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UjENA Insider

Stay up to date on what is happening around the World through the eyes of Ujena and our Ujena Network members. When you see a story that should appear here, post it along with a photo and be at the top of the Ujena news. Each post (keep them no more than 300 words or less) is worth 10 points for Ujena Dollars. Posts have to be confirmed before they are live and in some cases this can take up to 24 hours.
July 11 - Cory Booker raises $4.6 million in 3 months

Newark Mayor Cory Booker raised $4.6 million in the past three months for his U.S. Senate campaign, a major showing of financial strength with the primary in his special election just more than a month away, POLITICO has learned. Booker’s fundraising total on the year is now $6.5 million, as he prepares to run in a crowded primary to be the Democratic nominee in the special election in October to replace the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg. He ended the quarter with $4.5 million in cash on hand. He recently started airing cable ads in the New York and Philadelphia markets, both of which are among the most expensive in the country. His team said that 2,027 of the donations were from New Jersey residents. There were 7,000 contributions overall, with 6,000 coming from first-time donors. His campaign manager noted the “unprecedented’ nature of the special election — it falls a few weeks before New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will be running for reelection in November — and said the numbers show confidence in the campaign. At minimum, they show that Booker’s fundraising prowess remains intact. And he has cash reserves for the final push in the truncated primary cycle.
Guess we will never get new insiders?
I want some of this money...
This post is 3 months old! Nothing new in the world? The govt has shut down!
We need the money... lol
And we are in a deficit... ;-)
Are we suppose to keep commenting!!!
At least we don't have to read these to keep commenting on the same old news
Any new stories coming any time soon?
My bank account would be a good somewhere else Robby!
We need the money some where else...;-)
It would be nice to have a big pay day
I could use a payday like this
Teach me
mr booker
who is the money maker here?
true words
Mr Booker to the front of the class
I need to know how they do that!!!
Kinda makes me sick...;-)
that's a lot
I wish I knew Destiny!
Gee what is his secret!!!
How much accounting goes into this and what happens to the money unspent on the campaign?
I need to do this! LOL
This is my new marketing guy
wow what a story
I want this guy on my team
raise the $$$
this mans on my team..
That's good
Still allot of cash... wow!
Better use of money could be used
I have always wondered about the money as well, George... ;-)
way to go
if we took all the campaign money, and money spent on elections, it would pay our national debt. it huge, think about it, all the people running for seats, mayors, governors, senate, all the way to President.
Thats a nice days pay::0))
June 27 - Duck gets 3-D-printed replacement for foul foot

Buttercup the duckling hatched in November last year with one foul foot — his left flipper bent backwards and faced the wrong way. When his caregivers discovered he had trouble walking, they decided to suit him up with a replacement. Since custom-made feet are hard to come by, Mike Garey, Buttercup's friend at the Feathered Angels Waterfowl Sanctuary in Arlington, Tenn., decided to make a twin. The only way to get a foot for Buttercup, Melissa Ragsdale, president of 3-D printing services at NovaCopy in Nashville told NBC News, was to "scan Buttercup's sister's foot and turn that into a 3-D model and print that out." That's exactly what Garey did, with a little help from NovaCopy. Buttercup got his wonky leg surgically removed in February. Now that his stump is fully healed stump, a webbed plastic foot, a replica of his sister Minnie's foot, fits over Buttercup's "knee" and stays in place so he can walk around or swim just like any other two-footed duck, Ragsdale explained. "This particular foot took 13 hours to print," she said. The translucent foot is made of a light-sensitive polymer and is about as bendy as a credit card, Ragsdale said. NovaCopy decided to donate the model to Buttercup, but it would otherwise have cost about $50. Buttercup will break in two 3-D-printed prototypes before being fitted with a webbed, flexible silicone prosthetic.
Feet are very important whether you are a duck or a human being.
funny stuff here lol
Very nice technology
Lets see who uses it first and release's it to the public... ;-)
Very cool stuff...;-)
They do neat stuff now days!!!!!!
Ok, I agree!!!
Commenting on this is making me quackers
Nice warm story
I like this ...;-)
This was great the first time I read it
Wonders of modern technology
Nice story
3D printer will be fun
Technology at its finest. Better than what could be printed out on those things.
sounds like a great little toy
3D bikinis?
3-D printers good or bad?
I agree with that!!!!
The things science can do...;-)
I want one
I like duck stories
I like ducks at a distance!!
Cute little quacker!
peking duck
There will wind up being a movie made about this. Remarkable!
webbed feet are in
ducky keen
this is for real
Quawk Quawk
Rubber Ducky
3 D feet
these are cool
Love this... ;-)
this is a feel good story
Wow, science...;-)
webbed feet for mee please
3-d prints look like they will be FUN
webbed feet
New technology soon everyone will have a 3d printer
cool stuff
3d printers are amazing
It's nice that people take care of animals
June 20 - Three-year-old Charlotte boy hears for the first time

They're all layers of sound many of us don't even notice, but three-year-old Grayson Clamp just started hearing them for the first time three weeks ago. Grayson was born completely deaf. He's missing the cochlear nerves which act like a bridge in the ear. They help us process and hear sound. His parents, Len and Nicole Clamp, wanted to help Grayson anyway they could. They tried a cochlear implant, which did not work. Then they heard about a research trial for children at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill. Grayson is the first child in the United States to have what's called an "auditory brain stem implant." A microchip implanted in his brain helps process and recognize sound which travels through tubes to his ear. "We don't know exactly what it's like for him," said Grayson's mom, Nicole Clamp. "We don't know exactly what he hears. His brain is still trying organize itself to use sound." She and Len say their job now is to teach Grayson how to process the sound. When the device was installed and went active, Grayson heard his father's voice for the first time. Grayson's face lit up the room. "It's been phenomenal for us," said his father, Len. They first met Grayson as a newborn in foster care. They adopted him as soon as they could. The Clamps say they felt God's calling to help medically challenged children. They have given Grayson the gift of sound, but he has given them a gift as well. Nicole says it's a thrill to see him play and watch how the world of sound is changing his life.
awe this is great!
Love this.... ;-)
I love this...;-)
I love this story...;-)
Wonderful =)
My sister-in-law finds kids adoptive parents
I am getting positively giddy commenting on this again!
Just makes me happier everyday
Such a blessing
truly amazing
wow thats true
Yes it is!!!!!!
good stuff
I just love this story...;-)
Gotta love a happy ending!
That is great!!
Thank God that miracles never cease
One of my kids had the cochlear implants. Thank God they worked for him.
what did you say?
wonders never cease
good stuff
amazing things happen
Gotta love technology!
nice story
So glad for him.... ;-)
nice stuff
his experssion was cool when he heard his dad's voice for the first time
Science and doctors are incredible
Saw this on the national news this week!
This is great :)
Amazing stuff
What a great story.... ;-)
June 20 - Instagram launches video feature

Instagram announced Thursday that its photo-sharing app will now be able to record, edit and share videos. Instagram's co-founder Kevin Systrom made the announcement at a press event at Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. after being introduced by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Instagram's new feature will give users the ability to record 15 seconds of video, delete unwanted clips, choose from 13 filters to apply and customize a preview image. Users will be able to see the video in their Instagram feed, which will play only once when prompted. Systrom also unveiled an image-stabilizing feature called "cinema." The new feature puts Instagram in direct competition with Twitter-owned Vine. The video-sharing app launched in January and gained popularity quickly. Instagram's new features are immediately available on iOS and Android devices, as well as the Web. Instagram reported 130 million monthly users, 16 billion photos shared and 1 billion likes every day. The photo-sharing app was bought by Facebook last year for $715 million.
so many social networking choices now
A good feature... ;-)
Love this featrue....;-)
Fun Fun Fun
I used instagram before I started the Charter school!!!
Still got it!
Ho hum
Got it. Use it
Not interested
This is way cool.
Yawn! Let me know when they decide to link the photos to suggested sites. I'll be having fun with something else.
big brother vis grabbing your rights
super news
how is it working
Love it and have fun with it....;-)
Not true
I am too old for all this new fanged stuff!
I like instagram!!!
the world wide web
My daughter is an instagram junkie.
insta dam
instagram is winning
big bro is watching
instigram is scary
This is great news for my son in law. He loves posting on Instagram!
videos are hot
its cool
Love this for sure...;-)
I love this for sure...;-)
casting call
my son instagrams daily, he loves it
the new age is here
will have to try it
motion is the new cool
i havent used instagram yet
More and faster please and thank you
Nice idea here :)
Video content for free
I like this feature.... ;-)
June 14 - Report: Obama's Africa trip could cost $60-$100 million

Presidential trips are expensive, and President Obama's journey to Africa this month will in no way be an exception. The Washington Post estimates that Obama's Africa trip could cost $60 million to $100 million, citing a person familiar with the details who cited previous presidential missions to Africa. A more precise estimate is impossible because details about the president's security are classified. "The infrastructure that accompanies the president's travels is beyond our control," said Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, to the Post. "The security requirements are not White House-driven, they are Secret Service-driven." Also reports the Post: "Hundreds of U.S. Secret Service agents will be dispatched to secure facilities in Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania. A Navy aircraft carrier or amphibious ship, with a fully staffed medical trauma center, will be stationed offshore in case of an emergency. "Military cargo planes will airlift in 56 support vehicles, including 14 limousines and three trucks loaded with sheets of bullet­proof glass to cover the windows of the hotels where the first family will stay. Fighter jets will fly in shifts, giving 24-hour coverage over the president's airspace, so they can intervene quickly if an errant plane gets too close. "The elaborate security provisions -- which will cost the government tens of millions of dollars -- are outlined in a confidential internal planning document obtained by The Washington Post. "While the preparations appear to be in line with similar travels in the past, the document offers an unusual glimpse into the colossal efforts to protect the U.S. commander in chief on trips abroad."
It cost him a lot because of the staff that goes with him. The Airforce One is full of almost 300 employees and press.
I am not surprised lol
We still need to go abroad, every one of our Pres. have done it.... ;-)
Some things do not change...;-)
Price of Being the C
That is just over spending!!!
Slow down on the fancy food, Try some mcDonalds, Oh I know I had rather have Sushi myself! And cook it yourself, You don't need a fancy Chef to travel with you!!
Can we get some new articles? This one is pissing me off
We get it. He's wasteful and doesn't care that the rest of us are broke.
Don't go
He should stay home and send the money to feed the starving kids everybody is always talking about.
I think so too!!!!!
These budgets are already set and will not change, even when with next president...;-)
Your mom didn't take her entourage sweetie.
Why does it cost him so much money< Mom went to Africa and the army only paid $8000.00
There must be a way to cut costs. Super coupons?
It will not change for any President... ;-)
Most of the cost is on protection, does not change for any President...
world traveler
that's our PRES, he could give a rats ass about anyone of us tax payers, he's about himself, his agenda and race. yep I said it, he is a racist! not equal by what you produce.
great trip he had
that's government
Diplomacy is always expensive, but it's still cheaper than war.
no problem doing good work
Can we not spend money in a better way for more important things
has to be done
Well that is true Maddox
money well spent
I remember when Nixon went to China in 1972, that was $30 million, 10 of that was just to enter the country, in gold bouillons. Seems like old times... ;-)
That is pretty expensive
I want to go to Africa and have that kind of budget...I bet I would get a lot of things done
Obama, let's stay home and get yoru job done. And your family does NOT need to go with you on trips like this. I am sure that would cut the cost at least in half if not more.
June 14 - Double giant flags mark Flag Day in Sandy

Two huge American flags were raised simultaneously Friday at the corporate headquarters of Colonial Flag and Challenger School, marking Flag Day and the flag’s 236th birthday. Colonial Flag, a flag manufacturer, has had a 120-foot giant flagpole at its Sandy offices for more than 15 years, flying a 30 foot by 60 foot flag, the company said in a statement. It was joined last year by a twin 120-foot flagpole across the street on 9400 South, at the new corporate headquarters for Challenger School, which has 23 private schools in California, Idaho, Nevada, Texas and Utah. Challenger School founder Barbara Baker, who passed away last fall, was adamant about placing flag poles prominently at all of the company’s campuses, it said in a statement. When she designed the Sandy offices, she wanted the flag and pole to be as big as the city would allow, it said. The companies planned a brief ceremony to mark Flag Day, including the flag raising and music from the Ogden High Honor Choir. Flag Day honors the June 14, 1777, resolution from the Continental Congress that created the American flag. It read: "Resolved, that the flag of the thirteen United States shall be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the Union be thirteen stars, white on a blue field, representing a new constellation." President Woodrow Wilson established a national Flag Day in 1916. The current version of the flag dates to July 4, 1960, when Hawaii became the 50th state, according to America’s Story, a website by the Library of Congress.
American Flag Prettiest Flag of all :)
Love it... '-)
great jester
Love America!
Woo hoo!
Made in Texas!
Love my Red, White n Blue!!!!!!!
Wave proudly!
I like this celebration... ;-)
fly the flag
fly our flag proudly
Love my Flag
I always forget about flag day
4th is coming
They ordered them from San Antonio, cool story. ;-)
Wave the flag
That is awesome.
June 12 - New Human Body Part Discovered

The newest addition to human anatomy is just 15 microns thick, but its discovery will make eye surgery safer and simpler. Harminder Dua, a professor at the University of Nottingham, recently found a new layer in the human cornea, and he's calling it (can you guess?) Dua's layer. Dua's layer sits at the back of the cornea, which previously had only five known layers. Dua and his colleagues discovered the new body part by injecting air into the corneas of eyes that had been donated for research and using an electron microscope to scan each separated layer. The researchers now believe that a tear in Dua's layer is the cause of corneal hydrops, a disorder that leads to fluid buildup in the cornea. According to Dua, knowledge of the new layer could dramatically improve outcomes for patients undergoing corneal grafts and transplants. “This is a major discovery that will mean that ophthalmology textbooks will literally need to be re-written," Dua says. “From a clinical perspective, there are many diseases that affect the back of the cornea which clinicians across the world are already beginning to relate to the presence, absence or tear in this layer.”
ok I understand lol
And we thought we had seen everything... lol
Good news...;-)
Still haven't found mine
Very interesting!!!!
Eye see!
Kinda kreepy!
Wonder how many parts we have that we still don't know about
they keep finding parts ??
This is very good news....;-)
How did I live this long with unidentified body parts?
Amazing that it was not discovered years ago.
Six Toes???
great, something else I have to take care of
There is so much we do not know...;-)
This does not surprise me...;-)
new body parts?
great. dont know what I would do without it
good news here :)
good to know if your having Lasic
Very good, love this news.... ;-)
Science is cool
I saw this and it is really exciting.
June 12 - New 'time cloak' can hide almost half of the data in its path, but even recipients can't see it

When temporal cloaking devices — or "time cloaks," a type of fiber optic connection that can hide the transfer of data — were first proposed in a 2010 paper, they were only able to hide data for extraordinarily brief moments and only on rare occasions. But research published today in Nature is making a big leap forward. Researchers at Purdue University have now determined a method that hides data 46 percent of the time, and it even works at the full speed of common fiber optic networks. The cloaking technology is still in its very early stages, but it could eventually be used to secure sensitive information and to advance common communication tools. The two waves hide one another The cloaking device works by making inverse waves of data overlap, effectively having a positive and a negative bit balance out to nothing. This gives the appearance to onlookers that no data was being transmitted at all — unfortunately, right now it also has the effect of leaving the data unretrievable. "We erased the data-adding event entirely from history," Joseph Lukens, the study's lead author, told Nature. "There’s no way that data could be sent as a useful message to anyone, even a genuine recipient." Despite the major fault, physicist Martin McCall — who originally proposed time cloaks, but was not involved in the new study — believes that further research will be able to rectify the data's total disappearance. McCall told Nature that Lukens' work "brings temporal cloaks within reach of practical applications." Clearly, there's a long way to go, but the new research serves as an important proof of concept for the technology.
time travel would be nice :)
Movie stuff... lol
I wonder who is going to get it to the public first... ;-)
They really do wierd things!!!!
Hide and seek
We can now hide better... lol...;-)
More cloak and dagger stuff
Uh, cloaking devices... ;-)
Very good tool for the future...;-)
time travel
a time machine
I don't know
this is new??
well I think they are a very long way off from time travel Stewart lol
time travel is here
So much for Govt spying on us
May 31 - Pig using wheelchair becomes an inspiration

In many circumstances, a piglet without the use of its hind legs would be put down. But Chris P. Bacon's unusual condition has made him an international star and an inspiration to those with disabilities. When Chris was born in Florida, a woman brought him into Len Lucero's veterinary office, assuming the animal would be euthanized. But Lucero noticed how the little pig pulled himself along with his front legs. Lucero says he couldn't euthanize the pig and brought it home. Lucero built a wheelchair out of some of his son's toys so Chris could move around, then found a dog-sized harness and cart. Chris is now 22 pounds and inspires people around the world. His Facebook page and website recently helped him land a three-book publishing deal.
this is so nice :)
Love this piggy... ;-)
Very cute story...;-)
No new Stories?
They just did this for a dog at our local shelter
Poor little thing!!!
Love this story....;-)
No pork chops for dinner
This is awesome! I wanna see what he looks like when he is 250 pounds.
He is so cool... ;-)
I love this story... ;-)
flying pigs next
I saw this on the news
wheel chair for a pig
awww cute
I don't like pigs but this one is cute
thats me
This is such a good story
Amazing story
This is so cute...;-)
go for that run
thats me in a few years
Aww poor baby... ;-)
May 30 - Oprah Winfrey tells Harvard graduates to learn from their failures

No, Oprah Winfrey did not say at Harvard that "You will get a diploma, and you will get a diploma, and the whole audience will get diplomas." But in receiving an honorary degree she did tell graduates that they should learn from their failures. "Oh my goodness. I'm at HAAAARVARD!" she said, kicking off her speech. "Not too many girls from rural Mississippi have made it all the way here to Cambridge. ... I consider today to be a defining milestone." USA Today said that she realized "while I may not have graduated from here, my personality is about as Harvard as they come." She went on to cite her career in television, "pushing, pushing, pushing myself." Expect failure at some point in your lives, Winfrey said to Harvard's graduating class on Thursday afternoon. How you deal with difficulty will ultimately define your success, she added, according to philly.com. "It doesn't matter how far you might rise because at some point you might stumble," she said before the sea of students dressed in black and crimson robes. "There is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction," added the extremely successful media mogul, who cited her first year at OWN as an experience that left her "stressed" and "frustrated." Though it would not be a story worth sharing without a triumphant ending: "I have turned that network around!" she exclaimed. "Learn from every mistake," Winfrey said. "Each mistake will force you to learn who you really are. Then figure out what's the next, right move." Oprah took the crowd through her journey from rural Mississippi to Cambridge and the many places (and faces) in between, EW.com reported. She declared that her speech was for those who "felt screwed by life."
umm I think they probably already knew that lol
She means well... '-)
Way to go Oprah!!!
Good for her
You go Girl!!!! ;-)
Not an OPrah fan
How many of those graduating from Harvard that day really feel screwed by life?
Inspiration for many peopple...;-)
She has a way to motivate people for sure...;-)
go forth and prosper
She is ok
well I agree with her on this one
i hope so
These famous people should go to rough school that are making a difference in kids
Failure is a given. You will have failures everyday. Ignore them and concentrate on your successes.
good challenge for them....;-)
paint a pretty picture and the world looks better
the future is your pallet
The past is the blueprint....;-)
I saw bits of this and actually was inspired
she speaks the truth
I read this this morning Right On.. Make your past experiences your future successes
Good for her....good words for them,....;-)
May 30 - Two small tornadoes hit Oklahoma; third hits Arkansas

Hard-hit Oklahoma is hunkering down for another round of tornadoes after a severe storm system caused two small twisters Thursday afternoon. The Weather Service said a tornado touched ground Thursday near the town of Perkins in northeast Oklahoma. A second tornado was reported near Ripley, about 10 miles to the east. There were no immediate reports of injuries. A third twister was reported near Oden, Arkansas, a rural area in the western part of the state, injuring at least one resident whose home was destroyed. The Weather Service said the threat of tornadoes for eastern Oklahoma and northwest and west-central Arkansas remains through Thursday night; tennis-ball-size hail, strong wind and isolated flooding are a concern. "Right now we've been getting a few thunderstorms, but they're very severe supercell thunderstorms," says meteorologist Michael Scotten. "The whole storm rotates, and they produce on occasion some tornadoes and heavy hail." Oklahoma is still reeling from the devastating May 20 twister that hit the city of Moore, killing 24 and injuring more than 250. Severe weather was also possible in other parts of the central United states, including parts of Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Ongoing thunderstorms had already dumped up to 5 inches of rainfall in some areas of the region, which could lead to flooding later Thursday. The weather delay the start of the outdoor Wakarusa Music Festival north of Ozark, Ark. About 15,000 attending the festival took shelter in their vehicles while a storm passed.
Scary Weather
Sad what happened there
Tornados are way too scary, many when I was a kid in home state,Michigan
We're even getting warnings here in Canada...what's with the weather
Very scary
This is just too scary...;-)
crazy weather
Even more tornadoes today... wowo..;-_)
Would you move to tornado alley after seeing this?
big thunder storm here last night...
Scary weather we've been having
Scary area to be in right now... ;-)
Scary area to be in right now... ;-0
May 23 - Boy Scouts voting on end to ban on gay members

Delegates voted Thursday afternoon at a resort in Grapevine, Texas, on overturning the Boy Scouts of America's ban on gay members. No protests were reported at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Gravevine, USA Today reported. On Wednesday evening, supporters of the ban, many of them carrying signs with slogans like "Keep Scouts Morally Straight," stood outside. If the ban is overturned, open homosexual adults will still be barred from volunteer or paid positions in the BSA, The Dallas Morning News said. About 2,000 delegates and officials were at the hotel for the meeting. The results of the vote are scheduled to be announced at 5:15 p.m., local time, (6:15 p.m. EDT). Barry Price, 68, of Grapevine, a businessman and former Boy Scout who joined Wednesday's protest, told the Los Angeles Times ending the ban on gays would be the end of the Boy Scouts. But a petition to change the rules picked up 1.8 million signatures, far more than a petition to keep the ban. Zach Wahls, 21, an Idaho Eagle Scout who has lesbian mothers and helped gather signatures for the first petition, said the organization is now in a "conversation" on gays in scouting. "That being said, we want full inclusion -- ending the ban on gay youth and leaders," he told the Times.
There is a reason we separate boys from girls in these organizations. Shouldn't straight boys have the same protection from sexual encounters? We might as well let the boys and girls bunk and shower also.
They are going forward....;-)
in god we trust
It really was a matter of time....;-)
but you don't want your young impressionable boy to go to "broke back Mountain", and be pressured into sex by people of authority or with more merit badges.
Being gay shouldn't keep you from bettering yourself as a human being
welcome to the real world
Good for them... ;-)
I was a scout myself
thanks goodness
Scouts honor...
I agree with this, boyscouts are there to do good and help, shouldn't be judged on sexual orientation for this
Its about time the scouts got with the program....
May 23 - Study finds for first time frogs and other amphibians declining around US at alarming rate

A new study has determined for the first time just how quickly frogs and other amphibians are disappearing around the United States, and the news is not good. The U.S. Geological Study says populations of frogs, salamanders and toads have been vanishing from occupied sites at a rate of 3.7 percent a year. That puts them on a path to disappearing from half the occupied sites nationwide in 20 years. USGS ecologist Michael Adams says the alarming news is that even species thought to be doing OK are declining, though at a slower rate. It has been known that amphibians are in trouble around the world from a killer fungus, habitat loss and a changing climate, but this is the first time that decline has been measured.
Damn Immigrants. This is what happens when you let those Southerners migrate to other states. Their culture of eating Frog legs is devastating.
I hope we get some facts as to why?
peep peep peep
We can always count on frogs... ;-)
Tina, you love frogs, only had them once, tiny legs, smaller than squb.
Duh...we are killing this world
gone fishing lately?
Not good... ;-)
frogs and fishesess
Spring peepers are the best sound to listen to
all species go extinct sooner or later including us! we could acquire the knowledge to space travel and thus evade or extinction!
Cute picture here too
I love frogs :(
This is old news.. The end is near
May 17 - The Mystery of the 'Immaculately Conceived' Baby Anteater

Confused Connecticut conservation officers are wondering how a female anteater, who has given birth at the centre, conceived without a male in the pen.

Officials at the LEO Zoological Conservation Center tell the Greenwich Time they had removed the only male anteater from the enclosure in August, long before the six-month gestation period for baby Archie would have begun.

They feared that male, Alf, would kill another baby in the pen.

That left the mother Armani, and the young female, Alice, in the enclosure.

But little Archie was born in April anyway.

Marcella Leone, founder and director of the conservation center, suspects this might be a rare case of delayed implantation, when fertilized eggs remain dormant in the uterus for a period of time.

Not enough room here, but this is explainable.
rare but it happen in other species as well! usually in times of drought or famine.
what next?
Lets hope it continues... ;-)
all alone on this??
Maybe this will help bring back the missing frogs
woo whee
The director's explanation is more logical
what is this??
May 10 - Flu in pregnancy 'may raise bipolar risk for baby'

A study of 814 expectant women, published in JAMA Psychiatry, showed that infection made bipolar four times more likely. The overall risk remained low, but it echoes similar findings linking flu and schizophrenia. Experts said the risks were small and women should not worry. Bipolar leads to intense mood swings, which can last months, ranging from depression and despair to manic feelings of joy, overactivity and loss of inhibitions. Researchers at the Columbia University Medical Center identified a link between the condition, often diagnosed during late teens and twenties, and experiences in the womb. In their study looking at people born in the early 1960s, bipolar disorder was nearly four times as common in people whose mothers caught flu during pregnancy. The condition affects about one in 100 people. The lead researcher, Prof Alan Brown, estimated that influenza infection during pregnancy could lead to a 3-4% chance of bipolar disorder in the resulting children. However, in the vast majority of cases of bipolar disorder there would no history of flu.So in the list of things pregnant women have to worry about, how high should it rank? "I wouldn't say high," Prof Alan Brown told the BBC. "The chances are still quite small. I don't think it should raise alarms for mothers." He said seasonal flu vaccination, which is advised for pregnant women in many countries, would reduce the chances of catching flu. Similar studies have shown a link between flu and schizophrenia How flu could affect the foetal brain has not been completely explained. Influenza is not thought to directly affect the foetus, but the mother's immune response to the virus could affect development. Dr Fiona Gaughran, lead consultant psychiatrist at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, said: "This highly regarded group of researchers has reported similar links between schizophrenia and various maternal infections. "If future work confirms the link reported here, policymakers may need to consider implications for flu prevention pre-pregnancy, but mothers need not be worried. "The overall risk of offspring developing bipolar disorder is low, even if one did get flu in pregnancy."
I really hate the flu....;-)
whats next enviro hazzards
The flu is so bad for everyone.....;-)
please pass the tissues
Oh no!!!! ;-)
no sneezing please
I don't know about that though
tissues please
cough cough sneeze sneeze...sniff sniff
This is a scary idea???
May 10 - Pets, especially dogs, are good for heart health

According to a news report by the American Heart Association released on Thursday, owning pets may decrease your risk for heart disease. The AHA's committee reviewed previous research on how pets affect human health, and they found studies that showed owning a pet was associated with fewer heart disease risk factors and increased survival among patients. “Walking your dog is a healthy chore; it is a great way to exercise without thinking about it,” said Dr. Nieca Goldberg, clinical associate professor in the department of medicine at the Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. “Pet owners increase their physical activity simply by walking their dogs.” "Pets really might be man's best friend," Barbara George, director of the Center for Cardiovascular Lifestyle Medicine at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y., told HealthDay. Pets can also have a positive effect on the body’s reactions to stress, according to the AHA. George agreed, saying pets can be “a tool for weight loss, socialization, calming our nerves and easing anxiety and depression.” According to the New York Times, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports, however, that overall, pet owners are still just as likely to be overweight as people without pets. The AHA also stressed that the studies they reviewed cannot prove that owning a pet directly reduces heart disease risk.
I have seen it work....
give the dog a hug
I miss my yellow lab since I got my divorce....;-)
love all animals, but dogs steal human hearts. love to death until they pee on the carpet! LOL
Of course..they do wonders for the elderly, the criminals and the infirm...of course
A mans best friend
This is so true.....;-)
My doggie keeps me going
This makes sense
good dog
good dog sit shake? lower my BP..::))
meow meow
I agree just hold your Kitty cat in your lap and all the stress goes away
True friends

When the UN recognized Palestine as an observer state last November, Israel retaliated by announcing new settlements. Now an organization of arguably greater authority has recognized Palestine: Google. On Friday, the search engine changed the tagline on its home page in the occupied territories from "Palestinian territories" to, simply, "Palestine". "We consult a number of sources and authorities when naming countries," a Google spokesman, Nathan Tyler, told the BBC. "In this case, we are following the lead of the UN, Icann [Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers], ISO [International Organisation for Standardisation] and other international organisations." What to call the area south of Lebanon and Syria, west of Jordan and north of Sinai that isn't Israel is a matter of fierce debate. Before 1948 the entire area, including present-day Israel, was called Palestine. In 1988, leaders of the remaining territory declared a state of Palestine, but the state has had trouble gaining recognition. In November's UN vote, 138 nations voted to recognize a state of Palestine, nine voted against and 41 abstained. Google's homeland, the United States, is currently the most powerful opponent of recognizing Palestine.
They have a pulling device!
Yes they are the king....;-)
Google is the King
Powerful.... ;-)
google is big brother
April 26 - Airplane Debris Found Near World Trade Center Site

Land surveyors working just north of the former World Trade Center site have discovered a piece of an airplane’s landing gear, apparently from one of the two planes that crashed into the twin towers more than 11 years ago, the police said on Friday. The landing gear part was found on Wednesday in a narrow space between two buildings, 51 Park Place and 50 Murray Street, the Police Department’s chief spokesman, Paul J. Browne, said in a statement. The police were treating the area as a crime scene, Mr. Browne said. It is possible that the medical examiner’s office will decide to sift through the soil there in search of human remains, he said. The surveyors, working for a property owner in the area, were inspecting the rear of 51 Park Place when they found the piece.
11 years and Union and Govt employees couldn't find it? I rest my case.
Still a crazy situation!!!
Goes on and on....;-)
Hummm, still questions to answer...;-)
I still want a good explanation on how Building #7 collapsed
to story continues
Wow thats crazy.. I guess its a small alleyway
Such a shame
unvelievable that it was 11 years ago already
April 25 - Egg laid by extinct elephant bird sells for $101G at British auction

A massive, partly fossilized egg laid by a now-extinct elephant bird has sold for more than double its estimate at a London auction. Christie's auction house said Wednesday that the foot-long, nearly nine-inches in diameter egg fetched 66,675 pounds ($101,813). It had been valued at 20,000 to 30,000 pounds pre-sale, and was sold to an anonymous buyer over the telephone after about 10 minutes of competitive bidding. Elephant birds were wiped out several hundred years ago. The oversized ovum, laid on the island of Madagascar, is believed to date back before the 17th century. Flightless, fruit-gobbling elephant birds resembled giant ostriches and could grow to be 11 feet high. Christie's says their eggs are 100 times the size of an average chicken's.
Wow, some real cash...;-)
That seems cheap. Think of the DNA cloning possibilities
the Golden EGG
So many better things to spend money on
some people have just too much money
How about that egg? ;-)
I have some dino fossils, love them, want to buy a T-rex skull, but $50,000 and more!
April 25 - Former President @BillClinton Joins Twitter

William Jefferson Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States of America, has officially joined Twitter. You’ll find him under @billclinton. Of course, Clinton first signed up for Twitter during an April 9th appearance on The Colbert Report, when host Stephen Colbert took the liberty of registering the former president as @prezbillyjeff, after the username he’d initially wanted turned out to be unavailable. “Well, sir,” explained Colbert to Clinton at the time. “I took the liberty of opening you a Twitter account. Now @presidentclinton was taken, @williamjeffersonclinton was taken, but @prezbillyjeff was available.” Clinton has returned to Twitter today with gusto, fixing his username (no doubt with some behind-the-scenes assistance from Twitter) and posting no fewer than two tweets.
bill is tweeting
I'm surprised that the Inventor of the internet Gore didn't tell Clinton ot join sooner.
Hi Bill I will follow your tweets
Just try to keep up
way to keep up with the times buddy
It was a matter of time...;-)
April 19 - Homeless man wins lottery but wants to stay in his tent

Dennis Mahurin has been homeless since around 1978, living in his tent. And he plans to stay there despite having won a $50,000 lottery off a scratch card ticket. "I scratched it off right here in my tent,” Mahurin told CINewsNow. However, the Bloomington, Indiana native does have a plan for how he’ll spend the money: dental work, visiting his son and putting away some of the winnings into savings. He’s also considering an upgrade to a new tent, saying he’s “happy as can be in my nature,” with no desire to move into a more traditional home. After taxes, he’ll take home about $35,000. A jackpot total that relatively small would not normally make international headlines. But it’s Mahurin’s plan to give away some of his cash that has roused the most attention. "With all the other homeless people around here, I've made up my mind,” he said. “I'm gonna give them each $100." Mahurin says he has eight fellow homeless men in mind that he plans to give $100 to, but he jokingly says he is leaving open the possibility of donating more with all of the new “friends” he’s likely to make as his story spreads. Tales of generosity are not uncommon when it comes to freshly minted lottery winners. But Mahurin’s truly humble lifestyle, and his insistence on sharing the relatively small lottery winnings, reflect his kind spirit according to locals who know him. "He’s a very, very nice guy. He's one of the sweetest people I've ever met,” said Emmarie Cross an employee at the Circle K where Mahurin bought his winning ticket. “I've been telling everybody, this couldn't have happened to a nicer guy."
Good for him he deserves it
He probably like his way of life
this is a sad story of how peopla battle change. With proper guidance he could be set for life.
play early and often
I could spend some of it for him
giving makes you richer
No need to change too much...;-)
we are almost homeless. Its only a matter of time..
what goes around comes around...::))
Very humble...;-)
a kind heart
Keep it simple
I am with him keep life simple
the human mind works in mysterious ways! some people would blow the money in a week, others invest, some give it away, we all have different needs at different times!
He knows what he wants, he will change his mind with time...;-)
I'm so happy for him
April 18 - No self-driving cars on sale until 2025

Looking forward to hopping in your self-driving car, pulling out your iPad and watching the scenery go by? You may be in for a longer wait than you expected. Despite Google's fleet of them and interest from Audi, GM, Toyota and others, self-driving cars won't come anytime soon. Experts at the 2013 Society of Automotive Engineers 2013 World Congress said this week that the mass market won't get them until 2025, the Detroit News reports. . SAE, whose standards influence everything from cargo specs to horsepower, invited panelists from automakers, suppliers, universities and more to its annual conference in Detroit. So-called "semiautonomous" technology, which fuses collision-detection and steering technologies to keep you in your lane and far enough from the car ahead, will hit the market much sooner, experts said. The potential for driver distraction spawned debate, says the News. After all, a self-driving car would seem to only encourage more texting — or sleeping or reading. If you had to remain as alert behind the wheel as if you were driving, the benefits would diminish. Such systems offer high safety potential, given most accidents result from human error, but should any malfunction cause an accident, one expert said it would turn the discussion on its head. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in October it would launch a $1.75 million multiyear research project to determine the human controls necessary in driverless cars. That study alone should take a while.
I'm not sure I feel comfortable with this. I would rather have a Chauffeur in a Bikini to drive me.
I may need to get one...;-))
A honda??
drive my car
My name is on the list for one of these cars
Self drive was about time...;-)
I guess it's better than some drivers out there...lol
Good question robby
clear the roads
I drive on auto all the time
they need to make cars that connect once on the freeway like trains, then you could do whatever until a mile before your exit and re-engage and go on your way!
Wow, how safe will they be? ;-)
April 18 - Kepler discovers three super-Earth planets

NASA today announced that Kepler, its alien world-hunting spacecraft, has discovered two previously unknown planetary systems including three super-Earth size planets in the much-coveted "habitable zone" capable of sustaining life. This diagram compares the planets of our solar system to Kepler-62, one of the newly found systems. The five-planet system is a relatively close 1,200 light-years from Earth, in the constellation Lyra. The five planets of Kepler-62 orbit a 7-billion-year-old star classified as a K2 dwarf -- just two-thirds the size of our sun -- and only one-fifth as bright. Much like our solar system, Kepler-62 is home to two habitable zone worlds, Kepler-62f and Kepler-62e. Kepler-62f orbits every 267 days and is only 40 percent larger than Earth, making it the smallest exoplanet known in the habitable zone of another star. The other habitable zone planet, Kepler-62e, orbits every 122 days and is roughly 60 percent larger than Earth. The two habitable zone worlds orbiting Kepler-62 have three interior companions, two larger than the size of Earth and one about the size of Mars. Kepler-62b, Kepler-62c, and Kepler-62d orbit every five, 12, and 18 days, respectively, making them very hot and inhospitable for life as we know it.
It will onlybe time before they invent the transporter
In my lifetime?
I wish I could travel thought the sky's....;-)
I hope the water is warm
Is time travel needed to get to these planets?
we may need another earth or three
I wish I could space travel...;-)
why do we think we are so special
We need the hope of other places
When's the next bus there? I've got my towel
the universe is so vast, where would it makes sense for use to have the only planet in all that vastness with inhabitants?
We are not alone for sure...;-)
April 12 - Arctic summers may be ice free sooner than predicted

Arctic Ocean summer ice may melt completely "possibly within the next decade or two," say federal scientists. Climate scientists have projected the North Pole will lose its summer ice cap after 2050 due to a warming climate melting sea ice. But a new study in the Geophysical Research Journal, led by James Overland of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, used three methods of projecting future ice cover and predicts summers with no ice much sooner. "(A)ll three suggest nearly sea ice-free summers in the Arctic before the middle of this century," says study co-author Muyin Wang of NOAA's Joint Institute for the Study of Atmosphere and Ocean, in a statement. The estimates produce ranges for an ice-free Arctic from 2020 to after 2040. "This paper should not be used as an argument against further modeling, but quite the opposite," says the study. "It is reasonable to conclude Arctic sea ice loss is very likely to occur in the first rather than the second half of the 21st Century, with a possibility of loss within a decade or two." Disappearance of the summertime ice sheet will lead to cascading effects throughout the Arctic food chain for everything from plankton to fish to polar bears and other creatures living there. Geopolitical jousting over navigation and mining rights have already started, amid concerns about landslides due to melting permafrost and other land effects.
Hmmmm . I wonder how this will effect me in Costa Rica?
Several scientist say it is a cycle...;-)
I hope the water is cold
Drink your H2O warm
turn down the heat
Lets see what happens....;-)
my parents shovelled snow again this past weekend
We have had snow since sept...it would be nice if it was only 4 months
lets do a Ujena bikini shoot in the arctic
It is still winter here in San Antonio, hummm?
so incredible that this will happen in one generation
31 Dec 10 - US Navy PIPS data shows that the area of ice greater than 2.5 metres thick – has doubled since the same date in 2008.
others say it is growing http://www.iceagenow.com/Growing_Glaciers.htm
first off we are not in global warming, but climate change is natural and goes in cycles. as much as we are more or less the dominate species on earth, (bacteria has been around our solar system and on earth millions of years longer) we are not the main cause of climate changes, as much as some think we are! All species are due for extinction, including us, unless we leave earth, because eventually in a couple million years our sun will "nova", poof! go out but before that, it will expand, the temperature on earth will exceed 1500'f, and even over 500'f to the outer limits of our solar system. See what happens when you watch all the "nerd" shows on TV, you gain knowledge. LOL
It does not feel like global warming today in Boston
This is bad news.. If there is no arctic ice I may not need to go to the beach because the beach will have come to me. I hear the water lapping at the door now..
April 12 - Two million-year-old creature had mix of ape, human traits

A 2 million-year-old ancestor of man had a mixture of ape and human-like features that allowed it to hike vast distances on two legs with as much ease as it could scurry up trees, according to research published on Friday. Discovered in cave near Johannesburg in 2008, the fossils of a species named "Australopithecus sediba" have given researchers clues about the evolution of man and which traits in our ancestors fell by the wayside. Standing about 1.3 meters (4 ft) tall, sediba had a narrow rib cage similar to apes but a flexible spine more similar to that of a human. Its long arms and powerful torso helped in climbing, according to the research published in the journal Science. Sediba's small heel resembled a chimpanzee's and it walked with an inward rotation of the knee and hip on slightly twisted feet with a flat-footed gait that would have helped it cover ground, the researchers said. "It is the perfect compromise of something that has the need to walk on the ground efficiently for long distances. At the same time, it is a very capable climber," said Lee Berger, project leader at the Wits Evolutionary Studies Institute in South Africa. The researchers plan further studies to see how these fossils of early human relatives known as hominin compare to other remains, to help put together the pieces of evolution. "We have more complete specimens of fossils than for any other early hominin species that has ever been discovered. What this means is that we can make assessments of the anatomy and behavior of this species with a great deal of confidence," Berger told Reuters.
Another section of time found...;-)
from another planet
Wait thats ME
a friend of mine
Interest article
very ape like this week in Boston
really cool.. it would be interesting to work on some of these sites
I'm a little ape and human! LOL
apes humans all the same
Humm. sound like a friend of mine
April 5 - United Airlines flight removes family for violent-movie complaint

The United Airlines service was scheduled from Denver to Baltimore, but ended up in Chicago after the pilot changed course due to “security concerns”, the Atlantic reports. The flight, which took off on February 2 this year, was showing the 2012 crime thriller Alex Cross, which is rated “15” in Britain. In the US, it had the “T” classification, which warns of adult themes. According to the family making the complaint, the film was screened on drop-down screens, which meant they could not shield their two children, who were aged four and eight, from its content. They have described how they first asked flight attendants for it to be turned off at the monitor, then asked if the captain had the means to do so. Nothing happened for more than an hour, they claimed, leaving them trying to divert their children's attention from scenes they described as “horrific”. The pilot then announced the plane would be landing at Chicago due to “security concerns.” At the airport, the family were briefly interviewed by police and border protection officers, before being placed on a later flight. The father, whose name has not become public, accused the captain of “abuse of power”, and criticised the airline for showing “grossly inappropriate cinematic content.” Charles Hobart, the United Airlines spokesman, confirmed the flight had been diverted “after the crew reported a disturbance involving a passenger.” He added: “We re-accommodated the customers on the next flight to Baltimore and have since conducted a full review of our in-flight entertainment.”
Just watch the movie and shut up...;-)
the laws of nature
Dont say a word about the movie...lol..;-)
Can't control the outside world...live in a bubble I suppose
they should bring their own ipad and earbuds for their kids
flying soon?
play nice on the plane
Huuummmm again
were they flying 1st class?
sounds like they may have went a little overboard? always to 2 sides to an issue!
I am the only one here
There are no extra given when flying these days
this happens on flights...there are other types of travel...I'm glad they were taken off the plane...they would have made the trip awful for the rest of the passengers
time for cartoons on board
what will be next??
This is not a good thing for the children to be watching...
April 4 - Newly-released film shows the arrest of MLK's assassin

Previously unseen video has been released showing the arrest of James Earl Ray, the man who assassinated Martin Luther King in 1968. The video footage shows James Earl Ray being read his rights, arriving at prison and being strip-searched and examined by a doctor. The fascinating insights were filmed by the Shelby County Sheriff's office, which had purchased a video camera to document Ray's extradition, prosecution and incarceration. Thursday marks the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King's death. King was shot and killed on April 4, 1968, while standing on the second-floor balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. After the killing Ray fled to Toronto, before traveling to London. On June 8, 1968 Ray was captured at London's Heathrow Airport trying to leave the UK with a false Canadian passport. Nine fresh videos were released Tuesday online. The videos have more than two hours of film -- the first of which shows Ray's extradition flight to Memphis on July 19, 1968. Other videos show Ray's arraignment on July 22 and court proceedings in September and November of 1968. Later videos from 1969, show further court proceedings and Shelby County Jail booking procedures. The video tapes were locked away in a police department storage box, until Shelby County archives department decided to track down the tapes, after seeing a photo of police setting up video equipment. Tom Leatherwood, the Shelby County Register, said the discovery is like finding a treasure chest.
It would be good if it is a real first resource....;-)
there are a lot of thinkgs that will be interesting to see once they can open up "the files"
This might be good
MLK was a great man
This is interesting
whos on the camera?
from the archives?
where has this footage been all these years
really?...after all this time.
I'd like to see this footage
April 4 - South Korea vows fast response to North; U.S. deploys stealth jets

South Korea will strike back quickly if the North stages any attack, the new president in Seoul warned on Monday, as tensions ratcheted higher on the Korean peninsula amid shrill rhetoric from Pyongyang and the U.S. deployment of radar-evading fighter planes.

North Korea says the region is on the brink of a nuclear war in the wake of United Nations sanctions imposed for its February nuclear test and a series of joint U.S. and South Korean military drills that have included a rare U.S. show of aerial power.

The North, whose economy is smaller than it was 20 years ago, appeared to move on Monday to addressing its pressing need for investment by appointing a reformer to the country's ceremonial prime minister's job, although the move mostly cemented a power grab by the ruling Kim clan.

North Korea had said on Saturday it was entering a "state of war" with South Korea in response to what it termed the "hostile" military drills being staged in the South. But there have been no signs of unusual activity in the North's military to suggest an imminent aggression, a South Korean defense ministry official said last week.

"If there is any provocation against South Korea and its people, there should be a strong response in initial combat without any political considerations," President Park Geun-hye told the defense minister and senior officials at a meeting on Monday.

The South has changed its rules of engagement to allow local units to respond immediately to attacks, rather than waiting for permission from Seoul.

Stung by criticism that its response to the shelling of a South Korean island in 2010 was tardy and weak, Seoul has also threatened to target North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and to destroy statues of the ruling Kim dynasty in the event of any new attack, a plan that has outraged Pyongyang.

Seoul and its ally the United States played down Saturday's statement from the official KCNA news agency as the latest in a stream of tough talk from Pyongyang.

North Korea stepped up its rhetoric in early March, when U.S. and South Korean forces began annual military drills that involved the flights of U.S. B-2 stealth bombers in a practice run, prompting the North to puts its missile units on standby to fire at U.S. military bases in the South and in the Pacific.

The United States also deployed F-22 stealth fighter jets on Sunday to take part in the drills. The F-22s were deployed in South Korea before, in 2010.

On its part, North Korea has cancelled an armistice agreement with the United States that ended the Korean War and cut all hotlines with U.S. forces, the United Nations and South Korea.

whew....way too much drama in the last few weeks!
So scary..they are taught hatred from day 1
This guy is out of control
Lets play nice Children
lets hope everyone calms down
whats happening here today?
take a deep breath
you can run but you can not hide
we don't need the negativity of this
what the world coming too
Silly little man but quite scary...
currently NK doesn't have missles that can reach even Alaska, but certainly S. Korea and Japan. US had made some strategic movements with our military in that region. Tension is high.
March 28 - NYC appeals to restore size limit on sugary drinks

New York City on Thursday appealed a judge's ruling that struck down Mayor Michael Bloomberg's attempt to limit the size of sugary beverages. The ban was halted before it could go into effect by state Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling. In his March 11 ruling, Tingling said the 16-ounce limit was arbitrary in terms of particular beverages and where they are sold. He also said the city's health board did not have the regulatory authority to limit or ban a legal product for purposes of "controlling a chronic disease." That power rests with the city council, he said. The size limit pertained to sweetened bottled drinks and fountain beverages sold at restaurants, delis, movie theaters, sports venues and street carts. It covered drinks with more than 25 calories per 8 ounces, but exempted beverages with 100% juice or more than 50% milk. In its appeal, which was expected, the city disputed Tingling's findings. "The rule is designed to make consumption of large amounts of sugary drinks a conscious and informed choice by the consumer," it said. "Thus, although a consumer is free to consume more than 16 ounces by ordering a second drink, getting a refill, or going to another store, he or she will be making an informed choice." The appeal also argued that the health board has the legislative authority to regulate beverage sales and and set public health standards.
Sugar isn't healthy, but I still want the right to decide if I have it or not...
Drink h2o
H2O is the best beverage
I like my coffee black
Buzzzz extra sugar please
getting thristy now
Super sized drinks are insane
I agree H2O is the answer
Drink water
water is the best for you
Super size me ..
this is not a good thing Sugar is not your FRIEND
March 28 - Mandela Admitted to Hospital Again for Lung Condition

Nelson Mandela is responding to treatment for a recurring lung illness, his second hospital visit this year after a check-up less than three weeks ago. The nation’s first black leader, 94, was admitted before midnight local time, President Jacob Zuma said today in a statement. Mandela’s health took a “downturn” yesterday and he was transported to the hospital to prevent the infection from spreading, Zuma’s spokesman, Mac Maharaj, said in an interview on Johannesburg-based broadcaster eNCA. Mandela remains under treatment and observation, Maharaj said in a separate statement. Enlarge image South Africa's First Black Leader Nelson Mandela South Africa's First Black Leader Nelson Mandela South Africa's First Black Leader Nelson Mandela Naashon Zalk/Bloomberg South Africa's first black leader Nelson Mandela was hospitalized from Dec. 8 to Dec. 26 to treat a lung infection and to have gallstones removed. South Africa's first black leader Nelson Mandela was hospitalized from Dec. 8 to Dec. 26 to treat a lung infection and to have gallstones removed. Photographer: Naashon Zalk/Bloomberg “We appeal to the people of South Africa and the world to pray for our beloved Madiba and his family,” Zuma said, referring to Mandela by his clan name. “We have full confidence in the medical team.” The Nobel Peace Prize-winner was hospitalized from Dec. 8 to Dec. 26 to treat a lung infection and to have gallstones removed. He contracted tuberculosis while imprisoned on Robben Island during his 27-year incarceration for fighting all-white minority rule. Mandela led South Africa for five years after the African National Congress, or ANC, won the first all-race elections in 1994, ending apartheid rule. He spent a night in a Pretoria hospital on March 9 for scheduled medical tests. The ANC called on “all South Africans and the world to keep Nelson Mandela in their prayers,” in a statement. “We are confident that the treatment will be successful.” In Washington, President Barack Obama said he hoped Mandela will pull through, as he has from previous health threats. “We will be keeping him in our thoughts and prayers,” Obama said at the White House during a meeting with leaders of four sub- Saharan nations.
Terribly painful to have lung issues!
A great man in times of trouble
I am glad hes home now
A man in the right place and time to change a nation
He is a leader
I am glad to hear that he is doing better and in good spirts
Lets pray for a speedy recovery for this great man
March 26 - Half the length of U.S. streams and rivers in poor condition

The news from a comprehensive national survey of river and stream health is not good: Only about a fifth of the length of America’s rivers and streams is in good biological condition, while 55% is in poor shape. The survey, which analyzed water samples taken in the summers of 2008 and 2009 at more than 1,900 randomly selected sites, was coordinated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The results, released Tuesday, found that of the three climatic regions discussed in the report, the West -- with its large swaths of undeveloped land -- was in the best shape: 42% of its river and stream length was in good ecological condition, 27% in fair condition and 30% in poor condition. In the eastern highlands, 63% of river and stream miles were in poor shape, while in the Plains and lowlands regions (roughly the country’s midsection and much of the South), 58% fell into that category. Excessive nitrogen and phosphorus levels, sedimentation and denuded riverbanks were among the leading problems. Unsafe bacteria levels were found in 9% of river and stream miles, and potentially unsafe levels of mercury were detected in fish in more than 13,000 miles of rivers across the country.
clean water and air please
A sad state of affairs
We only have ONE earth..
Time to go fishing
This not new news But very sad state of affairs
Thomas Malthus...say no more
Just remember this, we are, for the most part, in a closed environment. everything on and in the earth has been here for millions of years. There has been times that the fumes from volcanos has polluted our atmosphere far worse than we could ever do. Mother nature is far superior to us, super volcanos are far more powerful than atom bombs. Hurricane's do more damage than we can attempt. Can we speed up the process of making a whole in the ozone? That is a very arguable debate with scientists on both side of the table.
March 26 - $338M lottery winner feels 'pure joy,' uncertainty

A New Jersey man feels "pure joy" at winning a $338 million Powerball jackpot but has no idea what he will do with the money — except buy a car, to replace his feet as his primary mode of transportation, he said. Dominican immigrant Pedro Quezada, 45, and his wife, Ines, appeared at New Jersey lottery headquarters Tuesday to officially claim the prize. Both came in jeans, accompanied by four of his eight siblings and two nephews. The former bodega owner-operator, who came to the United States from the city of Jarabacoa 26 years ago, said his mind is not clear enough yet to figure out how he will use the money or where he might live. He did say he could use a good car. Asked what kind of car he has now, he said, "My feet." Lottery officials said Quezada had decided to accept the winnings in the form of a lump-sum payment worth $221 million, or about $152 million after taxes. It's the fourth-largest jackpot in Powerball history. He showed up Monday afternoon at the liquor store in Passaic where he purchased the ticket, not knowing if he held the winner. The ticket was validated at 4:17 p.m., giving him less than 24 hours to weigh his future as a multimillionaire before appearing at the news conference.
pure joy is right
Too much for one person
sacred to death
Scary idea winning $338 Million. Hummm I could take everyone to the next Ujena Bikini Jam..
You have to play to win...
And I bet they have a lot of new friends
Too much...they should have 338 million dollar winners
what would you do with $338 million. I personally don't need that much money, so I would give most of it away to various charities and organizations. The real question is if you won $1 to 4 million? That is a game/ life changer!
March 22 - Obama to push Harriet Tubman site closer to becoming national park

Swamps along the Eastern Shore of Maryland and a modest house in Wilberforce, Ohio, may not look like much – until they’re seen through the lens of history. The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in Maryland and the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Ohio are among the five places expected to be designated as national monuments by President Obama on Monday. Both will shed new light on African-Americans’ contributions to the American story.
this would be a great
Just go...see the world
Yes the world is a big place..
Underground railroad is important history
Need to travel and see more everywhere
All American story
Great work we need more cultural places in the USA
March 22 - Google Eyes Android Smartwatch

The year of the smartwatch is upon us. According to rumors, Apple has a team of 100 working on a watch that works with the iPhone, and Samsung has confirmed that it is working on a watch of its own. And now sources tell The Financial Times that Google is developing a watch to work “as an extension to the smartphones using [Android].” According to a “person briefed on the project,” Google’s Android team is developing the smartwatch. The source also said that “the [Android] project is separate from Samsung’s efforts.” When asked about the smartwatch rumor, a Google spokesperson told ABC News that the company “doesn’t comment on rumors or speculation.” The watch, like other smartwatches, will likely pair with an Android phone and allow one to view messages and incoming call notifications right on the watch’s display. Google did file for a patent describing a “smart-watch including flip up display” in 2011. This patent was approved late last year. The wearable gadget space seems to be drawing the interest of many companies. Pebble, the smartwatch that works with the iPhone and Android, beat all the odds on Kickstarter, receiving more than 85,000 orders for the watch and more than $10 million from people who wanted to back the company. Many companies have also joined the fitness tracker market, including Nike, Motorola and Jawbone.
once on the web.. Forever....
Big Brother is watching
Smart Watch what about the phone
March 21 - Montana considers allowing salvage of road kill

Montana lawmakers are to vote on whether to allow people to salvage road kill for meat. House Bill 247 would allow law-enforcement officers to issue permits to salvage animal carcasses struck and killed by vehicles. The bill has been rewritten to allow only elk, deer, antelope and moose to be taken. Earlier versions included fur-bearing animals, upland game birds and migratory game birds. The Senate votes on the measure Wednesday afternoon. The House has already cleared it in a 95-3 vote. The measure would leave it up to the state Fish, Wildlife and Parks to regulate how the carcasses are salvaged.
Time to become a Veggie...
Yup...poachers have no conscience
Lol Stan....ditto!
Heading out for dinner tonight but not in Mn
If it feeds the family its a great idea....
Mmmmm, Others are welcome to enjoy...I'll skip it :)
yum yum! My guess wild animals eat most road kill? but hey if someone wants to make stew from road kill ok by me, except I'm worried that all of a sudden a whole lot of fresh new road kill will start to happen, if you know what I mean, poachers, just claiming it as road kill.
March 21 - CDC: One in Every 50 Children Has Autism

Today the CDC announced a 72 percent increase in the diagnosis of autism over the past four years. One of every 50 children aged 6 years to 17 years has an autism spectrum diagnosis. Ten years ago, the number was 1 in 150. The previous two decades saw a 600 percent increase in autism diagnosis, and experts have said that 200 percent of that could be attributed to better diagnosis and more awareness of autism, but the other 400 percent was caused by changes in genetics and environmental impact on genetics. • The rise in autism parallels the rise of the chemical age after World War II and the use of untested chemicals in manufacturing, our food supply, house cleaning products, and our personal grooming products. • It is no longer a leap to say we can prevent autism. Even mainstream medicine recognizes that the environment affects genetics. The science of epigenetics -- "on top of genes" -- studies what changes gene expression or what causes certain genes to turn on or off. • At Stanford University, 192 pairs of identical twins were studied in which one twin was autistic and one was not. Scientists found that genetics accounted for 38 percent of the risk of autism and environmental factors 62 percent. • Our definition of autism has expanded from a genetic disorder originating in the brain to a possible interaction of immune and neuro-inflammatory disorders with genetics. Developing nervous and immune systems -- before and after birth -- are vulnerable to the thousands of toxins that surround us. • Of the more than 80,000 chemicals in use today, only 3,000 have been tested for their harmful effects. • The NIH has begun The National Children's Study, a $6.5 billion study of a generation -- a 21 year long study of 100,000 children to determine how the environment affects development from before birth to adulthood. We cannot let an entire generation be at risk. We have to do something now. April is Autism Awareness Month.
let work on a cure for this..
Is it plastic or aspartame to blame?
Its a scary number.. Things need to change. I hope that lots of research is being done around this issue
I suspect the stats are sadly even higher....
March 19 - Statue of Liberty to reopen by July 4

New York City's Statue of Liberty, closed to visitors since Superstorm Sandy hit in late October, will reopen by Independence Day, the National Park Service announced Tuesday. "Sandy inflicted major damage on facilities that support the Statue of Liberty – destroying the docks, crippling the energy infrastructure on Ellis Island and wiping out the security screening system – but we are fully committed to reopening this crown jewel as soon as it's safe for visitors and not a second later," Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said in a statement. "Based on the tremendous progress we have made, Lady Liberty will be open to the public in time for the July 4th celebration." Salazar emphasized the importance of reopening the statue to the New York economy. A park service report released last month showed 3.7 million people visited the site in 2011, generating $174 million in economic activity and supporting 2,218 jobs. Repairs to the docks needed to transport visitors to Liberty Island are being funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Lands Highways Program, as part of $28 million committed to roads and bridges in federal parks and recreation areas in New York and New Jersey damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Officials estimated as much as three-fourths of Liberty Island's 12 acres was flooded, notes the Associated Press, with water reaching as high as 8 feet. Sandy arrived one day after the Statue of Liberty's 126th birthday and the reopening of the crown, which had been closed for a year for a $30 million upgrade to fire alarms, sprinkler systems and exit routes.
what a view
great ferry boat ride
Great view I bet
I've only sailed by her, would love to see Lady Liberty up close!
It time for a visit to the Ellis Island landmark
That's a sad thing that happened
hope that people's houses were a priority over a statue...
March 19 - Assault weapons ban dropped from Senate gun bill

The prospects of an assault weapons ban emerging as part of any post-Newtown gun control law looks highly unlikely after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid opted not to include it in a Democratic proposal to be offered on the Senate floor in coming weeks. "My understanding is it will not be [part of the base bill]" to be introduced on the Senate floor, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said after meeting with Reid on Monday, according to Politico. "The leader has decided not to do it." Feinstein's bill, which would ban more than 150 specific assault-style weapons, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee last week on 10-8 party line vote. It can still be offered as an amendment to the measure that will reach the Senate floor. But that could be an even tougher road to passage. Feinstein authored the 1994 assault weapons ban, which expired 10 years later when Congress failed to reauthorize it. Her bill is among several measures introduced in the new Congress in response to the Dec. 14 shooting deaths of 20 children and six educators at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.
No good
That is a rhetorical question, right Stewart?! LOL
whats wrong with the world??
Better start now..eventhough it seems too late
there is too much paperwork - just realize that people kill with guns
March 15 - Facebook May Incorporate Hashtags, Twitter's Most Annoying And Corporate Feature

As if Facebook weren't annoying enough. The Wall Street Journal reports that the social network may adopt Twitter's arguably most tiresome -- and arguably most Corporate -- feature: the hashtag. Facebook is testing the effectiveness of hashtags and is considering adding the categorizing feature to its site, reports the WSJ citing sources familiar with the matter. Ugh, "please don't," begged Business Insider after the news broke Thursday afternoon. On Twitter, Instagram, and Google+, users can use add a '#' symbol (hashtag) before words and phrases. Doing so turns that word or phrase into a link that leads to all other uses of that word or phrase. Hashtags, while a Twitter staple, are historically unpopular. The hashtag seemed to get completely co-opted by The Man this year after American Express created a way to allow cardholders to make purchases by using hashtags. Just what Facebook needs, more corporate advertising! In a study of follow predictors on Twitter, it was found that "overuse of hashtags" will "significantly reduce follower gain." Facebook seems to like co-opting other social media sites' tools. In late 2012, Facebook took a page out of Snapchat's book and created an app to send self-destructing video and photo messages to friends, called Poke. It was not successful, to say the least. Instead of creating its own version of Instagram, Facebook just bought the company.
I agree gwendolyn...bore
#yawnnnnnnnnn....but hey, the term will make it into the urban dictionary for sure ;)
hashtags are Good
so what?
I like facebook!!
March 15 - Small plane crashes into Fort Lauderdale parking lot

A twin-engine plane crashed late Friday afternoon in a Fort Lauderdale, Florida, parking lot, killing all three people onboard, authorities said. The Piper PA31 aircraft went down around 4:30 p.m., soon after departing Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, said Kathleen Bergen, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration. Fort Lauderdale fire Division Chief John San Angelo told CNN affiliate WPEC that all three people on the plane died in the crash. Fort Lauderdale city spokeswoman Shannon Vezina later confirmed the three fatalities to CNN. "(There was) a lot of damage, a lot of fire -- I don't think anybody could make it through that," San Angelo said. There were no injuries among people on the ground, he added. The aircraft had taken off from the airport, then tried to circle back and land, according to Vezina. It didn't make it. Chris Jewett said that he was in his office building across the street when he saw the aircraft go down in a parking lot he said was for cars that had been towed. "The whole building shook," he told CNN. "It (felt) like somebody crashed into the building." Heading outside, Jewett noticed surging flames as well as billowing black smoke. "Three of four (parked vehicles) actually blew up, the rest caught on fire," he said. "You couldn't really look in." Overhead video from CNN affiliate WSVN showed firefighters in a parking lot, hosing down a number of cars and trucks that had been charred in the incident. The plane itself was essentially unrecognizable. San Angelo, from the Fort Lauderdale fire department, said the aircraft hit a tree and a fence before slamming into seven vehicles and a boat.
I've alway wanted to learn to fly.
Or how about the plane that had to land on the back of a truck...wild
How incredibly sad three souls were lost this day.
I'd be scared if I was on the ground too
March 14 - Bucking trend, more people move to New York City than leave

For the first time in at least 60 years, more people moved to New York City in 2012 than left it, swelling the city's estimated population to an all-time high of 8,336,697, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Thursday. All five of the city's boroughs gained residents, Bloomberg said, using the latest estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. Some 12,200 more people moved into the city than left, with most of the migration coming from abroad. Previous population increases have been as a result of a surplus of births in the city. There were also more births than deaths in New York City in 2012. The net influx was the first seen in the city since at least 1950, when the Census Bureau changed its methodology and made it possible to calculate the number of people moving into and out of New York, city officials said. The city's population in 2012 increased by 2 percent from the 8,175,133 people recorded in the 2010 census. However, the city disputed those numbers, saying they were an underestimate. The city's appeal to the Census Bureau was unsuccessful. "We have many indicators of quality of life in the city - record low crime, record high tourism, record high life expectancy, record high graduation rates, record job growth and more - but there's no better indication of the strength of our city than a record high population and a net population influx," Bloomberg said in a statement. "People are voting with their feet."
Quiet..less people..that's for me
I need a trip to Canal Street!!! Shopping spree!
good place to shop, but not for me
I agree with corynn
I prefer the country :)
It's much prettier than it used to be, but I like the option of living near a city instead and it personally :-)
Living in the city is a great thing if you can afford it..
but it so ugly
March 14 - Physicists believe they have found elusive Higgins boson particle

THE search is all but over for a sub-atomic particle that is a crucial building block of the universe. Physicists have said they believe they have discovered the sub-atomic particle predicted nearly half a century ago, which will go a long way toward explaining what gives electrons and all matter in the universe size and shape. The elusive particle, called a Higgs boson, was predicted in 1964 to help fill in our understanding of the creation of the universe, which many theorise occurred in a massive explosion known as the Big Bang. The particle was named for Peter Higgs, one of the physicists who proposed its existence, but it later became popularly known as the God particle. Last July, scientists at CERN, the Geneva-based European Organisation for Nuclear Research, announced finding a particle they described as Higgs-like, but they stopped short of saying conclusively that it was the same particle or some version of it. Scientists have now finished going through the entire set of data year and announced the results in a statement and at a physics conference in the Italian Alps. "To me it is clear that we are dealing with a Higgs boson, though we still have a long way to go to know what kind of Higgs boson it is," said Joe Incandela, a physicist who heads one of the two main teams at CERN that each involve about 3000 scientists. Its existence helps confirm the theory that objects gain their size and shape when particles interact in an energy field with a key particle, the Higgs boson. The more they attract, the theory goes, the bigger their mass will be. But, it remains an "open question", CERN said in a statement, whether this is the Higgs boson that was expected in the original formulation, or possibly the lightest of several predicted in some theories that go beyond that model. But for now, it said, there can be little doubt that a Higgs boson does exist, in some form. Whether or not it is a Higgs boson is demonstrated by how it interacts with other particles and its quantum properties, CERN said in the statement. The data "strongly indicates that it is a Higgs boson", it said. The discovery would be a strong contender for the Nobel Prize, though it remains unclear whether that might go to Higgs and the others who first proposed the theory or to the thousands of scientists who found it, or to all of them.
I guess I rather prefer a cure for cancer!
What do you mean?/ This is 8th science stuff...
this is above me - I guess I'm not going to be into physics
March 8 - South Dakota to let schools arm teachers

School boards in South Dakota will be permitted to let school employees, hired security personnel or volunteers carry guns in schools under a law signed Friday by Gov. Dennis Daugaard. The law, set to go into effect July 1, will let school boards establish "school sentinel" programs. Under these programs, the school boards can arm people "to secure or enhance the deterrence of physical threat and defense of the school, its students, its staff, and members of the public on the school premises against violent attack," according to the legislation.
Agreed Shari...scary indeed!
I don't think that's a good idea :/
It's one thing to arm trained professionals that have psychiatric clean backgrounds… It's an entirely different thing to arm a teacher. IMO. This will all change once one child shot accidentally.
Not a great Idea???
more guns...sure...that will solve the gun problem
Americans are crazy!!!
sounds like that could be scary...
March 8 - Venezuela's opposition leader calls Maduro a liar

Venezuela's opposition leader is calling Vice President Nicolas Maduro a bold-faced liar and accuses him of using Hugo Chavez's funeral to campaign for the presidency. Henrique Capriles also said in a speech Friday that the opposition had asked to attend Chavez's funeral but was told "better that you don't come." Capriles spoke condescendingly of Maduro, calling him "boy." Carpiles lost the Oct. 7 presidential election to Chavez. He said he decided to speak Friday to object to the ruling earlier in the day by the country's highest court that Maduro had become acting president the moment Chavez died. The government announced Thursday night that Maduro would be sworn in Friday night. He will be the governing socialists' presidential candidate in the vote to replace Chavez.
Lots of corruption
Haha ur funny Hannah!!
Lol Hannah!
really..a politican is a liar????
Mar 6 - Heart failure successes not seen in younger patients

Though fewer American adults were hospitalized with heart failure during the last decade, hospitalization rates among heart failure patients under age 55 saw the least change, according to a new study.Based on billing data for almost 1.7 million U.S. heart failure patients, researchers found that the number of hospital stays for the condition fell overall by about 27 percent between 2001 and 2009."There have been significant reductions in the absolute number of heart failure hospitalizations. It's just the speed is not the same among the younger patients," said Dr. Jersey Chen, the study's lead author from Kaiser Permanente's Mid-Atlantic Permanente Research Institute in Rockville, Maryland.Previous research has shown that the number of hospital stays for heart failure - when the heart cannot pump enough blood to the body - dropped by nearly a third between 1998 and 2008 for patients covered by Medicare, the government insurance program for people over 65.But the causes of heart failure often differ between younger and older patients, Chen and his colleagues write in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, and they were unsure whether there had been a comparable drop in hospital stays among younger patients.For the new study, the researchers used a database of billing records for Americans 18 years old and older.Between 2001 and 2009, hospitalizations for heart failure fell from 633 hospital stays per 100,000 people to 463 stays per 100,000.Adults 65 years old and older saw the greatest reductions in hospital stays - a drop of about 37 percent over the nine years. That compared to a decrease of just 13 percent among patients 18 to 44 years old and 16 percent among those between 45 and 55.The researchers also found that younger heart failure patients showed little reduction in how long they spent in the hospital, or how many of them died within 30 days of admission.Length of stay in the hospital, on average, fell from about 5.6 days in 2001 to 5.3 days in 2009. But the change was almost entirely among patients over age 65.Deaths within 30 days of entering the hospital fell by about 8 percent among adults younger than 45 over the nine-year period, compared to a drop of 22 percent for patients 45 to 54 years old and a drop of 36 percent for patients between 55 and 64.Chen told Reuters Health "the jury is still out" on why younger patients haven't seen the same reductions in heart failure hospitalizations and deaths in the hospital, but it's an area of active research.He told Reuters Health that it could be that management of risk factors for heart failure in older adults - such as high blood pressure and heart disease - is easier to control, compared to the typical causes of the condition in younger patients.Birth defects in the heart, for example, would be harder to avoid than high blood pressure, he said."I think we need to figure out why, what is causing the heart failure in the younger patients, more precisely than what we can get from this administrative data," Chen added.The differences between older and younger heart failure patients may also be explained by differences in hospital care and insurance, noted Dr. Adrian Hernandez, an associate professor of medicine and cardiology at the Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina."While (the authors) speculate some of this may be greater risk factor control, that doesn't seem like something that would have much impact on length of stay," said Hernandez, who wasn't involved in the new research.Hernandez told Reuters Health there could be differences between a younger patient and an older adult in what an insurer is willing to pay for."(The findings are) good news for certain patient groups that have been able to get out of the hospital faster and on a better course, but there is more work to be done to make sure all patients have that experience," Hernandez said.
Excellent point Hannah!
maybe "SuperSize Me" has had something to do with this...people see the unhealtiness of fast foods
Feb 25 - The 10 most miserable cities in America

Forbes put Detroit Mayor Dave Bing on its cover in 2011 for a story with the optimistic headline “City of Hope.” The premise was that the city had hit rock bottom and was poised for a turnaround.

“Right now, it’s all about survival,” Bing told Forbes.

Two years later, Detroit’s problems continue to multiply, sadly. It is still dealing with high levels of violent crime and unemployment. Home prices, already at historic lows, plummeted a further 35% during the past three years to a median of $40,000 as net migration out of the city continued.

The latest blow was Tuesday’s announcement that the city is on the verge of being taken over by the state. Detroit is in a financial emergency and cannot pay its bills. The city has been issuing debt to fund day-to-day operations. The continuing problems propelled Detroit to the top spot in our 2013 ranking of America’s Most Miserable Cities. Yahoo! Homes is publishing the 10 most miserable here; to see the rest of the 20 most miserable cities in the nation, go to Forbes.com:

Economist Arthur Okun developed the original Misery Index in the 1960s. It combines unemployment and inflation (and was 10.2 last year nationally, down from an 18-year high of 12.1 in 2011).

Our look at misery is more localized, and includes unemployment, as well as other things that aggravate people.

This year we examined nine factors for the 200 largest metro areas in the U.S. The metrics include the serious: violent crime, unemployment, foreclosures, taxes (income and property) and home prices. We also include less weighty, but still important quality-of-life issues like commute times and weather.

We tweaked the methodology in this year’s list in response to feedback from readers, dropping our rankings of both pro sports team success and political corruption, since both were based on regional rather than city-specific data. We also added a new measure—net migration—which we see as a clear gauge of whether or not residents feel a community is worth living in. Detroit, which ranked No. 2 last year, also would have finished No. 1 under the previous methodology 

Detroit’s problems are hardly new. It has been in a four-decade decline, paralleling the slide of the U.S. auto industry. The city’s debt rating was cut to junk by Moody’s Investors Service in 1992, but declining tax revenues from a shrinking city will soon make Detroit a ward of the state.

Violent crime in the Detroit metro division was down 5% in 2011, but it remains the highest in the country with 1,052 violent crimes per 100,000 people, according to the FBI. The city’s financial problems have forced significant cutbacks to the police force. It is a circuitous problem as high crime and unemployment force people to leave the city, which lowers the tax base and strains Detroit’s finances further.

“There is no question that Detroit has many challenges,” Bing said in a statement to Forbes. “With all due respect to the data in this report, Detroit is in the midst of a transformation. That transformation is being driven by my restructuring plan, which is focused on four key areas: public safety; public lighting; public transportation; and neighborhood blight removal.”

The problems of No. 2-ranked Flint, Mich. mirror those of Detroit. Like Detroit, Flint has been demolishing homes as the city shrinks, with residents leaving in search of jobs. Only Detroit has a higher net migration rate among the 200 largest U.S. metros. Unemployment has averaged 11.3% in Flint the past three years and it ranks third worst for violent crime behind just Detroit and Memphis, Tenn.

Flint beat Detroit to the punch when it came to surrendering to the state over its finances. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder appointed an emergency manager at the end of 2011 to run the cash-strapped city. The manager is still in place.

Two cities on our list, Chicago (No. 4) and New York (No. 10) may surprise readers, though they’ve been here before. Both offer myriad opportunities and positives as the homes of financial centers, world-class culture, leading universities, sports teams galore and high-end restaurants. But it isn’t easy living in either city, particularly if you don’t earn a lot of money (and even if you do it can be tough).

Chicago residents must endure long commutes (31 minutes on average), plummeting home prices (37% the past five years), brutal winters and high foreclosure rates (3.3% of homes in 2012, says RealtyTrac). Many residents are giving up on the Windy City, with a net migration out of the city of 107,000 people the past five years, according to Moody’s Analytics.

There is almost as much misery in New York, home to the nation’s longest average commutes (36 minutes) and highest income tax rates (10.5% for those making $100,000). New York has seen a trickle out of the city the past two years, but Moody’s expects those numbers to jump dramatically, with a projected 136,000 more people leaving the city than moving there over the next three years. The only things saving New York from a worse ranking: few foreclosures, and rising home prices.

Last year’s most miserable city, Miami, dropped just outside the top 20, in part due to the addition of net migration as a metric. Miami ranks No. 20 for migration among the 200 largest metros. Miami still has a staggeringly high violent crime rate (seventh-worst in the U.S.), but it also benefited from a recovering housing market with home prices up 11% in 2012.

Here's a countdown of the most miserable cities in the nation, with No. 1 being the most miserable of all:

Taxes are always a hot-button issue in New York.Taxes are always a hot-button issue in New York.

#10 New York, N.Y.

Taxes are always a hot button issue in New York, whether it revolves around banks paying their share (rally above) or the taxes that residents face, which are the highest in the U.S. New Yorkers also rank first when it comes to the longest commutes.


Drawbacks to living in suburban Chicago's Lake County include lousy weather and long commutes.

#9 Lake County, Ill.

The Chicago suburb is one of the richest counties in the U.S., as measured by per capita income. But home prices are down 29% over the past 5 years. Other drawbacks: long commutes and lousy weather.


Stockton has the highest foreclosure rate in the nation.

#8 Stockton, Calif.

Stockton became the largest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy protection last year. The city is burdened with the highest foreclosure rate in the U.S. and ranks among the five worst for unemployment and crime.


Home prices have fallen by more than half in the past five years in the Warren metro area.Home prices have fallen by more than half in the past five years in the Warren metro area.

#7 Warren, Mich.

Troy and Farmington Hills are part of the government-defined Warren metro division. Like Detroit, the Warren metro has seen home prices collapse--off 53% the past five years.


Vallejo, about 25 miles north of San Francisco, recently emerged from bankruptcy.Vallejo, about 25 miles north of San Francisco, recently emerged from bankruptcy.

#6 Vallejo, Calif.

The city finally emerged from bankruptcy at the end of 2011 after nearly 3 years. Problems remain with high levels of foreclosures and unemployment.


Foreclosures still plague Modesto, Calif.Foreclosures still plague Modesto, Calif.

#5 Modesto, Calif.

Foreclosures continue to plague Modesto with 6,859 foreclosure filings in 2012, according to RealtyTrac. It represents 3.8% of homes, which is the third highest rate in the U.S. Recent unemployment was 15%.


People are leaving Chicago faster than almost any other city in the U.S.People are leaving Chicago faster than almost any other city in the U.S.

#4 Chicago, Ill.

Chicago has passionate supporters, but residents must endure the misery of long commutes, plummeting home prices, brutal winters and high foreclosure rates. The migration rate out of Chicago is the sixth worst among the 200 largest metros.


Unemployed people attend a job fair. Rockford has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation.Unemployed people attend a job fair. Rockford has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation.

#3 Rockford, Ill.

A three decade decline in the manufacturing base has hurt Rockford's economy and kept unemployment high. The metro's recent 11.2% unemployment rate is one of the highest rates in the U.S. Another burden: high property tax rates.


Flint ranks third-worst in the nation for violent crime.Flint ranks third-worst in the nation for violent crime.

#2 Flint, Mich.

Flint has been demolishing homes as the city shrinks with residents leaving in search of jobs. Only Detroit has a higher net out-migration rate. Flint ranks third worst for violent crime, behind Detroit and Memphis.


#1 Detroit, Mich. (pictured at the top)

Violent crime in the Detroit metro was down 5% in 2011, but it remains the highest in the country with 1,052 violent crimes per 100,000 people, according to the FBI. Home prices were off 35% the past 3 years, which is the biggest drop in the U.S.
Such sad statistics!
This is sadly the reality
So sad to see all of those Michigan cities on there :(
The list hasn't changed much
Feb 25 - British Cardinal to skip papal conclave

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Britain's highest-ranking Catholic leader, says he is resigning as archbishop in the wake of misconduct allegations and will be skipping the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.

The cardinal said in a statement Monday that he will not attend because he doesn't want media attention focused on him during the important session in Rome.

Experts said the decision not to attend the papal conclave is unprecedented; never before has a cardinal stayed away from a conclave because of personal scandal, according to Vatican historian Ambrogio Piazzoni, the vice prefect of the Vatican library.

The Vatican confirmed that O'Brien had resigned as archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh. It was accepted under the code of canon law due to O'Brien's age; he turns 75 — the normal retirement age for bishops — on March 17.

He said in a statement that he is in "indifferent health" and that he had offered his resignation last November. A church statement says the pope accepted O'Brien's resignation on Feb. 18.

"Looking back over my years of ministry: For any good I have been able to do, I thank God. For any failures, I apologize to all whom I have offended," he said.

O'Brien has said through his spokesman that he is contesting allegations made Sunday in a British newspaper that three priests and a former priest have filed complaints to the Vatican alleging that the cardinal acted inappropriately with them.

The Observer newspaper did not name the priests, but it said their allegations date back to the 1980s. There were no details about the alleged inappropriate behavior.

The one-sentence Vatican statement issued Monday made no reference to those allegations.

A Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said Sunday the complaints had been channeled through the office of the papal nuncio — the Vatican's ambassador — in London.

"The pope has been informed, and the question is in his hands," Lombardi said.

During a briefing with reporters at the Vatican last week, Piazzoni was asked about the campaign to keep Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony away from the voting because he covered up sexual abuse by priests.

Piazzoni said while in the past some cardinals have been impeded either by illness or by interference from their governments, none has stayed away because of a stain on his own reputation.

He noted that any decision would have to be approved by the full College of Cardinals, given that the main duty of a cardinal is to vote in a conclave.

"The thing that characterizes a cardinal is to be an elector of the pope," he told reporters.

Winfield reported from Rome.
Lol Tina! If you can't say something nice… Love that saying :-)
at Tina - lol
They hide behind Vatican walls
Hive 5 for him
I can't even comment on this without saying something really negative so not comment :(
Feb 22 - Adults get 11 percent of calories from fast food

On an average day, U.S. adults get roughly 11 percent of their calories from fast food, a government study shows.

That's down slightly from the 13 percent reported the last time the government tried to pin down how much of the American diet is coming from fast food. Eating fast food too frequently has been seen as a driver of America's obesity problem.

For the research, about 11,000 adults were asked extensive questions about what they ate and drank over the previous 24 hours to come up with the results.

Among the findings:

— Young adults eat more fast food than their elders; 15 percent of calories for ages 20 to 39 and dropping to 6 percent for those 60 and older.

— Blacks get more of their calories from fast-food, 15 percent compared to 11 percent for whites and Hispanics.

— Young black adults got a whopping 21 percent from the likes of Wendy's, Taco Bell and KFC.

The figures are averages. Included in the calculations are some people who almost never eat fast food, as well as others who eat a lot of it.

The survey covers the years 2007 through 2010 and was released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The authors couldn't explain why the proportion of calories from fast food dropped from the 13 percent found in a survey for 2003 through 2006.

One nutrition professor cast doubts on the latest results, saying 11 percent seemed implausibly low. New York University's Marion Nestle said it wouldn't be surprising if some people under-reported their hamburgers, fries and milkshakes since eating too much fast food is increasingly seen as something of a no-no.

"If I were a fast-food company, I'd say 'See, we have nothing to do with obesity! Americans are getting 90 percent of their calories somewhere else!'" she said.

The study didn't include the total number of fast-food calories, just the percentage. Previous government research suggests that the average U.S. adult each day consumes about 270 calories of fast food — the equivalent of a small McDonald's hamburger and a few fries.

The new CDC study found that obese people get about 13 percent of daily calories from fast food, compared with less than 10 percent for skinny and normal-weight people.

There was no difference seen by household income, except for young adults. The poorest — those with an annual household income of less than $30,000 — got 17 percent of their calories from fast food, while the figure was under 14 percent for the most affluent 20- and 30-somethings with a household income of more than $50,000.

That's not surprising since there are disproportionately higher numbers of fast-food restaurants in low-income neighborhoods, Nestle said.

Fast food is accessible and "it's cheap," she said.
I agree Maddox! And the stats prove it!
I try to avoid it also! Tempting but not worth it in the end.
I try to avoid fast food...
Fast food so bad and good at same time lol
This only made me hungry...yikes
I saw a man on one show who passes over 100 fast food restaurants on his daily commute - no wonder why Americans are "super sized"!!!
Hmm, I am sure it is a lot more in some sities
Feb 22 - Peterson screams, then gets 38 years for murder

Drew Peterson — the swaggering Chicago-area policeman who gained notoriety after his fourth wife vanished — lost his characteristic cool in court Thursday, screaming out his innocence before a judge sentenced him to 38 years in prison for the murder of a previous wife.

"I did not kill Kathleen!" Peterson shouted, leaning into a courtroom microphone and emphasizing each of the five words.

Without missing a beat, his dead wife's sister, Susan Doman, shouted back, "Yes, you did! You liar!" before the judge ordered sheriff's deputies to remove her from the courtroom.

For years, Peterson had casually dismissed and even joked about suggestions he killed his third wife, Kathleen Savio, or that he was behind the disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson.

His sudden explosion of fury Thursday as he stepped up to address the judge who would sentence him for Savio's 2004 death left spectators gasping. Lead state prosecutor James Glasgow said it exposed the real Drew Peterson — the one more than capable of murder.

"We all got an opportunity to see a psychopath reveal himself in open court," Glasgow told reporters shortly after Thursday's hearing. "That shrill ... screech. ... That's the guy that killed Kathy."

Illinois does not have the death penalty, and the 59-year-old Peterson had faced a maximum 60-year prison term. Judge Edward Burmila gave him four years' credit for time he has served since his 2009 arrest.

After starting his statement with the startling scream, Peterson went on for 30 more minutes, continuing in mostly hushed tones, crying and trying to regain his composure at times. His voice quivered and his hands were shaking as he reached for a glass of water.

"I loved Kathy. She was a good mom," he said, tearing up. "She did not deserve to die. But she died in an accident."

Savio's death was initially ruled an accident, after neighbors found the 40-year-old aspiring nurse's body in a dry bathtub at home. It was Stacy Peterson's 2007 disappearance that prompted authorities to take another look at Savio's death and eventually reclassify it as a homicide. Drew Peterson is also a suspect in the disappearance of Stacy Peterson — who was 23-years-old when she vanished — but he hasn't been charged in her case.

Fascination nationwide with Drew Peterson arose from speculation he sought to use his law enforcement expertise to get away with murder. Jurors convicted him of Savio's murder in September.

At times Thursday, Peterson seemed to wallow in self-pity, telling the judge, "I don't deserve this," and that "America should be outraged (by the injustice of his conviction), but nobody cares." Other times, he seethed, blaming prosecutors for what he called "the largest railroad job ever."

He told Glasgow that the prosecutor could now celebrate because he had destroyed Peterson's life. Minutes later, Peterson challenged Glasgow to look him in the eyes. Glasgow, who had been taking notes, laid down his pen, folded his arms and looked straight back at Peterson.

"Never forget what you've done here," Peterson said.

Glasgow later told reporters about that moment, "I was thinking, 'You're a cold-blooded murderer and I'll stare you down until I die.'"

Peterson had divorced Savio a year before her death. His motive for killing her, prosecutors said, was fear that a pending settlement would wipe him out financially.

Before Thursday, Peterson had never publicly showed concern about the serious charges and the possible sentence he faced. The glib, cocky former police officer seemed to taunt authorities before his 2009 arrest, suggesting a "Win a Date With Drew Contest" and then, after his arrest, "Win a Conjugal Visit With Drew Contest." More recently, his story inspired a TV movie starring Rob Lowe.

Savio's family members told the judge they hoped she was somehow watching Thursday's proceedings.

"I hope ... she is watching his descent into hell," said Henry Savio Jr., the victim's brother. And he added about Drew Peterson, "I hope she is haunting him in his dreams."

Sister Anna Doman said she couldn't help thinking about what her sister went through in the moments before she died: "The horror and the betrayal she felt when she realized that someone she had trusted and loved more than anything was killing her."

Prosecutors had no physical evidence tying Peterson to Savio's death and no witnesses placing him at the scene — something Peterson alluded to in his statement. During last year's trial, they relied on typically barred hearsay — statements Savio made to others before she died and that Stacy Peterson made before she vanished. Illinois passed a hearsay law in 2008 tailored to Drew Peterson's case, dubbed "Drew's Law," which assisted in making some of the evidence admissible.

The hearsay — any information reported by a witness not based on the witness' direct knowledge — included a friend testifying that Savio told her Peterson once put a knife to her throat and warned her, "I could kill you and make it look like an accident."

A turning point at the trial came when the defense called a divorce attorney who said he spoke to Stacy Peterson before she vanished. Rather than blunting her credibility, the witness stressed to jurors that Stacy Peterson seemed to truly believe her husband killed Savio.

Earlier Thursday, the judge denied a defense request to grant Drew Peterson a retrial. Peterson's current attorneys contended his former lead attorney, Joel Brodsky, botched the initial trial and had been the one to decide to call Smith to the stand. Brodsky stepped down from the defense team in November.

Prosecutors suspect Peterson killed his fourth wife because she could finger him for Savio's death. Peterson has maintained his fourth wife ran off with another man and is still alive.

Peterson's attorneys have said they might appeal all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court on grounds Illinois' hearsay law is unconstitutional.
I guess the gloves fit this time
He is not descending into hell yet, not enough years to serve for that crime
a good place to hide as a serial killer
Wow , this is weird stuff
Feb 21 - Vegas police look for SUV from shooting and crash

Gunshots fired from a black Range Rover on the Las Vegas Strip early Thursday caused a Maserati to crash into a taxi, creating a fireball and killing three people as the SUV sped away.

Initial reports had it as a gunfight between the luxury SUV and the high-end sports car. But investigators don't think anyone in the Maserati was shooting, said Sgt. John Sheahan.

Police are looking for the distinctive black Range Rover with dark tinted windows and black rims that left the scene after the 4:30 a.m. Thursday crash at the intersection of Flamingo and Las Vegas boulevards. It's surrounded by some of the most famous casinos on the Strip, including the Bellagio, Caesars Palace and Bally's.

In all, five vehicles were involved. The Maserati driver, the taxi driver and a passenger in the cab were killed.

The Range Rover has paper dealer plates, although it's not clear what state they're from, police said. Authorities are checking with law enforcement agencies in California, Arizona and Utah in their search for clues.

The taxi was affiliated with the Desert Cab company, according to general manager Sandy Shaver. He declined to comment further.

Several people were taken to the hospital, including a passenger from the Maserati. Four were taken to University Medical Center where spokeswoman Danita Cohen said three people were treated and released. One person remained in the hospital whose condition was not released.

The intersection is expected to be closed for hours as officers investigate.

A tourist who witnessed the aftermath of the crash told KLAS-TV the burning taxi looked like a fireball.

It's the latest in a series of violent actions on the tourist corridor since the beginning of the year. Two people were critically wounded in a shooting at a parking garage Feb. 6, and a tourist was stabbed in an elevator at The Hotel at Mandalay Bay Feb. 16.

A spokesman for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Jeremy Handel, said his organization didn't immediately have a comment on the incident and deferred to the police unit that patrols the tourism district.
Thank God they got the killer
I saw this on the news .. still don't know what happened
I saw this on the news .. still don't know what happened
I saw this on the news .. still don't know what happened
Vegas is dangerous to if you are not careful!!!
I love Vegas!!!!
there sure is money Vegas
Feb 21 - Internet advertisers kill text-based CAPTCHA

If you've submitted a comment, signed up for a newsletter, or uploaded a photo to the Internet at any point in the past five years, there's a good chance you're familiar with the CAPTCHA system. CAPTCHAs are the annoying little verification windows that pop up, asking you to decipher a nearly unrecognizable series of letters or words, and Web users have hated them for years. But if these silly security systems make you want to bust your keyboard in half, you'll be happy to hear that we may very well be seeing the last days of the obnoxious, text-based CAPTCHA system, and the next verification system you see online may make you happy to view advertisements for the first time ever.

Rather than taking just a mere glance to figure out, recent studies show that a typical CAPTCHA takes, on average, 14 seconds to solve, with some taking much, much longer. Multiply that by the millions and millions of verifications per day, and Web users as a whole are wasting years and years of their lives just trying to prove they're not actually computers. This has led many companies to abandon the age-old system in favor of something not only more secure, but also easier to use for your average Webgoer: Ad-based verification, which can actually cut the time it takes to complete the task in half.

Now when performing a Web task, such as purchasing event tickets from Ticketmaster, for example, you may no longer be met with a swirling mix of letters and numbers, but instead by an advertisement or common brand logo. Rather than demanding that you decipher a completely pointless combination of fuzzy words, you could simply be asked to recite a well-known company slogan. The security pop-up might even ask you to view an ad image and then type the company's name.

The new system is turning out to be a big time saver for just about everyone, and Web users are typically able to confirm their humanity much faster than with the standard verification tool. New York-based Solve Media—one of the leaders of the ad-based verification revolution—claims the ads it uses for user confirmation take about seven seconds to complete, cutting wasted time in half.

But ad-based verification isn't the only revolutionary idea looking to usurp the standard CAPTCHA's throne. Both puzzle and math-based variations on the tool have also started to gain traction. Puzzle versions of the tool ask you to perform a simple task, like draw a circle around a specific object in an image, while the mathematical option requests that you solve some simple arithmetic. Both of these variants allow you to confirm your humanity without deciphering a garbled string of text, but they lack the revenue-generating capability of the ad-based method. And because of this added monetary bonus of the commercial model, both the puzzle and math verification tools have less of a chance of becoming commonplace.

CAPTCHA—which stands for "Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart"—first gained prominence in the early 2000s as a way to keep Web forms from being spammed by computer bots. It's impossible to tell how much time Web users as a whole have wasted as a result of the increasingly difficult text strings, but with much simpler alternatives finally beginning to catch on, it appears that the fuzzy text nonsense is finally meeting its end. Advertisements in general are usually seen as a hindrance to daily life, but in this case, ads will actually make your life easier. What a novel concept!
I can never get those crazy letters and numbers right lol
This could be interesting
Feb 20 - Man reunited with dog after 10 years apart

Shortly after his pet boxer passed away, New Hampshire man Jamie Carpentier wasn't looking to take on another dog. He went online anyway—who doesn't like to browse?—and looked at pictures on the Humane Society of Greater Nashua website. But then he saw a familiar face: his old basset hound, Ginger.

Ten years ago, Carpentier's ex-wife got Ginger in the divorce. But, according to CBS Boston, she gave up Ginger a short time later.

The dog was adopted, but 10 years later had become too much work for her elderly owner. (From the looks of this face, it's hard to imagine Ginger giving anybody much trouble.) The owner surrendered Ginger to the Humane Society—and Carpentier happened to log on to the right site at the right time.

He spoke with Boston's WCVB-TV about the unexpected reunion. "She seemed like she knew it was me," Carpentier said about picking up his old/new dog. "It was me and my father who were there, and she just ... she just recognized us." He wasn't planning on taking another dog, but come on. How could anybody say no to this face?

"She was stuck to me like glue. It was awesome,” Carpentier told the Nashua Telegraph after seeing her again "I have her now, and she has a place to live and stay,” he said. “The end. It’s awesome.”
so nice! :)
Stories like this you gotta wonder , wow, it's amazing that the dog lived that long
Awww,Ehae is great!!!!
a happy end - dogs get depressed too from seperations
Feb 20 - Boom in quinoa demand stresses Bolivia highlands

The growing global demand for quinoa by health food enthusiasts isn't just raising prices for the Andean "super grain" and living standards among Bolivian farmers. Quinoa fever is running up against physical limits.

The scramble to grow more is prompting Bolivian farmers to abandon traditional land management practices, endangering the fragile ecosystem of the arid highlands, agronomists say.

Quinoa currently fetches as much as $3,200 a ton, up nearly threefold from five years ago — a surge fed by "foodies" making quinoa a hot health-food product based on its high content of protein and amino acids. It's also gluten free. Though used like a grain, quinoa is actually an edible seed.

The United Nations has designated 2013 as the International Year of Quinoa, and Bolivian President Evo Morales planned to be at a special session of the world body in New York on Wednesday along with Peru's first lady, Nadine Heredia, to celebrate. Their countries are the world's two biggest producers.

Quinoa has been cultivated in the Andean highlands since at least 3000 B.C., growing natively from Chile north to Colombia. It grows best at high altitudes in climates with cool days and even cooler nights.

In December, Morales mounted a tractor and plowed furrows into the soil of his highlands hometown, Orinoca, to promote quinoa as sowing season got under way. Townspeople sacrificed a llama to ask Pachamama, or Mother Earth, for a good harvest.

But last week, Morales was out chastising farmers for having planted quinoa in pastures where llamas traditionally graze. Without the llamas' manure, little would grow in the arid highlands more than two miles (three kilometers) high where the most prized variety of quinoa originates.

"Quinoa goes hand in hand with the natural fertilizer that llamas produce and there must be a nutritional crossing between the two," said Rossmary Jaldin, an expert in the crop.

Bolivia's deputy minister of rural development, Victor Hugo Vasquez, said 30 percent of his country's 70,000 quinoa producers are now children of peasants who left the farm but have been drawn back by high quinoa prices.

He and the president of Bolivia's National Association of Quinoa Producers, Juan Crispin, say many of the growers don't follow traditional farming methods and are depleting soils because they don't rotate crops.

"We're not going to work with them," said Vasquez. "We are not going to help them."

Morales' government declared quinoa a strategic priority two years ago and has since disbursed $10 million in credits for increasing yields to cash in on the boom.

The country's quinoa crop expanded from 240 square miles (63,000 hectares) in 2009 to 400 square miles (104,000 hectares) last year, when it produced a total of 58,000 metric tons, according to the Rural Development Ministry. That is more than 40 times the production in 2000.

The United States imports 52 percent of Bolivian quinoa while 24 percent goes to Europe, where France and the Netherlands are big buyers.

Peru, meantime, raised its production to 43,640 metric tons last year from 29,640 tons in 2009 and exported $30 million worth, up 20 percent from the previous year.

Their gains have caught the attention of potential competitors. Farmers are beginning to plant quinoa in other countries, including Canada, Australia, China, India and Paraguay. A few thousand acres are harvested in a highland valley of the U.S. state of Colorado and also in Minnesota.

Bolivian farmers are complaining to their government that they need harvesting machinery since most of their quinoa is harvested by hand. Morales' administration has invited South Korean engineers to design the desired machines.

Duane Johnson, a former Colorado state agronomist who helped introduce quinoa to the United States three decades ago, said quinoa can be commercially planted and harvested just like grain.

"It's just the size of millet," said Johnson, who now lives in Bigfork, Montana. "I think the problem you get into in South America is getting enough land to justify a combine."

When he was growing quinoa in the late 1980s, the United States accounted for 37 percent of the world's quinoa crop, Johnson said. Today, it has about 2 percent, he said.

Environmental concerns about the expansion of quinoa in Bolivia aren't the only problems that experts see.

Near Lake Titicaca, in some of the highlands' most fertile soils, quinoa is now showing up where it hadn't before been planted, replacing potatoes, beans and oats in some fields.

Experts fear that trend could harm food stocks in this poor nation where one in five children suffers from chronic malnutrition.

And with quinoa now costing three times as much as rice in La Paz markets, it isn't eaten much by Bolivians. Its consumption averages a little more than a kilogram, (2.2 pounds) per year for each Bolivian.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization hopes to promote more use of quinoa at home by promoting the serving of quinoa in subsidized school breakfasts.
There are many exciting stories coming from Latin American Super foods. The prospertity of teh people are exciting as long as they protect their future.
as long as it feeds their own people and not get exported first
Feb 13 - Ala. Hostage Speaks After Abduction, Has 'Hard Time Sleeping'

For the first time since his release from an underground Alabama bunker, 6-year-old Ethan and his mother, Jennifer Kirkland, have revealed new details about his six days as a hostage, telling TV-host Phil McGraw that he "has had a very hard time sleeping soundly."

Jimmy Lee Dykes, 65, abducted Ethan and held him in a 6-by-8-foot bunker 4 feet underground near Midland City, Ala. He had snatched the boy from a school bus after shooting the driver to death.

The standoff ended after six days when Dykes engaged in a firefight with SWAT agents before they stormed the bunker and killed him.

Ethan and Kirkland sat down with McGraw ("Dr. Phil") for an exclusive one-on-one interview last week, in which they described Ethan's time underground with Dykes.

"We know for example that Mr. Dykes seemed to have some empathy for the child," McGraw told ABC News. "We do know that Mr. Dykes fried him chicken in the bunker to feed him and take care of him."

McGraw visited Ethan in Alabama two days after the daring rescue Feb. 4.

"He has said a few things," Kirkland said in the interview that will air on "The Dr. Phil Show" Wednesday. "Now I know that he has had a very hard time sleeping soundly. He slings his arms and tosses and turns. He's cried out a few times."

McGraw told ABC News that Ethan hasn't been back to school yet, and even the sight of a school bus seems to agitate him.

McGraw said his fixation on the school bus indicated that he associates it with something that was traumatic for him.

"The Dr. Phil Show" says it plans to follow up with Ethan and his mother to provide support and resources. The show also says the Dr. Phil Foundation is making a financial contribution to help support Ethan in the future.

Click here for photos from the Alabama hostage situation.

McGraw said he doesn't think Ethan truly has a grasp on what happened to him.

"From an adult perspective, [he doesn't]," McGraw said. "I think he understands that there was a very violent act, and it scared him greatly."
There are a lot of sicko's!!!!!
Poor kid!!!!
are we tough enough on sicko's?
how scary for that little boy
Feb 13 - Snow-buried communities seek help from residents

With schools still closed, cars still buried and streets still blocked by the widespread weekend snowstorm, officials around southern New England are asking people to pick up a shovel and help out.

In Boston, a "snow angel" campaign is using social media to encourage neighbors and friends to be an angel and help dig out the stranded.

Hundreds of volunteers carried shovels to downtown Waterbury, Conn., after the mayor promised to pay minimum wage to anyone who helped clear the City Hall area and the schools Tuesday.

In Rhode Island, dozens of volunteers responded to a call by the volunteer advocacy group Serve Rhode Island to help clear snow.

Pedro Gonzalez of Cranston, R.I., had done three shoveling jobs for elderly residents by mid-afternoon Tuesday, fueled only by a few sports drinks and the satisfaction he said the work gives him.

"You feel full, you know?" he said, speaking after his most recent job in Providence. "You feel real good and you sleep better."

The snowfall Friday and Saturday buried the region in 1 to 3 feet of snow, and communities still are struggling to get back to normal.

The storm, blamed for at least 18 deaths across the U.S. and Canada, caused flooding that forced coastal evacuations in Massachusetts and carried high winds that downed trees and power lines.

By early Wednesday, more than 6,800 utility customers still were without power, including 5,539 in Massachusetts, which was hardest hit with outages. More than 650,000 homes and businesses in eight states were without electricity at one point.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino's office has encouraged neighbors to help out neighbors after other storms, but this time it's using social media to create a "buzz" and spread the word more broadly, said Emily Shea, the city's Elderly Affairs commissioner.

Shea said most people who call the mayor's hotline for help clearing snow end up figuring things out themselves. But others don't, and the snow angel campaign aims to make sure they aren't forgotten.

"We're still just a couple days after the storm, and we still want to make sure folks are looking out for each other," she said.

The new workforce in Waterbury was formed after Mayor Neil O'Leary took a friend's suggestion to hire kids who are off from school — and possibly getting bored — to clear out City Hall and the schools, which are closed at least until Wednesday.

O'Leary put the word out, offering Connecticut's $8.25 hourly minimum wage. He said about 500 people, most between ages 14 and 18 with some adults mixed in, showed up at City Hall at noon Tuesday.

The offer is good again Wednesday, and O'Leary figures the workers will cost the city about $50,000. But he hopes the teens will get more than money in return, he said.

"We're giving them a little sense of community, a sense of pride," O'Leary said.

The Providence volunteers were rounded up by Serve Rhode Island in partnership with the United Way. The group recently deployed hundreds of people to help with Rhode Island's Superstorm Sandy cleanup, so it had a list of possible volunteers to alert. It also requested snow-clearing volunteers on its website.

Share Rhode Island Executive Director Bernie Beaudreau said the group has had some worries over whether people would pose as volunteers and victimize those they were supposed to help. But he said the much larger Sandy operation went well and he expected no problems this time.

"We're banking on the good will of others," he said,

Gonzalez, 40, said he's anticipating some aches for his efforts, but added he's glad to offer his time.

"Personally, I really love it," said Gonzalez, who helps manage his family's convenience store. "I believe that a blessing is useless if you don't share it."
There should be a law - Move ot Costa Rica during the Winter
I try too!!!!!
Some people have good will!!!!
That is helpful!!!!
I know from experience...we usually shovel our own driveway and then go and help out the seniors around the block
Feb 12 - LA homicide detectives sift 700 clues in manhunt for ex-cop

Detectives were pursuing some 700 clues in their manhunt for an ex-cop suspected of a revenge-driven killing spree, Los Angeles police said on Monday, a day after a $1 million reward was posted for information leading to the fugitive's capture.

Christopher Dorner, 33, is accused of targeting law enforcement officers and their families in three killings committed in retaliation for his 2008 firing from the Los Angeles Police Department.

His last confirmed encounter with authorities came early on Thursday, when he is accused of ambushing two policemen at a red light in Riverside, 60 miles east of Los Angeles. One of those officers was killed, the other wounded.

That confrontation came shortly after Dorner, a former Navy officer, is suspected of exchanging gunfire with police in nearby Corona, wounding one officer there.

Riverside County prosecutors formally charged Dorner on Monday with one count of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted murder in connection with Thursday's shootings and said they had issued a "no-bail" arrest warrant for him.

Riverside County District Attorney Paul Zellerbach told a news conference that the evidence already amassed against Dorner was strong enough to press charges.

"This individual, by both his words and his conduct, has made it very clear to all of us that every law enforcement officer in Southern California is in danger of being shot or killed," Zellerbach said.

Aside from numerous false sightings, the search for Dorner has centered on the San Bernardino Mountains northeast of Los Angeles, where his truck was found abandoned and burning on a fire road near the ski resort community of Big Bear Lake.

The manhunt there has not been abandoned, Los Angeles police spokesman Lieutenant Andrew Neiman said, but detectives were also busy following up an estimated 700 clues and tips from the public in hopes that one of them would lead them to the fugitive.


Dismissing speculation that Dorner's four-day silence may suggest he had taken his own life, Neiman said: "We are operating on the premise that he is still out and about and we are going to find him."

Although public statements by police have suggested Dorner was believed to be acting alone, the U.S. Marshals Service said in court documents filed last week that the agency "has also been tracking the movements of ... a known associate of Dorner."

The purported associate, identified in the affidavit only by the initials "J.Y.," has a family member who owns residential property where Dorner's truck was found burning, but it was not clear whether the individual remained under federal surveillance or had been questioned by authorities.

Representatives of the Marshals Service could not immediately be reached for comment.

The affidavit, filed as part of a criminal complaint charging Dorner with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, said U.S. marshals had "probable cause" to believe he had gone to Mexico.

That conclusion it said, was based in part on "recent observations of a suspect matching Dorner's description attempting to flee to Mexico" and an alleged statement by Dorner himself during a failed attempt to steal a boat in San Diego last Thursday.

U.S. marshals asked police in the Mexican border town Tijuana on Thursday to be on the lookout for Dorner, and Tijuana authorities distributed flyers with information about him to their patrol units that day, according to Francisco Javier Viruete Munguia, director-general of police and transit there. But he said the effort had so far failed to produce any leads.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents joined the manhunt over the weekend by conducting special vehicle screenings of Mexican-bound vehicles at the California border.

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck has said that the $1 million reward, raised from private donations, police unions, businesses and local governments, was the largest sum ever offered in Southern California in a criminal investigation.

Beck has also described the manhunt for Dorner as the most extensive ever mounted in the Los Angeles area.

A manifesto posted on Dorner's Facebook page last week claimed he was wrongly terminated from the Los Angeles Police Department in 2008 and vowed to seek revenge by unleashing "unconventional and asymmetrical warfare" on police officers and their families.

Last Wednesday, he was named as a suspect in the slayings of a campus security officer and his fiancée, the daughter of a retired Los Angeles police captain that Dorner's manifesto blames for his dismissal.

The couple, Keith Lawrence, 27, and Monica Quan, 28, were found shot dead three days earlier, on February 3, in their car on the top level of a parking structure in the city of Irvine, south of Los Angeles.

Dorner had ended his military service two days earlier, and the Navy has not disclosed the circumstances of his discharge.

Beck announced on Saturday a reopening of the inquiry into Dorner's firing to "reassure the public that their police department is transparent and fair."

The Los Angeles Police Department also has opened an investigation into an incident in which two women were wounded when apparently skittish officers opened fire on a pickup truck resembling Dorner's. The two women were delivering newspapers when they were shot.
Lot's of them!!!!!
It is over!!!!!!
ptsd...has to have something to do with this
I hope they find him quick!!!!
700 clues and people expect them to find him ...yesterday...wow
Feb 12 - Passengers Text About Dire Conditions on Cruise Ship

Passengers on the fire-damaged Carnival cruise ship stranded in the Gulf of Mexico have reported worsening conditions including scarce running water, no air conditioning and long lines for food.

Carnival said original plans to haul the crippled ship to Progreso, Mexico, have been scrapped because the ship has drifted about 90 miles north because of strong currents. Instead, the Triumph will be towed to Mobile, Ala., and should arrive Thursday.

For the more than 4,200 people on board, Thursday could not come soon enough.

"Conditions are getting worse by the hour," passenger Debra Rightmire told ABC News in a text message. "Cabin carpets are wet with urine and water. Toilets are overflowing inside cabins. We are having to sleep in the hallways. Onion and cucumber sandwich last night," she added.

Passenger Shelly Crosby told ABC News in a text message that many people are sleeping in tents set up on the ship's deck.

Passengers had limited access to bathrooms, food and hot coffee Monday. With lack of power, there's no refrigeration so the stink on board is apparently intense, which is one of the reasons many people are choosing to sleep on the deck.

"We stood in line for four hours to get a hamburger," Crosby texted.

Cellphone reception is just as scarce, coming only when another Carnival ship pulls alongside to drop off supplies.

Carnival acknowledges the problems, but said there's plenty of food and water aboard and that it is working on the sanitation issue.

"All of our guests are safe, and we're doing everything we can to make them as comfortable as possible," Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines, said in a statement Monday night.

A tug boat reached the Carnival Triumph cruise ship bobbing -- and listing -- in the Gulf of Mexico Monday night. The tug has tied up with the Carnival Triumph, but will wait until today for the expected arrival of a second tug before towing the cruise ship to port.

The ship, which is 2.5 football fields long and bigger than the Titanic, will then be towed back to shore at the rate of a few miles per hour.

The Carnival Triumph is now little more than a 100,000-ton cork, bobbing in the Gulf of Mexico without propulsion since the fire broke out Sunday morning. No one was hurt in the fire, but the ship lost power and is relying on a back-up generator.

Brent Nutt said that his wife, Bethany, who is on board, called him to say the plumbing wasn't working on the ship.

"She said there's no running water. They just really got food there to them tonight, and there's no power whatsoever, other than the emergency flasher lights that are on," he said Monday. "She was crying and hysterical."

At one point Sunday, passengers were reportedly using buckets to relieve themselves.

Sunday's fire was extinguished by an automated system, but not before it hobbled the ship, according to the Coast Guard.

The Carnival Triumph departed Galveston Thursday with 3,143 guests and 1,086 crew on board for a Mexican cruise, which was due to return to the port Monday.
I'm going on a week long cruise next year, make sme nervous, or maybe not
I think so!!!!!
did you see them all sleeping out on the decks
Glad i didnt take a cruise!!!
Yes, Perhaps!!!!
yikes...trapped on an island would be better
Feb 11 - Obama awards Medal of Honor to Afghanistan war hero Clinton Romesha

President Barack Obama on Monday awarded former Army Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha the Medal of Honor for actions taken in a 2009 firefight in Afghanistan.

Obama, at a ceremony in the White House's East Room, detailed the heroism Romesha displayed on Oct. 3, 2009: 300 Taliban fighters had descended upon 53 Americans at Army outpost Keating on the border of Pakistan under "almost unbelievable conditions," Obama said.

"That’s what these soldiers were asked to do—defend the indefensible," the president said of the outpost, which was situated at the bottom of a steep valley that left the soldiers open to attack.

"Explosions shook them out of their beds" that morning, Obama said, setting off "what’s been called one of the most intense battles of the entire war in Afghanistan."

Romesha sat, visibly emotional, as the president detailed that day, which Romesha has emphasized was a team effort.

The soldiers faced rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns, grenades, mortars and snipers. Romesha took out an enemy machine gun team, sustained shrapnel injuries in his hip, neck and arm, and continued to fight and tend to members of his unit. Romesha took a "100-meter run through a hail of bullets," Obama said, to reach his "fallen friends."

He "continually exposed himself to heavy enemy fire," read Romesha's award citation.

After the ceremony, Romesha told reporters at the White House that he received the award with "mixed emotions ... both joy and sadness."

"[I'm] feeling conflicted with this medal I now wear," he said, noting the loss of his "battle buddies."

Romesha added that "this is for the eight soldiers that did not make it" and for those who fought with him, and he thanked his wife, Tammy, for giving him the morale he needed while at war. "You are my rock," he said, directing the message to his wife into the television cameras.

Romesha and his family live in Minot, N.D.

The Medal of Honor is awarded to members of the Armed Forces who display "gallantry above and beyond the call of duty."

From the White House: "The meritorious conduct must involve great personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his or her comrades and must have involved risk of life. There must be incontestable proof of the performance of the meritorious conduct, and each recommendation for the award must be considered on the standard of extraordinary merit."

U.S. presidents have awarded more than 3,400 medals since its creation in 1861.
Yeah right!!!!!
they could all be honoured more and better by all of us
Is he American!!!
Feb 11 - Tug boats to reach disabled cruise ship Monday

Passengers aboard a cruise vessel stranded in the Gulf of Mexico had limited access to hot coffee, food and bathrooms on Monday as they waited for two tugboats to arrive to tow them to Mexico, Carnival Cruise Lines said in a statement.

The Carnival Triumph has been floating aimlessly about 150 miles off the Yucatan Peninsula since a fire erupted in the aft engine room early Sunday, knocking out the ship's propulsion system. No one was injured and the fire was extinguished. The ship has been operating on backup generator power since the incident, the statement said.

The ship, which left Galveston, Texas, on Thursday and was scheduled to return there Monday, will instead be towed to Progreso, Mexico, and the 3,143 passengers on board will fly back to the United States. There are also 1,086 crew members aboard the ship. They are to arrive in Mexico on Wednesday.

The tugboats are expected to arrive later Monday, Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen said in an email. One is coming from Mobile, Ala., and a second is from Mexico, he said.

Carlos Vega, a spokesman with the U.S. Coast Guard, said Mexican authorities have been informed of the situation in their waters.

"The Coast Guard has touched base with them and informed them but other than that there hasn't been any other action," Vega said.

Another Carnival cruise, the Elation, rendezvoused with the stranded vessel on Sunday, supplying Triumph passengers with dinner and extra supplies. Another Carnival cruise, the Legend, is scheduled to do the same later Monday, the statement said.

Family members waiting for relatives to arrive home Monday were informed by Carnival about the situation. Some, like Melinda Ramos, said her father was laughing when he briefly called to update her on the situation.

"He might be completely joking, but he said they're sleeping in tents outside," the 19-year-old daughter of Mary and Matt Ramos told The Houston Chronicle.

But Brent Nutt, of Angleton, Texas, said his wife Bethany was crying when they spoke.

"They have no running water. They have no way to use the bathroom," Nutt told KTRK-TV in Houston.

A similar situation occurred on a Carnival cruise ship in November 2010. That vessel was also stranded for three days with 4,500 people aboard after a fire in the engine room. When the passengers disembarked in San Diego they described a nightmarish three days in the Pacific with limited food, power and bathroom access.

Carnival said in a statement that it had cancelled the Triumph's next two voyages scheduled to depart Monday and Saturday. Passengers aboard the stranded ship will also receive a full refund, the statement said.
Carnival was a good cruise line, Now they are slacking!!!
That don't want to pay thier dues!!!!
again, with the cruise ship problems
Let's see, A full refund, A free cruise, And ETC.
Feb 8 - Thief ditches car after discovering baby in backseat

A carjacker had a change of heart after realizing the vehicle he'd stolen had a baby girl in the backseat.

According to the New York Post, the girl's father, Patrick Julbe, got out of the parked but still running car to shop for a cell phone. His girlfriend, Jennifer Rodriguez, and their 8-month-old daughter, Ayanna, stayed in the car. Julbe tried to show Rodriguez a phone case through the store's window, but Rodriguez couldn't see it. She got out and walked closer. That's when the thief struck.

Julbe gave chase by foot, but it was too late.

Around 40 minutes later, an unidentified, Spanish-speaking man called the New York City Police Department from a pay phone. Police believe he was the car thief. "There’s a baby in the backseat of the car," the man said. He reported the location of the car and baby, and then hightailed it (presumably by foot) to destinations unknown.

Julbe told the Post, "I guess he drove off and the baby started crying, and he turned around and said, 'Oh, my God. What have I done?'"

The suspect has been described by police as a heavyset man in a striped shirt and baseball cap. Young Ayanna is doing fine, according to the Post.
I would not leave my child unattended,
parents learned a valuable lesson
That baby is lucky!!!!
can't imagine being the parents
that is really scary
Seems to stop thief in their tracks every time!
Feb 8 - Calif. principal seizes student newspaper

Student journalists at a Central Valley high school are getting a lesson in the First Amendment after administrators confiscated their newspaper over concerns about a campus safety article quoting school administrators as saying that recent lockdown drills and two reports of weapons on campus revealed poor communication.

The principal of Stockton's Bear Creek High School, Shirley McNichols, stopped distribution of 1,700 copies of the monthly Bruin Voice newspaper last week, saying a front-page article about allegedly outdated safety policies could panic students.

Editor-in-Chief Justine Chang and adviser Kathi Duffel told The Record of Stockton (http://bit.ly/11sR6P1 ) that the principal was embarrassed about what the article exposed.

"I think (administrators) were embarrassed by how they are portrayed in the article," said Chang.

McNichols denied that. She also said that the district has a policy that allows administrators to monitor the newspaper's content and withhold it if it causes a safety issue, and administrators quoted in the story were disgruntled employees.

McNichols said safety could be improved, including fixing the school's lockdown alarm and intercom so they function in all classrooms. Portions of the safety plan referred to in the article already had been improved, she said.

The U.S. Supreme Court has held that most cases of prior restraint are unconstitutional. The exception is national security. In California, reasons for preventing publication include libel, slander, obscenity or articles that might incite students.

Duffel has had a previous run-in with administrators over the newspaper. She was written up for insubordination for allowing students to publish a story about the former principal losing his master key without allowing him to review it first.
Sometime freedom of speech don't apply!! Depending on who or where!!!
Lol!! Yes!!!
sometimes freedom of speech needs to be less free
Feb 6 - Couple Wins Lotto Twice in 1 Weekend

An Arkansas couple struck gold twice after winning $1 million and $50,000 jackpots, both of them during this past weekend.

Stephen, 54, and Terri Weaver, 55, of Stuttgart, Ark., left on Friday for a weekend trip to a cabin near Greers Ferry Lake, over 100 miles away. On Saturday evening, they stopped at T-Ricks convenience store in the nearby city of Pangburn. Stephen bought five $1 Million Riches instant scratch-off tickets while his wife bought four.

"We pick up a couple tickets on the weekend when we go to our cabin on the river," said Terri, an office manager with a water company. "It's a weekly thing. We just pick up a few here and a few there."

Once they brought the tickets to the cabin, they realized one of Stephen's $20 tickets won the $1 million jackpot.

"I almost had a heart attack," said Stephen, who owns a plumbing company. "I had to have an aspirin."

While Stephen wanted to return home after learning of the win, Terri hoped to stay for the weekend.

"He thought he should sleep with it under his pillow," Terri said. "He ended up locking it in the truck."

On Sunday, they stopped at the convenience store again and bought six tickets "just for the heck of it, because it was fun," Terri explained.

This time, Terri's Taxes Paid instant ticket for which she paid $10 was a $50,000 winner.

"When she handed it to me, I fell back in my chair and almost went into cardiac arrest again," Stephen said of the second ticket. "We jumped around, hollered, and screamed. It's just not possible that it happened twice. The odds must be astronomical."

After possible taxes withheld, the couple won $714,000 in total.

The couple, who have been married for 35 years and have a son in Tulsa, Okla., said they will continue to work in their respective jobs and pay off some bills.

"We're going to put it in a little, or big, nest egg," Stephen said.

The owner of the convenience store gets 1 percent of the winnings. "He's pretty happy too," Stephen said.

Prior to this weekend, the biggest lottery prizes the Weavers say they won were $2,500 a few months prior and $1,000 a few years ago.

"We were just ecstatic to get that," Stephen said. "Now we're just blown away."

The couple said they plan to continue buying lottery tickets occasionally.

In fact, they bought a couple more lottery tickets at a gas station on Monday, when the couple claimed the cash prize from the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery claim center in Little Rock.

"I got my money back," Terri said, when asked how much she won. "I didn't win anything big."

Julie Baldridge, spokeswoman for Arkansas lottery, said there have been people who have won thousands of dollars twice, but none were jackpot winners.

One man bought several tickets at the same time and won $20,000 twice. Another woman purchased a lottery ticket at a store and won $20,000. She later purchased a lottery ticket at another store and won $20,000 again.

"Random can be a very odd thing," Baldridge said.

Arkansas is the newest state to have a government-sponsored lottery. A little over three years old, the Arkansas lottery is one of 43 government-run lottery systems in the country.
I will be lucky someday!!!
I want some luck!!!
Wow, How lucky can you get!!!
hope it happens to my parents
Wow those are some wild odds!!! Congrats to them.
fluke or what!
Coudn't have happened to a nicer couple!
Feb 6 - All dogs in England to get microchips by 2016

Dog owners who refuse to fit Fido with a microchip may someday find themselves fetching a hefty fine, the British government said Wednesday.

All dogs in England will have to be fitted with microchips by 2016, authorities said, meaning that canines across the country will be chasing cars with a tiny circuit embedded in the back of their necks.

Britain's Environment Department said that the chips would help reunite owners with lost or stolen pets, promote animal welfare and take the pressure off animal shelters.

"It's a shame that in a nation of dog lovers, thousands of dogs are roaming the streets or stuck in kennels because the owner cannot be tracked down," Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said in a statement. "Microchipping is a simple solution that gives peace of mind to owners."

Many British pet owners already have veterinarians insert chips under the skin of dogs, cats, and rabbits in a bid to keep track of their animals. The Environment Department says 60 percent of Britain's 8 million pet dogs already have microchips, which can be scanned and matched to their owners' details.

But officials say what was once an optional extra will become mandatory in three years. Owners who refuse to fit their dogs with chips face fines of up to 500 pounds ($800).

Horse owners have had to chip their animals since 2009, a spokeswoman for the Environment Department said Wednesday. The chips will remain optional for cats — because dogs are out in public more often than their feline counterparts, a spokeswoman said.

Different parts of the United Kingdom have different rules governing pets: The chips are compulsory in Northern Ireland; Wales is considering such a move; Scotland has no such rule.

Inserting chips into animals' necks is a technique used worldwide to keep track both of domestic animals and livestock, although rules vary according to country. German shepherds can bound across Berlin chip-free, but Chihuahuas in Milan and Portuguese water dogs in Lisbon can't be caught without. In some parts of Spain, cats need chips too.
We are getting a chip in maxx, So if he gets lost!!!!
All animals need them!!!
I think they should also mandate cats as it's just important to be able to identify them! Microchips are awesome! My boys have them and I feel much safer if they ever accidentally got out!
I think it's a great way to track them - our cat can't wear a collar but I know he's safer with a chip
Feb 5 - Ex-sniper Chris Kyle spoke of legacy days before his death

American war hero Chris Kyle fortuitously spoke of the legacy he wanted to leave just days before being shot dead by a fellow veteran he was mentoring.

“I would love for people to be able to think of me as a guy who stood up for what he believed in and helped make a difference for the vets,” he told the Texan News Service. “You know, somebody who cared so much about them that he wanted them taken care of.”

That mission was tragically cut short on Saturday when Kyle and another man were killed at a gun range in Central Texas. Police said former Marine Eddie Ray Routh, 25, shot the men, who reportedly were spending the day with Routh in an effort to help with his post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Kyle, a former Navy SEAL recognized as the deadliest sniper in U.S. history, authored the 2012 best-selling book "American Sniper." Five days before his own death, he spoke at length to TNS, an independent Web publication produced by students from Tarleton State University, which Kyle once attended. The 26-minute recorded conversation was likely his last media interview.

The heavily decorated veteran had also spoken about the notoriety brought on by the book, including a recent stint on an NBC reality show featuring war veterans and celebrities. Kyle, who had suffered with his own bouts of PTSD, disclosed that he may not have been ready for the rush of activity tied to the book.

“I'm just trying to get back to normal life,” Kyle said.

He noted that when the book first came out, "I wasn’t in a good place yet in my life or in my head. But since then I’ve definitely gotten my head straight and gotten back to where I should be.”

Kyle attributed his recent happiness to spending more time with his family and his work with other veterans. He proudly talked about taking soldiers suffering from physical and emotional scars on deer hunting trips this past winter. “It sucks to be trapped somewhere,” he said of the hospitalized veterans. “You're just out there being one with the guys again, having fun and cutting up. Being in the outdoors, it seems to really progress their healing process. They get along so much faster to where the hospitals have now said, 'Whenever you want ’em, you just take ’em,' because ... they're just on a high for about two or three weeks.”

The work and outings have helped Kyle, too. “There’s definitely still a lot of hurt from losing my guys or the fact that I got out and I felt like it wasn’t my time yet,” he said. "Being able to do this makes me feel like I’m still a part of it and still giving back.”

Kyle had said he was giving all of his proceeds from “American Sniper” to the families of soldiers he couldn’t save in combat. He said he regularly received tearful calls and letters of thanks.

“That means the world to me,” he told Texas News Service.

Kyle’s book is being made into a movie, but he said he was leaving the heavy lifting to the folks in Hollywood.

“I’m trying to get it to where I spend more time at home, because the whole reason I got out was to be with my family,” he said. “I’m just trying to be the me that I am and not all of this other crap. I just want to be the family man, and if somehow I can make the money to get my ranch and get the hell away from everybody else, that would be awesome.”

Asked at the end of the interview if he had anything else to add, Kyle took a deep sigh and said, “I’m tired.”
That happened only a few miles from me, It is terrible!!!
feel bad for his family
What a horrible tragedy! He sounds like a good person and was doing good work!
imagine all the vets through out history who have had NO help.
they don't all come back with physical wounds...mental wounds are harder to treat, accept and deal with
Feb 5 - A security guard tasers a woman, gets crowdsourced donations

Kevin James, move over, a new mall cop's in town.

Darien Long, a shopping mall security guard, has received a rush of donations after posting a video that showed him applying a Taser to an abusive woman outside an Atlanta mall.

After telling the woman to leave for disorderly conduct, Long is heard on the video saying, “Back it up,” and shows her the Taser. The woman begins hitting him on the head anyway, and Long uses the Taser on the woman, who drops to the ground near the children she is with, who appear understandably upset.

The shocking video, filmed last May, went viral, and a crowdsourced campaign to raise money to get the mall guard even better equipment has already brought in some $20,000.

Long, who has been the property manager for a year, told local Atlanta news station WSB-TV, “I feel like the Taser and the camera are the two most effective tools that I have. Do what you're supposed to do, or you get what's coming to you.”

The local TV network also reports that the woman shown in the video was charged with criminal trespass, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and simple battery.

Long records every confrontation, and many of the videos he has posted to YouTube have gone viral. One shows him chasing drug dealers out of the mall, pointing the Taser and using another effective tool: a clipboard where he records the incident. Amazingly, the drug dealers back down and walk away.

The mall guard said, “What you do is clean up the neighborhood so other businesses can come in and downtown Atlanta can prosper.”
Thats great!!!!
lots of women are just plain crazy
Good for him for taking his job so seriously!
this woman gives us a bad name. he was just trying to do his job
Feb 4 - French tanker likely hijacked off Ivory Coast

A French-owned oil tanker missing off Ivory Coast with 17 sailors on board likely has been hijacked, an official with an international piracy watchdog said Monday, in what may be the latest attack by criminal gangs targeting the ships to steal their valuable cargo. Meanwhile, a sailor died in a similar attack Monday near Nigeria's largest city.

Details remained scarce Monday about the fate of the ship, flagged in Luxembourg. The ship had been reported missing Sunday and officials believe it fell victim to the same pirates operating throughout the Gulf of Guinea, said Noel Choong, a spokesman for the International Maritime Bureau in Malaysia.

SEA Tankers, a shipping firm based in Merignac, France, issued a statement Monday afternoon identifying the missing ship as the M/T Gascogne.

"The company (is) in contact with the relevant authorities in the region with the objective of re-establishing communication with the vessel's crew," the company said. "The safety of the crew and vessel remain the overriding priority."

A company spokeswoman declined to offer any details about the identities of the kidnapped sailors.

Aboubacar Ouattara, a spokesman at the Autonomous Port of Abidjan, said officials had been in an emergency meeting concerning what he described as a "hijacking." However, he declined to offer any specific details.

The presumed attack Sunday comes amid a series of escalating attacks in the Gulf of Guinea, which follows the continent's southward curve from Liberia to Gabon. On Monday, pirates attacked another oil tanker anchored off Nigeria's largest city, Lagos, shooting one of the crew members, Choong said. The sailor died while in transit to a local hospital, the maritime bureau later said, though offering no other details.

A security detail from the Nigerian navy shot back at the attackers, driving them away, the bureau said. Commodore Kabir Aliyu, a spokesman for Nigeria's navy, declined to immediately comment about the attack.

In another attack Thursday off Nigeria's oil-rich southern delta, pirates on several small boats assaulted another tanker. In a sign of how violent the attacks have grown, the pirates fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the tanker during the onslaught, which missed the ship, the maritime bureau said. The crew suffered no injuries in the attack and their ship escaped, though it sustained damage from the gunfire, the bureau said.

Over the last year and a half, piracy in the Gulf of Guinea has escalated from low-level armed robberies to hijackings and cargo thefts. Last year, London-based Lloyd's Market Association — an umbrella group of insurers — listed Nigeria, neighboring Benin and nearby waters in the same risk category as Somalia, where two decades of war and anarchy allowed piracy to flourish.

However, attacks as far west as Ivory Coast are a new development. There have been two other similar hijackings off Abidjan since October.

Pirates in West Africa have been more willing to use violence in their robberies, as they target the cargo, not the crew for ransom as is the case off Somalia. Experts say many of the pirates come from Nigeria, where corrupt law enforcement allows criminality to thrive and there's a thriving black market for stolen crude oil.

"The pirates target oil tankers because they are actually targeting the gas oil," Choong told The Associated Press. "We're talking about millions of dollars."
It's ashame how violent and how frequent piracy is happening!
targeting oil? way over there? and no one wants a pipeline from good ol Canada...what's wrong with that picture?
They were hijacking ships in Arica when mom went over there to Djibouti Africa!
Feb 4 - Car park skull 'was that of King Richard III' say experts

Scientists today revealed that a skeleton discovered under a car park in Leicester is that of King Richard III.

Researchers sensationally discovered a skull under the social services car park in September while hunting for the former king's final resting place.

They had previously said there was 'strong circumstantial evidence' to suggest the bones are those of the 15th-century monarch, but experts were finally able to disclose the results of much-anticipated tests on the remains today.

The skeleton had a metal arrowhead lodged in its spine, along with other injuries matching those which Richard III sustained when he was killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.

The remains also had signs of 'battle trauma' and scoliosis - the spinal condition which gave the medieval monarch his infamous hunched back.

Richard III was the last English monarch to die in battle, after being defeated by an army led by Henry Tudor.

Historical records state that his body was taken 15 miles to Leicester, where it was displayed as proof of his death before then being buried in the Franciscan friary.

Experts today said that in making the 'momentous' find, they had 'unlocked a 500-year-old mystery'.

They revealed their findings this morning in front of almost 150 journalists from around the world.

Initial examinations showed the bones to be those of an adult male and the remains were said to be in a good condition.

The skeleton had a curved spine and 'battle trauma' similar that which Richard II suffered when he died (University …

A team led by bioarchaeology lecturer Dr Jo Appleby carried out months of skeletal analysis on the bones - including CT scans.

There were cheers from media who had gathered from around the world as the announcement was made at the University of Leicester this morning.

Dr Jo Appleby said the skeleton was found in good condition with its feet missing in a grave.

Lecturer Jo Appleby points out key features on the skull of Richard III

Its hand were crossed over the front of the pelvis and there was no evidence of a coffin or shroud found with the skeleton.

Dr Appleby said: "The skull was in good condition, although fragile, and was able to give us detailed information about this individual.

"It has been CT scanned at high resolution in order to allow us to investigate interesting features in as much detail as possible.

"In order to determine whether this individual is Richard III we have built up a biological profile of its characteristics.

"We have also carefully examined the skeleton for traces of a violent death."

DNA taken from the skeleton has been analysed and compared with that of Michael Ibsen, a descendant of Richard III's family.

Radiocarbon tests and genealogical studies have also taken place.

Richard III's demise was dramatised by Shakespeare, who had the king calling out "a horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse" before he was killed on the battlefield.

The remains were also subjected to DNA tests and compared against the genetic profile of one of Richard III's living relatives.

A portrait of King Richard III is seen during a news conference in Leicester, central England February 4, 2013. …

Furniture maker Michael Ibsen, from London, is a direct descendent of the king's sister, Anne of York and provided a sample to be used in testing.

The dig which unearthed the remains centred around a car park in Leicester City Centre which was used by social workers.

Historical documents said that it was the site of the Grey Friars church, and that Richard's body was taken there following his death.
What a huge finding! And the fact that they found a living ancestor to test is pretty cool!
Maybe that parking lot was constructed in a former cemetary!
watched this on T.V. last night = amazing what science can do
Feb 1 - Pet ownership linked to improved respiratory health in infants, researchers say

Many parents worry about exposing their children to pets, fearing that it may make their children sick and vulnerable to infection. However, recent research indicates that pet ownership can be extremely beneficial to children's health.

A study published in August of last year found that children exposed to pets early in life experience enhanced immune function and are less likely to experience respiratory and ear infections compared to children who do not live in a pet-owning household. Researchers in Finland followed 397 sets of parents and their children from pregnancy to age one, examining the frequency of their babies' respiratory symptoms and infections, along with frequency of dog and cat contact during the first year of life.

They found that those with dogs at home had 31 percent fewer respiratory tract infections and 44 percent fewer ear infections than children in non dog-owning homes. The babies also needed fewer courses of antibiotics. Furthermore, the study found that one-year-olds with no dog or cat at home we classified as "healthy" 64 percent of the time, whereas one-year-olds with a dog or cat at home were classified as "healthy" 81 percent of the time.

The study did indicate that cat ownership also has an overall protective effect, although the relationship appeared weaker than with dog ownership. Dr. Mary Tobin, the director of the allergy division at Rush University Medical Center, said that one reason dogs might provide greater protection than cats is because babies spend more time cuddling or pulling on dogs' fur or letting the dog lick them. Cats, on the other hand, are not as socialized.

Also, children living in homes in which the dogs went in and out of the house more often seemed to have the lowest risk of infection. Dr. Elija Bergroth, a pediatrician at the Kuopio University Hospital in Kuopio Finland, and one of the study's authors speculates that the more the dog is outside, the more dirt and microbes it might bring inside and expose to the baby. The microbes in the dirt might somehow stimulate the child's immune system and cause later immunologic responses to respiratory viruses and bacteria to be more composed. Or, it could have something to do specifically with the dog, such as its dander. Researchers acknowledge that more research is required to understand this correlation.

This supports British researcher David B. Strachan's "hygiene hypothesis," which theorizes that declining family size and modern sanitation has led to an increase in allergies. Exposing the immune system at an early age to a variety of proteins and germs seems to lead to a tolerance of the environment versus an allergenic reaction to it.
I believe that pets can heal and make people feel better. think about convicts who change after looking after animals
Guess I'd better go get a puppy :).
I love pets!! We have 4 dogs
I love pets, And they love you right back, And that is healthy!!!
I feel that owning a pet can improves one health in many ways! They are naturally calming and have so much love to give!
Feb 1 - Newsflash to psychiatry: a human being is not a thing

The ability to separate components of a machine, to increase the efficiency and power of each component, to link up all the elements in smoother ways; this is one of the hallmarks of the technological society.

And when the current machine is superseded by a new one, the process of improving efficiency starts all over again.

But a human being is not a machine, because consciousness is not a machine.

The rise of what has been called industrial psychology, or scientific management, tries to overcome that "flaw." This is described well in Scott Noble's film, Social Engineering in the 20th Century (posted at YouTube).

For example, the modern factory assembly line, in which workers did multiple tasks and functioned as skilled artisans, was overthrown in favor of a system in which each worker performed the same severely restricted, specialized task over and over again. A machine making machines.

And not just in America. In Russia, in the early stages of the revolution, worker-owned companies were on the rise. But that development was too conscious, too participatory. Lenin imposed his top-down version of human machines making machines, all in the service of constructing a super-state.

In the same way, the rise of psychology and psychiatry reflect the impulse to treat the mind as a machine. The expanding concoction of so-called mental disorders are arbitrary attempts at categorizing human thought, desire, and behavior as diseases.

Have you ever tried to solve an arbitrarily cooked-up problem for millions of people? Of course not. Who in his right mind would? Yet this is exactly what the "mental sciences" have accepted as their mission.

Consciousness is not public business. Its dimensions and capabilities are there for every person to explore on his own terms. This is called freedom.

Psychiatry has sought to redefine consciousness solely in terms of brain function. This materialist obsession is also an attempt to gain control of the mind.

In the wake of Sandy Hook, we are seeing the escalation of a social and political bargain: the sacrifice of freedom in return for more invasive "mental health," which would purportedly reduce the number of mass murders.

Of course, this is a false promise. There is no psychiatric prospect for reducing killings (especially since some of their medicines induce extreme violence.) There is only more diagnosis of mental disorders, followed by drugging with toxic and dangerous chemicals.

This is all based on an unspoken bias against freedom and consciousness, in favor of "evening out" the emotional range and experience of humans. Psychiatrist Peter Breggin rightly characterizes this as drug-induced emotional flatness and anesthesia.

Worse yet, this layer of flatness can disintegrate, leaving the patient in a synthetically created, out-of-control emotional state.

But psychiatry's political allies, all too happy to delegate violent-crime prevention to mental-health professionals, are viewing society as a numbers game. For them, averaging out human emotions into an acceptable and harmless range is a preferred overall solution. It's a system of control.

Therefore, this really isn't about violent-crime prevention at all. It's about rendering humans into a state where they react like predictable Things under chemical restraint.

No doubt we'll soon see a new generation of devices for stimulating brain centers, aimed at inducing pleasure and satisfaction. And the covert agenda will be to render consciousness a servant to the status quo.

The people who own governments and countries look upon this model as a reasonable method for producing "the normal human" who accepts things as they are.

Let's face it, wherever human beings feel the possibility of liberation, they begin to devise their own communities and workplaces. They innovate. Forms and structures are created so that each person can benefit from the whole.

But top-down, this is viewed as a dangerous development. Leaders, in the camp of monopolists, do everything they can to squelch such movements. Which means they reduce the human being and consciousness to a cipher within a system, thus defeating their nemesis: decentralization.

It has been so since the beginning of time. Somewhere in a cave, prehistoric men and women, striving to survive in a hostile environment, began to think about new social relationships in their extended families---and a few leaders, watching this unwelcome development, decided they had to invent the first false flags (creation of non-existent enemies), in order to declare DEFCON 1 and centralize their control over the group.

From its earliest experiments, forged by Palov, Wundt, and other like-minded researchers, psychology has sought to prove that the conditioned-reflex (machine) model of human behavior was a true reflection of life on planet Earth.

They were given entrance into the club of controllers for precisely that reason: humans as machines was a perfect pseudoscience to build on.

Once you strip away the sophisticated complexities of modern psychiatry, you see the same proposition: the human brain, through chemical intervention, can be modified to produce "better behavior."

Progressing from the sheer madness of researchers like Jose Delgado and Ewen Cameron, who believed no human had an inherent right to his own personality, but should be altered to fit the social needs of the State, psychiatry, hand-in-hand with Pharma, has developed kinder, gentler language to describe its mission:

Healing disease; ending suffering; bringing greater happiness.

This decades-long propaganda blitz has benefited psychiatry enormously. Smoothly fitting into programs of its government backers, promoted as the "official word" by major media, the profession has gained a primacy exceeding its most optimistic projections.

In America and many other countries, there now exists Official Mental Science. That most people don't even notice this fact speaks to the overwhelming success of psychiatry.

Think about that. In what kind of political State do you need an official science of the mind? There is only one explanation for it. The State is a dictatorship.

In a free society, government would never dream of taking sides with one explanation of the human mind. It wouldn't dare enable that explanation through its law-enforcement officers, court system, and publicly funded psych wards and research grants.

In the US, we have the federal NIMH, the National Institute of Mental Health, a sub-branch of the National Institutes of Health. It operates on an annual budget of $1.5 billion. Wikipedia names NIMH "the largest research organization in the world specializing in mental illness."

In this obvious puff piece written for NIMH, Wikipedia goes on to state: "For the institution to continue fulfilling this vital public health mission it must further innovative thinking...in the evolving science of brain, behavior, and experience. In this way, breakthroughs in science can become breakthroughs for all people with mental illnesses...NIMH is particularly known for studies of genetics, neuroscience, and clinical trials of psychiatric medication."

Official mental science. Backed and enforced by the US government.

In previous articles, I've demonstrated that, for all 297 officially certified mental disorders, there are NO physical tests to confirm a diagnosis. None. And on that non-basis, millions of doses of toxic and dangerous drugs are prescribed to Americans every year.

So much for science. But for control? Ah, that's quite a different story. The power to invade and interfere with people's lives is on the upswing.

Government simply says, "We care about you," and for most people, this is apparently enough to satisfy them that psychiatry is a good thing, an objective thing, a thing worthy of being official and enforced and funded.

In 1906, Ivan Pavlov, the celebrated innovator in what is now called "classical conditioning," wrote: "Mankind will possess incalculable advantages and extraordinary control over human behavior, when the scientific investigator will be able to subject his fellow men to the same external analysis he would employ for any natural object..."

Nearly half a century later, one of the most celebrated psychologists of the 20th century, BF Skinner, offered this pithy assessment of humans: "The real question is not whether machines think but whether men do."

Skinner's answer to that question was no; instead, humans were driven entirely by a set of their past behaviors that were reinforced positively by others.

In both Pavlov's and Skinner's universe, free will was out of the question. It was only a matter of deciding how to condition people.

Modern psychiatry, 40 years ago, formed an overt alliance with pharmaceutical companies, to sell chemically-imposed conditioning as treatment for disease. At least the early behaviorists wore their agenda on their sleeves. These days, it's all subterfuge and deception.

When all is said and done, brain researchers of the 21st century steadfastly believe that human thought, feeling, desire, and consciousness can be reduced to predetermined signals and chemicals and electronics taking place inside the skull. Therefore, for them, creating changes in those signals is entirely legitimate and ethical: they are merely making over the Unfree Human Thing into a Better Unfree Thing.
I agree with you Hannah...duh
Lol Hannah! You crack me up. It's an interesting article though. We always walk that fine line regarding how much to let government be involved in our lives.
I don't know!!!
Okay, that was just a really in-depth explanation of a no-duh fact!
Feb 1 - Government gone wild! Check out these informative videos on what's really happening in America

Here's a review on an interesting site called "governmentgonewild.org." It's comprised mostly of a panel of short video presentations, three to four minutes long. Each video highlights one aspect of government over-spending and/or financial waste.

The videos' producer and presenter is Blaise (pronounced Blaze) Ingoglia, whose background includes investor motivational speaking and building Florida houses for investor "flips" - selling them before they're even built.

Blaise's presentation style does blaze. His centered, no-nonsense approach carried confidently with a rich baritone-bass voice let's you know he's an alpha kind of guy. And the facts and figures he reels off during his hard hitting, high production-value videos are mind blowing eye-openers.

To make it easier for viewers to absorb the statistics and figures, they appear on a screen behind him like an automatic PowerPoint presentation as he speaks directly into your face. Although Blaise looks and sounds like a died in the wool, right wing kind of guy, he does blame both parties equally well. He's very fair about that.

One video, my favorite, shows how the biggest vested interest in government spending is - the government. He illustrates this with figures showing the sharp employment increases in government jobs and the mind blowing increases in wages that have occurred since only a few years ago.

You'd be shocked to see how many more bureaucrats are paid higher wages than even some paid private sector employees.

Another favorite is how many members of both parties in congress have seen hefty spikes in their net worth within one term in office. It's obscene. And Blaise reminds viewers that they are all exempt from penalties for using insider trading tips that anyone else can be jailed for.

What else "government gone wild" should cover

So far, military personnel do not pay into their pension programs. After 20 years of service, they are eligible for 50 percent of their full pay. That percentage increases with each additional decade of service.

A congressional representative or senator can be getting a reduced pension after only five years in office, with more coming if they stick around longer. Then there are the other state, county, and city employees who also receive pensions in addition to social security.

For those who pay a small amount into their pension and social security retirement plans, the employer provides the balance of those payments. And who is the employer? The federal, state, county, or city governments. Where do those employers get that money? You know the answer.

Blaise hasn't yet touched on the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) and other agencies who burn money throwing pot smokers in jail and shutting down state sanctioned medical marijuana dispensaries. Add the Federal Court system's prosecution expense to those busts as well.

It's even more unlikely that he'll touch military spending issues. The annual "defense" budget for invading non-threatening nations with death and destruction and occupying them is now around $730 billion, or almost three-quarter of a trillion dollars.

Let's not forget the millions spent on trying to bust Dr. Burzynski and others for curing cancer. Then there are the USDA, FDA, and FTC (Federal Trade Commission) raids on raw milk producers, often incorporating local law and food agencies. Let's throw in the Justice Department and their "Fast and Furious" gun running operation to Mexican drug cartels while we're at it.

There's a lot to gripe about with facts and figures regarding government spending and waste. Blaise could go on forever, and he won't be shy about upsetting law and order and military types, or prospective real estate investors.
Even if only half of this is true it's still shameful!
Scary stuff.
Feb 1 - Nine lessons for living longer from the people who've lived the longest

To locate the first known seekers of longevity we'd have to travel to ancient Ethiopia, where the Greek historian Herodotus informs us existed a very special kind of water that could prolong life. Even Alexander the Great was said to have journeyed there in search of perpetual youth.

As provocative legends tend to do, this one made it around the world, pausing for a time to inform Middle Eastern fables before moving on to Europe during the Age of Exploration. Finally, it ended up in none other than Florida, where the 16th century Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon is said to have ventured in search of healing waters.

Today, the Fountain of Youth National Archaeological Park in St. Augustine, Florida celebrates Spanish heritage and even allows tourists to drink from a fountain on the grounds. So far no one has gotten any younger, but tourists love the gimmick.

And the search goes on as if it were our greatest religion, the quest for longer life. We all want to know how to achieve it.

Toward the same end, some modern researchers seem to be asking much better questions. Among these is former National Geographic explorer Dan Buettner. His book, The Blue Zones, is the culmination of a project that began in 2000 and included a 2005 National Geographic cover story, "The Secrets of Living Longer."

Buettner seems to have stopped the fantasizing about some perpetual youth "over there" and begun to ask more pragmatic questions.

What if you could add 10 years - 10 good years - to your life?

And better yet: Who already lives longer than expected? What do they do differently than everyone else?

The several years long, institutionally funded research project revealed the blue zones, four areas in the world where people tend to live healthier and longer, with (this is worth pondering) three times the chance of reaching 100 than we have in America at large. The four blue zones are: Okinawa in Japan, Sardinia in Italy, Nicoya in Costa Rica, and Loma Linda in California (largely Seventh Day Adventist).

Buettner boils down nine principles for longer, healthier, happier living that are shared by blue zone centenarians.

What follows is a brief summary of his Power 9, in no particular order.

Eat 20% less. Okinawan blue zone residents use nine-inch plates when eating (it is proven that when we eat out of smaller containers, we consume less) and make a habit of stopping a little earlier than we do. Americans are trained to eat until we are "full." Okinawans are trained to eat until they are "no longer hungry." Consider the impact this shift in perspective might have on your eating habits.

Eat more plants and cut back on processed foods. Beans, whole grains and garden vegetables are the diet that leads to a long, healthy life, according to Buettner. In Okinawa, Sardinia and Nicoya, residents don't have as much access to processed snacks and animal products, so they naturally eat less. Strict Adventists in Loma Linda are vegetarian and faithfully heed the Biblical decree to consume primarily seed bearing plants and fruit.

Drink moderate amounts of alcohol. Although some Japanese centenarians swear by their daily dose of sake, Buettner recommends Sardinian red wine. This vintage has the highest concentration of antioxidants of all red wines, and many Sardinian centenarians consume it daily. Moderation is the key!

Find your purpose in life and live it. So many people can't answer the simple question, "What do you want?" We tend to be driven by an ongoing series of demands that distracts us from a larger perspective. The blue zone elders tend to know their purpose or reason for getting out of bed each day. Often it is simple - to see the grandchildren another time, for example. Yet the certainty and fulfillment that comes from satisfying a purpose is believed to prolong life as much as a decade. If you have ever lived a dull, purposeless and stressful life, you may understand how this could be the case.

Have a spiritual practice and belong to a religious community. Across the board, the longest-lived people in the world belong to strong religious communities. The sense of faith and right conduct, the avoidance of harmful substances and the time set aside for community and reflection, if acted upon with sincerity, leads to more years on earth. Impressive scientific studies have established this fact and the blue zoners are no exception.

Slow down, work less, rest more. From afternoon siesta in Costa Rica to the Sabbath Day in Loma Linda, routine rest from the cares of daily living appears critical to longevity. Scientists are studying the link between regular rest and the reduction of chronic inflammation in the body, which may be the underlying cause of many life-threatening diseases.

Move your body naturally. The longest living people on earth are not marathon runners or fitness models. They rather engage in low intensity, natural exercise, such as the Sardinian sheepherders, who walk miles a day as part of their routine. Okinawans love to garden and Loma Linda's Adventist community enjoys regular nature walks. These simple forms of activity are sustainable for the long haul.

Make family a priority. Close-knit families are a hallmark among the healthiest centenarians. Regular family meals, social time and close living arrangements are a priority. Elderly parents, without exception, live with their adult children and nursing homes are considered a near abomination. In one Costa Rican village, all 99 inhabitants are the descendents of one 85-year-old man. They all meet for regular meals and the patriarch's grandchildren visit him daily to help around the house or enjoy a game of checkers.

Find the right tribe. Perhaps the most powerful phenomenon of all, the blue zone communities tend to be isolated from surrounding communities that do not share the same values. Individual members find unrivaled support in living according to principle, with less opportunity to diverge from tradition. The geographical isolation allows for deeper and more intimate social connections, which fosters more security, less stress, greater purpose and healthier habits.

The above may involve more and promise less than the dream of drinking from a magical fountain, but The Blue Zones offers evidence that our lifestyle choices have a profound effect on the quality and length of our lives. Buettner informs us that studies of twins in the Netherlands have revealed that lifestyle factors make up 75% of how long we live, leaving the remaining 25% to genetics. The choice is ours.
All great tips! And who knew that the fountain of youth was in Florida! LOL
it's the quality of living that's important
I liked the info!!!
Obvious stuff that is so easily forgotten!
good one!
Feb 1 - State medical boards are creating doctor shortages, harming your health

The removal of antiquated regulations designed to increase doctor profits could end doctor shortages in half of U.S. states, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Virginia.

Many state medical boards have a policy that in order to get a state license, foreign-educated physicians - - who account for more than a quarter of practicing doctors - must serve a longer residency than physicians educated domestically. A state license allows a doctor to practice unsupervised and therefore earn a much higher income.

Studies have shown that expected earning potential is one of the major factors influencing where doctors decide to migrate. Therefore, the researchers speculated, an extra year or two of residency before achieving higher earning potential might pose a major obstacle discouraging foreign-educated doctors from moving to the United States.

Not for patient protection

Although the regulations are officially meant to ensure that all practicing doctors are held to the same standards, the researchers challenge this rationale. They note that no foreign-educated doctor may even apply for a U.S. residency without passing three sections of the same U.S. Medical Licensing Exam taken by U.S.-educated doctors. Then they must secure a residency position, which itself is another level of screening. In 2008, only 42.6 percent of foreign-educated medical graduates passed the U.S. exam on the first attempt, and only 73 percent who passed were able to secure a U.S. residency. The researchers further note that studies show essentially no difference in patient outcomes or state disciplinary actions between U.S. and foreign medical graduates.

The real reason for the longer residency requirements, the researchers allege, is discriminatory. Until the 1970s, when the Supreme Court declared the practice illegal, U.S. state medical boards regularly barred non-citizens from receiving licensure. The first longer residency requirements were implemented following this court decision. Indeed, the researchers found that states with medical boards financed by member doctors (widely considered less publicly accountable than state-financed boards) are significantly more likely to impose longer residency requirements on foreign-educated doctors.

Significantly, states with longer residency requirements for foreign graduates have lower quality medical service, as well as higher doctor salaries (and therefore higher patient costs).

A simple solution

Using computer modeling, the researchers estimated that equalizing residency requirements for U.S. and foreign graduates would end shortages of general practitioners in 25 states. Not only would this dramatically improve patient care, it would also save the average state $139 million per year in fewer hospital visits alone.

Other medical and cost savings would be expected to come from lower rates and severity of chronic diseases, increased numbers of specialist physicians, and decreasing the income disparity between doctors and the general population.

"Each of these omissions suggest that we vastly underestimate the economic impact of eliminating international medical graduates' residency requirements in this counterfactual policy simulation," the researchers wrote.

"While equalizing residency requirements would not completely satisfy physician needs in half the states, it is a straightforward, practical policy change that can result in measurable improvements in social welfare," researcher Sonal Pandya said.
Come on, people! If someone has the brains and the work ethic to be a doctor, make it doable, not impossible!
There are not enough good doctors!!!
Feb 1 - Boost anti-cancer effect of broccoli with broccoli sprouts

Broccoli has always been regarded as one of the most essential vegetables for health and nutrition not only because it is nutrient-packed, but because several studies have already demonstrated its ability to fight off cancer. But according to more recent studies, the cancer preventing properties of broccoli can become a double threat against cancer when combined with broccoli sprouts.

Johns Hopkins introduces the anti-cancer benefits of sprouts

It was the Johns Hopkins research team who first explored this vegetable's fighting compounds. And the team was able to zero in on the phytochemical sulforaphane content of broccoli that makes it effective against cancer. With continuous study, the team also found out that the sprouts possess more amounts of antioxidants and provide greater protection against cancer. This has encouraged sprout growers everywhere.

University of Illinois study says broccoli combo is a double threat against cancer

A recent study from the University of Illinois proves; however, that eating broccoli or the sprouts alone may give much nutrition. But in an effort to boost the anti-cancer effects of the vegetable, both the mature broccoli and the spouts have to be consumed. One of the researchers and professor of nutrition at University of Illinois, Elizabeth Jeffrey explains, to be able to maximize the benefits of broccoli's anti-cancer component, sulforaphane, the enzyme myrosinase is required. This is because the enzyme obtained from the sprouts increase the absorption of sulforaphane in the body. Hence, as the study concludes, eating broccoli in both forms can double the cancer preventive effects of this green.

The University of Illinois team studied the blood levels of the male participants in the study. The participants were divided into three groups. The first group were fed with meals containing broccoli alone. The second group consumed broccoli sprouts only. And the third group was served both. Out of the three groups, it was the third group of male participants who proved to have nearly 50 percent more sulforaphane in their system based on their blood tests.

This is certainly good news. It serves as another reminder to pay attention to eating your share of greens.

More cancer prevention recommendations

Aside from eating broccoli powder with sprouts, there are other food items that can possibly boost the cancer fighting properties of the vegetable. For example, wasabi, radish, mustard and arugula. The University of Illinois research team also suggests steaming instead of microwaving broccoli for around two to four minutes to get the most of the enzyme and maximize the cancer preventive properties of the green vegetable.
I like the sprouts better, anyway!!
I like Broccoli!!
Feb 1 - Reduce widespread inflammation in your body with these foods

A primary cause of chronic illness for many people is systemic inflammation, and particularly the kind that goes unaddressed or even mostly unnoticed until it eventually progresses into a full-blown chronic disease. High blood pressure, bacterial and viral infections, arthritis, acid reflux, premature aging, heart disease, cancer, and many other common health conditions are often associated with, or even the product of, systemic inflammation, which means the only real way to counteract them is to correct and eliminate this inflammation at its core.

And the best way to do this is through implementing comprehensive lifestyle and dietary changes rather than taking pharmaceutical drugs, the latter of which can cause unintended harm in the form of damaging side effects. If chronic, low-grade inflammation is affecting your own health, the following foods and herbs can help reduce and even eliminate it naturally without the need for drugs:

1) Fermented foods and beverages. Eating more foods and drinking more beverages that are rich in probiotic bacteria -- that is, bacteria that promote a healthy, disease-fighting ecosystem inside your digestive tract -- is one of the most effective ways to naturally fight inflammation. Since probiotics are vital for the body to effectively break down foods and make them more bioavailable and digestible, they can also help ease the digestive burden brought about by the modern food supply, which is largely responsible for creating inflammation inside the body.

Your options include foods like traditional fermented vegetables -- kimchi and sauerkraut are two of the most popular -- traditional miso soup, raw milk kefir or yogurt, tempeh, and homemade pickles. Popular probiotic beverages include kombucha tea, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar (ACV), and water kefir.

2) Omega-3 fatty acids. Often referred to as natural "lubrication" for the systems of your body, Omega-3 fatty acids like the kinds found in wild fatty fish, hemp and chia seeds, walnuts, and pastured eggs and meats are powerful inflammation-fighters. Studies have shown that Omega-3s reduce oxidative stress throughout the body and minimize inflammation in the brain, cardiovascular system, and elsewhere, reducing your risk of developing other serious diseases.

High-quality fish oils like Green Pasture and Carlson, as well as hemp oil, chia oil, spirulina, pumpkin seed oil and walnut oil are all excellent sources of Omega-3s. Each of these foods will help offset the overload of Omega-6 fatty acids that pervade the Standard American Diet (SAD). These foods are also all-around nutritional powerhouses that help promote an internal habitat that is unfavorable for inflammation and disease.

3) Tart cherries. One of the most powerful anti-inflammatory foods in existence, tart cherries have been shown to provide powerful relief for people who suffer from arthritis, gout, joint pain, and other inflammatory conditions. Tart cherries are so powerful, in fact, that researchers from Oregon Health & Science University recently declared them to have the "highest anti-inflammatory content of any food."

Since they are not widely available in fresh form -- virtually all cherries sold at the supermarket are sweet cherries rather than tart cherries -- the best way to obtain tart cherries is to purchase them in powder, capsule, or juice form. Drinking just a few ounces of tart cherry juice every day can significantly improve inflammatory markers in just a few weeks. 

4) Saturated fat. This recommendation may come as a surprise to some readers, but the truth of the matter is that Americans consume far too many Omega-6 fatty acids, which are a major cause of systemic inflammation. And who can really blame them considering the fact that the medical system actually promotes the intake of Omega-6-rich vegetables oils and other inflammatory foods as if they were healthy?

Low-fat diets are another cause of both inflammation and chronic disease, as the body needs regular intake of healthy fats to keep the circulatory system in good health and maintain healthy blood flow. Consuming more healthy saturated fats in the form of coconut oil, pastured meats and butter, and natural lard can not only help ease inflammation, but also strengthen your bones, improve lung and brain function, and modulate nervous system function. 

5) Nopal cactus fruit. Uniquely rich in powerful bioflavonoid nutrients known as betalains, nopal cactus fruit is another must-have anti-inflammatory food that is both delicious and easy to incorporate into your diet. Members of the quercetin family, betalains have been shown to help neutralize the free radicals responsible for triggering inflammation, as well as provide lasting protection against oxidative damage.

A 2012 study published in the journal Alcohol found that nopal cactus fruit extract helped protect cells in rats from inflammatory damage. And an earlier study published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine found that nopal cactus fruit imparts similar anti-inflammatory benefits in humans. 
Cherries!! Om nom nom!!!
Yes and i love cherries!!
Great suggestions! So important to eat foods that are kind to the body!
Feb 1 - Careless prostate cancer surgeons leave 16 surgical objects in patient's body resulting in death

A German family is seeking damages of more than $100,000 from an unnamed hospital they say negligently left surgical tools inside the body of a close family member who was treated for prostate cancer. According to an Associated Press (AP) report, the 77-year-old ex-banker had undergone aggressive prostate cancer surgery at the hospital back in 2009, and was later found to have been carrying around 16 different surgical tools inside his body left over from the surgery, including a compress, a needle, and a bandage roll, before he eventually died.

The outrageous scenario took form not long after Helmut Brecht (who in some major media reports is inexplicably referred to as Dick Schroeder) underwent routine surgery for prostate cancer several years ago at a "Protestant Church-linked" hospital in Germany. According to Brecht's family, the surgery left their beloved family member in "appalling agony," and also spurred the immediate spread of his cancer throughout his body. Brecht eventually had to return to the hospital after a baffled in-home care nurse observed a surgical gauze pad literally emerging from the wound where his surgery took place.

Upon readmission to the hospital, it was determined that Brecht had other unknown objects embedded inside his wound as well, prompting further intervention. Two surgeries later, doctors successfully removed 16 different surgical instruments from Brecht's body, including cotton swabs, a surgical mask, a six-inch roll of bandage, a six-inch long compress, and other materials. The hospital has since tried to deny that it was at all responsible for this gargantuan surgical misstep, insisting that the objects entered the man's body "post-operative." But a lawyer for the family says this is absolute nonsense, and is seeking swift justice for her client's family.

"Such an extent of foreign objects left inside a patient is unique in medical literature," explained the family's lawyer, Annette Corinth, to the U.K.'s Daily Mail about the incident. "I hope the hospital will settle, but otherwise the family is prepared to go all the way and sue in court. The family of the deceased spent lots of money on care, medicines, and reconstruction of their home to look after this man. There has been gross negligence here which most probably had led to complications and possibly a quicker death."

Similar incidents in the U.S. have also been reported in recent years, including the 2011 case of an Ohio man whose Veterans hospital surgeons allegedly left two towels inside his body, resulting in an eventual $275,000 settlement. And back in 2009, a Kentucky woman was awarded $2.5 million after surgeons left a surgical sponge inside her body during a hysterectomy. Part of the woman's small intestine actually had to be removed due to the error.
That is terrible!!!
EWWW! How horrible!!!
Feb 1 - Beta carotene may protect from genetic Type II diabetes

A genetic predisposition to Type II diabetes is found among more than half of the U.S. population. But if this form of the disease "runs" in your family, you can lower your risk by losing weight and exercising. However, Stanford University School of Medicine investigators have found a specific nutrient -- beta carotene -- may also impact the genetic risk and could offer protection from the disease.

The genomes of 50 to 60 percent of Americans carries two copies of a gene variant that raises the risk of Type II diabetes slightly but significantly. For the new study, just published in Human Genetics, the Stanford scientists searched for interactions between blood levels of various substances and these gene variants. People with a double dose of one of the predisposing-to-diabetes genes were found to have a statistically significant, inverse association of beta carotene blood levels to their Type II diabetes risk.

Simply put, the higher the level of beta carotene, a red-orange pigment abundant in plants and fruits that is related to vitamin A, the lower the risk of developing Type II diabetes.

The researchers also found a positive association between one form of vitamin E, gamma tocopherol, and a risk of Type II diabetes. Although you can expect some news reports will declare this means vitamin E is a cause of diabetes, let's look at exactly at what the Stanford scientists actually found. Only one form of vitamin E (which happens to be the major form found in the typical American diet of fast, processed foods), gamma tocopherol, was associated with a possible increased risk of Type II diabetes in people with high blood levels of the vitamin. Gamma tocopherol is found in processed foods like margarine and in soybean and corn oils.

Natural health advocates have long advised that mixed tocopherols are the healthy form of vitamin E most beneficial to the body. In fact, the Stanford study shows that blood levels of alpha tocopherol, another form of vitamin E that predominates in most supplements, produced no Type II diabetes-promoting interaction with the predisposing gene variant.

"Type II diabetes affects about 15 percent of the world's population, and the numbers are increasing," Atul Butte, MD, PhD, associate professor of systems medicine in pediatrics and senior author of the new study said in a media statement. "Government health authorities estimate that one-third of all children born in the United States since the year 2000 will get this disease at some point in their lives, possibly knocking decades off their life expectancies."

With the disease reaching epidemic proportions, obviously more research is needed into the protection from Type II diabetes specific nutrients provide. But it is clearly a sensible idea to eat more beta carotene-rich foods like carrots, beets and sweet potatoes, and/or to take beta carotene supplements.

In addition, as Natural News has covered before, along with exercise and weight control, scientists have found several other nutritional strategies can also help prevent and/or treat Type II diabetes. For example, research published in the journal Nature strongly indicates an imbalance of "good" versus "bad" bacteria in the intestinal tract appears to trigger Type II diabetes and taking probiotics may help prevent the disease. And Harvard School of Public Health investigators published their discovery in the Archives of Internal Medicine which reveals that eating two or more servings of brown rice per week slashes the risk of Type II diabetes.
Feb 1 - Stop coughing with these nine remedies - Control coughs from flu, bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia and COPD

Coughing always involves some type of irritation in the upper respiratory tract. It may be associated with a case of the flu, sinusitis, congestion, post nasal drip, or pneumonia. Additionally, coughing may be the result of chronic bronchitis, emphysema or COPD. Aside from over-the-counter cough suppressants or steroid drugs, there are no really effective conventional cough remedies. Regardless of its origins, most coughing responds to one or more herbal remedies.

White horehound has been used by Native Americans and Ayurvedic practitioners as an expectorant to loosen congestion in the chest and relieve dry coughs. It also possesses potent anti-inflammatory properties relieving spasmodic coughing related to bronchitis and asthma. White horehound is combined with honey and other medicinal herbs into a lozenge to relieve sore throats. Additional methods for using this herb are in herbal teas and mixed in herbal tonics.

Fenugreek loosens tightness in the airways and helps dry productive coughing. It has astringent properties that relieve sinusitis, helping to dry up post nasal drip. Fenugreek may be especially useful for allergic rhinitis, pneumonia and the flu with accompanying symptoms of cough and sinus congestion.

Licorice root provides relief from coughing and sore throats due to illness and allergies. It stimulates the body to create a protective mucus film preventing damage to the linings of the throat, airways and digestive tract. In particular, licorice root relieves pain associated with heartburn during coughing episodes when vomiting may occur. Licorice root is most commonly used as an herbal tea. It may raise the blood pressure in some individuals when used over a long period. De-glycyrrhizinated licorice, or DGL. is often substituted for licorice root. The product has had the glycyrrhizin removed, which makes it easier to tolerate with fewer potential side effects.

Like licorice, slippery elm causes the body to create a mucus film in the throat, airways and all the way down the digestive tract, protecting their linings and soothing sore throats and dry, tickling coughs. Slippery elm comes in a powder that is easily mixed with water and heated to form a syrup. It's also available in lozenges.

Hot lemonade made with raw, organic honey, fresh lemon juice and hot water is soothing and will relieve most coughing. Lemons are high in antioxidants, potassium, and vitamin C, all known as immune system boosters. Honey soothes a sore throat and stops coughing by suppressing cough receptors to quiet the tickling sensation associated with most coughing.

Ginkgo biloga has been used for thousands of years by the Chinese for a variety of ailments including respiratory disorders. Along with relieving coughing, it's also used for stopping wheezing and for helping to expel mucus and phlegm from the airways and lungs. Studies note that Ginkgo may provide relief from asthma and related coughing.

This ancient Chinese herb may prevent colds and flu, or lessen the severity of symptoms if you are already sick. Ginseng is a whole-body tonic that strengthens the immune system. Regular use helps to prevent the onset of bronchitis and coughing related to the flu and pneumonia.

Mullein is a commonly prescribed herb used either on its own or mixed in herbal cough tonics to relieve coughing from bronchitis, flu, or COPD. It acts as an expectorant, helping to clear the airways and lungs of mucus and congestion.

Fennel is often used in Ayurvedic medicine for several health conditions, including coughing from bronchitis, influenza and pulmonary ailments. Ayurvedic practitioners make this ancient culinary herb into a tea or syrup to treat acute and chronic coughs.

Certain herbs cause side effects. If you're using unfamiliar herbs or treating young children, always consult with your natural health practitioner first.
so do I
I love licorice!!
Feb 1 - Morningland Dairy destroyed by feds, $250,000 inventory stolen by government thugs during armed raid

There is a reason why America's founding fathers were willing to shed their own blood to gain independence from the crushing authoritarianism of the Crown of England. Nearly three years after first becoming a target for destruction by state and federal government agencies, Morningland Dairy of Mountain View, Missouri, has officially and forcibly been driven out of business by a rogue police state that recently confiscated, at gunpoint, most of the farm's inventory of perfectly safe, raw cheese, which was valued at roughly $250,000.

Morningland first found itself entangled in a government-initiated war against raw food back in 2005 when undercover agents targeted Rawesome Foods, a Venice, California-based private food buying club, for the "crime" of selling wholesome food to health-conscious club members. Five years later, in 2010, armed officials from local, state, federal, and even foreign government agencies came and raided the club at gunpoint, stealing thousands of dollars' worth of farm-fresh food products, including raw milk cheese products made by Morningland.

Government agents deliberately compromised integrity of Morningland cheese to claim that it was tainted

Not surprisingly, the government thugs responsible for stealing food from Rawesome failed to follow their own confiscation protocols when they hauled off the cheese and other refrigerated goods in room-temperature crates rather than iced coolers, possibly subjecting these products to spoilage and contamination. And instead of immediately testing the allegedly tainted products, officials took their sweet time and waited an entire week before eventually claiming that the products, including Morningland's cheese, were tainted with harmful bacteria.

Not long after, officials from the Missouri Milk Board (MMB) suddenly started harassing Morningland, and jointly with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered the farm to destroy 50,000 pounds of perfectly safe, raw, artisan cheese worth more than $250,000. Besides representing the farm's entire inventory, not a single pound of this 50,000 pounds had ever tested positive for bacterial contamination. In fact, neither the MMB nor the FDA had ever tested any of the cheese for safety prior to ordering its destruction.

Missouri Milk Board refuses to allow Morningland to conduct real safety tests on cheese

When Morningland's owners tried to reason with the officials, explaining to them that the cheese samples collected in California were not properly stored or tested during the raid, their petitions fell on deaf ears. Morningland even offered to conduct its own independent tests on cheese samples from every production batch in its inventory to prove their safety, but the MMB and the FDA ultimately refused. Now, nearly three years later, the MMB, with the help of numerous government lackeys, has forcibly removed most of Morningland's entire inventory of cheese, effectively putting the farm out of business.

On January 25, 2013, representatives from the MMB, as well as sheriff's deputies from the Howell County Sheriff's Department, came and seized more than 36 tons of perfectly good raw cheese from Morningland, enforcing the unjustified tyranny perpetrated by their superiors against a family farm that did absolutely nothing wrong. In other words, Morningland has now been officially put out of business by the same type of rogue government authoritarianism that our nation's founding fathers shed their blood to escape.

Not only did the MMB and the FDA refuse to allow Morningland to have any legitimate safety tests conducted on its cheese, but they also obtained illegitimate court orders to have the cheese seized without admissible warrants, for the sole purpose of destroying the farm. There is no other explanation as to why a farm producing a wholesome, clean food product was targeted, persecuted, and ultimately eliminated for absolutely no reason.

Friends, family, and other supporters of Morningland were actually onsite to capture video footage of the MMB's minions and sheriff's deputies hauling off the cheese the day of the confiscation. You can view this indicting footage at the following link: http://www.informationliberation.com/?id=42526

While the MMB was directly responsible for actually seizing the cheese, the Howell County Sheriff's Department made sure the illegal seizure took place without any "physical" altercations -- well, other than when Howell County Sheriff's Lieutenant Al Jones physical swiped a video camera out of the hand of Michael Evans' cameraman as they were capturing the incident for America's Voice Now. The entire matter is truly disturbing, and clearly illustrates the rapid decline of America into complete totalitarianism and government dictatorship.

Defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel pleaded on Thursday with senators at his confirmation hearing not to judge him based on controversial past remarks—like his warning against the “Jewish lobby”—or on single votes he cast during his Senate career.

“No one individual vote, no one individual quote, no one individual statement defines me, my beliefs, or my record,” Hagel, a Republican, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in his opening remarks.

The former senator from Nebraska, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, faces fierce opposition from some Republicans who say he would undermine America’s national security ties to Israel and does not take the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program seriously enough. Hagel is expected to be confirmed—but not without a fight.

Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told Yahoo News in an exclusive interview on Wednesday that he disagreed with Hagel on a range of issues, but he called Hagel a “smart, capable guy” who deserves a full hearing. And even some of Hagel's most forceful opponents, like Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, have to date stopped short of vowing to filibuster his nomination.

Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, the top Republican on the committee, charged that Hagel would promote "a worldview that is predicated on appeasing our adversaries while shunning our friends" and bluntly called him "the wrong person to lead the Pentagon at this perilous and consequential time."

In his remarks, Hagel took aim directly at some of his critics—and sought to reassure lawmakers who might be on the fence.

“I will ensure our friend and ally Israel maintains its Qualitative Military Edge in the region and will continue to support systems like Iron Dome, which is today saving Israeli lives from terrorists' rocket attacks,” he said.

"I am fully committed to the president’s goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and—as I’ve said in the past, many times—all options must be on the table to achieve that goal," he said, using diplomatic language that refers to the use of military force. "My policy has always been the same as the president’s—one of prevention, and not one of containment—and the president has made clear that is the policy of our government."

Hagel's years in the Senate haven't endeared him to many Republican lawmakers still smarting over his outspoken criticism of the Iraq war even after he voted to authorize the U.S. invasion. Hagel's position on the war sealed his reputation as a party outsider and led him to lend tacit support to President Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign.

Hagel has been criticized for opposing unilateral U.S. sanctions against Iran in the past—a position he now embraces—and calling for direct talks between Tehran and Washington without preconditions. He has also raised questions about his support for Israel and at one point criticized the "Jewish lobby” as having too much clout in Washington.

"Like each of you, I have a record. A record I am proud of, not because of any accomplishments I may have achieved or an absence of mistakes, but rather because I’ve tried to build that record by living my life and fulfilling my responsibilities as honestly as I knew how and with hard work," the former senator said.

"My overall worldview has never changed: that America has and must maintain the strongest military in the world; that we must lead the international community to confront threats and challenges together; and that we must use all tools of American power to protect our citizens and our interests. I believe, and always have, that America must engage—not retreat—in the world. My record is consistent on these points."

Hagel, who earned two Purple Hearts in Vietnam and still carries shrapnel in his chest, would be the first former enlisted soldier to head the Pentagon.

He was introduced by two retired senators with long careers on the committee: Democrat Sam Nunn of Georgia and Republican John Warner of Virginia. After a lengthy opening tribute, Warner got laughs from the room when he turned to Hagel and declared: "You're on your own. Good luck!"
Jan 31 - A hooked marlin sinks a fishing boat? Well, something like that

A fisherman off Panama was battling a huge black marlin when the battle took a turn for the worse. The fish sank the boat.

Or as Marlin Magazine put it on its Facebook post, "Marlin Wins!"

Not all the details are in, but apparently the captain began backing down on the huge fish, a common practice in big-game fishing when a fish is taking line. He puts the boat in reverse to chase the fish.

One commenter on Marlin Magazine's Facebook post who apparently had some knowledge of the incident said that the captain fell as he was backing down on the fish at full throttle. The boat took on too much water and, finally, there was no correcting the situation.

Marlin Magazine reported that the boat went to the bottom of the sea and everybody on board was rescued by the photo boat. And, of course, the fish got away.
Jan 30 - Calif. home searched in 1984 disappearance of boy

It has been nearly 30 years since 10-year-old Kevin Collins disappeared while waiting for a bus after basketball practice. His mother, now 72, said she felt numb as she watched police search a San Francisco home in connection to the decades-old cold case.

"To see them digging in a building so close to where he disappeared was shocking," Ann Collins said.

The search Tuesday of a backyard and garage of a home near the city's Haight-Ashbury district has renewed interest in the high-profile disappearance in 1984. Photographs of the freckled-face boy, plastered on milk cartons and posters throughout San Francisco, turned it into one of the first child disappearances to garner national attention.

The home search was a "follow up to the cold case investigation," police said in a statement.

A law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the search warrant was sealed, said a "person of interest" in the disappearance lived in the house at the time. That person has since died, and police said the current residents were not suspects.

Police didn't disclose what prompted investigators to seek a search warrant and renew the probe into the case. The FBI and the Alameda County sheriff's department contributed to the search.

During the search, cadaver dogs indicated remains were under the concrete in the garage. Police said a preliminary review showed them to be animal bones, but the San Francisco medical examiner's office was conducting tests.

Collins, Kevin's mother, said she felt mostly "just numb" as the search took her on an emotional roller coaster ride, especially after the remains were reported to be from an animal.

Since her son's disappearance, Collins and her husband divorced, and she moved to the San Francisco suburb of Concord.

"It would be nice to have closure," she said. "But then a part of me, you know, doesn't want to find him like that."

Kevin was last seen waiting for a bus after basketball practice at St. Agnes School in the Haight. The search for him went citywide, and his photograph was on the cover of Newsweek in 1984.
Jan 30 - Trees down, outages as storms rake US midsection

A large storm system packing high winds, rain and some possible tornadoes tore across several states in the South and central U.S. on Wednesday, blacking out power to thousands, downing trees and damaging homes.

One death was reported when a large tree blew down on a shed in Nashville, Tenn., where a man was sheltering, police told Nashville broadcaster WTVF-TV. Authorities did not immediately release further details when contacted by The Associated Press.

In Arkansas, another person was reported injured by lightning in Arkansas during the storm's eastward trek. The severe weather ushered in a cold front that was headed toward the Eastern seaboard as it dumped rain over a wide area.

The rapidly changing conditions created a risk of tornadoes in the nation's midsection and South. The National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., said the threat was greatest in recent hours in northeast Texas, northern Louisiana, northwest Mississippi, southeast Missouri and much of Arkansas.

The center said it was investigating reports of at least four possible tornadoes in states including Arkansas and Mississippi. Hail ranging up to nearly golf-ball size was also reported in some areas and barns and other buildings collapsed or were damaged, the center added.

Thousands were reported without power in Tennessee, where tornado warnings and flash flood warnings were issued for several counties and a tractor-trailer truck was blown over by high winds.

Entergy Arkansas Inc. reported at least 9,000 power outages in several communities around Arkansas at the height of the storm, including in and around Little Rock.

Power lines fell, trees were toppled and some homes suffered damage to rooftops around the state, reports indicated. The weather service said suspected straight-line winds of up to 80 mph were reported in Arkansas late Tuesday night along with flooding in low-lying areas of Jonesboro in Arkansas' northeastern corner.

Police in the Arkansas community of Monticello reported a person was injured by lightning late Tuesday but the injury was not life-threatening

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency urged residents to be on guard for severe thunderstorms, high winds and possible tornadoes Wednesday.

Earlier this week, a large swath of the Midwest and South bathed in unseasonably balmy temperatures that reached the high 70s in some areas.

The temperature in the central Missouri college town of Columbia reached 77 degrees on Monday, a record for January, and students exchanged their winter coats for shorts and flip-flops as freezing rain gave way to spring-like conditions. Foul weather made a quick return, however, with a Tuesday downpour that flooded some streets near the University of Missouri campus. Early morning snow was expected Wednesday.

Chicago residents also have been whiplashed by recent weather extremes. Workers who suffered through subzero temperatures and brutal wind chills a week ago strolled through downtown without coats Tuesday as temperatures soared into the mid-60s.

Carol Krueger, who lives in the Chicago suburb of North Hoffman Estates, noted that just a few days ago she was struggling to drive through blowing snow. All she needed Tuesday was a light jean jacket, although by Thursday temperatures were barely expected to reach 20 degrees.

"It's bizarre, it's scary," Krueger said of the swiftly changing weather.

On Monday, the National Weather Service predicted a "moderate" risk of severe weather more than 24 hours out, only the fifth time it had done so in January in the past 15 years, said Gregory Carbin, the director of the Storm Prediction Center.

A system pulling warm weather from the Gulf of Mexico was colliding with a cold front moving in from the west, creating volatility.

The nation has had its longest break between tornado fatalities since detailed tornado records began being kept in 1950, according to the Storm Prediction Center and National Climatic Data Center. The last one was June 24, when a person was killed in a home in Highlands County, Fla. That was 220 days ago as of Tuesday.

The last day with multiple fatalities was June 4, when three people were killed in a mobile home in Scott County, Mo.
Jan 28 - Obama lauds Clinton as she prepares to leave

President Barack Obama lauded Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as one of his closest advisers and said their shared vision for America's role in the world persuaded his one-time rival — and potential successor — to be his top diplomat while he dealt with the shattered economy at home.

During a joint interview that aired Sunday, Obama and Clinton chuckled as they described their partnership and stoked speculation that Obama may prefer Clinton to succeed him in the White House after the 2016 elections. Clinton is leaving Obama's Cabinet soon, and speculation about the former first lady and senator has only grown more intense after a heated appearance last week on Capitol Hill.

Both Obama and Clinton batted away questions about future campaigns, but the joint interview — the president's first with anyone other than first lady Michelle Obama — was only likely to increase the fascination with Clinton's future.

"The president and I care deeply about what's going to happen for our country in the future," Clinton said. "And I don't think, you know, either he or I can make predictions about what's going to happen tomorrow or the next year."

Obama, who suggested the joint interview as Clinton prepared her exit from the State Department, lavished praise on his rival for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. He called her a friend and an extraordinary talent, and praised "her discipline, her stamina, her thoughtfulness, her ability to project."

It teetered on an endorsement of a 2016 presidential bid that is still an open question. Clinton advisers say she has not made a decision about a run, while Democratic officials suggest Clinton would be an early favorite if she decided to mount another campaign.

Obama and Clinton laughed when asked about the political future.

"You guys in the press are incorrigible," Obama said when pressed on another Clinton presidency. "I was literally inaugurated four days ago. And you're talking about elections four years from now."

The possibility of a presidential campaign for Vice President Joe Biden did not come up during the interview, taped Friday at the White House.

Obama described why he insisted Clinton become his secretary of state.

"She also was already a world figure," Obama said. "To have somebody who could serve as that effective ambassador in her own right without having to earn her stripes, so to speak, on the international stage, I thought, would be hugely important."

It was a job she initially refused. But Obama kept pushing, Clinton said.

"The one thing he did mention was he basically said: 'You know, we've got this major economic crisis that may push us into a depression. I'm not going to be able to do a lot to satisfy the built-up expectations for our role around the world. So you're going to have to get out there and, you know, really represent us while I deal with, you know, the economic catastrophe I inherited."

It's a job she embraced during the last four years. She arrived on the job with a global brand she quickly lent to promoting U.S. interests. In return, the public rewarded her with high approval ratings that could come in handy if she runs in 2016.

But her tenure has had its blemishes. For example, the United States did not directly intervene in the civil war in Syria, where the United Nations says more than 60,000 people have been killed and more than 2 million people have been internally displaced since the start of the conflict in March 2011.

"There are transitions and transformations taking place all around the world. We are not going to be able to control every aspect of every transition and transformation," Obama said, saying his jobs are to protect the United States and engage where the U.S. can make a difference.

In a separate interview with The New Republic, also released Sunday, Obama said, "As I wrestle with those decisions, I am more mindful probably than most of not only our incredible strengths and capabilities, but also our limitations."

On "60 Minutes," he praised Clinton's State Department for helping him sort out what the United States can — and cannot — accomplish.

"It has been a great collaboration over the last four years. I'm going to miss her. Wish she was sticking around. But she has logged in so many miles, I can't begrudge her wanting to take it easy for a little bit," Obama said.

It's something of a turnaround from 2007 and 2008, as the two raced through Iowa and New Hampshire and onward. In increasingly bracing language, the two excoriated the other. At one point, a visibly angry Clinton seethed, "Shame on you, Barack Obama."

Obama now jokes about the rivalry.

"Made for tough debates, by the way, because we could never figure out what we were different on," the president said.

Both acknowledged disagreements continue but said they had common goals.

"Are there going to be differences? Yeah. Deep differences? Of course," Clinton said. "You had a lot of strong-willed, -minded people. But the president deserves our best judgment, our advice and then he deserves us to stand with him and to execute."
hmmm, I can't imagine teh coincidence of her leaving and all the problems that are unaswered.
Jan 28 - Nationwide Manhunt for Escaped Inmate

A nationwide manhunt is underway for a career criminal who has twice escaped from jail by switching identities with other inmates. 

Authorities did not notice Rocky Marquez, 34, was missing from a Detroit jail until five days after he walked out the front door undetected.

"Mr. Marquez does have a bit of a head start, but we have the best of the best working on this case and I'm confident Rocky will be put behind bars," said Deputy U.S. Marshal Frederick J. Freeman.

A fugitive apprehension team along with the U.S. Marshals and other police agencies are searching for Marquez.

According to police, on Jan. 20, Marquez switched ID wristbands with another inmate, who was about to be freed on bond. Marquez then simply walked out of the Wayne County jail.

"He's smarter than your average criminal. He's somehow getting inmates to cooperate with him to use their identities to walk out of jail," Freeman said.

This was not the first time Marquez staged a jailbreak.

According to U.S. Marshal David Gonzalez, Marquez pulled the same stunt in a Phoenix prison eight months ago when he switched wristbands with another inmate who he had befriended and who had a similar complexion and build.

"He obviously has a penchant for getting out of jail and wanting to stay out of jail, but hopefully we can put an end to that run here soon," Gonzalez said.

Marquez was arrested in Detroit after the U.S. Marshals tracked a car they believed he was using to the city.

Marquez, whose criminal record includes drug smuggling, perjury and witness tampering, was awaiting extradition to Phoenix when he escaped last week.

Officials from the Wayne County Sheriff's Office said there would be an investigation into the reasons for Marquez's escape.

"We have policies and procedures in place that should have prevented something like this from happening," the sheriff's office told ABC News.
Jan 25 - New Questions in Chandra Levy Murder Case

New questions are being raised surrounding the murder of Chandra Levy, the case that rocked official Washington and much of the nation in the summer of 2001 because of allegations she had been having an affair with then-Rep. Gary Condit (D-Calif.). 

Closed hearings have been held to review information that may impeach the credibility of a witness who testified at the trial of Ingmar Guandique. In 2010, nearly a decade after Levy disappeared, Guandique was convicted of murdering her. He was already in prison for other crimes, and was sentenced to 60 years in prison in Levy's death. Now a case largely built on circumstantial evidence and witness testimony appears to be facing serious questions.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys have taken part in two closed hearings described as so sensitive that Levy's parents have not been told precisely what they are about. Her parents, Susan and Robert Levy have been advised of the hearings by the U.S. Attorney, but they are not being told any details about which witness may be implicated by new information. In a telephone interview with ABC News, Susan Levy said, "I'm not going to get my daughter back. I only want them to have the right person in prison."

In an interview with ABC's San Francisco station, KGO-TV, the Levys said most of their information comes from news reports.

One clue came in a December statement from the judge overseeing the case, just before the proceedings were ordered closed to the public.

"The hearing addresses issues about information that has come to the government's attention that may provide impeachment about one of its witnesses at trial, and the possible disclosure of that information may create safety issues that I have concluded are somewhat substantial here," D.C. Superior Court Judge Gerald Fisher said during a brief public portion of a Dec. 18 hearing, according to McClatchy reporter Michael Doyle, who was in the hearing room.

Because there was little to no physical evidence in Levy's death, the case against Ingmar Guandique was largely built on the testimony of witnesses, including that of an inmate, Armando Morales, who claimed Guandique told him he killed Levy. If Morales' testimony is untrue, the whole case could fall apart. But at this time it is unclear if Morales is the witness in question. The Justice Department is required to notify the court about any information raising questions about the credibility of its witnesses.

The next hearing on the case is scheduled for Feb. 7.
Jan 25 - Couple has been living under a rock, quite literally

For many people, the idea of living under a rock might seem like the punchline of a joke. But for one Mexican couple, a hut wedged below a 130-foot boulder in Coahulla, Mexico, has been home for the past 30 years.

A reporter recently visited the couple, Benito Hernandez and Santa Martha de la Cruz Villarreal, in their primitive desert home 50 miles south of Texas. Hernandez is a farmer who plants and collects the Candelilla plant used in making Candelilla wax.

He first saw this boulder 55 years ago, when he was 8, and decided to make it a home one day. Twenty years later he was able to secure rights to the land.

"I started coming here when I was 8 years old to visit the Candelilla (harvesting) fields, and I liked it here. I liked it and then I continued visiting every three to four months. I wasn't married and I didn't have a family yet, but I liked it and I had to keep coming to put my foot in (on the property) because lands here are won through claiming them," Hernandez told the Hernandez told the International Business Times (note: the link goes to a video).

The home, made of sun-dried bricks and cement, has a dirt floor, a wood stove, and no plumbing. Electrical service is said to be unreliable. A nearby stream supplies fresh drinking water. In winter, though, the water source freezes over.

"It gets very cold here and we struggle to get food. We have to work hard here on the Candelilla (fields). That's the only job we have. That's what we live from," said Hernandez.

The couple have seven children, six of whom are married and live nearby.
who needs modern living
Jan 24 - Tennessee Homecoming King Nominees Give Crown to Another Teen

Three Tennessee homecoming king nominees made a unanimous and touching decision that no matter who won, they would give the crown to a beloved student with a genetic condition.

Students Jesse Cooper, Drew Gibbs and Zeke Grissom were all nominated for homecoming king at Community High School's basketball homecoming ceremony.

The teens got together and decided that the winner would turn over the honor to junior Scotty Maloney, who has Williams Syndrome, a neurological disorder that inhibits learning and speech.

"I've been blessed with so many things," Cooper told ABC News' Nashville affiliate WKRN-TV. "I just wanted Scotty to experience something great in his high school days."

"He's always happy, so he deserves some recognition for who he is," Gibbs said.

Cooper won the popular vote for king, but when the official announcement was made at a Friday ceremony, the principal told the crowd what the nominees had decided to do.

"When they called [Scotty's] name, his eyes got really big and I don't know that he registered exactly what was happening. He knew something was," Maloney's teacher Liz Hestle Gassaway told ABCNews.com. "It was very, very emotional."

The crowd erupted with cheers and Maloney got a long standing ovation, WKRN reported, as he was awarded his "King" medal.

"It was just a ton of emotion from everybody," Grissom told WKRN. "I think I saw Scotty shed a few tears. I know Jesse was pretty emotional. We were all emotional out there on the court."

Maloney is a beloved teen in his school and in the community, Gassaway said.

"Scotty is fabulous. He is a superstar. He knows everybody. There's not one person that Scotty does not know," she said. "To know him and meet him is to love him."

Gassaway believes that the nearly 500-student school in Unionville, Tenn., is "one of the best schools in the world when it comes to dealing with special needs children."

Students like Cooper help out in special needs gym classes and other activities. Gassaway said the boys' gesture toward Maloney sent a greater message.

"We want people to have more empathy towards people, not be scared of people with disabilities," she said. "We want them to embrace them, more like the boys did."

Next year Maloney will get to crown the school's new homecoming king. But for now, he is proudly sporting his medal everywhere he goes.

"He's been wearing his medal around," Gassaway said with a laugh. "He is not here today because he had a doctor's appointment, but I'm sure he has his medal on."
This is a great story
Jan 24 - High school senior comes out as LGBT while accepting award

Coming out as LGBT is rarely easy, which makes Jacob Rudolph's story all the more impressive. When the high school student in Parsippany, N.J., came out, he did so in front of the entire school. His classmates responded with a standing ovation.

During the presentation of senior class awards, Rudolph was given the Class Actor award, an irony not lost on him. "Sure I've been in a few plays and musicals, but more importantly, I've been acting every single day of my life," Rudolph said. "You see, I've been acting as someone I'm not."

Rudolph continued:

Most of you see me every day. You see me acting the part of "straight" Jacob, when I am in fact LGBT. Unlike millions of other LGBT teens who have had to act every day to avoid verbal harassment and physical violence, I'm not going to do it anymore. It's time to end the hate in our society and accept the people for who they are regardless of their sex, race, orientation, or whatever else may be holding back love and friendship. So take me, leave me, or move me out of the way. Because I am what I am, and that's how I'm going to act from now on.

Footage of Rodolph's speech and its positive reception was uploaded to the Web by his father, who noted on the video that it "took more guts to do than anything I've ever attempted in my life."

Rudolph spoke with NJ.com about his speech and the aftermath. "The more leaders who pop up in the LGBT community, the more it inspires others. It just becomes a whole domino effect," he said.

"It felt like this immense weight was gone," he added. "I'd been carrying it around with me for years. It affected me academically, emotionally, socially. It's like my life is now before and after. I think that explanation is what made this whole process make sense."

The reactions have been across-the-board positive, including on Twitter. Anthony G. Watson tweeted, "‏#Jacob #Rudolph Gay New Jersey Teen, Comes Out During School Award Ceremony! We are all very proud of you!"

Ben Rudolph wrote, "I don't think I'm related to Jacob Rudolph (not this one, anyway)...but I'm still proud of him."

And another supporter wrote, "Things That Make Me Smile: Teenager Jacob Rudolph comes out to his parents, teachers, and his whole class..."
why discuss your sexual preferences at an award ceremony.
Jan 23 - The World's 10 Most Dangerous Airlines

Flying was less deadly in 2012 than in any year since 1945, but that does not mean all airlines are equally safe.

The Jet Airliner Crash Data Evaluation Centre (JACDEC), which collects information about aviation accidents and safety, has published its annual Airline Safety Ranking.

60 airlines are rated, based on the number and deadliness of the hull losses (destroyed airplanes) they have suffered in the past 30 years, and how they have fared more recently.

Here are the ten with the worst safety records, including the number of hull losses since 1983, and how many fatalities they caused:

#10 SkyWest Airlines: 3 hull losses; 22 dead

#9 South African Airways: 1 hull loss; 159 dead

#8 Thai Airways International: 5 hull losses; 309 dead

#7 Turkish Airlines: 6 hull losses, 188 dead

#6 Saudia: 4 hull losses; 310 dead

#5 Korean Air: 9 hull losses; 687 dead

#4 GOL Transportes Aéreos: 1 hull loss; 154 dead

#3 Air India: 3 hull losses; 329 dead

#2 TAM Airlines: 6 hull losses; 336 dead

#1 China Airlines: 8 hull losses; 755 dead
Jan 23 - Teacher Posted Facebook Photo of Students With Duct Tape

An Ohio middle school teacher is fighting to keep her job after a photo was seen on her Facebook page showing students of hers with duct tape across their mouths. The Akron school board is considering whether to terminate her.

Melissa Cairns, a middle school math teacher at Buchtel Community Learning Center, has been on unpaid administrative leave after an Akron public schools worker noticed a photo posted on Facebook of a group of students with duct tape across their mouths. The caption on the photo: "Finally found a way to get them to be quiet!!!"

Jason Haas, president of the Akron Board of Education, said the case raises questions about students' privacy and social media.

"This is the start of my sixth year on the board. In that time, we haven't had a case come before us for potential disciplinary action for posting a picture to social media websites," said Haas. "Has she violated the students' privacy? That's what we're concerned about. Everyone seems to be focused on the duct tape."

Sarah Hollander, communications officer for Akron Public Schools, issued a statement describing the case:

"There were about 15 or 16 middle school students in the class. Eight or nine students put the tape on their mouths. Cairns took a photo and posted it on her personal Facebook page as a joke. The photo wasn't dated, but was likely taken in late September or early October 2012," said Hollander. "Principal Sonya Gordon asked Cairns to take the photo down. She also alerted parents of students in the class."

Cairns told ABC News affiliate WEWS-TV in Cleveland that she originally gave one of her students the tape to fix her binder. When the teacher handed the strip of tape to the student, Cairns said, she placed the piece of tape over her mouth and laughed. When the other students saw the girl laughing, they joined in. Next, students asked Cairns to snap a photo.

"Do I think that this one mistake should cost me the last 10 years of all the good I've done? Absolutely not," said Cairns. "When your emotions are involved, that's when you learn things."

On Jan. 22, Cairns requested a hearing take place to determine whether she can keep her job as a math teacher. She is entitled to present her case with a referee present. A date for the hearing has not been set.

Haas told WEWS-TV that "students are protected under federal law and have certain protections." He said, "It would look like that potentially violates those protections."

But will this set a new precedent for the school board? Haas said it's difficult to determine.

"It comes down to how the board feels after the administration presents their case. We've gone with the teacher's side and there's other cases where we've gone with the administration's side," said Haas. "Nothing is cut and dry at all."

On Jan. 14, the seven-member board of education was given criteria to consider whether Cairns should be let go.

The 33-year-old teacher was put on paid administrative leave on Oct. 19. As of Jan. 15, she's been placed on an unpaid administrative leave. On Jan. 16, Cairns received a letter informing her of a possible firing. She was given 10 days to request a hearing before the board or a referee.

"Why was there duct tape in the classroom? How did they [the students] come to have access to it," said Haas. "We'll have these answers to these questions later."

Haas said he believes the hearing will likely be scheduled in late February.

Cairns was hired by Akron Public Schools in August 2007, and first came to Buchtel last August.
Jan 22 - Girl killed in massive pileup on icy Ohio highway

A 12-year-old girl was killed on Monday and dozens of people injured in a 76-vehicle pileup on an icy Ohio highway, one of three major crashes that clogged roadways across the state, authorities said.

Sixty cars and 16 tractor trailers slammed into one another on Interstate 275 near Cincinnati just after 11:35 a.m., Hamilton County Sheriff's spokesman Jim Knapp said.

"Eighteen years on patrol, and I've never seen anything like it," he said.

At least 20 people were transported to local hospitals with undetermined injuries, said Colerain Township Fire Captain Darian Edwards, who described "dozens of walking wounded" being tended to at the crash site.

Authorities had originally identified the crash victim as a woman, but Colerain Township Police Chief Daniel P. Meloy confirmed that she was a 12-year-old girl. Authorities believe the girl, whose name was not released, had exited her car to investigate an initial crash and may have been struck by another car, Knapp said.

In a second crash Monday on Interstate 75, 50 cars collided, causing an undetermined number of injuries but no reports of fatalities, said Ohio State Police Lieutenant Steve Mahl. The crash took place in an area between Middletown and Monroe, in the southwestern part of the state

A third crash near Mansfield, in the north-central part of the state, caused a 13-car pileup on U.S. Highway 71, Mahl said, adding that only minor injuries had been reported in that crash.

All across Ohio on Monday, drivers have been contending with ice, periods of whiteout, and snow-covered and slippery roadways, said Mahl. "It's typical winter weather out here."
Jan 22 - Indonesia sentences UK woman to death over drugs

An Indonesian court sentenced a British grandmother to death on Tuesday for smuggling cocaine worth $2.5 million in her suitcase onto the resort island of Bali — even though prosecutors had sought only a 15-year sentence.

Lindsay June Sandiford, 56, wept when judges handed down the sentence and declined to speak to reporters on her way back to prison, covering her face with a floral scarf. She had claimed in court that she was forced to take the drugs into the country by a gang that was threatening to hurt her children.

Indonesia, like many Asian countries, is very strict on drug crimes, and most of the more than 40 foreigners on its death row were convicted of drug charges.

Sandiford's lawyer said she would appeal, a process that can take several years. Condemned criminals face a firing squad in Indonesia, which has not carried out an execution since 2008, when 10 people were put to death.

A verdict is expected in the trial of Sandiford's alleged accomplice, Briton Julian Anthony Pounder, next Tuesday. He is accused of receiving the drugs in Bali, which has a busy bar and nightclub scene where party drugs such as cocaine and Ecstasy are bought and sold between foreigners. Two other British citizens and an Indian have already been convicted and sentenced to prison in connection with the bust.

In London, British Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire told lawmakers Wednesday that the government strongly opposes Sandiford's sentence.

"We strongly object to the death penalty and continue to provide consular assistance to Lindsay and her family during this difficult time," he said.

Martin Horwood, a member of Parliament representing Sandiford's Cheltenham constituency in western England, called the sentence a shock and said he would raise the case with Foreign Secretary William Hague.

"The days of the death penalty ought to be past. This is not the way that a country that now values democracy and human rights should really be behaving," Horwood told the BBC.

Harriet McCulloch of human rights charity Reprieve, which is assisting Sandiford, urged the British government to support her appeal.

"Lindsay has always maintained that she only agreed to carry the package to Bali after receiving threats against the lives of her family," McCulloch said. "She is clearly not a drug kingpin — she has no money to pay for a lawyer, for the travel costs of defense witnesses or even for essentials like food and water."

In its verdict, a panel of Denpasar District Court judges concluded that Sandiford had damaged the image of Bali as a tourism destination and weakened the government's drug prevention program.

"We found no reason to lighten her sentence," said Amser Simanjuntak, who headed the judicial panel.

Prosecutors had been seeking a 15-year prison sentence for Sandiford, who was arrested in May when customs officers at Bali's airport discovered 3.8 kilograms (8.4 pounds) of cocaine in the lining of her luggage.

State prosecutor Lie Putra Setiawan told reporters that the verdict was "appropriate," explaining that prosecutors had been demanding 15 years because of Sandiford's age.

Indonesia has 114 prisoners on death row, according to a March 2012 study by Australia's Lowy Institute for International Policy. Five foreigners have been executed since 1998, all for drug crimes, according to the institute.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has granted clemency to four drug offenders on death row since he took office in 2004.

The most publicized recent case internationally is that of Schapelle Corby, an Australian convicted of smuggling marijuana in 2005. Her 20-year sentence was reduced last year and she is now eligible for parole, but she remains imprisoned.
Jan 18 - South San Francisco, The Industrial City: Named as Publicity Stunt?

Almost every city in the country has a sign indicating when you're crossing into their territory. Often, it's a small, unassuming green sign stuck to a pole on the side of the road mentioning the city's name and population. Sometimes, cities will sport grander declarations on artistic signs, banners, or arches, but there's nothing that compares to South San Francisco's sign shouting from the hills, demanding attention.

Anyone driving down Highway 101 or flying into the San Francisco Bay Area can't miss the massive 60-foot, white concrete lettering on Sign Hill introducing the city of South San Francisco, The Industrial City. Most visitors think they've entered the southern border of the city of San Francisco -- much to the irritation of some of the locals. In fact, South San Francisco isn't part of San Francisco, or even San Francisco County (it's in San Mateo County). Why, then, did they name it South San Francisco?

In the 1800s, Charles Lux purchased 1,464 acres of land and partnered with Henry Miller to form Miller and Lux, Pacific Coast Land Barons and Cattle Kings. When he died, the Lux Ranch heirs sold it to Peter Iler from Omaha, Nebraska, and the area "became the site of the thriving industrial city."

In 1890, Iler established stockyards and a marketplace for local cattle, much like the stockyards back in South Omaha, where he came from. Due to a lack of funds, Iler partnered with some Chicago investors, including Gustavus F. Swift, and formed the South San Francisco Land and Improvement Company, as well as the Western Meat Company.

"The name for South San Francisco followed the pattern planned by G.F. Swift, whose company had taken over the Western Meat Company, as his other plants were 'South Chicago' and 'South Omaha,'" explains the city's website.

A year later in 1891, "South San Francisco, The Industrial City," was proclaimed on the side of a hill (now Sign Hill) by the J. Dunn Real Estate Company, the first realtor to set up shop in the city.

After a period of several years during which the sign was absent, the Chamber of Commerce put the words back up on Sign Hill using powdered lime. The chamber encouraged residents to "Think well of your town, speak well of it, remember you live here. Buy here. Keep your tax dollars at home," and the sign followed this philosophy.

It was more or less a publicity stunt that stuck. In 1929, the familiar concrete letters we see today were installed to permanently declare the name of South San Francisco.

Perhaps the name "South of San Francisco" would have been more appropriate for the city to lessen confusion. Or perhaps a different name entirely would have served better the city that now struggles to have its own identity apart from its giant northern neighbor.
Jan 18 - INAUGURATION 2013: A celebration scaled down, but still grand

Absent the historic nature of electing the nation’s first black president and amid a slow economic recovery, expectations and planning for President Barack Obama’s 2013 inaugural aren’t near the historic levels of 2009.

But with stars such as Beyoncé, Katy Perry and Stevie Wonder lined up to perform, plenty of celebrations on tap, and tickets being auctioned off at 50 times their value, public interest remains high and planners are prepared to deliver a major celebration.

Four years ago, a record-breaking 1.8 million people lined the mall for Obama's swearing in attended other inaugural events in Washington. This year, expectations are lower-- some D.C. officials place crowd estimates at 600,000-800,000—but still promise a heavy influx of visitors to witness the swearing-in, parade, the inaugural balls and a wealth of unofficial parties, events and festivities in around the city.

The official group behind the inauguration, the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC), say that overall their scope has decreased in comparison to 2009.

“In keeping with the precedent set by previous second inaugurals and in recognition of the ongoing economic recovery, this Inauguration will be smaller in scale than the historic ceremony four years ago," PIC spokeswoman Aoife McCarthy told Yahoo News in a statement. "We expect the 57th Inaugural to capture the same excitement that we saw throughout this campaign and to reflect the values that the President will continue to bring to his second term."

The ten inaugural balls the president and First Lady attended in 2009 have been condensed to two. There is no inaugural concert at the Lincoln Memorial. Planners are organizing fewer official events overall.

But the scope remains grand.

The two official inaugural balls that remain on the schedule will be held in the entire Washington Convention Center, which can host up to 42,000 attendees. “The Inaugural Ball will use every Hall in the Convention Center, and together with the Commander-in-Chief's Ball, the same space where six Inaugural balls were held in 2009 will be used,” the PIC announced Jan. 11.

And there is no shortage of stars lined up for those and other events. Beyoncé, Kelly Clarkson and James Taylor are slated to perform at the swearing-in. Other A-List celebrities like Katy Perry, Alicia Keys, Usher and Brad Paisley are among the many celebrities scheduled to perform at the inaugural balls.

Unofficial parties, galas, luncheons and events spanning the weekend and the D.C. metro area have drawn a slew of additional stars, from Eva Longoria and George Lopez at the Latino Concert, Will.i.am and John Legend at the OurTime.org party and many others.

The PIC offered a select number of inaugural tickets to official events to the public, which sold out even before organizers had planned to have them go on sale after Ticketmaster mistakenly emailed purchasing information hours too early.

Some of those public tickets are now selling online for 50 times the purchase price, according to eBay. One bid last week reached $3,000 for two inaugural ball tickets-- face value $120.

But that seller, who declined to be identified because they had received negative feedback for selling inaugural tickets, told Yahoo News that business could be a lot better. "Any retail stores I deal with-- they're being very conservative," about their purchasing, the seller said, noting that they have had difficulty offloading Obama playing cards and other items-- something that never happened in 2009.

"Back then, if you had [anything] with Barack Obama's face on it, it would sell."

When asked to judge the difference in spending and interest levels between 2013 and 2009, the seller replied, "there's no comparison."

As to be expected, given the less historic nature of this year's event, there's also somewhat less interest from the media, according to senate press gallery staff, who credential a portion of the media for inaugural activities. Staff said they notice fewer requests this year than in 2009. But the volume of requests "hasn’t dropped off as much as I thought it would,” Joe Keenan, Senate press gallery director told Yahoo News.

Organizers, keenly aware of the still-limping economy, continue to emphasize their "scaled-down" plans for this year's celebration.

Even the inaugural theme is a little less celebratory than it was last time.

Four years ago, “A New Birth of Freedom”-- words from Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address – was chosen as the theme to highlight the historic nature of Obama's inauguration as well as commemorate the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth.

This year, it’s “Faith in America’s Future.”

"There’s no doubt that we’re going through tough times now, but that’s why we’ve chosen ‘Faith in America’s Future’ as this year’s theme," Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), chair of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies said in a statement to Yahoo News. "150 years ago, our nation came together to finish the Capitol Dome, in the midst of a Civil War that threatened to tear us apart. Americans have come together and overcome obstacles in the past – by looking back at how far we’ve come, we’ll find faith in our future moving forward."

In Jan. 2009 when Obama took office, the U.S was experiencing the most serious economic crisis since the Great Depression. Employers that month slashed 818,000 jobs-- the largest cut in six decades. It was one of the worst months of the recession thus far and from there, unemployment climbed.

Obama's swearing-in represented a new start and fresh hope for many Americans, even as economists warned the nation's economic situation was dire.

But the rush of good feeling was short lived. Just days later, Obama launched a push for an $800 billion dollar economic stimulus package that Republicans staunchly opposed -- laying the groundwork for the stark partisan divide that defined much of Obama's first term.

As Obama prepares to take the oath of office a second time, the unemployment rate now stands at 7.8 percent and jobs have been added to the economy as they have every month since 2010. Even as the administration has been quick to highlight that progress, many Americans have been touched by the recession and will be looking for assurances from Obama on the economy.

Economic pressure has even affected plans for the inauguration itself.

One major change for organizers this year is that the inaugural committee chose to accept corporate donations, which the committee said was out of necessity after the "most expensive presidential campaign in history."

“Our goal is to make sure that we will meet the fundraising requirements for this civic event after the most expensive presidential campaign in history," McCarthy of the Presidential Inaugural Committee said, adding that donations from lobbyists or PACs will not be accepted.

But the decision to accept corporate donations and only provide the public with donors' first and last names has drawn ire from government watchdog and transparency groups the Sunlight Foundation and OpenSecrets, which launched their own donor page compiling all information publicly available about the donors listed.

The organizations note that in 2009, the inaugural committee released names of donors, their employers, their city and state and donation amount. Donations were also capped at $50,000.

The PIC in 2009 set a goal of raising $45 million for the official inaugural events covered by the committee. They were able to exceed that, raising more than $53 million.

Committee staff and others involved in the planning won't publicly estimate this year's price tag.
Jan 17 - The Story of a Man Who Outsourced His Work to China so He Could Watch Cat Videos All Day

A Verizon case study recently revealed that some people will go through great lengths in order to be able to watch cat videos all day.

We first heard about it on TNW.

The study documents the scam of a developer, who is referred to as Bob. He worked at a "critical infrastructure" company in the U.S. and started outsourcing his work to China underneath his company's nose, and would only pay those people less than one fifth of his six-figure salary.

Here's how it was possible.

Bob's company had started letting employees work remotely from home on certain days, so it set up a VPN concentrator to facilitate that. The company implemented two-factor authentication for the connection, with the second factor being a physical, rotating token RSA key fob. So all Bob had to do was send the key over to China via FedEx.

The company eventually noticed strange activity in its VPN logs, so it asked Verizon for some help understanding what was going on. The logs showed that Bob was logged in from Shenyang, China, even though he was sitting at his desk.

The company initially thought there was some kind of malware routing traffic from an internal connection in China, and then back to the U.S.

But Verizon investigators quickly noticed a major red flag. The VPN connection wasn't new and had been active for at least six months.

So they zeroed in on Bob himself, and took a forensic image of Bob's computer to recover as many files as possible and check for signs of malware.

What they ended up finding were hundreds of PDF invoices from a third-party contractor in Shenyang, China.

A look at his browsing history revealed what his typical work day consisted of:

• 9:00 a.m. – Arrive and surf Reddit for a couple of hours. Watch cat videos.

• 11:30 a.m. – Take lunch.

• 1:00 p.m. – Ebay time.

• 2:00ish p.m. – Facebook updates – LinkedIn.

• 4:30 p.m. – End of day update e-mail to management.

• 5:00 p.m. – Go home.

So while workers in China were doing Bob's job for him, Bob was sitting back, relaxing, watching cat videos, and earning "several hundred thousand dollars" a year.

Most of us have a fear of the dentist. For the rest of her life, young Savannah White is likely to be terrified.

Savannah's mom, Alecia White, took her daughter to have some routine dental work. The dentist informed White that her daughter had four cavities. White consented to have them filled. The dentist sedated 4-year-old Savannah, while White sat in the waiting room. When the procedure was done, the Whites went home, Savannah still feeling groggy.

A short time later, White looked into her daughter's mouth. She was, to put it mildly, shocked. Her daughter's teeth (every single one of them) were capped with silver crowns. Savannah looked a bit like the infamous James Bond villain "Jaws."

White contacted 3 On Your Side, a consumer rights segment from KTVK-TV in Phoenix. "I didn't expect for her entire mouth to be covered in silver," White explained. "We went in to have a couple of cavities done. ... On a daily basis [Savannah] says, 'Mommy, I don't like my teeth. I don't like my teeth.' And it's really kind of hard to hear every single day."

Investigative reporter Gary Harper contacted Dr. Richard Chaet, president of the Arizona Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Chaet explained that while Savannah's dental work is shocking to look at, it was probably necessary. "This is a child who is obviously very high risk for decay," he said, noting that crowns will save other teeth from deteriorating.

The story does have a happy ending, of sorts. Another dentist saw Savannah and volunteered to put white veneers on Savannah's crowns free of charge. Here's hoping her future trips to the dentist are a lot less traumatic.
Jan 15 - Thief Writes Apology Letter, Returns Stolen Gold Rings 15 Years Later

The old saying, "Better late than never," rang particularly true for the Riphagen family of suburban Chicago.

The Riphagens had four gold rings returned to them, along with an anonymous letter of apology, 15 years after they had been stolen.

Margot Riphagen, 31, who now lives in Portland, Ore., recalls exactly when the rings were stolen. She was only 16 years old when she had a party that got a bit out of hand. A few items were stolen, most notably those four rings.

Courtesy Margot Riphagen "It was a long time ago and it was a pretty bad situation," Riphagen told ABCNews.com. "I invited a few friends over and then all of a sudden there were all these people there I didn't know. We immediately noticed stuff was missing. My parents actually turned me in to the police. They always understood this wasn't my fault, but we had never recovered those rings and I still have no idea who it was."

The anonymous note, signed by a sincerely regretful "dumb kid who wants to right a wrong," was sent to Riphagen's mother at her place of work. The family was astonished to have the rings returned, and Margot said she doesn't even care who stole them. The only thing that matters now is that they're back.

"We don't care who it was. I was stupid when I was 16 and I'm sure they were too. Somebody did it for the thrill of it, not for money," Ripenhagen said.

For this surprised family, the four rings had more sentimental value than anything else.

"The first ring is my mother's actual wedding band, that she was not wearing because she was going to get it re-sized. The second is a ring with a small diamond that my father gave my mother when my sister was born, who is a year older than I am," said Riphagen.

"And then the other two, I actually didn't know existed until we got them back, but they are my grandparents' wedding bands. They had small diamond chips put into them for me and my sister when we got older. So it was a pretty big deal. I'm now actually wearing my grandfather's wedding band."

Riphagen said she's felt badly about the missing rings for 15 years now, and finally with the help of this letter, has some closure.

"We never thought we would get any of the stuff back. It's completely amazing and wonderful and we're all thrilled about it. It's a super-positive thing and a great way to start the New Year," she said.
nice of him to return ring!
Jan 16 - 18 heads found at airport were sent for cremation

It sounded ghoulish enough: a shipment of 18 frozen human heads discovered and seized by customs officials during routine X-ray screening of cargo arriving at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago.

Turns out the heads were used for medical research in Italy and were being returned for cremation in Illinois. The holdup was due to a paperwork problem.

It just so happens such shipments are commonplace, and heads — quite a few of them — crisscross the globe via airplane and delivery truck.

"Just last week, we transported eight heads, unembalmed, to Rush University Medical Center for an ophthalmology program," said Paul Dudek, vice president of the Anatomical Gift Association of Illinois, which supplies cadavers and body parts to medical schools in the state for training students.

His association sends about 450 whole cadavers to medical schools each year and also ships individual body parts, including about a dozen shipments of heads annually.

The heads are used for training in fields such as dentistry, ophthalmology and neurology, where they are used for Alzheimer's research. They are also used to train plastic surgeons and by students learning to perform facial reconstructions on accident and trauma victims, Dudek said.

Most cadavers are obtained through voluntary donation by people who designate a willingness to have their bodies benefit science upon their death, Dudek said. A much smaller proportion are the bodies of people whose families could not afford their burial and so agree to allow the state to release them for research.

The shipment to O'Hare was properly preserved, wrapped and labeled "human specimens," said Mary Paleologos, a spokeswoman for the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office, which took hold of the shipment on Monday for storage in its morgue cooler while authorities continued to investigate the paperwork.

With little information initially, news of the shipment's discovery fueled headlines and raised questions about where the shipment came from, where it was headed and why.

In the end, it turned out the shipment of three containers, which arrived in mid-December, was held up because of a mix-up with the paperwork and there was nothing suspicious about it or its destination.

The heads were originally sent from Illinois to a medical research facility in Rome and were returned to the Chicago area for disposal as part of the agreement for the order, Paleologos said.

On Tuesday, a cremation service arrived at the Medical Examiner's Office with paperwork for the specimens. Once federal authorities confirm the paperwork, the specimens will be turned over to the cremation service, she said.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection could not discuss the specific case because of privacy laws, but it said shipments of human remains into the U.S. "are not without precedent," are lawful with the right documentation and fall within the agency's "low-risk" category.

Dudek said such shipments require thorough documentation, in part because the scarcity of bodies donated to science means there is a black market for them.

"It does go on," he said of the illegal trade.

Besides medical schools, many corporations making medical instruments and appliances use cadavers for their training and research programs.

"We receive about 600 whole-body donations a year. I could easily place 750, 800," he said, explaining the short supply.

Some shipments go by air, but others end up in delivery trucks just like any other package.

"In fact, we sent out a shipment of brains to the University of Texas at Austin last week via UPS," Dudek said.
Jan 15 - 20 years on, Katie Beers says kidnapping saved her

Being chained as a 10-year-old for more than two weeks in a coffin-size box in a suburban New York dungeon was, Katie Beers says 20 years later, "the best thing that happened to me" because it allowed her to escape a life of abuse.

On the 20th anniversary of her ordeal, Beers has co-written a book with a television reporter who covered her kidnapping. "Buried Memories: Katie Beers' Story" (Title Town Publishing) has a happy ending.
Beers is now a 30-year-old married mother of two who earned a degree in business management and works in insurance sales near her home in rural Pennsylvania.

Her kidnapping attracted nationwide attention in early 1993, when revelations surfaced while she was still missing that she had suffered years of neglect from her mother and had been repeatedly sexually assaulted by her godmother's husband since she was a toddler.

Beers was described in Dickensian terms back then — a louse-infested, filthy waif who had no friends and often was forced to lug the family's laundry down the block or fetch cigarettes and junk food for her elders.
After kidnapper John Esposito, a family acquaintance, admitted to detectives on Jan. 13, 1993, that he had kidnapped Beers and showed them the dungeon where she was hidden for 17 days under his Bay Shore, N.Y., home, the little girl was placed in foster care and raised in a comfortable East Hampton home with four siblings.

Her foster parents not only imposed newfound discipline into her life, making her go to school regularly and do small chores around the house, but they also shielded Beers from intense media interest. And reporters largely complied with a parent-like plea from a prosecutor to leave her alone.

"We as a society must protect this child, or our professed love for own children is just a fraud, and our so-called compassion for each other is just a mockery," said James Catterson, at the time the Suffolk County district attorney.
So Beers had barely been seen or heard from since until this week in a media blitz to promote the book. She appeared Monday on the "Dr. Phil" show and is the focus of a People magazine feature this week.
The abduction and subsequent rescue saved her life, Beers said in an interview with The Associated Press.

"The best thing that happened to me," she said. "I would have never gotten out of the abuse situation I was in."
She went on to play volleyball at East Hampton High, participated in drama productions and went to college in Pennsylvania, where she earned a degree and met the man who would become her husband and the father of their two children.

"There's no point really in me right now being sad or wondering what if," she told the AP.

"I try not to be sad about what happened, because ultimately it made me who I am today, and I'm very satisfied and happy with my life," she said.
Beers agreed about four years ago to co-write the book with WCBS-TV reporter Carolyn Gusoff, although she had thought about writing a book for many years.

"I want to be able to help people who might not know where to turn," she explained. "To see that there is a road to recovery."
She has declined to disclose her exact hometown, married surname or college alma mater, citing privacy concerns for her family.
In the book, Beers writes that she had been molested and raped by Sal Inghilleri — her godmother's husband — from the time she was a toddler. Inghilleri, who served 12 years in prison for molesting Beers, died in jail in 2009 following his arrest on a parole violation.

Beers also writes that Esposito raped her in the dungeon, explaining that she repressed her memory of the sexual assault for many years as a defense mechanism.

Esposito, who pleaded guilty to kidnapping, was never charged with rape. He is serving 15 years to life and has been denied parole several times; his next parole hearing is later this year. At a 2007 parole hearing, Esposito described himself as asexual and said while he kissed the child, he never engaged in sexual relations.
He told Gusoff in a letter published in the book that he believes he deserves to be released.

"I think Katie knows I will always wish her well," Esposito writes. "I'm sorry for what I've done. I'm sorry I even thought it up. It was a mistake."
During her time in the dungeon, Beers writes, she rarely slept, fearing abuse from Esposito. She said she was afraid Esposito might molest her while she slept, but also was concerned that he would photograph her sleeping and send the image to police. She feared if police thought she was dead, they might end their search for her.

She "celebrated" her 10th birthday while a prisoner of Esposito's and was heard on an audiotape found in the dungeon after her release singing "Happy Birthday" to herself, although she says today she has no recollection of that.

Esposito, she writes, fed her primarily junk food and soda; to this day she is repulsed by chocolate after-dinner mints because they were a staple in captivity. She did have access to a small television, but says she can no longer listen to Whitney Houston's version of "I Will Always Love You" because it played incessantly on MTV and VH1 while she in the dungeon.
She didn't realize it until many years later, but says now that she frequently watched Gusoff — then a reporter for Long Island's News12 cable station — filing reports on the police search for her while she was missing.
"It was like I had known her for 16 years" when they met in 2008 to begin work on the book, she said.

Gusoff notes that as abhorrent as Beers' sexual abuse and neglect was at the hands of her elders before the kidnapping, it may have steeled her into a survival mode.
Dominick Varrone, the Suffolk County detective who led the investigation, agreed, telling Gusoff in the book that "because of her upbringing, the sexual experiences, the abuse, and street smarts and toughness, she was much more advanced than the normal 9-year-old, and we believe that contributed to her survival."

Marilyn Beers, who is described in the book as a hard-working but largely absentee mother who ceded responsibility for raising Katie and her older brother to Inghilleri's wife and others, did not return a telephone message seeking comment about the book.

"I hope that more does come out of the book," Katie Beers said. "I would love to be able to help other kids or adults or to be an inspirational or motivational speaker, something like that. But if I go back to my life in rural Pennsylvania and go back to my insurance sales job I would love that, too.
"I'm very happy with where I'm at."
Jan 15 - Justice Clarence Thomas breaks seven-year silence in court

Justice Clarence Thomas said four words in oral arguments on Monday, breaking his silence on the bench for the first time in nearly seven years.
The justice's remark came during a jocular exchange over whether a defense attorney in a death-penalty case was qualified for the job because of her Ivy League degree.

Based on the transcript, it appears Thomas' four-word retort made his colleagues laugh, but no one's really sure what he said:

JUSTICE SCALIA: She was a graduate of Yale law school, wasn't she?
Louisiana lawyer Carla SIGLER: She's a very impressive attorney.
JUSTICE SCALIA: And another of his counsel, Mr. Singer—of the three that he had—he was a graduate of Harvard law school, wasn't he?
MS. SIGLER: Yes, Your Honor.
JUSTICE SCALIA: Son of a gun.
JUSTICE THOMAS: Well—he did not -­

MS. SIGLER: I would refute that, Justice Thomas.

Some who were in the courtroom said Thomas made fun of his alma mater, Yale, in his comment, which wasn't fully recorded in the transcript by the court reporter. Billy Freeland, a law student who attended the oral argument, wrote that he thought Thomas said, "That's not effective counsel," joking that going to Yale would not qualify an attorney. But John Derosier, a Louisiana district attorney who works with Carla Sigler on the case, told Yahoo News that she is not sure what Thomas' exact words were.
"As soon as he started saying anything people started laughing and then it messed it up," Derosier said.

The full audio of the exchange will be released on Monday.
Thomas has had a strained relationship with Yale, refusing his permission to let the school hang his portrait in its halls and writing that it was a mistake for him to attend the school. He wrote in his memoir that the school's use of affirmative action in admissions meant that employers assumed he was not as qualified as his white peers when he graduated. He's said he keeps the diploma in his basement instead of hanging in his office.

The last time Thomas spoke was also in a death-penalty case, when he asked a defense attorney in 2006 about whether racial stereotypes affected the case. The New York Times wrote in 2011 that Thomas has said he is self-conscious about his Georgia accent and has also complained that it's tough to get a word in edgewise during oral arguments because of his eight chatty colleagues. Before 2006, he asked questions at oral arguments around 10 times a year, still a far lower rate than his colleagues, before lapsing into total silence after that last death-penalty case question.
Jan 14 - How the Golden Gate Got Its Name

If you believe that San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge is named after the straits of the waterway known as the Golden Gate, you would be correct. But have you ever wondered how the Golden Gate got its name? Actually, it has nothing to do with the fact that California is known as the Golden State. Nor has it any connection to the 1849 Gold Rush. It's not about the color of the bridge, either; that color is called international orange. The Golden Gate is named after the Greek word for a harbor in Istanbul, Turkey.

Golden Gate Strait
Written reports of the strait were not made until Spanish naval explorers got through successfully in the summer of 1775, nearly two centuries after Sir Francis Drake had come looking about the area on behalf of Queen Elizabeth I. Could fog have obscured the passage from his view? The mile-wide entrance to the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean is known to be a treacherous and deep one, with powerful tidal currents running up to 7.5 knots, about 8.5 miles per hour. Dense fog and rocky reefs have contributed to the 100-odd shipwrecks thought to rest beneath this 3-mile stretch.

The Spanish Connection
Lt. Juan Manuel de Ayala y Aranza was the Andalusian naval officer assigned to explore northern California by vessel, the royal military officials hoping that he would hook up with Juan Bautista de Anza, who was leading the land expedition. Although they missed one another, Ayala lucked out on weather and made it to Angel Island, now named for him. Resting there, he named the island now known as Yerba Buena Island "Isla de Alcatraces" for the abundant brown pelicans resting on it, a name later transferred to Alcatraz Island. The strait itself was simply called "Boca del Puerto de San Francisco," the mouth of the port of San Francisco, until 1846.

Enter John Charles Fremont
Born out of wedlock in Savannah, Georgia, in 1813, John Charles Fremont headed out west as a soldier and explorer, writing and mapping throughout his expeditions of the Missouri River, Lake Tahoe, the Sierra Nevadas, and the Oregon Trail, eventually reaching California. What followed was a flamboyant career of political and personal ups and downs, including service as military governor of California, United States senator, Civil War general, and unsuccessful presidential candidate, but also involving an arrest for mutiny, a trial, and a guilty verdict.

Golden Horn
The naming of the Golden Gate Strait was referenced by Fremont in his 1848 memoirs submitted to the U.S. Senate, writing, "To this Gate I gave the name of 'Chrysopylae' or 'Golden Gate' for the same reasons that the harbor of Byzantium was called Chrysoceras, or Golden Horn." In 1846, prior to the discovery of gold in California, Fremont envisioned rich commercial opportunities at the passageway of the Golden Gate, just as Constantinople's Golden Horn had served for centuries as a gateway to and from the Orient.

Historical Marker
A California Historical Marker No. 181 at Fremont Peak in San Juan Bautista commemorates the spot of an 1846 standoff with the Mexicans. The inscription reads in part, "Besides his military activities in California, Fremont is remembered for giving San Francisco's 'Golden Gate' its name..."
And so, for trivia and pub quizzes: The Golden Gate is named for the Golden Horn adjoining the narrow that connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara at Istanbul. This is the unlikely but true story of how the Golden Gate got its Greek-derived name from an American explorer from Georgia buried in New York.
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Jan 14 - Milky Way Galaxy May Be Less Massive Than Thought

The Milky Way galaxy, home of Earth's solar system, may actually be only half as massive as currently thought, scientists say.
Stars in the far outer reaches of the Milky Way, between 260,000 and 490,000 light-years from the galactic center, are cruising around surprisingly slowly, researchers found. Galactic mass and star velocities are linked, so the results could have big implications.

"Because these velocities are so low, the mass of our galaxy may be much lower than we once thought," lead author Alis Deason, of the University of California, Santa Cruz, told reporters Wednesday (Jan. 9) at the 221st meeting of the American Astronomical Socity in Long Beach, Calif.

"If we infer the properties of the stars that we think are reasonable, then we find the mass of the Milky Way could be half as massive as we currently believe," added Deason, who performed the research while at the University of Cambridge in England. [Stunning Photos of Our Milky Way Galaxy]
The Milky Way is composed of three main parts: a central bulge, a relatively flat disk and a roughly spherical surrounding halo.

Deason and her team looked far out into the Milky Way's halo, which extends far beyond the 100,000-light-year-wide disk. They measured the radial velocities of a sample of distant halo stars using two different instruments: the European Southern Observatory's 8.2-meter telescope in Chile and the 4.2-meter William Herschel Observatory in Spain.
They found that the dispersion, or spread, of halo-star velocities was about half that seen for stars closer to the galactic center.

"This was quite a surprise when we found this," Deason said.
Using this information, the team calculated that the total mass of the Milky Way out to such extreme distances may be between 500 billion and 1 trillion times that of our sun — substantially lower than the current leading estimate, Deason said.

But the new study is not necessarily the final word on the Milky Way's mass, which is not well understood.

"The problem is, we are really in unknown territory," Deason said. "We are assuming properties of these stars that are the same in the inner parts of the galaxy. And this is something that really needs to be verified, what we're assuming, in terms of their density profile and also what their orbits are like."

Future work along these lines could help astronomers map the distribution of mass throughout the Milky Way, Deason said, potentially shedding light on the mysterious dark matter that is thought to make up more than 80 percent of all matter in the universe.
"I think we will be able to use measurements like this to not only say what the total mass is, but also if the dark matter distribution is what we expect," she said. "At the moment, we just don't know."
Jan 11 - Locals say shifting sea ice frees trapped whales

About a dozen killer whales trapped under sea ice appeared to be free after the ice shifted, village officials in Canada's remote north said Thursday, while residents who feared they would get stuck elsewhere hired a plane to track them down.

The whales' predicament in the frigid waters of Hudson Bay made international headlines, and locals had been planning a rescue operation with chainsaws and drills before the mammals slipped away.

Tommy Palliser said two hunters from remote Inukjuak village reported that the waters had opened up around the area where the cornered whales had been bobbing frantically for air around a single, truck-sized hole in the ice. Officials said shifting winds might have pushed the ice away.

"It's certainly good news — that's good news for the whales," said Palliser, a business adviser with the regional government.

But fears remained that the whales might have been trapped elsewhere by the ever-moving ice. Some villagers were skeptical the killer whales had escaped harm, so the community hired an airplane to scan the region Thursday for signs of the pod.

Mark O'Connor of the regional marine wildlife board said the aerial search did not locate the orcas, but he noted that large swaths of ice-free water were seen in the area.

"So as far as I could tell, the emergency, for sure, is averted," said O'Connor, the board's director of wildlife management.

"Whether the whales have found a passage all the way to the Hudson Strait, we probably will never know."

Locals said the whales had been trapped for at least two days. A recent, sudden drop in temperature may have caught the whales off guard, leaving them trapped The cornered animals were first seen Tuesday and appeared to have less energy by late Wednesday, Palliser said.

Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans said government icebreakers were too far from the area to smash the ice to free the whales, Inukjuak Mayor Peter Inukpuk said Wednesday.

After that, Palliser said, locals had agreed to try to enlarge the breathing hole in the ice and cut a second opening using chainsaws and drills.

"We certainly had our prayers with them last night during our meeting," he said.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans issued a statement Thursday saying two scientists were en route to gather information and will monitor the situation. Ice-trapped marine mammals are not unusual in the region.

Pete Ewins, an expert in Arctic wildlife at the World Wildlife Fund Canada, said the orca were still 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) from where they should be at this time of year.

"They got stuck (in Hudson Bay) and they're unlikely to get out," said Ewins, adding that killer whales are not accustomed to ice.

"These guys are on the edge and they might not make it through."
good for the whales!
Jan 11 - Indiana boy abducted in '94 found in Minnesota

Authorities have identified a 24-year-old man recently discovered living in Minnesota under an assumed name nearly two decades after his grandparents abducted him from Indiana.

The Todd County Sheriff's Office says Richard Wayne Landers Jr. now lives in the small northern Minnesota town of Long Prairie under the name Michael Jeff Landers.

Indiana State Police announced Thursday that Landers had been found, but didn't give his new name. They said Landers' paternal grandparents took him because they were upset over custody arrangements.

Minnesota officials say the grandparents, Raymond Michael Iddings and Susan Kay Iddings, verified Landers' identity.

Charges against the grandparents were dismissed in 2008 because the case had gone cold. The Minnesota sheriff said the case will eventually be forwarded to the U.S. attorney general for possible charges.
Jan 10 - Brown-Eyed Guys Seem More Trustworthy, Study Suggests

Good news for all the brown-eyed guys out there: Men with chocolate-colored irises are judged as more trustworthy than blue-eyed dudes.
But the results are somewhat complicated by the fact that it's not eye color itself that's judged as trustworthy, but baby-faced features that seem linked to having brown eyes. The findings also come from a study of Czech participants, so the judgments could vary across cultures.
"Eye color is something superficial, and nobody would expect there is a deeper association with the structure of the bones," said study researcher Karel Kleisner of Charles University in Prague.

"We were a little bit surprised," Kleisner told LiveScience.
Windows to the soul?
Kleisner became interested in what social signals eye color might convey, because blue eyes are relatively new on an evolutionary timescale. Before about 6,000 to 10,000 years ago, humans didn't have blue eyes, scientists have found. 

So why might the mutation that caused blue eyes have spread so far, Kleisner wondered? There could be an evolutionary reason for the variability in eye color, he said, but it doesn't seem to have to do with how well different colored eyes work. Perhaps instead, Kleisner said, eyes convey something about their owners.

"Eyes are not only for seeing, but also to be seen," he said.
To test the hypothesis, Kleisner and his colleagues photographed 40 male and 40 female students from the Czech Republic, all with either blue or brown eyes. They then asked another group of Czech students (142 female and 98 male) to rate the photographs for trustworthiness, attractiveness or dominance on a scale of one to 10.

The results revealed that brown-eyed faces were seen as more trustworthy than blue-eyed ones, particularly for male faces. Female faces showed the same trend, but the results did not reach statistical significance, leaving open the possibility that they were the result of chance.
The catch, however, arose in a second study. This time, researchers took the same faces and used a photo-editing program to swap the eye color of each person. Now the brown-eyed guys and girls sported blue eyes and the blue-eyed folks had brown eyes. Another 106 students judged those photos for trustworthiness.

The same faces as in the first experiment were seen as the most trustworthy, even though they now had blue eyes. That means that it's not the eye color itself, but something about the face shape that engenders trust, Kleisner said. [7 Personality Traits That Are Bad For You]
An analysis of the faces revealed that the brown-eyed men had bigger mouths, broader chins, bigger noses and more prominent eyebrows than the blue-eyed men. In other words, their mugs looked more baby-faced and cheerful, perhaps a look that makes people feel trusting, Kleisner said.
Evolution of eye color

Explaining why this might be — and why eyes appear linked to face shape — is more speculative. One possibility, Kleisner said, is that when blue eyes first appeared on the scene 10,000 years or so ago, their novelty made them sexy. If men were pursuing blue-eyed babes with more ardor than brown-eyed girls, they may have cared less about other facial features, such as ones indicating trustworthiness. This, in effect, would have made it easier for less trustworthy-looking facial genes to get passed on in blue-eyed men and women.

Male faces in the study were more variable in shape than the female faces, Kleisner said, which could explain why the trustworthiness differences were noticeable only in men. There simply may not have been enough variety in the women's faces to tell for sure whether their shapes influenced trustworthiness.

Kleisner expects that face shapes seen as trustworthy would likely be similar across cultures, but eye color might be more susceptible to cultural stereotype, which could influence similar experiments done outside of the Czech Republic. In Turkish folklore, for example, he said, blue eyes are said to be more susceptible to the Evil Eye, with the potential for cursing others. More work across borders is needed to pin down the effects of eye color, he said.
Jan 10 - Rescued Boy Huddled With His Dogs for Warmth

A frantic search for a missing six-year-old boy in Seneca, Mo. ended in relief when deputies discovered the boy huddled under a bush with his two dogs for warmth.

As temperatures plunged into the low 20s, Ryle Smith was discovered about a mile from the family house with Baxter, a large Boxer, and Bella, a Labrador mix lying on top of the boy keeping him warm.

"He was wearing no socks or shoes," Ryle's mother Holly told ABC News. "His feet were so cold that it was the early stages of frostbite, he hadn't eaten dinner, he was exhausted and hungry."

Ms. Smith said that according to paramedics, the dogs were lying on top of the boy; they could tell because his upper extremities were warm.
Ryle disappeared at about 4:30 Tuesday afternoon, following his puppy Bella away from the family property while playing outside. His parents called 911. Between 150 and 200 people responded to the alert to assist with the search.

"Complete strangers drove from surrounding cities and showed up at our doorstop," said Holly Smith. "It was incredible. Most people have told me they have never seen a response like that."

"We were real concerned about the weather," Newtown County Sheriff Ken Copeland told ABC News. "It was calling for sleet and snow later that night so we were really concerned."

Copeland said responders from the Newtown County Sheriff's Office as well as the Joplin, Seneca and Redings Mill fire departments, and the Newtown County Rescue and Recovery team, joined in the search, in addition to concerned local citizens.

"Here in Joplin we went through the terrible tornado," said Copeland. "To see all these agencies and the community come together… it went really well."
Jan 9 - Matisse painting stolen in 1987 recovered in UK

A Henri Matisse painting stolen in 1987 from a Swedish museum by a thief wielding a sledgehammer has been recovered, an art specialist and a dealer said Tuesday.

The Art Loss Register, which tracks stolen, missing and looted art, says "Le Jardin" was found when a British dealer checked the picture against the group's database before selling it.

Dealer Charles Roberts, who runs Charles Fine Art in southern England, said he was shocked to discover the painting was stolen.

"It's not something that happens every day," Roberts said. "I'm glad I found out now rather than later."

Roberts said the current Polish owner, whom he did not name, had bought the Impressionist artwork in good faith 20 years ago.

Christopher Marinello, a lawyer working with the London-based Art Loss Register, said the 1920 painting, valued at about $1 million, would be returned to Stockholm's Moderna Museet. It was snatched from the gallery during a nighttime raid in May 1987.

The museum's director, Daniel Birnbaum, said it was "extremely gratifying that the painting has surfaced after so long."

"We are reassured that the painting appears to be in good condition and look forward to having someone from the museum staff look at it," he said.

Birnbaum said he was in contact with the Swedish Culture Ministry about the formal return of the painting.

Marinello said it was up to Swedish police to decide whether to try to track down the thieves.
Jan 9 - Food Expiration Dates: Obey or Ignore?

The other day I was doing my daily comb through my Facebook newsfeed when my friend shared the above snapshot from her mid-winter cleaning session. It's a box of Betty Crocker angel food cake mix, with an expiration date of May 31, 1991.

The cake mix expired 22 years ago. Twenty-two years. That's three years before Justin Beiber was even born. As shocked as I was at the ancient date on the box, I knew there was no way I could throw stones given the current condiment situtation in my refrigerator. I have almost weekly discussions with myself in which I justify the "freshness" of that old bottle of Dijon or jar of sweet pickles, both of which are etched with dates signaling their contents are days, months, or (gulp) years past their prime. "Ketchup can't expire," I state in defiance.

I know I'm not alone in my blatant disregard of certain foods taking shelter in my fridge and pantry well beyond their recommended stay. And as it turns out, I may not be entirely in the wrong. According to a recent segment on NPR, we may have fewer reasons to fear the expiration dates on some foods. "Some" being the key word there. Of course there's no arguing over whether to obey or ignore expiration dates when it comes to foods such as meat, fish, cheese, and produce, just to name a few.

But according to John Ruff, president of the Institute of Food Technologists in Chicago, food freshness is mostly a question of smell. Expiration dates are posted on food items as suggested "sell by" dates intended to protect the reputation of the good. There is no federal law that requires companies to date their food--the one exception being infant formula--but a majority of companies do timestamp their products as a way to suggest the latest point at which the food can be enjoyed at its highest quality.
Jan 8 - Strange But True: Astronauts Get Taller in Space

Astronauts in space can grow up to 3 percent taller during the time spent living in microgravity, NASA scientists say. That means that a 6-foot-tall (1.8 meters) person could gain as many as 2 inches (5 centimeters) while in orbit.

While scientists have known for some time that astronauts experience a slight height boost during a months-long stay on the International Space Station, NASA is only now starting to use ultrasound technology to see exactly what happens to astronauts' spines in microgravity as it occurs.

"Today there is a new ultrasound device on the station that allows more precise musculoskeletal imaging required for assessment of the complex anatomy and the spine," the study's principal investigator Scott Dulchavsky said in a statement. "The crew will be able to perform these complex evaluations in the next year due to a newly developed Just-In-Time training guide for spinal ultrasound, combined with refinements in crew training and remote guidance procedures."

A better understanding of the spine’s elongation in microgravity could help physicians develop more effective rehabilitation techniques to aid astronauts in their return to Earth’s gravity following space station missions. [Quiz: The Reality of Life in Space]

Past studies have shown that when the spine is not exposed to the pull of Earth's gravity, the vertebra can expand and relax, allowing astronauts to actually grow taller. That small gain is short lived, however. Once the astronauts return to Earth, their height returns to normal after a few months. But still, scientists haven't been able to examine the astronaut's spinal columns when experiencing the effects of microgravity until now.

This month, astronauts will begin using the ultrasound device to scan each other's backs to see exactly what their spines look like after 30, 90 and 150 days in microgravity. Researchers will see the medical results in real time as the astronaut take turns scanning their spines of their crewmates.

Astronauts typically visit the space station in six-month increments, allowing for long-term studies of how the human body changes over time in microgravity.

"Ultrasound also allows us to evaluate physiology in motion, such as the movement of muscles, blood in vessels, and function in other systems in the body," Dulchavsky said. "Physiological parameters derived from ultrasound and Doppler give instantaneous observations about the body non-invasively without radiation."

Astronauts typically visit the space station in six-month increments, allowing for long-term studies of how the human body changes over time in microgravity.
Jan 8 - Weird! This Odd, Ancient Bird Had Sharp Teeth

The fossil skeleton of a bird with strange teeth that lived 125 million years ago has been discovered in China. The bird had bizarre ridges on its teeth that may have enabled it to crack open hard-shelled insects and snails, the researchers said.

The unusual fossil, described in the January issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, was so well preserved that some of its stomach contents were still present. The new find sheds light on the range of foods Earth's earliest birds ate during the dinosaur era.

"The teeth are weird and there are some stomach contents, which is unusual," said paleontologist Gareth Dyke, of the University of South Hampton in the U.K., who was not involved in the study. "It's more evidence for the uniqueness and range of ecological specialization that are seen in these particular Mesozoic birds."

Teeming with life

The new species' specimen was unearthed in the Liaoning province in China, where many fossils from the Cretaceous Period (the period from 145 million to 65 million years ago that was the end of the Mesozoic Era) have been found over the last 15 years, said study author Luis Chiappe, director of the Dinosaur Institute at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. The primeval forest was teeming with ancient life, from pterodactyls and dinosaurs such as the microraptor to primitive lizards and various trees. The skies were also filled with birds, he said.

"This was clearly a hotspot of ancient bird biodiversity," Chiappe told LiveScience.

Toothy bird

The newly discovered bird, a robin-size creature called Sulcavis geeorum, lived between 121 million and 125 million years ago. Sulcavis geeorum belonged to a class of extinct toothed birds called Enantiornithines, which were the most numerous birds during the age of dinosaurs. The diminutive creature looked somewhat similar to modern-day songbirds, with a key difference: the bird had some very strange teeth. [Album: 25 Amazing Ancient Beasts]

The teeth of this tiny flier had sharp, pointy crowns. In addition, the fossil found by Chiappe's team had preserved tooth enamel that formed serrated ridges. Those serrated ridges probably enabled the birds to crack open the hard exoskeletons of insects, crabs or snails, Chiappe said.

The strange teeth may shed light on a prehistoric mystery of sorts: No one knows exactly why early birds had teeth. It's also unclear why they have lost their teeth at least four times since they first emerged in the fossil record. In fact, modern-day birds still have genes for teeth, but the genes are turned off, Chiappe said.

"The traditional view is that teeth are heavy, and the birds evolved beaks as a way of making their bodies lighter. These teeth are pretty small and it's hard to imagine that they had such a huge impact on the weight of the animal," he said.
Jan 7 - Congress members seek investigation of Shell barge

Members of Congress are calling for an investigation of Royal Dutch Shell PLC's Arctic offshore drilling operations as salvagers develop plans to move a company drill ship off rocks near an Alaska island, where it ran aground in a fierce year end storm.
Shell incident commander Sean Churchfield said Thursday that the first salvage crew on board the Kulluk, a 266-foot diameter barge with a 160-foot derrick, reported back with details that will be used to begin planning. He would not speculate on when a salvage report might be ready.
"There is still a lot of work to do to bring a safe conclusion to this incident," he said.
The vessel is upright and stable, with no indication of a fuel leak, Churchfield said.
The House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition, meanwhile, said in a statement that the New Year's Eve grounding should trigger a look at Shell's entire Arctic Ocean drilling operation by the Interior Department and the Coast Guard.
The coalition is made up of 45 House Democrats.
"The recent grounding of Shell's Kulluk oil rig amplifies the risks of drilling in the Arctic," they said in a joint statement. "This is the latest in a series of alarming blunders, including the near-grounding of another of Shell's Arctic drilling rigs, the 47-year-old Noble Discoverer, in Dutch Harbor and the failure of its blowout containment dome, the Arctic Challenger, in lake-like conditions."
The coalition believes these "serious incidents" warrant thorough investigation, the statement said.
Shell Alaska spokesman Curtis Smith said in an email that the company is in full support of, and is providing resources for, the investigation of the grounding by the Unified Incident Command, made up of federal, state and company representatives. Smith said the findings will be available to the public.
The Kulluk is a non-propelled vessel with a reinforced funnel-shaped hull designed to operate in ice. It is carrying more than 140,000 gallons of diesel and about 12,000 gallons of lube oil and hydraulic fluid. It drilled during the short open-water season last year in the Beaufort Sea.
A 360-foot anchor handler, the Aiviq, was towing the Kulluk from Dutch Harbor to Seattle last week for maintenance and upgrades when the tow line snapped south of Kodiak. Lines were reattached at least four times but could not be maintained. A lone tugboat still attached Monday night in a vicious storm couldn't control the vessel and cut it loose as it neared land.
After the grounding, critics quickly asserted it has foreshadowed what will happen north of the Bering Strait if drilling is allowed.
Environmentalists for years have said conditions are too harsh and the stakes too high to allow industrial development in the Arctic, where drilling sites are 1,000 miles or more from the closest Coast Guard base.
Two national organizations kept up the criticism Thursday by calling for a halt to all permitting for Arctic offshore drilling in the wake of the grounding.
"This string of mishaps by Shell makes it crystal clear that we are not ready to drill in the Arctic," said Chuck Clusen of the Natural Resources Defense Council. "Shell is not Arctic-ready. We have lost all faith in Shell, and they certainly don't have any credibility left."
Lois Epstein, a civil engineer who works for The Wilderness Society in Anchorage, said Shell has made troubling, non-precautionary decisions that put workers and the Coast Guard at risk.
"These ongoing technical and decision-making problems and their enormous associated costs and risks taken by our military personnel once there were problems should lead the federal government to reassess its previous permitting decisions regarding Shell," Epstein said.
Shell has maintained it has taken a heads-up approach to anticipating and reacting to problems.
Shell officials say the Kulluk had been towed more than 4,000 miles and has experienced similar storm conditions. Shell staged additional towing vessels along the route in case problems occurred, said Smith, the Shell spokesman.
"We know how to work in regions like this," Smith said. "Having said that, when flawless execution does not happen, you learn from it, and we will."
Jan 7 - Martian rock from Sahara desert unlike others

Scientists are abuzz about a coal-colored rock from Mars that landed in the Sahara desert: A yearlong analysis revealed it's quite different from other Martian meteorites.
Not only is it older than most, it also contains more water, tests showed. The baseball-size meteorite, estimated to be 2 billion years old, is strikingly similar to the volcanic rocks examined on the Martian surface by the NASA rovers Spirit and Opportunity, which found water-bearing minerals.
"Here we have a piece of Mars that I can hold in my hands. That's really exciting," said Carl Agee, director of the Institute of Meteoritics and curator at the University of New Mexico who led the study published online Thursday in the journal Science.
Most space rocks that fall to Earth as meteorites come from the asteroid belt, but a number can be traced to the moon and Mars.
Scientists believe an asteroid or some other large object struck Mars, dislodging rocks and sending them into space. Occasionally, some plummet through Earth's atmosphere.
Short of sending a spacecraft or astronaut to the red planet to haul back rocks, Martian meteorites are the next best thing for scientists seeking to better understand how Earth's neighbor transformed from a tropical environment to a frigid desert.
About 65 Martian rocks have been recovered on Earth, mostly in Antarctica or the Sahara. The oldest dates back 4.5 billion years to a time when Mars was warmer and wetter. About half a dozen Martian meteorites are 1.3 billion years old and the rest are 600 million years or younger.
The latest meteorite NWA 7034 — nicknamed "Black Beauty"— was donated to the University of New Mexico by an American who bought it from a Moroccan meteorite dealer last year.
Researchers performed a battery of tests on the meteorite and based on its chemical signature confirmed that it was blasted to Earth from Mars. At 2.1 billion years old, it's the second-oldest known Martian meteorite that formed from a volcanic eruption.
There's also evidence that it was altered by water. Though the amount released during heating was small — 6,000 parts per million — it was still much more than other Martian meteorites. Scientists said this suggested there was interaction with water near the surface during a time when the planet was mostly dry and dusty.
More tests are under way to determine how long the rock floated in space and how long it had been sitting in the Sahara.
University of Alberta meteorite expert Chris Herd said the find was welcome since most Martian rocks that rain on Earth tend to be younger. And the latest find does not appear to be too contaminated, he said.
"It's fairly fresh. It hasn't been subjected to a whole lot of weathering," said Herd, who had no role in the research.
Jan 4 - "Perfect Woman" Weighed 171 Pounds

Who can be called "the perfect woman"? It's an endlessly debated and loathed topic today, but the world seems to have had its answer a century ago: Elsie Scheel, a 24-year-old Cornell University student who was deemed to have the ideal body size.

More on Shine: Is New Obesity Scale Better than BMI?

The clincher? Scheel was 5-foot-7-inches and weighed 171 pounds, and would have surely been advised to lose some weight today.

Scheel's story ran in the New York Times this week, a follow-up to the newspaper's original 1912 article headlined "Elsie Rebecca Scheel the 'Perfect' Woman," which recounted how the "medical examiner of the 400 'co-eds' " at Cornell described her as the epitome of "perfect health." She received worldwide media attention, and wound up inspiring comparisons—not all so positive—to the Venus de Milo because of her curves.

The Times referred back to Scheel in its January 2 story about a new study that claims having a slightly overweight Body Mass Index might actually lead to a longer life; it then ran a longer "whatever happened to…?" piece, discovering that Scheel lived a long and healthy life before dying of a perforated bowel, at just shy of 91, in 1979.

That gave some heft to the new study, since Scheel's body size would have given her a BMI of almost 27—firmly in the "overweight" category, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A "normal weight range" for a person that size, according to the site's adult BMI calculator "would be from 118 to 159 pounds." People who are overweight, it goes on to warn, "have a higher risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and other chronic conditions."

But Scheel, by all accounts, was hale and hearty. And her lifestyle doesn't seem to have strayed much, if at all, from those called healthy today. According to the Times report, she ate lightly (three meals only every two days), enjoyed a good steak, and avoided candy and caffeine. She was never sick, according to her granddaughter, Karen Hirsh Meredith, of Broken Arrow, Okla.

"She never took an aspirin or a Tylenol," Meredith told the New York Times, adding that her grandmother drove until very late in life.

More on Yahoo!: More Evidence for "Obesity Paradox"

She was active and athletic, playing basketball at Cornell ("I play guard, where my weight helps," she said), and told the New York Times that "the average girl does too much of the wrong sort of thing—too many dances and not enough good bracing tramps." She married architect Frederick Rudolph Hirsh, who supervised the building of the New York Public Library, and was also a nurse and suffragette.

Still, Scheel's "perfect" status could not protect her from the flurry of media attention, in 1912 and 1913, with articles stating she was "too large" and "all out of proportion" (The New York Herald) and "looked as if she weighed 195 pounds" (The Duluth News-Tribune), and pointing out that Scheel was actually larger than the Venus de Milo.

Today, little has changed when it comes to messages about the ideal size of women.

Men's Health ran a piece in December, "The Anatomy of a Perfect Woman," with an illustrated formula including "narrow hips," "bigger breasts," and "longer legs." A 2011 New York Post article headlined "Here's the Perfect Woman" laid out the hottest looks according to a pair of L.A. plastic surgeons: Natalie Portman's nose, Scarlett Johansson's lips, Halle Berry's jaw line, Amy Adams's skin and Penelope Cruz's body. Just this week, the country of Israel instituted a law banning too-skinny models in an attempt to slow the growing cases of anorexia among young women.

Lucky for the BMI study that inspired the recollections of the "perfect woman" in the first place. Its lead author, Katherine Flegal of the CDC, told Shine! she couldn't really comment on Scheel's size in terms of healthiness, since she knew nothing about the woman. But, she said, "She seems to have had a long life." Amen to that.

Breakups can be painful. But on the bright side, they can lead to some creative revenge schemes. To wit: A spurned New Zealand woman sold the secret locations to her ex-boyfriend's favorite fishing spots, netting $3,000, which she then spent on herself.

The drama went down in January of 2012 but is just now getting wide pickup on the Web. New Zealand's Stuff magazine reports that the unnamed ex had entrusted Angela Potter with the locations to his secret fishing holes. But once the fella hightailed it for Australia without much notice, Potter auctioned the information on the Web. She expected just a few hits, but instead got nearly 90,000.

Potter insisted that she wasn't out to be cruel. Rather, her ex-boyfriend forced her hand when he took off with her luggage (ouch). "When he refused to return my suitcase, that's when I sold his coordinates," she said. "I didn't list them to be vindictive. I listed them as a bit of a laugh."

Laughs or not, Potter earned herself a nice chunk of change. She is now dating a new fisherman. However she hasn't shared her ex-boyfriend's fishing spots with the new fella. "I wouldn't do that," Potter said. "I'm fairly honorable in that respect."
Jan 3 - Never-Before-Seen Stage of Planet Birth Revealed

Astronomers studying a newborn star have caught a detailed glimpse of planets forming around it, revealing a never-before seen stage of planetary evolution.

Large gas giant planets appear to be clearing a gap in the disk of material surrounding the star, and using gravity to channel material across the gap to the interior, helping the star to grow. Theoretical simulations have predicted such bridges between outer and inner portions of disks surrounding stars, but none have been directly observed until now.

An international team of astronomers have used the partially completed Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to study a young star about 450 light-years from Earth. They identified two thin filaments of gas streaming from the outer disk to the inner, across a broad gap cut by young planets.

"Currently, the only mechanism known to produce such gap-crossing dense molecular flows, with residual carbon monoxide gas more diffusely spread out inside the gap, is planetary formation," lead scientist Simon Casassus of the University of Chile told SPACE.com in an email. [Video: Baby Planets Form Bridge Around Star]

Far from Earth, the fledgling star HD 142527 is nearing the end of its formation process. Around 2 million years old, the young star is about twice as massive as the sun, though it is still slowly growing. A disk of spinning dust and gas left over from its formation surrounds the star, and from this material, planets are being created.

As baby planets, or planetesimals, travel through the disk, they absorb the material around them, creating gaps. Such paths have been seen in a number of newborn systems. HD 142527 boasts a gap that starts at a point equivalent to Saturn's position in the solar system and extends outward 14 times as far. The gap, which scientists had previously measured, is so large that several planets would be required to clear it of debris.

Using ALMA to observe the system, Casassus and his team have found that the gap is not completely empty. Two filaments reach from the outer disk to the inner, indicating that at least two young planets exist within the space.

The gravity of the planets draws material from the outer ring inward. But while some of the gas and dust falls into orbit around the young gas giants, a fraction of it overshoots the planetesimals, traveling instead to the inner disk. Eventually, the star absorbs the material.

These bridges are important to the continued growth of the system's young sun. The inner disk around the star is too small to sustain its growth; Casassus and his team concluded that the disk around HD 142527 would be depleted within a year without a bridge. Planets funneling material from the outer disk to the inner would help nourish their star.

"Eventually, the proto-gaseous giants will exhaust the material within their radius of influence," Casassus said. "How much material will have infallen, in what timescales, and how this impacts the planet location and eventual migration are all open questions in the field of planet formation. Our observations are a step forward."

In addition to revealing the bridges between the two disks, ALMA's detailed measurements showed that the gaps weren't completely empty. Instead, they contain traces of carbon monoxide gas.

"This residual gas was predicted by all dynamical calculations, but previous detections were not as clear-cut and direct as the ALMA result," Casassus said.

The data was taken by ALMA during its first year of observation. The array of 66 telescopes, set up in Chile, is still under construction but should be completed this year, at which point Casassus plans to observe the system in greater detail.

Although the dense gas of the filaments would obstruct a direct view of the young planets, studying the system at the higher resolution of the completed ALMA could reveal knots along the filaments that could signify their location.

At the same time, a more precise examination of the leftover gas in the gaps could help astronomers to narrow down the mass of the developing planets.
Jan 3 - Child support claim rankles sperm donor to lesbian couple

A Kansas man who donated sperm to a lesbian couple so they could have a child said on Wednesday he is shocked the state is now trying to make him pay child support.

William Marotta, 46, donated sperm to Jennifer Schreiner and Angela Bauer under a written agreement that he would not be considered the father of the child nor liable for child support. A daughter, now 3, was born to Schreiner.

But in October, the state of Kansas filed a petition seeking to have Marotta declared the father of the child and financially responsible for her after the couple encountered money difficulties.

Marotta will ask the court in a hearing January 8 to dismiss the claim, which centers on a state law that the sperm must be donated through a licensed physician in order for the father to be free of any later financial obligations. Marotta gave a container of semen to the couple, who found him on Craigslist, instead of donating through a doctor or clinic.

The case is seen as having repercussions for other sperm donors. Sperm banks routinely provide sperm to people who want to conceive a child on the understanding that the donors are not responsible for the children.

Kansas is seeking child support from Marotta, including about $6,000 in medical expenses related to the child's birth, according to its petition.

"This was totally unexpected," Marotta said in a phone interview. "The very first thing that went through my mind was that no good deed goes unpunished."

The case has attracted national attention. Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said Wednesday "it is unfortunate and unfair" that Kansas is seeking money from a sperm donor.

"It certainly might have a negative effect on other men's willingness to help couples who need a donor, which would be harmful to everyone," Minter said.

"I also think it undermines everyone's respect for the law when you see it operate so arbitrarily."

Kansas officials are required under the law to determine the father of a child when someone seeks state benefits, said Angela de Rocha, spokeswoman for the Department for Children and Families. The couple was compelled to provide that information, which led to investigation of the sperm donation.

Marotta should be declared the father and subject to financial claims because he donated the sperm directly to the women and not through a physician, as required by Kansas law, the state's petition states.

Marotta said he's had virtually no contact with the child, but that he and Schreiner have remained cordial. He said she was pressured by the state to provide his name as the sperm donor.

"To me, ethics need to override rules," he said.

Lawyers for Marotta argue that he had no parental rights because of his agreement with the couple and cannot be held financially responsible.

They cite a 2007 case in which the Kansas Supreme Court ruled against a sperm donor seeking parental rights because he did not have any such agreement with the mother, lawyers for Marotta said.

"So now, we are flipping the argument around," Marotta attorney Ben Swinnen said Wednesday.

If the father had no legal parental rights in the 2007 case, Marotta should be declared to have no parental obligations in the current case, Swinnen said.

Marotta, a race car mechanic, responded to an ad on Craigslist from someone offering to pay $50 for sperm donations, but he made the donation for free. Marotta said he and his wife have no children of their own but have fostered a daughter. Marotta said he was simply trying to help a couple wanting a child.
Jan 2 - New York County denies request for names of gun permit holders

Authorities in a suburban county north of New York City said on Tuesday they will refuse to release names of local gun permit holders to a newspaper that has been publishing the identities of thousands of license-holding residents.

Putnam County Clerk Dennis Sant said he would defy a request for information about pistol permit holders from the White Plains, New York-based Journal News, which has come under criticism for publishing thousands of such identities already.

"There is the rule of law, and there is right and wrong and the Journal News is clearly wrong," Sant said in a statement. "I could not live with myself if one Putnam pistol permit holder was put in harm's way, for the sole purpose of selling newspapers."

The Journal News first published a map listing thousands of pistol permit-holders in Westchester and Rockland counties, just north of New York City, on December 24.

The newspaper's editors said they sought the information after the December 14 shooting deaths of 26 children and adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, which has sparked nationwide debate about gun control.

Angered, state gun-owner groups have called for an advertising boycott of the newspaper until it takes the map and identities off its website.

The newspaper, owned by the Gannett Co., sought the information under the state's Freedom of Information law. It says the identities are a matter of public record.

Putnam County officials had said they were compiling the names for the newspaper but on Tuesday said instead they would not deliver the information.

The county clerk said he has received hundreds of phone calls urging him not to give the information to the paper.

The county clerk, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell and other elected officials were slated to appear on Thursday at a news conference declaring their intentions. Also set to appear is state Sen. Greg Ball, a Patterson, New York, Republican who has said he will introduce legislation to keep permit information private except to prosecutors and police.

A similar bill that he introduced earlier as an assemblyman failed in the state Assembly.

The newspaper's editors were not available on Tuesday to comment on Putnam's announcement.

In the original article, the newspaper cited Robert Freeman, executive director of the state's Committee on Open Government, as saying he believed not only should the names and addresses be public, but also other information such as the types or numbers of guns someone owns.

Freeman told the newspaper that government records are presumed public unless their release is specifically barred by statute.

The newspaper's editor and publisher have said they expected the publication of the information to be controversial.

"But we felt sharing information about gun permits in our area was important in the aftermath of the Newtown shootings," said Janet Hasson, president and publisher of The Journal News Media Group.
Jan 2 - Pilot Catches Thief During Fly-By

Pilot David Zehntner was flying his personal plane from North Carolina to his Florida home when he decided to fly over his house and saw something unusual.

"He observed a silver truck with white camper in his driveway and lowered his altitude to get a closer look," the Charlotte County Sheriff's office said in a news release. "He saw a man looking into the windows of his home then attach his red trailer and pull out of his driveway."

Zehntner called the police and then began following the thief in his plane.

The runaway trailer was located by authorities who stopped the robber at a traffic stop. Gary Robert Haines, 59, of Stafford, Va., was arrested and charged with grand theft, police said. By then, Zehntner had landed his plane and came to the scene to get his trailer back.

Police found a loaded rifle and bullets inside of Haines' pickup truck, the report said.

Haines was taken to Charlotte County jail and released on Monday on $2,500 bond. Authorities are still investigating the theft and the weapons that were found in the pickup.

Zehntner did not respond to request for comment.
Dec 31 - 9 killed, more than 2 dozen hurt when charter tour bus veers off icy highway in eastern Oregon

A tour bus careened through a guardrail along an icy Oregon highway and 100 feet down a steep embankment Sunday, killing nine people and injuring more than 20 others, authorities said.

The charter bus carrying about 40 people lost control around 10:30 a.m. on snow- and ice-covered lanes of Interstate 84 in a rural area of eastern Oregon, according to the Oregon State Police. The bus crashed near the start of a 7-mile section of road that winds down a hill.

The bus came to rest at the bottom of a snowy slope and landed upright, with little or no debris visible around the crash site.

More than a dozen rescue workers descended the hill and used ropes to help retrieve people from the wreckage in freezing weather. The bus driver was among the survivors, but had not yet spoken to police because of the severity of the injuries the driver had suffered.

Lt. Gregg Hastings said the bus crashed along the west end of the Blue Mountains, and west of an area called Deadman Pass. The area is so dangerous the state transportation department published specific warnings for truck drivers, advising it had "some of the most changeable and severe weather conditions in the Northwest" and can lead to slick conditions and poor visibility.

St. Anthony Hospital in Pendleton treated 26 people from the accident, said hospital spokesman Larry Blanc. Five of those treated at St. Anthony were transported to other facilities.

The East Oregonian said it spoke with two South Korean passengers, ages 16 and 17. Both said through a translator that they were seated near the rear of the bus when it swerved a few times, hit the guardrail and flipped. They described breaking glass and seeing passengers pinned by their seats as the bus slid down the hill. Both said that they feared for their lives.

The paper said that the teens, one of whom injured a knee and the other suffered a broken collarbone, were staying at a hotel arranged by the Red Cross.

I-84 is a major east-west highway through Oregon that follows the Columbia River Gorge.

Umatilla County Emergency Manager Jack Remillard said the bus was owned by Mi Joo travel in Vancouver, B.C., and state police said the bus was en route from Las Vegas to Vancouver.

A woman who answered the phone at a listing for the company confirmed with The Associated Press that it owned the bus and said it was on a tour of the Western U.S. She declined to give her name.

A bus safety website run by the U.S. Department of Transportation said Mi Joo Tour & Travel has six buses, none of which have been involved in any accidents in at least the past two years.

The bus crash was the second fatal accident on the same highway in Oregon on Sunday. A 69-year-old man died in a rollover accident about 30 miles west of the area where the bus crashed.

A spokesman for the American Bus Association said buses carry more than 700 million passengers a year in the United States.

"The industry as a whole is a very safe industry," said Dan Ronan of the Washington, D.C.,-based group. "There are only a handful of accidents every year. Comparatively speaking, we're the safest form of surface transportation."

The bus crash comes more than two months after another chartered tour bus in October veered off a highway in northern Arizona, killing the driver and injuring dozens of passengers who were mostly tourists from Asia and Europe. Authorities say the driver likely had a medical episode.
Dec 31 - 8 Signs You're a Control Freak

Control freaks rarely know that they are one. They believe that they are helping people with their "constructive criticism" or taking over a project because "no one else will do it right."

They don't see their controlling behaviors as symptoms of what's really going on--their own anxiety has run amuck.

Irrational thoughts abound in our high stress world: If I don't get this contract, I'll get fired. If I'm not home by 6:00, I'm a terrible parent. If I don't get that raise, I suck at my job. All of these thoughts might be true, but probably not.

Rather than tackle our own irrational thinking and massage it into more realistic thinking, we attempt to control the situation, usually by trying to control other people.

Want to know if you're a control freak? Here are eight signs for your self-diagnosing pleasure.

You believe that if someone would change one or two things about themselves, you'd be happier. So you try to "help them" change this behavior by pointing it out, usually over and over.

You micromanage others to make them fit your (often unrealistic) expectations. You don't believe in imperfection and you don't think anyone else should either.

You judge others' behavior as right or wrong and passive-aggressively withhold attention until they fall in line with your expectations. Sitting in silent judgment is a master form of control.

You offer "constructive criticism" as a veiled attempt to advance your own agenda.

You change who you are or what you believe so that someone will accept you. Instead of just being yourself, you attempt to incept others by managing their impression of you.

You present worst-case scenarios in an attempt to influence someone away from certain behaviors and toward others. This is also called fear mongering.

You have a hard time with ambiguity and being OK with not knowing something.

You intervene on behalf of people by trying to explain or dismiss their behaviors to others

You believe that if you can change another person's undesirable behavior, then you will be happier or more fulfilled. You make someone else responsible for how you feel.

The thing is, you are only responsible for you. The road to better relationships always starts with you. Rather than attempt to control everyone else, work on becoming a better version of yourself. Here are a few ideas:

Be vulnerable with people.

Never compromise your self-respect by altering your core beliefs.

Be realistic about your expectations of others.

Quit the passive-aggressive nonsense--be direct.

Accept that a large portion of life is laced with unknowns.

Embrace confrontation--it really is sometimes the only thing you can do.

Take responsibility for your own happiness.

If you work on your own improvement instead of trying to control others, healthier relationships at work, as well as everywhere else, will then come to you as a result.
Dec 28 - National Rifle Association vows to fight arms trade treaty at U.N.

The leading U.S. pro-gun group, the National Rifle Association, has vowed to fight a draft international treaty to regulate the $70 billion global arms trade and dismissed suggestions that a recent U.S. school shooting bolstered the case for such a pact.

The U.N. General Assembly voted on Monday to restart negotiations in mid-March on the first international treaty to regulate conventional arms trade after a drafting conference in July collapsed because the U.S. and other nations wanted more time. Washington supported Monday's U.N. vote.

U.S. President Barack Obama has come under intense pressure to tighten domestic gun control laws after the December 14 shooting massacre of 20 children and six educators at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. His administration has since reiterated its support for a global arms treaty that does not curtail U.S. citizens' rights to own weapons.

Arms control campaigners say one person every minute dies as a result of armed violence and a convention is needed to prevent illicitly traded guns from pouring into conflict zones and fueling wars and atrocities.

In an interview with Reuters, NRA President David Keene said the Newtown massacre has not changed the powerful U.S. gun lobby's position on the treaty. He also made clear that the Obama administration would have a fight on its hands if it brought the treaty to the U.S. Senate for ratification.

"We're as opposed to it today as we were when it first appeared," he said on Thursday. "We do not see anything in terms of the language and the preamble as being any kind of guarantee of the American people's rights under the Second Amendment."

The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects the right to bear arms. Keene said the pact could require the U.S. government to enact legislation to implement it, which the NRA fears could lead to tighter restrictions on gun ownership.

He added that such a treaty was unlikely to win the two-thirds majority in the U.S. Senate necessary for approval.

"This treaty is as problematic today in terms of ratification in the Senate as it was six months ago or a year ago," Keene said. Earlier this year a majority of senators wrote to Obama urging him to oppose the treaty.

U.N. delegates and gun-control activists say the July treaty negotiations fell apart largely because Obama, fearing attacks from Republican rival Mitt Romney before the November 6 election if his administration was seen as supporting the pact, sought to kick the issue past the U.S. vote.

U.S. officials have denied those allegation.

The NRA claimed credit for the July failure, calling it at the time "a big victory for American gun owners."


The main reason the arms trade talks are taking place at all is that the United States - the world's biggest arms trader, which accounts for more than 40 percent of global transfers in conventional arms - reversed U.S. policy on the issue after Obama was first elected and decided in 2009 to support a treaty.

Supporters of the treaty accuse the NRA of deceiving the American public about the pact, which they say will have no impact on U.S. domestic gun ownership and would apply only to exports. Last week, Amnesty International launched a campaign to counter what it said were NRA distortions about the treaty.

"The NRA is telling lies about the arms treaty to try to block U.S. government support," Michelle Ringuette of Amnesty International USA said about the campaign. "The NRA's leadership must stop interfering in U.S. foreign policy on behalf of the arms industry."

Jeff Abramson of Control Arms said that as March approaches, "the NRA is going to be challenged in ways it never has before and that can affect the way things go" with the U.S. government.

The draft treaty under discussion specifically excludes arms-related "matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any State."

Among its key provisions is a requirement that governments make compliance with human rights norms a condition for foreign arms sales. It would also have states ban arms transfers when there is reason to believe weapons or ammunition might be diverted to problematic recipients or end up on illicit markets.

Keene said the biggest problem with the treaty is that it regulates civilian arms, not just military weapons.

According to the Small Arms Survey, roughly 650 million of the 875 million weapons in the world are in the hands of civilians. That, arms control advocates say, is why any arms trade treaty must regulate both military and civilian weapons.

Keene said the NRA would actively participate in the fight against the arms trade treaty in the run-up to the March negotiations. "We will be involved," he warned, adding that it was not clear if the NRA would address U.N. delegates directly as the group did in July.

The NRA has successfully lobbied members of Congress to stop major new gun restrictions in the United States since the 1994 assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004. It also gives financial backing to pro-gun candidates.


European and other U.N. delegates who support the arms trade treaty told Reuters on condition of anonymity they hoped Newtown would boost support for the convention in the United States, where gun control is an explosive political issue.

"Newtown has opened the debate within the United States on weapons controls in ways that it has not been opened in the past," Abramson said, adding that "the conversation within the U.S. will give the (Obama) administration more leeway."

Keene rejected the idea of bringing the Newtown tragedy into the discussion of an arms trade treaty.

"I find it interesting that some of the folks that advocate the treaty say it would have no impact whatever within the United States but that it needs to be passed to prevent another occurrence of a school shooting such as took place in Newtown," he said. "Both of those positions can't be correct."

Obama administration officials have tried to explain to U.S. opponents of the arms trade pact that the treaty under discussion would not affect domestic gun sales and ownership.

"Our objectives for the ATT (arms trade treaty) have not changed," a U.S. official told Reuters. "We seek a treaty that fights illicit arms trafficking and proliferation, protects the sovereign right of states to conduct legitimate arms trade, and meets the concerns that we have articulated throughout."

"In particular, we will not accept any treaty that infringes on the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens to bear arms," the official added.

Supporters of the treaty also worry that major arms producers like Russia, China, Iran, India, Pakistan and others could seek to render the treaty toothless by including loopholes and making key provisions voluntary, rather than mandatory.

The United States, like all other U.N. member states, can effectively veto the treaty since the negotiations will be conducted on the basis of consensus. That means the treaty must receive unanimous support in order to be approved in March.

But if it fails in March, U.N. delegations can put it to a vote in the 193-nation General Assembly, where diplomats say it would likely secure the required two-thirds majority.
Dec 28 - Tigers Making Comeback in Asia

Camera trap images reveal tiger numbers rebounding across Asia, especially in southwestern India, where young tigers are leaving protected reserves due to population pressure, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society.

The WCS attributes the rise in different tiger groups to better law enforcement and protection of additional habitat. For example, a notorious poaching ring was busted in Thailand last year, and the gang leaders have been given prison sentences of up to five years — the most severe punishments for wildlife poaching in Thailand's history, the conservation group said in a statement.

Tiger numbers have been rising steadily in Thailand's Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary since 2007, with a record 50-plus tigers counted last year, the WCS said. The sanctuary is part of the country's Western Forest Complex. This core spans 7,000 square miles (18,000 square kilometers) and is home to an estimated 125 to 175 tigers.

In India's mountainous landscape of Nagarahole and Bandipur national parks, tigers have reached saturation levels, with more than 600 individuals caught on camera trap photos in the past decade. Young tigers are leaving the parks along protected corridors and entering a landscape with a population of a million people, the group said. [In Images: Tigers Rebound in Asia]

Conservationists also worked with government officials in Russia to create additional protected areas for tigers. The country declared a new corridor, called the Central Ussuri Wildlife Refuge, on Oct. 18. The refuge links the Sikhote-Alin tiger population in Russia — the main group of endangered Amur tigers— with tiger habitat in China's Heilongjiang Province in the Wandashan Mountains. The refuge ensures that tigers can move across the border between Russia and China in this region.

An estimated 3,200 tigers are living in the wild, with only 2,500 breeding adult pairs, according to TRAFFIC, a monitoring group funded by the World Wildlife Fund and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Tigers have lost 93 percent of their historical range, which once sprawled across Asia from Turkey to Russia and south to Bali, according to the group.

"Tigers are clearly fighting for their very existence, but it's important to know that there is hope. Victories like these give us the resolve to continue to battle for these magnificent big cats," Cristián Samper, WCS president, said in a statement.
Dec 27 - Miracle In Rochester Hills: How One Family's Faith Gave Them A Cure

This Christmas, the Byrd family of Rochester Hills will spend the day in their pajamas. They will play games - lots of games. They will pray. They will enjoy every moment of their day of togetherness.

Because once upon a time this day didn't seem possible.

It was Christmastime six years ago when doctors diagnosed the Byrds' oldest son, Blase, with a type of cancer they said was incurable. Blase was 4 years old with only a slim chance he would live to see Christmas through the eyes of a 10-year-old.

Since then, the Byrds' story is one of beating the odds. Of prayer. And, ultimately, of nothing less than a miracle.

"I know what it feels like to look everywhere and feel as if there is no hope," Tami Byrd told Patch.

"If one person reads our story and it gives them hope — if we inspire one person to hang on, then we've done something special."

A family's 'worst nightmare'

It all started with Blase's ankle. The 4-year-old told his mom one day that it hurt; the pain continued for two days. Tami, a physical therapist, knew her son hadn't been injured, and she started to worry. She took him to a doctor to have his blood drawn. Her fear at the time: juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

"That was really the worst thing I could imagine," she remembered thinking.

Instead, her oldest son was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. After initial rounds of treatment, the diagnosis became more specific: he had a rare form of the disease; there were only 40 confirmed cases like his in the world. Right away, Blase was placed on a high-risk, three-and-a-half-year chemotherapy treatment plan. He was given a 20 to 30 percent chance that he would live five years.

Doctors painted a hopeless picture, Tami said.

Except for this: Tami was pregnant.

A bone marrow transplant could save Blase; already Tami and her husband, Matt, were found not to be matches with their son. Blase's younger brother, Bryce, was not a match, either. But the baby that Tami was carrying: there was a 1-in-4 chance that baby could be a good enough match.

Leukemia is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow, which is the spongy tissue inside bones where blood cells are made. In Blase's case, the disease was progressing rapidly, creating immature blood cells.

And so the Byrd family was living in the hospital. Blase was puffy and swollen; achy and ornery. He was bald; he was distended. He had to be carried up and down stairs.

"Our lives revolved around our son's medical schedule," Tami said. His little body was bombarded with chemotherapy for several days at a time; then, he would come home and recover for a few days before going back to the hospital again.

"It was the worst nightmare you could imagine," Tami said.

And then came the miracle.

From one brother to another

It turns out, Blase's baby brother, Brady, born in March, was a perfect bone marrow match.

The Byrds banked their baby's umbilical cord blood through ViaCord, a cord blood banking and research center. Through a program called Sibling Connection, which helps parents who have a child in need of a transplant, they were able to preserve the cells from Brady's umbilical cord to use for a transplant to Blase.

Blase underwent the transplant in June. During the procedure, doctors replaced Blase's leukemic bone marrow with his baby brother's leukemia-free marrow. In other words, all of the blood cells in Blase's body were destroyed, and he received an infusion of new stem cells.

And then Blase, his family and the doctors waited.

"We were very, very desperate," Tami said. "It was overwhelming and awful. Our faith really got us through. We were on our knees praying all the time.

"We really felt like this baby had been the answer to our prayers."

Faith pays off

The transplant was a success.

But still, doctors said Blase would never be cured. "They never use that word - cure - with the cancer Blase had," Tami said.

In that first year with cancer, Blase had 11 spinal taps, 11 biopsies, three surgeries, 91 doses of chemotherapy and spent 237 days in the hospital.

It would take him more than a year to get his strength back. And then, he had to catch up with school work. "It took him awhile to be comfortable in his own skin," Tami said.

But then, this past summer, those same doctors who told the Byrds their son would never be cured told them the unthinkable.

"They said he had zero side effects," Tami said. "They said that looking at him now, you would never know he had cancer. They said he would never need to come back.

"And they told us he was completely cured."

Matt Byrd said he knew it all along.

"We felt like it was divine intervention," Matt said. "It was neat to see the head of the oncology unit tell us something he never, ever thought he would tell us."

In a video they made of their ordeal, Tami and Matt said they felt God sent them the answer (Brady) before they even knew they had a problem (cancer).

Today, Blase is a healthy and happy 10-year-old who plays with his two younger brothers and, now, a younger sister, Lucy, too.

"When the doctors give you no hope and you're crying day and night and praying to God to help you, to have it come full circle and have them tell you you're cured, it feels like your faith paid off," Tami said.

"We showed the medical profession that anything is possible."
Dec 27 - Romney's son makes statement

Tagg Romney said his father "wanted to be president less than anyone I've met in my life," according to the Boston Globe.

“He had no desire,” the eldest Romney son said. “If he could have found someone else to take his place ... he would have been ecstatic to step aside. He is a very private person who loves his family deeply and wants to be with them, but he has deep faith in God and he loves his country, but he doesn’t love the attention."

Tagg Romney told the paper that his father was resistant to running because of his unsuccessful 2008 bid for president.

The oldest Romney son was an instrumental figure in his father's political career. He served as an adviser to the 2012 campaign, and has worked on previous campaigns.

Like his father, Tagg Romney attended Brigham Young University and earned his MBA from Harvard Business School. However, he told the New York Times that "I’d be really surprised if I did [run for office]. It’s a really horrible process, and honestly I just don’t want to go through it."

Ann Romney told ABC in November that if her husband lost the election, he wouldn't run again.
Dec 21 - Video Catches 8-Year-Old Girl Stealing Packages Off Neighbor's Doorstep

When packages left on doorsteps started to go missing, neighbors stepped in to set up a dragnet. The unexpected result: Video captured an 8-year-old kid swiping boxes in broad daylight.

Clermont, Florida, residents come up with a tricky way to catch the culprit. They left decoy packages and set up a security camera. And then they waited. Think of this as "CSI: Clermont" edition.

A clue that the perp was pintsize should have been the type of loot taken: According to local station CFNews13, the missing packages contained Barbie dolls, children's makeup, and children's cell phones.

Neighbor Jessica Araujo, who runs a business from her home, said she had $1,800 worth of packages that never arrived. She set up the video camera and instructed her daughter, Thalia, to stand watch through the door's peephole for the culprit.

But instead of a mischievous teenager or a passerby, the camera caught an 8-year-old girl, who had just gotten off her school bus. The footage shows her spotting the box and sneaking over on tiptoe to pick it up and walk away with it.

Araujo could not believe her eyes. "Complete and utter shock it wasn't a teenager; it wasn't a passerby -- it was an 8-year-old, one year younger than my daughter."

Police told the news station that they had found pieces of the open package nearby, allegedly where the girl tore it open. They don't believe anyone else was involved in the crime.

The neighbor who helped crack the case would like to see the girl apologize. She said, "We want something done, in the form of the parents stepping up to the plate, taking accountability and saying, 'We're sorry this happened to you and the other neighbors,' maybe even having the child come over and apologize."

Police plan to bring evidence of the case to the juvenile division of the Florida state Attorney's Office to see what can be done with such a young suspect.

On the other hand, the mother-daughter team may have a future in law enforcement.
Dec 21 - Dozens of Mich. schools close amid threats, rumors

Dozens of Michigan schools canceled classes for thousands of students to cool off rumored threats of violence and problems related to doomsday scenarios based on the Mayan calendar, officials said Thursday.

Public schools in Genesee and Lapeer counties, neighboring counties north of the Detroit area, started the Christmas break Wednesday night rather than hold classes the rest of the week. Meanwhile, police investigated whether students made false claims about guns at the high school in Grand Blanc, said John Potbury, a spokesman for the Genesee County prosecutor.

Last week's shooting at a Connecticut elementary school "changed all of us. ... Canceling school is the right thing to do," Genesee County schools said in a statement.

A Lapeer-area superintendent, Matt Wandrie, said rumors of violence had become a major distraction for students and staff and disrupted learning. Additionally, he said in a message to parents, "rumors connected to the Mayan calendar predicted end of the world on Friday have also surfaced."

Friday is the day when some people believe ancient Mayan calendars predicted the world would end.

"Although we in the county are reluctant to cancel school because the rumors are unsubstantiated, we feel it is the most appropriate decision," Wandrie said in his message.

Michelle Muncy, who owns Buckz Cutz barber shop in Lapeer and has two teens in school, said officials made the right call. She gave her boys a chore list, including putting lights on a reindeer decoration.

"It's the safety of children first," Muncy said. "You never know what crazy person could walk in."

Elsewhere in Michigan, Cass City schools were supposed to hold classes for three days this week but decided to cancel after students said they overheard another student making a possible gun threat against a staff member last week. Two other small districts in the eastern part of the state, Marlette and Millington, also closed for the balance of the week.

School closings for Friday were announced in Monroe, where officials believed attendance would be very low anyway, and in Battle Creek, where officials said unsubstantiated rumors of trouble had spread on social media.

In Oklahoma, Bartlesville schools won't reopen until the new year after someone reported an armed man near a school Tuesday. He may have been a hunter. Minot, N.D., schools also scratched Friday classes when rumors circulated that students were going to bring guns to class. Many parents already had said they were keeping kids home as a precaution.

"I think this really centers around the issue of the Mayan calendar, and we don't anticipate any future problems," Superintendent Mark Vollmer said.
Dec 18 - Twin NASA spacecraft deliberately crash into moon

A pair of NASA spacecraft tumbled out of orbit around the moon and crashed back-to-back into the surface on Monday, ending a mission that peered into the lunar interior.

Engineers commanded the twin spacecraft, Ebb and Flow, to fire their engines and burn their remaining fuel. Ebb plunged first, slamming into a mountain near the moon's north pole. Its twin, Flow, followed about a half minute later and aimed for the same target.

By design, the final resting place was far away from the Apollo landing sites and other historical spots on the moon.

After the double impacts, mission chief scientist Maria Zuber of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said the spot has been named after team member Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, who died earlier this year.

"It's really cool to know that when you look up now at the moon there's this little corner of the moon that's named after Sally," said Ride's sister, Rev. Bear Ride, adding that she hoped schoolchildren will be inspired.

Since the crash site was in darkness, the final act was not visible from Earth. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter circling the moon will pass over the mountain and attempt to photograph the skid marks left by the washing machine sized-spacecraft as they hit the surface at 3,800 mph.

After rocketing off the launch pad in September 2011, Ebb and Flow took a roundabout journey to the moon, arriving over the New Year's holiday on a gravity-mapping mission.

More than 100 missions have been flung to Earth's nearest neighbor since the dawn of the Space Age including NASA's six Apollo moon landings that put 12 astronauts on the surface.

The demise of Ebb and Flow comes on the same month as the 40th launch anniversary of Apollo 17, the last manned mission to the moon.

Ebb and Flow focused exclusively on measuring the moon's lumpy gravity field in a bid to learn more about its interior and early history. After flying in formation for months, they produced the most detailed gravity maps of any body in the solar system.

Secrets long held by the moon are spilling out. Ebb and Flow discovered that the lunar crust is much thinner than scientists had imagined. And it was severely battered by asteroids and comets in the early years of the solar system — more than previously realized.

Data so far also appeared to quash the theory that Earth once had two moons that collided and melded into the one we see today.

Besides a scientific return, the mission allowed students to take their own pictures of craters and other lunar features as part of collaboration with a science education company founded by Ride, who died in July of pancreatic cancer at age 61.

Scientists expect to sift through data from the $487 million mission for years.

Obtaining precise gravity calculations required the twins to circle low over the moon, which consumes a lot of fuel. During the primary mission, they flew about 35 miles above the lunar surface. After getting bonus data-collecting time, they lowered their altitude to 14 miles above the surface.

With their fuel tanks almost on empty, NASA devised a controlled crash to avoid contacting any of the treasured sites on the moon. Mission control at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory applauded when controllers lost signal from the spacecraft.

The last time the space agency intentionally fired manmade objects at the moon was in 2009, but it was for the sake of science. The crash was a public relations dud — spectators barely saw a faint flash — but the experiment proved that the moon contained water.
Dec 18 - Golden retrievers sent to comfort Newtown survivors

A Lutheran charity group has sent about eight golden retrievers to comfort the survivors of Friday's mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Lutheran Church Charities in Addison, Ill., sent the dogs on an 800-mile journey to respond to the disaster.

Lutheran Church Charities President Tim Hetzner told the Chicago Tribune that the dogs "are nonjudgmental. They are loving. They are accepting of anyone."

The dogs have traveled around the country to comfort people after disasters. "The dogs have become the bridge," Lynn Buhrke, 66, who is a handler for a female golden retriever name Chewie, told the Associated Press. "People just sit down and talk to you."

The dogs' first stop on Sunday was Christ the King Lutheran Church, where funerals were held for two children killed in the shootings, Hetzner told the AP. "You could tell which ones ... were really struggling with their grief because they were quiet. They would pet the dog, and they would just be quiet."

The comfort-dog initiative started in 2008 at Northern Illinois University after a gunman killed five students. A group of dog caretakers associated with Lutheran Church Charities went to provide a distraction for the student community. The initiative has grown from a handful of dogs in the Chicago area to 60 dogs in six different states, Hetzner said. The LCC website notes that the eight dogs serving in Newtown are Abbi, Barnabas, Chewie, Hannah, Luther, Prince, Ruthie, and Shami.
Dec 17 - Saber-toothed cat fossils found near Las Vegas

Researchers say a pair of fossils unearthed in the hills north of Las Vegas belonged to a saber-toothed cat.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports (http://on.rgj.com/SyeHtn) a team from California's San Bernardino County Museum identified the fossils dug up in June as being front leg bones from the extinct predator.

Kathleen Springer, the museum's senior curator, says the saber-tooth fossils are thought to be approximately 15,590 years old.

The discovery marks the first of its kind in the fossil-rich Upper Las Vegas Wash. Springer heads a team that's been studying the wash for a decade and been collecting fossils there under a contract with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management since 2008.

She says the bones of Las Vegas' only known saber-toothed cat are still being studied. There are no immediate plans to display them, but Springer expects that to happen eventually.
Dec 17 - Hair Concerns Keep Some Women from Gym

Hair care concerns may keep some African-American women from exercising routinely, new research suggests.

The study, which surveyed African-American women in North Carolina, found that close to 40 percent of respondents said they sometimes avoided exercise because of their hair. About a third said hair concerns prevented them from working out as often as they would like.

Women who exercised less frequently because of their hair were less likely to meet recommendations for weekly physical activity, the researchers said.

Many African-American women straighten their hair with heat or other products, a process that takes time and money, and can be undone with exposure to sweat or moisture. In addition, hair straightened with chemical relaxers is fragile, which precludes frequent washing. As a result, women who straighten their hair may want to avoid sweating — and, thus, exercising, said study researcher Dr. Rebecca Hall, a dermatologist at the Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C.

As a group, African-American women are among the least likely to meet physical activity guidelines (at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week is recommended), compared to other ethnic groups, the researchers said. And about four out of five African American women are overweight or obese, according to The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Therefore, strategies to promote physical activity among African-American women must address hair care issues, the researchers said.

Hall and colleagues surveyed 103 African-American women ages 21 to 60 who visited the university's dermatology department in October 2007.

Sixty-two percent of the women had a chemically relaxed hairstyle, and most washed their hair every one to two weeks.

All respondents said exercise was important, but about 38 percent of them said they sometimes avoided exercise because of their hair. Thirty-six percent said they avoided swimming, and 29 percent said they avoided aerobic and gym activities. Half said they had considered modifying their hairstyles to accommodate exercise.

The results were originally presented at a meeting in 2007. Surgeon General Dr. Regina M. Benjamin raised the issue again last year, telling the New York Times, "When you’re starting to exercise, you look for reasons not to, and sometimes the hair is one of those reasons."

The study also found 32 percent of respondents said sweating or humidity exacerbated scalp itching, and many reported hair and scalp symptoms, such as hair breakage and flaking,

"The high percentage of African-American women with baseline scalp complaints suggests that dermatologists need to consider these symptoms when providing care for African-American women," the researchers wrote in the Dec. 17 issue of the journal Archives of Dermatology.

The hair care issue is not easily solvable, Hall, said. "Somebody might say, 'Oh, just cut your hair,' but that does not make sense. We have to figure out better ways to address this issue," Hall said.

Because the study was conducted in one region, it's not clear whether the results apply to women across the country, the researchers said. In addition, because the study was conducted at a dermatology clinic, the prevalence of scalp conditions may be greater than in the general population.

Pass it on: Hair care issues may prevent some African-American women from exercising as often as they would like.
Dec 14 - Huge Asteroid to Pass Earth Tonight

A giant asteroid will make a flyby of Earth over the next few days, and armchair astronomers can watch the action live on their computers.

The near-Earth asteroid 4179 Toutatis, which is about 3 miles (5 kilometers) wide, will zoom within 4.3 million miles (7 million kilometers) of Earth during its closest approach early Wednesday morning (Dec. 12). That's too far away to pose any impact threat on this pass, but close enough to put on a pretty good show through top-notch telescopes, researchers say.

And some of those scopes will be tracking Toutatis' movements for the benefit of skywatchers around the world. The online Slooh Space Camera and Virtual Telescope Project, for example, will both stream live, free footage of the asteroid from professional-quality observatories.

Slooh will webcast Toutatis views from a scope in the Canary Islands off the west coast of Africa beginning at 3 p.m. EST (2000 GMT) today (Dec. 11). Another show will follow at 10 p.m. EST tonight (0300 GMT Wednesday), with footage from an instrument in Arizona. You can watch them at Slooh's website: http://www.slooh.com.

Both shows will feature commentary from Slooh president Patrick Paolucci and Astronomy Magazine columnist Bob Berman.

"Slooh technical staff will let the public follow this fast-moving asteroid in two different ways. In one view, the background stars will be tracked at their own rate and the asteroid will appear as an obvious streak or a moving time-lapse dot across the starry field," Berman said in a statement.

"In a second view, Toutatis itself will be tracked and held steady as a tiny pointlike object, while Earth's spin makes the background stars whiz by as streaks," Berman added. "Both methods will make the asteroid's speedy orbital motion obvious as it passes us in space."

Meanwhile, the Virtual Telescope Project — which is run by Gianluca Masi of Bellatrix Astronomical Observatory in Italy — will offer its own free webcast Thursday (Dec. 13) at 3 p.m. EST (2000 GMT), complete with commentary from astrophysicists.

You can see that video stream here: http://www.virtualtelescope.eu/webtv/

Asteroid Toutatis was first viewed in 1934, then officially discovered in 1989. It makes one trip around the sun every four years.

The Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Mass., lists Toutatis as a potentially hazardous object, meaning that it could pose a threat to our planet at some point in the future. The current flyby is no cause for concern, however. At its closest approach, which comes at 1:40 a.m. (0640 GMT) Wednesday, Toutatis will still be 18 times farther away from Earth than the moon is.

Toutatis would cause catastrophic damage if it ever did slam into Earth. In general, scientists think a strike by anything at least 0.6 miles (1 km) wide could have global consequences, most likely by altering the world's climate for many years to come.

For comparison, the asteroid thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago was an estimated 6 miles (10 km) across.
I need a much bigger lens if I want to capture that... lol
Dec 14 - Danish historian finds unknown Andersen fairy tale

A Danish historian says he has discovered what he believes is a previously unknown fairy tale written by Hans Christian Andersen.

Retired historian Esben Brage said Thursday he found the six-page text in early October while searching in the National Archives through boxes that had belonged to wealthy families from Andersen's home-town of Odense in central Denmark.

"I was ecstatic. I immediately contacted the curator to tell him about my discovery. I had never imagined this," Brage said.

The handwritten tale, entitled "Tallow Candle," and dedicated to a vicar's widow named Bunkeflod who had lived across from Andersen's home, had been left seemingly untouched at the bottom of one of the boxes.

The short story tells the tale of how a tallow candle seeks help from a tinder box to be able to ignite itself.

A senior curator at the Hans Christian Andersen Museum in Odense said the work is likely one of the author's earliest, written seven years before his official debut in 1830.

"I often get calls about stuff thought to have been off Andersen's hand. Most of the time, it is not. This time I was thrilled," Ejnar Stig Askgaard told The Associated Press. "This is a very early attempt at prose by Andersen who was then 18."

Askgaard said Andersen knew the Bunkeflod widow well and regularly visited her, reading to her and borrowing books from her, even after he moved to Copenhagen to attend university.

"The text is not at the level of the more mature fairy tales that we know from Andersen's later writing," Askgaard said. "I have no doubts ... this has been written by Andersen."

Born to a charwoman and a shoemaker in 1805, Andersen wrote nearly 160 fairy tales in his life including classics like "The Ugly Duckling" and "The Little Mermaid." He has also written dozens of novels, poems and travel journals.
Dec 13 - San Carlos, CA, Man Decorates Two Homes With 748,238 Lights

Dave Newman has an FAQ board in front of his beautiful holiday light display on Eucalyptus Street in San Carlos, California. His reputation is epic, both in the city and on this street of enthusiastic decorators. The sign states that it takes 17 guys 10 hours to install the 748,238 lights, and the electric bill is only $38 because he has solar panels. The decorations are, of course, stored at the North Pole. The lights span two properties, twinkling and flickering among the trees, across the garages, throughout both yards, and all the way up to the top of the buildings, with an angel flying on the roof. Rumor has it that some years, Newman imports snow on Christmas Eve.

For the most part, the neighbors don't mind the traffic. It has been part of the tradition on Eucalyptus since December of 1986, when another home, 1926 Eucalyptus, was identified as one of the best of the season by a local journalist. Rod Linear got his nickname "the Mayor" for starting it all. His wife Pat told me that the first display was red apples and white lights, and their home looked like a Mississippi riverboat. Janet McGovern of the Redwood City Tribune thought it looked like "a spectacular birthday cake." Visitors started touring the street, and a tradition was born.

Steve, another enthusiastic decorator on the street, has a tree that appears to be about 30 feet tall in his front yard. It is only a part of his magnificent display, which is complete with Santa and friends and a brilliant riot of lights. The tree was originally purchased in a pot as a holiday fundraiser. As the tree has grown, so has the reputation of Eucalyptus Street and the enthusiasm of residents. Most of the people on the street have fun with this tradition, although "not everyone is that into it," according to Steve. I counted two of the 23 houses bare. One was under construction, the other was at the very end of the block.

Walking Eucalyptus Street during the holidays is a magical journey. The twinkling lights, the decorations, the music, the sound of people enjoying the show in English and other languages -- it's festive enough to cheer up the most committed Scrooge. I overheard a little boy tell his dad, "This is blowing my mind!" with typical 6-year-old enthusiasm.

There is a small price to pay for all this magic. The residents concede that it can be a bit tricky to manage. The traffic is especially troublesome. The city of San Carlos blocks off the street, limiting it to slow one-way traffic. If residents leave for the evening, they might have to park their cars a couple of blocks away and retrieve them in the morning.

I finally managed to catch up with Newman, who was rather modest about his project and not interested in talking much. I asked him about the rumor of snow on Christmas Eve, and I got a grin. It looks like at least one street in San Carlos will have a white Christmas!
Dec 13 - Cheese first made at least 7,500 years ago

Little Miss Muffet could have been separating her curds and whey 7,500 years ago, according to a new study that finds the earliest solid evidence of cheese-making.

Scientists performed a chemical analysis on fragments from 34 pottery sieves discovered in Poland to determine their purpose. Until now, experts weren't sure whether such sieves were used to make cheese, beer or honey.

Though there is no definitive test for cheese, Richard Evershed at the University of Bristol and colleagues found large amounts of fatty milk residue on the pottery shards compared to cooking or storage pots from the same sites. That suggests the sieves were specifically used to separate fat-rich curds from liquid whey in soured milk in a crude cheese-making process.

"It's a very compelling forensic argument that this was connected to cheese," Evershed said. "There aren't many other dairy processes where you would need to strain," he said. He and colleagues weren't sure what kind of milk was used, but said there were lots of cattle bones in the region. The study was published online Wednesday by the journal Nature.

"This is the smoking gun," said Paul Kindstedt, a professor of nutrition and food sciences at the University of Vermont and author of "Cheese and Culture." He was not involved in the study.

"It's almost inconceivable that the milk fat residues in the sieves were from anything else but cheese," Kindstedt said, adding that many experts suspected cheese was being made in Turkey up to 2,000 years earlier than this latest finding in Poland but that there was no definitive proof.

He said the discovery of cheese making marked a major development for Neolithic people and gave them a survival advantage by allowing them to turn milk into a form that provided essential calories, proteins and minerals. At that time, the adult population was largely lactose intolerant, so making a product with less lactose, like cheese, allowed everyone to digest the nutrients in milk.

Kindstedt said the earliest cheeses were likely similar to spreadable cheeses like ricotta and fromage frais. He guessed that people either ate them soon after they were made or buried them in pots for months afterwards, saving them for the winter when food was scarce.

Cheeses also served to spice up the Neolithic diet. "Food was incredibly dull and monotonous," Kindstedt said, noting the prehistoric farmers' dependence on grain porridge.

After being buried in the ground for months, he said, the cheeses would have been non-perishable, "bomb-proof" and pretty pungent.

"They probably would not be the first choice for a lot of people today," Kindstedt he said. "But I would still love to try it."

Three years after being exploited by his father in a hoax involving a homemade flying saucer that floated across Colorado, captivating millions of live television viewers who thought he might be inside, Falcon Heene is once again part of a questionable family-driven project: fronting a metal band.

The 9-year-old Falcon and his brothers Ryo, 12, and Bradford, 13, are collectively known as the Heene Boyz, or "the world's youngest heavy metal band," as their notorious father, Richard Heene, calls them.

According to the Broward-Palm Beach (Fla.) New Times, which published a 4,000-word profile on the Heenes, the "Boyz" practice and perform near their home in Spring Hill, Fla., where the family moved in 2010.

The homeschooled Heenes learned to play their instruments from lessons on YouTube: Falcon on bass, Ryo on drums and Bradford on guitar. And Falcon—who accidentally revealed the balloon saga was a reality-show-baiting stunt in an interview with Wolf Blitzer and then threw up during one with the "Today" show—serves as the lead singer.

More from the New Times profile:

All three are dressed in black T-shirts and jean shorts. They have long, luxurious black hair that falls to their waists and would make a Kardashian look bald by comparison. These manes whip around like windmills as the boys thrash.

Falcon wails, "What do we do? Hang out in the park/Joey's out playing in the dark/Oh my God—bored out of my mind/Adults don't treat kids so effin' kind."

When it's time for the guitar solo, Bradford nails it one-handed, Eddie Van Halen style. Falcon plucks bass strings with his teeth. When finished, they grin, make devil horns, and do handstands.


The walls are covered with faded family photos, kids' paintings, chore charts, to-do lists, printouts of scientific data, and schedules ("Get up, read books, work out, do schoolwork, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse"). Then there are the typed affirmations on plain white office paper. A couple of these say, in all caps: "HEENE BOYZ WANT RECORD DEAL!" and "HEENE BOYZ WILL TOUR WITH METALLICA."

The band's website includes a link to buy its debut album, "Chasing Tornadoes," a list of influences (including Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Dio) and press photos of the boys with scantily clad women who apparently starred in their music videos ("Candy Cane" and "Latte Vampiress").

But Richard Heene, who was sentenced to 90 days in federal prison and fined $47,000 for the balloon hoax, claims to be unaware of criticism that he's once again exploiting his children for a chance for fame. (Heene's wife, Mayumi, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for her involvement in the stunt.)

"Exploitation?" Heene, who works as a handyman in addition to his role as their manager, told the paper. "Nobody has said anything about that."

Almost as astonishing: The Heene Boyz say they don't know who Justin Bieber or the Jonas Brothers are:

Bradford: Who's Justin Bieber?

New Times: Seriously, you don't know who Justin Bieber is?

All three boys [dead serious]: No.

New Times: Have you ever heard of the Jonas Brothers?

Boys [blankly]: No, uh-uh.
Dec 12 - John McAfee Just Got Out of Jail, and He Might Even Be Going Home

John McAfee's blog reports that he was leaving a detention center this morning in Guatemala, where the government had planned on sending him back to Belize, where police would likely arrest him in connection to the murder of his neighbor Gregory Faull. But the rogue anti-virus tycoon with a story crazy enough to get a movie version will get his freedom — thanks in no small part to the lawyer he hired while on the lam with his now former friends at Vice magazine.

A Guatemalan judge ruled late Tuesday that McAfee had been detained illegally, reports The Los Angeles Times's Christine Mai Duc. Initially, he had been charged with coming into the country illegally, and when McAfee had asked for asylum the government denied that request, too. At that point, it looked like he would head back to Belize. Then came the (possibly) staged heart attacks, which bought his new lawyer, Telesforo Guerra, enough time to convince a judge otherwise. Apparently, entering Guatemala without a visa does not break any laws, argued Guerra. A judge agreed and here we are, with McAfee's people claiming that "it is believed he will be allowed to return to the United States," while adding, obviously, that "he has not divulged his plans."

The homecoming would be a continued change of heart for the mogul who first claimed he wanted to head back to Belize to fix the government corruption there, then changed his mind. He's tired, after all. But not tired enough to accuse Vice, the magazine that had linked-up with McAfee during his escape from Belize, of orchestrating his Guatemalan arrest. The following appeared on his always-entertaining blog last night:

It is no longer clear to Mr. McAfee that the “accidental” release of his co-ordinates due to Vice Magazine’s editorial department’s failure to remove location data from their now notorious photo, was indeed an accident. This incident led directly to Mr. McAfee’s arrest. The reason, possibly, was that Vice wanted exclusive access to Mr. McAfee’s arrest, which they in fact obtained and broadcast. This, and subsequent developments, including a breach of verbal contract, has led Mr. McAfee to terminate all contact with Vice.

Maybe that's true, maybe not. McAfee has a history with paranoia. He also has a history of cozying up to reporters and then getting mad when they didn't do or write exactly what he wants. In any case, if McAfee wants to stay in the spotlight, he probably shouldn't burn every last media bridge. We still does have to get home, after all — and surely he'll want someone to document it.
Dec 11 - Lawyers for accused Colorado shooter to subpoena Fox News reporter

An attorney for accused Colorado theater gunman James Holmes said in court on Monday he will subpoena a Fox News reporter to reveal her source for a news story about the massacre, setting up a potential First Amendment showdown.

Public defender Daniel King said he plans to subpoena New York-based correspondent Jana Winter, who days after the July 20 rampage reported Holmes had sent a notebook to a psychiatrist detailing his plans to commit mass murder.

Holmes, a 24-year-old former neuroscience graduate student, is charged with multiple counts of murder and attempted murder for the shooting spree in the Denver suburb of Aurora, Colorado that killed 12 people and wounded 58.

King said the story, which cited an unnamed law enforcement source, violated a gag order imposed by Arapahoe County District Judge William Sylvester.

"We have not received a subpoena on Jana Winter's behalf and will evaluate once we do," a Fox News spokesperson told Reuters.

The psychiatrist, Lynne Fenton, is on staff at the University of Colorado, where she saw Holmes as a patient before he started the process to withdraw from the university before the massacre.

The move by King came after a court hearing in which more than a dozen law enforcement officers who saw the package containing the notebook in a university mail room denied under oath that they were the source of the leak.

On the night of the shooting, Holmes bought a ticket to the movie, but left the theater minutes into the film to put on tactical body armor and a gas mask. He returned to the theater and fired on the audience using several weapons, police have said.

In court on Monday, a bearded Holmes sat impassively throughout the hearing, shackled and dressed in maroon prison clothes.

Holmes' parents attended the legal proceeding, the first time they have been in court since their son's arrest. Holmes turns 25 on December 13.

His lawyers are asking the judge to impose sanctions on prosecutors for the leaked information about the notebook.

Craig Silverman, a former Denver prosecutor now in private practice, said Holmes' lawyers are making an issue of the notebook in the hope that the judge take the death penalty off the table as a sanction against the prosecutors.

"There's a real danger that the sideshow is taking over the circus," said Silverman, who attended the hearing.
Dec 11 - Ex-policeman gets life for 1957 death of Ill. girl

Friends and family who had all but given up on seeing anyone brought to justice for the murder of a young Illinois girl more than 50 years ago said they were at peace Monday after a former police officer was sentenced to life in prison.

Jack McCullough, 73, was convicted in September in one of the oldest unsolved crimes in American history to make it to trial. He was sentenced in a small town courtroom a few blocks from where Maria Ridulph played with a friend on Dec. 3, 1957, before she was grabbed, choked and stabbed to death in an alley. The 7-year-old's body was found months later, dumped in woods more than 100 miles away.

The little girl's friends and relatives didn't utter a sound or betray the slightest emotion as a silver-haired Jack McCullough stood, turned to them and proclaimed his innocence.

"I did not, did not, kill Maria Ridulph," said McCullough, who grew up in Sycamore and was 17 when Ridulph died. "It was a crime I did not, would not, could not have done."

Judge James Hallock admonished McCullough to face him, not the spectators, and a sheriff's deputy stood behind McCullough to block his view of Ridulph's relatives and the childhood friend who was left behind.

"He can say all he wants to say," Kathy Chapman, now 63, said afterward. "This finally puts this part of my life to a resting point."

Chapman had been playing with Ridulph in the snow when she ran home to get her mittens, leaving her friend with a teenager who had been giving them piggyback rides. When she returned, both were gone.

While Chapman and others had waited 55 years for justice for Ridulph, and they made it clear they weren't going to let McCullough hurt or affect them again. When the sentencing was over, they simply left their seats and walked out of court.

"I'm satisfied," said Charles Ridulph, Maria's older brother.

"This is all we could expect," Chapman added, referring to the life sentence. Illinois abolished the death penalty last year. "Now Maria is finally at peace."

Monday's hearing was the latest chapter in a case that started during a more trusting and innocent era, when people across the country and particularly in small towns like Sycamore, left doors unlocked and parents didn't give much thought to their children hopping on bikes and riding off with friends — or playing in their front yard.

No crime like this had ever happened in Sycamore, and the abduction of a child was rare enough anywhere that the before the massive search ended with the girl's body found in a forest the following April it was said President Dwight Eisenhower and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover asked for daily updates on the investigation.

In asking for the longest possible sentence, DeKalb County Assistant State's Attorney Victor Escarcida tried to capture just what McCullough did to the people in the courtroom, who were children themselves when the girl vanished.

"Jack McCullough left a lifetime of emotional wreckage in his wake," he said. "Jack McCullough made Sycamore a scary place. Now there was a true boogeyman living among them."

But nobody knew it was McCullough. Though he was one of more than 100 people who were briefly suspects, he had what seemed like a solid alibi. On the day Ridulph vanished, he told investigators, he'd been traveling to Chicago for a medical exam before joining the Air Force.

McCulllough spent years in the military, first in the Air Force and then in the Army. He eventually settled in Seattle, working as a Washington state police officer.

McCullough might have lived out his life quietly, but on her deathbed in 1994, his mother told McCullough's half-sister, Janet Tessier, that she'd lied to police when she supported her son's alibi.

Once a new investigation was launched, authorities went to Chapman, Ridulph's childhood friend, and showed her an old photograph if McCullough. A half century later, she identified him as the teenager who came up to them that snowy day and introduced himself as "Johnny."

Chapman and Janet Tessier both testified at trial.

McCullough did not. On Monday, he pointed to a white box that he said contained 4,000 pages of FBI documents that he said would prove he was not in Sycamore when Ridulph disappeared. His attorneys had argued during the trial that the material supported McCullough's alibi, but Hallock ruled it inadmissible because the people in the documents were dead and could not be cross-examined. On Monday, McCullough's attorney said there would be an appeal and that the FBI documents would be part of that appeal.

McCullough, who suffers from heart and blood pressure problems, also was sentenced to five years for kidnapping — the maximum sentence for that crime in 1957. He will be eligible for parole in 20 years, his attorney said.
Dec 10 - McAfee wants to return to US, 'normal life'

Software company founder John McAfee said Sunday he wants to return to the United States and "settle down to whatever normal life" he can.

In a live-stream Internet broadcast from the Guatemalan detention center where he is fighting a government order that he be returned to Belize, the 67-year-old said "I simply would like to live comfortably day by day, fish, swim, enjoy my declining years."

Police in neighboring Belize want to question McAfee in the fatal shooting of a U.S. expatriate who lived near his home on a Belizean island in November.

The creator of the McAfee antivirus program again denied involvement in the killing during the Sunday Internet video hook-up, during which he answered what he said were reporters' questions.

His comments were sometimes contradictory. McAfee is an acknowledged practical joker who has dabbled in yoga, ultra-light aircraft and the production of herbal medications.

The British-born McAfee first said that returning to the United States "is my only hope now." But he later added, "I would be happy to go to England, I have dual citizenship."

He was emphatic that "I cannot ever return to Belize ... There is no hope for my life if I am ever returned to Belize."

"If I am returned," he said, "bad things will clearly happen to me."

He descibed the health problems that had him briefly hospitalized earlier this week after Guatemalan authorities detained him for entering the country illegally. He apparently snuck in across a rural, unguarded spot along the border.

"I did not eat for two days, I drank very little liquids, and for the first time in many years I've been smoking almost non-stop," he said. "I stood up, passed out hit my head on the wall, came to," though he now said he was feeling better.

McAfee praised the role his 20-year-old Belizean girlfriend, Samantha Vanegas, played in his escape from Belize, where he claims he is being persecuted by corrupt politicians. Authorities in Belize deny that they are persecuting him and have questioned his mental state.

"Sam saved the day many times" during their escape, he said, and suggested he would take her with him to the United States if he is allowed to go there.

He confirmed that journalists from Vice magazine who accompanied him on his escape after weeks of hiding in Belize had unwittingly posted photos with embedded data that revealed his exact location.

"It was an error anyone could make," he said, noting they were under a lot of pressure at the time.

McAfee has led an eccentric life since he sold his stake in the software company named after him in the early 1990s and moved to Belize about three years ago to lower his taxes.

He told The New York Times in 2009 that he had lost all but $4 million of his $100 million fortune in the U.S. financial crisis. However, a story on the Gizmodo website quoted him as describing that claim as "not very accurate at all."

McAfee's Guatemalan attorney, Telesforo Guerra, says that he has filed three separate legal appeals in the hope that his client can stay in Guatemala, where his political asylum request was rejected.

Guerra said he filed an appeal for a judge to make sure McAfee's physical integrity is protected, an appeal against the asylum denial and a petition with immigration officials to allow his client to stay in this Central American country indefinitely.

The appeals could take several days to resolve, Guerra said. He added that he could still use several other legal resources but wouldn't give any other details.

Fredy Viana, a spokesman for the Immigration Department, said that before the agency looks into the request to allow McAfee to stay in Guatemala, a judge must first deal with the appeal asking that authorities make sure McAfee's physical integrity is protected.

"We won't look into (allowing him to stay) until the other appeal is resolved," Viana said. "The law gives me 30 days to resolve the issue."

McAfee went on the run last month after Belizean officials tried to question him about the killing of Gregory Viant Faull, who was shot to death in early November.

McAfee acknowledges that his dogs were bothersome and that Faull had complained about them, but denies killing Faull. Faull's home was a couple of houses down from McAfee's compound in Ambergris Caye, off Belize's Caribbean coast.
Dec 10 - Customers Called 'Fat' on Restaurant Bill

The dinner bill for three friends at Chilly D's Restaurant stung, but it wasn't the price - printed on the top of the receipt were the words "Fat Girls".

"I got the bill, I was looking at bill [and] I was like, 'Why does this receipt say 'fat girls?'" customer Christine Duran said.

The friends had dined out at the Stockton, Calif., restaurant, which is a part of the Cameo Casino Restaurant, on Thursday. The bill lists charges for three tri-tips with fries and three sodas, for a total of $25.50. A bartender named Jeff had apparently typed in "Fat Girls" to keep track of their bill.

When Duran asked a manager for an explanation, he "had like a smirk on his face, like it was funny but trying not to laugh," she said.

Plus-Sized College Student Claims Discrimination at Bar

The dining experience went from bad to worse when the restaurant demanded they still pay the bill, offering them a 25 percent discount and then a 50 percent discount. They declined both offers.

In a Facebook message overnight, Maggie Lewis, the Cameo Club Casino owner, apologized and said the insulting treatment Duran and her friends had received is "intolerable in our establishment."

Jimmy Siemers, co-owner of Chilly D's, didn't work the night Duran and her friends received the offensive receipt, but he said he is trying to clean up the mess.

"I just want to tell them we're sincerely sorry and we'll do everything in our power to make sure this never happens to anyone again," he said.

It's certainly not the first time customers have been insulted on receipts.

In January, a Papa John's employee was fired after writing "Lady Chinky Eyes" on a receipt to identify an Asian customer.

A Maryland woman was insulted at a RadioShack in March when she purchased a cassette tape adapter and left with a receipt that read "ugly itch" from "tattoville," referring to the tattoos on her arm in memory of a child lost to SIDS and her deceased mother.

"Based on descriptions we've seen in the media, this incident obviously does not meet RadioShack's expectations for customer service," Eric Bruner, a spokesman for RadioShack told ABC News. "RadioShack responded immediately after seeing reports in the media, taking the strongest possible disciplinary actions." It is against company policy to discuss individual personnel matters but the company has taken the "strongest action available" in response to the issue, the spokesman said.
Dec 7 - Rotting whale is gigantic problem in Malibu

A whale carcass rotting near celebrity homes in Malibu is causing a gigantic cleanup problem as authorities try to decide who's responsible for getting rid of it.

Los Angeles County lifeguards planned to try to pull the 40,000-pound carcass out to sea at high tide, said Cindy Reyes, executive director of the California Wildlife Center.

However, that may be too much of a job, and the whale was unlikely to be back in the sea anytime Thursday, county fire Inspector Brian Riley said.

"You would need a tug boat to drag it out to sea," Riley told City News Service.

"It is entrenched in the sand and impossible to tow free even at high tide," Riley said. "Burial at low tide will be difficult as well as land removal. It's in an area with bad access."

The city was not sure who would do the job, spokeswoman Olivia Damavandi said.

The Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors was not responsible for disposing of the more than 40-foot body, said Carol Baker, who represents the agency.

"It's on a private beach" controlled by homeowners down to the high tide line and the state is responsible for the tidelands, Baker said.

The young male fin whale washed up Monday between Paradise Cove and Point Dume, near the homes of Barbra Streisand and Bob Dylan.

The whale may have been hit by a ship and had a gash to its back and a damaged spine, according to results of a necropsy conducted Tuesday by the wildlife center.

"It's relatively common for it to happen. It's really unfortunate," Reyes told the Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/UGcue1 ).

Such accidents have become more common as increased numbers of migrating blue, fin and humpback whales swim to California's shore to feast on shrimp-like krill.

Fin whales are endangered and about 2,300 live along the West Coast. They're the second-largest species of whale after blue whales and can grow up to 85 feet, weigh up to 80 tons and live to be 90 years old.
Dec 7 - Boy Sits on Santa's Lap, Realizes It's Father-in-Law 13 Years Later

Taking a trip to your local mall to sit on Santa's lap to tell him what you'd like for Christmas is nothing out of the ordinary for children during the holidays.

But for Chris Burd, 27, of Cottage Grove, Minn., sitting on Santa's lap - only to find out 13 years later that the man is now your father-in-law - was a bit "creepy."

"That is 100 percent who he is. If there was a Santa Claus, it would be him," Burd told ABCNews.com.

Elmer Abbas, who is now Chris's father-in-law, has been dressing up as Santa Claus for the past two decades. Abbas said he really enjoys getting into the Santa role, playing him at numerous small town functions, with his real, full white beard and oh-so-authentic big, red Santa suit.

"My mom was Courtesy Liz Burdgoing through old photos and said she thinks one of my old Santa pictures was me sitting on my fiancé's dad's lap," Chris told ABCNews.com. "And I just told her she's nuts. So later in the week I went over to the house and saw it and decided it wasn't him. But later on, I took a closer look and was like, 'Oh my God. That's Liz's dad."

Chris and Liz Burd had just gotten engaged last December, right around the same time Chris's mother, Charlene Burd, was pulling out pictures from past Christmases to use for a holiday scrapbook gift.

"Right after we got engaged, my now-mother-in-law was looking through pictures and at first glance was like, 'No, that cannot be,'" Liz said. "In the six years we had been together, this picture had never come up. She [Charlene] looked closely and thought, 'Wow. That looks like Elmer."

Turns out, it indeed was Elmer, dressed as Santa Claus in 1998 at Maplewood Mall in Maplewood, Minn., the only year he's ever been a mall Santa.

"That was the first year that I convinced my family that enough kids had told me I looked like Santa so I could get a job at the mall," Abbas said.

Chris was 13 at the time, and says he only went to the mall to appease his 3-yeCourtesy Liz Burdar-old sister.

"His sister was a little girl. Otherwise he wouldn't have done it alone," Liz said. "Even geographically, it's such a coincidence that he went to that mall. He's originally from Ohio and had just moved here."

When Chris saw the picture, he says he was in disbelief.

"It was just really kind of a strange feeling. I have met him so many times, and then just seeing him in the picture, to realize I had met him 13 years before was definitely weird," said Chris.

The coincidence was too funny not to share with their friends, so the couple decided to display Chris's 1998 Santa photo on his father-in-law's lap, alongside Liz's 1998 Santa photo on her dad's lap, in a prominent spot at their Sept. 1 wedding.

"It was fun to tease my future son-in-law about sitting in his father-in-law's lap. And I think I probably made up a couple of stories about what he wanted for Christmas," Abbas said.

"He says he remembered a little boy asking for a beautiful wife," Chris joked. "People were amazed how messed up it was. My groomsman said he was so creeped out by it, but thought it was hilarious. He said it was fate. I had no choice but to marry that girl."
Dec 6 - Smithsonian to unveil largest aquamarine gem

The world's largest cut aquamarine gem will soon go on display in its new home at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.

The museum will unveil the obelisk-shaped Dom Pedro gem Thursday for long-term display. The blue-green crystal was mined in Brazil in the late 1980s and is named for Brazil's first two emperors.

The gem was designed and cut by gem artist Bernd Munsteiner. It stands 14 inches tall and weighs 10,363 carats — or nearly 5 pounds. Cuts in the reverse faces serve to reflect light within the gem.

National Gem Collection Curator Jeffrey Post said museum visitors will be drawn to it because of its color and large size as it joins the Hope Diamond and Marie Antoinette earrings on display. It's difficult to place a value on the gem, though it was offered to the Smithsonian in the late 1990s for $7 million to $10 million, Post said.

In 2011, Jane Mitchell and Jeffery Bland of Palm Beach, Fla., donated the gem to the Smithsonian so it could be publicly displayed.

"As a piece, there's nothing like it, so how do you really know what the value of something like that is?" Post said, noting it will never be sent to auction. "I have no doubt it's going to become one of the iconic pieces of the collection."

The gem was carved from an original crystal that was dropped at one point and broke into three pieces. The Dom Pedro piece was more than 23 inches long and weighed nearly 60 pounds before it was cut, according to the Smithsonian. The other pieces were cut into jewelry.

It's been displayed previously for temporary stints at the Ecoles de Mines, a top gem school in Paris, and also in Houston, Palm Beach, Fla., and Germany. Now its permanent home will be the museum.
Dec 6 - Emails: Holmes Had 'Relationship' with Grad Student

Accused movie theater shooter James Holmes had "a brief romantic relationship" with a graduate student at the University of Colorado, according to one of thousands of emails released to ABC News today.

The revelation came from an email written by an employee of the university, Larry Hunter, to a colleague late in the morning after Holmes is alleged to have killed 12 and wounded 58 at a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises."

Hunter wrote to his colleague, "Yeah, he was a grad student here, and, it turns out, had a brief romantic relationship with one of the grad students in my program last fall. She, fortunately, it turns out is in India right now. She knows, and is pretty freaked out."

The rampage is considered the most extensive mass shooting in U.S. history.

Another email nearly two weeks after the shooting seemed to show growing concern from at least one student about the way the university was responding.

On Aug. 2, 2012, upon learning that Holmes' psychiatrist, Lynne Fenton, had gone to a university threat assessment team about Holmes before the theater massacre, one University of Colorado student wrote an angry letter to the CU communications department. In it, she said, "This is a major failure of the system. You need to address this issue with the students. We deserve to know what's going on here."

The same day, two professors in the University of Colorado's oncology department exchanged emails about a story that noted Holmes had been referred to the threat assessment team.

Said professor Gail Eckhardt to colleague Well Messersmith, "It's really getting messy and heads are going to roll over this -- so tragic."

In July, ABC News and other news organizations filed a series of public records requests with the University of Colorado asking to see the chain of emails by or between key university officials in the days and weeks following the attack.

Soon after that request, a gag order was issued preventing the release of documents such as the one described above.

ABC News also requested to inspect any emails Holmes may have sent to professors or others related to non-personal items such as federally funded research for the university.

Last month, a judge released CU from its gag order.

Today, the university made nearly 3,800 emails public, including approximately 2,300 redacted emails from university employees and an additional 1,500 from two university email accounts belonging to Holmes, himself.

CU also withheld nearly 1,000 emails from university officials and nearly 1,200 emails from Holmes, telling ABC News, "There are additional e-mails not subject to disclosure because they are student records."
Dec 5 - Police Catch Bank Robber On YouTube

19-year-old, Hannah Sabata was arrested on charges stemming from the holdup of a Bank in Waco, Nebraska, after police saw the weird, Green Day scored YouTube video she posted called "Chick Bank Robber." In the video, Sabata shows off the over $6,000 she stole, and brags about stealing cars and drugs while never speaking and holding up illegible pieces of paper. Well, now she's in trouble.
Dec 5 - Why a Falling Birth Rate Is a Big Problem

It sounds like one of those stories you can safely ignore: The U.S. birth rate has hit a record low, led by a big drop in the portion of immigrant women having babies.

This development doesn't directly affect anybody, since it's one of those long-term societal trends that occurs in small increments and doesn't change the unemployment rate, the price of gas, the direction of the stock market or any of the big economic forces that make our lives better or worse today. And since the trend is strongest among immigrants, it sounds like maybe this is something happening in a shadowy part of the economy that doesn't matter all that much.

But it does matter, and if the trend persists, it could mean lower living standards for most Americans in the future.

It may seem intuitively obvious that a slower-growing or declining population is good for the economy, especially when you think about starving children in poor parts of the world where there's not enough food for everybody. In places where resources are severely limited--and economic policies are dysfunctional--it may be true that a growing population is a bad thing.

But that's usually because such economies are static, and instead of creating wealth they typically just divide up what's already there. That's not the situation in America, which has a dynamic economy that creates wealth and more than enough resources for all of its citizens.

[See: What Keeps People Out of the Middle Class]

On the contrary, one of the great strengths of the U.S. economy, especially compared to Europe and Japan, is a relatively high birth rate, which keep the population young, on average, and population growth robust. "Everybody comes into world with one mouth and two hands," says economist Donald Boudreaux of George Mason University. "It's generally true that most people produce more than they consume."

A growing population is good for the economy when rising productivity continually reduces the amount of resources required to produce a given amount of output. Even now, with the U.S. economy in a rut and too many people out of work, productivity is rising, which means a larger population would generate more wealth per person than a smaller one. Boudreaux points out that Manhattan, one of the mostly densely populated places in America, is also one of the wealthiest, whereas rural states like Mississippi are sparsely populated, and much poorer.

The sizeable drop in the U.S. birth rate, reported recently by the Pew Research Center, has probably occurred because of the struggling economy. Though Pew didn't investigate the reasons behind the decline, birth rates tend to rise and fall based on how optimistic or pessimistic people feel. The U.S. birth rate peaked in 1957 (hence the "baby boom" generation), when the economy was booming and the unemployment rate was about 4.5 percent. It sagged in the 1970s, when inflation and other problems battered U.S. workers. The birth rate stabilized in the 1980s and stayed more or less level, until starting to dip again in 2008.

Since then, younger Americans have been waiting longer to get married, often because of economic difficulties. Married couples may be waiting longer to have kids, or having fewer kids, for the same reason. While the trends are more pronounced among immigrants, they're occurring throughout the U.S. population.

These types of demographic trends get the attention of economists when big changes might raise or lower the economy's capacity to grow--which could be happening now. Fewer marriages and fewer children lower the rate of household formation, which means people spend less on everything from appliances to clothing. "Fertility rates have plunged, and that will have an impact on future consumer spending," says Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economists at forecasting firm IHS Global Insight.

That trend could reverse itself if the economy picks up for good and Americans become convinced that happier days lie ahead. But for now, a dearth of babies and a limp economy may be reinforcing each other. A few more babies would be good for business.
Dec 4 - Marine special operations team members honored

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus on Monday honored four members of a Marine special operations team in a rare public ceremony for those who have served in the covert forces.

In a ceremony at Camp Pendleton, Calif., Mabus awarded Marine Sgt. William Soutra Jr. the Navy Cross, the Navy's highest honor and the military's second highest honor, for tending to the wounded while guiding the platoon to safety during an attack in Afghanistan's Helmand Province in July 2010 that spanned over two days.

Three others on his team, including a Navy corpsman, were given Silver Stars.

Often the heroic actions of those on special operations teams are only known to each other and the leadership because of their covert work on classified missions.

"This is a chance to recognize people who don't get recognized much," Mabus said.

Soutra was a canine handler with a Marine special operations team when they were ambushed. After the team's assistant leader was fatally wounded by an enemy explosive during the ambush, Soutra jumped into action, repeatedly running into the line of fire as he helped direct troops to defend themselves and fight off the enemy, Mabus said.

At one point, the 27-year-old Marine from Worcester, Mass., placed a tourniquet on a wounded commando, before dragging him to a ditch for cover. He worked tirelessly for more than an hour after the initial blast and helped carry casualties through the sporadic gunfire, officials said.

His military dog stayed attached to his side during the ordeal. The dog had to be put down more than a year ago because it had cancer.

Maj. James Rose, Staff Sgt. Frankie Shinost Jr. and Navy Corpsman Patrick Quill were given Silver Stars for their actions that day.

The four men called it a horrible day because they lost their element leader, Staff Sgt. Chris Antonik.

"Every day I think about Chris," said Soutra, calling him a close friend and great warrior.

Soutra vowed to try to carry on as the kind of warrior that would make Antonik proud.
Dec 4 - 'Maternity Mansion' Lures Pregnant Women From China

The unassuming home at the top of the hill in an upscale Chino Hills, Calif., neighborhood has been operating as a "maternity mansion," charging women from China high prices to give birth in the United States, essentially buying American citizenship for their babies, according to neighbors who want the operation shut down.

An address found on AsiamChild.com, a Chinese language website advertising the American birthing experience to prospective mothers, matches with the Chino Hills residence. Packages on the site range from $5,000 to $15,000 and call the expenditure a "worthwhile investment" in order to have an American baby.

"We are trying to get the word out that we are not going to condone this type of behavior and allow this type of business to come into our family-oriented community," said Rossana Mitchell, a 22-year resident of the city and spokeswoman for Not In Chino Hills, a group that was formed in response to the "maternity mansion."

The 14th Amendment guarantees citizenship to all people born or naturalized in the United States.

Authorities in Chino Hills began looking into the residence several months ago, after neighbors feared the numerous, heavily pregnant women they saw filtering in and out of the seven bedroom home could be part of a human trafficking ring.

Last week, the City of Chino Hills issued the foreign-based owner of the home a cease-and-desist order for allegedly operating a hotel in a residential neighborhood, which is illegal, Los Angeles ABC station KABC-TV reported.

ABCNews.com was unable to reach owner Hai Yong Wu for comment.

The website includes tips for mothers on how to hide their pregnancies from U.S. customs officers, so they can receive a visitor's visa.

Pregnant mothers are advised to wear a dark T-shirt and use a large backpack to cover their stomachs, according to advice on the website. They are also told to not bring in any items specific to pregnant women and babies, in order to prevent suspicion.

Aside from citizenship, the website touts other perks American citizens enjoy, including free public education, better loan rates and social welfare during retirement.

"It's so blatant and from doing my research, this is an epidemic and it's nationwide," Mitchell said. "It's a way to buy citizenship. We don't want it here in Chino Hills."
Dec 3 - Family Welcomes Second Set of Twins in a Row

Twin toddlers can be a handful by themselves. But when you add in a couple of newborns, the potential for chaos—and happiness—is enormous.

Thirteen-month-old twins Grayson and Garin Martin welcomed identical baby sisters, Hayden and Harley, last week. And their parents, Jaclyn and Chad Martin of Weatherford, Texas, are still reeling from the reality of having two sets of twins in a row. (For now, the tired parents tell which baby is which by looking at their hospital bracelets, which are still around the newborns' tiny wrists.)

"More than anything I was shocked to hear twins again," Chad Martin told CBS News. "I didn't believe it at first."

Having consecutive sets of twins without having undergone fertility treatments is very unusual. The odds "might be one in 10,000" says Jaclyn's OB/GYN, Dr. Stephen Stamatis, who delivered both sets of her twins at Weatherford Regional Medical Center. "It's pretty rare. It's the first time that I actually had a patient with consecutive pregnancies with twins."

Having multiples may run in the family. Chad's mother is a twin, he says, but Jaclyn's side has many more. "My dad has twin sisters, and then my great great grandmother had four sets of twins," Jaclyn says.

(The odds of the Martins having a third set of twins? About one in 50, Stamatis says. "No more for now!" Jaclyn quips. "It might be more reasonable in the near future.")

Two sets of twins will make for a hectic—and possibly expensive—household as the kids get older.

"We'll have four teenagers at the same time," says Jaclyn. "They'll be driving, needing cars, going to school."

But the Martins say that they are up for the challenge—mainly because coping with twins is all that they know of parenthood.

"We really don't know any better," says Chad. "It's been twins both times."
Dec 3 - 'Cognitive Big Bang' Discovered in Tiny Sea Worm

Several "brainy" genes that were duplicated in a tiny sea creature nearly 550 million years ago may have led to the massive expansion in intelligence in vertebrate species, two new studies have found.

The studies, published Dec. 2 in the journal Nature Neuroscience, suggest this duplication of certain genes spurred an explosion in the number of chemicals that regulate brain function in vertebrates (animals with backbones), thereby leading to greater intelligence, the research suggests.

"This genome event produced a kind of cognitive big bang; it produced a large set of interesting behavior," said study co-author Seth Grant, a neuroscientist at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. "It produced a molecular toolbox, which in the case of the brain, produced many, many more proteins that you find in the synapses, the junctions between nerve cells."

The study showed that changes, or mutations, in these genes lead to learning problems in both mice and humans, as well as psychological disorders in humans, said Jeffrey Boore, the CEO of Genome Project Solutions, who was not involved in the study. That supports the notion that these genes "have diversified throughout evolution from their ancient duplications to perform important, specific, diverse roles in mammal cognition in behavior."

Vertebrate explosion

Vertebrates are more intelligent than invertebrates (animals with no backbone), but how those smarts evolved has remained a mystery. In general, vertebrates have many more proteins, which carry out a gene's instructions, in the brain and nervous system; these proteins enable spiny creatures to have a wider, more flexible range of behaviors than invertebrates, Grant said. [Inside the Brain: A Journey Through Time]

"It would be like a stereo or a machine with many more switches in it; it can do more sophisticated types of things," Grant told LiveScience.

Grant and his colleagues wondered whether duplications of certain genes contributed to this explosion in the number of brain proteins, and as a result, to vertebrate intelligence. That's because duplications in genes can give creatures the buffering to evolve more rapidly, Grant said.

(Normally, if a mutation crops up in a gene that's critical to an animal's survival, evolution will weed out that animal, which usually means very little change occurs in critical genes. But if there are two copies of a gene, then the animal has a spare functioning copy, which allows those genes to rack up more mutations — both beneficial, harmful and neutral — without reducing survival fitness.)

In particular, the researchers noticed that vertebrates had multiple copies of two genes that process glutamate, a brain chemical critical for learning and memory. Those genes, which code for the receptor that binds glutamate and the cellular components that process it inside brain cells, were first duplicated in a 2-inch-long (5 centimeters), sea-faring worm called a pikaia that gave rise to all vertebrate species about 550 million yeas ago.

Roots of intelligence

To see whether that duplication formed the genetic origin of intelligence in vertebrates, Grant's team subjected mice with different mutations in these genes to a battery of visual tests that assess learning and attention in changing environments. Different mutations led mice to perform better or worse on cognitive tests, which implied that these genes play a key role in mouse intelligence.

Moreover, the team showed humans and mice carrying the same mutation in a specific glutamate-transporting gene have reduced adaptive learning, suggesting these genes control intelligence and learning across vertebrate species. (In humans, this gene mutation is linked to schizophrenia.)

The findings suggest those first gene duplications probably also gave rise to rapid evolution in the nervous-system proteins that interact with the glutamate receptor, enabling vertebrates to have more subtle, sophisticated responses to their environment.

"Our evidence shows unambiguously that these genome duplications and expansions in the gene family have produced greater complexity to the behavioral repertoire of the vertebrate," Grant said.
Nov 30 - Napoleon's secret coded Kremlin letter on sale

The single line of Napoleon's secret code told Paris of his desperate, last order against the Russians: "At three o'clock in the morning, on the 22nd I am going to blow up the Kremlin."

By the time Paris received the letter three days later, the Russian czar's seat of power was in flames and the diminished French army was in retreat. Its elegantly calligraphic ciphers show history's famed general at one of his weakest moments.

"My cavalry is in tatters, many horses are dying," dictated Napoleon, the once-feared leader showing the strain of his calamitous Russian invasion, which halved his army.

The rare document — dated Oct. 20, 1812, signed "Nap" in the emperor's hand and written in numeric code — is up for auction Sunday at France's Fontainebleau Auction House.

The Napoleon code, used only for top-secret letters when the French emperor was far from home, aimed to stop enemies from intercepting French army orders. The code was regularly changed to prevent it from being cracked.

Napoleon must have dispatched his strongest horses and riders to carry the news: It only took three days to reach France's interior ministry — 1,540 miles (2,480 kilometers) across Europe.

"This letter is unique. Not only is it all in code, but it's the first time we see this different Napoleon. He went into Moscow in 1812 at the height of his power. He returned profoundly weakened. In Moscow, the Russians had fled days before and burnt down the city. There was no victory for Napoleon, nor were there any provisions for his starving, dying army," says Jean-Christophe Chataignier of the auction house.

The only thing left for the weakened leader was to give the order to burn Russia's government buildings — coded in the letter as "449, 514, 451, 1365..."

It is evidence of what historians call the beginning of the end of Napoleon's glorious empire, which started in Russia and ended at Waterloo three years later.

In June 1812, Napoleon's "Grand Army" — at 600,000 men one of the largest in human history — confidently entered Russia. But they were woefully unprepared for the harsh weather, the strong Russian defense and the Russian scorched-earth tactics, which left nothing behind to sustain the hungry and freezing French troops.

"This letter is an incredible insight, we never see Napoleon emotively speaking in this way before," says Chataignier. "Only in letters to (his wife) Josephine did he ever express anything near to emotion. Moscow knocked him."

In the text — which announces that his commanders are evacuating Moscow — Napoleon laments his army's plight, asking for assistance to replenish his forces and the ravaged cavalry, which saw thousands of horses die.

In September, 200 years after Russia's victory over Napoleon, the Kremlin held huge celebrations aimed at rousing patriotism among modern Russians. The highlight was a re-enactment of the battle of Borodino — one of the most damaging clashes for Napoleon's troops — which saw thousands in Russian and French military uniforms perform before several hundred thousand spectators.

The 1812 victory played an important role in Russia's emergence as a major world power. Until World War I, Napoleon's Russian campaign and the ensuing wars were the largest European military face-off in history.

The letter, which is accompanied by a second decoded sheet, is estimated to fetch up to €15,000 ($19,500).

NASA's Messenger spacecraft has discovered evidence that the planet Mercury has enough ice on its surface to encase Washington, D.C., in a block two and a half miles deep.

"For more than 20 years the jury has been deliberating on whether the planet closest to the Sun hosts abundant water ice in its permanently shadowed polar regions," writes Sean Solomon of the Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, the principal investigator of the Messenger mission. The spacecraft "has now supplied a unanimous affirmative verdict."

"These reflectance anomalies are concentrated on poleward-facing slopes and are spatially collocated with areas of high radar backscatter postulated to be the result of near-surface water ice," Gregory Neumann of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center writes in the paper. "Correlation of observed reflectance with modeled temperatures indicates that the optically bright regions are consistent with surface water ice."

The study results were published on Wednesday in Science magazine, which explains in its summary, "The buried layer must be nearly pure water ice. The upper layer contains less than 25 wt.% water-equivalent hydrogen. The total mass of water at Mercury's poles is inferred to be 2 × 1016 to 1018 g and is consistent with delivery by comets or volatile-rich asteroids."

Radar imaging of Mercury has long suggested that there could be large deposits on the planet's surface, with reports dating to 1991. But today's report presents harder evidence supporting that theory.

Messenger has fired more than 10 million laser imaging pulses at Mercury's surface since arriving in its orbit in 2011. Feedback from those pulses have helped NASA in its quest to verify whether ice is present in Mercury's poles, which are largely shielded from exposure to the sun's rays.

Got a Scrabble fan on your holiday wish list and a cool $30,000 to spare? The good news is that you can totally afford this gorgeous piece of board-game esoterica. The bad news is that you can't actually buy it.

Why is this Scrabble set so expensive? Although you might associate the word-building classic with low-tech, old-fashioned family fun, this particular board is anything but basic.

For starters, each of its 100 tiles hides an embedded radio-frequency identification (RFID) tag, and both the board and the players' tile racks contain sensors that can tell exactly when and where a tile is played.

It's also packing LED lighting, a carbon fiber turntable unit, and a custom-made system that can broadcast the game directly to the Internet. In other words, it wouldn't be out of place on "Pimp My Ride" -- which is appropriate, really, because it costs as much as a perfectly good car.

The pricey board was designed for the Prague Mindsports Festival, a shindig kicking off on December 1 that features a top-flight Scrabble contest with a 10,000 euro purse, as well as high-level games of bridge, poker, backgammon, and Risk. As far as we know, the board's a one-of-a-kind...although who knows, it might be worth calling the organizers once the contest is over. Maybe they'll be looking for a buyer.

But if that doesn't pan out, never fear. The previous contender for the world's most expensive Scrabble set, a beautiful, 6'-square wall-mounted offering from curio retailer Hammacher Schlemmer, is still on sale, and at just $12,000, it's a bargain by comparison.
Nov 29 - Scientists make wheat genetic code breakthrough

Scientists from Britain, Germany and the United States have unlocked key components of the genetic code for wheat, helping to create varieties that are more productive and better able to cope with disease, drought and other crop stresses.

The identification of around 96,000 wheat genes, and insights into the links between them, comes just two years after UK researchers published the raw data of the wheat genome.

"Since 1980, the rate of increase in wheat yields has declined," said one of the project leaders, Keith Edwards of the University of Bristol.

"Analysis of the wheat genome sequence data provides a new and very powerful foundation for breeding future generations of wheat more quickly and more precisely, to help address this problem," he added.

The research was published in the journal Nature on Wednesday.

"Bread wheat is a complex hybrid, composed of the complete genomes of three closely related grasses. This makes it very complex and large; in total it is almost five times bigger than the human genome," said another of the project's leaders, Klaus Mayer of Helmholtz-Zentrum Munchen.

"Because of this, we took a novel approach to analysing the data and we have been successful in turning it into an accessible and useful resource that will accelerate breeding and the discovery of varieties with improved performance - for example better disease resistance and stress tolerance."

Jan Dvorak of the University of California, Davis led the U.S. contribution to the project.

The study was welcomed by other scientists.

"As we struggle to confront the increasing challenges of population increase, land degradation and climate change that are contributing to food insecurity, it will be vital to understand the underlying genetics of staple crops like wheat," said Denis Murphy of the University of Glamorgan.

"The newly published wheat genome will be a vital resource for researchers and crop breeders across the world in their efforts to maintain global food supplies."
Nov 27 - Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar dies at age 86

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar died Wednesday morning at the age of 86 in Dallas, according to his website and his Facebook page.

“Zig Ziglar passed from this world today after a short bout with pneumonia. Though his time on earth has ended, he is speaking with Jesus now in his heavenly home. The angels in heaven are rejoicing and his family is celebrating a life well lived,” according to the Facebook page.

A longtime Dallas fixture, Ziglar’s speaking career spanned more than 50 years. He retired in December 2010.

Ziglar and Jean, his wife of 65 years, had lived in a retirement community in Plano, Texas for the past two years, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Ziglar was a World War II veteran who grew up in Yazoo City, Miss., and then went to work in sales for a series of companies, where his interest in motivational speaking grew, according to his website.

He was known for corporate training and motivational speeches that aimed to improve people’s personal lives and careers. His company includes more than a dozen other speakers who advocate “The Ziglar Way.”

Ziglar wrote more than 30 books, including “See You at the Top” and “Over the Top.”
Nov 28 - Ga. Toddler Tossed as Car Smashes Jewelry Store

A 16-month-old Georgia boy was thrown three feet into the air after a customer at his father's jewelry store plowed her car through the shop's front windows.

The accident happened Saturday as the toddler, Gray Harkleroad, was with his father, Marion, at the family's store, Harkleroad Diamonds & Fine Jewelry, in Savannah.

Surveillance video from inside the family-owned store of 26 years captured the moment Gray, who was born premature at just two pounds, ran into his dad's office. Just seconds later, he was thrown into the air by the car, which had plowed through the store's front entrance and two jewelry showcases before coming to a stop in Harkleroad's office.

"I saw him kind of buckle back and he flew backwards airborne," Harkleroad, who was sitting at his desk at the time and suffered bruises, cuts and numbness from being hit by the flying debris, told ABC News.

Also in the store at the time was Harkleroad's older son Caleb, who came to the rescue of his younger brother.

"By the time I got over my desk and got back to my feet, my 21-year-old son Caleb Harkleroad had already reacted," Harkleroad said. "I keep saying it over and over but basically he is my hero. He got to my baby before I could."

Caleb attributed the fact that he and his family survived the crash to a higher power.

"Thankful to God the angels were here," he said. "Nobody knew who was hurt or what was going on or what happened. It was just chaos."

The driver was identified by authorities as 84-year-old Christina Wands, a customer visiting the store to pick up her watch.

"I pulled into the parking space and thought, 'Gee, great, I have a parking space right up by the door,' and I was going to put the brake on and turn the car off and go in," Wands told ABCNews.com today by phone from her Savannah home. "I was wearing diabetic shoes and what must have happened is I hit the gas instead of the brake."

"I couldn't find the brake," she said. "That's what happened. I did not drive my car into the jewelry store."

Wands was ticketed and charged with reckless driving, according to Officer Gena Bilbo with the Savannah Police. She is scheduled to appear in court in January.

Her car, a 2001 Mercury Grand Marquis, was totaled in the accident and Wand, who herself was not injured, does not plan to drive again.

"I just thank God that I didn't hit him. I never saw him," she said of Gray. "I'm glad no one was hurt."

The jewelry store is still undergoing construction but reopened for business today, Harkleroad told ABCNews.com.
Nov 28 - Hello, Hashtag? Parents Give Baby Girl a Twitter-Inspired Name

Crazy baby names are nothing new. In fact, in recent years they've become endemic in our culture, with entire websites devoted to bad baby names, deliberate misspellings masquerading as parental "creativity," and celebrities who go way way past "unusual" and into "Wait. What?" territory (like actor Jason Lee, who named his child Pilot Inspektor in 2003).

But Hashtag? As in, well, #hashtag? Really? Really.

"Hashtag Jameson was born at 10 o'clock last nite," the proud parent announced on Facebook Saturday night. "She weys 8pounds and i luv her so much!!!!!!"

Spelling-challenged friends started leaving equally creative congratulations in the comments.

"Aww babes you finally had youre Tweetybird xxx," one wrote.

Some internet commenters have questioned whether the announcement is just a poorly executed viral marketing campaign for a certain brand of whiskey -- #Jameson? (Though we tried, Yahoo! Shine couldn't confirm the photo's legitimacy, but it's well within the realm of possibility -- if the musician Prince could use a symbol as his name, why not a non-celebrity?) Others tweeted slightly crueler hashtags of their own: #Foolishparents, #YourParentsHateYou, #StupidestNameEver. Many, many commenters all over the internet wondered about the parents' mental stability.

"These are the things that convince me the world is ending in a month," lamented John Toronto at Buzzfeed. "Not the unstable sociopolitical nature of many nations of the world. Not the increasingly erratic weather patterns we've been seeing. Nope. Someone named their child Hashtag. We are all f****d and I think we might deserve it."

Despite the outrage over this most recent naming debacle, parents have always named their kids after things that are important to them, whether it's a beloved relative, "The Hunger Games," a hot celebrity, glittery vampires -- or, today, social media.

In February 2011, a man in Egypt named his firstborn daughter Facebook -- a nod to the role that the website played at the start of the Arab Spring. In Israel, Lior Adler and his wife, Vardit, named their little girl "Like" when she was born in May 2011 (the couple also named one of their older daughters Pie because they enjoy cooking, they said). Now that little Hashtag has arrived, all we need is a tiny Tumblr, an adorable "@," and sweet little "YouTube" and the social media baby name trend will be properly established.

We're sure that little Hashtag will find a way to avoid problems on the playground (she can always say her real name is Taggart, as in Romney, or get even more conventional and call herself Ash, short for Ashley). Still, she's likely to face a few issues down the road that her social-media loving parents probably hadn't thought about.

"I'm betting she'll go by 'Ash' but her classmates will know her real name," wagered Carlo Sta. Romana in the comments at Mashable. "Wonder what it'll be like in 20 years when she'll have to explain what a hashtag is?"
Nov 27 - Global first: Brit visits all 201 states without flying

A British adventurer has become the first person to travel to all 201 sovereign states in the world without flying, ending his four-year odyssey early Monday when he arrived in South Sudan, the world’s newest nation.

Graham Hughes has used buses, boats, taxis, trains, and his own two feet – but never an airplane – to travel 160,000 miles in exactly 1,426 days, spending an average of less than $100 a week.

“I love travel, and I guess my reason for doing it was I wanted to see if this could be done, by one person traveling on a shoestring,” Mr. Hughes tells the Monitor Monday by telephone from Juba, South Sudan’s capital. “I think I also wanted to show that the world is not some big, scary place, but in fact is full of people who want to help you even if you are a stranger.”

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Hughes, 33, set out from his home in Liverpool in northern England on New Year’s Day 2009.

Since then, he has visited all 193 United Nations member states plus Taiwan, Vatican City, Palestine, Kosovo, Western Sahara, and the four home nations of the United Kingdom.


Guinness World Records have confirmed that Hughes, who has been filming the trip for a documentary and raising money for a charity called Water Aid, is the first person to achieve this feat without flying.

“The main feeling today is just one of intense gratitude to every person around the world who helped me get here, by giving me a lift, letting me stay on their couch, or pointing me in the right direction,” Hughes said Monday. “There were times, sitting in a bus station in Cambodia at one in the morning, riding some awful truck over bad roads, when I thought, why am I doing this? But there was always a reason to keep going.”

Highlights were swimming in a lake of jellyfish in the Pacific archipelago of Palau, watching one of NASA’s last Space Shuttle launches, and dancing with the jungle tribes of Papua New Guinea.

“People asked me how I was going to get to Afghanistan or Iraq or North Korea, but they were the easy ones, you don’t even need a visa for Iraq, you just walk across the border from Turkey,” he says.

“The really tough ones were places like Nauru, and the Maldives and the Seychelles, island countries where there were also sometimes pirate threats.”

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To cross oceans, Hughes hitched lifts with cargo ships. He spent four days in an open fishing canoe from Senegal to Cape Verde, and was then arrested when he arrived.

Later, officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo jailed him for six days believing he was a spy.

“None of this put me off, it just made me more bloody-minded to succeed,” he says.


The hardest point, “when I just wanted to give up,” he remembers, was after his older sister, Nicola, died from cancer two years ago at the age of 39. Hughes rushed home to see her before she died.

“She told me not to stop the trip, but I was at a real low point. I’d done 184 countries and had only 17 to go and I thought why not leave it there,” he says. The memory of his sister spurred him on, as did the people that he met as he traveled and the money he was raising for Water Aid, which works to bring clean water to people in the developing world.

“If you take everything that you know of the world from the news, it’s all the bad stuff and you get very paranoid that everyone is out to get you,” he says. “But the most amazing thing to me is that everyone I met looked after me and I didn’t even know them.”

Hughes plans to stay in South Sudan only until Wednesday. But he will not then be flying home.

He says to “keep in the spirit of the adventure” he will continue through Africa and across Europe by bus and boat, aiming to return home to Liverpool by ferry from Ireland in time for Christmas.

“Someone wrote to me and pointed out that this would be the trip of a lifetime for most people, but for me it’s essentially just the bus home,” he says. After a long rest, he says he will then begin exploring options to continue with a career in film-making.
Nov 27 - Melting permafrost a new peril in global warming - U.N.

Permafrost lands across Siberia and Alaska that contain vast stores of carbon are beginning to thaw, bringing with it the threat of a big increase in global warming by 2100, a U.N. report said on Tuesday.

A thaw of the vast areas of permanently frozen ground in Russia, Canada, China and the United States also threatens local homes, roads, railways and oil pipelines, the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) said in the report which was released at the U.N. climate talks being held this week and next in Qatar.

"Permafrost has begun to thaw," Kevin Schaefer, lead author at the University of Colorado told a news conference in Doha.

An accelerating melt would free vast amounts of carbon dioxide and methane which has been trapped in organic matter in the subsoil, often for thousands of years, the report said.

Warming permafrost could release the equivalent of between 43 and 135 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, by 2100. That would be up to 39 percent of annual emissions from human sources.

Permafrost now contains 1,700 billion tonnes of carbon, or twice the amount now in the atmosphere, it said.


And a melt of the permafrost meant that U.N. projections for rising temperatures this century "might be too low", Schaefer said.

UNEP issued a report last week saying that rising world greenhouse gas emissions were on track to push up temperatures by between 3 and 5 degrees Celsius (5.4 to 9F) by 2100.

That is far above a ceiling set by almost 200 nations at the U.N. climate talks in 2010 of limiting any rise to below 2 degrees C (3.6 F) to avert more floods, droughts, heatwaves and rising sea levels.

But that report did not fully factor in the risks from the permafrost, UNEP said. A thaw would create a vicious circle, since the release of more greenhouse gases would trap more heat in the air and in turn accelerate the melting.

That could bring an irreversible, runaway effect.

Targets for emissions in any new treaty to combat global warming, which is meant to come into force by 2020 with curbs by all nations, "need to account for these emissions or we risk overshooting the 2°C maximum warming target," Schaefer said.

"Permafrost is one of the keys to the planet's future," Achim Steiner, head of UNEP, said in a statement. "Its potential impact on the climate, ecosystems and infrastructure has been neglected for too long."

The study said that a thaw could also undermine infrastrucutre, from bridges to power lines, and harm animal and plant life in the north, a region of forests and tundra.

It pointed to the 1994 failure of a pipeline to the Vozei oilfield in northern Russia, which led to a spill of 160,000 tonnes of oil, the world's largest terrestrial oil spill.

Authors suggested a special report about permafrost by the U.N. panel of climate experts and urged better monitoring of permafrost in the north.

But the vice-chair of the panel, Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, said global reports by the panel due in 2013 and 2014 would include the latest findings. "It might be premature to say a special report is needed," he said.
Nov 16 - Smuggler Swallows 220 Diamonds

A tip prompted South African police to run a scan on a Lebanese traveler flying out of the country and find 220 polished diamonds in his stomach.

The traveler, who was 25 but not immediately identified, was arrested and administered a laxative to retrieve the gems which were valued at $2.3 million.

He was arrested Tuesday night at the O.R. Tambo International Airport near Johannesburg.

"He was intercepted just as he was about to go through the security checkpoint. Then took him for a scan where we discovered where he was hiding the diamonds," said Capt. Paul Ramaloka of the South African Police Service. Police recovered the diamonds after giving the smuggling suspect laxatives.

Ramaloka said investigators began following the man after receiving inside information about a possible diamond smuggling ring. They say he is a Lebanese national who was planning to fly to Dubai.

In South Africa, one of the world's top producers of diamonds, investigators are always watching closely for diamond smugglers. Ramaloka believes their efforts have deterred much of the crime.

"The trend of people smuggling by ingesting substances used to be quite common but has now fallen off due to increased security," Ramaloka said.

He said the last such incident was in January of this year when another Lebanese national was arrested at the airport with more than $1 million worth of diamonds in his stomach. Police are investigating if the cases are related. They are still working to find the source of the diamonds recovered this week.
Nov 16 - Super Material Can Stop Speeding Bullet

Researchers at a Rice University lab are researching technology that that could potentially stop a 9-millimeter bullet and seal the entryway behind it - an advance that may have huge implications for ballistic protection for soldiers, as well as other uses.

During tests, the researchers were able to shoot tiny glass beads at the material, which effectively stopped bullets in their paths.

"This would be a great ballistic windshield material," scientist Ned Thomas said in a clip posted on the university's website.

The group, which included scientist Thomas, Rice research scientist Jae-Hwang Lee and a team from MIT's Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies, was looking for ways to make materials "more impervious to deformation or failure." The result would be better, stronger, lighter armor for soldiers and police, and protection for sensitive materials subject to small, fast moving objects, such as aircraft and satellites.

The researchers were looking at a complex polyurethane material that they saw was able to stop a 9 mm slug and seal its entryway. When penetrated by a tiny projectile at a high velocity, the material melted into a liquid that stopped the fast-moving object and actually sealed the hole it made.

"There's no macroscopic damage; the material hasn't failed; it hasn't cracked," Thomas said.

During their research, they found an excellent model material called a polystyrene-polydimethylsiloxane diblock-copolymer. Using two different methods, the team was eventually able to cross-section the structure to determine the depth of the bullets, and according to their study, the layers showed the ability to deform without breaking.

"[The layers] tell the story of the evolution of penetration of the projectile and help us understand what mechanisms, at the nanoscale, may be taking place in order for this to be such a great, high-performance, lightweight protection material."
Nov 15 - McAfee Tells ABC News He Is Innocent

Tech guru John McAfee told ABC News in his first broadcast interview that he did not kill his neighbor Gregory Faull, and is now in hiding, fearful of what he calls a "corrupt government" in Belize that he believes is trying to kill him.

"I am a very nice guy and certainly innocent of the charges leveled against me," McAfee told ABC News by phone on Wednesday.

The increasingly paranoid millionaire declined to meet with ABC News for an interview.

"Well, we'll talk on the phone first. Talking face to face is going to be a very difficult thing, sir. People know you're not being followed by. I can assure you, but you are," McAfee said.

"I insist that we're living in a corrupt government, it's easy to point that out," he said.

McAfee is now on the run from police in San Pedro, Belize, after he was named a person of interest by police after Faull, 52, was found murdered Sunday morning.

McAfee, who is being sought for questioning in Faull's murder, is not believed to have left Belize. McAfee would not comment on his location, but said he feels secure where he is.

McAfee, 67, fears he will be killed if he ends up in government custody.

"The government is able to listen to any phone conversation and triangulate fairly closely," said McAfee, who changes phones every few hours.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Dean Barrow said McAfee needed to "man up" and talk to police. "He seems to be extremely paranoid. I would go so far as to say bonkers," Barrow said.

Police say they have good reason to question McAfee.

ABC News has obtained an exclusive copy of the complaint against McAfee, which Faull wrote on behalf of the neighborhood and filed with local officials last month.

"The residents and visitors of the Mata Grande Subdivision and surrounding properties petition [local authorities] to address 3 issues affecting our safety, health and tourism," says the complaint. "These problems are all at the residence of John McAfee."

The petition charges that security guards on McAfee's property "walk around with shotguns at night and up and down the beach . . . They have been known to shine spotlights right into peoples' eyes at night and act aggressively with their guns, chambering a bullet and nonsense such as this. People are scared to walk down the beach at night as a result. The tourists are terrified."

READ the complaint here.

The complaint also alleges that taxis and delivery trucks arrive at McAfee's house at all hours, and that "vicious dogs" on his property are running amok. "These animals get loose and run as a pack. Three residents have been bitten and three tourists have been attacked."

According to the complaint, when one of McAfee's dogs attacked a young female tourist, a neighbor who had witnessed the attack confronted McAfee, who had also witnessed the attack. McAfee "did nothing about it," says the complaint. Neighbors told ABC News that Faull, who lived 300 yards from McAfee, was the person who confronted McAfee.

On Friday, McAfee said through Wired editor Joshua Davis, who has kept in touch with McAfee while in hiding, he found his dogs poisoned. To be humane, McAfee said he shot four of the dogs to put them out of misery and buried them.

Faull was found dead on Sunday morning on the second story of his home with a gunshot to the back of his head. There was no sign of forced entry, and police found a 9 mm casing at the scene. Faull's laptop and iPhone were missing.

McAfee brushes off reports that he is insane. Recent photos have surfaced showing the former software tycoon pressing a pistol to his temple and totting a shotgun. McAfee says the media has portrayed him as gun-obsessed.

"I've never seen myself walking around shirtless carrying a shotgun, what an absurd thing to do," McAfee said. "… I would walk around armed, but mostly with a pistol in a holster and wearing clothes for god sake."

McAfee is best known for developing anti-piracy software in the 1980s and helping to pioneer instant messaging in the 1990s. He sold his shares in the software company that bears his name in 1994 and pocketed $100 million. After losing all but $4 million of his fortune, he moved to Belize five years ago.
Nov 15 - 'Orphan' Alien Planet Found Nearby Without Parent Star

Astronomers have discovered a potential "rogue" alien planet wandering alone just 100 light-years from Earth, suggesting that such starless worlds may be extremely common across the galaxy.

The free-floating object, called CFBDSIR2149, is likely a gas giant planet four to seven times more massive than Jupiter, scientists say in a new study unveiled today (Nov. 14). The planet cruises unbound through space relatively close to Earth (in astronomical terms), perhaps after being booted from its own solar system.

"If this little object is a planet that has been ejected from its native system, it conjures up the striking image of orphaned worlds, drifting in the emptiness of space," study leader Philippe Delorme, of the Institute of Planetology and Astrophysics of Grenoble in France, said in a statement.

Orphan planet, or something else?

Delorme and his team discovered CFBDSIR2149 using the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, then examined its properties with the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile. [Video: Rogue Planet Has No Parent Star]

The newfound object appears to be among a stream of young stars called the AB Doradus moving group, the closest such stream to our own solar system.

Scientists think the AB Doradus stars all formed together between 50 million and 120 million years ago. If CFBDSIR2149 is indeed associated with the group — and researchers cite a nearly 90 percent probability — then the object is similarly young.

And if the discovery team is right about CFBDSIR2149's age, the body is likely a planet, with an average temperature of 806 degrees Fahrenheit (430 degrees Celsius), researchers said.

There's still a slight chance that CFBDSIR2149 is a brown dwarf — a strange object that's larger than a planet but too small to trigger the internal nuclear fusion reactions required to become a full-fledged star. Additional observations should help decide the matter.

"We need new observations to confirm that this object belongs to the AB Doradus moving group," Delorme told SPACE.com via email. "With a good distance measurement and a more accurate proper motion, we will be able to increase (or decrease) the probability that it is indeed a planet."

The new study was published today in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Billions of starless planets?

The discovery of a starless alien planet would not be shocking, at least not anymore. In the last year or so, astronomers have spotted a number of such orphan worlds — so many, in fact, that some scientists think parentless planets are the rule rather than the exception.

One 2011 study, for example, estimated that rogue worlds outnumber "normal" planets with obvious host stars by at least 50 percent throughout the Milky Way. If that's the case, the galaxy that includes Earth probably also hosts billions of orphan planets.

And gas giants may be in the minority among these solitary wanderers, researchers say.

"We now know that such massive planets are rare and that Neptunes or Earth-mass planets are much more common," Delorme said. "We also know that massive objects are more difficult to eject [from solar systems] than light ones. If you follow the rationale, you deduce that ejected exo-Neptunes and ejected exo-Earths should be much more common than objects like CFBDSIR2149."

It's exciting to have a starless planet so close to Earth, researchers say. Future telescopes should be able to learn a great deal about CFBDSIR2149, since they won't have to contend with the overwhelming glare of a nearby host star.

"This object is a really easy-to-study prototype of the 'normal' giant planets we hope to discover and study with the upcoming generation of direct-imaging instruments," Delorme said. "It will help to improve our forecast of these objects' luminosity and hence help us discover them ?and, once discovered, it will help us understand the physics of their atmospheres."
Nov 14 - World Pole Dancing Championship Dominated By Russians, Ukrainians

After Americans went to the polls, the rest of the world went to the poles -- for the World Pole Dancing Championships this past weekend in Zurich, Switzerland.

Dancers from 26 countries did what they could do to raise the bar for the sport, which has become as popular in gyms as it has in exotic night clubs.

Some say the physical act of climbing and twirling around a pole has roots in the Chinese circus, according to PolicyMic.com. Back then, it was performed by men more than women.

It wasn't until the late 1980s that pole dancing moved into gentlemen's clubs.

Because of pole dancing's Asian roots, the Chinese pole dancing team had high hopes to win big in Zurich, according to GlobalTimes.

Instead, the country remains the sport's sleeping giant. The competition was dominated by Russian and Ukraine dancers, including Ukraine's own Natalia Tatarintseva, the top female, according to HuffPost UK.

Pole dancing has a reputation as being a sleazy activity - but watching the competitors at the World Pole Dancing Championship in Zurich shows that some women (and the odd man) clearly treat it as a sport.

The grace and power shown by those taking part is quite breathtaking - they make it look more like pole gymnastics.

And there's no doubting that you need to be incredibly physically fit to pull off the routines on show at the championship.

In the end the medal winners hailed mostly from the Ukraine and Russia, but the UK did pick up a gong, with Soho scene dancer Nico Modestine winning Best Entertainer in the male category.
Nov 14 - Chia seeds are the ultimate survival food for long-term storage

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, there's a lot of renewed interest in preparedness. One thing we all learned from the disaster is that when the power grid goes down, starvation isn't too far behind for those who have failed to store food.

It's easy to store a 72-hour supply of food just by shopping at the grocery store, of course: Canned soup, bread, peanut butter and even salted nuts are all readily available as long as you don't wait until the last days before a storm hits to buy some supplies.

But what if you're looking for food that keeps you alive during a long duration grid failure or natural disaster? What if you need to feed yourself and your family for 30 days or longer without a single trip to the grocery store? That's where you have to start thinking more strategically about storable food.

Personally, I want storable food to have the following characteristics:

1) High density nutrition: Provides a lot of nourishment while using on a small amount of shelf space.

2) Non-GMO: Throughout the storable foods industry, the vast majority of foods are loaded with TVP, GMO, MSG, yeast extract and hydrolyzed proteins. I want my storable food to be free of all that.

3) Multitude of uses: I want the food to be usable in a variety of different recipes so that it never gets boring.

4) Affordability: It needs to be affordable per ounce, so that it doesn't cost a fortune to stock up.

5) Shelf life: It needs to store for years without requiring any special attention.

6) Allergens: The food needs to be free of common allergens like gluten and soy.

7) Taste: It needs to taste good! Otherwise, who's gonna eat it?

Why chia seeds are the perfect storable survival food

1) Nutrition: Chia seeds are a very high source of omega-3s, which are linked to a wide variety of health benefits. They also contain magnesium, amino acids and a healthy assortment of minerals. They're almost like tiny vitamins.

2) Non-GMO: Chia seeds are completely non-GMO. Even better, the organic chia sold by the Natural News Store is certified USDA organic, meaning it has never been sprayed with pesticide or fungicide chemicals.

3) Multitude of uses: Chia seeds can be soaked in water and tea to make a hearty beverage, they can be sprinkled on salads and cereals, they can be blended into bread mixes and pancake mixes, and they can even be added to sauces, dressings and dips. Chia is one of the most versatile superfoods on the planet.

4) Affordability: Chia seeds are a fraction of the price of many other superfoods on an ounce-by-ounce basis. In terms of the nutrition they provide, they're one of the most affordable long-term storable superfoods yet discovered.

5) Shelf life: Chia seeds easily store for 2 - 4 years without refrigeration, and 4+ years if refrigerated. They only require a dry, cool location. Better yet, chia doesn't go rancid very quickly like flaxseed does. And if you grind chia into a chia meal, it still has a long shelf life (1 - 2 years), unlike flax meal which goes rancid in less than 90 days.

6) Allergens: Chia contains no gluten, no wheat, no corn and no soy. It is widely considered a "universal" food because nearly everyone can eat it, including family pets and farm animals.

7) Taste: Chia tastes WAY better than flaxseed! The taste is actually more "neutral" than anything else, meaning it goes extremely well with almost any recipe you can imagine: Smoothies, cereals, bake mixes, etc.

Click here to check out Organic Chia Seed at the Natural News Store.

Other astonishing benefits of chia

Chia seeds have:

• 3 times the iron of spinach

• 5 times the calcium of milk

• 2 times the potassium of bananas

• 2 times the protein of any other seed or grain

• 3 times the antioxidant potency of blueberries

Click here to get organic chia seeds discounted right now at the Natural News Store.

How to store chia for long-term preparedness

The organic chia we offer is already packaged in moisture-proof barrier bags that provide a protective barrier against oxidation and moisture.

Currently, you can save $1 per bag by purchasing 7 bags at once. Take these 7 bags of chia and place them into a five-gallon plastic pail (which you can purchase at any hardware store). Then get some gamma seal lids from Amazon.com, which provide a screw-on lid to a five-gallon pail.

Store the pail in a dark, cool, dry place (such as a root cellar), and you're done! The pail is virtually rodent proof, and the gamma seal lid gives you easy access. The chia seed bags are individually sealed inside the five-gallon pail, giving you a double barrier against moisture and oxidation.

The five-gallon pail can also be packed with other complementary superfoods such as hemp seeds, buckwheat, quinoa or organic coconut sugar. Because five-gallon pails have handles, they're easy to grab and load into vehicles during an evacuation.

Here's another tip: Label each five-gallon pail with a permanent marker so you know what's in it. You can also create an emergency first aid pail containing a variety of health and medical supplies including colloidal silver, bandages and gauze, and even potassium iodide for protection against nuclear radiation.

For labeling difficult-to-label items such as plastic pails, I like to use sharpie paint pens (oil-based), which you can find at Amazon.com or art / craft supply stores.

Protecting the pails from insects

If you're worried about insects getting into the pails, simply purchase some diatomaceous earth (DE) and sprinkle it liberally along the bottom of the pail and even across the packaged food items you're placing in the pail.

DE is completely non-toxic to humans and is, in fact, edible. Many people actually take it as a supplement to aid in detox. Just be sure not to breathe the DE dust, because it contains tiny fragments of razor-sharp dust that are bad for your lungs. So hold your breath or wear a mask when sprinkling DE.

DE will kill any insects that attempt to walk through it. This works physically by "cutting" the exoskeletons of insects until they dehydrate and die. There are no chemicals in DE.

Be sure to keep plastic pails out of the sunlight because UV light renders plastic fragile and it will eventually crumble if kept outside. If you're looking to store food in something more resistant to sunlight, your best bet is to purchase surplus ammo cans, which you can find at various online suppliers.

The important thing is to stock up ahead of time so you're not caught unprepared when the next crisis strikes.
Nov 14 - Have CdLS? Did your mom's poor diet damage your DNA?

Cornelia de Lange Syndrome, or CdLS, an increasingly less rare genetic disorder affecting one in 10,000 to 30,000 newborns, may have ties to mom's bad food choices.

Meet Samantha

On March 22, 2002 Samantha was taken from the womb a month early and was held in the NICU, in a Windsor hospital in Canada, for several months before she was able to go home to her parents. A diagnosis was not readily available until a specialist arrived on the scene from the nearby city of London. Samantha had a very low birth weight, was missing fingers on one hand, had fused fingers on the other, would not latch to breast or bottle and has since been fed through a tube. She suffers from reflux disease, has a broad range of mental and physical difficulties, and the distinct CdLS "look." Constantly needing monitoring for fear of choking on her own vomit (which once nearly killed her), Samantha is going to be dependent on a caretaker for the rest of her life. Unfortunately, children born with CdLS sometimes do not survive into adulthood.

It's all in the genes

Research has found that a mutation in a protein complex called cohesin may play a part in a number of developmental diseases. Cohesin is required to stabilize and repair DNA, but also for proper cell division. It essentially holds the chromosomes together. Fluctuations in cohesin levels will cause genetic defects, which can manifest as CdLS. Although we now know that the cause is genetic, cases like Samantha's raise a lot of questions. Does poor maternal diet and the protein cohesin, largely unknown to the general population, play a role in the baby's health? Can parents do anything to improve the health of their future children, even before conception?

There currently is insufficient research to accurately answer all of these questions. However, there is increasingly more evidence that the mom's diet does affect the viability and health of the fetus, even before conception. Baylor College of Medicine researchers published a report in 2011, which showed that what mothers eat, can affect the health of their infants. Cohesin also seems to decrease as women age, which puts babies born to women in their late 30s and 40s at a greater risk of disability.

There is still hope

Many scientists say it's a gamble, but there are simple things that can help lower the risk of birth defects, and improving the mother's diet is one of them. Protein, vitamin C, folic acid, iron and calcium, can boost fetal growth. These nutrients can be found in a variety of fresh plant foods.

Also, improving the child's diet has already been known to work miracles for diseases in the autism spectrum. Many of the symptoms of CdLS are similar to those of autism, including uncontrollable behavior and difficulties in communication.

Organizations like the Cornelia de Lange Syndrome Foundation, work to raise awareness and educate parents and communities about raising kids with CdLS in a loving, healthy environment that improves their quality of life.
Nov 14 - STAND up for your health: The scary truth about sitting

In today's workplace, the majority of people sit for eight or more hours per day. Think your desk job isn't affecting your health? Think again. A sedentary lifestyle, at home or work negatively impacts your health in multiple ways. Smoking, alcohol, lack of exercise and junk food are all detrimental to our health... we need to add sitting to that list as well. "Sitting diseases" are quickly lowering our lifespans and increasing our healthcare costs.

What happens when we sit?

Sitting requires little to no energy expenditure, "calorie burning drops to one per minute," greatly reduces activation of low back muscles, "electrical activity in the legs shut off, enzymes that help break down fat drop by 90 percent." After two hours, good cholesterol levels drop by 20 percent and after 24, insulin effectiveness drops by 24 percent; your risk of developing diabetes rises. "People with sitting jobs have twice the rate of cardiovascular disease as people with standing jobs. Sitting six-plus hours per day makes you up to 40 percent likelier to die within 15 years than someone who sits fewer than three, even if you exercise" (MedicalCoding&Billing.org). Some of us even spend more time sitting than sleeping.

Sitting affects our internal body systems negatively and our spinal musculature and strength. Remaining seated for prolonged periods of time causes our low back muscles to "take a back seat." If the muscles aren't working properly, other structures, ligaments and intervertebral discs must work overtime (Morl, 2012). Our trunk muscles become deconditioned and lazy. The increase in our sitting times and low back pain are related. The hip flexor muscle (iliopsoas) becomes short and tight with sitting and plays a major role in lower back pain. Lower back pain patients have "atrophy of lumbar muscles," especially the longissimus and multifidi; inactivity and inactivation of such muscles is to blame, sitting being the main culprit (Morl, 2012). The study also found that "lumbar muscle activation does not differ when seated on an exercise ball, different dynamic office chairs or on a reference chair." (McGill et al., 2006; Ellegast et al., 2012)

The journal, Diebetologia, performed a meta-analysis to see the correlation between sitting and disease. They concluded that "sedentary time is associated with an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular and all-cause mortality; the strength of the association is most consistent for diabetes." (Wilmot, et al., 2012)

With obesity at an all-time high, is it because we are eating more and moving less? Obese people sit on average for 2.5 more hours a day than "thin" people. Exercise rates have stayed the same from 1980-2000, but sitting time has doubled to eight percent and consequently so have our waistlines.

Move! Don't become a statistic

Get up at least every 30 minutes to walk, increase circulation, stretch, hydrate, etc. Set a timer on your phone/computer to remind you to get up... chances are you will forget if you don't. Can't leave your desk? At least stand up and move around.

Minimize sitting at home, in a meeting, at a party, on the train/bus; if you sit all day at work, then sit all night at home to "relax," you're not doing your body any favors. Watching TV for three hours a day increases your chances of dying from heart disease by 64 percent. If you feel it is a "necessity" to watch TV, try doing jumping jacks/squats/weight lifting/yoga moves or just standing during the show; at a minimum during the commercials. Life is too short to spend it sitting in front of the TV, slowly dying.

Take the stairs whenever possible, don't find the closest parking spot, walk/bike instead of driving whenever possible; the hours we spend sitting in the car add up. Many offices are now transitioning to standing work stations to decrease sitting times and inevitably, health problems. Activation of the muscles in the lumbar spine will improve with movement and standing tasks; chair type will not make your back work. No chair will do the job of exercise and moving.

Movement is life.
Nov 14 - Natural medicine therapies significantly benefit arthritis sufferers

A new study published in the November issue of the Journal of Clinical Nursing found that almost 25 percent of patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis used a procedure known as complementary and alternative therapy (CAT) to help them better manage their condition.

Researchers said they interviewed 250 patients between 20 and 90 years old, with more than two-thirds, or 67 percent, having developed rheumatoid arthritis. The rest had developed osteoarthritis.

Of them, scientists found that 23 percent used CAT in conjunction with prescribed medications, and that just under two-thirds (64 percent) believed the therapy was beneficial and reported improvements in pain intensity, sleeping patterns and activity levels.

Mind and body medicine

"Our study underlines the importance of healthcare professionals being knowledgeable about the potential use of CAT when providing medical care to patients with arthritis," lead author Prof. Nada Alaaeddine, chief of the Regenerative and Inflammation Lab in the Faculty of Medicine, University of St. Joseph, Beirut, Lebanon, said.

"Although CAT might have beneficial effects in rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, patients should be cautious about their use and should tell their healthcare providers that they are using them to make sure they don't conflict with their existing treatment," Alaaeddine added.

According to the National Institutes of Health, many Americans utilize complementary and alternative medicine "in pursuit of health and well-being."

It's like "mind-and-body medicine," NIH says.

"Mind and body practices focus on the interactions among the brain, mind, body, and behavior, with the intent to use the mind to affect physical functioning and promote health. Many (CAT) practices embody this concept - in different ways," the health agency says. Some of those techniques include meditation, acupuncture and "various styles of yoga."

CAT use is increasing slowly

Some of the key findings of the Lebanese study include:

-- The average age of CAT users was 45, or significantly younger than the average age of the non-CAT user, which was 57.

-- Usage of CAT was higher in patients with osteoarthritis at 29 percent than those with rheumatoid arthritis (20 percent).

-- The most common CAT technique used was herbal therapy (83 percent), followed by exercise (22 percent), massage (12 percent), acupuncture (three percent), yoga and meditation (three percent), and dietary supplements (three percent).

-- Fewer than one-quarter of patients using CAT (24 percent) sought additional medical care due to possible side effects, but those conditions were not serious and were reversible.

-- Researchers said the most common side effects of CAT usage included skin problems (16 percent) and gastrointestinal problems (nine percent).

-- A majority of patients did not inform their healthcare provider they were using CAT (59 percent).

-- CAT users were asked to rate the amount of pain they experienced - the percentage who said they experienced no pain increased from 12 percent to 43 percent following CAT, while the number who were able to sleep all night rose from nine percent to a staggering 66 percent.

-- In addition, users reported an improvement in their daily activities. Specifically, the percentage who said their pain did not limit them in any way rose from three percent to 12 percent, and the percentage who said they were able to do everything they wanted - while experiencing no pain - doubled, rising from 26 to 52 percent.

"CAT use is increasing and this study shows that it provided self-reported benefits for patient with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis" Alaaeddine said.

"It is; however, important that patients discuss CAT use with their healthcare practitioner and that they are made aware of possible side effects, in particular the possible interactions between herbal and prescribed drugs."
Nov 14 - Crust formed on overcooked foods can triple the risk of heart disease

Be careful the next time you order that hamburger and fries cooked on an open grill or over flames. Not only do you have to be especially cautious of hydrogenated and trans fats infused during cooking, but the crust formed on these foods, and many others, from grilling, charbroiling or frying boosts pre-formed anti-glycation end products (AGEs) that are shown to dramatically raise the risk of heart disease, especially in diabetics.

A research study team from the University of Illinois, has found that avoiding cooking methods that produce the kind of crusts that you would find on a grilled hamburger or fried foods places you at significantly increased risk for cardiovascular disease. They determined this is critically important for those individuals diagnosed with diabetes.

Lead study author, Dr. Karen Chapman-Novakofski noted "We see evidence that cooking methods that create a crust, think the edge of a brownie or the crispy borders of meats prepared at very high temperatures, produce advanced glycation end products (AGEs). And AGEs are associated with plaque formation, the kind we see in cardiovascular disease." Individuals with cardiovascular disease or diabetes are commonly told to bake, broil, or grill their food instead of frying it.

Glycation from high heat cooking methods produces byproducts that promote heart disease

This may be unhealthy advice, as these approved cooking methods form a crust on the outer surface of foods that significantly increase the AGE-load when eaten. Food preparation methods that utilize high, intense, dry heat end up causing cellular dysfunction as proteins are rendered useless when bound to glucose or fat molecules in the body. Diabetes dramatically increases cardiovascular disease risk and the introduction of AGEs into the diet from foods improperly cooked raises this risk even further.

The scientists examined food intake for a period of 10 days in a group of 65 Mexican and non-Hispanic whites. They found that non-Hispanic whites had a very high intake of AGEs, and consumed excess saturated fats. In this group, eating foods prepared to promote the formation of pre-formed AGEs provided a strong association for the development of heart disease, more so than consuming excess saturated fats.

The study authors concluded "We found that people with higher rates of cardiovascular complications ate more of these glycated products. For each unit increase in AGEs intake, a study participant was 3.7 times more likely to have moderate to high risk for cardiovascular disease." The researchers determined that AGEs were formed at a much higher rate in ground meats such as hamburger, as opposed to steak or chicken. Choose organic cuts of meat and prepare by boiling or stewing to significantly lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Nov 14 - Incidence of gluten sensitivity skyrocketing in the U.S. - Are GMOs to blame?

Gluten intolerance has reached epidemic proportions -- a staggering 40 percent of the U.S. population now suffers from it in one form or another. Celiac disease alone strikes one in every 133 Americans. Taking into account the fact that gluten sensitivity has risen sharply over the last 20 years, researchers and food safety advocates are looking at the role GMOs play in this this dramatic spike.

The dynamics of food intolerance

When a person has a sensitivity, the body believes the ingested food is an 'invader' and embarks on a mission to destroy the irritating substance. Unfortunately, the microvilli in the small intestine are harmed in the attack and leaky gut syndrome develops. Because of this damage, the gut wall becomes overly permeable and molecules of food are inappropriately digested. These molecules then leach into the bloodstream and the body responds with inflammation. Food sensitivities and malabsorption issues soon follow. This sets the stage for a spectrum of disease from autism to irritable bowel syndrome to cancer.

Compromised gut lining linked with GMOs

Gluten is notoriously difficult to digest even under the best of circumstances. Because of this, it is a prime candidate for triggering a food intolerance -- especially when the intestinal wall has been compromised. While genetically modified wheat, rye and barley have yet to make an appearance in the marketplace, several other GM crops may be responsible for the dramatic rise in gluten intolerance. Jeffrey Smith's documentary Genetic Roulette: The Gamble of Our Lives reveals how GMOs destroy the digestive tract of mammals. Smith believes that the Bt toxin found in genetically modified food actually creates holes in the gut lining, leading to leaky gut syndrome. This may explain why gluten intolerance has become prevalent since GMOs were introduced into the food supply.

How to heal the gut from GMO damage

A good first step to healing leaky gut syndrome and subsequent gluten sensitivities is to remove all genetically modified and gluten foods from the diet. Wheat, rye and barley are the primary foods that contain gluten, but cross contamination during processing is common with other grains like oats. Once the diet is purified, adding probiotics, healthy fats and a few specific supplements will help to rebuild and heal the digestive tract.

Leo Galland, MD and director of the Foundation for Integrated Medicine recommends the following:

Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) - A polypeptide that heals damage in the small intestine.

Saccharomyces boulardii - A beneficial yeast that helps to soothe gut tissues.

Glutamine - Assists in repairing villous atrophy and minimizes the passage of toxins through the intestinal wall.

Gamma-oryzanol - Repairs ulcers in the intestinal tract.

Fiber, probiotics and essential fatty acids have also been shown to encourage gut wall integrity.

With GMOs wreaking havoc on our digestive systems, it's no wonder gluten intolerance is on the rise. By taking active steps to clean up the diet and heal the gut, this widespread malady can be conquered and health restored.
Nov 14 - Top-secret, deadly chemical tests done in St. Louis during the Cold War by Army prove deadly years later

As new details begin to surface about secret chemical tests performed on American citizens in St. Louis during the 1950s, we here at Natural News can only shake our heads in disgust and ask the obvious question: How many more of these kinds of tests were done without our knowledge?

In 1955 when she was still just a baby, Doris Spates' father passed away suddenly, she recalled in an interview with The Associated Press recently. Since then, she says, she has survived cervical cancer while watching four siblings die from various cancers.

After finding out that, as the Cold War heightened throughout the 1960s, the U.S. Army conducted secret chemical testing in her downtrodden St. Louis neighborhood. And rightly so, Spates wonders if her government is responsible for the carnage her family has endured.

"In the mid-1950s, and again a decade later, the Army used motorized blowers atop a low-income housing high-rise, at schools and from the backs of station wagons to send a potentially dangerous compound into the already-hazy air in predominantly black areas of St. Louis," the AP reported.

At the time, local officials were told by the military that the Pentagon was testing a smoke screen that would shield St. Louis from aerial observation in case the Soviet Union launched an attack.

It was a lie.

Nothing but silence from the government

In 1994, the federal government fessed up, saying the tests were part of a biological weapons program. St. Louis was chosen, it turns out, because some of its neighborhoods resembled Russian cities that the U.S. might attack in response.

"The material being sprayed was zinc cadmium sulfide, a fine fluorescent powder," said AP.

New research is now calling into question the implications of those tests.

Studies by Lisa Martino-Taylor, a sociology professor at St. Louis Community College-Meramec, raises the possibility that the Army was conducting radiation testing by combining radioactive particles with the zinc cadmium sulfide - a possibility given the fact that both sides during the Cold War prepared for nuclear exchange - though she says she has no direct proof.

Still, the report she released in September was alarming enough that both U.S. senators from Missouri, Republican Roy Blunt and Democrat Claire McCaskill, have demanded answers from John McHugh, the Army secretary.

So far, all they have heard in response is the chirping of crickets.

In documents obtained by Martino-Taylor via a Freedom of Information Act request, the Army described the area of testing as "a densely populated slum district," of which three-quarters of residents were black.

Spates, who is 57 now and retired, was born inside her family's apartment, which was located on the top floor of the long-demolished Pruitt-Igoe housing development, in 1955. Her family was not aware that on the roof, the Army was intentionally spraying hundreds of pounds of the zinc compound into the air.

Three months after she was born, her father died. Another four of her 11 siblings would die of cancer as well, all at relatively young ages.

Chemtrails part of ongoing testing?

"I'm wondering if it got into our system," Spates told the AP. "When I heard about the testing, I thought, 'Oh my God. If they did that, there's no telling what else they're hiding.'"


Others also wonder, including Mary Helen Brindell, 68. Her family also lived in a working-class neighborhood of mixed race where spraying took place.

The Army says it only used blowers to spread the chemical, but Brindell recounted to AP that one summer day when she was playing baseball with other kids in the street, a squadron of green Army planes flying close to the ground released a powdery substance. She says she went inside where she lived, washed it off her arms and face and went back outside to continue playing.

Over the years, she has had bouts with four types of cancer: breast, skin, uterine and thyroid.

"I feel betrayed," Brindell, who is white, told AP. "How could they do this? We pointed our fingers during the Holocaust, and we do something like this?"

Can you say chemtrails?
Nov 14 - Women left at the mercy of untested prescription drugs as most drugs are only tested on men

Whilst doctors whine on about the dangers of alternative medicine, they has admitted that trials of major drugs are only carried out on men. This has led to up to one million women being admitted to hospitals every year with side effects from nausea and high blood pressure, to life threatening conditions. Some drugs tested for males have been prescribed to pregnant women without the drugs being approved for this purpose.

One example is that pregnant women on antidepressants have been found to have a much higher risk of developing the potentially fatal condition of pre-eclampsia. While the drugs are legally prescribed, it has been disclosed that the trails the drug companies carry out are not tested on women and thus the effects are unknown.

Profit put ahead of the health of customers

The reason for the drug companies unwillingness to test drugs on women is expense. Their concerns center around the fact that drugs will affect females differently than males and female monthly reproductive cycles could complicate the results of trials and slow down the approval of expensive and profit making drugs. This is yet another glimpse into the shady world of the drug companies and how they get drugs approved without proper testing.

The scientists that carry out trials on drugs will often take into account the weight, height, lifestyle and other drugs being taken by the subjects. However, when the drugs are approved, it does not necessarily mean that the drugs are safe for females. Also, the dosages deemed safe by the trials will often be aimed at heavier males that absorb drugs differently than lighter females. This means that quite often, these drugs will be over prescribed, not only for antidepressants but also for other common drugs.

Common diuretics (treatments for high blood pressure) have been more likely to cause side effects from nausea and confusion, to coma and even death. Modern anti-psychotics are more likely to cause females to gain weight, have skin irritations and dangerous heart irregularities. Even the humble antihistamine will react substantially more in females than males; causing severe drowsiness.

Of course, the best way to avoid the issues of prescription drugs and their side effects is to avoid them completely; however, mainstream doctors believe that most conditions are only treatable with chemical agents, whether that be from natural or artificial sources. By taking drugs approved by the processes put in place by government and big pharma, many people believe that they are safeguarded against the harm that can be caused by illicit drugs or "unregulated" natural medicines. The results of the findings into the side effects that women suffer highlight the substantial failings in the testing procedures of an industry entrusted to look after the health of billions whose best interest is profit.
Nov 14 - Doctors' warning to women: Don't take antidepressants during pregnancy

Autism, birth defects, persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN) -- these are among the many serious health conditions newborn babies face whose mothers take selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and certain other antidepressant drugs during pregnancy. The side effects of SSRIs are so serious for pregnant women, in fact, that two prominent doctors recently came forward with warnings to pregnant women against taking the drugs, which can cause potentially deadly complications for both unborn babies and their mothers.

Dr. Adam Urato, an obstetrician and Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham, Massachusetts, and his colleague Dr. Alice Domar, a psychologist and assistant professor at Harvard Medical Center, conducted a systematic review of available literature on antidepressant use during pregnancy, which they published in the journal Human Reproduction. They found that, based on the science, antidepressants provide no benefits for pregnant women, but present a whole lot of potential complications.

Besides their uselessness, antidepressants were found to put unborn babies at serious risk of developing a myriad health conditions, including but not limited to heart defects, anencephaly, cleft lip and palate, PPHN, and respiratory distress. In regards to PPHN, an unborn baby's risk of developing the condition is six times higher when the mother takes SSRIs compared to babies born to mothers who do not take SSRIs, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH).

"Study after study shows increased rates of newborn complications in those babies who were exposed to SSRIs in utero," said Dr. Urato to the U.K.'s Telegraph about the findings. "The (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) and Health Canada have put out warnings specifically regarding this issue," he added, referencing a 2005 warning put out by the FDA that said taking SSRIs made with paroxetine, which includes the drug Paxil, during the first trimester of pregnancy could cause birth defects or heart problems.

According to the authors, at least 40 different published studies link SSRI use during pregnancy to premature birth, which in and of itself is linked to a bounty of illnesses and health conditions. And as far as the mother is concerned, taking SSRIs during pregnancy can cause her to develop high blood pressure, liver problems, and stroke, and may even result in a stillbirth.

"Antidepressant use during pregnancy is associated with increased risks of miscarriage, birth defects, preterm birth, newborn behavioral syndrome, (PPHN), and possible longer term neurobehavioral effects," wrote the authors in their study. "There is no evidence of improved pregnancy outcomes with antidepressant use."
Nov 14 - Deceptive doctors trick Sharon Osbourne into having double mastectomy due to 'bad breast cancer gene'

One of the last things any woman would want to hear is that she may be carrying a gene that commonly leads to breast cancer. But is just the possibility of developing such a cancer worth having both of them removed?

Sharon Osbourne, wife of rocker Ozzie Osbourne and a judge on the reality television show, "America's Got Talent," thought so.

In what British magazine HELLO! described as a "deeply emotional interview," Osbourne said she recently underwent the invasive surgical procedure to reduce her risk of developing the disease after being told by her doctor she was carrying the gene, especially since she already battled colon cancer a decade ago.

"As soon as I found out I had the breast cancer gene, I thought, 'The odds are not in my favor,'" she told the magazine. "I've had cancer before and I didn't want to live under that cloud. I just decided to take everything off, and had a double mastectomy."

The Osbourne clan matriarch, who recently became a grandmother, underwent the 13-hour operation but says she's not sorry about it.

Talked into having the surgery - Even before she had the disease

"For me, it wasn't a big decision, it was a no-brainer," she said. "I didn't want to live the rest of my life with that shadow hanging over me. I want to be around for a long time and be a grandmother to Pearl (her son Jack's first child)."

Continuing, she said, "I didn't even think of my breasts in a nostalgic way, I just wanted to be able to live my life without that fear all the time. It's not 'pity me', it's a decision I made that's got rid of this weight that I was carrying around."

During the process Osbourne said she found out that breast implants she had before the surgery had leaked into her stomach wall. That, and the rest of the surgical experience as a whole, turned her off any future plastic surgery.

"Sometimes I'll see a photo and I'll think, 'My face looks plastic'; it can look so unnatural from certain angles," she said. "Now I am definitely, definitely done. You can't buy your youth back, no matter how much money you've got I won't be going under the knife again."

Osbourne did not reveal which cancer gene she has but scientists say it is well known that certain harmful mutations of the genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 raise the risk of breast and ovarian cancers.

"Patients with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations have 50 percent - 85 percent lifetime risk of developing breast cancer and up to approximately 60 percent lifetime risk of ovarian cancer," Karen Brown, the director of the Cancer Genetic Counseling Program at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, told CNN.

No one discusses the natural options - And they are many

What about those women who decide to, as CNN reports, engage in a "preventative mastectomy?" Are they merely being duped into doing so by a medical industry that refuses to offer them viable alternatives?

As we have covered on this site, doctors don't routinely discuss natural alternatives to breast cancer surgery - perhaps because, as pointed out by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, such procedures are high profit.

When writing about actress Christina Applegate's double mastectomy surgery in 2008, Mike noted then that "breast cancer has many natural cures, and none of them require surgery."

In his special report, Breast Cancer Deception, he says "every system of medicine" around the world "has a treatment for breast cancer."

"...[I]f you were to travel the world in search of treatments or cures for breast cancer, you would find hundreds, if not thousands, of such treatments spanning diverse cultures, geographies and medical paradigms," he writes. Read the full report here.
Nov 14 - Huge fluoride victory in Wichita: Voters put their foot down and say no to the water supply chemical additive

Regular readers know that Natural News has been closely watching a situation in Portland, Ore., where city officials are pushing to add dangerous fluoride to the water.

City officials in Portland have done everything they can - openly and behind closed doors - to force residents of both the city and the surrounding area to accept fluoridation, though the citizenry has obviously been getting along just fine without it.

A similar battle was being waged much further east, in Wichita, Kan., but the voters there put a stake through the heart of that effort on Election Day, voting to reject fluoridation of that city's water supply.

There, 59 percent of voters soundly rejected the initiative, sending a message loud and clear that they aren't prepared to allow city officials to force such a dangerous substance literally down their throats - despite concerted efforts by pro-fluoridation groups to confuse them. Voters similarly rejected a fluoridation effort in 1964 and 1978, local radio station KAKE reported.

Fluoride impedes brain and cognitive development

Supporters said what they always do - that fluoride helps prevent tooth decay and adding it to the water would save residents' dental costs.

While those "facts" remain highly questionable, the negative effects of fluoride consumption, on the other hand, are well documented.

"The next time somebody tries to tell you that there is no scientific evidence proving that fluoride chemicals are harmful to human health, simply point them to a new study review recently published in the Institute of Environmental Health Sciences journal Environmental Health Perspectives that shows, for something like the 25th time now, that fluoride damages brain development and leads to significantly lower IQ levels in humans," writes Ethan Huff for Natural News.

The study review, citing researchers from Harvard and China, noted there was "strong indications" that exposure to fluoride - for young, developing children in particular - can lead to improper cognitive and brain development.

"[O]ur results support the possibility of adverse effects of fluoride exposures on children's neurodevelopment," wrote Anna Choi, a research scientist at Harvard, and her colleagues in their report. "Fluoride readily crosses the placenta. Fluoride exposure to the developing brain, which is much more susceptible to injury caused by toxicants than is the mature brain, may possibly lead to damage of a permanent nature."

Paul Connett, Ph.D., director of the Fluoride Action Network, pointed out that dozens of prior studies essentially reached similar conclusions.

'I don't trust the water'

"This is the 24th study that has found this association, but this study is stronger than the rest because the authors have controlled for key confounding variables and in addition to correlating lowered IQ with levels of fluoride in the water, the authors found a correlation between lowered IQ and fluoride levels in children's blood. This brings us closer to a cause and effect relationship between fluoride exposure and brain damage in children," he said.

"What is also striking is that the levels of the fluoride in the community where the lowered IQs were recorded were lower than the EPA's so-called 'safe' drinking water standard for fluoride of 4 ppm and far too close for comfort to the levels used in artificial fluoridation programs (0.7 - 1.2 ppm)," he added.

But none of this hard data mattered much to the fluoride pushers in Wichita. There, pro-fluoridation group Wichitans for Health Teeth tried to compound the issue and muddy the waters.

Fortunately; however, most voters saw through the smokescreen.

"I pushed no, because it can mess up your teeth," LaGina Walker, 34, told the Wichita Eagle. "And I don't trust the water, period."
Nov 13 - Eccentric Tech Wizard Wanted for Questioning in Murder

John McAfee, the tech wizard who developed the McAfee anti-virus software in the 1980s and helped pioneer instant messaging in the 1990s, is wanted for questioning by Belize Police in connection with the murder of a neighbor and fellow American expatriate.

Police say 52-year-old Gregory Faull was found dead in his tropical island hacienda on Sunday -- discovered lying face down in a pool of blood by his housekeeper. Police say he was shot in the back of the head. Gang Suppression Unit commander Marco Vidal told ABC News that McAfee was one of several individuals wanted for questioning. Belize Police spokesman Raphael Martinez also said that McAfee is one of several "persons of interest" in the inquiry.

But McAfee told Wired magazine he was innocent, and that he watched police search his property from a hole he'd buried in the sand – covering himself with a cardboard box. "It was extremely uncomfortable," he told Wired, adding, 'You can say I'm paranoid about it but they will kill me, there is no question. They've been trying to get me for months."

He said Belizean authorities had targeted him, but killed the wrong American. Authorities in Belize denied any wrongdoing, telling ABC News they are just trying to investigate the murder and McAfee's possible connection.

McAfee and Faull lived in adjacent lots on the Belizean jungle island of Ambergris Caye and had traded barbs and nearly blows over McAfee's nine dogs. Faull's father, Arthur Faull, told ABC News his son had demanded that McAfee quiet them down. McAfee allegedly threatened Faull that the next time he set foot on his property he'd shoot him. Faull promptly filed a complaint. He was shot a few days later.

McAfee's life began unraveling in 2008, when he lost most of his estimated $100 million fortune in the combined collapse of the stock market and real estate market. He auctioned off everything he owned in an open auction filmed by ABC News Nightline.

He then moved to Belize, where he established a company that sought to transform jungle plants into modern medicine. That company began to fall apart in 2010, after an investor fled the country.

The combative McAfee kept running afoul of police. In May, said Vidal, his teams raided McAfee's home and lab, finding an unknown substance thought to be narcotics, which McAfee insisted was a natural antibiotic. He was not charged with a crime.

According to freelance writer Jeff Wise, who profiled McAfee's decline on the website Gizmodo.com, McAfee had become deeply enmeshed in the world of gangs, narcotics and arms. Wise told ABC News McAfee had become something of a prophet of "bath salts," crowing about the "super perv powder" and the drug's erotic effects on various hardcore drug message boards.

Bath salts, synthetic drugs that can mimic the effects of cocaine, have been linked to numerous bizarre and violent incidents in the U.S.
Nov 13 - US computer graphics scientist wins Kyoto Prize

An American regarded as a father of computer graphics, an Indian literary critic and a Japanese molecular cell biologist have received the Kyoto Prize, Japan's highest private award for global achievement.

The Inamori Foundation awarded its advanced technology prize on Saturday to U.S. computer scientist Ivan Sutherland, who developed the graphic interface program Sketchpad in 1963.

Gayatri Chakrovoty Spivak , an Indian literary critic and professor at Columbia University, won the arts and philosophy prize.

Yoshinori Ohsumi, a molecular biologist at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, received the basic sciences prize for his work on autophagy, a cell-recycling system that could be used to help treat neurodegenerative and age-related diseases such as Alzheimer's and cancer.

The Kyoto-based Inamori Foundation was set up in 1984 by Kyocera Corp.'s founder, Kazuo Inamori.
Nov 12 - Who do you rely on for solutions to your reflux and heartburn?

Larry the Cable Guy is dependable for a good laugh when he appears on TV, but what's the joke when Larry is giving health advice? Larry the Cable Guy is now an official spokesperson for Proctor and Gamble's latest heartburn solution, Prilosec OTC. It's not a laughing matter to see that many people in our society will rely on this advice to manage the fire. Proton pump inhibitors (PPI's) offer immediate heartburn relief, making them an easy choice to reach for when heartburn strikes. In most instances, this quick fix does not correct the underlying cause of the heartburn, and actually sets the stage for serious problems.

The acid-enzyme paradox

An acidic stomach environment is required for digestion and assimilation of minerals. Thus, prolonged use of PPI's (greater than one year) has been linked with increased risk of fracture of the wrists, hips and spine as bone-building materials are excreted rather than absorbed by the body. Prolonged PPI use is also associated with weakening of the stomach lining. A healthy stomach acid production is a primary defense barrier for outside pathogens. Without sufficient stomach acid, the gate is open for pathogens to take up shop in the body, leading to a myriad of health symptoms.

Most people are unaware that the majority of heartburn and GERD episodes are not caused by too much stomach acid, but are a result of not enough stomach acid and digestive enzymes. There are multiple factors that can contribute to the mix. Most people have a significant decrease in acid and enzyme production by the age of 40 due to stress and poor lifestyles and continue to have significant decreases with each decade of life. These poor lifestyle choices include such things as a diet high in refined and processed foods. High stress levels and fast paced lifestyles tend to shift our nervous system into sympathetic dominance which in turns shuts down the production of the necessary acid and enzymes in the stomach which properly initiate the digestive process. How many meals are served through car windows and consumed at 60 mph down the freeway or rushing to our next destination?

How to make a stomach happy?

Ditch processed and refined foods (if it comes in a box or a can) and eliminate sugar. Cut gluten and dairy for one to two months to test for possible sensitivity. Raw, unprocessed foods are Mother Nature's packets of enzymes. Be sure to include some raw foods in your diet to get some extra enzyme support. Beware, people who are severely enzyme deficient, may experience severe digestive distress with raw food intake until enzyme reserves are built up over time. Here, a gradual addition of raw foods along with supplemental digestive enzymes and betaine hydrochloride to the diet is mandatory. Consult with a natural health provider for an individual enzyme prescription. Limit fluid intake 20 minutes before and one hour after meals for full potency of digestive acid and enzyme action, not sluggish and diluted. Enjoy your meals in a low stress environment, with sufficient time to chew slowly and thoroughly, as the digestive process begins in the mouth with the saliva. Herbal extracts that boost healthy enzyme production include Dandelion root, citrus peel extracts, milk thistle, ginger, and gentian root extract. Chiropractic care has proven beneficial in promoting digestive function, especially if subluxations are present in the mid and/or upper back region.
Nov 12 - Liver is a shockingly potent superfood

Many people have an adverse reaction to eating liver. They get grossed out when they hear of others consuming the organ meat and don't understand why anyone would actually want to eat liver. Similarly, it is commonly believed that fruits and vegetables contain the highest concentrations of vitamins and minerals, with levels superior to animal products. It turns out that liver actually contains extremely high levels of micronutrients, even higher than what is found in many fruits and vegetables.

Liver has been consumed all over the world for thousands of years, prepared raw or cooked. Recently, liver has been consumed for some specific purposes. Physicist Max Gerson used raw liver in his famous pancreatic cancer treatment. Dr. Nicholas Gonzales also uses raw liver in his cancer treatments. Dr. Whipple, Dr. Murphy, and Dr. Minot received a Nobel Prize for using liver to cure patients with anemia.

Many athletes today consume liver for its fatigue-fighting properties. This ability was shown in experiments conducted by Dr. Ershoff in 1951, when he fed rats either a basic diet, a basic diet with additional B vitamins, or a basic diet with powdered liver. The rats were then tested to see how long they could swim in a tub. The first two groups of rats swam for about 13 minutes before becoming exhausted. 75 percent of the rats that consumed powdered liver were able to swim for the full duration of the study, which was 90 minutes, before being pulled out of the tub even though they were able to continue swimming.

Liver is also incredibly nutrient dense. 380 mg of potassium, 18 mg of magnesium, 11 mg of calcium, 12 mg of copper, and 16.5 mg of niacin can be found in 100 grams of beef liver. Additionally, 100 grams of beef liver contains 53,400 IU of vitamin A and 111.3 mcg of vitamin B12. 100 grams of beef liver also contains 27 mg of vitamin C, which is about four times the amount that can be found in a small apple. In fact, when compared on a weight to weight basis, beef liver contains higher levels of every nutrient than apples and carrots. Apples and carrots are less calorie dense than liver, and are often eaten in higher quantities, but the weight by weight comparison illustrates truly how full of vitamins and minerals liver is.
Nov 12 - Press the start button on anger management

Children generally demonstrate resistance to situations where they feel alone, overwhelmed, or disinterested. Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital; however, have undergone a new study into anger management therapy that creates a relatable and more enjoyable treatment for youthful patients. The secret? Video games.

The purpose of the study is two-fold: to train the children to control their emotions, and to potentially reduce the need for medication.

Researchers developed a video game that they named Regulate and Gain Emotional Control (RAGE Control). It uses a finger heart rate monitor that halts a player's ability to shoot enemy spaceships when the heart rate becomes too elevated until the patient regains control of their anger or frustration again.

The study involved two groups of children between the ages of nine and 17, all of whom were admitted to the psychiatric unit of the hospital with high levels of anger. They had to have normal IQs and be capable of going the length of the study without medication.

The control group went through standard anger management treatment. The second group also went through the standard treatment, but in addition, the last 15 minutes of their therapy sessions were spent playing RAGE Control. Five sessions later showed that the RAGE Control players were better at maintaining a normal heart rate. The players also showed lower anger scores in relation to the frequency of anger over time, expressions of anger towards other people or things, and the intensity of anger at any given time. Alternatively, the control group showed no significant changes from the beginning in any of these categories.

Despite these positive findings, the study isn't definitive at this point. The number of participants was quite small, with 19 kids in the control group and 18 in the other, and researchers didn't follow up with the participants after their five sessions were over.

Nevertheless, the researchers consider this first study as a good step. They are currently conducting a randomized, controlled clinical trial that involves children teaming up with parents for 10 game sessions. As in the first study, an elevated heart rate stops the ability to shoot. This incorporates cooperation and encouragement into the game, with the hope that it will help participants learn how to not only manage their own emotions, but to aid others in anger management as well.

The researchers' full report on the pilot study can be found in the current issue of the Adolescent Psychiatry journal.
Nov 12 - Whale learned to mimic human speech; demonstrating free will among intelligent animals

In 1984, marine biologist Sam Ridgeway and others kept thinking there was murmuring coming from the whale and dolphin tank at the National Marine Mammal Foundation in San Diego, California.

The sounds they heard from the tank resembled humans talking at a distance, thus impossible to understand. Then one day later, a diver emerged from the tank demanding to know, "Who told me to get out?"

Ridgeway and others at the marine foundation finally understood where the murmuring was coming from. They determined that one of the whales in the tank, a male beluga white whale named NOC, was a talker. NOC had been in captivity among humans for some time after being captured in the wild.

It was known that dolphins could be trained to imitate human speech. But NOC had not received any speech training or coaching. Up until then, only anecdotal incidents of whale speech resembling humans was available, such as a report from caretakers at the Vancouver Aquarium in British Columbia, Canada hearing one of the white whales say its name.

Ridgeway and his team recorded NOC's sounds and speech patterns over the next four years to offer scientific proof that a marine mammal could speak after overcoming physical handicaps.

Whales lack a larynx. Their high pitched squeals are accomplished by combining their nasal cavities and blow holes. It was determined that the pitch NOC used for speaking was well below the normal high pitch squeals whales and dolphins use to communicate with each other.

According to Ridgeway, "Our observations suggest that the whale had to modify its vocal mechanics in order to make the speech-like sounds. Such obvious effort suggests motivation for contact."

A whale or dolphin in marine captivity does come into contact with caretakers directly when they surface. Those caretakers will shout out commands or call their names.

Water carries sound well, so even below the surface, a whale or dolphin can hear caretakers talking above the surface or observers talking while gazing through an aquarium glass wall.

Motivation for contact, you say

Whales and dolphins are cetaceans, very social marine mammals that hang together in extended family-like pods over long periods of time. They are predatory, but most feed on much smaller fish.

Only the large black and white six ton orca or killer whale, nicknamed the wolf of the sea, is feared by all other sea life, even larger whales. Unlike orcas, the all white beluga whales are not as aggressive or as large.

All cetaceans are incredible swimmers capable of traveling long distances of 100 miles at at time with speeds up to 50 kilometers per hour and rapidly diving several hundred meters deep.

Their natural habitat and behavior allows them to do what they are physiologically meant to do, in pods among others with whom they have bonded over time. Aquarium keepers dismiss these characteristics as unimportant in captivity because they're fed and don't need to hunt in pods as they do in the wild.

But two characteristics observed among many cetaceans in captivity, including orcas, defy those claims. One is the drooped dorsal fin. Many of them will exhibit a dorsal fin that droops to one side or the other, almost like a dog dragging its tail. This could be a sign of depression.

The depression and lack of mobility also manifests in much shorter life spans. For example, a beluga whale in the wild can live for 60 years, but in captivity they rarely survive past 20 years. NOC died in captivity at the age of 30. Maybe he was trying to say "get me outta here" when the diver heard "get out."
Nov 12 - Our children are routinely targeted by drug companies, pedophiles and corporations

Rarely do I get outraged. After working in the pharmaceutical industry for more than a decade and then becoming a whistleblower/activist/journalist, it is difficult to surprise or shock me. I am accustomed to clearly "seeing" the horrors that others refuse to acknowledge while remaining snug in their cocoons of false programming. It makes for a lonely and frustrating life at times, knowing what I know. Most people would rather shoot the messenger than look for truth in the message that's being delivered. In other words, as someone once said, "It is easier to fool people than it is to convince them they have been fooled!"

What continually goads me into action or forces me to speak up is a pervasive motherly instinct to protect our children - the innocents, the victims. Unfortunately, I have been chastised for "crying wolf" and causing unnecessary angst for parents, particularly where psychotropic drug use in kids is concerned. Parents are often indignant. Professionals are incredulous. The general public is oblivious for the most part about the dangers and motives behind drugging our children.

The wolf is now at front the door. Our children are being openly attacked, and the hungry pack is circling to isolate the weakest among us for the kill - the underprivileged and disenfranchised. If this example is too dramatic for your taste, then open your eyes! WAKE UP AMERICA! How many blatant examples of crimes against our children do you need plastered on your TV screens and newspapers to finally understand? The rich, the powerful, the famous, the corporations DON'T care about our kids. Our children are fodder/fuel for their next investment, experiment, enterprise, and/or war!

Recent months' headlines are exposing a heinous plague of pedophilia around the world with people of power and position covertly preying upon our innocents.

*Jerry Sandusky, former assistant football coach at Penn State was sentenced to 30-60 years on 45 counts of child molestation with 10 different boys. Sandusky was a celebrated figurehead, mentor and role model who also ran a charitable organization for underprivileged boys. http://www.huffingtonpost.com

*Monsignor William Lynn from the Philadelphia Archdiocese was recently sentenced to 3-6 years in prison for his role in protecting Catholic priest pedophiles and covering up their crimes for well over a decade.

*Attorneys are calling for a congressional investigation into Boy Scouts of America because of a report recently released naming over 1200 scout leaders that were accused of sexual misconduct and abuse of young boys.

*And across the pond in the U.K., Jimmy Savile, a deceased BBC media icon, was recently identified as a major pedophile that had molested and raped hundreds of young girls under the protective wing of British politicians and the BBC. Savile hosted a popular TV show for many years that was somewhat of a Mr. Rogers-Meets-Make-a-Wish-Foundation called "Jim'll Fix It" in which he granted the secret wishes of children. Savile was closely associated with several children's homes as well. http://www.cnn.com

My point is if these trusted authorities and highly influential people are capable of these heinous crimes against our children, then why on earth is it so difficult for us to believe that faceless, cut-throat corporations without a conscience would do harm to our kids for billions of dollars in profit? Are we really that naive, or have we been conditioned to live in a media-contained reality that turns a blind eye to the atrocities committed by the rich, the famous, and the powerful among us?

I am appealing to all good parents and citizens of conscience to take their calcium, grow a back bone, and CONFRONT this harsh reality for the sake of our children. Stop sticking your heads in the sand just because you think the shocking facts are too horrible to possibly be true...After all, surely they wouldn't do that to our children?! It is we who need to GROW UP people - not our kids!

At the risk of being repetitious, but just in case you still are not convinced, the wolf is at the front door! If you don't want to take my word for it or the word of hundreds of other researchers and experts who are trying to sound the alarm, then these are a few of the controversial questions you need to ask and perform due diligence in researching the answers in order to inform yourself and protect your kids from the big bad pharmaceutical and chemical companies:

•Why would all babies be forcibly vaccinated at birth for Hepatitis B when this liver disease is known to be transmitted by sex and IV drug use?

•Why are children now given 69 doses of various vaccines by the age of 18?

•Have vaccines been proven safe and effective?

•What is herd immunity versus individual immunity?

•What is the most profitable expansion market and who is the most compliant patient population available to the competition-saturated pharmaceutical industry, and why?

•What is thimerosal and what are its health risks? Is it still in vaccines?

•Do flu shots increase mortality and morbidity in any patient population?

•Are repetitive flu vaccines in the elderly associated with Alzheimer's?

•Can vaccines cause sterility?

•Is there a causal relationship between vaccines and autism/ADHD?

•Why are there so many children on psychiatric drugs?

•Is there any empirical, scientific evidence for diagnosing a psychiatric illness?

•What categories of drugs make the most money for Pharma? What categories fill the most prescriptions? Why?

•Why did Hitler put fluoride in the water of the Nazi concentration camps?

•Why is there a warning on the tube to call poison control if more than a pea-sized amount of toothpaste is swallowed or systemically ingested?

•What is fluorosis? Why are there warnings against the use of fluoridated water to dilute baby formulas?

•Why is there a campaign to discredit organic food?

•What are GMOs? What health risks do they pose?

•How can pesticides cause cancer, psychiatric disorders, and genetic and organ damage?

•Why is there an ongoing campaign to outlaw/regulate alternative health care methodologies and treatments?

•Who has access to prey upon and profit from our kids and WHERE and HOW do they most frequently gain total access?

We must not only ask the tough questions but we must also be willing to listen to the bone-chilling, mind-boggling facts that are often uncovered in the process. It is imperative, now more than ever, that everyone in our communities accept responsibility and pledge to help stop these abuses and protect our children. Society's most valuable asset is also its' most vulnerable.
Nov 12 - Acupuncture relieves fatigue in breast cancer sufferers

If you or someone you know suffers from breast cancer and the chronic fatigue symptoms commonly associated with conventional treatment protocols, acupuncture just might provide the much-needed energy boost you need to make it through each day. Researchers from the University of Manchester in the U.K. found that routine acupuncture treatments can help women with breast cancer achieve a "mild to modest" improvement in their fatigue symptoms, which for some can make all the difference in determining overall quality of life.

For their research, Alexander Molassiotis and his colleagues monitored and tracked 302 women with moderate to severe cancer-related fatigue symptoms, all of whom had received chemotherapy treatments for their breast cancers in the five years preceding the study. A total of 227 women who participated in the study received acupuncture treatments, while the remaining 27 women did not receive the treatments. After six weeks, the team compared the health conditions of the two groups to see if acupuncture had provided any benefits.

The group found that, overall, the acupuncture group experienced a drop in fatigue symptoms of almost four points on a 20-point scale, compared to a less than one point drop in the non-acupuncture group. Anxiety and depression scores also improved among those in the acupuncture group, dropping by two additional points following acupuncture compared to women given educational materials only. Emotional and physical well-being also improved as a result of acupuncture, lending credence to the notion that acupuncture is capable of transforming both mind and body for the better.

"Acupuncture is an effective intervention for managing the symptom of chemo-related fatigue and improving patients' quality of life," wrote Molassiotis and his colleagues in their report. When combined with moderate exercise, talk therapy, and other physical and emotional exercises, acupuncture can play a crucial role in mitigating the fatigue-related side effects of breast cancer treatments.

A 2008 study published in The International Journal of Radiation Oncology found that acupuncture is also effective at treating a variety of other side effects of cancer treatments as well, including hot flashes, depression, and night sweats. (http://www.naturalnews.com/024762_treatment_cancer_breast.html)

"[M]aintaining activity to tolerance, unless there are other problems with that, good nutrition, getting adequate sleep, and if the fatigue continues, considering there might be an alternative that complements those things," suggests Carol Enderlin of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, concerning acupuncture as a viable option for treating breast cancer treatment symptoms.
Nov 12 - Sorbitol causes premature cataracts, retinopathy, heavy weight loss, and peripheral neuropathy

Sorbitol, a sugar alcohol, was once widely accepted as a sugar alternative for diabetics. It is also produced in the body when glucose is metabolized. The dangers of sorbitol; however, have been in medical literature for over two decades. Today, there is increasing controversy over the merits of this popular sweetener.

Diabetics and calorie counters at risk

Sorbitol is a sugar alcohol that is often used to sweeten processed foods. Some tissues contain sorbitol dehydorgenase, an enzyme that converts sorbitol into fructose. Tissues lacking this enzyme run the risk of sorbitol accumulating within the tissue. Moreover, an enzyme known as aldose reductase converts glucose into sorbitol. This process occurs in everyone to a degree, but in those with diabetes, the conversion of glucose to sorbitol is greatly accelerated. When it does, it depletes the body of essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Sorbitol is osmotically active, drawing water into cells, and causes these cells to swell which can eventually result in serious diabetic complications such as vision problems (retinopathy), nerve damage (neuropathy), kidney problems (nephropathy) and blood vessel damage. This osmotic characteristic makes it especially useful as a laxative, which would explain the common compliant of gas, bloating, and other digestive issues after eating foods sweetened with the alcohol-sugar. Because of its chemical constitution, sorbitol is not used by the body, so it takes a long time for the body to rid itself of the sugar molecule. As more food items are made with sorbitol and consumed by diabetics, combined with the accelerated conversion of glucose, sorbitol can build up over time.

Diabetics and those counting calories should give serious consideration to the dangers of not only sorbitol, but all artificial sweeteners. Like many medical interventions, sorbitol and artificial sweeteners were initially recommended by diabetes organizations and MDs globally only to be retracted as "dangerous" due to the inherent risks. Sadly, millions of people have been affected by this misguided advice with irrevocable negative effects. Organizations like American Diabetes Services are now stating that "in general, you should try to avoid eating or drinking too many products with artificial sweeteners. Opt for those with natural sugar substitutes instead." The irony of it all is quite disheartening because all the damage ensued by artificial sweetener consumption was directly caused by organizations like this who once heralded these toxins as "safe." The question begging to be asked is, "What's next?" What new chemical invention today is being widely accepted and recommended only to be shunned later on at the risk of millions of naive and unquestioning people?

There are; however, very safe and natural options diabetics and those counting calories can utilize. For example, increasingly gaining popularity and becoming more common in processed foods and non-milk substitutes, stevia is a zero calorie herbal sweetener that will not increase blood glucose levels and has a delightfully pleasant flavor. Now, ubiquitously available in health and generic grocery stores in processed, powered forms, the plants themselves are very easy to grow in most climates and are do not require much maintenance.
Nov 12 - Thieves discover Atlanta airport security loophole allowing them to openly steal travelers' luggage

A major security loophole at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Georgia is putting air travelers at serious risk of having their luggage stolen by calculating thieves. According to a thorough investigation conducted by 11alive.com in Atlanta, the airport's Delta South terminal is severely lacking in proper security oversight, which has already caused a string of baggage thefts that Delta Airlines appears to be whitewashing as if they were merely "lost" luggage incidents.

The security breach was brought to the attention of the network after Jacob Giannantonio of San Antonio, Texas, called the station to report that his luggage had been stolen from the South terminal on August 19. Even though both the North and South terminals are regularly patrolled by Atlanta police, the South terminal lacks the added layer of security that other airlines operating out of the North terminal have hired privately to ensure the safety of passengers' luggage.

Delta, on the other hand, reportedly has not hired an added layer of security at the South terminal, even though the airline is among many other major airlines that now charges travelers' extra fees to stow luggage. For Giannantonio, he was eventually reimbursed $3,300 for his stolen bags, and the suspect who walked off with the bags identified. But Giannantonio is disappointed with the overall lack of security in the South terminal, which is particularly prone to thefts.

"There's embarrassment here for Delta and there's embarrassment here for Atlanta Airport Authority," said Lawton Roberts, a travel consultant, to 11alive.com about the security breach. "I think Delta should step up to the plate now and realize they're getting billions for baggage fees. They now have the responsibility to protect the security of their passengers' luggage -- after all, the passenger did pay extra for them to do that."

The theft of Giannantonio's luggage is hardly an isolated incident, as there have been numerous baggage thefts from the South terminal in recent years. According to local law enforcement, there have already been eight arrests and 28 complaints associated with stolen luggage. And every single known incident of theft has taken place in Delta's South terminal.

To make matters worse, an 11alive.com viewer tipped the station off to a "graveyard" of looted luggage in a field across from the airport. All six of the identified bags, according to a followup report, came from Delta flights that had arrived over the previous weekend. In response to the two 11alive.com reports, Delta issued a canned response that ultimately failed to address the ongoing problem at its hub airport.
Nov 12 - A single junk food meal damages arteries leading to increased risk for heart disease

The knowledge that junk foods such as bacon cheeseburgers, fries, shakes, donuts and chips are detrimental to your health is no new revelation. These foods are packed with hydrogenated trans-fats, refined carbohydrates and sugars that boost blood pressure, increase blood glucose and flood cells with dysfunctional advanced glycation end products (AGE's) that lead to suboptimal cellular function, genetic mutations and metabolic havoc.

Many people may be surprised to find out just how detrimental eating highly processed foods developed in a factory are to overall health, even when consumed infrequently. A research team from the University of Montreal in Canada has published the result of a study in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology that shows how eating a single junk food meal composed mainly of saturated fat is detrimental to the health of the arteries. They also found that no damage occurs after consuming a Mediterranean meal rich in good fats such as mono-and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

One junk food meal decreases vessel elasticity by nearly one-quarter to increase heart attack risk

Medical researchers have been studying the effects of different foods on the endothelium, the critical inner lining of the arteries that regulates the elasticity of vessels and rushes oxygenated blood to the cardiac muscle. Elevated, oxidized LDL cholesterol and triglycerides from a junk food diet causes the endothelium to become unstable, and elevated blood pressure results in micro cracks that can accumulate foamy plaque that burst leading to a heart attack.

Researchers developed a cohort of 28 healthy, non-smoking men who initially ate a Mediterranean-type meal and were then fed a junk food-type meal one week later. At the outset of the study, each participant underwent an ultrasound to determine endothelial function. The men first ate healthy foods including salmon, almonds, and vegetables cooked in olive oil. They were then subjected to a junk food meal including a sandwich made of a sausage, an egg, and a slice of cheese, and three hash browns. Each had an ultrasound at two and four hour intervals after eating to determine endothelial function.

The study team found that after eating the junk food meal, the arteries of the study participants dilated 24 percent less than they did when in the fasting state. In contrast, the arteries were found to dilate normally and maintain good blood flow after the Mediterranean-type meal. Study leader, Dr. Anil Nigam concluded "These results will positively alter how we eat on a daily basis. Poor endothelial function is one of the most significant precursors of atherosclerosis. It is now something to think about at every meal." This study represents just one of many research bodies demonstrating that even small dietary indiscretions have potentially lethal consequences and can dramatically increase heart disease risk.
Nov 12 - Five tips for healthy eating while traveling for the holidays

The time from Thanksgiving to New Years is the most traveled month of the year. Even with the TSA nonsense at airports and increasing TSA presence at train stations, more people will continue the tradition of getting together with family members at some time during the holiday period.

Some of us have other concerns about travel in addition to TSA groping and high powered screening x-rays. For instance, the low quality, food-like substances available on the road or airports, train stations, bus depots, and even what our relatives may wind up serving us when we arrive.

After being on a wholesome organic diet for some time, eating foods with GMOs, pesticide residues, and toxic additives and sweeteners can easily produce a temporary, adverse health reaction.

Tips to maintain a healthy diet while traveling

(1) Pack an easy to consume portable super food. Chlorella in tablets is easy to store in luggage, carry-on or your glove compartment. Several tiny tablets, 10 to 20, can be taken at a time for a powerful combination of nutrition and detoxification.

You can take chlorella with meals or away from meals with water any time and as often as you want. It is a food that is so nutritionally dense, it was considered as a solution to world hunger during and just after WWII.

One reason that notion was dropped was they hadn't figured out how to break through the green single cell algae chlorella's cell walls making its nutrients accessible.

Now the technology for breaking open the cell walls by crushing is practiced by most chlorella providers, making all of chlorella's nutrients and detox potential available. You can also choose tablets that are half chlorella and half spirulina, another green algae superfood that's nutritionally dense. Both are superfoods, but chlorella seems to have more detox powers.

(2) Neither super food in section (1) will give you the satisfaction of having eaten much even as they offer a lot of nutrition. But your own put-together trail mix can help with that. Raw, organic cashews and other nuts mixed with some dried fruits will help you feel like you're eating something of substance while you travel.

(3) Katie Bressack, in her mindbodygreen.com article claims she gets through TSA security checks with a packed lunch for her plane trips by packing it in her carry-on. Make it simple and easy to recognize as food, like a sandwich, and don't include packets of sauces or salad dressings.

The more you can BYO (bring your own) food while traveling, the healthier you'll remain on your trips. You may try looking into a survival food company to carry a few survival food bars with you also. They are used for camping and emergencies.

The only caveat is making sure you check for MSG, aspartame and corn syrup. Here's how to spot the many MSG disguises.

Also, make sure the bars are free from GMOs. To help with that, order a free downloadable GMO avoidance guide from Jeffrey Smith's Institute for Responsible Technology.

(4) Try to get a motel or hotel room with a kitchenette. If a health food store is not in the vicinity, you can use this little guide to "The Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen..." for picking the least sprayed, non-organic produce possible.

(5) Scout and plan ahead via the internet to determine where there might be health food stores or restaurants at your destination. Let your relatives know what type of foods you're used to and help direct them to the right choices.

And don't forget to pack some sublingual melatonin tablets to help you sleep despite jet lag.
Nov 12 - Canada, Switzerland cave to company pressures by lifting ban on dangerous Novartis flu vaccines

Just days after declaring a ban on two influenza vaccines manufactured by Swiss drug maker Novartis due to abnormal floating particles, the nations of Canada and Switzerland have officially lifted these bans at the request of the drug giant. According to Reuters, Novartis procured company-funded testing allegedly showing that the vaccines were still safe despite the abnormalities, which the two countries accepted as solid enough evidence to once again begin administering the questionable jabs.

Several weeks ago, a handful of European Union nations and Canada noticed that some lots of Novartis' Agrippal and Fluad influenza vaccines contained unusually large white clumps floating in the injection solution, prompting health authorities to issue an immediate moratorium. Not only is vaccine solution in general supposed to be evenly disbursed without any clumps or particles, but it was also unclear precisely what the clumps actually were in the flu solutions. So to prevent a potential public health emergency, health officials decided to simply ban the vaccines altogether.

Once Novartis got wind of this decision, though, the company scrambled to manufacture "evidence" that the particles, which were later identified as atypically large proteins, were not a threat to human health. Even though these particles would presumably be injected into human muscle tissue along with the vaccine solution, Novartis declared the anomaly to not be a threat -- just go ahead and get your flu shot and do not worry about it, the company basically decreed.

"According to the scientific data presented to us, the safety of the vaccines is not compromised by the stray aggregates," claimed the Swiss health agency Swissmedic in a recent announcement. The agency did not; however, provide any details as to the contents or conclusion of this supposed data.

Italy, on the other hand, which went a step further by banning two other Novartis flu vaccines, Influpozzi and adjuvanted Influpozzi, is not so sure about Novartis' "scientific data." The country is reportedly in the process of reviewing the company's test results, while it remains "cautiously positive" about potentially lifting its ban on the four vaccines. There is currently no word on how Germany, Spain, Austria, and France will respond to Novartis' claims that its flu vaccines are safe.

Just a few days before Novartis' Chief Executive Officer Joseph Jimenez declared the company's flu vaccines to be safe, Novartis' third-quarter sales numbers were publicly released. According to Reuters, these numbers missed the forecast mark substantially, which presumably helped motivate Novartis to create the "scientific data" it needed to declare its flu vaccines safe, and thus preserve their place in the market.
Nov 12 - China promises to phase out harvesting of organs from executed prisoners

China has promised to phase out its organ harvesting operations and move to a volunteer organ donation system over the next few years, reports the Associated Press. As you read this, keep in mind that if Natural News had published an article just two days ago with the headline, "China harvesting organs from executed prisoners," we would have been widely branded a bunch of "conspiracy theorists" who were fabricating news.

Most people, you see, are utterly clueless about reality. They have no idea what really goes on in our world: Organ harvesting, the U.N. running child sex smuggling rings, the U.S. banking system laundering drug money for the Mexican cartels, and so on. Heck, if I had told you a year ago that a Penn State football coach named Sandusky was molesting children in the university sports locker room, you wouldn't have believed that either.

The truth is that people are reluctant to believe things they wish weren't true. So they live in a state of never-ending DENIAL about the world, refusing to acknowledge the horrors of what really go on day after day.

China, you see, has been harvesting organs from executed prisoners since the dawn of the organ transplant industry, an industry steeped in criminality, even in the USA. It's quite a lucrative black market, actually. If a wealthy customer needs a new kidney, you just find some guy on the street, frame him for a crime he didn't commit, then have him executed for his organs. All the bureaucrats involved pocket a few thousand dollars each -- and that's big money in China.

(By the way, you probably didn't know this, but the organ transplant industry routinely transplants diseased organs into recipient patients.)

In the U.S., people are set up and prosecuted as criminals in order to feed the slave labor private prison system. They don't harvest your organs, but they do harvest your sweat and labor. U.S. prisoners work for a few cents an hour -- even cheaper than Chinese laborers! -- making prison labor the new growth industry.

Everywhere around the world, tyrannical, corrupt governments predictably and routinely exploit human beings for their own profit. Whether it's harvesting organs, expanding the prison system through continued marijuana criminalization, or just using Child Protective Services to kidnap children and sell them off to international sex traders, it's all accomplished by corrupt, criminal government officials working as a type of mafia.

Government = Mafia

"Mafia" is probably the best descriptive model for government as a whole. The activities of government are routinely not just criminal, but highly unethical and immoral as well.

For example, who funded the inhumane medical experiments on Guatemalan prisoners that we learned about last year? The United States government, of course, through a conspiracy with the NIH.

Who gave vaccine manufacturers blanket immunity against lawsuits, even while knowing their products maim and kill huge numbers of people every year? The government!

Who grants Big Pharma a medical monopoly over the "treatment" of all disease while attempting to crush the natural supplements industry through intimidation and threats? The U.S. government!

Without the U.S. government involved in medicine, prescription drugs would be far less expensive, nutritional supplements would be more widely available, the population would be far healthier, and the pharmaceutical industry would only be about 1/10th its current size.

The ultimate example of Big Government? North Korea

In fact, if you really want to look at the ultimate expression of big government, look no further than North Korea. There, the government must be literally worshipped daily by the impoverished people. The leader of the government, Kim Jong Il's son, must be worshipped as a god.

Anyone who does not bow down to the government, its soldiers and its police officers is immediately sent to a gulag-style labor camp. A military general who recently offended North Korea's leader was recently sentenced to death by mortar fire.

That's exactly where the U.S. government is headed these days, by the way: Cult-like charismatic leaders who are corrupt, criminal operators who have no clue about how to create abundance through freedom. The TSA already operates much like North Korea, engaging in sexual assaults on a daily basis, stealing massive quantities of prescription drugs, electronics, jewelry and cash from travelers, and operating entirely outside the law. (Under U.S. law, all TSA agents should be immediately arrested as sexual predators.)

Government-run vaccination programs are medical assaults on children and adults. The U.S. government's collusion with the vaccine industry mirrors China's collusion with the organ harvesting and transplant industry: It's all about exploiting people for power and profit, regardless of who gets hurt in the process.

Already, there's talk of mandatory organ donations in the USA, where the government would force people to be organ donors "for the good of society." It's actually just a way to enrich the medical system even more, because the only people who profit from organ transplants are the hospitals, surgeons and organ transportation companies.

That's already on top of the mandatory fluoride poisoning which has been in place across America for decades. No, the fluoride they dump into the water doesn't make your teeth stronger, folks. They're feeding you hydrofluosilicic acid -- a toxic pesticide chemical -- and calling it "fluoride." The entire thing is a sinister scam.

And then there's Obamacare, with the government forcing you to financially support a corrupt, criminal pharmaceutical industry that quite literally murders 100,000 Americans each year (and routinely conducts medical experiments on babies). I don't know about you, but I have no desire to financially support a criminal mafia organization, and that's exactly what Big Pharma really is: Every major drug company has been prosecuted for fraud, and nearly all the so-called "science" is fabricated, especially in the vaccine industry.

But that doesn't stop the U.S. government from handing the criminal pharmaceutical industry a monopoly over modern medicine, of course. Because that's what government does best: Grant monopolies to the worst criminals in society.

Governments crush the human spirit

Remember: Every government is, as its core, anti free market. Every government is in the business of handing out money and protection to its criminal cohorts in the private sector while crushing competition and freedom at the same time.

Right now, the United States government is:

• In bed with Monsanto

• Opposed to GMO labeling

• Protecting the Big Pharma monopoly

• Opposed to holistic medicine

• Opposed to home gardening

• Strongly opposed to the Bill of Rights

• Strongly in favor of globalist banks

• Stealing your money by creating new money

• In favor of medical experiments on children

• In favor of endless environmental destruction

• In favor of the continued criminalization of hemp farming

This is not a fair and just government, as you can tell. It's a government of corrupt, criminal, evil-minded demons who thirst for power over others, and who relish the idea of wielding their power to crush the lives of innocents.

That's North Korea, that's China, that's the British government and it's also the United States Government. All governments are the same: They all seek to crush to human spirit, create dependence, and position themselves into positions of power and dominance while the rest of the human race suffers.

If you want to learn more about the dangers of bad government, here are some resources I recommend you read:

Lew Rockwell


Daily Reckoning


Info Wars


The REAL answer to bad government? Direct Democracy

The ultimate answer to bad government is to eliminate government "representatives" who pretend to represent the People.

Yep, that's right: Do away with Congress, completely, permanently and for the greater good!

Let the People vote on issues, without the corporate lobbyists controlling Washington.
Nov 12 - Marijuana decriminalized in Washington and Colorado as voters reject police state 'War on Drugs'

Here's some good news in the election results: Voters in Washington and Colorado have decriminalized small quantities of marijuana for recreational use. This is an attempt to end the insane waste of law enforcement resources on small-time pot users who pose no threat to society.

Although I'm personally not a pot user and I don't advocate the smoking of pot for recreational use, this is nonetheless a victory for freedom in a nation that's increasingly crushing freedom on most fronts. It does, however, set the stage for state versus federal conflicts over the enforcement of federal drug laws.

Federal government mistakenly thinks it rules over states

According to President Obama, the federal government rules the nation and can bypass state laws to make arrests of pot users or growers, even when marijuana possession been deemed perfectly legal by the states! This is, of course, government arrogance and a gross overstepping of the limits of federal government as outlined in the United States Constitution.

But Washington D.C. does not seem to care about any constitutional limits of power. And the DEA, as always, is far more interested in expanding its own power than abiding by state laws. So watch for the DEA to specifically target marijuana users in Washington and Colorado in the near future in order to demonstrate some tyranny in the face of these new laws.

Government as gangs

The federal government is, after all, a lawless, tyrannical collection of three-lettered gangs: DEA, ATF, FDA, CDC and so on. Each of them has a "territory" of power and control, and when voters decriminalize marijuana, they threaten the territory of the DEA.

DEA agents don't like that. And as they are all half-cocked crazy sons of bitches, they will lock and load wherever it takes to prove they're still in charge.

Trust me on that point. I know some ex-DEA guys, and they're insane to the core. To them, it's not about law, it's about street power. It's about the rush of conducting an armed raid on a pot grower's house, and the thrill of being written up in the newspaper for a "marijuana bust." It's also about those shiny new AR-15 toys and the IR non-visible laser sights that only government agents can buy.

To these guys, being a DEA agent is like being paid to act like a modern-day cowboy and play with government guns being directed against the People. These guys won't give up their power (and their pensions) easily.
Nov 12 - Why is my lower back so angry?

Whenever an episode of lower back pain strikes, we question, "What brought this on?" Our mind wanders to the physical things we have done over the last few days, which many times are not out of the ordinary, and in fact, frankly innocent sounding when that sharp, shooting pain starts when bending over to pick up our keys or the bathroom wastebasket. Surely, our lower back is not so weak that picking up a trivial object would inflict such pain and injury. "Okay, well, it must have been the way I was sleeping," is a common story that many people share about their episodes of lower back pain. Could there be something we are overlooking that is making our lower backs so angry?

The link with our emotional body

Rarely do we make the connection that our current emotional state or years of accumulated negative emotions may be triggering our lower back pain, sending us into a tailspin. What is the link, and what can we do to determine if our emotions are behind our lower back pain?

Taking a deeper look at this association, we must understand how emotions affect our bodies. Any time we experience an emotion, whether it is positive or negative, our nervous system processes this feeling with associated past experiences. Our mind then evaluates this emotion, categorizes it as either fight/flight or business as usual, and triggers the alarm if it senses a need for survival. This survival response activates the body to assume a posture of defense physiology. Much of this processing is occurring at the subconscious level in various parts of our brains including the amygdala, the hippocampus, the cerebellum and the hypothalamus. It is not necessary to know all of these neuroanatomical locations your brain has already made a response to before you are consciously aware of it. Each emotion also drives a unique signature of hormones and neurotransmitters to be produced. Positive emotions typically create a blend of health enhancing chemicals, while negative emotions create a blend of disease promoting chemicals.

Survival activation and deactivation

This survival, or defense response, is perfectly designed to be activated for short bursts of time. The problem arises when our mental and emotional state triggers this response for weeks, months or years at a time. When the body is in defense physiology, muscles tighten up, heart rate and blood pressure increase, cortisol increases in chronic situations, immune function decreases, blood sugar is unstable, digestion slows down, and blood is diverted from our core to our extremities. Prolonged defense physiology sets the stage for all types of "mysterious" pain, ailments, and chronic, life-threatening conditions. Plug in these facts and discover the perfect storm for an "angry" back flare-up.

Other assessments of the body in chronic defense physiology include classic signs such as breathing with the shoulders instead of through the abdomen, shoulders elevated to the ears when "relaxed," and dilated pupils. Heart rate variability (HRV), a technologically advanced non-invasive assessment of heart rhythm performed by both natural and conventional healthcare providers, can be measured to determine output of the autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for triggering the fight or flight response. Bio Energetic Synchronization Technique (B.E.S.T.), performed by natural healthcare providers, is a technique used to identify a body in defense physiology due to emotional stress. The aberrant emotional pattern can be determined, neutralized, and "updated." This allows the nervous system to disengage the inappropriately timed defense response, letting the body return to a natural state of self-healing.
Nov 12 - Oregon court temporarily halts GM canola plantings after determining crop will cause 'irreparable harm' to important growing region

Efforts by the biotechnology industry to begin planting genetically-modified (GM) canola, also known as rapeseed, in Oregon's prized Willamette Valley have been thwarted, at least temporarily, thanks to persistent opposition from farmers and farmer advocacy groups. The Oregonian reports that the Oregon Court of Appeals has temporarily halted a ruling by the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) that would have allowed plantings of the controversial crop at the borders of the highly-protected Willamette Valley as soon as this fall.

Oregon's Willamette Valley is a pristine agricultural treasure in the northwestern region of the state where all sorts of organic produce is grown, much of it for the specific purpose of producing clean seeds for farmers all around the world. Because of its perfect growing climate and untainted environment, the 3.7 million acre protected zone is where the majority of the world's Brassica seed crops are grown, and is considered by many to be a "globally unique agricultural resource."

GM canola will destroy crops, land in Oregon's Willamette Valley

Allowing GM crops to be grown anywhere near this valley; however, which has been ODA's intention for quite some time, will compromise the integrity not only of the crops already being grown there, but also of the land itself, which would more than likely begin sprouting up wild GM canola plants and corresponding "superweeds," a scenario already widely occurring throughout much of North Dakota. Because of this, defenders of the Willamette Valley have been actively working to guard this unspoiled region from being intruded upon by pernicious GMOs.

"The shortsighted approach of the Department of Agriculture and steamroller process of preparing to file a temporary rule which would invite canola, including GE (genetically-engineered) canola, into the protected zone of the Willamette Valley could mean the ruination of the specialty seed industry," says the group Friends of Family Farmers (FFF), which helped file the motion to halt ODA's plans along with the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and several Willamette Valley farmers.

"This move on ODA's part opens up one of the most unique growing regions in the world to a noxious species of Brassica that readily cross-pollinates, thus contaminating the genetics of other Brassica crops," the group added, noting that GM canola is also a Brassica plant. "ODA seems to be rolling out the red carpet to a handful of interested canola producers and the Willamette Biomass Processors by pulling the rug out from under our world renowned and highly lucrative specialty seed industry."

If this temporary ban on GM canola plantings is eventually overruled, several seed buyers have already indicated that they will "pull all contracts" from farmers growing seed for them in the Willamette Valley, as the likelihood of widespread contamination by GM canola is inevitable. Why ODA would deliberately open up the impeccable Willamette Valley to GM canola and put the entire local economy at risk is unclear, other than the government bureaucracy, like many others, has likely caved to industry pressures that could not care less about the interests of local farmers.

"We have tried to work with the Kitzhaber administration to slow down this process and engage all stakeholders in public notice and comment, but ODA steamrolled producers and has rushed to open 1.7 million acres in the Willamette Valley to canola, a low-value crop with a huge, adverse impact on several high-value industries," adds CFS about the situation. "This could mean disaster for Oregon's seed and organic industries."
Nov 12 - Curcumin slays cancer cells in their tracks

Curcumin is the active anti-inflammatory ingredient of turmeric. It has been used traditionally for centuries by Ayurveda and Chinese medicine. Currently, it may be western medicine's most researched ancient medicinal herb.

Curcumin has been under scrutiny in clinical and epidemiological (statistical survey) studies by several researchers for arthritis relief, cardiac conditions, and other inflammatory based diseases. It's even getting serious consideration for curing cancer these days.

Outstanding discoveries by even mainstream cancer researchers

On April 21, 2011, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, top Western medicine abandoned it's normal research for new toxic chemo solutions for cancer to release a surprising paper on their curcumin research.

The researchers were amazed at curcumin's ability to differentiate cancer cells from normal cells and create apoptosis (cell death) in cancer cells only, while actually promoting better cellular health in non-cancerous cells.

The MD Anderson Cancer Center was very interested in how curcumin and other natural compounds affected adverse epigenetic influences from free radical damage due to pollutants and other sources.

When adverse epigenetic influences begin, DNA damage occurs more rapidly than it can heal itself resulting in a chain reaction of gene activation or inactivation that create cell mutations - or cancer cells.

The researchers concluded that curcumin (diferuloylmethane) exerts its biological influence through epigenetic modulation, a process that continues downstream staying one step ahead of adverse genetic influences. Very heady stuff indeed.

More recently, a study from Zheijian Provincial People's Hospital in Zheijiang, China indicates that curcumin is capable of inducing apoptosis (cell death) within triple negative breast cancer cells. Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a type of cancer that defies conventional therapy.

A breast cancer chemotherapy drug, Tamoxifen, targets estrogen receptors. This makes the toxic drug less invasive to surrounding healthier cells. But TNBC doesn't have estrogen and progesterone receptors to target, thus requiring non-targeting and more toxic chemo drugs.

The Triple Breast Cancer Foundation flashes pink like their sister charity Susan G. Koman and raises money that pays their solid salaries with some trickle down cash for dead-end research to Big Pharma's never ending quest for high priced toxic ineffective chemicals.

Meanwhile, they ignore real prevention and natural, safe and inexpensive solutions for cancer. Here's a reference for a list of several research papers on curcumin, many on cancer.

There have been many positive studies on curcumin for cancer and other diseases. The good news is a lot has been from mainstream researchers. The two focused on here are simply the most recent and spectacular discoveries.

Even PubMed acknowledges curcumin's anti-cancer capabilities for several different types of cancer.

Natural foods rich in flavanols, especially epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) found in green tea, has also been explored to be used in tandem with curcumin's diferuloylmethane as a one-two punch for cancer. EGCG inhibits excessive angeogenesis, or excessive blood vessel creation.

We all have some free floating cancer cells. When excess angeogenesis occurs, it helps coagulate cancer cell colonies to use the new blood vessels and thrive as tumors.

Using curcumin properly

Heating turmeric powder in milk and coconut oil with a dash of black pepper will give you a healthy tonic that you can use daily to mollify chronic inflammation and help prevent cancer. This combination mimics traditional Indian cuisine and is necessary to get maximum absorption of turmeric's curcumin.

For more acute issues, high dose curcumin is also available in enteric coated capsules with piperine, the active ingredient of black pepper that enhances nutritional absorption.

Enteric coating keeps the capsules from breaking apart and exposing their fragile curcumin to stomach acids. This allows the curcumin to get into the small intestines and into the blood. If you Google bioperine (piperine) enteric coated curcumin, you'll find several suppliers.
Nov 12 - Marine Corp Intelligence officer struck by lightning, raped, broke every bone in her body, recovered naturally!

If you have ever doubted your ability to heal naturally from devastating trauma, this is one episode of Mental Health Exposed you don't want to miss.

Sarah Plummer has been hit by a car, struck by lightning, survived a devastating car crash, was raped by a fellow Marine Corp service member, has broken every major bone in her body, and faced daily medical issues related to arthritis, scoliosis, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.??Beyond that, as a woman in the United State Marine Corp, Sarah tolerated daily sexual harassment. Even though modern culture has come a long way in the last 50 years, sexual harassment is still the daily norm in a male dominated military. You'll be surprised at what it is like when you hear Sarah's story.

Yet, Sarah's message is one of hope. She encourages her audiences to see obstacles as opportunities, turn tragedy into triumph, and be healthy in order to heal. This is her mission through her site, http://sempersarah.com, and what she shares on this, the November 7, 2012 episode of Mental Health Exposed.

How does one heal from a string of catastrophic traumas?

In Sarah's case, she stayed the course to true healing in spite of the military medical establishment. At first, doctors only wanted to give her drugs and move her along (one doctor prescribed Valium for TMJ and ordered her to take it 3x per day). When she refused the drugs and insisted on getting real help from someone who knew how to help without psychotropic medication, she was informed she was to be sent home and institutionalized.

Sarah stayed the course, insisted on her right to fair treatment with knowledgeable doctors and, at last, found it. What an amazing difference competent mental health professionals can make! Listen to Sarah's story. With only natural intervention, psychotherapy, yoga and nutrition, Sarah made a full recovery.

Now, her mission is to help others do the same. Sarah is also a University of Virginia graduate, combat-experienced Marine Corps Intelligence Officer, and Military Olympic Athlete who is on a mission to empower those who have experienced trauma or difficult life events to "just roll with it."

Through Sarah's expertise as a certified yoga instructor, holistic health coach, and battle-tested leader, she powerfully inspires, instructs, and equips audiences to roll with any challenge life throws at them.
Nov 12 - Omega-3 fats shown to improve cognition and memory in young adults

The long chain omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA have been shown to effectively lower the risk of heart disease and heart attack and reduce the occurrence of dementia in aging adults. Omega-3 fats improve systemic inflammation to aid vascular elasticity and reduce the risk of blood clots that can result in a cardiovascular event. Additionally, the fats are preferentially incorporated into the cell wall matrix of neurons to aid neurotransmitter communications and the flow of oxygen and nutrients for efficient cellular metabolism.

In a landmark study, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh have published the results of a study in the journal PLoS ONE that demonstrates how omega-3 essential fatty acids such as those found in foods like wild fish and grass-fed livestock are necessary for human body functioning, and improve the working memory and level of cognition in healthy, young adults. The study's authors determined that healthy, young adults, aged 18 to 25 can improve their working memory even further by increasing their omega-3 fatty acid intake.

Lead study author, Dr. Bita Moghaddam commented "Before seeing this data, I would have said it was impossible to move young healthy individuals above their cognitive best... we found that members of this population can enhance their working memory performance even further, despite their already being at the top of their cognitive game." To conduct the study, scientists assembled a cohort of healthy young men and women to receive a standardized omega-3 supplement for a period of six months.

Omega-3 supplements affect dopamine levels in the brain to improve memory and decision making skills

At the outset of the study, participants underwent PET scans and had blood samples drawn. Each performed a numerical working memory test known as an 'n-back test' to assess their ability to recall number sequences. The researchers noted that numerical abilities corresponded to plasma omega-3 levels before supplementation. After the six month study period, blood samples were again drawn and memory recall tests were performed.

Virtually all prior studies involving omega-3 levels and cognition have been performed on aging adults, and the scientists wanted to assess if memory could be improved in younger adults at the peak of physical and cognitive function. The authors concluded "But what about our highest-functioning periods? Can we help the brain achieve its full potential by adapting our healthy behaviors in our young adult life? We found that we absolutely can."

The authors cited past studies showing that omega-3 supplementation in mice improved levels of dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with mood as well as working memory, and increases a protein known as VMAT2 that is associated with decision making. Although the researchers did not make this causative conclusion in their study, it should be clear to all health-conscious individuals that daily supplementation with a quality omega-3 fish oil is important to maintain brain health and improve memory in adolescents and adults of all ages.
Nov 12 - Time Warner cancels show that exposes TSA thugs and cancer-causing body scanners

Often is the time we have complained that too few media personalities tackle the really important issues of the day, and that when they do, they tend to treat the subject matter with kid gloves, not really wanting to rankle those in power while appearing to delve into the matter like a good journalist.

That kind of media personality is not Jesse Ventura - the former professional wrestler, actor, governor of Minnesota, author and host/creator of the show Conspiracy Theory, an investigative program which airs on TruTV.

When he goes after a story, he does so with the kind of no-holds-barred style which he made famous, which may explain why, in recent months, he and his cast had an episode of the program canceled by the network's owner, Time Warner.

What was the subject matter of the episode? How the Transportation Security Administration's full-body scanners are a major cancer threat.

'I don't know who killed it...'

In discussing his program and Time Warner's decision with The Alex Jones Show, Ventura sounded a note of disappointment.

"This year we did eight of them (total shows) but they're only going to air seven, they won't do the one we did on the TSA - that one apparently ain't gonna make show time," Ventura said.

Jones asked Ventura who he thought was responsible for making the decision to kill the program - by name - but he refused to speculate.

"I don't know who killed it, I can only say that TruTV killed it," the former governor said.

He did; however, talk about some of the content and focus of the canceled episode. He pointed out how radiation-emitting body scanners had recently been removed from some larger airports - a development covered by Natural News - and how the show was really just an investigation of the safety of those scanners and the financial motivation behind purchasing them.

"They're [TSA] still not admitting that they're not safe, well then, why are they replacing them?" Ventura asked rhetorically during the interview.

"We exposed that these things are not safe, we exposed that the radiation levels are at an unsafe level, we exposed the fact that TSA employees aren't allowed to wear radiation badges for the own protection," he said, adding that the government was attempting to avoid lawsuits by refusing to implement any safety system that would monitor radiation levels.

InfoWars reported that Jones, who served as a consultant for the canceled episode, "confirmed that the program was a serious investigation of the financial motive behind the body scanners and how they posed a significant cancer risk," something the European Union has suspected since deciding to ban the use of the revealing, full-body scanners in airports within its confederation.

In addition, a number of prestigious health organizations have warned that the radiation-firing scanners will cause cancer; Freedom of Information Act documents obtained by EPIC - the Electronic Privacy Information Center - reveal as much.

After union representatives in Boston uncovered a "cancer cluster" among TSA workers linked to radiation from the machines, the agency downplayed the findings - but still refused to issue its workers dosimeters so they could monitor radiation levels.

"A large number of workers have been falling victim to cancer, strokes and heart disease," the documents note.

Even private recordings of some episodes erased?

"The Department, rather than acting on it, or explaining its position seems to have just dismissed. I don't think that's the way most other agencies would have acted in a similar situation if they were confronted with that question," says EPIC's director, Marc Rotenberg.

The TSA episode is not the first one Ventura's ever had pulled from airing.

A episode from a previous season entitled, "Police State," was yanked from being re-aired after the network was pressured by the Department of Homeland Security. That episode exposed a plan to ensure the continuity of the U.S. government in the event of a national emergency, which included plans for mass internment of American citizens in vast camps.

That show was said to have caused so much angst among the highest circles of power and influence that it was even remotely erased from viewers' private TiVO recording devices, InfoWars reported.
Nov 12 - Vaccines not responsible for halting infectious diseases of 20th century

A common misconception about vaccines purports that they are the primary reason why infectious disease rates saw a rapid and steady decline throughout the early-to-mid 20th century. But an honest look at the figures reveals that diseases like polio, typhoid, measles, and tuberculosis were already in significant decline long before vaccines were ever even invented, this being the result of improved hygiene and diet.

Data compiled by the National Health Federation (NHF), and relayed by Cynthia A. Janak of RenewAmerica.com, tells the real story about how virtually every major infectious disease of the 20th century was already on its way out long before its associated vaccine came onto the scene. This fact is clearly illustrated in these powerful visual graphs created by NHF that contain vital statistics from official U.S. public health records.

As you will notice in the first graph, mortality rates from diphtheria, for instance, had already dropped by more than half before a vaccine for the infectious bacterial disease was introduced in 1920. The same can be seen for both whooping cough (pertussis) and measles as well, the vaccines for which emerged in the mid-1940s and 1963, respectively.

Some infectious disease vaccines actually triggered more disease deaths

Another important piece of information regarding vaccines is that some of them appear to have actually triggered a spike in mortality rates following their initial release. Just after the diphtheria vaccine's release in 1920, for instance, there was actually a spike in death cases from the disease, followed by the continued decline that had already been taking place before the vaccine's release. A similar spike was seen following the release of the whooping cough vaccine as well.

"Most people believe that victory over the infectious diseases of the last century came with the invention of immunizations. In fact, cholera, typhoid, tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough, etc., were in decline before vaccines for them became available -- the result of better methods of sanitation, sewage disposal, and distribution of food and water," writes Dr. Andrew Weil in his book Health and Healing.

Typhoid fever is an excellent illustration of this crucial fact, as the disease almost completely disappeared in the 40 years between 1920 and 1960 without ever even having had an associated vaccine. Likewise, scarlet fever followed a similar pattern of natural eradication without ever having had an associated vaccine, as you will observe in these compelling graphs.

So the next time somebody tries to guilt-trip you into accepting pro-vaccine dogma on the premise that vaccines have saved the world from infectious disease, simply refer them to actual historical data, which clearly shows that this is simply not the case. Exposing the truth may not be popular with the vaccine industry and its corporate-political allies, which profit heavily from the "vaccines ended infectious disease" myth, but it could help save you and your loved ones from needless vaccine injuries.
Nov 12 - Probiotic twice a day zaps 'bad' cholesterol, could prevent heart disease

For decades, natural health and nutrition advocates have advised paying attention to our internal environment for optimum health - specifically, to make sure the "good" bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract was plentiful by eating yogurt and other fermented foods and/or taking probiotic supplements. Once considered fringe, "health nut" advice, scientists have recently documented multiple ways probiotics can benefit health. Now, at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2012 currently underway in Los Angeles, researchers have announced taking a probiotic supplement might help prevent heart disease.

According to Mitchell L. Jones, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the study and a research assistant in the faculty of medicine at McGill University in Montreal, taking twice daily doses of a probiotic lowered key cholesterol-bearing molecules in the blood, caused "bad" cholesterol level (the kind that clogs arteries) to plunge and made the total cholesterol count healthier.

This is a particularly important study for mainstream medicine to be aware of because of two reasons. First, it involved a double blind study in humans. And second, it shows that a natural substance can do something Big Pharma's side effect-ridden statins can't do -- lower "bad" cholesterol without potential harm.

In earlier studies, a strain of live probiotic microorganisms (Lactobacillus reuteri) had shown promise in lowering blood levels of LDL or "bad" cholesterol. For the new study, the investigators looked to see if the same probiotic could lower LDL and reduce molecules of cholesterol attached to fatty acids known as cholesterol esters. A combination of elevated cholesterol esters plus high LDL has been tied to dangerous plaque buildup in the arteries, resulting in a heightened risk of heart disease.

The study involved 127 adult research subjects who all had high cholesterol. About half the patients took the probiotic two times a day, while the rest were given placebo capsules. After just nine weeks, those taking the probiotic had LDL levels 11.6 percent lower than those on placebos. In addition, cholesterol esters were reduced by 6.3 percent and cholesterol ester saturated fatty acids fell by almost nine percent, compared with the placebo group.

The people taking the probiotic had no side effects and, as the researchers noted, the probiotic strain L. reuteri has a long history of safe use.

As Natural News previously reported, other breakthrough research published in the journal Nature strongly indicates an imbalance of "good" versus "bad" bacteria in the intestinal tract appears to trigger Type II diabetes --and probiotics may help prevent or treat that condition, too. In addition, scientists have also discovered that probiotics can increase the body's immune response to the flu virus and may be an effective treatment for inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's and ulcerative colitis.
Nov 12 - Heart disease danger: Vast majority of patients given wrong drug doses

Cardiology researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute say they've found startling evidence that millions of Americans with coronary artery disease are at increased risk for serious problems like uncontrolled bleeding or developing blood clots. The reason? The drugs they are taking as prescribed by their doctors are the wrong dose for their bodies.

The new study, just released at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2012 in Los Angeles, suggests that vast numbers (in all, about 75 percent) of heart disease patients taking two common blood-thinning drugs appear to be receiving the wrong dosage levels. So why is this a problem? Because at too small of a dose, the drugs don't prevent clots (and comes with side effects which can include stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, vision changes and seizures). And at too high levels, the Big Pharma meds can cause life-threatening internal bleeding.

The specific drugs in question are clopidogrel (Plavix) and prasugrel (Effient). Both are commonly prescribed by doctors to prevent harmful blood clots that can cause a stroke or heart attack. In fact, the current guidelines recommend that all patients should take the same standardized dose of one of these pills. But in their study of 521 patients, researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute found the one-size-fits-all dose is not only ineffective for huge numbers of patients, it may be dangerous.

50 percent of the patients in the study taking clopidogrel were not getting enough of the drug to prevent clotting most effectively and a quarter were getting too much. Half of patients taking prasugrel were getting excessive amounts of the drug, which could lead to dangerous bleeding. Only a quarter of the patients taking either drug were receiving a correct dose.

"There's a sweet spot, an appropriate range for each patient. But we found that not many people are falling into that range," said cardiologist Brent Muhlestein, MD, a cardiac researcher at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, in a press statement. "We showed that by performing a simple blood test to see whether or not the blood is clotting properly, we can determine whether patients are getting an appropriate, individualized dose of the medications. The test is easy to perform, but not widely used."

The Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute study calls for personalized treatment for patients. The researchers say this could slash pharmacy bills for many patients who are being over-dosed with the powerful blood thinners. The annual cost for one of the medications is more than $1,800 and taking the lowest effective dose could conceivably cut their bill in half.

Anyone concerned about strokes should be aware that there's a safe and natural way to lower your risk. As Natural News has previously reported, multiple studies have already shown a strong association between a high consumption of fruits and vegetables and a lower stroke risk. For example, research published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association by Dutch scientists found frequently eating the white flesh of foods like pears and apples could lower the risk of stroke by 52 percent.
Nov 12 - Monsanto, agribusiness and big food companies spent more than $45 million to kill 'costly' Prop 37 GMO labeling bill

Labeling genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) is simply too costly, and any law requiring that GMOs be properly labeled will raise food prices significantly. This was one of the many lies propagated by the biotechnology and processed food industries in the months and weeks leading up to the vote on Proposition 37 in California, the historic GMO labeling initiative that was defeated in large part due to the more than $45 million that Monsanto, Dow, Kraft Foods, and dozens of other industry players hypocritically pumped into the fraudulent No on 37 campaign during the final hour.

For the past few weeks, Californians have had to endure a seemingly endless barrage of misleading television commercials and phony voter guide mailers urging them to vote against the labeling proposal because it would allegedly "cost taxpayers and consumers millions," to quote California "family farmer" Ted Sheely, who was prominently featured in a No on 37 propaganda commercial that aired throughout the state. The same commercial, along with several others, also claimed that GMO labeling would increase grocery bills by about $400 per year for the average California family.

Such claims are bald-faced lies, of course, as food manufacturers change their labels constantly without issue, not to mention the fact that the supposed "Prop 37 Economic Impact Study" from which many of these bogus claims and figures were pulled is nothing but fabricated, industry-backed nonsense. Even so, these nonstop lies were apparently enough to close the gap on an earlier 2-to-1 lead in favor of the bill -- The Los Angeles Times reported back in September that 61 percent of registered voters supported Prop. 37, while only 25 percent opposed it.

Labeling GMOs is apparently too costly, but spending millions to fight labeling is no big deal

So what happened to cause the bill to eventually fail in the eleventh hour? Nearly $50 million in lobbying funds is what happened. In a demonstration of sheer irony and hypocrisy, the same companies that have been complaining about supposed food cost increases from GMO labeling are the very ones that spent tens of millions of dollars making sure the GMO labeling bill did not pass. And in the end, the GMO cartel got its wish, at least in the short term.

The good news, however, is that more than 4.2 million Californians saw through the lies of Monsanto, and voted in favor of Prop. 37 despite the propaganda campaign. And the long-term momentum the Yes on 37 campaign generated about the presence of GMOs in the food supply means it is only a matter of time before GMOs are eventually on the radar of all Americans.

"Yesterday, we showed that there is a food movement in the United States, and it is strong, vibrant and too powerful to stop," said the Yes on 37 campaign following the election. "We always knew we were the underdogs, and the underdogs nearly took the day. Dirty money and dirty tactics may have won this skirmish, but they will not win the war."

To begin proactively fighting against the unlabeled presence of GMOs throughout the American food supply, be sure to check out the Label It Yourself initiative.

Also, be sure to boycott the "natural" and organic imposters that contributed to the No on 37 campaign, and support those that fought for the people's right to know what they are eating and feeding their families.
Nov 12 - New York University asks students to plot detailed terrorist attacks, complete with targets, funding and operatives

A New York University (NYU) professor has landed herself in the national spotlight after several of her students spoke out about a controversial class assignment that involved plotting the details of a realistic terrorist attack. As reported by The New York Post, Professor Marie-Helen Maras, who teaches a graduate-level course at NYU on transnational terrorism, instructed her students not only to devise a hypothetical terrorist attack scenario as part of course requirements, but also to calculate funding, targets, and various other real-life logistics that would be needed to actually carry out such an attack in real life.

"In your paper, you must describe your hypothetical attack and what will happen in the aftermath of the attack," states the class syllabus about the assignment. In addition to figuring out how the attack will be funded and executed, students taking the course are also told they will have to assess how the target government will react to the attack, as well as formulate a realistic game plan that keeps the chosen terror group's "goals, capabilities, tactical profile, targeting pattern and operational area" in mind.

Since many of the alleged terrorists involved in attempted terror plots on U.S. soil attended American universities, such course material is being perceived by many as highly inappropriate, and has led to much outcry in recent days. Several local law enforcement officials in New York, for instance, have come out to express disgust over the assignment, referring to it as a callous affront to the "11 years of hard work the NYPD has done in tracking down terrorists to the far reaches of the globe to make sure they never strike again."

In her defense, Prof. Maras says the course material is appropriate for properly training her students to work in the field of transnational terrorism. In order for them to fully understand how terrorists think and how they go about initiating terrorist attacks, students are basically being encouraged to think outside the box, and imagine what it would be like to be a terrorist. And since the assignment is part of a grad-level class, it is apparently expected that students will be mature enough to recognize that the assignment is hypothetical and for educational purposes only.

But to some, the assignment is still dangerous, and could be used as a primer to plot a real terrorist attack. Even though the assignment also includes conjuring up hypothetical counter-terrorism measures that would likely be initiated in response to an attack, opponents claim the students' final reports could end up in the wrong hands, and potentially be used to launch real-life acts of terrorism.
Nov 12 - Obama decision puts America on trajectory toward financial mega-disaster

The re-election of Obama was more than the mere selection of one man over another; it was an endorsement of a set of economic policies that are now launching America into a trajectory that can only end in economic disaster.

With the election now etched in the history books, America has endorsed an endless government spending spree that can no longer be held in check. There is only one outcome now for the United States of America: A grand finale blowout of money creation, hyperinflation, collapse and tyranny.

This point is not a debate; it is mathematical fact. Just as 2 + 2 = 4, the economic policies pursued by President Obama and the Federal Reserve can only equal the utter financial demise of the U.S. dollar. This is explained in more detail, below.

Fortunately, the number of U.S. dollars in circulation around the world serves as a kind of "heat sink" that slows the arrival of the final blowout collapse. So this process may take years to unfold, but Obama seems to determined to accelerate its arrival for reasons that may become clear as you continue to read this article.

The curse of compounding debt

Presently, Obama is spending over $1 trillion a year more than the U.S. government confiscates in so-called "revenue" (taxes, essentially). Because the global demand to purchase this much debt is insufficient to cover the full amount, the private Federal Reserve has stepped in and promised to purchase the U.S. debt by issuing more fiat currency that the U.S. Treasury will owe back to the Fed. This is now being called "QE unlimited." It means unlimited money creation.

Mathematically, this is called "the curse of compounding debt." It means you're paying interest on the money you borrowed to pay the interest on the money you already owe. As this debt compounds, it multiplies itself over and over again, quickly escalating to the point where it ends catastrophically.

During this process, which can take several years to ramp up, the debt blowout is not immediately obvious. In the early years, prices keep rising but not necessarily rapidly enough to cause immediate panic. Sure, the bread you buy this year costs 40% more than the bread you bought last year, but nobody is carting around wheelbarrows of cash... not yet, anyway.

As the currency devaluation and price inflation reach their stride, more frequent price increases start to concern citizens who suddenly discover their paychecks are rapidly becoming worthless. This inevitably leads to protests in the streets, and in an Obama administration -- staffed by economic juveniles who are astonishingly ignorant of market principles -- this will quickly lead to dreaded PRICE CONTROLS.

Why price controls cause immediate supply shortages and starvation

Once the price controls are announced, it's time to hunker down, lock and load, and start protecting your stored food. Why? Because price controls always lead to immediate shortages.

A price control is an artificial government restriction on the free market trading of goods or services. It's economics 101: When prices are kept artificially low, demand is made artificially high while supply can't keep up. The result? Empty food shelves.

The empty food shelves will, in turn, lead to riots in the streets. Why? Because people are starving, angry and panicked. Imagine the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy multiplied by a thousand, happening everywhere from coast to coast. That's a small hint of what's coming for Obama's America.

Riots in the streets lead to Martial Law

Once the riots in the streets reach a crescendo, the President will have little choice but to declare Martial Law and use the opportunity to deploy troops on the streets. From there, the nation already has one foot in the door of runaway police state tyranny.

This is the point where, historically, nations have engaged in the mass rounding up of political enemies or "undesirable" demographics: The Jews, the rebels, even the academics as we saw in the Communist-led Cultural Revolution in China.

There, the communists (i.e. the 1960's equivalent of today's Obama followers) rounded up over 7 million human beings, targeting farmers, academics and anyone who could think for themselves, and then slaughtered them in cold blood.

I know this from first-hand accounts, by the way. Remember: I speak Mandarin Chinese, and I lived in Asia for two years. I have personally spoken to survivors of the Chinese holocaust -- people who escaped and fled to Taiwan.

As explained on MassViolence.org:

The widespread phenomenon of mass killings in the Cultural Revolution consisted of five types: 1) mass terror or mass dictatorship encouraged by the government – victims were humiliated and then killed by mobs or forced to commit suicide on streets or other public places; 2) direct killing of unarmed civilians by armed forces; 3) pogroms against traditional "class enemies" by government-led perpetrators such as local security officers, militias and mass; 4) killings as part of political witch-hunts (a huge number of suspects of alleged conspiratorial groups were tortured to death during investigations); and 5) summary execution of captives, that is, disarmed prisoners from factional armed conflicts. The most frequent forms of massacres were the first four types, which were all state-sponsored killings. The degree of brutality in the mass killings of the Cultural Revolution was very high. Usually, the victims perished only after first being humiliated, struggled and then imprisoned for a long period of time.

This is where America is headed, folks. The TSA fulfills the "mass terror / dictatorship" role once it is deployed on the streets of America. Meanwhile, Obama's supporters are already engaged in threats of violence against all political opponents, and inciters of violence like Michael Moore have promoted videos encouraging destruction and violence while saying things like, "We'll burn this mother f*%#er down," followed by "Yes we can" in Spanish. (Si, se puede.)

In this kind of behavior, we are watching the rise of a new gang of violent-minded Obammunists who can't wait to engage in the mass murder of conservative Americans: Farmers, veterans and especially gun owners. The desire is to have them all rounded up, tortured, and then either murdered or sent to re-education camps. This is where it's all headed now.

The ten steps to tyranny under Obammunism

Getting from today's America to an oppressive, tyrannical "Obammunism" police state is faster and easier than you think. Here's how it might unfold, in review:

1) Runaway government spending forces nation into debt spiral.

2) Fed prints new currency and buys debt, compounding existing debt.

3) Debt explodes, causing runaway price inflation.

4) Rising prices lead to citizen protests.

5) Government initiates price controls to try to halt protests.

6) Shelves are emptied of food as people starve.

7) Mass riots begin.

8) Government initiates Martial Law.

9) Troops are rolled out onto the streets.

10) Under the cover of Martial Law, the mass rounding up of political opponents begins, complete with torture, public humiliation, murder and re-education camps.

Obama supporters are almost universally ignorant of history

This is not mere conjecture, this is HISTORY, and history is doomed to repeat itself, especially among those who are ignorant of it.

And nobody is more ignorant of history today than Obama supporters who seem to have no clue that they are members of a personality cult that has swept them into a dangerous fervor where anything is excusable: Threats of violence, rioting, murder and worse.

America is just a few steps away from all this not just happening, but actually being socially acceptable! "We rounded up some rebel preppers today," will be the announcement on the evening news. "And sent them to rehabilitation camps." (The newsroom cheers...)

Mass murder in the name of Obama

Many times in humanity's past, this very thing has been accepted as perfectly legitimate by intelligent populations. German citizens, for example, saw this happening right under their noses and believed it was acceptable behavior by a government. The same is true for the Chinese under Mao Zedong and the citizens of Cambodia under Pol Pot.

What makes you think today's zombified voters -- people are have already been brainwashed to give up their constitutional rights in response to an utterly fabricated "war on terror" -- will be any smarter in their response to a planned financial collapse?

The inescapable truth of the matter is that Obama's followers will commit mass murder in his name -- gleefully, willfully and with a sense of pride and even patriotism. There is no wrong that can be committed in Obama's name, his cult followers believe. And the fact that those people are now leaning towards violence in their political rhetoric is a red flag warning of dire things yet to come.

People like Michael Moore are racial instigators of violence and hate. And yet, astonishingly, his video remains perfectly acceptable to YouTube, the same video site that bans anything critical of the TSA (as I personally found out last year with the release of my "TSA Help Wanted" video).

Those who preach hate and violence must be stopped

The endless racism attacks on conservatives by Obama supporters are reprehensible and even dangerous. They risk inciting a backlash from conservatives who, frankly, are far better armed than the Obama crowd.

When Bill Maher recently warned Romney supporters that "Black people know who you are and they will come after you," he made that statement in total ignorance of the sheer number of AR-15s awaiting whatever hapless gang bangers would even attempt such a suicide mission.

Really? You want to hunt down some whiteys and have a go at some race-based crime? While some feminine-leaning "metrosexual" men may be easily found in cities, once you venture out into rural America, you're facing a different beast altogether: Country boys can unleash a 7.62 x 51mm round through your skull at 600 yards, and if pushed into a corner, they have no moral reservation against killing someone who threatens their family or community.

Don't mess with conservative America, folks. All that talk of hatred and violence is only being tolerated right now because country boys don't want to waste the ammo on you yet. Keep up that talk, Michael Moore and Bill Maher, and sooner or later somebody who has run out of patience is likely to teach you what "reach out and touch someone" really means in U.S. Marine Scout Sniper school.

I don't condone any of that, of course. My advice is for Obama cultists to tone down the violent rhetoric before they set off something they wish they hadn't. Violence is never the best way to resolve political differences, although throughout world history it has certainly been the most common way.

The bottom line in all this is that once the debt collapse begins, it's the preppers who have the firepower, the skills, the food, the water and the farmland. It's the veterans, the farmers and the local sheriffs who have the know-how to get through tough times. While Obamabot voters have put America on a collision with economic collapse, they remain clueless of the reality that they are bringing about their own destruction in the process.
Nov 9 - 2-Ton 'Alien' Horned Dinosaur Discovered

Paleontologists in Canada have discovered fossils of a new 2-ton, 20-foot-long horned dinosaur that roamed the Earth about 80 million years ago. And its headgear would've put on quite a show for the ladies.

The dinosaur, a distant cousin of Triceratops called Xenoceratops foremostensis, is one of the oldest specimens known to date of the ceratopsid group. The beast's name, Xenoceratops, translates to "alien horned-face," referring to its strange pattern of horns on its head and above its brow, and the rarity of such horned dinosaurs in this part of the fossil record.

"It seems to have the general types of ornamentation that we see taken to even greater extremes in later ceratopsids," said David Evans, a paleontologist at the Royal Ontario Museum. "That suggests the elaborate headgear evolved earlier."

A dinosaur in a drawer

In 1958, paleontologist Wann Langston Jr. discovered fragments of three skulls (now known to belong to Xenoceratops) in a rock formation in the badlands of Alberta, Canada. Though the area is now scrubby woodlands filled with hoodoos and sandstone hills, between 77 million and 90 million years ago, the dinosaur's stomping grounds were part of a river system filled with lush vegetation.

But Langston was busy with other discoveries, so he tossed the fossil fragments into a drawer at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa and promptly forgot about them.

In 2003, Evans and his colleagues learned of the fragments. The team was trying to fill in gaps in the fossil record for the late Cretaceous Period, when some of the most iconic dinosaurs, such as Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops, evolved.

As they pieced together the skull fragments and analyzed the distinctive ornamentation on the skull, they realized that Xenoceratops was a completely new species.

"The frills and hooks are the calling card of the ceratopsian species," Evans told LiveScience. "We knew instantly that it was a brand new type of horned dinosaur."

Oddities evolve

Xenoceratops was about the size of a rhinoceros — about 20 feet (6 meters) long including the tail — and weighed about 2 tons, Evans said. The dinosaur used its birdlike beak to graze on the cattails, ferns and flowers in primeval river deltas.

The species most distinct feature, however, is its spiky head: Two hooks jutting from its forehead, two massive spikes rest at the top of its head and a frilly shield adorns its neck.

The new species helps fill in a gap in the evolutionary record, said Andrew Farke, a paleontologist at the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology in Claremont, Calif.

"The bits of anatomy that are preserved on this species give us a lot of great information about how horned dinosaurs as a group evolved," said Farke, who was not involved in the study.

The stags of the dinosaur world, male Xenoceratops probably used their outlandish headgear to show dominance or impress the females, increasing their odds of reproducing, Evans said.

"Evolution sometimes produces some pretty amazing -- and sometimes really bizarre -- structures that maybe to us don't seem particularly attractive and menacing," Evans said. "But at the same time they were really important for that species to reproduce."

The dinosaur is described in the October issue of the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences.
It's amazing that even today we are discovering new things.
Nov 9 - The endearing reason why Lincoln grew his beard

Steven Spielberg's highly anticipated biopic "Lincoln" opens in limited release this weekend. Starring Daniel Day-Lewis as the nation's 16th (and arguably most beloved) president, the film is already an Oscar favorite and sure to spark renewed interest in all things Honest Abe.

Of course, one doesn't think of Abraham Lincoln without his beard. And almost as legendary as the beard itself is the story of why he chose to grow one. The beard almost didn't happen. According to many sources, including "Team of Rivals," the nonfiction account of Lincoln's presidency on which the film is based, Lincoln grew the beard after receiving a letter from a young girl named Grace Bedell, who saw a drawing of a clean shaven Lincoln on a campaign poster.

The letter read (grammar errors and all):

Dear Sir

My father has just home from the fair and brought home your picture and Mr. Hamlin's. I am a little girl only eleven years old, but want you should be President of the United States very much so I hope you wont think me very bold to write to such a great man as you are. Have you any little girls about as large as I am if so give them my love and tell her to write to me if you cannot answer this letter. I have got four brothers and part of them will vote for you any way and if you let your whiskers grow I will try and get the rest of them to vote for you you would look a great deal better for your face is so thin. All the ladies like whiskers and they would tease their husbands to vote for you and then you would be President. My father is going to vote for you and if I was a man I would vote for you to but I will try to get every one to vote for you that I can I think that rail fence around your picture makes it look very pretty I have got a little baby sister she is nine weeks old and is just as cunning as can be. When you direct your letter direct to Grace Bedell Westfield Chautauqua County New York.

I must not write any more answer this letter right off Good bye

Grace Bedell

Ms. Bedell's charming correspondence earned a response from Lincoln, who wrote:

My dear little Miss

Your very agreeable letter of the 15th is received - I regret the necessity of saying I have no daughters - I have three sons - one seventeen, one nine, and one seven years of age. They, with their mother, constitute my whole family. As to the whiskers have never worn any do you not think people would call it a silly affection if I were to begin it now?

Your very sincere well wisher

A. Lincoln

Of course, Lincoln did end up taking Bedell's advice. By the time he was elected president in November, 1860, he sported a formidable beard that, along with his stovepipe hat, would become his trademark. Several months after they exchanged letters, Lincoln met Bedell at a stop in Westfield, New York. Bedell, who died in 1936 at the age of 88, recalled the incident.

"He climbed down and sat with me on the edge of the platform. 'Grace,' he said, 'look at my whiskers. I've been growing them for you.' Then he kissed me. I never saw him again."

Lincoln was the first (but not the last) president to have a beard in office. Bedell's story was the inspiration for the children's book, "Mr. Lincoln's Whiskers."

While Lincoln's appearance is almost regal in retrospect, at the time, his look was anything but. He was called, "the leanest, lankest, most ungainly mass of legs, arms and hatchet-face ever strung upon a single frame" by at least one publication. In her book "Team of Rivals," author Doris Kearns Goodwin writes that while Lincoln gave a speech to over a thousand people, one observer noticed that "one of the legs of his trousers was up about two inches above his shoe; his hair was disheveled and stuck out like rooster's feathers; his coat was altogether too large for him in the back, his arms much longer than his sleeves."
Nov 8 - The Earliest Known Evidence of Alzheimer's

Scientists have discovered the earliest known evidence of Alzheimer's disease in people with a gene mutation that causes a rare form of the disease that begins at a young age.

The findings from the two studies could improve understanding of how and why Alzheimer's progresses and possibly lead to earlier detection of the disease and improved treatments, according to the researchers.

In one study, researchers conducted brain scans and other tests on 44 young adults, aged 18 to 26, in Colombia. Twenty of them had a mutation of a gene called presenilin 1 (PSEN1) that causes Alzheimer's to develop at an unusually early age, and 24 did not have the mutation. None of the participants showed any signs of mental decline at the time of the study.

There were notable differences in brain structure and function between the young adults with the PSEN1 mutation and those without it. The participants with the PSEN1 mutation had greater activity in regions of the brain called the hippocampus and the parahippocampus, and less gray matter in certain brain areas.

In addition, the cerebrospinal fluid of the young adults with the PSEN1 mutation had higher levels of amyloid beta protein, which is a component of the amyloid plaques in the brain that are associated with Alzheimer's disease.

On average, people with the PSEN1 mutation start to show signs of mental decline at age 45. This study shows that biomarkers in these people are evident at least 20 years before symptoms begin to appear. That's earlier than any previous study has found.

The study was published Nov. 5 in The Lancet Neurology.

"These findings suggest that brain changes begin many years before the clinical onset of Alzheimer's disease, and even before the onset of amyloid plaque deposition. They raise new questions about the earliest brain changes involved in the predisposition to Alzheimer's and the extent to which they could be targeted by future prevention therapies," study leader Dr. Eric Reiman, at the Banner Alzheimer's Institute, in Arizona, said in a journal news release.

In a second study, the same group of researchers found that amyloid plaques begin to accumulate in the brains of people with the PSEN1 mutation when they are in their late 20s.

The findings will "help set the stage for the evaluation of treatments to prevent familial Alzheimer's disease, and hopefully aid our understanding of the early stages of late-onset Alzheimer's disease, which is more widespread," the researchers wrote in the report.

Nick Fox, a professor at the Institute of Neurology at University College London, wrote a journal commentary that accompanied the first study.

"These findings question our models of Alzheimer's disease on several fronts. They suggest that neurodegenerative changes occur over 20 years before symptom onset and somewhat earlier than was suggested by previous brain imaging studies of individuals at risk of inherited Alzheimer's disease," Fox wrote.

"Further research is needed, but one interpretation of these results might be that they add to the accumulating evidence that Alzheimer's disease is characterized by a long presymptomatic period of slowly progressive changes that can potentially be tracked, thereby opening up a therapeutic window for early intervention," he added.
Nov 8 - 8 Cellulite Treatments That Don't Get Rid of Cellulite

Even in a down economy, women are willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars to conquer their arch-nemesis: cellulite. Cellulite tips and remedies constitute a booming multimillion-dollar business catered to the nearly 90 percent of women who are afflicted by the classic “orange peel” or “grape bunch” texture on their hips, legs, or buttocks. But weeding out the truth between the beauty tips and overhyped cellulite treatments can be a challenge.

The classic appearance of cellulite is caused by changes in fat cells that live in between collagen fibers – the latticework of your skin. Fat cells rupture and sag between collagen supports, causing that distinctive dimpling effect.

One known reason that women get cellulite is genetics – it’s essentially written into your genes. But beyond genetics, understanding why some women get it more than others is a challenge. "Speculation ranges on a wide set of issues including inflammation and edema fluid,” says dermatologist David McDaniel, MD, an assistant professor of clinical dermatology at Eastern Virginia Medical School and founder of McDaniel Laser Cosmetic Center of Virginia in Virginia Beach.

Other possible causes of cellulite include:

Diet. Experts note a correlation between a diet high in processed foods and the development of cellulite. Populations that eat more whole foods (fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean meats) seem to have less cellulite.

Hormones. Cellulite is found most often in women and almost never in men — probably because of the hormone estrogen. And for women, cellulite increases as estrogen levels drop.

Sedentary lifestyle. Granted, some athletes develop cellulite, but since circulation plays at least a small role in the biology of cellulite, many women develop cellulite in part because they habitually keep the blood pumping slowly.

Underwear. Quirky, maybe, but many women develop dimpling and cellulite in a classic pattern that mirrors their panty lines. Underwear that’s too tight could be a contributing factor because it interferes with the fluids circulating through your skin, so loosen up a bit or opt for thongs.

Cellulite Treatments That Don’t Work

“Nobody talks about the social and emotional impact of cellulite on women,” says Lionel Bissoon, MD, a cellulite specialist and author of The Cellulite Cure. Some patients tell him that cellulite can be "emotionally devastating,” and despite a challenging economy and costly out-of-pocket expense for treatments, he sees several new clients at his New York City practice every week.

Given the expense, some of the following treatments should be avoided altogether — others may be worth a small try.

Creams. Dozens of over-the-counter beauty creams are promoted as cellulite treatments. Though some may temporarily tighten or brighten skin, be skeptical. “When you look at cellulite, there are three treatable aspects: the fat, dense collagen, and circulation," says Bissoon. There is no topical product that successfully addresses all three, he adds.

Brushes. Cellulite does seem to be affected by circulation concerns, but skin brushing increases circulation only at the surface and not in a way that will repair the damage that leads to cellulite. Massages, wraps, and similar therapeutic touch remedies aren’t effective beauty tips either, although they could help you feel better in your body.

Cellulite garments. Specialized garments, often called “massage garments” or “compression garments,” have been developed and promoted as ways to manage cellulite. How long these effects last may depend on individual use of the garments.

Roller-suction treatments. The devices often go by a name like “cellulite massagers” — they roll or suck the skin and, at least in theory, increase circulation. “The roller-suction devices seem to give some — I think usually temporary — improvement, but it depends on the device, settings, technique, patient,” cautions Dr. McDaniel.

Liposuction. It might seem that simply removing the troublesome fat would fix the problem, but that’s not the case with cellulite. “Liposuction is intended for body sculpting or contouring,” points out Bissoon. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of lipo is increased dimpling.

Weight loss. Weight loss is a worthwhile health goal, but it can actually make cellulite look worse. If your weight loss is significant, you could end up with “redundant” skin — loose skin that can make cellulite seem more severe than it is.

Lifestyle changes. Overall it’s a good idea to start eating more healthfully (more fruits and veggies, please!) and exercising, but these changes alone can’t cure cellulite completely, although its appearance may improve.

Hydration.Staying hydrated won’t conquer cellulite, but you should do it anyway, says Bissoon. “Take your body weight and divide it by 2.2 to give you the number of ounces you need to drink per day,” he advises. This will help you look and feel better, even with cellulite.

The good news for cellulite sufferers is that researchers are working to find a solution to the problem. Some approaches, such as radio-frequency treatments, low-level LED light treatments, and mesotherapy (injecting proprietary compounds directly into the cellulite-afflicted areas), show some promise, but they still need larger and more controlled clinical studies to support their effectiveness and safety, says McDaniel. The challenge for researchers is to distinguish between treatments that provide some temporary improvement and those that can change cellulite at the structural level.

Stay tuned. You’ll know a truly effective treatment by the lines of women waiting to try it.
Nov 8 - Zoo Item Hospitals in the US Are Using

A woman who lived with Crohn’s disease, marked by chronic digestive troubles, for decades claims eating tree bark healed her, and doctors confirm the woman, 72-year-old Marlene Barnes, has no evidence of active disease, The United Kingdom’s The Sun reports.

"I’d tried everything to stop it but nothing worked," Barnes told The Sun. "Then I read of bark’s medicinal properties and felt it was worth a go."

Barnes started out cutting bark from trees in a park, and drying and grinding it at home, according to The Sun, but now she buys special barks online.

Before you try to pick off pieces of bark from local trees, ask your doctor if similar herbal remedies might work for you.

In Need of Bigger Scanners, Hospitals Turn to Zoos

To accommodate patients’ growing waists, a result of the obesity epidemic, hospitals in Britain that have failed to invest in equipment fit for morbidly obese patients will need to rely on CT and MRI scanners normally used by veterinarians, writes Sally Norton, PhD, in The Royal College of Surgeons of England Bulletin.

U.S. hospitals already call zoos to use scanners built for lions, gorillas, horses, and cattle when traditional equipment can’t withstand a patient’s size, The Telegraph reports.
I am so gald that I lost weight
Nov 8 - Mojave Cross found In San Francisco Bay Area After 2010 Theft

Authorities say a controversial cross honoring war dead that was stolen from its Mojave Desert perch two years ago has turned up hundreds of miles away in the San Francisco Bay area.

The San Mateo County Sheriff's Department was notified Monday that a large cross was tied to a fence post in Half Moon Bay. An attached note asked finders to contact authorities.

The cross honoring war dead was taken in 2010 after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it didn't violate separation of church and state because the public land it stood on was being transferred to a veterans group.

A replacement will be dedicated there on Sunday for Veterans Day.
Nov 8 - More Than $250 Million in Aid Approved

The Federal Emergency Management Agency says 95,000 people are eligible for emergency housing assistance in New York and New Jersey.

The program allows survivors who can't return to their homes due to storm Sandy damage to stay in certain hotels or motels until more suitable housing becomes available.

The figures for each state weren't available Tuesday.

FEMA also said more than 277,000 people in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have registered for general assistance. More than $251 million has been approved.
Nov 8 - Piece Of Cardboard Garners More Than $300,000 In Bids On eBay

Lots of people have paid ridiculous amounts of money for bizarre things discovered on the Internet. Take William Shatner's kidney stone, for example, which sold for $25,000 on eBay in 2006. Or an Illinois-shaped cornflake, which was snapped up for more than $1,300.

But a rectangular piece of used cardboard selling for more than $300,000? That seems beyond the point of reason -- even for the wacky world of Internet commerce.

Nevertheless, on Tuesday, that's exactly what we discovered after a user on the social news site Reddit published a post entitled "A piece of cardboard on eBay has started a huge bidding war."

And what a bidding war it was!

By early Tuesday evening, the piece of cardboard -- said to be "shaped a bit like an iPhone 5" -- was selling for about $244,000, and according to CNET, that amount rose to more than $300,000. The item, which was being sold from London, garnered more than 100 bids.

The weird sale sparked a flurry of humorous banter on Reddit, where users joked about buying the paper product for themselves.

"I was about to bid but then I saw that it was used," user "LURKM0AR" wrote. That comment was the most popular on the page.

As Mashable notes, the cardboard was being sold for charity.

“All money raised from this auction will go towards a challenge (trekking along the Great Wall of China),” the auction description said. “I am undertaking for the Charity Dig Deep which is a UK registered charity that helps communities in Kenya improve access to clean water, sanitation and renewable energy.”

But before you get out that checkbook, be warned: It seems the original auction has been taken down by eBay.

CNET writes that "the shenanigans were completely orchestrated by [the image-based bulletin board] 4chan, which has since disappeared like a thief in the night, leaving just a lonely screenshot or two as evidence."

If you're hellbent on buying a piece of cardboard for yourself, however, you may be in luck.

It seems that other eBay users were inspired by the success of the original auction. As of Wednesday morning, there were at least three listings for a piece of cardboard on eBay. Two different pieces of cardboard were posted by one user apparently located in Canada; while the other was put on the site by a user in the U.K.:

The bidding war has already begun, though the price is still under $1 for each.

This is not the first time that outlandish products have garnered lots of interest on eBay. A "slightly used soul" and a "Ghost In A Jar," for instance, were bid on for significant amounts of money before being taken down by eBay.
Maybe it's the water???
Nov 8 - Students Riot After Election Win

A disturbance broke out on the University of Mississippi's campus early Wednesday, after students angry at the reelection of president Barack Obama took to the streets to vent their displeasure.

WMCTV reports that students interacting on social media, which resulted in 300-400 young people participating in the disturbance.

Pictures posted on twitter showed people burning Obama campaign signs. The Clarion Ledger reports that students were heard shouting racial epithets about Obama and African Americans in general.

Police were called to the scene and the crowd broke up around 12:30 a.m.

Ironically, as reported by Buzzfeed, prior to Tuesday night conservative bloggers had warned of plots by black youth to riot if Obama lost the election, a charge that police dismissed.
Riots ? Really, is this what they learn in school ?
Nov 7 - Bobcats and Humans Swap Diseases in Urban Areas

Bobcats that take up residence in urban areas not only share turf with humans but also diseases, a new study shows.

Researchers collected bobcat fecal samples from rural areas in Colorado as well as more densely populated regions on the Colorado Front Range, which includes cities such as Denver and Boulder, and in California's Ventura County, outside of Los Angeles. The samples were analyzed for disease-causing parasites, such as the mind-altering Toxoplasma gondii and two other bugs, Giardia duodenalis and Cryptosporidium spp., which can upset the stomach and cause diarrhea.

Test results showed that bobcats from the more densely populated regions were more likely to carry parasites than their country counterparts.

"The growing interaction of humans and wildlife means that we now share our diseases with each other at an ever-increasing rate," said Sam Scheiner, of the National Science Foundation's Evolution of Infectious Diseases (EEID) program. "This study demonstrates that we and our wild animal neighbors are closely interconnected in ways that affect the health of us all."

The researchers believe the bobcats were first exposed to the parasites from human water supplies around cities. Now the pathogens can travel from human to bobcat and bobcat to human almost as quickly as a virus that runs through an entire household, the scientists said.

"Along these boundaries, close living quarters make it easy for one species to transmit diseases to another," researcher Sue VandeWoude, of Colorado State University at Fort Collins, said in a statement.

Bobcats are not the only wild animals moving in to North America's cities and suburbs. Coyotes are thriving in big numbers around urban areas like Chicago, which some researchers warn sets the stage for larger predators like wolves, mountain lions and bears to follow.

The study, which was funded by the EEID and led by Scott Carver of the University of Tasmania, was detailed in a recent issue of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology.
Ewwww this is disturbing.
Nov 7 - $50 Million Castle and PGA Tour a Reality in Santa Clara County?

At the southern outer limits of the San Francisco Bay Area, hidden against the east foothills, is one of the most exciting and mysterious long-running building projects in Santa Clara County.

The acreage, located at 14830 Foothill Ave., Morgan Hill, California, is owned by Corralitos Creek LLC and John Fry of Fry's Electronics. It's considered one of Morgan Hill's most elite properties. The gated 192-acre fenced compound is surrounded by towering dense cypress trees, security monitoring, and locked gates. Some locals have dubbed it The Institute, while others, due to the building plans for the site inspired by Spanish castles , call it the castle with a golf course.

The property's development is rich in local history, and after many years of delay, it's poised to become the private, world-renowned American Institute of Math (AIM), now headquartered in Palo Alto. It's rumored that the AIM property may also become the 2013 site for the PGA Golf Tour.

Land parcels were originally owned by Irv Perch, founder of the Aristocrat Travel Trailer and owner of the Flying Lady Restaurant, originally located on the property. In 1994, the property was purchased by John Fry and AIM officials, according to a press release dated June 2005 by the Committee for Green Foothills. That same year, Fry, co-founder of Fry's Electronics, and Steve Sorenson started AIM, reported the San Jose Business Journal.

The property transferred to Corralitos LLC in March 2001, according Santa Clara County public records, and the next year, the Institute Golf Course opened. The course, according to MontereyGolf.com, is an "ultra-private club that was created by Frys.com owner John Fry."

AIM became one of the seven National Science Foundation-funded mathematics institutes in 2002. Though the City of Morgan Hill "began enforcement proceedings in the summer of 2003 to halt unpermitted operations," those proceedings were then suspended "for the duration of a Temporary Use Permit," as stated in a 2004 letter by Brian A. Schmidt Legislative Advocate Committee for Green Foothills addressed to Ryan Martin, code enforcement officer.

The Flying Lady Restaurant was demolished in 2006, the same year that the Morgan Hill City Council approved the plans for AIM's castle on the property, as reported by USA Today. The groundbreaking ceremony on the $50 million castle project took place in 2007, but delays affected construction until 2011, when work finally resumed, according to the Morgan Hill Times.

In January 2012, a possible move of the PGA Tour's Frys.com Open tournament to The Institute Golf Course was announced in the Morgan Hill Times.

Now, after more than a decade of waiting, all signs point to a successful completion of the long-anticipated American Institute of Math's castle in Morgan Hill -- not to mention, John Fry's personal dream of finally bringing the PGA Tour to the Institute Golf Course.
Nov 6 - Kindle passion, beat the blues and invigorate health with clary sage

Sometimes we need a lift during winter -- a dash of joy, fortification against illness or just a bit more verve. Clary sage may help. Topically, this essential oil is treasured as a stress reliever, antidepressant and aphrodisiac. It also enhances the immune system, eases headaches, calms eczema and lowers blood pressure. Seeking more joy in life? Clary sage is a classic 'euphoric' -- inspiring mental states of confidence, joy and pleasure. Internally, it improves digestion and reduces inflammation. Oil pressed from clary sage is one of the most pure and stable forms of omega-3 fatty acids around. As an added benefit, active compounds in the herb wipe out bacterial infections too.

Enliven the spirit and calm the nerves

When life becomes a monotone grey, a little boost from clary sage may be helpful. An outstanding source of linalool, clary sage uplifts the mood while decreasing stress. As a remarkable nervine, it soothes the nervous system -- reducing convulsions, spasms, headaches and anxiety. Externally, clary sage essential oil can be diluted and applied to key acupressure points on the temple or used for massages. People have reported feelings of 'intense euphoria' when the oil was rubbed onto the soles of the feet. A few drops in bathwater will assist in nurturing emotional equilibrium, reducing worry and supporting a tranquil confidence.

Clary sage can also rejuvenate the libido. Equally valuable for both men and women, clary sage melts frigidity, dispels impotency and boosts sexual desire. The stress reducing properties of the herb along with the presence of sclareol (a hormonal stimulant), help to balance and improve sexual function.

The essential oil of clary sage softens dry skin, cools eczema, smooths wrinkles, reduces hair loss and strengthens gums too.

Savor the taste, enjoy the health benefits

The leaves, flowers and oil of clary sage can all be used internally. Traditionally, fritters were made from fresh young leaves while the flowers were brewed as a tea or tossed into salad. Clary sage is an excellent cooking herb, adding an earthy flavor to dishes. For a safe and effective tea, add a drop of essential oil to hot water. Just make sure to use therapeutic grade essential oils to avoid harmful additives. As an excellent source of stable vegan omega-3 fatty acids, clary sage oil is an exceptional alternative to fish fats. It is also a phenomenal antibacterial agent -- eliminating infections of the lung, intestinal and urinary tracts. A strong infusion can be made with either the flowers or essential oil and inhaled to heal respiratory complaints -- including whooping cough. Clary sage soothes digestive upset and lowers blood pressure as well.

*Please note: Use of clary sage is contraindicated during pregnancy.

In all forms, clary sage offers a cornucopia of benefit. Brighten your days, ignite passion, tame stress, fend off infections and more with this versatile herb.
Nov 6 - Seven methods for creating the best digestion of your life

Dealing with the symptoms of chronic digestive dysfunction can be discouraging for many people, especially when unknown dietary and environmental triggers constantly seem to create bloat, abdominal pain, gas, and other problems. But correcting the issue can also be as simple as eating certain foods while avoiding others, and learning to eat foods that promote healthy floral balance in the gut.

Besides avoiding specific foods to which you may be allergic -- consulting an allergist trained in naturopathic methods may be the best course of action for this -- here are seven ways to naturally promote gut health and eliminate indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), intestinal inflammation, and other conditions that may be inhibiting proper gut function:

1) Probiotics. The importance of regularly taking probiotic supplements and eating probiotic foods cannot be stated enough, as these are the bedrock elements of strong digestion. When the bacterial balance in the gut gets thrown off due to poor diet, overuse of antibiotic drugs, toxic buildup and other factors, the digestive system is unable to properly digest and assimilate nutrients. For this reason, it is essential to encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut using probiotics.

2) Fermented foods. Similar to probiotic supplements, fermented foods are teeming with beneficial bacteria that help prime the gut for optimal nutrient absorption. Raw sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha tea, raw milk, pickled vegetables, yogurt, and authentic miso soup are among the many cultured foods and beverages that help promote the proper enzymatic breakdown of food components within the gut, which in turn promotes healthy digestion and a well-functioning digestive tract.

3) Aloe vera. When the colon becomes impacted with toxic waste as a result of poor digestion, conditions like ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, Crohn's disease, and spastic colon can result, all of which prevent the absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream. But eating aloe vera and drinking aloe vera juice regularly can irrigate and break down this impacted waste, and restore healthy diffusion throughout the intestinal tract.

4) Zinc. Many people are unaware of the important role zinc plays in healthy digestion. An essential mineral for the production of digestive enzymes, zinc is one of the primary catalysts by which the body processes nutrients. Zinc is also a critical component in the renewal of regrowth of intestinal tissue, as well as the production of digestive bile and secretions of both the liver and pancreas.

Many individuals with chronic bowel inflammation often end up also having zinc deficiency, as the two are closely related. Numerous studies have shown that zinc is a powerful gastro-protective nutrient with powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, particularly when combined with the amino peptide L-carnosine. Simply upping your intake of zinc and L-carnosine, in other words, will help promote intestinal healing and healthy mucosal lining throughout the gut.

5) L-Glutamine. The amino acid L-glutamine is said to be the single most important nutrient for repairing the gastrointestinal tract. The most abundant amino acid in the body, L-glutamine has been shown to possess an incredible ability to repair colon and bowel tissues. L-glutamine provides energy to the cells in the digestive tract, effectively strengthening the gut lining and improving water absorption. Supplementing with L-glutamine can thus repair digestive function, reduce or eliminate allergies, improve mood and nutrient absorption, and ultimately boost immune function.

6) Avoid GMOs. In addition to eating the aforementioned foods and nutrients, it is also important to cut out foods that contain genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), as these toxic, man-made substance have been shown in numerous independent studies to disrupt digestion and destroy gut flora. Common GMOs throughout the food supply include ingredients made from non-organic soy, corn, canola, sugar beet, and cottonseed.

Since an increasing amount of food crops are targets for genetic manipulation by the biotechnology industry, the best way to avoid inadvertently eating GMOs is to look specifically for certified organic or non-GMO project certified foods when shopping. Other hidden sources of GMOs include processed food ingredients like citric acid, vitamin C, ascorbic acid, maltodextrin, dextrose, sucrose, xanthan gum, yeast, lactic acid, vegetable proteins, vegetable oil, and flavors and flavorings, both "natural" and "artificial."

7) Avoid wheat gluten. Since this common protein substance tends to disrupt and destroy the nutrient-assimilating fibers that line the digestive tract, wheat gluten is another food you will want to avoid when trying to repair your gut and restore proper digestive function. Gluten disorders are far more widespread than most people think they are because the hybridized wheat varieties commonly used throughout the food supply today are particularly damaging -- one expert cardiologist has actually dubbed modern-day wheat a "chronic, perfect poison."
Nov 6 - Legume consumption shown to improve blood glucose control and lower heart disease risk

Poor blood glucose control is a leading indicator of pending chronic illness, as excess sugars combine with proteins and fats to create advanced glycation end products (AGE's) that damage the lining of arteries throughout the body and block blood flow in the smallest capillaries of the eyes, kidneys and extremities. A number of natural foods and compounds have been validated to block the formation of damaging AGE's. Among them are resveratrol, carnosine and the consumption of many varieties of nuts and seeds.

A research team from the University of Toronto in Canada, publishing in the Archives of Internal Medicine have found that eating more legumes (such as beans, chickpeas or lentils) as part of a low-glycemic index diet appears to improve glycemic control and reduce estimated coronary heart disease risk in patients with Type II diabetes mellitus. In prior research works, many low glycemic index foods have been associated with improvements in the industry standard hemoglobin A1C blood test that determines blood sugar levels over the past 90 to 120 days.

Increasing legume consumption and eliminating processed foods lowers cardiovascular disease risks

Lead researcher, Dr. David Jenkins conducted a randomized, controlled study of 121 patients previously diagnosed with Type II diabetes to test the effect of eating more legumes on glycemic control, serum blood lipid levels and blood pressure. Participants were divided into two groups to receive either a low-glycemic diet that emphasized eating at least one cup of legumes each day or to increase consumption of whole wheat carbohydrates (known to boost blood glucose levels in a similar manner to eating table sugar) for a period of three months.

The study team used changes in hemoglobin A1C to determine overall heart disease risk. The results demonstrated that A1C was lowered by a statistically significant factor of .5 in the legume-consuming group and .3 among the wheat eaters. Heart disease risk was reduced by .8 percent among the legume group, largely due to reductions in systolic blood pressure readings. The scientists concluded "Legume consumption of approximately 190 g per day (one cup) seems to contribute usefully to a low-GI diet and reduce CHD risk through a reduction in BP."

The result of eating a relatively small amount of legumes every day are not dramatic, yet do provide a small heart disease risk reduction. This study provides one example of how altering diet impacts chronic disease risk. Much greater health improvements are realized by eliminating hydrogenated and fried foods, limiting refined carbohydrates and eliminating sugar from the diet. Adding healthy options including legumes, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds will optimize health and dramatically lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
Nov 6 - The key to early breast cancer detection may be found in a bra

Mammograms are a universally uncomfortable experience, but this decades-old detection method may now take a back seat thanks to new technology. Lifeline Biotechnologies has licensed a "smart bra" to identify signs of breast cancer earlier (and more pleasantly) than current medical practices.

Lifeline has named the revolutionary bra First Warning System (FWS). The company promotes the item for its responsiveness and cost efficiency against a traditional mammogram. The bra looks like a regular sports bra, but it is outfitted with 16 temperature sensors that presumably are capable of detecting deeply buried cell changes. The FWS is meant to be used by the OB/GYN or general physicians, and it is calibrated for an individual woman.

The technology is currently in its fourth generation. Three clinical trials have been performed with hundreds of female participants, and Lifeline claims that the diagnoses were correct 92.1 percent of the time - as opposed to the 70 percent accuracy of mammograms. FWS operations manager Matthew Benardis notes there is still one more clinical trial to come. If the bras test positively throughout the trial phase, they may be sold for retail purchase by 2014, assuming the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn't classify the FWS as a medical device and require it to undergo further testing.

There is a divided opinion among doctors about the product. Some believe that attempting detection via thermography - temperature - instead of mammography could have fatal consequences in giving women false negatives. Oppositely, others believe new methods can only be a benefit in identifying breast cancer, and that this particular technology could not only enhance early detection, but also prevent misdiagnoses. Some think the FWS could be a useful backup for mammograms.

Expert mammographers can find tumors that are about 0.2 cm. By this point, the tumor has been growing for almost 10 years. Alternatively, the FWS can identify the heat signature of a tumor much earlier than that, before there is an actual lump, when the growing tumor is only three years old.

In fact, one of the trial participants, Nedra Lindsay, was 25 years old when the innovative bra picked up a heat abnormality in her breast tissue. This abnormality led to a mammogram and a biopsy, from which a very aggressive form of cancer was discovered. She is now cancer-free after undergoing a double lumpectomy, but her case is one that demonstrates the life-saving benefits of Lifeline's new system. The bra detected the cancer that otherwise wouldn't have been found until 15 years later at age 40 (the recommended age for a woman's first mammogram).

Additionally, Lifeline says the bra is non-radiogenic, non-invasive, and non-toxic.