Thursday, January 31, 2008

Record number of soldiers committed suicide last year

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A record number of active-duty soldiers killed themselves last year, according to The Washington Post.
The paper cites an internal Army study that shows 121 soldiers committed suicide in 2007. That's a 20% increase over the prior year
The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have placed severe stress on the
Army, caused in part by repeated and lengthened deployments," the paper
reports. "Historically, suicide rates tend to decrease when soldiers
are in conflicts overseas, but that trend has reversed in recent years.
From a suicide rate of 9.8 per 100,000 active-duty soldiers in 2001 --
the lowest rate on record -- the Army reached an all-time high of 17.5
suicides per 100,000 active-duty soldiers in 2006
The number of attempted suicides among soldiers is six times higher than it was
The Associated Press is quoting preliminary figures that show more than a quarter of the suicides took place in Iraq
Click here for the warning signs that suggest someone is considering suicide
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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Water Cube Unveiled, China

Looks awesome.
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Photo taken on Jan. 28, 2008 shows the exterior view of the National Aquatics Center also known as
Photo taken on Jan. 28, 2008 shows the
exterior view of the National Aquatics Center also known as "Water Cube"
in Beijing. The National Aquatic Center was delivered for use on Monday
after four years of construction. (Xinhua Photo/Luo
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Wacky in a way only state-sponsored architecture can be is the National Swimming Center in Beijing, going up right next to another of H&DM's stadiums (no, not this one). The center is enclosed by what appears to be a wall whose structure is an irregular spaceframe (made to resemble the cellular pattern of soap bubbles) and is clad in what appears to be a frosted or patterened glass. All of this from a wonderful photo gallery at Structurae. The building was conceived by Australian-based PTW Architects. Structural design by Arup, of course.

The Arup/PTW designed Water Cube plays on the geometry of water bubbles in a rectangular form.
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Friday, January 25, 2008

She's a one-in-six-billion miracle

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An Australian teenage girl has become
the world's first known transplant patient to change blood
groups and take on the immune system of her organ donor,
doctors said on Friday, calling her a "one-in-six-billion

'The Holy Grail
Of Transplants'

Demi-Lee Brennan, 15, is the first known transplant recipient to adopt the blood type and the immune system of her organ donor, to the amazement of the medical community and Brennan alike. "It's like my second chance at life," she said. "It's kind of hard to believe."
"It's like my second chance at life," Brennan told local
Brennan's body changed blood group from O negative to O
positive when she became ill while on drugs
Her new liver's blood stem cells then invaded her body's
bone marrow to take over her entire immune system, meaning the
teen no longer needs anti-rejection drugs.
they had no explanation for Brennan's recovery, detailed in the
latest edition of The New England Journal of Medicine.
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Generational Housing Bubble on the Way

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IN THE first years of the 21st century, no area of the American economy has excited more emotion than the property market.
America should be bracing itself for the end of the “generational housing bubble”, according to a new study by Dowell Myers and SungHo Ryu of the University of Southern California
The old sell more homes than they buy, according to data covering 1995-2000 (see chart).
The ratio of old to working-age people is expected to grow by 67% over the next two decades.
Young adults make up the bulk of new demand, with most purchasing homes when they reach their early 30s.
The flood of elderly people selling their homes
may lead to a drawn-out buyers' market. Prices may fall further as younger people, perceiving a downturn, delay purchasing.
The mismatch between buyers and sellers may be most acute in the rustbelt, where numbers of young people and immigrants are rising slowly, if at all, says William Frey of the Brookings Institution, a think-tank.
House Bubble
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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Who Are You Jerome Kerviel?

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Before today the world knew very little about Jerome Kerviel
Only one Google reference we could find
Here is what has emerged this morning on the latest entrant into the rogue (trader)’s gallery.
who turned 31 this month,
Societe Generale in 2000
was working as a trader on the futures desk at the bank’s headquarters near Paris, according to The Wall Street Journal.
He was apparently in charge of futures hedging for European equity market indexes
The enormity of the losses caused by the Frenchman is inversely proportional to the size of his pay
Kerviel earned less than 100,000 euros a year ($146,000), including bonus, according to Bloomberg
Kerviel only moved to the trading floor from the back office in 2006
t was there, presumably, that he learned how to game the giant bank’s compliance system and cause a more than $7 billion write-down in the process
A spokesperson for the bank told Bloomberg that Kerviel is “very quiet and a loner
He had made his dream of becoming a trader come true.”
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Home Sellers Competing with Sales of Foreclosed Properties

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The continuing troubles in the housing market — see “Existing-Home Sales Resume Decline” — spell trouble for homesellers, who are competing against the sellers of foreclosed properties. In one example cited in Mr. Hagerty’s story, a four-bedroom house in a Phoenix suburb sold for $775,000 in August 2006. Then a lender acquired the home through foreclosure last year. It sold again in December for $380,000.
It’s getting harder to hide from the housing bust, writes James R. Hagerty in today’s Journal. Even the Pacific Northwest and North Carolina are feeling the pain, both areas until recently had avoided the housing slump. Even Manhattan, Mr. Hagerty writes, is feeling the pinch, thanks to Wall Street’s woes.
Still, Mr. Hagerty points out that local markets vary hugely, according to the Wall Street Journal’s quarterly survey of housing data in 28 major metropolitan areas. Inventories are enormous in Phoenix, Florida, Las Vegas and the Detroit area.
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Who Are the Sandwich Generation?

If the term Sandwich Generation leaves you feeling hungry, you may not know about the new buzz surrounding a subset of caregivers nicknamed the “Sandwich Generation”. This colorful name refers to caregivers who find themselves squeezed between caring for younger loved ones (usually children) and elderly parents or family members. This may be nothing new, but these caregivers are becoming a rising interest within American society.
Who are the Sandwich Generation?
They are the nearly 10 million boomers that are now raising kids, teenagers or young adults while providing financial support for an aging parent.
According on one survey, 70 percent of the Sandwich Generation are providing care simultaneously for parents and children
“You either are a caregiver, will be a caregiver or someone will be caring for you between now and whenever you die,” Donna Schempp, of the National Family Caregivers Alliance

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