Posts Tagged “linked news”

The first generation to do worse than its parents? Please. Been there. Generation X was told that so many times that it can’t even read those words without hearing Winona Ryder’s voice in its heads. Or maybe it’s Ethan Hawke’s. Possibly Bridget Fonda’s. Generation X is getting older, and can’t remember those movies so well anymore. In retrospect, maybe they weren’t very good to begin with. 

But Generation X is tired of your sense of entitlement. Generation X also graduated during a recession. It had even shittier jobs, and actually had to pay for its own music. (At least, when music mattered most to it.) Generation X is used to being fucked over. It lost its meager savings in the dot-com bust. Then came George Bush, and 9/11, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Generation X bore the brunt of all that. And then came the housing crisis.

Generation X wasn’t surprised. Generation X kind of expected it.

Generation X is a journeyman. It didn’t invent hip hop, or punk rock, or even electronica (it’s pretty sure those dudes in Kraftwerk are boomers) but it perfected all of them, and made them its own. It didn’t invent the Web, but it largely built the damn thing. Generation X gave you Google and Twitter and blogging; Run DMC and Radiohead and Nirvana and Notorious B.I.G. Not that it gets any credit.

But that’s okay. Generation X is used to being ignored, stuffed between two much larger, much more vocal, demographics. But whatever! Generation X is self-sufficient. It was a latchkey child. Its parents were too busy fulfilling their own personal ambitions to notice any of its trophies-which were admittedly few and far between because they were only awarded for victories, not participation.

In fairness, Generation X could use a better spokesperson. Barack Obama is just a little too senior to count among its own, and it has debts older than Mark Zuckerberg. Generation X hasn’t had a real voice since Kurt Cobain blew his brains out, Tupac was murdered, Jeff Mangum went crazy, David Foster Wallace hung himself, Jeff Buckley drowned, River Phoenix overdosed, Elliott Smith stabbed himself (twice) in the heart, Axl got fat.

Generation X is beyond all that bullshit now. It quit smoking and doing coke a long time ago. It has blood pressure issues and is heavier than it would like to be. It might still take some ecstasy, if it knew where to get some. But probably not. Generation X has to be up really early tomorrow morning.

Generation X is tired.

It’s a parent now, and there’s always so damn much to do. Generation X wishes it had better health insurance and a deeper savings account. It wonders where its 30s went. It wonders if it still has time to catch up.

Right now, Generation X just wants a beer and to be left alone. It just wants to sit here quietly and think for a minute. Can you just do that, okay? It knows that you are so very special and so very numerous, but can you just leave it alone? Just for a little bit? Just long enough to sneak one last fucking cigarette? No?

Whatever. It’s cool.

Generation X is used to disappointments. Generation X knows you didn’t even read the whole thing. It doesn’t want or expect your reblogs; it picked the wrong platform.

Generation X should have posted this to LiveJournal.

London’s Victoria and Albert Museum will house the special tribute to the iconic psychedelic band next spring and mark 50 years since the release of their 1967 debut single Arnold Layne.

The exhibition will feature a laser light show and previously unseen concert footage as well as more than 350 objects and artefacts including instruments, handwritten lyrics, posters, architectural drawings and psychedelic prints. 

The V&A opened ticket sales and announced the exhibition by flying a giant inflatable pink pig near the museum’s entrance, a reference to the inflatable swine which once soared over Battersea power station and featured on the cover of Pink Floyd’s 1977 album Animals. 

The band were founded in 1965 by students Syd Barrett, Roger Waters, Richard Wright and Mason. Barrett, who parted ways with Floyd in 1968, died in 2006 and Wright died in 2008. The remaining members are collaborating for the V&A show.

“I did think we’d be short of material. That’s turned out to be entirely incorrect. I can’t tell you how much stuff won’t fit in,” said Nick Mason.

The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains opens on 13 May 2017 and runs for 20 weeks.

Nestlé has poached the head of Germany’s Fresenius healthcare group to become chief executive as the world’s largest food and drinks group drives further into nutrition and wellness. Ulf Mark Schneider, who will replace Paul Bulcke, is the first outside appointment to the helm of the 150-year old Swiss group since 1922. Nestlé has traditionally appointed its chief executive from candidates groomed from its top management ranks. The appointment of Mr Schneider — who will take over from Mr Bulcke next January — is a blow for long serving insiders tipped as possible candidates. They included Laurent Freixe, head of Nestlé’s US operations, and Chris Johnson, an American responsible for corporate services. Swiss media had also tipped Wan Ling Martello, head of AOA operations, as a possible successor.

Mr Bulcke, the Belgian who has been chief executive for more than eight years, is expected become Nestlé’s chairman early next year. Mr Bulcke’s move had long been anticipated but the timing of Monday’s announcement came earlier than expected. Mr Schneider, 50, who has German and US citizenship, is credited by analysts with building Fresenius into a global healthcare company. The decision to hand the reins to Schneider supports Nestle’s goal to move beyond its roots and redefine itself as a scientifically-driven nutrition and health company. Over the past five years, as packaged-food makers have been criticized for contributing to a growing obesity crisis, Nestle has invested heavily in its health-science subsidiary, which seeks to commercialize discoveries made by its research arm in areas like metabolic health and Alzheimer’s disease.

The succession chain at the Swiss company was prompted by the planned retirement next year of Peter Brabeck-Letmathe as chairman of the board, when the 71-year-old chairman hits mandatory retirement age next year. Mr Brabeck-Letmathe had first initiated the push into wellness and health when he was Nestlé’s chief executive, aiming to secure future growth to counteract the effects of changing consumer demand on the Swiss group’s traditional food, drinks and confectionery products.

The last outsider appointed to head Nestlé was banking expert Louis Dapples in 1922, who was brought into streamline the company when a collapse in demand for powdered milk after the first world war plunged the group into crisis. Alongside the senior management shake-up, Nestlé said it would now fully integrate its health science and skin care units into the wider organisation, with both reporting directly to the chief executive from next year. Mr Schneider described Nestlé as a “truly iconic” global company.

Last year, Nestlé reported sales of CHF88.8bn and net profits of CHF9.1bn. But organic sales growth of 4.2 per cent fell short of its target for a third consecutive year as it battled against spluttering economies, tumbling prices and a health scare in India that hit sales of its Maggi noodles.

Maïa Mazaurette, a French sex columnist:

I can only compare it to the countries I’ve lived in — Germany, and now Denmark, and I’ve made some trips to the U.S. I’d say the main difference is that in France we’re so straightforward. We don’t have these dating rituals; we just start with sex! And then, if the sex was good enough or we feel connected somehow, then we would try to build a relationship.

So you always have sex on the first date, then?

Absolutely! But it’s not even an issue because there is no date. There is just first sex. You think someone is attractive, you give it a try. I think it really makes sense. (Of course I say that, because I’m French, right?) But if you don’t have sex first, you build up too much pressure. You start thinking, I have seen this guy for four or five restaurants, or however you do it in the U.S., and what if it fails? If you get sex out the way first, then you can only have good surprises.

I never dated an American guy, but even with Danish and German guys, there were so many dates and it was taking so much time. At some point I just felt like, Ahhh! Stop it, are you going to kiss me? Are we going to your place? My place? Do something! I felt like I was investing a lot of time in something that might not be worth it anyway.

It’s interesting to me that France is a predominantly Catholic nation, and yet the culture is so sexually free.

Yes, but we don’t connect sex with ethics or morality or values in general, you know? There have been many studies about how French people don’t care about the sex life of our president, or if a person is unfaithful. It’s absolutely not a problem for me. Now, if my boyfriend and I have an agreement, that’s important. But I actually see a lot of my friends who are a bit older than me, maybe 40 or 45, who are always renegotiating the boundaries of their relationship. And a lot of them are okay with being unfaithful, as long as you don’t say it. It’s actually quite old-fashioned, as if we’re in the Victorian era, and your husband or your wife is the person you share children, a house, and money with, but for passion or a bit of adventure, you go elsewhere. The couple is not the place for adventure. It’s the place where you want to feel safe and watch Game of Thrones.


Valencian trio hopes site brings traditional recipes to masses and rescues paella from further bastardisation by Jamie Oliver et al

Horrified by chefs making paella with ingredients including poached eggs and avocados, three men from Spain’s Valencian region have banded together to fight what they call the increasing “prostitution” of one of the country’s most emblematic dishes. Wikipaella aims to help “police” paella around the world, said co-founder Guillermo Navarro. “It’s a dish that’s really trendy these days. And there’s lots of people taking advantage of it and selling what they call authentic, traditional or Spanish paella.”

Time spent in the UK and the US gave Navarro a first-hand experience of how a dish treasured by his family for generations was losing its identity. “It’s like no, amigo, no,” he said, recalling some of the paellas he had eaten outside of Spain.

Particularly egregious to him was the slew of UK chefs who add chorizo to their recipes. “If Jamie Oliver wants to make his own version of paella, well that’s good,” Navarro said. “But don’t present as something authentic or traditional, because its not. Imagine if we said that we were making typical British fish and chips and we were putting oranges in it?”

Navarro had thought that it was just a matter of misinformation outside of Spain. But the problem persisted when he moved to Madrid. “In Madrid, 90% of the paellas that you eat can’t be compared to real paella.”

It was from this frustration – shared by many from Spain’s Valencian region – that Wikipaella was born. “It’s a citizen’s response to this problem,” said Navarro. “They’re pulling the wool over our eyes, we’re going to try and tell the people this.”

Launched last week, the site aims to be a portal into the world of authentic paella and other traditional rice dishes of the region; whether through certifying restaurants that serve the real deal, sharing recipes or answering the public’s questions.

One of Wikipaella’s first steps was to create a definitive list of what can be allowed in an authentic Valencian paella, some feat considering that each community in the region has their own take on the rice dish. After analysis of 170 traditional recipes, it was decided: yes to ingredients ranging from snails to rabbit and artichokes; but no to everything else – especially the artificial food colouring often used instead of saffron.

The site will be a place where paella fans – Spaniards and foreigners alike – can come together and share their thoughts on what makes the dish authentic, said Navarro. He is hoping to have the English version of the site up and running by this Friday. “Our objective is to have the majority of people know what an authentic paella from our region is,” he said. “We want it to be like pizza – where people can add in whatever ingredients they want, but that they know what a traditional pizza is.”

His team is not alone in taking paella seriously. In Benidorm, the Saint Anthony Catholic University recently announced it would be launching what it said was the world’s first Masters in rice and paella dishes of the Mediterranean.

I guess I’ll just stick to making non-paella paella, because I happen to like chorizo :)

(Reuters) – The European Union said on Sunday it has postponed negotiations with Switzerland on its participation in multibillion-dollar research and educational schemes in the latest fallout from a shock Swiss vote in favor of immigration curbs. The decision follows Switzerland’s announcement that the result of last week’s referendum on immigration means that it will not be able to sign a labor market pact with new EU member Croatia on July 1 as planned.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has warned that the narrow Swiss vote to restore quotas for migrants from the EU in breach of an accord with Brussels, would have “serious consequences” for relations between the wealthy Alpine nation and the 28-member union surrounding it.

In one immediate consequence, the EU’s executive Commission said it was postponing talks on Swiss participation in both the EU’s 80-billion-euro ($109 billion) Horizon 2020 research program and its 14.7-billion-euro Erasmus+ educational exchange program. Both schemes cover the period from 2014 to 2020.

A Commission spokesman said there was a close link between Swiss participation in Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+ and the planned Swiss agreement with Croatia as the EU schemes involved the free movement of researchers and students.

“The protocol (with Croatia) has not been signed yet. Given the circumstances and in the absence of a clear political signal to do so, upcoming negotiation rounds have been postponed until Switzerland signs the protocol,” he said.

Swiss government spokesman Philipp Schwander said earlier on Sunday that Switzerland could not sign the labor market pact with Croatia in the agreed form “due to the new constitutional provision provided by the February 9 vote.” He said Switzerland was still keen to seal the deal with Croatia in a way that took the vote into account and did not discriminate against Croatian workers. The referendum, backed by the right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP), has sent Swiss diplomats scrambling to contain the damage in Brussels.

Derek Lowe is an organic chemist. He’s worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. He also has a very amusing blog that contains, among other gems, a comprehensive list of things he’ll never work with.

Some choice quotes:

Mercury Azides: Explosions are definitely underappreciated as a mixing technique, but in this case, they are keeping you from forming any larger crystals, a development which the paper says, with feeling, “should be avoided by all means”.

Azidoazide Azides: We’re talking high-nitrogen compounds here, and the question is not whether such things are going to be explosive hazards. (That’s been settled by their empirical formulas, which generally look like typographical errors). The question is whether you’re going to be able to get a long enough look at the material before it realizes its dream of turning into an expanding cloud of hot nitrogen gas.

Selenophenol: The chemical literature has numerous examples of people who are at a loss for words when it comes to describing its smell, but their attempts are eloquent all the same. “Imagine 6 skunks wrapped in rubber innertubes and the whole thing is set ablaze. That might approach the metaphysical stench of this material.” So we’ll start with that.

Hexanitrohexaazaisowurtzitane: There’s a recent report of a method to make a more stable form of it, by mixing it with TNT. Yes, this is an example of something that becomes less explosive as a one-to-one cocrystal with TNT. Although, as the authors point out, if you heat those crystals up the two components separate out, and you’re left with crystals of pure CL-20 soaking in liquid TNT, a situation that will heighten your awareness of the fleeting nature of life.

Dioxygen Difluoride: At seven hundred freaking degrees, fluorine starts to dissociate into monoatomic radicals, thereby losing its gentle and forgiving nature. But that’s how you get it to react with oxygen to make a product that’s worse in pretty much every way.

Chalcogen Polyazides: The experimental section of the paper enjoins the reader to wear a face shield, leather suit, and ear plugs, to work behind all sorts of blast shields, and to use Teflon and stainless steel apparatus so as to minimize shrapnel.

Chlorine Trifluoride: It is apparently about the most vigorous fluorinating agent known, and is much more difficult to handle than fluorine gas. That’s one of those statements you don’t get to hear very often. The compound also a stronger oxidizing agent than oxygen itself, which also puts it into rare territory. ”It is, of course, extremely toxic, but that’s the least of the problem. It is hypergolic with every known fuel, and so rapidly hypergolic that no ignition delay has ever been measured. It is also hypergolic with such things as cloth, wood, and test engineers, not to mention asbestos, sand, and water-with which it reacts explosively. It can be kept in some of the ordinary structural metals-steel, copper, aluminium, etc.-because of the formation of a thin film of insoluble metal fluoride which protects the bulk of the metal, just as the invisible coat of oxide on aluminium keeps it from burning up in the atmosphere. If, however, this coat is melted or scrubbed off, and has no chance to reform, the operator is confronted with the problem of coping with a metal-fluorine fire. For dealing with this situation, I have always recommended a good pair of running shoes.”

This makes me smile, for I know that it’ll put some people’s nose out of joint. It just reinforces what I already knew, that I work for a good company.

Nestlé is in the 10 best global firms for corporate responsibility (CR) reporting, according to an independent survey published by audit, tax and advisory company KPMG. It was the only food and beverage business to make the top 10 list, which was compiled from an assessment of 4,100 firms across 41 countries and 15 industry sectors. Those entered in the list from other sectors included BMW, Ford Motor Company and Siemens. This latest recognition of Nestléfollowed the Dow Jones Sustainability Index naming the business as the leading food products company in its ranking.

Janet Voûte, global head of public affairs at Nestlé, said: “High-level commitment to transparency is very important to the quality of the report you end up with. Transparency helps us address problems, and there’s no doubt it contributes to better interactions with external stakeholders,” she said, explaining that Nestlé regularly holds forums and face-to-face meetings with key stakeholder groups, including non-governmental organisations.

The KPMG survey assessed companies using criteria including how they calculated risks and responded to those risks; how transparent and balanced their reporting was and how they reported on their suppliers and value chain. Nestlé was one of only 10 firms that scored more than 90 out of 100 in all of these criteria. The KPMG survey has been running since 1993 and includes an in-depth assessment of CR reports from the world’s 250 largest companies.

When ecologist Carl Boettiger wrote a blog post in June calling for greater stringency in the peer review of scientific software in research papers, he hardly expected to stir up controversy. But in 54 comments on the post, researchers have debated how detailed such reviews should be; one said that it was a “trifle arrogant” of Boettiger, of the University of California at Santa Cruz, to insist that computer code attain his stringent standards before publication.

Now an offshoot of the Internet non-profit organization Mozilla has entered the debate, aiming to discover whether a review process could improve the quality of researcher-built software that is used in myriad fields today, ranging from ecology and biology to social science. In an experiment being run by the Mozilla Science Lab, software engineers have reviewed selected pieces of code from published papers in computational biology. “Scientific code does not have that comprehensive, off-the-shelf nature that we want to be associated with the way science is published and presented, and this is our attempt to poke at that issue,” says Mozilla Science Lab director Kaitlin Thaney.

Researchers increasingly rely on computation to perform tasks at every level of science, but most do not receive formal training in coding best practice. That has led to high-profile problems. Some scientists have argued, for example, that the fraudulent findings used as the basis for clinical trials in 2007 would have been exposed much earlier if cancer researcher Anil Potti of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, had been compelled to publish his data and computer code along with his original papers.

More routinely, incorrect or slipshod code prevents other researchers from replicating work, and can even lead them astray. In 2006, Geoffrey Chang of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, had to retract five research papers on crystal structure after finding a simple error in the code he was using, which had been provided by another lab. “That’s the kind of thing that should freak any scientist out,” says computational biologist Titus Brown at Michigan State University in East Lansing. “We don’t have good processes in place to detect that kind of thing in software.”

Mozilla is testing one potential process, deploying the type of code review that is routinely used on commercial software before it is released. Thaney says that the procedure is much like scientific peer review: “The reader looks for everything, from the equivalent of grammar and spelling to the correctness of the logic.” In this case, Mozilla opted to examine nine papers from PLoS Computational Biology that were selected by the journal’s editors in August. The reviewers looked at snippets of code up to 200 lines long that were included in the papers and written in widely used programming languages, such as R, Python and Perl.

The Mozilla engineers have discussed their findings with the papers’ authors, who can now choose what, if anything, to do with the markups — including whether to permit disclosure of the results. Those findings will not affect the status of their publications, says Marian Petre, a computer scientist at the Open University in Milton Keynes, UK, who will debrief the reviewers and authors. Thaney expects to release a preliminary report on the project within the next few weeks.

Computational biologists are betting that the engineers will have found much to criticize in the scientific programming, but will also have learnt from the project. They may have been forced to brush up on their biology, lest they misunderstood the scientific objective of the code they were examining, Brown says. Theo Bloom, editorial director for biology at non-profit publisher PLoS, shares that expectation, but says such reviews may still be useful, even if the Mozilla reviewers lack biological expertise. Yet that would prompt another question: how can journals conduct this type of review in a sustainable way?

The time and skill involved may justify paying reviewers, just as statistical reviewers of large clinical trials are paid. But researchers say that having software reviewers looking over their shoulder might backfire. “One worry I have is that, with reviews like this, scientists will be even more discouraged from publishing their code,” says biostatistician Roger Peng at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland. “We need to get more code out there, not improve how it looks.”

Sales slowdown pushes company to search for savings

Nestle SA, the world’s biggest food company, needs to reignite sales that have disappointed investors for four straight quarters. One solution: Get smaller.

The maker of Nescafe coffee and DiGiorno pizza said Aug. 8 that it’s actively looking at its 8,000 brands and is seeking to identify the laggards after posting its weakest quarterly revenue growth in four years. Nestle has said it will struggle this year to meet its long-term forecast for annual sales growth of 5 percent to 6 percent, hurt by a deceleration in emerging markets, European weakness and sluggish performances from its diet products, water and frozen entrées.

The slowdown increases the urgency for Chief Executive Officer Paul Bulcke to tackle underperforming areas, especially as his peers get leaner.

Unilever, whose ice creams and soups compete with Nestle’s, has raised more than $1 billion selling assets this year to focus on faster-growing shampoos and deodorants, and CEO Paul Polman has said there is more to come. Kraft Foods Inc. and Sara Lee Corp. have both split in two, and Campbell Soup Co. is in talks to sell much of its European unit.

“We’re talking surgery, not amputation,” Thomas Russo, a partner at Gardner Russo & Gardner and a Nestle investor since 1987, said in a phone interview.

“They allocate capital to businesses with high-return prospects, and you would think that those starved of capital would end up being potentially available for sale. I would support that.”

Nestle’s slowing growth has presented an uncommon quandary for investors, who for much of the past decade have bought the shares at a premium to food-and-beverage peers on a price-to-earnings basis. Now, the stock trades at a discount, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The shares have risen 4.2 percent this year.

The “air of invincibility and reliability” of the company has been eroded, Andrew Wood, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, said in an Aug. 9 note.

Selling a large food business would be a departure for Nestle.

This year’s enforced sale of infant-nutrition licenses in Australia and Africa was its biggest publicly disclosed divestment of a food-related asset since the 1997 sale of a canned tomato business to Del Monte Foods Co. for $197 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In contrast, Unilever has sold Skippy peanut butter for $700 million and Wish-Bone salad dressings for $580 million this year alone.

Unilever, the British-Dutch maker of Magnum ice cream, has sought to sell businesses whose sales are concentrated in Europe and the U.S. Nestle possesses similar assets, such as Jenny Craig diet centers, Lean Cuisine frozen meals, PowerBar snacks, and some of its bottled waters in North America.

Nestle this year beefed up what it terms a “cell methodology” tool that analyzes 1,000 distinct business units, or “cells,” across the 194 countries in which it operates, to help decide which ones should get more or less investment. The system provides a “common language across the organization,” Chief Financial Officer Wan Ling Martello has said.

For each struggling business, “you bring it into acceptable terms and you have a timeline for that, or you sell it off,” Bulcke said in a March investor presentation. Nestle’s investor relations director Roddy Child-Villiers declined to say how many of the 1,000 units are underperforming.

Jenny Craig is “a problem that we need to address,” Martello told analysts Aug. 8. She declined to give a time frame for its turnaround. Nestle paid about $600 million for U.S.- based Jenny Craig in 2006, and in 2010 tried to expand it into Europe. That hasn’t worked, as dieters shift to newer weight-loss remedies, so the business has exited Britain as it closes about 100 centers in the U.S. Tie-ins with Nestle’s other nutrition brands have also not materialized, said MainFirst analyst Alain-Sebastian Oberhuber.

Nestle’s frozen-food unit has also come under pressure, executives said in a February presentation, because of a growing perception among U.S. consumers that frozen meals are less healthy than fresh fare. Sales of frozen dinners like Lean Cuisine “continue to struggle for growth” in 2013, the company said this month.

Nestle has responded by banding together with frozen-food makers like ConAgra Foods Inc. to improve the perception of their products, and is also building a $53 million research and development center in Ohio. Innovations introduced so far have not moved the needle, Nestle has said.

Another brand that could be sold is PowerBar sports bars, said Oberhuber, the MainFirst analyst. By selling, Nestle could take advantage of the most active year for North American food industry transactions in half a decade, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

On the beverage side, Nestle’s bottled-water business gets about 80 percent of its $7.7 billion of annual sales from North America and Europe, and its operating profit margin is half that of Nestle’s other units. Nestle’s 65 water brands include premium-priced Perrier and San Pellegrino waters, while its Pure Life label is the world’s biggest.

“It is possible they would want to put all their focus behind Pure Life” and ditch North American regional brands like Arrowhead and Deer Park, said James Targett, an analyst at Berenberg Bank. Potential buyers of those brands could include beverage companies “with big checkbooks” like Coca-Cola Co., said Russo, the Nestle investor.

Nestle’s share of the $22 billion North American bottled water market declined to 22 percent in 2012 from 24 percent in 2010, according to data tracker Euromonitor.

The Swiss foodmaker could always keep its existing portfolio. Doing so would display the same resolve it showed when it developed the Nespresso single-serve coffee machine, which took 15 years to become the company’s fastest-growing brand.

“They have parted with businesses before and I’m sure they will part with them again,” said Russo, whose Nestle shares comprise about 10 percent of the $6 billion in assets he manages. “Whether Nestle can continue on their schedule or accede to Wall Street is the $64,000 question right now.”

Current Mood:Contemplative emoticon Contemplative