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(506) 2223-1327                         Published Monday, Aug. 19, 2013, in Vol. 13, No. 163                 Email us
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Jo Stuart
Cascata del Bosco

Some expats find that mortgages can boost income
By Garland M. Baker
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Some expat retirees in Costa Rica are giving mortgages to others in order to supplement their retirement incomes.  Generating a nice extra sum is possible if ones finds the right debtor because interest rates are high in Costa Rica. Finding the borrower is easier than it was in the past because there are numerous services providing credit information on individuals and companies here. Mortgages are easier to collect now, too, if the deal goes amiss than they were a few years ago.

Balloon mortgages tend to be the financial instruments of choice with interest rates ranging from 6 to 12 percent on the principal.  Some lenders even charge more in some situations because they can get away with the practice.

Credit card companies in Costa Rica get exorbitant amounts for interest on credit card debt.  They argue high defaults justify rates of 40-plus percent on colons and 30-plus percent on dollars, and these are the preferential rates. This is a great deal for them considering the colon has outperformed the dollar over the past few years.  They are really racking in the dough, and no one seems to cry usury.

Most Costa Ricans are accustom to paying high interest rates, even on home mortgages.  There are some special programs available for financing a residence, but they are hard to find.  For housing determined to be in the social interest, the Banco de Costa Rica offers 9 percent fixed interest loans for one to two years increasing to the tasa basica plus 3 percent adjustable monthly after that period.

The tasa basica is Costa Rica’s prime rate in colons fixed by the Banco Central.

Interest rates for money borrowed for residencies that do not qualify as in the social interest are all over the place.  Housing in the social interest category are residencies with values up to 58.6 million colons or about $118,000.

A balloon mortgage is a kind of short-term loan secured by property.  Regular payments are calculated based for a specific period with the principal due before the end of the payments.  For example, a $100,000 loan at 12 percent interest based on 30-year amortization and a five-year balloon returns $1,028 to the lender. When the loan is paid after five years, only $1,308 will have been paid to principal returning $98,693 to the lender.  In other words, a great income generator.

There are many caveats to heed when lending money.  The most important of them is finding the right borrower,  one who pays the bills.  Balloon mortgages are not for everyone because of the responsibility to pay the large sum as agreed. However, there are people and businesses with adequate assets and records of accomplishment that can meet the requirement.

One expat on the coast lends his own money short-term to developers. He seeks someone who is building for resale and has a proven track record doing such business.  He is also very astute and personally checks out the borrower as well as gets professional advice and information. One of most important things he has learned is to keep the deal clean with a simple first mortgage on a project involving land and keep the debt to equity ratio low. 

This investor does not charge 12 percent even though he could get it easily. He charges a lesser percentage because he wants the income to supplement his pension.  He also finds most of the people to whom he has lent money pay the balloon
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payment right on time or before it is due.

Making an additional income has its merits, but it also has its costs.  It is the norm that a borrower usually pays all financing costs including legal and registration fees.  Registering a mortgage is expensive in legal fees and registration taxes. However, it is must to have a mortgage attached to property used as guarantee at the Costa Rican Registro Nacional.  Again, the borrower normally assumes these costs. 

What people forget is that they need to pay taxes on their profits to the local government and that U.S. citizens need to pay Uncle Sam.  Expats from other countries should consult their home country’s tax authority to check their liability.

Even after considering, the taxes and other associated costs, lending money to the right people could generate significant revenue to a retired person.  It is very important to note that one cannot lend money as a regular business or use other people’s money to do so or they would come under the scrutiny of the regulatory agency, the Superintendencia General de Entidades Financieras, Costa Rica’s financial system regulator. 

Anyone interested in this sideline endeavor should also work with a competent legal professional,  one that knows all the tax and financial regulations and requirements.  This said, it is important to note many Costa Rican attorneys are great at law but know nothing about accounting and taxes.  There are a few, very few, who are attorneys, notaries and certified accountants, too. Even more unique are the individuals who have C.P.A. credentials from the United States as well. 

Costa Rica does not allow compound interest, only simple, referred to as intereses sobre saldos or interest on the balance due. Balloon mortgages are legal, but many attorneys do not have the first clue as to what they are or how to write them up in a legal document for the Registro National. 

Balloon mortgages given to the right borrower can be a great source of extra retirement income without eroding principal when they are prepared correctly and adhere to the local laws.

Garland M. Baker is a 42-year resident and naturalized citizen of Costa Rica who provides multidisciplinary professional services to the international community.  Reach him at  Baker has undertaken the research leading to these series of articles in conjunction with A.M. Costa Rica.  Find the collection at, a complimentary reprint is available at the end of each article.  Copyright 2013. Use without permission prohibited.

After hitting wall, things just got worse and worse
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Police said that a man driving a small bus collided with the wall surrounding a home in Cariari, Pococí de Limón Saturday night.

When the occupants of the home emerged to inspect the damage, the driver pulled a gun, threatened them and then fled, said the Fuerza Pública.
The small bus was so heavily damaged that police
said they had no trouble tracking it down after neighbors called in a description.

When they caught up with a suspect, police found that he was carrying a 9-mm. pistol and 48 rounds of ammunition. In addition, he was being sought to answer an allegation of participation in a murder, said police.

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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Aug. 19, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 163

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At Architect Orange we are inspired by the visions of each of our clients, and have worked diligently to embody those visions in our work.

We have locations in Atenas (servicing Central Valley/Beach areas)
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Real estate agents and services

Clinas del
Jim Day, retirement specialist Representing Colinas del Sol del Pacifico, S. A
A fenced and gated project with the ex-pat hortaculturalist in mind. There are 88 clear-title hobby farms with water and electricity.  The layout is designed to provide ample space for your vegetable gardening ands fruit tree projects.
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Lic. Arcelio Hernandez Mussio, Jr.
With over a decade of experience in the fields of:
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Visit the website at:
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newspaper maskhead
Our readers opinion
Paying for parking at mall
will irk and reduce shoppers

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

On Tuesday last, we stopped at the MultiPlaza in Escazú for lunch in the course of running errands elsewhere in the neighborhood. As we pulled into the parking lot, it was apparent that the shopping center's management is about to begin charging for that open air parking as they do for covered parking. The gate arm apparatus and the machines where drivers must pay are all in place.

This is an aggravating development. Above-ground parking has always been free at the MultiPlaza, as it is almost everywhere else, including at competitors' locations. To begin charging creates an incentive not to patronize the mall and its tenant businesses. While there are a few stores and restaurants that are unique to the marketplace, they are not important enough to us to be irritated by the need to fool with the payment system or to stand the additional expense.

It's my understanding that the first hour of parking will be free, which should allow time for a quick lunch, but but not a leisurely one, but the cost thereafter, however small, will discourage strolling the mall and the resultant impulse purchases. What's more, even if our parking is free, we still have to locate and deal with the payment terminal.

I have no idea what the profitability of the MultiPlaza is to its owners, but the decision to charge for parking is unlikely to make up for the traffic that will certainly be lost.

David C. Murray

Decriminalizing marijuana
will ease prison crowding

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

In my years of experience in the field of addiction research, I came to recognize decades ago that marijuana is not as harmful as portrayed by a proselytizing press and a zealous government. I am glad that Dr. Sanjay Gupta joined the battle and spoke out for truth, but the truth was known decades ago. Dr. Gupta was kept from it by a veil of deceit.

It is a complex truth. Marijuana is harmful, not as harmful as alcohol, but harmful. In certain medical situations, unlike alcohol, it is beneficial, sometimes the best in its class. It is also a great example of government run riot, lying to the people, imposing remarkably harsh punishment on people for possession (and by extension, use) of the drug. Marijuana is indeed a gateway drug. Thanks to laws that make it illegal, users become part of an underground culture that includes other drugs far more addictive, and the criminality that goes along with all of them. Of course, alcohol is also on the fringes of this culture, and it, too, can be seen as a gateway drug by my definition, but not as strongly.

The now camp movie, "Reefer Madness," made in 1936, helped immensely to push through Harry Anslinger's signature law, the Marihuana (sic) Tax Act of 1937. In an interesting side note, the U.S. government spelled marijuana with a "h" rather than a "j" for years, even officially mandating the spelling in research reports as late as the 1970s. We researchers could only sigh and shake our heads at this display of grandiosity.

Research I conducted in the 1980s showed the bias inherent in the drug laws, clearly traceable to the prejudices of Anslinger and law enforcement of that era. What we found was that young black and Latino males arrested for marijuana possession in New Jersey were imprisoned at a much higher rate than were whites. The latter were often referred by the courts to treatment for their "marijuana addiction." Treatment programs were caught in the crossfire. Should they reject referrals based on the fact that these boys were not addicted? If they did so, they lost the funding and the adolescent went to jail. It was a no-win situation. It is still true that minorities are imprisoned at a higher rate for the same crime, although the gigantic discrepancy is slowly reducing. And it is still true that marijuana is only minimally "addictive."

As a high, marijuana is pleasurable, and, if made totally legal, would be consumed by a large proportion of the population. There would be repercussions, just as there are for alcohol. Drivers would have marijuana-associated accidents, as they do now at a lower rate. It would not lead to more violence. Marijuana is not at all like alcohol in that regard. It is the drug of the flower children. But it would be associated with what psychologists call amotivational syndrome. As with alcohol, folks with mental disorders would use it at higher rates, causing them more distress (or in some cases, more relief).

Certainly, decriminalizing personal use and possession of marijuana will help reduce prison populations now severely strained by zealous enforcement of archaic laws. Costa Rican prisons are almost as overcrowded as those in the States, thanks to the government here following the pressure exerted by the States. Overall, changing the laws and the attitudes behind them would have a positive effect.

John French

Article about female bias
had many untrue statements

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

The A.M. Costa Rica staff person who editorialized about the award given an older woman police officer obviously has a problem with women and is not a good journalist because he made so many ridiculous and untrue statements it is hard to know where to begin to address them.

President Chinchilla has recognized male police officers on various occasions.  Because she recognizes an older female officer, the writer says she is biased toward women.

Talk about “the ease with which a woman can get a male thrown out of the house” is probably the most uniformed statement this writer makes.  All you have to do is look at the statistics for the last 20 years in Costa Rica to see how many women have been killed by their husbands who had an injunction against them to not approach the woman or her home.  Do your homework before making such absurd statements.  This is one of the scandals of Costa Rica: that women are NOT protected by the police from current or former husbands even when they have secured injunctions to protect themselves.

An organization that helps women get credit is very necessary because most women, especially if they haven’t any credit history, find it impossible to get credit.  The famous Grameen Bank and more recently organizations in Latin America have found that the best way to help a family is to help women get credit, since they have an excellent history of paying back the loan as well as using the profits they make to advance and help their family avoid poverty.

So there’s “disproportionate news coverage in the murder of women?”  Could it possibly be that it is usually women who are killed by their cowardly husbands, ex-boyfriends, rapists, thieves, purse-snatchers, etc.

Costa Rica has enough macho men without gringos adding to that number.  All you have to do is look at the treatment our first female president has received from so many of them.

Richard and Jean Redmond

EDITOR'S NOTE; For the record, Jay Brodell, the editor, wrote the article in question.

Predicting earthquakes seen
as harder than making forecasts

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

A cold, hard statistical look at the science of earthquake prediction reveals that we seem to barely to have evolved since the ninth century A.D.

That’s the conclusion of statistician Nate Silver in his book “The Signal and the Noise.” Silver gained widespread attention in the most recent U.S. presidential election. He accurately predicted the winner of the presidential race in 49 of the 50 states and the winners in 35 U.S. Senate races.

His book dealing with the science of statistical analysis was published in 2012, reached The New York Times Bestseller List and was named by as the year’s best in nonfiction. Time magazine named him as one of the world’s 100 most influential people in 2009.

In his chapter on the history of earthquake predictions, Silver concludes that there has been almost no progress at all, compared to significant success in predicting hurricanes.

Silver makes an important distinction between “prediction” and “forecast.”

A prediction is a definitive and specific statement about when and where an earthquake will strike.  Example: a major earthquake will hit Kyoto, Japan, on June 28.”

A forecast is a probabilistic statement, usually over a longer time scale: Example: there is a 60 per cent chance of an earthquake in Southern California over the next 30 years.

When it comes to earthquakes, Silver says scientists have achieved success in forecasting but not in predicting. And is predicting that allows us to make plans that can protect us from earthquake threats. Forecasts don’t allow for contingency plans.

The U.S. Geological Survey‘s official position is that earthquakes cannot be predicted, but they can be forecasted.

Silver points out that new theories are constantly being put forth claiming to be able to predict earthquakes, and that some routinely receive support from the scientific community, only to be disproved over subsequent years.

“But the historical record of attempts to predict earthquakes is one of almost complete failure,” he concludes.

Silver is currently the editor-in-chief of ESPN”s FiveThirtyEight blog and a special corresponent for ABC News.
Greg Smith

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Each day someone complains via e-mail that the newspages are from yesterday or the day before. A.M. Costa Rica staffers check every page and every link when the newspaper is made available at 2 a.m. each week day.

So the problem is with the browser in each reader's computer. Particularly when the connection with the server is slow, a computer will look to the latest page in its internal memory and serve up that page.

Readers should refresh the page and, if necessary, dump the cache of their computer, if this problem persists. Readers in Costa Rica have this problem frequently because the local Internet provider has continual problems.


The A.M. Costa Rica search page has a list of all previous editions by date and a space to search for specific words and phrases. The search will return links to archived pages.


A typical edition will consist of a front page and six other newspages. Each of these pages can be reached by links near the top and bottom of the pages.


Classified pages are updated daily. Employment listings are free, as are listings for accommodations wanted, articles for sale and articles wanted. The tourism page and the real estate sales and real estate rentals are updated daily.

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Aug. 19, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 163
Real Estate
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Curator of Dead Sea Scrolls will be visiting this week
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Moria International Center, a center for biblical scholarship, formally opens its branch in Costa Rica this week.

Adolfo Roitman, who basically is the curator of the Dead Sea Scrolls, is expected to be present.

The center is associated with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and offers training in biblical Hebrew and other topics associated with the bible and Israel.

Roitman, who also is associated with the Moria Center, is expected to describe how to access the scrolls via the Internet.

These are the documents that came to light after the initial discover in a cave by Bedouin herdsmen. That was in 1947, and the search for more document continues.

Roitman is the curator of the  Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. He is a rabbi and obtained his doctorate at the Hebrew University. 
community rule scroll
Library of Congress photo
This is part of the Community Rule Scroll that was one of the more than 900 partial documents found in the Qumran caves.

The scrolls have been linked, although not conclusively, with residents of Qumran, which is near the 11 caves that contained documents. Many scholars attribute the scrolls to the inhabitants of that community who may have been the Essenes, who represented a branch of Jewish religious philosophy.

Among the scrolls is the earliest copy of the Book of Isaiah, which is in both the Jewish and Christian bibles. This copy was made about 100 B.C.

One Costa Rican arrest made so far in massive child porn sweep
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A 45-year-old man in Costa Rica is among 100 persons detained in a Latin American child pornography sweep, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.

The arrest here was Aug. 9 when judicial agent, operating under the auspices of the International Police Agency, searched  homes in San Francisco de Dos Ríos, Paso Ancho, Guápiles, Siquirres and Curridabat.

Agents here confiscated more than 1,600 CDS, 64 hard drives and 20 computers Aug. 9.

Three days earlier they also searched  homes in Alajuela,
Heredia and Curridabat and confiscated more material.

This case had its origins in an arrest by Spanish police of a man there who had a Web page where he offered to exchange child pornography.

The investigation spread to Chile, where agents there said they identified a network in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay and Venezuela, as well as Costa Rice.

The searches by police took place in a total of nine countries and 63 cities, said Interpol.

More arrests are likely in Costa Rica based on an examination of the confiscated material.

Police report they are getting a lot of repeat business
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Crooks appear to be able to do the crime and not do the time, at least in the area around La Fortuna.

Some evidence of this exists in the case of an arrest Thursday of  a car full of supermarket theft suspects. The car contained items such as rice, crackers and even toilet paper that appeared to have been stolen. The occupants had been detained in the past a total of more than 50 times, said the Fuerza Pública.

One person had been detained for theft and robbery 23 times. a companion had made the trip to the prosecutor's office 10 times, Another man had been detained 17 times. Three of the men had no papers, so they were remanded to the Dirección General de Migración. But the driver of the car had no police
record, so police just removed the plates from the vehicle, they said.

The second case involved two men who were detained on a home burglary allegation. The crime was in Barrio Los Olivos in La Fortuna. That was Aug. 12. One of the men was remanded to jail for preventative detention because he carried the backpack that contained the stolen items, but a companion was freed.

Two days later, Wednesday, police said they found the companion in another house, this time in the nearby  Barrio Dora. He was again brought to the  Tribunales de Flagrancia in San Carlos.

The judge let him go again, police said.

Del Rey HOtel

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Aug. 19, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 163
Real Estate
About us

Tourist police and volunteers join
to refurbish park in Quepos

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

As a public park falls into disrepair, unwanted elements move in, and that is what happened in Quepos, said the  Policía Turística.

Officers, young neighbors and other volunteers were out in force Saturday to begin rebuilding a park in  Barrio La Inmaculada.

They fixed up the swings, planted bushes and put in recycled vehicle tires for potential games.

In addition to the Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública, the work was sponsored by the Municipalidad de Aguirre, the Marina Pez Vela,  the local development association, the  Ministerio de Salud and the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social, as well as a youth business organization.

There was a lot of trash removal and painting. There were more than 50 participants for the two-day cleanup, said the ministry.
park fixup
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública
Police officer surveys work that was taking place Saturday in Quepos.

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Ready For a Vacation to Costa Rica? offers customized, upscale vacations to Costa Rica, planned by our team of in-country travel experts. Call us Toll Free: 1-800-606-1860 or locally in San Jose: 2296-7715.  We also offer trips to Panama, visit: Are you a fisherman? Our local experts will help arrange fishing trips to Costa Rica, just click HERE!

Ready For a Vacation to Costa Rica? offers customized, upscale vacations to Costa Rica, planned by our team of in-country travel experts. Call us Toll Free: 1-800-606-1860 or locally in San Jose: 2296-7715.  We also offer trips to Panama, visit: Are you a fisherman? Our local experts will help arrange fishing trips to Costa Rica, just click HERE!

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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Aug. 19, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 163
Real Estate
About us

Snowden facing charges
under World War I law

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden is now living in exile in Russia, fearful that if he returns to the United States he’ll be arrested on espionage charges.
The irony is that the charges against Snowden, who was a computer expert at the high-tech National Security Agency, come from a law that dates back to before most Americans could listen to the radio, much less watch TV or surf the Web.
The U.S. Justice Department’s charges against Snowden include theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified communications intelligence to an unauthorized person. The last two charges stem from the Espionage Act of 1917, passed during World War I.
Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at American University in Washington, is an expert on the Espionage Act.
“It was passed as a way of trying to prevent individuals who are privy to what the statute calls ‘information relating to the national defense,’ what we now understand to be classified information, from disclosing it, from sharing it, from posting it, from moving it – even from holding on to it if they are not authorized to hold on to it,” Vladeck said.
The Espionage Act, says Vladeck, has always been the principal tool the U.S. government uses to prosecute not only spies, but also those who leak classified information without authorization. In recent years, the Obama administration has especially active in using the law against leakers.
“There have actually been now about a dozen prosecutions of national security leakers under the Espionage Act,” he said. “And those prosecutions have raised a host of questions – the most difficult of which is if it’s a crime for someone like Snowden to distribute this information, isn’t it also potentially a crime for The Guardian, The New York Times – you and me – to distribute this information once you receive it?
“That’s the very dangerous line that most folks worry about when it comes to the Espionage Act,” Vladeck added.
Another legal expert who worries about the use of the nearly century-old law these days is Aziz Huq, a constitutional law and national security specialist at the University of Chicago. Huq says the Espionage Act is a very long and complicated law with a dozen or so provisions that can be interpreted in various ways.
Snowden worked as a contractor with the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, Maryland, just north of Washington D.C.

“One of my favorite examples of the breadth of the Espionage Act is that it’s arguable that every time someone reads a newspaper article that contains details of the documents that Snowden has released, they are committing a violation of the Espionage Act,” Huq said.
This is so, he explains, “because the Espionage Act can be read to include the receipt of information that you reasonably know was once classified and has never been declassified. So that’s how broad the Espionage Act goes.”
Vladeck says the Espionage Act also presents another difficulty for the modern day defendant – it doesn’t contain what has come to be known in later decades as the intent requirement.
“The government doesn’t have to show that someone who violates the Espionage Act meant to harm the United States or meant to help a foreign power or had some kind of bad faith motive,” Vladeck said. “All the government has to show is that the defendant knew or should have known that the information, if it got out, would harm the United States or would help a foreign power.”
And that has made a government prosecutor’s job fairly easy in espionage cases, he said.
Since it first took office in early 2009, the Obama administration has prosecuted seven cases against leakers, about half of all those brought under the Espionage Act. Vladeck says the idea is send a warning to prospective whistleblowers.
“That’s the government’s hope,” said Vladeck. “The government would not be so aggressively and so zealously pursuing these cases if it didn’t believe that one of the effects of these prosecutions would be to deter future whistleblowers.”

Mars Society asks students
to help plan its flyby mission

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S.-based Mars Society called on university students around the world to help advance plans for a manned mission to the planet during the 16th Annual International Mars Society Convention in the U.S. state of Colorado.
It has been about six months since the non-profit Inspiration Mars Foundation, founded by space tourist and multi- millionaire Dennis Tito, proposed launching a manned mission toward Mars in five years. The plan calls for one man and one woman to fly within 160 kilometers of Mars and return to Earth.   

While the crew is slated to be American, the process of getting to Mars is an international endeavor.

The president of the Mars Society, Robert Zubrin, announced a competition that calls on teams of students around the world to design a two-person Mars flyby mission that could be launched in 2018.

Designs will be judged on their cost, quality, simplicity and ability to launch in five years. The U.S. space agency, NASA, the Mars Society and Inspiration Mars will choose the judges.

Zubrin said both the contest and a Mars flyby have the power to spur innovation.

"We need to mobilize the talent of the world in support of this mission," said Zubrin. "Inspiration Mars, in part, was set up to inspire people and show how the challenge of humans to Mars could inspire a new generation to want to develop their minds to become scientists, engineers, technological entrepreneurs and researchers."

A Mars Society press release says the design competition is open to university engineering students worldwide. While teams can include alumni, professors and others, the bulk of the teams must be made up of students. Finalists would present their ideas at NASA's Ames Research Center in California.

Zubrin notes that he is not part of Inspiration Mars, but he considers its mission to be bold yet realistic with enough resources to succeed.

Implementation of Obamacare
on the agenda in Washington

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

After a week-long vacation, U.S. President Barack Obama will focus on proposals to strengthen the still-recovering American economy.  The agenda includes implementation of his signature and politically polarizing initiative to reform the nation’s health care system.

The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare as some call it, expands federal health care programs for the needy and encourages Americans of all income groups to purchase private health care insurance.

“If you do not have insurance, beginning on October 1st, private plans will actually compete for your business.  You can comparison shop in an online marketplace, just like you would for cell phone plans or plane tickets.  You may be eligible for new tax credits to help you afford the plan that’s right for you.  And if you are in the up to half of all Americans who have been sick or have a preexisting condition, this law means that beginning January 1st, insurance companies have to cover you," he said.

Health-care spending accounts for one-seventh of U.S. economic activity, and is projected to increase to one-fifth in coming years.  The cost has a direct bearing on America’s economic and fiscal well being.  Enacted in 2010, the Affordable Care Act aims to control costs and expand access to health care.  The effort is a colossal failure, according to Republican lawmakers like Tim Griffin and Todd Young.

“Republicans will continue to do everything we can to protect all Americans from the president's top-down, one-size-fits-all, Washington-knows-best approach to health care that is driving up costs and hurting our economy," said Griffin.

Young added, “The sooner we can delay, dismantle, and repeal the president's health-care law, the sooner we can get people back to work and focus on expanding opportunity for everyone.”

The president accuses Republicans of putting partisanship ahead of Americans’ health-care needs. “A lot of Republicans seem to believe that if they can gum up the works and make this law fail, they will somehow be sticking it to me.  But they would just be sticking it to you.  Your health insurance is not something to play politics with.  Our economy is not something to play politics with," he said.

The success or failure of Obamacare could shape the president’s legacy long after he leaves office.

NASA graphic
A drawing of what Voyage I may look like today.

Voyager in interstellar space
or maybe not, astronomers say

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Eleven billion miles and 36 years after its launch, some researchers say the Voyager 1 spacecraft has finally left our solar system and entered interstellar space.

Researchers at the University of Maryland who made the claim realize it’s a controversial view, but they say their model indicates the spacecraft left the solar system over a year ago on July 27, 2012, to be exact.

Voyager is truly beginning its travels through the Milky Way, said University of Maryland research scientist Marc Swisdak, lead author of a new paper published online this week in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

The U.S. space agency, NASA, which operates Voyager, has recently published papers saying Voyager 1 is still in a zone influenced by the Sun called the heliopause, something the Maryland researchers call a fuzzily defined transition zone that is both of unknown structure and location.

The controversy lies over the importance in the shift of the magnetic field as the probe passes out of the Sun’s influence compared to the level of solar particles and galactic particles measured by the spacecraft.

Swisdak says looking at the magnetic field difference — as NASA is doing — may be the wrong indicator. He says that while you might expect a shift in the magnetic field once outside the solar system, “there’s no reason to think the magnetic fields should have anything to do with one another.”

“What we’re arguing is that a lack of shift is consistent with going outside the solar system,” he said.

Swisdak says that while magnetic data should not be ignored, the particle data is more compelling.

According to Swisdak’s research, there were successive dips in the solar particles with a corresponding increase in galactic electrons and protons. Researchers say that last summer, the solar particle counts disappeared and only galactic particles remained.

The magnetic data is consistent with leaving the solar system, he said.

Swisdak argues that the NASA’s heliopause is not a surface neatly separating outside and inside.  His research concludes rather that it’s “both porous to certain particles and layered with complex magnetic structure.”

At the edges of the heliopause, Swisdak’s research showed that there is a complex set of nested magnetic islands that he says, “spontaneously arise in a magnetic field due to a fundamental instability.”

Within these magnetic islands, drops in solar particle counts and surges in galactic particle counts can occur even without changes in the magnetic fields.

Swisdak calls the longevity of Voyager impressive considering that is computers are less powerful than the average smart phone or pocket calculator.

Talking about the controversy over whether or not the space probe has left the solar system, Swisdak says that on one level, it’s important because Voyager 1 is providing humanity’s first measurements outside the cocoon of the sun.

On a scientific level, he says “a lot of astronomy is done on an indirect basis.”

“This gives us our first measurements of what it’s like out there,” he said.

Launched in 1977, Voyager 1’s primary mission was the exploration of Jupiter and Saturn.  The probe discovered active volcanoes on Jupiter’s moon Io and showed the intricacies of Saturn’s rings.

Voyager is also well-known for carrying greetings from Earth on a gold plated phonograph record containing sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth.

Voyager 1 continues to send back data and has enough power to keep operating until 2020. But given its vast distance, that data takes almost 18 hours to get back to Earth.

Digital trade and barriers
outlined in new U.S. report

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A new U.S. government report Thursday highlighted both the growing importance of digital trade to the United States and a long list of trade barriers that American Internet and other online companies face around the world.
“The increase in digital trade is having a significant impact on the U.S. and global economy,” the U.S. International Trade Commission said in the first of two reports on the issue requested by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus at the urging of Sen. Ron Wyden, both Democrats.
“This report shows that the digital economy represents an American trade advantage but it also identified barriers that are stifling further growth,” Wyden said.
As U.S. trade negotiators pursue free trade agreements in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, “it is important that these barriers are addressed so that U.S. digital trade can reach its full potential as a driving force behind the U.S. economy,” the Oregon senator said.
The study comes as the United States is pushing in trade talks to open new markets for leading U.S. internet companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft, which have already helped make the United States the world's largest exporter of digital services.
That has become more complicated after revelations that the National Security Agency was mining personal data from top U.S. internet companies including under a secret program named Prism.
The Washington-based Information Technology and Innovation Foundation this month estimated U.S. cloud computing providers could lose $21.5 billion to $35.0 billion in revenue over the next three years if foreign customers decide the risk of storing data with a U.S. company outweighed the benefits.
The German government responded this week to concerns raised by the Prism surveillance program by agreeing on initial plans to boost European technology companies and make them a more favorable alternative to U.S. peers.
In its report, the Trade Commission acknowledged the difficulty of estimating digital trade because of the lack of a standard definition and shortcomings in available data.
But U.S. exports of digitally-enabled services, one measure of digital trade, totaled $356.1 billion in 2011, a 26 percent increase from $282.1 billion in 2007, covering areas such as financial services, retail services, professional services, healthcare, logistics and education, the commission said.
Europe, with its strong Internet infrastructure, is the most important digital trading partner for the United States and is also an important destination for U.S. digital trade-related foreign direct investment, the commission said.
One impediment to increased trade are foreign government  policies that compel digital companies to use local data servers, technology and inputs or that provide procurement preferences for local firms, the report said.
Many localization requirements are justified on data privacy grounds, and it is often challenging to determine whether they are imposed for that purpose or to favor the country's domestic firms, said the commission.

Different approaches to data privacy protection can also be an obstacle to trade, an issue that U.S. firms hope to address in talks with the 27-nation European Union on the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership pact.
In another area, U.S. music, book, software and movie companies view digital piracy of copyrighted material as their biggest obstacle to increased online exports, while internet intermediaries such as Google and Facebook are more concerned about foreign laws that could hold them liable for the actions of users on their networks.
In one instance, “the Italian government brought a criminal case against several Google executives for a video posted by a YouTube user that showed the bullying of a disabled student, despite the fact that Google had a notice and take-down system in place that resulted in the prompt removal of the video from the site,” the commission said.
U.S. digital companies complain that censorship in countries including China, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia also hurts their business operations, as do restrictive immigration policies and complicated customs procedures, the report said.

Presumed leader of cartel
is captured in México

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Mexican authorities have captured a key leader of the Gulf Cartel drug smuggling organization who has been wanted in the United States since 2008.
The man, Mario Ramírez Trevino, was arrested Saturday near the border with Texas.
The U.S. State Department had offered a $5 million reward for Ramírez Trevino.
Also Saturday, at least 23 bodies have been found in western Mexico where local vigilante groups are battling drug cartels for control.
Mexican law enforcement officials said nine men, their hands bound and shot, were found Saturday in Michoacan state where local residents have been fighting the Knights Templar drug cartel.
In neighboring Guerrero state, another 14 bodies were found.
None of the victims has been identified and no one has claimed responsibility for the violence.
The government of President Enrique Peña Nieto has deployed thousands of troops in the troubled area in an effort to curb the drug-related violence.

Soft drinks are linked
 to disruptive children

By the Elsevier news staff

Americans buy more soft drinks per capita than people in any other country. These drinks are consumed by individuals of all ages, including very young children. Although soft drink consumption is associated with aggression, depression, and suicidal thoughts in adolescents, the relationship had not been evaluated in younger children. A new study scheduled for publication in The Journal of Pediatrics finds that aggression, attention problems, and withdrawal behavior are all associated with soft drink consumption in young children.

Shakira Suglia and colleagues from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, University of Vermont, and Harvard School of Public Health assessed approximately 3,000 5-year-old children enrolled in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, a prospective birth cohort that follows mother-child pairs from 20 large U.S. cities. Mothers reported their child’s soft drink consumption and completed a checklist based on their child’s behavior during the previous two months. The researchers found that 43 percent of the children consumed at least one serving of soft drinks per day, and 4 percent consumed four or more.

Aggression, withdrawal, and attention problems were associated with soda consumption. Even after adjusting for sociodemographic factors, maternal depression, intimate partner violence, and paternal incarceration, any soft drink consumption was associated with increased aggressive behavior. Children who drank four or more soft drinks per day were more than twice as likely to destroy things belonging to others, get into fights, and physically attack people. They also had increased attention problems and withdrawal behavior compared with those who did not consume soft drinks.

According to Suglia, “We found that the child’s aggressive behavior score increased with every increase in soft drinks servings per day.” Although this study cannot identify the exact nature of the association between soft drink consumption and problem behaviors, limiting or eliminating a child’s soft drink consumption may reduce behavioral problems.

Spinal fluid test can find
markers for future Alzheimer's

By the Chempetitive Group news staff

A study published last week reported the identification of what may be the earliest known biomarker associated with the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease . The results suggest that this novel potential biomarker is present in cerebral spinal fluid at least a decade before signs of dementia manifest.

"If our initial findings can be replicated by other laboratories, the results will change the way we currently think about the causes of Alzheimer's disease," said Ramon Trullas, research professor at the CSIC Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona and lead author of the study that was published in Annals of Neurology. "This discovery may enable us to search for more effective treatments that can be administered during the preclinical stage."

Alzheimer's disease affects more than five million Americans and is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. At present, the only way to accurately diagnose the disease is by post-mortem neuropathological analysis. The relationship of currently known biomarkers with the cause of the disease is unclear, making it nearly impossible to diagnose preclinical stages of the disease with any real certainty.

The CSIC researchers demonstrated that a decrease in the content of mitochondrial DNA in spinal fluid may be a preclinical indicator for Alzheimer's disease. Furthermore, there may be a directly causative relationship. The hypothesis is that decreased DNA levels reflect the diminished ability of mitochondria to power the brain's neurons, triggering their death.

The decrease in the concentration of DNA precedes the appearance of well-known biochemical Alzheimer's biomarkers, suggesting that the pathophysiological process of Alzheimer's disease starts earlier than previously thought and that mitochondrial DNA depletion may be one of the earliest predictors for the disease.


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Call Today @ 506-2654-5507 (Costa Rica) or 1-888-414-1836 (Toll-Free) Email:

Costa Rica,

Central America
Houses, lots and farms in Grecia,
western Central Valley.
Great climate
and safe communities.
Grecia estate
This is the BIGGEST DEAL of the month now at $850.000: HERE!
Sarchi home
Modern three-bedroon home in San Rafael de Sarchí. Cick HERE!
 Great deals for you!
Visit our Web Site:
 English: (Cristian Arce)
English:  (Luis Arce)
 Español: (Luis G. Jiménez)

   (506) 8538-6186
   (506) 7100-8489
   (506) 8707-4016

  Send us your request to our email:

Real estate for sale (paid category)

humming bird nest

Bed & Breakfast for sale and personal home with 2 houses on property of 3/4 acre (3,030 m2) and buildings w/verandas & carport approximately 350 m2. One house at entrance is central to village w/gated parking lot and a 3-bedroom house for rental or employees/family w/carport/yard/gardens. A 50-meter sendero winds to the top among lush gardens where the main house is situated w/2 buildings attached by verandas & stairway to second floor.  There are 2 bedrooms, sala, 4 baths, large kitchen, laundry rooms, work bodega, storage bodega and hot tub on veranda w/tiled shower room.  Home is surrounded by tropical gardens, views of Arenal Volcano, panoramic views of Lake Arenal, private w/school owned property on one side, pasture land on back side and connecting entry gate on other side to Cabinas El Castillo & Fusion Restaurant.  A bird watcher's paradise w/hummingbirds, Montezuma, toucans, butterflies and visits from howler monkeys.  The B&B is listed four consecutive editions of Lonely Planet and the first established B&B in this area.  Photos can be viewed on the Web site:  Make your dream come true with a slice of paradise in a quiet, private setting. Call Ellen Neely at  8835-8711.  Email:

Liberia farm
Must Sell - Immediately
Guanacaste - Liberia Farm

9 hectares (24 acres)
$ 0.66 cents per square meter
Riverfront property and amazing views of 3 volcanoes
10 minutes from Liberia center
$59,500 plus all legal fees

Naranjo views


4254 msq. 1.2 acres - $59,000.00
• 10 minutes to the autopista and Naranjo centro
• Tranquil and Quiet
• Landscaped with fruit trees and flowering plants, and coffee#
• Incredible views - The Central Valley and nature reserve
• Close to public transportation - paved main road
• Building pad prepared and soil tested
• Survey/topo
• All services in place and underground - water/electricity/phone

Playa Palo Seco - Gorgeous beachfront 2-story home of roughly 2,000 square feet set on a half acre ocean front full of beautiful fruit and shade trees in Playa Palo Seco.
Playa Paol Seco
This home features two bedrooms, three full baths, high quality A/C units, huge front and backyard, and of course, a fantastic view of the Pacific Ocean just feet away from the front door! Playa Palo Seco is only minutes from  the tourist hot spot Jacó but far enough away to be quiet and tranquil. This is an incredible opportunity at $150,000! Owner financing is available! Visit for more information!

El Castillo - Up to 60-acre tract with breathtaking views of Volcán Arenal and Lake
Arenal are available. Multiple GORGEOUS home building sites are scattered throughout this area. This is definitely a one-of-a-kind piece of land that cannot be replicated. Perfectly suited for either real estate investment, homebuilding, or even a resort. Owner financing  is available! Please visit us at for more information!

San Ramon - Beautiful tracts of land of all shapes and sizes for sale in the San Ramón
San Ramon
area. Vista Rica Realty has been in the business for over 20 years which allows us to outcompete in not only selection, but also price. Oceanview homesites from only $30,000 with easy access to San Ramón. Up to 90-hectare fincas perfect for raising cattle or an off-the-grid project. Owner financing is available! Please visit us at for more information!

Guiones retreat
Approximately half acre on the beach with private path to the surf. Very private three-home complex with pool, spacious patios with two wet bars, barbeque and yoga area. Featuring a three-bedroom ranch style home plus a two story Mexican villa style home with two master suites, large kitchen and living area with ocean views and breezes upstairs and a garden apartment downstairs with separate entrance. A caretaker's or teenager's cottage and lots of space for expansion. PRICED FOR QUICK SALE: $899,000.  Call 506 8867-8883 or

Monte Mar
Hacienda Monte Mar
Gated Community near the beach
located halfway between Jaco and Quepos/Manuel Antonio
 BEST DEAL in Costa Rica!!! Lots starting at just $18,500 with financing available.
 Lot/ House packages from around $60,000
Great Retirement, Vacation, or investment option!
Lots of wildlife on the property. Gated front entrance, caretakers on site,
security and lawn maintenance, no time limit to build. Absentee Owner Friendly.
Water and power on site.
USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
CR Cell 011 506 8718-9891

Beautiful fully renovated house in Bello Horizonte, Escazu, 446 sq. meters. Four bedrooms; four baths. Price includes all furniture and fixtures - ready to move in! Light, bright and airy....$550,000 USD. Telephone 2288.6451. More details HERE!

Condo for sale in Flamingo

Ocean view 3-bedroom, 3 1/2-bathroom condo. Designer furnished 1,800 square feet, gated community. Only six units. Huge pool and balcony, pet friendly, parking, walking distance to Flamingo beach, banks, grocery store, farmacia, etc. New building. $349,000 asking. Ask for photos. 8705-0056. or 1-800-536-2322.

Casa de Eden
For sale by owner Playa Conchal home. Reduced $329,000

Casa de Eden is an ocean view three-bedroom, 2.5-bath, with outdoor shower, private pool located only minutes from Playa Conchal.  The home is in a private, secure community surrounded by nature but still only 20 minutes to the resort towns of Flamingo & Tamarindo and less than an hour from the Liberia airport. There is 2,600 square feet under the roof, which includes a large outdoor terrace and has phone, Internet & satellite TV. The home boasts luxury finishings: AC & ceiling fans, Frigidaire professional series stainless steel appliances, granite kitchen countertops, marble bathroom vanities, custom wood cabinetry, ceramic tile.  Contact  U.S. 1-800-939-2617 or CR (506) 8349-2025.

San Pedro condo
Condo for Sale in Flor del Este
Lourdes, Montes de Oca San Jose

Located behind The Foundation Costa Rica Canada 500 meters north of Inglesia Lourdes. U Latina, UCR, and U Fieditas are located within 5 minutes.  Beautiful mountain view from roof covered 3rd floor terraza. Condo is a 3-story. Three/four-bedroom, three and half bath unit within a secure complex of 40 condos with high cement outside walls with only one entrance manned by an armed guard 24 hours per day. In addition, to security fencing, and electric wire, a recorded security camera system is monitored within the guard house. Residence has a telephone communication system to contact the guard house. In addition there is a green park area inside the complex for children to safely play and an outside parking area in from of guard house for visitors. Equipped with an independent wired security system in addition to iron bars on windows and patio doors. Equipped with circuit breaker box and 220-volt service for hot water heater, stove and dryer. Also has water storage tank under parking area and water pump to maintain high pressure on all three floors. American-style washer and electric dryer, Refrigerator, glass top stove, and kitchen cabinets included. $185,000. Other furniture items may be available for purchase.
Call Bill   (English) C.R. Phone: (506) 6011-6987
U.S. Phone:  6630-886-4458  or   (305) 848- 5577
Spanish  phone number: (506) 8799 4041

Guaancaate condos
Little Dreams La Colina Magnolias

Great Guanacaste Beach Condos Available

$28,500 - Little Dreams - Ocotal beach studio condo, furnished upper floor condo in great complex just 1 mile from Ocotal beach, 2 miles from Coco beach, great price for this complex.
$70,000 - La Colina - another Ocotal beach 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo, 80 m2 and fully furnished with upgraded kitchen, complex has Infinity pool, mountain views.

$75,000 Magnolias 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath townhome just 1 minute's walk from Coco beach and the 2 beach clubs in Coco. Nicely furnished, walk to town, 67 m2, perfect location.
Find out more information on these and other condos at my website All 3 of these condos are about 35 minutes away from Liberia Intl. airport, no need to drive a long way to get to your condo.  Call for more information, 1-415-670-9382 or 011-506-826-1211. Or email

Rich Coast Montage
Central Pacific Coast Real Estate, from Jaco to Quepos/Manuel Antonio
- 2 Bedroom House in Gated Community near the beach, $89,000!!
 - Beachfront Residential Lots from $58,000
- Coffee Shop/ Bakery, Coastal Town, Great Location, Real Estate Office Upstairs, Turnkey $85,000 Great ROI
- Lots in Gated Community near the beach from $18,500,
with Financing Available!!
- 3 Bedroom House in Gated Community, furnished, walk to the beach, $120k
 1.25 acre + lots in ECO Development $39,000
- 58-acre Oceanview Property subdividable, $169k
and much more....
USA Toll Free 1 866 833 4005
CR Cell 011 506 8718 9891

Spectacular view property on a ridge near Alajuela.  Large home and 3 rental homes totaling 7,300 square feet (678 square meters) live-in construction.  Property area is 3,376 square meters (0.83 acres) including a vacant lot for expansion options.  In total there are 10 bedrooms, each with an ensuite bath.  Property has pool, rancho, mirador, courtyard and covered parking.  Homes have romantic fireplaces, built-ins, storage, other luxury features.  Turnkey sale includes all appliances, furniture, fixtures, equipment.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at  See property video here:

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:

Arenal Colonial
Property for sale, great potential income
Turnkey business $350K. Rental $1,250/month This luxury home (4,000 square feet and two story private home) is a botanical paradise overlooking beautiful Lake Arenal. Only one block from the lake park and boat ramp. Close to Tabacón hot springs and Monteverde cloud forest. Caño Negro national park and many beautiful beaches along the Pacific are only a short drive away. Costa Rica bird watching, wind surfing, fishing, water sports, ecotourism adventures, hiking, tennis and mountain biking are out your front door. Also has a wonderful view of the Arenal Volcano, a safe 25 miles away. Electric gated entrance. Safe private home and entire property. To see more pictures and info, click here:

Jacó compound
Located in Jacó at Barrio Ricos y Famosos in Calle Europa, Casa Shangri La.
Main house: 3 bedrooms, 3 bath 270 square meters, 2 condominiums 2 bedrooms, one bath, 110 square meters, plus one small apartment. one bedroom, one bath. Huge pool, carport for five cars. plus double garage, rancho with pool bathroom,  gymnasium, laundry room, pool plumbing room, huge dog house in separate 500 square-meter garden with aviary for Guacamayas (we have three birds) 60 meters of river front of Río Copey with a 4 meter-high protective and retention stone wall. Eight surveillance camera CCTV system with Internet access from anywhere. Over 2 meter-high brick wall all around the property with two layers of razor wires on top, the safest place to be! Electronic entrance gate, door phone, five telephone lines, high-speed Internet wireless access everywhere. Beautiful gardens with many fruit trees. Price $ 1,350.000 negotiable. All fittings and furniture, included even a car. Owner financing available. German-built, excellent quality and well maintained. More photos on request.

Nicoya views
Property with ocean and gulf view for sale
Tranquil million dollar view, 5,000-sq.meter property with 3/2 home built to American standards, artistically designed and decorated, 16-foot ceilings of mango and tamarindo, appliances, plunge pool, rancho, caretaker apartment, workshop, covered parking, views of Gulf of Nicoya and ocean, in countryside near San José to Caldera highway. Near the lovely town of Esparza. Can provide extra income from bed and breakfast room rental and stellar Tripadvisor reviews. $180,000 506-8869-9274.

For Sale By Owner
1 lot (1.5 acres)  at SIBU (8 lots total) amongst 50 acres of protected jungle gardens with sunset ocean views of Playa Nosara. Underground electric and water.13 minutes from Playa Guiones. Gated. In house financing available. Home of SIBU Sanctuary.

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

Business for sale or lease (paid category)7115-12/16/11

Live the dream!
Several profitable businesses, including a regional radio station, are for sale in Costa Rica. Certain purchases can provide the new owner with residency as well as a great lifestyle. So live your dream while making a profit. Contact:

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Real estate for sale
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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Aug. 19, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 163
Real Estate
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News from the BBC up to the minute

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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute

Facebook hurts well-being,
university study reports

By the University of Michigan news service

Facebook use actually predicts declines in a user's well-being, according to a University of Michigan study that is the first known published research examining Facebook influence on happiness and satisfaction.

The study about the use of Facebook, a free networking Web site, appears online in PLOS ONE.

"On the surface, Facebook provides an invaluable resource for fulfilling the basic human need for social connection," said  social psychologist Ethan Kross, lead author of the article and a faculty associate at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research. "But rather than enhance well-being, we found that Facebook use predicts the opposite result — it undermines it."

"This is a result of critical importance because it goes to the very heart of the influence that social networks may have on people's lives," said university cognitive neuroscientist John Jonides, another author of the paper.

For the study, the researchers recruited 82 young adults, a core Facebook user demographic. All of them had smart phones and Facebook accounts. They used experience-sampling — one of the most reliable techniques for measuring how people think, feel, and behave moment-to-moment in their daily lives — to assess their subjective well-being by texting them at random times five times a day for two weeks.

Each text message contained a link to an online survey with five questions:

* How do you feel right now?

* How worried are you right now?

* How lonely do you feel right now?

* How much have you used Facebook since the last time we asked?

* How much have you interacted with other people directly since the last time we asked?

The study found that the more people used Facebook during one time period, the worse they subsequently felt. The authors also asked people to rate their level of life satisfaction at the start and end of the study. They found that the more participants used Facebook over the two-week study period, the more their life satisfaction levels declined over time.

Importantly, the researchers found no evidence that interacting directly with other people via phone or face-to-face negatively influenced well-being. Instead, they found that direct interactions with other people led people to feel better over time.

They also found no evidence for two alternative possible explanations for the finding that Facebook undermines happiness. People were not more likely to use Facebook when they felt bad. In addition, although people were more likely to use Facebook when they were lonely, loneliness and Facebook use both independently predicted how happy participants subsequently felt.

"Thus, it was not the case that Facebook use served as a proxy for feeling bad or lonely," Kross said.

"This is the advantage of studying Facebook use and well-being as dynamic processes that unfold over time," said emotion researcher Philippe Verduyn, another co-author of the article. "It allows us to draw inferences about the likely causal sequence of Facebook use and well-being."

The researchers hope to conduct additional research with participants from a variety of age groups to examine the generalizability of these results and the psychological mechanisms that underlie them.

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From Page 7:

Cheese It! The word police are here!

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Who would have thought that more international trade would result in conflicts over the names of foods?

Such disputes also have spawned an organization in the United States called the Consortium for Common Food Names. The battleground of late is the trade agreement between Central America and the European Union.

Countries, such as Italy, have their noses out of joint over what are called  geographical indication applications, that is the application of a geographical name to a food product. For example, Ireland wants to safeguard the name of Irish whiskey, and France seeks to protect the name Bordeaux for its wine. These names are not in dispute.

When it comes to cheese, the Italians are seeking to protect names that appear to have been in the public domain for years. The controversy has blocked approval of the free trade treaty with the European Union as it applies to Costa Rica and El Salvador. Costa Rican producers market cheese with the names Italy seeks to protect.

The Consortium for Common Food names called the European Union action heavy-handed and extortion. In a release,  Jaime Castaneda, executive director, decried the attempt at monopolization of well-known terms such as parmesan, provolone, fontina and gorgonzola. He noted that Central American producers have been making these products with these names for years.

“No one country or entity should own common food names,” Castaneda said.“If such efforts are successful, consumers will no longer recognize many of their favorite foods. Producers around the world will be forced to consider relabeling potentially billions of dollars’ worth of food products.

“Arguing that any one group should have an exclusive right to use such names is like claiming that only Italians should be permitted to use the term pizza,” he said when the organization was formed more than a year ago. He also is senior vice president of trade policy at the U.S. Dairy Export Council