Thursday, April 30, 2009

My Favorite House MD Saying!

Click on title for link.

This should clear up my views on religion. It will make some people happy, some people mad, some people sad, and the people that are indifferent won't notice.

I have few favorite TV shows nowadays, this is one of them, highly recommended.

If you have any questions about religion read the above and repeat as necessary.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Quit Swining About The Flu Already!

Enough already. Enough hand wringing, blue masks, hand wash potions, mouthwash. Everybody is getting worried, over what? Influenza is serious. People die every year from it, as I mentioned in a previous post, 250,000-500,000 every year on average.

Right now, the WHO (world health organization)which spearheads this watch has been banging on the table that we are in big trouble, that a pandemic is on the way, like the bird flu? Millions of birds were killed to prevent the flu, was it necessary, maybe. We won't know for sure.

Not unlike in 2000 that companies spent millions upon millions for a computer scare that didn't happen or the Bush Homeland Security Color Terror Alert to scare the people on a daily basis.


Besides,all those blue masks get in the way of kissing,now that could cause a different kind of pandemic.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

One Third of World's Oceans Need a 20-Year Fishing Ban

click on title for link.

See my post on salmon farming for more information.

One Third of World's Oceans Need a 20-Year Fishing Ban
by Jaymi Heimbuch, San Francisco, California on 04.27.09

Experts are saying that if depleted fish stocks in the world's oceans are to recover, there needs to be a 20-year fishing ban covering 20-40% of the oceans. Not only would that require cooperation of the fishing industry, but it would also mean lots of additional marine protected areas (MPAs).

The proposal comes in the wake of a green paper calling for radical reform of the common fisheries policy, which EU ministers admit has failed. It reveals that 88% of European Union stocks are overfished (against a global average of 25%), while 30% are "outside safe biological limits", meaning they cannot reproduce as normal because the parenting population is too depleted.

The European Commission suggests a reduction in fleet size and a dramatic cut in fishing among its series of measures, but Roberts believes these will not work without the creation of marine protected areas (MPAs).

Experts are saying that if depleted fish stocks in the world's oceans are to recover, there needs to be a 20-year fishing ban covering 20-40% of the oceans. Not only would that require cooperation of the fishing industry, but it would also mean lots of additional marine protected areas (MPAs).

The proposal comes in the wake of a green paper calling for radical reform of the common fisheries policy, which EU ministers admit has failed. It reveals that 88% of European Union stocks are overfished (against a global average of 25%), while 30% are "outside safe biological limits", meaning they cannot reproduce as normal because the parenting population is too depleted.

The European Commission suggests a reduction in fleet size and a dramatic cut in fishing among its series of measures, but Roberts believes these will not work without the creation of marine protected areas (MPAs).

Right now, only about 0.7% of the world's oceans are under marine protection. The areas that have been protected have seen dramatic rises in animal life and health, proving that the strategies work when enforced. But of course, there is the massive fishing industry to contend with, which means that the ocean's recovered health won't be a goal immediately or easily realized.

Via the Guardian

Swine flue toll rises to 152 in Mexico as 91 Aussies investigated

Click on title to get the link from The Herald Sun, Australia.

Keep in mind, 250,000 to 500,000 people in the world,die of the flu each year.

From the other side of the world, the story continues.

Staff reporters

April 29, 2009 12:00am

April 29, 2009 12:00am
UPDATE 8.03am: AUTHORITIES are investigating almost 100 possible swine flu cases in Australia as new quarantine powers were enacted.

Governor-General Quentin Bryce has consented to sweeping new quarantine powers, Approved by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd last night, for health officials in response to the global outbreak of swine flu.

There are 91 possible swine flu cases being investigated in Australia, including 22 locals who were on the same flight as three New Zealand students now confirmed as being infected.

The remaining cases, a third of them from Queensland, are showing flu-like symptoms and are being tested with the results are expected in the next 48 hours.

Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon approached Ms Bryce last night to approve the powers, which include allowing authorities to detain people suspected of having the potentially deadly virus.

"Using disinfectants on planes or at ports, through to the far more extreme (powers) which are making sure that people are isolated and perhaps detained if they don't cooperate and are showing symptoms of this disease," she told ABC Radio today.

But Ms Roxon stressed they were only precautionary measures and won't necessarily be used.

"We are not about to take those steps but we want to make sure that all the powers are there, that we are ready to act if this takes a dramatic turn for the worst," she said.

Airlines and tour operators have taken the dramatic step of suspending flights to Mexico as the death toll from the deadly swine flu climbed above 150.

As panic over the virus grows, Costa Rica became the first Central American nation to confirm a case of swine flu, while the number of cases in the United States, Europe, Israel and New Zealand continued to increase.

The World Health Organisation said it was "critical" that travellers from Mexico who might be infected be identified, but it did not recommend travel bans.

The body has not declared an outright pandemic, despite the spread of the flu from Mexico to seven other countries.

But it was clear many companies and authorities were already treating the emergency as a global issue.

"Swine flu is an international problem now, it's crossed two continents, it's got to be dealt with by international agreements," British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said in Poland.

Cuba today suspended flights to and from Mexico until Saturday.

A Canadian airline, Air Transat, said it was also halting flights to Mexico until June 1.

And French travel firms announced they were suspending all trips to the country.

Australia, along with Britain, Canada, France, Sri Lanka and Switzerland, is advising against travel to Mexico.

The Government also upgraded its pandemic alert status from "alert" to "delay phase".

This involves an acceleration of preparedness, and efforts to delay the arrival of the virus here through upgraded border protection.

The revised status is one step short of having a confirmed case in Australia.

Health authorities have warned it was a matter when, not if, the deadly virus will strike in Victoria.

The grim prognosis comes after eight people feared to have carried swine flu into Melbourne were cleared of contamination.

Five passengers were yesterday detained on flights arriving at Melbourne Airport shortly before 8am until health authorities could perform on-board health checks.

Quarantine inspectors and officers from the Department of Human Services assessed three adults and two children, who arrived on two different flights from North America, and cleared them of having the deadly virus.

Nurses have been stationed at international airports to detect and treat anyone suspected of carrying the virus.

As the number of suspected cases grew:

DOCTORS reported a rush by patients seeking anti-viral medicines.

DRUG companies Roche and GlaxoSmithKline rushed to bolster stocks of Tamiflu and Relenza, which ease symptoms of the virus, while trying to develop a specific treatment.

FEDERAL Cabinet was briefed on the pandemic threat by Commonwealth chief medical officer Professor Jim Bishop.

Tests cleared three Victorians who returned from the US on Monday suffering illness.

In Mexico, where the outbreak started, 152 are dead with more than 1600 suspected cases.

The World Health Organisation upgraded its pandemic threat level to four, which is two steps short of declaring a full-blown pandemic.

A phase four alert means human-to-human transmission is causing outbreaks in at least one country.

Victoria's Chief Health Officer, Dr John Carnie, said the state was in "delay phase" and trying to keep the virus out by identifying potentially contaminated patients.

"You just have to consider the number of incoming flights into this country," he said. "The fact that more countries overnight are reporting cases, it appears to be a matter of time before we see a confirmed case in Australia.

"We are trying to delay the entry of this virus into Australia -- no one has ever said we can absolutely guarantee that we can completely prevent it forever."

The WHO will raise the pandemic alert to level five or six if widespread infection takes place.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Australia had huge stocks of anti-viral medicines in case of emergency.

At Melbourne Airport some Customs officers were wearing face masks.

- Ben Packham and Grant McArthur with agencies

Monday, April 27, 2009

Swine Flu and the Mexico Mystery

Click on title to go the article

Swine Flu and the Mexico Mystery
Why does the swine flu seem to be more deadly in Mexico?
By David Dobbs

Posted Monday, April 27, 2009, at 3:20 PM ET

Two weeks ago, no one had heard of this strain of swine flu. Now it's on every front page and almost every continent. Is this the deadly global pandemic we've been worrying about?

Certainly there's cause for sober concern, if not alarm. For of the two qualities vital to a nasty pandemic—to spread readily and to be deadly—this flu, a brand-new strain of swine flu, or H1N1, seems to possess the first: Evidence is strong that it spreads readily among humans. In that sense, it's an inversion of the bird flu. Bird flu terrifies infectious disease experts because it kills about half the humans who get it—but it has so far failed to develop the ability to jump easily from person to person.

This swine flu, meanwhile, does seem to spread easily by airborne transmission. But how deadly is it? Despite the 100-plus deaths in Mexico, we don't really know. And that's why epidemiologists are working frantically to figure out the Mexico mystery: Why do the death rates there appear to be so much higher than those in the United States? In Mexico, it has reportedly killed about 100 of the 1,600 official suspected cases; elsewhere, it has appeared to take a far milder course, with zero deaths out of approximately 300 instances. There are several possible explanations for this discrepancy—any one, two, all, or none of these ideas could shed light on how deadly this virus might prove. In order of ascending likelihood for Mexico's higher mortality:

1) Perhaps population-level genetic differences render the U.S. population more resistant to this strain's effects than the Mexican population.

This suggestion has popped up on a few blogs. Does the more indigenous genetic makeup of many Mexicans make them more vulnerable? Though it's nice to see people think genetically, the genetic differences in question would have to be far wider than they are to explain the differences. This isn't like the smallpox situation of 500 years ago, when American Indians were decimated by a virus they'd never encountered while Europeans carried it easily because centuries of exposure had selected them for resistance. This strain of swine flu virus is apparently new to everyone—a combination of bird flu, seasonal human flu, and (predominantly) two kinds of swine flu, all in a form our bodies have never seen. There seems no reason any human population should resist its effects substantially better or worse than any other. We can probably put this "genetic vulnerability" explanation in a drawer.

2) We're really looking at two different viruses, but WHO and the CDC haven't picked up on it.

This was a halfway plausible explanation before the full flu assays were done on significant numbers of both U.S. and Mexico cases. But the completed assays appear to show that the fatal Mexico cases match closely the 40-plus milder cases confirmed in the United States. It's possible, but highly unlikely, that a high proportion of the other 80-plus suspected swine flu deaths in Mexico will prove negative. At least for now, we can probably set this possibility aside as highly remote.

3) Some secondary health issue present in Mexico but not elsewhere—another bug common in the population or in hospitals—is combining with the swine flu to make it more deadly there.

This is remains a distinct possibility. The CDC has tested samples from the fatal cases in Mexico for some possible secondary bugs and vulnerabilities and eliminated the most likely and the easiest to test for, but there's no blanket test for all such candidates. So it's still possible some other bug joined with the swine flu to claim most of the fatalities. It's also possible that Mexico City's air pollution sharpened the course of cases there.

4) Some difference in the way we're tracking and counting cases—a "surveillance difference"—is making the Mexico situation seem worse than it is and the U.S. situation seem better than it really is.

This is a virtual certainty—but with implications that are highly uncertain.

We can be sure we're counting things differently. We don't know the real numbers in Mexico, and the total caseload elsewhere is measured in dozens, which is small enough that you would expect only very high kill rates to show.

Most of the dissonance appears to be from Mexico, where the numbers are bigger and reporting apparently more chaotic. There are some suggestions that a combination of disorganization and politics has slowed or outright discouraged rapid identification and tracking of these cases once it was apparent something was afoot. Doctors in some hospitals are reporting more deaths than now noted, coverups, sloppy containment, and generally dire situations; others claim things are a bit more orderly.

And because Mexico had the bad luck to have its cases emerge in the midst of its flu season, the virus had generated a significant case load and quite a few serious cases before officials realized something more serious was occurring and started tracking in earnest.

All this affects the apparent significance of the numbers involved. Of the 110 million people in Mexico, 1,600 cases have been reported, with about 100 deaths—suggesting a mortality rate of 6 percent. This is almost certainly bad math, as the total case count almost certainly ignores thousands or tens of thousands of other cases that have taken milder courses like those in the United States. It's perfectly conceivable Mexico has actually had 10,000 or 100,000 cases—or even 1 million cases. If so, then the kill rate would be not 6 percent but 0.1 percent (given 10,000 cases) or 0.01 percent (given 100,000 cases). If it's 1 million cases (quite possible if this thing really spreads easily) then the mortality rate is just 1 in 10,000. Meanwhile, because the United States is on high alert—and can take special note of people with recent travel to Mexico—it is probably picking up a fairly high percentage of its cases, including milder instances that would have gone unnoticed in Mexico a few weeks ago.

If it hasn't infected that many thousands of people in Mexico, on the other hand, that would suggest that, though it may be deadly, it doesn't spread as readily as we fear. To hear of multiple tourist groups coming down with the virus suggests it spreads like wildfire. But it also ignores the virtual certainty that many tourists and other travelers have been exposed without getting ill.

That's not to be too sanguine. For one thing, it's also possible that Mexico is missing, undercounting, or badly underreporting deaths. But if this virus really does spread rapidly, its kill rate is fairly low; and if its kill rate is anywhere near as high as the 100-out-of-1,600 suggests, then it doesn't spread very easily.

AP video: Obama addresses the swine flu outbreak.

The answer doubtless lies somewhere in between. The CDC team that went to Mexico on Friday hopes to gather better numbers; with luck, they will soon get a decent grip on how many have likely been exposed, how many of those were infected, and whether a secondary infection or other factor might account for the deaths. That information will help us decide whether Mexico can be viewed as a reliable predictor of what will happen elsewhere.

As Obama's team wisely stressed in its press conference on Sunday, pandemics, like the viruses that cause them, behave in dynamic and unpredictable ways. And just as every flu pandemic differs from every other, a given outbreak, like this one, can display different dynamics on Day 100 than on Day 30, which is roughly where we are now. The transmission dynamics change as more people in new places get it. And as the virus encounters new populations, new environments, and new bits of other flu bugs, it, too, will change—for such is a virus's nature—possibly becoming deadlier or more transmissible, possibly becoming less so.

As one blogger put it, "If you've seen one flu pandemic, you've seen one flu pandemic." But figuring out exactly what's happening in Mexico will give us a much better idea of what we can expect around the world.

David Dobbs, the author of three books, writes on medicine, science, and culture for publications including Slate, the New York Times Magazine, Scientific American, and National Geographic. He blogs at

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Susan Boyle singing aged 25: World exclusive video of Britain's Got Talent star performing at family party

Click on title to link to article

Susan Boyle singing aged 25: World exclusive video of Britain's Got Talent star performing at family party
By Maggie Barry 23/04/2009

A forgotten video unearthed by the Mirror shows Britain's got Talent sensation Susan Boyle has long been amazing audiences with her voice.

Shot during parents Patrick and Bridget’s golden wedding party 23 years ago, the footage reveals Susan belting out the Jesus Christ Superstar hit I Don’t Know How To Love Him.

The room falls silent as the 25-year-old’s voice soars into the rafters of the Welcome pub in her home town of Blackburn, West Lothian.

Big brother Gerry said last night: “It was a very emotional night. It goes quiet when Susan sings, it always does. She always has that effect.

And snaps of her as a child show her love for music started early, as she sits at a piano as a cheerful youngster.

Past flu pandemics

Is there reason for concern?

Source: The Associated Press

The Spanish flu pandemic that started in 1918 was possibly the deadliest outbreak of all time. It was first identified in the U.S., but became known as the Spanish flu because it received more media attention in Spain than in other countries, which were censoring the press during World War I. The 1918 flu was an H1N1 strain — different from the one currently affecting Mexico and the U.S. — and struck mostly healthy young adults. Experts estimate it killed about 40 to 50 million people worldwide.

The 1957 pandemic was known as the Asian flu. It was sparked by an H2N2 strain and was first identified in China. There were two waves of illness during this pandemic; the first wave mostly hit children while the second mostly affected the elderly. It caused about 2 million deaths globally.

The most recent pandemic, known as the Hong Kong flu, was the mildest of the three pandemics this century. It was first spotted in Hong Kong in 1968 and it spread globally over the next two years. The people most susceptible to the virus were the elderly. About 1 million people are estimated to have been killed by this pandemic, an H3N2 flu strain.

New Zealand school group quarantined after Mexico trip

Something to worry about? Maybe

Unlike the bird flu outbreak, which may have been controlled by a huge slaughter of birds, the swine flu seems to have some legs.
The British are on alert, the French may have suspected cases. International flying adds to the mix. Influenza, is not what most people call the flu, which is really the common cold.

The cases are characterized by severe influenza-like symptoms, followed by pneumonia, which has, in some Mexican cases, resulted in death.
Prior to the outbreak, the winter of 2008-2009 was a comparatively mild year for flu infections, which typically cause 250,000-500,000 deaths yearly[10], mostly in the elderly, the very young, and persons with chronic illness.

What concerns the WHO is the possiblity of a pandemic flu attack.

Please read the Herald story or click on the tile for the link.

From Australia and the Hearald Sun
April 26, 2009 05:15pm

UPDATE 6.42pm: Ten New Zealand students are likely to have contracted swine flu during a trip to Mexico, testing has found.

Three teachers and 22 senior students from Auckland's Rangitoto College have been kept in isolation following their return on Saturday from a three week language trip.

More than 80 people in Mexico are believed to have died and over 1300 are sick as a result of catching swine flu. Cases have also been reported in New York, California and Kansas and a British Airways pilot has been hospitalised in London with flu symptoms after returning from Mexico.

Health Minister Tony Ryall said in a statement on Sunday 10 of the 13 students tested had returned positive influenza results.

"Ministry of Health officials advise me there is no guarantee these students have swine influenza, but they consider it likely.

"All precautions are being taken to allow for this. However, I am also informed none of the affected patients are considered seriously ill, and most in fact seem to be on the road to recovery."

The ten students had tested positive for Influenza A.

The results would be sent to the World Health Organisation laboratory in Melbourne to ascertain whether it was the H1N1 swine influenza, he said.

He did not know when the results would be known, but said given the global situation they would be treated with considerable urgency.

He encouraged other passengers on the flight from Los Angeles the students returned on, to consult with their GP or other health professional if they develop flu-like symptoms.

Middlemore Hospital had released tamiflu to the Auckland Regional Public Health Service to treat the patients and people who had been in contact with them.

The Ministry was in contact with the WHO and was liaising with Australia in terms of their response.

The New Zealand school group has been quarantined after returning from Mexico with flu-like symptoms.

A new, multi-strain swine flu has flared in Mexico, and is feared to have killed more than 80 people, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) warning of "pandemic potential."

The New Zealand foreign ministry has issued a travel health notice for swine flu in Mexico, California and Texas, and said anyone who has recently travelled to these areas and developed flu-like symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.

The Rangitoto school party returned to New Zealand from Mexico via Los Angeles.

The New Zealand health ministry is implementing the early stages of its pandemic response plan, and is liaising with the WHO and Australian health officials.

A New Zealand-based animal diseases consultant, Professor Roger Morris, said the country had stockpiles of the medication Tamiflu, which he said appeared to work against the current strain of influenza.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Click on title to get to wikipedia link

Sing the title to Monty Python and you get the idea.

In my inbox, in your inbox, like everyone everywhere, we suffer from ad nauseum. Who out there clicks on the link to continue the chain? If we all band together we can stop the onslaught, the mental damage that is created by the spam.

By the way, did you know I won the Nigerian Lottery?

E-mail spam, also known as junk e-mail, is a subset of spam that involves nearly identical messages sent to numerous recipients by e-mail. A common synonym for spam is unsolicited bulk e-mail (UBE). Definitions of spam usually include the aspects that email is unsolicited and sent in bulk. "UCE" refers specifically to unsolicited commercial e-mail.

E-mail spam has steadily, even exponentially grown since the early 1990s to several billion messages a day. Spam has frustrated, confused, and annoyed e-mail users. Laws against spam have been sporadically implemented, with some being opt-out and others requiring opt in e-mail. The total volume of spam (over 100 billion emails per day as of April 2008[update]) has leveled off slightly in recent years, and is no longer growing exponentially. The amount received by most e-mail users has decreased, mostly because of better filtering. About 80% of all spam is sent by fewer than 200 spammers. Botnets, networks of virus-infected computers, are used to send about 80% of spam. Since the cost of the spam is borne mostly by the recipient, it is effectively postage due advertising.

Hurricane Time Coming Florida Wake Up and GET READY!

Alright people. Everyone knows that we have had a pass the last few years. The hurricane gods were with us. In Florida, June 1st starts the hurricane season which doesn't end until the end of November. Planning is essential to eliminate panic at crunch time.

That means getting a new generator now, gas cans now, emergency supplies now.

That means if you are going to install your own shutters, BUY THEM NOW! Get all your measurements, go to your local home center and start working now. There is no rush that a storm is coming. Plywood is better than nothing, panels are better. It takes time, get help if you need it.

Stores will get overwhelmed and will do their best to help you and load you up but you may be on your own. Make plans if you are leaving, when will you leave,pets to be taken cared of.

Food, water, medical supplies, get them now.

For those of you around the world the Weather Channel ,
becomes the viewing channel of choice. Eyes become glued to the screen, you know all the forecasters, highs and lows, planes flying into storms, predictions of how many, how strong, were will they land, nah, not this time, wind howling, quiet time, here it comes, wow! Do we have power?

Honey, next time we will be ready!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The End Of Radio Daze?

Is radio as we know it dying? All the big markets show their listening base shrinking. Radio station leaders from a few years ago are fighting for scraps. Advertisers are leaving in droves. There are no ears for their ads.

Who is to blame? Clear Channel is one of the major blame holders in this entertainment debacle. They bought up all stations they could in every market to maximize the ad dollar muscle. They got into politics, trying to influence elections.

But worse of all they homogenized the programing, all stations sounding alike. They ruined the creativity of the on air personalities. Go ahead, flip the channels, who is on, whats his/her name? Kids still listen to music, just not on the radio

Bland. Boring. The greatest sin of all.
Flowers and a makeshift memorial outside of Lechuza Caracas Inc. in Florida. (Steve Mitchell / Associated Press)

Human error may have caused the deaths of 21 horses. They had died in the order that thet were given the injections. The investigation continues.

Please click on the title or the link below to get to the article.

Pharmacy: Mistake made in polo horse supplement
Associated Press
WEST PALM BEACH, Florida (AP) - An official at a Florida pharmacy said Thursday the business incorrectly prepared a supplement given to 21 polo horses that died over the weekend while preparing to play in a championship match.

Jennifer Beckett of Franck's Pharmacy in Ocala, Fla., told The Associated Press in a statement that the business conducted an internal investigation that found "the strength of an ingredient in the medication was incorrect." The statement did not say what the ingredient was.

Beckett, who's the pharmacy's chief operating officer, said the pharmacy is cooperating with an investigation by state authorities and the Food and Drug Administration.

The horses from the Venezuelan-owned Lechuza polo team began crumpling to the ground shortly before Sunday's U.S. Open match was supposed to begin, shocking a crowd of well-heeled spectators at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington.

"On an order from a veterinarian, Franck's Pharmacy prepared medication that was used to treat the 21 horses on the Lechuza Polo team," Beckett said. "As soon as we learned of the tragic incident, we conducted an internal investigation."

She said the report has been given to state authorities.

Lechuza also issued a statement to AP acknowledging that a Florida veterinarian wrote the prescription for the pharmacy to create a compound similar to Biodyl, a French-made supplement that includes vitamins and minerals and is not approved for use in the United States.

Only horses treated with the compound became sick and died within 3 hours of treatment," Lechuza said in the statement. "Other horses that were not treated remain healthy and normal."

Lechuza also said it was cooperating with authorities that include the State Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.

Biodyl contains a combination of vitamin B12, a form of selenium called sodium selenite and other minerals. It is made in France by Duluth, Ga.-based animal pharmaceutical firm Merial Ltd. and can be given to horses to help with exhaustion. It is widely used abroad, but not approved in the U.S.

Compound pharmacies can, among other things, add flavor, make substances into a powder or liquid or remove a certain compound that may have an adverse reaction in different animal species. Only in limited circumstances can they legally recreate a drug that is not approved in the U.S., according to the FDA.

Necropsies of the 21 horses found internal bleeding, some in the lungs, but offered no definitive clues to the cause of death.

FDA spokeswoman Siobhan DeLancey said compounding pharmacies cannot legally recreate existing drugs or supplements under patent. In most cases, they are also not allowed to recreate a medication that is not approved for use in the U.S.

On its Web site, the FDA says it generally defers to "state authorities regarding the day-to-day regulation of compounding by veterinarians and pharmacists."

However, the agency says it would "seriously consider enforcement action" if a pharmacy breaks federal law in compounding medications. It isn't yet clear Franck's broke the law.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Shock, Tears, Anger , answers elusive in horse deaths

When you live in a horse community area, you are affected by the wonderful animals, whether you have contact or not.

Please read on.

Click on title for link to story.

Equestrians, Wellington leaders stay hopeful


Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

WELLINGTON — Devastating as they are, the sudden deaths of 21 top-line horses on Sunday before the nation's premier polo tournament haven't provoked the nail-biting fear that shot through the village's horse community when equine herpes broke out here more than two years ago.

Nor is the tragedy expected to drag down the local economy or International Polo Club Palm Beach's season, this year or next, equestrians, business owners and other leaders said Tuesday. Nor has it affected the equally prestigious show-jumping world.

"Wellington will recover very quickly, and the polo season will be fine next year," Mayor Darell Bowen said. "I don't think there's anything widespread, or any conspiracy."

Even before authorities have identified the cause of Sunday's deaths, local leaders say the fatalities appear to be a one-time incident.

In contrast, the late 2006 equine herpes outbreak, which killed six horses statewide, put the equestrian community into a panic because the disease passes through the air and also can spread on shoes, clothes and hands.

The herpes infection ultimately was traced to five horses that had arrived in New York from Europe, along with three New York horses that joined the five in a shipment to Wellington and a ninth that was picked up in Maryland.

"That thing had us crazy," said Lou Cuthbertson, manager of the Tackeria, an equestrian shop. "We had foot baths in front of the store, hand sanitizers on the counter. You couldn't go from barn to barn.

"They weren't sure exactly where it came from," he said. "It paralyzed the community because it was a communicable disease."

But of the recent deaths, he said, "As sad as this is, nobody is in a panic."

The store supplies shampoo, medication and tack to Lechuza Caracas, the top-ranked team whose horses died just before the quarterfinals of the 105th U.S. Open Polo Championship.

Lechuza Caracas withdrew from the remainder of the competition, which continues through Sunday.

It's not clear whether the team will return next year, but participants fluctuate from year to year anyway, International Polo spokesman Tim O'Connor said.

"There are always other groups that will be looking at coming in or coming out," O'Connor said.

It's unlikely the mysterious deaths will cast a pall on International Polo or deter teams from coming in the future, said Graham Bray, polo manager for San Diego Polo Club.

"This was located in one barn," Bray said.

Despite the loss of Lechuza Caracas, the final U.S. Open competitions might draw even larger crowds than usual, local leaders and polo aficionados said.

"I don't think they'll be walking away at all," Wellington Vice Mayor Carmine Priore said. "It's a respect for the team, a showing of continued support for the sport."

But the deaths have put at least a few horse owners on edge. Frank Shulman, owner of the Grand Prix feed and supply store, said at least one of his clients is waiting until results of the horse necropsies and blood tests come back before buying more feed or hay. Shulman's store didn't supply Lechuza Caracas.

The clients "didn't know if they wanted to get anything from Wellington," he said.

Business didn't change at all for Red Barn Feed & Supply, said co-owner Beck Hyslop.

Luckily, the deaths happened at the end of the season, which eases any local economic blow.

"I don't expect any long-term economic consequences," said Dean Turney, executive director of the Wellington Equestrian Alliance.

Still, the upshot of Sunday's misfortune will become more clear after the toxicology reports come back, local leaders and those in the horse industry said.

"We don't know if this was accidental or hanky-panky," said Mason Phelps, a former professional rider who owns Phelps Media, a major equestrian public relations group.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Will YouTube Sensation Susan Boyle Save the Global Economy?

Click on the title for the link to the article

It appears that many like myself have fallen for the Scottish woman with the voice of gold. Simon, you have done it again.

Posted By:Cindy Perman

As the world grapples with headlines about troubled loans at Bank of America, looming bankruptcy at General Motors and pirates wreaking havoc on the high seas, a lone dove has emerged to save the global economy.

I am, of course, talking about singing sensation Susan Boyle, who took the world by storm last week with a rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” from the musical “Les Miserables” on the television show “Britain’s Got Talent” that was so powerful, it made grown men cry.

Not since Ford introduced the Model-T in 1908 has the world been so ... ahem ... moved as it was by Boyle — a dowdy, never-been kissed, unemployed 47-year old who lives alone with her cat Pebbles in a small Scottish town — who proved to Simon Cowell and the world that you don’t have to look like Beyonce to sing like an angel.

Video clips of that audition have been viewed more than 85 million times on YouTube, which is more than the populations of the U.K., Switzerland and Greece combined, and quite a feat for a woman who, before last week, didn’t even know what YouTube was. Now, she’s got a Wikipedia entry, a Facebook page with 1.4 million fans and a Twitter following.

“An inspiration for World Peace!” one poster commented on YouTube.

“It was definitely a moment when the meek inherited the earth,” another posted on her fan site,, said, paraphrasing the Bible.

It is almost Biblical, isn’t it? A virgin emerges from a small village to save the economy.

“I’m gonna make that audience rock!” she says in her thick Scottish accent, wearing a tea-stain colored granny dress, with her contestant number plastered awkwardly across her cleavage.

At first, the crowd jeers.

Boyle rolls her unknown-to-man hips.

Teenage girls roll their eyes. (Yeah, we saw you, eye-rolling girl at 1:24)

The eye roll heard 'round the world.

Then she begins to sing.

And within seconds, they are believers.

And crying like little girls.

Susan Boyle has given people a reason to hope.

A reason to look up from their flaming 401(k) statements.

I dreamed a dream in time gone by

A reason to walk over to their computer and log on to

When hope was high

A reason to buy Kleenex in bulk at Costco.

And life worth living

A reason to go to to pre-order her CD.

I dreamed that love would never die—

A reason to pick up a copy of a tabloid, to see what the paparazzi rummaging through her trash — sorry, rubbish — have uncovered.

I dreamed that God would be forgiving

A reason to watch the made-for-TV movie about her on Lifetime and expose themselves to millions of dollars in advertising.

As she concluded the song and the crowd jumped to its feet cheering, Susan Boyle blew a kiss. A kiss that, like the butterfly that flapped its wings, set in motion a flutter of dollars, pounds, euros and yen that will get this global economy humming again.

Touting Factory Pig Farming Safe, Really?

Click on the title to get to Treehugger or the link below.

When you think of a farm, does Old McDonald come to mind? Horses running around, chickens flapping their wings, pecking at the ground, cows mooing in the pastures?

Nothing can be further from the truth. As more and more articles come out showing the farming techniques to squeeze out the last nickel, whose fault is it?

It's you Mr. and Mrs. consumer. Its all of us. We don't want to pay too much for our food so the farmer (cold hearted corporate machine) has to cut corners to make ends meet. This spells trouble for us all. The anti-biotic that could save us in the hospital when we are sick is being used so frequently to keep the animals alive, that it is fast becoming ineffective.

Most people would not be able to watch the processing of animals from the farm to the market. It they did some changes might be made. Humane practices would be used.

Factory farming should be outlawed or at least better conditions achieved to fill our bellies. Don't be too smug vegans, the stuff you eat today is not the same as when you were a child. Nothing is.

For other information, please read my post on salmon farming.

Touting Factory Pig Farming Safe, Really?
by Sara Novak, Columbia, SC on 04.12.09

In an age where nearly 70 percent of antibiotics produced annually are given to some form of livestock and mass production of livestock has led to widespread animal mistreatment and serious environmental repercussions, it seems flippant to claim that factory farming is done for the safety of consumers.

In a recent NY Times editorial, James McWilliams dismisses "free range [as] ultimately an arbitrary point between the wild and the domesticated" and claims that there are higher rates of salmonella in free-range pigs.

According to the National Academy of Sciences, however, roughly 70 percent of the antibiotics and other antimicrobial drugs used in the U.S. are fed to farm animals in order to promote growth and prevent rampant disease from striking animals that are kept in filthy, stressful environments.

In fact, many common bacteria (such as Salmonella, Campylobacter, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and E. coli) have developed a resistance to these drugs. What's worse, according to Paula Crossfield over at Huffington Post, the study cited by Mr. McWilliams (Foodborne Pathogens and Disease) was funded by the National Pork Board, which determined that the parasite trichinia was "present" in two of the free-range pigs in that study because of the presence of antibodies -- no disease had formed at all.

The Overall Health of the Animal Sacrificed in Factory Farming The limited consideration given to the editorial is best evidenced by its failure to address the fact that overall health is markedly better in free range pigs.

This is the likely consequence of choosing not to pack fully grown 250-pound male hogs into tiny pens, so that they can trample each other to death in their own feces. Maybe free range pigs are just healthier because they avoid the temperatures inside hog houses, which often exceed ninety degrees and exacerbates the unbearable stench. That smell is a sign of the polluted air that can be lethal to the pigs.

Hogs produce three times more excrement than human beings do. Lloyd wrote about a Rolling Stone article entitled Pork's Dirty Little Secret which reported that an estimated 500,000 pigs at a subsidiary of pork giant Smithfield generates more fecal matter each year than the 1.5 million inhabitants of Manhattan.

The kindest estimates put Smithfield's total waste discharge at 26 million tons a year. And this is toxic shit; the excrement falls into a waste bin under the pens along with broken bottles of insecticide, antibiotic syringes, stillborn pigs -- anything small enough to fit through the foot-wide pipes that drain the pits.

Factory Farming, a Greed Based Industry Mr. McWilliams' most misguided statements might be that grass fed is just a gimmick for farmers to make more money and that factory farming wasn’t just adopted because of it’s lucrative nature. Smithfield, the largest and most profitable pork processor in the world, killed 27 million hogs last year. The business is profitable because it is inhumane. Factory sows live in a continuous cycle of impregnation. In fact, each sow has more than 20 piglets per year.

After birth, factory hogs and sows are packed into tiny pens to increase marginal returns, regardless of the health consequences. Large pork producers figure that they can just inoculate their way out of any health concerns.

Can anyone seriously assert that ensuring that an animal eats better and has a little room to breath doesn't produce better quality pork?

While grass fed pork may be slightly more expensive, it is because the marginal costs are higher. For anyone to call grass fed farming greed-based seems no less than suspect.

Greed-based or not, I'd rather eat pigs that roam freely, socialize, and engage in instinctive pig behavior like rooting, wallowing, and foraging; pigs that are not force fed hormones and antibiotics, or anything other than food you might eat yourself.

Monday, April 20, 2009

"Just 15 of the world's biggest ships may now emit as much pollution as all the world's 760m cars"

Please click on the title to get to the article or the link at the bottom of the article.

All pollution counts. Sometimes one is not aware how many different areas pollution can come from. Who would think shipping could contribute in such a major way? If you live near a factory you can see the smokestack. Who sees the ships at sea? Please read on.

"Just 15 of the world's biggest ships may now emit as much pollution as all the world's 760m cars"

by Michael Graham Richard, Gatineau, Canada on 04.14.09

Holy Cr...The Guardian has a pretty shocking piece about giant cargo ships and the pollution they emit. The title of this post is a line from "confidential data from maritime industry insiders", and according to them, the low-grade ship bunker fuel that powers cargo ships has up to 2,000 times the sulphur content of diesel fuel used in US, and European automobiles and emission control is practically non-existent.

We already wrote about some studies by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Colorado, Boulder, that showed that cargo ships emitted about as much air pollution as half the world's cars, and that sounded like a lot, but if the Guardian is right, this was widely over-optimistic.

What Should be Done to Clean Up Cargo Ships?
It can be very hard to regulate anything in international waters, but studies show that buffer zones in territorial waters could help. The US EPA says that a buffer that could be in place by next year could "save 8,000 lives a year with new air quality standards cutting sulphur in fuel by 98%, particulate matter by 85% and nitrogen oxide emissions by 80%."

Something similar could be done in around Europe, where some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world are.
But as TreeHugger writer John Laumer pointed out, this probably would only shift the problem around. The most polluting cargo ships would then be sent to developing nation shipping lanes and air-pollution in the poorest countries - which already have it bad - could actually increase.

A potential solution might be a global treaty through the UN, but even that has downsides... But something will need to be done, because if the Guardian's sources are correct, the current situation is simply ridiculous. Cargo ships will need clean fuel, better emission controls, and they will need to use the power of the wind and sun.

Shipping by numbers
The world's biggest container ships have 109,000 horsepower engines which weigh 2,300 tons.

Each ship expects to operate 24hrs a day for about 280 days a year

There are 90,000 ocean-going cargo ships

Shipping is responsible for 18-30% of all the world's nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution and 9% of the global sulphur oxide (SOx) pollution.

One large ship can generate about 5,000 tonnes of sulphur oxide (SOx) pollution in a year

70% of all ship emissions are within 400km of land.

85% of all ship pollution is in the northern hemisphere.

Shipping is responsible for 3.5% to 4% of all climate change emissions

Here we can see that the primary concern with shipping is air-pollution ("US academic research which showed that pollution from the world's 90,000 cargo ships leads to 60,000 deaths a year in the US alone and costs up to $330bn per year in health costs from lung and heart diseases"). It does contribute significantly to global warming, but about 5-6 times less than land-based transportation.

Via The Guardian

12 Fruits with the Most Pesticides

Click on the title to get to article or on the link below to see the slide show!

Still think it's silly to pay extra for organic for fruits and vegetables? Maybe not if you want to savour the fruits of success.(pun intended)

12 Fruits with the Most Pesticides (Slide show)
by Collin Dunn, Corvallis, OR, USA on 04.13.09

"Eat organic," you hear, over and over again. But it can be tough to find organic versions of your favorite fruits and vegetables all the time, so, how do you know which are most important to eat organic?

Thanks to the Environmental Working Group, whom we recently named as Best Natural-Health News Website, who've created the Shopper's Guide to Pesticides, we know which fruits are found to have the most pesticides; click through to see which 12 fruits have the heaviest pesticide loads, so you'll know which fruits you should definitely buy organic.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Part 2-Dean Kamen on Clean Energy, Clean Water, and Commuting in the Mega City (Part Two)

Click on title to link to article

This is the link to the first article.

by Jacob Gordon, Nashville, TN on 04.16.09

With his planes, helicopters, and other fuel-hungry pets, Dean Kamen admits that he takes a lot out of the world. This just means that, in keeping with his immigrant grandfather’s advice, he has to put more back in. In the second part of our conversation, Kamen shares his obsession with the Sterling engine, telling about the one rigged into his electric car, the ones stationed in Bangladeshi villages, and the 80,000-pound Sterling sitting in his living room.

The maverick inventor also lets us in on his vision of the future, which will see many of our problems evaporate, and new ones born.

TreeHugger: If you recall in Back to the Future II, Doc has the DeLorean rigged up with the Mr. Fusion, and he’s throwing banana peels and Miller High Life in there. This seems a lot like how you describe the Sterling Engine. What is a Sterling engine?
Kamen: Very basically, as a physicist, I would tell you that a Sterling engine is a heat engine which extracts energy from heat and turns it into mechanical work like other heat engines—like the Braden cycle or the Rankine cycle or the Otto cycle or the Diesel cycle. But, it does it as an external combustion device. The fuel that heats the gas inside the engine never goes inside the engine itself.

As a consequence, the Sterling thermodynamic cycle allows you to use a much broader range of fuels because they don't have to be compatible with the inside workings of your engine. They don't have to be mixed with air in such a ratio as to get the kind of spark ignition or compression ignition that you have in the kinds of engines in cars and trucks.

It allowed us to build an engine that could use many, many more different kinds of fuels, particularly ones that would be locally available around the world: anything from olive oil to cow dung to methane gas. And even when it did burn available fuels—like diesel, kerosene, or gasoline—it burns them in a continuous combustion, like your kitchen stove as opposed to the explosions, the bang, bang, bang of your diesel, we can burn them much more cleanly with much less environmental impact than when they are burned in other thermodynamic cycles.

TreeHugger: I've seen you present the Sterling engine as a solution for stationary power generation that can be fed with a vast array of available fuels. “Anything that burns” is how you said it.
Kamen: In fact we had two villages in Bangladesh that we ran for 24 weeks in an experiment with our Sterling engine. As you say, it was stationary power in these little villages. And the only fuel that those engines burned during that time was the methane gas evolving off piles of cow dung that were put into pits next to the engine. Had those pits just allowed that methane to evolve as it would anyway, methane gas is 21 times as bad for the environment as carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. And then it turns into carbon dioxide anyway.

So we collected that methane, burned it locally to heat up one end of our engine, literally like you burn methane in your camper stove. And we made electricity and eliminated the methane gas.

(Page 2 of 3)TreeHugger: In addition to that, you have rigged up a Think City electric car (this tiny Norwegian EV that was at one time owned by Ford and is now independent again) with a Sterling engine. Is this still something that you are pursuing?

Kamen: In fact I drove that car you just discussed into work today from my house. It's a lot of fun and our theory there is that eventually (nobody knows how long eventually is, especially when it comes to both developing technologies and having the public accept them) but eventually, a lot of vehicles that move people around will be purely electric. This is because there will be easier and more cost effective ways to carry enough energy in the form of batteries or fuel cells or other storage media to move these vehicles around.

Right now, however, the big advantage of an electric vehicle is that the motor doesn't waste any power when you're not moving (in other words it doesn't need to idle when you're at a traffic light or sitting in traffic). Electric motors are smaller and lighter as a source of torque than the gas engine. They don't need transmissions. They don't need clutches.
There are a lot of advantages to them, but the huge disadvantage of a purely electric vehicle is that it has to carry all the energy to move that car around in the form of batteries. And you can carry about a hundred times as much energy in a gallon of gas as you can in that amount of battery.

So electric cars have to have either hundreds and hundreds of pounds of batteries, which costs thousands and thousands of dollars, or they have very limited performance. We said, let's get the best of both worlds until the rest of the technologies to go purely electric make sense.

We said, let's build a small Sterling cycle engine, put it in a small electric car, let the car have only enough battery to meet the peak performance it needs to develop enough torque to give it some real good get up and go. Let it have enough range on those batteries to do most things. But let's let the little Sterling sit there and always be topping off the charge, and keeping your car warm so you don't waste electricity doing some of the auxiliaries like defrosting and heating. And you never have to worry about being stuck somewhere because the Sterling can come up and charge the batteries.

We thought this was a very nice application for the Sterling. Frankly, to us, it was a stepping stone to getting the Sterling into production so that, as I said before, we could supply millions of these things to the developing world. It could be the source of electricity for the water machine we were just discussing, because although the water machine doesn't need membranes and filters and all the other stuff, it unfortunately does need electricity. And many of the places in the world that don't have clean water also don't have access to electricity.

So, we thought, we've got to develop both the water system (the Slingshot) and the Sterling system together so that we could serve both needs.
TreeHugger: Calling All Innovators is a design competition that you've helped spearhead. Tell us a little bit about this.Kamen: There's no end to the imagination of kids around the world; and some kids are 90 years old.

But it's rare that you can get them all focused and organized on solving particular problems, particularly ones that have a real social impact. A lot of inventors are caricatured as wacky people inventing Rube Goldberg machines. So when these people came to me and said, "Hey, we'd like you to help us highlight a program to get more kids—but, again kids of any age—to use advanced technologies to help develop technologies that the world really needs," I thought it was a good idea.

Maybe by using some of the cell phone technologies and other now-available and cost effective and reliable technologies; maybe by putting prizes or incentives or focus out there we can get more smart, creative people to use their energies to produce new ideas and innovations that will really make the world a better, more sustainable place

(Page 3 of 3)TreeHugger: I know you're fond of your helicopters and airplanes. This must take quite a toll on your personal carbon footprint. Is this a priority for you, and are there things you're doing to try and mitigate it?

Kamen: Well, as I tell everybody, I work all day. I work all night. I work all weekend. People want to know why I do that. And I say, "Well, because I have a problem. I don't want to feel guilty all the time." And as a little kid, one of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from my grandfather, who said, "You've got to make sure that, in the end, you give back to the world more than you took out."

He was an immigrant, came to this country without much. But he was always philanthropic to the extent that he could be. He would always remind me that the better you do, the more have you have to give back. And as I grew up, I decided I really do believe his philosophy: that if all of us would agree to give back a little more than we take out, then by definition, everyday the whole world would be a richer place.

But I recognize that four billion out of the six billion people on this planet really do live on less than two bucks a day. Right now they're not in the position to give much back. I, for lots of reasons, including luck, am in a substantially different position. And so, taking his advice to heart, I believe, "OK, I will give back more than I take out. But, I plan to take out a lot."
And I do take out a lot—I never forget that. And I never get jaded by that. So if I'm going to have the opportunities to design or build or fly in helicopters and airplanes, and it allows me to go places and do things most people don't get to do, and it allows me to do a lot of work most people couldn't get into a day without those tools, if I'm going to have access to that stuff, I have to work extra hard to make sure I'm giving back to the world.

Which is why I started First, a program to get kids into science and technology. Which is why I work on our water project. It's why I work on our electric generation systems that I hope will be deployed around the world. Which is why I work mostly, in my day job, on medical products. I try to work on things that I believe the world needs and I try to work on things that I believe will help make the world sustainable.

TreeHugger: So tell me this: what's going to come next?
Kamen: Well, last night it was about quarter to five in the morning when I finally got to bed. I was working on my 80,000 pound, hundred-and-something-year-old, soon-to-be-converted, Sterling engine that's sitting literally in the living room of my house with a bunch of my zealots. I don't get to sleep a lot, but I don't mind that. Life is short, and I don't want to waste any of it.

If you ask, "What do I think are the next big things in terms of large areas of where technology is going to effect the world?" Proteomics, genomics, nanotechnology—there are so many exciting new fields, literally whole fields being created by what we're now able to understand about nature, that I think it's hard to predict what new fields and technologies are going to be part of life even 10 or 20 years from today. But, it will be very, very different than it is now.

Most of the problems people worry about now, they don't need to worry about. They'll go away. What I'm concerned about is what will be the then critical problems, and how are we going to deal with them.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Cancer-busting Breakthrough

Click on title to link and article

From Australia and the Herald Sun

Robyn Riley
April 19, 2009 12:00am
RESEARCHERS at Melbourne's Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre have discovered a genetic key that could lead to world-first cure for ovarian cancer.

A major Victorian study is investigating whether gene mutations are responsible for the cancer, which claims the lives of 800 Australian women each year.

Lead researcher Prof David Bowtell said the study might hold the key to prevention and increased cures. Prof Bowtell, Dr Gillian Mitchell and Prof Stephen Fox, of Peter Mac, have won funding to look at how many women with ovarian cancer carry mutations in either of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.

It has been known for more than a decade that women who carry either mutation have a greatly increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
Prof Bowtell's Australian ovarian cancer study examines the other side of the coin -- how many women with ovarian cancer carry the mutation.
Prof Bowtell said Canadian researchers had found 18 per cent of women with the most common type of invasive ovarian cancer had mutations of the BRCA genes.

His study aims to test the Canadian results and, if confirmed, he believes this will change the way ovarian cancer is managed "given the stronger involvement of BRCA mutations in the development of ovarian cancer in the general population than previously believed".

"We know that we can reduce the risk of ovarian cancer, in women carrying the mutation, by about 95 per cent," Prof Bowtell said.
"Hence, it is important to identify all those that may be carriers -- the sisters and daughters of women with the disease."

Women with these gene mutations have a 40 per cent risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Why that happens is not yet fully understood.
About 1100 new cases of ovarian cancer are diagnosed in Australia each year and 800 women die every year.

At present, in Victoria, fewer than half the women diagnosed with ovarian cancer survive five years.

This is because there is no early detection test and by the time most women are diagnosed, the cancer is well advanced.

Golfer aces same hole on two straight days

Click on title for link to article

If you are starting to think I obsess to much on golf, You are correct!

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) - Brendon Todd made Nationwide Tour history by making a hole-in-one at the same hole for the second straight day at the Athens Regional Foundation Classic.

The former Georgia All-American aced the 147-yard 17th hole on Friday, using an 8-iron during the second round at the Jennings Mill Country Club course.

"It's still hard to believe," Todd said after posting a 1-under 71. "It's a bit surreal, even now."

During Thursday's opening round, Todd used a 7-iron when the hole played 157 yards and he finished with a 4-under 68. He is 5-under for the $550,000 event.

Todd is the first player in the 20-year history of the tour to ace the same hole twice in the same tournament.

"I had just come off a bogey and so I wasn't in a great mood when I stepped on the tee. I wasn't even thinking about making it," he said. "It was a perfect yardage and I flagged it. It looked pretty good in the air and then landed about 4 feet short and left of the hole and rolled in the back of the cup. I guess I played the break perfectly."

The last player to ace the same hole twice in the same tournament was Graham Marsh in the first and third rounds of the 2004 Senior British Open.

Yusaku Miyazato (2006), Bob Tway (1994), Glen Day (1994), Jack Rule (1964) and Bill Whedon (1955) are the only players in modern PGA Tour history to record two aces in a single event. Miyazato and Whedon are the only ones to do it in the same round.

Friday, April 17, 2009

One Can't Help But Trip Over A Dog Around The House

We currently have Seven dogs around the house. 7 dogs! Sigh.
They are under, over, around, loud, noisy, loveable, messy, playing, fighting, barking, eating, drinking, and digging, and doing something else I can't think of. Oh yes, sleeping.

One black Lab, two beagles, and four dachsunds. Seems like alot, Yea. Soft brain, big heart, I guess.

The Lab is around 10 years old, a pure bred we got for free. My favorite. His name is Muggsy. Papers and everything. No, not those kind of papers.

My younger daughter worked as a volunteer at an animal shelter. One day she brought home a beagle, because of a approaching hurricane. We kept her because the reasoning being it would be company for the Lab.

Turned out, he could care less. My son named her Skippy . Again my daughter brought home another beagle, my son named her Wilma after the hurricane. Thankfully, she stopped working at the shelter. After a break in time period, fighting, teeth baring, growling, they now sleep next to each other. The Lab ignores them, except during mating season, where he hopes love will bloom, but alas, not with fixed dogs.

My older daughter came back home to live , came with two dachsunds. Precious the female, Murphy the male, not related to any world disaster.

Last Christmas, mr. and mrs. dachsund were to have puppies. She went into labor Christmas night, but things did not gow well. She was rushed to the vet to have a c-section set to have five pups, quite alot for such a small dog.
One pup was dead, and the mother and one pup were not doing well. Three puppies (all males) were fine. Sad news, the mom and the one pup died during the night.

Alot of tears followed. But there was much work to be done.

Luckily, the whole family was home for the holidays. The three pups had to be bottle fed once every 45 minutes for about a week or they would die. The wife and daughters did most of the work, taking turns sleeping and feeding.
The dogs that is. After awhile I got involved. You also had to stimulate the dogs to poop. Oh what fun. Many a shirt got stained. I smelled like dog formula at work, my clothes smelled like the puppies. What fun.

The smallest pup developed a throat infection, couldn't sleep, couldn't eat. If it lost too much weight, it would die. I would squirt drops into the mouth and hold it closed to force it to swallow. A trip to the vet saved him

Time marches on. Almost 4 months later, all seem healthy, the puppies are almost the same size of the father which now has the nick name Papa Murph (Smurf), and they are all sleeping on each other.

The Lab is still by himself, waiting for me to throw his beloved frisbee, and maybe take a dip in the pool. The beagles are sleeping, thinking of what to eat, and plotting to take over the world.

Meanwhile, it is time to clean the yard, where one would wonder if we have horses or elephants, or that the circus came to town and left a yard of presents.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Part 1-Dean Kamen on Clean Energy, Clean Water, and Commuting in the Mega City (Part One)

Click on the link or the title to go to the article.

by Jacob Gordon, Nashville, TN on 04.10.09

Dean Kamen is the kind of inventor we don’t imagine exists anymore—a fervent polymath like Thomas Edison. Best known as the creator of the Segway, Kamen is also responsible for major breakthroughs in clean energy, water purification, prosthetics, and other urban transport devices.

He is the owner of a small island off the coast of New York where he tests his creations. He recently took the island zero-net energy with solar cells and LED lighting.

TreeHugger: So you’re the owner of a private island in the Long Island Sound called North Dumpling. You were able to render the island net zero energy. How did you do this, and why?
Kamen: Well, it's a long story, but that island has a great, great history. It was discovered and named in 1609 by the English explorer Adrian Block. For all of his great service, in 1639, it was granted to him by the King.

And it went from his estate to other notables, including the then Governor Winthrop of the colony of Connecticut, until just after the Civil War when it became a part of New York. In 1847, it was taken by the federal government to be the location of a lighthouse, which they call the North Dumpling Light. From 1847 till the 1930s, it was manned by lighthouse keepers that used oil lamps to help keep the shipping lanes in and out of New York safe with the North Dumpling Light.

In 1932, the federal government ran an eight mile undersea cable and electrified the light. They discontinued having lighthouse keepers there, and some number of years later they auctioned this unique, historical island off because the government didn't need to own the island, they just needed an easement for their light.

It turns out that just last year the government decided, "We don't even need to continue to operate the 80 year old undersea cable." They could—and I applaud them for doing so—change to an efficient light and photovoltaics, and their goal of keeping the light on and keeping the shipping lanes open would be solved.

Unfortunately, for the three houses I have on the island, their little photovoltaics wouldn't do it, and I wasn't in a position to take over responsibly for the undersea cable. So I had a very high incentive to figure out how to use technology to instantly substitute for the eight-mile undersea cable.

Nearly 20 years ago, when it wasn't very popular and nobody knew what a carbon footprint was and nobody talked about global warming, I did put a ten kilowatt wind turbine on the island. It turned out it was a bit more of a hassle than I thought to actually put my own wind turbine on my own island. But that's another fun and interesting story.

As of last year, as I said, when we were told by the Coast Guard that the electricity was going to be eliminated, we immediately started figuring out how to reduce our overall loads by putting LED lights everywhere. And we got a lot of cooperation from the Phillips Company and Color Kinetics.

We started looking at all sorts of other ways to dramatically reduce our consumption of energy and to increase our production, including photovoltaic cells and a Sterling cycle generator (which is one of my own designs), and other things to augment and improve the wind turbine system.

TreeHugger: Let's talk about the Segway. You're best known in the mainstream for inventing the Segway. And around the time of the Segway's much anticipated launch, you were talking about some very idealistic hopes for the Segway as a new form of sustainable transportation that could reenergize downtown areas by reducing the need for cars, and take people “the last mile,” as you referred to it. Is the Segway being used the way you envisioned it?

Kamen: I hope so. I think it will take time. I think virtually every new technology that I've ever seen ends up starting out in some very specific niche market where it can do something that simply can't be done any other way. And so people are willing, since they have no alternative, to take risks, pay a premium, or overcome obstacles to allow the world to change. And change is always seen with skepticism. So, whether it was computers, telephones, or airplanes, you name it, they typically get used in some very niche way when they're new and high priced. And then over time, they end up being used in completely unrelated ways to what the inventor had in mind.

And typically, as their acceptance goes up and their costs come down, they get used for all sorts of things. The Segway has now established itself, for instance, in the security industry and police as a very efficient way to carry people that have to primarily walk around to do their job. It gives them more efficiency, more mobility, more visibility. And they can afford to use the Segway to accomplish those goals.

I think as time goes on, the Segway will end up—as I thought many years ago—being a very attractive alternative in dense, pedestrian-orientated, urban environments where cars are just impractical and frustratingly slow...and expensive, and difficult to park, and difficult to do lots of things with.

Since the average speed in most big cities between any two addresses is still only seven or eight miles an hour—whether you do it by a cab or a trolley or a subway. But seven or eight miles an hour is still four times faster than walking at one and half or two miles an hour.

The fact that a Segway can get you from one place to another at the same average speed as all those other alternatives without the hassle, without the cost, and without the environmental impact on a per-trip basis, it gives the pedestrian a 300% or 400% increase in efficiency based on speed. It has lots of potential applications, since nearly half of the global population now lives in cities or megacities—that's over three billion people who do almost all of their primary traveling on their feet.

Most New Yorkers don't have a driver's license. So we believe that the future will be megacities where most people don't own or drive cars as their primary method of getting around locally. We think that the Segway is a huge opportunity.

It's certainly fun and environmentally friendly compared to most of the alternatives.

TreeHugger: You've done some remarkable work with water purification. What's the latest with that?
Kamen: We believe that technology really does have a huge opportunity to affect the way people live and work, like the Segway. But, there are some really, really critical issues that most people, particularly in the United States, are lucky enough to never have to deal with. About a quarter of the people alive today do not have access to safe drinking water. The number one cause of death in many country is water-borne pathogens. Two million people, mostly kids under five years old, die every year because of lack of water.

And most credible global health organizations will tell you that virtually 50% of all the hospital beds that have people in them right now are filled simply because of the lack of clean water. That’s falf of all human disease.
We decided that there ought to be a technology to solve that problem. Knowing that most of those people don't live in a world where there's a lot of infrastructure, we figured it can't be the typical 19th or 20th century industrial world model of mega-systems run by big municipal organizations.

We decided that we ought to be able to build a small machine that could be carried by a couple of people into any environment, such as a small village (of which there are 900,000 in places like India, Bangladesh, Central America, and Africa).

We ought to be able to move a machine into place, plop it down and have it draw from any source of local water, whether it's full of bioburden, Criptospiridium, Giraudia, or whether it is full of inorganics like arsenic and heavy metals, as are a million-and-a-half wells in India and Bangladesh.
It ought to be a box that is agnostic about what is wrong with the input water, and can even take saltwater from the ocean. It ought to be able to just have two hoses on it, one that you put into a source—anything that looks wet—and another hose out of which comes pure water that is safe and attractive.

Not only would it be safe, but it wouldn't smell from chlorine. It wouldn't have other problems that you and I wouldn't tolerate in our water.
And we said if we could make a box like that and make it operate efficiently enough that it could make water at a reasonable cost, and it could operate for reasonable periods of time without a lot of maintenance, and we could build them in quantities where one machine could serve 100 people, you could go build a few million machines and you could serve a pretty good proportion of the people who don't have drinkable water now.

And so we have spent about 10 years developing the core technology to make that machine possible. The goal was no membrane, even if there is salt water. No chemicals, like chlorine, even if there's bioburden in the water. No activated charcoal or other kinds of consumables even if there are heavy metals and inorganics.

The machine has to operate cost effectively, reliably, without maintenance and disposables, making at least 1,000 liters of water a day for a number of years. And we think we have gotten to where it's time to start testing these systems in reasonable quantities in different locations around the planet.
TreeHugger: You know you've made it when you're invited to be a guest on the Colbert Report. You brought this device on there and Steven threw what I think were chilly lime tortilla chips into the contaminated water. How did that work out?

Kamen: Our machine is good, as I said. It not only could take care of stuff that could kill you, like inorganics and heavy metals and spores from viruses and bacteria, it could even handle everything that Steven Colbert threw at it. We both drank the water and I don't recall either of us having any ill effects.

The Trouble with Salmon

Click on the title or link to get to the story

Not unlike the story of the" ocean of plastic" in the Pacific ocean, this story will make you wonder if the world is tilted in the wrong direction. One can put up a sign that states WET PAINT and someone will leave hand prints and be surprised.

When we shake our heads and wonder when they say the oceans are being fished out and soon they will be gone, we will be surprised.

This story is long so have some time to read it. No quickie read here.

The Trouble with Salmon
Ironically, the healthiest choice on the menu may, in the long run, be the most serious danger to your health and to the planet. Here is the unbelievable truth about salmon.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

British Idol Wows This American (Idol)?

I am not into American Idol, often joke about it to those that are, but sometimes you see and hear something incredible and pure from the most unlikely people.

I am posting the videos you see below. The one for Susan Doyle, you have to click on it and go to You Tube. I apologize for the inconvenience.

You may have seen them before, if not I betting it will bring you tears of joy. If you have, that lower lip may quiver and tears will well up once again.

Paul Potts

Connie Talbot

Susan Doyle

Can't judge a book by its cover. There is hope for me yet?

Socialism Replacing Liberal As The New Right Wing Dirty Word

When a confirmed right winger stopped by work today, our usual tug of war conversation was peppered by the word socialism repeatedly. This puzzled me, wondering what brought this on. Some people have a tendency to parrot what they hear on the radio and watch on TV. Talking points are what they are called. For those who can't come up with an original idea, this is an easy crutch to fall back on.

Socialism refers to a broad set of economic theories of social organization advocating public or state ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods, and a society characterized by equality for all individuals, with a fair or egalitarian method of compensation.[

I don't think those that use the word in conversation really know the meaning of the word. But it sounds cool, cutting edge. Just like "Flip Flop" was used against John Kerry in the presidential election.

The tea parties now being organized across the country by "grass roots organizers" is actually being sponsored by Republican ex-power brokers and of course Fox News."Fair and Balanced"? There isn't a grassroots campaign growing. Most people want a job and a few bucks in their pockets.

I don't know for sure but Rush Limbaugh must be involved. He would not be able to resist. The "tea party" is the result of a rant by Rick Santelli of CNBC that got a lot of press and a story and video that I posted awhile back.

After continuing our verbal jousting about the economy, he asked me when I would stop blaming Bush for everything, I replied"In eight years!" Then Bush will know how Clinton feels.

Most working people just want a fair opportunity to succeed in life, the rest want to blame "them" for their shortcomings.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

How Do You Get From San Francisco To Sydney? With Plastic Of Course, Plastiki Boat!

A follow up post about Plastiki. Its getting close to the sailing time for David. Wish you could go with?

Click on title for story or links below
David de Rothschild Sets Sail on Plastic Ship
by Bonnie Alter, London on 04.14.09

In a few weeks David de Rothschild, one of the world's most desirable eco-warriors, will set sail across the Pacific Ocean on a plastic catamaran, called the Plastiki. He will be headed towards the Great Pacific Garbage Patch which is a garbage -covered region of the ocean, several hundred miles wide.
He is doing this, along with a crew of six, to alert the world to this hideous "natural" phenomenon which has been collecting there at least since 1999 and is killing seabirds and fish in the area.

Image from

He will be taking samples and photos and videos of the area to highlight the ocean's plastic pollution problems. The plastic has been swept from coastal cities in Asia and California and is trapped in this vortex of currents that circulate in the area.

The fish and seabirds mistake the plastic for food and choke. The albatross population has been destroyed, their "body cavities are full of huge chunks of many types of plastics, from toothbrushes to bottle caps to needles and syringes."

The boat, called the Plastiki, after the famous raft the Kon-Tiki is being built at Pier 31 in San Francisco. It has a hull made of frames filled with 12,000 plastic bottles. The cabin and bulkheads have been made out of recycled PET. Two wind turbines and an array of solar panels will charge a bank of 12-volt batteries, which will power several onboard laptop computers, a GPS and SAT phone. It took 3 years to design the 20 metre boat and has cost several million dollars.

It was supposed to set sail on the anniversary of Thor Heyerdahl's adventure, but the departure has been delayed. It's a dangerous voyage; there will be no accompanying boats although they will be met by a support team at each port of call. They will be travelling 10,500 miles from San Francisco to Hawaii, Bikini Atoll and landing at Sydney, Australia.

How will it go? As he says "These are just unknowns," he added. "That's an adventure! If it was planned and everyone knew, no one would be interested."

Image from, De Rothschild is a fascinating eco-warrior. He is gorgeous, rich and extremely eligible. He has been called an "eco-toff" because he uses his inherited wealth to promote environmental causes.

He has written a book on global warming, is a member of Britain's junior eventing (horseback riding) team and has taken part in treks across the Antarctic and Arctic. He also owns an organic farm in New Zealand and founded Adventure Ecology to encourage children's interest in the environment.

Monday, April 13, 2009

How To Turn Scrap Into New Cars $$$

Will it work, or is it distributing the same money from other retail areas?

How to stimulate the production and sales of new cars? Here are a few answers from a few countries across the pond.

German car scrap scheme expands

Recycling plants, such as this in Leverkusen, are seeing more demand
Germany has tripled the size of its car-scrapping scheme, which rewards trading in old cars for new ones.

The government will raise its budget from 1.5bn to 5bn euros ($6.6bn; £4.5bn), aiming to cover up to two million cars instead of 600,000.
The scheme has been very popular, driving German car sales to their highest level for 10 years last month.

Under the car-scrapping scheme, German consumers are paid 2,500 euros for turning in a car which is at least nine years old in exchange for one no more than one year old.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm said the scheme was being expanded "in view of the strong demand".

Not to be outdone, here is the UK's answer.

The government is likely to introduce an incentive scheme for car owners to scrap old vehicles in exchange for new ones, the BBC has learned.
The move would probably involve a payment of £2,000 to trade in cars that are a certain number of years old.

The controversial plans are designed to boost demand for new cars and help struggling carmakers who are suffering during the recession.
A similar scheme in Germany has seen demand for new cars rise dramatically.

France and Italy have also introduced so-called car scrappage schemes to boost their beleaguered car industries.

Details of the UK scheme are likely to be announced in the Chancellor's budget on 22 April, according to BBC correspondent Joe Lynam.

USA getting behind scrap idea?
Government officials in the United Kingdom are widely expected to launch a vehicle scrapping scheme modeled after the successful German program, which has boosted sales in Europe's largest market by over 20 percent in each of the two months it's been available.

Details of the UK program are still sketchy, with some outlets like the Times of London and the BBC suggesting that the scrapping scheme will be included in the government's April 22nd budget. The Telegraph, however, reports that the program has been rejected.According to the Financial Times, automakers may be asked to provide half of the £2,000 that will be offered to consumers to turn in vehicles that are at least nine years old.

It's not yet clear what vehicles would qualify for the subsidy, as 80 percent of all new cars sold in the UK are from foreign automakers.

Here in the United States, a "Cash for Clunkers" plan is currently being reviewed in Congress that would offer up to $5,000 to exchange a vehicle at least eight years old for a new, more fuel efficient model.

Ohio Congresswoman Betty Sutton has introduced a new bill to provide a voucher of up to $5,000 in exchange for your clunker. To be eligible for the voucher, car buyers would have to purchase a new vehicle that is more fuel efficient than the car or truck it replaces.

The trade-in also needs to be at least eight years old, while the replacement vehicle needs to sticker for less than $35,000. The bill will include purchases of both foreign and domestic autos, but there is an incentive to buy vehicles assembled in North America.

If the bill passes, foreign-made vehicles will receive a voucher of $4,000, while North American-made vehicles will be eligible for the entire $5,000.Sutton is hailing her bill as a win for all, saying the legislation will "help consumers, stimulate our economy, improve our environment, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and help our domestic auto and related industries."
Not surprisingly, domestic automakers are smitten with the idea of vehicle vouchers. General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner said the legislation would be a "big help," while Ford called the idea a "win-win" for the auto industry and the environment. We're calling it a great way to get $5,000 off the price of a 29-mpg Chevrolet Camaro. Thanks for the tip, Vlad!


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