Jeudi 31 mars 2011

Crude oil supplies grow by 2.9 million barrels

U.S. crude oil supplies rose last week, while gasoline supplies dropped, the government said Wednesday.

Crude supplies increased by 2.9 million barrels, or 0.8 percent, to 355.7 million barrels, which is 0.4 percent above year-ago levels, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report.

Analysts expected an increase of 2.2 million barrels for the week ended March 25, according to Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Gasoline supplies fell by 2.7 million barrels, or 1.2 percent, to 217 million barrels. That was a bigger drop than analysts expected and 3.5 percent below year-ago levels.

Demand for gasoline over the four weeks ended March 25 was 0.1 percent lower than a year earlier, averaging nearly 9 million barrels a day.

U.S. refineries ran at 84.1 percent of total capacity on average, unchanged from the prior week. Analysts expected capacity to rise to 84.5 percent.

Supplies of distillate fuel, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 700,000 barrels to 153.3 million barrels. Analysts expected distillate stocks to shrink by 1.4 million barrels.

Crude prices fell 71 cents to $104.08 per barrel in morning trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Jeudi 24 mars 2011

Hawke: Spreading the wrong message

In today's world of social networking, information spreads like a wildfire and greatly influences public opinion. Through Facebook and Twitter accounts around the globe, people share news articles, undertake political and ideological conversations, and even influence news coverage in national outlets. Over the past couple months, we've witnessed this intense power as blogs, discussion boards, Facebook and Twitter have fueled uprisings across the Middle East, leading to "Egypt's Internet Revolution" and concrete military action in Libya.

On March 17, The Guardian reported on a U.S. government contract awarded for the design of software that would allow the U.S. military to do just that, "create fake online personas to influence Internet conversations and spread pro-American propaganda." As reported, this new software will allow a service member, most likely a psychological operations soldier, to control up to 10 fake online identities and use those identities to promote a positive discussion of America on foreign websites and chat rooms. Target languages include Arabic, Farsi, Urdu and Pashto. Of course, the government has said they will not target English language websites or U.S. citizens (such an action would be against a recently enacted California state law, where many such servers are based). But the program will reportedly target chat rooms and web discussions throughout the Middle East and Asia. As explained by General David Petraeus, the goal is simply to be "first with the truth," or at least the first with the truth the military wants to promote.

While I believe the intent behind this operation to be noble — dissuading would-be jihadists from committing acts against our soldiers, allies and interests — I cannot help but see this deceitful program as yet another example of the American government failing to live by the values we claim to promote.

In recent years, there have been numerous examples of where we have failed to live up to our own principles. Such failures run from the top to the bottom, from party to party, to the very core of our being. Whether it's a conservative Republican senator chasing same-sex tail in public bathrooms or liberal Democrats cheating on life-long partners, we can't seem to be the men and women we claim to be. We, collectively, believe in the universal right of human dignity, yet we committed the abuses at Abu Ghraib. We hold the Declaration of Independence and the rights of life and liberty in the highest regard, yet we violently stripped both from the innocent in the murderous acts at Haditha. And we build a fence along sections of our Southern border after mounting a plaque inside the Statue of Liberty that declares, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddle masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" Hypocrisy is about as American as apple pie, and it is this hypocrisy that degrades our message. How can American values positively influence the world of the future if we can't even show we value them ourselves?

Benjamin Franklin once said, "It is a grand mistake to think of being great without goodness and I pronounce it as certain that there was never a truly great man that was not at the same time truly virtuous." We often think we're great. But before we can hope to realize our potential, we must find and live by the goodness inherent in our system. The American moral standard does not, or at least should not tolerate the deceitful tactics that the proposed new software represents. Using deceptive online profiles to influence public opinion, to create an overpowering voice for Team America in any land, does not live up to the American ideal of the free exchange of ideas. We are better than that. The Internet should remain a tool for open discussion, and American military and political leaders should take a stand to end this program. We, Americans, believe in the right of free speech. And we should, for once, stand up for the ideals in which we believe.
Mardi 22 mars 2011

Arensberg Pharmacy opens in former Alban site

NEWARK — Upon entering the new Arensberg Pharmacy and Wellness Center — located in the old Sam Alban Co. furniture store, 57 W. Main St. — you will probably be greeted by Steve Harris.

As pharmacy manager, Harris was quick to give out handshakes to everyone walking through the door Monday.

It was the first day for this version of Arensberg Pharmacy, which was located at 30 N. Park Place for the past five months while renovation work was completed to change the building into a modern pharmacy.

Yet there are many reminders of the historical aspect of the building and of Newark itself, as vintage black-and-white photos grace the walls.

Harris now offers smoking cessation classes in the same building that once was home to the Newark Cigar Factory. Wide moldings, reminiscent of a bygone era, complement the bright and airy feeling of the 5,000-square-foot store. An oil painting of the original building was recently brought in by Reece Alban, current owner of the building and former Sam Alban furniture store owner.

Harris stressed that this store is more than just a pharmacy — it is also a wellness center.

"We want to get away from just emphasizing the treatment of diseases and focus on wellness, for the betterment of the customer," Harris said. "For our grand opening on April 15, we will have free diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol screening, as well as a smoking cessation class."

The new building has a conference and counseling area for these purposes. There is also a large drive-up window on the side of the building.

"In my pharmacy, we will never have a machine where you can check blood pressure. We are very hands-on here. We want to be very personable," Harris said. "We are all about service, service, and more service."

Harris is the pharmacist for the store, along with Venu Talasila. The duo also has five certified technicians and, together, they can all operate the new Script-Pro. The automated prescription dispensing machine holds up to 200 medications that it assembles and packages. A compound room in the back is where unique dosage products, not commercially available, can be mixed under the watchful eyes of the pharmacists.
Mardi 15 mars 2011

Oil Painting Techniques from Artist Daily

Loveland, Colo.: Artist Daily has announced a new free eBook with eight oil painting

techniques to help all artists with their oil painting skills. Whether artists are looking

for a tutorial in oil painting for beginners or for a way to enhance their oil painting art,

the oil painting techniques offered in this free eBook are sure to help achieve beautiful

results.  In this free oil painting demo, David A. Leffel teaches oil painting artists to

respond to light and shadow, values, edges, color, space, and texture. David explains the

abstract qualities of a picture, rather than the identity of the subject matter or the

tedious formality of rendering. These free oil painting lessons will take artists through a

conceptual approach of fine art oil painting. Through detailed oil painting instructions,

artists will explore specific descriptions of how they should approach drawing and painting.

Artist Daily put together this virtual set of free oil painting lessons for all artists to

benefit from. All artists should download their free copy today.

Free Oil Painting Lessons
When setting up a still life, posing a model for portrait or figure composition, or viewing a

landscape, the artist has the definitive task of visualizing and assigning the various

elements of the subject matter. David A. Leffel likes to use analogies to writing or

composing music in his oil painting demo: "The decision about how many characters a story

needs and what kinds of personalities those individuals should have is the same as deciding

on the colors, values, and textural changes in a painting."

Leffel also gives oil painting artists advice on how to approach their initial drawings.

Bringing attention back to the concepts celebrated in the work of such masters as Van Dyke,

Rembrandt, and Velazquez, oil painting artist Leffel explains that oil art needs to be the

product of a mind that is seeing, tasting, exploring the entire fabric of life. "Most people

begin oil art by trying to match the reality of what is in front of them," Leffel explains.

"The closer they come to achieving that match, the more they believe they have accomplished

something. But in truth, they have only copied what is outside of them. That kind of external

process doesn't lead to a fulfilling conclusion."

In this oil painting demo, artists will learn the reasoning behind color choices and brush

techniques for the convincing oil painting masterpiece. All artists should not pass-up this

opportunity to have an acclaimed oil painting artist give them expert advice on all aspects

of oil painting.
Lundi 14 mars 2011

Wynne Home announces spring art classes

The Wynne Home Arts Center has announced a new series of spring art classes set to begin March 20 and continue through April 23.Subjects range from painting, dance, and music to pottery and film. The courses offer an
inexpensive chance for Huntsville residents to get in touch with their creative sides.

Classes range in price from free of charge to $35, and run from a single session to weekly


Among the previously offered courses like oil paining, watercolor techniques and film

appreciation, the Wynne Home has added a number of new courses this semester aimed at

offering something more to its patrons.

"It's always fun to have new people involved and willing to show new things to the

community," Wynne Home director Linda Pease said.

Among the new courses offered by the Wynne Home this spring are memoir writing, a bridge

workshop, basic flute instruction, kite making 1010 and two paint along courses, interactive

single session painting workshops that will provide a relaxing atmosphere to students.

"It's something on a Friday night, you can come after work, drink a little bit of wine and

just paint," said Michaela Clark, the Wynne Home's spring intern who organized the classes.

"It's going to be a really relaxing session, and at the end you have a painting to take


The class schedule also includes offerings for children, among them a Story Time Opera

session featured Mozart's "The Magic Flute," a program offered by instructor Rebecca Grimes

as a precursor to an upcoming Sam Houston State University product of "The Magic Flute."

"(Grimes) comes from a background of sharing with the community, so she wanted to put

together a special program in anticipation of 'The Magic Flute,'" Pease said.

All classes have limited enrollment and will be filled on a first come, first served basis.

Registration is available at the Wynne Home. Any class fees must be paid upon registration,

and a limited number of scholarships are available for those who can demonstrate financial need.
Jeudi 10 mars 2011

Collieson takes centre stage at BNG

Traditionally, the responsibility of a curator was that of caring for a collection of some

kind. This included its conservation, as well as overseeing the development of the

collection. Today, the task of a curator, especially in art museums, is much more than that.

It includes the planning and installation of exhibitions. As such, a curator is a special

kind of artist, in that the job calls for all kinds of creative skills, in order to bring the

exhibition to a successful completion. Each exhibition has its own set of requirements, so

the task of putting together an exhibition is never a "cut and dried" affair.

Without going into all the multitude of details necessary for the creation of a successful

exhibition, suffice it to say that it is time consuming and at the Bermuda National Gallery,

most exhibitions take at least two years from initial concept to opening evening.

The current exhibitions at the BNG are no exception, but, for even those who are regular

attendees at National Gallery events, these exhibitions are bound to be surprising. Much

effort has gone into creating exciting presentations, as well as providing new ways of

perceiving even familiar works from the permanent collection. Add to that, the retrospective

of Will Collieson’s art and you are in for a delightfully diverse experience.

In the lead-up to the opening of the current exhibitions, I visited the BNG a number of

times, and thus was privy to some of the behind-the-scene deliberations on the part of

Curator, Sophie Cressell and the entire BNG team. Much effort has gone into making these

exhibitions a memorable encounter. As an example, consider the exhibit in the Watlington

Room. For those who are BNG regulars, the 16 paintings on show from the European collection,

will be very familiar, but since they are arranged thematically, instead of chronologically,

there is a good possibility of seeing them in refreshing, new ways. Furthermore, the BNG has

had the walls the Watlington Room painted an unusual yellowish green colour. The mention of

that colour might not seem all that suitable, nevertheless, in actuality, it works in two

unexpected, albeit effective ways: it makes the room seem much warmer than previously. The

original light grey walls of this gallery made this space seem cold and unappealing.

Additionally, the new colour makes the space seem more intimate, even smaller.

The Watlington Room exhibition is called Decoding the European Collection. In decoding the

exhibit, the BNG has provided a booklet, with a very helpful essay by Bermudian art historian

Dr Christina Storey. There will be several available, just to the left as you enter the

gallery, and should you have the time to read the essay, you will gain much helpful,

background information on each painting.

In the Lower Mezzanine, there is a small show of paintings by French artist, Elisée Maclet

(1881-1962). He was largely self-taught and specialised in scenes of Paris and occasional

still-life, usually of flowers. As an autodidact, his paintings are often lacking in the

precise observations of trained artists, nevertheless they have great charm and appeal.

Additionally his paintings preserved a slice of Paris, especially the Montmartre of the early

20th century. As in the Watlington Room, the walls of the Lower Mezzanine have also been

painted, in this instance, in terra cotta. The earthy red works well with the Maclet

paintings. It should be noted that these Maclet paintings are from the John Young II and

Nelga Young Collection, which was donated to the Bermuda National Gallery in 2005.
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