December 23, 2013 |
After months of technical glitches and political tumult, a burst of last-minute insurance shoppers illustrated the growing appetite for Obamacare and the enormous challenges ahead in making the massive healthcare expansion work. On Monday, the crush of consumers prompted the Obama administration to put thousands of applicants on hold and push back another key enrollment deadline to Tuesday. This unexpected move came despite weeks of computer fixes aimed at improving the troubled HealthCare.gov website.
September 19, 2013 |
Going into Sunday's Emmy telecast, all eyes are on "Breaking Bad. " It's picked up a slew of acting awards during its five-season run and is this year's odds-on favorite for drama series; as the show moves toward its Sept. 29 finale, its ratings have almost tripled since last year. "Breaking Bad" exemplifies a new sort of television series, one conceived with its ending in sight. Wonderfully written, powerfully acted, gorgeously shot, its seasons serve as chapters that take on the Big Four of literary conflict: Man versus Man, Man versus Nature, Man versus Society, Man versus Himself.
September 11, 2013 |
Mike Dalton starts his day at a Department of Veterans Affairs office in Oakland doing something he couldn't do a year ago: He signs on to a computer and calls up an application for disability compensation. With a few mouse clicks, he pulls the information he needs to rate a veteran's injuries. The new computer system is the centerpiece of a major overhaul that department officials promise will clear the backlog of claims that has had severely wounded veterans waiting months - if not years - to find out whether they will receive financial help.
August 23, 2013 |
The more that Ian Barry fabricates motorcycles from scratch, the more arresting they become. Shedding the legacy of a customized bike, in which a manufactured machine gets tailored, “The White” asserts its abstract sculptural properties without losing its functional beauty. At Michael Kohn Gallery, Barry is showing “The Kestrel” (2010) and “The Black” (2011), two earlier handcrafted motorcycles, together with the recently completed “The White.” The names come from types of falcons, and looking at the newest one it's hard not to think of Brancusi's sleek “Bird in Space.” Except for the engine and two tires, the artist built the motorcycle from the ground up, fender to handlebar.
August 15, 2013 |
NASA scientists said Thursday that the agency will no longer attempt to restore full function to the exoplanet-hunting Kepler space telescope , which has been hobbled since the spring. A three-month effort to return the craft to working order , completed just last week, was unsuccessful, said Kepler deputy project manager Charles Sobeck during a phone call with reporters. Reaction wheels that help the craft focus on far-off stars “are sufficiently damaged that they cannot sustain spacecraft pointing control for any extended period of time,” he said, adding that the space agency will now focus on figuring out how it might still use the telescope with only two fully functioning reaction wheels.
July 15, 2013 |
It began with a casual question that neuroscientist Kent Kiehl posed to a postdoctoral fellow in his laboratory who had been conducting brain scans on New Mexico prison inmates. "I asked, 'Does ACC activity predict the risk of reoffending?' " Kiehl recalls, using the scientific shorthand for the anterior cingulate cortex, a brain structure associated with error processing. The postdoctoral fellow, Eyal Aharoni, decided to find out. When he compared 96 inmates whose brains had been monitored while they performed a test that measures impulsiveness, he discovered a stark contrast: Those with low ACC activity were about twice as likely to commit crimes within four years of being released as those with high ACC activity.