Govecs plans to put 6000 retro electric scooters on the streets of

Govecs, the leading European manufacturer of electric scooters, has just announced that it inked its first deal in the UK.The company says it has signed a letter of intent with a UK company regarding the delivery of 6,000 e-scooters for the London shared-vehicles market. more…The post Govecs plans to put 6,000 retro electric scooters on the streets of London appeared first on Electrek. Source: Charge Forward

Agag Pushing Back Against Formula E 4WD Idea

Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on October 1, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News Source: Motorsport Watch A Tesla Race A Superbike, Formula 1 Car, Jet, Airplane & More With major manufacturers such as Mercedes and Porsche signed up to join soon, there are concerns about costs getting out of control, and Agag says it is important for FE to focus on the right areas for development, even if that means disagreements with the manufacturers.“What is key is to keep the road relevance, and we’ve been having some very interesting discussions with these OEMs about what our generation three car is going to be like,” Agag said at the Motorsport Leaders Business Forum in London.“We are really fortunate to have a close working relationship with the FIA, we’re really aligned, so the FIA and the promoter have the same objectives, to control costs and be road relevant.“To give you an example, and this is not final, for generation three, one school of thought is four-wheel drive, another is ultra-fast charging.“For me it’s a very clear choice: the first four-wheel drive car was on the road in 1901, so somebody tell me where is the innovation with four-wheel drive? I don’t see it.“Super-fast charging can change the world of electric cars. You go to the electric station, whatever you call it, and in two minutes your battery is full.“That will be road relevant, so it’s very clear to me the roads we need to take and the roads we don’t need to take.“It’s not always so easy to explain to the big OEMs who have super expertise on four-wheel drive.”Agag said the new car, which will race for three seasons before it is replaced by the third-generation machinery, was the brainchild of FIA president Jean Todt, after they both came up with ideas for the Gen2.“I didn’t want that car actually,” he said. “We had two designs.“Jean did a design and I did a design, or I had people helping us do a design, and I liked my design and Jean liked his design.“Obviously, we have the Jean Todt design and I have to say, Jean’s design is way better than my design.“When I saw the car made, I sent a text to Jean and I said, ‘Listen, Jean, you were right and I was wrong, your design is amazing’.“This is another lesson: when Jean has his mind set on something it’s just better to think about something else – he’s going to go for it.” Check Out The Works BMW Formula E Car Watch Audi RS3 With Formula E Motors Get Tested Source: Electric Vehicle News The electric single-seater series is introducing its Gen2 car for its fifth season, which gets underway in Saudi Arabia on December 15.More Formula E News Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag says he has pushed back against suggestions the series should introduce four-wheel drive as one of the innovations for its third-generation car. read more

Kia Releases Niro EV First Impressions Video

first_imgSource: Electric Vehicle News Kia e-Niro Interior Overview: It’s More Spacious Than Kona: Video What do folks at the 2018 Paris Motor Show think of the Kia e-Niro?First impressions of the 2019 Kia e-Niro have been outstanding. Most reviews we’ve read, written, and shared have been packed with a plethora of positive takeaways. Now, Kia’s new all-electric crossover has made its way to the 2018 Paris Motor Show and many people are getting to see it in the flesh for the first time. Of course, they’re unable to test drive the car, but they can see it, size it up, sit inside, and learn all about its specs.More Kia Niro EV (e-Niro) Content: Kia’s new video is brief, but it does a nice job of showing off the e-Niro, complete with people’s quotes across the bottom of the screen. Overall, the attendees seem impressed by the crossover’s styling, overall size, interior space, cabin quality, and range. It’s evident that Kia is making great strides with its vehicles in general, and especially exciting that the Korean automaker is making a concerted effort in the electric vehicle space.Unfortunately, these cars won’t be readily available in many areas, at least initially. Kia and Hyundai EV production isn’t intended to be large-scale at first, and on our shores, the vehicles will only be sold in select states. However, this is still the early stages of what could turn out to be a much more substantial push for the EV segment is a whole.Video Description via Kia Motors Worldwide on YouTube:First Impression | e-Niro | KiaAttendees at #PMS2018 talk about what they love most about the #eNiro, #Kia’s first all-electric crossover. #KiaeNiro #ParisMotorShow2018 Robert de Niro Introduces Kia e-Niro Watch Kia e-Niro Get The Autogefühl Treatment At Paris Debut Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on October 26, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle Newslast_img read more

Boring Company demonstrates first tunnel with a modified Tesla Model X

first_imgSource: Electric Vehicles Magazine The company is also working on a next-generation boring machine, as well as several innovations to make tunneling simpler and cheaper. Musk said existing tunnel boring companies spend only about 10 minutes per hour actually boring – the rest of the time is spent installing tunnel reinforcements and dealing with dirt removal. He sees a potential 15x improvement in the speed of boring by designing a more efficient system.The Boring Company also has an idea to compress the waste dirt into bricks that can be sold or given away and used to build structures – according to Musk, dirt removal can represent up to 15% of the total cost of a tunnel. Musk cited the pyramids and Sphinx of Egypt as examples of the possibilities, and the company demonstrated the technique by building a watchtower with bricks made from the dirt dug from the test tunnel. Some people see problems and complain about them on Facebook. When Elon Musk sees a problem, he starts a company to solve it. The Boring Company’s mission is to relieve traffic congestion via a two-part strategy: reducing the cost of boring tunnels and developing an autonomous transport system to move cars through the tunnels.The company’s original vision involved an “electric skate” on which vehicles would be transported through the tunnel. It has now abandoned that idea, and developed “tracking wheels” that attach to a vehicle and allow it to ride on a pair of shelves along the sides of the tunnel. The Boring Company demonstrated the system this week in Los Angeles.At the launch event, Musk said the tracking wheels could be added to a vehicle as an aftermarket product for “$200 to $300,” and could theoretically be installed on non-Tesla vehicles (although the vehicle needs to be an EV with autonomous capabilities, which makes a Tesla the only practical option at the moment).Electrek was treated to a demonstration ride in a tracking wheel-equipped Model X. “While the wheels basically convert the Model X into a train, it was a surprisingly bumpy ride, which the company attributed to some experimentation with the shelves on each side of the tunnel,” writes Fred Lambert.center_img Source: Electreklast_img read more

Allelectric car rental service UFODRIVE aims high

first_imgSource: Charge Forward Aidan McClean rented a lot of cars during his years of business travel. After visiting nearly every international airport in Europe and the U.S., and trying all sorts of different rental companies, the experience never got any better. “It just didn’t work,” he said.So he started his own car rental company — and it only rents EVs. more…The post All-electric car rental service UFODRIVE aims high appeared first on Electrek.last_img

New motor cooling solution could lead to lighter EVs

first_imgResearchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have developed a new method for cooling electric motors, which could help reduce the weight of EVs. With the new cooling method, motors can be housed in lighter-weight polymer materials, and they also benefit from increased efficiency and power density.The new method involves directly cooling the stator and rotor, the two components of an electric motor. Currently, the typical cooling method is to conduct heat from the stator through the motor’s metal housing into a cooling sleeve filled with cold water. In the new method, the researchers replaced the conventional round wires in the stator with rectangular flat wire, creating space for an integrated cooling channel.“In this optimized design, the heat losses can be dissipated through the cooling channel inside the stator, eliminating the need to transport the heat through the metal housing to an exterior cooling sleeve,” said researcher Robert Maertens. “In fact, you no longer need a cooling sleeve at all in this concept. It offers other benefits, too, including lower thermal inertia and higher continuous output from the motor.”Coolant circuit in the statorThe direct-cooling solution also allowed the researchers to replace the metal housing of the motor with lighter-weight polymer materials.“Polymer housings are lightweight and easier to produce than aluminum housings,” said Maertens. “They also lend themselves to complex geometries without requiring post-processing, so we made some real savings on overall weight and cost.”So far, the new design has only been validated through simulation, in which the researchers found it can dissipate 80 percent of the expected heat from the electric motor. The next step is to assemble the motor and validate its performance in real-world operation. Source: Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology Source: Electric Vehicles Magazinelast_img read more

Teslas Confusing Price Changes Heres A Chart Of The Adjustments

first_imgAt any rate, below we’ve included an image of the Tesla pricing spreadsheet. In addition, you can click here to access Google Doc for your enjoyment.Hat tip to Aldrich for producing and providing the spreadsheet! Source: Electric Vehicle News Let’s take a closer look at Tesla’s numerous price changes.One of our avid readers taken the time to put a nifty chart together that tracks the price changes of the Tesla Model 3, Model S, and Model X. It even includes some speculation about Model Y pricing. However, since Tesla has yet to reveal Model Y prices, that entry simply serves as an estimate, but moreso, a place to include future entries. We can only assume — based on Tesla’s track record — there will be many price adjustments to the Model Y section of the chart, as well as all other Tesla models.More Tesla News: Tesla Model Y Reveal: Watch Livestream, Pre Show, Post Drives Here The hard part for Tesla is that people expect a price and comes across as “entitled” to make the automaker to stick to it. Legacy automakers may “stick” to a price, at least in terms of MSRP and invoice. However, prices change all the time for almost every car. Deals are new every month, different markets offer varying prices and deals, and demand (or lack thereof) can impact vehicle pricing and incentives considerably.Regardless of potential demand, why does Tesla keep changing prices?Sadly (depending on how you look at it), due to Tesla’s intense commitment to owners, it has made incredible leaps to passify complaining owners. Honestly, at InsideEVs, we wish the Silicon Valley electric car maker would just tell people they’re out of luck. While it stinks if someone gets a better price than you or gets options at a cheaper price, it’s reality. Some people just need grow up and deal with the real world situation. Or, they could send Tesla a refund check if they get a better deal or cheaper options than the next buyer. Right? Never gonna happen!If Tesla didn’t have to constantly appease its audience, mainstream media, and stock reporting publications, it may be able to just set a price and run with it. CEO Elon Musk tweeted some valid points recently, yet he still works too hard to make fans happy:Our “list” prices are our actual prices. Software (and automotive) vary prices frequently by changing the discount or rebate.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 12, 2019 When prices go down, those who already bought want the lower price, but, if prices go up, those who already bought don’t want to write Tesla a check. So it goes.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 12, 2019 Here’s A Guide To Choose Your Tesla Model 3 Before Prices Go Up Tesla Launches Base Model 3: Here’s The Price Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on March 14, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle Newslast_img read more

2019 BYD Yuan EV360 Now On Sale In China

first_imgSource: Electric Vehicle News BYD Yuan To Get EV500 Version With 500 KM Range The 2019 Yuan EV360 has been upgraded in configurators over the 2018 version. The entire model series comes standard with aluminum alloy rims, leather-covered seats, anti-lock braking system, automatic air-conditioner and tire pressure monitor system, etc. Besides, the mid-spec version carries such facilities as in-car infotainment system dubbed “CarPad”, panoramic sunroof, automotive backup camera, event data recorder and PM2.5 filter. The top-spec version boasts 360-degree holographic display, side curtain air bags as well as anti-pinch windows.Powering the new vehicle is a permanent magnet synchronous generator that produces up to 70kW and 180N·m, and a 43.2kWh ternary-lithium battery pack with an energy density of 126.91Wh/kg. The 2019 Yuan EV360 features a combined range of 305km, according to BYD’s introduction.Source: Gasgoo BYD Posts Surging Plug-In Electric Car Sales New version beats the outgoing model.The Yuan EV360 is a small-sized all-electric SUV launched by BYD in last May. On March 9, its all-new version hit the market with 3 variants priced between RMB 89,900 and RMB109,900 after subsidy.The 2019 BYD Yuan EV360 still adopts BYD’s iconic “Dragon Face” design language with its exterior basically remaining the same over the existing model. Immediately above the closed-off grille is a chrome trim that stretches across the entire front face.The new model measures 4,360mm long, 1,785mm wide and 1,690mm tall, the same as the outgoing model. Wheelbase for the all-new BEV is 2,535mm.More From BYD Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on March 14, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle News BYD Launches New Yuan EV535 Electric SUVlast_img read more

VW Trademarks All Sorts Of Names Tied To Electric Cars

first_imgVolkswagen continues to trademark multiple names for future EVs.According to a recent story, VW filed paperwork with the European Intellectual Property Office to reserve more names for its upcoming hybrid and electric cars. The automaker specifically classified the requests under categories that pertain to batteries, chargers, and electric vehicles, among others.The interesting part of the situation is that they’re not really names that lend themselves to individual vehicle monikers, or at least they don’t appear to be. Rather, it almost seems as is they’re trim levels or variants of vehicles.More Volkswagen EV News: Volkswagen Teases Full-Size Electric SUV I.D. ROOMZZ Wait, what does this even mean?Well, first of all, even though VW previously trademarked the names I.D. 1 through I.D. 9, this doesn’t mean that the future cars will carry those names. Now, added to the list are Power Hybrid, Range Hybrid, and Pure Hybrid. We really have no clue how this is going to work. Hypothetically, VW could offer an I.D. 9 Power Hybrid or I.D. 4 Pure Hybrid, etc.VWVortex suggests that these could be “badges” related to each car’s usefulness or role. For instance, Power Hybrid is the performance-based model, Range Hybrid is the long-range variant, and Pure Hybrid may sit somewhere in between? Of course, Pure Hybrid may not be a plug-in at all.There’s a chance that none of these cars/variants will have plugs. However, the trademark classification seems to suggest so. Still, it makes sense that each would be a different variant of a particular model. Tesla now categorizes its cars similarly, with Standard Range, Long Range, Performance. The story goes on to say that VW also requested to trademark Range and Range S. Perhaps these are the pure-electric variants, since the word “hybrid” is missing? Who knows?Regardless of what any of these names may mean or how Volkswagen chooses to use them (or not), they’re another piece of evidence that points to the automaker’s continued efforts for future electrified vehicles.Source: VWVortex via hybridCARS VW’s I.D. Family Of Electric Cars Will Welcome Many Entry-Level Variants Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on April 4, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle News Volkswagen Trademarks I.D. 1 Through I.D. 9 Source: Electric Vehicle Newslast_img read more

Brown fizz and Green Street is the real thing

first_img Reply 4 Twitter Close report comment form 0 1 As my brother Jon is a filthy Palace fan, I have to be Machiavellian about these maters with my nephew.It’s for the greater good after all. Share on Facebook Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Shares11 Share on Twitter Share on Twitter Share Last Sunday I took a friend’s five-year-old son to Upton Park to see the Hammers beaten by Manchester United. It was part of a campaign to indoctrinate young Oliver into a life of supporting West Ham and the vehemence with which I undertook his inculcation would be frowned upon by even the most ardent stalwarts of al-Qaida; “Calm down,” they might say, “let him make his own mind up.”The first half was goalless and Oliver was sat with his father and was far more interested in Coca-Cola, which he, like most children, unquestioningly regards as some celestial liquor; were he not so stupidly young I would assume that he thought it to contain properties that grant eternal youth – perhaps it does, he does look young, perhaps that’s his secret. Somehow Coca-Cola, which is essentially just a brown drink, has successfully convinced a five-year-old that their product is more important than a Premier League clash between the champions of Europe and the most romantic club in the world.The young man’s mind remained enraptured with effervescent sludge through the first 45 minutes and during the half-time interval – usurping even the presence of West Ham legend Tony Cottee, who visited us in our corporate, corporeal box (sorry, it’s just you get a cup of tea with crossed hammers on the saucer – who can resist that? Who?). Tony may, in dimensional terms, be smaller than a sexy little bottle of Coke, but he certainly has a lot more fizz, but in the eyes of a child “there ain’t nothing like the real thing”.I determined that in the second half I would enthuse the youngster with the prospect of a squandered life of unfulfilled potential; following West Ham is the football-supporting equivalent of glue-sniffing, so obviously the first thing I had to do was separate him from his fuddy-duddy daddy, who was granting the malleable tot all manner of superfluous autonomy and care.With him safely perched upon my knee I had full access to his brain via his little lughole. I gave him his own whispered, personal, highly partisan commentary which made up for what it lacked in factual accuracy with bone-chilling propaganda, anti-Manc-scaremongering and filthy lies. Here are some exerts from that commentary which Joseph Goebbels would’ve called “one-sided and prejudicial”.First I had to set up the distinction between the teams – “the ones in white, Ollie, usually they wear red and are called the Red Devils – because they are so evil. In fact that fella way out on the right, No7, juggling the ball, see him? He can only do that as he makes daily, human sacrifices to Satan.” He looked up at me with his beautiful, open face: “Really, uncle Russell?” I stared into the perfect eyes that searched my own for signs of duplicity. “Yes.” I replied unflinchingly “Usually little boys.” He nodded nervously. “The ones we like are in claret and blue, they are brave men and they love children.” He eyed me quizzically: “They seem confused – they keep kicking the ball out.” “They’re just excited,” I said.When Ryan Giggs scored a rare right‑footed goal, I told Oliver that Manchester United win matches because they have more money than us and they cheat. I pointed to Mark Noble and said: “He’s from Leytonstone, where you’re from – one day you could play for West Ham.” I don’t know if Mark Noble is from Leytonstone or if Ollie could ever cut it as a pro, but I said it with commitment and I saw that he was beginning to be seduced.When vocal waves of disapproval went around the ground – condemning the woeful refereeing – Ollie took his hands from over his ears and began to join the mob; I rewarded his compliance with more delicious cans of tooth decay. By the match’s end I had entirely brainwashed the innocent – we stepped into the disgruntled, ambulant sea that is post-whistle Green Street while I louchely tattooed the willing youngster with the insignia of the ICF. The process made me question my own inherited allegiance; was I conveying a valuable gift to the next generation or bequeathing a miserable burden upon the progeny of a chum?Has supporting West Ham made me a happier man? This can never be ascertained, of course, and was only even examined in retrospect, after I’d been into the club shop and bedecked the boy in claret and blue from the top of his head to the tip of his shoes. Having learned the lessons of the carbonated sex-pop company that consumerism is the way to a child’s affections, I served up cuddly toys, pencil cases, kits and an alarm clock – all tokens of his new enforced identity.Richard Dawkins rightly scoffs at the idea of “a Muslim baby or a Christian birth”, observing that these attributes are acquired and not innate and that it would be absurd to refer to a baby as a “Stoke City fan” or a “violinist” – perhaps that’s why these non-genetic traits are so zealously pushed. As yet I have no sons and thus hope in my dotage, should that ever be achieved, I’ll seek comfort as the light dies from a man I once held, amidst a crowd that to him then seemed infinite, and we’ll talk of faded dreams in claret and blue. | Pick 14 Feb 2009 9:50 0 1 Topics | Pick Twitter expanded Share Subs – please fix the sub-header, currently reads – Joseph Gobbels would have felt the grooming of a five-year-old to be ‘one-sided and prejudicial’Thought it was a pun at first… Share on Twitter *69 forever*Never die.x Reply Report MarcelaProust Reply Share Twitter Share Share Russell Brand Share delhiblue Facebook Facebook 14 Feb 2009 8:45 14 Feb 2009 9:19 Share via Email Share on Twitter Simply Share Share on Facebook Fri 13 Feb 2009 19.36 EST 3 Share on LinkedIn Loading comments… Trouble loading? Report | Pick Share on Facebook Share on Facebook Report | Pick Share 14 Feb 2009 8:53 Reply Share on Twitter | Pick Just some of the delights on offer outside Upton Park. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/Tom Jenkins Very amusing, fans must be indoctrinated as early as possible. I think most fans will identify with this blog.Otherwise this young potential will be swallowed up by the promises of the ‘Ministry of Truth’ at Old Trafford and the Kings Road and their “Ignorance is Strength” promises. | Pick gixxerman006 Share on Facebook 0 1 | Pick Reply | Pick blogposts Share on Facebook 25 0 1 Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Facebook TheInsightfulOne Share on Facebook Share on Facebook | Pick Share on Messenger Joseph Goebbels would have felt the grooming of a five-year-old to be ‘one-sided and prejudicial’ Share on Facebook Twitter Report 14 Feb 2009 9:47 Cynara Support The Guardian Share ‘As yet I have no sons and thus hope in my dotage, should that ever be achieved, I’ll seek comfort as the light dies from a man I once held, amidst a crowd that to him then seemed infinite, and we’ll talk of faded dreams in claret and blue.’What are you writing about here ?Firstly are you hoping you spawn progeny or that you avoid the onset of inadvertent trips down the local Sainsburys Metro to fetch a single bar electric fire wearing your nightie and slippers at 2 in the afternoon?Is the man you once held your nephew, or yer da ? If its the former then its unlikely he’ll ever be able to aid you with your fading ‘ammers bygones as you’ve suckered him like you’ve been suckered yourself by inane products and a once great Product that has now become instantly forgettable. He’s a five year old watching ra match from a corporate box, for crying out loud.If it was you old man, then it still don’t make no sense to this ere party.Hardly what I expected from you on Valentine’s Day.Anyway on this day then, I’ll salute the team that first seduced me one evening at Ibrox back in ’82, ….Away up in Gorgie at Tynecastle Park,There’s a wee fitba team …Aye, Heart of Midlothian Football club … broke my heart many a time but she’ll always be my one and only. First published on Fri 13 Feb 2009 19.36 EST Reply Please select Personal abuse Off topic Legal issue Trolling Hate speech Offensive/Threatening language Copyright Spam Other Share Report Facebook Russell Brand’s Urban DictionaryHammers Someone who doesn’t think by physical boundaries and who visions of happiness and peace for mankindbeaten by Manchester UnitedThe reason so many people don’t believe in GOD. Also known as high school.Giggs’ right‑footed goalSomething which, by definition, does not exist.a squandered life of unfulfilled potentialLiving in MidlandsJoseph GoebbelsAn ex girlfriend’s mother. A person who is basically scared, small, unintelligent, unable to articulate a coherent thought, unable to write a coherence sentence for GU sportblogthe goalless first halfTo describe something that is way awesomeinterested in Coca-ColaA Scouser in exilesomeone who takes a friend’s five-year-old son to Upton ParkA man who spent all hit money on a woman and got nothing out of ita “Stoke City fan”Used to be an insult, but now some people willingly call themselves this all the timethe Red Devils The mysterious force. Can be used to enchant wepons, destroy monsters, commit mass genocide, slay power rangers, make amulets, animate the dead, imbue yourself with holy power, turn people to stone, light things on fire, teleport, manipulate time, artificially inseminate cows, rid the world of its pesky magnetic field, and cause the sun to supernovaa life of supporting West HamNot amusing; agonizing. Like sleeping but with eyes open. When your tired and everything’s quiet and not fun anymore Twitter 0 1 Reason (optional) 2 Facebook Share on Facebook Facebook 14 Feb 2009 15:50 Share Share on Facebook Report Share on Facebook Twitter | Pick 3 14 Feb 2009 8:42 14 Feb 2009 9:25 Report I can only surmise that the curtailing of your trips to the good old US of A, allied to the sudden reduction in professional commitments have brought you back to your Wham roots Russ, as your blogs over the past few weeks have clearly been sport related.You’re even going to Upton Park again. And sure, your 5-year-old nephew is no Britney Spears, but isn’t he just lovely company? You’re well out of it mate.But if you’re reading this too Oliver, don’t listen to Uncle Russ. Get yourself down the Lane for the full-on, match-going experience.Or did you make him up too Russ? 0 1 Report 3xotro cable1973 Share on Twitter Twitter | Pick Brainwashing kids, tut tut Russ, although I do the same with my nephews when they watch Rangers.Hope your throat gets better mate, i’m down with the same thing actually, wouldve been a shame to have seen you on sunday and not be able to laugh for fear of the inevitable pain. 14 Feb 2009 14:48 100 Report | Pick A genius article! There is no doubt that Man U are truely evil, cheat and spend loads of money.Why do you change your pic on the main page Russel? 0 1 offsideintahiti 14 Feb 2009 17:24 Share Facebook FanOfNoOne Share West Ham United Twitter Facebook Report Report Report 0 1 0 1 0 1 DivDee Sportblog 14 Feb 2009 12:55 Share on Facebook unknownboulder Share on Twitter I think you did the right thing, although some may question your methods. But if it gets the job done.I always feel sorry for those dads whose sons/daughters have turned their allegiance to Man U/ Arsenal/ Chelsea/ Liverpool leaving their dad’s to deal with the relegation fear and the joy of the extended cup run.Some might say supporting a struggling team is character building, a total nightmare might be a better description, but that’s nothing compared to the idea of my offspring proudly sporting one of the above shirts (nothing personal-but surely every dad wants their son on their side). vinciar 14 Feb 2009 9:16 14 Feb 2009 10:32 14 Feb 2009 10:41 Report | Pick Report Reply Report Reply Reply Share on Twitter Share on Twitter | Pick Share Share on Facebookcenter_img 0 1 Share on Pinterest Facebook pondwatching Comments 80 redchris40 Share on Twitter 0 1 Share on Twitter One of Mr Brand’s very best pieces.It made me laugh out loud.Thanks. Report Share on Twitter 14 Feb 2009 9:13 Share “Give me the child for seven years,and I will give you the man.”This was from the Jesuits I think. Funny, they also played in Claret and Blue. unthreaded Facebook recommendations 0 1 comments (80)Sign in or create your Guardian account to join the discussion. 0 1 Premier League Share on Facebook Report Share on Facebook Twitter 14 Feb 2009 10:03 pacotin tightrope 0 1 0 1 Twitter Since you’re here… Reply Sign in or create your Guardian account to recommend a comment Very funny stuff.That also goes for miroljub. This is your best dictionary yet. | Pick I am going to call the Daily Mail grooming, coca cola, devil worshipping, tattooing a five year old and he wants to be a father. I have never read such awful rubbish and borderline paedophilia do you think we can whip up enough media scare stories and get this blog banned.When i took my son to the footy it was a similar story apart from he just wanted to see the mascot and was gutted at half time that it did not make a reapearance. Report Share Share on Twitter Twitter Share Facebook Facebook smifee Sportblog newest Share Twitter Share on Twitter This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our community standards. Replies may also be deleted. For more detail see our FAQs. 14 Feb 2009 12:22 Reply Right, I’m calling the social services. 0 1 Share Twitter Sorry there was an error. Please try again later. If the problem persists, please contact Userhelp | Pick 14 Feb 2009 13:23 Nice, sums up the passion and insanity of it all.Celestial liquor and Coca cola in the same sentence – life is truly a wonder.One question – what are you going to tell him about Millwall or Spurs then? I shudder to think….. Reply 50 | Pick Twitter collapsed Twitter Share on Twitter West Ham United Share on Facebook 14 Feb 2009 14:46 Reply Reply Reply Heliconius peteinshanghai Facebook Share Share via Email Report Facebook Report Reply Show 25 Excellent as usual.My 5 yr old isn’t really interested in footy yet, more like lego, so I’ll let him find enlightenment in his own time. He was impressed seeing his dad on telly in Moscow last May though.But his best mate’s dad is citeh, so as usual for those sorts, his offspring is brainwashed from an early age, dressed head to toe in cheap merchandise to counter the inevitable seduction of his son to go over to the glorious side of Manchester.Trouble is, my lad’s started to mention how he likes the eagle on the (all of 4 yrs old, real tradition) ciddy badge. Don’t know how long to leave it until I rescue him from a lifetime of mockery and ridicule.But then again, its only football, and he loves his best buddy , so hakuna matata eh?Mind you, I can’t say what I’ve had to tell him about lfc or the moderator will be on me. Reply lovely read russel, from over here in the La ,And the US of A, such insight and emotion seems rare…. P in LA LA Land of surf. Ah, how fondly I recall my one time at Upton Pk.I got my ticket thanks to a pal now passed on (RIP Gordon) so I had to sit in with the WHU fans.It was the final game of the 95/96 season, 1 -1, Andy Cole missed a sitter, no-one thought Liverpool would battle Blackburn but they not only did but beat them too.A win and the title was Man Utds.Ah well.Can’t win em all.The highlight was hearing some loud Eastend bloke screaming at the then well know Irish international “Keane you northern c*nt!”A cradle of sheer class and true sophistication, obviously.:P 14 Feb 2009 16:22 Facebook Share on Twitter | Pick Report Reply 1 Facebook goonerinoman | Pick 0 1 Share Why must young boys strive to find the touch of a golden era when all around them enshrines a belief in the almighty goal. One goal is good enough and if West Ham had’ve equalised who would have denied them, for that matter a winner. But till the end it comes to pass.What memories will remain for this little chap?More to the point what is football? Why do five cycles of 24 hours role by for us only to be faced with the replica of what went before. Our lives will amount to more and so to may this lad’s. He can be Obama, he can be Hillary or he could just play darts, Suit himself, with luck in claret and blue, but noble he will be.But they’re a good side and we had our chances. It’s a game a two halves with 22 men on a green field. The first goal was always going to be important and as long as we were playing we felt we could score.YOU HAVE TO TAKE YOUR CHANCESYOU HAVE TO TAKE YOUR CHANCESYOU HAVE TO TAKE YOUR CHANCES 14 Feb 2009 13:02 Facebook 1 Facebook … we have a small favour to ask. The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share on Twitter Share on Twitter 14 Feb 2009 13:41 0 1 Reuse this content,View all comments > Share on WhatsApp Facebook cable1973 | Pick Reply Twitter Twitter Reply | Pick Facebook 0 1 Share on Facebook Share on Facebook | Pick Facebook All oldest This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our community standards. Replies may also be deleted. For more detail see our FAQs. 14 Feb 2009 13:07 14 Feb 2009 18:09 Twitter This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our community standards. Replies may also be deleted. For more detail see our FAQs. 4 Reply Share on Twitter Facebook 0 1 Share on Twitter Reply Report Share BurntheDailyMail Share on Twitter Facebook Twitter 14 Feb 2009 18:22 Share on Facebook what a lucky man this russel brand is, getting paid for week in week out for such drivel…step aside and allow space for actual talent miroljub Report 0 1 Threads collapsed Share on Twitter 2 Twitter Brown fizz and Green Street is the real thing Ruperty Twitter Share on Twitter My old man turned me into a hammers supporter well over forty years ago. I still have issues about that. All I asked for was a cowboy outfit… Email (optional) Order by oldest Share on Facebook View more commentslast_img read more

The FCPA Turns 37

first_imgThis weekend, our favorite statute, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, turns 37.President Jimmy Carter’s December 20, 1977 signing statement stated in full as follows.“I am pleased to sign into law S. 305, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 and the Domestic and Foreign Investment Improved Disclosure Act of 1977. During my campaign for the Presidency, I repeatedly stressed the need for tough legislation to prohibit corporate bribery. S. 305 provides that necessary sanction. I share Congress’s belief that bribery is ethically repugnant and competitively unnecessary. Corrupt practices between corporations and public officials overseas undermine the integrity and stability of governments and harm our relations with other countries. Recent revelations of widespread overseas bribery have eroded public confidence in our basic institutions. This law makes corrupt payments to foreign officials illegal under United States law. It requires publicly held corporations to keep accurate books and records and establish accounting controls to prevent the use of ‘off-the-books’ devices, which have been used to disguise corporate bribes in the past. The law also requires more extensive disclosure of ownership of stocks registered with the [SEC]. These efforts, however, can only be fully successful in combating bribery and extortion if other countries and business itself take comparable action. Therefore, I hope progress will continue in the United Nations toward the negotiation of a treaty on illicit payments. I am also encouraged by the International Chamber of Commerce’s new Code of Ethical Business Practices.”S. 305, of course, did not fall out of the sky onto President Carter’s desk thirty-seven years ago today.  Rather, S. 305 was the result of more than two years of Congressional investigation, deliberation, and consideration.If the FCPA is your cup of tea, you owe it to yourself to read the most extensive piece ever written about the FCPA’s history – “The Story of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.”The article weaves together information and events scattered in the FCPA’s voluminous legislative record to tell the FCPA’s story through original voices of actual participants who shaped the law.Among other things, you will learn: (i) how the foreign corporate payments problem was discovered, specific events that prompted congressional concern, and the policy ramifications of those events which motivated Congress to act; (ii) how seeking new legislative remedies to the foreign corporate payments problem was far from a consensus view of the U.S. government and the divergent views as to a solution; (iii) the many difficult and complex issues Congress encountered in seeking a new legislative remedy; (iv) the two main competing legislative responses to the problem—a disclosure approach as to a broad category of payments and a criminalization approach as to a narrow category of payments, and why Congress opted for the later; and (v) how Congress learned of a variety of foreign corporate payments to a variety of recipients and for a variety of reasons, but how and why Congress  intended and accepted in passing the FCPA to capture only a narrow category of such payments.last_img read more

Compliance Officer Dad

first_img FCPA Institute – Boston (Oct. 3-4) A unique two-day learning experience ideal for a diverse group of professionals seeking to elevate their FCPA knowledge and practical skills through active learning. Learn more, spend less. CLE credit is available. Learn More & Register Yesterday was Father’s Day.With twin 10-year old boys, Father is just one of my titles. Referee and Compliance Officer being a few others. As to the later, Co-Compliance Officer along with my wife is the more accurate title (I wonder what the “Compliance 2.0” [or are we on to 3.0 now] folks would say about this structure)?Father’s Day is a chance to reflect and to be sure being a Dad has informed my view of many things including compliance. When you really think about, compliance and parenting have a lot in common.There are some general legal parameters that govern the act of parenting, yet most parenting is left to the discretion of the parent subject to rather loose “reasonableness” standards. Indeed, parenting is largely a “standardless” endeavor.The same is generally true for compliance. For example, issuers subject to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act’s internal controls provisions have an obligation to “devise and maintain a system of internal accounting controls sufficient to provide reasonable assurances that,” generally speaking, corporate assets are properly used and accounted for. Beyond this, the internal controls provisions lack any explicit standards.As the internal controls provisions specifically provide, the statutory standard is not absolute, but rather subject to a reasonableness requirement, a concept the FCPA specifically defines as “such level of detail and degree of assurance as would satisfy prudent officials in the conduct of their own affairs.” In other words, cost/benefit as well as balance are inherent in the FCPA’s internal controls provisions. Indeed, in its earliest FCPA Guidance (1981), the SEC explicitly rejected the notion that  internal controls “conform to a standard of absolute exactitude or that a company’s control system meet some absolute ideal.” On this issue, the SEC stated:“Inherent in [the reasonableness] concept is a toleration of deviations from the absolute. One measure of the reasonableness of a system relates to whether the expected benefits from improving it would be significantly greater than the anticipated costs of doing so. Thousands of dollars ordinarily should not be spent conserving hundreds.”The SEC further stated: “The test of a company’s internal control system is not whether occasional failings can occur. Those will happen in the most ideally managed company.”This balance inherent in the internal controls provisions has been formally acknowledged by the government on several other occasions. For instance, in a 1999 Staff Accounting Bulletin the SEC stated: “The concept of reasonableness of necessity contemplates the weighing of a number of relevant factors, including the costs of compliance.” Most recently, in the 2012 FCPA Guidance, the government acknowledged:“The term ‘reasonable detail’ is defined in the statute as the level of detail that would ‘satisfy prudent officials in the conduct of their own affairs.’ Thus, as Congress noted when it adopted this definition, ‘[t]he concept of reasonableness of necessity contemplates the weighing of a number of relevant factors, including the costs of compliance.’”Enough of that technical legal stuff, back to parenting.A common thought/concern I have as a Father is whether I am doing enough to provide for my family, enrich the lives of my boys, and set them on a path for success.In short, I sometimes ponder the family’s “internal controls.” Am I acting “reasonable”? Am I acting consistent with “best practices”? Are there even “best practices” for parenting?Pondering these questions began even before the boys were born.I’ve never been one to turn the ordinary into the complex. For instance, people have been having children since the beginning of time. Yet upon learning we were having twins, the thought entered my mind: would it be a “best practice” to attend a birthing class? To borrow from the FCPA’s internal controls provisions, would that be “reasonable” – more specifically – is that what a “prudent” expectant father of twins would do?  Upon conferring with my wife and both determining that we were acting reasonably, we did not enroll in a birthing class.Yet here is where parenting and compliance can diverge.If a “red flag” occurred during the pregnancy that we did not recognize (but would have recognized if we enrolled in a “best practice” birthing class) would we, as parents, lacked effective internal controls?The good thing about parenting is that an assessment of “reasonableness” takes place in real-time and without the benefit of perfect hindsight. In the current enforcement climate however, it seems that an assessment of “reasonableness” takes place after the fact (sometimes years after the fact) when the end story is know and there will always be an opportunity to look back and say “woulda, coulda, shoulda.”Fast forward to when the boys were toddlers. As parents, we did our best to “contain” the toddlers. Gates in the house and constant supervision when outside the house (is that “reasonable” parenting or perhaps “helicopter” parenting).Yet, as the internal controls provisions instruct, “inherent in [the reasonableness] concept is a toleration of deviations from the absolute.” The test of a company’s internal control system is not whether occasional failings can occur. Those will happen in the most ideally managed company.”Even in our “most ideally managed family,” there were deviations from the absolute.One of the most dramatic occurred when staying at an out-of-state hotel. While waiting for friends in the lobby and keeping a “reasonably” watchful eye on the boys, one wandered on top of a chair, lost his balance and feel head first onto the tile floor. Blood everywhere, frantic 911 call, and a trip to emergency room in an ambulance followed. In the end, thankfully just some stitches.Here again is where parenting and compliance diverge.Were we bad parents because this happened? It would be easy, with the perfect benefit of hindsight, to list several things we could have and should have done differently in that brief moment of time. Yet, our actions as parents are not viewed in isolation, but rather holistically. After all, a bad outcome does not necessarily suggest bad parenting and deviations from the absolute occur in even the most ideally managed families.Yet, when it comes to the internal controls provisions why – despite the above statutory terms and enforcement agency guidance – does conduct tend to be viewed with the perfect benefit of hindsight? Why do the enforcement agencies look at things in isolation (one transaction, one third party, one employee in one business unit) and judge the company based on that, rather than look at things holistically? Why in the compliance space are bad outcomes often viewed as bad compliance?As the boys got older they evolved and so did our parenting. Call it “continuous improvement” and the DOJ’s February 2017 Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs state: “How often has the company updated its risk assessments and reviewed its compliance policies, procedures, and practices?”“Compliance Officer” / Dad reduced many of the behavioral rules to writing and properly communicated the rules during a family meeting. The executive officers of “Koehler Family Inc.” live a rule-abiding life and a few family rules were even uniquely applicable to Dad and Mom. (Insert “Top at the Top” rhetoric right here).Yet breaches occurred. Does that mean that the family’s “internal controls” were deficient? To be sure, some would view the prior paragraph as just “check-a-box” type of stuff.However, when breaches occurred, they were promptly addressed and remedial actions implemented. Indeed, one remedial action was requiring one of the boys to acknowledge, in writing, the existence of the breached rule and certify his obligation of future compliance. No joke!Occasional breaches still followed and as parents we tried all sorts of rewards and incentives to induce behavior. That’s a “best practice” right? In fact, the DOJ’s Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs asks: “How has the company incentivized compliance and ethical behavior?”But then again, the Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs asks “how has the company considered the potential negative compliance implications of its incentives and rewards?” As the boys got older, that’s when chores into entered the equation and the question arose: should the boys be paid to help with the dishes, vacuum and other household tasks? The Co-Compliance Officers of Koehler Family Inc. disagreed on this, but let’s just say that if bribery is defined as offering something of value to alter behavior, we tried bribery as well, but at least we lacked corrupt intent (but perhaps there was a random e-mail or text message between the C0-Compliance Officers when viewed in isolation to suggest the contrary).With all of these “best practices” in place, full compliance of course followed.Not.Does that mean that the family’s “internal controls” were deficient? After all, there are only two individuals for which the Co-Compliance Officers are responsible for.Of course not, we were acting reasonably, and even in the most well managed family, deviations from the absolute will occur.Yet why if occasional breaches occur in a business organization do enforcement agency officials often conclude that internal controls were deficient? Unlike the mere two individuals for which “Compliance Officer” / Dad is responsible for, business organizations are responsible for hundreds, thousands, and in some cases, tens of thousands of individuals.As the boys grew older, parenting seemed to become more difficult as third-parties entered into the equation.Gone were the days of 24/7 control as the boys went off to school and we ceded control to others. The birthday invites, after-school play dates, and (the grand-daddy-of-them-all) sleep over requests began to happen.No problem right, all “Compliance Officer” / Dad needed to do was act “reasonably.”But what is “reasonable.”?What is the “best practice” for the appropriate level of “due diligence” on the play-date child and/or his/her parents? When visiting another child’s house, what is the “best practice” for the appropriate level of “due diligence.” Should the parents fill out a detailed questionnaire designed to flush out “red flags” (i.e. are there guns in the house, are medications properly stored)? How much due diligence is enough? Is a site visit required? Is it a “best practice” to conduct a public records search of the parents? What about others in the neighborhood if the kids will be playing outside? Would any of these purported “best practices” have negative collateral consequences for ourselves as parents or for my boys?There are no easy answers to these questions and to borrow a compliance analogy “one size does not fit all” and different circumstances may warrant different levels of due diligence.“Compliance Officer / Dad” finds comfort that my obligation is to act reasonably, as a reasonably prudent Dad would in similar circumstances. Yet as every parent has probably contemplated, what if it turns out there was a gun in the house not properly secured and somebody was injured? What if there were medications in the house that were not properly secured and somebody was injured? With the perfect benefit of hindsight, the questionnaire and/or site visit seem so logical, indeed so “reasonable.”Again this is where parenting and compliance diverge.Just like parents, business organizations struggle with how much due diligence is enough. But here again, the enforcement agencies have the benefit of perfect hindsight and seemingly take the “woulda, coulda, shoulda” theory of enforcement. Sure the company did “some” due diligence on the third party, but with knowledge of the end story, the due diligence could have and should have been deeper and if so the improper conduct would have been averted.In short, there are several parallels between parenting and compliance as the legal standards are often similar, but the consequences for breach seem to be materially different for business organizations than parents.One final thought about being a “Compliance Officer” / Dad.It should be easy, I just ask my parents what their “best practices” were and act accordingly? After all, I turned out OK.Not so easy perhaps. Has parenting evolved?The FCPA’s internal controls provisions have not changed one word in 40 years.But has compliance evolved? There is now a lucrative niche industry that attempts to evolve compliance and make things more complex than it really is. Perhaps you’ve heard about “Compliance 2.0” or is it “Compliance 3.0” that is now the prevailing best standard?I conclude this post with one of my favorite commentaries on parenting (with obvious parallels to compliance). It was written by Dave Barry and appeared in the Wall Street Journal, not in connection with Father’s Day, but in February 2015.Looking back on the parents of his generation, Barry observed.“[T]hey did not worry about providing a perfect, risk-free environment for their children. They loved us, sure. But they didn’t feel obligated to spend every waking minute running interference between us and the world. They were parents, but they were not engaged 24/7 in what we now call “parenting,” this all-consuming job we have created, featuring many crucial child-rearing requirements that my parents’ generation was blissfully unaware of.They didn’t go to prenatal classes, so they didn’t find out all the things that can go wrong when a person has a baby, so they didn’t spend months worrying about those things. They just had their babies, and usually it worked out, the way it has for millions of years. They didn’t have car seats, so they didn’t worry that the car seat they just paid $249 for might lack some feature that the car seat their friends just paid $312 for does have. They didn’t read 37 parenting handbooks written by experts, each listing hundreds, if not thousands, of things they should worry about.It would never have occurred to members of my parents’ generation to try to teach a 2-year-old to read; they figured that was what school was for. And they didn’t obsess for years over which school their kids should attend, because pretty much everybody’s kids went to the local schools, which pretty much everybody considered to be good enough. They didn’t worry that their children would get bored, so they didn’t schedule endless after-school activities and drive their kids to the activities and stand around with other parents watching their kids engage in the activities. Instead they sent their kids out to play. They didn’t worry about how or where they played as long as they got home for dinner, which was very likely to involve gluten.I’m not saying my parents’ generation didn’t give a crap. I’m saying they gave a crap mainly about big things, like providing food and shelter, and avoiding nuclear war. They’d made it through some rough times, and now, heading into middle age, building careers and raising families, they figured they had it pretty good. Not perfect, but pretty good. So at the end of the workweek, they allowed themselves to cut loose—to celebrate their lives, their friendships, their success. They sent the kids off to bed, and they partied. They drank, laughed, danced, sang, maybe stole a piece of an IBM sign. They had fun, grown-up fun, and they didn’t feel guilty about it.Whereas we modern parents, living in the era of Death by Handshake, rarely pause to celebrate the way our parents did because we’re too busy parenting. We never stop parenting. We are all over our kids’ lives—making sure they get whatever they want, removing obstacles from their path, solving their problems and—above all—worrying about what else will go wrong, so we can fix it for them. We’re in permanent trick-or-treat mode, always hovering 8 feet away from our children, always ready to pounce on the apple.”But maybe, just maybe, these are all parenting “best practices” and today’s kids will turn out better because of them.I doubt it.Just as I have many doubts about today’s compliance “best practices.”last_img read more

BYU researchers develop advanced model to help predict pollution caused by wildfire

first_img Source: Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Aug 24 2018Chemical engineering researchers from Brigham Young University have developed an advanced model that can help predict pollution caused by wildfire smoke.The research, sponsored by the USDA Forest Service and the Department of Energy, provides a physical model that can more reliably predict soot and smoke emissions from wildfires over a range of conditions.”The smoke that you see from wildfires is a combination of evolved gases and soot,” said Alex Josephson, a Ph.D. student in BYU’s chemical engineering program who also works on the project at Los Alamos National Laboratory. “When we look at smoke as far as health effects, typically we care about those soot particles; and that’s what we’re modeling.”Recent wildfires in the West have caused air quality to tank in a number of major western cities for several days this August, reaching orange and even red levels for long stretches. Orange days are unhealthy for sensitive groups while red-level days are considered unhealthy to all people and can result in serious health effects for children or older individuals.The BYU/Los Alamos-developed model uses detailed physics-based formulas to predict the initial formation of soot particles emitted during wildfires. Experimental measurements of smoke content can involve fairly unsophisticated procedures, such as vacuum sampling of particles as they are produced from a flame.”Billions of dollars are spent on fighting wildfires and this summer it felt like the whole West was on fire,” said David Lignell, professor of chemical engineering and senior author on the study, recently published in academic journal Combustion and Flame. “Besides emissions, soot impacts thermal radiation and flame temperature, which can be important factors in fire spread. Ultimately, understanding the basic physical processes in fires and being able to accurately model them under realistic conditions will aid in predicting smoke emissions and related health effects.”Related StoriesOlympus Europe and Cytosurge join hands to accelerate drug development, single cell researchResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repairResearch finds link between air pollution and coronary heart disease in ChinaCurrent wildfire prediction models are too computationally expensive to run for large-scale wildfires. The BYU/Los Alamos-produced model, which looks like something scratched out on a chalkboard in A Beautiful Mind (see image right), provides foundational elements to validate more efficient models that can be applied on supercomputers at a reasonable computational cost.The research is aimed at helping the Forest Service and other wildfire management groups better know the impact of prescribed burns on the surrounding urban environments. (Prescribed burns are one method to help prevent wildfires.) According to Josephson, he’s “providing the tools to give information to help the people that need to make those decisions.””When a natural wildfire occurs, no one is responsible for the emissions because it is an act of nature,” he said. “But when the Forest Service wants to prescribe a fire, then suddenly you are responsible for the smoke and the emissions coming from it. You better understand the emissions before starting a fire that could have serious effects on surrounding communities.”Funding for the research comes more specifically from the Rocky Mountain Research Station of the Forest Service and the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration, through the University of Utah’s Carbon Capture Multidisciplinary Simulation Center.While Lignell said there is still a gap between their research and how it directly impacts the air people are breathing, he’s personally invested in bridging that gap — not just as a chemical engineer, but as someone with asthma.”When smoke fills the valley, I take that personally; it really affects people’s lives,” Lignell said. “It certainly makes you pay attention to wildfire issues and makes you want to be a part of working on these issues.”last_img read more

Higgs boson looks even Higgsier

New data suggest that the particle discovered 2 years ago with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland is indeed the Higgs boson—the key to physicists’ explanation of how all fundamental particles get their mass. Such particles come in two classes: bosons, which convey forces, and fermions, which make up matter. Previous measurements had shown that the new particle interacts with bosons: Physicists discovered it by spotting it decaying into two photons, the bosons that convey the electromagnetic force, or into two Z bosons, the massive particles that convey the weak nuclear force. Now, researchers working with the mammoth CMS particle detector at the LHC have seen the Higgs decaying into fermions—either two tau leptons (above), heavier cousins of the electron, or two bottom quarks, beefy cousins of the up quarks and down quarks that make up protons and neutrons. Reported online yesterday in Nature Physics, the result strongly suggests that, as it lurks “virtually” in the vacuum, the new particle is the universal mass giver that the Higgs is supposed to be. read more

How much plastic is there in the ocean

first_imgMore than 5 trillion plastic particles weighing 268,940 tons are estimated to be floating in Earth’s oceans. The new estimate, published today in PLOS ONE, is based on models of floating plastics data gathered from a series of 680 surface net tows and 891 visual surveys from oceans around the world. Currents and winds push the plastics around the world’s oceans, concentrating many of the pieces in five massive midocean gyres in the northern and southern Atlantic, the northern and southern Pacific, and the Indian Ocean. Despite having fewer inputs—due to smaller coastal populations—the amount of plastic in the gyres in the Southern Hemisphere was of similar magnitude to that in the north. That hints that ocean currents may redistribute material between the gyres more easily than thought—or that the most abundant particles, called microplastics (less than 4.75 millimeters), disappear from the sea surface more quickly in the Northern Hemisphere, the researchers found. Based on how plastics break into smaller fragments, the scientists had expected to see even more microplastics than they counted; those missing microplastics, they suggest, could sink more easily below the surface, become stranded on shorelines, be eaten by animals, or break down more rapidly under ultraviolet light from the sun.last_img read more

Young European eels may use magnetic fields to guide them home

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Young European eels may use magnetic fields to guide them home Lewis Naisbett-Jones Email Eels make remarkable migrations. Adults from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean swim to the Sargasso Sea to reproduce, and their offspring take a few years to return the 6000 kilometers to their respective coastlines. How they get there has been an enduring mystery. Many biologists have assumed these newborns drift aimlessly until swept up into the Gulf Stream, but like a few other marine creatures, they may actually use Earth’s magnetic field to guide their course, marine biologists have now discovered.Some researchers question whether this sixth sense exists in the very youngest eels found in the Sargasso Sea, but if it does, “this study adds to the growing body of evidence that the magnetic sense may be an important component of fishes that make long migrations in the ocean,” says Michael Miller, an eel biologist at Nihon University in Fujisawa, Japan, who was not involved in the work. And if it holds up that newborn eels do more than drift aimlessly, the study paints a new picture: These young eels “may be the ultimate swimming machines,” he adds.Over the years, researchers have found that a magnetic sixth sense exists, perhaps even in people, and is important in salmon, sea turtle, and trout migrations. And some work indicates that adult eels also sense magnetic fields. But proving the same was true of juvenile eels was quite tricky, as these fish can be quite erratic in their behavior. That makes it hard to discern any patterns in their orientation, and thus they are difficult to test. These 2-year-old eels sense and respond to magnetic fields, but the question remains whether newborn eels do as well.center_img To better quantify whether eels did tend to swim in a particular direction in response to a magnetic field, Lewis Naisbett-Jones, a marine biologist at University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and Nathan Putman, a marine biologist from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory at the University of Miami in Florida, designed a 25-centimeter-wide underwater arena: a central chamber connected to a dozen outer sections, each representing 30° on a compass. They tested so-called glass eels, which is what the juvenile eels transform into when they arrive in Europe. A movable wall kept the eel in the center until the magnetic field was turned on and testing began.The researchers simulated magnetic fields from different parts of the migration route, and the fish responded as if they knew where they were going. In the magnetic field that was the same as in the Sargasso Sea, most of the eels headed southwest, showing they did head in a particular direction in response to the magnetic field. In the test using the magnetic field found in the Atlantic off North America, the eels turned northeast, showing that slightly different magnetic fields caused them to orient in a different way, the researchers report today in Current Biology.“We were not surprised to find eels have a magnetic map, but we were surprised to discover how well they can detect subtle differences in magnetic fields” Naisbett-Jones says.At first, the orientations were confusing—the eels weren’t headed the most direct way home. Yet a computer model showed that the headings taken by the juvenile eels in the experiment would in fact make their migration more efficient, as they got the fish into the Gulf Stream faster and kept them in this current so that they headed to Europe.“Swimming the ‘wrong’ direction for a bit gets them into the Antilles Current, which connects them to the Gulf Stream,” Putman explains. “So, with a little bit of work they can get a mostly free ride to Europe.”The oceanographic model “strengthens the overall findings,” says Miguel Baltazar-Soares, a marine biologist at Bournemouth University in Poole, U.K., who was not involved with the work.However, the study has a major flaw, several experts say. Eels undergo several major transformations. Newborns are not very eellike at all, being more like flattened gelatinous ribbons than rounded elongated fish, so it’s not clear that these newborns would have the same sensory capabilities of the juveniles tested, says Caroline Durif, a marine biologist at the Institute of Marine Research in Bergen, Norway. “I would also like to point out that none of the authors are recognized eel experts—the paper’s main authors have not focused on eels before in their research. Otherwise, they would have realized how absurd this study is.”But Putman doesn’t think the use of older eels is a problem and assumes even newborns have this magnetic sense. Instead, he thinks that the novelty of finding a magnetic compass in eels “might rub some people the wrong way” because they had not discovered it before.Next, he hopes to demonstrate that adult eels also use magnetism to find their way to the Sargasso Sea. 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Private research funders court controversy with billions in secretive investments

first_img By Charles PillerDec. 6, 2018 , 2:00 PM Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe FoundationEndowment assets*Known offshore investments FoundationBill & Melinda Gates FoundationEndowment assets*$51.8 billionKnown offshore investmentsNone FoundationWellcome TrustEndowment assets*$29.3 billionKnown offshore investments$926 million FoundationHoward Hughes Medical InstituteEndowment assets*$20.4 billionKnown offshore investments$891 million FoundationRobert Wood Johnson FoundationEndowment assets*$10.8 billionKnown offshore investments$3+ billion FoundationWilliam and Flora Hewlett FoundationEndowment assets*$9.9 billionKnown offshore investments$168 million FoundationDavid and Lucille Packard FoundationEndowment assets*$7.9 billionKnown offshore investments$140 million FoundationGordon and Betty Moore FoundationEndowment assets*$6.9 billionKnown offshore investments$40 million STEPHAN SCHMITZ/FOLIO ART Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Gabriel Zucman, University of California, Berkeley Foundation officials and philanthropy experts say offshore investment can play an important role in enabling those charities to meet their fiduciary responsibility to nurture their endowments. But the practice also opens the foundations to intense criticism. “Foundations that invest in tax havens need to know that … they are alongside criminals, tax evaders, and kleptocrats,” says Gabriel Zucman, a University of California, Berkeley, economist who has studied offshore investing. Such foundations are helping “normalize these practices and blow up the volume, so the infrastructure exists also for the illegal uses,” says Annette Alstadsæter, an economist at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences in Oslo. “They are robbing the taxpayers,” says economist and Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University, and “are giving life to an institutional arrangement which is basically nefarious and bad for our global society.”Maximizing valueFor at least a century, wealthy individuals and institutions have moved money outside their home nations—for example, by parking it in the anonymous numbered accounts made famous by Swiss banks. In recent decades, however, the popularity and complexity of offshore investing has grown dramatically. Some small nations and territories—including the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, and Malta—have aggressively moved to become offshore havens by promising secrecy, light regulation, and low or no taxes on profits.As of 2014, at least 8% of the world’s financial wealth—some $7.6 trillion—was invested in funds based in offshore havens, estimates Zucman, who wrote a seminal 2015 book on the topic. Offshore funds enabled companies to legally avoid paying $130 billion in U.S. taxes each year, he estimates. And illegal tax evasion involving offshore funds subtracted an additional $35 billion annually.In the past, many philanthropies—which national governments ordinarily exempt from most taxes because they are seen as providing a public service—would have viewed tax avoidance as shameful, says Brooke Harrington, an economist at Copenhagen Business School. But no more. In the United States, for example, many foundation officers regard minimizing taxes “almost as a necessity,” she says. “If you don’t do that, you’re not fulfilling your responsibility to donors. Kind of the way corporate directors will say: ‘It’s our duty to maximize shareholder value, and that includes reducing our tax payments to as close to zero as possible.’”But some foundation officials tell Science that, because their tax burdens are already low, other factors are more important to their decisions to invest offshore. For example, fund managers increase profits for themselves and their clients by avoiding costly regulatory red tape, says Edmond Ghisu, chief investment counsel at Robert Wood Johnson. Offshore havens often have minimal requirements on “how many records [funds] need to have” and “how open their books and records need to be to investors,” he says. The Cayman Islands, for example, “has risen to the top” in popularity among money managers because it has scant reporting requirements, Ghisu says. Private research funders court controversy with billions in secretive investments Email When money flows offshore The Paradise Papers and publicly available financial statements reveal some, but not all, offshore investments and commitments by seven private foundations that are major funders of scientific research. (*Restricted and unrestricted net assets, as of most recent audited financial statements.) Foundations that invest in tax havens need to know that … they are alongside criminals, tax evaders, and kleptocrats. A few years ago, scientists funded by the Wellcome Trust, one of the world’s wealthiest private philanthropies, published sobering findings about the deadly effects of air pollution. In a long-term study of elderly residents of Hong Kong, China, those exposed to higher levels of smog—especially tiny particles of soot produced by burning fossil fuels—were more likely to die of cancer than people who breathed cleaner air.The study, published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention in 2016 by researchers from the University of Hong Kong and the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, is one of many to highlight the health threats posed by soot. And it is just one product of the extensive investments that Wellcome, with $29.3 billion in assets, has made in environmental science. “We aim to stimulate research excellence and develop global collaborations to drive change,” the London-based philanthropy explains on a web page that highlights its commitment to making “cities healthy and environmentally sustainable.”The trust does not highlight, however, that some of the more than $1.2 billion it has handed out annually in recent years comes from investments in companies that contribute to the same problems the philanthropy wants to solve. Not long before the Hong Kong study was published, for example, the trust became an investor in Varo Energy, a company based in Cham, Switzerland, that sells fuel to shipping firms. One of Varo’s main products is bunker fuel for marine engines: a cheap, sulfurous residue of oil refining that is a major source of soot pollution. Particulates billowing from ship stacks contribute to the premature deaths of 250,000 people annually, researchers estimate. Wellcome committed more than $926 million of its holdings to at least 57 tax haven funds, documents from the Paradise Papers indicate. Other offshore investments were shown in the foundation’s tax returns. (Totals could not be determined but in 2007, Wellcome’s offshore holdings were so extensive that Appleby ranked the foundation as its 14th largest client.) In a statement to Science, Wellcome officials declined to discuss the size or placement of its assets in offshore accounts, saying they “do not collect or keep” data relating to tax domicile. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Chevy Chase, Maryland, which has $20.4 billion in assets, holds at least $891 million in offshore funds, from which it earned $123 million in the year ending 31 August 2017, according to public documents. It declined to discuss its investments. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Princeton, New Jersey, which has $10.8 billion in assets, has placed at least $3 billion in offshore havens. Foundation officials discussed their investing practices with Science. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, Washington, has no apparent involvement in offshore funds, according to the Paradise Papers and public documents. Three other private research funders—the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, all based in Silicon Valley in California—have made offshore investments of up to $168 million each, according to the Paradise Papers and public documents. In written statements, the foundations said they comply with tax laws but declined to comment otherwise.center_img Offshore funds can also open doors to a wider array of investment options and top advisers, who often run the funds from offices in financial centers such as New York City or London. Ghisu, for instance, says his foundation looks first for “the best managers, to maximize our returns so that we have resources that we can deploy in support of our mission.” Wellcome takes a similar position. “Many of the best-performing funds have offshore domiciles,” it wrote in a statement. “Our successful long-term investment strategy,” it added, “is based on exposure to a globally diversified range of asset classes.”Normally, fund managers, not the foundations, choose investments. But some foundations bar certain investments that they believe would pose conflicts of interest. Robert Wood Johnson, for instance, says it has no involvement in firearms, alcohol, or tobacco. “For us to invest in, say, a tobacco company, would be so antithetical to what we want to do that it would be a travesty,” says Brian O’Neil, the foundation’s chief investment officer.Yet Robert Wood Johnson’s offshore investments and managers have still generated controversy. Tax returns show that since at least 2014, the foundation has invested heavily in Cayman Islands funds managed by GSO Capital Partners, a unit of the investment titan Blackstone Group, headquartered in New York City. The foundation’s most recent filing showed about $50 million in those funds. GSO has drawn harsh criticism for how it handles credit default swaps—a once-exotic type of risk-hedging security that became notorious for contributing to the Great Recession. U.S. lawmakers and regulators have reined in the swaps, which are legal, but they remain less regulated elsewhere. “The hedge fund industry can’t do what it wants to do under the onshore regulations of the U.S. because it’s too risky,” Harrington says. “But the Caymans will let them do it.”In particular, GSO has drawn scrutiny for swaps that involve distressed companies and a strategy in which GSO offers a troubled firm an incentive to intentionally default on a loan, triggering a process that enables GSO to realize hefty profits. For years, such deals have attracted substantial media attention and lawsuits. A recent investigative story in the Financial Times said such practices made GSO the industry’s “biggest predator.” GSO told the paper it has acted legally and in a manner “consistent with the expectations of its sophisticated market participants.”In April, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission took notice, decrying the kinds of actions taken by GSO as “manipulation” that “may severely damage the integrity” of the market. GSO then stepped away from a pending deal. At about the same time, Robert Wood Johnson officials raised their own concerns with GSO. O’Neil says the firm has “really backed off ” from the controversial swaps.Critics contend that offshore machinations increase income inequality by reducing tax funds for public services while shifting the tax burden from companies and wealthy individuals to the middle class. And, as studies funded by Robert Wood Johnson itself have suggested, inequality can damage public health. For example, the foundation underwrote a landmark 2015 study showing extreme income inequality—rather than poverty alone—is a key contributor to ill health and shorter life expectancy. The foundation has also funded grassroots campaigns to address such problems, including a public-private partnership in Richmond, where residents suffer from some of the nation’s worst income inequality. But O’Neil rejects the suggestion that the foundation’s own investment practices contribute to inequality. “I don’t think you can take the harm that is caused by that and impute it to us.” PARADISE PAPERS; FOUNDATIONS’ MOST RECENT TAX RETURNS AND AUDITED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Wellcome didn’t invest directly in Varo. But according to a trove of confidential documents known as the Paradise Papers, many of them leaked from a law firm that helped manage such deals, Wellcome committed $50 million to an offshore investment fund, Carlyle International Energy Partners, based in the Cayman Islands. That fund, in turn, owns a stake in the energy firm. (Wellcome declined to give details on its offshore holdings.)Large investors commonly use offshore funds to maximize returns, in part by reducing the taxes investors would otherwise pay to their home nations. Though offshore investments can be legal, they are controversial—partly because the funds’ activities are nearly always tightly held secrets. And Wellcome’s investment in bunker fuel illustrates a common contradiction facing some major scientific grantmakers involved in offshore investing. Specifically, offshore investments can have impacts that diminish or negate the high-minded social experiments, education, and research backed by science funders, according to a Science investigation. And their routine use of offshore funds raises questions about transparency, accountability, and social responsibility. Critics of offshore investing also say that foundations, by lending their sterling reputations to offshore strategies, are helping legitimize tactics that others widely use to bend or break the law—including investors eager to conceal lawful but extreme tax avoidance as well as criminals seeking to hide illicit profits and launder money. Such practices deprive governments around the world of revenue, the critics note, worsening economic inequality and undermining efforts to repair crumbling infrastructure. The secrecy surrounding offshore funds complicates efforts to document exactly how much money major research charities have moved into such vehicles—or where the cash ends up. Science gained some insight by reviewing publicly available tax returns and financial statements and by searching the roughly 13.4 million leaked documents in the Paradise Papers, more than half of which came from Appleby, a global law firm founded in Hamilton, Bermuda, and one of the world’s leading offshore dealmakers. (The papers were shared with Science by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in Washington, D.C., which acquired them from the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper in Munich, Germany.)Science examined seven of the largest private research funders and found that, according to conservative estimates, they have in recent years placed and committed more than $5 billion to funds in offshore tax and secrecy havens. Missing data and a lack of precision in many documents, however, suggest the philanthropies’ investments are larger. Among the investigation’s findings: Dana Bezerra, Heron Foundation A cargo ship steams through the Bosphorus past Istanbul, Turkey. The Wellcome Trust invests through an offshore fund in a firm selling ship fuel, which is a major source of particulate air pollution. It also funds studies that highlight the dangers that particulate pollution poses to human health. BULENT KILIC/AFP/GETTY IMAGES Shouldn’t we be more than a private investment company that uses its excess cash flow for good? At Wellcome, where researching the effects of climate change has become one focus of giving, officials consider environmental issues when making investment choices, the trust said in a statement to Science. But Wellcome declined to discuss how those concerns have shaped its offshore investments. And public records indicate environmental issues have not prevented the foundation from taking hefty, ongoing, direct equity stakes in fossil fuel companies—including Royal Dutch Shell of The Hague, Netherlands, and Schlumberger of Houston, Texas—whose operations have drawn criticism from climate change, environmental, and human rights advocates.Wellcome has resisted calls to divest from the firms, saying the investments serve as leverage to influence corporate practices. “Engaging with these companies will strengthen their commitments toward reducing carbon emissions more effectively than divestment,” it argued. The foundation declined to describe how it engages with the companies or to what effect. But even if direct shareholders can wield influence through moral suasion or proxy votes, critics of offshore investing note that such engagement is rarely possible for investors in offshore energy funds, which are often structured to insulate owners from company actions.Wellcome also notes that its investment profits—directly from Shell or indirectly through Cayman Islands funds that invest in energy firms—fuel the trust’s good works, including projects that fight the impacts of global warming. But Dana Bezerra, a prominent advocate for ethical investing by charities and head of the Heron Foundation in New York City, questions that reasoning. “It’s a justice question,” she says. “I have yet to meet a community willing to trade off our ability to generate returns with their clean water and healthy soil, on the promise that we’ll be back to fix it with charitable dollars in the future.” (Heron, she says, screens its entire $307 million investment portfolio to ensure that it supports—or at least does not counter—the foundation’s philanthropic goal to fight poverty.)Canines in the CaymansTo some critics of offshore investing, its biggest downside is secrecy. The lack of transparency can make it difficult for donors, grant recipients, and the public to reach their own conclusions about whether an offshore investment poses a potential conflict.Most offshore funds, for example, carry vague names that offer few hints about their purpose. For example, Howard Hughes holds $187 million in “Coastland Relative Value Fund Ltd.” and “Cerberus HH Partners LP” (managed by a company named after the mythological three-headed hound that prevents the damned from escaping through the gates of hell). Robert Wood Johnson has $143 million in another canine-inspired fund, “Hound Partners OS.” All three are based in the Caymans.The funds rarely reveal to the public where they place investments—and normally also bar their investors from sharing that information. Both Wellcome and Robert Wood Johnson, for example, say confidentiality agreements with fund managers prohibit them from making such disclosures. Fund managers often want to avoid leaks of sensitive information that could move markets or aid competitors.Sometimes, even investors don’t know how offshore funds use their money. O’Neil says in his experience, there are “only a few funds that really don’t tell us anything.” But contracts revealed in the Paradise Papers specify that investors often have no “liability, obligation, or responsibility whatsoever” for how a fund operates or any obligation to verify that the fund has actually used its money for planned investments.Such opacity is not appropriate for charitable institutions, established for social benefit, Bezerra says. “Not only should you [provide investment details], but you are compelled to because you are managing money in the public trust,” she says. “Shouldn’t we be more than a private investment company that uses its excess cash flow for good?”Changing the incentivesTo reduce ethical conflicts, Stiglitz says policymakers should change charity governance rules to make it “a violation of fiduciary responsibility to engage in something that might have reputation risk,” such as investing in an offshore tax haven with a “sleazy” repute.Persuading policymakers to make such changes, however, is likely to be difficult, in part because foundations typically operate under a patchwork of national and local laws. Instead, some observers believe action will have to come from foundation board members and officials. One needed reform, Bezerra says, is to end—or at least curb—the “perverse incentive” that foundations create for their investment officers, who make many of the day-to-day decisions about how to grow or protect a charity’s endowment. Their compensation is often tightly tied to how well their investment portfolio performs. And good performance is handsomely rewarded. In 2016, Wellcome’s Danny Truell (who retired last year) made $5.8 million and O’Neil made $1.8 million; last year, Landis Zimmerman of Howard Hughes made $3 million. Each was by far the highest paid employee of his foundation.At Wellcome, the incentives are based on performance of the portfolio as a whole. Robert Wood Johnson ties compensation for O’Neil and others to both investment performance and “alignment of investment objectives with foundation’s mission and strategic objectives,” such as maximizing returns and ensuring that no funds are invested in tobacco, alcohol, or firearms. Requiring managers to place social, environmental, and philanthropic goals—not just investment returns—at the heart of their investment choices need not mean they will miss financial targets, Bezerra says. Last year, Heron’s holdings gained nearly 16%, according to the foundation. In comparison, at Robert Wood Johnson—the major science philanthropy most heavily concentrated in offshore funds—the portfolio rose by about 13%.Such policy changes would probably require approval from a foundation’s board of directors. In general, however, board members often prefer to focus on grantmaking and rarely become deeply involved in investment decisions, philanthropy experts say. At Wellcome, for instance, former board member Peter Smith says investment issues arose just a few times during his 10-year tenure, from 2005 to 2014. In one case from 2013, he recalls, board members learned from media reports that Wellcome had invested in a payday lender accused of preying on the poor. The 13-member board ultimately directed trust staff to divest from the company, says Smith, an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.”There is a tension,” Smith says, “between the philanthropic mission that the trust has as a charity and the way in which it invests to maximize the income … which [charity officials] say they have a duty to do.” But the tensions surrounding offshore investments never came up at any board meeting he attended, he says. Smith didn’t pass judgment when asked whether the trust’s holdings in a bunker fuel merchant contradict the charity’s goals. But, “If there were things that were ethically dubious, then I would have expected it to be discussed at the board level,” he says.James Gavin, a physician and diabetes expert at Healing Our Village, a health care company in Atlanta, who served as a trustee of Robert Wood Johnson a decade ago, says that if offshore investing undermines the foundation’s philanthropic goals, “that would be of extreme concern.” But he, too, doesn’t recall board discussions of the practice.The increased scrutiny surrounding offshore investing, driven partly by the release of the Paradise Papers, is making it more likely that charities—including research funders—will have to grapple with the issue, observers say. That’s a good thing, says Dana Lanza, who heads the Oakland, California, nonprofit Confluence Philanthropy, which encourages foundations to align investment choices with their philanthropic mission. Foundations that invest heavily in offshore havens, she says, need to ask themselves a basic question: “Do you owe it to the world to be an ethical investor?”The methodology for this story is available online. Jia You contributed reporting. The story was supported by the Science Fund for Investigative Reporting.last_img read more