THE PUBLIC EYE:Class Warfare: Which Side Are You On?

By Bob Burnett
Friday February 17, 2012 - 11:11:00 AM

Are we in the middle of a Class War? Billionaire Warren Buffett thinks so, “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” Most Americans agree; a recent Pew Poll found “Two-thirds of Americans said they think there are ‘very strong’ or ‘strong’ class conflicts in society.” But there’s a notable lack of enthusiasm for making fundamental change. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Time to Protect Kid's Privacy Online

By Ralph E. Stone
Friday February 17, 2012 - 11:06:00 AM

Privacy has become a major issue in the United States and Congress is paying attention. H.R. 1895, "The Do Not Track Kids Act," , a bi-partisan bill sponsored by U.S. Representatives Ed Markey (D. MA) and Joe Barton (D. TX), is pending in Congress. H.R. 1895 would amend the "Children's Online Privacy Protection Act" (COPPA) by introducing additional provisions to govern the collection and use of teens' personal information. -more-

WILD NEIGHBORS: The Duck in the Cave

By Joe Eaton
Friday February 17, 2012 - 11:27:00 AM
Two nene on Kaua'i: relatively normal geese.

Yes, it’s another Hawai’i column. “Neighbors” is a relative term.

I’ve written before about the extraordinary birds called Hawai’ian honeycreepers, or more technically drepanine finches (“dreps” for short.) They’re a classic evolutionary radiation: some generalized ancestral finch gave rise to over 50 descendant species with diverse plumage colors and specialized bill shapes and functions. For a long time there’s been speculation as to whether the ancestor originated in Asia and North America. In an earlier piece for a now-defunct magazine, I imagined a house finch or lesser goldfinch flying from California to Hawai’i with the seed of a tarweed—itself the ancestor of the equally extraordinary silversword plants—clinging to its feathers. -more-

SENIOR POWER The eyes have it…

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Friday February 17, 2012 - 12:32:00 PM

Your first indication may be that notorious newspaper fine print. Held at the usual distance from your eyes, you find yourself holding the paper farther from your eyes to focus the image. -more-

EATS, SHOOTS 'N' LEAVES:Amyris Drops Out of the Agrofuel Business

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday February 14, 2012 - 12:05:00 PM

Yep, Amyris [previously], the UC Berkeley-spawned company born of Bill Gates bucks to create an antimalarial drug then reincarnated as a corporation dedicated to creating fuels from plants, is dropping out of the fuel game — in precisely the same way it left the drug business. -more-