On an early Monday morning, a young business analyst walked into his manager’s office and, without speaking a word, began scribbling feverishly on a whiteboard. He had worked eight hours on a Sunday, probably from his home, having been spurred by a novel idea. He wrote: a(slope)+b(w5)+c(?(avg(wl-4),w5) It was a formula to determine the propensity for a customer to upgrade or churn out, essentially solving a problem that an entire team had spent months in vain trying to work out.
Finding a home after 30 years on the streets
Roger Anderson has spent the last three decades without a home after running away from an abusive father at the age of 13. But right before Thanksgiving, at the age of 47, Anderson gained something more than worthy of holiday gratitude: A place to call his own.
Look through a photo essay of Anderson’s last night of homelessness, and his first moments in his new apartment over at Framework.
Photos: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times
If Internet use proliferates in Africa at the rate mobile phones did in the early 2000s, the continent stands to add as much as $300 billion to its economic growth by 2025, a new study by the McKinsey Global Institute has found. With an Internet penetration of just 16 percent, Africa has long been held back by infrastructure challenges tied to the continent’s poverty, vast area and largely rural population. Its average “iGDP” — the Internet sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product — is the lowest of all continents at 1.1 percent, according to McKinsey. But findings released this week in McKinsey’s study “Lions Go Digital” indicate that a veritable transformation of the African economy could be just around the corner “if the Internet achieves the same kind of scale and impact as the spread of mobile phones in Africa.
Data Sharing: Image of French High-Explosive Anti-Tank Submunition.
A similar variant of this weapon had been transferred to North Africa by France, which later became…
…a party to the international Convention on Cluster Munitions, and the nation that prodded the West into joining the war against Colonel Qaddafi. [The submunitions were]….formerly sold by Alkan SA, of Valenton, apparently with design or manufacturing assistance from Société E. Lacroix, (now part of the Etienne Lacroix Group), of Muret.
The image above is of the anti-vehicular variant, which holds a shaped-charge. The variant found in Libya was designed for what military euphemisms call an “anti-personnel” role, as below:
Type 314 A AV submunitions are air-dropped cylinders containing a high-explosive fill around a metal fragmentation coil, which ruptures into shrapnel when the fill explodes, via a time fuze. They were designed to be dropped in bunches from large beehive-like canisters, also once manufactured by Alkan SA, that were mounted on the wings or fuselage of aircraft. Crew members could fire the bomblets electrically, releasing sheets of grenades from the canister’s honeycomb of slots as the aircraft approached a target, scattering the submunitions toward the ground, where they were intended to kill people and disable light vehicles.
France was hardly alone in selling this class of weapons to the Qaddafi military; China, the Soviet Union and Spain sold cluster munitions to Libya, too. The HEAT version above was reportedly found in Iraq after the 2003 American-led invasion.
The anti-personnel variant, Type 314 A AVs, are rarely encountered, though many were kicked out of their storage bunkers in Libya’s Nafusa mountains when the bunkers were hit by NATO air strikes. Wouldn’t it be nice if NATO, or France, helped clean them up?
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPH
By the author. Today. At Jeff Osborne’s Bombitorium. (Thank you, Jeff.)
Massive, faux mountain retreat atop Chinese high-rise demolished after years of complaints about ‘outrageous illegal structure’
Workers have started demolishing a luxury villa built atop a high-rise apartment block in China’s capital, a private mountain peak that earned the unofficial title of “most outrageous illegal structure.”
Built over six years by a Chinese medicine mogul, the complex of rooms, rocks, trees and bushes looming over the 26-story building looked like something built into a seaside cliff. It became the latest symbol of disregard for the law among the rich as well as the rampant practice of building illegal additions.
On Thursday, workers were cordoning off the area around the building, Xinhua reported, and officials were on hand to make sure the building stayed structurally sound during the removal of the unauthorized 8,600-square foot mansion. (Photos: Wang Zhao / AFP / Getty; Xinhua, Luo Xiaoguang / AP Photo)
Vancouver Science World ads for sexuality exhibit pulled from bus stops for being too racy
Ads for the Vancouver Science World’s exhibit on the “Science of Sexuality” are apparently too racy for the city’s transit system.
One of the ads banned from Vancouver bus stops shows the legs of a man on top of a woman in a hospital bed, her legs covered in casts. The ad’s kicker? “Orgasms cancel pain.”
The second rejected ad shows a set of crumpled tissues and reads “Ejaculation fights colds.”
A third ad showing a haphazardly used package of birth-control pills with the kicker “Birth control pills affect your memory” was deemed acceptable for the city’s commuters.
The campaign was meant to attract attention, but Bryan Tisdall, President and CEO of Science World British Columbia, said he was surprised by the reaction.
“We are always walking that picket fence between being bland and being outrageous,” he said. “[But] we had thought these ads were quite within the realm of acceptability.” (ReThink)
The new material is called carbyne. It is a chain of carbon atoms that are linked either by alternate triple and single bonds or by consecutive double bonds. Carbyne is something of a mystery. Astronomers believe they have detected its signature in interstellar space but chemists have been bickering for decades over whether they had ever created this stuff on Earth. A couple of years ago, however, they synthesised carbyne chains up to 44 atoms long in solution.
Graphic: Al Qaeda’s Hot Spot
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is growing and security experts believe it now poses the greatest danger to the West. Based in Yemen, the terrorist group is believed to number about 1,000 members, up from an estimated 200 a few years ago. It is led by Nasir al-Wuhayshi, a former aide to al-Qaeda’s late founder Osama bin Laden. AQAP has claimed responsibility for several attacks, including an attempt to blow up a U.S. commercial airliner on Christmas Day in 2009. The group is also at the heart of the latest security alert that saw the U.S. close embassies and evacuate staff.
Billionaire tycoon set to unveil ‘Hyperloop’ design for low-cost, supersonic commuting
Twice as fast as an airplane, cheaper than a bullet train and completely self-powered: that’s the mysterious transportation system for which inventor and entrepreneur Elon Musk is promising to reveal design plans Monday.
Musk has been dropping hints about his “Hyperloop” system for more than a year during public events, mentioning that it could never crash, would be immune to weather and would move people from Los Angeles to San Francisco in half an hour.
Coming from almost anyone else, the hyperbole would be hard to take seriously. But billionaire Musk — who sold his first computer program, a $500 space game called Blastar, at age 12 — has earned his reputation as an inventor and entrepreneur, co-founding online payment firm PayPal, electric luxury carmaker Tesla Motors Inc. and rocket-building company SpaceX. (Photo: FOX)
Judge overrules objections to Detroit’s bankruptcy filing
The Detroit News: A bankruptcy judge overruled challenges to Detroit’s bankruptcy filing, allowing the case to proceed in federal court.
U.S. District Judge Steven Rhodes also decided Wednesday that an automatic stay triggered by Detroit’s Chapter 9 filing extends to Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, Gov. Rick Snyder and members of the restructuring team.
The decision comes after city lawyers — during a hearing that lasted almost two hours over the biggest municipal bankruptcy case in U.S. history — argued Wednesday morning that Detroit would be “irreparably harmed” if retirees were able to block its Chapter 9 filing.
Photo: Lawyers David Heiman and Heather Lennox, on right, are seen leaving the federal courthouse after giving arguments in Detroit’s bankruptcy hearing. (Daniel Mears/The Detroit News)