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The San Juan Weekly Star Soon to be Available at Walgreens Islandwide What’s Next for Jennifer López and Marc Anthony P3
39 Illegal Aliens Found in Puerto Rico P3
We’re Going to See a Black Hole!!! P4
Bacardi’s Famous Rum Plant and Museum
Reyes and Beltran Return to Lineup, Lifting Mets’ Spirits and Fortunes P31
Baseball Hall of Fame Adds Alomar, Blyleven and Gillick to Ranks The San Juan Weekly Star available on internet at www.sanjuanweeklypr.com
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July 28 - August 3, 2011
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The San Juan Weekly Star
July 28 - August 3, 2011
39 Illegal Aliens Found in Puerto Rico U .S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents arrested 39 undocumented aliens from Cuba, Dominican Republic and Ecuador yesterday, found illegally in the United States territory of Puerto Rico in four separate events. The total count of undocumented aliens arrested by Border Patrol are; 24 Cuban, 14 Dominican Republic and 1 Ecuadorian. It is unknown if the illegal aliens arrived via boat which is a common practice. The group of alleged 25 Cubans were transported by the US Coast Guard to the Mayaguez port of entry and transferred to the Border Patrol for immigration processing. The wet foot, dry foot policy is the name given to a consequence of the 1995 revision of the Cuban Adjustment Act of
1966. Since then, in what has become known as the “wet foot, dry foot” policy, a Cuban caught on the waters between the two nations (i.e., with “wet feet”) would be sent to the place of embarkation. One who makes it to shore (“dry feet”) might remain in the United States. The undocumented immigrants from the Dominican Republic and Ecuador do not have the protection of the Cuban Adjustment Act or the ‘west foot, dry foot’ policy and will face deportation proceedings. Border Patrol Agents interview and ﬁngerprint all undocumented aliens to verify prior immigration encounters or potential criminal records. Among the detained group of Cubans, Bor-
der Patrol Agents identiﬁed a national of the Dominican Republic.
What’s Next for Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony among people who have been following their careers,” he says. Stuart Slotnick, a New Yorkbased attorney who litigates matrimony and handles high-proﬁle clients, says the joint statement signals a team effort. “That coordination of a joint statement between celebrities usually indicates that they’re going to work together and keep it out of the public eye.” And it’s likely not something they might reconsider. “I don’t think they would have issued the kind of statement that they issued if it wasn’t truly something that they were seeking to end,” says Espinoza. Slotnick predicts a speedy resolution. “Jennifer Lopez does not By Lorena Blas and Cindy Clark
or Hollywood power couple Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, the number 7 isn’t so lucky. The couple on Friday released a joint statement announcing their “very difﬁcult decision” to end their seven-year marriage. It was Lopez’s third marriage and Anthony’s second. The news shook the celebrity world, which had begun to question the duo’s relationship when Lopez appeared July 9 with her mother at an event honoring the Duke and Du-
chess of Cambridge in Los Angeles. As recently as mid-June, though, Lopez, 41, and Anthony, 42, did separate interviews with Latina magazine for a cover story on couples. “On June 15, (Lopez) sounded very much like a woman in love,” Latina’s editorial director Galina Espinoza says. But Michael Sands, a Hollywood image consultant for more than 30 years and owner of Sands Digital Media, says the couple’s breakup is no surprise. “There was a roadmap that they weren’t getting along, and I don’t think there are any major surprises
want to have an ugly, prolonged, drawn-out divorce,” which would not be in the best interest of her image, he says. “She really is America’s new sweetheart. ... She doesn’t want to have a public ﬁght.” And with 3-year-old twins Emme and Max involved, “(Lopez) wants it settled in the best interest of the children, and wants it to be quiet and quick,” says Slotnick. If there is a custody trial involved, “It’s not fair to say that there’s a presumption that the mother will get the children, although that’s generally the case. They’ll look at who’s traveling, who’s working more, and ultimately whoever is going to get custody ... the judge will determine what’s best for the children.”
The San Juan Weekly Star July 28 - August 3, 2011
We’re Going to See a Black Hole!!! addition to the resolution, you’d also get the huge increase in light-gathering power, which he idea of black holes has gone from a you don’t get for building multiple small discurious thought experiment to a theo- hes. But this interferometry trick is true for retical likelihood to a near-certainty all wavelengths of light. In the visible part of -with thousands of known candidates- in a the spectrum, the twin Keck telescopes have very short time. But never before have we taken advantage of this for more than a debeen able to image a black hole directly; all cade. But radio can go one step further. Due to we have are artists’ renditions of what they difﬁculties synching these telescopes’ obsermight look like. And for the ﬁrst time ever, vations together, the optical telescopes need all of that may be about to change. Above is a to be relatively close together, as you can see. series of images taken of a star that exploded But thanks to a technique developed by Ro-- more or less -- about 1,000 years ago. You’ll ger Jennison in the 1950s using atomic clocks, notice that the infrared, visible light, and X- radio telescopes can be placed incredibly larray images are far superior in quality to the ge distances apart. And this gives us not just others (e.g., the radio). The infrared (from interferometry, but a special type known as Spitzer), the visible light (from Hubble), and VLBI, or Very Long Baseline Interferometry. the X-ray (from Chandra) images are all taken What does the ability to do this mean? In from space, where there is no atmospheric 2004, the European-VLBI Network took an distortion to contend with. Despite incredi- image of a radio source. But using this VLBI ble recent advances in adaptive optics, obser- technique, which can take data from telescoving from space will always be superior -all pes on opposite sides of the Earth, i.e., with a other things being equal -to observing from baseline of thousands of kilometers, allowed the ground. X-ray, visible, and even infra- us to obtain the highest-resolution image of red light is much shorter in wavelength than all-time. With a resolution many times superadio waves. Why should this second thing rior to that of the Hubble Space Telescope almatter? Let’s take a look at a good radio te- ready, radio astronomy using this VLBI techlescope. This telescope -- in Arecibo, Puerto nique is already the best in the world in terms Rico - is huge. That is, in fact, a mountain that of resolving bright, point-like radio sources. the primary mirror is built into. With a dia- Well, if you wanted to see a black hole, and meter of 1,000 feet (or over 300 meters), it is you were living here on Earth, where would about thirty times the size of the world’s lar- you look? You’d go and look for the closest, gest optical telescopes. And yet, it is far less largest, most radio-loud-and-active black powerful. Why’s that? Because radio waves hole to us. Which is in the heart of the neaare huge! While visible light has a waveleng- rest large cluster of galaxies to us: the Virgo th such that one million wavelengths could Cluster. At “just” 53 million light years away, ﬁt across you from shoulder to shoulder, you the galaxy M87, living deep inside the Virgo could ﬁt about one radio wavelength in that Cluster, has a black hole that’s more than a same span. And that’s what determines your thousand times as massive as our own, and resolution: how many wavelengths across it is active. That’s pretty spectacular, isn’t it?! your telescope’s primary mirror is. But ra- But using radio-VLBI techniques, we have aldio telescopes can do something special in a ready obtained resolution of this active black way that no other type of light can. Instead of hole that is ﬁfty times greater than Hubble building one giant dish, we can build two (or can give us. But if we wanted to image this more) small dishes a great distance apart. If black hole directly - in other words, to see their observations are synched up, and they with resolution so good that we could resolobserve the same object at the same time, we ve the event horizon of the black hole -we’d can use the technique of astronomical interfe- need a much bigger interferometer than the rometry to “see” with a resolution equivalent Earth can give us. How could we make that happen? You send a giant radio telescope out to the distances between the telescopes! In principle, building a huge dish that into space. As long as you can send an atomic same size would still be better, because in clock with it and synch it up with telescopes on the ground, you can use this A Remnant of an Exploded Star same technique. Only, instead of thousands of kilometers, you can make the interferometer distance hundreds of thousands of kilometers! With a resolution down to seven micro-arc-seconds, or 10,000 times that of Hubble, M87’s black hole is primed to be the ﬁrst black hole ever to have its event horizon measured and imaged by us. by Ethan Siegel
The San Juan Weekly Star
July 28 - August 3, 2011
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The San Juan Weekly Star
July 28 - August 3, 2011
Baseball Hall of Fame Adds Alomar, Blyleven and Gillick to Ranks
By VINCENT M. MALLOZZI
oberto Alomar ﬁrst looked up to Bert Blyleven as a 9-year-old in 1977, when Blyleven teamed with his father, Sandy, as members of the Texas Rangers. Fifteen years later, Alomar and Blyleven met in a game as opposing players for the ﬁrst and only time in their long and productive major league careers. Alomar, then a rising star with the Toronto Blue Jays, had a ﬂyout, a triple and a walk in three at-bats against Blyleven, then a wily veteran with a wicked curveball who was ﬁnishing a 22-year career with the California Angels. The baseball paths of Alomar and Blyleven crossed again, this time at the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. “From the time Robbie was a little boy, you could see the athleticism and baseball skills were all there,” Blyleven said before breaking into a wide grin. “But that game I played against him, I don’t know about that triple, I thought I struck him out three times.” Alomar, considered by many to be the greatest second baseman in baseball history, was inducted Sunday to the Hall of Fame in his second year on the ballot, Blyleven in his 14th. “I played the game of baseball because it was my passion,” Alomar told a crowd of 17,500 fans, many of them waving ﬂags from his native Puerto Rico. Many others, who made the trip from Toronto, waved Canadian ﬂags as a tribute to Alomar’s time with the Blue Jays, whom he helped lead to World Series titles in 1992 and 1993. “It wasn’t all about the hits,” said Alomar, who had 2,724 of them, “I wanted to be the best, and I played the game the only way I knew how — to win. “My time in Toronto was the best of
my career,” he added, bringing the Canadian fans to their feet to cheer wildly. “You guys embraced me from Day 1, and I am so proud to represent you as the ﬁrst Toronto Blue Jay elected to the Hall of Fame.” Alomar, who began his speech in Spanish, did not make mention of the blemish on his baseball résumé, an ugly incident in September 1996 when Alomar spit in the face of home plate umpire John Hirschbeck after a called third strike. (Alomar and Hirschbeck have since patched up their differences.) Alomar did, however, address a handful of teams, including the Mets, whom he joined after the magic that made him one of the game’s most dynamic players had all but disappeared. “To the New York Mets, White Sox, Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Rays, I wore your uniform with pride and dignity, and I want you to know that I gave you my best each and every time I hit that ﬁeld to represent you; thank you,” he said. Alomar, who had a .300 lifetime average, won 10 Gold Gloves and made 12 All-Star teams in a row from 1990 to 2001, received 523 of 581 votes, for 90 percent, while Blyleven ﬁnished with 463, for 79.7 percent. Candidates needed 436 votes, or 75 percent, to be enshrined. Pat Gillick, the former Blue Jays, Orioles, Mariners and Phillies general manager who won two World Series titles with Alomar and the Blue Jays and another with the Phillies in 2008 was also enshrined. Gillick’s teams produced winning records in 20 of his 27 seasons. Blyleven, who was the ﬁrst player born in the Netherlands to be inducted, was a two-time All-Star who is ﬁfth in major league history with 3,701 strikeouts and ninth with 60 shutouts. He completed 242 games and struck out at least 200 batters in eight seasons.
Blyleven, a likable prankster who enjoys the spotlight, opted to enter the Hall beneath the bill of a Minnesota Twins cap. He spent half his career with the Twins and helped them win the 1987 World Series. He was also a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates team that won the 1979 World Series. He thanked Harmon Killebrew, Willie Stargell, Bob Feller, Chuck Tanner and Kirby Puckett, all deceased, for helping to guide his career. “These guys are all looking down on me today,” Blyleven said. “They had a huge impact on my career. They helped mentor me.” Though Blyleven ﬁnished short of 300 victories, a milestone that would have surely expedited his enshrinement — his overall record is 287-250 — his Hall of Fame credentials and candidacy were bolstered by bloggers and statisticians, some of whom pointed out that every other pitcher
in the top 20 in shutouts was in the Hall of Fame, as well as every other eligible pitcher in the top 17 in strikeouts. With better run support during his almost 5,000 innings pitched, supporters argued, Blyleven would have easily exceeded 300 victories. Blyleven was asked if that campaign was responsible for punching his ticket to Cooperstown. “I have no idea,” he said, “but I appreciate the guys who do this Internet stuff and maybe woke up some of the writers.” Alomar ended his speech with a tip of his Blue Jays cap to his family, including his father and brother, Sandy Alomar Jr., with whom he teamed with on the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox, as well as his many fans from Puerto Rico and Canada. “You are and will always be my life and my love,” he said. “Thank you and God bless you.”
The San Juan Weekly Star
July 28 - August 3, 2011
Obama Administration Rolls Out Standards for Health Insurance Marketplaces By ROBERT PEAR
n a big step to carry out the new health care law, the Obama administration unveiled standards for insurance marketplaces that will allow individuals, families and small businesses in every state to shop for insurance, compare prices and beneﬁts and buy coverage. Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, said the insurance exchanges, the centerpiece of the new law, “will offer Americans competition, choice and clout.” In theory, the exchanges will pool insurance risks and premiums so that individuals and small businesses will have “the same purchasing power as big businesses,” Ms. Sebelius said. Issuance of the proposed rules shows how President Obama is moving inexorably to carry out his health care overhaul, despite attacks on the new law in Congress and the courts, where more than two dozen states are challenging the constitutionality of a requirement for most Americans to carry insurance. In principle, liberals and conservatives support the exchanges, which they see as a way to increase the purchasing power of individuals and small businesses, but they disagree on how the exchanges should be conﬁgured. The regulations issued Monday, which provide a fair amount of latitu-
de to states, were welcomed by consumer groups, patient advocates and some business lobbyists. But they may not satisfy liberals who argue that the exchanges should tightly regulate insurance and contract with selected health plans that offer the best deals. And they may not satisfy conservatives who want the exchanges to be wide open to any insurers that want to participate and meet minimum federal standards. Every state will have an exchange by Jan. 1, 2014. Federal ofﬁcials will assess states’ “operational readiness” as of Jan. 1, 2013, and will run the exchange in any state that is unable or unwilling to do so. Many states have been pondering how to proceed, and the regulations will provide guidance. The National Conference of State Legislatures says 12 states have enacted laws to establish exchanges. Bills failed in nine states and are pending in 11 others, the organization said. The Congressional Budget Ofﬁce predicts that by 2019, about 24 million people will have insurance through exchanges, with four-ﬁfths of them getting federal subsidies that average $6,400 a year per person. People with incomes up to four times the poverty level (about $89,000 a year for a family of four) will be eligible for subsidies to make insurance more affordable. Each state exchange will certify
“qualiﬁed health plans,” provide the public with “standardized comparative information” on costs and beneﬁts, and rate each plan based on the quality and price of care. In addition, the exchange will help people determine if they are eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or for federal tax credits to subsidize the purchase of private insurance. Federal ofﬁcials said they would issue a separate rule later this year specifying the “essential health beneﬁts” that must be offered by all health plans. Trumpeting the advent of the exchanges, the administration said Monday that they would “give Americans the same insurance choices as members of Congress.” However, in response to questions after a news conference on Monday, health ofﬁcials acknowledged that this claim was not necessarily correct. A small employer will be able to pick “a level of coverage” for its employees. A higher level will pay more of the consumer’s medical costs. Un-
der the law, members of Congress must generally get their coverage through an exchange. But a small business could legally choose a level of coverage lower than those offered to federal employees, including members of Congress. Under the rules, an employer may allow employees to choose any health plan at a given level of coverage. But an exchange may also allow an employer to limit its workers to one or two health plans — far fewer than the number available to members of Congress and other federal workers. With some states like Florida balking at the new law, federal ofﬁcials went out of their way Monday to strike a conciliatory note, promising to be ﬂexible. If a state is not ready by January 2013, Ms. Sebelius said, it still might qualify for “conditional approval” if it was on track to operate an exchange by January 2014. In addition, federal ofﬁcials said, a state could set up and operate its own exchange in 2015 or later years if it is not ready in 2104.
The San Juan Weekly Star
July 28 - August 3, 2011
Banking on the Future By MICHAEL B. LIKOSKY
OR decades, we have neglected our economy while other countries have invested in state-of-the-art water, energy and transportation infrastructure. Our manufacturing base has migrated abroad; our innovation edge may soon follow. If we don’t ﬁnd a way to build a sound foundation for growth, the American dream will survive only in our history books. How we will pay for it? Given the deﬁcit and debt, it is doubtful a second, costly stimulus package could gain traction. President Franklin Roosevelt faced a similar predicament in the 1930s when the possibility of a double-dip Depression loomed. The New Deal’s second wave aggressively pursued public-private partnerships and quasi-public authorities. Roosevelt described the best-known of these enterprises, the Tennessee Valley Authority, as a “corporation clothed with the power of government but possessed of the ﬂexibility and initiative of a private enterprise.”
A bipartisan bill introduced by senators solution: it would create an American Infrastructure Financing Authority to move private capital, now sitting on the sidelines in private equity into much-needed projects. The authority would get federal money ($10 billion Senate bill) and extend targeted loans and limited loan guarantees to projects that need a push but can pay for themselves like a road that collects tolls, an energy plant that collects user fees, or a port that imposes fees on goods entering or leaving the country. Today we ﬁnd ourselves trapped in a vicious cycle. Our degraded infrastructure straitjackets growth. We resist borrowing, fearful of ﬁnancing pork-barrel projects selected because of political calculations rather than need. While we have channeled capital into wars and debt, our competitors in Asia and Latin America have worked with infrastructure banks to lay a sound foundation for growth. We must compete not only with their lower labor costs but also with their advanced energy, transportation and information
platforms, which are a magnet even for American businesses. Americans support greater private investment in infrastructure. There is skepticism about public-private partnerships; Wall Street has not re-earned the trust of citizens who saw hard-earned dollars vacuumed out of their retirement accounts. The World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank and similar institutions helped debt-burdened developing countries to grow through infrastructure investments and laid the foundations for the global high-tech economy. They literally laid the infrastructure of the Web through a ﬁber-optic link around the globe. Infrastructure banks retroﬁtted ports to receive and process shipping containers, which made it proﬁtable to manufacture goods overseas. Similar investments anchored energy-intensive microchip fabrication. President Obama has proposed a $30 billion infrastructure bank that, unlike the Senate proposal, would not necessarily sustain itself over time. His proposal is tied to
the reauthorization of federal highway transportation money and is not, in my view, as far-reaching or well designed as the Senate proposal. He recognizes, as his predecessors did, the importance of infrastructure to national security. For Lincoln, it was the transcontinental railroad; for F.D.R., an industrial platform to support military manufacturing; for Eisenhower, an interstate highway system, originally conceived to ease the transport of munitions. America’s ability to project strength, to rebuild its battered economy and to advance its values is possible only if we possess modern infrastructure.
The San Juan Weekly Star
July 28 - August 3, 2011
Agreement on Debt Talks: Health Groups Dislike Proposals By ROBERT PEAR
udget negotiators have not found a way to avert a government default on federal debt obligations, but with their ideas to cut Medicare and Medicaid they have managed to provoke opposition from almost every major group that represents beneﬁciaries and health care providers. The latest provocation was a list of proposed savings presented at the White House this week by the House majority leader, Representative Eric Cantor, Republican of Virginia. Mr. Cantor said Tuesday that the Representative Eric Cantor, Republican of Virgina, preparing to discuss the ideas had all been seriously discussed, budget negotiations. with varying levels of Democratic support, in seven weeks of negotiations led by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. posed co-payments for home health care But with House Republicans ada- would “signiﬁcantly increase out-of-pocket mantly opposed to new taxes, Democrats costs for many low-income widows with said they would not accept cuts in Medicare multiple chronic conditions.” that reduced beneﬁts. When such co-payments were seMr. Cantor’s list included 27 propo- riously considered in the past, Democrats sals that he said would save up to $353 bi- wheeled some of the widows into the Capillion over 10 years, in the context of a bud- tol to denounce the idea. get deal that could save anywhere from $2 Mr. Cantor’s list includes $100 billion trillion to $4 trillion over the same period. in savings from Medicaid over 10 years — Items on the list touched off howls of the same amount sought in a White House protest from lobbyists and Democratic law- proposal that has caused consternation makers who saw details for the ﬁrst time on among some ofﬁcials at the Department of Tuesday. Health and Human Services. Some of the proposals would hit MeLaboratories were surprised to learn dicare patients in the pocketbook, charging Tuesday of the proposal to start charging co-payments for home health care and clini- Medicare beneﬁciaries a $1 co-payment for cal laboratory services like blood tests. One each lab test. Lab tests and home health proposal would increase premiums and co- visits are now exempt from such cost-shapayments for beneﬁciaries with relatively ring. high incomes. Another would require miAlan B. Mertz, president of the Amerillions of recipients to pay more of the costs can Clinical Laboratory Association, a trade now covered by private insurance policies group, said that collecting the co-payments that supplement Medicare. from beneﬁciaries would be “a huge admiThe Congressional Budget Ofﬁce says nistrative hassle.” the proposal could save Medicare up to $53 The average lab test costs $12 or $13, billion over 10 years, mainly by curbing the Mr. Mertz said, and labs typically “do not use of health care by people with supple- have a face-to-face relationship with pamental coverage known as Medigap poli- tients.” In many cases, he said, “we will not cies. Studies show that such policyholders be able to collect the money, or the cost of use about 25 percent more services than collecting it will be more than the amount Medicare patients who have no supplemen- of the co-payment.” tal coverage, the budget ofﬁce said. Representative Paul D. Ryan, RepuBut Medigap policies are popular with blican of Wisconsin and chairman of the older Americans, who like the ﬁnancial se- House Budget Committee, said the din of curity they get from the extra insurance. criticism was disappointing. “The Medigap proposal would shi“These are not big Medicare savers,” ft costs onto Medicare beneﬁciaries,” said Mr. Ryan said in an interview. “They do not Howard J. Bedlin, vice president of the save a lot of money in the whole scheme of National Council on Aging, a service and things. If we come to a political paralysis advocacy group. “Our fear is that many over a few hundred billion dollars, the crewould go without the care they need and dit markets will really start turning on us.” end up in a hospital emergency room, which The Obama administration said Tuescosts Medicare more than proper treatment day that instead of cutting beneﬁts or inwould have cost.” creasing co-payments, Congress should inLikewise, Mr. Bedlin said, the pro- crease the power of an independent agency,
created by the new health care law, to make sweeping cuts in the growth of Medicare spending. At a hearing of the House Budget Committee, Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, said the new agency, the Independent Payment Advisory Board, would be a backstop to ensure a sharp reduction in the growth of
Medicare spending per beneﬁciary. Mr. Ryan said the 15-member board was “just a mechanism to take power out of the hands of politicians so they can absolve themselves of responsibility for the inevitable price controlling and rationing that is to come in Medicare.” Such rationing, he said, “is not necessary if you do fundamental Medicare reform.”
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The San Juan Weekly Star
July 28 - August 3, 2011
The Myth of the Allergy-Free Dog By NICHOLAS BAKALAR
og lovers with a pet allergy have a big problem when it comes to having a dog in the home. But the usual solution — getting a breed known to be hypoallergenic — may not be a safe bet. In fact, there may be no such thing as a lowallergy or allergy-free dog, according to a new report. The study found that the quantities of dog allergens in homes with supposedly hypoallergenic breeds are no different from those in homes with dogs widely considered non-hypoallergenic. It is not even clear how a hypoallergenic breed earns the title. There is no single “ofﬁcial” list of them. Various breeds, often dogs that shed little hair, appear on lists posted on the Internet, and the American Kennel Club suggests 11 “hypoallergenic canine candidates,” including poodles, soft-coated wheaten terriers, schnauzers and the Portuguese water dog, made famous two years ago when the Obama family adopted one. “I have no idea where this whole concept came from,” said Christine Cole Johnson, the senior author of the study, to be published online in The American Journal of Rhinology and
Allergy. “It’s been around for a long time, and maybe people associated it with shedding. I think it’s just a legend.” Christina Duffney-Carey, spokesperson for the kennel club, said that it “does not recommend or endorse any speciﬁc breed, nor does it claim that ‘hypoallergenic breeds’ will not affect people with allergies.” But, she adds, “there are many breeds with consistent and predictable coats that we suggest for allergy sufferers. These breeds have nonshedding coats, which produce less dander.” It is possible that some breeds shed less dander — bits of hair and
skin — than others. But according to this study, that may make little difference to allergy sufferers. Previous studies have examined dog skin and hair to determine the amount of allergens they contain, and have found wide variations among individual animals, but no consistent differences by breed. This is the ﬁrst study based on a sample scientiﬁcally selected to be representative of the national population to look at the actual dispersal of allergens in homes. The scientists found that 60 of the 161 A.K.C.-recognized breeds were listed as hypoallergenic on one Web resource or another. But rather than entrust the matter to the opinions of the list-makers, the researchers decided to see whether breeds called hypoallerge-
nic were actually shedding less of the major dog allergen, Canis familiaris 1, or Can f 1, where they live. As part of a larger populationbased long-term allergy study, the scientists collected dust samples from the homes of 173 one-dog families, and found that 163 of them produced measurable levels of Can f 1. The numbers of dogs of each breed were not large enough to allow for analyses by individual breed, but the researchers compared quantities of allergens found in the samples using various categories of purebred and mixed-breed hypoallergenic and nonhypoallergenic dogs. No matter how they did the comparisons — even comparing dogs identiﬁed as hypoallergenic by the A.K.C. against all other dogs — they found no statistically signiﬁ-
cant differences in levels of Can f 1. The authors acknowledge that their study has certain weaknesses. For example, the amount of time the dog spent in the room where the sample was gathered was not known, which could have affected the results. And the authors relied on the reports of the owners about the breed and ancestry of their dogs. Still, Dr. Cole, an epidemiologist at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, said: “You can’t be assured that some breed is going to produce less allergen than another. Allergists, based on their experience, really think that it’s just individual dogs who have some variations based on genetics or behavior, who produce more allergens than others. But it’s not going to be a breed classiﬁcation that predicts that.”
The San Juan Weekly Star
July 28 - August 3, 2011
36 Hours in Honolulu By JOCELYN FUJII
ONOLULU has never been hotter, and not just because it’s July. The city’s “it” factor has been on the rise since President Obama announced, two years ago in Singapore, that his self-described “home state of Hawaii” would host the 2011 Asia-Paciﬁc Economic Cooperation forum. This November, the 21-nation Paciﬁc Rim summit may bring as many as 10,000 people to Waikiki, the renowned Honolulu destination on Oahu’s south shore. While the city primps for the media glare, it also brims with summer’s delights. Mangoes and sweet summer fruit add splashy colors to the market stands. Pikake, puakenikeni, gardenia and tuberose grace Chinatown lei stands, and Hawaiian music spills onto beaches from sunset-drenched oceanfront lounges. Friday 4 p.m. 1) A SPA WITHOUT WALLS There’s nothing better than a summer moment at Kapiolani Park, the 300-acre recreational magnet at the foot of Diamond Head, the volcanic tuff cone and landmark the Hawaiians named Leahi. Work up a sweat with the joggers and rugby players while white terns soar above the ironwoods. Top that off with a sunset swim across the street, at the beach fronting the New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel. 6 p.m. 2) HAWAIIAN TUNES Sandy feet are not an anomaly at
Duke’s Restaurant and Barefoot Bar (2335 Kalakaua Avenue; 808-922-2268; dukeswaikiki.com), where the stars of Hawaiian music play nightly at sunset. Maunalua, a trio offering contemporary Hawaiian music, usually plays on Fridays, and the guitarist-vocalist Henry Kapono, the self-proclaimed “wild Hawaiian,” is the Hawaiian-rock attraction on Sundays. The open-air spot has a vintage surfer feel and wall-towall tributes to the Olympic swimming legend Duke Kahanamoku. Parking is expensive, but there’s no cover charge. 7:30 p.m. 3) THE PALATE-PLEASER Philippe Padovani, one of the 12 original founders of Hawaii Regional Cuisine, opened Padovani’s Grill earlier this year, just in time for the 20th anniversary of the culinary movement. Fans love him for his designer chocolates, masterful sauces, signature clam chowder (Manila clams, sweet corn from Oahu’s north shore and a soupçon of island seaweed) and risotto (trufﬂe oil and several types of mushrooms). There are special touches across the board, including made-to-order sauces for the seafood and Black Angus beef dishes. The chef pays equal respect to vegetarians, with an excellent goat cheese ravioli and fricassee of mushrooms. For dessert, try the tarte Tatin and bourbon crème brûlée. A three-course dinner without drinks costs $55 to $65. 9:30 p.m. 4) FROM TATTOOS TO DRAGONS The indie jazz scene is thriving at
the top of a steep stairway in Chinatown, in a former tattoo parlor the size of a cozy living room. Some of the best musicians in town gather at the Dragon Upstairs (1038 Nuuanu Avenue; 808-526-1411; thedragonupstairs.com) to jam and entertain in grand bohemian style. Most nights it’s the spectacular Japanese/local contemporary jazz pianist, Satomi Yarimizo, with her drummer and bass player. Because many in the audience are musicians, there are surprise performances galore in a seriously music-loving room. Saturday 9 a.m. 5) DIAMOND HEAD FOOD FEST Yes, it’s possible to have breakfast on the slopes of Diamond Head, at Honolulu’s busiest farmers’ market. A bonanza for early-bird foodies, the Saturday farmers’ market at Kapiolani Community College (4303 Diamond Head Road; 808-848-2074; hfbf.org) is
the raison d’être for many a local food lover. Take your own bag and go early to ﬁnd parking: it’s worth it. Everything there is local. The rainbow of products is edible Hawaii in full color, whether it’s persimmons, homemade ginger and guava drinks, mangoes, goat cheese, local honey or scones and banana bread. 11 a.m. 6) IT’S ALL ABOUT ART With the merger this summer of the Contemporary Museum and the Honolulu Academy of Arts (900 South Beretania Street; 808-532-8700; honoluluacademy.org), and a new director, Stephan Jost, the buzz is all about art. A $25, two-and-a-half-hour tour of Shangri La, the Islamic museum founded by the Doris Duke estate, begins and ends at the Academy, which runs the Shangri La tours. A 20-minute shuttle ride takes you to the 1930s oceanfront mansionturned-museum with its Iznik tiles, Central Asian textiles and 13th-century prayer room. When you return to the Academy, leave time for the Hawaii collection in the John Dominis and Patches Damon Holt Gallery, with works by Jules Tavernier, Lionel Walden and other Hawaiian masters. 1:30 p.m. 7) ART AND THE PLATE The Pavilion Cafe (900 South Beretania Street; 808-532-8734; honoluluacademy.org/394-pavilion_cafe), the restaurant for the Academy of Arts, scores high points for its Mediterranean menu and its alfresco location next to a waterfall and Jun Kane ko sculptures. The menu, while not fancy, is ideal: white bean salad with arugula and wilted radicchio ($12.95), hearty sandwiches (feta, tapenade, tomato; chopped salmon steak), a pasta of the day and desserts
Continues on page 12
The San Juan Weekly Star
July 28 - August 3, 2011
Comes from page 11 like chocolate pot de crème and fresh fruit crisp ($5.95 each). At the Academy boutique a few steps away, books, cards, textiles and handmade jewelry make it one of Honolulu’s stellar shopping attractions. 5:30 p.m. 8) SUNSET SERENADE Halekulani’s House Without a Key (2199 Kalia Road; 808-923-2311; ha-
lekulani.com) is a magnet at sunset. A century-old kiawe tree is gracefully backlighted by the late afternoon sun, the mai tais ($12) are heroic, and the views of the ocean and Diamond Head make you forget about the neighboring high-rises. When the hula dancer Kanoe Miller takes the stage, small talk ceases. It could be a postcard from the 1940s, the heyday of Waikiki. On Ms. Miller’s nights off, Debbie Nakanelua ﬁlls the stage with her
own brand of hula magic. 8 p.m. 9) THE RAW RAGE Last year, Masaharu Morimoto, a star of the program “Iron Chef America,” opened his ﬁrst Hawaii restaurant, Morimoto Waikiki. Sharing a pool and lounge with the Waikiki Edition hotel, the sleek, high-concept restaurant offers yacht-ﬁlled harbor views, indoor-outdoor dining, a ﬁre pit, a sushi bar and a bar. Outdoors, lanterns light poolside picnic tables where urbane networkers linger over designer cocktails and tapas. Coral sculptures and panels of green algae encased in acrylic are a bold interior statement by the designer Thomas Shoos. Raw dishes, such as sashimi, toro tartare and the popular lamb and wagyu carpaccio, are classic Morimoto ($13 to $30), but the noodle dishes ($10 to $18), occasionally too salty and overcooked, are less successful. The wagyu steaks have a reverential following ($50 to $85), and the light-as-air tofu cheesecake ($12) is a favorite. Sunday 10 a.m. 10) THE TURNING POINT The Makapuu Point Trail, at the easternmost part of the island, is the tour de force on a drive full of special moments. Pack sunscreen and a hat as you head south along Kalanianaole Highway past Hanauma Bay and Sandy Beach. Koko Head Crater on the left has created striated cliffs that nearly run into the lava shoreline, and you’re driving between them both. Once past Sandy Beach, park at the Ka Iwi State Park lot and follow the trail to Makapuu Point along a two-mile 500-foot
ascent. The 1909 Makapuu Lighthouse completes the package with views of the eastern coast and small offshore islands. 12:30 p.m. 11) THE BUZZ ABOUT BURGERS Continue the drive along the windward coast, where sea turtles feed among ﬁshermen and snorkelers. About 20 minutes from Makapuu, you’ll reach Kailua Beach, lined with ironwoods and dotted with paddlers and windsurfers. The local watering hole, Buzz’s Original Steakhouse (413 Kawailoa Road; 808-261-4661; buzzssteakhouse.com), is across the street with a charming veranda, and a tree growing through the center of the dining room. While it’s basically a burger joint, there are some standouts, including the kiawe-grilled fresh ﬁsh burgers ($11.95). Bloody Marys and beer ﬂow freely from the koa and bamboo bar. IF YOU GO The year-old, style-centric Waikiki Edition (1775 Ala Moana Boulevard; 808-943-5800; editionhotels.com) has 353 rooms on 17 ﬂoors; rates range from $379 to $995. At the Diamond Head end of Waikiki, the New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel (2863 Kalakaua Avenue; 808-923-1555; kaimana.com) has a sleeker look with its refurbished interiors. Rooms start at $150. Outrigger Reef on the Beach (2169 Kalia Road; 808-926-1959; outriggerreef-onthebeach.com) is on Waikiki Beach, with online summer rates from $179 to $369. Specials and promotions are ongoing, so be sure to ask. Nightly Hawaiian music at the Kani Ka Pila Grille is a ﬁnd for any music lover.
The San Juan Weekly Star
July 28 - August 3, 2011
LETTERS Suggestion To Editor Angulo: One page of letters to the editor is hardly enough for a weekly. It’s material that you get for free and they’re great letters---mine in particular. Surely incoming varies a lot, people write when news is hot or over long weekends, I suppose, so you might be variable. Frágola Serpieri, Santurce
Penmanship & Cogency To Ed Martínez: Your letters develop like the narration of a dream. We’re not your shrinks, Ed, and you’re a frustrating read. Plan ahead. First outline the issue. Follow with evidence and reasoning. And a conclusion is a must. Jennifer Contreras, Condado
FCC Sanctimony ME: Who’s going to get you to the UPR this morning? MY SON GILBERTO: Anita is headed inbound. ME: “Headed inbound!?” What kind of English is that? I pay your tuition and the $800 quota and you speak gutter English. MY SON GILBERTO: Well, that’s what they just said over the radio in the WOSO Trafﬁc Report. If the Radio ran dirty jokes, which might be good for a laugh or two, the FCC would be all over the station. Yet bad English over the media undermines our efforts to educate our young. Marta García, Ocean Park
Obama or Mr. Greed? I just read an article calling Obamacare a $450 billion a year lie. The author quotes a couple of studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Two thirds of Medicaid children were denied urgent appointments with their doctors, compared to 11% denied to those with private insurance. As for dentists, the “denial rate” was lots worse, 63.5 and 4.6% resp. What strikes me is how far apart from my own is the author’s conclusion. He blames Obama, I blame Mr. Greed. He suggests a restructuring that would allow the individual states to better micro manage Medicare. I would suggest that only Socialized Medicine could do what not even state run programs cannot do – drive Mr. Greed out of the equation.
But as long as our two parties continue to be slaves of ideology, the solution will have to wait until the ensusing ﬁscal crisis decides for us. In the meantime, socialized medicine continues to be ignored by economists, analysts and the media. I wonder why. ED MARTINEZ, SAN JUAN
To Lisa Bay Congratulations Lisa, you have joined a worryingly large group of respondees to my letters who appear to lack either the interest or the capacity to cogently and coherently refute the points I have been making. Far easier, it is, to rip the messenger than to confront his message. Henry Ford once said: “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it”. I welcome you to the non-thinkers club. Robert J. Licalzi, on behalf of Edna’s mother. Robert J. Licalzi, Guaynabo
A Lie Called Freedom In the The Communist Manifesto Marx and Engels explain that after the American and French revolutions, power devolved from the nobility to the burgeoisie. No, democracy’s not even mentioned. The President stopped over to collect from a $35K/attendee reception here. Makes the Governor’s $1K affairs seem venial. Now when you part with that kind of bread you expect –demand– quid pro quo. I mean, something beyond partisan contentment, no one can be that much of a toad. Then what about the rest of us? All we do is vote and we don’t take that seriously in any event. So the commies were on target. But what does it mean, what’s it all got to do with what happens to you and me? On the mainland everybody’s rufﬂed over wetbacking. Arizona enraged. But the folks who want cheap labor are paying off Washington. So la migra plays losing hide-n-seek with los coyotes. The American worker is invited to perform an anatomical impossibility. And here. 800+ slaughtered a year, some in the drug wars and you or me to get the greenbacks to, yes, buy dope. Medicalize the stuff! the naive pudits yell at the unhearing Virginia-marble pillars at Puerta de Tierra. When you see legislators drop their jaws moronically and blame their recalcitrance on Rev. Rashke, do you believe them? Are you that much of a nitwit? Or perhaps it’s more than the soul can accept –that all we’ve worshipped through our
lives is but a perfumed mirage. Perhaps it would be cathartic to countence the evil behind the throne. Just show up at Fortuño’s next luncheon. It’ll cost you one grand though. In the early years of the American Republic, Washington and Jefferson strove against this sort of thing with tenacity. Peruse the former’s speeches, the Farewell Address in particular, and the latter’s legislative and judicial initiatives. And read The Federalist Papers by Madison and Hamilton. The Founding Fathers conceived America as a hard-working and prosperous agricultural community. Not a constellation of urban conglomerates of immigrant lumpen virtually enslaved by a corparate and banking leviathan, as eventually happened. And, believe it or not, taíno Puerto Rico was a happy place to live in. When los caribes weren’t around. Agustín Manzano, Santurce
At the UPR: “Sit down, please. Someone will be right with you.” Translation: You’re going to spend the morning in that chair. The afternoon if you get feisty. Emilio Santiago, Summit Hills
Police Island Back in college for a class on drug-addiction sociology we had to attend a drug trial. The cop testiﬁed that they’d caught the defendant redhanded at a drug deal and then the defendant took the stand and said the police had just picked him up and that they told him they’d inform him why at the station and when they got there they showed him the cocaine they had found on him, just like that. It didn’t occur to us at the time that the accused might be telling the truth, as it didn’t to the judge who without hesitation but without the drama one might expect from such a court case found him guilty and sentenced him to ﬁve years in the pen. I’ve since worked for the Puerto Rico police and it’s common knowledge there that cops routinely plant evidence, for drug arrests in particular. They ﬁgure the important thing is to lock up perpetrators, not to honor their constitutional rights. The end result is that centuries of political development are obviated, constitutional government becomes a joke. And surely many innocents get jailed, I mean, democratic principles and institutions weren’t developed for nothing. The guardia becomes judge and jury. Not to mention executioner, as we’ve seen. Crisálida Martínez, San Juan
The San Juan Weekly Star
July 28 - August 3, 2011
LETTERS Slight A journalist asked the Governor if he still likes medianoches. He never did, came the snide response. It seems the President knows a shark when he sees one. Bob Harris, Condado
Not Good for the Gander To Robert Licalzi of Garden Hills, mother of Edna, Juanita & Lucinda:
of Sandra Palin and Obama is a Democrat liberal. The Governor is a ridiculous social Darwinist, an Ayn Rand true believer and a wicked worshiper of Singapore, the unlikely place where George Orwell’s 1984 is real. The President announces government is there to look after the public welfare. The Fortuño Administration are the ofﬁce help of the Milla de Oro fellows really running the show here. So it was reasonable for Obama to sidle up to García Padilla instead, not that the latter appears any promising. In fact, he comes across as one more shallow popular pouncing after his own tail. Ana Badillo, Hato Rey
In your gazillion-paragraph antistudent diatribes you railed against “virulent entitlement fever.” An afﬂiction shared by automotive and banking CEOs in their Guccis ﬂying to Washington on their Lear Jets demanding----and getting----billion-dollar bailouts from the President, who visibly would’ve much rather said no. It seems under capitalism the merit of self-reliance does not extend to the big boys. Ana Montes, Las Lomas
Jesus of Nazareth was an itinerant preacher. He went from town to town throughout ancient Judea and, as he must’ve had a cash-ﬂow problem, families took him in for a night or two so he could spend the day getting himself heard. In the evening there was wining and dining with the hosts and conversation that must’ve been memorable and early to bed in those oil-lantern days. Once Jesus was put up by a well-to-do couple who were traditionalist Jews. I don’t remember which gospel I found this in. Ir read the Bible haphazardly. They reasonably expected Jesus, being a rabbi, even if a self-styled one. to take part with them in the traditional Jewish dinnertime ritua. which the biblical passage implies waas elaborate. Jesus reacted that such a thing was idiotic, that he would not do it, and he didn’t. Rough way for a houseguest to treat a host. Why couldn’t the Christ just be civil and take the thing in stride? Presumably, like a lot of what Jesus said and did, this was for posterity, for us, the people at the time were not important, considering. Jesus hated ritual and dogma and the pretentious rich. And he made no bones about it. So it’s pathetic that the church he founded, the one we call Catholic, has all the nasties that Jewish orthodoxy of his time did. Like he wated his cruciﬁxtion on us. Rocco Sastre, Ponce
The Vulture, the Eagle & the Cocker Spaniel Fortuño is an ideological aberration in the image
What is it of the minutia of politician behavior that fascinates you so? Yet it’s the issues that are meaningful, the shallow entertainment of gossip serves to lead your mind astray. You think you’re making clowns out of the politicians, but they’re making a clown out of you. In the dark there’s little you can make happen and that’s where you are when you’re distracted by what is inconsequencial. The above having been said, Melinda Romero is indeed stupid. Yet I bet you voted for her, ranty statehooder that you are.
Run For Your Life A new study says life expectancy in Mississippi is lower than in El Salvador. Well, that’s what commercial health providers get you, where proﬁts are maxxed and care skimped on. Now that we’ve got Obama, and Hillary at State, when in heaven’s name will Medicare be extended to everybody and everything? Belisario Badillo, Hato Rey
To J.D. Aragón
Shameless Church Catholic bishops are now blaming the priest pederast pandemic on the Sexual Revolution, yes, the one they fought with every ﬁber of their warped beings. Had they not, they would’ve learned that sex is beautiful and good, but when the recipient of your passion is a woman, not an altar boy. Piero Andujar, San Juan
Pyrrhic Governance To Gov. Fortuño: You won at UPR. Brute police force squashed Ghandi. Not even the combined clout of US Rep. Luis Guitiérrez and Cuban Pres. Fidel Castro meant anything. But how many families having to pay the outrageous “quota” do you think will vote for you next year? And attrition of the middle class means propagation of crime, as is happening, and this is only the beginning. And the mass ﬁrings. You’re not a CEO, you’re the governor, so unemployment reﬂects on you, particularly when the effect is to depress wages. Taking over the Judicial Branch, bypassing separation of powers and thereby unplugging democracy hardly endears you to the electorate. That and endless legislation to feather the nest of big business and exploit the consumer and suppress upstart entrepreneurs. Mara Andere, Miramar
Anita Roig, Santurce
Governor Just Couldn’t Care Less To Robert McCarroll: You write, “Fortuño is only for credit ratings, privatizations and business interests. He has no idea what the average person needs from its [sic] government.” Notice your contradiction. It’s not that Fortuño has “no idea,” but whether he gives a turd about us non-oligarchy. He doesn’t. We’re the ones who have “no idea.” The morons who voted him into ofﬁce. We know what penepeístas are like, that they bite apart anything in their greedy way. Yes, another term under Aníbal would’ve been even worse. But this time around we had both a third and a fourth option. Again. We’re morons. Agustín Manzano , Santurce
She’s Just Dumb Melinda Romero has an obstreperous remark for every occasion. The President’s stopover was no exception. She’s unintelligent, undereducated and she bites. Yet we must pay her a bundle for her nonsense. Daddy ought to be in the slammer and she ﬂipping burgers. Mateo Peralta, Guaynabo
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The San Juan Weekly Star
July 28 - August 3, 2011
FASHION & BEAUTY
Shades of John Lennon, or a Professor By DAVID COLMAN
TILL deﬁantly hanging on to those aviator sunglasses? Well, you’re now on notice. This summer, the shape of shades has come full circle. Round sunglasses, by now a two-year-old trend for women, have ﬁnally been embraced by men. “Very true, we’ve been seeing that a lot,” said Larry Davis, the manager of the modish Selima Optique shop in SoHo. “And it’s across the board. The young guys are more into the John Lennonstyle glasses, and older guys are buying the more old-fashioned, professor-style ones. We even had a run on hot-pink ones after they were featured in Rolling Stone.” From familiar favorites like Ray-Ban and Persol to indie upstarts like Moscot and Salt, round-framed sunglasses are this summer’s strongest new seller. Seizing the moment, Oliver Peoples, a Los Angeles-based brand that made its debut 25 years ago with a collection of vintageinspired round frames, reissued three of the styles that helped turn the company into one of the 1980s’ notable brands. As noted, round glasses usually accommodate one of two looks, 1960s peacenik or 1920s pencilneck, depending on whether the
arms join the frame at the side or the top, respectively. But either makes a refreshing departure from the various ’70s-style sunglasses that have been shielding hipster eyes from reality’s harsh glare for something like a decade now. There is only one problem. “The round shape is not that ﬂattering to a face,” said Larry Leight, the founder and creative director of Oliver Peoples. “They’re a strong statement, and they look a lot better on people who can handle that shape. They work the best on a skinnier face.” The hardest to wear, Mr. Leight said, are those with lenses that are perfectly round. They make the most cartoonish statement and are generally the least ﬂattering to a face. As Madeline Weeks, GQ’s fashion director, observed, “It’s a little affected.” For one thing, she said, the circle’s perfect geometry does not jibe with a face’s more organic shape. Second, the most natural-looking bridge between two circles is a short one; unless the frames are thick and large, a wide bridge looks awkward. But on many faces, the short bridge sets the lenses close together and makes one’s head look like a balloon dangerously close to popping. Sure, it’s ﬁne for Harry Potter, but he can cast a spell that makes people think he’s hot. The rest of us rely on the glasses to work the magic. More forgiving shapes have a slight oval or teardrop shape. Perhaps the best is the faux circle known in the trade as the P3, a shape that looks like a circle but which is, in fact, slightly wider
than it is high, and tapers slightly toward the bottom, mirroring the general shape of the face. Johnny Depp has long favored the P3 style, which softens his angular features and puts a gentlemanly spin on his generally disheveled appearance. If that’s what you’re after, Ms. Weeks said, it’s worth doing a bit of footwork and trying on as many pairs as possible until you ﬁnd the ones that best ﬁt your face. But as a woman who knows what works for her, she’s not giving up her Ray-Ban aviators anytime soon.
FASHION & BEAUTY
July 28 - August 3, 2011
A Vision in Melancholy By CATHY HORYN
arl Lagerfeld always maintained that his childhood was different from other little boys’. He read “Buddenbrooks,” all 243,000 words of it, when he was 8 and told his mother he should have a valet. She told little Karl he talked too much. Clearly, Mutti Lagerfeld had some idea whom she was dealing with. Mr. Lagerfeld has never stopped talking, and the playgrounds have only become bigger. Think of the Place Vendôme as a giant coral of jewels: a dozen or more shops, all in one square, presided over by Napoleon’s statue. And so conveniently close to the Ritz! Imagine the scenarios. And that’s what Mr. Lagerfeld did. For Chanel’s haute couture show here Tuesday night, he recreated the Place Vendôme inside the Grand Palais, tracing the facade in neon, and instead of Napoleon, he hoisted Coco Chanel up on the column. Personally, I’m beginning to think Mr. Lagerfeld might be the Woody Allen of couture. Most of the sets he concocts for Chanel, at crazy expense, are stereotypes, trinkets that have plopped off a souvenir charm bracelet. I can’t help grinning at his shtick, but I know he’s better than this. In fact, the best show he gives during couture is up in the Chanel studio when he is doing a ﬁtting and you ﬁnd yourself scraping your jaw off his desk, because the dress is at once so simple and beautiful. In the stiﬂing vastness of the Grand Palais, at 10:45 p.m., that’s not exactly your reaction. On the other hand, Mr. Lagerfeld is constantly revealing things about himself through his collections, whether he admits
it or not. This was pretty somber stuff, melancholic even — and that’s not an uninteresting thought, given his 50-plus years in fashion and the crumbling ramparts of sophisticated taste. Dior, after dismissing John Galliano, decided to go ahead with a couture show, using the house’s studio team. Rather than do something modest — focused, say, on tailoring — or even skipping a season until a new designer could be hired, the house took the risk of exposing inferior work. The poorly designed clothes, in tutti-frutti shades, didn’t look, well, Dior. Even the woman who runs the front desk at my hotel noticed. “Why would a house like Dior use such an inexperienced designer,” she asked me. She didn’t know the details, and she didn’t have to. But back to Mr. Lagerfeld and the moody blues. Despite the luxe setting, he didn’t show any jewelry; the only ornamentation, aside from ﬂashes of embroidery on the mostly dark clothes, were jeweled buttons. The silhouette was either dead straight, with rufﬂes spilling around the ankles (and other places, too), or there was a jutting peplum over a narrow skirt. The pity is the models didn’t remove their cropped jackets to show that the sleeveless wool dress was wonderfully modern looking and that its peplum, under which were discreet black feathers, enhanced the effect. Other dresses, in papery black taffeta or a beaded slip of a dress, added to the ﬁn-de-siècle melancholia. Or was it just something stirring in the vast Lagerfeld brain? Either way, it’s a legitimate mood in an overbright, bored world. It was just unclear how to read it against kitsch scenery. Rising from his seat Wednesday at the Valentino show, the former co-owner
Giancarlo Giammetti, who was next to the actress Anne Hathaway, had just the right summation: “Very Kate Middleton.” Understated princess clothes — youthful but womanly, with round necklines, natural waists and long sleeves — are suddenly the thing, thanks to the Duchess of Cambridge. The designers, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli, even named the show’s closer, a gold lace gown, the “Little Princess.” Ahhh. It’s no wonder editors were whispering, surprised, “Hey, this is good.” It was dreamy: the best collection since the designers took over the house, with a nice mixture subtle daywear, evening suits with long skirts, and red-carpet looks in devore velvet and herringbone lace that won’t frighten the young socialites. The palette was beige and black with touches of
The San Juan Weekly Star red, pistachio and gold. Riccardo Tisci has a decidedly more modern spirit. His 10-piece collection for Givenchy, in white, was youthful but also challenging in its use of transparency and embroidery. He created beautiful textures with knots, feathers and caviar beading, while letting the female body shine through the tulle underpinnings. This has been a strong season for young talent. In his ﬁrst couture show for his label, Giambattista Valli offered white ﬂower embroidered shifts and mini coats. Long, ﬂowing dresses in silk animal prints (with matching capes) had a movie-queen glamour. Alexandre Vauthier’s all-red collection was dramatic, and displayed a ﬁne sense of craft, but some looks verged on the commercial level of TV talent show. Bouchra Jarrar has more ﬁnesse, and already a following among Americans. She is too self-assured, with a lot to say about contemporary dressing, to be a prosaic Middleton type. She has that rare ability to do very little with a piece of gray men’s wear fabric, some black striped silk and soft royal-blue crepe — and get the most out of them. She showed tailored gray trousers with knit shells or diagonally closed cropped jackets that hinted slightly of a Japanese inﬂuence. And if she designs a wrap dress or tuxedo, you know she will ﬁnd a way to make it look fresh without forcing anything. Giorgio Armani did a geisha turn (oops, an homage to Japan) with printed silks and embroideries inspired by traditional Japanese costumes. Many of the columns were lovely, elevated by gorgeous ﬂower tones, but I hate to see women take mincing steps to get where they’re going.
The San Juan Weekly Star
July 28 - August 3, 2011
Meeting in the Middle for a Velvety Cheesecake By MELISSA CLARK
MONG cheesecake lovers, there’s a sharp divide. Some like their cheesecake New York deli style: rich cream-cheeseﬁlled wedges, the best of which have not been shellacked with neon red bits that may or may not be berries. On the other end of the spectrum are those who prefer an airy cheesecake made with ricotta or fromage blanc or farmer cheese. These cakes, reﬁned and milky, are never slathered with food-coloring-enhanced canned
pie ﬁlling. They are delicate things. I spent most of my life on the hulking-deli-slice side of the line. The subtle nuances of the lighter cakes just didn’t satisfy my cheesecake yens. But one day I met a cake that landed smack in the middle of the two styles. Made with cream cheese, it was velvety and voluptuous. But it also contained crème fraîche and goat cheese, making it ﬂuffy as well as complex, and not terribly sweet. The key is getting the right ﬂavor balance by choosing a soft fresh goat cheese with a mild but distinct
taste. Too strong and you end up in a barnyard; too wimpy and you might as well skip it. Beating the goat cheese and cream cheese together until they are completely smooth gives the cake its sublime texture. Using room temperature ingredients helps as well. Since I ﬁrst sampled this cake, I’ve used it as a showcase for whatever fruit is in season: stewed rhubarb in spring, berries and stone fruit in summer, ﬁgs in autumn, cranberries in winter. It’s even good naked and alone, though a pinch of pepper in
the batter and a drizzle of good, intense honey (buckwheat, lavender, chestnut), maybe accompanied by toasted nuts, adds sophisticated notes that work all year long. Feeling nostalgic for those ﬂorid glazes of yore, I recently chose a topping of sour cherries, simmered with sugar until they were practically candied. Piled on the stark white cake, the lipstick-red fruit looked scarily like the worst of the hulking deli cakes. But it tasted good enough to please cheesecake lovers in any camp.
Crème Fraîche Cheesecake With Sour Cherries Time: 11/2 hours, plus cooling FOR THE CHEESECAKE: 1 1/2 cups cream cheese 1/2 cup fresh goat cheese 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups crème fraîche 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 4 large eggs FOR THE CHERRIES: 2/3 cup sugar 2 pints sour cherries, pitted 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar. 1. To make the cheesecake, heat the oven to 325 degrees. Wrap the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with foil and place on a baking sheet. 2. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and goat cheese until very smooth. Add the sugar and continue beating until no lumps remain. Beat in the crème fraîche, vanilla and pepper. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions, and beat until combined. 3. Pour the mixture into the pan and bake for 10
minutes, then reduce the temperature to 250 degrees and bake until the cake is just set (it will still wobble a little in the middle), 45 to 60 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. 4. While the cheesecake is cooling, make the cherry topping. Pour the sugar and 2/3 cup water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the sugar has dissolved and the syrup has thickened, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the cherries and balsamic vinegar and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cherries soften and release their juices, 2 to 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cherries to a bowl. Continue cooking the liquid in the pan until the sauce reduces by half, about 10 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and stir the cherries and any juice from the bowl back in. 5. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake from the pan before unmolding and serving with the cherry topping. Yield: One 9-inch cheesecake.
Morning Oatmeal With Cherries and Pistachios By MARTHA ROSE SHULMAN You can now ﬁnd steel-cut oats that cook quickly. If you steep them the night before in boiling water (pit the cherries then, too), this breakfast is a quick one to put together. 1/2 cup steel-cut oatmeal, preferably the quick-cooking variety Salt to taste 1 1/2 cups water 1 to 2 teaspoons honey, brown sugar or agave nectar 1 to 2 tablespoons pistachios, lightly toasted
3 ounces cherries (12 to 14, depending on the size), pitted and halved Milk or almond beverage as desired 1. The night before you plan to make this dish, place the oatmeal in a large microwave-safe bowl or in a saucepan with the salt. Bring the water to a boil, and pour over the oatmeal. Cover tightly and leave overnight. 2. In the morning, stir in the honey, pistachios and cherries. Cover and microwave three to ﬁve minutes, or simmer for 10 minutes or so until the oatmeal has absorbed the
liquid remaining in the bowl. Stir in milk or almond beverage as desired. Yield: Two servings. Advance preparation: I like to have this oatmeal cooked and ready in the refrigerator to reheat before I leave in the morning. It will keep there for three days. Nutritional information per serving: 217 calories; 0 grams saturated fat; 2 grams polyunsaturated fat; 2 grams monounsaturated fat; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 37 grams carbohydrates; 9 grams dietary ﬁber; 6 milligrams sodium; 7 grams protein
The San Juan Weekly Star
July 28 - August 3, 2011
Pasta With Creamy Leek and Garlic Pesto By MARK BITTMAN
esto, which means “paste,” is usually associated with some combination of basil, garlic, Parmesan and pine nuts. But pesto can be made from any number of ingredients: walnuts, sun-dried tomatoes, arugula, you name it. If you can blitz it in a food processor with olive oil, it can be pesto. This version is made with leeks and egg, and topped with bacon. You could say it’s a French ﬂavor proﬁle projected onto an Italian preparation,
or you could call it an inventive twist on traditional carbonara. Begin by frying some bacon, just enough to provide some smoky meatiness to counter the softer, buttery ﬂavors of the leeks and egg. Though the bacon itself becomes a garnish, its rendered fat adds awesome ﬂavor to the leeks (which you should cook slowly — you want them to soften considerably and almost melt together). You’re going to purée them, and you don’t want any remnants of ﬁber in the sauce. Once the leeks and garlic are a lovely golden mass (your kitchen
Pasta With Creamy Leek and Garlic Pesto Yield 4 servings Time 45 to 60 minutes Ingredients 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, or as needed 4 ounces bacon, chopped 4 or 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced About 1 1/2 pounds leeks (2 or 3 large), trimmed, well rinsed, and chopped
Salt 1 egg 1 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves, plus more for garnish Black pepper 8 ounces any pasta. Method 1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat; add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to
will smell phenomenal at this point), process them with an egg and some parsley until they’re creamy, smooth and even a bit foamy. Don’t get hung up on the raw egg — it’ll cook as soon as you toss the sauce with hot pasta and boiling pasta water. I’m partial to using linguine here, since it grabs the sauce beautifully, but any kind of pasta will work. The essential ﬁnal touches are a sprinkle of that reserved bacon and plenty of black pepper. Whether it’s Frenchinspired or Italian-derived — or both — it’s mind-blowingly good. crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain it on paper towels. 2. Turn the heat to medium. Add the garlic and leeks to the skillet, along with another tablespoon or so of oil if needed to keep things from sticking, and cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft, 20 to 30 minutes. 3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Transfer the garlic and leeks to a blender or food processor with the egg, parsley and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
Process, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container if necessary. Return the purée to the skillet, off heat. 4. Cook the pasta in the boiling water until it’s tender but not mushy, then drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Turn the heat under the leek mixture to medium, add about 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking liquid to thin the pesto, and toss in the pasta, adding more liquid as needed. Taste and adjust the seasoning, garnish with the bacon and more parsley, and serve.
Penne Carbonara With Fava Beans, Peas and Pecorino Time: 45 minutes 1 3/4 pounds young fava beans in their pods (about 1 1/2 cups shelled) Salt and pepper 3/4 pound dried penne 4 large egg yolks 2 1/2 ounces pecorino, grated (about 1 cup), plus extra for serving 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen shelled peas 2 tablespoons unsalted butter A small handful of chives, ﬁnely snipped or sliced. 1. First, ﬁnd a willing assistant to help peel the favas. Bring 6 cups water to a boil in a large pot. Add the peeled favas and blanch for about 1 minute, then scoop them out (reserving the water) and put them into a bowl of cold water. Drain and slip them out of their whitish skins to reveal the eme-
rald-green bean. 2. Bring the water back to a rolling boil. Add 1 tablespoon salt and the penne, stirring occasionally to keep it from sticking. Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix together the egg yolks, pecorino and a little salt and pepper. 3. When the pasta is almost done (about 2 minutes less than the time suggested on the package), add the favas and peas to the pot. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until the pasta is al dente. 4. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Drain the penne and vegetables, and return them to the pot. Add the butter and stir well. Add the egg yolk mixture and chives, tossing gently and adding a few tablespoons of the cooking water to form a silky sauce that clings to the penne. Adjust the seasoning, and serve with a wedge of pecorino for grating. Yield: 4 servings.
The San Juan Weekly Star
July 28 - August 3, 2011
HEALTH & SCIENCE
When Fatty Feasts Are Driven by Automatic Pilot By TARA PARKER-POPE
et you can’t eat just one” (as the old potato-chip commercials had it) is, of course, a bet most of us end up losing. But why? Is it simple lack of willpower that makes fatty snacks irresistible, or are deeper biological forces at work? Some intriguing new research suggests the latter. Scientists in California and Italy reported last week that in rats given fatty foods, the body immediately began to release natural marijuanalike chemicals in the gut that kept them craving more. The ﬁndings are among several recent studies that add new complexity to the obesity debate, suggesting that certain foods set off powerful chemical reactions in the body and the brain. Yes, it’s still true that people gain weight because they eat more calories than they burn. But those compulsions may stem from biological systems over which the individual has no control. “I do think some people come into the world, and they are more responsive to food,” said Susan Carnell, a research associate at the Columbia University Institute of Human Nutrition. “I think there are many different routes to obesity.” In the recent rat studies, by a team from the University of California, Irvine, and the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa, the goal was to measure how taste alone affects the body’s response to food. Among rats
given liquid diets high in fat, sugar or protein, the ones who got the fatty liquid had a striking reaction: As soon as it hit their taste buds, their digestive systems began producing endocannabinoids, chemicals similar to those produced by marijuana use. The compounds serve a variety of functions, including regulation of mood and stress response, appetite, and movement of food through the intestines. Notably, they were released only when the rats tasted fat, not the sugar or protein. The ﬁndings were published online last week in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “The most surprising thing to most people, including me,” said an author of the study, Daniele Piomelli, director of drug discovery and development at U.C. Irvine, “is the ﬁndings provide a window on how we relate to fatty foods.” Since fats are essential for cell functioning, Dr. Piomelli continued, “we have this evolutionary drive to recognize fat, and when
we have access to it, to consume as much as we possibly can.” The ﬁnding that the signal to eat more fat is released from the gut offers hope for potential new diet drugs. A Food and Drug Administration committee already has rejected one diet drug that blocks endocannabinoids, called Acomplia in Europe, where it was later withdrawn because it had severe psychological side effects, including suicidal thoughts. The new research suggests that the focus might be shifted to endocannabinoids in the gut, which could alleviate side effects in the brain. In the rat studies, the researchers injected a cannabinoid-blocking drug into the intestines of the rats and found that they lost interest in the fatty food. “The effect is remarkable,” Dr. Piomelli said. “They are no longer interested in feeding. They stop completely. We were amazed.” A drug based on the research is still years away, but the ﬁndings offer practical advice to consumers about the powerful biological forces at play when they snack on fatty junk foods. “We think we eat it because we like it, but it’s not just because we like, but because we want it,” said Dr. David Kessler, former head of the F.D.A. and author of the book “The End of Overeating” (Rodale, 2009). “It has a lot more to do with our brains and the feedback mechanism to our brains than we realize.” Other studies have shown that the
Worries About a Gonorrhea ‘Superbug’ By TARA PARKER-POPE
overnment heath ofﬁcials are warning that gonorrhea, one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases, is becoming increasingly resistant to the last type of antibiotics left to treat it. No cases of resistant gonorrhea have been reported in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says its own laboratory studies are detecting growing signs of resistance to a class of antibiotic drugs called cephalosporins. Two cases in which gonorrhea treatment failed were reported in Norway among heterosexual men, and a new resistant strain of the bacteria was identiﬁed from a female sex worker in Japan. The new strain may be “a true superbug that initiates a future era of untreatable gonorrhea,’’ wrote the team of Japanese and Swedish scientists about the new strain. In its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the C.D.C. reported last week on a decade-long analysis of 5,400 to 6,500 annual
gonorrhea cases from men treated in 30 American cities. From 2000 to 2010, the percentage of gonorrhea cases that showed potential resistance to two cephalosporin drugs rose sharply. Surveillance data from 2010 showed that over all, 1.4 percent of samples showed increasing resistance to the oral drug ceﬁxime, up from 0.2 percent in 2000. Resistance to the injectable drug ceftriaxone rose to 3 percent, up from 1 percent a decade ago. Testing in Honolulu found 7.7 percent of 2010 samples with potential resistance to ceﬁxime, compared with none in 2000. In California, 4.5 percent of samples showed signs of resistance in 2010, up from zero in 2000. Health ofﬁcials emphasized that while the signs of growing resistance are seen in laboratory studies, so far in the United States, there have been no cases of treatmentresistant gonorrhea in patients. The trends are concerning, because cephalosporin drugs are the fourth type of antibiotic used to treat gonorrhea since the 1940s. Resistance to penicillin and tetracycline occurred during the
1970s and became widespread during the early 1980s. More recently, the disease became resistant to a class of antibiotics called ﬂuoroquinolones, and in 2007 the government stopped recommending those drugs for gonorrhea treatment. That left cephalosporin drugs as the last line of defense against gonorrhea. “The measurements in the laboratory do show concerning trends of declining susceptibility to cephalosporin antibiotics,’’ said Dr. Robert Kirkcaldy, a medical epidemiologist in the C.D.C.’s di. “What we’ve been noticing is really since 2009 and 2010, it’s taking higher concentrations of antibiotic to kill the bacteria. This could mean resistance to the last antibiotic we have for gonorrhea could be on the horizon.’’ The problem of growing resistance appears limited to gonorrhea and is not occurring with other sexually transmitted bacterial diseases. “It’s a very complex bacteria which has a pretty amazing ability to mutate and for people to develop resistance to antibiotics,” said Dr. Kirkcaldy. “It has a pretty
body’s brain reward centers are strongly affected by the foods we eat. For example, when obese women were shown pictures of high-calorie foods, their brains showed greater activity in regions associated with anticipating reward than did the brains of normal-weight women. “Reward centers were activated just by saying the words ‘chocolate brownie,’” said Dr. Carnell of Columbia. The question is whether some people are born more responsive to certain foods, or whether a lifetime of overeating leads to brain and body changes that promote a stronger food response. To shed light on that issue, Dr. Carnell is conducting studies looking at normal-weight teenagers who have obese parents, and as a result are at risk for becoming obese themselves. “I’m interested in whether the brain is responding differently even before they become obese,” she said. Dr. Kessler notes that consumers need to be aware that the body’s natural signals are often overwhelmed by the abundance of choices and messages about food, so they must be extra vigilant about healthful eating. “The pull is very strong, and there is a biological reason why food has such power over us,” he said. “It’s a real struggle, and it’s not just a question of being lazy or lack of willpower. “But just because your brain is being hijacked, that doesn’t mean you don’t have a responsibility to protect yourself.” documented track record of developing resistance since the dawn of the antibiotic age.” 700,000 people in the United States get gonorrhea every year, only half those cases are reported to public health agencies. In women, untreated gonorrhea can lead to fertility problems, pelvic inﬂammatory disease or ectopic pregnancy, and pregnant women can pass the disease to their babies. In men, the disease can cause painful scarring of the urethra, urination problems and kidney failure. Complications for both sexes include joint pain, heart valve infection and meningitis. Signs of emerging resistance to cephalosporin drugs are following the patterns when gonorrhea became resistant to ﬂuoroquinolones a few years ago. Resistance was documented ﬁrst in Asia, then emerged in the United States, ﬁrst in Hawaii followed by other Western states. The hope is that new antibiotics eventually can be developed to treat gonorrhea. “There is not a well-studied second antibiotic we can turn to even when cephalosporin resistance does emerge,” said Dr. Kirkcaldy. “That’s why we wanted to sound the alarm.”
SCIENCE / TECH 20 July 28 - August 3, 2011
The San Juan Weekly Star
In Search of a Robot More Like Us
By JOHN MARKOFF
he robotics pioneer Rodney Brooks often begins speeches by reaching into his pocket, ﬁddling with some loose change, ﬁnding a quarter, pulling it out and twirling it in his ﬁngers. The task requires hardly any thought. But as Dr. Brooks points out, training a robot to do it is a vastly harder problem for artiﬁcial intelligence researchers than I.B.M.’s celebrated victory on “Jeopardy!” this year with a robot named Watson. Although robots have made great strides in manufacturing, where tasks are repetitive, they are still no match for humans, who can grasp things and move about effortlessly in the physical world. Designing a robot to mimic the basic capabilities of motion and perception would be revolutionary, researchers say, with applications stretching from care for the elderly to returning overseas manufacturing operations to the United States (albeit with fewer workers). Yet the challenges remain immense, far higher than artiﬁcial intelligence hurdles like speaking and hearing. “All these problems where you want to duplicate something biology does, such as perception, touch, planning or grasping, turn out to be hard in fundamental ways,” said Gary Bradski, a vision specialist at Willow Garage, a robot development company based here in Silicon Valley. “It’s always surprising, because humans can do so much effortlessly.” Now the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or Darpa, the Pentagon ofﬁ-
ce that helped jump-start the ﬁrst generation of artiﬁcial intelligence research in the 1960s, is underwriting three competing efforts to develop robotic arms and hands one-tenth as expensive as today’s systems, which often cost $100,000 or more. Last month President Obama traveled to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh to unveil a $500 million effort to create advanced robotic technologies needed to help bring manufacturing back to the United States. But lower-cost computer-controlled mechanical arms and hands are only the ﬁrst step. There is still signiﬁcant debate about how even to begin to design a machine that might be ﬂexible enough to do many of the things humans do: fold laundry, cook or wash dishes. That will require a breakthrough in software that mimics perception. Today’s robots can often do one such task in limited circumstances, but researchers describe their skills as “brittle.” They fail if the tiniest change is introduced. Moreover, they must be reprogrammed in a cumbersome fashion to do something else. Many robotics researchers are pursuing a bottom-up approach, hoping that by training robots on one task at a time, they can build a library of tasks that will ultimately make it possible for robots to begin to mimic humans. Others are skeptical, saying that truly useful machines await an artiﬁcial intelligence breakthrough that yields vastly more ﬂexible perception. The limits of today’s most sophisticated robots can be seen in a towel-folding demonstration that a group of students at the University of California, Berkeley, posted on the Internet last year: In spooky, anthropomorphic fashion, a robot deftly folds a series of towels, eyeing the corners, smoothing out wrinkles and neatly stacking them in a pile. It is only when the viewer learns that the video is shown at 50 times normal speed that the meager extent of the robot’s capabi-
lities becomes apparent. (The students acknowledged this spring that they were only now beginning to tackle the further challenges of folding shirts and socks.) Even the most ambitious and expensive robot arm research has not yet yielded impressive results. In February, for example, Robonaut 2, a dexterous robot developed in a partnership between NASA and General Motors, was carried aboard a space shuttle mission to be installed on the International Space Station. The developers acknowledged that the software required by the system, which is humanoidshaped from the torso up, was unﬁnished and that the robot was sent up then only because a rare launching window was available. “We’re in a funny chicken-and-egg situation,” Dr. Brooks said. “No one really knows what sensors or perceptual algorithms to use because we don’t have a working hand, and because we don’t have a grasping strategy nobody can ﬁgure out what kind of hand to design.” Dr. Brooks is also tackling the problem: In 2008 he founded Heartland Robotics, a Boston-based company that is intent on building a generation of low-cost robots. And the three competing efforts to develop robotic arms and hands with Darpa ﬁnancing — at SRI International, Sandia National Laboratories and iRobot — offer some reasons for optimism. Recently at an SRI laboratory here, two Stanford University graduate students, John Ulmen and Dan Aukes, put the ﬁnishing touches on a signiﬁcant step toward human capabilities: a four-ﬁnger hand that will grasp with a human’s precise sense of touch. Each three-jointed ﬁnger is made in a single manufacturing step by a three-dimensional printer and then covered with “skin” derived from the same material used to make touch-sensitive displays on smartphones. “There has been a very strong push for tactile displays because of smartphones,”
said Pablo Garcia, an SRI robot designer. “We’ve taken advantage of these technologies,” Mr. Garcia went on, “and we’re banking on the fact they will continue to evolve and be made even cheaper.” Still lacking is a generation of software powerful and ﬂexible enough to do tasks that humans do effortlessly. That will require a breakthrough in machines’ perception. “This is more difﬁcult than what the Watson machine had to do,” said Gill Pratt, the computer scientist who is the program manager in charge of Darpa’s Autonomous Robot Manipulation project, called ARM. “The world is composed of continuous objects that have various shapes” that can obscure one another, he said. “A perception system needs to ﬁgure this out, and it needs the common sense of a child to do that.” At Willow Garage, Dr. Bradski and a group of artiﬁcial intelligence researchers and roboticists have focused on “hackathons,” in which the company’s PR2 robot has been programmed to do tasks like fetching beer from a refrigerator, playing pool and packing groceries. In May, with support from the White House Ofﬁce of Science and Technology Policy, Dr. Bradski helped organize the ﬁrst Solutions in Perception Challenge. A prize of $10,000 is offered for the ﬁrst team to design a robot that is able to recognize 100 items commonly found on the shelves of supermarkets and drugstores. Part of the prize will be given to the ﬁrst team whose robot can recognize 80 percent of the items. At the contest, held during a robotics conference in Shanghai, none of the contestants reached the 80 percent goal. The team that did best was the laundry-folding team from Berkeley, which has named its robot Brett, for Berkeley Robot for the Elimination of Tedious Tasks. Brett was able to recognize 68 percent of a smaller group of 50 objects. The team made progress in quest to build a machine to do laundry; it recently posted a new video showing how much it has sped up the robot. “Our goal is to do an entire laundry cycle,” “from dirty laundry to everything stacked away after it’s been washed and dried.”
The San Juan Weekly Star
July 28 - August 3, 2011
21 SCIENCE & Art
Specialized Windows on the Natural World By HENRY FOUNTAIN
t ﬁrst glance, the work has a certain Warhol-esque quality — 10 garish images of seemingly identical heads, arranged in a ﬁve-by-two grid. But this is not Marilyn Monroe up there on the wall at the American Museum of Natural History. The beady eyes and huge jaws belong to members of a genus of burrowing scorpions from Africa. And the images are not identical — that is the point, after all. Taken under ultraviolet light that causes chemicals in the scorpions’ exoskeletons to ﬂuoresce, revealing ﬁne structural details, the images are the work of Lorenzo Prendini, an associate curator in the museum’s invertebrate zoology division, and Stephen Thurston, the division’s imaging expert. Dr. Prendini uses the images to make comparisons among scorpion species, which helps him reconstruct their evolutionary history. “It’s a lot easier to pick out differences when you lay them out next to each other,” he said. The scorpion heads are part of an exhibition of large-format images, “Picturing Science: Museum Scientists and Imaging Technologies.” Mark Siddall, the scientist behind the exhibition, said the images were chosen in collaboration with designers in the museum’s exhibits department. “There had to be a nice balance,” he said, between telling a compelling story and “did we have enough pixels?” to produce a large image with sufﬁcient resolution. Dr. Siddall, who is a leech specialist
and a curator in the invertebrate zoology division, said he came up with the idea for “Picturing Science” about a decade ago, “but it took time to do the organizing, and for the technologies to develop.” In addition to relatively simple techniques like the ultraviolet ﬂuorescence imaging used for the scorpions, the exhibition showcases images made using higher-tech equipment, including a CT scanner the museum acquired last year. Dr. Siddall said the exhibition was also “a great way to show the aesthetics of science.” While in many of the images it is clear that the subject is something scientiﬁc, “there are all these other things that are incredibly abstract and beautiful in that abstract way,” he said. Many departments at the museum are represented in the exhibition, which has more than 20 sets of images. The CT scanner was employed by paleontologists (to look at the internal structure of the fossilized skull of a monkey) and by anthropologists (to see markings on an Egyptian knife blade encased in a sheath that was impossible to remove). Scanning electron microscopy was used by paleontologists to look at the teeth of an extinct rodent and by invertebrate specialists
to view the claws and other appendages of goblin spiders. Dr. Siddall said he hoped some of the more abstract images would grab viewers’ attention. “I wanted some of that ‘Wow, that’s kind of pretty. What the heck is it?’ ” he said. “Hopefully that will cause the viewer to engage with it, much like they will engage with a Chagall.” Some of Dr. Siddall’s own contributions to the exhibition, images of bacteria in
leeches that have been manipulated to produce an orange ﬂuorescence when exposed to green light, fall into the abstract category. Dr. Prendini’s scorpion images do not, but he thinks they have aesthetic value as well. “The variation in shapes and textures is really quite pleasing,” he said. “It’s amazing the variation that evolution comes up with.” So far, he said, the scorpion heads have been well received. “A lot of people like these critters staring back at them.”
July 28 - August 3, 2011
The San Juan Weekly Star
Visa Delays Put Iraqis Who Aided U.S. in Fear By TIM ARANGO
errorism fears in the United States are all but halting visas for Iraqis, even those who risked their lives aiding the American war effort, making them especially vulnerable ahead of the planned American military withdrawal. The Obama administration has required new background checks for visa applicants, reacting to a case in Kentucky in which two Iraqi immigrants were arrested on suspicion of ties to an insurgent group, according to American ofﬁcials in Baghdad. Advocates say that the administration is ignoring a directive from Congress to draft a contingency plan to expedite visas should those Iraqis who worked for the United States government, especially interpreters for the military, come under increased threat after American forces are drawn down at the end of the year. “This is not a priority right now for anyone in the government,” said Becca Heller, who runs the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project at the Urban Justice Center in New York. “Not enough people in the Obama administration care about this topic.” The ﬂow of Iraqis to the United States this year could be the smallest since 2007, when the Bush administration was facing an uproar for not effectively addressing the refugee crisis. Through the ﬁrst nine months of the current ﬁscal year, fewer than 7,000 Iraqis have been admitted to the United States. In March, just seven were admitted on a socalled special immigrant visa — a class established by Congress to quickly move Iraqis in danger for having helped the American government — and in April, just nine. In some months last year more than 200 arrived on such visas. The logjam has put numerous Iraqis,
like the Aeisa family, in a potentially dangerous bind. Their story is a common one: a brother was kidnapped and tortured, and the children were bullied in the schoolyard, accused of being spies even by the principal. Last month they received the phone call they thought would never come. Their visa applications were approved, and they would soon be on their way to Arizona. The father quit his job at Zain, a cellphone company, the children left school, the television, furniture and air-conditioner were sold, and the remaining belongings were packed up. The family of ﬁve took up temporary residence in a friend’s storage room. The week before the ﬂight, another phone call came, this time with bad news. The departure was delayed indeﬁnitely and without explanation. “It hurts me even more than all the threats we received,” said the father, who asked to be identiﬁed only as Abu Hassan for security reasons. “We were expecting, ‘This is it.’ ” The mother, who asked to be identiﬁed as Umm Hassan, whose brother and father worked for the American military and now live in Arizona, said only, “I feel sick.” Kirk Johnson, who worked for the United States Agency for International Development in Falluja in 2005 and then founded The List Project, a nonproﬁt group that aids Iraqis who worked for American-afﬁliated organizations, said, “Basically, I think where there’s a way to stall the program, there’s a will to do it.” Congress required the Pentagon and the Departments of State and Homeland Security to draft a plan to expedite visas for the most pressing cases, should insurgents threaten those left behind after the military leaves, and set a deadline of May that was not met.
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Abu Hassan, with his wife, Umm, and their three children, are waiting for approval to leave Iraq for the United States. Meanwhile, neither the Bush nor the Obama administration has met the targets set by Congress several years for issuing special immigrant visas. The numbers are stark: beginning in 2008, Congress expanded the special immigrant visa program to allot 25,000 slots over ﬁve years. After nearly four years, the government has issued about 7,000. Mr. Johnson said the impetus for the legislation was to avoid a huge refugee crisis like the one after the pullout from Vietnam. In 2006, after British forces pulled out of Basra, the southern Iraqi port city, interpreters were rounded up and killed. In an interview in Baghdad in May, Eric P. Schwartz, assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, said the administration would take care of the Iraqis who had assisted the American forces. “We feel that we are prepared to deal with any variety of contingencies,” he said. Many thousands of Iraqis worked as interpreters for the American military, translating not just words but the cultural folkways of a land most soldiers knew nothing about. Maj. Gen. Jeffrey S. Buchanan, the top military spokesman here, said of his interpreters over the years: “We were in a lot of hairy stuff together. So you get a bond with these guys that’s incredible.” Like many ofﬁcers, he helped an interpreter from a previous tour navigate the bureaucracy of resettlement. Asked about the process, he said: “He got there. It took a long time.” Another former interpreter of his recently saw him on Iraqi television and contacted him. “He got captured by Al Qaeda and was held for about seven months and was tortured,” General Buchanan said. The American government never kept track of how many Iraqis it employed.
“50,000? 100,000? 120,000? Who knows?” Mr. Johnson said . The government also never accounted for how many Iraqi employees were killed or wounded. But it is clear hundreds have died, and many more have been wounded. A database kept by Titan, a contractor that provided interpreters, was leaked and subsequently published in ProPublica, an independent, nonproﬁt newsroom that produces investigative journalism. For the period between 2003 and 2008, the document showed nearly 300 deaths of interpreters hired by Titan. Now, with the military leaving, many of those who survived, or still work for the Americans, feel abandoned and betrayed by a government they risked their lives for, by serving on the front lines for a cause they believed in. Iraq is not as violent as it once was, but Iraqis are still threatened for their work with the Americans. Ghaith Baban, 34, works for U.S.A.I.D. and spent May in hiding after he found a note in his garage that cited the Koran and threatened his life for “collaborating with the U.S.” He ﬁrst applied for resettlement in early 2009 and is still waiting. When the military leaves, he said, “it’s going to be the worst time for those people who worked for the Americans.” Meanwhile, the Aeisa family waits for its promised ﬂight to Arizona. The family never initially intended to leave. When relatives who worked for the American military left for the United States, the Aeisa family thought the threats would end. They didn’t. The family’s pit bull, Spider, was killed. A note was left: “Leave, traitors. You are spies for the Americans.” The family moved several times. “We would have wanted to stay,” said Umm Hassan, the mother. “We had a farm, we had a normal family. All of our dreams were destroyed.”
The San Juan Weekly Star
July 28 - August 3, 2011
Wine & Liquor
A Stepchild Lacks Identity By ERIC ASIMOV
MAGINE you produce wines made from the sauvignon blanc grape. Immediately, you have problems. Competition, for one. Your grape grows in just about every corner of the wine producing world. You cannot travel through France, Italy, Slovenia, South Africa, South America, New Zealand or California without running into sundry other merchants trying to hawk their own sauvignon blanc wines. Now, it’s one thing if you’re making a wine in a region recognized for greatness, or at least for its high prices. But the number of sauvignon blancs regarded as great — that can fetch big bucks or at least whet demand because of their scarcity — is minute. A few top producers in Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé have a small but ardent following. And while the best dry white Bordeaux certainly cost a lot, how many people even know that sauvignon blanc is a signiﬁcant component in these wines? At least, your wine has to have some sort of identity. You want cheap yet refreshing? Try Chile. Brash and pungent? New Zealand. Old World terroir? Sancerre. And for California, that leaves ... what, exactly? An excellent question. If you had asked me a few years ago, I might have said that California (Northern California, at least) was doing a ﬁne job of emulating three distinct styles for its sauvignon blancs. Some displayed vibrant fruit in the New Zealand fashion. Some offered restrained mineral ﬂavors à la the Loire Valley, and others the richer, barrel-aged wines of the Graves. All together, they may not have expressed a distinct identity, but I would have felt secure in recommending them as well-made, versatile, refreshing options. Now, I’m not so sure. In a tasting of recent vintages of sauvignon blanc from Northern California, the wine panel felt a distinct absence of excitement. Sure, we found bottles that we liked. But too many lacked freshness and vibrancy, and unless you are making wines intended for aging, those qualities are essential. Others seemed disjointed or unbalanced or simply lacked harmony. For the tasting, Florence Fabricant and I were joined by Pascaline Lepeltier, wine director of Rouge Tomate, and Jor-
dan Salcito, wine director at Crown, a restaurant on the Upper East Side scheduled to open in September. “Some were so oaky and ripe that the nuance was masked,” Jordan said. Pascaline expressed disappointment, saying she had been looking to add to the California sauvignon blanc selection at her restaurant, but that these wines largely lacked personality. Florence was faintly more pleased: “There were some decent wines, especially if the price is not off the charts.” Well, the wines weren’t too expensive. Seven were $20 or less, though six were $28 or more. Let’s look at the less-dim side. Among the 20 bottles in the tasting, we certainly had our favorites, like our No. 1, the 2010 Groth from Napa Valley, which, with its liveliness and balance, pleased all of us. Our No. 2 bottle, the 2009 Twomey, also from Napa Valley, was fresh and pungent, yet somewhat restrained as well. It was harmonious, a quality that we didn’t ﬁnd often enough. We saw it, too, in our No. 3 wine, the 2009 Quivera from Fig Tree Vineyard in the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma, which combined ripe California fruit ﬂavors with an enticing texture and presence. At $17, the Quivera was our best value. Fourteen of the 20 wines were from the 2009 vintage, with ﬁve from 2010 and one from 2008. One came from Lake County, while nine each came from Napa and Sonoma, and one came from both. Both? That was the 2009 Spottswoode, which, scrupulously adhering to California labeling laws, revealed that its grapes were 52 percent Napa County, and 48 percent Sonoma. Spottswoode is one of the great cabernet sauvignon producers of Napa Valley. Like other exalted Napa cabernet producers (Araujo, for example), its sauvignon blanc is not cheap. At $43, it was our most expensive bottle. Yet in our blind tasting we could not muster much enthusiasm for it. The wine had an earthy quality and full, rich ﬂavors that we appreciated, but it also seemed to have a touch of sweetness and a lack of harmony, as if the acidity were in a separate room from the fruit. As Florence likes to say, the components of the wine were not on speaking terms. Nonetheless, it was No. 9 among our top 10, indicating that it was a decent bottle and that the ﬁeld was pretty weak.
Some wines were certainly correct. We liked the 2009 Longboard Vineyards, from the Russian River Valley, for its balance and restraint, and the 2009 Cakebread, an old standby from Napa, for its brightness and tart fruit. Honig makes a consistently good sauvignon blanc, and the 2009 Napa Valley was no different, and though we were put off by a touch of sweetness in the 2009 Duckhorn from Napa, it was also grassy and pungent. I’ve liked other vintages of the Frog’s Leap sauvignon blanc better than the 2009, which seemed thin by comparison, and I was a little mystiﬁed by the 2009 Merry Edwards from the Russian River Valley. Five years ago, this might have been a goto sauvignon blanc for me. Now it seems far riper, broader and oakier. It’s tempting to speculate on why the wines were not better. For one thing, some top wines were not in our tasting. I’ve always liked the sauvignon blanc from Grgich Hills, for example, but we could not ﬁnd a bottle. Iron Horse seems to have stopped making its T-Bar-T, which is too bad. Some of the wines seemed manipulated. Quite a few seemed to have had tartaric acid added, which is a legal method for making up for acid deﬁciencies but one that sometimes results in harsh or disjointed wines. Particularly in regions like Napa Valley and the Russian River Valley, where the status crops are cabernet sauvignon and pinot noir, one might legitimately fear that sauvignon blanc is not given the meticulous care reserved for its betters. For many wineries, no doubt, it’s nice to have a white to serve to guests in the tasting room or at the beginning of a fancy dinner before they haul out the big boys. Sometimes it’s far too obvious when a wine is second ﬁddle. But it’s hard to expect consumers to take a wine seriously if the producer itself does not.
Tasting Report Groth Napa Valley, $20, ✩✩ ½ Sauvignon Blanc 2010 Lively and balanced with ripe fruit, ﬂoral and earthy ﬂavors. Twomey Napa Valley, $24, ✩✩ ½ Sauvignon Blanc 2009 Fresh and pungent but restrained, with ﬂavors of ripe citrus fruit. BEST VALUE Quivera Dry Creek Valley, $17, ✩✩ ½ Fig Tree Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2009 Ripe and round with enticing texture and tart lingering ﬂavors of fruit and grass. Longboard Vineyards Russian River Valley, $17, ✩✩ Sauvignon Blanc 2009 Balanced, restrained and straightforward with green apple, citrus and oak ﬂavors. Cakebread Napa Valley, $29, ✩✩ Sauvignon Blanc 2009 Full of bright, tart fruit and herbal ﬂavors, and a little oak. Honig Napa Valley, $16, ✩✩ Sauvignon Blanc 2009 Pleasant and dry, with grassy, herbal ﬂavors. Duckhorn Napa Valley, $30, ✩✩ Sauvignon Blanc 2009 Grassy and pungent with a touch of sweetness. Frog’s Leap Rutherford, $23, ✩✩ Sauvignon Blanc 2009 High-toned and pleasing with bright, tart and ﬂoral ﬂavors. Spottswoode Napa/Sonoma Counties, $43, ✩✩ Sauvignon Blanc 2009 Rich fruit, slightly earthy and a tad sweet. Merry Edwards Russian River Valley, $38, ✩✩ Sauvignon Blanc 2009 Very ripe with tropical fruit ﬂavors and plenty of oak.
24 July 28 - August 3, 2011
The San Juan Weekly Star
Touring Bacardi’s Famous Rum Plant and Museum T
here are few people in the world who haven’t heard of Bacardi Rum. This internationally known drink is made by the world’s largest privately owned spirits company. Bacardi sells more than 200 million bottles of Bacardi every year and supplies Bacardi Rum to roughly 200 different countries across the globe. If you have ever wondered how this great rum is made, you might want to take a tour of the Bacardi Rum Plant in Puerto Rico which is not far from San Juan. Though the ofﬁcial headquarters of Bacardi is in Hamilton, Bermuda, the company owns several plants in different locations around the world. The Bacardi story actually starts in Cuba
when Don Facundo Bacardi Masso, a Spanish wine merchant, made his way to Cuba to sell his product. There he discovered rum and found that it was largely considered to be cheap drink that was not sold in upscale taverns. So, after a little bit of experimentation, Don Facundo was able to produce the ﬁrst ‘white’ rum in the world. With this fabulous new product he and his brother Jose were able to establish a small
distillery where they could produce a reasonable amount of white rum on a daily basis. The rafters of this ﬁrst distillery were home to many fruit bats and so the bat was incorporated into the Bacardi logo. That was in 1862 and Don Facundo probably never imagined the massive, multi-million dollar empire that his early efforts would eventually grow to become. Today the Bacardi Rum Plant in Puerto Rico is renowned for being the largest rum distillery in the world. It processes approximately 100 000 gallons of rum every day. If you take the tour you be able to view the distillery, the bottling plant and a museum dedicated to this fabulous drink. You will also be able to sample one or two glasses of free Bacardi rum. Though admission to the plant is free, the trip to the plant may not be quite so cost effective. Many recommend taking a ‘do-it-yourself’ approach and taking a bus to the facility. Whatever path you choose to take, make sure that you visit the Bacardi Rum Plant in Puerto Rico. The tour is really quite interesting and worth seeing if you are visiting Puerto Rico.
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The San Juan Weekly Star
July 28 - August 3, 2011
Ready to Take a Faithful Leap By KELLY THOMAS
S we ﬂoated in a Moroccan-tiled pool on the outskirts of Palm Springs, Calif., my boyfriend of three months told me about an old English custom in which two people are married if they chant “I marry thee” three times, clap in unison and kiss. Finding his story charming and amusing, I laughed. David and I had met on a ﬁlm set in Los Angeles. Like me, he was a refugee from academia. I was attracted by his salt-and-pepper hair as much as by his insistent optimism and joie de vivre in the face of the unknown, and we quickly developed a comfortable repartee. But that afternoon in Palm Springs, I sensed something was different. Only after a moment of awkward silence did I realize that David was proposing to me. He wanted us to make a home together. For me the concept of home is loaded. My childhood home was an isolated farmhouse in north Texas where I helped my father build barbed-wire fences and sack cottonseed for the cattle’s winter feeding, where mesquite trees grew like weeds and yellowed pastures stretched for miles. But most of all, home had been a place dominated by my mother’s unpredictable bouts of depression, a place that, for as long as I could remember, I wanted to escape. While I focused on grades, test scores and a life beyond rural Texas, my mother fantasized about my wedding to some well-heeled hometown boy who would one day make her a proud grandmother. She envisioned a fancy banquet-style dinner that would put her own spartan wedding ceremony and rec-room punch reception to shame. This time around, as mother of the bride, she’d wear a teal cocktail dress to complement her crystal blue eyes. In these ﬂights of fancy, she was ebullient and vivacious, the center of attention, while I was cast as her silent enabler. I played my part, believing that I possessed the unique ability to hold her desolation in check. While my father buried himself in the Sisyphean tasks of baling hay and breaking horses, my mother’s moods ﬂuctuated between manic all-night baking marathons and menacing three-day silences. My role was to keep the peace, to somehow quiet her refrain that we’d all be better off without her. And then one day I’d had it. As she started in again with the wedding plans, I impulsively blurted, “I’m not getting married, and I’m never having children!” She called me selﬁsh. And it’s true. I was selﬁsh for denying her the opportunity to be belle of the ball, at least in her fantasies. But more precisely, I was selﬁsh because I aspired to a life outside her world. Eventually I found it when the University of Michigan offered me a fellowship. I thought my freedom would begin the moment I pulled out of the driveway. A few weeks before my planned departure, however, People magazine ran an article about a young woman abducted by a drifter while driving alone, and my mother, obsessed with the story, insisted that she accompany me to Ann Arbor. But I knew this was just an excuse. The truth was that she wanted one last chance to
play out our old ways before I strayed beyond her reach. My father, an unwitting accomplice, urged me to humor her, saying that all this talk of degrees and careers made her think she didn’t know me anymore, didn’t know how to know me. He promised to buy me that laser printer I wanted if I’d indulge her one last time. As we drove away in my newly acquired used Ford Taurus, my mother gushed, “We’re just like Thelma and Louise.” Here we go, I thought. Now she thinks we’re movie stars. In more ways than I knew, she was right: We were like the title characters in the 1991 ﬁlm about two women on the lam. My mother was Thelma, the pretty ingénue. Eager for attention and perfectly made up after her hourlong beauty ritual, she would giggle bashfully when truckers looked her way. I, of course, was Louise, the pragmatic problem solver. With my car packed to the gills, my mission was simply to get through this last bit of emotional blackmail. Midway through our second day, we stopped for gas at a roadside station in central Ohio, two hours south of our destination. I asked my mother if she wanted me to drive, but she said she felt ﬁne. Still, I sensed her despondency. Our excursion was coming to an end, and she could no longer pretend we were a couple of adolescents out on a lark. I was going where she could never go. At the climax of “Thelma and Louise,” when the women are trapped between a phalanx of troopers and an impassable canyon, they must make a choice: either surrender or take their own lives. Louise hesitates, but Thelma insists, “Let’s not get caught. ... Let’s keep going.” In solidarity, the women hold hands, gun the accelerator and drive off the cliff where, cinematically, they’re forever suspended triumphantly in midair. Twenty miles later, near Bluffton, Ohio, we were the Thelma and Louise who followed the ﬁlm’s narrative to its inevitable conclusion when my mother drove off a highway overpass at 70 miles an hour. The car hit the side of the bridge, ﬂipped over the guardrail and went brieﬂy airborne before landing upright in a shallow creek. As soon as the car landed, I knew that this was it. This was what I had always feared, that my mother would deliver on one of her threats, go out of control, beyond the pale. With one look I saw that she had been killed by the impact, that there was nothing I could do to save her. Drenched in gasoline and terriﬁed that the car would burst into ﬂames, I unbuckled my seatbelt and climbed out into the water. Bits of my life — a Spanish dictionary, my cat’s empty carrier — were strewn across the embankment. Drivers stopped along the highway and shouted down to me. The E.M.T.’s who arrived on the scene asked me the date and the name of the president as they strapped me to a board to be lifted into an ambulance. Over time, I’ve gone through several iterations of how to explain what happened. First, it was an “accident” because I couldn’t be-
lieve it was anything else. I was incredulous, stunned, bruised. The couple directly behind us reported that our car had veered right sharply without brake lights. Everyone conjectured that my mother, perfectly cognizant moments before, must have dozed off. Second, it was a “wreck” because that’s what I was. Overcome by post-traumatic stress and ﬁts of anxiety, I couldn’t get past the fact that before and after are indelible, that certain events cleave time in two. I’ve come to settle on “when my mother drove off a bridge.” She knew and didn’t know. A tarot card reader once told me that my mother had done something she felt inexplicably compelled to do. She hadn’t meant to harm me. I just happened to be there, along for the ride. But perhaps it was more than an inexplicable urge, more than her desire not to get caught in a life she couldn’t seem to escape. Part of me believes that my mother wanted us to be the Thelma and Louise who, in driving off a cliff, choose their relationship over life itself. Her experience of our trip was the ﬁnal and most poignant of her fantasies, the one in which she and I functioned in harmony, where we could ﬁnally relate to each other. AS the years passed, I stayed away from small towns and serious relationships but slowly came to realize that ever since that fateful journey, I’d been clinging to my own sort of fantasy, in which I, unlike my mother, could be entirely self-sustaining and have complete control over my life. If I avoided any true commitment, I would never be stuck. I would never ﬁnd myself in the unthinkable position of choosing between emotional desperation and the abyss. And yet, by deﬁning myself in opposition to her, I had in some ways become just as trapped as she had been. Only now have I begun to see that letting go and trusting in the unknown doesn’t have to mean driving off a cliff, that leaps can be leaps of faith. Floating in that Palm Springs pool, I knew nothing of old English wedding traditions. But I did know that I was at another turning point in my life, except this time the choice was mine. I watched David next to me, smiling, a mischievous glint in his eye. Here was someone who approached life unconventionally and regarded the world with wonder, someone with whom I could look to the future rather than ﬁxate on the past. Together we could create a new kind of home, one of possibility, a home I could love. Against the backdrop of blooming Joshua trees, I reached out across the clear blue water and made the leap. We clapped loudly, exuberantly.
The San Juan Weekly Star
July 28 - August 3, 2011
Unearthing Exotic Provisions Buried in Dodd-Frank BY BEN PROTESS
he Dodd-Frank Act requires ﬁrms to disclose their use of so-called conﬂict minerals from Congo or neighboring countries. At a meeting in February to discuss the recent overhaul of ﬁnancial regulations, lobbyists and policy makers never once mentioned Wall Street. They did not talk about derivatives, mortgage-backed securities or any of the exotic products at the center of the crisis. Instead, Mary L. Schapiro, the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, hurled questions at representatives of Apple and Hewlett-Packard about war-torn central Africa, an odd topic for a ﬁnancial regulator. She wanted to know more about the American companies that buy coveted minerals extracted from the region. After months of writing dozens of rules on arcane ﬁnancial instruments, Ms. Schapiro told attendees the discussion was “certainly an interesting change of pace,” according to two people with knowledge of the meeting who spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions were private. While the issue may be outside the S.E.C.’s core expertise, it is now within its jurisdiction. A little-known amendment tacked on to the Dodd-Frank ﬁnancial reform law requires corporations to disclose whether they manufacture products using so-called conﬂict minerals from Congo or neighboring countries. Lawmakers are worried about metals like tantalum, tin and gold, which they believe have ﬁnanced armed rebels throughout the region during a roughly 15-year conﬂict punctuated by grave incidents of
mass slaughter and rape. Many American companies use these metals to build cellphones, computers and cameras. The conﬂict minerals amendment is one of several unusual elements buried in Dodd-Frank, which spans some 2,300 pages and touches nearly every corner of Wall Street. One section is dedicated to derivatives. Another chunk covers lavish Wall Street bonuses. Then there are the “miscellaneous provisions” Congress tucked into DoddFrank last summer — a catchall for some lawmakers’ pet concerns, among them conﬂict minerals, mining safety and spending by the International Monetary Fund. One provision requires companies to disclose payments made to foreign governments for the right to extract oil and natural gas. The proposal had an inﬂuential backer: the co-author of the ﬁnancial overhaul package, Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, who introduced similar legislation in 2008. “The provisions are appropriately called miscellaneous,” said Andrew J. Foley, a partner at the law ﬁrm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, which represents oil, natural gas and mining companies that are subject to the rules. “There’s no question it’s unrelated to the ﬁnancial crisis.” Even amid an ongoing partisan stalemate, Dodd-Frank presented a rare opportunity for Republicans and Democrats. In the aftermath of the economic crisis, the act was the closest thing to a sure bet in Washington. Congressmen “jumped on to the passing bandwagon,” Mr. Foley said, using the moment to insert popular, if sometimes random, rules. Representative Jim McDermott, De-
mocrat of Washington State, had tried for years to regulate conﬂict minerals. Mr. McDermott, who served as a Foreign Service medical ofﬁcer in central Africa during the 1980s, returned to Congo four years ago to tour a hospital that was treating people wounded in the continuing civil war. After visiting with a group of rape victims, he said he was shocked by the “human rights abuses.” Mr. McDermott traced much of the suffering to rebel soldiers who sold tantalum and other minerals to ﬁnance their war. The issue gained traction in 2008 after Sam Brownback, then a Republican Senator from Kansas, introduced legislation requiring companies to disclose their use of conﬂict minerals. A few years before, Mr. Brownback, now the governor of Kansas, had traveled to the Congo with Senator Richard Durbin, Democrat of Illinois. But the effort soon stalled. “Of course, it never moved anywhere — and along comes the Dodd-Frank bill,” said Mr. McDermott. After a short debate on the Senate ﬂoor, the plan to regulate conﬂict minerals was attached to the sweeping new law by Mr. Brownback. “You get bills passed anyway you can,” Mr. McDermott said. Almost immediately, companies took aim at the regulation. They ﬁgured it would be a costly proposition to trace the roots of such minerals. In February, the United States Chamber of Commerce called on the S.E.C. to withdraw its plan to enforce the regulation. “The proposed rule, if implemented, would create a disclosure regime that is burdensome and difﬁcult, if not impossible to comply with, resulting in potentially erroneous disclosure,” lobbyists for the
group said in a letter to the commission. Tiffany & Company, one of the world’s largest jewelry companies, pushed the agency to exempt gold from the disclosure requirements, arguing in a separate letter that the proposed rules “would violate the First Amendment.” Many other companies were caught totally offguard by the rule. In recent months, corporate lawyers and auditors say they have had to explain the rule to clients who were unaware of its existence. “Some weren’t aware of the provision and most didn’t realize its complexity,” said Douglas K. Dean, a partner in the sustainable business solutions practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers. The S.E.C. did not fully grasp the intricacies of the provision either. As with other Dodd-Frank rules, the agency has missed important deadlines for both the conﬂict minerals provision and the one about payments to foreign governments. While the S.E.C. proposed rules to enforce the disclosure requirements, it was supposed to ﬁnalize the regulations about three months ago. The agency said it needed additional time to study the thorny topics. “The new disclosure rule is a powerful tool, but we are still waiting for the law to be enforced,” said Ian Gary, a senior policy analyst at Oxfam America, an advocacy group focused on poverty. Mr. Dean of PricewaterhouseCoopers said his clients were anxiously awaiting the S.E.C.’s ﬁnal rule, hoping it would ﬁnally clarify the issue. They also want to know whether the agency will issue exemptions for businesses that use only trace amounts of conﬂict minerals or recycled sources of the substances, he added. “Companies,” he said, “are basically in a holding pattern.”
The San Juan Weekly Star
July 28 - August 3, 2011
Scientists Turn to Crowds on the Web to Finance Their Projects By THOMAS LIN
n January, a time when many scientists concentrate on grant proposals, Jennifer D. Calkins and Jennifer M. Gee, both biologists, were busy designing quail T-shirts and trading cards. The T-shirts went for $12 each and the trading cards for $15 in a fundraising effort resembling an online bake sale. The $4,873 they raised, mostly from small donations, will pay their travel, food, lab and equipment expenses to study the elegant quail this fall in Mexico. “Each radio transmitter costs $135,” said Dr. Gee, interim manager of the Robert J. Bernard Biological Field Station in Claremont, Calif. “The receiver used to track birds is $1,000 to $2,000.” As research budgets tighten at universities and federal ﬁnancing agencies, a new crop of Web-savvy scientists is hoping the wisdom — and generosity — of the crowds will come to the rescue. While nonproﬁt science organizations and medical research centers commonly seek donations from the public, Dr. Calkins, an adjunct professor of biology at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., and Dr. Gee may have been the ﬁrst professional scientists to use a generic “crowd funding” Web site to underwrite basic research. In May 2010, neither had the principal investigator status required to apply through their institutions for a National Science Foundation grant. But they were eager to begin collecting data about the behavior, appearance, distribution, habitat selection and phylogenic position of the least-studied quail species in the Callipepla genus. Dr. Calkins, who has published research papers and poetry, turned to the community of artists and microphilanthropists at Kickstarter.com. Her plea to potential backers on the site: “By contributing to this project you will support a study of this little known species as we examine its behavior and evolution in its natural habitat, a space encroached upon by both urban sprawl and tension surrounding narcotics trafﬁcking.” Web sites like Kickstarter, IndieGoGo and RocketHub are an increasingly popular way to bankroll creative projects — usually in ﬁlm, music and visual arts. It is not very likely that anyone imagined they would be used to ﬁnance scientiﬁc research. And it is unclear what problems this odd pairing might beget. Most crowd funding platforms thrive on transparency and a healthy dose of selfpromotion but lack the safeguards and expert assessment of a traditional review process. Instead, money talks: The public decides which projects are worth pursuing by fully ﬁnancing them. Kickstarter takes a 5 percent cut when those projects meet or exceed their
fund-raising goals. When pledges fall short of a goal, donors pay nothing. The money can come from anywhere — the biggest backers of the quail project were ranchers and hunters. “Both of us had some hesitation,” Dr. Gee said. “We were sort of afraid we’d lose some legitimacy in the eyes of other scientists. It’s not a peer-reviewed process. I was just ready to do anything it took to do my research.” For Dr. Calkins and Dr. Gee, who received their Ph.D.’s in 2001 and 2003, respectively, crowd funding is just one more way to scrape together a patchwork of funding and incremental bits of research aimed at larger goals. “I have had to be opportunistic about keeping my research going,” Dr. Gee wrote in an e-mail. “I collect data guerrilla style — when and where I can! I think my story is typical.” Ten years ago, Andrea Gaggioli wanted to conduct research on virtual reality and neural rehabilitation. But, he said, “in Italy it’s almost impossible to get funded if you are under 30.” Now 37 and a psychology and technology researcher at Catholic University of Milan, Dr. Gaggioli talks to anyone who will listen about his Open Genius Project, a crowd funding initiative he hopes will provide seed money for breakthrough research. Dr. Gaggioli plans to set up a peer review process to “separate garbage from good science.” But his crowd funding dream itself needs funds before it can begin accepting proposals. “I think people will invest in projects that are carried out by young people who have no other possibilities to put forward their ideas,” Dr. Gaggioli said. Cancer Research UK, a London-based charity, took a Web page from the microﬁnance site Kiva when it started its MyProjects initiative in September 2008. “The basic premise was to let people choose which cancers
they want to beat,” said Ryan Bromley, the charity’s online communities manager. In the crowd funding genus, MyProjects is a different species from Kickstarter. All projects on the site have been vetted by scientists and already receive ﬁnancing from Cancer Research UK. And the funds are guaranteed regardless of whether the MyProjects goal is reached. Mr. Bromley calls it “substitutional funding.” “We’re trying to attract people to fundraise in a different way that we haven’t done before,” he said. The £818,450 ($1.3 million) that MyProjects has raised since 2008 is a tiny fraction of the £334 million ($534 million) the parent charity gave to cancer researchers in the 2009-10 ﬁscal year alone. There are currently 28 projects on the site, with an emphasis on the most common cancers: breast, lung and prostate. But the site is continuing to adapt and grow. “We’re using social media as much as possible,” Mr. Bromley said. The MyProjects Facebook page has been “liked” by more than 75,000 people. The site has videos of patients’ success stories as well as researchers. Science is a point of interest, Mr. Bromley said, but the human element is “a bit more motivating
than the science alone.” It’s too soon to tell how widespread science crowd funding will become. Would a geology project on organic sedimentary rocks, for example, open as many wallets as the charismatic quail? “It starts when one person in a community proposes a project,” said Yancey Strickler, a founder of Kickstarter, “and then all of a sudden they start seeing proposals from ﬁve others in that community.” That chain reaction appears to have begun at Evergreen, a public liberal arts college. The success of the Calkins-Gee quail project inspired Alison Styring, a member of Evergreen’s environmental studies faculty, to submit a Kickstarter proposal titled “Mapping the Bornean Soundscape.” “It’s getting harder and harder to get funding,” said Dr. Styring, who hopes to raise $15,000 to record the sounds of Tawau Hills Park in Malaysian Borneo and study birds there. Saddled with a busy teaching schedule, Dr. Styring was writing student evaluations in January when the last National Science Foundation grant deadline came and went. Relatively low-cost ﬁeld projects like hers, she said, are not typically ﬁnanced by the foundation. But Dr. Styring was not sure if crowd funding would work for her or what rewards to offer as an incentive to potential donors. “Maybe musicians could use the sounds,” she said. In addition to T-shirts and trading cards, Dr. Calkins and Dr. Gee offered postcards for donations of $5, quail leg bands for $10, pre-ordered signed copies of “The Quail Diaries” for $35, prints for $45, illustrations for $75, adopting and naming a quail for $100, and a guided tour of California quail for $500. “What we found was the majority of people pledged for the book,” Dr. Calkins said. The quail project was one of thousands that Cassie Marketos, a community editor at Kickstarter, has approved. “It’s one thing to buy a book about quails,” she said. “But to know that you played a small part in making it happen is a much different experience.”
WANTED Graphic Artist With experience and knowledge in Photoshop and InDesign Please send your References and Resume by Fax to (787) 743-5100 or by email at email@example.com We will not accept phone calls
July 28 - August 3, 2011
The San Juan Weekly Star
Sudoku How to Play: Fill in the empty ﬁelds with the numbers from 1 through 9 Click the “check sudoku” button to check your sudoku inputs Click the “new sudoku” button and select difﬁculty to play a new game
Sudoku Rules: Every row must contain the numbers from 1 through 9 Every column must contain the numbers from 1 through 9 Every 3x3 square must contain the numbers from 1 through 9
Answers on page 29
The San Juan Weekly Star
July 28 - August 3, 2011
(Mar 21-April 20)
(Sep 24-Oct 23)
Begin to think more deeply about the next chapter of your life. Deep thought and dynamic action in the next few weeks will enable you to restructure business, family and work matters in any way you see ﬁt. Expect a breath of fresh air to invigorate your life soon enough. Relationship issues can now be resolved. Tap into what comes next.
Any relationship that is not quite right will disappear from view. You need to look on the bright side, as life opens up all sorts of options, for which you had not bargained. It looks like this can be a lively time with oodles of romantic, ﬂirty opportunities. If you are in an established relationship, your partner needs to know they are number one. Fair enough.
(April 21-May 21)
You will begin to ﬁnd out where you stand within work hierarchies and structures. You can’t buy the kind of clarity you are about to be privy to. Make the most of what you glean and what you are told. You are charming and cute at the best of times. Okay, this is not the best of times, which gives you a bit of a head start on the rest of us.
(May 22-June 21)
Be exciting, dynamic and contentious in equal measure. I’m sure you will play a blinder! I hope you are up for it; you are going to have to be. Pay special attention in your long-term relationships; but, as always, your charm will get you out of all sorts of trouble. Be patient as the way ahead becomes clear. Now is not the time to rush the fences. Be measured, composed and circumspect.
(June 22-July 23)
You must continue to be patient with circumstances as the adjustments kick in. You have a lot to look forward to and you can prepare to feel the fresh breeze of new love, life, and energy enlivening you, before too long. Your commitments are boosted and you must get your priorities right. The rest will naturally follow. As always, love serves up food for thought.
(July 24-Aug 23)
Release can be a bittersweet experience; but if a letting go process guarantees your personal freedom at last, it is surely to be embraced. Be quite ruthless and disciplined about what no longer ﬁts and always watch that your heart is respected. Insist on a good deal in your relationships; loved ones, friends and acquaintances will have to adjust to your newly revived strength.
(Aug 24-Sep 23)
Ditch regrets about what did or did not happen last year and concentrate on the future. Uranus in Pisces continues to bring out the rebel in you and may stress your close relationships, if you are not careful. Be careful with your choices, though. ‘Once in a life time’ opportunities will not necessarily come around again. Do not push it in situations where you have to be on your best behaviour.
(Oct 24-Nov 22)
You are going to take no prisoners; so anyone winding you up the wrong way had better watch out. Suit yourself and everyone will ultimately beneﬁt. Fair is fair! Do not fret about the current state of affairs. As you will have realized, the picture being painted is quite different from what you intended; but it will be a masterpiece of some description, of that you can be sure.
(Nov 23-Dec 21)
You would certainly get a prize for your unwavering nature, as you continue to be presented with many challenges. You are more than equal to all of them. Stay true in love and follow your feelings. In relationships with work colleagues be careful not to lay down the law. Let go of control issues and let others ﬁnd their own way. Finances need attention, but luck will deliver you in grand style.
(Dec 22-Jan 20)
Focus on what you want and what you know to be right. There will be opportunities to express you in new and radical ways in the next while. Draw on the full ﬂow of your creativity to build on the effect and accentuate the artistic and reﬁned aspects of your nature. Combine all of this with good business sense and practical decisions and there will be no stopping you.
(Jan 21-Feb 19)
Things are not yet resolved, but an honest look at the past will provide clues and a way out of the mess. It is important to integrate your many experiences, in order for the new you to fully emerge. Not everyone will feel comfortable with the changes you make and resistance from those who rely on you is likely. Equality is crucial to the shape of your future relationships.
(Feb 20-Mar 20)
Be clear with your feelings and do not mislead anyone; least of all yourself. There will be lots of innuendo, intrigue and gossip. Do not dismiss your dreams and visions. You are guaranteed to get many accurate hunches and intuitions, so hone your skills and trust the information you are getting. Tune into you. It is time to sort out a lot of old nonsense if you are brave enough.
29 Answers to the Zudoku and Crossword on page 28
July 28 - August 3, 2011
Frank & Ernest
Wizard of Id
Two Cows And A Chicken
The San Juan Weekly Star
The San Juan Weekly Star
July 28 - August 3, 2011
Reyes and Beltran Return to Lineup, Lifting Mets’ Spirits and Fortunes By DAVE CALDWELL
ose Reyes had kicked off his plaid sneakers by 3:40 p.m. on Tuesday and had his wrists taped for batting practice, which was still an hour away. He said he had arrived at Citi Field at 1:50, a half-hour earlier than usual, eager to play his ﬁrst game for the Mets in 17 days. The Mets, too, seemed excited by the return of Reyes, their effervescent shortstop. He rejuvenated them again as the Mets battled to a 4-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, who are ﬁghting for the lead in the National League’s Central Division. “That electricity he brings just lifts the club,” said Terry Collins, the Mets’ manager. Reyes, who had been out with a strained left hamstring, had two singles in ﬁve at-bats to boost his average to .355. He made the most of his ﬁrst single, sprinting from ﬁrst to third base on a single by Justin Turner in the ﬁfth inning and scoring the Mets’ ﬁrst run on a two-run double by Angel Pagan. Reyes made a magniﬁcent defensive play in the eighth to bail out reliever Bobby Parnell. With the bases loaded, Albert Pujols chopped the ball over Parnell’s head,
but Reyes stopped the ball, stepped on second and threw to ﬁrst for an inning-ending double play, doing a barrel roll and pumping his ﬁst. “When I saw Jose standing on second base, waiting for the ball, I knew we had a good chance,” Parnell said. The Mets’ Dillon Gee, who had lost three of his last four starts, gave up two runs and three hits in seven innings. Gee (9-3) did not allow a hit until David Freese reached on an inﬁeld single off Gee’s glove with one out in the ﬁfth. The Mets also got three hits, including two doubles, from Carlos Beltran, who had missed three games with the ﬂu. Beltran might be an ex-Met by the July 31 trading deadline, but it was almost as if the Mets were starting over Tuesday. Smiles abounded. “Hopefully, we can start winning ballgames, and we all stay here,” Beltran said. First baseman Ike Davis, honored with a bobblehead giveaway, will not return from a sprained left ankle for another three weeks — if he returns at all. But third baseman David Wright had two hits in a rehabilitation assignment Tuesday and is still scheduled to return Friday. Reyes, however, is the team’s
catalyst. The crowd at Citi Field, bolstered to 35,448 by a ticket discount, gave Reyes the biggest ovation when the lineups were introduced, and another ovation before his ﬁrst at-bat. “You have to be nervous, of course,” Reyes said before the game. He added: “It’s just a matter of getting your conﬁdence back. I don’t put pressure on myself. I’m just here to do my job, which is to play baseball.” The ﬁrst pitch was three and a half hours away, but Reyes had pulled on a blue bandanna with a Mets logo and two necklaces. Collins had posted the lineup outside the clubhouse, and Reyes was batting ﬁrst. He also took batting practice ﬁrst. Reyes killed the last 10 minutes before batting practice by sitting on one of the tires that supports the batting cage and watching the grounds crew water the inﬁeld. He stepped in to face Dave Racaniello, the battingpractice pitcher, and began spraying line drives all over the ﬁeld. “Yesterday I don’t want to go like crazy,” Reyes said, referring to a rehabilitation assignment with Class A Brooklyn in which he went 1 for 3. “I wanted to save it for the game here in the big leagues.” Beltran gave the Mets another boost. Beltran said he still felt con-
gested, but after taking early batting practice, he said he was ﬁt enough to play. He said he had lost ﬁve pounds in the last three days, but did not necessarily see that as a drawback. “I guess it’s good for me, good for the knee,” Beltran said. Reyes’s return meant that Collins was able to drop Pagan to ﬁfth in the batting order. His two-run double off Kyle Lohse gave the Mets a lead they would keep. Daniel Murphy walloped a two-run double off Raul Valdez in the sixth. Parnell pitched a scoreless eighth inning, with an assist from Reyes. Jason Isringhausen retired the Cardinals, for whom he once played, in order in the ninth for his ﬁrst save of the season. The Mets, at least for one night, did not seem to miss Francisco Rodriguez, the closer they traded last week. “I’ll be ready when the phone rings,” Isringhausen said. Reyes was ready for hours before the game. Asked if he had fun, Reyes said the Mets won, which made the game fun. He said that he was not completely conﬁdent, but that it was only his ﬁrst game back. His mere presence, however, seemed to turn up the wattage at the ballpark. “Any time you put Jose at the top of the lineup, it’s automatically going to make the lineup go,” Murphy said.
July 28 - August 3, 2011
The San Juan Weekly Star