November 15, 2011 |
The Obama administration named Coast Guard Rear Adm. James A. Watson IV, who ran the federal response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, as the new top monitor of safety and environmental practices in the offshore energy industry. Watson is scheduled to take up his post Dec. 1 as the new director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, replacing interim director Michael Bromwich. The Obama administration brought in Bromwich after the Deepwater Horizon drill rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers and spewing nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the ocean in the country's worst offshore environmental disaster.
October 28, 2011 |
The X Prize Foundation, which offers monetary awards for solutions to pressing scientific challenges, has tackled space travel, moon missions and oil spill cleanups. Now it's taking on the human genome. The Archon Genomics X Prize presented by Medco is challenging teams to accurately sequence the DNA of 100 centenarians within 30 days at $1,000 or less per genome. The first team to complete the task successfully will receive $10 million, and the sequenced genomes will be published for use in research.
October 24, 2011 |
It's an annual autumn rite for many: trooping to the doctor's office or pharmacy for the jab that might stave off sniffles and aches during the flu season. Scientists would love to make this ritual history, if only they could come up with a flu vaccine that would work for many years, instead of one. The problem is that influenza is a wily opponent - every year it wears a new disguise, foiling the body's immune system as well as the medical profession's attempts to stifle it. In designing the annual shot, scientists must guess what strain of influenza will be prevalent in the upcoming season.
October 21, 2011 |
BP won approval from the Interior Department for a plan to explore for oil and gas in deep-water areas of the Gulf of Mexico, moving the company closer to drilling new wells barred after the blowout of its Macondo well touched off the country's worst offshore environmental disaster. The exploration plan was the first BP had submitted to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in April 2010, killing 11 workers and spewing nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the gulf.
September 18, 2011 |
PLAY IT FORWARD Five things to watch this week in college football. 1. Pittsburgh and Syracuse were accepted Sunday as members of the Atlantic Coast Conference. That sets the stage for further conference expansion. Regents from Texas and Oklahoma meet separately Monday to discuss possible moves to the Pacific 12 Conference. Stay tuned. 2. Big 12/Pac-12/Southeastern Conference game of the week? Oklahoma State plays at Texas A&M in a Big 12 game that actually might involve three conferences.
September 15, 2011 |
BP and the two other companies drilling the exploratory Macondo oil well in the Gulf of Mexico all violated federal safety regulations leading up to last year's oil spill, a federal investigation concluded in findings that could be crucial for a Justice Department investigation and numerous lawsuits surrounding the disaster. The report pinned much of the blame on oil giant BP, which was "ultimately responsible" for operations and safety on the rig. But the joint inquiry by the Coast Guard and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement was critical of BP's drilling contractors,Transocean and Halliburton.
September 5, 2011 |
This has been a hard couple years — on top of a hard era — for organized labor. The percentage of American workers who belong to a union has continued its long slide, dropping from 12.3% in 2009 to 11.9% in 2010. Those numbers are even starker if viewed through a longer lens: In 1983, more than 1 in 5 American workers was a member of a union; today it's barely half that. Moreover, while those numbers testify to the eroding faith many Americans have in organized labor to represent their interests — as well as the cunning tactics of employers to thwart organizing — they do not capture this year's singular, highly ideological rage.
July 30, 2011 |
Standing atop a patch of churned-up dirt on a recent morning, James Corner was surrounded by mismatched palm trees, chipped sidewalks and sagging chain link: a typical slice of Southern California landscape caught unawares, hardly ready for its close-up. He and I had just walked onto the site of a new pair of connected parks in Santa Monica that his New York-based landscape architecture and urban-design firm, James Corner Field Operations, is creating. Three towering ficus trees, sitting in giant temporary planter boxes and waiting to be relocated, added some scale, but otherwise the area was bare.
July 8, 2011 |
In a decision that is significant but not surprising, the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling in favor of the NFL on Friday, five weeks after hearing oral arguments on whether the league could lock out its players. The lockout will remain in place, something the appellate court strongly indicated in its preliminary opinion in May. The 34-page decision comes as, by all accounts, the NFL and players are making substantial progress toward a new labor deal, a critical juncture considering training camps and exhibition games are less than a month away.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 21, 2011 |
In its largest farm labor trafficking case ever, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Wednesday charged a Beverly Hills-based firm and eight farms with severe abuse and discrimination involving more than 200 Thai farmworkers. Federal attorneys alleged that Global Horizons Manpower Inc., a labor contracting firm headed by Israel native Mordechai Orian, subjected workers in Hawaii and Washington to violence, inadequate pay and nutrition, rat-infested housing, and other illegal conditions based on their national origin and race.