Briefs (right)Scientists Oppose Delisting
By Jim Robbins
THE NEW YORK TIMES
A group of 269 biologists and other scientists from around the country asked the Fish and Wildlife Service on Monday not to lift the protections given to the Yellowstone grizzly bear by the Endangered Species Act.
Doing that, they said, could jeopardize its survival.
A letter from the scientists came on the last day of the comment period on the agency’s plan to remove protection for the bear. The service has said that the bear population, estimated at 500 to 600, is fully recovered and growing at 4 percent a year. There are safeguards to restore protection, federal biologists say, if the numbers decline.
Some environmental groups, including the National Wildlife Federation, support the move to remove the bear from the endangered list.
The letter from opponents of the move says the Yellowstone grizzly is cut off from other bears, and therefore new sources of DNA. Because of that, the population needs to be 2,000 to 3,000, the scientists say, to survive a catastrophic event, like disease or the loss of a critical food source.
“The Yellowstone grizzly bear population faces significant threats to recovery because of its small size, significant annual fluctuations in mortality rates, inadequate habitat protections, major threats to key foods, genetic risks, and proposed additional human-caused bear mortalities,” the letter said.
A Soldier’s Family Awaits One More Inquiry Into His Death
By Monica Davey and Eric Schmitt
THE NEW YORK TIMES
SAN JOSE, CALIF.
Patrick K. Tillman stood outside his law office here, staring intently at a yellow house across the street, just over 70 yards away. That, he recalled, is how far away his eldest son, Pat, who gave up a successful NFL career to become an Army Ranger, was standing from his fellow Rangers when they shot him dead in Afghanistan.
“I could hit that house with a rock,” Tillman said. “You can see every last detail on that place, everything, and you’re telling me they couldn’t see Pat?”
Tillman, 51, is a grieving father who has refused to give up on his son. While fiercely shunning the public spotlight that has followed Cpl. Pat Tillman’s death, Tillman has spent untold hours behind the scenes considering measurements like the 70 yards.
He has drafted lengthy, sometimes raw, letters to military leaders, demanding answers about the shooting. And he has studied — and challenged — Army PowerPoint presentations meant to explain how his son, who had called out his own name and waved his arms, wound up dead anyway, shot three times in the head by his own unit, which said it mistook him for the enemy.
NYU And Columbia Get Gifts
Of About $200 Million Each
By John Noble Wilford and Jonathan D. Glater
THE NEW YORK TIMES
New York University and Columbia have each received donations of about $200 million, among the largest to academic institutions in recent years. The gifts, from different donors, come as both universities try to compete with rivals that have far larger endowments.
The gift to NYU, among the largest it has ever received, will create a multidisciplinary center for the study of the ancient world. Consisting of cash and real estate valued at up to $200 million, the gift is from the Leon Levy Foundation. Levy, who died in 2003, was a Wall Street investor and benefactor of art and archaeology. The university president, John Sexton, and the Levy foundation’s trustee, Shelby White, Levy’s widow, are expected to announce the gift on Tuesday.
The gift to Columbia, announced Monday at a ceremony attended by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, is the largest in the university’s history. It is from the Jerome L. Greene Foundation, established by Greene, a prominent New York lawyer and a Columbia alumnus, and from his widow, Dawn M. Greene. The money, slightly more than $200 million, will establish the Jerome L. Greene Science Center to study the brain and human behavior.
NYU officials emphasized in interviews that a goal of the new center, to be called the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, was to approach the research and teaching of antiquity on a broad geographic and thematic scale. The focus will be on cultural evolution through time and across societies and regions, incorporating the history, archaeology, literature and art of antiquity.
A Financial Search Service
By John Markoff
THE NEW YORK TIMES
Harnessing yet another data category to its search-engine prowess, Google is introducing a financial information service intended to compete directly with offerings from Microsoft, Yahoo and other sources, Google executives said Monday.
Google said the service, at www.finance.google.com, would distinguish itself by providing stock charts with interactive qualities like those on its Google Maps service, allowing users to find deeper or specified layers of data by sliding the cursor.
The site will focus on current and historical data for both public and private companies, and following a Google practice for its new offerings, it will not immediately carry advertisements.
“Our focus is on the user and the product,” said Marissa Mayer, Google’s vice president for search products and user experience. She said the company would consider revenue possibilities later.
Google said the initiative grew out of a survey it conducted 15 months ago, asking its users what kinds of new services they would find helpful. The response was dominated by two themes, maps and finance.