ASU Men’s X-Country Heads 2 UCLA

The Sun Devil harriers will be running their `A’ team for the first time this season at the course that will host the Pac-12 Championships.

Sept. 19, 2012

2012 UCLA Pac-12 Preview – Meet Notes Get Acrobat Reader

TEMPE — The Arizona State University men’s cross country team will give most of its top runners their first taste of action in 2012 as the team heads west to take part in the Pac-12 Preview, hosted by UCLA at the Robinson Ranch Golf Course in Santa Clarita, Calif.  The venue will be the location of the Pac-12 Championships, set to take place on October 27.  The Sun Devil men will see season debuts from Darius TerryNick Happe and CJ Albertson.  The event is schedule to kickoff at 6:20 p.m. PST.  The women’s team is not slated to compete. Continue reading

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Shark Rescues Man Adrift in Pacific Ocean

NewsFeed

Toakai Teitoi of Kiribati, a Micronesian island nation 2,500 miles southwest of Hawaii, did not think calamity was awaiting him when he agreed to get a lift on his brother-in-law’s boat. A two-hour sea journey turned into a 105-day odyssey, filled with death and despair, that ended with a miracle.

On May 28 Teitoi, 41, and his brother-in-law Ielu Falaile, 52, got into a 15-foot wooden boat that would take them back to Teitoi’s hometown of Maiana from the capital of Tarawa, where Teitoi had flown to be sworn in as a policeman.

(LIST: 10 Things You Didn’t Know about Sharks)

Halfway through their journey the two men came upon a school of fish and decided to stop for a while to catch some. But engrossed in the fishing, the two soon lost track of time — and worse, their reserves of water and gas, Teitoi told the…

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At Facebook cache is king. Here’s how it keeps it up.

Gigaom

Facebook’s engineering team has created a tool to help determine how well cache stores are performing at the social networking giant. The tool, dubbed Claspin, is detailed on a Facebook(s fb) engineering blog published on Wednesday.

The solution is an elegant example of translating institutional knowledge about how Facebook’s cache systems work into a easy-to-understand data visualization that allows others to quickly spot a problem and fix it. Sean Lynch, a Facebook engineer, described how, with tens of thousands of memcache servers and a caching graph database called TAO, it was sometimes hard to quickly figure out when a faulty cache was bogging down the system.

Caching is one of the most essential features of the Facebook infrastructure because it keeps the data stored most often closer to the web servers, delivering content to users as fast as possible. This is essential when you realize that Facebook is pulling up content…

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ESPN builds a Twitter-style firehose for sports news

Gigaom

ESPN (s dis) is giving sports fans a way to hook up to its firehose of content with a new Twitter-style stream called SportsCenter Feed. The sports cable and online network is amassing almost every bit of content it pushes out over ESPN.com into a single feed, more than 1,000 updates a day.

The feed, which is in beta and will be accessible through ESPN.com, will include personalization and filtering tools so users can narrow the focus of the updates they see. For now, users will be able to select their favorite team or sports league but eventually it will include filters for players and conferences.

Users who create an account will be able to click on any update and view it in a larger window. It will include stories, blog posts, videos, pictures and score updates but it won’t include longer journalism pieces at launch or content from Grantland

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Fast and Furious report finds DOJ management failures

This Just In

[Updated at 2:31 p.m. ET] Fourteen employees of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Justice Department face disciplinary action for their roles in the botched Fast and Furious weapons-tracking program, according to a report released Wednesday by department investigators. No criminal charges are recommended, according to the report.

The program was doomed by a “series of misguided strategies, tactics, errors in judgment and management failures” on the part of line agents, prosecutors and senior Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Washington, Justice Department investigators concluded in a report released Wednesday.

The report does not recommend any criminal sanctions against individuals in connection with the controversial gun-trafficking operation.

The report finds that Attorney General Holder was not informed of the controversial ATF operation until 2011 after the death of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in December 2010.

Parents say slain agent’s death exposed flaws of gun-running operation

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WATCH: Navy Cadets Perform ‘Gangnam Style’ Lip Dub

NewsFeed

Correction Appended: Sept. 20, 2012

Sorry, Carly Rae Jepsen, but we think it’s safe to say your reign has ended. Now that Navy sailors have performed a  rendition of PSY’s “Gangnam Style,” it looks like the South Korean rapper has officially galloped in on an invisible horse and dethroned you as the world’s favorite viral video star.

Jepsen’s infectious summer hit “Call Me Maybe” received the Internet parody treatment over and over and over (and then again — oh, wait, and again) so it was really only a matter of time until the “Gangnam Style” adaptations began sweeping across the web too. The latest video, already more than 1 million views strong, comes from the U.S. Naval Academy’s 22nd Company. It features winsome sailors in dress whites, plenty of PSY’s signature “invisible horse” dancing and even some pelvic thrusts for good measure.

(MORE: This Is the Inevitable ‘Gangnam…

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The inexact, but improving, science of mobile ad targeting

Gigaom

The pipe dream for companies trying to make money from mobile data is to know exactly when users are near a particular business and to hit them with the perfect ads to win their business before they’ve moved on. As it stands, however, it’s still quite difficult for software to determine what businesses consumers actually frequent, as opposed to the ones they just happen to hang out by. However, adding the right data into the mix or taking mobile payments mainstream could change everything.

Prospects vs. shoppers

The gap between where we are and where we want to be struck me on Monday as I was reading about Sense Networks’ new Retail Retargeting service. The service aims to help mobile advertisers reach consumers based on where they’ve been and what businesses they’re likely to be nearby again. So, if someone is nearby a Target (s tgt) three times a day, five…

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Holder on Fast & Furious: Justice didn’t OK ‘use of flawed strategy, tactics’

This Just In

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday released the following statement regarding Department of Justice Inspector General’s report on Operation Fast and Furious:

“I have reviewed the Office of the Inspector General’s report on Operation Fast and Furious and the key conclusions are consistent with what I, and other Justice Department officials, have said for many months now:

The inappropriate strategy and tactics employed were field-driven and date back to 2006;

The leadership of the Department did not know about or authorize the use of the flawed strategy and tactics; and

The Department’s leadership did not attempt to cover up information or mislead Congress about it.

“Beginning in 2011 shortly after public concerns were first raised about Operation Fast and Furious I referred this matter to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). Throughout the next several months, I instituted significant policy reforms, stronger…

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Everything you ever wanted to know about WebRTC

Gigaom

Companies like Google, (s GOOG), Cisco (s CSCO) and Microsoft (s MSFT) all have been working on bringing voice and video chat to the browser, with no downloads necessary. These efforts are commonly known as WebRTC. But what does WebRTC actually do, and how does it work?

There’s likely no one who could explain this better than Cisco’s Cullen Jennings, who co-chairs the Internet Engineering Task Force’s WebRTC working group. Jennings recently posted an introductory presentation about WebRTC on Vimeo, and you should watch it if you want to know what people are talking about when they’re saying WebRTC:

RTCWeb Explained from Cullen Jennings on Vimeo.

Two things are worth noting: First of all, Jennings actually does a really good job at breaking down the complex technology behind these efforts. And secondly, he’s trying really hard to steer clear of some of the politics in this space…

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Clips From Last Night: Wyclef Jean on his passion for politics and the rumor that he was to perform at the RNC

Piers Morgan

On Tuesday, Piers Morgan welcomed musician and politician Wyclef Jean to the program. The once presidential candidate for Haiti and author of the new book, “Purpose, An Immigrant’s Story,” shared with Morgan the source of inspiration for his love of politics:

“Politics really came from my uncle, Ray Joseph, who was the Haiti ambassador to America,” said Jean. “So politics has always been an undertone in the household.”

Jean, a staunch Democrat and Obama supporter also clarified the rumor that he was slated to perform at the Republican National Convention this past August. “I did not agree to perform at the RNC,” said a definitive Jean.

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Four of Five Smartphone Users Go Shopping (AMZN, EBAY, AAPL, WMT, TGT, BBY)

24/7 Wall St.

The number of U.S. smartphone owners who use either their mobile browser or a dedicated app to visit a retail site totaled 89.5 million in July, representing about 4 out of every 5 smartphone owners in the country. The data comes from the latest survey of smartphone users by comScore Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR).

The leading sites for retail visits belong to Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) with 49.64 million unique visitors and eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY) with 32.58 million unique visitors. The next four retailers are all multi-channel sellers, with both brick-and-mortar locations as well as popular websites. These are, in order, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) with 17.68 million unique visitors, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) with 16.3 million unique visitors, Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) with 10.04 million unique visitors, and Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY)…

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Only in America: As good as gold

Piers Morgan

On Tuesday, Piers Morgan used his “Only in America” segment to put some shine on a story he found to be “as good as gold.”

Rolling video of a speech given by then-presidential candidate Ron Paul, the host reminded viewers of the 77-year-old Texan’s goal of going back to gold:

“We should have a full audit of the federal reserve and get back to a sound currency, as the constitution mandates, a gold standard,” said Paul to a collection of supporters.

“Well at least one American took Ron Paul very, very seriously,” explained the “Piers Morgan Tonight” host.

Introducing viewers to the late Walter Samasko, Jr., Morgan told the tale of a recently deceased Nevada man, who after not working in four decades, had merely two hundred dollars in the bank.

However, while his checking account was nearly empty, Samasko’s garage was an entirely different story.

After the…

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24/7 Wall St. Closing Bell — September 19, 2012: Markets Get Lift from Housing News (MON, WM, BRCM, ACHN, CLNE, AZO, CRBL, GIS, ADBE, BBBY, JEF, RAD, QCOR, AET, PHM, GRPN)

24/7 Wall St.

The three major U.S. stock indexes opened mixed this morning, taking until mid-morning to rise above the flat line and stay above it for the rest of the day. The initial response to Bank of Japan’s added $125 billion in asset purchase rallied Asian markets, but reality eventually settled in, at least in Europe, where the BoJ’s move was pretty much ignored. Data on existing home sales put some life into the market (more coverage here), but a sharp spike in crude oil inventories hammered the energy sector (more coverage here).

The U.S. dollar index fell today, now down 0.24% at 79.057. The GSCI commodity index is down 1.3% at 670.13, with commodities prices higher today on the weaker greenback. WTI crude oil closed down 3.5% today, at $91.98 a barrel. Brent crude trades down 3.5% at $108.07 a barrel. Natural gas is up 0.1% today to $2.775…

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Adobe Reports Inline, But Forecast is Weak

24/7 Wall St.

Adobe Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: ADBE) reported fiscal 2012 third quarter earnings after markets closed today. The software company reported adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.58 on revenue of $1.08 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported adjusted EPS of $0.55 on revenue of $1.01 billion. Second-quarter results compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $0.58 and $1.1 billion in revenue.

Adobe guided fourth fiscal quarter revenue at $1.075 billion to $1.125 billion and adjusted EPS at $0.53 to $0.58. The company’s guidance assumes the addition of 125,000 new subscribers to its Creative Cloud service.

The company’s guidance fell well short of the consensus estimates. Thomson Reuters had a consensus estimate for EPS of $0.67 on revenue of $1.21 billion.

The company’s president/CEO said:

Customers globally are adopting our new Creative Cloud subscription offering more quickly than we projected. We are…

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How “Personal” Should Writers Get On Social Media?

Kristen Lamb's Blog

The world around us is changing so quickly that most of us struggle to keep up. New paradigms call for new rules and new social norms. What do we keep from the old? What do we add to the new? The common denominator to all this social media technology is the human heart beating in its center, and we are wise to remember this.

Yet, we do run into dilemmas. How much personal information should we reveal? How professional should we be? A lot of experts seem to have conflicting advice, so I am here to clear all of that up…

They are wrong and I am right :D.

Unless these experts are telling you the same things I am, then they are also right and amazingly brilliant and insightful. Odds are they are probably freakishly good-looking, too.

Where was I? Oh, yes. Advice.

I know that writers are encountering…

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Jimmy Carter’s Grandson on Role in Leaked Mitt Video: ‘Poetic Justice’

NewsFeed

Maybe it’s the Carter family’s revenge.

Among the many amazing facts in the strange case of the secret Mitt Romney fundraiser video that sparked a media frenzy this week is that James Carter IV, the grandson of the 39th President, played an integral role in the video’s release. Now the political scion and freelance Democratic researcher is talking about his experience.

“[Supporters] have said that this is poetic justice, that a Carter is the one that found this video that is giving the Romney campaign so much trouble,” Carter said to NBC News. “And I have to say that I definitely agree with that sentiment.”

(MORE:How Mitt Romney’s Luck Ran Out)

In the aftermath of the video — in which Romney is caught on camera saying, among other things, that 47 percent of Americans don’t pay taxes — James Carter has explained the story behind its…

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Sale of AEG could impact more than 10 NBA teams

ProBasketballTalk

Tuesday night when we mentioned that AEG was for sale — that would be the entertainment and sports subsidiary of The Anschutz Co., run by Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz — the focus was on Los Angeles basketball. And with reason — AEG owns 40 percent of the Los Angeles Lakers plus the Staples Center where both the Lakers and Clippers play. Really, AEG is the driving force behind every major sport in Los Angeles except USC football.

But the impact of an AEG sale on the NBA is much, much bigger than just in Los Angeles. And if the units are not sold as one but are broken up into parts, things could get very interesting.

Henry Abbott at TrueHoop put together a partial list of teams that play in AEG buildings — the Spurs, Timberwolves, Nets (the new Barclays Center is part them), Grizzlies, Warriors, Blazers, Lakers, Clippers, Heat…

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Tonight on AC360: Amanda Knox’s boyfriend tells his side of the story

Anderson Cooper 360

In the days after Amanda Knox’s roommate was murdered, her boyfriend at the time says they “didn’t realize they were suspects” in the case. Raffaele Sollecito didn’t even bring a lawyer when he met with police in Perugia, Italy. His number one lesson from his infamous conviction and eventual acquittal: Bring a lawyer.

Sollecito talks with Anderson Cooper tonight about their ordeal, which is the focus of his new memoir, “Honor Bound: My Journey to Hell and Back with Amanda Knox.”

Their nightmare began in November 2007 when Knox’s roommate, Meredith Kercher, 21, a British exchange student, was found dead in their apartment with her throat slashed.

Sollecito says he and Knox faced aggressive questioning from police.

“They threaten you,” Sollecito told Anderson. He says police called him a liar and told him he’ll be in jail for the rest of his life. Police “used anything to push me into…

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YouTube still the king of online video (charts)

Gigaom

As far as online video goes, Google (s goog) is still the one to watch. The company, which owes its video popularity almost entirely to its independent subsidiary YouTube, maintained its lead as the U.S. video property with both the most unique monthly viewers as well as the most engaged viewers, according to data released today by comScore.

Youtube’s viewers on average watched 443 minutes of content, nearly eight times the engagement of video sites for runner up Yahoo. There were no big surprises but a few changes: Grab Media, Inc. entered into the top 10 video sites in viewership, bumping off Turner Digital. Facebook (s fb) dropped both in unique viewers and in minutes viewed, matching No. 10 Amazon with 16 minutes per viewer.

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Why your in-flight Wi-Fi is slow and expensive: It’s all about the pipe

Gigaom

It has been five years since American Airlines first launched Wi-Fi on its domestic flights in the U.S. and, frankly, since that time, Wi-Fi on airplanes is still stuck on the runway. It’s expensive, slow and based on GoGo data, less than 10 percent of flyers even attempt to use the service, even if someone else is paying for it.

But there’s a new promise on the horizon, with a leaked memo showing that JetBlue plans to offer Wi-Fi on planes in 2013 from a new provider, a service that could offer up to 12 Mbps per passenger on a flight thanks to a new type of satellite. But this scenario is unlikely, and understanding why explains why Wi-Fi on planes costs so much and is relatively slow. It also offers lessons on the limits of wireless.

So as entitled as we might feel to the same Wi-Fi experience in…

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Square rivals bank on live customer support to compete

Gigaom

After Square’s early success in mobile payments, rivals latched on to the question of its security. But after Square put most of those concerns to rest, in part by tightening up its approach to security, competitors have changed tactics to focus on Square’s customer support.

In recent months, big names such as PayPal (s ebay) , VeriFone (s pay), NCR (s ncr), Groupon (s grpn) and smaller competitors such as PayAnywhere have rolled out “Square killers” that all feature a notable service: live phone support. They are all hammering away at what they feel is a key difference between Square and their services.

Square, mobile paymentsSquare’s customer support is built in the Silicon Valley style — favored by companies like Google (s goog) or LinkedIn (s lnkd) — of using online help tools instead of having dedicated workers sitting by a phone. There is no listed phone number for Square support; users are…

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For a price, Gnip brings you access to all public tweets ever sent

Gigaom

As Twitter continues to make its push to serve businesses and promote the value of Twitter as an enterprise tool, an increasing number of data analytics companies are working to collect, organize, and monetize the vast amount of data coming from the company’s stream every minute.

Gnip, one of the few companies with full access to Twitter’s firehose of data, which has changed in terms of pricing and availability to different companies over time, is announcing the distinction of being the first company to provide access to all tweets ever sent, including the first sent by Jack Dorsey in 2006 (back when it was called Twttr and you sent tweets via SMS). Several other businesses already provide analysis of Twitter’s firehose of data, including companies like Topsy, which makes some of that data public, but the development from Gnip speaks to the growing demand from private companies…

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U.S. Should Get Tough with China — Pew Research

24/7 Wall St.

Recent data from Pew Research shows that most Americans want the United States to get tough with China on economic issues such as the trade deficit, job losses and the amount of U.S. debt held by China. The research separately surveyed experts in government policy, and the results indicated that the experts are far less concerned about China’s power than the general public, and that the news media falls somewhere between the two.

From Pew’s report:

In contrast to the general public, American foreign affairs experts are far less concerned about China’s rising power. With the exception of retired military officers, only about three-in-ten among the experts surveyed consider China’s emergence as a world power to be a major threat. Fewer than four-in-ten experts consider the U.S. trade deficit with China to be a very serious problem, compared with about six-in-ten of the broader public; and even fewer experts express…

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August Existing Home Sales Jump

24/7 Wall St.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported this morning that existing home sales rose by 7.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.82 million units in August, compared with 4.47 million units in July. Analysts had been expecting a rise to 4.6 million units.

Total housing inventory stood at 2.47 million existing homes at the end of August, up 2.9% from 2.4 million in July. The total represents a 6.1-month supply at the pace of sales. Last July the inventory stood at a 8.2-month supply.

Distressed sales accounted for 22% of August sales, a 31% decrease from August 2011 and down 24% month-over-month. Foreclosed properties sold for a discount of 19% in August, and short sales were discounted 13%.

The nationwide median price for an existing home sale was $187,400, up 9.5% from August 2011, but just $100 higher than July 2012. Still, the monthly increase year-over-year was the…

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Winderman: The NBA is too nice. We need some real rivalries.

ProBasketballTalk

Dwight Howard somehow now is friends with Stan Van Gundy and hopes to eventually be remembered fondly in Orlando.

LeBron James returned to Cleveland last season saying he would not rule out perhaps one day again playing for the Cavaliers.

Ray Allen took out a full-page ad in Boston to remind Celtics fans how much he cherishes their time together.

Grant Hill is back in Phoenix speaking fondly about his time with the Suns, even after moving to a division rival, with the Suns talking about Hill one day moving into their front office.

Know what the NBA needs just about now? Something along the lines of bounty-gate.

Because leagues are at their best when rivalries are pure, lines are drawn, when you’re either with us or against us.

Oh, there’s still some of that in today’s NBA, including the surliness of Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins toward anyone not…

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Today’s Market Winners and Losers

24/7 Wall St.

The stock market is mixed Wednesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.14%, the Nasdaq down 0.14% and the S&P 500 up 0.05%. Today’s winner is a popular company trying to capitalize on increasing use of mobile technology, while today’s loser is a pharmaceutical company whose drug won’t be covered by a major insurer.

This is Wednesday’s biggest winner and loser.

Biggest Winner

Shares of Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ: GRPN) are up  8.74% to $5.10 on trading volume of 9.4 million shares. The daily-deals company on Wednesday announced it had introduced a mobile payment service for Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPad and iPod Touch. The 52-week high is $31.14.

Biggest Loser

Shares of Questor Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOR) are down 35.61% to $32.52 on trading volume of 10.8 million shares. Citron Research announced that Aetna Inc. (NYSE: AET) is dropping nearly all of its coverage…

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Crude Oil Piles Up Huge Inventory Build

24/7 Wall St.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its weekly petroleum status report this morning. U.S. commercial crude inventories rose by 8.5 million barrels last week, bringing the total U.S. commercial crude inventory to 367.6 million barrels, above the upper limit of the five-year range for this time of the year.

The Dow-Jones estimate called for a weekly crude inventory rise of 500,000 barrels. Crude prices, which were already trading lower today, have continued falling slightly following the EIA report. The higher crude inventory build and the larger-than-expected drop in gasoline inventories did not cancel one another out. The huge build in crude inventory is simply too large to overcome.

Total gasoline inventories decreased by 1.4 million barrels last week and remain in the lower half of the five-year average range. Total motor gasoline supplied averaged 8.9 million barrels a day over the past four weeks — a drop of 0.9%…

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Investor Confidence in U.S. Markets Holds Steady

24/7 Wall St.

According to the Center for Audit Quality’s (CAQ) 6th Annual Main Street Investor Survey, about two-thirds of individual investors have at least some confidence in U.S. capital markets. That represents an increase of four percentage points from 2011.

Among the study’s other findings:

  • Investor confidence in investing in U.S. publicly traded companies held steady at 71% this year.
  • Since 2008, investor confidence in audited financial information has held steady at around 70%.
  • About 70% of investors believe that the American economy will either stay the same or improve over the next year.
  • Only 25% of investors expect their personal financial situation to improve over the next year, but 64% expect it to stay the same.
  • Confidence in capital markets outside the United States fell to a low of 35% from 43% in 2011.

Methodology: A telephone survey of 1,003 investors was conducted July 17 to 23, 2012, by The Glover…

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NASA’s last space shuttle takes off to its retirement home

This Just In

The space shuttle Endeavour began its final aerial show Wednesday, thrilling spectators across the southern United States.

After a two-day delay because of weather conditions, Endeavour began its cross-country flight Wednesday from Kennedy Space Center in Florida to Los Angeles, where the now-retired spacecraft will be put on display.

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Groupon rolls out its own Square competitor

Gigaom

Are you tired of big companies lining up to take on Square? Well, the list officially got longer today with Groupon’s (s grpn) launch of Groupon Payments.

This shouldn’t be a surprise —  we previously reported that Groupon was testing out the service. But it adds yet another competitor to a very crowded market. Groupon is launching with an iPhone and iPod (s aapl) touch reader that works with the Groupon Merchants mobile application, allowing businesses to take credit card payments.

Here’s how the payment structure will work with Groupon Payments according to AllThingsD:

  • Swiped transactions — MasterCard, Visa and Discover (1.8 percent plus 15 cents) and American Express (3 percent plus 15 cents)
  • Keyed-in transactions — MasterCard, Visa and Discover (2.3 percent plus 15 cents) and American Express (3.5 percent plus 15 cents)
  • Non-Groupon merchants will be charged 2.2 percent plus 15 cents for MasterCard, Visa and Discover.

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Grant Hill says what Nash did like going from Duke to North Carolina

ProBasketballTalk

Grant Hill left Phoenix for Los Angeles, but nobody in the Valley of the Sun really holds that against him because he’s going to the Clippers and, while they certainly will be good, nobody really hates them yet. Everyone kind of shrugs at that move west.

Steve Nash going from the Suns to the hated Lakers… that’s different.

Here is what Hill said about the move on KGME sports radio in Phoenix, as transcribed by Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic (hat tip to SLAM).

“That’s like transferring from Duke and going to Carolina.”

It’s going to be interesting to see the reaction Suns fans give Nash when he returns to Phoenix in a Lakers jersey. It’s not going to have the venom that Dwight Howard will get upon his return to Orlando, mostly because Nash handled his exit with class and most Suns fans accepted the idea…

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Blackstone $2 Billion Acquisition Ties in Solar and Home Automation

24/7 Wall St.

The Blackstone Group LP (NYSE: BX) is going big into home automation, and we would note that there is a solar angle here as well. The private equity giant is paying a sum of $2 billion to acquire Vivint from its existing shareholders. Those existing shareholders were listed as affiliates of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) and also Peterson Partners, Jupiter Partners and other minority shareholders. The price tag is said to be in excess of $2 billion.

Vivint is listed as the largest home automation services company in North America and is also listed as the second largest residential security services provider.

As a part of the transaction, Blackstone will acquire Vivint Solar, Inc. and 2GIG Technologies, Inc. from its respective shareholders. Vivint Solar is a provider of solar solutions that leverages the power purchase agreement model to offer affordable solar power to residential customers. 2GIG Technologies…

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Fewer Americans Prepared for Retirement

24/7 Wall St.

A recent study from MIT revealed that nearly half of Americans die with less than $10,000 in assets. Whether or not that’s due to poor planning or some unexpected spending, it’s still a shockingly high number.

According to the latest survey on retirement preparedness from Ameriprise Financial (NYSE: AMP), less than 70% of Americans say they are making preparations for retirement, the lowest percentage in the three years the firm has been conducting the survey.

The survey looked at 30 U.S. metropolitan areas to find out where Americans are most prepared for retirement. The top three cities are Hartford-New Haven, San Diego, and Minneapolis-St. Paul. The three cities where residents are least prepared for retirement are Washington D.C., Charlotte, and Indianapolis.

An Ameriprise executive noted:

“While the majority of Americans we surveyed express positive feelings about retirement, we’re still seeing a significant lack of confidence – in fact…

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Smile! Maryland Installs New Cameras to Watch Other Cameras

NewsFeed

Roadside cameras eyeing speeding drivers or red-light evaders are not a foreign site on Maryland roads. But now, new cameras popping up along local streets may seem to be pointed errantly off the road. Indeed not — the new cameras are trained on the other cameras, and not because they’re nice to look at.

Quite the opposite, in fact. Irate drivers have damaged six speed cameras in the state since April and now, the Automated Enforcement Section of the Prince George’s County police department is stepping in to prevent, or at least monitor, man vs. camera destruction.

(PHOTOS: Carmageddon Descends on Los Angeles)

The violations were curiously creative and pretty ugly. The first incident occurred on April 6, when someone shot at a camera in Upper Marlboro, Md. Two weeks later, police believe several people toppled a heavy speed camera near Prince George’s Community College. In May, a perpetrator cut…

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Stripe begins global payment quest with Canada expansion

Gigaom

Stripe has been a revelation for thousands of developers in its first year because of the way it allows them to accept online payments by tapping a simple API. But Stripe’s benefits have been limited to the US — until now.

Stripe is answering its most frequently asked question — when will you expand beyond the US — with the launch of service in Canada Wednesday. The move follows a limited beta in Canada in the summer with companies including Tarsnap, MetaLab, and Shopify. Now developers north of the border will be able to take advantage of Stripe’s flat pricing, instant setup and the ability to accept all major credit cards.

StripeExpanding to Canada may not sound that challenging but it’s a big step for Stripe. Patrick Collison, Stripe’s co-founder said Canada presented unique problems because it’s controlled by legacy payment processors and also lacks needed infrastructure and facilities. The company had to…

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New T-Mobile CEO faces big problems, but he could shake up the mobile market

Gigaom

Three months after T-Mobile USA’s CEO Philipp Humm quit to move to Vodafone(s vod), the carrier finds itself welcoming its new chief. Deutsche Telekom has named former Global Crossing CEO John Legere to take over its US mobile arm.

Legere, 54, will officially change offices on Sept. 22, when interim CEO Jim Alling will return to his old job as T-Mobile’s COO. From his resume, Alling Legere seems like an odd choice. Global Crossing, which was acquired by Level 3 Communications(s lvlt) last year, was a submarine cable operator providing the fiber connections that link continents, not a consumer-facing wireless business. Legere had a stint at Dell Computer(s dell), but the last time he worked at a retail carrier was in 1998 at AT&T, and even there he wasn’t working in the cellular or consumer side of the house. He managed AT&T’s Asian wireline business operations and headed up…

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Gundlach Talks Down Apple, Risk, and Treasuries

24/7 Wall St.

Bond Guru Jeffrey Gundlach has been closely watched due to his historic returns for bond investors. CNBC hosted him today to ge his opinions on bonds, quantitative easing, risk assets, and others. His comments did not exactly force any urge to go chase asset buying at the moment.

The Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) fan boys will probably not appreciate what Gundlach said of Apple. He called it over-believed in and over-bought because there is such a micro-focus each day on whether Apple is up or down. What is interesting is that Gundluch also said he doesn’t like risk-based assets at current prices and he does not see value in Treasuries.

At issue is the problem with Ben Bernanke’s quantitative easing and the great expansion of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet. He sees no end in sight for quantitative easing measures, but he also said that the newest round was perhaps…

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Reading While Eating for September 19: Talk Like a Pirate Day

NewsFeed

Groggy After Grog: We know how much pirates like their rum. Here’s an in-depth look at why alcohol gives you the spins. (mental_floss)

“X” Marks the Spot: A photo of a cross-eyed cat in a pirate’s hat. (BuzzFeed)

Message in a Bottle: Nowadays, if your ship is captured by pirates, you’ll receive a very professional memo. (The Daily What)

Pirate’s Booty: $7 million worth of gold bars and coins were discovered in a Nevada recluse’s home. (TIME.com)

The Poop Deck: Check out these 10 coolest restrooms in America. (TIME.com)

Abandon Ship: Here’s a list of authors who dropped out of school. (Flavorwire)

Trend-Surfing: U.S. Naval Academy cadets (not pirates) spoof PSY’s “Gangnam Style.” (FOX News)

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Apple Rolls Out New iOS 6 Software: Here’s What You Need to Know

Tech

Apple has started rolling out the new iOS 6 software update. Here’s what you need to know.

What’s New

Apple boasts over 200 new features, but the biggest additions are:

  • New Maps – Apple has removed Google Maps as the default mapping software and replaced it with its own version. Spoken, turn-by-turn GPS directions and the new 3D “Flyover” imagery are among the highlights.
  • Siri Update – Apple’s voice assistant can now launch apps, post updates to Facebook and Twitter, and is more closely integrated with third-party services.
  • Facebook – You can now post status updates from directly within certain apps, and Facebook events and contacts are now integrated with the Contacts and Calendar apps.
  • Photo Sharing – You can share your photos instantly with a select group of people, visible from their own Apple devices or via the web.
  • Passbook – This app stores your loyalty cards, stored-value cards…

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Romney’s remarks huge mistake or plain truth?

This Just In

David A. Rice feels like Mitt Romney wrote him off.

The 61-year-old has always been a values-based voter, generally votes Republican and could be a key vote in the swing state of Florida. But he’s also among the 47% of Americans that Mitt Romney said don’t pay income tax and rely on government support.

“There are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what,” Romney says in a clip from a secretly filmed private donor meeting in May, which was first posted on Monday afternoon. “There are 47% who are with him, who are dependent on government, who believe that, that they are victims, who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them. Who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing.”

Romney’s ‘47%’ – Washington’s tax-break obsession to blame

Rice says he is working part-time and doesn’t pay…

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Square rivals bank on live customer support to compete

Gigaom

After Square’s early success in mobile payments, rivals latched on to the question of its security. But after Square put most of those concerns to rest, in part by tightening up its approach to security, competitors have changed tactics to focus on Square’s customer support.

In recent months, big names such as PayPal (s ebay) , VeriFone (s pay), NCR (s ncr), Groupon (s grpn) and smaller competitors such as PayAnywhere have rolled out “Square killers” that all feature a notable service: live phone support. They are all hammering away at what they feel is a key difference between Square and their services.

Square, mobile paymentsSquare’s customer support is built in the Silicon Valley style — favored by companies like Google (s goog) or LinkedIn (s lnkd) — of using online help tools instead of having dedicated workers sitting by a phone. There is no listed phone number for Square support; users are…

View original post 666 more words

Square rivals bank on live customer support to compete

Gigaom

After Square’s early success in mobile payments, rivals latched on to the question of its security. But after Square put most of those concerns to rest, in part by tightening up its approach to security, competitors have changed tactics to focus on Square’s customer support.

In recent months, big names such as PayPal (s ebay) , VeriFone (s pay), NCR (s ncr), Groupon (s grpn) and smaller competitors such as PayAnywhere have rolled out “Square killers” that all feature a notable service: live phone support. They are all hammering away at what they feel is a key difference between Square and their services.

Square, mobile paymentsSquare’s customer support is built in the Silicon Valley style — favored by companies like Google (s goog) or LinkedIn (s lnkd) — of using online help tools instead of having dedicated workers sitting by a phone. There is no listed phone number for Square support; users are…

View original post 666 more words

iOS 6 hands-on review: The new Mail app

Gigaom

Mail is probably the app I use the most on my iOS devices(s AAPL). It’s where I triage my email and send responses that require immediate attention. I can’t check any personal email on my work computer, so my iPhone is called upon to do some heavy lifting. Up until iOS 6, I’d considered it merely adequate for my needs. Now, it’s moved into not-half-bad territory.

Below is a rundown of my experiences with the new features of the app, which will be available to everyone with iOS 6, which is scheduled to roll out later on Wednesday.

The VIP mailbox

The VIP mailbox is the new feature of Mail that I use the most. It’s a way to flag a contacts as VIPs and have their emails show up in the special VIP section in Mail as well as Notification Center. This is handy when I have my iPhone…

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S&P Piles on Alpha Natural Resources

24/7 Wall St.

Yesterday’s announcement of mine closures and production cutbacks at Alpha Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: ANR) pushed the coal miner’s shares down about 3%. Fallout from that announcement is weighing on the shares again today.

Standard & Poor’s has put the company ratings, including its corporate credit rating of ‘BB-’ on credit watch with negative implications. The ratings firm will review Alpha’s ratings and may reaffirm or lower the ratings following the review.

An S&P credit analyst noted:

“We placed the ratings on CreditWatch following Alpha’s announcement that it plans further production curtailments in 2013, given weaker pricing and demand for both thermal and metallurgical coal,” said credit analyst Megan Johnston. “Alpha now plans 2013 tonnage production around the low-80 million range, down from our previous expectation of 90 million tons. We previously expected 2013 EBITDA of between $750 million and $850 million.”

S&P said it will resolve the rating “within the next several…

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Italy upholds convictions of Americans in CIA kidnap case

This Just In

The Italian Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the convictions of 23 Americans who were found guilty in absentia three years ago in connection with the 2003 kidnapping of a terror suspect in Milan.

The Americans, many of whom were thought to have worked for the United States’ CIA, never appeared for trial and are not in Italian custody. The Italian government hasn’t asked for their extradition.

The case centered on the “extraordinary rendition” of a Muslim cleric, Osama Mustafa Hassan Nasr, or Abu Omar. He was seized on the streets of Milan, Italy, in 2003, transferred to Egypt and tortured, he said. He was suspected of recruiting men to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan and was under heavy surveillance by Italy’s intelligence agency.

Prosecutors said he was nabbed by a CIA team working with Italian intelligence officials.

The trial was the first to deal with a practice that human rights…

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Copyright Trolls 2.0: image sites embrace Righthaven tactics

Gigaom

A photo company sued sports site Bleacher Report (s twx) this week for using photos of New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez and a celebrity actress. It turns out the case is just the tip of a much larger campaign in which image owners are using a controversial legal tactic known as “copyright trolling” to pressure websites to pay up.

The term “copyright troll” is familiar to many thanks to Righthaven, an infamous band of lawyers who extracted large sums from bloggers who reproduced news clippings without permission. Federal judges became disgusted with Righthaven’s scorched earth approach and finally knee-capped it late last year.

Righthaven may be gone but its business model is still alive and well. Under this model, lawyers scour the web for copyright infringement and then take a cut from defendants who pay a settlement to avoid being sued. Unlike Righthaven, however, the new breed of copyright…

View original post 626 more words

Copyright Trolls 2.0: image sites embrace Righthaven tactics

Gigaom

A photo company sued sports site Bleacher Report (s twx) this week for using photos of New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez and a celebrity actress. It turns out the case is just the tip of a much larger campaign in which image owners are using a controversial legal tactic known as “copyright trolling” to pressure websites to pay up.

The term “copyright troll” is familiar to many thanks to Righthaven, an infamous band of lawyers who extracted large sums from bloggers who reproduced news clippings without permission. Federal judges became disgusted with Righthaven’s scorched earth approach and finally knee-capped it late last year.

Righthaven may be gone but its business model is still alive and well. Under this model, lawyers scour the web for copyright infringement and then take a cut from defendants who pay a settlement to avoid being sued. Unlike Righthaven, however, the new breed of copyright…

View original post 626 more words

Apple starts to roll out iOS 6 software update

Gigaom

Arriving just a few minutes before schedule, Apple’s latest mobile OS, iOS 6, is ready for download. You can find the update in the “Software Update” section of your iOS device or you can get the update via iTunes. The software is compatible with the following models: iPhone 3GS and later; fourth-generation iPod Touch and later; iPad 2 and the new, third-generation iPad.

Apple has made a lot of changes since iOS 5 was released last October. You’ll find new Mail features, a better Siri, Facebook (s fb) integration throughout the OS, improved Notifications, Passbook, Shared PhotoStreams, a new-and-improved App Store and more.

So far, most are praising the iPhone 5 and the software. There is, however, one real complaint from initial reviewers: the Maps app. Once you download the software you can see for yourself whether moving away from Google(s GOOG) Maps on the iPhone was a smart…

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App World Wednesday: Carry a Library in Your Pocket with These Apps

Inside BlackBerry

For most of the world, fall means temperatures are dropping and you’re spending more time wrapped in a blanket next to a crackling furnace. So what’s an active BlackBerry ® person to do? Check out a book from a virtual library with one of these apps. These apps not only save you the hassle of traveling to the library or bookstore, but they also allow you to read books right from your BlackBerry ® PlayBook ™ tablet.

Let’s check out these awesome literary apps:

Book Reader for EPUB by Untangled Development: The Book Reader app allows you to manage and read e-books on your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. With this app, you can swipe to turn pages and highlight text, bringing you closer to the feel of a “real book”. The app also remembers your place and returns you to that spot when it’s re-launched.

OverDrive Media Console by Overdrive: OverDrive…

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Building data startups team up around real-time energy data

Gigaom

Two startups with tools that can unleash the hidden data within buildings have teamed up around real time energy data. Lucid Design Group, which installs energy dashboards and wireless sensor systems for buildings, has integrated its customers’ real time energy data into Honest Building‘s site that aggregates data about the energy use and green characteristics of buildings.

Essentially, the bulk of Lucid Design Group’s building customers (2,000 of ’em) — like Brown University, Turner Construction and the city of Bloomington, Indiana — will be displaying their real time energy data on Honest Building’s site. For example, in the screenshot below, you can see the energy use of DPR Construction’s office building in San Diego by 15 minute intervals, broken down by appliance, and compared to national and local averages.

Honest Buildings has created a site that pulls in data about energy use and green characteristics of buildings from…

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ASU Wrestling Announces 1st Annual ‘Run With Robles’ Fundraising Event

The fundraising event will take place at Tempe Marketplace on November 3.

Sept. 18, 2012

TEMPE – The Arizona State University wrestling program has announced its first annual Run With Robles fundraising event, set to take place Saturday, Nov. 3 in Tempe, Ariz.

The event is named in honor of former NCAA champion and current Nike athlete Anthony Robles and all proceeds will go to Robles’ 501c3 foundation and will in turn be donated to the Sun Devil Club towards the continued support and sustainment of the ASU wrestling program.  Robles will be attending the event, as will numerous other ASU legends. Continue reading