Thursday, January 31, 2013

How Open Source Could Benefit Academic Research

Most academics are under tremendous pressure to keep anything of potential commercial value closed; releasing code as open-source generally requires permission from above. (In fact, I know of one professor of biology who had to fight to get a line in his contract explicitly allowing him to open-source everything.) And it's not like most of them need encouragement; none of us are getting rich off NIH grants (well, most of us aren't) and we effectively hit a salary ceiling early in our careers, so the prospect of a few thousand dollars extra in licensing revenue is more than most can resist. In several cases that I'm aware of, the licensing money is used to support research activities - sometimes enough to pay for an entire employee, or pay for meetings that wouldn't happen otherwise. Note that in many cases the code itself is still available, just not under a license that allows distribution, which usually makes it difficult or impossible for anyone who wants to build on your work to do so.

Of course it's not always this simple - junior researchers have very little control, so many of us end up releasing code under proprietary licenses when we'd much rather open-source everything. I also know of many cases where paranoia and competitiveness, rather than avarice, are at fault - in these cases, the code itself is hidden and the software released as binary-only (which as far as I'm concerned should be unacceptable for anything published in a peer-reviewed journal, regardless of the license used). Regardless, there are simply too many incentives to retain full control.

This is a completely idiotic situation, of course, and it has been holding back science for years - I know of multiple cases where university researchers were effectively doing R&D for private companies (not always willingly!) with very little in return. I've also seen researchers prevent widespread adoption of their work (and hamper their career advancement) because of tight-fisted behavior. One asshole even charges other academics to obtain his software, with the result that some people avoid using it altogether. Frankly, since I have to deal with this bullshit on a near-daily basis, as far as I'm concerned a repeal of the Bayh-Dole act (and its equivalents in Europe), at least where software is concerned, would be a huge leap forward for academic computational research. The bonus I get from licensing fees is simply not worth the trouble and missed opportunities.


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Soy Sauce & Underwear Rumble Outs Ex-NFL Player

Demonstrators gather outside City Hall in San Francisco.

San Francisco Nudity Ban Upheld in Federal Court

NATIONAL | By Lisa Leff | Wednesday Jan 30, 2013

A federal judge cleared the way for the city of San Francisco to ban most displays of public nudity, ruling that an ordinance set to take effect on Feb. 1 does not violate the free speech rights of residents and visitors who like going out in the buff.

Tom Temprano, who was injured playing basketball, navigates the hallway of his apartment on crutches. (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

LGBT Millennials Start to Think about Aging

FAMILY | By Peter Hernandez | Wednesday Jan 30, 2013

Tom Temprano believes in an anti-ageist LGBT community that recognizes the needs of the elderly, but it wasn?t until he broke a tiny bone in his foot during a heated basketball game that he experienced first-hand the limitations that come with age.


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Nintendo Q3 earnings show 3 million Wii Us sold, sales forecasts lowered again

Nintendo Q3 earnings report show

Nintendo's Q3 earnings report is out, and it's sold just over 3 million units of its new Wii U console (at a loss) along with 11.69 million pieces of software. The other big news is that it's adjusted sales forecasts downward -- again, after it announced they were being cut back in October. However, since the flagship console is sold at a loss, while Nintendo is predicting 17 percent lower revenue, its prediction for net income has actually moved up by eight billion yen ($87 million).

It's not all bad news however, as it's showing about $160 million in net income for the year, compared with last year's losses. The 3DS has jumped up to 29.84 million sold, while the original Wii is within shouting distance of the 100 million number. Need more numbers? Hit the source links to check out all the sales data firsthand.

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Source: Nintendo Q3 earnings (PDF), Financial Forecast adjustment (PDF)


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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Staggering Stats: Cats Kill Billions of Animals a Year

Cats kill billions of birds every year and even more tiny rodents and other mammals in the United States, a new study finds.

According to the research, published today (Jan. 29) in the journal Nature Communications, cats kill between 1.4 billion and 3.7 billion birds and between 6.9 billion and 20.7 billion small mammals, such as meadow voles and chipmunks.

Though it's hard to know exactly how many birds live in the United States, the staggering number of bird deaths may account for as much as 15 percent of the total bird population, said study co-author Pete Marra, an animal ecologist with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.

Staggering toll

Marra and his colleagues are looking at human-related causes for bird and wildlife deaths in the country, from windmills and glass windows to pesticides.

But first, Marra and his team looked at the impact of the feline population, one of the biggest putative causes of bird demise in the country. ? ? ??

While past studies had used critter cams or owner reports to estimate the number of birds killed by cats, those studies were usually small and not applicable to the entire country, Marra told LiveScience.

For this broader analysis, the team first looked at all prior studies on bird deaths and estimated that around 84 million owned-cats live in the country, many of which are allowed outdoors. [In Photos: America's Favorite Pets]

"A lot of these cats may go outside and go to 10 different houses, but they go back to their house and cuddle up on Mr. Smith's lap at night," Marra said.

Based on an analysis of past studies, the researchers estimated that each of those felines killed between four and 18 birds a year, and between eight and 21 small mammals per year.

But the major scourges for wildlife were not those free-ranging, owned-cats, but instead feral and un-owned cats that survive on the streets. Each of those kitties ? and the team estimates between 30 million and 80 million of them live in the United States ? kills between 23 and 46 birds a year, and between 129 and 338 small mammals, Marra said.

And, it seems, the small rodents taken by felines aren't Norway rats or apartment vermin, but native rodent species such as meadow voles and chipmunks, he added.

No easy answers

One obvious step to reduce the mass wildlife death is to keep kitties indoors, Marra said.

Perhaps seeing their furry friends bring in a meadow vole or a cardinal will spur cat owners to say, "Listen, Tabby, we're going to have a heart-to-heart talk about how much time you spend outside," he said.

Wild cats pose tougher questions, because capture and sterilization approaches have varying levels of success depending on the community, said Bruce Kornreich, a veterinarian at Cornell University's Feline Health Center, who was not involved in the study.

While keeping owned-cats indoors is the best way to benefit both kitties and wildlife, a complete cat ban, like the one recently proposed in New Zealand, is probably not the answer, he said.

For one, it's not clear how completely removing cats from outdoors would affect the ecosystem.

"It may be in some cases that cats may also be keeping other species that may negatively impact bird and other small mammal populations in check," Kornreich told LiveScience.

Follow LiveScience on Twitter @livescience. We're also on Facebook?& Google+.?

Copyright 2013 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Antidepressant contribution to arrhythmia risk clarified

Jan. 29, 2013 ? A 2011 warning from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about the popular antidepressant citalopram (Celexa) left many patients and physicians with more questions than answers. Now an analysis of the medical records of more than 38,000 patients by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators clarifies the contribution of citalopram and other antidepressants to lengthening of the QT interval, an aspect of the heart's electrical activity that -- when prolonged -- may increase the risk of dangerous arrhythmias. The study supported the FDA's warning that higher doses of citalopram were associated with a prolonged QT interval but also found that the effects of some other antidepressants were quite different.

"It was important to confirm the effects of citalopram -- one of the most widely prescribed antidepressants in the U.S. -- because the FDA warning really gave us minimal clinical guidance," says Roy Perlis, MD, of the MGH Department of Psychiatry, corresponding author of the report that will appear in the journal BMJ and is being released online. "The impetus for this study came directly from the phone calls we received from colleagues and from patients taking citalopram asking what they should do. We realized that to get a satisfying answer, we needed to get more data."

Many medications -- including some older antidepressants -- are known to increase the QT interval, which is the time from the beginning of electrical activation of the heart to the end of electrical relaxation. While the vast majority of individuals with QT prolongation have no heart rhythm abnormalities, it is a recognized risk factor for a rare but dangerous arrhythmia called torsades de pointes. To get a better idea of the real-world prevalence of QT prolongation associated with citalopram and other antidepressants, the MGH team embarked on an analysis of the medical records of thousands of patients treated at the MGH and other Partners HealthCare facilities.

"We are fortunate that our colleagues at MGH and Partners have developed incredibly useful tools to answer specific questions by rapidly and simultaneously looking across electronic health record data from tens of thousands of patients while protecting patient confidentiality," Perlis explains. "Working with them we developed a way to look at each EKG report and pull out QT interval information and other relevant results. Doing this by hand -- flipping through individual patient charts -- would have taken a year or more. Doing it with electronic health records took about an hour."

The study examined the health records of 38,397 patients who had an EKG reading taken at a Partners facility between 14 and 90 days after receiving a prescription for one of 11 different antidepressant drugs or for methadone, which is known to prolong QT interval. Their analysis confirmed the association of a slight but significant QT prolongation with higher doses of citalopram, along with the known associations with methadone and with the older antidepressant amitriptyline. The results also associated QT prolongation with the newer antidepressant escitalopram (Lexapro); but many other drugs -- including fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil) and sertraline (Zoloft) -- had no effect on QT interval. The antidepressant bupropion (Wellbutrin/Zyban) was actually associated with shortening the QT interval.

Perlis cautions that the results of this study should not cause patients taking citalopram or escitalopram to stop taking their medication. "I worry more about people stopping their antidepressants unnecessarily than about the QT prolongation risks," he explains. "For patients starting a new antidepressant who have other risk factors for arrhythmias, a drug other than citalopram would probably be a wise choice. But for those already taking lower doses of either of these drugs, the QT prolongation effects seem to be modest. The real message to patients taking these drugs is to have a conversation with their doctors."

The speed with which the investigators were able to complete their study reflects the power of electronic health record analysis to answer important research questions, he adds. "Finding the QT-shortening effects of bupropion shows how this approach can help us find drugs with unexpected benefits and not just unexpected problems. As long as we're willing to accept the limitations -- particularly the fact that people aren't randomly assigned to different treatments -- this strategy allows us to study many more patients and get answers much faster. In terms of patient privacy, this is actually much safer than the older methods, which required a person to look through a pile of medical records one by one. This way we only extract the data we need and never see anything that would allow us to identify an individual patient." Perlis is an associate professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Massachusetts General Hospital, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.


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The Rock's Five Greatest Royal Rumble Moments

All WWE programming, talent names, images, likenesses, slogans, wrestling moves, trademarks, logos and copyrights are the exclusive property of WWE, Inc. and its subsidiaries. All other trademarks, logos and copyrights are the property of their respective owners. ? 2012 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This website is based in the United States. By submitting personal information to this website you consent to your information being maintained in the U.S., subject to applicable U.S. laws. U.S. law may be different than the law of your home country. WrestleMania XXIX (NY/NJ) logo TM & ? 2012 WWE. All Rights Reserved. The Empire State Building design is a registered trademark and used with permission by ESBC.


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A Conversation With Nick Goldman: Using DNA to Store Digital Information

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Researchers, whose goal is to store the equivalent of a million CDs in a gram of DNA, have developed a technique with an error-correction software, successfully storing and retrieving 739 kilobytes of data.


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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Crunchy Green Salad

crunchy salad

I have a nasty habit of skipping lunch. I don?t do it deliberately; I just honestly forget to eat. Not only is this is uber bad for the old blood sugar levels (read: cranky lady) but it makes me crave the stuff I shouldn?t be eating (chocolate) and over eat when I do get around to feeding myself.

And lately I?ve been feeling bloated and tubby. No surprise that it comes after the month of December with all the food, visiting parents, alcohol, running around, food, presents, wine, and more food? So it is definitely time for a diet reset.

My goal is to eat a healthy lunch every day. Ergo, I will be adding more salads in my life.

Fortunately I loooove veggies! I really like crunchy veggies; they make a really satisfying sound. I like steamed veggies, saut?ed veggies and even some boiled veggies. Kale, spinach, celery, romaine, sugar snap peas, Swiss chard, beets, you name it I?ll eat it! And I?ve never met a salad bar where I couldn?t fill up my plate completely with all the cool extras like sunflower seeds, hot peppers, olives and cheese.

So here is my first foray into making salads more fun at home; I call it Crunchy Green Salad. This is a salad that my kids like too because of that satisfying crunch. And the olives. They?ll eat anything with olives.

Crunchy Green Salad

3 Romaine lettuce leaves chopped
1 stalk of celery finely sliced
5-6 sugar snap peas chopped
A handful of green olives (optional or more/less to taste)
1-2 Tbsps slivered almonds
You can also add some chunks of soft cheese to this; goat, brie etc for a little added protein.

Use your favourite dressing or try this creamy green dressing. I don?t exactly measure when I make salad dressing, I just adjust until it tastes good.
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 heaping teaspoon chimichurri sauce or minced fresh herbs
2 Tbsp Cider vinegar
2-4 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
I pour all ingredients into a glass jar and shake shake shake! Add as much or as little as you like to the salad, toss and enjoy.


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Los Angeles's First Real Estate Whales: 4 Rancho-Era Bigshots ...

Southern California's first private landowners were the early settlers granted tracts (ranchos) by the Spanish crown and Mexican government. (The crown didn't recognize land ownership, so the first truly "private" ranchos were those registered with the Mexican government after 1821.) Many of these grants were wiped out when California became a state; people couldn't provide the documentation to prove they owned the land, and others lost their family fortunes when the new American laws and regulations bankrupted them, opening the door for a new generation of whales. Here are four of LA's earliest real estate players:

Maria Rita Valdez and a relative, the local schoolmaster, petitioned the Mexican government for the official title to her land in present day Beverly Hills, in 1821. (The rancho was named Rodeo de las Aguas.) But when the schoolmaster got fresh with her, he was ordered off the land; Maria paid him "$17.50 for his share of the land; he threw in a peach tree and some farm equipment," according to Michael Gross's Unreal Estate.

Valdez sold her land to Henry Hancock in 1852, who only owned it for a brief period. He wasn't out of the game for long, though, and later bought Rancho La Brea further east. George Allen Hancock inherited Rancho La Brea from his father and, among other things, developed Hancock Park. He built himself a mansion at the corner of Vermont and Wilshire Boulevard. Before it was demolished, four of its rooms were carefully disassembled and rebuilt on the USC campus, where Hancock was a bigtime donor.

Benjamin Davis Wilson didn't let a few bear attacks deter him from making it to California from his native Tennessee, and when he got here he started buying up the place. Writes Gross: "known as Don Benito, having married into a Spanish family, [he] bought half of the 4,438 acre Rancho San Jose de Buenos Ayres [now Bel Air, Holmby Hills and Westwood] for $662.75" in 1852. Six years later the other half cost him $16,000.

Don Bernardo Yorba's "barronial" rancho in present-day Yorba Linda was the site of one of the largest homes in pre-statehood California. By Carey McWilliams's reckoning, Don Bernardo's 51-room house employed "two tanners, one soapmaker, one butter-and-cheese man, a harnessmaker, two shoemakers, one jeweler ... two errand boys, one head sheepherder, one cook, one baker, two washwomen, a woman to iron, four seamstresses, one dressmaker, two gardeners, a schoolmaster and a number of miscellaneous servants."
? Whale Week 2013 [Curbed LA]


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2 guards killed in attack on Algerian gas pipeline

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) ? Gunmen attacked a gas pipeline in northern Algeria and killed two village guards before being driven off, a local security official said Monday.

The attack took place late Sunday night when the militants launched a series of homemade mortar shells at the Ain Chikh site, 75 miles (120 kilometers) southwest of Algiers, protected by local community guards.

Army units were alerted and proceeded to search the entire area, which is on the southern edge of the Kabylie mountain region that has become the last hideout of al-Qaida in northern Algeria.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Terrorist attacks have dropped dramatically in Algeria's populated north in the past few years and are largely restricted to a few pinprick operations against local security forces.

The weakness of these once-powerful remnants of al-Qaida in the north of the country is in stark contrast to the extremist groups found far to the south in the Sahara ? one of which mounted an audacious attack and took hostages two weeks ago.

The four day standoff in Ain Amenas, some 800 miles (1,300 kilometers) south of the capital involved dozens of foreign hostages and was ended by an Algerian army assault Jan. 19 leaving more than 60 dead.

Associated Press


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Monday, January 28, 2013

Best- and worst-run cities in America

15 hrs.

The population of the United States living in urban areas is growing faster than the national rate. At last count, more than four in five Americans lived in a metropolitan area, an increase of over 12 percent in the last decade. Meanwhile, the proportion of Americans living in rural areas declined. If this trend continues, nearly all Americans will live in megacities in the near future.

Regardless of whether this happens, more pressure will be placed on mayors to manage their growing populations. 24/7 Wall St. has completed its second annual ranking of the 100 largest cities in the U.S., based on local economies, fiscal management and quality of life measures. To evaluate how well a city is managed over the long-term, we looked at factors like the city's credit rating, poverty, education, crime, unemployment, and regional GDP. The best-run city this year is Plano, Texas. The worst-run is San Bernardino, Calif.

Measuring the effective governance of a city and comparing it to others can be challenging. Each city has its own unique challenges and advantages. The strength of the regional economy, the level of state funding, and the presence of major corporations or industries can all impact a city?s prospects. They play a big part in a city?s employment levels, safety and fiscal stability.

All those factors, of course, are directly affected by how a city is managed. Mayors, school boards, and city councils all have a role to play in that regard. All of these groups must work with the resources available to keep budgets balanced.

24/7 Wall St.: The best- and worst-run states in America

Many of the best-run cities either have at least one industry that is supporting the labor force, or are close enough to major urban centers, such as Dallas, Phoenix and San Francisco, to benefit from jobs available there.

The economies of the worst-run cities fall into two categories. Some were badly damaged by the housing price collapse. These include Riverside and Stockton in California and Las Vegas, Nevada. Others have had much more long-term economic troubles. These include Detroit, St. Louis and Cleveland, whose once-booming manufacturing-based economies have been decimated by jobs going overseas.

Fiscal management is another factor that had a strong impact on where cities ended up on our list. The majority of the best-run cities had their general obligation debt rated Aaa by Moody?s. None of the worst-run cities received that perfect score; some, such as Detroit and Stockton, were rated below investment grade. Stockton is notable for actually defaulting on its debt in June of last year.

These are the best and worst-run cities in America:

Best -run cities

1. Plano, Texas

????????? Population:?271,380

????????? Credit rating:?Aaa, no outlook

????????? Violent crime per 1,000 people:?1.62 (2nd lowest)

????????? Unemployment rate:?6.9 percent (13th lowest)

Plano, based in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, is the best-run city in America. Among households in the city, 14 percent earned over $200,000 in 2011, the fourth-highest proportion of all cities. Meanwhile, a mere 1.9 percent of households earned under $10,000, which was the second-lowest of all cities. The city?s 1.62 violent crimes per 1,000 people is the second-lowest of all large cities. Plano is home to many corporate headquarters, including J.C. Penney and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group. These companies are among the 10 largest employers in the city. The city appears to be largely unaffected by the housing crisis. The median home price rose by more than 5 percent between 2007 and 2011, while the national median price fell by more than 10 percent.

2. Madison, Wis.

????????? Population:?236,889

????????? Credit rating: Aaa, stable

????????? Violent crime per 1,000 people:?3.48 (15th lowest)

????????? Unemployment rate:?4.9 percent (2nd lowest)

Madison is home to the state capitol, as well as the University of Wisconsin?s flagship campus. In addition, the region is a base to employers in fields such as technology and health?care. The unemployment rate of 4.9 percent in 2011 was the second-lowest among all large cities in the U.S. Of the city's adult population, 54 percent have a bachelor's degree, the third-highest rate among the top 100 largest cities. In December, the Madison City Council adopted a rule banning the government from using emergency reserves to fund the operating budget unless two-thirds of members vote otherwise. With the city exercising this kind of caution, it is no surprise Moody?s analytics rates madison general obligation debt as a perfect Aaa, with a stable long-term outlook.

24/7 Wall St.: The 10 most-hated companies in America

3. Irvine, Calif.

????????? Population:?215,511

????????? Credit rating:?Not rated

????????? Violent crime per 1,000 people:?0.56 (the lowest)

????????? Unemployment rate:?6.5 percent (tied- 11th lowest)

With almost 97 percent of residents aged 25 and over with at least a high school diploma, and with nearly 63 percent with at least a bachelor's degree, Irvine has the most educated population of all of the 100 most populous cities. The city?s high educational attainment has translated to a highly compensated population -- a whopping 18.8 percent of households earned more than $200,000 in the last year. Irvine has the lowest violent crime rate of all the 100 largest cities, with just 0.56 violent crimes per 1,000 people in 2011. Irvine?s government has received a lot of flack recently for its efforts to transform the Orange County Great Park, with critics arguing that more than $200 million worth of spending has gone to waste. The newly elected City Council has pledged more oversight on spending and has terminated contracts with two firms working on the project.

4. Lincoln, Neb.

????????? Population:?262,350

????????? Credit rating:?Aaa, stable outlook

????????? Violent crime per 1,000 people:?3.71 (18th lowest)

????????? Unemployment rate:?3.9 percent (the lowest)

Lincoln?s 3.9 percent unemployment rate in 2011 was the lowest of all metropolitan areas in the country. The city is home to the University of Nebraska?s flagship campus, which employs more than 8,000. Like Omaha, Lincoln has been spared from the recession more than most places. Home values rose 2.7 percent between 2007 and 2011 compared to a 10.7 percent drop nationwide. In 2011, just 0.36 percent of Lincoln?s homes were in foreclosure, the eighth-lowest rate among large cities. Like many of the other top-rated cities, Lincoln?s general obligation debt is rated as a perfect Aaa, with a stable outlook.

5. Fremont, Calif.?

????????? Population:?216,912

????????? Credit rating:?Not rated

????????? Violent crime per 1,000 people:?1.77 (6th lowest)

????????? Unemployment rate:?7.5 percent (tied- 23rd lowest)

Fremont was incorporated in 1956, joining five towns together as a single city. The city is near the core of Silicon Valley, while also connected to San Francisco by the Bay Area Rapid Transit system. It has one of the most educated and high-earning populations in America, with over 51 percent of residents age 25 and older holding a college degree in 2011. That year, median household income was $92,665, the highest of any large city in the U.S. The city has an exceptionally strong manufacturing base, with almost 22 percent of working adults employed in the sector. Among the companies with manufacturing operations in Fremont are tech manufacturers Western Digital and Seagate Technologies, as well as electric car builder Tesla Motors.

Worst-run cities

1. San Bernardino, Calif.

????????? Population:?213,008

????????? Credit rating:?not rated

????????? Violent crime per 1,000 people:?8.76 (27th highest)

????????? Unemployment rate:?17.6 percent (3rd highest)

Few cities were hurt by the housing crisis to the same extent as San Bernardino, where the median home value declined by 57.6 percent between 2007 and 2011, more than any other large city in the U.S. By the end of 2011, almost 4.4 percent of homes in San Bernardino were in foreclosure, among the highest rates for all large cities. That year, the unemployment rate reached 17.6 percent, or nearly double the U.S. rate and almost 10 percentage points higher than city?s annual rate in 2007. In August, declining home values and rising employee retirement costs forced the city to file for bankruptcy. But the city?s filing is being challenged by its largest creditor, the California Public Employees' Retirement System, which is demanding payments.

2. Miami, Fla.

????????? Population:?408,760

????????? Credit rating:?A2, negative outlook

????????? Violent crime per 1,000 people:?11.98 (12th highest)

????????? Unemployment rate:?12.4 percent (17th highest)

Between 2007 and 2011, the median home value in Miami fell by 43.5 percent. Additionally, the city had one of the nation?s lowest median household incomes, at under $29,000, while 31 percent of residents lived below the poverty line -- nearly twice the U.S. rate of 15.9 percent. Despite the difficult economic conditions Miamians faced, the city joined with Miami-Dade County to pay for almost 80 percent of the more-than $600 million cost of building a new baseball stadium for the Miami Marlins. The deal has caused significant uproar. While taxpayers pay extremely high costs to service the stadium debt, the team has traded many of its top players. In 2011, the SEC launched an investigation into the agreement.

24/7 Wall St.: Nine beers Americans no longer drink

3. Stockton, Calif.

????????? Population:?296,367

????????? Credit rating:?Caa3, negative outlook

????????? Violent crime per 1,000 people:?14.08 (8th highest)

????????? Unemployment rate:?20.2 percent (the highest)

Last year, Stockton was unable to fund its pension liabilities and make debt-service payments. As a result, it became the largest city in U.S. history to file for bankruptcy. The city had been especially hurt by the recession. Its unemployment rate for 2011 was above 20 percent, while more than 5 percent of homes were in foreclosure -- both among the highest rates for any large city. Just before the bankruptcy filing, Moody?s downgraded the city?s credit rating to account for the likelihood of a default. Moody?s noted, ?The Caa3 rating level assumes losses to bondholders will be greater than 20 percent. The negative outlook reflects the high likelihood that losses could exceed our estimates.? Not only have the city?s creditors been affected, but so have city employees and retirees. According to NPR, the city may cut health benefits to reduce its $417 million in unfunded liabilities.

4. Detroit, Mich.

????????? Population:?706,640

????????? Credit rating:?Caa1, negative outlook

????????? Violent crime per 1,000 people:?21.37 (the highest)

????????? Unemployment rate:?19.9 percent (2nd highest)

Detroit was hit hard during the recession, with the near-collapse of the automobile industry and a further slowdown of the already embattled housing market. The median home value between 2007 and 2011 tumbled by 43.5 percent, or more than four times the rate of decline across the country. The lack of income coming into the city?s coffers in the last few years has led to significant financial difficulty for Detroit. Moody?s currently rates city?s bonds as Caa1, which is considered junk status and the worst-rating Moody?s gave to any major city. Mayor Dave Bing signed a budget that aims to cut $250 million in the 2012-2013 fiscal year, with total spending of $1.12 billion.

5. Hialeah, Fla.?

????????? Population:?229,967

????????? Credit rating:?not rated

????????? Violent crime per 1,000 people:?3.78 (18th lowest)

????????? Unemployment rate:?14.1 percent (tied- 9th highest)

Home prices between 2007 and 2011 fell by 44 percent in Hialeah, the 10th-highest decline of all 100 largest cities. The median household income of $27,208 in 2011 was the third-lowest of all major cities, after declining by 44 percent during the recession. Of workers residing in Hialeah, 15.5 percent worked in the generally low-paying retail trade, the highest percentage of all of the 100 largest cities. As a result of industry composition, nearly 40 percent of city residents are without health insurance, higher than any other large city in the U.S.

How did your city do? Click here to read all of the best- and worst-run cities

?2013 24/7 Wall St.


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Putin dismisses head of Russia's troubled Dagestan region

MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin has dismissed the head of Russia's southern Dagestan province, the Kremlin said on Monday, signaling concern over mounting insurgency violence and political rivalries in the mainly Muslim region.

Putin appointed Magomedsalam Magomedov to a role in the presidential administration, the Kremlin statement said, removing him from the post of provincial head that he had held since being appointed in 2010.

Ramzan Abdulatipov, a ruling United Russian party deputy from the region in Russia's lower house of parliament, was named to replace him as acting head.

Throughout the 12 years since Putin rose to power and crushed a separatist revolt in Chechnya, Russia has battled a simmering insurgency across its mainly Muslim Caucasus mountain provinces.

Dagestan is now the epicenter of militant violence in region, where suicide bombings, sniper attacks on officials and shootouts at road checkpoints area near daily occurrence.

(Reporting by Alissa de Carbonnel; Editing by Alison Williams)


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Philippine dictatorship victims to be compensated

Filipino poet Bonifacio Ilagan, one of hundreds of activists imprisoned during the Martial Law period which was declared by the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, poses by the granite wall which is engraved with the names of Martial Law victims, including his sister Rizalina Ilagan, at the Heroes Shrine at suburban Quezon city, northeast of Manila, Philippines Monday Jan. 28, 2013. More than 9,000 victims will be awarded compensation using $246 million that the Philippine government recovered from Marcos' ill-gotten wealth. But all claims will still have to evaluated by an independent commission and the amount each will receive will depend of the abuse suffered. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

Filipino poet Bonifacio Ilagan, one of hundreds of activists imprisoned during the Martial Law period which was declared by the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, poses by the granite wall which is engraved with the names of Martial Law victims, including his sister Rizalina Ilagan, at the Heroes Shrine at suburban Quezon city, northeast of Manila, Philippines Monday Jan. 28, 2013. More than 9,000 victims will be awarded compensation using $246 million that the Philippine government recovered from Marcos' ill-gotten wealth. But all claims will still have to evaluated by an independent commission and the amount each will receive will depend of the abuse suffered. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

Fiipino poet Bonifacio Ilagan, one of hundreds of activists imprisoned during Martial Law period imposed by the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, poses by the granite wall which is engraved with the names of Martial Law victims, including his sister Rizalina Ilagan, at the Heroes Shrine at suburban Quezon city, northeast of Manila, Philippines Monday Jan. 28, 2013. More than 9,000 victims will be awarded compensation using $246 million that the Philippine government recovered from Marcos' ill-gotten wealth. But all claims will still have to evaluated by an independent commission and the amount each will receive will depend of the abuse suffered. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

In this Jan. 26, 2013 photo, Carmencita Florentino, 64, holds newspaper clippings during an interview in her home at a poor neighborhood of Tatalon, Quezon city, northeast of Manila, Philippines. Florentino was jailed twice, in 1977 and 1978, during the Martial Law period imposed by the late Philippine strongman Ferdinand Marcos. More than 9,000 victims will be awarded compensation using $246 million that the Philippine government recovered from Marcos' ill-gotten wealth. But all claims will still have to evaluated by an independent commission and the amount each will receive will depend of the abuse suffered. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

In this Jan. 26, 2013 photo, Carmencita Florentino, 64, poses by the door of her home at a poor neighborhood of Tatalon, Quezon city, northeast of Manila, Philippines during an interview. Florentino was jailed twice, in 1977 and 1978, during the Martial Law period imposed by the late Philippine strongman Ferdinand Marcos. More than 9,000 victims will be awarded compensation using $246 million that the Philippine government recovered from Marcos' ill-gotten wealth. But all claims will still have to evaluated by an independent commission and the amount each will receive will depend of the abuse suffered. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

In this Jan. 26, 2013 photo, Carmencita Florentino, 64, talks during an interview outside her home at a poor neighborhood of Tatalon, Quezon city, northeast of Manila, Philippiness. Florentino was jailed twice, in 1977 and 1978, during the Martial Law period imposed by the late Philippine strongman Ferdinand Marcos. More than 9,000 victims will be awarded compensation using $246 million that the Philippine government recovered from Marcos' ill-gotten wealth. But all claims will still have to evaluated by an independent commission and the amount each will receive will depend of the abuse suffered. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

(AP) ? Almost four decades after he was arrested and tortured and his sister disappeared into a maze of Philippine police cells and military houses, playwright Bonifacio Ilagan is finally seeing his suffering officially recognized.

A writer for an underground communist newspaper, Ilagan and thousands like him were rounded up by dictator Ferdinand Marcos' security forces after he placed the Philippines under martial law in 1972. Detentions, beatings, harassment and killings of the regime's opponents continued until Marcos was toppled in 1986.

Even though democracy was restored, it would take another 27 years for the Philippine Congress to vote on a bill awarding compensation and recognition to martial law victims. The bill was ratified Monday and will be sent to Pres. Benigno Aquino III for signing into law, said Sen. Francis Escudero, a key proponent.

"More than the monetary compensation, the bill represents the only formal, written document that martial law violated the human rights of Filipinos and that there were courageous people who fought the dictatorship," said a statement from SELDA, an organization of former political prisoners that campaigned for the passage of the bill.

Ilagan's story is more of a rule than exception among leftist activists of his generation.

"The torture started in the house. We were beaten up, punched and kicked," he said, recalling a police raid on his residence in April 1974 and the beginning of his two-year detention ordeal. He said he vomited blood after being kicked in the thighs and had the soles of his foot burned by an iron.

"The one episode in my torture that I cannot forget was when they ordered me to remove my pants and underwear and they inserted a piece of stick into my penis. 'Oh my God,' I said, this is one torture I could not bear,'" the 61-year-old said in an interview. He said that interrogators wanted him to decode documents and identify people in pictures that were seized from suspected communist activists.

"Compared to others, mine was not the worst torture," he said. "The others were electrocuted and injected with truth serum. ... But the threats continued."

Ilagan's sister, Rizalina, disappeared in 1976 along with nine other activists, many of them students involved in anti-Marcos publications, he said. One of the women arrested by the same government unit that he suspected was involved in his sister's abduction had escaped to recount her rape and torture. Ilagan said he has no doubt that his sister went through the same abuses.

His parents died still hoping his sister would turn up alive, but the family has found no closure, Ilagan said.

Lawmakers in two chambers of the Congress agreed last week on the text of the compensation bill.

Aquino is the son of an assassinated anti-Marcos activist and a mother who led the 1986 "people power" revolt that ousted Marcos and sent him into U.S. exile, where he died three years later without ever facing prosecution for human rights abuses.

Many of Marcos' men reinvented themselves as powerful politicians or businessmen, and not one was successfully prosecuted for any of the crimes allegedly committed during the martial law years.

Two martial law figures, former Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile and the deputy military chief of staff, Fidel Ramos, led a mutiny against Marcos as part of the 1986 revolt. Ramos later served as president from 1992 to 1998, and Enrile is currently the president of the Senate.

Despite cases filed by former political prisoners, "there have been no convictions of perpetrators," Marie Hilao-Enriquez, chairwoman of SELDA, said Monday.

The Marcos family, meanwhile, returned from exile in 1990s and again wields influence. Former first lady Imelda Marcos is a lawmaker, son Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcosis is a senator, and daughter Imee is a provincial governor.

"Governments after Marcos did not move or did not do anything to go after Marcos seriously, so we filed a case in Hawaii," Hilao-Enriquez said.

In 1992, victims won a class action suit against the Marcos estate in Hawaii.

Under the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013, the 9,539 victims will be awarded compensation using $246 million that the Philippine government recovered from Marcos' ill-gotten wealth. But all claims will have to evaluated by an independent commission and the amount each will receive will depend of the abuse suffered.

"Finally, over two decades after the fall of the dictatorship, we will have a law that puts the responsibility of human rights abuses square on the shoulder of Marcos and provides justice for all those who suffered under his reign," said Rep. Walden Bello, a member of a congressional committee that drafted and approved the bill.


Associated Press writers Oliver Teves and Hrvoje Hranjski contributed to this report.

Associated Press


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PFT: Revis realizes trade talks all about money

Kyle Rudolph PicGetty Images

After the NFC jumped out in front 10-7 in the Pro Bowl?s initial 16 minutes, Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson briefly returned the lead to the AFC by reading Giants quarterback Eli Manning?s eyes in zone coverage and picking off Eli?s pass, which was intended for Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph.

Johnson beat everyone to the house for a 42-yard pick six, putting the AFC up 14-10 early in the second quarter.

The NFC rallied back on its next drive, keyed by a BeastMode run out of Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch. Lynch shed five tackles for a vicious 12-yard gain, easily the best run of a Pro Bowl that has so far been decidedly pass happy.

Two snaps after Lynch?s run, Eli hit Giants teammate Victor Cruz for a nine-yard touchdown on an in route out of the slot, giving the NFC the lead back at 17-14. Cruz, as he is known to do, performed a quick salsa dance in the end zone to celebrate.

Trailing by three points midway through the second quarter, the AFC replaced Peyton Manning at quarterback with Matt Schaub of the Texans. On a 40-yard bomb attempt intended for Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas, Schaub was intercepted by Falcons safety William Moore. Moore returned the pick 27 yards to the NFC 28.

Eli got aggressive with under three minutes remaining in the first half. He noticed Rudolph in Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali?s coverage down the right sideline, waved Rudolph to continue his route downfield, and hit him for a deep gain of 52 behind a lumbering Hali.

The first flag of the game was called on Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey toward the end of the second quarter. When explaining the penalty, official Ed Hochuli made sure to announce that ?Yes, there are penalties in the Pro Bowl.? (Yes, Hochuli really said that.)

Bailey was covering Bucs receiver Vincent Jackson in the end zone when whistled, so the ball was placed at the AFC?s one-yard line.

Lynch punched it in from a yard out, increasing the NFC?s lead to 24-14. Eli led yet another touchdown drive to close out the half, going 75 yards in the final 68 seconds with a three-yard scoring strike to Rudolph to cap it off.

As of halftime, top performers in the 2013 Pro Bowl so far have included Rudolph (five catches, game-high 122 yards, one touchdown), Jackson (five catches, 86 yards, one touchdown) and Cruz (game-high eight catches, 66 yards, touchdown).

Through two quarters, Rudolph is the favorite for Pro Bowl MVP.


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A different perspective on reverse settlements |

Before I begin my initial post, I want to thank Holly for inviting me to post on this blog.

I want to take up reverse settlements in litigation over pharmaceutical patents.? Circuits are divided on how to treat these settlements under antitrust law (Elhauge & Krueger, Texas L. Rev., 91:283, 285, 2012).? The Supreme Court has decided to take this the topic up this term; it will hear oral arguments in Federal Trade Commission v. Watson Pharmaceuticals on March 25, 2013.? However, this is a topic about which I believe the legal literature has lagged substantially behind the health economics literature.? As a result, I think the conventional (legal) views of such settlements get the economics of pharmaceutical patents and innovation wrong.? (That does not mean they are getting the law wrong. Although the law in this area is highly unsettled, the goal of the law may not coincide with economic prudence.? I am commenting primarily about economic prudence.)

Before I address a topic concerning drug companies, let me make a disclosure.? I do not receive any funding or support from drug companies, either generally, for research on reverse settlements, or for this post .? You can find more details about my past and present funding in the footnotes.[1]

To set the stage for my arguments, let me describe the conventional view of reverse settlements among most legal scholars ? and the DOJ and FTC.? A pioneer drug company gets a patent from the patent and trademark office (PTO).? That does not ensure that the patent is valid.? But as a result of the patent the pioneer has a monopoly and consumers pay a high price for the drug, with a loss to consumer and total welfare.? Any given generic drug company has no incentive to challenge the patent.? Challenges are costly.? Moreover, once the patent is invalidated, other generic companies will enter, driving economic profits to zero.? The Hatch-Waxman Act addressed this problem by giving the first generic company to successfully challenge a patent 180 days of exclusivity before other generics can enter the market.? This would allow the generic to enjoy 180 days of duopoly profits with the pioneer.? In other words, Hatch-Waxman took some potential consumer surplus (from after patent invalidation) and offered it to the generic company to get it to help eliminate invalid patents.

The problem with the Hatch-Waxman solution is that the first generic and the pioneer can collude to hurt the consumer.? Note that the pioneer?s monopoly profits (if the patent were left in place) are greater than the duopoly profits that the pioneer and first generic each get during the period of exclusivity (if the patent were invalidated).? The pioneer can offer the first generic a part of this wedge to settle its challenge in the pioneer?s favor.? This side payment ? called a reverse settlement ? increases the period of time during which the pioneer retains its profits.? In theory, these settlements undo the Hatch-Waxman solution.? Most scholars ? including my friends Scott Hemphill (on leave from Columbia) and Einer Elhauge ? argue that this hurts consumers.[2]

I think that there are many missteps in this argument.? In this post I highlight one.? I will try to highlight others in future posts.

First, the pioneer drug company?s monopoly may not reduce *static* welfare.? The conventional argument for a patent is that it encourages innovation (dynamic inefficiency).? The conventional argument against a patent is that it causes high (monopoly) prices that price some consumer out of the market (static deadweight loss or inefficiency).? Patents are given a finite duration to balance the dynamic efficiency (a benefit) and static inefficiency (a loss).? Recent empirical research in health economics suggest, however, that drug patents may not price any consumers out of the market.? A key prediction of the conventional model of patents is that, when a drug goes off patent, generic companies should enter, prices should fall, and quantity of drugs sold should rise.? However, this prediction is rejected by the data.? While drug prices fall after patent expiration, drug sales do not rise!? See the figure 1 below.? Since quantity does not rise, that strongly suggests no consumers are prevented from buying drugs due to drug patents.? There does not appear to be static welfare loss!

Figure 1: Drug quantity does not rise after patent expiration.

Source: Figure 5 from Lakdawalla, Philipson, and Wang, ?Intellectual Property and Marketing,? Journal of Law & Economics, forthcoming.

A natural question is why drug quantity does not rise after patent expiration.? (We don?t need to answer this to cast doubt on static welfare loss, but it does illuminate the gap between legal thinking about reverse settlements and health economic thinking on such settlements.)? There are two possible explanations.? The simplest explanation is that pioneer drug companies advertise their drugs and this advertisement raises consumption.? So even at monopoly prices, patients consume the same amount of drugs they would at competitive prices.? When patents expire, pioneer drug companies stop advertising because they do not appropriate the benefits of the ads; ads increase both pioneer and generic sales.? See the figure 2 below. ?The decline in ads offset the increased consumption due to the price decline after patent expiration.[3]

Figure 2: Advertising falls after patent expiration.

Source: Figure 8 from Lakdawalla, Philipson, and Wang, ?Intellectual Property and Marketing,? Journal of Law & Economics, forthcoming

A second explanation, which I like better, is that consumers do not face the monopoly price of patented.? Specifically, most consumers do not pay for drugs out of pocket.? Instead they have health insurance that covers the cost of drugs.? Health insurance does not charge consumers the full price of drugs; rather it charges a copay, e.g., $10.? This copay is close to re competitive price of drugs.? As a result, health insurance permits consumer to purchase the same amount of a patented drugs as they would if it were not patented (and not insured).[4]? The table below nicely illustrates this point.? It shows that for drugs largely covered by insurance, patent expiration is associated with no increase in drug quantity.? For drugs less well covered by insurance, there is, indeed, an increase in drug quantity. Since we now have an individual mandate that requires nearly everyone to buy insurance (or provides them government insurance), we don?t have to worry about the effect of patents on less-well insured drugs: nearly all drugs will be insured going forward.

Table 1: Patent expiration raises quantity only for drugs that are not well-insured

Source: Lakdawalla and Sood (2012).? Bold numbers indicate significantly different from zero.

Interestingly, while health insurance lowers the price of patented drugs that consumers face, it does not (have to) lower the price that pioneer drug companies receive.? The insurance company can pay the pioneer a monopoly price and charge the consumer a near-competitive price.? The reason is that insurance is a like a two-part pricing scheme where consumers are charge a large entry price (the premium) for the right to buy individual units of drugs at a low marginal price (the copay) (Lakdawalla and Sood, J. Public Economics, 2006).? In this manner, health insurance eliminates the tradeoff between dynamic efficiency and static efficiency that plague patents in non-pharmaceutical markets.

A skeptical reader might ask: if consumers consume a competitive quantity of patented drugs, but the insurer pays monopoly prices for those drugs, won?t that increase insurance premiums?? And won?t that premium increase reduce insurance consumption?? In other words, isn?t the static deadweight loss of monopoly drug prices just shifted from the drug market to the health insurance market.? There is certainly an increase in the price of premiums due to drug patents.? However, there are three reasons to think this does not result in static inefficiency.? First, employer-sponsored health insurance is tax subsidized.? This subsidy reduces the price that consumers face for insurance and thus the extent to which drug patents reduce consumption of insurance.? Second, under the Affordable Care Act, nearly all individuals are required to buy insurance.? This mandate in effect eliminates any change in quantity of insurance (at least at the extensive margin) due to changes in insurance premiums.? Thus, it also mitigates the deadweight loss from drug patents.[5]

In my next post, I will address the question of whether drug patents, even if they do not reduce total welfare, reduce consumer welfare in particular.? (Antitrust law seems more concerned with consumer surplus than total welfare.)


[1] The one time I received money from a drug company was Pfizer in 2006; specifically I received a $35,000 grant to study a statistical question ? how to estimate heterogeneity in treatment effects using only data from parallel arm trial.? The grant did not pay for my research time; it only covered the cost of a programmer.? Because I work at a law school, I am in a hard-money environment so I do not depend on research funding for my salary. ?I finished the work for the grant within a year.? The work ? with Bart Hamilton of Washington University ? was not published.? Currently I receive funding mainly internally from the University of Chicago, but none for this project.? I thank the Microsoft Fund and the Samuel J. Kersten Faculty Fund at the University of Chicago for financial support.? I am working on a large health insurance experiment in India; but that project is primarily funded by the Department for International Development in the UK.

[2] Indeed, Einer, in his 2012 Texas Law Review article on reverse settlements notes that this problem ? collusion between patent holder and patent infringer ? afflicts all patent cases (see fn. 3).? Thus the arguments made against reverse settlements are arguments against all patent settlements.? I would go further and say that, in theory, settlement collusion is an antitrust problem in any litigation that affects market structure.? But that is a digression.

[3] A skeptic might argue that different people consumer drugs due to advertising and due to low prices.? Perhaps, but we have no evidence of this.? It is a great paper topic for a young health economist.

[4] Of course generic drugs are also covered by insurance, and sometimes at a lower copay.? But the price elasticity is sufficiently low that we do not observe a big jump in quantity upon patent expiration.

[5] A super-skeptical reader might note that the nature of the tax subsidy for health insurance implies that the static inefficiency from drug patents is felt not in the drug or insurance market, but through taxes.? The tax subsidy is proportional to the price of insurance.? Moreover, income taxes introduce distortions in labor markets proportional to the tax subsidies they must finance.? However, the size of these distortions may not be very large.? Drugs are only a fraction ? roughly 10-15% ? of all health spending; spending on patented drugs is only a portion of that.? Thus the premium increase due to patented drug prices is not large relative to the overall price of health insurance.


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Stan Musial remembered during funeral Mass

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Stan Musial was remembered during a funeral and memorial outside Busch Stadium on Saturday as a Hall of Famer and a St. Louis icon embraced by generations of fans who never had the privilege of watching him play.

Broadcaster Bob Costas, his voice cracking with emotion at times, pointed out during a two-hour Mass that in 92 years of life, Stan the Man never let anyone down.

Costas noted that even though Musial, who died Jan. 19, was a three-time NL MVP and seven-time batting champion, the pride of Donora, Pa., lacked a singular achievement. Joe DiMaggio had a 56-game hitting streak, Ted Williams was the last major leaguer to hit .400, and Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle soared to stardom in the New York spotlight. Musial didn't quite reach the 500-homer club - he finished with 475 - and played in his final World Series in 1946, ''wouldn't you know it, the year before they started televising the Fall Classic!''

''What was the hook with Stan Musial other than the distinctive stance and the role of one of baseball's best hitters?'' Costas said. ''It seems that all Stan had going for him was more than two decades of sustained excellence as a ballplayer and more than nine decades as a thoroughly decent human being.

''Where is the single person to truthfully say a bad word about him?''

There was enough room in the large Roman Catholic church for a handful of fans. One of them wore a vintage, No. 6 Musial jersey. Another clapped softly as pallbearers carried the casket from the church to the hearse to the tune of bagpipes.

Among those in attendance were baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, former St. Louis standout Albert Pujols and Hall of Famers Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Ozzie Smith, Bruce Sutter, Whitey Herzog and 90-year-old Red Schoendienst, who once roomed with Musial. Joe Torre, a former MVP and manager in St. Louis, and Tony La Russa, who became close with Musial during his 16 seasons managing the Cardinals, sat near the front along with current manager Mike Matheny.

Pujols, who had been on track to challenge many of Musial's franchise records before signing with the Angels 13 months ago, exchanged hugs with Fred Hanser, a member of the Cardinals ownership team, before taking his seat.

Jim Edmonds, a star center fielder for two World Series teams in the 2000s, has the same last name as one of Musial's sons-in-law. He said Musial informed him that they were distant relatives, and greeted him as ''Hey, Cuz!''

''I thought he was kidding at first,'' Edmonds said. ''That's pretty cool.''

Jack Clark, a slugging first baseman for the Cardinals during the 1980s, said he perhaps respected Musial most for his decency during baseball's sometimes difficult period of integration in the 1940s and 1950s.

''Stan kind of crossed that color barrier. When people were getting on the African-American players, he stuck up for them. It was a time when you could kind of get your finger pointed at you for that stuff,'' Clark said. ''People loved him, and he loved them right back.''

Bishop Richard Stika, pastor at Musial's' church in suburban St. Louis for several years, speculated during the homily about why Musial was never ejected from a game during his career: ''I think deep down, that was because he didn't want to go home and face Lil.''

Musial's wife of nearly 72 years, Lillian, died last year.

Grandson Andrew Edmonds said the public Musial was no different from the private Musial, the grandpa who bought McDonalds for the family every Sunday. He recalled a fan telling him, ''Your grandpa's best attribute is he made nobodies feel like somebodies.''

Pallbearers included Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III, Musial grandsons Andrew Edmonds and Brian Schwarze, and the retired star's longtime business partner in Stan the Man Inc., Dick Zitzmann.

After the service, the hearse and vans filled with the Cardinals' delegation drove to Busch Stadium, where Musial's family laid flowers at the base of one of his statues - the one that made the move across the street from the old Busch - while being serenaded by ''Take Me Out to the Ball Game.'' Color guards from the city's fire and police departments flanked the statue, along with more than a dozen ballpark ushers. A single Clydesdale walked slowly down the street.

Cardinals closer Jason Motte shook his head.

''This is nothing like I've ever seen,'' he said.

During a funeral that was almost entirely upbeat, son-in-law Martin Schwarze got the biggest laugh when he recounted a 1995 radio interview with Jack Buck during which Musial was asked how good of a hitter he'd have been had he played in the modern era. Musial, who finished with a .331 career batting average, replied he probably would have batted about .275, and Buck said ''Whoa, whoa, whoa,'' that's way too low.

Then Musial added with a chuckle, ''Hey, Jack, I'm 75!''

Thousands filed through the Cathedral Basilica at Musial's six-hour public visitation on Thursday, and hundreds more attended the service.

Hundreds more were waiting at the more prominent of the two Musial statues outside Busch Stadium, where fans have gathered since Musial died after several years of declining health. Next to the statues were flowers, balloons, teddy bears, helmets, autographed items and a homemade sign that read ''Thanks for the memories. You live in our hearts, No. 6.''

''He's been a hero to us for four generations,'' Kathy Noorman of Wentzville, Mo., said, speaking near the statue. ''He was such a good man, somebody you can hold up to grandkids and your own kids as an example of who they should be.''

Mark Springman, 57, of Alton, Ill., brought a bottle of champagne to the statue shrine. He saw Musial play in 1963, Stan the Man's final season, and has been a season-ticket holder for about 15 years.

''He was more than a ballplayer,'' Springman said. ''He was the man.''


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World's most powerful engine blazes path for space launch system advanced propulsion

Jan. 26, 2013 ? To help develop the nation's future heavy lift rocket, NASA resurrected the world's most powerful rocket engine ever flown -- the mighty F-1 that powered the Saturn V rocket-- and test fired its gas generator today at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

NASA engineers ran the gas generator at the Marshall Center's Test Stand 116. The test is part of a series that will push the gas generator to limits beyond prior Apollo-era tests. Modern instruments on the test stand measured performance and combustion properties to allow engineers a starting point for creating a new, more affordable, advanced propulsion system.

"Our young engineers are getting their hands dirty by working with one of NASA's most famous engines," said Tom Williams, Director of the Propulsion Systems Department in Marshall Engineering Directorate. "These tests are only the beginning. As SLS research activities progress, these young NASA engineers will continue work with our industry partners to test and evaluate the benefits of using a powerful propulsion system fueled by liquid oxygen and rocket grade kerosene, a propellant we haven't tested with in some time."

The gas generator tested at Marshall today is a key F-1 rocket component that burns liquid oxygen and kerosene and is the part of the engine responsible for supplying power to drive the giant turbopump. The gas generator is often one of the first pieces designed on a new engine because it is a key part for determining the engine's size, which is a factor in the engine's power and ability to lift heavy payloads and send them to space.

A video of the test is available at:

NASA's Space Launch System will provide an entirely new capability for human exploration beyond low Earth orbit. The initial 77-ton (70-metric-ton) SLS configuration will use two 5-segment solid rocket boosters similar to the boosters that helped power the space shuttle to orbit. The evolved 143-ton (130-metric-ton) SLS vehicle will require an advanced booster with more thrust than any existing U.S. liquid- or solid-fueled boosters. Last year, NASA awarded three contracts aimed at improving the affordability, reliability and performance of the rocket's advanced booster, including one focused on the F-1 engine.

"It's important that our workforce get hands on experience on systems like the F-1 gas generator as it helps make them smart buyers, and good stewards of what we procure from industry," said Chris Crumbly, manager of the SLS Advanced Development Office at the Marshall Center. "As we look to the future advanced boosters for SLS we are eager to see what our partners in industry can provide as far as a more powerful and affordable solution."

For more information on SLS, visit:

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