Daily Archives: September 12, 2011

Galactic Views (2)


New Supernova Remnant Lights Up
NASA – Using the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers are witnessing the unprecedented transition of a supernova to a supernova remnant, where light from an exploding star in a neighboring galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud, reached Earth in February 1987. Named Supernova 1987A, it was the closest supernova explosion witnessed in almost 400 years. The supernova’s close proximity to Earth allows astronomers to study it in detail as it evolves. Now, the supernova debris, which has faded over the years, is brightening. This means that a different power source has begun to light the debris. The debris of SN 1987A is beginning to impact the surrounding ring, creating powerful shock waves that generate X-rays observed with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. Those X-rays are illuminating the supernova debris and shock heating is making it glow in visible light. Since its launch in 1990, the Hubble telescope has provided a continuous record of the changes in SN 1987A. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and P. Challis (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)

Greek default jitters hammer French banks, euro

Societe Generale, FranceBy Paul Taylor and Lionel Laurent – Shares in Societe Generale, BNP Paribas and Credit Agricole slumped by more than 10 percent amid expectations of an imminent downgrade by credit ratings agency Moody’s, due largely to their exposure to Greek bonds.

The shock resignation of European Central Bank chief economist Juergen Stark last Friday (9/9/11), and weekend comments by German politicians suggesting Athens may have to default and be “suspended” from the euro zone, drove the euro to a 10-year low against the yen and a seven-month low against the dollar, although it later recovered some ground. more> http://is.gd/8f4kVT


U.S. firms challenged to get “intangibles” on the books

English: United States Patent Cover from a rea...

Image @Wikipedia

By Nanette Byrnes and Dena Aubin – With intangible assets such as patents dominating so much of the modern economy, why are they still largely off the balance sheets of America’s largest corporations?

Some headline-grabbing patent sales have reignited interest in the question. Among them: the $4.5 billion auction of Nortel’s wireless patents on July 1 and Google Inc’s $12.5 billion August 15 bid for Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc and its 24,500 patents and pending patent applications, and other assets.

Now Australian accounting standards setters, on behalf of a global group that includes the U.S. Financial Accounting Standards Board, may be moving the subject onto the global accounting agenda. The Australian accounting rule maker has recently surveyed corporations, auditors and regulators on the topic of intangible accounting and whether changes should be made. more> http://is.gd/UsjbRV


Sweeping patent changes poised to become law

Chicago Tribune – President Barack Obama said he will sign legislation next week that will reform the U.S. patent system for the first time since the Truman administration.

In an 89-9 vote, the Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly agreed to accept the bill, dubbed the America Invents Act. It passed through the House in March with a similarly lopsided 304-117 vote. more> http://is.gd/QmO0PF


U.S. regulator to sue major banks over mortgages

Housing constructionBy Margaret Chadbourn and Jonathan Stempel – A U.S. regulator plans to sue major banks in coming days over subprime mortgage bonds, two sources said, in a lawsuit that may hamper a broader government mortgage settlement with banks.

Word of the lawsuits by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, came as a surprise to the market and weighed on bank shares. The lawsuits could add billions of dollars to the banks’ potential legal costs at perhaps the worst possible time for the industry. more> http://is.gd/J3tg2M