Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Declassified: America's Secret Flying Saucer

In September 2012, Michael Rhodes, a technician at the National Declassification Center (NDC) in College Park, Md., donned white cotton gloves, entered a climate-controlled room, and opened a cardboard file box. It was time for the report inside?"Project 1794 Final Development Summary Report 2 April?30 May 1956"?to become public.

Rhodes's job is to read such documents, catalog them, and make them available to historians, journalists, and the curious. The paper was crisp, like new. Rhodes began to read.

He soon realized that the file box contained highly unusual material. "As I was processing the collection, I glimpsed this weird red flying-disc icon in the corners," Rhodes says. Inside the box was a trove of oddities: cutaway schematics of disc-shaped aircraft, graphs showing drag and thrust performance at more than Mach 3, black-and-white photos of Frisbee shapes in supersonic wind tunnels. The icon was a flying saucer on a red arrow?the insignia of a little-known and strange sideshow in aeronautical design. Rhodes was leafing through the lost records of a U.S. military flying saucer program.

A Canadian aviation firm began developing a disc-shaped aircraft for the U.S. military in the mid-1950s, and, though the details were secret, the project itself was not unknown. POPULAR MECHANICS mentioned the Air Force's "vertical-rising, high-speed" craft in 1956 and published a photo in 1960. In the decades since the program was canceled in 1961, aviation buffs and UFO researchers have unearthed technical papers written near the end of America's flying saucer experiment, but the document that originally convinced the government to invest in a military flying disc has languished in the NDC under the SECRET designation. This recently discovered report describes in previously unknown detail how aviation engineers tried to harness what were then cutting-edge aerodynamic concepts to make their improbable creation fly. Although Avro's saucer never completed a successful flight, some of the most sophisticated aircraft flying today adopted many of the same technologies.

In 2001, U.S. Air Force personnel cleared the document cache for public release, according to Neil Carmichael, director of the declassification review division at the NDC, which is run by the National Archives and Records Administration. But it took 11 years to crack open the boxes in College Park and glimpse the saucer secrets within?the staff is buried in a backlog of nearly 2 billion pages of declassified material, some of it dating to World War II. "These records probably have been classified since their creation," Carmichael says. "It's like somebody emptied out a filing cabinet, stuck it in a box, sealed it, and sent it off to the federal records center."

In pop culture, flying saucers are the ride of choice for extraterrestrials. What the newly released documents show is that they actually came from Ontario, Canada. That's where a visionary aeronautical engineer at the now-defunct Avro Canada convinced his bosses to support the unlikely project. "During the Cold War the Army, Air Force, and Navy were experimenting with all sorts of things," Carmichael says. As the NDC releases its declassified documents, "the records are going to tell the rest of those stories." The most sensational of the disclosures so far?Project 1794.


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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Remind Yourself That Nature Still Exists With a Terrarium Work Desk

If your 9 to 5 has you yearning for a little more nature while you sit behind a computer screen all day, consider trading up your jungle desktop wallpaper for Daniel Zeller's custom Terrarium Desk. Tucked away inside is a miniature jungle lit with soft LEDs that's visible through a plexiglass window on top. More »


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Monday, February 11, 2013

Don Johnson gets $19 million in "Nash Bridges" lawsuit

NEW YORK ( - Don Johnson has ended his lawsuit against the company that co-produced his series "Nash Bridges" after it paid him $19 million.

In 2010, Rysher Productions was ordered to pay Johnson $23 million in profits for the show and interest. Rysher was also ordered to pay an additional $28.5 million in interest.

But Rysher appealed, alleging jury misconduct and that the amount of interest to which Johnson was entitled was calculated incorrectly. Jurors had initially decided to award Johnson $15 million before deciding, through their calculations, that he was entitled to far more.

Last year, the California Court of Appeal agreed with Rysher, saying Johnson should receive just $15 million, plus interest as of July 2010, when the verdict was handed down. The larger dollar amount factored in interest that would have started accruing years before the verdict.

In January, Rysher paid Johnson $19 million, and he signed a document bringing the dispute to a close. The court records disclosing the payment were first discovered by The Hollywood Reporter.

"Nash Bridges" aired on CBS from 1996 to 2001.

(Pamela Chelin contributed to this story)


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Rejuvenating Abolitionism of Psychiatric Labels ? Even Some ...

After the American Psychiatric Association (APA) approved the latest version of its diagnostic bible, the DSM-5, psychiatrist Allen Frances, the former chair of the DSM-4 taskforce and currently professor emeritus at Duke, announced, ?This is the saddest moment in my 45-year career of practicing, studying and teaching psychiatry? (?A Tense Compromise on Defining Disorders?).

The DSM-5 (the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) will be released by the APA in spring 2013. However, a forlorn Frances states, ?My best advice to clinicians, to the press, and to the general public?be skeptical and don?t follow DSM-5 blindly down a road likely to lead to massive over-diagnosis and harmful over-medication.?

For mental health professionals, this advice from the former chair of the DSM-4 taskforce is shocking?almost as if Colin Powell were to advise U.S. defense and state department employees not to blindly follow all administration orders.

Particularly upsetting for Frances is the DSM-5?s pathologizing of normal human grief. On January 7, 2013 in ?Last Plea To DSM-5: Save Grief From the Drug Companies,? Frances writes, ?Making grief a mental disorder will be a bonanza for drug companies, but a disaster for grievers. The decision is also self-destructive for DSM-5 and further undermines the credibility of the APA. Psychiatry should not be mislabeling the normal.?

In the DSM-4, which Frances helped create, there had been a so-called ?bereavement exclusion,? which stated that grieving the loss of a loved one, even when accompanied by symptoms of depression, should not be considered the psychiatric disorder of depression.

Prior to the DSM-5, the APA had acknowledged that to have symptoms of depression while grieving the loss of a loved one is normal and not a disease. Come this spring, normal human grief accompanied by depression symptoms will be a mental disorder.

Psychiatry?s official diagnostic battle is over. Mental illness gatekeepers such as Frances who are concerned about further undermining the credibility of the APA have lost, and mental illness expansionists ?psychiatry?s ?neocons?? have won.

Other New DSM-5 Mental Illnesses

The pathologizing of normal human grief is not the only DSM-5 embarrassment for Frances (see his December 2012 blog: ?DSM 5 Is Guide Not Bible?Ignore Its Ten Worst Changes?).

Get ready to hear about a new mental illness diagnosis for kids: ?disruptive mood dysregulation disorder? (DMDD). Frances concludes DMDD ?will turn temper tantrums into a mental disorder.?

The APA, somewhat embarrassed by the huge increase of children diagnosed with ?pediatric bipolar disorder? in the last two decades, wanted to give practitioners a less severe diagnostic option for moody kids. However, Frances?s fear is that DMDD ?will exacerbate, not relieve, the already excessive and inappropriate use of medication in young children. . . . DSM 5 should not be adding a new disorder likely to result in a new fad and even more inappropriate medication use in vulnerable children.?

The DSM-5 also brings us ?minor neurocognitive disorder??the everyday forgetting characteristic of old age. For Frances, this will result in huge numbers of misdiagnosed people, a huge false positive population of people who are not at special risk for dementia. And he adds, ?Since there is no effective treatment for this ?condition? (or for dementia), the label provides absolutely no benefit (while creating great anxiety) even for those at true risk for later developing dementia. It is a dead loss for the many who will be mislabeled.?

?Binge eating disorder? has also now made it to the major leagues as an official DSM-5 mental illness (moving up from a non-official mental illness status in Appendix B in DSM-4). What constitutes binge eating disorder? Frances reports, ?Excessive eating 12 times in 3 months is no longer just a manifestation of gluttony and the easy availability of really great tasting food. DSM 5 has instead turned it into a psychiatric illness called binge eating disorder.?

Frances?s ?10 Worst Changes? in the DSM-5 also include the following: ?First time substance abusers will be lumped in definitionally with hard core addicts despite their very different treatment needs and prognosis and the stigma this will cause.? DSM-5 also introduces us to the concept of ?behavioral addictions,? which Frances points out ?eventually can spread to make a mental disorder of everything we like to do a lot.? Additionally, Frances reports ?that ?DSM 5 will likely trigger a fad of adult attention deficit disorder leading to widespread misuse of stimulant drugs for performance enhancement and recreation and contributing to the already large illegal secondary market in diverted prescription drugs.?? And Frances adds that ?DSM 5 obscures the already fuzzy boundary between generalized anxiety disorder and the worries of everyday life.?

Brief History of the DSM

The first DSM was published in 1952 and lists 106 disorders (initially called ?reactions?). DSM-2 was published in 1968, and the number of disorders increased to 182.

Both the first DSM and DSM-2 included homosexuality as a mental illness. In the 1970s, coinciding with the heightened significance of the DSM was the rise of gay activism. Thus, the elimination of homosexuality as a mental illness became the most visible psychiatric-political issue. Gay activists staged protests at American Psychiatric Association conventions. The APA was fiercely divided on this issue, but homosexuality as psychopathology was ultimately abolished and then excluded from the DSM-3, published in 1980.

Though homosexuality was dropped from DSM-3, diagnostic categories were expanded in the DSM-3 to 265, with several child disorders added that would soon become popular, including ?oppositional defiant disorder? (ODD).

DSM-4, published in 1994, has 297 disorders and over 400 specific mental illness diagnoses. L.J. Davis, in the February 1997 issue of Harper?s, wrote a book review of the DSM-4 titled ?The Encyclopedia of Insanity: A Psychiatric Handbook Lists a Madness for Everyone,? wrote that the DSM-4??is some 886 pages long and weighs (in paperback) slightly less than three pounds; if worn over the heart in battle, it would probably stop a .50-caliber machine-gun bullet at 1,700 yards.?

Mental illness expansionism in the DSM-5 is no laughing matter for Frances who reminds us: ?New diagnoses in psychiatry are more dangerous than new drugs because they influence whether or not millions of people are placed on drugs?often by primary care doctors after brief visits.? Though the APA claims that DSM-5 will not significantly add to the DSM-4 total of mental illnesses, by one DSM-5 declaration alone?eliminating the bereavement exclusion to depression?they will have created millions more mentally ill people.

DSM: Dogma or Science?

How exactly do certain human behaviors become a mental illness? It comes down to the opinion of a board of trustees of the American Psychiatric Association. Davis writes in Harper?s, ?First, and primarily, the?DSM-4?is a book of dogma, though as theology it is pretty pedestrian stuff.?

Is the DSM dogma or, as establishment psychiatry would claim, science?

Two important aspects of a scientific instrument are validity and reliability. DSM scientific validity would mean that behaviors labeled as disorders and illnesses are in fact disorders and illnesses. And DSM reliability would mean that clinicians trained in DSM criteria agree on a diagnosis.

One historical example, a century before the first DSM, of a clearly invalid mental illness is drapetomania. Louisiana physician Samuel A. Cartwright was certain he had discovered a new mental disease. After studying runaway slaves who had been caught and returned to their owners, Cartwright concluded in an 1851 report to the New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal that these slaves suffered from drapetomania, a disease causing them to flee.

While virtually all psychiatrists today rightfully mock the idea that fleeing slavery could be considered a valid mental illness, it was not until the 1970s that cultural upheaval and political protests persuaded the APA of the invalidity of homosexuality as a mental illness.

And while homosexuality was dropped from the 1980 DSM-3, oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) was added, and ODD is now a popular child and adolescent diagnosis. The symptoms of ODD include ?often actively defies or refuses to comply with adult requests or rules? and ?often argues with adults.? Is it any more valid to label teenage rebellion and anti-authoritarianism as a mental illness than it is to label runaway slaves as mentally ill?

Even if you believe that oppositional defiant disorder and all the other DSM disorders are in fact valid mental illnesses, for them to be considered scientific, they have to be able to be reliably diagnosed.

In a landmark 1973 study reported in Science, David Rosenhan sought to discover if psychiatry could distinguish between ?normals? and those so ?psychotic? they needed to be hospitalized. Eight pseudopatients were sent to twelve hospitals, all pretending to have this complaint: hearing empty and hollow voices with no clear content. All pseudopatients were able to fool staff and get hospitalized. More troubling, immediately after admission, the pseudopatients stated the voices had disappeared and they behaved as they normally would but none were immediately released. The length of their hospitalizations ranged from 7 to 52 days, with an average of 19 days, each finally discharged diagnosed with ?schizophrenia in remission.?

Psychiatry was embarrassed by Rosenhan and other critics and knew if the DSM wasn?t fixed, they would continue to be mocked as a science. The 1980 DSM-3 was dramatically altered to have concrete behavioral checklists and formal decision making rules, which psychiatry hoped would solve its diagnostic reliability problem. But did it?

Herb Kutchins and Stuart A. Kirk are coauthors of two books investigating this claim of ?new and improved? reliability of the DSM-3 and DSM-4: The Selling of DSM: Rhetoric of Science in Psychiatry (1992), and Making Us Crazy, DSM: The Psychiatric Bible and the Creation of Mental Disorders (1997).

Kutchins and Kirk detail a major 1992 study done to examine the reliability of the supposedly new and improved DSM-3. This reliability study was conducted at six sites in the United States and one in Germany. Experienced mental health professionals were given extensive training in how to make accurate DSM diagnoses. Following this training, pairs of clinicians interviewed nearly 600 prospective patients. Because of the extensive training, Kutchins and Kirk note, ?We would expect that diagnostic agreement would be considerably lower in normal clinical settings.? The results showed that the reliability of the DSM-3?even with this special training?was not superior to the earlier unreliable editions of DSM, and in some cases it was worse. Kutchins and Kirk summarize:

What this study demonstrated was that even when experienced clinicians with special training and supervision are asked to use DSM and make a diagnosis, they frequently disagree, even though the standards for defining agreement are very generous?.[For example,] if one of the two therapists?.made a diagnosis of Schizoid Personality Disorder and the other therapist selected Avoidant Personality Disorder, the therapists were judged to be in complete agreement of the diagnosis because they both found a personality disorder?even though they disagreed completely on which one!?Mental health clinicians independently interviewing the same person in the community are as likely to agree as disagree that the person has a mental disorder and are as likely to agree as disagree on which of the?DSM disorders is present.

Kutchins and Kirk report there is not a single major study showing high reliability in any version of the DSM, including the DSM-4.

Is there any good news about the DSM-5? The APA just announced that its price for the DSM-5 will be $199 a copy, and this is good news for Allen Frances who reacted: ?People are not likely to rush out to buy a ridiculously expensive DSM-5 that has already been discredited as unsafe and scientifically unsound. . .The good news is that its lowered sales and lost credibility will limit the damage that can be done by DSM-5.?

Bruce E. Levine, a practicing clinical psychologist, writes and speaks about how society, culture, politics and psychology intersect. His latest book is Get Up, Stand Up: Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, and Battling the Corporate Elite. Below is Levine?s presentation entitled, ?Psychiatry: Reform or Abolitionism?? delivered at the 2012 NARPA conference. His Web site is


This entry was posted in Blogs, Featured Blogs by Bruce Levine, Ph.D.. Bookmark the permalink.


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The Nexus 4's Charging Orb Is Now On Sale in Google Play

The Nexus 4 has been around for a few months now, but the Android phone's pretty wireless orb charger is just now available in the Google Play store. More »


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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Researchers explore quantum entanglement

Feb. 7, 2013 ? Albert Einstein called quantum entanglement -- two particles in different locations, even on other sides of the universe, influencing each other -- "spooky action at a distance."

Einstein made the comment while criticizing quantum mechanics as incomplete -- the phenomenon of quantum entanglement seems to be at odds with Einstein's theory of relativity.

"Eighty years after Einstein, quantum physics is still so mysterious that there are many different interpretations of its physical meaning. All the interpretations agree on what is going to be observed in any given experiment, but they each tell different stories of how these observations come about," says Christoph Simon with the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the Faculty of Science at the University of Calgary.

Simon and his colleague, Boris Braverman from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have shown this spooky action at a distance in research published February 8 in Physical Review Letters. The paper proposes a way in which the effect can be shown experimentally.

"We consider spooky action at a distance in the framework of an interpretation from the English physicist David Bohm who posited that every quantum particle has a well-defined position and velocity," says Simon.

"If the two particles are entangled, then performing an action on one has an immediate effect on the other and our paper shows how this effect can be demonstrated in an experiment with entangled photons."

Entangled photons present an exciting new method of secure communications -- it's impossible for people to listen in. But this phenomenon can't be used for communication faster than the speed of light (what physicists call superluminal), allowing quantum physical systems to obey Einstein's theory of relativity, which posits that things can't communicate faster than light.

There is either no explanation for this -- it's magic and somehow there are the same outcomes on each side -- or the communication between photons is superluminal, which is problematic given the theory of relativity. "There has to be a way out," says Simon.

"Different pairs of particles coming from the same source have slightly different positions and velocities," he says. "If you observe just one of the two particles from a pair, you can't be sure if a variation in its velocity, say, is due to the long-distance influence of its partner, or whether it is just a statistical fluctuation. In this way the peaceful coexistence of quantum physics and relativity is preserved."

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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by University of Calgary, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

Journal Reference:

  1. Boris Braverman, and Christoph Simon. Proposal to Observe the Nonlocality of Bohmian Trajectories with Entangled Photons. Physical Review Letters, 2013 DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.110.060406

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.


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Google Analytics for PR

This week I had the opportunity to speak to a Public Relations class at Champlain College about measurement, public relations and Google Analytics. After rambling for an hour, I through it would be a good idea to jot down my advice in hopes that others can use it or, more importantly, improve on it.

Let me be clear, I?m not a PR expert. You should follow KD Paine, Nicole Ravlin, PR News and other experts to learn about PR. But hopefully some of these Google Analytics tips will help those in PR measure better.

Have A Measurement Plan

Before you do any measurement you should have a plan. This is where my lack of PR knowledge hurts me because I don?t know all of the tactics that a PR pro uses :) But thanks to the students at Champlain, I learned that PR deals with controlling the flow of information between a company and the public, and they try to persuade the public regarding a certain viewpoint, idea or product.

At the end of the day PR activities should help drive business outcomes :)

I love this quote from Measure what Matters which is all about measuring PR:

The ultimate test of the effectiveness of your efforts is whether the behavior of the target audience has changed as a result. This is also the most difficult to measure because all of the various factors that can affect the results of programs a company undertakes. The most effective way to measure behavior change attributable solely to your efforts is to study specific programs carried out by your team.

?Looking at the effects of your efforts.? I love that part.

But what effects?

The effects are just the data in a tool like Google Analytics. Here are a few things that you can measure:

1. How many people did I get and how much traffic?

Measure Unique visitors and Visits. Unique visitors is a rough count of the people on your site and Visits is the number of sessions they create.

2. Where did my site visitors come from? Twitter? Blogs?

Measure the different traffic sources that drive traffic to your site.

3. Did people like the stuff on my website? Were they engaged? How often do they come back? How long are then on the site?

Measure the frequency of visits, the recency (amount of time between visits) and how many pages they view. How much time did they spend and which pages they look at is also very useful

4. How did they change my business? Did I sell more products? Did I get more leads?

Measure Goals and Conversions. Make sure you?ve got Google Analytics configured to track transactions or other conversions on your site.

Where to Find This Data

Almost all of these metrics are in the standard GA reports. Most are columns in the data table as shown in the image below. There?s a column for each metric that covers traffic (visits) and engagement (avg time on site, pages per visit and bounce rate).

This is important: you can change the columns in the reports to view your goal conversions. Use the links at the top of the report, outlined in blue.

Click on the links that say Goal Set 1, Goal Set 2, etc. and the table will refresh with your conversion data. Remember, you need to set up goals or track ecommerce transactions.

This means that you can view goals (i.e. conversions) in EVERY reports. Just keep that in mind as we move through some example.

Metrics, and how to change metrics, in a Google Analytics report.

Metrics, and how to change metrics, in a Google Analytics report.

Measure Where People Come From

Use the Traffic Sources > Sources > All Traffic. This is a list of every traffic sources for your site.

Sources, also called Channels can be email, social media (Twitter, YouTube, Facebook), other websites (blogs, news sites, etc.), search engines, paid search (Google AdWords) or other online advertising (display ads, etc.).

Here?s some data for my blog.

Google Analytics Traffic Source: Essential for PR people.

Google Analytics Traffic Source: Essential for PR people.

Let?s talk about what some of these things mean. The Medium is the channel and the Source gives you a bit more information about the Medium (like the name).

Google/Organic is organic search from Google. is a referral from (Twitter), is a referral from the site, (direct)/(none) is traffic that came directly to your site.

This should give you some overall context as to where people came from.

If you are expecting traffic from a certain channel then use the search box at the top of the table to search for it. Just type in the name.

If you want to know which websites are sending you traffic then check out the Traffic Sources > Sources > Referrals report.

Use the Referring Sites report to identify which websites (blogs, news sites, etc. are sending you traffic.

Use the Referring Sites report to identify which websites (blogs, news sites, etc. are sending you traffic.

Let?s pivot this a bit and just look at social referrals. Here I?m using the Traffic Sources > Social > Network Referrals report. This is a list of traffic from all social sites. Google Analytics automatically creates the list for you.

The Google Analytics Social Sources automatically groups social sources of traffic together.

The Google Analytics Social Sources automatically groups social sources of traffic together.

One more traffic source. In the Traffic Sources > Sources > Search > Organic you can see the organic keywords that people searched for on Google and other search engines.

The Organic Search reprot show traffic from organic keywords.

The Organic Search reprot show traffic from organic keywords.

You might be looking for brand terms or product terms. It depends on what you are promoting and how you?re doing it.

Note: You may have noticed that the #1 organic keyword from Google is (not provided). Google blocks the search query for those that are logged into Gmail, G+ and other services. Here?s a technique you can use to analyze what users from (not provided) are searching for.

If you want a bit more detail about your traffic sources you can use Google Analytics Campaign Tracking and a process called Link Tagging. This is the creation of special links that help you track more details about your traffic sources.

Measure Visitor Behavior

Now that you know how to identify where people come from, let?s look at visitor behavior on the site.

I like to look at how often they come to the site. This is called Frequency and can be found in the Audience > Behavior > Frequency & Recency report. Usually we want people to come back more than one time.

The Google Analytics Frequency report shows how often people visit the site.

The Google Analytics Frequency report shows how often people visit the site.

The frequency will depend on your marketing and PR activities. But You?ll probably see a lot of people visiting once. Observe how this changes especially when you take some action.

Now let?s look at engagement (Audience > Behavior > Engagement). I like to use Page Depth as a metric. How deep into the site do people go? The deeper into the site the more they are engaged.

Use the Page Depth report to measure the engagement of site users.

Use the Page Depth report to measure the engagement of site users.

I also like Bounce Rate. Bounce rate measure how many people land on your site and then immediately leave after viewing the landing page. Normally a high bounce rate means that people really don?t like the content you?re showing them and there is some disconnect with the content they clicked on.

You can find bounce rate in almost EVERY report. I like to look at Bounce Rate in the Traffic Sources reports we discussed above because I can see which external sources may be linked to the wrong pages on my site.

Review the bounce rate for your traffic sources to understand which ones are 'sticky.'

Review the bounce rate for your traffic sources to understand which ones are ?sticky.?

A couple other metrics worth mentioning because they?re easy to find: pages per visit and average time on site. Both of these are in most reports, like the Traffic Sources report above. But they?re averages, and can be easily skewed. That?s why I mentioned page depth and frequency.

Measure What They?re Interested In

What are people looking at?

Use the Content > Site Content > All Page report to view which pages on the site get the most traffic. This simple view of site content can give you insights into what people are interested it.

Use the Top Pages report to identify what topics or products people are interested in.

Use the Top Pages report to identify what topics or products people are interested in.

Again, try using the search box at the top of the report to isolate something specific that that relates to your effort (a product, brand, etc.).

You can also use the Organic report mentioned above to look at keywords, but that?s getting more challenging with (not provided).

Segment Your Data for Deeper Insights

Your website gets a lot of traffic. You need a way to filter all that traffic and only look for what?s important to you. If you can isolate the results of your activities in Google Analytics you?ll have a better chance of showing your impact.

That where segmentation comes in.

The easiest way to isolate data is to use an Advanced Custom Segment. This is a filter that will filter all of the data in all of the reports in real time.

Let?s look at a quick example.

I want to filter my reports and only look at the behavior of people from the referring website I start by Clicking on the Advanced Segment button on the gray bar at the top GA.

Create an Advanced Segment to isolate effects of your activities for deeper PR insights.

Create an Advanced Segment to isolate effects of your activities for deeper PR insights.

I don?t want to get into to many details about how to set up the advanced segment. Check out this great article on segmentation.

You have to tell the advanced segment what piece of data to filter on. This is called a Dimension or a Metric. Then you have to tell the filter what values to allow or exclude.

A quick example. Let?s say I?ve got a release posted on I can filter all of my traffic and view just the data for people coming from

Here are the settings for my advanced segment.

Use an Advanced Segment to isolate certain data on your site.

Use an Advanced Segment to isolate certain data on your site.

When I apply this segment all of the data in all of the report will be for people coming from

I can look at all of the data we discussed above (behavior, content, engagement, conversions) and evaluate the success of traffic from

You might also want to check out the Google Analytics Solutions gallery for some pre-made advanced segments.

Tip: Try creating some segments. YOU WILL NOT BREAK ANYTHING :) Segments are specific to you and your account. I promise, Google Analytics will still work if you make a bad segment.

Real Time Monitoring

Now let?s take all of the data we just talked about and make it measurable in real time. That means as it happens, second by second.

Often PR has to deal with unanticipated events, like a kind word from an influencer or a crisis. You need to understand the impact now.

With the real time reports you can get a count of the active users on your website, where they came from (geographically), what brought them to the site (traffic sources) and what they?re looking at (content).

PR Pros can use the Real Time reports to monitor what's happening second by second on a site.

PR Pros can use the Real Time reports to monitor what?s happening second by second on a site.

These are all things we discussed above. The only difference is that you?re seeing it second by second.

Want more? How about the ability to segment the real time reports? Just click on any piece of data, like a page name or a traffic source, and the Real Time reports will be segmented.

Things to make Your Analytics Life Easier

OK, here are a few tips to make all of this measurement easier.

Customize Google Analytics. You can use Custom Reports or Custom Dashboards to aggregate all of the information that we talked about above.

In fact, I created a Custom Dashboard using many of the reports above.

Automatically add the Google Analytics PR dashboard to your Google Analytics account.

Use the Google Analytics PR dashboard to monitor your Public Relations efforts.

Use the Google Analytics PR dashboard to monitor your Public Relations efforts.

You can take my customization one step further by applying an advanced segment to it. Then you?ll have all the important data, segmented by your action, in one place.

Love the dashboard? You can use the Short Cut feature to add these reports (including the custom dashboard) directly to the left-hand navigation in Google Analytics.

What, you?re too busy to log into Google Analytics and look at your dashboard? How about creating an automated email and Google will send you the dashboard every day.

What, you get too much email? How about creating some automated data alerts to automatically monitor the data in the reports and email you (or send you a text message) when something changes? If you don?t know about Custom Alerts you can read how they might save your ass :)

Google Analytics for PR

So that?s it. A brain dump about PR and Google Analytics. After writing this I can think of a lot more things that PR can do with Google Analytics. But I think I?ll save them for an Advanced post.

A big thanks to the students at Champlain College for the great questions.

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Hal Steinbrenner concerned about A-Rod situation


Associated Press

Associated Press Sports

updated 2:39 p.m. ET Feb. 8, 2013

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner says he's concerned about the latest drug allegations swirling around third baseman Alex Rodriguez, but that the matter is being looked at by Major League Baseball.

The Miami New Times reported late last month that the three-time AL MVP bought human growth hormone and other performance-enhancing substances in recent years from Biogenesis of America LLC, a now-closed clinic in Coral Cables, near Rodriguez's offseason home.

Speaking on Friday at the Yankees' minor league complex, Steinbrenner said the situation is "a concern, but it's out of our hands."

"We will cooperate with MLB in any way we can, any way we're asked to," he said. "But other than that, there's not much to say. I don't know any more than you do."

Rodriguez has denied the allegations. He admitted four years ago that he used PEDs from 2001-03.

The Yankees signed one-time Boston Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis to fill in for Rodriguez, who is sidelined for at least the first half of the season after hip surgery Jan. 16.

"I've always liked Kevin," Steinbrenner said. "He always seemed like a good leader, a hard worker and a very enthusiastic - loves the game - kind of guy. And that's the kind of guy we want."

Steinbrenner addressed a number of other topics, including the contract status of second baseman Robinson Cano, a potential free agent after the upcoming season.

"There's been a conversation or two," Steinbrenner said. "We'll get into that, and we'll talk about that at a later date. But he's obviously been a great Yankee, and hope he's here his entire career."

Steinbrenner feels the Yankees have a "championship-caliber team" this season. He acknowledged the club is sometimes criticized for fielding an older roster, but he likes its experience, "assuming we can stay away from injuries."

"We've got a lot of good veterans on the team, and we've got some good young players as well," Steinbrenner said. "That's always the mix that I want to shoot for. I like our team, but where we end up in October, anybody's guess."

The Yankees are still looking to reduce the 2014 payroll to the $189 million luxury tax threshold.

"All I can assure the fans is, we're always going to field a championship-caliber team every single year," Steinbrenner said. "Is that our goal next year? Yes, to be at that number, that's our goal. But as I've said from the beginning, it depends on some of our young players stepping up and getting the job done. That has to happen, or it's going to be difficult."

The Yankees re-signed a number of their own free agents, including pitchers Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda, but were less active than many previous years for outside free agents.

"I think we have some good signings, and I think we did our fair share in the offseason," Steinbrenner said. "Similar payroll to last year. Shows we want to win."

? 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Call him the anti-Samson

CSN: Coming off the worst season of his career, Tim Lincecum has a new look and new build as he seeks to recapture his former dominance.


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Friday, February 8, 2013

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Former Kleiner Perkins Partner, Erly Founder And Hulu CTO Eric Feng Joins Flipboard As CTO

ericfengEric Feng, former Kleiner Perkins partner and Hulu CTO, is joining social magazine app Flipboard's executive team as CTO, running engineering and strategy.


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These cartoonists take science seriously

"Minute Physics" creator Henry Reich runs through some of his favorite science websites in a video.

By Alan Boyle, Science Editor, NBC News

If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many pages of scientific prose is a science comic worth? Or, for that matter, how many words in a blog post?

Science comics took the spotlight last week during one of the scores of sessions at Science Online 2013 in Raleigh, N.C.?? and one of the takeaways was that illustrators and cartoonists are serious about the science they're depicting. Heck, many of them are trained scientists as well as gifted artists. Take MinutePhysics'?Henry Reich, for example: He earned degrees in physics and math, but found himself drawn to film and video. Now he encapsulates complex concepts in physics (such as the?quest for the Higgs boson) in YouTube videos that last just a bit more than a minute.

His latest MinutePhysics offering wraps up more than two dozen science websites and video channels worth checking out, including way-cool science comics such as xkcd and Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. You'll want to scan the whole list, but you won't want to stop there. It's a good thing the weekend is coming up, because here are another eight science comics to while away the hours with:

Bird and Moon: Rosemary Mosco is a "nature lover with a passion for science communication"?? and a flair for cute, colorful graphics that are thoughtful as well. Have you always wondered how to tell a dolphin from a porpoise? Check out the "Animal Cheat Sheet."??

Beatrice the Biologist: Katie McKissick is on a mission to "make science fun and interesting for the casual reader," and she's not afraid of stirring up a little controversy as well. Don't miss the story behind the "Facebook Genital Scandal of 2012."

Jay Hosler:?Biology professor Jay Hosler highlights science comic strips of all stripes in his blog, "Drawing Flies," and creates his own highly respected comics and graphic novels.?

Luci's Let Down: Writer Marjee Chmiel and illustrator Sandra Lanz team up on an online comic book that's more about metaphysics than strictly physics.

PHD Comics: Jorge Cham draws the kinds of comics that graduate students might post on their office bulletin boards?? when their faculty adviser isn't looking. Check out this Cosmic Log Q&A with Cham, as well as his fantastic guide to the Higgs boson. Maki Naro aims to "communicate science topics in a way that hopefully anybody can understand, and ideally elicit some chuckles." I had to chuckle over a certain zombie who guest-starred in a strip about last year's "Supermoon."

Walkabout Em: Emily Coren has degrees in ecology and evolutionary biology as well as science illustration. Her illustrations joke around ??instead, they present creatures and concepts with a pleasing style.

2D Goggles: Melina Sydney Padua presents "The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage," a quirky webcomic interspersed with observations about the history of the Difference Engine and other geeky subjects.

Science-fiction author David Brin has his own list of favorite science webcomics. And if you're looking for science-centric graphic novels you can actually hold in your hand, keep an eye out for "Bone Sharps, Cowboys and Thunder Lizards,"?"Darwin," "Feynman," "Logicomix," "Neurocomic," "Radioactive," "Science Tales" and "Trinity."

More about science comics:

Alan Boyle is's science editor. Connect with the Cosmic Log community by "liking" the log's?Facebook page, following?@b0yle on Twitter?and adding the?Cosmic Log page?to your Google+ presence. To keep up with Cosmic Log as well as's other stories about science and space, sign up for the Tech & Science newsletter, delivered to your email in-box every weekday. You can also check out?"The Case for Pluto,"?my book about the controversial dwarf planet and the search for new worlds.

Published 10:19 p.m. ET Feb. 7, 2013.


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Kristen Stewart To Try On 'The Big Shoe' With Jim Sturgess

The former 'Twilight' star just signed on to co-star alongside Elizabeth Banks.
By Kevin P. Sullivan

Kristen Stewart
Photo: FilmMagic


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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Bells and booze: What do you get the drone war chief?

John Brennan, nominee for CIA Director, arrives at a meeting with Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne??What do you get the chief architect of America?s expanded drone war, White House counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan? The governor of the Mexican state of Jalisco gave a bottle of Jos? Cuervo Platino, a high-end tequila. Elias Murr, described only as ?foreign official,? gave a ?crystal clock in the shape of a horse jumping over an obstacle.?

Those are some of the stand-out gifts listed on the questionnaire Brennan?President Barack Obama?s nominee to head the CIA?had to fill out for the Senate Intelligence Committee that will grill him on Thursday. The 25-year CIA veteran also had to disclose information about any candidacies for public office (?none?) or any lobbying efforts on behalf of foreign governments (?none?).

But perhaps the most interesting section required Brennan to list all gifts valued at more than $100 given over the past five years to him, his wife or his dependents. Presents from relatives did not need to be listed unless he had reason to believe they were offered because of his official position. Government officials?including presidents?typically turn over such offerings to the National Archives, or they can keep them if they pay fair market value.

So what else did Brennan get?

The director of Israel?s counter-terrorism bureau, Brig. Gen. Nitzan Nuriel, gave Brennan what is described as a ?silver and gold standing plaque.? Murr (a quick online search suggests that he is Lebanon?s former defense minister) provided the clock. Gonzalez Marquez provided not just the tequila (which Bloomberg BusinessWeek glowingly describes as ?peppery?hot citrus at first, and followed by some floral botanicals at the finish?) but also a ?green lacquered wood plate.?

Perhaps sensing that Brennan wasn?t really the tequila-sipping type, the head of Lebanon?s internal security forces, Ashraf Rifi, gave him an 8-piece serving bar utensil set. Switzerland?s intelligence chief Markus Seiler presented Brennan with a ?Swiss bell with leather strap.?

Hakan Fidan?described only as ?foreign official? but apparently Turkey?s intelligence chief at the time?gave Brennan a ?green glass and hold plate? as well as a ?circular decorative metal dish.? The deputy national security adviser of India, Alok Prasad, presented Brennan with a ?white marble bowl,? as well as a ?paper mache container with gold color inlay, and floral design on lid.? Angelino Alfano?he?s described in the questionnaire as ?minister of justice ? India,? but he actually held that post in Italy (whoops!)?gave Brennan a ?navy blue tie.?

Gen. Ahmed Al-Ashwal of Yemen, where America?s drone war has sharply escalated, gave Brennan a ?jewelry set of necklace, bracelet, earrings, and a ring.?

So just how much was all of this worth? Well, it wouldn?t be the CIA without a few secrets. The questionnaire released by the committee notes under ?gift appraisal? the mention ?column data redacted.?


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Children with ACL injuries require special treatment

Feb. 6, 2013 ? Until a child's bones have fully matured (in girls, typically by age 14; in boys, age 16), an injury to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) -- the primary, stabilizing ligament of the knee joint -- requires special consideration, treatment and care to ensure appropriate healing and to prevent long-term complications.

According to a review article in the February 2013 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (JAAOS),ACL injuries once were considered rare in children and adolescents. However, the number of ACL injuries in young athletes is on the rise, "whether they result from year-round training, less free play or increased single sport concentration," said lead study author and pediatric orthopaedic surgeon Jeremy Frank, MD, with Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital's Department of Pediatric Orthopaedics and [U18] Sports Medicine in Hollywood, Fla.

To avoid potential future complications, such as early onset osteoarthritis, the literature review outlines the optimal strategies for treating pediatric ACL injuries based on the specifics of the injury and the child's skeletal (bone), age and developmental maturity.

Among the recommendations:

  • Children should be treated by an orthopaedic surgeon who has expertise in the operative treatment of pediatric ACL injuries.
  • For pediatric and adolescent patients with partial ACL tears compromising less than 50 percent of the diameter of the ligament, non-surgical management, including activity modification, bracing and/or physical therapy, can be considered.
  • Treatment for complete ACL ruptures typically involves transphyseal ACL reconstruction surgery that partially or completely spares the femoral physis (the growth plate, contributing to 70 percent of thigh-bone growth), and adult-type surgical or arthroscopic reconstruction in adolescents at or nearing skeletal maturity.
  • Postoperative management may include weight-bearing and activity modifications, bracing, and a progressive physical therapy program emphasizing range of motion (ROM), closed-chain strengthening (exercises on the knee while the foot remains stationary) and a gradual and measured return to sport-specific maneuvers and activities.

"There are currently numerous safe and effective surgical techniques to reconstruct the ACL in the skeletally immature sportsperson to restore stability and forestall the early progression towards meniscal and chondral (cartilage) pathologies (disease)," said Dr. Frank. Complications from ACL surgery are rare in children when the appropriate operation is performed on the right patient.

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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

Journal Reference:

  1. J. S. Frank, P. L. Gambacorta. Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries in the Skeletally Immature Athlete: Diagnosis and Management. Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 2013; 21 (2): 78 DOI: 10.5435/JAAOS-21-02-78

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.


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Iran releases Ahmadinejad ally linked to deaths

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) ? Iran's official news agency is reporting that authorities have released a close ally of the president from custody, a day after he was arrested over an alleged role in the torture and killing of prisoners.

The Wednesday report by IRNA quotes an unnamed official as saying Saeed Mortazavi, a senior official who once served as Tehran's prosecutor general, has been released.

Mortazavi has been at the center of an escalating confrontation between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his conservative rivals in parliament ahead of the June presidential election.

A parliament probe two years ago found Mortazavi responsible for deaths by torture of at least three jailed anti-government protesters in 2009.

On Tuesday Ahmadinejad strongly denounced Mortazavi's arrest, saying he would pursue the case after his return from a visit to Egypt.


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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

More diversity likely in next Obama job selections

President Barack Obama shakes hands with invited guests after he brought his gun violence proposals on the road to Minneapolis, Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, at the Minneapolis Police Department's Special Operations Center, where he outlined his plan before law enforcement personnel. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

President Barack Obama shakes hands with invited guests after he brought his gun violence proposals on the road to Minneapolis, Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, at the Minneapolis Police Department's Special Operations Center, where he outlined his plan before law enforcement personnel. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

(AP) ? As he prepares to announce a new wave of Cabinet and other senior posts, President Barack Obama is aiming to put a more diverse face on his administration ? an image that was missing as he filled the first round of vacancies of his second term with a parade of white men.

Obama is said to be looking at women, Latinos and openly gay candidates for top slots at the departments of Commerce, Labor and Interior, and for his own White House budget office.

The leading candidate for nomination to be secretary of commerce is Penny Pritzker, a long-time Obama ally and big-money fundraiser from Chicago, according to people familiar with the White House selection process. The top candidate to lead the White House Office of Management and Budget is Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who was a former budget, White House and treasury official in the Clinton administration and is now the president of the Wal-Mart Foundation.

Both women, if nominated, would replace men, bringing business and government experience to the jobs and helping rebalance the male dominance of Obama's early nominations at the State Department, Treasury and the Pentagon ? the three top posts in the Cabinet. In addition to selecting former Sen. John Kerry for secretary of state, Jack Lew for treasury secretary and former Sen. Chuck Hagel for defense secretary, Obama last month also nominated John Brennan to be CIA director. Then he appointed Denis McDonough as his new chief of staff.

The initial series of personnel decisions stood out not only because the posts are so high-profile, but because Obama has pledged to bring a racial and gender mix to his administrative team. Obama also chose Kerry to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton, who had been the most high-profile woman in the Cabinet, after weighing whether to nominate U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to the post.

Moreover, the president won a second term last year thanks to a broad coalition of women, Hispanics and other minorities.

Besides Commerce and the White House budget office, Obama is also looking to fill top vacancies or openings at the departments of Labor, Interior, Energy and Transportation, and at the Environmental Protection Agency.

Obama and his aides bristle at the suggestion that the president is reversing his own diversity advances and say any criticism is premature and does not take into account his efforts in other areas of government, particularly in his nominations to the judiciary. Also, about 50 percent of White House employees are women.

In filling the job of labor secretary, Obama is expected to nominate a Hispanic to replace Hilda Solis, a former California congresswoman and a Hispanic. Among those considered for the spot is Tom Perez, the assistant U.S. attorney general for civil rights and a former secretary of Maryland's Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, according to people familiar with the process. Some in the labor movement have pushed for John Perez, the speaker of the California Assembly and former labor organizer, and the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda has proposed the White House consider Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., a former labor lawyer.

Among the names under consideration for interior secretary is John Berry, the current director of the Office of Personnel Management and a former senior official at the Interior Department. He is the highest-ranking openly gay official in the government.

White House officials caution that no final decisions have been made.

Obama clearly is sensitive to the image that his selections create. At a news conference last month, the president argued that in his first term women were particularly influential in his foreign policy and in his signature health care initiative. He noted that his secretary of homeland security is a woman, Janet Napolitano, and that he nominated two women to the Supreme Court.

"People should expect that that record will be built on during the next four years," he said at the time. "But I would just suggest that everybody kind of wait until they've seen all my appointments, who is in the White House staff and who is in my Cabinet, before they rush to judgment."

In reassembling his White House staff two weeks ago, Obama elevated legislative director Rob Nabors, who is African-American, to senior adviser and named Jennifer Palmieri as his communications director.

The attention to the composition of a president's Cabinet and to the inner circle that advises him not only serves political purposes but helps introduce more views to presidential decision making and provides a symbolic mirror to the country.

"People speak specifically about looking carefully at what President Obama is doing and holding him to a certain standard, but I think the bigger reality is that going forward every president will be held to that standard, or should be held to that standard," said Karen Finney, a Democratic strategist who worked in the Clinton White House. "You want to have a staff that reflects diversity. Different perspectives around the table help make better decisions."

If Obama selects Pritzker for commerce, he will be choosing a businesswoman who is well-known in Washington and is held in high regard within groups such as the Business Roundtable. Pritzker was Obama's campaign finance chairwoman in 2008 but took a lower profile in the re-election campaign. Obama picked her to be one of 16 members of his Presidential Economic Recovery Advisory Board in 2009, and when that board expired, Obama included her in his 26-member Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

She is an heir of the Pritzker family that founded the Hyatt chain of hotels. Her name emerged in late 2008 as a potential commerce secretary, but Obama eventually tapped former Washington Gov. Gary Locke.

Burwell, if confirmed, would assume the leadership of the Office of Management and Budget as Congress and the White House struggle over fiscal policies, including Obama's demand for deficit reduction through a mix of spending cuts and higher tax revenue. Burwell was chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin during the Clinton administration and served as deputy OMB director under Jack Lew, the current treasury secretary nominee.

Before taking her job at the Wal-Mart Foundation in 2011, Burwell was the president of the Gates Foundation's Global Development Program.


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Associated Press


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U.S. sues S&P over pre-crisis mortgage ratings

(Reuters) - The U.S. government has launched a civil lawsuit against Standard & Poor's and parent The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc over mortgage bond ratings, the first federal enforcement action against a credit rating agency over alleged illegal behavior tied to the recent financial crisis.

The government said in a court filing it was seeking civil money penalties from S&P and McGraw Hill.

"Considerations regarding fees, market share, profits, and relationships with issuers improperly influenced S&P's rating criteria and models," the government said.

Shares of McGraw-Hill plunged 13.8 percent on Monday after the company said it was expecting the lawsuit, marking their biggest one-day percentage decline since the 1987 stock market crash, according to Reuters data.

The news also caused shares of Moody's Corp, whose Moody's Investors Service unit is S&P's main rival, to slide 10.7 percent.

It is unclear why regulators may now be focusing on S&P rather than Moody's or Fimalac SA's Fitch Ratings.

S&P, Moody's and Fitch have long faced criticism from investors, politicians and regulators for assigning high ratings to thousands of subprime and other mortgage securities that quickly turned sour.

"This lawsuit is significant because it could augur future government action or, even worse for the agencies, more litigation by investors," said Jeffrey Manns, a law professor at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

A civil case involves a lower burden of proof than a criminal case would, and could make it easier for investigators to uncover potential "smoking guns" through subpoenas, he added.

The New York Times reported that talks between the Justice Department and S&P broke down last week after the government sought a settlement of more than $1 billion.


S&P said the expected Justice Department lawsuit focuses on its ratings in 2007 of various U.S. collateralized debt obligations.

The rating agency had previously disclosed a probe by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission into its ratings for a $1.6 billion CDO known as Delphinus CDO 2007-1. It was not immediately clear whether that CDO is a focus of the case.

"A DOJ lawsuit would be entirely without factual or legal merit," S&P said in a statement. "The DOJ would be wrong in contending that S&P ratings were motivated by commercial considerations and not issued in good faith."

In a variety of lawsuits brought by investors, S&P has maintained that its ratings constitute opinions protected by the free speech clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Justice Department spokeswoman Adora Andy and Moody's spokesman Michael Adler declined to comment. Fitch spokesman Daniel Noonan said: "We are unable to comment on the S&P matter as it does not involve us, other than to say we have no reason to believe Fitch is a target of any such action."

Several state attorneys general led by Connecticut's George Jepsen are expected to join the case, said the person familiar with the matter, who was not authorized to speak publicly.

Previous lawsuits from Connecticut and Illinois accused S&P of violating consumer fraud laws by stating its ratings were objective, even though it ignored increasing risks of the securities in order to cater to the investment banks that provided the firm with revenue.

A spokeswoman for Jepsen declined to comment. The Wall Street Journal first reported the pending charges.

The attorney general in New York is continuing a separate probe of the rating firm, a person familiar with that inquiry said.

In Monday trading on the New York Stock Exchange, McGraw-Hill shares closed down $8.04 at $50.30, and Moody's shares dropped $5.90 to $49.45.

One potential winner in the news of the pending lawsuit is David Einhorn, who runs the $8 billion hedge fund Greenlight Capital. Einhorn told Reuters in 2010 that he began shorting McGraw-Hill and Moody's in 2007, and had no aversion maintaining those bearish positions in the years to come. Greenlight declined to comment on Monday.


The ratings agencies have long been scrutinized, in part because they are paid by issuers for ratings, a standard industry practice that has nonetheless raised concern about potential conflicts of interest.

In January 2011, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission called the agencies "essential cogs in the wheel of financial destruction" and "key enablers of the financial meltdown."

McGraw-Hill had acknowledged last July that the Justice Department and SEC were probing potential violations by S&P tied to its ratings of structured products, and that it was in talks to try to avert a lawsuit.

Last July, Mizuho Financial Group Inc agreed to a $127.5 million settlement to resolve SEC allegations that a U.S. unit obtained false credit ratings for the Delphinus CDO. [ID:nL2E8IIDAL]

The following month, a Manhattan federal judge refused to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, King County in Washington state, and other investors against S&P, Moody's and Morgan Stanley over losses in Cheyne, a structured investment vehicle.

Cheyne went bankrupt in August 2007. A trial is scheduled to begin on May 6, court records show.

In its statement, S&P said it "deeply regrets" how its CDO ratings failed to anticipate the fast-deteriorating mortgage market conditions, and that it has since spent $400 million to help bolster the quality of its ratings.

"The lawsuit itself may prove less significant than the message it sends," said Manns, the law professor. "Filing a high-profile lawsuit against S&P tells the rating industry at large that the government is serious about holding rating agencies responsible, and that they must be much more careful."

The case is in re: USA vs McGraw Hill Cos and Standard & Poor's, Case No. 13-00779, U.S. District Court, Central District of California.

(Reporting by Aruna Viswanatha in Washington, D.C. and Jonathan Stempel in New York; Additional reporting by Emily Flitter, Karen Freifeld, Jennifer Ablan and Caroline Valetkevitch in New York; Editing by Steve Orlofsky, Bob Burgdorfer, Karey Wutkowski, Tim Dobbyn and Richard Pullin)


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