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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A United Nations forecast of radioactive plume coming from Japanese reactors shows it touching California late Friday -

A United Nations forecast of radioactive plume coming from Japanese reactors shows it touching California late Friday -



A United Nations forecast of the possible movement of the radioactive plume coming from crippled Japanese reactors shows it churning across the Pacific and touching the Aleutian Islands on Thursday before hitting Southern California late Friday.
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Jung Yeon-Je/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
At a rail station in South Korea on Wednesday, passengers viewed news reports about Japan.
Health and nuclear experts emphasize that radiation in the plume will be diluted as it travels and, at worst, would have extremely minor health consequences in the United States, even if hints of it are ultimately detectable. In a similar way, radiation from the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 spread around the globe and reached the West Coast of the United States in 10 days, its levels measurable but minuscule.

The projection, by the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, an arm of the United Nations in Vienna, gives no information about actual radiation levels but only shows how a radioactive plume would probably move and disperse.

The forecast, calculated Tuesday, is based on patterns of Pacific winds at that time and the predicted path is likely to change as weather patterns shift.

On Sunday, the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission said it expected that no “harmful levels of radioactivity” would travel from Japan to the United States “given the thousands of miles between the two countries.”

The test ban treaty group routinely does radiation projections in an effort to understand which of its global stations to activate for monitoring the worldwide ban on nuclear arms testing. It has more than 60 stations that sniff the air for radiation spikes and uses weather forecasts and powerful computers to model the transport of radiation on the winds.

On Wednesday, the agency declined to release its Japanese forecast, which The New York Times obtained from other sources. The forecast was distributed widely to the agency’s member states.

But in interviews, the technical specialists of the agency did address how and why the forecast had been drawn up.

“It’s simply an indication,” said Lassina Zerbo, head of the agency’s International Data Center. “We have global coverage. So when something happens, it’s important for us to know which station can pick up the event.”

For instance, the Japan forecast shows that the radioactive plume will probably miss the agency’s monitoring stations at Midway and in the Hawaiian Islands but is likely to be detected in the Aleutians and at a monitoring station in Sacramento.

The forecast assumes that radioactivity in Japan is released continuously and forms a rising plume. It ends with the plume heading into Southern California and the American Southwest, including Nevada, Utah and Arizona. The plume would have continued eastward if the United Nations scientists had run the projection forward.

Earlier this week, the leading edge of the tangible plume was detected by the Navy’s Seventh Fleet when it was operating about 100 miles northeast of the Japanese reactor complex. On Monday, the Navy said it had repositioned its ships and aircraft off Japan “as a precautionary measure.”

The United Nations agency has also detected radiation from the stricken reactor complex at its detector station in Gunma, Japan, which lies about 130 miles to the southwest.

The chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Gregory B. Jaczko, said Monday that the plume posed no danger to the United States. “You just aren’t going to have any radiological material that, by the time it traveled those large distances, could present any risk to the American public,” he said in a White House briefing.

Mr. Jaczko was asked if the meltdown of a core of one of the reactors would increase the chance of harmful radiation reaching Hawaii or the West Coast.

“I don’t want to speculate on various scenarios,” he replied. “But based on the design and the distances involved, it is very unlikely that there would be any harmful impacts.”

The likely path of the main Japanese plume across the Pacific has also caught the attention of Europeans, many of whom recall how the much closer Chernobyl reactor in Ukraine began spewing radiation.

In Germany on Wednesday, the Federal Office for Radiation Protection held a news conference that described the threat from the Japanese plume as trifling and said there was no need for people to take iodine tablets. The pills can prevent poisoning from the atmospheric release of iodine-131, a radioactive byproduct of nuclear plants. The United States is also carefully monitoring and forecasting the plume’s movements. The agencies include the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Energy.

On Wednesday, Steven Chu, the energy secretary, told Congress that the United States was planning to deploy equipment in Japan that could detect radiation exposure on the ground and in the air. In total, the department’s team includes 39 people and more than eight tons of equipment.

“We continue to offer assistance in any way we can,” Dr. Chu said at a hearing, “as well as informing ourselves of what the situation is.”

Read more - http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/17/science/17plume.html?_r=1


Braves Minor League Manager Loses Eye After Being Struck by Foul Ball -

Braves Minor League Manager Loses Eye After Being Struck by Foul Ball -



Atlanta Braves minor league manager Luis Salazar has lost an eye after he was struck in the face by a line drive while watching a spring training game.
Braves general manager Frank Wren said Wednesday that doctors were unable to save Salazar's left eye after the accident March 9. The former major league player is otherwise recovering from his injuries and expects to manage Lynchburg of the Class A Carolina League this season.
The 54-year-old Salazar was standing against the railing on the top step of the dugout during a game between the Braves and St. Louis Cardinals when Brian McCann fouled a ball in his direction. Salazar was unable to get out of the way and fell head-first back into the dugout.
The game was stopped for almost 20 minutes so Salazar could be airlifted to an Orlando hospital. He regained consciousness on the way and was treated for multiple facial fractures, but doctors were unable to save his left eye.
"In the big picture, and that's what we have to keep in mind, this is a good outcome," Wren said. "He's alive."
McCann was badly shaken and didn't return when the game resumed. He visited Salazar in the hospital and has stayed in touch.
"It's a crazy, crazy thing that happened," McCann said the day after Salazar was struck. "So unfortunate. You feel hopeless."
Wren said that Salazar would spend about a week at home in Boca Raton, Fla., and then return to Braves camp at some point this spring. The minor-league season begins April 7 and Salazar had been serving as an extra major league coach when struck.
"Doctors have told us and him that there is no reason why in about four or six weeks, he can't manage his team as he anticipated," Wren said.
Salazar is in his first year with the Braves organization.


Read more: http://foxnews.com/sports/2011/03/16/braves-minor-league-manager-loses-eye-struck-foul-ball/#ixzz1Gp8pkSFJ

Let The Bombing Commence: UN Set To Impose "No Fly Zone" Over Libya -

Let The Bombing Commence: UN Set To Impose "No Fly Zone" Over Libya -

The endgame in Libya begins. The UN has agreed on a draft resolution to implement a no fly zone over Libya, which means the bombing may commence as soon as the vote passes later today. As to what Gaddafi's retaliation will be, and whether he will burn down the oil wells, which previously were in rebel hands, but have since fallen back into his control, we will surely find out in the next 24 hours. From AFP: "UN Security Council members agreed on a draft resolution that will impose a no-fly zone over Libya, diplomats in New York said. The decision will be brought up for a vote later in the day."


Read more - http://www.zerohedge.com/article/let-bombing-commence-un-imposes-no-fly-zone-over-libya

U.S. officials alarmed at how the Japanese are handling the nuclear reactor crisis fear situation "deadly for decades" -

U.S. officials alarmed at how the Japanese are handling the nuclear reactor crisis fear situation "deadly for decades" -



U.S. officials are alarmed at how the Japanese are handling the escalating nuclear reactor crisis and fear that if they do not get control of the plants within the next 24 to 48 hours they could have a situation that will be "deadly for decades."
"It would be hard to describe how alarming this is right now," one U.S. official told ABC News.


President Obama has been briefed by nuclear experts.
The Japanese have evacuated most of the reactor personnel from the Fukushima nuclear complex and are rotating teams of 50 workers through the facility in an attempt to cool it down.
"We are all-out urging the Japanese to get more people back in there to do emergency operation there, that the next 24 to 48 hours are critical," the official said. "Urgent efforts are needed on the part of the Japanese to restore emergency operations to cool" down the reactors' rods before they trigger a meltdown.
"They need to stop pulling out people—and step up with getting them back in the reactor to cool it. There is a recognition this is a suicide mission," the official said.
The official said the United States is in very deep consultations with Japanese about the way forward and that the only thing that has been favorable is the wind pattern that is blowing the contaminated material out to sea instead south towards Tokyo and other populated areas, but that can't be counted upon.

Radiation Found on NBC News Crew - after returning to his hotel from spending time in the field -

Radiation Found on NBC News Crew - after returning to his hotel from spending time in the field -





Yesterday we reported that TV news crews were on the move due to fears of radiation exposure. Today we saw the first example of why those moves were made.
On “Today” this morning, NBC News anchor Lester Holt revealed that he and his crew tested positive for small traces of radiation after returning to his hotel from spending time in the field.
Luckily, as Holt explains, the amount of radiation he was exposed to was very small. His shoes, however, will not be coming back to the U.S. after his trip ends.

Geithner says Congress must raise debt limit - no alternative except for Congress to raise the debt ceiling -

Geithner says Congress must raise debt limit -  no alternative except for Congress to raise the debt ceiling - 


Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Wednesday that there was no alternative except for Congress to raise the debt ceiling so that the government can keep borrowing.
"Congress has to do it. There's no alternative," he said in response to questions at a House of Representatives appropriations subcommittee.
He repeated a warning that it would be have "catastrophic" consequences for the economy if the debt ceiling was not raised and the country defaulted on its debt obligations.

Trump Ready to Spend $600 Million on Run - says he's willing to open war chest for possible presidential run -

Trump Ready to Spend $600 Million on Run - says he's willing to open war chest for possible presidential run -

Mizuho Bank in Japan said that all of its automatic teller machines (ATM) throughout Japan have stopped working -

Mizuho Bank in Japan said that all of its automatic teller machines (ATM) throughout Japan have stopped working -


Mizuho, the second-largest financial services company in Japan, has just locked out its customers from accessing their cash. Whether or not this is related to Zero Hedge reports from yesterday that the same bank is unable to complete ¥570 billion in transactions in unclear. What is clear is that we can only hope that those who need cash are calm and collected enough not to start a physical run on whatever bank deposit branches are open. From Reuters: "Mizuho Bank said on Thursday that all of its automatic teller machines (ATM) throughout Japan have stopped working. The bank did not immediately give a reason for the outage." One can only hope that the most recent ¥5 trillion injection was sufficient to keep the liquidity in the banking system online. Alas, should the Mizuho situation not be promptly fixed, we anticipate more injections from the BOJ before the night is out.

Glen Beck: God punished Japan - We better worship Jesus or we're doomed! - What a TOOL! -

Glen Beck: God punished Japan - We better worship Jesus or we're doomed! - What a TOOL! -



Feds deploy more radiation monitors in western US and Pacific territories seek to mollify public concern over exposure -

Feds deploy more radiation monitors in western US and Pacific territories seek to mollify public concern over exposure -


More radiation monitors are being deployed in the western United States and Pacific territories, as officials seek to mollify public concern over exposure from damaged nuclear plants in Japan, federal environmental regulators said.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency already monitors radiation throughout the area as part of its RadNet system, which measures levels in air, drinking water, milk and rain.
The additional monitors are being deployed in response to the ongoing nuclear crisis in Japan, where emergency workers are attempting to cool overheated reactors damaged by last week's magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami.
Officials with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said they do not expect harmful radiation levels to reach the U.S. from Japan.
"The agency decided out of an abundance of caution to send these deployable monitors in order to get some monitors on the ground closer to Japan," said Jonathan Edwards, director of EPA's radiation protection division.
California already has 12 monitoring stations scattered throughout the state that test the air for radiation levels. EPA also has 40 so-called "deployable" monitors that can be moved around in cases of emergency.
EPA told The Associated Press it is adding two more stations in Hawaii and two in Guam. In Alaska, officials are setting up three new monitors in Dutch Harbor, Nome and Juneau.
The idea is to get a better geographic spread of monitoring equipment than currently exists, Edwards said.
Once up and running, the stations will send real time data via satellite to EPA officials, who will make the data available to the public online. The monitors also contain two types of air filters that are collected and mailed to EPA's data center in Alabama.
The new stations are expected to be operational by the end of the week, Edwards said.
The agency said it does not expect to see any spike in readings on the monitors, which Edwards said measure all forms of radiation that might exist after a nuclear event like the one in Japan.
Officials in Oregon — which has two monitoring stations — held a news conference on Wednesday to reassure the public they were monitoring developments and prepared to respond.
Officials in all western states have said they do not expect to see any harmful levels of radiation reach the mainland, which is about 5,000 miles from Japan.

Nasa to shoot lasers at space junk around Earth to prevent collisions with satellites -

Nasa to shoot lasers at space junk around Earth to prevent collisions with satellites -


Nasa is considering using lasers to deflect space junk around Earth and stop it colliding with satellites.
Lasers similar to those used for welding in car factories would be fired through telescopes to ‘nudge’ piles of rubbish left in orbit.
The gentle movement would stop them from taking out communications satellites or hitting the International Space Station.

Crowded: An artist's impression of space junk in low-Earth orbit. Nasa is considering using lasers to deflect the debris and stop it colliding with satellites
The process could also avoid what is known as ‘Kessler Syndrome’, where there is too much space junk flying around Earth for it to be safe to fly out, leaving us trapped on our own planet.
Such a situation has been predicted by Nasa for more than 30 years and a string of recent near-misses have added urgency to the need to find a solution.

Now in even crater detail... Far side of the moon revealed in amazing mosaic of orbiter images
Now a team led by Nasa space scientist James Mason have claimed that gently moving junk off course could be the answer.
The theory is that the photons in laser beams carry a tiny amount of momentum in them which, under the right circumstances, could nudge an object in space and slow it down by 0.04 inches per second.
By firing a laser at a piece of junk for a few hours it should be possible to alter it’s course by 650ft per day.
WHAT IS SPACE JUNK?

Since the first object, Sputnik One, was launched into space 53 years ago, mankind has created a swarm of perhaps tens of millions of items of debris.
The rubbish circling the planet comes from old rockets, abandoned satellites and missile shrapnel.
It is estimated that there are 370,000 pieces of space junk floating in Earth's orbit.
The picture above shows a ball of twisted metal, thought to be fallen space junk, on a farm in Queensland, Australia, in 2008.
While that won’t be enough to knock it out of orbit, it could be sufficient to avoid a collision with a space station or satellite.
The theory marks a change in approach from previous research which looked into using expensive military Star Wars-style lasers to destroy space junk.
The new project uses equipment that is available for just $800,000 (£500,000) with the final bill coming to just tens of millions of dollars.
Existing telescopes could even be modified, bringing the cost down further.
Nudging would also be more accurate and it is thought the process could divert up to half of all space junk.
Some 20,000 pieces of rubbish are currently being monitored in low-Earth orbit, the majority of which are discarded bits of spacecraft or debris from collisions.
Serious accidents in recent years included the 2009 smash between the Iridium 33 satellite and the Kosmos 2251 satellite.
The communications vessels collided at more than 3,000m per second - the first major smash between two operational satellites in Earth orbit.
Nasa engineer Creon Levit said it was imperative that something was done about space junk.
‘There’s not a lot of argument that this is going to screw us if we don’t do something’ he told Wired.
‘Right now it’s at the tipping point … and it just keeps getting worse.’


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1366838/Nasa-use-lasers-shoot-space-junk-Earth.html#ixzz1GoAD6H6J

Sweet Sixteen Party Canceled After 200,000 RSVP on Facebook -

Sweet Sixteen Party Canceled After 200,000 RSVP on Facebook -


For one Australian girl, turning 16 was not so sweet.
After sending out birthday party invitations to schoolmates via Facebook, the event went viral and close to 200,000 people received and accepted the invite.
The Facebook event included her address and told her schoolmates they could bring friends if they asked her first, Sydney's Daily Telegraph newspaper reported.
"(It's an) open house party as long as it doesn't get out of hand," she wrote on the event page.
The party quickly escalated after more than 200,000 people replied that they were attending the birthday within 24 hours of the event posting.
According the Telegraph, police have charged a 17-year-old schoolboy who allegedly hijacked the page and reposted the event. A number of postings on the invitation suggest the event was hijacked by members of the hacker group, Anonymous.
The party was canceled and the Facebook page was taken down.


Read more: http://foxnews.com/scitech/2011/03/15/sweet-sixteen-party-canceled-200000-rsvp-facebook/#ixzz1GnSBV6Mp

4.3 magnitude earthquake reported in Quebec -

4.3 magnitude earthquake reported in Quebec -


A minor earthquake, with an estimated 4.3 magnitude, has been detected in western Quebec.
Natural Resources Canada says the quake was centered in Lachute, Que., between Ottawa and Montreal, and struck this afternoon about 1:36 p.m.
The ground started shaking and stopped after about 10 seconds.
The quake was felt as far away as the western suburbs of Montreal, in Cornwall, Ont., and by some people in Ottawa.
There were no immediate reports of damage.
It appeared the one casualty was the federal website intended to keep Canadians informed about earthquakes.
Last time there was a temblor in the region, last June, it froze the website for Earthquakes Canada.
The federal site was brought to its knees again Wednesday. Many visitors seeking information were greeted by blank screens and the site was occasionally working, but only intermittently, after 2 p.m.
The bugs brought back memories of last year's 5.0 temblor, where the federal site was paralyzed by demand.
Documents obtained by the Canadian Press, under Access to Information, revealed that staffers were scrambling for more than two hours to find a temporary solution and it took four hours before the whole site was back in full working order.
At the time, an official with Natural Resources Canada admitted the crash raised questions about how well prepared the agency is to communicate with Canadians online in the event of a sudden natural disaster such as an earthquake or tsunami.
As it did last year, the U.S. Geological Survey's website continued running Wednesday and provided information about the quake.

It is either a right royal snafu or someone's idea of a joke - Royal Wedding Souvenir Features the Wrong Prince -

It is either a right royal snafu or someone's idea of a joke - Royal Wedding Souvenir Features the Wrong Prince -


It is either a right royal snafu or someone's idea of a joke, but the latest souvenir offering ahead of the April 29 wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton was causing some amusement Wednesday.
Visitors to the website of Guandong Enterprises have the chance to buy a commemorative mug featuring Britain's most famous commoner and the prince she will soon call her ... brother-in-law. "Crafted in the finest bone china" the mug features not William, but his younger brother Harry
While the company's website promises buyers a "beautiful cup" replete with "ornate detailing" on the handle, the maker's keen eye for detail apparently wandered during the research phase of the cup's development.
Unfortunately for the manufacturers, the inscription on the back of the mug -- "The fairytale romantic union of all the centuries. 29th April 2011" -- rings hollow.
The souvenir joins a slew of plates, trinkets and books produced to mark the occasion. Most, like the offering from Guangdong Enterprises, "are not supplied to, or approved by, Prince William of Wales, Catherine Middleton or any member of the Royal Family."
Click here to view the mug at www.guandongenterprisesltd.com.


Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/03/16/royal-wedding-souvenir-features-wrong-prince/#ixzz1GnCxfHU5


Canada regulator reports water leak at nuclear plant by Toronto - 73,000L of water leaked - radiation threat "negligible" -

Canada regulator reports water leak at nuclear plant by Toronto - 73,000L of water leaked - radiation threat "negligible" -


Canada's nuclear regulator said on Wednesday there was a demineralized water leak at a nuclear power plant near Toronto late on Monday after a pump seal failed.
With world attention riveted on the nuclear crisis in Japan, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission said that the risk of radiation from the 73,000 liters of water released at the Pickering A generator was negligible.
Pickering A has two operating Candu reactors. The nuclear plant, along with its sister plant Pickering B, produce enough energy to fuel a city of 1.5 million people.
The complex is located in Pickering, Ontario, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of Toronto.
Canada's Candu reactors use radioactive water, which is heated to produce steam, to drive the turbine. The reactors also contain non-radioactive water.
The nuclear regulator said it is monitoring the situation as are Canada's environmental regulators.
In China, the government ordered a safety crackdown on new nuclear 

Wholesale prices jumped last month - steepest rise in food prices in 36 years -

Wholesale prices jumped last month - steepest rise in food prices in 36 years -
Regiane Naujock Regiane Naujock shops for groceries at Lorenzo's Supermarket July 15, 2008 in North Miami, Florida. The Labor Department reported that wholesale prices jumped by 1.8 percent last month. Over the past 12 months, wholesale prices are up 9.2 percent, the most since June 1981.

Wholesale prices jumped last month by the most in nearly two years due to higher energy costs and the steepest rise in food prices in 36 years. Excluding those volatile categories, inflation was tame.
The Labor Department said Wednesday that the Producer Price Index rose a seasonally adjusted 1.6 percent in February -- double the 0.8 percent rise in the previous month. Outside of food and energy costs, the core index ticked up 0.2 percent, less than January's 0.5 percent rise.
Food prices soared 3.9 percent last month, the biggest gain since November 1974. Most of that increase was due to a sharp rise in vegetable costs, which increased nearly 50 percent. That was the most in almost a year. Meat and dairy products also rose.
Energy prices rose 3.3 percent last month, led by a 3.7 percent increase in gasoline costs.
Separately, the Commerce Department said home construction plunged to a seasonally adjusted 479,000 homes last month, down 22.5 percent from the previous month. It was lowest level since April 2009, and the second-lowest on records dating back more than a half-century.
The building pace is far below the 1.2 million units a year that economists consider healthy.
There was little sign of inflationary pressures outside of food and energy. Core prices have increased 1.8 percent in the past 12 months.
Still consumers are paying more for the basic necessities.
Gas prices spiked in February and are even higher now. The national average price was $3.56 a gallon Tuesday, up 43 cents, or 13.7 percent, from a month earlier, according to the AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge. Rising demand for oil in fast-growing emerging economies such as China and India has pushed up prices in recent months. Turmoil in Libya, Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries has also sent prices higher.
But economists expect the earthquake in Japan to lower oil prices for the next month or two, which should temper increases in wholesale prices in coming months. Japan is a big oil consumer, and its economy will suffer in the aftermath of the quake. But as the country begins to rebuild later this year, the cost of oil and other raw materials, such as steel and cement, could rise.
Oil prices fell sharply Tuesday as fears about Japan's nuclear crisis intensified. Oil dropped $4.01, or 4 percent, to settle at $97.18 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Food costs, meanwhile, are rising. Bad weather in the past year has damaged crops in Australia, Russia, and South America. Demand for corn for ethanol use has also contributed to the increase.
Prices rose 1 percent for apparel, the most in 21 years. Costs also increased for cars, jewelry, and consumer plastics.

The million pound mutt: Red Tibetan Mastiff becomes world's most expensive dog -

The million pound mutt: Red Tibetan Mastiff becomes world's most expensive dog -



They say money can't buy love – but £1million will get you man's most expensive best friend.
A red Tibetan mastiff has become the priciest dog in the world after being sold for 10 million Chinese yuan, or £945,000.
Big Splash, or Hong Dong in Chinese, was bought by a coal baron from the north of China.
And it's lucky his new master is a multi-millionaire, because the hefty price tag doesn't factor in Big Splash's diet – enough chicken and beef to fill a growing 180lb dog, spiced up with Chinese delicacies such as sea cucumber and abalone.
His owner will need a big house too, as adult Tibetan Mastiffs have been known to weigh as much as 286lb, or more than 20 stone – the same as a sizeable rugby player. However the typical weight for a fully grown Tibetan Mastiff is around 13 stone.
But according to breeder Lu Liang, Big Splash is a 'perfect specimen' and the extravagant price for the 11-month-old is completely justified.
He said: 'We have spent a lot of money raising this dog, and we have the salaries of plenty of staff to pay' – adding that the new owner could charge almost £10,000 a time for Big Splash to breed with a female.
The high price paid for the dog is a sign that the red Tibetan mastiff has become a status symbol in China, replacing jewellery and cars as a way for the super-rich to show off their wealth.
Not only is red considered a lucky colour, but Tibetan mastiffs are thought to be holy animals, blessing their owners' health and security.
Tibetans believe the dogs have the souls of monks and nuns who were not good enough to be reincarnated as humans or into Shambhala, the heavenly realm.
Owners of the breed have included Queen Victoria, King George IV and  Genghis Khan – who supposedly took 30,000 of the dogs with his army in his bid to conquer Western Europe.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1366517/Red-Tibetan-Mastiff-worlds-expensive-dog.html#ixzz1GmBIZyEg

Mattel's Waxing and Shaving Monster High Doll Sparks Outrage -

Mattel's Waxing and Shaving Monster High Doll Sparks Outrage -



If you thought Barbie, with her disproportionately big breasts and tiny waist, sent a bad  message to young girls, wait until you meet of Mattel’s new Monster High doll.
Clawdeen Wolf comes complete with a thigh-skimming skirt, sky high boots and heavy makeup, and spends her days “waxing, plucking and shaving.”
“My hair is worthy of a shampoo commercial, and that’s just what grows on my legs. Plucking and shaving is definitely a full-time job but that’s a small price to pay for being scarily fabulous,” reads the character description of the teen werewolf doll, who also lists her favorite hobby as “flirting with boys.”
But the most frightful thing about Clawdeen, experts say, is the shocking impact she could have on girls aged 6 and up -- the very demographic Mattel is targeting.
“These dolls are training girls to feel ashamed of their bodies, to focus on being sexually appealing and sexually attractive from a pre-pubescent age," human behavior and body image expert Patrick Wanis PhD www.patrickwanis.com told FOX411’s Pop Tarts. "By sexualizing these young girls, corporations also create another avenue to market and sell more products to a younger demographic. These dolls also promote skimpiness of clothing, encouraging a young girl to dress like a stripper and believe that they must be sexually enticing to everyone around them.”


Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2011/03/16/mattels-waxing-shaving-monster-high-doll-sparks-outrage/#ixzz1GlwwO4ts

U.S. Housing Starts See Biggest Drop Since 1984 -

U.S. Housing Starts See Biggest Drop Since 1984 -



U.S. housing starts posted their biggest decline in 27 years in February while building permits dropped to their lowest level on record, suggesting the beleaguered real estate sector has yet to rebound from its deepest slump in modern history.

Groundbreaking on new construction dropped 22.5 percent last month to an annual rate of 479,000 units, according to Commerce Department data released on Wednesday. This was just above a record low set in April 2009 and way below the estimates of economists, who had been looking for a smaller drop to 570,000.

January's figure was revised up to 618,000 units from 596,000. But that did not change the tenor of the report, which confirmed that the sector is failing to recover despite interest rates near record lows.

Building permits, a hint of future construction demand, fell to a record low of 517,000 units from a revised 563,000, and were down by about 20 percent from levels seen in February 2010.

Housing was at the epicenter of the financial crisis of 2007-2009.

One key impediment to the sector's recovery is a vast backlog of unsold inventory, while a shaky job market has also made consumers reluctant to embark on any major new financial commitments. Making matters worse, a glut of foreclosures, stalled in recent months by revelations of improper loan documentation, is depressing the market.
Read more - http://www.cnbc.com/id/42106368

Powder at Kennedy Space Center tests positive for cocaine - Second time in a year

Powder at Kennedy Space Center tests positive for cocaine - Second time in a year -


NASA's Inspector General's Office says an investigation is under way after a white powdery substance found at the Kennedy Space Center tested positive for cocaine.
"Law enforcement personnel field tested the substance, which indicated a positive test for cocaine," said Renee Juhans, an executive officer with the office.
"The substance is now at an accredited crime lab for further testing," she said.
Juhans said that 4.2 grams of a white powdery substance was found in a NASA facility March 7. She could not confirm where, at the Kennedy Space Center, the drug was found.
"A NASA Office of Inspector General investigation is ongoing," she said.
NASA has a zero-tolerance drug policy. All employees may be randomly tested. It is not known whether any employees have been asked to submit to drug testing in this investigation.
"We have no further comment," Juhans said.
In January 2010, about 200 Kennedy Space Center workers were tested when a small bag of cocaine was found inside a space shuttle processing facility where Discovery was being readied for flight. That case was closed, and there were no arrests.

Read more - http://edition.cnn.com/2011/US/03/15/nasa.powder.investigation/index.html?hpt=T2