Sex in Second World War

Sex Overseas: ‘What Soldiers Do’ Complicates WWII History

by NPR STAFF May 31, 2013 4:32 PM

What Soldiers Do

Book:  Sex and the American GI in World War II France by Mary Louise Roberts

Americans often think of World War II as the “good war,” but historian Mary Louise Roberts says her new book might make our understanding of that conflict “more truthful and more complex.” The book, What Soldiers Do: Sex and the American GI in World War II France, tells the story of relations between American men and French women in Normandy and elsewhere.

The Americans were liberators; the French were liberated. But sex created tensions and resentments that were serious, yet were utterly absent from contemporary accounts for American audiences back home. Roberts, who is professor of European history at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, suggests that the tensions weren’t entirely accidental: “Sex was fundamental to how the U.S. military framed, fought and won the war in Europe,” she writes in her book.

Roberts joins NPR’s Robert Siegel to talk about prostitutes in parks and cemeteries, pinups on planes and how the U.S. Army responded to rape accusations with rapid, racially charged trials.

Interview Highlights

On the familiar image of grateful Normans and respectful GIs

“I think it’s a matter of chronology. I think that initially the Normans (in northern France where Allied forces struck from the sea) were incredibly grateful to be liberated. They had also suffered a lot of loss that summer, so there was some anger about the destruction of their homes and the loss of their loved ones. But in general, at least at the beginning, the French were very happy to be liberated and to greet the Americas.”

On the mayor of Le Havre complaining about American GIs having sex in public with French prostitutes

“That happened in the summer of 1945, so a year [after liberation]. Le Havre was a port, really the entry and exit port for millions of American soldiers during those years. Those soldiers who had been fighting in France and Germany came back to Le Havre waiting for a boat home. They were, as a group, exhausted and traumatized. Their lost friends crowded their dreams. They were consumed by guilt. So they took to whoring with French women as a way to keep away the demons, at least for a while. And without a proper or regulated system of brothels, they instead took to the streets, abandoned buildings, parks and cemeteries having sex.”

On whether the behavior of World War II GIs was universal to soldiers or specific to that army in that war

Photojournalism in particular was used to portray the French woman as ready to be rescued, ready to greet the American soldier and ready to congratulate and thank him through a kiss or even more.

“It was a particularly eroticized war. Anybody who remembers the pinups on airplanes, Rita Hayworth, the amount to which pinups became a part of the culture of the GIs, will recognize to what extent sex became important to the war experience. I went and looked at Stars and Stripes,which is the trench journal, and what I saw there was an extension of the pinup culture. Photojournalism in particular was used to portray the Frenchwoman as ready to be rescued, ready to greet the American soldier and ready to congratulate and thank him through a kiss or even more.”

On French women traveling to Normandy to prostitute themselves

“I would have to say that prostitution was pervasive in the European theater. There was one Army report that estimated 80 percent of single men and 50 percent of married men would have sex during their stay in Europe. And the U.S. military did not really care that much that it occurred. What it cared about was venereal disease, which soon after the GIs’ arrivals in France began to soar — but all this was kept from the American public.”


Mary Louise Roberts is a professor of history at the University of Wisconsin. She has written two previous books on French history.


On a wave of rape accusations in the summer of 1944, and how the U.S. Army’s response was to frame it as a race problem

“What happened was the American Army and the [Judge Advocate General] office disproportionately blamed African-American soldiers. Seventy-seven percent of the court-martial prosecutions in the European theater were for African-Americans. They were only 10 percent of the troops. …

“[Trials took place] sometimes three days afterwards. … Many of the men were [hanged] in the towns where the rape, alleged rape, occurred. And the hanging was a difficult thing to do in the land of the guillotine, so the U.S. Army actually brought in their own hangman from Texas. I found a file in the National Archives which dealt with this. … Grisly, very grisly.”

On how she integrates the heroism and great military accomplishments with the behavior of troops in France

“I guess like many people I was somewhat surprised when I found out that the GIs were not impeccable soldiers. I began to look at documents in France that were only opened in January of 2005, and in many cases I was the first American to look at them.

“I grew up in a very patriotic family, my father is a veteran of the Second World War, so all this was difficult for me. But I actually also have to say that there’s nothing in my book that tries to condemn or denigrate that great moment. What I’m trying to do is give a fuller picture by looking at how the event was seen by the French, to make it richer and more complex — and to me really good history portrays an event not in a sanitized way, but as a way in which you can allow yourself to think of soldiers as human beings.”



BIG DATA helps solve big problems

What Big Data Means For Big Cities

by ADAM FRANK  May 30, 2013 3:00 PM

Information, like light, flows through cities in interesting, often beautiful, patterns.

Sometimes the most powerful and transformative technologies emerge by accident, an unintended consequence of other developments. When this happens, the scope and power of the new technology can’t be fully appreciated until after we have embedded it in our culture.

 Big Data is all that and much, much more.  If it lives up to its promise (or peril), it will rework the architecture of human experience in ways we simply cannot imagine.

And because our urban centers have always been engines of information, there is likely no nexus of human culture more susceptible to Big Data’s hurricane winds than Big Cities.

By now, of course, you may be wondering if there’s really something going on or if Big Data is just this year’s overheated hype. The answer to that question is a definitive NOT HYPE and the reason can be summed up in two words: Digital Breadcrumbs.  For years now we have all been dropping digital breadcrumbs — electronic markers in 1s and 0s — spread across the wired world. From cell-phone locations to grocery store shopping choices to Facebook posts, we are leaving a record of our life that is out there to be followed by anyone with the resources and the time.

And it’s not just us.

Every function of our culture is generating reams of numbers that flow into the data sphere: from the monthly billing records of public utilities to the traffic data recorded by municipal street sensors, it’s all getting recorded and most of it is getting electronically archived.

If you want a physical representation of Big Data, consider this: to store all the information humanity created in just one year you’d need 80 billion 16-GB iPhones. That’s enough iPhones to create a ring circling the Earth 100 times.

The premise of Big Data is deceptively simple: hidden in all that information lies a hyper-resolution map of the world’s behavior in space and time. It’s a representation of human life and the natural world with a fidelity we have never had before. Think of those movies where a character can stop time and then walk around poking at people and objects frozen in action. Now give that character X-ray microscopic eyes and you begin to get a feel for what Big Data allows.

More From The Cities Project

NPR Cities: Urban Life In The 21st Century

The science behind Big Data lies in learning how to dive into its digital oceans to find patterns in the real world. Those patterns are the key. From the movie-renting habits of 28-year-old factory workers to the daily flow of stock trades in companies processing salmon, those patterns represent the contours of real life captured in numbers. Once you see the patterns you can understand the world’s behavior. Once you understand behavior you can predict it. Once you can predict behavior you can control it. That is the true promise — and danger — of Big Data.

Cities are created human environments. They are ecosystems of energy and matter imagined into existence through human effort. Because cities are essentially ideas transformed into action, they are creatures of information and a Big Data problem. By breathing in the torrents of data cities generate every second, Big Data scientists and engineers believe they can make cities efficient, effective and responsive to human needs in ways that will reshape their very nature.

In the most ambitious vision, the Big Data of Big Cities will mean these dense hubs of human habitation, where 85 percent of all people will live by 2050, might become adaptive, almost self-aware. Given the need to create a sustainable global human culture on a finite planet with finite resources, some say the Big Data revolution can’t come fast enough for Big Cities.

Examples of Big Data/Big Cities projects are everywhere as researchers, engineers and municipal planners struggle to put the rivers of data being generated to good use on issues like sustainability, security and public health.

Consider that most basic aspect of urban life for a moment: traffic. These days a trip in a car from one side of town to another would not be complete without a quick peek at Google Maps and its traffic data. Google (and a host of other platforms, like Waze) gives you a map of the city and a representation of the traffic flow (green for good, red for “you’re screwed”). But how does Google get this data. To get a better real time picture of traffic flow, Google recently began using a crowd-sourcing model where people’s smart phones become sensors. Smart phone locations are tracked by cell-phone companies and that gives a measure of how traffic is (or is not) flowing. So the same people who are using Google’s map application may be sending Google traffic data to inform the map. Any city — or in this case Google — can buy that data and use it to monitor traffic.


But you can do more than just track traffic. You might take that traffic data and use it to find patterns that are shaping the life of your city. You could, for example, combine the traffic data with other municipal datasets to see how traffic patterns correlate with, say, the electricity use of households in neighborhoods, or the rates of heart attacks or the shopping patterns of the 18-28 year olds. All that data is out there to be mined. Within it lies the secret life of our cities.


If you’re looking for the unexpected in Big Data/Big City projects you need go no further than social media. At my own school, the University of Rochester, computer scientist Henry Kuatz and his student Adam Sadilek are “mining” twitter data to track the spread of disease. Normally, the way a city gathers data about who is sick — say, how many people have the flu during flu season — is to wait for folks to come in to a hospital or to their doctor’s office. So people get sick, they report it, and the numbers eventually get tallied up. But that analysis is pretty backward looking, revealing only how many people have been sick last week or last month.


Kuatz and his collaborators can search through tweets containing the words “I feel sick” in specific urban areas as they appear now. By intelligently manipulating the constraints on their data-mining, Kautz’s team are trying to see the spread of the flu from one neighborhood to another by watching the degree that digital social networks map out real networks of human contact and its contagious consequences.


These kinds of Big Data uses of social media are just beginning and there will be lots of mistakes made. But, taken as a whole, they hold enormous promise. Perhaps in the future you’ll get an automatic tweet telling you that yesterday you were in a room with someone who had the flu. “Drink extra fluids and get some more sleep just in case.”

For all the promise of Big Data and Big Cities it’s not hard to imagine the dark side. All these digital breadcrumbs we are leaving may very well leave us without a shred of privacy. And while Big Data may allow a kind hyper-subtle control over a city’s functions for benign uses, like developing sustainability, that control can also be used to reign in the functions that make a vital democracy work.

Regardless, we and our big cities are entering the era of Big Data. What comes next will be what we make of it and take from it.

Twin Giraffes Born



Tall tale: Rare giraffe twins born in Texas

Submitted by Karen Smith Welch on Tue, 05/28/2013 – 2:26pm  Amarillo Globe News


Twin Reticulated Giraffes, the only living set of twins and the second reported set of living twins born in the United States, were delivered at Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch on May 10.

The first-born female calf, Wasswa, weighed 95 pounds and was 4.5 feet tall. The second-born male calf, Nakato, weighed 125 pounds and was 5.5 feet tall.

“Both Wasswa and Nakato are thriving,” said Tiffany Soechting, Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch marketing director and the animal specialist who is caring for the newborns.

According to Laurie Bingaman Lackey, giraffe studbook keeper for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the twin giraffes’ birth is the second set of living giraffe twins in the United States and the ninth set of living twins born in the zoos of the world.

A set each have also been born in Canada, Germany, the Czech Republic, England, France, and two sets to the same dam in South Korea.  Since the 1830s there have been more than 8,000 recorded giraffe births in zoos worldwide.

The twins’ birth at Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch are the 31st recorded set of twins. Three-quarters of twin pregnancies abort early in gestation or are stillborn. Only nine sets of twins have been reported living at birth.

The twin giraffes born this month were the 19th and 20th giraffes born at Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, a 400-acre animal preserve.

The ranch’s successful breeding program spawned the twins’ mother, Carol, who was born in 2005. She was the 12th giraffe born at the ranch.

Male twin Nakato has been hand-reared since birth to ensure he receives adequate nutrition. Nakato is being re-introduced to his family through short, supervised visits to assure the mother does not perceive him as a threat. The twins are the mother’s third birth.

“As twin births are rare, we had a concern that the mother would not be able to produce enough milk for both offspring,” said Dr. Kenny Patin, ranch veterinarian. “We wanted to take prudent measures to guard the twins’ health.”

There are eight giraffes residing at Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, including the twins’ father Marshall. Marshall is 10 years old.

The average giraffe gestation is 15 months. Giraffes give birth standing up. Calves fall 6 feet to the ground, and stand up and run within an hour of birth.

Giraffes are the tallest living land mammals with average height ranging from 16-19 feet.

For more information, visit



Door County


George has been visiting Door County, Wisconsin,  since he was in his teens, one of his favorite places, and now I know why – It is a beautiful place.  For the last three years we have rented a small log house on the Bay side of the peninsula above the rocky shore for a week.

The morning after we arrived last week, I was up early having coffee on the flagstone patio with a very pretty view of the bay.  Suddenly from my left a bald eagle flew by at eye level, close enough that I could see feather detail.  It’s wings were silent, not like the wing-beat sound a Canada goose makes.  What a gift!  Few minutes later from the opposite direction came flying a troop of giant white pelicans!  We saw and heard loons every morning and evening.

The next two mornings the bald eagle came flying the same pattern, and the pelicans settled down bobbing in the waves.  They are strange looking creatures, huge compared to the merganser ducks that frequented the shore.

We were serenaded by grosbeaks late afternoon and evening.  Humming birds were feeding on perennial flowers that the owner of the place planted.

We like to go to Door County one week before Memorial Day weekend.  On our way home we could see traffic backed up more than a mile coming into the county!                                                                Susan Nowak


You can hear the lonely-sounding loon call at


Where is Door County?   Think of the Wisconsin map as a mitten–Door County is the thumb, a peninsula going out into Lake Michigan, with Green Bay on the north side, and lake on the south.  The city of Green Bay is at the joint where the thumb joins the mitten.


My brother Tom and Nancy had planned to retire there in their nice house on a bluff high over the Bay, until they decided to buy that big house and bar on Delavan Lake.  Having sold that property, they are in a very nice little house in a community of nice little houses near where they lived with the bar, on the lake.                                                rjn


Animals in War


Animals in War – “They Had No Choice”

war-memorial animalsPosted on Facebook by HorseConscious

The Animals in War Memorial in London is a striking tribute to the horses, donkeys, mules and dogs who lost their lives in the wars of the 20th Century. The words read, “Beneath the main heading “Animals in War”, the memorial has two inscriptions:
“This monument is dedicated to all the animals that served and died alongside British and Allied forces in wars and campaigns throughout time.”

The second, smaller inscription simply reads: “They had no choice.”

Humans have used everything from birds to elephants in war.

Humans have used everything from birds to elephants in war.

London June 2011 - The Animals in War Memorial

animals in war

url-1_0 military dolphins

they had no choice

From Scholastic News:


Not all Americans are applauding the military’s use of animals in combat. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has openly criticized what they consider inhumane tactics.

“These animals never enlisted; they know nothing of Iraq or Saddam Hussein, and they probably won’t survive,” says Arathi Jayaram, a spokesman for PETA, an animal rights group. “The military can detect weapons and find wounded troops with some very sophisticated equipment.”

That isn’t always the case, say military officials. Animals have unique gifts—low-light vision, biological sonar, and directional hearing—that can’t be duplicated even with the most-advanced technology.

…”For thousands of years of his history, man has made use of the capabilities of animals—their strength, extraordinary senses, swimming or flying ability,” says Tom LaPuzza, public affairs officer for the U.S. Naval Marine Mammal Program.

Presidential candidate and Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman is so impressed with the military’s heroic canines, he has proposed building a national war dog memorial in Washington, D.C.

“[They] have contributed to the security of our nation and the freedom of our people,” he says. “These are not ordinary dogs, but loyal, spirited, and courageous animals.”

sky show
Planets conjoin above Sydney, Australia.

Planets Jupiter Venus, Mercury, and Mars in the morning sky above Sydney, Australia.

Photograph by Eddie Sim, National Geographic Your Shot

Andrew Fazekas

National Geographic

Published May 24, 2013

This weekend, skywatchers around the world will get to see a striking triple planetary meetup in the evening skies the likes of which won’t be repeated until 2026.

From May 24 to 27, MercuryVenus, and Jupiter will appear to converge in the low northwest sky after sunset.

“When we see a single planet out by itself on a given night, we might not pay much attention to its status as a planet, as it appears mostly like a bright star,” explained Ben Burress, staff astronomer at the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, California.

“But when they are discovered together like this, in a close-knit configuration we know we haven’t seen lately—if ever—our minds acknowledge the fact that they move, and in this case, have moved together.

“It reminds us that the sky isn’t static and unchanging, but [is] alive with motion and has a dynamic personality,” Burress added.

What is a triple planet conjunction?

When multiple worlds appear to align in the sky, it’s called a conjunction. But their apparent proximity to each other is an optical illusion—in reality, Mercury is 105 million miles from Earth, Venus is more than 150 million miles away, and Jupiter is a whopping 565 million miles away. (Read about a two-planet conjunction in 2012.)

What should we look for?

All three planets can be found pretty easily without any optical aids. But if you have binoculars or a small telescope, it’s definitely worth a look—and can allow you to start finding the trio before they’re easily viewable with the naked eye.

“It’s visually exciting to see this clustering; Jupiter and Venus especially are brighter than the brightest stars, and seeing just those two so close to each other is remarkable,” said Burress.

Venus will appear as the brightest of the trio, and will pop into view soon after sunset. Earth’s twin will act as a convenient guidepost to finding Jupiter and Mercury. Venus is the most challenging to find since it never travels far from the glare of the sun, so binoculars will help.

When are the best viewing times?

The best time to see the cosmic trio is between a half hour to an hour after local sunset. Timing is critical because the planets are so close to the horizon and will follow the sun, quickly sinking below the horizon.

“Start looking as soon as the sun has set, but naked-eye discovery should become better at about 30 minutes after sunset,” said Burress.

How will the planets change positions?

Starting on May 24, the three planets will appear within five degrees of each other—easily fitting behind a golf ball held at arm’s length.

By May 26, the conjunction will be at its tightest, with the planets forming a striking equilateral triangle spanning only 2.5 degrees. The planets will be huddling so close together that they can be covered up by a thumb held at arm’s length.

On May 27 the two brightest planets, Jupiter and Venus, will come together in their own conjunction—only 1.5 degrees apart.

In the remaining days of May, Jupiter will continue to sink toward the horizon, while Venus and Mercury will climb higher in the west and dominate twilight skies by early June.

Where is the best spot to watch this event?

While timing is important to catch the event, most of the world’s population will be able to see this sky show except for those at extremely high latitudes.

“It will actually be impossible if you’re too far north—above the Arctic Circle—where the sun is currently above the horizon 24 hours a day,” said Burress.

“But in latitudes where most of us live, there’s a chance, as long as you have a clear view of the western horizon.”

No matter your geographical location, it will be important to find an observing spot with a clear line of sight to the low western horizon.

What if I miss this one?

Close encounters of three bright planets are considered fairly rare—occurring every few years. The next triple conjunction is scheduled for October 2015. But the wait will be longer for one this tight—the next one will occur in 2026. (Read about the moon and stars forming their own celestial cluster.)

Young Google Doodler


Wisconsin Teen Wins ‘Doodle 4 Google’

                                        Contest With Emotional Entry

Stephanie MlotBy Stephanie Mlot May 22, 2013 02:46pm EST

Wisconsin high schooler Sabrina Brady’s best day ever was when her father returned home from an 18-month deployment in Iraq. Now, the country can share that moment with her, when Brady’s doodle is featured on the search giant’s homepage this Thursday.

After 130,000 submissions and millions of votes, Sparta, Wisc., resident Brady today was named the 2013 U.S. Doodle 4 Google National Winner.

Her image, titled “Coming Home,” tells the emotional story of her family reunion — the black-and-white journey of a child running toward her soldier father, ending in a colorful hug that will leave even the hard-hearted tearing up.

The sixth annual Doodle 4 Google contest launched in January, inviting U.S. K-12 students to redesign the classic homepage logo following this year’s theme, “My Best Day Ever…” On May 1, Google announced 50 state winners, from which the public voted to narrow down the choices to five finalists. From them, one national winner was selected.

“Sabrina’s doodle stood out in the crowd,” doodle team leader Ryan Germick wrote in a blog post. “Her creative use of the Google letters to illustrate this heartfelt moment clearly resonated with voters across the country and all of us at Google.”

In addition to telling everyone she knows to check out her artwork on the Google homepage tomorrow, Brady, a 12th grader at Sparta High School, will receive a $30,000 college scholarship, a Chromebook computer, and a $50,000 technology grant for her school.

According to Google, Brady plans to attend Minneapolis College of Art and Design in the fall, where she will continue to pursue art.



Powerful Women


Caroline Howard, Forbes Staff

Covering the powerful, innovators and disruptors of the moment   FORBESWOMAN


5/22/2013 @ 7:52AM 

The World’s Most Powerful Women 2013

In Pictures: The World’s Most Powerful Women

Our annual snapshot of the 100 women with the most impact are top politicians and CEOs, activist billionaires and celebrities who matter. In roughly equal measure you’ll find next gen entrepreneurs and media mavens, technologists and leaders in philanthropy — all ranked by dollars, media momentum and impact (see full methodologyhere).

We’ve selected women that go beyond the traditional taxonomy of the power elite (political and economic might). These change-agents are actually shifting our very idea of clout and authority and, in the process, transforming the world in fresh and exhilarating ways.

This year the list features nine heads of state who run nations with a combined GDP of $11.8 trillion — including the No. 1 Power Woman, German ChancellorAngela Merkel. The 24 corporate CEOs control $893 billion in annual revenues, and 16 of the women here founded their own companies, including two of the three new billionaires to the list, Tory Burch and Spanx’s Sara Blakely. Speaking of, this year’s class has 14 billionaires valued in excess of $82 billion.

Here, a quick peek at Power Women 2013:

Newcomers: Among the 15 newcomers on this year’s list are South Korean President Park Guen-hye (No. 11); Lockheed Martin LMT -0.47% CEOMarillyn Hewson (No. 34); CEO Tory Burch (No. 69);  Spanx founder Sara Blakely (No. 90) and BaiduBIDU -3.98% CFO Jennifer Li (No. 98).

Old friends: At this 10th edition, attention must be paid to the 15 who appeared on the inaugural list in 2004 and are still here today:  Oprah Winfrey (No. 13), of course. Ditto for Hillary Clinton (No. 5). But there’s also  Christine Lagarde (No. 7),  Sonia Gandhi (No. 9), Indra Nooyi (No. 10), Helen Clark(No. 21), Nancy Pelosi (No. 22), Anne Sweeney (No. 24), Amy Pascal (No. 36), Queen Elizabeth II (No. 40), Abigail Johnson (No. 60),  Ho Ching (No. 64),Diane Sawyer (No. 73), J.K. Rowling (No. 93) andGreta Van Susteren (No. 97).

She’s No. 1: Chancellor Merkel has made the list eight times out of the past ten years — seven times as No. 1.

She’s the first: Forty percent  of the women on the list are “female firsts,” such as African head of state (Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf), billionaire to sign The Giving Pledge (Sara Blakeley), and CEO at IBM (Ginni Rometty). Even more impressive are a the women who are multiple “firsts,” such as Judith Rodin, first president of an Ivy League and of the Rockefeller Foundation. And Hillary Clinton. (For a full report, see here.)

Hillary stays on: Clinton’s CV is chock full of firsts: The only first lady to become a U.S. senator turned viable presidential candidate turned secretary of state. Now a private citizen, she continues to be one of the most watched and listened-to women on the planet. All bets on that she will be the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate and the free world’s presumptive next leader. She’s done little to quiet the chatter, including hitting the speaking circuit last month at an estimated $200,000 fee per event and inking a reported $14 million book deal.

Where are the women in tech? Right here.Tech takes a second turn as a category on the Power Women list. Five tech women made the top 25 this year, including Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg (No. 6), Rometty (No. 12) and HP’s Meg Whitman (No. 15). There are 16 tech women in total, including also Susan Wojcicki, SVP of ads at Google (No. 30) and Sun Yafang, chair of Huawei Technologies (No. 77).

The rising tide of female entrepreneurs: A remarkable number of women are founders or owners of their own enterprises, not a few of whose eponymous companies are synonymous with high fashion. Consider Miuccia Prada (No. 58), Zara founder Rosalia Mera (No. 66), Tory Burch (No. 69) andDiane von Furstenberg (No. 74). Other self-made self-starters include Oprah Winfrey (No. 13),  Arianna Huffington (No. 56), Chinese real estate tycoonZhang Xin (No. 50), and Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, India’s first biotech entrepreneur (No. 85).

The new celebrity role models: Sure, they’re famous but they deserve special attention for their outside work, be it ambassadors for meaningful causes or as business owners. Oprah founded both Harpo Productions and The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. Joining the efforts of the U.N. are Angelina Jolie (No. 37), Shakira (No. 52), and Gisele Bundchen (No. 95). Beyonce (No. 17) rules the House of Dereon and Sofia Vergara (No. 38) co-owns LatinWE.

Businesswomen are booming in Asia: The whole region makes a strong showing, from China and Singapore to New Zealand and Thailand. Entrepreneurship is on the rise: see Zhang Xin (No. 50) , Sun Yafang (No. 77) and Solina Chau (No. 80). And Asian region women are showing their political might, from newcomer Park Geun-hye, the South Korean president (No. 11) and Burmese dissident and parliamentarian Aung San Suu Kyi (No. 29) to Australian PM Julia Gillard (No. 28) and Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra (No. 31).

Healing, feeding and educating the world: If they’re not topping corporations or state, the women on our list are heads of major nonprofits and NGOs and they wield as large budgets and impact millions, from Melinda Gates (No. 3) and IMF chief Christine Lagarde (No. 7) to Director-General of World Health Organization Margaret Chan (No. 33), World Food ProgrammeExecutive Director Ertharin Cousin (No. 49) and Harvard University’s Drew Gilpin Faust (No. 43).

See Full Coverage of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women

Power Women 2013: Women To Watch This Year

1 of 11

The Most Powerful Women To Watch In 2014

Smart Rifle



A New ‘Smart Rifle’ Decides When To Shoot And Rarely Misses



A TrackingPoint rifle features a high-tech scope that includes a laser range finder and a Wi-Fi server.


A new rifle goes on sale on Wednesday, and it’s not like any other. It uses lasers and computers to make shooters very accurate. A startup gun company in Texas developed the rifle, which is so effective that some in the shooting community say it should not be sold to the public.

It’s called the TrackingPoint rifle. On a firing range just outside Austin in the city of Liberty Hill, a novice shooter holds one and takes aim at a target 500 yards away. Normally it takes years of practice to hit something at that distance. But this shooter nails it on the first try.

The rifle’s scope features a sophisticated color graphics display. The shooter locks a laser on the target by pushing a small button by the trigger. It’s like a video game. But here’s where it’s different: You pull the trigger but the gun decides when to shoot. It fires only when the weapon has been pointed in exactly the right place, taking into account dozens of variables, including wind, shake and distance to the target.

The rifle has a built-in laser range finder, a ballistics computer and a Wi-Fi transmitter to stream live video and audio to a nearby iPad. Every shot is recorded so it can be replayed, or posted to YouTube or Facebook.

“Think of it like a smart rifle. You have a smart car you; you got a smartphone; well, now we have a smart rifle,” says company President Jason Schauble. He says the TrackingPoint system was built for hunters and target shooters, especially a younger generation that embraces social media.

“They like to post videos; they like to be in constant communication with groups or networks,” Schauble says. “This kind of technology, in addition to making shooting more fun for them, also allows shooting to be something that they share with others.”

A team of 70 people spent three years creating the technology. Schauble says there’s nothing else like it, even in the military. For civilians, TrackingPoint sells its high-end, long-range guns directly. With price tags of up to $22,000, they’re not cheap.

The TrackingPoint rifle’s display as seen through the scope.

One hunter who doesn’t want one is Chris Wilbratte. He says the TrackingPoint system undermines what he calls hunting’s “fair chase.”

“It’s the traditional shooting fish in a barrel or the sitting duck. I mean, there’s no skill in it, right? It’s just you point, you let the weapons system do its thing and you pull the trigger and now you’ve killed a deer. There’s no skill,” Wilbratte says.

This new rifle is being released as the gun control debate continues to simmer in Washington.

Chris Frandsen, a West Point graduate who fought in Vietnam, doesn’t believe the TrackingPoint technology should be allowed in the civilian world. The gun makes it too easy for a criminal or a terrorist to shoot people from a distance without being detected, he says.

“Where we have mental health issues, where we have children that are disassociated from society early on, when we have terrorists who have political cards to play, we have to restrict weapons that make them more efficient in terrorizing the population,” Frandsen says.

Schauble says because the company sells directly — instead of going through gun dealers — it knows who its customers are and will vet them. And he says there’s a key feature that prevents anyone other than the registered owner from utilizing the gun’s capabilities.

“It has a password protection on the scope. When a user stores it, he can password protect the scope that takes the advanced functionality out. So the gun will still operate as a firearm itself, but you cannot do the tag/track/exact, the long range, the technology-driven precision guided firearm piece without entering that pass code,” he says.

Schauble says demand has been “overwhelming.” TrackingPoint now has a waiting list. Others are interested, too: Rifle maker Remington Arms wants to use the technology in rifles it wants to sell for around $5,000.

Asteroid Coming May 30 – June 9

Astronomers will study massive asteroid as it sails pass Earth

Astronomers plan on examining a massive asteroid as it sails pass Earth.


Astronomers will study massive asteroid as it sails pass Earth
Photo credit: NASA


Science Recorder | Rick Docksai | Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Many astronomers are looking forward to the giant asteroid that is expected to drift fairly close to Earth late next week. Sailing past our planet at a safe distance of 3.6 million miles, about 15 times the distance from Earth to the Moon, asteroid 1998 QE2 won’t be nearly close enough to collide with us, but it will be perfectly close enough for Earth’s observatories to train their radar-based telescopes on it and get an unusually high-resolution close-up of an asteroid’s surface.

NASA’s observatories at Goldstone, California; and Arecibo, Puerto Rico; have confirmed plans to focus their radar-imaging gear on the asteroid as it approaches Earth. The two observatories will coordinate ongoing imaging from May 30 on through June 9, to cover the full extent of the near-Earth leg of the asteroid’s orbit. Lance Benner, principal investigator for the Goldstone radar observations, said in a news release that he and his cohorts expect “to to obtain a series of high-resolution images that could reveal a wealth of surface features.”

Asteroids normally congregate in the far-off asteroid belt and trace along orbits that can take them to the far edges of the solar system, so while researchers can see them—or at least trace them, via radio-wave mapping—all the time, it’s almost always from very afar. To have a comet come this close to Earth is thus a unique opportunity for asteroid study.

Benner and other researchers intend to make the most of it to gather data on such factors as the asteroid’s shape, rotation, surface features, and any clues as to its origin. According to Benner, they will also use measurements of the asteroid’s trajectory and speed to more accurately calculate its orbit and assess where its path of movement will take it. When the asteroid is at a distance of 4 million miles or less, the Goldstone facility’s radar antenna could recreate features on the surface as small as 12 feet across.

Astronomers near Socorro, New Mexico, discovered 1998 QE2 in August 1998, and analyses concluded that it has a length of 1.7 miles, or nine cruise ships placed bow to stern. The asteroid’s pathway will reach its closest point with Earth on May 31 at 1:59 p.m. Pacific Time before drifting back out into the depths of space. The planet will see it again as it makes more return loops along its orbit, but the projections indicate that the asteroid will not get this close to Earth any time in the next 200 years or more.

Note:  Serious people are working on ways to deflect a dangerous asteroid and on ways to mine minerals on asteroids.  rjn


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