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Sep 202014

Urban heat islands are not inevitable, but the product of dark roofs, black pavement, and loss of vegetation. A cool communities approach would lower air-conditioning use and make the air healthier.

Hot spots in Washington show up as red areas in this satellite image. The presence of such heat islands increases energy use and raises smog levels. The largest red patch is at the site of a convention center. The coolest areas (green) are those covered by grass and trees.

On a summer afternoon, central Los Angeles registers temperatures typically 5F higher than the surrounding suburban and rural areas. Hot roofs and pavements, baked by the sun, warm the air blowing over them. The resulting urban heat island causes discomfort, hikes air-conditioning bills, and accelerates the formation of smog.

Heat islands are found in many large cities, including Chicago, Washington, and (as the Olympic athletes and fans can attest) Atlanta. The effect is particularly well recognized in cities that quote two airport temperatures on the weather report. Thus Chicago-Midway airport is typically a few degrees hotter than suburban OHare, and the same difference applies between Washington National airport and Dulles.

Contrary to popular opinion, heat islands do not arise mainly from heat leaking out of cars, buildings, and factories. In summertime, such anthropogenic heat gain accounts for a mere 1 percent of the heat islands excess temperature. (The fraction rises in the winter to about 10 percent, when heat does leak out of buildings.) Rather, dark horizontal surfaces absorb most of the sunlight falling on them. Consequently, dark surfaces run hotter than light ones. The choice of dark colors has caused the problem; we propose that wiser choices can reverse it.

We are now paying dearly for this extra heat. One sixth of the electricity consumed in the United States goes to cool buildings, at an annual power cost of $40 billion. Moreover, a 5F heat island greatly raises the rate at which pollutants-nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds emanating from cars and smokestacks -cook into ozone, a highly oxidizing and irritating gas that is the main ingredient of smog. In Los Angeles, for example, ozone rises from an acceptable concentration at 70F to unacceptable at 90F. The Los Angeles heat island raises ozone levels 10-15 percent and contributes to millions of dollars in medical expenses. (In winter, we have plenty of smog precursors but, because it is cool, little smog.)

Fortunately, we can go a long way toward dissipating urban heat islands with modest measures. One solution is to use lighter colors for roofs and pavement. The other is to plant lots of trees, which have a two-fold benefit. First, they provide cooling shade. Second, trees, like most plants, soak up groundwater. The water then evapotranspires from the leaves, thus cooling the leaves and, indirectly, the surrounding air. A single properly watered tree can evapotranspirate 40 gallons of water in a day-offsetting the heat equivalent to that produced by one hundred 100-watt lamps, burning eight hours per day.

Increases in temperature do not have to follow from an influx of population. The Los Angeles basin in 1880 was still relatively barren, and yearly highs ran about 102F. Then settlers introduced irrigation, the fruit trees cooled the air, and, within 50 years, summer temperatures dropped 5F. But as Los Angeles began to urbanize in the 1940s, cool orchards gave way to hot roofs and asphalt pavements. Over the next 50 years, summer highs climbed back to their 1880 values-and are still rising at 1F per decade, with no end in sight.

But with white roofs, concrete-colored pavements, and about 10 million new shade trees, Los Angeles could be cooler than the semidesert that surrounds it, instead of hotter. Such measures would be in keeping with approaches that have been taken for centuries. As civilization developed in warm climates, humans learned to whitewash their dwellings. Even today, building owners in hot cities like Haifa and Tel Aviv are required to whitewash their roofs each spring, after the rains stop.

In the United States, dwellings tended to be built with white roofs through the 1960s. Then, as air conditioning became widespread, cheap, and taken for granted, priorities shifted. It became popular to use darker roofing shingles, which more resembled wooden shingles and better concealed dirt and mold. The colored granules on typical white shingles made today are coated with only one-sixth as much white pigment as in the 1960s. Under the summer sun, modern shingles become 20F hotter than the old-style ones.

Continued here:
Paint the Town White–and Green

Las Vegas. Tremendous wagers are commonplace in this town, and have been for decades. Big bets on cryptocurrency–those are a bit more unusual.

This explains why a local poker players recent investment into bitcoin ATMs has turned so many heads. The entrepreneur, 29-year-old Chris McAlary, essentially has pushed all-in on the virtual currency, using the entirety of his liquid assets to found Coin Cloud, a nascent company that operates ATMs for bitcoins.

McAlary’s believes in bitcoin’s future as the currency of choice for gamblers. And there is a confluence of factors that might make Las Vegas the perfect place to push bitcoin into mainstream use–if McAlary and like-minded entrepreneurs prove out its use on the Strip, casinos around the world are poised to make bitcoin its currency of choice.

Theres no question that cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin have the potential to be one of the most important innovations of the 21st century, says McAlary. Las Vegas could be one of the places that really helps drive it all forward.

Specifically, McAlary’s company uses ATMs that are Internet-enabled kiosks that allow users to buy or sell bitcoin. The machines that went online this summer are in a particularly prominent spot, steps from the busiest part of the Las Vegas Strip. In the first few weeks, the machine outperformed even McAlarys most liberal estimates. After 45 days, the Vegas machine overtook the a bitcoin ATM in Vancouver as the No. 1 performing bitcoin ATM in the world. McAlary wont say exactly how many transactions the machine has handled so far, but hints that volume is already has surpassed $1 million.

While the cryptocurrency has yet to find a home in the average Americans wallet (so to speak), businesses appear to be getting more serious about it. In early September, Braintree, the online and mobile payments platform owned by PayPal, announced it would integrate bitcoin into its business. Other companies, including Expedia,, and also have announced they will accept bitcoin as a method of payment. (Full disclosure: I run a travel blog for Expedia.)

In Vegas, however, especially on the Strip, bitcoin has even more going for it. First of all, because so many people visit Sin City every year, the market attracts a high volume of people looking to spend money. The Viva Vegas souvenir shop, in which McAlary has placed his first ATM (he calls it the Bitcoin Bodega”), sees more than 100,000 people a day in foot traffic. Las Vegas also draws an international clientele who want to access their money instantaneously, and to gamble without paying transfer fees to centralized banks.

In other words, Vegas is primed for a bitcoin run.

What is bitcoin? The answer is more complicated than you think (and more complicated than we journalists usually report). Unveiled in 2009 (the identity of the creator is up for debate), the cryptocurrency is an online payment system that was introduced as open-source software. Under the protocols of this technology, payments are recorded in a public database, which is known as the blockchain. Because these payments work without a central repository or single administrator (a.k.a., a bank), the U.S. Treasury considers the currency to be decentralized and virtual.

(Also, because the currency is virtual, users must obtain a virtual wallet to help record transactions and securely buy, use, and accept the stuff.)

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Why Bitcoin Is Poised To Win Big In Las Vegas

Sep 122014

Credit Photograph by Christian Heeb/laif/Redux

When I moved to the U.S. Virgin Islands after college, for a job at a local newspaper, everyone I met told me that I had to read Herman Wouks Dont Stop the Carnival. It was the best novel ever set in the Virgin Islands. The funniest. Wouk, people said, gets island life exactly right. Never mind that no one north of the eighteenth parallel had heard of the book. You could find copies for sale in virtually every gift shop and bookstore from Tortola to Grenada. I found a tattered hardcover in the newspapers office and finished it in a day or two. It was dated, but a fun read.

Wouk, the author of The Caine Mutiny and Marjorie Morningstar, lived on St. Thomas from 1958 until 1964. (He is now ninety-nine.) He moved to the island to escape the distractions of New York City. While there, in his big house on a hill, he started writing The Winds of War, a major novel about the Second World War. He also made time to write something lighter. Dont Stop the Carnival, published in 1965, is a zippy farce about a Broadway press agent and self-described good New York liberal, Norman Paperman, who sees an ad in The New Yorker listing a funky Caribbean hotel for sale, flies south, and buys it. A large cast of eccentrics surrounds Paperman and drives the mostly slapstick narrative. His vision of paradise (green hills, snowy sand, azure sea) is soon crowded off the page by baroque catastrophe (scheming contractor, bursting cistern, island bureaucracy). Racism, intolerance, imperialism, cronyism, and alcoholism become the leitmotifs. Characters start getting killed. Paperman sells the hotel as quickly as he bought it and flees back to New York.

For Tiphanie Yanique, who is from St. Thomas, Dont Stop the Carnival was not a fun read. Her dbut novel, Land of Love and Drowning, which came out this summer, was written partly as an answer to Wouk. As she said in a recent interview, Virgin Islanders dont really give the book much thought. We dont think its a good representation of who we are. And yet this was the book being marketed as a credible anthropological text. The Virgin Islanders in the book are buffoons. I wanted to write something that people would say, If youre going to read the Herman Wouk, you have to also read the Yanique. For a writer from the Virgin Islands, there was, apparently, no escaping the shadow cast by Wouks beach umbrella.

Land of Love and Drowning is a completely different type of novel. Its a multigenerational saga about an island family, dramatizing historical events and salted with magical realism: one woman has hooves for feet, another has glittering silver pubic hair. But Yanique takes characters and settings from Wouks book and subversively reimagines them. A hotel cook, Sheila, gets a last name and an inner life. A talented but violent handyman named Hippolyte reappears, now more the holy fool, less the dangerous lunatic. The hotel itself gets a major moral facelift. It is now the touchstone for Yaniques characters jaundiced views of land development on their islands, and of the obnoxious, greedy, and debauched continentals who arrive in ever larger numbers. As far as we could see, thats all the Americans seemed to dodrink rum and buy up land, Anette Bradshaw, a history teacher, observes.

The two novels converge on the same incidents, from opposite angles. At the hotelcalled, in both books, the Gull Reef Clubone of Papermans recurring headaches involves negotiations over the immigration status of his employees. A bureaucrat threatens to deport his best chambermaid. Yanique uses this Woukian plot thread to show the new form of racism that Virgin Islanders increasingly confronted when continentals showed up and built houses, hotels, and golf courses across St. Thomas. Anette Bradshaw is walking home from the airport with her children. A big car full of Americans pulls up, with a white man and a white woman in the front seat. The driver says that he owns the Gull Reef Club. Were looking for a chambermaid. Ours, it seems, has just been deported back to Antigua or Anguilla or somewhere. You can imagine were in a bind. If youre free, we could take you right now, tykes and all. If Anette was not at present in mourning she might have done the fiery thing reach over the driver, and slap the woman in the face. A woman should have known better than to allow such an insult in front of the children.

Land of Love and Drowning is also, according to an authors note, a response to a soft-porn film called Girls Are for Loving, which was shot in the Virgin Islands in the nineteen-seventies. The film crew employed local people as extras, Yanique writes, but did not inform them of the films sexual content. In the novel, the films local scenes, primarily dancing, are shot at the Gull Reef Club. Anette and her husband, Franky, are among the extras. Anette senses that something is amiss, but ignores the signs. Months later, when Girls Are for Loving premires on the island, she and Franky dress up and join an excited crowd of islanders at the local theater. In the film, they see their own faces, and Anettes red skirt flying, accompanied by African drumming, intercut with shots of a white couple kissing and, soon enough, copulating. The audience is horrified. Then the pastors wife scream in the theater like she bout to dead. And all the people in the theater start to flood out. We spill out into the street but cant look at each other. This how we get put on the map in America? This me and my husband debut to the island and the nation? Is what they call pornographic. You hearing me.

We do hear Anette, loud and clear. She narrates some of the novels best passages in a dialect that is both inventive and fluid. Describing the day in 1917 when the islands of St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix were transferred from Danish to American rule, she says, Denmark decide it dont want we. America decide it do. One find we unnecessary because they way up in Europe. The next find we absolutely necessary because they backside sitting on the Caribbean. I wish Yanique had written more of the novel in that voice. Instead, she jumps erratically from one characters mind to the next, in a way that can feel unbalanced. Perhaps that was her aim. Yanique makes it clear from the beginning that she is not interested in the framing and cornicing of realism. History is a kind of magic I doing here, Anette says. Yanique, meanwhile, brings the natural world of the Virgin Islands into high relief, with similes that seem to erupt effortlessly from the lushness of her prose. Boys will stick to the younger sister like the slick of mango juice. A trinity of men will feel the love of her like casha bush burring their scalp in sleep.

I lived on St. John. It was a small island, very beautiful, quite segregated. Soon after I arrived, there was a rash of violent crimesassault, vandalism, alleged rape, arsonwith a toxic racial element. A white furniture-store owner known as Bali Bob ended up going to prison for assault and battery. Our little newspaper struggled to cover these stories. There was nothing slapstick about any of it. For an outsider, it was impossible to know much about the long, gnarled, local history of racial insult, stratification, and conflicta history kept largely through oral transmission by island families. Yanique brings reams of this spoken lore to the page. The ladys right: if youre going to read the Wouk, you also have to read the Yanique.

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The Virgin Islands, Rewritten

Drum lines will not be deployed off WA beaches this summer after the state’s Environmental Protection Authority advised against extending the Government’s controversial catch and kill shark policy.

The regulator’s chairman, Paul Vogel, said the available information and evidence did not provide the organisation with a high level of confidence.

Following a spate of fatal shark attacks in the state, in January the WA Government introduced a 13-week trial where baited drum lines were set off Perth and South West beaches.

Premier Colin Barnett said the recommendation meant drum lines would not be in place off the WA coast this summer.

Dr Vogel said the EPA had been tasked with assessing the environmental impact of the strategy, not public safety.

“There remains a high degree of scientific uncertainty about the impacts on the viability of the south-western white shark population,” he said.

“At this stage, the available information and evidence does not provide the EPA with a high level of confidence. In view of these uncertainties, the EPA has adopted a cautious approach by recommending against the proposal.

“The EPA can only make a judgment on the impact on the environment. The minister, in making his final decision, may take other matters into consideration.”

The EPA assessed the program as a Public Environmental Review, the highest level of environmental impact assessment.

The proposal attracted 6,751 public submissions and two petitions with about 25,000 signatures.

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WA shark cull: Drum lines dumped after EPA recommendations

Iowa State University submitted a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed against employees by two students who said their rights to free speech and due process were violated.

Paul Gerlich and Erin Furleigh, the president and vice president of ISU NORML an organization that advocates for the reform of marijuana laws filed a lawsuit against President Steven Leath and vice presidents Warren Madden and Tom Hill and Leesha Zimmerman, a program coordinator in the trademark office earlier this summer.

Furleigh and Gerlich said their First Amendment rights were violated when Iowa State did not allow them to use the mascot Cy on some T-shirt designs. According to the motion to dismiss, the two students said Iowa State created overbroad and vague trademark guidelines and then arbitrarily used them to reject some of NORMLs T-shirts.

The 13-page motion to dismiss from Iowa State, that was filed on Sept. 4, requested that the lawsuit against the four university employees be dropped for a number of reasons. According to the document, both Furleigh and Gerlich failed to provide facts that showed their First Amendment right to free speech was violated.

According to the document, the lawsuit should be dismissed because Furleigh and Gerlich did not allege sufficient facts to establish any constitutional right in the use of ISUs marks, that they lacked adequate alternative avenues for communicating their message without ISUs marks, that their proposed uses of the marks were fair uses, or that their proposed uses did not cause confusion.

According to the document, fair use allows others to use a trademark if it is used as something other than a trademark, in a descriptive nature or in good faith. The motion to dismiss said using the ISU trademark on the shirt was not claimed as fair use in the lawsuit.

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Iowa State asks court to dismiss First Amendment lawsuit

A funny thing’s happened in Finland. Scores of its monied elite have filed requests to correct their tax data this summersuddenly recollecting that they’d stashed earnings away in Swiss banks. Truly, this is the end of an era, thanks entirely to a U.S.-led crackdown on tax evasion. It’s also a strange new beginning.

Late last May, following a yearlong criminal investigation, Swiss bank Credit Suisse AG plead guilty to aiding wealthy U.S. citizens in hiding taxable income, agreeing to pay roughly $2.6 billion in penalties for the crime (to be divvied up between the Justice Department, the Federal Reserve, and the New York State Department of Financial Services, for some reason). Credit Suisse was charged with a pattern of misconduct that included actively recruiting clients, courting them at airports, golf courses, family weddings, and elsewhere with the promise of shielding their earnings from the IRS, and then also destroying documents pertaining to these concealed accounts, which numbered somewhere around 22,000 and held around $13 billion in total. Credit Suisse is Switzerland’s second-largest bank: a fact that allowed Attorney General Eric Holder to trot out “Too Big to Jail” in a press conference, a joke that should have, but did not, end with him putting on a pair of sunglasses.

It was only the most recent high-profile victory in the Obama administration’s longstanding battle against offshore tax havens, which has included thus far a $780 million deferred prosecution deal back in 2009 with UBS, Switzerland’s largest bank, and a $57.8 million penalty this past January against Wegelin & Co.a guilty verdict that has effectively shut that bank down for good. Founded in 1741 under the name Leinentuchhandel und Speditionshandlung, it was the oldest bank in Switzerland, and the 13th oldest in the world.

Both Credit Suisse and UBS have subsequently sent letters to their clients requesting that they either declare their secret assets to Swiss tax officials or alternately have their assets liquidated and transferred as cash to a new bank of their choice. The new policy is giving them a running start on next January, when Swiss banks will begin handing over customer financial data to tax officials for the first time, in compliance with the U.S. Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). FATCA requires that foreign financial institutions (“FFIs”) identify their American clients to the IRS, or face a 30 percent gross tax on a variety payments from U.S. sources.

Hence the wave of tax form corrections this summer in Finland.

“In some of the cases,” the lead counsel for the Finnish Tax Administration, Matti Merisalo, told Finland’s A-Studio news program last week, “people claim to have forgotten.”

“We will have to critically examine these claims since it will determine whether or not we impose a higher tax rate. Keeping wealth offshore usually involves a deliberate choice and doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with forgetfulness.”

Criminal proceedings are not entirely off the table, either, but the Nordic country’s Ministry of Finance is reportedly weighing their options, eager to have this taxable wealth repatriated, afraid of losing it in another capital flight to someplace else, and (as usual in financial stories) bargaining from a position of almost total powerlessness.

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200 Years of Swiss Bank Secrecy Is Ending. So, Where's the Money?

Millions soaked up the sun, sand and surf at city beaches this summer.

Even without scorching weather, the Parks Department says more than 18 million people spent time at the beach and more than 1 million hung out at outdoor pools.

Beaches in every borough saw a spike in numbers during the 2014 season.

For more information about city beaches and parks, head to

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Parks Department: Beaches in Every Borough Saw Spike in Numbers in 2014

Perth HEAT vs. Las Vegas Liberty Patriots 2014 Summer Baseball at UNLV
Perth HEAT vs. Las Vegas Liberty Patriots 2014 Summer Baseball at UNLV

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Perth HEAT vs. Las Vegas Liberty Patriots 2014 Summer Baseball at UNLV – Video

ABC Aerial surveillance of Perth beaches has started for the summer season.

Two Perth beaches have been reopened after the first shark sighting of the season, a 3.5-metre white shark 50 metres off Floreat beach.

Surf Life Saving WA said the shark was tracking south, and that Floreat Beach and City Beach were closed as a precaution.

The sighting comes as weekend helicopter patrols begin along the Perth coast for the summer season.

The Surf Life Saving helicopter will fly between Dawesville and Two Rocks looking for swimmers in trouble, and for sharks close to shore.

SLSWA’s manager of aviation services Peter Scott said it is a busy time of the year for shark sightings, with a lot of whales and other marine animals in the area.

“We can provide some assurance and also we use the aircraft to verify sightings from the public as well, so we can try and identify if there is actually a shark there,” he said.

“But essentially it does provide that extra layer of comfort for everyone.”

WA Premier Colin Barnett said the patrols would increase to seven days a week from October 1.

“SLSWA plays a crucial role in protecting Western Australian beaches and it is vitally important to have the aerial patrols in place in time for the warmer weather,” Mr Barnett said.

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Perth beaches reopen after sighting of 3.5-metre shark on first day of aerial patrols

ABC Aerial surveillance of Perth beaches has started for the summer season.

Two Perth beaches have been reopened after the first shark sighting of the season, a 3.5-metre white shark 50 metres off Floreat beach.

Surf Life Saving WA said the shark was tracking south, and that Floreat Beach and City Beach were closed as a precaution.

The sighting comes as weekend helicopter patrols begin along the Perth coast for the summer season.

The Surf Life Saving helicopter will fly between Dawesville and Two Rocks looking for swimmers in trouble, and for sharks close to shore.

SLSWA’s manager of aviation services Peter Scott said it is a busy time of the year for shark sightings, with a lot of whales and other marine animals in the area.

“We can provide some assurance and also we use the aircraft to verify sightings from the public as well, so we can try and identify if there is actually a shark there,” he said.

“But essentially it does provide that extra layer of comfort for everyone.”

WA Premier Colin Barnett said the patrols would increase to seven days a week from October 1.

“SLSWA plays a crucial role in protecting Western Australian beaches and it is vitally important to have the aerial patrols in place in time for the warmer weather,” Mr Barnett said.

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Perth beaches re-open after sighting of 3.5-metre shark on first day of aerial patrols

Under-the-radar spots for summering.

The mayor shouldnt have gone to Capri this summer.

Thats not just because it made de Blasio absent during one of the biggest challenges of his young tenure so far the death of Eric Garner its because Capri, while beautiful, is also expensive, touristic, and, worst of all, as glitzy as you can get. The mere name smacks of wealth and privilege bad PR, even at the best of times for a mayor who ran on an anti-Bloombergian platform of equity. Italy boasts plenty of other islands that would have been a better bet for the mayor. Yes, the photos of their spectacular scenery and crystal-clear water would still have made New Yorkers jealous, but most of his constituents likely wouldnt recognize their names. Here are five places I would have sent de Blasio instead. (Mr. Mayor, next time, call me!)

IschiaThe largest island in the Bay of Naples, Ischia is like Capris slightly less glamorous sister. Like the other islands on this list, Ischia is hardly unknown to Italians. (Or to Germans. As with most of the worlds seemingly off-the-beaten-path spots, the Germans are already there.) It is, however, off the radar for much of the international jet-set crowd. You come here for the stunning scenery and the beaches, not the Michelin-starred restaurants and “Page Six”clubs. Ischias under-the-radar feel is surprising, though, given its beauty. Picture a place thats lush, green, and dotted with wildflowers. Top it with a ridiculously large, labyrinthine castle (the Castello Aragonese, with origins that date back to the ancient Greek fortress of 474 B.C.E.). Pop in thermal pools, world-famous gardens, and whitewashed resort towns where vacationing Italians stroll on evening passeggiate or nibble on the flaky sfogliatelle pastries of nearby Naples, or Ischias particular specialty, cooked coniglio (that would be rabbit).

ProcidaAt one and a half square miles, Procida (pro-CHEE-dah), located just 40 minutes from Naples by hydrofoil, is the smallest island in the Bay of Naples. Its also, in some ways, the loveliest. Because its been a settlement for fishermen for so long (today, some 11,000 residents live here year-round), it doesnt have as much lush, open space as Ischia or Capri. What Procida lacks in greenery, however, it makes up for with its local legends, gorgeous views, and pastel villages all of which feel like working fishermens villages, not resort towns, since, of course, thats what they are. Old men gather in the little piazzas here at dusk for a smoke and a chat; local kids (and day-tripping families from nearby Naples) splash in the water. No surprise that the island was used as the setting for the film Il Postino.

Dont miss a visit to Terra Murata, the citadel-village that was walled off to protect against ongoing incursions by Saracenic pirates in the 16th century, and its Benedictine abbey. This abbey happens to be the site of a local miracle: When Procida was besieged by pirates on May 8, 1535, an image of St. Michael the Archangel was said to appear in the sky, sword drawn. The pirates fled, an event celebrated with a procession every year on May 8. The weeks leading up to Good Friday, meanwhile, see locals working hard on their larger-than-life, handmade floats of wood, cloth, and papier-mch, each showing a different scene from the Passion; called the misteri (mysteries), these floats are destroyed when the procession ends.

PonzaWhen Romes wealthy (or their friends) need a weekend escape and dont have time to get to Capri, this is where they come its a good 70 miles further north (and closer to Rome) than the Bay of Naples. Not that you have to be a millionaire to get here. Plenty of ferries run from Formia or Anzio (each an hours train ride south of Rome) directly to the island, with the fastest taking 70 minutes, and accommodation as with all of these islands includes many more apartment and house rentals and B&Bs than full-blown, five-star resorts.

Measuring less than three square miles (compare that to Ischias whopping 18), Ponza is tiny. But dont let its size fool you. This is an island where myth dwarfs the actual place: Legend has it that Odysseus was seduced and kept here by the sorceress Circe, whose cliffside cave you can still see, while the island itself got its name from Pontius Pilate, whose family was said to have a house here.

Ponza today is a lovely, tranquil island scattered with a handful of pastel-colored villages, its edges bordered with dramatic cliffs, hidden coves, and, of course, that bright-blue water. Renting a little outboard boat and toodling around the coastline is popular, especially since many of the tiny beaches arent particularly accessible with even a tiny Smart unless you dont mind parking at the top and taking steep, winding paths down (and then back up) the 500 foot cliffs to the sea.

PanareaPanarea is the Capri of the Aeolian islands, an arc of eight isles just to the north of Messina; on a map, they look like the pebbles being kicked up by the boot as it tries to give Sicily the old heave-ho. At just over one square mile and home to fewer than 300 residents year-round, Panarea is super-tiny. Its also super-chic; if de Blasio were hoping for an exclusive feel that wouldnt come with all the bad PR of a name as recognizable as Capri, this would be the spot. Its handful of exclusive clubs have given it the reputation of being the top Aeolian island for nightlife, so it’s no surprise that Panarea swells with visitors the vast majority of them well-heeled Italians come July and, especially, August. But dont worry, Mr. Mayor: The tiny, waterfront village, with its couple of clubs, is so small, even all of the visitors start to recognize one another after a single night; if Chiara and Dante insist on going out on the town, Panarea is as safe as it gets.

The rest is here:
Five Italian Islands the de Blasios Should Have Picked Over Pricey Capri

Published: 3:52PM Thursday September 04, 2014 Source: ONE News

Bethells Beach – Source: ONE News

Water quality at some of Auckland’s beaches was near perfection last summer and greatly improved overall from the year before, a report says.

Armour Bay, Takapuna Beach, Big Bucklands Beach, Little Oneroa Beach, Blockhouse Bay and Bethells Beach came out on top when tested for water quality.

1,021 samples were taken from Auckland beaches as part of Auckland Council’s Safeswim beach water quality programme.

The programme monitors water quality at 69 sites, taking samples once a week. According to the report, 92% of 1,401 water samples taken at Auckland’s beaches for the summer period November to March met health guidelines.

Safeswim beaches and freshwater sites are selected for monitoring on the basis of their usage and history. Where issues are identified, health warning signs are promptly erected and re-tests are done; the signs remain up until the water is shown to be safe.

Last summer, the total number of days that warning signs stayed up reduced by 23%, compared to the previous 2012/13 swim season.

“This report is a reminder about the water quality improvements Auckland has made,” says Wayne Walker, chair of the Environment, Climate Change and Natural Heritage committee.

“Protecting our coastline is a priority and will continue to be part of what Aucklanders cherish most about our city.”

Excerpt from:
Water quality at Auckland beaches near perfect

Published: Tuesday, September 2, 2014 at 6:54 p.m. Last Modified: Tuesday, September 2, 2014 at 6:54 p.m.

DAYTONA BEACH The city has been hit with a federal civil rights lawsuit alleging its 2-year-old residential rental inspection program is unconstitutional.

A lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court accuses the city of violating local renters and landlords Fourth Amendment and 14th Amendment rights. The suit argues city inspectors should have probable cause to believe theres been a violation of law and search warrants before they enter leased homes, and that poor people and minorities are being discriminated against because they most often are renters.

The potential for perverse abuse of this power the city claims to have is stunning, said Ponte Vedra Beach attorney Andrew M. Bonderud, the plaintiffs lawyer in the legal action.

Bonderud is representing landlord Jack Aberman, who owns dozens of properties on Daytonas beachside, and three of his tenants. Aberman, a shareholder in GEA Seaside Investment Inc., hasnt allowed inspectors inside his rental homes and hes been papered to death by the city with demands to inspect, Bonderud said.

City Attorney Marie Hartman said Tuesday she hadnt read the lawsuit yet and couldnt comment. Mike Garrett, the citys chief building official, couldnt be reached for comment.

The city has long inspected large rental properties with five or more units, but it wasnt until the summer of 2012 that city commissioners OKd a program that would regularly allow an inspector into rental homes with one to four units to look for everything from broken steps to electrical hazards. The program aims to send an inspector to every rental property with four units or less throughout the city, but its starting with the beachside, where theres a large concentration of older homes that have been subdivided into apartments.

Community leaders and government officials argue overhauling the citys beachside residential rental stock is vital to reviving the area. More than 1,100 rental units have been inspected so far, and nearly half have been cited for code violations.

Those who comply and make repairs quickly are out only the $50 per unit inspection charge and another $40 for an application fee. Those who have not made themselves available for the program or who have not fixed problems are being sent to a special magistrate for hearings.

Delinquent landlords face fines or liens attached to their rental homes. Bonderud argues in his lawsuit that the special magistrate and other city officials have powers that are too broad under the city rental inspection law.

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Suit charges Daytona Beach's rental inspection program violates civil rights

If youre Matt Tucker, everything reminds you of investing, even the last barbecue of the summer. Read on to discover how your bond portfolio may very well resemble a Labor Day mixed grill.

Labor Day barbecues, beaches, and bonds: Why its all about balance

Seats assigned to Mississippi are empty at the Democratic Convention on Aug. 24, 1964. Two competing delegations were assigned spectator status for the opening session when the credentials committee was unable to decide which delegation to accredit. AP hide caption

Seats assigned to Mississippi are empty at the Democratic Convention on Aug. 24, 1964. Two competing delegations were assigned spectator status for the opening session when the credentials committee was unable to decide which delegation to accredit.

Fifty years ago this week, Freedom Summer spilled into national party politics. Young volunteers spent the summer of 1964 in Mississippi, working to register African-American voters. But leaders of the movement also had a political strategy designed to chip away at the oppressive white power structure in the South, and it was put to the test at the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, N.J.

Five-foot-four Fannie Lou Hamer, a sharecropper from the Mississippi Delta, caught the nation’s attention as she sat before the convention’s credentials committee seeking recognition for the newly formed and integrated Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.

“I question America,” Hamer said as she challenged the state party’s all-white delegation.

“Is this America?” she asked. “The land of the free and the home of the brave where we have to sleep with our telephones off of the hook because our lives be threatened daily, because we want to live as decent human beings in America?”

The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party stormed Atlantic City, garnering the support of liberal delegations outside the South. The 68 delegates four white, the rest black wanted to be seated instead of the state party’s regular delegates, who they argued were wrongly elected in a segregated process.

The standoff was the outgrowth of what started as the Freedom Vote in 1963. Established civil rights groups helped stage a mock statewide election open to disenfranchised African-Americans in Mississippi.

“We wanted to show that black votes could make a difference,” says the Rev. Ed King, a white Methodist minister who was the new party’s candidate for lieutenant governor at the time. “We have to break the myth that black people are uninterested in politics.”

And no one made that case stronger than Hamer, a cotton plantation worker with a sixth-grade education from tiny Ruleville, Miss.

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Freedom Strategy Put To The Test At Democratic National Convention

by Madeline Roth 8/25/2014

Last week, we gave you two sides of a much-heated national debate. First, we gave you 16 examples that prove the Illuminati control the VMAs. Then, we flipped the argument on its head, giving 16 more reasons why they totally dont. Both sides were compelling and convincing enough, but only last nights epic show could settle the matter once and for all. Take a look at the evidence and judge for yourself.

The Snake Debacle

PRO-ILLUMINATI: Nicki Minaj sang a song called Anaconda. Which is a snake. A satanic snake. Need we say more? Even though shes, uh, probably not singing about a real snake (were thinking it may be a metaphor), the symbolism is so there.

ANTI-ILLUMINATI: But Nickis performance didnt feature a real, live snake, as originally slated. Thats because the boa constrictor bit one of her dancers in rehearsal, which could be the universes way of telling Nicki and the Illuminati to back off.

2. The Mind-Control Debate

PRO-ILLUMINATI: The Illuminati MUST have been trying to hypnotize or brainwash us last night, right? What other explanation could there be for the spiral-shaped stage that the winners accepted their Moonmen on?

ANTI-ILLUMINATI: Even though the spiral stage was pretty captivating, there were also messages planted throughout the show to force us out of hypnotization. 5 Seconds of Summer sang about waking up with Amnesia (meaning they obviously wanted us to wake up this morning and forget we had been brainwashed), and then Ariana Grande convinced us to Break Free. So HA! No mind control here, suckers.

3. The Numbers Game

PRO-ILLUMINATI: As we pointed out, the nati dig triangles. Thats why it was super suspicious that last nights show was trio-heavy. From Jessie J, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minajs show-stopping Bang Bang performance, to the fierce Orange is the New Black ladies appearance. Even Beyonce was joined after her performance by Jay Z and Blue Ivy to makethree. Three was the magic number last night.

Continue reading here:
Did The Illuminati Control Last Nights VMAs? After Careful Examination, Weve Determined Yes!

Sheep Dogs May Be the Key to Keeping Beaches E. Coli Free
Employing sheep dogs may be the secret to keeping beaches E. coli-free and open to visitors this summer. Employing sheep dogs may be the secret to keeping be…

By: GeoBeats News

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Sheep Dogs May Be the Key to Keeping Beaches E. Coli Free – Video

SANTA MONICA ( Los Angeles County beaches lead the state in poor water quality, according to Heal the Bays 24th annual Beach Report Card.

The report, which was released Thursday, found one in 10 county beaches received a grade of C or worse for pollution for April thought October of 2013.

Three Los Angeles County beaches Mothers Beach in Marina del Rey, Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro and the beach at the Santa Monica Pier earned spots on Heal the Bays Beach Bummer List of the most polluted beaches in the state.

Eight LA County beaches, however, placed on Heal the Bays Honor Roll, signifying beaches that scored A+ grades.

In Orange County, 12 beaches landed on the Honor Roll.

Overall, 90 percent of LA County beaches received either A or B grades during the summer of 2013.

This was the third year in a row of very low rainfall in Southern California and as a result its beaches experienced less urban runoff, which likely led to the improvement of overall grades, the report said.

For the full report, click here.

(2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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Heal The Bay: LA County Beaches Lead State In Poor Water Quality

Nike Roshe Run Liberty Collection Review Unboxing
This is our first review video. Couple's Therapy features Nike Roshe Run Liberty Collection Summer 2014 Collection. NIKE X LIBERTY COLLECTION:…

By: Couples Therapy

Nike Roshe Run Liberty Collection Review Unboxing – Video

Number of Cornish beaches with Blue Flag status falls 80 per cent on 2013 Cornwall Council has decided not to pay for the 820 inspections this year Businesses in Falmouth and St Ives are concerned tourists will stay away

By Travelmail Reporter

Published: 07:45 EST, 21 May 2014 | Updated: 09:21 EST, 21 May 2014

Towns and holiday attractions in Cornwall are worried that tourists will stay away this summer after the number of Blue Flag beaches in the country plummeted to just one.

In the sun: Porthmeor Beach, near St Ives, will not be able to boast Blue Flag status this summer

This is a drop of 80 per cent on 2013. Last year, five coastal strips in the region flew the prestigious marker of quality and cleanliness, and there are fears among those who rely on tourism from their income that potential visitors will be put off by the news.

Only Carbis Bay a privately owned beach on the north coast of the Cornish peninsula, near St Ives will have Blue Flag status this year after Cornwall Council decided not to involve itself in the application process, arguing that it is too costly.

Beaches keen to boast the Blue Flag stamp of approval have to apply each year and pay for the privilege. It costs 820 for an inspection to deem whether a beach is up to scratch.

A statement from Cornwall Council has defended its stance on the matter.

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Blue Flag beaches in Cornwall reduced in number by 80 per cent, prompting tourism fears

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