... via [email protected] on 2014-07-28 17:57:34 in /graphics8.nytimes.com /
LIVORNO, Italy - For years, roboticists have yearned to develop a flexible machine that can explore tight spaces, repair dangerous equipment and potentially even conform to the human body. Now one of the first members of this new breed of robots is almost here. It has sinewy arms, a powerful grip and the ability to work underwater without coming up for air. Yes, it is an octopus. Because octopuses can swim, crawl and manipulate objects, they make "the ideal underwater robot," said Francesco Giorgio-Serchi, a scientist at the Research Center on Sea Technologies and Marine Robotics here, who is working on the project.   more...
 
 
... via [email protected] on 2014-07-28 17:57:34 in /graphics8.nytimes.com /
FRANKFURT - The United States and Europe put aside their differences and agreed on Monday to sharply escalate economic sanctions against Russia in a set of coordinated actions driven by the conclusion that Moscow has taken a more direct role in the war in Ukraine. After months in which European leaders were hesitant to go as far as the Americans, the two sides settled on a package of measures that would target Russia's financial, energy and defense sectors. In some cases, the Europeans may actually leapfrog beyond what the United States has done, forcing Washington to try to catch up.   more...
 
 
... via [email protected] on 2014-07-28 17:39:24 in Journals / Stuff
 
 
... via [email protected] on 2014-07-28 16:57:13 in /graphics8.nytimes.com /
WASHINGTON - House and Senate leaders have agreed to a compromise on legislation that would allocate $17 billion to reform the beleaguered Department of Veterans Affairs' health care system. If it is approved by the full House and Senate this week, the agreement would end a lengthy standoff over the funding that at times looked to imperil any possible deal. The bill, which is expected to be approved by a congressional conference on Monday and then voted on by both chambers before a recess begins on Friday, provides $10 billion to allow veterans facing long wait times at agency facilities to obtain private medical care.   more...
 
 
... via [email protected] on 2014-07-28 15:55:57 in /graphics8.nytimes.com /
DONETSK, Ukraine - One was a retired cook. Another installed alarms in cars. Another was a cleaner in a grocery store who had gone out to buy ground beef to make her son meatball soup. With international attention focused on the tragedy of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, the deaths of these three civilians - some of the roughly 800 who have been killed in the battle over eastern Ukraine - have gone virtually unnoticed by the outside world. As the Ukrainian military has pressed its offensive against the pro-Russian rebels who have taken over its eastern edge, an operation now in its fourth month, it has diminished the territory the rebels control.   more...
 
 
... via [email protected] on 2014-07-28 15:55:57 in /blogtrottr.com If You No Longer Wish To Receive These Emails, You Can Unsubscr /
RICHMOND, Va., - A federal appeals court on Monday ruled that Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Va., ruled that state constitutional and statutory provisions barring gay marriage and denying recognition of such unions performed in other states violated the United States Constitution. The Virginia case is one of several that could go to the United States Supreme Court. It was not immediately clear if or when the state would need to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.   more...
 
 
... via [email protected] on 2014-07-28 13:54:04 in /graphics8.nytimes.com /
BOSTON - As with many start-ups, the idea was born from trivia that suddenly did not seem so useless - the statistics of professional athletes. Even in his youth, Jason Robins was in touch with his inner Billy Beane, drafting and trading baseball players in fantasy sports leagues. He was a marketing professional at Vistaprint when he and two colleagues, who also had teams in numerous fantasy leagues, discovered an underdeveloped niche: daily fantasy sports websites, which let players put their Moneyball skills - and cash - up against others' while compressing the grind of a season into a single day.   more...
 
 
... via [email protected] on 2014-07-28 13:54:04 in /blogtrottr.com If You No Longer Wish To Receive These Emails, You Can Unsubscr /
Two federal marshals and one New York City police officer were shot Monday afternoon in the West Village, authorities said. A suspect was also shot. The three law enforcement officers appeared to be in the process of executing a warrant at or near the corner of West Fourth Street and Jones Street, the authorities said. But it was not immediately clear what brought them to that location or if the person they were seeking was involved in the shooting. A previously scheduled briefing by the police commissioner and the mayor was delayed and they were conferring with aides.   more...
 
 
... via [email protected] on 2014-07-28 13:54:04 in /graphics8.nytimes.com /
PARIS - One cloudy afternoon this month, the line to enter the Louvre stretched around the entrance pyramid, across one long courtyard and into the next. Inside the museum, a crowd more than a dozen deep faced the "Mona Lisa," most taking cellphone pictures and selfies. Near the " Winged Victory of Samothrace, " Jean-Michel Borda, visiting from Madrid, paused amid the crush. "It's like the Métro early in the morning," he said. It is the height of summer, and millions of visitors are flocking to the Louvre - the busiest art museum in the world, with 9.3 million visitors last year - and to other great museums across Europe.   more...
 
 
... via [email protected] on 2014-07-28 13:54:04 in /graphics8.nytimes.com /
BUFFALO - Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday defended his office's dealings with a panel he appointed to root out public corruption, asserting that his aides offered only "advice" to the commission meant to be helpful. The governor described the panel, which he abruptly disbanded in March in exchange for the passage of a modest package of new ethics laws, as a phenomenal success. Although his aides were in communication with the commission, he said, the panel's leaders "exercised their independent judgment" in pursuing investigations. "The conversation and dialogue is good," Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat seeking re-election this fall, told reporters.   more...
 
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