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    Profile: How long can investment portfolios continue to swell if wages, employment and corporate revenue remain constrained?     Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has strongly defended his economic record after a turbulent year in which the country has been rocked by recession and 30 percent inflation.Many
    public health experts support efforts to ban the sale of large sugary drinks but note that, as with efforts to curb tobacco or require seat belt use, the process will take some time. The restaurant will be able to add more private dining rooms.     The torture inquiry, the latest international move to bring pressure on Libya's Moammar Gaddafi, is confirmed as NATO ministers meet to weigh options for intervention. The bride is a lawyer; the groom is a director of outreach for an advocacy group in Washington. The ageing space

    telescope has been used to identify the true colour of a planet beyond our solar system for the first timeThe heavens are home to an alien world that shines a deep cobalt blue in a solar system far, far away from our own.Astronomers used the ageing Hubble space telescope to determine the true colour of the distant world, the first time such a feat has been achieved for a planet that circles a star other than the sun.Unlike the pale blue dot that harbours all known life in the cosmos, the "deep blue dot" is an inhospitable gas giant that lies 63 light years from Earth.
    On HD189733b, as the planet is named, the temperature soars to 1,000C and glassy hail whips through the air on hypersonic winds.Though the planet is hostile to life as we know it, the same technique could be used to spot potentially habitable worlds, through changes in cloud cover and other features.Frederic Pont at Exeter University observed the planet before, during, and after it passed behind its star. When the planet was on either side, the telescope collected light from the star along with light reflected from the planet's surface.
    But as the planet moved behind the star, the light it reflected was blocked out.Using an instrument onboard the telescope called an imaging spectrograph, Pont noticed that blue light dimmed sharply as the planet passed behind its star, but brightened again when it emerged on the other side.
    "As far as I am aware, nobody has had actual results on the colour of an exoplanet," Pont said.
    "Now we can say that this planet is blue."The
    deep cobalt colouration is thought to come from a similar process to that which makes Earth look blue from space, namely the scattering of blue light

    in the atmosphere.
    On the planet Pont observed, the scattering is probably due to a fine mist of silicate particles that are blown around by 7,000kph winds.With more advanced technology, the colour of a planet could help astronomers work out which ones might be habitable.
    Most planets in our solar system are either entirely covered by cloud, or have no clouds at all. Earth is unusual in that roughly half of its surface is obscured by cloud, a product of the water cycle that is essential for life."If you could forex-growth-bot colour of an exoplanet change over time it would be very revealing. At first, the cloud cover would be the thing to go for," Pont said.While
    future instruments could be sensitive enough to observe the changing hues of alien worlds, there may be no suitable telescopes in space to put them on. The Hubble observatory is more than 20 years old and was last repaired by a dedicated space shuttle mission

    in 2009. Without Hubble, there are no other space telescopes that could look at planets in visible wavelengths. Hubble's replacement, the James Webb Space Telescope, will pick up infra-red light only."Most
    colleagues in the field focussing on habitability concentrate on the detection of molecules in the infra-red, like water, carbon monoxide and methane," Pont said.
    "That's useful information of course, but my opinion is that we might be giving too much weight to this compared to visible colour, which gives a different kind of information, but maybe just as crucial to understand the general state of an Earth-like planet."Hubble space telescopeSpaceAlien lifeIan
    © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.
    | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds     Network Rail (NR) is deploying a new embedded analytics platform to improve visibility and shared access to key investment, risk and performance metrics in the £2.1
    billion London Crossrail project. The computer scientist Jaron Lanier provides insights on technology in

    his new book, “Who Owns the Future?”     U.S. stocks climbed for a fourth week, the longest stretch since 2007, after the economy showed signs of improvement and world leaders agreed on measures to halt the recession.
    Robotic teenagers, magical Summoners and a pair of

    eccentric detectives are discussed in your reviews this week!This week one of our readers Tasha tackled the fascinating concept of artificial intelligence in her brilliant review of MILA 2.0 by Debra Driza! In this novel, teen Mila discovers she is actually a robot and has to go on the run from her creators, who want to terminate her."I
    did enjoy this book, however, I felt that the narrative was unbearably descriptive at times and it distracted away from the action itself. I also found the first part of the book quite slow-paced as very little happened but I'm glad that the pace began to quicken from part two and onwards...
    Although this book does contain romance between Mila and Hunter, it doesn't dominate the entire story and their platonic yet romantic relationship is left on a cliff-hanger at the very end. I rate this book as a 7 out of 10 because although it is not my usual kind of book, it was very interesting towards the end but I feel the ending was slightly rushed."Taking
    an intriguing look into the Eastern social impact of the second world war, peace_love_books authored a superb review of The Endless Steppe

    by Esther Hautzig.
    Reviewer peace_love_books fittingly summarised this novel as "the dramatic experiences of Esther Hautzig during the Second World War as a young teenager"."The subject matter is at times very disturbing and tinnitus miracle as it

    is narrated by the voice of Esther herself, I would suggest no one younger than 11 should read it. However, older readers should not be put off by the simple language and adolescent voice, as I believe Esther's well observed comments about her conditions and the effect they had on her are interesting for any age. Boys

    should not be deterred by the female narrator, as her story is so powerful.
    The Endless Steppe could easily be compared to The Diary of Anne Frank due to their similar ages and some aspects of their stories, however this book does have a largely happy ending."Esther
    Hautzig was separated from most of her family during this time, and similarly orphan Felix - in Go Saddle The Sea by Joan Aiken - journeys from Spain to England in search of his long lost family.
    This week Rachie:) wrote an excellent review in which she described her love of Felix's story."I
    thought this book was one of the best adventure stories I have encountered and a touching yet easy to read book.
    I would love to read the next in the trilogy and I would recommend it to boys and girls age eight and up for an unpredictable adventure."Meanwhile
    TheBookAddictedGirl wrote an outstanding review of the second book in The Grisha trilogy: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo. This novel continues Alina's magical story as she fights the dark powers threatening her once-great nation Ravka. "In so many series the second book is a huge let-down.
    Siege and Storm?  An exception. It is a squillion times better than Shadow and Bone...  I adore the writing – it's so lyrical, so beautiful, yet so modern and witty and funny. I love this blend of classic fairytale and modern day. And it always seems to leave me wanting more! And the plot was amazing too. It was just nonstop action, nonstop thrills, nonstop suspense and nonstop excitement.
    I gobbled it up, falling harder in love each time. And then having my heart totally broken. Numerous times… I didn't see ninety-nine percent of the twists coming and could have just read this three-hundred-odd-paged-book in one sitting! You know, if I didn't need sleep and food and stuff..."For some of our younger

    readers, Prince Caspian recommended A Seaside Rescue by Tracey Corderoy in his wonderful review! This novel follows the tale of woodland creatures living in Willow Valley who go on a trip to the

    seaside!"The book has six chapters with lots of writing, but also really nice drawings on every page.
    Children from four to seven years would like this book, especially if you like animals or having adventures. I really enjoyed

    the book because I liked the characters and the adventures they have. The good news is that there are lots more in the same series and I am looking forward to reading them!"Finally we move onto a treat from one of our group reviewers: Ronaldo from The Book Bunch wrote a fantastic review of Ottoline and the Yellow Cat by Chris Riddell. This book follows the tale of two eccentric detectives aquaponics 4 you case of a string of high society jewel thefts and dog-nappings!"The opening was really interesting because it was all about mysteries and puzzles... The pictures are good, especially Mr Munroe.
    I would recommend this book to

    8- and 9-year-old boys and girls.
    I will get some of the other Ottoline books to read for fun."And
    that's it for this week! Thank you for all your delightful reviews.
    As usual, if we mentioned your review, email in to the children's site address - [email protected] - and we will send you a new book in the post.Happy
    reading!Want to tell the world about a book you've read? Join the site and send us your review!Children and teenagersChildren's books: 7 and underChildren's books: 8-12 yearsTeen © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited

    or its affiliated companies.
    All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds     Discounts on midcentury furniture, wall graphics and more.     Qingdao, one of China’s biggest seaside destinations, has been hit with a near-record algae bloom, leaving its popular beaches covered in a green, sticky muck.    
    Professor Miklos Porkolab, director of the Plasma Science and Fusion Center at MIT and professor in the MIT's Department of Physics, received the 2013 Hannes Alfvén Prize at a ceremony held in Espoo (Helsinki), Finland on July 1.The honor, given annually by the European Physical Society (EPS) during their Conference on Plasma Physics, recognizes outstanding work in the field of plasma science and fusion research.Porkolab
    was cited “for his seminal contributions to the physics of plasma waves and his key role in the development of fusion energy." Noting additional areas of his research, including the areas of magnetic reconnection, laser-plasma interaction and inertial confinement fusion, the citation concludes: “With such a broad scientific expertise in plasma physics, unique contributions to first-rate theories, exciting and novel experiments and development of innovative diagnostic techniques, as well as with

    a great devotion to science

    education and service, Miklos Porkolab has a strong impact on fusion energy research worldwide.”
    Every year, MIT senior Marisa Simmons bakes a 10-layer cake from scratch for her dorm. Her first attempt, as a freshman, toppled sideways, but Simmons has since engineered a structurally sound pastry.
    Her secret? “Pepperidge Farm pirouette cookies are actually very good reinforcement,” Simmons divulges.A civil engineering major from South Pasadena, Calif., Simmons calls the International Development House (iHouse) home while she’s at MIT. Simmons and the 20 other undergraduates in iHouse come from all over the world, but they’re united in their passion for international development.“Some people do human rights projects, some people do education, others do health projects,” Simmons says.
    Her own interests

    lie in infrastructure like roadways and water supply — the large-scale systems that connect people and their basic needs.
    The plunge into developmentWhen she first entered the Institute nearly four years ago, Simmons knew she wanted to be a civil engineer.
    She had enjoyed math ever since her grandmother taught her arithmetic through casino games (“You have to learn multiplication really quickly if you’re the craps dealer,” she notes), and she discovered a natural vitiligo treatment structural design through a summer research program at state universities in her native California. Simmons also valued community service, but she was getting tired of packing and shipping boxes of supplies with her high school

    service group: She wanted to do more.As a freshman, Simmons jumped right into MIT’s chapter of the national organization Engineers Without Borders (EWB), which was working to improve water quality and access for a community in Uganda. Older students in EWB taught her the basics of hydrology and structural design; the summer after her freshman year, Simmons traveled with the group to the Ugandan village — her first time outside the United States — where she lived for five weeks with a host family. In Uganda, she experienced firsthand the lack of something that many in the developed world take for granted: clean water flowing from an indoor tap.“To
    get water, we would have to walk a mile with 40 liters,” Simmons recounts. “It was really humbling, because you would see these 5-year-old kids carrying water, and I couldn’t even do it.”Working
    with the community, EWB designed a new model of rainwater storage.
    “Our system is unique in that a large rainwater tank is shared by the five or six surrounding houses,” Simmons explains. “I was really worried the sharing was not going to work, but it did. In the West we think, ‘my sink, my house’ — but there, their alternative is one pond, and it’s not someone’s pond, it’s

    everyone’s pond.”Access
    to water was one challenge; access to clean water was another. The biggest challenge there, though, was not purifying the water; it was convincing people to do so.Solar water disinfection — also known as SODIS — is cheap, easy and recommended by the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the Red Cross. How does it work? “You take your clear plastic bottle of water and you put it in the sun for six hours, and that purifies your water,” Simmons says.Really?“Yeah, it really works,” Simmons says, smiling. “That’s what everyone said — they thought I was crazy in the village at first. People say, ‘That’s so simple, it couldn’t work.’”Studies have shown that the sun’s ultraviolet rays kill all the bacteria in the water, but the villagers were skeptical. They accepted cupfuls of chlorine to disinfect their water, but it wasn’t until Simmons used SODIS for weeks without getting sick that a few started to adopt the system.Living as part of the

    village that summer raised the stakes for Simmons. “It’s not nameless people anymore,” she says.
    Simmons doesn’t think much about what EWB

    has accomplished so far in Uganda; rather, she focuses on how much remains to be done. “There are so many other people even within that one community who need the project,” she says.Simmons led the team in Uganda for the two years following that first visit, and continues to advise EWB as a mentor. She also worked on water quality in Rwanda with D-Lab for a month during her sophomore year; last summer she worked for the World Food Programme’s office in Italy, helping coordinate construction and trademiner the rest of her time, Simmons pursues another of her passions: sustainable design.Grass
    for roofs, fiber for steelSimmons remembers the jungles of the Yucatán peninsula, in southern Mexico, as “hot, humid and beautiful.”
    The heat and humidity were something to consider as she helped design a new biology lab for the Universidad Anahuac Mayab the summer after her sophomore year — a design that included sustainable design elements, such as a “green roof” planted with grass.Back

    at MIT, Simmons tests concrete designs that include natural fibers like sisal, hemp and jute in the Building

    Technology Lab with John Fernandez, an associate professor of architecture, building technology and engineering systems. The fibers can actually act as a substitute for

    steel, often used as reinforcement in concrete.“Natural fibers aren’t as energy-intensive to make,” Simmons explains. The design is also a form of carbon sequestration, she says: “The carbon in the plant that might otherwise be burned, for example, is being tucked away.”Simmons, Fernandez and their colleagues have shown that concrete is stronger with fibers than without, but they

    still need to test different mixes. “One form is where the fibers are cut up and mixed throughout the concrete,” Simmons says. “We’ve also tried to imitate rebar, but with fiber ropes. So your steel bar is replaced with a sisal rope, for example.”
    Simmons hopes the research could be used in developing countries, where steel reinforcement

    is prohibitively expensive.After her graduation from MIT in June, Simmons plans to pursue a master’s degree in project or construction management, and she hopes to eventually use her engineering and management skills to continue doing the work she loves: improving infrastructure to improve lives. At least 11 mayors have been slain this year across Mexico, five in the past six weeks, as a spooky sense of permanent siege takes hold in many communities where rival mafias fight for control of local drug sales, methamphetamine labs, marijuana and poppy fields, and the billion-dollar smuggling rou Dortmund crushed Real Madrid, 4-1, in the Champions League, just a night after Bayern Munich beat Barcelona, 4-0.     The F.B.I. on Wednesday released photos of three men wanted in connection with the attacks

    on an American diplomatic mission and C.I.A.
    outpost in Benghazi, Libya, in September.    

    Fused, a new San Francisco gallery launched by the designer Yves Behar and the curator Jessica Silverman, aims to facilitate meetings between the disciplines.     State attorneys general will accept nothing less than wholesale changes to the way the nation's largest mortgage servicers treat troubled homeowners, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, who leads the coalition of 50 attorneys general, said in an interview "Walk two miles and call me in the morning." B&B Italia and Teknion Corporation, two

    leading companies in the furnishings sector, have formed a partnership to distribute, license, and manufacture the Project Collection, a range of furniture

    by B&B Italia. Squeezed between York and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive, from 79th to 92nd Street, the East End Avenue area is laden with postwar co-ops.     One of the country’s last remaining tuition-free colleges will charge undergraduates deemed able to pay about $20,000 starting in
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