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One-Off vs. Scalable –

I heard this set of terms several times on business how-to shows and although I have a basic concept about them, it seems that these are the primary basis of determination for venture capitalists, angel investors and banks when looking at a potential business.

Venture Capitalists – 1200 reviews a year to select one or maybe two
Angel Investors –
MicroLoans –
Social Lending Networks –

SBA Guaranteed Loans

Bank Loans

SBA Express Loans

Partners and Investors

Family and Friends

Industry Investment Groups

CAIRO, May 7 (UPI) — The U.N. nuclear watchdog uncovered traces of highly enriched uranium at a nuclear facility in Egypt, The Wall Street Journal reports.



Intelligence: Maritime Security
Private Security Counters Pirates
April 2009
By Laura Spadanuta

Piracy attacks against ships rose 11 percent from 2007 to 2008, with the increase most attributable to activity in the Gulf of Aden, off the East coast of Somalia, where 111 of the 293 worldwide piracy cases occurred, according to the International Maritime Bureau. The pirates were mainly from Somalia, and their goal was ransom money.

Although the United Nations and international forces have acted to prevent ship hijackings, they cannot protect every ship that travels through this vast and strategic stretch of water. Some shipping companies are turning to private security for help.



International Piracy

See the latest statistics on piracy from the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau.


The Department of Energy Welcomes President Obama

Department of Energy
February 5, 2009

A video of the event is available for viewing and/or download:
• Play Video (or right – click to download)
• Play / download video from alternate site
• Text version of President Obama’s remarks (pdf)
• Text version of Secretary Chu’s remarks (pdf)

White House Blog: Serious about Energy Independence.  more>





The DOE Digital Photo Archive serves as a centralized resource for thousands of photographs that depict the Department’s various programs.



05.21.09 – 05.22.09 Science/High Energy Physics Advisory Panel Mtg. Washington, DC
05.15.09 Fossil Energy/National Coal Council Mtg. Washington, DC



American Bureau of Shipping –

Classification is a procedure involving:
􀁚 the development of standards, known as Rules
􀁚 technical plan review and design analysis
􀁚 surveys during construction
􀁚 source inspection of materials, equipment and machinery
􀁚 acceptance by the Classification Committee
􀁚 subsequent periodic surveys for maintenance of class
􀁚 survey of damage, repairs and modifications ■



American Bureau of Shipping

World Headquarters
ABS Plaza
16855 Northchase Drive
Houston, TX 77060 USA
Tel: 1-281-877-5800
Fax: 1-281-877-5803
Telex: 6737929 ABS HQ
Email: abs-worldhq@eagle.org






Organisations and roles

There are a number of key organisations involved in tracking piracy and assisting in suppressing it:

Government (UK and other)– National Governments formulate policies to tackle piracy and develop strategies to take forward the fight against piracy.

International Maritime Bureau (IMB) – The ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) is a specialised division of the International Chamber Of Commerce (ICC).

International Maritime Organization (IMO) – The IMO was set up at an international conference in Geneva in 1948, which adopted the IMO Convention.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) – NATO is an alliance of 26 countries from North America and Europe committed to fulfilling the goals of the North Atlantic Treaty signed on 4 April 1949.

Royal Navy – The Royal Navy of the United Kingdom is the ‘senior service’ of the British armed services, being the oldest of its three branches.

United Nations (UN) – The UN officially came into existence on 24 October 1945 when the United Nations Charter was ratified by China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and a majority of other 45 signatories.

United States Coastguard – the US Coastguard traces its history back to 1790. The coastguard is one of the United States’ five Armed Services.



It is helpful to understand the flagging system that operates in the shipping industry. Article 5 of SOLAS states that there should exist a `genuine link’ between the ship and the state.

[ . . . ]

A ‘flag of convenience’ is the name given to countries which are attractive to ship owners in terms of taxation, social legislation and safety or environmental standards.

Red Ensign

The most widely known British flag is the Red Ensign. In its original form the Red Ensign came into use as the Civil Ensign of England in about 1650.


UNCLOS definition of piracy

Article 101 of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) uses the following definition:

Article 101 – UNCLOS

Piracy consists of any of the following acts:

any illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act of depredation, committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or a private aircraft, and directed-

on the high seas, against another ship or aircraft, or against persons or property on board such ship or aircraft;

against a ship, aircraft, persons or property in a place outside the jurisdiction of any State;

any act of voluntary participation in the operation of a ship or of an aircraft with knowledge of facts making it a pirate ship or aircraft;

any act of inciting or of intentionally facilitating an act described in subparagraph (a) or (b) (Emphasis applied)


International Maritime Bureau definition of piracy

The majority of recorded incidents to date have, however, taken place in territorial waters and therefore fall outside the UNCLOS definition of piracy.

An act of boarding or attempting to board any ship with the apparent intent to commit theft or any other crime and with the apparent intent or capability to use force in the furtherance of that act.


Convention on the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation

The SUA Convention was adopted in 1988 and came into force in March 1992. Amendments to the Convention and its related Protocol, were adopted by the Diplomatic Conference on the Revision of the SUA Treaties held from 10 to 14 October 2005.


International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea

The SOLAS Convention in its successive forms is generally regarded as the most important of all international treaties concerning the safety of merchant ships. The first version was adopted in 1914, in response to the Titanic disaster, the second in 1929, the third in 1948 and the fourth in 1960. A completely new Convention was adopted in 1974 which included not only the amendments agreed up until that date but a new amendment procedure – the tacit acceptance procedure – designed to ensure that changes could be made within a specified (and acceptably short) period of time.

[ . . . ]

The main objective of the SOLAS Convention is to specify minimum standards for the construction, equipment and operation of ships, compatible with their safety. Flag States are responsible for ensuring that ships under their flag comply with its requirements, and a number of certificates are prescribed in the Convention as proof that this has been done. Control provisions also allow Contracting Governments to inspect ships of other Contracting States if there are clear grounds for believing that the ship and its equipment do not substantially comply with the requirements of the Convention – this procedure is known as port State control.The current SOLAS Convention includes Articles setting out general obligations, amendment procedure and so on, followed by an Annex divided into 12 Chapters.



Incidents –


Spain, 13 November 2002

Report updated 9 January 2009

What has happened?

On 13 November 2002 the Bahamas registered tanker Prestige, laden with 77 000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil, broke in two off the coast of Galicia ( Spain) spilling an unknown but substantial quantity of its cargo. The bow section sank to a depth of 3 500 meters and the stern section to a depth of 3830 meters. They are estimated to contain 13 800 tonnes of cargo.

Due to the highly persistent nature of the Prestige’s cargo, released oil drifted for extended periods with winds and currents, travelling great distances. The west coast of Galicia was heavily contaminated and oil eventually moved into the Bay of Biscay, affecting the north coast of Spain and France.





France, 12 December 1999

Report updated 9 January 2009

What has happened?

On 12 December 1999 the Erika broke in two off the coast of Brittany, France, whilst carrying approximately 30 000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil. Some 19 800 tonnes were spilled. The sunken bow section contained 6 400 tonnes of cargo and the stern a further 4 700 tonnes.

Operations to pump the remaining oil to the surface were carried out during the period June – September 2000.

Clean-up operations took place along some 400 kilometres of polluted coastline and over 250 000 tonnes of oily waste was collected from the shoreline.




Hebei Spirit

Republic of Korea, 7 December 2007

Report updated 17 February 2009

What has happened?

On 7 December 2007, the Hong Kong registered tanker Hebei Spirit (146 848 GT), laden with 209 000 tonnes of crude oil, was struck by the crane barge Samsung Nº 1, whilst at anchor about five miles off Taean on the west coast of the Republic of Korea. About 10 500 tonnes of crude oil escaped into the sea from the Hebei Spirit.

The oil polluted, in varying degrees of contamination, three of the four provinces along the western coast of the Republic of Korea. Clean-up operations were carried out at sea and are still continuing along the shoreline, where more than 375 kilometres has been affected. The removal of the bulk oil was completed by the end of March 2008. The major part of secondary clean-up operations, involving, among other techniques, surf washing, flushing and hot water high-pressure treatment, were completed by the end of June 2008. Some clean-up operations in remote areas are still ongoing and expected to be completed shortly.

The 1992 Fund together with the shipowner’s insurer, the Assuranceföreningen Skuld (Gjensidig) (Skuld Club), have appointed a team of Korean and international surveyors to monitor the clean-up operations and assess the potential impact of the pollution on fisheries, mariculture and tourism activities.




Shipping is perhaps the most international of the world’s industries, serving more than 90 per cent of global trade by carrying huge quantities of cargo cost effectively, cleanly and safely.

The ownership and management chain surrounding any ship can embrace many countries and ships spend their economic life moving between different jurisdictions, often far from the country of registry. There is, therefore, a need for international standards to regulate shipping – which can be adopted and accepted by all. The first maritime treaties date back to the 19th century. Later, the Titanic disaster of 1912 spawned the first international safety of life at sea – SOLAS – convention, still the most important treaty addressing maritime safety.




Sisma, procuratore L’Aquila: interrogatori prima del previsto
venerdì 8 maggio 2009 10:37

“Given that in a month we have made 140 visits, we collected much material, since the experts have already provided many answers, and given that we know what the buildings collapsed and the process of construction can be assumed that in time there will be accelerated names of those who have built bad, “said Rossini.



L’Aquila earthquake field team reports

8 May 2009

Big earthquakes such as the L’Aquila tremor in Italy in early April cause fatalities and destruction, but they also provide a chance to learn more about earthquakes and their effect on modern and old buildings.

Dr Susanne Sargeant, from the British Geological Survey, joined the Earthquake Engineering Field Investigation Team (EEFIT) that visited the L’Aquila disaster area in April to assess the performance of structures, foundations, civil engineering works and industrial plants within the earthquake area.

The mission team, led by Dr Tiziana Rossetto from University College London, spent six days in L’Aquila and its surrounding villages. The preliminary field report is presented today at the Institution of Structural Engineers in London.



Virtual Disaster Viewer

L’Aquila Earthquake

2008 Wenchuan Earthquake


EEFIT publishes its Preliminary Mission Report of the L’Aquila, Italy Earthquake of 6 April 2009. Click here to view the report (5MB pdf).

The L’Aquila Mission team will present its preliminary findings at a meeting on Friday 8 May 2009 at 5:30pm at The Institution of Structural Engineers, 11 Upper Belgrave St., London SW1X 8BH.

Earthquake Engineering Field Investigation Team (EEFIT) is a group of British earthquake engineers, architects and academics who seek to collaborate with colleagues in earthquake prone countries in the task of improving the seismic resistance of both traditional and engineered structures.

The principle activity of EEFIT is conducting field investigations following major damaging earthquakes, and reporting to the local and international engineering community on the performance of civil engineering and building structures under seismic loading. EEFIT was formed in 1982 as a joint venture between universities and industry and has been carrying out regular investigations of earthquake damage since that date. A preliminary reconnaissance mission is carried out within a few days of an earthquake and detailed survey or follow-up visits are then arranged as appropriate.
The main objectives of the EEFIT missions can be summarised as follows:

* To carry out a detailed technical evaluation of the performance of structures, foundations, civil engineering works and industrial plant within the affected region.
* To collect geological and seismographic data, including strong motion records.
* To assess the effectiveness of earthquake protection methods, including repair and retrofit, and to make comparisons of the actual performance of structures with the expectations of designers.
* To study disaster management procedures and socio-economic effects of the earthquake, including human casualties.

Information sheet about EEFIT’s objectives and methods(PDF)

EEFIT Constitution(PDF)

Scientist explores causes of Sichuan earthquake

25 September 2008

A NERC-funded scientist has returned from a field trip to China to examine the causes of the 12th May earthquake that killed more than 69,000 people.
Workers rebuilding the road

Alex Densmore, associate director of hazard research at the Institute of Hazard and Risk Research and Department of Geography at Durham University, was the first UK scientist to visit the area to explore the earthquake’s causes.

He says we still don’t know when or exactly where disaster will strike next in the region, but we do know which areas are at most risk. This knowledge could save lives by helping planners avoid building on dangerous ground.

Among the expedition’s goals was to find out whether the earthquake activated faults that geologists had already mapped, or whether it created new ones. The answer was a bit of both, though Densmore says that the area’s intensive land use and dense development complicated the process of understanding its fault lines.

Apart from the earthquake itself and its aftershocks, now dying down, the landslides it caused are still causing problems. Heavy rain is still triggering these events, blocking roads and hampering reconstruction efforts.

The landslides are also dumping tonnes of sediment in rivers, causing riverbeds to rise as much as three metres already and inundating low-lying settlements

[ . . . ]



The Archimedes Palimpsest
Researchers at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore uncovered a 10th-century copy of two treatises by the Greek mathematician Archimedes, concealed underneath the text of a 13th-century prayerbook.



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Codex Sinaiticus
Portions of the 4th-century manuscript, thought to be the oldest complete Bible in the world, are now scattered in several collections around the world, but the complete text is being reassembled, in digital form, on the Web.

(from a story about – )

By taking high-resolution digital images in 14 different light wavelengths, ranging from infrared to ultraviolet, Oxford scholars are reading bits of papyrus that were discovered in 1898 in an ancient garbage dump in central Egypt. So far, researchers have digitized about 80% of the collection of 500,000 fragments, dating from the 2nd century B.C. to the 8th century A.D. The texts include fragments of unknown works by famous authors of antiquity, lost gospels and early Islamic manuscripts.

(found here – )



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