Friday, October 31, 2014

Academic Science Isn’t Sexist - NYTimes.com

Academic Science Isn’t Sexist - NYTimes.com:



"ACADEMIC science has a gender problem: specifically, the almost daily reports about hostile workplaces, low pay, delayed promotion and even physical aggression against women. Particularly in math-intensive fields like the physical sciences, computer science and engineering, women make up only 25 to 30 percent of junior faculty, and 7 to 15 percent of senior faculty, leading many to claim that the inhospitable work environment is to blame."



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Genes Influence How Mice React to Ebola, Study Says in ‘Significant Advance’ - NYTimes.com

Genes Influence How Mice React to Ebola, Study Says in ‘Significant Advance’ - NYTimes.com:



"Some people exposed to the Ebola virus quickly sicken and die. Others become gravely ill but recover, while still others only react mildly or are thought to be resistant to the virus. Now researchers working with mice have found that these laboratory animals, too, can have a range of responses to Ebola, and that in mice, the responses are determined by differences in genes."



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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Apologizing to Japan - NYTimes.com

Apologizing to Japan - NYTimes.com:



"TOKYO — For almost two decades, Japan has been held up as a cautionary tale, an object lesson on how not to run an advanced economy. After all, the island nation is the rising superpower that stumbled. One day, it seemed, it was on the road to high-tech domination of the world economy; the next it was suffering from seemingly endless stagnation and deflation. And Western economists were scathing in their criticisms of Japanese policy."



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From Ancient DNA, a Clearer Picture of Europeans Today - NYTimes.com

From Ancient DNA, a Clearer Picture of Europeans Today - NYTimes.com:



"About 50,000 years ago, humans from Africa first set foot in Europe. They hunted woolly mammoths and other big game — sometimes to extinction. Eventually, they began grazing livestock and raising crops.

"



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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Prosecutors Wrestling With Wall Street's Repeat Offenders - NYTimes.com

Prosecutors Wrestling With Wall Street's Repeat Offenders - NYTimes.com:



"On Wall Street, it would be the corporate equivalent of a parole violation: Just two years after avoiding prosecution for a variety of crimes, some of the world’s biggest banks are suspected of having broken their promises to behave."



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HP Unveils Plan to Make 3-D Printing an Everyday Thing - NYTimes.com

HP Unveils Plan to Make 3-D Printing an Everyday Thing - NYTimes.com:



"Hewlett-Packard believes it has developed impressive new technology to make it easier and faster to print three-dimensional objects."



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Fed Announces End to Bond-Buying, Citing Job Gains - NYTimes.com

Fed Announces End to Bond-Buying, Citing Job Gains - NYTimes.com:



 "WASHINGTON — An upbeat Federal Reserve said on Wednesday that the economic recovery was chugging along and that it would end its latest-bond buying campaign on schedule at the end of the month."



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Fed Plans Next Phase as End to Stimulus Program Is Expected - NYTimes.com

Fed Plans Next Phase as End to Stimulus Program Is Expected - NYTimes.com:



 "WASHINGTON — It’s the end of Q.E., and financial markets feel fine."



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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Mexico’s State-Owned Oil Giant Gets Ready to Step Into a Public Ring - NYTimes.com

Mexico’s State-Owned Oil Giant Gets Ready to Step Into a Public Ring - NYTimes.com:



"LA MURALLA IV, Gulf of Mexico — The computer screens lining the bubblelike control room on this giant floating platform monitor pressure levels in a narrow shaft cut through bedrock to a reservoir of valuable natural gas three miles below sea level."



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Goodbye to Language Jean-Luc Godard

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Ideology and Investment - NYTimes.com

Ideology and Investment - NYTimes.com:



"America used to be a country that built for the future. Sometimes the government built directly: Public projects, from the Erie Canal to the Interstate Highway System, provided the backbone for economic growth. Sometimes it provided incentives to the private sector, like land grants to spur railroad construction. Either way, there was broad support for spending that would make us richer."



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Saturday, October 25, 2014

[1304.6001] Direct Measurement of the Bubble Nucleation Energy Threshold in a CF3I Bubble Chamber

[1304.6001] Direct Measurement of the Bubble Nucleation Energy Threshold in a CF3I Bubble Chamber:



 "We have directly measured the energy threshold and efficiency for bubble nucleation from iodine recoils in a CF3I bubble chamber in the energy range of interest for a dark matter search. These interactions cannot be probed by standard neutron calibration methods, so we develop a new technique by observing the elastic scattering of 12 GeV/c negative pions. The pions are tracked with a silicon pixel telescope and the reconstructed scattering angle provides a measure of the nuclear recoil kinetic energy. The bubble chamber was operated with a nominal threshold of (13.6+-0.6) keV. Interpretation of the results depends on the response to fluorine and carbon recoils, but in general we find agreement with the predictions of the classical bubble nucleation theory. This measurement confirms the applicability of CF3I as a target for spin-independent dark matter interactions and represents a novel technique for calibration of superheated fluid detectors."



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[0906.0580] New Fixed-Target Experiments to Search for Dark Gauge Forces

[0906.0580] New Fixed-Target Experiments to Search for Dark Gauge Forces:



 "Fixed-target experiments are ideally suited for discovering new MeV-GeV mass U(1) gauge bosons through their kinetic mixing with the photon. In this paper, we identify the production and decay properties of new light gauge bosons that dictate fixed-target search strategies. We summarize existing limits and suggest five new experimental approaches that we anticipate can cover most of the natural parameter space, using currently operating GeV-energy beams and well-established detection methods. Such experiments are particularly timely in light of recent terrestrial and astrophysical anomalies (PAMELA, FERMI, DAMA/LIBRA, etc.) consistent with dark matter charged under a new gauge force."



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The Last Train - NYTimes.com

The Last Train - NYTimes.com:



"WHEN Secretary of State John Kerry began his high-energy effort to forge an Israeli-Palestinian peace, I argued that it was the last train for a two-state solution. If it didn’t work, it would mean that the top-down, diplomatically constructed two-state concept was over as a way out of that conflict. For Israelis and Palestinians, the next train would be the one coming at them."



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This (Climate Change) Changes Everything

Naomi Klein, did it again, she wrote a great book: This Changes Everything. It already won recognition, The Hilary Weston Writer's Trust Prize for Nonfiction.

We need clear thinking on this most present danger.

She questions the very tenets of capitalism, Francis Bacon  presented us a view of us against nature. We had to dominate her, as if she was a cow, or a corn field. Actually more like a Steam Engine. Something non-organic which was our enemy. That view is wrong; we come from nature, and we are part of her.

Pre-capitalist societies had to have a more integrated relation with the Mother, with Gaia. I recently read about an Indian in Puebla, Mexico, arguing with an industry representative, telling him that her fruit tree took eight years to grow, now that he had destroyed it, she might go hungry. The image that came to my mind, was like the tree shouting: Do not Cut ME!

Extractivist World View.

I am not about to agree with her. Bacon was influential to the reductionist world view, with which I entered a scientific career.

On the other hand, I'm willing to reconsider my views.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

In Mexico, an Embattled Governor Resigns - NYTimes.com

In Mexico, an Embattled Governor Resigns - NYTimes.com:



 "MEXICO CITY — The governor of the southern Mexico state where 43 college students have gone missing in a case that the authorities say has exposed the deep ties among local politicians, the police and organized crime stepped down on Thursday under pressure from his own party."



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Plutocrats Against Democracy - NYTimes.com

Plutocrats Against Democracy - NYTimes.com:



"It’s always good when leaders tell the truth, especially if that wasn’t their intention. So we should be grateful to Leung Chun-ying, the Beijing-backed leader of Hong Kong, for blurting out the real reason pro-democracy demonstrators can’t get what they want: With open voting, “You would be talking to half of the people in Hong Kong who earn less than $1,800 a month. Then you would end up with that kind of politics and policies” — policies, presumably, that would make the rich less rich and provide more aid to those with lower incomes."



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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Mexican Official Links a Mayor to Missing College Students - NYTimes.com

Mexican Official Links a Mayor to Missing College Students - NYTimes.com:



 "MEXICO CITY — The authorities on Wednesday provided a broad account of the apparent abduction of 43 college students last month in southern Mexico, saying that the police in a small city attacked them on orders of the mayor and his wife out of fear they were going to disrupt a speech she was giving."



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Reconstructed Genome of 45,000-Year-Old Man Offers Clues on Modern Humans - NYTimes.com

Reconstructed Genome of 45,000-Year-Old Man Offers Clues on Modern Humans - NYTimes.com:



"Scientists have reconstructed the genome of a man who lived 45,000 years ago, by far the oldest genetic record ever obtained from modern humans. The research, published on Wednesday in the journal Nature, provided new clues to the expansion of modern humans from Africa about 60,000 years ago, when they moved into Europe and Asia."



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The U.S. Will Collaborate With Cuba ... on Ebola - NYTimes.com

The U.S. Will Collaborate With Cuba ... on Ebola - NYTimes.com:



 "After wrestling for days with the diplomatically awkward reality that Cuba could turn out to be America’s best ally on the effort to stem the Ebola epidemic, the Obama Administration has belatedly come around to a sensible conclusion: It’s willing to coordinate with the Cuban medics dispatched to treat patients in West Africa."



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Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Comet’s Brush With Mars - NYTimes.com

A Comet’s Brush With Mars - NYTimes.com:



 "WASHINGTON — A comet the size of a small mountain whizzed past Mars on Sunday, dazzling space enthusiasts with the once-in-a-million-years encounter."



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Amazon’s Monopsony Is Not O.K. - NYTimes.com

Amazon’s Monopsony Is Not O.K. - NYTimes.com:



 "Amazon.com, the giant online retailer, has too much power, and it uses that power in ways that hurt America."



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Friday, October 17, 2014

Amid Assurances on Ebola, Obama Is Said to Seethe - NYTimes.com

Amid Assurances on Ebola, Obama Is Said to Seethe - NYTimes.com:



WASHINGTON — Beneath the calming reassurance that President Obama has repeatedly offered during the Ebola crisis, there is a deepening frustration, even anger, with how the government has handled key elements of the response."



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Regulators Are Gauging Health of Europe's Banks, and the Remedy May Sting a Little - NYTimes.com

Regulators Are Gauging Health of Europe's Banks, and the Remedy May Sting a Little - NYTimes.com:



"FRANKFURT — The global market turmoil is a vivid reminder that the European crisis didn’t go away — it has just been lying dormant."



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[1410.4194] Cholla : A New Massively-Parallel Hydrodynamics Code For Astrophysical Simulation

[1410.4194] Cholla : A New Massively-Parallel Hydrodynamics Code For Astrophysical Simulation:



"We present Cholla (Computational Hydrodynamics On ParaLLel Architectures), a new three-dimensional hydrodynamics code that harnesses the power of graphics processing units (GPUs) to accelerate astrophysical simulations. Cholla models the Euler equations on a static mesh using state-of-the-art techniques, including the unsplit Corner Transport Upwind (CTU) algorithm, a variety of exact and approximate Riemann solvers, and multiple spatial reconstruction techniques including the piecewise parabolic method (PPM). Cholla performs all hydrodynamical calculations in a massively-parallel manner, using GPUs to evolve the fluid properties of thousands of cells simultaneously while leaving the power of central processing units (CPUs) available for modeling additional physics. On current hardware, Cholla can update more than ten million cells per GPU-second while using an exact Riemann solver and PPM reconstruction with the CTU algorithm. Owing to the massively-parallel architecture of GPUs and the design of the Cholla code, astrophysical simulations with physically interesting grid resolutions (> 256^3) can easily be computed on a single device. Cholla utilizes the Message Passing Interface library to extend calculations onto multiple devices, and exhibits nearly ideal scaling beyond 100,000 GPU cores. The excellent performance of Cholla is demonstrated on a suite of test problems that highlights the physical accuracy of our modeling and provides a useful comparison to other codes. We also provide a set of Appendices that uniformly documents all of the reconstruction methods and Riemann solvers implemented in Cholla, and discusses strengths and weakness of the various methods."



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Thursday, October 16, 2014

As Ebola Fears Spread, Ohio and Texas Close Some Schools - NYTimes.com

As Ebola Fears Spread, Ohio and Texas Close Some Schools - NYTimes.com:



 "DALLAS — Officials at school districts in Texas and Ohio shut schools on Thursday after they learned that two students traveled on the Cleveland-to-Dallas flight with Amber Joy Vinson, a nurse infected with Ebola, and that an employee may have later flown on the same plane."



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The World of Today

Republicans will advance in these midterm elections. Oil is a weapon against US's and Saudi Arabia's enemies. The risky investments in Wall Street are over for now. In Mexico authoritarian regimes are loosing some battles, but the fundamentals remain. Earth is warming.

I expect suffering on a mass scale.

Nevertheless resilience is written into our genome, and nature's design.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

James Risen’s ‘Pay Any Price’ - NYTimes.com

James Risen’s ‘Pay Any Price’ - NYTimes.com:



"In “Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War,” James Risen holds up a mirror to the United States in the 13 years since 9/11, and what it reveals is not a pretty sight. Risen, a Pulitzer Prize-­winning reporter at The New York Times, documents the emergence of a “homeland ­security-industrial complex” more pervasive and more pernicious than the “military-industrial complex” Dwight Eisenhower warned against. With the power and passion of Zola’s “J’Accuse,” he chronicles the abandonment of America’s cherished open society in a never-satiated search for security from an ill-defined threat."



'via Blog this'

Inequality Explained

Wall Street Roller Coaster

We cannot continue like this!

I just bought Scorsese's movie "The Wolf of Wall Street". It seems to me that the movie is more than a cautionary tale, and more the result of direct knowledge of the people involved. I believe somebody at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, gave some kind of "direction", so that that great movie did not receive the recognition it deserved.

Today's Wall Street Gyrations, tell  me that we have to get out of this roller coaster!

“It was a roller coaster, and I think you will have these wild price movements for a few more weeks,” said Peter P. Costa, a top executive at Empire Executions, a trading firm on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
NYT

Steep Sell-Off Spreads Fear to Wall Street - NYTimes.com

Steep Sell-Off Spreads Fear to Wall Street - NYTimes.com:



"Waves of nervous selling buffeted the stock market in the United States on Wednesday, after a steep sell-off in Europe. At one point, the Dow Jones industrial average had plunged 460 points, or 2.8 percent, though it later swung higher to close down 1.1 percent, or 173.45 points. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index fell 0.8 percent, or 15.21 points. Since their peak a month ago, American stocks have lost over $2 trillion in value, losses that may ripple through the wider economy."



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The Depressing Signals the Markets Are Sending About the Global Economy

It wasn’t very long ago that the dread hovering over global financial markets was that things were getting too calm. Just this summer, Federal Reserve officials were fretting over markets being so stable that it might create complacency, and we were writing about a global boom in asset prices.

NYT

Dow Tumbles 450 Points - NYTimes.com

Dow Tumbles 450 Points - NYTimes.com:



"Markets were down sharply on Wednesday, with the Dow falling more than 450 point by early afternoon. Traders fled risky assets and piled into bonds. The slide came amid lingering fears of a global economic slowdown, and as the market sized up a batch of discouraging data on retail sales and manufacturing."



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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Mexico Bodies Do Not Match Lost Students - NYTimes.com

Mexico Bodies Do Not Match Lost Students - NYTimes.com:



 "MEXICO CITY — The mystery of the whereabouts of 43 college students reported missing after an outbreak of violence in southern Mexico deepened Tuesday after the authorities reported that initial testing had shown that none of the students were among the 28 bodies found in mass graves."



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Naomi Klein: This Changes Everything.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Oil Prices Fall, as OPEC Members Fight for Market Share - NYTimes.com

Oil Prices Fall, as OPEC Members Fight for Market Share - NYTimes.com:



"Oil prices sank again on Monday, giving consumers more of a break and causing a split among OPEC leaders about what action should be taken, if any, to halt the slide."



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E.U. and France on Collision Course Over Budget - NYTimes.com

E.U. and France on Collision Course Over Budget - NYTimes.com:



 "LUXEMBOURG — The eurozone’s finance ministers began making last-ditch efforts on Monday to avoid a clash with France, which must formally submit its budget for scrutiny by the European Union authorities by the middle of the week."



'via Blog this'

Jean Tirole Wins Nobel in Economics for Work on Regulation - NYTimes.com

Jean Tirole Wins Nobel in Economics for Work on Regulation - NYTimes.com:



"WASHINGTON — Jean Tirole, a French economist, won the 2014 Nobel in economic science on Monday for his work on the best way to regulate large, powerful firms in industries including banking and communications."



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Sunday, October 12, 2014

El Cordero

What happens when you kill somebody, and confession with your priest doesn't work?

Helping others, does not seem to work either. What about doing more bad things until you start to feel guilt?

In this move this is tried, but one is left with the ugly feeling that this man does not have a cure, and it is better to leave him. Two suicides, father in law, and wife, and a son going away to live with a cousin.

Without external visual effects, or a lot of action, like in some Hollywood movies, this Chilean movie's director, Juan Francisco Olea, and his team, choose to visit the most complex object in the Universe we know of, our own consciousness.

Other Solar Systems Don’t Play by Our Rules - NYTimes.com

Other Solar Systems Don’t Play by Our Rules - NYTimes.com:



"In our solar system, smaller planets like Mercury and Venus orbit the sun closely, while larger ones like Jupiter tend to be farther away. But other solar systems don’t play by our rules."



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El Cordero

El Cordero - Teaser from La Sante on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Wall St. Closes Sharply Lower, With Energy Stocks Leading the Plunge - NYTimes.com

Wall St. Closes Sharply Lower, With Energy Stocks Leading the Plunge - NYTimes.com:



"The stock market took a wild ride downard on Thursday, with the Dow Jones industrial average plunging more than 300 points. Energy stocks fell sharply as the price of oil dropped again."



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Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Neoliberalism

Wikipedia

When Mexico signed NAFTA, I was a professor of Physics at the Autonomous University of Puebla, in Mexico. To tell you the truth, I was happy. Now I am having second thoughts.

I believed in the hidden hand of the market. We will all be better off, if we just obey the rules in an even playing field. I think I am intelligent, so I thought, what can go wrong? Right? Wrong!

To begin with, I did not know, that only goods had free trade, people would have to ask permission to get to a land, where salaries are seven times higher in average. I was married to an American citizen, so I eventually received permission to legally work in the US.

The main miscalculation though, was that I had not realized, that there are simple rules, which everybody, but me, seems to know; for instance, ally yourself with somebody powerful, and you'll be ok.

The hidden curriculum: People just know, what to do to get ahead.

I haven't gotten ahead, but I hope I am wiser. All in all, then, neoliberalism is not all that it is cracked up to be.

I'll rather be here than in Mexico, in spite of American neoliberalism. The strand of neoliberalism there in Mexico, is more blunt, for people like the new member of Banorte, Carlos Hank Gonzalez, all they have to do is belong to a dynasty of wealthy individuals.


The Problem With Energy Efficiency - NYTimes.com

The Problem With Energy Efficiency - NYTimes.com:



 "OAKLAND, Calif. — ON Tuesday, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics to three researchers whose work contributed to the development of a radically more efficient form of lighting known as light-emitting diodes, or LEDs."



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High Hopes for OnePlus’s Low-Price Phone - NYTimes.com

High Hopes for OnePlus’s Low-Price Phone - NYTimes.com:



"For years, the tech industry has been waiting on a unicorn device: a great, low-priced smartphone."



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Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Germany’s Insistence on Austerity Meets With Revolt in the Eurozone - NYTimes.com

Germany’s Insistence on Austerity Meets With Revolt in the Eurozone - NYTimes.com:



"BERLIN — As Europe confronts new signs of economic trouble, national leaders, policy makers and economists are starting to challenge as never before the guiding principle of the Continent’s response to six years of crisis: Germany’s insistence on budget austerity as a precondition to healthy growth."



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Monday, October 06, 2014

43 Missing Students, a Mass Grave and a Suspect: Mexico’s Police - NYTimes.com

43 Missing Students, a Mass Grave and a Suspect: Mexico’s Police - NYTimes.com:



"IGUALA, Mexico — They were farm boys who did well in school and took one of the few options available beyond the backbreaking work in the corn and bean fields of southern Mexico: enrolling in a local teachers college with a history of radicalism but the promise of a stable classroom job."



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A Gulf in Ocean Knowledge - NYTimes.com

A Gulf in Ocean Knowledge - NYTimes.com:



"Scientists probably have significantly underestimated how much the world’s oceans have warmed since the 1970s, according to a new study. The finding may force researchers to revise their gauges of some climate change effects, including the rate of sea-level rise."



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Sunday, October 05, 2014

A Smuggled Girl’s Odyssey of False Promises and Fear

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A Central American Dream

A Central American Dream

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EL PARAÍSO, Guatemala — The smugglers advertised on the radio as spring bloomed into summer: “Do you want to live better? Come with me.”
Cecilia, a restless wisp of a girl, heard the pitch and ached to go. Her stepfather had been murdered, forcing her, her mother and four younger siblings into her aunt’s tiny home, with just three beds for 10 people. It was all they had — and all a smuggler needed.He offered them a loan of $7,000 for Cecilia’s journey, with the property as a guarantee. “I gave him the original deed,” said Jacinta, her aunt, noting that the smuggler gave them a year to repay the loan, with interest. “I did it out of love.”
The trip lasted nearly a month, devolving from a journey of want and fear into an outright abduction by smugglers in the United States. Freedom came only after an extra $1,000 payment, made at a gas station in Fort Myers, Fla., as her kidnappers flashed a gun.
Now in Miami, Cecilia, 16, is one of more than 50,000 unaccompanied minors who have come to the United States illegally from Central America in less than a year. Though the number of new arrivals has been declining, the Obama administration says it is determined to “confront the smugglers of these unaccompanied children,” and the “cartels who tax or exploit them in their passage.”
But breaking up these networks will be difficult. Behind the surge of young migrants showing up for a shot at the American dream is a system of cruel and unregulated capitalism with a proven ability to adapt. The human export industry in the region is now worth billions of dollars, experts say, and it has become more ruthless and sophisticated than ever, employing a growing array of opportunists who trap, rape and rob from the point of departure to the end of the road.
Thousands of migrants are believed to be kidnapped and abused every year while going through Mexico. Others, like Cecilia, are held for ransom in the United States, and officials across the region lament that the ugly business of human smuggling keeps getting uglier. Especially here in Guatemala, smugglers, or “coyotes,” have grown increasingly adept at marketing themselves to poor families, drumming up hopes with false depictions of American immigration policy, then squeezing their prey with death threats, demanding payment through bank loans or property titles.
The result, visible throughout mountain villages like this one, is a relentless cycle with departures that ebb and flow but never seem to end. In this self-perpetuating system, the seeds of future migration have already been sown in the debts of the past and present. Cecilia’s inability to send money home right away led her pregnant mother to try to make the journey herself a few weeks later in a desperate bid to save the house, only to fail. Now she owes a coyote, too.
Other family members will follow, her relatives say, repeating the pattern of debt, extortion and additional risk. One relative’s failure to cross the border or earn enough money up north prompts another departure, then another.
“It’s a pyramid scheme,” said David Stoll, a sociologist at Middlebury College who has studied migration in Guatemala. Once coyotes and families realize they are about to lose money or a house, he added, “the only way they can recoup their losses is by passing the game on to those below them.”
A Marketplace for Leaving
Nebaj, the municipality that includes El Paraíso, sits in a small green valley deep in the Guatemala highlands, an eight-hour drive from the capital on rough roads that zigzag through lush canyons. This is the land of the Ixil, indigenous Mayans famous for weaving bright red skirts — and for being the victims of a scorched-earth militarycampaign that killed thousands in the 1980s during Guatemala’s civil war.
The region has been sending people north for years, often with loans. In the hillside villages all over Nebaj, stories of land lost to coyotes and banks are common. Many families spend years struggling, with debts passed on like poisoned inheritances.
Local lenders often lay out the initial payments. But if they are not paid back right away, they often threaten violence, forcing many families to borrow from Banrural, the main bank in rural Guatemala, or from cooperatives and credit unions, all of which happily advertise credit on billboards above the rural area’s muddy roads.
Many families have come away with nothing more than regrets.
“Sometimes I think my father just wasn’t thinking through the consequences of leaving,” Magdalena Raymundo, 25, said in a dirt-floored shack she shares with her husband in Acul, a village outside Nebaj. She and her mother still owe nearly $13,000 for a trip her father and brother took in 2006.
Threatening to evict the family, “bank collectors come by every few weeks asking for money,” she said.
Everyone here seems to know that going to the United States is a gamble with dangerous odds. But many go anyway because some win, and they tend to show it — like the owner of a new concrete house with an enormous American flag painted on the front, just a short walk down a muddy path from Ms. Raymundo’s home.
The banking system encourages the risky behavior. Jorge Gúzman, the manager at one of two Banrural banks in Nebaj, said loans are more likely to be approved if the family applying has a relative up north sending back money. The loans are supposed to be for construction or farming improvements, but Mr. Gúzman said “most people are not honest about why they are borrowing.”
He acknowledged that a lot of the money had been used to pay for additional journeys north. During the recession a few years ago, that led to more losses for the bank. But in the past year or two, he said, the bank’s portfolio had stabilized, allowing for more lending.
And with more money in play, coyotes have come calling. Their ranks have multiplied, many here say, because it’s the best job around. One trip often pays more than a teacher’s annual salary.
“This migration was prompted by a growing business, of the coyotes,” said Luis Fernando Carrera Castro, Guatemala’s foreign minister. “They saw a business opportunity, and they convinced people in Central America that somehow the laws of the United States were going to allow them to stay.”
Their advertising in Nebaj could be heard openly on the radio. It could be seen in the market, where women in jeans handed out business cards with phone numbers for coyotes who came to town once or twice a week.
Cecilia, who did not want her full name or the full names of her relatives used — to avoid trouble with American authorities and the people her family owes in Guatemala, knew the journey was risky. Her cousin, Ana, 21, who lives in the same house, had already tried and been deported, twice.
But Cecilia and her family believed the smuggler’s proposal. “I thought when I got to the United States they would give me papers — the coyote said that,” she said.
So early one morning in May, Cecilia put five pairs of pants and five shirts in a backpack and set off, walking up the dirt trail leading away from the home that paid her way. The coyote or one of his lackeys — they were all strangers, reachable only on cellphones that were shut off after two weeks — picked up Cecilia later that day, along with a half-dozen others.
What followed, Cecilia said, was a five-leg, three-week journey with a rotating cast of opportunistic guides. First, she rode a bus to the Mexican border. Then another set of coyotes took them through Mexico, again by bus, often failing to give them any food — a common tool to maximize profit — until they reached the town of Reynosa, just across the border from McAllen, Tex.
There, for about a week, she said, she was kept in a warehouse with as many as 100 people until they crossed the Rio Grande in a small boat and eventually landed at a house in or near McAllen. About 85 people, most of them men, squeezed into three bedrooms. The shades were drawn, and the new guides were gruff, rummaging through the migrants’ belongings while they slept.
“They took all our money from us,” Cecilia said. She handed over her last 500 Mexican pesos (about $38).
After about a week, another coyote took a small group to begin the treacherous walk through the desert in Brooks County to avoid the Border Patrol checkpoints on the roads. The thorns stuck to her legs. The dry air sapped her strength.
“I saw two dead people in the desert,” she recalled. “There was hardly any food or water. The coyote had food for himself, but not for us.”
At one point a car came and picked them up. They squeezed in, seven of them, and drove for an hour, following signs to Houston. The new coyote started calling her biological father, Jacinto, who had only recently reappeared in her life.
“Where’s the money?” the coyote asked. Jacinto was confused. He had gone to the United States as a young man, working as a gardener in Miami, but had been back in Guatemala with a second family for more than a decade.
“The man said if they don’t pay they are not going to let us out,” Cecilia said.
Migrants as Commodities
It is a common scheme. Even as thousands of children have presented themselves to American border officials in recent months, many smugglers are holding onto others for extortion. In July, a 16-year-old Guatemalan boy was rescued from a Central Florida motel after a smuggler decided he wanted more money from his uncle and took off with the children in a van. The smuggler was later arrested.
In March, 115 migrants were rescued from a stash house in Houston after a woman said she had paid a smuggler $15,000 to bring her daughter and two grandchildren to Chicago, but that they were being held against their will until an additional $13,000 was paid, according to a federal indictment.
American law enforcement officials note that the culprits in these cases and others probably had nothing to do with the original smuggler the migrants signed up with. While a generation ago coyotes were typically local figures with trusted employees, smuggling is more decentralized now, making it easier to expand and harder to stop.
“If this was hierarchal, you could take out the top, target the leadership, and it would be simple to take out the organization,” said Brian Moskowitz, the special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Houston. “Because it’s loose affiliations of cells and networks which form, break up and change alliances, it’s very difficult.”
Kidnapping has become systemic. A 2011 report from Mexico’sNational Commission of Human Rights cited 10,000 abductions in six months, leading many advocates to estimate that 20,000 people a year are abducted in Mexico on their way to the United States.
In some cases, women are used as currency to pay for passage through areas controlled by drug cartels. The cartels generally require each coyote to sell at least one woman into prostitution every two months in lieu of his monthly fee, according to Óscar Martínez, a Salvadoran journalist who investigated smuggling rings for his book“The Beast.”
And in the United States, the exploitation continues. Smugglers sometimes buy migrants for $100 or $200 each, then extort relatives to make the money back.
“They rent a house, gut it, throw down a few mattresses, and then when aliens get there, take their shoes, clothes and put them in a room,” said Sean McElroy, assistant special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Houston. “And usually, you will walk into a bedroom and see 20 people sitting on hands and knees, sometimes tied up with zip ties and with burlap sacks over their heads.”
In June, Homeland Security began Operation Coyote, leading to 540 smuggling-related arrests and the seizure of more than $950,000 in suspected smuggling payments from 504 bank accounts, as well as 56 vehicles. Experts welcomed the effort, but said that it had touched only a tiny piece of the trafficking industry. In most cases, especially in Central America and Mexico, smugglers still operate with impunity.
$1,000 for Her Freedom
Few migrants or their families ever call the police. In Cecilia’s case, her mother, frantic after not hearing from her daughter for weeks, took cash from a lender, hoping to make it to the United States to find her daughter and repay the original loan. But she lost everything at the Mexican border when a coyote robbed her and refused to bring her north because she was pregnant.
Jacinto was now considered responsible for the debts, but he said he had no way to pay. Cecilia said her captor became more aggressive, prompting her to play her final card: a telephone number in her pocket.
Before she had left, her father had given her the home number of a Miami human rights activist whose lawn he had occasionally cut as a teenager in the United States. He had not seen the family — the Maríns — in years.
“I get this call, and it’s a girl saying, ‘It’s Cecilia. Can you help me? They won’t let me out unless we pay money,’ ” said Ms. Marín, who did not want her full name published because of security concerns. “I said, ‘Who is Cecilia?’ ”
The coyote got on the phone and made the terms clear: He wanted $500 immediately, and someone had to come to Houston to retrieve the girl.
Flabbergasted, Ms. Marín explained to the coyote that she did not know her. A series of calls later, Ms. Marín realized that Cecilia was her former employee’s daughter.
She eventually agreed to pay the $500, and the man agreed to drive east. But every time he crossed another state line, he called and demanded more, raising the price for Cecilia’s release to $1,700 by the time he reached northern Florida.
“It was clear that if we did not comply, she would wind up in a brothel,” said Ana Reyes, Ms. Marín’s family friend who fielded most of the phone calls.
The more Ms. Marín thought about the proposition, the angrier she became. “It’s vile blackmail,” she said. But she agreed to meet in Naples, about two hours’ drive from Miami. Ms. Reyes, her toddler, Ms. Marín and Ms. Marín’s sister and niece all piled into a car to rendezvous with the smuggler.
On the ride to Naples, the women rehearsed what they would tell the police if they were arrested. “I had no choice,” Ms. Marín thought. “They would prostitute her. What was I supposed to do? Leave her?”
Along the way, they exchanged several phone calls with the man, who needed directions. He could not spell the names of the street signs and kept calling an unknown conspirator seeking authorization for price changes.
The trip ended off Interstate 75, near a Circle K convenience store, where Ms. Marín and her entourage encountered a red Jeep Cherokee with temporary license plates. There were two men in the car. The driver was middle-aged and wore glasses. He lifted his shirt to show the firearm tucked in his waistband.
He wanted $1,500, but Ms. Marín had brought only $900. Her sister scraped together another $100 from her purse.
“When he showed the gun, I was so mad,” Ms. Marín said. “I said, ‘Look, sir, I don’t know her. I did not hire you. Take her!’ When he saw my rage, he said, ‘You don’t know her?’ ”
“ ‘No, I don’t,’ ” she answered.
“ ‘I am going to lose money on this, but O.K.,’ ” he said. He took the $1,000 and let Cecilia out of the car. She carried nothing. Her bag, her clothes were gone. All she had was lipstick, in her front pocket.
Over the next few weeks, Cecilia’s father would be threatened by the lender; her mother would give birth, adding another child to the crowded house that might soon be seized; and Cecilia would learn that her dreams of sending home $1,000 a month were unrealistic.
But by the smuggler’s accounting, there on the side of the road, Cecilia had been well served.
“You have to be thankful,” he said. “We treated her well.”

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Bodies Are Found Close to Where Missing Students Clashed With Police in Mexico - NYTimes.com

Bodies Are Found Close to Where Missing Students Clashed With Police in Mexico - NYTimes.com:



 "MEXICO CITY — The authorities found clandestine graves containing several bodies Saturday near a southern Mexico town where students at a teachers college clashed with the police a week ago, leaving several people dead and up to 43 students missing. Witnesses said many of them were last seen being carried off by officers."



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Friday, October 03, 2014

Martin Perl, 87, Is Dead; Nobel-Winning Physicist - NYTimes.com

Martin Perl, 87, Is Dead; Nobel-Winning Physicist - NYTimes.com:



"Martin Perl, who was awarded the 1995 Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering a new subatomic particle, one of the building blocks of the universe, died on Tuesday in Palo Alto, Calif. He was 87."



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History!

Today Mexico entered a new stage.

Forty six years ago I was marching in Mexico City for a Democratic Country with Justice. We wanted the chief of police to leave, because he had ordered the repression of high school students. Today the same school, the National Polytechnic Institute, marched to ask the president, Enrique Pena Nieto, to change the director of that institution of higher learning. 

The Mexican Government accepted the request.

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