Monday, April 30, 2007
  Globe and Mail - Jailed Chinese judge dies of 'adult sudden death syndrome'
A Chinese judge charged with corruption died in his cell from “adult sudden death syndrome,” Xinhua news agency said on Monday.

Investigators said Li Chaoyang, 38, had been unco-operative while in detention in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southwestern China. “Cuts on his face and other injuries” had been caused by a fall during an escape attempt, they said.

Judge Li, an official with the local Pingle County Court, was detained on March 23, accused of taking bribes.

Judge Li's relatives had claimed there were wounds on his body, a gash across his lip and one of his front teeth was missing. They questioned the cause of his death and wrote about it on a blog.

The investigation found that Judge Li had been “mentally unstable,” would not stop shouting and refused to return to his cell after exercise. Investigators said Judge Li had attempted to escape many times and detention centre officials had had to shackle him.

  Globe and Mail - Five-point vitamin D primer

He recommends going to the doctor three or four times a year and asking for a 25 Hydroxy Vitamin D level test. "It should be between 125 and 150 nanomoles per litre," he said. "It's important that the patient not accept the doctor saying your levels are fine. They've got to get the number and get their levels up."

Sunlight is the best source of vitamin D, experts agree. How long you should stay outside depends on how much sun block your skin creates naturally, Dr. Cannell says. "Unfortunately, vitamin D deficiency discriminates according to race." Fair-skinned people, especially blonds and redheads, need only about 20 minutes a day to produce the recommended levels. Those with darker skin could need five to 10 times longer.

In the winter months, and for those who do not want to expose their skin to sun, Dr. Cannell recommends taking vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D3 cholecalciferol pills are available over the counter in most pharmacies and health-food stores. He suggests taking 2,000 international units of the supplement per day.

It is possible to have too much vitamin D; Dr. Cannell cautions against buying supplements over the Internet. "You can get capsules with 50,000 units. That's a medicine; it's not for supplementation," he says.
  Globe and Mail - Vitamin D casts cancer prevention in new light
More benefits of Vitamin D (and problems associated with the deficiency of Vitamin D) keep on rolling in.

For decades, researchers have puzzled over why rich northern countries have cancer rates many times higher than those in developing countries — and many have laid the blame on dangerous pollutants spewed out by industry.

But research into vitamin D is suggesting both a plausible answer to this medical puzzle and a heretical notion: that cancers and other disorders in rich countries aren't caused mainly by pollutants but by a vitamin deficiency known to be less acute or even non-existent in poor nations.

Those trying to brand contaminants as the key factor behind cancer in the West are "looking for a bogeyman that doesn't exist," argues Reinhold Vieth, professor at the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto and one of the world's top vitamin D experts. Instead, he says, the critical factor "is more likely a lack of vitamin D."

What's more, researchers are linking low vitamin D status to a host of other serious ailments, including multiple sclerosis, juvenile diabetes, influenza, osteoporosis and bone fractures among the elderly.

Not everyone is willing to jump on the vitamin D bandwagon just yet. Smoking and some pollutants, such as benzene and asbestos, irrefutably cause many cancers.

But perhaps the biggest bombshell about vitamin D's effects is about to go off. In June, U.S. researchers will announce the first direct link between cancer prevention and the sunshine vitamin. Their results are nothing short of astounding.

A four-year clinical trial involving 1,200 women found those taking the vitamin had about a 60-per-cent reduction in cancer incidence, compared with those who didn't take it, a drop so large — twice the impact on cancer attributed to smoking — it almost looks like a typographical error.

And in an era of pricey medical advances, the reduction seems even more remarkable because it was achieved with an over-the-counter supplement costing pennies a day.

Authorities are implicated because the main way humans achieve healthy levels of vitamin D isn't through diet but through sun exposure. People make vitamin D whenever naked skin is exposed to bright sunshine. By an unfortunate coincidence, the strong sunshine able to produce vitamin D is the same ultraviolet B light that can also causes sunburns and, eventually, skin cancer.

Only brief full-body exposures to bright summer sunshine — of 10 or 15 minutes a day — are needed to make high amounts of the vitamin. But most authorities, including Health Canada, have urged a total avoidance of strong sunlight or, alternatively, heavy use of sunscreen. Both recommendations will block almost all vitamin D synthesis.

Those studying the vitamin say the hide-from-sunlight advice has amounted to the health equivalent of a foolish poker trade. Anyone practising sun avoidance has traded the benefit of a reduced risk of skin cancer — which is easy to detect and treat and seldom fatal — for an increased risk of the scary, high-body-count cancers, such as breast, prostate and colon, that appear linked to vitamin D shortages.

The sun advice has been misguided information "of just breathtaking proportions," said John Cannell, head of the Vitamin D Council, a non-profit, California-based organization.

"Fifteen hundred Americans die every year from [skin cancers]. Fifteen hundred Americans die every day from the serious cancers."

Sunday, April 29, 2007
  Microsoft Longhorn Server Beta 3 Hash signatures
Downloaded the Longhorn Server Beta 3 a few days ago. Here's the hash signatures using a bunch of different hash algorithms since the Microsoft download page didn't show them.

MD5: 095397E5 568D5E7E B9FB7972 1B9E876C
SHA1: 25280E55 887C83A9 2EB70863 610A5761 8A51B291
Size: 1891971072 1.761GB
Tiger: CE3594FD8CFB8818 453DBDDCBF518962 BA0BAE2A46A86BA6
SHA224: D0393AB3 ACBDBE15 CEA380D9 3428B18A DAB90120 2685D978 17122955
SHA256: D5ACE825 7A3F2A22 F7C6C271 3CE249CD B3E83E3E C709F898 6859DAEE 9E80BB8A
SHA384: BC1D0010 8FF95A17 31D82BEE FEB15A32 6F8B44BB FED91188 75888378 D6DF41DB EF15866D 05F5C316 21A287C7 4B78580A
SHA512: 2D28DF49 1A64C862 5710CF07 D9FF98BE D5C17E3C 22217FAA C0539ADA 822E9D2F D610FADB DC651345 829D7229 F07F6D40 7D641AFC D05774DE 8663A58B 05D12E75
WHLPOL: 68C1005C 6451F54E 137E3324 A98625A9 132FA2FB E6643876 F08E2C6D E4B23DF3 52AB71D8 2A93C837 66488DBF EFF02294 8DD7EF4F 6DFDAD3E B07BC485 2A98C983
RIPEMD: D605CC78 1123C043 DEC89CCC 1C77A6A5 75D51261
Time: 12:45.090
Wait: 0:00.481
Hash: 12:43.937
Kernel: 0:00.670
User: 12:37.118
Friday, April 27, 2007
  NYTimes - For Shareholders, a Ticket Into an $8 Billion Deal
Looks like the founder will come out sitting on a nice pile of dough - ~$400M.

The buyers, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Goldman Sachs, have offered Harman shareholders a chance to retain a stake in the newly private company and share in any profit made if the company is later sold or taken public.

Under the terms of the deal, the public shareholders could hold as much as 27 percent of the private company.

The offer represents a major concession to public shareholders, who have increasingly voiced concern about selling their shares to private equity firms only to watch the new owners reap large profits by flipping the companies a few years later, and in some cases a few months.

For Sidney Harman, the 88-year-old founder of the company, who owns about 5 percent of its stock, the sale will not end his involvement in the business, which he started in 1953. As part of the deal, which is expected to close this summer, he will remain as executive chairman.

Mr. Harman has sold the company before, once for $100 million in 1977 after he joined the Carter administration as an assistant commerce secretary. (His wife, Jane Harman, is a United States representative from California.) The company performed poorly under the owner at the time, the Beatrice Company, and Mr. Harman bought it back in 1980 for $55 million.

Monday, April 23, 2007
  NYTimes - Before Deadly Rage, a Life Consumed by a Troubling Silence
In his junior year, Mr. Cho told his then-roommates that he had a girlfriend. Her name was Jelly. She was a supermodel who lived in outer space and traveled by spaceship, and she existed only in the dimension of his imagination.

When Andy Koch, one of his roommates, returned to their suite one day, Mr. Cho shooed him away. He told him Jelly was there. He said she called him Spanky. SpankyJelly became his instant-message screen name.

He became fixated on several real female students. Two of them complained to the police that he was calling them, showing up at their rooms and bombarding them with instant messages. They found him bothersome but not threatening. After the second complaint against him in December 2005, the police came by and told him to stop.

A few hours after they left, he sent an instant message to one of his roommates suggesting he might as well kill himself. The campus police were called, and Mr. Cho was sent to an off-campus mental health facility.

His junior-year roommates mostly ignored him because he was so withdrawn. If he said something, it was weird. During Thanksgiving break, Mr. Koch recalled, Mr. Cho called him to report that he was vacationing in North Carolina with Vladimir Putin, the Russian president; Mr. Cho said he had grown up with him in Moscow.

In class, some students thought he might be a deaf-mute. A classmate once offered him $10 just to say hello but got nothing. He hunched there in sunglasses, a baseball cap yanked tight over his head. Sometimes Mr. Cho introduced himself as “Question Mark,” saying it was the persona of a man who lived on Mars and journeyed to Jupiter. On the sign-in sheet of a literature class, he simply scribbled a question mark instead of his name.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007
  NYTimes - Housing Slump Takes a Toll on Illegal Immigrants
From Fresno to Sacramento, big tangles of wire and PVC pipes clutter vacant lots in silent subdivisions, waiting for houses to be built — some day. Dozens of “For Sale” signs already dot the lawns across new residential communities. And right next to the ubiquitous billboards from builders are fresh signs offering homeowners help to avoid foreclosure.

But another set of losers is less visible: the immigrant workers, mostly illegal, who rode the construction boom while it lasted and now find jobs on building sites few and far between.

Offering more than $10 an hour as well as new skills and a shot at upward mobility, construction provided many illegal immigrants the best job they ever had, a step up from the backbreaking work reserved for those toiling without legal authorization, which in the Central Valley mostly meant pruning and picking in fruit and vegetable fields.

The growing presence of illegal immigrants in home building, mostly working for small labor contractors, might help explain why government statistics have recorded only a small decline in construction employment, despite the collapse in residential investment.

“Technically they don’t fire them,” said Myrna Martínez, coordinator for the Fresno office of the American Friends Service Committee, a nonprofit organization working on social assistance projects for immigrant workers. “They just tell them that there is no more work.”

  NYTimes - Managers Use Hedge Funds as Big I.R.A.’s
These hedge fund managers just have to make sure that their fund doesn't implode.

A lot of the hedge fund managers earning the astronomical paychecks making headlines these days are able to postpone paying taxes on much of that income for 10 years or more.

The key to the hedge fund tax boon is that many managers of these lightly regulated private pools of capital have the ability to earn the bulk of their compensation offshore and invest it in their funds, where it grows tax-free.

“If you could compound your compensation tax-free, why wouldn’t you?” asked Stewart Massey, founding partner of Massey & Quick, a consulting firm.

Few people know the power of compounding better than hedge fund managers. Consider the following calculation done by Financial Engines, a financial advisory and portfolio management firm: A hedge fund manager makes $10 million in fees and defers it for five years, earning a return of 10 percent a year. When he pays taxes at the end, he walks away with $10.5 million. Another manager who makes the same $10 million pays his taxes immediately. He still earns 10 percent on what’s left, but over the same period he accumulates just $8.9 million.

Friday, April 13, 2007 - Apple's Leopard still plagued by lengthy bug list
Holy moley! 5.3GB for a beta OS!!!

According to reports already plastered on Apple-related web sites, Mac OS X Leopard (Client) Build 9A410, which was released to thousands of Mac OS X developers this week, still carries with it a laundry list of nearly three dozen known issues.

Of those issues, the most critical appear to affect the system's installation process, Apple's QuickTime digital media software, and graphics corruption with some graphics hardware, the reports state.

The latest Leopard builds also appear to be plagued by printing bugs and glitches in updated versions of the Mac maker's iChat video conference software and PhotoBooth applications.

At the same time, it's reported that a list of approximately 20 "Miscellaneous" bugs spans across a broad range system components, including iCal, iTunes, Safari, Mail and FileVault.

The 5.3-gigabyte Leopard build release this week, unlike the seeds that preceded it, is said to contain only a handful of notable changes, most pertaining to updates to the software's various underlying frameworks.

Friday, April 06, 2007
  MSNBC - China denies exporting tainted wheat gluten
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last week blocked wheat gluten imports from the Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. in the eastern Chinese city of Xuzhou, saying they contained melamine, a chemical found in plastics and pesticides.

Anying produces and exports more than 10,000 tons of wheat gluten a year, according to its Web site, but only 873 tons were linked to tainted U.S. pet food, raising the possibility that more of the contaminated product could still be on the market in China, or abroad.

An official at the Chinese Ministry of Health, who refused to give his name, said the case was not an issue for the ministry and directed questions to the Ministry of Agriculture. An official there, who also refused to give his name, told The Associated Press to stop calling.

Both ministries also did not respond to faxed questions on whether they had concerns about tainted gluten in China.

ChemNutra Inc., the Las Vegas-based company that imported the wheat gluten and shipped it to companies that make pet foods, said Tuesday that Xuzhou Anying had never reported the presence of melamine in the content analysis it provided.

Powered by Blogger