NFL helmet maker helping curb soldiers’ head injuries

The creator of the innovative football helmet that performed best in NFL testing the last two years is taking its concussion-reducing technology from the playing field to the battlefield.

VICIS, maker of the Zero1 football helmet, is partnering with the U.S. Army to research ways to reduce head injuries in the military through a development grant announced Tuesday.

The Seattle-based company will replace foam pads in existing Army and Marine Corps combat helmets with liner technology developed for its Zero1 football helmet, said VICIS CEO and co-founder Dave Marver.

“This aligns with our mission and it allows us to protect those who have signed up to protect us,” Marver told The Associated Press. “The technology remains in development, but it’s very promising and we’re hopeful it will make a big difference in the lives of our servicemen and women.”

Today’s combat helmets are designed primarily for ballistic protection and shielding from gunfire and shrapnel. But a 2013 Congressional Research Service report showed that four out of every five traumatic brain injuries in the military are caused by blunt impact in training and other non-deployed settings.

“The main thing is the current combat helmets are … not optimized for blunt impact protection and that’s what football helmets are designed to do, protect against blunt impact,” Marver said. “And so what we’re doing rather than working to replace the shell of the combat helmet, which is good at ballistic protection, we’re actually replacing the inner padding, which is currently just foam.”

Marver said medical staff at Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Seattle first reached out to him in 2016 after hearing about the work his company was doing with the Seattle Seahawks and asked …read more



Opinion: What Bay Area can do to solve its housing crisis

San Jose City Councilman Chappie Jones’ regular email newsletter to constituents led with the headline “Housing Crisis Hits District 1’s Very Own.” Following was a personal letter from his legislative and policy director, Christina Pressman, that described why she had made the decision to leave her job and move her family more than 1,200 miles away to Denver. The short answer? Rising rents and housing costs.

Unfortunately, this story is far from unique. The lack of affordable housing is displacing residents who call the South Bay home — residents who grew up here, raised their families here, formed community. It’s no longer just those on fixed incomes or who work low wage jobs who are impacted. The housing crisis has made it hard for middle-income families and even families earning six figures to find a decent and affordable place to live.

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Last week we celebrated Affordable Housing Week, a series of events organized by SV@Home and hosted by many South Bay nonprofits, designed to educate, inspire, and engage the public about the Bay Area’s housing crisis and what can be done. Many solutions were discussed during the week. Here are a few:

1) We can dramatically increase the number of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), sometimes called granny units or backyard cottages. State Sen. Bob Wieckowski sponsored legislation to make development of ADUs easier, and we are calling on cities to make it even simpler. This has made a difference — between 2007 and 2014, Santa Clara County produced only 29 ADUs annually. In 2017, that number had increased by 70 percent, even before the effective date of some of …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


Opinion: Why cities are putting Big Oil on trial for climate change

Just as California leads the nation in enacting ambitious legal policies for addressing climate change, so, too, have California communities led the way in seeking compensation from oil and gas giants for their outsized contributions to climate change.

Less than a year ago, California communities filed lawsuits against the industry, claiming the companies significantly contributed to the dangerous buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and that this accumulation of pollutants is already harming them. Since then, the number of cases has tripled and they now stretch from coast to coast, leading many to conclude that Big Oil is now in the early stages of a liability tipping point not seen since the 1990s, when lawsuits were filed against Big Tobacco in almost all 50 states.

California’s public nuisance laws embrace liability for damages that occur when companies fail to warn consumers about the dangers of their products. The climate lawsuits may seem exotic, but they are really simply the application of this old legal principle to a new setting.

In California, the cities of San Francisco, Oakland, Richmond, Santa Cruz and Imperial Beach and the counties of San Mateo, Marin and Santa Cruz have filed lawsuits against major fossil fuel corporations. In the case involving San Francisco and Oakland, a federal judge will hear arguments Thursday about whether to dismiss the two cities’ claims against ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, ConocoPhillips and BP from federal court. If the case proceeds, it will be a new legal frontier for climate liability.

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That oil giants knew about the dangers of their products, yet failed to warn the public about them, is evident in the companies’ own internal papers. Royal Dutch Shell even …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics


Who is Stefan A. Halper, the FBI source who assisted the Russia investigation?

By Robert Costa,Carol Leonnig and Shane Harris | The Washington Post

Stefan A. Halper, the FBI source who assisted the Russia investigation and is at the center of a standoff between congressional Republicans and the Justice Department, is a well-connected veteran of past GOP administrations who convened senior intelligence officials for seminars at the University of Cambridge in England.

In the summer and fall of 2016, Halper, then an emeritus professor at Cambridge, contacted three Trump campaign advisers for brief talks and meetings that largely centered on foreign policy, The Washington Post reported last week.

At some point that year, he began working as a secret informant for the FBI as it investigated Russia’s interference in the campaign, according to multiple people familiar with his activities.

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The Post had previously confirmed Halper’s identity, but did not report his name following warnings from U.S. intelligence officials that exposing him could endanger him or his contacts. Now that he has been identified as the FBI’s informant by multiple news organizations, including the Wall Street Journal, New York magazine and Axios, The Post has decided to publish his name.

Halper, 73, declined to comment. The FBI declined to comment.

Halper’s contacts with Trump advisers around the start of the FBI’s counterintelligence have come under scrutiny in recent weeks by House allies of President Donald Trump. Late last month, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., issued a subpoena to the Justice Department requesting all documents related to the FBI informant.

In recent days, Trump has seized on the reports about Halper’s role in the Russia probe, suggesting in tweets that the FBI improperly spied on his campaign. There is no evidence to suggest Halper …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics


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