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From the Department of Biochemistry, Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht , Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands ; CSL Behring GmbH, Marburg, Germany ; Department of Experimental Vascular Medicine, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands ; Department of Plasma Proteins, Sanquin, Amsterdam, ... (more) | 7/17/14

SAN JUAN (AP) - Pop singer Jennifer Lopez may be thinking life is funny after a group of scientists named a water mite in her honour after discovering a new species near Puerto Rico.

The music of the Bronx, New York-born entertainer who has Puerto Rican roots was a hit with the group while they wrote about their findings, biologist Vladimir Pesic said in an email Wednesday.

"The reason behind the unusual choice of name for the new species is ... simple: J.Lo's songs and videos kept the team in a continuous good mood when writing the manuscript and watching World Cup Soccer 2014," said Pesic, who works at the University of Montenegro.

Pesic calls it a small token of gratitude for the singer of hits such as "Ain't It Funny," "I Luh Ya Papi" and his personal favourite, "All I Have."

He's the corresponding author of the study that was published Tuesday in the peer-reviewed online journal ZooKeys.

Pesic and other scientists collected the newly baptized Litarachna lopezae mite from a coral reef in Mona Passage, a treacherous body of water that separates Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. The species was found at a depth of nearly 70 meters (230 feet), the greatest depth that pontarachnid mites have been found until now, according to their study.

The mites were collected during a series of trips from 2010 to 2012 organized by the University of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean Coral Reef Institute.

Over the years, scientists have named dozens of organisms after famous people to honor them. Mick Jagger, for example, has a type of trilobite named after him, while one spider was named after Bono and a marine parasite found only in the Caribbean sea was named after Bob Marley.

Pesic said that while he and other scientists rooted for different teams during the World Cup, they found common ground with Lopez.

"As European, I supported Germany, but the whole team was united with J.Lo songs," he wrote. | 7/17/14

From the Department of Forensic Medicine, Nanjing Medical University, Jiangsu, China ; Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology and Vascular Biology Center , Georgia Regents University, Augusta; Vichem Chemie, Ltd, Budapest, Hungary ; Institute for Organic Chemistry, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany ; Institute for Pathology, Hannover ... (more) | 7/16/14
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Pop singer Jennifer Lopez may be thinking life is funny after a group of scientists named a water mite in her honor after discovering a new species near Puerto Rico.

The music of the Bronx, New York-born entertainer who has Puerto Rican roots was a hit with the group while they wrote about their findings, biologist Vladimir Pesic said in an email Wednesday.

"The reason behind the unusual choice of name for the new species is ... simple: J.Lo's songs and videos kept the team in a continuous good mood when writing the manuscript and watching World Cup Soccer 2014," said Pesic, who works at the University of Montenegro.

Pesic calls it a small token of gratitude for the singer of hits such as "Ain't It Funny," "I Luh Ya Papi" and his personal favorite, "All I Have."

He's the corresponding author of the study that was published Tuesday in the peer-reviewed online journal ZooKeys.

Pesic and other scientists collected the newly baptized Litarachna lopezae mite from a coral reef in Mona Passage, a treacherous body of water that separates Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. The species was found at a depth of nearly 70 meters (230 feet), the greatest depth that pontarachnid mites have been found until now, according to their study.

The mites were collected during a series of trips from 2010 to 2012 organized by the University of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean Coral Reef Institute.

Over the years, scientists have named dozens of organisms after famous people to honor them. Mick Jagger, for example, has a type of trilobite named after him, while one spider was named after Bono and a marine parasite found only in the Caribbean sea was named after Bob Marley.

Pesic said that while he and other scientists rooted for different teams during the World Cup, they found common ground with Lopez.

"As European, I supported Germany, but the whole team was united with J.Lo songs," he wrote.
CASTLETON, Va. (AP) — Lorin Maazel, a world-renowned conductor whose prodigious career included seven years at the helm of the New York Philharmonic, died Sunday at his home in Virginia. He was 84.

Maazel died at Castleton Farms from complications following pneumonia, according to a statement by The Castleton Festival, an annual festival Maazel founded with his wife in 2009. Maazel was rehearsing and preparing for the festival at the time of his death, and the death also was announced on Maazel's official website. Known for his relentless energy and passion for precision, Maazel guided nearly 200 orchestras in at least 7,000 opera and concert performances during 72 years at the podium, according to a biography posted on his website.

Maazel, an American born in Paris in 1930, took his first violin lesson at age 5. A dazzling prodigy, he was 7 when he was invited by Arturo Toscanini to conduct the NBC Symphony. His New York Philharmonic debut came five years later, in 1942. By age 15, he had conducted most of the major American orchestras. At 16, he entered the University of Pittsburgh to study language, mathematics and philosophy and played the violin with the Pittsburgh Symphony to help pay his tuition.

In 1960, at age 30, he became the first American to conduct at the Bayreuth Festival in Germany. He served as artistic director and chief conductor of the Deutsche Oper Berlin for five years starting in 1965.

He was music director of the Cleveland Orchestra from 1972 to 1982. He then served briefly as general manager, artistic director and principal conductor of the Vienna State Opera, the first American to do so. He was also music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony from 1988 to 1996.

Maazel also was music director of the Symphony Orchestra of the Bavarian Radio for about a decade until 2002. That year, he was chosen to replace Kurt Masur as music director of the New York Philharmonic — America's oldest orchestra. Maazel served there for seven years and was with the orchestra at the time of its landmark visit to Pyongyang, North Korea in 2008.

"I am deeply saddened and shocked by the news of Lorin Maazel's death," New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert said in an emailed statement. "For decades he was a major force in the musical world, and truly an inspiration for generations of American musicians."

Gilbert added: "Personally, I am grateful to him, not only for the brilliant state of the Orchestra that I inherited from him, but for the support and encouragement he extended to me when I took over his responsibilities."

A free concert scheduled Monday in Central Park will be dedicated to Maazel, the New York Philharmonic said in the statement.

Dominique Mayer, director of the Vienna State Opera, also said in an emailed statement that he was deeply saddened by Maazel's passing.

"I knew Lorin Maazel as a versatile artist, magnificent conductor and a ... fine person," Mayer said, calling his work "inspiring."

Maazel also was a composer, although to lesser acclaim. His first opera, "1984," based on George Orwell's novel, met with largely negative reviews.

Maazel founded the Castleton Festival to mentor young musicians and to bring new energy to classical music with performances showcasing young talent. Maazel told the audience on the opening night of this year's festival on June 28 that working with young artists was "more than a labor of love — a labor of joy," the festival's statement said.

Maazel made more than 300 recordings, including works by Beethoven, Brahms, Debussy, Mahler, Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, and Richard Strauss. He won 10 Grand Prix du Disques, according to his website.

In addition to his wife Dietlinde Turban Maazel, the conductor is survived by four daughters, three sons and four grandchildren.

He was the second leading conductor to die in 2014 following the death in January of Italian conductor Claudio Abbado, 80, who had held major posts at La Scala in Milan, the Vienna State Opera and the Berlin Philarmonic, among others.

Children's skulls found at the edges of Bronze Age settlements may have been a gruesome gift for the local lake gods.

The children's skulls were discovered encircling the perimeter of ancient villages around lakes in Switzerland and Germany. Some had suffered ax blows and other head traumas.

Though the children probably weren't human sacrifices killed to appease the gods, they may have been offered after death as gifts to ward off flooding, said study co-author Benjamin Jennings, an archaeologist at Basel University in Switzerland.

Lake dwellers

Since the 1920s, archaeologists have known that ancient villages dotted Alpine lakes in Switzerland and Germany. However, it wasn't until the 1970s and 1980s that many of the sites were excavated, yielding hunting tools, animal bones, ceramics, jewelry, watchtowers, gates and more than 160 dwellings. Tree rings on wooden artifacts from the sites suggest people lived there at different periods between 3,800 and 2,600 years ago. [Mummy Melodrama: Top 9 Secrets About Otzi the Iceman]

The Bronze Age lake dwellers regularly faced flooding. Whenever lake levels rose, they would pick up and move to dry land, only to return once the waters receded. To adapt to this watery threat, the people built houses on stilts or on sturdy wooden foundations, and created palisades, or fences, made from bog pine, the researchers wrote in the June issue of the journal Antiquity.

But in addition to finding evidence for such architectural adaptations, archaeologists also unearthed more macabre details of life (and death): children's skulls and skeletal remains encircling the villages at the palisade edges. Many of these ancient skulls were placed there long after their initial burial, at a time when the settlements experienced the worst inundation from rising lake levels, the researchers wrote.

Gift to the gods

In the current study, Jennings and his colleagues took a closer look at the fossil skeletons.

Most were from children under age 10, and though the skeletal remains revealed tooth decay and signs of respiratory ailments, those health troubles would not have been severe enough to warrant a mercy killing, the researchers wrote in the journal article.

The skulls showed evidence of head trauma from battle-axes or clubs, though the injuries don't have the uniformity associated with a ritual killing. As a result, it's more likely the youngsters were felled in warfare, rather than killed as a sacrifice for the gods, the researchers wrote.

Either way, it's clear these weren't ordinary burials, he said.

"Across Europe as a whole there is quite a body of evidence to indicate that throughout prehistory human remains, and particularly the skull, were highly symbolic and socially charged," Jennings told Live Science in an email.

At these sites, "the remains are found at the perimeter of the settlement — not inside and not outside, but at a liminal position on the border between in and out," Jennings added. And at one of the sites, the remains were placed at the high-water mark of the floodwaters. Taken together, the details of the burial suggest the remains were placed as an offering to protect against flooding, Jennings said.

Still, there are many unanswered questions about these mysterious Alpine people.

"There are very few instance or examples of burials in the vicinity of the lake settlements, and so we really do not know where the majority of the lake dwellers are buried, or how they treated their dead," Jennings said.

Follow Tia Ghose on Twitter and Google+. Follow Live Science @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on Live Science.

Copyright 2014 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Jeffrey Heller
GAZA/JERUSALEM, July 13 (Reuters) - Thousands fled their homes in a Gaza Strip town on Sunday after Israel warned them to leave before it attacked rocket-launching sites, on the sixth day of an offensive that Palestinian officials said has killed at least 160 people.
Militants in Hamas-ruled Gaza kept up rocket salvoes deep into the Jewish state as the worst bout of Israel-Palestinian bloodshed in two years showed no signs of abating, and Western foreign ministers said a ceasefire was an urgent priority.
Israel dropped leaflets into the town of Beit Lahiya near Gaza's northern border. They read: "Those who fail to comply with the instructions to leave immediately will endanger their lives and the lives of their families. Beware."
The Israeli military told the residents of three of Beit Lahiya's 10 neighborhoods to get out of the town of 70,000 by midday on Sunday. U.N. officials said some 10,000 people had fled south to eight schools run by the world body in Gaza City.
A senior military officer, in a telephone briefing with foreign reporters, said Israel would "strike with might" in the Beit Lahiya area from the late evening hours on Sunday.
He did not say if this would include an expansion of an air and naval offensive into a ground operation in the north of the narrow, densely populated Mediterranean enclave.
"The enemy has built rocket infrastructure in-between the houses (in Beit Lahiya)," the Israeli officer said. "He wants to trap me into an attack and into hurting civilians."
The Gaza Health Ministry said at least 160 Palestinians - among them about 135 civilians, including 30 children - have died during six days of warfare, and more than 1,000 hurt.
At schools run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in Gaza City, Beit Lahiya residents arrived in donkey carts filled with children, luggage and mattresses, while others came by car or taxi. One man, still in pajamas, said some inhabitants had received phone calls telling them to leave.
"What could we do? We had to run in order to save the lives of our children," said Salem Abu Halima, 25, a father of two.
Gaza's Interior Ministry, in a statement on Hamas radio, dismissed Israel's warnings as "psychological warfare". It told those who left their homes to return and others to stay put.

Dozens of houses in Beit Lahiya were leveled by Israeli bulldozers during the month-long Gaza war of 2008-2009. Israel says such structures serve as gun nests and rocket launch pads.
The leaflets marked the first time Israel had warned Palestinians to vacate dwellings in such a wide area. Previous warnings, by phone or so-called "knock-on-the-door" missiles without explosive warheads, had been directed at individual homes slated for attack.
A Palestinian woman and a girl aged three were killed in Israeli air strikes early on Sunday, the Health Ministry said.
Hostilities along the Israel-Gaza frontier first intensified last month after Israeli forces arrested hundreds of Hamas activists in the Israeli-occupied West Bank following the abduction there of three Jewish seminary students who were later found killed. A Palestinian youth was then killed in Jerusalem in a suspected revenge attack by Israelis.
Despite intensified Israeli military action - which included a commando raid overnight - Palestinians continued to launch rockets across the border.
A long-range burst on Sunday triggered air raid sirens and sent people running for shelter at Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion Airport, which has not been struck in the hostilities and where flights have been operating normally, and some city suburbs.
No one has been killed by the more than 800 rockets Israel says have been fired since the offensive began. Lacking guidance systems, many of the rockets have fallen wide. Others have been shot down by Israel's Iron Dome interceptors.
"We will continue to act with patience, forbearance, with determination, responsibility and aggression to achieve the goal of the campaign - restoring calm for a long period by dealing a significant blow to Hamas and other terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in broadcast after his cabinet met.
International pressure on both sides for a return to calm has increased, with the U.N. Security Council calling for a cessation of hostilities and Western foreign ministers meeting on Sunday to weigh strategy.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius spoke of "a dangerous escalation" and told reporters before talks in Vienna with his U.S., German and British counterparts that securing a ceasefire was "an absolute priority".
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier will travel to the Middle East on Monday and Tuesday for meetings with Netanyahu and U.S.-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who agreed a power-share deal with his Hamas rivals in April.
Germany mediated a prisoner swap in 2011 in which an Israeli soldier held by Hamas was freed in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinians jailed by Israel.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, whose bid to broker Israeli-Palestinian peace fell apart when Netanyahu called off negotiations over the Abbas-Hamas pact, reasserted Washington's support for Israel's right to self-defense on Sunday.
But a senior State Department official said that Kerry, speaking to Netanyahu by phone, also "highlighted the U.S. concern about escalating tensions ... (and) readiness to facilitate a cessation of hostilities, including a return to the November 2012 ceasefire agreement".
That referred to an Egyptian-mediated truce that ended the last major Gaza flare-up. Cairo is now again seeking calm and Israeli media said Turkey and Qatar have also offered to intercede with Hamas, which is formally shunned by Israel, the United States and European Union as a terrorist group.
Israel has been publicly cool to truce proposals, saying its current assault on Hamas is the best guarantee of long-term quiet. Israel says an invasion of Gaza remains an option and has mobilized more than 30,000 reservists, but most attacks have so far been from the air, hitting some 1,200 targets.
A survey by Israel's Channel 10 TV found that 90 percent of the country's Jewish majority supported the air offensive. Asked if Israel should send in ground forces, 47 percent of said yes, 32 percent said no, and 21 percent were undecided.
Giving details of Sunday's naval commando raid, Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner, an Israeli military spokesman, said four members of the force were wounded in skirmishes with Gaza gunmen but the rocket launching site they attacked was hit.
Hamas said its fighters had fired at the Israeli force offshore, preventing them from landing. Lerner said the forces had "completed their mission".
Hundreds of mourners attended the funerals on Sunday of the 17 Palestinians killed in Israel's bombing, on Saturday night, of the home of Gaza police chief Taysee Al-Batsh.
"With our souls and blood we will redeem the martyrs!" the crowd chanted as armed men fired in the air.
A Hamas source said Batsh was in critical condition and that all the dead were members of his family. The Gaza Health Ministry said 45 people were also wounded in the bombing.
The Israeli military said it had appointed a general to investigate the high civilian toll in several Gaza strikes.
An Israeli teenager was wounded on Sunday by a rocket that struck the southern town of Ashkelon, emergency services said. (Additional reporting by Maayan Lubell, Ari Rabinovitch and Allyn Fisher-Ilan in Jerusalem, John Irish, Fredrik Dahl and Louis Charbonneau in Vienna; Editing by Rosalind Russell)

Nearly 270,000 students received EU grants to study or train abroad in 2012-2013, setting a new record, according to new data from the European Commission.

The three most popular destinations for Erasmus students in 2012-2013 were Spain, Germany and France, while the countries that send the highest number of students abroad as a proportion of their graduate population include Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Finland, Latvia and Spain.

While most students go abroad to study at another university, one in five (55,000) were placed in private companies. | 7/10/14
By Erik Kirschbaum SANTO ANDRE, Brazil, July 7 (Reuters) - That no European team has won any of the previous six World Cups in Latin America is not a daunting prospect for Germany as they head into Tuesday's World Cup semi-final against hosts Brazil, according to assistant coach Hansi Flick. Three-times World Cup winners Germany are confident that two years of meticulous university research combined with their own scouting and preparations for the conditions will give them an edge against five-times winners Brazil on their home turf. "We're very, very well-prepared and we're looking forward to playing Brazil," Flick told reporters when asked about how Germany planned to ended the dominance of Latin American teams when playing in their own region. | 7/7/14
MySQL Cluster enables high availability by storing data replicas on multiple hosts. MySQL Cluster maintains connections between data nodes by using high-speed interconnects over TCP/IP - standard or direct connections - or SCI (Scalable Coherent Interface) sockets. To learn more about MySQL Cluster, take the MySQL Cluster training course. This course is currently scheduled for the following locations:  Location  Date  Delivery Language  Sao Paulo, Brazil  28 July 2014  Brazilian Portuguese  Berlin, Germany  11 August 2014  German  Hamburg, Germany  29 September 2014  German  Munich, Germany  15 December 2014  German  Rome, Italy  8 September 2014  Italian Seoul, Korea 28 July 2014   Korean  Petaling Jaya, Malaysia 16 July 2014  English  Warsaw, Poland 28 July 2014  Polish  Singapore  29 July 2014  English  Edison, NJ, United States 18 August 2014  English  San Francisco, CA, United States 13 August 2014  English  To register for an event, request an additional event, or learn more about the authentic MySQL Curriculum, go to | 7/7/14

RoboEarth. No, it's not a lame SNES game from 1994, it's a cloud network that lets robots learn from the actions of other bots. It started over three years ago, and now, a new, related project has sprung from that initiative at the Institute for Artificial Intelligence at the University of Bremen in Germany. | 7/5/14

Scientists studying the effects of the psychedelic chemical in magic mushrooms have found the human brain displays a similar pattern of activity during dreams as it does during a mind-expanding drug trip. Psychedelic drugs such as LSD and magic mushrooms can profoundly alter the way we experience the world, but little is known about what physically happens in the brain. In a study published in the journal Human Brain Mapping, researchers examined the brain effects of psilocybin, the psychedelic ingredient in magic mushrooms, using data from brain scans of volunteers who had been injected with the drug. Psychedelic drugs do precisely this and so are powerful tools for exploring what happens in the brain when consciousness is profoundly altered," said Dr Enzo Tagliazucchi, who led the study at Germany's Goethe University. | 7/3/14

Scientists studying the effects of the psychedelic chemical in magic mushrooms have found the human brain displays a similar pattern of activity during dreams as it does during a mind-expanding drug trip. Psychedelic drugs such as LSD and magic mushrooms can profoundly alter the way we experience the world, but little is known about what physically happens in the brain. In a study published in the journal Human Brain Mapping, researchers examined the brain effects of psilocybin, the psychedelic ingredient in magic mushrooms, using data from brain scans of volunteers who had been injected with the drug. Psychedelic drugs do precisely this and so are powerful tools for exploring what happens in the brain when consciousness is profoundly altered," said Dr Enzo Tagliazucchi, who led the study at Germany's Goethe University. | 7/3/14

Louis Zamperini, who was a World War II prisoner of war survivor, as well as a former Olympic distance runner, has died. He was the subject of Lauren Hillenbrand's book, “Unbroken,” which was adapted into a film by the Coen brothers, and directed by Angelina Jolie. He was 97.

“Having overcome insurmountable odds at every turn in his life, Olympic runner and World War II hero Louis Zamperini has never broken down from a challenge,” Zamperini's family said in a statement. “He recently faced the greatest challenge of his life with a life-threatening case of pneumonia. After a 40-day long battle for his life, he peacefully passed away in the presence of his entire family, leaving behind a legacy that has touched so many lives. His indomitable courage and fighting spirit were never more apparent than in these last days.”

Also read: ‘Unbroken': Universal Pins Oscar Hopes on Angelina Jolie

In 1998, Zamperini ran a leg in the Olympic Torch relay for the Winter Olympics in Japan, where he had been a prisoner of war during World War II. In 2011, he received honorary degrees for Doctor of Humane Letters from both Azusa Pacific University and Bryant University. That same year, he received the Kappa Sigma Golden Heart Award. Zamperini was scheduled to be the grand marshal of the 2015 Rose Parade in Pasadena, California.

Hillenbrand's book, “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption,” was a 2010 biography of Zamperini's extraordinary life. It was a #1 New York Times bestseller, as well as being named Time Magazine's best nonfiction book of the year.

Joel and Ethan Coen adapated Hillenbrand's book into a feature film, with Richard LaGravenese and William Nicholson, with Angelina Jolie attached as director. ”It is a loss impossible to describe,” Jolie said in a statement. “We are all so grateful for how enriched our lives are for having known him. We will miss him terribly.”

See video: Angelina Jolie Says She Pitched Her ‘Butt Off’ to Sell ‘Unbroken’ to Movie Execs

Zamperini grew up in Olean, New York, where he ran track at Torrance High School. He set a record for the mile in 1934 on his way to a scholarship to the University of Southern California. Torrance High School named its football, soccer and track stadium after Zamperini, and in 2004, USC named the entrance plaza at its track & field stadium for him as well.

At 19, Zamperini became the youngest-ever American Olympic qualifier for for the 5,000 meters. He placed eighth in the event at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany, but his final lap of 56 seconds earned him the notice of Adolf Hitler, as well as a one-on-one meeting.

In 1941, Zamperini enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Forces and survived a plane crash in the Pacific theater, spending 74 days on a raft before finally reaching land, where he and his fellow survivor were immediately captured by the Japanese Navy. He spent the next two and a half years as an unofficial prisoner of war, while he was declared killed in action by the United States.

Also read: Bob Hastings, ‘McHale's Navy’ Star, Dead at 89

Zamperini wrote two different memoirs about his experiences before Hillenbrand's biography. Both were called “Devil at My Heels,” but the 2003 edition was much expanded from the original, which was published in 1956.

“He lived the most remarkable life, not because of the many unbelievable incidents that marked his near century's worth of years, but because of the spirit with which he faced every one of them,” Universal Pictures said in a statement. “Confronting challenges that would cause most of us to surrender, Louie always persevered and always prevailed, and he spent the better part of his lifetime sharing the message that you could do the same. His example of grace, dignity and resilience inspired all of us lucky enough to know him and the millions who got to know him from the pages of Laura's book.

See photos: Angelina Jolie's ‘Unbroken': First Photos From Set Feature Jack O'Connell as Louis Zamperini

“We move forward to the release of “Unbroken” with a renewed sense of responsibility in bringing Louie's abundant life and indomitable spirit to the screen.  Now more than ever, we join Angelina in honoring the lessons and legacy of this extraordinary man who has meant so much to so many.”

Jack O'Connell portrays Zamperini in the Legendary Pictures film, “Unbroken,” which Universal Pictures will release to theaters on Christmas Day 2014.

The post Louis Zamperini, Inspiration for the Film ‘Unbroken,’ Dead at 97 appeared first on TheWrap.

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Jack O'Connell on 'Starred Up' and His Troubled Past: 'I Really Had To Dig Deep to Get a Second Chance'

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Angelina Jolie's 'Unbroken' First Look (Photo) | 7/3/14

From the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of WA1 4rzburg, WA1 4rzburg, Germany ; Institute of Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacology, University Hospital DA1 4sseldorf and Cardiovascular Research Institute DA1 4sseldorf , Heinrich-Heine-University, DA1 4sseldorf, Germany ; Cardiovascular Division, Brigham and Women's Hospital, ... (more) | 7/3/14

From the Department of Cardiac Development and Remodeling, Max-Planck-Institute for Heart and Lung Research, Bad Nauheim, Germany ; Institute of Pharmacy and Biochemistry, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany ; Institute of Biochemistry, Faculty of General Medicine, University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary ; and European Institute for ... (more) | 7/3/14

The National Centre for Health Education in Germany developed the Join-In Circuit concept, a mobile learning system on the core topics of reproductive health and HIV/AIDS, which targets especially young people for behavioral change. | 7/2/14

"It was a totally unexpected discovery," said Michael Staab, a researcher at the University of Freiburg in Germany. Staab had been studying the homemaking habits of cavity-nesting wasps in eastern China, and he and his colleagues had set up trap nests in the Gutianshan National Nature Reserve, a subtropical evergreen forest in the Yangtze River Basin that's home to steep cliffs and animals like clouded leopards and Asian black bears. | 7/2/14

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Here's some useful advice for the world's ants: Whatever you do, stay away from the "bone-house wasp." Scientists said on Wednesday they have identified a new species of spider wasp in southeastern China with grim conduct unlike any other creature. The female wasps do not hunt the ants for food, instead using the carcasses apparently to frighten off nest invaders. So the female wasp has a certain risk of getting injured or killed," said Michael Staab, a biologist at the University of Freiburg in Germany, whose study was published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE. The ant chamber may give the wasp's nest the scent of a fierce ant colony - and the nest is thus avoided by natural enemies," Staab said. | 7/2/14
A new species of spider wasp, the 'Bone-house Wasp,' may use chemical cues from dead ants as a nest protection strategy, according to a recent study published July 2, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Michael Staab from University of Freiburg, Germany, and his colleagues from China and Germany. | 7/2/14
In 1935 the German Nazi party held a contest to find the most perfect Aryan baby who would then be featured on the cover of Sonne ins Hause, a Nazi family magazine. They found their ideal baby but never found out that she was in fact Jewish.

Hessy Taft was six months old when her mother brought her to Berlin photographer Hans Ballin to have her picture taken. World War II had yet to begin, but anti-Semitism and the marginalization of Jews was in full swing in Germany. When little Hessy's photo turned up on the cover of a prominent Nazi magazine , her mother feared the family would be exposed as Jewish and targeted.

Taft's mother reportedly went back to the Ballin to ask how the image had ended up in the Nazi contest for "most beautiful Aryan baby," to which he responded, “I wanted to make the Nazis ridiculous."

The Tafts kept their young daughter hidden after the incident as her photograph was by now widely circulated on Nazi postcards, and they feared she would be recognized. The Nazis never learned her true Jewish identity.

Now almost 80 years later the little girl, Hessy Taft, is all grown up and works as a Chemistry professor at the Catholic St. John's University in New York City. In June she presented a copy of the Nazi magazine , baby photo and all, to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Israel and shared her story with the Shoah Foundation .

“I can laugh about it now,” Taft said in an interview with Germany’s Bild newspaper. “But if the Nazis had known who I really was, I wouldn’t be alive.”

Taft narrowly escaped the Holocaust when the Gestapo arrested her father on tax charges. Luckily his accountant -- a member of the Nazi party -- came to his defense, and the family was able to flee to Latvia and later to France. When the Nazis captured Paris, the Tafts fled to Cuba with the help of the French resistance and finally settled in the United States in 1949.

On presenting her magazine cover to Yad Vashem these many years later, Taft said, “I feel a little revenge, something like satisfaction.”

Images excerpted from the video testimony of Hessy Taft’s testimony courtesy of USC Shoah Foundation.

From the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology, Leipzig, Germany ; Translational Centre for Regenerative Medicine, Leipzig, Germany ; EVK Bielefeld, Bethel, Neurologische Klinik, Bielefeld, Germany ; Department of Neurology, University of MA1 4nster, Germany ; and Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston . | 7/2/14

“The euro can be saved, but it will take more than fine speeches asserting a commitment to Europe. If Germany and others are not willing to do what it takes – if there is not enough solidarity to make politics work – then the euro may have to be abandoned for the sake of salvaging the European project,” argues Joseph Stiglitz.

Joseph Stiglitz is an American economist and a professor at Columbia University. A recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, he is also a former senior vice-president and chief economist of the World Bank. | 7/1/14
When can we expect to drive the length of Germany in an electric car without having to top up the battery? Chemists at the NIM Cluster at LMU and at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, have now synthesized a new material that could show the way forward to state-of-the-art lithium-sulfur batteries. | 7/1/14

German pastor Christian Fuehrer, a pro-democracy leader in the former East Germany, died Monday at the age of 71, a quarter century after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Fuehrer died in the university hospital in Leipzig after a serious illness, said a spokesman for the city, where he been pastor of the largest church, the Nikolaikirche. | 6/30/14
Scientists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in Germany have discovered that molybdenum trioxide nanoparticles oxidize sulfite to sulfate in liver cells in analogy to the enzyme sulfite oxidase. The functionalized Molybdenum trioxide nanoparticles can cross the cellular membrane and accumulate at the mitochondria, where they can recover the activity of sulfite oxidase. | 6/30/14
Students from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Brown University and the University of Applied Sciences Erfurt, Germany, have been hard at work for nearly two years designing and building their one-of-a-kind entry for the 2014 Solar Decathlon Europe—and the time has come to show their work to the world. | 6/30/14

Ann Coulter landed back in the news this week by taking aim at soccer. In a syndicated column published on Wednesday - one day before the US played Germany in the World Cup - the political pundit and author wrote that "any growing interest in soccer can only be a sign of the nation's moral decay." According to Ann's way of thinking, the American public is being "force-fed" the sport with other pop culture staples: "The same people trying to push soccer on Americans are the ones demanding that we love HBO's Girls, light-rail, Beyoncé, and Hillary Clinton." Over the years, Ann has made her penchant for divisive remarks somewhat of an art form, grabbing headlines by insulting everyone from women to celebrities. Keep reading to discover some of the most ridiculous things we've ever heard her say, and if you find yourself needing an anecdote to the negativity, check out these inspiring quotes from iconic women.

  1. On radiation: "There is a growing body of evidence that radiation in excess of what the government says are the minimum amounts you should be exposed to are actually good for you and reduce cases of cancer." 
  2. On women: "If we took away women's right to vote, we'd never have to worry about another Democrat president. It's kind of a pipe dream, it's a personal fantasy of mine, but I don't think it's going to happen. And it is a good way of making the point that women are voting so stupidly, at least single women."
  3. On liberals: "I'm more of a man than any liberal."
  4. On oil and celebrities: "Why not go to war just for oil? We need oil. What do Hollywood celebrities imagine fuels their private jets? How do they think their cocaine is delivered to them?"
  5. On John Kerry's military record: "If John Kerry had a dollar for every time he bragged about serving in Vietnam - oh wait, he does."
  6. On public schools: "Most public schools are, at best, nothing but expensive babysitting arrangements, helpfully keeping hoodlums off the street during daylight hours. At worst, they are criminal training labs, where teachers sexually abuse the children between drinking binges and acts of grand larceny."
  7. On voting: "I think there should be a literacy test and a poll tax for people to vote."
  8. On government programs: "Isn't food important? Why not 'universal food coverage'? If politicians had given us 'universal food access' 20 years ago, today Democrats would be wailing about the 'food crisis' in America, and you'd be on the phone with your food-care provider arguing about whether or not a Reuben sandwich with fries is covered under your plan."
  9. On Canada sending troops to Vietnam . . . which never happened: "Canada used to be one of our most loyal friends, and vice versa. I mean, Canada sent troops to Vietnam."
  10. On the legalization of marijuana creating a "disaster for commerce": "Potheads are incapable of following simple instructions and getting a job done. . . . You can't get anything done with a pothead."

Source: C-SPAN; Front Page Image Source: Getty / Charles Eshelman

A US laboratory sold across at least eight countries blood samples taken without consent from an indigenous group, Ecuador alleged Friday after a months-long investigation. The samples were taken from the Huaorani ethnic group of about 3,000 people who live in a corner of Ecuador's isolated Amazon basin region, it is alleged. The New Jersey-based Coriell Institute for Medical Research "eventually sold it in at least eight countries," Maria Del Pilar Troya, undersecretary of state for education and science, told AFP. Germany, Brazil, Canada, the United States, India, Italy, Japan and Singapore were among the countries in which Ecuador believes the specimens were sold. | 6/27/14
Quantum mechanics is about to fundamentally change the way we can transmit and sense information. The idea is that information—represented by physical quantities such as the spin or the polarisation of an individual photon—can be transmitted with the help of so-called quantum entanglement. The EU project Q-ESSENCE, completed in April 2013, dealt with the development of new communication and sensing technologies based on quantum mechanical principles. Here, project scientist Martin Plenio, director of the institute of theoretical physics and head of the controlled quantum dynamics group at Ulm University, Germany, talks to about the challenges and applications of quantum mechanics-based communication technologies and what happened since the completion of the project. | 6/26/14

As a former mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg knows what challenges cities have to face today and how to respond to them. He told Max Tholl what states should learn from cities and how the mayor of even a small rural town could save the world.

The European: Mr. Bloomberg, you initiated the Mayors Challenge, a competition among cities to find innovative ways of tackling urban problems. What, in your opinion, are the greatest challenges facing cities today?

Bloomberg: Virtually all of society’s problems are problems that both originate in the cities and are being solved there. Think about climate change: More than half of the world’s population lives in urban centers, and if you could reduce energy consumption there, you could potentially slow down climate change. Crime, education or job creation are other good examples that prove that cities are where it’s at. That’s partly because of the concentration of people, but also because of city politics.

The European: How do local politics differ from national politics?

Bloomberg: Cities normally have a mayor who’s a reasonably strong executive, and it is quite easy for journalists to measure and analyze whether the city government actually delivers services. You pick up the garbage or you don’t. There’s a body on the street or there is not. Somebody’s on the breadline or they have a job. It’s not difficult to assess how effective or ineffective a mayor is. If you can measure effectiveness, then you as a journalist can write about it and the public will develop an interest for these issues. On the state and federal level, that’s much more difficult because journalists write about processes without clear conclusions. There are some things that can only be decided on the federal or state level – starting wars for example – but generally speaking, both the problems and the solutions are located in the cities.

The European: What is the advantage of cities over nation states?

Bloomberg: I will give you an example from the U.S.: In spite of the political paralysis when it comes to questions about climate change, there have been enormous improvements in the environment. These improvements are the result of good governance at city level. New York City reduced its carbon footprint by roughly 19%. We achieved this by curbing energy consumption and by undertaking very simple steps like painting the roofs of buildings white. Also, cities are where private philanthropy comes from. Initiatives like the Sierra Club that I and other philanthropists support have managed to reduce the number of coal-fired power plants in the U.S. Federal government isn’t interested in that and often neglects the big issues like the environment, education or crime.

The European: So cities are a perfect local laboratory for testing solutions to global problems?

Bloomberg: Absolutely. And it’s important to bear in mind that these “laboratories” are more or less the same the world over. You may have less crime or unemployment in one place, but it’s fundamentally the same structure – it’s just the magnitude that changes. So finding solutions to these problems in one city will enable us to test them in other cities that experience similar problems. One of the criteria to win this prize is that ideas have to be transferable; maybe not exactly, but certainly generally, the proposed solutions should be solutions that anyone could use.

"You can bring the problems of the future down to the here and now."

The European: Cities are much more alike than nation states, but there are nevertheless big differences between, for example, New York City and Shanghai. Do you really think that innovation can just be replicated from city to city?

Bloomberg: I have always believed that governments exist only with the will of the majority of the people and there might be no better example of this than the city we are sitting in right now. It was neither the Russian nor the American army that brought down the Berlin Wall but the people on the one side seeing that those on the other side were leading a better life. The government ultimately had to cave in. Ideas are powerful if people understand how they can affect their lives. Geographical distances or regional differences are of secondary importance in this.

The European: How do you mean that?

Bloomberg: You can bring the problems of the future such as climate change down to the here and now. Your kid might have to go the hospital because of an asthma attack. Incidentally, the doctor tells you that the water you’ve been drinking or the air you’ve been breathing caused the attack. At that moment, those future problems get your attention because you realize that they are not so distant but are already having an impact on your life. You can solve some of those longer-term problems if you can convince people that these issues cannot be simply ignored or neglected. The first signs of these problems start to show in cities, and that’s why they are quicker to act upon them than nation states.

The European: Surprisingly, many urban innovations such as bike-sharing programs or participatory budgeting started in cities of the global south and have been adopted by more developed cities in the West …

Bloomberg: An awful lot of stuff is done in places you wouldn’t even think about! At the city level, it’s not about worldwide visibility, war and peace or airplane crashes – it’s about delivering services! And that can be done in every part of the world. There can be a mayor in some small rural town you have never heard of who’s coming up with an idea that can ease the lives of millions. The job of being a mayor is virtually the same everywhere – be it in New York City or a small rural town in Germany.

The European: A few months ago, we interviewed former Clinton advisor Benjamin Barber who wrote a book called If Mayors Ruled the World . In it, he argues that cities are already more powerful than nation states and are therefore better suited as problem solvers. Do you agree?

Bloomberg: It’s a fairly true assessment – at least in the U.S. There is an imbalance in terms of power, not just between the state and cities but also between cities and federal states. The big difference is between geographical distribution and population distribution. In the U.S., we have two legislative branches: one based on population, one based on geography. The state of Oklahoma has far fewer representatives at the state level than the state of New York, although the latter is smaller in size.

"'Don’t run for mayor if you don’t like accountability."

The European: How important are party politics at the city level?

Bloomberg: Generally speaking, mayors deal on a bipartisan level. The former mayor of New York, Fiorello LaGuardia, once said that there is no Republican or Democratic way of picking up the garbage. And he was right! In New York City, I ran as a Republican because I could not get on a ballot as a Democrat. There are virtually no Republicans in New York City and yet I won because people care about services.

The European: Because people in the city care about outcomes, not political ideologies?

Bloomberg: They think very pragmatically. You want your kids to be healthy and you want to be safe from crime. New York City used to be a very dangerous spot, but today you can walk any neighborhood without having to look over your shoulder – that’s not a given in an American city of that size. That feeling of safety was what people wanted, and I was very successful in establishing it; that’s why I was popular and got re-elected.

The European: Do you think that mayors are more accountable than politicians at the national level?

Bloomberg: Absolutely!

The European: Why?

Bloomberg: Because people can walk out the door and see what the mayors did or did not do. You can easily measure their effectiveness. Legislators, on the other hand, can simply say: “Look, we are here to write legislation that will only have effects 10-15 years from now." Mayors can’t do that. They have to live up to their promises in as short a time frame as possible.

The European: You could say the same thing about the president.

Bloomberg: Because presidents are also executives. But they nevertheless deal at a very different level; the scope is much wider. But bear in mind that most government officials are unwilling to delegate. They want everything centered through them. They argue it fosters consistency; I argue it is because they are insecure and afraid to lose some of their decision-making power. The bigger the government is, the less likely it is to be devolved down. But in a small town, even people at lower positions can be involved in every decision. That’s not possible in a country like the U.S. or a city like New York. But my general piece of advice is: Don’t run for mayor if you don’t like accountability.

The European: Most of the finalist projects of the Mayors Challenge focus on civic engagement or public health issues rather than infrastructure per se. Why?

Bloomberg: The projects that are close to the citizens are those that matter most. And very often, they are quite easy and relatively cheap to implement. Building a bridge costs a fortune but might not yield the same positive effects a smaller project that helps citizens to connect with each other can have.

The European: The small projects make the big difference?

Bloomberg: Yes, you might still need the bridge, but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t undertake the easier and cheaper steps first.

This post was first published in The European .

Education Minister Johanna Wanka announced a change of course for German development cooperation in Africa last Friday (20 June). In the future, projects in science and research should be regionally targeted. EurActiv Germany reports. | 6/24/14

An unidentified American exchange student will always remember the time he spent in the beautiful, old university town of Tubingen, Germany. | 6/23/14

There is a giant, marble vagina on the grounds of Germany's Tubingen University Institute of Microbiology. If you are an American exchange student and someone dares you to climb into said vagina, you should | 6/23/14

From the Department of Forensic Medicine, Nanjing Medical University, Jiangsu, China ; Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology and Vascular Biology Center , Georgia Regents University, Augusta; Vichem Chemie, Ltd, Budapest, Hungary ; University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany ; Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany ; University of Texas Health ... (more) | 6/20/14
In a chemistry lab at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena (Germany): Prof. Dr. Alexander Schiller works at a rectangular plastic board with 384 small wells. The chemist carefully pipets some drops of sugar solution into a row of the tiny reaction vessels. As soon as the fluid has mixed with the contents of the vessels, fluorescence starts in some of the wells. What the Junior Professor for Photonic Materials does here – with his own hands – could also be called in a very simplified way, the 'sweetest computer in the world'. The reason: the sugar molecules Schiller uses are part of a chemical sequence for information processing. | 6/19/14
By Kathryn Doyle NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - In a new review of past research, people who spent lots of time watching TV or otherwise sitting were more likely to be diagnosed with colon or endometrial cancer than those who were less sedentary. “Cancer is a complex disease and has numerous possible causes, including genetic factors, environmental factors, and lifestyle factors,” said Daniela Schmid, from the department of epidemiology and preventive medicine at the University of Regensburg in Germany, who worked on the review. “Prolonged sedentary time has been linked to other chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease as well as cancer,” she said. In total, the 43 studies analyzed by Schmid and her coauthor followed close to 69,000 cancer patients. | 6/17/14
Researchers at the University of Regensburg, in Germany, say the effect is unrelated to how much exercise people take when not sitting down.

Tel: +972 4 9107493; Fax: +972 4 9107553; E-mail: ; Professor Dr S Emmert, Department of Dermatology, Venerology, and Allergology, University Medical Center Goettingen, Georg-August-University, Robert-Koch-Strasse 40, Goettingen 37075, Germany. | 6/12/14

From the Atherogenesis Research Group, University Heart Center and Institute for Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, Department of Immunology , University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany; Atherothrombosis and Vascular Biology and Cellular and Molecular Metabolism , Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, Australia; Department of Diagnostic ... (more) | 6/10/14

From the Atherogenesis Research Group, University Heart Center and Institute for Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, Department of Immunology , University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany; Atherothrombosis and Vascular Biology and Cellular and Molecular Metabolism , Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, Australia; Department of Diagnostic ... (more) | 6/10/14
Fifteen student Oscar winners from colleges and universities across the globe were named tonight by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences , which unveiled medal placements in the Alternative, Animation, Documentary, Narrative, and Foreign selections. Adrian Grenier, Nate Parker, Demian Bechir, and Frozen directing/producing team Jennifer Lee, Chris Buck, and Peter Del Vecho unveiled the winners at the ceremony held at the DGA: Alternative Gold Medal: Person , Drew Brown, The Art Institute of Jacksonville, Florida Silver Medal: Oscillate , Daniel Sierra, School of Visual Arts, New York Animation Gold Medal: Owned , Daniel Clark and Wesley Tippetts, Brigham Young University, Utah Silver Medal: Higher Sky , Teng Cheng, University of Southern California Bronze Medal: Yamashita , Hayley Foster, Loyola Marymount University, California Documentary Gold Medal: The Apothecary , Helen Hood Scheer, Stanford University Silver Medal: White Earth , J. Christian Jensen, Stanford University Bronze Medal: One Child , Zijian Mu, New York University Narrative Gold Medal: Above the Sea , Keola Racela, Columbia University, New York Silver Medal: Door God , Yulin Liu, New York University Bronze Medal: Interstate , Camille Stochitch, American Film Institute, California Foreign Film Gold Medal: Nocebo , Lennart Ruff, University of Television and Film Munich, Germany Silver Medal: Paris on the Water , Hadas Ayalon, Tel Aviv University, Israel Bronze Medal: Border Patrol , Peter Baumann, The Northern Film School, United Kingdom | 6/8/14

Students from Brigham Young, Columbia, Stanford, the Art Institute of Jacksonville and the University of Television and Film in Munich have won gold medals at the 41st Student Academy Awards, the Academy announced on Saturday night at a ceremony in West Hollywood.

The awards were presented by actors Demian Bichir, Adrian Grenier and Nate Parker, and by the “Frozen” team of writer-directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck and producer Peter Del Vecho. Bichir lauded the winning films as being “the real thing,” while Parker commented, “[The Academy] said, ‘Do you want to come and present this award?’ I said, ‘Absolutely. I'm an actor — I want to meet them [the student directors] first.'”

The 11 winners came from nine different U.S. film schools and three international schools, with only NYU and Stanford winning more than one award.

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The winners were chosen from 35 U.S. finalists from 23 different schools, and 10 international finalists, which qualified by competing in regional competitions.

The names of the winners were revealed on May 16, but the level of award won by each – gold, silver or bronze – was not revealed until envelopes were opened at Saturday's ceremony.

Gold medals come with $5,000 prizes, and automatically qualify the winning film in the 2014 Oscar race for live-action short, animated short or documentary short. Silver and bronze medals carry prizes of $3,000 and $2,000, respectively.

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Saturday's ceremony was held for the first time at the DGA Theatre in West Hollywood; in recent years, the show has typically taken place at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

The Art Institute of Jacksonville, Florida student Drew Brown won the gold medal in the Alternative category for “Person,” a wordless film about a transgender teen. The silver medal in the category went to Daniel Sierra for “Oscillate.” No bronze medal was awarded in the category, which typically has fewer than three winners.

In the Animation category, the winner was Brigham Young's Daniel Clark and Wesley Tippetts for “Owned,” while silver and bronze went to Teng Cheng for “Higher Sky” and Hayley Foster for “Yamashita.”

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“Owned,” which depicts a showdown between a video games champion and a young child who gets the better of him, had already won first place at the College Television Awards (the “Student Emmys”) in the animation category.

The gold medal in the Documentary category was won by Stanford's Helen Hood Scheer for “The Apothecary,” which looks at the owner of a drugstore in the remote and poor Colorado town of Nucla. Silver went to J. Christian Jensen's “White Earth” and bronze to Zijian Mu's “One Child.”

Narrative awards went to Columbia's Keola Racela for the Shanghai-set period piece “Above the Sea” (gold), Yulin Liu's “Door God” (silver) and Camile Stochitch's “Interstate” (bronze).

In the international category, Lennart Ruff from the University of Television and Film  in Munich won the gold medal for the thriller “Nocebo.” Silver and bronze went to Tel Aviv University's Hadas Ayalon for “Paris on the Water” and Northern Film School (UK) student Peter Baumann for “Border Patrol.”

See video: Jennifer Lawrence Blames Best Friend for Her Oscars After-Party Throwing Up (Video)

Clips from each of the winning films were shown during the ceremony, with a screening of all five winners in their entirety after the awards were presented.

The ceremony was the culmination of several days of activities for the winning filmmakers, who spent the entire week in Los Angeles at Academy-sponsored meetings, screenings and trips to studios. In their acceptance speeches, virtually every winner thanked the Academy for what they said had been an amazing week.

“Owned” director Wesley Tippetts went one step further in his speech, ending with this: “If there's anything else to be said, it's a quote from the classic film ‘Miss Congeniality': ‘We are all winners, and we really do want world peace.'”

The Student Academy Awards were established in 1972 “as an extension of the Academy's mission to engage filmmakers at the college level,” said AMPAS president Cheryl Boone Isaacs in her remarks opening the ceremony.  Past winners include Spike Lee, Robert Zemeckis, Trey Parker, Bob Saget and Pixar's John Lasseter and Pete Docter.

A number of films have gone from winning Student Oscars to being nominated for Academy Awards – most recently Luke Matheny's “God of Love,” which won both prizes.

The winners:

Gold Medal: “Person,” Drew Brown, The Art Institute of Jacksonville, Florida
Silver Medal: “Oscillate,” Daniel Sierra, School of Visual Arts, New York

Gold Medal: “Owned,” Daniel Clark and Wesley Tippetts, Brigham Young University, Utah
Silver Medal: “Higher Sky,” Teng Cheng, University of Southern California
Bronze Medal: “Yamashita,” Hayley Foster, Loyola Marymount University, California

Gold Medal: “The Apothecary,” Helen Hood Scheer, Stanford University
Silver Medal: “White Earth,” J. Christian Jensen, Stanford University
Bronze Medal: “One Child,” Zijian Mu, New York University

Gold Medal: “Above the Sea,” Keola Racela, Columbia University, New York
Silver Medal: “Door God,” Yulin Liu, New York University
Bronze Medal: “Interstate,” Camille Stochitch, American Film Institute, California

Foreign Film
Gold Medal: “Nocebo,” Lennart Ruff, University of Television and Film Munich, Germany
Silver Medal: “Paris on the Water,” Hadas Ayalon, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Bronze Medal: “Border Patrol,” Peter Baumann, The Northern Film School, United Kingdom

The post Student Oscars Go to Stanford, Columbia and Brigham Young appeared first on TheWrap.

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Craig Zadan and Neil Meron to Produce Oscars for 3rd Consecutive Year | 6/8/14

The prevailing explanation for the moon's origin, known as the Giant Impact Hypothesis, is that it resulted from two protoplanets (or embryonic worlds) that slammed together — the Earth as it was forming, and a Mars-size object called Theia. "The Giant Impact Hypothesis is very good in explaining most of the moon's features," said lead study author Daniel Herwartz, an isotope geochemist at the University of Göttingen in Germany. For instance, such a collision might help explain why the moon is low in substances that evaporate fairly easily, such as water — these volatile materials escaped in the heat of the impact's aftermath, Herwartz explained. "The reports of tiny amounts of water on the moon that now come up here and there do not change that view," Herwartz said. | 6/5/14

Recently, the Berggruen Institute’s Dawn Nakagawa interviewed John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge of The Economist about their new book, “The Fourth Revolution: The Global Race to Reinvent the State.” Micklethwait is The Economist’s editor-in-chief. Wooldridge is the magazine’s management editor and writes the Schumpeter column.

The WorldPost : The title of your book is “The Fourth Revolution: The Global Race to Reinvent the State.” What were the three earlier revolutions, and why do you see a fourth on the horizon?

John Micklethwait : Briefly, these three revolutions were the birth of the modern nation state, then the liberal state and then the welfare state.

Now that the welfare state has grown too large to afford, the fourth revolution involves forging a limited state that reduces costs, for example by applying new technology to the delivery of education and health care. This more limited state needs to engage citizens more deeply by devolving powers as much as possible toward localities. At the same time, certain decisions concerning the long-term and common good, such as monetary policy or getting entitlement spending under control, should be delegated to non-partisan technocrats or specially appointed commissions not beholden to raw public opinion, special interests or political patronage.

But let me step back to give some historical context.

From the perspective of 1600, China should have defined the future of the world. Europe at that time was a squalid backwater.

Only three cities in Europe, London, Paris and Nice, had populations of more than 300,000 people. That was the population of The Forbidden City alone -- many of them Mandarin intellectuals selected by examinations from the whole country to administer the empire.

But then the balance of power shifted dramatically in favor of Europe because of the three successive revolutions I have noted.

The first revolution was the creation of the nation-state, which offered security to people within it. The feudal aristocracy was tamed and religious factionalism was neutralized -- “the Prince determines the religion.” While power was centralized internally, competition between states propelled them outward, trading with the rest of the world and, in most cases, establishing empires: tiny Portugal conquered Brazil and Britain ruled three-quarters of the world. China, meanwhile, turned inward as the emperor ordered all subjects living on the prosperous southern coast to move 17 miles inland so they wouldn’t be contaminated by trade and foreigners.

The second revolution was the liberal revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries, which made governments accountable, efficient and respectful of individual freedoms. In the book, we focus on 19th century England because it was then the great power in the world and the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, but the earlier American and French revolutions were also a part of this shift.

Adrian Wooldridge : There are lessons for today from England’s liberal revolution. At that time, England actually reduced the size of government; public taxation fell from £80 million a year in 1815 to £60 million a year in 1846 –- even as the population was growing by 50 percent and new schools, police and sewage systems were put in place.

The relevant lesson for today is that this was done by replacing government through patronage and sinecure with a meritocratic civil service selected on the basis of examinations. It was consciously modeled on the Chinese system.

In short, they got rid of corruption, protected the rights of individuals and made the state more efficient and accountable.

As we are all familiar through the literature of Charles Dickens, this utilitarian calculus fell hard on the poorest. Reformists argued that the state should show compassion by addressing social issues. At the time, they looked to the bigger, more activist German state, which invented the pension system, and asked “why can’t we go that direction?”

That laid the foundations for the third revolution which began at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century -- the activist welfare state.

John Micklethwait : In the U.S., the welfare state didn't take off until FDR in the 1930s in the wake of the Great Depression. That was followed later on by Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society and the War on Poverty. The state got bigger and bigger, even as America was fighting the Vietnam War and building up its military might vis-a-vis the Soviet Union. Debts were piling up; New York City almost went bankrupt.


Adrian Wooldridge : Then came what we call a “half revolution” –- the Reagan and Thatcher movements against big government. In Britain, this meant getting the state out of running companies from telecoms to railroads. Thatcher sought to de-nationalize Britain. Even with her privatizations and despite vigorous rhetoric, in the end she only reduced the welfare component of state spending from 22.9 percent to 22.2 percent.

In the U.S., Bill Clinton was quite good at controlling state spending and reducing the deficit, but George W. Bush certainly wasn’t. By extending Medicare benefits to prescription drugs and fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he expanded the American state more than any president since LBJ. In Britain, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were initially quite good at controlling public expenditure, but then very rapidly they lost control of government, and the state began to expand again. And then of course, the financial crisis hit, and perhaps justifiably, we saw a big surge in spending.

John Micklethwait : The overall observation here is that people continually want more. And in democracies, they elect people who promise to give them more whether they can afford it or not. Sometimes that comes from the right, sometimes from the left. Sometimes it is better health care and schools; at other times it is prisons and fighter jets.

This, then brings us to the fourth revolution, a kind of return in modern times to the liberal conception of the state that no longer believes in big government, but protects the individual while competently and efficiently delivering limited public goods.

We think the state is incredibly important: we don’t agree with libertarians who argue that he governs best who governs least. If it's incredibly important, you have to actually make it work better. And one of the ways to make it work better is to make it do fewer things. The state simply cannot afford to do everything and be a person’s perennial accomplice in life.

Otherwise, the state is going to run out of money. Since 2007, the West –- America and Europe -– has borrowed 16 trillion dollars! That simply can’t go on forever.

Half that amount is on Central Bank balance sheets, but the rest is for outright spending.

The demographic reality alone -- people getting older –- makes it clear that a bust is coming. Fewer people of working age are having to support a growing population of retirees, particularly in Europe but also in the United States. That is one reason for the next revolution. The other is on the more optimistic side. New technologies can make everything from medical care to education cheaper and more efficiently delivered. In a sense, we are at a parallel stage to the early moments of the Industrial Revolution when it comes to costs. Just as the Industrial Revolution radically reduced the cost of manufacturing and transport, so the Information Revolution is radically reducing the cost of information-intensive services, which lie at the heart of the state.

The other big reason for optimism is competition -- going right back to the first revolution of Western nation state in competition with each other. Today, the Western nation-state is in competition with another way of governing and providing services -- the Asian model of Singapore and China.

Adrian Wooldridge : For the last four or five hundred years, the West has had the world to itself. It's had a monopoly of ideas, a monopoly of innovations and has ruled the world as a result of that. For the first time ever, we're seeing innovations in governance and ideas coming from all around the world.

For example, you can look at the Brazilian system of conditional cash transfers, where welfare payments depend on parents sending their children to school and getting them vaccinated. That's a very good idea. To take another example, Devi Shetty, an Indian surgeon, has radically reduced the cost of heart operations by applying economies of scale and scope to running his hospital. Of course, the biggest alternative to the West is China governance system -- the top-down, Mandarin-style government which combines regular rotation of leaders and transfer of with more long-term planning.

The future should, and probably will, lie with democracies and liberal capitalist countries, but only if those liberal capitalist countries get a bit fitter and shed our flabby and self-indulgent ways.

We need to shape up. That means shrinking the state a bit, making it smaller and more focused, and thus much better at providing services. More focus will actually make the state more legitimate in the eyes of voters, because it will stop promising more than it delivers.

The WorldPost : Part of your answer to the various failures of democracy is both to move power up by putting it in the hands of technocrats and, at the same time, empower the public more directly through devolving toward the grassroots.

How do you envision this “technocracy plus direct democracy” working in practice?

John Micklethwait : Democracy requires a careful balance of responding to the will of the people and taking a long-term perspective for the good of the society and future generations. Direct democracy has a tendency to be too short term focused, volatile and reactionary, as we have seen from the results of the initiative process in California. On the other hand, if you remove decision-making away from the people it can become disconnected and breed discontent.

The way to do this is to place the responsibility for some things, such as monetary policy, in the hands of entrusted institutions such as central banks. This system has reduced inflation’s impact on the economy precipitously everywhere that it has been implemented.

We also believe that specially appointed non-partisan commissions should be responsible for reviewing and setting entitlement policy on a periodic basis. If defining entitlements is left to the will of the voting public, it enables the current generations to rob future generations, as we are seeing across the Western world today.

However, there cannot be too many things decided by technocrats, as we see in the European Union today at the commission level, or the system loses legitimacy. Powers must be devolved so that local government can be centers of decision-making. This is something the U.S. has always been quite good at.

The trick is to harness the twin forces of globalism and localism, rather than trying to ignore or resist them. With the right balance of these two approaches, the same forces that threaten established democracies from above, through globalization, and below, through the rise of micro-powers, can reinforce rather than undermine democracy.

The WorldPost : In a twist on your approach, former Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti has said that the EU Commission in Brussels is what you might call “the technocracy” that looks to the long term and European common good and only takes on such competencies; while the nation-state democracies deal with more short term, national issues.

John Micklethwait : For the EU, we argue for the devolution of power to the member states and within the states to localities. Empowered and accountable local government will give the system legitimacy. More power should be pushed down to the local level, leaving only a few important elements to the EU.

The WorldPost : To quote Monti again, tough structural reforms take time to mature and are unpopular, but the voters want results now. So the reformers are always booted out in the next election. Democracy misprices the long term.

This happened to Gerhard Schroeder in Germany –- he was booted from office because of the unpopular reforms that have now made Germany the powerhouse of Europe.

Monti’s experience at the height of the euro crisis taught him that only a “grand coalition” is capable of making long-term reforms that entail short term costs. Then all parties are equally insulated from backlash. Otherwise, the partisans will paralyze each other with the next elections in mind.

Do you agree with this conclusion? How does this fit with your approach?

Adrian Wooldridge: Monti is certainly right that democracies can misprice the long-term. He is also right that, in his own case, he got the blame for making necessary reforms. Italy is a better place for his reforms. But we have two problems with his approach.

The first is that, if you load too many long-term decisions onto EU institutions, you risk a nationalist backlash of the sort that we saw in May’s European elections, which saw France’s National Front winning a quarter of the vote. People are much happier if national institutions, such as central banks or non-partisan commissions made up of former national politicians, take tough decisions.

The second is that, contra Monti, national politicians can sometimes push through tough structural reforms. The Swedes, and to a lesser extent other Nordic countries, did this in the early 1990s, when they reached the limit of debt-fueled big government. David Cameron has also done a good job of cutting the size of government after the Labour Party’s binge spending. The British people would certainly not have taken the same medicine from Brussels. In fact, Cameron’s insistence on bringing down the debt and trimming public services, has wrong-footed the Labour Party, which, after briefly flirting with offering the voters more of everything, has fallen in line with his emphasis on austerity.

Contracting out all difficult decisions to remote technocrats in a foreign capital is neither necessary nor, given the current distemper in Europe, particularly wise.

MP in 42-d National Assembly; member of Regional Policies and Local Governance Committee and European Matters and Funds Control Committee Education: Doctor of Natural Sciences, Saarland University, Germany; Master of Biology, Saarland University. | 6/2/14
LONDON (AP) — The Olympics have weathered world wars, boycotts and corruption scandals. These days, the IOC has a new crisis on its hands: Finding cities willing to host the games.

The troubled race for the 2022 Winter Olympics is a case in point. High costs and internal political opposition prevented several potential contenders not to bid. Two candidate cities withdrew and two others could still drop out.

The way things are going, the winner could be decided next year by default. Take the games, please.

"I have not seen anything like this before," senior Norwegian IOC member Gerhard Heiberg said. "This is urgent. We need to sit down and discuss what is going on. We are at a crossroads here."

It's a challenge the International Olympic Committee and new President Thomas Bach need to resolve quickly to ensure the long-term viability of the world's most prized sports event.

Changes to the bidding process and efforts to reduce the cost of the games are among the key issues being addressed by the IOC as part of Bach's "Agenda 2020," his blueprint for the future of the Olympic movement that will be voted on in December.

Watching closely are countries and cities considering whether to bid for the even bigger and more expensive Summer Olympics of 2024.

The financial burden is worrying potential host cities. Specifically, the $51 billion price tag associated with February's Winter Olympics in Sochi. Olympic officials say most of that huge sum went to long-term projects and that the operations costs of the Olympics were no higher than previous games.

No matter. The public perception is that the games cost too much.

Concerns over Rio de Janeiro's delayed preparations for the 2016 Olympics have further dampened enthusiasm for hosting the games.

The Olympics continue to succeed as a spectacle, with huge audiences on television and online. But the field for 2022 has taken one hit after the other.

Munich and St. Moritz-Davos withdrew planned bids when voters in Germany and Switzerland voted 'no' in referendums. Stockholm, one of the five declared candidates, pulled out in December after the city government declined to offer financial backing. On Monday, the Polish city of Krakow dropped out after 70 percent of voters rejected the bid in a referendum.

That leaves four cities in contention for now: Almaty, Kazakhstan; Beijing; Lviv, Ukraine; and Oslo, Norway.

The bid from Lviv has been on hold because of the turmoil in Ukraine.

It's possible only three bids will still be in play when the IOC executive board meets in Lausanne, Switzerland, from July 7-9 to decide which cities go to the final stage. Rather than cut the field, the board would likely keep the remaining three. The host city will be selected by the full IOC in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on July 31, 2015.

Most worrying for the IOC is the uncertain status of the Oslo bid. Polls show 60 percent of Norwegians are opposed. One of the two parties in the governing coalition came out against the bid earlier this month. The government won't decide until the autumn whether to provide the required financial guarantees.

"We have an image problem," Heiberg said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "People in Norway say we love the games but we hate the IOC."

Oslo, which hosted the 1952 Winter Olympics, would have been the natural favorite. Norway lives and breathes winter sports and its athletes have won the most medals at the Winter Games. The 1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway, are widely described as the best ever.

"If there is a referendum today, the 'no' side will win by a large margin," said Heiberg, who organized the Lillehammer Games. "But this could change. We have time."

Amid all the instability, Almaty and Beijing stand as the most solid bids.

Beijing, which hosted the 2008 Olympics, is bidding to become the first city to host both the summer and winter games, with Alpine events in Zhangjiakou. Almaty, the commercial capital of the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan in Central Asia, hosted the 2011 Asian Games and will host the Winter University Games in 2017. It looks like the current favorite.

Has the situation reached the stage where the Olympics can only be held in non-democratic countries where money is no object? No public referendums are being held in Beijing or Almaty. Kazakhstan has been ruled by the same leader in 1989. Both countries have been criticized for their human rights records.

"I see a problem in Western Europe," Heiberg said. "We have to accept the fact that we are not attractive to Western European countries. People think the games have become gigantic, the investments are too heavy."

The current crisis centers primarily on Winter Games, which also face concerns over whether rising temperatures will prevent countries from holding the event in future decades. But the attention will soon shift to the race for a bigger prize: the 2024 Summer Games.

The U.S., which hasn't hosted the Summer Games since Atlanta in 1996, is weighing another bid after failed campaigns by New York (2012) and Chicago (2016). The USOC is expected to decide whether to put a city forward by the end of the year.

Still in the mix are Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Washington, Dallas and San Diego.

Paris, Rome and a city from Germany are potential contenders from Europe. Other possible bidders include Doha, Qatar; Istanbul, Turkey, and a city in South Africa.
By Allison Bond MD NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Children and teens with type 1 diabetes are already at increased risk for becoming overweight or obese, but certain traits make the odds even higher, according to a new study. Because obesity can compound some of the health problems that go along with diabetes, it’s important to help kids avoid weight gain, researchers say. Elke Frohlich-Reiterer, of Medical University Graz in Austria, and her colleagues analyzed data collected from 250 diabetes centers in Germany and Austria; All the kids were under the age of 20 and had type 1 diabetes, which used to be known as juvenile diabetes because it typically appears during childhood. | 5/30/14

The responsibility for the German education system lies primarily with the states (Bundesländer) while the federal government plays only a minor role. Optional Kindergarten education is provided for all children between three and six years of age, after which school attendance is compulsory, in most cases for 11 to 12 years. The system varies throughout Germany because each state (Land) decides its own educational policies. Most children, however, first attend Grundschule from the age of six to ten or 12. German secondary education includes five types of school. The Gymnasium is designed to prepare pupils for university education and finishes with the final examination Abitur, after grade 12 or 13. The Realschule has a broader range of emphasis for intermediate pupils and finishes with the final examination Mittlere Reife, after grade 10; the Hauptschule prepares pupils for vocational education and finishes with the final examination Hauptschulabschluss, after grade 9 or 10 and the Realschulabschluss after grade 10. There are two types of grade 10: one is the higher level called type 10b and the lower level is called type 10a; only the higher level type 10b can lead to the Realschule and this finishes with the final examination Mittlere Reife after grade 10b. This new path of achieving the Realschulabschluss at a vocationally-oriented secondary school was changed by the statutory school regulations in 1981 - with a one-year qualifying period. During the one-year qualifying period of the change to the new regulations, pupils could continue with class 10 to fulfil the statutory period of education. After 1982, the new path was compulsory, as explained above. Other than this, there is the Gesamtschule, which combines the approaches. There are also Förderschulen/Sonderschulen. One in 21 pupils attends a Förderschule. Nevertheless the Förderschulen/Sonderschulen can also lead, in special circumstances, to a Hauptschulabschluss of both type 10a or type 10b, the latter of which is the Realschulabschluss. German children only attend school in the morning. There is no provision for serving lunch. There is a lot more homework, heavy emphasis on the "three R's" and very few extracurricular activities. A very low-cost or free higher education could lie beyond a German Abitur. Many of Germany's hundred or so institutions charge little or no tuition. But, students must prove through examinations that they are qualified. In order to enter university, students are, as a rule, required to have passed the Abitur examination; since 2009, however, those with a Meisterbrief (master craftman's diploma) have also been able to apply. Those wishing to attend a "university of applied sciences" must, as a rule, have Abitur, Fachhochschulreife or a Meisterbrief. Lacking those qualifications, pupils are eligible to enter a university or university of applied sciences if they can present additional proof that they will be able to keep up with their fellow students A special system of apprenticeship called Duale Ausbildung allows pupils on vocational courses to do in-service training in a company as well as at a state school. Recent PISA student assessments demonstrated serious weaknesses in German pupils' performance. In the test of 43 countries in the year 2000, Germany ranked 21st in reading and 20th in both mathematics and the natural sciences, prompting calls for reform. In 2006, German schoolchildren improved their position compared to previous years, being ranked (statistically) significantly above average (rank 13) in science skills and statistically not significantly above or below average in mathematical skills (rank 20) and reading skills (rank 18). The PISA Examination also found big differences in achievement between students attending different types of German schools. According to Jan-Martin-Wiadra: Conservatives prized the success of the Gymnasium, for them the finest school form in the world – indeed, it is by far the number one in the PISA league table. But what they prefer to forget is that this success came at the cost of a catastrophe in the Hauptschulen. Some German teachers' representatives and a number of scientists disputed the PISA findings. Claiming among other things that the questions have been ill-translated, that the samples drawn in some countries were not representative, that Germans (most of whom had never done a multiple choice tests in their lives before) were discriminated against by the multiple choice questions, that the PISA-questions had no curricular validity and that the PISA was "in fact an IQ-test", which according to them showed that dysgenic fertility was taking place in Germany. A 2008 statistic from Nordrhein-Westfalen shows that 6.4 percent of all students did not earn even the Hauptschulabschluss, however not all of them were high school dropouts, as many of them were children with special needs, who received special school leaving certificates. Only 3.3 percent dropped out of school without earning any kind of diploma.

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