Headline News

  • 19th-century painting sold for $5,000 fetches $5.2M just over a year later


    “Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows,” had been sold when experts thought it was painted by fans of artist John Constable. The seller of a 19th-century work of art may just feel like painting the town red. The oil landscape by John Constable fetched $5.2 million at ¬Sotheby’s in Manhattan Wednesday — just 569 days after it was bought for a paltry $5,212,Bloomberg News reported. ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT The work, “Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows,” had been sold at rival auction house Christie’s in 2013, when experts thought it was painted by fans of the English Romantic artist. Sotheby’s now says the work is a Constable that was painted over by restorers. The artist, it says, painted the work in preparation for his 1831 masterpiece of the same name, now owned by the Tate museum in London. Neither the seller — who turned a tidy profit a shade short of 100,000 percent — nor buyer were identified. …

    January 31, 2015 6:56 am
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Politics

  • U.S. ground troops could be needed in Iraq: Chuck Hagel


    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in an interview on Friday the United States might eventually need to send non-combat ground troops to Iraq to help turn back Islamic State forces. Hagel, who announced his resignation under pressure in November, told CNN all options must be considered in Iraq, including sending troops for non-combat roles such as gathering intelligence and locating Islamic State targets. “I think it may require a forward deployment of some of our troops …,” he said. “I would say we’re not there yet. Whether we get there or not, I don’t know.” Hagel’s comments echoed testimony by General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to Congress last fall when he said U.S. troops might have to take a larger role on the ground in Iraq. Such a deployment would be in addition to the 4,500 U.S. troops already committed to training and advising roles in …

    January 31, 2015 6:35 am
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Stocks

  • Is a $4.5 million Super Bowl ad worth it?


      Companies justify spending a whopping $4.5 million on a 30 second Super Bowl ad by touting how it’s the one time you can reach more than 100 million people. An added bonus? Those viewers aren’t feverishly hitting the fast forward button on their DVR remote to zoom past commercials. For many, the ads are more important than the game. But are we soon reaching the point where Super Bowl ads just won’t make any economic sense? The price of a commercial keeps going up. Will it be any surprise if they reach $5 million next year or in 2017? With that in mind, some companies may be able to “win” the Super Bowl marketing game with cheaper forms of advertising. Viral YouTube videos. Tweets and Facebook posts. Oreo won the Super Bowl … with a tweet. Remember how Oreo stole the thunder from all the TV commercials two years ago? Shortly after a blackout …

    January 31, 2015 6:55 am
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Sports

  • Laird two ahead at Phoenix Open, Woods shoots 82


    (Reuters) – A bogey at the final hole left Scotland’s Martin Laird with a two-stroke lead after the second round at a wet Phoenix Open on Friday. On a day that will be best remembered for the worst single round by Tiger Woods in his storied career, an error-riddled 82, Laird used a series of precise approach shots to card a second straight five-under-par 66 at TPC Scottsdale. Playing in unusually wet conditions more reminiscent of his native Scotland than the Arizona desert, Laird reeled off four birdies in five holes from the 13th before missing a six-foot par-saving putt in semi-darkness at the last. “The big thing was I drove it well,” the three-times winner on the PGA Tour told reporters after posting a 10-under 132 halfway total. American Daniel Berger (69) was alone in second place on eight-under, while another tour rookie Justin Thomas (68) was next on seven-under. Woods was in last …

    January 31, 2015 6:15 am
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World News

  • Left-wing party in Madrid mass rally


    31 January 2015 Last updated at 11:36 The Podemos march takes place amid public anger over spending cuts and allegations of political corruption The far-left Spanish party, Podemos, is holding a mass rally in the centre of Madrid looking to build on the recent victory of Syriza in Greece. Tens of thousands are reported to be attending the “March for Change” – one of its first outdoor mass rallies. Podemos has surged into the lead in recent opinion polls, and says it will seek to write off part of Spain’s debt if it wins elections later this year. Podemos says politicians should “serve the people, not private interests”. The BBC’s Tom Burridge in Madrid says that there has been an impressive turnout and a carnival atmosphere at the rally. Protesters are parading in the same streets that have seen many other gatherings against financial crisis cutbacks imposed by successive governments over the last six years. …

    January 31, 2015 6:56 am
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Technology

  • On the road: Brompton M3R folding bicycle – review


    It’s taken four years of reviewing bicycles to bite the bullet and test a Brompton. I know what took me so long. I live in a suburb of Manchester with a vegan organic supermarket and a cafe which offers a “hummus of the day”. I spend my summers in Birkenstocks. I really like granola. If I were to ride a Brompton, I’d have to start voting Tory to prove I’m not a leftwing robot programmed to live the Guardian brand. I had only been to Salford and back before I realised the Brompton was the first bike I’ve tested that I would buy. It makes a mockery of every other folder I’ve ridden (your Dahons, Kansis, Terns) by compacting into the neatest, cleanest, most portable, stashable package on the market. It’s not an intuitive fold. You need to learn it, and not mess with the order. But once you’ve got the origami moves, it can …

    January 31, 2015 6:35 am
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Science

  • Building trustworthy big data algorithms


    Much of our reams of data sit in large databases of unstructured text. Finding insights among emails, text documents, and websites is extremely difficult unless we can search, characterize, and classify their text data in a meaningful way. One of the leading big data algorithms for finding related topics within unstructured text (an area called topic modeling) is latent Dirichlet allocation (LDA). But when Northwestern University professor Luis Amaral set out to test LDA, he found that it was neither as accurate nor reproducible as a leading topic modeling algorithm should be. Using his network analysis background, Amaral, professor of chemical and biological engineering in Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, developed a new topic modeling algorithm that has shown very high accuracy and reproducibility during tests. His results, published with co-author Konrad Kording, associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation, physiology, and applied mathematics at Northwestern, were published Jan. 29 in Physical …

    January 31, 2015 6:36 am
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Health

  • British health worker being tested for Ebola after needle injury


    LONDON (Reuters) – A British military healthcare worker was flown back to England from Sierra Leone on Saturday following a needle-stick injury sustained while treating a person with Ebola, the Public Health England (PHE) service said on Saturday. The patient, who has not been named, has been taken for testing to the Royal Free Hospital in London. “They are likely to have been exposed to the Ebola virus but, at this time, have not been diagnosed with Ebola and do not have symptoms,” PHE said in a statement. Last week, a British nurse who had been critically ill with Ebola after working in Sierra Leone was discharged from the same hospital after making a full recovery. The Royal Free, Britain’s main center for Ebola cases, also successfully treated British aid worker William Pooley who contracted the virus in West Africa last year. To date, more than 21,700 cases of Ebola have been reported in nine …

    January 31, 2015 6:35 am
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Entertainment

  • Uhhh, Now LeAnn Doesn’t Look So Pregnant …


    Posted on Fri Jan 30th, 2015 9:45am PDT       By X17 Staff Yes, LeAnn wore a verrry loose-fitting sweater dress the other day to lunch and yes, we thought it may have been a sign of pregnancy but of course now Ms. Rimes-Cibrian has switched it up on us and put on some skinnies, showing off that famous figure and now we think maybe she’s not so pregnant! LeAnn met up with a friend, on Thursday, for lunch in Calabasas, wearing black skinny jeans, short booties, a Saint Laurent fringe bucket bag and a cute message tee that read, “Every blondie needs a brownie by her side.” Is hubby Eddie her brownie? Poll   SEE THE GALLERY Is LeAnn Rimes pregnant? Stories from around the Web

    January 31, 2015 6:56 am
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Editorial

  • Super Bowl XLIX: Why Patriots have psychological edge over Seahawks


    In the runup to Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday, predictions are for a close game. (We’ll find out how accurate they are when the Super Bowl begins at 6:30pm ET). Some favor the New England Patriots, based on their formidable defense and Tom Brady’s abilities as quarterback. Others favor the Seattle Seahawks, arguing that their tight pass coverage gives them an edge, or that teams that try for their second Super Bowl trophy in a row (like the Seahawks) usually win. Most people would agree that the teams are very evenly matched. John Avello, executive director of the Wynn Sports Book in Las Vegas, has the Patriots favored to win by 1 point. Many call the game a toss-up.  ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT Put simply, the Super Bowl could go to the Patriots because Brady and his teammates have a question to answer, and Sunday’s contest is the very best forum of all to answer it. I’m …

    January 31, 2015 6:35 am
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Odd News

  • Secretary of State Kerry fined for not shoveling by Boston home


    BOSTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was slapped with a $50 fine for failing to have a side street adjoining his Boston home shoveled following the blizzard that dropped more than 2 feet (60 cm) of snow on Massachusetts this week, a spokesman said on Friday. The fine was issued on Thursday after a snow-removal company hired by Kerry and his neighbors in the city’s historic Beacon Hill neighborhood saw yellow tape blocking the sidewalk alongside the home and thought it was related to security for the top U.S. diplomat. The tape had been put up to warn pedestrians of falling ice and snow, said Kerry’s spokesman, Glen Johnson. “Once they understood that they were allowed to enter the area, the contractors finished the sidewalk late Thursday morning,” he said. Kerry was in Saudi Arabia with President Barack Obama to attend the funeral of King Abdullah and meet with his successor, King …

    January 30, 2015 10:31 pm
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