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Omitting market risk factor creates critical flaw in case-shiller home price indices
The method used to calculate Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, the most trusted benchmark for U.S. residential real estate prices, contains a flaw that likely could lead to misstating its monthly estimates, according to a newly published study led by faculty at Florida Atlantic University.
The paper published in the Journal of Real Estate Research identifies an important deficiency in the Weighted Repeated Sales (WRS) method developed by economists Karl Case and Robert Shiller, which compares repeat sales of the same homes in an effort to study home pricing trends both nationally and in 20 metropolitan areas across the country.
The critical flaw in Case-Shiller's method, the paper's authors contend, is its omission of the market risk factor. Ping Cheng, Ph.D., professor of finance in FAU's College of Business, explained what initially got him and his colleagues thinking about the index methodology was an assertion by Case and Shiller in their original work, in which they stated that over longer time intervals, the price changes for an individual home are more likely to be caused by factors other than market forces.
Nemo is not here.
what was inside the box in Mecca
The Ark of the Covenant.
"The field is moving much faster than we had previous realised," says John Dueber of the University of California, Berkeley, whose team has just created a yeast that produces the main precursor of opiates. Until recently, Dueber had thought the creation of, say, a morphine-making yeast was 10 years away. He now thinks a low-yielding strain could be made in two or three years.
It might take many more years to produce a high-yielding strain. But once it exists, in theory anyone who got hold of it could make morphine in their kitchen using only a home-brewing kit. Merely drinking tiny quantities of the resulting brew – perhaps as little as a few millilitres - would get you high. "It probably is as simple as that," says Dueber. "The beer would have morphine in it."
We need to start thinking about the implications now, before such strains – or the recipes for genetically engineering them – become available, he says.
Other teams are working on producing tropane alkaloids – a family of compounds that include drugs such as cocaine. Cocaine-making yeasts are further off, as we still don't understand certain critical steps that coca plants use to make cocaine. But there's no reason we cannot engineer yeast to produce any substance that plants produce, once we understand the machinery, says biochemist Peter Facchini of the University of Calgary in Canada. "So indeed someone could potentially produce cocaine in yeast."
No Charges for Teacher Arrested After Tesla Coil Burn - ABC News
A prosecutor isn't filing criminal charges "at this time" against an Oregon science teacher accused of using a Tesla coil to burn the phrase "I love mom" into students' arms.
Samuel Dufner was arrested Tuesday at South Salem High School.
Salem police Lt. Steve Birr says students used the coil in an exercise last week. Dufner noted it could also be used to mark the skin and asked for volunteers.
The 37-year-old burned "I love mom" into their arms — with a heart to symbolize the word love. Birr says the marks have since faded.
Electricity usage predicts stock direction: Notre Dame paper
Dixie Dregs - Tonight Show - 01/07/1993 - Medley (Take It Off The Top) - YouTube
Happy Together - Turtles - YouTube
The Searchers - Needles And Pins ('64) - YouTube
Emmy Noether is described as the most important female mathematician, but she also made a profound contribution to theoretical physics.
Her theorem on the fundamental relationship between symmetry and conservation principles is extremely simple:
For any property of a physical system that is symmetric, there is a corresponding conservation law.
Noether's theorem allows physicists to gain powerful insights into any general theory in physics, by just analyzing the various transformations that would make the form of the laws involved invariant.
For example, if a physical system is symmetric under rotations, its angular momentum is conserved. If it is symmetric in time, its energy is conserved. If it is symmetric in space, its momentum is conserved.
Note the connection between these symmetries and the various forms of Heisenberg uncertainty principle.
Africa market of future for illegal drugs: UN official - Yahoo News
Panama City (AFP) - Africa is the market of the future for illegal drugs, a top UN narcotics official said Tuesday, predicting the continent would go from transport hub to major consumer.
Massive amounts of cocaine and other narcotics already pass through Africa on their way from Latin America to Europe, and it is only a matter of time before large numbers of Africans start using them, said Pierre Lapaque, the West and Central Africa representative for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
"The market of the future for cocaine and other drugs is Africa," he said in Panama at an international meeting on fighting organized crime.
Ever since drug traffickers realized a decade ago that sending drugs through West Africa was easier than shipping them directly to Europe, the region has become a major hub in the drug trade, said Lapaque.
this is as obvious a case of punishing the small fry as you can get.
Whenever North Carolina gets caught cheating, put some sanctions on Cleveland State.
Vampyroteuthis infernalis - YouTube
(Graphic) Dashcam Shows Cop Ram Into Walking Suspect - YouTube
Bobby Hurley quickly becomes popular hire for Arizona State Sun Devils
TEMPE, Ariz. -- The theater inside Arizona State's athletic complex was packed, television cameras everywhere. Even football coach Todd Graham and his staff showed up.
Bobby Hurley can draw a crowd. Arizona State wanted to make a splash with its next basketball coach, and so far it's done just that.
"Our charge was to go out and find the best and the right fit for this program," Arizona State athletic director Ray Anderson said Friday. "We believe very, very strongly and very confidently that we have accomplished that mission."
not sure how you do this, maybe it has to be public pressure.
Distinguish between drinking water and toilet water.
Second Circuit Decision Reminds Us To Double-Check Documents - Insolvency/Bankruptcy - United States
In a decision that sent a shiver down the spine of attorneys and lenders alike, on January 21, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (the "Second Circuit") ruled that JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. ("JPMorgan") had released its security interest on a $1.5 billion loan to General Motors ("GM") by the inadvertent filing of a UCC-3 termination statement. The Second Circuit held that although JP Morgan and GM did not intend to terminate the security interest at issue, the termination was effective because JP Morgan authorized the filing of the UCC-3 termination statement.
In October 2001, GM entered into a synthetic lease financing transaction ("Synthetic Lease"), by which it obtained approximately $300 million in financing from a syndicate of lenders (the "Lenders") including JPMorgan who served as the administrative agent. The Synthetic Lease was secured by mortgages on several pieces of real estate, which were perfected by the proper filing of two UCC-1 financing statements by JPMorgan (the "Synthetic Lease UCC-1s"). Separately, GM entered into an unrelated term loan facility (the "Term Loan"). JPMorgan also served as the administrative agent on this loan. The Term Loan was secured by security interests in a variety of GM's assets, including equipment and fixtures at forty-two facilities throughout the United States. JPMorgan properly filed UCC-1 financing statements to perfect its security interest in the various assets, including one such statement filed in Delaware covering all GM's equipment and fixtures at 42 of the facilities (the "Term Loan UCC-1").
we defecate into water purer than what the vast majority of humanity uses for drinking water. the water industry is ripe for disruption. but, by all means, continue to fret over our dehydrated future if it pleases you.
What Will Happen in Vegas Won't Stay in Vegas [Excerpt] - Scientific American
Or perhaps the real future of Las Vegas might lie on the banks of the Salton Sea in Southern California, about 120 miles north. This area was born when the Colorado River temporarily diverted into the Salton Sea in 1905. For a time, runoff from farms kept the lake level constant if not polluted. Though the largest lake in California, the Salton Sea is also the lowest, and its water is saltier than the Pacific Ocean.
The Salton Sea enjoyed some success in the 1950s as resort communities grew up on the eastern shore and looked promising for a while. But with no outflow, the lake kept getting more polluted. In the 1970s, most of the buildings constructed along the shoreline were abandoned.
The birds that migrate to the south side of the lake in winter still draw bird watchers, but that is primarily because all the marshlands in the Imperial Valley, where the Salton Sea lies, are taken up by agriculture. There’s no place else for the birds to go.
There are still some scattered houses on the west side, but the east side of the sea around the former yacht club is mostly old abandoned trailers and assorted ruins.
Las Vegas could get there, too. If the water in the soil gets below Dust Bowl levels, the crusts would break down and the sands might pick up and fly with the wind. If the water runs out and the city goes dry, it wouldn’t take long for the golf courses, the fountains, and the swimming pools to lose their appeal. And if the desert gets hotter and dryer, the great migration and construction boom of the last fifty years could take its final bow.
Some future artist might revel in the rusted infrastructure of the famous Sin City, go looking for relics of slot machines in the nearby dump, or collect neon artifacts for some museum. Or he or she might go rummaging through old books or magazines to read tale of how Sin City finally succumbed to drought, dust storms, and sky-high electric bills, and the day the last neon light flickered out.
In the end Nature holds all the cards.
Never shoot to kill
An unarmed, fleeing person
In the back.
At least not when you are being videotaped.
Indian police kill 20 suspected sandalwood smugglers | World news | The Guardian
Police in southern India have shot dead at least 20 alleged smugglers of sandalwood in “self-defence” after being attacked with axes, arrows, sticks and stones.
The clash took place early on Tuesday morning in the Seshachalam forest, on the outskirts of the temple town of Tirupati, in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
Smuggling sandalwood has long been a lucrative business in the area, though those actually cutting trees and moving the wood are usually extremely poor locals hired by gang leaders. Most are paid between 150 and 300 rupees (£1.60 to £3.20) for a day’s work.
The red sandalwood that grows locally is on international lists of endangered wild flora and fauna and its export from India is illegal. Admired for its deep red colour and hardness, the valuable wood from the Eastern Ghat mountain range is used for artefacts and furniture in China and a kilo can be worth as much as £100, officials say.
Scientists react to republished Séralini GMO maize rat study | Genetic Literacy Project
Former Giants cornerback Allen accused by SEC of running Ponzi scheme - MarketWatch
Gene Chandler - Duke Of Earl - YouTube
Jesus Christ seen in dental x-rays by Arizona woman in pre-Easter surprise | Daily Mail Online
Those who forget the Pasta are doomed to reheat it.
YouTube - Get Konnected with The Kronies Action Figures
The Flipside interviews John Papola on The Kronies, Keynes, and Hayek - YouTube
Q: But the Saudi role in this instance was to stir things up.
HUGHES: Well, their view was that their interests were served by having two Yemens which
could be played off against each other rather than one united Yemen with 14 or 15 million
people. There was a tremendous amount of antipathy between Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Of
course, the Saudis were on the side of the Royalists during the Yemen Revolution, '68 and '67,
and Egyptians came in on the side of Grecians, so it became kind of a Egypt-Saudi war. But an
enormous amount of popular antipathy, because in 1934 the Saudis had taken three historically
Yemen provinces in the North because of some claims and confusion in Yemen. Historically
Yemen had been less a strongly governed country than [a tribal society], but still there's the
historic identification of being Yemen. But the three provinces, which were quite good
provinces, were taken by Saudi and are still Saudi. So there's a lot of popular resentment against
Saudi Arabia. And the Saudis have a policy of direct involvement, pay subsidies, and there have
been occasionally allegations of plots by Saudi Arabia. But as it turned out, the Saudis did buy
them such things as MIG 29s, the Southerners, and sent them a fair amount of supplies and so
forth, and this all went to an air field in the South called Arvion, which is down by Kulla. When
there was almost no resistance, that all collapsed very quickly after Aden collapsed, and the
forces from the government captured file cabinets with all the records of deliveries, where they
came from, who paid for them, all that stuff. I think it's a mark of a maturity of judgment that
they held all this stuff to negotiate with the Saudis and other Arab States which supported their
breakaway, to negotiate arrangements and modus ovendi as opposed to just releasing it and
attacking. That was very wise on their part frankly.
Q: Who was the government getting most of its support at this time?
HUGHES: The government in Sanaa?
HUGHES: Well, I think the most important thing is that the kind of government which Allis Ali
Abib and the others ran in the South was not a popular government. Even though it was the
People's Democratic Republic, they did some awful things, absolutely awful things, and there
was a popular feeling, "Why should we fight for Abib?" Now, then you get involved in some
tribal stuff, even a bit of fundamentalist, nonfundamentalist stuff. I talked with a military
commander from Wadi Hidramow, and he said, "We had no interest in fighting for Abib, but
when the Northern troops started sacking [others], then we had to defend just our homes, so to
speak." And that was pretty well understood by Sala and people in the North that came in. But
that's the main thing. One of the things that was useful too was right when the war stopped I told
the Yemenese I wanted to go Aden immediately. I wanted to see what really happened, because
there was a barrage of propaganda and information that Aden was really just treated horribly and
so forth, and even during the war it was shelled. So I got a call back - this was the Minister of
Interior whom I was talking with - and said, "Okay, Sala will give you his helicopter to go down
there." I said, "Okay, I'll go tomorrow, because I'm going back to the States to tell Washington
what's going on and decide what we're going to do, also to get my daughter married." I felt a little
trepidation, because they had a lot of Soviet helicopters, which sometimes had a tendency to fall
down. So I went out to the airport. I was glad it was a Bell helicopter and I knew the American
company that maintained them, and so I had a sigh of relief actually.
So we flew down to the airport and right over the main stronghold base that the Soviets h
Q: During your period in Yemen, I would be interested as to the degree of Congressional interest
in the post. Did you have visitors?
LANE: That's a good question. In two and a half, almost three years in Yemen, we had two
Congressional visitors that I can remember. One was Senator Percy who came early on, primarily
I think, because his brother-in-law was head of the Save The Children Fund - the American Save
The Children Fund headquartered in Connecticut, and Save The Children was doing some things
in Yemen. So he heard about the Yemen that way, and he and his wife came out to visit on
Thanksgiving with us, as I recall, the first year we were there. Very pleasant people, very nice.
The other Congressional visitor was Congressman Solarz from Brooklyn who came with a staff
of several people who were interested in the Jews in Yemen - how many Jews were there left,
where were they, how did they live, were they being persecuted, could he and his staff go visit
them? That was less pleasant because the Yemenis were not about to roll out the red carpet for
the Solarz group to go visit the Jews of Yemen. There weren't very many left. Almost all of the
Yemenis Jews went to Israel in 1948 as the result of the famous Operation Flying Carpet which
was mounted at that time. There may be three or four hundred living in certain isolated villages,
and I really do believe that they're no more maltreated than anybody else. Their life is no
different. There is sort of a tradition in some Yemeni villages that the Jews are the peace-makers
because the Muslim tribes won't trust each other but they trust a Jew to be fair between the two
Muslim tribes. But those were the only two Congressional visitors really in two and a half years,
and this was the period when they were just flooding into Saudi Arabia. In '78 to '81 Saudi
Arabia was the place to go.
Q: What about relations with the U.S. military? Were there U.S. Naval visits? Were there any
active sort of military programs?
LANE: Yes. We had a Military Assistance Advisory Group, which was called the ODC, the
Office of Defense Cooperation; a couple of people, and then there were some more people who
came on TDY. For a while there in 1979, we had two Air Force pilots teaching the Yemenis how
to fly the F-5 at Sanaa airport in the morning, and the Soviets were teaching them how to fly the
Sukoy in the afternoon - at same airport, different pilots. That program, I think, still goes on. I
think the F-5 program - the F-5 was a good airplane, a good plane for the Yemenis to have. And
we had some people also working with their ground forces; not much in the way of Naval visits.
We had a couple but not a lot.
Q: Now you mentioned the Soviets having a military assistance program, a training program
there. Was there any dimension of the cold war during your tenure there?
LANE: Yes, yes, very much so really. The first Soviet Ambassador, when I first arrived, was a
wonderful old Bolshevik, who looked like a combination of Khrushchev, and a dissipated W.C.
Fields - a short stocky guy who drank too much, and was a real aggressive fellow. The Soviets
had had a long relationship with the Yemen, supplying weapons, and helping the Egyptians who
helped the Yemenis in the Yemeni civil war. So they had 200 military advisers or so in the
STUTESMAN: But I mean, weren't the American companies literally going to be moved out
after a period of time?
Q: I'm not sure. It was sort of an open question, I think.
STUTESMAN: In any case, it was an open question. At a minimum, it was not conclusive.
Anyhow, that's my reaction looking back. I could be mistaken.
Q: Shortly after the talks ended, the U.S. gave the Iranian Government another grant in aid,
some time in the fall of '54, the summer of '54, perhaps. I'm not sure. To what extent did the U.S.
link acquiescence to the consortium plan with additional assistance?
STUTESMAN: I have no idea. I don't know.
Q: One of the last issues to be settled was a question of which U.S. companies would play a part
in the consortium. The smaller companies, independents, originally wanted, I guess, a 33% share
in the consortium on the grounds that they had supported the boycott of Iranian oil for the most
part, and they should be rewarded for their observation of the international boycott against
Mossadegh's oil. How much support did the independents have in the State Department? Was
there much sympathy for their position at State?
STUTESMAN: I don't remember. I just don't remember.
Q: Apparently, Ralph K. Davies played a major role in getting the independents some share of
STUTESMAN: Did he, really?
Q: It was a minor share, but they got a share, like 4% or 5%, something like that.
STUTESMAN: Was Alton Jones around there? Why am I so familiar with that name? Was he
involved with this? He was an independent, certainly.
Q: I think he might have had a share of the share. I'm not sure. Did you know Davies or have
contact with him?
Q: You just know the name.
STUTESMAN: I know the name.
Q: After the consortium agreement was reached late in '54, the Shah came to the United States
for a state visit, to meet with Eisenhower and Dulles, among others. What was your role in the
preparation for a state visit? What kind of role did the country desk play?
STUTESMAN: I'll answer it by telling you a story about when the Shah came, not incognito, but
not on a state visit. He and his new wife, the German girl, the Bakhtiari girl, I can't think of her
name, a beautiful woman, they came and they had a good time up in New York (Laughs). He
walked into one of those big car sales places up near Columbus Circle. He's not a very
impressive-looking man in civilian clothes, and he had a rather shabby-looking aide with him.
The salesman didn't even come over for a while. Some salesman came over, and the Shah, by this
time, had looked around the showroom enough, and he said, "I'd like that, but in a sort of orange
color, and I'd like two of those." (Laughs) And then he got arrested, speeding on the New Jersey
turnpike, and we had to fix that up.
Then he came to Washington, and there were no particular plans. Of course, I was involved with
meeting him. He said, "I'd like to ride." So he and I rented some horses at Rock Creek Park, and
went riding in Rock Creek. Christ, when I think about it today, the Shah of Iran and the terrorists
and all this stuff, here the two of us were, just riding along in Rock Creek Park, chatting away.
I took him dancing. My wife and the Shah and Soroya, that was her name, we went dancing in
one of the big old hotels there. All I did was call up and got a table. I didn't tell the maitre d’ who
was going to be there. Soroya dances very well, I'll tell you that. It was all very cheerful. Kim
Roosevelt got very upset, because he felt that we ought to be doing more. So he got Herbert
Hoover, Jr., to have a little soiree. When I think about it, it's all so pastoral, so halcyon.
Q: A level of informality that wouldn't have existed 20 years later
Q: As a basis for stability.
STUTESMAN: Yes, and less concerned with making a deal for the oil companies. The two are
inextricably connected, but if you have to give way to one side or another, my recollection is that
the weight ran more to, "Okay, Mossadegh's gone, there's a new government there, there's a new
chance. Let's help it work." Of course, also they could pretty much push the British to the side. I
mean, we were in the lead now.
Q: I want to take a few steps back to the question of the coup and the CIA's role in the coup. On
the basis of the information that you had been able to get at the desk in the following year or
two, could you say how important the U.S. role was in the overthrow of Mossadegh was? Was
the U.S. role decisive or incidental? How would you characterize that?
STUTESMAN: I've heard it described in a number of different ways by Mr. Henderson, by Kim
[Kermit Roosevelt], by others. I believe that its success is evidence that it was based on natural
forces. There were broad forces which supported the idea of a more stable government, a
government which could open up connections again to the West, and the Shah was popular. I do
not think, however, that it would have happened then without outside instigation. And the two go
Q: A few months after the coup, Vice President Nixon met with the Shah in Iran during the
course of a long trip through Asia.
STUTESMAN: I'd forgotten that.
Q: Did his visit have any special political significance, the Vice President stopping to see the
Shah during the course of a tour of the Near East and the Far East?
STUTESMAN: I don't remember that at all, but I think it's a good idea, and certainly the Shah
must have gotten a good deal of self esteem out of it.
Q: A show of political support by the U.S.
STUTESMAN: Oh, yes. A senior official. I mean, the President's the only next one in their eyes.
People are generally ignorant of the history of our relations with Iran.
I dislike Kentucky. It's like losing to two top 5 basketball teams at the same time.
Harum Scarum Official Trailer #1 - Elvis Presley Movie (1965) HD - YouTube
If you would like it.
What I did in order to meet a lot of younger people, I started meeting them at sports activities, I
started meeting them because they came to the consulate, or I'd meet one who would introduce
me to others; but what I also did, the consulate had a huge swimming pool, an Olympic-size
swimming pool, dressing room, bathrooms, etc. Now my predecessors had always used it either
for themselves or they had used it for the foreign community. There was a small British
community especially that used to love coming over to the consulate and using the pool and the
tennis courts. I thought this was a bit silly. I saw no reason at all to run the American consulate
for the benefit of the British expatriate community. So what I did was to get in touch with two
swimming coaches from the local high schools, and I turned over the whole section of the
consulate recreation facilities, the swimming pool, the wading pool for children, the tennis court,
which was separate from the house - I turned that over to these guys and opened it up to people in
the community. We passed out word in the immediate geographic area of the consulate that
anyone who wanted to use the pool, the tennis court, could do so on certain days of the week. I
think it was on four days of the week. And we had family days and we had bachelor days because
Iranian families, married women, etc., young women could not mix with Iranian bachelors. So I
had it set up differently, and basically turned it over to the coaches to run, with a lot of help, of
course, from the FSN staff, who were aghast that I had done this. And the British community was
not only aghast but desolated and incensed that I had done this. But because of this I had a
constant stream of young, old, every type of Iranian coming into the consulate grounds and using
the recreational facilities. I figured I couldn't use the pool at all - I was always in the office - so
why have it filled with all those cubic tons of water. It worked out well. It was used for a long
summer, a very, very long summer, a beautiful summer, and 50 or 60 young kids from the area,
according to the coaches, learned how to swim in that period.
Q: Well, we're going to stop in a minute, but I just thought I'd fill in this. What would you reply -
now here you are, you're the American representative in this area, people are getting more and
more... as more and more discontent, our official policy was strong support of the Shah and all,
and the Shah and the embassy were far away - what were you saying?
METRINKO: And I was getting precious little guidance. Basically, I was trying to play it cool. I
would sit and listen. If they were very, very close friends - and this means if they were friends I
had had from Peace Corps days, because my Peace Corps site had been in that district, too, and
they were people I really liked and trusted - then I would tell them how I felt about the Shah. But
if I gave American policy it was support for the government and people of Iran. It got to be a bit
embarrassing towards the middle of the year, but that was the American policy.
Q: Well, Mike, we'll stop at this point, and just to put where we are, you've taken us up to really
through well certainly through almost through '78, would you say? Or when did Khomeini come
METRINKO: Khomeini came back in February of 1979. We want to talk about a couple of
things that went before then.
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Q: How did things develop, then?
METRINKO: In what sense?
Q: Well, I mean you were going to have a revolution and you were going to end up in jail in a
while, and I mean how did things -
METRINKO: Why did it go from the rosy rose garden to -
METRINKO: I keep asking myself. I was promised a... The demonstrations spread. There was
extreme dissatisfaction with the Shah. People thought initially that Carter was opposed to the
Shah. People in Iran who disliked the Shah saw this as an opportunity. I think if you were a
revolutionary it was basically serendipity. The Shah was losing it. He was feeling uneasy because
he knew he had cancer - maybe. His family's ability to be corrupt had reached a saturation point.
His brothers and sisters were scraping every dollar they could get out of everybody. The channels
of communication were improving, which meant that, I think, a lot of people were getting
information that they hadn't had access to. And there must be a certain point at which, when
you've sent a lot of your country's students overseas, point of return at which what they've learned
there has started to have a real effect on them and on their peers back in Iran. Enough thousands
of students have left Iran and had returned with very different feelings about the Shah's
government, perhaps, than when they had left Iran, that it was all reaching a bubbling point. And
you had this very charismatic, very strong religious figure in Iraq, the Ayatollah Khomeini, who
was there to pick up the reins. So it was all coming together.
Q: Well, were you seeing a change?
METRINKO: Oh, sure, yes. More and more open comments by people, a lot of open com
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Notre Dame looking pretty respectable vs Kentucky right now.
signment. He was leaving to go to another city in Iran as principal officer, and Tabriz required
a principal officer. They looked at me and asked me if I'd be interested in going out there since I
spoke Turkish and Persian, and I agreed. And off I went to Tabriz.
Q: Well, let's talk first about when you arrived in '77 in Tehran. What was the political situation
like at that time?
METRINKO: Political situation, do you mean inside the embassy?
Q: No, the political situation outside.
METRINKO: The political situation outside the embassy depended upon who was looking at it.
If you were the ambassador, if you were the ambassador's Political Section, if you were the
DCM, everything was bright and rosy. If you had any contact with the people of Iran, it was not
so bright and rosy. In fact, it was bloody awful, but since so few people over in the front office or
the Political Section or the Econ Section of the embassy spoke Persian, and since they had such
limited contact with normal Iranians, they didn't seem to realize this. I'll give you and example.
Shortly after I got there, I started getting in touch with my old friends, and in the course of a few
weeks I saw an old student of mine who had become a police officer, and he was also on the
escort for the Shah. His roommate was one of the Shahs "Immortal Guards," one of the Shah's
personal bodyguards. That was one. I got in touch with the former head of my school. I had been
a teacher just outside of Tehran, and the president of the school invited me out for dinner one
night, and we had a nice long talk about the situation. And the third one was a visa applicant who
had come in requesting a visa and claiming he wanted to go to the United States so that he could
dispose of his art collection.
The three cases are interesting. The police officer, who was a member of the establishment,
closely tied to the Shah's entourage, security, the first night that we met and many, many times
thereafter, gave me a large number of anecdotes about how people disliked the Shah, how he
disliked the Shah, how there was a tremendous rift in security services that were supposed to be
protecting the Shah, how some of the police had an agreement with leftists, opponents of the
Shah, to not interfere with each other, basically a hands-off policy one from the other, and how,
as he said, "I wouldn't kill the Shah myself, but if I saw somebody else pulling the trigger, I
would turn and look in the other direction." That's coming from one of the Shah's guards.
Iran – Evacuation
Michael John Metrinko was born in Pennsylbania in 1946. He graduated from
Georgetown Uniersity in 1968. After entering the Foreign Service in 1974, his
postings have included Ankara, Damascus, Tehran, Tabriz, Krakow, Kabul, Tel
Aviv and special assignments in Yemen and Afghanistan. Mr. Metrinko was
interviewed in 1999 by Charles Stuart Kennedy.
Today is May 31, 2000. Mike, so 1977. You're off to Iran. I think you talked about how you got
the job, didn't you?
METRINKO: Yes, I got the job because the personnel system made a mistake. I think I did talk
Q: I think you did. So well then, when you arrived in 19. . . Did you get any briefing or anything
else at all.
METRINKO: About Iran?
Q: About Iran.
METRINKO: No, I never had area studies either. Of course, I didn't really need them.
Q: I mean were you picking up anything in the corridors about the situation there, whither Iran
and all that?
METRINKO: I was a lowly untenured officer going off to the visa section in Tehran. It's not
likely that anybody would even have spoken to me. The did not give briefings in those days to
untenured junior visa officers. I went to Iran. I wanted to go there because I'd liked the country so
much in the Peace Corps, I had lots of friends there, thought I could have a good interesting time
there. And also thought that I could be a pretty decent officer since I spoke the language, spoke
two of the languages of the country, and knew a lot about the country. I arrived in Tehran in
March of 1977 and was assigned to the visa section as a visa officer. It was a very different kind
of consular work than I had done in Syria, certainly very different from my rather gentlemanly
approach to consular work in Ankara. Tehran was almost a factory type visa situation, a "visa
mill," with many, many hundreds of Iranians every morning lining up to get into the visa section.
I think we got to 900-1000 on many days, too.
Q: Who were they?
METRINKO: Everybody. We had a huge military exchange program with Iran, so Iranians were
being sent off to the United States for training. Iranians had now gotten access to oil money.
They were getting scholarships, fellowships from the Government of Iran, and their own families
had the money to send them off to school in the United States. The Iranian school system could
not handle the population of graduated high school seniors, and for each person who went you
had a mother, a father, a brother, or a sister who wanted to visit. So we were up in the high
thousands of visa applicants every year. And getting deluged by it. Needless to say, the
Department had not kept up with the anticipated demand. There were very few consular officers
at the post - very few State officers. There were a couple of Agency officers who were also
assigned to the visa section. But I was one of, I think, three regular State officers assigned to the
visa section, and for the first several months, from March until I think July or so, I worked in the
visa section. It was an interesting job. It caused me some problems. I saw one side of the Foreign
Service that I thought was rather sad. I got involved in a fraud investigation of my own boss at
the time, and she was moved out of the section because of the implications of fraud in her
Q: What happened? I mean, I'm trying to figure out how the Department in those days dealt with
METRINKO: Handle it? Cases like this - I won't use names - but what happened is shortly after I
arrived in the section I was introduced to the Consular Section "expediter" (quote-unquote), who
worked out at the airport and basically helped people from the embassy process through the
airport. He would come in every day with several up to a stack of passports and request visas for
various people and claim they were all given to him by the head of the airport, the head of
security at the airport, or various important people for us at the airport. We were under orders to
process these as quickly as possible because it was important for the embassy, orders directly
from the head of the visa section. That was fine. I didn't like the expediter. None
Regular Coffee consumption reduces liver cancer risk caused by regular alcohol drinking: New Study
The recent discovered benefit that coffee offers to its avid fans would certainly put a smile on the faces of the alcohol aficionados. People who are fond of drinking alcohol are at risk of liver cancer, but there is a research that has been conducted recently that says drinking coffee regularly will lessen the damage in liver caused by regular drinking of alcohol.
In a latest survey published by researchers of World Cancer Research Fund, the consumption of three or more alcoholic drinks every day may significantly increase the risk of having a liver cancer.
The findings can be seen in the Liver Cancer 2015 report that has been furnished by WCRF. The report hinged on the analysis of around 34 scientific studies, painstaking research works composing health data from over 8 million men and women and 24,600 cases of liver cancer.
The same multitude of studies will show a positive correlation between three daily alcohol consumption and liver cancer, and decreased risk of liver cancer caused by regular coffee drinking.
Sodium lauryl sulfate is a surfactant, detergent and emulsifier used in thousands of cosmetic products, as well as in industrial cleaners. It is present in nearly all shampoos, scalp treatments, hair color and bleaching agents, toothpastes, body washes and cleansers, make-up foundations, liquid hand soaps, laundry detergents and bath oils/bath salts.
Although SLS originates from coconuts, the chemical is anything but natural.
The real problem with SLES/SLS is that the manufacturing process (ethoxylation) results in SLES/SLS being contaminated with 1,4 dioxane, a carcinogenic byproduct.
SLS is the sodium salt of lauryl sulfate, and is classified by the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) Skin Deep Cosmetics Database as a "denaturant, surfactant cleansing agent, emulsifier and foamer," rated as a "moderate hazard."
Research studies on SLS have shown links to:
Irritation of the skin and eyes
Neurotoxicity, endocrine disruption, ecotoxicology, and biochemical or cellular changes
Possible mutations and cancer
1,4 dioxane, a byproduct of ethylene oxide, received a "high hazard" rating from EWG's Skin Deep, and it is commonly found in shampoo and other personal care products. Even baby shampoo often contains this cancer-causing toxin.
On the CDC site, 1,4 dioxane is described as "probably carcinogenic to humans," toxic to the brain and central nervous system, kidneys and liver. It is also a leading groundwater contaminant.
Diethanolamine or DEA
In a recent FDA report, approximately 42% of all cosmetics were contaminated with NDEA, with shampoos having the highest concentrations. DEA also readily reacts with nitrite preservatives and contaminants to create nitrosodiethanolamine (NDEA), a known and potent carcinogen.
This is a big problem because DEA seems to block absorption of the nutrient choline, which is vital to brain development. Pregnant women actually require extra choline so they can pass it on to their fetus.
An associate dean for research at the UNC School of Public Health mentioned that choline is necessary to help provide proper nutrients for a healthy baby; stating that, "At this point it is a caution. But it would probably be prudent to look at labels and try to limit exposure until we know more."
This active ingredient is found in engine coolants and antifreeze, airplane de-icers, tire sealants, rubber cleaners, polyurethane cushions, paints, adhesives, enamels and varnishes, and in many products as a solvent or surfactant.
And guess what? Despite the fact the material safety data sheet warns users to avoid skin contact with propylene glycol as it is a strong skin irritant and can also cause liver abnormalities and kidney damage, it's more than likely in your shampoo.
Parabens, which are used as preservatives, may be listed on the label as methyl paraben, ethyl paraben, propyl paraben, butyl paraben, isobutyl paraben or E216. They have shown particularly troubling links to cancer.
Studies have shown that parabens can affect your body much like estrogens, which can lead to diminished muscle mass, extra fat storage, and male gynecomastia (breast growth). Other studies have also linked parabens to breast cancer, as researchers found traces of parabens in every sample of tissue taken from 20 different breast tumors.
The EPA has linked methyl parabens in particular to metabolic, developmental, hormonal, and neurological disorders, as well as various cancers.
"The dose makes the poison" is an adage first expressed by Paracelsus intended to indicate a basic principle of toxicology. It means that a substance can produce the harmful effect associated with its toxic properties only if it reaches a susceptible biological system within the body in a high enough concentration (i.e., dose).
We estimate that Americans eat about 1.5 g of
natural pesticides per person per day, which is about 10,000
times more than they eat of synthetic pesticide residues (see
below). As referenced in this paper (see refs. 16-21 and
legends to Tables 1 and 2), there is a very large literature on
natural toxins in plants and their role in plant defenses. The
human intake of these toxins varies markedly with diet and
would be higher in vegetarians. Our estimate of 1.5 g of
natural pesticides per person per day is based on the content
of toxins in the major plant foods (e.g., 13 g of roasted coffee
per person per day contains about 765 mg of chlorogenic acid,
neochlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, and caffeine; see refs. 22
and 23 and Table 2).
Phenolics from other plants are estimated
to contribute another several hundred milligrams of
toxins. Flavonoids and glucosinolates account for several
hundred milligrams; potato and tomato toxins may contribute
another hundred, and saponins from legumes another hundred.
Grains such as white flour and white rice contribute
very little, but whole wheat, brown rice, and corn (maize)
may contribute several hundred milligrams more. The percentage
of a plant's weight that is toxin varies, but a few
percent of dry weight is a reasonable estimate: e.g., 1.5% of
alfalfa sprouts is canavanine and 4% of coffee beans is
phenolics. However, the percentage in some plant cultivars
is lower (e.g., potatoes and tomatoes).