somebody had hired an airplane to tow a banner over the beach where everybody could see it and it read:
IMPEACH OBAMA - NO DICTATORS
Posted by: Abu Uluque ||
Abu, that's a gutsy pilot - he may get his licence pulled for that.
See? They do have other exports beyond addictive mood enhancers and women-killers.
Afghanistan is now the world's sixth largest exporter of raisins, an improvement since the years of the civil war destroyed much of this product and its export capacity, the Export Promotion Agency of Afghansitan(EPAA) said Saturday.
Although the country is still nowhere near its hey-day of being the number one exporter - the peak being around the time of President Daoud Khan (1973) - the EPAA said the sector was improving each year with exports now reaching 43 countries.
"We are in the sixth position of 12 countries that export raisins. We increased our exports from 8,500 tonnes to 24,000 tonnes in the last year," Sayed Azim Mustafa Hashimi of the EPAA's Raisins, Fruits and Vegetables department told TOLOnews.
"But in terms of quality, Afghanistan has first position," he added.
Before the civil war, Afghanistan was exporting 210,000 tonnes per year all around the world, according to the EPAA.
The civil war seriously destroyed much of its export capacity, but recent years have seen massive growth to international markets.
Afghan traders, however, said the industry still faces big challenges in terms transit and lack of good markets.
Head of the Raisin Exporter Union Haji Farid said delays plague the exporters.
"The government needs to facilitate [the exports]. Afghan traders and I wanted to export raisins to London but [our produce] was stopped for 50 days in Pakistain's Beautiful Downtown Peshawar," he told TOLOnews.
Egypt's President Mohammed Mursi has ordered parliament to reconvene, a month after it was dissolved.
The Supreme Court had ruled parliament unconstitutional as party members contested seats reserved for independents. The military, then running the country, enforced the move.
But Mr Mursi, whose Moslem Brüderbund won most seats, said the chamber should reconvene until a new election is held.
His decision will be seen as a direct challenge to the army, analysts say.
Mr Mursi was installed as the country's first freely elected president last month.
The military had taken over the reins of power after the revolution that ended strongman Hosni Mubarak ...The former President-for-Life of Egypt, dumped by popular demand in early 2011... 's 30-year rule last year.
The army move was initially welcomed by many of the protesters, but became increasingly unpopular as critics accused its leaders of wanting to hold on to power.
Army chiefs formally handed power to Mr Mursi on 30 June, but before his election they granted themselves sweeping powers.
A constitutional declaration stripped the president of any authority over the military, gave military chiefs legislative powers, and ordered that the military would install a panel to frame new constitution.
However, we can't all be heroes. Somebody has to sit on the curb and applaud when they go by... in his presidential decree, Mr Mursi said the recalled parliament would frame a new constitution.
A new election would be held 60 days after the constitution had been agreed by referendum, the decree said.
On a speech on the day of his inauguration, Mr Mursi said parliament had been elected in a free and fair vote.
"The army is now returning to its original role, protecting the nation and its borders," he said.
The M4 motorway between London and Heathrow Airport has been closed to all traffic after cracks were found in a "sensitive" area of the road structure, prompting fears of traffic chaos during the Olympics.
I've driven that recently. Any closing on that road will be a major mess.
Charges continue to be levelled in local as well as national Mexican press about widespread vote buying in the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) return to the presidency of Mexico in last week's national elections.
Partido de Revolucion Democratica (PRD) leader José de Jesus Zambrano Grijalva called Saturday to join forces with Partido Accion Nacional (PAN) leaders to press an investigation over allegations that millions of voters received gift cards, mostly in the form of Sorianna store cards. The issue will be hard coded campaign spending limits, which if true, PRI blew past.
Immediately following the initial vote count, Mexico's independent Institutio Federal Electoral (IFE) began an immediate audit Monday of roughly half the polling places. That audit quietly concluded Friday that the PRI's win is confirmed, even though the issue of vote buying by PRI seems to be gaining traction in the national press. IFE may well be forced to deal with the issue sooner rather than later.
As a matter of evaluating the strength of the win, PRI's Enrique Pena Nieto gained votes in convincing fashion with more than 18,727,398 votes versus his nearest rival PRD's Andres Manual Lopez Obrador with 15,535,117 votes, a margin of more than six percent. This contrasts with the 2006 presidential race in which Lopez Obrador was narrowly defeated by PAN's Felipe Calderon Hinojosa by less than one percent of the total vote.
Similarly in the six statehouses up for election, PRI won four of the six with PAN retaining only one, Guanajuato, and PRD retaining Chiapas. The remainder, Jalisco, Morelos, Tabasco and Yucatan all went PRI. The totality of the PRI's win in those four statehouses is exemplified by Jalisco state, which had previously been held by PAN. In that state, PRI won 16 of 20 seats in the Jalisco state Chamber of Deputies with PAN winning or retaining five and PRD-aligned Movimiento Cuidadano retaining only one.
What made the win in the Jalisco local deputies contest so stark was that even in races with wide margins of victories, opposition parties win at least a large plurality of seats. Not so in Jalisco, even with a relatively close four point margin of victory by PRI's Aristoteles Sandoval. Governor elect Sandoval will likely have a easy time in the coming three years dealing with a pliant and friendly legislature.
The taking of the four remaining statehouses by PRI is exemplary of the ground game PRI has had since 2010, when PRI won or flipped 11 of 14 statehouses under the auspices of Beatriz Parades Rangel. That political juggernaut continued in 2011 under Humberto Moreira with PRI winning five of seven statehouses, among them Mexico state, Guerrero, Coahuila and Michoacan. As matters stand now, PRI now retains control of 21 of 31 Mexican states. The year 2012 is a stunning one with with PRI holding tremendous political power at the local level.
Except for the national Chamber of Deputies.
Even with a convincing win over his nearest rival by almost 3 million votes, in perhaps the most under reported Mexican political story since 2010, PRI failed to gain a majority in the Chamber of Deputies. In 2006 going from 123 seats of 500 versus their victorious rivals in PAN with 206, PRI has along with ally Partido Verde Ecologista Mexicano (PVEM) or Greens Party managed to gain a total of 232 seats. PAN has lost ground with 118, while PRI's rival PRD fell to 142 seats from 156 in 2006.
PRI's problem now is to attempt to paper over widespread charges of election fraud while trying to advance their legislative agenda in the face of two major parties currently in no mood to horsetrade. The current political set up will make life very difficult for Pena Nieto even if PRI is willing to compromise to advance their legislative agenda.
In Mexico the presidency is a powerful position, one in which the party in power can advance some elements of their own agenda without legislative oversight, especially in the area of security, where Pena Nieto is commander in chief of all Mexican security forces, and in the area of Mexican federalism.
Pena Nieto has inherited 21 PRI political entities, most of them with a tremendous public debt load acquired over the last two years. Coahuila is but one extreme example with the largest per capita public debt load of any state in Mexico, with at least some of that borrowed money illegally transferred into foreign private banks. The amount of debt contracted by Coahuila state is so large that the entire payroll tax collection of the state has been pledged as collateral in exchange for servicing that debt.
Coahuila state is an extreme example but not the only one by far. Pena Nieto's Mexico state and Veracruz are two more states with political leadership which has acquired public debt at a staggering pace. Like all public debt that money will be repaid and a political price will be paid to do it.
However, not content with losing control of several states which have large public debt load, PRI governor's are likely to appeal to Pena Nieto in the early going to relieve their federal requirements, especially if debt coupons rise. This is one area in which Pena Nieto will be forced to make hard choices. Support PRI governors in 21 entities by easing federal requirements as to tax collections and how locally levied moneys get spent, or attempt to appeal to a hostile legislature to bail out those states.
If the Chamber of Deputies do decide to bail out the states, those moneys are likely to come with strings attached, the result of which could be a severe decline in the political fortunes of the PRI in the short term. Even with midterm elections still three years away, under the conditions local governors have created, that time could well be a nightmare for Pena Nieto.
China has lodged solemn representation and protest to Japan for violating its territorial sovereignty after two Japanese activists landed on its Diaoyu Islands, according to a Foreign Ministry spokesman on Friday.
Media reports said two Japanese right-wing activists went ashore on Beixiaodao, an islet of the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea on Thursday.
"The Diaoyu Islands and its affiliated islands have been China's inherent territory since ancient times," Liu Weimin reiterated, noting that the illegal actions of the activists gravely violated China's territorial sovereignty. Liu made the remarks at a routine press briefing when asked to comment on the incident.
CHINA DAILY FORUM > [Xinhua = PRC Foreign Ministry] CHINA'S [holy]TERRITORY NOT ALLOWED FOR SALE, to anyone.
* INDIAN DEFENCE FORUM > CHINA AND THE US HEADING TOWARDS A NAVAL WAR IN THE PACIFIC | [PKSECURITY.blogspot] NATIONAL SECURITY: IMMINENT NAVAL CONFLICT BETWEEN NUMBER ONE AND NUMBER TWO IN THE PACIFIC ...
Michelle wanted to be a brain scientist to help cure diseases. She planned a traditional academic science career: PhD, university professorship and, eventually, her own lab. But three years after earning a doctorate in neuroscience, she gave up trying to find a permanent job in her field.
Dropping her dream, she took an administrative position at her university, experiencing firsthand an economic reality that, at first look to a journalist, is counter-intuitive: There are too many laboratory scientists for too few jobs. I wondered if she had a PhD from Toejam Tech, so I went looking and found her profile. Looked pretty good to me, until I got to this - "Last year, I was "The Flood" in UAB's production of "The Vagina Monologues."
That reality runs counter to messages sent by President Obama and the National Science Foundation and other influential groups, who in recent years have called for U.S. universities to churn out more scientists.
Obama has made science education a priority, launching a White House science fair to get young people interested in the field.
But it's questionable whether those youths will be able to find work when they get a PhD. Maybe we need worker bee engineers, not PhDs.
Although jobs in some high-tech areas, especially computer and petroleum engineering, seem to be booming, the market is much tighter for lab-bound scientists -- those seeking new discoveries in biology, chemistry and medicine.
"There have been many predictions of [science] labor shortages and . . . robust job growth," said Jim Austin, editor of the online magazine ScienceCareers. "And yet, it seems awfully hard for people to find a job. Anyone who goes into science expecting employers to clamor for their services will be deeply disappointed." If you are over-educated and played a part in "The Vagina Monologues". But now we get to the heart of Michelle's problem -
The pharmaceutical industry once was a haven for biologists and chemists who did not go into academia. Well-paying, stable research jobs were plentiful in the Northeast, the San Francisco Bay area and other hubs. But a decade of slash-and-burn mergers; stagnating profit; exporting of jobs to India, China and Europe; and declining investment in research and development have dramatically shrunk the U.S. drug industry, with research positions taking heavy hits.
Since 2000, U.S. drug firms have slashed 300,000 jobs, according to an analysis by consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. In the latest closure, Roche last month announced it is shuttering its storied Nutley, N.J., campus -- where Valium was invented -- and shedding another 1,000 research jobs. I blame the upcoming implementation of Obamacare.
..declining investment in research and development have dramatically shrunk the U.S. drug industry
Waiting X years for the FDA approval drags on the ROI, not to mention that with a glut of lawyers [advertizing on daily on TV] hoping to hit the Lotto Jackpot of litigation the interest isn't there. Given that you're dealing with 300 million people there won't be a perfect drug that doesn't negatively effect some people. You think asprin could get approval today with its potential side effects?
We do indeed educate a lot of PhDs who won't ever get a chance to grab the brass ring in academia.
There's an old saying about what the young scientists want us old scientists to do: die and get out of the way.
For various reasons, we train a lot more people than we can bring up behind us. That's not going to change until 1) the higher education bubble bursts and 2) PhD candidates see that going to industry and making money is just as honorable as staying on as a post-doc at Enormous State University.
Posted by: Steve White ||
I'm still not sure all this computes with my experience at NIA. I'd have guessed that the majority of the scientists were foreign-born, with the emphasis on Chinese, Russian, and South Asians. I'm not sure about the ratios among the post-docs, but I'm guessing that's where people like Michelle showed up, working for salaries that could only be called nominal to get their names included on papers and the positions included on their resumes. I guess from that point they moved on to admin positions at their universities...
Waiting X years for the FDA approval drags on the ROI ....
All true but while the US is probably the world's single largest market it's far from the only one. In much of the world pharmaceuticals don't benefit from patent protection and where they do they often suffer from price controls. Innovation in that area is dying because the world has collectively chosen, via any number of mechanisms, to heavily suppress the profit motive.
For decades there has been a surplus of some types of technical specialties. Chemists have been surplus for some years, mechanical engineers for other years, lawyers in recent years, etc.
Posted by: lord garth ||
This is the result of the current practice of using graduate students as cheap (scholarships don't include payments to pension funds, etc..) labor. Do the math: a tenured professor has dozens of coolies graduate students during his/hers career.
Here is my take as a 30 year industrial R&D chemist: we "educate" more graduates in all technical fields that we can usefully employ in the low-functioning manufacturing economy that we now have. For many programs, the degree has become a credential with being a qualification. Companies, which at least in theory, create value cannot afford large R&D organizations. Business is bad. Regulations have become kudzu-like impediments to new commercialization. And after all that the Precautionary Principle rises up to stop anything that is left. This is why manufacturing has moved to Asia, cheaper labor (temporarily), but fewer regulations.
One of the problems is simply the necessity of specializing in something to get your PhD, and the long time required to do it. Once you specialize, you are less-than-qualified for positions outside that narrow field. I have run up against this again and again -- "We need someone to employ X technique on phenomenon Y, but you only know about X technique on phenomenon Z. No job for you!"
Now, you'd think that a person capable of getting a PhD would be able to bone up on phenomenon Y in a pretty short time, and you'd be right. But there's no need, because there's always -- always -- someone available who does exactly the kind of research needed. This is especially true in a global job market.
This has been true since the 1980s, at least. But once in a while a promising new field opens up, a field no one has specialized in, because it's new. Then it's kind of like a gold rush, and you get this sort of hand-wringing and pearl-clutching about our critical shortage of scientists.
I would not advise a young person to go into pure science unless his parents are rich.
Nah. I think we need more radical-chic zombies indoctrinated in oppressed-group studies, social "sciences," and other liberal arts majors that reward conformity and orthodoxy over math, logic, and empirical data.
When I was a wee sprout in the early '80s, I worked for an aerospace outfit. The old timers told me of the days when the bottom dropped out of the aerospace market and engineers joked, "Last one out of Seattle, please turn off the lights."
Best Buy Co. Inc. is cutting 2,400 jobs, including 600 Geek Squad tech support specialists and 1,800 store employees, as the company tries to redirect its resources toward new growth strategies, such as small-business services and its next-generation Connected Stores.
The layoffs represent about 1.4 percent of the company's global workforce of 167,000. Best Buy, which employs more than 7,500 people in Minnesota, did not disclose how many local workers will lose their jobs.
The cuts are in addition to a three-year restructuring plan announced earlier this year, in which the company pledged to trim 400 corporate jobs and eliminate 50 of its 1,100 big-box stores nationwide to secure $800 million in savings.
"We are working to minimize the impact of the changes on employees while building the foundation for a strong future," company front man Bruce Hight said Friday in a statement. The company declined to make an executive available for an interview.
The retail giant, which began in 1966 as a fledgling music store in St. Paul, remains the largest consumer electronics retailer in the country with annual sales topping $50 billion. But in recent years, the retailer has struggled to grow sales as shoppers turned to Wal-Mart, Target and Amazon.
In a recent speech to shareholders, interim CEO G. "Mike" Mikan suggested the days of Best Buy generating significant cash flow without making changes to its operations are nearing an end.
"This is a fundamental shift," Mikan said. "This isn't just about selling connections and tech repair. Our people will offer advice and insight.... We're going to make tough decisions about shrinking the company's physical footprint. Total square footage will go down as we make decisions about the best use of resources."
The decision to eliminate Geek Squad personnel puzzled some analysts, who say the tech support business is one of Best Buy's strongest assets.
"This is institutional insanity," said Burt Flickinger III, managing director of Strategic Resource Group consulting group in New York. Best Buy "is cutting its best and brightest people at a time when the company is fighting for its future."
Best Buy officials say the cuts, which represent about 3 percent of Geek Squad's 20,000-strong workforce, primarily affect technicians who service televisions and appliances at consumers' homes. Sales of televisions in particular, once one of Best Buy's strongest categories, have languished in recent years as prices dropped and more retailers encroached on Best Buy's turf.
"We recently made some adjustments to position our talent where we're seeing growth and give our agents the opportunity to serve customers best," Matthew Furman, Best Buy's senior vice president of communications and public policy, told Dow Jones Newswires.
Top heavy management. The first thing they do is cut what they view as the easiest. Cut costs so cut help. Now they are going after small business when in this economy small business is being besieged with increased operating costs. Next generation connected stores?. What is that, Internet?. Retail stores are big money hole where a few will do well but many will not. Perhaps share space and store help in prime market areas. In Norway they cut their postal service to where them get mail on the Internet. They have postal parcel/mail services at food markets or other high traffic locations. Norway is Socialist so maybe they can do that there. The government controls everything. Wait!, they do that here.
if you remember Best Buy was a platinum sponsor of some Minnesota CAIR confab earlier this year
shows brilliant management
Posted by: lord garth ||
Best Buy's decline is best summed up by the term "showrooming". It's the trend by which prospective consumers visit a bricks and mortar facility to compare products then purchase elsewhere at lower prices. Many years ago Best Buy made a strategic decision to eliminate the role of "commissioned sales". Why buy from a glorified order taker with diversity training when you can get a better value with a click of the mouse?
Many corporations are downsizing at this time. Dividend payouts are very good right now. Anyone now employed must be cross trained and must multi task. I see workers in most occupations being rented. Let someone else deal with the payroll, benefits and government demands.
The two advantages bricks & mortar have over on-line are trained salespeople who know the product and you can get it *now*. Circuit City demonstrated how not to take advantage of that by firing all their trained salesforce.
Shedding personal is the classic symptom of a failing company, the mastodon flailing in the tar pit.
The closer: The fact is ObamaCare will provide lower quality care at higher prices. This is why if liberals really care about the poor they would oppose ObamaCare and support real solutions like Tort reform and opening up the sale of health insurance across State lines.
The United States said on Wednesday it was reviewing a U.N. agency's dealings with Iran and North Korea after documents showed the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) had supplied high-tech equipment to the countries despite the sanctions against them.
The Geneva-based WIPO, a 185-member body that includes Iran, sent 20 Hewlett-Packard Compaq desktop computers to Iranian authorities, according to correspondence between WIPO and the Iranian agency dealing with intellectual property, dated August 2010.
The agency also sent sophisticated computers and data-storage servers to North Korea.
Hamas, always the voice of sweet reason, official Kamal Ranaja, whose body was found in his Damascus ...Capital of the last overtly fascist regime in the world... home last Wednesday, was not assassinated but rather was the victim of a household fire, an investigation carried out by the Islamist group derived.
Hamas was quick to blame Israel for Ranaja's death, saying he was assassinated by Mossad agents.'
Israel denied any involvement in the case; but Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Army Radio on Thursday that Ranaja was not "one of the most righteous men of his generation."
According to a Friday report by the London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat, a Hamas probe into Ranaja's death derived that he died of smoke inhalation, following a fire that broke out in his home.
A Hamas investigation found that the generator in Ranaja's home malfunctioned and sparked a fire.
Investigators concluded that though hurt, Ranaja attempted to crawl out of the apartment, but succumbed to the smoke.
Friday's report also contradicted accusations made by the Syrian opposition, which claimed Ranaja was assassinated by Assad's regime, as a message to "ungrateful" Hamas.
Hamas, however, negated the possibility that Syria or Israel were linked to Ranaja's death, stressing that since he "had nothing to do with the movement military or security operations, no one had a reason to target him."
[An Nahar] A live television talk show in Jordan produced a torrent of insults, a shoe flying across the studio and a pistol being whipped out, as the host desperately tried to keep two rival politicians apart.
The show on private satellite channel Jo Sat, aired on Friday, started to spin out of control after MP Mohammad Shawabka accused former deputy Mansur Murad of working as a spy for the Syrian regime.
The charge led to an sharp exchange of insults and accusations.
"You are a spy in the pay of the Syrian regime," insisted Shawabka, only to be accused by Murad of being "spy in the pay of (Israel's secret service) Mossad and a thief."
The MP hurled his shoe as his accuser and threatened him with a pistol as both men jumped out of their seats, with the moderator scrambling between the men close up in front of the camera to keep tempers from flaring into all-out violence.
Jordan, where activists have been staging pro-reform and anti-corruption demonstrations, has also been the scene of several anti-Damascus ...Capital of the last overtly fascist regime in the world... protests since the outbreak of the March 2011 revolt in neighboring Syria.
Ahmadis believe that the 'kill the infidel' verses and other harsh verses in the Koran are no longer applicable. One major problem is 33:40 in the Koran which seems to say that Mohammud is the final prophet which, if taken literally would make Mirza Ahmad, the Ahmadi founder, a false prophet and his followers as heretics.
Posted by: lord garth ||