মঙ্গলবার, ৩১ জানুয়ারী, ২০১২

Print from Your iOS Device to Any Printer with Lantronix xPrintServer

The xPrintServer “leverages Lantronix‘ patented technologies, along with open industry standards to enable wireless printing to nearly any printer attached to a network.”? You won’t be limited to only certain models from certain manufacturers, and you won’t have to buy any apps on your iPhone or iPad to print.? You simply connect the Lantronix to [...]

Source: http://the-gadgeteer.com/2012/01/30/print-from-your-ios-device-to-any-printer-with-lantronix-xprintserver/

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Libyan militia leader sues former UK spy chief (Reuters)

LONDON (Reuters) ? A Libyan militia leader has begun legal action against a former senior British intelligence chief whom he accuses of playing a key role in illegally returning him to Libya to be jailed and tortured under Muammar Gaddafi, his London-based lawyers said.

Abdel Hakim Belhadj, who commands one of Libya's most powerful militias, is seeking damages from Mark Allen, who was director of counter-terrorism at MI6, Britain's foreign intelligence agency.

Belhadj and a second Libyan dissident, Sami al-Saadi, accuse Allen of complicity in torture, negligence and misfeasance in public office -- the wrongful exercise of his authority.

"We are taking this unusual step of preparing legal action against an individual as the documents we have in our possession suggest Sir Mark was directly involved in the unlawful rendition of our clients," said lawyer Sapna Malik, from the London law firm Leigh & Day, which represents Belhadj and Saadi.

An Oxford-educated Middle East specialist, Allen retired from MI6 in 2004 and went on to work for oil major BP and The Monitor Group, a global investment and consultancy firm.

He is an honorary fellow of St Antony's College at Oxford University and sits on the advisory board for the London School of Economics' centre for diplomacy and international affairs.

Belhadj accuses Allen of helping to organize the operation to fly him from Bangkok to a prison in Libya in 2004.

During six years in jail, Belhadj says, he was tortured and beaten. He also accuses Thai and U.S. agents of abusing him when he was first held in Bangkok.

Born in Libya in 1966, Belhadj is a former leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which waged an insurgency against Gaddafi in the 1990s.

His emergence as an important figure in Libya after Gaddafi's downfall is potentially embarrassing for London, which led international moves to improve relations with Libya after Gaddafi renounced weapons of mass destruction in 2003.

Belhadj's lawyers say Allen's name was found in intelligence documents recovered in Tripoli around the time of the collapse of Gaddafi's administration last August.

The pair are also suing the British government and its legal advisers, the MI5 domestic intelligence agency, the Home Office (interior ministry) and the Foreign Office, which oversees MI6.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We take all allegations of mistreatment seriously, but these matters are also the subject of legal correspondence between Mr Belhadj's lawyers and our own so we can offer no further comment at this stage."

Allen could not immediately be reached for comment.

Earlier this month, Britain postponed a judge-led inquiry into whether its security services knew about the torture of suspects overseas. Ministers said the inquiry would be delayed because police have begun a separate investigation into whether London illegally sent detainees to Libya.

Britain has long faced accusations that its spies were complicit in the abuse of overseas detainees in the years after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Prime Minister David Cameron has cited those suspicions as one of the reasons why he set up the now-delayed inquiry. Britain's security services have always denied using or condoning torture.

(Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/world/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20120131/wl_nm/us_britain_rendition

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Around the Web?

Kick off your week with Monday’s afternoon reads: Katherine Heigl is no fan of Dance Moms ? iVillage.com Parents are more lax about booster seats when carpooling ? USA Today Brad Pitt admits to giving the kids soda for breakfast ? CBSNews.com Books vs. electronic devises: where will your child learn to read? ? SheKnows.com [...]

Source: http://feeds.celebritybabies.com/~r/celebrity-babies/~3/bG0VxZVMCwI/

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সোমবার, ৩০ জানুয়ারী, ২০১২

'Game Of Thrones' Season 2 Trailer: Sneak Peek Of The HBO Drama (VIDEO)

It may be getting warmer outside, but the chill is in the air for fans of HBO's critically-acclaimed series, "Game of Thrones." The network finally released the anticipated trailer for Season 2 of the fantasy drama.

The trailer, narrated by Varys (Conleth Hill), features some of our favorites from the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros-- Jon Snow and Arya -- and some of our... well, not-so-favorites -- King Joffrey.

Looks like Tyrion. played by the Emmy winning and Golden Globe winning Peter Dinklage, is finally ready to play the game. Sharpen your daggers "Game of Thrones" fans, the cold winds are rising, and we all know what that means -- winter is coming.

The cold winds are upon us on Sun., April 1 at 9 p.m. EST. Season 2 will consist of 10 episodes. Check out the trailer below.

Related on HuffPost:

To find out when the season's hottest new shows premiere, check out our full midseason TV guide below.


"Oprah's Next Chapter"

Starring: Oprah Winfrey What It's About: "Oprah's Next Chapter" will take Oprah outside the TV studio for a series of in-depth conversations with celebrities ranging from Steven Tyler to Deepak Chopra. Series premieres Sun., Jan. 1, 9 p.m. EST on OWN



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Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/29/game-of-thrones-season-2-trailer-_n_1240667.html

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Super Bowl advertisers seek buzz on social media (Reuters)

NEW YORK (Reuters) ? In the age of Twitter and Facebook, many Super Bowl viewers will use the commercial breaks to go online and see what people are saying about the game. This year, advertisers want them to tweet about their favorite commercials as well.

Having spent record-breaking sums to secure the most valuable television slots in advertising, global brands from Coca-Cola to Volkwagen are looking to leverage social media to extend the buzz and reach of their ads.

According to executives from Comcast Corp's NBC television network, which will broadcast the February 5 football game, a 30-second commercial slot cost $3.5 million on average this year, up from $3 million for last year's Super Bowl, which was on News Corp's Fox station.

"The social media conversation has put more value on a Super Bowl ad, fans will discuss your ads on Twitter and Facebook and then go to YouTube to watch it on demand over and over again," said Brad Adgate, senior vice president of research at Horizon Media.

This year's Super Bowl will take place in Indianapolis, with the New York Giants and New England Patriots battling it out for the National Football League Championship. An expected 100 million people will watch the game, which is among a dwindling number of TV programs that still draw big live audiences.

NFL games are so valuable to advertisers that the league recently secured hefty pay increases that will bring in about $6 billion a year from Walt Disney Co's ESPN, broadcast networks and satellite TV provider DirecTV for rights to air games and sell the advertising time.

The average price of Super Bowl ads have risen more than 50 percent in the last 10 years, defying economic downturns and secular industry issues. NBC sold out all 70 spots around this year's game shortly after Thanksgiving weekend in November and reached a new high with one slot selling for around $4 million.

The game, including lower priced halftime slots, could easily generate over a quarter of a billion dollars in ad sales.

"The overall demand for Super Bowl spots is very high this year," said Tim Calkins, marketing professor at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. "Prices are high. Demand is high. I think that's a very positive sign for the economy."

Consumer research forecasts that 60 percent of fans watching the Super Bowl will also be tied into a second screen such as a smartphone or tablet.


Anheuser-Busch, which typically buys exclusivity as the only beer advertiser during recent Super Bowls, is again the biggest spender, according to industry sources.

Not unlike past Super Bowls, Coca Cola Co and PepsiCo Inc will face-off for soda supremacy. Both beverage makers have come up with campaigns that attempt to leverage social media after their commercials air.

Coca-Cola's TV commercials, which will air during the first-and second-quarter breaks, will center around its computer-generated Arctic polar bears watching the game. The bears will then be brought to life on Twitter, Facebook and on a dedicated Website doing such things as responding to fans and commenting on the game. They will even have their own Twitter hashtag --#GameDayPolarBears -- for fans to follow.

"We wanted to interact with consumers in the most simple and organic way so they would have nothing to do other than what they usually do," said Pio Schunker, Coca Cola senior vice president of integrated marketing platforms.

Fans who catch Pepsi's commercial with "X Factor USA" winner Melanie Amaro performing the Otis Redding song "Respect" will be able to download a free video of the performance by using the Shazam app on their phones to capture audio from the commercial.

There are also partnerships with online radio service Pandora Media Inc and social TV specialist GetGlue centered around the game and other free content.

"Our philosophy now is nothing happens in isolation," said Shiv Singh, global head of digital for Pepsico Beverages. "Social TV is a massive phenomenon and a critical element of our Super Bowl campaigns."


The biggest spender by category is the autos industry, which made a big comeback last year and was noted for one of the most memorable spots -- Volkswagen AG's ad with a young child dressed in a Darth Vader outfit believing he can control the Passat car's lights.

This year, Volkswagen's Audi is hoping to win more creative kudos with a spot that taps into the "Twilight" teen vampire pop culture phenomenon. The 60-second spot, which will air during the first break in the game, will highlight the new 2013 Audi S7 and its LED headlight technology, which has unfortunate consequences for a party of young vampires.

Audi hopes to continue the conversation about the ad via the Twitter hashtag #SoLongVampires.

NBC executives say the auto makers are leading a trend toward long-form campaigns of 60 seconds or more, allowing high-end creative concepts to be fleshed out in the commercial's narrative rather than just going for a quick gag and punchline.

Chrysler Group LLC, Toyota Motor Co, Honda Motor Co Ltd, Hyundai Motor Co, and other automakers will also be advertising during the game.

General Motors Co's mainstream Chevy brand will run seven TV commercials before, during and after the game, for instance. It will also center its overall campaign heavily around Web-based partnerships with NBC, Twitter and Facebook.


With the conventional wisdom being that consumers are more likely to make a purchase if recommended by a friend or family member, chief marketing officers are keen to insert themselves in a Facebook or Twitter conversation about the products and services they sell.

Bluefin Labs, a start-up company that aggregates and analyzes TV viewer data and comments on Twitter and Facebook, has been hired by several advertising agencies with Super Bowl campaigns to help understand how football fans react to the commercials during the game.

"Advertisers don't think about the TV campaign alone anymore but as a way to reach eyeballs and then stimulate conversations about their brands," said Bluefin executive Tom Thai.

While advertisers are eager to experiment with social media during a big-ticket event like the Super Bowl, there are still questions on how they measure its impact with a consistent, industry-accepted method, said Alex Iskold, founder of GetGlue, which lets TV fans share their viewing experiences by 'checking-in' in exchange for online rewards.

"Social TV engagement hasn't been fully priced yet," Iskold said. "We are collectively working to figure out the value to the advertisers. "It took years for the traditional display ad model to solidify; I don't think it will take us that long to price social TV."

(Reporting By Yinka Adegoke in New York,; additional reporting by Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles,; editing by Peter Lauria)

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/internet/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20120129/wr_nm/us_superbowl_advertising

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Rick Santorum?s daughter Bella is hospitalized; candidate cancels Sunday morning campaign plans (Washington Post)

Share With Friends: Share on FacebookTweet ThisPost to Google-BuzzSend on GmailPost to Linked-InSubscribe to This Feed | Rss To Twitter | Politics - Top Stories News, RSS and RSS Feed via Feedzilla.

Source: http://news.feedzilla.com/en_us/stories/politics/top-stories/192784726?client_source=feed&format=rss

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RBS CEO turns down bonus amid criticism of payout (AP)

LONDON ? Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive Stephen Hester will not be accepting a 1 million pound ($1.5 million) bonus that drew criticism from British public and politicians, the bank said Sunday.

Spokesman David Gaffney said Hester would not receive the bonus of 3.6 million shares he was awarded last week by the board of the largely state-owned bank.

The British government spent 45 billion pounds bailing out RBS three years ago. It still owns an 82 percent stake, and politicians had criticized the reward at a time when Britons face painful spending cuts and tax hikes.

The government ? which has insisted it has no control over the bank's bonuses ? welcomed the announcement.

"This is a sensible and welcome decision that enables Stephen Hester to focus on the very important job he has got to do, namely to get back billions of pounds of taxpayers' money that was put into RBS," Treasury chief George Osborne said.

The decision follows Saturday's announcement that RBS chairman Philip Hampton was waiving his own bonus of 1.4 million pounds in shares.

Hester and Hampton were brought in after Fred Goodwin, who led RBS's ill-fated takeover of Dutch bank ABN Amro, stepped down in October 2008 as the government was spending billions to prop up the bank.

The board of directors decided last week to award Hester a bonus of 3.6 million shares ? worth just under 1 million pounds at Friday's closing share price of 27.74 pence. That came on top of his annual salary of 1.2 million pounds.

Prime Minister David Cameron said Saturday that Hester's bonus was "a matter for him," but pointed out it was much less than last year's.

The government claimed it had no control over bonuses awarded by the bank, and said replacing Hester if he resigned would be more costly than paying the reward.

But many politicians were critical. London Mayor Boris Johnson, a Conservative like Cameron, said he found the bonus "absolutely bewildering."

Rachel Reeves, Treasury spokeswoman for the opposition Labour Party, said Sunday the sum was inappropriate "when families are feeling the pinch."

"It's time the government explained why they have allowed these bonuses to go through unchallenged," she said.

Before the bank's announcement, the Labour Party said it would force a vote in the House of Commons next month calling for Hester to be stripped of his bonus.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/europe/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20120129/ap_on_bi_ge/eu_britain_rbs

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রবিবার, ২৯ জানুয়ারী, ২০১২

Researchers find cancer in ancient Egyptian mummy (AP)

CAIRO ? A professor from American University in Cairo says discovery of prostate cancer in a 2,200-year-old mummy indicates the disease was caused by genetics, not environment.

The genetics-environment question is key to understanding cancer.

AUC professor Salima Ikram, a member of the team that studied the mummy in Portugal for two years, said Sunday the mummy was of a man who died in his forties.

She said this was the second oldest known case of prostate cancer.

"Living conditions in ancient times were very different; there were no pollutants or modified foods, which leads us to believe that the disease is not necessarily only linked to industrial factors," she said.

A statement from AUC says the oldest known case came from a 2,700 year-old skeleton of a king in Russia.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/diseases/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20120129/ap_on_sc/ml_egypt_ancient_cancer

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Myanmar's Suu Kyi makes political tour in south (AP)

DAWEI, Myanmar ? Thousands of supporters in Myanmar's countryside cheered opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Sunday as she made a political tour ahead of by-elections, highlighting how quickly and dramatically politics is changing in the long-repressed Southeast Asian nation.

Throngs of people lined the roads of several towns in the southern district of Dawei shouting, "Long Live Daw Aung San Suu Kyi!" "Daw" is a title of respect in Myanmar.

Many waved bouquets of flowers, and some hoisted babies on their shoulders to glimpse the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former political prisoner on her first political trip since announcing a bid for parliament.

"We will bring democracy to the country," Suu Kyi told an exuberant crowd of thousands. "We will work for development. We will bring rule of law to the country, and we will see to it that repressive laws are repealed."

"We can overcome any obstacle with unity and perseverance," she said from the second-story balcony of a provincial office for her National League for Democracy party.

Suu Kyi, 66, has devoted much of her life to a struggle against authoritarian rule, but spent 15 of the past 23 years under house arrest and has never held elected office. If she wins, she is likely to have limited power in the legislature, which remains dominated by the military and the ruling party, but victory would be highly symbolic and give her a voice in government for the first time.

The one-day trip to Dawei follows a series of unprecedented reforms enacted by the nominally civilian government that took over when a military junta ceded power last year. The government has released hundreds of political prisoners, reached cease-fire deals with ethnic rebels, increased media freedoms and eased censorship laws.

The April 1 by-election is being held to fill 48 seats in the lower house of parliament that were vacated after lawmakers were appointed to the Cabinet and other posts.

Suu Kyi's party boycotted the last vote in 2010, but registered earlier this month for the by-election after authorities amended electoral laws, enabling her party to legally participate.

The Election Commission must still accept Suu Kyi's candidacy. A ruling is expected in February.

Suu Kyi is hoping to run as a representative of the constituency of Kawhmu, a poor district just south of Yangon where villagers' livelihoods were devastated by Cyclone Nargis in 2008.

The vote is being closely watched because it is seen as a crucial test of the government's commitment to change.

Suu Kyi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her nonviolent struggle for democracy, has rarely traveled outside Yangon, the country's main city, over the last two decades.

Although she conducted one successful day of rallies in two small towns north of Yangon last August, a previous political tour to greet supporters in 2003 sparked a bloody ambush of her convoy that saw her forcibly confined at her lakeside home.

Suu Kyi was finally released from house arrest in late 2010, just days after the country's military rulers held elections widely viewed as neither free nor fair.

In Dawei, a coastal district south of Yangon, Suu Kyi was garnering support for another candidate running for a parliament seat, party spokesman Nyan Win said.

She will make similar campaign trips to other areas, including the country's second-largest city, Mandalay, in early February before campaigning for her own seat, Nyan Win said.

Dawei is home to activists who recently helped persuade the government to ditch construction of a 4,000-megawatt coal-fired power plant over environmental concerns.

A 400-megawatt coal plant is still planned, however, because it will be needed to power a massive industrial complex project that includes construction of a deep sea port, a steel mill and a petrochemical plant. The project also includes railroads and highways that will connect Myanmar's coast directly to Thailand and the rest of Southeast Asia.

Banners with Suu Kyi's pictures decorated the area.

"People had been afraid to discuss politics for so long," said Aung Zaw Hein, an environmental activist whose Dawei Development Association helped stop the huge power plant. "Now that she's visiting the political spirit of people has been awakened."

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/topstories/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20120129/ap_on_re_as/as_myanmar_suu_kyi

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Apollo 1: the fire that shocked NASA

The Apollo 1 Command Module after the fire that claimed the lives of Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee. Credit: NASA.

NASA?s Apollo program began with one of the worst disasters the organization has ever faced. A routine prelaunch test turned fatal when a fire ripped through the spacecraft?s crew cabin killing all three astronauts. Today marks the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 1 fire, a tragic and preventable accident. There were warning signs, similar accidents that had claimed lives both in the United States and abroad. The Apollo 1 crew could have been saved from a gruesome death.

Plugs Out

L-R: Roger Chaffee, Ed White, and Gud Grissom training for their Apollo 1 flight. Credit: NASA.

The commander for Apollo 1 was Gus Grissom, one of the original Mercury astronauts whose first spaceflight was marred by his capsule?s sinking after splashdown. He flew again in Gemini in a spacecraft he named ?Molly Brown.? Senior pilot on the Apollo 1 crew was Ed White, a Gemini veteran who made America?s first spacewalk in 1965. Rounding out the crew was pilot Roger Chaffee, a talented rookie more than capable of holding his own with his experienced crew mates. He was a notoriously good guy who took pains to thank everyone for their contributions to Apollo right down to the janitors.

By the end of January 1967, the crew was going through their final prelaunch tests; barring some major setback, they would make the first manned Apollo flight on February 21. One routine test NASA had done since Mercury was the ?plugs out? test, a final check of the spacecraft?s systems.

The spacecraft - Command Module 12 - arrives at the Kennedy Spaceflight Centre clearly destined for Apollo 1. Credit: NASA.

The spacecraft was fully assembled and stacked on top of its unfuelled Saturn IB launch vehicle on pad 34. The umbilical power cords that usually supplied power were removed ? the plugs were out ? and the spacecraft switched over to battery power. The cabin was pressurized with 16.7 pounds per square inch (psi) of 100 percent oxygen, a pressure slightly greater than one atmosphere. With everything just as it would be on February 21, the crew went through a full simulation of countdown and launch.

A full launch-day staff of engineers in mission control also went through the simulation. The White Room, the room through which the astronauts entered the spacecraft, remained pressed next to the vehicle. A crew of engineers monitored the spacecraft and were just feet away from the astronauts.

Cosmonaut Bondarenko. Credit: spacefacts.de

Grissom, White, and Chaffee suited up and entered the Apollo 1 command module at 1pm and hooked into the spacecraft?s oxygen and communications systems. For the next five and a half hours, the test proceeded with only minor interruptions. Grissom?s complaint of a smell like sour buttermilk in the oxygen circulating through his suit was resolved after a short hold, and a high oxygen flow through the astronauts suits tripped an alarm. But these were minor problems and didn?t raise any red flags in mission control.

The real problem was communication. Static made it impossible for the crew and mission control to hear one another. An increasingly frustrated Grissom began to question how they were expected to get to the Moon if they couldn?t talk between a few buildings.

The Apollo 1 official crew portrait. L-R: Ed White, Gus Grissom, Roger Chaffee. Credit: NASA.

Just after 6:31 that evening, the routine test took a turn. Engineers in mission control saw an increase in oxygen flow and pressure inside the cabin. The telemetry was accompanied by a garbled transmission that sounded like ?fire.? The official record reflects the communications problem. The transmission was unclear, but the panic was obvious as an astronaut yelled something like ?they?re fighting a bad fire ? let?s get out. Open ?er up? or ?we?ve got a bad fire ? let?s get out. We?re burning up.? The static made it impossible to hear the exact words or even distinguish who was speaking.

But flames visible through the command module?s small porthole window left no doubt about what the crew had said. Engineers in the White Room tried to get the hatch open but couldn?t. It was an inward opening design, and neither engineers outside the spacecraft nor the astronauts inside were strong enough to force it open. The men in mission control watched helplessly as the scene played out on the live video feed.

The Apollo 1 crew in a less formal setting. L-R: Gus Grissom, Ed White, Roger Chaffee. Credit: NASA.

Just three seconds after the crew?s garbled report of a fire, the pressure inside the cabin became so great that the hull ruptured. Men wrestling with the hatch were thrown across the room as flames and smoke spilled into the White Room. Many continued to fight their way towards the spacecraft but were forced to retreat as the smoke grew too thick to see through. In mission control, the telemetry and voice communication from Apollo 1 went completely silent.

An hour and a half later, firemen and emergency personnel succeeded in removing the bodies; Ed White was turned around on his couch reaching for the hatch. Over the next two months, the spacecraft was disassembled piece by piece in an attempt to isolate the cause of the fire. The full investigation lasted a year.

The Apollo 1 crew floats around during water egress training. Credit: NASA.

The Apollo 1 accident review board determined that a wire over the piping from the urine collection system had arced. The fire started below the crew?s feet, so from their supine positions on their couches they wouldn?t have seen it in time to react. Everything in the cabin had been soaking in pure oxygen for hours, and flammable material near the wire caught fire immediately. From there, it took ten seconds for spacecraft to fill with flames.

The crew?s official cause of death was asphyxiation from smoke inhalation. Once their oxygen hoses were severed they began breathing in toxic gases. All three astronauts died in less than a minute. Many who had tried to save them were treated for smoke inhalation.

The Chamber of Silence

Astronaut Frank Borman's official Gemini era portrait. Borman was the astronaut's representative on the Apollo 1 accident review board. Credit: NASA.

The fire that claimed the lives of Grissom, White, and Chaffee is eerily similar to one that killed cosmonaut Valentin Bondarenko in 1961. Bondarenko was known to his colleagues as a congenial and giving man with great athletic prowess who worked tirelessly to prove he deserved the honour of flying in space.

Part of the cosmonauts? training was done in an isolation chamber designed to mimic the mental stresses spaceflight. The room, which the men called the Chamber of Silence, was spartan to say the least. It was furnished with a steel bed, a wooden table, a seat identical to what they would have in the Vostok capsule, minimal toilet facilities, an open-coil hot plate for warming meals, and a limited amount of water for washing and cooking. The chamber was pressurized to mimic the capsule?s environment in space. In this case, the oxygen concentration was 68 percent.

Ed White III touches his father's name on the Apollo 1 panel of the Space Mirror Memorial at the Kennedy Space Centre visitor complex. Credit: NASA.

During the test, cosmonauts would exercise mental agility with memory games using a wall chart with coloured squares. They would keep busy by reading or colouring ? subjects were supplied with some leisure material. The silence was frequently interrupted by classical music to see how the subjects reacted to a pleasurable shock. Aside from these distractions, sensory deprivation inside the chamber was absolute. The room was mounted on thick rubber shock absorbers that muffled any vibrations from movement outside, and the 16-inch thick walls absorbed any sound. The cosmonauts communicated with doctors by lights. A light told the subject to apply medical sensors to his body, and a light outside the chamber signaled to doctors that they could begin their tests. A different light would signal the end of the isolation test.

The environment was designed to challenge the cosmonauts? mental stability and adaptability. But the hardest part was that no subject knew beforehand how long his test would last. It could run anywhere from a few hours to weeks.

The Apollo 1 crew walks across the gantry before entering the spacecraft on January 27. Credit: NASA.

Bondarenko was the 17th cosmonaut to go into the Chamber of Silence and on March 23, his ten day test came to an end. A light signaled that technicians outside had started depressurizing the chamber to match the atmosphere outside. It was a routine part of the test, but this time it was interrupted by a fire alarm.

While he waited to leave the chamber, Bondarenko removed his biomedical sensors and wiped the adhesive off with rubbing alcohol on a cotton pad. In his haste to leave, and exhibiting the lack of concentration expected after ten days of mental testing, he didn?t look where he threw the pad. It landed on the hot plate?s coil. Cosmonaut Pavel Popovich theorized that he had been standing next to it at the time. Many subjects left the small heater on all the time to warm up the chilly room.

A dummy rides in a Vostok capsule seat. Credit: Associated Press.

A fire sparked and spread in an instant; everything, including Bondarenko, was saturated with a high concentration of oxygen. Technicians wrenched the door open and exposed the chamber to air, killing the fire instantly, but the damage was done. Doctors pulled a huddled and severely burnt Bondarenko from the room. ?It?s my fault,? he whispered when doctors reached him, ?I?m so sorry? no one else is to blame.? The severity of the fire was immediately obvious. Bondarenko?s wool clothes had melted onto his body and the skin underneath had burned away. His hair had caught fire. His eyes were swollen and melted shut.

In Moscow, surgeon and traumatologist Vladimir Julievich Golyakhovsky got a frantic call at his office; the severely burned patient was on his way. Ten minutes later, a team of men in military uniforms arrived carrying the blanket-wrapped cosmonaut. They were accompanied, Golyakhovsky later recalled, by an overwhelming smell of burnt flesh.

The damage to the Apollo 1 crew cabin, after the bodies were removed and before the disassembly began. Credit: NASA.

Bondarenko pleaded for something ?to kill the pain.? Golyakhovsky obliged and gave the patient a shot of morphine in the soles of his feet. It was the one unscathed part of his body thanks to his heavy boots, and the only place the doctor could find a vein. There was nothing he could do to save the man?s life. Bondarenko died the next morning. The official cause was shock and severe burns.

Lessons at Home

Parallels between the Apollo 1 crew?s and Bondarenko?s deaths are obvious, but how each space agency dealt with the deaths was very different. Grissom, White, and Chaffee were each given very public funerals in accordance with their respective military traditions. Bondarenko?s death was kept secret, his identity covered by a pseudonym. Not until 1986 did the world hear the true story of his death. This has bred speculation that had the Soviet system been more open, NASA would have know about the dangers of training in a pressurized pure oxygen environment and could have saved the Apollo 1 crew. Former cosmonaut Alexei Leonov even suggested that the CIA knew about Bondarenko since the US had pierced the Iron Curtain before the accident.

But this is unlikely. And besides, NASA wouldn?t need to look to the Soviet Union to know the dangers of testing in a pressurized oxygen environment. There were enough incidents in the US to make the danger very clear. Four oxygen fires in the five years before the Apollo 1 accident were proof enough.

The Apollo 1 spacecraft nearing the end of the disassembly. Sometime towards the end of March, 1967. Credit: NASA.

On September 9, 1962, a fire broke out in a simulated spacecraft cabin at Brooks Air Force Base. The cabin was pressurized to 5psi with pure oxygen. Both subjects were protected by pressure suits. Neither sustained burns, but both were treated for smoke inhalation.

Two months later on November 16, four men had been inside the US Navy?s Air Crew Equipment Laboratory for 17 days in an environment pressurized to 5psi of 100 percent oxygen when an exposed wire arced and started a fire. It spread rapidly over the men?s clothing and hands for 40 seconds before they were rescued. All were treated for severe burns, and this was the only instance in which the source of the fire was identified.

Two Navy divers were killed on February 16, 1965 in a test of the Navy?s Experimental Diving Unit, which was pressurized to 55.6psi to mimic conditions at a depth of 92 feet. It was a multi-gas environment: 28 percent oxygen, 36 percent nitrogen, and 36 percent helium. Somehow, the carbon dioxide scrubbers that were designed to remove the toxic gas from the air caught fire. Pressure inside the chamber rose making it impossible for technicians outside to open the door and remove the men.

Gus Grissom's funeral procession. Credit: NASA.

A 1966 oxygen environment fire came frighteningly close to anticipating the Apollo 1 accident. A fire broke out during an unmanned qualification test of the Apollo Environmental Control System on April 28. The cabin was pressurized to 5psi of 100 percent oxygen, just like the spacecraft would be in flight. The fire was blamed on a commercial grade strip heater inside the cabin and the incident was consequently dismissed. The commercial material would not be onboard any manned flights. The board that investigated the accident made no mention of the hazardous environment.

A Lack of Imagination

The Apollo 1 mission patch. Credit: NASA.

These accidents weren?t secret. NASA knew the dangers of a pressurized oxygen environment, which has prompted conspiracy theorists to suggest that the space agency intentionally put the Apollo 1 crew in danger. But this was hardly the case. In truth, no one at NASA gave much thought to a fire in the spacecraft.

In the early 1960s when Apollo was in its preliminary stages, a dual gas system (likely oxygen and nitrogen) was proposed for the crew cabin. This would have been safer in the event of fire, but more difficult overall. A mixed gas environment requires more piping and wiring, which in turn adds weight. Pure oxygen was simpler, lighter, and was already familiar to NASA. The dual-gas idea was scratched.

NASA did address the possibility of a fire in the spacecraft, but only developed procedures for an event in space when the nearest fire station was 180 miles away. Apollo, like Mercury and Gemini, had no specific fire fighting system on board. The 5psi of oxygen in space was considered too thin to feed a significant fire. Anything that could spark in that environment could be taken care of with a few well aimed blasts from the astronauts? water pistol.

Grissom's, White's, and Chaffee's death are the cover story of Life Magazine's February 10 issue. Credit: Life.

There was no procedure for a fire on the ground. With so many engineers on hand for every test, it was assumed that the astronauts would safe so long as fire extinguishers were nearby. But more importantly in the case of Apollo 1 is the plugs out test?s status: it wasn?t classified as dangerous.

Frank Borman, a Gemini veteran who would go to the Moon on Apollo 8, served as the astronaut?s representative to the Apollo 1 accident investigation board. He made this point about the plugs out test?s status abundantly clear. ?I don?t believe that any of us recognized that the test conditions for this test were hazardous,? he said on record. Without fuel in the launch vehicle and all the pyrotechnic bolts unarmed, no one imagined a fire could start let alone thrive. Borman himself hadn?t thought twice when he went through the plugs out test before his Gemini 7 mission. He was confident in NASA and its engineers and stated on record that he would have gone through the Apollo 1 test had he been on the crew.

The Apollo 1 crew expressed their concerns over the Apollo spacecraft in a joke crew portrait. They said a little prayer, and gave the picture to the manager of the Apollo Spacecraft Program Office Joe Shea in 1966. Credit: NASA.

Borman alluded to the Apollo 1 crew?s shared confidence. There had been problems with Apollo?w development, and every astronaut had the right to refuse to enter a spacecraft. ?Although there are sometimes romantic silk-scarf attitudes attributed to this type of business, in the final analysis we are professionals and will accept risk but not undue risks,? explained Borman. The Apollo 1 crew felt the dangers were minimal.

With that statement, Borman identified what he considered the crux of the problem and the real reason, however indirect, behind the death of the crew. ?We did not think,? he said, ?and this is a failing on my part and on everyone associated with us; we did not recognize the fact that we had the three essentials, an ignition source, extensive fuel and, of course, we knew we had oxygen.?

A plaque commemorating the Apollo 1 crew on what's left of launch pad 34. Credit: Christopher K. Davis (via Wikipedia).

Gus Grissom serendipitously wrote his memoirs during the Gemini program. He addresses the inherent risk of spaceflight in the book?s final passage. ?There will be risks, as there are in any experimental program, and sooner or later, inevitably, we?re going to run head-on into the law of averages and lose somebody. I hope this never happens? but if it does, I hope the American people won?t feel it?s too high a price to pay for our space program. None of us was ordered into manned spaceflight. We flew with the knowledge that if something really went wrong up there, there wasn?t the slightest hope of rescue. We could do it because we had complete confidence in the scientists and engineers who designed and built our spacecraft and operated our Mission Control Centre? Now for the moon.?

Though tragic, their deaths were not in vain. The substantial redesigns made to the Apollo command module after the fire yielded a safer and more capable spacecraft that played no small role in NASA reaching the moon before the end of the decade. It is a fitting tribute to the crew that the plaque on the pad where they perished reads ?ad astra per aspera? ? a rough road to the stars.

Suggested Reading:

- Official Apollo 1 site:?http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/Apollo204/

- Colin Burgess and Rex Hall. The First Soviet Cosmonaut Team. 2009.

- Gus Grissom. Gemini. 1968.

- Apollo 204 Accident. Report of the Committee on Aeronautical and Space Science, United States. 1968. Available online:?http://klabs.org/richcontent/Reports/Failure_Reports/as-204/senate_956/index.htm

- Report of the Apollo 204 Review Board to the Administrator, National Aeronautics and Space Administration. 1968. Available online:?http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/Apollo204/content.html

- Hearings Before the Subcommittee on NASA Oversight of the Committee on Science and Astronautics. 1967.

Source: http://rss.sciam.com/click.phdo?i=0eace55ab634dec7f49ebc5b7e406a36

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'Barefoot Bandit' sentenced to 6 1/2 years (AP)

SEATTLE ? After a two-year international crime spree in which he survived a handful of crash landings, Colton Harris-Moore ? the infamous "Barefoot Bandit" ? says he's lucky to be alive.

Harris-Moore spoke publicly in court Friday for the first time since his 2010 arrest. A short while later, he was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in federal prison, which will be served concurrently with state prison time.

"What I did could be called daring, but it is no stretch of the imagination to say that am lucky to be alive ... absolutely lucky," he said. "I should have died years ago."

He particularly apologized for stealing planes, saying his arrogance led him to keep alive his dream of flying.

But Harris-Moore, once a gangly teenager, was more than just a self-taught pilot.

He hopscotched his way across the United States, authorities said. He flew a plane stolen in northwestern Washington to the San Juan Islands, stole a pistol in British Columbia and took a plane from Idaho to Washington state, stole a boat in southwestern Washington to go to Oregon, and took a plane in Indiana and flew to the Bahamas, where was arrested.

The 20-year-old earned his nickname because he committed several of the crimes without wearing shoes, and he attracted fans across the nation for his ability to evade police.

Friday's sentencing all but ends his exploits, providing the final details for a movie that an entertainment lawyer and federal prosecutors said 20th Century Fox has in the works.

But far from a gloating star, Harris-Moore apologized Friday to his victims.

"I now know a crime that took place overnight will take years to recover from," he said in court.

Defense attorney John Henry Browne said he expects Harris-Moore to be out of prison in about 4 1/2 years, accounting for the 18 months he's already been in custody. Federal prosecutors declined to comment on how much time he might serve, saying that will be up to the Bureau of Prisons.

Outside the courthouse, Harris-Moore's mother, Pam Kohler of Camano Island, said her son gave her a letter in court, but she refused to talk to reporters. She used her purse to hit a television crew's microphone and camera, and a newspaper photographer's camera.

In court, U.S. District Judge Richard Jones asked Harris-Moore to speak to young people who may look up to him because of his exploits.

"I would say to younger people they should focus on their education, which is what I am doing right now," he said. "I want to start a company. I want to make a difference in this world, legally."

Before the sentencing, defense attorneys said federal prosecutors released cherry-picked excerpts from emails in an effort to make Harris-Moore appear callous and self-aggrandizing.

He called the Island County sheriff "king swine," called prosecutors "fools," and referred to reporters as "vermin." He also described his feats ? stealing and flying planes with no formal training ? "amazing" and said they were unmatched by anyone except the Wright brothers.

But Harris-Moore's lawyers claim the full emails show that he is sorry for what he did and thankful for the treatment he received from a state judge who called his case a "triumph of the human spirit." The state judge sentenced him last month to seven years, at the low end of the sentencing range.

The attorneys acknowledged that in certain instances he bragged, but they said those writings were simply the product of an impulsive adolescent and don't reflect his true remorse.

Harris-Moore apologized for those emails in court Friday.

Federal prosecutors had asked for Jones to impose a 6 1/2 year sentence to be served while Harris-Moore serves his state time. His attorneys had asked for a federal sentence of just under six years.

The judge acknowledged that Harris-Moore had a difficult childhood, one with "complete lack of parental guidance" and alcohol and drug abuse from his parents. But he said he was concerned that that his previous court appearances didn't have an impact on him.

Jones acknowledged that Harris-Moore committed his early crimes to survive after fleeing from home. But he said "most of the federal offenses were committed for one reason: to fulfill your passion for flying at all costs and consequences."

The judge encouraged Harris-Moore to get treatment in prison.

"The most important day in your life is what you do when you are released. It will be up to you to create a new flight plan," Jones said.

Harris-Moore's defense lawyers said treatment was already under way.

There will be another hearing in a month to decide how much restitution Harris-Moore will be required to pay.

Federal prosecutor Darwin Roberts said he doesn't expect the movie deal to provide enough money to cover the estimated $1.3 million restitution.

Entertainment lawyer Lance Rosen said outside the courtroom that Academy Award winner Dustin Lance Black ? who wrote "Milk" and the recent "J. Edgar" ? has met with Harris-Moore several times and has turned in a draft of the script.

One of Harris-Moore's victims, Kelly Kneifl, made the trip from Yankton, S.D., to speak at the sentencing. Harris-Moore broke into Kneifl's home while he and his family were away on vacation.

Kneifl said he just caught a glimpse of a naked Harris-Moore escaping and wanted get some closure by watching him getting sentenced to prison.

"I do have empathy for him. I hope ... he can get on the right track someday," Kneifl said.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/topstories/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20120128/ap_on_re_us/us_barefoot_bandit

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Santorum defends Romney, Gingrich on wealth attack

(AP) ? Presidential candidate Rick Santorum is defending rival Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich on attacks from each other on their wealth.

Santorum says Romney is, in his words, "a wealthy guy because he worked hard." He is also defending Gingrich by saying Gingrich's work advising companies after leaving government is not the worst thing in the world.

Santorum says Romney's and Gingrich's attacks on each other distract from bigger issues and that they should focus on policy differences.

Gingrich says he believe his wealth should be a non-issue but says he must defend himself from attacks.

Associated Press

Source: http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/89ae8247abe8493fae24405546e9a1aa/Article_2012-01-26-GOP-Debate-Wealth/id-7b0eaf8cbe42420182ab85cc84d1d687

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Japan prices fall, mild deflation to persist (Reuters)

TOKYO (Reuters) ? Japan's core consumer prices fell for the third consecutive month in the year to December, and mild deflation is expected to persist this year as energy prices stabilize and worries about Europe's debt crisis suppress wage growth and economic activity.

Core consumer prices declined an annual 0.1 percent, matching the median estimate, and a narrower measure that excludes both food and energy also fell in a sign that Japan continues to grapple with a strong yen, which pushes down import prices and makes exporters reluctant to raise salaries.

Retail sales fell 1.2 pct in 2011, the first fall in two years, and auto and machinery equipment sales posted record falls in the series, which dates back to 1980. But sales rose an annual 2.5 percent in December, the biggest increase in 16 months.

The Bank of Japan and the government concede that the economy is in a lull, and they could come under increasing pressure to support it with currency intervention and monetary policy easing as Europe's debt crisis weighs on external demand.

Europe's downturn could offset the economic benefits of rebuilding the country's earthquake-damaged northeast coast.

"The stagnation of other developed countries is likely to push back the timing of Japan beating deflation from the mid-2010s as originally thought to the late 2010s," said Takeshi Minami, chief economist at Norinchukin Research Institute.

"The BOJ will need to keep its ultra-easy stance in the meantime. If risks from the euro-zone debt crisis heighten, it could move for an additional easing in the near term."

Japan's core consumer price index (CPI) includes oil products but excludes volatile prices of fresh fruit, vegetables and seafood.

The so-called core-core inflation index, which excludes food and energy prices and is similar to the core index used in the United States, fell 1.1 percent in the year to December.

Core consumer prices in Tokyo, available a month before the nationwide data, fell 0.4 percent in the year to January. That compares with the median estimate for a 0.3 percent annual decline.


Annual data showed the core CPI slipped 0.3 percent in 2011, the third straight yearly fall. Japan's consumer inflation has been around zero or minus for over a decade, except a 1.5 percent rise in 2008 on the back of an increase in energy prices.

"Overall consumption is relatively firm partly supported by reconstruction demand. But it is hard to expect to see a self-sustainable recovery in private spending," said Masamichi Adachi, senior economist at JPMorgan Securities Japan.

"With uncertainty about the economic outlook and lackluster wage growth, consumers are unlikely to boost spending."

Nippon Keidanren, the country's largest business lobby, cited this week uncertainty about energy, the strong yen and a manufacturing shift overseas as reasons why pay raises are out of the question in annual labor union negotiations in the spring.

Japan's economy will likely show a mild contraction in the fiscal year ending in March but is expected to rebound next fiscal year, supported by reconstruction demand after the March 2011 earthquake.

Reconstruction could help narrow the gap between supply and demand but won't be enough to inflate demand in excess of supply and bring about an end to deflation, economists say.

Some Bank of Japan board members see a slight delay in post-quake reconstruction demand, and the global slowdown is somewhat more acute than previously thought, minutes of the central bank's December 20-21 meeting showed on Friday.

(Additional reporting by Rie Ishiguro; Writing by Stanley White; Editing by Kim Coghill)

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/japan/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20120127/ts_nm/us_japan_economy

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The true burden of cancer | Sustainability Articles | Green News and ...

Photo: Breast Cancer Care. A breast cancer awareness campaign in Pakistan

Breast cancer continues to be misunderstood, under-diagnosed and fatal, particularly in developing countries, say researchers, despite more than one million official annual diagnoses and almost half a million?recorded deaths annually.

Even with growing efforts from donors and health agencies to draw more attention to?chronic non-communicable diseases, awareness about cancer still lags, said Sara Stulac, clinical director in Rwanda for the US-headquartered Partners in Health NGO.

?Just bringing up the fact that there are children suffering from cancer in Rwanda, the reaction I often get is ?Oh, cancer ? Africa ? I never thought about that?.?

?We?re victims of our own success, which is very good news,? Harvard University?s director of Global Equity Initiative, Felicia Knaul, told IRIN, referring to declining numbers of deaths from some communicable diseases in developing countries.

The downside of that success is, ?You go on to live through other risks and get other diseases?, she added.

The World Health Organization?s (WHO)?International Agency on Research on Cancer?estimated in 2008 that breast cancer was the most frequently officially diagnosed cancer among women, with an estimated 1.38 million cases.

It was also the most frequently reported cause of death by cancer for women.

Eighty percent of up to 3.7 million of deaths by cancer ? all types ? are reported in developing countries, according to?recent research?Knaul co-authored with the Global Task Force on Expanded Access to Cancer Care and Control in Developing Countries at Harvard University.

Costly care

Women who reached Rwinkwavu Hospital in Kayonza District in eastern Rwanda, where Stulac works, may have already unsuccessfully sought care elsewhere ? often at informal or ill-equipped health centres, she added.

As a result, they frequently arrive at hospital with advanced stages of breast cancer that are harder, more expensive and more painful to cure, said Stulac.

An estimated 70-80 percent of breast cancer cases are diagnosed at late stages in lower- and middle-income countries, according to Knaul.

But even with early diagnosis, breast cancer can mean?a painful and debilitating death in cash-strapped countries where specialists are few and costs are high, said Stulac.

?Over the course of just seeking a diagnosis, [patients] have depleted their family?s resources.?

Cancer prevention and awareness campaigns are infrequent in low-income countries. And when cancer is diagnosed, treatment options can often include palliative care, which is scarce, expensive and stigmatized, according to?2011 oncology research.

The Vienna-based International Narcotics Control Board says 90 percent of the world?s?opiate supply for pain relief?is consumed in the most developed countries, leaving little for poorer countries.

Gathering data

Knaul urged combating disease with data. ?We have to help women to diagnose more, even when we don?t have good access to treatment because that?s how we?ll get to know that the disease exists.?

Since 1980, breast cancer cases globally have risen annually by 3.1 percent on average, according to?recent reports, and continued rises are predicted by WHO.

As a complex group of diseases for which there are few national registries, and ones that lack access to diagnostics and treatment, cancer?s true burden remains unknown in many developing countries.

?We need to research at a very basic level of understanding what the disease looks like. We need better data,? said Stulac.

Knaul?s report called for public health systems to boost cancer detection alongside anti-poverty, maternal and child health, sexual and reproductive health and?HIV/AIDS programming.

Breast cancer clinical trials in lower and middle-income countries can help boost tracking and prevention ? sorely lacking and almost non-existent in some places, said Ismail Jatoi, chief of surgical oncology at the US-based Texas University Health Science Centre.

?Conducting trials in these countries is a way of setting up infrastructure within [health] centres that are conducting trials.?

While an estimated eight out of 10 cancer cases worldwide are diagnosed in poorer countries, research there only attracts 5 percent of global cancer funding, according to the Global Task Force on Expanded Access to Cancer Care and Control.

?When research and science have helped us come up with newer and better medications, one of our goals should be to advocate for bringing those medications not just [to] rich people, but [to] poor people as well,? said Stulac.

Source: http://www.greenconduct.com/articles/2012/01/26/the-true-burden-of-cancer/

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Kim Kardashian Scores Her Meatiest Acting Gig Yet!

Watch out, Meryl Streep! The indomitable Kim Kardashian is sharpening her thespian skills. The 31-year-old reality star has landed a multi-episode arc on Lifetime's Drop Dead Diva (Sundays at 9 p.m. ET). She'll play a woman named Nikki, who's a love interest for Fred (Ben Feldman), debuting in this summer's season 4 premiere.

Source: http://www.ivillage.com/kim-kardashian-lands-role-drop-dead-diva/1-a-422733?dst=iv%3AiVillage%3Akim-kardashian-lands-role-drop-dead-diva-422733

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Restored wetlands rarely equal condition of original wetlands

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wetland restoration is a billion-dollar-a-year industry in the United States that aims to create ecosystems similar to those that disappeared over the past century. But a new analysis of restoration projects shows that restored wetlands seldom reach the quality of a natural wetland.

"Once you degrade a wetland, it doesn't recover its normal assemblage of plants or its rich stores of organic soil carbon, which both affect natural cycles of water and nutrients, for many years," said David Moreno-Mateos, a University of California, Berkeley, postdoctoral fellow. "Even after 100 years, the restored wetland is still different from what was there before, and it may never recover."

Moreno-Mateos's analysis calls into question a common mitigation strategy exploited by land developers: create a new wetland to replace a wetland that will be destroyed and the land put to other uses. At a time of accelerated climate change caused by increased carbon entering the atmosphere, carbon storage in wetlands is increasingly important, he said.

"Wetlands accumulate a lot of carbon, so when you dry up a wetland for agricultural use or to build houses, you are just pouring this carbon into the atmosphere," he said. "If we keep degrading or destroying wetlands, for example through the use of mitigation banks, it is going to take centuries to recover the carbon we are losing."

The study showed that wetlands tend to recover most slowly if they are in cold regions, if they are small ? less than 100 contiguous hectares, or 250 acres, in area ? or if they are disconnected from the ebb and flood of tides or river flows.

"These context dependencies aren't necessarily surprising, but this paper quantifies them in ways that could guide decisions about restoration, or about whether to damage wetlands in the first place," said coauthor Mary Power, UC Berkeley professor of integrative biology.

Moreno-Mateos, Power and their colleagues will publish their analysis in the Jan. 24 issue of PLoS (Public Library of Science) Biology.

Wetlands provide many societal benefits, Moreno-Mateos noted, such as biodiversity conservation, fish production, water purification, erosion control and carbon storage.

He found, however, that restored wetlands contained about 23 percent less carbon than untouched wetlands, while the variety of native plants was 26 percent lower, on average, after 50 to 100 years of restoration. While restored wetlands may look superficially similar ? and the animal and insect populations may be similar, too ? the plants take much longer to return to normal and establish the carbon resources in the soil that make for a healthy ecosystem.

Moreno-Mateos noted that numerous studies have shown that specific wetlands recover slowly, but his meta-analysis "might be a proof that this is happening in most wetlands."

"To prevent this, preserve the wetland, don't degrade the wetland," he said.

Moreno-Mateos, who obtained his Ph.D. while studying wetland restoration in Spain, conducted a meta-analysis of 124 wetland studies monitoring work at 621 wetlands around the world and comparing them with natural wetlands. Nearly 80 percent were in the United States and some were restored more than 100 years ago, reflecting of a long-standing American interest in restoration and a common belief that it's possible to essentially recreate destroyed wetlands. Half of all wetlands in North America, Europe, China and Australia were lost during the 20th century, he said. S

Though Moreno-Mateos found that, on average, restored wetlands are 25 percent less productive than natural wetlands, there was much variation. For example, wetlands in boreal and cold temperate forests tend to recover more slowly than do warm wetlands. One review of wetland restoration projects in New York state, for example, found that "after 55 years, barely 50 percent of the organic matter had accumulated on average in all these wetlands" compared to what was there before, he said.

"Current thinking holds that many ecosystems just reach an alternative state that is different, and you never will recover the original," he said.

In future studies, he will explore whether the slower carbon accumulation is due to a slow recovery of the native plant community or invasion by non-native plants.


University of California - Berkeley: http://www.berkeley.edu

Thanks to University of California - Berkeley for this article.

This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.

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Source: http://www.labspaces.net/117041/Restored_wetlands_rarely_equal_condition_of_original_wetlands

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95% Pina

All Critics (64) | Top Critics (17) | Fresh (60) | Rotten (3) | DVD (1)

What the filmmaker has created is an inspired simulacrum - a jewel-box that contains more of Bausch's kinetic soul than film has any right to.

Crane and steadycam allow Wenders to get so close to the action that in the minimalist Caf? M?ller, one's illusion of being on stage is uncanny.

"Pina"is the best possible tribute to Bausch, and to adventurous image-making.

I watched the film in a sort of reverie.

Whether you're familiar with Pina Bausch's work or not, the new film "Pina" is a knockout.

So this is what 3-D is capable of when used for art rather than the commerce of hiking ticket prices and repurposing cartoons!

Even for someone who would rather count sheep than attend a ballet, these scenes are nothing short of astonishing, beautifully presenting dance's ability to depict words.

You won't hear the names Merce Cunningham, Martha Graham, Paul Taylor or Bob Fosse breathed herein.

An exhilarating experience, both in its celebration of Bausch's groundbreaking work and in the thrilling way that Wenders captures it on camera.

It's not an overview of Bausch's career or a statement on her art, but a celebration of her work and the dancers who bring it to life.

This is a stunning film, a glorious homage to modern dance and one of its premier authors and the best justification of 3D technology to date.

With a breakout use of 3D for artistic rather than solely commercial blockbuster purposes, German director Wim Wenders gives extraordinary life to the work of choreographer Pina Bausch.

From the hauntingly beautiful to the scary, Pina Bausch's post-modern dance sparkles in 3D.

It's an enchanting film, one that makes you feel you are missing something dear if you don't dance or appreciate it as an art form.

An often exhilarating, lively, magical and breathtaking experience of Pina Bausch's art.

A welcome departure from the by-the-numbers fossilization in today's documentary deluge.

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Source: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/pina_3d/

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Late Night Open Thread: Pointing & Laughing (Balloon Juice)

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Common explains feud with Drake (AP)

PARK CITY, Utah ? The Sundance Film Festival became the unlikely center of hip-hop's latest feud when actor-turned-rapper Drake and rapper-turned-actor Common came to town.

Common was promoting his role in upcoming family drama "LUV," while Drake was performing at one of the many late-night parties.

The two have traded insults recently via their raps, but Common said he didn't want to say anything else about Drake not in rhyme form.

"I feel like I said everything I really needed to say on the record. I just looked at it as like `Hey, it's just a hip-hop battle,'" he explained in an interview this week.

"The time to talk is on record as far as I'm concerned. If we in the ring, then we just handle our business in the ring."

Common had the most recent entry into the battle, by adding his verse to a Rick Ross song and naming Drake directly ? a move that the Chicago native said he felt obligated to make.

"Ice Cube, when he was going at N.W.A., once he left N.W.A., you knew who it was. Jay-Z and Nas ? Jay-Z said, `Smarten up, Nas.' And you just knew. Cats would say names," he continued.

"So that's just the way that I feel like you've got to do it. I don't want to like leave anything _I don't want anybody else to think I'm talking about them. I want you to know, `Hey this is who I'm talking to.'"

Common, known more lately for his acting than his rapping, started the battle with a song called "Sweet" on his new album, "The Dreamer/The Believer."

"He (Drake) felt offended by it. And the song is really discussing how hip-hop has a softer side," said Common.

"And I made it clear that I'm not talking about anyone specifically. For me it was no different than when Jay-Z addressed with `DOA,' he was talking about Auto-Tune. I was talking about, `Hey, you know hip-hop is starting to become more just saturated with softer songs,'" he said. "And I don't see anything the matter actually with the love songs. I do love songs. So I don't see anything the matter with it, but when the music becomes saturated with it, I mean, I speak up. I love hip-hop music."

The festival continues through Sunday.




Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/music/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20120125/ap_en_mu/us_people_common

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Device makers urge coverage of weight-loss surgery (Reuters)

CHICAGO (Reuters) ? Device manufacturers are pushing the U.S. government and health insurers to cover weight-loss surgery, an effort that could give millions more obese Americans access to the treatments.

Advocates say it will give obese patients a complete arsenal for fighting the condition that can spur a host of life-threatening illnesses and help save billions of dollars in healthcare costs for employers and the government.

Critics argue that bariatric surgery has high rates of complications and that, ultimately, surgery does not change the behavior underlying obesity.

The most vocal of the manufacturers is arguably Allergan Inc, the maker of Botox and breast implants. The company wants to revive weak sales of its LapBand, a silicone cuff that is implanted around the top portion of the stomach to constrict food intake.

"It's all about reimbursements," Allergan Chief Executive David Pyott told Reuters. The benefits of weight loss surgery, he added, "are not well understood by policy makers."

Allergan recently beefed up its staff working on securing reimbursement for LapBand to more than 100 people from seven.

Pyott is spending more time in Washington D.C. speaking with officials at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as well as with lawmakers about having bariatric surgery included in the package of standard benefits that all insurance plans must offer under the 2010 Affordable Care Act health system overhaul.

LapBand competes with a device called Realize made by Johnson & Johnson, which says it is also working toward better reimbursement.

Gastric banding is only one type of bariatric surgery. Others are more complicated, involving stapling portions of the stomach to limit food intake or re-routing the path of digestion, limiting calorie absorption. As with any major surgery, all carry the risk of complications and infection.

Allergan is pushing for coverage for all bariatric surgery, including methods that compete with its LapBand device, because it is more likely that private and public insurers would approve the entire category.

The company says some private insurers have changed their policies as a result. For example, the Midwest Blue Cross/Blue Shield Plan and the Health Alliance Medical Plan in Southern Illinois and Iowa recently eliminated the requirement that a patient must have tried and failed to lose weight under the supervision of a physician before getting surgery.


Nearly 73 million Americans are considered obese, defined as having a ratio of weight to height, or Body Mass Index (BMI), of more than 30. For example, a 5'9" adult weighing more than 203 pounds is consider obese. About 12 million people are classified as morbidly obese, defined as having a BMI over 40.

The condition is the second leading cause of preventable death in the country behind smoking, as it can cause type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, osteoarthritis, gall bladder and liver disease and many types of cancer. It leads to nearly $150 billion in annual U.S. healthcare costs.

A survey by Hewett Associates found that 45 percent of U.S. employers cite obesity as one of the most significant health concerns for their businesses, but many of their insurance plans - 44 percent of those with 5,000 or more employees - do not cover bariatric surgery.

Bariatric surgery coverage is often viewed as a separate benefit, said Gus Georgiadis, president of Triad USA, an employee benefits services and consulting firm. Larger employers tended to have better coverage.

Employers who do cover surgery often define patients as eligible at a higher BMI and require them to first try other methods for an extended period of time - even if they already have already made such attempts - and undergo a psychological evaluation. Most plans have high co-payments of around $5,000 to $7,500, making it too expensive for many.

"If you're making $25,000 a year and you have a $5,000 co-pay, that's 20 percent of your salary," said Joseph Nadglowski, President and CEO of the Obesity Action Coalition, a patient advocacy group. "High co-payments and the hoops and hurdles insurance companies put in front of surgery is limiting."

But Nadglowski still wants to see patients first try diet and exercise programs, followed by medications and then surgery as a last resort.

"There's a gap between Weight Watchers and surgery," Nadglowski said.

His organization is pushing for more access to all kinds of treatment, including nutrition counseling.

Georgiadis argues that certain treatments are more or less appropriate for a patient, given their condition.

"Diet and exercise at a BMI of 35 or greater will fail more often than it will succeed," he said.

Studies show that bariatric surgery is almost 10 times more effective for losing weight and keeping it off than other approaches. Some research has shown that gastric bypass is superior to banding, with bypass patients losing more weight and keeping it off better than patients who got the band.

Patients who choose gastric bands may do so because the surgery is less invasive and the device can be removed. But they require more maintenance and follow-up doctor visits for adjustments.

The band sometimes slips from where it was placed and in rare cases can erode into the stomach, complications that require removal.

The number of all types of bariatric surgeries was down about 8 percent in 2010, a year that saw a decline across the board in medical procedures as many Americans lost health insurance when they lost their jobs. High co-payments are also to blame.

Although just a small part of Allergan's revenue, LapBand sales fell 14 percent from a year ago to $156 million in the first 9 months of 2011, even after the Food and Drug Administration lowered the weight requirement to get the device.


Some states already require some level of coverage.

Virginia and Georgia, for instance, mandate that state-regulated insurers offer bariatric surgery, but employers are not required to buy that coverage. Michigan has a unique provision that says all "medically necessary" procedures, not just bariatric surgery, are covered.

The government's Medicare and Medicaid health programs for the elderly and the poor, respectively, cover bariatric surgery and use the same guidelines as private insurance companies.

Convincing employers has been challenging, especially if they have a high turnover of employees, said Dr. Richard Feifer, Medical Director for National Accounts for Aetna Inc, the third largest U.S. health insurer.

"Employers who have significant turnover every year may not want to invest in bariatric surgery for employees who may not be working for them in 2 or 3 or 4 years when the benefits start to accrue," he added.

(Reporting by Debra Sherman; Editing by Michele Gershberg and Andre Grenon)

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/weightloss/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20120124/hl_nm/us_healthcare_obesity

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