Monday, October 31, 2011

What readers are saying (Seattle Times)

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Hanging-man Halloween display draws complaints

(AP) ? An Ohio homeowner has moved a Halloween decoration of a hanging man because police said some found it too realistic and spooky.

Officers in the Columbus suburb of Dublin said they received five complaints about the 6-foot figure hanging in a tree close to a road. Police told WSYX-TV ( ) that people found the display disturbing and feared it could cause a traffic accident.

The homeowner, who asked not to be identified, tells the station that Halloween should be creepy and that his decoration was "all in good fun."

But he moved it to a tree closer to his house and away from the street. Where it used to hang, he has placed a sign that says: "less realistic decoration."


Information from: WSYX-TV,


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Brazil's Silva beginning chemotherapy for tumor (AP)

SAO PAULO ? Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is beginning chemotherapy to treat a cancerous tumor in his larynx.

Silva's doctors say Monday he is also expected to undergo radiation therapy, likely in January.

The tumor was detected over the weekend. A statement from Sao Paulo's Sirio Libanes Hospital says it was caught in its early stages.

Roberto Kalil, one of Silva's doctors, says the chances of a full recovery are excellent and that the 66-year-old Silva is otherwise in good health.

Silva was first elected in 2002. He left office on Jan. 1 of this year with an approval rating of 87 percent.

Brazil underwent rapid economic growth during Silva's time in office. The nation's political power on the international stage also rose.


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Woman guilty of trying to burn husband?

A Florida woman was convicted of trying to murder her husband by setting the couple's bedroom on fire while he napped, in one of two suspected attempts to kill him, authorities said on Saturday.

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Kimberly Boone, 46, who investigators believe tried twice over four months to kill Robert Boone for his life insurance money, was convicted of attempted murder and arson, a spokesman for the Seminole County Jail booking center said. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 5. A jury deliberated four hours on Friday before issuing the verdict.

Prosecutors said Kimberly Boone, a college financial aid manager from Winter Springs, Florida, set the couple's bedroom on fire in December 2008 while Robert Boone slept. She drugged her husband with the anti-anxiety medication Xanax, making it harder for him to escape the fire, they said.

Investigators found search records on her laptop for information on making someone violently ill, poisoning, making a house explode, overdosing on Xanax, and how fire marshals determine the cause of a fire, according to the arrest affidavit.

Kimberly Boone's lawyer argued in court that fire investigators never determined how the fire started, leaving reasonable doubt about what happened.

She was not arrested for the arson and attempted murder until four months later, in April 2009, when Robert Boone was shot in the chest while checking on his wife's concern about noises in the garage.

Robert Boone, who survived both incidents, told investigators Kimberly brought their Ruger .357 into the garage. Kimberly told investigators Robert had the handgun.

Kimberly Boone was acquitted of attempted murder in the shooting case at her first trial in 2010.

Copyright 2011 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.


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Sunday, October 30, 2011

How The Wealthy Use Personal Equity Investing To Build up Their ...

It sort of feels in this day and age non-public equity is the buzz. In truth wouldn?t you love to find out how the rich use private equity making an investment to increase their wealth? Have no idea what private equity is ? that is ok you don?t seem to be alone. There is not too many outside the investor professionals that in point of fact describe it however it is how the wealthy use non-public fairness making an investment to increase their wealth.

Personal fairness is an overly vast word used to explain any type of equity funding in an asset the place the fairness is not tradable on an inventory market. Private equity investments may come with project capital, angel making an investment, enlargement capital, and leveraged buyout and it?s how the rich use non-public equity making an investment to extend their wealth.

This all started back within the early Nineteen Nineties and it has undergone huge growth which has led to report levels of capital once a year during the last decade that is how the rich use personal equity investing to increase their wealth. Close to the tip of 2000 there was a bit of a breather however no longer for lengthy and these days it?s again an important participant in the international market. It?s how the rich use non-public equity making an investment to increase their wealth.

In the case of how the wealthy use personal equity making an investment to increase their wealth its thru non-public fairness that specialised in LBO?s and MBO?s and naturally leverage nonetheless remains a vital element.

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100 Years Ago: Marie Curie Wins 2nd Nobel Prize

Marie Sklodowska Curie Immortalized by her researches on radium. Image: Scientific American

From Scientific American, November 25, 1911, Volume 105

FEMINISM very nearly won a great victory in the French Academy of Sciences on January 23rd, 1911, when, in the election of a successor to the deceased academician Gernez, Marie Sklodowska Curie was defeated by two votes. At a joint meeting of the five academies which compose the Institut de France, a majority had opposed the admission of women, as contrary to tradition, but each academy was left to decide the question for itself.

The Academy of Fine Arts had a few women members long ago but the Academy of Sciences has never admitted a woman. It was, perhaps, the opposition of the anti-feminists that induced Mme. Curie to apply as a candidate for the chair in the section of physics left vacant by Gernez, and formerly occupied by her husband and collaborator, Pierre Curie. In the preliminary grading of candidates Mme. Curie was placed alone, in the first grade, while her competitors, five eminent men of science, were assigned to the second grade. Mme. Curie, however, received only 28 of the 65 votes (the Academy consists of 66 members), while 30 votes were cast for Edouard Branly. There were good reasons for this choice, entirely apart from considerations of sex. Branly is a physicist of world-wide celebrity who, unlike Mme. Curie, has received few honors and emoluments. He invented the coherer for the detection of electric waves and to him Marconi?s first wireless message was addressed. Many of the academicians naturally desired to recognize the very important part played by their compatriot in the development of wireless telegraphy. Moreover, Branly is sixty-four years old and this was his third candidacy, while Mme. Curie is only forty-three and had never before applied for admission. It is not customary to admit a candidate on the first application, and Mme. Curie?s chance of living until the next vacancy shall occur is greater than Branly?s.

Who is this remarkable woman who so nearly surmounted these formidable obstacles? The dry and formal account of herself and her work which she submitted with her application, according to custom, is perhaps more eloquent than an exhaustive biography. Marie Sklodowska was born in Warsaw November 7th, 1867. She became a student in the University of Paris where she attained the degrees of licentiate in physics in 1893 and licentiate in mathematics in 1894. In 1896 she received a certificate of fitness for the secondary instruction of girls, and in 1900 became lecturer in physics in the Ecole normale superieure for girls in Sevres. In 1903 she received the degree of doctor of physical science, in 1906 she became lecturer in general physics in the University of Paris, and in 1909 s he was promoted to the professorship of general physics, as successor to her lately deceased husband, Prof. Pierre Curie, to whom she was married in 1895.

She is an honorary or foreign member of the Royal Institution of Great Britain, the London Chemical Society, the American Philosophical Society, the American Chemical Society, the Imperial Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg, the Royal Swedish Academy and other learned bodies, and has received the honorary title of Doctor from the universities of Geneva and Edinburgh. In 1898 Mme. Curie, then thirty-one years of age, received the Gegner prize from the French Academy of Sciences, nominally for her extensive researches relating to the magnetic properties of iron and steel, although the report of the awarding committee also alludes, in terms of the highest commendation, to the researches in radio-activity which she had already begun, in co-operation with her husband, and to their recent discovery of the radio-active element which Mme. Curie named Polonium, in honor of her native country.

The Gegner prize was awarded to Mme. Curie again in 1300, and a third time in 1902, together with the Berthelot medal. In 1903 the Nobel prize for physical science was awarded, half to Mons. and Mme. Curie and half to Henri Becquerel, whose discovery of the spontaneous radio-activity of uranium ore formed the basis of all subsequent researches in radio-activity. Only a few days ago we heard the news that Mme. Curie has been honored with the Nobel prize a second time, on this occasion in the division of chemistry. The list of medals and prizes which have been awarded to Mme. Curie in foreign countries is too long to quote.

In addition to the numerous researches in radioactivity which she made in collaboration with her husband, Mme. Curie has published a great many independent papers, and a volume, ?Investigations of Radio-active Substances,?; in which the results of their co-operative researches, including the epoch-making discovery of radium, are set forth.

Radium and polonium are not the only fruits of this ideal marriage, which was blessed by the birth of two children who already give evidence of inheriting the genius of their parents. After the shocking and untimely death of Pierre Curie, who was killed by a truck on a Paris bridge, in 1906, at the age of fifty-seven, a large majority of his colleagues recommended to the ministry of public instruction the appointment of his widow and coadjutor as his successor. The result is that this gifted woman, the only one of her sex who has ever received this high honor, is now a full professor in the venerable Sorbonne.

All who have seen Mme. Curie at work in her laboratory, or have listened to her lectures, have been impressed by her undemonstrative zeal, her abstraction from external disturbances and her aversion to sensational effects.

The early life of Marie Sklodowska Curie is less well-known to the general public than the later phase, in which she has become famous. And yet there is a peculiar romantic, and indeed pathetic interest attached to the incidents of her youth. Her father was a distinguished physicist, and professor of chemistry at Warsaw, Poland. Her mother died when the child was yet quite young. Marie grew up in her father?s laboratory, imbibing the spirit of scientific research, and acquiring that sureness of eye and skill of hand which is so indispensable to the worker in experimental science. It is no doubt largely to her very early initiation into the technique of laboratory work that her extraordinary ability in this direction must be ascribed. Marie?s apprenticeship was, however, brought to a rather early close by the pressure of necessity. As the daughter of an impecunious college professor, the eighteen-year-old girl set out to earn her own living as governess to the daughters of a Russian nobleman. But Providence had destined her for another fate. In one of those agitations which have been so common in the history of Russia, a patriotic society of students at Warsaw was brought under the scrutiny of the ever-suspicious government, and for fear of being compelled to testify against some of her father?s pupils, Marie migrated from her home country and took up her abode in Paris. There she lived for a time a life of the utmost privation. Her repeated efforts to obtain employment in one of the laboratories seemed to avail her nothing. Finally she was allowed to perform some of the trivial offices in connection with the preparation of laboratory experiments. And once this meager foothold was gained, it was but a matter of days before the extraordinary faculties of the new assistant had attracted the attention and caused the amazement of the head of the department, Prof. Lippmann. The eminent scientist befriended the girl, and incidentally also introduced her to one of his most promising pupils, Pierre Curie, with whom she became associated in research, and later, in the bonds of wedlock. It was she who fanned to new endeavor the fagging spirits of her husband, in those moments of discouragement which are apt to come to all engaged in intense scientific research. And together they gained the undying trophies of fame, when, with the isolation of radium salts, the name of Curie suddenly rose to international renown. And then, not many years later, fell that terrible blow, separating the two who together had faced the hardships of everyday life, and in strangely perfect union had toiled, against much discouragement, to reap the precious harvest of scientific research. While crossing the street Prof.. Curie tripped and fell, and was instantly killed by a passing truck. Thus in an evil hour France was bereft of one of her greatest physicists, the world of a genius, and Madame Curie If her life companion and husband. Her composure, upon receiving the terrible news, is commented upon by the Gaulois: ?Nothing could have been more characteristic of the wonderful Madame Curie, than the coolness with which she received the news of her bereavement. There were no tears, no traces of grief. Over and over she repeated : ?Pierre is dead.??? One fee1s that here perhaps the Frenchman, with his demonstrative temperament, somewhat misjudges this great woman. The deepest emotions are not always those that can find their vent through the common channels of physical expression. To us there seems something infinitely pathetic in the monotonous repetition of that simple and sad formula, as the mind that with the insight of a genius has successfully grappled with some of the most abstruse problems presented to the science of to-day in the realm of inanimate matter, is brought face to face with the great problem of life and death. Here all men are on a level, and impartially fate has dealt to this great genius as to us all life?s share of human sorrow. Yet with unbroken spirit, and with renewed devotion she turns to continue now in loneliness, her great life work, her priceless gift to humanity.

One can not help reflecting on the retribution dealt by fate to the Eastern monarchy-that makes life unendurable to the scholar of independent thought-in taking from her the woman who would have added the brightest laurel to Russia?s wreath of scientific ?attainment.


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Saturday, October 29, 2011

The why of water bouncing balls


A team of researchers has figured out why a water bouncing ball, known as a Waboba, bounces across the water so well.

By John Roach

Some balls bounce on water, and some do it better than others. The best in class is the trademarked Waboba, which stands for water bouncing ball. And now a team of mechanical engineers has figured out why the Waboba works so well.

The team led by Michael Wright at Brigham Young University's Splash Lab in Provo, Utah, did this by attempting to skip three types of balls across the water, videotaping the activity, and analyzing the footage. Their results are posted on, including a video that explains it all.

The tests involved a?SuperBall, a racquetball and, of course, the Waboba. Here's the gist of what they found:

The SuperBall, which is solid, stiff, and has a large ratio of mass relative to its size, plunged underwater even when thrown at a shallow angle, as we learned to do when skipping stones. It doesn't bounce.

The racquetball, which is hollow and has a much lower mass ratio, creates a small cavity and then rebounds quickly, but it kicks up a wave that it has to bust through, which slows it down. It bounces a little.

The Waboba skips supremely across the water like a child let out of school for the summer. Why such skipping prowess??

The team explains that it flattens inside the cavity it creates and moves through the cavity like a skipping stone, which, the video shows, planes out of the cavity it creates. Notice, too, that there's little surrounding wave for the Waboba to break through, allowing it to bounce more easily.

While similar to a skipping stone, the researchers note that the Waboba makes for a more user-friendly toy.

"While some skill is needed throw the Waboba across the pond, it adapts to each skip because of its elastic response whereas the stone must be thrown perfectly in order to gain the best skipping advantage," the researchers conclude.

This is cool and all, but why do this type of research? The video doesn't say, but, as Technology Review notes: "The fact that one of the team is with the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport might offer a clue."

More on skipping across the water:

John Roach is a contributing writer for To learn more about him, check out his website. For more of our Future of Technology series, watch the featured video below.

Disposable computers for hurling into infernos, underwater robots that team up for search and rescue, and other new tools are coming to the aid of emergency responders during calamities.



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Modern Combat 3 tops iPhone Games of the Week (Appolicious)

Leading the charge this week is Gameloft?s first-person shooter, Modern Combat 3: Fallen Nation. It?s a pretty impressive Call of Duty look-alike with great production values and a huge multiplayer offering that?ll keep you busy throughout the weekend. But it?s not the only great game we saw this week. There are four other phenomenal contenders you should pick up as well. Read about all of them below.

Gameloft?s latest first-person shooter has some astounding graphics and a presentation that might make you think it belongs on today?s video game consoles. In fact, that?s not far off ? Modern Combat apes the popular Call of Duty series very well. Like many of Gameloft?s other FPS titles, MC3 uses gyroscopic aiming controls mixed with buttons to give you a pretty smooth shooter experience. It?s brimming with content and features 13 missions in its single-player story and a full online multiplayer mode. Leaderboards, weapons you can customize with new parts, and seven game modes for online play make Modern Combat 3 a pretty good value.

Asteroids are threatening to destroy Earth, and you?re its last line of defense. The end of the world is imminent, and the best hope of humanity is to evacuate the planet while you try to divert asteroids from their impact trajectories by exploding missiles near them. Eve of Impact is simple but beautiful with a great sci-fi aesthetic. It?s probably much better on the iPad ? it could use a little more screen real-estate on smaller devices ? but for a straightforward arcade experience, there?s something both haunting and mesmerizing about this one, thanks to its great presentation.

Like The Legend of Zelda series, Mage Gauntlet taps into that action role-playing spirit that made for some fantastic 16-bit games way back in the days of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and the Sega Genesis. But with some tight, funny writing and plenty of hats to find and try on, Mage Gauntlet differentiates itself as a great iOS experience. Gamers who grew up in the 1990s will feel right at home with Mage Gauntlet?s old-school aesthetic and gameplay, but this one just has a lot of content to offer. It?s all swords and sorcery, and at the end of the day, who could ask for anything more?

Riptide GP (iPhone, iPad) $4.99

I?m usually not one for racing games, but Riptide finds a way to make old things new again by introducing some great-looking water with strong, working physics to the equation. This is a racing title in which you race jet skis. It packs some high-quality 3-D graphics to drive the immersion into the game, along with three different game modes, and mixes a few stunts in with the races to keep things interesting. You can also earn new jet skis as you race and qualify with better times, and best of all, it sports Game Center leaderboards, which helps engender real-life competition. Mostly, though, it?s just fun to bounce off great-looking virtual waves.

The developers over at Adult Swim Games have kind of cornered the market on weird, slightly dark, hilarious concepts. Bring Me Sandwiches!! is another in a long line of these. You play a fast-food employee who has to serve sandwiches to a monstrous alien in order to keep it happy. Your job in this 2-D platformer is to gather just about anything you can to make sandwiches, but the game also tosses objects at you, and you?ll often include rude people or animals in your entrees. It?s a goofy game with a fun aesthetic and a great premise, and it?s definitely fun to incapacitate annoying teenagers and pile them on to bread slices to feed to a giant alien.

Download the free Appolicious iPhone app


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Blackbeard's cannon salvaged from shipwreck

A 2,000-pound cannon pulled from the waters near Beaufort Wednesday will give archaeologists and historians more ammunition for separating fact from legend surrounding the infamous pirate Blackbeard.

The Queen Anne's Revenge Project brought the massive gun ashore and displayed it to the public before taking to a laboratory at East Carolina University. Onlookers cheered as the 8-foot-long (2.4-meter-long, 900-kilogram) gun was raised above the water's surface.

"The last people who saw this were pirates," QAR project director Mark Wilde-Ramsing told more than 100 spectators who later gathered in front of Beaufort's Maritime Museum for a closer look at the 18th-century weapon.

Dozens of local residents turned out, while some Blackbeard enthusiasts drove in from other parts of the state.

"We read about it last night, and I asked the kids: Are we going to skip school tomorrow and go see this?" said Joy Herndon, who made the roughly 230-mile (370-kilometer) trek from Greensboro with her children, Lucy and Kevin.

Legend vs. fact
Separating the Blackbeard legend from historical facts is one of the goals of the QAR recovery effort, which has so far netted some 280,000 artifacts, said Joseph Schwarzer, director of the North Carolina Maritime Museum.

"This is about as close to that particular point in American history, and to piracy, as anybody is ever going to get," Schwarzer said.

The recovery effort involves collaboration between the state departments of Cultural Resources and Environmental and Natural Resources, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency, East Carolina University and other agencies.

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    2. Blackbeard's cannon salvaged from shipwreck
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The gun recovered Wednesday was the 13th cannon raised from the shipwreck. Other items have included medical supplies, dishes, gold dust, prisoner shackles, African jewelry and small weaponry.

Schwarzer said researchers believe the ship was built as La Concorde, a French slave-trading vessel, but was commandeered by Blackbeard and his crew six months prior to its grounding near Beaufort Inlet.

Historians theorize that the ship was intentionally scuttled by Blackbeard, who then took off in a smaller boat, because he could no longer afford the expense of four ships and a pirate following estimated at 400.

Neal Stetson, 58, said he and his wife drove a half-hour from Newport to see the recovered cannon.

"After we moved here, I became fascinated with Blackbeard, particularly all the tales and legends that surround him," said Stetson, who came to the area from Maryland six years ago. "It's amazing and fortunate that they found the wreck."

Exhibit attracts thousands
An exhibit of the items recovered from the ship opened at the Beaufort Maritime Museum in June and has already attracted more than 100,000 visitors, said N.C. Cultural Resources Secretary Linda Carlisle.

Only about half the shipwreck has been examined so far, but Carlisle said the state has a goal of finishing the recovery effort by 2013.

"We're really concerned about the site itself," she said. "We live through each hurricane season with trepidation."

The project could move more swiftly if additional funding was available. Carlisle said it costs about $150,000 annually for the recovery and lab work, but state funding has not kept up with the need.

Though some flakes of gold dust are the closest to pirate's treasure yet discovered, the project and museum exhibit has netted the state a valuable influx of tourism dollars, as well as drawn international attention to the state, Carlisle added.

The cannon will be preserved at the lab at ECU while the research staff studies both the weapon and the cementlike shell of sand, salt and barnacles covering it, a process that could easily take five years, said Sarah Watkins-Keeney, chief conservator for the QAR project.

Blackbeard was an Englishman whose real name may have been Edward Teach or Thatch. After capturing La Concorde in the Caribbean, Blackbeard and his men blockaded the port of Charleston for a time. He was sailing north from Charleston when his ship went aground in what was then known as Old Topsail Inlet, now Beaufort Inlet.

After being granted a pardon from North Carolina Gov. Charles Eden in June 1718, Blackbeard was killed five months later by members of the Royal Navy of Virginia at Ocracoke Inlet.

More tales of the pirates:

? 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Friday, October 28, 2011

Oil jumps above $92 after Europe debt plan (AP)

SINGAPORE ? Oil prices jumped above $92 a barrel Thursday in Asia after European leaders agreed on a plan to reduce Greece's debt burden.

Benchmark crude for December delivery was up $1.89 at $92.09 a barrel at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $2.97, or 3.2 percent, to settle at $90.20 in New York on Wednesday.

Brent crude was up $1.27 at $110.18 a barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange in London.

EU President Herman Van Rompuy said early Thursday that policymakers struck a deal that will reduce Greece's debt to 120 percent of its GDP in 2020. The plan calls on banks to accept 50 percent losses on their Greek bonds.

Van Rompuy also said nations that use the euro common currency and the International Monetary Fund will give Greece another euro100 billion ($140 billion).

Investors cheered the accord as a first step toward containing Europe's sovereign debt crisis. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 1.4 percent on Wednesday and stock markets in Asia and Europe rose Thursday.

"This could be a turning point for the eurozone debt crisis," said Victor Shum, an analyst with energy consultancy Purvin & Gertz in Singapore. "It's a significant development that private investors have agreed to take a 50 percent haircut on Greece."

Crude has jumped about 21 percent from $75 on Oct. 4 amid growing investor optimism that the U.S. economy will avoid a recession this year. Shum said he expects oil to trade near $100 by the end of the year.

In other Nymex trading, heating oil rose 2.8 cents to $3.05 per gallon and gasoline futures gained 3.9 cents at $2.66 per gallon. Natural gas fell 1.0 cents at $3.58 per 1,000 cubic feet.


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Europe faces key test in debt crisis (AP)

BRUSSELS ? Poland's finance minister says big European banks will be required to raise their capital cushions to 9 percent of their risky investments by June.

That's in line with international banking guidelines that come into effect in 2019.

Polish Finance Minister Jan Vincent-Rostowski announced the new rules after a meeting Wednesday of the leaders of the 27 countries that make up the European Union.

European banks need to shore up their finances because they have significant exposure to debt by governments with shaky finances.

On Greece's debt, for instance, they could soon be asked to take substantial losses, as leaders try to find a way to dig Europe out of its debt crisis by lightening Greece's debt load.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

BRUSSELS (AP) ? European leaders rushed to Brussels Wednesday facing colossal pressure to do what they have failed to in numerous previous meetings: produce a comprehensive solution to the continent's increasingly unmanageable debt crisis.

As the summit began, the heads of state and government remained deeply divided on some of the key issues they need to solve or risk renewed turbulence on financial markets across the globe.

The fear is that more delays and half-baked solutions could push not only Europe, but much of the rest of the developed world back into recession, eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs and even spell the failure of the euro, the common currency that is at the heart of Europe's postwar unity.

"Our challenge today is not simply to save the euro. It's to safeguard the ideals we cherish so much in Europe: peaceful cooperation amongst our nations, social cohesion and solidarity without prejudice amongst our people," said George Papandreou, the prime minister of Greece, whose country kicked off the continent's debt drama almost two years ago.

Whether Wednesday's summit ? which was expected to last deep into the night ? would indeed turn out to be the grand solution the markets are expecting and the eurozone has been promising was unclear Wednesday evening.

In particular, there was still no agreement on how to cut Greece's debt, which is set to top 180 percent of economic output next year. On this issue the 17-country eurozone remained locked in discussions with banks and other private holders of Greek bonds, who have been resisting a demand from the eurozone to take significant losses.

At the same time, the eurozone itself was divided over how far a restructuring of Greece's debt should go.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told lawmakers in Berlin that the goal was to bring Greece's debt down to 120 percent of economic output by 2020. That would imply a cut of more than 50 percent to the face value of Greek bonds and may be more than private investors would be willing to accept voluntarily.

Merkel's Austrian counterpart Werner Faymann told reporters that a cut of "40 to 50 percent is part of the debate."

Germany has threatened to force losses on Greek debt holders if they don't accept sufficient losses voluntarily, while France, the European Commission and the European Central Banks insist that any debt relief had to remain voluntary.

Doubts remained also over the second key issue on the table: How to give the eurozone's bailout fund, the euro440 billion ($612 billion) European Financial Stability Facility, the firepower it needs to stop the crisis from engulfing large economies like Italy and Spain and help prevent big banks from collapsing amid the worsening market turmoil.

"I think that effectively, it has to be able to intervene a good deal beyond euro1 trillion ($1.4 trillion)," Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme said of the bailout fund, also known as the EFSF.

Since states have ruled out boosting their financial commitments to the fund, the eurozone was working on two complex schemes that would allow the EFSF to act as an insurer for new bonds from wobbly countries like Italy and Spain.

If the fund promised to compensate investors against the first 20 percent or 30 percent of losses in the case of a default, that would make those bonds a much safer investments. Spending some euro250 billion on guarantees, could under that scheme attract new lending of up to euro1 trillion.

However, before rich countries like Germany, France or the Netherlands are willing to sign up for such a scheme, they want assurances that countries that benefit from the fund's protection will get their economies back on track.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in particular was facing pressure to convince his eurozone colleagues of his reliability at Wednesday's summit.

"Our Italian friends know exactly that we have to insist that tonight they tell us that we get important structural consolidation measures in Italy," said Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker. "That is a must."

More progress was in sight for a plan to force banks across Europe to significantly increase their capital buffers to ensure they can withstand growing market pressures and large losses on Greek debt. But the new bank rules affect the 27-counrty European Union, not just the 17-state eurozone, and the non-euro countries do not want to reveal details of the plan before the other main issues have been resolved.


Juergen Baetz and Geir Moulson in Berlin; Raf Casert, Don Melvin and Robert Wielaard in Brussels; Karel Janicek in Prague, and Cecile Brisson in Paris contributed to this report.


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Euro zone strikes deal on 2nd Greek package, EFSF (Reuters)

BRUSSELS (Reuters) ? Euro zone leaders struck a deal with private banks and insurers on Thursday for them to accept a 50 percent loss on their Greek government bonds under a plan to lower Greece's debt burden and try to contain the two-year-old euro zone crisis.

The agreement was reached after more than eight hours of hard-nosed negotiations involving bankers, heads of state, central bankers and the International Monetary Fund. It aims to draw a line under spiraling debt problems that have threatened to unravel the European single currency project.

Under the deal, the private sector agreed to voluntarily accept a nominal 50 percent cut in its bond investments to reduce Greece's debt burden by 100 billion euros, cutting its debts to 120 percent of GDP by 2020, from 160 percent now.

At the same time, the euro zone will offer "credit enhancements" or sweetners to the private sector totaling 30 billion euros. The aim is to complete negotiations on the package by the end of the year, so Greece has a full, second financial aid program in place before 2012.

The value of that package, EU sources said, would be 130 billion euros -- up from 109 billion euros when a deal was last struck in July, an agreement that subsequently unraveled.

"The summit allowed us to adopt the components of a global response, of an ambitious response, of a credible response to the crisis that is sweeping across the euro zone," French President Nicolas Sarkozy told reporters afterwards.

As well as the deal on deeper private sector participation in Greece -- which emerged after Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel engaged in the negotiations with bankers -- euro zone leaders also agreed to scale up the European Financial Stability Facility, their 440 billion euro ($600 billion) bailout fund set up last year.

The fund has already been used to provide help to Ireland, Portugal and Greece, leaving around 290 billion euros available. Around 250 billion of that will be leveraged 4-5 times, producing a headline figure of around 1.0 trillion euros, which will be deployed in a variety of ways.

Leaders hope that will be enough to stave off any worsening of the debt problems in Italy and Spain, the region's third and fourth largest economies respectively.

Riskier assets across the board rallied in Asia, with stocks outside Japan up nearly three percent at 0600 GMT (2 a.m. EDT) in response to the agreement. The euro hit a seven-week high.

Earlier, U.S. stocks rallied after news emerged of the intention to boost the power of the EFSF fund.

The EFSF will be leveraged in two ways, either by offering insurance, or first-loss guarantees, to purchasers of euro zone debt in the primary market, or via a special purpose investment vehicle that will be set up in the coming weeks and which is aimed at attracting investment from China and Brazil.

The methods could be combined, giving the EFSF greater flexibility, the euro zone leaders said.

"The leverage could be up to one trillion (euros) under certain assumptions about market conditions and investors' responsiveness in view of economic policies," said Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council.

"There is nothing secret in all this, it is not easy to explain but we are going to more with our available money, it is not that spectacular. Banks have been doing this for centuries, it has been their core business, with certain limits."


Japan and Canada welcomed the euro zone agreement. China's official Xinhua news agency said the outcome was "positive but filled with difficulties."

As with the July 21 agreement, which quickly broke down when it became difficult to secure sufficient private sector involvement and market conditions rapidly worsened, the concern is that Thursday's deal will only work if the fine print can be promptly agreed with the private sector, represented by the Institute of International Finance.

Charles Dallara, the managing director of the IIF, said those he represented were committed to making the deal work.

"On behalf of the private investor community, the IIF agrees to work with Greece, euro area authorities and the IMF to develop a concrete voluntary agreement on the firm basis of a nominal discount of 50 percent on notional Greek debt held by private investors with the support of a 30 billion euro official ... package," he said in a statement.

"The specific terms and conditions of the voluntary PSI (private sector involvement) will be agreed by all relevant parties in the coming period and implemented with immediacy and force. The structure of the new Greek claims will need to be based on terms and conditions that ensure (net present value)loss for investors fully consistent with a voluntary agreement."

Euro zone leaders will be hoping the agreement, which will also be accompanied by a recapitalization of the European banking sector by around 106 billion euros, will finally draw a line under a crisis that has roiled financial markets and threatened to tear apart the euro single currency project.

"While the headlines look good, the devil is in the details," said Damien Boey, equity strategist at Credit Swisse in Sydney.

"It's great news that they've managed to increase the bail-out fund to 1 trillion euros plus agree on some sort of haircut arrangement for the private investors in Greek debt.

"The problem is, we don't actually know how they are planning to increase the bail-out fund size from 440 billion euros to a trillion. On top of that, there are some questions as to whether one trillion euros in itself is enough."

Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, said the final details on the Greek package, which follows a program of 110 billion euros of loans granted to the country last year, would only be worked out by year-end.

And EU finance ministers are not expected to agree on the nitty-gritty elements of how the scaled up EFSF will work until some time in November, with the exact date not fixed.

As part of efforts to attract investors into the special purpose vehicle attached to the EFSF, Sarkozy said he would talk to Chinese President Hu Jintao in the coming days. Beijing has so far been a big buyer of bonds issued by the EFSF, which is triple-A rated by credit agencies.


As well as the three-way package to strengthen their crisis fighting powers and try to resolve the situation in Greece, euro zone leaders called on Italy to take more rapid action on pension reforms and other structural measures to try to avoid the economy heading the same way as Greece.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has promised to raise the retirement age to 67 by 2026, and pursue other adjustments to the country's economic model, steps the EU praised but said would only be positive if they were implemented.

"The key is implementation. This is the key. It is not enough to make commitments, it is necessary now to check if they are really implementing," said Barroso.

(Additional reporting by Julien Toyer, Jan Strupczewski, Yann Le Guernigou, David Brunnstrom, Robin Emmott, Harry Papachristou and John O'Donnell in Brussels, Annika Breidthardt and Sarah Marsh in Berlin, Daniel Flynn in Athens, Barry Moody in Rome; Writing by Luke Baker and Mike Peacock; editing by Janet McBride)


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Thursday, October 27, 2011

[OOC] Foreverlost

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Please post all "Players Wanted" threads in the Roleplayers Wanted forum!

This topic is an Out Of Character part of the roleplay, ?Foreverlost?. Anything posted here will also show up there.

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Forum for completely Out of Character (OOC) discussion, based around whatever is happening In Character (IC). Discuss plans, storylines, and events; Recruit for your roleplaying game, or find a GM for your playergroup.
This is the auto-generated OOC topic for the roleplay "Foreverlost"

You may edit this first post as you see fit.


badboyej wrote:....This rp...has now turned from uuhhmaaazzziinnnggg
to like... friken legandary! Like Chuck Norris.. Rp style! 8D

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It looks great darling! I can't wait to play Beloved. "Aww come back my sacrifice I'm lonely!" I see it now lol :)

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I knew you were GM from the minute I saw it! XD I love this series. I will likely join, but I'm watching a movie right now. Maybe tomorrow. :)

Food ish yummy.
Paramore ish aweshum.

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Okay, Slightly! :)
It'll be good to have someone familiar to the books playing, too. :)

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Ben Heck gets into the pinball business | Joystiq

We guess Ben Heck grew tired of all the international espionage and constant copulation that comes with being a world-renowned console modder. His new project, Pinball Inventor, sees him teaming up with John Popadiuk to offer custom, original pinball games to the wealthy public.

The first game up on docket is Ben Heck's Zombie Adventureland, with hand-drawn artwork and hand-assembled machinery. Pre-orders open in January, though the two have offered no pricing info or word on how many machines will be produced.


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Kane County Chronicle | Genetics and breast cancer

Ten years ago, having your breasts and ovaries removed because of a cancer gene was considered "voodoo science," Geneva resident Vicky Waterman said.

At 49, Waterman, after considering a family history of both types of cancers, found she had the genes for both and opted to get her breast and ovaries removed to prevent ever getting breast or ovarian cancer.

Now 51 and the owner of V Fusion, a fitness center at 129 1/2 W. State St. in Geneva, the longtime dancer and Pilates instructor is lean and fit.

"My grandmother and great-grandmother had it," Waterman said of breast and ovarian cancer. "My mother has stage 4 ovarian cancer. When she first got diagnosed, the doctor said, 'You have a daughter, don't you?' And the doctor said to do genetic testing."

Turns out her mom was a carrier. Waterman got the test, and she is, too.

"Knowledge is power, but the problem with all this stuff, once you have that knowledge you can't go back," Waterman said. "I had to process a minefield of aftershocks."

The genes known as BRCA1 and BRCA2 are tumor suppressors. When they mutate, a woman's risk of getting breast or ovarian cancer are increased, according to the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health.

She considered how breasts are front and center in the culture. And how a woman facing a breast cancer gene might pause at the prospect of losing her most obvious female attributes.

"Our society is very shallow sometimes," Waterman said.

And then she went ahead with the surgeries and followed up with breast reconstruction.

"This is only me ? I did not get most favorable results in the outcome, in how they look," Waterman said. "Emotionally, every day I see them and it still bothers me. I lost one nipple and it's not reconstructed because I'm tired of being under the knife."

She acknowledges that her choice is not for everybody.

"You have to look at the whole thing," Waterman said. "I have a loving husband, and we just had our 25th wedding anniversary. I have greater peace of mind. We are good as far as the big picture, but I can get caught up in little things."

Another aspect of opting to remove the breasts is how a body heals, she said.

"The doctors can only do so much," Waterman said. "I have the body type that develops infection and scar tissue. I feel that [scar tissue] every day. They don't tell you that. When I do pushups, I still experience a lot of pain ? and I smile through it in the sense that I can do a pushup, and I'm happy about that. A lot go through a lot worse. Intellectually, I made the right decision."

Waterman plans to have her daughter genetically tested and would like her son tested as well because men can be carriers and pass it on. She said he does not see the need.

As she holds various fitness classes in her studio, Waterman said she gets great satisfaction in helping other women get stronger.

"I lose myself in my business every day," Waterman said. "It makes me feel stronger to help others be stronger. It's not that surface beauty, it's that inner beauty."

And then there are those biceps.

"The good news is that the new eye-candy is biceps," Waterman said. "My biceps are really really good. I got some good guns."

There are 28 hours, 22 minutes remaining to comment on this story.


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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Netflix shares tank amid backlash and defections

(AP) ? Netflix shares plunged 35 percent Tuesday after the one-time Wall Street favorite revealed a massive departure of subscribers angered by price increases and other questionable changes at rental service that was created to make entertainment a snap.

Netflix revealed late Monday that it ended September with 23.8 million U.S. subscribers. That's down about 800,000 from June and worse than what the company had hinted at before. In September, the company predicted it will lose about 600,000 U.S. customers.

And it may get worse. Netflix said it expects more defections in coming months.

The exodus began after the company raised its prices by as much as 60 percent in July and split up its streaming and DVD rental services. Its website was flooded by comments from angry customers. Many people also canceled service, especially on the DVD-by-mail side. The company is betting that its future is in streaming video, and CEO Reed Hastings has said he expects Netflix's DVD subscriptions to steadily decline, much like what has happened to AOL Inc.'s dial-up Internet service.

But Netflix bungled a spin off its DVD-by-mail service, giving it the name Qwikster and creating separate accounts for people who wanted both DVDs and movie streaming. By doing so, the company created what many perceived to be a more complicated rental process at a company that began its meteoric rise with a new, easier way of searching for and finding entertainment effortlessly.

Netflix shares tumbled $41.34 to $77.50 in late morning trading Tuesday. The stock is down from more than $300 just 3 ? months ago. The last time the stock was trading so low was in April 2010, but that was during an extraordinarily steep ascent, after the company nearly erased the omnipresent blue and yellow storefronts of Blockbuster.

The revelations from Netflix prompted a downgrade to "Neutral" from "Buy" from Citi Investment Research analyst Mark Mahaney on Tuesday, who also slashed his target price on the stock to $95 from $220. The analyst called the price increase and the abandoned plan to separate Netflix's DVD business two "major execution errors."

Netflix Inc. did report better-than-expected financial results for the third quarter, but that was drowned out by the din of subscriber cancellations, expense controls and a one-time tax benefit, said Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter.

Pachter cut his target price to $82.50 from $110 on Netflix's stock and kept his rating at "Neutral."

Los Gatos, Calif.-based Netflix said it does not comment on stock movement or analyst reports.

Associated Press


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Deficit-cutting 'super committee': Can it come up with a plan in time? (Christian Science Monitor)

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James Van Der Beek to be a dad again

"Dawson's Creek" had better make room for some more babies!

Actor James Van Der Beek announced that he and wife Kimberly Brook are expecting another child. And, as you probably guessed, he did it through a tweet....

MORE: James Van Der Beek Introduces New Baby!

"Just when we thought we couldn't feel any more blessed, it seems the universe has plans to give our daughter a sibling... #humbled"

  1. More Entertainment stories
    1. One 'Loser' gains pounds, others gain love

      With Halloween just around the corner, ?The Biggest Loser? gang celebrated with sweet temptations, romantic relations and one scary weigh-in Tuesday night.

    2. 'Dancing' finally boots a less talented hopeful
    3. Kutcher and Cryer lock lips on 'Men'
    4. Lindsay Lohan to pose for Playboy?
    5. They don't make shows like 'Barney Miller' now

The couple have a little girl, Olivia, who was born in September of last year.

"Had the blessing of becoming a father over the weekend.... Couldn't come close to describing this bliss even if I had 140 million characters," Van Der Beek wrote about his firstborn. "I apologize in advance for any obnoxiously precious new-dad tweets that may follow, I'm under her spell..."

PHOTOS: Baby Bumpin'

Can't wait to get another round of dad tweets! Congrats!

? 2011 E! Entertainment Television, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


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It's Food Day: Watch ?Food Deserts: Legal, Social, and Public Health ...

OMG, it?s Food Day 2011,?so check the link to see what?s going on about the Bay Area today.

Here?s the manifesto:

At UC Hastings in Civic Center, the UCSF / UC Hastings Consortium on Law, Science & Health Policy will put on??Food Deserts: Legal, Social, and Public Health Challenges? starting at 1:00 PM.

Watch it on the livestream, why not? Or see about heading over to this free event yourself.

All the deets:

?Food Deserts: Legal, Social, and Public Health Challenges

Start: 10/24/2011 from 1:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Location: 200 McAllister, Alumni Reception Center

The UCSF / UC Hastings Consortium on Law, Science & Health Policy is sponsoring a conference entitled ?Food Deserts: Legal, Social, and Public Health Challenges? on Food Day, October 24, 2011.
The conference will bring together scholars from the health sciences and the law, as well as policymakers, activists, and food industry members, to discuss two important aspects of ?food deserts,? places where access to a nutritionally-adequate diet is severely restricted.

One panel, Nourishing Our Neighborhoods: Insights from Law, Planning, and Industry, will cover the broad issue of geographical food deserts, usually urban areas inhabited by mostly-poor people whose transportation and finances are limited, where food sellers are predominantly small stores that cannot stock a wide variety of fresh food items, and where full-service grocery stores hesitate to locate. Are there policies (such as those in zoning rules) that could be changed to enable oases in these food deserts? What impact does, for example, the addition of a full-service grocery store have on the health of the neighboring area?

Another panel, Food and Nutrition in Correctional Institutions, will consider issues relevant to prisons and jails. While food offerings must meet certain basic caloric and nutritional requirements, the institutional nature of food preparation and food service might make that food less than appealing, and the healthier elements of meals might well be those not regularly or fully consumed. The supplemental food offerings ? those for sale in these institutions ? are not likely to be nutritious. Some research suggests that improved nutrition in prisons leads to improved penal outcomes. If that is so, what policy changes should be implemented? Would such changes be cost-beneficial, considering penal outcomes and the government?s responsibility for health care of prisoners?

At 5 pm, Dr. David Kessler, former Commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration and Professor of Pediatrics and Epidemiology and Biostatistics, UCSF, will give the keynote address on The End of Overeating. This conference will be free and open to the public.?

Ever more deets after the jump

Food Day Conference at UC Hastings Law, 10/24/11
Food Deserts: Legal, Social & Public Health Challenges

?Some of the events are especially creative. University of California Hastings School of Law and University of California, San Francisco are collaborating on a conference about prisons as food deserts.? ? Deborah Gardner, Atlantic Monthly

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 20, 2011 ? Communities around the country are gearing up for Food Day, a grassroots mobilization aimed at improving America?s food policies. Set for Monday, October 24, 2011, Food Day will see thousands of forums and celebrations from coast to coast aimed at promoting healthy diets and solving local communities? food problems.

?Food Deserts: Legal, Social & Public Health Challenges,? presented by the UCSF/UC Hastings Consortium on Law, Science & Health Policy, will bring together scholars from the health sciences and the law, as well as policymakers, activists, and food industry members. Discussion will focus on two important aspects of ?food deserts? ? places where access to a nutritionally-adequate diet is severely restricted.

Keynote Address by Dr. David A. Kessler, BA, MD, JD, former Commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration and author of The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite.

This event is free and open to the public. Sponsored by the UCSF/UC Hastings Consortium on Law, Science & Health Policy, the Center for Vulnerable Populations at SF General Hospital, the Science and Technology Law Journal, and the California Correctional Crisis blog.

10/24/2011 from 1:00 PM to 7:00 PM, at UC Hastings Law, 200 McAllister, Alumni Reception Center
Live-streaming will also be available through the Food Day event link on the UC Hastings website on October 24th.


1:30-3:00 PM
Nourishing Our Neighborhoods: Insights from Law, Planning, and Industry
This panel will cover the broad issue of geographical food deserts, usually urban areas inhabited by mostly-poor people whose transportation and finances are limited, where food sellers are predominantly small stores that cannot stock a wide variety of fresh food items, and where full-service grocery stores hesitate to locate. Are there policies (such as those in zoning rules) that could be changed to enable oases in these food deserts? What impact does, for example, the addition of a full-service grocery store have on the health of the neighboring area?

Marice Ashe, JD, MPH, Founder and Director, Public Health Law & Policy.
Rajiv Bhatia, MD, MPH, Director of Occupational and Environmental Health, San Francisco Department of Public Health.
Amy Cohen, BA, MA, Director of Neighborhood Business Development, San Francisco Mayor?s Office of Economic and Workforce Development.
Regina Davis, BA, MA, Executive Director, San Francisco Housing Development Corporation.
Nick Griffin, BA, MA, Senior Project Manager, Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation.
Moderator: Hilary Seligman, MD, MAS, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, UCSF, and Center for Vulnerable Populations, San Francisco General Hospital.

3:15-4:45 PM
Food and Nutrition in Correctional Institutions
This panel will consider issues relevant to prisons and jails. While food offerings must meet certain basic caloric and nutritional requirements, the institutional nature of food preparation and food service might make that food less than appealing, and the healthier elements of meals might well be those not regularly or fully consumed. The supplemental food offerings ? those for sale in these institutions ? are not likely to be nutritious. Some research suggests that improved nutrition in prisons leads to improved penal outcomes. If that is so, what policy changes should be implemented? Would such changes be cost-beneficial, considering penal outcomes and the government?s responsibility for health care of prisoners?

Hadar Aviram, LLB, MA, Ph.D, Associate Professor of Law, UC Hastings College of the Law.
Robert Griefinger, MD, consultant on prisoner health care.
Laurie Maurino, RD, Departmental Food Administrator, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Beth Waitkus, BA, MS, Director, Insight Garden Program, San Quentin Prison.
Moderator: Brie Williams, MD, MS, clinician-researcher, UCSF.

5:00-6:00 PM
The End of Overeating, Keynote by Dr. David A. Kessler
Dr. David A. Kessler, BA, MD, JD, served as Commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration from 1990 to 1997. He has served as Dean of the Yale School of Medicine and as Dean of the School of Medicine and Vice-Chancellor at UCSF. He currently is Professor of Pediatrics and Epidemiology and Biostatistics, UCSF. He is the author of The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite (2009).

About UC Hastings College of the Law
UC Hastings College of the Law was founded in 1878 as the first law department of the University of California. Located in San Francisco?s Civic center, steps from City Hall, the State and Federal Buildings, the State Supreme, Superior and Appellate Courts as well as the United States District Court and Court of Appeals, the law school is an integral part of the fabric of the City of San Francisco and the California judicial system. Over the past 133 years, UC Hastings has served as the law school of choice for an ever-increasing diversity of students. Now, UC Hastings alumni span the globe and are among the most respected lawyers, judges, public servants, and business leaders today.

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