Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Receding floods reveal crocs lurking in Bangkok

Murky floodwaters are receding from Bangkok's inundated outskirts to reveal some scary swamp dwellers who moved in while flooded residents were moving out ? including crocodiles and some of the world's most poisonous snakes.

Special teams from the Thai Fishery Department have responded to numerous reports of reptilian menaces, like the 3-foot-long croc that Anchalee Wannawet saw sitting next to the outhouse one morning, its toothy jaw wide open.

"I ran away, and it ran into there," the 23-year-old said, pointing toward the reedy swamp behind the construction site where she works in Bangkok's northern Sai Mai district. "I haven't dared to go the bathroom since. I'm peeing in a can."

Thailand has long been a center for the breeding, exporting and trafficking of exotic animals, especially crocodiles. Farmed both legally and illegally, crocs are popular because of the value they fetch for their meat, bones and especially their skins, used to make luxury bags and accessories.

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This year's record monsoon rains, which prompted Thailand's worst flooding in a half century and killed more than 600 people, also swamped some of the country's estimated 3,000 crocodile farms. Many of the reptiles escaped ? though probably not as many as residents think they are seeing around the city.

Thais adjust to life in waist-deep water

"We get a lot of reports at the Fishery Department, but only about 5 to 10 percent of them turn out to be true," said Praphan Lipayakun, a fishery department official, adding that many false reports end up being large monitor lizards, which are generally shy and harmless.

"We even get reports of people being bitten, but when we follow up, we can't get in touch with the supposed patient, or when contacted, the doctor that treated the wound says that it in no way resembled a crocodile bite."

Still, officials and volunteer veterinarians have confirmed many flood-affected animals on the loose or in distress ? and not only reptiles.

Monkeys, lions, bears
A team of volunteer veterinarians rescued scores of animals ? from deer and Capuchin monkeys to lions, tigers and bears ? from the yards and homes of Thailand's rich.

"Most of the ones we found in the Bangkok area are privately owned, and a lot of them are for fun or for pleasure ? like a farm or some exotic species in the house," said Nantarika Chansue, president of the Zoo and Wildlife Veterinary Society of Thailand and a member of the team of volunteers.

"Some of the owners left home already and left the animals in the cage as the water rose. Some of them have illegal animals and are afraid of being prosecuted, so they are afraid to tell us and just leave them there."

Some of the rescued animals had had to be treated for respiratory diseases from inhaling disease-infested floodwaters, Nantarika said.

Calls about snakes have spiked from the usual two per day to about 10, said Sompob Sridaranop, a snake rescue expert from the Thai Marine Department. Most residents report pythons ? but occasionally the calls are about highly venomous cobras and pit vipers, he said.

Video: Man in Thailand volunteers as snake catcher (on this page)

"A lot of snakes are coming out now because they, too, are flooded. Their homes are usually under houses, or in pipes, but they can't sleep in the water, so they are escaping," he said.

In Nakhon Sawan province, north of Bangkok, Anan Dirath said his family found about 10 nonpoisonous snakes in the house since the waters receded, while his neighbors found cobras, which they caught and sold for their meat.

In Bangkok's Sai Mai district, not far from where Anchalee spotted the crocodile, a large zoo called Safari World was flooded, endangering primates, giraffes, dolphins and other exotic animals in captivity. At the height of the flooding, zoo official Litti Kewkacha said staff were piling up earth, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to stay higher than the flood levels.

Crocodile farms were not so successful at keeping their wards safe in captivity.

Since the floods began in July, the Fishery Department's crocodile teams have captured 10 that have escaped and found their way into residential areas in Bangkok and suburbs just to the north. Some have been easy catches: Residents had closed them into fenced yards.

'Footprints'
Then there are those like the one Anchalee saw, lurking in areas that are boxed in, but large, and with plenty of vegetation for cover. That one proved a special challenge for the crocodile chasers.

"These are its footprints. It's around here," Praphan said under a mid-afternoon sun.

Video: Experience life amid Thailand's floodwaters (on this page)

As the team toured the area's perimeter by boat, 42-year-old crocodile zoo performer and volunteer Chalaew Busamrong concurred that the trapped animal must be a crocodile.

"It has been floating around here a long time," Chalaew said. "It can't find its way out. If it were a monitor lizard, it would have found its way out by now."

The team decided that the area was too wide and wild to try to close in on the beast, so they baited their giant-sized hooks with raw chicken carcasses. It's a tactic with an often-inconclusive result, because if local residents find a trapped crocodile, they're likely to grab it and sell it.

"We've left bait before in other areas, but because crocodiles are so valuable, we're never sure if they are captured or not," Praphan said.

As they attached the wires to nearby trees in the swamp and prepared to head home, they heard a heavy movement in the reeds. The team stiffened, fell quiet, and backed away, hoping the crocodile might move forward.

Video: Stranded animals rescued in Thailand (on this page)

Suspecting the crocodile might be hungry enough to take the bait, Chalaew decided to stay the night.

Nearby, construction workers slept uneasily, but there were no sounds of frantic splashing, as had been hoped. As the sun rose, the chicken carcasses remained untouched.

One week later, the area remained flooded. Neighbors told Anchalee that they shot and killed two crocodiles a few streets away.

Foul-smelling water
"I don't know if it's true or not, but that's what they say," she said by phone. "We haven't seen it since, and the chicken has all fallen off into the water. We only hear the dogs howling."

Meanwhile, knee-deep in foul-smelling water, workers piled office equipment, documents and food onto fiber boats that ferry them from one building on Hana Microelectronics' 12-acre company site in Ayutthaya, about 50 miles north of Bangkok, to another with more space on higher floors.

The firm, Thailand's biggest semiconductor packager, managed to get its integrated circuits ?a vital part in virtually all electronic equipment from mobile phones and tablets to computers ? outside the flood zone a week before the water breached defensive dikes on October 13.

Video: Thailand submerged by floods (on this page)

But it could do nothing about the dozens of machines weighing up to 5 tons each on the ground floor of the main building, which was almost entirely submerged.

"As you can see, it's still a big mess here," said general manager Bruce Stromstad, as he directed some of the 50 staff? ? skilled workers mucking in with the rest ? scrubbing dirty floors and removing sandbags in the burning sun.

Damage to equipment could go as high as $30 million, with the whole clean-up costing several million dollars more, said the 67-year-old executive from Silicon Valley, California.

Two crocodiles have been spotted in the parking lot and a cobra snuck into the building.

With the slow-moving water still washing through some parts of Thailand, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has proposed spending 130 billion baht ($4.2 billion) on reconstruction and steps to prevent future floods.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

Source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45451370/ns/world_news-asia_pacific/

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Day Online Holiday Sales Up 39 Percent; Mobile Shopping On The Rise

holidayAs we heard a few weeks ago, retailers were expecting Thanksgiving Day to be a major online shopping day as more and more consumers are hitting their laptops, tablets and more to get a head start on sales in between Turkey time. It looks like early results point to the day being a profitable one for retailers. According to IBM's Coremetrics retail data, online Thanksgiving 2011 sales were up 39 percent over Thanksgiving 2010. Mobile shopping also had a break out day on Turkey Day. The number of consumers using a mobile device to visit a retailer's site reached a high of 15.2 percent, up from 6.45 percent in 2010. The number of consumers using their mobile device to make a purchase increased to 11.09 percent, up from 4.25 percent in 2010.

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/4ffBBc7PGvI/

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Justin Bieber & Usher Today Show Performance

Justin Bieber and Usher teamed up for the Today Show and gave an amazing performance of ?The Christmas Song?, off of Justin?s new album, ?Under The Mistletoe.? Check out the video here. Justin is always so grateful and gracious towards his fans, so it is really not surprising that he took to his Twitter to announce a big treat to thank his fans. ?Im bringing a BIG SURPRISE with me to the @TODAYSHOW performance this morning. I want to make this great for the fans. they deserve it,? he wrote. It was a surprise concert and in addition to performing with his mentor, Usher, he also performed his hit ?Never Say Never? and two more Christmas songs, ?Mistletoe? and ?Santa Claus is Coming To Town.? Those videos are also posted below. Justin is the first male artist to have a number one Christmas album, and at 17, that is quite an amazing feat. He is such a cutie. Justin also had success with his Macy?s black Friday ads, which went viral and have over 2 million views. I have to admit, I actually rewound the commercial to show the family cause it was actually really funny. $2 from each sale [...]

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/RightCelebrity/~3/M_62focI-_Q/

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Diagnosing Pancreatic Cancer / Pain.com

Diagnosing Pancreatic Cancer

There are several medical imaging procedures and diagnostic tests that can help diagnose pancreatic cancer. These procedures include ultrasound scans, MRIs and CT scans of the abdomen, as well as pancreatic biopsies and other tests called PTC and ERCP.

Blood work is usually taken during the diagnostic process. A person who has pancreatic cancer may have abnormal results on some tests, such as the complete blood count, liver function tests and bilirubin levels in the serum. Bilirubin is a pigment that comes from the breakdown of red blood cells. Normally, this pigment is removed from the body, but liver or pancreatic disease can cause this pigment to build up in the skin, leading to a yellowing of the skin and mucous membranes. This yellow discoloration is called jaundice, and it is a common symptom of liver or pancreatic problems. Bilirubin also builds up in the blood, causing elevated levels when blood is drawn and analyzed in the lab. A protein called CA19-9 is commonly elevated in cases of pancreatic cancer, so this is another blood test that can indirectly indicate pancreatic cancer.

A basic ultrasound scan can find a tumor on the pancreas that may or may not be cancerous. Ultrasound uses sound waves of a higher frequency than the sounds we hear to create images of the inside of the abdomen. The most basic form of ultrasound is conducted from the outside of the abdomen. However, it is also possible to do an endoscopic ultrasound. In an endoscopic ultrasound, a device called an endoscope is threaded through the esophagus to the stomach of a patient who has been sedated for the procedure. An ultrasound scan is then conducted from the inside of the abdomen, rather than the outside. An endoscopic ultrasound is not usually the first diagnostic test that is conducted for pancreatic cancer, but it can provide valuable information about a tumor, such as whether or not the tumor is likely to be operable. It can also find smaller tumors that may not show up on other types of medical imaging scans, such as CT scans.

An abdominal MRI scan may be used to make images of the pancreas and find tumors. A CT scan is another option for a first diagnostic test for potential cases of pancreatic cancer. Both techniques can find tumors and give some information as to whether a tumor is likely to be surgically removable. However, these scans alone may be inconclusive as to whether the tumor is malignant or benign.

ERCP stands for endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography. In this procedure, a type of dye is used to show the pancreatic bile ducts. The dye used in this procedure is injected through a catheter that is threaded through an endoscope that is placed through the esophagus into the stomach. The endoscope also serves to pump a small amount of air into the upper digestive tract to improve visibility for the procedure. This procedure is performed on a patient who has received anesthetic medication. This diagnostic procedure may be helpful in some cases, but it is not the first choice for a procedure used for diagnosing pancreatic cancer. The procedure is helpful to place stents in the pancreatic bile ducts as a treatment for jaundiced patients, however.

PTC stands for percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography. This procedure is very similar in theory to ERCP, in that a dye is used to help visualize bile ducts. However, in PTC the liver bile ducts are examined instead of the pancreatic bile ducts. The dye is injected via a needle that goes into the liver from the outside instead of a catheter and an endoscope that goes into the pancreas from the inside of the body. This procedure can help rule out problems with the bile ducts.

A biopsy is an important diagnostic procedure for pancreatic cancer. A pancreatic biopsy may be performed during an endoscopic procedure, such as an endoscopic ultrasound or ERCP, or by itself. If the biopsy is not performed during an endoscopic procedure, pancreatic tissue for examination may be obtained through a needle that is inserted through the skin from the outside of the body. Only a small amount of pancreatic tissue is necessary for the microscopic examination, but a biopsy can confirm a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, or rule out malignancy.

As pancreatic cancer is not usually symptomatic during the early stages of the disease, the cancer is often discovered after it has already had time to grow and spread. For this reason, staging the pancreatic cancer is also important once a diagnosis has been made. Stage I pancreatic cancer is confined to the pancreas itself. Stage II pancreatic cancer has spread to nearby tissues. Stage III pancreatic cancer has spread beyond nearby blood vessels, and Stage IV pancreatic cancer has spread to other parts of the body. The sooner that pancreatic cancer is diagnosed, the better the prognosis for the patient.

Source: http://pain.com/library/2011/11/23-diagnosing-pancreatic-cancer/

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Video: Merck Settles Vioxx Case

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Source: http://video.msnbc.msn.com/cnbc/45406014/

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Mars rover gets 'engine' upgrade: Curiosity fueled by nuclear power

The next Mars rover, Curiosity, is scheduled to launch Saturday. It's the first Mars rover to jettison solar panels for nuclear power, meaning it can go places and do things others couldn't.?

NASA's most ambitious Mars exploration mission yet is set for launch on Saturday, and the rover has one hot energy source.

Skip to next paragraph

Gone are the fly's-wing-like solar panels that provided electricity for earlier rovers Spirit and Opportunity.

Instead, the rover for the Mars Science Laboratory, Curiosity, carries 10.6 pounds of plutonium-dioxide pellets. The system is designed to allow the vehicle to operate where sunlight is so weak or the spacecraft's mission is so demanding that solar panels are impractical.

"You can operate with solar panels on Mars, you just can't operate everywhere," said Stephen Johnson, who heads the space nuclear systems technology division at the US Department of Energy's Idaho National Laboratory in Idaho Falls, in a statement. "This gives you an opportunity to go anywhere you want on the planet, not be limited to the areas that have sunlight, and not have to put the rover to sleep at night."

The power source is known as a multimission radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG), and other versions have been?incorporated into spacecraft designs since the 1960s. In January 2006, NASA launched an RTG on the New Horizons spacecraft, which is now more than half way to its planned 2015 flyby of Pluto. Even the Mars rovers Sojourner, Spirit, and Opportunity have carried small plutonium-fueled heaters to keep the vehicles' electronics warm.

The RTG on Curiosity uses the contrast between heat of plutonium's radioactive decay and the chilly temperatures on Mars to generate electricity.

The form of plutonium used, plutonium-238, is unsuitable for nuclear explosive. The primary risk, according to physicists, comes if finely ground plutonium is inhaled or ingested along with with food.

The units housing the plutonium-dioxide pellets have undergone rigorous tests under conditions one might expect to see if a rocket carrying an RTG-bearing spacecraft has to be destroyed before it reaches orbit, NASA and US Department of Energy officials have said.

By some accounts, six missions since the 1960s, including the aborted Apollo 13 mission and Russia's Mars 96 mission, have ended with RTGs burning up high in the atmosphere or plunging into the ocean after surviving reentry. While early models released radioactive material as craft burned up on reentry, later models appear to have survived reentry and impact intact without releasing radioactive material.

NASA's environmental-impact statement for this launch puts the risk of a release from a launch-area accident at 1 in 420. But the agency's calculations put the risk of adverse health effects to any single individual from an accident near the launch site at less that 1 in 1 million.

Source: http://rss.csmonitor.com/~r/feeds/science/~3/9zATbiSqHoY/Mars-rover-gets-engine-upgrade-Curiosity-fueled-by-nuclear-power

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2011 Holiday Guides: Gifts for iPhone and iPad gamers

The iPhone, iPad and ?iPod touch are pretty much the perfect mobile gaming platform right and chances are you might be shopping for someone who just loves their iOS gaming. So what to get them? Luckily, there are lots and lots of gifts for gamers to choose from! Here...


Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TheIphoneBlog/~3/1WFsifsCe54/story01.htm

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Automotive accidents mapped out by state. Drive safe this ...


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Looking for a reason to "drive carefully" as they say about holiday travel by car? This graphic from The Guardian of automotive accidents mapped out by state should be plenty of reason to get holiday drivers in the right frame of mind for going over the river and through the woods to grandmothers house.

"Auto travel remains the preferred method of travel this Thanksgiving with 38.2 million Americans traveling via automobile, also up 4 percent from last year. Auto travelers make up 90 percent of all holiday travelers," AAA said in a news release.

369,629 people died on America's roads between 2001 and 2009 and here we see the what would appear to be the areas of danger. Pretty much anyplace east of the Mississippi requires extra caution. Westerly drivers? Still take care, just because the population is a bit more sparse, does not mean the driving is easy.

On the west coast "You need to get where you're going to be by Wednesday, " Steve Anderson, a forecaster with the National Weather Service told the San Francisco Chronicle, adding "It's going to be wet, and snowy in the Sierra, on Thursday. It will be a good day to be inside."

AAA predicts there will be a 4 percent increase of Americans traveling 50 miles or more this Thanksgiving holiday. Be safe. Drive carefully. Live to tell about it.

Turkey Day Travel to Climb 4%

Filed under: North America, United States, News

Source: http://www.gadling.com/2011/11/23/automotive-accidents-mapped-out-by-state-drive-safe-this-thanks/

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Diffuse Awkwardness with a Compliment When You've Forgotten Someone's Name [Communication]

Diffuse Awkwardness with a Compliment When You've Forgotten Someone's NameIt's hard to remember names. Despite your best efforts, strategies, and even apps, you're going to forget. Gretchen Rubin, writing for Psychology Today, has a good suggestion for avoiding the awkwardness that follows your lack of memory: use a compliment. For example:

"Wow, you have a terrific memory. I can't believe you remember my name from that meeting six months ago. I can't remember the names of people I met yesterday! So of course I have to ask you your name."

When you simply can't remember a name it's not a bad idea to be a little apologetic and complementary. As with the example, it helps to show you remember something so it's clear you at least recall, to some extent, who you're talking to. In many cases people will care more that you actually remembered something about them rather than their name, especially if that moment had a particular impact. When I meet new people, I apologize for forgetting their names in advance. It's extremely likely that I will, so I let them know ahead of time and ask them to just slip it into the conversation whenever possible because I want to remember them. A little bit of flattery can make your deficiencies much less of a problem.

Photo by Cameramannz (Shutterstock).

Forget a Name? 6 Tips for Faking It | Psychology Today


You can follow Adam Dachis, the author of this post, on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook. ?Twitter's the best way to contact him, too.

Source: http://feeds.gawker.com/~r/lifehacker/full/~3/HnhqJpeokWU/use-a-compliment-to-avoid-awkwardness-when-forgetting-someones-name

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Ron Paul receives 600 seconds of speaking time at CNN debate (The Ticket)

Paul, Perry and Romney (AP/Evan Vucci)

After several public complaints from Ron Paul's presidential campaign and his supporters over lack of air time at debates, the Texas congressman received a higher percentage of speaking time at Tuesday's CNN presidential debate than in any recent contest this election cycle.

In the first hour of the GOP debate in South Carolina on Nov. 13., Paul received just 89 seconds to share his views on television. On Tuesday, he had 600. (CBS gave him more time to speak in the last half hour, when the debate switched to online-only.)

As a percentage, Paul spoke for 13.3 percent of the time, according to an analysis by Eric Ostermeier, a political research associate at the University of Minnesota. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich led the pack for the first time with 16.1 percent of debate time, followed by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with 15.3 percent and Texas Gov. Rick Perry in third with 14.5 percent.

During the 10 minutes that he spoke at the CNN debate, Paul--whose views on national security set him apart from his fellow Republicans and even many leading Democrats--played the role of outlier, arguing against racial profiling, the Patriot Act, the wars abroad, military aid to Israel and the criminalization of drugs.

Data compiled by Eric Ostermeier of Smart Politics

After the 90-minute National Journal-CBS debate that also focused on foreign policy, Paul cried foul when moderators gave him very little air time, blasting out a fund raising letter to supporters pointing out the lack of attention.

"I can't say I am surprised," Paul said in a statement. "Throughout the entire campaign, it's seemed the national media and the Washington, D.C. political establishment have gone out of their way to literally black out my campaign."

He might have a point. In the five debates before South Carolina, bottom-tier candidate Rick Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania, was the only candidate to receive less talking time than Paul, according to Ostermeier. Based on data compiled by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism, Paul has in fact received the least coverage out of all the declared Republican candidates, despite national polling that puts him in the middle tier of the race.

Other popular Yahoo! News stories:

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Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/uscongress/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_theticket/20111123/el_yblog_theticket/ron-paul-receives-600-seconds-of-speaking-time-at-cnn-debate-up-from-89-seconds-on-cbs

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Baseball contract limits tobacco use (AP)

WASHINGTON ? Baseball's new labor deal will limit the use of smokeless tobacco by players, but not ban it during games, as some public health groups had sought.

A baseball union summary obtained by The Associated Press says that players have agreed not to carry tobacco packages and tins in their back pockets or use tobacco during pregame or postgame interviews, and at team functions.

But it falls short of the call by some advocates, including members of Congress, who argued that a ban on chewing tobacco and dip during games was needed to protect impressionable kids watching on TV.

"Our members understand that this is a dangerous product, there are serious risks associated with using it," union head Michael Weiner told The Associated Press. "Our players felt strongly that those were appropriate measures to take but that banning its use on the field was not appropriate under the circumstances."

The players union has also agreed to join forces with the Partnership at DrugFree.org to create a nationwide public service announcement campaign. In addition, several players have agreed to a public outreach campaign, including Curtis Granderson, Jeremy Guthrie and C.J. Wilson. The union will start a Tobacco Cessation Center for its players, and players will be provided with training on how to give up the habit.

Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, one of the groups that led the anti-tobacco push, said that while he would have preferred a ban at games and on camera, the restrictions represent real progress.

"The new Major League Baseball contract takes an historic first step toward getting smokeless tobacco out of the ballgame, and makes significant progress toward protecting the health of big-league players and millions of young fans who look up to them," he said in a statement.

"Baseball players have been using tobacco since the earliest days of the game. This forward step marks the first time ever that the league and the players have recognized that it is time to break this unhealthy connection."

Four U.S. senators who had urged the union to adopt a ban on the eve of this year's World Series had a similar take.

"Major League Baseball made the right decision today in choosing to implement stricter rules for smokeless tobacco on the field and off the field," said Dick Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, and fellow Democrats Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Senate Health Committee Chairman Tom Harkin of Iowa. "This is a welcome acknowledgement by players and owners that tobacco use of any kind is no longer a tradition that should be upheld."

They said they were hopeful the restrictions would eventually lead to a complete ban on smokeless tobacco.

Major League Baseball did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Weiner said that players aren't running from the idea that kids see them as role models.

"Prominent players have agreed to go out there and talk," he said. "But maybe the message that's being sent by the combination of things here is a realistic one: When kids grow up they're going to have choices to make, just like players have choices."

A coalition including the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Cancer Society and the American Medical Association had been pushing for a tobacco ban since last year. Baseball commissioner Bud Selig endorsed it at the start of the 2011 season.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says smokeless tobacco can cause cancer, oral health problems and nicotine addiction, and stresses it is not a safe alternative to smoking. Despite the risks, the CDC's most recent survey found that in 2009, 15 percent of high school boys used smokeless tobacco ? a more than one-third increase over 2003.

In the minor leagues, where players are not unionized, smokeless tobacco has been banned since 1993.

____

Follow Fred Frommer on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ffrommer

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/sports/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20111122/ap_on_sp_ba_ne/bbo_baseball_tobacco

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Google's iOS search app gets a major overhaul, brings instant goodies to iPad users

Dismayed that Google's previous iOS tablet app was merely a thin wrapper around a glorified web view? That duress ends today, as the company's just released a significant overhaul to its mobile search app -- one that, frankly, makes it worthy of your home screen. Headlining the release is the ability to view search results in a slidable tab, enabling you to quickly oscillate between search results and those you've tapped. Also present are instant searches, which pre-load results as you type, and previews which visually display findings in a spiffy carousel. If you're already sold, take it for a spin at the source links below, but before you go, peep the changelog past the break.

Continue reading Google's iOS search app gets a major overhaul, brings instant goodies to iPad users

Google's iOS search app gets a major overhaul, brings instant goodies to iPad users originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 21 Nov 2011 15:38:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink AllThingsD  |  sourceGoogle Mobile Blog, Google Search (App Store)  | Email this | Comments

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2011/11/21/googles-ios-search-app-gets-a-major-overhaul-brings-instant-go/

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Journalists protest Occupy Wall St police handling (Providence Journal)

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Milwaukee's Ryan Braun wins NL MVP (AP)

NEW YORK ? Milwaukee's Ryan Braun won the NL Most Valuable Player Award on Tuesday after helping lead the Brewers to their first division title in nearly 30 years.

The left fielder received 20 of 32 first-place votes and 388 points in voting announced by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

"I'm not going to pretend like I wasn't anxious or nervous because I was," said Braun, who was sitting on the balcony of his home in Malibu, Calif., when he received the call that he had won. "I was obviously thrilled, excited. It's honestly difficult to put into words how much this means to me.

Los Angeles center fielder Matt Kemp, who came close to winning the Triple Crown, received 10 first-place votes and finished second with 332 points. Braun's teammate Prince Fielder finished third with 229 points, and Arizona's Justin Upton finished fourth with 214 points. Fielder and Upton each received one first-place vote.

St. Louis' Albert Pujols finished fifth. It was the 11th straight year the three-time MVP was in the top 10 in balloting.

NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw was 12th in the voting a day after Detroit's Justin Verlander added the AL MVP to his Cy Young.

"I think he was the single most dominant player in baseball this year," Braun said of Verlander. "As a position player I'm biased to the fact that I think position players should be at the forefront of the award but if you honestly look at what he accomplished, how much he meant to that team and how dominant he truly was you cannot make any argument against him winning that award."

Braun led the NL with a .597 slugging percentage and had a chance to overtake Jose Reyes for the batting title on the last day of the season but finished second with a .332 average. The four-time All-Star had 33 homers, 111 RBIs, 109 runs scored and stole 33 bases as Milwaukee won a franchise-best 96 games. His 77 extra-base hits was tops in the league.

Kemp led the NL in homers with 39 and RBIs with 126 and was third in average (.324), but played for the NL West's third-place Dodgers. He also won a Gold Glove.

"Matt's one of the best players in the game. No question about it. The season he had will go down as one of the greatest in Dodgers history," said Braun, who grew up rooting for the Dodgers. "If he had won the MVP I certainly couldn't have argued with him winning. he had a phenomenal year."

While Braun and Kemp had similar statistics, Kemp was hindered by the Dodgers' 82-79 third-place finish in the NL West.

"Without a doubt I think it's a drastically different experience playing meaningful games down the stretch," Braun said.

The 28-year-old Braun is the first Brewers player to win the MVP award in the National League and first since Robin Yount won in 1989, when Milwaukee was in the AL East. Rollie Fingers (1981) and Yount in 1982 are the other Brewers to take home MVP honors.

"Robin's the greatest player in Milwaukee Brewers history so anytime you're mentioned alongside him it's a tremendous achievement," Braun said.

Braun signed a $105 million, five-year contract extension in April, linking him to the Brewers through 2020. He received a $100,000 bonus for winning the MVP.

"This team has been so loyal to me. They believed in me. They drafted me. They helped to develop me and there would be nothing more meaningful to me than to eventually win a world championship in Milwaukee," he said. "It would mean a lot more to me than if I went to a large-market team, big-market-team and won two or three championships."

The 2007 NL Rookie of the Year winner rewarded the club with his fourth straight season with more than 100 RBIs. He hit a three-run, go-ahead homer in the eighth inning on Sept. 23 to clinch the division title for Milwaukee.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/sports/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20111122/ap_on_sp_ba_ne/bbn_nl_mvp

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Asian stocks down after US cuts 3Q growth estimate (AP)

BANGKOK ? Asian stocks fell Wednesday after the U.S. lowered its economic growth estimate for the third quarter and climbing yields on Spanish bonds magnified worries over Europe's debt load.

Benchmark oil fell below $97 a barrel while the dollar strengthened against the euro and the yen.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng slid 1.9 percent to 17,913.47. South Korea's Kospi lost 2.3 percent to 1,783.22 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 shed 2 percent to 4,051. Japanese stock markets were closed for a public holiday.

Wall Street slipped Tuesday after a government report showed the U.S. economy grew at a 2 percent annual rate from July through September, down from an initial estimate of 2.5 percent. Economists had expected the figure to remain the same.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 0.5 percent to close at 11,493.72. The Standard & Poor's 500 fell 0.4 percent to 1,188.04. The Nasdaq composite fell 0.1 percent to 2,521.28.

Jackson Wong, vice president of Tanrich Securities in Hong Kong, said market sentiment was further dampened by a preliminary reading from HSBC's China manufacturing index which fell to 48 in November from 51 in October. It was the sharpest fall in manufacturing output since March 2009.

Any reading below 50 indicates contraction from the previous month, but the index often undergoes significant revision from its preliminary level.

"The market is still waiting for some kind of price catalyst to bound back. Otherwise, we still trend down bit by bit until something happens," Wong said.

Higher borrowing costs for Spain, meanwhile, renewed worries about Europe's debt crisis. The higher rates suggest that investors are still skeptical that the country will get its budget under control despite a new government coming to power this week.

Investors have been worried that Spain could become the next country to need financial support from its European neighbors if its borrowing rates climb to unsustainable levels.

Greece was forced to seek relief from its lenders after its long-term borrowing rates rose above 7 percent. The rate on Spain's own benchmark 10-year bond is dangerously close to that level, 6.58 percent.

Underscoring jitters was the lack of market reaction to an announcement by the International Monetary Fund that it will provide quick cash on flexible terms to countries facing sudden financial stress.

"Failure of this news to result in significant gains across markets shows just how cautious investors are," Stan Shamu of IG Markets in Melbourne said in a report.

Concerns remain that Europe's debt crisis is pushing the region toward recession, which would slow industrial activity in countries around the world that export to Europe.

Australian resource shares took a big hit after the country's House of Representatives approved a proposal to impose a windfall profits tax on big mining companies. The Senate is expected to endorse the measure in early 2012.

BHP Billiton, the world's largest mining company, fell 3.1 percent. Rival Rio Tinto lost 3.4 percent and Energy Resources of Australia plummeted 5.9 percent.

South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics lost 2.7 percent and oil refiner S-Oil plunged 5.1 percent. But auto parts maker Mando rose 1.8 percent on hopes that a free trade pact between Seoul and Washington would boost its earnings, Yonhap News Agency reported.

Benchmark oil for January delivery was down $1.03 to $96.95 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.09 to finish at $98.01 per barrel on the Nymex on Tuesday.

In currencies, the euro fell to $1.3466 from $1.3509 late Tuesday in New York. The dollar rose slightly to 77 yen from 76.97 yen.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/stocks/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20111123/ap_on_bi_ge/world_markets

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Gates to testify in $1B lawsuit against Microsoft

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) ? Microsoft's Bill Gates was set to testify Monday in a $1 billion antitrust lawsuit accusing the software maker of duping a competitor prior to its rollout of Windows 95.

The case against Microsoft has been ongoing in federal court in Salt Lake City for about a month.

Utah-based Novell Inc. sued Microsoft in 2004, claiming the Redmond, Wash., company violated U.S. antitrust laws through its arrangements with other computer makers when it launched Windows 95. Novell says it was later forced to sell WordPerfect for a $1.2 billion loss.

The company argues that Microsoft co-founder Gates ordered company engineers to reject WordPerfect as a Windows 95 application because he feared it was too good. WordPerfect's share of the market then plummeted from nearly 50 percent to less than 10 percent as Microsoft's own office programs took hold.

Novell attorney Jeff Johnson has conceded that Microsoft was under no legal obligation to provide advance access to the Windows 95 operating system so Novell could prepare a compatible WordPerfect version. Microsoft, however, enticed Novell to work on a version, only to withdraw support months before Windows 95 hit the market, he said.

Microsoft lawyer David Tulchin said Gates decided against installing WordPerfect because it threatened to crash Windows and couldn't be fixed in time for the rollout. He argued that Novell's missed opportunity was its own fault, and that Microsoft had no obligation to give a competitor a leg up.

"Novell never complained to Microsoft," Tulchin said during arguments Friday. "There's nothing in the evidence, no documents."

Johnson maintains Novell was tricked in violation of federal antitrust laws so Microsoft could monopolize the market.

"We got stabbed in the back," he said.

Microsoft is seeking a dismissal, calling the claims groundless.

Throughout arguments Friday, U.S. District Judge Frederick Motz openly expressed doubts that Novell's claims had merit.

"I don't see why I have to give a product to a competitor so he can beat me," Motz told Novell attorneys.

Associated Press

Source: http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/386c25518f464186bf7a2ac026580ce7/Article_2011-11-21-US-Antitrust-Lawsuit-Microsoft/id-9fdd51fd7d8d4fdc9814899e9de63a1e

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Grenades hit Baath Party building in Damascus: residents (Reuters)

AMMAN (Reuters) ? At least two rocket-propelled grenades hit a ruling Baath Party building in Damascus on Sunday, residents said, in the first insurgent attack reported inside the Syrian capital since an eight-month uprising began against President Bashar al-Assad.

The attack occurred hours after an Arab League deadline for Syria to end its crackdown against protesters passed with no sign of violence abating, and Assad remained defiant in the face of growing international isolation.

"Security police blocked off the square where the Baath's Damascus branch is located. But I saw smoke rising from the building and fire trucks around it," said one witness, who declined to be named.

"The attack was just before dawn and the building was mostly empty. It seems to have been intended as a message to the regime," said the witness.

The Syrian Free Army, comprised of army defectors and based in neighboring Turkey, claimed responsibility for the attack.

No independent verification of the claim was immediately available. The authorities have barred most independent journalists from entering the country.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 14 people were killed on Saturday by government forces. On Friday dozens were reported killed in clashes.

Assad was quoted on Saturday as saying he would press on with the crackdown against protesters despite increased international pressure to end it.

"The conflict will continue and the pressure to subjugate Syria will continue," he told Britain's Sunday Times newspaper. "However, I assure you that Syria will not bow down and that it will continue to resist the pressure being imposed on it."

In video footage on the newspaper's website, Assad said there would be elections in February or March when Syrians would vote for a parliament to create a new constitution and that would include provision for a presidential ballot

"That constitution will set the basis of how to elect a president, if they need a president or don't need him," he said.

"They have the elections, they can participate in it. The ballot boxes will decide who should be president."

The Arab League had set a Saturday deadline for Syria to comply with a peace plan which would entail a military pullout from around restive areas, and threatened sanctions if Assad failed to end the violence.

The League, a group of Arab states, has already suspended Syria's membership.

Non-Arab Turkey, once an ally of Assad's, is also taking an increasingly tough attitude toward Damascus.

Turkish newspapers said on Saturday Ankara had contingency plans to create no-fly or buffer zones to protect civilians in neighboring Syria if the bloodshed worsened.

(Reporting by Khaled Yacoub Oweis, Amman newsroom; Editing by Ralph Gowling)

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/world/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20111120/wl_nm/us_syria

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Faster than light neutrinos? Not so fast, say new findings. [Video]

Scientists at Switzerland's CERN research center threatened to turn physics upside down in September, when they measured a neutrino traveling at faster-than-light speeds. But now a new experiment by researchers in Italy suggests that the particles are actually obeying the cosmic speed limit.

An international team of scientists in Italy studying the same neutrino particles colleagues say appear to have travelled faster than light rejected the startling finding this weekend, saying their tests had shown it must be wrong.

Skip to next paragraph

The September announcement of the finding, backed up last week after new studies, caused a furor in the scientific world as it seemed to suggest Albert Einstein's ideas on relativity, and much of modern physics, were based on a mistaken premise.

The first team, members of the OPERA experiment at the Gran Sasso laboratory south of Rome, said they recorded neutrinos beamed to them from the CERN research center in Switzerland as arriving 60 nanoseconds before light would have done.

But ICARUS, another experiment at Gran Sasso ? which is deep under mountains and run by Italy's National Institute of National Physics ? now argues that their measurements of the neutrinos energy on arrival contradict that reading.

In a paper posted Saturday on the same website as the OPERA results, the ICARUS team says their findings "refute a superluminal (faster than light) interpretation of the OPERA result."

They argue, on the basis of recently published studies by two top U.S. physicists, that the neutrinos pumped down from CERN, near Geneva, should have lost most of their energy if they had travelled at even a tiny fraction faster than light.

But in fact, the ICARUS scientists say, the neutrino beam as tested in their equipment registered an energy spectrum fully corresponding with what it should be for particles traveling at the speed of light and no more.

Physicist Tomasso Dorigo, who works at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, and the U.S. Fermilab near Chicago, said in a post on the website Scientific Blogging that the ICARUS paper was "very simple and definitive."

It says, he wrote, "that the difference between the speed of neutrinos and the speed of light cannot be as large as that seen by OPERA, and is certainly smaller than that by three orders of magnitude, and compatible with zero."

Under Einstein's 1905 theory of special relativity, nothing can travel faster than light. That idea lies at the heart of all current science of the cosmos and of how the vast variety of particles that make it up behave.

There was widespread skepticism when the OPERA findings were first revealed, and even the leaders of the experiment insisted that they were not announcing a discovery but simply recording measurements they had made and carefully checked.

However, last Friday they said a new experiment with shorter neutrino beams from CERN and much larger gaps between them had produced the same result. Independent scientists said however this was not conclusive.

Other experiments are being prepared ? at Fermilab and at the KEK laboratory in Japan ? to try to replicate OPERA's findings. Only confirmation from one of these would open the way for a full scientific discovery to be declared.

(Editing by Andrew Heavens)

Source: http://rss.csmonitor.com/~r/feeds/science/~3/xclpcy2QV7Q/Faster-than-light-neutrinos-Not-so-fast-say-new-findings.-Video

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TheDaleJackson: RT @4gop: .@TheDaleJackson Mad. County GOP Men's Club Straw Poll - 19 Nov - 207 votes total. Gingrich 94, Cain 28, Romney 24, Paul 24, P ...

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Gadgets Week in Review: Surface Time

1478Here are some of the past week’s stories on TechCrunch Gadgets: Bag Week 2011 TouchPad Microwave Hack Finds Videos That End Right When The Popcorn Is Ready Students Hack The Kinect To Allow Blind To Navigate Microsoft And Samsung?s Surface 2 Now Up For Pre-Order Aerial 3D: Amazing System Shows 3D Objects In Mid-Air, With No Screen (Video)

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/nl4saZ6v778/

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Monday, November 21, 2011

13 eunuchs killed in fire in India (AP)

NEW DELHI ? A fire tore through a makeshift tent at a gathering of thousands of eunuchs in the Indian capital on Sunday, killing 13 people and injuring at least 33 others, police said.

Emergency workers said the blaze was most likely caused by an electrical short and quickly spread through the tent, which was about 100 feet (30 meters) long.

The tragedy struck during a gathering of about 5,000 eunuchs for a prayer ceremony and feast held once every five years, said Shapo, an organizer of the event at a fairground in the Nandnagary neighborhood of east Delhi. Shapo, like many eunuchs, uses only one name.

Sunday was the first day of the 20-day event, said Ratna, an attendee.

One witness, Angelie, said there was a loud short, then flames suddenly erupted and a gas cylinder exploded. Crowds of people ran to the exit from the fairground, Angelie said.

The Press Trust of India news agency reported that local residents raced to the area to pull the injured from the blaze before police and fire fighters arrived. Police official Sanjay Jain said the fire killed 13 people and injured 33 others. It was not clear if all were killed by the fire or if some were trampled in the race to escape the flames.

India's estimated 700,000 eunuchs traditionally survive by begging, dancing at weddings, or blessing newborn babies, and frequently are subjected to discrimination.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/topstories/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20111121/ap_on_re_as/as_india_eunuchs_killed

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How would you change Sony's Tablet S?

As far as tablets go, Sony's Tablet S is about as innovative and unorthodox as it got in 2011. The Honeycomb-based device shipped with Android 3.1, and while there's no word yet on an Ice Cream Sandwich update, you can bet that Sony's pushing for one. As is, it's still in possession of quite the edge given the PlayStation Suite inclusion, which makes it the first tablet capable of playing PlayStation and PSP games via the included emulator. We found plenty of pros and cons during our time with the device, but now that it's out and about in plenty of nations worldwide, we're offering you -- the early adopter -- a chance to speak about your gripes and praises. Would you change up the wedge design? Throw a different display on here? Swap one thing for another? Go on and shout your advice below. But try speaking, first. Shouting is pretty rude.

How would you change Sony's Tablet S? originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 20 Nov 2011 22:01:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: http://www.engadget.com/2011/11/20/how-would-you-change-sonys-tablet-s/

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

SC GOP congressmen appearing at Aiken event

AIKEN, S.C. --?

South Carolina's Republican congressmen are spending part of their weekend in Aiken County.

The Aiken Standard reports ( http://bit.ly/uf28Zr) that the Aiken County Republican Party is bringing together U.S. Reps. Tim Scott, Joe Wilson, Jeff Duncan, Trey Gowdy and Mick Mulvaney for the organization's Bronze Elephant reception on Nov. 19.

Each congressman is expected to speak for about 15 to 20 minutes, and Wilson is serving as a moderator.

The event also includes dancing, a seated dinner and an auction.

Source: http://www.fortmilltimes.com/2011/11/19/1794353/sc-gop-congressmen-appearing-at.html

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Greek party chief resists EU/IMF pressure on pledge (Reuters)

ATHENS (Reuters) ? Greece's creditors failed on Saturday to persuade the leader of the main conservative party to drop his refusal to sign a pledge that he will back austerity measures under a bailout deal aimed at saving the country from financial ruin.

Antonis Samaras, leader of New Democracy, one of three parties in a new national unity coalition struggling to avert a disastrous default, says there is no need to provide a written guarantee because his word can be trusted.

But international lenders, weary of Greece's failure to deliver on fiscal targets during two years of financial crisis, insist on the written statement, fearing its politicians may otherwise try to wriggle out of their commitments, especially with an election likely in February.

Representatives of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund -- the "troika" which monitors Greek compliance with its rescue deals -- discussed the issue with Samaras in Athens on Saturday.

"Regarding the discussion we had with the troika and specifically on the written reassurances, I repeated to them my position on the issue," Samaras told reporters after the talks.

Samaras, a Harvard-educated economist known for his fiery rhetoric, said New Democracy had proven its commitment to the terms of the bailout by backing the coalition led by technocrat Prime Minister Lucas Papademos and its new budget.

Papademos's coalition, which comprises New Democracy, the Socialists of fallen premier George Papandreou and the small far-right LAOS party, won a parliamentary vote of confidence on Wednesday and submitted a draft budget to parliament on Friday.

Samaras's stance potentially puts at risk the next aid tranche for Greece worth 8 billion euros (about $11 billion) that it needs by mid-December to meet debt repayments. Failure would mean default.

The new bailout negotiated last month envisages a further 130 billion euros meant to keep the Mediterranean country of 11 million people financed until 2014.

Political analysts said they expected some face-saving compromise would be found to end the standoff.

"One way or another, there will be a way to bypass this problem. I believe there will be a solution that will not force Samaras to give a written commitment, and it will come soon," Costas Panadopoulos, head of pollster ALCO, told Reuters.

PM TO VISIT BRUSSELS

Papademos will pay his first visit to Brussels as premier on Monday and his talks with senior EU officials will prove "decisive" for clinching a compromise on the written pledge, the Kathimerini daily said, citing unnamed sources.

The 'troika' also met Papandreou on Saturday but he and his party made no comment after the talks.

The leader of LAOS was due to meet the EU and IMF officials on Sunday. In an interview for the Real News weekly to be published on Sunday, LAOS leader George Karatzaferis signaled he would sign the written statement.

"Do we need this money or not? If not, we don't sign. But if we do need it and there is no way around this, then we have to see things without egotism or reservations," said Karatzaferis, whose party backs Papademos's coalition.

Samaras agreed to back the coalition in return for early elections that opinion polls suggest he would win, albeit without a majority. In recent days, he has stressed that his support for the cabinet is temporary, pending a February poll.

Support for both Papandreou's PASOK and Samaras's New Democracy, which have dominated Greek politics for decades, has eroded over the past week, opinion polls show.

However, more than two thirds of voters back Papademos, a former central banker who is the sole technocrat in a coalition otherwise made up of party politicians.

Greece's debt troubles over the past two years have turned into a major European crisis that threatens the survival of the euro and the stability of the global economy.

As Greek politicians bickered this week, borrowing costs for much larger euro zone countries such as Italy and Spain were in the danger zone and even France's rose.

The new cabinet's draft budget, expected to be approved in the next few weeks, predicts a fifth year of recession but says a plan to convince Greece's private creditors to take a 50 percent loss on bond holdings could cut the budget deficit by more than a third.

A New Democracy official said the troika also discussed the debt swap plan with Samaras on Saturday.

"We discussed the private sector involvement (PSI) with the troika. They told us they are watching the PSI negotiations very closely and they told us we all want this deal to succeed," the party official said.

(Writing by Gareth Jones; Editing by David Stamp and Elizabeth Piper)

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/eurobiz/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20111119/bs_nm/us_greece

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A failing sense of smell can be reversed

A failing sense of smell can be reversed [ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 20-Nov-2011
[ | E-mail | Share Share ]

Contact: Lorinda Klein
lorindaann.klein@nyumc.org
212-404-3533
NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine

A new animal study suggests that with training, smell can improve

NEW YORK, November 20, 2011 In a new study scientists at NYU Langone Medical Center have shown that the sense of smell can be improved. The new findings, published online November 20, 2011, in Nature Neuroscience, suggest possible ways to reverse the loss of smell due to aging or disease.

Smell is unique among our senses, explains Donald A. Wilson, PhD, professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center and senior research scientist at the Emotional Brain Institute at Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, who led the study. The olfactory bulb, a structure beneath the frontal cortex that receives nerve impulses from the nose, also has direct connections to the amygdala, which controls emotions and physiology, and to higher-order regions like the prefrontal cortex, involved in cognition and planning. "Unlike information from your eyes and ears that has gone through many connections to reach the frontal cortex, the olfactory system is just two connections away," says Dr. Wilson. "The result is an immediate pathway from the environment through our nose to our memory."

Although impairment in the sense of smell is associated with Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia, and even normal aging, exactly why smell weakens remains a mystery, but recent laboratory research led by Dr. Wilson reveals how it may occur. "We located where in the brain loss of smell may happen," he says. "And we showed that training can improve the sense of smell, and also make it worse."

Dr. Wilson and Julie Chapuis, PhD, a post-doctoral fellow, placed thirsty rats in boxes with a snout-sized hole in each of three walls and exposed them to brief blasts of odors through the middle hole. There were three smells in all: a mix of 10 chemicals from fruits, oils, cleaning agents, etc.; the same mixture with one chemical replaced by another; and the same mixture minus one of the chemicals. When the rodents identified one smell, they were rewarded with a sip of water by going to the hole in the left side wall, for another smell they received water by going to the right side wall.

. Rats could readily distinguish between odors when a chemical had been replaced in one mixture, but when one component had simply been removed, they could not differentiate. The researchers then anesthetized the rats and inserted electrodes into their brains. Within the olfactory bulb, each smell produced a different pattern of electrical activity. But in the piriform (olfactory) cortex, a half-inch-sized area of the rat cerebral cortex, the odors that rats could tell apart produced distinct patterns of activity, while those the rats could not distinguish produced identical patterns.

Drs. Wilson and Chapuis then trained a new group of rats to discriminate between the odors the first animals couldn't tell apart by rewarding them over and over with sips water for choosing the appropriate hole. "We made them connoisseurs," says Dr. Wilson. In the rats' piriform cortex, activity patterns elicited by these similar odors were now different as well.

They trained a third group of animals to ignore the difference between odors the first rats could readily distinguish by giving them water at the same hole after exposure to either odor. This effectively dulled their sense of smell: the rats couldn't tell one smell from the other, even for a reward. Their loss of discrimination was reflected in the piriform cortex, which now produced similar electrical patterns in response to both odors.

"Our findings suggest that while olfactory impairment may reflect real damage to the sensory system, in some cases it may be a 'use it or lose it' phenomenon," says Dr. Wilson. This opens the door for potential smell training therapies that could help restore smell function in some cases. "Odor training could help fix broken noses," he says.

###

ABOUT NYU Langone Medical Center

NYU Langone Medical Center, a world-class, patient-centered, integrated, academic medical center, is one on the nation's premier centers for excellence in clinical care, biomedical research and medical education. Located in the heart of Manhattan, NYU Langone is composed of three hospitals Tisch Hospital, its flagship acute care facility; the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, the world's first university-affiliated facility devoted entirely to rehabilitation medicine; and the Hospital for Joint Diseases, one of only five hospitals in the nation dedicated to orthopaedics and rheumatology plus the NYU School of Medicine, which since 1841 has trained thousand of physicians and scientists who have helped to shape the course of medical history. The medical center's tri-fold mission to serve, teach and discover is achieved 365 days a year through the seamless integration of a culture devoted to excellence in patient care, education and research. For more information, go to www.NYULMC.org.


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A failing sense of smell can be reversed [ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 20-Nov-2011
[ | E-mail | Share Share ]

Contact: Lorinda Klein
lorindaann.klein@nyumc.org
212-404-3533
NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine

A new animal study suggests that with training, smell can improve

NEW YORK, November 20, 2011 In a new study scientists at NYU Langone Medical Center have shown that the sense of smell can be improved. The new findings, published online November 20, 2011, in Nature Neuroscience, suggest possible ways to reverse the loss of smell due to aging or disease.

Smell is unique among our senses, explains Donald A. Wilson, PhD, professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center and senior research scientist at the Emotional Brain Institute at Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, who led the study. The olfactory bulb, a structure beneath the frontal cortex that receives nerve impulses from the nose, also has direct connections to the amygdala, which controls emotions and physiology, and to higher-order regions like the prefrontal cortex, involved in cognition and planning. "Unlike information from your eyes and ears that has gone through many connections to reach the frontal cortex, the olfactory system is just two connections away," says Dr. Wilson. "The result is an immediate pathway from the environment through our nose to our memory."

Although impairment in the sense of smell is associated with Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia, and even normal aging, exactly why smell weakens remains a mystery, but recent laboratory research led by Dr. Wilson reveals how it may occur. "We located where in the brain loss of smell may happen," he says. "And we showed that training can improve the sense of smell, and also make it worse."

Dr. Wilson and Julie Chapuis, PhD, a post-doctoral fellow, placed thirsty rats in boxes with a snout-sized hole in each of three walls and exposed them to brief blasts of odors through the middle hole. There were three smells in all: a mix of 10 chemicals from fruits, oils, cleaning agents, etc.; the same mixture with one chemical replaced by another; and the same mixture minus one of the chemicals. When the rodents identified one smell, they were rewarded with a sip of water by going to the hole in the left side wall, for another smell they received water by going to the right side wall.

. Rats could readily distinguish between odors when a chemical had been replaced in one mixture, but when one component had simply been removed, they could not differentiate. The researchers then anesthetized the rats and inserted electrodes into their brains. Within the olfactory bulb, each smell produced a different pattern of electrical activity. But in the piriform (olfactory) cortex, a half-inch-sized area of the rat cerebral cortex, the odors that rats could tell apart produced distinct patterns of activity, while those the rats could not distinguish produced identical patterns.

Drs. Wilson and Chapuis then trained a new group of rats to discriminate between the odors the first animals couldn't tell apart by rewarding them over and over with sips water for choosing the appropriate hole. "We made them connoisseurs," says Dr. Wilson. In the rats' piriform cortex, activity patterns elicited by these similar odors were now different as well.

They trained a third group of animals to ignore the difference between odors the first rats could readily distinguish by giving them water at the same hole after exposure to either odor. This effectively dulled their sense of smell: the rats couldn't tell one smell from the other, even for a reward. Their loss of discrimination was reflected in the piriform cortex, which now produced similar electrical patterns in response to both odors.

"Our findings suggest that while olfactory impairment may reflect real damage to the sensory system, in some cases it may be a 'use it or lose it' phenomenon," says Dr. Wilson. This opens the door for potential smell training therapies that could help restore smell function in some cases. "Odor training could help fix broken noses," he says.

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ABOUT NYU Langone Medical Center

NYU Langone Medical Center, a world-class, patient-centered, integrated, academic medical center, is one on the nation's premier centers for excellence in clinical care, biomedical research and medical education. Located in the heart of Manhattan, NYU Langone is composed of three hospitals Tisch Hospital, its flagship acute care facility; the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, the world's first university-affiliated facility devoted entirely to rehabilitation medicine; and the Hospital for Joint Diseases, one of only five hospitals in the nation dedicated to orthopaedics and rheumatology plus the NYU School of Medicine, which since 1841 has trained thousand of physicians and scientists who have helped to shape the course of medical history. The medical center's tri-fold mission to serve, teach and discover is achieved 365 days a year through the seamless integration of a culture devoted to excellence in patient care, education and research. For more information, go to www.NYULMC.org.


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Source: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-11/nlmc-afs111611.php

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