J.D.Salinger, Skype, J.H. Franklin, Roosters in Hawaii, DNA assembly line, Brain gym, hotel add-on charges

Apr 5th, 2009 | By | Category: This morning's reading

Morning Reading, selected articles of interest from various publications.

Skype May Be The Biggest Winner From The Web 2.0 Era
Skype does not get the respect it deserves, because eBay not only publicly admitted to overpaying for it but is making a mess of its core business. Another reason may be that Skype flies in the face of conventional Valley wisdom that says it has to be all about social media. Or maybe the fact that Skype came from Europe, and we all know that Europeans are just lunch-eating dilettantes. Whatever the reason, a company that has $500 million in revenue, is profitable and growing, and has a shot at becoming the largest player in what is now a $2 trillion (yes, “t” for trillion) market, should get more respect.
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What I heard at J.D. Salinger’s doorstep
Tom Leonard makes a pilgrimage to Cornish, New Hampshire, where the 90-year-old author of The Catcher in the Rye leads a reclusive existence with his third wife
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Economist Obiturary: John Hope Franklin
John Hope Franklin, historian of race in America, died on March 25th, aged 94
Mr Franklin’s intention was to weave the black experience back into the national story. Unlike many after him, he did not see “black history” as an independent discipline, and never taught a formal course in it. What he was doing was revising American history as a whole. His books, especially “From Slavery to Freedom” (1947), offered Americans their first complete view of themselves.

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Tourists Learn Who Rules the Roost On This Lush Hawaiian Isle
Kauai, the oldest of the Hawaiian islands, is called the garden isle for its lush vegetation. Now people are calling it the chicken isle because it is overrun by roosters, hens and little chicks.
Most of the birds are believed to be descendants of former fighting cocks unleashed during a devastating hurricane more than a decade ago. The birds now forage at outdoor food courts and ruin sugar cane and corn crops. They wake islanders — and tourists — with predawn crowing.
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DNA-Based Assembly Line for Nano-Construction of New Biosensors, Solar Cells
Building on the idea of using DNA to link up nanoparticles – particles measuring mere billionths of a meter – scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory have designed a molecular assembly line for predictable, high-precision nano-construction. Such reliable, reproducible nanofabrication is essential for exploiting the unique properties of nanoparticles in applications such as biological sensors and devices for converting sunlight to electricity.
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The rich under attack
Stones thrown through a banker’s windows in Edinburgh, workers “bossnapping” executives in France, retrospective 90% tax rates proposed in Washington, and now a riot in London as G20 leaders arrived for their summit. A sea change in social attitudes that could have profound effects on politics and the world economy is under way.
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The Latest in Mental Health: Working Out at the ‘Brain Gym’
Outfits Promise to Keep Older Minds Sharp With Computers, Walnuts and Green Tea […]
The centerpiece of most outlets is a computer lab equipped with software from companies with names like Posit Science Corp., CogniFit Ltd., Lumos Labs Inc. and Happy Neuron Inc. Like gym rats who hit the weight machines or take Pilates classes, some users of the new technology say they prefer working with personal trainers. In this context, sessions are spent doing things like mental-fitness assessments and relaxation exercises in addition to basic cognitive training.
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City Life
The most significant aspect of the Centre for Cities report is that Manchester’s ‘two nations’ are numerically, as well as financially, un-equal: Greater Manchester has a relatively tiny number of prosperous people, offset by huge swaths of poverty. In only one of Manchester’s ten boroughs, Trafford, do residents earn above the national wage. There are pockets of abject deprivation, notably the notorious Moss Side and Harpurhey, recently named as the worst place to live in England.
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If you stay, you’re going to pay
If you thought the new fees airlines are charging are bad, check out your hotel bill.
Recently, airlines have received lots of attention for moving longtime standards – baggage, food, drinks, even pillows and blankets – from the “included” pile into the “for an additional fee” pile. But travel industry analysts say the other giant in the travel game – the hotel industry – has become even worse at adding on miscellaneous fees and surcharges.
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