Thursday, January 31, 2013

Android 4.2.1 pushing for the Sprint Galaxy Nexus

Sprint Galaxy Nexus

It's been a scant couple of weeks since the Sprint Galaxy Nexus saw an update to Android 4.2. Today it's got another update rolling out. This one brings things to Android 4.2.1 build?JRO03U.L700GA02) and includes the following:

  • Redesigned camera interface and new Photo Sphere feature (a 360-degree panorama mode)
  • Notifications Shade accessible by swiping top screen edge downwards; swipe down with two fingers to view notifications; tap the notification to expand and take action on it.
  • Lockscreen widgets to access certain apps without unlocking the screen; sidescroll right for?camera or left for other widgets (time and weather, gmail, etc.)

You can snag the update over the air (hit your settings>about menu for that), or download manually from Google and apply ?it that way. (If you need help with that, hit up this thread in our forums.)

Note that this update is for the Sprint Galaxy Nexus and not the Verizon Galaxy Nexus. Repeat: Verizon's Galaxy Nexus has not been updated. Still.

Get help in our Sprint Galaxy Nexus forums;?More at Sprint


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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Who's driving the equity rally? | Global Investing

Does the money match the story?

Perhaps the biggest investment theme of the year so far has been the extent to which long-term investors may now slowly migrate back to under-owned and under-priced equities from super-expensive safe haven bunkers such as ?core? government bonds, yen, Swiss francs etc to which they herded at each new gale of the 5-year-old credit storm.

Indeed, some go further and say asset allocation mixes of the big institutional pension and insurance funds are ? for a variety of regulatory and demographic reasons ? now at such historical extremes in favour of bonds that they may now need rethinking in what some dub The Great Rotation.

All this has played into a new year whoosh in equity and other risk markets, as ebbing tail risks from the euro zone, US budget and China combine with signs of a decent cyclical turn in the world economy into 2013. Wall St?s S&P500, for example, has climbed 5.5% in January so far and closed above 1500 for the first time in more than five years last week following its longest winning streak (8-days) in eight years.

But what sort of money is behind this price move? Well, new cash flowing into equity funds so far this year has been the highest on record at some $55 billion. Retail investors have certainly been big participants, with Lipper data showing new-year retail inflows to U.S.-based stock funds at their highest since 2001. HSBC points out that 9 consecutive weeks of net retail buying of equities is ?longer and larger? that any of the sporadic bursts seen over the past two years and emerging market equity appears to be a clear favourite.

But what of the bigger behemoths?

An HSBC analysis on global fund holdings (based on data provided by fund tracker EPFR) reckons big international funds are far less pessimistic than they were six months but are still broadly neutral on equity overall. ?We measure this by tracking the holdings of high and low beta sectors and it is now only marginally in favour of low beta sectors?

And despite a big recovery in European bank stocks in tandem with an easing of the euro crisis, it reckoned international institutional funds remained underweight the sector. HSBC added:

By being underweight an outperforming sector they have to buy to stand still. This explains why the underweight remains large even though there has been plenty of buying.

The report goes on to show that institutional investors are positioned very cautiously in the US, with the biggest overweight in the underpeforming healthcare sector.

There remains potential ?fuel? for further upgrading relative to benchmarks at least.

Yet what of the more conservative defined-benefit pension funds or insurance funds? being pressured by liability-matching pressures and stricter mandates or guidelines? Regardless a possible Great Rotation over the next decade or so, how are these funds likely to behave shorter term?

Credit Suisse points out some market speculation that funds traditionally balanced evenly between equity and bonds may tend to rebalance portfolios at fixed intervals and so may be forced to return funds to neutral by selling equity at the end of a month that saw a big outperformance of stocks over bonds.

The potential size of this shift in the United States is eye-opening ? at some $92 billion worth, according to CS.

Yet it downplayed the fear of some mass mechanical movement, highlighting three broad categories of behaviour among such fund managers ? those who rebalance daily and will already have smoothed out positioned; those who do so at fixed periods such as month-end or quarter-end; and those who have significant discretion on timing and positioning within a broad remit.

We estimate that Private Defined Benefit Pension plans would need to reallocate about $34 billion, State and Local Pension Plans about $44 billion, and ?Hybrid? mutual funds about $14 billion, for a total of about $92 billion ? which we know is much higher than what is likely to be seen given the number of managers who rebalance more frequently or have discretion.

Month-end price histories over the past four years also show this to have had only a limited market impact, CS said. That said, it does tally somewhat with the early month surge turning flatter into this week.

But this is mechanistic behaviour should be fleeting by definition. Changes in how fund mandates and remits change over time is a far bigger issue and that will likely also take much longer to parse on aggregate.





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United on immigration, waiting on details

Bipartisan Group Of Senators Announce Agreement On Immigration Reform (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

It was a rare moment of unity for an institution known for bickering and partisanship, but the plan introduced Monday by a bipartisan Senate task force outlining a path forward on comprehensive immigration reform was just vague enough to bring Republicans and Democrats together. For now.

On Capitol Hill Tuesday, members of both parties heaped praise on the task force's achievement of putting forth a blueprint for immigration reform, which will soon be translated into legislative jargon and introduced on the Senate floor. It's that second step that has lawmakers nervous, and a phrase spoken throughout the Capitol sums up their concerns: "the devil is in the details." Almost everyone is excited about the general outline for immigration reform, but the ecstasy pales in comparison to the fear of what the bill may actually entail when it finally reaches the floor.

"We've got to see the legislation. We've got to see it in writing. There's always the devil in the details and I know that more than anybody around here as old and crusty as I am," said Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, who added that he was pleased by the initial proposal. "It all depends on the details of the bill. I've seen bills that have had wonderful-sounding names that turn out to be terrible pieces of crap."

At this early juncture, details are understandably scant. The outline put forth Monday by four Republicans and four Democrats merely pointed to agreement on a set of principles that they hope will survive the grueling legislative process to come. The early product includes a quick path to legal residency for young immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally by their parents as children. There is a provision that forces those who crossed the borders illegally as adults to pay fines and pass tests in return for temporary work visas, which could lead to permanent residency and, many years later, to citizenship. To quell concerns over "amnesty," the blueprint includes strong language in favor of mandating specific border enforcement goals. If the whole thing makes it through both chambers of Congress and past the president's desk, the bill will be the most far-reaching immigration overhaul in a generation.

In a speech delivered in Nevada Tuesday afternoon, President Barack Obama demanded swift action on the issue. But for a bill of this potential size, everyone must be patient. Already on Tuesday, the senators who crafted the blueprint were constantly bombarded by reporters armed with endless hypothetical questions, pressing them for details: How will you know when the border is actually secured? Exactly how many visas will be issued under the new law? Will gay illegal immigrants be given the same spousal rights as straight illegal immigrants?

"We have not gotten that far yet," said Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, a member of the working group, after being peppered with questions. "This is thrown out by people who think we've gotten into these kinds of details, which we haven't. I'll be engaging in those discussions."

"We haven't even started the conversation about specifics," said Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, another member of the group.

The Senate and the president, of course, aren't the only ones who will have a final say on the bill. Whatever the Democrat-controlled upper chamber comes up with eventually must be reconciled with a bill that passes the Republican-majority House of Representatives.

Like the Senate task force, a secretive bipartisan group of House lawmakers has met privately for months to discuss a bill that can pass through their chamber and receive support from both parties, a source familiar with the meetings confirmed to Yahoo News. The House task force, which includes Republican Reps. Sam Johnson and John Carter of Texas, Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida and Democratic Reps. Xavier Becerra and Zoe Lofgren of California and Luis Gutierrez of Illinois, intends to introduce an outline similar to the blueprint unveiled by the Senate.

In an interview, Diaz-Balart declined to discuss any details of the House group's meetings, but he said the Senate plan was "compatible" to the principles he supports for a comprehensive immigration bill.

"I'm very encouraged by what the Senate has done because I think it's compatible to what a lot of us believe has to happen," Diaz-Balart said. "I think in the House you're going to see very similar ideas emerging. I think reasonable people who want to solve it?not just raise Cain about it?but who want to solve it, are going to reach very similar conclusions."

"The devil," he added, "is in the details."


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Analysis: Immigration reform could boost U.S. economic growth

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The sluggish U.S. economy could get a lift if President Barack Obama and a bipartisan group of senators succeed in what could be the biggest overhaul of the nation's immigration system since the 1980s.

Relaxed immigration rules could encourage entrepreneurship, increase demand for housing, raise tax revenues and help reduce the budget deficit, economists said.

By helping more immigrants enter the country legally and allowing many illegal immigrants to remain, the United States could help offset a slowing birth rate and put itself in a stronger demographic position than aging Europe, Japan and China.

"Numerous industries in the United States can't find the workers they need, right now even in a bad economy, to fill their orders and expand their production as the market demands," said Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration specialist at the libertarian Cato Institute.

The emerging consensus among economists is that immigration provides a net benefit. It increases demand and productivity, helps drive innovation and lowers prices, although there is little agreement on the size of the impact on economic growth.

President Barack Obama plans to launch his second-term push for a U.S. immigration overhaul during a visit to Nevada on Tuesday and will make it a high priority to win congressional approval of a reform package this year, the White House said.

The chances of major reforms gained momentum on Monday when a bipartisan group of senators agreed on a framework that could eventually give 11 million illegal immigrants a chance to become American citizens.

Their proposals would also include means to keep and attract workers with backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This would be aimed both at foreign students attending American universities where they are earning advanced degrees and high-tech workers abroad.

An estimated 40 percent of scientists in the United States are immigrants and studies show immigrants are twice as likely to start businesses, said Nowrasteh.

Boosting legal migration and legalizing existing workers could add $1.5 trillion to the U.S. economy over the next 10 years, estimates Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda, a specialist in immigration policy at the University of California, Los Angeles. That's an annual increase of 0.8 percentage points to the economic growth rate, currently stuck at about 2 percent.


Other economists say the potential benefit to growth is much lower. Richard Freeman, an economist at Harvard, believes most of the benefits to the economy from illegal immigrants already in the United States has already been recorded and legalizing their status would produce only incremental benefits.

While opposition to reform lingers on both sides of the political spectrum and any controversial legislation can easily meet a quick end in a divided Washington, the chances of substantial change seem to be rising. Top Republicans such as Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana are not mincing words about the party's need to appeal to the Hispanic community and foreign-born voters who were turned off by Republican candidate Mitt Romney's tough talk in last year's presidential campaign.

A previous Obama plan, unveiled in May 2011, included the creation of a guest-worker program to meet agricultural labor needs and something similar is expected to be in his new proposal.

The senators also indicated they would support a limited program that would allow companies in certain sectors to import guest workers if Americans were not available to fill some positions.

An additional boost to growth could come from rising wages for newly legalized workers and higher productivity from the arrival of more highly skilled workers from abroad. Increased tax revenues would help federal and state authorities plug budget deficits although the benefit to government revenues will be at least partially offset by the payment of benefits to those who gain legal status.

In 2007, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that proposed immigration reform in that year would have generated $48 billion in revenue from 2008 to 2017, while costing $23 billion in health and welfare payments.

There is also unlikely to be much of a saving on enforcement from the senators' plan because they envisage tougher border security to prevent further illegal immigration and a crackdown on those overstaying visas.

One way to bump up revenue, according to a report co-authored by University of California, Davis economist Giovanni Peri, would be to institute a cap-and-trade visa system. Peri estimated it could generate up to $1.2 billion annually.

Under such a system, the government would auction a certain number of visas employers could trade in a secondary market.

"A more efficient, more transparent and more flexible immigration system would help firms expand, contribute to more job creation in the United States, and slow the movement of operations abroad," according to a draft report, soon to be published as part of a study by the Hamilton Project, a think tank.

There was no immediate sign that either the Obama or the senators' plan would include such a system.

The long-term argument for immigration is a demographic one. Many developed nations are seeing their populations age, adding to the burden of pension and healthcare costs on wage-earners.

Immigration in the United States would need to double to keep the working-age population stable at its current 67 percent of total population, according to George Magnus, a senior independent economic adviser at UBS in London,

While Magnus says a change of that magnitude may prove too politically sensitive, the focus should be on attracting highly skilled and entrepreneurial immigrants in the way Canada and Australia do by operating a points system for immigrants rather than focusing mainly on family connections.

"The trick is to shift the balance of migration towards those with education (and) skills," he added.


Academics at major universities such as Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology often lament that many of their top foreign graduates end up returning to their home countries because visas are hard to get.

"We have so much talent that is sitting here in the universities," said William Kerr, a professor at Harvard Business School. "I find it very difficult to swallow that we then make it so hard for them to stay."

The last big amnesty for illegal immigrants was in 1986 when President Ronald Reagan legalized about 3 million already in the country. Numerous studies have shown that subsequently their wages rose significantly.

Research on how immigration affects overall wages is inconclusive. George Borjas at Harvard says immigration has created a small net decrease in overall wages for those born in the United States, concentrated among the low-skilled, while Giovani Peri at UC Davis found that immigration boosts native wages over the long run.

Hinojosa-Ojeda stresses that any reform needs to make it easier for guest workers to enter the country to avoid a new build-up of illegal workers.

"If we don't create a mechanism that can basically bring in 300,000 to 400,000 new workers a year into a variety of labor markets and needs, we could be setting ourselves up for that again," said Hinojosa-Ojeda.

Nowrasteh at Cato also believes an expanded guest worker program would stem illegal immigration and allow industries to overcome labor shortages.

He found that harsher regulations in recent years in Arizona were adversely affecting agricultural production, increasing financial burdens on business and even negatively impacting the state's struggling real estate market.

Some large companies have fallen foul of tougher enforcement regulations.

Restaurant chain Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc fired roughly 500 staff in 2010 and 2011 after undocumented workers were found on its payrolls. Putting the chill on other employers, it is now subject of an ongoing federal criminal investigation into its hiring.

"The current system doesn't seem to work for anyone," Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold said.

(Reporting By Edward Krudy; Additional reporting by Lisa Baertlein; Editing by Martin Howell and Andre Grenon)


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Nashville, Season 1

Eric Close as Teddy Conrad, Connie Britton as Rayna Jaymes, and Hayden Panettiere as Juliette Barnes.

Eric Close, Connie Britton, and Hayden Panettiere in Nashville

Hi, Gunnar?s fugitive brother! It was a pleasure to meet you recently on Nashville, but I worry you won?t be around long. After all, the series has an incredibly high metabolism for its supporting players, introducing characters in a flash and dropping them like hot Southern biscuits. (Bye, Hailey. Bye, Sean.) Meanwhile, Nashville sometimes forgets its leads, in that they could mingle a lot more than they do and probably generate a lot more sharp drama.?

In an AV Club recap, Todd VanDerWerff sums all this up beautifully when he writes that plotlines on Nashville ?feel hermetically sealed off from each other? the stories are all taking place in bubble universes that never cross over.? And he takes as evidence the ?Wrong Song? celebration party, in Episode 11, during which encounters between characters who don?t normally associate?Rayna and Joleen, Juliette and Avery?end up feeling not satisfying but weird and unreal. As these interactions unspool, he says, ?it?s just not immediately clear what the show is going for or what we?re supposed to think or anything. It?s just another thing that happens.?

Nevertheless, two of those bizarre, disembodied t?te-?-t?tes stuck with me last week, not so much because they constituted great TV but because they raised interesting questions about how various characters reflect and relate to each other. Given that we viewed the conversation between Rayna and Joleen through Juliette?s eyes, this fleeting episode produces a neat triangle. One way of looking at it would be to see Rayna and Joleen as the base and Juliette as the apex: two potential mother figures and one daughter. During Thursday?s TV Club, June and I wondered whether Juliette?s mommy issues informed her hostility toward Rayna, a musical forebear. Seeing Joleen and Ma James together in one frame drove home the connection between them. (In their next conversation, maybe, they can bond over Juliette?s rudeness.)

At the same time, though, class holds the pair apart. Rayna equals old aristocratic Nashville, all graciousness and platinum-gold princess weeds. Joleen, dressed in brown and hoarding mini-hamburgers in her cocktail napkin, hails from a world of trailer parks and addiction. That Joleen?s overture to Rayna embarrasses her daughter on a deep and personal level hints at the emergence of a different dynamic. Nashville may present Rayna and Joleen as doubles, but it also submits Joleen as a surrogate for Juliette.

What I mean by this is that perhaps it makes more sense to group Jules and Jo together at the base of the triangle and to imagine Rayna at the apex. Mrs. Barnes, whose last name sounds like barns, embodies a past Juliette can?t quite outrun. When she chats up Rayna (who, yes, reigns), it?s her daughter as much as herself who?s on full, painful display. And the feeling that Joleen is somehow a (very, very unwelcome) mouthpiece or shadow self for Juliette at the party is compounded when Joleen later reveals that her daughter also used to idolize Rayna. Joleen distills Juliette?s vulnerabilities. No wonder Jules seems in such a hurry to disown her.

But?wait?are the true doppelg?ngers here Juliette and Rayna? Such a reading falls in line with the June Thomas theory of Nashville, which says the show?s main arc will involve Ms. James and Ms. Barnes realizing how much they have in common. (Their shared drive, charisma, and talent make them ?sisters under the skin,? writes June.) And that also seems right: Despite her mom complex, would Jules really resent Rayna?s privilege so hotly if she didn?t see the other woman as a direct competitor? Joleen is both Juliette?s mother and her alter ego (by way of the trailer park); Rayna, too, is at once mother figure and rival, a vision of who Juliette might be or become. (And, obviously, Juliette?s day-to-day lifestyle resembles Rayna?s a lot more than it does Joleen?s.)

And then there was Avery?s sad, sad attempt to ingratiate himself to Juliette. Mostly, this scene, in which the chin-teed rocker approaches the starlet and gets rejected, instructs us in the Ways of Avery. He is ambitious and full of himself, in addition to having horrible facial hair. I was prepared to file the moment under ?Nashville youth behaving badly? and move on, but an observation in the comments sparked an epiphany. User marijocook points out that Avery and Juliette mirror one another, too, in their self-importance and lack of consideration! What?s more, she explains, they could one day be soul mates. ?Avery will persevere and fight his way into stardom exactly the same way she [Juliette] has done, and he will weasel his way into her life? just as she?s insinuated herself in Deacon?s.

The prediction sounds horrifying, delicious?and plausible. Nashville may play host to many insulated narratives, but ultimately, as marijocook concludes, ?it?s a small city.?


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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bride kidnapping now a crime in Kyrgyzstan: Voice of Russia

According to local rights campaigners an estimated 12,000 girls are abducted and some of them raped in this Central Asian state each year.

A number of women?s NGOs had repeatedly asked the authorities to make this practice punishable by law.

Voice of Russia, IF


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Early menopause may occur in women with BRCA gene

Jan. 29, 2013 ? Women with harmful mutations in the BRCA gene, which put them at higher risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer, tend to undergo menopause significantly sooner than other women, allowing them an even briefer reproductive window and possibly a higher risk of infertility, according to a study led by researchers at UC San Francisco.

Moreover, the study showed that carriers of the mutation who are heavy smokers enter menopause at an even earlier age than non-smoking women with the mutation.

While the authors note that further research is needed, given the size and demographics of the study, women with the abnormal gene mutation should consider earlier childbearing, and their doctors should encourage them to initiate fertility counseling along with other medical treatments, the scientists said.

The study will be published online in Cancer on January 29, 2013.

This is the first controlled study to explore the association between BRCA1 and BRCA 2 and the age at onset of menopause, the authors said.

"Our findings show that mutation of these genes has been linked to early menopause, which may lead to a higher incidence of infertility,'' said senior author Mitchell Rosen, MD, director of the UCSF Fertility Preservation Center and associate professor in the UCSF Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences. "This can add to the significant psychological implications of being a BRCA1/2 carrier, and will likely have an impact on reproductive decision-making,'' Rosen said.

Mutations in either of the genes BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 can produce a hereditary, lifetime risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Some women decide to reduce their risk by undergoing prophylactic surgery to remove at-risk tissue, including their breasts and ovaries. The abnormal genes are the most identified inherited cause of breast cancer -- carriers are five times more likely to develop breast cancer than those without the mutations, according to the National Cancer Institute.

The new study was designed to determine whether women with the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation have an earlier onset of menopause compared with unaffected women.

The researchers looked at nearly 400 female carriers of mutations in the BRCA gene in northern California and compared their onset of menopause to that of 765 women in the same geographic area without the mutation. Most of the women in the study were white because almost all of the BRCA1/2 carriers within the UCSF cancer risk registry are white.

The scientists found that women with the harmful mutation experienced menopause at a significantly younger age -- 50 years -- compared to age 53 for the other midlife women.

Heavy smokers (more than 20 cigarettes a day) with the abnormal gene had an even earlier onset of menopause -- 46 years. By comparison, only seven percent of white women in northern California had undergone menopause by that age, said the authors. Smoking has been shown to alter menstrual cycles and estrogen status, among other impacts.

The authors point out that while their study shows a possible increased risk of infertility for the mutation carriers, further study is needed. They also said that data regarding the age of natural menopause is limited because most women with the mutation are recommended to undergo risk-reducing surgery after they complete childbearing.

"Women with the mutation are faced with challenges in reproductive choices,'' said study co-author Lee-may Chen, MD, a professor in the UCSF Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Services. "These data may help women understand that their childbearing years may be even more limited by earlier menopause, so that they can make decisions about their reproductive choices and cancer risk-reducing surgery.''

The first author of the study is Wayne T. Lin, MD, MPH, who at the time of the research was a resident at UCSF and is now a fellow at the Brigham and Women's Hospital at Harvard Medical School. Other authors include Marcelle Cedars, MD, a UCSF professor and director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Services ; and Mary Beattie, MD, clinical professor in the UCSF Department of Medicine. Study data was collected from the Cancer Risk Program at UCSF and the northern California site of the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation, a project of the University of California Davis and Kaiser Permanente.

Funding for the study was provided by National Institutes of Health grants NR004061, AG012505, AG012535, AG012531, AG012539, AG012546, AG012553, AG012554, and AG012495. Support was also provided by the UCSF Cancer Risk Program Patient Registry, which is supported by the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. The Study of Women's Health Across the Nation has grant support from the NIH, Department of Health and Human Services through the National Institute on Aging, the National Institute of Nursing Research, and the NIH Office of Research on Women's Health.

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Pilots Save Rescue Pets by Air Service

(Joe Karl/The Herald) Pilot Jim Carney and Rescued Dog

(Archived Photo/The Herald) Pilot Jim Carney and Rescued Dog

By Jamie Stewart Storey, Staff Reporter

Paws N Pilots is a volunteer and networking program that provides air transport of rescue dogs to their new homes.

Downtown Island Home airport located in South Knox participates in the program. Retired Northwest Airlines pilot Jim Carney volunteers his time and flying skills as a captain flying his personal airplane of newly adopted pets that may have been otherwise euthanized.

?Paws N Pilots is a wonderful program because we are helping save the lives of these animals by flying them to their new families. As volunteer pilots we retain complete authority of planning the rescued pets flights and we really enjoy helping,? explained Captain Carney.

To continue reading, and not miss anything subscribe now!


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Dr. Diane B. Call Named President of Queensborough Community ...

January 28, 2013 | The University

The Board of Trustees of The City University of New York today appointed Dr. Diane B. Call as President of Queensborough Community College, which has served students from Queens and the entire New York City region as a starting place to pursue their academic and career goals for more than fifty years. Chancellor Matthew Goldstein recommended Dr. Call, who has been the Interim President of Queensborough Community College since July 1, 2010. ?Prior to that Dr. Call was Queensborough?s Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. She has also served as Vice President for Finance and Administration, Assistant Dean for Instructional Support Services and in other posts in a career spanning three decades at the College and CUNY in positions that encompass virtually all major areas of administration and academics at Queensborough Community College.

In a joint statement, Board of Trustees Chairperson Benno Schmidt and Chancellor Goldstein stated: ?Dr. Diane B. Call brings to Queensborough Community College extensive academic and administrative experience, a proven commitment to students, faculty, and alumni, and an exemplary record of advancing the College?s mission of offering students a quality, affordable education.?

As Provost, Dr. Call led the Academic Affairs Division to create a student centered learning environment in collaboration with faculty and Student Affairs colleagues through curriculum and pedagogical innovations, academic enrichment activities such as undergraduate research, as well as instructional support and student service programs. Dr. Call?s partnership with Student Affairs led to the implementation of Queensborough?s innovative Freshman Academies for all full-time, first-time freshmen, and the establishment of an assessment protocol to measure the initiative?s success on student learning outcomes. Among her many other accomplishments are programs for the recruitment and retention of faculty, and a faculty development initiative for their engagement in a variety of teaching modalities, high impact activities, e-learning, academic leadership?and pedagogical research in community college teaching.

Dr. Call stated: ?Queensborough Community College proudly reflects the uniqueness of the Queens community?the most diverse county in the U.S. We distinguish ourselves from other higher education institutions with our diversity of cultures, including nearly equal populations of African-Americans, Asians, Caucasians and Latinos. My focus as president will be to encourage a strong and engaged faculty, to enhance our student-centered learning environment and to create additional community partnerships. A key objective is to provide an academic environment that strengthens students? commitment and makes it possible for them to graduate and complete their goals in a timely manner.?

Dr. Call?s initiatives at Queensborough include the Instructional Support Services Center and Learning Lab. In addition, she has led?Admissions Services; Skills Assessment Testing; Academic Advisement; the Freshman Year Program; College Discovery; and the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP), an enrichment program which provides career development and support services to students planning careers in the STEM fields and the licensed professions. She also consolidated Tutorial Services and the Writing Center, substantially increasing the number of students served.

Dr. Call holds a Doctor of Education degree in College and University Administration, a master?s degree in Community College Administration and a second master?s degree in Student Personnel Administration, all from Teachers College, Columbia University. She holds a BA in English and Education from SUNY/Albany and earned a Certificate in Curriculum Development from Harvard University?s School of Education. She has been an Adjunct Professor at Long Island University, C.W. Post, Graduate School of Education; and an Adjunct Associate Professor with Queensborough Community College?s English department. Dr. Call has published and made research presentations at academic conferences on ?at risk? students. She was promoted to full professor in Queensborough?s Office of Student Personnel Services in 1994, after having acquired tenure in 1978.

Dr. Call has served as a member of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee of the College of Aeronautics (now Vaughn College); a Consultant to the U.S. Department of Education, Higher Education Programs? Division of Institutional Development; and Consultant to the New York City Public Schools on Health Occupation Vocational Programs. She served on the CUNY Welfare Advocate Council, and was a Project Participant for ?Change and the New Jersey Community College; the Faculty Perspective,? The Center for Community Colleges, Teachers College, Columbia University. She is a member of the Board of the Queens Symphony Orchestra.

Queensborough Community College, which is located on a picturesque 37-acre site in Bayside, Queens, offers a rich liberal arts and science curriculum as well as career and pre-professional courses. The College?s Freshman Academies offer every first-time, full-time student personalized academic advisement and student support services through their first two semesters, establishing an atmosphere that nurtures the growth of the individual student in a supportive environment. An integral part of all six Academies are high impact learning strategies, such as e-Portfolio and service learning, designed to further inspire and engage students with the goal of improving retention and graduation rates.

Queensborough?s recently established dual joint degree program in Nursing with Hunter College joins its other dual joint programs with CUNY senior colleges, including Biotechnology with York College, Forensic Science and Criminal Justice with John Jay College and Early Childhood Education with Queens College. Over half of the College?s faculty holds doctorates compared with 21 percent of faculty in community colleges nationwide. Comprising one of the most diverse populations of any college in the U.S., more than 15,000 students pursue associate degrees or certificate programs and another 10,000 students of all ages attend continuing education programs.

Among the campus?s prized cultural resources are the Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center, the QCC Art Gallery, and the Queensborough Performing Arts Center, created to stimulate ideas and intellectual curiosity while exposing students and the public to culture and the arts.

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Monday, January 28, 2013

One-step test for mitochondrial diseases

Jan. 28, 2013 ? More powerful gene-sequencing tools have increasingly been uncovering disease secrets in DNA within the cell nucleus. Now a research team is expanding those rapid next-generation sequencing tests to analyze a separate source of DNA -- within the genes inside mitochondria, cellular power plants that, when abnormal, contribute to complex, multisystem diseases.

The study team, headed by a specialist in mitochondrial medicine at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), adapted next-generation sequencing to simultaneously analyze the whole exome (all the protein-coding DNA) of nuclear genes and the mitochondrial genome. "A first step in developing treatments for a disease is to understand its precise cause," said Marni J. Falk, M.D., the director and attending physician in the Mitochondrial-Genetic Disease Clinic at Children's Hospital. "We have developed a one-step, off-the-shelf tool that analyzes both nuclear and mitochondrial DNA to help evaluate the genetic cause of suspected mitochondrial disease."

Falk and colleagues describe their customized, comprehensive test, which they call the "1:1000 Mito-Plus Whole-Exome" kit, in the journal Discovery Medicine, published Dec. 26, 2012. Her co-corresponding author, biostatistician Xiaowu Gai, Ph.D., now of the Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine, collaborated on developing the test while at Children's Hospital.

While each mitochondrial disease is very rare in the population, hundreds of causes of mitochondrial diseases are known. Some originate in mutations in DNA specific to the mitochondria, tiny structures located outside the cell nucleus, while many other mitochondrial diseases are based in nuclear DNA genes that affect mitochondrial function. The role of mitochondria in human disease has been recognized only since the 1980s, based on pioneering research by Douglas C. Wallace, Ph.D., now at Children's Hospital, and a co-author of the current study.

Many mitochondrial diseases remain poorly understood. One complicating factor is heteroplasmy -- a mixture of mutated and normal mitochondrial genomes within the same cells or tissues. In contrast to conventional gene sequencing, which can detect only heteroplasmic mutations that reach levels of at least 30 to 50 percent, the customized kit has the sensitivity to detect mitochondrial genome mutations present at levels as low as 8 percent. To achieve their results, the study team adapted an existing whole-exome sequencing kit from Agilent Technologies, expanding it to encompass the mitochondrial genome.

The availability of the new kit, said Falk, if used for either clinical or research purposes, may shorten the "diagnostic odyssey" experienced by many patients and families seeking the cause of debilitating and puzzling symptoms. "Many families travel from one specialist to another for years, searching for the cause of their rare disease," she says. Specific treatments are not always available, but identifying their disease cause may be the first step toward discovering treatments.

A second recent study by Falk and colleagues reviews progress in diagnosing mitochondrial disease, through their experience at a single center over a rapidly changing three-year period before whole-exome sequencing was generally available. The retrospective review in Neurotherapeutics, published Dec. 27, 2012, covers 152 child and adult patients evaluated at CHOP's Mitochondrial-Genetics Diagnostic Clinic from 2008 to 2011.

"Before 2005, very few individuals could receive definitive molecular diagnoses for mitochondrial diseases, because of limitations in both knowledge and technology," said Falk. "Since that time, the clinical ability to sequence whole mitochondrial DNA genomes has significantly improved the diagnosis of many mitochondrial disorders."

During the study period covered in the review article, the clinic at CHOP confirmed definite mitochondrial disease in 16 percent of patients and excluded primary mitochondrial disease in 9 percent. While many diagnostic challenges clearly remain, Falk says the advent of massively parallel nuclear exome sequencing is revealing increasingly more of the genes in nuclear DNA that affect mitochondrial function, and the precise genetic disorder in a given patient, even if it is novel or uncommon. She added that molecular genetics is yielding a more nuanced understanding of the cellular pathways underlying symptoms in many mitochondrial disorders. "Those pathways offer potential new targets for treating these disorders," said Falk.

Funding for both studies came from the National Institutes of Health, grant DK082446. The Discovery Medicine study also was funded through a Foerderer Award for Excellence from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute. Co-authors of the Discovery Medicine study included Eric A. Pierce, M.D., Ph.D., and Mark Consugar, M.S., of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary; research and development staff from Agilent under the guidance of Emily LeProust, Ph.D.; and other collaborators from CHOP.

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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, via Newswise.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

Journal References:

  1. Elizabeth McCormick, Emily Place, Marni J. Falk. Molecular Genetic Testing for Mitochondrial Disease: From One Generation to the Next. Neurotherapeutics, 2012; DOI: 10.1007/s13311-012-0174-1
  2. Marni J Falk et al. Mitochondrial Disease Genetic Diagnostics: Optimized Whole-Exome Analysis for All MitoCarta Nuclear Genes and the Mitochondrial Genome. Discovery Medicine, 2013

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.


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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Lebanon govt launches online job search engineLebanon - Zawya

26 January 2013

BEIRUT: Lebanon?s state-run National Employment Office launched an online job matching service Friday, connecting job seekers and employers, free of charge.

The service, named Electronic Labor Exchange, will aim at reducing the cost of labor market information and enhance opportunities to link appropriate candidates to relevant jobs, the International Labor Organization said in an emailed statement.

The website is the product of a four-year collaboration between the ILO, the NEO, with funding provided by the Canadian International Development Agency.

?The NEO website offers a secure and easy way to search for work. Users can log in 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It makes job search and job posting easier and more efficient,? NEO Director General Jean Abi Fadel said.

The website will also offer informational material on job search techniques and labor market trends, the statement said.

Canada?s Ambassador to Lebanon, Hilary Childs-Adams, noted that this represents ?a major policy change and a step forward for Lebanon?s labor market and workforce.?

The ILO works with the NEO to enhance its institutional capacity to deliver employment services, to improve the connectivity of municipalities, employers and job seekers to a general network of employment related information, the statement said.

?We face a major challenge in the Arab region to create and sustain decent jobs: those that add value, reflect skills, include social protection and enshrine social dialogue. Lebanon is no exception,? said Nada al-Nashif, ILO?s regional director for the Arab States.

?We must strengthen existing labor market programs, introduce new ones and continue to enhance the capacity of National Employment Office to deliver on its mandate,? Nashif added.

The electronic labor exchange can be accessed via the homepage of the NEO?s website in Arabic, French and English.

? Copyright The Daily Star 2013.

? Copyright Zawya. All Rights Reserved.


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The Training Blog of MiaHarney ? 01/27/2013, pilates ? Sweat365 ...

January 27, 2013

Before the bike, I did my three daily pilates exercises.


  • Type: Flexibility
  • Date: 01/27/2013
  • Time: 04:55:00
  • Total Time: 00:03:27.00
  • Average Heart rate: 152
  • Max Heart rate: 156
  • Calories: 11


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Employee is own lawyer? - Business Management Daily

North Carolina?s employment and discrimination laws would appear to give em??ployees many ways to sue their employers. Fortunately, each has specific requirements, which means employees who act as their own lawyers will have a hard time using them to sue you.

Recent case: Kathryn was a correctional officer for North Caro??lina Department of Public Safety. Two years into the job, she filed a sexual harassment complaint, alleging that a supervisor had har??assed her. However, after filing an EEOC complaint, she never pursued a lawsuit because she said she couldn?t afford an attorney.

Later, Kathryn got into a fight with a co-worker, leading to her termination.

Representing herself, Kathryn sued, alleging she had been retaliated against for filing the original EEOC complaint. Her suit cited several federal laws, plus the North Carolina Equal Em??ployment Practices Act (NCEEPA), the public policy exception to the state?s at-will employment doctrine and the North Caro??lina Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act (REDA).

The court dismissed each claim. It pointed out that the NCEEPA does not let employees sue to enforce equal employment rights. It concluded that the public policy exception doesn?t cover sexual harassment retaliation. Finally, it noted that under the REDA, employees must complain to the state Department of Labor within 180 days of the alleged em????ployment incident. Kathryn had not done so. Her case was dismissed. (Johnson v. State of North Caro??lina, No. 5:11-CV-57, WD NC, 2012)

Final note: Of course, you shouldn?t ignore North Carolina anti-discrimination laws. Employees often find competent attorneys who are waiting to pounce on employers that let their guards down. If you aren?t familiar with these laws, educate yourself.

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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Trial under way in LA hip joint replacement suit

LOS ANGELES (AP) ? A California jury heard opening statements Friday from attorneys in a lawsuit over whether a now-withdrawn hip replacement device from medical giant Johnson & Johnson subsidiary was defective.

The lawsuit in Los Angeles claims the New Brunswick, N.J.-based company knowingly marketed the faulty hip implant, leaving thousands of people with crippling problems or needing replacement surgeries.

The fraud and negligence suit is the first of thousands of similar suits to reach trial in the United States that involve an all-metal ball-and-socket hip joint that was pulled from the market two years ago.

The lawyer for a man who had his hip device removed after metal allegedly flaked off into his body showed jurors pictures of the surgery in which black material could be seen in the patient's hip socket.

Attorney Michael Kelly also played a segment of a doctor's audio deposition in which he said he feared that if the material wasn't removed, the patient, Loren Kransky, would have died. The pieces of metal were causing a form of metal poisoning, he said.

Kransky, a former North Dakota prison guard, sought hip replacement to relieve arthritic pain. He received the implant in 2007 and has since has had it replaced. He listened to opening statements Friday from a front row seat.

A lawyer for Johnson & Johnson's subsidiary, DePuy Orthopedics Inc., which manufactured the metal implant, said Friday that the 64-year-old Kransky had many pre-existing medical ailments. Attorney Alexander Calfo presented a list of 16 major diseases, including kidney cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and vascular disease as well as exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.

"Mr. Kransky did not get worse because of the (implant) and did not get better when it was removed," he said.

He added, "Hip surgery is not perfect. No material to this very day has proven to be perfect."

He said that the metal implant had been designed to improve on plastic and ceramic implants.

The artificial hip socket was sold for eight years to some 35,000 people in the U.S. and more than 90,000 people worldwide. Johnson & Johnson stopped making the product in 2009 and recalled it the next year.

However, documents unsealed in the court case last week indicated that Johnson & Johnson officials were aware of problems with the device at least as far back as 2008.

Also, according to a deposition from a DePuy official, a 2011 company review of a patient registry concluded that more than a third of the implants were expected to fail within five years of their implantation.

Johnson & Johnson has put aside around $1 billion to deal with the costs of the recall and lawsuits.

Last year, British experts at the world's biggest artificial joint registry said doctors should stop using metal-on-metal hip replacements after a study found that, after five years, about 6 percent of people who had used them needed surgery to fix or replace them.

That compares with just 1.7 to 2.3 percent of people who had ceramic or plastic joints.

Kelly said he will ask the jury to assess punitive damages at the end of the trial "to send a message to the defendants who failed to share with doctors what they knew."

He said that when DePuy Orthopedics learned the device they manufactured might be defective, "They acted in a manner that was indifferent."


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Family in Sandy-damaged home suffers in deep freeze: 'This is ...

More than 400 residences in Staten Island still don't have electricity because their homes are too damaged, and many are taking refuge in warming tents. NBC's Katy Tur reports.

By Miranda Leitsinger, Staff Writer, NBC News

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Dee and Scott McGrath were huddled under two blankets, both wearing hooded sweatshirts and pants, with an electric heater by their bed. Dee heard her daughter coughing through the night from the room next door and feared she was getting sick.

Though they?d tried to cover up the open gaps between the wood on the first floor of their gutted home, which was inundated by 11 feet of water during Hurricane Sandy, the chill of a deep freeze sweeping New York was seeping in. Downstairs, it was just under 20 degrees. Upstairs, where they?ve restored heat, it was only 60,?the couple said as they recounted the Wednesday night experience.

The McGraths are not alone in their suffering: Though the number of those living without heat is a hard number for officials to gauge, more than 9,000 dwellings remain without electricity in the city, according to data from the area's power companies.

?It?s rough, it?s very stressful, it?s very depressing. And you get the anxiety of not knowing when your work is going to be done and when your house is going to be back,? Scott, 45, said Thursday afternoon, taking a break from working on the electrical wiring in his home. ?You have emotional-like panic attacks in your head, you?re thinking of what you have to do next to make sure your family don?t die or get sick with the flu and stuff ? you can?t be exposed outdoors all day and this is being exposed outdoors.?

Some 20,000 residential buildings in the city were left with some damage or disruption to their utilities after Sandy. A city program, mostly funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, had restored utility services and provided replacement equipment to more than 11,800 residences as of Jan. 21, while some 7,000 are awaiting help. Work on about 1,900 dwellings is under way.

The McGraths moved back in two weeks after the storm, but they only got heat on Jan. 2. Before then, they had been running nine to a dozen electric heaters off two generators at a cost of $80 a day. Until this weekend, they had to take showers and use the toilet at a neighbor?s home.

Miranda Leitsinger / NBC News

Dee Young-McGrath and her husband, Scott McGrath, stand Thursday in the first floor of their gutted home where the temperature dropped to just under 20 degrees the night before. It's hard to get the rebuilding done in such cold weather, they said.

?My poor daughter is sick in bed right now running a fever and I have to have an electric heater running for her besides my heat,? he said of Crystal, 21, a meter reader for one of the city?s power providers, Con Edison of New York. Upstairs the thermostat showed it was 60 degrees. ?It?s pretty sad and she?s wrapped up in two blankets.?

Although the McGraths? home received help from the?Rapid Repairs program, a first-of-its-kind collaboration between FEMA and local agencies, Scott said the program?s subcontractors had botched the installation work, with leaks springing in the pipes when the boiler was turned on. His brother, a plumber, fixed the problems.

They got electricity earlier, on Christmas Eve. But the work done by Rapid Repairs was ?basic,? Scott said, leaving them with few outlets, such as just two in the kitchen. He was installing more outlets on Thursday before eventually putting up insulation and dry wall.

The couple has done almost all of the repair work on their own, finishing the bathroom downstairs, with a shower and toilet, this weekend. Though it was an achievement they had looked forward to, the timing couldn?t have been worse with the onset of the subzero temps this week.?

?It is completely unbearable to step foot out of my bedroom,? said Dee Young-McGrath, 42. ?It?s like torture to sit on an ice-cold toilet. And the shower, I mean, we have holes in the wall back there ? it?s just excruciating.?

The couple, who have lived in the home for 10 years, said they stayed for several reasons, including that FEMA housing options were either too far away or in troubled city neighborhoods, and many places wouldn?t take dogs. They have a 10-year-old dog, Brownie, a chocolate lab and border collie mix.

?Their (FEMA) answer was to tell me to put my dog in a shelter. That is my family. ? I?d rather sleep in my car before I put my dog in a shelter,? Scott said as he called a tail-wagging Brownie ?Daddy?s little girl.?

They also stayed since it's their home and because they?d heard stories of vandalism.

?Whatever I have left, I want to keep,? he said. ?You stay here to protect your property, what?s left.?

Though the days are long and dark for them, there was a little levity when Katie jokingly offered a reporter a cold drink. One wall on the first floor is lined with bottles of water, a two-liter orange soda and a few energy drinks.

Katie said they were lucky to have a roof over their heads when others still did not and were sheltering at warming centers, but they both said the stress and depression has been great.

Scott said on some days he could not motivate himself to get out of bed and his hands would tremble when he was overcome with anxiety. They have been given sick leave from their jobs at Con Edison, where he is an investigative inspector and she an instructor, due to the emotional toll. The cold, with a forecast that it may snow on Friday or over the weekend, is making it even worse.

?I have ? panic attacks, anxiety at night, wondering what?s going to happen to my house. You know, running electric heaters, I start to panic, thinking that I?m going to cause a fire,? Scott said, noting he also worried about the possibility of pipes breaking in the freezing weather.

?This is not a way (for) a person to live,? he said. ?It?s depressing to come here every day and you?re living in this house.?

NBC Nightly News' Katy Tur contributed to this report.

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Proton's radius revised downward

Surprise measurement may point to new physics

By Andrew Grant

Web edition: January 24, 2013

Only in physics can a few quintillionths of a meter be cause for uneasy excitement. A new measurement finds that the proton is about 4 percent smaller than previous experiments suggest. The study, published in the Jan. 25 issue of Science, has physicists cautiously optimistic that the discrepancy between experiments will lead to the discovery of new particles or forces.

?Poking at small effects you can?t explain can be a way of unraveling a much bigger piece of physics,? says Carl Carlson, a theoretical physicist at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., who was not involved in the study. ?And this case is particularly intriguing.?

For years, physicists have used two indirect methods to determine the size of the proton. (Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a subatomic ruler.) They can fire an electron beam at protons and measure how far the flying particles get deflected. Alternatively, physicists can study the behavior of electrons in hydrogen atoms. They shoot a laser at an atom so that the one electron jumps to a higher, unstable energy level; when the electron returns to a low-energy state, it releases X-rays whose frequency depends on the size of the proton. Both methods suggest the proton has a radius of about 0.88 femtometers, or 0.88 quadrillionths of a meter.

That measurement was not in doubt until 2010, when physicist Aldo Antognini at ETH Zurich and his team developed a new technique to probe proton size. They also used hydrogen atoms, but replaced the electrons with muons ? particles similar to electrons but more than 200 times as massive. Muons? additional heft enhances their interaction with protons and makes their behavior more dependent on proton size. After measuring the X-rays emitted by muons shifting between energy states, Antognini?s team published a paper in Nature saying that the proton radius is 0.84 femtometers ? about 4 percent less than previous estimates (SN 7/31/10, p. 7).

Now, two-and-a-half years later, the team has reexamined muon-containing hydrogen and measured the X-ray frequencies resulting from two energy level shifts. Both emissions yielded the same, slimmed-down value for the size of the proton. The new study eliminates the possibility of certain systematic errors and reduces the measurement?s uncertainty by 40 percent.

?This shows that our experiment is consistent and that there were no mistakes,? Antognini says.

Carlson agrees, although he says physicists may still be overlooking an error in either the muon or electron experiments. Researchers are on the case, scouring the details of each experiment in the hopes of a consistent value for proton size.

Yet as a theorist Carlson can?t help but entertain the possibility that new physics, not human error, causes the varying size measurements. According to the standard model of physics, electrons and muons should differ only in mass, but Carlson and other theorists are exploring the possibility that there is a yet-undiscovered particle that interacts only with muons. ?It would certainly shake things up,? he says.

Researchers are desperate to discover new physics because, while successful in describing most of what we see in everyday life, the standard model is terrible at describing phenomena such as gravity at small scales and the accelerating expansion of the universe.

The best test for theorists? ideas could come in two or three years, when physicists hope to introduce yet another independent method of determining proton size. John Arrington, a physicist at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, is working with Antognini to develop a muon beam that would be fired at protons. If such an experiment yields similar results to the muonic hydrogen one, Arrington says, then it?s likely that new physics is at work. ?That,? he says, ?is the most intriguing possibility.?


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Friday, January 25, 2013

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J.Lo, Aretha defend Beyonce's performance

By Randee Dawn, TODAY contributor

There's another question being raised in the did-she or didn't-she Beyonce lip-sync discussion: Does it matter? Not according to several fellow performers, who are speaking up about the controversy, as Jason Kennedy reported for TODAY on Friday.?

As he noted, Jennifer Lopez appeared on "The Daily Show" to explain why certain performances require pre-taped vocals. "In certain stadiums, in certain venues, they do pre-record things, because you're going to have that terrible 'slapback,'" she said. (Slapback occurs when there's a delay in vocals or instruments, and is sometimes used to great effect -- but live, it can be problematic.)

The technical issues involved in large-venue performances like stadiums exaggerate this effect, which means singers have to make a decision over whether to risk going off-key, echoing or encountering other possible issues. Cold, dry temperatures can also be challenges for vocal cords. When faced with both challenges, even a veteran like Aretha Franklin, who had a few rough spots during her performance at President Obama's first inauguration, can have issues.

And with the national anthem, a difficult song even in ideal situations, other singers have lip-synced, including Whitney Houston, who sang the song at the 1991 Super Bowl.

As Franklin explained, if Beyonce had taken precautions, she shouldn't be blamed for it. "I could certainly understand her pre-recording to assure and guarantee her performance," she said in a phone interview.?

Everyone from fans to audio engineers has speculated whether or not Beyonce sang live or with some assistance, but likely it was some combination of the two, in the end. Whatever the answer, all eyes -- and ears -- are likely to be trained on her in ten days, when she sings at Super Bowl XLVII.

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On 3rd try, Turkish court convicts alleged bomber

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) ? After acquitting her twice before, a Turkish court has convicted a woman of involvement in a deadly 1998 bombing and sentenced her to life in prison.

Pinar Selek, a Turkish sociologist now living in France, was accused of aiding and abetting Kurdish rebels and planting a bomb in Istanbul's 17th-century spice market that killed seven people and wounded more than 120.

Selek's previous acquittals were overturned by a higher appeals court. Her lawyer, Yasemin Oz, says the sociologist will appeal Thursday's guilty verdict.

Oz says the court, meanwhile, confirmed the previous acquittal of a man being tried alongside Selek.

Human rights groups say the long-running case against Selek has exposed flaws in Turkey's legal system.


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Thursday, January 24, 2013

The UK Draft Energy Bill And How To Influence The Climate Change ...

Optimal Monitoring has produced a free eBook about the Department of Energy and Climate Change consultation period, which is open until the end of January.

?The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has invited companies to influence the latest Climate Change Bill and UK government energy policy. This consultation period on the UK draft Energy Bill is open until January 31st, 2013 and asks for ideas on how the Government can help businesses reduce their energy usage and therefore their cost. Carbon monitoring software provider Optimal Monitoring has created a free guide which addresses the opportunities the DECC consultation period presents for businesses and landlords to influence the Energy Bill.?

Duncan Everett, Managing Director at Optimal Monitoring explains, "On 29th November 2012, John Hayes, the Energy Minister, published the Coalition's much anticipated UK draft Energy Bill, setting out the various measures that will be enforced to ensure the UK's switch to 'a low-carbon economy' - and to attract the GBP110 billion investment needed to keep up with the nation's rising demand for electricity. However, within the climate change bill, the energy reduction element is by no means finalised, therefore the DECC has embarked on a consultation period - open until the end of January - during which it is inviting ideas on how the UK government energy policy can help businesses reduce their energy and ultimately cost."

Optimal Monitoring address three key aspects within the eBook which they feel need to be included if this Energy Bill is going to have the positive impact required. These include:

- Easy and independent access to energy consumption data

- Help for all businesses to get a Display Energy Certificates (DECs)

- Rewarding those who are already performing well not just those who have improved

Everett concludes, "The best solutions are often the simplest, but these can also be the easiest to overlook. We have been presented with a valuable window of opportunity and we must ensure we act before it is too late, don't miss the DECC's consultation deadline of 31st January. We have the chance to finally encourage positive change and we would implore all businesses and landlords to get in touch with the DECC. Have your say before it's too late!"

Full eBook is available to download for free here.?


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Health and fitness: Hand sanitisers and viruses| Nursing World ...


Hand sanitisers and viruses


As public health officials struggle to contain a series of viral outbreaks this winter, many people are reaching for bottles of hand sanitiser.


Studies show that alcohol-based sanitisers, particularly those with 60 per cent ethanol or more, can reduce microbial counts on contaminated hands and reduce the spread of some strains of the flu.


But against norovirus, the severe gastrointestinal illness gripping many parts of the country, they may be useless.


Some viruses, like influenza, are coated in lipids, ?envelopes? that alcohol can rupture.


But non-enveloped viruses, like norovirus, are generally not affected.


Bleach is effective against norovirus and can be used to decontaminate countertops and surfaces. And for people, the best strategy may be washing hands with plain old soap and water.


In 2011, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention studied 91 long-term care facilities. During the winter of 2006-07, they identified 73 outbreaks, 29 of which were confirmed to be norovirus.


The facilities where staff members used alcohol-based sanitisers, were six times more likely to have an outbreak of norovirus than the facilities where the staff preferred using soap and water.


The CDC says that as a means of preventing norovirus infection, alcohol-based sanitisers can be used ?in addition? to hand washing, never as a substitute.


Hand sanitisers can reduce the spread of some viruses, like the flu. But against norovirus they are largely ineffective; better to use soap and water.


?Vitamin D doesn?t reduce knee pain?


About 27 million people in the United States have osteoarthritis, an incurable condition with few effective treatments beyond pain control.


Some observational evidence suggests that vitamin D supplements might slow progression of the disease.


But a two-year randomized placebo-controlled study found that vitamin D did not reduce knee pain or restore cartilage.


In an article published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers described a study of 146 men and women with painful knee arthritis who were randomly assigned to take vitamin D supplements or placebos. Vitamin D was given in quantities sufficient to raise blood levels to 36 nanograms per milliliter, a level considered sufficient for good health.


Knee pain decreased slightly in both groups, but there were no differences in the amount of cartilage lost, bone mineral density or joint deterioration as measured by X-rays and MRI scans.


The lead author, Dr. Timothy McAlindon, a Tufts professor, said taking vitamin D in higher doses or for longer periods might make a difference, but he?s not hopeful.


?Although there were lots of promising observational data, we find no efficacy of vitamin D for knee osteoarthritis,? he said.


?There may be reasons to take vitamin D supplements, but knee osteoarthritis is not one of them.?


New York Times Service

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Intimidating debt collectors push Britons to suicide - report

LONDON (Reuters) - Irresponsible lending and intimidating debt collectors are pushing thousands of people in Britain into depression and suicide, a report said on Wednesday and separate data showed more people are taking their own lives.

Many people already struggling with the economic slowdown, wage freezes and benefit cuts were often overwhelmed by tactics used by some money lenders, including persistent phone calls and threatening letters, said the paper.

"Debt clients frequently feel humiliated, disconnected and entrapped, with the process of debt collection having a clear impact on people's mental health," the report by researchers from England's University of Brighton said.

"The government must take urgent action to tackle the problem of irresponsible lending and intimidatory collection tactics which has left thousands of people trapped in a spiral of debt and at risk of depression and even suicide," it said.

Separately, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released on Tuesday showed a "significant" rise in suicides in 2012.

The Brighton report, launched on Wednesday by British parliamentarian Molly Meacher, said there were cases of individuals not eating properly and asking their young children for money to tide them over.

One individual who owed money described the effect of his wife's credit card lapsing.

"I was very close to calling the doctor to her because she is that close to breaking because of ... these continual phone calls," the man was quoted as saying.


The total number of suicides in the UK hit 6,045 in 2011, a 7.8 percent increase on 2010 with deaths among men accounting for the largest proportion, according to figures from the ONS.

A total of 4,552 men took their own lives in 2011 compared with 1,493 women.

British mental health charity SANE said the downturn in Britain, which is struggling to maintain economic growth, was behind a "significant" rise in the number of suicides, reflecting a trend seen in other Western countries.

"These figures ... reveal the profound human consequences of the economic downturn, in which unemployment, debt and the relationship breakdowns that often follow can push people who may be already vulnerable to take their own lives," said Marjorie Wallace, SANE's chief executive.

Suicide rates in the United States have also risen more steeply in recent years.

"It is also worrying that the group most at risk should be middle-aged men, who are not usually perceived to be at risk," said Wallace, commenting on the ONS figures.

Among men aged between 45 and 59 years old, the suicide rate increased significantly between 2007 and 2011 to 22.2 deaths per 100,000 people, the ONS said.

(Editing by Kate Kelland and Andrew Heavens)


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